Ghost Towns of
Knox County


Knox County, northeast of Columbus, is home to Centerburg, the geographic center of Ohio, as well as the towns of Mt. Vernon and Gambier. I used to drive up into it a few times a week to visit my girlfriend, who was incarcerated at Mt. Vernon Nazarene College. Lots of little towns died slow deaths in Knox County; you can read about many of them below.



Academia
Morris Twp.
Town located in the very northwest corner of the county. Post office operated here between 1901 and 1906.
Ball
Post office operated between August 9, 1850 and December 19, 1850.
Banning's Mill
Founded by William Douglas in spring 1805 when he began building the sawmill and gristmill.
Cavallo
Union Twp.
At one time a major trade center, Cavallo's life depended on the canals, and when the railroads replaced them, it died. The town's best years were between 1840 and 1850, when it handled most of Knox County's imports and exports via a feeder canal which followed the Mohican River to the Ohio Canal between Coshocton and Walhondling. One of the biggest grain elevators in central Ohio was constructed at the mouth of the feeder, which was used as late as 1881. At its peak Cavallo boasted four large warehouses. The exact location of the town is in dispute; depending on who you believe, it was either on the west side of the Mohican River in Knox County or the east side in Coshocton County.
Circle
Post office town from 1842 to 1845.
Clark's Crossroads
Post office town from 1828 to 1830.
Clinton
Clinton Twp.
The first real town in Knox County. Clinton boasted the county's first post office, which was established in 1804. Clinton was slowly murdered by Mt. Vernon, which seemed to deliberately strangle it out of existence. When the county commissioners travelled through candidate towns to decide the placement of the county seat, the people of Mt. Vernon put on a show much like the end of the movie Funny Farm: they cleaned everything up, acted like they were all working hard, and took care of the commissioners in the town's best hotel. Then, when the commissioners left for Clinton, the town's worst drunks and vandals ran ahead of them and trashed Clinton, scaring the crap out of the commissioners and convincing them that Mt. Vernon was the place to put the courthouse. This was the beginning of the end for Clinton, which then made a series of attempts to stay viable. They petitioned for the incorporation of the Clinton Library and Academy; the petition was rejected several times, while Mt. Vernon established its own colleges. In 1809 the Mt. Zion Masonic Lodge was established in Clinton; in 1815 Mt. Vernon erected a new lodge building and the meetings were moved there. In July of 1813 The Ohio Register began printing in Clinton; in 1816 it moved to Mt. Vernon. In 1818, residents petitioned for vacation of a large portion of the town. All I can say is, I hope Mt. Vernon is happy.
Delano
Post office town from 1898 to 1903.
Delaware Indian Village (I)
Clinton Twp.
Indian village located on the level valley along the south bank of the Kokosing River, near where the sewage treatment plant is located today.
Delaware Indian Village (II)
Clinton Twp.
Another Indian village, this one located in what today is the Elmwood section of Mt. Vernon.
Delaware Indian Village (III)
This Indian village was located in northwest Knox County, near Fredericktown.
Esto
Butler Twp.
Crossroad community from 1890 through 1903, when the post office was shut down. It was located at the intersection of SR 299 and Township Road 196.
Democracy
Pike Twp.
Post office town which stood where the town of Amity is today.
Five Corners
A decent-sized town once located at the corner of County Road 27 and Johnstown Road. It was plotted in 1843, with the post office established later that year. The town boasted churches for the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Disciples. The post office closed on April 30, 1902. Today all that remains is a township house, cemetery, and a couple of farmsteads.
Fleaville City
Pleasant Twp.
Interestingly named town located in the very northwest corner of Pleasant Twp.
Florida
Morris Twp.
Town established in 1817 at the intersection of the road from Mansfield to Columbus and the road from Mt. Vernon to Upper Sandusky.
Friends
Middlebury Twp.
Established in 1806 ten miles north of Mt. Vernon by Henry Roberts, a Quaker from Fredericks County, Maryland. In 1807 other Quakers joined him there.
Front Royal
Jackson Twp.
The first village in Jackson Twp., Front Royal was located on the farm of William Darling. In 1832 the town had a store, a blacksmith, and several homes. By 1881 everything was gone.
Granny's Creek
Wayne Twp.
Town established by Truman Ransom and his family in 1824. Ransom is said to have been prone to bad luck; his house burned to the ground at one point, costing him $2000, and his wagon overturned in Owl Creek, costing him all his stuff, as well as almost killing him. He built a gristmill on Granny's Creek and then, in 1828, built a sawmill there. In the 1860's there was a school at Granny's Creek, which also housed a Temperance Society and a church which hosted preaching by Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and other denominations.
Green Valley
Wayne Twp.
Town once located at the corner of Green Valley and Stockman Roads. It was started in 1831. In 1845 a multidenominational church was built there. Green Valley was home to Dr. Ralph Stockman, a nationall known Methodist theologian and author. The town died after its post office closed in 1900.
Greenville
Berlin Twp.
Town likely inhabited by Indians; reference is made to Indians coming to hunt in Harrison Twp. from Greenville.
Harrison
Butler Twp.
Town founded in 1816 by Jacop Leply. Today all that remains is a grange hall and a township house.
Harters Cross Roads
Berlin Twp.
In 1809 Michael Harter completed a log tavern at the intersection of the Mt. Vernon-Mansfield and Columbus-Wooster Roads. Harter's Tavern became famous as the best hotel in northern Ohio. A post office for the town operated from 1825 through 1828.
Hilliar
Hilliar Twp.
Decent-sized town laid out in 1852. Between 1852 and 1881 the town contained several homes, a steam grist mill, a store, a grovery, a carriage shop, a blacksmith, and a physician. It was originally thought that Hilliar would rival Centerburg in size, but when the proposed Springfield, Mt. Vernon, and Pittsburg Railroad failed, the town's fate was sealed. It disappeared sometime after 1881.
Hollister's
Butler Twp.
Post office town named for Orange Hollister, who built a mill in Butler Township. The post office here was housed in a store.
Houck Settlement
Hilliar Twp.
Town located at the intersection of SR 3 and Township Road 104. Jacob Houck operated a tavern here, about a mile and a half beyond Centerburg, and William Houck operated the blacksmith shop. Today all that remains is a cemetery.
Hunt
Miller Twp.
Railroad town located on the Pleasant-Miller Township line. Hunt, or Hunt's Station, was a stop on the Newark and Sandusky Railroad. The post office opened in 1866 and closed in 1887. Today Hunt is nothing but a few rotting buildings along the railroad tracks.
Hurford's Mill
Pleasant Twp.
A man named Hurford operated a water-powered mill on Big Run in northeastern Pleasant Twp. In 1870 a store opened there. The town still existed in 1881, but died shortly thereafter.
Knox
Morris Twp.
Post office town from 1826 to 1860.
Lucerne
Wayne Twp.
Town known variously as Luzerne, Jersey Settlement, and Young's Mills, it was located at the intersection of Township Road 392 and SR 95. Daniel and John Beers operated a woolen mill here for twenty years, and dwellings, a store, a blacksmith shop, and a church grew up around it. The post office operated from 1830 to 1901.
Maple Grove
Berlin Twp.
Post office town from 1850 to 1860.
Maysville
Town founded on March 29, 1849 by David Gorsuch.
Melrose
Hilliar Twp.
Town founded on August 12, 1852 by John Miller.
New Lexington
Butler Twp.
Town founded on March 9, 1816, by Robert Griffin.
North Liberty
Pike Twp.
Decent-sized town laid out in 1838 at the intersection of Mishey and Keck Roads. The post office operated from 1846 through 1901. At one time the town boasted a grocery, blacksmith, physician, dry goods store, wagon shop, Methodist and Lutheran Church, and about 35 dwellings.
Pipesville
Harrison Twp.
Post office town located at the intersection of SR 229 and Pipesville Road. It operated between 1872 and 1902.
Port Jackson
Jefferson Twp.
Town platted on April 18, 1828 by John Hibbits.
Rolla
Post office town from 1894 through 1899.
Sandusky Cross Roads
Post office town from 1824 to 1836.
Strong's Settlement
Middlebury Twp.
Lost town whose only memorable event seems to have been a particularly wild Fourth of July in 1814, when a flag was hoisted onto a 68-foot pole and everybody in town got drunk and shot muskets off.
Ten Mile Settlement
Clinton Twp.
Town established in 1805 when several settlers from Ten Mile, Washington County, Pennsylvania settled south of Owl Creek. The first gristmill in Knox County was located here, at the point where Granville Road crosses the tributary, but it was built at a place where the water often ran dry, so it could only operate right after a heavy rain. An amusing figure local to Ten Mile Settlement was Henry Haines, who was appointed County Treasurer from 1808 to 1815. Shortly after his last term in office Haines became "deranged" and became and "exhorter" for a religious denomination known as the New Lights. He rode around the countryside day and night screaming at people to repent and prepare for judgment. He was cured several times by the local doctor but would always disappear again and go back to screaming at people. The last time they found him he was hanging from a tree. Sounds like the perfect setup for a haunting--on lonely nights some say you can still hear him screaming....
Wolf
Harrison Twp.
Post office town from 1844 to 1863.
Zuck
Butler Twp.
Town once located along the Kokosing River near the intersection of Staats and Zuck Roads. The post office operated from 1817 to 1903. On March 25, 1913, the Kokosing River flooded and wiped out much of what remained of Zuck. Today only an old iron bridge over the Kokosing River remains to indicate where the town once stood.




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Sources

Helwig, Richard. Ohio Ghost Towns No. 35: Knox County. Sunbury, OH: Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, 1995.

Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer. Yarmouth, ME: DeLorme, 1999.