In 1838 Elihu Chauncey and Nicholas Biddle, capitalists from Philadelphia, moved to southeastern Ohio and decided to partner with Thomas Ewing and Sam Vinton to purchase a salt mining company, Resolved Fuller, for $12,500. They also invested in surrounding land to drill more salt wells which provided enough profit to help build a brick hotel and other housing. The area was named Chauncey in honor of one of the capitalists, Elihu P. Chauncey.
Bailey Run Road was the home of the first salt well and many more to come. They continued to provide distribution for over 53 years until a flood destroyed the last salt well in Chauncey.
In 1890, the citizens of Chauncey began a movement to enlist the interest of wealthy investors who might take a chance on the coal mining industry that Chauncey had to offer. In the words of coal Chauncey was a “gold mine”. By 1896, an experienced coal man, William Jones, decided to take the chance and with that the coal industry began.
In the year 1932, the great hocking valley strike started when workers were told their wages would be reduced. By mid-summer Chauncey became the site of violence as the militarized groups and protesters tried to gain control. Early morning of July 12th, 1932 near mine 25 of the Manhattan Coal Company and Nye Cemetery, miners exploded the New York Central Railroad Bridge in Chauncey which ended with the arrival of more national guardsmen and tear gas bombs from Nelsonville. This year long strike brought suffrage to the village, with many homes and buildings being destroyed by fire with even a few lost lives.
In 1952, the New York Coal Company decided to close their mine in Chauncey which resulted in the end of Chauncey’s coal industry. They closed the mine due to “economic conditions”.
Fun Fact: Why is Chauncey pronounced Chancey?
It looks like “Chahn-see” but it’s “Chance-ee.” Due to the towns once lucrative salt business and then coal, the name was allegedly pronounced “Chance-ee” in order to help identify outsiders (scabs trying to break the union).
Henry, Pearl. The History of Chauncey OH.
Luce, John. The Great Hocking Valley Strike of 1932.
Claussen, Nick. How Do You Pronounce the Name of That. The Athens News. March 20, 2018.