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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Ohio: Logan County

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Re: DeGraff Ohio , pioneer days--Question ?
Posted by: Michael Schwing (ID *****0449) Date: April 20, 2009 at 03:01:42
In Reply to: DeGraff Ohio , pioneer days--Question ? by Dick Cooper of 672

this is from Baskin's 1880 History of Logan County and Ohio, online from, a webpage of Ohio county histories put up by my Harrod cousin Allen Potts. Apparently the town was named for the man who pushed for the completion of the railroad from Bellefontaine


the sanguine hopes of its friends and citizens. The village was incorporated in 1853, and V. E. Bunker was the first Mayor; A. J. Darnels, Recorder. Good stone walks are laid down on Miami street, and the streets ore pitied in a way that answers every purpose of paving. There are the usual number of stores, a hob and spoke factory, a grist-mill, with another to be built the coming year, and two steam elevators that handle upwards of 50,000 bushels of grain per year. The present officers are-Thomas Bell, Mayor, and B. N. Leedom, Recorder.

The site of De Graff, with the whole of fractional section 12 (some 503 acres). was entered as early as 1805, by John Boggs, a resident of Pickaway County, Ohio, and laid for years uncultivated and out of the market. In 1826, however, his son, William, desiring to make a start in the world for himself, he gave him this property, which he at once preceded to occupy. In the year named, he came in a wagon with his wife and child, accompanied by a man who had worked for his father, and had taken land in this vicinity in payment. He selected a fine site on a high hill west of the site of the village, overlooking the river and a fine stretch of country to the south, and camped in his wagon on until his cabin was completed, which is still standing, in good condition. In 1833, Mr. Boggs built a saw-mill just below his cabin, going to Columbus for his machinery. In 1840, he built a grist-mill, which is still standing, now owned by Mathias Wolf. In 1850, he laid out the village of De Graff The Bellefontaine and Indiana road, now "Bee Line," had been projected, and even staked out at this time, and John Koke, who had purchased the land of Mr. Boggs. in company with Samuel Gilfillin, platted some sixty lots, one third of which were on the southeast side of the track. It appears that Mr. Koke found it difficult to carry out his contract, and the land, yr a portion of it, reverted to the original owner. It appears that David Lewis, a noted land speculator of that day, and a resident of Cincinnati, tried to secure this section, but was disappointed be John Boggs buying it before him. It was his intention of laying curt a town at once, or as soon as possible, on the very spot where DeGraff now stands.

The location of the railroad insured the success of the town, and it was appropriately named after the railroad magnate that pushed the railroad enterprise to completion. The site chosen was on high, rolling ground, in the path of the great tornado of 1825. The great oak trees had not been cleared away, and to add to the unpleasant features of the place, a dense growth of underbrush had sprung up, presenting anything but a desirable building; sent. But railroads were a comparatively new and important thing at that time. and no one hesitated because of the unfavorableness of the prospect. In three years after the original platting of the town, thirty-three lots were added between Miami and Haves streets, and in 1856 nineteen lots between Miami and Race streets were platted, Two years later, fifty-one lots were added north of Miami street, extending into Pleasant Township. Several considerable additions have since been made, until it now ranks second only to Bellefontaine in the county, and some ambitious citizen has studied the census of the present year (1880) until he has arrived at the conclusion that it ranks the thirty-sixth in the State.

The first business was introduced in the town by J. M. Askrin, in April, 1851. In the following May, A. J. Lippincott, from Lippincott Station, in an adjoining county, put up a store, and commenced business. It was expected by the proprietors that Boggs street would prove the principal street for business, but to this Mr. Lippincott dissented. and erected the first building on the east side of


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Main street. The event has justified his judgment, and Main street is now the principal . business street. The "Miami House " is the oldest frame building on Main street. The frame was put up at an early date, but for several rears it stood uninclosed, a rather depressing object to would-be settlers.

The platting of a village so close to Quincy naturally excited not a little jealousy and alarm among the citizens of that borough, and it is safe to say that nothing was done by them to help the new venture along. De Graff grew but slowly, yet did not cease its progress, and each year found it a little nearer success. The projected Louisville and Sandusky railroad which promised to go through the village, but was not built. served to attract attention to it, and helped its growth. It was for several years undecided, the business men of De Graff investing liberally in its stock, and so long as it stood in this shape it was a benefit to the town. Later the pike which opened up the Muchinippi Valley brought an increased amount .if trade. This, with the depressing influences at work at Quincy, gave the new town a ,tart which it has not since lost. Mr. Boggs has from the first proved a public-spirited citizen, and has freely invested his money when the prospect promised mere benefit to the growth of his village than financial returns to himself. One of his earliest enterprises was the erection of a warehouse for Aaron Mitchel "old Uncle Ben," us the citizens loved to call him-who, without capital, began to purchase wheat with the aid of Mr. Boggs, and soon made De Graff one of the best markets for grain in the county, with profit both to himself and the town. Of late years the growth of De Graff has been more rapid, during the last decade wresting the second place from West Liberty. In 1864, the depot, freight-office, and the bull: of the business was done in the old warehouse; now, in 1880, it has a large depot with two immense water-tanks and the Nest freight record of any town, save the county seat, on this line of road. In 1864 there was one drug-store; now there are two. There were two dry-goods stores. and now four; beside the addition of two tin shops, a hardware store, two barker shops, two meat shops, a bank, and a fine union school building. There are two warehouses that handle upwards of 200,000 bushels of wheat in a year; a grist-mill that does a large commercial business, and a saw-mill that turned out 250, 000 feet of lumber, on railroad contracts, last year.

The village was incorporated in 1864, with the first officers as follows; A. J. Lippincott, Mayor; Mathias Wolf, Recorder, and Frank Kating, Dr. R. S. Gilchrist, G. Shoemaker, Samuel Prince aril James Hays, Councilmen. The first council passed, at their first regular lay session. an ordinance directing that a Marshal. Treasurer and Street Commissioner be elected annually. On the following April, Owen Concklin was made Marshal, and John Shoemaker, Sr., Treasurer. In the following year, grades for the streets were established and sidewalks ordered, and in 1874 improved sidewalks were required on Main, Miami, Boggs, Koke ,Hays, Moore and Church streets, some of them being of bereastone and others of gravel and brick. in 1877 the one half lot No. 20, fronting on Main street, was bought, at a cost of $500, on which to erect a town hall. A fine, two-story brick was at once erected at a cost of $3,300, In this building, on the ground floor, are the engine and hook and ladder truck, the Mayor's office and the "lockup." The latter consists of two roomy cells in the rear part of the building, lined with boiler-iron on a fifteen-inch brick wall and floored, stone on concrete. Until 1873, no provision had been made for defence against fire. In that year a hook and ladder true): was purchased. at a cost of $225, and a volunteer company formed to man it. August 20, 1880, a No. 5 nickel-plated Silsby



steam fire engine was received, with two hose reels and 1,000 feet of good rubber hose, at a total cost, for the whole apparatus, of $3,750. Two large cisterns, holding about 350 barrels of water each, furnish the supply for a portion of the town, while the millrace, which encircles the town on the south, furnishes an inexhaustible supply for the larger part of the village. The engine is propelled by hand, which is an easy matter where the roads never get muddy. The present officials of the village are; H. H. Barr, Mayor; W. H. Hinkle, Recorder; James Longfellow, Marshal;. A. Weller, Treasurer; M. Wolf, Dr. D. W. Richardson, S. K. \ Neer, James Hays, Milton Richards and H. Thacher, Councilmen

I could not find his name in the bios for Lake Twp (Bellefontaine)or Bellefontaine town history or Miami Twp bios.

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