Henry James Lee.

Portrait and biographical record of Guernsey County, Ohio, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with biographies and portraits of all the p online

. (page 46 of 83)
Online LibraryHenry James LeePortrait and biographical record of Guernsey County, Ohio, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with biographies and portraits of all the p → online text (page 46 of 83)
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build two rude log cabins, which were located about
twenty rods southwest of the present smokestack
of the Sugar Creek Salt Works. The said works
now occupy the very location of the old grist and
saw mill. In one of the log cabins Christian kept
"b.ichelor's hall" for about ten years. During that
period he passed through many privations of pio-
neer life, in the building of the Sugar Creek dam,
the saw and grist mill and in developing the newly
laid out village of Dover. The hewed-log grist-
mill was for years the only one within a radius of
fifty miles. Patrons came from far and near with
ox carts and pack saddle horses loaded with grists
of grain to be ground into flour of corn-meal. In
1816 he built a two-story frame dwelling on town
lot No. 8, which served as a dwelling-house, postof-
fice, and store for the sale of general merchandise.
He also served as the first Postmaster of the place.
He was married in 1817, and immediately moved
into this house, which was ever a welcome, hospita-
ble home to everybody, and as some one said, "The
Judge has a mill and plenty to eat; let us enjoy
his iiospitality." In this house all their children
were born, but twenty years later an elegant brick
residence was erected on Wooster Avenue, where
the parents lived during the remainder of their

Previous to organizing and separating the coun-
ty of Tuscarawas from- Muskingum, the territory
was little more than a howling wilderness, the hab-
itation of Indians, bears, wolves, 'coons, foxes, deer
and venomous reptiles. The country was sparsely
settled, and along the water courses, which were
full of choice fish, Indian trails were the only visi-
ble forest roads. In 1807 the tide of emigrants
from the East began to flow in rapidly, occupying
Government land on the north, west and south
sides of the river. That year the father of our sub-
ject laid out the town of Dover on the joint land
purchase, built a hewed-log tavern on lot No. 1, es-
tablished a ferry-boat to cross the Tuscarawas
River, and in many ways aided in developing the
county; he also built the water-mill and sawmil
named above. This structure was first erected oi
the banks of Sugar Creek, about one mllo fron
Dover; but about twenty-two years later the Ohio
Canal was laid out and constructed, and the wa-



tcr of the creek was wanted as a source of suppl}-
for the canal. This necessitated tiie abandonment
of the old mill, and later, in 1832, a large niercliant-
mill, with four run of French burrs, was built at a
more convenient point, located between the Tus-
carawas River and Ohio Canal, now within the cor-
porate limits of the town. Jesse Slingluff died in
1836, when followed a division of the personal and
real estate. Christian Deardorff chose the mer-
chant-mill and land in the division, and he contin-
ued in his extensive business for the rest of his
life. In 1808 he was appointed Associate Judge of
the Court of Common Pleas, and so well and satis-
factorily did he fulfill the duties of the responsi-
ble position that he was retained in ollicc for six-
teen years. In 1812 he volunteered and was Pay-
master during tlie war. lie was very popular in his
district, and in 182;) was elected to the Legislature,
being one of the active promoters in establishing
the Ohio Canal improvement. He was a Whig in
politics, and in 1841 was a candidate of that partj'
for Congressman, and was only defeated by a small
majority. Hon. Christian Deardorff departed this
life September 10, 1851, greatly mourned by all
who knew him, and is buried with his wife and
children in the family lot in the old cemeter}' at
Canal Dover. He was a man of sterling worth,
and public enterprise, and was most affectionately
regarded in the community.

The maiden name of our subject's mother was
Margaret R. Butt. Slie was a native of York Coun-
ty, Pa., in which state her parents were also born.
They became residents of Muskingum County, now
Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in May, 1806, and here
William Butt became the proprietor of twelve hun-
dred acres of land, a portion of which lay in what
is now Goshen Townslii|), and the remainder in
Dover Township. He cleared and cultivated this
estate in a very profitable manner, and became one
of the most influential and wealthy residents of the
county. His wife died in 1814, and he lived until
1824. They are both buried in the Pleasant Hill
Cemeter}' in Dover Township. Both were known
as very devoted Christians, and frequent religious
services were held in their cabin and liarn. Will-
iam Butt, together with his four brothers, Jacob,
Benjamin, John and Joseph, volunteered when liv-

ing in York, Pa., and served as soldiers in the Con-
tinental arm}', thus rendering their countrj' valua-
ble service. Gen. John Butt, of New Philadelphia,
a brother of our subject's mother, was a noted mil-
itiaman and had command of the county militia.
He had been a member of the Legislature, also held
the office of Sheriff, and at the time of his death was
Justice of the Peace. Another brother, William,
was a prominent preacher in the Methodist Epis-
copal Church.

Returning to the history of Judge Deardorff,
we learn that by his untiring industry and per-
severance he developed his two thousand, one
hundred and seventy-five acres of land, built
house and barns, a bridge across the river, mills,
tanyard, smitli-shop and conducted a general mer-
cantile establisiiment, and was the foster-father of
the town's development, as his partner seldom came
to the state of Ohio. This was a gigantic under-
taking, but, nothing daunted, he began the arduous
task, and in a few years was proud of the results of
his labors. Dover was at that time an obscure
small village in the woods, and not until the com-
pletion of the Ohio Canal was it a place of note.
In the fall of 1829, water was turned in, and the
canal corai)leted.

In the following spring, navigation was opened
to Cleveland. A grand old-fashioned huzza was
given, not only to the first boat that arrived, but
later others were greeted with many hearty cheers.
A canal-boat at that time was looked upon as a big
tiling. Dover still later was noted .as the second city
in importance in the purchasing and shipping of
wheat and flour. The citizens of Canal Dover will
ever rejoice at the forethought and wisdom dis-
pLayed in locating the town so favorabi}', with its
beautiful environments, its picturesqueness of sur-
rounding scenery, replete with undulating hills,
valleys and extended plains of fertility, and bound-
ed on the east with the crystal waters of the Tus-

To Christian and Margaret R. Deardorff were
born eight children: Jesse S., Isaac N., George B.,
Charles F., Upton C, Mary C, Joseph B. and Will-
iam F. They are all living with the exception
of William and Chr.rles. Jesse S. Deardorff was
born in Dover (later called Canal Dover), and



remembers when there were but ten houses in the
village, and deer, wolves, 'coons, foxes and other
wild game were a common sight. This (iity now
has a ijopulation of four thousand, is a large man-
ufacturing place, and has several large churches and
schools. His first school days were spent in New
Philadelphia. Later a school was established in
Dover. Subsequently,. however, we find him a stu-
dent of Kenyon College, and later still he entered
the college at New Athens.

Before completing his education, our subject's
father's mercantile partnership was dissolved, and
this necessitated his assuming the management
'of his interest in this business. Later he was in-
terested in the manufacture of woolen goods,
was one of the projectors and proprietors of two
salt works near Canal Dover, and carried on a
thriving business as merchant, miller and dealer in
produce. .Energetic, honest, progressive and up-
right, he has succeeded in life, and is now enjoy-
ing the fruits of his prudence, surrounded witli
luxuries and enjoying the confidence and esteem
of a host of warm friends. While living in Canal
Dover, he was elected Mayor of the city, and for
some time was also a working and valued member
of the School Board. In politics he was first a
AVhig, casting his first Presidential vote for Will-
iam Henry Harrison ; but on the formation of the
Republican party, he joined its ranks and lias ever
since voted for its candidates. In religious affairs
he is one of the active members of the Moravian
Church at Canal Dover, which he regularly attends
and contributes liberally to its support. Socially
he belongs to the Odd Fellows' fraternity, which
he represented in the grand lodge, and with which
he has been connected since 1849.

J. S. Deardorfif was united in marriage in East
Cleveland, April 14, 1816, to Anna B., daughter
of the Kev. A. McReynolds and Susannah (Hodge)
McReynolds, who was born August 21, 1825, in
Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland. To them
liavc been born the following-named children:
P^ugene A., for eighteen years assistant Cashier in
the Citizens' National Bank of New Philadelphia;
Horace A., who is engaged in the mercantile bus-
iness in Pittsburg; Isaac L., a produce broker, who
also makes his home iu that city; and Charles, El-

mer and Ernest, who died young. A devoted wife
and mother, a faithful member of the Moravian
Church, Mrs. Deardorff came to Canal Dover with
her parents in 1844. She was a graduate of William
Bross' Female Seminary at Deckertown, N. J., and
was rarely gifted in song and instrumental music and
mental culture. She was foremost in all Christian
and benevolent works in the church and neigh-
borhood, and aided her husband greatly in attaining
his present high standing in the community. She
died July 25, 1877, and is buried by the side of
her mother and sister, Martha, and her three chil-
dren in the family lot in the old cemetery in Canal
Dover. Her parents immigrated in her infancy from
Stewartstown, Ireland, to the United States in 1827.
Her father's ancestors were Scotch-Irish Presby-
terians, and joined the army under William, Prince
of Orange, and heroically participated in the vic-
torious battle of the Boyne. Large confiscated
estates were conferred upon him for his acknowl-
edged valor. Of A. McReynolds' grandfather's
sons, some were noted physicians, one settled in
London and one in Moneymore, north of Ireland,
and still another makes his home in Stewartstown,
County Tyrone, Ireland, and one is a colonel in the
English army.


BENJAMIN GIFFEE. That our subject is
one of the shrewdest and wealthiest agri-
culturists of Guernsey Countj' is shown
by the success which has crowned his efforts, for
he is now living retired from active work of any
kind, on his valuable farm, comiirising fourteen
hundred and thirty-seven acres, all of which, with
the cxce[)tion of one hundred and thirty-seven
acres, lies in Oxford Township. Upon this farm
he raises large numbers of sheci) and cattle. He
is a man of much practical business talent and
(inancial ability, and his extensive possessions are
a standing monument to the energy which he has
l)ul forth in the labors of his life, and the good
judgment which has characterized his efforts. His



high standing among his fellow-men is equally
high proof of his worth as a neighbor and citizen.

Mr. Giffce was born in Oxford Township, Janu-
ary 18, 1821, and is the son of Benjamin and Han-
nah (Gilliland) Gififee, who were married Septem-
ber 6, 1804. The father was a native of Maryland,
and the mother's birth occurred in Virginia. Ben-
jamin Giffee came to Oxford Township in a very
early day, and entered from the Government the
land on a portion of which our subject now re-
sides. He was engaged in farm pursuits all his
life, and both in liis business success and the posi-
tion which he occupied in the community was an
example of what a man can accomplish providing
he possesses energy, pluck and good judgment,
coupled with the confidence and respect of the
people among whom he ma^- live.

Benjamin and Hannah Giffee were the parents
of ten children, of whom our subject was the
youngest but one. Of the other members of the
family: Elizabeth, who was born January 29, 1805,
died November 17, 1892; James, born March 14,

1807, died in March, 1871; Sarah, born May 23,

1808, died December 30, 1828; Susanna, born Oc-
tober 17, 1809, died April 26, 1833; Josiah, born
April 3, 1811, died August 30, 1889; Mason, born
March 11, 1813, died September 9,1821; Perry,
born August 20, 1814, died November 12,1833;
Ruth, born June 24, 1818, died October 23, 1841;
and Hannah, born December 5, 1822, died in the
fall of 1892.

The father of our subject dying when he was
quite 3'oung, he was not permitted to spend much
time in attending school, but early in life com-
menced to paddle his own canoe. On attaining
mature years lie came in for his share of tlie
original entry of land, receiving as his portion
about twenty-five acres. That he has been suc-
cessfni in cultivating the soil is hardly necessary
to say, as we have already recorded tiic fact that
he is now the proud possessor of nearly fifteen
hundred acres of tiie fertile land for which Guern-
863' is noted, all of which is the result of liis own
labors, excepting tlie insignificant amount which
he inherited. He has an excellent britk residence
situated a half-mile south of Fairview.

Mr. Giffee and Miss Eliza L. Kennon were mar-

ried March 29, 1867. The lady is the daughter
of James and Rose A. (Kennon) Kennon, and was
born in Oxford Township February 2, 1839. She
has become the mother of three children: Albert,
who was born June 6, 1870, and died October 6,
1881; Leannaj born February 3, 1872; and Josiah B.,
June 21, 1877. The living members of the house-
hold are at home and are being given the best ad-
vantages for obtaining an education which it is in
the power of their parents to bestow. Mr. and
Mrs. Giffee are members of the Methodist Episco-
pal Churcli, and conscientiously live up to what
they believe to be right. Politically the former is
a stanch Republican, and therefore casts his vote
with that party. He takes a leading part in local
affairs and is devoted to the best interests of the
community. He has made many friends during
his long residence in this county, who esteem him
highly for his worth and upright character.


OLIVER P. LECHNER, one of the native
sons of Mineral Point, Ohio, is serving his
third term as an Alderman of the place.
Since August 8, 1889, he has been an engineer
for the Tunnel Mining Company, and for many
years prior to that time ran locomotive, stationary
and portable engines for various manufacturing
concerns or railroads. He is an expert mechanic
and thoroughly acquainted with all parts of the

The paternal grandfather of our subject, Michael
Lechner, was born in York Countv, Pa., in 1777,
and served in the War of 1812. He was a miller
by trade, but for a time after coming to Ohio, in
1826, engaged in farming in Stark County, later,
however, returning to milling. He died at the
age of fifty -seven years, firm in the faith of the
Lutheran Church, in which he had been reared.
His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Rider,
and to them were born three children: George;
Jeremiah; and Joseph, of Elkhart County., Ind.



After the death of Michael Lechner his widow be-
came the wife of Joseph Young, and her death oc-
curred in Indiana, at the age of eighty-four years.

George Lechner, the father of Oliver P., was born
in York County, Pa., and was reared to farm life.
In 1826, when a young man, he came to Ohio, set-
tling in Stark County. There he was married, in
1846, to Matilda Firestone, and soon afterward
came to this locality, where he bought one hundred
and sixty acres. He improved the farm, and sixty
acres of the land has since been platted and a part
of this sold to the railway company. He made the
first addition to the village in company with Al-
fred Davis, and leased some of his land to a mining
company. In politics he was a strong Republican,
and twenty years he served as Township Trustee.
He w.is born in 1820, and died June 3, 1889. His
wife was born in Pennsylvania and was tlie daugh-
ter of Mathias Firestone, of Gi'rman birth. He set-
tled in .Stark County, this slate, at an early day, and
engaged in farming until shortly before his death,
at the age of seventy years. Six children were
born to George and Matilda Lechner, namely':
Catherine, Mrs. Philip Furney, of Sandy Township;
Charit}', wlio became the wife of Sam Cunningham,
and died at Malvern, Stark County, leaving two
daughters; Osee, Mrs. Emanuel Sweaney, of Sandy-
ville; Joseph M., Oliver P. and Jennie.

Oliver P. Lechner was born September 20, 1856,
and was brought up on a farm, receiving a district-
school education. When eighteen years old he
began working for himself and, going to Alliance,
entered the employ of the Ft. Wayne Railroad
Company. Familiar witli maciiinery, he afterward
ran locomotive, stationary and portable engines,
and is a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers. Owing to his industry and tlirift, lie
has become well-to-do, and owns several pieces of
property in this village. He has also constructed
three houses in tiie place, and in other ways has as-
sisted in the local welfare.

September 6, 1883, Oliver Lechner married Miss
Isabel Fiance, who was born in Carroll County,
just across the line from this county, October 22,
1859. Her parents, Michael and Catherine (All-
baugh) France, were natives of the Keystone State,
but came to Ohio in an early day with their re-

spective parents and were among the first settlers
of Carroll County. Michael France was a wagon-
maker by trade, but followed farming during the
last years of his life, his death having occurred
on the nth of June, 1892, at the age of sixty-
nine years. He was twice married, by his first
union having had five children, namely: Mary E.,
who died when six raontlis old; John D.; Amanda,
wife of George Houseiiolder; Ann, who became Mrs.
Jacob G. Householder; and Isabel, who became the
wife of our subject. The mother of these children,
who was a devoted member of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church, died March 1, 1861. Her husband
afterward married Elizabeth Householder.but there
were no children by that union. Michael France
was a son of John France, who was born in the
Keystone State and passed his last years in Ohio.
He reared four sons and three daughters, as fol-
lows: William, George, Alex, Michael, Mary, Eliza
Ruthledge and Susan Waltz, now deceased. The
eldest daughter, Mary, was twice married, first to
John Domer and later to Alex Huston.

To our subject and his wife has been born one
child, Loren Loree, born July 24, 1894. Mrs.
Lechner is a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, to wliiehshe has belonged for fifteen years,
and with the denon>ination her parents were also
connected. In his political belief Mr. Lechner is
a supporter of the Republican part3'. Both he arid
his wile enjoy the friendship and good-will of a
large circle of neighbors and acquaintances.


THOMAS McKAHAN. The gentleman to
whom we call the attention of our readers
is a prominent and influential farmer of
Jefferson Township, Guernsey County, where he
operates an excellent estate of one hundred and
twenty acres, all well improved. He is a well edu-
cated man, and an expert in the art of spelling,
winning as'a prize, over twenty years ago, Web-
ster's Unabridged Dictionary at a spelling "bee"
conducted at Washington, this state.

Daniel McKahan, the father of our subject, was



a native of County Deny, Ireland, born in 1771.
His wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Mc-
Conneli, was a native of County Down, Ireland,
her birth occurring in 1780. This lady was ten
years old when she undertook the journey to
America, and was married to Daniel McKahan in
1818. She came to America in 1790, locating at
once in Chester County, Pa., whence she soon after
removed to Brooke County, W. Va. Her husband
located in Washington County, Pa.

The parental family included three children, of
whom Thomas was the youngest. Robert was
born March 30, 1819, and is a surveyor, making
his home in Cambridge, tliis county; James was
born June 5, 1820, and was located on a fine farm
near Kimbolton, in Wheeling Township, until his
death, in 1869. Thomas was born in Washington
County, Pa., February 24, 1823. His parents be-
ing fairly well-to-do, he was given the opportu-
nity of attending the schools taught in the district,
and when nineteen years of age was considered
competent to teach. This profession he followed
for live years during the winter season.

Three years after attaining his majority, Thomas
McKahan was married to Miss Margaret, the daugh-
ter of John and Mary (Marshall) McMillen, and
for twelve years farmed in the Keystone State.
His removal to Ohio was undertaken in 1859, at
which time he settled in Guernsey County, Ohio.
Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. McKahan,
Mary, born June 15, 1848, married Ilirain Gunn
in April, 18GC; Eliza, born July 24, 1851, married
John II. Ford, and tliey reside in Dakota; Siusanna,
born April 15, 1854, became tiie wife of Jonathan
Patterson, and is living in Centre Township, this
county. The wife and mother died June 14. 1855,
and our subject later married Ellen, daughter of
James and Isabel (Carnes) Bell, of IMonroe Town-
ship. Of the children of this union, IMargaretta,
born on tlie 11th of February, 1857, married Rob-
ert T. McCullough, and their seven children are
Ella, born October 14, 1877; Thomsis L., March 14,
1878; Robert G., September 25, 1882; Laura 15.,
February 25, 1884; Chalmer, May 18, 1887; Vic- j
toria, January 26, 1892; and Lida B., October 6,
1893. Belle McKahan, the second daughter, was
born October 9, 1860, and married Henry S.

Adair; their one child, Adrian R., w.as born March
4, 1884. Nannie was born October 31, 1864,
and married Joseph C. McNeal, September 24,
1891. Their family comprise a daughter and son:
Laura L, born September 12, 1892; and R.alph C,
February 25, 1894.

James Bell, the father of Mrs. McKahan, was
born in Ireland in 1789, while his wife, who was
also a native of that country, was born in 1801.
They were married in the Emerald Isle, and on
coming to America, in 1825, first located u\ Balti-
more. Later they moved to a place near the city
of Pittsburg, Pa., and in 1842 took up the line of
march to Guernsey County. On arriving here
they leased a piece of land, which Thomas Mc-
Kahan later purchased, and this property is still in
the possession of the family, and is one of the
most productive farms in the county.

During the late war our subject enlisted as a
member of Company B, Ninety -seventh Ohio In-
fantry, and was mustered into service August 7,
1862. He remained in that regiment until the
following year, when he was transferred to the in-
valid corps, where he served for more than two
years. His term of enlistment expiring, he again
offered his services to his country, and was accept-
ed, this preventing liis returning home until the
close of the war. He was discharged November
11, 1865, and soon afterward mustered out of serv-
ice. During the years spent in the army he saw
much suffering, and with his comrades passed
through many hardships and privations. He de-
serves a great amount of praise for sacrificing so
much in order that lie might do what he could
to sustain his country's honor, as when he left
home his farm was left in charge of his wife and
five daugiiters, who managed it in a very com-
mendable manner. William Bell, a brother of Mrs.
McKahan, served as a member of the Eightieth
Regiment during the entire period of hostilities,
and during this time participated in all the marches
and battles in which his company was ordered to
engage. Henry Bell, a brother, w.as also in the

Our subject and his estimable wife are members
in good standing of the Baptist Ciiurch, with
which the former has been connected for half a



century, and Mis. McKahan for thirty-seven years.
Tlie former was Justice of the Peace for twelve
years, and served liis townsliip in the capacity of
Clerk and Treasurer for a term of four years each.
Although in early life a Democrat, Mr. McKahan
now supports Republican principles. The county

Online LibraryHenry James LeePortrait and biographical record of Guernsey County, Ohio, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with biographies and portraits of all the p → online text (page 46 of 83)