History & Tourism

Mansfield On The Map: Earlier Map, Hedges Letters Found Online

7 May , 2020  

By: 1812Blockhouse Staff

Editor’s Note: In early 2017, 1812Blockhouse published posts looking at the history of Mansfield and Richland County as that history is revealed on maps – maps of the area, county, and nation. We are repeating those posts this spring and summer and adding to them with additional maps and local history. Before we continue that series, we have this update — 1812Blockhouse has discovered an online map of Ohio which may actually pre-date that referenced in the first post in our series Mansfield On The Map.

Although no date appears, it is claimed that the map which can be accessed at this location online dates from 1815, a year before the map we shared in our first post. This one not only shows Mansfield, but details the boundaries for several Ohio counties – with Richland County being on the western border of those shown.

This map is interesting for a number of reasons:

  • Several modern day Ohio place names exist in their original forms, such as “Fort Findlay;” “Lower Sandusky” (present day Fremont); “Seneca” (now Tiffin); and “New Market,” the precursor to Painesville.
  • Most county boundaries have changed, as we will profile in our next post.
  • Few “roads” are shown, and none through Mansfield. One crosses the northeast corner of Richland County, a route which does not appear to have been precisely followed by any present day road.
  • Another point of local interest in the notation of “Indian Tavern” west of Mansfield. It is difficult to identify where this might be, as the map does not appear to be completely drawn to scale. One possibility is that this is a reference to the camp of Delaware Chief Wingenund, which was located to the east of the hamlet of Leesville in Crawford County – a location important to the history of Colonel Crawford.

Mansfield and Richland County are located in the “Canton District,” which references an area where property sales were handled by the land office in Canton. Interestingly, a 2013 blog post contains images and transcripts of four letters written by early settler James Hedges to United States Surveyor General Jared Mansfield, for whom Mansfield was named.

Written between 1809 and 1811, in one letter Hedges makes a written plea to have the land office moved to the new settlement of Mansfield. In it, Hedges stated, ” I have been taken a view of the map of that district from which it appears that the Town of Mansfield in the County of Richland is situated as near if not the nearest the center of the district than any other Town within the district, and I think it would be a suitable place as it respects situation for the Land office to be established at, for in case the United States had the title from the Indians of the tract of country lying on the west of that district it would likely be attached to it, which would altogether place Mansfield in the proper place for the office to be kept at.

Could this be why Mansfield received its name — to curry favor for a relocated land office?

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