From The Sunbury News, July 14, 2016:

Because You Asked . . . .

Unnamed Creek  Brings Industry

By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

Samuel Shriver Gammill's Sawmill and Hoop Factory with his house which faces Vernon Street, Hoop Factory was across Vernon along North Street.  Shrive built his house and the next one north on Vernon as well as the Burrer Mill and House on South Columbus Street. Photo was taken in 1896 by Charles Perfect.
Hope you noticed the little creek or stream running across the Plat Map from outlot 2 to Prairie Run.  Unless you’ve had a wet basement or a broken tile in your yard, you probably have never heard of this creek.  Shrive not only knew about it, he promoted it.

Samuel Shriver Gammill was born to Frederick and Elizabeth (Adams) Gammill in Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio, on March 18, 1835.  On the 1850 census 14 year old Samuel was living with his family in Porter Township, Delaware County.  On September 18, 1856 he married Mary E. Johnson. 

Amy was born in 1857 and Charles in 1859 before Shrive enlisted in Company G of the 96th OVI from Delaware.  Shrive spent 3 months ill in a hospital after Chickasaw Bayou then went on to be in battles at Vicksburg and Jackson.  After a 30 day furlough home he returned to his company in September 1863 and fought in Grand Coteau, Mansfield, Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, Spanish Fort and Mobile where he mustered out with his unit in July 1865. His five year old son Charles died in 1864 while is father was gone.

In 1880 his family lived in Kingston Township and now included Jessie Ernest (born1866), Juliette ‘Etta’(1867), Colonel Ellsworth ‘C.E.’(1875) and Mamie (1881).  Eventually Etta would marry Alfred Sheets, C. E. marry Etta Bailey and Mamie marry Harvey Diehl.

Shrive was a carpenter who bought many farms and houses to renovate and resell.  He had a sawmill and hoop factory where he made barrels northwest of the North Street and Vernon Street intersection.  He built his house at 60 North Vernon Street and the house next door at 74 N. Vernon. 

On the plat map, a little unnamed creek or open ditch ran from the middle of outlot 2 on Vernon Street north of North Street, crossed Vernon and zigzagged along unpaved North Street to Columbus Street intersection then across the lots west to Prairie Run.  Gustav Hopkins had his Asher business on outlot in 1866.  Since there was often running water headed to Prairie Run, it provided water for Gammill’s sawmill and hoop factory. 

Shrive helped Johan Burrer and his son Gottlieb Jacob decide to move their mill from the Big Walnut Creek which did not have enough water to turn the stones six months out of the year to 60 North Columbus Street where they could use ditch water, scrapes and saw dust from Gammill’s sawmill to generate steam to operate the mill.   Gammill agreed to build the mill for them.  However, Johan died in 1864 so 26 year old Jakie became the owner of the mill which was under construction and was not completed until 1875.

In May 1875,  Jakie married Amy Gammill (Shrive’s daughter) and Shrive built their house across North Street from the mill at 46 North Columbus Street which remained in the Burrer family until 2015.  He also built the houses at 126 and 136 South Columbus Street.

His wife Mary died in 1895.  Six years latter Shrive married Mrs. Josephine Harrison. He died on July 12, 1909 and is buried in Sunbury Memorial Park with his wife Mary and son Charles.

Great-grandson Carleton Burrer remembered it was Shrive’s character to rise early and put in long days. He was a hard worker and considered a good influential citizen. 

When North Street was paved, the village put very large tile under the street to allow the water to continue to flow underground.  Oatfield Whitney lived on West Cherry Street along the cemetery.  One day in the late 1970s he stepped in a hole in his backyard which turned out to be a broken tile from the creek or ditch.


Village of Sunbury in 1866 Atlas of Delaware County by Beers

. . . . And Now You Know

Flashback by Dorothy D. Burrer and Polly Horn (available in Community Library)

Plat Map by N F. Overturf

1866 Village of Sunbury Map in the Beers 1866 Atlas of Delaware County

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