The settlement was knows as Sells Settlement and John Sells, who owned the land in the part of Dublin we know as the Historic area, was preparing to divide the property and sell lots for people to buy and build houses. He contracted with John Shields, a surveyor from Franklinton (the town across the Scioto River from today’s downtown Columbus) who was well known in the area. Shields also was a Methodist minister. He would have been familiar with the Black Horse Tavern in Sells Settlement because this was where everyone stopped when they came this way. Shields had surveyed some of the land in this vicinity for the Virginia Military District. In 1810, after surveying 200 lots for Sells, one legend tells of a grateful Sells giving Shields the honor of naming the community: “If I have the honor conferred upon me to name your Village, with the brightness of the morn, and the beaming of the sun on the hills and the dales surrounding this beautiful valley, it would give me great pleasure to name your new town after my birthplace, Dublin, Ireland.”
We encourage everyone to walk through the Historic District to begin to gain an appreciation for what life might have been like in a simpler time when only 100 or so families called Dublin “home”. Shops and homes were side-by-side, wide streets accommodated horses and wagons. Nearby quarries along the river supplied stone for buildings and fences and gravel for roads. “Everyone knew one another and everyone knew everyone else’s dog,” as one lifelong resident put it.
Even today, a visitor can walk to the Dublin Spring alongside the Scioto River where Benjamin and Peter Sells would have drawn drinking water for their campsite on the high ground just above as they decided this would be the place to bring their father, brothers and the rest of the family for a settlement. And you can see this spring even today as you retrace those steps in Dublin’s history.
Visit the Dublin Historical Society site.