Daniel Barna Beardsley.

History of Hancock county [Ohio] from its earliest settlement to the present time, together with remeiniscenses of pioneer life, incidents, statistical tables, and biographical sketches online

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Online LibraryDaniel Barna BeardsleyHistory of Hancock county [Ohio] from its earliest settlement to the present time, together with remeiniscenses of pioneer life, incidents, statistical tables, and biographical sketches → online text (page 1 of 30)
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jm'imi'.iiiW.IY.Rubuc library

3 1833 02402 6723



Hancock County,







Republic Printing Company.










Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1881, by D. B. Beardslet, in the office of th«
Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Republic Printing Co.,

Piinters, Binders and Stationers,

Springfield, Ohio.



In preseuting this volume to the public, I do so with
much hesitatioD, aud embarrassment. Making no preten-
sions to being an author, and this book being the result of
an accident as it were, I ask from the reader a kindly con-
sideration, and generous criticism. Some eight years ago,
I, for my own amusement, furnished to the press a series of
articles entitled " Our Early Settlers," in which I endeavor-
ed to truthfully detail some of the many reminiscences of
pioneer life in this county. As these articles progressed,
they had the merit of attracting some attention, especially
from the old settlers, who took the matter in earnest, and
steps were taken to form a Pioneer xVssociation, which re-
sulted in the formation of such a society. At the meetings
and re-unions of this Association papers appropriate to the
occasion were prepared and read by myself and others. I
was then requested by many of the old .frontiersmen, for
whom I have the profoundest respect, as well as by many
of the descendants of those who had " gone home " to pre-
pare and have published a history of the county.

Upon this earnest solicitation, and with a due apprecia-
tion of the labors and responsibilities of the undertaking, I
consented. The work has been one of great labor and re-
search, of continual inquiry and thought. And now, with
the assistance I have received from many kind friends, who
have cheerfully furnished all the information in their pow-
er, when requested, and by the courtesy of the various
county officials to whom I have applied for permission to

4 Preface.

examine the records, and their assistance in such examina-
tion, this work is completed, and offered for your amuse-
ment and possible instruction.

There is no pretence in its preparation to rhetorical flour-
ish, choice phrases, or finish of diction, but I have endeav-
ored to

" Tell a plain, unvarnished tale,"

in a plain homelike manner. Of course absolute verity can
not be claimed for all here related. But I do claim that
there is nothing herein written, which has not the sanction
of either the public records, or of the best recollection of
those who were actors in the scenes related, or of those
who had them directly from these actors, hence this work
is as nearly a truthful history in all its parts, as is possible,
under the circumstances. Nothing has been introduced by
way of embellishment, at the expense of truth. The ar-
rangement of the work may be somewhat desultory, but
this does not interfere with its historical value, or under-
standing, and may be a source of relief to the reader.


CHAPTER L— Before the Organization of the County 9

CHAPTER II.— First Organization of the County 23

CHAPTER III.— Independent Organization of the County 27

CHAPTER IV.— General Description of the County. Its Soil and

Products 33

CHAPTER v.— Relating to a Few First Thinp in the County 38

CHAPTER VI.— Early Appraisement and Assessment of Property.. 45

CHAPTER VII. -First Jail and First Court House 52

CHAPTER VIII.— Early Courts. First Judges. First Juries 58

CHAPTER IX —The Country Shoemaker. The Schoolmaster. Log

Rolling 69

CHAPTER X.— First Roads and Bridges 73

CHAPTER XI.— County Records. First Census. Gent ral Election

1828 80

CHAPTER XII.— An Incident. General Muster 85

CHAPTER XIIL— Railroads 90

CHAPTER XIV.— Common Schools 97

CHAPTER XV.— Some Other Things of Interest 101

CHAPTER XVI. — Our Associates in the General Assembly of Ohio,

in Senatorial and Representative Districts lOG

CHAPTER XVII.— Matters of Interest in Brief Paragraphs 114

CHAPTER XVIII.— Murders and Murder Trials 120

CHAPTER XIX.— The Deer Lick. Plum Orchard. Johnny Apple-
seeds , 131

CHAPTER XX.— Present Court House. New Jail. Infirmary 13G

CHAPTER XXI. — Early Sports. Corn Huskings. House Raisings.

Grain Threshing and Cleaning 143

CHAPTER XXII, — Our Judicial Associate Counties and Judges 140

CHAPTER XXIII.— Hancock County in the War 151

CHAPTER XXIV.— Hancock County Agricultural Society 164

CHAPTER XXV.— County Officers 167

Statistical Tables 169

Table of Distances 173

Laud Surveys 175

Allen Townships 180

Van Buren 192

Amanda Township 194

Capernaum 200

Vanlue 200

Blanchard Township 205

Benton 214

6 Contents.

Louisville 215

Big Lick TownshiT) • 217

Freedom 225

West Indepeudeuce 225

Cass Township 228

Frankford 230

Delaware Township 236

Mt. Blanchard 242

Eagle Township 246

Martinstown .* 250

Fiudley Townshii^ 254

Findley 269

EastFindley 274

North Findley 276

Industries of Findley 316

Churches 331

Schools 341

Benevolent yocieties 345

Newspapers 360

Hotels 362

Banks 365

Fire Department 367

Maple Grove Cemetery 369

Jackson Township 372

North Liberty 379

Liberty Township 382

Madison Township 395

Williamstown 402

Arlington 402

Marion Township 404

Orange Township 412

Pleasant Township 421

Olney 426

McComb 427

Portage Township 430

Lafayette 439

Union Township 441

Rawson 448

Cannonsburg 450

Cory 450

Van Buren Township 453

Washington Townsliip 467

Risdon 466

Arcadia 466

Social Statistics 470


Alspach, George W 250

Algire, Rev. Geo 428

Barnd, John 190

Baldwin, David M 207

Burman, John 231

Bonham, Robert 26i

Byal, John 261

Beardsley, Barnu , ...268

Baldwin', Dr. W. H 298

Blackford, Price 299

Byal, Henry 807

Bishop, Henry 851

Brown, Henry 352

Balsley, A. H 858

Boylan, Rev. John 888

Bright, Major 406

Blakeman , Char Us 424

Burrs, James 443

Burket, George 443

Burket, Jacob 444

Biggs, Rev. Ricliard 445

Carson, Dick 211

Chamberlain, Job. »Sr 259

Carlin, Squire 800

Cory, Judge D. J 311

Coffinbury, J. M 857

Comer, Isaac 889

Cusac, Daniel 890

Cooper, Judge Jolm 435

Cramer, Philip •. 442

Church, William 463

Dukes, Richard 206

Dukes, Louis, Sr 206

Dukes, John 207

DeWolfe, Eh G 360

Davis, William 410

Dalley, Henry L 416

Dulin, t^andford F 431

Ensminger, George 191

Engle, Jacob 211

Kckles, John 234

Elder, Josiah 238

Fishel, Michael 208

Ford, John T 856

Fountain, Wm 889

Folk Nicholas 444

Goode, Judge P (; 149

George, Peter 196

Gilbert, Aquilla 196

Goit, Edson, Sr 815

Glessuer, Lewis 853

Glessner, Wm. L 858

Huff, Abraham 61

Hardy, John 189

Hughes, Owen 211

Hedges, Joshua 260

Hamilton, John P 260

Henderson, Wm. L 08

Henderson, F.... 811

HoUabaugh, A. M 853

Hurd, Robert 399

Howard, Samuel 436

Johnson, Joseph 434

Jordan, Charles 10 465

Karn, Ezra 232

Kilpatrick, Wm 423

Kalb, John 423

Lake, Asa M 238

Lamb, Henry 303

McKinnis, Judge Robert 60

Moffit, Thomas 208

Moore, John 223

McAnnelly, Moses 224

Moreland, Wm ,. 260

Morrison, J. H 303

Mungen, AVm 35i

McKinni.s, Philip 391

Martz, Napoleon B 400


Miller, William B 480

Marvin, Willam, Sr 409

McKinley, John 415

McConuell, J. T 418

Moorehead John 431

Morris, Mahlon 432

Moorehead, Samuel 438

Newell, Hugh 309

Newell, Joseph 377

O'Neal, Charles W 297

Potter, Judge E. D 148

Powell, Rev. John 210

Parker, Jonathan 294

Patten, Dr. David 308

Poe, Jacob 388

Rollor, Judge Wm 225

Reightly, Mathew 260

Rawson, Dr. Bass 296

Roseuburg, B. F 352

Ralston, Alpheus 376

Rickets, Andrew 399

Reed, John 482

Shoemaker, John 224

Sampson, Levi 376

Showalter, Levi 443

Taylor, Washington 188

Thompson, Thomas 195

Taylor, William 313

Treece, George 378

Thomas, Lewis 406

Todd, Benjamin 422

Thompson, John 431

Vickers, James 233

Vance, Wilson 292

Van Emon, Rev. Geo 389

Wilson, Judge Ebeneztr 61

Walters, John 251

Wilson, James H 305

Watson, Richard 388

Williams, John W 399

Welty, Christ 39 J

WLseley, Allen 406

Wade, Weumau 442

Wiseman, James G 463


Hancock County.



[NEED oDly remind the reader, that as a part of Ohio,
Hancock County was a part of that great "North-west
Territory," ceded by Virginia to the United States Govern-
ment, and which territory has since been carved up into
States, which have rose to the tirst rank in this Union of
States, none of which are more prominent than our own
beautiful Ohio. Her military chieftains are no less promi-
nent that her statesmen, and the highest judicial honors of
the nation have been conferred on more than one of her
distinguished sous. Every citizen of this free Republic,
is proud that he is a;n American, and we may be excused
for the feeling of pride, that in addition to being an Ameri-
can citizen, we are also a native " Buckeye."

Of course not much, if anything, was known of this wM

region, perhaps not even of its existence, except by the

Indians, until about IS] 2, or during our second war with

Great Britain. In common with all the great v^est, this


10 Hhforif of Hancock CoKntij.

was an imbroken wilderness, and far from civilization.
June 21, 1785, a treaty was concluded at Fort Mcintosh,
with the Wyandotte, Delaware, Chippewa and Ottowa
Indians, by which the boundary line between the United
States and the Wyandotte and Delaware nations, was
declared to begin " At the mouth of the river Cuyahoga and
to extend up said river to the Portage between that and
the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down
the branch to the crossing place above Fort Laurens ;
thence westerly to the Portage of the Big Miami which
runs into the Ohio, at the mouth of which branch the fort
stood which was taken by the French in 1752; thence
along said Portage to the Great Miamee or Omee (Mau-
mee) river, and down .the south side of the same to its
mouth ; thence along the south shore of Lake Erie to the
mouth of the Cuyahoga river where it began." In this
boundary Hancock County was included.

In 1796 Wayne County, Ohio, was established, including
all the north-western part of Ohio, a large tract in the
north-eastern part of Indiana, and the whole Territory of
Michigan. As late as 1816, this, with the counties of
Hardin, Wood and some others, was embraced in Logan
County, Bellefontaine being the county seat. It was not
until after lb05, that by treaties with the Indians, all the
country watered by the Maumee and the Sandusky and
their tributaries, was acquired by the Uuited States.

The first white settlement in the territory now embraced
within the limits of Hancock County, so far as we have any
authentic account, was made at' the present site of the town
of Findley, in about the year 18J5. It is possible, how-
ever, and indeed, we have a tradition to that effect, that a
man by the name of Thorp or Tharp, came here with the

First White Settlement. U

soldiers, who occupied Fort Fiudley iu the war of 1812-15,
and remained here after its evacuation, and either lived
alone, or with the Indians. Not much, however, is" known
or remembered of him.

The first white family settling here, was that of Benjamin
-Cox. Upon their arrival, nought but an unbroken forest,
save in the immediate vicinity of the old Fort, greeted
them. Indians and wild beasts roamed the woods. No
neighbors within many days journey perhaps. All was
new, all was solitude, and it must have been a most trying
time for that one lone family. After making this their
home for a few years, the family removed to Wood County,
where some of them are still living. On their removal,
one of the daughters acted as an interpreter between the
whites and the Indians, she having a knowledge of the
language of both the Wyandotte and Ottowa tribes, who
frequented this part of the country.

But not long did they remain here alone. Others,
through a spirit of adventure, or restless desire for new
scenes, came and formed settlements. Emigrants were
attracted by the richness of the soil, and the abundance of
game. Or perhaps with imaginations reaching out to the
future, they pictured to themselves the exceeding loveliness,
and fruitfulness of the lands, when redeemed from the
wilderness, and were constrained to make this their abid-
ing place.

True it is, that from whatever motive they were actua-
ted, they came here and formed settlements, cleared up the
forests, built themselves cabins and roads, and laid the
foundations, deep and permanent, for our present great
prosperity and wealth, and transmitted to their children a
rich and beautiful inheritance.

12 History of Hancock County.

About the middle of June, 1812, the army, under Gen.
Hull, left Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, and passed
north through the present couuties of Logan, Hardin, Han-
cock and Wood, over what was known during, and after
the war, as "Hull's Trail," into Michigan. This army cut
a road through the unbroken wilderness, uninhabited
except by hostile Indian? and wild animals.

On this route they built Fort McArthur, on the Scioto
River in Hardin County, and Fort Findley, on the Blanch-
ard E-iver, in Hancock.

In the same summer (1812) General Edmund W. Tup-
per, of Gallia County, enlisted about one thousaud men for
six months service, mainly from Gallia, Lawrence and
Jackson Counties, who, under orders of General Winches-
ter, marched from Urbana north by "Hull's Trail" to the
foot of the ]Maumee Rapids. Tiie enemy attacked Tupper's
forces, but were driven otf with considerable loss. They
then returned to Detroit, and the Americans, under Tupper,
returned back to Fort McArthur.

The Fort at Findley was erected by Col. James Findley,
under orders from Gen. Hull, and was named in honor of
the Colonel. It was a stockade of about fifty yards square,
with a block house at each corner, and a ditch in front. It
stood on the south bank of the Blanchard River, just west
of the present iron bridge, and was used as a depot for
military stores.

The Fort was garrisoned by a company under the com-
mand of Captain Arthur Thomas, who lived at King's
Creek, three miles from Urbana. So far as known, there
were no battles fought at Fort Findley, and garrison duty
was no doubt monotonous and irksome. But little to
excite or amuse the men, they no doubt longed for peace

Adventure of Col. IVilliajii Oliver. 13

and a release from duty, that they might again join their

Colonel William Oliver, late of Cincinnati, left Fort
Meigs, on the Maumee River, about 8 o'clock on a dark and
stormy night, during the war, in company with a Kentuck-
ian, on an errand of importance to Fort Findley. Thev had
proceeded but a short distance on their perilous journey,
through the wilderness, surrounded with enemies, when
they unexpectedly came upon an Indian camp, around the
fires of which the Indians were cooking their suppers. So
near had they got to the camp, that the noise of their
approach alarmed the savages, who at once sprang to their
feet and ran towards them. Oliver and his companion
reined their horses into the branches of a fallen tree. The
horses, as if conscious of danger, as were their riders,
remained perfectly quiet, and the Indians passed around
the tree without discovering them. At this juncture, the
daring messengers put spurs to their horses and dashed
forward into the woods, through which they passed to the
Fort, where they arrived safely, but with the loss of their
clothing, which had been torn from them by the brush
through which they had passed — their bodies bruised and
lacerated. Nor were they a moment too soon in their
arrival, for the Indians, enraged at their escape, had pur-
sued them so closely, that Oliver and his companion had
scarcely been admitted into the Fort, when their pursuers
made their appearance on the opposite side of the river.
After giving vent to their disappointment at the loss of the
scalps of the^^aZe/rtce.b^ in hideous yells, they very wisely
retraced their steps toward the Maumee, on the lookout for
some unsuspecting but less fortunate white man.

After the close of the war. Captain Thomas' company

1 4 Hlstoiy of Ha n cock Con n tif.

returned to Urbana. On their journey home, the Captain
and his sou lost their horses, and separated from the rest of
the company in search of them.

They encamped at the Big Spring, near Solomon stown^
about five miles from Bellefontaine, and the next morning
were found murdered and scalped. Their bodies were
taken to Urltana by a deputation of citizens.

In connection with this account of the fate of Captain
Thomas, I will give a copy of a letter received by me from
one who speaks knowingly of the matter, and although he
is unknown to me, yet I have no doubt but his statements
are correct, and as a matter of history, are of great inter-
est. But to the letter:

M.MMoN, Iowa, Dec. G, 1875.

D. B. Beardslev, Esq.; — Dear Sir: — I saw in a sketch
of the early history of Hancock County, Ohio, as read by
you at the Second Annual Pic-nic and Reunion of the
Pioneers of your county, publislicd in the Findley Jeffer-
sonian, an account of Captain Arthur Thomas and son, that
was killed by the Indians at the Big Springs, some five
miles from Bellefontaine, and thinking I might furnish you
an item or two, concluded to drop you a line. My father
was stationed at a block-house called Menary, about two
miles north-west from Bellefontaine, there being a small
company of soldiers, I think commanded by Lieut. Joiin
Kelly. The object seemed to be to guard and keep in
bounds some pet Indians that the Government had in care,
and was furnishing supplies through an Agent by the name
of McPherson.

On the morning af^er the murder of Thomas and son,
the word was brought to the company, and a deputation
was sent out after them, among whom was my father (John

Rathhun Letter. 15

Rathbun) and when they reached the spot, and found them
in the broiling sun, being scalped, and the blood oozing
from their heads, he thought it the most sickening sight he
ever beheld; and made him declare vengeance against the
tawny tribe, pet or no pet. He always said that it was
the pets that done the deed, for as they were returning with
the men to the block-house, three of the half-breeds came
in sight armed and painted, contrary to orders. The
horsemen took after them, and succeeded in stopping them,
but the Commander would not let the Post Guard come up
in shooting distance, lor he knew there would have been
three red-skins less in double quick.

The officers let them go with some good promises on their
part, not to be found there arrayed again. After reaching
the block-house, they (the Thomas') were put into the hands
of the citizens, that conveyed them to their homes and
final resting place, as you have it recorded. At Roundhead
there was a large village of those pets or friendly Indians,
as they were called, and an order was sent out from the
Post, to have them come in on a certain day, but the day
came and none made their appearance; the second day none.
The third day a deputation started after them, but they met
them in sc^uads coming in. They were old men, women and
children, all the warriors had gone to fight for the British,
except a few young men that had charge of affairs. When
they reached the village, all had left but one, and he dodged
out of sight in a moments time. About all that was accom-
plished, was to show that while we were taking care of their
families, the warriors were fighting against us.

Time passed on, the war ended, and when I reached my
fourteenth year, I went to visit an uncle that lived on what
was called the Block-house farm. The house was in rather

1 6 History of Ha ncock Coil n tij.

a dilapidated couditiou, the roof off aud half the upper
story had l)eeii removed. It brought to miud mauy iuci-
dents that I had heard my father relate thirty-six years ago.
I left the place of my nativity and settled in what was called
the Black Hawk })urchase, or Iowa. Had not been here
Ions: before I heard of the Thomas familv havinn" settled at
Cascade, where the son of a In-other of the Captain, and
son alluded to, owned a fine mill proi)erty, and in the course
of some three years I went to his mill, where I saw the
whole family, the widow, her son and three or four daugh-
ters, all married except the widow. She never married, or
at least not to that time. Thomas sold his mill and went
further west, and I have lost sight of him. I always like to
cherish in memory those who have suffered in their coun-
try's cause.

But I Avill close.

Yours in Pioneer Friendship,


The Lakes, and Greers, aud Elders, and Hamlins formed
a settlement at the present site of ^It. Blanchard, in one of
the most beautiful and fertile portions of the county. And
today, around the town of Mt. Blanchard, are some of the
most valuable farms in the county.

Wilson Vance, and Carlin, and Hamilton and Johnston
and the Chamberlains, with others, formed the settlement
of Findley and vicinity, aud in casting their lots here, they
were not disappointed, in the fertility of the soil, in the
natural advantages of the location, or in their estimate of
the future of the town.

The McKinnis, the Poes, the Fishels and other kindred
spirits, formed a settlement down the river from Findley,
in a most beautiful part of the county, aud it was not long

The McKin n is, Dukes, a 12 d Todd SettVni'ts. 1 7

until these taniilies uf hardy stalwart men and women were
known for their hospitality and bravery.

Morelaud and Helms and a few other families formed a
settlement in the south part of the county, where their in-
dustry and energy enabled them to soon open up the coun-
try, and wdiere they resided many years, respected by all
who knew them, for their honesty and fair dealing.

A little later along perhaps, a settlement w^as formed
still further dow^u the river than was the McKinnis settle-
ment, by the Dukes brothers, John, Richard and Lewis,
and by the Moffitts, and the Downings, and Groves, and
Davis. These men, all farmers, w^ere fortunate in the se-
/lection of their lands, and to-day there is not a richer
region of country in north-western Ohio than is this same
Dukes settlement. Farms of unsurpassed loveliness; acres
of most productive lands, bordering on the Blanchard River
on either side ; lirst-class farm buildings; lands in the high-
est state of cultivation, all tell of the industry, economy
and good managament of these broad acres.

Todd, and Kalb, and Algire and other families settled at
or near the site of the village of McComb. These families,
true pioneers, made for themselves homes, and where was
one unbroken w'ilderness, now stands the prosperous vil-
lage of McComb. xA.nd a few of these first settlers, these
frontiersmen of half a century ago, are still alive, and look
with just pride upon the results of their labor.

And as it is in all new' countries, so here the bold emi-
grant bought his land, built his cabin, and then addressed
himself to the more serious business of reclaiming the lands,
and making for himself and his family a home.

At this time no one thought of any law but that of doing
to others, as thev would others should do to them, and of

18 History of Hancock Countii,

dealing honestly with all men, of fulfilling every promise,
of redeeming every pledge, of rendering to his neighbor,
without hope of fee or reward, that assistance which was
necessary. But of course this state of affairs could not
last long. The time would come when these settlements
must be organized into political divisions, and when rulers
must be elected. Not so much perhaps by reason of any
real necessity, on the part of the inhabitahts, but because
the state had some claims on the people. For the protec-

Online LibraryDaniel Barna BeardsleyHistory of Hancock county [Ohio] from its earliest settlement to the present time, together with remeiniscenses of pioneer life, incidents, statistical tables, and biographical sketches → online text (page 1 of 30)