History of Salem, Columbiana County, OH Part 1

From: History of Columbiana County, Ohio
By: Harold B. Barth
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1926

(By Ralph W. Hawley.)

Founded 125 years ago, and laid out as a village 120 years ago, Salem has builded well, and through her conservative career has kept pace with the progress of time until in 1926 she can look back over a long line of achievements without apology. Second only to East Liverpool as Columbiana County's largest city, Salem with its 12,000 population has grown steadily as a city of diversified industries, knowing no boom times and no periods of serious deflation.

A city of home owners, its beautifully shaded streets and well kept lawns bespeaking its civic pride stand as an enduring monument to the peace loving Quakers or Friends who were its early settlers and whose influence predominated for so many years and even today is still a potent factor in this thriving little city.

Situated in Perry Township, the northern most township in the county and bordering on Mahoning County, Salem is an industrial center and likewise a market for the rich agricultural lands which surround it, mid way between Cleveland and Pittsburg. It is on the east and west and north and south state market routes and likewise the national highway extending from east to west. Having in the early days been an important stage coach station, it finds itself today not only the terminus of two interurban electric lines, the Youngstown & Ohio River Railway Co. and the Stark Electric Railway Co., as well as an important station on the Ft. Wayne division of the Pennsylvania railroad, with connections to the Erie railroad, but also a busy center of motor bus traffic on several interurban lines, extending east and west and north and south.

The first settler of whom there is any record was Elisha Schooley, who came from Virginia in 1801 and settled on section 32, which later became the southwest corner of the village of Salem, Jacob Painter, also of Virginia, came in 1802 and in 1803 Samuel Smith, Samuel Davis, Jonas Cadet Elisha Hunt and John Webb located here. Levi Jennings, Abram Warrington, Job Cook, John Strawn, Zadok Street, Joel Sharp, Michael Stratton, Jonathan Stanley, Jonathan Evans, Isreal Gaskill, Thomas Stanley and James Tolerton, some of these men accompanied by their families, arrived within the next four or five years. In about 1806 Zadok Street's son, John, bought an acre of land from John Strawn, at what is now the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Depot Street, and upon this plot he built a log dwelling and storeroom and opened, according to George D. Hunt, historian of earlier years, the first store in the village.

The first settlers brought with them the social and domestic customs of their native places. From Pennsylvania came the Barbers, Blackburn, Boones, Burns, Cattells, Cooks, Davises, Englands, Evans, Heacocks, Hunts, Jennings, Straughans (Strawns) Thomases and many others, more than from any other state. From New Jersey came the Balls, Frenches, Streets, Gaskills, Billiards, Tests and Warringtons. From Virginia came the Fawcetts, Holloways, Painters, Stranleys, Schooleys and the Wrights. From Maryland came the Bentleys, Silvers, Webbs and Zimrnermans. After the settlement was started others came from other states and some from foreign lands, England, Scotland and Ireland.

These hardy pioneers found a vast wilderness, inhabited by Indians and plenty of wild animals. There were lots of deer, wild turkeys, bears, wolves, etc. The Indians were good to them, and there ever were peaceful relations between the settlers and the Red Men.

The village of Salem was laid out in 1806, the original plat being recorded on May 6 of that year. The plat was made and the first town lots sold by John Straughan and Zadok Street. The village was named after Salem, New Jersey, from which place the Street family had migrated. Other plats were made soon after, lots sold readily and houses were built in, for those early days, quick succession.

In 1807 the first Friends meeting house was built. It was a log structure. But in 1808 Samuel Davis donated two acres on the north side of Main Street and Israel Gaskill the same amount on the south side, for sites for a meeting house and a graveyard. In 1808 and '09 a new Friends meeting house was built on the allotment on the south side of Main Street.

Mack's History says of Salem in 1809: "Coming from the south the first house was Israel Gaskill's, situated where Zadok Street's now stands on Lisbon Street (now Lincoln Avenue). The log cabin of Samuel Davis could be seen to the northwest. Turning into Main Street the first building was Price Blake's log cabin, used as an inn. Adjoining it was the Friends meeting house of brick; further west lived Zadok Street in a log cabin in which he kept a store. Robert French lived on the north side of Main Street and James and Barzilli French lived northward about a mile. John Straughan's home was on the south side of Main Street. Johnathan Evans lived just east of Gaskiil's."

The town of Salem was incorporated by act of assembly, passed January 8, 1830. In 1842 it contained a population of 1,000. The town government then consisted of a president, a recorder and five trustees. John Campbell was the first president.

Back in the 30's, 40's and 50's Salem was known as headquarters of the Western Anti Slavery Society, and, what was not a matter of general publicity then, but sub rosa, a station on the "underground railroad." The Anti Slavery Bugle, published here for many years, was, during its existence, known as the organ of the society. The walls of the old Town Hall - which is still standing on Main Street and serving its purpose as it has done for more than 75 years as the municipal building - have many times resounded to the voices of such advocates of universal freedom as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Fred Douglass, Cassius M. Clay, Abby Kelly, Parker Pillsbury, John Pierpont, and many lesser lights which shone during the troublous times prior to the Civil War of 1861-65.

The old Hicksite Friends Church, which still stands at the corner of Ellsworth Avenue and Green Street, and "Liberty Hall," also on Ellsworth Avenue, near the old church, which was years ago remodeled and partially rebuilt for a residence, also were rendered historic by their having furnished meeting places for the anti slavery agitators of those days, or "Abolitionists" as they were more commonly called. The remodeled "Liberty Hall" was for many years the residence of the late Dr. J. M. Hole, in his day a prominent anti slavery worker.

The dust of Edwin Coppock, one of the famous John Brown raiders, who had been a resident of the vicinity of Salem, and who came of Quaker stock, rests in Hope Cemetery, and helps to render that old, but now improved and handsome burying ground, historic.

The rescue from a life of bondage, and escape usually across the border to Canada, of many a fugitive slave, was aided and abetted by the townspeople of Salem during the days when the town was known as a station on the "underground railroad." Such incidents are remembered by some of Salem's older residents even yet. On one occasion, some time before the war, when the anti slavery feeling was running high here and in other parts of the north, information came from a member of the anti slavery society or a sympathizer in its work, then in a northern city, that a young slave girl was being taken through by her master and mistress on their way south, and that the train which bore the party would be due in Salem at a certain hour on that day. There was an Ohio law at that time prohibiting the carrying of slaves into bondage over Ohio railroads, but no such prohibition existed in Pennsylvania and some other states. Forthwith a force of about 30 men was raised in Salem and marched to the Ft. Wayne station to rescue the young slave. A detail was made from the company to board the train on its arrival, and another to uncouple the car containing the party and to stand guard outside. The train arriving on time, the squad of men designated for the duty, sprang aboard, and obtained possession of the girl without any resistance on the part of her reputed owners. The latter simply offered a formal protest. It was said, however, that a secret agent afterwards visited Salem and endeavored to obtain a clue to the "fugitive" but failed. She was kept in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Joel MacMillan, and in other Salem homes for a number of years. The girl, who was about 14 years old when rescued, was given the name of Abby Kelly Salem, and lived for many years in the city to which she owed her freedom, and whose name she bore.

A carpenter shop, about 18 by 48 feet in size, was built by Samuel Reynolds, about the year 1840, the upper room of which was used as a general meeting place of the people of the town for the discussion of all manner of subjects. When the anti slavery question came to be so warmly discussed in the churches that difficulties arose, and the churches and schoolhouses were closed to the defenders of "universal brotherhood," they went to the room over the carpenter shop. This building was christened "Liberty Hall" and was the cradle of the society which was evolved from that whirlpool of opinion caused by the counter currents of thought respecting the slavery question. For many years it was kept as a place for discussions and caucus meetings and within it a course of lectures was planned in which some of the best talent of the country was engaged. In June, 1845, the largest church in Salem was closed against Abby Kelly, the abolitionist lecturer. The trustees of the church gave as the reason for their refusal: "We think the principles of the lecturer are dangerous to our common country."

A number of fugitives from the south, after obtaining their freedom through the interposition of Salem people, became lifelong residents of this place.

The home of Joel S. Ibonsall was one of many which were made a place for refuge and safety for slaves fleeing from bondage to the liberty which they deemed was their God given right. They would be sheltered and hidden during the day, and then during the following night helped on to another place of refuge, or sub station on the "underground." Joel MacMillan, James Bonaty, Charles Grisell, James Barnaby, Dr. Stanton, Dr. Carey, Dr. John Whinnery, Allen Boyle, William Silver, Benjamin Hawley and many others, most of them members of the Society of Friends, participated in this humane movement.

One of the leading spirits in the anti slavery movement in Salem, and he won a national reputation for his work in the cause, was Marius R. Robinson. Having been a student at Oberlin College, and imbibed the spirit of abolitionism, he became a resident of Salem and was for a number of years editor of the Anti Slavery Bugle. M. R. Robinson Council No. 350, Royal Arcanum, of Salem was organized in 1879. It was named for him. Oliver Johnson, also a well known worker in the anti slavery cause, who edited the Bugle, for several years while a resident of Salem, was also author of the book, "Garrison and His Times."

Salem and its immediate vicinity furnished more than one person who proved himself willing to suffer martyrdom, if need be, to the cause of human freedom. Edwin and Bareley Coppock were born near Salem, of Quaker parentage, and early imbibed the doctrine of universal liberty. Edwin, the elder of the brothers, suffered the death penalty with John Brown, with whom he was taken as the arsenal in Harper's Ferry, on the charge of insurrection against the state of Virginia. Barclay, too, was one of the band of "Osawatomie," as he was called when they made their famous raid into the Old Dominion for the express purpose of freeing the slaves of the state. But he with some others escaped capture.

Sometime after the execution of Edwin Coppock his body was brought to Salem and buried in Hope Cemetery. Joshua Coppock, uncle of the young man, brought the body home. The clay after its arrival at Mr. Coppock's house, in Butler Township, there were over 2,000 visitors to the little farm house; and such a funeral had never been seen in Columbiana County as was given to this young man who had fallen a victim in the defense of what he deemed a sacred principle. At the edge of one of the main drives in Hope Cemetery stands a plain sandstone shaft, about eight feet in height, bearing the simple inscription: "EDWIN COPPOCK."

As the organ of the "Ohio American Anti Slavery Society," afterwards the "Western Anti Slavery Society," the Anti Slavery Bugle was started in June, 1845, in New Lisbon, where the first half dozen numbers were printed, after which it was removed to Salem, and this was thenceforth its permanent home. It continued to be issued regularly until 1863, when, according to its announcement, the purpose for which it had been established, the emancipation of the slaves, having been accomplished, it suspended. The first regularly employed editor was Benjamin S. Jones, with J. Elizabeth Hitchcock, who later became Mrs. Benjamin S. Jones, as associate editor. Marius R. Robinson, as stated elsewhere, was also for many years its editor, and its publisher, or "publisher's agent" during almost the entire 18 years of its existence, was James Barnaby, the father of Mrs. Ida M. Cooper.

The agents of the Anti Slavery Bugle in Columbiana County and vicinity in 1850 were given as follows: David L. Galbreath and L. Johnson, Newgarden; Lott Holmes, Columbiana; David L. Barnes, Berlin; Ruth Cope, Georgetown; Simon Sheets, East Palestine; A. G. Richardson, Achor; Joseph Barnaby, Mont Union.

For a number of years during the anti slavery excitement in Salem, the women interested in the furtherance of the work and the women were as actively interested in the work as the men held at intervals fairs, usually in Town Hall, at which fancy and general household articles were displayed and offered for sale in booths, the proceeds being applied to helping fugitives along over the underground railroad, and for other expenses incident to the work of the Anti Slavery Society. The efficient work of the women along these lines in those days was a very potent factor towards the success of the humane work in which so many of Salem's good people were employed.

For 15 years or more after the first settlement of what was to be Salem and Perry Townships, the early settlers being chiefly members of the Society of Friends, there was no other form of public worship than theirs. The first Friends meeting house, a log building, was erected in 1807. A Quarterly Meeting then was formed and made a branch of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting. In 1808 the first brick meeting house was built. In 1828 the Society of Friends became divided into two factions. The "orthodox" party held the meeting house and property on Main Street. The "Hicksites," the other faction, held the less valuable property, with a small house on Green Street. In 1845 the large frame house on Ellsworth Avenue, which the Hicksites Friends used until about 1915, was built and in that year the yearly meeting was first held here. "In 1845," says Hunt's history of Salem, "another division occurred in the Society of Friends. Some years before, Joseph John Gurney, an English Friend, came over and went through most of the American meetings and preached in a manner that set the people thinking. Many believed that he preached the truth, and there were many who regarded him as getting away from the Friends standard. One John Wilbur, an American Friend, opposed him. This led to a division; and for a distinction the parties got the names of "Gurneyites" and "Wilburites." But they both ignore the names as applied to their respective party. By a compromise, during about 18 years, both parties held their meetings at different hours on Sabbath days, and mid week meetings on different days, in the Dry St. house. Then the Wilbur Friends built a commodious meeting house on East Sixth Street in 1872. During many years the Friends had more influence in Salem than all the other denominations combined. During late years other denominations have increased in numbers and gained influence. The Friends diminished, and much of their former influence is gone from them. Lately the Gurney party have taken to them the name of the First Friends "Church." This body here has done much to sustain service and gain converts.

"In this capacity Willis Hotchkiss, Joseph Peele, Edgar Ellyson and Fred J. Cope have labored with manifest results."

In 1905 Mrs. Elizabeth Ward was pastor of the Dry Street Church, or as they are sometimes yet styled, the Gurney branch. Neither the Ellsworth Avenue (The Hicksite) nor the East Sixth St. (Wilbur) meetings ever had local pastors. The Wilburites still use their meeting house for quarterly meetings and occasionally other gatherings. Rev. C. E. Haworth is pastor of the First Friends Church.

In 1821 a class of nine persons formed the Methodist Episcopal Church of Salem. They consisted of Thomas Kelly and wife, John Flitcraft, Edward Rynear and wife, Thomas Webb and wife, David Hum and James W. Leach. The services were held mostly at the house of Thomas Kelly, who was leader. In 1821 Samuel Brockonier of the Beaver circuit preached at Salem. The circuit afterward was changed to New Lisbon, then to Hanover, Lima and Salem respectively. In 1852 petition was made to the conference, Salem was made a separate station, with Rev. J W. Nessley as first pastor. In 1823 they built their first log house of worship, which was succeeded by a larger one in 1837, which they used until 1859, when they disposed of this to the Disciples, and built a brick edifice on Broadway. About 18 years ago a new brick edifice was erected on the same site.

Some of the early pastors were: Revs. Samuel Crouse, Aaron Thomas, J. A. Swaney, William Cox, Hiram Miller, and J. M. Bray. Since 1870 the pastors of the church have been: Revs. William Lynch, Thomas N. Boyle, John Grant, W. A. Davidson, J. C. Sullivan, J. M. Carr, J. Brown, Ezra Hingeley, G. A. Simon, W. H. Haskell, J. B. Youmans, C. B. Henthorn, H. W. Dewey, Morris Floyd, C. L. Smith, I. E. Miller, R. F. Mayer, C. H. Hauger and E. S. Collier.

The Presbyterian Church of Salem was organized in 1832. Rev. Clement Valandingham and other members of the Presbytery of New Lisbon had preached in Salem at long intervals for a number of years previous. On November 3, 1832, Rev. Mr. Valandingham, by appointment of the Presbytery, presided at a meeting designated for organization. Twenty persons then were received on certificate as follows: Hugh Stewart, Ruel Wright, George Ehrich, N. McCracken, John Martin, James Wilson, Terah Jones, John Wilson, William Martin, Hugh Martin, Agnes Stewart, Agnes Wilson, Mary Ehrich, Elizabeth McCracken, Martha Martin, Rebecca P. Campbell, Martha Wilson, Jane Martin, Elizabeth Wright. James Wilson, Nathaniel McCracken and Hugh Stewart were chosen elders.

The society first worshipped in a wagon shop on Main Street. The first house of worship was built in 1842, which 18 years later, was sold, and removed to Race Street, where it was used for many years as a dwelling house. The first year after this house was built it was unplastered and plank and slab seats were used. In 1860-61 the house on East Green Street, still used by the congregation, was built at a cost of about $10,000. Rev. Clement Vallandingham was pastor until the year of his death, 1839. He was succeeded by Rev. William McCombs, who remained until 1852. Other pastors of the church in their order have been: Revs. J. S. Grimes, A. B. Maxwell, H. B. Fry, W. D. Sexton, DeCosta Pomerene, B. F. Boyle, W. F. McCauley, W. L. Swan, G. W. Whitenack and Percy H. Gordon, the latter being pastor in 1926.

The beginning from which ensued the organization of a Baptist Church in Salem was the recording of a deed from John Straughan and his wife, Mary, dated Nov. 10, 1809, conveying lots 55 and 56 on the corner of what were afterwards Depot and Race streets, in Salem, for the sum of $14, to David Gaskill, Sr., John Willets, and Joseph White as trustees of the regular Baptist Church. As nearly as can be ascertained the early members were: David Gaskill, Sr. and wife, Jacob Gaskill, Mr. Ogle, Joseph Wright and wife, John Spencer and wife, Clarissa McConner and Mary Straughan. A small log church was built on the property. In 1820 a small brick house was built on the same lot. On Nov. 23, 1820, an organization was affected with 40 members, and Nov. 6th, 1824, a church constitution was adopted. Thomas Miller was the first regular pastor, and was succeeded by Revs. Jehu Brown, David Rigdon, Rogers, Freeman, Williams, Blake, Mathias, Suman, Phillips, Stone, Morris, Green, Justus, Ask, Thomas P. Childs, B. F. Bowen, T. J. Lamb, John Hawker, P. J. Ward, A. S. Moore, C. H. Pendleton, G. W. Bigler, R. C. Eccles, C. W. Fletcher, A. B. Whitney, Ross Matthews, Herman Lang, Leon Latimer, L. R. Williamson, Lee W. Ames, Charles L. Seasholes, H. L. Kempton and G. A. Beers.

The Second Baptist Church of Salem was constituted Nov. 8, 1840, as a result of dissensions in First Church over the questions of slavery and temperance. The church disbanded in 1867, in order to unite with the members of the First Church in forming the "Baptist Church of Salem." Forty two members from the First and 17 from the second joined in this reunion movement. In 1869 the large and well appointed edifice at the corner of Main Street and Lincoln Avenue was built at a cost of about $10,000. In 1900 the Bethany Baptist Church of Salem was organized by a faction of the membership, which had withdrawn from the regular Baptist Church. Services were held in the Gurney block for almost three years, when a frame building on Ohio Avenue was bought and transformed into a house of worship. Rev. James Lister was pastor. Later this branch was disbanded.

The first Episcopal Church service held in Salem was on April 19, 1817, in a log school house, which stood on Main Street near the site of the City Hall. It was conducted by Rev. Philander Chase. Transient services were held at long intervals until 1859, when on March 14 of that year, the Church of Our Saviour was organized. A vestry was elected, consisting of Thomas Read, S. W. Whitney, S. D. Hawley, Allen Boyle, E. Smith, and Robert and E. Turner. Rev. Mr. Hollis was the first rector; his successors have been: Revs. H. H. Morrell, A. T. McMurphy, Ephraim Watt, C. L. Pinder, F. E. McManus, E. L. Wells, Guthrey Pitblado, O. A. Simpson, Frank Albus, L. C. Difford, F. S. Eastman and Christian A. Roth.

A school building and then rooms in a business block were occupied by the congregation until 1889, when the handsome stone edifice on McKinley Avenue was completed.

The Christian or Disciple Church of Salem was organized March 15, 1859. Prior to that time occasional services were held here. The building which occupied a site in the rear of a church edifice afterwards built on Ellsworth Avenue and owned by the Methodist Episcopal congregation, was purchased from the Methodists and occupied until the new church was built and dedicated in 1881. The pastors since 1859 have been: Revs. Theobald Miller, Sterling McBride, S. B. Teegarden, J. W. Lampher, E. B. Cake, J. H. Jones, W. H. Spindler, H. Cogswell, T. J. Lyle, J. L. Dazsie, J. A. Hopkins, T. E. Cramblett, M. J. Grable, R. C. Sargent, Walter B. Mansell, M. J. Grable, H. L. Miller.

About 1855 a Catholic mission was established in Salem, and occassional services held until 1868, when Rev. E. W. J. Lindesmith, who then had charge of the churches of that denomination at Alliance and Leetonia, took pastoral charge here also. He held services once a month in the houses of the parishioners and four times a year in the town hall. This arrangement continued until 1880. Rev. C. Trieber became resident pastor that year and Nov. 28, 1886, the church on McKinley Avenue was dedicated. Father Trieber was succeeded by Fey. S. Finican and he by Revs. F. Senner, G. C. Schoeneman, Colon and John T. Moran, T. A. Hanrahan, A. J. Manning.

In 1901 a parsonage was built adjoining the church and in 1904 a fine parochial school building, costing $2,000, adjoining the parsonage on the west.

The first Evangelical Church in Salem was organized Jan. 6, 1878, with 40 members. Rev. William B. Roller was the first pastor. The organization held together for some years, but did not prove permanent. The Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1895, and in 1897 the church building on South Lundy Street was erected, and dedicated January 16, 1898. Rev. B. E. Rutzky in 1926 had been pastor for several years.

Unity Church of Salem was organized in the autumn of 1900 by Charles E. St. John, secretary of the American Unitarian Association, and Rev. George N. Young of Massachusetts, who was pastor of the church for a short time. Rev. C. F. S. IDuton became pastor of the church, February 1, 1902. The services were held in the Pioneer Block until the congregation disbanded a few years later.

The Church of Christ (Scientist) of Salem was organized February 3, 1902. The first services of the society had been held July 1, 1899, at the home of Mrs. Ellen B. Meyerhoefer on Lincoln Ave. In October, 1899, rooms were secured in the Pioneer Block, later on Chestnut Street and about 1922 the society purchased a frame dwelling house at the corner of Garfield Avenue and East Green Street which was converted into a house of worship. Mrs. Ellen B. Meyerhoefer was the first reader.

A small congregation of the Church of God denomination organized and erected a house of worship in 1888 on West Main Street near the city limits. For several years the congregation had services with an approach to regularity. Rev. Mr. Tomlinson was pastor until his death and in 1926 the church had no regular pastor but continued to hold services regularly. The A. M. E. Zion congregation, organized in the sixties and in 1870 built a comfortable house of worship at the corner of Howard and West High streets. In a few years a separation occurred and the Bethel A. M. E. Church was built farther east on High Street. Later, in about 1924, a Second Baptist Church (Colored) was organized, then the Colored M. E. Church. In 1925 this latter congregation purchased the Emanuel Lutheran Church building on South Lundy Street, the Lutherans moving to their parish house on Broadway until a new church edifice could be constructed.

The Holy Trinity English Lutheran Church was organized in Salem about 1916 and later a frame dwelling house at the corner of McKinley and Woodland Avenues was purchased, Rev. J. P. Harman serving as pastor until 1924, when Rev. W. H. Baker succeeded him.

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