Historical Collections of Ohio
in two Volumes
by Henry Howe
Vol 1 pages 726 – 737
Guernsey County was organized in March, 1810. The upland is hilly and of various qualities, and the soil clay or clayey loam. There is much excellent land in the bottom of Wills creek and its branches, which cover about one-third of the county. Wool is a staple product of the county, together with beef cattle, horses and swine. Its area is 460 square miles. In 1885 the acres cultivated were 67,095; in pasture, 133,784; woodland, 48,407; lying waste, 1,134; produced in wheat, 68,313 bushels; oats, 206,490; corn, 671,694; tobacco, 231,191 pounds; wool, 685,262; sorghum, 32,069 gallons; sheep owned, 162,640; coal, 433,800 tons. School census, 1886, 9,690; teachers, 180.
It has seventy-eight miles of railroad.
Townships and Census 1840 1880
Adams 866 806
Cambridge 2,033 4,665
Center 976 1,233
Jackson 1,155 1,140
Jefferson 755 931
Knox 538 964
Liberty 835 1,503
Londonderry 1,629 1,320
Madison 1,568 1,160
Millwood, 1,722 1,984
Monroe 1,398 1,080
Oxford 2,133 1,615
Richland 1,772 1,439
Spencer 1,669 1,552
Washington 1,008 742
Westland 1,077 925
Wills 1,887 1,855
Wheeling 769 1,284
Population in 1820 was 9,292; in 1830, 18,636; 1840, 27,729; 1860, 24,474; 1880, 27,197; of whom 23,554 were Ohio-born, 1,499 Pennsylvania, 608 Virginia, 47 New York, and 578 from Europe.
Previous to the first settlement of the county there was a party of whites attacked by Indians on Wills creek, near the site of Cambridge. The particulars which follow are from the pen of Col. John M’Donald, author of the “Biographical Sketches.”
In the year 1791 or ’92, the Indians having made frequent incursions into the settlements along the Ohio river, between Wheeling and the Mingo bottom, sometimes killing or capturing whole families, at other times stealing all the horses belonging to a station or fort, a company consisting of seven men rendezvoused at a place called the Beech bottom, on the Ohio river, a few miles below where Wellsburg has been erected. This company were John Whetzel, William M’Collough, John Hough, Thomas Biggs, Joseph Hedges, Kinzie Dickerson, and a Mr. Linn. Their avowed object was to go to the Indian towns to steal horses. This was then considered a legal, honorable business, as we were then at open war with the Indians. It would only be retaliating upon them in their own way. These seven men were all trained to Indian warfare and a life in the woods from their youth. Perhaps the western frontier at no time could furnish seven men whose souls were better fitted, and whose nerves and sinews were better strung to perform any enterprise which required resolution and firmness. They crossed the Ohio, and proceeded with cautious steps and vigilant glances on their way through the cheerless, dark and almost impervious forest, in the Indian country, till they came to an Indian town, near where the head waters of the Sandusky and Muskingum rivers interlock. Here they made a fine haul, and set off homeward with fifteen horses. They traveled rapidly, only making short halts to let their horses graze and breathe a short time to recruit their strength and activity. In the evening of the second day of their rapid retreat they arrived at Wills creek, not far from where the town of Cambridge has been since erected. Here Mr. Linn was taken violently sick, and they must stop their march or leave him alone to perish in the dark and lonely woods. Our frontier men, notwithstanding their rough and unpolished manners, had too much of my Uncle Toby’s “sympathy for suffering humanity” to forsake a comrade in distress. They halted, and placed sentinels on their back trail, who remained there till late in the night, without seeing any signs of being pursued. The sentinels on the back trail returned to the camp, Mr. Linn still lying in excruciating pain. All the simple remedies in their power were administered to the sick man, without producing any effect. Being late in the night, they all lay down to rest, except one who was placed as guard. Their camp was on the bank of a small branch. Just before daybreak the guard took a small bucket and dipped some water out of the stream; on carrying it to the fire he discovered the water to be muddy. The muddy water waked his suspicion that the enemy might be approaching them, and were walking down in the stream, as their footsteps would be noiseless in the water. He waked his companions and communicated his suspicion. They arose, examined the branch a little distance, and listened attentively for some time; but neither saw nor heard anything, and then concluded it must have been raccoons, or some other animals, puddling in the stream. After this conclusion the company all lay down to rest, except the sentinel, who was stationed just outside of the light. Happily for them the fire was burned down, and only a few coals afforded a dim light to point our where they lay. The enemy had come silently down the creek, as the sentinel suspected, to within ten or twelve feet of the place where they lay, and fired several guns over the bank. Mr. Linn, the sick man, was lying with his side towards the bank, and received nearly all the balls which were at first fired. The Indians then, with tremendous yells, mounted the bank with loaded rifles, war-clubs and tomahawks, rushed upon our men, who fled barefooted and without arms. Mr. Linn, Thomas Biggs and Joseph Hedges were killed in and near the camp. William M’Collough had run but a short distance when he was fired at by the enemy. At the instant the fire was given, he jumped into a quagmire and fell; the Indians, supposing that they killed him, ran past in pursuit of others. He soon extricated himself out of the mire, and so made his escape. He fell in with John Hough and came into Wheeling. John Whetzel and Kinzie Dickerson met in their retreat and returned together. Those who made their escape were without arms, without clothing or provisions. Their sufferings were great; but this they bore with stoical indifference, as it was the fortune of war. Whether the Indians who defeated our heroes followed in pursuit from their towns, or were a party of warriors who accidentally happened to fall in with them, has never been ascertained. From the place they had stolen the horses they had traveled two nights and almost two entire days, without halting, except just a few minutes at a time, to let the horses graze. From the circumstance of their rapid retreat with the horses it was supposed that no pursuit could possibly have over taken them, but that fate had decreed that this party of Indians should meet and defeat them. As soon as the stragglers arrived at Wheeling, Capt. John M’Collough collected a party of men, and went to Wills creek and buried the unfortunate men who fell in and near the camp. The Indians had mangled the dead bodies at a most barbarous rate. Thus was closed the horse-stealing tragedy.
Of the four who survived this tragedy none are now living to tell the story of their suffering. They continued to hunt and to fight as long as the war lasted, John Whetzel and Dickerson died in the country near Wheeling. John Hough died a few years since, near Columbia, Hamilton county, Ohio. The brave Capt. William M’Collough fell in 1812, in the battle of Brownstown, in the campaign with Gen. Hull
Hon. William M. Farrar has given us the following interesting items concerning the early history of the county:
The streams of this county come somewhat curiously by their names, as Leatherwood, from a bush having a tough leathery bark used by the pioneers for many useful purposes; Yoker, from the yoker brush that grows along its banks; Wills creek, from Wills river, Maryland; Crooked creek, from its winding course; Little and Big Skull Forks, form the fact that in early times the Indians, having made one of their raids into the white settlements east of the Ohio river, were returning with their prisoners, among whom were a mother and infant child; being pursued they first killed the infant and left the body to be devoured by the wolves, who left no remains but the little skull; farther on the mother was killed and in like manner devoured by the wolves, leaving only the skull. These skulls were found by the pursuing whites on the banks of the streams which thus received their respective names. Another stream is named Indian Camp from one of their camping grounds.
The settlement of the county was curious in that settlers from so many different districts met here. The Virginians and Guernseymen met at Wills creek; the Yankees from Massachusetts and Western Pennsylvanians in the southwest; Quakers from North Carolina and Chester county, Pa., in the southeast; the Irish in northern and western townships. A settlement from New Jersey extends into two townships, while there are families, descendants of the Hessians, in the southern part of the county that came in through Virginia and Maryland settlements. The youngest daughter of Gen. Stark, of the Revolution, died in this county, aged ninety-nine years.
The man who wields the second oar in the painting of Perry’s Victory, in the rotunda of the Ohio State House, was a Guernsey county man known as “Fighting Bill” Reed. He was of Virginia or Pennsylvania stock, who learned the blacksmith trade with William McCracken, of Cambridge.
Gen Broadhead’s trail on his Coshocton campaign in 1781 against the Indians is distinctly marked through the county. There were no Indian villages in this region, it being the hunting ground of parties that hunted and fished along the principal streams.
In 1798 “Zane’s Trace” was cut through the county. When Zane’s party arrived at Wills Creek Crossing they found the government surveyors busy surveying the United States military lands. They had a camp on its banks. At this time the only dwelling between Wheeling and Lancaster was at Zanesville. The Zanes were from the South Branch of the Potomac, near Wills river, Maryland, and hence gave the name Wills creek to the stream. So far as known, Ebenezer Zane’s party consisted of himself, his brother Jonathan Zane, John McIntire, Joseph Worley, Levi Williams, and an Indian guide named Tomepomehala.
Wills creek is a sluggish stream with clay bottom, and choked up as it was at that day with drift wood and rubbish, was a difficult crossing; and the Zanes, in compliance with the requirements of the act to establish and maintain ferries at the principal crossings, probably induced a man of the name of Graham to establish one there. It was the first stream west of Wheeling on the “Trace” over which they placed a ferry. Who this first ferryman was or where from is not known. He remained about two years, and was succeeded by George Beymer, from Somerset, Pennsylvania, a brother-in-law of John McIntire, of Zane’s party. McIntire was a bother-in-law of Ebenezer Zane. Both of these persons kept a house of entertainment and a ferry for travelers on their way to Kentucky and other parts of the West. Mr. Beymer, in April, 1803, gave up his tavern to Mr. John Beatty, who moved in from Loudon county, Virginia. Beatty’s family consisted of eleven persons. Among these was Wyatt Hutchinson, who later kept a tavern in the town. The Indians then hunted in this vicinity, and often encamped on the creek. In June, 1806, Cambridge was laid out; and on the day the lots were first offered for sale, several families from the British isle of Guernsey, near the coast of France, stopped here and purchased lands. These were followed by other families, amounting in all to some fifteen or twenty, from the same island; all of whom, settling in the county, gave origin to its present name. Among the heads of these families were William Ogier, Thomas Naftel, Thomas Lanfisty, James Bishard, Charles and John Marquand, John Robbins, Daniel Ferbache, Peter Thomas and John Sarchet, and Daniel Hubert.
Cambridge in 1846.—Cambridge, the county-seat, is on the National road, 77 miles east of Columbus and 24 east of Zanesville. It is a flourishing village, and contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Seceder, 1 Methodist Episcopal and 1 Reformed Methodist church, an academy, 9 mercantile stores, 2 carding machines, 1 flouring and 2 fulling mills, 1 newspaper printing office and about 1,000 inhabitants. The vied represents the town as it appears from a hill on the west, about 300 yards north of the National road. The bridge across Wills creek is shown on the right and the town on the hill in the distance.—Old Edition.
The bridge above spoken of is shown also in the new picture. Although built in 1828 it still does good service. It is on the plan of Ithiel Town, a noted architect who, at the same date, was building the Connecticut State-House after the model of the Greek temple, and is now standing on the New Haven Green, through no longer used as a State-House, while the bridge, started as a bridge, remains still on duty as a bridge.
Cambridge is 77 miles east of Columbus, at the intersection of the C. & M. and B. & O. railroads. It is the centre of a fine agricultural district and the county-seat of Guernsey county. County officers in 1888; Probate Judge, Lot P. Hosick; Clerks of court, James R. Barr, Alfred Weedon; Sheriff, Hugh F. McDonald; Prosecuting Attorney, Justus H. Mackey; auditor, Thomas Smith; Treasurer, Milton Turner; Recorder, John K. Casey; Surveyor, William J. Hestor; Coroner, John H. Sarchet; Commissioners, John Shipman, James B. Hartley, George Watson. Newspapers; Jeffersonian, Democrat, John M. Amos, Editor and proprietor; Guernsey Times, Republican, D. D. Taylor, editor and proprietor; Herald, Independent, Mehaffy & Ogier, Editors and proprietors; People’s Press, Republican, C. W. Dunnifer, editor; Eastern Ohio Teacher, educational, Prof. John McBurney, editor and proprietor. Churches; 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Colored Baptist and 1 African Methodist Episcopal. Banks: Central National, A. J. Hutchinson, president, W. E. Boden, Cashier; Guernsey National, J. D. Taylor, president, A. A. Taylor, cashier; Old National, S. J. McMahon, president, A. R. Murray, cashier.
Industries and Employees.—C. & M. R. R. shops, 50 hands; Cambridge Chair Factory, 75 hands; Cambridge Roofing Co., iron roofing, 27 hands; Hoyle & Scott, doors and sash; Simons Bros., foundry; E. M. Collum, buggies, City Mills.—State Report for 1887. Natural gas is used here for manufacturing and domestic purposes. Population in 1880, 2,883. School census in 1886, 1,280; E. Burgess, superintendent.
Eight miles east of Cambridge, on the National road, is Washington, of which we said in 1846: “It is a very thriving village, and does an extensive business with the surrounding country, which is very fertile. It has I Lutheran, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist, 1 Union and I Catholic church, the last of which is an elegant and costly Gothic edifice; 6 mercantile stores, 1 woolen factory, a population nearly equal to Cambridge. It was laid out about the year 1805 by Simon Beymer, proprietor of the soil, and a native of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania.” Being away from railways, it has lost its relative importance. The census of 1880 gave it exactly 600 inhabitants.
In the northern part of this county, on the line of the C. & M. Railroad track, a few hundred yards north of Guernsey station, stand the Twin Sycamores, which are a considerable curiosity in the way of trees. These are the measurements, as obtained for us by Mr. William M. Farrar: Twelve inches above ground the largest is in girth 14 feet 6 inches, and the smaller, 10 feet and 4 inches. The arm or connection is 22 feet 2 inches from the ground, and its girth 5 feet 5 inches. The girth of the larger tree above the arm is 10 feet 5 inches; of the smaller tree, 7 feet 9 inches. The growing of a limb of one tree into the body of another is occasionally seen in the forests. This, however, is an unusual specimen. Sometimes one limb grows into another; an example of this is on the New Haven Green, where a lower limb about five feet in length has grown into the one above and serves as a brace put in my human hands.
The Leatherwood God.
At the village of Salesville there was built by the early settlers a hewed log-church called the Temple and for the use of all denominations. In August, 1828, about two and a half miles northwest of the Temple, was held a camp-meeting under the auspices of the United Brethren Church. It began on Wednesday and continued over Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon a large assemblage was addressed by the Rev. John Crum, P.E. He was about half way through a sermon of great eloquence, which had produced a profound impression, when he paused that the truths he had spoken might sink into the minds of his hearers. At this moment the solemn silence was broken by a tremendous voice, bursting forth like a clap of thunder upon the congregation, giving utterance to but one word, “Salvation,” followed by a shout and snort, which filled the people with awe and dread; one of those present said: “They carried with them, right through you, a thrill like that felt when greatly scared in the dark and a dread similar to that experienced when we think of dying instantly.”
Men jumped to their feet, women screamed aloud and every cheek blanched. All eyes were turned in the direction from whence the sounds came, and there, seated in the midst of the congregation, was a stranger with solemn countenance, totally unmoved, dressed in a suit of broadcloth, frock coat, white cravat and yellow beaver hat.
How or when he had come there no one knew, although dressed in a garb differing from any seen in this community at that time.
After several moments the clergyman proceeded with his sermon, but the people gave no need to it, for every eye and mind was centred upon the mysterious and solemn stranger in their midst. His large black flashing eyes, pale face, low broad forehead, from which the long black locks were brushed back, reaching half way to his waist, and his melancholy, solemn aspect seemed to inspire the people with awe.
After the meeting, he went about representing himself to be God Almighty, who had come down into the midst of the assembled people in his spiritual body and then assumed the corporeal one with the name of Joseph C. Dylks; that he could appear and disappear at will, perform miracles, and finally, that he had come to establish the millennium, and that whosoever followed him should never died in their natural bodies. He found many believers and followers. At first he was very cautious in his statements, but, as converts became more numerous he grew more bold, claimed that his body could not be touched without his permission and that with a stout and snort he could destroy the universe. His following increased and converts were made throughout parts of Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties. Three men from the vicinity of Salesville, Michael Brill, Robert McCormick and John Brill, also a young minister named Davis, who had come to Salesville during his visitation, were appointed disciples. He preached in the Temple at Salesville and made many converts.
He addressed them as follows: “I am God and there is none else. I am God and the Christ united. In me Father, Son and Holy Ghost are met. There is now no salvation for men except by faith in me. All who put their trust in me shall never taste death, but shall be translated into the New Jerusalem, which I am about to bring down from heaven.” Then the brothers yelled “We shall never die,” the sisters screamed, Dylks snorted and the spectators muttered their indignation at the blasphemy. When Dylks descended from the pulpit McCormick exclaimed, “Behold our God,” and the believers fell on their knees and worshipped him.
The indignation of those who had not been drawn into the delusion of the Dylksites finally resulted in organized opposition, and Dylks was called upon to prove his professions by the performance of a miracle. Thereupon he agreed to make a seamless garment if the cloth were furnished him.
The cloth was forthcoming but the miracle was not accomplished. Dylks was arrested and brought before a magistrate, but there being no law provided for such offences he was discharged. His accusers were not satisfied with this, and Dylks was obliged to flee to the woods pursued by a mob. After this his conversions ceased, but those who had accepted him still believed in his divinity, and among these he found a refuge from the unbelievers who sought to drive him from the country. He remained several weeks in hiding, and then assembled his converts and announced that he must go to Philadelphia and set up his “New Jerusalem.” This was in the latter part of October, and taking three of his disciples with him, they proceeded on foot to Philadelphia. When about to enter the city, Dylks and Davis separated form McCormick and Michael Brill, “to meet again,” said Dylks, “where the light from heaven shall shine brightest within the city, for there will New Jerusalem begin to expand to fill the earth.” They searched the city over and never found the “Light” nor Dylks and Davis, and after many days wanderings, footsore and moneyless, with sorrow and weeping, McCormick and Brill turned their steps homeward.
Notwithstanding that death removed the Dylksites one by one, the survivors still believed in the divinity of the Leatherwood God, and that he would some day return and set up his New Jerusalem. Seven years later the Rev. Davis reappeared and preached a sermon in which he declared he had seen Dylks ascend into heaven, and that he would return and set up his kingdom. Davis then left and neither he nor Dylks was ever heard of again.
The mystery surrounding the method by which Dylks reached the centre of that congregation was never divulged. When it is considered that his appearance was such a peculiar one, his attire differing from any ever seen in that community at that time, it is not surprising that many believed him to be a supernatural being, to have suddenly appeared in the midst of that large body of people without observation from any one.
The title, “The Leatherwood God,” was given this impostor from the meeting where he first appeared having been held on the bank of Leatherwood creek. Leatherwood, which gives name to the creek, it a peculiarly soft and pliable wood with a tough bark that can be tied into knots. It was used by the pioneers for tying the meat of wild hogs, venison and bear upon pack saddles for conveyance to market at Wheeling. When green it is so soft and spongy that it can be dented by the pressure of the fingers.
PENNYROYALDOM is the name of a district of uncertain boundaries of which Oxford township is the centre and to which it is principally applicable. This is the central of the three easternmost townships bordering on Belmont county. It is so called from the peculiar industry of pennyroyal raising and distilling within its limits. It is not a great industry, because the demand for the article is light, but it is a peculiar and rare industry, and as such is worthy of notice. The following is a description of the process of its distillation.
The pennyroyal, after being gathered, is allowed to wilt until it will pack well, is then tramped down carefully in the steam-chest until it is full. The oil is in the leaf, and at times can be seen with a magnifying glass in small globules on the under side of the leaf. Set free by the steam it passes into the condenser, into which the stream of cold water is conducted until condensed, and poured into an oil vat filled with water up nearly to the top. The oil, being lighter then the water, runs into the vessel and passes out into a receiver.
The still-houses are of rude construction, as shown in the engraving. Four forks are set in the ground with connecting poles, upon which the roof of rough boards is placed, extending from a ridge-pole to the eaves. The business is not of enough importance to justify any large expenditure for complete works.
The origin of the industry is as follows:
The first settlers of Oxford township found after plowing up the ground that a spontaneous growth of pennyroyal sprang up. Benjamin Borton, who came from New Jersey in 1804 and settled on the line of the old Wheeling road, having learned that art in his native State, commenced its distillation, and the industry has since been continued by his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons and became identified with the history of this region.
It is said that in the early days when all other resources for raising ready money with which to pay taxes had been exhausted, the farmers would go out and gather pennyroyal, distil it and in this way raise the cash, which was a scarce article in those times.
The medicinal qualities of the American pennyroyal are superior to that of foreign production, and the oil found a ready sale in the Eastern markets.
The industry has been productive of benefit as it has given rise, indirectly, to social reunions among the people, and as the outcome of these has been narratives of pioneer experience, it comes within our province to go into some little detail in regard to them.
At a banquet given in Cambridge on the retirement of Jonathan Rose as County Commissioner and the incoming of Peter Lochary, it was proposed to hold annual reunions of those born or bred in Pennyroyaldom, and the proposition acted upon. The first was held, August, 1880, at Gardiner’s Grove in Oxford township, and the records of that and succeeding meetings have been preserved by Mr. John Kirkpatrick in pamphlet form from which we quote.
Rev. John Ables, of Jackson township, and his brother Bethuel (since deceased), the oldest living people born in Oxford township, were present at the first reunion, and from the speech of Bethuel (the first white child born in Oxford township), we extract the following:
“I was born in 1806, within a mile of this spot, amongst the wolves, Indians and snakes. My father died when I was six years old, and left me the oldest of the family upon my mother’s hands. John, who has just spoken, was the next eldest. One night he and I, as the wolves were troublesome, penned the sheep right up against the cabin. In the night the wolves came and howled and pushed around the house. The sheep were killed and wounded. It made our little hearts quake at the danger. Once I went for my uncle, Reuben Borton, through a wheat patch for water. I was terribly afraid of snakes. I stepped in my bare feet on two copperheads while going, and also on an old hoop which flew up and struck me. I jumped so high each time that I brought no water back. My uncle found and killed the snakes.
“There were no near neighbors; for miles around there was nothing but paths. One day I was riding on an errand through the woods on ‘Kate’, and suddenly a man’s hand came from behind a tree on my thigh. I told of it and was informed that it was a robber looking for land buyers who had money. I escaped because I was a boy. In a few days we heard of a murder on the Maginnis farm. The hand of Providence was around us or we could not have lived. We suffered. I was out after the cows one day, and in crossing a creek walked on a log out into the stream and jumped to get over. I lit in the mud and went down and down, and could not get out: the more I stepped the more I became fastened. Some chips floated near me and little by little I was enabled to reach a slim branch above me.
“I learned the blacksmith business. I made the tools to clear this county. I made the hoes, the axes and the mattocks for the settlers. I was here when there were not thirty people in the township. I know all of Pennyroyal, and how to make the oil, too. In the early days we boiled it in kettles, now a four-horse load is needed to fill a gum. IT was hard work to gather pennyroyal. It grows by ‘grasshopper springs’. The springs near it are generally filled with grasshoppers, and the fields with weeds, etc.”
From the address of Geo. Plattenburg (since deceased) we give:
“In 1805 my father and family moved out. We did not have a load of furniture, and put some salt in the bottom of the wagon and sold it at Washington, Pa., for $6 a sack or $30 a barrel. It took one-and-a-half bushels of wheat to buy a pound of coffee then. Flour sold at New Orleans for $1.50 a barrel. It was plenty and money scarce. I made a coat for a man that cost him twenty-seven barrels of flour, or one hundred and thirty-five bushels of wheat. Timber sold at $12 a thousand feet, and whiskey at fifteen cents a gallon, but where were the fifteen cents?”
From William Morton’s remarks we quote:
“There were not more than fifteen persons in the township when we came tot eh goodly land of Ohio, in 1814 and 1815. The early settlers who followed were from New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. I was then ten years old. The boys had to hunt the cows from ridge to ridge through the wood sometimes for half a day, and then come home without them. They braved dangers, too. The hogs in the woods, wild as they were, were more dangerous than the bears. When cow-hunting the dogs would scare up the hogs, the hogs would charge, in battle array, upon the dogs, who would fall back upon the boys and they would have to stand the battle from great fallen trees or from the saplings. One day when my brothers and myself were out, we heard on a ridge above us howlings like those of a wolf. We howled similarly in return, and the dogs joined us in the howling. A boy on the ridge took to flight, thinking a pack of wolves was in reality near. This was the fun of those times.”
Hon. Joseph Ferrell said that when Oxford township was organized there were not enough men in it to fill the offices. It was soon settled by soldiers from the war of 1812, two of whom, William Bernard and William Richards, were still living. The Second Regiment in the war of 1846 was filled from here, and the Second Regiment in the last war had many from this neighborhood.
From Hon. Newell Kennon’s reminiscences of Fairview we extract:
“About 1818, in the woods south of Fairview, was seen by all the passers-by a speaker’s stand with benches in front sufficient to seat a large audience. This place was occupied for preaching by the Reformed Associate Presbyterian Church for five or six years by the Rev. Samuel Findley, their chosen pastor. In fair weather very large and appreciative audiences would assemble to hear the teachings of the learned doctor. The church increased rapidly, large numbers of families settling in the neighborhood who were members of that persuasion, besides others joining who had never been members of any church. They then built what was called a large and comfortable stone church. The chief architect was a sort of stone mason—but not a Free Mason, or he would have used the plumb, square and level more than he did, thus preventing the intolerant law of gravitation from pushing it down in the process of time. It was strange that the architect, who had the entire control of the building, would have a jug of whiskey placed in the corner-stone as a memento. When the workmen took down the building, the jug and the whiskey were found in a high state of preservation; they drank the whiskey and I don’t know what became of the jug.”
In the early settlement of the west the borders were infested by desperadoes flying from justice, suspected or convicted felons escaped from the grasp of law, who sought safety in the depths of the wilderness. The counterfeiter and robber found there a secure retreat and a new theatre for crime.
During the early settlement of the wild hill country f Southeastern Ohio the scattered, struggling, honest pioneers suffered much from the depredations of this class who found hiding-places among the caves and rocks and thick tangled undergrowth of the ravines. Much loss was inflicted by horse-thieves and counterfeiting of coin was carried on at times quite extensively. In some instances the early settlers executed summary justice upon the depredators and hung or shot them with ceremony. The outside public learned not of these events, as they took place before the advent of newspapers and communication with the older settled communities infrequent; we now learn of them mainly by tradition.
For several years prior to 1834 a large number of horses had been stolen from Guernsey and the surrounding counties, and so completely were all traces of the thieves covered up that the settlers were forced to the conclusion that an organized band of horse thieves must have been formed in their midst. From the scant evidence at hand, it appeared that these marauders had a line of communication from the Muskingum Valley to Lake Erie. So that horses stolen in Guernsey county would be passed along the line and disposed of at a point far distant from the place of theft. All efforts toward the discovery of the thieves were without avail, until finally suspicion fastened upon one Walter G. Perry, who resided some five miles east of Cumberland, in Guernsey county, near what is now called Blue Bell.
On the night of October 15, 1833, a horse had been stolen from Wm. Knapenburger, of Tuscarawas county, who offered a reward for the capture of the thief, and described him as “a short stout-made man, with black piercing eyes and of a rather quiet disposition.” Perry answered tot his description and measures were taken for his arrest, but he could not be found.
At this time a school-teacher in the McElroy district, named Adonijah Parrish, was boarding with Anthony Jones, and during the night, January 5, 1834, he heard some one cautiously admitted to the Jones dwelling; his suspicions were aroused and still further excited when, toward morning, he heard the stealthy departure of the person admitted during the night. By questioning the young son of Jones, Parrish learned that the cautious guest of the night was “uncle Perry.” Instead of attending to his school that day he hastened to an adjoining district, now called Harmony, and securing the assistance of Robert Marshall, Thomas Rannels, James C. Bay, E. Burt and Robert Kells, started in pursuit of Perry. Armed with rifles, they proceeded to the dwelling of Jones and from there took up the trail, which was easily followed, owing to a light snow having fallen during the night. After following it for some distance, they perceived that an effort had been made to cover the tracks and baffle pursuit.
About a mile and a half from Jones’s the trail led into a deep ravine, on either side of which were high projecting rocks and deep, dark recesses, causing the pursuers some trepidation through fear that Perry might have accomplices hid among the rocks and caverns of the ravine, and that they might fall victims to an ambushed enemy. They moved cautiously forward, speaking only in whispers, every faculty on the alert. Suddenly one of the party called out, “There he is, by the rocks.” Seeing that he was discovered, Perry assumed a defiant attitude, and pistol in hand, cried out with an oath that he would shoot the first one who came in on him, when he started to run. Marshall and Rannels threw up their rifles, firing simultaneously, and Perry fell, wounded in the right leg. His captors carried him to the cabin of Clark Williams, where his wound was dressed, and on the evening of the same day he was taken to Cambridge.
Perry was tried and convicted at the April term of court in Tuscarawas county, and on the 19th of April was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary. His would refused to heal and near the end of the first year’s imprisonment he was pardoned by the governor and set at liberty. He returned to his family, who still resided in Guernsey county, but, after a short time, they all left and were heard of – no more. Perry had preserved the rifle-ball which had shattered his leg, swearing he would be glad to “plant it in each of his captors.”
After Perry’s departure evidences came to light of his having been connected with a gang of counterfeiters. For several months preceding his arrest, numerous spurious notes and coins were put in circulation, and Perry on one occasion had remarked to Martin Robbins that he had a lot of coins that would “go just as well as any.” About two hundred yards east of his dwelling, in a ravine, was discovered a slot cut in a tree, and near it a long lever, which was used to make imprints of coins in short blocks of seasoned wood; from these primitive molds casts were made in the same manner that the early pioneers cast their rifle-balls.
These discoveries furnished an explanation of the stealthy visits of strangers to the cabin of Perry during all hours of the night. In 1883, in a field near this spot, NewtonHickle plowed up some 130 or more counterfeit coins, evidently made in this manner.
The place of his capture has ever since been called Perry’s Den, and is a resort for picnic parties and lovers of the romantic in nature. It is in Spencer township, three miles east of Cumberland, in a deep glen in the highlands, dividing the waters of Wills and Duck creeks.
In its native wildness it afforded remarkable facilities for secreting stolen property. Its distance from roads and the difficulties of access, together with the dense underbrush and its peculiar openings in the rocks, made its discovery extremely unlikely.
Two waterfalls of from twenty to thirty feet descent and about one hundred yards apart add to the romantic beauty of the glen. Horse Shoe Falls, with its ledge of rock projecting out over the depths below, forms a cavern in which twenty horses could be stabled at one time, undiscoverable except by the closest inspection, and early settlers say that unmistakable evidences that it had been put to such uses were plainly discernible. The second waterfall is a gem of beauty; in summer it is bordered with ferns and flowers, intermingled with laurels and evergreens, and in winter, stately columns of glittering ice and fantastic shapes and forms of filigree and frosted work arrest and please the eye.
The Guernsey County Meteor.
On the 1st of May, 1860, about half an hour after noon, an aerolite exploded over the western border of this county a little east of the village of New Concord. As it approached the earth its brilliance was almost equal to the sun. A great number of distinct detonations were heard like the firing of cannon, after which the sounds became blended together and were compared to the roar of a railway train. This meteor was one of the most remarkable on record from the large quantity of stones which fell to the earth. Prof. Elias Loomis, of Yale College, in Harper’s Magazine for June, 1868, in an article entitled “Shooting Stars, Detonating Meteors and Aerolites,” thus gives the main items connected with this very notable aerolite.
“Several stones were seen to fall to the ground and they penetrated the earth from two to three feet. The largest weighed 103 pounds, and is preserved in the cabinet of Marietta College. Another was found which weighed fifty-three pounds, a third fifty-one pounds, a forth was estimated to weigh forty to fifty pounds and a fifth weighed thirty-six pounds. A small one, weighing fifteen pounds, is preserved in the cabinet of Yale College. . . . About thirty stones were found, and the entire weight of all the fragments was estimated at 700 pounds.
“All these stones have the same general appearance. They are irregular blocks, and are covered with a very thin black crust, which looks as if it had been fused. Their specific gravity was 3.54, and their composition very similar to that of the Weston meteor. This meteor fell in the southwestern part of Connecticut on the morning of December 14, 1807, and was nearly one-half silex, about one-third oxide of iron, and one-eighth magnesia, with a little nickel and sulphur.
“Owing to the cloudy state of the atmosphere, the time was unfavorable for accurate observation of the meteor’s position in the heavens. It has been computed, however, that the meteor moved toward the northwest, that its path was nearly horizontal, and elevated about forty miles above the earth’s surface. . . . The velocity of the Western meteor relative to the earth was about fifteen miles per second. . . . There are eighteen well-authenticated cases in which aerolites have fallen in the United States during the last sixty years and their aggregate weight is 1,250 pounds.
“While aerolites contain no elements but such as are found in terrestrial minerals, their appearance is quite peculiar, and the grouping of the elements, that is, the compound formed by them, is so peculiar as to enable us by chemical analysis to distinguish an aerolite from any terrestrial substance.
“All aerolites without exception contain a substance called Schreibersite, through often in very small quantities. This substance is a compound of iron, nickel and phosphorus, and has never been found except in aerolites.”
Another writer upon meteors says:
“Records of the fall of aerolites is as old as history. One is recorded by Pliny, 467 B.C., which was the size of a wagon. Kepler affirmed his belief that there were more comets and smaller bodies flying through space in number than fish in the ocean.
“In regard to the chemical composition of these stones it must be observed that in passing through our atmosphere they undergo some change, as they always take fire in the upper regions by friction against our atmosphere, and arrive, at the ground hot, sometimes making a deep hole. Combustible substances in their composition, and perhaps an atmosphere of combustible gases surrounding them combined with the immense velocity with which they enter our atmosphere, cause, on the sudden diminution of that motion, a most intense rise in temperature, ignition, and very often one or more violent explosions. It is not surprising that they all present the appearance of having been subject to great heat. Chemists have proved that aerolites are not of volcanic origin, and astronomers that their velocity is far too great to be accounted for by terrestrial attraction.”
CUMBERLAND, about seventy miles east of Columbus, at the junction of B. Z. & C. and C. W. & N. Y. railroads, is surrounded by a fine farming country. Newspaper: News, Independent, W. A. Reedle, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Cumberland Presbyterian and 1 Presbyterian. Population in 1880, 519. School census in 1886, 200; A. R. McCulloch, superintendent.
QUAKER CITY, about ninety miles east of Columbus, on the O.C.R.R., is in the midst of a fine agricultural and stock-raising district. Newspaper: Independent, Independent, J.W. & A. B. Hill Churches; 1 Disciples, 1 Methodist Episcopal and 1 Friends.
Manufactures and Employees.—Manufacturing builders’ materials; sheepshearers’ benches; 1 foundry and machine shop; cigar factories; Quaker City Window Glass Co., employing 70 hands; 2 good gas wells; coal mining, etc. Bank: Quaker City National, John R. Hall, president, I. P. Steele, cashier. Population in 1880, 594.
BYESVILLE, five miles south of Cumberland, on the C. & M. R.R. Newspaper: Transcript, Independent, V. D. Browne, editor and proprietor. Population in 1880, 210. The following are names of villages, with their population in 1880: Senecaville, 402; Salesville, 266; Fairview, 152.