THE INVITATION TO BID ON WATER TANK PAINTING HAS BEEN POSPONED
The Village of Felicity is in the southeastern part of Clermont County on state routes 222, 756 and 133. Forty miles east of Cincinnati, and just nine miles north of the Ohio River, Felicity offers beautiful scenic views in the fall season. . On December 25, 1787, John O’Bannon and his assistants, Captain Morgan Bryan and Major Nicholas Carter, both soldiers of the Continental Lines, surveyed six hundred acres of choice land in Franklin Township. The village of Felicity is located on the Bryan and Carter Survey. On October 17, 1806, Thomas Fee purchased two hundred acres from the Bryan Survey. In September of that year, William Fee, Thomas’s brother, purchased four hundred acres from the Carter Survey. Fee deeded a part of this acreage to his business partner, Peter Hastings. In 1818 William Fee became owner of his brother’s two hundred acres, which made him one of the largest landowners in Franklin Township at the time. . The village of Felicity was laid out on part of this extensive tract of land. A total of seventy-two lots encompassed twenty-two and one-half acres. Six streets ran with the points of the compass. On May 28, 1819 William Fee platted lots 73-105 with two streets. Another addition of lots by Fee and Hastings was made on January 21, 1836 and consisted of thirty-four and three-quarters acres, forming lots 105-216 with three more streets. On May 5, 1846 Fee recorded more lots. Additions were made on all sides of the original plat, giving the village a somewhat irregular shape. . William Fee built a cabin on the corner of Main and Market Street. Peter Hastings’ cabin was not far away on Main Street. In 1818, a public sale of lots was conducted in front of Fee’s cabin. The first choice lot was sold to John McGraw for sixty dollars. McGraw selected the lot on the southwest corner of Market Street. The following year he built a doubled log house for tavern purposes. This structure was the first public house and was kept by McGraw until 1821. In the upper rooms of this building, the Masons held their first meetings. Other lots that were sold that day went to Matthew Day and Joseph Parrish. . The first settlers were also the first prospectors of the village. As was the manner of the day, the community was known as Feestown. When the town was incorporated by an act of the legislature on March 14, 1836, Fee gave his daughter Margaret the privilege of naming the town. She chose Felicity, a place of peace and happiness. . Felicity was a major contributor to the Union Army in the Civil War. Many local men joined the 59th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Citizens of the village have served in all of the past wars with pride and honor, including the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these Veterans’ names have been preserved for history on engraved bricks laid on the property donated in 1923 by Mr. & Mrs. Wilmer P. South. This property is currently known as South Park. . The increase of population was steady but not remarkable and generally with an excellent class of citizens. By 1837 there were merchants, hatters, shoemakers, cabinet makers, carders, tailors, chair makers, blacksmiths, doctors, lawyers and hotel proprietors. The manufacturing of furniture, however, was for many years the principle industry of the village. The first post office was established in 1823. In 1879 the Felicity Library and Reading Room Association was organized, and the village’s local newspaper, The Felicity Times, was in publication. By the 1900s the village boasted of being the second largest village in Clermont County, having a population of over 1200 residents. . Felicity was often the first stop for runaway slaves and became an important part of the Underground Railroad system in Clermont County. The village’s abolitionists opposed slavery and helped many escape to their freedom. The Fees, Dr. Gipson and William Sleet were among some of the early settlers that were conductors on the system. During this time, one third of the village’s population was African-American. Today the village has six sites listed on the Network to Freedom. Two of the sites are listed on the National Register of the Underground Railroad, and many more names and residences are being discovered along with much more of the African-American history in the village . Fraternal organizations flourished in Felicity. Among the early organizations were the Knights of Physics (K of P), the Odd Fellows, the Grange, the Masons, the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R), the Lions Club and the Women’s Temperance Society. All have discontinued in the village except for the Masons, which are still active today at the original location of their first meetings. That building was dedicated on October 31, 1898. . Religious societies began to hold meetings in 1808. Churches that sprang up in the village by 1865 included the Christian Church, Felicity Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian (the first church in the village), Felicity Wesleyan Methodist, African Methodist and Zion Baptist (African-American). The four churches in the village today are the Christian Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the United Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church of Felicity. . Historically, the village placed a high value on education for the community. By 1812 a school building in the south end of the village was built. In 1850 a school for African-American children was established. The building located across from the high school on Market & Prather Rd. still exists today. Classes were taught by Charles McGraw, a white teacher who received a wage higher than most teachers of the time. The desire for more advanced instruction was partially supplied in 1845 by a select school. Mrs. Fletcher taught the Felicity Young Ladies Seminary in the village. These schools were built by subscription and the teachers were paid in the same manner. In 1836, William Fee gave a plot of land to the village for school district No. 10. The early schoolhouse was a two-story structure. The first floor contained four rooms, each holding three grades. The high school was on the upper floor and was a three-year course. Today the Felicity-Franklin Local School District occupies this site with a modern elementary, middle and high school. . Transportation in the early 1900s had not changed the simple and long-established way of life in the village. The horse, buggy and wagon were still the principle modes of travel. The use of the Bull Skin Trail that ran along Market Street (state route 133) was the main route to ship and receive freight and goods from the northern parts of the county and it extended south to the steamboats on the Ohio River. A freight wagon made trips four times a day to the village of Chilo seven miles south of Felicity on the Ohio River to meet the steamboats traveling up and down the river to Cincinnati. A ferry also crossed the Ohio River to Bradford, Kentucky where you could board the steam railroad, the Chesapeake & Ohio, to connect with the outside world. The other popular choice of transportation was, of course, the automobile. In 1906, the Felicity-Bethel Branch of the Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth (CG&P) Railroad ran nine miles north to Bethel and ended at the intersection of 133 & 756 where Clinger’s Mini Mart is today. It was first a narrow gage railroad but was converted to a standard electric interurban that carried both passengers and freight until it discontinued in 1933. . Felicity has been the home and birthplace of many prominent people. Some of the most renowned were men like Lieutenant Colonel Grandville Fambes, commander of the 59th OVI. Also a teacher, he sold land that was used for the Ohio State north campus. Democrat Guy T. Heverling served in the Spanish American War and was also a U.S. Representative for Kansas’s 5th district in 1913, the mayor of Salina, Kansas in 1926, and a federal judge in 1943. John Hayden was a Republican delegate to the National Convention from Ohio in 1944. John Sargent was one of two Clermont County Representatives to the Ohio Constitutional Convention in 1826. Artus Van Briggle was a potter, painter and an artist. He worked for Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati and went on to become founder of Van Briggle Pottery and Tile Company of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today his work is considered highly collectable. Most of these residents’ homes still exist in Felicity. . Felicity’s history is rich, and the village continues to be moderately busy and ambitious. It may not be as big as it was in the best of its days but it is constantly, albeit quietly, gaining ground. When it was established as Feestown in 1817, Felicity was a bustling commercial center and was the natural center of the rich farming plateau on which it sits. Felicity watched as its population dwindled while industry left the village along with much of its commerce. Only today, owing to the dedication and patience of its inhabitants, is the village again moving in the direction of progress.