Information for this page was researched by Marilyn (Fisher) Waggoner
Although justly claiming to be the leading town in Jefferson
County outside of Steubenville, it is within a comparatively recent period that Toronto has been more than a very small village.
Mike Myers the celebrated “Auver” was awarded, for his services outstanding services as a government scout, a fractional section 25, in township No.4, on the west bank of the Ohio River, being the southeast corner of the present Knox Township. The small town consisting of 60X120 foot lots and 50 feet wide streets was laid out after Mike sold 100 acres of the land to his brother, who then sold the land to John Depuy. The town near what is now know as Market Street was laid out and named Newburg in 1818. Space was also provided for a public square. There was no manufacturing in the area, but being situated above the highest flood plain and in it’s beauty, Newburg attracted many settlers. It later became a very popular steamboat landing as well as an inlet to the back country.
The first hotel was kept by Michael Myers, Jr., son of the famous scout, the first store by Joseph Kline and the first blacksmith shop by James Toland. The area being isolated was often favored by lawless types who chose to make it a resort which ultimately earned Newburg a reputation. Newburg landing at first consisted of only 12 buildings, 9 houses and 3 businesses. The river packets from Pittsburg and New Orleans made regular stops and business was brisk as Newburg landing supplied goods to the outlying Knox and Island Creek Townships. In 1853 the pioneer pottery of Carlyle & McFadden was founded. And in 1856 the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad came to the village. Since the railroad already had a station called Newburg on its line near Cleveland, this one was given the name Sloane’s Station after William Sloane who was liberal in granting a right of way for the railroad. In 1880 there were still only 500 people in the village but it had already spread beyond its original boundaries.
After 1880 the village grew rapidly. The census of 1890 showed a population of 2,536, in 1900 it showed 3,526 of which 1,285 had spilled over into Island Creek Township, the line at present running through the center of town. The present population is approximatelly 6,100. In 1881, the town was incorporated and was named Toronto by a vote. The title was suggested by Thomas M. Daniels, a pioneer manufacturer who died in 1884. The first municipal officers were Mayor, J.H. Roberts, Clerk, Edward T. Finlay, treasurer, T.M. Daniels, marshal, J.S. Culp, councilmen, S.M. Robinson, Theodore, O. Grover, George Horne, Dr. J.W. Collins, Jefferson Saltsman and J.O. Freeman.
In 1887 the town built a municiple building for council to meet for $5,000. Until 1887 the council met in a building owned by George Pracht. In 1892, the municipal building was enlarged. The Corporation limits were enlarged in 1899 both north and south. The former taking in what had been known as the village of Fosterville. A church on Josephine Street in the North end of the City presently bears the name Fosterville Church. The area consited of approximately 112 acres. To the south, what was called Markle, with 25 acres was also included. The new territory rapidly filled.
The first post office was secured in 1863 at Sloane’s Station. Previous to that the nearest post office was a mile south in what was known as Jeddo. The first person in charge of the post office located at Sloane’s Station was George Magee. The office is now located on Third Street, “Odd Fellows” Block. In 1890 council was authorized to bond the town for $50,000 and construct a water works. In April of 1890 land owned by David Walker was appropriated to build a reservoir on the hill west of town. A pumping station was constructed on Clark Street and six miles of pipe laid by 1891 when the works were started. The cost of the project was $75,000 so $25,000 in additional bonds were issued. M.B. Edwards, Jr. was superintendent until 1899. An efficient fire department succeeded the “bucket brigade” upon completion of the water works and the volunteer hose company won the world’s championship in the races at Salem, Ohio in 1899.
Next came the Toronto Electric Light Company which erected an up to date plant furnishing some 2,000 incandescent lights for public and private use, with about twenty miles of pole lines. The plant was purchased by the Steubenville and East Liverpool Company in 1907. With its well lighted streets, paved with fire brick, and a sewer system, the town was rated one of the best in the Ohio Valley.
Though early township schools existed in Toronto, they were ungraded. In 1889 the Toronto City School District was officially recognized by the State of Ohio, Department of Education. The predecessor of the Central High School Building, aspired to become a graded school. When that eight room structure was completed in 1893, the entire system was brought to a high degree of efficiency. With the extension of the boundaries, the Fosterville, and Markle buildings were brought into the system. The Fosterville building was raised in 1930 for the construction of Lincoln School and the Markle Building was raised in 1988 for residential purposes. In 1990 a twelve room building was constructed at the corner of Findlay Street and Loretta Avenue. The new building was well equiped at a cost of about $25,000. The first superintendant of schools was Abraham Groove.
The Rev. J.M. Bray is said to have delivered the first Methodist Episcopal sermon at Newburg in 1837, under shade trees on the Ohio River Bank. A class was organized by John Bray, Sr. in 1841 or 1842 and then matters remained dormant for more than 30 years. On February 14, 1874, Rev. J.Q. A. Miller then in charge of Thomson Chapel, Steubenville, visited the place and held services in a school house standing on the Francy property. A class of 12 was formed and a revival brought in 199 members, making the whole number 213. Rev. R.J. Roller was appointed pastor in March and the next year a brick church 42X62 feet was built on Main Street with a capacity of 450, on a lot previously secured by Mr. Miller. In 1876 Mr. Miller became pastor. In 1899 the building was enlarged and improved.
Fraternal organizations were numerous in town. The Junior American Mechanics were established in 1888, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1904, Eagles in 1906, the Red Men in 1908, The Lodge No. 583, F. & A. M., in 1900. other groups included, the I.O.O.F., the G.W. Shuster Post 239, the Lodge of Jr. U.A.M. and the Protected Home Circle, No. 129.
The first bank in Toronto was established in 1889 and named the Toronto Banking Company. Jefferson Slatsman was president and John Logan, vice president. They went out of business in 1893. The Citizens Bank purchased the property in 1896 and continued in buisness until 1902, when it was purchased by the Bank of Toronto. The Bank of Toronto was started in 1894 by L.H. Hilsinger and others and was later changed to the Nationsl Bank of Toronto in 1907. The First National Bank of Toronto was established in 1907 with W.B. Stratton president.