Taken from History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, Vol. 2
written by Williams (H.Z.) & Bro., Cleveland, Ohio   Published 1882


AN EARLY DEBATING SOCIETY

The best evidence we have that the pioneers of this township were zealous friends of education, is the knowledge that schools were established almost as soon as there were settlers enough to support them. Her we wish to introduce another fact which clearly indicates the characteristic desire for self-improvement possessed by the youth and men of those times.

A debating society which met evenings at the house of John Struthers, and probably at the houses of other members, was in existence in 1803. The names of those who organized it were John Struthers, Thomas Struthers, Alexander Struthers, Robert McCombs, William McCombs, Samuel Wilkinson, William Campbell, James Adair, William Adiar, and John Blackburn. Similar societies were kept up for some years, and during the long winter evenings that sturdy boys and gray-haired men discussed questions of greater or less importance. These meetings were a source of pleasure to all the members, and doubtless many a young man gained skill and practice in the art of debate as well as some knowledge of parliamentary rules which enabled him in future years to preside at public meetings with ease and dignity -- an acquirement which is of no little value to any citizen. The old-fashioned debating society was an educator which imparted valuable instruction to many young men.

The Mahoning Valley has long been famous as a great center in the iron and steel industry. At this time, the valley from Leavittsburg to Lowellville, a distance of about twenty-five miles, is lined along its entire course with a succession of blast furnaces, steel plants, rolling mills and the tube mills, so that villages and cities are joined together with scarcely an open space to make a great metropolitan district. The history of this development is one of the most important subject with which this history is concerned. The time has now arrived to narrate the humble beginnings from which this enormous industry grew.

To the writer, whose boyhood days were spent almost under the shadow of a blast furnace stack, and whose boyhood playground was the hollow where the first two furnaces were built, the story of iron making has always been of most romantic interest Some portion of this romance he will endeavor to transfer to these pages. The name of Dan Easton, the pioneer iron manufacturer, has nearly been forgotten, yet it should be commemorated, as that of one who started great things. Alas, poverty, neglect and misfortune were his portion, as it has happened to so many pioneers.