RECOLLECTIONS OF PIONEER LIFE
IN WESTERN DELAWARE COUNTY
Written by W. P. Crawford
Published by the Delaware Democratic Herald in 1888
This is a series of articles published in the Delaware Democratic Herald from January 6, 1888 to May 31, 1888. These articles describe life in western Delaware County, Ohio in the earlier half of the 1800's. They are not a compilation of research. They are W. P. Crawford's recollection of his life in western Delaware County in the early 1800's. The articles themselves are over 100 years old!
This compilation of articles was brought to the attention of Margaret Bouic, a local genealogist and historian, by Ralph Jones. His mother had found the clippings in a sewer drawer. It was through Margaret Bouic's work that they have been brought to our attention.
Delaware Democratic Herald,
January. 6, 1888 (No. 1)
The old pioneers are fast passing over the river and soon there will be none left to tell of the trials and hardships of the early settlers of this western wilderness. I am no historian, neither am I the son of one, but will try to give some plain facts that came under my own observation, and which were handed down to me by my parents, of pioneer life in the, at one time, vast wilderness, but now one of the most fertile and handsome valleys in the county. Hoping the reader will pardon me for the blunders I may make and the misplacing of words and sentences, etc.
My father and mother came over the mountains from Pennsylvania on horseback, with all their effects in a pair of saddlebags, and landed in Delaware County in 1811, where they bought one hundred acres of wild land on the west bank of the Whetstone River, six miles south of Delaware, in Liberty Township; built a cabin and commenced cutting away this dense forest. In 1812 when the war broke out he dropped his axe, shouldered his musket and marched to the northwest frontier in defense of his country against the British and Indians. He served two years in that campaign, at the close of which he was promoted to the office of Colonel. After he returned from the war he occupied his time in trying to clear up his land until the year 1818, when he got the agency of the Bomb and Perry land lying in what is now Thompson Township. He then sold out and moved to Delaware for a short time. Then pulling up stakes again and taking the old Urbana road west from Delaware until he struck the Scioto River south of the mouth of Bokes' Creek not more than thirty rods from where I am now writing. There was quite a settlement on the west side of the river here at that time, which I will try to describe at some future time. After crossing the river he took the old military road north five miles, where he again pitched his cabin on the west bank of the Scioto River a few rods northwest of the bridge that spans the river, known as the Lavender bridge in Thompson Township.
All the cabins at that time were built close to the banks of the river from the fact that the Indian trail and the old military road followed the meanderings of the river. There is an old apple tree still standing near the spot where the cabin was first built. The Indians would pass close by our door on their route from Sandusky to Columbus. They would always stop at our house to trade. I have often seen as high as twenty in a gang when I was a small boy, with their ponies loaded down with baskets of all sizes, shapes, and colors. They would give a basket, no difference what the size was, for the fill of the basket of shelled corn. They carried cranberries and dressed deer skins which they traded for corn. Our house was a stopping place. Father would trade them corn for dressed deer skins to make moccasins, something much worn by the first settlers.
Our neighbors at that time were few and far between. James Cochran settled on the farm now owned by J. W. Cone, in the year, 1817. I find in W. H. Perrin's late history of Delaware County a great many errors, some of which I shall try to correct. The first is in regard to the first mill built in Thompson Township in which the history is mistaken both in date and location. The late historian says the first mill was built in 1827; also that it was built a half mile west of the road on Fulton's creek. In both cases he is wide of the mark. The first mill was built on the south bank of Fulton's Creek, close to the river in the year 1817. It was running while we lived in the settlement and we left there in 1823. The wheel had an old fashioned overshot some eight or ten feet high. The waster was taken from Fulton Creek to run the mill but in the Fall of the year when needed the most to grind corn for our bread the creek was dry.
Well I do remember when I was a small boy of going with father and two of our neighbors, each with a small sack of corn, winding our way to the mill. Father and the two men tramped the wheel like a tread wheel to run the burrs, while Cochran done the grinding and attended to taking his toll - something he seldom neglected. The mill built on the creek half a mile west that the history speaks of was the new mill built some twenty years later and by a different party. It had nothing to do with Cochran's mil. Another mistake is that in regard to the first tannery. The history says it was in 1845 and located where Pickert's mill now stands, all of which is wide of the mark. The first tannery was built in 1818, 1819, or 1820; was located at the north end of the township on a farm now owned by a Mr. Wootring, the first farm north of the covered bridge that spans the river near Jacob Hoskins'. Neither was Roswell Fields the first Justice of the Peace.
Scioto Township was established in 1814. At that time it embraced all of the territory then belonging to Delaware County west of the Scioto River. Shortly after father settled here he was elected Justice of the Peace and served two years until Thompson Township was organized., then was re-elected in 1820 and served two years longer. Roswell Fields was one of our nearest neighbors and was the first carpenter. He worked by the old try-up rule; that is, to put the building together on the ground and fit each joint, and then number each joint. He built the first frame barn in Thompson Township. The whole barn was sided with walnut lumber sawed at our mills.
Our next neighbor, a mile north, was Joseph Russell. He came here in 1820. He built the first fine frame house in the township in 1834 and 1835. He also was one of the early justices of the peace of this township.
The first school in the township was taught by father in a little log cabin built by some squatter on the bank north of Fulton Creek on the farm where Prior Cox now lives. In the Winter of 1822 I there first learned my letters. We had a neighbor by the name of John Davis on the opposite side of the river, in Radnor Township, but the river most of the time was an impassable gulf, so there was little communication from either side.
About this time there was an incident transpired that created quite a riffle in the settlement. There was a piece of land on the north side of Fulton Creek between Cochran and Fields, that each one had an eye on for a home for their boys but were not yet ready to buy. In the meantime a man by the name of Joseph Coberly, a blacksmith by trade, slipped in and bought it and put up his cabin. He also built a log blacksmith shop on the north bank of Fulton Creek and commenced work. He had plenty of work and was doing well. As I said before Cochran and Fields both wanted his place. Coberly was a Virginian and a little inclined to be superstitious. Matters began to assume a different shape. Locks and bars in those days were not thought of. He would work hard all day and retire at night, but not to rest. By the time he got to bed he would hear hammering on the anvil. He would get up, light his torch, go to the shop to find it quiet. This kept up at intervals for some time., all his watching failed to discover the cause. Finally he concluded his shop was haunted. He sold out and left the settlement. It was afterward hinted around and generally believed that Cochran, when Coberly would retire, slipped across the creek, through the bushes that grew along the creek, and hammered on the anvil, and when he saw Coberly coming with a light, he hid in the bushes that grew along the creek which it was no hard matter to do at that time. Be that as it may it had the effect to scare Coberly out, but Cochran had his plans for his trouble for Fields was too quick for him and secured the coveted prize.
Delaware Democratic Herald (No. 2)
As tanneries were necessary in those days to furnish a market for hides and supply the settlers with leather, there was another one established at an early day in Radnor Township, north of the Joseph Cone farm, where Thomas Jones now lives, by David Jones. He was an uncle of Hon. T. C. Jones, of Delaware. It was between three and four miles from our home. The way we got there was to cross the river and go down the east side opposite the mouth of Fulton Creek. There was a blazed path striking off southeast through the dense forest to the tan yard. For a starting point there was a large beech tree on the bank of the river with large letters cut in the bark - Davy Jones, Tanner".
The year 1821 was an eventful one in the history of our family, at least scenes transpired that time will never erase from my memory, although but six years old at that time. Our mother was taken away from us just at the time we needed a mother's care. Father was left with five small children to care fore, the oldest but eight years old and the youngest but three days old. Father did the best he could under the circumstances. He hired one of our neighbor's daughters to take care of the house and keep the family together until Fall. It seems that trials and disappointments were multiplied and one calamity followed close upon the heels of another, and the ways of Providence are past finding out. In the Fall of the same year father loaded a sack of grain upon a horse and mounting the same started on e afternoon, ten miles down the river to the mill. He had to stay all night to get his grinding. Sometime during the night our cabin caught fire. We were all asleep and unconscious of any danger until the fire commenced falling on our beds. Our young housekeeper sprang from here bed and commenced screaming for help, and I never will forget the cries she uttered for help while dragging us one by one out of the burning building. Scarcely had she got the last one out when the loft and roof fell in and all was lost. We alone were saved, with nothing but the shirts on our back. If ever a girl deserved the title of heroine, she did, for her heroic deed on that occasion. I never will forget how like a marble statue she looked while standing at a safe distance gazing into that burning building which a few minutes ago was filled with food and clothing. A man by the name of Douglas saw the light and came running to our relief, but he was too late; the building had all tumbled in He took us home through the woods and gave us shelter until we could be provided for. father came home next day to gaze upon that was a few hours before his home, now nothing left but a pile of ashes.
This was a time that tried men's souls and many a man would have given up under such trials. But he was equal to the task and did the best he could under the trials that befell him. He bought some home-made linsey of a neighbor woman and cut out some garments and by the aid of some neighbor women made them up, so we were again clothed in the homespun of the country. There we were, five hundred miles from a relative, homeless, houseless, without food or clothing in the woods with strangers.
Now let me say a word or two to those emigrants in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado who are complaining of hard time, privations and trials incident to settling up of any new country. Of course they have to suffer a great many inconveniences, but not so much as the pioneers of this country, since the west is all dotted over with railroads and railroad stations, so that food and clothing and all the necessities of life can be shipped almost to your very doors in a few hour's time, and in case of sickness or death, send a telegraph dispatch to father, mother, brother, or sister, and in less time then it takes to pen these lines they have boarded the cares and are on their way with lightning speed. It is only a question of a few hours time and they are seated at your bedside to calm your troubled mind and minister to your wants. Distance is not counted nowadays by miles but by minutes and hours. Not so much in the early settling of this country when the journey had to be performed over the mountains and through dense forests, on horseback, and communication by letter was slow. It often took from three to five weeks to send a letter and got return in those early days, and more than likely,, as Brother Potter has told us, it would lay in the office the same length of time for want of money to pay the postage. When I was a boy I often saw Solomon Smith, the postmaster at Delaware, hold the letter back with one hand while he held the other out for the postage. If the money was not paid, the letter went back, no difference how important it was.
But I am wandering from the subject. After our house was burned we were scattered among strangers, one here and another there, until the next Spring when father built another cabin near the site of the old one and collected a few articles of household goods, such as he could pick up through the country and again commenced housekeeping in regular backwoods style. This was in 1822; and in June he married the second time.
The State road from Columbus to Upper Sandusky was laid out in the same year. It went about forty yards west of our cabin and cut off a good many meanderings of the old military road. The chain carriers and viewers stayed overnight at our house. They were a jolly set of fellows, relating several mishaps in crossing streams and cutting through brush in order to get a site.
As misfortunes seldom come singly the patience of the settlers was again put to a server test that Fall. We had a corn famine. As I said before, from the Scioto River to Little Darby there was one dense forest full of game of all kinds. A late frost that Spring destroyed all of the mast in the woods, and the squirrels, like the grasshoppers of Kansas, started east on a foraging expedition. They came in the thousands. For eight or ten miles up and down the river they made a clean sweep. They commenced when the corn was in roasting ears and by Fall nothing was left but the cob. Our hogs all starved to death. They were hauled to the woods by sled loads, and the cattle and horses had to live on the husks the squirrels left; and the settlers, like Jacob's sons of old, had to gather up some pack horses and sacks and go down, not to Egypt, but the older settlement in Liberty Township for corn for bread. Not so with the new settlers of Kansas when they had a corn famine a few years ago. The sons of the noble pioneers of the Buckeye State responded to their calls for aid and donated car load after car load of corn, and if I am not mistaken, the railroads carried free of charge, so they were abundantly supplied with bread and seed.
In the Spring of 1823 father built a farm in Scioto Township, on which was built the first sawmill in the township, of which I may have something to say in the future.
Delaware Democratic Herald February 9,
1888 (No. 3)
Richard Hoskins came here the same year that Stephens did, and built his cabin close to the bank of the river, on the first lot south of Stephens. In this rude hut was the first marriage ceremony performed, the parties being Robert Perry and Sarah Hoskins, in the year 1808. The minister came from Franklinton through the woods, on horseback, to perform the ceremony. Hoskins' cabin was the first opened to receive the traveling pioneer Methodist preacher, who made his monthly rounds to proclaim the everlasting gospel to the early settlers. A man by the name of Frazel was the first to take this charge. He traveled a distance of four hundred miles, through the woods upon horseback every four weeks, to fill his appointments. During the year his horse died, and he traveled one round on foot and never missed an appointment.
In the year 1807 James McCune settled on the lot adjoining Hoskins on the south. He also built his first cabin close to the river. He cleared off a few acres of heavy timber and planted the first apple ordchard in the township. Two of his trees are still standing, one of them measuring nine feet three inches in circumference, three feet from the ground. In a few years he erected a two story hewed log house and commenced keeping public entertainment in regular backwoods style. Many a weary traveler has been refreshed on his fat venison and wild turkey of which the woods abounded at that time. During the War of 1812 Richard M. Johnson was wounded at the Battle of the Thames, and was carried on a stretcher between two post horses down the old military road to Franklinton, and stopped several days at McCune's public house to rest and recruit his strength and the people flocked from all quarters through the woods to do honor to the hero of the Thames. McCune and his son were gigging fish one night in a small boat with a torch in the front end, and a deer was standing i the river gazing at the light until they got near enough for the old man to plunge his fish gig into its side and kill it. This may sound a little fishy, nevertheless it is true. I have lived a close neighbor to the old man for twenty years previous to his death, and heard him relate the circumstances more than once. I went with Zach Stephens, the deer hunter one Fall when the river was low. We waded up the river, carrying a torch as high as our heads in the front of us. Opposite the mouth of Boke's Creek we walked right up to a deer and shot it through the heart. It game one jump and fell dead almost at our feet.
The first school in this township was taught by Mrs. Johnson, from Franklinton. It was kept in the cabin vacated by James McCune. As soon as McCune's hewed log house was completed, a few slab benches were prepared and his house was thrown open for Presbyterian preaching. The Rev. Joseph Hully, from Delaware, preached here until the Radnor log meeting house was built, of which I may have something to say hereafter.
Richard Hoskins in a few years also erected a two story hewed log house, and in this was held the first quarterly meeting in the west, and from what we can learn, the first in the county. The frame barn in the township was built on McCune's farm in an early day; the second on Hoskins, both of which are still standing.
In 1807 a Virginia Dutchman by the name of Hushaw, came here and purchased four hundred acres of wild land on the west side of the river, and built the first mill in this part of the county, where the Millville mill now stands, and commenced cracking corn and making whiskey in a little log house on the bank of the mill race near where Mrs. Smith's house now stands. He was a large, rough man, overbearing and quarrelsome; had trouble with most of his neighbors, frequently ending in lawsuits, two or three of which were tried before father while living in Thompson Township. The first blacksmith shop in the township was built at his place, on the bank of the river at the crossing of the old Delaware and Urbana road, not more than six or eight rods north of where Schroet Blacksmith Shop now stands. We have lost track of the blacksmith's name. His cabin stood about three rods north of where the Methodist Protestant Church now stands. It was occupied by several different families for several years after he left it. In this house another of the early weddings occurred, that of John Cronkleton and Mary Steeker. Some of the remains of the old house are still visible in my potato patch.
In 1814 Anthony Newhouse came here. He lived in on of the Hushaw's cabins the first Summer and raised a small patch of corn; he then bought one hundred acres of wild land one mile west of the river, and built his cabin right in the midst of the woods and commenced cutting and slashing the heavy timber. In the Fall of 1815 he and two of his neighbors started through the woods on horseback, sixteen miles, to Darby Creek, on the hunt of corn meal for bread. His two neighbors were Walling and Dilsaver. Their search proved fruitless, and they returned home with nothing. Newhouse went down the creek and found Sager's Mill. He could get some corn meal by waiting two days for corn to come in. The mill was empty when he got there. While waiting, he took a job of clearing two acres of land to pay for meal. He worked two days in the clearing, and then got two bushels of meal and came home. The next week Dilsaver and Walling, went back and finished the clearing, for which they got two bushels of corn meal for the job.
The pioneer preacher found his cabin in the woods, and it was fitted up with a few slab benches and used for a preaching place, and several of the first quarterly meetings were held here in his double log barn. The first wheat flour they had in their house, after they came here, was packed from Fairfield County through the woods, on horseback. He had quite a large family, which settled around the old homestead and cleared up farms of their own. His youngest son, an old and respected citizen, is still living on the old homestead. Three of his sons were the first coopers in the settlement.
About the year 1819-20, a Welshman by the name of John H. Jones came to Columbus and bought a lot near the State House square. Shortly after paying for his lot he hired to a man to help drive a drove of hogs to Philadelphia. While there he bought a lottery ticket and drew eight thousand dollars clear cash. He then came to Delaware County. It was a big pile for one man to have in these western wilds at that time; so much so that he was called big money Jones for some time. After looking around for a while he bought Hushaw's mill and two hundred acres of land on the river. Hushaw having previously sold the back two hundred acres to different parties. Jones immediately began building a new mill for grinding corn and wheat. He built quite an extensive mill for those days. He built a new mill dam farther up the river, and dug a long and expensive mill race, expensive from the fact that he was no financier. He was of a jovial turn and loved to spin long yarns. He hired men by the day who loved their dram, the still house was handy and whisky plentiful. He would roll out a barrel of whisky under a shade tree on the race bank, and all hands must drink and listen to a story. His house, also, was like a boarding house. He was freehearted and his customers never left his house hungry, especially those that came from a distance. He did not know the value of money, and finally the bottom dropped out of his purse. He had to mortgage his farm to borrow money. This satisfied his wants for the time being. He then sold the mill and four hundred acres of ground to Mr. Eldredge, and shortly afterwards seventy acres on the north side to Charles Arthur, in 1847. The mortgage still eating his home and resort to days work for his bread and finally died a pauper. Moral: He that by the plow would thrive himself must either hold or drive.
Delaware Democratic Herald, February,
23, 1888 (No. 4)
Our summer clothing consisted chiefly of linen, manufactured at home also. Our mothers would pick the wool, card it on the pair of hand cards, spin it on the old-fashioned big wheel, color the year and weave the cloth. This was all done at home and by the family. There were no fulling mills in the country at that time. So to procure a heavier article for men and boy's wear they adopted a fulling bee, that is, invite in the neighbors, boys and sometimes the girls, and place around in a circle on the floor on low stools or blocks of wood, the web was then placed in the center and warm soap suds poured on, and the kicking commenced from every side, and he was the best fellow who could kick the hardest. This was continued until the web was beat up sufficient. Sometimes the home-made blankets were served in the same way. I have been at more than one of these fulling bees.
There was a cabin standing on the west and of father's place, built for a tenant. In this the first school was taught in that neighborhood by Andrew Stephen in the Winter of 1823-24. It stood about ten rods southeast of the Buck School house now standing in District No. 1 of this township. The schools were taught in those days by subscription. The teacher would carry his paper around and each householder would sign as many scholars, at so much per scholar, as he could pay for, and that was not many. So it was hard work for a poor man with a large family, to school his children. The first regular school house built in this part of the township was on the same farm, some twenty rods east of this cabin on the south side of the road. The friends of education came together, went into the woods, cut and hauled the logs, raised the house, and completed it in one day, with the exception of the stick chimney and floor. The light was furnished by cutting out the upper half of one log the full width of the house, and the under half of the one above it. In this large pine were driven in the log right under these paper windows, rough boards were placed the full width of the house to form writing desks; the writing scholars were placed with their backs to the teacher; so that the boys and girls sometimes would squint at each other unobserved, but now always; often the long beech rod would arouse them from their dreams of love.
There was another school house in an early day, on the east side of the river some fifty rods from the river on the south line of the farm now owned by James Hodges. It was similar to the one above described except it have five corners. The fifth corner was the fireplace. It was sixteen feet wide in front. I went to school a part of one Winter in this house to Charley Chamberton in 1834-35. In the Winter of 1836-37, the late W. M. Warren taught one term in this house. We were deprived the full benefit of those schools on account of the river as we could only attend when we had a bridge of ice. I never carried an arithmetic or slate to school in my life. I went a part of five Winters to school, and then graduated on the saw mill with a piece of red chalk on a pile of lumber.
In the Fall of 1826 father loaded up a load of wheat and went to Zanesville with an ox team for salt. It took six days to make the trip. He got fifty cents per bushel of wheat, and paid ten dollars for two barrels of salt for himself and neighbors. Such a thing as a steam mill in those days was not thought of, and frequently in the Fall of the year we had to resort to horse mills for grinding. When a small boy I was sent some two or three miles northeast of where Delhi now stands, with a sack of corn, to Uncle Billy Callan's horse mill. He had but one horse, so his customers had to furnish each one a horse to grind his grist. I put our horse in and drove the team to grind my grist, and got home before night, proud of my day's work.
The same Fall on of our neighbor's boys was sent to a mill of the same kind located in the northwest part of Thompson Township. He was not quite as lucky as I was. It was getting dusk by the time he got his grinding. He started home but missed the path and got lost in the woods but nothing daunted, like a brave pioneer boy, he dismounted, tied his horse to a sapling, took off his sack of meal and laid it at the root of a tree for a pillow, laid down and slept until morning, when he woke up at the break of day, loaded his sack of meal and found his way in time to have bread for breakfast.
When I was fourteen years of age I worked in Benjamin Allen's woolen factory in Delaware nearly one year, at twelve and one-half cents a day, and took my pay in factory cloth at three dollars a yard, and coarse at that. Of course I lost some time, but worked enough to get myself and brother our Winter clothing.
As fast as the pioneers got able they commenced building hewed log houses in order to dispense with the old stick chimney. A stone mason was necessary, and in 1818 Samuel Cameron, the first stone mason, came to their response. He married James McCune's daughter and settled directly west of McCune's in the woods, and commenced working at his trade. He built the first stone house in Radnor Township for Samuel Cooper, where now stands the fine residence of Samuel Perry of Radnor. This was built 1820-21. He also built the first frame house in this township which is still standing, but was overhauled and remodeled in 1864 by Charley Arthur.
In 1834 he also built what is known as the South Radnor Stone Church. Cameron came here from Kentucky and was rather odd and somewhat eccentric, and not being overburdened with piety at that time, he gave it the name of the Lord's barn, as it somewhat resembled a barn, and it went by that name for several years. The church like most of the churches of that day was occupied before it was finished. There was a two story pulpit of ancient design put up at a cost of forty dollars and the auditorium was seated with rough slab benches - quite a contract. It remained in this condition until 1855, when it was plastered and seated with seats of more modern style. The Rev. Henry Van Deman first filled the pulpit in this church for a short time. After he quit, the house was unoccupied for several years, except once in a great while by different ministers, until 1855, when it was remodeled, and since that time it has been regularly occupied.
Delaware Democratic Herald, March 8,
1888 (No. 5)
Uncle Sam Martin, as we used to call him was a great singer in regular old Virginia style. It was quite a treat when I was a small boy to hear him sing. As soon as the settlement around their home would justify, he prepared some puncheon benches and his cabin was thrown open for regular preaching.
In 1826 or 1827 there was a road laid out from Delaware to Belfountaine, crossing the Scioto River at our mill, running through the Martin settlement. As soon as the route was established the people on the west side of the river turned out in masses and opened the road to the Union County line. The men at the Martin settlement done the same. They met at the county line and exchanged jugs of whiskey and had a good time generally. This was a great help to the backwoods settlement. It gave them an outlet to mill and Delaware, although the east end of the road was not opened for five or six years after. After this road was laid out there was a grant secured for a post route from Delaware to Belfountaine, and also a post office at the crossing of the Scioto, which was called Crawford's Mills. But neither the post route nor the office was ever permanently established. In 1836 the route was changed to the Delaware and Marysville road and the office was located at the crossing of the river which was called Rigeur's corners. Although the office was never established here, mail frequently came directed to this place.
Father was a leading politician at that time and one of the foremost Jackson men in the county, and during the presidential campaign of 1828 there were political documents sent to Delaware directed to Crawford's Mills. Father would bring them home by the basket full and circulate them all over these western townships. The people were not tied to party as they are at present, and while Jackson's victory at New Orleans was still fresh in their minds, and these documents setting forth Jackson's claims for the suffrage of the people, it had a great influence in establishing the political views of the people of these western townships, which they have ever since maintained.
There was another little circumstance transpired a few years later that helped to confirm them in their faith. In 1833 Delaware belonged to the Franklin congressional district, and Judge McLean, of Columbus, was a candidate for Congress on the Jackson ticket. He was bitterly opposed by the opposite party. They resorted to every means in the power to defeat him. On the eve of the election they got up handbills and circulated them through Delaware County, setting forth that on account of ill health Judge McLean had withdrawn from the canvass. There was a Dr. McClary living in Radnor Township who was a strong Whit, also quite a politician. He came to our house the night preceding the election with one of these handbills. But he barked up the wrong sapling that time as the sequel will show. Father denounced the statement as false, and he and McClary had quite an argument until a late hour. As soon as McClary left, father commenced writing letters to prominent Democrats in the different townships warning McClean's friends against the falsity of the handbill, and as soon as daylight appeared the next morning he started me with two of them to Thompson and Radnor Townships, and my brother through Scioto and Concord, while he himself went to Delaware and had these letters sent to most of the voting places in the county.
As I said before, men were not so strongly attached to party then as now; they believed in honesty and fair play, and the result was that McLean received a great many votes that otherwise he would not have got, and he was elected to Congress in 1832. This senatorial district was composed of Delaware, Marion, and Crawford counties and for the active part father took in the presidential campaign of 1828, in 1832 he was put upon; the Jackson ticket for State Senator and was elected for two years. In view of the foregoing it is not necessary to ask me why I am a Democrat.
In No. 2 of my Recollections I stated Samuel Tyler's cabins, on Fulton Creek, one mile from the river, was the last west until we reached Big Darby, some twenty miles. There is a bit of history connected with this cabin that was overlooked at the time that is worthy of notice. In the year 1818 in Champaign, now Logan County, a child of James Curl had wandered away and was in danger of perishing with hunger, or falling a prey to wild beasts. This child was but seven years old at the time. It appears that he, with two of his older brothers, went into the woods in search of wild gooseberries. His two brothers, growing weary of their employment, returned home, but the younger boy continued wandering about until he mistook his way home and took the wrong end of the path, still hoping that he would arrive at some place that he knew, but he soon found himself bewildered and in the dense forest surrounded by wild beasts. After calling aloud for his brothers and getting no answer, he rushed on still further into the woods, and wandered on until night overtook him, when he took up his loding in a fallen treetop. When morning appeared he took up his lonely journey until he struck Mill Creek supposing it was Darby, and weary with fatigue and hunger, he followed the meandering of this stream some distance, as was shown by his tracks, which were discovered in the sand and mud for some distance along thi stream, until finally all traces were lost. The boy found nothing to satisfy his hunger but wild onions and gooseberries. When night again came on he took the side of a large log for shelter. That night he was visited he said by two large dogs, (but supposed to be wolves) but they were harmless, one of them lying down close to him apparently to guard him. He was frequently terrified at the site of wild beasts, especially a large black creature with long shaggy hair that he was walking on a log, supposed to be a black bear. From Mill Creek he struck off northeast through the dense forest until he struck Boke's Creek. Here his tracks in the mud were afterwards discovered by Michael Dilsaver while hunting deer. From here he again took a north easterly course until he got into the great windfall. Here he came across some cattle feeding in the woods and he followed them home, and on the seventh day from the time he left his home in Champaign County, after traveling something near a hundred miles in his meanderings, he was first discovered standing in the middle of the floor of Samuel Tyler's cabin on Fulton Creek in Thompson Township, almost famished with hunger, his clothes all in threads, his flesh lacerated and bleeding and covered with mud. He fortunately fell into the hands of good Samaritans. They washed him, clothed and dressed his wounds. It required close watching and nursing to save his life, but Tyler and his kind family, like all good pioneers of that day, were equal to the task, and as soon as he was revived enough to give his name and some faint idea where he came from, Tyler saddled his horse and found his way to the grief stricken parents with the joyful news that the dead was alive and the lost found. His elder brother came home with Tyler, and soon he had recovered sufficient to stand the journey he went home. Surely, like Joseph of old, God had a design in preserving the life of this child. He lived to raise five sons, four of which have been elected presiding elders of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Iowa.
Delaware Democratic Herald, April
5, 1888 (No. 5)
As early as 1820 there was a cabin standing on the bank of the mill race between the present wagon shop and the mill, in which was taught the first school in Millville, by Catherine Richey in 1824; and in 1825 the second term was taught by Margaret Thompson, the mother of Anna and Ida Munsel, who have since been successful teachers in this place. This place should have been called Jonesville, from the fact that in 1822 it consisted of but four families, all by the name of Jones. Robert Jones, the tanner, lived in the house above described; John Money Jones lived on the corner where W. M. Warren's house now stands; Jones, the "stiller", in a cabin where the late W. M. Warren's house stands; John Jones lived on the east side of the river where J. J. Van Brimmer now resides.
Thomas Jones commenced making whiskey in Horshaw's old house, on the bank of the race of which mention has been made. He then built a log still house, south of the mill on the bank of the river, some twenty rods north of the sulphur spring which was so highly extolled a short time ago by our Scioto correspondent. Jones did not sell out to Dunlap and Van Brimmer as the late historian tells us, but continued making whisky until 1839, when poor whiskey got the upper hand of him and caused his death. J. M. Jones in a few years built a hewed log house where the cabin stood, put in some slab benches, and in this the Rev. Benjamin Chidlow preached, when quite young, in 1829. The first Sabbath school was organized in one room of the grist mill, by Samuel Rodgers, the miller. He was superintendent, secretary, treasurer, and librarian. The next year he built a hewed log house on the west side of the street for Sabbath school and church, which was afterwards used as a store house on the corner where the large brick building now stands, and moved their goods into this. W. C. Winget and Stephen Hodgdon clerked for both these firms. In 1838 they sold out to J. F. Dunlap and Harry Rigour. They too sold goods for several years. When they quit, J. H. Mendenhall opened out with quite an assortment of general merchandise and done a flourishing business for several years.
In 1836 there was a Quaker by the name of William Eldgridge came here from Massachusetts and bought the mill and four acres of land of John M. Jones and laid out the town and named it Millville, not for the mill privileges, as the late historian tells us, but for his native town in the east by that name.
About the year 1837 the hewed log school house, with long horizontal glass windows, began to take the place of the cabin school house with greased paper windows. The first of these built here was south of Millville some eighty rods on the east side of the road on the north line of the farm then owned by Wm. Warren, and he taught the first two terms of school in this house. The second was built on Boke's Creek where the brick school house now stands of which mention has been made. The third was on the Marysville road, west of the river three fourths of a mile, called the Kuns District. The fourth was north of Fairview, on the bank of Mill Creek, called the Carr District. The fifth was on the south bank of big Mill Creek, called the Bean District. These composed all the schools in this township at the date mentioned.
We shall now try to give some of the reasons whythere were no more schools in the township at this late date. Friend Potter tells us of large tracts of land held by non-resident land owners in this part of the country. Now, if I understand him rightly, this land lay in two or three different townships. I believe there was more of that kind of land in Scioto township than any one township in the county, and it kept out of market until a later date. There was a nine hundred acre lot extending over half the length of the township, and running back one tier of lots from the river, owned by Line Sterling of Columbus, that was kept out of market, with the exception of lots until 1833. When Sterling died, Ray Thomas was appointed administrator, and he laid this tract off into lots, and it was soon taken up by actual settlers. One of the lots that was sold previous to this time was that of Thomas Jones, where still house stood; the other was where Matthias Pounds now resides. This lot was sold to John Beackley. He also put up a large distiller on this lot in 1825. The balance of this nine hundred acres was woods until 1833. There was another tract of 1800 acres owned by James Praul, of Pennsylvania, which he bought for a horse in an early day. This tract extended from the west end of the second tier of river lots west to the Union County line, laying on both sides of Boke's Creek. The first lot sold of this large tract of woodland was in 1852. A man by the name of Bailey living in Virginia, owned 1500 acres directly south of the east side of this Praul land, which was kept out of market until 1851; also a large tract right south of this Bailey land, embracing some eight or ten hundred acres. Part of this last tract was taken up at an earlier date. West of the Bailey land, and south of the west end of the Praul land was the Drumgold tract, embracing some two thousand acres, owned by a man of that name, living in Virginia. This trat extended west to the Union County line, and south to the settlement on Little Mill Creek. In 1851 H. G. Andrews and F. D. Hilliard, of Delaware, bought this land off Drumgold's heirs and laid out a road through the center of the tract from Boke's Creek to Little Mill Creek, and laid out the land into farms, which was soon taken up. In the Spring of 1852 I traveled over this road on horseback, when there was but one mudhole from Boke's Creek to Mill Creek, and that was the who length of the road. This was called the Burnt Pond road, of which I may have something to say at some future time.
Now we see there was something over seven thousand acres of land, almost in the center of the township, which was held by non-resident landowners, so that we could neither build school houses nor roads until within the last thirty years. These large bodies of land, I was going to say was a curse, but to say the least was far from being a blessing to any community, no difference where they are located. Concerning the improvements on these lands, I may have something to say hereafter.
There was a great many other causes that prevented this township from improving; one was for the want of roads leading to the county seat, and being on the west side of the river, which was often impassable for the want of suitable fords. There were no bridges spanning this stream until a later date. The first was in 1835. There was a cheap concern on the road leading from Delaware to Marysville, which was taken away by high water, and we were again cut off.
There is considerable complaint with some concerning the low price of farm produce and that of labor. Let us contrast the price of both sixty years ago with the present. Then the average price of a good horse was from $40 to $50, now $150 to $175. Then it took, a good cow to bring $8 and $10; now from $35 to $45. Then hogs sold for $1.50 per hundred and had to be driven on foot to Detroit or Buffalo to find a market; now they are worth $4 and $5 per hundred right at home. Then corn was 12 1/2 to 20 cents and no market except the distillery, and a gallon of whiskey was a legal tender for a bushel of corn. Then salt was $5 per barrel, and had to be hauled from Zanesville at that; now $1.25 per barrel at home. Then coffee 50 cents per pound, tea $1.25, calico $1.25 per yard, all dry goods in proportion. Then it cost from $3 to $4 to get a calico dress, now one dollar will get the same if it does take from 12 to 15 yards to make a dress. Then the wages of farm hands were $8 per month; now from $1.5 to $1.75 per day. Now we can't hire a young man by the day to sit on the fence and whistle for less than a dollar. Then male school teachers received $8 to $10 per month; now from $35 to $45. Female, $1.25 per week or $5 per month; now $now $28 to $35. Quite a contrast. Of course teachers were boarded at these prices.
It is not the low price of farm produce, neither is it low wages that is causing hard times. It is trying to imitate or keep with the more wealthy neighbors in the fashions of the time, such as fast horses, fine buggies, musical instruments, and a great many other luxuries that common people can ill afford. The country is full of slick-tongued agents offering their wares on a long, twelve month's time, and we are induced to go in debt, and these long twelve months rolls around before we are prepared, and something upon the farm had to be sold at a sacrifice to meet our obligations, and it is not met when due, there is a sticking plaster stuck upon the farm in the shape of a mortgage, leach-like, that is sucking the life blood out in the way of interest, and four times out of five like an anaconda, it will swallow the whole thing, buildings and all. Now I don't wish to be understood as being opposed to any of these luxuries provided we can afford them, for I am now. Buy cheap is a good motto but pay as we go is a great deal better.
Delaware Democratic Herald, May
17, 1888 (No. 7)