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The Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923

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Brief History of Mansfield ... Beginning

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Source:  Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923, pp. 26 & 36


MANSFIELD

The city of Mansfield was located, laid out and named by James HEDGES, Jos. LARWELL and Jacob NEWMAN, on the 11th day of June 1808. They agreed to name the new town Mansfield after the then new surveyor general of the United States, Colonel Jared MANSFIELD, under whose instructions Hedges and his companions were working. The first camp of the proprietors was southwest of the Big Spring, formerly located immediately north of the East Fourth street school building and later known as the Lampert Spring. Here they sold the lots and laid out the confines of the future town.The original plat of the city was a square, of which the Public Square, also known as Central Park, was the center. It extended north one block beyond Fourth Street, south across Ritter’s Run one block beyond Flrst Street; east one block beyond Water Street— now Adams Street; and west one block beyond Mulberry Street. From this small beginning the city has grown in the century and a quarter to its present population of nearly thirty-five thousand, and has more than a fair probability of a continued and healthy growth in the years to come. 

The first house in Mansfield was a log cabin built by Samuel MARTIN on lot 97, where the dry goods store of the H. L. REED Company Is now located, and it was the only house built in 1808. Ohio at that time was largely a wilderness, and in Richland County there was less than a dozen settlers. The growth of Mansfield has been generally uniform, from the center at the square and the center of population is near the corner of Fourth and Main Streets. During the war of 1812 two blockhouses were erected on the Public Square as a protection against the Indians. One was of round logs and the other of hewed logs, this latter standing near the center of the north side of the square. After the war, or rather before the war ended, this hewed block house was used for the first courthouse in the county. The preparation of this blockhouse for a courthouse is officially warranted and preserved in the commissioner’s records under the date of June 10, 1813, which states that ‘the commissioners proceeded to examine the blockhouse in Mansfield, and to order the same to be prepared for the reception of the court, and that the lower part of same be prepared for the reception of prisoners as a jail. And do further order that the said lot of carpenter work be sold to the lowest bidder on the 24th day of July inst. whIch sale is advertised accordingly.” On the 4th of August following the bids were opened and Luther COE was the lucky man. His bid was $46.00 with an additional $2.00 for the construction of a handrail for the outside stairway.. This building was first occupied by the court on August 13, 1813, and for the three following years, until a new court house was completed. On December 3, 1816, by order of the commissioners, the two block houses standing on the public square were set up at auction and were bid off as follows: the hewn log house to Alexander CURRAN at $56.40 and the round log house to Jacob SNIDER at $20. The round log house has disappeared but the hewn log house is the one now located in the South Park and is in the main as it was in 1813 when first occupied by the first court in Richland County. The second courthouse, completed in 1816, was built of hewn logs and answered its purpose for about ten years, when in 1827 a new courthouse of brick was built and occupied, with some additions and improvements, until 1873, when the present courthouse, located east of the square was completed. The old house now standing in South Park and the present Courthouse east of the square indicate fairly well the progress made in Mansfield during the century and a quarter. Instead of log cabins, comfortable homes, owned for the most part by those who occupy them, are found on all our streets; our churches and public buildings, in number and architecture, are not surpassed by any city of the size in the state. Our public schools, also in number, structure and management are widely recognized and commended, and with the future plans of the board of education carried to ultimate fulfillment, we will have no apologies to make. In short, our city as a whole is creditable to those who have contributed to its development in the past century and a quarter and we are not ashamed to commend it to those who come after us. Our only regret is that the streets are not wider by the founders of Mansfield could not anticipate the automobile and street car, in a time when the stage coaches and ox teams had the right of way.