- Amish Country
Named because of its scenic landscape, Mount Pleasant was first layed in in 1803 but the first settlers, Robert Carothers and Jessee Thomas, arrived here in 1796. Four years later a wave of Quakers arrived here from North Carolina. In 1803 Carothers and Thomas laid out what would become the village of Mount Pleasant and together they recorded on October 1, 1803, seven months to the day after the legal founding of Ohio.
The original plat filed by Carothers and Thomas contained 132 lots with 2 main streets (concord and Union. A year later Enoch Harris started the first store in a small log building. That building is still standing at 168 Market Street. Harris operated the store until 1844 and was also the president of first Mount Pleasant Bank. Some years later Pickney Lewis Bone opened a general store in the log cabin and remained there for the next 50 years.
The realities of being off the beaten path eventually began to take a toll on the founders of Mount Pleasant. However, today that extreme isolation from the rest of the world, means that many of the buildings standing in the Mount Pleasant Historic District today are the same as they were 200 years ago. Recognizing its unique situation, the Historic District of Mount Pleasant was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2005 and is well worth the effort it takes to find Mount Pleasant.
The Society of Friends were strictly opposed to slavery. When the United States Congress passed an ordinance prohibiting slavery on lands north of the Ohio River, that area became extremely attractive to the Quakers. In the late 1700s, they migrating from North Carolina to the Ohio Country. Jefferson County became a natural gathering location for the early Quakers coming to Ohio. It was decided by the Elders of the church that Mount Pleasant would make an ideal location for their annual meeting. To accommodate the 1000s of Quakers that would be coming here, they constructed the Quaker Meeting House which could handle 2000 people.
The Quakers became leaders in multiple reform movements. In Ohio, the major reform was the Abolition movment. Ohio became a natural gateway for runaway slaves crossing the Ohio River. Through the Quaker's efforts, the abolitionist movement picked up acceptance not only in Ohio, but across the country.
One of its earliest founders was Benjamin Lundy who is credited with being the "Father of Abolitionism." Lundy moved to Mount Pleasant and began publishing the Genius of Universal Emancipation.
Mount Pleasant's Silk Factory
In 1819 William Watkins, a resident of Steubenville, had heard that silk could be made from the cocoon of a particular worm that liked mulberry leaves. He decided to plant a grove of these trees and began cultivating the silkworm. In 1841 Thomas White heard about Watkins effort and decided to try it himself. But White had no property and so he made an arrangement with John Gill to planyt a julberry orchard on 25 acres of his farm just outside of Mount Pleasant. In 1842 he built a 2-story cocoonery. This site became the first place in the country to produce silk. In 1844 Henry Clay, a presidential candidate, was given a silk vest created from Mount Pleasant's silkworms.
In 1821, Benjamin Lundy started publishing The Genius of Universal Emancipation, an abolitionist newspaper, in Mount Pleasant. The paper eventually moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Lundy's house is a National Historic Landmark. Most of the village has been designated a historic district, the Mount Pleasant Historic District; it too is a National Historic Landmark.