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700 horses drove Bluffton's economy in the 1890

Bluffton was never a one-horse town


Can you guess the number of horses in Richland Township and Bluffton 128 years ago? Try 683. That’s nearly 1 horse for every 5 persons here.

That interesting statistic is one of several uncovered in an assessment of Richland Township and the Village of Bluffton in 1895.

Most of the details relate to agriculture, simply because our American society was agriculturally based at this time.

The Bluffton News reported the assessor’s 1985 finding. We’ve posted these directly from the News story, that follows:

Assessor J.W. Steiner made his report to the county auditor last Friday, after having put in 31 days in gathering the usual statistics and data for the township and corporation.

We present more interesting figures, which Mr. Steiner has kindly furnished us:

Live stock

Animals Number Value

Horses 683 $21,599

Cattle 989 $11,265

Mules 1 $25

Sheep 728 $828

Hogs 1,545 $4,145 Henson Good, Bluffton blacksmith

Other property

Bicycles and carriages $2,880

Miscellaneous $6,830

Merchandise $32,600

Money $11,545

Credits $80,595

Total valuation $177,115

Of the total valuation Bluffton corporation is credited with $66,400 and the township outside with $110,715.

The crop statistics as gathered by Mr. Steiner are as follow:

Bushels in 1895 Acres for 1896

Wheat 40,686 2,500

Rye 544 30

Oats 6,445 665

Corn 981,655 2,850

Potatoes 80,800 80

Hay (tons) 1,075

Clover tax 544

Clover seed 63

In 1895 the acreage of oats was 562, corn 2,455, meadows mown 1,820, Potatoes 90.

There are 310 acres of orchards in the precinct and their product last year was as follows;

Apples 22,997 bushels

Peaches, 580 bushels

Pears, 1,205 bushels

Cherries, 90 bushels

Plums, 250 bushels

There are 5,677 pounds of wool produced. There are 540 milk cows owned during the year, and $925 worth of stock died during the year.

Births and deaths

There was a total of 74 births, 32 males and 42 females, while in deaths were 22, 11 males and 11 females.

There were three sets of twins, all girls born to Med Murray’s Ephriam Basinger’s and Christ Balmer’s.

The oldest inhabitant outside of the incorporation is John Charleton who is in his 87th year. while David McKinley is the oldest inhabitant in the corporation, being in his 88th year.


Mr. Steiner also took the census in his rounds and found that outside of Bluffton the population consists of 625 males and 641 females, a total of 1,266. In the village of Bluffton the returns show 1,050 males and 883 females, making a total of 1,933. This is an increase of 542 over the census of 1890.

Bluffton oil workers

Beaverdam tile factory

Main Street, Bluffton, 1890s, looking north from today's Chase Bank

Henson Good, Bluffton blacksmith



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