Iron Furnace Info



Submitted by Sharon M. Kouns


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1875

     Alice Furnace was named for the daughter of George Willard. Blanche Furnace was named for Blanche McGovney. In the Spring of 1873, the company erected on the river bank, just above the city of Ironton, two hot blast coke furnaces, the “Alice” and the “Blanche.” These furnaces are what is known as the Ferrie Patent Self-coking Furnace. The number of fire brick used in their construction was one million five hundred thousand, and of red brick, three million. Each of these furnaces has a capacity of 75 tons of iron per day, when confined to the ores of the Hanging Rock district; but if they were fed with the Lake Superior or Iron Mountain ore, they would each turn out 100 tons each day. They are among the very largest establishments of the kind in the United States.

Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – Etna’s Alice is cold. Between the financial embarrassment of the Etna Company and the proposed reduction in the tariff, the prospects for an early resumption of iron making in that quarter is anything but encouraging. Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – The Alice has made over 30,000 tons pig, on present hearth – 20,000 tons being made after it had been supposed the hearth was practically gone, and in fact, after the iron had been breaking out through the walls. Ironton Register, October 27, 1887 – Cam Peters fell about 30 feet, from a scaffold at Alice Furnace, yesterday. No bones broken, but he is laid up.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1875

Blanche Furnace was named for Blanche McGovney who later married Charles S. Gray, son of Col. George Noah Gray.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1867

Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – The Belfont Furnace made last week, 325 tons pig, and did it on 49.8 bushels fuel per ton of pig, using but one-fourth Iron Mountain ore. Where is the furnace that can show a smaller quantity of fuel per ton of pig? The average for several weeks will not exceed 52 bushels. They received on last Monday, 100,000 bushels of coke.

Ironton Register, October 1, 1885 – Fire was started in Belfont stack, last Tuesday, for the purpose of drying it out. The stack has been entirely overhauled – new hearth, inwall and lining complete. The hearth and top have been reduced a little but the bosh remains the same. The furnace is now supposed to be in better fix than ever before. It has also a new bell. The furnace will probably start this Fall sometime. The company have about 18,000 tons of ore at their mines, which they will work up, if business gets so they can do it. They have no coke as yet.

Ironton Register, November 19, 1885 – Belfont furnace blew in on Monday and made her first cast Tuesday morning – ten or twelve tons of No. 2. Mr. Rodgers says she is working well.

Ironton Register, November 26, 1885 – (Iron News) – Belfont furnace is running along nicely, making about 50 tons a day.

Ironton Register, January 14, 1886 – Belfont Furnace is now running on 30 per cent of Missouri Ore.


By: Norton Brothers

Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – The Belfont shut down Saturday, for probably two weeks. The factory will run but two weeks between this and April 1st; this under the combination regulations. They have an ample stock, however, of nails, to meet any order.

Ironton Register, April 4, 1878 – The Belfont nail mill is in full operation now. By the arrangement agreed upon at the Nail Manufacturer’s meeting, at Pittsburgh, last week, there are only two weeks’ run this month.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1833
By: JAMES & FINDLEY (or James V. Fraley??)
Daily Ton: 15
Stack: 32 Feet
Blast: Hot

From 1840-1843 (2 ½ years) John Peters, Sr., along with J. O. Willard, leased Buckhorn Furnace. John Peters, Sr., was the manager.

Ironton Register, July 13, 1899 – The Buckhorn Furnace, the property of McGugin & Co., Olive Furnace Post Office, Ohio, will probably be started in the near future. It is some time since the stack was operated. It is 38×10 and has a capacity of 8,000 tons annually. The Olive Furnace of the same firm is in operation and will run regularly. American Manufacturer.

CENTRE also spelled Center

Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1836

Daily Ton: 16
Stack: 40 Feet

William D. Kelly leased Centre Furnace from 1862-1867 and made money. Another article stated that he bought Centre Furnace in 1862. (need to verify)

Ironton Register, July 30, 1885 – (Country Notes) – Center is quiet. There are only a few families living on the furnace grounds. The men are working on the farm.
      Richard Dovel is growing into a farmer. He stirs late and early. He is now in the midst of his hay and oat harvest.
     Lindsey Kelly spends part of his time out here, mostly at the station, where the company is having some ore mined. They get about a thousand tons a month. They ship now seven cars of burnt ore a day to Etna Iron Works. J. R. Cook weighs the ore at the station, and assists Mr. Kelly in the management of the work.
     W. D. Corn says he has a good school at Centre. His brother Ed is here attending school. W. D. makes things go. He puts Ed and some of the boys through some extra lessons before school in the morning and after dismissal in the evening. There is not a more energetic, indefatigable, or thorough teacher in Lawrence county than W. D. Corn.
     We met W. B. G. Hatcher at Center. He is making a survey of the Centre lands, for the purpose of making a topographical map of the same. He has quite a good deal of work yet to do in the field – four or six weeks – before he is ready for work on his map. Thomas Harris, brother of Dave and Al., is assisting Mr. Hatcher, and receiving instruction in practical surveying.

Ironton Register, August 17, 1899 – CENTER FURNACE – After a long period of silence this furnace is to resume blast, and preparations have been already begun. Mrs. Lindsey Kelly has leased the property to a company composed of W. C. Amos, H. L. Amos, L. D. Davis, Dr. O. Ellison, Dr. H. B. Justice and Wm. Laird, which company is incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000. Of this concern H. L. Amos will be President and Superintendent and L. D. Davis, Secretary and Treasurer. The lease is for one year with the privilege of five, and the rental is one ton of pig iron for every 15 tons produced.
     Mrs. Kelly bought in this property at a trustee’s sale in June, 1898, paying therefore $19,700. It will take the lessees until December to get things ready for a blast, but this delay will be occasioned by the slow process of charcoal production. The furnace itself can be got ready for running in a short time. The store will be opened right away. We are informed that some prominent iron men are back of the enterprise.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1832

In 1820 Joseph and Kitty Dollarhide Kelly moved their family to this area where Etna Furnace was later built. In 1832 Joseph Kelly sold this land to James Rodgers and others and built Etna Furnace. Joseph Kelly going into the company.

William Dollarhide Kelly, son of Joseph and Kitty Kelly, began his career as an Iron Man when he became a member of the firm of Dempsey, Rodgers & Co., proprietors of Etna Furnace in 1844.

Ironton Register, March 1, 1877 – (East End Items) – Thomas G. Scott died at his residence, near Etna furnace, last Saturday morning. The funeral services were conducted by the Congregational Church on Monday, from which the remains were attended to Woodland by one of the largest processions we have seen pass out of Ironton. Mr. Scott has been associated with the iron interests nearly all his life, and outside his large circle of relatives his loss will be felt to its greatest extent at the Etna, where he has managed the past year with remarkable success. (Same Date) – Elwood Hussey’s school closed at Etna, on last Friday. (Same Date) – Mr. Burt, an experienced furnaceman from Milwaukee, takes charge of the Etna Furnace. (Same Date) A barge with sixty tons of iron which was dropped down to town from Etna, was sunk just below the furnace, one day last week.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1872
By: Etna Iron Works

Ironton Register, November 4, 1886 – Burned Down – The Etna house near Alice Furnace was destroyed by fire last Friday night, at about ten o’clock. The fire caught from a stove. There were seven families living in the house, but they managed to get out all their property. The blaze made by the fire was terrific. It reddened the entire southern sky. The Etna house was built when Big Etna Furnace was erected, and was used as a boarding house at first, and afterward as a tenement house. It was insured for $3,000. It is the purpose of the company to put up some smaller houses to accommodate their employees.

Ironton Register, December 6, 1888 – BIG ETNA – BLANCHE STACK IN BLAST, AND OTHER NOTES. – When the mammoth furnace of the Etna Iron Works at the upper end of town, was erected in 1872, only one of the twin stacks was completed. The Alice stacks was finished, but Blanche was left un-lined, and incomplete – a mere iron tube of ponderous size, with the bridge constructed at the top, and the connections, &c., arranged for.
     Blanche has now been lined, and workmen are filling the new furnace with stock preparatory to putting on the blast today or tomorrow. The work of lining has been going on for months. It has cost about $23,000, including all necessary changes and additions, and over 400,000 brick, including red and fire brick, have been used. Meanwhile, Alice has been blown out and the engines and Whitwell ovens used for that furnace have been connected with Blanche. These changes were practically made some weeks ago, but the starting of the furnace was delayed by the river water rising in the well hole, so it was not possible to reach the pumps until last week.
     Mr. Pleumer, the President of the Company, whom the REGISTER has interviewed on the subject, says he hopes to make 100 tons of iron a day in the new stack, when she gets fairly started. Alice, with the same outer dimensions as Blanche, made on an average about 74 or 5 tons in the last year of her run, but Blanche is new throughout and has been lined after the most approved pattern, hence the expected large increase. The most iron Alice ever made was a very exceptional day’s run, several years ago, of 104 tons of mill iron.
     Mr. Pleumer said also, that it is possible in the coming year, that the other stack will be blown in. He has just returned from the East, there he spent several weeks among his associates in the Etna enterprise, and states that if he gets the assurance of Pres. F. J. Kimball, of the Norfolk & Western road, that his projected line to Ironton will be built to Ironton next Summer, and the rates of freight will be such as there is every reason to expect, there is no doubt that the Alice stack will be got in readiness to start at that time. He is now in communication with Mr. Kimball on that subject, and may learn his purpose in a month. If the Alice is started, it will involve an expenditure of $50,000 or $60,000, as the stack must be re-lined, and in order to run both stacks at once, additional hot blast ovens would have to be built, and two more blowing engines added. The operation of both stacks is simply a possibility of the future, and an event which Mr. Pleumer thinks is sure to follow the advent of the new road, that will furnish us such valuable access to the coking and ore regions of Virginia.
     In addition to the Blanche stack, now being started new, the Etna Co.’s Sarah furnace just above, is being overhauled to put in blast. It was expected to blow her out for that purpose as soon as Blanche was started, but last week the bottom broke out. The contemplated work is thus hastened. The lower part of the stack will be re-lined, so the furnace will be ready to start again, it is thought, by the first of the year.
     Sarah’s output is about 35 tons a day, which, if the expectations regarding Blanche are realized, will make an output of 135 tons daily, and this means a consumption of 600 to 650 tons, or 40 to 45 car loads, of raw material at the two furnaces each day. Blanche will run on half Missouri ore, of which Mr. Pleumer has just purchased 12,000 tons for monthly delivery, and half native, with New River and Connellsville coke. The Company has also about 20,000 tons of native ore, and 18,000 tons of limestone on hand.

Ironton Register, September 23, 1897 – Etna Furnace Sale – Next Saturday at 10 a. m., the big Etna Furnace, in Ironton, will be offered at public sale, on the premises by the trustees, Messrs. Lee and Clark, both of whom are expected to arrive here Friday evening. Mr. Hart a prominent stockholder, is also expected. The notice of the sale is printed in full on the seventh page of this issue. The bondholders are likely to buy in the property.
      In this connection, we may suggest to the purchasers, why not make an effort to dispose of this splendid property to the government for an armor plate factory? The government proposes to establish such a plant. This property would suit. The location is the very best. No better place could be selected for a ship armor establishment. The combination of coal and ore is cheap here. We are on railroad and river transportation direct to the ocean. We have the best metal in the world for cannon. Ohio should be favored with his plant, and Ironton is the spot. The people of this city will second every effort of the purchasers in securing the plant here.

Ironton Register, July 13, 1899 – Etna Furnace is now in good working order, since getting their water from the City Water Works. They have plenty of steam and are burning but little coal. Are expecting to have natural gas soon to use when necessary. They are at present making 240 tons daily of fine Bessemer iron. They will begin next week to put in four new boilers.


Lawrence County, Ohio

Ironton Register, April 21, 1887 – The glory of “Little Etna” as a furnace, has departed. Her machinery and buildings have all been removed, and only the stack and abutting masonry, which stand amid drifts of ore-dust and cinder deposit, are left to mark the site of an ancient and profitable concern. They will blacken with age, and in their widening crevices, tufts of grass and moss may find lodgement ere they feel again the heat of furnace fires. But the business of the furnace grounds is still kept up. 250 men are employed there among the hills getting out ore and lime for Alice furnace, so the office and store, the main center of these operations, are not foresaken, but very active.
     One is reminded as he approaches the company’s office from the railroad, of the wood cut pictures of a village street found in old-time story books. The office is a very old brick structure with small windows and a steep roof, whose long slopes quite overbalance the height of the sidewalks. Its big gable end rises prominently in the picture. Just beyond the office the higher walls of the store house appear, and beyond these again, the Manger’s residence, almost hidden from view. This row of buildings occupies a slight eminence in the narrow valley, over which the road runs from our point of observation, descending again on the other side as it passes the dismantled furnace near by. A well trodden path leads up to the corner of the office, where begins a stone pavement rudely constructed of angular and uneven blocks of flagging long ago. It has worn smooth under the pressure of many feet. In the forks of a grand old tree near the corner, there is a bell whose notes proclaim at intervals the working hours of the day.
     When the reporter made these observations, the weather was most propitious. The earth was clean from the washings of a recent rain. The sun shone brightly through cloudless skies, and a delightful breeze made manifest its bracing influence. Under these lovely conditions he took a seat beside the Etna manager, George Cox, and accompanied him on his daily ride over to Vesuvius furnace.
     The Etna Iron Works Co. owns 16,000 acres of land around Etna and Vesuvius furnaces, and a short time ago, an expert geologist was sent out to determine how much of the tract was ore land. He made an estimate showing there were six or seven thousand acres. The ore will average at least 12 inches thick, and at that thickness a square yard produces a ton. The Etna company mines about 30,000 tons a year. Following the calculation based on these estimates they only use a little more than 5 acres per annum, and have enough ore to last, at the present rate of consumption, over a thousand years.


Ironton Register April 4, 1878 – ETNA WORKS AFFAIRS – JOHN H. MOULTON, APPOINTED ASSIGNEE.      Last week, when we went to press, the Etna Creditors’ meeting was in session, but we stated the probability that no understanding would be reached. The committee which waited upon the Directors returned with a proposition to settle at 40 percent, payable 2,3,4,5, and 6 years, and no interest in the first year. That proposition was rejected by a close vote. A resolution was passed recommending that the company make an assignment. A committee was also appointed to view the assets of the company and estimate their value. Said committee are John Means, G. N. Gray and George Clarke. The meeting lasted from ten o’clock in the morning until nearly dark, excepting the noon hour. Of the $350,000 unsecured creditors, about $224,000 were represented. Those present seemed desirous of a agreeing with the company upon some settlement, but there was a variety of views as to the valuation of the real estate, and this prevented. When the meeting was over, a majority of the indebtedness represented at the meeting manifested a willingness to accept the 40 per cent proposition.

The following circular has been issued by the Directors:

IRONTON, O., MARCH 27, 1878 }
     We the Directors of the Etna Iron Works, beg to submit the following terms and conditions as a basis for a compromise and settlement with all of our unsecured creditors; reserving, however, the right to prefer and pay in full all that may found due our employees to this date:      To pay forty cents on a dollar, payable in two, three, four, five and six years from this date, with interest at the rate of six per cent per annum after one year; secured by a Second Mortgage upon all the Real Estate owned by the Etna Iron Works in Lawrence County, State of Ohio, amounting to some sixteen thousand five hundred acres, with all improvements thereon. Such Mortgage to be made to a Trustee, who shall be selected by a majority of Creditors in interest, and for a sufficient amount to cover all of said compromised claims and interest to date of maturity.       A majority of the indebtedness represented at a meeting of Creditors held March 27, 1878, expressed a willingness to accept the above proposition.      You will be waited upon in a few days by a representative of the Company.


In compliance with the resolution by the Creditors recommending an assignment, the board elected John H. Moulton as Assignee, who accepts the trust and proceeds to work. The appointment is a good one. Mr. Moulton is a bookkeeper, a practical man and a person fully qualified in every way for the task assigned him.

Ironton Register, September 18, 1890 – The Etna Iron Works property will soon be offered at public sale. This will be done on an agreement between the bondholders and creditors, and, of course, the property will be bought in. But it is hardly probable that the works will start up for some time.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1869

In 1869 W. D. Kelly built Grant Furnace in Ironton, operated under the firm name of W. D. Kelly & Sons and operated for some years.

  1. R. March 4, 1869 – GRANT FURNACE – Today Gen. Grant takes his seat. Today Messrs. Kelly & Sons have named their new Furnace, about which there has been so much talk of late. They have not yet decided as to the exact location, as the Council will not act on their petition till this evening. But should the City council not vacate the streets and alleys prayed for, they will build between Fourth and Fifth-sts., just above Mr. Kelly’s residence. They have about eighty laborers employed chopping wood, getting out the timber and stone, digging ore, &c., and intend to commence work on the foundation of the stack next week, if the weather is favorable. They expect to make cold blast charcoal iron. The firm name will be W. D. KELLY & SONS, Grant Furnace, Ironton, Ohio.


Hanging Rock, Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1884-5
By: Means, Kyle & Co.

Coke Pig Iron was its principal business. Eugene B. Willard worked for this company.

Ironton Register, January 14, 1886 – Hamilton Furnace, at Hanging Rock, will blow sometime in March. Ironton Register, January 28, 1886 – Mr. Crowther is here and will blow Hamilton Furnace, which will start up shortly. He is an efficient man at a furnace.

  1. R. Aug. 7, 1890 – Hanging Rock – The repairing of Hamilton Furnace is progressing as fast as possible. All the changes are being done under the instructions of E. C. Crowther, who has successfully blowed the furnace from her first starting. He is making sever changes which will increase the capacity of the furnace and save fuel. One of the most notable changes is the large bosh jacket, 20 feet across at the top and 15 1/2 at the bottom. Mr. Crowther here remarked that this jack was a fine job; that it fit so perfect in every respect and showed marks of good workmanship. Lambert Bros. are furnishing about one half of the new work.

James Wileman & Son are doing the brick work. The Co. expect to be read about the 15th of September. They have quite a large pile of lake ore on hand, likely 6000 tons, and from 12000 to 15000 tons of native ore and increasing the pile every day. John H. Fisher is the boss blacksmith. The men engaged here are all good fellows.


– In 1833 John Campbell was employed in building the old Hanging Rock Iron Forge, and in the same year, he, with Andrew Ellison, built Lawrence Furnace for J. Riggs & Co., and took stock in it.


Ironton Register, November 12, 1885 – This well known foundry began work under the new company last Monday, and made their first cast, Tuesday afternoon. Everything worked in good old style, and the cupola was tapped and running twelve minutes after the blast was put on. The molders had to use green sand and yet the casting was successful and the plates came out smooth and perfect. The foundry begins with ten molders and four boys and the force will gradually increase. There is room for 80 moulders. The foundry buildings cover a big space, affording room for all branches of the business. The machinery is in good order. The Plymouth, B. Estate, Great Western and other noted makes of stoves will be made there. The first melt was made from Meta iron, which worked perfectly.
      Chas. Peters is Supt. And Business Manager, Henry Henderson is foreman; Wm. Halley is Engineer and Cupola tender. Under the new company, Capt. Ben Rodgers caught the first ladle of iron and his son Frank poured the first ladle. The new company stars out under many favorable auspices. Besides good machinery and patterns, they will have a force of excellent moulders.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1833
Daily Ton: 10
Stack: 36 Feet
Blast: Cold

Ironton Register, October 28, 1852 – Hecla Furnace – This valuable Furnace, belonging to the estate of the late Henry Blake was sold at Private Sale, a few days ago to John Campbell, C. Briggs, and E. H. Griswold – strong company, which will take possession of the furnace on January 1, 1853.

Ironton Register, January 30, 1879 – Hecla Furnace shipped 100 tons of iron the past week; Lawrence shipped 50 tons. We understand there is no cold blast iron in this region except a small lot held by Buckhorn and Hecla.

Ironton Register, September 3, 1885 – (under Iron News) – Hecla will start in blast next week. She will make 2000 tons the coming blast.

Ironton Register, January 28, 1886 – Hecla Furnace will blow out the 6th of February.

Ironton Register, October 5, 1899 – Advertisement – WANTED – 2 cart mules, 1100 pounds each; 1 medium height mule, 1,000 pounds, for ore drift. HECLA IRON & MINING CO.

Ironton Register, July 10, 1902 – Hecla Furnace, which has been idle for about 2 years and which was recently leased by the newly organized Hecla Charcoal Iron Company, was put in blast Monday. Mrs. Austin Kelly, daughter of the Manager, Col. E. J. Bird, Jr., having the honor of lighting the fires for what promises to be a long run. The furnace is well stocked and it is expected that the output will be from 25 to 30 tons daily.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1871

Ironton Register, September 23, 1897 – Iron & Steel Furnace Sold – Last Saturday, Sheriff Ward sold the Iron & Steel furnace to Col. H. A. Marting for $2000. The appraisement was $3000. Sale was on a suit by the county for about $1400 taxes. The Iron & Steel Furnace was built in 1871 and cost over $100,000. Shortly after it was completed there was a slump in the iron business and so the furnace was never a money making enterprise. But the price of $2000, is a terrible descent from the original cost of over $100,000. This is because, the condition of the furnace makes it worth little over the cost of scrap. The boilers are burnt out. The ovens out of date. The engines, too small. All the brass mountings have been carried off. The furnace lining is worn out. It would cost almost the price of a new furnace to get it in condition to run.
      The purchaser will dismantle the furnace and use the ground, about an acre, in connection with the Eagle Mill. But he will not be able to carry out this purpose, for two years, as the former owners have had that time to redeem the property, by paying a penalty of 25 per cent.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1875

Ironton Register, September 3, 1885 – (under Iron News) – The Ironton furnace which has been blowing on four tuyeres heretofore, will today add three more, making seven after this.

Ironton Register, January 14, 1886 – Mr. Bird, of the Ironton Furnace, says he is using one-fourth Lawrence Furnace coal, one-fourth Jackson and one-half coke. He thinks he will be able to work up the native coal to one-half his fuel, and make splendid iron.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1836

William Dollarhide Kelly leased LaGrange Furnace from 1851-1854 and made considerable money in this venture.

LAWRENCE previously known as “CRANE’S NEST”

Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1834
By: J. RIGGS & CO.
Daily Ton: 15
Stack: 40 Feet
Blast: Hot

In 1833, John Campbell and Andrew Ellison built Lawrence Furnace for J. Riggs & Co.

Ironton Register, January 17, 1878 – IMPORTANT LAND SALE – Negotiations are pending between Mr. John Peters and the Belfont Iron Works for the purchase, by the latter, of 1000 acres of mineral lands, near the end of the Iron Railroad. The terms agreed upon are $30 per acre or $30,000 for the entire tract, and the only thing in the way now is the accomplishment of a complete transfer, the affairs of Lawrence Furnace Company being somewhat entangled in Trustees and Bondholders. If, however, this sale could be consummated, it would be of much interest to the community, for it would bring to the market an increased array of our fine natural resources. Lawrence Furnace property embraces more land than is necessary for one furnace, and the excess should be brought into course of development.

Ironton Register, June 4, 1857 – The Ironton Rolling Mill “fired” again last Monday, after having been stopped a month on account of the “strike;” the Lawrence Mill, it will be recollected, went into operation last week. Ironton Register, October 27, 1887 – The funeral of Peter Clay, who died from injuries received at the Lawrence Mill, will take place at Wesley Chapel, on Thursday morning at 10 o’clock. All invited. The employees of Lawrence Iron Works will attend in body. Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – The Lawrence Mill is in full operation. The forge department will probably be idle next week, on account of the accumulation of muck bar. The mill shipped about 200 tons to St. Louis by the Means, last week, and another 100 tons to the same place, Monday, on the steamer, Alice.

Ironton Register, January 30, 1879 – The Lawrence Mill is idle, but starts again next Monday.

Ironton Register, March 8, 1894 – (from obituary of Cambridge Culbertson) . . . He (Cambridge) was one of the pioneer residents of this region, having first come to this county when his father, John Culbertson, bought the Lawrence Furnace property from Andrew Ellison’s heirs, and moved there from Steam Furnace, Ky. The elder Mr. Culbertson operated the furnace and accumulated considerable wealth, and Cambridge was associated with him. Later, the deceased, became interested in Junior Furnace, and in furnace property in Tennessee. Cambridge was married to Miss Emily Rankin, who with two sons and two daughters, survive him.

Ironton Register, June 20, 1895 – John Peters, Sr., who though over 80 years old is still actively engaged in the management of Lawrence Furnace. . . John Peters bought individually the Lawrence Furnace from Culbertson, Means & Co. This is an old furnace, built in 1834, and when a young man, John Peters, had been employed as a laborer in it. It is very valuable property, and among the most desirable of its kind in Southern Ohio, and is still owned and controlled entirely by his family.

Semi-Weekly Irontonian, November 8, 1907 – John Campbell stated that his most trying experience was the first night in the woods at “Crane’s Nest,” or Lawrence Furnace. A cabin or shelter protected from the weather, but there was no bedding, and he had only a stove pipe buried in the earth for a pillow.


Coal Grove, Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1868

John Peters laid out the town of Petersburg, four miles above Ironton, and built Monitor Furnace at that place, the town being named for him.

In 1868 John Peters engaged in superintending the building of Monitor Furnace, owned by Isaac Peters, Joseph Bimpson, F. E. Duduit, William Simington, John Ballard and John Peters.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1833
Daily Ton: 16
Stack: 32 Feet
Blast: Hot

John Peters, Sr. worked at Mount Vernon Furnace from 1835-1840. He then joined J. O. Willard and leased Buckhorn Furnace. John Campbell was manager of Mt. Vernon Furnace in 1835.

Ironton Register, March 3, 1887 – Mrs. C. A. Magee, of Mt. Vernon furnace, is very sick. Her husband had to suspend school on account of her illness.

Ironton Register, April 6, 1899 – (taken from obituary of Mrs. Katherine Scott) . . . About 1848, Robert Scott, came to this county, and was for years a prominent iron man. He was manager at Mt. Vernon for ten or fifteen years, in those early days of the iron business when furnace life was a social affair as well as iron making enterprise.

Ironton Register, February 15, 1866 – CAMPBELL, ELLISON & CO. – The name of the old firm, Campbell, Ellison & Co., has changed to Campbell & Co. This is in consequence of the decease of Wm. Ellison. Mt. Vernon Furnace, and the Ironton Foundry are the principal establishments of the firm.

Ironton Register, November 19, 1885 – (Iron News) Col. Geo. N. Gray has rented Mt. Vernon furnace and has gone right to work getting ready for a blast, which will not begin before next Spring. The Colonel went out last Monday to give out the wood chopping. The contract provides for such timber as will give him a two load job. He has nothing to do with the mining of the ore, as he gets his ore at a stipulated rate from the Campbell Iron Co., a corporation recently organized for mining and selling ore and lime from Mt. Vernon lands. Neither does he run the store. Col. Gray is an energetic and judicious furnaceman, and will certainly make a success out of his new venture.

Semi-Weekly Irontonian, November 8, 1907 – Andrew B. Ellison, son of John, together with Robert Hamilton and John Campbell and others were the subscribers to the building of Mt. Vernon Fce. In 1833. Mr. John Campbell was employed by J. Riggs & Co., in keeping books and helping oversee the building of the Hanging Rock Forge, and Lawrence Furnace, for a period of 1 year and 10 months, and his salary made part of a loan of $1500 he made that company for his expenses were few in the woods, and he had something less than $800 when he came to Hanging Rock in 1833. His subscription to build Mt. Vernon was by borrowing, which had to be paid in 1835 and later. For this purpose he arranged to procure funds from his father and his aunt, Fedilia Hopkins, of Ripley, O., upon his home visit in January 1835, and which he might in the summer of 1833, have procured from his two uncles, Jos. N. Campbell, Judge of Common Pleas of Ripley, or John W. Campbell, Federal Judge of Columbus, both of whom died of Cholera that year. . . . Messrs. Ellison and Hamilton, who invited Mr. Campbell to Hanging Rock in 1833, and gave him early employment til 1835, joined him in subscribing for the erection of Mt. Vernon in 1833, of which they made him Manager in 1835; they also accepted in 1837 as the husband of a young lady who was the cousin of one and the niece of the other, and these were the only occupations in which Mr. Campbell ever engaged, clerking, Superintendent and Manager.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1856

Ironton Register, February 19, 1857 – Oak Ridge Furnace – which will probably commence its first blast in May next, is the 14th furnace built in Lawrence county.

Ironton Register, Thursday, February 19, 1857 – MESSRS. STIMSON & PARKER: A few days ago I made a visit to Oak Ridge Furnace, in company with my friend Nathan Booth, an eminent founder from Pennsylvania. On our arrival we were fortunate in meeting Professor Mather, by whom we were very kindly entertained. We proceeded to examine the Furnace stack. We were pleasantly surprised at its noble and proportionate structure, this complete workmanship on which reflects great credit on the mechanical abilities of the builder, Mr. Allison of Ironton. In fact, we pronounce it the best furnace stack we have seen in this region of the country. Nothing seems wanting to its perfect completion, but a hearth and inwall of Ashland firebrick of the Stoll & Rose brand.
     From the furnace we proceeded to visit the “SEVEN FEET VEIN OF COAL,” lying above the top of the furnace, thus rendering its transportation to the same easy and cheap; and, to our entire satisfaction, we found the full seven feet of the clear grit of coal. Besides this, there are five other veins of the same material, varying from 2 to 5 ft. in thickness, all of an excellent quality.
     As to the ores, our humble descriptive abilities are utterly inadequate to do them justice. The various veins of limestone ores, with a two fee vein of block ore, all of an excellent quality, bespeak for Oak Ridge a destiny , second, not seven to the world famed Dowlele (or Dowlala) Iron Works of South Wales, or the Colderbank Iron Works of Scotland, in its ample, and almost inexhaustible natural resources for the manufacture of an unlimited amount of Iron of the best quality.
     Should Professor Mather be as successful in the selection of his men, and carrying his works into operation, as he has been in the selection of the location, he will have no cause to regret embarking into the manufacture of Ironton.
     Having spent the greater portion of the day examining a portion of the above extensive and very rich mineral property and the evening, in listening to highly interesting accounts of some of Mr. Mather’s professional explorations, &c., &c., we left next morning highly pleased with our visit, and fully satisfied of the truth of what I have above stated. JOHN J. VINTON.

Ironton Register, August 13, 1857 – Oak Ridge Furnace commenced its first blast, last week, letting out iron for the first time on Saturday forenoon. The character of the metal was such as to give full satisfaction to all parties interested; and good judges not interested say it was better than is usual at the first run. It is hot blast, charcoal iron, but it is understood that the second blast will be made with stone coal. Oak Ridge is one of the very best built Furnaces in this Iron Region.

Ironton Register, May 13, 1858 – Oak Ridge Furnace was to go into blast on Monday of this week (its second blast,) with a first rate stock on its bank. – We believe it is now settled by unmistakable authority that there is “a plenty” of good ore – block ore – near the Furnace, easily obtained; and no one ever doubted its abundance of “timber” and its excellent veins of superior stone coal. The Furnace is thoroughly built, one of the very best, and prudently managed – why will it not succeed handsomely? John Thomspon, the Founder, a faithful man, got up this stock, and if the Furnace does not do well it will not be his fault, we feel quite certain. We trust Col. Mather will soon return to Oak Ridge, his other business accomplished, so that he can carry out to success his favorite enterprise.



Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1846
Daily Ton: 16
Stack: 37 Feet
Blast: Hot

     1845 – John Peters, Sr. joined John Campbell, Madison Cole, William Clements, and J. L. Thompson in erecting Olive Furnace. Mr. Peters became superintendent. John Peters was active manager of Olive Furnace for about six years. . . . John Peters was also one of the original owners of the Olive Foundry and Machine Shops, now operated by Lambert Brothers.

Ironton Register, April 20, 1899 – (under heading styled Washington Furnace . . .) The McGugin Co. of Olive Fce., have made rapid progress in getting ready for a blast and they are now ready to join the McKinley procession.

Ironton Register, July 30, 1885 – (Country Notes) – Olive is banked up now repairing the hot blast, but will be ready to blow in again in a few days. The furnace, this year, so far, has made about 18 tons a day. Mr. W. N. McGugin said that he had never known Olive to work better or more regularly than she has this Summer. At present, the men are at work in the hay harvest. The Company has a large acreage of meadows, which Mr. M. told us will make about a half crop this year. They weigh all the hay put it into the barns, and by comparing the weights of this year and last, they can determine accurately the relationship of the two crops.
      W. H. McGugin has the finest two horse teams we have seen anywhere in the county. They are iron gray mares, well matched, and weigh about 1700 pounds each. Mr. M. has some colts that bid fair to make even finer animals than these.
      Mr. H. G. Hopkins has charge of the books here, and Charlie Egerton is in the store. Charlie is also the P. M. and Station Agent for the Ironton & Dayton railway. He walks from the furnace over to the station twice a day with his mail bag, a distance of nearly half a mile. Charlie says he enjoys the walk; that it affords him good recreation.
      Mr. Hopkins has but one Jersey cow now, but is still an admirer of the stock.
      The Commissioners are making a road through Washington township this Summer. This township has been slighted in the item of roads. All the roads in the township or nearly so, were made by the furnace companies and kept up by them.
      W. N. McGugin told us that John Gard, who was so long a teamster at Olive, now lives in Hamden, and that he has lost his sight – is totally blind – but is in comfortable circumstances.

Ironton Register, July 13, 1899 – The Buckhorn Furnace, the property of McGugin & Co., Olive Furnace Post Office, Ohio, will probably be started in the near future. It is some time since the stack was operated. It is 38×10 and has a capacity of 8,000 tons annually. The Olive Furnace of the same firm is in operation and will run regularly. American Manufacturer.

Morning Irontonian – November 19, 1915 – Old Olive Furnace Sold – Salle Bros. have bought of M. E. Beman, receiver for the Olive Furnace the old furnace and will begin in a few days to dismantle it for scrap iron.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1828

Ironton Register, July 30, 1885 – (Country Notes) – Pinegrove is running steadily on, making on an average of 18 tons a day of an excellent grade of iron. She is run hot blast. The company gets about fifteen hundred bushels of charcoal a day by the Scioto Valley railroad. The coal is brought mostly from Pike county. The car in which they ship holds fifteen hundred bushels. The coal is unloaded from this car into others, at Newcastle, holding about two hundred bushels, and is hauled over to the furnace on the tram road with mules. It is forked out of the large car into the small ones.
      C. Ketterer is still in the store at Pinegrove, and Miss McIntosh, daughter of the manager, keeps the books in the office. This is the only instance of a lady clerk at a furnace in this iron region. Miss McIntosh only does the clerical work, omitting many of the duties usually developing upon the clerk at a furnace.
      Instead of letting the cinder run at will, as used to be the way at charcoal furnaces, Pinegrove is flushed now as is done with a coke or stone coal furnace. They say it requires much less skill to keep a furnace when the cinder is tapped than when it is allowed to run out all the time. The cinder is let out every hour, except just after casting, when it is held for two hours.
      Mr. H. Placker is the foundryman at Pinegrove, and the way the furnace rolls out the metal proves that he knows what he is doing.
      Father Rauck is having a neat, new fence placed in front of his dwelling at the crossing. H. A. Hosey, the deaf mute, is doing the job.

Ironton Register, January 14, 1886 – Pinegrove started up on her new hearth on Tuesday, of last week.

Robert Hamilton was manager at Pinegrove Furnace in 1830. Robert Hamilton was married to Nancy Ellison. Their niece, Elizabeth C. Clark, married John Campbell.

Ironton Register, April 6, 1899 – LAST OF PINE GROVE FURNACE – Pine Grove Furnace, another of the historic and profitable properties in the iron business of this section, is being torn down by its owners, Means, Kyle & Co., and the cast iron about the plant, of which there was a large amount, is being remelted in their modern Hamilton Furnace at Hanging Rock.
     Pinegrove was one of the very first furnaces erected in the Hanging Rock iron region, and was the last of the earlier furnaces to be abandoned. Only five furnaces in this region antedated Pinegrove. Argillite in Greenup Co., Ky., was built in 1818; Steam and Pactolas of Greenup in 1824, Union in 1826 and Franklin in 1827 in Scioto county, and Pinegrove in Lawrence in 1828. Scioto Furnace was built the same year, and Amanda, across the river from Ironton, in the year following.
     Robert Hamilton and A. Ellison were the builders, and the furnace continued in blast almost every year until finally closed down on May 10, 1895. Now, two boilers which were used there from 1849 till that time, are converted into smoke stacks and project from the roof of the Eagle Mill, and the materials available to other uses are being removed from the site, which was the scene of activity in iron making for nearly 70 years.

Ironton Register, August 25, 1904 – Pine Grove furnace was built in 1838 (sic 1828) by Andrew Ellison, Sr., Andrew Ellison, Jr., and Robert Hamilton, who from a tour through the country in the fall of 1827 became convinced (NEED END OF ARTICLE)

John Peters learned the moulders trade at Pine Grove Furnace at the age of nineteen (1833) for two years then he went to Mount Vernon Furnace.

Semi-Weekly Irontonian, November 8, 1907 – Andrew Ellison first came to Pine Grove Furnace, which was built in 1828 by Andrew Ellison, who had capital, and Robt. Hamilton, who had some capital. Robert Hamilton came from Penn., clerked at Brush Creek Furnace, Adams Co., O. He opened the Newcastle Mines, built the Hanging Rock Railroad, lived at Pine Grove 24 years, moved to Hanging Rock in 1853 and died there. His first wife was an aunt of Mrs. John Campbell, which marriage was the beginning of his success and fortune.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: Feb. 6, 1857

Ironton Register, February 19, 1857 – Pioneer Furnace – New furnace in Washington Tp., midway between Olive and Washington Furnace, began on February 6th. Stone Coal Furnace, FIRST to manufacture Pig Iron with Stone Coal in Lawrence County. Pioneer is the 13th Furnace built in Lawrence County; Oak Ridge which will probably commence its first blast in May next, is the 14th. Pioneer Furnace built by Wm. Colvin, F. J. Oakes, Uri Tracy, and Thomas Pugh, under the style of Wm. Colvin and Co., Benjamin Perry directed the construction.

Ironton Register, Thursday, July 9, 1857 – DISASTROUS RAILROAD ACCIDENT. – The Cincinnati night train on the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, met with a terrible accident on the 1st inst., at 5 o’clock in the morning, 12 miles west of Marietta, killing three persons and wounding twenty. ……. Thirty passengers were in the car. The wife of Wm. Brigham of Marietta, William G. Richardson of Boston, Mass., and Mr. Connelly, Founder of Pioneer Furnace, Lawrence county, were killed instantly. …….(excerpt from)

Ironton Register, February 18, 1858 – Proprietors of Pioneer Furnace, have sold out their entire interest to Mr. John L. Reed, of Jackson County.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1877

Ironton Register, Thursday, October 18, 1877 – SARAH FURNACE – This is the name of H. Campbell & Sons’ new furnace, which enterprise is being pushed far toward completion. About all the brick work is done; the stack is up and nearly lined; one of the three Whitwell ovens is completed and the sheet iron portion of the others is finished; the smoke stack, which is to be 107 feet high, is now at an altitude of 54 feet, the base of 15 feet, being brick; the underground flues are all completed; the boilers are in position; the engine house is nearly ready for the machinery, which is far advanced at Lambert & Gordon’s; the fire brick for the hearth is in the casting house; work on the stock house is about to commence; the incline for the purpose of bring stock up from the river is nearly finished. This is about the status of things at the furnace. Putting in the hearth and placing the machinery are the principal items still to be done, before the furnace is ready for blast. By the first of January next, the furnace can blow in, but the proprietors are disposed to take it leisurely.
     The general supervision of the furnace construction has been undertaken by Mr. J. H. Campbell, and the institution will, without doubt, be a standing compliment to his taste and judgment. The furnace is not a large one, but is provided with modern appliances, calculated to cheapen the cost of production. This in connection with the fact that the furnace has been built at a time when labor and material are low, will give “Sarah” furnace a marked advantage in the market.

Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – Rumor says the “Sarah” will blow in during the coming week. Success.

Ironton Register, November 26, 1885 – (Iron News) – Messrs. W. C. Amos, James Bird, J. H. Moulton and a Cincinnati party have rented Sarah furnace, and propose to put her in blast in about 60 days. Work begins immediately to get the stacks ready. The furnace stack will be made 10 ft. higher and the smoke stack 40 feet higher. New ling and boshes will be put in. The boshes will be 14 feet, and height of stack 60 feet. There will be some changes in the hot blast. The new company have made a contract with Campbell Iron Co. to supply them with ore and lime from Mt. Vernon lands. The ore is to be delivered, burned and screened. Mr. Amos will be general manager; Mr. Bird will be founder; and Mr. Moulton, Secretary and Treasurer.

Ironton Register, January 14, 1886 – They are ready for laying brick at Sarah, but cold weather interferes. The furnace and stack are both raised.

Ironton Register, October 25, 1888 – Fatal Accident – This Wednesday morning, George Price, who worked at Sarah Furnace, was choked to death by escaping gas and the body badly burned. The bell had become disarranged and he was overcome by the gases and fell where the flame had burned him awfully.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1826


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1833

Ironton Register, July 30, 1885 – (Country Notes) – Graysville is about three-fourths of a mile below Vesuvius Furnace, and was named for Col. G. N. Gray, of Ironton, who instituted some mining operations here and built the village. The place now has a forlorn appearance, and don’t look as though it would perpetuate in perennial freshness the name of our worthy townsman.
      Thos. Primm has a fine crop of corn growing on his farm below Vesuvius.
      We met Jacob Sowder, Sr., the renowned debater, at Graysville. His honor was on a political rampage, and he told us he had the names of thirty-five republicans on a little book in his pocket, who were going to vote for Ton Jones for Sheriff. It struck us as curious that Jake should carry the republican vote of Elizabeth around in his pocket, and rather think he can’t do it. We have strong faith in republican intelligence, and it takes a stunner to shake it. The voters of Elizabeth have had a change. They are satisfied. Jake, go home and trim your corns.
      Vesuvius furnace is a dilapidated looking place. The buildings are disappearing from round the stack; the pot-house is gone; the bridge loft and engine house are in the last stages of decay. The four fine sycamores that grew beside the stack are thrifty. These with the old stack resting in their deep shade will soon be all that remains of another of our old time charcoal iron furnaces. Those whose boyhood days were spent among the picturesque scenery of the grand old cliffs that will ever add a wild sublimity to the place, drop a tear for old Vesuvius, and heave a sigh. She is passing away.

Ironton Register, November 26, 1885 – (Iron News) The Etna Iron Works Co. will run Vesuvius, next year. This is because of its nearness to a splendid timber supply. A large part of the outfit of Little Etna will be moved to Vesuvius. There is scarcely anything left of Vesuvius except the stack, but it is thought the saving in the hauling of the fuel will more than balance the cost of removal.

Ironton Register, April 21, 1887 – Vesuvius is a gem of a furnace. She is substantially but economically equipped, and apparently, the general arrangement of the plant is very excellent. The furnace has an elevator similar to those in use at coke furnaces, to raise the ore from one floor and the fuel from another. the ore is burned in two ovens in quantities sufficient for immediate use. The boilers are on top of the stack where they can be fired by the heat of the furnace. The engine is an old timer– a horizontal affair, which with a steam cylinder, two blowing cylinders and three pitmans, covers most of the floor of the engine room, but it does splendid work. Vesuvius makes about 10 tons of cold blast iron daily on all gray ore, but on a test run on half red ore a few days since, the output reached 12 tons per day.

–What a commodious yard Vesuvius has, and what a fine location for a furnace! She stands in the middle of a gentle slope which rises gradually from the bed of Storms Creek to the base of a high rocky cliff, several hundred yards away. The cliff is abrupt and imposing and overshadows what is seemingly a great pile of charcoal, though it is only enough to run the furnace three or four weeks, when the furnace will stop for a few weeks, and the next year’s stock will begin to come in to fill up again the spacious yard beneath the cliff.

–The rocks that hover over the charcoal are not the only rocks around Vesuvius. The surrounding hills are fringed by them, and viewed by the shade of the office entrance that morning, by the light of a bright sun, the lofty hill tops showing one above the other at several points, the wooded and rocky slopes and the well watered valley, was a picture of nature of no ordinary beauty.

–At various places on the Etna lands, railroad stakes are encountered. They mark the lines surveyed by the Dayton & Ironton people in quest of a suitable route from Texas Hollow to Ironton, and several routes have been surveyed.

–Over on Cannon’s Creek, at almost the opposite corner from Vesuvius of the Etna domain, they have the largest ore kiln burning that they ever set up. It contains 8,000 tons of ore, which will be shipped to Alice.

Ironton Register, September 30, 1897 – Vesuvius Furnace – Here find the furnace in full blast, making 8 tons of the best iron in the world, a day; will run till January; have 5000 tons of ore on bank, 40,000 bushels of charcoal in stock and will keep coming in till last of December; have 1300 tons of pig iron on the yard; had a large corn crop, had 75 tons hay; will sow considerable wheat. Dolph Casey is doing the blacksmithing; said he was working in that same shop 40 years ago, but has been away several times, has not been here quite two years the last time. It is said he is as good a furnace smith as ever was here. Thos. Primm, another old residenter, still farms; has good corn, has 18 stands of bees that have done well. Geo. Whitlach, who has worked at the different furnaces is working in the pot house. Vesuvius and Olive are the only charcoal furnaces left to show how to make the best pig iron in the world.

Ironton Register, October 5, 1899 – WILL LEASE VESUVIUS – David Halley, J. O. Yates and Isaac Yates have closed an agreement with the Ironton Coal & Iron Co. for the lease of Vesuvius Furnace and expect to take charge about November 1st, or as soon as the present management works up the stock on hand. The furnace will be operated as the Vesuvius Charcoal Iron Co. and an organization will be effected as soon as the papers are received from Philadelphia. These are expected at anytime.

Ironton Register, September 30, 1897 – Vesuvius Furnace -(Heading On the Rounds) – Here find the furnace in full blast, making 8 tons of the best iron in the world, a day; will run till January; have 5000 tons of ore on bank, 40,000 bushels of charcoal in stock and will keep coming in till last of December; have 1300 tons of pig iron on the yard; had a large corn crop, had 75 tons of hay; will now sow considerable wheat. Dolph Casey is doing the blacksmithing; said he was working in that same shop 40 years ago, but has been away several times, has not been here quite two years the last time. It is said he is as good a furnace smith as ever was here. Thos. Primm, another old residenter, still farms; has good corn, has 18 stands of bees that have done well. Geo. Whitlach, who has worked at the different furnaces is working in the pot house. Vesuvius and Olive are the only charcoal furnaces left to show how to make the best pig iron in the world.


Lawrence County, Ohio
Built: 1853

1851 – John Peters moved to Ironton, and became one of a company, consisting of Samuel McConnell, Isaac Peters, John Campbell, W. M. Bowles and Thomas McGovney, to build the Washington Furnace, and the erection of which he superintended.

Ironton Register, February 28, 1878 – At Washington Furnace, last Monday, occurred a fearful boiler explosion. The boiler parted near the middle, the two ends flying out in opposite directions. The principal damage was to the hot blast. Mr. John Campbell went out there last Monday evening, to consider the question of whether they will repair the furnace to just as it was, or make some important additions and improvements.

Ironton Register, April 20, 1899 – WASHINGTON FURNACE – This is one of the historic places of Lawrence county. It is being rapidly converted from a mining and manufacturing to a profitable agricultural locality. Nothing remains of the old iron plant – once the pride of the pioneer furnace men – but the dilapidated stone stack. The Union Iron Co. divided the lands among the creditors, who in turn have disposed of them to individuals of an agricultural turn of mind. On all sides, one can hear the merry chime of the axeman clearing away the forest, and the small boy with his torch putting on the finishing touch. The scenes remind the writer of the pioneer days of the southern part of the country so pleasantly described by J. T. Irwin through the columns of the Register.