- Amish Country
Located at the terminus of the Ohio River as a border and the beginning of the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Columbiana County was formed the same year that Ohio became a state. Originally part of Jefferson and Washington Counties, Columbiana was created in 1803 and named for Christopher Columbus and Queen Anna. It is not known which Queen Anna they were referring.
Columbiana County also has the distinction of being the northernmost point the Confederacy reached during the Civil War. Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed the Ohio River south of Wellsville with his troops on 26 July 1863 and engaged the Union forces. His forces lost the battle with 30 killed, 50 wounded and 200 taken prisoner. He and his men fled but were captured six hours later near West Point in Madison Township. A marker was erected on the spot where General Morgan and his 336 troops were captured.
The County has 150 years experience in manufacturing pottery, brick and tile from its excellent deposits of fire clay and brick shale. At one time the County was known as the "Pottery Capital of the Nation" or "America's Crockery City". The ceramics industry remains a dominant influence on the history and culture of the county. Today the area is dominated by agriculture.
Ohio and Erie Canal
In January 1828, the Ohio Legislature approved the construction of the Sandy & Beaver Canal Company. Originally the canal was going to be 90 miles long and be a major boost to the economy.
The canal would connect to the Ohio Canal near Bolivar, Ohio, follow Big Sandy Creek to New Lisbon and continue along the Middle Fork of Little Beaver Creek and meet the Ohio River at Glasgow.
Ground was broken on 24 November 1834 and the next month the Ohio Legislature appropriated $50,000 to assist the Sandy & Beaver Canal Company. The canal ended up being only 73 miles long and required 90 locks. Workers had to excavate a tunnel -- a major engineering feat for its day -- so boats could travel between New Lisbon and Hanoverton. Construction of the canal took longer than expected due to increasing financial problems. It would take 14 years to complete and just 4 years later, the first train from Cleveland arrived in Wellsville making the long awaited canal almost obsolete.
Columbiana County also has the distinction of being the northernmost point the Confederacy reached during the Civil War and the end of one of America's most famous bank robbers.
During the Civil War, except for Gettysburg, all of the significant battles were in the south. In Ohio, there were no battles, but there was one time when a rebel cavalry had the makings of a nightmare for small town residents and children.
It was early July 1863 and northern citizens were reading about General Lee's defeat at Gettysburg Pennsylvania, and the end of the almost 2 month siege of Vicksburg Mississippi when Major General Ulysses S. Grant accepted the surrender of Lt. General John Pemberton. Rumors were rampant that the war may be over soon, at least for a few days.
In Indiana and Ohio rumors were spreading even quicker that a rebel army was attacking and killing citizens in Indiana and the massive cavalry was heading east toward Ohio. Ohio Governor Tod called up the Ohio militia to defend the southern counties from the raiding marauders.
On July 8, 1863, Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate cavalry leader, led approximately 2,500 soldiers across the Ohio River into southern Indiana and then across southern Ohio. They went just north of Cincinnati and then cutting east. Just past Pomeroy, Morgan tried to cross back over the Ohio River into West Virginia. They chose a point near the island of Buffington. Here a group of Union gunboats and soldiers caught up with the Confederates and a battle took place on the island. Morgan's cavalry was split. Morgan remained north of the river.
Then began a wild escapade of the Confederate cavalry fleeing north with Union forces following not far behind. After several days Morgan and his remaining men were engaged in a battle at Salineville. Union Cavalry under the command of Major W.B. Way and Major G.W. Rue surrounded Morgan's Raiders and captured most of the men. Morgan was actually captured some 13 miles northeast of Salineville, near West Point, in Columbiana County.
During the Great Depression there was a number of outlaw figures that captured the imaginations of many Americans and tales of their exploits often created legends. In the days before TV, it was the day's newspapers that recounted the events surrounding these criminals including all the details from the local Sheriff or FBI agents giving chase.
Charles A. Floyd was one of those characters. In a recent movie, Public Enemies, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd's end is graphically portrayed when FBI agent Melvin Purvis carefully takes aim at the fleeing Floyd and kills him with a single shot.