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PREBLE COUNTY was formed from Montgomery and Butler, March 1, 1808, it was named from Capt. Edward PREBLE, who was born at Portland, Maine, August 15, 1761, and distinguished himself as a naval commander in the war of the Revolution, and particularly in the Tripolitan war, and died on the 25th of August 1806. The soil is various; the southern part is a light rich soil, and is interspersed by numerous streams; the remainder of the county is upland, in places wet, but fertile when brought under cultivation. There is an abundance of water power for milling purposes, and large quantities of flour are manufactured.


Area about 440 square miles. In 1887 the acres cultivated were 186,275; in pasture, 35,426; woodland, 33,294; lying waste, 5,873; produced in wheat, 529,637 bushels; rye, 1,136; buckwheat, 85; oats, 464,627; barley, 13,563; corn, 1,522,636; broom-corn, 17,100 pounds brush meadow hay, 8,814 tons; clover hay, 4,096; flax, 81,500 pounds, fibre; potatoes, 30,830 bushels; tobacco, 1,044,210 pounds; butter, 611,300; cheese, 300; sorghum, 6,668 gallons; maple syrup, 9,169; honey, 11,137 pounds; eggs, 549,135 dozen; grapes, 30,870 pounds; wine, 149 gallons; sweet potatoes, 3,242 bushels; apples, 1,643; peaches, 61; pears, 749; wool, 28,183 pounds; milch cows owned, 5,959. Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888: Limestone, 64,500 tons burned for lime; 3,000 tons burned for fluxing; 23,750 cubic feet of dimension stone; 10,397 cubic yards building stone; 30,000 square feet of flagging; 12,460 square feet of paving; 8,571 lineal feet of curbing; 3,492 cubic yards of ballast or macadam. School census, 1888, 7,139; teachers, 183; miles of railroad track, 75.




And Census





And census















































Population of Preble in 1820 was 10,237; 1830,16,296; 1840,19,481; 1860, 21,820; 1880, 24,533; of whom 19,293 were born in Ohio; 1,042, Indiana; 768, Virginia; 722, Pennsylvania; 322, Kentucky; 87, New York; 478, German Empire; 425, Ireland; 51, British America; 44, England and Wales; 10, France, and 6, Scotland. Census, 1890, 23,421.


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The quarrying of limestone is an important industry in this county. The limestones principally quarried belong to the Niagara group; these in Ohio are very often called cliff limestones, because they stand in the bluffs along the river valleys. The quarries in the vicinity of Eaton turn out a number of grades of stone; suitable for flaggings and copings as well as for fine and rough constructions. It is stated in Orton’s Geological Report, that a stone 10 x 12 feet in superficial dimensions has been taken out and that very much larger stones can be obtained. The Clintonlimestone has not been so extensively quarried, but is very much in demand for chimney backs and has been found especially desirable for those constructions which are exposed to fire or heat.


Old Block House.—On what is known as the Wolf farm, Harrison township, stood one of a series of block houses built and manned by citizen-soldiers in the fall of 1813. Dr. J. W. MILLER, of West Baltimore, has given us the following facts concerning it.


This block-house was built by a party of drafted men, belonging to a company of riflemen which formed a part of the Old Battalion under the command of Major Alexander C. Lanier. This company occupied the block-house during the winter of 1813-14 to protect the settlements on Miller’s Fork.


It was one of a series of block-houses, built and manned by citizen-soldiers, in communication with the settlements and line of forts between Cincinnati and the Lakes. The following is a true copy of a discharge which is in my possession.


I do certify that ______ _______, a sargeant of my company of Ohio Riflemen, in the Old Battalion, under the command of Alexander C. Lanier, has served a regular tour of duty, and is hereby honorably discharged.


Given under my hand this 5th day of April, 1814,                    SIMON PHILLIPS, Capt.


The members of this company have been left out of the roster of Ohio’s soldiers in the war of 1812, as least so far as Ohio’s record is concerned. The LOCKS, HAPNERS, McNULTS and others of Lewisburg, and the TILLMANS, LOYS, RICES, ABBOTS, PHILLIPES,  MYERSES and others on Miller’s Fork, were prominent in the settlements referred to.




A Caboose Ride.—On Tuesday at noon, April 13, I took the caboose at Hamilton, and rode to Eaton, distant some 25 miles. The caboose was at the end of a very long freight train, perhaps a quarter of a mile in length. In the roof of the caboose was a lookout. I took advantage of it, ascended by a few steps, seated myself in a chair on a little platform, when perhaps half of my body was outside and above everything, there being a scuttle-hole in the roof for this purpose.


Our progress was very slow, about 6 or 8 miles an hour, which gave ample opportunity if one passed anything particularly attractive, to fully take it all in; I especially appreciated this as we slowly went by a scattered village, with a quaint-appearing church, with deep red roof, and red roofs here and there upturned to the sky, which showed that the people whose homes I was gazing upon came to Ohio from the Rhineland. The ride was a delight, and also historically interesting, up the gentle valley in which, in the days of the savage and the wilderness, the armies of St. Clair and Wayne had marched—the one to defeat and massacre; the other to victory and peace.


I looked down as from the upper deck of a steamer upon our long train, which was twisting and winding under my eyes, with its little black pony ahead (at least seeming little from its distance from me) sending out its black smoke and doing his work so nicely and honestly, as to fill me with a sense of gratitude for his marvellous performance. If I don’t give the black pony credit, I must those who first thought him out, and then made him to go (the little creatures generally known as human beings), and this without a crack of a whip, nor a quart of oats, but simply with fire, wood and plenty of water, and a strong, brave manly fellow to drive him.


The fields in broad areas were green with the deep verdure of the winter wheat, on which the snow had lain and nurtured, and then the sun came out warm and smiling and it was exhaled to the skies. Thus the bright green wheat, with the black and as yet leafless woods, the scattered white houses of the farmers, and now and then a red one, the windings of the Seven Mile or St. Clair’s Creek, indicated from my lookout by the un-


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dulating course of our train which was going up it, the tall windmills by the farm houses, called wind pumps, because used for supply of water; the gentle undulations of the country largely open to the view, together with the clear overarching sky, were all pleasing, peace-filling objects for my contemplation. I had no cares and so drank to my fill from the varied objects of the changing landscape. Ordinary railroad travelling gives one but a faint idea of the beauties of natural objects, and so I felt favored.


Aunt Sally and her Pet.—In my original visit to Eaton, the landlady at the village tavern was a comical, good-natured creature, whom, if I rightly remember, the young men of the village (who largely boarded with her) addressed as “Aunt Sally.”


In those days the pigs had the liberty of the streets in the small towns; yea, even in Cincinnati they roamed abroad, doing good scavenger work, while sending forth their notes loud and strong.


Whether Aunt Sally was unwedded or wedded I know not, but she evidently felt the want of some object to pet. Woman’s heart has many tendrils and sometimes these fasten queerly; hence Aunt Sally’s especial attentions to a pig, which were gratefully returned, all to the daily amusement of her boarders.


Piggie was not over cleanly, had only one ear some dog having appropriated the other, and once, to my astonished eyes, during my stay, dashed into and through the house with the freedom of one of the family. I was told he had once even appeared in the dining-room. I doubted this; it was altogether too premature. Odd characters in the olden time diversified village life. There are few such anywhere in our time—a great loss in the line of what Barnum might term “moral entertainment.”


At Eaton I was pleased to find my old friend Judge John V. CAMBELL, a large, heavy man of sweet and gentle spirit, who had aided me on my original visit and all through a long life has been doing good. He took me toward evening on a ride in his buggy to the Preble County Children’s Home, about a mile southwest from the town, of which institution he was the principal trustee.


The Judge’s Crust.—In a few minutes after starting my attention was arrested by an old mill and tool shop in ruins on the margin of “Seven Mile Creek” and near an old bridge.


“What a fine picture,” I said,” that would, make if it only had some big, old trees around it.”


“Yes,” replied the Judge, “and I must tell you a story.


When I was a boy about fifteen years old, a missionary, one Sunday morning, preached a charity discourse in our church. His eloquence so moved me that I felt it my duty to contribute. I had a quarter in my pocket. I hated to part with it; it was all the money I had in the world, and money was hard for me to get; but I dropped it in the box all the same. That afternoon I was wandering about that old tool shop, when my eye was attracted by something shiny; stooping down I picked it up; when, rubbing off the dirt, I found it to be half-a-dollar.”


Thus the Judge’s crust cast upon the waters went ahead of the Scripture promise, it being doubly returned, and that too before sundown.


The Children’s Home has about forty children. This place contains about twenty-five acres. The Home building was originally a hotel, a health resort called St. Clair’s Springs. Here are several flowing mineral springs, said to be good for many diseases. It is on the line of St. Ciair’s Military Trace, and near the site of old Fort St. Clair. There are six springs at the Home and more can be made anywhere there by driving gas pipes down a few feet.


These Children’s Homes are one of the most commendable features of the State. They originated in Washington county, under which heading is given a sketch and portrait of Mrs. EWING, the noble woman who originated them.


As we drove out to the gate to leave, a little midget in the form of a four-year-old boy stood in waiting. He looked up at the Judge with a reverential air, thumb in mouth, “Well, Tommy,” asked the Judge, “what do you want?”


Some new shoes,” timidly replied he. We looked down at his feet; he seemed well, but coarsely shod, the toes well protected with shining, metallic tips.


“You shall have a new pair soon, Tommy,” rejoined the Judge. Then as we drove along he told me this incident:


“A group of the children were chatting among themselves about their mothers, saying how much they would like to have visits from their mothers, when one little fellow, who had been silent, added, ‘I don’t care’ ever to see my mother no more, since she has forsaken me and left me alone in this place.’ “


About a year after this ride with me, the Judge illustrated in his history the text that points to the finale for each of us in turn, “We have here no continuing city.”


Eaton in 1846.—Eaton, the county-seat, is twenty-four miles west of Dayton, ninety-four west of Columbus, and nine east of the State line. It was laid out in 1806 by William BRUCE, then proprietor of the soil. It was named from Gen. William Eaton, who was born in Woodstock, Ct., in 1764, served in the war of the revolution, was graduated at Dartmouth in 1790, was appointed a captain under Wayne, in 1792, also consul at Tunis in 1798; in April, 1804, he was appointed navy agent of the United States with the Barbary powers, to co-operate


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with Hamet, bashaw, in the war against Tripoli, in which he evinced great energy of character: he died in 1811. He was brave, patriotic and generous.


The turnpike from Dayton west leads through Eaton, and one also connects the place with Hamilton. The village contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist and 1 Public church, 1 book, 2 grocery and 4 dry-goods stores, 1 or 2 newspaper printing offices, 1 woollen factory, 1 saw mill and about 1,000 inhabitants. Near the town is an overflowing well of strong sulphur water, possessing medicinal properties. About two miles south is Halderman’s quarry, from which is obtained a beautiful grey clouded stone: at the village is a limestone quarry, and the county abounds in fine building stone.—Old Edition.


Among the earlier settlers of the town were: Samuel HAWKINS, Cornelius VANASUSDAL, David E. HENDRICKS, Alexander Mitchell, Alexander C. LANIER and Paul LARSH. Cornelius VANAUSDAL kept the first store and David E. HENDERICKS the first tavern.


EATON, county-seat of Preble, is fifty-three miles north of Cincinnati, on the C. R. & C. R. R. It is the centre of a great tobacco and grain-growing section. Cigar manufacturing is a large industry.


County officers, 1888: Auditor, Hiram L. ROBBINS; Clerk, Leander D. LESH; Commissioners, William MILLS, John C. RINER, Werter D. PUGH; Coroner, Philip M. SMALL; Infirmary Directors, Frank RIDENOUR, Nathaniel B. STEPHENS, Joseph W. COFFMAN; Probate Judge, William A. NEAL; Prosecuting Attorney, John RISINGER; Recorder, Peter S. EIKENBERRY; Sheriff, William ATTERS; Surveyor, Robert E. LOWRY; Treasurer, Silas LAIRD. City officers, 1888: W. B. MARSH, Mayor; J. N. SLIVER, Clerk; Geo. W. NELSON, Treasurer; Court Marshal. Newspapers: Democrat, Democratic, L. G. GOULD, editor and publisher; Register, Republican, W. F. ALBRIGHT & Sons, editors and publishers. Churches: 1 Lutheran, 2 Methodist, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Catholic, 1 Baptist, and 1 Disciples. Banks: Farmers’ and Citizens’, Abner DUNLAP, president, C. F. BROOKE, Jr., cashier; Preble County, H. C. Hiestand & Co.


Manufactures and Employees.—F. P. Filbert, cigars, 35 hands; Coovert & Cooper, cigars, 29; G. A. & J. F. Lugar, builders’ wood-work, 11; Frank Rhinehart, builders’ wood-work, 4; H. Sanders, flour, etc., 3; W. F. Jones, cigars, 13; Straw Bros., cigar boxes, 5.—State Report, 1887.


Population in 1880, 2,143. School census, 1888, 730; J. P. SHARKEY, school superintendent. Capital invested in industrial establishments, $51,000. Value of annual product, $100,000.—0hio Labor Statistics, 1887. Census, 1890, 2,996.


“At Eaton are mineral springs and flowing wells,” writes Dr. F. M. Michael. “Artesian Wells are obtained in the north part of the town by boring thirty or thirty-five feet in the earth. The waters are strongly impregnated with iron, bicarbonate of sodium, potassium, with traces of lithium; very little lime salts enter into the composition; in fact, the water is much softer than the surface wells.


“One of these wells has been flowing for many years. Several new wells have been flowing for eight years; the water rises several feet above the ground.


“A well at the court-house, over one hundred feet in depth, affords white sulphur waters. Has been in use many years for its medicinal qualities.”


Eaton is a healthy town, but in 1849 few places in the State suffered so severely from Asiatic Cholera; about one hundred and twenty deaths in the course of the summer out of a population of about six hundred who remained behind, while of the other half of the population who fled, not one died.


The first male person born in this country was Col. George D. HENDRICKS. This was on the site of Camden, October 3, 1805.  He had a varied experience; was a soldier under Sam Houston, in the war between Texas and Mexico, and then returned and settled at Eaton, where he became a most useful citizen; served in the Legislature; was County Auditor, County Sheriff and Village Postmaster.  This child of the wilderness remembered  many interesting things.


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Top Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.



Bottom Picture

C. C. Harlan, Photo., Eaton, 18890.





This was an animal that roamed through the woods when he was a boy. This historic ox was a noble animal, with large and stately horns of a dark brindle color, and a grand type of the bovine race, whom the first settlers found hereon their arrival. It was supposed he had strayed from Wayne’s army on his march into the Indian country. They caught him and reduced him to their service. When a boy Hendricks rode “One-Eyed” to mill on several occasions, and his father harnessed him and employed him to haul logs in the clearing. He was quite celebrated among the early settlers and lived for several years among them as common property, and when he died they largely turned out to his funeral and buried him in honor on Garrison Branch.




Another of Mr. Hendrick’s experiences was the wearing a nettle shirt. Nettles were found wild in the woods, and before they could break up the country and grow flag for linen, the settlers resorted to it as a material for underclothing. This shirt so irritated his back, he was frequently compelled to lean against the trees and rub it to allay the irritation. Scott, in his History of Fairfield County, says :


The pioneers in some parts manufactured fine linen from the fibre of wild nettles, but it was not known to all even of them. It grew in great abundance in some sections and always on the low and richest soil. It resembled boneset or ague weed, and grew about four feet in height. Its fibre was fine as the finest flag and was treated in the same way, by rotting, breaking, scutching and spinning; but unlike flag, it was mowed down and not pulled up by the root. The nettle has entirely disappeared from the country and is never seen except in remote and wild spots. It has on its stem a prickly beard that, upon touching with the hands, inserts itself into the skin, producing a most intolerable itching, almost unendurable; hence, everybody soon learned to go round ‘the nettle patch.’ ”




A year or two before the war of 1812, two little girls were stolen from Harrison township by Indians. One was named THARP and the other HARPER. The incidents connected with this affair were related by Mr. G. D. HENDRICKS, January 18, 1885, at which time he was a resident of Hiawatha, Kansas.


Mr. Harper Finds His Child.—When the children were first missed, they were supposed to. be lost; but their captivity was assured by the discovery of Indian tracks. All efforts to find their whereabouts were of no avail, until many years after the close of the war, when Mr. HARPER learned from an Indian that a white woman was at Kaskaskia, Illinois, whence the father sought and found his long-lost child, but so changed by time and association that she was past recognition. But through the kind offices of a French interpreter, it became self-evident as to her identity. Notwithstanding this, she seemed unable to realize that she was other than one of the tribe, and refused to converse with her father, or return with him to civilization.


Wife of an Indian Chief.—Years rolled on without any tidings of the daughter of Mr. THARP, until about the year 1837 or 1838, when he received word from a friend and Indian trader, that the wife of an Indian chief, named CAPTAIN DIXON, was a white woman. DIXON was a younger brother of the Miami chief SHINGLEMACY, whose Indian name was METO-SINA. This tribe were on their Reservation, a few miles below where Marion, Grant county, Indiana, is located. The fond father sped his way to the vicinity of the village, and called on my brother, William E. HENDRICK, who had a traditional knowledge of the abduction of the THARP and HARPER children. As his farm was adjoining the Reservation, and he knew personally CAPTAIN DIXON and the tribe generally, the meeting of father and daughter was at my brother’s house.


Refused to Leave.—The result of the conference was disheartening to the father; for this child of misfortune persistently refused to leave her Indian home, arguing that with the whites she would be an object of sport or ridicule, on account of her Indian habits and training, and was too old to learn the habits and customs of civilized life; and in fact, she had but a faint recollection of her childhood home and kindred. The meeting and parting, as described by my nephew, were heartrending to the bereaved father; and the more so, because of the cold indifference of his alienated daughter, who, in a few years after, committed suicide, by drowning, at “Hog-back,” “in the Mississinewa, four miles below the village, because her liege lord returned home from a drunken spree with another wife. CAPTAIN DIXON, though a fair scholar, and speaking good English, was a drunken desperado, as were two of his brothers, who were killed at an Indian pow-wow, by a Pottawatomie brave; his oldest brother, METO-SINA, was temperate.




When the county of Preble was organized there was not a store in the county. The necessity for one induced Cornelius VANAUSDAL, a young man of 25, to leave his father’s


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farm and start the enterprise at Eaton. He and his store soon became known throughout the surrounding country, and his venture proved a profitable one. Started in 1808, he conducted it either alone or in partnership with others until 1863. Among his familiar acquaintances were TECUMSEH, his brother the PROPHET, HONEST JOHN, INDIAN JOHN, and others.


It is related of Indian John, that he brought furs to the store to swap for salt. The old-fashioned steelyards with long and short, or light and heavy slides, were used in weighing the articles involved in the trade. John had never seen steelyards before, and watched the weighing closely. The light side was used in weighing the furs. W hen the salt was to be weighed the steelyards were turned over so as to use the heavy side. John watched this operation with suspicion, and when he saw the yard fly up when the pea was not so far from the fulcrum as when his furs were weighed, he was convinced that there was something wrong, and seizing the steelyards with an exclamation pronouncing them a lie, ran to the door and threw them as far as he could into the weeds and brush. Mr. VANAUSDAL, in his dealings with Indians, would never give them credit, although he freely trusted white men. Mr. VANAUSDAL was born in Virginia, October 2, 1783; in 1805 came with his father to what is now Lanier township, Preble county. In 1810 he took the first census of Preble county. During the war of 1812, he was assistant paymaster in the United States army, and engaged in furnishing supplies to the army operating between the Ohio river and Lake Erie. In 1819 he represented Preble county in the Legislature. His death occurred in 1870.


About a mile west of Eaton is the site of Fort St. Clair, erected in the severe winter of 1791-2. At this time Fort Jefferson was the farthest-advanced post, being forty-four miles from Fort Hamilton. This spot was chosen. as a place of security, and to guard the communication between them. Gen. Wilkinson sent Major John S. Gano, belonging to the militia of the Territory, with a party to build the work. Gen. Harrison, then an ensign, commanded a guard every other night for about three weeks, during the building of the fort. They had neither fire nor covering of any kind, and suffered much from the intense cold. It was a stockade, and had about twenty acres cleared around it. The outline can yet be distinctly traced.


On the 6th of November, 1792, a severe battle was fought almost under cover of the guns of Fort St. Clair, between a corps of riflemen and a body of Indians. Judge Joel COLLINS, of Oxford, who was in the action, gives the following facts respecting it in a letter to James McBRIDE, dated June 20, 1843:


Indians Led by Little Turtle.—The parties engaged were a band of 250 Mingo and Wyandot warriors, under the command of the celebrated chief LITTLE TURTLE, and an escort of 100 mounted riflemen of the Kentucky militia, commanded by Capt. John Adair, subsequently governor of Kentucky. These men had been called out to escort a brigade of pack-horses, under an order from Gen. Wilkinson. They could then make a trip from Fort Washington, past Fort St. Clair, to Fort Jefferson, and return in six days, encamping each night under the walls of one of the military posts for protection. The Indians being elated by the check they had given our army the previous year, in defeating St. Clair, determined to make a descent upon a settlement then forming at Columbia, at the mouth of the Little Miami. Some time in September 250 warriors struck the war pole, and took up their line of march. Fortunately for the infant settlement, in passing Fort Hamilton they discovered a fatigue party, with a small guard, chopping firewood, east of the fort. While the men were gone to dinner the Indians formed an ambuscade, and on their return captured two of the men. The prisoners informed the Indians that on the morning previous-which must have been on Friday—a brigade of some fifty or 100 pack-horses, loaded with supplies for the two military posts in advance, had left Fort Hamilton, escorted by a company of riflemen, mounted on fine horses, and that if they made their trip in the usual time, they would be at Fort Hamilton, on their return, Monday night.


Ambuscade.—Upon this information, Little Turtle abandoned his design of breaking~ up the settlement above Cincinnati, and fell back some twelve or fifteen miles, with a view of intercepting the brigade on its return. He formed an ambuscade on the trace, at a well-selected position, which he occupied through the day that he expected the return of the escort. But as Capt. Adair arrived at Fort Jefferson on Saturday night, he permitted his men and horses to rest themselves over Sunday, and thus escaped the ambuscade. On Monday night, when on their return, they encamped within a short distance of Fort St. Clair. The judge says:


“The chief of the band of Indians being informed of our position by his runners, concluded that by a night attack he could drive us out of our encampment. Accordingly, he left his ambush and a short time before daybreak, on Tuesday morning, the Indians, by a discharge of rifles and raising the hideous yells for which they were distinguished, made


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a simultaneous attack on three aides of the encampment, leaving that open next to the fort. The horses became frightened, and numbers of them broke from their fastenings. The camp, in consequence of this, being thrown into some confusion, Capt. Adair retired with his men and formed them in three divisions, just beyond the shine of the fires, on the aide next the fort; and while the enemy were endeavoring to secure the horses and plunder the camp—which seemed to be their main object—they were in turn attacked by us, on their right, by the captain and his division; on the left by Lieut. George MADISON, and in the centre by Lieut. Job HALE, with their respective divisions. The enemy, however, were sufficiently strong to detail a fighting party, double our numbers, to protect those plundering the camp and driving off the horses, and as we had left the side from the fort open to them they soon began to move off, taking all with them.


“Close Fighting.—As soon as the day-dawn afforded light sufficient to distinguish a white man from an Indian, there ensued some pretty sharp fighting, so close in some instances as to bring in use the war-club and tomahawk. Here Lieut. Hale was killed and Lieut. Madison wounded. As soon as the Indians retreated the white men hung on their rear but when we pressed them too close, they would turn and drive us back. In this way a kind of running fight was kept up until after sun-rising, when we lost sight of the enemy and nearly all our horses, somewhere about where the town of Eaton now stands. On returning from the pursuit our, camp presented rather a discouraging appearance. Not more than six or eight horses were saved; some twenty or thirty lay dead on the ground. The loss of the enemy remains unknown; the bodies of two Indians were found among the dead horses. We gathered up our wounded, six in number, took them to the fort, where a room was assigned them as a hospital, and their wounds dressed by Surgeon Boyd of the regular army. The wound of one man John JAMES, consisted of little more than the loss of his scalp. It appeared from his statement that in the heat of the action he received a blow on the side of his head with a war-club, which stunned so as to barely knock him down, when two or three Indians fell to skinning his head, and in a very short time took from him an unusually large scalp, and in the hurry of the operation a piece of one of his ears. He recovered, and I understood some years afterwards that he was then living.


Another of the wounded, Luke VORES, was a few years since living in Preble county.


“Melancholy Duty.—By sunset on the day of the action we had some kind of rough coffins prepared for the slain. For the satisfaction of surviving friends I will name them, and state that in one grave, some fifty paces west of the site of Fort St. Clair; are the remains of Lieut. Job HALE; next to him, on his left, we laid our orderly sergeant, Matthew ENGLISH; then followed the four privates, Robert BOWLING, Joseph CLINTON, Isaac JETT and John WILLIAMS. Dejection and even sorrow hung on the countenances of every member of the escort as we stood around or assisted in the interment of these our fellow-comrades. Hale was a noble and brave man, fascinating in his appearance and deportment as an officer. It was dusk in the evening before we completed the performance of this melancholy duty. What a change ! The evening before nothing within the encampment was to be seen or heard but life and animation. Of those not on duty, some were measuring their strength and dexterity at athletic exercises; some nursing, rubbing and feeding their horses; others cooking, etc. But look at us now, and behold he ways, chances and uncertainties of war. I saw and felt the contrast then, and feel it still, but am unable further to describe it here!”


Between the site of Fort St. Clair and Eaton is the village graveyard. This cemetery is adorned with several beautiful monuments. Among them is one to the memory of Fergus HOLDERMAN, who died in 1838. Upon it are some exquisitely beautiful devices, carved by “the lamented CLEVENGER,” which are among his first attempts at sculpture. The principal object of attraction, however, is the monument to the memory of Lieut. LOWRY and others who fell with him in an engagement with a party of Indians commanded by LITTLE TURTLE, at Ludlow’s Spring, near the Forty-foot Pitch, in this county, on the 17th of October, 1793. This monument has recently been constructed by La Dow & Hamilton, of Dayton, at an expense of about $300, contributed by public-spirited individuals of this vicinity. It is composed of the elegant Rutland marble, is about twelve feet in height, and stands upon one of those small artificial mounds common in this region. The view was taken from the east, beyond which, in the extreme distance, in the forest on the left, is the site of Fort St. Clair. This Lieut. LOWRY was a brave man. His last words were: “My brave boys, all you that can fight, now display your activity and let your balls fly!” The slain in the engagement were buried at the fort. On the 4th of July, 1822, the remains of LOWRY were taken up and reinterred with the honors of war in this


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graveyard, twelve military officers acting as pall-bearers, followed by the orator, chaplain and physicians, under whose direction the removal was made, with a large concourse of citizens and two military companies. The remains of the slain commander and soldiers have been recently removed to the mound, which, with the monument, will mark their resting-place, and be a memento of their glory for ages to come.”


E. D. Mansfield, in his Personal Memoirs, published by Robert Clarke & Co., in 1879, speaks of meeting LITTLE TURTLE at his father’s house, then Ludlow’s Station, now Cumminsville, Cincinnati.


One day a dark man, with swarthy countenance, riding a very fine horse, dismounted at our house and went into my father’s office. I wanted to go in and see him, but for some reason or other was not allowed to. After some time—it was in the forenoon, I think—I saw him come out, mount his horse and ride rapidly away. I was struck by the man, and asked, “Who is that, Ma?” She said it was “LITTLE TURTLE,” the great Indian chief.


The last Indian Confederacy had been founded by Brandt, but the figure which stands out on the historical canvas in bold relief is that of MECHE CUNNAQUA, the LITTLE TURTLE, chief of the Miamis. This most acute and sagacious of Indian statesmen, was, it is said, even a polished gentleman. He had wit, humor and intelligence.


Thirty years after the treaty of Greenville he die at Fort Wayne, of the gout (!), which would seem a marvellous fact, did we not remember that the LITTLE TURTLE was a high liver and a gentleman; equally remarkable was it that his body was borne to the grave with the highest honors by his great enemy, the white man.


The muffled drum, the funeral salute, announced that a great soldier had fallen, and even enemies paid their mournful tribute to his memory. The sun of Indian glory set with him; and the clouds and shadows, which for two hundred years had gathered around their destiny, now closed in the starless night of death.


We give a letter narrating an account of this action, written by Gen. Wayne to the Secretary of War, and dated “Camp, southwest branch of the Miami, six miles advanced of Fort Jefferson, October 23, 1793.”


The greatest difficulty which at present presents, is that of furnishing a sufficient escort to secure our convoy of provisions and other supplies from insult and disaster, and at the same time retain a sufficient force in camp to sustain and repel the attacks of the enemy, who appear desperate and determined. We have recently experienced a little check to our convoys, which may probably be exaggerated into something serious by the tongue of fame, before this reaches you. The following, however, is the fact, viz.: Lieut. LOWRY, of the 2d sub-legion, and Ensign BOYD, of the lst, with a command consisting of ninety non-commissioned officers and privates, having in charge twenty wagons belonging to the Quartermaster-General’s department, loaded with grain, and one of the contractor’s [wagons], loaded with stores, were attacked early on the morning of the 17th inst., about seven miles advanced of-Fort St. Clair, by a party of Indians. Those gallant young gentlemen—who promised at a future day to be ornaments to their profession—together with thirteen non-commissioned officers and privates, bravely fell, after an obstinate resistance against superior numbers, being abandoned by the greater part of the escort upon the first discharge. The savages killed or carried off about seventy horses leaving the wagons and stores stand­ing in the road, which have all been brought to this camp without any other loss or damage, except some trifling articles.


LITTLE TURTLE, who name has been mentioned in the preceding pages, was a distinguished chief and counsellor of the Miamis, by whom he was called Meshekenoghqua. He commanded the Indians at St. Clair’s defeat. We annex a sketch of him from Drake’s Indian Biography.


A Chief who Never Sleeps.—It has been generally said, that had the advice of this chief been taken at the disastrous fight afterwards with General Wayne, there is but little doubt but he had met as ill-success as General St. Clair. He was not for fighting General Wayne at Preaque Isle, and inclined rather to peace than fighting him at all. In a council held the night before the battle, he argued as follows: “We have beaten the enemy twice, under separate commanders. We cannot expect the same good fortune always to attend us. The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps; the night and the day are alike to him. And during all the time that he has been marching upon


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our villages, notwithstanding the watchful­ness of our young men, we have never been able to surprise him. Think well of it. There is something whispers me, it would be prudent to listen to his offers of peace.” For using this language he was reproached by another chief with cowardice, which put an end to all further discourse. Nothing wounds the feelings of a warrior like the re­proach of cowardice, but he stifled his resentment, did his duty in the battle, and its issue proved him a truer prophet than his accuser believed.


A Wise and Humane Indian Chief.—LITTLE TURTLE lived some years after the war in great esteem among men of high standing. He was alike courageous and humane, possessing great wisdom. “And” says Schoolcraft, ‘there have been few individuals among aborigines who have done so much to abolish the rites of human sacrifice. The grave of this noted warrior is shown to visitors, near Fort Wayne. It is frequently visited by the Indians in that part of the country, by whom his memory is cherished with the greatest respect and veneration.”


When the philosopher and famous traveller, Volney, was in America, in the winter of 1797, LITTLE TURTLE came to Philadelphia, where he then was, and he sought immediate acquaintance with the celebrated chief, for highly valuable purposes, which in some measure he effected. He made a vocabulary of his language, which he printed in the appendix to his travels. A copy in manuscript, more extensive than the printed one, is in the library of the Philosophical Society of Pennsylvania.


Having become convinced that all resistance to the whites was vain, he brought his nation to consent to peace and to adopt agricultural pursuits. And it was with the view of soliciting Congress and the benevolent Society of Friends for assistance to effect this latter purpose that he now visited Philadelphia. While here he was inoculated for the small pox, and was afflicted with the gout and rheumatism.


Indians Descendants of Tartars.—At the time of Mr. Volney’s interview with him for information, he took no notice of the conversation while the interpreter was communicating with Mr. Volney, for he did not understand English, but walked about, plucking out his beard and eye-brows. He was dressed now in English clothes. His skin, where not exposed, Mr. Volney says, was as white as his; and on speaking upon the subject, LITTLE TURLE said: “I have seen Spaniards in Louisiana, and found no difference of color between them and me. And why should there be any? In them, as in us, it is the work of the father of colors, the sun that burns us. You white people compare the color of your face with that of your bodies.” Mr. Volney explained to him the notion of many, that his race was descended from the Tartars, and by a map showed him the supposed communication between Asia and America. To this LITTLE TURTLE replied: “Why should not these Tartars, who resemble us, have come from America?  Are there any reasons to the contrary? Or why should we not both have been in our own country?” It is a fact that the Indians give themselves a name which is equivalent to our word indiqine, that is, one sprung from the soil, or natural to it.


An Indian out of Place.—When Mr. Volney asked LITTLE TURTLE what prevented him from living among the whites, and if he were not more comfortable in Philadelphia than upon the banks of the Wabash, he said: “Taking all things together you have the advantage over us; but here I am deaf and dumb. I do not talk your language; I can neither hear, nor make myself heard. When I walk through the streets I see every person in his shop employed about something: one makes shoes, another hats, a third sells cloth, and every one lives by his labor.I say to myself, Which of all these things can you do? Not one. I can make a bow or an arrow, catch fish, kill game, and go to war; but none of these is of any use here. To learn what is done here would require a long time. Old age comes on. I should be a useless piece of furniture, useless to my nation, useless to the whites, and useless to myself. I must return to my own country.”


Col. John Johnston has given in his “Recollections,” published in Cist’s Advertiser, some anecdotes of Little Turtle.


A Companionable Indian.—LITTLE TURTLE was a man of great wit, humor and vivacity, fond of the company of gentlemen, and delighted in good eating. When I knew him he had two wives living with him under the same roof in the greatest harmony; one, an old woman, about his own age—fifty—the choice of his youth, who performed the drudgery of the house; the other, a young and beautiful creature of eighteen, who was his favorite; yet it was never discovered by any one that the least unkind feeling existed between them. This distinguished chief died at Fort Wayne, about twenty-five years ago, of a confirmed case of the gout, brought on by high living, and was buried with military honors by the troops of the United States. The LITTLE TURTLE used to entertain us with many of his war adventures, and would laugh immoderately at the recital of the following:


A Tricky Prisoner.—A white man, a prisoner of many years in the tribe, had often solicited permission to go on a war party to Kentucky, and had been refused. It never was the practice with the Indians to ask or encourage white prisoners among them to go to war against their countrymen. This man,


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however, had so far acquired the confidence of the Indians, and being very importunate to go to war, the TURTLE at last consented, and took him on an expedition into Kentucky. As was their practice they had reconnoitred during the day, and had fixed on a house, recently built and occupied, as the object to be attacked neat morning a little before the dawn of day. The house was surrounded by a clearing, there being much brush and fallen timber on the ground. At the appointed time, the Indians, with the white man, began to move to the attack. At all such times no talking or noise is to be made. They crawl along the ground on hands and feet; all is done by signs from the leader. The white man all the time was striving to be foremost, the Indians beckoning him to keep back. In spite of all their efforts he would keep foremost, and having at length got within running distance of the house, he jumped to his feet and went with all his speed, shouting at the top of his voice, Indians ! Indians ! The TURTLE and his party had to make a precipitate retreat, losing forever their white companion and disappointed in their fancied conquest of the unsuspecting victims of the log cabin. From that day forth this chief would never trust a white man to accompany him again to war.


Kosciusko and Little Turtle.—During the presidency of Washington the LITTLE TURTLE visited that great and just man at Philadelphia, and during his whole life after often spoke of the pleasure which that visit afforded him. KOSCIUAKO, the Polish chief, was at the time in Philadelphia confined by sickness to his lodgings, and hearing of the Indians being in the city, he sent for them, and after an interview of some length, he had his favorite brace of pistols brought forth, and addressing the chief, Turtle, said—I have carried and used these in many a hard-fought battle, in defence of the oppressed, the weak and the wronged of my own race, and I now present them to you with this injunction, that with them you shoot dead the first man that ever comes to subjugate you or despoil you of your country. These pistols were of the best quality and finest manufacture, silver mounted, with gold touch-holes.



On entering the Old Mound Cemetery, at Eaton, I was surprised to find there the monument to my old friend, Father FINLEY. I had not until then known the spot of his burial. To copy the inscription was a labor of love. On the north side it was: “Rev. Jas. B. FINLEY, died September 6, 1857, aged 76 years, 1 month and 20 days;” on the south side,” To the memory of Hannah, his wife, born in 1783; died in 1861.”On the west side is an open Bible with the words: “There is rest in Heaven.” The monument is a single shaft mounted on a pedestal and about twelve feet in height., The young of this generation may ask, “Who was Father FINLEY? “We reply,” One of the greatest of the itinerant Methodist ministers.” He began his itinerant ministry in 1809, when 28 years of age. The scene of his labors was the then wilderness of eastern and northern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and western New York; and during his over forty years of service he personally received 5,000 members into the service of the Methodist Episcopal church. Daniels, in his “History of Methodism,” thus sums up his life-work: “Finley was eight times elected a member of the General Conference. He also served three years as chaplain of the Ohio Penitentiary. He was a man of great energy of character, of burning zeal, a powerful preacher, a popular manager of camp meetings and other great assemblies, at which, by the power of his eloquence as well as his tact and knowledge of human nature, he swayed the masses, and calmed the rage of mobs and ruffians.


“To his other labors he added, from his own experiences, those of an author. ‘An Account of the Wyandot Mission,’ ‘Sketches of Western Methodism,’ ‘Life Among the Indians,’ ‘Memorials of Prison Life,’ and his own ‘Biography,’—book abounding in wild adventure, hair-breadth escapes, backwoods wanderings, and such other wild experiences as appertained to the Western itinerants of that day.”


I said Father FINLEY was an old friend. Yes, I was in prison and he comforted me. In 1846 he was chaplain of the Ohio Penitentiary, when he took me under his wing. I had arrived with a severe cold, and he cured me after the manner of the Wyandots, those simple people of the woods, among whom he had lived, prayed and sung. He brought out a heavy buffalo robe, and spreading it.


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Top Picture


Indian Missionary and Itinerant.


Bottom Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.


In the Mound Cemetery, Eaton.


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before the fire of his room, I laid on my back and toasted my feet for about two days; thus the cure was effected, and so well that scarcely a single other has since invaded my premises. Those two days with the hunter were a rare social treat.


Wrote Donn Piatt: “A mean sinner makes a mean saint;” this was more than forty years ago, but Donn never put in any claim for it as an original discovery. Father FINLEY was formed on a generous scale, and when he threw that strong, sympathetic spirit of his into the service of Christianity, there was enough of him to make one of the biggest sort of Christians. He was short, but strongly built, with a heavy, sonorous voice that went to the utmost verge of many a camp-meeting, stirring the emotions of multitudes to their inmost depths. He was frank, simple as a child, outspoken, fearless in denunciation of wrong, and when rowdies disturbed any meeting where he was, he was quick and effective in muscular demonstrations.


His autobiography is a valuable contribution to the knowledge of Western life in the beginning of this century, and gives an experience nowhere else so well told. From it we derive the following:


The FINLEYS were Presbyterians of Pennsylvania. James’ father, Robert W. FINLEY, was graduated at Princeton, studied for the ministry, and then sent as a missionary into the settlements of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, preaching and planting churches in destitute places. Here he married Miss Rebecca BRADLEY, whose father had lately removed from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and the year after, in 1781, James was born at his father’s home in North Carolina.


Horrors of Civil War.—James was cradled and reared in war until well advanced in life. At the time of his birth the horrors of civil war raged with great fury; neighbor was massacred by neighbor. The Tories urged by the British, tried to exterminate the Whigs. All of his mother’s brothers, says FINLEY, were killed in this deadly strife. One fell at Gates’ defeat; another was murdered by four Tories near his own door—was shot with his own rifle; another died on a prison ship. His father and congregation were waylaid and shot at on their way to church; one member was killed by a shot through a window of his house while at prayer. His father received a ball through the clothes of his breast, just as he stepped out of his own door.


A Tory Major of the neighborhood by stratagem collected all the wives of the Whigs in one house, and hanged them by the neck until almost dead, in the vain attempt to extort from them the places of their husbands’ concealment. At the close of the war he returned to the neighborhood, when their sons took him out one night to a swamp, and gave him twenty lashes for each of their mothers whom he had hanged. Then they tarred and feathered him, ducked him in the swamp and threatened if he did not leave the country in a month they would draw every drop of Tory blood out of his body.


Kentucky Experiences.—In 1786 the FINLEY family removed to the Redstone country, near the headwaters of the Potomac, Virginia, where his father preached for two years; but Kentucky was the land of promise, and in the fall of 1788 they embarked with a party of others on the Ohio, and arrived at Maysville, when Mr. FINLEY removed his family to Washington, Ky., for the winter. James was then a lad of 7 years, and saw for the first time that great adventurer. Simon Kenton, a child of Providence, raised for the protection of the scattered families in the wilderness.”


That winter the Indians made great depredations and stole almost all the horses, so that the farmers were scarcely able to carry on their business. It was only a few years before that Kenton, going in pursuit with a party, was taken prisoner, and but for the intervention of Simon Girty, would have been burned at the stake.


The Finleys Help to Found Chillicothe.—The depredations of the Indians were so great that the family again removed, and to Cane Ridge, in Bourbon county. Mr. Finley bought part of an unbroken canebrake, cleared it, and opened up a farm, which he cultivated with the work of his slaves. He preached to two congregations—Cane Ridge and Concord—and started a high-school, the first of the kind in Kentucky, in which the dead languages were taught. Several of his pupils became Presbyterian ministers. In the spring of 1796 Mr. FINLEY emigrated with a large part of his two congregations to the Scioto valley, and was a great factor in laying the foundations of Chillicothe (see Ross County), and James was thenceforth “ an Ohio boy.” He says in his early days they had to depend for their daily living upon the hunters and what they could kill themselves of the wild game. This gave him an early love for the chase, so that before the age of 16 he had almost become an Indian in his habits and feelings.


In his father’s academy he had studied the Greek, Latin and mathematics, and finally, by his request, studied medicine, and in the fall of 1800 took his degree, but with no design to practise it. “My recreations,” said he, “were with the gun in the woods, and I passed several months in the forest


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surveying Congress lands for Thomas Worth­ington, afterwards Governor of the State. “






 Having passed the winter of 1800-1801 in hunting, he was so enamored with its peaceful enjoyments that he resolved on adopting a hunter’s life, and by the adviee of his mother chose a wife suited to that mode of living. The happy woman was Hannah STANE, and she proved a prize in that perilous venture which may rum or save a man—marriage ! “On the 3d day of March 1801,” he says, “I was accordingly married.”  How Not on he thus relates:


My father having bought the land in what is now Highland county, I resolved to move and take possession. This section of the country was then a dense wilderness, with only here and there a human” habitation. My father-in-law, being dissatisfied with his daughter’s choice, did not even allow her to take her clothes, so we started out without any patrimony, on our simple matrimonial stock, to make our fortune in the woods.


Builds a Cabin.—With the aid of my brother John I built a cabin in the forest, my nearest neighbor being three miles off. Into this we moved without horse or cow, bed or bedding, bag or baggage. We gathered up leaves and dried them in the sun; then, picking out all the sticks, we put them into a bed-tick. For a bedstead, we drove forks into the ground, and laid sticks across, over which we placed elm bark. On this we placed our bed of leaves and had comfortable lodging.


The next thing was to procure something to eat. Of meat we had an abundance, supplied by my rifle, but we wanted some bread flied and split one hundred rails for a bushel of potatoes, which I carried home on my back, a distance of six miles.  At the same place I worked a day for a hen and three chickens, which I put into my hunting shirt-bosom and carried home as a great prize. Our cabin was covered with bark, and lined and floored with the same material. One end of the cabin was left open for a fireplace. In this we lived comfortably all summer. Having no horse or plough, I went into a plum bottom near the house, and, with my age, grubbed and cleared off an acre and a half, in which I dug holes with my hoe, and planted my corn without any fence around it.


I cultivated this patch as well as I could with my hoe, and Providence blessed my labor with a good crop of over one hundred bushels. Besides, during the summer, with the help of my wife, I put up a neat cabin, and finished it for our winter’s lodgings. For the purpose of making the cabin warm, I put my corn in the loft, and now, if we could not get bread, we had always, as a good substitute, plenty of hominy. We had also plenty of bear meat and venison, and no couple on earth lived happier or more contented. Our Indian friends often called and stayed all night, and I paid them, in return, occasional visits.


During the season several families settled in the neighborhood, and, when we were together, we enjoyed life without gossip and those often fatal bickerings and backbitings which destroy the peace ace of whole communities. Though we had but little, our wants were few, and we enjoyed our simple and homely possessions with a relish the purse-proud aristocrat never enjoyed. A generous hospitality characterized every neighbor, and what we had we divided to the last with each other. When any one wanted help all were ready to aid. I spent the greater part of the winter in hunting and laying up a store of provisions for the summer, so that I might give my undivided attention to farming. As we had no stock to kill, and could not conveniently raise hogs; on account of the wild animals, which would carry them off, we were obliged to depend upon the product of the woods. As the bear was the most valuable, we always hunted for this animal. This fall there was a good mast, and bears were so plentiful that it was not necessary to go from home to hunt them. About Christmas we made our turkey-hunt. At that season of the year they are very fat, and we killed them in great abundance. To preserve them, we cleaned them, cut them in two, and after salting them in troughs, we hung them up to dry. They served a valuable purpose to cook, in the spring and summer, with our bear, bacon, and venison hams. Being dry, we would stew them in bear’s oil, and they answered a good substitute for bread, which, in those days, was hard to be obtained, the nearest mill being thirty miles distant. Another great difficulty was to procure salt, which sold enormously high—at the rate of four dollars for fifty pounds. In backwoods currency, it would require four buckskins, or a large bear skin, or sixteen coon skins, to make the purchase. Often it could not be had at any price, and the only way we had to procure it was by packing a load of kettles on our horses to the Scioto salt lick, now the site of Jackson Court-house, and boiling the water ourselves. Otherwise we had to dispense with it entirely. I have known meat cured with strong hickory ashes.


Happy Times.—I imagine I hear the reader saying this was hard living and hard times. So they would have been to the present race of men; but those who lived at that time enjoyed life with a greater zest, and were more healthy and happy than the present race. We had not then sickly, hysterical wives, with poor, puny, sickly, dying chil­dren, and no dyspeptic men constantly swallowing the nostrums of quacks. When we became sick unto death we died at once, and did not keep the neighborhood in a constant state of alarm for several weeks by daily bulletins of our dying. Our young women were beautiful without rouge, color de rose, meen fun, or any other cosmetic, and blithesome


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without wine and fruit-cake. There was then no curvature of the spine, but the lasses were straight and fine-looking, without corsets or whalebone. They were neat in their appearance and fresh as the morning.


When the spring opened I was better prepared to go to farming than I was the last season, having procured horses and plough. Instead of the laborious and tedious process of working the land with a hoe; I now commenced ploughing. Providence crowned my labors with abundant success, and we had plenty to eat and wear. Of course, our wants were few and exceedingly simple, and the products of the soil and hunting yielded a rich supply. Thus we lived within ourselves on our own industry, our only dependence being upon the favor of an over-ruling bountiful Benefactor. We spun and wove our own fabrics for clothing, and had no tag, no muster, no court, no justices, no lawyers, no constables, and no doctors, and, consequently had no exorbitant fees to pay to professional gentlemen. The law of kindness governed our social walks; and if such a disastrous thing as a quarrel should break out, the only way to settle the difficulty was by a strong dish of fisticuffs. No man was permitted to insult another without resentment; and if an insult was permitted to pass unrevenged, the insulted party lost his standing and caste in society any a muss or spree was gotten up, in which the beat of friends quarrelled and fought, through the sole influence of the brown jug.


It was seldom we had any preaching, but if a travelling minister should come along and make an appointment, all would go out to preaching. If the preaching was on a week day, the men would go in their hunting-shirts, with their guns. On Sabbath, the gun was left at home, but the belt and knife were never forgotten.


Misfortune Met Philosophically.—After two or three seasons had passed he met with a great misfortune; lost all his property, one hundred acres of good military land, with all the improvements, by going security for a man who had run away. He took it philosophically. “I consoled my wife,” says he, “as well as I could, and told her we were young, and had begun the world with nothing, and would do it again. I requested her to stay at home and keep house, and I would take to the woods and hunt.” Bear-skins commanded a good price; from three to seven dollars, according to size and quality. I spent the winter mostly in the woods, and suffered much from lying out at night without bedclothes or bed only as I could make one out of dry bark. I wrapped skins about me and laid by the fire. It was a prosperous winter, and success the most sanguine, crowned my days and nights of toil and privation. From the proceeds of my winter campaign, I was enabled to purchase as good a home as that from which the law had ejected me.


Thus I passed seven years, farming in the summer and hunting in the winter, and adding to my resources till I had a comfortable home, with everything necessary to make the backwoodsman happy.


The Grand Old Woods.—But my neighbors became too numerous, and my hunting-grounds were broken in upon by the hard of civilization; game became scarce and hard to take; my ranges were broken up, and I had about come to the conclusion to go to a new country. It seemed as though my happiness depended upon a life in the woods,” the grand old woods,where Nature had erected her throne, and where she swayed her sceptre.


Alone in the deep solitude of the wilderness man can commune with himself and Nature and her God, and realize emotions and thoughts that the crowded city never can produce. To be sure, one has said, “A great city is a great desert,” but it is a desert of depraved humanity, where every one is wrapped up in selfishness, and guards himself against his neighbor while his heart rankles with envy at his prosperity, or his wild unbridled ambition urges him on the reckless course of outstripping all his competitors. Not so in the woods. There pride, envy, selfishness, and ambition have no abode. The only evil spirit that haunts the woods is Melancholy. This will often steal upon the heart of those who have not found the satisfying portion that religion imparts.


Mr. FINLEY’S account of his conversion and final entrance into the ministry of the Methodist Church is vividly told.He was,” he says, “raised by Presbyterian parents, and taught the catechism.” From this he learned that God from all eternity had elected some men and angels to everlasting life and passed by the remainder, ordaining them to eternal death. This doctrine seemed to him unjust. There was no use in prayer. That would not convert him unless he was one of the elect, and if so, he would be saved anyway. “This doctrine,” he says, “well nigh ruined me. I thought if God had brought me into the world without my consent for his own purposes, it was no concern of mine, and all I had to do was to be honest, enjoy life, and perform the errand of my destiny.” So he entered freely into pleasure, took a hand at cards, but never gambled; was passionately fond of dancing; sometimes went on a spree; would swear when angry, and fight when insulted. “Backwoods boys were brought up to the trade of knock down and drag out.” The people called him the “New Market Devil,” so wild was he.


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In the midst of all this mirth and revelry he dare not think of death and eternity. About this time a great revival of religion broke out in Kentucky, accompanied by that alarming phenomena called the jerks. In August, 1801, learning there was to be a great meeting at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in his father’s old congregation, he left, with some companions, his woody retreat in Highland county, near what is now New Market, and went down to visit the scenes of his boyhood.




When he arrived on the camp-ground he found an awful scene. A vast crowd was collected, estimated at 25,000. The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human beings were agitated as if by a storm. He counted seven ministers all preaching at once from stumps, fallen trees, and wagons. Some were singing, others praying; some piteously crying for mercy and others shouting most vociferously. He became weak as a kitten at the sight and fled to the woods.”After some time,” he says, “I returned to the scene of excitement, the waves of which, if possible, had risen still higher. The same awfulness of feeling came over me. I stepped up on to a log, where I could have a better view of the surging sea of humanity. The scene that presented itself to my mind was indescribable. At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment, as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them; and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens. My hair rose up on my head; my whole frame trembled; the blood ran cold in my veins; and I fled for the woods a second time, and wished I had stayed at home. While I remained here my feelings became intense and insupportable. A sense of suffocation and blindness seemed to come over me, and I thought I was going to die.


A Drunken Revelry.—There being a tavern about half a mile off, I concluded to go and get some brandy, and see if it would not strengthen my nerves. When I arrived there I was disgusted with the sight that met my eyes. Here I saw about one hundred men engaged in a drunken revelry, playing cards, trading horses, quarrelling, and fighting. After some time I got to the bar, and took a dram and left; feeling that I was as near hell as I wished to be, either in this or the world to come. The brandy had no effect in allaying my feelings, but, if anything, made me worse.


Convicted of Sin.—Night at length came on, and I was afraid to see any of my companions. I cautiously avoided them, fearing lest they should discover something the matter with me. In this state I wandered about from place to place, in and around the encampment. At times it seemed as if all the sins I had ever committed in my life were vividly brought up in array before my terrified imagination; and under their awful pressure I felt that I must die if I did not get relief. Then it was that I saw clearly through the thin vail of Universaliam, and this refuge of lies was swept away by the Spirit of God. Then fell the scales from my sin-blinded eyes, and I realized, in all its force and power, the awful truth; and that if I died in my sins, I was a lost man forever.


Notwithstanding all this, my heart was so proud and hard that I would not have fallen to the ground for the whole State of Kentucky. I felt that such an event would have been an everlasting disgrace, and put a final quietus on my boasted manhood and courage. At night I went to a barn in the neighborhood, and, creeping under the hay spent amost dismal night. I resolved in the morning to start for home, for I felt that I was a ruined man. Finding one of the friends who came over with me, I said, “Captain, let us be off; I wilt stay no longer.” He assented, and getting our horses’ we started for home.


A Struggle—Conversion—Joy.—The next night they reached the Blue Lick Knobs, when, says FINLEY, “I broke the silence which reigned mutually between us, and exclaimed to my companion, Captain, if you and I don’t stop our wickedness, the devil will get us both.” Then both commenced crying and weeping. The next morning he went into the woods to pray. His shouts attracted the neighbors, who gathered around, and among them a Swiss German who had experienced religion. He understood his case; had him carried to his house, and put on his bed. The old Dutch saint directed me to look right away to the Saviour. He then kneeled at the bedside, and prayed for my salvation most fervently in Dutch and broken English. He then rose and sung in the same manner, and continued singing and praying alternately till nine o’clock, when suddenly my load was gone, my guilt removed, and presently the direct witness from heaven shone full upon my soul. Then there flowed such copious streams of love into the hitherto waste and desolate places of my soul, that I thought I should die with excess of joy. I cried, I laughed, I shouted; and so strangely did I appear to all but my Dutch brother that they thought me deranged. After a time I returned to my companion, and we started on our journey. O what a day it was to my soul!


I told the captain how happy I was, and was often interrupted, in a recital of my experience by involuntary shouts of praise. I felt a love for all mankind, and reproached myself for having been such a fool as to live so long in sin and misery when there was so much mercy for me.


Becomes a Circuit Rider.—Soon after his arrival at home, FINLEY joined the Methodists, developed extraordinary eloquence, and eventually was appointed to the wills creek circuit. He sent for his family, put them into a cabin; their entire earthly possessions being nothing but a bed and some wearing apparel, and then he says, “My funds being all exhausted, I sold my boots off my feet to pur-


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chase provisions with.  Then he started on his circuit, to be absent four weeks.


Wills Creek Circuit was computed to be 475 miles round. Its route was as follows: Beginning at Zanesville and running east, it embraced all the settlements on each side of the Wheeling road, on to Salt creek and the Buffalo fork of Wills creek; thence down to Cambridge and Leatherwood, on Stillwater; thence to Barnesville and Morristown; thence down Stillwater, including all the branches on. which [there] were settlements, to the mouth; thence up the Tuscarawas, through New Philadelphia, to One-leg Nimishilling thence up Sandy to Canton, and on to Carters; thence to Sugar creek, and down said creek to the mouth; thence down the Tuscarawas to William Butts, and thence down to the mouth of Whitewoman; thence, after crossing the river, including all the settlements of the Wapatomica, down to Zanesville, the place of beginning.


Many were his difficulties and perils. The country was wild; the people generally ignorant and inexperienced. They often interrupted him in his preaching by mookings and curses and threats of punishment, and sometimes he felt it his duty to “go in” on his muscle; and he was strong as an ox. They used to tell a story of his thrashing a notorious bully, and then bringing him within the fold.


While on the Wills circuit one man, whose wife had been in great distress of mind from the sense of sin, declared FINLEY was a wizard and had bewitched her. He loaded his rifle with a charmed bullet, and went two miles into the woods to waylay him. Soon his mind was filled with dreadful thoughts; horrid visions floated in the air; demon faces gibbered before his vision, when he took to his heels for his home in as much distress as his poor wife. In the result both became converts.


As he journeyed his place of study was the forest and his text-books the Bible, Discipline, doctrinal tracts, and the works of Wesley and Fletcher. The influence of the circuit riders in that day in saving the people of the wilderness from degenerating into savagery was beyond all computation. Such a body of self-denying moral heroes as they were have seldom been known. Generally poverty loomed up to them drearily in the distance. They lived poor and died poor, and left their families in poverty.Some I know, said FINLEY, have spent a fortune for the privilege of travelling circuits, at a salary of twenty-five dollars a year, while their wives lived in log cabins and rocked their children in sugar-troughs.


Eventually FINLEY was put in charge of the Ohio district, which included eight circuits, ten travelling preachers, and over 4,000 members. It embraced all Eastern and Northern Ohio, part of Western New York and all Western Pennsylvania; and he rode through the woods all around it four times a year, holding quarterly meetings. We close with an anecdote related by him as having occurred at St. Clairsville, wherein the later eminent Charles HAMMOND illustrated his muse:


I was, writes Finley, called on by brother YOUNG to exhort. Being much blessed, I suppose I raised my voice to the highest pitch and struck the book-board with my hand. At this a young lawyer, Charles HAMMOND, who had a considerable reputation for talents, became alarmed, and, urging his way through the crowd to the door, fled for his life. On my next round, the sexton found in the pulpit a very neatly turned maul, with a slip of paper wrapped around the handle, which was directed to me. After meeting it was presented, and on the paper were the following verses:


“ ‘Thus saith the Lord, the preacher now

       Must warn the people all,

    And if you cannot make the hear,

      I’d have your use this maul.


“ ‘Your hand, dear sir, is for too soft

        To batter on the wood ;

     Just take this maul, it is but small,

         And thunder on the board.


“ ‘Lift up your voice, and loudly call

       On sinners all around,

     And if you cannot make them here

       Take up this maul and POUND !’




CAMDEN is eight miles south of Eaton, on the C. R. & C. R. R. Newspapers:


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Gazette, Independent, C. M. HANE, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Methodist, 1 Presbyterian, and 1 Universalist. It is quite a purchasing and shipping-point for grain and stock. Population, 1880, 800. School census, 1888, 220.


WEST ALEXANDRIA is six miles east of Eaton, on the C. J. & M. R. R., and in the heart of the beautiful Twin Valley. Newspaper: Twin Valley Times, Independent, Chas. J. WILSON, editor. Churches: 1 Episcopal Methodist, 1 Lutheran, 1 Reformed. This is said to be one of the wealthiest villages, per head of population, in this part of the State, and remarkable for its number of fine residences. The main industries are furniture, Coffman & Burtner; washing machines, Adolph Schlingman; woollen goods, as yarns and blankets, flour, saddlery, harness, wagons, etc. Population, 1880, 796. School census, 1888,186. E. P. VAUGHN, superintendent of schools.


WINCHESTER, P. O. Gratis; is nine miles southeast of Eaton. Population, 1880, 502. School census, 1888, 203.


WEST ELKTON is fourteen miles southeast of Eaton. Population, 1880, 247. School census, 1888, 115.


LEWISBURG is nine miles northeast of Eaton, on the C. J. & M. R. R. Population, 1880, 409. School census, 1888, 161.


NEW PARIS 19 twelve miles northwest of Eaton, on the P. C. & St. L. R. R., six miles east of New Richmond, Ind., on and in the valley of the Whitewater. Newspapers: Mirror, Independent, C. W. BLOOM, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 colored Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Christian, 1 Universalist, 1 United Brethren, and 1 Catholic. Population, 1880, 835. School census, 1888, 300. F. S. ALLEY, superintendent of schools. New Paris is noted for its mineral springs, called Cedar Springs, which are quite a summer resort for invalids. The manufacture of linen is extensively carried on.


ELDORADO is twelve miles northwest of Eaton, on the P. C. & St. L. R. R. Population, 1880, 337. School census, 1888, 112.


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