Ghost Towns: Baltimore, Butterworth, Deerfield, Edgewood, Fredericksburg, Gainsborough, Georgetown, Glenwood, Hammel, Henpeck, Kitchener, Lelan, Lockport, Morristown, Mounts Station, O’Bannon, Penquite, Ridge, Salem Tokes, Venable
Franklin, OH – (1796 – present farming, canal, & railroad town)
Classification: historic town
Location: City of Franklin, Warren County – On SR 73 along the Great Miami River
Founded in 1796 by pioneer & politician General William Schneck (1773 – 1821) from New Jersey, Franklin has grown well since its beginning & presently has about 11,800 residents. William married Elizabeth (Rogers) Schneck (1776 – 1853) in 1798 & had 10 children. The family moved to Franklin in 1803. William was a militia general in the War of 1812 & a board member of the Miami Exporting Company, Ohio’s first chartered bank. He also founded Newark & Toledo. Throughout his political career, William helped propel the Ohio & Erie canal from an idea into reality. He was appointed to a commission of three surveyors who charted the future canal’s path.
Unfortunately, William contracted malaria during the canal surveying trips, turning one of his crowning achievements into his eventual demise. His family continued to have success & influence in Franklin though, including his brother John. Postal records are an integral part of researching current & former towns. The Old Log Post Office on S River St in Franklin is the oldest existing one in Ohio. John Schneck (1778 – 1867) & Sarah (Tapscott) Schneck (1787 – 1842) had 12 children & opened a general store at their two-story cabin in 1802. It became the town’s post office in 1805 & was added to the National Register Of Historic Places in 1976.
Franklin’s location along the Great Miami River & Ohio & Erie Canal made it a perfect place for many kinds of business opportunities & industries. Both farming & manufacturing drove the economy and attracted a couple of railroads. The town’s Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis (Big Four) train station was built in 1872. It has undergone some restoration over the years and is at the corner of S Main St & E 6th St. There are numerous other historical sites around town & the occasional mural with picturesque scenes of the areas earlier days. Woodhill (Franklin) Cemetery was established in the 1850s on Hamilton – Middletown Road.
Henpeck, OH (Wellman) – (early 1800s – late 1800s pioneer town abandoned for unknown reasons)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Massie Township, Warren County – On Pioneer Village Rd in Caesar Creek State Park
It was settled in 1808 by Quaker immigrants Levi & Elizabeth Lukens. Their cabin along with some other buildings from the original town are restored & in what is now called Caesars Creek Pioneer Village. Henpeck was a small town with about 13 buildings in the 1891 Warren County atlas, but it hasn’t been found on any later maps. The community of Wellman started up just a mile away around the same time Henpeck was abandoned. The residents may have moved to get away from areas that flooded frequently before construction of Caesar Creek Lake.
Pioneer Village Website – http://caesarscreekpioneervillage.org/
Waynesville, OH (1796 – present farming and stagecoach stop town)
Classification: historic town
Location: Wayne Township. Warren County – On US 42 at the intersection of North St
Waynesville was founded by Quaker settlers in 1796 & named after Revolutionary War veteran General “Mad” Anthony Wayne (1745 – 1796). Their journey by flatboat from Philadelphia over to Columbia in Hamilton County, Ohio & then up to Waynesville was documented by their guide Francis Bailey (1774 – 1844), an English scientist, astronomer, and adventurer. His book “Journal of a Tour in the Unsettled Parts of North America” was posthumously published in 1856. The Hammel House Inn at 121 S Main St began with a log cabin called the Hammel House Stand around 1800. It was rebuilt with a wood frame structure in 1817. The bricks section was added in 1822.
The building was renovated into apartments in the mid 1900s & turned into a bed and breakfast with a restaurant & gift shop in the 1980s. It’s reportedly haunted by several ghosts, including a black shadowy figure said to have passed through the wall from room #2 into room #3 where a guest was staying. The Waynesville Engine House & Lockup at 260 Chapman St was built in 1881 as the town’s first fire station. An addition in the back was constructed in 1886 & used for the jail. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 & was up for sale when we visited.
Over on S 4th St. at the intersection of Miami St., the Museum At The Friends Home is another very impressive structure. It was built in 1905 by the Quaker’s Society Of Friends & was a boarding house for retirees & single teachers. The building is considered to be the gateway to the Quaker Historic District in Waynesville. The museum is open 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesdays & Saturdays from April to December. Tours for the Quaker Meeting House, constructed in 1811 next to the museum are also available.
Town Website – http://villageofwaynesville.org/