Ohio History Journal



The Water-Shed of Richland County, Ohio.



The far-famed barn, from the eaves of which the rain-falls

flow from one side into Lake Erie and from the other to the

Ohio river is situate near "Five Corners" in Springfield township,

seven miles west of Mansfield, Richland County, on the West

Fourth street, or Leesville road.

That this barn is not a myth but an actual reality can be veri-

fied by a visit to the locality. The farm upon which the building

stands is owned by C. Craig, a cousin of Dr. J. H. Craig, of


While this barn is not on the highest point of land in the

state, it is upon the actual "divide," and has an elevation of 832

feet above the lake, 965 feet above the Ohio river, and 1,265 feet

above the sea. A mile east of the Craig barn is the Ralston knob,

which reaches a higher elevation, but is not a "divide," for the

surface waters from its several sides all find their way into the


Contrary to the general opinion, the roof of this barn does not

face north and south, but to the east and west, being situate upon

a spur extending a short distance to the north from the dividing

ridge proper, which traverses Ohio from the northeast to the

southwest. From the east line of Ohio in Ashtabula county, the

crest of the water-shed extends in a tortuous course through

Trumbull, Geauga, Portage, Summit, Medina, Wayne, Ashland,

Richland, Crawford, Marion and Hardin counties and from the

latter it throws off a lofty spur into Logan county, but the main

line continues from Hardin southwest between Auglaize and

Shelby, through the corner of Mercer and the northern part of

Darke to the Indiana line, at elevations ranging from 400 to 900

feet. The gravel knobs - like the one at Ralston's, are frequently

found along the divide, and are interesting subjects in the study

of surface geology.


The "Divide

The "Divide."                   161


The fountain-heads of the Sandusky and the Mohican rivers

are only a half mile apart. The former has its source in the

Palmer spring and the latter from a pond or little lake near the

southeast corner of the cross-roads known as "Five Corners,"

one and a half miles north of Ontario. And about midway be-

tween these two river sources is the Craig barn, where the surface

waters separate.

The pond mentioned has two outlets; from its east end flows

the Black Fork, and from the west the Clear Fork of the Mo-

hican. After running a quarter of a mile in an easterly direction,

the little stream, which later becomes so dark as to be yclept

"Black Fork," turns boldly to the north through a gap, and for

162 Ohio Arch

162       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


several miles parallels the Sandusky, but as they near the north

part of the township, the Sandusky veers to the northwest,

passes through Tiffin and north to Fremont and Sandusky Bay,

Lake Erie.

The Black Fork runs almost due north a distance of ten

miles to Shelby and beyond, then turns abruptly to the east, leaves

the south side of Holtz's grove, makes a graceful bend at Ganges,

and after pursuing a tortuous course to the southeast, turns to

the south after leaving the old site of the Indian village of Green-

town, then glides slowly through Perrysville and Loudonville,

and below the latter unites with the Clear Fork after a crooked

course of 50 miles.

The output from the west end of the pond runs to the south-

west for about a mile, then curves to the southeast, is called the

Clear Fork, and after a journey of 35 miles, passing Bellville and

Newville, finally unites with the Black Fork south of Loudonville,

forming the Mohican river.

That the Black and the Clear Forks of the Mohican river

have the same source is a fact that is but little known and was

never before published.

The peculiar topography of the country enables the Black

Fork to take a course northward towards the lake through a gap

-Shafer's Hollow-in the crest of the watershed, and the

stream ripples cheerily along until its course is turned by an eleva-

tion, which changes not only its course but the color and character

of the stream as well, for thereafter its waters become dark and

seem sullen and sluggish. But the Clear Fork, as its name indi-

cates is clear and sparkling, carrying health and good-cheer upon

its bosom, while smiles seem to play upon the surface of its


The Craig neighborhood where these interesting water

courses bubble up from gravelly depths, now has trolly line con-

nections with both Crestline and Mansfield, and Shafer's Hollow,

the gap in the "divide," has become a picnic resort.

The Palmer spring - the source of the Sandusky river - is

123 feet above Crestline, and supplies the town with water through


The "Divide

The "Divide."                     163


Richland county is famous for high altitude. The chestnut

ridge, three miles south of Bellville, has an elevation of 952 feet

above the lake. The Sheckler hill on the old state road three

miles north of Bellville, is 912 feet, while the hill a mile north

of Sheckler's, upon which the German Settlement church is

situated, has an elevation of 932 feet, and the city of Mansfield,

according to the profile of the old S., M. & N. Railroad, is 657

feet above the lake. The Pennsylvania roads mark it 592.

The local influence of this altitude upon the climate, with its

isothermal lines and rain-shadings, might here be considered and

reviewed, but are not strictly within the province of this article.