Since Plain City’s official Bicentennial celebration is only a little over a month away, it is appropriate that we take a look this week at the actual founding of the town.
Almost a year ago, I wrote at some length about Isaac Bigelow’s family. He was born in New York state on Aug. 25, 1797, the eldest son of Israel and Eunice Kathan Bigelow. In 1814, when he was 17, Isaac journeyed to Ohio on foot to pay for a plot of land his father had purchased. In 1815, he married and in 1817, he and his wife Polly came to Champaign County, Ohio. In 1818, they moved to Darby Township in Madison County, where Isaac purchased land with the intention of starting a stock farm. After observing the steady traffic east and west along the Urbana Post Road and north and south on the Chillicothe Road, he decided to lay out a town at their crossing. He called the town Westminster, although it was informally known as Bigelow’s Corners.
The land was surveyed by David Chapman on June 11, 1818, and the report filed at the Madison County Recorder’s Office on July 8, 1818. It reads as follows:
The Plan of West Minster situated on the south side of big Darby Creek in Darby Township Madison County on the road leading from Worthington to Urbana. The above road which is Main Street from letter B runs east and is 60 feet wide. The allies are 30 links wide and run from Main Street north. The lots on the north side of Main Street measures each north 12 poles and East four poles and 11 links. The lots on the south side of Main Street measure each South 10 poles and west five poles and one link.
In 1823, the town name was changed to Pleasant Valley, and on June 24 of that year, Simeon Hager surveyed the town again. The lot measurements are the same as in the original survey, except that Lots 26 and 27 are shown as being intersected by the Chillicothe Road. On the south side of the Urbana Road there are no alleys. On the north side of said road there are 10 alleys as laid down on the Plat. The alleys run from said road North 12 poles, and 30 links wide all the above mentioned roads and alleys in said town are reserved for public use.
Lot number 14 was designated for a school. Isaac Bigelow built a log cabin on the southwest corner of Main and Chillicothe Streets. Over the years he enlarged and improved it until it was a substantial brick home. It was torn down in 1902 when the Farmers’ National Bank Building was erected.
Between 1823 and 1851, six additions were laid out for the town, but it would not have grown much more had the decision not been made to bring the railroad through the town in 1853.
I would like to add here a note of thanks to the Union County Chamber of Commerce, which recently gave the Plain City Historical Society its Arts & Culture Award for 2018. We very much appreciate the honor.
Rosemary Anderson is the vice president of the Plain City Historical Society.
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