History of Christiansburg (Village),
Champaign County, OH
From: History of Champaign County, Ohio
Judge Evan P. Middleton, Supervising Editor
B. F. Bowen & Company Inc. (Publisher)
Indianapolis, Indiana 1917
Among the early settlers in Jackson township was Joshua Howell, who emigrated from near Christiansburg, Virginia.
He entered quite a large tract of land in the southwestern part of the county and came to this new country with
the idea of making it his permanent home. Without any selfish motive in mind, and for the general welfare of the
pioneers, he thought that the settlers in this part of the county should have a trading point.
VILLAGE TAKES ON NEW LIFE.
When the future prospects of the village began to grow brighter, people were naturally attracted to it and in
two or three years from the time McCrea had opened his store the population of the little hamlet had almost doubled.
These circumstances made way for more business enterprises. Among the first was a tavern which was built just across
the street south of McCrea's store and operated by Abiel Smith, who was a native of Main. Other industries that
were started during the early thirties were a tannery which was run by a man named William Kelley, and a wagon
shop that stood on the southwest corner of Main and Pike street and operated by John Rogers. Charles Rogers also
had a wagon shop. From about 1835 to 1840 a tavern was owned by David Kyle who made his place of business one of
the most attractive spots in this section of the country. The village was supplied with a blacksmith shop as early
as 1818 when Jesse Julian opened a small. one. The next smith was a man named Gridley who came in in 1820, but
whose prices were usually as much as the article repaired was worth.
INCORPORATION OF THE VILLAGE.
As the village grew in population and commercial importance the inhabitants were desirous of becoming independent of the township. This led to the final incorporation of the village in 1835, and with the election of the following officers: ____ Bouinger, mayor; Silas Overton, John Corbley, Henry Crist, Noah Howell and Silas Kelley, councilmen. But the support of a municipality proved too strenuous and within less than a year's time the charter was relinquished. No further attempts were made toward incorporation until March 2, 1914. At that time a petition, signed by ninety citizens living within the limits of the village, was filed with the county commissioners asking incorporation. Remonstrances with the usual complaint were filed soon afterward. The county commissioners, however, refused to recognize the incorporation and the local authorities were forced to mandamus the county to legalize their acts. The case was in the court of common pleas from June until December, 1915, when the court recognized the legality of the acts of the local authorities and recognized the incorporation. Grant Strouse was the first mayor and served until the first Monday in January of 1916. He was succeeded by A. J. Bright, the present incumbent. The other town officials include the following: E. E. Furrow, marshal; C. O. Hill, clerk; Bert Richeson, treasurer; Ralph Foster, J. S. Black, Ezra Jenkins, M. Shell, B. W. Hyde and L. W. Williams, councilmen.
Almost from the beginning the little village was amply supplied with school facilities. The first school house within the limits of the hamlet was known as the White school, so named because the building was painted white. This structure was of the usual pioneer type and stood on Monroe street. As the number of pupils increased the little structure became inadequate and in time was replaced by what is known as the Red school house, which stood at the east edge of town. Carrie Lind is remembered as one of the teachers in the school. The next building was a three room structure which stood on the site of the present school building. Among the first teachers employed in this school were M. T. Deaton (principal), Estella Thomas and Ida Carpenter. The building is now owned by Job Gray and is used as a residence. The present school building was erected in 1886. T. W. Draper is the present superintendent of schools and under his supervision the school system has risen to a high standard of efficiency. Under the present school system it is customary for teachers to teach in the school as long as their work is satisfactory, but not so during the pioneer days. In no instance did a teacher remain more than one year, and often several teachers were required to complete the school term. Some of the earliest teachers were Alexander Jordan, Maggie Wilson, a man named McCalaster, who was quite a hard drinker; Billie Stapleton, a lame man; Milton Stratton, a man of the name of Kelley and Sherman Smith.
Of the old pioneer buildings only four remain standing. Three of these are log houses used as residences and the other, built in 1839, is the store building occupied by C. S. Leffell. The building has undergone several changes since its erection, but still bears the earmarks of pioneer architecture. Both the Masonic and Odd Fellows secret societies were organized in this building.
SOME OTHER "FIRSTS".
What is generally conceded to be the first orchard in Champaign county was planted by Joshua Howell on what
is now the McCrea homestead. This orchard which was set out in 1809, just back of the barn that is now standing
on the land owned by Mrs. Belle McCrea Shofstall, was not started from young trees but from seeds. When it was
in its prime, it attracted attention far and wide, since it was one of the very few ochards of the state of Ohio.
The orchard finally disappeared in 1871.
LOCAL BUSINESS INTERESTS.
That the village grew very slowly is evidenced by the business interests that were there in 1858, given as follows: E. J. Heffner, inn; Manoah Howell, store; L. A. Marshall, merchant tailor; W. Kelley, harness shop. Fourteen years later, or in 1872, the business interests had become more extensive and included the following: L. A. Marshall, dry goods; Isaac P. Pond, merchant tailor; Manoah Howell, merchant; E. F. Warner, harness maker; A. E. Pond, carriage manufacturer; John Rogers, wagon maker; D. C. Howell, carpenter; O. W. Hoard, attorney; George Simmons, cattle and stock dealer; Thomas and. Ross, tiling. The business and professional interests at the present time include the following: I. Baker, city garage; J. B. Black, concrete tile and supply company; J. W. Dobbins, lumber; Elmer Downing, barber; M. R. Drake, insurance and automobiles; Farmers and Merchants Bank; J. W. Harmon, meat market; C. A. Hill & Son, shoe store; Dr. W. H. Hill, veterinary; Hollis & Gabriel, pumps and well drilling; John Huddleson, restaurant; Dr. W. F. Hyde, physician; Dr. W. B. Hyde, physician; J. W. Julian, barber; Tiffin Julian, repair shop; Thomas Knull, pool room; A. C. Leffel, general store; C. S. Leffel, general store; M. E. Maxon, grocery; James H. Miller, drugs; J. C. Richeson & Son, furniture; Rust & McDonald, blacksmiths; J. M. Saylor, garage; Dr. J. M. Saylor, veterinary; M. Shell, grocery; G. W. Shepard & Son, elevator; E. Smith, music store; R. O. Whitaker, Christiansburg Herald; Howard Wilgus, hardware; L. W. Williams, grocery.
PROGRESS SINCE 1903.
Numerous townsite additions have been made since the original plat of Christiansburg was filed. The proprietors
and dates of each addition include the following: Ross & McCrea, November 25, 1831; J. Howell, December 22,
1831; J. Merrill, June 22, 1839; William B. McCrea, March 26, 1840; James Smith, May 1, 1846; Onick & McCullough,
November 16, 1852; Daniel Howell, March 31, 1853; Stephens & Shepard, July 22, 1899; Hollis, Howard & Schell,
December 1, 1908.
When the postoffice was established at Christiansburg about 1830, James Smith was appointed postmaster. Among
his successors are the following: William McCrea, D. N. Jones, William Kelley, Noah French, James Smith, I. P.
Pond, L. D. Marshall, John F. Overton, William Marshall, William Hill, A. C. Leffell (who sered twenty three years)
and M. T. Deaton, the present incumbent, who assumed the duties of the office on July 7, 1914. This postoffice
is of the fourth class and the receipts for the last report, exclusive of money orders, amounted to one hundred
and fifty five dollars and forty eight cents. The office has three incoming and three out going mails, daily, whereas
eighty years ago the village was fortunate to receive one mail a week. At this early date postage on a letter cost
from twelve and one half cents to fifty cents, according to the distance it was sent.
THE VILLAGE OF DARNELL.
The village of Darnell, if it may be called such, is located one and one half miles northwest of Thackeray on
the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railroad. It was laid out in 1893 by a man named Darnell, who thought that this
vicinity could easily support a village, as there was no commercial center in close proximity. However, there was
another man not far distant who had a similar idea and this was no other than Mr. Thackery, who was a very prominent
man in this locality. He decided that he would like to be the founder and proprietor of a village and lost no time
in laying out the site of what is now the village of Thackery.