Ohio Iron & Coal Co.

Articles of Incorporation for the Ohio Iron & Coal Company, found in Deed Book 11 Page 566 at the Lawrence County Recorder’s Office

Members of the Ohio Iron & Coal Company

1.     John Campbell (president)

2.     Dr. Caleb Briggs (Secretary)

3.     Andrew Dempsey

4.     Henry S. Willard

5.     George Steece

6.     Henry Blake

7.     Joseph W. Dempsey

8.     Washington Irwin

9.     James W Means

10.  James A Richey

11.  James O Willard

12.  John E Clark

13.  Robert B Hamilton

14.  Smith Ashcraft

15.  H.C. Rodgers

16.  William Ellison

17.  D.T. Woodrow

18.  John Ellison

19.  James Rodgers

20.  Hiram Campbell

21.  William D. Kelly

22.  William H. Kelly

23.  John Culbertson

24.  John Peters

While John Campbell is typically credited as being the founder of Ironton, it was actually William D. Kelly who purchased all of the land needed and created the map that laid out the town. He was also the grandson of Luke Kelly, one of the pioneer settlers in Lawrence County.

Deaths of Furnace Men 1849-1860


Robert B. Hamilton, owner of Center Furnace, and a relative of Robert Hamilton of Pine Grove, died in October 1858 and, in noticing his death, the Ironton Register called attention to the unusual mortality among the furnace men of the vicinity within the preceding decade. In January 1849, occurred the death of Samuel Seaton of Green upsburg builder and proprietor of the New Hampshire Furnace, and in the later part of the year John T Woodrow passed away who had been owner of the Raccoon Furnace and was then manager of the Ohio Furnace. In 1850 the mortality included Andrew Dempsey of the Etna Furnace, Henry S Willard of Buckhorn, George Steece of Mount Vernon, and John Patton of Pennsylvania in 1851. Henry Blake of Hecla, 1852; John W Dempsey of Vesuvius, 1854; James W Means, brother of Thomas W. of the Lawrence, Ironton, 1855; James Richey of Ironton, former proprietor of Centre and various furnaces in Jackson County, and James O Willard of Buckhorn Furnace; 1856 Robert Hamilton of Pine Grove Furnace and Archibald Paull of Wheeling, one of the builders of the Bellefonte Furnace and for many years proprietor of the Amanda; 1857, LD Hollister of the Raccoon Furnace, who died at Covington Kentucky, and, in 1858, besides Robert B. Hamilton, John E. Clark of the Lawrence Furnace, and John Culver of Catlettsburg, a builder of the Amanda Furnace.

Dissolution of the Ohio Iron & Coal Company

Within the same period of time of the twenty four members who organized the Ohio Iron and Coal Company, which had founded Ironton in 1849, the following eleven had died: Andrew Dempsey, Henry S Willard, George Steece, Henry Blake, Joseph W. Dempsey, Washington Irwin, James W Means, James A Richey, James O Willard, John E Clark, and Robert B. Hamilton. Two had disposed of their stock by October 1858: Smith Ashcraft and HC Rodgers, which left in the company as original members, John Campbell, William Ellison, DT Woodrow, John Ellison, James Rodgers, Hiram Campbell, William D Kelly, John Culbertson, John Peters, Dr C Briggs, and William H Kelly. In 1859, the year after that record was made, the property of the company was sold with the exception of the river wharf which came into possession of the Town of Ironton. [Note: not totally accurate. There was leftover Ohio Iron and Coal property until Oakley Collins resurrected the Company and made himself President to acquire all the property for a $35 filing fee.