ROCK SPRINGS — Opal Grueser focused the first part of her presentation of “Tales and Tidbits: Salisbury Township” on Rock Springs early history and continued importance to the area.
“The name is Rock Springs, not Rocksprings as some, including Google spell it, the name is Rock Spring, two words, and it is named for the numerous springs located in the area. The springs were probably first discovered by the Shawnee, and other migratory tribes used the springs. Settlers found an area abundant in timber and game as a result of the springs, and there was fresh water, so it became a cross roads for travelers coming from Marietta to Chillicothe and from Pomeroy to Athens, so the area grew.”
“Soon there was a two-room schoolhouse, not a one room as was most common, but a two-room schoolhouse, a post office, grist mill, a cider mill to process apples from the numerous orchards, a store, a doctor, and a blacksmith.”
“Rock Springs was a stage coach stop, and travelers stayed at an inn with a saloon, where they found good food, fresh water, and a place to have a night’s rest before going onto their destination.”
“The springs themselves were a vital part of everyday life for the settlers, not only providing fresh water, but food was stored in the springs thru the early 1900’s. There is a record of food from the Meigs County Fair being stored in the nice cold spring.”
“Sawmills were popular in the county, timber here was a vital part of the economy, on a personal note, my husband’s father started the Grueser Sawmill in Rock Springs in 1945 when my husband was a teenager. My husband was Roy Grueser and his father Lewis.”
The interest in milling began in Roy’s grandfather’s barnyard with the purchase of a used sawmill for their personal use on the farm.
“The mill developed and began making pallets, crates and boxes.”
Lumber from the mill was used for multiple purposes: “Some of the lumber went to Racine skiff maker Boone Weaver, wood from the mill was used in making replacement paddles for the paddle wheelers that went up and down the Ohio River. The mill resold logs used to make veneer, and high-grade logs were purchased by companies to make handles for shoves and other farm tools. The white oak boards were frequently shipped to Kentucky where they were used to make barrel staves that would later be turned into barrels that held Kentucky whiskey. Over the years many homes in the area were built with wood from the mill.”
Father and son were partners in the company, and when Lewis retired, he sold his half to Harold Blackston. Roy kept the other half, and the company became known as the Ohio Pallet Company.
“My husband Roy was a mill owner-operator for 44 years, until he retired in 1990.”
The Ohio Pallet Company is still in business.
· Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate raiders used Rock Springs as a resting place following their encounter with Union troops in Salisbury Township
· The Meigs County Agricultural Society held its second Fair at the Rock Springs Hotel on October 31, 1852. Subsequent fairs were held in various parts of the county until the permanent site of the Fair was established with the purchase of the first section of land in Rock Springs in March 14, 1868.
Township Tales and Tidbits for Salisbury Township were presented by Opal Grueser during the Chester Shade Historical Association Banquet. There is so much to learn about Meigs County, so many interesting “Tales and Tidbits”. If you have some you would like to share, please send them to L.Faudree.Hart@gmail.com. Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.