Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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source:  Mansfield News, 19 September 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


History of Richland County

 By A J. Baughman



 Shenandoah is in the southeast part of Bloominggrove township and was laid out in June, 1844, by William and George Altorfer, of Virginia, and was named after the far-famed valley of their native state.  The land upon which Shenandoah was platted is the southeast quarter of section twenty-four, and had previously been owned by Robert Cummings, and was sold by him to the Altorfers.  The first house erected upon the town site was a hewed, log building, and was used as a hotel for a number of years, and of which Standard Cline was at one time the landlord.  Jacob Bushey erected the second house and John Valentine the third.  Bushey and Cline were shoemakers.  John Niman opened a blacksmith shop, and William Hisey, a pottery.  John Sanker, a wagon shop and conducted the business for years.  Edward Hall had a store of general merchandise and was the first postmaster.  The most important industry in the village was McClain’s rake and handle factory, which was successfully operated for a number of years.  Andrew I. Beelman engaged in carriage building, but in latter years, after factory-made vehicles were shipped over the country and crowded hand-made work out of the market, Mr. Beelman devoted his time more to repairing the machine-made vehicles, than to building new ones.  A later industry at Shenandoah was a creamery, and “Shenandoah Creamery Butter” soon became a favorite in the market.

When Shenandoah was at its best, the village contained from twenty to thirty families.  The number is now, perhaps, less, but the town has not the appearance of being in a state of decadence.  A number of the buildings are new, and all are kept painted and in repair.  Two church buildings sit upon the south side of the village in neighborly-like propinquity and here too, the civic taste for which Shenandoah is noted has touched with the magic wand both buildings and grounds.

The founders of Shenandoah had no expectations of their town ever being a great city.  They simply platted a village site and were content to let it take its chances in the prorenata of the future.  And although the town never became great in population in a numerical way, the majority of the olden-time residents - as well as those of today - may be referred to with more local pride, for their influence and usefulness cannot be pent up within municipal lines.


Benjamin Morris, a Pennsylvanian, settled in Butler township, a half-mile east of Shenandoah, in 1846.  Mr. Morris was a prosperous, influential man in his day, and was a county commissioner in the “fifties.”  The Morris family is noted for its patriotism as well as its Christian character.  Five members of the family were soldiers in the war of the Revolution and the same number served the country in the Civil war.  The Rev. W. H. Morris, a son of the late Benjamin Morris, is a minister of the Christian church and is chaplain of the Sherman brigade organization.  He served in McLaughlin squadron of cavalry, and was wounded in the service.

David and Michael Miller owned farms and resided upon opposite sides of the road just west of Shenandoah.  They have gone from the earth-life but left descendants who are filling places of honor and usefulness today.

Dr. M. Starr was a Butler township boy, whose parents were pioneers in that part of the county.  Dr. Starr began the practice of medicine in Shenandoah in 1851, and never changed location.  He served as assistant surgeon of the 174th O.V. I. in the civil war.  He was always regarded as an able physician and a worthy citizen.

Dr. Fry is still a young man although he has been a practicing physician for a number of years.  He is skillful in his profession, and is a good fellow withal.

The Rev. C. S. Cliffe has been pastor of the Christian church at Shennandoah for the past six or eight years, and is trying to do the Master’s work as he sees his duty, and his ministerial labor has been successful in the several places where his lot has been cast.

The foregoing mentions have been given to show what the people of Shenandoah and vicinity have been and are today, and the list could be extended almost ad infinitum.

Shenandoah is on the historical “Beall’s trail”- the road cut through the north part of Richland county be General Beall’s army in the fall of 1812.

The first halt of Beall’s army within the present limits of Richland county was on the Whetstone where Olivesburg now stand, and the camp was called “Camp Whetstone.”  For the purpose of getting better spring water and of being nearer the Huron trail the army broke camp on the Whetstone and went about five miles west and founded “Camp Council.”  The location of this camp is a mile west of Shenandoah and Rome.  Here is the famed Ferguson spring, the water of which is healthful and the output sufficient for a much larger army than the one commanded by General Beall.  Here too, is Camp Council run whose volume of water was then sufficient for, and afterwards used as power to operate mills.  A half mile south is the Blackfork of the Mohican, thus affording the troops all the water facilities needed even by an army of occupation. 

Winter set in early in the fall of 1812 and the soldiers at Camp Council, not being properly clothed suffered severely with the cold.

Prior to the halt on the Whetstone, General Beall’s army camped for a short time at Hayesville, then called Hayes’ Cross Roads, and while there an amusing incident occurred.  On a dark rainy night the soldiers were awakened by the firing of pickets at one of the outposts and in obedience to the command to “fall in,” the soldiers soon formed into line to meet the foe, as it was supposed the Indians were coming to attack the camp.  The pickets reported that the enemy was advancing in solid columns and the ground seemed to tremble with the tread of the foes.  It was the army’s first experience in war’s alarms, but the troops acted as veterans and as bravely opened fire upon their unseen enemy.  The musketry firing, the charging of cavalry combined to make the night awfully grand with the pomp and reality of war.

Soon, however, the tramping and bellowing of stampeding cattle explained the “attack” - that the stock had broken out of the corral, and advancing toward the camp, had been mistaken by the pickets for Indians.  The incident, however, showed the vigilance of the sentinels and the bravery of the troops, and that the army was ever ready to meet surprises, midnight attacks and other emergencies.

General Beall had previously served as an officer under General Harmar, in the campaign against the Indians in 1790, and possessed many of the characteristics of a commander, as was shown in leading his troops successfully through the wilderness in this 1812 campaign against both a savage and invading foe.

This cattle stampede at Hayesville has been likened in its humorous aspect to the “Battle of the Kegs,” in the war of the Revolution, and which was made the subject of a mock heroic poem, by Francis Hopkinson, from which the following lines are taken:

                                                 “Twas early day, as poets say.
                                                      Just when the sun was rising,
                                                  A soldier stood on a log of wood,
                                                      And saw a thing surprising.
                                                  As in amaze he stood to gaze,
                                                      The truth can’t be denied sir;
                                                  He spied a store of kegs or more,
                                                      Come floating down the tide, sir.

The British supposed that each keg contained a Colonial soldier, who was coming to destroy, in some inexplicable manner, the shipping at Philadelphia.

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