From The Sunbury News, March 31, 2016:

Because You Asked . . . .

Lawrence Myers
Co-Founder of Sunbury

By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

Lawrence Myers, born in 1794 in Pennsylvania, was 22 when he co-founded Sunbury with his brother William. Little is known about the two boys before coming to Ohio. Like William, Lawrence received money from Uncle Lawrence’s estate. They purchased land in 1814, 1815 and 1816.

Eliza Brown was the daughter of Maj. Thomas and Elizabeth (Lynds or Lyons) Brown who came from Lenox, Berkshire, Massachusetts, with Moses Byxbe to Berkshire corners. Apparently Thomas had been in the militia at home since he is not found in official war records. Brown built a large brick home as a fortress just northeast of the corner of Rt. 37 and Galena Road. Rifle holes were positioned on the second floor so windows could be shuttered and inhabitants could still shoot at the enemy. Lawrence and Eliza were married May 18, 1817, almost a year after the death of Maj. Brown.

In about 1816, Lawrence built a one room frame house on lot 45 facing Columbus Street which had originally been the Walhonding Indian Trial. Following in his father’s footsteps, Lawrence had purchased a Tavern License in Delaware County for $2.16 through February 2, 1818 then $13 for another year. Later the fees were $5.00 a year so probably the $13 one included more than one year. Thus he built a big fireplace with two chimneys to make sure Eliza would have plenty of space to cook, do laundry and heat the bath water as well as heat the home. The attic became a sleeping loft for future children with a 30" high ceiling on the east and west walls. Travelers would sleep outside in good weather and inside on the floor in bad weather.

Their daughter Harriet Myers was born Oct 1, 1818 but died Dec. 12, 1818. Henry Bennett was born in Nov. 15, 1819.

On the 1819 tax list Lawrence still owned all of his lots in Sunbury. However they were excited about the news that the stagecoach route from Mt. Vernon to Columbus was going to pass through Sunbury in 1820. Using the town of Sunbury and the 130 acres of Lot 10 west of Sunbury as collateral, Lawrence borrowed $900 from his father and built a stagecoach inn closer to the corner than his one room house. This building was a two story frame with one room on each floor with an outside stairs with a small landing to go into the upper level. Men stayed in the lower room and women in the upper room. Lawrence is reported to have said his frame would run the other log inn owned by Hezekiah Rogers or Roberts out of business. It did and Hezekiah changed his inn into a school.

Son Thomas Phillip Myers was born June 28, 1822. Life was looking good for the family.

Lawrence put an ad on the front page of the Delaware Patron and Franklin Chronicle newspaper on Christmas Day: "Notice The Citizens of Genoa, Sunbury, Bennington and Berkshire townships are requested to meet at the House of Lawrence Myers, in Sunbury on Saturday the 19th of January at 2 o’clock P.M. for the purpose of forming a PUBIC LIBRARY. It is expected that those favorable to such an institution will punctually attend. Sunbury, Dec. 25, 1823." Nothing says what became of the idea but it is interesting to note in 1978 the Myers’ house was purchased and given to Community Library for a museum.

In July 1824, Lawrence’s brother died from a fever which had to have made an impact on Lawrence. He aided Betsey when he could, sold lots and continued to run his tavern. His $900 debt to his father was coming due in October 1825 but instead of paying he borrowed another $200 to join his two buildings by adding a Tavern Room for dining and drinking and a hall around the stairs to the second floor. For the first time, Eliza Myers had her home just for her family.

By the 1826 County Tax List, Lawrence had sold Lot 4 and 9 to Jedidiah Collins and Lot 10, 16 and the north half of Lots 24 and 25 to Saral Searl. Also on the 1826 tax list Lawrence had one horse valued at $40 and 6 cattle valued at $48 so he did some farming. Betsey had 2 cattle values at $16.

Daughter Frances Elizabeth Myers died October 10, 1827 in the second year of her life and is buried in Berkshire Cemetery and last child Martha Ann was born October 26, 1828.

Lawrence died intestate on May 7, 1829 at the age of 35 leaving his wife Eliza, and his heirs-at-law Martha Ann who was 7 months old, seven year old Thomas and ten year old Henry. Lawrence is buried in Berkshire with his in-laws. There is no record of a formal appointment of an administrator but Eliza and her brother Thomas Brown acted as administrators selling the properties in the name of the children.

Eliza continued to sell off the lots but kept the 130 acres in Lot 10 lying west of Sunbury in tact. There was no way she could meet the debt to her father-in-law. After Philip died in 1891, the debt was cancelled by court order in 1892.

Eliza raised her children and continued to run the stagecoach inn until 1843 when she sold Lots 41, 42, 43 and 45 to William W. Winans. In 1850, Eliza lived with her daughter until she moved to Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa, with her son Henry Bennett. She died there on October 25, 1855, at the age of 60.


Earliest Known Photo of Myers Stagecoach Inn
Lawrence Myers' Inn after Jeduthan Skeels added balcony around 1870 and electricity added around 1910/  Roads are not bricked yet. Note Livery Barn is in the middle of today's Granville Street


. . . . And Now You Know

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