A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

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

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Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 2 of 63)
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seventy-five miles east from Cincinnati, and fourteen east of Hills-
boro; a pleasant way to get there from Hillsboro is by carriage.
There is a well kept hotel conveniently located, with all the necessary
outfit for boating, fishing and exploring. Professor Orton, in his
geological report for 1870, says : This stream (the Eocky Fork) is
important in the geography of the county. It is bedded in rock from
its source to its mouth, which exhibits its geology most satisfactorily.
In its banks and bordering cliffs it discloses every part of the great
Niagara formation of the country. At its mouth it has reached the
very summit of the system and the structure of these upper beds it
reveals in a gorge whose vertical walls are ninety feet high, and the
width between them some two hundred feet. Certain portions of the

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limestone, weather and rain dissolve more easily than tlie rest, and
have been carried away in considerable quantities, leaving overhang-
ing cliffs and receding caves along the line of its outcrop, and the
scenery is the most striking and beautiful of its kind in southeastern
Ohio. '^

''The visitor must enter this gorge at the Toint,' and go up through
and along it Weird wonders are revealed at every step. One
moment you are in the shadow of an overhanging cliff bedecked with
trailing vines, and ferns and bright-hued wild flowers nodding and
waving in all their beauty — nature's own grand conservatory. Then
a placid sheet of water comes to view as well as cascades dancing in
the sunlight. There are overhanging cliffs w^here half a hundred
people could find shelter, and numerous caverns, aside from the four
large caves. The *Dry Cave' is the first of these. It is not so exten-
sive as the others, having a length of about three hundred feet, but
some of the chambers are so beautifully set with stalagmite and
stalactite formations that it will well repay a visit. This cave is per-
fectly dry and the air is bracing. The *Wet Cave,' so called from a
spring of cold water some six hundred feet from its mouth, is a series
of chambers in which are found large quantities of white soapy clay.
The arches of this cover have been carved in strange and curious
fashion by the water that constantly percolates through the rocks and
crevices. The drops of water reflecting the light from the explorer's
torch give a weird effect, looking like diamonds in the uncertain
li^t above. The 'Dancing Cave' takes its name from the use it is
put to by parties visiting the locality. The large dancing chamber
is light, and nature has kindly provided stalagmite seats around the
sides for the convenience of her guests. Near this cave are two stone
^cairns,' but their origin and use are buried in the mystery of the
past. Two hundred yards further up is a glen, the entrance to
'Marble Cave,' one of the most beautiful of the group, being especially
rich in formation and variety. There are quite a number of cham-
bers in the Marble Cave, all of good size. And here, across the glen,
is 'Profile Rock.' Following a narrow path we pass through 'Gypsy
Glen,' then gaze with awe at 'Bracket Rock' with an altitude of one
hundred feet. Then we look with delight on 'Mussett Hole,' a deep
body of water at the base of towering rocks, and on its margin a huge
monarch of the forest, called Boone Tree. Tradition tells the story
that here was a favorite camping ground for the Indians on their way
to Sandusky from Kentucky, and that they always stopped here to
rest, and fish and hunt."

This writer is in the main correct. A slight indulgence of the
imagination adorned the facts, but the scene is a wild, savage one,
and will well repay a visit. One interesting feature of this scene
has not been noticed, either by Professor Orton or this writer for the
Commercial. Huge masses of these overhanging rocks have been

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detached from the top of the cliffs and fallen at some time in the bed
of the creek below. Some are so large that the channel of the creek
has been filled by them. The impatient water has crept beneath
these obstructions, washing out great deep blue pools which afford a
hiding place for the fierce black bass, and many a struggle has the
waiter had with pole and line, with this, the gamiest fish in American
waters. At another point the creek makes a sharp turn at right
angles with its former course, striking with all its force against a
limestone cliff full ninety feet high. Recoiling in foam and spray
it darts on its new made course with almost the current of the dread
I^iagara. Just a half mile below the mouth of Kocky fork, on Paint
creek, once lay the "Old Forge dam," and to the left stood the Iron
Forge. These old time relics are gone, but below the site of the dam
is a great pool of water, in places ninety feet deep, with an underflow
that makes it dangerous to. the unpracticed swimmer. The fall of
w^ater through this half mile is twenty-two feet, and when the water
is low an ordinary man can step across the channel, which has a depth
of twenty and thirty feet a little distance above this pool. Hillsboro
capitalists contemplate an electric road to this favorite summer resort,
and on through Bainbridge to Chillicothe,

The falls of Rattlesnake, some fifty feet in height, were once util-
ized for mill purposes, but it seemed impossible to build anything of
sufiicient strength to resist the force of the waters when the creek was
flooded with heavy rains. We are informed by fishermen that the
entire frame work of a mill is simken in the deep pool beneath the
falls. The Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern crosses tliis stream just
above the falls, and when a wreck occurred at the bridge cars were
lost in the deep water below. East Monroe, a small town in High-
land, is situated about one-half mile from the falls of Rattlesnake
and is the headquarters for the sightseers who visit them.

Xumerous caves in the cliffs and hills of the county were in the
early days of settlement used by wild animals as places of resort in
winter, and of refuge from hunters. The author was told by an aged
man, who in his young days was famed for his hunting skill, that he
had often chased wolf into an opening near the base of Fort hill and
that when once they reached this place he had never been able to dis-
lodge them. He was of the opinion that Fort hill was hollow and
that other openings known to these animals allowed them to escape.
There is a story of one Samuel Jackson, who passing along a trace
down the banks of Sunfish creek, about three miles from Sinking
Spring, saw a large bear crossing the path before him. The bear
seeing him went into a hole in the rocks, and Jackson, wanting that
bear, but knowing he could not effect its capture alone, went to the
nearest cabin, which was John Lowman's, for assistance, and imme-
diately returned with him to the den of the bear. They carried some
fire with them and when they reached the place filled the opening

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full of dry branches and leaves and set fire to it ; then stationed them-
selves some thirty yards away, and waited for Mr. Bruin to come out
The smoke soon filled the shallow cave and compelled the bear to
vacate, and as he emerged Jackson fired and wounded him. The
bear retreated to another hole, which the hunters found was just
lajge enough for him to enter, but increased in size further in. Here
they again tried to smoke out the animal, but without success, and
obtaining a torch, they followed into the cave and foimd the bear
dead. The body they hauled out, but had great difficulty in getting
through the entrance and were in danger, on account of a fresh start
of their fire, of being smothered. Mr. Lowman was long a most
worthy citizen in the vicinity of Hillsboro, and the Jackson family
is yet represented near Sinking Spring. David Jackson served as
commissioner of Highland county, and was killed in returning from
the World's Fair, in a railroad collision.

The names of the water courses in Highland county are suggestive
of local conditions' which made the name appropriate at the time it
was bestowed by the Indians or early white settlers. Paint creek,
which forms a large portion of the eastern boimdary of the county,
w^as so named by the Indians. Xear and a little below Reeves'
Crossing there are two high banks, which are washed by the stream^
called Copperas mountain. At an early day the Indian came to these
banks to procure the red earth, which they used in the absence of
true vermilion, to decorate their faces and persons, and that for this
reason the name "Paint creek" was given. Eattlesnake was so
named because of the immense number of rattlesnakes found in its
cliffs and the rocky crevices along its banks in an early day. They
were generally of the large spotted and black species, though snakes
of almost every known variety were found in that locality. It was
emphatically a snake country. The old settlers tell the story that in
the early spring, after a few warm days, when the snakes came out
of their dens to sun, that they were often seen rolled up in large
bundles half the size of a barrel, with their heads sticking out in
every direction, forming a most "frightful" circle of heads, glaring
eyes, and forked tongues. These bundles were not alone composed
of rattlesnakes, but often other varieties were found united with them
in this living, sickening, and dangerous bundle. Humboldt^ in his
travels in South America, describes the serpents of that 6ountry as
frequently found banded together in like manner. He supposed the
object was defense against the attack of some dreaded enemy.

As no history is complete without a "snake story" it becomes our
duty to write out the narrative of one of the old men on Rattlesnake,
as told some years <ago. In the spring of 1802, William Pope, John
Waters, and Hezekiah Betts were passing up the trace along Rattle-
snake from the falls of Paint, where they had been for milling and
other purposes. This trace was on the north side of the creek. A

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short distance below the mouth of Hardin's creek, and nearly opposite
the present town of ^NTew Petersburg, a strong and remarkably cold
spring breaks out of the cliffs and the branch there crosses the trace.
The spring was a favorite stopping place for all thirsty travelers over
the lonely route. When the party reached the branch William Pope
dismounted and left his horse standing near the others, who declined
drinking. He walked to the spring, some two or three rods, and was
just in the act of stooping down to take a drink when his eyes detected
the presence of a huge rattlesnake. He happened to have the wiping
stick of his gun in his hand with w-hich he soon killed the snake. By
the time, however, he had accomplished this, he saw others, and he
took his tomahawk and cut a pole and kept on killing until they
became so numerous that he became greatly alarmed and started for
his horse, literally cutting a path through them to where he had left
his company. It appeared that they had all rushed out to the aid of
the first which was attacked and slain. After Pope reached his
horse he was so overcome with the nauseous odor emittefd by the
snakes that he was unable to stand and was obliged to lie down on the
ground where he vomited violently. His companions were also
sickened. Pope wore buckskin breeches and heavy blue cloth le^ns.
During the fight with the snakes several struck him on the legs and
fastened their fangs in the leggins, and hung there until he cut them
off with his butcher knife. Walters and Betts w^ent back afterward
to see how many Pope had killed and counted eighty-four dead snakes.
So the creek was well named Rattlesnake.

Hardin's creek takes its name from Colonel Hardin of Virginia.
Hardin, Hogue, Eeddick, and some others surveyed a tract of land
jointly, extending over a large scope of country above the month of
Hardin's creek and containing some twenty thousand acres. On the
division of this survey, Hardin's portion took in both sides of the
creek which bears his name. Fall creek was so called because of the
many falls that diversify its channel, while Clear creek was given
the name of a like stream in Woodford county, Ky. Rocky fork sug-
gests its own name to the admiring eyes of those who love the wild
and picturesque. Lee's creek commemorates Gen. Charles Lee, of
Virginia, whose military land warrants were located along its course.

There are large areas in Highland county more than one thousand
feet above the sea, though the town of Greenfield has an elevation of
but 893 feet, and Sinking Spring is only 723 feet above tide water,
or about 160 feet above Lake Erie. The highest points in the county,
according to the geological survey, are Stultz mountain, 1,325 feety
Fisher's knob, 1,300 feet; Long Lick mountain, 1,254 feet; Slate
knob or Bald mountain, 1,250 feet; Fort hill, 1,232 feet, and the
Cemetery hill at Samantha, 1,214 feet.

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FOR many years before the first white settlements of Ohio,
the country northwest of the Beautiful River had been
explored by bold and adventurous men from Pennsylvania^
Virginia and Kentucky, while the Indians in their search
for the scalp of the white man were constantly on the war path, or
lurking in some tangled thicket awaiting for some lonely hunter, or
the unprotected emigrant seeking a home in the wilderness. Hunt-
ing and trapping were the chief means of support to these wild
rangers of the west, and many an unmarked grave in the tangled wild
wood is the only heritage of these fearless pioneers.

Joshua Fleetwood, of Virginia, employed by the Ohio Company
as scout and hunter, was an example of the class. This man knew
no fear, and often when it was known that the Indians were highly
incensed against the whites, he would take his gun and dog and range
the woods in search of game, or set his traps almost within sight of
his bitter foes.

At one time, while engaged in hunting and trapping within about
twenty miles of the Indian town of Chillicothe (in Ross county), the
best hunting ground of the red man, yet regardless of the nearness of
his relentless enemies, he hunted the bear in the Brush creek hills and
set his traps for beaver in the small streams flowing into the Scioto.
From late fall until about the middle of February he was thus
engaged, when concluding it was time to leave he packed his fur and
skins carefully in his canoe ready for an early start on the morrow.
The day he had determined to start he was discovered by the Indians ;
he succeeded in killing one of them. Then began the race for his
life. His ability as a nmner did not belie his name, he succeeded
in outrunning his enemies, and by a roundabout way through the
forest at last reached his canoe, and with all his possessions floated
safely into the Ohio.

One of the early pioneers and explorers of Ohio was Capt. James
Trimble, of Woodford county, Ky. The history of this brave and
daring soldier would read like some improbable story of fiction if

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written out in careful detail. When in his fourteenth year his home
in Augusta county, Va., was suddenly attacked by a band of Indians,
who killed and scalped his aged father before his eyes and carried
himself and sister, Mrs. Mary Estell, and a colored boy away with
them. Greorge Moffit, a half brother to Capt. Trimble, collected
some twelve or fifteen men and started in rapid pursuit of this cruel
band, who with their prisoners and the spoils of ruined homes had
gone to the headwaters of the Kanawha- MoflSt surprised the
Indians in their encampment, killed four or five of their number and
secured all the prisoners. One of the rescue party, by the name of
Russell, was shot by Dickinson, the half-breed leader of the Indians,
who followed the party and picked him off while lagging behind.
Russell succeeded in reaching the encampment of his friends, was
carried home upon a litter, and finally recovered.

Such frequent invasions of western Virginia by the Indians, and
the cruel murder of many of the families along the border, called for
vengeance upon this treacherous foe, and Grovernor Dunmore raised
a large military force to march against the Indian tribes in Ohio.
But this statement of the causes that led to the invasion of Ohio by
Virginia troops has been criticised by recent writers, claiming that
the true cause was outrages upon the Indians. It has been stated by
a prominent writer that "from the time of the peace made with the
Indians by Sir William Johnson, at the German Flats on the Mohawk
river in 1764, until the spring of 1774, there was no Indian war on
the Ohio river,'' and the aggressions of the red men are ascribed to the
killing of Chief Logan's people by the party of Captain Greathouse,
in April, 1774. James Trimble was with Gen. Andrew Lewis'
detachment of Lord Dunmore's army, and while but seventeen years
. old, was fully determined to avenge the cruel death of his aged father
four years before. lie was a member of the company of Capt
George Matthews, who afterward was made a general, and with his
comrades participated in the famous battle of Point Pleasant, Va.^
fought between General Lewis and Chief Cornstalk, on the 10 th of
October, 1774.

A poem written by John A. Trimble, son of James Trimble, who,
when he took part in this battle was a youth of seventeen years, is
worthy a place in the history of the county. John A. Trimble was a
highly respected citizen of Highland for many years. Some of his
children still remain, highly honored by all.

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Come, listen to a soldier's tale of a battle fierce and sore,

That was fought with Cornstalk and his braves on wild Kanawha's-

It was near the point of meeting with Ohio's placid stream.
This famous combat happened, the burden of my theme.
It was aj^earful battle, where Virginia blood did flow
Among her gallant soldiers, witli a savage Indian foe;
Where Cornstalk, leagued with Girty, from forest and from fen,
Lay close in ambush to surprise brave Lewis and his men.
Who from Augusta county came, and men from Botetourt,
With Rockbridge ready riflemen, in conflict' sore and hot.
Our leaders all were brave and true as lions in a fight,
And each was noted far and near, and each a fearless knight
There stood the brothers Lewis, on fame's memorial roll.
Whose courage and whose chivalry enshrine the patriot soul;
The one was chief commander, the younger led the way
WTiere deeds of valor were performed that famed October day.
Our march led through the forest, midst perils everywhere.
Of lurking foes in front and rear, whose cunnng was a snare.
Awaiting us at every step, as our chief was well aware.
Yet through the winding labyrinth of mountain pass and glen
Brave Lewis led his rangers on, a full twelve hundred men.
And yet with all his practiced skill the crafty Indian lay
Close in ambush, to surprise our camp at opening day.
Our bivouac was near the point where two great rivers met
And all was safe within our lines when evening sun was set,
It was on the tenth October, and the Indian summer haze
Had tinged the forest leaves with Autumn's mellow rays.
While peacefully each soldier slept, with picket guards around
Our lone encampment, soon to be a fearful battle ground.
Quick rallying at a signal gun, that echoed the alarm.
And loud the call of Captains rang for every man to arm.
Then each, surprised, the danger spurned, and grasped his rifle true-
And rallying where the danger pressed, resolved to die or do.
First fell our noble colonel, Charles Lewis, none more brave.
And by his side Hugh Allen lay, to fill a hero's grave;
While Fleming, leading bravely on throughout the raging fight
Was borne by comrades from the field when day was closed by night.
Then Moffit, Christian, Matthews led, stern McClanahan,
All captains of renown that day, as chiefs of Scottish clan;
And loud the yell of savage rose as fierce each warrior came
Face to face with gallant men of tried and dauntless fame.
Their noted chieftain's clarion shouts: "Be brave and fight like men,""
Was echoed through the battle's din from foi^st and from glen.
From early dawn to latest eve the conflict was full sore,
And when the fearful work was done four hundred men or Dciore .
Lay pale in death, to find a grave on that far distant shore.
Oh, there were tears of sorrow, where friends and brothers bled.
And many a heart with anguish thobbed while gazing on the dead.
Here oft the father closed the eye of fondly cherished son,
To feel the one consoling thought, "A patriot's duty done."
For country, not for fame, they fought, and honored be the name
Of each of those twelve hundred men who from the valley came.
They rallied at their counti*y's call to face a lurkng foe,
While Dunmore's treachery had designed their secret overthrow.
Stern vengeance then was braving to crush oppression's laws.
As patriots fast were gathering to assert the people's cause.
For this heroic battle was a prelude to the stOrm

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That ^ave new light to freemen, and to freedom's laws a form.

When the genius of our statesmen and their patriot worth was shown^

That illum'd the page of history with a science there unknown,

Of man's inherent freedom, and his manhood, to ignore

The follies of past ages, and the light of truth restore.

This mission came to Jefferson's colleagues to perform,

And Patrick Henry to enthuse; and fearless of the storm

Of coming Revolution, that held the world amazed.

At which air tyrants trembled, and their prison walls were razed,

His eloquence of words and mien gave out Impassioned power

To move th% souls of patriots in that imperiled hour. •

And when the work was finished and the people's cause was won.

The glory of their fame was crowned in the matchless Washington.

After this severe battle the troops marched to the Pickaway Plains,
and young Trimble, on this march, first saw Highland county, as he
occupied the dangerous position of spy and scout to the advancing
army. Xot, however, until the Indians in Ohio were subdued, did
Captain Trimble, after the lapse of ten years, revisit Ohio. Then,
in company with Colonel Dunlap, he examined and selected several
tracts in the county, which he afterward located and surveyed.

During the war of the Revolution, which soon followed the inva-
sion by Lord Dunmore, the soil of Highland county was doubtless
often pressed by the feet of warriors on their way to spread devasta-
tion in Kentucky. The region was traversed, also, by the daring
scouts and frontiersmen who contributed to the war for independence
by fighting the savage allies of Great Britain north of the Ohio river.
Early in 1778 Daniel Boone was taken through Ohio as the prisoner
of a company of Indians. His quick eye noted the rich soil and the
many natural advantages and resources of the country. In after
years his opinion in regard to Ohio gave it rank with Kentucky, his
home and favorite hunting ground. Some months after this event
in the life of Boone, Simon Kenton made a journey into the Indian
country for the purpose of taking horses. Alexander Montgomery
and George Clark were associated with him. They crossed the Ohio
river and tr&veled with great caution until near the site of Frankfort,
Ross county. Finding a fine drove of horses near the town and hav-
ing salt and halters they captured some of them, and started for the
Ohio river, striking that stream near the mouth of Eagle creek.
High winds prevailed, and the waves so frightened the horses that
they refused to enter the river. For this reason Kenton and his
companions were compelled to remain upon the Ohio side over night,
and the Indians came upon them the next morning, killing Montgom-
ery and capturing Kenton. Clark made his escape. The Indians
stripped Kenton and tied him naked to a wild horse, which they then
turned loose. After trying in vain to release itself from this unique
burden, by plunging, bucking, kicking, and all the wild antics of an
unbroken steed, the horse at last quieted down and followed the com-

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panj. The Indians, journeying from the mouth of Eagle Qreek to
the north fork of Paint, must have followed a line through the pres-

Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 2 of 63)