Friday, February 24, 2012

Journeying to Marietta in 1828

Marietta Register, Semi-Weekly, July 10, 1888

By Rev. A. Kingsbury, Born in Coventry, Conn., July 5, 1800

In 1828, the period of my coming to Marietta, Ohio was one of the new and undeveloped States. Railways were unknown in this country as a mode of travel. The only one in existence was that from Quincy, Mass., to Boston, constructed for the purpose of bringing there the immense pillars erected at the entrance of Quincy Market. A telegraph was not even dreamed of, much less a telephone. The means of travel were horse-back riding or the stage coach, and the recently constructed Erie Canal, which extended from Albany to Buffalo, N. Y.

I was one of the second company of Home Missionaries sent out west by the American Home Missionary Society, and in company with Rev. John Spaulding and wife left New York City by steamboat via the Hudson river for Albany. Taking the canal at Schenectady we reached Utica Saturday, and there spent our first Sabbath with a classmate, Rev. H. G. O. Dwight, afterward a missionary of the A.B.C.F.M. Thence by stage we proceeded to Buffalo, in whose streets the stumps of trees still remained standing. From Buffalo we took a steamer for Erie, Pa., but were compelled by stress of weather to land at Dunkirk, and had a race with an opposition stage coach through the Cattarangus woods to Erie.

From Erie we supposed we should find a conveyance to Cleveland and thence down through the central portion of the State to Washington county. Instead of that we came down into Ohio through Conneaut, where I stopped to visit the minister of my childhood, while brother Spaulding passed on to the Ohio river and crossed over to Wheeling, where I joined him, and there we spent our second Sabbath with Mr. William Slocomb. Brother Spaulding and I preached for Rev. Mr. Wiley, who was then pastor of the Presbyterian Church in that place.

Monday, we left for Marietta, going down the Virginia side, because there was no public conveyance on the Ohio side of the river. Just at dark we encountered a very heavy thunder shower accompanied with wind which extinguished the lights in the back and left us in darkness. The forward horse (we had three) turned round under the lee of one of the wheel horses, and the driver said he could not go a step further until he had a light. But we had no means of striking a light, nor was there any house visible.

Providentially a gentleman and lady were behind us, endeavoring to shelter themselves from the force of the wind by following close in the rear of our carriage. The man on horseback said there was a dwelling a mile or two below and he volunteered to go in search of a light, the lady bringing her horse as near the carriage as possible and to the leeward. The man who sought a light had to go two miles before he found a dwelling, but obtained a tin lantern, which was of little use unless the door was open, so as to throw the light on the bank of the river; and then the first gust of wind would blow it out. The rain had ceased, but the ground was flooded and water ran down the bank in little rivulets as we passed. The problem was to show the way and preserve the light. As I was a bachelor I volunteered to take a seat on the right hand side of the driver, so that he could see the way and not go off the bank, and to keep the lantern in such a position that the wind would not extinguish the light.

Thus we went safely till we had entered the lane leading to the tavern where we were to stop for the night. After going half the distance we encountered a tree that had fallen across the track and prevented our further approach to the house. The driver, somewhat used to such diversions, coolly said: "I am going to unhitch the horses and take the mail; you can do what you please." But Mrs. Spaulding was equal to the occasion; she drew off her shoes and stockings, and taking them in her hands walked to the house, brother Spaulding and myself taking the baggage. In the morning we proceeded on our way.

In the afternoon we crossed the Ohio river at Newport, and on the 28th of October, at the close of a beautiful Indian summer day, approached Marietta. The first object that greeted our view was the Wilcox mansion, subsequently the house of Col. John Mills and now the residence of his widow. Very soon we were at the McFarland tavern, on Ohio street, where the carriage stopped. In a short time brother Bingham came in and, remarking that a tavern was no place for a minister to stay, took us to his residence, now a part of the Marietta Academy.

We were a part of the second company of Home Missionaries, sent out by the American Home Missionary Society, of which Absalom Peters was then Secretary, and were directed to consult with Revs. L. G. Bingham and Augustus Pomeroy as to our particular location. On our journey brother Spaulding and I had speculated about the place we should occupy, and had concluded that as there was no Presbyterian church in that county we would go to Meigs, he to reside at Chester, the county seat, and I to be an itinerant minister through the county. But on consulting with Messrs. Bingham and Pomeroy, they said that would never do; that one of us must remain in Washington county and the other must go to Athens. As brother Spaulding had a wife, and I was a single man, it was decided he should go to Athens and I remain in Washington county.

In the meantime brother Pomeroy, who was then preaching in Gallipolis, wished me to supply his place the next Sabbath. I was to have as a companion and guide, Uncle David Putnam, as he was familiarly called, and as I had not been on a horse for ten years, it was thought best that I should leave in the afternoon and go to Belpre to spend the night. Mr. Putnam came there for me in the morning, and we began our journey, for the most part through the woods, proposing to stay in Chester over night, and the next day go on to Gallipolis. But on reaching Chester we found no place of entertainment, except Newsom's notorious gambling place, the occupant of the other tavern having just vacated it. "I won't stay at Newsom's," said Mr. Putnam, "can you ride to the mouth of Carr's Run?" I said "I will try." "As it is but a narrow road," he said, "we shall have to go Indian file, and as I know the road, I will take the lead, and you follow me."

With that he struck his horse in the flanks, and rushed through the woods, going the six miles in an hour, and reaching the Ohio river just above where Pomeroy was afterwards built. Here we spent the night, and in the morning passed on down the Ohio. Mr. Putnam pointed out the dimensions of a sycamore tree, of which nothing remained but the ring at the root, in the hollow of which he had once taken refuge in a storm, and calculated that five horsemen might have crowded into it.

We reached Gallipolis Saturday afternoon, and on Sabbath morning I preached in the Court House. Then I rode out in the country and preached in a school house, where two services had already been held, and by different ministers, and a fourth was to follow mine. I rode back to Gallipolis and preached in the evening.

Monday, a cloudy day, I started for Marietta, and Tuesday I rode in the rain. This brought on a severe attack of pleurisy, and to reduce the inflammation so that I could take a full inspiration, Dr. Hildreth bled me profusely. Indeed, all the good blood was taken away, and for a month I was unable to preach. I then commenced by work as a missionary in the country, having the first year four places for preaching on the Sabbath, and on other days travelling through the county, studying on horse-back, and visiting those who were destitute. Two of these four places were above, and two below the mouth of the Muskingum. Not on a bridge, as now, did the people pass over, but part of the time we forded, and when the water rose we were ferried across in a flat-boat.

Marietta was just emerging from a season of terrible mortality, which prevailed in 1822-3, when she lost many of her valuable citizens, whole families being swept off in some instances, by a malignant fever, which gave to Marietta for a time, a reputation far and wide, as being a low and unhealthy place.

Among her prominent citizens then were Dea. William R. Putnam, who lived just above town, David Putnam of Harmar, Col. John Mills [at whose house then on Putnam street near Front, I was always welcomed], Dudley Woodbridge, Mr. Holden, Mr. Skinner and Nahum Ward, a gentleman always ready to do a kind office for anyone, whenever in his power. His dwelling was on Putnam St. The trees he planted are eradicated, and his mansion is now hid behind various shops and offices. Another conspicuous dwelling was that of Mr. Woodbridge, now being dismantled and turned about. The venerable maples, then in their glory, and adorning his yard have lately been removed in the shape of brush and firewood to clear the path of progress.

The residence of Dr. John Cotton, a distinguished scholar, and devout Christian, was on Butler street, now a hotel, near the Muskingum, fronting the most beautiful lawn, now covered with blocks of stone for the completion of the new locks. Gov. Meigs house (who had recently deceased) stood on Front street, now the residence of Judge Follett, and his widow keeping it darkened gave to the mansion a most gloomy desolate appearance.

The three story dwelling of Dr. Hildreth was also prominent, whose grounds and a small yard of plants and flowers were in better order than any other in the town. He had also a cabinet of minerals, and other choice things, which he gave to the college, and which I am sorry to say has been so neglected, as to lose much of its value. Fronting Putnam St. from the other side of the Muskingum stood and now stands in Harmar, the "stone house," the residence of Mr. David Putnam, emblematical of his own stability and worth. Near by was the dwelling of Col. Stone, and his store in which an immense amount of business was done; and on one corner of his counter, stood, as in all the stores of Marietta, and the country around, a decanter of pure whisky, with sugar, and a glass, from which every customer was expected to help himself, if he bought anything, and often did so when he bought not. The refusal to drink by a minister at a parishoner's house in the country was sometimes such a breach of politeness as to require an explanation, and the apology for not drinking was only accepted when he gave a reason that he was a total abstainer from alcoholic stimulants.

Provisions were cheap. Corn brought twelve cents per bushel. When wheat rose to fifty cents the farmers were delighted. One winter the grain I gave my horse was the finest wheat, and it rendered him very spirited, and ready for hard journeys through the mud of red clay, of which there was abundance, both on the banks of the Ohio, and over the hills, which would take the color from black cloth as soon as vitriol. To meet such an emergency, ministers wore indigo blue trowsers and overcoats. And to keep the mud from soiling their trousers so as to be unfit to enter a dwelling, leggins were wrapped around their legs to the knee, and fastened with a garter to keep them in place.

The streams had no bridges, and in time of high water had to be forded, the water swimming deep, and the rider must either climb upon the top of his saddle to keep himself dry, or when it became suddenly deep, was wet often up to his knees, and obliged to ride in that condition, till he could find a friendly dwelling whose inmates were willing to have him remain till he was sufficiently dry to go on his way with safety. He often forded streams that were bridged, when the water was above the railing, and sometimes when there was no railing, he went off the bridge into the stream and was obliged to change his garments before he could be comfortable. When the streams were swollen, the current was swift, and their crossing often attended with danger.

As an instance, I mention my crossing the south fork of Licking, on my way from Newark, O., to Jacksontown, accompanied by the owner of a hack which was employed to carry passengers to the latter place, where they took Neil's line of coaches, which ran on the National road, between Wheeling and Columbus. The current was so strong and the crossing so dangerous that the proprietor would not trust his driver, but preferred to go himself, as more skillful and better acquainted with the crossing. We entered the stream as high as possible. I in the lead as i was on horseback, and set our course at an angle of 45 degrees up the creek, but when we reached the deep water of the current we were borne down the stream far below the landing place on the opposite bank. Safely over, our next effort was to reach Jacksontown through the deep mud. My horse was spirited and strong, and obedient to my wishes, so I felt no particular anxiety on my own account, but the owner of the hack was anxious to have me keep company thinking I might assist him should he stick fast in the mud, as he did, and one of his horses was for a time unable to move.

But after resting awhile, he was able, with much difficulty, to start, and at the end of three hours we reached Jacksontown, a distance of six miles, and delivered the passengers, ready to take the coach for the east. This was but one of the many similar encounters with the creeks and rivers I was compelled to pass in my missionary journeys, in preaching to the destitute churches or in places where it was hoped churches would be established, and in attending the meeting of Presbytery. But though the roads were often almost impassable, I never missed an appointment I had made during my eleven years of missionary labor, and was never late but once, and then through the delinquency of a brother minister. They were years of toil and privation, but among the most successful of my ministerial life. I was wonderfully sustained, and having had help from God, continue till this present, a period of fifty years of active service. And since my retirement goodness and mercy have followed me continually, and I hope, through grace, "to dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reminiscences of Early Days

Marietta Register - Semi Weekly, May 11, 1888

By Benjamin F. Palmer, Late of Barlow, Ohio

In giving this brief history of early life, we will state that the ancestor of our family, Walter Palmer, came from Nottinghamshire, England, to Charlestown, Mass., in 1629, and finally settled at Stonington, Ct., in 1653, where he died in 1661, and in the language of Moses, we will say, Walter begat Jonah, and Jonah, Samuel; and Samuel, Seth; and Seth, Joseph; and Joseph my father.

Joseph Palmer, born January 13th, 1761, at Scotland, Windham county, Ct., was the oldest member of a large family of children. At the commencement of the Revolution he volunteered and performed a tour of duty, being 16 years old at the time of his enlistment; he served out his time, and was discharged ten days before New London was burnt by the British. A short time after his return home a fever sore broke out on his leg, extending from his knee to his ankle, which rendered him a cripple for life.

At the age of twenty-one he went up to Poltny, Rutland county, Vt., and after some little acquaintance went into partnership with Elisha Hibbard, and engaged in merchandising, and was quite successful. In 1785 he returned to Windham, Ct., and married Miss Hannah Fox, February 7, 1785, and immediately returned to Poltny and commenced housekeeping.

Business prospered with them, and they were getting along so well that Mr. Hibbard, against father's consent, contracted to furnish a forge, owned by Hon. Matthew Lyon, with charcoal for one year, which proved disastrous to them. When the year was half up, Mr. Hibbard left between two days for father to get out the best way he could. He labored hard, and finally fulfilled the contract to the satisfaction of the firm, but it left him penniless and homeless. He then by hard labor and frugality secured a piece of land, and commenced farming. When he got business in shape so that he could begin to enjoy life, the house was burnt with all its contents, save one chest, which did not exceed in value five dollars. The house was soon rebuilt and the family once more had a home to protect them.

Their oldest child, Joseph, was born November 24, 1785, at Poltny; the second, Jabish Fox, August 31, 1788, at Poltny; the third, Benjamin Franklin, Nov. 10, 1791, at Poltny; the fourth Jerusha Perkins, August 12, 1795, at Poltny; the fifth, Isaac Lazel, January 11, 1797, at Poltny; the sixth, Ephram, August 4, 1799, at Poltny; the 7th, Betsey, February 4, 1803, at Brown's Mills, Ohio.

During John Adams' administration the alien and sedition act was passed, and Col. Matthew Lyon, the Representative from the Rutland county district, took a very active part against it, for which crime he was arrested by the administration and confined in prison at Virgeness, Vt., and was fined heavily. His friends were so indignant that they would have torn the prison down but for the solemn protest of Col. Lyon, that he would never leave the soil till he was legally discharged by the administration. After his trial his friends met at my father's to make arrangements to go and pay Col. Lyon's fine and bring him home, Mrs. Lyon being one of the party. It was fine sleighing at the time, and the friends of Col. Lyon made up a company of thirteen pair of Irish gray horses to represent the thirteen states, and drove down in procession to bring the Colonel home. The fine was a heavy one, and had to be paid in gold and silver. Mrs. Lyon carried the coin in her apron by the assistance of two of the party, and laid it down to the proper officer. After paying the fine, Mrs. Lyon very tantalizingly told the officers that they still had enough left to buy out their old town. Col. Lyon was immediately returned to Congress, which office he filled to the entire satisfaction of his constituency. Col. Lyon and family afterwards moved to Kentucky.

Some time near 1795 Mr. Hibbard returned and made father a visit, and promised him if he would come to Grand Isle to see him, he would do something for him. He made the visit, but received nothing. On his return home he told us that as soon as he could make satisfactory arrangements that he should remove to Ohio. Accordingly, in the spring of 1801, he sold his farm to Joseph and Ezra Smith. Joseph was the father of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons who built the temple at Nauvo, Ill.

The business was all settled up and we were ready to emigrate by the first of September. We started in company with Peter Howe, Esq. Prowty, Elijah and Thaddeus Pond, brothers - five families in all. We called and took dinner with Dr. Walker, who came on and settled at Amestown, Athens county, shortly after. After bidding them farewell, we joined the balance of the Company. Next morning, just over the state line in New York, our company consisted of thirty persons, sixteen horses, and five wagons. Uncle Peter Howe's family consisted of himself and wife and two children, Mrs. Prowty, Mrs. Howe's eldest daughter, eight daughters and two sons, the Pond brothers had two children each. Stephen Oatis came out with us; he was in the employ of Mr. Howe, driving one of his teams for him, and finally settled on the Muskingum river, near Lowell, this county. Our family consisted of father, mother, Joseph, Jabish, Franklin, Jerusha, Isaac and Ephram.

Our first day's drive brought us to Fort Ann. Our course was by way of a place called the Painted Post, and from that point to Pittsburgh, on the Ohio river. We left Fort Ann and arrived at Cuyahoga Lake without any mishaps. We crossed Cuyahoga Lake on a bridge that was over one mile in length - two years later this bridge was swept away. At this point Mr. Pond broke the axle to his wagon, and we stopped for repairs, which were soon made. The next point was Seneca Lake. From Seneca Lake we made a point on the Mohawk river and followed up that stream for some distance.

Our next point was Dike's Settlement. At Dike's Settlement my mother sent me to a cabin to get some milk. A young man there asked me by name and where we were from. I told him, and he happened to be an acquaintance of our family. His name was Olds. He came over and made us a visit, and immediately packed up his budget and came to Ohio with us. We met 2 other young men at this cabin, Elisha and Elijah Alderman, who afterwards came out and settled on Sharp's Fork of Federal Creek, Athens county. The lady that furnished us the milk was Mrs. Phillips, who came out at an early day and settled near Amesville, in Athens county. Between Seneca lake and Dike's Settlement we passed Saratoga Springs, and all hands must have a drink of the all healing waters.

From Dike's Settlement we made for King's Settlement, a distance of forty miles, through the wilderness. We had to cut our road through. Father wrote to Mr. King and he came with some hands and assisted usin getting through. Our first day in the woods was a very pleasant one, and we made some seven or eight miles. The second was also very pleasant, and we got along finely. On the evening of the second day everything was so lovely that Uncle Peter Howe decided we must have a dance. Elijah Pond was requested to get out his violin and make ready. The dance was commenced and kept up till a late hour of the night. When the clouds were noticed gathering up the dancers retired for the night. Shortly after the storm came and the rain poured down in torrents till morning. Here we had to take off our wagon covers to get under the brush.

From this time on to King's Settlement we had more or less rain. We crossed the Genesee river before coming to King's Settlement. The third evening we cut a tall dry pine which soon made us a bright light for quite a distance. As soon as our fire was burning brightly the wolves opened up their music which was kept up the entire night. The fourth day got along finely. On the evening of the fifth Mr. King, with help, met us, and by his assistance we got safely through to King's Settlement. At this place we put up with a man by the name of Smea, who was engaged in making canoes. (This station was on Oswego Creek, a tributary of the Allegheny river.) Father and the Pond brothers made two large canoes, which carried our two wagons, the goods and the three families. Mr. Howe and Esquire prowty built four canoes, which carried their wagons, families and all their goods. Our canoes were run single till we reached the Allegheny river, then they were lashed together two, two and two just far enough apart to let the end of the hub rest on the edge of the canoe.

Elijah Pond, Stephen Otis and my brother Joseph, 16 years old, Mr. Otis in his seventeenth year, with an Indian for a guide, who was recommended by Mr. King, took the horses across to Pittsburg. When we started down the Allegheny, the water was very low and there was no one of our company that had had any experience with boating, and we were put to a great deal of trouble to get our boats over the riffles. We came to a Quaker Missionary Station, and the women and children were permitted to sleep in the school house, which we regarded as a great favor. One of the Pond brothers had a sick child, that they had doctored for some time before they left Vermont and so far on this way, and they despaired ever saving it till they could get to Ohio.

At this station they asked the old Friend if they had a doctor. The old Friend replied, yes, a very good one, and he would have him call in the morning and see the child.

In the morning the old Indian and his squaw called and examined the child, untied a little bundle and took out a root three inches long and three-fourths in diameter, told Mrs. Pond to steep it and give to the babe, and it would relieve it. The doctor charged five dollars for it, but the old Friend told him that would not do, so he consented to take fifty cents. The medicine was given as directed. The child was relieved of an incredible amount of worms in a few hours, and it soon became a healthy, robust child.

After leaving the missionary station, we came to an old Indian by the name of Corn Planter. He had considerable improvement and a very good house. We next came to an Indian village. We landed and built a fire, and prepared our dinner. After dinner we boarded our boats and started out. Father remarked that we were too close together and if we should get in a riffle we would have trouble. No sooner said than done. Our canoes grounded and the end of Uncle Peter's ran in between ours and separated them and left most of our goods, women and children in the river. The water was from two to three feet deep. But very fortunately we were all gathered up safely, the most of them on the point of an island a short distance below, while the balance made the main shore. (No evil resulted from this mishap save a good ducking, and what time it took to gather up our goods.) There were six children under four years old. Every old lady caught a child as they were floating. My sister, Jerusha, was the only one that came near being drowned. It was some time before she recovered. Jabish caught brother Isaac in his arms and managed to catch a piece of a canoe and climb on it and floated down and stranded on a rock in the middle of the river. Father and Mr. Pond managed to get to them and brought them safely to shore.

One canoe was ruined, the other we managed to repair, and a short distance below we bought a good canoe of Mr. Galin, and hired him to pilot us down to Pittsburg. We were detained two or three days by this mishap. Mr. Pond had twenty dollars tied up in a awahite cloth, which was lost, and we had given up finding it. After we had started, Mr. Galin said it would not do to leave it, he would go back once more and look for it. He got a canoe of the Indians, and in company with Mr. Pond, Esq. Prowty, and father, they rowed out into the river just below where we were shipwrecked and the first thing they found was the lost money. They soon returned, greatly elated with their success and we boarded our boats once more for Pittsburg.

Arriving at Fort Franklin, our supplies were nearly exhausted, but we could get but very little here. Several times Mr. Galin landed and put the women and children on shore in passing dangerous places. They told us when we got to Parker's Mills we could get provisions. It was on a stream that emptied into the Allegheny. When we got to Parker's Mills we got a good supply of flour and they butchered a beef for us and we had plenty to last us till we got to Pittsburg. Here was Parker's falls, which was quite dangerous, but Mr. Galin managed to get our boats all safely over. We all started once more on our way.

We had not gone far till we saw a boat coming up the river, and it proved to be a company of soldiers going up to Fort Franklin. They had the old flag floating at masthead. Uncle Peter's girls did not intend to be outdone. They soon had all their handkerchiefs floating in the breeze. The soldiers was playing Yankee Doodle as they passed us. Father had an old French musket in the bow of his canoe that was heavily loaded, and he reached down and fired it off. The soldiers gave us three cheers and the captain said there was a man for the times.

We were very fortunate from this time on till we landed in Pittsburg, where we met the balance of our company, that had gone on with the horses, awaiting us. Elijah Pond, Stephen Oatis, and brother Jabish, brought the horses overland from Pittsburg to Marietta. From Pittsburg we had no misfortunes with our boats and landed safely at Marietta on thee 12th day of November, 1801. The parties with the horses was equally as fortunate and came on and joined us in two or three days after our arrival with the boats. The canoe father bought of Mr. Galin for twenty dollars, he sold to William Skinner for eighteen. The other was so injured in our shipwreck, that we did not get but three or four dollars for it.

Father got a house of Dudley Woodbridge that stood near the mouth of Duck Creek where we lived till father could get a house. He came up to the old Wolf Creek mills and found a house near the mills, but a few rods from where Moses Malster now lives. Father then went out to Amesville to see Ephraim Cutler, and here he found uncle Jason Rice. Father and Mr. Rice bought one half section of land of Mr. Cutler, the lot that father settled on and the one south of it, that was afterwards owned by the Corner family.

Father came back to Marietta and we soon packed up and started for the Wolf Creek Mills. The first day we drove to Col. Deming's, the next brought us safely to the Mills. We found our house in rather a hard shape. A flock of sheep had made it their headquarters a part of the summer. Mother, like most good housewives under such circumstances, expressed herself. Father told her the house would soon be all right. He turned the plank over, which gave it a better appearance. We soon got our house arranged and were living at home once more. At the time we came here Col. John Sharp and Josiah Hart were rebuilding the Mills. Uncle Samuel Brown was an apprentice under Col. Sharp, learning to be a millwright.

Major Haphel [Haffield] White, Robert Oliver, and Mr. Dodge at the same time, owned a saw mill, on South Branch, near where Moses Malster now lives. The mills built by Col. Sharp and Hart, were swept away in the spring of 1813 or 14. Father sold one horse, and we got Mr. White's crop of wheat to thresh for every tenth bushel, which was a great help to us in getting through the winter.

We were all blessed with good health and early in the spring we moved to our new possession. Elisha Maloy had built a cabin, 10 by 12 ft., he lived in while making tar. Father, Joseph and Jabish, lived in the Malboy cabin, while building our house which they had ready for us to move in by the middle of March, 1802. Mr. Rice moved in with us, while building his house. We cut and burnt over 7 or 8 acres of land and planted to corn without plowing or furrowing; part of it was harrowed with a wooden tooth harrow; it was tended altogether with hoes. We had a good crop of corn and potatoes. Father set out 20 apple trees that grew finely. The second field we cleared extended from the house where A. F. Breckenridge now lives, up to the South line, and extended west far enough to contain 15 acres. This lost was sowed to wheat and harrowed in, one half the first of October, and the balance, the first of November 1802, (it was not plowed) we had a fine crop of wheat and we now thought that we could take care of ourselves.

In the spring of 1803 uncle John Danly bought and moved in, and joined our settlement. In the fall of 1803, Cornelius Gard bought out Mr. Rice; Mr. Rice going back to Amesville where he lived, and died. John and William Corns moved in in 1806. Henry Corns, their father, bought out Mr. Gard but did not move in till 1807; John and William Corns tended the farm in 1806. Timothy and David Gard, sons of Cornelius. Timothy moved up to Licking County and David bought 80 acres of Mr. Danly, and settled with us. John Corns bought the half of two lots, Atkinson getting the other half in 1810. William Corns commenced on the lot now owned by John Breckinridge (at present the homestead of Robert Breckenridge) and died there, he and his wife. Atkinson moved in in 1813. In the fall of 1802, Joseph Wood came to our house and staid all night. He was taking the census of the Territory, to see if we did not have population enough to be admitted as a state. Timothy Hiatt moved into the settlement in the spring of 1815, and commenced building a mill on Wolf creek. The winter following he sold out his mill to Samuel Brown, who finished it, a very good saw and grist mill.

The first school we had in the settlement was taught by Russell Darrow. He commenced in the fall of 1804. The school consisted of our family and Benjamin Danly. (He died when about 21; he was the second person buried in the Gard cemetery.) Russell Darrow was a nephew of Jason Rice; he married a daughter of Mr. Eavelling, that lived in the Proctor settlement in Watertown, and moved up to Bald Eagle, where he died a short time after. The second term was taught by Brother Jabish. Cannot give the exact date. The third term was taught by James Ashcroft, who commenced in the fall of 1809. John Treat Deming taught the fourth school, a term of four months, commencing in the fall of 1811. He gave good satisfaction to all concerned.

When we settled here, Waterford extended over all this section. Roxbury Township was set off in 1805, and not long after, Wooster, now known by the name of Watertown. Brother Joseph was married in the fall of 1808.

The famous pigeon roost covered 100 acres or more and was confined mostly between the head waters of Danly's Run and the old Lancaster road. Large timber was bent to the ground in many places.

Father caught large numbers of them in a net. They were made of different sizes covering from one to two hundred square feet. Father would select a smooth piece of ground, sufficiently large and clear every thing off smooth and clean. The net was set in an upright position on one side, with a cord extending to a cover, where he placed me to spring it. Father set a stake at the center of ground, that the net would cover, with a pulley attached. He had a stool pigeon for a decoy. Its eyelids were closed with a fine silk thread to bind it. A small cord was tied to its legs passed through the pulley and then to a place where he was secreted. He would slacken the cord and let the pigeon rise some five or six feet, then he would draw it down slowly. Its fluttering as it rose and settled would soon attract the attention of the pigeons. He covered the ground with wheat, and it would be but a short time until the decoy would have a large number with it picking up the wheat; when a sufficient number had settled I would spring the net and then we would have lively times until we got our birds bagged. The pigeons proved a great help to us, as their flesh was very good and the feathers answered for filling our pillows and bedticks.

August 1st, 1813, under a call of the Governor, Return J. Meigs, for volunteers, brother Jabish and I volunteered, joined a company of mounted militia, Timothy Buell, captain, and belonged to the 1st Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Ohio Militia. We found our own horses and arms. Jabish had a very fine rifle which he carried. Our gun was a French musket that had been through the old French War, also the Revolutionary War. The man that carried it through the Revolution, brought it home with him to Poltney, Vermont, and father bought it of him and brought it out with us to Ohio. We left home August 3rd and were in active service until the close of the war, when we were discharged, September 7th, being out thirty-eight days.

During the summer of 1815 we assisted Samuel Brown in getting out the timber, and building the mill for Timothy Hiatt, which he soon after bought, and it has borne the name of "Brown's Mills." At the raising of this mill, we had the basement story up and were putting up the second, when a heavy stick of timber slipped and knocked my brother Jabish over backwards, into the creek; he fell nearly twenty feet and the stick of timber on top of him. The hands removed the stick as quick as possible, expecting to find him dead, but fortunately he was not seriously injured. A block that had been sawed off of one of the mud sills was so heavy that it sank. Jabish fell close to it and the stick of timber happened to fall on the block, which saved his life. In the summer of 1816, we bought a lot in Barlow, built a cabin and kept bachelor's hall (Aunt Sally Pugh living on an adjoining lot, baked my bread for me) until the fall of 1817. November 28th I was married to Miss Margaret Houghland, of Barlow, and immediately moved into my cabin, and commenced to keeping house, where I have lived ever since. I have been out of the county but twice. Once I had some business that called me to Parkersburg, W. Va., and once to visit some old friends in Athens county.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pioneers of Newport Township

Marietta Register, Semi-Weekly, May 22, 1888

Benjamin Racer, Sr., (whose real name was Benjamin DeCourcy) landed at Marietta, Ohio, April 7th, 1794, bringing at that time his family, consisting of wife and four children, viz:  Dennis, Benjamin, jr., Elizabeth and Mary (Polly).  The family lived for some time in the Stockade at Marietta, then moved to land now owned by Mr. John M. Plumer in lower part of Newport Tp., when said land belonged to the Government, the exact date cannot be ascertained, but between 1794 and 1797, when he moved in last named year to the old John Rowland place in Newport Tp., lived there several years and then moved to west side of Big Muskingum River below Devol's Dam on place now owned by Capt. Gage Barker.  It is not known exactly how long he lived there but he spent his last days on the farm owned by his son Benjamin in upper end of Marietta Tp., where he died in 1823.

Three of his children viz:  Dennis, Benjamin Racer, jr., and Mary, married Holdrens, and Elizabeth married Aaron D. Straight.  Dennis, the oldest son, built a log cabin on Bell's Run below where the oil tank stood on hill, and in this in March, 1805, Benjamin Racer, jr., went to housekeeping.  Once child, David C. Racer (now living in Marietta Tp., and thought to be oldest man living born in Newport Tp.), was born in the cabin, Dec. 19, 1805.  About 1806, said Benjamin Racer, jr., bought and cleared 50 acres close to Newport village, and is part of what is now the Jeremiah Bosworth farm, and he lived there until 1816.  Here were born to him eight children:  Dennis in 1807, Benjamin in 1808, Mary in 1809, Sophia in 1810, Susan in 1812, Frank in 1813, Rachel in 1814 and Wm. Pitt in 1816.  In 1816 he sold and moved to farm now owned by E. O. Racer in Marietta Tp., where he died in 1872, aged 88 years.  In Marietta Tp., were born to him by his first wife, seven children, viz:  Grace, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Charles, Dudley, Ann and Ezra, in the order named, making in all 16 children.  Benjamin Racer, jr., married for his second wife, Mrs. Abigail Churchill (widow of ___ Churchill) in 1834, they having one child which died in infancy, and his second wife died before he did.

David C. Racer, his oldest child, married for his first wife, Anna Maria Corner, great granddaughter of General Rufus Putnam, the head of the company that settled at Marietta, was with the last Dudley Woodbridge, Esq., as clerk and partner for a great many years in Marietta, but in May, 1841, because of poor health moved back into the township in which he was born, on to the place known as the Woodbridge farm.  Here two children were born, viz: Mary, now Mrs. Chas. Dana of said Township, born Sept. 2, 1842, and Geo. C., born April 29, 1845, a son Benjamin and a daughter Susan, having been born in Marietta.  Benjamin died in infancy, and Susan is now Mrs. Geo. O'Neal, David D. Racer lived in Newport Tp. about four years and then back to Marietta, where his first wife died in 1846.  In 1848 he married Miss Susan C. Flagg, daughter of the late Capt. James Flagg, she having one daughter Sophia.  He survives them both.

Geo. C. Racer, son of David C., bought the upper part of the Woodbridge farm, the place of his birth and moved onto it in the fall of 1883, and still resides there.

This covers so far as known the history of the Racer family in Newport Tp.  The history of that part of the family moving into and born in Marietta Tp. will probably be covered by history of that township.

Friday, February 10, 2012

State of the Thermometer at Marietta

American Friend, February 13, 1818

Monday, February 9th, at 6 A.M. Farenheit's Thermometer was down to 20 degrees below Zero.

Tuesday the 10th at 6 o'clock A.M. it was 22 degrees below Zero, or 54 degrees below the freezing point; a degree of cold never before experienced in the State of Ohio, at least since any records of the state of the weather have been kept.

On these extremely cold mornings the atmosphere was filled with a very thick fog, which continued till eight or nine o'clock.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow Storm

American Friend, February 6, 1818

Our paper, this week, we are obliged make out of any-thing; from the frequent failures in the Eastern Mail we cannot depend upon it.  For the failure on Wednesday last, however, there is a reasonable excuse, from the great depth of snow, which covers the ground and renders travelling almost impossible.

The latest papers from Washington are of the 22 and 24 ult.  congress at that time was employed as usual doing very little business of importance.

Snow Storm

On Monday night last, and the day and night following, we experienced a greater fall of snow than can be recollected by our inhabitants since the first settlement of this country.  It continued snowing, without intermission, about thirty hours, and when it stopped, it measured two feet deep on a level.