Columbiana County Connections

Columbiana County Connections

Some personal notes from Thom Foulks:

A funny thing happened to me while climbing my family tree. Even though I live in Colorado, and was born in Allen County, Indiana, it seems every significant ancestor I have located in my research has direct ties to one place -- Columbiana County, Ohio.

My g-g-g-great-grandfather, William Foulks founded one of the first communities in Columbiana County, Calcutta (which was even named Foulkstown for a while). On my father's side, my great-grandfather was Samuel Fisher, born in Columbiana County. (My father's middle name was Fisher). The list goes on and on: Armstrong, Bowman, Herbert, Johnson, and Walter, all names with Columbiana County connections.

I've never stepped foot inside the county. But my linkages to its founders and past community leaders is truly startling.

Looking at my ancestral home from afar, I know that tiny Lisbon is the county seat, while Ohio River city East Liverpool is its principal municipality. The discovery of rich clay deposits in the area of East Liverpool led to the birth of the pottery industry in the 1840s, which prompted Charles Morgan Foulks into founding the Sprucevale Pottery. I understand that's a site on tours hosted by the Ohio Historical Society's Museum of Ceramics, located in East Liverpool.

Most of my links go directly to St. Clair Township, of which Calcutta is the principal community and the seat of township government. Ohio tourism information says St. Clair is one of the county's original townships, rich in natural beauty and contains a vast scope of wildly rugged and romantic scenery. "The expansive views obtained from some of its higher elevations are charming, while here and there thickly wooded dells, which shelter mountain brooks, are in turn guarded by towering hills."

No wonder I love my Colorado mountains. Gazing at and admiring "towering hills" is in my genes.

Beaver Creek, says the tourist guide, "flows through the township in an exceedingly sinuous course along the eastern border, and, emerging at the southeast corner, passes across the northeast corner of Liverpool and so into Pennsylvania." Beaver Creek, at that Pennsylvania border, is also where William escaped Indian captivity, by simply being too young to be outside in the work crew when his brother and sister, George and Elizabeth were captured by Indians in 1780.

The pamphlet says, "The township was organized in 1803 and had its boundaries axed by the county commissioners March 5, 1805. John Quinn, familiarly known in history as Hunter John Quinn, settled in St. Clair in 1792 or 1793, and is believed to have been the first white man to locate in the township. St. Clair contains no incorporated village, but there are four villages or hamlets -- Calcutta, Cannon's Mills, Sprucevale and Fredericktown."

I've no real plans to ever visit the county, but I'd like to. It will feel very strange, walking on soil that almost certainly some ancestor trod. I'll feel obligated to call everyone I meet there, "cousin" -- because they probably are.

Do you have Columbiana County Connections? Here's the Columbiana County USGenWeb site, where you can start your search.

-- Thom Foulks

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