Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe Pages 965-984




Richland Township


RICHLAND township was organized on July 28, 1810, at the house of Samuel Leath.  The twenty-eight and one-half square miles of territory within its boundaries were a part of the military district, excepting three square miles in the southwestern part, which were included in the Congress lands.

   Seneca Fork of Wills creek cuts across the southern side of the township, and Leatherwood creek, the northern. Between the two streams are fertile ridges that may have suggested the name for this political subdivision of Guernsey county.

   Early Settlers.—One of the earliest, if not the earliest settler in the township, was John Laughlin, Sr., who came there in 1808 from Pennsylvania.  Samuel M. Dilley, born in New Jersey, came with his brother to what is now Senecaville, in 1816.  Joseph Finley, born in 1789, came from Pennsylvania in 1810.  James Finley came from Pennsylvania in 1814.  William Thompson settled on Seneca creek at an early date, as did David Satterthwaite.

   Old Folks of 1876.—The following list of persons more than seventy-six years of age, living in Richland township in 1876, includes many of the pioneers: Elizabeth Alexander, Nancy Arndt, Mrs. Bennett, James Buchanan, Mary Baldridge, James R. Boyd, Lucretia Buchanan, Lydia Clark, Robert Dilley, John Dollison, Lucinda Dollison, Scott Emerson, Mary A. Foraker, John Frame, George Gooderl, Mrs. George Gooderl, Mrs. F. Gooden, Samuel Gibson, Tamar Gooden, Mary Halley, Mrs. Hull, James Hartup, Thomas Hunt, Ebenezer Harper, Tressie Jones, Mary Jackson, William G. Keil, Mrs. Samuel Lent, Henry Ledman, Mrs. A. Laughlin, Laban LaRue, Samuel Lent, Margaret Lowery, Catherine Ledman, John Laughlin, Lydia Lowery, Margaret LaRue, Mary Morrison, Eleanor Medley, Almira McCleary, James Miller, John Mosier, Elizabeth Oliver, Mrs. Payne, John Potts, William Potts, Henry Popham, Mrs. Stiers, Mrs. John Squibb, Jacob Sharer, Susan Shroyer, John Squibb, James Stranathan, Raphael Stiers, Jeremiah Sargent, Ann Thomas, Benjamin Winnett, John Winnett.

   Population.—In 1820 Richland township had a population of 860; 1830, 1,704; 1840, 1, 772; 1850, 1,438; 1860, 2,171; 1870, 1,404; 1880, 1,439; 1890, 1,471; 1900, 1,499; 1910, 2,110; 1920, 2,322; 1930, 2,056.

   Oil and Coal.—As related in another chapter of this volume, it was in Richland township that oil was first found in Guernsey county.  Floating on the creek was an oily substance which the pioneers gathered by wringing it from blankets that has been spread on the surface of the water.  It was used for medicinal purposes. As it resembled an oil discovered in New York by the Seneca Indians, it was called Seneca oil. The name was given the steam on which it was found, also the town later built near the stream. Like the Seneca oil of New York this oil was found to be common petroleum.

   What is known as the Cambridge vein of coal underlies the western half of the township.  As this vein dips towards the southeast, mining here is carried on at greater depths than in other parts of the coal field. The leading mines of the township are, or have been, Rigby and Walhonding No. 3, near Senecaville, and Black Top and Goodyear, near Lore City.

   The Pinnacle.—Between Salem and Concord churches is one of the highest hills in the county, known as the Pinnacle. Here lived an Indian family for several years after the white settlers came into that section. They had a cabin home and lived mainly by hunting and selling baskets which they wove. The family name was “Indian,” and two of the boys were “Jim Indian” and “John Indian.”

   Richland’s War Record.—For several years Ephriam Dilley and Jones McCann, Revolutionary soldiers, lived in Senecaville and drew pensions.  Abram Dilley, George Gooderl, James Buchanan, Andrew Morrison, George Morrison and Robinson Rose were soldiers of the War of 1812. The last survivor of these was James Buchanan who died in 1880. Four Senecaville men left for the Mexican War; Jackson McDaniel, John Boyd, Joseph Lorimer and Moses Thompson.  McDaniel and Thompson never returned.

   The first nine persons from the from the township to enlist in the Civil War were the following; Alexander W. Leeper, Henry Breidenthal, Clinton C. Buchanan, Joseph D. Finley, Thomas C. Glasner, Adam LePage, Alexander Moorhead, A. Shipley and Justice C. Taylor. Although most of them were on the firing line in several important battles, none were killed or wounded.

   Fourteen families of Richland township furnished three soldiers each for the war, an unusual record for a community with such a small population. Of the forty-two from these families some retuned maimed for life; one starved to death in Andersonville Prison; one was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness, and another in front of Atlanta.

   A Town That Never Grew.—We are apt to think of towns as being permanent like the hills, enduring throughout the ages.  History shows us that, like men, towns are mortal, and like men, too, their very names may be forgotten. In the Bible are names of towns, even cities, that have perished; the locations of some of these are unknown today. Lost cities have been excavated by archaeologists and found to have been built on sites of other cities lying beneath them.  Just as men die from various diseases, so form various causes do towns cease to exist.

   Since Guernsey county was formed many towns platted within its boundaries have passed away. Some of them sprang up under the most favorable auspices, passed through a period of growth and prosperity, reached the acme of their greatness, then gradually declined and vanished.  In some instances not only the locations but even the names of these towns are not generally known.

   Within twenty or thirty years after the organization of the county towns had been started in every part of it. There was a mania for town building.  Not fewer than thirty towns were laid out, some of them in the midst of the forest.  Lots were set aside for court houses and jails. These were the bait for the county seat. Many of these towns proved to be disappointments.

   Union was once a town in Guernsey county, located in what is now northern Richland township, a short distance southwest of Lore City.  It was platted by Elijah Lowery and John Laughlin, in 1812.  These founders evidently had visions of an important municipality, and planned accordingly. Streets sixty-six feet wide were laid out parallel to each other—Main street, Green street, Water street, South street, Market street, Second street, and North street. Alleys bore such names as White alley, Black Oak alley, Dry alley, Sweet alley, Clover alley and Flat alley.  Lots No. 1 and No. 2 were reserved for a court house and jail; and No. 50 and No. 51, for a church and graveyard.

   When Union was platted Guernsey county was two years old. The county then contained much territory that is now a part of Noble county.  Union was very near the geographical center of Guernsey county. There was much dissatisfaction because Cambridge had been chosen as the county seat. It is reasonable to believe that Lowery and Laughlin hoped to have the seat of county government changed to their town. This did not happen and Union eventually passed away.

   Senecaville.—David Satterthwaite platted a town which he named Senecaville, on July 18, 1815.  Seventy years later Robert Thompson, a citizen of that community, who had moved there with his father the year after the town was platted, related the following:


“The streets were lined with stumps and brush.  There was a salt spring on the edge of the creek near the Greenwood bridge, from the water of which salt was made at a furnace containing about thirty-six kettles.  It does not seem that at that time there was any other salt furnace on this side of the Ohio River. People came from distant points and conveyed it away. It sold at from $2.50 to $3.00 per bushel.   These works consumed a considerable quantity of wood, and furnished employment to many choppers, salt-boilers and others, wand were the principal, if not the only, manufacturing feature of the village.

   “Many rough characters were in the community then, and election day was a favorite time to settle grudges and animosities. The couple bent on punishing one another would get toned up by drinking whisky, choose seconds, throw off their outer clothing, and go into the conflict. The battle was ended when one of the men cried enough’, or, if he was not able to do so, when his second did; then the foes, having had satisfaction, took a drink together, and got down to chat.

   ‘When a farmer sold his stock he had to deliver it, the nearest points being Barnesville and Washington, and to those places one had to go for farm implements and some articles of household use. I once took a horse to Barnesville and slid a plow home, the point being covered with a wooden shield.

   “Coffee then was fifty cents a pound, but it was only used when the preacher called and on other notable occasions. A pound might last six months. Pork was worth $1.25 to $1.50 a hundred, and calico was twenty-five to thirty-seven and one-half cents per yard.”


   The First School.—William Thompson, an uncle of Robert Thompson, opened the first store in Senecaville; it stood on the lot where the Methodist church now stands. To purchase dry goods and groceries for his store he rode horseback to Philadelphia. The carriage on the goods purchased was $11.00 per hundred.

   Children of the wood-choppers, salt-boilers, farmers and other citizens of the community lacked educational advantages, as this was in the days before public schools had been established. There was nobody to teach the children, neither did many of the parents have money to pay for such service had a teacher been available. While in Philadelphia purchasing goods for this store, William Thompson employed Isaac Woodard, a lame schoolmaster, to come to Senecaville to teach for twelve months. Thompson and his brother agreed to pay him for his services. All the parents of the community were told to send their children to the school and it would not cost them a cent. Joseph and Abram Dilley, unwilling that two men should pay for the education of all the children, many of whom were their own, assisted financially in maintaining the school. This was probably the first free school in Guernsey county.

   Early Days in Senecaville.—For several years Senecaville consisted of a few log cabins situated mostly on the east side of Main street. We here relate some facts and traditional incidents of the early days, that may be of interest to those who now know the town.

   Henry Popham made boots and was framed for his skill as a cobbler.  Being an admirer of President Andrew Jackson, he made and sent a pair of “fine boots” to him as a present. They were of the long sharp-toe style, fashionable in that day. It was the custom of the old veteran not to accept gifts from anybody. However, he must have liked the boots, for he kept them, sending Popham a sum of money that he believed them to be worth.

   Abram Dilley and Benjamin Rogers operated blacksmith shops, and a Mr. Reed, a wagon shop. Dr. Baldridge owned a carding machine which was patronized by people who came from many miles around. Enoch Millhone had a mill which could be operated in wet weather only, when there was a sufficient flow of water. In dry weather the milling was done at an old horse mill owned by John Potts.

   The last circular wolf hunt in the Senecaville community was held west of town, between Senecaville and Byesville. At this hunt was seen the last wild turkey in that section. Isaac Warden and Andy Hawkins were the last remnants of the sturdy backwoodsman, and long after others had laid aside their pioneer garbs they continued to wear their hunting suits and moccasins.

   John Fordyce engaged extensively in buying and packing tobacco which was one of the leading products of the farms in those days. The first two or three crops on the newly cleared ground were tobacco; then came some corn, wheat and grass.  It is said that Fordyce bought and packed as many as a thousand hogsheads of tobacco a year, which were hauled by teams to Baltimore.

   In 1832 the first circus came to Senecaville. It was a wagon show. An elephant, a kangaroo and a Shetland pony constituted the menagerie and attracted much attention.

   Newspapers were scarce. They were either read aloud to groups of people who assembled at the stores, or were passed around amongst the reading population. For many years the only papers reaching Senecaville were the St. Clairsville Gazette, the Zanesville Aurora and the Guernsey Times.

   An epidemic of cholera in 1833 and one of small pox in 1853 caused much consternation. The effects were mostly fatal, as modern means of treating these diseases were then unknown. Edward Ward is said to have been the first white child born in Richland township.

   Rev. William G. Keil.—For long time service as a Guernsey county preacher Rev. William G. Keil, who lived in Senecaville from 1827 to 1892, dying in the latter year at the age of ninety-three, holds the record.  He established a Lutheran church in Senecaville and was its pastor for forty years.  During all this time and for twenty-five years afterwards he frequently journeyed about many miles form his home and preached in other churches of his denomination.  He was Guernsey county’s pioneer Lutheran and all churches of that faith in the county and several in adjoining counties were either established by him or sprang from ones that were.

     Not only did Rev. Keil establish churches and preach the Lutheran faith, but he also farmed some and took an active part in all local movements that had for their purpose the betterment of the social and moral life of the people.  Out standing in his activities along these lines was his work as an abolitionist before the Civil War. Together with Dr. John Baldridge, Dr. Noah Hill, Dr. David Frame, William Thompson, David Satterthwaite, Daniel Pettay and others he helped from the Senecaville Colonization Society (an organziatio0n opposed to slavery) and became its first president.  He assisted many a fugitive slave in his journey to Canada and freedom by way of the Underground Railroad.  Some years before his death Rev. Keil  prepared some notes relative to his life and the early settlement of the Senecaville community, form which we take the following:

     My father, he says, came from Germany to America about the close of the Revolutionary War and settled at Strasburg, Virginia, where I was born in 1799, the year George Washington died.  I was the youngest of three sons of whom the others were Philip and Conrad; the latter died in infancy.  I had five sisters-Rebecca, who died in infancy; Mary Ann, who married George Ederley, of Strasburg; Rebecca (another of same name?), who married Naphtali Luccock; Elizabeth, who married Caleb Chandler, of Strasburg; and Catherine, who married Jeremiah Jefferson, of Cambridge, Ohio.  Around our home at Strasburg was slavery which was hateful to me.

     In 1825 I came to Guernsey county as a missionary of the Lutheran church, and I preached at several places in the valleys of Beaver, Seneca and Buffalo creeks.  Living where the town of Williamsburg (Batesville) is now located were the families of Philip and Daniel Wendle, also William Finley form the Shenandoah valley.  In the Beaver valley were the families of John Cline, Samuel Hastings, Jacob Arick, George Peters, John House and others.  In Buffalo township were the Larricks and Kackleys from Virginia; also the Secrests anf Dysons.  In the valleys of Seneca and Buffalo creeks were Millhones, Mileys, Thompsons, Spaids, Fishels, Stranathans, Robbins, Fryes and others.

     In 1826 I voluntarily returned to Ohio, and on the last day of December, 1827, I arrived at Senecaville on horseback. William Finley, a Presbyterian, took me into his home where I remained for some time.  Senecaville was then a shabby-looking place with a small and shiftless population.  Most of the houses were built of logs, some of which looked as though they were about to topple over. William Thompson and David Satterthwaite had frame houses.  Down by the creek was a salt well near which were several log cabins that were occupied by the wood-choppers and salt-boilers.  In the country roundabout the houses, for the greater part, were cabins of unhewn logs, clapboard roofs, puncheon floors, each cabin with one door, one window and a stick chimney daubed with mud.  The furniture was scant and rude, much of it made by the settlers themselves.  But the people were sociable and helpful to each other, and simple in their habits.

     Churches were few and far between.  At Washington was an indifferent log house in which the Presbyterians held meetings. Circuit riders had been traveling through the creek valleys and had organized a few Methodist classes that met around at private houses.  Within a few years after my arrival I had organized three Lutheran churches.  Schools were scarce and poor.  Those that were kept were subscription schools and most of the settlers were too poor to pay their children’s tuition.  The woods were full of game—deer and wild turkeys—and the streams were alive with fish.

     At the time I came I found a large connection of Thompsons in the neighborhood of Senecaville.  They had come from Chester county, Pennsylvania.  Another early settler was David Satterthwaite who had come from New Jersey in 1814 to occupy a section of land upon which he laid out the town of Senecaville the next year.  His father, who was a Quaker, had been here previously and had entered five sections of land which extended down the valley to the forks of Seneca and Buffalo creeks. David Satterthwaite, two years after he came here, commenced boring for salt down by the creek.  His nearest neighbors were Robert Thompson, John Thompson, Jarus Gordon and Thomas Richey, who lived about a mile away.

     Ephraim Dilley, who had fought in the Revolutionary War, came here at an early date.  He was the father of six sons and two daughters. Abraham,,  one of the sons, had nine daughters and one son.  Thomas Richey and his brother George settled on ‘Possum creek in 1812.  George later sold out and moved farther west.  Thomas remained and his descendants are numerous in the neighborhood.

     Until his death Rev. Keil lived on a little farm at the edge of Senecaville.  Long after he ceased to be a regular pastor he would “supply a pulpit” in some church that could be reached conveniently.  He prepared his sermons carefully and preached them in a slow and solemn manner.  Young couples whose parents—perhaps grandparents—had been married by him came to his home to be married.  Over a wide area he visited the sick, conducted funerals and consoled those in bereavement.  He dressed in a manner befitting his profession, as he believed, by wearing a frock coat and silk hat on all special occasions.  Rev. Keil was highly esteemed and his memory will long be revered in the Senecaville community.

   Early Churches.—The Senecaville Presbyterian church was established about the year 1811 by Rev. John Boyd, pastor of the church at Washington, who for four years divided his services between the two points. For several years after organizing the society held services at each other’s home. Rev. James Smith was the pastor from 1815 to 1819. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas B. Clark who served until 1830. During the next five years the church was without a pastor. The congregation became scattered, many of the members uniting with the Cumberland Presbyterian church that was organized in the meantime. This new church laid claim to the property of the Presbyterians and held it for two years.

   In the winter of 1833-34 there occurred the greatest religious revival ever known in Senecaville. It was conducted by Rev. Luke DeWitt.  At the height of this religious enthusiasm Rev. David Polk arrived, brought together the scattered Presbyterians, recovered the property and reestablished the church.  In the order of their services the pastors for the next fifty years were as follows: Rev. John Archer, 1840-42; Rev. John E. Alexander, 1842-53; Rev. William Ferguson, 1854-62; Rev. W. R. Miller, 1862-67; Rev. C. W. Courtwright, 1868-70; Rev. R. B. Porter, 1874-76; Rev. A. G. Eagleson, 1876-78; Rev. J. P. Stafford, 1879-81; Rev. Newton Donaldson, 1883-88; Rev. Charles McCracken, 1888-91.

   The first church building in Senecaville was the Presbyterian. Built in 1824, it stood in the cemetery at the north end of town. During the first few years of their organization the Senecaville Presbyterians had no church property.

   Rev. Edward Taylor was pastor of the Methodist Episcopal congregation when the first church was built in 1834.

   Rev. Langdon Stark, Rev. Milton Bird and Rev. Alexander Robinson were among the early preachers of the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

   James Richardson kept the first tavern. Abram Dilley was the first blacksmith. The first building erected for school purposes stood on ground now included in the village cemetery.

   Growth of Senecaville.—Senecaville was incorporated on March 20, 1841.  The population in 1830 was 120; 1850, 457; 1860, 465; 1870, 376; 1880, 402; 1890, 461; 1900, 623; 1910, 893; 1920, 947; 1930, 993; 1940, 802.  In 1930 it was the only village in Guernsey county, whose population showed an increase over that of 1920.

   About seventy years ago (1870) Richard Lowery, T. E. Jester and S. Denoon were proprietors of hotels in Senecaville; McCuen and LePage were tinners and roofers; D. L. Gudgen was a jeweler; W. Houseman and son, and G. W. Brown sold drygoods and groceries; Wilson Scott had a grocery; S. M. Dilley was the village blacksmith; C. Shaffer operated a tannery; I. L. Neyman was a marble-dealer; W. M. Chandler was a harnessmaker; Lowery and Kaho were wagon-makers; John Hill was  a physician.

   New Gottengen.—Among the many deserted villages of Guernsey county is New Gottengen which was laid out on the Clay pike, four miles northeast of Senecaville, may 13, 1836, by Charles Heidelbach. It received its name from the ancestral home of its founder, in Germany.  At one time it was a flourishing village with its stores, tobacco warehouses and other business enterprises. Charles and Washington Heidelbach were the proprietors of a large general store. Much tobacco was raised in that section and packed in the New Gottengen warehouses. Great wagon loads were hauled from there to Baltimore and exchanged for goods which were brought back and sold at the stores.

   The railroad came, passing New Gottengen a mile away. The town’s business declined; the buildings were neglected. Nothing now remains to show there was once a thriving village there, excepting an old brick store room, a dwelling or two, and the foundation stones of others.

   Other Platted Towns.—Greenwood was platted by Thomas Taylor, June 12, 1848; Black Top, by M. L. Spaid, July 2, 1900; and Lore City, June 8, 1903.  The last named lies partly in Richland and partly in Center township. A brief history of the town is given in the chapter on Center township.

   Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—Following is a complete list of the real estate owners in Richland township in 1840. The number of acres owned by each and the section in which his farm was located are given.

   Anderson, John, 77 acres, sec. 8; Bethel, John, 80 acres, sec. 19; Botts, John, Jr., 41 acres, sec. 8; Botts, John, 41 acres, sec. 8; Brown, John M., 3 acres, lot 39; Baldridge, Dr. John, 80 acres, sec. 12; Bennett, William, 312 acres, sec. 18 and 19; Burson, John, 372 acres, lot 16; Ballard, Stephen, 160 acres, sec. 9; Baker, John, 80 acres, sec. 12; Boyd, George, 20 acres, sec. 23; Burt, David, 15 acres, sec. 11; Brownlee, Ebenezer, 203 acres, sec. 9; Bute, John, 180 acres, sec. 20; Barkhurst, Daniel, 80 acres, sec. 11; Conger, Elias, 80 acres, sec. 12; Collins, William R., 124 acres, sec. 5; Carlisle, William, 43 acres, sec. 7; Copeland, Jacob (Heirs), 100 acres, lot 29; Corzine, John, 100 acres, lot 26.

   Dilley, Robert, 160 acres, sec. 19; Dilley, William, 60 acres, sec. 11; Dilley, Ephraim, Jr., 100 acres, lot 9; Dilley, Ephraim, Sr., 80 acres, sec. 20; Depew, James, 416 acres, sec. 19, 20, 21 and 23; Delong, James, 160 acres, sec. 22; Dennis, Adam, 11 acres, sec. 21; Deck, Nicholas, 50 acres, sec. 18; Davis, Thompson, 1 acres, sec. 21; Emerson, Scott, 100 acres, lot 17; Emerson, Ezekiel, Jr., 120 acres, sec. 11 and 20; Eagon, James, 80 acres, sec. 21; Emerson, John, 280 acres, sec. 11, 12 and 19; Emerson, Ezekiel, Sr., 160 acres, sec. 11; Emerson, George, 240 acres, sec. 9 and 20; Emerson, Thomas, 100 acres, lot 20; Enos, John, 57 acres, lot 21.

   Frame, James, 160 acres, sec. 19; Findley, Joseph, 454 acres, sec. 7 and 12; Frame, John, Jr., 159 acres, sec. 20; Foreacre, Isaac, 59 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Foreacre, John, 100 acres, lot 4; Foreacre, George, 100 acres, sec. 3; Freeman, Thomas, 65 acres, sec. 10; Fitzsimmons, Catharine, 40 acres, sec. 20; Finley, Samuel, 40 acres, sec. 12; Garrett, Joseph, 169 acres, sec. 5 and 6; Gibbons, Peter, 80 acres, sec. 12; Garber, Samuel, 100 acres, lots 25 and 26; Glazener, Eli, 160 acres, lot 26; Gibson, Jame4s, 142 acres, lots 22 and 30. Gooden, William, 108 acres, lots 19 and 30; Goodrell, George, 160 acres, sec. 12; Gilmore, Hugh, 160 acres, sec. 19; Gordon, James, 440 acres, sec. 10 and 20; Gay, Elizabeth, 112 acres, lots 13 and 14.

   Householder, Polly, 41 acres, sec. 20; Heidlebach, G., 6 acres, lot 18; Hammond, Rezin, 250 acres, lot 10; Heidlebach, Theresa, 60 acres, lot 15; Heidlebach, Charles, 216 acres, lots 7 and 8; Hague, John, 80 acres, sec. 10; Hetherington, Christopher, 200 acres, lots 21 and 22; Heidlebach, George W., 1 acre, sec. 8; Hartup, James, 122 acres, sec. 11 and 12; Hurst, William, 82 acres, sec. 1; Heskett, Landon, 80 acres, sec. 1; Hillyas, George, 160 acres, sec. 8; Israel, William, 80 acres, sec. 19; Ireland, Jonathan, 84 acres, sec. 18; Johnson, William, 160 acres, sec. 22; Johnson, William of Robert, 38 acres, lot 27; Jones, Abraham, 65 acres, sec. 11; Johnson, Edward, 52 acres, sec. 6 and 21; Johnson, Robert, 127 acres, lot 28; Jefferies, Mifflin, 80 acres, sec. 20; Jefferies, Joseph, 163 acres, sec. 9 and 13; Kase, John, 42 acres, lot 23; Keil, Rev. William G., 26 acres, sec. 22.   

   Ledman, John, 100 acres, lot 25; Lowry, Elijah, 56 acres, sec. 9; Laughlin, Alexander, 238 acres, sec. 9; Lowry, John, 105 acres, sec. 10; Lowry, James, 137 acres, sec. 12; Larimer, Benjamin, 113 acres, sec. 13; Lowry, William, 373 acres, sec. 8 and 10; Lent, Samuel, 107 acres, lots 12 and 13; Lowry, Robert, 40 acres, sec. 13; Larue, James (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 8; Larne, William, 106 acres, sec. 8; McClary, Henry, 55 acres, lot 29; Millhone, Elijah, 157 acres, sec. 5; McBurney, John, 160 acres, sec. 12; Moser, Conrad, 164 acres, sec. 14; Millhone, John, 160 acres, sec. 5; Morrison, Abraham, 200 acres, lot 24; Moser, John, 211 acres, sec. 13; McVey, Resin, 160 acres, sec. 21; McCleary, Thomas, 77 acres, sec. 13; McWilliams, Abraham, 150 acres, lot 17; Moorehead, Alexander, 43 acres, sec. 7; Millhone, Enoch, 129 acres, sec. 21; Morrison, Holmes, 20 acres, lot 29.

   Needham, David, 30 acres, sec. 18; Neiswanger, William, 38 acres, sec. 21; Philips, David (Heirs), 280 acres, lots 11, 12 and 28; Patterson, Mark, 163 acres, sec. 23; Potts, Joseph, 25 acres, lot 29; Potts, Israel, 190 acres, lots 24, 27 and 33; palmer, Lot, 80 acres, sec. 19; Riggs, Daniel, 80 acres, sec. 12; Rose, William, 134 acres, sec. 2; Reeves, William, 298 acres, lots 39 and 40; Reed, James, 120 acres, sec. 12; Rosseter, Thomas, 160 acres, sec. 22; Russell, Joseph, 623 acres, sec. 19 and 23 and lots 1, 2, and 3; Rose, Benjamin (Heirs), 100 acres, sec. 11; Rich, Daniel, 159 acres, sec. 20; Ritchey, Thomas, 340 acres, sec. 6 and 7; Rudolph, John, 58 acres, lot 23; Riggs, Joseph, 130 acres, sec. 2.

   Stanberry, Jonas, 40 acres, sec. 12; Struble, James, 1 acre, sec. 20; Shafer, William, 66 acres, lot 37; Shroyer, David, 181 acres, sec. 7; Stoneburner, Henry, 150 acres, sec. 21; Sergeant, Jeremiah, 151 acres, lots 20 and 24; Sales, Daniel A., 45 acres, lot 18; Shafer, Conrad, 100 acres, lot 10; Squibb, John, 40 acres, sec. 11; Sinclair, William, 160 acres, sec. 10; Sayres, David, 160 acres, sec. 19; Sherman, Horace, 85 acres, sec. 10; Sayres, John D., 80 acres, sec. 20; Stegler, Benjamin, 56 acres, sec. 18; Satterthwaite, Charles, 320 acres, sec. 1; Satterthwaite, David, 163 acres, sec. 21; Stewart, Charles, 83 acres, sec. 8; Smith, Thomas, 148 acres, lot 19; Strong, Albert, 119 acres, sec. 5; Stiers, Samuel, Jr., 150 acres, sec. 11; Stiers, Samuel, Sr., 170 acres, sec. 10 and 11; Stranathan, Thomas, 80 acres, sec. 5; Stranathan, James, 5 acres, sec. 6; Satterthwaite, Enoch, 640 acres, sec. 1 and 22; Strong, Thomas, 40 acres, sec. 12; Shafer, Jacob, 133 acres, lots 37 and 38.

   Tullis, David, 206 acres, sec. 21 and lot 32; Thomas, James, 157 acres, lot 23; Thompson, Jacob, 160 acres, sec. 8; Thompson, James, 171 acres, sec. 7 and 8; Taylor, Thomas, 115 acres, sec. 21; Thompson, Robert, 351 acres, sec. 6 and 8; Thompson, William (Heirs), 266 acres, sec. 22; Thompson, Ebenezer, 5 acres, sec. 22; Thompson, John, 03 acres, lots 33 and 35; Thomas, Enoch, 166 acres, sec. 9 and 10; Thompson, William of Robert, 100 acres, lot 36; Thompson, William of William, 161 acres, sec. 11; Vickroy, Joseph, 160 acres, sec. 10.

   Walraves, William, 80 acres, sec. 11; Warden, Isaac, 240 acres, sec. 12; Winnett, Benjamin, 79 acres, lot 30; Wiley, David, 33 acres, sec. 8; Walraves, John, 141 acres, sec. 11; Winnett, John, 100 acres, lot 31; Wareham, Michael, 40 acres, sec. 21; Wiley, William, 56 acres, sec. 8; Wilkinson, Samuel, 20 acres, sec. 9; Williams, Joel, 160 acres, sec. 9; Williams, Abner, 80 acres, sec. 20; Williams, Anthony, 240 acres, sec. 19 and 22; Williams, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 10; Ward, James, 155 acres, sec. 23; white, Walter, 150 acres, sec. 13; Wilford, David, 120 acres, sec. 11; Yakey, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 12.

   Owners of lots in Senecaville were the following: Robert Adair, James Anderson, John H. Atwell, William Brill, John Baldridge, John Beatty, Henry Booth, Abraham Dilley, Sr., Thompson Davis, Robert Dilley, John Fordyce, George Garrett, Thomas Goldsmith, Stewart Goodrell, Peter Gibbons, Charles B. Hill, William Holtzman, Noah Hill, Nicholas Hoggerty, Thompson Hann, David Johnson, Stephen Lowry, John Morrison, Sr., John Morrison, Jr., Rodrick McKee, Samuel McVicker, James Morrison, Alcava Malone, Andrew Morrison, James McGaw, Robert McCune, Henry Popham, Simeon Riggs, James Rinehart, William Rainey, Mary Rose, Benjamin Rogers, Ephriam Rose, Nancy Rose, Solomon Rose, F. Slaughter, James Struble, George Shaw, Alfred Shaffner, Enoch Slater, James Stranathan, Jacob Shafer, Enoch Satterthwaite, David Satterthwiate, William Thompson, Robert Thompson, Thomas Taylor, James Thompson of William, Ebenezer Thompson and Samuel Wilkinson.

   Church Struck by Lightning.—On Sunday evening, August 17, 1890, lightning struck the cupola of the Senecaville Methodist Episcopal church and passed on to the vestibule, killing George Shaw, aged forty-nine, and John Davis, aged seventeen.  These men, together with Henry Secrest and Leander Moorehead, were the first to arrive at the church for the Sunday evening service, and they were watching the storm from the vestibule when the lightning struck. Secrest and Moorehead were injured, the latter seriously.  Henry Breidenthal, the only other person near, was badly shocked.

   Much damage was done to the church. On account of the impending storm many persons who had expected to attend the service had not left their homes; otherwise many might have been killed or injured. More deaths from the effects of lightning have resulted in the Senecaville community than any other in the country. (See the story, “Senecaville Mine Explosion,” in this chapter.)

   Served in Two Wars.—Early in the last century John Ledman came from Pennsylvania to Richland township, accompanied by his wife and two children, Henry and Catherine, and settled upon what is now the Reason Stiers farm. When a youth he had served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

   Upon the land he entered here John Ledman set to work to build a cabin for his family. The logs were in place, the roof was on and the floor was down.  But before a chimney was built and a door hung, the War of 1812 had opened and he again received a summons to serve his country. He shouldered his gun and started to the front, leaving the care of the home to Henry who was fifteen years of age. With the assistance of his mother the boy built a chimney at the end of the cabin, and made a clapboard door to keep out the wolves that were then numerous in that section. Although he never asked a pension from the government, John Ledman had the distinction of serving in both wars with Great Britain. His death occurred in 1844.

   Neither Henry nor Catherine Ledman ever married. John Ledman enlarged the original log house and here the son and daughter lived until their deaths, the former dying at the age of ninety-two. He was one of the last of the earliest settlers of Richland township. All his life he enjoyed hunting and relating incidents of pioneer days. By his neighbors he was highly regarded.  Side by side on the Stiers farm may be seen four graves—those of the Ledmans.

   A Country Doctor.—A doctor of the old school, in the days when calomel was a stable remedy for a multitude of ailments and bleeding was resorted to frequently, was Dr. George W. Gildea, of New Gottengen. He was the New Gottengen doctor for half a century.  Over a wide territory he would ride horseback, day and night, summer and winter, regardless of weather, when summoned to minister to those needing medical attention. He answered calls cheerfully, gave the best services of which he was capable and accepted whatever compensation his patients were able to pay, which in many cases was nothing but gratitude.

   Dr. Gildea was born in Baltimore, Maryland, his father having come there from Ireland. He became a journeyman shoemaker.  In Pennsylvania he worked on a saw mill and taught school. In his wanderings he reached Washington, Ohio, where he read medicine under Dr. John McFarland. Following a course in the Ohio Medical College, he practiced his profession in Belmont county for a short time and then came to New Gottengen. He was born n 1816 and died in 1899.

   In the early 1840’s, while reading medicine in Washington, he assisted in organizing a Catholic church, the first in Guernsey county. Catholic services had been held in the county, however, before a church was organized at Washington. Many of the foreigners employed in building the National Road were Catholics and they met in private homes in Fairview and Middletown for worship. The cornerstone of the Washington church was laid in 1844 by John B. Purcell and the church was completed in 1854 at a cost of $17,000.  The building of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad brought many workmen of the Catholic faith to the Leatherwood valley. Dr. Gildea and other Catholics of the New Gottengen neighborhood succeeded in getting the Washington church moved to Richland township. Twelve years after its completion the Washington church was sold for $1,000.

   Peculiar Epitaphs.—Side by side, in the southeast corner of the Senecaville cemetery, are two small gravestones that have attracted attention for more than three-fourths of a century. They are marble slabs, each two feet high and a foot wide. In shape and size the stones are not much unlike others about them, but the inscriptions upon them and the circumstances occasioning the grief of the mother who composed them are interesting.

   According to some of the oldest Senecaville residents who had heard the story years ago, Robert McDonald, like many other men of 1849 and 1850, became excited over the prospect of obtaining wealth in the newly discovered gold fields, and joined a company that was going to California. He left his wife, Mary M., and his little daughter, Margaret, to await his return. A few months after his departure a son was born, who was named James M.

   On December 9, 1850, Margaret died and at her grave the bereaved mother erected a stone with the following inscription:


“But, oh, in the midst and bloom of life,

When all that was lovely adorned thee,

And thou wast the pride of a mother’s heart,

Death wrapped his embraces around thee.

And now in the cold and silent tomb,

Where darkness encircles its bounds,

A beautiful form shall moulder away,

Low, low in the silent ground.”


   Five years passed by and the father had not returned:  in fact, he never came back. The mother’s grief over the death of the daughter was harder to bear on account of the absence of her husband. Her only solace was the little son who could not understand why he had no father as had other boys.

   James M. died on September 17, 1855, at the age of five years, twenty-seven days. On his gravestone the mother had the following lines placed:


“O mother dear, where is my pa?

His face I cannot see.

He’s gone to California, dear,

Where you can never be.

Tell him that I have gone to rest,

And there I shall forever be;

Tell him that I cannot come to him,

But he can come to me.



The Senecaville Mill

     This is the story of Senecaville’s best known landmark—its old mill. With a few brief intermissions it has a grinding record of more than one hundred years.  As it was built in Greenwood (now considered a part of Senecaville), it has often been called the Greenwood mill.  To many people it has long been known as Campbell’s mill.

     Built by David Tullis.—One of the enterprising pioneers of the Senecaville community was David Tullis.  He served as a county commissioner for three years and as an associate judge of Guernsey county for six years.  In 1831 he was elected a member of the state legislature. ON the south side of Seneca creek he erected a brick residence that was considered a mansion in pioneer days. Near the residence he built a mill in 1838.

     Timbers a foot square and forty feet long, cut from trees in the neighboring forest, were hewn out by hand for the frame of the mill. A dam six feet high and sixty feet long was built of logs.  It was what was termed a “hiproof” dam.  Two reaction waterwheels four feet in diameter were installed.  All shaftings and gears were made of wood.  There were three pairs of buhrs, two French and one raccoon, each four feet in diameter.  The mill had a capacity of twenty-vive barrels of flour in ten hours, and eight or ten bushels of corn and feed per hour.

     Becomes the Campbell Mill.—Mr. Tullis operated the mill for several years.  From the farmer’s grist he took a certain per cent as toll for the grinding.   No money changed hands.  He soon accumulated a large supply of flour for which there was little market in the community, as nearly everybody raised his own wheat.  There were then no railroads in Guernsey county, and how to transport he flour to a distant market was a problem. This was solved in part by Alexander Campbell, a young man who lived three miles below the mill.   He suggested the use of a boat on Seneca and Wills creeks.  Wills creek had been navigated as far as Byesville, but no attempt had been made to run boats to Senecaville.  Campbell said it could be done.

     Encouraged by Tullis to undertake it, young Campbell felled a white oak tree across a hollow near his home, erected a scaffold, and, with a cross cut saw he cut out the gunnels for a boat that was forty feet long and sixteen feet wide.  For a bottom to the boat he used two inch planks fastened with wooden pins.  The people made much fun of him, but notwithstanding, he continued until the boat was completed.  With some assistance he towed it up to the mill, loaded it with 150 barrels of flour, and, when a high stage of water came, he started on the voyage.  After several thrilling adventures he reached Zanesville safely.  Here he sold the boat for seventy-five dollars, and upon his return he received another seventy-five dollars for delivering the flour.

     Campbell went to California in 1850 as one of the seekers for gold.  Upon his return in 1858 he found that during his absence the mill had passed into the hands of James Thompson who was unable to operate it successfully; it was to be sold at sheriff’s sale.  He purchased it, and for the next seventy-five years it belonged to the Campbell’s.

     Many changes in the Mill.—The mill was operated entirely by waterpower until 1872 when a steam-engine was installed to be used during seasons of low water.  In 1880 the Campbell’s made some important changes in the plant, installing two steel turbine wheels and replacing the wooden shafting with steel shafting.  The dam has been rebuilt twice; of logs in 1890, and of concrete in 1920.

     J. W. Campbell, son of Alexander Campbell, was the miller for forty-five years (1888-19333).  He kept the mill up to date during that time by installing the most improved machinery as it came into use.  He sold the mill to Parmer E. Rich in 1933, and moved to Utica, Ohio, where he is now engaged in the milling business.  The Tullis brick residence and the old mill have always been considered one property.  The former was occupied by the Campbell’s during their ownership of the mill; it is now the home of Mr. Rich.  Not being a practical miller, Alexander Campbell employed other to do the grinding before 1888.  Amongst these millers were Thomas Crossen, James Moreland, Perry Kemp and John Archer.

     Its Wide Reputation.—Because it made a superior grade of flour, the Senecaville mill drew customers from the surrounding country, as far as six or eight miles away.   In early days they came on horseback, in ox-carts and in sleds.  They brought wheat, corn and buckwheat to be ground.  Until the roller system was installed each farmer received the flour from his own grist, less that taken by the miller as toll.  When there was a good sledding snow the mill ran day and night.  Farmers would sometimes remain all night, awaiting their turn.  In later years flour was exchanged for wheat.

     The original mill, now 102 years old, is still standing and in fair condition.  The massive timbers, hewn out and placed together under the directions of David Tullis, have withstood the floods, and the strain of machinery in action for a century.  Water still flows over the dam, but many of the old mill’s charms and mysteries of the past are no longer there.


Senecaville Mine Explosion


   Considering the extent of coal operations in Guernsey county during the past fifty years mine disasters have been comparatively few. While many lives have been lost through gas explosions, premature blasts, fall of slate, and other accidents, there have been no such major disasters as often occur in mining sections, resulting from dust explosions.  This may be attributed to a dampness peculiar to the Guernsey county mines.

   Caused by Lightning.—The greatest mine disaster within the boundaries of the county occurred near Senecaville, on Saturday, June 20, 1903.  This was not really a mine disaster, as usually considered, because it occurred outside a mine that had not been completed, and from a cause that might have had the same effect on any project other than the opening of a coal mine.

   A shaft that was being sunk by the Somers Coal Company had reached a depth of 175 feet, or within fifteen feet of the vein of coal to be worked.  Carpenters and other workmen were engaged in erecting buildings on the outside, necessary for the operation of the mine. Near the entrance to the shaft was a blacksmith shop covered with steel sheeting. About 150 yards from the shop was a powder magazine in which 3,000 pounds of dynamite were stored.

   Shortly after noon a thunder-storm caused the carpenters and outside workers to take shelter in the blacksmith shop.  While the men were gathered there, talking and joking, lightning struck the powder magazine and exploded the dynamite.

   Six Men Killed.—Six of the men in the blacksmith shop were killed: Samuel Hartup, foreman of the carpenters; Russell Hartup, his young son, who had brought his father’s dinner and was waiting in the shop for the storm to cease; William Mahoney and Robert Watson, carpenters; and Hayes Hutchison and Hiram Wilson, workmen. Sixteen men were injured, some of them seriously.

   Other Effects of Explosion.—The roof was torn from the blacksmith shop and the steel sheeting was twisted about the framework. Not a piece of the powder magazine could be found within the radius of a mile from the place it had stood. A full-grown walnut tree that stood near the magazine was blown entirely away; none of it could be found excepting a few roots left in the ground. From an eight-power hoisting engine weighing 1,000 pounds a piece of the cylinder weighing 150 pounds was detached and hurled 400 yards over the tops of forest trees.

   A residence 400 yards from the powder magazine was wrecked. A piece of flying iron passed through the weatherboarding and wall on the west side, though the house and out on the east side, leaving such a hole as might be made by a cannon ball.

   Senecaville was rocked by the blast. Windows within the radius of a mile were shattered. Glass was broken at Byesville and Lore City. The shock was felt in Cambridge, Lore City, Washington, and several other towns.

   Physicians and ambulances were called from Cambridge, Pleasant City and Lore City.  On the following day the churches of Senecaville were closed.  The roads to the town were lined with people.  It was estimated that 10,000 persons visited the scene of the disaster.

   For only a few days was work on the mine interrupted. When completed it was known as the Senecaville mine and operated by the Somers Coal Company. It was later purchased by the Morris Coal Company and called the Cleveland mine. The Cambridge Collieries Company now own and operate it under the name of Walhonding No. 3.


Mystery of Old Pete


   Never to be solved, perhaps, is the mystery of Old Pete. Years hence the story will be told and, as in the past, there will be various conjectures as to the fate of Pete Swiedeski who vanished in a coal mine at Senecaville, Monday morning, November 8, 1926. The Story of this unusual event in the history of coal mining in Guernsey county is here presented for preservation, because there is a remote possibility that some day a discovery will be made that can be explained by what is here written.

   Pete Swiedeski, commonly known as Old Pete, had worked in the Cleveland mine at Senecaville for fifteen years. He and Johanna, his wife, came to America from Poland, believing that this country offered opportunities greater than they could find in their native land. Both were good citizens, although neither learned to speak English well. They lived in property owned by the coal company, that was located near the mine. Old Pete was industrious and economical. He accumulated a little money which he invested in property in Cleveland, Ohio. Although he had reached the age of seventy-two, he continued to work daily at the mine and to farm in a small way during odd hours.

   Goes to the Mine the Last Time.—On the morning mentioned above Johanna packed Old Pete’s dinner pail and he left home for work as usual.  He reached the mine about seven o’clock and went down the shaft with the first shift of workmen lowered in the cage. With him was his “buddy,” Charles Marks. The two had been working together in a room 1,800 feet from the bottom of the shaft. Going to their room, the two men found it in need of repairs. They were told there that it could not be put in condition to be worked that day, but that it would be ready for them the following morning. Remarking that he would bring the tools to the room, Old Pete returned to the bottom of the shaft for them. A few minutes later the cager noticed him there laying aside some tools. He noticed, to, that he started back to the room without them, carrying only his dinner pail and a carbide can. When he reached the room again he set the pail and can down and started out, telling his “buddy” that he was going after the tools. This was the last ever seen of Old Pete. He vanished as if by magic.

     The Search.—Thinking that Old Pete had decided to leave the mine, his “buddy’ left the room at eleven o’clock and returned home. Old Pete had long been regular in his habits, and when he did not come home at the usual time that evening, Johanna became alarmed. She reported the matter to the mine officials, who immediately started an investigation. All through the night a search was made, but to no avail. The next day it was announced that no coal would be mined. Down the shaft the cage carried men, but they went to search for Old Pete and not to work. For three days and nights the search continued in vain. It was not until Friday that work was resumed in the mine.

   The cager was absolutely positive that Old Pete had not ascended in the cage.  Then it must have been that he left the mine through the manway, an emergency exit 400 feet from the shaft. It was 200 feet from the bottom to the surface. In the manway were narrow steps. Would a seventy-two year-old man have undertaken to climb these? There was no indication that he had done so. If Old Pete did leave the mine, where was he? All the country round-about was searched, but no trace of him could be found.

   On November 17 the state mine inspector and other officials arrived from Columbus and began a systematic search. Men familiar with the interior of the mine inspected every room. Every accessible foot of ground was searched time and again.  Every pile of fallen slate and debris was explored, every pool of water was dragged, and every nook and crevice where his body could have been hidden was searched.  The search continued until December 5. Tests made did not indicate that there was a dead body in the mine.

   An Unsolved Mystery.—Is Old Pete’s body still in the mine? It was not found by a long and through search made over and over by experts. Having worked there so many years, he knew every turn of the intricate passages; then, had he lost his way, he would have been found the first night. Was he murdered and his body concealed in some nook or crevice? All these were explored. Did he commit suicide? If so, his body would have been found unless he drowned himself in one of the pools. These were all dragged and afterwards searched for his body which would have come to the surface. The cager was sure that he did not leave the mine through the mine shaft. That he climbed the long manway is improbable. And if he did leave the mine what became of him?

   Two months before his disappearance Old Pete disposed of his property in Cleveland. Why did he carry his dinner pail to the room after knowing there would be no work that day?  Why did he return a second time for the tools, instead of bringing them on the first trip? As the passage-way from the room to the bottom of the shaft was nearly direct, and one over which he had traveled hundreds of times, why would he wander from it?  It was suggested that he might have left the mine unseen and returned to Poland.

   Charles Marks, the “buddy,” is now dead. For ten years Johanna grieved for her husband and then she died. After the unfruitful search work was resumed in the mine. As the years passed by the hundreds of men who went down to work were ever watchful for some clue of the missing man. Nothing has been discovered. The mystery of Old Pete remains unsolved.

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