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“Spirit of the Times” online now

“Spirit of the Times” Now Viewable Online!

The Ohio History Connection now has online the old Ironton newspaper, “The Spitit of the Times,” which ran from 1853 until 1856. A subscription was one dollar per year. Here’s the link.

Ironton Schools Alumni

The Ironton City School’s web site has alumni listings all the way back to the 1800s…. Here’s the link. 


Just put your mouse over “Alumni” at the top, then “Class Of….” and slide it over to the year you want.

Martial Law in Hanging Rock

Martial Law Declared in Hanging Rock

Arrest of Youth for Shooting Mine Superintendent Precipitates Disturbance
Governor of Ohio Sends Soldiers to Scene at Ironton and Crowds Disperse

“San Francisco Call, Volume 96, Number 2. June 2, 1904
June 1 – Four companies of the militia were today ordered to proceed to Hanging Rock, near Ironton, on the Ohio River. Governor Henrick ordered out Company K of Portsmouth, Company I of Ironton and two companies from Gallipolis and Manchester. Colonel A.C. Thompson assumed command. The companies left at once for Hanging Rock on a special train.

The arrest of James Fuller, a young striker, on suspicion of having shot superintendent William Jeffries of the Hanging Rock Iron Company, precipitated serious trouble today. Fuller was arrested by The arrest of James Fuller, a young strlker, on suspicion of having shot Superintendent William Jeffries of the Hanging Rock Iron Company, precipitated serious trouble to-day. Fuller was arrested by Constable Kinkaid and the strikers did not take the arrest in pleasant spirit. They gathered in groups to discuss it. Both sides to the controversy assumed a threatening attitude and Sheriff Payne of this city was called upon for assistance. He investigated and found the situation critical. He thereupon called for troops and his call was approved by the Governor. When the troops arrived this afternoon Hanging Rock was placed under martial law and the crowds were dispersed. Harvey Reed, who refused to obey the troops, was arrested. James Fuller was also arrested on a charge preferred before the troops arrived.




Indianapolis Journal, Volume 54, Number 154,Indianapolis, Marion County, 2 June 1904

IRONTON, O., June 1. Hanging Rock. the scene of the outbreak between striker and nonunion men employed by the Hanging Rock Iron Company, is now under martial law. The crowd of armed striker have been dispersed and the furnace
district is comparatively quiet tonight. The third battalion of the Ohio National Guard is now at Hanging Rock. Col. A. C. Thompson Is in command of the troops, including Company K of Portsmouth. Company I of Ironton and two companies from Gallipolis and Manchester, under command of Major Howe, of the Seventh Infantry.

When the troops arrived this afternoon Hanging Rock was placed under martial law and the crowds were dispersed. Harvey Reed, who refused to obey the troops, was arrested. The trouble today started when a lot of Winchesters arrived for the nonunion men by a steamboat. The strikers then turned out, parading the streets with their Winchesters and threatening the nonunion men wherever found, especially the colored men who had taken the places of strikers in the furnaces. It was announced at the same time that the new men were also armed. It was feared that a serious collision would occur at any time and a reign of terror existed over what was expected during the night. The arrest of James Fuller, a young striker on suspicion of having shot Superintendent William Jeffries, of the Hanging; Rock Iron Company, precipitated serious trouble before the troops arrived. Fuller was arrested by Constable Klncaid and the strikers did not take the arrest In pleasant spirit. They gathered in groups to discuss it. Both sides to the controversy assumed threatening attitudes and Sheriff Payne, of this city, was called upon for assistance. He investigated and found the situation critical. He thereupon called for troops, and his call was approved by Governor Herrick, who ordered out the third battalion. The trouble at the furnaces In the Hanging Rock district is due to the attempt to supply the places or strikers with nonunion men, many of the latter being negroes from Virginia. There were several collisions last Sunday. in one of which Albert Sperry was seriously hurt. On Monday night an attack was made on an old church where a party of nonunionists had taken refuge and 300 shots were exchanged. Later Superintendent Jeffries, of the Hamilton furnace, was shot, but not seriously hurt. There were few casualties, considering the extent of the shooting.

Lawrence County Seal

“Stephen D. Burcham: The history behind the Seal of Lawrence County, Ohio”

The Herald-Dispatch


Many people know that Lawrence County has an official seal, but are unaware of the historical significance of the items which appear therein. The seal grew from a discussion of various members of the Lawrence County Historical Society including Ironton residents Dr. John Haney, Lou Ann Blagg, Buddy Haney, Tim Selb, Art Shaffer, John Jones, Isabelle Jones and Proctorville resident Margery “Betty” Burcham. The committee wanted the seal to reflect the history and heritage of our county.

After several meetings, this committee decided to include depictions of three symbols and the year of the county’s formation on the seal. The furnace in the upper left hand corner of the seal is representative of an Iron Furnace (17 were located in the county) from the Hanging Rock Iron Region representing pig iron manufactured in this county in the 1800s. These furnaces were blast furnaces – iron ore and limestone were smelted in a furnace heated by burning charcoal with a blast of air. Smaller furnaces could produce one to two tons of iron per day and were often cast directly into pots, kettles and skillets. Larger furnaces could produce up to 100 tons of iron which was cast into heavier machinery and weapons used during the Civil War.

The apple on the seal is from the eastern end of the county, which was the birthplace of the Rome Beauty Apple. The apple originated on the Gillette family farm near Proctorville near the present day site of Fairland East Elementary School. The first tree began to bear fruit in approximately 1820 and was eventually named for the township from which it came. The apple is one of the top 10 varieties of apples produced in the United States. It is a popular variety used for cooking, is red in color and typically ripens in August and September.

The boat depicted on the seal was originally to be a packet boat named Minnie Bay from the Bay Packet Lines. Packet boats moved mail, passengers and freight along the Ohio River to various communities. The Bay Packet Line was a company owned by two Lawrence County brothers, George, who lived in Proctorville, and William, who lived in Ironton. The boats operated on the Ohio River during the 1800s. Over the course of the company’s lifetime, it operated over 50 packet boats between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and was the largest packet boat company on the Ohio River. The brothers also had a sister, Sarah Bay Smith, who was the first licensed female river boat pilot on the Ohio River, which was during a time in which women did not yet have the right to vote. Her headstone in Woodland Cemetery has a pilot wheel depicted on it to note her accomplishment. The Minnie Bay was a single story boat; however, the artist who designed the seal, Lee “Danny” Daniels of Chesapeake, felt a multiple story paddlewheel was a better emblem for the seal.

The seal was officially adopted by the Lawrence County Commissioners on November 6, 1985.

Lawrence County has a proud heritage. The seal of the county depicts only a portion of the role we have played in the development of our nation.

Submitted by Stephen D. Burcham, Lawrence County Ohio Treasurer and lifelong resident of Proctorville.

Morris Block Fire

Morris Block Fire


Ironton Register, Thursday, January 14, 1892, Volume 43, Page 27
MORRIS BLOCK IN FLAMES – On the 4th, there was a fire at Morris Block, which was extinguished before it did a great deal of harm. On the 8th, the fire broke out again and destroyed the block. The alarm was sounded at 5 o’clock a.m., but before the fire companies got there, and they were prompt, the building was doomed. The part occupied by Fletcher’s store and furniture, was filed with flame, and in a few minutes the entire block was enveloped, and a great volume of flame issued from the building, causing roof, floors and walls to tumble. So hot were the flames, that the awnings on the opposite side of the street caught fire, and the heat broke the plate glass in the bookstore and ladies’ store fronts. The fire companies did all that was possible, and the fire did not do even greater destruction, was due to their vigorous efforts. Six streams were thrown on the flames constantly, or were turned on adjacent property as occasion demanded. When the west wall of the block tumbled, it crushed in a frame building belonging to E. Bixby, and occupied by Esq. Henry. Mr. Weiler’s, house, close up to Morris Block, was saved by the firemen, though the interior got a good wetting. All the property of K. of P. in their hall in the third story; all of Fletcher’s furniture and goods: all the type, presses, stock and material of the Republican office, were destroyed. And the block itself is a complete wreck. The East building of the block is standing, but it is a mere shell and will be removed. The block was insured for $9,000; the Republican office for $3,500, and Fletcher’s for $3,500. The cause of the fire seems to have been merely a revival of the conflagration four days before.

Ironton is 5 Years Old

Ironton is 5 Years Old

Ironton Register, Tuesday, June 20 1854

Five years ago this day, Tuesday June 20th, the first sale of lots took place in Ironton. Then almost everybody looked upon the matter of building up a town here as an experiment, with all doubts as to its success. Not more than two or three individuals were at all sanguine of more than moderate success – at least, had no idea that the town, this quick, would be anything like what it is. Doubts, however, long since vanished, and realities took their place.

Five years has wrought an immense change in the farms of the Summer of 1849, with their then growing crops, and upon which the infant Ironton then sprung into existence – the change, what is it? Upon these farms of five years since now flourish but little short of four thousand people, most moral, temperate, industrious, energetic, thriving – people that have laid up some seventeen millions of bricks, built some five or six hundred houses, erected seven or eight very heavy manufacturing establishments, mechanic shops, etc – a people with a prosperous railroad extending 13 miles to the interior; with the landings of ten blast furnaces, thirty-five stores of various kinds, six or eight churches, union public schools, two printing offices, county seat and accompanying public buildings, etc. – a people with probably the heaviest productive capital of any town of like size in the entire West – in a word, a people with any unexpended amount of GO AHEAD.

Down in the Coal Mines

“Down in the Coal Mines”
Cincinnati Daily Gazette, May 19, 1873

Click the link below to read “Down in the Coal Mines” at the Ironton Tunnels. Article is a Microsoft Word document.

5-19-1873 down in the coal mines