Charles M. (Charles Manning) Walker.

History of Athens County, Ohio : and, incidentally, of the Ohio Land Company and the first settlement of the state at Marietta, with personal and biographical sketches of the early settlers, narratives of pioneer adventures, etc. online

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Online LibraryCharles M. (Charles Manning) WalkerHistory of Athens County, Ohio : and, incidentally, of the Ohio Land Company and the first settlement of the state at Marietta, with personal and biographical sketches of the early settlers, narratives of pioneer adventures, etc. → online text (page 9 of 39)
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the precious article. In 1796, a joint stock company
was formed of fifty shareholders, at one dollar and a
half each, making a capita' of seventy-five dollars,
with the object of buying castings, erecting a furnace,
and manufacturing salt. Twenty-four kettles were
bought at Pittsburg, and transported by water to
Duncan's falls, and thence, on pack-horses, to the
salt springs, seven miles further. A well was dug,
near the edge of the stream, about fifteen feet deep, to
the bed rock, through the crevices of which the salt
water oozed and rose, though not very abundantly.
The trunk of a hollow sycamore tree was fixed in the
well to exclude the fresh water. A furnace was built,
of two ranges with twelve kettles each. The water
was raised from the well by a sweep and pole. The

History of Athens County ^ Ohio. 1 23

company was divided into ten sections of five men
each, who worked, in turn, for two weeks at a time,
and the works were thus kept in operation day and
night, the men standing regular watches. They were
thus able to make about one hundred pounds of salt
in twenty-four hours, using about sixteen hundred
gallons of water. This was the first attempt to manu-
facture salt in Ohio, and the product was a very
inferior and costly article. For several years, all of
the salt used by the pioneers of Athens county was
brought from these works, and afterward from the
Scioto salt licks,""'' in Jackson county, on pack horses.
It was both a great luxury and a prime necessity, and
every grain of it was carefully husbanded.

The settlement was about two years old when an act
was passed by the territorial assembly, relative to lay-
ing off the town of Athens. At this time only one
town had been incorporated in the northwestern terri-
tory, viz: Marietta, the act incorporating which was
passed less than three weeks previously. (Cincinnati
was not incorporated till January i, 1802. In the year
1800, the population of Cincinnati was 750; in 1S05,

* These salt licks, in Jackson county, were considered of so much
value, that, on the organization of the state, in 1802, a tract or land
six miles square containing them was reserved from sale. The salmes
were wcTrked for several years under state supervision, and were not
sold until 1826, when the proceeds went into the state treasury.

124 From 1797 to 1805.

it was 960; in 18 10, it was 2,300; in 18 13, it was
4,000; and in 1820, it was 10,500.) *

The act relative to laying off the town of Athens is
as follows:

"Whereas, In the county of Washington, within this terri-
tory, the townships Nos. eight and nine in the fourteenth range
have been appropriated and set apart for the purpose of endow-
ing an university, and, whereas^ the application of the same to
the purpose aforesaid has been entrusted to the legislature of this
territory; therefore, to enable the said legislature the better to
determine the situation whereon to establish the said university:

Be it resolved by the Legislative Council and House of Represent-
atives in General Assembly^ That Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Ives
Gilman and Jonathan Stone, esquires, be requested to lay off", in
the most suitable place within the townships aforesaid, a town
plat which shall contain a square for the college, also lots suit-
able for house lots and gardens, for a president, professors, tutors,
etc., bordering en or encircled by spacious commons, and such a
number of town lots adjoining the said commons and out-lots as
they shall think will be for the advantage of the university, who
are to make a return of the said town plat and lots, describing
their situation within the said townships, to the legislature at
their next session, and shall receive such compensation for their
services as the legislature shall and may direct and allow.

Speaker of the House of Representatives,

President of the Council."
"Approved December 18th, 1799.

Arthur St. Clair."

History of Athens County y Ohio. 125

Pursuant to this act the town plat was surveyed and
laid oriT by Messrs. Putnam, Oilman, and Stone in the
summer of 1800, and a copy thereof returned to the
legislature, as required.

In December, 1800, the following act was passed by
the territorial legislature :

**y/rt act confirming and establishing the town of Athens in the
county of IVashingtcn.
"Whereas, By a resolution of the legislature of this terri-
tory, of the 18th day of December, 1799, Rufus Putnam, Ben-
jamin Ives Oilman and Jonathan Stone, esquires, were requested
to lay off a town in the most convenient place vv-ithin the town-
ships numbered eight and nine, in the fourteenth range of
townships as set apart by the agents and directors of the Ohio
Company, for the uses and purposes of an university, which
should be so laid off as to contain a square for colleges, and lots
suitable for house-lots and gardens for a president, professors
and tutors, with out-lots and commons. And, -whereas^ the said
Putnam, Oilman and Stone in conformity to the said resolution,
have laid off the said town within the ninth, tenth and fifteenth,
sixteenth and twenty-second sections of the aforesaid ninth
township, and have returned a plat of the same ; therefore, to
establish and confirm the same :

Section I. Be it enacted by the Legislative Council and Home
of Representatives in General Assembly^ And it is hereby en-
acted by the authority of the same, that the return and report
of the said Putnam, Oilman and Stone be accepted and approv-
ed, and that the said town be confirmed and established by the
name of the town of Athens; Provided, that the trustees of the

126 From 1797 to 1805.

university therein to be established shall have power to alter the
plan of the said town, by extending the house-lots into the com-
mons or out-lots, which adjoin the town, or by altering the
streets, when, on actual survey, they may find it necessary or
convenient. Provided^ also, that such alterations be made and a
plat of the town, out-lots and commons, with a designation of
the uses of the commons, be recorded in the office of the
recorder of the proper county prior to the offering to lease of
any of the said lots.

Sec. 2. Jnd be it further enacted^ That the house-lots num-
bered fifty-five and fifty-six in the said town of Athens, or some
other two lots therein equally well situated, to be designated and
set apart by the trustees of the said university when appointed,
shall be reserved for the accommodation of public buildings that
may be necessary to be erected for the use of said town and the
county in which it may be situated ; which two lots, when
agreed upon by said trustees, shall be particularly noted on the
plat of said town and vest in the county to and for the uses
designed thereby.


Speaker House of Representatives.

President of the Council."
"Approved December 6th, 1800.
Arthur St. Clair,


At this time there were not more than five or six
cabins occupied on the town plat. A Mr. Earhart lived
on the brow of the hill near where Bing's carriage shop
now is. Othniel Tuttle had a cabin on the S. W. corner

History of Athens County, Ohio. 12;

of the old graveyard. In 1800 Dr. Perkins bought his
cabin and moved it down the road and added it to his
own, near where Dr. E. G. Carpenter now lives. Sol-
omon Tuttle lived in a cabin near where Love's grocer)'
now is — opposite the Currier homestead. Christian
Stevens had a cabin just back of the college green, and
a man by the name of Brakefield lived 20 or 30 rods
east of the S. E. corner of the green. Alvan Bingham
lived half a mile N. E., where widow Bingham now

During the next four or five years the settlement at
Athens, though increasing but slowly, received the
addition of numbers of valuable citizens, sketches of
some of whom will be found elsewhere. About this
time John Hewitt built the first grist mill in the
county (in 1800), on Margaret's creek, about a mile
above its mouth, where Timothy Goodrich afterward
built a saw mill. Hewitt's mill was much resorted to
by the settlers for grinding their breadstuffs. Previous
to this the nearest mills were in Washington county, on
the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, which could only be
reached by tedious journeys. Soon after this a small
mill was built by Charles Shepard, in Alexander town-
ship, on the place now owned by Samuel Armstrong.
The horse mill below Athens, built by Capt. Silas
Bingham, is believed to have been the next in order of
time. During this period Henry Cassel, an ingenious
man, manufactured small hand mills which ground

128 From 1797 to 1805.

corn tolerably well. The stone from which they
were made was found on the old Shepard place in
Alexander township, now owned by John S. Mil-
ler. These hand mills of Cassel's were visited by
the neighboring settlers almost daily, each taking his
turn and grinding one quart, when he would yield the
mill to some one else. Some families were provided
with a private "hominy block," in which the corn was
pounded and broken as with a pestle.

The first house was erected on the town plat in
1798, by Capt. John Chandler, a brother-in-law of
Judge Alvan Bingham, on lot No. i, near where
Bing's carriage shop now stands. John Havner built
a hewed log house on the opposite side of the street,
very soon after. Dr. Perkins lived in a log cabin on
State street, near where Dr. Carpenter now resides.
Dr. Leonard Jewett, who came in 1804 or '5, occupied
a hewed log house, previously erected by Capt. Silas
Bingham, on the lot now occupied^by Geo. W. Norris,
on College street. Joel Abbott succeeded Captain
Chandler, and erected one of the earliest brick houses,
in 1803 or '4. William McNichol built, and occu-
pied as a tavern, a hewed log house nearly opposite to
Abbott's. About this time, William Dorr built, and
occupied as a store, a double, hewed log house, on the
lot where Judge Barker now resides. Afterward the
house was occupied as a tavern. John Johnston built
and occupied a log house, on the corner where Crip-

History of Athens County^ Ohio. 129

pen's grocery now is. Jared Jones built a log house
on the lot now occupied by Mr. Topky. One of the
first brick houses was built, and occupied as a store
and dwelling, by Joseph B. Miles, near the corner
known as "Brown's Corner."

Meanwhile the settlement had grown to a size that
entitled it, in 1803, to the honor of mention by, prob-
ably, the first professional tourist who visited the
northwest,* and who said: "Athens, on the Great
Hockhocking river, forty miles by water from the
Ohio, lies in the election district of Middletown.
This settlement commenced in the year 1797. Ths
town is regularly laid out, on elevated ground, of easy
ascent, round which the river forms a graceful bend.
The situation is healthy, and the prospect delightful
beyond description. The town Is abundantly supplied
with never-failing springs of excellent water, and the
adjacent country is thought to be superior to any in
the state for pleasantness and fertility."


The Rev. Thaddeus M. Harris, a Massachusetts clergyman, who
made a trip to the western country in 1S03, in search of health and
pleasure, an account of which he published in 1805. His book is,
and has long been, a very rare one. Dr. Pierce said of it, nearlv
fifty years ago:

"The celebrated John Foster, of London, author of Eaajii, m D:chhn of Cijr-cur,
etc., employed me to find or procure it for him. As It could not be fjuna in anr
book itore, I reluctantly parted with my own copy, to satlsiV the curiosity of cfai".
learned man."

I JO From 1797 to 1805.

At this time, and for many years after the county
was organized, various kinds of game were abundant
in'the forests, and deers, bears, wild turkeys, etc., were
killed in great numbers. Wolves and panthers were a
great annoyance, and, to the sheep growers, a great
scourge. The first board of county commissioners, in
June, 1805, ordered that a bounty of three dollars be
paid for the scalp of every wolf or panther killed
within the county, under six months old, and four
dollars for every one over six months. This rate was
continued for six years. June 11, 181 1, the board
resolved that from and after that date, the county
would pay, for every wolf and panther scalp, one
dollar, in addition to the state bounty, which was then
two dollars for those under six months old, and four
dollars if over six months. December 4, iBii, the
commissioners ordered that, from and after that date,
they would pay, in addition to the state bounty, two
dollars per scalp. In September, 1813, the bounty
was suspended till further ordered, but in June, 18 14,
it was renewed, and fixed at two dollars per scalp.
June 5, 1 8 17, the commissioners resolved, "that the
bounty on wolf scalps be discontinued from and atter
the 5th day of June, 18 18." The bounty on panther
scalps was discontinued not long afterward.

The following persons, in addition to those already
named, were residents of the town or township of
Athens in 1805, viz: John Simonton, Andrew Hig-

History of Athens County^ Ohio. 131

gins, Cornelius Moore, Moses Bean, Henry Bartlett,
James Jolly, Daniel Mulford, Simon Speed, Samuel
Luckey, John, Samuel, William, and Robert Lowry,
John Green, Garret Jones, Uriah Tippee, Joel Abbott,
Jacob Wolf, Ignatius Thompson, William and Aaron
Young, Samuel Pickett, Samuel Smith, Josiah Coe,
Francis Whitmore, Isaac and Michael Barker, Jona-
than and Timothy Wilkins, William and Charles
Harper, and Jehiel Gregory— the last named repre-
sented the county in the legislature, in 1805 and '6,
and built one of the earliest mills on the Hockhocking,
east of Athens.

The names of some of the pioneer settlers, men-
tioned in these pages, are preserved in different parts
of the county, as follows: Moore's run, in Athens
township; Brown's branch, Ewing's branch, Wyatt's
branch. Walker's branch, Linscott's branch, and Braw-
ley's branch, in Ames; Ross run, in Alexander;
Pilcher's branch, Hoskinson's branch, Buckley's
branch, and Mansfield's branch, in Canaan; Guth-
rie's branch, Davis's branch, and Lottridge P. O., in
Carthage; Bailey's branch and Jackson run, in Dover;
Cassel's run arid Shidler's branch, in Lee; Thomp-
son's fork, Pratt's fork, Dailey run, Dinsmore branch,
and Douglas branch, in Lodi; Stewart's run, Case run,
Herrold run. Hatch branch, Rowel] branch, and Green
branch, in Rome; Frost branch, Washburn branch,
Ross branch, and Devol's run, in Troy; Woodbury

132 From 1797 to 1805.

run and McCune run, in Trimble; Hewitt's branch,
in Waterloo; and Meeker's branch, in York township.

The settlement of the county was now fairly begun,
and the population was receiving steady additions.
The time was approaching when they would divide
from Washington county, and begin a separate career.
Before speaking, however, of the organization of
Athens county, let us, in order to complete our view
of this period, and gain a better understanding of some
points in the early annals of the county, glance at

Some Political Events from, 1798 to 1805.

The ordinance of 1787 provided that, as soon as
there should be 5,000 free male Inhabitants of full age,
in the territory, and on proof thereof being made to
the governor, the people should be authorized to elect
representatives to a territorial legislature. The requi-
site population being reached in 1798, an election of
representatives was ordered by proclamation ot Gov-
ernor St. Clair, to be held on the third Monday in
December of that year. The lower house of the terri-
torial assembly was to consist of one member for every
five hundred voters, but the total not to exceed twenty-
five members. The privilege of voting was confined
to free-holders, in fee simple, of fifty acres ot land
within the district; and none but free-holders, in tee
simple, of five hundred acres, were eligible as repre-

History of Athens County ^ Ohio. i 73

sentatlves. The upper house, corresponding now to
the senate, was to consist of a council of five mem-
bers, each of whom should he a free-holder of not less
than five hundred acres, to be chosen by the represent-
atives from their own number, and to be confirmed and
appointed by congress. At this election (the first
ever held in the state), Col. Robert Oliver, Return J.
Meigs, and Paul Fearing were chosen representatives
from Washington county, receiving the hearty support
of the voters of Athens and Ames, or, as it was then
called, the Middletown district. The representatives
elect assembled, according to the governor's proclama-
tion, at Cincinnati, on the 4th of February, 1799, to
transact certain business, preliminary to their reorular
meeting. After due deliberation, they nominated for
the legislative council of five, Henry Vanderburg, of
Vincennes, Robert Oliver, of Marietta, James Findlay
and Jacob Burnet, of Cincinnati, and David Vance;
all of whom were subsequently confirmed and appointed
by Federal authority. Col. Oliver was chosen presi-
dent of the council and held that position until the
formation of the state government. The following is
from a letter, written in 1837, by Jacob Burnet, =•• of
Cincinnati, himself a member of the territorial legisla-

* Jacob Burnet, one of the ablest among the early lawyers of the
territory, was born at Newark, N. ]., February 22, 1770, graduated at
Princeton College, studied law under Judge Boudinct. wai admitted to

134 From 1797 to 1805.

We quote:

"On the 1 6th of September, 1 799, both branches of the ter-
ritorial legislature assembled at Cincinnati, and organized for
business. The governor met the two houses in the representa-
tives' chamber, and in a very elegant address recommended such
measures as he thought were suited to the condition of the
country, 'and would advance the safety and prosperity of the
people. The body continued in session till the 19th of Decem-
ber, when, having finished their business, the governor prorogued
them, at their request, till the first Monday in November.

This being the first session it was necessarily a very laborious
one. The transition from a colonial to a semi-independent gov-
ernment, called for a general revision as well as a considerable
enlargement of the statute book. Some of the adopted laws

practice in 1796, and immediately emigrated to Cincinnati, where he
passed the rest of his life. He says:

" At this time, the country to which I united myself, and with which it was my
purpose to rise or fall, was, literally, a wilderness. The entire white population,
between Pennsylvania and the Mississippi, from the Ohio to the lakes, was estimated
at rir'teen thousand. Cincinnati was a small village of log cabins, including perhaps a
dozen of coarse frame houses, with stone chimneys, most ot them unfinished. Not a
brick had been seen in the place. It may aid in forming an idea of the appearance
of the place at this time, to state that, at the northeast corner of Main and Fifth
streets (now — J 8 37 — the centre of business and tasteful improvements'), a.nd contigu-
ous to a rough, half finished frame house, in which our courts were held, there was a
pond, nlled with alder bushes, in which the frogs serenaded us regularly, from spring
to autumn. The morass extended so fir into Main street, that it was necessary to
construct a causeway of logs, in order to pass it with convenience; and it remained
in its natural state, filled with alder bushes and frogs, three or four years after my resi-
dence there began. The population of the town, including oiSccts and followers of
the army, was about five hundred."

History of Athens County^, Ohio. 135

were repealed, many others altered and amended, and a long list
of new ones added to the code. New offices were to be created
and filled, the duties attached to them prescribed, and a plan of
ways and means devised to meet the increased expenditures,
occasioned by the change which had just taken place. As the
number of members in each branch was small, and a large por-
tion of them either unprepared or indisposed to partake largely
of the labors of the session, the pressure fell on the shoulders
of a few. Although the branch to which I belonged was com-
posed of sensible, strong-minded men, yet they were unaccus-
tomed to the duties of their new station, and not conversant
with the science of law. The consequence was that they relied
chiefly and almost entirely on me to draft and prepare the bills
and other documents, which originated in the council. One of
the important duties which devolved on the legislature, was the
election of a delegate to represent the territory in congress. As
soon as the governor's proclamation made its appearance, the
election of a person to fill that station excited general attention.
Several persons were spoken of, and among them myself. Many
of my friends solicited me to become a candidate, and ventured
to give strong assurance of my election if I would consent to
serve; but beino; at that time en2;a2;ed in an extensive and lucra-
tive practice, and not wealthy, I could not afford to quit my
profession, or to abstract from it as much time and attention as
the duties of the Station would require. In addition to this, it
appeared to me that I could be more useful to the people of the
territory in their own legislature, than in congress. For these
reasons I declined to be a candidate ; and, before the meeting of
the legislature, public opinion had settled down on William
Henry Harrison and Arthur St. Clair, Jr., who were eventuallv
the only candidates. On the 3d of October, 1799, the two

ij6 From 1797 to 1805.

houses met in the representatives' chanmher, according to a joint
resolution, and proceeded to an election. The ballots being
taken and counted, it appeared that William Henry Harrison
had eleven votes, and St. Clair ten votes ; the former was there-
fore declared to be duly elected. Having received his certificate
of election, General Harrison resigned the office of secretary of
the territory, proceeded forthwith to Philadelphia, and took his
seat, congress being then in session. Though he represented
the territory but one year, he obtained some important advan-
tages for his constituents. He introduced a resolution to sub-
divide the surveys of the public lands and to offer them for sale
in small tracts, which measure he succeeded in getting through
both houses, in opposition to the interests of speculators who
were, and who wished to be, the retailers of land to the poorer
classes of the community. His proposition became a law, and
was hailed as the most beneficent act that congress had ever
done for the territory. It put it in the power of every indus-
trious man, however poor, to become a freeholder, and to lay a
foundation for the future support and comfort of his family.

"Congress at that session (i 799-1 800), divided the north-
western territory, by establishing the new territory of Indiana,
of which Mr. Harrison was appointed governor. By the divi-
sion of the territory, Mr. Vanderburg (one of the legislative
council) became a citizen of Indiana, and Solomon Sibley, of
Detroit, was appointed to fill the vacancy in that body. The
office of secretary, vacated by the election of Mr. Harrison as
delegate in congress, was filled bv the appointment of Charles
Willing Byrd, who was afterward district judge of the United
States for the district of Ohio.

"After the close of the first session of the territorial legisla-
ture, a law was passed by congress (May 7, i8cc), removing

History of /It hens County^ Ohio. 137

the scat of government from Cincinnati to Chillicothe. On the
3d of November, 1800, the general assembly convened at that
place. The governor met and addressed them, recommending,
specifically, the measures to which he desired their attention.
On the 6th of November the two houses met for the purpose of
filling the vacancy made by the resignation of Gen. Harrison in
congress and also to elect a delegate for the next succeeding
term. William McMillan, of Cincinnati, was elected to fill the
vacancy and Paul Fearing, of Marietta, for the term to begin on
the 4th of March then next. On the 2d of December (as the
governor's term of office expired on that day) the assembly ad-
journed sine die.**

Governor St. Clair was soon reappointed by President
Adams, and a new assembly was elected by the people,
which convened at Chillicothe on the 24th of Novem-
ber, 1801. It remained in session till the 23d of Jan-
uary, 1802, when it was adjourned by the governor to

Online LibraryCharles M. (Charles Manning) WalkerHistory of Athens County, Ohio : and, incidentally, of the Ohio Land Company and the first settlement of the state at Marietta, with personal and biographical sketches of the early settlers, narratives of pioneer adventures, etc. → online text (page 9 of 39)