Stillman Carter Larkin.

The pioneer history of Meigs County online

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dict; they moved to Kansas in 1856, and Mrs. Benedict died
there. Emily Simpson, the wife of Lucius Bingham, of Rut-
land, Ohio; Sarah Ann Simpson was married to Jeremiah
Carpenter, of Columbia township and became the mother of
a distinguished family; she died in 1887, aged eighty years and
four months. .i

Amos Carpenter, Sr., came from Virginia at an early period
and settled in Rutland township. About 1818 he sold his farm
there and bought a valuable tract of land in Columbia town-
ship. Mrs. Carpenter's name was McLaughHn. They spent j
their last days on this farm, leaving a fine estate to their chil- (

John Newell and family came from Massachusetts in 1815
to Fairfield county, Ohio. He had bought land in Bedford
township, Meigs county, four miles from the nearest house,
and did not move his family to his land until 1819, after he
had cleared it and many families had settled in the neighbor- j
hood. Mr. Newell was a tanner and shoemaker.

Mr. Newell died suddenly October 14th, 1839. Mrs. Newell
died in 1871. They had a large family of sons and daughters.
Sally was married to Silas Burnap and was the mother of
Silas Asa Burnap, captain of an Ohio battery in the Civil War. ■
Harriet became the wife of Milton Walker, moved to Illinois ;
both died. Dolly Newell married Benjamin Knight, of Ches-
ter, who was a justice of the peace for twenty years; he died
February 16th, 1872. Rebecca Newell married Quartus Bridge-
man, of Syracuse, who died in the forties, leaving a family of
six children — four sons and two daughters.


Pioneer History of Meigs County 123

The Newell sons : Alonzo, who married Fanny Dyke and
moved to Oregon, where they both died. Franklin Newell
moved to the South, married and then died there. His son,
Samuel Newell married Almira Knight, and their son is editor
and proprietor of a newspaper in Ravenswood, W. Va. The
third generation of the Newell family were all first class citi-
zens in Meigs county. Mrs. Rebecca Bridgeman lost two sons
in the war for the Union, Emory and Austin Bridgeman, who
perished on that ill-fated steamboat, Sultana, at Vicksburg,
Miss. Zelda Bridgeman married John Blair, superintendent
of the Syracuse Coal and Salt Works, Meigs county. They
are both dead.

Lonnis H. Bridgeman married Artemesia Young, of Racine.
He was connected with the Syracuse Coal and Salt Company
for many years and superintendent of the works after the
resignation of Mr. John Blair. Mr. Lonnis H. Bridgeman has
\ ever been an earnest and successful superintendent of the
Methodist Sunday school in Syracuse and in later years super-
intendent of the district of the State Sunday School Union.

Quartus Bridgeman married Jessie McElroy, daughter of
Captain J. C. McElroy, and occupied the homestead, his
mother remaining there until her death. He is identified with
the best interests of the town and a worker in the Methodist
church and Sunday school.

Melinda Bridgeman died some years ago, the youngest
child, unmarried.

Rev. Eli Stedman was born in Tunbridge, Vt., August 17th,
}j 1777, and was married to Polly Gates, December 5th, 1798.
She was born February 19th, 1778. They came to Ohio in
1804, locating in Belpre, Washington county, but removed to
Leading creek in 1805. He was a preacher of the Free Will
Baptist denomination.

Mary Stedman, daughter of Eli Stedman and wife, was born
June 16th, 1805, and was married to Abner Stout, of Chester,

124 Pioneer History of Meigs CouNrv

February 27th, 1825. Mr. Abner Stout died August 28th,
1875, and Mrs. Mary Stout died May 30th, 1882. They were
both estimable people and highly respected in the community. '

Auralia Stedman was a daughter of Eli Stedman and wife, <
and was born June 22d, 1815, in Rutland, Ohio. She was
married to Mr. Branch, of Chester, who died, leaving her a
widow with two children. Afterwards Mrs. Branch was mar-
ried to Mr. Bartlett Paine, of Rutland. She died May 27th,
1889, aged nearly seventy- four years.

Alexander Stedman, son of Eli Stedman, was born in 1800 ^
and died in Minnesota in 1869.

Elihu Stedman was the youngest child of Eli Stedman and
wife. He married Adaline Elliott, daughter of Simeon Elliott,
Esq., and a sister of Rev. Madison Elliott, at one time prin-
cipal of the Chester Academy. Elihu Stedman lived in Middle-
port many years, but moved to Iowa. Both, are dead. '

Captain Jesse Hubbell was born September 25th, 1788, in
Cooperstown, N. Y., founded by the father of James Fenni-
more Cooper, the novelist. He served an apprenticeship to
the tanning business. In 1808 he came to Rutland, Ohio,
where for a long series of years he followed his trade. He was '
a soldier in the War of 1812, serving under General W, H.
Harrison, and was familiarly called Captain Hubbell on ac-
count of the years spent in military service. He was justice
of the peace six years and one of the trustees of Rutland town-
ship eighteen years. He married Nancy Smith, a daughter of
Noah Smith and his wife. They had two daughters, Lurinda
Hubbell was the wife of Curtis Larkin, who died about
1847; Sarah Hubbell, who was married to John Easterday.

Captain, Jesse Hubbell died October 17th, 1874, aged eighty-
six years.

Seneca Haight was born in Washington, Dutchess county,
N. Y. He came to Rutland, Ohio, in 1835. He held several
offices of trust — as township clerk two years, commissioner

Pioneer History of Meigs County 125

one term and justice of the peace nine years. He had two
daughters. Phebe Ann Haight was married to James Wil-
liamson, of Buffington Island; died in the eighties. Mary
Haight was the wife of William Skirvin. Both are dead.

Mr. Seneca Haight died November 23rd, 1855, aged fifty-
nine years.

Stephen Titus was born in Dutchess county, N. Y., June
20th, 1796, and moved to Meigs county in 1833, and was mar-
Ijrried to Margarhetta Lois Nye, daughter of Melzar Nye, of
Leading creek, December 18th, 1836. He was an active, ener-
getic citizen. He represented this county in the Legislature
in 1840-41. He was president of the Meigs County Agricul-
tural Society and was president of that society six of the first
years of its organization. He died at his residence in Rutland
rSeptember 13th, 1871, aged seventy-five years, universally
respected and lamented. They had four children, Samuel,
Phebe, Margaret and George.

Mrs. Stephen Titus was no ordinary woman. With a per-
fect physique, fine mental equipment, a thoroughly decided
moral attitude for country and for God, she was a "perfect
woman, nobly planned." She was a member of the Presby-
terian Church in Rutland for seventy-seven years; also a mem-
ber of the Pioneer Association of Meigs county. She died
October 31st, 1907, aged ninety-two years and two months.
Her home was with her son, George Titus, in the old home-
stead. He is quite a prominent farmer; was sherifif of the
county one or two terms.

, Major Samuel Titus was a soldier in the Civil War and lost
an arm. Margaret died in January, 1902. Phebe, Mrs. Glea-
son, lives in Kansas.

Melzar Nye purchased land from Ebenezer Nye in 1809, situ-
ated below the mouth of Leading creek, but did not make a
bome there until 1826, when he came to Meigs county with
ais family. There were five daughters and one son, Melzar

126 Pioneer History of Meigs County

Nye, Jr. The daughters: Sarah became the wife of Lewis
Maguet, of GalHpoHs. Margarhetta was married to Stephen
Titus and lived in Meigs county. Mary Nye was married
twice; first husband, Nicholas Titus, and after his death theC
second husband was James Brown.

Alvira Nye and Almira were twin sisters. Alvira was Mrs.
Thomas Fessler and lived on the Nye farm, where Mr. Fessler
died. Almira Nye was married to Mr. Gates, of Gallia county.
Melzar Nye, Jr., moved to Mississippi. Prominent members
of the community while in Meigs county. All are gone. 1

Lewis Nye entered land in 1809. Nial Nye, Sr., lived at the
mouth of Kerr's run, before Meigs county was organized.
He had a family of sons and daughters. The sons: Lewis, i
Rodolcue, Milton, Buckingham, Edward and Henry, He had >|
a store, and a postofifice called Nyesville, of which Mr. Nye
was the postmaster; a boat landing for receiving and shipping
goods to Chester and other places ; a sawmill that was in op-
eration many years. Lewis Nye and Aaron Murdoch were i
successors of Haven & Stackpole in the steam flouring mill ; j
later Lewis Nye moved west. Milton Nye went to a Western '
State. Rodolcue lived and died in Meigs county. Edward
Nye died. His two sons are prosperous business men in

Murrain. — One of the greatest difficulties with which the \
early settlers had to contend was a disease affecting cattle,-
and causing much loss, was known as murrain. There were
two kinds ; one called dry murrain was the most prevalent, in
which the manifolds became fevery and dry, and stopped all^
natural passages. The animal would linger a few days ift
great distress and die. |

The other form was called bloody murrain and consisted of
internal hemorrhages that generally proved fatal.

Many remedies were tried with little success. The mur-
rain gradually disappeared after 1820.

Pioneer History of Meigs County 137

Abel Larkin was unable to raise a yoke of oxen before that
time without at least one of them dying with murrain.

It is said that Daniel Rathburn lost eighteen head of cattle
in one season with murrain.

William Parker came to Rutland in 1804, and built a cabin,
and in 1805 moved his family from Marietta, bringing with
him three yoke of oxen, and the nigh ox out of each yoke,
died of murrain. Good steers were the only property com-
manding cash in those days. Drovers would buy them at a
low rate and drive them on foot to the eastern markets. They
were not bought by weight, but by the head, according to
rterms agreed upon by the parties.

I Another singular and disagreeable disease, though not fatal,
was that of slabbers in horses. They would stand, while a copi-
ous flow of saliva would issue from the mouth until puddles of
Hwater would collect at their feet. The horse would become thin
in flesh, and his strength be greatly diminished. The disorder
came immediately after the introduction of the white clover,
and the cultivation of the grape. Many causes were assigned by
different persons as the cause of the disorder, but it is uncer-
tain if any one discovered the real source of the trouble. It
continued many years and affected other kinds of stock, but
gradually disappeared from the country.



After the first settlement on Leading creek, in the year 1812,
the cicada made their appearance a:nd periodically in seven-
• een years subsequently, as in 1812, 1829, 1846 and 1880. There
seemed to be districts or locations where the locusts were seen
n great numbers in these seventeen-year dates. The east and
ivest lines between these two districts crossed the Ohio river
aear the mouth of Old Town creek, thence back into West
Wriginia at or near Racine, Ohio, and back into Ohio at Silver

128 Pioneer History of Meigs County

run, passing north of Cheshire in GalHa county and moving
on to Scioto county. There is a curiosity about the Hne of the
two districts that they continued nearly straight without re-
gard to the crooked Ohio river. They made their first ap-A
pearance from the 15th to the 20th of May, according to
warmth or coolness of the season, and remained about forty-
five days before they all disappeared. The males belong to
the "drum corps," while the female pierces the small twigs
and limbs of trees and deposits her eggs. These in due time
fall upon the earth, where they remain for another period of •'
seventeen years, to mature their growth for a few days' work
in the sunshine, which seems necessary to continue the ex-
istence of their species.

These cicada were destructive to young orchards as well as [
other green and growing shrubs. A gentleman in Lebanon
township had an orchard of choice variety of apples, and hear-
ing of these "seventeen-year locusts" just coming into notice,
turned his flock of a hundred geese into his orchard who, de-
vouring the pests as they came up from the ground, protected
and preserved his fruit trees from any damage.

When the first settlers came to Ohio they found great num-
bers of wild turkeys, a large bird seen in flocks in the woods,
but harmless in every way. In the fall of the year nien of the
settlement caught them in pens built of rails from a fence near
by, and generally placed on a side hill, and were about three
feet high, and covered with rails. Then a low place dug at
the lower side of the pen, and extending under, just large
enough for a turkey to enter, would be strewed with a little
shelled corn, leading into the pen where more corn would be
scattered inside. The turkey eating followed the trail into
the pen, and one after another all would go in. When they
wanted to go out, their heads would be up, never looking
down at the entrance hole. A man with a club would go in,
even where the turkeys did, and kill all, or as many as he.^

Pioneer History of Meigs County 129

desired. The meat was fine, and frequently a very large fowl
would be with the flock, so that they furnished many a good
dinner for an emigrant's family. The feathers were not elastic
or flufify, though some attempts were made to use them for
beds and pillows, while the wings and tail feathers were
serviceable for fans and dusters.

The pheasant and quail remained here all the year, but crows
and blackbirds seen in large numbers in the spring and sum-
mer, migrated in the fall. The wild pigeons passed over in
vast numbers when going north or south, in the early or late
season. Large flocks would sometimes tarry for a while in
the fall and select a roosting place, where might be seen
pigeons coming from every direction to stay all night. Men
would sometimes visit those roosts at night and capture many
birds, which were used for food.

The wild goose was often seen by the early settlers, on
their yearly migration from the lakes and swamps of the
South to the lakes and swamps of the North, fleeing the ap-
proach of cold weather in each case. They moved in large
flocks, with a leader to direct their course, following in a
closed-up column in a triangular shape obeying the com-
mand — a singular "honk," uttered by the leader. Southern
Ohio was neutral ground, as none stopped, except a few that
by weakness or some unknown reason strayed from the com-

The crane was a very large bird, not numerous, though fre-
quently seen in warm weather.

The large owl remained in this climate during the year, and
the small owl — "screech owl" — were noted for their habits of
taking chickens from the roosts at night. The large owl made
a peculiar "hoot" at nightfall.

The hawk was another invader of the domestic fowls, in
broad daylight swooping down on a brood of young chickens
and seizing one in his talons, fly away from the distracted

130 Pioneer History of Meigs County

mother hen, and only to be halted by the unerring aim of the

It is not certain when bees were discovered by the first emi-
grants. The hunters were men with strong eyes so that they
could see a bee in flight, and follow it to the tree where the
honey was made and stored, and chopping down the tree to
secure the honey was the sweet reward of the hunters' sight
and patience. Hollow gums were used for domesticating bees,
and some farmers made hives with ropes of straw, sewed to-
gether so as to form a conical shaped hive for bees. Boxes
were made afterwards for the same purpose, until the bee moth
became so destructive that other kinds of hives were invented
and patented for the protection and raising of bees.

Few of the first settlers in Rutland were hunters and did not
use guns. Many of the New England men, also those from
New York, were carpenters, and a few were millwrights. The
first thing to use was an ax, then something to draw wood. If
by oxen, a yoke with a ring in it, to which a hook in a chain
lengthened out to fasten around the end of a log securely to
draw to the place desired.

If horses were used, then ropes or strips of rawhide were fas-
tened to wooden hames, which served as collars. Sleds were
first used, then carts, but wagons were not in general use for
many years, except by some wealthy farmers. In the house,
the woman was furnished with a split brush broom. These
brooms were made of a hickory pole by cutting and peeling
down with a knife splits from the end to make the broom. The
broom corn of later years was not known in those early days.
A chest served for a table till some mill was started and boards
were available, so that cross-legged tables were made and
shelves placed upon pins driven into the logs. A few spiders
and pots to cook with and pewter plates to eat from completed
the assortment. Some families had provided themselves with

Pioneer History of Meigs County 131

home conveniences by bringing things needful from their for-
mer homesteads, but the majority of those first settlers had
come from long distances, poorly equipped for traveling or for
even camp life for a while. Good housewives who had brought
pewter plates from "away back east" could not give them up
without protest to the daughter's innovation of a lot of porce-
lain ware. It was claimed that the knives would all be dull if
used on such plates.

Mr. Daniel Rathburn, who was a carpenter, built a frame
barn without nails. He put everything together with wooden
pins. This was the first frame barn erected on Leading creek.

Wheat was cut with sickles and threshed with flails, and the
grain winnowed by a sheet held by two men, who employed
the wind and their united force to clear the chaff from the


In giving an account of this indispensable article I will in-
troduce an extract from the life of Griffin Green, by S. P. Hil-
dreth. "In 1794, when salt was worth from $6 to $8 a bushel,
he projected an expedition into the Indian country near the
Scioto river for the discovery of the salt springs said to be
worked by the savages near the present town of Jackson. At
the hazard of his life and all those with him, ten or twelve in
number, he succeeded in finding the saline water and boiled
some of it down on the spot in their camp kettle, making about
a tablespoonful of salt. While here he narrowly escaped death
from the rifle of an Indian who discovered them, unobserved by
the party. After peace was concluded, this warrior related the
circumstance of his raising his rifle twice to fire at a tall man
who had a tin cup strung to his girdle on his loins and who
was known to be Mr. Green. As he might miss his object,
being a long shot, and be killed himself, he desisted and hur-
ried back to the Indian village below the present town of Chil-
licothe for aid. A party of twenty warriors turned out in pur-

133 Pioneer History of Meigs County

suit and came on to the bank of the Ohio at Leading creek a
few minutes after the whites had left it with their boat and
were in the middle of the river. They were seen by the men
in the boat, who felt how narrowly and providentially they had

The first settlers here got their salt from these Scioto salt
works. The writer remembers hearing his father tell of taking
a horse and pack saddle and going to the "Scioto Licks," as
they were then called, and working a week for a sack of salt.
His business was drawing salt water by means of a hand pole
affixed to a sweep above. After receiving his wages, put his
salt on the pack saddle and made his way home. Those salt
works were under the superintendency of a state officer, and
by a law passed January 24th, 1804, renters had to pay a tax
of 4 cents per gallon on the capacity of the kettle used in
making salt, provided always that no person or company shall
under any pretense whatever be permitted to use at any time a
greater number of kettles or vessels than will contain 4000 gal-
lons, nor a less number in any one furnace than 600 gallons.
After the salt works on the Kanawha were started the people
here depended on Kanawha for salt, and for many years it was
a place of considerable trade. Young men, on coming of age,
went to Kanawha to chop wood or tend kettles when they
wished to obtain a little money. It was hardly expected to get
money at any other place, and salt seemed to be the medium
by which trade was conducted.

Keelboats were used as a means of transportation, and ship-
ments were made by them of salt to Marietta, Pittsburg and
the lower Ohio. In order to give some knowledge of the origin
and progress of the Kanawha salt business, we append a letter
which appeared in the Niles Register, Baltimore, Md., in April,
1815, and we copy from the Meigs County Telegraph, April,

Pioneer History of Meigs County 133

Kanawha Salt Works.

At the first settlement of this place there was a great "buffalo
lick," as it was called, was discovered where some weak salt
water oozed out of the bank of the river. After some time the
inhabitants sunk hollow gums into the sand and gravel at that
place, into which the water collected, but it was so weak that,
although sufficient quantities might be collected, not more
than two to four bushels were made in a day. After the prop-
erty came into the possession of my brother, Joseph Ruffner,
and myself (by divisee), we were desirous to see the effect of
sinking large sycamore gums as low down as we could force
them. We found great difficulty in this on account of the
water coming in so rapidly. When we got down about eight-
een feet below the surface of the river we discovered that our
gums lodged on a solid, smooth freestone rock, and the water
was but little improved as we descended. We then bored i
hole in the rock about 2^ inches in diameter, the size generally
used subsequently for that purpose. After penetrating the
rock eighteen or twenty feet, we struck a vein of water saltier
than had been attained in this place before. Our neighbors
followed our example and succeeded in obtaining good salt
water in the distance of 2J miles below and four miles above
us on the river. They all have to sink the gums about eighteen
feet to the rock, into which they bore a hole from 100 to 200
feet deep. The rock is never perforated, though the water
seeps into the holes in soft or porous places. The cost of bor-
ing was from $3 to $4 a foot. The first water that is struck in
the augur hole is fresh, or an inferior quality of salt water,
which is excluded by means of copper or tin tubes put down
into the augur hole and secured so that none of the water that
I'' comes in above the lower end of the tube can discharge itself
into the gum, which has a bottom put into it immediately upon
the rock, and is secured in such a manner that no water can
get into the tube except that which comes up through the tube

134 Pioneer History of Meigs County

from below. The water thus gathered in the gum rises about
as high as the surface of the river at high water mark, and it
requires from seventy to 100 gallons of it to make a bushel of
salt. Each well produced on an average a sufificient quantity
of water to make 300 bushels of salt per day. There are now
established and in operation fifty-two furnaces, and more are
being erected, containing from forty to sixty kettles of thirty-
five gallons each, which make from 2500 to 3000 bushels of
salt per day. The quantity may be increased as the demand
shall justify. The wood in the course of time must become
scarce or difficult to obtain, but we have stone coal that can
be used for fuel, and the supply is inexhaustible. These works
are situated six miles above Charleston, Kanawha Courthouse,
sixty-six miles from the mouth of the river and twenty-six
miles below the great falls. The river is navigable, with a gen-
tle current, at all seasons of the year for boats drawing two
feet of water, and at most seasons for boats of any size,
Your obedient, humble servant, David Ruffner.

Kanawha Salt Works, November 8th, 1814.

It appears from old account books that salt rated as high as
$2 per bushel in Rutland township as late as 1820. The first
salt water seen on Leading creek was a small pond of reddish
water, which in dry weather cattle would visit for drink, the
place being near the channel of the creek, about a quarter of a
mile below the old Denny mill, in a bend of Leading creek. In
1820 several of the neighbors brought in their kettles and set
them on a kind of furnace and made of that water one bushel

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Online LibraryStillman Carter LarkinThe pioneer history of Meigs County → online text (page 10 of 16)