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Pickaway County, Ohio
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, the writer of these letters, was born in Circleville, Ohio, on January 29, 1818.  His whole life, with the exception of nine years, was spent here, and his interest and energy never flagged in the upbuilding of his native town.  He died Dec. 15, 1896.

LETTERS published by John GROCE, in the Union-Herald of June 21, 1894.  Prepared for publication in pamphlet form by his son, Charles E. Groce, for the Centennial celebration of Pickaway County, Oct. 2, 1910.


 HAVING had my attention called to the account books of the Company store of date of 1816, now on exhibition at one of our book stores, I was induced to scribble a few remembrances of Circleville 70 years ago that may be of interest to some of your readers.
     At that time the business was done on the Circle.  Outside of that Circle was a circular alley, both within the circular fort.  The square fort, on the east of the circular fort, and attached, was principally farm land owned and farmed by Mr. Samuel WATT, who lived where Geo. H. FICKARDT how lives, which was then out in the country.
     Commencing on the Circle to describe the town:  On the northeast corner of East Main street and the Circle was the old EVANS' Tavern, where now is the HARSHA marble works.  Next on the Circle was the CHADWICK barber shop, where a 6 cent shave could be had.  There were no 5 cent pieces then.  Next Mathew McCREA's store and dwelling house; next, across the avenue, was Thomas BELL's dwelling, store room and nail factory; next the dwelling and store room of Frank KINNEAR; next across North Main street, Jacob H. LUTZ's store room, with shed covered with shingles over the pavement, where men congregated rainy days and always had a fight or two; next John A. WOLFLEY's saddler shop; next GREGG & ADAM' store room, a large frame building occupied partly for a store and dwelling; next, across the avenue running northwest was Samuel ROGERS' store room and dwelling; next, BUTLER's store room; next on the corner of West Main street and Circle, Jos. JOHNSON's store room; next, across West Main street, RENICK & HURST's store room; next, Peter DOUGLAS' store room and about where the Company store was kept; next, Dr. LUCKEY's office and dwelling; next, across the avenue running southwest, was Dick JENKIN's saloon and gambling den; next, John B. MOORE's saloon; next, Henry SAGE's silversmith shop; next, Nelson FRANKLIN's store and dwelling on the corner of the Circle and South Main street; next across the street, Samuel DEFFENDERFER's store and dwelling,  next, Jos. LANDIS' hat factory; next, Geo. Weaver's tailor shop, where he sat on the bench to scare boys by making ugly mouths at them; next, Andrew HUSTON's dwelling, and J. & W. FINDLEY's store room; next, across the avenue running southeast, Dr. WEBB's office and dwelling; next, E. B. OLD's drug store; next, Charles DRESBACH's silversmith shop and next, on the corner of the Circle, Miss Polly CROSS's millinery store.
     This takes us round the Circle and it will be seen that all the stores were on the Circle and most all the business of the town done there.  There were no shoe stores, nor hat stores, nor clothing stores then in the town, but about everything wanted was manufactured here.  East Main street, on south side, next to Polly CROSS, where the Star saloon now stands, was John WATT's tin shop; next, Michael PONTIOUS's chair and paint shop, and across the alley a small brick dwelling house; next the large frame dwelling house now occupied by the families of Harry MARTIN and Mrs. Myra BALLARD, and then by John LUDWIG who had the post office in the corner room; next, John ELY the old clockmaker; and next and last on the street on the corner of what was then a wagon road, but now Pickaway street, Peter APPLE's dwelling.  A little further eat and outside the corporation line was David WATT's pottery, on the corner of his father's farm.  On the north side of East Main was the tavern on the corner; next a dwelling and shop of John GROCE, my father; next a one story frame on the site now occupied by the SCOVIL residence, the west room being occupied by Wm. and Z. R. MARTIN as a shoe shop, and the east end by Jas. BELL's family, together with a large log house in the rear; next across the circular fort, a large frame where now stands the MARFIELD residence, and then occupied by Geo. WOLFLEY, father of the late Wm. and Geo. WOLFLEY; next across the road, now Pickaway street, the dwelling and shop of Mathias ROBBINS on the present site of the M. E. Church, and just up the corporation line.
     The quarter mile race course started from that point and ended about opposite the P. C. SMITH residence.
     West Main street, commencing at JOHNSON's store, on the corner of the Circle, was one or two small frame buildings used principally as saloons, and next Robert HAYES' residence, a large two-story frame, part of which is still standing and occupied as a repair shop by A. LANDENBERGER; next Geo. WILBURN's chair and furniture factory, and I think there was no other building west.  On the south side commencing with RENICK & HURST's store was a small brick shop of some kind, not now remembered; and next across the circular alley, Thos. HAIR's dwelling; next a one-story, rather long, frame building, with end to the street, just where PARKS Bros.' grocery building stands; next a yellow frame house standing on the corner of the road, now Scioto street, and occupied by JOSINSKEY and in the yard back his castor oil press.  This was the end of the street.
     North Main street, west side, commencing with the LUTZ store on the corner of the Circle, was first a row of frame buildings, called the TONTINE building, used as a residence and millinery shop, and one room a school-room, where the writer went to school to Josiah HULSE next a two-story frame building occupied by Mr. JACKSON, and attached on the north was his one-story blacksmith shop; next a two-story frame occupied by Geo. CROOK, a merchant, and the Sunday school teacher of the writer, and the first person buried in the new cemetery on the creek, he dying young, lamented by all; next across the circular fort, James McCRUM's dwelling and chair and paint shop; next a one-story brick dwelling occupied by Z. R. MARTIN, on a store and grocery; next, across High North street, the Wilson dwelling, and next and last the brick house now occupied by Dr. M. HAMMEL.  On the east side of North Main, commencing at Frank KINNEAR's store on the corner of the Circle, was Delamer KINNEAR's tin shop; next Joseph JOHNSON's dwelling, and before starting his store used the front room as his shoe shop; next, across the circular alley, was the tavern kept by Lindsey and others; next Henry FORESMAN's dwelling, and across the circular fort his blacksmith shop; next Thomas MOOREs two-story dwelling house, still standing; next a dwelling house on the corner of High North street and the last house on Main street north.
     South Main street, east side, commencing on the DEFFENDERFER corner of the Circle was the old tavern stand, where the ALBAUGH house now stands; it was kept by Michael Rowe at my first remembrance and later by Capt. HEDGES, father of the late H. N. HEDGES, Probate Judge; next Guy W. DOAN's residence on the side of the round fort; next, across the fort, the north end of the Pickaway House as it now stands; next a frame shoe shop, with Jacob BURGET as proprietor, on the lot now occupied by John GROCE; next, across the road, now Mound street, a small frame house, occupied by Wm. MOORE, father of Col. S. A. MOORE, on the spot where Col. MOORE's fine residence now stands; next south a large log building occupied by Caleb ATWATER, author of the History of Ohio, and on the site now occupied by A. R. BOLIN; next a two-story frame building occupied by Noble DOANE; next the one story brick front of the house now occupied by S. C. MORROW; next the Red Lion tavern kept by the TRY family and Jas. GREENO at different times.  This I think was the corporation line but further on south was the TOMLINSON's dwelling and wagon factory which is now the EVERTS school lot, and still farther the old frame house still standing flush with the street, and the last on the street.
     On the west side commencing with the FRANKLIN store room, FRANKLIN's dwelling house; next the house now occupied by Dr. A. W. Thompson, but about the time of which I write Dr. E. B. OLDS taught school in the front room and later on the CARLISLE family lived there; next a frame building, end to the street, the front room used as a school room, taught by Dr. M. BROWN; then Mr. BROWN who occupied the back of the building with his family; next OSENBAUGH's tailorship; next a pottery not remembered by whom run; next a log blacksmith shop by Amos HOLENBACH, standing on the site of the Josiah RENICK house now occupied by C. E. GROCE; next the house in which Dr. BOWERS now lives; next where A. BEACH now lies and next where G. F. WITTICH now lives, but long before their time; on the lot now occupied by Mrs. Dorothy TURNEY a brick blacksmith shop, John PONTIUS proprietor, on the corner, and dwelling back; next Levi PEDRICK's house and shop; next the house in which Wm. VIETH now lives, and next a small log house occupied by Andrew GREENO which stood about where Wayne CALDWELL's house now stands, the end of this street south.
     In the Circle was the circular court house with brick pavement all around which afforded a fine place for us boys to roll hoops.  The market house was on the north side with wagon way between the two.  A row of racks extended around the Circle to accommodate the people for hitching their saddle-horses.  There were no buggies then.
     Of the avenue running from the Circle, on the one running northeast there were no dwelling houses.  The Jas. BELL tan yard was the only building except the stables on the avenue and it was at the end of the avenue.
     The academy and the first district school building at the end of the academy on the east side of the round fort and on a large plat of open ground, was the only building on what might be called an extension of the avenue.  These buildings were, however, at a little later date than I have named.
     On the avenue running northwest from the Circle on the south side from the ROGERS' store corner, was the office of the "Olive Branch" newspaper, now the "Union-Herald," the first paper published here; next a two-story frame dwelling, and next, across the circular fort, the house occupied by the LEIBY family and close to that a little south the Robert HAYS tan yard with open ground all around it.  On the north side of this avenue there were one or two houses only to the end of the avenue, one I remember occupied by George WILMUTH's family, and across the fort on an open piece of ground, stood the first hay scales of the town, where the wagon with the hay was lifted bodily by lever power to be weighed.
     On the avenue running southwest from the Circle on the south side were one or two small houses, and the Lutheran church a little later on.  Across the circular fort and right on the west bank was a house occupied by Amos HOLENBACH, and immediately west of that was the old log jail, the first in the county.  On the north side of this avenue from the corner of the Circle was first a small dwelling house and across the circular alley George C. GEPHART's tailor shop and next to his shop his two-story brick dwelling house, the one still standing and owned by Mrs. A. HAWKES, or now Mrs. BROWN; next, Dr. GIBSON's dwelling, and across fort and at the end of the avenue a man whom everybody called "Old George DOWNS, the hatter," and where people had their wool hats made, the factory standing between the avenue and West Main street on open ground.
     On the avenue running southeast from HUSTON's house on the Circle, south side, nothing but one stable; on the north side of the same avenue from the WEBB corner on the Circle was a row of one-story brick houses owned by the County and used as offices for sheriff, clerk, auditor, treasurer and recorder.  There was one house only east of that on the bank of the round fort.  Across the fort and facing the center of the avenue stood the stone jail and back of the jail a little south the CHADWIC house of logs and often used for Methodist prayer meeting when it was the fashion to shout, and at which there were several female professionals.
     At the time there were no named streets but East, West, North and South Main streets and High North street and the avenues I have named.
     On High North street on the west end commencing at North Main, south side, was the Mathias MYERS' dwelling and spinning wheel (both large and small) factory; next, the WILKES brewer and next the large frame house on the corner of the road, now Scioto street, the Jacob ZIEGER house, still standing, and in which, I have been told, the first court was held in Circleville.  On the north side of this street running east to Main was the two-story brick occupied by Andrew CRADELBAUGH, his tan yard being at the foot of the hill, back.  The same dwelling is now occupied by H. J. BENNETT.  Next on the street was a one-story dwelling occupied by the John SAPP family.  On the east end from north Main, north side, was Isaac WARREN's dwelling and large and small spinning wheel factory, the same house now standing and occupied by Mrs. Thos. WILLIAMS, a daughter of Isaac WARREN, until her death last winter; next the brick house built and occupied by Wm. McARTHUR and still standing and until recently occupied by Henry HEFFNER, and just east of that house the FRYATT family; then farm land belonging to and farmed by Samuel WATT; on the south side of the street stood the house of John IRVIN, the well digger, about where Geo McMULLEN's house now stands, and next the two-story frame still standing and then occupied by the WESTENHAVER family.
     On the road running north and south, now Pickaway street, there was not more than five or six houses from the creek to where John PINNIX now lives and where a colored family then lived by the name of Draper BROWN, and then in front, west of him, and east and south a dense woods.
     It must be understood that east of this road, now Pickaway street, was farm land and wood land.  On the road now Scioto street there was perhaps four or five houses from north to south, and one of these was a large distillery about where the WELDON and BIERCE houses now stand.  On the road running east from South Main street, now Mound street, was first starting on the south side from the MOORE corner, a log house occupied by the colored family of Jack CARDIFF, on the site now occupied by Dr. A. P. COURTRIGHT; next the grave yard and next farm land.
     Immediately back of the grave yard was a dense woods where we boys gathered our hickory and hazel nuts and where all the shooting matches took place.  These often, and in fact generally ended in fighting.
     On the west side of this street was what was then called Mt. Gilboa, and a most beautiful spot it was in the summer, covered with the green grass, and in the winter with snow on the ground, a great place for the girls and boys to coast.  On the west side near the foot a colored family named Levin SMITH then lived, and all south to the river was wood land.
     The citizens living here now who lived here seventy years ago can be counted on the finger ends.  Six or eight, at most, is all I can count, and a majority of them are ladies.
     In conclusion I submit this to some of our old citizens to be corrected where errors and omissions may appear.        JOHN GROCE.




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