Springfield, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Rev. Saul Henkle


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 439


By Oscar T. Martin

The first settled minister of the Methodist Church in Springfield was Rev. Saul Henkle, who came from Hardy County, Virginia, in the spring of 1809, on horseback, with his young wife and child, two months old. He moved in the log house built by Archibald Lowry, then occupied as a tavern, and continued to live there until he built his one-story brick house on High street in 1825, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Mr. Henkle was a regularly ordained preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but joined the Protestant Methodist soon after their organization. He was a devout Christian and an exemplary citizen, living to promote the moral and religious welfare of the people in the village and neighboring country. His ministerial life covered a period of twenty-eight years. At every marriage feast and every funeral ceremony, he officiated, and neither would have been complete without him. A funeral in those days was attended with a solemnity unobserved at the present time. The coffin rested upon a simple bier, and was carried on the shoulders of four or six men, walking to the grave. The officiating minister preceded the coffin, and the pall bearers, the mourners and friends, with "solemn step and slow," walked behind in twos. When the procession began to move, the minister would commence the singing of a familiar hymn, in which the rest would join, and which they continued until they reached the grave. The usual hymn sung on these occasions was the one beginning —

"Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound."

In the year 1827, Mr. Henkle edited and published a religious paper called The Gospel Trumpet. He performed all the labor at his residence on High street. He also wrote some editorials for the Western Pioneer. In 1830, he was elected to the office of Clerk of the court, in which position he proved an efficient and popular officer.

He was a man a little below the ordinary height, of rather slender form, inclined to stoop in the shoulders, with a remarkably pleasant face, and manner indicating his ministerial office. In the pulpit, his speaking was extemporaneous. He was slow in delivery, but his words were appropriately chosen, and his thoughts were entertaining and instructive. His first wife died in September, 1825, and he married again in 1829. He died in Springfield in 1837, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. His second wife, a most excellent woman, survived him about thirty-seven years. She was a very active and consistent member of the High Street Methodist Episcopal Church. Saul Henkle, Esq., now of Washington City, and Mrs. J. S. Halsey, were their children.

John Ambler


John Ambler came from New Jersey to Springfield in 1808, remaining but a short time, when he purchased and removed to a farm on Mud Run. The occupation of farming not being congenial to his tastes, he soon sold his farm, and removed, with his wife and children, to Springfield. Among the residents when he first came to the village were Griffith Foos and Archibald Lowry, tavern-keepers; Mr. Hodge and Samuel Simonton, merchants; Walter Smallwood, blacksmith; James Shipman, tailor; Mr. Doyle, saddler; Mr. Fields, who kept a repair-shop for articles in wood and iron; Dr. Richard Hunt, the first physician; and Col. Daugherty, the surveyor. In 1812, Mr. Ambler was both merchant and tavern-keeper, occupying a small log house nearly opposite the Mad River National Bank. He was a very public-spirited, worthy gentleman, and among the foremost to advocate the prosperity of the place. When Springfield became the county seat, he was elected Treasurer, and used his private residence as the office. The building was a two-story brick house on Main street , on the northwest corner of the alley west of Factory street. Mr. Ambler and Maddox Fisher were the contractors for building the first court house; also, to inclose the old graveyard on Columbia street with a stone wall. He also donated one-half of the lot now used by the First Presbyterian Church, of which he was one of the original members, and contributed largely to the first church building thereon, paying for and doing a portion of its painting.

Mr. Ambler died shortly after, turning over the books and papers of the Treasurer's office to James S. Halsey, who had been elected his successor. Mrs. Ruth Shipman, mother of John Shipman, present Postmaster, was the daughter of Mr. Ambler.


Cooper Ludlow


Cooper Ludlow, who came to Clark County in 1805 and settled in Springfield Township, near the first Mad River bridge west of the city, was a tanner by trade, and worked a tannery in connection with his farm. In 1812, he moved into Springfield, and kept a public inn on the corner of Main and Factory streets. He was an industrious citizen, and invaluable in laying the foundations of Springfield's prosperity. Mr. Ludlow was twice married. Dr. John Ludlow, President of the First National Bank, was his son by his first wife. His second wife was the mother of Abraham Ludlow, member of the City Council, and of the extensive manufacturing firm of Thomas, Ludlow & Rodgers, George Ludlow, ex-member of the police force, and three other sons, and one daughter, Mrs. Ferrill. His descendants have been valuable citizens, and have aided much in promoting the prosperity of the place of which their ancestor had been one of the founders. The house of Mr. Ludlow for many years was on the southwest corner of High and Factory streets, and but recently gave place to the new High-School building.


Pearson Spinning


Among the first merchants, who contributed largely by his wealth and energy toward the prosperity of the village, was Pearson Spinning, who came to Springfield from Dayton in the fall of 1812. He at once entered upon the sale of dry goods, and continued in that business until 1834, when, having accumulated a large property, he was considered the wealthiest man in the place. For many years, it was Mr. Spinning's custom to make a trip to New York City and Philadelphia once a year, on horseback, to purchase goods, and, owing to a lameness with which he was afflicted, always rode on a side-saddle. It required about six weeks, then, to make the trip. The goods he bought were brought over the Allegheny Mountains in wagons to Pittsburgh, and in keel-boats floated down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and from there to Springfield in wagons. Freight then averaged about $6 per hundred weight, while wheat only brought 37 cents per bushel. In 1827, he built his fine residence on the east side of Limestone street, which now forms a part of the King building, and, in 1830, he commenced the block of buildings on the northwest corner of Main and Limestone streets, known as the "Buckeye" building, and at one time occupied as a hotel. In 1837, Mr. Spinning took large contracts in the public works of the State then in progress, in which he lost a large portion of his property. After this, he continued the business of his hotel, called the "Buckeye House," for several years, and later in life he acted in the capacity of Justice of the Peace. Mr. Spinning was born in Elizabethtown, N.J., in 1786, and died in Springfield in 1857, in the seventy-first year of his age.