History of the Village of Mount Sterling
(Credit to Steven D. Jackson, Editor; taken from the Guidelines for the Historic District of Mount Sterling, Ohio 1987.)
In the last years of the eighteenth century, explorers and pioneers, attracted to the rich land and good location, moved up Deer Creek into what is now Pleasant Township of Madison County. The first permanent settlers in the area of Mount Sterling were James Hewey, William Hewey, and David Martin who claimed land and built cabins in 1797. They were soon followed by William Alkire and his family who settled in 1799.
In the decade that followed, because the area was a part of the Virginia Military Lands, many farming families settled the area-the families of Elijah Bragg, William Creath, Forgus Graham, George Kious, John Riddle, John Smith, etc. However, no town or village was founded until 1828 when John Smith, who had purchased a large tract of land on the bluff overlooking Deer Creek, platted a village on that spot. The village was recorded at the courthouse in London on June 26, 1829 and named "Mount Sterling" after Mr. Smith's favorite town in Kentucky. Located in rich farming country, on key roads, and near the juncture of three counties, the town developed quickly. By the late 1830's the village possessed two inns, several stores, black smiths and a doctor. Around 1840, the first post office was established and was followed shortly on March 12, 1845 by the official incorporation of the town. The first municipal elections were held on August 15, 1845, and Lewis Timmons was elected mayor.
During the Civil War, Madison County provided companies of men for the 17th, 26th, 40th, 95th, 113th and 144th Ohio Regiments. One of those companies was raised in Mount Sterling: Company D of the 113th regiment of Ohio Volunteers. These Mount Sterling Soldiers took part in the Chattanooga, Atlantia and Savannah campaigns, were at the surrender of General Johnston's Confederate forces, and took part in the Grand Review in Washington D.C. at the end of the war.
In 1871 Mount Sterling first newspaper was founded, The Review (later called the Husbandman), and it lasted until 1874. IN 1887 with the founding the Mount Sterling Tribune, another weekly newspaper was started and has since recorded local events.
The 1880's saw other notable events. In 1882 the town erected a brick, three story town hall that housed government offices and an opera house. In 1884 the Columbus and Midland Railway built a line through the town and established a station. This served as a major impetus to the development of the town. For the next three decades the community saw continuous growth: a doubling of the population, many new private homes and businesses, three new church buildings, and several new public facilities. These public facilities included a municipal electrical lighting pl.ant in the 1890's, the paving of streets and sidewalks around 1900 and the erection of a Public Library in 1910.
By the 1920's Mount Sterling was a modern community located on the major 3-C highway and on a principal rail line. The village possessed three banks, one hotel, a department store many shops and several manufacturing firms.
In the past decades two sons of Mount Sterling have had major impact on the affairs of the nation: businessman and philanthropist John W. Galbreath and Senator John Bricker.
Thus the history of this unique community goes onward. In November 1983 the old town hall, long a local landmark, burned. However, a new structure quickly rose to replace it and was dedicated in June, 1985. Symbolic of the community, its design reflects the old structure but within is modern and efficient. Mount Sterling too is proud of its past, but is progressive in the present, and confident of its future.