A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

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

. (page 9 of 63)
Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 9 of 63)
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John Walters, who came to Ohio, with Pojx*, settled on the land
since known as the old Pavey place, just across the creek from Lees-
burg. The same fall James Howard came to this locality and
built his cabin on the hill, covering a portion of the present site of
the village. This was the entire settlement, except the Indian
neighbors, who had made their encampments all along Rattlesnake
creek as far down as the falls. They came almost daily to
the "white man's camp" and, while friendly, were always hungry,
and were willing to eat when invitation was given, which was never
neglected or forgotten. When the corn crop was gathered, there
was but little work to engage the hands of the settlers, and as hunt-
ing was necessarv' and profitable it was the main industrj^ during
the late fall and winter. The Indians frequently engaged with the
whites in their hunting expeditions. Meal was obtained by carry-
ing the corn to the mill at Xew Amsterdam, and taken in connec-
tion with poimded hominy, which was prepared at night and upon
days when the weather was too inclement to venture out. This
diet of Johnny-cake and hominy, with bear meat or venison steak
washed down with pure sweet milk, or a blood-red tea, made from
the aromatic sassafras or spice wood, conduced to good health and
strength, and the continued oiit door labor of men and women gave
the bright eye and the glowing cheek of the matrons and maids of
that early day, that the paint and powder of the present cannot



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80 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

rival. Bear and buffalo skins made warm, soft beds, while the wide
fireplace with its burning log heap sent a cheerful warmth and glow
in the cabin home. The Indian became quite social, and as they
learned the meaning of some English words, and the white people
a few Indian words, communication and conversation was frequent,
and the Indians pointed out where when hunting on Lee's creek,
Rattlesnake^ Hardin's and Fall creek, they had captured white
prisoners.

At one time late in the fall the Popes were out hunting on horse-
back on the waters of Hardin's creek, the dogs started a bear. In
the chase the dogs passed within hearing of an Indian camp and
the Indian dogs joined the chase. An Indian with his gun
approached and intimated his desire to join in the sport if one of
the whites would dismount and make the race on foot. William
Pope accepted the banter, and he and the Shawanee set out afoot
They soon drew ahead of the horsemen, and passing down the hillj
where the residence of Beverly Milner stood afterward. Pope outr
ran the Indian, biit when they came to the creek the Indian
plunged right through, while Pope made a curve a few yards below.
This gave the Indian the advantage, but as he was creeping near to
the spot where the dogs had the bear treed, so he could make a sure
shot. Pope took rest by the side of a tree and fired. The bear tum-
bled from his perch badly wounded, and in a moment bear and dogs
were engaged in a fierce combat At length the bear caught one of
Pope's favorite dogs and was killing him, when Pope motioned the
Indian to kill the bear with his tomahawk. The Indian simply
said **"WTiite man," when Pope rushed into the fight with tomahawk
and knife and soon had poor bruin dead enough. After skinning
the bear the meat was divided with the Indian, who departed well
pleased, often to meet and hunt Avith Pope, for they soon became
the best of friends, and enjoyed many exciting chases which the
abundant game in the unbroken forest afforded.

In the spring of 1801 James B. Finley came from Chillicothe,
settled on a farm his father had purchased on the waters of White-
oak creek, and built his cabin. Mr. Finley tells us the story of his
early life in a quaint, graphic way interesting to read. He says:
"I was just married and my father-in-law, not being well pleased
with his daughter's choice, refused to allow her to take her clothes
when she left home. I had nothing, she had nothing, and we set
out to realize the old story of love in a cottage. Brother
John helped me build my cabin, and we moved in, so to speak, for
we had neither bed, bedding, bag nor baggage, cow nor horse, pig,
cat, nor anything, but a wife, gun, dog and axe. For a bed we gath-
ered leaves and drv^ng them in the sun, used them in a tick instead
of feathers or straw. For a bedstead forks were driven into the
floor of the cabin, which like its roof was of bark, then placing poles



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 81

across we covered them with bark, upon which we placed our tick
of leaves, which with bear skin covering made a fine bed. This
done the next thing was to provide something to eat." Meat was
always plentiful ; Finley's gun kept a store on hand ; but bread was
needed now and then. Finley went to the New Market neighbor-
hood and cut and split one hundred rails for a bushel of potatoes,,
which he brought home on his back; at another time he worked a
day, for an old hen with three chickens, which he carried home in
his hunting shirt. Being without horse or plow, he grubbed out a
wild plum thicket, and dug holes with a hoe and planted in this
way about one and one-half acres of com, which, when gathered
gave him something near one hundred bushels. During the summer
he and his wife built a neat cabin and fixed it up snug and warm
for the cold weather expected in the winter. He placed his husked
com on the loft, contemplated his earthly possessions and realizing
that he had sufficient goods to last the year, he was perfectly indif-
ferent to the approach of the snow and storms of the cold season.
Finley declares that no couple on earth lived more happily or more
contented than he and his wife in their snug little cabin in
the woods. Late in the fall, Robert W. Finley and family, made
up of John, William, Samuel and Robert, Jr., moved to the neigh-
borhood and settled near James, and a little while afterward John
Davidson, driven by sickness from the valley of the Scioto, settled
in the White Oak district. This community now numbered some
fifteen persons, neighborly and social, no rivalry intruded to spoil
the harmony and disturb the peace. No class distinctions were
known when one wanted all turned out to aid and assist to the extent
of their ability. Bear meat was prized more highly than any
other class of wild meat, while turkey breast baked served in many
cases in place of bread. Near Christmas time they made their tur*
key hunt, killing large numbers of them. They were able to keep
this class of meat through the summer by cleaning them, cutting
them in half, then salting them in troughs, and afterwards hang-
ing them up to dry ; when needed for use they were cooked in bear's
oil. Bread was scarce, the nearest mill being some thirty miles
away. John Davidson was at one time forced to go to Cherry
Fork in Adams county to buy com, which he brought home, then
sending his two sons on pack horses with the com to the mills at
the falls of Paint creek to have it ground. There were so many
ahead of them, that the boys could not get their grinding done for
three days, so they returned home. Mr. Davidson went for the
meal himself, the whole distance traveled to get the com and meal,
being one hundred and sixty miles.

The one supreme difficulty the early settlers had to overcome was
the scarcity of salt. This necessary article sold at eight dollars
HвАФ 6



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82 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

per hundred pounds, and often could not be had at that price. The
circulating medium of exchange in those days was the skins of wild
animals, and at the rate salt was selling, it would take one large
bear skin, four buck skins, or sixteen coon skins to pay for fifty
pounds of salt. When salt could not be obtained, they cured their
meat with strong hickory ashes. The next spring found the Fin*
leys and their neighbors in good condition for work. Plows had
been obtained and other farming implements, and with high hopes
they engaged in their summer work. A very large crop of com
rewarded their improved industry. The winter proved to be
uncommonly severe, and the bears, their principal article of food
of the meat kind, had all "holed up." That is, gone into some giant
hollow tree to spend the winter. The winter before had been mild
and open and as the mast was plentiful the bears did not go into
winter quarters until very late in the winter. But the cold com-,
ing earlier and much more severe at this time, IVfr. Bruin concluded
he liad better, retire. The Finleys were considerably put out about
the matter, and began at once a search for trees that might possibly
contain a bear. At last they found a great poplar tree which by
the evidence of the scratches upon the bark, indicated the home of
a bear. They, with great labor, cut the tree, and there, sure
enough, was the bear snugly housed. They continued the search
for bear trees, and in a week's time found and killed eleven bears,
three of them old ones, and the largest weighing something over
four hundred pounds.

In the fall of 1800 Thomas McCoy and his wife came from Bour-
bon county, Ky., to Ohio, and after living about one year on Cherry
fork of Brush creek, settled down on the tract of land since owned
by the John Haigh heirs. Mr. McCoy, when a very old man, in
telling a friend his trials and difficulties in that early day, said
"In those days in order to build a log cabin we had to collect help
from five or six miles around and coiild get but a few hands at that.
Often our women would turn out and help us in rolling and rais-
ing our cabins. But I can say that we enjoyed ourselves with our
hard labor and himible fare, although deprived of many of the nec-
essaries of life. I had to go twenty-seven miles for two bushels
of com and pay throe shillings and six pence per bushel. This
was the spring after I settled on the west fork of Brush creek. The
wolves were so bad that neither sheep nor hogs could be raised.
Game was, however, abundant and the settlers could always rely
upon that for meat/'

"In the fall of 1800," in the language of one who knew the parties
long and well, "a settlement was formed three or four miles south
of New Market by as jolly a set of Irishmen as ever collected this
side of their native island. Their names were Alexander FuUerton,
John Porter, Samuel McQuirty, William Kay, William and James



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 83

Boyd, James Farrier, Hector Murphy, and Alexander Carrington.
A little stream, bearing the classic name of ^Smoky Row,' in mem-
ory or a cherished locality in Ireland, wended its way lazily through
the land of John Porter, who was- moved to profit thereby. In the
course of a few years he set about building thereon a grist mill of
most singular construction, and when it was- completed, he greatly
rejoiced thereat. A thunder gust was seen forming in the west,
affording a prospect of speedily trying the capacity of the mill for
business. A sack of com was dashed into the hopper, a jug of
whisky was procured to celebrate the occasion, and all things made
ready, when the winds blew and the floods came of such unusual
height that at one mad rush the dam, the mill, the race were swept
away. John hastily snatched the jug of whisky and leaping to the
bank, waved high his jug in defiance of the storm, and mingled his
shout and huzza with the roar of the thunder and the flood." But
John Porter was not easily discouraged, and in a little while he
built a horse mill which was kept in running order up to the year
1812, when he joined the American army to fight the British, and
was killed at the battle of Brownstown.

In 1801 Elijah Kirkpatrick came with his family from Chilli-
coihe and settled on Spioky I^ow. Kirkpatrick was the first col-
lector of taxes in Highland county. Lewis Summers, Gleorge Kowe,
and Joseph Myers came to New Market during the spring of 1801,
and in. the fall of the same year, Isaac Laman and family and George
Cailey settled in the town. There had been no deaths in the town
up to this date, and scarcely any sickness. The first persons to be
buried in the Xew Market grave yard were Adam Medsker, who had
lately come into the neighborhood, and Robert Bronson, from Rocky
Fork. These deaths occurred in 1801. Robert Finley was the first
preacher in New Market, and perhaps the first in the county within
its present limits. The preaching place was the woods. Some time
during the winter of 1801-2, Rev. Henry Smith, a Methodist, would
now and then preach in New Market

While things were thus progressing in New Market, White Oak
was receiving increase of population. Adam Lance and George
Fender and Isaiah Roberts joined this settlement, and in the fall
James McConnell and Joseph Davidson came also. Some time
before this young Joseph Van Meter and Isaac Miller, of Kentucky,
had settled on the East fork of the Little Miami. The father of
Joseph Van Meter was also Miller's guardian, and had given each
of them a hundred acres of land, axes, hoes, plows, and meal enough
to last them through the summer. He refused to give them meat,
telling them to "hunt for it" They had the misfortune to lose one
of their hoes on their journey, and it became the source of much
trouble and embarrassment to them. They could not conceive the
idea that one might plow the com and the other follow with the hoe,



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84 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

but that both must plow it at the same time until that work was done,
and then each take a hoe and go over the field again. It was finally
settled that they could not get along without another hoe. New
Market was fourteen miles away, but Isaac made the journey and
succeeded in borrowing a hoe from John Eversol with the under-
standing that if it was damaged in any way, it should be paid for.

Robert and Terry Templin came from Chillicothe, Robert locat-
ing on a branch of the Rocky fork, now known as lledsker's nm,
and Terry on the Little Rocky fork on the land since owned by
Bennett and Creed. They were among the first settlers that came
to Chillicothe, having emigrated in company with Governor Massie
in 1796. Simon Shoemaker, Sr., came with his family from Vir-
ginia and settled at Sinking Spring in 1800. Frederick Brougher
had been engaged in clearing out his farm, and building additional
accommodations for the traveling public, which w^as largely on the
increase along this trade, and the Brougher tavern was the first stop-
ping place out of Chillicothe, a distance of nearly fifty miles.

Nathaniel Pope, as we have before stated, sowed the first wheat
in the county, and when the harvest time came, he started his two
sons down Paint until they found enough hands and whisky to save
the harvest. Each hand was instructed to bring sickles as none could
be obtained in Pope's locality. The hands came in full force and
soon had the field cleared of its golden grain. They gathered all the
field at one place, made a threshing floor, and with flails made of
young hickories threshed it all out and had it cleaned up before
nieht. Some of the men then went hunting, others went to cut a bee
tree. At night they had a feast of venison and honey, washed down
with w^hisky, a complete celebration of the first harvesting done in
Highland county.

The first road cut from the Falls of Paint to the settlement on Lee's
creek was made by Pope and Walters for the accommodation of their
friends w^ho were moving out from Quaker Bottom, and after this
road was opened out, the neighborhood filled up rapidly. John and
Jacob Beals, sons of old Thomas Beals, with their widowed mother,
came to Lee's creek and were the first to tell the sad story of their
father's death, the venerable and much beloved preacher. His death
was the result of his horse running under a leaning tree. He died
in a few hours after the accident, in the woods on the banks of Salt
creek. It was impossible to get plank or other material of which
to make a coffin, so they selected a walnut tree, cut the same into the
proper length and hollowed out a coffin from the solid wood ; fitted
a slab of walnut for a lid ; performed the sad rites in the silent woods,
and left the grand old man in his restful repose, amid the solemn
solitude of the primeval forest. Some years ago the Friends meet-
ing of Fairfield township appointed a committee to attend to this
lonely grave, which they did by enclosing it with a stone wall. Soon



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 85

after this death Benjamin Carr, . Samuel Butler, Evan Evans, and
their families came from Virginia to this locality. Edward Wright
came to the falls of Paint in 1801, from Tennessee, and shortly after
his arrival was stricken with fever and died. His wddow, Hannah
Wright, with her two sons, William and Dillon, moved to Hardin's
creek, this county. In the year 1803 William Lupton came from
Virginia and purchased the farm of Xathaniel Pope, and in a short
time erected a saw mill on Lee's creek. The Friends' meeting house
was built of logs in 1803-4, replaced in after years by the brick
church in Leesburg.

The good people of Xew Market were greatly surprised by the
appearance of a young man who came among them at the close of a
cold, cloudy day late in the autumn of 1801. He was dressed in
the rough garb of the pioneer tramp, biit upon his head, in place of
a cap, he carried an eighteen gallon copper kettle. He had a large
bundle strapped to his back with buifalo tugs, and carried a smaller
bundle under his arm, while in his hand he carried something look-
ing greatly like an Indian bow. This unique individual was
Michael Stroup, a maker of wool hats, just from Chillicothe, looking
for a place to begin business. Stroup was entirely indifferent
to any criticisms upon his personal appearance. He was hunting a
place to work, and soon had his kettle set in a cabin, and the sound
of his bow was heard preparing the wool for hat making. He soon
exhausted his stock of material, and as no wool could be obtained in
the neighborhood and as his hats w^ien sold barely covered the
expenses of his journey and fixtures, he was without stock and with-
out the means of buying more. His hats w^ere sold at $18.00 per
dozen. Just when he w^as in doubt and uncertainty about the future,
an opportunity opened for him to make some money in another way.
Simon Kenton had built a mill on Mad river, just beyond the present
site of Springfield, and employed Robert Boyce, of ^ew Market, to
bring the millstones from Maysville. The journey from Maysville
to New Market was not very difficult, as a comparatively good road
had been opened between the two places, but after reaching IN'ew
Market, the forest was unbroken on to the site of the mill. Kenton
had empowered Boyce to employ men to cut a wagon road through
to Springfield, promising to pay the money as soon as the stones for
his mill arrived. Stroup, William Finley, and George Cailey were
employed to do this work. They began the labor about the middle
of February, 1802, and reached Springfield, half stan^ed and frozen,
in fifteen days from starting out. Simon Kenton was not at the
mill and when found he was in his cabin four miles away and with-
out money to pay for tlie labor performed or food necessary for the
return journey. They obtained a meal on credit, of a log house
tavern keeper in Springfield, and with all speed hastened back to
New Market after an absence of nineteen days, hungry, and their



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86 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

clothing in rags from brush and brier. Stroup was greatly vexed,
but otherwise managed to finish his stock of hats. These men opened
a roadway important even down to the present, for the "Old Mead
River road" survives, as a public highway.

In the spring of 1802 Gheorge Parkinson moved to New Market.
He had learned the hatter trade in Pennsylvania, and he and Stroup
formed a partnership. They built a hewed log house and roofed it
with shingles, the first house of that character built in Highland
county. These two hatters were single men and kept bachelors' hall
and were compelled to work and cook, and board the men they had
in their employ. When their cabin was completed and ready for
business, Stroup mounted his horse, rode to Maysville and brought
back one hundred pounds of wool, for which he paid one hundred
dollars. Their hats had a ready sale, not only at home but abroad,
and large numbers were packed upon horses and carried to Chilli-
oothe and Maysville from this New Market factory.

The struggles of young Stroup were such as would deter many
from persistent effort for success. He left Huntington, Pa., to fol-
low his trade as a journeyman hatter, stopping first at a settlement
just formed on the banks of the Scioto called Eranklinton, early in
the year 1798. Stroup helped to lay out the town of Springfield.
From Franklinton he went to Chillicothe, and at last drifted into
New Market as we have seen.

In 1801 John Gossett built a grist mill on White Oak, two miles
south of New Market; a large structure of hewn logs, covered with
clapboards, the first mill of its kind within Highland coimty. John
Smith, of Scotland, was the millwright. "Scotdi Johnny," as he
was called, was not only a man of fair scientific attainments, but is
kindly remembered as honorable in his intercourse and dealings with
others. He was diffident and sought retirement rather than public-
ity. For building this mill he received one hundred acres of land,
on which he settled and for the remainder of his days lived upon his
farm a quiet, industrious man. It is not regarded as a large under-
taking, in this day, to build a mill, but at the time this one was built,
it was a large contract, exciting the wonder and taxing the faith of
the people in regard to its possible success. All the plank for the
forebay, water wheel and other necessary boxes and spouts had to be
cut from the solid log with whip-saw, which required great labor as
w^ell as considerable skill. Workmen were scarce and the necessary
machinery, which was much more difficult to obtain, having to be
brought from Kentucky. Gossett made the millstones out of two
granite boulders discovered by him in the vicinity, and did ihe
masonry as well as the carpenter work. The work consumed nearly
one year, and when the mill was said to be done there was intense
excitement and great rejoicing among the settlers, whose hearts were
lightened and their homes brightened by the prospect of relief from



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CLEAR CREEK AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS. 87

the long and wearisome journey to the falls of Paint for their daily
bread. They talked of "our milP' with pride, and paused to listen
in their forest journeys, when near its modest presence, to the whir
of its water wheel, or the hum of its granite burrs. Some two years
after the building of the mill Lewis Gibler came from Shenandoah
county, Va., with several other families and settled in the neighbor-
hood of K"ew Market Gibler purchased the mill from Gossett and
continued the milling business. It may be said of Gibler that none
were more kindly or generous than he. It was his habit when a
stranger applied for meal or flour, to ask him if he had money to pay
for it If the answer was yes, Gibler would say: "Go and pur-
chase from some one else ; my surplus of meal and flour are for those
who come into the neighborhood without money, and who, in this
condition, might be compelled to go without bread." The history
of Qt)ssett was one of energy and endurance, his battle with misfor-
tune one of courage and cheerfulness. He resided upon his farm^
about two miles south of New Market, up to the day of his death at
a ripe old age.

In the summer of 1801 a nimaber of families moved into what ia
now Brush Creek township. Simon Shoemaker, Jr., and his
brothers Peter and Martin, John Hatter, John Fulk, George Suter,
James Williams, Jacob Roads, David Evans, George Cursewell^ -
Jacob Fisher, Abraham- Boyd, Peter Stultz, Dr. John Coplinger,
Captain Wilson, John Koads, came from Virginia; while James
Washburn, James Heed, Leonard Reed, Michael Smiley and John
Lowman were from Pennsylvania. This number increased the pop-
ulation greatly and added largely to the importance of the Sinking
Spring community. Henry Countryman and three sons, Martin,^
John, and Henry, also came from Virginia in the following year and
located near the famous spring. Rev. Benjamin Van Pelt, a Meth-
odis preacher from Virginia, was the first minister of that denomina-
tion that ever preached in that neighborhood in the year 1802.



Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 9 of 63)