Mayors of Mansfield

Mansfield was established in 1808, but was not incorporated as a town until early in the spring of 1828. When Mansfield was incorporated, the eligible male voters of the town were then empowered to meet and elect a city council on the first Monday of March annually, which would consist of one mayor, one recorder, and five trustees, all of whom must also be eligible male voters, and who would have a term of one year.

In the incorporation decree as reported in the newspaper, the duties of the mayor are described as follows:

6. That the mayor shall be a conservator of the peace within the limits of said corporation, and shall have the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace therein, both in criminal and civil cases; and in all his acts, as justice of the peace, he shall be governed by the laws defining the duties of justices of the peace, and shall be entitled to receive the same fees as justices of the peace are entitled to receive for similar services; he shall give such bond and security as is required by law of justices of the peace; he shall be authorized by law to hear and determine all cases arising under the laws and ordinances of the corporation, and to issue such process as may be necessary to carry into execution such laws and ordinances; and an appeal may be made from any final decision of judgment of the mayor to the court of common please of the county aforesaid, in the same manner as from that of a justice of the peace.”

Mansfield Gazette and Richland Farmer (Mansfield, OH), 27 February 1828, page 4.

Two prior (incomplete) lists of Mansfield mayors served as the initial sources and inspiration for this list. They are abbreviated as “Carrothers” and “Graham,” but the full citations are as follows:

John C. Carrothers, “Mayors of Mansfield,” Mansfield Daily Shield, 11 May 1919. Page 10, column 2.

A. A. Graham, History of Richland County, Ohio: Its Past and Present (Mansfield, Ohio: A. A. Graham & Co., 1880), p 520.
Both of these lists were published well after the initial names listed, and neither identifies any sources for their listings. Writing in 1880, Graham states that a full list of the Mansfield mayors was not possible, because the early city records (prior to 1846) had been lost, so it is unclear how Carrothers compiled his own partial list, which went as far back as 1835.

Thanks to the preservation of area newspapers, mayors back to the first Mansfield mayor, Simeon Bowman, in 1828 are able to be identified here, with some reliance on Carrothers and Graham. Where possible, these entries have been verified in local newspapers or directories. Where entries agree, they are simply both cited; if entries differ, most commonly when a first name was abbreviated in one listing but not the other, the more complete is used, and any differences are noted.

This is a living list. As more information is found, it will be updated and refined. If you have any information to be added to the list, please contact us!

  • 1828: Simeon Bowman

    Mansfield Gazette and Richland Famer, 30 April 1828, page 2, MRCPL Advantage Preservation; First name “Simeon” taken from Graham

  • 1830: Jacob Lindly [Lindley]

    Mansfield Gazette and Richland Farmer, 31 March 1830, page 3. MRCPL Advantage Preservation.

  • 1832: E Hedges

    Western Sentinel (Mansfield, OH), 11 April 1832, page 3. MRCPL Advantage Preservation.

  • 1835: J G Gilkerson

    Carrothers

  • 1836: Joseph Berry

    Carrothers

  • 1837: B. W. Burr

    Carrothers

  • 1839: C. T. Sherman

    Carrothers

  • 1841: S. C. Coffenberry

    Carrothers

  • 1843: Job Hildreth

    Carrothers

  • 1845: T. H. Ford

    Carrothers

  • 1846: Joseph Lindley (Joe)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1846: T. H. Ford

    Graham

  • 1847: Frederick Cook (Fred)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1848: S. J. Kirkwood

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1849: P. P. Hull

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1850: Hubbard Colby (in Carrothers: “H Colbu”)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1851: N D McMillen (in Carrothers: ” N D McMullen”)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1852: Perkins Bigelow

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1854: Andrew Poe

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1855: Isaac Gass

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1856: George F. Carpenter

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1857: Stephen B Sturges

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1857: Wilson M. Patterson

    Mansfield Herald, 30 September 1857, page 3; Graham

  • 1858: Isaac W. Littler

    Mansfield City Directory; Graham; listed as 1859 in Carrothers

  • 1860: William A. Moore

    “New Mayor Sworn In,” Mansfield Herald, 11 April 1860. Page 3, column 3; Graham; Carrothers

  • 1861: B. S. Runyan [Runyon]

    Richland Shield and Banner, 3 April 1861, page 2; Graham; Carrothers

  • 1862: James Cobean

    Mansfield Semi Weekly Herald, 12 April 1862. Page 4; Carrothers

  • 1864: Darium Dirlam

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1866: Abner Slutz

    Mansfield City Directory; Graham

  • 1869: A. C. Cummings

    Mansfield City Directory; “Cummins” in Carrothers; Graham

  • 1871: John B. Netscher

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers; Graham

  • 1875: Isaac W. Gass

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1875: Jas. R. Richardson [Likely James]

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers; Graham

  • 1879: James G. Craighead

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1881: C. G. Stough

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1885: George A. Clugston

    Mansfield Herald, 9 April 1885, page 6; Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1887: R. B. McCrory

    Carrothers

  • 1891: J. Newlon

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1893: Fred Black

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1895: R. B. McCrory

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1897: J. P. Henry

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1899: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers (Carrothers has 1901)

  • 1901: Thomas R. Robinson

    Bellville Messenger, 5 April 1901, page 7; Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1903: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield Daily Shield, 7 April 1903, page 2

  • 1905: William F. Voegele, Jr.

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1907: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield Daily Shield, 6 November 1907, page 1; Carrothers (1909)

  • 1911: W. E. O’Donnell

    Carrothers

  • 1913: F. S. Marquis

    Carrothers

  • 1915: George H. Lowrey

    Carrothers

  • 1917: Henry G. Brunner

    Carrothers

  • 1923: Carl H. Stander

    Mansfield News, 8 November 1923, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1925: Captain J. Earl Ports

    Mansfield News, 4 November 1925, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1929: Arliss F. Porter

    Mansfield News, 3 Jan 1929

  • 1930: C. S. Moore

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1932: Charles M. Lantz

    Mansfield News, 4 September 1932, page 2; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1935: E. A. McFarland

    Mansfield News Journal, 6 November 1935, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1937: Claude M. Hunter

    Mansfield News Journal, 3 November 1937, page 1

  • 1938: E. A. McFarland

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1939: C. M. Hunter

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1939: William J. Locke

    Mansfield News Journal, 8 November 1939, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1946: Roy B. Vaughn

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1949: Thomas B. Wright

    Mansfield News Journal, 9 November 1949, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1955: Robert S. Lemley

    Mansfield News Journal, 9 November 1955, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

Henry Brunner, Mayor of Mansfield

This item was recently brought into the Sherman Room. It is a flyer from the original Armistice Day in Mansfield, a holiday which celebrated the end of World War I and which later became Veterans Day in the United States. The item inspired me to take a deep dive into Mayor Brunner, who issued the proclamation to close the city for a celebration on November 11, 1918.

Henry (“Heinie”) G Brunner’s parents were Henry Brunner Sr and Catharine (also spelled Catherine or Katharine) Kuhn, who both came to the United States from Germany in 1881. Henry (Heinrich) Brunner Sr was born in Germany to Margaret Daum on the 28th of June 1862 [1]. The pair were married in Richland County on 14 August 1883. Henry G Brunner Jr was born on 30 July 1884.

Henry G Brunner (Jr) worked as a mail clerk before becoming an insurance agent in 1911. Shortly after switching careers, on 11 April 1911, Brunner married Beatrice Wolff, who was, according to the Mansfield News, “one of the best known young women of Mansfield where she has always lived” [Mansfield News, 12 April 1911, p 7]. In the same year, Brunner planned to make his first campaign to be mayor, but ultimately withdrew his petition for candidacy when the Democratic party instead chose to nominate the county treasurer, Pierce J Wigton, as their candidate for mayor [Mansfield News, 7 August 1911, p 3]. This might not have been the best strategy for the Mansfield Democratic party, as Wigton lost the mayoral election to W. E. O’Donnell [Mansfield News 11 May 1919].

After withdrawing from the election in 1911, Brunner continued to work as an insurance agent and also took on new or expanded roles in the community and his family. In the fall of 1911, he became the secretary for the Mansfield Baseball Club [Mansfield News 24 October 1911], and in 1912 he had his first son. In 1915, he was selected as chairman of the local Liquor Board [Mansfield News 30 Jul 1915].

After O’Donnell, the next mayor of Mansfield was Frederick S Marquis, who was elected to two terms but died shortly after taking office for his second term. As President of the City Council, George H Lowrey served as acting mayor for the remainder of Marquis’s term, and in 1917 ran for election for a full mayoral term of his own.

Apparently not one to give up on an ambition, Brunner returned to the political arena in 1917 and again pursued the role of mayor. This time the Democratic Party did choose Brunner from among several individuals to be their candidate for mayor running against acting mayor Lowrey [Mansfield News 26 May 1917 p 5].

According to the Mansfield News, the Republican party were pleased that Brunner was the Democratic candidate selected, and seem to have expected that Lowrey would win the election without too much effort on their part. As one measure of this confidence, when the candidates reported their expenses, Brunner had spent $236.70 on his campaign while Lowrey had spent $139 [Mansfield News 17 November 1917, p10]. On the right is one of Brunner’s campaign posters.

Brunner won the election in 1917 by a margin of 274 votes [Mansfield News 7 November 1917, p 3], and had during his term an almost entirely Democratic city council, with only one Republican elected to serve.

Although he did not win a majority of the votes in 1917, Brunner proved to be a popular mayor during his term. When he ran for re-election in 1919, once again facing off with Lowrey, he won by an “exceptionally strong vote” with a majority and a margin of 942 votes [Mansfield News 5 November 1919, p 2]. Brunner served as mayor for six years, in total, and was succeeded by Carl H Stander in 1924[Mansfield News 30 Dec 1923].

Look for more materials about Mayor Brunner’s life after his terms as mayor and a guide to the mayors of Mansfield on the Sherman Room Digital Archives and blog in the upcoming weeks!

  1. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZTS-8SN : 8 March 2021), Henry Brunner, 03 Jan 1942; citing Mansfield, Richland, Ohio, reference fn 5554; FHL microfilm 2,023,979.

1950 Census Released!

No April Fools here, just excited genealogists!

The long-awaited 1950 census has been released in a dedicated website by the National Archives! Per National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) policy, only the censuses from 72 years prior are available to the public. These records are invaluable for genealogical and local history research, often serving as an anchor point for research into an individual’s residence, relationships, and occupation. Over time, the process for enumerating the census and the information that has been recorded have evolved, from listing only the head of household and tally marks in appropriate columns for other household members to providing general life information about every member of the household including age, schooling, and occupation [1].

NARA has established a dedicated website for the 1950 census, which you can find at 1950census.archives.gov. You can find additional information here, including some webinar sessions hosted by NARA experts about how the census was conducted and how the records can be used for research.

So there’s a census website….now what??

If you are raring to go and ready to find some folks on the 1950 census right away, you may have a couple of extra steps compared to the earlier censuses that are accessible through online resources like FamilySearch (available to anyone after creating a free account) or AncestryLibrary (available in person at Main Library only). While the 1950 census is digitized and has automated text transcription (known as Optical Character Recognition, or OCR), the transcription will likely be somewhat prone to error, as handwritten records are still a challenge for OCR technology. So you may or may not be able to do a text search for the name you are looking for and find it right away- the computer system may not have “read” that name right yet.

If you are not able to find a head of household by searching their name, you can also browse through the census records for their enumeration district. To find this number, you will need to locate the household on the enumeration district map, like this one to the right. If you do not have their address, you may be able to find it by consulting the city directories in the Sherman Room.

Once you have the address, you can then review the census records from the enumeration district where the address falls to visually scan for the household you are looking for. If possible, it also helps to have an idea of what families lived nearby, so that if you see them you know you are on the right track.

1950 Census Released!

The Mansfield enumeration district map for the 1950 Census. National Archives and Records Administration. [2]

As an example, on the left is an image from the Mansfield Enumeration District Map. The Mansfield/Richland Public Library is located on West Third Street, between Main and Weldon. This puts it in the 70-56 enumeration district. So if it were a residence and you were looking for a person who lived there, you could go to the population schedules (P-10 forms) for that district and look through for the names you wanted to find.

The enumeration districts for Mansfield for the 1950 census are 70-26 through 70-80 and the Shelby districts are 70-6 through 70-16. On the census website, you will need to select “Ohio” before searching by an enumeration district number to see the relevant census records, or you might end up with results from a similar enumeration district number in another state. Within the city of Mansfield (or Shelby), most of the census enumeration records will be on the P-10 sheets, but in the countryside there will be households that were enumerated on a P-11 form, which was a separate form for farms and residences on lots greater than 3 acres. If this is the case, there will be a notation in the regular enumeration forms indicating that there is a separate P-11 form, and the separate P-11 forms will be found after all the P-10 forms for an enumeration district.

Need further help?

If you would like further help finding a person on the census, the Sherman Room will be open to assist with genealogy and local history research! See the Local History and Genealogy page here for current hours and resources.

  1. “About Census Records.” National Archives, 28 Mar. 2022, https://www.archives.gov/research/census/about.
  2. National Archives and Records Administration. 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps – Ohio (OH) – Richland County – Mansfield – ED 70-26 to 80. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/27865011
  3. National Archives and Records Administration. 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps – Ohio (OH) – Richland County – Shelby – ED 70-6 to 16. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/27865015

Women’s History Month Roundup

For this, the last Saturday in Women’s History Month, we are going to explore some of the historical women in and from Richland County. There have been many blog posts previously describing their individual accomplishments and contributions to the community, so I am going to round them up here. Click on any picture in this post to view the blog post about the woman. While certainly not exhaustive, this roundup features some of the early female doctors, librarians, and other community leaders who have helped to shape the Richland County we know today.

Happy exploring!

Martha Mercer

Know other interesting or important women from Mansfield and Richland County you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments!