By The Olde Forester, Emmett A. Conway, Sr.
When The Olde Forester was Forest Ranger of Lake Hope Recreational Area and Zaleski State Forest, c 1947, he was much surprised to see a notice in the Land Transfers of the county newspaper stating that a one-half acre school lot had been sold to a private local fish and game club by the Board of Education. State forest land records did not show any exceptions in the deed for that area which was part of 18,000 acres purchased by the U.S.A. between 1935 and 1939 as part of the Land Utilization Project. These tracts had been added to the original Zaleski State Forest of approximately 3,400 acres.
Questioning the legitimacy of the transaction, I did my own abstracting in the Recorders Office of the Vinton County Courthouse and found a true and proper deed (Volume 13, page 309) entered August 10, 1868, from Douglas Putnam and wife, Sarah C.D.Putnam, of Marietta, to The Board of Education of Brown Township. Evidently, the abstracter, hired by the government for the acquisition of tracts of land making up the expanded state forest, had not checked deeds back far enough to pick up this EXCEPTION.
A copy of the deed found in the Vinton County Recorder’s Office reads as follows:
“Know all by these presents that I, Douglas Putnam of Marietta, in the County of Washington and State of Ohio, for and in consideration of the sum of Ten Dollars to me paid before the Delivery of these presents by the Board of Education of Brown Township in the County of Vinton in the State of Ohio the receipt whereby is hereby acknowledged have Bargained, and Sold and by these presents do Grant, Bargain, Sell and Convey unto _____in the Said the Board of Education of Brown Township and Assign all the following Described tract or parcel of land Situate in the said Brown and in the Ohio Company Purchase that is to Say.
The Site on Which the New Hope Schoolhouse in District (No. 6) of Said Township has been built being a part of the fraction (No. 6) Six in Township No. 11) of Range (No. 16) beginning at a stone 32 links from a Well, thence running North 15 West, 8 rods, thence South 37.5 West 10 rods , thence South 15 degrees East (8 rods), thence North 75 degrees 10 rods to the beginning containing one half acre as Surveyed by S Steinbrook.
Together with all and singular the privileges and appurtenances to the Same belonging on in and any wise appertaining.----etc.
Signed Douglas Putnam (seal)
Sarah C.D. Putnam (seal)
“School” is plainly shown on the 1876 plat map as being on the second road east of the furnace. This road is now the Irish Ridge Trail (note the Murphy and Shay owners). The 1947 sale was consumated. Surprisingly, the well was found by surveyors and the lot staked off. A small clubhouse for the hunting club members sits there today.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Hope Furnace School House which Putnam deeded to the school board, after it was built, were still there. One can imagine the classic one room schoolhouse so often described. On the north side of the level area are a couple of huge rocks on which we looked for initials or carvings by the school kids--in vain. One can imagine games of “hide and seek” or “king of the hill,” or “fox and hounds” in the yard, and among the rocks at recess--perhaps a rendezvous or two.
Iron furnace village school houses were used for church, community meetings and holiday parties.
Map section from Titus, Simmons & Titus Atlas of Vinton County, Ohio, 1876
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