Hanging Rock Iron Region

“The iron region is about eight miles wide.  It extends through the east part of Scioto, and the west part of this county (Lawrence) , and enters Jackson county on the north, and Greenup county, Ky., on the south.  Most of the iron in Lawrence is made into pig metal, which stands high for castings, and is equal to Scotch pig for foundery furnaces: it is also excellent for bar iron.  The principal markets are Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.  The four counties of Jackson, Lawrence, Scioto, and Greenup, Ky., make about 37,450 tons annually, which at $30 per ton, the current market price amounts to $1,123,500. (Furnaces had not yet been built in Vinton and Hocking Counties on the north). There are 21 furnaces in the iron region, of which the following are in Lawrence, viz., Union, Pine Grove, Lawrence, Center, Mount Vernon, Buckhorn, Etna, Vesuvius, La Grange, Hecla, and Olive. The oldest of these , in this county, is Union, a view of which is given, showing on the left, the furnace, in the middle ground, the log huts of the workmen, with the store of the proprietors, while around is wild, hilly scenery, amid which these furnaces are usually embosomed.  Each of the furnaces employs, on an average, 70 yoke of oxen, “100 hands, sustain 500 persons, consume 560 barrels of flour, 1000 bushels of corn meal, 10,000 bushels of corn, 50,000 bushels of potatoes, beside other provisions, and tea, sugar and coffee in proportion”. From this it will be seen, that their existence is highly important to the agriculturist.  In the winter season, about 500 men come from abroad to cut wood for the furnaces in Lawrence; some of whom walk distances of hundreds of miles from their cabin homes among the mountains of Virginia and Kentucky.” — Excerpt from the 1848 “HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF OHIO” by the Henry Howe, reprinted here. 




This is an excellent book, written by Eugene Willard. The book can be read online by clicking HERE.


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About Lawrence County, Ohio

Lawrence County, Ohio borders the Ohio River at the Southernmost part of the state. Six architecturally interesting bridges span the Ohio River, connecting Lawrence County with various locations in both Kentucky and West Virginia. Because of these bridges, metropolitan Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV are just minutes away from virtually anywhere in the county.

Lawrence County Ohio was organized December 20, 1816, the first Court of Common Pleas was organized March 4, 1817. In 2016, Lawrence County celebrated its Bicentennial… click here to view photos of the Grand Finale event.

The first election was held April 7, 1817, with Joseph Davidson, Joel Bowen, and David Spurlock elected county commissioners. Their first meeting was held Monday afternoon, April 21, 1817, at the home of Joseph Davidson in Burlington.

Lawrence County, Ohio was named after Capt. James Lawrence, a native of Burlington, NJ and a gallant naval officer of the War of 1812.

Lawrence County was home to 23 blast furnaces and was once the world leader in pig iron production.

The county seat is Ironton, where you will find our government offices, restaurants, museum, library, splash park, civic organizations, and is home of the famous Memorial Day Parade.

Check out what’s new in Lawrence County, with the Lawrence County Guide Book. 

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