Before we discuss the settlement of Springboro, let's look at the counties involved in the early settlement of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
By an act of the State Legislature on March 12, 1800, Erie and Crawford Counties, along with several other counties to the east and south, were formed. There were several disagreements over boundary lines, but eventually Crawford County was divided into 34 townships. The present Spring township was not always called Spring. Its first name was Snowhill, a name not pleasing to its residents, especially as the township to the south had the pleasant name of Summerhill. A petition was presented to the Judge of the Court, who kindly changed the name to Spring.
The Population Land Co., as well as the Holland Land Co., owned several tracts of land in the township and many settlers tried to clear tracts of land. Sometimes the hardships and the land companies were too much and the settlers moved on, or returned east. It took a determined, strong-willed family to face the virgin forest, hard winters, wild animals, and lack of neighbors to clear this western frontier. For those willing to stay, build their crude homes, and plant crops, roads were needed. One such road from the North was the Jeffersonville (Albion), Keepsville Road. Tales of logs placed side by side in bogs to permit oxen and wagons to pass are well documented. Trees were cut or burned, but stumps were still a problem. Directional signs were blazed trees.
Another road from the direction of Ohio through Beaver township to Cussewago township (Mosiertown) created a "crossroad" known as SPRING CENTER or sometimes SPRING CORNERS. This intersection became a trading point for travelers.
Among the early settlers were James Orr and Thomas Ford. Hiram Pond in partnership with John Nelson commenced the first store about 1835. Collins Hall erected a woolen, fulling and saw mill, and in the 1840's Hawley Dauchey erected a second saw mill.
By this time, the Beaver/Erie Extension Canal was near completion and the farmer and merchant had a faster way to move his products. Other settlers near the crossroads were the Bowmans, Powells, Wellses, Sturtevants, Woodards, Woods, Sheldons, Temples, Hurds, Hotchkisses, Wetmores, Greens, Bolards and Thomases. Development was slow, but the traveler and farmer could find anything he needed at Spring.
A hotel called the "King House" hosted by Mr. R. D. Bacon was available; E. E. Eighmy & A. K. Stone carried general merchandise and the partnership changed in 1875 to E. E. & G. W. Eighmy. Also a partnership with another brother, A. E. Eighmy became the firm of Eighmy brothers with a cheese factory. Prior to the Eighmys, Mr. King and Mr. Christie were making cheese. The Eighmy Brothers went into partnership with I. T. Welsh establishing a Hoop Factory. Another of their ventures was a saw and planing mill.
Joseph Thornton had a store carrying general merchandise in 1863. This would later become Thornton Brothers. M. A. Allen & McLaughlin were dealers of groceries, flour, feed and this business was continued by A. Allen. Leonard C. Graves was conducting the business of blacksmithing & wagon & carriage building. Another wagon works producing the "Coming Wagon" invented by Edwin S. Prescott employed 30 workers. The Keystone Tanning Co., Ltd, with Jacob Bolard as manager, was backed by capitalists from the Conneautvllle area consisting of John C. Sturtevant, Elijah Montague and Robert Wormald. Nearby was the stock farm, "Spring Valley Stud Farm", owned by Mr. Carter G. Dempsey. He bred running stock which became a popular sport In the late 1800's. He also bred Hambletonian and trotting horses. Mr. W. C. Booth was the local druggist. Also nearby was Shadeland, a stock farm of the Powells, noted breeders of Clydesdales.
Incorporated as a borough In the Spring of 1866, the crossroad officially became Springboro. The first election was held March 16, 1866, and Jonathan Sheldon became the first Burgess.
Springboro became noted for its neat and handsome houses, some even being mentioned as palatial in size and beauty. Many of these old homes are still as handsome as when they were built.
Space does not permit the history of schools and churches located at Spring Center, but this information is available in the Springboro Centennial 1865-1965 and the Springboro + 10 issue available at the local libraries and at the Historical Society.
This article is the cover story in the CVAHS Newsletter, Issue 24, Vol. 12
Sources: Crawford Co. History 1885,
and Resources of Penna. 1883