History & Tourism

Mansfield On The Map: The Beginning

9 Mar , 2020  

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 adding to them with additional maps and local history.

Students of local lore will know that the city of had its origins in June of 1808 when the Hedges, Newman, and Larwell families platted a settlement and named it for US Surveyor General Jared Mansfield. The first structure was a log house built on the site of what later became the H.L. Reed Company. Four years later, two blockhouses were constructed for protection.

The population grew slowly. In 1820, the US census recorded some 288 people living in the city.

It is during this period that the map we highlight today was created. Entitled “Map of the United States with the contiguous British & Spanish Possessions,” it was produced in 1816 by John Melish in Philadelphia, just 8 years after Mansfield’s founding. It is accessible via the online collection of the David Rumsey Map Collection, and can be accessed at this link.

It is possible to zoom in and out on this map either by clicking the bar in the middle of the map, or by using the wheel on your mouse.

In addition to showing the location of Mansfield, and naming it as such, the map of Ohio has several interesting aspects. For one, the list of settlements in this part of the state is quite limited; Upper Sandusky, Wooster, and Mount Vernon are included. Some place names have changed. Lower Sandusky, which is above Upper Sandusky, is now known as Fremont; Bixbie, southwest of Mount Vernon and northeast of Worthington, is likely the location of what is now the city of Delaware (Moses Byxbe was one of Delaware’s original settlers).

A quick glance to the north shows the pre-Toledo War boundary of Ohio and Michigan.

As the map legend states, this is the first edition of this map which included the location of Mansfield. As such, it may be the first of its kind.

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