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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Galena in Delaware County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead

 
 
Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker, Side 1 image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 13, 2018
1. Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker, Side 1
Inscription.  Benajah Cook and the families who settled in Harlem Township, Delaware County are honored for creating a community of productive farms. The Benajah and Cassandra Cook family arrived when the land was forested and settled on 500 acres of the 4,000 acres that Benajah purchased at a sheriff’s auction on June 12, 1807. The millrace, visible along the north side of Duncan Run near the Gorsuch Road Bridge is the last vestige of the sawmill operated by Benajah on the Cook farmstead. The Cook farmstead was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Upstream from the millrace are traces of the foundation for a dam or wooden weir constructed across Duncan Run. Logs were floated down Duncan Run at times of high water and stored in the mill pond. They were then sorted and moved single file along the race to the sawmill. The millrace facilitated the movement of logs and turned the mill wheel that drove the up and down motion of the saw. The lumber produced was used primarily in construction on local farms, and the cleared land became farm fields.
 
Erected 2013 by
Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker, Side 2 image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 13, 2018
2. Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker, Side 2
Harlem Township Heritage, Inc. and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 18-21.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list.
 
Location. 40° 9.081′ N, 82° 49.283′ W. Marker is near Galena, Ohio, in Delaware County. Marker is on Gorsuch Road (Local Route 27) east of Miller-Paul Road (Local Route 18), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Galena OH 43021, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Field Musician Richard W. Thompson (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rocky Fork Metro Park (approx. 2.6 miles away); Mills of Plain Township (approx. 2.6 miles away); McDannald Pioneer Homestead (approx. 3.1 miles away); Wagnor Cemetery (approx. 3.8 miles away); Smith’s Burying Ground: Pioneer Cemetery (approx. 4 miles away); Disposal of Land in Plain Township (approx. 4.3 miles away); Clarence Boal Hoover / Charles Potter Hoover (approx. 4.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. 2011 Historical Meeting of the Harlem Township Community Activities Committee. Powerpoint PDF has information about the
Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 13, 2018
3. Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker
Bridge over Duncan Run is in the near distance.
ordering of this marker and photographs of the millraces and homestead. (Submitted on May 16, 2018.) 

2. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (PDF). Statement of Significance:
The John Cook Farm represents the remains of a once large, early Ohio farm in Harlem Township, Delaware County. In the early to mid 1800’s nearly the entire township of 16,000 acres was farmland. Today modern housing developments have turned much of the area into “bedroom communities” for the cities of Delaware, Westerville, and Columbus. Development of Hoover Reservoir has added to the desirability of the land for housing and recreation. Much of the original acreage of the Cook farm has already been sold, but this 1860’s house and three barns remain, tokens of early farming efforts in Harlem Township.

The acreage on which the complex stands was purchased in 1805 by Benjamin Cook, Esq. for 42¢ per acre. Benjamin (b. 1759), a native of Connecticut, bought 4,000 acres in Harlem Township at a sheriff’s auction after the original patentee failed to make payment. He retained about 600 acres for his own use and resold the rest at considerable profit. Benjamin Cook immediately settled on his farm, the first permanent settler of Harlem Township. He had twelve children to help him with the land, including John (b. 1819) who took over the farm after his father’s death
Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 13, 2018
4. Benajah Cook Sawmill and Farmstead Marker
A recently excavated millrace is just inside the tree line past the cairn of stones.
in 1839.

John Cook maintained a 573 acre farm and built the house in 1863. The barns were also built by John, though earlier (dates unknown). John raised cattle and grains. He married in 1853 and subsequently had 6 children. He died in the late 1880’s and his son, Herbert (b. 1871) took over. Early in the 1900’s the farm consisted of 353 acres and supported both dairy and beef cattle, sheep, hogs, and produced wheat, oats, and corn. Until 1973 it was farmed by Herbert’s son, Lester. Upon his death the land was divided 4 ways. Two daughters own the house and barns and wish to maintain them.
(Submitted on June 21, 2020.) 
 
A Portion of the Millrace Excavation image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 13, 2018
5. A Portion of the Millrace Excavation
Stones that lined the millrace can be seen in the excavation.
John Cook Farm, Delaware County, Ohio image. Click for full size.
By Gretchen Klimoski, source: NRHP Nomination Form, 1976
6. John Cook Farm, Delaware County, Ohio
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 16, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 16, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   6. submitted on June 21, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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