Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe pages 829-843
On JUNE 3, 1816, a new township five miles square was cut from Madison township and named Jefferson. It was a part of the United States Military district, a tract of land in Ohio that was appropriated by Congress to satisfy claims of officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary War. It was surveyed into townships five miles square, and some of it again into lots of one hundred acres each. The land that was not awarded for claims was sold by the government to settlers. In many old Guernsey county deeds land is described as being located in the United States Military district and “of lands directed to be sold at Zanesville.” A government office for the sale of these lands was opened at Zanesville in 1804. The sale price was two dollars an acre.
Physical Features.—The township is hilly, but not as rough as are many sections of the county. The bottom lands are broad and fertile. Salt Fork creek meanders across the southern part. Its main tributary from the north is Brushy Fork. Sugar Tree creek in the northern part of the township receives Clear Fork and Rocky Fork from Monroe township.
Settled in 1805.—Before Guernsey county was formed, settlements were made in what is now Jefferson township. William Launtz and Martin Stull came there in 1805, from Green county, Pennsylvania, and each purchased two hundred acres of land in the southeastern part of the township, not far from the present Cross Roads school. Launtz entered lots 14 and 15, and Stull, lots 1 and 2. Stull died soon after settling there.
A short time after the arrival of Launtz and Stull John Tetrick came from the same county in Pennsylvania and settled on lot 3. The next year (1806) William Allen, who was born in Yorkshire, England, settled on lot 28. He married Stull’s widow, and extended his farm until it comprised seven hundred fifty acres. Jonathan Stiles, also of English descent, located on the southeast quarter of Section 17 the same year. In 1809 Peter Wirick, Adam Linn, Abraham Matthews and John Baird brought their families into what is now Jefferson township. Among the ones who came in the next few years were William Bratton, John Henderson, James Waddle, Nathan Kimball, John Armstrong, Samuel Taylor, John McCullough, Robert Kirkwood, Samuel Pattison, Isaac Lanning, James Wilson and John Lake.
First Township Officials.—When the township was organized in 1816, there were approximately three hundred persons living within its boundaries. An election for choosing township officers was held on April 7, 1817, under the directions of Nathan Kimball chairman, William Allen and George Beal judges, and George Linn clerk. It resulted in the election of George Linn, township clerk; William Allen, William Launtz and George Beal, trustees; John Tetrick, treasurer; Henry Stull and James Strain, supervisors; James Warnock and Lawrence Tetrick, overseers of the poor; John Tetrick and Newman Matthews, fence viewers; John Armstrong, appraiser of property; Abraham Armstrong, lister of property; Thomas Baird and Jacob Lanning, constables.
Three months after their election the trustees appropriated $20.90 for building and maintaining public roads in the township.
First Church Organized in 1824.—In 1824 Rev. John Graham organized a Methodist Episcopal church society of eight members at the home of William Allen. Here the society met for worship until 1839, when a church known as “Allen’s” was built on Mr. Allen’s land. It is yet one of the active rural churches in Guernsey county.
Many of the early settlers of Jefferson township, especially those of the southern and western parts, adhered to the belief of the Associate Reformed church. Having no society of their own, they worshiped at Washington, Miller’s on Salt Fork in Liberty township, North Salem, and elsewhere. Not until 1867 was a church building of that denomination (now the United Presbyterian) erected in the township. This was Pleasant Hill, which, like the Allen church, is yet one of the active rural churches of the county.
Population of the Township.—Jefferson township had its greatest population in 1880; since then the population ahs gradually decreased. Today there is but one township (Washington) in which fewer people are living.
The population in 1820 was 349; 1830, 566; 1840, 755; 1850, 857; 1860, 908; 1870, 904; 1880, 931; 1890, 884; 1900, 724; 1910, 570; 1920, 533; 1930, 444.
This township has never had an incorporated town. Post-offices were once kept at Brady, Clio and Sugar Tree; these were closed when free rural delivery of mail was established.
Mills Have Disappeared.—Salt Fork and Sugar Tree creeks afforded water power for mills, and many years ago there were several in the township. George Linn had a mill on Salt Fork as early as 1814. John McCullough built a sawmill on Rocky Fork in 1815. Andrew Clark operated both a gristmill and saw-mill on Sugar Tree. The best known mills were Armstrong’s and McCleary’s. All the old mills have disappeared, nothing being left excepting the names they gave the communities in which they were located.
Large Families.—Pioneer families were often large, and as a rule the children were healthy. As soon as they were old enough to work, they assisted in clearing away the forest and raising crops. As farm machinery was lacking, there was work for all.
There were fourteen children in the family of Jonathan Stiles, all of whom grew to maturity in the township. In the family of John Baird were eight sons and six daughters. Across the line, in Monroe township, were twenty-two children in the family of Isaac Beal. Families of ten or twelve children were common in the early days of the township.
Old Folks of 1876.—In 1876 the following persons over seventy-six years of age were living in the township: Jane Adams, Edward Bratton, Thomas Brown, Mrs. Brown, James Clark, Caleb Canann, Margaret Culbertson, Hannah Canann, Mrs. Fairchild, Delight Gunn, Mrs. Kimball, John Leeper, Elizabeth Lanning, Henry McCleary, John Martin, Mary McCleary, Nancy McMillen, Stephen Stiles, Andrew Stiles, Robert Speers, Samuel Stewart, Joshua Smith, Fanny Stiles, Eve Taylor, Mrs. Taylor and Harris Wiley.
A Sad Accident.—One of the saddest accidents in the history of Jefferson township occurred March 22, 1877. Three young men and four young women—John S. Theaker, Albert Bonnell, James M. Armstrong, Emma Bonnell, Ida Yeo, Belle McConkey and Maggie Henderson—entered a boat below the bridge near Armstrong’s mill. As there had been heavy rains, Salt Fork creek was bank full.
After rowing around a while, they approached the bridge. The boat began to dip. Advising the others to remain still, Armstrong arose and caught the bridge to steady the boat. Instead of following his advice the others sprang to one side, causing the boat to turn over. This left Armstrong hanging from the bridge. He dropped into twelve feet of water and swam out.
All the others were thrown into the water. Theaker and Bonnell drowned in their efforts to save the young women, although they were good swimmers. Attracted by the cries of the young people, a crowd soon gathered at the scene of the accident. Armstrong and Harley Yeo, brother of Ida, swam to the struggling girls. They had drifted down the stream a hundred yards or more. When brought to the shore, they were in an unconscious condition. Hours later the bodies of the young men were found far below the bridge.
Allen’s Church.—As already stated in this chapter, the first church in Jefferson township was organized in 1824 at the home of William Allen, and the first meeting house was erected in 1839. William Allen gave the land for the church. In his honor it was named “Allen’s Chapel,” generally called “Allen’s.” The trustees under whose directions the church was built were William Northgrave, James Tribey, Francis B. Allen, Caleb Canann and Jacob Launtz.
At the dedication in 1840 it was announced that the church had cost 4600, and an effort was made to raise that amount, but the subscriptions totaled only $218, leaving a debt of 4382. For this amount the trustees made and signed a note. Five years later (1845) the note was unpaid and the church was offered for sale. “Allen’s” would have ended there had not David Allen and Jacob Launtz assumed the entire debt, giving their personal notes, the former for the greater amount.
The early members at “Allen’s” were the following: William Allen and wife, Frank Allen and wife, J. M. Allen and wife, Thomas Ayres and wife, John Bonnell and wife, Thomas Brown and wife, Mrs. Burch, Caleb Canann and wife, Rebecca Crawford, Joseph Devinney and wife, John Daugherty and wife, Saline Edcary, John Bracken, Thomas Fairchild, Finley Linn and wife, William Lake, William Northgrave and wife, Thomas Scott, Mary E. Taylor, Samuel Thomas and wife.
William Northgrave, the first class leader, served eighteen years. Other class leaders were Samuel Thomas, Jacob Launtz, Thomas Scott, William Lake, A. F. Linn, Benjamin Borton, Jesse Thomas, Louis Thomas, Thomas Fairchild, Jefferson Rubicain, Jacob Rankin and John Thomas.
During the first sixty or seventy years of its history the church had many preachers. Their names follow: Graham, Johnson, Thomas, Taylor, Tipton Brown, McCleary, Prosser, Minor, Smith, Somers, Brown, Wilson, Mcgee, Endley, Shirer, Wharton, McCune, Devinney, Merriman, Petty, Green, Jones, White, Rich, Boyd, Nicholson, Taylor, McIlyar, Athey, Trueman, Cross, Blake, Taylor, Swaney, Knox, Wolfe, Gamble, Scott, Huston, Vertican, McAbee, Brady, Hogue, Close, Chrisman, Sadler, Gledhill, Darby, King, Watters, Rhodes, Huddleston, Webster, Stewart, Yingling.
Armstrong’s Mill.—On Salt Fork creek, in 1815, John Armstrong built a mill which he at first operated for the accommodation of the neighboring settlers. In course of time it drew patronage from a long distance and became one of the best known mills in the county. The original log structure was rebuilt twice, the last, a massive frame, in 1850. For almost one hundred years the water-wheel at Armstrong’s mill supplied the power that ground the grain of the farmers of the community that is yet known as “Armstrong’s.”
John Armstrong, who came to what is now Jefferson township in 1813, operated the mill until his death which occurred in 1852. He was succeeded by his son, Abraham, under whose management the mill was kept running day and night during the busy season. Abraham Armstrong, in addition to his duties in connection with the mill, his farm, and a store and the post office which he kept, found time to engage in politics. As a Whig he was elected auditor of Guernsey county in 1844 and again in 1846. As a Republican he represented the county in the state legislature for two terms (1872-76).
Duffie Quadruplets.—On May 3, 1845, the following item appeared in The Guernsey Times:
“On the 25th ult., the wife of Mr. George Duffie, of Jefferson township in this county, gave birth to four living daughters. One of the girls has since died. The others, when last heard from, were doing well.”
Mr. and Mrs. George Duffie lived in a cabin near Salt Fork creek, some distance below Armstrong’s mill. It is said that neither the mother nor the babies received any medical attention, otherwise the one child would probably not have died. George Duffie was a blacksmith. Soon after the birth of the quadruplets he moved his family form the county. It is believed that the three girls lived to become adults.
Owners of Real Estate.—Jefferson township was owned by the following persons in 1840. After each owner’s name are given the number of acres in his farm and the section in which it was located. Many of the family names are still found in the township. Some of the farms are today in possession of the descendants of the owners of a century ago.
Armstrong, John, 160 acres, sec. 24; Armstrong, Abraham, 82 acres, sec. 16; Adams, John, 157 acres, sec. 4 and 5; Arbuthnot, Samuel, 100 acres, sec. 4; Allen, Francis, 300 acres, sec 23; Allen, William, 369 acres, lots 27, 28, 29 and 30; Buckingham, Alvah, 40 acres, sec. 18; Bonnell, Jesse, 80 acres, sec. 13; Bracken, John, 80 acres, sec. 9; Bell, Joseph, 83 acres, sec. 6; Borton, Reuben, 80 acres, sec. 12; Barnes, James, 80 acres, sec. 9; Brower, William, 40 acres, sec. 13; Beggs, John, 80 acres, sec. 15; Brown, Thomas, 100 acres, lot 17; Bates, William, 100 acres, lot 6; Burch, William, 30 acres, lot 27; Baird, Thomas F., 164 acres, sec. 3; Bell, George (Heirs), 157 acres, sec. 4; Bratton, William, 93 acres, sec. 25; Burch, Catherine, 100 acres, lot 22; Boyce, Francis, 154 acres, sec. 4 and 8; Beal, Isaac, 80 acres, sec. 11; Baird, Joseph, 30 acres, sec. 13.
Culbertson, Hugh, 160 acres, sec. 18; Culbertson, John, 100 acres, sec. 17; Crawford, John, 240 acres, sec. 13 and 14; Conan, Caleb, 80 acres, sec. 13; Calbert, Francis, 80 acres, sec. 10 and 11; Culbertson, Robert, 105 acres, sec. 7 and 14; Culbertson Thomas, 195 acres, sec. 4; Clark, James, 240 acres, sec. 6 and 7; Calbert, John, Jr., 80 acres, sec. 10; Carlisle, John (Heirs), 198 acres, sec. 4; Cornell, Richard, 160 acres, sec. 25; Clark, Daniel, 157 acres, sec. 4; Carnes, John, 80 acres, sec. 7; Dwiggins, Robert, 100 acres, lot 25; Dwiggins, Sylvester, 80 acres, sec. 11; Donley, John, 100 acres, lot 39; Day, Lewis, 40 acres, sec. 12; Ford, George, 319 acres, sec. 3, 8, and 9; Fairchild, Thomas, 100 acres, lot6; Finley, Robert, 81 acres, sec. 2; Gillespie, John, 90 acres, sec. 8 and 13; Gunn, John, 157 acres, sec. 3 and 8; Gillespie, James, 120 acres, sec. 7; Gallentine, Abraham, 40 acres, sec. 10.
Huffman, Robert F., 40 acres, sec.10; Hayward, Henry, 82 acres, sec. 16; Harvey, Theodore L., 160 acres, sec. 15; Hosack, William, 153 acres, sec. 4; Huffman, Jacob, 40 acres, sec. 10; Hope, Richard, 80 acres, sec. 9; Henderson, John, 209 acres, sec. 16 and 17; Henderson, Andrew, 170 acres, sec. 16 and 17; Henry, Morris, 83 acres, sec. 25; Jenkins, William, 40 acres, sec. 10; Jenkins, Thomas, 150 acres, sec. 1; Kennedy, David B., 100 acres, lot 40; Kimble, John, 114 acres, sec. 25; King, William, 100 acres, lot 26; Keepers Joseph, 204 acres, sec. 2 and 9; Kimble, adam, 200 acres, sec. 1; Knowles, Samuel F., 3 acres, sec. 4; Kirkwood, Robert, 80 acres, sec. 16; Keepers, George, 31 acres, lot 8; Keene, Jesse, 40 acres, sec. 10.
Lake, John, 80 acres, sec. 14; Linn, George, 400 acres, Lots 5, 11 and 12; Liseton, George, 159 acres, sec. 1 and 2; Lanning, Isaac, 157 acres, sec. 3; Linn, William, 100 acres, lot 36; Leeper, John, 120 acres, sec. 15; Launtz, George, 218 acres, sec. 23 And 24; Linn, John, 80 acres, sec. 8; Linn, Adam, 100 acres, lot 18; Lyons, John, 100 acres, lot 38; Launtz, Jacob, 132 acres, lots 1 and 2; Launtz, William, 118 acres, lots 1, 2 and 3; Milligan, John, 80 acres, sec. 7; McGregor, John, 200 acres lots 31, 32 and 33; Maharry, Isaac, 160 acres, sec. 1; McWilliams, Daniel, 80 acres, sec. 15; McElhenry, William, 120 acres, sec. 25; Martin, John, 287 acres, sec. 5 and 6; Milligan, Alexander, 41 acres, sec. 5; McCullough, John, 279 acres, sec. 5; McCullough, Davis, 78 acres, sec. 5; McCollum, John (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 5; McMullen, James, 42 acres, sec. 6; Moore, John, 100 acres, lot 10; McConaughy, Andrew, 30 acres, lot 23; Morris, Jonathan, 5 acres, sec. 4.
Northgrave, William, 80 acres, sec. 2; Norris, Thomas (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 24; Pickering, Lot, 40 acres, sec. 7; Pulley, James, 100 acres, Lot 4; Pickering, Greenberry, 80 acres, sec. 7; Parker, John, 107 acres, lots 7 and 8; Paxton, James, 160 acres, sec. 10; Patterson, Samuel, 214 acres, sec. 15; Robinson, Samuel, 15 acres, sec. 16; Rubincam, David, 80 acres, sec. 11; Robinson, James, 40 acres, sec. 7; Stiles, Thomas, 120 acres, sec. 14; Stiles, Andrew, 80 acres, sec. 17; Saviers, George, 40 acres, sec. 1; Sears, John, 70 acres, lot 23; Stiles, Jonathan, 400 acres, sec. 9 and 17; Stewart, William, 80 acres, lot 24; Spears, Robert, 135 acres, sec. 13 and 14; Stanies, George, 80 acres, sec. 16; Scott, Abraham, 80 acres, sec. 16; Stiles, Simon, 40 acres, sec. 18; Stiles, Jacob, 40 acres, sec. 18; Smith, Joshua, 199 acres, sec. 1 and 2.
Thompson, Samuel F., 5 acres, lot 14; Taylor, George, 9 acres, sec. 1; Tedrick, John, 50 acres, lot 3; Tedrick, Adam, 40 acres, sec. 11; Taylor, Samuel (Heirs), 243 acres, sec. 8 and 13; Vancamper, John, 40 acres, sec. 12; Valentine, Daniel, 80 acres, sec. 10; Wiley, Hance, 65 acres, sec. 16; Wyrick, Obadiah, 80 acres, sec. 25; Willis, Isaac, 80 acres, sec. 10; Warne, George, 160 acres, sec. 23; Whitehill, Thomas, 120 acres, sec. 6; Willis, James, 160 acres, sec. 2; Willis, George, 80 acres, sec. 2; Willis, Edward, 90 acres, sec. 23; Yarnell, George, 100 acres, lot 9.
Last Indian of Jefferson Township
This story was told the writer by William A. Barnes, one of the oldest residents of Jefferson township. George Launtz, one of the principal characters in the story, was a great-uncle of Mr. Barnes. The complete story of the Copus battle here mentioned will be found elsewhere in this volume. The lone Indian was one who lingered too long in Jefferson township after others of his race had left.
George Launtz.—Among the young men who joined the company organized by Capt. Absalom Martin for service in the War of 1812 was George Launtz, of Jefferson township. This company of Guernsey county soldiers was stationed at Beam’s blockhouse near Mansfield, Ohio, awaiting orders to advance farther north. The Indians in that section were hostile. James Copus and family lived nine miles from the blockhouse. Believing the Copus family to be in danger, Captain martin sent nine of his soldiers, of whom George Launtz was one, to protect the cabin of these folks who persistently refused safety at the blockhouse.
While the soldiers were at the cabin it was attacked by the Indians. Six of the Guernsey county men were killed and two were wounded; only one of them escaped uninjured. One of the wounded was George Launtz who fell with a bullet in his side after he had killed two or three of the Indians. A rescuing party carried him to the blockhouse where he remained until he was able to travel.
George Launtz returned home with a grudge against all Indians and especially against a particular Indian—the one who shop him in the side. He vowed that if this Indian ever crossed his path he would kill him. Near the present site of Brady Launtz settled down, farmed some and engaged in distilling whisky, an industry that was legal in those days and one that was not uncommon.
The Lone Indian.—Before the War of 1812 there were several Indians living in Jefferson township. When the war opened they left for the northern part of Ohio and some of them became allied with the British army. After the war was over one of these Indians returned to Guernsey county. He engaged in hunting in the wilder part of Jefferson township and in fishing in Salt Fork and Sugar Tree creeks.
One day the lone Indian called at the distillery for whisky. George Launtz recognized him at once as one of the party making the attack on the Copus cabin; and not only that, but as the very one who had shot him in the side. Launtz’s first impulse was to kill him, but fortunately he acted in accordance with a second thought. He could not kill him as an enemy in war, as the war had closed. Killing him because he as an Indian would not be legal, as peace had been made with the Indians of this section. If he killed him he would be guilty of murder under the law; he would be charged with the crime and tried in court. Even if his act should seem justified, he would be subject to the law.
Concealing all evidence of recognition, he gave him whisky, and invited him back. He wanted time to think how he might fulfill his vow and still escape punishment. It is probable that he Indian did not recognize Launtz as the man he shot, or even know he was one of the soldiers at the Copus cabin. He returned often for whisky.
One day Launtz suggested to the Indian that they go hunting together. The latter agreed readily when Launtz promised to furnish the whisky. Launtz drank very little, but the Indian drank much and became very drunk. Launtz conducted him down Salt Fork creek whose waters were high form a recent rain. (In fact, he had planned that the hunt should be taken at such a time.) Having come to the bank of the stream, Launtz gave the Indian a shove which sent him headlong into the water. Too drunk to help himself, he was soon drowned and his body was carried away by the swift current. George Launtz had his revenge.
A Family Secret.—He went home and told his family what he had done. They decided to keep the matter to themselves. The victim’s body was never discovered. It was probably carried into Wills creek and buried under sand and mud. For a time his disappearance caused some comment. T was supposed that he had gone elsewhere to join hi sown people. He was at length forgotten. None but he Launtz family knew the secret of the lone Indian’s disappearance.
Years afterwards, when William A. Barnes was a small boy, he was told this story by his uncle, he said, who showed him the very spot form which the Indian was pushed into Salt Fork creek. It is a mile below Armstrong’s mill, on the farm now known as the Nelson place.
Where Sleep the Brave
Soldiers of All Wars.—Sleeping side by side in one of Guernsey County’s little country graveyards, are veterans of all the wars in which the United States has been engaged. If we do not consider the number of graves, we can say no more that this of any of our National cemeteries—not even Arlington itself. It can be said of no other cemetery—city or rural—in Guernsey county. We wonder if any other little country graveyard in Ohio holds such distinction.
Cemetery Described.—This soldier burial place is the Pleasant Hill cemetery in Jefferson township. It is one of the oldest graveyards in Guernsey county, having been established before 1822—how long before is not known. Situated on a beautiful knoll, it may be seen from a great distance. Just outside the burial ground is the Pleasant Hill United Presbyterian church, established in 1867. It used to be the custom to build a church and lay out a burial ground near it afterwards. Here the cemetery antedates the church a half century.
The Pleasant Hill cemetery is not a church burial ground, neither is it supported by public funds. An association for its care was formed in 1847. As a result of a recent reorganization of the association, a new constitution was adopted, the grounds beautified and enlarged, and an endowment fund raised for the cemetery’s maintenance. It is now one of the most beautiful rural cemeteries in Guernsey county.
But that which distinguishes this little country graveyard from others is the number of solders lying beneath its sod, and the fact that it is the resting place of one or more representatives of every war. At the graves of all the veterans are stones from which much of the information contained in this story was obtained. We shall give it in order in which the wars were fought.
The Revolutionary War.—On a slab at the grave of James Bratton, who died October 6, 1844, in the 88th year of his age, is inscribed the line, “A Soldier of the Revolution.” James Bratton, with his wife and eleven children, established a home in the forest, where Winterset now stands, in 1805. This was the first family to settle in what is now Madison township. Brattons’ only neighbors were Indians living on the creek below. The story of the Bratton family may be found elsewhere in this volume.
In addition to giving service in the Revolutionary War James Bratton furnished a son and a son-in-law for the War of 1812. John, his third son, was a sergeant in the Absalom Martin company. He is not buried at Pleasant Hill, Elizabeth, James Bratton’s oldest daughter, married Robert Warnock who was also a member of the Martin Company. Warnock was killed by the Indians in the Copus battle, the story of which is published elsewhere in this work. William Mawhorr, who is a great-grandson of James Bratton, and is now living near Pleasant Hill, has a loom for weaving cloth, made by Robert Warnock just before he started to the war from which he never returned. It was cut out by hand from white oak timber and is yet in service-able condition.
The War of 1812.—Richard Cornell fought in the War of 1812, and died in 1857, at the age of eighty. He is buried in the Pleasant Hill cemetery. John Marling, of Columbus, Ohio, who is now nearly ninety years old, lived in the Pleasant Hill community until a few years ago. He remembers Richard Cornell as an old bachelor who made his home with his brother, John Cornell, on whose farm the cemetery was located.
According to Mr. Marling, John Henderson, who is buried here, may have been a veteran of the War of 1812, although there is nothing on his gravestone to indicate it. He died before the Civil War. “When I was a boy,” Mr. Marling said, “I was told that he was an old soldier.”
The Mexican War.—“David Lytle, 98th Ohio Infantry” is all that is inscribed on another stone. Mr. Marling remembers Lytle as a poor tenant in the community, coming there after the Mexican war, in which he had served. When the Civil War opened, Lytle again entered the service of his country. This old veteran of two wars sleeps on Pleasant Hill, but there is nothing to show when he was born or when he died.
The Civil War.—The Civil War is well represented. In addition to David Lytle there were James M. Beggs, James M. Nelson, Emmett S. Bennett, James Burnsworth and Joseph Bower. There may be others.
The War with Spain.—“Killed in Battle at Manila” is cut on a stone at the grave of Raymond F. Weidmer. Born April 26, 1878, Weidmer engaged in the War with Spain, meeting death in the Philippines on February 5, 1899. A year or two later his body was brought to Pleasant Hill and interred with military honors.
The World War.—Byron K. Gillespie, born February 14, 1897, died at Camp Sherman on October 9, 1918. His body was brought to Pleasant Hill where it lies with heroes of all our wars.
Is There Another?—We are not claiming this to be the only little country graveyard in the United States, in which soldiers of all the wars are buried. We recall hearing Harry W. Amos, editor of The Jeffersonian, once say that never would he permit to be published in The Jeffersonian, without absolute proof, that anything was the “one and only” of its kind. It seems that several years ago a certain man (now dead) reported having a tree, the only one of its kind in Ohio—perhaps in the United States. It was so published. Almost before all the papers were off the press, Harry was telephoned to come to a home in Cambridge, where he could see another of the same kind. Does anybody know of another little country graveyard in which soldiers of all our wars are buried?
The Crossroad Store
The crossroad store, the chief emporium of country folk in bygone days, is now on the way out. From pioneer times until a few years ago it seemed to supply the simple needs of the rural people. But these were the days before we had improved roads, automobiles, mail order houses, free rural delivery and countless other inducements to buy elsewhere. Like many another old time institution it served a useful purpose, but ere many years are gone it will have passed out entirely and to future generations will be only a tradition.
The Brady Store.—For several reasons we choose to describe the Brady store as a type of this passing commercial and community center. Brady, on Salt Fork creek in Jefferson township, is a town that never grew. One hundred years ago it consisted of two residences, a store, a blacksmith shop, a mill and a covered bridge. Today there are two residences, a store and a covered bridge; the blacksmith shop and the mill are gone. There used to be a postoffice in the store. A mail carrier brought mail out form Cambridge once a week; in later years he brought it every day. When folks from the country round-about came in for their mail, or to get grinding done at the mill, or to get their horses shod, they would usually buy something at the store. But when the rural delivery man began bringing their mail to their door every day, they didn’t go to the postoffice any more and this hurt the store. At the coming of the automobile the blacksmith shop closed its doors; there were fewer horses to be shod, fewer tires to be set. There was less grinding to be done and the wheels of the mill ceased to turn.
Many years before the Civil War the Brady store was opened in a room that is yet in use as a part of the store which has been continued to the present day. It is thus one of the oldest, if not the oldest business establishment in Guernsey county. Proprietors have changed, but not the store which still retains many of its old-time features. In early days the store was kept by a man named Naphtali, a Mr. Frebrache, Samuel Thomas who built and operated the mill, and others. Later proprietors were Burlingame and Wood, and James H. Warne. For almost a third of a century William A. McCullough, who retired from business in 1925, was the Brady crossroads store keeper. To him we are indebted for much of the information that has enabled us to write the remainder of this story.
All Needs Supplied.—The Brady crossroad store was a veritable department store where all the supplies for home and farm could be obtained. On both sides and the end were shelves reaching to the ceiling, upon which a variety of merchandise was displayed. Extending the full length of both sides were the counters, on which, near the front of the room, were the showcases. In one case was the candy—red and white lozenges (wintergreen and peppermint), red drops (cinnamon), gum drops, coarse chocolate drops (three for a cent), cocoanut strap, peanut bars, sugar kisses (four for a cent, each with a sentimental line inside the wrapper). French kisses (three for a cent, but in prettier wrappers), licorice sticks, and mixed candy of which one could get the most for a penny. On the shelves behind, in glass jars, the stick candy (a cent a stick) was displayed. Here the youngster who accompanied the older folks to the store would linger and longingly peer through the glass. He knew that when the storekeeper had exchanged groceries and other goods for the trade brought in, there would be a few cents left for candy, raisins, ginger-snaps—something for him. Too bad for the one with symptoms of a cold, for it was sure to be horehound candy.
In the case on the opposite side were the notions—buttons, hooks and eyes, pins, needles, thimbles, shoe strings, thread, ribbons, lace, braid, elastic, combs and numerous other articles. Caddies of plug tobacco filled one of the lower shelves, at the end of which sat the tobacco cutter. “J. T.” was the leader, with Spearhead, Star and Climax vying for second place. Many old-timers were reluctant to change from plug to scrap when Mail Pouch appeared on the market. “Penny seegars” were smoked by those who did not use the pipe which was stone with a reed stem and cost a penny.
The Brady store had its drug department, everything guaranteed to cure both man and beast. Epsom Salts were kept in bulk and sold by the pound or more. For internal disorders Carter’s Little Liver Pills, Peruna, Hood’s Sarsaparilla, Burdock’s Bitters and Dr. Jaynes’ Remedies were kept in stock. Almanacs were free. On the shelves were Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral, Kilmer’s Swamp Root, Dr. Miles’ Nervine and Porter’s Cure Pain, each recommended for some particular ailment of the human body. Barker’s Horse and Cattle Powder was a good seller.
Behind the counter were two barrels of sugar, one of brown and the other of granulated. The former was purchased for everyday use; the other for use when company came. The scales had an immense elliptical pan and weights of various sizes. Paper bags had not come into use. Everything form sugar to nails was wrapped in heavy browns paper.
Coffee was bought green and browned at home. Even after Arbuckle’s coffee in pound packages ready to be ground came on the market, there were many who continued to do their browning at home. Following Arbuckle’s came Lion with the prize coupon inducement for its purchase, Old reliable and other brands.
Canned goods were unknown in the old days, Prunes, raisins and dried currants were luxuries. Dried apples, peaches and corn were brought in as trade. Such articles as tea and spices were not put up in packages and were sold in bulk.
In the wareroom back (the original Brady store) were kept the salt, molasses, vinegar and lamp-oil in barrels. Here were kits of salt fish that were in great demand at certain seasons of the year. Here, too, were hams, shoulders and sides of meat, taken in as trade along with butter, eggs, lard, tallow, feathers, poultry, ginseng, nuts, fur, sheep pelts, beef hides and other articles. For many years Mr. McCullough drove a huckster wagon through the surrounding country, exchanging merchandise for produce which he shipped to city markets. He bought and dressed poultry, employing fifteen or twenty hands just before each holiday season.
In the hardware department could be found everything from screws and nails to tinware and plowpoints. On the shelves were bolts f calicoes of various patterns, ginghams, muslins and other goods. At this store could be bought heavy and fine leather boots, shoes and men’s clothing. In fact, it supplied all the needs of the community.
A Community Center.—Mr. McCullough opened his store each morning at daylight—in winter, an hour or two before. He closed at night when the last customer or loafer left, which was often well towards the next day. Thursdays and Saturdays were the big days at the store. In front was a long hitching-rack. It was not unusual for as many as twenty-five teams to be hitched around the store at one time. Some came horseback carrying baskets of butter and eggs on their arms which they traded for something at the store; some came in “big wagons: and some walked.
While waiting their turn to be waited on the women visited. This social opportunity was really one of the chief incentives for their coming. They inquired about each other’s “folks” and told how “poorly” some of their own had been. How many cows were being milked, how the hens were laying and the condition of the gardens were items of common information. There were no telephones in those days. Going to the store afforded a golden opportunity to visit. The men discussed crops, local politics and other matters of community interest. Jefferson township voters cast their ballots at the Brady store on election days, and here the school directors and the trustees met. Mr. McCullough was the township clerk and treasurer for twenty-two years. Early in the evening during the summer months men would gather about the store to pitch horseshoes and engage in shooting matches.
The Store at Night.—Seated on the benches and chairs around the store in the rear of the store, the men of the neighborhood would while away the long winter evenings, playing checkers, swapping stories, and discussing matters of both local and general interest. W. G. Wilson and W. P. Bond were the best marksmen at the shooting matches and John Stiles was the champion checker player.
Every night was the same. Tobacco was chewed, stogies and pipes were smoked, arguments were engaged in, and stories were told. For refreshments they partook of bologna, cheese and crackers. These some would buy. Others made it a point to sit near the cracker barrel. The same motive that prompted men to assemble at the crossroad store in the long ago now prompts them to meet in club rooms where they engage in a different kind of entertainment and partake of more sumptuous dinners than the homely bologna, cheese and crackers, of other days. Man’s nature hasn’t changed; only his way of doing things has changed.
Brady is the last of the dozens of crossroads stores that once dotted Guernsey county—that is, the last of those outside a platted town. Today the airplanes soar above it, the automobiles whiz by it, the rural delivery man with his parcel post form the mail-order houses goes by the door, and delivery trucks from town distribute goods in the neighborhood. But the store yet carries on with a good business and many of its old-time characteristics.