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. 




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