Thursday, October 27, 2011

Music in Pioneer Days

Unidentified, undated newspaper clipping

Should we consider the real beginning of music, we must turn back to Bible times, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

I think our program committee had more recent times in mind, however, and wished us to recall as much as possible of the music in our own little corner of the world.

Since we are so closely connected with Marietta and Marietta with the East, I quote from a sermon preached at the centennial of the First Congregational church of Marietta, Dec. 6, 1896, by our own Dr. Dickinson, to whose influence, more than any other, though asserted in such a modest, unassuming way, we owe the success of this Society.

"In 1802 the Marietta church appointed choristers, as follows:  Ichabod Nye, the first, Gideon Stacy, the second, and Nathaniel Gates, the third.  The hymnology of that period was very primitive and consisted mostly of paraphrases of the Psalms and other portions of the Scriptures.  These Psalms were adapted to a few tunes, mostly common metre, but the poetry was not always very elegant, as the following quotation will show:

     Likewise the heavens be down-bowed,
          And he descended and there was
     Under his feet a gloomy cloud;
          And he on cherub rode and flew;
     Yes, he flew on the wings of winde,
     His covert that him round confinde.
     His covert that him round confine.

Psalms 48th, 6, was made to read as follows:

     O God, breake Thou their tusks at once
          Within their mouths throughout;
     The tusks that in their great jawbones
          Like lions' whelps hang out.

These Psalms were sung to solemn, drawling tunes and were usually lined either by the minister or deacon.

Choirs finally became tired of this method and resolved to abandon it, but like all other innovations, the change was opposed at first.  A historian relates that in Worcester, Mass., in 1779, a resolution was adopted at the town meeting, that the mode of singing in this congregation here be without reading the Psalm line byline.  The Sabbath succeeding the adoption of this resolution, after the hymn had been read by the minister, the aged and venerable Deacon Chamberlain, unwilling to abandon the custom of his fathers, and his own honorable prerogative, rose and read the first line, according to his usual practice.  The singers, previously prepared to carry the desired alteration into effect, proceeded in their singing without pausing at the conclusion of the line.  The white-haired officer of the church, with the full power of his voice, read on through the second line, until the loud notes of the collected body of singers overpowered his attempt to resist the progress of improvement.  The deacon, deeply mortified at the triumph of this musical reformation, then seized his hat and retired from the meeting house in tears.

As the singers became more intelligent they desired a change from these monotonous, drawling tunes and about the time of our Revolution a Massachusetts singing master, by the name of Billings, introduced some tunes from the English, and prepared some himself, on a plan new to this country.  The new style of singing was called fuguing because the different parts took up a sentence in order, following each other, for example, the words:  "In reverence let the saints appear and bow before the Lord," were sung, and bow-wow-wow, and bow-wow-wow, and so on until base, treble, alto, counter and tenor had bow-wowed for about twenty seconds.

This lively music was very popular, especially with the young, and soon wrought a revolution in church music, though not without opposition.  One belligerent clergyman preached against it from the words of the Prophet Amos:  "The songs of the temple shall be turned into howling," and another Acts 17:6: "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also."

But the height of indignation and irreverence was reached by a worshipper who wrote on a panel in one of the pews in Salem church, as follows:

"Could poor King David but for once
     To Salem church repair,
And hear his psalms thus warbled out,
     Good Lord, how he would swear,
But could St. Paul but just pop in,
     From higher scenes abstracted,
And hear his gospel now explained,
     By heavens, he'd run distracted."

Hildreth tells us that in 1794 there was not a single violin in the Marietta garrison, while a few years later nearly every keel boat and barge on the western water carried one or more fiddles, and every night the men amused themselves with a hornpipe on the deck of the boat or by camp fire.  The practice was no doubt introduced by the French boatmen from Kaskaskia, who were always fond of the dance and the music of the viol.

A pretty good substitute was, however, found on these joyous occasions in the voice of an elderly man who had been a sailor in his youth and was familiarly known by the name of Uncle Sam.  He was fond of a dram and with the aid of the enlivening beverage would keep up a strain of fine vocal music the whole night.  When toward daylight he became a little drowsy, a kind word and another glass set all right again.  He oftener tired out the dancers than they him."

In our own "Belle Pre" or "Beautiful Valley," Farmers' Castle was erected in 1789, and in the following summer Rev. Daniel Story, the chaplain of the Ohio Company, preached once in four weeks.  Col. Ebenezer Battelle, a man finely educated, was made religious instructor, and kept up the meetings on the other three Sundays.

Although there must have been music in the old block house in the enclosure, we have no records of any, as far as I have been able to ascertain, other than that of the drum, the church bell of war, beaten by sixteen-year-old Ebenezer Battelle, Jr.

In 1802 a religious society was formed, and William Browning, Judge Foster and Perley Howe were appointed a committee to collect subscriptions for a church.  The members of this committee were very efficient in this line or else the people were more than generous, for history tells us that when the church on the bluff was completed they reported an excess over the amount expended of twelve shillings, nine pence, which was laid aside for current expenses.

At this time Rev. Samuel P. Robbins was hired to preach one Sunday during the month, and Isaac Pierce, Daniel Loring and Nathaniel Cushing were requested to read sermons on the other three Sundays.  Deacon Miles and Col. Putnam were appointed to pray, and Perley Howe was made sexton and leader of the singing.

Shall I tell you the story of a Sabbath in one family (which was typical of all), handed down from generation to generation, as an incentive for church attendance and punctuality?

There is none of the breathless hurry of our modern Lord's Day in the little plank house on the river, but the family waken in the morning to the holy Sabbath calm.

The preparations for this day of rest and worship were begun at six o'clock on Saturday evening.  The river flows gently on, a sweetly, lingering, melodious accompaniment to the notes of the sweet-voiced songsters of the forest.  A simple breakfast over, the old ox cart is brought to the door, a keg of water from the well (the only one in the settlement at the time) is placed therein, together with gourds for drinking and then upon splint-bottomed chairs, the mother and children take their places.  Close beside the cart the father walks, his musket upon his shoulder, ready to protect the little flock as they proceed through the rough hewn road of the forest.

They follow the river most of the way, until they reach the luxurious growth of cedars which suggested the name of Cedarville for the little town built there later.  Here they ascend the hill and proceed to the enclosure round the church, where the oxen are unhitched from the cart and fed the "wisp of hay" brought along for their especial comfort.

Entering the church, Great grandfather Howe (for it is in our own family the story has been handed down) takes his place in front of the congregation and leads the singing by reading two lines, then singing them, while beating the time, then two more, etc., until the hymn is finished.

The music is from the Psalms, and after prayer and a long sermon, there is a basket dinner.  The afternoon service is a repetition of that in the forenoon with the addition of catechism recitations.  The service ended - and the fitting crowd for such a day, so well and peacefully spent, is found, when we look on the family circle singing in the deepening twilight:

"Silently the shades of evening
     Gather round the lowly door
Silently they bring before me
     Faces I shall see no more."

Surely for them the prophetic words would be true:

"And the night shall be filled with music,
     And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
     And as silently steal away."

In 1822 the "Brick Church" was built and in 1827 withdrew their membership from the Marietta church and became a distinct organization.  It might be interesting to note the arrangement of the old church.  From a broad vestibule extending the entire width of the building, you enter the church through two broad doors.  Directly inside, occupying the space between these doors, is the pulpit on a raised platform, and enclosed with a very high railing, so that during the service, at least, the members of the congregation are compelled to "look up" to their minister.  By two aisles you reach the back of the church, where on another high platform, the choir (the first one in Belpre township) sits on benches arranged in tiers.

Here the musical mantle fell from Deacon Perley Howe as leader to his son, Rufus William Howe, who introduced the bass viol, as the first musical instrument ever used in a church in the settlement, tuning it with a letter "A" tuning fork.  As he played the bass, he sang either soprano or tenor, as needed.

Of this time Mr. Russell O'Neal tells of an amusing incident.  That Father Burgess, of Warren, came to preach one Sabbath in the old brick church and when he arose to announce the hymns and saw that they had brought a bass viol into church, he indignantly said:  "We will fiddle and sing the 148th Psalm."

At a later date Francis Stone became chorister and a melodeon was purchased.  His son Frank succeeded him.

You might be surprised to learn that with the exception of a postal of information on the subject of "Pioneer Music," there is no printed data concerning it in Marietta College, Marietta High School or Parkersburg libraries.

Dr. Dickinson's sermon from which I have already quoted, and an old family letter, which Mrs. Dale will probably read later, were the only items of information other than those gleaned, bit by bit, from talks with our own dear older folk, who smiled as they chatted of the memories of other days, and yet:

"How strange are the freaks of memory!
     The lessons of life we forget,
While a trifle, a trick of color,
     In the wonderful web is set."

Belpre has always been noted for her musical ability, and we find the older collections filled with the best productions of our great European composers.  Not until the year '51 do any of these song books contain secular songs.  Mr. Loring tells me the first time he ever heard "Old Kentucky Home" was in the old William Putnam home, when Elizabeth Putnam sang it, with wonderful sweetness and pathos.

Since the pioneer days we find the ways of writing music have changed greatly.  In the olden times the different parts were spoken of as top-lined, second, treble and bass and in some of the books, the name of every note - do, re, mi, was written throughout the entire piece.

At one time, too, the notes instead of being round, were made in different shapes and were called shaped notes.

About the year 1844 Augustus Curtis held a singing school in the old brick church, followed by Samuel Breckenridge, at the Town House, and about the year 1856, Consider Hitchcock and his brother Myron came up from Newberry and taught a singing school in the old brick church.  Consider Hitchcock led his singing class with a violin, and leaving his brother Myron in charge part of the time, held other classes in Marietta and vicinity.  All these taught before the Civil War, for Myron Hitchcock, the last to serve, entered the army and died there in 1862.

One favorite form of music in the old pioneer singing school days was the "round," and who of us nowadays is not familiar with "Three Blind Mice," and who has not breathlessly followed the farmer's wife in her exciting experiences?

The Hitchcocks were men of great executive ability and leadership.  Teaching in the old brick church, they trained the young people for the cantata, "Queen Esther," which was such a success that they reproduced it in Pomeroy and Parkersburg.  One singer in that cantata is living today - Mrs. Rowena Putnam Stone, the mother of the vice president of this Association.

Mrs. Mary Gilbert Porter has a program (which we had hoped to receive in time for this meeting) of an entertainment given in the old brick church when she was organist there.

Prominent in musical circles at this time were the Putnams, Stones, Lorings, Brownings, Gilberts, Goodnoes, Beebes, Danas, Simpsons, Pinnells and Howes.

In the old brick church we find all denominations worshipping together in peace and harmony - singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord.  The time came, however, when it seemed best for the people of Belpre to have a church in the village, so in 1820 the Belpre Methodist church was established and the Belpre Congregational in 1869, with Frank Stone as chorister and Mrs. Addie Pinnell organist.  Belpre Universalist in 1835, with Biles Steadman in charge of the music, who was their only chorister until Mr. Floyd Simpson.  At one time they had a melodeon with violin and bass viol.  Rockland Methodist church was built in 1832, and Alexander Kirkpatrick led the singing, using Watt's Hymnal.

If time permitted I should like so much to add a word of appreciation for the two lives (those of Mesdames Shaw and Pinnell) so unselfishly devoted to music in this our own day, leaving their impress on the character of those they have so generously trained, and keeping the tone of Belpre's music up to the standard already raised by the Pioneers.

It might appear that I have given more of church history than of music, but "Religion and music, twin sisters, born in heaven, have ever wandered hand in hand in their mission of love, to minister unto fallen man, to soothe, to strengthen and to save, civilization marks the path they have trodden, and superstition and unbelief have fled at their approach, like night at morning's dawn."

How much we enjoy thinking of the good old times when

"Memory sometimes bears us back
     To scenes almost forgot."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oldest Natives of Ohio, 1866

Marietta Register, August 30, 1866

We mentioned, last week, the death of Maj. Thomas L. Pierce, of Zanesville, on the 14th inst., and corrected the statement that he was "the first white child born in Ohio."  According to the best information we can gain he was born in Marietta, April 1790.  He died at Richmond, Va., Aug. 14, 1866, in his 77th year.

The first white child born within the present limits of Ohio, so far as is now known, was Mary Heckewelder, daughter of Rev. John Heckewelder, one of the Moravian Missionaries.  She was born at Salem, in the present county of Tuscarawas, April 16, 1781, and is till living at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in her 86th year.  We have seen her name given as "Ann," but she signs her name to a letter of her own writing, now before us, "Mary."  She was born before the permanent settlement.

St. Clair Kelly, who was born in Marietta, in December 1788, was the first born after the first settlement.  He died in 1823.

The Zanesville Courier gives an extended notice of Major Pierce, speaking of him as "the first white male child born within the limits of the State of Ohio"; yet James Varnum Cushing, still living at Zanesville, and mentioned in the Courier's article, is more than a year older than was Major Pierce, and was the second born here.

The list stands, as nearly as we can now make it out, as follows:

St. Clair Kelly, December, 1788
James Varnum Cushing, January, 1789
Leicester Grosvenor Converse, Feb. 14, 1789
Joseph Barker, Feb. 28, 1789
Alpha Devol, Aug. 12, 1789
George Dana, April, 1790
Thomas L. Pierce, April, 1790
Oliver Rice Loring, June 17, 1790
Jeremiah Wilson, April 21, 1791
David Oliver, May 18, 1791
William Pitt Putnam, April 2, 1792

These eleven were all born in this county of Washington.  Mr. Cushing is living at Zanesville; Mr. Devol and Mr. Wilson, at Waterford, in this county; Judge Loring and William Pitt Putnam, at Belpre; and Dr. Oliver, in Butler County.

Judge Arius Nye, of Marietta, who died July 27, 1865, was born Dec. 27, 1792; and Col. Enoch S. McIntosh, now living at Beverly, was born in Marietta, May 23, 1793.

Thomas Kain, who was living in Clermont county, a few years ago, was born in Hamilton county, in 1790, we think.  The first settlements in that quarter of the State were at Columbia, mouth of the Little Miami, Nov., 1788; Cincinnati, Dec. 24, 1788; North Bend, Feb., 1789.  These were advance parties of men, without women and children, who, however, soon followed.  It is probable that some children were born there in 1790, besides Mr. Kain, who is said to have been the first born in that section of the State.

William Moody, still living, was the first male child born in Cincinnati.  We have not the exact date of his birth, but it was in 1789 or 1790.

Dr. Lincoln Goodale, now living at Columbus in his 85th year - born at Brookfield, Mass., July 25, 1782 - is, we suppose, the only survivor of all who came to Ohio in the first year of the settlement.  He came with the first families to Marietta, in August, 1788 - only men having arrived previous to that time.  The total number who arrived here during the year 1788 was 132 - the men numbering 84; women and children, 48.  The number of families was 15.

Proposal for Carrying Mail

American Friend, August 14, 1818

Proposals for carrying Mails of the United States on the following Post Roads in Ohio will be received at the General Post Office, in the city of Washington, until the 12th day of October next, inclusive.

1.  From Marietta by Brown's mills and Oliver's settlement to Lancaster, once a week.

     Leave Marietta every Tuesday at 6 A. M. arrive at Lancaster the next day by 6 P. M.

     Leave Lancaster every Thursday at 6 A. M. arrive at Marietta the next day by 6 P. M.

2.  From Marietta by Belpre, Wilkesville, Jackson c. h. Piketon, West Union and Sandy Spring to Vanceburgh, Ky. once a week.

     Leave Marietta every Tuesday at 6 A. M. arrive at Vanceburg the next Thursday by 6 P. M.

     Leave Vanceburg every Friday at 6 A. M. arrive at Marietta the next Sunday by 6 P. M.

3.  From Marietta by Toulmin's and Lexington to Woodfield, once a week.

     Leave Marietta every Tuesday at 6 A. M. arrive at Woodfield on Wednesday by 11 A. M.

     Leave Woodfield same day by 2 P. M. arrive at Marietta on Thursday by 6 P. M.

The contracts are to be in operation on the 16th day of November next; proposals to be received until October 12th.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Capt. Devol's Company

The Home News, August 10, 1861

Below we print the roll of Capt. H. F. Devol's Company, 36th Reg. O.V. M. now in Camp Putnam.  It is the first full company in Camp, and a better one, in every respect, can't be found.  It is composed mostly of able bodied young men, of good habits, and good shots too - a fact which the rebels will find out whenever our boys get a crack at them.

Hiram F. Devol, Captain.
J. Gage Barker, 1st Lieutenant.
J. C. Selby, 2d Lieutenant.
John D. Anderson
James Armstrong
William H. Bishop
Henry A. Bishop
Arthur W. Barker
J. H. Barker
William Barnhart
Albert Burris
John Burris
Lewis Burris
Ben Bragg
Wilson Bell
James Bosman
B. F. Clay
Ralph Crooks
Allen Closs
John Crawford
O. J. DeWolf
E. H. DeWolf
Andrew Davis
Edmond Davis
Hildreth Davis
J. L. Davis
Frederick Davis
Harris Devol
Stephen C. Devol
C. H. Devol
S. M. Devol
Silas A. Devol
Joseph Dyar
D. W. Fouraker
Levi Fouraker
James Fish
James D. Grubb
Goodsell B. Grubb
William L. Gould
James D. Glidden
W. W. Harwood
William Hill
T. Hayt
Edward Hawley
Robert Israel
Thomas P. Jackson
William K. Johnson
Henry Kremer
George W. Kerns
James B. Laughery
John P. Laughery
Salathiel Ladd
Isaac Lucas
George Long
H. O. McClure
D. B. McClure
John Mason
Horatio W. Mason
George W. Mason
William Morrison
Francis McAtee
William Marshall
Moses Monette
Lewis Murdock
Elijah McKendree
Martin Miller
Perley Nott
Benjamin Nott
Zebulon Nixon
Robert Nesselrode
Perley Nesselrode
J. B. Oliver
Oscar Owens
Joseph Ormiston
Hardison Parsons
George W. Putnam
James L. Palmer
Isaac L. Palmer
David Palmer
Lyman D. Perrin
Charles W. Perkins
William Ross
Ezekiel Roberts
John C. Rigg
Hiram Ripley
John Smith
John Samons
Courtland Shepard
Frank Stewart
Arius F. Stacy
M. A. Stacy
J. E. Stacy
W. H. Scott
William Scott
Joseph Scofield
Albert Shaffer
James W. Swords
S. S. Stowe
O. H. Simons
Richard Samons
William Tullis
William L. True
Jere Unger
M. H. Vincent
O. J. Wood
G. A. Wood
Jacob Wooster
Ely Wilson
Amos Wilson
Stephen Winright
Royal R. Wright

Total: 108

We believe the above does not include all who have signed the muster roll of this company.  If there are any whose hearts are faint, let them "back down" at once, and not wait until they have marched to the battle field, and then disorganizing their companies, in the hour of conflict by their own cowardice, as is too often the case.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Little Out of the Ordinary Done On Hallowe'en

The Marietta Daily Times, November 1, 1904

As far as the destruction of property was concerned, Hallowe'en in this city was celebrated in a modest manner, there being few signs today of any serious acts committed by the revelers which are usually performed by the younger boys.  The misplacing of various effects about the yards and streets was, of course, expected and the property owner who failed to prepare are therefore searching everywhere for wheelbarrows, chairs, carriages, etc., which are apt to be found most any place within or without the city limits today.

Things were very quiet about the College and High School and no rushes occurred.  Early in the evening the Freshman class of the High School was hotly pursued by the Sophomores, but the former lads were too fleet for their enemies and an engagement failed to occur.

As usual corn and beans were the ammunition used by the children, which were either thrown from a shooter or tossed with the hand.

One prank of the small boys was the breaking of an old piece of glass directly under some one's large plate window.  Thinking damage had been done their homes, residents would run out only to find it a joke of the boys.

Members of the police force were stationed at various points in the city to keep down trouble.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stabbing Affray

The Home News, November 30, 1860

On Monday last, a stabbing affray occurred on the river bank, at the foot of Sixth street, which created considerable excitement in that neighborhood.

Mr. C. A. Phillips and his son, the latter 16 or 17 years old, were gathering a quantity of drift wood from the river, which they piled up on the top of the bank.  A brace of drunken fellows named Adam Davis and John Ingraham, who claim a residence near Tunnel Station, coming along, commenced throwing down the wood.  The old man Phillips remonstrated against this proceeding, when the two villains commenced an assault upon him and his son, stabbing the former severely in the thigh, and injuring the young man about the head.

Neighbors close by interfered, one of whom, Robert McKittrick, stretched both rowdies on the ground, where they were guarded until Constable Goldsmith arrested them.  An examination was immediately held before Esq. Test, who sent them to jail in default of $100 bail each, to answer the charge of assault with intent to kill.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Accident to Father Walker

The Home News, July 21, 1860

An accident of a severe nature occurred to Father Walker, pastor of St. Mary's Church in this city, at Pilcher's Hill, on Monday last.  He was going out on the train to visit one of his stations, expecting to get off when the train reached the top of Pilcher grade, the Engineer having been accustomed to slacken speed to enable him to do so.  But forgetting that Mr. Walker was on the train, he neglected it, which the unfortunate gentleman perceiving, he determined to risk jumping.  In doing this his head came violently in contact with a stump, and he fell to the ground insensible.  He was soon discovered by the friends who were expecting him, and removed to their house, where he was properly cared for. 

A brakesman saw the accident, but neglected to give notice until the train had passed two miles beyond the place.  The conductor immediately returned, but finding Mr. W. in good hands, went on.

Father Walker was severely hurt.  He was removed to his residence in this city the same afternoon, and is doing well.  It was a narrow escape.