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MEIGS COUNTY, named from Return J. MEIGS, elected Governor of Ohio in 1810, was formed from Gallia and Athens, April 1, 1819, and the courts were directed “to be temporarily held at the meeting-house in Salisbury township.”  The surface is broken and hilly.  In the west, a portion of the soil is a dark, sandy loam, but the general character of the soil is clayey.


Area bout 400 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 59,039; in pasture, 95,062; woodland, 44,112; lying wasted, 2,825; produced in wheat, 165,436 bushels; rye, 1,298; buckwheat, 260; oats, 73,338; barley, 1,032; corn, 313,447; broom-corn, 2,000 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 15,986 tons; clover hay, 821; potatoes, 66,966 bushels; butter, 407,854 lbs.; cheese, 7,410; sorghum, 4,050 gallons; maple syrup, 740; honey, 6,366 lbs.; eggs, 365,060 dozen; grapes, 9,360 lbs.; wine, 90 gallons; sweet potatoes, 1,384 bushels; apples, 31,659; peaches, 11,584; pears, 501; wool, 273,023 lbs.; milch cows owned, 4,255.  Ohio mining statistics, 1888: Coal mined, 242,483 tons; employing 501 miners and 144 outside employees.  School census, 1888, 10,157; teachers, 274.  Miles of railroad track, 30.



Township And Census



Township And Census








































Population of Meigs in 1820, 4,480; 1830, 6,159; 1840, 11,455; 1860, 26,534; 1880, 32,325, of whom 24,481 were born in Ohio; 1,554, Virginia; 1,101, Pennsylvania; 230, New York; 118, Kentucky; 88, Indiana; 1,148 German Empire; 780, England and Wales; 178, Ireland; 69, Scotland; 30, France; and 26, British America.  Census, 1890, 29,813.


The mouth of the Shade river, which empties into the Ohio in the upper part of the county, is a gloomy, rocky place, formerly called the “Devil’s Hole.”  The Indians, returning from their murderous incursions into Western Virginia, were accustomed to cross the Ohio at that point with their prisoners and plunder, and follow up the valley of Shade river on their way to their towns on the Scioto.


The first settlers of the county were principally of New England origin, and emigrated from Washington county, which lies above.  From one of these, now (1846) residing in the county, we have received a communication illustrating pioneer life:


People who have spent their lives in an old settled country can form but a faint idea of the privations and hardships endured by the pioneers of our new, flourishing and prosperous State.  When I look on Ohio as it is, and think what it was in 1802, when I first settled here, I am struck with astonishment and can hardly credit my own senses.  When I emigrated I was a young man, without any property, trade or profession, entirely dependent on my industry for a living.  I purchased sixty acres of new land on credit, two-and-a-half miles from any house or road, and built a camp of poles seven by four feet, and five high, with three sides, and a fire in front.  I furnished myself with a loaf of bread, a piece of pickled pork, some potatoes, borrowed a frying-pan and commenced housekeeping.  I was not hindered from my work by company; for the first week I did not see a living soul, but, to make amends for the want of it, I had every night a most glorious concert of wolves and owls.  I soon (like Adam) saw the necessity of a helpmate and persuaded a young woman to tie her destiny to mine.  I built a log-house twenty feet


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square—quite aristocratic in those days—and moved into it.  I was fortunate enough to possess a jack-knife; with that I made a wooden knife and two wooden forks, which answered admirably for us to eat with.  A bedstead was wanted; I took two round poles for the posts, inserted a pole in them for a side-rail, and two other poles were inserted for the end pieces, the ends of which were put in the logs of the house—some puncheons were then split and laid from the side-rail to the crevice between the logs of the house, which formed a substantial bed-cord, on which we laid our straw bed—the only bed we had—on which we slept as soundly and woke as happy as Albert and Victoria.


In process of time, a yard-and-a-half of calico was wanted; I started on foot through the woods ten miles to Marietta to procure it; but, alas! When I arrived there I found that, in the absence of both money and credit, the calico was not to be obtained.  The dilemma was a serious one, and how to escape I could not devise; but I had no sooner informed my wife of my failure, than she suggested that I had a pair of thin pantaloons, which I could very well spare, that would make quite a decent frock; the pants were cut up, the frock made, and in due time the child was dressed.


The long winter evenings were rather tedious, and in order to make them pass more smoothly, by great exertion I purchased a share in the Belpre library, six miles distant.  From this I promised myself much entertainment, but another obstacle presented itself—I had no candles; however, the woods afforded plenty of pine knots—with these I made torches by which I could read, though I nearly spoiled my eyes.  Many a night have I passed in this manner till twelve or one o’clock reading to my wife, while she was hatchelling, carding or spinning.  Time rolled on, the payments for my land became due, and money, at that time in Ohio, was a cash article; however, I did not despair.  I bought a few steers; some I bartered for, and others I got on credit—my credit having somewhat improved since the calico expedition—slung a knapsack on my back and started alone with my cattle for Romney, on the Potomac, where I sold them, then traveled on to Litchfield, Connecticut, paid for my land and had just $1 left to bear my expenses home, six hundred miles distant.  Before I returned I worked and procured fifty cents in cash; with this and my dollar I commenced my journey homeward.  I laid out my dollar for cheap hair-combs, and these, with a little Yankee pleasantry, kept me very comfortably at the private houses where I stopped till I got to Owego, on the Susquehanna, where I had a power of attorney to collect some money for a neighbor in Ohio.


I might proceed and enumerate scenes without number similar to the above, which have passed under my own observation, or have been related to me by those whose veracity I have no reason to doubt; but from what I have written you will be able to perceive that the path of the pioneer is not strewed with roses, and that the comforts which many of our inhabitants now enjoy have not been obtained without persevering exertions, industry and economy.  What, let me ask, would the young people of the present day think of their future prospects, were they now to be placed in a similar situation to mine in 1803?  How would the young miss taken from the fashionable, modern parlor, covered with Brussels carpets and ornamented with pianos, mirrors, etc., etc., manage her spinning-wheel in a log-cabin, on a puncheon floor, with no furniture except, perhaps a bake-oven and a splint broom?—Old Edition.




The pioneer, who in 1846, supplied me with the foregoing sketch of his experiences also supplied me with what follows upon the early history of Pomeroy, and at this late day here give him credit.  He was Amos DUNHAM, then an old man, and he was my host while here.  Originally from Connecticut, he had that marked pronunciation then almost universal in the rustic regions of New England, which has disappeared entirely from every place—a sort of indescribable singing nasal tone, an inheritance from their ancestors in the rustic regions of Old England.  Mr. DUNHAM possessed good native shrewdness and I recall his memory with pleasure.  Would like much once more to hear some of that old-style talk with its odd expressions and drawling, lingering tones, the speech of other days.  But nobody living can display this now departed accomplishment of the fathers—“more’s the pity.”


“Old times have gone, old manners changed;

A stranger fills the Scottish throne.”


Pomeroy in 1846.—Pomeroy, the county-seat, is on the Ohio river, seventy-six miles in a direct line southeast of Columbus, eighty below Marietta, and two hundred and thirty-four above Cincinnati.  It is situated on a narrow strip of ground from twenty to thirty rods wide, under a lofty and steep hill, in the midst



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of wild and romantic scenery.  It contains one Episcopal, one Methodist, one German Lutheran, and one Presbyterian church; a newspaper printing office, one flouring and two saw mills, two foundries, two carding machines, one machine shop, ten mercantile stores, and about 1,600 inhabitants.  It is a very flourishing town, deriving its importance principally from the coal mines situated here.  We give below, in the language of a correspondent, an historical sketch of the village, with some notice of the coal mines.


The first settler within the limits of Pomeroy was Mr. Nathaniel CLARK, who came about the year 1816.  The first coal bank opened in Pomeroy was in 1819, by David BRADSHAW.  BENTLEY took 1,200 bushels of coal to Louisville, and sold it for twenty-five cents a bushel, which was the first coal exported from Pomeroy.  As early as 1805 or 6 there had been an attempt at exporting coal from Coalport by HOOVER & CASHELL, but it proved unprofitable, and was abandoned after sending off one small load.  About 1820 John KNIGHT rented a large quantity of coal land from Gen. PUTNAM, at $20 a year, and commenced working the mines.  On the 15th of July, 1825, Samuel GRANT entered eighty acres and Josiah DILL one hundred and sixty acres of Congress land, which lies in the upper part of Pomeroy.  Subsequently, Mr. DILL laid out a few town lots on his land, but it did not improve to any extent until the Pomeroy improvement commenced, in 1833.  In 1827 a post-office was established here, called Nyesville, and Nial NYE appointed postmaster.  In 1840 the town was incorporated, and in June, 1841, made the county-seat.


In the spring of 1804 Samuel W. POMEROY, an enterprising merchant of Boston, Massachusetts, purchased of Elbridge GERRY, one of the original proprietors in the Ohio Company, a full share of land in said company’s purchase, the fraction of said share (262 acres) lying in the now town of Pomeroy.  In 1832 Mr. POMEROY put 1,000 bushels of coal into boxes and shipped them on a flat boat for New Orleans, to be sent round to Boston; but the boat foundered before it left Coalport, and the expedition failed.  In 1833 Mr. POMEROY having purchase most of the coal land on the river for four miles, formed a company, consisting of himself, his two sons, Samuel W. POMEROY, Jr., and C. R. POMEROY, and his sons-in-law, V. B. HORTON and C. W. DABNEY, under the firm of Pomeroy, Sons & Co., and began mining on a large scale.  They built a steam saw-mill, and commenced building houses for themselves and their workmen.  In 1834 they moved on, at which time there were twelve families in the town.  In 1835 they built the steam tow-boat Condor, which could tow from four to six loaded boats or barges, and will tow back from eight to twelve empty boats at a trip.  It takes a week to perform a trip to Cincinnati and back, and she consumes 2,000 bushels of coal each trip.  The company employ about twenty-five boats or barges, that carry from 2,000 to 11,000 bushels of coal, each averaging, perhaps, 4,000 bushels.  The number of hands employed is about 200, and the number of bushels dug yearly about two millions; in addition to this, several individuals are engaged in the coal business on a small scale.  Five steamboats have been built in this place by the Pomeroy company.


The mining of coal is mostly done at Coalport, one mile below the corporation line.  Here the company have laid out a town and been at great expense to prepare everything necessary for mining and exporting coal; the railways are so constructed that the loaded car descending to the river draws up the empty one.


Immediately below Coalport is the town of Middleport, lately laid out by Philip JONES, which already contains several stores, and is building up fast.  Adjoining Middleport is Sheffield, a pleasant town, which bids fair to become a place of business.  In all probability the time is not far distant when the towns of Pomeroy, Coalport, Middleport and Sheffield will be one continuous village.


About the year 1791 or 2 Capt. Hamilton CARR, a noted spy in the service of the United States, in his excursions through these parts discovered an enormous sycamore tree below the mouth of Carr’s run, near where MURDOCK & NYE’s mill now stands, which was subsequently occupied as a dwelling-house.  Capt. WHITLOCK, of Coalport, informs me that he himself measured that tree and found the hollow to be eighteen feet in diameter.  Capt. WHITLOCK further states, that as late as 1821 he took dinner from the top of a sugar-tree stump, in a log-house near where the court-house now stands, the only table the people had in the house.


The view shown in the engraving was taken at the mines at Coalport, nearly two miles below the main village of Pomeroy.  Here horizontal shafts are run into the hill, at an elevation of more than one hundred feet above the river bed.  The coal is carried out in cars on railways, and successively emptied from the cars on one grade to that below, and so on until the last cars in turn empty into the boats on the river, by which it is carried to market.  The mining is conducted in


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Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.




C. F. Feiger, Photo, Pomeroy, 1886




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a systematic manner, and most of those employed are natives of Wales, familiar with mining from youth.


Dr. S. P. HILDRETH, in the twenty-ninth volume of Silliman’s Journal, writes:


“The coal strata dips to the north two or three feet in a hundred yards, requiring drains to free them from the water when opened on the south side of the hill.  Above the coal is a deposit of shale and ash-colored marly clay, of eight or ten feet in thickness, which forms the roof of the mines—superincumbent on which is a deposit of stratified sand rock, rather coarse-grained, of nearly one hundred feet in thickness.  The shale abounds in fine fossil plants.  In mining the coal, gunpowder is extensively used, a small charge throwing out large masses of coal.  This coal being of the black slaty structure, abounds in bituminous matter and burns very freely; its specific gravity is 1.27.  Twenty grains of the coarse powder decompose one hundred grains of nitrate of potash, which will give to this coal nearly sixty per cent of charcoal.  It must, therefore, be valuable for the manufacture of coke, an article that must ultimately be brought into use in the numerous furnaces along the great iron deposit, a few miles south and west of this place.  It is a curious fact that the coal deposits are very thin and rare near the Ohio river, from Pipe’s creek, fifteen miles below Wheeling, to Carr’s run, in this county.  As the main coal dips under the Ohio at both these places, the inference is that the coal lies below the surface and could readily be reached by a shaft, first ascertaining its distance from the surface by the operation of boring.”—Old Edition.


POMEROY, county-seat of Meigs, is 220 miles above Cincinnati, on the Ohio river, about eighty-five miles southeast of Columbus, at the terminus of the C. H. V. & T. Railroad, also on the K. & O. Railroad.  The surrounding country is rich in coal and salt.  There are two factories here for the manufacture of bromine from salt.  County officers, 1888: Auditor, J. N. RATHBURN; Clerk, H. C. FISH; Commissioners, S. D. WEBB, George FRECKER, John N. HAYMAN; Coroner, J. B. SCOTT; Infirmary Directors, John ALKIRE, John SHORT, Thomas H. GOLD; Probate Judge, Lewis PAINE; Prosecuting Attorney, John H. LOCHERY; Recorder, Marion CLINE; Sheriff, George TITUS; Surveyor, M. H. WATKINS; Treasurers, George P. STOUT, Robert DYKE.  City officers, 1888: A. B. DONALLY, Mayor; William H. HUNTLEY, Clerk; George B. STOUT, Treasurer; Thomas WHEATLEY, Marshal; M. L. SHRADER, Street Commissioner.  Newspapers: Democrat, Independent, C. I. BARKER, editor and publisher; Telegraph, Republican, E. S. TRUSSELL, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist, 2 Colored Methodist, 1 Baptist, 1 Colored Baptist, 1 German Catholic, 1 German Methodist, 2 German Lutheran, 2 German Presbyterian, 1 Welsh Presbyterian, 1 Welsh Congregational, 2 Welsh Baptist.  Banks: First City, T. A. PLANTS, president, George W. PLANTS, cashier; Pomeroy National, H. S. HORTON, president, John McQUIGG, cashier.


Manufactures and Employees.—Excelsior Salt Works, 50 hands; Roller Mill Brewing Co., 12; Buckeye Salt Co., 40; Coal Ridge Salt Co., 60; GEYER & NEWTON, flour, etc., 10; Sugar Run Mill, flour, etc., 5; PFARR & GENHEIMER, flooring, etc., 4; John S. DAVIS & Son, doors, sash, etc., 10; the Telegraph, printing, 8; J. C. PROBST & Son, furniture, 34; McKNIGHT & FISHER, wagons and buggies, 5; Pomeroy Machine Co., engines, etc., 10—State Report, 1888.  Population, 1880, 5,560.  School census, 1888, 1,745; Morris BOWERS, school superintendent.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $445,500; value of annual product, $494,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1887.  United States census, 1890, 4,726.




VALENTINE B. HORTON, who died at Pomeroy, January, 1888, at the age of 86 years, was a native of Windsor, Vt.  He was educated for the law, practised two years in Cincinnati, and then came to Pomeroy, where he engaged for the remainder of his life in mining and manufacturing.  He did probably more than any other person to develop the coal, salt and iron industries of this region.  He was a member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention in 1850; represented the Republicans in Congress two terms, and in the last (the Thirty-seventh) was on the Committee of Ways and Means; was a delegate in 1861 to the Peace Congress in Washington; for over forty years was a trustee of


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the State University, and five times a member of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States.  Financial reverses marred his declining years, much to the regret of people in this entire region of Ohio, wherein no man that ever lived was more beloved and respected.  His name was a synonym for uprightness and humanity.


One of his daughters is the wife of Gen. John POPE, another of Gen. M. F. FORCE, while a son, SAMUEL DANA HORTON, born at Pomeroy, January 16, 1844, educated at Harvard and Berlin, has attained a world-wide reputation by his monetary works.  In 1876 he published a treatise on “Silver and Gold, and their Relation to the Problem of Resumption,” the first of a series of works advocating the settlement of the silver question by a joint action of nations.  This policy was adopted by Congress, and he has been identified with its advancement in Europe as delegate to the International Monetary Conferences of 1878 and 1881, as an author.




“What’s in a name?”  Pomeroy.  Divide the syllables and you have Pome—apple, royKing; i.e., Apple King.  Pomeroy is a unique spot, fruitful in interest, and requires the pen of genius to adequately describe.  Failing to find such we use our own:


Pomeroy is the most prominent spot on either of two strings of mining villages; one string on the Ohio side of the river and the other directly opposite on the West Virginia side.  On the Virginia side, beginning at the down-river end, they are: West Columbia, Newcastle, Clifton, Mason City, Valley City, Hartford City and New Haven.  On the Ohio side, beginning also at the lower end, are: Middleport, Pomeroy, Minersville and Syracuse.  Each string is about ten miles long.


On the Ohio side the hills mostly so encroach upon the river that it leaves but little room for buildings.  The adjoining engraving illustrates this, from my pencil sketch, taken in 1846, from a point then called Coalport, now Middleport.  Ascend the hill in the rear of Pomeroy and you will see it as at the north point of a bend in the river, the river coming from the south and going to the south, one to your right, the other to your left.  Looking to the north inland you will find a ravine there and then another hill.  Behind that is another hill and then another ravine, with a third hill and another ravine, and so on I know not how far, in repetition as the crests and hollows of the ocean waves.


The Coal Mines go into the hills at an average of seventy to eighty feet above the Ohio.  Below the coal is soapstone and fire-clay, above the coal is a layer of slate and sandstone.  The coal veins are about four and a half feet thick, and dip about thirty feet to the mile, a little to the south of east.  Each mine has a main passage, then it is mined right and left in parallels, the excavations leaving squares of coal, like streets and squares of a city.  As a last thing the squares, or rather blocks, of coal are taken away, leaving only enough coal for pillars as supports for the roof of the mine wherever such are required.  Here some of the main passages go in through the river hill, cross the ravine, enter the second hill inland, go through that, cross a second ravine still farther north, enter a third hill, a distance of two miles.  They are still lengthening their lines, and, I am told, can penetrate miles farther.  The coal is brought out on tramways by mules and horses.  This vein of coal is so inferior to that from Pittsburg, and in some other places, that Pomeroy coal has lost its old-time importance, and the industry here is at this time depressed.


At Minersville they are working two mines from the surface down, which strikes a lower and stronger vein; one of the shafts is eighty-seven feet deep.  Both at Middleport and Syracuse the valley is so wide that the people entirely live in front of the hills.  Not so at Pomeroy and Minersville.  Part dwell in the gaps of ravines of the hills, called “runs” because little streams run through them.  At Pomeroy the people obtain their home comforts in places respectively named Sugar Run, Kerr’s Run, Nailor’s Run and Monkey Run; at Minersville the runs are known as Dutchtown and Welshtown, in accordance with the transatlantic origin of their inhabitants.  The slopes of the ravines to the right and left are gradual and grass and forest clad, while the hills face the river in precipitous cliffs.  The dwellings perched on the summits above the ravines have grand outlooks up and down the river.  The business places and salt works are on the narrow strip of land fronting the ravines and cliffs.


These towns have a dingy, gloomy aspect.  The buildings that front the river are generally brown, and black as so many charcoal bins.  The very ground you tread is hard and black with coal debris.  Numerous smoke-


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stacks belch forth clouds of smoke, mingled with the lighter clouds of steam.


My Second Visit.—It was towards the sunset of a day in March when I came into Pomeroy for the second time after the lapse of forty years from the first.  On the summits of the cliffs the trees stood as black skeleton forms clear cut against the sky.  The lights and shadows were long and strong over all the varied objects of hill and valley.  There were dingy-looking, gloomy buildings, rising clouds of smoke from huge smokestacks mingled with bursts of steam, precipitous cliffs, winding river, opening ravines, where the sun burst through and tipped every element of gloom in streamers of light, and finally, perched high up in the ravines, were the humble cottages of the miners, bathed in floods of golden light from the low down sun.  Nature wore a weird, strange aspect, and my emotions were in consonance with the scene.


But Humanity was there.  Humanity ever interests.  I had come among a people who delved in the interior of the earth that we on the outside might be warmed and do our grumbling before blazing, winter-defying fires, and say, “O Lord, who can stand Thy cold?”  But there was one comforting reflection.  While these men were doomed to spend their days down in the bowels of the earth, often in bent, constrained attitudes, picking by dim lamplight at walls of coal, love lightened the task as their thoughts went forth to wife and little ones in the cottages out in the blessed sunlight, high on the hills.  And to them, also, how sweet must seem their homes when on each recurring morning, as they go forth to their honest labor, the morning sun greets them with its blessing light and opens to their vision beneath and around a landscape of hill, plain, valley and river of wondrous beauty.  And then many of them have another comfort.  Down in the valley are more than a score of churches, where they oft go, where hope gladdens their hearts, and they feel the days is coming when they shall lay down the pick and delve no more.


Salt Industry.—In the year 1850 a new industry came for this region, the manufacture of salt, when the first salt well was opened at Pomeroy.


The wells are from 1,000 to 1,200 feet in depth, and the water is pumped by steam.  Including both sides of the river are eighteen salt furnaces, and the production of salt is about equally divided between the two.  The daily production is about 3,600 barrels; value, $2,188.  Each furnace has its cooper shops, where the barrels are made.  The hoop-poles are of hickory, and come from West Virginia.  The staves are of swamp elm, from the Black Swamp region of Northwest Ohio.  The barrels cost twenty-two cents each.  A barrel of salt, salt inclusive, wholesales at seventy cents, and weighs 280 pounds.


I entered the packing-houses where the salt is piled in bins; to the eye looking exactly like huge snow heaps and in marked contrast to the smoke-hued walls against which it lay.  The employees in the salt works are mainly German, the miners Welsh and German.  On the West Virginia side the American element is the strongest.


Salt Roller.—Cattle require salt as much as human beings.  The oft neglect by farmers to give it to them is a cruelty without excuse.  A salesman travelling here showed to me a new device, an invention for the cattle to help themselves.  It was a roller coated with salt, about a foot long, two and a half inches in diameter, with frame-work, to which above were two roof boards, like the roof of a house, to shed the rain.  It is fastened in a manger, on a fence or a tree in the field.  The cattle go up and, licking on the under side, it revolves under the tongue.  They soon learn its use.  When the salt on a roller is gone it is replaced by another roller in the same frame-work.  The rollers are sold at $1.50 per dozen.




Salt is a necessity; its consumption enormous.  Multiply by thirty-seven the number of men, women and children in the United States, and the resultant will be the number of pounds used therein by man, beast, and in the arts.


Its praises might be on every tongue—the tongue of man, the tongue of beast.  With the thought of salt is a multitude of associations.  Let us present a few, as Scriptural, Monumental and Admonitory, Gastronomical, Humorous, Poetical, Sublime, etc.


Scriptural.—“Ye are the salt of the earth,” thus illustrating saving virtue.


Monumental and Admonitory.—Lot’s wife converted into a pillar to serve as a guide to the travelling public and a warning to the insatiable curiosity of woman.


Gastronomical.—Yes, everywhere.  Without it, who would go for an egg?  How are the ice-cream people to make their delicious concoctions?  How about sending Biddy, the cook, down cellar to the pork barrel?  And without any regard to pork, where without salt, would be the attraction in beans?  One especial bean, however, there was that will ever have an historical attraction, the particular bean the planting of which led to the sudden demise of the giant, slain by Jack, the giant-killer.


Humorous.—The expression on the desiring youngster’s face on being told how, with the requisite pinch of fresh salt, he may catch the bird!  Then the comical, triumphant expression on the face of Christopher Columbus, who, having shown how to stand an egg on its end, reached for the salt and ate that egg, as he naturally must have done, though History just that moment was called off and forgot to record it.


Poetical.—The tear glistening in the eye of Pity ere it is exhaled to the skies.  When it is exhaled it mingles with the other vapors of cloudland, helps out the sunset glories whereupon some imaginative youth gazing aloft grows enthusiastic, when lo, a poet is born.


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Sublime.—The ocean that girts the earth around, heaving its ponderous waves on high under the wild fury of a mighty tempest.  Like the tear it is saline.  So saline is it that Jack Tars who go down to the sea in ships, when they grow old, and rheumatism, it may be, gets in her grip on their aged bones, we term “Old Salts.”


It is when those rheumatic, gouty twinges seize upon old “sea legs” that the eye of pity drops one of her most sympathetic glistening globules.


Ere you move into a new house just sprinkle the floor with salt, next take in a broom and a Bible, then, in accordance with an old belief, good luck will abide with you and your household; bursts of laughter and tears of joy be your portion.


There is much salt—one “may think of it—dream of it—and will find no end to it, while all creation, with the apple king inclusive, will say ‘aye.’”


And to this all the light little ocean wavelets, as in succession they run and kiss every shore the whole world around, will merrily laugh and sing, “So mote it be.”




John MORGAN’S raid came to grief in this county, and to its final demise in Columbiana, for the details of which see page 453.  The battle of Buffington’s Island took place in a direct line about thirteen miles from Pomeroy, but by the windings of the river full thirty miles.  The Ohio twists and curly-cues more around the borders of Meigs than any other county of Ohio.  The following account of some of the operations in this county is from a correspondent of full reliability for accuracy:


When the Confederate General, John MORGAN, closely pursued by the Federal cavalry, entered Meigs county, heading for one of the several fording places in the Ohio river above and below the towns of Middleport and Pomeroy, he met serious opposition from the local militia, who, unlike their neighbors of the counties first raided, knew of his movements in time to plan for resistance.


It was the fortune of two Middleport companies O. N. G.—one of infantry commanded by Captain R. B. WILSON, Lieutenants O. P. SKINNER and Samuel GRANT; the other of artillery, Captain John SCHREINER, the two numbering about 120 men—to render service so valuable that it should find a place in history.  With other organizations these companies were ordered to rendezvous at Marietta.  On the very night of their arrival in camp came tidings of the enemy’s approach to their own town and they at once asked for orders to return to the defence of their homes.  With but little delay they were put aboard a steamer and by daylight the following morning had disembarked and were several miles out on the roads by which Morgan was approaching.  The show of resistance was sufficient to turn him aside and he moved off up the river toward Buffington’s Island, where, on the following day, the Federal cavalry overhauled him and scattered his forces.  Information reached Capt. WILSON that one detachment would undertake to cross the Ohio at a shoal place several miles above Pomeroy, and reinforced by about twenty men, under Daniel DAVIS of that city, he immediately marched to intercept the fugitives, reaching the point late in the evening.


William GRANT, George WOMELDORFF and James WADDELL, three of the most reliable men of the command, were directed to find a point well up the road from which they could observe the approach and estimate the number of the enemy, and by an agreed signal advise headquarters of the facts ascertained.


The “artillery” consisted of an old gun that had been used for celebrating the Fourth of July, which, loaded with spikes and pieces of chain, “commanded” for several hundred yards a straight piece of road flanked on one side by timber where part of our men were concealed, and on the other side by a creek with steep banks.  Scarcely had the dispositions been made when the enemy appeared.  William GRANT and his comrades, assisted by the darkness, avoided the approaching raiders, who, a few moments later, ran upon the picket commanded by Lieut. Samuel GRANT and surrendered without much resistance.  They were marched to Pomeroy and placed under guard in the court-house to be turned over as prisoners of war, sixty-eight enlisted men and seven officers.


Scarcely had the company been relieved of these prisoners when tidings came that MORGAN’s main force was moving down the river along the roads running back of the towns and would probably attempt a crossing at Cheshire or Eight-Mile Island, below Middleport, where there was a good ford at the low stage of water then prevailing.  At the Pomeroy wharf lay V. B. HORTON’s side-wheel tow-boat, the Condor, a low, fierce-looking, long-nosed craft, with suggestive holes in her wheel-house, but very inoffensive.  The old gun before referred to was conspicuously placed on her bow, after which the vessel steamed away toward Cheshire, reaching the landing place at the head of the island just as the first daring rider of MORGAN’s cavalry forced his horse into the Ohio to try the ford.  The river bank down to the


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water’s edge was lined with the raiders waiting to make the crossing as soon as this pioneer had pointed out the way.  He was beyond range and succeeded in reaching the shore and escaping.  But as the old Condor “rounded to” above on the West Virginia shore there was a scampering up the opposite bank, which apprised us that she had been mistaken for one of the government gunboats, and the time thus gained enabled the Middleporters to secure positions on the bank of the river commanding both the upper and lower fords, which, as MORGAN had no artillery, they could have held against his entire force.  He made no further attempt to cross and an hour later the Union cavalry reached the scene on the Ohio side.  It is said that MORGAN actually surrendered there but escaped in the darkness that night with his main body, and led the Union troops another race up through Athens and Morgan counties until finally captured and landed in the Ohio Penitentiary.  But for that brave company of militia he would have escaped through West Virginia.


As stated by Captain WILSON the success of his company was largely due to the activity and zeal of his first sergeant, who was the only experienced officer in the command, and who gave him the benefit of knowledge gained from actual service in the field.  That sergeant is still living, and widely known as the Rev. Dr. Earl CRANSTON, now of the “Western Methodist Book Concern.”


A Pomeroy company, commanded by Capt. Cyrus GRANT, also did excellent work by getting in the raiders’ way just at such times and in such places as to make him think the “regulars” had reached the river ahead of him.


MIDDLEPORT is on the Ohio river, just below Pomeroy, at the terminus of the C. H. V. & T. R. R. and on the K. & O. R. R.  City officers, 1888: C. DOWNING, Mayor; Wm. L. McMASTER, Clerk; Wm. M. HARTINGER, Treasurer; Chas. HOBBS, Marshal; Geo. B. SKINNER, Street Commissioner.  Newspapers: Herald, Republican, W. C. RUSSELL, editor; Meigs County Republican, Independent, J. W. DUMBLE, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Christian, 1 Universalist, 1 New Church, 1 Free Will Baptist, 1 Colored Baptist, 1 Colored Methodist.  Bank: Exchange (Moore & Co., F. L. MOORE, cashier.


Manufactures and Employees.—The German Furniture Co., 82 hands; Ohio Machine Co., 22; Standard Nail and Iron Co., iron, steel, etc., 500; Middleport Flour Co., 12; GARRETT, MCMANIGAL & Co., building brick, etc., 25; S. D. WEBB, flooring, etc., 3—Ohio State Report, 1888.  Population, 1880, 3,032.  School census, 1888, 854.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $162,500.  Value of annual product, $208,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1887.


MINERSVILLE is just above and adjoining Pomeroy, on the Ohio, and has salt furnaces, extensive coal mines, and 1 Welsh Congregational, 1 Welsh Presbyterian and 1 Methodist church.


SYRACUSE is on the Ohio river, four and a half miles above Pomeroy, nearly adjoining Minersville.  Its population is largely Welsh.  It has 1 Welsh Congregational, 1 Presbyterian and 1 Methodist church.  Its industries are salt and coal, one of the shafts going down perpendicularly eighty-seven feet.  School census, 1888, 402.


RACINE is on the Ohio river, ten miles above Pomeroy.  Newspaper: Tribune, Republican, W. G. SIBLEY, editor and publisher.  Population, 1880, 453.  School census, 1888, 246.


CHESTER, anciently the county-seat, and which in 1840 had 273 population, is eight miles northeast of Pomeroy, on Shade river.




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