Restored Cover 2

Featuring 3 towns with 10 pictures from Brown County, Restored Ohio was released on April 29, 2019. It’s the sequel of Abandoned Ohio (2018) and shows a different side of what physically remains of Ohio’s past. Many of the locations operate as businesses such as restaurants, hotels (former stagecoach stops), museums, and working mills.

Ordering Links

Arcadia Publishing – https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781634991216
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Morris/e/B07G8N3HP2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/restored-ohio-glenn-morris/1129901378?ean=9781634991216
Walmart – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Restored-Ohio/185272799
Target – https://www.target.com/p/restored-ohio-by-glenn-morris-paperback/-/A-78016964

Bernard (Five Points) – Eagle Township
Post Office: 1879 – 1903
Location: 38.988200, -83.770438
on Tri County Hwy (Co Hwy 34) at the 5-way intersection of 5 Points Mowrystown Rd, 5 Points – Fincastle Rd, and Biehm Rd
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
Description: Bernard was the name of the train station and post office at Five Points on the Cincinnati & Eastern Railway (formerly the Cincinnati, Portsmouth, & Virginia Railroad). It had 2 dry goods stores, a blacksmith shop, and a Methodist Episcopal church. Morgan’s Raiders, a cavalry unit of 2,500 Confederate soldiers, passed through the area in July of 1963 during the Civil War. Luckily for the local residents, the soldiers only stole a few horses and didn’t do any other damage. The railroad is currently owned by Norfolk Southern. 

Bloom Rose (Bloomrose) (Prall) – Sterling Township
Post Office: 1854 – 1869
Location: 39.103999, -83.998125
on Bloomrose Rd at the intersection of Blue Sky Park Rd along Fivemile Creek
Remnants: Bloomrose Church and Cemetery on the east side Bloomrose Rd south of the GPS coordinates
Description: The town had a school (Sterling Township No. 3) on the south side of Blue Sky Park Rd and a shoe shop on the west side of Bloomrose Rd south of the GPS coordinates. Its United Brethren congregation was formed in 1845. The land for Bloomrose Church and Cemetery was acquired by the congregation from Joseph Brown (1812 – 1886) who moved to Ohio from Maine and Zelinda Brown (1820 – 1847). Their son Joseph Bennett Brown was the first interment. Joseph married Ruth Brown (1821 – 1886) after Zelinda passed away. The current brick church structure was built in the early 1880s. In the late 1800s to early 1900s the town was called Prall and was named after the most prominent family in the area at the time. Several of their family members were also buried in the cemetery, dating back to Thomas Prall (1813 – 1874) from New Jersey and Catharine (Lefler) Prall from Ohio (1817 – 1895). The town lacked industry though and couldn’t compete with several other villages in the township which were more prosperous, but the church continues to operate.

Clover Valley – Pike Township
Post Office: 1858 – 1861
Location: 38.989562 -83.979175
on Oakland – Locust Ridge Rd (Co Hwy 20B) at the intersection of Gargonia Rd (Township Hwy 145) along Polecat Run
Description: It had a steam-powered saw mill in the northwest corner of the intersection and a school (Pike Township No. 2) a mile east of the GPS coordinates in the northwest corner of the intersection of Oakland – Locust Ridge Rd & New Harmony Shiloh Rd. James Redmon (1802 – 1873) was the postmaster. He was buried with relatives & other residents in Warner Cemetery 2 miles southeast of the GPS coordinates on the north side of SR 774 in Clark Township.

Gerta (Gurta) (Slickaway) – Huntington Township
Post Office: 1863 – 1894
Location: 38.683342, -83.746846
on SR 763 between Stringtown Rd and E Fork Rd along Slickaway Run
Remnants: Martin Hill Cemetery on the north side of Martin Hill Rd between SR 763 and Scottfield Rd
Description: Gerta was the name of the post office at Slickaway, which is still a populated place. It had a mill, a school (Huntington Township No. 5) on the east side of SR 763 and a Christian church in the northwest corner of the intersection of SR 763 and Stringtown Rd. Martin Hill Cemetery was established on land owned by War of 1812 veteran Captain Elijah Martin (1768 – 1842) from Maryland and Rebecca (Boggs) Martin (1770 – 1848) from West Virginia. They had several children and were the largest family in the area. The local mill called Sharondale was built by famed frontiersman Daniel Boone in the early 1800s. It was on the north side of SR 41 next to Big Threemile Creek and was sold a few times until it caught fire in 1882. The mill didn’t get rebuilt.

Gillets (Gillette) – Lewis and Clark Township
Location: 38.887626, -83.946690
on SR 125 at the intersection of Gillette Station Rd (T-402)
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
Description: Gillets had a train station on the Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad and was founded by John Gillette (1836 – 1908) from Franklin Parish, Louisiana and Tirzah (Richards) Gillette (1842 – 1928). They met and married in Brown County in 1858 and had at least 7 children. The old Gillette farm still exists in the northeast lot of the intersection of Gillette Station Rd and Barnes Rd. There are a few variations to the family surname, including Gilet, Gillet, and Gillett. John and Tirzah were buried with relatives in Confidence (Georgetown) Cemetery on Mt Orab Pike on the north side of Georgetown. The railroad ran from 1877 – 1936. Its tracks started in Columbia – Tusculum in Hamilton County but only made it as far as Russellville in Brown County due to funding problems. Most of the tracks are long gone but there are some remnants left of the railroad in Hamilton, Clermont, and Brown County.

Gordonville – Perry Township
Post Office: dates not listed
Location: unknown
Description: It was listed in the 1843 A Table Of Post Offices In Ohio as being 25 miles from Georgetown. William B. Williams (1812 – 1887) moved to Ohio from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and was the postmaster. He was buried with relatives in Williamburg Cemetery on Gay St in Clermont County.

Henderson – Jackson Township
Location: 38.924278, -83.699034
on Greathouse Rd between Tamme Rd and Francis Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: Jonathan Henderson (1767 – 1865) and Ellen Henderson moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania in 1820 along with some of their grown children and their families. Descendants of the family continued to live on the original farm for a few generations. Burials took place in Pleasant Hill Cemetery on the north side of Kendall Rd between Tamme Rd and Juillerat Rd. The town fell into obscurity before the late 1800s and didn’t make it into the 1876 county atlas.

Hillman – Pleasant Township
Location: 38.835605, -83.862562
on Hillman Ridge Rd along Evans Run south of Myers Rd
Remnants: Hillman Ridge Cemetery at the GPS Coordinates
Description: It was named after the Hill family in the area. They owned land south of the cemetery on the west side of Hillman Ridge Rd along Evans Run. The cemetery predates the town and its first know interment was English immigrant Issac Waters (1761 – 1814). Hillman had a school (Pleasant Township No. 6) across the road from the cemetery and a Christian church called Olive Chapel on Old State Rte 68. Evans Run Rd went from Old State Rte 68 across the creek and headed west over to Hillman Ridge Rd south of the GPS coordinates in the mid to late 1800s.

Lewis – Lewis Township
Post Office: 1819 – 1862
Location: unknown
Description: The town was listed in the 1843 A Table Of Post Offices in Ohio as 8 miles away from Georgetown with no village.

Liberty – Byrd Township
Location: 38.817028, -83.735336
on SR 353 along Eagle Creek between SR 125 and W Fork Rd
Remnants: Liberty Chapel and Cemetery at the GPS coordinates
Description: This small farming town’s existence was solely due to its church congregation which formed in 1810. A creek stone chapel was constructed in 1817 and was replaced with the current wood frame structure in 1874 at a cost of $1200. Although the church and cemetery are still in use, the town never grew much and didn’t have any other industries besides farming. It fell off of the maps before the late 1800s.

Monroe – Pleasant Township
Location: 38.810526, -83.890714
on Old State Rte 68 along Sheep Run
Remnants: none known
Description: Amos Mitchell platted the town with 46 lots in the late 1810s before Georgetown was laid out, naming it after the 5th U.S. President James Monroe. None of the lots sold and Amos had the only cabin in the failed town. The plat was between Old US Rte 68 and an abandoned section of Frost Rd that formerly headed north up Sheep Run.

North Feesburg – Clark Township
Location: 38.907038, -83.969566
on SR 125 at the intersection of N Feesburg Rd (Township Hwy 401)
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
Description: North Feesburg was on the Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad between Hammersville and Gillets. It served as a stopping point for local residents to utilize the speedy train services. As with all of the other small towns along the former railroad that aren’t around these days, its birth and death coincided with the arrival and removal of the tracks. 

O’Conners
Post Office: 1833 – 1836
Location: unknown
Description: It was founded by a branch of the O’Conner family in the county and was listed in
The Ohio Gazetteer and Traveler’s Guide from 1837 – 1841. John H. O’Conner was the postmaster. The family dropped the O’ from their surname and changed it Connor and Conner in certain branches in the mid to late 1800s.

Salem (Salem Station) (Eastwood) – Sterling Township
Post Office: 1876 – 1935
Location: 39.048848, -83.984619
on Eastwood Rd at the railroad crossing between SR 32 and Tri County Hwy
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
Description: Salem was the name of the train station on the Cincinnati & Eastern Railroad (Cincinnati, Portsmouth, & Virginia) at present-day Eastwood. The town had a Methodist Episcopal Church which is currently a private residence on Salem Church Rd south of the GPS coordinates. George W. Smith (1817 – 1898) was the first postmaster at Eastwood. He was buried with relatives in Bloomrose Cemetery on Bloomrose Rd. Morgan’s Raiders also passed through Salem in July of 1863 during the Civil War. Norfolk Southern owns the railroad now.

Skiffsville – Lewis Township
Post Office: 1894 – 1905
Location: 38.823875 -84.025099
on Skiffsville Rd at the intersection of Bramel Rd (Township Hwy 297) along Middle Branch Bullskin Creek
Remnants: none known
Description: Skiffsville was a small farming and postal town with a saw mill near the GPS coordinates owned by the Metzger family. There was also a school (Lewis Township No. 2) on a long gone stretch of road just northwest of the GPS coordinates. Thomas J. Metzger (1848 – 1917) was the postmaster. He was buried with relatives in Shinkle Ridge Cemetery about 4 miles southeast of town on the south side of Shinkle Ridge Rd.

Straight Creek (Strait Creek) – Union and Pleasant Township
Post Office: 1832 – 1843, 1846 – 1851, and 1861 – 1862
Location: 38.799039, -83.883657
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
on Old State Rte 68 at the intersection of Straight Creek Rd
Description: Straight Creek had a general store and a grist mill on the south side of Old State Rte 68 west of the GPS coordinates and a school (Union Township No. 11) on the west side of Old State Rte 68 south of the GPS coordinates. Some of the buildings in the area date back to the town’s postal days. The last postmaster was Josiah Drake (1811 – 1862). He was buried with relatives and early residents of Straight Creek in Norman Cemetery on the east side of Free Soil Rd between Loudon Rd and Cahall Schoolhouse Rd.

Sunshine – Pleasant Township
Post Office: 1890 – 1908
Location: 38.907004, -83.925196
on Sunshine Rd at the intersection of Barnes Rd along White Oak Creek and Walnut Creek
Remnants: old houses and farm buildings in the area
Description: This small farming and postal town had a stop on the Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad called Sunshine Station between Gillets and Traceys in the early 1900s. There was also a school (Pleasant Township No. 9) on the east side of Mt Orab Pike north of its intersection with Miller – Ring Rd and a steam-powered saw mill on the east side of US 68 north of Sunshine Rd. 

Todds Run – Sterling Township
Post Office: 1857 – 1860
Location: 39.041799, -84.004793
on Todds Run New Harmony Rd at the intersection of Nixon Rd along Todds Run
Description: The town’s postmaster Curtis Wilson from Vermont and Archibald McLain (1809 – 1886) constructed a water-powered saw mill on Todds Run, but it wasn’t in operation very long. The dam was destroyed almost every time the creek flooded and they simply grew tired of rebuilding it. Todds Run also had a blacksmith shop and a Baptist church that was built in 1882. Archibald was buried with relatives in Williamsburg Cemetery on Gay St in Williamsburg, Clermont County. Curtis Wilson’s grave hasn’t been located yet.

Tracys (Traceys) – Pleasant and Lewis Township
Location: 38.873170, -83.921468
on SR 125 along White Oak Creek
Remnants: old farm and mill buildings in the area
Description: Tracys was another stopping point on the Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad between Sunshine Station and Georgetown. Its proprietors were Francis Tracy (1830 – 1923) and Julia (Dunn) Tracy (1836 – 1917) who lived in Sunshine. There were a few mills next to the creek along what was called the Cascade Falls running through the border of Pleasant and Lewis Township near SR 125. Some of the mill buildings on private property appear to still be intact on satellite maps, although in poor shape due to time and Ohio’s seasonal weather changes. Francis and Julia were buried with relatives in Confidence (Georgetown Cemetery) on Mt Orab Pike on the north side of Georgetown.

Whiteoak Springs – Scott Township
Location: 38.945852, -83.923667
on Smoky Row Rd at the intersection of Vinegar Hill Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: It was named after the natural springs in the area fed by White Oak Creek.

De La Palma - Brown County Ohio Ghost Town
De La Palma – Former School

De La Palma, OH (early 1800s – early 1900s post office and farming town)

Classification: ghost town

Location: Sterling Township, Brown County – On Dela Palma Rd near the intersection of Bardwell West Rd

De La Palma was founded by Absalom Day (1773 – 1839) Elizabeth (Earhart) Day (1776 – 1843). They were one of the original 10 families in Williamsburg, Clermont County and received a land plat for settling there when it was a newly formed town. Their daughter Mary, born June 28, 1797, was the first child born in Williamsburg. A few years later, sometime around 1800, the Day family moved to a farm next to Dela Palma Rd. Absalom and Elizabeth had 12 children. Most of them married into families from nearby towns and moved away.

The road into what would become the tiny town of De La Palma provided a good traveling route between Clermont County and that section of rural Brown County. In the mid-1800s, William Weeks (1810 – 1875) and Sophia Weeks (1814 – 1885) bought the Day farm and opened up a post office and general store. It ran from 1850 – 1882 and helped get De La Palma mentioned in the 1883 History of Brown County, Ohio as a postal town. The name later went by Delapalma with a post office of the same spelling from 1898 – 1903. There was also a cooper shop near the post office and a one-room schoolhouse (Sterling Township No. 2) which operated for a few decades and still stands at the corner of Dela Palma Rd and Bardwell West Rd.

Absalom and Elizabeth were buried with some of their family members and other early families from the area in Price Cemetery near the bank of Four Mile Creek in Clermont County. It’s on private property between Zimmer Rd and Ireton Rd. Abasolom’s father, Revolutionary War veteran Jeremiah Day (1752 – 1820), was also buried there. His mother’s grave, Sarah (Dod) Day’s, hasn’t been located yet.

Exif-JPEG-422
Georgetown – Historic Business District

Georgetown, OH (1819 – present farming, mill, and merchant town)

Classification: historic town

Location: Pleasant Township, Brown County – on SR 125

Allen Woods (1767 – 1862) immigrated to the United States from Ireland and married Hannah (Galbreath) Woods (1767 – 1852) in Pennsylvania. They moved to Ohio in 1803-1804. Allen platted Georgetown along what is now State Route 125 with 22 lots and 2 outlots in 1819. It quickly acquired more plat additions from local landowners and became the county seat in 1821. The town was attracting everything it needed, including mills on White Oak Creek, grocery stores, hardware stores, blackmiths, and doctors. Public buildings such as new schools and churches were constructed whenever necessary. The population was at 618 in the 1850 census.

It was stated in the 1883 History Of Brown County, Ohio that Georgetown’s growth was slow but steady. The town had a train station on the Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad from 1886 – 1936 but its arrival and existence didn’t create a major population boom for the town. Businesses usually did well in the town square and were rarely unoccupied. The Georgetown Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It consists of 17 acres with 42 buildings and offers an alternative to the normal shopping experiences of the era. Parking is free in the town square and many historic structures are within walking distance.

In accordance with agreeing to be the county seat, Georgetown’s first courthouse was built in 1823 and eventually needed replaced. A much larger courthouse was completed in the town square in 1852. During the Civil War, and on the same day they reached the Wickerham Inn, a Confederate detachment of 200 – 300 of Morgan’s Raiders cavalry unit took control of the town square while stealing horses and goods from stores and residents. Long After surviving that day, a section of the courthouse was destroyed in an arson fire in 1977. Local citizens formed the Brown County Courthouse Reconstruction Association and raised funds for its restoration. The courthouse was rededicated in 1982.

General of the Union Army in the Civil War and 18th President Of The United States, Ulysses S. Grant, spent his childhood in Georgetown before leaving for the West Point Military Academy in 1839. His father Jesse Grant (1794 – 1873) and mother Hannah (Simpson) Grant (1798 – 1883) saved up $1100 in Point Pleasant, Clermont County. They moved to Georgetown and built their family home on Grant Avenue in 1823 when Ulysses was just a year old. Jesse owned a tannery across from the house and ran a construction business. He was the mayor of Georgetown from 1837 – 1839.

The Grant’s home was purchased by Judge George Campbell and Teresa Campbell, who started its restoration. It was sold to John and Judy Ruthven in 1977 and they donated it to the state in 2002. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark by the federal government and a total restoration was finished in 2013. The school Ulysses attended is restored on S Water Street. Both are museums run by the Ulysses S. Grant Homestead Association. Georgetown is also home to the annual Brown County Fair. The population in 2010 was 4,331. It’s one of few old towns in Ohio that can boast of never having a lower 10 year census count than the prior one.

020
Higginsport – Former Jail

Higginsport, OH (White Haven) – (1816 – present farming, mill, and river town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: small town

Location: Lewis Township, Brown County – On US 52 at the intersection of SR 221

Higginsport was basically platted on top of what was already a ghost town. In 1804 Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Robert Higgins (1746 – 1825) from Pennsylvania settled next to the Ohio River near mouth of Red Oak Creek with his wife Mary (Jolliffe) Higgins(1763 – 1806). Robert a village called White Haven and offered incentives to new settlers. Only a few families took him up on the offer though. The would be town was scratched and Robert tried again, platting Higginsport in 1816 with 114 lots, a public square, and the town named after his family.

There were about a half dozen log cabins in 1828. Higginsport got its first store that same year, followed by several more stores and a post office in 1829. The first brick house in town was built in 1835 at the corner of Water St and Brown St. A brick constructed in 1842 replaced the earlier stone and log cabin chapels. One of the main sources of income for local residents was farming corn and tobacco. White Burley tobacco was named after the color of the plants and is know to have been grown in the area before 1850. A steam-powered grist mill was built in 1855 by Henry Davidson and William Dugan. They added a whiskey distillery in 1861 and a warehouse in 1863.

The 1880s was probably Higginsport’s heyday with a population of around 850. The town had a couple dozen small businesses including general, dry goods, clothing, and grocery stores, 2 tin shops, 2 drug stores, a hardware store, and tobacco store. There was also a blacksmith, doctor, 17 tobacco warehouses at the peak of production, and several churches over the decades. A large school was constructed on Gaines St in 1880. One of the last major businesses in Higginsport was a steam-powered saw mill built by Boyd & Co. of Levanna in 1887. The town never had a railroad and didn’t get any big businesses in the 1900s to create another population boom.

These days, Higginsport has around 250 residents and the number is likely to decline in the future. Most of the original streets remain intact with older buildings scattered around. An abandoned bridge crosses Red Oak Creek between SR 221 and Old A and P Rd. It was built with steel made by the Carnegie Steel Co. who’s owner Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) was once one of the richest people in the world. Robert and Mary Higgins are buried with some of their family members and other early settlers in Higginsport Cemetery north of town on SR 221. The school closed in 1987. It’s one of the most photographed and popular abandoned schools in the state.

023
Levanna – Abandoned Hotel

Levanna, OH – (1799 – present river town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: semi-ghost town

Location: Union Township, Brown County – On US 52 at the intersection of Pisgah Hill Rd

It was settled in 1799 by John Liggett, followed by a few other families and businessmen. Levanna had a log cabin school in 1800, the first ferry boat in Brown County around 1810, and was also where the first newspaper in the county was printed. The town didn’t grow fast, but kept growing and had its heyday in the 1870s and 1880s. 

There was a saw mill, lumber yard, and a small manufacturing factory operated by Boyd & Co., which also did business in nearby Higginsport and Ripley. Levanna had a one-room schoolhouse (Union Township No. 10), a blacksmith shop, church, planing mill, and a cooperage that made wine and whiskey casks. The abandoned house attached to this listing was the hotel. Vineyards were another source of income as grapes grew well on the ridges above the Ohio River and made good wine. In the early 1900s, the town had a train station on the Ohio Valley & Columbus Railroad but it went out of business before the 1920s.

Levanna doesn’t have any stores or businesses today, but there are a few old abandoned houses around town and its a nice drive along US 52 (Ohio River Scenic Byway). Some of the early settlers of Levanna were buried in Pisgah Ridge Cemetery north of town on Pisgah Hill Rd.

024
Murrays Corners – Thumann Log House

Murrays Corners, OH (1810s – early 1900s farming and stagecoach stop town)

Classification: ghost town

Location: On US 50 at the 4-way intersection of SR 251 and Murray Corner Rd

The Thumann Log House was originally a log cabin structure built as a tavern in 1811. It was remodeled with wood frame in the 1840s and turned into an important stagecoach stop between Chillicothe and Cincinnati. The Murray family purchased the property in 1851 and operated the tavern and hotel into the 1900s. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

025
New Hope – Former Stagecoach Stop Hotel And Tavern

New Hope, OH (1810s – present farming town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: small town

Location: Scott Township, Brown County – On New Hope – White Oak Station Rd at the intersection of Main St off of US 68

New Hope was settled by Daniel Holloway (1795 – 1842) and Dillany (Reynolds) Holloway (1795 – 1881). They were already married when they arrived in the area sometime around 1818 and built their cabin on the plateau where New Hope currently sits. The town formed as more families moved there over the next few decades. In 1849 a cholera epidemic swept through New Hope, as it did in many other places in Ohio and around the country. It could have been much worse for New Hope, but just 22 of the approximately 100 residents perished from the disease. Populations in some other towns were completely exterminated.

New Hope started growing again after that and in 1876 the town had a wool mill, saloon, 3 stores,  a school, church, blacksmith, doctor, and a wood frame bridge that crossed White Oak Creek. The population in 1880 was 138 and never boomed due to the lack of a canal or railroad. New Hope’s post office ran from 1828 – 1906. Today the town probably has less than 100 residents who we’d like to thank for keeping it clean and preserving their history. We didn’t see any abandoned houses, and there are many old buildings and structures that are well worth stopping by to take photos of.

The old hotel and stagecoach stop built in 1846 is on the left side of Man St and a former grocery store and Odd Fellows meeting hall is across from it. A small building marked Scott Township Hall is in the lot behind the town marker on Main St. Over on New Hope – McKinley Rd, the Methodist church built in 1851 is still open. A little on down the road is the abandoned Scott Township School that was built in 1935 and closed in 1971. There are also a few old cemeteries on the outskirts of town.

016
Ripley – Antiques And Fine Gifts Shop

Ripley, OH (Staunton) – (1812 – present farming, abolitionist, and river town)

Classification: historic town

Location: Union Township, Brown County – On US 52 at the intersection of US 62 and US 68

Ripley was settled by Revolutionary War veteran Colonel James Poage (1760 – 1820) and Mary (Woods) Poage (1766 – 1830). James received 1,000 acres in Ohio from the state of Virginia for his service and moved his family there in 1804. They built a cabin on their land next to the Ohio River near the bank of Red Oak Creek. James was an abolitionist but couldn’t free his slaves in Virginia, for obvious reasons at the time, so he let them go upon arrival in the safety of Ohio. A few years later, James platted the town of Staunton, named after Staunton, Virginia. It only attracted a few families though, and the town was renamed Ripley after General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley (1782 – 1839), a hero of the War of 1812.

More families moved to the area and Ripley’s growth began. It got a very early post office in 1816 and was involved in a bitter dispute for the Brown County seat of justice. The county courts were temporarily held in Ripley for a few years until moving to Georgetown. During the 1820s – 1860s, Ripley became an important shipping point on the Ohio River for crops from the county to be transported to towns along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Corn and tobacco farming were the 2 main sources of income for local residents. The town was second place in Ohio, just behind Cincinnati in 1846, for pork packing. 

In 1860 the Ripley Gas-Light and Coke Company installed gas powered lights in 75 homes and 16 streetlamps, making Ripley one of the first night time illuminated towns in Ohio. Ripley also had a strong abolitionist movement led by Rev. John Rankin (1793 – 1886), a Presbyterian minister from Tennessee, and his wife Jean (Lowrey) Rankin (1795 – 1878). They hid runaway slaves in their home at night and helped them escape to freedom on the underground railroad during the day time. When the Civil War began in 1862, Ripley’s old fairgrounds were used as a mustering and training point for Union Soldiers. The end of the war created an industrial and population boom for the town.

The 1870s were probably the peak of Ripley’s heyday. It had multiple mills, a lumber yard, 2 boatyards, a school, hotel, town hall, pork packing and slaughterhouses, a couple of cooper shops, several churches, and a large tobacco warehouse. There was also a train station on the Ohio River & Columbus Railroad in the first couple decades of the 1900s. Much like its nearby neighbors of Levanna and Higginsport, Ripley didn’t get big businesses in the 1900s to create another population boom in that century. However, it did maintain much of its population since then, which is around 1750 today.

There are several historical markers and old buildings around town. Ohio Historical Marker # 8 – 8 on N Front St has info about river town life in the 1800s. At the Union Township Library on the corner of Main St and Market St, Ohio Historical Marker #9 – 8 has a story about the Civil War and a restored cannon in the yard. Ohio Historical marker #7 – 8 at 502 S Second St tells the tale of Camp Ripley during the Civil War. Another Ohio Historical Marker, #4 – 8 at 300 N Front St is for the John P. Parker House. John Parker (1827 – 1900) was a freed slave, inventor, and businessman who helped slaves on the underground railroad. Both the Parker House and The Rankin House on Rankin Hill Rd are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rankin’s were buried in Maplewood Cemetery next to US 52 in the middle of town. James and Mary Poage were buried in Old Ripley Cemetery next to the bank of Red Oak Creek in the woods at 4th and Cherry St where the end of 5th St once was.

018
Russellville – W.L. Johnson Carriage Factory

Russellville, Ohio  – (1817 – present farming and merchant town)

Location: Jefferson Township, Brown County – On SR 125 at the intersection of US 52

Classification: small town

An extremely uncommon sight in Ohio is the restored W.L. Johnson Carriage Factory built in 1850 on SR 125 in Russellville. Although carriage factories were abundant in the horse and buggy days, just a few of the original ones survived into the new millennium. Civil War veteran William Johnson (1838 – 1921) and Cindora (Shaw) Johnson (1845 – 1917) owned the factory and had 5 children. Cindora was a granddaughter of Russell Shaw (1781 – 1864) and Josanna (Reynolds) Shaw (1779 – 1864) who founded the town in 1817. William and Cindora were buried with relatives in Linwood Cemetery on the east side of town on Russellville – Winchester Rd.

20
1888 Brown County Map

Brown County, Ohio Ghost Towns Research Resources

1876 – Brown County atlas

1883 – The History of Brown County, Ohio

1913 – History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio – Vol. 1

1913 – History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio – Vol. 2

book cover abandoned ohio

Featuring 10 towns with 16 pictures from Clermont County, along with historical research about the locations, Abandoned Ohio was released by Fonthill Media and Arcadia Publishing on October 1st, 2018. It’s packed with history, ideas for road trips, and also makes an awesome birthday or holiday gift!

Ordering Links

Arcadia Publishing – https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781634990615
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abandoned-ohio-glenn-morris/1129366623
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Abandoned-Ohio-Ghost-Cemeteries-Schools/dp/1634990617
Walmart – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Abandoned-Ohio-Ghost-Town-Cemeteries-Schools-and-More/315294168