ASHLAND -- Sometimes we lose sight of how our ancestors got started, how they made a living, the changes that occurred over time and how progress was made.
This list of Ashland/Ashland County’s facts and firsts will help remember how our area began and started to grow.
The mound builders and Indians were the first settlers in this area.
The first cabin in Ashland was erected by Daniel Carter from Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1811. Ohio, including Ashland County, became the battleground where the Indians attempted to stop white settlers from moving farther west.
The first settlement laid out in Ashland County was Perryville in 1813.
Ashland (then Uniontown) was laid out by William Montgomery in 1815.
Joel Luther was Ashland’s first doctor and one of its first settlers.
In 1816, the first grist mill was established in Montgomery Township by Thomas Oram.
Joseph Sheets opened the first store in Ashland in 1817.
From 1817 to 1824 market prices were $25 for a barrel of salt; coffee was 50 cents a pound; cotton fabric was 50 to 75 cents per yard; cows were $4 – $6; wheat per bushel averaged 25 cents; and corn was five to eight cents per bushel. These items were purchased through trade.
Ashland’s first school was established in 1821 by a cripple named Mr. Williamson.
The first blacksmith was Samuel Urie and his shop was located on Main Street.
The first church in Ashland was a Methodist Church.
The first carding machine was owned by Andrew Drumb.
In 1822, Uniontown established its first post office but the name of our town had to be changed to Ashland because there already was another Uniontown in Ohio.
In 1838, the first Brussels carpet arrived in Ashland at the Lang home on Fourth Street. Until then, everyone had rag carpets. Brussels carpets had a heavy woolen pile and a strong linen back.
At the age of 10, Katharine Luther became the recipient of the first piano in town.
Charles Demming became the first documented mayor of Ashland in 1844.
The first election in Ashland County was held on April 6, 1846.
The first courthouse in Ashland County was located in Jeromeville (now Jeromesville.) The first court session was heard on March 3, 1846.
Barnum’s Circus made its first appearance here on Aug. 8, 1852.
It is believed the first Ashland fair took place in 1853.
The first ice skating rink was opened on Jan. 9, 1867 on the southwest corner of what was then an unopened Bank Street and Center Street.
On July 26, 1857, Ashland was first lighted with gas.
The first town picnic was held on July 4, 1858.
The first town hall was dedicated on July 28, 1858. The wind blew its tin roof off on Feb. 12, 1865.
In May, 1863, Main Street west from Center Street was paved with cobblestones which replaced planks.
Jefferson Monroe McIlvain home-delivered the first pure ice at the doorstep in 1865.
In 1867, baseball was introduced to Ashland.
Ashland first celebrated Decoration Day in 1868.
In 1868, the Foltz and Barron Drug and Book Store opened up the first soda fountain in town.
Croquet was introduced in the summer of 1870. It took Ashland by storm.
The first milkman started his work in 1873 after an ordinance went in effect prohibiting the at-large running of cattle in town.
Town lot numbers were first assigned in 1874.
The first spelling bee was held in the town hall in 1875.
Bicycles first came to town in 1880. They had a large wheel in front and small wheel in the rear.
The first telephone appeared in April, 1880.
In the 1880’s, Philip Myers was busy inventing various water pumps and farm tools.
In 1882, the Opera House presented its first show titled, “The Celebrated Case.”
In 1885, the first game of roller polo was played in Ashland.
Electric lights first became available in 1890. They were first used in businesses and for street lighting.
In 1892, stables were built at the Fairgrounds so fans could watch horse racing.
Ashland opened its first public library on March 13, 1893.
On July 13, 1893 Orange Street was paved with brick.
By 1894, almost every family had a lawn mower which eliminated use of the scythe and sickle.
Ashland opened its first water pumping station in 1885.
The first water hydrants were opened in September, 1895. They were located on Main Street and the water gushed taller than the Opera House.
The first free mail delivery was made in 1897.
The first law enforcement canines were purchased for $100 in 1897. They were two bloodhounds and were used to run down escaped felons or burglars. They received much public admiration.
The first automobile went through Ashland on July 5, 1899. It was occupied by a couple on a wedding trip.