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MONROE COUNTY was named from James Monroe, President of the United States from 1817 to 1825; was formed January 29, 1813, from Belmont, Washington and Guernsey. The south and east are very hilly and rough, the north and west moderately hilly. Some of the western portion and the valleys are fertile. Area about 470 square miles. In 1887 the acres cultivated were 80,516; in pasture, 102,206; woodland, 65,598; lying waste, 8,494; produced in wheat, 193,913 bushels; rye, 2,755; buckwheat, 983; oats, 193,581; barley, 70; corn, 464,334; broom-corn, 6,559 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 30,420 tons; clover hay, 854; potatoes, 90,726 bushels; tobacco, 922,447 lbs.; butter, 527,055; cheese, 691,439; sorghum, 18,685 gallons; maple sugar, 3,662 lbs.; honey, 5,628; eggs, 667,898 dozen; grapes 20,250 lbs.; wine, 2,361 gallons; sweet potatoes, 232 bushels; apples, 8,647; peaches, 1,990; pears, 958; wool, 277,837 lbs.; milch cows owned, 8,994. School census, 1888, 9,178; teachers, 229. Miles of railroad track, 31.



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*This table is actually on two pages in the original document. Placed on one page for ease of reading.


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Population of Monroe in 1820 was 4,645; 1830, 8,770; 1840, 18,544; 1860, 25,741; 1880, 26,496, of whom 22,461 were born in Ohio; 804, Pennsylvania; 318, Virginia; 49, New York; 33, Indiana; 9, Kentucky; 1224, German Empire; 80, Ireland; 48, France; 38, England and Wales; 8, Scotland, and 6, British America. Census, 1890, 25,175.


The principal portion of the population originated from Western Pennsylvania, with some Western Virginians and a few New Englanders; one township was settled by Swiss, among whom were some highly educated men.


The valleys of the streams are narrow and are bounded by lofty and rough hills. In many of the little ravines putting into the valleys the scenery is in all the wildness of untamed nature. In places they are precipitous and scarcely accessible to the footsteps of man, and often for many hundred yards the rocks bounding these gorges hang over some thirty or forty feet, forming natural grottos of sufficient capacity to shelter many hundreds of persons, and enhancing the gloomy, forbidding character of the scenery.


The annexed historical sketch of the county was written in 1846 by Daniel H. WIRE, Esq., of Woodsfield:


The first settlement in the county was near the mouth of Sunfish about the year 1799. This settlement consisted of a few families whose chief end was to locate on the best hunting ground. A few years after three other small settlements were made. The first was near where the town of Beallsville now stands; the second on the Clear fork of Little Muskingum, consisting of Martin CROW, Fred. CROW and two or three other families; and the third was on the east fork of Duck creek, where some three or four families of the name of Archer settled. Not long after this the settlements began to spread, and the pioneers were forced to see the bear and the wolf leave, and make way for at least more friendly neighbors, though perhaps less welcome. The approach of new-comers was always looked upon with suspicion, as this was the signal for the game to leave. A neighbor at the distance of ten miles was considered near enough for all social purposes. The first object of a new-comer after selecting a location and putting the “hoppers” on the horse (if he had any) was to cut some poles or logs and build a cabin of suitable dimensions for the size of his family; for, as yet, rank and condition had not disturbed the simple order of society.


The windows of the cabin were made by sawing out about three feet of one of the logs, and putting in a few upright pieces; and in the place of glass, they took paper and oiled it with bear’s oil, or hog’s fat, and pasted it on the upright pieces. This would give considerable light and resist the rain tolerably well. After the cabin was completed the next thing in order was to clear out a piece of ground for a corn patch. They plowed their ground generally with a shovel plow, as this was most convenient among the roots. Their harness consisted mostly of leather-wood bark, except the collar, which was made of husks of corn platted and sewed together. They ground their corn in a handmill or pounded it in a mortar, or hominy-block, as it was called, which was made by burning a hole into the end of a block of wood. They pounded the corn in these mortars with a pestle, which they made by driving an iron wedge into a stick of suitable size. After the corn was sufficiently pounded, they sieved it, and took the finer portion for meal to make bread and mush of, and the coarser they boiled for hominy. Their meat was bear, venison and wild turkey, as it was very difficult to raise hogs or sheep on account of the wolves and bears; and hence pork and woolen clothes were very scarce.


The mischievous depredations of the wolves rendered their scalps a matter of some importance. They were worth from four to six dollars apiece. This made wolf-hunting rather a lucrative business, and, of course, called into action the best inventive talent in the country; consequently, many expedients and inventions were adopted, one of which I will give.


The hunter took the ovary of a slut—at a particular time—and rubbed it on the soles of his shoes, then circling through the forest where the wolves were most plenty, the male wolves would follow his track; as they approached he would secrete himself in a suitable place, and as soon as the wolf came in reach of the rifle, he received its contents. This plan was positively practiced, and was one of the most effectual modes of hunting



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the wolf. A Mr. TERREL, formerly of this place, was hunting wolves in this way not far from where Woodsfield stands. He found himself closely pursued by a number of wolves, and soon discovered from their angry manner that they intended to attack him. He got up into the top of a leaning tree and shot four of them before they would leave him. This is the only instance of the wolves attacking any person in this section of country. Hunters, the better to elude, especially the ever-watchful eye of the deer and turkey, had their hunting-shirts colored to suit the season. In the fall of the year they wore the color most resembling the fallen leaves; in the winter they used a brown, as near as possible the color of the bark of trees. If there was snow on the ground, they frequently drew a white shirt over their other clothes. In the summer they colored their clothes green.


In addition to what has already been said, it may not be improper to give a few things in relation to the social intercourse of the early settlers.


And first I would remark, on good authority, that a more generous, warm-hearted and benevolent people seldom have existed in any country. Although they are unwilling to see the game driven off by the rapid influx of emigrants, still the stranger, when he arrived among the hardy pioneers, found among them a cordiality, and a generous friendship, that is not found among those who compose, what is erroneously called, the better class of society, or the higher circle. There was no distinction in society, no aristocratic lines drawn between the upper and lower classes. Their social amusements proceeded from matters of necessity. A log-rolling or the raising of a log-cabin was generally accompanied with a quilting, or something of the sort, and this brought together a whole neighborhood of both sexes, and after the labors of the day were ended, they spent the larger portion of the night in dancing and other amusements. If they had no fiddler (which was not very uncommon), some one of the party would supply the deficiency by singing. A wedding frequently called together all the young folks for fifteen or twenty miles around. These occasions were truly convivial; the parties assembled on the wedding day at the house of the bride, and after the nuptials were celebrated they enjoyed all manner of rural hilarity, and most generally dancing formed a part, unless the old folks had religious scruples as to its propriety. About 10 o’clock the bride was allowed to retire by her attendants; and if the groom could steal off from his attendants and retire also, without their knowledge, they became the objects of sport for all the company, and were not a little quizzed. The next day the party repaired to the house of the groom to enjoy the infair. When arrived within a mile or two of the house, a part of the company would run for the bottle, and whoever had the fleetest horse succeeded in getting the bottle, which was always ready at the house of the groom. The successful racer carried back the liquor and met the rest of the company and treated them, always taking good care to treat the bride and groom first; he then became the hero of that occasion, at least.


There are but few incidents relative to the Indian war which took place in this county, worthy of notice. When Martin WHETZEL was a prisoner among the Indians they brought him about twenty miles (as he supposed) up Sunfish creek. This would be some place near Woodsfield. WHETZEL says they stopped under a large ledge of rocks, and left a guard with him and went off; and after having been gone about an hour they returned with a large quantity of lead, and moulded a great number of bullets. They fused the lead in a large wooden ladle, which they had hid in the rocks. They put the metal in the ladle, and by burning live coals on it, succeeded in fusing it. After WHETZEL escaped from the Indians and returned home, he visited the place in search of the lead, but could never find it. In fact, he was not certain that he had found the right rock.


At the battle of Captain John BAKER was killed. He had borrowed Jack BEAN’S gun, which the Indians had taken. This gun was recaptured on the waters of Wills; creek, about sixteen or eighteen miles west of Woodsfield, and still remains in the possession of some of the friends of the notorious BEAN and the lamented BAKER, in this county, as a memorial of those brave Indian fighters. Henry JOHNSON, who had the fight with the Indians when a boy, is now living in the county.


In the latter part of the last century the celebrated French traveller Volney travelled through Virginia, and crossed the Ohio into this county from Sistersville. He was under the guidance of two Virginia bear hunters through the wilderness. The weather was very cold and severe. In crossing the dry ridge, on the Virginia side, the learned infidel became weak with cold and fatigue. He was in the midst of an almost boundless wilderness, deep snows were under his feet, and both rain and snow falling upon his head. He frequently insisted on giving over the enterprise and drying where he was; but his comrades, more accustomed to backwoods fare, urged him on, until he at length gave out, exclaiming, “Oh, wretched and foolish man that I am, to leave my comfortable home and fireside, and come to this unfrequented place, where the lion and tiger refuse to dwell, and the rain hurries off! Go on my friends! Better that one man should perish than three.” They then stopped, struck a fire, built a camp of bark and limbs, shot a buck, broiled the ham, which, with the salt, bread and other necessaries they had, made a very good supper, and everything being soon comfortable and cheery, the learned Frenchman was dilating largely and eloquently upon the ingenuity of man.




The account which follows of the heroism of two pioneer boys was given by one of them, Henry JOHNSON, to a Woodsfield paper about 1835 or 1840. Both he and his brother John settled in Monroe. John married into the OKEY family and Henry married Patty RUSSELL. He was the first Mayor of Woodsfield. I saw him at Woodsfield in 1846. He was then nearly seventy years of age, a fine specimen of the fast vanishing race of Indian hunters; tall, erect, with the bearing of a genuine backwoodsman:


I was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., on the 4th day of February, 1777. When I was about eight years old, my father having a large family to provide for, sold his farm with the expectation of acquiring larger possessions farther West. Thus he was stimulated to encounter the perils of a pioneer life. He crossed the Ohio river and bought some improvements on what was called Beach Bottom flats, two and a half miles from the river, and three or four miles above the mouth of the Short creek. Soon after he came there the Indians became troublesome. They stole horses and various other things and killed a number of persons in our neighborhood.


When I was between eleven and twelve years old, I think it was the fall of 1788. I was taken prisoner with my brother John, who was about eighteen months older than I. The circumstances are as follows: On Saturday evening we were out with an older brother, and came home late in the evening; one of us had lost a hat and John and I went back the next day to look for it. We found the hat, and sat down on a log and were cracking nuts. After a short time we saw two men coming down from the direction of the house; from their dress we took them to be two of our neighbors, James Perdue and J. RUSSELL. We paid but little attention to them till they came quite near us. To escape by flight was now impossible had we been disposed to try it. We sat still until they came up to us. One of them said, “How do, broder?” My brother then asked them if they were Indians and they answered in the affirmative, and said we must go with them.


One of them had a blue buckskin, which he gave my brother to carry, and without further ceremony we took up the line of march for the wilderness, not knowing whether we should ever return to the cheerful home we had left; and not having much love for our commanding officers, of course, we obeyed martial orders rather tardily. One of the Indians walked about ten steps before and the other about the same distance behind us. After travelling some distance we halted in a deep hollow and sat down. They took out their knives and whet them, and talked some time in the Indian tongue, which we could not understand. I told my brother that I thought they were going to kill us, and I believe he thought so too, for he began to talk to them, and told them that his father was cross to him and made him work hard, and that he did not like hard work, that he would rather be a hunter and live in the woods. This seemed to please them, for they put up their knives and talked more lively and pleasantly to us. We returned the same familiarity and many questions passed between us; all parties were very inquisitive. They asked my brother which way home was and he told them the contrary way every time they would ask him, although he knew the way very well; this would make them laugh; they thought we were lost and that we knew no better.


They conducted us over Short creek hills in search of horses, but found none; so we continued on foot. Night came on and we halted in a low hollow, about three miles from Carpenter’s fort and about four from the place where they first took us. Our route being somewhat circuitous and full of zigzags we made headway but slowly. As night began to close in around us I became fretful; my brother encouraged me by whispering to me that we would kill the Indians that night. After they had selected the place of encampment one of them scouted around the camp, while the other struck fire, which was done by stopping the touch-hole of the gun and flashing powder in the pan. After the Indian got the fire kindled he reprimed the gun and went to an old stump to get some dry tinder wood for fire; and while he was thus employed my brother John took the gun, cocked it, and was about to shoot the Indian; but I was alarmed, fearing that the other might be close by and be able to overpower us; so I remonstrated against his shooting and took hold of the gun and prevented the shot. I, at the same time, begged him to wait till night and I would help him to kill them both. The Indian that had taken the scout came back about dark.


We took our suppers, talked some time and went to bed on the naked ground to try



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to rest, and study out the best mode of attack. They put us between them that they might be the better able to guard us. After a while one of the Indians, supposing we were asleep, got up and stretched himself down on the other side of the fire and soon began to snore. John, who had been watching every motion, found they were sound asleep and whispered to me to get up. We got up as carefully as possible. John took the gun which the Indian struck fire with, cocked it and placed it in the direction of the head of one of the Indians; he then took a tomahawk and drew it over the head of the other; I pulled the trigger and he struck at the same instant; the blow falling too far back on the neck only stunned the Indian; he attempted to spring to his feet, uttering most hideous yells. Although my brother repeated the blows, with some effect, the conflict became terrible and somewhat doubtful. The Indian, however, was forced to yield to the blows he received upon his head, and in a short time, he lay quiet and still at our feet.


After we were satisfied that they were both dead, and fearing there were others close by, we hurried off and took nothing with us but the gun I shot with. We took our course towards the river, and in about three-quarters of a mile we found a path which led to Carpenter’s fort. My brother here hung up his hat that we might know on our return where to turn off to find our camp. We got to the fort a little before daybreak. We related our adventure, and a small party went back with my brother and found the Indian that had been tomahawked; the other had crawled away a short distance with the gun. A skeleton and a gun were found some time after near the place where we had encamped.


Woodsfield in 1846.—Woodsfield, the county-seat, one hundred and eighteen miles easterly from Columbus, and eighteen from the Ohio river, was founded in 1815 by Archibald WOODS, of Wheeling, George PAUL, Benj. RUGGLES and Levi BARBER. It contains one Episcopal Methodist and one Protestant Methodist church, a classical academy, one newspaper print office, six stores and had, in 1830, 157 inhabitants, and in 1840, 262; estimated population in 1847, 450. The view was taken in the principal street of the village, on the left of which is seen the court-house. At the foot of the street, on the left, but not shown in the view, is a natural mound, circular at the base and rising to the height of sixty feet.—Old Edition.


WOODSFIELD, county-seat of Monroe, one hundred miles east of Columbus, on the B. Z. & C. R. R., forty-two miles from Bellaire and seventy from Zanesville.


County officers, 1888: Auditor, Henry R. MUHLEMAN; Clerk, Elisha L. LYNCH; Commissioners, John RUBY, J. W. WARNER, Alexander HARMAN; Coroner, A. G. W. POTTS; Infirmary Directors, Jacob WOHNHAS, Geo. L. GILLESPIE, Frederick STOEHR; Probate Judge, Albert J. PEARSON; Prosecuting Attorney, Geo. G. JENNINGS; Recorder, Edward J. GRAHAM; Sheriff, Louis SULSBERGER; Surveyor, W. S. JONES; Treasurer, Cyrus E. MILLER. City officers, 1888: John W. DOHERTY, Mayor; George P. DOOR, Clerk; Fritz REEF, Treasurer; Wm. LANG, Marshal. Newspapers: Monroe Gazette, Republican, estate of John W. DOHERTY, editors and publishers; Monroe Journal, German, Fritz REEF, editor and publisher; Spirit of Democracy, Democratic, Hamilton and Van LAW, editors and publishers. Churches: one Christian, one Methodist Episcopal, one Catholic, one Evangelical. Banks: Monroe, S. L. MOONEY, president, W. C. MOONEY, cashier.


Manufactures and Employees.—Gazette, newspaper, 4; Spirit of Democracy, newspaper, 4; George Richner & Sons, flour, etc., 4; Helbling & Stoehr, doors, sash, etc., 5.—State Report, 1887. Population in 1880, 861. School census, 1888, 339. Census, 1890, 1,031.


John Waterman OKEY, at one time chief-justice of the State, was born near Woodsfield, January 3, 1827. He was of joint English and Scotch-Irish stock, and some of it very long-lived. An inscription on the tombstone of his great-grandmother at Woodsfield showed that she lived to the advanced age of one hundred and three years. The only institution of learning he ever attended was the Monroe Academy. He studied law at Woodsfield; became Probate Judge and Judge of Common Pleas; in 1865 removed to Cincinnati, when, in connection with Judge Gholson, he prepared “Gholson & Okey’s Digest of Ohio


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Reports;” and also, with S. A. Miller, “Okey & Miller’s Municipal Law.” In 1877 he was elected Supreme Judge on the ticket with R. M. Bishop for Governor; again in 1882 on the ticket with Geo. Hoadly, by a majority of 16,500 over his principal competitor. The Judge had a marvellous memory. There was not a single case in the whole fifty-seven volumes of Ohio Reports with which he was not familiar, and scarcely a case which he could not accurately state from memory. He died in 1885.


On this visit to Woodsfield we made the acquaintance of Hon. James R. MORRIS, who was the postmaster of the town. This gentleman represented this district in Congress from 1861 to 1865. In 1877 was published an illustrated atlas of the Upper Ohio river valley, for which Mr. Morris supplied the historical facts appertaining to Monroe. From this, mainly, the following items are derived:


The First Permanent Settlement of which there is any well-authenticated history was made in the year 1791. Philip WITTEN, a brother-in-law of the noted Indian scouts and fighters, Kinsey and Vachtel DICKENSON, in 1791 settled in Jackson township. He came there with his family from Wheeling, and his descendants still live on the same farm. The next settlement in order of time was on Buckhill Bottom in 1794, and was made by Robert McELDOWNEY followed by Jacob VELLOM and others. Settlements were made at and near the mouth of Sunfish creek and Opossum creek by the VANDWARTERS, HENTHORNES, ATKINSON and others, about the years 1798-9. About 1802 a settlement was made on the site of Calais. In 1798 an improvement had been made there by Aaron DILLIE, from Dillie’s Bottom, Belmont county. About the same time a settlement was made by Michael CROW and others on Clear Fork creek. Cline’s settlement on the Little Muskingum was begun about the year 1805; that at and around the site of Beallsville at about the same time, and Dye’s settlement, in Perry township, in 1812.


Woodsfield Founded.—In 1814 the commissioners selected the site of Woodsfield, then an unbroken forest, for the county-seat. Tradition says that in order to get the streets or a part of them cleared out, Mr. Archibald WOODS, of Wheeling, from whom the town was named, and a heavy landholder in this region, got a keg of brandy and invited all the men and boys within a circuit of five miles to come into the place on a certain Saturday, have a grand frolic and clear out Main street. This was done and the first trees felled.


In 1820 Woodsfield contained 18 houses, 6 of them of hewed logs and the remainder cabins. In the fall of 1818 the householders of Woodsfield were Patrick ADAMS, James CARROTHERS (whose son George was the first child born in the town), Joseph DRIGGS, Ezra DRIGGS, John SNYDER, Anson BREWSTER, Jas. PHILLIPS, Messrs. Sayers, Michael DAVIS, John COLE, Henry H. MOTT, Stephen LINDLEY, John KING, Henry JACKSON, Amos B. JONES, David PIERSON and Mrs. A. G. HUNTER.


Woodsfield was incorporated in 1834, and in 1836 Henry JOHNSON (of the Indian killing fame) was elected the first Mayor. He died at Antioch and is buried in the Woodsfield graveyard.


The first court-house and jail combined was built of logs in 1816, at a total cost of $137. The wood work cost $100, and the stone and other work $37. The lower story was a jail, and the upper a court-room. The second court-house was built of brick in 1828-29, and burnt in 1867. It was succeeded by the present brick structure, which cost $40,000. The first court for the county was held in 1815, at the house of Levin OKEY. The first resident lawyer was Seneca S. SALISBURY, who came to Woodsfield in 1821. In 1832 Donald ARNOLD, from Cadiz, established the first newspaper, the Woodsfield Gazette. The members of Congress from this county have been Joseph MORRIS, 1843-47; Wm. F. HUNTER, 1849-43; Jas. R. MORRIS, 1861-65.


First German and Swiss Settlements.—Under the leadership of Father Jacob TISHER, in April, 1819, ten German-Swiss families embarked on a flat boat on the river Aar at the city of Berne. They descended the Aar to the Rhine, and thence down the Rhine to the city of Antwerp. There they took passage on the “Eugenius,” a French vessel for New York. After a passage of 48 days they landed at Amboy, New Jersey, where they purchased teams and six of the families started overland for Wheeling. The little colony now consisted of Father TISHER, Jacob TSCHAPPAT, Daniel FANKHAUSER, Nicholas FANKHAUSER, Jacob MARTI and their families, and Jacob NISPELI, single. After a tedious journey they reached Wheeling, and again embarked on a flat boat, their destination being the great Kanawha river.


Landing at the mouth of Captina, there they found two Pennsylvania Germans—Geo. Goetz and Henry SWEPPE—who informed them there was plenty of Government land in Monroe county, near by, and a part of them were induced to remain, house room not being obtainable for all. On the 15th of September Father TISHER and a part of his little hand continued down the river, and landed 16 miles below at Bare’s landing. Jacob BARE, a Marylander, who could speak German, persuaded them to settle there.


Thus this little colony in two bands began the first German-Swiss settlements in Monroe county, the one party in what is now


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in Switzerland township, the other in Ohio township. In that region there was scarce a settler back from the river, it being an almost unbroken forest. Immigration now fairly set in from Germany and Switzerland, and these fertile hills became the happy homes of an industrious, virtuous people. Their leader, Father Jacob TISHER, was the first missionary for the German work of the Methodist church, and travelled in this and adjoining counties. His circuit was nearly 200 miles in extent, which he made on foot once every four weeks. He was very successful in organizing societies, and lad the foundation of a work now embraced in many circuits and stations. He died at the advanced age of 86 years.


Judge MORRIS illustrates the narrowness and intolerance of early times often shown by members of different religious sects towards each, by an anecdote of a Baptist clergyman, who often preached in the Baptist church established in 1820 on Opossum creek, in Centre township, the first Baptist church in the county. He writes: “Rev. Joseph SMITH, a pious, zealous and somewhat eccentric minister, officiated at this and all the other Baptist churches in the county for many years.


“His eccentricities led him to be very hostile to other denominations, especially to Methodists. The congregations to which he ministered were scattered over a wide extent of territory. At one time in making his rounds the back of his horse became very sore, and he was told by a friend if he would get a wolf’s skin and put it under the saddle it would cure it. He replied: ‘I don’t know where to get one, unless I skin a Methodist preacher.’”


Subscription Schools.—In early times subscription schools were common. Judge MORRIS, in speaking of a subscription school in Greene, opened in 1825, and taught by John MILLER, thus quotes from a correspondent: “The terms of subscription were $1 per scholar for a term of three months. The teacher boarded around among the scholars; that is, he boarded in the families of the scholars for the length of time warranted by the number of pupils sent by the family.


“Before the holidays the teacher was compelled to sing an article that on Christmas or New Year’s day he would treat the boys to ginger cakes, cider and apples, or they would bar him out of the school-house, or if he got in first they would smoke him out. If he still refused to sing the article, they would take him to the nearest creek and duck him.


“The writer remembers being in a school-house in 1829-30, when the teacher was barred out; but he climbed on the roof of the school-house, covered the chimney and smoked the scholars out. After thus having worsted them he still refused to sign the article; but after some delay, waiting for an attack upon him, he treated them bountifully and gave them half a holiday, which was spent at the various games of amusement common in those days.”


Squatters.—The early settlers were more numerous in the region around the mouth of the Sunfish than elsewhere. “Most of the first settlers,” says MORRIS, “were squatters, that is, a family moved into the county and settled on Congress land, and when the head of the family found himself able, he would enter the land upon which he had squatted. It was considered a very mean trick in those days for a person to ‘enter out’ a squatter who was doing his best to raise the means to pay for the home he was making for himself and family; and scarcely any one would do it without consent of the squatter, who was frequently paid for his improvements when he found himself unable to enter the land.”


Indian Medicine-man.—Dr. N. E. HENTHORN, recently deceased, in a letter to John B. NOLL, Esq., says: “In 1831 I was returning home from Cincinnati by land and stopped over night at Jackson’s tavern, in Reading, 12 miles from the city. When the landlord ascertained where I was from, he said that his father and an old Indian would like to talke with me.


I went to their room and Mr. Jackson, Sr., said he knew my grandfather at the old block house at Wheeling; said that at the time BOGGS was killed at Boggs’ island, the Indians were pursued by the whites, and that he, Jackson, wounded this Indian, and when about to kill him with his tomahawk, the Indian told him he was the medicine-man of his tribe, and if he would spare his life he would cure a cancer on his (Jackson’s) nose, which he did; that the Indian had lived with him ever since, and was with him in the war of 1812, under General Harrison.


Indian Decoy.—“The Indian told me that the Indian name of Sunfish creek was Buckchitawa, and Opossum creek was in the Indian tongue Eagle creek. He further told me of the killing of a big Indian at Buckchitawa, about the time of the settlement at Marietta.


Big Indian.—“The Indians had a white prisoner whom they forced to decoy boats to the shore. A small boat was descending the river containing white people, when this prisoner was placed under the bank to tell those in the boat that he had escaped captivity and to come to shore and take him in. The Indians were concealed, but the big Indian stuck his head out from behind a large tree when it was pierced by a bullet from the gun of the steersman of the boat. The Indians cried ‘Wetzel!’ ‘Wetzel!’ and fled. This was the last ever seen of the prisoner. The Indians returned the next day and buried the big Indian, who, he said, was twenty inches taller than he was, and he was a tall man.


“When Chester BISHOP was digging many years ago a cellar for Asabel BOOTH at Clarington, he came across a skeleton, the bones of which were carefully removed by Dr. Richard KIRKPATRICK, and from his measurement he estimated the man when living would have been 8 feet and 5 inches. It is


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probable that these were the bones of the big Indian. He further told me there was lead on Eagle, Buckchitawa and Captina creeks, but the veins were thin.”




My original visit to Woodsfield was in March, 1846. I came in the character of a pedestrian, with my knapsack on my back, loaded with some 14 pounds. A steamboat had landed me on the Ohio some 16 miles away, and I came up the hills meeting scarcely a soul or seeing much else than hills and trees.


Woodsfield was then much out of the world. Indeed the entire county was quite primitive; its people largely dwelt in cabins. This seemed to me a good thing, saving many the worry of having so much to look after. “Great possessions, great cares.”


Monroe county was away from all travel, except on the river fringe. This is 29 miles long and the river hurries by, falling in that distance 20 feet 6½ inches, and mostly in ripples.


The county had a decided political character and was such a sore spot to the old Whigs from its stunning Democratic majorities that they called it “Dark Monroe.” Still, I thought I could travel over it in safety without a lantern.


On my arrival at Woodsfield I had an unusually pleasant reception, and when my book was published the indwellers of Dark Monroe showed their love for their Ohio land by an unusually large patronage. The behavior of the people was such that the jailer’s office was of little account. His business was so poor that if he had depended upon fees and board money for a living he must have starved. Neither did the sheriff get a chance to hang anybody, for a capital crime had never been committed in the county. In such a condition of things the Woodsfield newspaper suffered for want of interesting home news to chronicle, excepting after an election, when the Democratic rooster showed his outstretched plumage.


I came this last time by the “Poor Man’s Railroad,” described on page 318. When I got here I inquired for three old acquaintances I had made in 1846, and as usual in such cases the answer was, “dead.” They were Henry JOHNSON, Daniel H. Wire and Jamie Shaw. Henry JOHNSON, having been born one hundred and nine years before, of course was dead. He was one of the ever-to-be-remembered two JOHNSON boys who killed two Indians in the old Revolutionary war. He died in 1850, at Antioch, that is, four years after I made his acquaintance, and was buried at Woodsfield.


Daniel H. WIRE, who gave me the preceding historical sketch, died before the war. When I saw him he was a young lawyer, and at one time prosecuting attorney for the county. He ran for Congress on the Democratic ticket. This was in 1855, during what was termed the “Know-Nothing Craze.” The Know-Nothings carried that year many of the Ohio districts, and this among them. Wire’s personal popularity was so great that it saved the county; its usual majority was some 1,600, but it went through by about four hundred.


In the old picture of Woodsfield is the figure of an old man leaning on a cane with a dog by his side. That is Jamie SHAW and his dog. He was not on that spot at the moment I drew the picture but I introduced him as a matter of humor, and in his contemplative attitude Jamie was the oddity of Woodsfield and I felt his memory should be preserved for a grateful people.


I derive the following about Jamie from conversation with Hon. W. F. OKEY, of Woodsfield, and Gen. Jas. O. Amos, of the Shelby County Democrat. The last, once a boy in Woodsfield, years later, in Allen’s administration, mounted epaulets and became Adjutant-General of Ohio.


Jamie was a hatter, originally from Greene county, Pa., and a soldier of the war of 1812. He was a short, fat man, waddled about carrying a cane, and wherever Jamie went his dog, like Mary’s lamb, was sure to go. The dog was like his master, short and fat, and his color interesting—yellow. Whenever Jamie stopped or sat down his dog would drop on his haunches and look up lovingly in his face. The dog in his affection seemed the counterpart of Dr. Holland’s BLANCO. And, no doubt, Jamie felt towards him as the Doctor did to Blanco, when he wrote:



My dear dumb friend, low-lying there,

A willing vassal at my feet;

Glad partner of my home and fare,

My vassal on the street.


I scan the whole broad earth around,

For that one heart which, leal and true,

Bears friendship without end or bound,

And find that friend in you.


Ah, Blanco, did I worship God,

As truly as you worship me;

Or follow where my Master trod

With your humility—


Did I sit fondly at his feet,

As you, dear Blanco, sit at mine;

And watch him with a love as sweet,

My life would grow divine.



Page 269


Jamie was an ardent soul and greatly enjoyed his religion. He was a Methodist, and oft carried away in a frenzy of excitement to the perpetration of ridiculous things and greatly to the amusement of the Woodsfield youngsters. On one of these occasions, while lying on the floor, kicking up his heels and crying, “Glory to God,” one of the mischievous urchins dropped a bullet in his mouth. It came near choking Jamie to death. A boy named DRIGGS was arrested and brought before a Justice and fined for the offence; but he declared it was not him that did it—it was another boy. It always is.


Jamie eventually moved to Missouri, where he located some soldier’s land-warrants granted him for his services in our last war against the “red-coats.” He lived there a number of years; when the word came he was no more. But as for his companion, there was no record, not even his name; but we do know he worshipped Jamie, and the hue of his coat was the hue of those worn by the priests of Boodha, the “sacred yellow.”


As for odd characters in the olden time, the country was full of them. Every community had its queer one. What was singular, no two of these were ever alike. The isolated lives of the old-time people had much to do with the development of originality. Now, through the influence of the press, we all daily talk the same topics, think the same thoughts and move on the same planes. Individuality is measurably lost in the on-rush of the ever-surging increasing multitudes; who, in the daily surprise of startling events and wonder-working discoveries, continually lift their hands and exclaim, “What next?”


CLARINGTON is on the Ohio river at the mouth of the Sunfish, about fifteen miles east of Woodsfield. Newspaper: Independent, Independent, W. T. POWELL, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Methodist, 1 German Lutheran and 1 Christian. Population, 1880, 915. School census, 1888, 251; E. B. Thomas, school superintendent. Clarington is the most extensive business point on the river between Marietta and Bellaire. It was laid out in 1822 by David PIERSON, who named it after his daughter Clarinda.


BELLSVILLE is eight miles northeast of Woodsfield, on the B. Z. & C. R. R. It has 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, and 1 Christian church. Population, 1880, 391. School census, 1888, 166.


GRAYSVILLE is eight miles southwest of Woodsfield. It has 1 Christian, 1 Methodist and 1 Baptist church. Population, 1880, 174. School census, 1888, 74.


CALASIS is miles northwest of Woodsfield. It has 1 Methodist Episcopal church. Population, 1880, 159. School census, 1888, 105.


CAMERON is twelve miles east of Woodsfield. School census, 1888, 140.


STAFFORD is ten miles southwest of Woodsfield. It has 1 Christian and 1 Methodist Episcopal church. School census, 1888, 103.


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