Mary Ann Furnace

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Mary Ann Furnace was founded by David Moore in 1817. Moore was born near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1772 or 1774 (accounts differ). He came to Newark, Ohio in 1808 where he operated a general store until his death in 1845. He was also the Newark postmaster from February 19, 1809 to February 5, 1818.

In 1814 Moore purchased 230 acres of land which is where the Village of Hanover is today. Within a year he was operating a forge along the Rocky Fork Creek just outside Hanover near the intersection of Hickman and Wolford Roads. It is not known where he obtained the pig iron for this foundry, because this was not a furnace. In 1815 he built a saw mill about two miles farther up Hickman Road, and by late 1816 he had built the smelting furnace that was known as Mary Ann Furnace. It was fully operational by 1817. Local lore calls it the first major industry in Licking County apart from flint mining by Native Americans in the Flint Ridge area.

To operate a smelting furnace, huge quantities of wood, limestone and iron ore were needed. Moore leased thousands of acres of wooded land surrounding the furnace to obtain the wood, which became very profitable for local farmers. Ore was found in the sandstone in the hills of Mary Ann and other nearby townships. The wood had to be carefully burned into charcoal, which was mixed in a certain proportion with limestone and ore to smelt the iron into liquid. This poured out of the furnace into troughs of sand where it hardened into pigs about three feet long and four or five inches wide. The pigs were allowed to harden and were then transported to the foundry where they were reheated and converted into useful products such as stoves and kitchen and farming implements. Most schools in the area were heated by a Mary Ann Furnace stove.

The area immediately surrounding Mary Ann Furnace developed into a thriving community with cottages for workers and their families, a store, hotel, tavern and a Presbyterian church. A cemetery was nearby up the hill to the south on Montgomery Road. The village was called Mary Ann. The population increased in the area enough in 1817 for a new township to be formed out of Hanover Township, and that, too, was called Mary Ann Township.

By the 1830s, local iron ore became scarcer. David Moore purchased 2,283 more acres in Mary Ann Township, probably to find more ore and hardwood. At some point, he sold the furnace to his son, John. Sometime in the 1850s, a terrible fire destroyed the furnace, and it was never rebuilt. The hotel remained and was used for many years as a residence.[1][2]



  1. Fleming, Dan and D. Robert Tharp. A Bicentennial History of Licking County, Ohio 1808-2008. Newark, OH: the Licking County Bicentennial Commission, 2008.
  2. Fleming, Dan. “Her Name Was Mary Ann; the Naming of Mary Ann Furnace,” in Licking Valley Ledger, July 2013.