Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society © 2018
Brief History of Reynoldsburg Franklin County, Ohio
Written by David Graham
May 9, 1885
The following is an account of the Village of Reynoldsburg and of the immediate neighborhood adjoining it; going back as far as the year 1805. About which time there was here and there a log cabin to be found along the streams of-water, where the pioneer lived and began to clear off the forest, (which was very heavy) made up of the following kinds of trees Beech, Sugar or hard maple, Oak of various Rinds, am, Hickory, Soft Maple, Sycamore, Ash, Sassafras, Willow, Cherry, Black and White Walnut or Butternut, Swamp Beech, Spicebush, Crabapple, Wild Plum. Some of the last of the above trees are more properly called shrubs.
The settlement of the country progressed very slowly for several years on account of the presence of the Indians and the hardships to be endured; the want of a ready market and scarcity of grist mills and the great distance to be overcome in going to a mill, to the Post Office or to a store. When the first settlers came they hereabouts had to go to Chillicothe for their mail, their salt, their flour, etc. They had to get their hardware and glass from Pittsburgh, Penna.
The Village of Reynoldsburg was laid out into lots by John” French in about the year 1830. The surveyor who was employed was Abiather Winton Taylor of Truro Township. It is situated on the Pike or National Road. where it crosses Blacklick Creek, being about ten miles east of Columbus, Ohio, the Capitol of the State of Ohio. Soon after it’s location there was a public offering it’s lots for sale. Several were purchased; James Taylor, William McIntire and George Graham were among those who were successful bidders. The latter soon afterwards built a, large frame house, in which he lived for over fifty years’, until it was burned. Soon after the first sale, a Mr. Sells of Columbus bought two corner lots and built on the two tavern stands that are known as the Upper. and Lower Taverns. The latter was soon purchased by Mr. Samuel Gares end. A good hotel opened for the accomodation of all, travellers, and they were not scarce, and for the residents of the town and vicinity, it was kept by him a goodly number of years.
The first dry goods and grocery store in the village was kept by the Honorable James C. Reynolds in a hewed log cabin on the lot where the United Presbyterian Meeting House now stands; owned then by Mr. Mathew Crawford, Esq. In this building he sold goods and groceries for several years, but after the road was finished he changed his location in town, and was appointed the first Postmaster of the Town. He was also elected to fill the office of Justice of the Peace. About the year 1840 he was elected by the county of Franklin a member of the Legislature of Ohio
His father had been a member of the Legislature several years previously, consequently his son was allowed to occupy the seat or desk which his father had graced years before in the old brick Statehouse. While he was in the Assembly he used his influence in getting the village incorporated, and in as much as he had been the means of advancing the interest of the towns the citizens of the town and vicinity held a public meeting 72nd resolved that the town should be known by the name of Reynoldsburg in honor of J.. C. Reynolds. He previously to 1840 built a large frame, grist mill on the south-west corner lots but its expenses broke him up. He sold and roved to the town of Carroll on the Ohio Canal and built a water grist mill which he was allowed to run for a few years when he cut down by. the malaria fever, which prevailed in that vicinity more or less every year.
The McEwen family have owned and occupied the Lower Tavern for about twenty years and have kept a saloon, besides some others which sold liquors contrary to the law and wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of the town and vicinity.
The pioneers of the village and the surrounding country have nearly all left this vale of tears. To record a few of their names may not be out of place here, viz. Henry Johnson, John Coons, George Graham, James Graham, William (little Billy) Graham, Joseph McIntyre, Mathew Crawford, Esq., Robert, James and John McCray, William and Thomas Ashton, Phillip Rhoads, Archibald Cooper, J. B. West Esq., Robert Taft, Esq., Nathaniel Mason, Esq., Jeff Learn, Moses Hunter, John and Alexander Frazier, William C. and John Graham, David Pugh, Moses Strong, John Livingston, Robert Forester, a minister of the United Presbyterian Church, who was the Pastor of the Reynoldsburg U.P. Congregation for more than twenty years., Rev. John Y. Thompson, Presbyterian, Thomas Longshore, Daniel and George Parkinson,
The names of those who served as Justice of the Peace in the village were: William Crawford, Jeremiah Nay, Robert Taft, John B. West, John Miller, George D. Graham, J. C. Reynolds, John Lynch, Charles Hutson, John Wright and Nathaniel Mason Sr.
The first church organization was the Seceder (now the United Presbyterian congregation) church, which took place in 1819 by the election of two Elders and the acceptation of William Graham (for the other) of the congregation of Cambridge of the State of New York. The names of the other two were Mathew Taylor and William Crawford. The election and ordination was conducted by the Rev. Robert Armstrong of Massies Creek, Greene County, Ohio of Miam Presbyteri. The first Meeting House for Public Worship was built by said congregation about one-half mile southeast of town on the Lancaster Road where the Hebron road crosses it, on the southeast corner of the farm then owned by Mathew Crawford, but owned now by the widow and heirs of Joseph Medbury, deceased. There was regular 'preaching in this church for about forty years, until the new church was built in the village in the years 1860-61. The number of it's members, on an average, have been about 100 or perhaps 110. The names of the Pastors who have had charge of the said U.P. Congregation during it's existence, are as follows: Rev. John Donalson, S. Supply for two years, Rev. Samuel McLean two years, Rev. David Lyndsay seven years, Rev. Robert Forester, twenty-one years, Rev. J. W.. McNary, eight years; Rev. J, C. McArthur, three years and Rev. R. H. Park, six years. The congregation has been blessed with the re- gular dispensation of divine ordinances for nearly fifty years, which leaves seventeen years it has not enjoyed them.
But let us take up the town again. The meeting house was first built in the town for public worship and was the Baptist brick church which still stands, after an existence of over forty years. The little congregation has lately been divided on account of some practical questions.