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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

1903 Warren County Atlas Reveals Happening In County

Dallas Bogan on 6 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan


In 1862 James McCormick started the first newspaper in Mason, which was called The Mason Democrat. It next passed into the hands of Daniel Flannigan, and was discontinued in 1864. The next paper was The Mason Vanguard which was started in 1878, but did not last long. The Mason Appeal began operations in 1892 and lasted quite a while, under different managements.


In order to form a path for the children to the schoolhouse, the early settlers would sometimes hitch a horse to a log and drag it through the tall and dense weeds and spice-brushes. Smooth foot-paths winding through the deep woods led from one cabin to another.
When a settler was sick, the neighbors aided him, freely planting his corn for him, tilling or gathering it, or, in winter, supplying his family with firewood already chopped.
Cincinnati being the nearest point at which merchandise could be purchased, two or three neighboring women would mount their horses on a summer morning, ride to that village, thirty miles away, do their shopping and return the same day. A large portion of the journey being through an unbroken wilderness, without a single house on the road.


An undergrowth of spice brush was spread all over the richer uplands of Warren County and has since disappeared with the advance of civilization. The spice bushes greatly retarded the work of the early surveyors. They were abundant on the plat of Lebanon long after the town had become a county seat.
The flowers of the shrub appeared early in the spring, before the leaves, and were succeeded by small clusters of berries, which, when ripe, in September, were of a bright crimson color. The berries were said to have been used sometimes instead of allspice. A substance from the branches made a gently stimulating drink, sometimes used in low fevers, and the shrub was often called the fever bush.


An important branch of business in the early days of Lebanon, was wagon-making, which was carried on very extensively at one time. This branch of manufacture was commenced by Jeremiah Pinneo some time previous to 1816, on Mechanic Street, south of Silver, and carried on there by him until 1835. He employed from ten to fifteen workmen in wood and iron shops.
Samuel Chamberlain opened a shop almost as early as Pinneo. His works were on East Street, between Pleasant and Warren, where he worked from twelve to eighteen men. His productions were sold mostly in the South. His son Lewis succeeded him, and at his death in 1854, the shops were closed.
William Alloway commenced the business in 1828-29, on the east side of East Street, between Silver and Warren. He employed from fifteen to twenty men. In 1834 he sold the business to William Krewson, who carried it on until 1850, when he sold out to Thomas Hutchinson, who carried it on for a number of years.


The Merrittstown Public School building was erected in 1891. It was originated by the combining of the Pekin and Harrison School Districts, in Clearcreek Township, and was first known as the Merrittstown Joint Sub-District No. 2; it was made a Special District in 1894.
The school's first principal was Philip Spence, who taught a very successful school for two terms, from 1892 to 1894. He was assisted in the Primary Department by Miss Grace Beachey, who continued for four terms, from 1892 to 1896.
The next principal was George E. Canter, who taught from 1894 to 1897. Nellie Nicely assisted in the primary department one term during the school year of 1896 and '97.
Philip Spence returned as principal in 1897 and continued to 1901, assisted by Mrs. Grace M. Stephenson, who taught three terms from 1897 to 1900.
Clarence Brown, assisted by Florence Brown, next became principal in 1900 and both continued serving past 1903.
L.S. Ivins became principal in 1903 and was also assisted by Florence Brown.
The combining of the two mentioned school districts made it one of the largest in the County. A high school was adopted in 1897 and was recognized by the State School Commissioner.
Some early students of the school were: Cora Bogar, Bertha Decker, Katie Hutt, Orlando Sneathen, Charles Wood, Charles Blake, Raymond Eyer, Menard J. Worley, Ralph H. Davis, Bruce Linder, Henry Campbell, George Walton, Elizabeth R. Dugan, Veda L. Kirby. Albert E. Decker, Florence D. Linder, Roy C. Stephenson, Elsie E. Englebrecht, Walter L. Davis, Lillian L. Smith, Azzie Marie Decker, Mary J. Swain, Bertha Beel, Mary Null, Mazie Earnhart, Morris Davis, Wilbur South, Charles South, Wilber Earnhart, Nettie Earnhart, Vinnie Guttery, Mabel Hutchinson, Jessie Adams.


Of the industries of Lebanon during the first few years of its existence, when it was a little village in the woods, little is known. They could not have been numerous or important. Isaiah Morris, of Wilmington, Ohio, is authority for the statement that John Huston was the first merchant of the town. In the spring of 1803, Huston descended the Ohio with a small stock of goods in a flat-boat, and landed at Columbia, where he opened a small store.
After remaining there a few months, he came to the new town of Lebanon, and opened a store in the tavern known as the Black Horse, kept by Ephriam Hathaway. Isaiah Morris was a nephew of Huston, and the clerk in this the first store in Lebanon. The store of Huston in Lebanon was not long continued, as the proprietor died soon after its establishment.

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