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Holmes County was formed January 20, 1824, and organized the next year.  It was named from Major HOLMES, a gallant young officer of the war of 1812, who was killed in the unsuccessful attack upon Mackinac, under Col. CROGHAN, August 4, 1814.  Fort Holmes at Mackinac was also named from him.


Area about 420 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 99,862; in pasture, 111,913; woodland, 50,474; lying waste, 2,919; produced in wheat, 462,252 bushels; rye, 6,145; buckwheat, 1,096; oats, 553,489; barley, 898; corn, 554,491; broom corn, 1,200 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 23,882 tons; clover hay, 11,440; potatoes, 56,161 bushels; tobacco, 955 lbs.; butter, 499,561; cheese, 197,623; sorghum, 870 gallons; maple syrup, 5017; honey, 5,505 lbs.; eggs, 550,828 dozen; grapes, 19,550 lbs.; wine, 317 gallons; apples, 24,153 bush.;


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peaches, 24,153; pears, 1,110; wool, 211,529 lbs.; milch cows owned, 6,868.  School census, 1888, 7,029; teachers, 171.  Miles of railroad track, 47.




And Census





And Census



































Salt Creek,







Walnut Creek,












Population of Holmes in 1830 was 9,123; 1840, 18,061; 1860, 20,589; 1880, 20,766; of whom 17,436 were born in Ohio, 1,345 in Pennsylvania, 105 in Indiana, 96 in Virginia, 74 in New York, 2 in Kentucky, 782 in German Empire, 177 in France, 71 in Ireland, 45 in England and Wales, 9 in Scotland, 5 in British America, and 18 in Sweden and Norway.  Census, 1890, 21,139.


The following historical and descriptive sketch of Holmes county and of Millersburg, the county-seat, was carefully prepared by one of its venerable citizens, Mr. G. F. NEWTON, of Millersburg.  It being more full than that in our first edition we substitute it.


The territory included within the county of Holmes was taken from the counties of Wayne, Coshocton and Tuscarawas: from Wayne, 87,440 acres, from Coshocton, 162,200 acres, and from Tuscarawas, 16,200 acres; total area, 267,840.  A line running diagonally through the county from east-northeast to west-southwest, commonly known as the “Indian Boundary” line, separates the United States military district and the Indian reservation (new purchase).


The territory north of this line was surveyed into townships of six miles square, and again into sections of 640 acres.  That south of said line is surveyed into townships of five miles square, and again into quarter townships of 4,000 acres. Some of these quarter townships were again divided into 100 acre lots for the private soldiers of 1776.  Within this county 480 of these 100 acre lots were given to the soldiers of the Revolutionary war. Six of the 4,000 acre tracts of land were set apart as schools-land for the Connecticut Western Reserve and subsequently sold at public sale.  The remainder of this territory was surveyed into sections of 640 acres and sold at private entry at Zanesville.


The valley of Killbuck river passes from north to south through the centre of the county; the valley is deep and adjoining hills high and steep. On each side of the river, seven to nine miles distant, is a high ridge of land, separating its waters from those of the Mohican and Tuscarawas.  From the valley to the hilltops are innumerable springs of pure water, many of them very strong, which in their rapid descent to the river furnish good water-power.


In the northwest corner of the country is Odell’s Lake, a beautiful body of pure water, in places thirty feet deep.  It is half a mile broad, two miles long, and abounds in fish.  It furnishes water-power sufficient to run a large flouring mill.  The P. Ft. W. & C. R. R. has constructed a station on the north side of this lake.  Since then it has become a popular place of resort for pleasure and fishing parties.


All the valleys of this county are very productive when properly cultivated, and those of Paint, Martin’s and Doughty’s creeks are wide and beautiful.  The chief productions are wheat, corn, oats, hay, sheep, cattle and horses.  Taking into consideration its size, Holmes is hardly surpassed by any county in the State for its productions of wheat and fine horses.


The southwest part of the county is quite broken and hilly; yet its immense quarries of brown, white and blue limestone, coal and other minerals, make it


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equally valuable with other parts.  Coal has been successfully mined in every township of the county and in some of them extensively.




In July, 1809, Jonathan GRANT, of Beaver county, Pa., and his son, then a boy, built the first cabin in the county.  They came on foot through the woods, carrying a gun, ammunition and tools for doing their work.  Their cabin was on Salt creek, in Prairie township, about one mile east of the Killbuck. They made a clearing and sowed a large patch for turnips.  GRANT then fell sick, and for twenty-eight days lay on a bed of bark and leaves, and subsisted chiefly on roots, attended only by his son.  He became reduced to a skeleton, and the boy was but little better.


An Indian passing along the valley discovered the cabin and stopped.  He told GRANT that “Pale Face” and his family were encamped in the Killbuck valley, at a big spring, and pointed the direction.  The boy went and in a short time returned with Jonathan BUTLER, who had, with his father-in-law, James MORGAN, reached the valley the day previous.


Through the timely assistance of BUTLER, GRANT soon recovered and became of much service to his new acquaintances. GRANT could speak the Indian language, and was with the surveyors as their “lookout” while surveying the “new purchase,” and knew all about the country, as well as being a great hunter.  His patch of turnips turned out abundantly and of excellent quality, and proved of much service that fall and next spring.  GRANT did not return home to his family in Pennsylvania until cold weather.


In April, 1810, Edwin MARTIN, then John L. DAWSON, David and Robert KNOX, settled on Martin’s creek, about one mile south of Grant’s cabin.  A few days later a dozen or more families settled in that neighborhood, Grant’s among them.  Settlements were commenced on the east end of this county–then Tuscarawas–along the valleys of Walnut and Sugar creeks, in 1809-10, by the TROYERS, HOCHTELLERS, WEAVERS, MILLERS, DOMERS, BERGERS and others: also on Doughty, the CARPENTERS and MORRISONS.  In 1810-11 Peter CASEY and others settled on the Killbuck, near Millersburg; and Abraham SHRIMLIN farther south on Shrimlin creek. Peter SHIMER, Jacob KORN, Thomas EDGAR and others, near Berlin; and the FINNEYS, MACKEY, HEVELANDS and others, in what is now Monroe township, then in Coshocton county.  In 1810-11 the PRIESTS, BONNETS, NEWKIRKS, DRAKES and QUICKS settled in the valley of Mohican, then Wayne county.


In 1812 the settlers fearing the Indians built a block-house on the DAWSON land, half a mile east of Holmesville; but the Indians not becoming troublesome it was used but a short time.  Col. CRAWFORD on his unfortunate campaign crossed the Killbuck north of Holmes, and camped at night near the “big spring,” May 30, 1781; there one of his men died that night, and his burial-place was marked on a beech-tree near by.  At this spring Jonathan BUTLER settled, and February 4, 1810, his daughter Hannah was born. The spring is known as the first burial and first birth-place of white persons in the county.


On the organization of the county the associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas appointed were: Peter CASEY, William HUTCHINSON and George LUKE.  They met at Millersburg, February 18, 1825, and organized the court.  They appointed James S. IRVINE clerk of court and county recorder, and Samuel ROBINSON county surveyor.  They also issued a proclamation for an election to ensue April 4th, for the necessary township and county officers, whereby Daniel HUTCHINSON was elected sheriff; Anson WHEATON, coroner; Seth HUNT, auditor; for county commissioners, David I. FINNEY, Griffith JOHNSON and Frederick HALL.  The commissioners at their June term organized the county into townships, which remain unchanged.


Millersburg in 1846.–Millersburg, the county-seat, is situated on elevated


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ground, surrounded by lofty hills, on Killbuck creek, eighty-seven miles northeast of Columbus, and about seventy south of Cleveland.  It was laid out in 1824, by Charles MILLER and Adam JOHNSON, and public lots sold on the 4th of June of that year.  There had been previously, a quarter of a mile north, a town of the same name, laid out about the year 1816.  The names recollected of the first settlers in the village are Seth HUNT, Colonel William PAINTER, Samuel S. HENRY, George STOUT, Samuel C. M’DOWELL, R. K. ENOS, Jonathan KORN, John SMURR, John GLASGOW, Thomas HOSKINS, James WITHROW, James M’KENNAN–the first lawyer in Holmes, and James S. IRVINE, the first physician in the same.  A short time previous to the sale three houses were erected.  The first was a frame, on the northeast corner of Jackson and Washington streets; the second, a frame, on the northeast corner of Washington and Adams streets; and the last, a log, on the site of S. C. BEAVER’S residence.  The Seceder church, the first built, was erected in 1830, and the Methodist Episcopal in 1833.  The village was laid out in the forest, and in 1830 the population reached to 320.  About fourteen years since, on a Sunday afternoon, a fire broke out in the frame house on the corner of Washington and Adams streets, and destroyed a large part of the village.  Among the buildings burned were the court-house and jail, which were of log, the first standing on the northeast corner of the public square, and the other a few rods south of it.  Millersburg contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal Methodist, 1 Lutheran and 1 Seceder church, 2 newspaper printing-offices, 10 dry-goods and 3 grocery stores, 1 foundry, 1 grist-mill, and had, in 1846, 673 inhabitants.–Old Edition.


MILLERSBURG is eighty-three miles northeast of Columbus and eighty-four miles south of Cleveland, on the C. A. & C. Railroad.  Newspapers: Holmes County Farmer, Democratic, NEWTON & BARTON, editors and proprietors; Holmes County Republican, Republican, WHITE & CUNNINGHAM, proprietors.  Churches: 1 Catholic, 1 Disciples, 1 United Presbyterian, 1 Lutheran, 1 German Reformed, 1 Methodist Episcopal and 1 Presbyterian.  Banks: Commercial, Robert LONG, president, John E. KOCH, Jr., cashier; L. Mayer’s Exchange, C. R. MAYER, cashier; J. & G. Adams, A. C. ADAMS, cashier.  County Officers, 1888: Auditor, Edwin A. UHL; Clerk, Jacob J. STROME; Commissioners, Jacob SCHMIDT, Philip PETRY, Henry SHAFER; Coroner, John A. GONSER; Infirmary Directors, Edward E. OLMSTEAD, Joseph GEISINGER, John MCCLELLAND; Probate Judge, Richard W. TANEYHILL; Prosecuting Attorney, Samuel N. SCHWARTZ; Recorders, Theodore H. THOME, Jacob B. LEPLEY; Sheriff, William S. TROYER; Surveyor, William S. HANNA; Treasurers, A. B. RUDY, Samuel ANDERSON.  City Officers, 1888: Mayor, John P. LARIMER; Clerk, J. G. WALKUP; Treasurer, Allen G. SPRANKLE; Marshal, John E. ALBERTSON.


Manufacturers and Employees.–GRAY & ADAMS, planing mill, 4 hands; Henry SNYDER, tiles, etc., 12; MAXWELL, HECKER & POMERENE, flour, etc., 10.–State Report, 1888.  Population in 1880, 1,814.  School census, 1888, 590; John A. MCDOWELL, superintendent.  Census, 1890, 1,923.


The county has had three court-houses and three jails.  The first of these were constructed of wood and burned in 1834; these were replaced by brick structures, since taken down to give place to the present buildings.  The present court-house, completed in 1886, is all of stone, in three colors–white, blue and gray–taken from quarries within the county.  For beauty and durability they are unsurpassed by any in the State.  In the county are ten thriving villages, all having good schools, churches, stores and various mechanical shops.


The county has fifteen school districts, 106 well-built school-houses, many of them having large grounds with trees, vines and flowers; eleven of them with two or more departments, and sixty-one comfortable frame, brick or stone churches, and about as many more worshipping congregations meet in school-houses, which, if the entire population of the county were at once to assemble, would give an average of 120 attendants at each place.


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Top Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846



Bottom Picture

Ross Hall, Millersburg, Photo, 1886


Each of the views is take from the same point, forty years apart in time.


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The first newspaper published in the county, the Millersburg Gazette, was printed June 9, 1828.  It was Democratic in politics, and as such had a continuous publication as the official paper of the county.  In 1840 its name was changed to Holmes County Farmer, which name it still bears.  It is now published by D. G. NEWTON and L. G. BARTON; the former has been connected with its publication thirty-three years.  In 1835 an opposition paper, the Holmes County Whig, was started.  It had many suspensions, revivals and changes of name.  In 1870 Messrs. WHITE & CUNNINGHAM became proprietors of the Holmes County Republican.  Under their management it has been more prosperous, and has had a continuous publication.


The foregoing includes all of Mr. Newton’s article.  We here remark that the two views of Millersburg were taken from the same point.


The new court-houses, through Central Ohio more especially, are elegant structures, in which the people of their respective counties have a just affection and pride, for with them cluster the associations connected with the protection of society through the administration of law, the preservation of titles to the savings of honest industry in the form of real estate and its proper distribution to the widow and the fatherless.  The church, the court-house and the school-house are the three prime factors of our civilization.


For our original account of the historical facts connected with this place and its vicinity we were indebted to Dr. Robert K. ENOS, whose acquaintance we made on our first visit.  We substituted the article of Mr. NEWTON (excepting the old description of Millersburg), because it embodied the same facts with important additions.  Dr. ENOS died here September 13, 1884, after living a long and highly useful life. He was born in Hanover, Washington county, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1806, and came to this county April 24, 1824.  He was one of the leading men in the organization of the county and town; was the oldest inhabitant of Millersburg; cut down the first trees within its limits, preparatory to laying it out; planted the first ornamental shade-trees; practised medicine with the first physician of Millersburg, Dr. James S. IRVINE, until his death–thirty-one years; started with him the first bank, and was its cashier; was the first mayor of Millersburg; was twenty-one years clerk of court, and was the chief instrument in bringing the first railroad to the town.


In politics he was an ardent Republican, and, in what his friends took especial pride, as a delegate to the Chicago Convention of 1860, he was one of the memorable Ohio four who in that Convention brought about the nomination of Abraham LINCOLN.  The circumstances connected with the change of votes which gave this result were published the next morning in the Chicago Tribune, under the caption of


The Four Votes.–“During the progress of the third ballot for President, the steady increase of LINCOLN’s vote raised the expectations of his friends to fever-heat that he was about to receive the nomination.  When the roll-call was completed a hasty footing discovered that LINCOLN lacked but 2½ votes of election, the ballot standing, for LINCOLN, 331½; SEWARD, 180; scattering, 34½; necessary to a choice 334.


Before the vote was announced, Mr. R. M. CORWINE, of the Ohio delegation, who had voted for Governor CHASE up to that time, and three other delegates, viz., R. K. ENOS, John A. GURLEY and Isaac STEESE, changed their votes to LINCOLN, giving him a majority of the whole convention and nominating him. D. H. CARRTER, chairman of the Ohio delegation, announced the change of votes, and before the secretaries had time to foot up and announce the result, whereupon a deafening roar of applause arose from the immense multitude, such as had never been equalled on the American continent, nor since the day that the walls of Jericho were blown down.”


Mr. ENOS, being a quick accountant, had kept a tally of the vote, and discovered before any one else that Mr. LINCOLN lacked but 2½ votes; whereupon he disclosed his knowledge to the three others, and at his request they joined him in the vote for Mr. Lincoln.


Dr. ENOS left a wife, three sons and two daughters.  One son in California died in 1889; another, Henry, is of the prominent Wall street banking firm of H. K. Enos & Co.


The original settlers of this county were mainly from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia; also among them were some Swiss Germans.


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“In the eastern part is an extensive settlement of Dunkards, who originated from eastern Pennsylvania, and speak the German language. They are excellent farmers, and live in a good, substantial style.  The men wear long beards and shad-bellied coats, and use hooks and eyes instead of buttons. The females are attired in petticoats and short gowns, caps without frills, and when doing out-door labor, instead of bonnets, wear broad-brimmed hats.”–Old Edition.


The Pennsylvania emigration to Ohio was the greatest from any State; and this particularly applies to Holmes and all the central part, the great wheat belt, of the State.  And we think Washington county, Pa., more than from any other single county, anywhere, helped to populate Ohio.  As late as 1846–47 about one-quarter of the members of the Ohio Legislature were natives of Pennsylvania, exceeding the members born in any other State, or all the New England States combined, or were born in Ohio itself. Pennsylvania strongly gave its impress upon the judicial history of Ohio.


On Tuesday, August 31, 1880, was held at “Ingles Sugar Grove,” near Millersburg, what was termed the PENNSYLVANIA PICNIC.  It consisted of all persons born in Pennsylvania then residents of the town and vicinity; these, with their families, attended to the number of about 200.  The counties strongest represented were Washington, Cumberland, Allegheny and Somerset; then Beaver, Lancaster and Lebanon.  In all sixteen counties were represented. The day was given up to social pleasure and enjoyment.  The Normal School String Band supplied the music.  At noon all partook of a sumptuous basket-dinner in “regular old-fashioned Pennsylvania style.”  We annex a list of the Keystone State representatives, mostly heads of families:


Elias KLOPP and wife, Lucinda H. ROBINSON, Mary G. BARTON, Mrs. Frances LONG, Robert LONG, John BROWN, James HEBRON, Mrs. E. A. HEBRON, John PATTERSON, Robert JUSTICE, Catherine JUSTICE, R. K. ENOS, Mrs. T. B. CUNNINGHAM, Mrs. H. M. CUNNINGHAM, Miss Caddie SHATTUCK, Fred SHATTUCK, Mrs. W. K. DUER, Mrs. E. J. DUER, Aaron UHLER, Mrs. Mary BOWMAN, J. M. BOWMAN, Mrs. B. C. SHOUP, Wm. C. MCDOWELL, Hosack REED, Mrs. Susan B. INGLES, Mrs. Leah HITES, Andrew INGLES, Aaron DEVORE, E. H. HULL, Mrs. Elizabeth ACKAMIRE, A. B. RUDY, John COFFEE, James HAINES, Thomas J. ARNOLD, James HULL, Mrs. Thomas P. UHL, Robert PARKINSON, John I. SPENCER, Richard HULTZ, A. J. KERR, James TIDBALL, James T. FORGERY, Mrs. C. E. VOORHEES, John F. HUDSON, Mrs. Harvey TAYLOR, Mrs. Martha DOUGLAS, Mrs. David MCDONALD, Mrs. A. B. MCDONALD, Mrs. Ann Maria NEDROW, Harry DAVIS, Mrs. Eliza HANNA, Mrs. Jane MCMURRAY, Mrs. Margaret HULTZ, John HANNA, George HANNA, Mrs. Frank MARTIN, Mrs. Delila HAINES, Mrs. Elizabeth UHL, Mrs. Harriet PARKINSON, Mrs. Malvina WOLGAMOT, Mrs. E. LEMMON, Mrs. Jane KIRBY, Mrs. William WALKUP, Mrs. Mary DONALD, Mrs. Maria E. CRUMP, Mrs. Rachel SPENCER, Mrs. R. K. ENOS.


This county has a good military record, and in front of the court-house is a handsome soldiers’ monument, shown in our engraving.  Among her early settlers were soldiers of the Revolution and the war of 1812, and in the civil war she supplied her full quota.  The good name of the county has suffered by an occurrence called “The Holmes County Rebellion,” the theatre of which was in Richland, the southwest corner township, a region of hills. It arose in June, 1863, from difficulties met with by the enrolling officer preparatory to a draft for the army.  It was reported to Governor TOD that the malcontents were in large force, were in a regular fortified camp, with pickets, entrenchments and cannon.  He accordingly issued a proclamation for them to disperse, and sent 420 soldiers, mainly from Camp Chase, with a section of a battery, under Colonel WALLACE.  On June 17th they landed at Lake Station, in the western part of the county, remained a few days and then returned.  A few arrests were made and a few persons indicted for resisting the United States authorities; but with a single exception the indictments were all nolled.  It was a time of intense excitement, just at the opening of the Vallandigham campaign. The air was full of rumors and it was nearly impossible even at that time to obtain correct details; what we possess is so contradictory that we conclude that any further investigation would yield no satisfaction.


KILLBUCK is six miles southwest of Millersburg, on the C. A. & C. R. R.  It has 1 Methodist Episcopal and 1 Disciples’ church.  School census, 1888, 142.


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WINESBURGH is fourteen miles northeast of Millersburg.  It has 1 German Lutheran Reformed church.  School census, 1888, 163.


HOLMESVILLE, six miles north of Millersburg, on C. & A. R. R.


BERLIN, seven miles east of Millersburg, has 1 Methodist Episcopal and 1 Presbyterian church.  Population about 250.


BLACK CREEK, on C. A. & C. R. R., twelve miles west of Millersburg Population about 250.


NASHVILLE is eleven miles northwest of Millersburg.  Population about 300.


Lakeville Station, P. O. Plimpton, Farmerstown, New Carlisle P. O., Walnut Creek, are small villages


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