The Newcomerstown Story
from a local telephone directory, circa late 1960's
The earliest visit by a white man (Christopher Gist) was in 1750. In the Gist journal, it tells what must have been the earliest account of the "Eternal Triangle" and how Newcomerstown got its name. Chief Eagle Feather became tired of his wife Mary Harris, who as a child had been abducted by the Indian raiders. While on one of the tribe's raiding trips to Virginia he captured a younger and more beautiful squaw. Mary Harris became jealous of the "Newcomer" as she was called. One morning the Indian village was aroused by the cries of Mary Harris that her husband Chief Eagle Feather had been murdered, and that the "Newcomer" had fled. She was pursued and re-captured at a small town on the banks of the Tuscarawas River and this town was thereafter always known as Newcomerstown.
Newcomerstown was laid out in 1827 and contained 34 lots in the original plot. There was one building when first plotted, occupied by Nicholas Neighbor, who founded the settlement in 1814. He later built the first store building, which was operated by him and Jacob Overholt. By 1830 there were four buildings, by 1840 population was 270, by 1860, 577. Aaron Schenk's tanning yards were built about 1827. In 1840 Pilling's woolen mill was established; in 1833 a sawmill by Edmund Smith and in 1836 a flour mill. The closest market for farm produce was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Canal was built in 1827 and by 1860 the traffic on the canal was at its height. Each lock had a tender and nearly every lock had a strange story connected with it; it was a strange and interesting period in the life of the young community of Newcomerstown.
On May 31, 1851, it was announced that the route of the Steubenville - Indiana Railroad would travel from Steubenville, Uhrichsville, and Newcomerstown to Coshocton. It opened for traffic April 1855, but before 1860 passed into receivership. In 1861 it merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Greatest of all events connected with the Railroad was in 1861 when President Lincoln passed through on his way to Washington, making a personal appearance on the rear platform of the train just as they do today. During the 1880's the town hall was built and this brought many prominent actors and musicians to the town.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Newcomerstown instituted what became a thriving fair each fall. The fairgrounds are now owned by Mrs. John Kistler.
Newcomerstown may be called the cradle of Protestantism west of the Allegheny Mountains and the first Protestant sermon was delivered to the assembled Delaware Indians at noon on March 14, 1771, by the Rev. David Zeisberger. This event of lasting importance is commemorated by a monument that stands across from the (former) Greyhound Posthouse.
Newcomerstown is also the home to legends. Several famous sons include Cy Young, arguably the best baseball pitcher of all time, Woody Hayes, the greatest football coach in the history of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and Manuel Yingling, featured trombonist in John Philip Sousa's Band.