JOHNSVILLE/SHAUCK — One village. Two names.
Goldie Sowers explained the reason in the 1940 Johnsville School History, later re-published in “The Threads of Time: A History of Morrow County.”
The story goes that the village was laid out Dec. 17, 1834 by two men — John Ealy and William Shauck — with the plat being recorded in what was then part of Richland County.
It was named for Ealy by adding “ville” to John’s name thus Johnsville.
Both men owned a quarter-section and the town was located on a portion of each one’s land. They cast lots and Ealy won.
But Shauck immediately applied for a post office and had it named after him. It originally was located in his home, but in 1838 the post office moved into the village and John Creigh became postmaster.
Some maps still list both names for the Perry Township village.
Market and mail stop
Today you can get your mail and buy groceries at Marvin’s Village Market, all under one roof at 7500 County Road 242.
Becky Dean, who lives “five minutes out” of the village, did that on a recent Friday morning.
“It’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s quiet and it’s country. Got to love the country and neighbors,” she said.
Dean has cousins right down the road.
“That’s part of the reason I like it here. Being close to everybody.”
Randy Marvin has owned the market for several years.
First VPO in Ohio
“The post office was next door and the house got re-possessed so the post office didn’t have anywhere to go,” he said.
It is referred to as a Village Post Office or VPO. It opened on Friday, April 20, 2012, according to the United States Postal Service.
“It was the first one in Ohio,” Marvin said.
There are 214 mail boxes tucked into the back aisle. A rotary phone rings on the wall near the two check-outs.
The USPS, in a news release at the time, stated: “The location at Marvin’s Village Market will provide customers time-saving convenience and will continue to be an important example of how the Postal Service is changing to better meet America’s needs. Marvin’s Village Market is considered a hub for the community of Shauck.”
Part of the reason is the village’s remote location.
“There’s no mail delivery here unless you get it from Bellville or Mount Gilead, depending on which side of the street you’re on,” Marvin said. “Especially for people who live close by; they can walk up here and get their mail.”
The village post office has stamps, flat rate boxes and they can drop their packages off to be mailed.
The Fredericktown resident was in the Pepsi business, but “I always wanted to be in the grocery business.”
Located in the center of Johnsville/Shauck, the market has produce, meat, canned goods and household items.
“We try to provide what we can,” Marvin said.
Back in 1872 the village had the J.W. Thuma store.
Over the years it was known as Thuma & Lewis & Beam, Shipley & Maxwell, Griffen and G.W. Yeager’s store.
Twenty years prior, J.J. Cover opened a store. A Mr. Crim is credited with the first store, date unknown.
Wagner Brothers built the International Order of Odd Fellows building around 1871 and used it for a store until they sold it to Newhouse and Held five years later.
There was a grocery store on the corner of the Shennefield lot where whiskey was served over the counter. A large tanyard was located on what later became the parsonage and the Lowe family home.
The aforementioned William Shauck was the first blacksmith. A grist and sawmill were erected on the Clear Fork of the Mohican, about a mile east of the village, around 1840.
There was work for 50 to 60 men at these sites. It was said that these mills were the very making of Johnsville and the surrounding area.
Both mills burned on Jan. 13, 1907.
No less than 11 doctors practiced medicine here during the early years.
This also was on the route of “The Fast Stage” that traveled between Mansfield and Delaware. The horses were changed in Johnsville and passengers got out to stretch their legs.
Booze and Bibles
Frontier villages often had a nearly equal mix of taverns and churches and this one was no different.
There was an Old School Baptist Church just above the mill. It functioned as a church and a school.
The United Brethren Church was built in 1850 and in 1860 The Baptist Church was organized and formed. The Lutheran Church, a mile and a half south of the village, was built in 1861.
At one time there were three saloons in town.
Asa Cowen opened the first tavern in town in a building that later housed the I.O.O.F. lodge. The Miracle House and Klein’s Tavern was called the American House.
Library, fire house
Today the Perry Cook Memorial Library and Johnsville Fire Department also serve the community in various ways.
The library hosts many reading programs and other events for families. The new fire house was unveiled in August 2017. Both venues host events during the annual Johnsville Summer Fest.
The festival, like many in the area, was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus. As a result of the pandemic, the Love Thy Neighbor Cupboard was set up at the fire station this spring to aid those needing help in the community.
It is officially called the Perry Congress Joint Fire District and serves both of those townships.
For Becky Byrd it was the popular Mar-Guy Drive-In Restaurant.
“I loved going there. I also wanted to sit on the west side of dinning room because you looked down on a beautiful scenic view,” she recalled.
Tom Clark has similar memories.
“I remember the Wagon Wheel pizza place across from the fire station and Marvin’s Market and Deshner’s Restaurant. I lived beside the library parking lot and across from the Mennonite church only a couple years, but a nice quiet place most of the time.”
Debbie Shoenfelt recently returned after leaving following high school graduation.
“They would let us go sled riding when it snowed by Mar-Guy’s. Eating at the restaurant in town and walking to the library,” she said. “It’s a time that I cherish.”
This is the 17th in a series on rural communities, past and present, in Morrow County.