By Thomas Palmer
“Indeed there’s a woundy luck in names.” — Ben Jonson
A young child can have several nicknames but then shed them one by one as he or she grows older.
The same can hold true for a community. A new settlement can be known in a variety of ways, particularly in the years before it coalesces into a single, recognizable place. At some point one name sticks and the others slowly fade away into the dusts of habit.
Post-colonial settlers arrived in Ohio with different backgrounds and a good number chose to locate in close proximity to others. The reasons for doing so were many: the advantage of shared labor; the provision of education for children; communal worship and other societal practices; and the most important motivation of all — protection and safety.
Their reasons for relocation varied as did their places of origin. There were pious Quakers and German Lutherans from Pennsylvania; “Scots-Irish” from Virginia and Maryland, and hearty New Englanders from Connecticut and Massachusetts. They traveled paths and routes worn by centuries of indigenous Americans and roads recently carved out by the military.
Then, as families began to congregate, the idea would be hatched to do what was required to formalize a place and give it an identity. If someone with means was included who could engage in land development, a given settlement could even be positioned for growth.
This short series looks at the first attempt to do just that in the area of what we now call Galion. It considers intriguing questions asked by the late historian Dr. Bernard Mansfield, with whom this author was well acquainted, and proposes some answers based on the availability of computerized research.
In the end, the goal is simple — to introduce you, the reader, to the settlement known as Greensburg and to the people who called it home. While some of our city’s other original names are still somewhat known, such as Hosford’s Corners and Goshen, this one and the identity of many of its residents have largely been lost to history.
Let’s do some time traveling together.
Greensburg (Galion) Ohio, June 2021