Fairfield County was erected and organized December 9, 1800. At that time it was part of the Northwest Territory and remained part of it until March of 1803 when Ohio became a state. In January 1801, Fairfield County was divided into 3 townships: Hocking, Richland, and Clearcreek. Prior to 1805, Pleasant Township was erected out of Richland Township. In 1807 Walnut Township was erected from the northern part of Pleasant Township. In 1886 the Village of Pleasantville was established and sits on the Pleasant and Walnut Townships boundary line. Prior to being officially named Pleasantville, the area was originally called “New Boston” but was changed to Pleasantville prior to it legally becoming a village.
The first road in the area was built in 1803 and was called the Lancaster and Newark (New Ark) Pike. This later became the Lancaster-New Salem Road although some still call it the Pleasantville Road. It now is known as Ohio Route 188 or Lancaster-Thornville Road today, which is Main Street in the village.
Some of the first families in the area were: The Hoovers, Ashbrooks, Trimbles, Berrys, Harmons, Hites, Hampsons, Cupps, Ruffners, Kellers, Ewings, Duncans, Feemens, Foglesongs, Radabaughs, Maclins, Arnolds, Kemerers and Baldwins.
In Pleasantville’s early years, education was a main focal point. The Fairfield Union Academy was an early school of higher learning, it was organized in 1860 and met in the Odd Fellows hall in Pleasantville. The first building for the academy was erected in 1861 on land granted to the school in the same year by John and Catherine Ashbrook. Additional land grants were made by the Ashbrook’s and the academy continued to serve the community until the summer of 1903, when it held its last commencement and closed its doors. The academy had two brick buildings; a dormitory which contained rooms for students, reading room, and boarding hall; the other building contained a chapel, recitation room, cabinet and society rooms. These buildings were then torn down in 1923.
After the closing of the academy, the land then became part of the Pleasantville School system and the Pleasantville High School was erected. The first class to graduate from the high school was in 1924. In addition to the high school, Pleasantville had an elementary school and the school system was known as the No. 2 District. The land for the elementary school was transferred to the Pleasantville School system by James and Mary Hampson in 1877. The rural schools of Snake Run, Eight Corners, Baptist Corner, and Grange Hall were brought to Pleasantville in the 1920’s. Then Ziegler, Mock, Oakthorpe and Salem Schools also joined the Pleasantville School District. Pleasantville and Rushville School districts consolidated in 1957 to become the Fairfield Union Local School District, named after the academy.
Industry and Business
The Ohio Central Glass Company was built in the early 1900’s and was located on Summit Street, the glass scrap yards were in the area of First and Second Streets. The factory remained open until a fire destroyed the factory, which took multiple fire districts and the help of the City of Columbus to put out. It was the most disastrous fire in the villages history. The cause of the fire was never officially determined, but it was blamed on a hobo that fell asleep while smoking a cigarette near the factory, which started the fire.
In the early years the village also had other factories; a canning factory, located on High Street; a flour mill on Columbus Street. During this time the village residents and workers were able to support other businesses, the village had the Keller-Wildermuth Hardware, a grocery store, pharmacy, barber shop, Red and White Store, furniture and clothing stores.
As the industry and factories left the village the local businesses changed, but the village was still able to support those business, during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Pleasantville had 3 full service gas stations, a local Kroger that later became an IGA, local shops and restaurants. The only surviving business of past decades is Georges Garage and Repair shop, which is still owned by the George family today.
Sometime after Pleasantville was officially named, there was an issue with the U.S. Postal Service because of mail confusion. They discovered that Ohio had two villages named Pleasantville. The other town, being younger, had to change their name.