History & Tourism

Richland Roots: General Franklin Sawyer, A Hero Of Gettysburg

18 Jan , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

In our Richland Roots series, we briefly present the lives of men and women from Richland County — either by birth, or residence — that have made important contributions to American history but who may not be household names.

Other posts in our series can be viewed and read here.

Today, we share a bit about Brevet Brigadier General Franklin Sawyer. More…

, , ,

History & Tourism

There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills

5 Jan , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

We’re talking about the hills of Richland County, of course, and in particular the streams near the villages of Bellville and Butler.

This part of the county has been attracting would-be treasure hunters yearning for instant fortune now for over 165 years.

Bellville was where it all started. The village’s first mayor, Dr. James C. Lee, himself a veteran of the California Gold Rush, discovered flakes in a south flowing tributary of the Clear Fork River known as “Deadman’s Run” or “Dead Man’s Run” (there’s a story about how that name was obtained which involves, of course, a drowning). More…

History & Tourism

The Bridges of Richland County

4 Jan , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Here’s a summer road trip idea for you, right here in Richland County. Why not visit one or more of the county’s historic and notable bridges?

According to the website Bridgehunter.com, there are over 25 of them in both city and rural settings. In a lengthy introduction, the site’s creator shares, “Somebody needs to document these things before they are lost. If some low-budget history museum can get mentioned in the tourist brochures, then why not a real historic site that is still being used? If people are willing to drive long distances to see a covered bridge, then why not a truss bridge? (It could be argued that a covered bridge is merely a truss bridge with a roof.)” More…

, ,

History & Tourism

Johnny Appleseed Museum Artifacts To Remain Together

23 Nov , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

Mansfield’s unique and strong connection with pioneer nurseryman Johnny Appleseed is an important element of local history.

While Johnny moved away in later life, and is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana, his connections to this area remained strong. His name has appeared on a local shopping center; on an Boy Scout Council; and on a historic marker in Mansfield’s Central Park and monument in South Park near the Blockhouse.

Richland County is also a key part of the Johnny Appleseed Historic Byway.

1812Blockhouse has followed stories related to Johnny’s fame as well as artifacts related to his life and legend. That has included the fate of the former Johnny Appleseed Education Center and Museum on the campus of Urbana University in Urbana. More…

, , ,

History & Tourism

Richland Roots: Farmer, State Governor, Alaskan Gold Miner

9 Nov , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

Richland County has produced or been the home to a wide variety of individuals that have made important contributions to local, state, or national history. 1812Blockhouse has been sharing their stories in a series called “Richland Roots.” This is a brand new post; for other Richland Roots stories, click here.

Today on 1812Blockhouse we look at the remarkable life of a local man whose life took many twists and turns.

His name was John Whitnah Leedy, and he was born near Bellville on March 8, 1849. His paternal grandfather John Leedy had come to southern Richland County about 1815; his father Samuel Leedy was known as a singer and tavern keeper. More…

, ,

Bellville, History & Tourism

Landmarks of Richland: The Bellville Bandstand

2 Nov , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

How historically important is the Bellville Bandstand?

Consider the fact the it is featured in “Source Book of American Architecture: 500 Notable Buildings from the 10th Century to the Present” by G.E. Kidder Smith and published by Princeton Architectural Press. More…

, ,

History & Tourism

The Past Came Alive This Weekend

5 Oct , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

There were times on Sunday afternoon when 1812Blockhouse visited the American Heritage Days at South Park, hosted by the Richland Early American Center for History (REACH), when it seemed as if we had taken a quick 200 year-plus journey to the past.

From some angles, all one could see were period buildings and reeanctors going about the site.

There was an occasional tiny modern intrusion. As we took the photo of one reenactor, he suggested that we take another shot as he had his cell phone in front of him — something we confess that we hadn’t even noticed! More…

, , ,

History & Tourism

American Heritage Days This Weekend

30 Sep , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

The past will come alive in Mansfield’s South Park this October as REACH (Richland Early American Center for History) presents its Fourth Annual American Heritage Days.

Join REACH members on October 3 and 4 from 10 AM to 4 PM to discover what it was like to live in early America during the 18th and 19th centuries from living historical reenactors.

Throughout the day there will be crafts, trades, demonstrations, and activities, including blacksmithing, 18th century bagpipe demonstrations, games and children’s activities, open hearth cooking demonstrations, and civilian and military reenactments. More…

, ,

History & Tourism

Richland Roots: Lloyd Garrison Wheeler: Part Two

12 Sep , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

Part One of our first Richland Roots profile on Mansfield native Lloyd Garrison Wheeler can be accessed here.

When Lloyd and Ranie Wheeler made their move to from Illinois to Arkansas in 1870, they had good timing. Just one year later, 3.3 square miles of the central part of Chicago were destroyed by fire.

On the other hand, Reconstruction-era Arkansas was a very difficult location for Wheeler as he set out to establish a law practice. Family legend says that a billy club found within his effects after his death was protection in case he might become the target of Ku Klux Klan activity. More…

, ,

History & Tourism

Richland Roots: Lloyd Garrison Wheeler: Part One

11 Sep , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

Shortly before his death in 1909, a husband, a Mansfield native, and wife from Chicago boarded a train and headed south, their destination a relatively new place of higher education in rural Alabama. The couple was no stranger to southern life, having spent years living in Arkansas some three decades before. On this occasion, however, the man was leaving behind a set of business difficulties and accepting a position which had been offered to him by a long-time friend. More…

, ,

Bellville, History & Tourism

Take A Walk Among The Gravestones, Learn Some History

9 Sep , 2020  

The Village of Bellville’s 3rd Cemetery Walk will take place on September 12 from 10:00 AM to 1:00PM.

Meet others at the entrance for guided groups. Interesting people from Bellville’s history will share their stories. The purpose of these characters of Bellville history being portrayed is to give people a glimpse into the rich history of Bellville.

Robert Stands is portraying Robert Bell who platted Bellville in 1815. Mr. Stands is from Columbia Station, Ohio, near Strongsville. His distant cousin, Merry Bering will portray Mary Bell, Robert’s wife. Both are sixth generation Bell descendants. More…

, ,

1812Blockhouse

It’s Our Birthday Weekend Here At 1812Blockhouse!

6 Sep , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse Owner/Publisher Thomas Palmer

I remember well the day that the switch was flipped and 1812Blockhouse was suddenly live.

As I look back on it, I realize that I was not really ready for that to take place. On an early September evening, however, I received word that my great nephew had been born, a truly important moment for the Palmer family. What better time, I thought, to bring something else to life?

My great nephew, by the way, turns 4 on Tuesday and starts preschool this week. As this is the closest weekend to the 8th, this is when we are choosing to celebrate that milestone. Welcome to our 4,836th post.

1812Blockhouse bears a strong resemblance to the site that went live that day. Above and to the right is an early screenshot of the site dating from November 2017. We used to go with a single feature story each day, as this demonstrates, until we found out that that format does not render as well in mobile. More…

, , ,

All About Richland, History & Tourism

Landmarks Of Richland: The Tubbs-Sourwine House

26 Aug , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

The local Plymouth landmark known as the Tubbs-Sourwine House has long had a connection with the rail line it faces.

Constructed on a rise at 49 Railroad Street between 1867 and 1870, it was originally the home of Henry Bitley and Eve Reed Tubbs. More…

, ,

History & Tourism

A Special Richland Roots Story: Plymouth To Gettysburg, 157 Years Later: With Photos

24 Aug , 2020  

By Thomas Palmer, 1812Blockouse Owner/Publisher

Permit me to share a bit about a family vacation.

Three weeks ago, I made a trip to visit an iconic landmark of American history — the Battlefield of Gettysburg.

This was my third visit there, the first coming when I was nine or ten years old, the second about 15 years ago. The reason for this trip, one taken with all the COVID-related precautions we could muster, was to take a unique tour with eight other members of my family. Three of my siblings, three nephews, and two significant others drove from Ohio to Pennsylvania in about six hours.

Here is what was up. More…

, , ,

All About Richland, History & Tourism

Bromfield Takes Center Stage In New Biography

23 Aug , 2020  

By 1812Blockhouse

Publisher’s Note: As you have likely noticed, today’s 1812Blockhouse has a “food” theme, which reminded us of a story we posted this past April about a new biography of Louis Bromfield. As the book seemed a perfect companion for summer dining experiences, we are re-posting it here today.


He is well-known locally, to be sure. Nationally, and internationally, however, he is less of a household name.

That may change somewhat in the coming months.

Mansfield and Pleasant Valley’s Louis Bromfield is rushing back into the spotlight with the April 14 publication of what has been called the first major biography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist. The 325 page work entitled “The Planter of Modern Life: Louis Bromfield and the Seeds of a Food Revolution” is a true page turner, according to reviews shared by Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, and on the website of its publisher, W.W. Norton & Company. More…

, , ,