Etna Iron Works: Ledger Book, Expense Records, 1876-1878 (Final Ledger), Little Etna Iron Furnace, Lawrence County, Ohio


The Etna Iron Works was a blast furnace in Lawrence County, Ohio. It was one of about 100 furnaces which made up the Hanging Rock Iron District of southern Ohio. This district produced much of Ohio’s and America’s iron in the first seventy-five years of the nineteenth Century and iron products from these furnaces were used to fight the Civil War. The Industrial Revolution, with its roller mills and high-grade ores, replaced the old blast furnaces near the end of the nineteenth Century, but not before they wrote a chapter in American history.

This ledger is a balance sheet of expenses and expenditures for that company for the period 1876–1878, a period when the furnace was about to be closed and may be the last ledger produced. It lists employees of the furnace with their job and salary. The ledger is important for researchers because the furnace workers lived in a company town — similar to those found later in the Appalachian coal fields. The company town provided all services for its employees, mainly because the company paid in scrip accepted only at the company store. The workers had little contact outside the community and maybe were ignored by the outside world, for it appears people living in the Etna Iron Works community were not counted by every census.

This book lists Lawrence County residents not found in other sources. It also gives the researcher an insight into the life and work of people engaged in the primitive iron business in the early period of an Ohio valley settlement. A map, facsimile reprints of Etna scrip and newspaper ads, and an index to employee surnames (by ledger page number) add to the value of this work.

Carrie Eldridge

(2009), 2022, 8½x11, paper, index, 286 pp

ISBN: 9780788426544