Letters & Communications
From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 372
Capt. D. C. Balentine, editor of the Springfield Transcript, selected to read letters and communications from invited guests unavoidably detained and others, remarked that he felt himself unable, even did time permit, to read the entire mass of manuscript placed in his hands, and, as they say in Congress, would "ask leave to print" for the benefit not only of this but for future generations. He then read, either in whole, or in part, the following papers:
FROM JUDGE FORCE, CINCINNATI
From Leavenworth, Kan., July 21, 1880
Maj. W. J. White:
Dear Sir: I have just received your letter, inviting me to serve as orator at the centennial of Gen. Rogers Clark's victory at Old Piqua.
The letter followed me to this post, where I am resting a few days before setting out with Gen. Pope for the southwest corner of Colorado.
I thank you heartily for thinking of me on so interesting an occasion, and would gladly serve if it were practicable. But while you will be celebrating your centennial, I shall be camping in the wilderness.
The proceedings will of course be printed; and will contain much of historical interest. I desire to bespeak a copy.
Very Truly Yours
M. F. Force
FROM PRESIDENT EDWARD ORTON, COLUMBUS, OHIO.
Ohio State University, President's Room, Columbus, Ohio,
July 28, 1880
Prof. W. J. White
My Dear Sir: I crave your pardon for my delay in answering your letters, I have been absent from home about a week, but your letter came into my hands a day or two since — in time, certainly, for an answer before this date. I am collecting the coal and ore statistics of the State and have a number of men in the field. When I returned, I was snowed under with urgent requests of various sorts that demanded instant attention, and, yielding to the immediate pressure, your letter escaped notice until an hour or two before your telegram was received.
I cannot render the service you ask. I wish I could. Nothing would please me better than to make a study of this early chapter of our history, but I am so burdened with my present duties that I cannot think of assuming any service outside of them.
Very Truly Yours
FROM HON. STEPHEN JOHNSTON, PIQUA.
Piqua, Ohio, August 2, 1880
P. O. Cummings, Secretary Clark-Shawnee Centennial, Springfield, Ohio:
Dear Sir: Your invitation extended to me to be present at the anniversary of the battle between Gen. Clark and the Shawnee Indians a century ago is before me. In my reply, will I say I shall be happy to accept the invitation and be with you at the time fixed. My mother was personally acquainted with Tecumseh and Daniel Boone, being born in Fort Bryan, Kentucky, or called usually "Bryan's Station," and being also acquainted with Abraham Thomas, who was in the battle and has given an account of it published in Howe's History of Ohio. Mr. Thomas came from Kentucky to Ohio at the same time with my mother's family and settled in this county (Miami), only a few miles apart. It will afford me great pleasure indeed to look over the ground on the anniversary of the battle.
Very truly, your obedient servant,
FROM M. M. MUNSON, GREENVILLE.
Greenville, July 28, 1880
F. M. Howe, Esq.:
My Dear Sir: Yours of the 27th is at hand, and I have been given the subject matter some consideration. At the present writing I am not able to give you any further historical account of the battle fought at "Old Piqua" between the Kentuckians under Gen. George Rogers Clark and the Shawnee Indians, which occurred August 8 and 9, 1780.
I am aware that there are conflicting accounts of that battle and the circumstances that attend it. You refer to those given in Howe's His. Col. Ohio. One is from "Bradford's Notes on Kentucky." This work is generally admitted as good authority in pioneer history. This book is out of print and quite rare. The other is Reminiscences of Abraham Thomas, published in the Troy Times, in 1839.
The reminiscences were written by a Mr. Bosson and were received as reliable, as Mr. Thomas was a man of truth. I furnished them to Mr. Howe for his book in 1846-47. Several things combine to make your celebration on this spot of interest and importance. First — Tecumseh was born here in 1865 [sic] or 1866 [sic]. May we not trust that a more complete life and juster conception of the character of Tecumseh will be brought out by your people on that occasion? One of the Drakes has given us an extended life of the chief, but from its reading a wrong impression of his character is made upon the reader. A good deal of poetry and romance has been from time to time interwoven with his life. Sayings and doings and many incidents are largely colored by McDonald and subsequent writers. I knew an old gentlemen who spent much of his time in Troy. He was Gen. Harrison's Secretary, and was at the treaty of Vincennes in 1870. His impression of Tecumseh was not favorable. His description of his personal appearance, his action, voice or speech, and a general analysis of his character, I recollect, were quite elaborate and thorough. some allowance should be made for my old friend, for he lived in those "perilous times," "a part of which he was," and was an old man. Second — The battle which your coming celebration is to commemorate. This is an important historic event, and a complete and reliable historical account should be secured before it is too late. I trust every effort will be made by your people to this end. Third — This spot once aspired to be the county seat of Clark County; once was the rival of your now beautiful and thriving city.
Mr. Smucker, the pioneer historian, lives in Newark, and is the Secretary of our Pioneer Society. I will try and see him in a day or two and have a personal interview with him upon the subject to which you refer in yours of the 27th. Books and documents treating upon early history or pioneer matters are rare, and most that were attainable in your county have been deposited in our society rooms in Newark. If I cannot go to Newark in time, I will inclose yours with a note to Mr. Smucker, who will write you or your committee. Mr. S. is the best posted historian in certain lines of pioneer history in Ohio, and then he has access to all published matter in this field at Newark, where we have them deposited. From what I have said of Tecumseh, I don't wish you to think he is by any means an unimportant personage — far from it. On the other hand, I look upon him as being the greatest Indian characters that has been known upon the American continent. I only want just a portraiture of him. What do you say to a parallel in part between he and Jeff. Davis?
I am your obedient servant,
FROM J. J. MUNSON, ST. PARIS.
St. Paris, August 6, 1880
Capt. Steele, Springfield, Ohio:
Dear Sir: Your postal was received on time. If professional engagements do not prevent, I will be present at the celebration. A few facts relative to Black Hoof may not be inappropriate. About thirty years since I obtained his skull at Wapakoneta. That his age was very great at the time of his death is attested by the closure of the alveoli (the sockets in which the teeth are inserted). Whether, as reported, he was 110 years of age when he died I do not know; but that his age was very great there is no doubt. His skull indicates a remarkable brain for an Indian. If he was as well balanced in mind as from the form of his skull his brain must have been, he could not have been otherwise than a great leader. Just above the temple, on the left side of the skull, there is an indentation. It was caused by a blow from a musket in the hands of an infuriated soldier shortly after his capture in the war of 1812-15. He was knocked senseless, and, although at the time it was supposed it had made a Good Indian of him, he lived many years, dying at Wapakoneta in the fall of 1831. A report of this incident in his life will be found in Howe's History of Ohio. He was the adviser and confidential friend of the great Tecumseh, and, at the instance of the latter, attempted to unite several Indian tribes into a grand confederation, so as the more effectually to resist the continually increasing encroachments of the whites. After the war of 1812, he settled down to a peaceful life, the monotony of which was only varied by an occasional drunk. In getting his skull I was assisted by an old pioneer who attended his funeral.
Should I not get down, see that the skull is returned in due time.*
FROM ISAAC SMUCKER, NEWARK.
Newark, Ohio, July 21, 1880
Capt. M. M. Munson
My Dear Sir: Yours, with the letter from Mr. Howe, was received yesterday. I have no fuller, better or more reliable account of Gen. Clark's expedition to the Mad River Indian towns, in August, 1780, than appears in Howe's Collections. Thomas calls it a "bloodless victory to the expedition," but in a preceding paragraph admits that a party of the Clark army, acting as spies on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, were surprised and several killed and wounded.
The history of the Clark expedition was briefly this: In July, 1780, Gen. Clark organized about one thousand Kentuckians to march against the Indian towns on Mad River, a few miles west of Springfield, for the purpose of chastising them for their marauding excursions into Kentucky. The army left the mouth of Licking August 2, 1780, reached the Piqua Indian town on the 8th, and had a battle, with the loss of about twenty men on each side, the Indians being compelled to retreat. Gen. Clark's army then returned to Kentucky, arriving at the mouth of Licking, opposite Cincinnati, August 14.
Drake's Memoir of Tecumseh is probably the fullest and most reliable, and contains about all that is known of him. I see Howe draws largely upon Drake in making up his biographical sketch of him. His character, when divested of the drapery of romance thrown around it, was simply that of a brave, influential, energetic, talented, vindictive savage — that and nothing more — certainly nothing better.
Fraternally, Isaac Smucker.
FROM C. W. BUTTERFIELD.
Madison, Wis., August 4, 1880
William J. White, Springfield, Ohio:
Dear Major: It would afford me great pleasure to be with you on the 9th inst., at the meeting of the Memorial Association, of Springfield, with the pioneers of Clark County, to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Col. George Rogers Clark with the Shawnees and Mingoes, at the Indian town of Piqua, within the present limits of your county; but I am so far away and so pressed with business engagements that I must forego the happiness of being present upon that occasion.
The historical sketch of "The Siege of the old Indian town of Piqua," published in the Springfield Republic of June 14, 1880, written by Thomas F. McGrew, which you were so kind as to send me, I have read with much interest and profit. The writer has evidently caught the spirit of "The Siege," and has left little to be added to the history of the expedition. "One hundred years ago," says the circular which you have favored me with, "the now fertile farms, productive valleys, lofty ledges and sparkling springs of Clark County were the homes, the haunts and hunting-grounds of the Shawnees." This is true; and may I be allowed to add, that what is now the great State of Ohio was then, "to all intents and purposes," a howling wilderness.
One hundred years ago, there was not in the vast extent of territory bounded on the north by the Great Lakes, on the east and south by the Ohio, and on the west by the Mississippi, a single permanent American settlement. Beyond the Ohio, looking north and west, was everywhere an Indian country; and, at that time, all the tribes but one throughout the whole region were openly at war with the United States. That one was the Delawares; and these Indians the very next spring took up the hatchet in favor of the British. So, the settlements that had taken root west of the Alleghanies — reaching from Pittsburgh down the east side of the Ohio to some distance below Wheeling — and the few that were dotting the wilds of Kentucky, were all suffering the horrors of the Western Border war of the Revolution — a war characterized by rapacity and bloodthirstiness. Previous to this, two expeditions had crossed the Ohio, directed exclusively against the savages: One from Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), in February, 1778, to attack Cuyahoga, under Brig. Gen. Edward Hand, resulting so ingloriously that it is known in history as the "squaw campaign;" the other from Kentucky, in May, 1779, led by Col. John Bowman, against Chillicothe, a Shawnee town, about three miles north of the present site of Xenia. His success was not what had been expected; but the expedition was by no means a failure. Then came the campaign of Clark, "one hundred years ago," against Piqua, the particulars of which your historian has given with so much clearness and accuracy; and to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of which your association and the pioneers of Clark County are so soon to assemble on the "Old Piqua Battle Ground."
But what of Indian marauds, meanwhile, across the Ohio into Pennsylvania and Virginia, and into the infant settlements of Kentucky? The actors were fitly described as "horrible hellhounds of savage war!" for they murdered, indiscriminately, the young and the old — helpless women and children — every age and either sex. To prevent the almost continual depredations of this character, carried on by the Shawnees and Mingoes, upon the inhabitants of Kentucky, the expedition against the Indian towns on Mad River was organized by Clark. The enterprise, as you know, was a success; though the Shawnees were but little humbled, and the Mingoes still less. The immunity from savage aggressions, which the campaign brought to Kentucky, was of short duration. But of the expeditions which followed I will not speak. Suffice it to say, that what is now Clark County never again was the scene of conflict between the Americans and Indians in force.
And now, before I close, a few words about Simon Girty, who is said to have been in command of the Mingoes at Piqua. Possibly you may be interested in a brief sketch of the "noted desperado" — something concerning him outside of the general drift of what is to be found in the current histories of the day. He was born about the year 1741, on an island in the Susquehanna River. His father's name was also Simon. His mother's maiden name was Crosby. Simon, the younger, had three brothers — Thomas, James and George. The father was killed in a drunken frolic. The widow afterward married a man named John Turner. They had one son, also named John. During the old French war, all were captured by the Indians. The elder, John Turner, was tortured at the stake; the residue of the family was taken into captivity, but Thomas Girty escaped. Simon Girty was adopted by the Senecas; James, by the Shawnees; George by the Delawares. To what tribe the mother and child (young John Turner) were assigned is unknown. After peace was declared, they all returned to Pittsburgh and vicinity — to civilized life. But during the Revolution the Girty boys joined the British and their savage allies. They all became noted for their cruelty to prisoners. Simon was a conspicuous character in the Indian war which followed the Revolution. Soon after the close of the last-mentioned conflict, he married Catharine Malott. They had a family of five children — John (who died in infancy), Ann, Thomas, Sarah and Predaux. Their descendants are numerous and respectable. Simon Girty died February 18, 1818, near what is now Amherstburg, Canada.
Yours truly, C. W. Butterfield.
FROM PRESIDENT HAYES..
Executive Mansion, Washington, August 5, 1880
I am directed by the President to say that arrangements already made for the disposition of his time next week render it impracticable to reach Springfield on the 9th inst., and he is obliged with regret to decline your very kind invitation to be present on the occasion of the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the victory of Gen. Clark.
Very truly yours, W. K. Rogers, Private Secretary.
Messrs. George H. Frey, P.P. Mast, John H. Thomas, City Council Committee, Springfield, Ohio.
FROM SENATOR THURMAN.
Columbus, August 3, 1880
Dear Sir: I have delayed answering your polite invitation to attend the centennial celebration of Gen. Clark's victory, in the hope that I might be able to accept it. But I now find, to my regret, that I cannot do so, as I am compelled to be absent from Ohio for the next ten days, if not longer. Thanking the committee for the favor of the invitation, I am
G. H. Frey, Esq., Springfield, Ohio.
FROM SENATOR PENDLETON.
Cincinnati, July 24, 1880
George H. Frey, Esq., Chairman Committee on behalf of City Council:
My Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your invitation on behalf of the City Council of Springfield to attend the centennial celebration of the victory of Gen. Clark over the Indians, to be held at the battle-ground, Monday, August 9, 1880, and to be the guest of the city. I expect, in pursuance of a previous engagement, to be absent from the State at that time. If anything should transpire to relieve me from this engagement, it will be a pleasure as well as an honor to accept your invitation. Convey to the Committee and the gentlemen of the Council my high appreciation of the honor they have conferred on me, and believe me Very respectfully yours,
George H. Pendleton
FROM MAYOR NOBLE, OF TIFFIN.
Tiffin, Ohio, July 27, 1880
George H. Frey, Esq., Springfield, Ohio:
Dear Sir: Your kind favor and invitation received. In reply, allow me to say, my official duties are such that I will be unable to attend your "Centennial." Permit me, however, in the name of the city of Tiffin, to extend unto you our hearty and sincere congratulations, and may the coming years bring to you even more prosperity than the past.
Mayor of Tiffin
FROM WILLIAM PATRICK, URBANA.
Urbana, Ohio, August 2, 1880
F. O. Cummings, Secretary Clark-Shawnee Centennial, Springfield, Ohio:
Dear Sir: Permit me to return my thanks for the kind invitation extended to me to attend the centennial and pioneer re-union, on the 9th of August, four miles west of Springfield, on the Old Piqua battle-ground 100 years ago, for the purpose of celebrating that great historic event. Memory brings up recollections in connection with the subject of my very early pioneer life that seem to urge me to make this effort to accept the very kind invitation to attend; but surrounding circumstances will more than likely intervene to prevent it, and, if so, please be assured that my heart is with you in that great and laudable enterprise.
The battle of Piqua, preceded by many raids at different points, was only the commencement of a long line of conflicts with the savages in the various parts of the then great Northwestern Territory. Gen. Clark, six years later, raised a large force and marched it against the Indian villages upon the Wabash, and, while at the Falls of Ohio, detailed Col. Logan, afterward breveted Gen. Logan, to raise a considerable force and march it upon the Macacheek towns, now within the limits of Logan County, Ohio, which resulted in the burning of Macacheek, Pigeon Town, Wappatomica and other towns in the vicinity, names not now recollected; and this predatory mode of warfare culminated in the decisive battle gained by Gen. Wayne in 1795. connected with the scenes enacted in these various conflicts, the names of Boone, Kenton, Whiteley, Patterson, Kenedy, Trotter and others were embossed in shining filigree during the fifteen years which followed the one you celebrate on the 9th of August, 1880.
My father, Anthony Patrick, migrated from New Jersey, in the year 1806, to Trumbull County, Ohio, when I was about ten years old, and purchased land, settled on it and improved it, within two miles of the line dividing Pennsylvania and Ohio, and about two and one half miles west of the present celebrated manufacturing town of Sharon, Penn. But, as was very common at that early day among the first settlers in Ohio, he and several of his neighbors, hearing glowing rumors of the richness and fertility of the Mad River country, became restless and dissatisfied with their location, and, hoping to better their condition, sold their lands preparatory to seeking the El Dorado in the valley of Mad River; and, in the spring of 1811, my father with some five or six of his neighbors decided upon a novel mode of transit, which was to build a boat with sufficient capacity to contain them and their families, with their few household goods and suplies, and launch it in the Shenango River, about two miles above the site of the present town of Sharon as above alluded to, and which in due time was fully accomplished and floated down the river over three new mill-dams to the mouth of what was called the Big Yankee Creek, and safely moored and made ready with steering oar and paddles for the first spring freshet, which soon occurred, when all the immigrants boarded and cut loose and floated down the Shenango into the Big Beaver, and over the Beaver Falls down to its confluence with the beautiful Ohio river, and down it to Cincinnati with its log cabins under the hill and here they sold their boat for about $20, made their dividends and all the boat's crew distributed themselves in what was, at that day, Champaign county. I very much doubt whether any nautical enterprise has more than equaled it since that day.
This brings me to the point to tell when and how I became acquainted with Springfield. My father moved from Cincinnati up to Lebanon about the 1st of June, and, in the following August, hired a team to bring his family and goods to Urbana, and, on the 9th of August, 1811, being coincident with the anniversary you intend to celebrate at Piqua, we passed through your little hamlet of a few cabins, arriving at Urbana on the same day, when I was nearly fifteen years old. This circumstance, connected with the fact that at the close of my services in the war of 1812-15, having two uncles and several of our old neighbors from Trumbull County living in Harmony Township, on the waters of Beaver Creek, I was induced to take charge of a small school and "teach the young idea how to shoot" (but not with toy pistols). This situation brought Springfield and what is now the eastern part of Clark County into a more general acquaintanceship with very first settlers. And among those in town I will mention Ambler, Demint, Daugherty, Foos, Hunt, McElroy, McCartney, Platt, Walker, Pendleton and Rennick. And now, passing by Springfield for the present, will in rural districts, dating back from 1811 to 1816, name the heads of families in and adjoining the neighborhood in which I was employed as above indicated, and with whom I have formed more intimate relationships growing out of my position as school-teacher for two or three quarters on Beaver Creek, as follows: Samuel McMullin, Thomas Rathburn, John and Clark Rathburn, John Woods, Charles Bradford, William Trustrum, and Elijah Hull and their old fathers, Jacob Judy and sons, Jacob Harris, Henry and Isaac Hylse, and their old father, Samuel and John Patrick, Robert Turner and brother James; and will now add some whose Christian names I annot remember: Storms, Goodfellow, Norton, Hampton, Loomas, Simpson, Snodgrass, Broadwell, Clark, Wallingsford and Gandy. Many of these persons, soon after the date indicated, changed their residence from Harmony Township, and the probability is that none of the persons named are left, except, perhaps, in a very few descendants.
Piqua, the point of your intended celebration, traditionally claims the paternity of the celebrated warrior, Tecumseh, who, it is claimed, was one of a triplet at his birth, but this allegation I will leave to the better antiquarians than myself to decide as to its truth, merely inserting this short note by way of reminder. All the foregoing fragmentary and desultory reminiscent sketches have been grouped together from memory, and antedate the organization of Clark County, and are entirely applicable to old Campaign as organized in 1805. Springfield, of course, has been only partially portrayed under the cloud that shadowed her up to the organization of Clark County in 1818, and her becoming its county seat, which fact, in connection with the natural advantages developed of water-power, affording facilities for milling and manufacturing purposes, coupled with the hidden wealth of her inexhaustible stone quarries, together with the fact that some fifty years ago she was made a point on the great national thoroughfare, the Cumberland road; all these things, with others combined, at an early day began to attract public attention abroad, and population, with its wealth and capital, rushed speedily into the lap of Springfield; and, although some reversed occurred in the beginning, yet through the indomitable energy and perseverance of her first-class population, with its native genius, she has been placed on a high plain of progress, that, with the present network of railroad facilities added to her other already enumerated advantages, will carry her to the goal of prosperity at least equal to any other inalnd business center of the same numerical class of the city of Springfield. I would like to say in conclusion, if I had not already said so much, that during my younger manhood, I formed some very agreeable relationships with many of the citizens of Springfield, and will say that I never knew a better class of citizens than I found there; indeed they were my beau ideal in business and professional circles. but as is the case of my own town, these things with me are now in the past, for I feel myself as among strangers both here and there, at the ripe old age of eighty-four.
FROM T. M'KINNON, LONDON.
London, Ohio, August 6, 1880
To the Members of the Pioner Association:
When I learned of the proposed meeting of pioneers to be held near Springfield this month, my great wish was that I might be one of the number of those assembled; but circumstances are such as will prevent my attendance. I have some recollections of the early days and doings in this region, which I will give to the meeting on paper, if I cannot give them in person. I was born in Harrison County, Ky., in November, 1795. My father, with part of his family, came to Ohio in the fall of 1802, and settled on Buck Creek north of Springfield. At that time I was sick and unable to come, so father left me with my mother and younger children in Kentucky until the next spring, when he returned and brought us to Ohio. Thus, it will be seen, my residence in Ohio is as old as the State itself. On our way up to where father had selected a home, we passed through Dayton, then a small town, through what was called Tapman's Prairie, and crossed Mad River at an old Indian town. This river, my mother said, was certainly rightly named, for it was such a rapid stream. Three men — David Lowry, Jonathan Donnell and John Denny — lived near there. We stopped overnight with Mr. Denny. Donnell afterward hung himself. We again crossed Mad River, and continued on our way up to Buck Creek. The first man we met was Robert Renick, and soon afterward we met Col. William Ward, a leading man of that day, and afterward Clerk of the Court at Urbana. One day, soon after we settled on Buck Creek, and father and the older boys were away from home, four Indians — two young men and two older ones — came to our house and called for their dinners. Mother provided a dinner for them, and while they were eating she asked one of them if they were at the burning of Col. Crawford. He said that the two of the older ones were. She then told him that Col. Crawford was her grandfather. When he notified the other ones of that fact they all immediately stopped eating and appeared somewhat alarmed; but she told them to go on with their eating and not be uneasy. She then asked them if they could tell her about the death of Maj. Harrison. They told her that he had been squibbed to death with powder at Wapatomica, near Zanesfield, Logan County. She then told them that Harrison was her father. This report fully corroborated one given by a man named Trover, I think, who was a prisoner at the same time with Maj. Harrison. He said he had seen Harrison's body black and powder-burned.
Another Indian trouble was in the time of Gov. Tiffin. He was advised of coming trouble and he sent word to Tecumseh at Wapakoneta to meet him in council at Springfield, with eighty warriors, the picked men of the Shawnee tribe. I remember one of them in particular, a man by name of Goodhunter, who had formerly camped near our house, when on a hunting expedition. He was a fine specimen of perfect physical man as I ever saw. The council was held and the pipe of peace was smoked. The following incident occurred in connection with the smoking: A Dr. Hunt† had a clay pipe and Gov. Tiffin used it for the occasion. When he had filled the pipe and started it, he passed it to Tecumseh who looked at it a moment, and then throwing it away he brought forth his tomakawk-pipe, [sic] and after starting it handed it to Gov. Tiffin. I heard Tecumseh's speech as he made it through an interpreter, and I never heard a finer orator than he appeared to be. The first merchants in Springfield were two Frenchmen named Dubaugh and Lucroy. They had their goods in a log cabin between what is now Limestone and Market streets, on Main street. Their goods were better suited to the Indian trade than to any other. When they left, a man by the name of Samuel Simington came on with a stock, and he built the first frame house in Springfield, on the southwest corner of Limestone and Main streets, where Baldwin's building now stands. Simington afterward sold out to Pierson Spining and went to New Carlisle, and built mills on Honey Creek. The first tavern-keeper was Griffith Foos, who kept on the corner of Main and Spring streets. He had one boarder for several years that I remember very well. He owned a great deal of land around there. He was a fine-looking man, wearing very heavy black side whiskers, but having a head of hair as white as snow. He always took special pains to keep his hair and whiskers in order. The first camp-meeting held in that region, and the first one I ever attended, was held about where the County Infirmary now stands. It was conducted by two brothers named Thomas and Richard Clark. They were nicknamed "Newlights." Their hearers got the jerks, both men and women, and kept on jerking until they became exhausted. One Jack Eeles, said to have been the wickedest man in that county, went to one of their meetings drunk, making fun of them and claiming that their jerking was all a sham. But the jerks got hold on Jack and got him down and would not let go of him. He became so exhausted that his friends had to carry him home. Jack afterward went into the army, was in the war of 1812, and was killed at the battle of Lundy's Lane, in July, 1814. My father was the first settler on Buck Crek, above Lagonda. He planted the first apple orchard in that part of the country, and some of the trees were still standing a year or two ago.
James Shipman was the first tailor in Springfield. Walter Smallwood was the first blacksmith. Cooper Ludlow was the first shoemaker. James Demint, the proprietor of Springfield, lived in a double log cabin which stood on the hill opposite Barnett's mill, near where the public school building now stands.
I never saw but two deformed Indians. One of these had no under jaw. The other one, called Bateast, had a monster of a nose. If you wish to see how his nose appeared, just take a common-sized turnip, cut it in two, and place a half on each side of a large raddish, and then you can see Bateast's nose.
He and his brother-in-law, Roundhead, and Goodhunter all went off and joined the British army and never came back. Roundhead lived at a little town now called Roundhead, in the southwest corner of Hardin County. Batteast's home was at a place a few miles west of Roundhead, then called Bateastown. in 1803 or 1804, Congress passed a law donating 3 per cent of all money received from sale of lands for use on roads. This donation was called the 3 per cent fund. One Capt. Moore, and his brother Thomas, in 1805 took a contract to open a road from Franklinton to Springfield. When they got the job within a few miles of Springfield with the road, they made a frolic of the job, and invited all the people around to come and help them, so they might go into Springfield in one day. The people turned out and put the road through in one day and that night they had a big supper and ball at Foos', which was a grand affair. There was great rejoicing that the road was done.
Thomas Moore drove the first hogs East from this region. He bought his drove from the people on credit. He bought some from one lady named Nancy Reed, promising to bring her a silk dress pattern from Baltimore as payment for her hogs. He drove his hogs to Baltimore, but as his expenses on the trip were more than the original cost of the hogs, he lost money, and could not pay in full for the hogs when he got home. But he brought Nancy her silk dress, and she had the honor of wearing the first silk in this part of the country, and at the same time, the satisfaction of getting payment in full for her hogs — a thing which nobody else could say. But Moore paid all a proportional part, and promised the remainder as soon as he could get it. It was several years before he made payment of these debts, but he did it after he got back from serving with Hull in his campaigns. He had saved enough out of his wages to cancel his hog debts. Moore lived and died on the farm where he first settled.
During the first years of our life there, there was only one company of militia in all that region now comprising Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties, so thinly was it populated. My father's place was the usual drill ground, and I knew every man in all that territory. By 1812, the country was so well settled that there were nine companies, commanded by the following Captains: Black, McCord, Vance, Barrett, Lemon, Cox, Kiser, Stewart and one other, whose name I have forgotten. Nearly sixty years ago, I helped to survey all the islands in the Mississippi River from the mouth of the Des Moines River to the mouth of the Illinois. In my early days, I crossed the Alleghany Mountains twelve times on horseback. As may be known from a statement of my birth, I am neraly eighty-five years of agen, and was four years old at the death of George Washington. My health is tolerably good. At times I feel very well, and at other times somewhat feeble. Some years ago, my eyesight began to fail, and for the last ten years I have been entirely blind. I claim to be the first man who named "Honest Old Abe" for President. I lacked but a few days of being old enough to vote at James Monroe's first election in 1816. My first vote was for Monroe in 1820, at his second election, when he received the entire vote of the Electoral College, less one.
My votes for President have been as follows: 1824, Adams; 1828, Clay; 1832, Clay; 1836, Harrison; 1840, Harrison; 1844, Clay; 1848, Taylor; 1852, Scott; 1856, Fremont; 1860, Lincoln; 1864, Lincoln; 1868, Grant; 1872, Grant; 1876, Hayes; and in 1880 I hope to vote for Garfield, which will make me sixteen Presidential votes. Respectfully,
* The skull was on exhibition during the day of the celebration.
† This was Dr. Richard Hunt.
‡ This letter is printed with the article entitled Indian Occupancy.
Battle of Piqua
Early Clark County
George Rogers Clark
Education in Clark County
Indians in Clark County
The National Road
Springfield in 1852
Springfield in 1863
SHS 1951 Yearbook
Then & Now