Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe




Londonderry Township pages 864-883


TWO townships of Guernsey county are six miles square—Londonderry and Wills.  The former, which is the extreme northeastern township in Guernsey county, was once a part of Belmont county.  Londonderry was cut from Oxford and Madison townships, June 3, 1816.

     Nearly all the township is drained by Skull Fork creek, which flows into Harrison county and empties into Stillwater creek. This is the only township in the county, that does not lie entirely, or almost entirely, in the Wills creek basin. Skull Fork proper, sometimes called Big Skull Fork, has its beginning in the Fairview neighborhood.  Near the center of the township it is joined by Little Skull Fork, which flows down from Sewellsville, in Belmont county.

     The legend of Skull Fork.—The story is told that Indians raided a white settlement east of the Ohio River and carried away a number of captives. Among them were a mother and her infant child.  When they reached the little stream flowing down from Sewellsville, they killed the child, leaving its body lying upon the ground.  Having crossed the ridge that separates the two branches, they killed the mother. Wolves devoured both bodies, leaving nothing of either except the skull.  The skulls were afterwards found on the banks of the two streams which have since been called Little Skull Fork and Big Skull Fork.

     Pioneers of the Township.—The story of Edward Carpenter who settled here in 1807 is told in this chapter.

     Robert Wilkin, who came to America from Ireland, in 1773, settled near Edward Carpenter about the year 1807.  On August 9, 1815, he platted a town, naming it Londonderry in honor of his father’s birthplace in Ireland. The next year the township was formed and given the same name.  He was the father of thirteen children. One died in infancy, but the others lived to be men and women, married, and became the parents of ninety-one children.  Notwithstanding the great number of descendants of the founder, no person bearing his name is living in Londonderry today.

     The Smith family came in 1812 and settled in the northeastern part of the township.  The country was covered with dense woods at that time. There were other settlers, their cabins being three or more miles apart.

     In 1813 the Downer family came from Pennsylvania. The twelve children have descendants in the township today.

     More than forty persons who had reached the age of seventy-six years or more, were living in the township sixty years after it had been established.  The list of them, which follows, shows several pioneer family names: Robert Blackwood, Samuel Bratton, Turner G. Brown, Mrs. H. Briggs, Jacob Baker, Henry Briggs, Edward Carpenter, Henry Crusoe, R. F. Campbell, Robert Campbell, Mrs. C. Carpenter, Mrs. E. Davis, Mrs. Decker, Mrs. J. Francy, William Francy, Jackson Gracy, Andrew Hyde, William Hartgrave, Mrs. Sarah Hunt, Mrs. Ingle, Joel Kirk, Mrs. J. Kirk, John Logan, Mrs. A. Logan, Robert Madden, Mrs. S. Madden, Mrs. S. McElroy, Mrs. E. Mack, William Morrow, Mrs. E. Rankins, Mrs. S. Rosegrants, Mrs. Romans, Simon Rosegrants, Mrs. S. Smith, Mrs. S. B. Smith, S. B. Smith, James Thwaite, Samuel Wilkin, Mrs. J. Walker, M. Walker, Mrs. S. Wilkin and William Wilson.

     Population.—1820, 902; 1830, 1,666; 1840, 1,629; 1850, 1,548; 1860, 1,474; 1870, 1,313; 1880, 1,320; 1890, 1,244; 1900, 1,141; 1910, 1,009; 1920, 845; 1930, 763.

     Londonderry, the village platted by Robert Wilkin on the Steubenville road, did not flourish as the founder expected.  It s population in 1830 was 54; in 1850, 93; in 1860, 67 and in 1870, 69.  In 1870 J. Stewart and Company had a general store there; B. Davidson, a harness shop; Samuel Bratton, a tavern; and James McBride, a grist mill.  The town now has two churches, tow stores and a restaurant.

     The owner of a certain farm in the western part of the township may not know that John Bickham and James Welsh laid out a town named Martinsburg on it.  May 17, 1816.  It was located in that part of Madison, that was cut off to help form Londonderry township. The plat shows that Main street in Martinsburg was sixty-six feet wide.  No further records of the town could be found.

     Churches.—There are now three active churches in the township McCoy’s Methodist Episcopal in the southeastern part, and a Methodist Episcopal and a United Presbyterian church in Londonderry.  A Covenanter church once active in the town has “been abandoned and the building moved away.

     A group of Quakers settled in the eastern part of the township and built a log meeting house there in 1819.  It was destroyed by fire in 1857, and a small frame structure was erected. This was replaced by a larger one in 1880, which was destroyed by fire a few years later and never replaced. Outside the Quaker City community, this is the only part of Guernsey county in which the Quakers have had a meeting house.  Many years ago a church called the Old Chapel stood near the Yankee Point schoolhouse on Little Skull Fork creek.

     At each of the two churches in Londonderry is a cemetery. There are burial grounds at McCoy’s, and where the Quaker meeting-house and Old Chapel stood.

     Rural Carriers Deliver the Mail.—Mail is distributed to the people over rural routes from Quaker City, Freeport and Piedmont. There was once a postoffice at Londonderry, to which mail was brought over a star route between Cadiz and Cambridge on the Steubenville road. As it was difficult for the people in the southern part of the township to reach Londonderry when the roads were bad, the privilege of establishing postoffices at Skull Fork and Bond’s was granted by the government.  Mail was brought to these places by carriers who offered their services free for one year as an inducement for the postal department to grant the offices.  Another postoffice was kept at Oak Grove near the Belmont county line.

     Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—One hundred years ago (1840) the farms of Londonderry township were owned by the persons named below.  The list is complete. It shows the number of acres in each farm and the section in which it was located.  Many of the owners entered the land. On some of the farms descendants of these original pioneers are living today.

     Atherton, James, 79 acres, sec. 22; Anderson, Thomas, 55 acres, sec. 17; Atherton, David, 159 acres, sec. 28; Aten, John, 159 acres, sec. 23; Alexander, Thomas, 154 acres, sec. 10; Arnold, William, 78 acres, sec. 4; Armstrong, Robert, 105 acres, sec. 5; Anderson, George, 40 acres, sec. 16; Aududle, Elias, 23 acres, sec. 11; Bond, Larkin, 184 acres, sec. 12 and 13; Bond, Charles, 145 acres, sec. 12; Brown, James, 50 acres, sec. 10 and 27; Barkhurst, James, 138 acres, sec. 22 and 23; Beggs, William, 79 acres, sec. 22; Burnside, William, 239 acres, sec. 15; Bond, Joshua, 233 acres, sec. 11, 13 and 19; Barlow, Zachariah, 147 acres, sec. 18; Boyd, William, 50 acres, sec. 11; Barber, Abraham, 160 acres, sec. 1; Bell, Robert, 157 acres, sec. 28; Brown, Turner G., 155 acres, sec. 11; Beam, Christian, 136 acres, sec. 36; Barrett, Joseph, 160 acres, sec. 28; Bowers, Josiah, 65 acres, sec. 34; Boyd, Matthew, 3 acres, sec. 5; Brower, Emanuel, 53 acres, sec. 17; Boyd, Benjamin, 2 acres, sec. 18; Brower, John, 48 acres, sec. 18; Baker, Jacob, 109 acres, sec. 8; Barkhead, Thomas, 108 acres, sec. 11.

     Campbell, William, 14 acres, sec. 28 and 30; Cox, Alexander, 160 acres, sec. 23; Cunningham, William, 155 acres, sec. 18 and 19; Chandler, Levithin, 85 acres, sec. 1; Cruiser, Henry, 156 acres, sec. 4; Carpenter, Edward (Heirs), 119 acres, sec. 26; Carpenter, Edward, 80 acres, sec. 27; Carpenter, George, 120 acres, sec. 27; Carey, John, 288 acres, sec. 26; Campbell, John, 72 acres, sec. 30; Campbell, Robert, Jr., 77 acres, sec. 30; Campbell, Robert F., 80 acres, sec. 28; Campbell, Robert, Sr., 76 acres, sec. 30; Carroll, David, 69 acres, sec. 16 and 17; Clary, William, 153 acres, sec. 12; Cox, Church, 165 acres, sec. 29; Duncan, James, 30 acres, sec. 15; Duncan, James (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 27; Decker, John, 79 acres, sec. 27; Decker, Joseph, 163 acres, sec. 13; Downard, Daniel, 136 acres, sec. 36; Dryden, Robert, 146 acres, sec. 33; Dillon, Henry, 154 acres, sec. 10; Dunbar, John, Sr., 316 acres, sec. 11; Dunbar, John, Jr., 77 acres, sec. 5; Downard, David, 150 acres, sec. 5; Duncan, Adam, 160 acres, sec. 25 and 32.

     Francey, William, 76 acres, sec. 29; Foreman, John, 55 acres, sec. 5; Forrest, Archibald, 80 acres, sec. 16; Fresh, George, 62 acres, sec. 11; Forrest, James, 2 acres, sec. 28; Glasgow, Arthur, 160 acres, sec. 14; Gray, George, 153 acres, sec. 15; Gray, John, 77 acres, sec. 6; George, Simpson, 138 acres, sec. 22; Gardner, Thomas, 21 acres, sec. 16; Gardner, Thomas, Sr., 80 acres, sec. 22; Gardner, Thomas, Jr., 80 acres, sec. 16; Griffith, George, 160 acres, sec. 5; Gamble, William, 48 acres, sec. 31; Galbraith, James, 143 acres, sec. 30.

     Hunt, John, 144 acres, sec. 12; Hill, Margaret, 56 acres, sec. 25; Hyde, Andrew, 80 acres, sec. 1; Hiscox, Peter (Heirs), 155 acres, sec. 33; Hibbs, William, Sr., 160 acres, sec. 1; Hibbs, William (Heirs), 130 acres, sec. 8; Hibbs, William of Val, 136 acres, sec. 15; Hibbs, William, Jr., 50 acres, sec. 7; Hibbs, Benjamin, 80 acres, sec. 3; Hibbs, Valentine, Jr., 78 acres, sec. 6; Hollett, George, 80 acres, sec. 9; Hamilton, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 13; Holloway, Robert, 100 acres, sec. 2; Holloway, Aaron, 60 acres, sec. 2; Henry, Michael, 80 acres, sec. 14; Hutchison, James, 156 acres, sec. 21; Hartman, Christian, 40 acres, sec. 25; Hotchkiss, Castle, 14 acres, sec. 31; Irons, Joseph, 90 acres, sec. 34; Johnson, Thomas, 257 acres, sec. 17, 23 and 24; Johnson, Thomas, Sr., 140 acres, sec. 29; Jameson, John B., 50 acres, sec. 31; James, George, 81 acres, sec. 7 and 8.

     Karr, Andrew, 90 acres, sec. 25; Karr, John, 159 acres, sec. 20; Karnahan, William, 156 acres, sec. 31; Kirk, William, 128 acres, sec. 2; Lemmon, John, 160 acres, sec. 16; Law, James, 2 acres, sec. 10; Lilly, Robert, 159 acres, sec. 9; Lawrence, Alexander, 160 acres, sec. 19; Lindsey, Thomas, 79 acres, sec. 22; Logan, John, Jr., 150 acres, sec. 32; Logan, John, Sr., 79 acres, sec. 21; Lawrence, James, 2 acres, sec. 20.

     Moore, Azor, 183 acres, sec. 2, 7 and 13; Moore, Mordecai, 81 acres, sec. 7; McCartney, James, 79 acres, sec. 27; Meton, Stafford, 99 acres, sec. 7; Mack, James, 75 acres, sec. 29; Mack, John, 227 acres, sec. 13, 25, 29 and 30; Mitchell, Singleton, 200 acres, sec. 11, 13 and 17; Miller, David, 155 acres, sec. 33; Morrow, William, 141 acres, sec. 23 and 24; McPherson, John, 77 acres, sec. 10; McPherson, Daniel, 74 acres, sec. 10; McBride, John, 217 acres, sec. 29 and 35; McKitrick, Joseph, 71 acres, sec. 36; McKitrick, Alexander, 70 acres, sec. 36; McPherson, Mary, 156 acres, sec. 4; McCullough, Hugh, 160 acres, sec. 27; McKinsie, Samuel, 8 acres, sec. 33; McComb, Hugh, 18 acres, sec. 20; Marshall, Benjamin, 198 acres, sec. 35; McGuire, John, 160 acres, sec. 19; Milligan, Thomas, 40 acres, sec. 19; Milligan, Robert, 160 acres, sec. 25; McPeek, Daniel, Sr., 66 acres, sec. 35; McClanahan, Robert, 80 acres, sec. 22; McCoy, James, 110 acres, sec. 17; McElroy, John, 120 acres, sec 13; Madden, Robert, 150 acres, sec. 32; McPeek, Richard, 232 acres, sec. 29 and 34; McCarrell, John, 160 acres, sec. 17; Michenor, Daniel, 159 acres, sec. 3; McPeek, John, 62 acres, sec. 34; Meredith, George, 167 acres, sec. 19 and 24.

     Nelson, Thomas, 156 acres, sec. 4; Nichol, Thomas, 27 acres, sec. 21; Nichol, William, 51 acres, sec. 21; Neal, Sarah, 151 acres, sec. 32; Orr, William A., 78 acres, sec. 4; Orr, Robert (Heirs), 158 acres, sec. 4 and 14; Paisley, Benjamin, 44 acres, sec. 31; Palmer, Richard, 115 acres, sec. 7; Pulley, Adam, 155 acres, sec. 34; Pitman, Uriah, 157 acres, sec. 6; Roach, William, 10 acres, sec. 23; Romans, Jacob, 80 acres, sec. 9; Rowley, George, 160 acres, sec. 16; Ridgeway, Basil, 147 acres, sec. 6; Romans, Evans, 75 acres, sec. 1; Ratcliffe, John, 240 acres, sec. 9; Ratcliffe, William, 80 acres, sec. 8.

     Shephard, Hudson, 69 acres, sec. 5; Smith, Amos, Sr., 295 acres, sec. 2 and 3; Shipley, Rezin, 70 acres, sec. 25; Smith, Benjamin, 81 acres, sec. 3; Scott, John, 72 acres, sec. 35; Shipley, Ezekiel, 112 acres, sec. 19; Stevens, James, Sr., 139 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Smith, John M., 78 acres, sec. 2; Smith, George, 80 acres, sec. 8; Smith, Andrew, 100 acres, sec. 31; Scott, Martha, 60 acres, sec. 35; Smith, John, 73 acres, sec. 34; Smith, Samuel, 82 acres, sec. 3; Smith, Robert, 156 acres, sec. 7; Steeth, James, 156 acres, sec. 31; Stockdale, John, 68 acres, sec. 36; Stockdale, Robert, 68 acres, sec. 36; Savage, Henry (Heirs), 80 acres, sec. 14; Stewart, John, 187 acres, sec. 14, 20, 21 and 31; Skinner, Charles, 149 acres, sec. 15; Sankey, James, 280 acres, sec. 20; Smith, Nathan, 79 acres, sec. 2; Schooley, Phineas, 80 aces, sec. 8; Smith, Ebenezer, 14 acres, sec. 26; Stewart, James, 3 acres, sec. 26.

     Tracy, William, 160 acres, sec. 3; Todd, Thomas, 159 acres, sec. 26; Tidrick, Daniel (Heirs), 318 acres, sec. 26; Thomas, Jonathan (Heirs), 79 acres, sec. 21; Thompson, Samuel, 80 acres, sec. 16; Valentine, Jeremiah, 15 acres, sec. 34; Wilkins, Archibald, 127 acres, sec. 6; Wilkins, Samuel, 119 acres, sec. 21; Walker, George, 136 acres, sec. 8; Woods, James, 155 acres, sec. 10; Wright, William, 1 acre, sec. 3; Whittle, William, 80 acres, sec. 5; Wilkins, William, 173 acres, sec. 20 and 21; Wherry, David, 129 acres, sec. 23; Young, George, 110 acres, sec. 5 and 6.

     In the platted town of Londonderry the following persons owned lots; James Anderson, Alexander Arneal, William Beymer, Robert Baxter, James Blair, John Beymer, Hannah Baker, George Baker, James Brown, John Carpenter, John Clabaugh, Johnson Dick, Thomas Ford, David Hull, John Kell, John Kendall, James Lawrence, Alexander Lawrence, Hugh McComb, John Rankin, Ebenezer Smith, Lewis Shipley, James Stewart, James Sankey, William Tedrick, William Tracy, Thomas Wilkins and Robert Wilkins. 

     An Indian Mound.—Earthwork evidences of a prehistoric people are not as numerous in Guernsey county as in some other counties of Southeastern Ohio. But in nearly every township, however, flint arrow heads and various stone weapons have been found, indicating the presence here in past time of a race of people who had departed before the advent of the white men. Archaeologists today generally agree that these prehistoric people known as Mound Builders were early Indians. On many of the flat ridges in Guernsey county the pioneers discovered great numbers of arrow heads after they had cleared and plowed the land.  It is reasonable to believe that these ridges were the scenes of battles or the locations of camps or towns. In such places one may yet find arrow heads.

     Near the Steubenville road, a short distance west of Londonderry, was a mound some twelve or fifteen feet in diameter and three or four feet high, symmetrical in formation.  Near the mound were picked up many arrow heads and a number of stone weapons. The mound was explored several years ago and found to contain a skeleton and various stone implements and ornaments. Although the bones were greatly disintegrated their lengths could be determined. They were much longer than the corresponding bones of an average man today. The person buried in the mound was evidently of great height.

     A Ghost Story.—Londonderry, like many other places, had its haunted spot in early days.  It was located just west of the Tedrick farm on the Steubenville road.  Here in the nighttime would frequently be seen a headless man wandering aimlessly around in the forest. Not only did some of the superstitious report seeing the ghostlike person, but such trustworthy citizens of the community as David Downer, Aaron Carpenter, Henry Williams, William Baxter, John Bickham, Lewis Shipley and Hugh McCombs declared that they, too, had seen the mysterious character.  Many persons would not pass the place at night. Some reported that they had dreamed three nights in succession of finding a pot of gold there.

     In pioneer days produce was carried down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on flat-boats from Pittsburgh and points below to New Orleans.  Here the owner would sell both the cargo and the boat, buy a horse, and return with his gold and silver in saddle-bags.  The return trip was made over the Wilderness Road to Kentucky, thence over Zane’s Trace through Ohio. Those returning would often leave the latter thoroughfare at Cambridge and follow Carpenter’s trail (the Steubenville road) to Pittsburgh. The flat-boat hands usually walked back, some of them making the journey within three or four weeks. The whole route, especially the Wilderness Road, was infested by robbers. For protection the merchants would travel back in companies of five or six, armed with flint-lock muskets, pistols and knives. One would occasionally travel alone, especially on the later part of the journey.

     One morning a riderless horse was found at the place west of Londonderry where the ghost was afterwards seen.  It was bridled and saddled. The saddle-bags it bore had been cut open and the contents removed. There was evidence of a struggle near by.  Although a search and inquiries were made, the owner was never found.   It was believed that he was a merchant returning from New Orleans, and that he had been attacked by robbers at this lonely place in the forest. The incident caused great excitement amongst the settlers of the community. So often was it told around the fireside that many came to imagine they would see the murdered man, when passing the place at night. The dreaming of finding gold prompted some to dig for it near the place the horse was found.

     Londonderry Industries.—Two industries of Londonderry in its early days were a foundry and a powder mill. Quantities of gun-powder, much needed by the pioneer, were manufactured by a simple process after the discovery of saltpeter of a high grade in a cave near by. Charcoal, another ingredient of the powder, was obtained by burning wood covered with earth.

     Wool was carded, spun and woven into jeans cloth, and, mixed with flax, into linsey-woolsey.  A method of fulling the cloth was to place it on the floor in the center of a room around which eight or ten men sat on chairs.  The men would tramp the cloth with their bare feet as water was poured upon it.

     Early Days in Londonderry.—W. A. Carpenter, great-grandson of John Carpenter, was born in Londonderry in 1847, attended Monmouth College, passed the bar examination, served as a justice of the peace for twelve years, and practiced law in Cambridge. He collected and preserved in a journal many incidents of the early days in Londonderry.  We are indebted to Mrs. A. D. Hyde and Mrs. Johnson G. Stuart, daughters of Mr. Carpenter, for the use of the journal in preparing the following and the story of the Carpenters in this chapter.

     In the fall of 1812 the Carpenters killed 145 deer in the woods near their home.   Wild turkeys were so plentiful that as many as two dozen would be shot from their roosts in a single night. Bears prowled around the cabin after dark, and wolves destroyed the pigs and sheep. A horse belonging to Edward Carpenter died. He used the carcass to bait traps which he set near Skull Fork creek and Atkinson run, and caught sixteen wolves. As a bounty of four dollars was paid for each wolf scalp, he realized enough from the carcass to buy two horses.

     Two of the Johnson boys, one fourteen and the other twelve years of age, set a large double-spring trap for bear. To the trap was attached a chain about two feet in length, at the end of which was fastened a grapnel-hook.  Visiting the trap two or three days later, they discovered that it had been dragged away, evidently by a bear which left a trail that was easy to follow. It was seen that the hook, as it was dragged along, had caught on roots and saplings; these had been gnawed off. The trail showed in some places that heaps of brush, collected by the hook, had been dragged along. Three miles from the place the trap had been set the boys overtook the bear.  It had climbed a hickory tree, the hook had caught on a limb and the bear could neither climb higher nor descend.

     One of the boys went home for a gun—a glint-lock musket. Upon his return he found that the flint was lost. The other boy then went for some lighted punk. While one held the gun aimed at the bear’s head the other applied the lighted punk to the powder in the pan. The shot killed the bear which, of course, remained high in the tree. A trip home was made for axes.  When they cut the tree they found the bear too heavy for them to drag home. Not yet ready to admit failure they went back for a horse and sled.  Just as the sun set they drove up to the cabin door with the bear, having spent the entire day in the pursuit, capture and delivery home.

     One of the Davidson boys, who became a preacher, and some others of the Londonderry neighborhood went bear hunting. They came to a very large oak tree which seemed to be hollow. About forty feet from the ground was a large hole in the tree. From scratches on the bark Davidson reasoned that a bear had climbed the tree and entered it through the hole. He volunteered to climb to the opening and drop a chunk of lighted punk within.  This would bring the bear out if one was there. The beast, it was supposed, would be sleeping near the bottom and Davidson would have time to descend before it could emerge.

     But the bear was not sleeping. Scarcely had Davidson withdrawn his hand from the hole before the bear thrust his nose out. Both Davidson and the bear began a rapid descent, Davidson below the bear. The clumsy bear lost his grip and fell to the ground, carrying Davidson with him. The men and dogs engaged in a fight with the bear which succeeded in getting three hundred yards from the tree before yielding to the shots and blows. They then returned to the tree where they found Davidson sitting up but I such a bruised condition as to need assistance in reaching his home.

     Squirrels were so numerous as to become pests. Sometimes a whole army of them would raid and destroy a cornfield. In the fall of 1818 a great squirrel hunt was held. The men and boys living east of Stillwater creek organized to contest with those on the west side. It was agreed that the losing side should pay the expenses of a supper. The individual killing the greatest number of squirrels was to receive a powder horn and bullet pouch. Wagons were used to haul the squirrels to Freeport where the supper was held. Nearly 2,000 squirrels—all that were needed—were delivered before noon. In the afternoon the hunters were instructed to take the tails only, leaving the bodies in the woods.

     The west side, which included the Londonderry hunters, won in the contest. The powder horn and bullet pouch were awarded a man named McGrath.  In a shooting match to determine the best marksman John Carpenter was the winner. After several had failed to hit a squirrel in the top of a hickory, 150 feet from the ground, the old Indian hunter cocked his gun, raised it rapidly with his eye fixed on the squirrel and fired. The squirrel dropped and the hunters gave the old man a hearty cheer.

     Pioneer Life.—Hard times were experienced by the Londonderry pioneers between 1815 and 1825. Wheat sold as low as twelve and one-half cents per bushel. When we consider that the grain was sown by hand, reaped with a sickle and threshed with a flail, we realize how little the farmer was compensated for his work. Cows brought ten dollar, and horses twenty-vive dollars a head.  A man was paid twenty-five cents for making and laying up one hundred rails; in fact, only a few could afford to pay that much. Edward Carpenter, Jr. never owned a hat until he was twelve years old. He burned this while attempting to start a fire in a brush heap and it was two years before his father would get him another. Most men went barehead in summer and wore coon-skin caps in winter. Buckskin clothing was worn by the men. Some wore homespun when they went to church. They went barefoot in summer or wore moccasins of their own make.  Not infrequently would both bride and groom appear in their bare feet at their wedding.

     Women worked in the fields and woods along with the men. Some of them could wield an ax or a maul almost as well as a man. Two of the Wilkin girls, it was said, aimed to make a hundred rails each a day. To show what they could do they one day felled the timber, cut it into the proper lengths, and together split 400 rails.

      Among the first settlers were immigrants from Ireland and Scotland.  They were members of the Covenanter, Seceder and Associate Reformed churches. The first church was established southwest of Londonderry and was known as the “Old Tent.’  The members were governed by the Confession of Faith. They were strict Sabbath observers. Among them were the McCartneys, Wilkins, Sankeys, Cunninghams, Stockdales, McCreas, McKitricks. This church was afterwards moved to Antrim and Dr. Samuel Findley installed as its pastor.

     The First Crop of Wheat.—Having cleared two acres of ground, Edward Carpenter, Sr. sowed the first wheat in Londonderry township. When it had ripened the next summer he cut it with a sickle and threshed some of it with a flail.   To remove the chaff from the grain he poured the wheat from one vessel to another while two men kept the air in motion by flapping a sheet.

     Bread made from wheat was hitherto unknown in the Carpenter home.  Some of the children had never tasted it; their only bread had been made of corn.  It is needless to say that the family eagerly awaited the return of two of the boys who took some of the wheat to have it ground at a mill ten or fifteen miles away. The boys brought the flour home and the mother began making biscuits for supper—a great quantity of them.  Nothing in the bread line had ever tasted so good to the Carpenters. But before all had been served the first to eat complained of feeling sick, and soon all were ill. The flour had been made from what the pioneers called “sick wheat,” caused by a poisonous red mite in the end of the grain. Even the stock to which the wheat was fed became sick. The crop was a total loss.

     For another year the Carpenter family ate corn bread, mush and hominy. The white breasts of wild turkeys which were plentiful served as a substitute for white bread. The next year a crop of wheat on the same ground proved to be free from disease.


Carpenters the Pioneers of Londonderry


     At the western edge of the unincorporated village of Londonderry, crossed by the William Penn highway, is the quarter section of land entered by Edward Carpenter and family, the first settlers of what is now Londonderry township. The history of the Carpenter family is an eventful one, and is closely connected with the early history of Eastern Ohio.

     John Carpenter.—John Carpenter, who was the first of this Carpenter family in America, was born in England. He came to Virginia between 1750 and 1760 and settled on a plantation near the home of George Washington.  He fought with Washington in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.  Near the close of the latter Washington sent him west of the Alleghenies to assist the settlers in fighting the Indians who had become allies of the British.  Here he became an associate of Lewis Wetzel, the Zanes and other famous frontiersmen. His adventures would fill a volume.  He was a short-legged, heavy-set man. Washington once said of him that, as he could not run fast, the British or Indians would eventually get him.  But Carpenter was not the kind of man who would run from an enemy; he would rather stand and fight.

     Of Nancy, his wife, two stories have been told.  It was said that a French settlement was raided by the Indians and every inhabitant massacred except one baby girl who was overlooked. She was discovered a short time afterwards by some English soldiers who came on the scene, and taken to Virginia where she was reared. Who her parents were was never learned. She was named Nancy, the only name she bore until she reached young womanhood and married John Carpenter, about the year 1770.

     According to another story John Carpenter was a member of a party on an expedition against the Indians in Western Virginia. They came to a burning cabin which the Indians had just left. Rushing into the cabin, Carpenter found a young woman lying on a bed, her face covered with blood from a tomahawk wound.  Her husband had been killed. Carpenter bore her from the cabin. She recovered and became the wife of her deliverer.

     John Carpenter was amongst the first, if not the very first white man, to settle west of the Ohio River.  His cabin was located at the mouth of Short creek, below the present site of Steubenville.  It was afterwards strengthened and known as Carpenter’s fort.  Carpenter started to Fort Pitt one day with two pack horses to obtain a supply of salt for the fort at the mouth of Short creek. He was captured by Indians and taken to their town which was Sandusky. He afterwards recalled that they passed through the present Londonderry township and turned north to the Moravian Indian town of Gnadenhutten.  Here they traded Carpenter’s clothing for Indian garb. The Moravians were peaceful Christian Indians.

     Carpenter’s disappearance gave rise to the belief in the settlement that he had been killed by Indians. When some soldiers visited the Moravian town later and discovered his clothing there they felt certain that this had been his fate, and that the Moravian Indians were the guilty ones. Indians from west of the Ohio River had been raiding settlements in Western Pennsylvania, and had killed all the members of the William Wallace family. At Gnadenhutten the soldiers found clothing that had belonged to this family.  A short time after this the Moravian massacre occurred, when ninety men, women and children were murdered by soldiers under Col. David Williamson. A court of inquiry was called at Fort Pitt to determine why this, the most cruel tragedy in early history of Ohio had been enacted. The actors attempted to exculpate themselves from blame by exhibiting the clothing from in the village. This evidence of the Moravians’ guilt, they claimed, prompted them to make the attack. John Carpenter was summoned as a witness for the accused. He identified the clothing as his won, but explained how the Moravians came to possess it.

     Two weeks after Carpenter’s capture the party of Indians reached Sandusky with him.  Knowing of his reputation as a fighter, they wished to adopt him as a member of their tribe, as did Indians try to adopt Boone and Kenton when they once captured them. Believing it wise to appear pleased with their plan, Carpenter so conducted himself as to gain their confidence.  He was allowed the freedom of the town and occasionally sent outside for the horses.  On such an errand one day he found that they had strayed farther away than usual, and he decided this to be an opportune time to attempt escape.  He mounted one of the horses and rode towards home, reaching Fort Pitt after several days almost starved and exhausted.

     Nancy Kills an Indian.—John and Nancy Carpenter were one day hoeing in a truck-patch back of their cabin at the mouth of Short creek. Two Indians crept out from the woods and fired at John and two bullets passed entirely through his body.  One of them rushed forward to scalp him while the other attempted to reach Nancy. Neither carried a loaded gun. Nancy was a stout resolute woman with the courage that characterized many of her sex in pioneer days. With a heavy hoe that she had been using she struck the Indian on the head as he was climbing the fence and he dropped to the ground; with a few more blows she ended his life. Edward, their oldest son, rushed out at that moment and the remaining Indian fled.  John Carpenter soon recovered.

     In 1797 the Carpenters moved from the fort to Stillwater creek near the present site of Smyrna. From here John Carpenter moved to what is now Coshocton county, leaving the farm in change of his son, Edward.

     Carpenter’s Trail.—In 1801 Edward Carpenter took a government contract to cut out a road from Stillwater creek, through what is now Guernsey county to Salt Fork creek, seven miles northeast of the Wills creek crossing (Cambridge).   For this work he received $300, or less than twenty dollars a mile. Improvements on this same section of road a few years ago cost more than $20,000 a mile. But a century of progress lay between Carpenter’s trail and the William Penn Highway.  Between 1803 and 1805 Zaccheus Biggs extended the road to the Wills creek crossing, connecting it with Zane’s Trace.  Biggs and Zaccheus A. Beatty had just laid out the town of Cadiz and had purchased the land upon which Cambridge was afterwards platted. As there was already a road from Cadiz to Steubenville, one returning from New Orleans by way of the Wilderness Road and Zane’s Trace could leave the latter at the Wills creek crossing and reach Pittsburgh by a nearer route than through Wheeling. By 1811 Carpenter’s trail had become a good wagon road. It was long known as the Steubenville road.

     Carpenter Moves to Londonderry.—While cutting the trail Edward Carpenter noticed a good location for a home on a ridge in what was then Belmont county but now Londonderry township, Guernsey county.  Not withstanding the fact that the place was in the midst of an unbroken forest, far from any white settlement, he entered 160 acres, brought his family there and erected a cabin. The cabin was built of round logs with the bark on, was covered with a clapboard roof weighted with poles, and was floored with puncheon timber. The first night they occupied the cabin the snow blew in through the cracks and covered the bed to a depth of two inches. A year or two later they built an addition to their home and opened a tavern. Edward Carpenter lived on this farm until his death which occurred in 1827.

     Edward Carpenter, Jr. was born in 1802, and became owner of the farm at the death of his father.  He died in 1882.  W. A. Carpenter was the son of Edward, Jr.  Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Hyde, the latter being W. A. Carpenter’s daughter, now (1942) live on the original Carpenter farm.

     The Carpenter family is large and widely scattered  John Carpenter was the father of seventeen children, there being two sets of twins and one of triplets; Edward, Sr. was the father of fourteen, there being two sets of twins; Edward Jr. was the father of twelve, there being one set of twins; and W. A. was the father of eight, there being one set of twins.


The Londonderry Spy


     Among the Guernsey county pioneer tales of adventure none is more remarkable than that of Henry Williams, the Londonderry spy.   For the data used in the construction of this story we are indebted to Mrs. A. D. Hyde, of Londonderry, and her uncle, William Whittington.  Mrs. Hyde, a descendant of Edward Carpenter, Sr., whose daughter Henry Williams married, has in her possession a faded manuscript written by her grandfather, Edward Carpenter, Jr., which tells a part of the story. William Whittington, now in his ninetieth year, a relative of Henry Williams, has supplied the remainder from what he heard from the older members of the family when he was a boy.

     Son of an Indian Chief.—Before Guernsey county was settled a young woman living east of the Ohio River was taken captive by the Indians and carried away to their village.  Much against her will she was forced into marriage with the chief of the tribe who had become infatuated with her. She was so unhappy in her captivity that she was ever watching for some means of escape.

     One dark night nearly all the men left the village, perhaps to attend a council of war.  Taking advantage of their absence, she slipped out unseen and fled through the dense forest in the direction she believed her home to be.  For several days and nights she traveled on, scarcely daring to rest for fear that the Indians, returning to the village and discovering her escape, would trail and overtake her.

     At length she came to a settlement which, it is believed, was the one in which she had lived. Her clothing was torn to shreds, her body was bruised and the flesh lacerated by briars, and she was nearly exhausted.  As she attempted to climb a fence around a truck patch at the outskirts of the settlement, she was grabbed by two Indians who had been following her.  Attracted by her screams, some of the settlers rushed out and the Indians fled.

     The sick and hungry woman was cared for by friends. A few weeks after her return she gave birth to a baby boy, the son of the Indian chief. She named him Henry Williams.

     When this half-Indian boy became old enough to learn of the cruel treatment his mother had received from the Indians, he vowed he would forever be their enemy and that he would fight them at every opportunity.  He came into what is now Londonderry township, Guernsey county, Ohio, and married Nancy Carpenter, daughter of Edward Carpenter who had settled there in 1807.

     Enlists in the Army.—The War of 1812 opened. British emissaries succeeded in arousing the Indians against the Americans. His hatred of the Indians, for the reason we have stated, prompted Henry Williams to enlist in the American Army.  Here was an opportunity to avenge the insult to his mother.

     The Indian traits inherited from his father fitted him to render valuable service as a spy. The American army officials sent him into Canada to gather information concerning the relations of certain Indian tribes with the British. He returned with a report and afterwards made a second trip into the enemy’s country.  Near Quebec he was captured and taken before the British officers.

     Received the Death Sentence.—Accused of being a spy, tried and found guilty, Williams was sentenced to death. An inhuman method of execution was ordered; he was to be given 999 lashes with a cat-o’-nine-tails on his bare back. This would not only kill him, but it would subject him to prolonged excruciating pain before relief would come by death. Burning at the stake would have been as merciful.

     The victim’s clothing was removed and he was tied to a post with ropes. He swooned away long before the entire number of lashes had been laid upon him, but the beating continued. Believing him dead, his enemies left him. Some friends found him still living and carried him away.  Although the flesh of his back had been cut off by the lashing, he slowly responded to the treatment administered by a friendly doctor. Two years after this inhuman punishment he had recovered sufficiently to return to his home in Londonderry.

     His back never healed. The flesh was sensitive to the least pressure. He never wore a shirt when working, as he could not bear the touch of it on his back. His suffering was intense and he did not live long after the war.  His body lies in an unmarked grave on the old Carpenter farm immediately west of Londonderry village.  Nancy Williams, his wife, died in 1828.

     William Whittington.—It has been erroneously stated that William Whittington, whose grave is in the Londonderry cemetery, was the Londonderry spy. That the spy was Henry Williams is proven by the old manuscript left by Edward Carpenter; also by the present aged William Whittington, who is a descendant of the William Whittington, the veteran of the War of 1812.

     Henry and Nancy Williams left three children—Henry, Jr., Edward and Betsy. At the death of Nancy Williams, Henry, Jr. was taken into the home of Edward Carpenter, his uncle, and there reared.  It is not known what became of Edward and Betsy.  Henry, Jr. married Betsy Whittington, daughter of the soldier.  It is probable that his family connection gave rise to the story that the Londonderry spy was William Whittington.

     There are no descendants of Henry Williams in Londonderry today. The exact location of his grave on the Carpenter farm is unknown. However, it is believed to be by the side of that of his wife. Perhaps it will some day be discovered and a suitable marker erected to the memory of the man whose adventures have never been surpassed by any other citizen of Guernsey county.


Thomas Brown


     A Londonderry Boy.—From a Londonderry farm and rural school to the very threshold of a President’s cabinet—this, in brief, is the story of a Guernsey county boy whose name is now scarcely, if at all known in the county that gave him birth.  If we were asked to tell more about this Guernsey county boy, we might add that he was a teacher, an attorney, a journalist and a politician; that he established the great daily paper known as The Cleveland Leader—now The Cleveland News; that he was the founder of The Ohio Farmer, one of the leading agricultural journals of the United States; that he supervised the United States Mint at San Francisco; that he was special agent of the United States Treasury in New York City. Had he not died at the early age of forty-eight, he undoubtedly would have risen to greater heights.

     This boy was Thomas Brown who attended the Londonderry school and later taught there. His father, Turner G. Brown, came to Londonderry in 1817. Here Thomas was born in 1819.

     What the New York Tribune Said.—Following is an editorial copied from The New York Tribune of June 14, 1867, Horace Greeley, editor:

     “Mr. Thomas Brown, for several years a well known Western journalist, and lately connected with the United States Treasury Department, died in Brooklyn on Thursday, the 13th inst., of typhoid fever.   Mr. Brown was a son of Hon. Turner G. Brown, of Londonderry, Guernsey county, Ohio, and was born and passed the earlier years of his life on his father’s farm. For some time he taught school, and then entered Franklin College. After graduating, he studied law in Cleveland, and practiced there a short time, in connection with the Hon. Samuel Williamson, now member of the Ohio State Senate.

     “Mr. Brown took a prominent part in the Free-Soil movement of 1848, and in 1850 he abandoned the profession of the law, and in connection with John C. Vaughn established The True Democrat, the Free-Soil organ of Northern Ohio.  In 1853 he withdrew from The Democrat, which, in the course of the next year, became The Cleveland Leader, and established The Ohio Farmer.

     “At that time he became a warm personal friend of Hon. Salmon P. Chase, and on that gentleman’s succession to the Treasury Mr. Brown was appointed special agent of the Treasury Department for the Pacific coast. In that capacity he first went to San Francisco in 1865, and while there he settled many irregularities in the management of the United States Mint, Marine Hospital, and Custom House.  After his return to this city, he acted for some time as Private Secretary to Collector Smythe, and at the time of his death was Supervisor and special Agent in this city.

     “His success in the transaction of the business intrusted to him has been so marked, and has brought him so favorably to the notice of the Department, that his name has been more than once prominently mentioned for the place of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

     “In politics Mr. Brown has always been a Radical. His personal acquaintance embraced nearly all the prominent men in all sections of the country. His death will be deeply regretted by thousands. A man of kindliest impulses and most generous heart, it was impossible to know him without liking him.  He possessed social qualities of the highest order, and, as a writer and thinker, was usually successful. His strict integrity and devotion to principle were unimpeachable.  His age at the time of his death was about forty-eight. His remains have been taken to Cleveland for interment.”


     Sons of Thomas Brown.—Mr. S. A. Smith, Freeport, R. D. 3, has furnished the following information concerning the Brown Family:


     “When Thomas Brown died he left two sons, Colvin and turner, who were born about 1864 and 1866, respectively.  After Mr. Brown’s death (in 1867), the widow resided in Cleveland. The two boys would spend their summer vacations on the farm of their grandfather (Turner G. Brown), which adjoined the lands of my grandfather in Londonderry township.

     “The boys were my playmates on different occasions, when I was visiting my grandparents. Turner was about my age. They were fine playmates and I got a lot of information from them about the city.  I think they attended a private school in Cleveland. They used good language in their conversation and appeared to be somewhat aristocratic.

     “Turner G. Brown, Sr. was one of the three associate judges of Guernsey county for a period of six years, or more. One day, when we were playing near the Brown home, the judge came out where we were, dressed in a long robe and looking very dignified. To be in the presence of such a sedate person embarrassed me. He was over six feet in eight and very straight for a person of his age. He inquired who I was and how I came to be there. Having been told, he expressed his approval of my presence, then told Colvin and Turner that it was time for them to receive their lesson in English.

     Judge Brown’s Family.—“Judge Brown had nine children.  In order of their ages they were Mary, Thomas, Dorcas, Walter, Levi, Columbus, Samuel, Sarah and Turner, Jr.

     “Dorcus married and lived on a ranch in Texas. During the Civil war she came home for a visit. Her father gave her three thousand dollars in gold coin, approximately her share of his estate.  Not being able to get through the Confederate lines when returning home with the gold, she boarded a ship at New York.  The vessel was sunk a short distance from the city and all on board were lost.

     “Walter became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church.  When the Civil War opened, Levi and Samuel enlisted, the former becoming a surgeon and the later a major.  Levi died form overwork; Samuel was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga.  Their bodies were brought home and buried in the family plot on the Brown farm.  They were afterwards removed to the old South cemetery in Cambridge.

     “Columbus located in Londonderry and was the father of Dr. Oscar S. Brown, who went to New Mexico and was chief surgeon for the Santa Fe Railroad.  Mary and Sarah were maiden ladies and lived to a good old age. Turner Brown, Jr., the youngest son, lived in Cambridge a number of years.

     Influential in the County.—Judge Brown and the majority of his family were peculiar to themselves.  They did not associate or visit with their neighbors, but frequently entertained visitors from a distance, mostly wealthy or prominent persons.  They were of English descent and claimed to have royal blood in their veins.

     “The judge owned 400 acres in Londonderry and Washington townships.  He was able to educate all his children and did so, giving some of them the advantages of the best schools.  His farming was mostly done with hired help who ate at a table separate from that of the family.

     “Excepting the one son, Walter, who became a minister, the members of the family, while at Londonderry, were not affiliated with any church. The judge himself was somewhat of an agnostic in religious matters and never attended church. However, he was naturally broad-minded, intellectual and very influential in the Londonderry community.”


Albert C. Gates


     “It can’t happen here,” is often said or thought by one after reading an unusual story whose stetting and characters are far away  But here is a Guernsey county story of human interest, which, although it may sound like one of Horatio Alger’s is believed to be entirely true. Some of the incidents related herein were obtained from a newspaper published many years ago; some from persons who had heard them from others. All were verified by a manuscript yellow with age, written by Edward Carpenter, of Londonderry township, a man who ought to know. ON the one hand it is the story of a family’s kindness to an orphan boy; on the other, the determination of that boy to reward his benefactors by making of himself a man of character and prominence, which he did.

     An Unfortunate German Family.—Shortly before the Civil War opened, a family consisting of a father, mother, two sons and two daughters, came from Germany to New Orleans.  One of the sons was a broad manly boy eighteen years of age; the other was a mere child. The family had heard of the wonderful opportunities America had to offer and had come here to seek their fortunes.

     Not being able to speak the English language, they were greatly handicapped in getting their new home established. Before it was done to their satisfaction, an epidemic of yellow fever swept along the lower course of the Mississippi River. The mother was taken first; then the two daughters. Finally the father succumbed.  Left along in the home were the two boys, who, for some reason, were able to escape the deadly disease.

     The Plight of Two Boys.—Bereft of father, mother and sisters, all at the same time, the boys were grief-stricken. Their unhappiness was all the worse because they were amongst strangers whose language they could neither speak nor understand, and whose interests were in their own affairs, rather than those of the unfortunate boys.

     But the worst was to come. This great country that promised so much to the German family was in trouble. The older brother could see that, even if he did not know what it was all about. Then the Civil War came on in full vigor.

     Men volunteered to fight for the southern cause, but not enough of them.  It was ordered that every able-bodied man must enter the service. The older German boy was told to go to war.

     What would he do with his little brother?  He could not leave him alone in the home. Times were hard and nobody wanted him. Families were becoming destitute and would not consider an additional member, especially an orphan who could not speak English.

     But the German boy must go to war; there were no exemptions. He did the only thing that could be done—took his brother with him. The little fellow followed his soldier brother on the march and slept by him in the camp. Then came a great battle.

     Left Alone on the Field of Vicksburg.—Among the two thousand Guernsey county men who entered the Union army was George D. Carpenter, of Londonderry. The company in which he was an officer was stationed near Vicksburg in the early summer of 1863.  Here was one of the great battles of the Civil War. The Confederates were driven from the fields.

     After the battle Carpenter passed through the scene of carnage, looking for the dead and wounded of his own command. He came to a dead Confederate lying amidst the blood and broken guns, by whose side a little boy was kneeling. Seeing Carpenter, the child ran towards him. The pathetic look of the boy who could speak no English, touched Carpenter.  He carried him to the Union camp.

     It was the German boy. The dead Confederate was the big brother.  Every member of that family who, a short time before, had come to this land of promise in anticipation of a happiness their own county did not afford, was gone, excepting this one child. He could talk understandingly to nobody. He was amongst men against whom his brother had been fighting. He was with men who were about to leave for another field of action far away.

     As he had taken him to the camp, Carpenter deemed it his duty to look after the boy. When a short time after the battle he was given a leave of absence, he brought the child to Londonderry.

     Given a Home in Londonderry.—Edward Carpenter, an uncle of George D. Carpenter, lived at Londonderry. According to the old yellow manuscript, Edward Carpenter’s home was a haven for orphan boys. Notwithstanding the fact that he had twelve children of his own, he cared for one or more orphans from the first day after settling in his own home, until the day of his death.  George D. Carpenter took the German boy to his uncle. Here he was given the kindest care.

     Not a word of English could the child speak, excepting his first name “Albert.”  He did not remember his family name, but he knew it sounded like:”Getz.”  With this information from the boy his benefactor decided to call him Albert Carpenter Gates.  In later life he was known as A. C. Gates.

     After the boy had learned to talk English, he told about the family’s coming from Germany, the yellow fever, and his going to war with his brother. He did this, of course, little at a time. As he did not know his age, the date he came to the Carpenter home was ever afterward observed by him as his birthday.

     Became a Prominent Citizen.—Carpenters loved the German orphan as their own child.  No Horatio Alger hero was ever more appreciative of a kindness than was Albert C. Gates. His desire to please his benefactors was shown in every way. Amongst the pupils of the Crab Orchard school, which he attended, he was one of the brightest and most popular. In every school activity he was a leader.

     Having obtained a certificate from the Guernsey county board of school examiners, he became a teacher in the Londonderry township rural schools. After attending Scio College he served as superintendent of schools. He later entered the United States postal service and located in Denver, Colorado. He died in California a few years ago.

     Although A. C. Gates left Guernsey county many years ago, he never forgot those who befriended him. He went to New Orleans, hoping to get information that might enable him to locate relatives in Germany, if any were there. He found nothing. His only people were the Carpenters, a few of whose descendants are now living in the Londonderry community. From them and others who know the story of A. C. Gates, we have learned how highly he was esteemed.

     Assisted Another.—After this story had been written, the writer was surprised to learn what prompts him to add this final paragraph. In Cambridge today is a prominent attorney—a man who is widely known—whose success in life may be attributed, in a measure, to the assistance given him by the German orphan boy picked up on the battlefield of Vicksburg. The oldest sister of this attorney, while in Denver, Colorado, met A. C. Gates and became his wife. The Cambridge attorney, then a youth struggling for an education, was invited to the Gates home. He remained there two years and attended the University of Denver. The encouragement and assistance of the hero of our story enabled the Cambridge boy to reach the profession to which he aspired.


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