History of South Bloomfield


Historical Photos 

Although the signs in the yard of the old South Bloomfield Municipal building once stated that the village began in 1804, that may have been a bit misleading.  There were early squatters in the area, claiming land, some as early as 1798 or 1799. The town was originally laid out in 1803 and General James Denny was originally contracted to survey the area, embracing 40 acres and divided into 80 lots. The founding members in the area had originally hoped that this would eventually be the county seat, but time and politics would work against this idea.

            The oldest grave stone in what is now the Harrison Township cemetery, belongs to a Sarah Holmes, Daughter of Jonathon and Rachel Holmes, and is dated 1801, another indication that the area was being settled before the 1804 timeframe.

           The first stage line, later officially named the Columbus and Portsmouth Turnpike Road Company, and eventually becoming United States Route 23, was in operation in Ohio and brought passengers and business to South Bloomfield. A line that would run from Chillicothe thru Circleville to Columbus twice a week, began on Monday, August 23, 1819, and stations were erected to change horses, feed and house passengers, and blacksmith shops to make any necessary repairs to the stagecoaches. At one time, there were as many as three blacksmith shops operating in the town. The notice in the Scioto Gazette, said there were two stages in the line, one drawn by four horses, the other by two horses and each would make one trip a week. The fare was uniformly seven cents a mile in the larger stage and five cents in the smaller one. Each passenger was to carry ten pounds of baggage. These were mail stages and it was an inflexible rule of the line that the mailbags must be carried inside to prevent their injury by rain.

South Bloomfield’s first school was a log cabin structure with Dr. Samuel Taylor being the first schoolmaster. Churches also sprung up, with the pastors being Circuit Riders from the Pickaway (later Franklinton) Circuit.

            Hugh Creighton began a general store in town, and in addition to being an early Justice of the peace, was also a tavern keeper. During the height of the Stagecoach era, the Ohio Canal was being built, and was put in place a mile to the east of South Bloomfield, near the Village of Millport, which in itself began to thrive. Several mills, a distillery, and various other businesses were begun, but Millport’s prosperity, and South Bloomfield’s, would soon wane. The stagecoaches, in their approximately 27 years of service carried and estimated 1,200, 000 passengers.

All good things, however, seem to have to come to an end. There was a new mode of transportation being built, the railroad. More passengers, more goods, even livestock could be transported and both the canal system and the Stagecoach went quietly into the history books. South Bloomfield did not benefit by the choice of the railroad to pass through the nearby town of Ashville, and then onto the growing City of Circleville. Once the railroad was in place, and an ever-growing population passed by South Bloomfield to reside and work in Circleville, the thoughts of the town becoming the county seat were buried.

South Bloomfield began to lapse into a quiet residential existence. Little is actually recorded of Village history from the mid 19th century until the mid 20th century, though some are making the attempt to change that.

With the advent of President Eisenhower’s National Defense Highway Plan, the two lane road connecting Columbus to Portsmouth became a four lane highway and traffic increased through the town. Gas stations, restaurants, various shops and stores began to operate, one being the Morrison’s Grocery. Previously a hotel and general store, this was located on the Northwest corner of U.S. 23 and West Main Street. Later it achieved infamy as the Bloomfield Inn. Country singer Dwight Yoakum played there when he was starting out and commented once that it was the roughest bar he had ever played (the doors were closed for good in early 2008 as a devastating fire destroyed what had been a Pickaway County landmark).  During this period the population did increase, though not at a rate consistent with other small Villages in the Pickaway County area. It still remained a small, rather quiet community, as it is today, although the village is beginning to experience a boom of sorts. There is a rich and interesting history of the Village, as there is with many small towns, but record keeping appears to be sparse, though as stated above, there are those individuals attempting to change that and provide an in-depth history.

An active Police Department keeps residents and the transient population safe (an estimated 35,000 + vehicles travel through the Village on a daily basis), a motivated Village leadership, and a general attitude to be “Dedicated to Progress” all combine to make South Bloomfield a wonderful community to both live and work in.


Written and Researched by Sgt. Johnny Wells

South Bloomfield Police Department