History of Madison County
Stokes Township Towns
From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883
This is truly a rural township, possessing but one town, or rather village, within its territory – South Solon – which was laid out in 1833 by J. K. Hudson and Andrew Douglass. The latter built the first house, and was the first blacksmith in the village. John Nolan opened the first store, and was the pioneer in the mercantile trade. Dr. Simmerman, a root and herb doctor, and possessed of some Indian blood in his veins, was the first physician, and it is said was quite skillful in treating diseases under his system. The town grew very slowly for many years, as it had no railroad or other stimulus to promote its growth or to create business. The entire township was without a railroad until about four years ago, and all grain, stock, and all productions of the farmers, were hauled to some distant town for a market or for shipment; and as a result of this, when the farmers were at these distant towns, they made their purchases of dry goods and groceries for home consumption; hence there was little inducement for men of means or business ability to locate or invest in South Solon. And thus matters remained until, in 1878, the Springfield Southern Railroad was built, and passed through this village, connecitng it with Springfield and the coal-fields of Southeastern Ohio. This opened a way for shipping the productions of the country, made, as it were, a home market, and the same year, immediately upon its completion, John Hudson erected a warehouse and grain elevator. The farmers now hauled their grain here and sold it, and shipped their sotck. This created quite a business. Men were in demand and this created a demand for houses. They were built, and the town began to grow. Goods and groceries of all kinds were now in demand, and merchants found an opening for the profitable investment of capital. From this time the town had a gradual but steady growth. This railroad, which at first was a narrow-gauge, was in 1880 transformed to a standard-gauge, and is doing quite a large and thriving business. By examining the shipping books of the agent of the road, we were surprised at the great amount of shipping from that small town. There will probably be from 600 to 800 cars of stock, grain, lumber, etc., shipped from that staion during the year of 1882. The businesses of the town now comprises the following: General store, by W. C. Rickards; general store, by William O'Shaughnessy; grocery, by A. Simmerman; grocery and post office, by M. Marsh; harness hop, by Miller & Townsley; blacksmith shop, by O. M. Porter; blacksmith shop, by A. Bush; carriage and buggy manufactory, by Joseph Hidwell; boot and shoe shop; saloon, by Riley Harper; saloon, by M. C. Clark; saloon, by Jerry Neville; livery and sale stable, by Stephen Maxey; saw-mill, by William Haines; grain-dealer, J. J. Hudson; brick manufacturer, J. F. Crawford; and physicians, H. H. McClellan, J. S. Smith and O. G. Fields.
From Atlas of Madison County, J.A. Caldwell [Condit, Ohio, 1875]
South Solon. This is a small place, located in the western part of Stokes Township, and about fifteen miles from London, seven miles west of Midway. It has a post office, a grocery, a blacksmith, and a very fine country surrounding it.
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