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Lebanon


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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 5 December 2004

Sources:

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Part IV Township Histories
Turtle Creek Township
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)


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The town of Lebanon was laid out in September, 1802. The original proprietors of the lands on which the town, as originally platted, stood, were Ichabod Corwin, Silas Hurin, Ephraim Hathaway and Samuel Manning. The original plat of the town embraced portions of four sections of land.

At the time the new town was projected, the formation of a State government was under consideration by the people of the Northwest Territory, and the projectors of Lebanon hoped that in the division of the new State into counties their town might become the capital of one of the counties. A number of the land-owners in the neighborhood about the site of Lebanon, it seems, were anxious for the establishment of a town in the Turtle Creek Valley, which had already become well known for the fertility of its soil and the good character of its inhabitants. It is reported that there was a meeting of the citizens of the vicinity for the purpose of selecting a name for the town, and that the one agreed upon, and which was given it, was not satisfactory to Francis Dunlevy. It is also a tradition that the land to the east of the original plat, and now included in the eastern part of Lebanon, was desired for its location, but Samuel Manning, the owner, refused to lay out a town upon his farm, saying

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that "it would never be anything but a nest of thieves." Only a narrow strip of Mr. Manning's land was included in the original plat. In after years, however, he laid out. additions to the town, and it is said that these proved more profitable to him than the original lots to their owners. The latter were compelled to make liberal donations for the purpose of erecting county buildings in order to make the town the County seat.

The original plat of the town comprised only 100 lots, which were bounded on the north by Silver street, on the south by South street, on the west by Sycamore street. and on the east by the alley between Cherry and East streets. The plat was the seventh document received by the Recorder of Warren County for record, although it was not acknowledged before a Justice of the Peace for more than one year after the survey was made. Attached to the plat were the following descriptive heading and certificate:

An accurate plat of the town of Lebanon, as laid out in September, Anno Domini One Thousand Eight Hundred and Two, containing one hundred lots, each lot containing fifty square rods except the four lots bearing the following numbers : No 1, No. 97, No. 57 and No. 68, each of which four lots contain twenty-five square rods, the half of said lots being given to the publick [sic] by the proprietors. The street marked and named Broadway, being six poles wide, the remainder of the streets are four poles wide The alleys are twelve feet wide, all of which lots. streets, alleys, are due east. west, north and south.

Surveyed by me. Ichabod B. Halsey

Warren County, ss : Personally appeared before me, one of the Justices, in and for said county. Samuel Manning, Ichahod Corwin, Silas Hurin and Ephraim Hathaway, proprietors of the town of Lebanon, and acknowledged this plat as surveyed by Ichabod B. Halsey, to be their free act and deed for the purposes and uses herein mentioned.

In testimony of which I hereunto set my hand, this 18th day of October, Anno Domini 1803. MATTHIAS CORWIN.

Among the early additions of lots made to the town were those by Peter Yauger and Ephraim Hathaway, in 1806; by Samuel Manning, in 1807; by Levi Estell, in 1808: by Ichabod Corwin, in 1809; and by Matthias Ross, in 1814. Moses Collett was the surveyor of the first-named addition.

The town was laid out in a forest of lofty trees and a thick undergrowth of spice-bushes. At the time of the survey of the streets, it is believed that there were but two houses on the town plat. The one first erected was a hewed log house, built by Ichabod Corwin in the spring of 1800. It stood near the center of the town plat, on the east of Broadway, between Mulberry and Silver streets, and, having been purchased by Ephraim Hathaway, with about ten acres surrounding it, became the first tavern in the place. The courts were held in it during the years 1803 and 1804. This log house was a substantial one, and stood until about 1826. The town did not grow rapidly the first year. Isaiah Morris, afterward of Wilmington, came to the town in June, 1803, three months after it had been made the temporary seat of justice. He says: "The population then consisted of Ephraim Hathaway, the tavern-keeper; Collin Campbell, Joshua Collett and myself." This statement, of course, must be understood as referring to the inhabitants of the town plat only. There were several families residing in the near vicinity, and the Turtle Creek Valley throughout was perhaps at this time more thickly settled than any other region in the county. The log house of Ephraim Hathaway was not only the first tavern and the first place of holding courts, but Isaiah Morris claims that in it he, as clerk for his uncle. John Huston. sold the first goods which were sold in Lebanon. Ephraim Hathaway's tavern had, for a time, at least, the sign of a Black Horse. At an early day, the proprietor erected the large brick building still standing at the northeast corner of Mulberry and Broadway, where he continued the business. This building was afterward known as the Hardy House.

The second house erected on the original plat was the residence of Silas Hurin. which stood south of the crossing of Main and Cherry streets, and near

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the southeast corner of the plat. About 1800, Silas Hurin and his brother-in-law. Capt. John Tharp, became the joint owners of the west half of Section 35, on which the southeast portion of Lebanon stands. Esquire Hurin built the residence here referred to and established a tan-yard, which with a shoe-shop afterward added, he carried on successfully for several years. Capt. John Tharp had served in several campaigns against the Indians, and, it is said, was Captain of the artificers in Wayne's army. He settled at Lebanon about 1804.

The first two white children born on the original town plat, it is said, were born in the houses just referred to as the first houses on the plat. The eldest of those was Mrs. Catherine Skinner, wife of Richard Skinner and daughter of Silas Hurin, born November 28, 1800. The second was Mrs. Lucinda Dunlevy, wife of A. H. Dunlevy and daughter of Ichabod Corwin, born ten days later. Both reached a venerable age.

The town was incorporated January 9, 1810. For many years, the officers elected by the people consisted of a President, Recorder and five Trustees, who were required to be either freeholders or householders of the town. These officers appointed a Marshal, Collector and Treasurer. The name of the body corporate was "the President, Recorder and Trustees of the Town of Lebanon." In after years, a Mayor, Clerk and six Councilmen took the places of the President, Recorder and Trustees, and the legal style of the corporation became "the Incorporated Village of Lebanon." Since 1878, the legal style has been "the village of Lebanon." The device of the corporate seal is "a cedar tree in the center, surrounded with the words, The Corporation of Lebanon, Ohio."


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