The Development of Washington Township
Stark County
State of Ohio

Ruritan National
The Washington Ruritan Club


















Written by Elmer A. Bender

Washington Township covers an area averaging five and a half miles in an east- west direction and six miles north and south in the extreme eastern part of Stark County, Ohio, adjoining   Columbiana County.

To surveyors, it is known as Township  XVIII N, Range VI W. A range is a line of townships lying between two successive meridian lines six miles apart, and Washington is in the sixth range west of the principal meridian or point of beginning, which in this survey is the Ohio- Pennsylvania border.

Townships are measured north and south within a range from a base line which runs east and west. Washington Township is the eighteenth north of the survey base line. It is thus apparent that Washington is slightly smaller in size than the normal township, which is six miles square, composed of thirty- six mile- square sections.

Since roads in this area follow section lines, they are normally a mile apart, but there are a few roads at half- mile and mile and a half intervals.

Historians are not in agreement regarding the identity of the first settler. Ezekiel Marsh is credited by several writers with having made a clearing of about an acre in Section 14 in 1809 or 1810, on which he built a shack. This is west of the site of the Children's  IHome t was here that Ellis N. Johnson found him, having come from Washington County, Pennsylvania, following section lines distinguished by blaze marks on trees.



Of special interest to many third- generation residents in the township is the fact that their ancestors also came from the same Pennsylvania county, but usually by way of Jefferson County, Ohio, stopping en route to reside there for several years.

Johnson then moved in with John  Meese and his family who had settled about a mile to the east of the present Mount Union area. Some accounts suggest that he remained with Marsh for a time. It is known that he prospected for land for a year and then returned home. Eventually he came back, in 1823, when he selected 150 acres in the northeast quarter- section of Section 2.

This was to later become the southwest corner of State Street and Union Avenue, then known as Main Street and Portage Street, respectively. His brother Job purchased the southeast quarter- section of Section 35 of Lexington Township, embracing 160 acres, which much later became the northwest corner.

In 1833 when the first township village was founded in this area, it was at Main and Portage Streets astride the Washington- Lexington boundary and known briefly as Jobsville, later becoming Mount Union. Today Mount Union is a section of the city of Alliance and it together with other land formerly a part of Washington Township but now inside the corporate limits of Alliance is included in Butler Township, a relatively recent political subdivision.

Although Stark County was established by an act of the legislature on February 13, 1808, it was not until June, 1821, that Washington Township, together with Marlboro Township, separated from Lexington Township. Washington was then organized on December 3, 1821, and the first election held on Christmas Day of the same year.


At that time the nearest road was the Thomas Road, 41/2 miles south of Mount Union, which led from Canton to Lisbon, then called New Lisbon. A path led to the grist mill at Lexington five miles away and a road was "brushed and blazed" to Salem.

In 1830 the mail was carried once a week on foot by a shoemaker from Harrisburg to Salem and a post office was established at Mount Union. It was not until the following year that the first road through Mount Union was made and two more years before work was done on Portage Street.

The work was performed by men who gave one day per week to the roads. Forty- five years later it was two days per year. On these and the pages that follow, an attempt has been made to preserve some of the history of the early past, to perpetuate the names of those pioneers who preserved the names of two who helped to make our nation independent -  General John Stark of the Battle of Bennington and General George Washington of Valley Forge.





By Ralph K. Lautzenheiser

The Pilgrim fathers brought the township form of government to America in 1620.

Twenty- two states have the township form of local government today.

The township in Ohio predates our state government. The size and shape of the township was determined by the congressional acts establishing the various land grants. The townships are six miles square. As the Ohio Territory became populated, it was only natural that the surveyed townships should become the basic unit of local government. In 1804 the elected officials of a township consisted of three trustees and a clerk.

Today, just as in 1804, the township in Ohio is a political subdivision of the state.

As such, it has only those powers granted to it by the state legislature, and performs the functions as directed by the state. To keep pace with the demands of the changing times, the functions, duties, and obligations of the townships have been changed over the years.

As demands for increased or different government services have been made necessary at the local level, the state legislature has responded by giving township government the authority to provide these services.

Today three trustees and a clerk are elected for a four year term.


 They administer the government of each of our townships.  Washington Township has thirty- eight and a half miles of township road. These are maintained by two full- time employees with additional help when needed.



Like any organization, township government is what the people make it. Fortunately getting to know more about your township is simple, for your trustees, clerk, and township employees are your neighbors.

Current members are Ralph K. Lautzenheiser, Robert D. Kimes and Elvin J. Wilson.  Mrs. Willis E. (Margery) Raber is the clerk.





Written By Richard Parrish

The Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department got off to a start early in 1949 when a sales representative from a fire truck manufacturer called on the township trustees and sold them on the idea of having a local fire department.

The call went out. Were there enough men interested in volunteering to man a fire department? Were the residents interested in supporting the cost of a fire department?

More than enough men showed an interest in supplying the manpower. A one- mill levy was placed on the ballot in 1949 and passed.  This assured the money needed to purchase a fire truck.

The order for the township's first pumper was placed on January 1,1950, by the trustees; William Greenwalt, Robert Reese, and Homer Shaffer. The truck was delivered on June 20, 1950. It carried 1,000 gallons of water with a front mount 500 gallon per minute pump and two booster reels. Each reel carried 150 feet of one inch rubber hose with attached nozzles.

The truck was housed in the township building in Freeburg and made its first fire run to the Eldon Schmucker farm on Rt. 153 during the first Saturday in August, 1950.

The volunteers held meetings and agreed on the official name of the department. They established a constitution and by- laws to govern the operation of the department. A chief and an assistant chief were to be appointed by the trustees while captains and lieutenants would be elected by the firemen. The chief was in charge of all fires, practices, and drills.



A full slate of civil officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Directors) would govern the other operations of the department. Meetings would be held the first Wednesday of each month.

The Rev. John Bench, pastor of the Salem E.U.B. Church (currently Salem United Methodist Church), was appointed first Chief and Clarence Johnson, Assistant Chief. When Rev. Bench left the area in August, 1950, Clarence Johnson was appointed Chief and Harold Shank, Assistant Chief.

Early records showed that late in 1950, forty- four volunteers solicited the residents of the township to raise money for additional equipment. In March, 1951 an additional 1000- gallon tank truck was placed into operation. This truck was built by the firemen with the money raised.

It was kept at the homes of different firemen until the present building was completed. A new chassis was placed under this tank in 1954, paid for by the firemen.

Ground for the present building was purchased early in 1952. The three- bay building was built that same summer for a total cost of $6,098.13.

Firemen and other interested citizens donated their time and talents toward this venture. The only labor cost was $32 to hang the doors.

The present fire station is located directly across from Washington Elementary School on Beechwood Avenue.

The trucks were housed in the new building for the first time on the first Wednesday in November, 1952. The first monthly fire meeting was held in the new building the same night.

A four- wheel- drive pumper was ordered in April, 1958 and delivered in November the same year. The vehicle was purchased to fight grass fires. The Trustees bought the chassis and the firemen paid for the rest. Trucks of this style are the latest thing in firefighting. Today they are called "Mini- pumpers."

The department's third Chief, Fred Moser,


took office October 1,1960, after the resignation of Clarence Johnson. Charles Unkefer took office as Assistant Chief in March, 1970.

An addition consisting of a meeting room, rest room and kitchen facilities, was added to the back of the present fire house in the Fall of 1965 for a cost of approximately $7,500.

The money was raised as a joint effort of the township Trustees, the firemen, and the Washington Ruritan Club.

The fire department has a policy of mutual aid with the fire departments surrounding Washington Township including Alliance and Louisville.

This policy has been used to the benefit of all.

The firemen have bought more than $20,000 worth of equipment with money raised from festivals.

This includes one truck complete and one truck built on a chassis bought by the Trustees. The festivals started in 1951 and have beep held yearly except for 1971.

In 1973 the Washington Ruritan Club paid $1,000 for a 300 gallon per minute pump installed in the 9,000 gallon cistern in the fire station.

This has enabled the firemen to fill the 1,000 gallon trucks in less than four minutes.

It presently costs nearly $5,000 per year to operate the 30 man department. At the November, 1974 election, the voters approved a one- mill levy for five years to buy a new truck. The truck should be ordered about mid 1976 and may take up to two years for delivery. The department has operated on three tenths of one mill for the last 20 years.

Chief Moser retired at the end of 1975.

The Trustees appointed Richard Parrish as the fourth Chief with duties beginning January 1, 1976.




Written by Rollin W. Krabill

Since there was no organized school system in Ohio until the 1820s, no record or definite knowledge of the years prior to  that time is available. At about this time, and possibly even a little before, it was known that settlers' cabins were used for school purposes. A certain Mr. Marsh let his cabin be used for a school. The teacher is unidentified except as "a young man from the East." Sometimes a room in a double house was used for the schoolroom. About the year 1824 a large building was erected in Mount Union, built of hewn logs and used for "school and other purposes." Job Johnson was probably the first teacher in this building.

By 1830 Washington Township had been divided into geographical districts, originally referred to as sub- districts. As the population grew over the years, schools were built in each of the districts. By 1896 there were ten district schools. They were Mount Pleasant, Grange Hill, Fairmount, Fox, Freeburg, Center, Beechwood, Scenery Hall, Maximo, and Motz.

All were one- room schools except Beechwood, which had three rooms, and Maximo and Fairmount with two rooms each. Except for Motz, which was closed in the 1930s, and Scenery Hall, which was closed in 1947, all the schools were in operation until the new consolidated school known as Washington Township School assimilated the students in January, 1950. In 1890 the school buildings were appraised at $500 to $800 each and the one acre of ground on which each was located was 



valued at $40 to $50. The buildings were sold in 1950 for a total of $24,600. In the Atlas of Stark County (1896) William J. Kaufman noted that "much improvement is visible in the school buildings throughout Stark County. They are largely of brick with slate roofs; the seating with the desks, as well as the heating arrangements, look to the comfort of the pupils and teacher."

William A. Byers, who started his teaching career in 1903, very vividly describes what schools and teaching were like in that era.

"Through the three local directors I obtained a contract to teach the Winter term of 1903- 1904 at Grange Hill at $45 per month. (During the Spring term his salary was $36 per month.)

The school opened November 9 with some twenty pupils present. The recollections of my first day are still vivid in my mind. I took a dull axe with a poor handle and went out to find some kindling wood. I secured some from an old rail fence. The ashes from the previous term were still in the stove. The stove pipe was filled with soot. For a week or more the room was filled with smoke and coal gas. This condition caused many headaches. Our stove was finally cleaned by one of the directors and things went much better. Pictures were obtained for the walls, blinds for the windows, and new wall lamps and brackets. Hitching posts were placed for the horses. We had debates every alternate Friday evening. These were preceded by spelling matches. Interest in spelling was very strong.

The audiences cheered for the winners. We often spent the bitter cold days around a red hot stove pronouncing difficult words to each other in preparation for some spelling match."

The debates in those days were not mere entertainment, but centered on topics of national interest such as the tariff issue, the platform of the Progressive Party, etc. In addition to the teachers who were expected to participate, 


there were distinguished debaters such as local lawyers and congressional candidates.

Since teachers had little training beyond the elementary grades, they had to struggle to keep ahead of their classes. Arithmetic was especially difficult, but very important because the teacher's prestige in the community depended on his ability to solve all the problems in RAYS HIGHER ARITHMETIC, as well as all the problems brought to him by citizens of the community.

J. B. Bowman of Mount Union was the first Superintendent of Washington Township Schools.  Under his able direction, the schools became more efficient, absence and tardiness were reduced, better teaching methods were introduced, school pride was fostered and community interest aroused.

The first "educational" meeting in the area was held in the Freeburg School. Township superintendents no longer functioned when township schools came under the jurisdiction of Stark County.

Community social events during the one- room school era centered largely on the district school, although for a number of years there were township picnics each year and they were usually held at Maximo School.

The first such picnic was to be held on May 1, 1908. Elaborate preparations were made, including much art work by the pupils of all the schools, but to everyone's disappointment, on that morning there were five inches of new snow on the ground and the picnic had to be cancelled.

School socials throughout the year were family affairs with the children frequently giving a program and the mothers furnishing an abundant supply of refreshments. The school picnic at the end of the year was the highlight of the year. After a sumptuous dinner, both young and older men joined in playing ball while the girls watched and the women visited.

Fairmount Children's Home, serving Stark and Columbiana Counties, opened in 1876. It had its own school of two rooms and a "kindergarten school for the little ones under six years." In the 

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decades that followed, the number of children in the institution grew until there were as many as 450 in the 1930's requiring a staff of ten teachers and a full- time principal for the school age children. During the middle decades of the 1900's many changes were made in the policies of the supporting agencies which caused the number of children to gradually decrease. This trend accelerated rapidly in the early 1970's and reached the point in 1976 where it was no longer feasible economically to operate the institution and the Home was closed at mid- year.

Beginning in the early to mid- 1950's the school within the Home was discontinued and the pupils taken to other schools. The children first went to Alliance Schools for two years and then to the Washington Township School. From that time until the close of the Home, students were assimilated into the elementary and secondary levels of the Marlington Schools.

In recent years school organization in Washington Township has undergone two momentous changes. The first was in 1956, when in response to pressure from the State Department of Education to form larger school districts, each with its own twelve year program, Washington Township joined Lexington and Marlboro Townships to form the Marlington Local Schools.

Giving up individual township identities in favor of the new district identity was not easy or without problems. However, both students and adults gradually began to feel comfortable with the Marlington name. The reputation of the new district was soon well established and attracted many new residents.

Some of the new residents were from nearby urban centers and others were newcomers to the area. This caused a considerable increase

in school enrollment and led to overcrowded buildings. The residents responded to this by building a new middle school in 1970. The


second organizational change came to fruition in the early 1970s when Marlington and Alliance Schools joined together to form a joint vocational district. This action did not disturb the independence of either district. Vocational course offerings of each district were open to the students of the other district.

In retrospect, it seems fair to say that prior to 1950 changes in the schools in Washington Township were very gradual, slow and rather minimal. But since 1950, change has accelerated immensely. There have been changes in school population, in buildings, in equipment, in organization, in curriculum, in transportation, and in finances. Rapid change has brought with it mixed emotions, grave problems, and great challenges. We find ourselves in the mid- seventies searching our souls for the educational values that will endure and for responses to problems and challenges that will keep our schools "on course" in the years to come.




The following churches are currently located in Washington Township:


Beechwood Christian Church

12950 Easton

Beechwood United Methodist Church

3450 Beechwood

Berean Bible Church

Currently meeting at Fairmount Grange


Christian and Missionary Alliance Church

1887 West Beech

Fairmount Emmanuel Church

Corner of Bayton and South Union

First Church of Christ Scientist

3510 South Union

Freeburg Church of the Brethren

4470 Beechwood

Maximo United Church of Christ

7047 Oakhi11

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church

3983 Union

Salem United Methodist Church

14113 Salem Church

St. Joseph Church

12055 Easton

The following resumes were written and submitted by the various churches:



On May 2, 1971, 25 persons came from Christian churches and Churches of Christ in Sebring, Marlboro, Salem and Minerva to place their membership in the newly organized Beechwood Christian Church.

Under the leadership of J. E. Smith and the financial support of Northeastern Ohio Association of Helpers (NOAH), the congregation with 88 members moved July, 1974 into their new building on Easton Street.

Beechwood Christian Church is a New Testament church and is undenominational. It is a mission minded church, supporting missions around the world.

There are two women's groups meeting regularly, Friendship Circle and a Wednesday morning prayer and Bible study group.

Current membership is 180 with an average attendance of 150. Vernon E. Russell is the church's first full time minister.

Mary DeHoff



In the early 1830s the founders of our congregation came from Pennsylvania. Church services were held in the homes of the members.

The first church building was erected on the northwest corner of what is now the crossroads of Beech Street and Beechwood Avenue. The structure was moved off its foundation during the great storm of 1856.

In 1858 a new structure was built on the southeast corner. The location was considered better as there was room for a cemetery. That building was moved and remodeled into a family dwelling which is located at 1827 West Beech Street.


Beechwood United Methodist Church, continued

A new church designed on the Akron Plan was built in 1909 on the northeast corner property. The prosperity of the farm community was evident as the services were started in a building that was free of debt.

Growth of the congregation caused the need to build an addition to the north side in 1922 and an annex to the south in 1958.

The church which was started as a United Brethren in Christ at the Beech Creek Meeting House, then became the Beechwood Evangelical United Brethern Church in 1946 due to the merger of the two denominations.

In 1966, the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with The Methodist Church which gave us our present name of Beechwood United Methodist Church. In 1926, the congregation erected a parsonage which is located at 1538 West Beech Street.

Rev. Glenn Waggamon is the pastor of our present membership of 350 persons whose purpose is to provide a caring ministry as did Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The church edifice has been used by many interdenominational groups within the Canton and Alliance districts including Christian Endeavor and Church Women United.

It has served the public schools for dramatic and musical programs and has housed kindergarten classes.

Clinics for Babies and Senior Citizens, Boy and Girl Scout activities, precincts for voting, and a Red Cross Emergency Shelter are among its present uses.

Our membership is proud of its part in the growth of the Christian community.

Dorothy Speakman




In 1941, John Lamey came to Alliance from Mahaffey, Pennsylvania and began a series of meetings. These meetings were held in a tent.

On June 28, 1942, Rev. R. M. Clemmer came to Alliance and took charge of the congregation of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Gospel Center at East Harrison and Park Avenues.

The congregation bought a former Frosty Freeze building at 2234 South Union and remodeled it and moved there from East Harrison and Park.

In 1954, the church moved to the old school building on East Beech, which had been converted to a church. Dedication services were held on May 23, 1954.

The following ministers served in this building:

William D. Carlsen, June 13, 1943;

Asher B. Case was in charge as the congregation was without a resident minister, May 27, 1945, through June 17, 1945;

John E. Derr, June 24, 1945;

Paul Gear, 1947-  January, 1949;

Paul Pope, 1950-  1952;

Jack Lewis, 1953-  1955;

Lowell Steiner, 1955-  1959;

Chauncy Trainer, 1959-  1961;

James Trainer, 1961-  1971;

Gary Gossett, February, 1972-  July 25,1976.

Late in 1971, the Central District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance took charge and made the church a project of the District Redevelopment. Gary 0. Gossett was



Christian and Missionary Alliance Church continued

called and arrived in February, 1972. In the spring of 1973 a formal building program was started for a new building. The New York home office was convinced of the enduring quality and therefore gave a grant of $5,000, enabling purchase of property adjacent to the church.

In October, 1975, contract was signed with Howard Barcus Construction and ground was broken in November to start new building.

First services were held in new building on March 28, 1976. Church was dedicated on April 18, 1976. 

Pastor Gary 0. Gossett resigned and last sermon was July 25, 1976. At the present time the church is in the process of interviewing candidates.

Attendance at the present time is 125 to 135.

Patricia A. Hahn



The Christian Science church in Alliance has held public services since 1905.

The first location was at 228 East Main Street; prior to that time persons gathered in their homes to read the Bible lesson- sermons from the Bible and from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy.



First Church of Christ, Scientist, continued

Later the local church was incorporated and located at 107 South Union Avenue. The present church facility at 3510 South Union Avenue was built in 1962, housing an auditorium, Sunday School, nursery, and meeting rooms.

All Christian Science churches are lay congregations; those who conduct the services, designated as First and Second Readers, are elected from the membership on a rotating basis.

The public Reading Room, where the Bible and church publications can be read and studied, is located at 31 South Arch Ave., across from the main post office.

The church holds Sunday services at 11 a.m. Sunday School for those under 20 years of age is held at the same time.

Wednesday testimony meetings are at 8 p.m.

Mrs. Lyle Crist



Founded in 1820, the Sandy Congregation located at Reading, served the Brethren in much of Stark and Columbiana counties. Of special interest in that period was the Annual Conference held in 1834 on the Elias Dickey farm one mile west of Freeburg, now owned by Robert Thomas. The large barn served as an auditorium. Homes throughout the community provided lodging for the delegates, and hay and grain were contributed to feed the horses.



The last district meeting held in the Freeburg Church was in October, 1935.

Because of growth and for convenience, a Methodist property was purchased in 1880 that included a portion of the present cemetery which the church now owns. Later, about two acres of adjoining land to the north was purchased from George Roose, and the present structure was erected in 1882, bearing the name "German Baptist Church" carved in limestone and placed in the west gable of the church. Bricks for the building were made on a nearby farm, with members of the congregation assisting in the preparation of the clay and the firing.

Just previous to the erection of the building, our area was favored by a visit of Mary Quinter, mother of our beloved James Quinter who was associated in the printing business with Henry Kurtz. From this establishment came our first church publication "The Gospel Visitor." The printing business which he began in a springhouse was the start of our church- owned Brethren Publishing House at Elgin, Illinois. While on this visit, Mother Quinter became ill and passed away in her 98th year and was buried in the Freeburg cemetery.

At this period, Freeburg and Reading Houses of Worship held joint council meetings under the same officers and with a common treasury. As early as 1899 a division of church territory was considered and it was agreed by the Sandy Church council on May 19, 1900, that Freeburg and Reading become separate congregations with the Stark- Columbiana County line as a boundary. A


Freeburg Church of the Brethren, continued property settlement was made early in 1901.

Freeburg House of Worship then became known as the German Baptist Brethren Church and following the decision of the Annual Conference of 1908, the official name became Church of the Brethren.

The Freeburg Church has maintained a fairly steady number over the years and assumed her share in the work and progress of the district. With the blessing of the Freeburg congregation in 1924, the Alliance congregation was formed by a group in that area who were members of the Freeburg Church.

Average attendance at present is 124, with membership of 139 active, and 55 inactive members. The new pastor is Arlen Longanecker who began September 1, 1976.


The church is located a half mile south of Route 153 on Route 183. It was organized January 4, 1969, with 18 charter members, under the direction of Mr. Dale Tilton, graduate of Baptist Bible Institute of Cleveland. He served as first pastor of the church until 1971 and is today the senior deacon in the church.

The present pastor, R. L. Grosh, began his ministry at this church on August I, 1976.

The church started as a result of a Bible study and has a present membership of 80. It stands for the inspired, inerrant word of God and preaches Jesus Christ crucified, risen and coming again. The church is in fellowship with



Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, continued the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a nationwide group of more than 1,500 churches, with a world- wide mission outreach.

The church building, in former years, was the Mount Pleasant school, then a cabinet shop before being remodeled, revamped and renovated.

R. L. Grosh


The first Salem Class of the Evangelical Church, founded by Jacob Albright, was started in 1827 by John and Charlotte Frederick. Other early members were John and Sarah Roose and Jacob and Sarah Meese. More were added as meetings were held in various homes. The earliest preachers were Rev. Conrad Kring and Rev. Charles Hammer.

About 1846 a log church was built on the land of Ebenezer Stahl across the road from the present building. Bishop Long had an appointment to preach at this church but a few nights before the meeting the log church burned down.

After a long struggle, a 30 x 34 frame building was erected and dedicated by Bishop Long in 1851 as the Salem Evangelical Association. In 1869 the congregation had outgrown the frame building and moved to Homeworth. A substantial brick building, gothic in structure, replaced the frame one and was dedicated in December, 1869.

In November, 1937, the Freeburg



Salem United Methodist Church, continued Evangelical congregation united the Salem congregation. To provide adequate room and a better heating system than potbellied stoves, it was proposed to excavate a basement under the old building. Work proceeded well until the early spring rains came. One night of heavy rain the excavated wall caved in and the east wall of the structure crumbled. Out of the ruins, with great prayer and much labor, came a beautiful brick building with the cornerstone laying September 10, 1939 by Dr. H. V. Summers and the dedication in February, 1940 by Bishop G. E. Epp.

As time went by more room and better facilities were needed. The remodeling of the basement into class rooms and an extension to the church providing a nursery, kitchen, rest rooms and a fellowship hall was dedicated in 1968 by Bishop Keam.

Since 1827 the church has changed its name from the Salem Class to the Salem Evangelical Association, The Salem Evangelical Church, Salem Evangelical United Brethren and now since the merger with the Methodists, it is Salem United Methodist.

The present membership is 188. Beginning his fifth year as minister is Rev. Ryan Hetzer.

The Sunday School provides instructive classes for all ages and the worship is well attended.

There are two circles of church women which meet monthly, two prayer and Bible study groups each week, a group of church ladies visit Bel Air Nursing Home once a week and an active youth group meets twice a month. Now plans are being made for an Advance in Evangelism.



The Catholic Parish of St. Joseph in Maximo was begun in the year 1850. The Sacrifice of the Mass and various services were held in private homes from that time until the year 1857 which the first church was erected. The first parochial school was erected in the year 1868. A "new" school was erected in 1924. Unfortunately, the operation of the school ceased in 1969 but the building remains and is used presently for the Religious Education Program and for social events.

The need for a "new" church building was realized after several "additions" had been made to the "old" church. Ground- breaking ceremonies and the placing of the cornerstone for the "new" and present church at the corner of Easton Street and Oakhill Avenue were in 1957. The bell from the "old" church which had been acquired in 1874 was transferred to the "new" church in 1958.

The first Mass was offered in the new church and its Blessing took place in September, 1958.

Approximately 187 families constitute the present membership of St. Joseph's Parish.

Present Councilmen are James Breiding, Paul Gatts, Robert Hoover, James Gardner, and Arthur Frank. Present pastor is Fr. Thomas McNally, who was appointed June 16, 1963.

Fr. Thomas McNally




Written by Ray Bryan

This company was organized in October of 1881 by a group of local farmers. Their purpose was to offer insurance to property owners in Paris and Washington Township against fire, storm, and lightning damage.

Today many additional coverages have been added for today's needs. Today this company is recognized as one of the larger farm mutual companies in the State of Ohio.

Using the principles of good management and satisfied customers, the company has increased in policy holders.

This company is managed by seven directors selected from Paris, Washington, Osnaburg, Lexington, and Nimisillen Townships. These directors are elected by the policy holders of the company for a  three year term.

The directors for 1976 are:

President Clifford Wallace, 5453 Beechwood, NE, Paris, Ohio; Secretary- Treasurer Ralph Lautzenheiser, 12945 Louisville Street NE, Paris, Ohio;

Clark Snyder, 2223 Paris Avenue, NE, Paris, Ohio;

Robert Sutton, 15319 Louisville Street, NE, Homeworth, Ohio;

Austin Snyder, 11440 Lisbon Street, SE, Paris, Ohio;

 Donald Thoma, 319 East Nassau Street, East Canton, Ohio;

Larry Harding, 15950 Cenfield Street, Alliance, Ohio. 

The home office is 12945 Louisville Street, NE, Paris, Ohio.

The insurance in force at present is in excess of $59,000,000, showing the significant growth of the company.




Written by Chester Dibble

(Informational material was provided by Homer Yarnell, Mrs. E. W. Ramser, and Dorothy Ramser.)

The Grange is a family fraternity composed of rural people and serves as a recognized leader in rural- urban affairs. Its motto is: "In essentials, unity; In non- essentials, liberty; In all things, charity."

It is "family" in that men, women, and children are included. Both men and women belong to the subordinate Grange and all offices can be held by both men and women except for three ritualistic offices which are held by women alone. The first woman Grange member was Caroline A. Hall of Boston in 1868.

Youth up to 16 years of age belonged to what was originally called Juvenile Grange. A few years ago the name was changed to Grange Youth.  At age 16 the youth become members of the subordinate Grange.

The initial organizational meeting for the National Grange was November 15, 1867. Fairmount Grange was organized 30 years later on January 14, 1897, when a meeting was held and the first group of officers was elected and instructed in the degree work. At that time the following officers were elected: Master -  Wesley Knoll; Overseer -  Johnson Grant; Lecturer -  Anna Hoiles; Steward  - George Byers ; Assistant Steward -  Elmer Miller; Chaplain -  Jennie Grant; Treasurer -  B. J. Stanley; Secretary -  LeRoy McCallum; Gate Keeper -  AI Meredith; Pomona -  Rebecca McCallum; Ceres -  Anna Stanley;



Flora - Emma Wilson; Lady Assistant Steward -  Carry Knoll.

 The above names along with Mr. and Mrs. William Amerman, Samuel Hoiles, William McCallum, John Wilson, and David Shaffer are listed as charter members.

Meetings were held in the Grange Hill School and in different homes for the first 14 years. The present hall was built in 1911. An addition was built in 1916 to provide a stage area and a basement for the Juvenile Grange. In May, 1917, an acetylene light plant was purchased. Later in the same year a cistern was built. In April, 1921, electric lights were installed. The ladies quilting group contributed $97.75 toward the cost of the lights. The kitchen was remodeled in March, 1952. This included new counters, wall cabinets, sinks, and electrical outlets. A new water system was installed the same year. New furniture for the officers stations was built by the present Master, Paul Blanchard, and dedicated in a ceremony conducted by Chester Dibble, Chaplin, in March, 1962. During 1976, the interior of the hall will be renovated and redecorated.

The Fairmount Grange Hall building is the oldest Grange hall in Stark County. However, Fairmount Grange is the third oldest Grange organization in Stark County with Plain Grange being first and Marlboro Grange second. To finance its many projects, Fairmount Grange has raised money by having annual festivals and served many dinners to local groups.

No exact total is available but thousands of dollars have been raised and funneled into connnunity and fraternal projects. In recent years, Fairmount Grange has provided their facilities for the Washington Township Firemen's Festival and served the biscuit and chicken dinner. The Grange has also sponsored


a public supper for the benefit of Marlington High School Band uniforms.

Many Grange members can recall when we were host to The Farmers Institute which was a two - three day event geared to rural life. At the conclusion of the Institute, a home talent play was presented. Clara wymer (deceased) and Mrs. E. W. (Anna) Ramser directed the plays for many years.

The continuous service of Grange Treasurer William T. Green, is worthy of special recognition. He has served faithfully for 33 consecutive years.

There are five living members of the "Golden Sheaf" (50 year members).  The names are as follows with the year each joined:

Mrs. E. W. Ramser (Robertsville, 1911) Fairmount, 1925; Floyd Lower -  1912; Helen Wagner -  1913; Alpha Wallace - 1913; F. E. Pieron - 1916.

Following is a list of the past Masters of Fairmount Grange :

1897- 98 -  Wesley Knoll; 1899- 1900 -  David Shaffer; 1901- 02 -  William Amerman; 1903- 04 - David Shaffer; 1905- 12 - (No Record); 1913 - G. E. Sutton; 1914- 16 -  Arthur Oyster; 1917- 18 -  Arthur Kimes; 1919- 21 -  George Wymer; 1921- 22 -  William Bowman; 1923- 24 -  A. I. Mercer; 1925- 26 - R. Vance Marquis; 1927- 28 -  0. C. Hahn; 1929 -  R. Vance Marquis; 1930- 31 -  Elden Vandegrift; 1932- 33 -  E. W. Ramser; 1934- 35 -  Earl Haught; 1936- 38 -  Leroy Antram; 1939 -  C. J. Mani



1940 -  H. Duane Taylor; 1941 -  C. J. Mani; 1942- 43 -  Homer Ramser; 1944- 46 -  T. D. Myers; 1947 -  H. Duane Taylor; 1948- 49 -  Robert Kimes; 1950- 51 -  Harold Ramser; 1952 -  Homer Yarnell; 1953 -  Dwight Brugger; 1954- 55 -  H. Duane Taylor; 1956 -  Chester Dibble; 1957- 58 -  Harold Ramser; 1959- 60 -  S. A. Brugger; 1961- 62 -  Chester Dibble; 1963- 66 - Paul Blanchard; 1967 -  Lloyd Willis; 1968- 71 -  Harold Ramser; 1972- 75 -  Paul Blanchard.

 Following is a list of the 1975 officers:

Master - Paul Blanchard; Overseer -  Harold Ramser; Lecturer -  Alta Yarnell; Steward -  Walter Stahli; Assistant Steward -  Vernon McPeek; Lady Assistant Steward -  Louise McPeek; Chaplain -  Clero Brugger; Treasurer -  William T. Green; Secretary -  Homer Yarnell; Gate Keeper -  E. W. Ramser; Ceres - Janice Locke; Pomona - Jessie Blanchard; Flora - Jeannette Unkefer; Executive Committeeman - Sam Brugger; Executive Committeeman - Atlee Unkefer; Executive Committeeman - Kenneth Romigh; Pianist - Dorothy Rarnser; Chorister - Helen Wagner.




Written by Ray Bryan

Freeburg is a small own located on St. Rt. 153 east of Louisville, consisting of 32 lots. The land for this town was owned by Isidon Carrillon. It was laid out and plotted on February 26, 1842.

The two streets in this town were Main Street and North Street.

Some of the early residents of this town were: J. Sell, operator of a saw mill, J. Coyle, W. Willis, J. Hildenbitle, C. Trumph, C. Lozier, D. Weimer, J. Smith, grocer, J. Darting.

On Sunday the people of Freeburg had a choice of going to services at the Freeburg Church of the Brethern or the United Evangelical Church.

The Freeburg Church of the Brethern was organized in 1882 and was an outpost of the Reading Church of the Brethern in Homeworth.

The United Evangelical Church had its services in the building at the south edge of town, that the township trustees now own. It served as a place of worship for about fifty years.

Freeburg at one time was noted for its large number of liquor spots for such a small town.

No town is complete without a hotel and Freeburg had two. John Hildenbitle built one on the northwest corner of the intersection. It was occupied for 53 years by Henry and Lavina Hoffman, who operated a grocery and butcher business. Lavina Hoffman also served as Postmistress, along with weaving


carpets and rugs. At the age of 84 she resided with her daughter and son- in- law, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Sutton. This hotel was the oldest building in town. At one time there was a shingle mill behind this hotel.

Andrew Reese built the second hotel on the southeast corner of the intersection. This building had a grocery attached to it. This building was razed long ago.

J. Hildenbitle and Andrew Reese operated a steam saw mill just east of town for about 35 years. In the year 1905 the timber was pretty well sawed out and the mill was moved to Indiana.

J. Sell was the operator of a jewelry store where all his clocks were set to strike the hour one after the other to delight the many patrons he had.

William McKinley visited Freeburg and gave a campaign speech at a Sunday school picnic just north of the square. This speech was when he was running for Congress.

The railroad line west of Freeburg was put through as the Lake Erie, Alliance, and Southern Railroad in 1882. This railroad was built mostly by Irish labor. The railroad did a considerable business by shipping out hay, grain, and straw. Lime and coal were received by this same line.

 Passenger service was available until the year 1938. Today the railroad is abandoned and the land has been cleared and returned to its original land owners.


page 32 is a diagram of Freeburg 1870


Written by Elmer A. Bender

Located about two miles southwest of the corporate limits of the city of Alliance, Ohio, in the northwestern part of Washington Township, is the unincorporated village of Maximo, originally called Strasburg. Closely related to the settlements of Louisville, Harrisburg, and Belfort, villages that formed the French colony of Stark County, Strasburg was named for Strasburg, France. It was founded about 1838 by French Catholics.

To eliminate confusion with Strasburg in a neighboring county, the post office was named Maxemo. The Atlas of 1875 showed both names. The one for 1896 indicated only Maximo.

Of the early founding families, the Maudru family was the most prominent. The family history is the story of Maximo. Born near Belfort, France, in 1801, Joseph Maudru Sr., a teamster, emigrated to Stark County in 1832.

He remained in the French colony on the site of the future Louisville for about a year, later moving to Washington Township where he purchased forty acres of land and established the family about 1838. Ultimately his holdings increased to 335 acres.

County records of 1842 indicated that some of the Maudru land was sold to Gregory Gross and Jacob Sardier who employed Arnold Lynch as surveyor. The result was a plat of Strasburg which consisted of thirty lots and necessary alleys, grouped about Canton and Paris Streets, now known as Easton and Oakhill respectively.

It was in 1850 that the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railroad, later to become the Pennsylvania, was built. With a main line location, commerce of the small village was quick to develop.



By now an active farmer, Joseph Maudru developed facilities for the manufacture of potash and pearl ash. With his increasing activities came influence and prominence.

In 1857 he contributed toward the construction of St. Joseph's Church. He also donated land for the Catholic cemetery and gave land for a railroad depot which was not built until about 1880. Joseph Maudru died in 1872.

The first son, Joseph Jr., born in 1839, was one of Joseph Sr.'s twelve children. He attended school in Canton until the age of thirteen when he began work as a store clerk. For two winters he taught school. Then in 1864 in partnership with Ephraim Greiner, he opened a general store. The partnership was to last four years.

It was then that Joseph together with his brother Simon, erected a new brick building to house a general store known as "Maudru Brothers." Their wares included groceries, clothing, dry goods, farm implements, feed supplies, and wool.

The brothers erected a warehouse on the site of the present feed mill in 1888. Here they stored hay, grain, and fertilizer which was shipped on the railroad along with stock raised on their farms. An addition was constructed four years later.

In 1890 Joseph Jr. was elected county treasurer. During some of the next four years his nephew, John J., son of Simon, served as deputy treasurer. John J. had completed grade school in Maximo, then attended Mount Union College and Notre Dame University from which he was graduated in 1891.

He then began his career as storekeeper across the railroad from the warehouse where he was to spend 55 years.

It was in 1900 that John J. spent three months traveling in Europe. While there he visited relatives in Belfort, France, and met the King and Queen of England. Upon his return he married Lulu Warstler of Marlboro, the daughter of Jonas Warstler, a former county commissioner.


In 1917 the Maudru Brothers suffered a severe loss when fire destroyed the warehouse and contents. Flying sparks set the store ablaze and it too burned to the ground. Though the loss exceeded the insurance, John J. rebuilt both buildings, replacing the store with a two-story brick building.

That same year Charles Burns, a former employee of Maudru Brothers, started his own store. Strangely enough, many years later the Burns store was to end with a fire that reduced it to rubble.

At the height of its prosperity Maximo had both freight and passenger service on the railroad. Now the team-track and passing siding are gone and rare indeed is a passing train.

The Stark Electric Interurban Line established in 1902, once provided half-hour service to Canton, Alliance, and Salem. When it went into bankruptcy it was replaced by two-hour service provided by the Canton- Alliance bus. Today there is no public transportation.

With increasing taxes and competition, the Maudrus leased the warehouse to the Farm Bureau in 1941. The store was sold the following year to the Magnolia Hardware Company as a warehouse. It has since burned down.

The Maudru family may have been the most prominent in Maximo but others contributed equally to the development of the village. Joseph Reighart, a tailor from Lancaster County, Pa., moved to Canton in 1860.

After service in the Civil War he operated a tailor shop in Canton, then Paris, and finally Alliance. When he settled in Maximo in 1866 he operated a hotel and tailor shop. Shortly before 1875 he began the manufacture of pretzels in a shop on the west side of the tracks across from the post office and depot.

 Graduating from a hand operation to labor-saving devices powered by a steam engine, by 1880 he sold $4000 worth


annually, shipping some by rail to distant points.

Across the street, east of the present mill, Ephraim Greiner and C,. A. Bertollet operated a grist mill in the 1870s. Greiner also operated a general store which he opened after dissolving a partnership with Joseph J. Maudru.

Other enterprises before the turn of the century included a carriage shop, a blacksmith shop, and brickyard owned by A. Buckle, Hadie's shoe store, a carpenter shop operated by M. Stimler, and grocery stores run by Ruppiers and H. Rau.

At the height of its prosperity Maximo boasted of seven saloons. Like the rest of Washington Township, it has now been dry for more than thirty years.

With the disappearance of industries from Maximo, the structures housing them are also gone and the village has become a residential community, with a store, barber shop, and garage remaining.

The old two- room school house was supplanted by a new consolidated school near the center of the township almost thirty years ago.

 St. Joseph's Catholic Church, organized in 1850, now holds services in a modern structure though the grade school is no longer operated. The United Church of Christ has constructed a fine addition in recent years just a short distance south of the village post office.




Written by Raymond Bryan

Little known by people of today, there was a meeting house near where the Fairmount Cemetery is now located.

Those in attendance at these meetings were a break-off from the Friends or Quaker Church known as the Hicksite Friends. Only two families attended along with all their descendants. These were the families of Robert Hilles and Jacob Harris.

Robert and Jana Hilles and Jacob and Mary Harris sat at the head of these meetings.

This little society for some reason dropped the name of Friends and changed to a more elaborate name of The Friends of Human Development.

Due to the close location of the boundary between the free and slave states, they became a group opposing slavery along with their religious duties. This meeting house became one of the stations on the Underground Railroad, an organization for freeing slaves by aiding slaves in getting to Canada where they would be free.

Robert Hilles and his sons and sons-in-law became great violators of the law by aiding the slaves to freedom. Little more is known about the church or its disappearance.




Written by Earl Cunningham

The following comments were obtained from Mr. Floyd Lower of the Lisbon Club.

Mr. Lower spent much time in the promotion of Ruritan and its ideals. He is a National past president.

Mr. Lower talked with Dwight Ickes who then lived east of Freeburg. An explanation meeting was set up to explain Ruritan and the meeting was held at the Fairmount Grange on November 29, 1957.

Four local persons were in attendance. They were Dwight Ickes, Ralph Lautzenheiser, Harley Shaffer, and E. W. Ramser along with Mr. Lower. After explanation and discussion, those present believed that a club should be organized in the township if enough members could be obtained.

 Names of prospective members were listed and each of those present agreed to make certain contacts. They did an excellent job of enrolling members.

The charter meeting was held on January 27, 1958 with forty- seven charter members. The club has been a strong club from the beginning with much credit in the early years due to Mr. Ickes for his enthusiastic efforts in getting the club organized and off to a good start.

The Washington Club was the thirteenth club organized in Ohio. The Charter was number 872. Present charter members still in the club are as follows: Forrest Albright, Louis H. Beutler, James H. Boyce, William Green, Jay Haynam, Robert Kimes, Ralph Lautzenheiser, Fred Moser,



Richard Parrish, Ed Ramser, Harold Ramser, Marion Rummell, Paul Schillig and Robert Sutton.

Our present membership is approximately 85.

Ruritan is a civic organization whose objectives include a greater understanding between rural and urban people on the problems of each, working with those agencies which serve the community.

Ruritan was founded in 1928 in Holland, Virginia. It has become the largest rural civic organization in America. Its objectives are:

I. To promote fellowship and goodwill,

2. To unify the efforts of individuals, organizations and institutions toward making the community a better place to live,

3. To work with those agencies that serve the community and contribute to its progress ,

4. To encourage and foster ideal of service as the basis of all worthy enterprise,

5. To create understanding, fellowship, and good will between people.

Some of the Washington Club's past objectives and projects have been to aid many school related groups, as well as Volunteer Fire Department, Hot Stove League teams , community parks, community clean-up projects, Christmas baskets and to aid in hardship cases in our community .The club also promotes highway safety and home safety.

The club's fund raising projects are: 1. Annual Minstrel Show; 2. Garden Tractor Pull; 3. Turkey Supper.



page 40 is a map: "Left side -  Washington Township -  1870"


page 41 is a map: "Right side -  Washington Township -  1870"





1870 - 1,980 residents

1910 - 1,784 residents

1960 - 8,687 residents

1970 - 5,306 residents

(Butler Township was formed August 24, 1965. Butler Township is synonymous with the boundary of the City of Alliance. The forming of Butler Township helps to explain the decline in population of Washington Township between 1960 and 1970 because a portion of Washington Township was within municipal Alliance.)

Additional information from the 1970 census:

Sex: Male 2,601

Female 2,705

Race: White 5,284

Black 18

Other 4

Age: Median Age 30.0

Percent Under 18 Years 37.0%

Percent 65 Years or Over 9.5%

Households: Number 1,486

Population in Households 5,112

Persons per Household 3.44





Written by Ray Bryan

I was interested in hearing some stories from a man of Washington Township, and the ways he had seen the township change. It didn't take long until I found this man, and had a nice conversation.

He told about his school days at Grange Hill School located on Route 183. There were approximately thirty students in a one room school. His transportation was by foot except for the very cold winter mornings when his father would take him and the neighbor kids to school in a bobsled pulled by horses. At night a neighbor would return the kids the same way.

He made note of the togetherness of families and neighbors in the old days. As an example, he remembered the raising of four barns in this area, all done by neighbors helping for free. One of these barns is on the farm where he now lives.

He mentioned cheese factories in Washington Township. I found out that there had been several in the township. There was one on Salem Church Street just west of the railroad tracks, one in Maximo, one on the east side of Route 183, and another south of the intersection of Georgetown Road and Beechwood Avenue which was called Stuckey Cheese Factory. His father used to make cheese at home and even bought milk for this purpose.

He told about the way he hauled milk to these factories in a horse drawn wagon as a kid. He mentioned that today the same


milkwagon is used in parades by Marion Rummel, sometimes representing the Washington Ruritan Club.

These factories operated only from the months of April until November. The year 1917 saw an end to the factories and the milk was then sent to the Minerva Condensery until the early 1920s. After that it was taken to the Alliance plant. His success as a milking operator brought him to a point where in 1956 he was one of the first to have a bulk milk tank.

A story about the roads (Route 183 and 153) was interesting. The brick surface of Route 183 was laid beginning in 1914 and not finished until 1915. It was surfaced with paving bricks hauled from Alliance by horse and wagon. The money for this project was obtained by assessing land owners on each side of the road for a distance of one half mile from the road. 

Route 153 was graded and paved with paving brick beginning in 1916 and completed in 1917. The money for this project was obtained by assessing land owners for a distance of one mile from the road.

These levies lasted until1930 and caused a severe financial burden on most of the owners.

One notable person mentioned several times was David F. Stuckey. He was a minister at the Freeburg Church of the Brethren, a school teacher and a farmer.

Also mentioned were Ed Hahn and George Stoffer who served as township trustees and township assessors.

Hay on this farm was made by mowing and raking with a dump rake and then loaded onto a wagon by hand and hauled to the barn.

The first hay loaders did not appear until


Thank you for an Enjoyable afternoon continued

1912 and balers came in the late 1940.

The farm work was done by three horses until 1943 when he bought his first International H tractor.

Thank you, Fred Moser, for a nice visit.



A Standard History of Stark County, Ohio,

Volume I

John H. Lehman

The Lewis Publishing Company

Chicago and New York

The Stark County Story , Volume I, Covering the Years 1805-  1874

Edward Thornton Heald

A Publication of the Stark County Historical Society, Canton, Ohio 1949

Stoneman Press


Atlas of Stark County

F. W. Beers and Company

New York