Springfield, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Improvements, Mills, Etc.


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 433


By Oscar T. Martin

Following the erection of the double log cabin of Mr. Foos, a number of other buildings rose on different parts of the town plat. All were roughly built and did not add to the attractions of the place. The first "mansion" of any pretensions after that of Mr. Foos was built in 1803 by Archibald Lowry, a brother of David Lowry. He owned a tract of land which was afterward laid out in town lots by his son, James Lowry. James was at one time a prominent business man of the city, but his latter days were spent with dissolute companions, and he was murdered some years ago in a wretched hole called "Rat Row," on Market street, in a midnight brawl. The new house built by Archibald Lowry was a large two-story hewed-log house on the alley first west of Limestone street, about half way to High street. It was the second public house in the place.

Necessity at the time suggested that the rapid waters of the stream which flowed along the southern limits of the village might be utilized by furnishing power for grinding the corn and wheat raised in the fertile valleys. There were no mills nearer than Lebanon, Ohio, to which the settlers were obliged to convey their grain and purchase their flour. To make a market nearer home, Demint built a small grist-mill near the mouth of the stream on the spot afterward occupied by Fisher's old mill. The stream became known as Mill run, which name it holds to this day. This mill was the first in the vicinity. It had the capacity to grind about twenty-five bushels of corn every twenty-four hours.


Dayton and Springfield Road


In 1803, Congress passed a law donating 3 per cent of all money received from sale of lands, for use on roads. In order to obtain the benefits of this law, a movement was inaugurated among those interested to establish communication between Dayton, Springfield and Columbus. A wagon road was surveyed in 1803, between Dayton and Springfield, which was afterward extended east toward Columbus. The road did not follow the principal or Main street of the then village, on account of the low swampy land which was on the east end of the street, but was located on South street. it soon became a thoroughfare, and had much to do in establishing the business center south of the original Main street. In after years, business houses were built along the principal lines of ingress and egress. Two years after the road had been located between Springfield and Dayton, one Capt. Moore and his brother Thomas, took the contract to open the road from Franklinton to Springfield. The advent of the construction corps employed on this road was hailed with as much enthusiasm by the citizens of Springfield as in after years they welcomed the railroad and the locomotive. When within a few miles, the contractors made a frolic of the job and invited all the people to come and help them, so that they might to into Springfield in one day. Never was invitation responded to with greater alactrity. The road was finished in a day, an event which was celebrated in the evening by an immense supper and a ball at Foos' Tavern.


The City in 1804


The boast of the embryonic city in 1804 was about one dozen houses, all built of logs. Some of the most pretentious, such as Col. Daugherty's, Lowry's tavern and Charles Stowe's business building, had large stone chimneys, which were esteemed quite aristocratic. The houses of which the village was then composed were situated as follows: Near the southeast corner of Main and Market streets, a man named Fields kept a small repair shop; west and almost opposite, was a cooper-shop owned by John Reed; on the northeast corner of the same streets stood a log house, while a short distance west on the south side of what is now Main street, near Primrose alley, was a larger log structure occupied by Charles Stowe, of Cincinnati, as a general store. He was the first merchant in this place, and had a profitable trade with the Indians and hunters. Another log house was on the southeast corner of Limestone and Main streets, and Col. Daugherty's large log house with its imposing stone chimneys was nearly opposite. A large two-story house, which, in time of the Indian incursions incident to border life, was used as a block-house, stood near the southeast corner of High and Limestone streets. Not far from what was long known as "the old Buckeye corner," nearer the public square, was another cabin, in which two Frenchmen named Duboy and Lucroy sold goods suitable mostly to the Indian trade. The two taverns conducted by Foos and Lowry, with two or three cabins on Columbia street, composed the village of Springfield.

The health of the neighborhood is indicated by the fact that there were at that time only four graves in what is now known as the old graveyard. One of these was the grave of Mrs. Demint, who died in the fall of 1803.