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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Interesting Facts And Tidbits About Lebanon's Unique Heritage

Dallas Bogan on 18 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Lebanon's name came about, according to tradition, with a meeting being held in the early part of the 19th century by the early area leaders who were interested in laying out a new town on a stream called Turtle Creek. The name Lebanon was chosen by the settlers.
The selection did not please everyone. Judge Francis Dunlavy, on returning from the meeting, was one who expressed dissatisfaction.
The name first appears in the record of the first one hundred lots. Whether it was Ichabod Corwin, Ephriam Hathaway or Silas Hurin who offered the name Lebanon will never be known. Neither will it be known what other names were suggested and the discussion involved.
I guess one might say that with every small settlement came the tavern, it appropriately being the first business in Lebanon. Quickly following were the general stores, the print shops and assorted vocational shops.
Before the plotting of Lebanon a log cabin tavern was located on the east side of Broadway, between Mulberry and Silver. Ephriam Hathaway kept this two-story tavern. John Huston, who had descended the Ohio with a small stock of goods in a flat boat, opened a store in one room of the tavern about 1803.
Merchants' licenses were not granted in Lebanon until 1805. The first licenses were issued to Lawson and Taylor to operate a mill, and to Daniel F. Reeder and William Ferguson.
The Western Star, in its first issue, Feb. 13, 1807, highlights the first advertisement for the town's businesses. George Miller advertised his cabinet making business, Jonas Seaman, tavern; John Grigg, boot and shoemaking; Samuel Nixon, stocking weaving, reed making, and blue dyeing business; Henry H. Dill, saddlery; William Ferguson, groceries.
Several new businesses were found in the 1810 issue of the Star. Robert B. Coles and Silas Hurin, manufacturers of boots and shoes; Jacob Clark, mill-wheels, chairs, brushes, washing machines, etc.; William Lowry & Co., dealers in groceries, notions, etc.; Moore & Wilds, cabinet makers; James and Joseph Moore, dealers in goods and whiskey.
Daniel Cushing, manufacturer of black salts; Lebanon Manufacturing Co., carding, spinning of wool, weaving the same, and manufacture of broadcloth; Dr. Joseph Canby, new apothecary shop, and Brazilla Clark, cabinet maker.
Sometimes called the second American Revolution, or the War of 1812, caused a slow down in businesses in the small town of Lebanon. However, soon after this conflict, new enterprises in the town began to increase. Small factories such as woolen mills, a cotton factory, nail factories, cabinet factories, a copper establishment, and a tobacco factory, all abounded in just a short time.
William Russell owned and operated the woolen mill that was an important highlight of the town. There were also tanneries, and, in 1823, there were over thirty women and girls employed in making straw hats and bonnets.
George Hardy and Joseph Henderson, in 1817, bought the store of Matthias Ross on the northeast corner of Broadway and Mulberry, and for many years were considered to be among Lebanon's most successful merchants.
A pottery was also prominent in the town, it being located on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Warren Street. A Mr. Voglesong was probably the first potter, with William Jackson later carrying on the business. Jim Sugart and Zeph McCreary were among the better-known potters. Flour, sugar and milk crocks were some of the main clay products. A horse hitched to a lever fastened to the spindle in which the wheel was attached turned the potter's wheel.
Ephriam Hathaway was owner and proprietor of the Black Horse Tavern whereas Jonas Seaman owned a tavern bearing his name. The latter building was located on the present site of the Golden Lamb.
William Ferguson and Daniel Reeder operated the Indian Chief Tavern. It was located on Main Street on the ground now occupied by the east end of the Town Hall, and was known as one of the best in the State. It was here that Henry Clay's daughter died in 1825.
Other well-known taverns in Lebanon were the Williamson House, the Washington Hotel, and the Henry Clay House.
Lebanon's first bank was known as the Miami Banking Company, and was opened for business in 1814 with Daniel F. Reeder as president and Phineas Ross as cashier.
The "Star," in 1833, announced in one of its ads that William Alloway had established in Lebanon, one square above the new courthouse, an iron foundry where he could furnish castings of any pattern. In the same edition, Samuel Paxton advertised that he continues the plow-making business. He also states he would make edge tools on short notice.
James Hopkins advertises that he still carries on the book- binding business a few doors north of the Golden Lamb.
Thomas Best and John Probasco are in the watch and clock making business. Tobias Bretney operated a leather store, just north of the hotel. George Mix, coppersmith, was set up in business on West Main Street across from the hotel.
Wagons were a necessity in early times and wagon making was carried on extensively in Lebanon. Jeremiah Pinneo established his business previous to 1816, while Samuel Chamberlin opened a business soon afterwards, he also prospering. His son, Lewis, succeeded Chamberlin. They made army wagons for the government during the war with Mexico (1846-1848).
John P. March emigrated from Virginia in 1831 and set up his own coach-making enterprise that he continued until his death in 1857.
The year 1834 found four wagon making shops in Lebanon, employing 37 men.
(Most of the issues of The Western Star, beginning with the first issue in 1807 to the present, can be found in the Warren County Museum on microfilm. These microfilm rolls have been indexed as to name and/or event up to and including 1927. The fine personnel at the Museum would be happy to assist in any type of search.)

"Lebanon Town"

Thomas Ashe wrote in 1806 in his "Travels in America" a short description of Lebanon. It goes as such:
"From Cincinnati I set off on N. course for a town called Lebanon, thirty miles distant, and lying exactly central between the two Miamis. The first five miles were hilly...for ten miles further on, the land was broken, heavily timbered, and but little cleared. The remaining fifteen miles to Lebanon were nearly the best I ever viewed, and settled considerably for so new a country. The farms were numerous, well improved, and the houses and barns on them built with great care and industry.
"Lebanon contains about two hundred inhabitants, dwelling in about 40 neat log and frame houses.
"A place of worship and schoolhouse are also erected, and the town in every respect bids fair to prosper and increase with unprecedented success.
"Seated in the midst of the finest tract of land in the world, and that already thickly settled and by a hardy and industrious people, it cannot fail to succeed, if not reduced to a premature ruin by the sudden and violent visitations which have trampled under foot the aspiring hopes of other settlements of the same State. The town is not considered unhealthy nor do ponds and swamps poison the immediate vicinity.
"The inhabitants, though few are composed of several Nations, who unite in forming a character of a laborious and religious cast. Their industry is manifest in the extensive improvements and comfortable abodes, all affected within the space of five years, and their religion is displayed in the fashion of their hats and cloaths, but more respectably in their decent and moral conduct."

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This page created 18 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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