Stillman Carter Larkin.

The pioneer history of Meigs County online

. (page 15 of 16)
Online LibraryStillman Carter LarkinThe pioneer history of Meigs County → online text (page 15 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

William were farmers. Josiah Branch married Lucy Elliott,

Pioneer History of Meigs County 185

and kept a store in Chester. Orin Branch married Lury Ann
Elliott ; they had one daughter, Julia. Mrs. Lury Ann Branch
died early. Orin Branch moved to Pomeroy, and was county
treasurer several years. His second wife was Miss Josephine
Paige, an excellent woman. Hosmer Branch married and set-
tled in Pomeroy, engaged in mercantile business. They had
several children.

Mary Branch was married three times — Wallace and Spicer
jwere two of them. Lucy Branch was the wife of James Mad-
!ison Cooper. Miranda Branch was married to Mr. Cline ; lived
in Pagetown. Rev. Samuel Branch, Sr., was a pioneer of the
type to be honored and remembered.


Some old, yellow papers, found among the Levi Stedman's
documents, have been furnished for notice in the Revised
Pioneer History of Meigs County by Miss Eva L. Walker, of
Chester, Ohio, as belonging to the estate of Mr. Levi Sted-
man, her great-grandfather, and we take pleasure in copying
several of them, while all of them are interesting specimens
of the writing and transactions of the pioneer period. We
copy first a parchment deed, a land warrant, signed by James
Monroe, President, with official seal of the United States of
America attached.

I, James Monroe, President of the United States of Amer-
ica, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:

Know ye, that in pursuance of the acts of Congress, ap-
propriating and granting land to the late army of the United
States, passed on and since the sixth of May, 1812, Dinah
Byram, only heir at law of Adam Ball, having deposited in the
General Land Office a warrant in her favor, numbered 24689,
'|there is granted unto the said Dinah Byram, only heir at law
of Adam Ball, late a private in Holt's Company of the Seven-
teenth Regiment of Infantry, a certain tract of land containing
one hundred and sixty acres, being the northwest quarter of
Section 6, of Township 1 south. Range 5 east, in the tract ap-

Aug. 18th, Puley Ipecac Rheumatic Liniment, Elix. p — 36 25
(non-readable) Ex. Jr., Wife 2 50

$38 75

186 Pioneer History of Meigs County

propriated (by the act aforesaid) for military bounties, in the
territory of Arkansas, to have and to hold, the said quarter
section of land, with the appurtenances thereof, unto the said
Dinah Byram, only heir at law of Adam Ball, December 9th,
and to her heirs and assigns forever.

In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made
patent, and the seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto ■\
affixed. Given under my hand, at the City of Washington,
this sixteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thou-
sand, eight hundred and twenty-one, and of the independence
of the United States of America the forty-sixth.
[" Seal of the ] By the President,

^ General Land Office [ James Monroe.

[ U. S. A. J JosiAH Meigs,

Commissioner of General Land
Office. Exd.

Recorded, Vol. 6, 7255. J. Wheaton.

Levi Stedman, Esq., to Matthew Buell, Dr. :

May 9th. To 8 doses of physic, et gm. opie $3 00


Aug. 10th. " Jal. Senna 25

Sept. 12th. " Gm. Opie et Rad. Dianthus 1 50

April 2nd. Sundry Articles, Medicine, Advice and

attend'e 12 50

May 4th. Elix. Vit. I. loz. Cham, Emetic, I art., &c. 2 50
July 1st. Visits to Daughter, Sundry Art. Medicine. 15 00

Pioneer History of Meigs County ISY

Dolls. 130. cts. No. 131.

General Post Office.
Washington City, July 1st, 1819.
Sir — At sight, pay to Skinner & Barber, or order, One hun-
dred and thirty dollars, and charge to account of this Office.

Abram Bradbitry,
Assistant Post-Master General.
To Levi Stedman, Esq. ]

Post Master, at Stedman's Mills,}-
Chester, O. J

Aug. 29, 1820.
,' Order from M. Segrist, to Mr. Levi Stedman, Shade river,
Let Thomas Haywalt have three galls, of Whiskey, in ex-
change for Rye, to be delivered at the Ferry, and oblige,
Yours Resp'y,

Michael Segrist.
Mason, Va.

The deed of the land from Dinah Byram to Dorothy Sted-
man and Joel Cowdery, executors of the will of Levi Stedman,
deceased, executed and acknowledged before Randall Stivers,

justice of the peace, signed Dinah -j- Byram, and recorded by

Recorder of Meigs county, 1824. David Barber, Clerk.

Receipts of money for different purposes.

A deed of ten acres of land from Josiah Vining to Dorothy
Stedman to satisfy a judgment for eighteen dollars and sixty
cents, with the costs accruing thereto.

Recorded in Volume 2nd, page 80 and 81. Chas. Gardiner,


188 Pioneer History of Meigs County

Gallia County.

Gallipolis, December 31st, 1805.
Received of Levi Stedman, Collector of taxes for Letart
Township, the sum of Thirty Dollars and thirty-two cents -J,
on account of the County tax of this township, for the year

Francies Le Clerq, Ex (torn out).

Received of Levi Stedman $4.20 cts. for his tax on 420 acres
of land — 12, Range 3, T. 24 S. Athens Co. for 1819.

Isaac Barker, Coll'r.

The Pilchard and Ellis families came from the eastern shore
of Maryland to Ohio, about the year 1810, and settled in
Letart, Ohio. Peter Pilchard's wife was a Miss Roloif. They
had several children, Lewis, Lybrand and others, Lewis Pil-
chard married Esther Hayman, a daughter of Josiah Hayman,
and located in Letart Falls, W. Va. Lybrand Pilchard mar-
ried and made his home in East Letart, and brought up a
family. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
an active, loyal adherent to its usages, serving as steward,
class leader or Sunday school superintendent, and brought up
a highly respectable family.

John Ellis, Sr., lived in Letart many years. He had two
sons, John R. Ellis and Henry Ellis. John R. Ellis married
Elizabeth Ford, and had a family of sons and daughters.
Milton Ellis served in the war for the Union, and was pro-
moted to the rank of major. William A. Ellis was a soldier,
also, in the cavalry service, and won distinction for courage.
Esther^Ellis was married to Hiram L. Sibley, a soldier in the
army, but was held a prisoner in the Libby prison, Richmond,
Va., for several months. After the close of the war he opened
a law office in Marietta, Ohio, and became distinguished for
his legal talents. He served as circuit judge in this district,

Pioneer History of Meigs County 189

and as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, in each capacity repeatedly.

Regina Ellis remained ministering to the needs of her par-
ents in their last years with filial devotion. John R. Ellis was
elected as a county commissioner several terms, and was a
Sunday school superintendent for more than forty years. Mrs.
Elizabeth Ellis died in her ninety-eighth year.

Henry Ellis married Adaline Johnson, daughter of an old
I resident of Chester township. They lived in Racine, Ohio;
had two children, Jeremiah A. Ellis, who married and moved
to Kansas. Mary E. Ellis was married to Dorr DeWolf, one
of a family of steamboat men. Their home has been in Ra-
cine. Mrs. Mary E. DeWolf is a loyal Methodist.

Mr. Henry Ellis died in middle life, and Mrs. AdaHne Ellis
did not attain old age. They were good citizens, highly
'esteemed by the community.

In the earlier days, the schoolboy's equipment was scant,
made up chiefly by the mother's ingenuity, in co-operation
with the father's desire to give some "book learning" to his
children. Money was hard to obtain, and the necessities of
life were secured by traffic. For writing purposes, an ink was
made by an infusion of oak gall nuts, mixed with beef's gall
and vinegar, in proportions learned by experiments. Another
kind of ink in use was made from a decoction of maple bark,
carefully poured ofif, and a lump of copperas and a little sugar
added to the liquid. The sugar gave a gloss to the writing,
and this ink was a good black, but if too much sugar was put
in, the written pages would stick together.

For schools and ordinary purposes, a thick, unruled paper,
called foolscap, was in use, and the ruling was made with
lead pencils cut off in strips from the lead of which bullets
were made, and hammered into shape, flat and narrow, about
three inches in length. These lead pencils were drawn across
the paper by a straight-edged ferule. Pens were made from

190 Pioneer History of Meigs County


quills taken from the wings of geese. The schoolmaster called
the children into school by rapping loudly on the door — never
had a bell. The sessions were from 8 or 9 o'clock a. m. to 4
or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, six days in the week for a three
months' term in winter. Some teachers had a watch, but, if
lacking that, a good look at the sun was a common way of
reckoning time. E. L. B.

April 12th, 1819, the first Court of Common Pleas for Meig?
county, on petition of Thomas Ridding, of Sutton, for a
license to keep a house of entertainment in his dwelling house,
it was ordered that license be given him on his complying with
the requisitions of the law. Thomas Ridding had a license,
previously granted, to keep a ferry at Graham's Station, Meigs
county, Ohio.

The hotel, as described by Mr. Ridding's daughter, "was a
double log cabin — two log houses with a space of ten feet be-
tween them, but all included under one roof — and having a
spacious attic for common sleeping rooms. The patrons of
this hostelry were men who carried on trade up and down the
Ohio river in pirogues, or large canoes, laden with flour, salt
and groceries, for sale to the people on shore, and who did a
good business in exchanging commodities for skins, furs and
ginseng. These boatmen would make their stopping place at
night at the Ridding house at Graham's Station. Sometimes
two or three boat crews would land at the same time. They
were sure of a bountiful meal of substantial food, and when
the beds were all filled, if necessary the landlady would make
field beds on the floor. There was no grumbling at the lack of
washbowl and pitcher, nor any scrambling for a looking-glass.
They were glad to sleep after the hard day of poling canoes.
This tavern had a sad closing up. Mr. Ridding was acci-
dentally drowned, and his widow went back to her old home
in the Shenandoah valley. Narrative by Mrs. Cynthia Phil-
son, Racine, Ohio,

Pioneer History of Meigs County 191

The first newspaper published in Meigs county was dated
I November 1st, 1843, called "The Weekly Times," edited and
printed by L. Beatty. In a year or two the paper was edited
^by O. B. Chapman, with Mr. Beatty. In 1845 and 1846, R. T.
Van Horn was associated with Mr. Chapman, and the name
\ was changed to "The Meigs County Telegraph." Later, Mr.
Van Horn withdrew, and the paper was under the manage-
' ment of T. A. Plants, Esq. The paper had a change of names
i and editors until 1860 — O. B. Chapman editor and E. S. Trus-
sell business manager. Mr. Chapman was a good editor and
practical printer, and no slovenly typesetting was ever seen
while he was editor. He held the place longer than any one
fi before or afterwards. Mr. E. S. Trussell succeeded Mr. Chap-
man, and continued to publish a good, influential paper. Mr.
O. B. Chapman finally, after many vicissitudes in fortune, died
nn Colorado Springs, at the advanced age of eighty years, a
1 true, noble-hearted man, steadfast in his principles of right-
eousness in civil or religious matters.

The next paper was "The People's Fountain," a temperance
paper, printed by Hoy and Rundle, in 1854. It failed after a
few years for lack of patronage. The first paper printed in
Middleport was "The Meigs County News," in 1871, by E. S.
Branch. S. C. L.

"The Buckeye Rovers." — An article in the Cincinnati En-
quirer by Arthur B. Harding, and copied into this manuscript
by S. C. Larkin :

"The Buckeye Rovers crossed the continent to the Cali-
fornia gold fields in 1849. There were twenty-two men in the
party, from Athens and Meigs counties exclusively. From
) Athens county : Elza Armstrong, W. S. Stedman, Hugh Dick-
j son, Dennis Drake, Elijah Terrill, Solomon Townsend, James
Shepherd, WilHam Logan, W. T. Wilson, Joseph Dickson, M.
I D., R. P. Barnes, John Banks, George Reeves, Asa Condee,
I M. D., H. L, Graham. From Meigs county : Seth Paine, L. D.

193 Pioneer History of Meigs County

Stevens, J. C. Rathburn, M. D., Joshua Gardner, Charles Giles,
John S. Giles. Fifteen Athenians and seven Meigs countians.
The party left Albany April 9th, 1849, and, going to Middle-
port, Meigs county, embarked on a steamboat and, further on,
by boats until reaching Lexington, Mo. Here they organized,
choosing Dr. Joseph Dickson captain. Cattle were brought
that never had seen a yoke, and a week was spent in breaking
them. The party drove one hundred miles to St. Joseph,
where, if they had waited to cross the ferry in their turn, they
would have been delayed six weeks, so great was the rush
westward. Luckily, some of them were old river men, and
who constructed a rude craft, that carried them over the river
in four days. They proceeded up the Platte river by Fort
Kearney and Fort Laramie, and to the north of the Great Salt
Lake, eighty miles. Cholera infested the plains at this time,
and for more than a thousand miles west of Fort Kearney, if
there had been no trail, they could easily have kept their
course by the new made graves. They had many thrilling
experiences and narrow escapes from the Indians. At the sink
of the Humboldt river the Indians stole all of their cattle.
Then the company disbanded, and each one had to get to Sac-
ramento the best way he could. Judge Wilson fell in with an
Illinois party going to Oregon, and he was the first white man
at Downieville, on the Yuba river, where he subsequently took
up the largest nugget any of them secured. It was about the
size of a goose egg and was valued at $1285. On September
20th, 1849, the first of the Buckeye Rovers reached Sacra-
mento, then consisting of only one wooden structure and used
for a postoffice. The tent population was about 5000, which
increased as by magic, so that in less than one year it was
estimated at 80,000 souls. When they reached the golden land,
labor was worth $16 a day, but dropped to $10 the next sea-
son. Provisions of all kinds were brought from the Sacra-
mento valley on mules and sold at enormous prices. Every- 1
thing sold by the pound, at $1, except butter, which was $4,

Pioneer History of Meigs County 193

Once they paid $8 for a pound of soda to make slapjacks.
Letters from the East cost 40 cents postage, and were usually
a year in reaching their destination, A man at the diggings
was employed as mail carrier. He took a list of the names of
the miners and went to San Francisco, the nearest postoffice,
200 miles distant. On reaching the office, he had to hunt the
letters that were wanted from a large pile on the floor. They
paid the mail carrier $2 for each letter carried or received. In
the winter of '49 Condee and Wilson formed a partnership
with two Illinois men, Burroughs and Barnes by name, for the
purpose of prospecting on the Yuba river. There were no
towns and no laws, but among themselves. They agreed that
each miner was to have thirty feet on the river as his claim.
After staking out four claims near Downieville, Barnes and
Burroughs went farther up the mountains prospecting, leav-
• ing the others to guard the claims. The miners began to
swarm in, and it was useless to try to hold the claims. "The
upper two we thought were good," said Judge Wilson, "but
the lower two we sold to a party of Georgians for $1000, and
shortly afterwards I saw them take out between $40,000 and
$50,000 worth of gold dust. My share in the upper claim I
sold in a few weeks later for $2300." It was a common oc-
currence for a miner to be worth $1000 one day and be as
much in debt the next day from losses in gambling. There
was not much stealing in the mining region, for among the
miners, if a person was caught stealing anything to the amount
of $1 or more the penalty was a severe whipping or death.

The first of the Rovers that died was Dr. Joseph Dickson,
who was accidentally shot by dropping his revolver while
prospecting on the American river. Mr. Stedman spent eleven
years in California.

Judge Wilson served four years in the Civil War, and he
says "the hardships endured were trifling in comparison with
the overland trip to California in 1849." A few of the men

194 Pioneer History of Meigs County

who went out with this expedition returned home with finan-
cial gains, but the majority were not so fortunate.

The Associate Judges of Meigs County, Ohio.

Date of Election. Names of Judges. Terms.

February 6th, 1819. . Fuller Elliott, M. D 2 years

January 17th, 1821 . . George Burns 2 years

January 23d, 1823. . Peter Grow 4 years

January, 1827 Henry L. Osborn, appointed to fill one

year for Grow 1 year

January 25th, 1828. . Nial Nye 7 years

January 25th, 1835. . Henry L. Osborn 7 years

February 17th, 1842. William Ledlie 7 years

March 17th, 1849. . . William McAboy 3 years

Total 33 years

February 6th, 1819. . Orasho (Horatio) Strong 6 years

January, 1824 Gushing Shaw 7 years

January 22d, 1831... Eli Sigler 7 years

February 10th, 1838. Nathan Simpson 6 years

February 28th, 1844. Samuel Bradbury 7 years

February 17th, 1851 . Samuel Bradbury 1 year

Total 33 years

February 6th, 1819. . James E. Phelps 3 years

In 1822 Abel Larkin. appointed to fill one year

for J. E. Phelns 1 year

January 23d, 1823. . Abel Larkin 7 years

February 22d, 1830. John C. Bestow 7 vears

February 16th, 1837. John C. Bestow 7 years

1844, 1851 Henry L. Osborn 7 years

Total 33 years

Lists furnished by Mr. Charles Matthews, Washington,
D. C:

Names of all persons in 1820 in Salisbury township, from
Census Report. — Joseph Bradford, David Bradford, Charles
Wright, William T. Whitney, David Lindsey, Joel Smith,
Benjamin Smith, Frederic Frazier, Josiah Vining, Paris Ec-
cleston. Perry Hardin, Alvin Rathburn, Sarah Bullock, Ben-
jamin Williams, David Osork, Daniel Rathburn, Cyrus Hig-

Pioneer History of Meigs County 195

iley, Archibald Murray, George Russell, Daniel McNaughton,

Joel Higley, John Winkley, Samuel Risley, Samuel L. Wilder,

' Charles Jones, Frederic Hysell, Isaac Meeker, Timothy Smith,

Erastus Saus, Robert B. Harris, Isa Russell, Joseph Vining,

Increase Jones, James Smith, Edward Hysell, Caleb Austin,

I William Kerr, John Woodward, Strother Hysell, John Smith.

I Names of all persons living in Rutland township and Salis-

jbury township in 1820. — George Russell, Benson Jones, Abel

'Larkin, Silas Clark, James McGuire, William Hobart, Joshua

Parker, Ebenezer Howard, Samuel Vining, John Knight, Cor-

j nelius Bradshaw, Amos Partlow, John Baily, Jeptha Mason,

' Benjamin Frost, David Bailey, Samuel Gilman, Isaac Hugg,

Samuel Gilman, Jr., Elias Grigsby, Joseph Saxton, Eli Wright,

I Robert Hysell, Samuel Lyman, Richard Vining, John Lynas,

' Elam Higley, Daniel Rathburn, Jr., Alvin Bingham, James E.

I Phelps, Philip Jones, Samuel Everett, Hamilton Kerr, Benja-

j min T. Clough, William Dodson, William Baily, John Kin-

dall, George Knapp, Nathanael Bean, Lariah Norris, Isaac

Smith, Jans Bingham, Silas Knight, John Hysell, Brewster


Salem township, 1820. — William Parker, Peter Aleshire,
John S. Giles, Gushing Shaw, Ozias Strong, Jacob Swett, John
Williams, Jame McClure, William Green, L. V. Vonschritz,
John Fordice, Eleazer Crowell, Mark Malone, Chauncey
Knowlton, Sampson Nelson.


[Condensed from a report in the Telegraph.]
May 12th, at 11 o'clock p. m. two dark clouds were seen
approaching each other from opposite points of the north and
of the south. They met, and the roar of the concussion was
terrific. The clouds commingled and seemed to fall to the
earth, moving with electric speed and resistless fury. The
first house struck was a log building occupied by J. Q. Adams

196 Pioneer History of Meigs County

and his family of seven persons. The house was demolished,
but the inmates escaped injury. Next in the course of the
storm were the barn and sheep houses of Mr. Gregory ; then a
school house ; on, tearing off the upper story of the dwelling
of E. Foster; then more barns, until it narrowed down to a
track of not more than 300 yards in width, keeping near the
ground. A new house of Nathan Vail was badly shaken ; an- 1 "
other house torn down. The upper story of T. D. Jackson's
house, with a large stone chimney, was tumbled over the
inmates in bed ; one person injured ; his barn blown to pieces ; i
two horses and eighteen sheep were killed. The home of S.
D. Wilcox was wrecked, and the furious storm went on, flat-
tening shrubbery, sweeping away fences, twisting oak trees
like wisps around each other. Then it reached the house of
Mrs. McComas, who, with her granddaughter of ten years,
was sleeping in one room, while in another room was a grand-
son twenty years old. Everything was swept from its place ;
the house, granaries, all were wrecked. The married son, who
lived near, ran to the place as soon as possible ; first found the
little girl, apparently lifeless, but who was resuscitated. The
old lady was found fifty yards to the south, stripped of cloth-
ing and dead. The young man lay in another direction, with |
broken neck and legs.

Many sheep were killed. A fine orchard of J. L. Carpenter
was prostrated. The depot of the K. & M. Railroad was cut
in two, dividing it from the roof to the ground, and carried
eastward. A frame dwelling of Mr. McKnight was torn
away. The father, mother and daughter, having heard the
storm coming, threw themselves flat on the floor, face down-
wards, and the house was borne away from over their heads,
the wind catching them up and pitching them with great force
on the ground. Mrs. McKnight had two ribs broken, and Mr.
McKnight was badly bruised, but they succeeded with great
difficulty In reaching the house of Dr. Dudgeon, a neighbor,
who, fortunately, had escaped the hurricane. A cloudburst of |

Pioneer History of Meigs County 197

rain followed immediately, that prevented conflagration, as
the air was charged with electricity. Mr. Jewell's blacksmith
shop was cleared of all its fixtures. In leaving the ground, the
,wind retained its strength, for a lot of standing timber had the
J tops cut off at an angle of thirty degrees from the base until
"out of the woods." The storm lasted about two hours, but
the havoc was the work of a few minutes. A memorable event
for Columbia township.

In 1817 four young men from Kentucky, evidently of
I wealthy parentage, well dressed, with nice boots, traveling on
jfoot to see the country in Ohio, being weary and footsore,
f stopped a few days at Judge Larkin's to recuperate. One day,
jnear sunset, the judge came in from his work to have a little
I talk. They said to him : ''You have no slaves in Ohio. We
' should think it very wearisome to do all your own work. And
then it deprives you of an opportunity to acquire knowledge.
We have slaves to do our work. Then we can go to town, or
any place to talk, and hear all the news, and so acquire in-
formation." They were told "that those who had the best
chance did not always get the most knowledge." One of the
number, in order to change the subject, asked Judge Larkin,
"Where did you come from?" He replied, "From New Eng-
land." They said, "New England must be a big state, we find
so many that come from that state." They were informed
New England was not a state, but was composed of five
states. "Did you never hear of the State of Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Vermont or Connecticut?" They were hard
to convince, but finally said they thought they were towns or

Soon after the organization of the county of Meigs a com-
pany of prominent citizens of Athens purchased lands of the
Ohio Company's Purchase, situated as river bottom farms,
above Old Town creek, and farther above the Hall property

198 Pioneer History of Meigs County

on the Ohio river border. The lands were heavily timbered.
Mr. Ziba Lindley, Sr., Ziba Lindley, Jr., Elmus Lindley, Col.
Liiaries Stiipman and Nehemiah Bicknell, who had his home
with the Shipman family. Col. Shipman built a two-story
hewed-log house, well finished, in which he had a storeroom
for general merchandise. Mr. Ziba Lindley, Sr., put up a
house of logs, hewn on the inner side, with floors, doors, win-
dows and partitions done by a regular "house joiner." Ziba
Lindley, Jr., erected a two-story hewed-log house, well fin-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15

Online LibraryStillman Carter LarkinThe pioneer history of Meigs County → online text (page 15 of 16)