The Stewarts of Poland (Part 1)

Alexander Stewart

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, and for farmer Alexander Stewart from Coitsville Township, the 7th child of James and Jean (Buchanan) Stewart (1856–1897), the grass looked greener on the other side of the Mahoning River. In the fall of 1863 at the age of 38, Alex and his wife, Mary (Hammond), moved with his mother and their 3 small children, James Rankin (1856–1923), Laura Jane (1859–1887), and David Hammond(1862–1944) to Poland Township. Here he purchased 127 acres of land in Great Lot 15 and bounded on the east by Clingan Road and on the south by Route 224.
Once the Stewarts were settled in, two more children were born; William Henderson (1865-1925) and Lilly Gertrude (1872–1882). The Stewarts joined the Struthers U.P. Church where Alex served as an elder and custodian. In 1871 his mother died at 86 and was buried in what was then the new Riverside Cemetery in Poland Village. It was then that Alexander purchased a large family lot behind the Chas. McNab Mausoleum. He later erected a tall granite tombstone when his 10 year old daughter Lillie died in 1882 and added the name of daughter Laura Jane when she died in 1887 at the age of 28. On the north face of the family tombstone are the names Alex’s older sister, Mary, who died in 1887 and William A. Stewart, her husband being no relation. Alex lived exactly 40 years in Poland Township and when he died, he turned his farm over to his 47 year old son, James Rankin Stewart.

Stewart Tombstone
Riverside Cemetery

James Rankin was almost 40 when he decided to get married. He had a good friend and neighbor by the name of John Cook. These two men had been courting two sisters in their mid-thirties who were the daughters of James McNabb of Poland, Ohio. On June 19, 1895 James married Lizzie S. McNabb and John married Elta R. McNabb in a double wedding ceremony. Two years later James Alexander Stewart (1897 – 1954) was born, but sadly his mother died in childbirth at the age of 37. It was in October 1898 that James was married a second time to Mary Cowden (1864 – 1920) of Poland Center. Nine months later they had a daughter they named Rachel Cowden Stewart. We know very little about Rachel after she married and moved to California. James Rankin died at the age of 67 and his wife of 26 years died four years later. James and Mary share a tombstone in the family lot.

James Alexander was the 3
rd generation to raised cows on the old homestead and when he was 23 married Mabel Mae Synder (1897 – 1977). Early on he created the Elm Knoll Dairy and from his horse drawn wagon sold milk, cream and butter. On January 2, 1954 at the age of 56 James fell in his barn, broke his neck and died. The union of James and Mabel produced Luella Jane in 1922, James Calvin in 1925 and Cloy Hammond in 1928. Luella married Ralph Pearce in 1954 and lived in Canfield until her husband died in 1995. Cloy married Esther Arlene Heindel in 1952 and for the past 33 years has been the president of the Poland Cemetery Association. Jim married Virginia May Wichert in 1951 and now lives in the 153 year old farm house which his great-grandfather had built when he moved from Coitsville to Poland Township.

The Stewarts of Poland (Part II)

Poland Township always had an attraction for the Stewart family of Coitsville. Of the six brothers who moved to Coitsville at the beginning of the 19th Century it was John who looked south of the Mahoning River for a wife. He found Agnes, the sister of John Struthers who was one of the first settlers of Poland Township. John Stewart and Agnes Struthers were married and had a son named John in 1807. Their son stayed on the family farm in Coitsville until 1853 when he moved to Lowellville and became engaged in merchandising. In 1836 John had married Mary Walker of Poland. Their first son was killed by Indians in Nevada in 1865. Their sixth child was born in 1850 and was named Wilfred. Wilfred was raised in Lowellville and moved to Winfield, Iowa where he was in the drug business. He married Ina M. Lewis and moved back to Poland Township in 1879 and lived in Struthers. Winfield and Ina had a son and named him John Struthers Stewart. Below is his obituary which was listed in the Youngstown Vindicator in 1964.
John Struthers Stewart, 83, a Struthers native, Youngstown Rayen School teacher, history author and politician, died of a heart ailment at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (May 27th) in a hospital at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he was visiting a daughter.
He is a descendant of John Struthers, who founded Struthers.
(His great-grandmother was a sister to John Struthers.)
Mr. Stewart was born June 25, 1880, a son of Wilfred and Ina Lewis Stewart, and lived here most of his life. He held degrees from Westminster College, Princeton University and the University of Michigan. Although he held a law degree, he was in business 15 years before beginning his career in education, first as a teacher in Struthers High School, then as principal of Poland Seminary High School before teaching American history and journalism at Rayen School from 1923 to 1944, when he retired for health reasons.

John Struthers Stewart

He was co-author of “How Ohio Governs Itself,” a study of state government published in 1929, and wrote a three-volume history of Northeastern Ohio, published in 1935. (All three volumes are in the Poland Library.) He gained some local fame on political matters and, for a time, wrote a column for the old Youngstown Telegram. (Clingan Jackson’s predecessor)
In 1936, he was a Robert Taft delegate to the Republican national convention and tried for Congress in 1930, losing in the primary. In 1935, he was chairman of the Mahoning County Charter Commission. Mr. Stewart supervised the Rayen Record, school publication and in 1941 was president of the Tri-County Journalism Association.
From 1917 to 1919, Mr. Stewart was a lieutenant in the Army’s 32
nd Division and 324th Field Artillery in the Meuse Argonne offensive and it’s Army of Occupation. A member of the American Legion, Mr. Stewart was elected commander of Struthers Post 158 in 1934. He is a member of the Struthers United Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Stewart’s wife, the former Alice Rex, whom he married Aug. 25, 1915, died May 16 1959. He leaves two daughters and a son, Wilfred of Phoenix. The body will be brought to D. A. Davidson Funeral Home. (John and Alice are buried in Lot 319 of the Riverside Cemetery.)

There was another John Struthers Stewart. He was the second child of Robert and Agnes (White) Stewart and was born January 10, 1844, in Coitsville, Ohio. He enlisted in Co. B, 19th Regt. O.V.I. on September 2, 1862 and was taken prisoner at Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. From there he was taken to Danville for two weeks and then removed to Andersonville, Georgia, where he died in prison on September 14, 1864 at the age of 20 years, 8 months and 4 days. No further details are known.

The Stewarts of Poland (part III)

Early in establishing Mahoning County as a community of farmers, we find the members of the Stewart Family of Coitsville having business dealings with the families of the Smiths, Cowdens, Arrels, Truesdales, and Dobbins of Poland. The neighboring families bought and sold farm animals, traded services, and helped each other whenever the need arose. Friendships developed between the families living on opposite sides of the Mahoning River. These friendships ultimately led to the families being joined by marriage. Today, many Poland families can trace their ancestors back to the Stewarts of Coitsville.
One of the very early families of Town One, Range One was the McCulloughs, who started farming in the southwester corner of Poland Township in Sections 9 and 10. In 1875 we find Samuel McCullough owning 97 acres of farm land bordering on Western Reserve Road. Sam has long since past away, but his barn still stands today besides North Lima Road, a symbol of the yesteryears. How much longer this barn will stand is not known as it is being threatened today by suburban development on all sides.
Let’s turn the clock back to a time shortly after the Civil War. Sam McCullough is looking for a wife. Now enters
Nancy Jane Stewart, the second child of Samuel and Amy Ann Stewart from Coitsville. Nancy was 21 years old when she married Sam McCullough on September 23, 1874. Sam had just turned 30 the day before his wedding. During the next 17 years the couple had 6 children, the first being named Edgar John. It is his obituary that appeared in the Youngstown Vindicator on July 8, 1969 and reads as follows:

Edgar J. McCullough Dies; was
Crop and Dairy Farmer

POLAND – Edgar J. McCullough, 92 of 557 North Lima Road, a lifetime resident and farmer on his family farm here died of infirmities at 4 P.M. Monday at his home.
Mr. McCullough was born July 13, 1876, in Poland Township, a son of Samuel and Nancy Jane Stewart McCullough, and lived in the same farm house next to the present address which the family abandoned for their new home when he was 2.
Mr. McCullough was active crop and dairy farmer nearly until his death, plowing 22 acres of land himself as recently as two years ago. He also made maple syrup for many years. He belonged to the Poland United Presbyterian Church.

1876 - 1969

He had renewed his driver’s license on his 90th birthday and limited his plowing recently because of failing sight. He never wore glasses. He had attended the old Finch School. He was married Oct. 1, 1908, in Struthers, to Blanche A. Frederick, who died Feb. 18, 1964. He leaves a son Edgar F. at home, two brothers, Ralph of Poland and Harry of Los Angeles, and a sister, Mrs. Amy Frederick of Youngstown. Funeral services will be held at 1:30, Wednesday at the Poland Chapel of Cunningham Funeral Home, where friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the church building fund.

Mr. McCullough’s surviving son, Edgar, never married and helped around the farm, which he inherited. In 1985 he sold about 10 acres on the east side of North Lima Road to the New Life Assembly of God Church. When he died in 2001 at the age of 83, he was buried next to his father and mother in lot 344 located in the Riverside Cemetery.