Bezaleel Wells founded Steubenville on the ruins of Fort Steuben in 1797. Most early settlers were squatters from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Wells selected Steubenville's location because it was centered in a valley with relatively fertile soil. Much of the Seven Ranges was hilly and had poor soil for productive farms. During the 1810s, Wells began to diversify his business interests. In 1815, he helped establish a woolen mill at Steubenville. The building was three stories high and approximately one hundred feet long. It employed approximately fifty men, thirty women, and forty children. The factory produced broadcloth, a dense woolen fabric with a lustrous finish. Broadcloth was expensive and many people could not afford to buy it. The factory closed during the Panic of 1819. Wells also opened the first bank in Steubenville.
By the late 1840s, Steubenville was a flourishing community of seven thousand people including a sizable number of African Americans. It had eleven churches, five woolen mills, two glass factories, a paper mill, and an iron foundry. Coal mined from the surrounding area powered most of these manufacturing establishments. There were also two private schools in Steubenville by
1846 -- one for boys and one for girls.
Beer brewing was a major industry in Steubenville for much of its history. A local resident established the first brewery in 1815. The Ohio River provided easy access to Wheeling and Pittsburgh, the brewers' major markets. By the 1870s, one brewery in Steubenville produced more than two thousand barrels of beer yearly. The brewers stored the beer while it aged in cellars dug more than one hundred feet into the sides of the hills surrounding Steubenville.
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]]