Map of Norton township (partial), 1874

The township of Norton, since incorporated as a city (1969), lies southwest of downtown Akron. The southwesternmost hamlet of the township was Hametown, amounting to a fifteen-mile drive by the major routes from Akron, but "as the crow flies," only about nine miles distant. [source no. 1]

The map, below, portrays the southern half of Norton township in 1874. [2]

Click on image to open in new window. 

map norton twp 1874 6

Source: Map of southern portion of Norton township, Summit County, Ohio (1874), adapted from the full size original map in Combination Atlas Map of Summit County, 1874, by Tackabury, Mead & Moffett, Philadelphia. Online at Summit Memory, pg. 103 of 132 (accessed 2015-04-14); administered by the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Also shown are the several hamlets of Western Star, Dennison Station (later Sherman), Norton Center, Johnson's Corners, Loyal Oak, and New Portage. The Atlantic and Great Western Railroad, later the N.Y.P. & O. (New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), traversed the township, running through Dennison in the west, and exiting the township at New Portage in the east. The Cleveland Mt. Vernon and Columbus Railroad skirted the southeast boundary, and there was a siding into Silver Creek in the southwest.

The houses of landholders, with their names and lot numbers, would be of particular interest to family historians. However, the map is sufficiently rich in detail as also to include properties of civic and corporate interest. The former are depicted as black squares, while the latter are shown as white squares with a black dot inside the square. Crosses mark the churches and cemeteries.

The map identifies the following coal fields in the southwestern portion:

  • the Wadsworth Coal Co., which lay just outside the southwestern corner of Norton township, in Western township;
  • an unnamed coal mine on Lot 95, on the south central border; and,
  • the Norton Coal Company, at Dennison Station, just south of the rail line.

Alas, this lovely map does not give up the place, or places, where the McListers lived in Norton township. But by referring to census data, we may glean clues.

The 1870 census [3] recorded Archy and Mary McLister's household in Norton township, dwelling no. 82. Neighbouring households included: R.G. Marshall,* farmer, dwelling no. 76; George Rickley, farmer, 77; F.F. Rickley, farmer, 78; Peter Gregory,* farmer, 79; Andrew Serfass, farmer, 80; John Serfass, farmer, 81; Peter Serfass,* farmer, 83; Joseph Minich,* laborer, 84; Tommie? Keeper, RR laborer, 85; Isaac Hartzell,* farmer, 86; M.S. Miller, 87; B.E. Richell, laborer, 88; Aaron Hartzell,* farmer, 89; James Taheen?, farmer, 90; Stephen Serfass, farmer, 91. * marks the names whose farms also appear on the 1874 map. The locations of those farms on the map suggest that the McLister household was situated in the vicinity of Norton Center.

Further, no real estate value was entered beside Archy McLister's name. The nearest landholder on the census form, with a real estate value, was Andrew Serfass, whose property was rated at $15,000. Also appearing under Andrew Serfass' name, without real estate values, were the households of John Serfass and Peter Serfass. On the 1874 map, Peter Serfass' name appears on a sizeable property just northwest of the village of Norton Center; Peter may have taken over the lot from Andrew. It may be that the McLister family was living in a dwelling on the Serfass' property.

Coal mining was very active by 1870: the census listed two coal diggers, sixty miners, one superintendent, and one engineer in the township.

Whereas the 1870 census listed inhabitants for all of Norton township, the 1880 census counted inhabitants within the smaller enumeration districts of Johnson's Corners, Loyal Oak, Norton, New Portage, Western Star, and Dennison. [4] The first family enumerated in the village of Dennison was that of Archy and Mary McLister. Archy worked as a laborer, and his two sons, Robert, age 21, and William, 19, were employed as coal miners. The next household was that of Samuel and Sarah Burgner. Samuel was a farmer, occupying 110 acres, who, in 1864, had entered into a lease and mining royalties agreement with Julius Humphrey and William B. Coleman, members of the Norton Coal Company. [5]

A scan of the six census pages for the district reveals interesting information about the 295 inhabitants of Dennison in 1880:

  • Most of the adult males were coal miners, numbering fifty-eight. The other men were employed as follows: one engineer at the coal shaft, one boss in the coal mine (John Young), ten labourers, six farmers (one of whom was Isaac Tintsman), one carpenter, one dry goods merchant, one blacksmith, and two saloon keepers (in the same household).
  • All the men's wives were designated as "Keeping house," except one man's daughter who was occupied as a dressmaker, and a young woman who worked as a servant for John Young.
  • There were two female heads of household, each with children.

Isaac Tinstman, farmer, would become father-in-law to William John McLister (1861-1940) in 1883 [6]; and in 1891, John Young, coal mine boss, would become father-in-law to Robert McLister (1859-1934) [7].

The list, below, summarizes the 1880 census enumeration for the village of Dennison by head of household, with his or her occupation and place of birth (and place of birth of parents, if different, or father first, if different for both parents). The numbers refer to the first column on the census form, "Dwelling houses numbered in the order of visitation." Only those names in boldface type were recorded on both the 1874 map and the 1880 census. Finally, where names appeared in both the 1870 and 1880 censuses, in Norton township, that information is shown [in square brackets].

  1. Archy McLister, labourer, Ireland [RR laborer near Norton Center, 1870]
  2. Samuel Burgner, farmer, Ohio (Switzerland) - Lot 73 [1870]
  3. David Price, coal miner, Wales
  4. Eli Koplin, carpenter, Ohio (Pennsylvania) [day laborer in 1870]
  5. Charles O. Kelnick?, farmer, Ohio [with parents, 1870]
  6. Clayton C. Neff, farmer, Pennsylvania
  7. John Armstrong, coal miner, Wales [1870]
  8. William Head, coal miner,  Pennsylvania (Wales) [1870]
  9. Sarah J. Foster, keeping house, England
  10. Robert Young, coal mine boss, Pennsylvania (England)
  11. T.J. Prut?, coal miner, Wales
  12. Isaac Tintisman [sic], farmer, Pennsylvania - Lot 72 [1870]
  13. Daniel Jones, coal miner, Ohio
  14. David M. Jones, coal miner, Wales [1870]
  15. Wm. K. Davis, coal miner, Wales - Lot 72
  16. Evan Morgan, coal miner, Wales
  17. Thomas Morton, coal miner, England
  18. John B. Evans, coal miner, Wales [1870]
  19. William Evans, coal miner, Wales [RR hand in 1870?]
  20. Joseph Keenley, coal miner, Wales
  21. Thomas Price, coal miner, Wales
  22. Thompson Jones, coal miner, Ohio (Pennsylvania)
  23. Frederick Wassiman, coal miner, Sweden
  24. David Morgan, coal miner, Wales
  25. John P. Davis, coal miner, Wales
  26. James McCulloch, coal miner, Scotland
  27. Andrew Morrison, coal miner, Ohio
  28. Wm. H. Bout, coal miner, England
  29. Henry Carrick, coal miner, England
  30. David T. Morgan, coal miner, England
  31. Robert Carrick, coal miner, England
  32. Thomas Robbins, coal miner, Wales
  33. David D. Williams, coal miner, Wales
  34. William Keill, coal miner, England
  35. Phillip Stansfield, coal miner, England
  36. Thomas E. Thomas, coal miner, England
  37. William Reese, coal miner, Wales - Lot 73 [1870]
  38. Thomas Price, coal miner, England (Wales)
  39. Geo. W. Bird, coal miner, Pennsylvania (Wales, Pennsylvania) [1870]
  40. John Armstrong, coal miner, Wales - Lot 73 [1870]
  41. Noel C. Kohlin?, farmer, New York (New Jersey, Pennsylvania)
  42. Jonathan T. McGee, laborer, Pennsylvania
  43. Patrick Madigan, laborer, Ireland - Lot 73 [1870]
  44. James W. Wood, laborer, Pennsylvania
  45. John W.? Thomas, coal miner, Wales
  46. John Hoffman, laborer, Bavaria
  47. Blank: vacant, or not enumerated
  48. Benjamin Lewis, engineer, Wales
  49. John Kirchberg, saloon keeper, Prussia
  50. Wharton Carrick, coal miner, Wales
  51. Thomas Cook, coal miner, England
  52. James Jones, laborer, Ohio (Ohio, Pennsylvania) [1870]
  53. Jacob Davies, coal miner, Wales
  54. William Bird, coal miner, England - Lot 73 [1870]
  55. John Young, coal mine boss, England

Thus, fifty-four households were enumerated in the village of Dennison in 1880. Many of the miners had immigrated from Wales, while others were from England. In this neighbourhood, as was the case for Norton township generally, Irish immigrants did not figure significantly. Rather, much of the population was of German descent, having moved to Norton from Pennsylvania, and bought up farm land before 1850. [8]

The 1874 map depicts twenty-five narrow housing plots, just south of the rail line in Dennison, and on the east side of the road. There were also ten houses on the northern end of the land leased by the Norton Coal Company. Given the preponderance of mining households in Dennison, compared to farmers, it seems reasonable to suggest that these houses were occupied by miners. 

As for the question, where did the McListers live when the 1880 census was enumerated, the proximity of Archy's name to Samuel Burgner's suggests that the family may have rented a house from Mr. Burgner. However, we cannot know for certain, except that they lived in the village of Dennison.

Postscript: Today, Highway 21 runs north to south through this part of Norton township, crossing over the railway line a few hundred metres east of the site of old Dennison Station. The old mining cottages have disappeared; some of the rural roads fell away from disuse, while others have sprung up for housing development; and, the land mined for coal has reverted to deciduous forest.


  1. Google Maps, online at (accessed 2015-04-16).
  2. Map of southern portion of Norton township, Summit County, Ohio (1874), adapted from the full size original map in Combination Atlas Map of Summit County, 1874, by Tackabury, Mead & Moffett, Philadelphia. Online at Summit Memory,, (accessed 2015-04-14); administered by the Akron-Summit County Public Library.
  3. U.S. 1870 Census, Archibald McLister and family (enumerated as McAllister); Norton township, Summit County, Ohio; enumerated 9 June 1870; original records: 1870 US census, population schedules, NARA microfilm M593-1270, page 331B, image 666, records held at National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC; digital copies held by (accessed 2011-05-25, by subscription).
  4. U.S. 1880 Census; Archibald McLister, Mary Kilpatrick, and family, Dennison, Summit County, Ohio; original records: United States, Census Office, 10th Census of the United States, film T9-1069, page 318B; National Archives, microfilm publications, ref. T0009; database hosted by Family Search, FHL film 1255069, online at (accessed 2004-03-10); confirmed to digitised copies held by (accessed 2011-05-25, by subscription).
  5. "Burgner v. Humphrey," in Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Ohio, Vol. XLI. New York and Albany: Banks & Brothers, 1884, pp. 341-57. 
  6. Marriage Record: Marriage License and Return; William John McLister and Cora A. Tinstman; Summit County, State of Ohio, 10 July 1883; original records: Summit County Ohio Probate Court (2005), book 4, pg 336.
  7. Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958; Robert McLister to Mary Young, 12 November 1891, Summit County, Ohio; LDS record search pilot, Indexing project batch no. M02344-2, ref. p 297; FHL film no. 900968: Marriages records, v. 7-8, 1890-1895, Probate Court, Summit County, Ohio; (accessed 2011-05-24).
  8. Lupold, Harry Forrest, and Gladys Haddad. Ohio's Western Reserve. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University, 1988, 2nd pr.1991.

© Alison Kilpatrick, 2015. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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