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  PERRY COUNTY was formed March 1, 1817, from Washington, Muskingum and Fairfield, and named from Commodore Oliver H. PERRY.  The surface is mostly rolling, and in the South hilly; the soil is clayey, and in the middle and northern part fertile.


  Area about 410 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 66,700; in pasture, 102,176; woodland, 33,929; lying waste, 2,487; produced in wheat, 159,585 bushels; rye, 2,898; buckwheat, 212; oats, 54,621; barley, 108; corn, 517,542; meadow hay, 23,029 tons; clover hay, 883; potatoes, 34,286 bushels; tobacco, 500 lbs.; butter, 431,940; sorghum, 2,087 gallons; maple syrup, 11,472; honey, 3,005 lbs.; eggs, 370,713 dozen; grapes, 20,286 lbs.; wine, 270 gallons; sweet potatoes, 1,643 bushels; apples, 3,944; peaches, 1,017; pears, 622; wool, 334,183 lbs.; milch cows owned, 4,747.  Ohio mining statistics, 1888: Coal mined, 1,736,805 tons, employing 3,301 miners and 433 outside employees; iron ore, 10,129 tons; fire-clay, 45 tons; limestone, 4,217 tons burned for fluxing.


  School census, 1888, 8,063; teachers, 195.  Miles of railroad track, 139.


Township And Census



Township And Census






Monday Creek,






























Salt Lick,











  Population of Perry in 1820 was 8,459; 1830, 14,063; 1840, 19,340; 1860, 19,678; 1880, 28,218, of whom 22,528 were born in Ohio; 1,165, Pennsylvania; 523, Virginia; 149, Kentucky; 136, New York; 48, Indiana; 1,346, England and Wales; 925, Ireland; 269, Scotland; 249, German Empire; 56, British America; 39, France; and 17, Sweden and Norway.  Census of 1890, 31,151.




  Perry is the largest coal-producing county in the State.  It also produces large quantities of hematite iron ore.  A few miles south of McLuney Station, Bearfield township, a valuable deposit of black-band ore has been discovered and quite extensively worked on the WHITLOCK farm, for Maxahala furnace.   Within three miles of New Lexington, the so-called Baird ore is mined quite extensively on many farms.  It has been demonstrated that the Baird ore of Perry county is the limestone ore of the Hanging Rock district.


  Monday Creek, Salt Lick, Coal and Monroe townships belong to the Hocking Valley coal field, constituting an important portion of what is known as the “Great Vein” territory, in which the Middle Kittanning seam ranges from five to thirteen and one-half feet in thickness.


  The coal mines of the northern and central townships of Perry are similar in character to those of Muskingum county; they are especially adapted to domestic uses and for making steam.  The Columbus and Eastern railroad is doing much for the development of the coal fields of this region.


  This county was first settled by Pennsylvania Germans, about the years 1802 and 1803.  Of the early settlers the names of the following are recollected: John


  Page 383


HAMMOND, David PUGH, Robt. McCLUNG, Isaac BROWN, John and Anthony CLAYTON, Isaac REYNOLDS, Daniel SHEARER, Peter OVERMYER, Adam BINCKLEY, Wm. And Jacob DUSENBURY*, John POORMAN, John FINCK, Daniel PARKINSON, John LASHLEY, Peter DITTOE, John DITTOE, and Michael DITTOE.  The first church erected in the county was at New Reading; it was a Lutheran church, of which the Rev. Mr. FOSTER was the pastor; shortly after, a Baptist church was built about three miles east of Somerset.


  The road through this county was, “from 1800 to 1815, the great thoroughfare between Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and the Eastern States, or until steamboat navigation created a new era in the history of travellers—a perpetual stream of





emigrants rolled Westward along its course, giving constant occupation to hundreds of tavern-keepers, seated at short distances along its borders and consuming all the spare grain raised by the inhabitants for many miles north and south of its line.  Groups of merchants on horseback with led horses, laden with Spanish dollars, travelled by easy stages every spring and autumn along its route, congregated in parties of ten or twenty individuals, for mutual protection, and armed with dirks, pocket pistols, and pistols in holsters, as robberies sometimes took place in the more wilderness parts of the road.  The goods, when purchased, were wagoned to Pittsburg and sent in large flat boats, or keel boats, to their destination below, while the merchant returned on horseback to his home, occupying eight or ten weeks in the whole tour.”


  Somerset in 1846.—Somerset, the county-seat, is forty-three miles easterly from Columbus, on the Macadamized road leading from Zanesville to Lancaster, from each of which it is eighteen miles, or midway, which circumstance gave it, when originally laid out, the name of Middletown.


  In 1807 John FINCK erected the first log-cabin in the vicinity of this place.  Having purchased a half-section of land he laid out, in 1810, the eastern part of the town; the western part was laid out by Jacob MILLER.  They became the first settlers; the first died about eleven and the last about twenty years since.  The present name, Somerset, was derived from Somerset, Penn., from which place and vicinity most of the early settlers came.  The board of directors of the Lutheran seminary at Columbus have voted to remove it to this place.  The town contains 1 Lutheran, 2 Catholic and 1 Methodist church; 1 iron foundry, 1 tobacco warehouse, 3 newspaper printing offices, 16 mercantile stores and about 1,400 inhabitants.  A very large proportion of the population of the county are Catholics.  They have in the town a nunnery, to which is attached St. Mary’s seminary, a


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school for young females.  It is well conducted and many Protestant families send their daughters here to be educated.—Old Edition.


  About two miles south of Somerset are the buildings shown in the annexed view.  The elegant building in the centre is St. Joseph’s church, recently erected; on the right is seen the convent building; the structure partly shown beyond St.



Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846



Joseph’s church is the oldest Catholic church in the State, the history of which we give in an extract from an article in the United States Catholic Magazine for January, 1847, entitled, “The Catholic Church in Ohio.”


  The first chapel of which we have any authentic record that was ever consecrated to Almighty God within our borders was St. Joseph’s, in Perry county, which was solemnly blessed on the 6th of December, 1818, by Rev. Edward FENWICK and his nephew, Rev. N. D. YOUNG, of the order of St. Dominic, both natives of Maryland, and deriving their jurisdiction from the venerable Dr. FLAGET, who was then the only bishop between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi.  This chapel was first built of logs, to which an addition of stone was subsequently made, so that it was for a considerable time “partly logs and partly stone.”  When the congregation, which consisted of only ten families when the chapel was first opened, had increased in number, the logs disappeared and a new addition, or, to speak more correctly, a separate church of brick, marked the progress of improvement and afforded new facilities for the accommodation of the faithful.  An humble convent, whose revered inmates, one American, N. D. YOUNG, one Irishman, Thomas MARTIN, and one Belgian, Vincent de RYMACHER, cheerfully shared in all the hardships and privations incident to the new colony, was erected near the church, and from its peaceful precincts the saving truths of faith were conveyed and its divine sacraments administered to many a weary emigrant who had almost despaired of enjoying those blessings in the solitude which he had selected for his home.  The benedictions of the poor and the refreshing dews of heaven descended on the spiritual seed thus sown.  It increased and multiplied the hundred fold.  New congregations were formed in Somerset, Lancaster, Zanesville, St. Barnabas, Morgan county, Rehoboth and St. Patrick’s, seven miles from St. Joseph’s, and in Sapp’s settlement and various other stations still more distant was the white habit of St. Dominic hailed by the lonely Catholic as the harbinger of glad tidings and the symbol of the joy, the purity and the triumphs which attest the presence of the Holy Spirit and the fufilment of the promises made by her divine founder to the church.


  At this place a number of young men are being educated for the priesthood of the Dominican order.  A large library is connected with the institution, which affords facilities to the students in becoming acquainted with church history and literature.  Among them are the writings of many of the fathers and rare books, some of which were printed before the discovery of America.—Old Edition.


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Top Right: The Perry County Court-House, New Lexington.

Top Left: Oliver H. Perry.


Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846


The old County Court-House shown on the right is yet standing, and M. F. Scott

Still in his store ready for customers.


Page 386


  SOMERSET, for many years the county-seat, is seven miles northwest of New Lexington, the present county-seat, on the Straitsville Branch of the B. & O. Railroad.  City officers, 1888: D. O. BRUNNER, Mayor; Thomas SCANLON, Clerk; Owen YOST, Solicitor; E. T. DROEGE, Treasurer; W. C. WEIR, Marshall and Street Commissioner.  Newspaper: Press, Labor, W. P. MAGRUDER, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Lutheran, 1 German Reformed, 1 Catholic and 1 Methodist.  Population, 1880, 1,207.  School census, 1888, 361; J. B. PHINNEY, school superintendent.


  In the old description of Somerset we have spoken of the female academy of St. Mary’s.  It has long been a famed institution.  It was established at Somerset in 1830 by Bishop FENWICK, the first Catholic Bishop of Cincinnati.  Years after our visit it was destroyed by fire, and it was removed to about four miles east of the capitol building at Columbus.  It was incorporated in July, 1868, under the direction of the Dominican Sisters.  It is now widely known as the “Academy of St. Mary of the Springs,” and is a highly popular institution.  It is near Alum creek, a branch of the Scioto, and under the general charge of Bishop WATTERSON.  The building is large and commodious.  “The location is unsurpassed in its salubrity and beauty of landscape; the distracting sights and sounds of the bustling world are excluded by shady groves and sloping hills.”


  St. Joseph’s Church, shown in the view taken in 1846, was also destroyed by fire, but another replaces it and with a noble college building standing by it.




  SOMERSET, May 21.—Somerset has changed but little.  The old picture fits even to this day.  As I was making the drawing for it a brother of Phil SHERIDAN, then 9 years old, on his way to school, looked over my shoulder as he now tells me, while Phil himself was clerking it in the town somewhere—may be saw me seated in a chair near A. ARNDT’s sign.  The old sign has gone—no longer creaks in the wind—catches no snow—gone, too, is Andy.  Nobody lives forever.  The old court-house is still standing, with the same old inscription over the door, with its Irish bull—


“Let Justice be Done IF the Heavens should Fall.”


  The one-story brown building beyond it exists now only in my picture; never was a sparkling gem set in the brow of Somerset.  It was GARLINGER’S grocery—a great institution in the times of the thirsty and free fights.


  Free Fights.—Says an old citizen to me: “I remember one muster-day, about forty years ago, seeing a crowd of men pouring out of that grocery and indulging in a free flight, and all wearing red warmers, i.e., roundabout loose jackets of red flannel.  At that time there were often fights on the square.  When parties had a grievance, they would put off settling it until muster-day.  Then they would have it out, rough and tumble, often with rings around.  The fight over, they would become good friends again.  Frequently these fights would be to see who was the best man.”  “In those days, when any farmer was sick, his neighbors would get in his crops and take good care of him.”


  “They do that now; don’t they?”


  “No!” he replied; “but they don’t fight any more.”


  The sign “M. F. Scott,” is gone, but the building is there, and so is M. F. SCOTT; for I found him on an evening and had an hour’s chat with him.  Mr. SCOTT is a small, hale, rosy-cheeked old gentleman, 74 years of age, hair of snow and never was sick a day.  I think he is of Irish extraction or birth.  He told me he came here in 1838, and paid $7 per 100 pounds freight for his goods from Philadelphia, and “now,” added he, “the charge being fifty cents, some of my neighbors complain of the extortionate charges of railroads.


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  Phil. SHERIDAN’s Boyhood.—I asked about Phil. SHERIDAN.  He replied, “SHERIDAN was a very bright, trusty boy.  Before going to West Point he clerked for various parties in town; once clerked in this very store.”  I asked, “How did he get his appointment?”  “Why, he got it himself.  There was a vacancy from this district, when he wrote to Gen. RICHEY, our member of Congress, that he wanted it.”  In speaking of it, years afterwards, and just after Stone River, RICHEY said: “It was at the close of the Mexican war; the pressure upon me was so tremendous for a cadetship, backed by strong, influential recommendations, that I was in great anxiety which way to move when I got Phil’s letter backed by no one.  I knew him, and it was so manly and so spirited that I that very day went to the War Department and ordered the warrant to be made out, fearful that if I deferred it some malign influence would be brought to bear to make me reject the application; and having done it, I had a deep sense of relief.”


  The Boyhood Home of SHERIDAN.—The next morning after this conversation I sketched the boyhood home of Phil. SHERIDAN.  His father was a laboring man, and took contracts for macadamizing the National Road and other roads.  The house was occupied by the family in their more humble days.  In his later years he built a neat cottage residence about half a mile south of the town.  He died at the age of 75 years from blood-poisoning, which originated from a kick at night in the wrist from a vicious horse, the wound not healing.


  The old homestead is but three minutes’ walk from M. F. SCOTT’s store, and yet quite out of town.  Somerset, like the old towns built upon the National Road, and like other macadamized thoroughfares, consists mainly of a single street with the buildings compact, like poor pieces of cities set down in the country.  Such places have no pleasant village aspects, and therefore make one sad in thinking of what “might have been.”


  The main building of the old homestead consists of three rooms only, and is unoccupied and dilapidated, and we have tried to make it look as it did in “Phil.’s” boyhood days, and so have introduced the boy galloping on a horse around the corner, which is supposed to be “Phil.” as he then was, preparing, unknown to himself, for that later ride, “Up at morning, at break of day.”


  The wing this way, consisting of a single room, was built in 1847, and is occupied by Mr. ZORTMAN and wife, laboring people.  Germans, of course, they are, for they had flowers blooming in the windows of their very humble home.  I asked Mrs. Maggie MORRIS, who lived next door, the name of the street.  She answered, “I don’t know; some call it the ‘Happy alley.’”  The Happy alley has upon it but three or four houses, and commands a grateful, open prospect of green fields and sweet smelling slopes, falling away down to the Hocking valley, fifteen miles away to the south, and where, some three years ago, one night, when the mills at Logan were burned, the light was seen reddening the sky.


  From here, on the left, over an apple orchard, quarter of a mile away, on a slight hill, stands the old St. Mary’s.  It was a female seminary, with nunnery attached.  St. Mary’s has been removed to Columbus.  It brought back pleasant recollections of hospitable entertainment there, and at St. Joseph’s, from the Catholic Fathers and Sisters.


  Talk upon Corn and Grapes.—From the cottage I walked to the present SHERIDAN homestead, half a mile south.  Passed a large field where two men and three boys were hoeing open ground for corn, while two girls were following them, planting.  They wore sunbonnets and their aprons were filled with the kernels, which they held up with one hand and dropped from the other—a pleasant sight.  My companion, Mr. ____, a friend of the SHERIDAN family, said: “In corn-planting the women and the girls often help.  Under the most favorable weather corn will mature in ninety days from planting; sometimes it requires 120 days.  The ground must be right as to moisture.  If too wet, the corn will decay.  The season being short the planting has to be hurried; hence, all of a family help.  The heavy frost of June 5, 1859, destroyed the wheat of this region.  Yet that was one of the most fruitful years here known, for the entire population turned out, put in varied crops, and, the autumn being long and warm, everything ripened.”


  “Some fifteen or twenty years ago,” he continued, “there was a great furore hereabouts for planting grapes, the soil and climate seeming especially adapted to them, the varieties being Catawba, Ives’ Seedling, Delaware and Concord, the last the most prolific.  Some parties went into it so largely that it ruined them.  For a while, wine was made largely and sold even as low as eighteen cents a gallon, and even then there was no market.  Physicians were anxious to prescribe it, but Americans can’t be taught to drink sour wines.”


  The SHERIDAN Homestead.—I found this to be a neat, simple cottage of wood with eight rooms.  It stands back about twenty yards from the road, midst trees and shrubbery.  Among these were evergreens and honeysuckles climbing trellis-work.  The location of the cottage is in a small valley, in front of a grove, now called “Sheridan’s Grove.”  A big tree stands by the house, marking the spot where, in the campaign of 1840, HARRISON, CORWIN, EWING and HAMER addressed political meetings.  Here, too, in the grove was held the first meeting of the three years’ men in the civil war.


  The Mother of SHERIDAN, now in her 87th year, is a short, slender, delicate woman, with sparkling black eyes.  She could not have weighed over ninety pounds, erect, active and sprightly as a girl.  She was all volubility and seemed overflowing with good spirits.  At lunch she asked me, “Please to take that


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eat.”  I replied, “Any seat at the table with the mother of Gen. SHERIDAN is an honor.”  She gracefully bowed, smiled, and gave a “Thank you, sir.”


  To a question, later, in the parlor, about her son, she replied, “Oh, he’s an Ohio boy.”  The way she replied, “Oh, he’s an Ohio boy,” showed she was filled with the sense of the greatness of Ohio.  Just as she answered it, the subject was changed by my companion, Mr. _____, a friend of the family, interrupting.  He took from the shelf and showed me a war bonnet of the Cheyennes.  It was a gorgeous affair of fuss and feathers, and the only garment which those wild creatures wear when they go naked, riding and whooping, into battle.


  Among the curiosities in the house was the inkstand used by Gen. LEE in signing the articles of surrender.  In the parlor Mrs. SHERIDAN showed me “Phil.’s” photograph in a line with his staff, some fifteen or twenty young men.  With a single exception he was the shortest of the group, and so worn down at the close of the war, she said he weighed but 130 pounds.  It was evident that SHERIDAN’s activity of mind and person came from this bright little woman.  It is quite a satisfaction to me that I have had interviews with the mothers of both SHERIDAN and GRANT—the latter is given in Vol. I., p. 333.


  From the SHERIDAN place we continued our walk to St. Joseph.  The church shown in the picture had been burnt and rebuilt, and a new noble college building added.  The Fathers showed me a large billiard-room for the recreation of the students, an innovation upon the idea of the old time as to the proprieties; also the library, which is famous for its rare collection of ancient theological works.


  South of St. Joseph the whole country looms up into one huge rounded hill, dotted with fields, forests and farms, and thus to the eye ends the globe in that direction.  St. Joseph is a very secluded “shut-out-of-the-world” spot.  In my original visit I passed over the Sabbath with the Fathers at St. Joseph.


  The Sisters were at St. Mary’s and were teachers in the seminary.  Pleasant young women I found them, social and kindly.  One with whom I conversed, I alone remember—Sister Veronica.  I inquired about her and the answer was, “She died about seventeen years ago;” and about Father WILSON, whom I also met there, and the answer also was, “dead.”


  SISTER VERONICA is a pleasing memory of a blue-eyed, fair-haired girl.  I could not well forget her, for she told me in such a simple, artless way why she had that name given to her, by relating the beautiful legend on which it was founded, which we here give for the reading of such as may never have heard it:


  “As Christ was bearing the cross a woman advanced from the crowd and taking her veil from her head, wiped the sweat and blood from his face and brow, when a miracle was performed; an exact image of our Saviour’s face was printed thereon.  Thereafter she was called ‘Veronica, the woman of the veil.’  That concluded, she is one of the legends of the church.  It is not essential to our faith that we should believe them.”


  FATHER WILSON was a different character, but interesting.  He was, I believe, New England born, and I think from the State of Maine.  He had first gone from a carpenter’s bench into the ministry of the Methodist church and then into that of the Catholic.  As is usual in such cases his zeal was proportionate to the greatness of the change.  He invited me to hear him the Sunday I was here.  I remember only the opening words, “In the world’s great progress. . . .”  At the same time he outstretched his palms and carried into his preaching the shoutings and mannerisms of an old-style Methodist camp-meeting orator.  This must have sometimes astonished his associate priests, being so different from their own.


  With tender sympathy he approached me on the subject of my soul’s salvation.  I inquired if after the manner of the Protestants would not answer every practical purpose?  He shook his head.  Thereupon I said: “I have a cousin, a Protestant, a cashier in a bank; his name, Amos TOWNSEND.  For years when a young man, he boarded himself; lived on the most frugal fare and dressed in simple attire; this was to save money that he might alleviate human woe.  All his spare time was given to religious ministrations and visiting the poor and sick, and his purse was ever open to objects of suffering.  When well advanced in life he married a woman who was his counterpart; she had long been his helpmeet in works of charity and they had grown into each other’s lives.  Then he took a little cottage and kept a horse and buggy.  For his own gratification?  Not in the least; but to take out the sick poor that they might have the benefit of fresh air and green fields.  So holy, pure and self-denying is he that his townsmen look upon him as a wonder, the single one man among them all who follows to the last syllable the teachings of the ‘Sermon on the Mount.’  He is small in person, face sad, calm and saintly—so saintly that his townsmen call him Saint Paul.”


  Having thus stated, I asked the reverend father, “Where he would go when he died?”


  He replied, “Amos TOWNSEND is doubtless a good man.  He has repented, but not believed.  He has fulfilled only a part of the law, so can’t be saved.”


  “Go to Purgatory?”




  “What!  Lower?”


  Upon this he simply nodded, but uttered no dreadful word; neither did I.


  Were Father WILSON living to-day he would doubtless find that “in the world’s great progress” his opinions had changed.


  Furthermore, he would see that this world is growing wiser, more humane as it grows older.  The angelic in man is rising.  The children are better than their fathers, because


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wiser.  With true religion, intelligence, and not ignorance, must be considered the mother of Devotion.  The conception of a recluse of the middle ages was weak compared to the sublime thought which filled the soul of Cardinal NEWMAN when he was brought to face that ever unanswerable question, “Canst thou by searching find out God?”  Science teaches Him in the universe and but supplements and enlarges our conception of the “Great First Cause least understood,” the all-soul-filling ONE.  Justice is the armor of love.  In the ultimate, love must triumph.  God reigns.  “God is love.”  These, my lines, express in part my theology.





JEHOVAH moves the might worlds,

  And spreads the silent stars in view,

With glory lights the summer clouds,

  Beneath the beauteous dome of blue.


He whispers in the rustling leaves

  And sparkles in the smiling morn;

Awakes the should with sweetest strains,

  And blessed from our very dawn.


No woe betides and no storm alarms,

   Offspring of His great, loving heart

Cast in his celestial from.

  ‘Mid mystery all, we form a part;


While every sound that charms the ear,

  And every scene that glades the eye—

Innocence, love and starry worlds—

Alike proclaim DIVINITY:—


Who spake, when light from darkness flashed,

  Mountains from oceans skyward sprang,

While star sand unto star

  As each in glory on its course began.








  Born in Albany, New York, March 6, 1831, the son of Irish laboring people.  Lived his infancy and youth in Somerset, Ohio; was a clerk for a while in Somerset in the hardware store of John TALBOT and then in the dry-goods store of FINCK & DITTOE, and from there entered as a cadet the United States Military Academy, July 1, 1848.  Graduated July 1, 1853, thirty-fourth in his class of fifty-two, of which James B. McPHERSON was the head, and of which General HOOD, of the Confederate, and SCHOFIELD, of the Union army, were also members.  Then he entered the army as Brevet Second Lieutenant, 1st Infantry, May 14, 1851; became Captain, 13th Infantry.  In the volunteer service the ranks and dates of appointment were: May 25, 1862, Colonel, 2d Michigan Cavalry; July, 1862, Brigadier-General; January 31, 1863, Major-General.  In the regular army the dates and ranks were: September 20, 1864, Brigadier-General; November 8, 1864, Major-General; March 4, 1869, Lieutenant-General; June 1, 1888, General.  Three officers only had before received this commission, viz.: WASHINGTON, GRANT and SHERMAN.  He was the nineteenth General-in chief of the United States army.  For forty years—1848 to 1888—from Cadet to General, he was in his country’s service.  He died, August 5, 1888, at Nonquitt, Mass., fifty-seven years five months of age, and lies buried in the National Cemetery, Arlington, the greatest city of the soldier’s dead, and he the greatest soldier of them all.  His grave is on the hill-slope, overlooking the capital of his country, which he loved so well.  In 1879 SHERIDAN married Miss LUCKER, the daughter of Daniel H. LUCKER, of the United States army.  He was a Roman Catholic and devoted to his duties as such.


  SHERIDAN never was defeated and often plucked victory out of the jaws of defeat.  He was thoroughly trusted and admired, and loved by his officers and men.  He bore the nickname of “Little Phil,” a term of endearment due to his size, like the “Petite Corporal” of Napoleon I.  He was below the middle height, five feet five inches; but powerfully built, with a strong countenance, indicative of valor and resolution.  His energy and endurance were remarkable.  He could, when occasion required great efforts, endure for long periods great physical strain and loss of sleep.


  It was frequently said that SHERIDAN had seen the backs of more rebels than any other federal General.  This is doubtless true, and of itself expresses as well as implies a good deal.  It was known that he was about equally skilful in the command of artillery, cavalry and infantry.  He commanded in the East as well as in the West and was popular and successful with both armies.  He changed the cavalry arm of the service from an inefficient, unreliable force, into a well-disciplined, invincible, victorious army.  He brought his division—all there was left of it—intact out of the deadly struggle in the tall cedars at Stone river.  Though badly cut up with General McCOOK’s corps at Chickamauga, SHERIDAN rallied the remnant of his division and proceeded to march in the direction of the sound of General THOMAS’ guns.


  It was SHERIDAN who changed the valley of the Shenandoah from a valley of humiliation into a land of triumph.  After the Shenandoah was cleared of the enemy he was called back to the main army front of Richmond.


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Drawn by Henry Howe in 1886.



Page 391


Grant’s whole operations during the summer of 1864 and the early part of the year 1865, had been little less than a series of bloody disasters, and, as offensive movements, were certainly not successful.  Eventually, GRANT decided to make a last desperate effort to break the rebel lines and General SHERIDAN was selected to lead the momentous expedition.  About three o’clock one morning GRANT called SHERIDAN from his bed and told him what was to be done.  “I want you to break the rebel lines,” says General GRANT, “and if you fail go and join SHERMAN.”  “I’ll make the attempt,” replies SHERIDAN,” but I’ll not go to SHERMAN; I propose to end it right here.”  Right there, in the breast of little Phil SHERIDAN, was the crack of doom for the Southern Confederacy.  SHERIDAN’S command charged at Five Forks, the hitherto invincible lines of General LEE were broken, and Richmond doomed.  LEE’S army was routed; retreated in great confusion and the Confederate administration hastily deserted the rebel capital.  It was a great victory for the army of the Potomac; but few dreamed—not even General GRANT—that the war was virtually over.  It was SHERIDAN who, with his accustomed habit of following closely upon the backs of the defeated rebels, at once discovered the true condition of things and despatched back to Grant: “Hurry up the troops; LEE must surrender if closely pressed.  I am sure of it.”


  Meanwhile SHERIDAN had a sharp engagement at or near Hanover Court-house, the last stand LEE’S ragged and brave veterans ever made.  GRANT hurried up the troops and Appomattox was the result.


  From the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Ohio Commandery, issued in memoriam of SHERIDAN, we extract these passages:


  His humble birth and humble life to his cadetship was not the least important in shaping his subsequent career.  Though of foreign parentage he was imbued with the true spirit of Americanism which possessed him in mature manhood to a marked degree.  The warm Irish blood flowing in his veins made service for his country a passion as well as a duty.


  General SHERIDAN, with true soldierly instinct, preferred to attack the enemy and keep him employed, rather than to allow him time to make combinations and execute his own plans.


  A characteristic of General SHERIDAN, not common to many other commanders on the field, and the one without doubt that enabled him to achieve success and fame, was the quality of being more self-possessed and fuller of resources and expedients in the tumult of the battle than at any other time.  He gave conclusive evidence to those who observed him closely before and during a great and severely contested field engagement of awakening to a higher degree of mental power when danger was most imminent, than he displayed at any other time, or under ordinary circumstances.  His original plan of battle, as is common through unforseen causes, might prove to be defective, or become impracticable; yet he under such circumstances never became disconcerted or dismayed, and he was always fortunate enough to instantaneously make a new plan of battle or other new combinations, which were executed to meet the exigencies and to insure final and complete success.


  Success and generalship are synonyms in war.


  He had no patience with mediocrity in an officer high in command—it was not ordinary acts that were required to win a battle, but extraordinary ones, and an officer incapable of such should be removed.


  Shortly after General GRANT took command of all the armies of the United States, and on April 4, 1864, SHERIDAN was placed in command of the cavalry corps operating with the Army of the Potomac.  At once his superiority as a cavalry officer showed itself.  To confront him was the flower of the Confederate cavalry under an active, renowned leader, with other experienced officers under him.  The pride of the South was in the efficiency and chivalry of its mounted soldiers and their best were concentrated in the East.


  General SHERIDAN decided to fight with the sword and thenceforth the carbine and pistol became comparatively useless instruments in the hands of the enemy’s cavalry; as, in close conflicts or melee, friend was as likely to be shot as foe, and the sabre wielded by the strong-armed Northern soldier was irresistible.  When confronted by infantry, he fought his cavalry dismounted, then using the carbine efficiently.


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  From the time this mode of warfare was put in practice to the end of the war, SHERIDAN’S cavalry against a like arm of the service was invincible, regardless of any disparity of numbers.  We have the recent testimony of the present Emperor of Germany that, in the manner of fighting cavalry and in the mode of conducting campaigns, SHERIDAN has taught great military men new lessons in warfare.


  The greatest soldiers of modern Europe, VON MOLTKE and others, and the most illustrious soldier of our own country, General GRANT, have concurred in pronouncing SHERIDAN the most accomplished of the great field-generals of the world.


  When, after the battle of Cedar Creek, in recognition of that great exploit, SHERIDAN was commissioned to be Major-General in the regular army, the veteran journalist, Chas. A. DANA, then Assistant Secretary of War, was despatched with the commission from Washington to SHERIDAN’S camp, where he arrived late that night.  What followed he related, years after, in his paper the New York Sun:


  The next morning the General took me on foot through his camp, and as we went among the regiments and brigades and greeted old acquaintances on every hand, I was everywhere struck with the manifestations of the personal attachment to SHERIDAN.  I had not seen anything like it in either of our great armies.  GRANT, SHERMAN, THOMAS, all moved among their troops with every mark of respect and confidence on the part of the men; but in SHERIDAN’S camp it was quite different.  They seemed to regard him more as a boy regards the father he believes in, relies on and loves, than as soldiers are wont to regard their commander.  Finally, as we were completing our morning’s tour and had got nearly back to headquarters, I said to him: “General, how is this?  These men appear to have a special affection for you, more than I have ever seen displayed toward any other officer.  What is the reason?”


  “Well,” said he, “I think I can tell you.  I always fight in the front rank myself.  I was long ago convinced that it would not do for a commanding general to stay in the rear of the troops and carry on a battle with paper orders, as they do in the Army of the Potomac.  These men all know that where it is hottest there I am, and they like it, and that is the reason they like me.”


  “One thing more, General,” I said.  “Are you afraid, or don’t you care?  What is the real truth about it?”


  “The man who says he isn’t afraid under fire,” he answered, “is a liar.  I am damned afraid, and if I followed my own impulse I should turn and get out.  It is all a question of the power of the mind over the body.”




  This famous poem beginning with—


                        “Up from the South at break of day,

                        Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,”


was a great factor in spreading the fame of SHERIDAN, and goes linked with it to posterity, together with the name of Buchanan READ, the poet-painter, who wrote it for James E. MURDOCH, the elocutionist.  READ died, May 11, 1872, in New York, while MURDOCH is still living in Cincinnati, where he is greatly respected, and at the advanced age of eighty years.


  The history of its production is thus given in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette of July 17, 1887, by Henry W. TEETOR:


  SHERIDAN’S Ride” was composed Monday, November 1, 1864, in the front room of a three-story brick building, yet standing, and now known as No. 49 West Eighth street, then occupied by Cyrus GARRETT, Esq., brother-in-law of Mr. READ.


  The simple story of the composition of the famous ode is this: The evening of that day had been set apart for the MURDOCH ovation, which took place at Pike’s Opera-house.  Mr. E. D. GRAFTON, the eminent artist, had met GARRETT upon Fourth street in the morning and handed him Harper’s Weekly, containing the picture of “SHERIDAN’S Ride to the Front.”  After a word of conversation in regard to the illustration, GARRETT took the picture to his residence and soon after the subject of the celebrated ride, as sketched, came up.  The following is Mr. MURDOCH’S account of that conversation, as told upon the stage by way of a prelude to reading the poem:  “During the morning a friend with whom I was conversing


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happened to pick up the last issue of Harper’s Weekly, on the title-page of which was the picture of SHERIDAN.  ‘There’s a poem in that picture,’ said my friend.  ‘Suppose I have one written for you to read to-night?’  ‘But,’ I replied, ‘I shall not have time to look it over and catch its inner meaning and beauties, and besides I am not in the habit of reading a poem at night written in the morning.’”


  That friend was Cyrus GARRETT, who had previously familiarly said to his brother-in-law, “Buck, there is a poem in that picture.”  To which READ replied, “Do you suppose I can write a poem to order, just as you go to SPRAGUE’s and order a coat?”  [It is Mr. Alexander HILL’s impression, however, that this remark was also made by Mr. MURDOCH to READ.]  After this READ and MURDOCH parted—READ to his room and MURDOCH to his musings.


  When READ retired to his room he said to his wife: “Hattie, do not let me be interrupted.  I am not to be called even if the house takes fire.”  During his seclusion READ called for a cup of strong tea and then resumed his pen.  About noon his work was done.  The poem was given to his wife to copy, while READ at once left home and, going over to the studio of his friend, said, “GRAFTON, I have just written something fresh—hot from the oven—and left MURDOCH committing it for a recitation to-night.”


  Concerning the reception of that poem, as inimitably interpreted by MURDOCH, the Commercial’s report was, “Peal after peal of enthusiasm punctuated the last three glowing verses.  So long and loud was the applause at its end that Mr. MURDOCH was called to the footlights, and Mr. READ only escaped the congratulations of the audience by refusing to respond, as he could not adequately do, he seemed to think, to the clamorous utterances of his name.”


  A remark made by a prominent citizen may also be given as indicating the effect upon the audience.  When the poem was ended and Sheridan had “got there,” with profound relief the late William RESOR said: “Thank God! I was afraid SHERIDAN would not get there.”


  “In a conversation with READ,” said Mr. GRAFTON to the writer, “I once ventured to say, ‘READ, did you take nothing but a pot of black tea into your room with you when you invoked the muse for ‘SHERIDAN’s Ride?’  To my surprise, in a most unexpected, placid manner, he said: ‘I took nothing else but that.  Let me confess to you a fact: I can do nothing with the pen unless I am clear-headed.  I know,’ he continued, ‘that poem, with its faults, came from no inspiration of the bottle.  I would like, however, to have corrected some of those faults, but Bayard TAYLOR advised me not to allow the least change or emendation, but to let it stand as written.’ The wisdom of this advice insured its acceptance, and if I mistake not, it now stands word for word as the muse gave it, nothing to add or subtract.”


  “Mr. READ also said this to me: “They may talk what they choose about BYRON, BURNS, POE and others writing so finely under the influence of drink, but I don’t believe a word of it.  If the tongue does wag, the brain will lag when much drink has been indulged in, for then I have discovered I am just about as dumb as a Prince’s Bay oyster.”


  Not long before “Death bowed to him his sable plume,” READ thus wrote to his friend, Henry C. TOWNSEND, Esq.:


  “I want to tell you now and solemnly that a deep sense of my duty to my God, as well as to my fellow-man, has gradually been descending upon me, and it is to me a source of infinite pleasure that I can look back upon all the poetry I have ever written and find it contains no line breathing a doubt upon the blessed Trinity and the great Redemption of man.  When I have written my verses I have been alone with my soul and with God, and not only dared not lie, but the inspiration of the truth was to me so beautiful that no unworthy thought dared obtrude itself upon the page.  This was entirely owing to the goodness of God, who saw what it was to be, and saved me from subsequent mortification and regret.”


  NEW LEXINGTON, county-seat of Perry, is about fifty miles southwest of Columbus, on the C. & M. V. and T. & O. C. Railroads.  This town was laid out in 1817, by James COMLY, on farm land bought by him of Samuel CLAYTON, whose farm it had been.  Just before the outbreak of the Rebellion, after a struggle of years with the people of Somerset, the county-seat was removed from that place to this.


  County officers, 1888: Auditor, Asbury F. RANDOLPH; Clerk, Philip ALLEN; Commissioners, Levi H. KENNEDY, Z. S. POULSON, Joshua B. LARIMER; Coroner, Glen A. EMERY; Infirmary Directors, James DANISON, Charles WATTS, William T. STEVENS; Probate Judge, Charles E. SPENCER; Prosecuting Attorney, Maurice H. DONAHOE; Recorder, David E. McCLOY; Sheriff, George W. IRVIN; Surveyor, John D. MINAUGH; Treasurer, B. F. RODGERS.  City officers, 1888; Edgar M. BRADDOCK, Mayor; Frank E. FOX, Clerk; Jas. W. MONTGOMERY, Treasurer; A. J. ROBINSON, Marshal; Jefferson TRACY, Street Commissioner; Henry D. COCHRAIN, Solicitor.  Newspapers: Democratic Herald, Democratic, CULLINAN & MELOY,


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editors and publishers; Tribune, Republican, J. F. McMAHON, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Methodist, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Catholic, 1 Lutheran and 2 Baptist.


  Manufactures and Employees.—Oliver K. GRANGER, flour, etc., 3 hands; STARR Manufacturing Co., POWERS’ feed grinders, 18; S. A. ARNOLD, flour and feed, 3; Selden McGIRR, doors, sash, etc., 5; D. C. FOWLER, lumber, 3; Perry Creamery Co., butter, 3.—State Report, 1888.


  Population, 1880, 1,357.  School census, 1888, 525; Celwin FOWLER, school superintendent.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $43,000.  Value of annual product, $48,300.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.  Census, 1890, 1,470.


  The site of New Lexington is pleasant.  It is on a gentle elevation, just south of the “Pan Handle” Railroad.  I entered it May 19, 1886.  The best building in the place was the school-house, an imposing brick structure on a commanding site, the court-house then being unfinished.  I noticed that north and east the country consisted mostly of gently rolling hills, on whose surface were broad fields luxuriant in growing wheat.


  The one great absorbing point of interest connected with the place is that near here was born one of the world’s great heroes, and in the cemetery here were laid his mortal remains, Sept. 9, 1884, and with great honors.




  It is remarkable that a little interior county of Ohio should have produced two such extraordinary characters in the line of heroism as Philip Henry SHERIDAN and Januarius Aloysius MACGAHAN.  Both were of Irish stock and both of Catholic birth and training.


  MACGAHAN was born June 12, 1844, on the Logan Road, about three miles south of New Lexington, on what is known as Pigeon Roost Ridge.  His father was James MACGAHAN, a native of County Derry, Ireland, and his mother, Esther DEMPSEY, of mixed Irish and German stock.  They were married in St. Patrick’s Church, in 1840, and settled on a little farm near by.  When MACGAHAN was 6 years old his father died, leaving the widow in straitened circumstances.  But she had a dower interest in the farm, and managed by struggling to get along with her little flock, in her little cabin nestled among the hills and almost surrounded by an unbroken forest.


  MACGAHAN, as a boy in the district school, was far ahead in his studies, and he is spoken of as the mildest-mannered boy of the school and neighborhood—almost feminine and girlish in his ways and manners.  He read all the books in the house and neighborhood, and when a boy of about 12 got hold of DICK’s works—a great acquisition.  Then, at night, he often wandered about, studying and locating and naming the stars, as described by DICK; also, would frequently rise in the morning, before daybreak, to see and locate the stars and planets not visible in the early part of the night.


  When about 14 years old he began working on farms in Hocking, Fairfield and Fayette counties, returning winters with the money he had thus earned to Pigeon Roost to attend school.  In 1861 he applied to teach the Pigeon Roost school, but was refused on the ground of youth and inexperience.  He took this to heart and left Pigeon Roost as a home forever, and went to Huntington, Indiana.


  There he got a school and taught with very great success two winters, astonishing his patrons by using the word and object methods.  Then he sent for his mother and the rest of the family.


  In the winter of 1863-64 he removed to St. Louis, where he remained four years, studying and writing for the press and finding employment as book-keeper in the house of John J. DALY & Co.  While there, he met for the first time Gen.


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JANUARIUS ALOYSIUS MACGHAM,              MACGANAH,                              Gen. JAMES M. COMLY,

Bulgaria’s Deliverer.                                    The War Correspondent                          Journalist and Soldier.




SHERIDAN, and gave a brilliant description to the Huntington Democrat of a grand ovation to that officer; later he met SHERIDAN in Europe.


  In December, 1868, he sailed for Europe, to study the languages—Latin, German and French—and with the ultimate design of returning to his native country and practising the law.


  Just at the juncture when he had his trunk packed to return home, his funds being about exhausted, the Franco-Prussian war broke out, when he was engaged by the New York Herald to go with the French army as its war correspondent.  He speedily procured a rough suit, rode hastily to the front, and soon after the wing of the army which he was with was driven back with considerable haste and disorder.  His graphic letter describing the retreat immediately placed its author among the foremost war correspondents of the world.  He then made a similar engagement with the London News.  As a correspondent of these journals MACGAHAN was in all the wars of Europe for eight or ten years previous to his death.  He was an unparalleled correspondent, for he seemed destitute of fear; would ride into the midst of a battle with the commanding officers that he might truthfully describe the thick of the fight—then, perchance, at times sit down under the shade of a tree with bullets whistling all around, and coolly spread out a lunch and partake thereof, or make notes of tragic events as they were transpiring around him.


  His experiences, in variety, during the few years of his foreign life, were not probably ever equalled by any journalist, and never did one accomplish so much, excepting STANLEY.  These included his experience with the Commune in Paris, when he was arrested and condemned to death, and his life only saved through the influence of United States Minister WASHBURNE; his travels through Europe with Gen. SHERMAN and party in 1871072; his long and lonesome journey across the Asiatic country to Khiva in the early part of 1873; his cruise on board of a war ship on the Mediterranean, and his accidental and unexpected visit with the same to Cuba, Key West, New York and elsewhere in the United States in the latter part of 1873; his ten months with Don Carlos’ army in 1874; his capture by the Republicans, who took him for a Carlist, and he undoubtedly would have suffered death but for the intervention of a United States representative; his voyage to the Arctic seas with the Pandora expedition in 1875; his experience with the Turkish army, and his memorable trip through Bulgaria in 1876; his visit to St. Petersburg and subsequent accompaniment of the Russian army to Bulgaria in 1877, where he was everywhere hailed as a liberator and deliverer; for the grateful people ran after him as he rode through the streets of the towns and villages of that country, kissing his boots, saddle, bridle, and even the little pet horse that he rode.  Archibald FORBES, the great English writer and correspondent, who rode by his side, says the grateful and affectionate demonstrations of the people of Bulgaria towards MACGAHAN, surpassed anything of the kind he ever saw or imagined.


  FORBES, who loved him as a brother, in an article on MACGAHAN, pays this tribute to his great services:


  “MACGAHAN’S work in the exposures of the Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria, which he carried out so thoroughly and effectively in 1876, produced very remarkable results.  Regarded simply on its literary merits, there is nothing I know of to excel it in vividness, in pathos, in a burning earnestness, in a glow of conviction that fires from the heart to the heart.  His letters stirred Mr. GLADSTONE into a convulsive paroxysm of burning revolt against the barbarities they described.  They moved England to its very depths, and men travelling in railway carriages were to be noticed with flushed faces and moistened eyes as they read them.  Lord BEACONSFIELD tried to whistle down the wind the awful significance of the disclosures made in those wonderful letters.  The master of jeers jibed at, as ‘coffee-house babble,’ the revelations that were making the nations to throb with indignant passion.


  “A British official, Mr. Walter BARING, was sent into Bulgaria on the track of the two Americans, MACGAHAN and SCHUYLER, with the intent to disparage their testimony by the results of cold official investigation.  But lo! BARING, official as he was, nevertheless was an honest man with eyes and a heart; and he who had been sent out on the mission to curse MACGAHAN, blessed him instead altogether, for he more than confirmed the latter’s figures and pictures of murder, brutality and atrocity.  It is not too much to say that this Ohio boy, who worked on a farm in his youth and picked up his education anyhow, changed the face of Eastern Europe.  When he began to write of the Bulgarian atrocities, the Turk swayed direct rule to the bank of the Danube, and his suzerainty stretched to the Carpathians.  Now Roumania owns no more the suzerainty, Servia is an independent kingdom, Bulgaria is tributary but in name, and Roumelia is governed, not for the Turks, but for the Roumelians.  All this reform is the direct and immediate outcome of the Russo-Turkish war.


  “But what brought about the Russo-Turkish war?  What forced the Czar, reluctant as he was and inadequately prepared, to cross the Danube and wage with varying fortune the war that brought his legions finally to the very gates of Stamboul?  The passionate, irresistible pressure of the Pan-Slavist section of his subjects, burning with ungovernable fury against the ruthless Turk,


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because of his cruelties on those brother Slavs of Bulgaria and Roumelia; and the man who told the world and those Russian Slavs of those horrors—the man whose voice rang out clear through the nations with its burden of wrongs and shame and deviltry, was no illustrious statesman, no famed litterateur, but just this young American from off the little farm in Perry county, Ohio.”


  MACGAHAN was preparing to attend and write up the International Congress at Berlin, when, declining to abandon a sick friend at Constantinople, he was himself attacked with the malignant fever that had prostrated his friend, and died after a few days’ illness, June 9, 1878.  Had he lived three days longer he would have exactly completed his 34th year.


MACGAHAN’s meeting with the lady who subsequently became his wife, is full of romance.  He was travelling through the provinces of Russia, along with Gen. SHERMAN and party, when his horse stumbled and threw him, spraining his ankle so severely that he was taken to the nearest house, where he was compelled to remain quiet for several days.  News of the accident, and the further fact that the sufferer was a young stranger, from a far-off county, bought many to see him; among others a company of young girls of whom one was Miss Barbara D’ELAGUINE.  MACGAHAN could not speak Russian at that time, and the lady could not speak English.  Both could speak French, however, and that was the language of their courtship.  There is one child of this marriage, a boy, born in Spain in 1874, during the Carlist war.  The United States has been the home of widow and son for several years.




  Thursday, September 12, 1884, was an ever-memorable day in New Lexington.  It was the occasion of the funeral of MACGAHAN, who six years after his death was laid to rest in his native land.  His remains at Constantinople were disinterred and brought by the United States steamer “Powhatan” in an outer casket to New York at the expense of the Press Club of that city, and were accompanied here from thence by his widow and child.  They had previously lain in state in the City Hall, New York, and in the State Capitol, at Columbus.


  Over 8,000 people were present, among them about sixty representatives of the press from various parts of the State.  The streets and houses were decorated with evergreen arches and intermingled flags of black and white.  One large streamer bore the inscription: BULGARIA’S LIBERATOR; and another, REST IN THY NATIVE LAND.  The casket was taken into St. Rose’s Church.  On it was a handsome plate, bearing the inscription:




BORN, JUNE 12, 1844,


DIED, JUNE 9, 1878.



  At the head of the casket was placed a large photograph of the dead journalist as he appeared in life, in citizen’s dress, and at the foot was a full-length likeness of him in the costume of a war correspondent, as he roughed it with the boys or slept and dined in the tents of generals.


  In the church was conducted the religious exercises, when Bishop WATTERSON preached on the “Power and Responsibility of the Newspaper Press.”


  The following-named gentlemen acted as pall-bearers:


  Gen. James M. COMLY, Toledo Telegram; Senator John EVANS, of Gallia county; D. L. BOWERSMITH, of the O. S. Journal; S. J. FLICKINGER, Cincinnati Enquirer; Senator John O”NEIL, Zanesville; Thomas WETZLER, Ohio Eagle; Lecky HARPER, Mt. Vernon Banner; Hon . W. E. FINCK, Somerset; Ed. L. DAVENPORT, Logan Republican Gazette; Hon. J. L. VANCE, Gallipolis Bulletin; Dr. F. L. FLOWERS, Lancaster; Jas. T. IRVINE, Zanesville; James W. NEWMAN, Secretary of State; L. C. SMITH, Shawnee Banner; Capt. Charles N. ALLEN, Columbus; T. M. GAUMER, Zanesville Signal; C. E. BONEBRAKE, Springfield Globe.


  About 11:30 the casket was brought out of the church and the procession began to form, under the direction of Hon. H. C. GREINER, assisted by several aids, in the following order:


  Platoon of G. A. R. men, with reversed swords; Columbus Barracks Band; G. A. R. Posts; Military organizations; Military Band; Members of the Press; Committees and Speakers; Pall-bearers; Hearse with guard of honor; Relatives of deceased; Citizens, etc.


  The guard of honor was composed of a detachment of the New Lexington Guards.


  After the usual religious rites at the grave, the people gathered about the stand which had been erected near by, to be used for the public exercises.  Hon. H. C. GREINER took the chair and acted as President.  The exercises consisted of:


  1st—Eulogy on Life and Character of J. A. MACGAHAN, by E. S. COLBORN.


  2d—Poem, written for the occasion, by W. A. TAYLOR.


  3d—An Address on the Office of the Newspaper Correspondent, by Silas H. WRIGHT.


  The New Lexington Tribune, from which the foregoing sketch is largely taken, thus aptly concludes:


  The great event has come and gone and the mortal remains of the famous Ohio boy, who perished so honorably and bravely in a far distant country, now repose in his native land.


  The Nation, the State and the people of this county have heartily united in paying a just tribute to a brilliant genius, to a patient, hard worker, to a brave, noble man, who lived and toiled for others more than himself; who freed a nation of people, who opened the way for the story of the Cross, and who,


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with his young wife and child awaiting his return in Russia, stopped amid malaria and malignant disease to lay down his life for a friend.


  When qualities like these cease to attract the admiration and love of men and women, the world will scarcely be worth living in, and finis may be appropriately written upon its outer walls.


  The Central Press Association of Ohio, after the funeral, organized to collect funds for the erection of a monument to the memory of their illustrious brother.


  GEN. JAMES M. COMLY, journalist, was descended from a family of Friends, who came to Philadelphia with William Penn, in 1682.  His grandfather James and great-uncle located, after the war of 1812, on the site of New Lexington, which the latter laid out.  James was born there March 6, 1832.  He went to Columbus to learn the trade of a printer, and was successively “devil,” journeyman, foreman, local editor and finally, editor and proprietor of the Ohio State Journal.  He was Colonel of the 23d Ohio, HAYES’ Regiment; then General in the army, postmaster of Columbus, and was subsequently appointed by President HAYES as Minister to the Sandwich Islands.  He afterwards removed to Toledo and edited the Toledo Commercial, and died July 26, 1887, from wounds received in the late war, and which had made his later life one of great suffering, borne with noble fortitude.


  General COMLY had a high place among Ohio’s gifted men.  The Memorial volume published of his life and services bears this motto, which truthfully characterized him: “Whose wit in the combat, as gentle as bright, Ne’er carried a heart-stain away on its blade.”  And his old commander, Rutherford B. HAYES, in the same memorial work, gives this testimony: “Knowing General COMLY intimately more than twenty-five years, and specially having lived by his side day and night during almost the whole of the war, it would be strange indeed if I did not deem it a privilege and a labor of love to unite with his comrades in strewing flowers on the grave of one whose talents and achievements were so ample and admirable and whose life and character were rounded to a completeness rarely found among the best and most gifted of men.”


  STEPHEN BENTON ELKINS, the eminent politician of the Republican party and railroad magnate, was born in Thorn township, September 26, 1841; removed when very young to Missouri and eventually to New York City.  JACOB STRAWN was one of the early settlers of the same township; removed to Illinois, and at the time of his death became there the greatest cattle owner in the world.  JOHN W. ILIFF, was born and brought up in Harrison township; removed to Colorado; received there the name of the “Cattle King,” for he also, in turn, became the greatest cattle owner in the world.  He died leaving an estate valued at two millions.  WALTER C. HOOD, pronounced “a walking library and dictionary,” was born at Somerset, and died while honoring the position of State Librarian under Governor ALLEN.


  OLIVER HAZARD PERRY, in whose honor this county was named, was of chivalrous stock, and the name fell to the right county, considering how she has responded by producing a SHERIDAN, a MACGAHAN and a COMLY.  His father, Capt. Christopher Raymond PERRY, was a native of Newport, R. I., a gallant naval officer of the old Revolutionary War, and his mother, Sarah Alexander, was born of Scotch-Irish stock, in County Down, Ireland.  She had five sons and three daughters.  “To great strength of character Mrs. PERRY added high intellectual power and rare social grace, training her children with extraordinary care to high ideals of life and duty.  After the victory on Lake Erie, some farmers in Rhode Island declared it was Mrs. Perry’s Victory.”


  Her son Oliver was born at South Kingston, R. I., August 23, 1785.  She carefully trained him to obedience and gifted him with the spirit of heroism by narrating to him the deeds of her military ancestors—the old Scotch Covenanters.  His favorite books were the Bible, Plutarch’s Lives, Shakespeare and Addison.  He excelled in the study of navigation and mathematics; at the age of 11 was confirmed a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and in 1799, at the age of 14, was commissioned midshipman; in 1807 was a lieutenant in the Tripolitan war.  When the war of 1812 broke out he had, in expectation of hostilities, been unwearied in the training of his crews and in gunnery, and by assembling gunboats occasionally, gained experience in the evolutions of a fleet, with which he practised also sham battles, dividing them into hostile squadrons.  Within twenty-four hours after receipt of orders to go to Lake Erie and build a squadron, February 17, 1813, he had sent off a detachment of fifty men, and on the 22d following started thither with his younger brother, Alexander.  He was five weeks on the way, going mostly in sleighs through the wilderness to Erie, Pa.  A few months later the squadron had been built, the battle fought, and the victory won.


  At the time of the battle Perry was but 28 years of age.  In June, 1819, he died of


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yellow fever, at the age of 33 years, in Port Spain, island of Trinidad, while in command of a squadron.  A brother, Matthew GALBRAITH, was also a very accomplished naval officer.  He figured in the bombardment of Vera Cruz and command the famed expedition to Japan..


  In 1806 the State of Ohio purchased W. H. POWELL’S famous painting of PERRY’S Victory, and suspended it in the rotunda of the Capitol at Columbus.  It represents PERRY just as he has left the Lawrence for the Niagara, in a naval launch.  The launch is in the foreground, while the vessels are shown around engaged in action.  The chief merit of the painting lies in the lifelike figures of Commodore PERRY and his brave crew.


  In this county are many ancient mounds of various dimensions, and four or five miles in a northwesterly direction from Somerset is an ancient stone fort.  Although irregular in shape it approaches a triangle.  Near the centre is a stone mound, about twelve feet high, and in the wall a smaller one.  The fort encloses about forty acres.  Just south of it is a square work, containing about half an acre.


  SHAWNEE is eight miles south of New Lexington, on the Straitsville branch of the B. & O. R. R.  It is one of the greatest coal-mining points in Ohio.


  City officers, 1888: E. W. WILLIAMS, Mayor; D. C. THOMAS, Clerk; C. C. MARSH, Treasurer; John WELCH, Street Commissioner; Thomas M. JONES, Marshal.  Newspaper: Banner, Independent, A. MAYNARD, editor and publisher.


  Population, 1880, 2,770.  School census, 1888, 1,094; C. PIERCE, superintendent of schools.


  NEW STRAITSVILLE is ten miles south of New Lexington, on the Straitsville Division of the C. H. V. & T. R. R.  The largest veins of coal in the State are found here and the daily shipments are very large.  It has seven churches.


  City officers, 1888: Henry SPURRIER, Mayor; John E. EVANS, Clerk; J. L. WEST, Treasurer; John PARK, Street Commissioner; Leonard HARBAUGH, Marshal.  Bank of Straitsville, H. H. TODD, president, C. B. TODD, cashier.  Population, 1880, 2,872.  School census, 1888, 1,152; C. L. WILLIAMS, superintendent of schools.


  A recent visitor writes: “New Straitsville is in the heart of the richest coal-producing district west of Pennsylvania; it is only three miles over the high, steep hills to bustling Shawnee, with its mines and blast furnaces; southward are Gore, Carbon Hill, and finally Nelsonville, all strong mining towns of the Hocking Valley.  A good deal of life is underground.  When a stranger comes to Straitsville and beholds a few houses on half-a-dozen ridges and but two streets of consequence, he is scarcely ready to think that there is a population of nearly three thousand in the town, but if he went into many of the houses he would find them packed with people, and very often one roof shelters half-a-dozen families.


  Straitsville and Shawnee were desperate places during the great strikes that prevailed in HOADLY’s administration.  A good many deeds of violence were planned and executed in this neighborhood.  At times human life was lightly valued, and yesterday a tree was pointed out to me from the limbs of which a man was lynched for shooting an officer during stormy times.


  “These are good, happy and busy days in the Hocking Valley.  The mining region has not been so prosperous for half-a-dozen years.  There is an abundance of work and a steady demand for more coal.  The railroads are working their men night and day and still they can not haul coal away from the mines rapidly enough to meet the current market demands.”


  CORNING is twelve miles southeast of New Lexington, on the T. & O. C. and K. & O. Railroads.  The surrounding country is rich in coal and iron.  It has four churches.


  City officers, 1888: G. W. CARROLL, Mayor; Chas. W. ROOF, Clerk; Dessa DONNELLY, Treasurer; A. T. WINNING, Marshal; John CLIFFORD, Street Commissioner.  Newspaper: Times-Monitor, Independent, Times-Monitor Publishing Company, editors and publishers.  Population, 1880, 2,500 (estimated).


Page 400


  JUNCTION CITY is at the crossing of the B. & O. and C. & M. V. and T. & O. C. Railroads, five miles west of New Lexington.  School census, 1888, 190.


  RENDVILLE is on the T. & O. C. R. R., eleven miles from New Lexington.  Population about 500.  In 1887 Dr. I. S. TUPPINS, born a slave and a graduate of Columbus Medical College, was elected Mayor.  He is said to have been the first of his race elected to such a position in Ohio.


  THORNVILLE is near the eastern end of the Licking Reservoir, on the line of the T. & O. R. R., and has a population of about 500.


  THORNPORT is about two miles north of Thornville, on the B. & O. R. R. and on the Reservoir.  In our old edition is stated:


  “This portion of country was settled about 1810; land was then so cheap in the neighborhood that one BEESACKER purchased twenty acres for an old, black mare; luckily, in laying out the country, two important roads intersected his purchase.  He immediately had it surveyed into town lots, naming it New Lebanon.  An embryo town sprung into existence.  This took place about 1815.  It was afterwards changed to Thornville, from being in the township of Thorn.”



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For more information on Perry County see: The History of Perry County Ohio

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