Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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source:  Mansfield News:  22 August 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


History of Richland County

By A. J. Baughman



 Adario is the only town in Butler township, and was founded in 1838 by Henry Foulks and was called Lafayette.  The name was changed, it seems, to conform to that of the post office, but the place is still called by many people by its old-time name in honor of the Marquis d’ Lafayette, the liberty-loving Frenchman who came to the aid of the American colonies in the darkest time of the war of the revolution.

Butler is the northeast township in the county, and was mapped and organized March 5, 1840, after Ashland county was created.  The township is six miles in length from north to south, and is four miles in width - a strip of two miles was given it from Clearcreek township on the east, and a two-mile strip from Bloominggrove on the west.  As Clearfork was formerly in Richland county and lies so close to Adario, this sketch may deal with the Clearcreek country.

Adario’s part in the history of Richland county towns has not been a prominent one.  The people of that part of the county are industrious and law-abiding, and the village has two churches - Methodist and disciple - and its schools are noted as rating well with others elsewhere.

A single exception to the rule of good deportment among the Lafayette people was the case of Parson Montgomery, but his was a case wherein a man’s great intellect became unbalanced, resulting in his downfall and degradation.

Adario has a lovely site, and Butler township as fine-lying land and as beautiful farms as there are in the county.  The surface is level, but is sufficiently rolling for proper drainage.  The roads are equal to the best, making country trips both pleasant and desirable.

As you drive, farm after farm can be seen stretching toward the horizon - to the line where the firmament seems to come down to encircle the green, fruitful earth with the blue canopy of the skies.

A level country is conducive to evenness of life.  John Brown’s scheme did not thrive upon the plains of Kansas; but, with a change of venue to the mountains of Virginia, he nursed his purposes and matured his plans to precipitate an insurrection.  But before he went to Kansas, he had dwelt amid the solitudes of the Adirondacks, where no voice spoke to him but the screaming winds which in winter sweep summits in hurricane blasts, making the isolation of the mountains conducive to gloomy and, perchance, misanthropic thoughts.


Thomas Ford and his son, Elias, came from Jefferson county in April, 1819, and entered the northeast quarter of section 22, in Clearcreek township.  The journey was made in a one-horse wagon which contained, beside themselves, such tools and implements as would be needed in clearing land and building a cabin.  They found tolerably well-defined roads until after leaving Union town - as Ashland was then called - about two miles west of which they entered an unbroken wilderness, and had to cut their way through the forest to the land they had entered.  Their first work was to erect a place of shelter, which was a little cabin with a bark shed-roof.  The father returned to his home in the east and Elias remained to get the place in readiness for the advent of the family in the fall.  Elias Ford, who at that time was about twenty years of age, had a lonesome summer, but a very busy one.  The Indians infested the country during the hunting seasons, and were his only “neighbors.”  Rattlesnakes were so numerous that Mr. Ford had to have his bed suspended from the rafters to keep the venomous reptiles from sharing it with him, and having once retired to his swinging bunk, he did not dare to leave it till daylight the next morning, lest he would tramp upon the snakes crawling over the floor.

In front of his cabin a fire burned all night to keep off the wolves and drive away the mosquitoes.  His dog was a faithful sentinel at his door, and his gun was within reach each day and night.  In November of that year the father and family joined Elias, and a larger cabin was erected for their comfort.  Within a radius of six miles there were but four settlers to assist at this raising.

At that time there was neither a school house nor church in the township, and the cabin of Mr. Ford was used for a place of worship for eleven years - until “Ford’s meeting house” was erected in 1830.  The pioneers, as a rule, were regular attendants upon religious meetings, men and women often going five or six miles on foot to hear the gospel preached and to worship.  At night they found their way through the forest by carrying lighted torches of hickory bark.

On the 10th of October, 1830, Thomas Ford departed this life, aged 57 years, and his funeral was the first religious service held in Ford’s meeting house.

To show the needs and generosity of the pioneers the following incident is given.  In the spring of 1822, Mr. Ford had purchased three bushels of frost-bitten corn meal, which, he supposed, would be sufficient to sustain him until he could realize something from the ripening of a small piece of rye which he then had growing.  This meal, however, as a matter of economy, and in order to lengthen out its days, was baked and eaten without subjecting it to the usual process of sifting - as he well knew that if his little stock should become exhausted before his rye harvest, he would not be able to obtain any more supplies.  The little sack of corn and the growing field of rye were watched with intense solicitude.  A short time before the latter was ready for the sickle he was called upon by two neighbors who informed him that their families were entirely out of breadstuff, and appealed to him for relief in their extremity.  Mr. Ford produced his sack of corn-meal, poured its contents upon his puncheon table and divided it into three equal parts, and his neighbors gratefully received each his third and the other third was returned to his sack.  When the little field of rye, which was the only one in the neighborhood, was harvested, it was found scarcely adequate to supply himself and neighbors, although it was the only grain of any kind then immediately attainable; and it was consumed without having been ground - the grain being boiled and eaten with milk, or being cooked by frying.  That was the most trying season for the settlers of the township - the succeeding harvests being generally sufficient to afford materials for bread


John Ford, a son of pioneer Thomas Ford, married a Miss Barnes and settled in Washington township, where he was a prominent farmer for many years, and was a justice of the peace.  He was the father of S. N. Ford, W. E. Ford, E. C. Ford and T. W. Ford, of Mansfield.  Another son of pioneer Thomas Ford was Col. Thomas H. Ford, father of P. P. Ford, of Mansfield.


While the pioneers were yet few in numbers, the Clearcreek neighborhood was thrown into a high state of excitement by the following occurrence:  Sarah Brink, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Thomas Brink, who resided in the southern part of the township, started one evening on an errand to the of Nathaniel Bailey, situated about a mile distant; became lost in the woods and wandered about for three days and nights.  The whole neighborhood was searching for her, but as the weather was intensely cold after the second day all hope was abandoned of finding her alive - that she must have perished or been devoured by the wolves.  But the morning of the fourth day found her yet alive, though her limbs were frozen, and she was nearly famished. She heard the barking of a dog, and following the sound came to an Indian camp near the western shore of the lower Vermillion lake.  The Indians gave her attention and care and returned her to her home.  But she was crippled for life in consequence of the loss, by freezing of nearly all of the toes from both feet.


The round-up of the great wolf-hunt of 1828 was made near Adario.  No wolf was captured, but a number of wild turkeys and deer were secured.

Butler is not behind some of her sister township in spook stories.  There is a place called Spook Hollow southwest of Adario, where apparitions are said to be occasionally seen.

Adario has no railroad as yet, but a trolley line is expected to pass through there in the near future.

Looking at the map of thirty years ago, the Kirks and the Fords seem to have been the largest land owners there at that period.

The hospitality of the people of Butler township is unbounded.  Take as a sample the home of George W. Scroggie, where the greatest pleasure of himself and family is in entertaining their friends, and a like generosity seems to pervade that whole community.

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