Listening to the familiar train whistle as it passed through Cardington the other day, I thought, what was the town like before the railroad was built?
Reading a newspaper account in the Morrow County Independent of three letters sent in 1850-51 by Adin Tucker, an early pioneer in the Cardington area, to his brother in Iowa offers a glimpse into those days.
In the first letter dated Jan. 26, 1851, Adin said the winter had been mild but the “country abounds with feavers and ague, rhumatick complaints and much consumption. He said he lives on the meridian line of the state running through Columbus thence to Detroit. The Cleveland- Columbus railroad runs through the north half of my farm within twenty rods of my house. My farm lies south of Cardington about fifty rods from the depot at Cardington, which is forty miles from Columbus and one hundred from Cleveland, He explained that the new railroad being built through Cardington will be of great importance to the public enterprise.”
Adin said at that time, January, 1851, “The cars are just appearing with iron for the track. They are also laying the track from Columbus and will meet near this place in the course of two weeks. They have been at my house while I have been writing this letter asking for board. When this road is completed we can pass to Cleveland in 12 hours.”
He told his brother “doctors generally do well in this area. Money will be more plenty by reason of public improvement in this place. Horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep and all kinds of grain bring cash here.”
On Feb. 23 he wrote, “The Cleveland and Columbus railroad is completed so that the Cleveland company for a celebration has taken our legislature through to Cleveland on Friday last together with the owners and contractors. They are to be made free until Monday then to return to Columbus. Tomorrow we expect to see them return with several trains of cars with their flags flying and with all their ornaments.
“The road is said to be straight one mile south and eight miles north without a turn The road is very level which gives fair prospect, it being but twenty rods from our house. the depot buildings are just in sight one-half miles north of us.”
Later he wrote “The cars did return with a small sail boat upon cars with the flags flying, making in all a splendid appearance. Enough about railroads.”
In March, 1851 he wrote, “A new county has been formed here named Morrow. The county seat will probably be at Cardington though not certainly known. If so, it will be a place of business. Cardington has been the name of a small town but is now applied to township in which we live. Direct your letters to Cardington Post Office, Morrow County.”
And that’s the way it was in Cardington in 1851, and we still have the railroad.
70 years ago, October 1947: Retail milk prices at the Riverside Dairy in Cardington, were increased to 20 cents per quart for homogenized milk. This increase resulted in the highest prices customers paid for milk in local history.
40 years ago, October, 1977: Pam Scott, 1977 Cardington-Lincoln High School graduate, was selected as a member of the varsity cheerleading squad at Rio Grande College.