History of Rome by A.J. Baughman

Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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(part of Bloominggrove Twp.)


source:  Mansfield News, 26 September 1903


Submitted by Jean and Faye


History of Richland County

 By A J. Baughman



Rome is in Bloominggrove township, and was laid out by Alfred Foulks, May 9, 1832.  Mr. Foulks and his son-in-law, Jesse Davidson, erected the first houses.  Mr. Foulks started the first store, and Mr. Davidson opened the first tavern.  The town grew until it reached a half-mile in length, with three stores of general merchandise, and other business in proportion.  After that limit of growth and business had been reached, a retrocession set in, and the appearance of the village today is not that of prosperity.  The causes of this decadence are those of a general character - that the business methods of the country have been revolutionized and the trade centers changed.

Rome in its palmy days was a favorite resort for Mansfield people.  One of the taverns there had a ball room and catered to that class of amusements, and it was the popular thing then to “go to Rome” to dance.

Early in the “seventies,” a temperance society was organized at Rome, called the “Clear Grits,” with Nelson Ozier as “Ruler” and James Pollock as “Scribe.”  The order grew rapidly in membership, and in time a paper was started as its organ, called the “Clear Grit,” with Mr. Pollock as its editor.  His writings in the style of chronicles struck a popular current and gave the publication a large circulation 

Nelson Ozier was for many years a resident of the vicinity of Rome, and one of the most prominent men of the north part of the county.  In addition to farming, he was engaged in buying stock and wool from 1848 to 1863.  He was then elected sheriff of the county, and at the expiration of his term, retired to his farm, but later removed to Mansfield, where he served two terms as postmaster, and has now retired to private life in the enjoyment of a financial competency and the respect of his fellow men.

‘Squire I. W. Allen was a prominent citizen of Rome for perhaps fifty years.  He was a large, fine-looking man, a tailor by trade and was faultless in both dress and character.

The Stoner family was a noted one among the pioneers.  John Stoner was a Revolutionary soldier  He died in 1845, aged 87 years.  He is buried in the Presbyterian cemetery at Rome.

The Hon. Joseph M. Hunter, who so creditably represented Richland county two terms in the Ohio legislature, was born and reared in the vicinity of Rome.  He is now a resident of Shiloh.  His brother, C. S. Hunter, lives in Rome, where he holds the office of a justice of the peace.  Samuel hunter, the grandfather of J. M. and c. S. Hunter, was a soldier under General Beall, and was so favorably impressed with the Bloominggrove country during his sojourn at Camp Council, that he later returned to that locality, entered land and settled there.

The late Walter H. Shupe built a steam grist mill at Rome and resided there for awhile.  Mr. Shupe was prosecuting attorney of Richland county in 1854-5.  He afterwards engaged in the newspaper business in New York City, and later instituted an order known as the “Sons of Columbia,” of which he became the president or “father,” as their executive officer was called, and which led him to finally have his name changed from Walter H. Shupe to “Father Columbia.”  He was talented but somewhat visionary.  He died at Cleveland a few months ago.

The Foulks family figures quite prominently in the pioneer history of the county.  Mr. Foulks had been captured by the Indians when he was eleven years old, and remained with them until he reached manhood.

Judge E. Chew lived about half-way between Rome and Planktown, and was one of the great men of the age that procured men of brain and brawn.

Among other family names in that part of the county, Hacket, Ferrell, Snapp, Armstrong, Cleland, Ferguson, Miller, Kirkendall, Lybarger, Mitchell, Ruth, Starr, Seymour, Wolford, Zeigler and many others might be given to show that Bloominggrove township people have been and are the peers of their fellow citizens in other parts of the county

In pre-pioneer times the northern part of Richland county belonged to the Erie Indians, who were later exterminated by the Five Nations.  When white people began to settle here, the Hurons and Ottawas claimed the northern portion of the county, the Delawares the southeastern, and the Shawnees the southwestern parts.  There were several Indian hunting camps, among the number was “Snipp’s,” on Snipp’s creek, near to Rome.


Rome, like Shenandoah and Olivesburg, is on the military road known as Beall’s trail - the first road cut through the northern part of the county.  There are three roads in Richland county of military origin.  They are Crawford’s route, Beall’s trail and the Portage road.  Crawford’s route enters the present boundary of Richland county four miles east of Lucas, and crosses the county via of Mansfield and Spring Mills, and thence west to Leesville.  This was opened in 1782.  The route is still a main public highway.

The Portage road was cut through by General Harrison’s army in 1812, and runs diagonally across Worthington township from the southwest to the northeast corner.  This road passes the Bunker Hill church and through the Davis settlement and is one of the much-traveled roads of the county today.

Beall’s trail was cut through the wilderness by General Beall’s army in 1812, enters the county in Weller township and passes through Olivesburg, Shenandoah, Rome and Planktown, where it intersects the Huron road.  As this chapter treats principally on the part of the county through which the Beall trail passes, a brief history of the trail and campaign seems to be in place here.

A bill declaring war to exist between the United States and Great Britain passed the house of representatives of the congress of the United States, June 4, 1812.  On the 17th it passed the senate and on the same day it received the signature of the president, who issued his war manifesto two days afterward.

Mansfield, then but a little village of log cabins, was the western outpost of civilization, and was surrounded by savage tribes of Indians that had always been the friends and allies of England, and in the then impending conflict it was believed the Indians would again co-operate with the British.  Prior to this, the settlers had got along with the Indians as peacefully as could be expected, and, therefore, had not deemed it necessary to build blockhouses for defense.  It was not until after Hull’s surrender, Aug. 16, 1812, that the pioneers began the erection of blockhouses  In the meantime the militia of the state had been called out by the Hon. Return Jonathan Meigs, then governor of Ohio, and Gen. Resin Beall had been placed in charge of a brigade composed of about two thousand militia troop from Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana and Stark counties, to reconnoiter the country west, afford protection to the settlers and garrison the newly constructed blockhouses.

General Beall was an old campaigner, having served under General Harmer in 1790, and was later on General Wayne’s staff..

A pioneer corps had been sent in advance of the army to cut a road through the forest of sufficient width, along which the army and army wagons could pass.  This road was called “Beall’s trail.”  Over this route, which is still a public highway, many people came and settled in the northern part of the country after the close of the war.

Camp Council was so called from the fact that General Beall held conferences there with the civil and military authorities of the state relative to the situation of the settlers and to formulate plans for their defense and protection.

One night during the stay of the army at Camp Council, a soldier by the name of Hackthorn, while on guard on the path leading from the camp to Ganges, saw several men on horseback approaching in single file along the bridle path from the west.  The party was challenged by the sentinel, were upon the leader stated that they had not the countersign, but wanted to go to the camp.  “You can’t pass without the countersign,” replied the sentinel.  The leader started his horse as though he intended to pass but hearing the “click,” “click’ of the musket, as the soldier brought his piece to a full cock, halted and asked, “You would not shoot a man, would you?”  “Yes, I would and will if you come a step farther,” answered the sentinel.  The officer of the guard was then called, who, upon approaching, saluted the stranger and addressed him as “General Harrison.”  The party consisted of Gen. William Henry Harrison and staff.  Gen. Harrison was at that time commander-in-chief of the army of the northwest, and his mission upon that occasion was to confer with General Beall.

General Harrison complimented the soldier for his faithfulness, saying, “That’s right, let no one pass without the countersign:  the safety of the army depends upon the faithful observance of your instructions.”

General Harrison was a perfect type of the citizen-soldier, and believed that the character of the soldier can never be complete without external reverence to the character of the citizen honoring alike both civilian and soldier.

The mission of General Beall was finally fulfilled, and accomplished its purpose, and he was afterwards honored by his fellow citizens in being sent to congress from the Wayne county district.  General Beall died at Wooster, Feb. 20, 1843, aged 71 years.

Camp Council having been an important post during the autumn of 1812, and its site being but one and a half miles from the present village of Rome, the former is closely allied to that of the latter.

Richland county during the early state of its settlement was an ideal country for the sportsman  The streams abounded with fish and the forest with game.  The deer and other game were abundant and furnished meat for the settlers.  The streams of the country at certain seasons of the year were almost covered with wild fowl, and these added to the bill of fare of the pioneers.

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