Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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Old Bunker Hill

source:  Semi-Weekly News (Mansfield):  20 September 1898, Vol. 14, No. 78


Submitted by Amy


Bunker Hill is in Worthington Township. three miles east of Butler, and there the boyhood years of Capt. J.P. Rummel were passed.  His father, Peter Rummel, located on the Hill in 1844, when the captain was but four years old.  

The hill never assumed to be a village, but as the location is both conspicuous and commanding, and is the center from which six roads take divers courses, the hill is quite prominent and a church has stood upon its summit for years.  

On the corner east of the church was the Rummel residence, one of the largest houses in the township.  A store of general merchandise was kept in one end of this building and the other industries of the place consisted of a blacksmith ship and a gun shop.  The latter, however, was not at the corners, but a few rods out on the Perrysville road.  Reed Dutton, a gunsmith, lived there in the '50's, but the place is now the home of Samuel Spohn.

At an early day, the Presbyterians built a church at the hill.  The first building was built of logs and the Rev. William Hughes was the pastor of the congregation for a number of years.  In 1854 the old log church was torn down and a frame building was erected in its place.  The church has recently been remodeled, a steeple added and other improvements made, and was re-dedicated last Sunday.  To this congregation belonged the Pritchards, the Moffats, the Hazletts, the McClellans and others.

Forty years have wrought great change in the names of the residents of the hill neighborhood.  The Rummels, the Davys, the Filloons and others are gone and the farms are now known by other names.  The George Davy place at the foot of the hill on the Newville Road, is now the home of Jacob Farst.  Mr. Davy once operated the Mansfield city mills and was a brother-in-law of Mrs. Robert Davy, of East Fourth Street.

In 1853 W.J. Vaneman bought the George Rummel and the Moffats farms but sold and moved away after a few years residence there.  The George Rummel farm was later owned by a Mr. Zimmerman, who has a son living on South Adams Street.  The John Filloon farm passed into the possession of Mr. Guyselman.

Of the Pritchard family, William Hughes Pritchard became a lawyer, was associated for several years with Judge Wolfe in practice in Mansfield, then went west and became a judge of the court in the state of Washington, as his brother-in-law and former partner did here.

Three of our best county commissioners were from Worthington Township -- Thomas B. Andrews, John Ramsey and David Taylor.  Alexander C. Kile, who lived within sight of the hill, served two terms in the legislature.  His wife's maiden name was Phipps.  And it was near the Kile place where the Rev. George Wilson lived when he wrote his memorable work on baptism.  Wilson Bell lives a mile west of the hill, and has long been considered the best-read farmer in the township.  His son, A.E. Bell, is well known to the readers of the News.  In the same locality, cornering at Center Hall school house, is the olden-time Simmons farm, where Thomas Simmons located in 1813.  He was the father of 17 children.  His son John served through two wars and his widow lives on Spring Mills Street, this city.

During the war with Mexico, the American army was making a march across that country when they came to a river, of whose width or depth they knew nothing.  The night being dark, they could not see the opposite shore.  There was a call for a volunteer to cross and recross the stream and report to the officer commanding, ere the army would attempt to cross the stream.  Don Carpenter, brother of George F. Carpenter and William B. Carpenter, of this city, stepped out of the ranks, saluted the officer and volunteered to ford the stream.  John Simmons stepped out and said, "Don, I'll go with you", and he did.  The river was waist deep at places.  The brave volunteers returned and made their report, whereupon the army crossed and in safety.  During the civil war Don Carpenter served as major of the Ninth Iowa regiment.

William Grosvenor, of Park Avenue East, was visiting relatives at Davis, a mile and a half northwest of the hill, on the Perrysville road, at the time of the Abner Davis robbery, in the winter of 1861-'62, and joined the pursuing party and assisted in the capture of the "living and the dead", in the vicinity of the hill.

During the autumns of 1849-'51, inclusive, hunters told blood-curdling stories of a wild animal or man that had been seen in the forest between Bunker Hill and Spohntown.  This forest was a favorite coon-hunting locality, and many hunters averred they had seen game bigger than a coon, game that the Bravest and most ferocious dogs refused to attack.  Some though it was a catamount, others said it must be a bear, not only on account of its size, but also from the fact that it stood upright when at bay, and when it retreated, it went upon all fours, although they admitted that the leap it gave upon starting was too agile for a bear.  A few held to the theory that it was a "wild man of the woods", but admitted that even wild men did not, perhaps, walk upon both hands and feet.

The consensus of opinion seemed to favor the animal theory;  but as after a few returning autumns, it was seen no more, the matter was never elucidated and --- 

"Within those awful stories lie
That mystery of mysteries."

When the first call for troops was made in April, 1861, four men from Worthington Township, went to Bellville and volunteered in Capt. Miller Moody's Company I, 16th. Ohio.  They were J.P. Rummel, Willis Clark, John Simmons, and Oliver Lichty.  After the close of that term of service, Mr. Rummel re-enlisted for three years as a private in Co. B, 120th. O.V.I.  Before leaving camp Mr. Rummel was promoted to a lieutenant and seven months later were the bars of a captain, and served his country faithfully until the close of the war.

After Capt. Rummel's return from the army, he married a Miss Redrup, located in Mansfield and engaged in the grocery business in which he continued for several years and until the burning of the Hedges block, in 1871.

Capt. Rummel later engaged in the manufacture of suspenders, in which business he continued for 25 years.  From a small beginning his business grew and increased until his plant was one of the largest of the kind in the country, employing from one hundred to two hundred hands.  At present the captain is not engaged in business.  He has a fine home on Park Avenue West, in the fashionable residence part of the city.

The foregoing is but a desultory sketch, a mention of places and people here and there, and is more comprehensive than complete.

The township was named for Governor Worthington.  Worthington has the roughest surface of any township in the county, as it also has some of the finest farms.

-- A.J. Baughman

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