Helltown or Hell Town?

A tale of two cities – or something like it

In researching ghost towns of the Mohican River, I discovered that there had been two Helltowns.

I set out to find information on the Native American settlement known as Helltown. From what I could learn, it had been on a bluff overlooking Clear Fork of the Mohican River, opposite the Switzer Creek confluence.

(For those interested in the big picture, that’s somewhere between Butler and Perrysville. Or, if you’re not familiar with either of those places, it’s in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Cleveland and Columbus.)

The natives abandoned Helltown in 1782 after they learned that members of Ohio’s militia had massacred more than 100 Native Americans whom they had converted to Christianity. That occurred in Gnaddenhutton, along the Tuscarawas River. So strong was the faith of these converts that most allowed themselves to be bludgeoned to death, believing that they would awaken in Heaven.

Adding insult to injury, the settlers later looted their burial grounds and plowed them under to grow crops.

A Google search of Helltown and Ohio turned up links to another Hell Town in the state. In fact, the search yielded more links to that Hell Town than the one I was looking for.

Like Helltown the Native American village, the other Hell Town was also a ghost town. The latter by virtue of eminent domain for the establishment of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The other Hell Town, in portions of Boston Township, Summit County, lies on land taken by eminent domain for Cuyahoga Valley National Park — spawning folklore that it was haunted or a haven for Satanic practices. The government purchased the homes in 1974 and they were left intact for many years, giving rise to the folklore.

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That includes stories about the site being closed by the government in connection with chemical contamination — complete with obligatory cover-up mythology. There may be something to that as, in 1985, a hiker became ill after coming into contact with the contents of a drum at the Krejci Dump Site.

This year it was reported that $60 million site remediation has been a big success. It was a typical American success story in which someone profits from pollution and the taxpayers are stuck with the bill for mitigating the damage.

Ironically, a researcher named Jim Willis found graffiti inside one of the abandoned houses equating eminent domain with genocide.

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These illustrations are part of my PowerPoint presentation entitled Ghost Towns of the Mohican River. I plan to research them further and expand on that.



4 thoughts on “Helltown or Hell Town?

  1. Hi Irv,
    So if our local Helltown was “on a bluff overlooking Clear Fork of the Mohican River, opposite the Switzer Creek confluence” . . . would that have put it on the south side of the Clear Fork on one of those bluffs off the north side of Pleasant Hill Road, or do you mean it was atop the high ground north of the river where Rt. 603 meets Rt. 95? I’ve always wondered about that. Looking forward to seeing your Powerpoint program sometime.
    Larry Smith


  2. There are still bad feelings here in the Valley among the residents and the Park. To add insult to injury, some of the farms that were seized and had been in families for generations, are STILL farms…and you can apply to rent them from the Park and work them. (the Park gets a cut). Additionally, the people of Peninsula are always bitching and whining that the Park and those who rent from the Park don’t have to pay city taxes.


    • That’s the price we pay for living in a land where so little has been set aside for public use. And now, what has been set aside, is up for grabs for commercial fracking, mining and logging thanks to politicians eager to please the folks who bankroll their careers. As for farms, most of the acreage would have ended up being rented out to farmers anyway. The family farm is becoming a thing of the past, unfortunately. They gripe about the lost tax base here and elsewhere, but the parks enhance the quality of life and bring in tax money regardless. The Mohican area pulls in a lot of money from tourism, bed taxes, etc.


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