The town of Milford Center has the distinction of being one of the oldest communities in what is now Union County. It is also the oldest town site in the county. The area was called Darby Ford for a while after early settlers cleared trees in the area to create a ford across the creek. This area is where the current State Route 4 bridge crosses the Big Darby Creek in Milford Center today. The area was later called Mill Ford, after George Reed erected the first mill in the area. The town of Milford was platted and recorded in 1816 for George Reed. The original survey of the site called for 40 lots in the village. In 1820, Milford Center became the first county seat of Union County when a small log court house was built here. However the county seat was moved by 1822. The US post office in the village was established, as Milford Center, in 1823 with David Burnham serving as the first postmaster. In 1831 the Methodist Episcopal Church at Milford was established. Their first house of worship was erected in the village in 1835. The Presbyterian Church at Milford was established in 1808 as the Upper Liberty Presbyterian Church. This church was located on present day Orchard Road near the site of the Woods-Reed Cemetery. This congregation erected a brick church structure in Milford in 1834. The village was incorporated as Milford Center on March 3, 1853. Over the next several years the town ceased to operate as an incorporated town, and the village was reincorporated on August 4, 1866. By 1882 Milford Center had approximately 500 residents. At one time the village supported a school, three general stores, four groceries, two drug stores, one hardware store, one grist mill, one saw mill, one carriage factory, two blacksmiths, two livery stables, one grain warehouse, two shoe shops, two hotels, two barber shops, and four churches. This town also once boasted its own newspaper, The Ohioan. Today Milford Center is still home to a school district. The Fairbanks Local School District calls Milford Center and the surrounding area its home. The town also still maintains a US Post office with a zip code of 43045.
The first permanent settlement in the Marysville area, was founded in 1817 by Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Amrine (1761-1849) and his sons. The Amrine’s immigrated from Switzerland to Pennsylvania in the early 1700s and, after living in Belmont County, Ohio for 16 years, Abraham purchased 1000 acres here along Mill Creek circa 1817, paying $2 an acre. When Paris Township was organized in 1821, the township officers were elected in Amrine's home on Newton Pike (now Raymond Road). All seven of his sons, John, Andrew, Moses, Frederick, Jeremiah, Abraham, Jr., and Henry, settled here. Andrew was a Justice of the Peace and leader in the church. Near this site, Henry built a sawmill in 1822 and a gristmill in 1825, which were operated by the family for more than 50 years.
The Amrine Cemetery holds the remains of the Amrine family, as well as other pioneer families, including the Reed, Staley, Westlake, Wolford, and Wood families. Veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War are also buried here. The Amrine Methodist Church, founded by the family, once stood adjacent to the cemetery and also served as a school. When closed, it was sold and moved to a nearby farm. The local militia held musters at Amrine's mill in the mid-1800s. A covered bridge, circa 1885, built by Reuben L. Partridge (1823-1900) of Marysville once crossed the creek on Amrine Mill Road. It was destroyed by an accident in 1938, but the abutments remain.
Submitted by Michelle (Amrine) Zarzano
Isaac Bigelow was born in Saratoga County, New York, on August 25, 1797, the son of Dr. Israel Bigelow. In 1814, he came on foot to Ohio from Center County, Pennsylvania, to make payment for his father on land purchased from his uncle, Isaac Bigelow. This was the land on which Plain City now stands. After returning to Pennsylvania to study medicine, he married Polly Bigelow, his first cousin, who lived on this newly purchased Ohio land. He returned to Ohio in 1817 with his wife and settled near Trickle Creek in Champaign County, where he lived for a year. He came to Darby Township in 1818 where he conceived the idea of laying out a new town, and in this year the plat for the Village of Westminster was submitted. On February 15, 1842, Isaac Bigelow was elected Mayor and by a special act of the Ohio Legislature the town was renamed Pleasant Valley and it was officially incorporated. In 1851 a decision to locate a truck line railroad through the Village marked the turning point in the development of the town. During the 1850's, when cries of slavery and abolition were rampant over the nation, Pleasant Valley was an important station on the Underground Railroad, which shuttled slaves northward to Canada. On a cool April night in 1865, the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln passed through Pleasant Valley on its journey to Chicago. Townspeople lighted bonfires along the track in silent tribute to the dead president.
In 1871, there were at least four towns in Ohio named Pleasant Valley. In 1877 the citizens petitioned their State Representative, William Morrow Beach, to introduce a bill in the legislature changing the name of the town to Plain City. A brick building was erected just north of the Universalist Church to house the jail, fire equipment, and council rooms. That building is still being used as the Municipal Building today. On November 15, 1902, Uncle Sammy Taylor donated the town clock. The clock is still working today and is used in the Village’s logo.
Submitted by the Village of Plain City.
In 1789, Nathaniel Massie, a surveyor, explored the wilderness of the Central Ohio Territory at the request of Edward Douse to determine the acreage and boundary lines of a large tract of land which Douse held on Military Grants for services in the Revolutionary War. Massies survey revealed 1087 acres in the Douse holdings and it is upon a portion of this land that the little town of Marysville is built. In 1805 Douse disposed of his Military Warrants to Stephen Mason who, a year later, sold the entire tract to Joseph Scott. In 1807 Scott sold the land to Francis Bailey who then conveyed this land in 1813 to Margaret Bailey who four years later in 1817 sold one third of her holdings to Samuel W. Culbertson. Culbertson filed his plot for the new town in November 1819 in Delaware County as Union County was not yet in existence. He called the town Marysville in honor of his daughter Mary. The first settlers of Marysville literally lived in the woods. They were the four families of David Comer, Mathias Collins, Samuel Miller and John Leeper.
Marysville Ohio 1819-1969
Union County Formation
Union County Ohio was organized April 1, 1820 by an act in the General Assembly Of Ohio. The act definitely defined the boundaries of the new county and because it was formed by uniting parts of other counties (Franklin, Delaware, Madison, Logan and old Indian territory), it was called Union County. When organized in 1820, the County was divided into but three townships - Darby, Millcreek, and Union. Later these were subdivided into the present fourteen townships.
Our Heritage Union County Historical Society 1949
Union County Courthouses
1816 - 1883
Union County has had four Court Houses during its history. The First Court House (1820-1822) was a small log building in Milford Center. It remained in Milford Center until 1907 when it was moved to the Union Co. Fairgrounds in Marysville.
The second court house (1822-1838) was located on East Center Street (East Fifth Street).
The third courthouse (1838-1883) was located on the Northeast corner of the Public Square.
Union County’s Fourth Court House (1883 - present) is located at 215 West Fifth Street, Marysville, Ohio.
Our Heritage Union County Historical Society 1949
In 1832 William Pelham received a 1200 acre land grant from President James Madison in what is now Union County. At the same time Charles Blagrove of Virginia received an adjoining 1200 acre land grant. Mr. Pelham sold his land to Charles Blagrove, giving Mr. Blagrove a total of 2400 acres.
In turn, Mr. Blagrove left his 2400 acres to his two nieces, Catherine and Parthenia Blagrove of Washington, D.C. Parthenia Blagrove inherited the 1200 acre tract, on a portion of which the town of Richwood was platted.
Miss Blagrove had a Delaware Attorney, George Bomford, handle her legal affairs. He sold the land in her behalf to Philip Plummer on December 26, 1832.
Mr. Plummer founded the village of Richwood and built his large home at 17 Franklin St., named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. The Plummer house was later used for lodging. Thomas Plummer was the surveyor who laid out the village of Richwood.
The original plat contains a full description of the location, stating that it is situated in a tract of land known as “Richwoods” about four miles west of the Scioto River, at the head-waters of Ottaway Run, on a broad and beautiful knob of table-land, unsurpassed in fertility.
The first store was opened in Richwood by Burdick & Calloway in August of 1833. The village was incorporated on March 6, 1855 through a petition signed by forty citizens. The first mayor was Charles W. Rosette who served for 9 years.
Within the village you will find a spectacular 29 acre park including Richwood Lake. This facility offers numerous quality of life recreational activities: swimming, boating, fishing, two picnic shelter houses, baseball and softball fields and new walking path surrounding the lake.
Richwood is primarily a farming community, with many small businesses. It is a community rich in heritage. The treelined streets are a constant reminder of days past when deep roots and pride were established and remain to this day.
Submitted by Pat Hamilton
Richwood Lake is located on the north end of the Village of Richwood. It is built on land that was granted to Charles Blagrove by President James Madison in 1812 in consideration of Military Service. The lake took form as a railroad gravel pit around 1865. The Atlantic and Great Western Railroad Company built a line thru Richwood, and needed ballast (coarse gravel) for building tracks. The nation was growing as fast as the railroad could move west and south. In 1900, the railroad, having financial problems, sold the land to local businessmen. The property changed hands a few times, but continued to provide gravel for roads and sidewalks until 1939. Due to the high water table in Richwood, the gravel pit was full of water from the early years. The gravel was removed by a steam engine driven shovel mounted to a floating dredge. The gravel was dumped onto carts pulled by a small tractor on a rail, and was moved to the crusher at the south end of the property. The dredge dug it’s own path as it travelled. The gravel pit was always used as a swimming hole during the summertime, even while the gravel was being harvested. The owners of the gravel pit partnered with the Village in 1924 and the lake was named Lake Baccarat, in honor of the local heroes of WWI. The owners of the property went out of business in 1939 and the State of Ohio managed and called the area Richwood Lake. The lake was much used during the time for fishing and swimming. In about 1970 the lake was deeded back to the village, who proceeded to build shelter houses and other improvements. The residents of Richwood and surrounding areas love the lake and the new path around it. It is used every day of the year, rain, snow or shine for healthy activities like walking, fishing, family reunions, or swimming at the beach.
Submitted by Reddy Brown
Magnetic Springs perhaps has the greatest past exposure of any village in Union County, but is the least now known. Platted in 1879 by Robert Newhouse for his horticulture business, the growing of grape vines, small fruit trees, and sweet potatoes were his passion. Finding access to his gardens in the spring difficult, he dug a hole in order to mine gravel to cover a decent road. That hole filled with water, magnetic water! It was discovered to attract anything metal much as a compass would. A heavy presence of magnesium was ultimately the healing agent in the water and the reason the sick found their way to the four major hotels built to accommodate the many guests who sought relief from arthritis, Bright’s disease, ulcers, and stomach ailments. The water consumption, the fine food from surrounding farms, a routine of baths, and massages plus entertainment assured the infirm that all was well and they left, it is said, their canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and braces on or near hotel lobby coat trees. Alas, this healing community did not last because visitors required more sophisticated entertainment and allopathic medicine became more reliable. As the guests dwindled, the hotels turned to polio centers until Jonas Salk found a vaccine against that dreaded, paralyzing disease. The Park Hotel then took in senior citizens, giving them medical care as well as a place to live in their later years; however, the price of regulations and upgrading of older establishments became too costly and the hotel was left to the ages. The other three major hotels, The Incor, The Conrad, and the Ballard, all burned. Before its demise the entire Ohio State football team found its way to these salubrious hotels for pregame conditioning, mostly for the well-being of the players. Bronco Nagurski played in demonstration games. Water from the springs was shipped to Mrs. Grover Cleveland in White House! Not much remains of this once vibrant village except its exceptional history.
Submitted by Sylvia Zimmerman