Friday, June 5, 2009
Town of Livingston in Franklin Township
Coal Mine, Brick Kiln were Big Businesses of the Town
By Linda Ballanger
Approximately eight miles west of Cincinnati is a site where a church and a cemetery are the only remaining parts of an old town. This town was called Livingston and at one time was quite a busy place.
Livingston was located in Franklin township. Its settlers, unlike most any other place in the area, were from New York.
The town of Livingston was named after one of the first persons to ever stake a claim in Franklin township, Livingston G. Parker.
Included in the town of Livingston were two stores, a lumber and grist mill, a coal mine, a brick kiln, a post office, (at different times) two blacksmith shops, a school, a church and a cemetery.
The cemetery was surveyed and plotted in 1857. The land was donated by E. O. Smith and was surveyed and plotted by his brother, Dr. Daniel Smith, and John Wilson Angle. A bit of irony occurred when history revealed that Dr. Smith and Mrs. Angle were the first two to be buried in the cemetery.
Quite some time before the church was built a Baptist society was formed in the vicinity of Livingston in 1855. The organizing members of the society were Benjamin Barney and wife, L. G. Parker and A. E. Stevens and wife, Levi Wafford and wife. The first meeting was held at the home of Mr. Parker. His home was at the north edge of Livingston. Later, on April 12, 1862, a meeting was called at the home of Peter Angle for the purpose of organizing a church. From the start a congregation was formed. The Angle home was also used as the place of worship for the congregation until it was changed to the E. O. Smith home nearer to town. L. G. Parker was the first ordained minister. In 1865 the schoolhouse was built and was used as the place of worship. In 1878 there were sixty members.
A Union Sabbath school was maintained in Livingston at the schoolhouse. H. I. Halladay was superintendent; E. O. Smith, Assistant; Charles Landers, Secretary; James Murphy, Librarian. Teachers were E. O. Smith, Mrs. Nancy J. Parker, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Halladay, R. B. Bilkinson and Mrs. Helen Wood. The average attendance was 39, however, at one time there were over 50 who attended the school.
At this time there are two of the original houses from Livingston still left. One is at the north edge of town where B. B. Parker, the son of L. G. Parker, lived and the other is at the south edge of the town and was built by C. S. Robertson. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ballanger now live in the house that was inhabited by the Parkers. It has been remodeled since that time. Mr. and Mrs. W. Ray Ballanger live in the house at the south edge of town. This house is just like it was during the time the old town was thriving except for the addition of a back porch, running water and a partition that was torn....
The Livingston Post Office was located where Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lowe now live. E. O. Smith was the first post master. It was then moved across the road and L. G. Parker was the post master. Later it was moved to the south edge of town and was in part of the general store.
The Livingston coal mine was located south of the house where B. B. Parker lived and was operated by him and his father. The coal mine did quite a big business. It served people from Seymour, Genos, St. John and the surrounding area. There would be eight to ten teams and wagons come at a time for coal. The Parkers mined over 20,000 bushels of coal a year and it seemed that just as soon as wood stoves would burn out the people would buy coal stoves and come to the Livingston mine to get their fuel.
East of the coal mine was a brick kiln. This also was quite a business. Even today in the spot where the kiln was located the ground is covered with bricks. Several times the bricks have been cleaned up to where it was thought there were no more but every time more bricks have worked up out of the ground. B. B. Parker operated the kiln. Many of the brick homes in Seymour were built from brick from this kiln.
The two stores were located across the street from one another near the south edge of town. The store on the east side of the main road of Livingston then (which incidentally is different from the main road there now) had been in business for several years before the second store was built across the road from it. A Mr. (-)inker was the first owner that can be remembered by persons who lived there. He sold the store to a Mr. Bales who operated the store for a while before he moved to Kansas. A. W. Fox then took over the store and rented it to William Ruby who ran the store for two years.
The second store was built and first owned by C. S. Robertson in 1882. He also built the house to the west of the store. G. W. Beer then took over the store and the post office was moved to this store while Beer operated it. It was sold to Roy Gray and then burned. A. Hughes rebuilt with a cement building and sold to John Ackley. It never did business after that.
North and west of the Beer store was a lumber and grist mill. People would bring their timber to the mill to have it sawed for their homes, etc., and could also bring wheat and other grains to have them ground.
The first blacksmith shop was at the bottom of the hill on the road going west from town. It was on the west side of the creek that ran the mill. A Mr. Colton and John Bales ran this shop. At this time John Bales and his mother Mary lived at the top of that hill in a big brick house. Later John Ackley moved into the big brick house and started the blacksmith shop just west of the house on top of the hill.
At the south edge of town there was a Woodman Hall where the Woodman Lodge met and where dances, meeting, and other get-togethers were held.
At one time L. G. Parker also published the first Republican newspaper in the county, the Appanoose Republican. This was during the years 1858-1859. The ratio of democrats to republicans at that time was about three to one.
It might be interesting to note here some of the first persons to live in Livingston and some of the businesses they ran.
Livingston G. Parker and his father-in-law, Benjamin Barney, came to this area in 1853 and staked their claims. Parker had been in school in Ohio and returned there after staking his claim in order to finish his schooling. The following year he and his family returned here to his land. The town of Livingston was named after this Pioneer.
L. G. Parker and his wife had five sons: One, Benjamin, lived across the road from his father and along with his father operated the coal mine. Benjamin also operated the brick kiln.
The town doctors were a Dr. Davison, in 1870, Dr. E. H. Jones in 1882 to 1884 and a Dr. Nye who was there for a short time in the 1890s. For a short time in 1883 there was a dentist and a photographer.
The carpenter that built the church in 1880 was William Thompson. He lived about a mile from Livingston. His assistant was Loren Hawkins from Cincinnati.
O. E. Smith lived on the road west of the town at the top of the first hill on the south side of the road. He was the donor of two acres of land for the church, school and cemetery. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. L. G. Parker were sisters. The new part for the cemetery was bought in 1930 and John Ackley was the first person buried in it.
Other families who had played parts in the growth and success of the church were Allen Pettit, Mrs. Minerva Bell, R. B. Wilkinson, Frank Corder, Noah Pettit, Nathan Stanton, J.H. Pettit, S. N. Bell, Peter Bales, R. A. Huxtable, James Murphy, J. A. Wilson, William Condra, W. A. Fox and many others.
Other teachers in the school system besides the ones named before were Lollie Stanton, Bell Dorman, George Gorsuch, Mrs. Gilbert Horn, Miss Angie Horn (it was during the time she was teacher that there were about 50 students), Mary Lynch, Mrs. Hayes, Miss Ella Callen, Miss Lillie Heneman and Walter Phillips.
Joe Glasser, from New York, lived about a mile and a half west and north of town. He was a cabinet maker and built the coffins for the dead of Livingston.
Ministers for the church, just to name a few, were Rev. L. G. Parker, Rev. Lippit, Rev. Sutton who lived in Seymour, Rev. Wm Beard, Rev. S. H. Gunn who came from St. John every two weeks, and Rev. Lennie Clemens.
There were others who were quite instrumental in making the town the successful and prosperous place it was during its time. It is hoped we haven't overlooked too many here. A special thank you is extended to Mrs. Winnie Harl of Seymour and Mrs. Clara Hatfield of Centerville, both ladies who were residents of Livingston when it was a thriving town. Mrs. Harl was a very young girl at the time the church was built and can remember the day it was dedicated in February of 1881. Other information was also obtained from "The History of Appanoose County in 1878" and an atlas loaned to us by ...inson of Sewal, Iowa.
Transcribed from a newspaper clipping in Louise Harl's Scrapbook - Item #9 on the FHL Film #1007930.