History of Hanover Township, OH
From: The History of Ashland County, Ohio
By A. J. Baughman
Published By The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1909


Hanover township has been called the goodly land, with a health giving climate and a wealth giving soil; a country of beautiful landscapes, a land of rugged hills and charming valleys; a land where the esthetic and ideal harmonize and blend with the practical and real, forming an earthly elysium.

Hanover is the most southern township in Ashland county; a part of its territory is quite hilly, in fact some of its hills have altitudes almost like mountains, but the greater part of the township is adapted to cultivation and is not excelled for fertility by any other township in the county.

The Clearfork of the Mohican enters Hanover from near the northwest corner of the township, and after flowing an average southeasterly course about five miles, unites with the Blackfork and forms the Mohican. There is not the distance of a mile along the Clearfork that does not afford sufficient fall and volume of water sufficient to turn a mill the year round. Its channel is narrow and rapid, and confined within high banks, and the scenery along the stream is magnificently grand.

The Blackfork enters Hanover township at Loudonville, and pursues a. southwesterly course about three miles, when it unites with the Clearfork. In the years agone a little town sprang up at the juncture of the forks, and a carding machine was built and operated there for a number of years, as also was a sawmill.

Hanover township was surveyed in the year 1807, by General James Hedges, deputy surveyor under General Jarad Mansfield, who was then the surveyorgeneral of the United States. The township was organized in November, 1818. The population two years later was one hundred and eighteen.

The first election was held on the 7th of November, 1818, fifteen votes being cast. The following are the names of the electors: Thomas Taylor, Robert Dawson, George Davidson, George Snider, Anthony Zeers, William Burwell, George Davidson, Jr., Amos Harbaugh, William Webb, Ransom Clark, Abner Winters, Stephen Butler, John Lisar, Abel Strong, and John Burwell. The following are part of the officers elected: Clerk, Abel Strong; trustees, John Hilderbrand, Abner Winters, and George Davidson; treasurer, Amos Harbaugh.

Loudonville, the only town in Hanover township, was laid out August 16, 1814. by Stephen Butler and James Loudon Priest. The following sketch of Loudonville was written by Miss Mary E. Stewart, in about 1863:

"The town of Loudonville was laid out in 1814, by James Loudon Priest and Stephen Butler. The beauty of the surrounding country, the mildness of the climate and the fertility of the soil, attracted the attention of the pioneer, and, in many cases, induced him to rear his humble dwelling upon some of our beautiful land and make it his future home.

When the town was laid out there was but a single dwelling in the place. It was a log cabin, owned by Stephen Butler, and although it had but one room, it was a hotel as well as the dwelling place of two families.

"Owing to the many hardships which emigrants to the far west (it was then called the far west) had to endure, and the difficulties they were obliged to encounter, the town improved but little during the first few years of its existence. In the year 1813, Mr. Caleb Chappel immigrated, with his family, to the then far west, and settled, for a short time, in Knox county, a few miles south of Loudonville. He assisted in surveying the grounds where the town now lies, and, in the spring of 1814, he entered land adjoining the town. The remainder of the year was spent in clearing the timber off the farm, erecting a log house, and preparing the grounds for use by the next spring. In the spring of 1815 he removed his family to his farm, which joins the northwestern corner of the town. Everything was new; and the many inconveniences with which they had to contend, and the dangers to which they were exposed, can only be known to those who have left comfortable homes, and taken up their abode in the wilds of a new country.

"Wild animals roamed at large through the surrounding forests, and the Indians built their fires and held their councils in the neighboring woods. Mr. Chappel's nearest neighbor was Mr. Butler; he was the squire, the tavern keeper, and, in fact, the only man in town. Mr. James London Priest lived some five miles east, and Mr. Oliver three miles to the west. The nearest places for trading were Wooster and Mansfield, then small towns, containing a limited number of buildings and inhabitants. The dress mostly worn by the male portion of the community consisted of a loose hunting shirt, made of homemade linsey, being sometimes red, and sometimes blue. Those made of blue linsey were trinimed with a red fringe, and those made of red were trimmed with blue fringe. A pair of pantaloons made of the same material; a pair of stout moccasins; a cap made frequently of rabbit skin; a broad, black belt, worn around the waist, to which was attached a large knife, and frequently a tomahawk and gun, completed the dress of the early settler..

pantaloons made of deerskin were generally worn by hunters. The female dress was made of either flannel, linen, linsey, or calico - the calico being the most expensive, as the others were manufactured at home. Such was the dress worn by the early settlers of our country, contrasting greatly with the dashing style of the fast young man and modern belle of the present age; and no doubt many a young American would consider it far beneath his dignity to acknowledge such was the simple dress worn by his forefathers.

"One of the greatest disadvantages with which the early settlers had to contend was, that of educating their children. There was no school for some time after the town was incorporated; and the great cause of education was greatly neglected. At length, the people of the village and the neighboring country, seeing the necessity of establishing a school in their midst, convened together for the purpose of taking the matter into consideration. They soon came to the conclusion to build a schoolhouse and to procure a teacher who was worthy and capable of imparting instruction to the rising generation. A subscription was raised for the purpose of building it, and it was not long before it was entirely completed. It was made of planks, stood upright, and weatherboarded on the outside; it had a shingle roof, then a great rarity. It occupied a very conspicuous place on the public square and was about eighteen feet long and fourteen feet wide, with a door in front, and three windows on each side of the room. A large fireplace occupied one end of the room and benches were placed along the sides. Taking all things into consideration, it was quite a respectable looking building, and served for many years as a public building for almost every purpose - for holding meetings, both religious and political. The system of public schools not being then established, the schools were all raised by subscription, and was seldom in session more than three months in a year.

In October, 1834, a printing office was established in Loudonville. The paper was called 'Mohican Advocate and Hanover Journal' The proprietor was a Mr. Rogers. Fdr want of patronage, the publication was suspended after having reached six numbers.

"The mail in those days was carried on horseback, and when the first stage coach made its appearance, it was an object of wonder to the people in general. The day of the arrival of the stage was always looked forward to with much expectation, and people would gather around the Country Inn to await its arrival and to scrutinize the passengers.

The first sale of lots was made on the 14th day of September, 1814. The proceeds of the sale were small. The first justice of the peace who was elected, living within the town of Loudonville, was Stephen Butler.

"From 1817 unti about 1830, a direct trade, by means of flatboats, was conducted with Louisville and New Orleans - the boats passing down the Black Fork into the Mohican, then into the White Woman, (or Waihonding, as it is now named) thence into the Muskingum, and thence into the Ohio. These boats were generally freighted with flour and whisky, and would carry about fortyfive tons. The completion of the Muskingum improvement and Waihonding canal cut off this trade. During the period of this commercial intercourse with New Orleans, flour at Loudonville would command from two dollars and a half to three dollars per barrel, and would sell at the former place for five and six dollars.

"In the legislation connected with the internal improvement system undertaken by the state of Ohio, the town of Loudonville and the Black Fork of the Mohican occupied no inferior space. At a very early day the Black Fork was declared by legislative enactment to be within the purview of the fourth Article of the Ordinance of 1787, which proclaimea the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, as 'common highways, and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said territory, as to the citizens of the United States, and those of any other states that may be admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty theref or.

"The Walhonding canal was commenced with the intention and expectation of extending it up the branches of the river of that name, to Loudonville, on the Black Fork, and to Mt. Vernon, on the Vernon river,' or, as it was and is more generally known, the 'Owl creek,' also called the 'Kokosing.'

"On the 10th of March, 1838, a law was passed to provide for the extension of the Walhonding canal to the points named.

"A few days previous to the time designated for advertising the letting of the work, a communication was made to the board of public works by the commissioners of the canal fund, then in New York, notifying the board that money could not then be borrowed at the rate authorized by law, and urging that the work for a time be suspended.

"The suspension proved to be indefinite; and thus, after a few spasmodic but ineffectual revivals, ended a project which, had it been successful, would, in all probability, have made Loudonville at this day the seat of justice of one of the most flourishing counties in northern Ohio. It was only the protracted period of financial embarrassment that immediately succeeded the year above mentioned, an embarrassment involving all the productive interests of the country as well as corporations and states, that defeated the construction of the improvement of the Black Fork."

One of the most prominent men in Hanover township was Judge George H. Stewart, who was born in Alexandria, Huntington county, Pennsylvania, October 9, 1809. When a boy in his teens he went to Amagh, Pennsylvania, and clerked in a store for two years. It was at the time of the making of the Pennsylvania railroad and the Portage canal over the Allegheny mountains. Judge Stewart came to Loudonville in the summer of 1833, and was one of the early merchants of the town.

He commenced the mercantile business at a time when the. people were talking about building a canal up the White Woman and Mohican. Stewart, having had experience in canaling, took an active part in procuring a law for a state canal to Loudonville, and the law was passed while General William McLaughlin, of Mansfield, was our state senator, and it was through his untiring labor in the legislature that the bill was passed and the canal was located to Loudonville, and advertised for letting, but before it was commenced the legislature abolished all state works not commenced, and they failed to get a canal. In 1835-36, when the question of. organizing Ashland county was agitated, he took an active part in bringing it about, and was sent to Columbus several times to lobby for the undertaking, spending his time and paying his own expenses.

In 1845-6 his efforts were rewarded, and in 1845 he was appointed associate judge for Ashland county, which office he held seven years. From 1846 to 1850 he took an active part in the construction of the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago railroad, for which he secured jhe right of way through Holmes, Ashland and a part of Wayne and Richland counties, and in 1851 purchased a tract of land of David Foltz in Wayne county, and laid out what is now called Shreve, a station on the. railroad above mentioned. He was employed by the railroad company as station agent for ten years.

E. B. Fuller, father of the late Dr. Amos B. Fuller and grandfather of the present Dr. Fuller, was born in New York in 1799, and married Sarah Culver, in Tioga county, Pennsylvania. In 1831 he first settled in Loudonville, and began the practice of medicine; was a doctor of the old school; was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In politics he was a democrat, one of the liberal kind, bitterly opposed to the fugitive slave law. In 1856 two fugitives came to his house early in the morning. He fed them and sent them to Robert Wilson, where they were cared for and taken beyond the reach of United States marshals, bloodhounds, etc.

Andrew J. Scott was born in Ashland county in 1827; attended school at the Ashland academy while Loren Andrews was proprietor, and also at Vermillion institute at Hayesville. For two years he taught in the Loudonville academy, and studied medicine with E. B. Fuller and was also a graduate of Buffalo university. He was a doctor of the old school. He was the father of the present Dr. C. B. Scott.

On June 19, 1899, there was a severe storm and rainfall in the Cleârfork valley near Loudonville. The river rose so suddenly that a Mr. Hunter who lived not far from the stream, had no time to escape and nine days after his partly decomposed body was found at a point six miles below where he had lived. The illustrations show some of the work of the flood.

E. F. Shelley, although born in Wayne county, is now one of Loudonville's most prominent citizens, and is president of the Loudonville Savings Bank. Mr. Shelley is also a member of the advisory board of this work.

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