Glad to Meet You, Neighbor

As Jacob Hershey and others bought and sold town lots in Medway and local farm acreage, Bethel Township took on a population of settlers who were determined to put roots down deep. Mere names became familiar faces, friendly neighbors, all with a vested interest in establishing a thriving community to raise families in.

By June of 1870, Medway was reported to have an aggregate value of $251,894. As listed in a report to the State Auditor’s Office, local County Auditor John Newlove gathered information as to the personal property values of residents in Medway. He determined that Medway had 341 horses, 784 head of cattle, 260 carriages, 53 watches, 3 pianos. With other miscellaneous items, the above value was seen as significant for such a small village.

Who owned those horses and cattle? Who drove those carriages? Who took note of the time or played the piano? Numerous sources give partial lists of resident’s names.

Families of William Taylor, Thomas Williams, Hugh Wallace, John McPherson, George Croft, Henry Williams, John Forgy and brothers, Reuben Wallace, Jacob Funderburg, Michael Minnich, the Lamme brothers, Findlay Shartle, Christian Brosey, Jacob Hershey.

Families of Joseph Herr, J.M. Zeller, Jacob Herr, D. R. Doner, E. Kline, A. Wagner, J. Barr, Mrs. D. Snyder, J. Cain, J. Loomis, J. Miller, J. Burns, W. Barr, I. Stockstill, J. Spangler, A. Harris.

Families of D. Harnish, M. Burns, J. Lohnes, C. Kline and T. Kline, H. Hoover, J. Weaver, M. Styer, Arthur Gerlaugh, David Burns, M. Clark, J. Kunkle, S. Musselman.

We could go on but for space. Years of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren carried on family names. Whether houses were built from wood, brick or stone, families were centered on the same things families are today. Work, school, household and farm chores. Raising food, church activities, caring for each other. The center of the home was the kitchen, just like today.

Here is a different sort of list. Getting to know the neighbors by their jobs helped put more than a face to a name. It gave a clearer picture of the person and family life.

D. R. Doner was a farmer. Jacob Herr was a farmer and township trustee. Reuben Harnish was a farmer and cooper. Elias Kline lived in Medway proper and was a dealer in general merchandise. J. E. Lamme and W. A. Lamme were farmers.

J. C. Burr was a doctor. Felix Wise was the proprietor of the woolen mill and employed other local residents to spin and card fleece, besides sewing clothes and weaving blankets. Thomas Low and Elijah Davis were weavers. For a time, John Horn and David Feighly operated a blacksmith shop, later selling it to John Lohnes. Besides blacksmithing, Mr. Lohnes built wagons, buggies and plows. Two more blacksmith shops were in the area, ran by Benjamin Herr and F. Koch.

Elias, David, Martin and Benjamin Kline were brothers and kept very busy with brick laying. Jacob Hartman was a bridge builder. Amos Harnish built carriages, including hearses, also helping his brother Henry in Henry’s undertaking business. D. Reed made the caskets.

J. Burns, William Wise, Andrew Mouk and Frank Wilson, N. Dunkel, Henry Mouk, S. Bunn and others were grocers throughout the years. Samuel Mussleman was a plasterer. C. Russell ran a tailor shop, making all sorts of clothes. On the weekends in summer, he made and sold ice cream. Susan Zeigler and William Barr were teachers.

If someone needed to get from Medway to anywhere else, well, there was a hack or carriage for hire driven by L. Day. Later travel was given a big boost when the Dayton, Springfield, Urbana Electric Railway built tracks through Medway and also a car barn and power station for it. The D.S.& U. ran from 1900 until 1937.

The D.S.&U. helped Medway send its roots out to other communities. It provided jobs, transportation of goods and people and a line of communication that kept the community up to speed with the state of affairs across the country.

There are many more residents who helped make Medway what it is and perpetuated its resiliency to last two hundred years. The Medway Area Historical Society has been working for years to record their stories. Talk to the society’s members. Inquire as to back issues of their newsletter. Perhaps someday those newsletters will be compiled into a booklet which will be of great value in decades to come for future generations to refer to when looking up old neighbors.

Connie’s Note: A personal thank-you to all of you readers who have taken to heart the importance of this anniversary. Driving through Medway, we see improvements in appearance even as we undergo road reconstruction and the upheaval it brings. You are to be commended as we travel this road of history in the making. Celebration day will be here before we know it.

Material Sources include: WSU Special Collections Library; L. E. Everts Atlas of 1875; Library of Congress Chronicling America archives; 1894 Rerick Brothers Imperial Atlas & Art Folio of Clark County, Ohio; 1908 Rockel Clark County History; 1881 Beers Clark County History; 1964 History of 1st Methodist Church & Medway Ohio by M. J. Yowler and A. E. Wallace; Clark County Auditor’s Report 1870.