Mahoning County Ohio
Lines of Development: - Date of the First Settlement on the Reserve - First Wheat Cut on the Reserve - First Postal Service - Early Conditions of Life - A Primitive Mill - Old Time Threshing - Bounty on Wolf Scalps - Olden School Days - Early Youngstown Citizens - Draft of 1812 - Homemade Soap - The Old Ash Hopper - Soap Spookery - The Old Ashery - The Stage Driver - Matches Unknown - If Fires all Went Out - Wild Pigeons; Where are They? - Pioneer Milling Enterprises - Slavery - County Seat Located - Early Elections - First County Seat Issue - Useless Legislation - Renewal of the Strife - Some Interesting Old Letters - County Seat Changed.
The conditions of life in the wilderness made it necessary to obtain food from the soil as soon as possible. It was also of vital importance to be within reach of some channel, however difficult and obstructed, through which trade with the outside world could be carried on. As Lake Erie was the best natural highway available for settlers in the Western Reserve, there was a strong tendency to build homes near its shores. This, however, was checked in the earliest period of settlement by the menacing attitude of the English north of the lake, and at its western end, and their influence over the Indian tribes of the region. Home-seekers felt safer, and more surely in American territory when within easy reach of the Ohio. Moreover, the soil was more productive, as a rule, and the danger from malaria less, at a good distance from the lake.
The result was a double line of development, one-half governed by trade, and the other by farming. For a time the latter so far prevailed that Cleveland had a hard and seemingly doubtful race with other towns in the Connecticut Reserve. As late as 1812, when the first bank was established in the Western Reserve, it was not located in Cleveland, but in Warren, Trumbull County.
DATE OF FIRST SETTLEMENT ON THE RESERVE
Soon after the partition of the Reserve was completed, many of the grantees removed to their land, and made it their future home. Others sent out agents. Purchasers from the grantees removed to the new country, clearings were made in the forests, log houses were erected, crops were put in the ground, and in the spring of 1798 was commenced the regular settlement of the Reserve.
The first house on the Reserve was probably the log house erected by John Young and Colonel James Hillman about 1797. This house stood on the east bank of the Mahoning River, near Spring Common, Youngstown. Another early house, which still exists in Canfield, was built in 1800-1801 by Major-General Wadsworth, hero of two wars, and a member of General Washington's staff during the War of Independence. Major-General Wadsworth received a large tract of land in the Western Reserve before the State of Ohio was organized. When Mahoning County was organized, in 1846, the house was used as a jail, sheriff's residence, and general county office, until the new courthouse was built. General Wadsworth died in 1818, and his body now lies buried in the little cemetery not far from the house.
FIRST WHEAT CUT ON THE RESERVE
The first wheat reaped by white men within the limits of the Reserve was cut near Conneaut in 1796. That was the year when the first settlement was made in Cleveland, and the date shows that the pioneers lost no time in getting land under cultivation and crops in the ground.
FIRST POSTAL SERVICE
The first regular postal service in the Western Reserve was established and opened in October, 1801. The route extended from Pittsburg to Warren, passing through Beavertown, Georgetown (on the Ohio River), Canfield and Youngstown. The mail was carried on horse-back and delivered once in two weeks. The first mail contract was awarded to Eleazer Gilson, of Canfield, and was for two years, at the price of $3.50 per mile per year, counting the distance one-way. Samuel Gilson, a son of the contractor, carried the mail the greater part of the time, and as one source of information says, "on foot, carrying the mail bag on his back," but it is probable that it was only distributed on foot in the different towns, as, according to old documents and papers, bequeathed by the late Elmer Kirtland, through Miss Mary Morse, to the Western Reserve
Historical Society, the route between the towns was covered on horse-back. Calvin Pease was appointed postmaster at Youngstown, Elijah Wadsworth at Canfield, and Simon Perkins at Warren, these three men being the first postmasters on the Reserve. In 1803 the population warranted a weekly delivery, requiring three days each way. A proposal to carry the mail, dated 1805, reads :
"I will engage to carry the mail from Pittsburg, via Canfield, Poland and Youngstown, to Warren, once a week, for $850 a year."
Detroit was added to the route in 1805, but not until 1823 was there mention of stage coaches, or any vehicle for the accommodation of passengers. The quarterly account of Dr. Charles Dutton, who was the second postmaster on the Reserve, being appointed in July, 1803, shows the amount of business done by the office at that time. The amount collected on letters was $35 ; on newspapers, $3.79 ; total, $38.79. Postmaster's commission, $13.19; paid general postoffice, $25.60; total, $38.79.
EARLY CONDITIONS OF LIFE.
A description of the conditions under which the early settlers lived, and their manner of life may be found in a small history of Ohio, by Caleb Atwater, published at Cincinnati in 1838.
He says in substance : "The people were quite uncouth in their aspect, but not so unhappy as one would suppose. The greatest difficulty with which they had to contend was sickness. The farmer kept many dogs to guard his sheep, hogs, fowls and himself. His fences were very high ones, and his dogs were always ready to defend their master's family and property. Hogs became so numerous in the woods that many of them became wild and multiplied until the War of 1812 gave their flesh a value, and they were killed. Cattle and horses had multiplied greatly in the meantime, and the people had begun to drive them over the mountains at an early day to market.
The people lived in log houses, raised Indian corn for their bread, and as to meat, they found deer and wild turkeys in abundance in the woods. Domestic fowls and hogs multiplied wonderfully in a country where there was so little winter for which to provide (here he seems to be referring chiefly to the southern part of the State), and as for pleasure carriages, we do not believe there was one in the State when it was first organized. Not a few persons wore moccasins of deer skins for coats or hunting skirts and pantaloons. Thus dressed, equipped with a large knife and a good rifle gun, the men went about their daily business. When the State was first organized we do not believe there was even one bridge in it. The loads were few, and it was no easy matter for a stranger to follow them. For ourselves we preferred following a pocket compass or the sun to most of the roads in the Virginia Military Tract, and this even ten years after the organization of the State government. Travelers carried their provisions with them when starting from any of the towns into the then wilderness." What was true in this respect of the Virginia Military Tract was doubtless true of the Western Reserve at this early period.
Captain J. C. Hartzell, a prominent citizen of Sebring, who has at different times contributed much interesting pioneer information to local journals, describes in a recent article, the days "when our good old mothers told time by a noon mark, and made not only their own soap, but most other useful and needful things in housekeeping. They baked their own bread in a clay or brick or stone out-oven, and lighted the home with a lard lamp or cruisie, a strip of canton flannel, or a bit of candle wick in the melted lard or candle, dipped, and later along moulded them in tin moulds.
"Then they made their own sugar, and plenty of it: made their own clothes from wool off the sheep's back to the woven web, the warm and durable linsey-woolsey dress, or from the flax patch to the linen coat, gown, or towel: doctored their own or neighbors' families with medicines of their own garnering from gardens, field, and forest. * * * Each old pioneer opening in the virgin forest would have a most interesting story to tell of the beginning of civilized home life, if there were only some ready writer to set it down in good black print, while there are yet a few, a very few, of the living witnesses of the labor in that struggle with the wilderness."
A PRIMITIVE MILL
The Captain thus describes a primitive hand mill: "I am reminded of an old hand mill, the stones of which are buried in the earth, and form part of the foot-walk from the front door of the old Snode home to the little entrance gate into the yard. They are about two feet in diameter, and furrowed faces tell truthfully that this low estate in which we find them today was not the intent of the original designers. Our good mother Snode says they were brought along with the family pioneer wagon from New Jersey, when they came to this neighborhood. The old parchment deed for the home farm, signed, I think, by James Madison, President, is still in their possession. Mother Snode is ninety years old (1907), and has spent nearly her entire life near where she now resides.
"The mill, of which the stone above mentioned formed a part, was most likely the first grain-grinding machine in the settlement. The stones are perhaps two and a half or three inches thick. The upper stone, or runner, has an oblong eye in the center, and hole or socket not far from the outer edge, a stout stick reaching from the socket to a fixed timber above, with a like socket directly over the center of the stones all loosely fitted, composed the mill. The grinding, or power, was after the Armstrong patent. The family used it and it was free to the neighbors, and the toll executed by the proprietor was good neighborship. Mrs. Snode says that she has often ground grain upon it, and eaten corn cakes and mush, and all the good things that came from the king of grain. Then in her home you will find an old sun dial, which, with the aid of the compass made the noon mark nearly accurate. Here are also the cards that prepared the wool for the spinning wheel, the big wheel, the little wheel, and the reel, sickles for cutting grain, an nld platter with the date of 1702, an old shackle, such as were used in slavery days, and the same as you may see any day when convicts are employed on public works. Except the shackle, the implements could have been duplicated in almost any pioneer homestead.
"In separating the grain from the straw, the flail was the primitive implement, but quite as commonly the grain was thrown upon the great threshing floor, and two teams of horses put upon it, and round and round they walked, and on a cold snappy day the work was accomplished with less labor, though by no means a light job. Flax was pulled just before the ripening point, tied in small bundles and again thinly and evenly spread upon the green meadow and turned until the woody stalk was rotted; then it was broken, scutched, hatcheled, and prepared for the spinning wheel. * * * 'Tis a long jog forward from the little hand-mill (above-mentioned), which might have reduced from one to two bushels of grain to fine meal in a day, to the Pillsbury mills with their daily output of 35,000 barrels of flour.
"Old things are passing away. Very few are now here who have lived in these primitive times and seen the wild deer scudding through the native forest on the very site of our thriving town, with its great stacks belching forth clouds of black smoke that hide the noonday sun, but tell of a busy human hive underneath.
BOUNTY ON WOLF SCALPS.
"My Uncle Jake, father of the elder Mrs. Diver of Beloit, used to tell me the tales of the long ago, when wild game was plentiful. He said wolves were such a scourge that the State offered a bounty of $5 each for wolf scalps. His people lived then south of Damascus, and he knew the lair of wolves near by; year after year, as the pups came on, he would capture and scalp them. I believe he said scalps were receivable for taxes, and he felt safe for his tax money as long as his wolves were not waylaid in this, to him, useful employment; but after a time Abner Woolman, grandfather of our Abner on the hill, invaded Uncle Jake's wolf preserve, and, not regarding family ties or maternal affection, killed both the mother and her children, and so destroyed Uncle's infant industry, very much to his disgust.
OLDEN SCHOOL DAYS.
"In his old wagon house I attended a geography school in the winter evenings. The itinerant teacher had a set of Pelton's outline maps, and the class, when the term was over, certainly had a good understanding of the physical earth, oceans, gulfs, bays, lakes, rivers, inlets, countries, population, chief cities, States and their capitals, boundaries, etc., etc., and all of this set to a song. Each pupil, as the lesson went on, took a turn at the maps with a pointer, somewhat resembling a billiard cue, and pointed to each place and gave answer as to the length of the river, or height of a volcano, or other mountain, etc., as requested by the teacher. That was a good school, and the knowledge we gained in that old wagon house has stood us in good stead all along the journey of life. Some changes have been made in boundaries and States, but otherwise the old world is about the same as we left it when we quit Uncle Jake's wagon shed."
The Captain, who refers to himself in the article so extensively quoted, as "a link between the old and the new," came upon the scene after the roughest and most primitive conditions of pioneer life had been supplanted, to some extent at least, by the comforts and conveniences of a more cultivated society. The world as he knew it "was a pretty comfortable world, and the men who made it so were, many of them, still in the vigor of mature manhood, but many of the primitive habits and customs, either of choice or necessity, still clung to the old homes for a long time, and ye scribe might write on and on to tell of our school life, spelling schools, and the old literaries on the hill, the old fulling, grist, and sawmills;" religion, also, "for we had the gospel preached to us, and none of your snippet, two-for-five sermons, but good, two-hour, all-wool-and-yard-wide sermons."
"Every tinkle on the shingles
Wakes an echo in the heart,
And a thousand dreamy fancies
Into busy being start.
And a thousand recollections
Weave their bright hues into woof
As I listen to the tinkle
Of the rain upon the roof."
Dr. Manning, who settled in Youngstown in 1811, said: "The qualifications for a school teacher in those days were few and moderate. If a man could read tolerably well, was a good writer, and could cipher as far as the rule of three, knew how to use the birch scientifically, and had firmness enough to exercise this skill, he would pass muster."
EARLY YOUNGSTOWN CITIZENS.
Some further reminiscences of those times are found in a letter from Roswell M. Grant, uncle of the late President Grant, who, in writing from Mayslick, Ky., September 7, 1874, in answer to an invitation to attend the reunion of old citizens and pioneers held at Youngstown that year, said in part:
"My father sold his tan yard to John E. Woodbridge, and moved to Maysville, Ky., leaving Margaret and myself with Colonel Hillman, about the year 1820. Colonel Hillman about the same time sold his farm and moved over to town to keep a hotel. At that time the citizens were as follows: 1st, above Colonel Rayen was J. E. Woodbridge; 2d, John F. Townsend, hatter; 3d, Colonel William Rayen, farmer; 4th, William Sherman, hatter; 5th, opposite, George Tod; 6th, Mr. Abraim, chair maker; 7th, Samuel Stuart, tavern (Colonel Hillman bought Stuart out); 8th, opposite. Dr. Dutton; 9th, Esq. Baldwin, farmer: 10th, Kilpatrick, blacksmith; 11th, Henry Wick, merchant; 12th, Hugh Bryson, merchant; 13th, Lawyer Hine; 14th, Mr. Bissell; 15th, Mr. Bruce, shoemaker; 16th. Rev. Mr. Duncan. The above are all the citizens there were in Youngstown from 1805 up to 1810.
"I well remember the Indians coming down the river in canoes, and camping in Colonel Hillman's sugar camp, at the lower end of the farm, and upon the river bank. They would stay some days. Also, the old chief would come to see Colone Hillman to settle some dispute between them. They would bring some thirty or forty warriors with them. They would stop at the plum orchard at the upper end of the farm. These visits were often. I had forgotten to mention the names of Mr. Hogue, a tailor, and Moses Crawford, who lived below Judge Tod's, on the bank of the river. Crawford tended Colonel Hillman's mill. Bears, wolves, deer, and wild turkey were plenty. I went to school in the old log school-house eight years; to Master Noyes five years of the time. David Tod, Frank Thorne, and myself were leaders in all mischief; so said Master Noyes.
DRAFT OF 1812.
"In the War of 1812, the whole country was drafted, and rendezvoused in Youngstown. After they left, Captain Applegate, Lieutenant Bushnell, and Ensign Reeves enlisted one hundred men for one year. During the enlistment Captain Dillon's son, with an elder fife, and myself with a drum, furnished the music. Colonel William Rayen commanded the regiment. Judge Tod had a Colonel's commission in the regular army. Colonel Hillman volunteered, and after arriving at Sandusky, General Harrison appointed him Wagon-Master General of the United States Army. John E. Woolbridge was paymaster. Mr. Hogue, Moses Crawford, Dr. Dutton, Henry Wick, Hugh Bryson, and Mr. Bruce, were all the men left in Youngstown during the war. I had forgotten Mr. Thome [Thorne ??], a cabinet maker, who lived near the old school house.
"Jesse R. Grant left Judge Tod's in 1810. Went to Maysville, Ky., and finished his trade with my brother Peter. Went to Deerfield, O., about the year 1815. Took charge of my father's old tan yard. Sold out and went to Ravenna. Carried on the business until 1821. He then went to Point Pleasant, forty miles below Maysville. Sunk a tan yard there. Same year he married Miss Hannah Simpson, where U. S. Grant was born April 27, 1822."
With the permission of Captain Hartzell, we also publish the following article, which, under the title, "Some Reminiscences of Ye Olden Time," appeared in the issue of The Sebring News, January 29th of the present year (1907):
"Some time ago, as I was rambling through one of our big potteries, I noticed a vessel containing soft soap. The same looked mighty familiar and I made inquiry, only to find that soft soap was imported from England and finds its uses in all potteries.
When I was a boy, both soft and hard soap, in fact all soap, was made by the good house mothers. In our home I was the general roustabout, a very present help in time of need-if I could be found. The old Mahoning formed the north boundary of our farm and its purling, laughing, hurrying waters, as they glide over on and on to join the brimming river, chattering as they go, often beguiled me from duty's path and I often found congenial company with neighbor's boys, though if they were not present, the river was always interesting. And why not, for when I was a boy, any boy or man could fish with hook and line, seine or gig; so that there were times when, mother being about to set in with her annual soap-making, and wanting me to set up the ash-hopper and such like needful work, I had a foreboding of the coming siege and retired to the river for a rest, and vacation. But when the head of the house came home, there was always a settlement in which no compromises were admitted and I paid up.
"In those days every home used wood for fuel and the big wide fire-places eat up a big lot of timber-good timber, too-and the ashes thus resulting during the entire year, were saved and safely garnered to the soap-making season. And when the time was ripe, always spring time, when grass greened and robins came back to their old haunts, then the old ash-hopper went into commission again, repairs, if needed, were made, and serious work began.
THE OLD ASH-HOPPER.
"The hopper itself was a crude affair, a thick wide slab four or five feet long from the sawmill nearby with a gutter dug in the center the whole length of the slab to catch the drip, furnished the bottom and the foundation. The hopper part was of very simple construction, made of any sort of boards cut in three and a half or four foot lengths, made wide at the top and narrow at the lower edge, the boards fitting into the groove of the slab bottom. And now we are ready for operation. First, the handy lad is sent to dig sassafras roots to put in the hopper for a starter, and after being lined on the inside with rye straw the ashes are filled in slowly, and tamped down solid until the hopper is filled. When all this is in order, water is poured on the top, perhaps a pail or two a day, and when the mass is well wet and the lye begins to drip from the groove to the vessel placed beneath for its holding, we may say the enterprise is well started.
"All the waste fat from the butchering and from the cooking, with the meat rinds sliced from the hams and bacon, having been hoarded, are now brought into use and are added to the kettle of lye as needed, the kettle is hung over a fire and the sequence of it all is soap, the same as our potters are bringing over from 'Merrie England' today.
"There was a goodish bit of spookery about our soap-making of years agone and a common inquiry when neighbor women met was about the soap. Aunt Susan would say, 'Well, Mary has had good luck with her soap,' or mother would take her visitors out to see her soap, thrust in her long paddle to the bottom of the kettle and pry up the mass until it would bulge and crack and split into a thousand tumbling bits, and finally settle back into a solid, livery whole. Then they would say, 'You had good luck this time!'
A barrel or two of soap was made in this way each year and when the soap gave out, one neighbor would send to the other for a pail of soap, borrow it. Hard soap was made by a little different handling. To me there was always a bit of mystery in the getting of good soap, but none at all about making and filling the hopper.
THE OLD ASHERY
"As time passed on, my uncle, Nick Eckes, built an ashery on the side or slope of a hill near North Benton, on a farm now owned and occupied by Walter Miller, and after that my architectural genius, so often called out in the building of our homesoap factory, was allowed a vacation in that direction^ but continued to develop as we shall see further on.
"Uncle Nick, to my mind, was a wonderful man. His ashery had several great kettles set in arches where he boiled the lye after it had been leached through hundreds of bushels of ashes. The hoppers were permanent and set well above the boiling kettles, and there he made potash, pearlash, soap and the like, barreling up the two first named and wagoning them to market in some far off place, most likely Pittsburg. He went from house to house with his great wagon and team and gathered the ashes for which he paid ten cents a bushel in trade. He had a high seat on his wagon and a good sized box on either end with secure lid and all fast to the seat. As he sat in the middle of the seat with his treasures on either side where he could lift the lid and take out vast quantities of all sorts of valuables, he was, to my mind, a man to excite a barefoot boy's ambition.
THE STAGE DRIVER.
"There was only one other man his superior in position, culture and training to whom we boys offered unstinted homage and admiration and that was the jolly stage driver, who blew his horn, cracked his long-lashed whip over his four-in-hand team and went sailing into town, where he delivered and took on mail, passengers and such light merchandise as he could carry.
"In a talk with Uncle John Schaeffer on this line, he very well remembered the same and I said when the mail was first started (I think the route was from Cleveland, then a straggling village of a few thousand inhabitants, to Steubenville, the land office of these parts), the road was new and not the best. There were two bad chuck holes, one on either side of his house and the stage driver told him that if he would fill them up he would give him a free ride in his coach to Salem and back. The offer seemed so generous that Uncle fulfilled his contract with pick and shovel and the stage driver was as good as his word.
When the stage coach went flying by, my, oh my! The driver fairly scorned the earth and he certainly was a grand figure, so grand that none of us boys could ever hope to gain such a high position. When I was a boy, there were no railroads, telegraph, telephones and such like conveniences and yet we didn't seem to miss them and managed to get along fairly well.
THE FIRST SETTLEMENT.
"My forebears came from near Bethlehem, Pa., and settled about five miles north of Sebring, near the time Ohio was admitted into the Union. The first settlement was made just north of the forty-first parallel and in what has long been known as the Connecticut or Western Reserve, and by an original charter for the colony, belonged to the State of Connecticut. Connecticut finally disposed of the same to the Connecticut Land Company, and by this land company to actual settlers.
"The reserve was mostly settled by down-East Yankees, a most intelligent, orderly and enterprising people. Our family formed a colony of Pennsylvania Germans, but good neighborship always prevailed and the location was a happy one.
"The writer was born in the year in which Queen Victoria began her long; reign in England, and the pioneers had passed through the hardships incident to hewing homes out of virgin forests, inhabited by wild game and roving bands of Indians, and had secured homes of great comfort. When I put in my appearance, the men and women who had borne the hardships of real pioneers, who had wielded the axe and the rifle, were still living, and I still have a most vivid memory of them and stories of the life they lived.
"Matches for lighting fires were not then known, or at least I have no recollection of them. The evening fires in the great fireplace before retiring, were banked. The manner of it was this way:
"The fireplace was furnished with heavy dog irons and against the back wall was placed a great log, preferably of green wood. Lighter wood was laid upon the dog irons and an iron crane was swung in the side of the wall, provided with adjustable hooks to accommodate pots and kettles with any length of bail. The foresticks having been pretty well burned out in the evening, the brands were laid in the center and well covered with such cold ashes as had accumulated on the generous and always hospitable hearth. In the mornings, all the first fellow up had to do was to stir up the heap, only to find that the trunks had been turned into a fine heap of glowing coals and so we soon had a blazing, cheery-looking and very comfortable kitchen. Sometimes, however, there were lapses and there were no glowing coals in the heap. Maybe the brands were too dry or the cover too thin-something anyway. Often your scribe has been ruthlessly, cruelly, dragged from his trundle bed when it seemed as if he had only begun to sleep and rest his tired body from the toils of the previous day, and was sharply ordered to run quickly over to either Uncle Billy's or Uncle John's for fire, which was brought in a brand or a small torch of the ever-present hickory bark.
"Well, you youngsters say, that was tough, and not near so sleek and handy as to draw a match over hip, and zip, there you have it. But, now, just see here. The times of which I write, an insurance company, either life or fire, was not known in our neighborhood, and although many, in fact, I believe the most of our old neighbors lived in log houses with chinked walls and clapboard roofs, and the same often held in place by heavy poles and a bit of chimney laid up in clay mortar, I never knew a fire to occur in my youth, either of a house or a barn, while today, with our better houses and all the convenient knick-knacks we have about us, the fire losses are appalling.
IF FIRES ALL WENT OUT?
"Well, I was often worried; suppose the fires in the neighborhood should all go out, what would we do then? So one day, I was telling my Uncle John of my gloomy forebodings, and he went into his house and took down his rifle from the wooden hooks over the door, her abiding place when not in use. She had a flint lock. Every family had a little store of punk, and hunters carried it. Punk is a dry, white fungus and is found on decaying logs and timber and catches a spark, and if you have the flint and the steel you are independent of these dangerous, modern, ready-made fire-brands, called matches. So Uncle John, gun in hand, placed a bit of punk in the pan of his rifle, pulled the trigger, and lo, in the wink of an eye, my fears were allayed; no more forebodings of disaster to disturb my mind in the line of fire.
"We had a number of these old pioneer hunters in our neighborhood and their prowess in the chase had supplied the pioneer families with meat and they always talked of their rifles most affectionately and gave to them, in speaking, the feminine gender. The butts were often ornamented with inlaid silver, shell or bone devices, and the old powder horns were also decorated. Bullet pouches were real curiosities.
"When I was a lad, the larger game was mostly gone, but the wood was full of gray and black squirrel, and both pheasant and quail were plenty. The old rifles were mostly out of commission and were not much used except at butchering time, or at an occasional shooting match on the river bottom. But those days passed all too soon; the old hand-made flint and cap-locks gave way to the muzzle-loading cap-lock shot gun, sometimes single and often double-barreled, and then game began to thin out.
WILD PIGEONS: WHERE ARE THEY?
"And, by the way, can any of my old time chums tell what ever became of the wild pigeons? You remember, long ago, when seeding time came, and the mast, beech-nuts, acorns and black and red haws began to ripen and the frosts brought the nuts to the ground, how the wild pigeons came in covies by the thousands, and, after a day's gleaning in newly sown wheat fields or the wood lands, with crops filled with everything good-for pigeons-they would wing their way to the old Beaver swamp to spend the night; and how the noise of their flight was deafening-and so many, they appeared like a dark cloud; the noise of them when settling to roost, and how in the early morn they started in every direction for another day's foraging, often in small parties, only to return in the evening to the same roost. 'Twas a fine place, the swamp, when one wanted pigeons. The last pigeon potpie we had at our house, we had Twing Brooks and Barbe Blackburn for guests. We took small toll of the pigeons here, but they seemed to disappear, and in a season or two, were gone.
PIONEER MILLING ENTERPRISE
"A small stream of water with its source somewhere near Squire Armstrong's home, made its way through the Beaver swamp and meandered through the fields, here and there, crossed the state road near Joseph Ladd's, lately deceased. I called there occasionally and he told me that he was the second to own and occupy the farm where he lived so long and died. I think he told me. Pleasant Cobbs entered or took the land from the government, and he bought the same of Cobbs, so he was the second from the wilderness.
"Mr. Ladd said the first house was made of plank, whipsawed, and when they went into a more modern house, he sold the plank one and it went to the farm now occupied by David Gempeler. But very soon they harnessed up the little stream and put it to work, and within a mile of where he lived at one time there were three mills, one grist and two saw mills, upon it. Samuel Coppock's sawmill on the Phillip Case farm, many of us remember. Scott's grist mill a little farther down the creek, was afterward moved to Westville, where it now stands.
"There was a sawmill on the head waters; of Island Creek, just north of here a mile or two, on a farm once owned in our family and near the Albert Phillips home. Of all these and many more evidences of pioneer enterprise;, the only indisputable evidences to be seen today, are the long dams, bulwarks of earth, to hold the water in check. Any curious antiquary can track the advance of the milling industry by wandering along the banks of the stream. Now, the water mills are all or nearly all out of commission. The only one that I know of still doing duty is the Wilson or Shilling mill on the Mahoning near old Fredericksburg, and that has been modernized and has iron rolls and steam attachments to be hooked on when the water fails.
"The first mill I recollect was Barr's fulling mill; the next was Lazarus' grist and sawmill and the next up stream was the Laughlin mill where the old stage road from Cleveland to Steubenville crosses the Mahoning near Deerfield, and a short distance abovee stands Wright's old mill, then the Kirk mill at Alliance. All these were water mills and pioneer mills. All now stand idle, out of business, and the boy with the family grist on his horse, bound for the old mill is a legend of days gone by. The merry clatter of the old brown mill has been forever drowned out, smothered and laid to rest by the invasion of George Stephenson with his shrieking, roaring giant-steam.
"For nearly half a century after the first permanent settlements were made in Ohio, this Commonwealth, always opposed politically to slavery, was curiously tolerant of the presence of slaves from the States where slavery existed, if they were brought into Ohio by their masters for temporary purposes.
It was not merely that Southern slave holders were free to visit Ohio, bringing their slave servants with them, but that slave owners used to rent the services of their bondmen to farmers living on the free soil side of the Ohio, when there was unusual need of help, as at harvest. It is estimated that fully 2,000 slaves from Kentucky and the Virginia of those days were sometimes employed in Ohio at the same time.
Shortly before 1840 this condition finally and completely passed away. It became practically certain that slaves brought into Ohio would be set free or aided to escape, and many citizens of this State took an active part in helping them flee to Canada. A new impatience of all contact with slavery came to be a marked phase of public opinion in Ohio. Long before the Civil War this State had become one of the most active in movements for the curbing and undermining of slavery as an institution.
COUNTY SEAT LOCATED
The County of Mahoning was created by the legislative act of February 16, 1846. For forty-five years previous to that date it had been included within the limits of Trumbull County, in accordance with the proclamation of Governor St. Clair, July 10, 1800, which declared that "all the, territory included in Jefferson County, lying north of the forty-first degree, north latitude, and all that, part of Wayne County included in the Connecticut Western Reserve, should constitute a new county to be known by the name of Trumbull, and that the seat of justice should be at Warren." There was a good deal of dissatisfaction among the citizens of this part of the Reserve at the selection of Warren as the county seat. While Warren was nearer the center of the territory, Youngstown was the larger village, and nearer the center of population. Some of the most influential men on the Reserve, however, were interested in Warren, either through holding land there or by being actual residents of the place. Prominent among them was Judge Calvin Pease, who was brother-in-law of Hon. Gideon Granger, Postmaster-General of the United States. Mr. Granger, besides his interest in Pease, was himself the owner of large tracts of land which was enhanced in value by the location of the seat of government at Warren.
"Under the old territorial law the Governor had authority to appoint officers for any new county he might choose to erect. The justices of the peace constituted the general court of the county, five of their number being designated justices of the quorum. and the others associates. They met quarterly, and were known as the 'court of quarter sessions.' In this body was vested the entire civil jurisdiction of the county, local and legislative as well as judicial."
An account of the first court held in Trumbull County, with a list of the officers appointed by the Governor, may be found in the chapter devoted to the Bench and Bar.
Early elections in the county were held according to the English method. The sheriff presided over the assembly of electors and received their votes viva voice.
The first election in Trumbull County was held in Warren, the second Tuesday in October, 1800. Owing to the difficulties attendant upon travel in those days only forty-two persons participated in the election. Thirty-eight out of the forty-two votes cast were cast for General Edward Paine, who "took his seat in the Territorial Legislature in 1801, and continued to represent the county until a State government was established in 1803." During the May term of the following year the county of Trumbull was divided into tax and election districts, and the house of Mr. Simon Perkins, at the intersection of Young's road and the Lake road was the place appointed for holding elections in the northern district, which consisted of the towns of Middlefield, Richfield, Paynesville and Cleveland.
COUNTY SEAT ISSUE.
For a number of years thereafter the county seat issue occupied so large a share of the public mind as to dwarf all other topics, State or National. Though Warren had secured the county seat, Youngstown was determined that she should not retain it and a local and sectional conflict arose that was bitterly waged at the polls and in the legislature, and in almost every possible way short of physical hostilities, until the War of 1812 interrupted it temporarily by its appeal to a broader and wider patriotism. Every election was contested on the county seat issue. Youngstown, which seemed to have the initial advantage of having the commissioners and representatives of the legislature, succeeded in 1805 in having Geauga County set off, embracing all the settled western part of the Reserve, this leaving Youngstown indisputably the center of population, if not of the county. In consequence of Youngstown's influence in the legislature, Warren, in defence of her interests, felt obliged to maintain two or three lobbyists at Chillicothe "whose duty it was to see that no law was passed infringing upon the interests of their town.
The erection of Ashtabula and Portage counties, in 1808, with western and southern boundaries as at present, gave Warren a geographical disadvantage, which she sought to nullify at the next election. This was by excluding aliens from the right to vote, which had hitherto been allowed them without question. The aliens were mostly Irishmen and by the help of their vote Richard J. Elliot and Robert Hughes were the candidates elected. It was proposed by Warren to contest the election and throw out the alien votes and thereby secure the election of their candidate, Thomas G. Jones. The Irish made a vigorous resistance to what they considered a blow at their liberties, and some exciting scenes were the result. The justices, Mr. Leonard Case of Warren, and Mr. William Chidester of Canfield, who was selected to take the testimony, sat first at Hubbard, the following day at Youngstown, and another day at Poland.
Daniel Sheehy, the leader, and most violent of the Irish, made some long and flaming oratorical outbursts, which greatly excited his hearers and caused him finally to be placed under arrest. Many of the witnesses summoned refused to testify until threatened with committal to jail. The upshot of the matter was that "when the legislature met at Chillicothe, in December, 1809, Messrs. Hughes and Elliot were regularly admitted to seats on proper credentials." The election of Hughes was contested by Matthias Corwin, of Warren County, in favor of Thomas G. Jones, but the committee on privileges and elections subsequently reported in favor of Hughes. Some three days more were spent in discussion before the house, the contestor and contestee being present with counsel, and ended in a resolution entitling Robert Hughes to his seat in the Assembly, Jones being given leave to withdraw his memorial.
A useless and vexatious change in county lines was made when, in accordance with bills passed by the legislature, towns number eight in ranges one to five in Ashtabula County, were made part of Trumbull County (only to be restored to Ashtabula County soon after), giving their inhabitants just cause for indignation, and putting them to much inconvenience and uncertainty with respect to matters of legal jurisdiction. This action made Warren temporarily the geographical center of the county, but had no particular effect on the final issue. The two parties were now about evenly balanced, and in 1810, a decisive contest, of which both seemed afraid, was avoided by the election to the legislature of Aaron Collar, of Canfield, a neutral candidate.
In the following year, Thomas G. Jones was chosen candidate for Warren, and Samuel Bryson as candidate for Youngstown to the House of Representatives, and George Tod of Youngstown to the Senate. The war with England now absorbed the attention of the people, diverting their minds from the local conflict in the need of preparing to meet the common enemy, and in making preparations for defence against hostile Indians, whom British activity had stirred up to warlike demonstrations against the American frontier.
RENEWAL OF THE STRIFE
It was not until 1840 that the county seat contest again took on an aggravated form, the renewal of the strife being due to a petition by leading citizens of Warren for a new court house, the old one having fallen into a dilapidated condition, and not being sufficiently imposing in appearance for a place of such growing importance. This proposition at once met with opposition from southern townships of the county, whose interests centered in Youngstown. But the contest soon took on a wider phase than the mere question of erecting a new building at Warren, and brought the old county seat question again to the fore. A number of new projects for dividing the county were brought forward, four of which at least proposed to leave Warren without the seat of government. Youngstown elected officers committed against the new court house project. The people of Newton Falls wanted two new counties erected-one to be formed from the south part of Ashtabula County and the north part of Trumbull County; the other from the east part of Trumbull County, to consist of the townships of Mecca, Bazetta, Howland, Weathersfield, Austintown, Canfield, Boardman, Youngstown, Liberty, Vienna, Fowler, Johnston, Hartford, Brookfield, Hubbard, Coitsville and Poland, with the county seat at Poland; and the townships of Windham, Palmyra, Nelson and Paris, in Portage County, to be annexed to Trumbull County, with the county seat at Newton Falls.
"Youngstown finally petitioned for a division of Trumbull County, as it then existed, into two counties, the south division having the county seat at Youngstown, and the north-west, which should retain the name Trumbull, retaining the county seat at Warren. Canfield further complicated matters by petitioning for the erection of a new county seat out of the ten southern townships of Trumbull and five northern townships of Columbiana. This last proposition received the support of the Warren people, and was finally confirmed by the legislature in 1846, the new county being designated "Mahoning." This name is generally considered to be of Indian origin, meaning "Beautiful Meadow," though some other theories have been occasionally advanced.
SOME INTERESTING LETTERS.
To depict more clearly the strenuous times that have been thus briefly sketched above, we print herewith some interesting old letters written in the height of the strife by three men prominent in the political, social, and financial life of the Western Reserve, the originals of which are now in possession of Mr. Frank B. Medbury, of Youngstown. They were written to Asahel Medbury (father of Frank B. Medbury), who was a member of the legislature which effected the division. R. W. Tayler was the father of Judge R. W. Tayler and was later controller of the United States Treasury. Ira Lucius Fuller was probate judge for years of Trumbull County and a close personal friend of Governor David Tod. Judge William Rayen, the writer of the third letter, is known to every one in the city. It would seem that his letter was written after Mahoning County had been detached from Trumbull and another county was still being talked of, to be known as Clay County.
THE SALARY LAW.
One of the matters discussed in Judge Fuller's letter is particularly interesting at the present time, the salary law having been but recently passed and applying to all county officials of the State. It is relative to a proposition to decrease the compensation of the county officials. How amazing the figures are that he gives can only be determined by comparison with the present figures. For instance he suggests that the sheriff should receive $800; clerk $600 and treasurer and recorder each $500.
The subject which was of the most vital importance, though, was the matter of the division of the county. This affected the entire territory and everyone took an interest in it.
The letters are written with a care that is seldom found at the present time among busy men. The consideration which is shown regarding public affairs and interests bespeaks the old time citizen and gentleman.
The letters are as follows:
Youngstown, Dec. 14, 1843.
Dear Sir : Last evening Mr. Horace Stevens, Mr. Carlile and Mr. Lane of Newton Falls were here, having come down to make some arrangement about a different division of the county concerning which Mr. Carlile said he had spoken with you on your way to Columbus. That proposition was to divide North and South between the third and fourth ranges making a county seat at Youngstown and another at Newton Falls, taking four townships from Portage, then cutting off the northern tier of towns in Trumbull and two southern tiers of Ashtabula and adding one other township and making another county there. The proposition if carried out would suit us quite as well, but it is now too late to relax our efforts on account of it.
They proposed to us to abandon our project or not push it to a consummation but wait until another year and join with them, intimating that our refusal would induce them and their neighbors to sign remonstrances which they had not yet done. Of course, however, we cannot abandon ours nor agree to give up any portion of our efforts.
Their visit, however, will result in their refusal to sign the Warren remonstrances which are general against any division of the county. They will, however, probably remonstrate, expressing a favorable disposition towards their own proposition and such remonstrance will aid us as showing a willingness to have the county divided.
Yesterday William Woodbridge enclosed you a petition together with proof of the publication of motion and today I forward another petition to Dr. Manning. If not done already, measures should be taken to secure a majority of the Senate in favor. Would not John E. Jackson, Senator from Portage, go in for it to prevent any further dismemberment of Portage as proposed by the Newton Falls people? The Falls project would undoubtedly obtain a strong support from the southwestern and western part of the county and from the four towns in Portage and from the northern towns interested in the new county project there, as well as from our neighborhood.
I should be pleased to hear from you as often as you can conveniently write.
R. W. Tayler.
HE URGES ECONOMY.
Warren, O., Dec. 26, 1843.
Ashel Medbury, Esq., Columbus.
Dear Sir : I was much gratified to receive your favor of the 17th inst. Although a very short epistle it served to remind me that the friendly relations so long and pleasantly continued still subsist between us. It is truly pleasing to me to be numbered among your personal as well as political friends and I trust it will be long ere a cause shall exist to disturb these amicable feelings so grateful to the human heart.
You do not inform me how you are pleased with your legislative business, but I must infer from your silence that the burdens imposed by your official oath are not hard to be borne. Yet if the session should be long, as I trust it will not be, the time may not seem to pass so swiftly.
Our strength in the House is less than anticipated by some three or four but as you say, "it is thus strong." The "retrenchment" bill which passed the House, is being so much amended in the Senate that its father will hardly know it.
There can be little doubt but what the taxes of the people can be sensibly reduced by a careful application of the power vested in the legislature. But the difficulty, if any exists, consists in great diversity of interests to be consulted in the process of reducing the salaries of our public officials, as well as the expenditures, to a proper medium. The reduction of the fees, however, should in justice be limited to those officers who may be hereafter elected or appointed. A large sum in the aggregate can be saved by dispensing with the records of proceedings in our courts of justice. The clerks of our courts will not object to the lopping off of this item. Also for marriage licenses, etc. Public policy requires that the expense attending the solemnization of a marriage or the litigation of a suit at law or equity should be as trifling as possible. But care should be taken that the salary of no office is reduced so low that a man of the requisite qualifications would not be willing to fill it. Now the proposition of Parkers' amendment to give $800 to the sheriff, $600 to the clerk and $500 each to the treasurer and recorder, etc., would answer in my opinion, provided the necessary deputies were paid in addition to those sums. I was conversing yesterday with our clerk and he had no doubt that the requisite qualifications could be obtained for that sum.
The natural tendency of legislation is to throw wealth into the hands of the rich and in a government like ours it is necessary to check that tendency. Give all classes of the people the benefit of equal laws and as we all have equal rights by nature, no one can justly complain.
Doubtless you have observed that a meeting of some of our citizens was held at the court house and after the passage of sundry resolutions. Battels, Crowell and Baldwin were elected (lobby) members of the legislature to act against those elected by the people. Petitions have been circulated and signatures obtained to influence your honorable body against the organization of a new county. I am personally willing that the people should have a new county if they wish one, although it may be against my interest. There is territory enough in Trumbull County for two counties and the profits and emoluments of office being divided, if a division of the county is made, the burdens of the people will be to some extent removed instead of increased. Go ahead! I shall not petition.
But I must close. Mr. Edwards starts in the morning. I am now in the office for the second time since cutting my foot, but cannot go to Columbus as I anticipated. This is a disappointment, truly. But I must submit like a good citizen and hope for the best.
TOD for Governor.
Respectfully, your friend,
Ira Lucius Fuller.
Youngstown, O., Jan. 7, 1848.
A. Medbury, Esq.:
My Dear Sir: On Monday last William (his nephew), hearing things were not going right in what would be Clay County, he started and went up to Gustavus, and saw Haislep and Horner, and found the Warren clan had got remonstrances against any division of the county, and that there was considerable strife between the people of the township of Green and Gustavus about where the county seat should be; that the people of Green had got up a new petition altering the lines, taking some of the northwest townships of Trumbull and attaching them to Clay, cutting some more townships off the southwest corner of Ashtabula County and putting them to Trumbull County, so as to make the township of Green the center, and asking the legislature to put the county seat at Green. But this petition I don't apprehend will amount to anything, as no notice had been given, and besides, they will not be able to get many petitioners for that plan.
When William went back to Gustavus he found the people willing to give up the remonstrance and determined to go in for our division. Are now busy getting petitions signed and will have them forwarded immediately. Our people are now busy getting signers and will forward petitions on regular as fast as they are got in.
What was a great stimulus to the Gustavus people was they found that the Warren friends had been promising the people of Green if they would lie still this year they would assist them next and get the county seat at Green, and had also promised Gustavus the same. By that means the citizens of Clay County had pretty much concluded to lay still.
AFTER WARREN PEOPLE.
I saw the report of the standing committee relative to the erection of the new county of Gilead made by Mr. Hardesty. I think his arguments made in favor of his report are just and conclusive, and they meet our wishes exactly.
I suppose you will have much said this winter on the subject of vested rights by the Warren and Canfield people. The Warren people need no more sympathy than the Canfield people, for when they got the seat of justice made at Warren they got it by every kind of villainy, fraud and deception that probably could be practiced and contrary to the then known will of a very large majority of the citizens of what was then Trumbull County, and has retained it still, against the will of the people.
There is now forwarded from Mahoning County about 2,269 petitions. There will be probably in the course of a week 700 or 800 more. I have not heard exactly from Trumbull, but I suppose they are busy.
Nothing new has transpired since you left home. My respects to Dr. Manning. If the money I sent to Medray to pay my account to him is not sufficient, if you have funds I wish you would pay him the balance and take his receipt, and I will pay you when you return.
COUNTY SEAT CHANGED
About 1872 the county seat agitation again loomed up, but this time in another form. Youngstown had now become a city, paid one-fourth the taxes, was the seat of more than one-half the litigation in the county courts, and as a railroad center was more accessible than Canfield. It was thought by her citizens that she was more entitled to the county seat than Canfield in spite of the provisions of the act of 1846. The question began to be openly discussed. Among the principal advocates of the change were T. W. Sanderson, John Stambaugh, George Rudge, M. Logan, D. M. Wilson and M. Logan, all of whom were present and spoke at a large and enthusiastic meeting held in Arms Hall, Youngstown, early in 1873. A committee appointed as the result of this meeting, one of whose members was Dr. T. Woodbridge, reported subsequently in substance, "that the removal of the county seat was to the interest and convenience of a large majority of the people of Mahoning County; second, that to attain this end it was necessary to unite upon some man to represent them in the State Legislature, irrespective of party, who was fully committed in favor of removal; third, that the city and township of Youngstown pledge themselves to build the necessary county buildings, to be twice as valuable at least as those in Canfield, and in addition donate a site for such buildings." This report was adopted. The candidates of the two political parties both favored the State constitutional provision giving the power of removal to the majority of the voters.
On June 30, 1873, the following county ticket was nominated: Sheldon Newton, of Boardman, representative; James K. Bailey, of Coitsville, auditor; Isaac Justice, of Youngstown, Jonathan Schillinger, of Springfield, commissioners; J. Schnurrenberger, of Green, infirmary director; Henry M. Boardman, of Boardman, surveyor; Dr. Ewing, of Milton, coroner. All these gentlemen, some of whom were Republicans and some Democrats, were pledged to use their best efforts in favor of the removal of the county seat.
The other side, in a meeting held in Canfield, August 19th, with G. Vail Hyning, Esq., of Canfield, chairman, nominated a ticket composed partly of Democrats and partly of Republicans, who were in favor of the retention of the county seat at Canfield. This ticket was as follows: For representative, C. F. Kirtland, of Poland: auditor, Tames M. Dickson, of Jackson; prosecuting attorney, Jared Huxley, of Canfield; commissioner, James Williams, of Ellsworth; infirmary director, Isaac G. Rush, of Coitsville; coroner. Dr. E. G. Rose, of Austintown; surveyor, Daniel Reichart, of Milton.
The following resolutions were reported and unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we deprecate the issue forced upon us by the convention held at Youngstown; that said convention is directly and wholly responsible for rupturing long established and valued political associations for the probability of engendering local and neighborhood strife and division, the consequence uncertain neigborhood strife and division, the consequence of which will be to injure one portion of our citizens in the uncertain expectation of benefiting them.
Resolved, That this convention, representing every township in the county, deny the truthfulness of the Youngstown convention of June 28th, they being a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of the facts; but on the contrary we claim the seat of government, being now centrally located, of convenient access from all portions of the county, and having good and ample buildings for the accommodation of the public, the removal of it to one comer of the county, largely for the benefit of a few capitalists, and to satisfy uneasy political agitation would be an act of gross injustice to the greater portion of the county, etc.
The first triumph was gained by the removalist party in the election of Mr. Newton, October, 1873. In accordance with a bill offered by Mr. Newton, the State Legislature at the next session passed the following act:
Section 1. That from and after taking effect of this section of this act as hereinafter provided, the seat of justice in the county of Mahoning shall be removed from the town of Canfield to the city of Youngstown in said county.
Section 2. That the foregoing section of this act shall take effect and be in force when and so soon as the same shall be adopted by a majority of all the electors in said Mahoning county voting at the next general election after the passage thereof, and when public buildings shall have been erected as hereinafter provided.
Provision was made in the act for submitting the question of removal to the votes of the electors. The removal was made dependent, however, upon the following conditions embodied in Section V.
That in case a majority of electors of said county shall vote for removal as heretofore provided, the seat of justice and county seat shall be deemed and taken to be removed from Canfield, in said county, to the city of Youngstown, and to be located in said city of Youngstown; provided, however, that nothing in the act shall be so construed as to authorize the removal of the seat of justice to said city of Youngstown until the citizens and township of Youngstown shall have donated a lot or lots of land in the city of Youngstown and of sufficient size and suitably located to accommodate the court house, jail and necessary offices for said county, and shall have erected thereon and completed thereon suitable buildings for court house, jail, and all other offices and rooms necessary for the transaction of all public business for said county, at a cost for said buildings of not less than $100,000, and to the satisfaction and acceptance of the commissioners of said county, and all such buildings shall be completed within two years from the date of the election at which said act shall be ratified; and said commissioners shall not, nor shall any other authority of said county levy any tax on the taxable property of said county for said lands or buildings; provided that the citizens of Youngstown may within two years build said buildings and tender the same to said commissioners
Preparations to fulfill the above-named conditions were at once made by the citizens of Youngstown. The necessary committees were appointed, and a vigorous removal campaign was begun in which general politics were lost sight of. By August 10, 1874, the sum of $100,000 for the erection of public buildings had been subscribed, but the building committee desired to increase that sum to $200,000. The vote in October resulted in a large majority in favor of removal, and preparations were at once made for the erection of the buildings. In March, 1874, the city council authorized the major to convey to the building committee two lots on the corner of Wick Avenue and Wood Street, valued at $40,000, for the nominal sum of $10. The contracts for the building's were let and immediately the construction of the new court house began.
But the citizens of Canfield were not disposed to submit to the removal without a struggle. Under the leadership of Eben Newton they filed a petition in the district court "enjoining the commissioners against removing the county seat to Youngstown on the ground that the law of 1874 was unconstitutional, because it contemplated the violation of a contract between Canfield and the State, which guaranteed to that village the permanent location of the county seat."
On the Youngstown side it was argued that the word "permanent" meant simply, "without any intention of changing," and that "the law of 1846 could not be construed to mean that Canfield should have the county seat forever, for such a construction would take out of the hands of the legislature the authority of regulating the government of the State and would consequently make the act of 1846 unconstitutional."
In 1876 the case was taken from the district court to the supreme court of Ohio, which decided that the power to establish and remove county seats cannot be made the subject of contract, and that consequently the legislature of 1846 had no authority to pass an act making Canfield the perpetual county seat. But further, the act of 1846 was not in the nature of a specific contract, the words of which should be certain and direct. That it merely created the county "with the county seat at Canfield, and then provides that it shall not be considered as permanently established at Canfield" until a donation shall have been made of a suitable lot and $5,000 for the erection of the county buildings. It also held that even had the act of 1846 been a specific contract, and the contract constitutional the validity of the act of 1874 would not be impaired, for the words "permanently established," as used in that act, must be taken to mean "established as other county seats were established," subject to change by future legislation. That the donors (of the lot and buildings) had had thirty years enjoyment under the supposed contract, and that as their property would revert to them on the removal, they had no just ground for complaint. The court, therefore, five judges concurring, dismissed the petition.
The case was thereupon taken by the plaintiffs to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it was tried in October, 1879, with James A. Garfield and others for the citizens of Canfield, and Thomas W. Sanderson, of Youngstown, for the petitioners. General Garfield argued that the eighth section of the act of 1846, when complied with by the citizens of Canfield, amounted to a specific contract, and was valid under the constitution of the United States, which protected contracts made between any State and its citizens. General Sanderson's chief argument was that the word "permanently" as used in the statutes at that time did not mean "forever," but the phrase "permanently established is a formula in long and frequent use in Ohio with respect to county seats established otherwise than temporarily." The result of the trial was that the court affirmed the judgment of the State courts and the county seat was confirmed at Youngstown.
Amid the general congratulations at Youngstown and the other parts of the county that were favorable to the removal and thanks to those who had been chiefly instrumental in effecting the change, the Youngstown Register and Tribune, in holding out the olive branch to the opposition, said: "We want the people of Green. Smith, Goshen and Canfield to feel that Youngstown is their county seat, and that the beautiful temple of justice that has been built here is their court house. We would have them appreciate the truth that we are actuated by no spirit of hostility against their section, but throughout the controversy have only desired the claims of the majority shall be heeded, and that we shall have what is justly ours."
The handsome and commodious buildings which were then erected have since served well their purpose, until recent years, when the phenomenal growth of the city combined with other causes have made new buildings and a new location a necessity. A favorable site for the new structure was chosen on Market street at the beginning of the present year, and soon Mahoning County will have a still more beautiful and commodious temple of justice than that which was the cause of such a bitter and long continued controversy, which will cost more than a million and a half dollars.