History of Mifflin Township, Franklin County OH

From: History of Franklin County, Ohio
By: Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis, 1930


Mifflin Township is fast losing its political identity and becoming a part of the city of Columbus and there is hardly a part of it which does not now present more of an urban than a rural appearance. As organized and established in 1811, it was five miles square and belonged to the United States Military Survey. Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek flow through it from north to south and their banks, which throughout this township are in most places unusually high, display deep deposits of shale, which have not, however, as yet been put to any practical use. It is believed by many that the township and the territory to the east lie over basins of natural gas or oil, and this belief is strongly supported by the fact that a well, sunk in search of oil on the west bank of Alum Creek a short distance north of the hamlet of Mifflinville, now a part of the city of Columbus, made a strong showing of natural gas. The well, strange to say, was drilled on a very small lease of less than twenty acres and, although the flow of gas was strong, the casing was pulled and the well abandoned. The owner of the little property put in a section of casing, capped the well and for many years used the natural gas to heat and light his residence and a conservatory in which he raised flowers and vegetables for the city markets. A flambeau of natural gas, which he burned every evening and which stretched upward many feet, was for years a little understood sight to persons driving along the Sunbury Road on the opposite side of Alum Creek. The original owner, Mr. Arnold, is dead, and the well has been abandoned. Experts claim that there must have been a considerable vein of natural gas on which this well drew, for the well was for years filled almost to the brim with water, yet still gave off a steady flow of gas.

This territory, owing to the wooded heights along the streams, teemed with game when the first settlers arrived, and one of them, James Price, is said to have bagged no less than 500 deer from the time he settled there in 1811 to the time when the deer finally disappeared, about 1848. He also was a mighty butcher of wolves and other game small and large. Many stories are told of his prowess as a hunter.

The first settler in Mifflin is believed to have been William Read, who arrived on the ground in the last year of the eighteenth century. He was quite prominent, being a member of the Legislature and afterward a judge of the Common Pleas court. Ebenezer Dean followed him and soon built a mill. He and his family took up a thousand acres in the western part of the township. It is told that on this land there stood a sycamore tree so large that, after it was cut down, a horse and rider passed through the hollow trunk. Other early settlers were Frederick Adler, Daniel Turney, George Baughman, John Saul, James Price, John Scott, Louis Patterson, Philander Patterson, Andrew S. Smiley, James Latta, John Starrett, William Smith, Nathaniel Harris, D. Stygler, George Bartlett, John Clark, Robert Paul, Thomas G Schrock, John Dalzell, Zechariah Kramer, John Dill, James Park, George Harwood, Henry Carpenter and Sarah Crouse Ramsey. Most of these were founders of families that have become prominent in business and the professions and some of whom have held the original lands until they became enormously valuable, notably the Aglers, Parks and Clarks.

The village of Gahanna, known in part as Bridgport, was laid out on the bank of Big Walnut in 1849 and 1853, the Gahanna part by John Clark and the Bridgport part by Jesse Baughman. The two were soon united and the name of Bridgport dropped. Mr. Clark owned one of the finest farms in the county just outside the village, which has developed into a handsome suburb. It is a very busy little place, as it has a large tourist patronage and is close to the airport recently established by the city of Columbus. The hilly country surrounding Gahanna is fast being taken up by residents of Columbus for handsome suburban homes and for extensive orchard projects.

The village of East Columbus has grown up on the Pennsylvania Railroad in the southern part of the township about the Ralston Steel Car Works, one of the largest manufacturing concerns in Central Ohio. A military storage plant of mammoth proportions was constructed along the line of this railroad just east of East Columbus and is still maintained by the federal government. East Columbus had a population at the time of the census of 1930 of 1960.

The pretty hamlet of Shepard Station is the seat of a large sanitarium founded by Dr. Shepard, but this has become a part of Columbus. Just north of Shepard Station is the seminary of St. Mary's of the Springs, an institution for the education of girls and young women. It is under the control of the Dominican Sisterhood of the Catholic Church, and is a beautiful and romantically situated institution.

The Sunbury Road, which runs along the west bank of Alum Creek through the township, is one of the most beautiful places of suburban residence in the state of Ohio and has been built up on an elaborate basis.

The location of the Columbus municipal airport in this township has given it a phenomenal impulse and it is believed that no part of it can long retain a rural aspect.

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