Bellville's History
The Beginnings of Bellville Old B&O Railroad Bellville's First Church The Start of our Schools Businesses Moved In Information Resources Click here for History Photos

The Beginnings of Bellville
  In 1808, two men James McCluer and Jonathan Oldfield
blazed a trail from Fredericktown to Bellville. That route is 

now Ankneytown Road. They built a cabin, the first one in 

the township. They began to make necessary improvements 

to the land, with the help of a tornado that leveled some 

of the land. James then went to Canton Land office to register   

the land in their names. So began the development of Bellville. 

In 1812 a blockhouse was built near the Bellville Depot. In 

1815, Robert Bell purchased a quarter section from McCluer 

and laid out the original plat of Bellville. Fourty-eight lots 

were proposed between E. Main Street, North to Ogle Street 

and South to the first alley North of Durbin. Enoch Ogle 

bought lot #1 and established a tavern. The first post office 

was established in 1824 with Isaac Hoy the postmaster.
 Old B&O Railroad
  The location of this old railroad is found at 

Side Street W. of SR13 (The North edge of town.) 

Its current use is civic. It is now a bike path, 

and rest stop area. It did belong to B&O railroad. 

The date it was built is unknown. 
Bellville's First Church
  Bellville was incorporated on March 25, 1841. 

James C. Lee was the first mayor. As the village 

grew, homes were used as churches and schools. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church was the first
organized church in 1814. Robert Bell and William 

Oldfield, a Revolutionary Soldier, helped to organize 

the church. Samuel Oldfield was one of the circuit 

preachers that held services. The church building 

was constructed on Bell Street in 1835.
The Start of Our Schools
  Samuel McCluer started the first school in 

1816-1817, in his own cabin. Timothy Evarts 

taught the first term of three months. The school
was supported by a subscription rate of $ 1.50
per pupil for the term, which could be paid in any 

kind of provisions-clothing or work. Young men 

rode 5 or 6 miles to attend. Young women stayed 

home to do housework. By 1880, schools were 

developed to be 2 miles apart, so no student should 

have to walk more than one mile twice a day. In 

1857, a school was put into operation in the present 

Clear Fork Administrative Building and Elementary 

buildings are located.
Businesses Moved In
  As Bellville grew, other utilities and businesses 

were set up. An electric plant was located near 

the bike trail. ( near present Alta's Greenhouse) A 

flour mill began business on route 97, Riverside Drive. 

It was owned and operated by D.L. Baker and Roller 

Mills. Two hotels, Hotel Lefevre was developed, on 

northwest corner of Main and Ogle, and Hotel Norris, 

on the southeast corner of Main and Ogle. Two livery 

stables were located nearby, filling the need for the 

travelers. The town hall was built in 1877-78 at a 

construction cost of $6,000. The brick structure was 

built to have a place for town meetings and to
create a jail.
     Our bandstand was completed in 1879, with 

the support of O.B. Rummel, I.K. Moody was chosen 

manager. The band members met and
pursued the project. Mr. Abraham Lash was the 

architect. It was rededicated on July 4th, 1975.
A drug store business started between the present 

Wishmaker house and the one next to the north. A
tin and carriage shop set up on Bell Street near Stoodt's
Grocery of today. Keiths sanatorium was developed
to provide care for tuberculosis patients. (located 

in front of the current Stoodt's Grocery.)
     Two wagon and blacksmith shops, two hardware 

stores, two tin shops, one stove store, one printing 

shop, one bakery, four groceries, two saloons, one 

wallpaper store, two harness shops, two barber 

shops, and two dentists came to Bellville to start
business.
   A fire department was formed. Their equipment 

included with one cart, 650 feet of two and one 

half inch hose, fifty men, and one Waterford engine.
In 1880, Bellville had one bank the Exchange Bank,
organized in 1872, with Frederick Fitting, H. Alexander,
 John and David Zents as stockholders. It began with 

a capital stock of $12,000. The safe weighed 8,800 

pounds and cost $1400.
   The first fair held in Bellville , was a county fair in 

1850. The next year the county fair was moved to 

Mansfield. an agricultural society was formed in 

Bellville and in 1860, developed their own Bellville 

Agricultural Fair. ( now known to locals, as the 

Bellville Worlds Fair.)
  Newspapers have long been a part of the village. 

In 1842, the Rainbow and Repository started as a
weekly at the cost of one dollar a year. J.C. Potts 

and Thomas Faus were its proprietors. Later, the 

Garber Brothers published the Richland Star, a 

monthly paper. In 1872, Garber and Aaron Leedy 

began a weekly newspaper, possibly the forerunner
to the Bellville Star.

  Information condensed and compiled by Ruth Ann Dearth, 

from many sources, including:
"Bellville Sequicentennial Celebration 

1839-1989" A tour pamphlet. By Darlene Smith Lee.

Information Resources

A Short History of Ohio Lands:
A Short History 1987-Thomas E. Ferguson, 

(Auditor of the State of Ohio)

Bellville & Jefferson Township History, 

Compiled and written by Maude Schaefer 

for the Bellville Bicentennial Commission. 

September 1975 The Bellville Star Press.
"The Oldenfield's Family Thread Woven into 

Fiber of Bellville History"   By Martha Palm, 

written for the Bellville Star, September 16,1992.

"Memories of Long Ago", by Anna Andrews 1917 booklet.
Rededication of The Bandstand, Bellville Ohio, July 4,
1975 A limited edition book written by Commission 

Chairman James Beal, Vice Chairman, Don Palm, 

and members, Mrs. Walter, Mrs. Maude Schaefer and 

Mrs. Gloria Yarger.


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