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Welcome to
Mahoning County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

Historical Collections of the

Mahoning Valley
containing an account of the Two
Pioneer Reunions:
together with a Selection of
Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, etc.
relating to the
Sale and Settlement of the Lands Belonging to
the Connecticut Land Company.
Vol. I
Publ. by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.



Pg. 480



     MILTON is the northwest township in Mahoning County, and is bounded on the north by Newton, on the east by Jackson, on the south by Berlin, and on the west by Palmyra.  The Mahoning River, a flow-in a northerly direction, crosses the western part of the township.  The soil is generally fertile, being well adapted to either farming or grazing, and is well watered by springs, good wells, and numerous brooks.  On the east bank of the river, and about one mile south of the north township line, is a sulphur spring from three to five feet deep.  The water in it, which is always cool and very clear, has been recommended by physicians for medical uses.

     Near the center of the township is an extensive stone quarry, from which freestone of an excellent quality for building purposes is obtained.  Coal has been mined in small quantities in southeast and southwest parts.  In early days blacksmiths of this vicinity obtained coal for forgoing from west bank of river, south of center of township.  Several attempts to find oil have been made near Frederiksburg; all, however, have proved to be unsuccessful.
     At present there are no villages worthy of note in the township.  In the early years of settlement, Fredericksburg, situated on the river near the southwest corner, and price's mills, in the northern part of township, were both flourishing little country villages.  The former, being on the "Old stage road" leading from Pittsburg to Cleveland, was one of the stopping places for stage drivers and passengers.  At one time it contained three taverns, two stores, the "Frederick Postoffice," a tailor, a hatter, a blacksmith, and a wagon-maker; now an old church and a few old dwelling-houses are left to tell us where the village once was.  Price's Mills is not quite so nearly extinct, yet it too presents the appearance of a place that has seen its best days.  It formerly contained one store, the "Milton Post-office," a grist-mill, saw-mill, oil-mill, carding machine, and foundry for making castings for plows.

[Page 481]


     The first settlement was formed about the years 1803 and 1804, beginning' in the vicinity of Price's Mills, and extending up the river across the western part of the township.  Of the early settlers we will mention the following: The first settlement was formed about the years 1803 and 1804, beginning' in the vicinity of Price's Mills, and extending up the river across the western part of the township. Of the early settlers we will mention the following: Jesse Holliday, Judge Clarke, Nathaniel Stanley, Thomas L. Fenton, Samuel Daniels, Aaron Porter, the Craigs, the M'Kenzies, Munson, Captain Venetten, and Joseph Depew.
     Soon afterward a settlement was formed in the eastern part of the township, and among the first settlers here were Samuel Bowles, Dan'l Stewart, Peter De Courcey, the Orrs, Thomas Reed, the Winans, Alex. French, John Perraell, Alex. Campbell, John Johnston, and Robert Russell.
     From records found in Newton we learn that John Johnston, of Milton, and Bildad Hine, of Newton, were elected justices of the peace in the year 1814 by the joint townships of Newton and Milton.  In a year or two after this a separate organization was formed, and from recollection we give the following names of justices elected prior to the year 1840: John Johnston and Daniel Vaughn, Robert Price, Johnston Vaughn, Wm. Strander, Milton Rogers, Jno. Matherspaw, James Moore, John Eckis, Jr., and Peter Kinnaman.
     At an early date the first post-office (Milton) was established at Price's Mills, with Judge Clarke postmaster.  First Church, which was of Presbyterian denomination, was organized in 1807 or 1808, and was composed of citizens of Milton and Newton, the church building being on the Newton side, near Price's Mills.
     In the year 1806 a grist-mill was erected by Jesse Holliday on the site now occupied by woolen factory and grist-mill owned by the heirs of J. G. Calendar.  In 1816 Mr. Holliday sold his mill to John Price, and in the year 1818 it passed into the hands of Judge Price, who owned it for a number of years.
     Probably the first bridge built across the Mahoning River, above Warren, was a trestle-work bridge on the line between Milton and Newton.  This broke down in 1822 while Joseph Depew was crossing it driving three yoke of oxen.  Four of the oxen were killed in the fall, the driver and foremost yoke escaping uninjured.  This bridge was soon replaced by another of similar construction, which was carried away by the breaking up of the ice in 1831.  A short time after ward the bridge now standing was built in a more substantial manner than the first two, it being lattice-work on stone abutments.
     In about the year 1817 an ashery and a distillery were built near

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Orr's Corners by James Orr.  The distillery he sold soon after building to his brother John Orr.  A second distillery was built near the same date by John Hindman in the north-east corner of the town ship, and some years after a third by John Reed near the location of the first.
     A tannery was started in the Fall of 1823 in the eastern part of the township by John Johnston and James Moore.  Some time after this another was started by Robert Laughlin, and in 1827 a third by James Moore, one-quarter of a mile west of Orr's Corners.
     Our first physician was Tracy Bronson, who came from New England in 1814, traveling the entire distance on horseback.  Being a single man, he boarded for some time with Judge Clarke.  After a few years he married a Miss Freeman, and settled in Newton, near Price's Mills, where he spent the remainder of his days.  He lived to a good old age, and continued to practice medicine throughout his life, being one of the best physicians of Milton and Newton.
     From recollection we give the following names of some of our early school-teachers: Peggy Stevens, Gain Robison, Joseph Duer, Phoebe Canfield, and Billings O. Plimpton, who afterward became a famous Methodist preacher.  For many years teachers were paid by subscription, receiving during Summer terms from four to five dollars per month, and during Winter terms from nine to ten dollars per month, and very often taking their pay in grain or orders on some of the neighboring stores.  On one occasion a teacher who was to be paid in grain ordered it to be taken by the farmers to J. Orr's distillery, and a few months afterward he carried his Winter's wages home in liquid form in a barrel.
     That the reader may know that the pioneers of Milton did not escape all the privations and hardships experienced by "first settlers," we give the following circumstances connected with Captain Venetten's coming to our township, as related to us by his daughters, Mrs. M'Kenzie and Mrs. Patterson.  He, with his family, came to Milton in the Spring of 1806, and selected as a place for their new home land west of the river and south of the center of township.  After their arrival, three weeks passed before they succeeded in completing their house.  During this time they slept in their wagon, and cooked and ate in the open air.  When all was in readiness for the putting up of their cabin, owing to the scarcity of men, the women were called upon to give assistance in raising the logs to desired height.  Some time after coming here Captain Venetten procured a pair of spoonmolds, which were used by his wife for several years, in making

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spoons for herself and many of her neighbors, the material used being old pewter dishes.  If at any time a spoon was broken, the pieces were laid carefully away until they could be taken back to be made over again just as good as new.
     As late as 1806 three Indians, Nicksaw, Cayuga, and Cadishua, were living on the west bank of the river, south of the center road.  Indian-like, they subsisted chiefly by hunting and fishing, paying but little attention to agriculture, only raising a little corn on bottom land along the river.  They were friendly, and lived on good terms
with the white settlers, neighboring and trading with them as occasion required.
     For a number of years after the settlement of the township wild game of different kinds abounded in great numbers, affording a source of recreation and enjoyment to sportsmen, as well as a source of annoyance to farmers.  Especially were the wolves troublesome neighbors; for they sometimes committed sad depredations among the stock, coming at times very near to dwelling-houses in order to get a fat lamb or some other choice bit for their supper.  One incident, given us by Mrs. Shearer, a daughter of Alex. French, is as follows: Herself and sisters, being up late one night, heard wolves howling, and a disturbance among some cattle in a field near by.  They soon aroused the other members of the family, when all started toward the scene of action.  The wolves were soon frightened away, not, however, until they had succeeded in killing one of the cattle.  The Mast instance of a bear being known to be in the township was in 1835, at which time Joseph Mead tracked one, traveling in a northerly direction, and crossing the line into Newton, where it was killed.
     Now, after giving you a bear-story, as related to us by William Orr, we will make our bow and leave the floor for the next speaker.  The circumstance occurred about one mile south-east of Orr's Corners.  In about 1817 Matthew M'Connell, on going into the woods one morning to catch his horses, saw a young bear, and was about to catch it when "Madame Bruin" made her appearance, and, seeing her little one in danger, attacked the intruder, who with a club returned the assault, and after a hard-fought battle drove her from the field.  He then succeeded in catching the cub and carrying it home in triumph, as a trophy of his unexpected encounter.
                                                      F. R. JOHNSTON.

     MILTON, O., January 3, 1876.





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