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The Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923

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Brief History of Mansfield ... Old Records

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Source:  Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923, pp. 40-42


OLD RECORDS

Richland County's official records are invaluable, keeping and preserving facts vital to the tax payer and owner of real estate. The old records of Richland County have been all well kept and are in a good state of preservation. When the books and papers were removed from the old to the new courthouse in January 1873, they were deposited in the basement of the new building, but like most rooms, partially underground, the records room was damp and the books and papers soon became moldy. The books and papers were taken out about 25 years ago and carefully sorted, the more important being given room in the Auditor's office and the remainder placed in a room that had been made when the gallery was put in the common pleas courtroom to improve its acoustics.

In the auditor's office the journal of the first board of county commissioners (1813) is as legible as of yore, and the leaves are in good condition, but much yellowed by time. The same can be stated of the book in the county clerk's office, containing the first record, dated Saturday, August 28, 1813. And, in the recorder's office, the book containing the record of the first deed in the county, is in fair condition. The oldest record is the journal of the first board of county commissioners and the first entry shows that "A board of commissioners met at Mansfield on Monday, June 9, 1813. Samuel McCLUER and Samuel WATSON." At this meeting Andrew COFFINBERRY was appointed clerk. The oldest record in the county clerks office bears the date of Saturday, August 28, 1813, and records the issuing of letters of administration in the estate of Lewis JONES to Jonathan COULTER and Rebecca BOYCE, the appraisers appointed being Win WINSHIP and George COFFINBERRY. Settlement of estates was at the time within the province of the court of common pleas. The first deed recorded in the county was on July 30, 1814, and was from James MADISON, then president of the United States, to James HEDGES, made October 2, 1812, and conveyed the southwest quarter section 22, of township 21 and of range 18, of the lands directed to be sold at Canton by the act of congress, entitled. "An act providing for the sale of lands of the United States in the territory northwest of the Ohio." The general assembly of the State of Ohio on the 24th. day of February, 1828, passed an act for the incorporation of the village of Mansfield, but there is no record showing an organized village government until April 9, 1834. The oldest city record bears this date and is in the handwriting of Judge Charles SHERMAN, who was the village recorder. Judge SHERMAN was a brother of the late John SHERMAN and the father-in-law of General Nelson MILES. The first ordinances passed was entitled. "An ordinance to prevent obstruction in the streets, and for the removal of nuisances." Since 1857 the city records have been well preserved, but prior to that time they are meagre and incomplete. Coming from the old to the curious, there is a will on file in the Probate Office, wherein the oldstyle form of "Benevolent Father" is changed to "Benevolent Mother", making it read: "In the name of the Benevolent Mother of us all," etc. But the oddest of all records is the "Snake Deed" in the Recorder's Office. 

On February 10, 1858, the late Allen B. BEVERSTOCK of Lexington, bought of George B. WRIGHT as Receiver of the Sandusky, Mansfield, and Norwalk Railroad -- now part of the B. & O. system -- a tract of one hundred and twenty acres of land, situated in Troy township, Richland County. The tract was principally swamp land. There was a snake story connected with the land, to the effect that this particular swamp was the habitat of the mammoth rattlesnake, of such enormous size and strength that it could push down fences and break rails thereof with its great weight. Fabulous stories were told of its length and size. In buying the land BEVERSTOCK wanted the snake included, as an appurtenance, and had not only a clause inserted to that effect, but a pen sketch of the supposed monster was drawn upon the face of the deed, the picture upon the record book, being over ten inches in length. This snake deed is recorded on page 29, of volume 45, of public records, in the Recorder's Office. Mr. BEVERSTOCK was a large landholder and enjoyed his joke as this record shows.