Planning a Party

In Clark County, black loam still covers patches of ground throughout Bethel Township. The kind of earth that one sinks into as one walks along, exploring, desiring to find home and “walk the lines”. David Lowry and Jonathan Donnel could tell you about that soil.

Their shoes sank into it as they crossed the Mad River into the countryside north of Broad Ford (near present day Enon) on a summer weekend in 1795. They saw majestic trees, thick and bountiful, with continuous shade. Hills pushed forth clear springs of water, which the men and their families drank from for many years. Wild and uncultivated, with a tremendous drawing power, this land enamored the men.

There was fine limestone for making lime and stone building. Soil was of the highest quality and bottomlands were the finest in the state, some saying in the world. Forests consisted of oak, walnut, maple, hickory and poplar. Along the Mad River and other waterways buckeye trees thrived. Just northwest of the future site of Medway, four crystal pure lakes attracted all manner of waterfowl and held copious amounts of fish.

Throughout time, the township’s growth was recorded by historians. As regards Medway, a town located in the lower left of the township, the Medway Area Historical Society has been working since September, 1998, to discover, record and archive the history of this little community.

Like all states, Ohio has its quantity of ghost towns. To survive, a town must have roots that reach out to other communities. Medway was in the middle of a travel corridor from Dayton to Springfield, from Dayton to counties north, from the Ohio River to the Great Lakes. Early on, its residents took advantage of that flow of people and goods to build small businesses that ensured a healthy start to the community.

Medway was platted in August of 1816 by Reverend Archibald Steele and acknowledged legally by Samuel Smith, Justice of the Peace, on August 24, 1816. This year marks two hundred years for the little town and its community. The accompanying photographs portray the land back then. There were stands of timber, meadows, river, sandstone cliffs with water falls and Mr. Steele’s grist mill and cabin. No wonder he could envision a town growing and thriving here.

The Medway Area Historical Society has been working for almost two years on a celebration of this anniversary. August 6, 2016 will see festivities of all sorts centered on Middle Street, just north of Main Street. In the society’s January newsletter, they announced there will be a Cruise-In, live bands, festival and other events.

Watch this newspaper for updates during the coming months. And to help everyone get ready, not only for the festivities but also the influx of guests for the day, here is something we can all do to help.

Drive through Medway. Take note of areas that need a good cleaning. Perhaps it’s a yard or street corner. Maybe a few minutes of picking up winter and wind-blown trash in one of the parks. Perhaps a neighbor needs help straightening up their yard. Maybe some flowers need planting. Please look for those spots that bring on a tinge of embarrassment. See what you can do to alleviate the eyesore. Just like cleaning house for a wedding anniversary party, with a community effort, by the time anniversary day arrives, Medway will be ready for the celebration.

Next month-Part 2-How To Build A Town.

Photo credits: Scott Suther, Connie Moore, Wikipedia,; Text sources include Beers 1881 Clark County History, MAHS archives, MAHS newsletter.