The Student Section

The Student Section

Want to learn about the area you live in?
You came to the right place! 

This is a page designed just for students to learn about local history. The language of this page is adapted for younger students but the content is appropriate for any age.

Feel free to explore the rest of the site and email us with any questions or suggestions for improvement. 

Teachers Click Here

About Lawrence County

Image result for lawrence county, ohio

  • Lawrence County, Ohio is in the Southernmost tip of Ohio
  • Named for Capt. James Lawrence, a Navy commander during the War of 1812.
  • Founded December 20, 1816

Click Here to read about how our county seal was created



2016 was Lawrence County’s 200th Birthday! It’s called the “Bicentennial.” Click here to view the Bicentennial’s Facebook Page and HERE for pictures of the final Bicentennial celebration. 

All About the Iron Furnaces

How Ironton Began

In the 1840’s Ironton didn’t exist. The land was just farm land but out in the county there were already 10 iron furnaces {Union, Pine Grove, Etna, Vesuvius, Buckhorn, Vernon, Hecla, Lawrence, La Grange and Center}. Iron was being transported by oxen to to Hanging Rock where it was put on boats on the river. But it took a long time for them to make this trip and sometimes the boats had to wait for the oxen to get there.

Image result for ironton ohio packet boat{ Here’s a picture of the packet boats at the Ironton river bank }

So an iron master (the boss of the furnace) named John Campbell suggested building a railroad to replace the oxen. His friend, Robert Hamilton, agreed. But they could not agree on where to put the railroad. After lots of arguing, John Campbell chose the site which would become Ironton. Him and several of his friends came together to form the Ohio Iron and Coal Company. They got to work buying the farm land, surveying the property, building the railroad, and laying out the town which would become Ironton. Since the railroad was just used for the furnaces, it was called the Iron Railroad. Click here to read about it. After several years, the Iron Railroad connected with another railroad and after that people could ride on it. 

Image result for ironton ohio iron railroad{ This picture shows one of the really old steam locomotives named The Ironton }

John Campbell was an abolitionist – someone who was against slavery and helped to free the slaves who came to Ohio. He used the Iron Railroad and the furnaces he owned to help move slaves through the stops on the Underground Railroad. This wasn’t an actual railroad; it was just what they called it because it had to be done secretly (as if they were underground). Click here to read about how some of the slaves had to hide to avoid being captured. 

Image result for ironton ohio john campbell

{ Yep, that’s John Campbell }




When Ironton was built it was not the county seat {kind of like the capital of the county}. Burlington was the county seat but it wasn’t long before it was removed to Ironton, where it’s been ever since. You can read all about Burlington HERE. And you can read about other places in Lawrence County HERE

History of Ironton City Schools

Nannie Kelly Wright 
The only female Iron Master in the Hanging Rock Iron Region



Ironton has encountered, and recovered from, several catastrophic floods over the years