Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Visiting His Old Home

Marietta Semi-Weekly Register, August 19, 1884

The return of Capt. Thomas S. Battelle, after an absence of more than a third of a century, to visit his old friends in his native county, is an event of unusual interest.  Capt. Battelle, who is now 72, bears the burden of so many years with remarkable vigor.  He was born in Newport, this county.  One of the earliest incidents of his eventful career will certainly not diminish the cordiality of his welcome at the hands of the people of this city.  While in business in Clarksburg, (now W. Va.) in 1837 or '38, he came near being the victim of an infuriated mob, because he resented the charge of cruelty made by the slaveholders against the people of Marietta, in their treatment of certain Virginians, who were arrested and imprisoned for attempting to smuggle the negroes back into slavery, without due process of law.

In 1840 Captain Battelle moved to Muscatine Iowa, and for several years engaged in the steamboat business on the upper Mississippi.  He was unfortunate in this venture, twice sinking his boat, but managed to save enough from the wreck of his fortune to buy ox teams and outfit, and with his family he started in 1852 across the plains.  The wonderful revolutions of time are shown by the simple statement that he was as many months in making that disagreeable journey as he was days upon his recent return across the continent.

After an absence of half a long life time the captain, of course, finds many changes in his old friends and the scenes of his youth.  In that time very many have passed away.  His father and mother, who almost reached the century, lie buried at Newport.  Three of his brothers, whose families he has been visiting, and who, like himself, are natives of this county, are living in other parts of the state.  He expects to return in the fall to California, where he has grown up sons and daughters, who are married and settled in the Southern part of the state.

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