Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy



History of Madison County


Plain City

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

This is the only village in the township, and was laid out by Isaac Bigelow in 1818. Accordingly, we find the following record:

July 8, 1818. – The plan of Westminster, situated on the south side of Big Darby Creek, in Darby Township, Madison County, on the road leading from Worthington to Urbana. The above road, which is Main street from letter B, runs east, and is sixty feet wide; the alleys are thirty links wide and run from Main street north. The lot on the north side of Main street, measure each, north, twelve poles and east, four poles and eleven links. The lots on the south side of Main street measure each, south, ten poles, and west, five poles and one link.

DAVID CHAPMAN, Surveyor. June 11, 1818.

There were no other official acts until 1823. At this date, we find that the previous survey was resurveyed and additional territory incorporated as well as the original name changed from Westminster to Pleasant Valley. We also find that, from 1823 to 1851, the original proprietor made six additions to this village, besides additions subsequently made by the following parties: Barlow's. Sherwood's First and Second, Amonn's First and Second, Marshal's, Hager & Lombard's, Black & Mooney's. and I. E. Bigelow's Additions. Its name was again changed from Pleasant Valley to that of Plain City.

This town is situated in the northeast portion of the township and is bounded on the north by Union County. For a time it was superseded by Amity in Canaan Township, but the advantages of the former were mainly due to location, being situated on the post road, an important west-bound thoroughfare, over which much of the emigrant travel passed. This, in connection with natural advantages, rendered it much more desirable as a business location. From 1818 to 1850, her growth and business development were characteristic of doubt and uncertainty as to her future prospects among those of her rivals. But at the latter date, the location of a trunk-line railroad through her borders removed all uncertainty, and the impetus thus given to her growth, business and manufacturing developments were truly flattering. The first hotel was kept by Clark Provine, in a log building located on the same lot as the present National Hotel. It was surrounded with underbrush, hazel and plum thickets; but as the weary traveler neared the spot, he read with delight the invitation in glowing letters over the door. "Traveler's Inn." The principal guests were travelers, emigrants, speculators, hunters and trappers. The first dry goods and grocery store was that of the proprietor of the town, Isaac Bigelow. The first blacksmith was James Goldsberry. The first church was a small brick building belonging to the Methodist Episcopal denomination. The first schoolhouse was a log hut on Lot No. 14. and a Miss Suzan Fudger taught the first school. Here is a miniature pen picture of Plain City of the present, over which half a century and more has passed. She stands to-day dressed in beautiful mansions, extensive business blocks, magnificent halls, manufacturing establishments, banking houses, a large school building, fine church edifices, besides many other structures less imposing, but indicative of thrift and prosperity. If to this be added the productive wealth of the surrounding country, with an easy access to her markets, and a direct communication by rail to Eastern cities, she has a bright prospective future. The business establishments foot up twenty in the mercantile trade, ten manufacturers, two banking houses, two hotels, one printing office and a weekly newspaper, besides the transient and unsettled traffic common to all commercial towns. Her population in 1880 was about 1,000.



From Atlas of Madison County, by J.A. Caldwell (Condit, Ohio, 1875]

Plain City (Formerly Pleasant Valley) is located on the west banks of Big Darby, in the northern part of Darby Township, not far from the Union County line, eighteen miles north-west of Columbus, by rail, and twelve miles north from West Jefferson, and seventeen miles north-east of London, with a population of about 700, and was laid off by Isaiah Bigelow; and is a place of considerable business and enterprise, and improving quite rapidly, and now contains five churches — a Methodist Episcopal, a Presbyterian, a United Brethren, a Universalist, and a Catholic; a printing establishment, called The Plain City Press, one bank, called "Plain City Bank," and a spelndid brick planing-mill, which belongs to McCune & Wilson; a good flouring-mill, four dry goods stores, three drug stores, three groceries, a jewelery store, a hotel, a carriage and wagon works, two harness shops, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, boot and shoe stores. The future of Plain City is quite promising. Its merchants, mechanics and business men are enterprising, and it is surrounded by thrifty farmers. The Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railway passes by it, which affords a good shipping point for the produce and stock of the surrounding country, both of portions of Madison and Union counties — and it receives a considerable amount of its trade from Union County. The corporation limits of Plain City were extended in 1868, the same recorded December 21st, 1868.



From History of Madison County, Ohio, Chester E. Bryan, Supervising Editor, B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis (1915)

Plain City is the largest village in Darby township, and was laid out by Isaac Bigelow in 1818, according to the following record: "July 8, 1818—The plan, of Westminster, situated on the south side of Big Darby creek, in Darby township, Madison county, on the road leading from Worthington to Urbana. The above road, which is Main street from letter B, runs east, and is sixty feet wide; the alleys are thirty links wide, and run from Main street north. The lots on the north side of Main street each measure, north, twelve poles, and east, four poles and eleven links. The lots, on the south side of Main street, measure each, south, ten poles, and west, five poles and one link.
"June 11, 1818, David Chapman, Surveyor."

There were no other official acts until 1823, in which year the records disclose that the previous survey was resurveyed, additional territory was incorporated "and the original name was changed from Westminster to Pleasant Valley. It is also revealed that, from 1823 to 1851, the original proprietor made six additions to the village, besides additions subsequently made as follow: Barlow's, Sherwood's First and Second, Amonn's First and Second, Marshal's, Hager & Lombard's, Black & Mooney's, and E. I. Bigelow's additions. The name of the village was again changed from Pleasant Valley to Plain City.

For a time Plain City was superseded as a trading point by Amity, in Canaan township. The former town, however, possessed advantages due to location, it being situated on the Post road, an important west-bound thoroughfare, over which much of the emigrant travel passed. "This, in connection with natural advantages, rendered it much more important and desirable as a business location. From 1818 to 1850, the growth of Plain City and her business developments were characteristic of doubt and uncertainty as to her future prospects among those of her rivals. But in the latter year, the location of the trunk-line railroad through her borders removed all uncertainty and the impetus thus given to her growth, business and manufacturing developments were truly flattering.

The first hotel was kept by Clark Provine, in a log building located on the same lot as the old National Hotel. This primitive inn was surrounded by underbrush, hazel and plum thickets; but, as the weary traveler neared the spot, he read with delight the invitation over the door, "Traveler's Inn." The first dry-goods and grocery store was that of the proprietor of the town, Isaac Bigelow. The first blacksmith was James Goldsberry. The first church was a small brick building belonging to the Methodist denomination. The first School house was a log hut on lot No. 14, and Susan Fudger taught the first school.

PRESENT INDUSTRIES AND ADVANTAGES.

Plain City, located on the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad, has a population of about 1,500. It is well laid out, having broad, well-paved streets, cement sidewalks and many beautiful residences and splendid business blocks. It is well lighted by electricity and has cluster lights through the main part of the town. The city has most excellent water and all the advantages of a place many times its size. It has a splendid school building, several fine churches and other public buildings and has a class of people that for hospitality and sociability cannot be excelled anywhere in the land.

Located in a splendid farming country, amid prosperous and progressive farmers, Plain City is a good shipping point and tens of thousands of dollars worth of live stock and produce is shipped from that place every year. It has some manufacturing institutions and a flour-mill and grain elevator. Plain City has two banks, an opera house, a newspaper, picture shows and beautiful chautauqua grounds where a chautauqua is held every year. Another great yearly event is the corn show which is held in October and is attended by large numbers of visitors from over the country. The Plain City Matinee Club comprises many noted horsemen and nearly all the prominent business men in the town are interested in it. J. W. Price a well-known resident of Madison county is one of the leading members of this club and a prominent breeder of road horses. B. E. Thomas, F. B. McCullough, C. M. Jones and many others are members of this club, which has a fine half-mile track.

The Ormerod-Jones Company, prescription druggists. has a fine store. The First State Bank is another solid institution there and is thoroughly modern. It has a large and steadily increasing patronage. Among the leading merchants are Horn & Milliken, who have a large general dry-goods store. J. A. Tedrick is a general dealer in hardware, stoves, agricultural implements, buggies, wagons, harness and general supplies. Joseph Nunamaker is another leading hardware dealer and has a fine store, where he carries a full line of hardware, farming machinery, buggies, etc. He makes a specialty of heating and plumbing. Charles Rice, baker, also has an ice cream parlor. H. L. Smith, proprietor of the Variety Store, carries a full line of dry goods, ready-to-wear garments, a full stock of dishes and glassware and a general line of notions of all kinds. Another large firm is the Howland Brothers, hardware and furniture store, well and favorably known all over that part of the county. The Purity Ice Cream Manufacturing Company does a wholesale and retail business and also handles candies, tobacco and fruits. George Elias conducts a dry goods and notion store and also carries a line of ready-to-wear goods, shoes, etc. Currier & Cron, grocers, carry a full line of staple and fancy groceries, vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. The Farmers' National Bank, one of the strong, reliable institutions of Plain City, has a handsome bank building with modern fixtures and equipment. Harry Bault, practical horseshoer and general blacksmith, has been in business there for a number of years and ha built up an enviable reputation as a high class workman. E. G. Scott, the jeweler, makes a specialty of watch repairing, and carries a line of watches and jewelry. I. B. Huffman conducts a general garage and handles a full line of accessories and general supplies for automobiles. The Paris Cleaners and Dyers have a well-equipped establishment. J. Quin Converse, jeweler and book dealer, is one of the old established business men there. He carries a full line of watches and also a large line of silverware, magazines, books, stationery, etc. Mr. Converse is president of the Converse family reunion. As there are many Converse families located all over the county, these reunions are pretty large affairs, and very enjoyable. L. C. Alder conducts a harness and general repair shop and also has a line of boots and shoes, etc., and handles bicycles and supplies Andrews & Wilcox conduct a general livery and feed barn. They also have an automobile service. A. C. Hiatt, general grocer, has been in business there for years. C. D. Ferguson, funeral director and embalmer, carries a full line of automobile accessories and conducts a well-equipped garage. F. B. McCullough conducts a large clothing and gents' furnishing store and carries a full line of boots, shoes, etc. Mr. McCullough is interested in fine horses and is the owner of several trotters

The Hotel Smith is a leading hotel at Plain City and is popular with the traveling public. Howland Bros. have a large, modern hardware and furniture store. Moon & Sheehan have a large grain elevator and handle hay, coal, grain and cement. Martin & Strickland, dealers in hay, grain and coal, also handle salt, lime, cement, plaster, brick, sewer pipe, building blocks, etc. The B. E. Thomas Company, wholesale and retail dealers in grain, wool, coal, live stock, clover seed, etc., operate a large elevator and their trade extends all over the county. B. E. Thomas is one of the promoters and leaders in the corn show that is held there every year, being-its vice-president. J. W. Bowers, a former Madison county commissioner, is the district agent for the Home Insurance Company of New York. Crayton's store is a grocery and variety store doing a general business. In addition Mr. Crayton handles automobiles and accessories. W. D. Booth conducts the Cottage restaurant. The Beach-Chandler Company, lumber dealers, also handle cement, roofing, shingles and asphalt. F. M. Walters is one of the leading druggists. J. E. Strayer_lawyer, is a "live wire" and takes great interest in the progress of his home town. Walter F. Mooney, another of Plain City's solid citizens, handles country produce. Henry Wenzel is the photographer. H. O. Hutchinson is the proprietor of a self-serve restaurant. Jones & Douglass conduct a pool room and billiard parlor and handle soft drinks, cigars and tobacco. George Mellic, barber, is located near the square in the rear of the Farmers National Bank. Charles H. Ackley has a plumbing shop and does electrical work. There is also an old gentleman associated with Mr. Ackley who is called by the name of "Daddy" Stevens, who sharpens and adjusts lawn mowers. Fravel & Grewell are engaged in insurance and real-estate business and in the loaning of money. Mrs. Jennie Weaver conducts a millinery store in the Black block. James W. Strapp, merchant tailor, also does dry cleaning and repairing. L. B. Robinson is the general agent for Ohio for Webster's New International Dictionary. C. G. McCann is one of the leading grocers. L. R. Waits is proprietor of the "Bank" barber shop. Dr. M. J. Jenkins has been in the town for thirty-three years and is identified with many of the city's activities. Doctor Jenkins served two terms in the Ohio Legislature, as representative from Madison county. Robinson & Baker, clothing, shoes and gents' furnishings, carry a full stock. Hudson & Jackson, two enterprising young women, who are conducting a millinery store, also carry a line of notions for women's wear and a complete line of wall paper. The Strickland-Corbin Company, grocers, have a complete line. Mr. Strickland is one of the active business men of the city and is identified with a number of organizations. I. B. Frederick does horseshoing and general blacksmithing.

The town clock which was was placed on the Barto & Keiser building, located on the corner of Main and Chillicothe streets, was donated to the town by Samuel Taylor. It was installed at a cost of eight hundred dollars and is a great addition to the town. Saturday, November 15, 1902, after the completion and installation of the clock, an ox roast was given and a general celebration was carried out to commemorate the gift.

Kile or Kileville postofllce, the only other town, or more properly, village, in Darby township, is located in the extreme northeast corner of the county, on the Toledo & Ohio Central railroad. It was platted on October 2, 1895, by James Kile, and is only a small "stop" on the above road. The business interests at present consist of a general store owned by Ralph Smith and an elevator operated by Fred Kile. C. S. Williams is the blacksmith and postmaster.


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