Tuesday, September 25, 2012

John Quincy Adams at Marietta

The Marietta Register, April 14, 1881

From the "Evangelist."

In the summer of 1843 the newspapers announced that this distinguished man had consented to lay the corner-stone of the Cincinnati Observatory.  The month of November was selected for the imposing ceremonies of that occasion.  The 10th of November proved stormy, but an immense concourse of people assembled to witness an event so unusual, and also to see and hear a man whose name was associated with the history of the nation from its infancy. 

As soon as Mr. Adams was known to have accepted the invitation of the Cincinnati Astronomical society, the citizens of Marietta took measures to invite him to their place as the first settled north of the Ohio, and by men from Massachusetts.  Mr. Adams accepted their invitation conditionally, agreeing if consistent with other engagements to stop a little while, on his journey up the Ohio.  No day or hour for his arrival could be fixed, positively, but it was understood throughout the town that on his arrival the bell of the Congregational church would be rung.  People were watching all the boats in expectation of the distinguished guest.

Early one afternoon the preconcerted signal announced his arrival, and the whole town poured towards the church.  A great crowd met him at the wharf and went with him to the church.  He was introduced to the people, I think by Caleb Emerson, Esq., and in response he made an address extemporaneously.  In his remarks he showed a minute acquaintance with the first movements which resulted in the settlement in Ohio.  He spoke of the leading men in the enterprise.  He had known Rufus Putnam, what part he had borne in the Revolutionary War, and what had been the leading influence he exerted in founding the colony and in raising it through the hardships of its first decade.  He paid a noble tribute to the memory of this man, so dear to the Marietta people.

He spoke also of bold Commodore Whipple, who "fired the first gun on the sea at the British, in the opening of the Revolutionary War," by heading the party which captured and burnt the Gaspe in the waters of Rhode Island.  He described Col. Tupper, Return Jonathan Meigs, Gen. Varnum, Col. Parsons, the Devols, the Greens, the Putnams, Dr. Cutler and his son, the Fearings, &c., &c.  His knowledge of the families of the original settlers, where they came from, what they encountered on the journey and after landing at the mouth of the Muskingum, their sufferings during the Indian Wars, &c., surprised all present.  What made it the more remarkable was, that there was then no published book from which he might have gleaned the facts, for Dr. Hildreth did not publish his "Pioneers of Ohio" until 1848, and the "Lives of the Early Settlers of Ohio" until 1852. 

I was afterward informed that Mr. Adams accounted for his minute acquaintance with the early settlers of Ohio, by stating that he carefully read the accounts which were from time to time published in the newspapers of the day.  Many of the pioneers were educated men, and wrote from the wilderness letters to their friends in New England, detailing carefully all the events transpiring in the colony.  These were usually published in the Massachusetts newspapers and were read with as great avidity as a few years since people read the exciting letters from California.  From this source Mr. Adams drew the materials of that admirable half hour's address, and the minuteness of his details, and the correctness of his names, dates, and other statements, proved the amazing accuracy and discipline of his memory.

After his remarks were concluded, Mr. Adams left the pulpit and one by one the congregation were presented to him.  The first settlers were almost all gone, in fact I do not recall one who was present on this interesting occasion.  However, there were many there who had come as children with the pioneers, or who had been born soon after the settlement was made.  There were descendants of Israel Putnam, of Pomfret, through the line of his son, Col. Israel Putnam.  There were Deacon William Rufus Putnam and his son William Rufus, the son and grandson of Gen. Rufus Putnam.  There were the Nyes, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Col. Benjamin Tupper.  There were Judge Cutler and his son, the son and grandson of the Rev. Manasseh Cutler who negotiated with Congress the purchase of the land for the Ohio Company.  There were the descendants of Capt. Joseph Barker, prominent among whom was Joseph Barker, Esq., the first child born in Belpre township, which settlement was made soon after that at Marietta.  Capt. Barker himself had been dead only two months. 

The Danas from Newport and Belpre came also to welcome the sage of Quincy.  One of these, Mr. George Dana, a plain farmer, of uncommon mental parts and acquirements, came up leading his little son, John Quincy Dana, and said to Mr. Adams, "here is my youngest son, whom I have named to show my esteem for you."  Mr. Adams immediately put his hand on the lad's head and said "God bless you my son."

Descendants of Jonathan Stone, Paul Fearing, Ebenezer Battelle, Devol, and other Pioneers were introduced.  It was a singularly impressive sight thus to have the children and grandchildren of the very men Mr. Adams had been speaking of, come up to shake his hand.  In two hours from the time he landed he was on the boat, the crowd cheering him most heartily.

Mr. Caleb Emerson of Marietta accompanied Mr. Adams to Pittsburgh, and I was told that these remarkable men spent the greater part of the night in conversation.  Mr. Emerson was usually called "the walking Encyclopedia of Marietta."  Physically he was very lethargic, and he was negligent in the matter of dress, but in the absorption of knowledge he was a marvel.  He would read from the time he arose until late at night.  He had one of the most noble heads I ever looked at.  His knowledge expanded to every pursuit, and his almost miraculous memory seemed to retain everything he read.  His reasoning powers were masculine, and clear; and what he read he mastered.  His conversational talents were remarkable and it made no difference what topic might be introduced, he was ready to pour out the treasures of his mind, not in tame generalities, but in special detail. 

It excited the wonder even of intelligent men, to hear him trace the history of affairs in this country; for instance, the introduction of slavery, its progress, the views of patriots at the time the Constitution was formed, the means used to remove it, &c.  he was at home on every subject.  There was not a valuable book in the library of the Marietta Library Association, or that of Marietta College, which he had not devoured.  Not unfrequently he would go to Columbus, for the purpose of reading some rare book in the State Library.  In his habits he was simple, and it was a common habit with our boys in College when about to write a speech or composition on some assigned theme requiring reading, to call on Mr. Emerson to have him talk out what he knew.  And the kind hearted old gentleman always delighted to do the boys so easy a favor as that.

It was a common saying in Marietta, "what a pity Mr. Emerson did not have the executive energy which goads some men up to high places, for such a mind as his impelled by such energy would have made him a marked man in the nation!"  This was his deficiency, for with all his knowledge I do not think he ever published anything beyond one or two admirable papers in the North American Review.  A gentleman who was present told me that the conversation between John Quincy Adams and Caleb Emerson on the steamboat was marvelous, and that the Sage of Quincy did not outshine his plain companion from Marietta, a statement which I can easily credit, because few men had greater resources from which to draw than Mr. Emerson.

Mr. Emerson was a Baptist, but not a strenuous, intrusive one.  From its foundation he was a trustee of Marietta College, and took a lively interest in its welfare.  His views were held in great respect by his friends in the Board, and he had not a little influence in bringing that excellent institution to its present prosperity.  Originally he was a printer - and he had received only such an education as a Massachusetts Common School affords.

The exact date of Mr. Adams' visit to Marietta was Wednesday, November 15th, and the time two o'clock, P.M.  The day was unpleasant and rainy.  Mr. Adams rode from the landing to the church in Mr. Nahum Ward's carriage and after the address had been concluded and the informal reception brought to an end, the distinguished statesman was driven to the great mound in the cemetery, to the elevated squares and Sacra Via, which he viewed with great interest.  Mr. Emerson was one of the committee of three who traveled with Mr. Adams to Pittsburgh as a guard of honor.  The other members were Judge Ephraim Cutler and Judge Joseph Barker.

Nahum Ward was chairman of the Committee of Reception and the marshals were A. T. Nye and Noah L. Wilson.  The address of welcome was delivered by Deacon William R. Putnam.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Killed and Wounded in the 36th Ohio

The Marietta Register, September 26, 1862

From a list furnished by Surgeon James H. Whitford, and from scattering reports in the daily papers, we have collated the following list of the killed and wounded in our 36th regiment during the engagements in Maryland last week.  The list is probably not complete, as the wounded had not all been brought in when Surgeon Whitford made up his report on the 18th.  Considering the severity of the fighting and their advanced position, the regiment has come out with a fortunately small loss.

Battle of Middletown Heights, Sunday, Sep. 14:
Corp. Cortland Shepard, Co. A, killed.
Priv. Theodore Edmondosn, Co. C, killed.
Priv. H. J. Gibbons, Co. G, killed.
Priv. A. J. Daly, Co. K, killed.
Priv. Leander Simmons, Co. K, killed.
Priv. J. J. Anderson, Co. K, killed.
Priv. W. W. Kinnison, Co. K, killed.
Wounded - Priv. James huey, Co. A, slight.
Private Abraham V. Coy,* Co. B, foot, slight.
Private Marion Alloways,* Co. B, leg.
Corp. Samuel H. McKibben,* Co. C, slight.
Private Elisha Reeves, Co. C, serious.
Sergeant George J. Bartmess,+ Co. G, leg, severe.
Private Charles Pennybacker,* Co. H, head, slight.
Private John W. Hoover,* Co. K, right arm broken, serious.
Private John H. Stephenson,+ Co. K, abdomen, serious.
Private Morris Fullerton,* Co. K, head, slight.
Private William Lane,* Co. K.
Private James H. Langsdale,+ Co. K, right side, severe.
Private Frank M. Farney,* Co. K, slight.
Private Leonard Hutton, Co. K, serious.
Private James Ozler,+ hand, very slight.
Private Spencer Cherington,+ Co. K, head, serious.
Private William Duane,* Co. K.
Private George Malcolm,* Co. I.
Private John Zurcher,+ Co. I, left arm.

By Accident, Monday, Sept. 15.
Private William Rice, Co. K, killed.
Private John W. Smith, Co. E, wounded slightly.
Private James Alban, Co. G, wounded slightly.

Battle of Antietam, Wednesday, Sept. 17:
Lt. Col. Melvin Clarke, killed by solid shot through thighs.
Corp. Gustavus Wood, Co. A, wounded seriously.
Private Arthur W. Barker, Co. A, thigh, severely.
Private D. F. Wyatt, Co. B, wounded slightly.
Corp. A. J. Lloyd, Co. D, wounded slightly.
Private George Dillinger, Co. D, wounded slightly.
Private D. Hildebrand, Co. D, wounded slightly.
Private John S. Watkins, Co. D, very slightly.
Com. Sergt. S. H. Dustin, wounded slightly.

Wounded Thursday, Sept. 18, skirmishing:
Private Henry Thomas, Co. E, severely.
Private James Rainer, Co. I, severely.

* In General Hospital in Frederick.
+ In German Reformed Church, Middletown, Maryland.
Others unknown.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Keelboatmen

Marietta Register, Semi-Weekly, May 22, 1888

The rivers were available means for the transportation of products before roads were built.  And they are still largely used, not even giving way to their most serious competitor, the railroad.

There were two forms of boats in common use on the western rivers in early days.  One was the flatboat or "broadhorn" as it was nicknamed; the other, on account of its different construction and to distinguish it from the former, went by the name of the keel boat.  The first was almost exclusively for floating with the stream, for when loaded it was about as unwieldy as a log would be for moving against the current.

To many of our older inhabitants a description of the keel boat may seem superfluous, but they should bear in mind that a large majority of the present generation never saw one, and have but an imperfect idea of what kind of a craft they were.

In outward appearance they bore some resemblance to a canal boat of the present day.  They were from fifty to eighty feet in length and eight to twelve in width, with a shallow hold, and sinking when fully loaded from two to three feet in the water.  They were substantially roofed, the height of which from the bottom of the hold was somewhat higher than a man's head.  Their carrying capacity was from fifty to seventy-five tons. 

The siding sloped inward so as to give room to the men who pushed the boat.  There was an extension on each side from the keel of eighteen inches to two feet.  This was termed the race board, and on it at short distances were heavy cleats nailed across that served as braces to the feet of the men who poled the boat.  The poles used were made of the very best timber that could be procured.  In length they averaged about ten feet, with a heavy iron socket fastened to the lower end, while the upper end had a smoothly turned knob of wood, about two inches in diameter, which was placed against the shoulder of the pusher.  The largest part of the pole was about one-third of the way from the lower end, and tapered to a much smaller diameter at the upper part.  The men were very careful in the selection of their poles, testing them in various ways, so as to be sure that they would be equal to any emergency.  They had good reasons for doing so.  If a man's pole should break while he is pushing he would be fortunate if he escaped with only a ducking in the river.  Sometimes a splinter of the pole would seriously wound him, and occasionally even death was the result.

The pilot of the boat was captain, too, and often also the owner, either of the whole or in part.  He stood on the roof at the stern, holding a properly shaped pole or stick of timber which extended back to the water, where was fastened a narrow plank six or eight feet long.  He had no kine of protection over him, standing out in all sorts of weather.  This was also the case with the early built steamboats.  I can remember of seeing steamboats on the Muskingum where the pilot stood at the wheel without any covering over him.  The pilot house was an after thought.

The pushing crew of a keel boat numbered from six on the small to twelve on the larger ones.  There was also a cook, and perhaps a cabin boy or scullion.  Two men, one on each side, of the strongest and most expert pushers, were termed bowmen.  Where the current was comparatively gradual the method was for the men to push the whole length of the boat.  But, as is the case in the Ohio now and was in the Muskingum before it was dammed, there were numerous shallows where the water ran much swifter.  These places were termed "riffles," and had sometimes a gravel bottom and in other places a rocky one.  Poling through these was slow and usually very laborious work.  In these places the custom was to break hands, as it was termed.  The bowsmen with one or more of the others would push half way on the raceboard, where they would stop and go back, while the rest of the hands went through to the stern.  By this means part of the men were pushing all the time.

The directions of the captain to the bow pushers when they reached the middle of the boat was he-e-ead to, dwelling long on the vowel sound in the first word, and uttering the last one with a strong, explosive sound.  When the balance of the men reached to the farther end of the boat, and the bow-hands had set their poles, then the captain sang out, u-u-up behind.  Some of the captains had very strong voices even if not especially musical.  One in particular, who followed boating for a long time and was well known along the river, could be heard at least two miles.

Where the water was smooth and the boat going along at a good pace, the captain might be in a very good humor and sometimes in a merry mood, whistling a tune or singing a song.  But let the boat get on a hidden rock or snag and their manner changed very quickly.  The whole air would be blue with profanity; every manner of cursing known in the language would be indulged in freely.  If the boat could not be pushed off of the obstruction readily the men were ordered to get out into the river and pry her off with their poles or handspikes, of which there was always carried a supply as they were often needed.

The crew of a keel boat was a "tough set," physically and morally.  There were some exceptions, of course, but they were generally considered the hardest lot of men in the whole country.  There was a saying among them, that a man wasn't fit to be a keelboatman unless he could drink a quart of whisky a day, and sleep at night on a sand or gravel bar without anything under or over him.  And there is not doubt but that most of them could do so.  They would push day after day with the wooden end of the pole often against the naked shoulder, and the skin would finally become so thickened and callous that they would feel no inconvenience from it.  It was very laborious work, and none but the most muscular and enduring men would think of engaging in it.  They did not have any eight or ten hour rule for a day's labor, but worked from morning until night, stopping only for meals, working in the rain or in the hottest sunshine, getting in the water perhaps every hour, and doing it all for fifty cents a day, which was about the average wages.

They were pretty good foragers.  So well was this known to be the case, that the farmers along the river considered it unfortunate to have a keel boat tie up at night near their farm, and if any chickens were missed from the roost or honey from the hive, it was usually thought best not to make any complaint, for more than likely they would get no redress and might fare worse next time.

When there was an unusually swift or bad place to be passed they had to resort to cordelling.  A line was sent ahead and made fast, and the boat warped forward with the capstan.  Also, when there was a rise in the river and the water was too deep for poling, they had resource to what was termed "bush-whacking," or catching to the overhanging limbs of the trees, which then lined the banks, and pulled their craft along in that way.

But, if their trip up the river was toilsome and tedious to the last degree, they made amends to some extent in the return passage.  There was no push then and no rowing except to keep out of the bends.  They lazily floated with the current, and if the weather was fair they spent their time on the top of the boat, either dancing to the fiddle played by one of their number or with a game of cards.  There was always whisky "galore" and they were as merry a set of lads as could have been seen anywhere.

There were many strange legends and stories told of the old boatmen, of their wild carousals and bitter quarrels, of their shooting off tincups placed on another's head in token of reconciliation, but it is difficult now to tell what was true or what was more invention or exaggeration.

The advent of the steamboat drove them from the waters of the Ohio.  They lingered a while longer on the Muskingum, for steamboats could only occasionally go up during rises in the river.  But after that stream was made navigable by the building of the dams and locks their vocation was gone.  They went on farms or drifted into the towns.  A portion of them found occupation as pilots on steamboats, for which they had a thoroughly practical training so far as knowing the channel and the situation of every rock and snag.

I have not as yet been able to find what was the charge for freight from Pittsburgh to Zanesville, but think it must have been about from fifty to seventy-five cents per hundred pounds.

It was considered a quick trip to go from Marietta to Zanesville in a week.  Now our steam packets run through in a little more than from sunrise to sunset, and in a few weeks, on this, the centennial year, the iron horse will traverse the distance in three hours.

J. W.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Concerning Old Mills and Mill Stones

Marietta Register, Semi Weekly, May 15, 1888

"How happy is the miller who lives in the mill
While he takes his toll with a right good will;
One hand in the hopper, the other in the bag,
And as the wheel turns round he cries out grab."

One of the most imperative needs of civilized man is to have the means of grinding his grain so that he may make it into bread.  For a time the first settlers did this work by hand - a slow and tiresome process - and as soon as possible they set about erecting mills to grind by machinery.  The first structure for that purpose in this state which bore a resemblance to the modern mill, was build int 1790 on Wolf Creek, in the northern part of the county, by Major White, Col. Oliver and Capt. Dodge.  The business was interrupted during the Indian War, but was resumed at its close, and two other buildings were erected subsequently near the same site, but all are now gone.

Dr. Hildreth says the millstones first used in this mill were brought from Laurel Hill, near Brownsville, Pa.  One of these is said to be still in the possession of the descendants of Captain Dodge in Beverly.  The other has been broken up by relic hunters.  A piece weighing a couple of pounds forms a portion of the treasures of a son of the writer.

What was termed a floating mill, was built in 1791, at Belpre, by Capt. Devol, and another in 1796 by the same person on the Muskingum river, at what is now called Devol's Dam.  These floating mills were two boats fastened near together with a wheel between them, which was turned by the swift water where the boats were anchored in the stream.

From time to time there sprung up numerous mills in various parts of the county, mostly propelled by water power, some by horse power, and a few by steam.

The late Mr. C. C. Smith, to whom I am indebted for information in relation to old mills, said that he could remember of more than twenty mills which he had personally attended that had now gone to decay.

It is not easy for the present generation to realize the difference of getting the needed breadstuff for the family now and in the past.  Going to mill was one of the heaviest taxes that first inhabitants had to bear.  It was frequently put off as long as possible, but when he could no longer delay he made preparation as though going on a long journey.  Getting up before day, he fed his team and loaded the grain into his wagon, taking along feed for his horses and provision for himself to last one or more days; he bade his family good-bye, and started to the nearest available mill over roads which were, if possible, worse than those we have now.  Certainly there were fewer bridges then, and he had to ford creeks and cross many ravines which sorely taxed his beasts.  He counted himself particularly fortunate if he could get home by midnight of the same day that he started. 

Each one had to take his turn at the mill.  This was an inexorable rule from which there could be no deviation.  Often there were parties ahead of him whose grinding would last all the day or longer.  There was then the alternative of returning home and going some other day for his flour, or staying over night.  This latter was the usual method where the distance was considerable, either sleeping in the mill or on the straw in his wagon.  One person says he once spent three days, thus being gone two nights.  It happened often enough that the family at home were glad to see the grist coming back, for likely they had been out of bread for one or more meals, and had excellent appetite for the bread made from the new flour.

For short distances the grist was sometimes taken on the back of a horse.  Mos of the sons of early settlers will remember going to mill astride of a bag of corn.  A good deal was also packed on the shoulders of men, who thought it no great hardship to go two or three miles with a bushel and a half, or grain weighing eighty-five or ninety pounds on their shoulder.  Many families, and they were generally large ones too, had all their grinding carried in that way from one year to another.

In 1807 Captain Jonathan Devol put up quite a large frame mill on the bank of the Muskingum near where his floating had been located.  William's County History says that the wheel which gave the motive power in this mill was the largest one ever constructed at the west, being at least forty feet in diameter.  Mr. L. J. P. Putnam, who lived in the early  part of his life near there, says he thinks it was certainly that large and that it reached from the water to near or quite the top of the mill.

There were two mills at what is now called the town of Lowell.  They were just above where is now the Lowell bridge, one on the east and the other on the west side of the river.

There was then an island dividing the river there which disappeared after the present river dam was built.

The mill on the east side was owned and constructed, or perhaps built over from an older structure by Dr. Cyrus Spooner.  The needed fall was given by a brush dam built from the island to the shore.

That on the west side was built by a Mr. Sifers, who was afterwards killed by falling from the shaft of the large wheel where he was engaged in making some repairs.  This mill had what was termed a wing dam which was laid quartering across the stream and merely drove the water into a narrower channel producing a swifter current.

The mill was sold by Sifers to Mr. Yleck.  His son, Mr. George Yleck, now nearly eighty years old, living in Noble Co., writes me "that as he recollects, the large wheel was about 28 ft. high, the buckets 12 ft. long and the shaft being 20 ft. in length and two feet in diameter.  On this shaft was a cogwheel 20 ft. in diameter which mashed into another 6 or 8 feet through, and that into a smaller one which gave movement to the millstones."

I give the figures he writes.  Whether they be strictly correct or not, I do not know, nor does it matter particularly.  They are given to show the striking difference between the machinery used then and now.

One pair of the millstones that were in this mill, now lie on the ground where they fell when the mill rotted down many years ago.  One of them has a thrifty young elm tree growing through the hole in the center of it, and which now quite fills it so that soon, either the stone will have to give way or else the tree will become very much cramped for room.

The first pair of mill stones, as has been already stated, came from Brownsville, Pa., and some other mills it is said were supplied from the same quarry.  Others came from Raccoon Creek which empties into the Ohio in Gallia Co.

The best pair of millstones of early day, and which had the reputation of producing the best flour made in the county, were those in Elisha Allen's mill, on Duck Creek.  Mr. Lewis Putnam tells me that they were a pair of French buhrs, each in one piece, the only ones ever brought here in that condition.  The other French buhrs were in sections and held together by strong iron bonds.

There was still another place from whence were procured some stones which were used chiefly for grinding corn.  These came from a quarry on Duck Creek near the present town of Warner.  Those in Capt. Devol's mill, it is stated came from there.  Another set were used by Mr. Joel Stacy, of Rainbow, in a mill run by horse power.  The writer of this article, in his younger days, has eaten many a loaf of corn bread and dish of mush from the meal ground in this mill.

There may have been other sets of stones taken from the same place.

There is an incident connected with this last mentioned quarry which has long been a matter of curious interest and speculation, and has been alluded to by other writers.

An account of this will be given in another article.

J. W.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our Fair

The Marietta TImes, September 20, 1888

We can not say that the Fair held in this city last week by the Washington County Agricultural Association, was a success.  The attendance was not large, neither was the display taken as a whole.  The floral hall presented rather a vacant appearance, and had it not been for the displays made by W. H. Styler, druggist, M. S. Luchs, liquor dealer and W. F. Wendelken, wholesale grocer, the Hall might as well have been closed.

The show of cattle and of stock under the circumstances, was very good.  The horse display with two or three exceptions was a failure.  We regret to make these statements, but the truth compels us to make them.

The receipts were not sufficient to bear expenses, but it is hoped that the $400 which the Society expects from the state, and an assessment of 50 per cent on the guarantee fund, will settle the bills contracted.

We do not place the blame for this failure on the management entirely, as the surfeit of the public entertainments to which our people have been treated has had much to do with it.  Yet we think with proper and energetic management and a liberal use of printers ink, judiciously used, and properly distributed among all the printing offices of the city, as it should be, would have made the Fair a success.

With the mistakes and failure of this year as a warning, we hope the management will guard against them next year.