Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

Range Township Towns

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

As this township became thickly settled, and the people advanced in the various improvements, from which spring, as an outgrowth, all towns and villages, so here have sprung into existence two villages. The first to come into existence was Midway. At quite an early day, a road was opened through from the East to the West, passing through this township from east to west, and which subsequently became a general thoroughfare, over which droves of cattle passed from the West to the Eastern markets. Travel and traffic kept increasing, and hotels and stores for their accommodation were soon in demand to meet these increasing wants. On this great thoroughfare from the West to the East, in Range Township, was a central point, which was half way between Chicago and Philadelphia. It was also a middle point between several of the important towns of nearer proximity. Hence, from these circumstances of its position, geographically considered, it was given the name of Midway.

The land upon which this town is located was owned by William Morris, Frank Thompson and Lockhart Biggs. The exact date of laying off the first lots cannot be definitely stated; but we find on the records at London that it was surveyed and laid off in lots, and that the platted town, which was recorded June 13, 1833. Also, on January 18, 1838, was recorded Ward's Addition; again, on October 30, 1868, an addition by J. Q. Minshall; on January 6, 1869, an addition by Cyrus Timmons; on May 8, 1876, an extension by the Council; and on February 15, 1879, an addition by Levi Counts. It appears that there were two small cabins built here before the town was laid out — one on the corner where the hotel now stands, built by William Oliver; and one on the corner where Mr. Shough now lives. But, after the laying-out of the town, the first house was built by Isaac Newman, on the corner where Hewett Bros.' store now stands, and occupied by John Blue as a hotel. He was succeeded by Joseph Wilmuth, and he by W. T. Garrard; thence this house ceased to be used longer for hotel purposes; but two others were erected, probably at nearly the same date, the one by Richard Smith being the property now owned by John Timmons. Smith was succeeded by James Williamson, and he by Mr. Jackson; then Thomas Green, Elihu Watkins, and last by David Small, after which the property went into ownership as a private residence. The other was the present hotel building, erected by L. D. rowe, and kept by John McElhaney. He was succeeded by the following persons, in the order, respectively, as their names appear: Mrs. Elizabeth Watkins, James Blizzard, A. J. Thacker, Isaac Byers, A. Miller, Miss Caroline Morris, Charles Bailey, A. Miller, Carty Ellers, W. C. Wheaton, John Timmons, Benson Hedley, E. C. Duff and Isaac N. Fisher, the present incumbent. Thus this enterprise has been carried on by twenty-four different parties, and in an early day, when this great thoroughfare was doing its greatest business with the stock-dealers, and its varied travel and traffic, the hotel trade was an extensive business. Here was the great meeting-place of the Eastern stock-buyers and the Western stock sellers, and here they left hundreds of dollars with the landlords of the hotels for their accomodations. But when the railroads passed through the country, and stock ceased to be driven in that slow and tedious way, but was transported by steam with such rapidity from the West to the East, then this road, with her numerous hotels, lost her prestige, her palmy days were gone, and the attention of the people was turned to other channels of business.

The first postmaster in Midway was James Williamson. The first store was opened by William Holt, who kept a general stock of merchandise, tinware, etc. The first blacksmith was Mr. Boss, situated either on the Barrett or Johnson property. Dr. Clark was the first physician of the town, and he was followed by Drs. Lemon, Garrard, Darling, Atkinson, Fields, Seaton and others. The present physicians are Drs. Kirkpatrick and Ogan. The town now contains a business representation as follows: Hewett Bros., general store; J. M. Stroup, general store; Rev. John Steele, general store; and Watson Everett, general store; J. H. Asher, drug store; Isaac N. Fisher, hotel; two blacksmiths — Richard Williams and Conn Steele; two wagon-makers — Peter Brow and R. Williams; one undertaker — A. L. Oglesbee; two physicians — Dr. A. Ogan and Dr. Kirkpatrick; and two veterinary surgeons — William Core and S. Vincent. The present population is about three hundred. It has two churches — Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian; and one school, and one dealer in agricultural implements, buggies, etc. — J. R. Shoaf.

Danville. — The land where Danville now stands was formerly owned by Daniel and Joseph Countys, the latter owning the northeast corner, between the cross-roads, and the former owning the northwest corner, and all south of the Federal road. About 1827 or 1828, a stock-dealer, Daniel Brown, who had been buying stock and driving to the Eastern markets, proposed to open a store at the cross-roads. Daniel counts gave him a piece of land to erect a house upon, and assisted in putting up the building, a hewed-log house, about on the spot where the Housman's store now stands. When the building was completed, Mr. Brown put in a small stock of goods and continued in trade here about three years. He was succeeded by Joseph Countys, a brother of Peter Counts. He continued in trade two or three years, when he removed to Ross County, thence to Springfield, Calrk County, and finally to Piqua, where he now resides. Finally, Mr. Daniel Counts gave several lots to individuals for the purpose of erecting houses, and the result was the beginning of a town. From the fact that both the proprietors of the town, Mr. Brown and Mr. Counts, were named DAniel, the new town received the cognomen of Danville. About 1836-37, a building was erected where Edward Ulm now resides, for a hotel. It was built by the McClimans Bros., and the hotel was kept by andrew Willoughby. He was succeeded by John Justis, and he by a succession of others for several years, this town enjoying a similar trade and prosperity with Midway from the stock-dealers and trade and traffic of those early days. The first blacksmith in the town was James Countys, a brother of Peter Counts. The first shoe-maker was William Mitchell, a one-legged man, a Frenchman by birth, who was in the war, with Perry on the lakes, was taken prisoner, and subsequently he, with many others, was released and came to Chillicothe, and from there Mr. Mitchell came to Danville. The town was laid out and the plat recorded at London October 18, 1848. The town now contains about one hundred inhabitants; has two general stores — Housman Bros. and William Williamson; one blacksmith – Mr. Ross; one grist-mill (steam), erected in 1881, by Simeon Martin; one tile factory, by Housman Bros.; and one physician – Dr. Deem.

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

Midway, Cross-Roads P.O. It is located in the western part of Range Township, on the old Federal road, that leads from South Solon to Mt. Sterling. It is ten miles from London, and eleven miles west of Mt. Sterling, and was laid out by F. Thompson and Wm. Morris, in 1832. It contains two churches — one Methodist Episcopal, and a Presbyterian; three dry goods stores, one hotel, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, a shoe shop, one physician; and the population is about 250.

Danville, Range P.O. It is a small village south of the centre of Range Township, surrounded by a fine farming country 2 3/4 miles east of Midway, eight miles west from Mt. Sterling, has a store, kept by Mr. George Howsman, a son of Isaac Howsman, who settled here in 1810, and a grandson of John Howsman.

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