No, you will not remember when…

Our community is indebted to Charles Goslin for preserving Lancaster and Fairfield County history. He published books and countless newspaper articles. While working on a local history project recently and searching Goslin’s material, this writer had the good fortune of finding a “lost” resource. It was like falling down an historic rabbit hole, and too good not to share with readers. Back on Nov. 2, 1968 (when this writer was in high school) the EG published one of Goslin’s articles about the Hocking Canal. Thankfully, he concluded his article this way: “For those who may be interested, much of the above information was obtained from Williams’ Circleville & Lancaster Directory published in 1859.”

We have local histories published in the 1870s, 1880s and since, but to find this “gem” of details actually compiled and printed before the Civil War was amazing. Our local library does not have a copy, but it is available online from the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

Our local library does have local newspapers on microfilm and this announcement appeared in the Lancaster Gazette, Jan. 27, 1859: “Mr. HT Bennett, agent of CS Williams, publisher of the Cincinnati Directory is now here soliciting subscribers…and preparing material for a directory of our city and Circleville. The work will contain an alphabetical list of all our citizens, a directory of the streets, a list of churches, and locations, municipal and other public officers…Subscription price $1.50, payable on delivery.”

This ad in the Lancaster Gazette announced the new woolen factory of Bickford, Davis & Rice had opened in April 1858 at the foot of S. Broad St.  north of the canal.

As an example of one way this directory can be used is illustrated in today’s story. The canal through Lancaster was built down from the north and the section from Carroll to Lancaster, the Lancaster Lateral Canal, was completed in 1834 with the first canal boat arriving on July 4. By 1843 the canal was open to Athens. “Lancaster now had water connections to New Orleans, New York City, and from there to ports all over the world…[causing] dramatic growth in its population between 1830 and 1840—from 1,530 to 3,272…” (Contosta, Lancaster, Ohio 1800-2000, p.39).

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