In 1833, Archibald Smith (1803-83) began to build a sawmill a
short distance east of here where a
tributary enters Blacklick Creek. His work was soon destroyed, he
wrote, by a "rise of water known
as the great Fourth of July Flood." Undaunted, he completed the
mill the next year and used it to saw
lumber from trees felled as he cleared land for cultivation.
Archibald's son, Dr. Isaac Newton Smith, described his father's
mill as the first on Blacklick Creek.
Dr. Smith recalled four mills on Blacklick and one each on Sugar
Run and Rocky Fork Creeks. These
mills, he noted, received some of the best oak, butternut,
chestnut, and walnut timber in the area.
The era of water-powered sawmills in
Plain Township lasted from 1833
to around the time of the Civil War. During that period, Plain
Township's settlers exchanged
log dwellings for comfortable frame houses.
Archibald moved from New Jersey to Plain Township with members of
his family in 1818. Having
had little formal schooling in New Jersey and none in Ohio, he
taught himself practical skills. A
carpenter by trade, he supervised the construction of locks,
aqueducts, and bridges on the Ohio and
Erie Canal between 1827 and 1833. The house he built at 6320
Kitzmiller Road stands as a fine
example of early craftsmanship. A self-taught surveyor, he began
providing the service in 1834 and
his surveys of New Albany and Gahanna are still used. Archibald
Smith's autobiography, written in
the 187O's, is a valuable record of the lives of this area's pioneers.
NEW ALBANY COMPANY, NEW ALBANY-PLAIN TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
FRIENDS OF BLACKLICK CREEK, OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The dedication ceremony for this historical marker included speakers Marilyn Saveson, president of the
NAPTHS; John Saveson, past NAPTHS president and local historian; Kurt Keljo, President of the
Friends of Blacklick Creek; Bill Ebbing, CEO of the New Albany Company; Colleen
Briscoe, Mayor of New Albany; and Andy Verhoff of the Ohio Historical Society.
Other activities included a creek walk along the forested corridor of Blacklick Creek
and a hot-air balloon inflation by Ben Branch and crew, of Reynoldsburg.