A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

The county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... online

. (page 10 of 63)
Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 10 of 63)
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There was no money in circulation in those days. Coin was almost
unknown, and few, if any, had ever seen coin or heard it spoken of.
iJfow and then a traveler would leave a few small pieces at the taverns
along the Zanesville and Maysville road. This was horded by the
delighted landlords, or kept for exhibition among his friends as evi-
dence of his wealth and prosperity.

Capt James Trimble made his second visit to Highland county in
1801 with his son Allen. Leaving Limestone they followed the trace
called the New Market road to that place, reaching Squire Oliver
Ross' home in the evening of the first day, and on the second day
came to William Hill's on Clear creek. The next morning, while in
company with Hill, searching for the lines of Treehley's survey,
they came upon a camp of Indians. Hill asked Trimble if he would
like to be introduced to Captain John. He assented, and, approach-



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88 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

ing the camp, Hill said to an Indian who was sitting down mending
his moccasin, "Captain John, this is Captain Trimble from Ken-
tucky.'' The Indian arose to his feet with his piercing black eyes
fixed upon the white man and said : "Me know him very well ; me
Ottoe boy [meaning, of the Ottawa tribe], and go long with Dick-
son, make him prisoner. Fight much w^hite man. Make friends
now.'' Captain Trimble was greatly surprised that after a lapse of
thirty years the Indian should recognize in the man the mere boy he
had taken prisoner in Augusta county, Va. Captain John gave
Trimble much information about the country, and delighted his ear
with the description of the rich lands in the Scioto bottoms. In the
Indian's quaint manner he said, "Good lands — raise heap com, but
sick too much," and he went through a regular spell of fever and
ague to explain his words, then said, "Indian came here — ^hunt^ — get
well — ^leave squaw hoe com and shake." This graphic description
decided Captain Trimble in favor of Highland county. But this
noted soldier and Indian fighter was fated never to enjoy his new
home. Retiiming to Kentucky after another visit to Ilighland in
1803, having at that time built a cabin upon his land and prepared
for his return in the fall of that year, he suddenly sickened and died
in his old Kentucky home, leaving to others the settlement and devel-
opment of his large estate in Highland.

Eev. Edward Chancy came to Highland county about 1801 and
settled upon the land he had purchased some time before upon Clear
Creek, a short distance above the Evans settlement. His neighbors
were few and scattered, but his Indian friends were many and near
at hand. They were of the Wyandot tribe, and, while friendly, were
not the most agreeable in manners and character, for a refined and
cultured minister of the gospel. Kev. Chaney, however, felt that he
ought to instruct these men of the forest in the knowledge of the true
Grod, and soon induced them to come to his house and listen to him
preach. While unable to understand all that he said, they knew
that he was talking to them of the "Great Spirit," and kept a rever-
ent and profound silence while he talked, shaming by their manners
the restless and imeasy feeling manifested by the modem congrega-
tion of today. After the preaching was over, in perfect silence they
left the room in single file to the place of their encampment. Mr.
Chaney was the first Methodist preacher in that region, and while
not in the traveling connection, did much to advance the cause of
Methodism in his large and faithful service as a local preacher.
Jesse Chaney, son of the preacher, was then a young man and aided
in making the improvements in the county. He claimed to have
made the first rails on the spot ^vhere Hillsboro now stands, cutting
the timber and making the rails at the present crossing of Main and
West streets.

Salmon Templin came from the Chillicothe settlement to Highland



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 89

county and Penn township about the same time his brothers Robert
and Carey came to Rocky Fork (1801). He lived for many years
in that vicinity, a useful citizen and an honest man. The family
name is not extinct in Highland county and wherever found gives
evidence of that early training, intellectual and moral, that were
distinctive features in their pioneer ancestry.

In 1801 John Brown came from Virginia and settled on Rocky
Fork, much higher up that stream than any of his neighbors, build-
ing his cabin on the face of the hill on the north side of the creek,
where afterward he erected a more elegant home. He was a Quaker,
in religion, and highly esteemed by the people everywhere. On
arriving upon his land he at once began the work of planting an
orchard and in a few years had an abundant supply of most excellent
fruit He built himself a cider press, the first in the county, to
which his neighbors had free access.

To persons unacquainted wdth the vast and imbroken forests of
the Northwest Territory, it would be incredible that within the pres-
ent limits of Highland county a child was lost and that the entire
commimity turned out in search for the wanderer and for fourteen
days persisted in the hunt without success. Yet such is the case.
Xoah Evans says: **In the fall of 1802 word was sent to the Clear
Creek settlement from below Xew Market on a branch of Whiteoak,
that a child was lost in the woods, and requested help. All the set-
tlers that could possibly be spared turned out to search for the child,
each man taking his rifle. They would meet at the place and form
companies, would stay and continue the hunt for several days at a
time, then return home to see if all was well, then fix up and go back
again and renew the search. This was a remarkable case and finally
drew out all the people for ten or twelve miles around. The hunters
got on the trail of the child and saw signs of it for fourteen days
after it was missed. Wild and ferocious beasts were in the woods ;
the child was of course unprovided with anything to eat except the
berries and nuts that it had the ability and understanding to gather
as it wandered about, and utterly incapable of defending itself if
attacked. The hunters frequently came to the bed of grass and
leaves where it had spent the night and they had reason to believe
that it frequently heard the voices and calls of its friends, yet was
afraid to answer. They supposed it had become so thoroughly fright-
ened and bewildered as to be afraid of everything and everylx)dy.
The search, after some three weeks' effort, was finally given up ; the
child was never found or heard of afterward, and its fate remains a
mystery to this day."

George Nichols came from Virginia and settled in Highland in
1802. Joseph Knox, who came with Nichols and lived in his family,
was a wheelwright and soon had all the employment he could handle.
A wheelwright in those days was a most useful and necessary person.



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90 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

His function was to make the spinning wheels that were a necessity
in the economy of every cabin home, and which the settlers who
brought their household goods upon pack horses could not carry west
with them. Knox soon had all the trade to himself and kept it until
George Hobson came from North Carolina and "put him up a shop"
at the mouth of Clear creek. Hobson was a much better workman
than Knox and his reputation spread all over the country as the
"little wheel and reel maker." John A. Trimble calls up a pathetic
picture of those early scenes when the little and big wheels were
honored members in every home. Mr. Trimble has been dead for
some years, and thirty years ago, when he wrote, he called the young
of his day backward for thirty-five years to see the picture his mem-
ory drew. 'Who that was a child thirty or thirty-five years ago in
southern Ohio," he wrote, "does not sometimes run his mind back to
the long autumn evenings in the dear old log cabin on the hillside
and see again the picture which the glow of its ample fire in the
large fireplace in one end reveals. The father busy in front mending
shoes, the eldest boy pounding hominy, the mother spinning on the
humming little wheel, while Sally cards, and the younger boys and
girls crack hickory nuts and build cob houses in the comer. And
who of the sons and daughters of the pioneers does not recollect with
swelling heart and moistened eyes that good old mother at whose
feet, in company with puss, he sunk down, tired with the constant
running of the day, chasing hogs from the fields, watching gaps,
chopping ^vood, climbing trees for nuts or grapes, riding to mill,
husking com, and a thousand other things a boy must do, and was
soothed into dreamland by her sweet and plaintive song mingled
with the ceaseless half-base of the wheel."

The first settlement in Union township was made by a man by the
name of Adams in 1802. He built a five-cornered cabin on Turtle
creek, on the land that afterward came into the possession of Robert
McDaniel. The fifth comer of this cabin was a fireplace. No one
knew whence Adams came or whither he went. His principal occu-
pation was hunting, and after a year or two of residence in his quaint
home he packed his wife and two white-haired children on his pony
and silently disappeared and was never heard of in that country
again. Daniel Scott, in describing those early pioneer times, said:
"There were two classes of persons who, in the early days of the
Northwest, formed the vanguard of advancing civilization, both of
whom disappeared at its approach. The first was the regular Indian
fighter, the spy, the trapper and hunter, who scorned any labor less
noble than that which brought for reward the delicious meat of the
buffalo and bear, and the rich peltries of the beaver and the marten.
They despised the effeminacy that erected a house for shelter and
required bread for subsistence. No sound of the axe, therefore,
accompanied their wide and fearless range through the forest, and no



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 91

trace of improvement marked the extent of their explorations. The
second partook somewhat of the nature of the first. Indian fighters
they were of necessity, if not, as was most conmion with them, from
choice. Hunters they were compelled to be or subsist without meat ;
but they at the same time appreciated the value of bread and the com-
forts of a cabin with a wife in it. Small clearings surrounded by
pole or brush fence, with a little cabin in the midst, evidenced the
presence of this class of pioneers on the extreme frontier. They
rarely, however, purchased the land on which they settled, or
remained long enough to become the tenants of the real owners.
Restless and roving in their natures, they soon pulled up and again
sought their appropriate and peculiar sphere on the blending ground
of civilization and barbarism, where they could but faintly hear 'the
tread of the pioneers, of nations yet to be; the first low wash of
waves where soon should roll a human sea,' "

In 1802 Thomas Dick left Chillicothe and built his cabin a short
distance east of the present town of Marshall, and became a perma-
nent resident. That vicinity was then a dense wilderness, with no
mill nearer than the falls of Paint Mr. Dick was the founder of
the first Presbyterian church in this region of country, of which
church Mr. Dick was a member, worthy and respected by all up to
the time of his death. The first school in Marshall township was
taught by him in his own house during the winter of 1802. Mr.
Dick was of a modest, retiring disposition, and although possessed
of a strong and cultivated mind seemed entirely indifferent to the
social distinction his talents and culture would confer. Few knew
the history of that quiet man, which has been narrated earlier in this
volume. After his remarkable experience among the Indians, he
moved from the Ligonier valley to Kentucky in 1793 ; after Wayne's
treaty removed to Chillicothe, and later because of sickliness of the
locality and the death of his wife, determined to seek health and a
home among the hills of Highland. C. G-. Dick, his son, was the
first white child bom in the present township of Marshall.

In 1800 the Head families, from Kentucky, came into Highland
and settled near Franklin. Dick, William and Biggar Head spent
their lives upon the farm originally settled by them, one of them
near Marshall, and the other in Brush Creek township as now known.
They reared large families and their descendants were worthy,
respectable people, contributing largely to the development of the
county in its moral as well as its material advance. Some time
after the arrival of the Heads, Joseph, John and Benjamin West
came from Virginia and established themselves near Sinking
Spring. This West family were connected by ties of blood (first
cousins) with the great historical painter, Benjamin West, who,
while bom in this country was educated and lived most of his years
in England.



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92 THE COUNTY OP HIGHLAND.

Incidentally we have spoken of the presence of the Christian min-
ister in the midst of the dangers and deprivations of frontier life.
The sacred order constitutes one of the essential elements of the social
life. Society can no more exist without it than without some form
of civil government. Men must have some religious ritual, tte
form must exist even where the reality is dead. Men will not con-
sent to occupy a place in associated commimities without the recog-
nized performers of religious rites. Conscience demands them for
the living and the dead. Be the rite ever so crude or strange
in form, the mother demands it for her new-bom babe, and the chil-
dren demand it at the obsequies of the parents. There is no stoi-
cism, no sullen apathy, so strongly intrenched within its philosophic
indifference, but that it is at some time bathed in tears. Htmian
wisdom never erects her temple so high as to be above the tempest
A voice that is oracular must speak to men in the day of their calam-
ily, even though the oracle be unheeded in their pride and elevation.
A hand that is unseen is looked for to wipe away the tears from the
face of sorrow, even though it be unsought amid the sunshine of
prosperity. It were no easy matter to measure the influence the
pioneer preacher exerted in moulding and shaping the character of
that early age. With no human helper, and no meretricious adorn-
ment, without wealth, standing alone as Grod's messenger to the
lonely cabins in the wild woods, the preacher with his hymn book
and Bible seemed a presence from the unseen world, a voice heard
from without, speaking the same words that the Holy Spirit had been
whispering wuthin. The first sermon preached in the present town-
ship of Marshall was at the home of Biggar Head, by the Rev. David
Young, a Methodist, in June, 1802.

The Indians w^ere still quite nimierous, camping and himting along
the streams and among the hills of Highland and Pike counties.
Brush creek and the Sunfish hills w^ere favorite resorts even after
they had moved to their own lands in the northwest part of the
State, which had been set apart for them. Every fall they would
return for a hunt over the grounds which for years had been their
own. Major Franklin tells of an old Indian, called King Solomon,
who encamped ever}' fall near the mouth of a branch creek that
emptied into Rocky Fork, some four miles east of Hillsbpro. He
and his companions hunted all over the surrounding country, were
entirely peaceable and inclined to be friendly with the whites.
Quite a little trade was established between the two races, the Indi-
ans anxious to trade bear meat and venison for salt and other arti-
cles used by the whites. During the summer of 1803 much alarm
was felt over the rumor that the Indians had forsaken the reserva-
tion and had started upon the war path. This news spread through
the sparsely settled districts of southern Ohio, and the dwellers in
the log cabins made ready for defense by fortifying their own homes



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 93

or meeting at the home of some one more central in the neighbor-
hood and preparing for defense. The settlers in Highland met at
the house of Biggar Head, and after supplying themselves with a
good stock of provision awaited the attack of their Indian foes.
The house was fixed for defense as strongly as possible, while within
were Biggar, Thomas and William Head, Anthony Franklin and
Thomas Dick; Mrs. Dick and Mrs. Bigger Head being the only
women. The means of defense were four good rifles and two kegs
of powder. They remained thus housed for two days when the
news was brought that the alarm was false and they returned to
their several homes. This alarm caused the settlers about Sinking
Spring to meet and make preparation for defense. While there
had been perfect peace for eight years, and the Indians had in good
faith kept the treaty made wdth Wayne, still the memory of the
cniel character of Indian warfare would revive under the least
report of any disposition on the part of the red man to break his
promise, and dig up the tomahawk. The Indians had been con-
vinced for some time that they were unable to cope with the white
man for the repossession of their territory, and, while sullen over
their defeat, seemed unwilling to break the peace purchased by the
blood of their most noted warriors in their conflict \vith the whites.

This alarm had its origin in a mysterious murder which has
never been cleared up. Captain Herrod, of Kentucky, was among
those who settled near Chillicothe in 1796, and was a man of great
influence in the community. In the spring of 1803, some men who
were out hunting in the vicinity of his clearing, found a body of a
man "tomahawked and scalped," which was identified as that of this
worthy citizen. It was supposed, from the character and circum-
stances of the killing, that it was the work of the Indians. More
careful investigation, however, disproved this suspicion. The per-
petrator of this dreadful crime was never discovered, though sus-
picion fastened upon a white man whom Captain Herrod had
defeated in a contest for captaincy of the militia. From this kill-
ing grew the startling story of the Indian uprising which so
alarmed the cabin settlers remote from the scene of the murder.
The excitement became so intense that Governor Tiflin sent a
request to Major Manary, whose residence was upon the North fork
of Paint, some distance from the locality of the murder, to raise a
body of men and go to the place of the killing, and then to march
to ^e Indian settlements and find out, if possible, what they knew
of the murder, and if positive information was gained he was to
make prisoner the guilty party. But the Indians were ignorant of
the whole matter, and the quiet and peaceful intention of the vari-
ous tribes was apparent^ When the alarm was first given, the peo-
ple on the North fork of Paint were called to Old Town to take
measures for defense. Among the number thus called was David



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94 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

Wolff, an old hunter and a man of considerable wealth and standing
among his neighbors. After Wolff had been in town several days
he hired two men, Williams and Ferguson, to accompany him back
to his farm to see after his stocL The party went well armed.
When some two or three miles from Old Town, they saw an Indian
approaching them on the same path they were traveling. This
Indian proved to be the Shawanee chief Waw-wil-a-way, who had
been the old and faithful hunter of General Massie and the life long
friend of the white man. He was well known to all the settlers
and was honored for his sober, industrious and generous character.
He was married, having a wife and two sons, and their home was
near the mouth of Hardin's creek in the county of Highland.

Old Town was the trading place for the old chief, and he and his
sons had started that morning upon a business visit to the town.
He had his gun upon his shoulder and with easy pace w^s approach-
ing the white men. When they met he greeted them most kindly
and asked after the health of themselves and families. Wolff
asked the chief how he would like to trade guns ; the chief answered
maybe he would and handed his gun to Wolff to examine it, at the
same time taking Wolff's gun. While the Indian was engaged in
his examination of the white man's gun, Wolff, who was on horse-
back, opened the pan of the Indian's gun and threw out the priming,
without the Indian detecting the action. After this cowardly
action he handed the gun back to the Indian, saying he would not
trade. Wolff and Williams then dismounted from their horses, and
asked the chief if the Indians had commenced war. The chief
replied, "No, no ! the Indians and the white man were now all one,
all brothers." They then asked if he had heard of the murder of
Captain Herrod by the Indians. The Indian was greatly surprised
and said he could not believe it. Wolff assured him it was true.
The Indian said : "Maybe whisky, too much drink was the cause of
the quarrel." Wolf replied that Herrod had no quarrel with the
Indians and that it was not known who killed him. "Maybe bad
white man kill him," said the chief. The conversation here ended
and the parties separated, the chief shaking hands with all before
leaving them. After the chief had gone a short distance, only a
few steps, Wolff raised his rifle and taking deliberate aim at the
Indian's back fired. The ball passed entirely through the chief-
tain's body, but he did not fall though conscious that he had received
his death shot. But he did not give up to die, as others would have
done under like circumstances. "Caesar, when stabbed to his
death by a friend in the senate chamber of imperial Home, gath-
ered his robes about him that he might fall with dignity." Not so
with the gallant chieftain of a conquered race. Swiftly he turned
with unerring rifle raised to face the foe standing three to one
against a dying warrior. Wolff, who was betrayed as guilty of the



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 95

shot by the smoke of his gun, sprang like a coward behind his horse.
Williams' horse, badly frightened, kept changing so as to expose a
vital place in the body of his rider and the chief shot that man dead
in his tracks, then rushed upon Wolff and felled him to the earth
with a blow. Wolff, recovering, caught the chieftain by what he sup-
posed was the scalp lock, and attempted to stab the Indian as he
jerked him forward, but when he made the vicious jerk, Wolff fell
upon his back with Waw-wil-a-way's turban in his hand. The
Indian drew his knife and made a stab at his prostrate foe, who,
seeing the danger, threw up his feet and caught the blow in his thigh.
The handle of the knife broke in the struggle, leaving the blade in
the wound. Just at this time Ferguson ran up, and the chief seized
Wolff's fallen gun and struck the man a terrible blow on the head,
bringing him to the ground and laying bare his skull from the
crown to the ear. This ended the battle ; and so rapid had been the
fight that scarcely three minutes saw it begun and ended. The foes
of the chieftain were all at his mercy and, had he been able to fol-
low up his victory, none had been left to tell the story of the desper-
ate and cruel onslaught of three imprincipled white men upon the
friendly chieftain of the Shawanees. But the strength had gone
from his own body and his sight was growing dim. He cast one
glance toward his foes, then folding his arms and walked proudly
a few paces from the path, falling amid the fragrant flowers of his
native land, and with his face to the earth, the fearless heart, of this
noble redman was stilled forever. While the encounter lasted the
chief never uttered a word. He fought his last battle like a hero
as he was, and in his struggle against fearful odds and treachery,
he proved the courage of the nlen immortalized in song and story.

This was the blackest murder in the history of the West, and loud
and deep were the words of condemnation and sense of hor-
ror among the honest settlers in the entire community. When the
news of the battle reached Old Town, parties were dispatched to
the scene. Williams was dead, and was carried to the home of
N"athaniel Pope. Wolff was taken home in a wagon, and the knife
blade taken out by a surgeon. Ferguson's head was dressed as well
as it could be, but his recovery was slow and prolonged, and his



Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 10 of 63)