the early 19th century, the area now known as Lawrence
Township was a part of both Tuscarawas and Jackson
Townships. Lawrence Township was laid out and platted by
Commissioners on December 4, 1815.
The Township was named after Captain James Lawrence of
the U.S. Navy in the War of 1812. Captain Lawrence
was famous for his last words in the battle between the
American frigate Chesapeake and the British Royal Navy
frigate Shannon. Captain Lawrence, mortally wounded by
small arms fire, ordered "Don't give up the ship" as he
was carried below.
On July 4, 1825, ground was broken for construction of a
three hundred and nine mile long canal connecting Lake
to the Ohio River. The canal route passed through six
miles of Lawrence Township. Coal mining was an important
for many years. A few gristmills existed along the
Tuscarawas River, but the arrival of the Ohio and Erie
Canal really was the start
of roads and businesses in Lawrence Township and Stark
The Canal, which opened between Cleveland and Massillon
in 1828, brought immediate prosperity to the Village of
and Lawrence Township. It was the first important
commercial avenue in the state for the shipping of
produce by water directly to New Orleans and
New York City. The Census of 1840 reported that Stark
County, as a direct result of the Canal, was being
into one of the nation's greatest trade centers.
In 1995, the trustees and residents of Lawrence Township
adopted a new motto "The Heart of the Canal Corridor”.
Township is divided into thirty-six square mile
sections, split diagonally by the Tuscarawas River. The
approximately 23, 040 acres and has 57 miles of Township
roads as of January 1, 2010.
In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed legislation
to officially recognize the Ohio and Erie Canal National
Records show that the first gristmill was established in
1812; the first sawmill in 1814; the first building of
worship in 1815;
the first schoolhouse in 1818; the first store in 1827
the first post office in 1828 and the first physician in
The first election was held on April 1, 1816