Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County


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

Lafayette, the only town in Deer Creek township, is situated in the center of the township, on the Columbus, London & Springfield Electric railway. The branch line of this road, which runs through London, leaves the main line at this place. At the time of the organization of Deer Creek township, there was no town or village within its limits, and there were but few roads of which the principal one was the old stage route, from Columbus to Springfield, a horrible mud road, in which stage coaches and wagons often mired hub deep, and had to be pried out with rails, which often delayed them on their journey, besides severely trying the good nature of the passengers. This mud road and stage route passed through the center of the township and through the Gwynne farm. In 1816, Thomas Gwynne commenced laying off lots for a town on the east side of Deer creek, one and one-half miles, northwest of where Lafayette is now situated. This town was named Lawrenceville, but was always better known as "Limerick." In the first two or three years of the town's existence the following families had settled there: Isaac Jones, who came from Tennessee; James Criswell, who was the first blacksmith, a very peculiar and eccentric character, who was succeeded by John Wiseman; Zacariah Jones, a brother of Isaac Jones, and also from Tennessee; Gilman Lincoln; Angus Ross, who, about 1816, erected a frame house and kept the first, and only tavern the town ever had; Jesse Abbey and Henry Clay were also early settlers. In one room of Isaac Jones', house, Gwynne placed a small stock of groceries and such other articles as the simple needs of the people of that day demanded. But the progress of the country was ever onward, and improvements were rapid. In 1836-37 the national road or turnpike was completed through Deer Creek township, in consequence of which the stage route and all travel from Columbus to Springfield and the west was transferred from the old mud road to the national pike. In consequence of this new and substantial road, there was a great increase in travel, and this missed "Limerick," which was thus thrown off the main thoroughfare. The town at once began to die, and Lawrenceville, or Limerick, has long since become extinct; the land embracing the town lots was purchased by Eli Gwynne and turned into a pasture field, and now not a vestige remains to indicate that there was ever a town located there. Such are the constant changes of time.

In consequence of the construction of the national road, there was a great increase in travel, and on October 1, 1834, William Minter, who owned a large tract of land on which the town of Lafayette, is now situated, commenced to lay off lots for the town, which was named Lafayette, in honor of General Lafayette. The first house was a small frame house erected by Joseph Bell, and others were soon built. The great amount of travel made a demand for public entertainment, and Calvin Anderson opened up and conducted the first tavern. Soon a second tavern was in operation, kept by John McMullen; then a third, built by Stanley Watson and kept by a Mr. Coleman; and, finally, a fourth, kept, by Joseph Bell. These all did a good business, as stageload after stageload of passengers drove up. The first store was kept by William Warner, who later resided in London. The second merchant was Alfred Russell, and the third, Stanley Watson, These were succeeded by Abraham Simpson and others. The first blacksmith was Jacob Snider, whose son was the first child born in the town, and in honor of which was named Lafayette by Mrs. William Minter. Dr. Samuel McClintick was the first physician, and Doctor Anklin the second. These were succeeded by Doctors Fields, Rogers, Beach, Horaback and others. The first postmaster was John Minter. In 1881 the township erected a large brick township house, two stories high—a hall above and the town house, below. This building is pleasantly located on the corner of the main square, and speaks well for the public enterprise of the citizens of Deer Creek township. The interurban line has a stop there, and this has aided the town materially. The population of the town at present numbers seventy-five. There are three good general merchandise stores operated by W. O. Huff, Bethard Brothers and Minter & Lannigan. George Dildine is the village blacksmith.

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