Morristown History

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

The Village of Morristown was platted by Jonathan Zane and William Chapline in 1802 and named for an early settler and innkeeper, Duncan Morrison. The National Road, the major overland route to the West in the second quarter of the nineteenth century was the crucial factor in Morristown's development. It was built through the village around 1826 and changed the village's main thoroughfare from the "Wheeling Road" (later renamed Church Street) to Main Street. Many businesses, including hotels, factories, mills and shops grew from the traffic generated by the nation's first federally funded highway.

While many towns flourished in response to the trade along the National Road, Morristown is the best preserved example of a "Pike Town" in Eastern Ohio.

In 1853, when Morristown was at its peak, it supported forty to fifty businesses, all of which were dependent on or served the National Road in some capacity. There were many blacksmiths, saddlers, wagonmakers, grocers, clothiers and hotels.

There was a cigar factory (located in the old Bank Building), glove factory and a woolen mill. Although many of the buildings which housed these businesses survive today, they do so as private residences. It was transportation that caused 

Morristown's growth, and it would be a "new" form of transportation, the train, that would cause the village to decline. The railroad bypassed Morristown in the 1850's, passing to the south through Barnesville, Ohio instead. Interest in the village waned, along with commerce, and today no businesses survive in the village proper. With their businesses gone, many buildings stood empty and were "preserved through neglect". Morristown was added to the National Register of Historic Places when the Morristown Historic District was established in 1980.

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