Claysville in Washington County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
One of the more common sights was that of the Conestoga Wagons, freight haulers that could carry up to 3,500
Claysville grew quickly as a result of the National Road. The first school was opened in 1818, with a Presbyterian Church being constructed in 1820. Many of the early settlers in the town were of Scots-Irish descent, drawn to the area by the availability of cheap land. Interestingly, many of the workers that built the Road were also Irish. In 1832, Claysville was incorporated as a Borough and by 1850 the population had grown to 275.
In 1856 the railroad arrived. This marked the beginning of a period of decline for the National Road but not for Claysville. Located astride two major transportation links, the town continued to grow as a regional agricultural service center. In the late 1800s an oil and gas boom furthered the prosperity of the community, diversified businesses and increased the population. By 1900, the town boasted a total of 856 residents.
A description of Claysville in 1908 listed 10 stores, three restaurants, two furniture dealers, two livery stables, a carriage shop, six
(sidebar) A Change in the landscape ~ In 2005, buildings at the corner of Greene and Main Street, marked on the image below, were demolished to provide space for all apartment building and parking. The first structure located on the northwest corner of this Intersection was Walker’s Tavern. In the 1880s, a Second Empire structure with mansard roofs replaced the tavern and operated as a hotel until 1910. The Farmer’s National Bank then occupied the building until the 1940s. The northeast corner was known as “Cooper’s Corner.” Several small, mid-19th century commercial buildings occupied the site, including a wood frame structure which housed the Claysville Recorder newspaper.
(sidebar) Leading the Way. Henry Clay was a leading American statesman and political figure the first half of the 19th century. Known as the Great Compromiser, his efforts were successful in brokering political solutions, notably the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850. Clay also worked tirelessly as an advocate for a system of internal improvements including support for the National
Benjamin Franklin Jones was born in 1824 near Claysville. As a young man, he worked in Pittsburgh for a canal boat operator. He rose to partner in the company and by 1850, recognizing the future of railroads, he formed the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company with financier James Laughlin. J&L Steel became one of America’s largest iron and steel producers in the 19th century.
One of the great names in 19th century education was William Holmes McGuffy. Born in 1800 near what is now the Borough of Claysville, McGuffy attended college in Washington, PA, and went on to teach at Miami University in Ohio. In 1836 he published the first of the McGuffy Reader series. The illustrated stories emphasized virtuous behavior and became the most popular reading textbook in the 19th century with over 122 million copies published. The local school district is named in his honor. His birthplace is now part of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Political Subdivisions. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #06 John Quincy Adams, and the The Historic National Road series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1817.
Location. 40° 7.035′ N, 80° 24.756′ W. Marker is in Claysville, Pennsylvania, in Washington County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 40) near Green Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Claysville PA 15323, 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. Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Veterans Memorial (approx. half a mile away); William Holmes McGuffey (approx. 3.2 miles away); Rice’s Fort (approx. 3.3 miles away); “S” Bridge (approx. 3.7 miles away); Miller’s Blockhouse (approx. 4.4 miles away); Washington (approx. 5 miles away); National Road (approx. 5 miles away).
More about this marker. Marker has a number of photographs. Along the bottom is a panorama of the town captioned “View of Claysville ~ ca. 1914. Visible in the foreground is the line of the B&O Railroad. The National Road can be clearly seen in the picture exiting the town to the west (upper left).” Below the main text “Paving crews laying brick on Main Street – the National Road” and “Mid-19th century view of Main Street – the National Road.” On the sidebar to the right are portraits of Henry Clay, Benjamin F. Jones, and William H. McGuffy.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 20, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,900 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 20, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.