The settlement of what is now the city of Dublin began in 1801 or 1802 when two brothers, Peter and Benjamin Sells came from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania to buy land for their father, Ludwig: brothers William, Samuel, and John; and themselves.
During an 1809 spring flood of the Scioto River, John Sells and his pregnant wife poled a flat-bottomed boat up river to claim the 400 acres of land his brothers had purchased back in 1801-02. In just a few short weeks, John was able to build a crude log cabin located close to a spring on the west bank of the Scioto, just south of the present day Dublin bridge. This spring was the only source of safe drinking water for the village until 1885. In March 1809 Mrs Sells gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Fletcher. Fletcher was the first white child born in the new "Sells Settlement."
Mr. Sells was quite an entrepreneur. In 1809 he built the first tavern in the area. The sign outside the tavern was a large black horse which would attract any weary traveler. Sells Settlement was a welcome relief to road men and soldiers. The Black Horse also became known as a landmark for both white men and Indians. One chief, Shateyoranyah, or Leatherlips as the settlers called him, encouraged white settlement in the area and was friendly toward Sells. A few years later, John Sells opened a distillery near the present day Dublin bridge and, in 1812, started a hat factory just south of the distillery. In 1818 Sells opened the first general store in the area.
Many people are of the opinion that the Irish settled Dublin, but that is not exactly true. There were many Germans, Scotch, Welsh, English, and Dutch in the area. Actually, John Sells was a German Mennonite. In 1810 Sells began to survey lots for a town, aided by John Shields, an Irishman. As legend has it when the surveying was finished John Sells gave John Shields the honor of naming the new town. After some thought John Shields remarked. "If I have the honor of naming your village, with the brightness of the morn and the beaming of the sun on the hills and dales surrounding this beautiful valley, it would give me great pleasure to name your new village after my birthplace, Dublin, Ireland."
George Ebey, an early settler, and John Sells built the first mill on the banks of the Scioto where it continued to operate until about 1898. The last owner was Joseph Corbin. Daniel Wright and John Sells built a stone schoolhouse located on South Riverview Street.
John Sells died on June 20, 1841. He had the distinct honor of being the first to do many things in the area that later became the City of Dublin. One might even consider John Sells to be "The Father of Dublin."
Ohio had been admitted to the union in 1803, and its temporary capital was located in the settlement of Chillicothe. A general desire for a more central location for the capital began to show itself, so in 1810 the legislature appointed five commissioners to select the most eligible site. These five men considered four sites for the Ohio State Capitol. Included for consideration were Dublin, Franklinton (near current Columbus), Delaware, and Worthington. In the commissioners' September 12, 1810 report to the legislature, they favored the land on the west side of the Scioto, 12 miles above Franklinton. This site belonged to John Sells. This recommendation was not adopted because in February 1812, four energetic young men obtained an eligible site opposite Franklinton and conceived a plan to introduce legislature to locate the permanent site on their land. This site was accepted on February 21, 1812, at which time it was give the name Columbus.
150 West Bridge Street
Dublin, Ohio 43017
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