Stillman Carter Larkin.

The pioneer history of Meigs County online

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"Daniel and Timothy Smith, with their brother-in-law, Brad-
bury Robinson, came from Vermont in 1805. With their fam-
ilies, household goods, wagons and stock, they floated down
the Ohio river, stopping at Belpre, Big Hocking and Leading
creek. The party, after looking at land and visiting the settle-
ments, concluded to separate. Timothy Smith and family
were landed at Silver run, while Daniel Smith and their
brother-in-law, having purchased their brother's share in the
boat, floated down the river to Cincinnati, Timothy Smith was



148 Pioneer History of Meigs County

born in 1770, and married Polly Conner, who was born in 1772.
They had seven children, as follows : Charlotta Smith, born
May 24th, 1797, and married Elias Jones in October, 1814; she
died October 4th, 1871. John Adams Smith, born February
22nd, 1800, and married Deborah Paine, November 22nd, 1822;
he died January 10th, 1840. Elizabeth Smith, born January
9th, 1802, and married John S. Giles June 7th, 1818; she died
November 8th, 1842. Sarah Smith, born July 10th, 1804, and
married Obadiah Ralph, September 19th, 1822; she died Feb-
ruary 3rd, 1875. Anselin Smith, born in 1806, and died in
1816. Timothy Smith, Jr., born 1810, and died at the age of
nine months. Mary Smith, born December 19th, 1812, and
married Moses R. Matthews, April 10th, 1831 ; she died De-
cember 24th, 1893.

Timothy Smith erected one of the first grist mills in the
county. It was a tread mill, run by horse power, located on the
bank of Silver Run. He also mined the first coal, shipping to
Cincinnati on a raft. John Adams Smith, above mentioned,
was the man arrested by Virginia officials and confined in
Point Pleasant jail for running off slaves, and was rescued by
his Ohio friends in 1824, described in the paper by John S.
Giles, Jr., so ably for the Pioneer Society and published in the
"Telegraph" in 1875.

"In 1823 Hamilton Kerr, living at the mouth of Leading
creek, employed Adams Smith to act as guide for eight col-
ored men who were on their way to Canada, a not infrequent
occurrence for colored persons made free by their masters to
pass through the country on their way to Canada. So Mr.
Smith escorted the colored men to Columbus as hired by Mr.
Kerr, with no thought of wrong doing. The fact was that Kerr
had given aid to colored people, bond or free, to go north.
Slave owners on the Kanawha and on the Ohio river above
Point Pleasant had organized for protection and sent out de-
tectives on both sides of the river. They concluded that Smith
was guilty of aiding escaped slaves. In October, 1824, four



Pioneer History of Meigs County 149

men from Virginia arrested Smith without authority of a war-
rant or law and took him by force into Virginia, and placed
him in close confinement in the jail at Point Pleasant, refusing
bail for him. This gross violation of the most sacred rights of
the citizens of Ohio, showing such contempt for the state's
jurisdiction that it excited universal indignation, and open vio-
lence was threatened to release Smith from his illegal confine-
ment. Many good citizens of Ohio, who had no disposition to
interfere with their Virginia neighbors in holding slaves, had
no doubt often unconsciously aided slaves many times in giv-
ing them food or answering questions as to the points of com-
pass when the traveling black man appeared at their doors, so
it was argued that if one man, like Smith, upon whom suspi-
cion had fallen, could be picked up without form of law and
carried beyond the jurisdiction of the state and there impris-
oned without the right of bail for a supposed criminal offense,
what security was there for others equally exposed? This
argument had its effect upon the excited people, and to the
formation of a vigilance committee, with regular station sig-
nals from Colonel Jones' landing, where the Grant's mill stood,
in Middleport, and from Smith's landing at the mouth of Sil-
ver run out to where John S. Giles lived in Rutland. So per-
fect was the arrangement that by the sound of horns trans-
mitted from station to station, an alarm would circulate over
the route in fifteen minutes if any suspicious person or com-
pany were seen at any of these points. Smith had been de-
tained at Point Pleasant jail six weeks, during which time a
plan had been matured to effect his release by force. John S.
Giles had visited him in jail, ostensibly to take him clothing,
but in fact to notify him of the arrangement and to be ready
at any moment. Information that was considered reliable
came from Point Pleasant of a plot to murder Smith in jail. It
was said that one of the Wagners had put one of his slaves in
the jail with Smith, who, in consideration of his freedom, was
to commit the murder. On receipt of this information hasty






150 Pioneer History of Meigs County

preparations were made to carry into effect the plan for
Smith's release,

"It was secretly arranged that Martin Meeker, William
Hatch, John Woods, David Tyler, Obediah Ralph, William
Terry, Charles Giles and John S. Giles to meet on the bank of
the river at the mouth of Silver run on the evening of a day in
November, 1824. These men were noted among the early set-
tlers for their coolness, courage and great physical strength
and activity. They had taken the greatest precaution in with-
drawing from their homes without the knowledge of other
members of their families. All were armed to the teeth with
hunting rifles, pistols. One carried a flint lock musket loaded
with seven rifle bullets, another carried a dragoon or horse-
pistol loaded with three rifle bullets. They agreed on their
plan and chose John S. Giles as commander, and, having dis-
guised themselves by blacking their faces, they embarked in
an old pirogue and with muffled oars floated down the river on
their perilous adventure. It was known that the jail at Point
Pleasant was strongly guarded, but these men, smarting under
the outrage of their rights as citizens of Ohio, and aroused to
resentment by the frequent taunts of Yankee cowardice hurled
at them because they did not come and 'take Smith out,' as
they had threatened to do, with fears for the imminent danger
of the prinoner's life, had become desperate in their purposes.
The little craft was urged forward by the long, dull strokes of
the oars and landed eleven miles below at Point Pleasant. The
jail was a two-story frame building, standing about fifty yards
from the river bank, with two rooms below and two rooms
above. The front entrance opened into the jailer's room on the
lower floor, from which there was a passage into the other
lower room, occupied as the jail. An outside stairs led to the
rooms on the second floor, at the top of which was a platform,
surrounded by bannisters and was used as a guard stand. The
room at the head of the stairs was called the 'debtor's room.'
On this occasion it was occupied by the guards, whose num-



Pioneer History of Meigs County 151

ber had been increased to four men after the visit of Mr. John
S. Giles. Without a word the attacking party divided, to make
a simultaneous assault on the jailer's room and upon the upper
room occupied by the guards. Meeker and Lyles reached the
guards' room, where they succeeded so as to find an entrance
for the muzzles of their guns, but the four guards inside held
the door, but the action in placing the guns was menacing
enough to restrain for a few minutes the guardmen, while the
work in the lower room was in progress. First into the jail-
or's room, who was in bed, and just wakened, he was kept
quiet by the presence of guns pointing close to him, while
with an ax the prison door was broken down, and Smith
jerked out of bed half asleep, and pushed through the door. The
object of the raid having been effected so far, and no one hurt,
they made haste to retreat and reach the boat as soon as pos-
sible. But the guards were out on the platform. Woods,
with his dragoon's pistol, fired; the gun failed, but his au-
dacity kept the guard back, thus enabling the party to gain
time in advance of their pursuers, for the jailer, as well as the
guard, were bold, brave men, and followed with such deter-
mined steps that the order was given to fire on the pursuing
force. Terry fired with his musket and hit one of the guard,
who fell, the ball having marked his ear and cut through his
whiskers. Thus hindered, but while the Giles men were get-
ting into their boat, the guardsmen stood on the top of the
bank not more than forty yards away and began to fire. Dis-
regarding the firing they pulled for the opposite shore until
near the middle of the river when balls began to strike the
boat with precision. The boat was turned broadside to the
shore and the men lay close down in the side of the vessel un-
til out of range of the firing, all but Tyler, who refused to
obey this command to shelter himself, and received a ball
across the lower part of his breast that made a scar four or
five inches long. - While holding the boat in this position and
floating down stream, out of the range of guns, the jailer had



152 Pioneer History of Meigs County

taken a position behind a sycamore on the edge of the bank,
and his shots were very annoying. His head looked Hke a
knot on the side of the tree. And Hatch, the marksman of the
company, was ordered to fire at the knot. He shot, and the
ball, striking the side of the tree, filled the jailer's eyes with
splinters. When reaching the Ohio shore, the boat was aban-
doned, and the men walked home, and before daylight crept
to their beds so quietly that the members of their several
households were not aware of their having been away or ab-
sent. The Virginians suspicioned John Woods, John S. Giles
and Elisha Ayers, as three of the party that had broken the
jail in Point Pleasant, and threats were heard of taking these
men to Virginia, as they did Smith, and lynching them. This
was not done. A more peaceful and lawful way was adopted,
by seeking redress for their wrongs in the power of the law.
Indictments were found at Point Pleasant against Woods,
Ayers and Giles, and the Governor of Virginia made requisi-
tion on the Governor of Ohio for the surrender of the parties
to the Virginia authorities. The Governor of Ohio issued his
warrant and deputized Col. Lewis, of Virginia, to serve it.
When Col. Lewis crossed the river to make the arrests, the
people unaware of his authority, prepared to make a defense.
Col. Lewis went directly to Chester, the county seat of Meigs
county, and called to his assistance Thomas Rairdon, of Long
Bottom, Deputy Sheriff Newsom and Constable Dickey, of
Chester township. They went to make the first arrest of John
S. Giles in Rutland and satisfied him of their authority, and
he went without resistance, but they had not proceeded half a
mile, when twelve men in disguise stepped out of the woods
on Sargent's hill and demanded Giles' release. After some
parleying, Giles convinced them of the authority from the
Governor of the State that this was a legal transaction, and he
was willing to let the law take its course, and they concluded
to acquiesce. Among the men who were about to interfere
were John Sylvester, Sr., Joshua Gardner, David Tyler and



Pioneer History of Meigs County 153

|Burrell Peck. Giles, Woods and Ayres were taken to Point
Pleasant and lodged in jail, where they remained two months
before they were tried.

Giles and Ayres were found "not guilty," but Woods was

pronounced guilty and fined thirty dollars, which he refused

to pay, or allow his friends to pay, and boarded it out in jail,

; refusing to leave until they would keep him no longer. Judge

[Summers, of Charleston, presided at the trial, which was a

perfectly fair one. Judge Clough, of Portsmouth, and Judge

I Fisher, of Point Pleasant, were attorneys for the defendants.

There was no evidence whatever against Ayres, and none

f against Giles except the testimony of the jailer's wife, who

[swore positively to his being one of the party that broke into

the room, but the jury was led to distrust her statement by

: the strong evidence of an alibi proven by the defendant, Polly

I Smith, a sister to Adams Smith, and afterwards the wife of

I Moses Matthews, a girl then of twelve years, and Col. Everett

also gave strong evidence for the defendants which was all

owing to the sly movements of the party in coming and going.

After the conviction of Woods, the defendants made a

point that it was only a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and

' imprisonment in the county jail, and the court concurred in

that opinion. A number of persons were presented to the

grand jury of Meigs county for interfering with Col. Lewis

when making arrests. Some were indicted but the evidence

was not strong enough to warrant a conviction.

John S. Giles, Sr., was born in Maine, February 28th, 1795,
and died in Rutland, O., May 18th, 1889, aged 86 years, 2
months and 20 days."

William Church was a native of Maine, was married twice.

His first wife died, leaving two children — Samuel and Rhoda.

Mr. Church married for his second wife a sister of the first

wife, and a family of six sons and two daughters were born to

I them. He moved from Maine in 1816, with a family of seven



154 Pioneer History of Meigs County

sons and one daughter, and came to Rutland, O., in 1817. He
was a millwright, and lived in Rutland until his death in 1821.
The children were: Samuel, a millwright, a fine mechanic,
who lived and died in Pomeroy, O. Clement Church was
a mechanic and a farmer. He lived and died in Rutland, leav-
ing several children. William Church lived and died in Rut-
land. Joseph Church had a paralytic stroke when quite a
young man, but lived to marry and rear a large family of chil-
dren. He settled in Salisbury township. John Church went
to Minnesota, owned a farm and brought up a family. He
died in Minnesota. Oliver Church moved to Marion county, , |
O., and had a good farm, and died there at the age of ninety
years, leaving a number of descendants. Alfred Church
moved to Illinois, where he owned a mill and carried on that
business until his death. Charles Church lived in Pomeroy,
and was killed by the explosion of a boiler in the Pomeroy
rolling mill in 1866.

Sarah Church was married to Curtis Larkin, who died in |
1898, leaving a widow and one son, George B. Larkin, with
whom she has a home, and lives in the enjoyment of good
health, in her ninety-first year. 1908. G. B. L.

Clement Church married Hannah Buxton, who was born
in England November 2, 1808, and came to Ohio in 1817, and
became the wife of Clement Church in November, 1829. They
had six children, three sons and three daughters — Royal
Church and James Church, and Mrs. Maria Shepherd and
Mrs. Eliza Thompson. Mrs. Hannah Church died in August,
1896, aged 87 years, 9 months, 6 days.

Mrs. Elizabeth Church, widow of WilHam Church, Sr., was
married to John Hoyt, and died in July, 1859; was buried at
Hoyt Town, Meigs county, Ohio.

There are many families of the name of Hoyt in Olive town-
ship and Orange, but no record of names or dates have been |
furnished for Mr. Larkin's manuscript, and the same fact is |



Pioneer History of Meigs County 155

'^licvident in the lack of family history of the name of Stout in
and about Chester township. Their names are always asso-
ciated with the reputation of citizens of the best influence
and character.

RANDALL STIVERS.
Randall Stivers was born in New Jersey and was the son of
Daniel Stivers, a Revolutionary soldier. Mr. Stivers married
'Phebe Ball, a native of Vermont, and a daughter of Samuel
Ball, a Revolutionary soldier. They came with four children
ito Graham's Station (now Racine), in 1816, having come from
'Olean, N. Y., on a raft of pine lumber.

He was a brickmaker by trade, and found employment in
ithat business at Graham Station, remained there for two
years. Hearing of the discovery of coal, easily accessible, and
near the Ohio river bank at Kerr's run, he removed to that
place, where they lived three years. In those first five years
in Ohio they experienced the privations and hardships as fully
jas generally fall to the lot of early emigrants. In a sparsely
settled neighborhood, with barely sufficient means for support
as the common lot of the people, they built a school-house and

I hired teachers. In 1819, the new county of Meigs was organ-
ized, and about 1821 the county seat was located at Chester,
to which place Mr, Stivers removed his family in 1822. He
was elected Justice of the Peace in Chester, and held the office
for several years. He served four years as Sheriff, and was
twice elected to the State Legislature. He was a promotor
and patron of schools, and always interested in churches and
works of benevolence. He was fearless in expressing his

I sentiments, and society and public affairs felt the influence of
his opinions. Mr. Randall Stivers and his wife reared a large

('family, all of whom were prominent in business, or in political
and educational lines. There were six sons and four daughters.
Washington Stivers was married twice. Julia Stanley was
his first wife, and Caroline Fisher the second. He was a mer-
chant, and sold goods in Pomeroy for a number of years.



156 Pioneer History of Meigs County

Afterwards he moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., where he died in j|j|
ripe old age.

Aaron Stivers was married twice ; the first wife was Miss
Kerr; the second, Miss Cole. Mr. Aaron Stivers was one of
the best known men in Meigs county, serving as Auditor and 'j
Deputy Auditor for many years. He made and published a jn
large wall map of the county, suitable for school-houses, a j|
work of thoroughly correct presentation.

He was one of the most active members of the Meigs County |
Pioneer Association, and served as its Recording Secretary for i|
seven years. He removed to Alton, Iowa, where he died
November 29th, 1893, aged 77 years. |

Katharine Stivers was married to Theodore Montague, a
lawyer who lived in Chester until the county seat was taken to
Pomeroy, when they removed to Middleport, and continued as
useful members of society for many years. In later life they
made their home in Chattanooga, and there they both died.

Serena Stivers became the wife of Mr. Allen, of Middleport,
and died in middle life, leaving a husband and interesting
family.

George Stivers married in Meigs county, but moved west.
He was a soldier in the Civil war, and died soon afterward.

William Stivers went from Chester to Indiana, married
there, and had a family. He was engaged in business, and
was elected to the legislature, serving with credit to himself
and constituents. He died in Indiana.

Charles Stivers settled in Kentucky, where he married.

Randall Stivers was the youngest son, and accompanied his
father, Randall Stivers, Sr., to California on the overland route
in 1849, and died in California.

Urania Stivers was born in Chester, December 25th, 1827,
and received her education in the Academy at Chester, and
later in a prosperous seminary in Ashland, Kentucky. In her
early teens she became a teacher in the public schools in



Pioneer History of Meigs County 157

Ivleigs county. She taught many years in the Pomeroy
chools, a highly respected and successful teacher.

Caroline Stivers, the younger sister, acquired her education
n the same schools with her sister Urania, and was also a
topular school teacher, yet she was employed in the office of
he Auditor, with her brother Aaron Stivers for several con-
^ ecutive years. These sisters left Meigs county in 1884, and
mally located in Des Moines, Iowa. Their influence for right
irinciples and useful lives was evident through all the years
s teachers in Pomeroy, Ohio, as well as in less active years
1 Des Moines, Iowa.

Randall Stivers, Sr., and his wife, Phebe B. Stivers, both
ied in Pomeroy, and are buried side by side in the beautiful
5eech Grove Cemetery.

Pioneer travel on the Ohio river, for neighborly intercourse,
r traffic, seems to have been done in canoes, while flatboats
/ere in use for the transportation of families, produce and
oods down the stream; but when it was necessary to carry
n trade up and down the river, keel-boats were employed,
ntil steamboat navigation superseded their mode as merchant
arriers. The first steamboat that ever passed down the Ohio
iver is said to have been the New Orleans, built at Pittsburg
y Mr. Roosevelt, and which left that port in October, 1811.
ind reached Natchez, Miss., in January, 1812. Earthquakes
ccurred during the trip down. Few charts of the river were
1 existence, and the falls at Letart were provided with a pilot
ppointed by Congress, or rather authorizing the courts of
Tallia county to appoint a pilot for Letart falls to pilot boats
ver the falls in the Ohio river, such pilot to give bonds for
':ie proper discharge of his duty. Thomas Sayre was ap-
ointed in 1804 as such pilot.

Adam Harpold was born October 9, 1790, and came to Le-
irt, O., in 1812, where he married Dorothy Roush in August,
812. They settled on a farm, and Mr. Harpold conducted a



158 Pioneer History of Meigs County

store, the first one for dry goods and groceries in Letart town-
ship. After the county of Meigs was organized and Courts i
of Common Pleas were held in the meeting-house in Salisbury
township — in the July term of 1819, among the jurors im- 1
paneled is the name of Adam Harpold. He was prominent
in township offices and a patron of education, strictly honest in
business transactions, and maintained the respect and confi- 1
dence of the community. Mrs. Harpold was a woman of '
strong character, of wonderful physical power and vitality.
They had a family of sixteen children, and all save one child,
who was drowned at seven years of age — seven sons and eight^l
daughters — grew up and married, each making a new home
of thrift and industry. The sons were mostly farmers and [
have been identified with the material prosperity of Meigs
county for more than sixty years. Henry Harpold, Spencer I
Harpold, Peter Harpold, Philip Harpold, William Harpold,
George B. Harpold, John Harpold. The daughters : Mrs.
Pickens, widow, later Mrs. Wolf ; Mrs. William Hester, widow,
Mrs. Jacob Baker ; Mrs. Michael Bentz, nee Polly Harpold ; i
Mrs. Eben Sayre, Mrs. Augustus Justice, Mrs. Hezekiah
Quillen, Mrs. Bradford Roush, Mrs. Barbara Ann McDade.

The greater number of the Harpold sons and daughters had
large families, so that the descendants in the third and fourth
generations were notably numerous.

Mr. Adam Harpold died in October, 1869, and his wife, Mrs. I
Dorothy Harpold, died in December, 1865, having lived in I
their Letart home for more than fifty years.

"At a meeting of the associate judges of the county of!
Gallia, held at Gallipolis the tenth day of May, 1803, for the '
purpose of dividing the county of Gallia into townships and to
apportion to each township a proper number of justices of the
peace, and for other purposes ; present, Robert Safford and
George W. Putnam.



Pioneer History of Meigs County 159



"The said county was divided into three townships, named
ind bounded as follows: Letart township, beginning at the
nouth of Shade river; thence down the Ohio river to Kerr's

vun ; thence north to the county line ; thence east with the said

iine to the place of beginning; and that one justice of the peace

js the proper number to be elected in said township, and that
he election be held at the house of Henry Roush." From
jallia county records.
From the foregoing we find that Henry Roush, Sr., lived in

,Letart township in 1803, but at what date he came to Ohio we

l.re not informed.

Henry Roush, Sr., owned land in Letart, Ohio, opposite
^etart Falls, and brought up a large family.

His son, Henry Roush, Jr., entered land in 1808, or pur-
hased of the Ohio Land Company's Purchase, thirty-seven
cres, as shown by the Gallia county records. He married
\.nna Sayre, of Mill Creek, Va., and settled on their farm in
^etart, where they had a family of ten daughters and two sons,
ially Roush was married to Thomas Coleman, of Muses Bot-
om, W. Va. Betsy was the wife of Samuel Roberts, later
carried Henry Wolf, of Racine. Lydia was married twice — to
"harles McClain — widow — Mr. Wagner. Anna was the wife

I f Mark Sayre ; lived and died in Great Bend, Ohio. Hannah
/as married to Mr. Coleman ; a widow — married — Mr. Jack-

jon. Dorothy was the wife of Silas Jones, a prominent mem-
er of the Pioneer Association. Phebe was married to Elijah
tunner, a son of an early settler of that name. Katharine was


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Online LibraryStillman Carter LarkinThe pioneer history of Meigs County → online text (page 12 of 16)