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 Ohio Revisited: Belmont County, Part 19 -- Barnesville in 1887.

by Henry Howe.

Barnesville is ninety-seven miles east of Columbus, and twenty miles west of the Ohio River. It is on the O.C.R.R., and famous for its culture of strawberries and raspberries. Newspapers: Enterprise, Independent, George McClelland, publisher; Republican, Republican, Hanlon Bros. & Co., publishers. Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Christian, 1 African Methodist Episcopal, and 1 Friends. Banks: First National, Asa Garretson, president, G. E. Bradfield, cashier; People's National, J. S. Ely, president, A. E. Dent, cashier.

Large Manufactures. -- Barnesville Glass Company, 131 workers; Watt Mining Car-Wheel Company, 42; George Atkinson, woollen mill, 13; Heed Bros., cigars, 90; George E. Hunt, tailor, 18; Hanlon Bros., printing, 17. -- State Report, 1887.

Population in 1880, 2,435.

School census in 1886, 823; Henry L. Peck, superintendent.

The distinguishing feature of Barnesville lies in the quantity and quality of its strawberry production. In the spring of 1860 the late William Smith introduced, and with C.G. Smith, John Scoles, and a few others, cultivated in limited quantities for the home market the Wilson Albany Seedling. The demand was small at first, but steadily increased, until shipments grew to 1,000 bushels per day, of which 800 went to Chicago, the balance divided among a number of points East and West; and the fame of the Barnesville strawberry has extended not only over the entire country but into foreign countries, even "so far as Russia." The shipping trade opened about 1870 -- first to Columbus and Wheeling, and later to other near points. In 1880 James Edgerton tried the experiment of shipping to Chicago, but not until two years later did that trade assume large proportions. There are about 275 acres devoted to strawberry culture, the average yield about ninety-four bushels per acre. The Sharpless, the favorite variety, is a large, sightly fruit, well colored, fine flavored, and will stand transportation to distant cities. Other popular berries are the Cumberland, Charles Downing, Wilson, Crescent, and Jaconda; but the Barnesville growers say, "The Sharpless is our pride." The care, commendable rivalry, and pride of the Barnesville growers, which, with a soil and climate specially adapted to the growth of a large, hardy berry, has developed this great industry.

Early History of Barnesville

The first settlement of Warren, the township in which Barnesville is situated, occurred in 1799-1800. The first settlers were George Shannon (the father of Gov. Shannon), John Grier, and John Dougherty; soon others followed. The great body of the pioneers were nearly all Quakers from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In 1804 they built a log meetinghouse, and a woman, Ruth Boswell, preached there the first sermon ever delivered in the township. This spot where the Stillwater Meeting House now stands has been occupied by the Friends from that day to this, and by 1887 over 7,000 meetings [about 14,000 meetings as of 1998] for worship have been held there; and that all of them, we venture to say, breathed nothing but "Peace on earth and good-will to man."

William Windom, who was Secretary of the Treasury under President Garfield, and twice represented Minnesota in the United States Senate, was a native of this county, where he was born 10 May 1827.

Antiquities near Barnesville

In the vicinity of Barnesville are some extraordinary natural and artificial curiosities. About two miles south of the town, on the summit of a hill on the old Riggs farm, is a stone called "Goblet Rock" from its general resemblance to a goblet. Its average height is nine feet, circumference at base fifteen feet nine inches, mid circumference eighteen feet, and top circumference, thirty-one feet four inches. The whole stone can be shaken into a noticeable tremble by one standing on the top.

A few miles west of Barnesville are two ancient works, on the lands of Jesse Jarvis and James Nuzzum. On that of the latter is one of the largest mounds, it being about 1,800 feet in circumference and 90 feet in height.

Among the most interesting relics of the mound-building Indians are the "Barnesville track rocks" on the sand rock of the coal measure located on the lands of Robert G. Price. They were discovered in 1856 by a son of Mr. Price. The tracks are those of birds', animals' and human feet, and other figures, such as shellfish, serpents, earthworms, circles, stars, etc. These indentations vary from two to over twenty inches in length. The depths of the impressions are from three-fourths of an inch to a scale hardly perceptible. These are evidently the work of a mound-Indian sculptor. The track rocks are described and pictorially shown in the U.S. Centennial Commission Report for Ohio.

This entry is adapted from Henry Howe's HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF OHIO (2 vols., 1907). The book has been reedited, updated, and restructured for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. This entry may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned the entry for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 1998 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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