Stories of Guernsey County by Wm. Wolfe Pages 1037-1053

CHAPTER XXXVIII

Wheeling Township

AMONG the earliest settlers of Wheeling township were Robert Atkinson, John Hedge and Paul DeWitt, who came from the east side of the Ohio River, a few miles above Wheeling. When the county commissioners set apart a new township on September 15, 1810, these pioneers asked that it be named Wheeling. It was larger than it is today, as it then included the present Liberty and part of the present Knox township.

Wheeling township is in the extreme northwestern corner of Guernsey county. From east to west it is seven and one-half miles long, and contains about thirty-three square miles of land. Wills creek crosses the southwest corner. Its principal tributary within the township is Bird’s run. The mineral products of the township are coal and oil. Following the valleys of Wills creek and Bird’s run, the Pennsylvania Railroad crossed the township from south to north, and had a length of eight miles within its boundaries; by means of a tunnel recently constructed this has been reduced to four.

Legend of Bird’s Run.—Robert Atkinson, the first settler in the township, came from east of the Ohio River and established a home in section twenty-one. Learning later that the land he occupied had been entered by another who had not yet arrived, he moved across Wills creek. Near the mouth of a run a mile below was an Indian camp. His nearest white neighbor was a man by the name of Bird who lived eight miles away, across the line in Tuscarawas county. Bird had no family.

Atkinson’s wife died. Bird and some of the Indians, who were friendly, helped him to bury her. To find another wife Atkinson went back to Virginia, leaving Bird to look after his property until his return. Bird took a canoe belonging to Atkinson, filled it with Atkinson’s most valuable goods, floated down the run into Wills creek, thence into the Muskingum River, and disappeared. Since then the little stream has been known as Bird’s run.

Early Settlers.—Some of the settlers of the original Wheeling township found themselves residents of Liberty and Knox, when those political subdivisions were formed. One of these was William Gibson, at whose house the first election was held. The story of this pioneer is told in the chapter on Liberty township. Philip Shoff, from Maryland, Edward Wilson and Joseph Cowgill, from Belmont county, William Maple, Thomas Dennis, and Thomas Fuller and his four sons, from Yellow creek in Jefferson county, came in 1807. They all settled in the same community which, for many years, was known as Fullerton.

Abraham Forney, whose descendants became numerous in the township, came from Baltimore, Maryland, in 1811, and purchased about four hundred acres of land, then in its primitive state. Upon him fell the arduous task of clearing away the forest and making the land fit for cultivation; before his death, which occurred in 1855, he had accomplished it. Abraham Forney enjoyed hunting, and, as game abounded in the community, he had ample opportunity to engage in his favorite sport. It is said that he shot about four hundred deer, also many bears, turkeys and other wild game.

The Indians, who lived chiefly by hunting and fishing, left the township at the opening of the War of 1812. As late as 1814 the few white settlements were confined to the valleys along Wills creek and Bird’s run. The land at first could not be purchased in tracts of less than 160 acres; but about the year 1815 it was surveyed into smaller areas, and settlements were begun on the ridges.

Population.—In 1820 the population was 406; in 1830, 447; in 1840, 769; in 1850, 1,159; in 1860, 1,281; in 1870, 1,090; in 1880, 1,284; in 1890, 1,134; in 1900, 913; in 1910, 815; in 1920, 732; in 1930, 625.

Old Folks of 1876.—The Jeffersonian census of residents of the township, seventy-six years or more of age, taken in 1876, showed the following; W.. Anderson, Mrs. Alexander, Jacob Banker, Mrs. Jacob Banker, Zachariah Black, Joel Brown, Fred Bristol, Elizabeth Carr, N. Chamberlain, George Gibson, Mrs. Jane Gibson, Amanda Hamilton, E. Johnson, John Lytle, Sr., Richard Leverson, Alexander Mitchell, Mrs. Alexander Mitchell, James Mercer, James Miskimen, George W. Shryock, David Walgamott, Mrs. S. Walgamott, Henry Wilson and Mrs. C. Wilson.

Wheeling Villages.—On February 5, 1848, Washington Shoff platted a town on Wills creek, which he named Bridgeville. It is now known as Birds run. For many years it has been an important community center. In the village are a Methodist Episcopal and a Baptist church. Guernsey, situated near the north entrance to the Pennsylvania Railroad tunnel, is the only other village in the township. At both Guernsey and Birds Run are postoffices from which mail is distributed by rural carriers.

Early Days in Wheeling.—Two little streams—Booth’s run and Johnson’s run—flow together near Guernsey and form Bird’s run. The sources of both are in Tuscarawas county. The former derived its name from that of a family which was amongst the first to settle on it, and whose descendants became numerous in that section. The Booth tavern was long noted as a place of entertainment on the road that led from Ft. Steuben through Cadiz to Coshocton.

While working in a cornfield one day about the year 1810, David Johnson quarreled with his brother-in-law, a man named Sills, and stuck him with a hoe, causing his death. Johnson fled to the deep woods south of his home, built a cabin near the site of the present Anderson schoolhouse, and lived there alone. Suspecting his wife of knowing where he was hiding, officers one day followed her to the cabin on the run that now bears Johnson’s name. He was arrested, tried and acquitted. With his wife he returned to the place where he had taken refuge, improved the land and lived there many years.

The first public road through the township was known as the Tommy Sarchet road, as it led to the Sarchet salt-works north of Cambridge. On Johnson’s run were two or three “corn-cracker” mills which were operated with uncertain success on account of drouths and frequent floods. For their wheat grinding, the settlers went to Cambridge and Zanesville. To the latter place they transported their grain and produce in boats down Wills creek and the Muskingum, and returned with flour and groceries. Selling for thirty-seven cents a bushel, wheat was an unprofitable crop to raise in the days when it was harvested with sickle and cradle and threshed out with a flail. The Wheeling township pioneers engaged largely in the production of oats which they hauled to Cambridge and Washington, and sold to owners of stage horses.

One of the earliest schools in the township was located near the mouth of Bird’s run and taught by a man named Walker. It has been described as a small log building with puncheon floor, slab seats and greased-paper windows. Near the school the first church was organized. Two Baptist preachers—Rev. John Meek and Rev. William Spencer—conducted services there in the early 1820’s.

Among the earliest settlers of Wheeling township was George Mitchell, who was noted for his integrity and usefulness. He was the father of a large and respectable family. As school advantages were lacking, his children received very little education. However, they all inherited good common sense from their father, and like him they used their influence for the betterment of that section of the county.

Alexander Mitchell, the oldest son, could neither read nor write when he married. His wife, who had a little education, taught him. He son became a leader in the community. In 1850 he was elected to represent Guernsey county in the state General Assembly. To this point his career was somewhat like that of President Andrew Johnson, who, having been taught to read by his wife, became a member of the Tennessee legislature. Mitchell introduced a taxation bill that apparently was designed to favor the rural sections of the state. In opposing the measure, a Cincinnati member threatened to offer a resolution to have “the gentleman from Guernsey” sent to a lunatic asylum.

Philip Shoff, who came from Maryland in 1807, located near the mouth of Bird’s run. Here he built a mill, and ground corn and sawed lumber. He also engaged in raising sheep. His flock became afflicted with a disease that he termed “the sniffles.” To cure the sheep he was advised to blow powdered tobacco into their nostrils, using a goose quill for the purpose. Asked afterwards as to the effects of the remedy, he replied: ‘It didn’t work; the pesky sheep would always blow first.”

Standing Rock.—As nearly all Guernsey county is drained by Wills creek, the lowest elevation of the county would naturally be the place the stream enters Coshocton county from Wheeling township. On the other hand there are some very high elevations in the township. On one of the hills near Birds Run is a curiously formed rock that may be seen from a great distance. The Jeffersonian of March 3, 1883, published this description of it:

“Upon a high hill in Wheeling township, near the county road leading from Guernsey to Bridgeville, is a rock whose strange formation and majestic appearance excite wonder in every beholder. It resembles an immense haystack in shape, being about forty feet in height, twenty-five feet in circumference at the base, thirty-five feet at the bulge, and thirty feet at the top. The view from the summit extends over four counties, and is said to be grand. The sides of this peculiar rock are carved with hieroglyphics that would make an interesting study for the student of aboriginal history. We are indebted for these facts to D. F. Stanley.”

The Raven Rocks.—From the description of a cave in Wheeling township, published in The Guernsey Times sixty years ago the following is taken:

The cave generally known as the “Raven Rocks” takes its name from the legend that at one time a raven built her nest on the rocks at one side of the cave. Year after year she did this until the nest was destroyed by some rude hand; she then flew away and never returned. Her memory clings to the place, embodied in the name given the cave.

The cave itself is one of the largest in Guernsey county. It is fifty feet from the ledge above to the trickling stream below, that winds it way in a narrow channel through the woods to Bird’s run. The channel is crowned on either side by banks that shut out everything but a view of rocks, brush, trees, brilliant vegetation and the sky bright and beautiful above. The cave has a width of one hundred feet or more. Its shape is semi-circular, hollowing inward to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet, and shelving downward from the base of the lowest visible rocks to the stream below. It shuts off the V-shaped valley as a cap, all above extending backward form the cave, appearing as an ordinary field. Water trickling slowly through the rocks, makes its way down the sides, and here and there incrusts them with a carbonate of lime coating.

An excellent spring of water wells up at one side of the cave; on the other side of the cave are dens of foxes and other wild animals. On the other side of the hill immense rocks are piled one upon another, in such a way as to make an artificial cave, into which you can walk at one side and pass out at the other. Small pieces of iron ore may be found here, but whether it exists in paying quantities is an unanswered question. A vein or two of cannel coal appears in the lower part of the ravine.

On the bank of Bird’s run, near the entrance to the ravine leading to the cave, the remains of a squatter’s home may be seen. He who lived there once preyed upon game and upon his neighbors, it is said. His lonely cabin was surrounded by woods on every hand. This place is known as the “Pilferer’s Retreat.”

Near the entrance to the ravine, but on the opposite side of Bird’s run, is a deer-lick. It must have been much frequented by deer, also by red men, for arrow-heads are yet numerous about the place. A Mr. Phillips once went there to hunt deer. While waiting near the spring for them to come to drink, he was surrounded and attacked by wolves. His only safety lay in climbing the nearest tree. There he remained until morning when the wolves dispersed.

A Snake Story.—Col. C. P. B. Sarchet told a snake story related to him by George W. Phillips, of Wheeling township, who vouched for its truth. The story, in substance, follows:

On the old Indian trail leading from Indian Camp in Knox township to the forks of the Muskingum in Coshocton county, was a high rocky peak. On the east side was a cliff thirty or forty feet high, in which were clefts where buzzards would harbor and roost. Beneath the clefts were caves in which snakes gathered in numbers.

Mr. Phillips, son of a Wheeling township pioneer, was one day hunting for some of his father’s cattle that had strayed from home. In his search he passed along the Indian trail. When near the rocky peak a snake, estimated by him to be twelve feet long and as thick as his thigh, crossed his path and entered one of the caves. It made a crashing sound as it moved through the laurel thicket.

Fearing that such a huge reptile might do injury to man or stock, a party of men organized to invade the rocky peak. Each man was armed with a gun and a hickory flail. The latter was made by twisting a tough hickory pole near one end, crushing the woody part and leaving the flexible bark as a sort of hinge. When properly used this short loose end could be made to strike the ground with much force.

Having arrived at the rocks, they saw an immense ball of rattlesnakes, all wrapped together with their heads projected outward. They were basking in the morning sunshine. Seeing the men, the snakes thrust out their forked tongues and began to unroll for fight. While this preparation for combat was being made by the snakes, the men began plying their flails. They hammered at the huge ball of reptiles until the air was filled with the sickening stench of venom. This so affected the men that they had to give up the battle and retreat. They returned to their homes and were ill for some time from the effects of the inhaled poison.

Another day was set for attacking the snakes; this time the men were victorious. Two hundred snakes, the most of which were large ones, were killed. They wore out their flails but they subdued the reptiles of the rocky peak. One of the party, Alexander Mitchell, shot a copper-colored rattlesnake that was fully six feet long and proportionally thick. The large snake that George W. Phillips had seen was not taken at this time. After this battle rattlesnakes disappeared from that section of the county.

An Indian Trick.—The Indians who continued to live in Wheeling township after the first settlers arrived were inclined to be shiftless. They were too lazy to till the soil, and so depended upon their white neighbors for grain. It was their custom to offer dressed game for corn. The pioneer housewife usually deemed it advisable to make the exchange and then throw the meat away after the Indians had left.

One settler in the northwestern part of the township was accustomed to turn his horses loose at night to pasture in the forest. They were often driven away and hidden by Indians. On the following day the Indians would appear at the settler’s cabin on some pretext and learn with apparent surprise that the horses were lost. They would offer to find and return them for a dollar. After this had happened a number of times the settler suspected and accused them of the trick. Following the accusation the horses never strayed.

While hunting one day this same pioneer killed a large deer. He hung it on a sapling and gave pursuit to another deer that was in sight. In his haste he dropped his hat. Upon his return he found both the deer and his hat gone. A few weeks later he was in Cambridge and in one of the taverns there he saw a silver buckle that had belonged to his lost hat. The keeper of the tavern told him it had been purchased from doughty, the Indian chief. Doughty had kept the hat but, being afraid to wear it, used it to sleep in.

Recollections of Henry McCartney.—Born in Ireland in 1803, Henry McCartney came with his father to America in 1818 and settled in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. A year later the family came into Ohio and entered a farm in section No. 20 of Wheeling township, not far from the present Anderson school. He thus describes the journey and the country in which they settled.

“We moved t Guernsey county in 1819. It was winter and the ground was covered with snow. Having followed the old Wheeling road to Washington, we there turned north past Warne’s tavern and Armstrong’s mill. There was much to interest me, a sixteen-year-old boy. In the woods around our home there were some bears, some deer, some wolves and a good many turkeys.

“Our neighbor on the north was James Stewart who kept a tavern just across the line in Tuscarawas county. His place was much patronized by travelers on the Cadiz-Coshocton road. Stewart was a large good-looking man and a splendid fiddler. There were two daughters in the home, good-looking and attractive, whose bright eyes and pleasant ways helped to draw custom to the tavern. Massy, the older one, married John Carpenter, and the younger married William Carpenter, both the sons of Edward Carpenter, of Londonderry township, and the grandsons of John Carpenter who built Carpenter’s Fort on the Ohio River. William Gibson lived on Wills creek where Liberty now is, and Booth’s tavern was five miles north of us.

“The first preacher I remember was a man named Proudfit who preached sometimes at a schoolhouse near Bell’s graveyard. Robert Forsythe preached there, too. He lived near and taught the school. It was a log schoolhouse with puncheon floor, slab benches, greased paper windows and a wood fireplace.

“The roads were nothing more than open places cut through the woods. The first of these was opened by Thomas Sarchet. It started where David Sarchet now lives (on Wills creek, four miles north of Cambridge), thence up the ridge where John Miller now (1881) lives, thence followed the ridge to Dr. Anderson’s on Bird’s run, thence up the hill and over to Booth’s tavern on the Cadiz-Coshocton road.

An Eccentric Character.—There died in Wheeling township a few years ago an eccentric character who was known to people in every part of Guernsey county. His name was Joseph K. Hall, and his age at the time of his death was seventy-six years. He was born in Wheeling township and made his home with a brother near Guernsey. He never married.

Joseph K., when a youth, displayed some extraordinary intellectual traits along with his eccentricities. He composed doggerel verse which some of the local papers published to humor him. Flattered by this recognition, he wandered from place to place and tried to entertain the people who would listen to him, with recitals of his own compositions He wrote some songs, set them to his own music, and sang them in his own characteristic way. In rendering his favorite, “Gathering Up Shells from the Seashore,” he would afford much amusement with his excessive gesturing. He like to be known as “The Guernsey Poet,” or “The Wills Creek Warbler.”

While Joseph K. Disliked manual labor, he found it necessary to work occasionally in order to live. He would enter upon a task enthusiastically, but seldom completed it. In his traveling over the county he usually wore two or three coats and vests. He would invariably have a rope around his neck to which a cane was attached. From the cane hung a stocking which served as a traveling bag. Being religious, he often quoted the Bible. In politics he was a staunch Republican, and he liked to argue with those of a different political belief.

Considering him harmless, people generally throughout the county received Joseph K. kindly on his periodic visits, and frequently gave him meals and lodging, for which he believed he was paying with his entertainment. He was once photographed in a uniform lent him for the occasion. This was probably the proudest moment of his life.

A Diabolical Deed.—In Wheeling township, near the Tuscarawas county line, the Early church was erected about the year 1840 by John Early from whom it took its name. Before moving into this community Early had been converted at a Methodist meeting in Harrison county and ordained as a local preacher. Almost before his own log home had been completed he had prevailed upon his pioneer neighbors to assist him in erecting a place of worship. The meeting-house, a log structure twenty-five by thirty feet in size, was built in a grove of poplars on the top of the highest knoll. Between the logs clay was daubed to keep out the rain and cold. The floor was of roughhewn boards and the seats of split logs into which pegs were driven for support. The room was divided by a center aisle, at the end of which were a pulpit and an altar constructed of rough material. Here the faithful pioneers gathered each Sunday to worship God in the way they believed to be right.

Living in the community was a group of irreligious men who scoffed at their pious neighbors. To their conscience neither church nor religion made any appeal. When under the influence of liquor they seemed to delight in annoying the members of the church. One night three of these “Sons of Belial,” as they were called, stole a lamb, the pet of a lame boy living near the meeting-house, broke open the door of the place of worship, and carried the bleating animal up the aisle to the altar that Preacher Early had erected. Laying the lamb on the open Bible, they slashed its throat and permitted the blood to spread over the book. Not content with this they thumbed through the Bible, smearing blood on the pages as they turned them. On one of the defiled pages was the passage, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

According to the tradition the youngest of the three men then mounted the pulpit and in a loud voice challenged John Early to come from his grave. (Early had died some time before this and was buried in the churchyard.) While this scene was being enacted the young man was struck dumb temporarily. There suddenly arose before the altar, it is said, a “pillar of fire” that grew in brilliance until it blinded the men who had committed the sacrilegious deed. Stricken with fear, they rushed from the church. They tried to scream but their throats seemed paralyzed for the time being. The young man fainted and had to be carried to his home.

It is said that a few months after this the young man went blind; some years later he died in a poor house. One of the other men fell to drinking heavily and eventually came to a drunkard’s grave, “Dying so hard that he could hardly be held in bed.” With some companions the third of the desecrators soon left the community. Two of them were imprisoned for murder. All died ignominiously.

On the site of this pioneer log meeting-house stands the Early church of today. A marble slab marks the grave of John Early, the second person to be buried in the adjacent churchyard. The old Bible, still showing the blood stains of the slaughtered lamb, is possessed by Mrs. Jacob Herbert, of Newcomerstown. This story ( a part of which is traditional ) of the most sacrilegious deed recorded in the history of Guernsey county is often told to illustrate what one may do when under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

Recollections of Jacob Banker.—Jacob Banker was born in 1799. His mother dying when he was but an infant, he was taken to the home of his grandfather, Christian Sheely, who lived in Frederick county, Maryland, to be reared. When Jacob was fifteen years of age, Christian Sheely decided to migrate to Ohio. The Military district in that state had been opened for settlement and land was cheap. It would be a long journey , much of it over rough roads through a wild country. To the boy Jacob it promised adventure.

The party that left for Ohio on the morning of April 14, 1814, was composed of Christian Sheely and family which included two married sons—John and Joseph—and their families, and Jacob Banker. A large wagon to which four horses were hitched carried their household goods, the women and the children. When night came they sometimes slept out in the open, sometimes in taverns where permission was given for them to spread their beds on the floor. They cooked their own victuals, sometimes over damp fires, sometimes at the fireplaces of the taverns where they lodged. Their route led through Chambersburg, Bedford, Somerset and Washington, Pennsylvania, to Wellsburg, West Virginia, where they crossed the Ohio River. On May 2 they reached Cadiz. Here the party rested while Christian Sheely and his son John pushed forward through the forest to find a suitable place for a home. The homeseekers returned in a few days and reported that they had found a location some forty miles to the southwest. It was in a new unsettled country to which it would not be safe for the women and children to go before a home was ready.

Leaving Christian Sheely, the women and the children at Cadiz, John and Joseph Sheely went on with the team. To his great delight Jacob Banker was asked to accompany them. Sixty years ago Jacob, then an old man, related some of their experiences. They left Cadiz on a pioneer road that stretched west through the forest to Coshocton.

“The first night out,” he said, “we staid at Westchester where there was only one cabin. At the end of the second day we reached Booth’s where a man by the name of Bird had cleared a spot of ground near a large spring. Into this opening we drove our wagon and encamped for the night. Here we had to leave the Cadiz-Coshocton road, as Grandfather and Uncle John had selected a place some miles south of it. There was no road through the dense forest, so we had to cut away the brush and logs to get the team through. We came to a sugar camp where somebody had cleared out the brush a little and built a fireplace. Here my uncles left me to take care of the team while they went further to build a cabin on Section 11 which Grandfather had decided to enter. (This farm is owned now (1941) by James Robison.)

“It was a lonesome time that I spent in the woods. In the daytime I often took the horses to graze upon some grass that grew in a swamp about half mile from where Mr. Walganot now (1881) lives. Each night I fastened the wheel horses by strong neck chains to the wagon and the other two to the end of the tongue. I slept in the wagon and kept a fire burning to frighten away the wild animals. I could hear them snuffing and blowing in the woods outside the light of the fire. Then I would get out and put on more wood. Every few nights a painter would come out on the point above and scream like a woman.

“When the cabin was ready Uncle Joe took the team and went back to Cadiz for Grandfather and the rest of the family. There was only one room in the cabin, but we all lived together in it. We began at once to clear some land. The woods were full of game—deer and wild turkeys—and the streams swarmed with fish. Wild turkeys would eat up our wheat crop and squirrels would take up our corn. After we had cut away the trees and brush rattlesnakes and copperheads would come out into the clearing.

“Our nearest mill was the Gomber mill at Cambridge seventeen miles away. I was often sent there with grinding and would stay over night at Holler’s tavern. This was a rough place—much drinking, swearing and fighting—but they gave me plenty to eat. We did most of our trading at Cambridge. I can remember seeing Jacob Gomber at the mill; he was a large good-looking man of dark complexion. His wife was a little darker than he.

“Uncle John Seely moved to Perry county, Ohio. In 1821 I went to visit him. There I found a girl, Mary Good, whom I had known when I was a boy back in Maryland. I married her in the fall of 1822 and brought her back with me to Wheeling township. In the spring of 1823 Grandfather Sheely gave me 190 acres of land and we moved on it. We brought up a family of ten children of our own and partly brought up six grandchildren. My wife died September 12, 1877.”

(Jacob Banker died in 1881)

Owners of Real Estate in 1840.—Wheeling township was owned by the following persons in 1840. The number of acres in each farm and the section in which it was located are given. The list is complete and shows who the heads of the township’s families were a century ago. Not included are the heads of the tenant families.

Atherton, Daniel, 35 acres, sec. 2; Baird, John, 160 acres, sec. 11; Buckingham, Alvah, 105 acres, sec. 1 and 4; Brush, Daniel, 40 acres, sec. 20; Bevard, Samuel, 120 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Britton, Robert, 40 acres, sec. 12; Boyd, Thomas, 40 acres, sec. 7; Booth, John, 80 acres, sec. 8; Booth, George, 40 acres, sec. 8; Britton, James, 40 acres, sec. 18; Britton, John, 120 acres, sec. 10; Barker, Jacob, 190 acres, sec. 11 and 20; Bell, David, 160 acres, sec. 19; Beal, George, 30 acres, sec. 11.

Chandler, Isaac H., 80 acres, sec. 4; Collentine, Henry, 35 acres, sec. 3; Carr, John, 40 acres, sec. 13; Crawford, Hugh, 40 acres, sec. 14; Carpenter, George, 40 acres, sec. 2; Carter, William A., 70 acres, sec. 2; Cowgill, Joseph, 320 acres, sec. 19 and 22; Chambers, William (Heirs), 160 acres, sec. 21; Cramblet, John, Jr., 71 acres, sec. 2; Dawson, Levi, 120 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Darr, Philip, 90 acres, sec. 11; Dixon, John, 94 acres, sec. 12; Dillon, John, 75 acres, sec. 7.

Evans, Benjamin, 35 acres, sec. 1; Edie, William, Jr., 80 acres, sec. 7; Edie, Catharine, 3 acres, sec. 3; Frame, William, 40 acres, sec. 17; Fuller, Thomas, 72 acres, sec. 18 and 23; Forney, Frederick, 35 acres, sec. 1; Frame, John, 40 acres, sec. 18; Forney, Abraham, 360 acres, sec. 14 and 17; Foster, Christian, 80 acres, sec. 8; Fuller, James H., 80 acres, sec. 12; Forney, John, 39 acres, sec. 7; Fuller, Joseph, 40 acres, sec. 22; Forney, Joseph, 70 acres, sec. 8.

Gibson, Henry, 40 acres, sec. 7; Gibson, William, Jr., 120 acres, sec. 20 and 21; Gibson, George of George, 105 acres, sec. 11; Gibson, Robert, 55 acres, sec. 11; Gibson, George, Sr., 40 acres, sec. 19; Garvin, Moses D., 120 acres, sec. 11; Grimes, George, 80 acres, sec. 12; Gilpin, Elijah, 66 acres, sec. 1; Graham, James, 200 acres, sec. 11 and 20; Gregory, John, 80 acres, sec. 10; Griffin, Thomas, 35 acres, sec. 3.

Henden, Joshua, 120 acres, sec. 13; Harris, Jacob, 45 acres, sec. 15; Hatcher, John, 98 acres, sec. 1; Heslep, Joseph, 118 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Hart, Jacob, 120 acres, sec. 7; Jones, James L., 40 acres, sec. 8; Jones, Charles G., 160 acres, sec. 8; Johnson, Ezekiel, 135 acres, sec. 16 and 20; Jones, Enoch, 145 acres, sec. 1, 2 and 9; Kennedy, John, 40 acres, sec. 2; Kyle, John, 120 acres, sec. 9; Karnahan, William, 80 acres, sec. 9; Kreider, Henry, 139 acres, sec. 1 and 2; Knowls, Samuel F., 40 acres, sec. 18.

Lewis, Thomas, 115 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Lanning, John, 40 acres, sec. 7; Longstreth, James, 80 acres, sec. 6; Mardis, Samuel, 65 acres, sec. 1 and 5; McDowell, John, 70 acres, sec. 3 and 4; Miller, John F., 40 acres, sec. 14; McCartney, Henry, 240 acres, sec. 20; McCartney, Henry, Jr., 240 acres, sec. 19 and 20; McCartney, Henry of William, 80 acres, sec. 19; Mitchell, Hans, 115 acres, sec. 18 and 19; Mitchell, Alexander, 241 acres, sec. 10, 16, 20 and 21; Miskimmins, Harvey H., 79 acres, sec. 3 and 4; McCartney, William (Heirs) 122 acres, sec. 12 and 19; McMillen, James, 77 acres, sec. 12; Marlatt, John, 134 acres, sec. 2 and 3; Marquand, Peter, 83 acres, sec. 2 and 3; Morrell, Abraham, 80 acres, sec. 13; Morrison, Joseph, 80 acres, sec. 8; Miskimmins, James, Sr., 20 acres, sec. 8; Maple, William B., 35 acres, sec. 18; McMillen, John, 160 acres, sec. 10; Miskimmins, James, Jr., 210acres, sec. 18 and22; Miskimmins, Isaac, 160 acres, sec. 20 and 21; Miskimmins, Abraham, 80 acres, sec. 22; Miskimmins, Nelson, 226 acres, sec. 11, 19 and 22; Mitchell, George, 152 acres, sec. 18 and 19; McCune, James, 115 acres, sec. 3; Malone, David, 40 acres, sec. 20; Marlatt, Abraham, 34 acres, sec. 2; Marlatt, John, 34 acres, sec. 2;

Noah, Joshua, 1 acres, sec. 16; Norris, Joseph, 123 acres, sec. 13 and 18; Orr, Thomas, 130 acres, sec. 1; Poland, William h., 40 acres, sec. 8; Palmer, George, Jr., 75 acres, sec. 5 and 6; Palmer, George, 30 acres, sec. 5; Palmer, John, 60 acres, sec. 5.

Robinson, Samuel, 15 acres, sec. 15; Ray, Thomas, 240 acres, sec. 12 and 20; Rose, John, 80 acres, sec. 13; Sheely, Christian, 200 acres, sec. 15 and 16; Stewart, John, 40 acres, sec. 19; Sills, Henry, 40 acres, sec. 18; Shoff, Washington, 20 acres, sec. 19; Shoff, Philip, 176 acres, sec. 19 and 20; Simpkins, Annas, 70 acres, sec. 3; Sheely, Samuel, 210 acres, sec. 11 and 12; Sills, Jonathan, 40 acres, sec. 18; Stener, Nicholas, 80 acres, sec. 14; Smith, Nathaniel, 70 acres, sec. 2; Stevenson, Isaac, 160 acres, sec. 21; Shoff, John, 40 acres, sec. 19; Stanberry, Jonas, 69 acres, sec. 2; Stanberry, Howard, 40 acres, sec. 18; Smith, Joseph B., 40 acres, sec. 9; Smith, William N., 40 acres, sec. 10; Sturges, Hezekiah, 70 acres, sec. 4.

Tobin, John, 80 acres, sec. 12; Taylor, Joseph, 150 acres, sec. 2 and 9; Toole, John, 39 acres, sec. 1; Thompson, Martin, 80 acres, sec. 9 and 10; temple, Edward, 80 acres, sec. 13; Thompson, John, 120 acres, sec. 9 and 12; Thompson, John, Sr., 40 acres, sec. 10; Tobin, Nathaniel, 40 acres, sec. 9; Umstot, Samuel, 60 acres, sec. 3.

Woods, Samuel, 40 acres, sec. 14; Wilson, William, 40 acres, sec. 19; Wilson, William D., 45 acres, sec. 7 and 9; Williams, Samuel, 35 acres, sec. 8; Wolgamott, David, 165 acres, sec. 15 and 16; Wilson, Henry, 170 acres, sec. 12 and 19; Wagstaff, John, 80 acres, sec. 11; Way, Jacob, 40 acres, sec. 9; Wilson, David, 80 acres, sec. 7.

Doughty the Indian

A bad Indian.—Among the Indians who lingered in Guernsey county for a time after the white settlers came was one named Doughty. He was a quarrelsome fellow, especially when drunk. According to the stories told, he resented the coming of the pioneers, as their settling here spoiled the hunting grounds of the Indians. This ill feeling is shown in several incidents that are related concerning him.

Doughty did not live long in any one place in the county. He seemed to move from time to time, probably in hope of finding better hunting grounds, or as the hunting seasons changed. For a time he lived in a cabin on Salt Fork creek, in what is now the southeastern part of Jefferson township. Two other Indians, Jim and Bill Lyons, lived near. Doughty had two squaws, one of whom had formerly belonged to Simon Girty. For some reason Doughty and the Lyons brothers were under obligations to Girty who had placed this extra squaw in their charge. She spent most of the time at Doughty’s cabin.

After the white people came, the largest Indian town in Guernsey county was located in what is now Wheeling township, near Birds Run. It was here he was known as Chief Doughty.

James Miskimen, a Pioneer of Bird’s Run.—About the year 1808, William Addy, many of whose descendants are now living in the northwestern part of Guernsey county, came to that section and established a home near the Indian town. Other settlers came to live in the same community, but the Indians did not molest them. One of the pioneers was James Miskimen who came from Virginia. He entered a large tract of land upon which he established a sort of trading post. He kept a store, selling to the settlers and trading merchandise to the Indians for fur and other commodities they might have to exchange.

Miskimen received his supplies from Zanesville. It was here, too, that he sold his fur. For transportation purposes he used a large canoe which was propelled by poles along the waters of Wills creek until the Muskingum River was reached, then along that stream to Zanesville.

Doughty Angered.—On one occasion, when his stock of goods was about exhausted, he took with him William Addy and the Indian, Chief Doughty, to assist on the journey. Nothing unusual occurred on the trip down. Laying in a supply of goods, which consisted mainly of corn meal and whisky, they started on their homeward voyage. A short distance below Jacobsport in Coshocton county, they saw a large band of Indians on the shore, who invited them to land. Under the circumstances they deemed it advisable to do so.

The Indians asked for a drink of whisky, which was given them. A jollification followed, in which Doughty took part. The white men became alarmed, knowing that their lives would be in danger if the Indians learned that a considerable part of the cargo was whisky. They jumped into the canoe and shoved off as quickly as possible, leaving Doughty behind. This aroused the anger of the Indian, who snatched up his gun and aimed it at Miskimen. Fortunately for the trader, it was not loaded. Doughty then proceeded with all hast to load the gun, threatening all the time he was doing so that he would kill them both if they would not return.

Miskimen Threatened.—Miskimen, in the meantime, had given the pole to Addy, and with his rifle aimed at Doughty’s heart, repeatedly inquired of his companion if he should fire. Addy advised him not to do so, as it would bring on a conflict with the whole band of Indians and they could not hope to escape. Some of the more discreet Indians wrenched the gun from Doughty’s hands, whereupon the two white men returned and took him on board the boat, following which they preceded up the stream.

The old chief, believing that his dignity was insulted, behaved very ugly, so much so, that Miskimen felt it necessary to knock him down and throw his gun into the water. Doughty then threatened to take Miskimen’s life at the first opportunity.

Peace Made.—For several days after returning home Miskimen kept close to the trading post. Doughty had been insulted in the presence of his braves and would probably attempt to kill him. One evening he saw six Indians coming towards his home. He closed the door and prepared to defend himself. One of them advanced as if for a parley. Miskimen opened the door and was told that their mission was friendly. They had come in behalf of Doughty, who, they said, was grieving over the loss of his gun, and if Miskimen would give them another, there would be no further trouble. Miskimen told them he had but one gun, which he could not spare; however, if they would stay till morning he would get them one. The next morning a gun was furnished by a neighbor, which the Indians bore off as a peace offering to Doughty, whose enmity was heard of no more. A few years later he was killed by a white settler near Zanesville.

Story of the Post Boy

Different Versions of the Story.—For more than a century the story of the post boy has been told by the people in the northwestern part of Guernsey county. While the event related did not occur in Guernsey county, the scene of it was so close—just over the line in Tuscarawas county, and in a community reaching into both counties—that it may properly be included amongst the Guernsey county stories. There have been different versions of the story. The one that follows has been selected as the most authentic, although it differs in detail from some of the others.

The first station on the Cleveland and Marietta Railroad north of Guernsey is Post Boy. Early in the last century and long before there was any town there, a road passed through, leading from Cadiz to Coshocton. This road had been cut through the dense forest, across a rough country which, at that time, was very little inhabited. Over the road, between Cadiz and Coshocton, the United States mail was carried on horseback.

A man living in Coshocton had taken some stock “over the mountains” to sell. With the proceeds of his sale he was expected home by way of this road. At the place Post Boy is now located, which was then one of the wildest sections along the route, a highwayman took his stand behind a large tree. He was waiting for the stockman. The robber’s intention was to kill him at this lonely spot, seize the money and make his escape.

A Robber’s Mistake.—At length he was rewarded for his long wait. A horseman appeared, traveling westward on the narrow road through the woods. On each side of the horse were what seemed to be saddlebags, an equipment usually carried by a traveler from “over the mountains.” When the horseman, ignorant of danger, reached a point in the road opposite the tree behind which the highwayman was concealed, he was fired upon, and fell dead from his horse.

But the person shot was not the one the robber supposed him to be. He had shot the post boy carrying the United States mail. What he had supposed to be leather saddlebags were leather mail bags. He had committed a serious crime under the federal laws from which it would be hard to escape.

For a little while after firing the shot the murderer remained behind the tree; he wanted to be sure nobody else was near. When he came forth from his place of concealment and approached the body, he discovered his fatal mistake. He concealed the mail sacks. Just at this time a man came riding rapidly westward and stopped to inquire what had happened.

An Innocent Traveler Sentenced.—A few miles east of the scene of the murder was a tavern. The post boy had been joined by a stranger who happened to be going the same direction as the carrier of the mail. The two rode along together as company to each other. Coming to a spring at the side of the road, the stranger stopped to get a drink of water. The post boy rode ahead slowly, expecting to be overtaken in a few minutes. He had traveled along about one-half mile when he was shot. The stranger hearing the report of the gun, had hurried forward.

Here were the highwayman, the traveler and the dead post boy. Somebody had committed murder, evidently for the purpose of robbing the mail. The highwayman, of course, appeared innocent and suggested that they both spread the alarm in order that a search might be made for the murderer who must have escaped into the forest. The traveler hastened back to the tavern and returned with a number of men; the other went in the opposite direction and did not return.

The traveler told his story. But where was the other man? Was there another man? The traveler was unknown in the community. He was seen riding with the post boy. As one might suppose, he was suspected of the crime. He was arrested and placed in the county jail at New Philadelphia. He insisted that he was innocent, but the evidence was all against him. In the meantime the real murderer was at large and unsuspected.

The traveler, not knowing the murderer, was powerless. He told a straight story, but could not prove it. Having been brought to trail, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Murder Will Out.—Before the day of execution arrived many persons began to doubt the traveler’s guilt. This revulsion of feeling became so great that it was decided to resort to an unusual expedient. In protesting his innocence the prisoner had repeatedly said that he could pick the guilty man out of a thousand who might be brought before him A day was set for a meeting at the court house, to which were summoned all the men of the section in which the crime was committed. The real murderer, of course, would only have thrown suspicion upon himself had he remained away, so he came with the others.

All the men were arranged in a circle which was entered by the prisoner guarded by the sheriff. As they passed from man to man the condemned traveler scanned each face closely. Amid breathless silence the circuit had almost been completed, when the prisoner pointed to a man and, turning to the sheriff, said, That’s the one.” With an oath the accused man screamed, “You are a liar.” “Now I know he’s the man,” said the prisoner. “ since I have heard his voice; and you will find an ugly scar on his left arm near the wrist.”

The man was seized, his sleeve was turned back, and the scar was seen there. He broke down and confessed. An execution took place at New Philadelphia, but it was of the real murderer and not the traveler, who had been set free.

Town Names Post Boy.—Cartmel was the name of the post boy who, in the discharge of his duty, was shot down, having been mistaken for anther. Johnson was the name of the traveler who, on his journey over the lonely road, had stopped like the Good Samaritan to perform a deed of mercy; but for doing so, he almost lost his life. The mane of the murderer was Funstone.

Years later a town was laid out near the spot where the post boy had been killed. “Post Boy” was the name chosen for it. A few rods east of the railroad, on the north side of the highway, may be seen the spring where the traveler stopped to get a drink of water. On the hill about one-half mile west of the spring may yet be seen a tree that is said to mark the spot where the post boy fell.

Home Site Map