Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Supt. J. M. Richardson.
Note: Only certain sections of this book will be included on this site. Names have been put in caps to help with identification.
Tuscarawas County in the War of 1812. --At the commencement of hostilities in 1812 between the United States and Great Britain, probably two thousand white people were dwelling in what is now Tuscarawas county, scattered principally along or near the valley of the Tuscarawas, Sugar Creek, One Leg, Sandy and Big Stillwater. Many of the Indians still occupied their hunting grounds in the Tuscarawas valley, living on terms of friendship, and in some instances of intimacy with the settlers. When hostilities began these associations suddenly ceased. The Indians who were not members of the missions daubed their faces with warpaint boasted of the many scalps they had taken from the white men in former years, and with threats of invasion left the county to join their western brothers. The cowardly surrender of HULL at Detroit left the entire western border unprotected, and rumors of savage raids and warfare were rife. A few pioneers appalled by the probability of scenes of burning and murder, and unwilling to risk the safety of their families in such an event, returned to their eastern homes. Panics, produced by startling rumors, pervaded every settlement, and on several occasions the people gathered hastily at the cabin of one of the pioneers and passed the night in momentary expectation of an attack. The greatest alarm occurred soon after HULL'S surrender. A few returning paroled soldiers spread the report that the savages were approaching in large numbers and that by the next morning there would not be a white man alive west of the river. The tidings flew from cabin to cabin through out the Sugar Creek settlements, and the terror stricken people at once commenced a precipitate retreat. A few valuables were hastily collected and thrown into the wagons to which teams of horses or oxen were hitched and goaded to their highest speed. Goods that were not easily transported were in some instances hidden in thickets or swamps. The meal from which the pioneer family arose was left standing on the table and whatever work they were engaged in was left unfinished. The Dover ferry was crowded all day long, and was scarcely able to transport the thronging eager fugitives. At New Philadelphia a stand was made, but as days and weeks passed and no enemy appeared, the settlers gradually returned to their homes. At first they went in squads and planted their crops in common. While some were engaged in labor others stood guard with loaded rifles. Fully six weeks elapsed before quiet was restored in Sugar Creek Valley.
Many of the settlers of Tuscarawas Conty participated in the struggle. Most of them were drafted into the service, but some volunteered. The terms of enlistment varied from three to twelve months. In all, perhaps more than two hundred Tuscarawas Conty citizens bore arms. Their number and names are unknown, as the files are not on record and the local muster rolls are lost or destroyed. They were stationed principally on the frontiers of Ohio.
The following account of a stirring incident at New Philadelphia is taken from Howe's "Historical Collecitons of Ohio."
"About the time of Hull's surrender, several persons were murdered on the Mohican, near Mansfield, which created great alarm and excitement. Shortly after this event, three Indians, said to be unfriendly, had arrived at Goshen. The knowledge of this circumstance created great alarm, and an independent company of cavalry, of whom Alexander MCCONNEL was captain, was solicited by the citizens to pursue and take them. Some half a dozen, with their captain, turned out for that purpose. Where daring courage was required to achieve any hostile movement no man was more suitable than Alexander MCCONNEL. The Indians were traced to a small island near Goshen. MCCONNEL plunged his horse into the river and crossed, at the same time ordering his men to follow, but none chose to obey him. He dismounted, hitched his horse, and with a pistol in each hand commenced searching for them. He had gone but a few steps into the interior of the island when he discovered one of them, with a rifle, lying at full length behind a log. He presented his pistol -- the Indian jumped to his feet, but MCCONNEL disarmed him. He also took the others, disarmed them, and drove them before him. On reaching his company, one of his men hinted that they should be put to death. 'Not until they have had a trial according to law?' said the captain: Then ordering his company to wheel, they conducted the prisoners to the county jail."
While the Indians were in the jail at New Philadelphia, there occurred one of the best demonstrations that the moral courage of one man is able to withstand the rage of the infuriated crowd.
"The murder which had been perpetrated on the Mohicans had aroused the feelings of the white settlers in that neighborhood almost to a frenzy. No sooner did the report reach them that some strange Indians had been arrested and confined in the New Philadelphia jail, than a company of about forty men was organized at or near Wooster, armed with rifles, under command of a Captain MULLEN, and marched for New Philadelphia to despatch these Indians. When within about a mile of the town, coming in from the west, John C. WRIGHT then a practicing lawyer at Stuebenville [later Judge] rode into the place from the east on business. He was hailed by Henry LAFFER, Esq. at that time sheriff of the county and told that the Indian prisoners were in his custody; the advancing company of men was pointed out to him, their object stated, and the inquiry made, 'What is to be done? The prisoners must be saved, sir,' replied WRIGHT; 'why don't you beat an alarm and call out the citizens?' To this he replied, 'Our people are much exasperated, and the fear is that if they are called out they will side with the company, whose object is to take their lives? 'Is there no one who will stand by you to prevent so dastardly a murder?' rejoined WRIGHT. 'None but MCCONNEL, who captured them.' 'Have you any arms?' 'None but an old broadsword and a pistol.' 'Well,' replied W., 'go call MCCONNEL, get your weapons, and come up to the tavern; I'll put away my horse and make a third man to defend the prisoners; we must not have so disgraceful a murder committed here." WRIGHT put up his horse, and was joined by LAFFER and MCCONNEL. About this time the military company came up to the tavern door, and there halted for some refreshments. Mr. WRIGHT knew the captain and many of the men, and went along the line, followed by the sheriff, inquiring their object and remonstrating pointing out the disgrace of so cowardly an act as was contemplated, and assuring them, in case they carried out their brutal design, they would be prosecuted and punished for murder. Several left the line, declaring they would have nothing more to do with the matter. The captain became angry, ordered the ground to be cleared, formed his men and moved toward the jail. MCCONNEL was at the jail door, and the sheriff and WRIGHT took a cross cut and joined him before the troops arrived. The prisoners had been laid on the floor against the front wall as a place of safety. The three arranged themselves before the jail door --MCCONNEL with the sword, Sheriff LAFFER with the pistol, and WRIGHT was without a weapon.
The troop formed in front, a parley was had, and WRIGHT again went along the line remonstrating, and detached two or three more men. He was ordered off, and took his position at the jail door with his companions. The men were formed, and commands, preparatory to a discharge of the arms, issued."
"In this position the three were ordered off, but refused to obey, declaring that the prisoners should not be touched except they first dispatched them. Their firmness had its effect: the order to fire was given, and the men refused to obey. WRIGHT again went along the line remonstrating, etc., while LAFFER and MCCONNEL maintained their position at the door. One or two more were persuaded to leave the line. The captain became very angry and ordered him off. He again took his place with his two companions. The company was marched off some distance and treated with whiskey, and after some altercation, returned to the jail door, were arranged and prepared for a discharge of their rifles, and the three ordered off on pain of being shot.
They maintained their ground without faltering, and the company gave way and abandoned their projects. Some of them were afterward permitted; one at a time, to go in and see the prisoners, care being taken that no harm was done. These three men received no aid from the citizens; the few that were about looked on merely. Their courage and firmness were truly admirable."
"The Indians were retained in jail until Governor MEIGS, who had been some time expected, arrived in New Philadelphia. He instructed Gen. A. SHANE, then a lieuteuant, recruiting for the United States service, to take the Indians with his men to the rendezvous at Zanesville. From thence they were ordered to be sent with his recruits to the headquarters of Gen. HARRISON, at Seneca, at which place they were discharged."
occurred in Lieutenant SHANE'S journey to headquarters, which
illustrates the deep rooted prejudices, entertained by many at
that time agianst the Indians. The lieutenant with his company
stopped a night at Newark. The three Indians were guarded as
prisoners, and that duty devolved by turns on the recruits. A
physician, who lived in Newark, and kept a small drug shop,
informed the office that two of his men had applied to him for
poison. On his questioning them closely what use they were to
make of it, they partly confessed that it was intended for the
Indians. It was night when they applied for it, and they were
dressed in fati-frocks. In the morning the lieutenant his men
paraded, and called the doctor to point out those who had
meditated such a base act; but the doctor, either unwilling ot
expose himself to the enmity of the men, or unable to discern
them, the whole company being then dressed in their regimentals,
the affair was passed over with some severe remarks by the
commanding officer on the unsoldierlike conduct of those who
could be guilty of such a dastardly crime of poisoning.
Read more about Shanesville and Sugarcreek.
The Mexican War. --In response to the requisition made by President Polk, calling on Ohio for three regiments of infantry, to take the field in Mexico for twelve months, Gov. BARTLEY, May 20, 1846, issued a proclamation, addressed to the people, urging them to respond to the call promptly. The same day, Adjt. Gen. CURTIS, of the Ohio Militia, issued a general order requiring the brigades of militia to muster forthwith and enroll volunteers. Maj. Gen. BURNS, of the Third Division of Ohio Militia, by general order dated May 25, directed Brig. Gen. John BUTT, of New Philadelphia, to muster the regiments of his brigade at once, for the purpose of carrying into effect the requisition for troops. The next day, Gen. BUTT ordered the First Regiment, commanded by Col. TORRY; the Second Regiment, Col. John KNIGHT; the Third Regiment, Col. James MAGINNIS; the regiment of volunteers, Col. John J. ROBINSON, and the company of cavalry, Lieut. Col. William HODGE, composing the troops of the Fourth Brigade, to parade in the center square, New Philadelphia, Monday, June 1, 1846, at 10 o'clock A. M. for the purpose of raising volunteers. The following was Co. ROBINSON'S order:
TO ARMS!! TO
In compliance of the above order, the First Rifle Regiment, including Capt. SHEETS' company of artillery, are ordered to parade New Philadelphia on next Monday. Citizen soldiers, TO ARMS! TO ARMS! Your country is invaded; we must, and shall drive back the FOE. "Let our motto be "OUR COUNTRY, MAY SHE ALWAYS BE IN THE RIGHT, BUT RIGHT OR WRONG, OUR COUNTRY."
John J. ROBINSON
Colonel First Rifle Regiment,
Fourth Brigade,, Third Division Ohio Militia.
In pursuance with these orders, the brigade assembled, and together with a large number of citizens who were also present, numbered over two thousand persons. They marched to a grove, where they were addressed by Gens BUTT and BLAKE. The latter then stepped forward and volunteered, the orders were read, and "music beat up for volunteers." Sixty-four names were enrolled, and Gen. BLAKE was authorized to receive more at New Philadelphia. The Company met at Dover, June 6, and elected Walter M. BLAKE, Captain; Samuel BAUGHMAN, First Lieut., and Jacob NORTH, Second Lieut. They then repaired to KALDENBAUGH'S hotel and partook of a dinner given them by the citizens of Dover. Thursday, June 11, they met at New Philadelphia, and after partaking of a sumptuous dinner at the Red Lion Hotel, took up the line of march to Zanesville, the place of rendezvous. At Trenton, Port Washington, and Newcomerstown, they were received with warm demonstrations of patriotism, and all went well until they arrived at Roscoe, where they met the Holmes county company returning from Zanesville, and received the intelligence that the required number of volunteers had already been received. They communicated with Gen. BURNS, at Coshocton, and were instructed to return home. Mortifying as it was, they wheeled around, and good humoredly re-settling their song, "We're on our way to Matamoras," so as to read, "We're on our way to Tuscarawas," they retraced their steps, arriving Sunday morning. Several of the company, however, would not return, but pressed on, determined to reach the Rio Grande. This was the extent to which Tuscarawas County was engaged in the war. Had there been any further need of troops, the county would not have been found lacking or lagging in zeal and patriotism.
Christian DEARDORF constructed the first grist and saw mill on Sugar Creek, half a mile west of Dover, in 1805.
Garbriel CRYDER erected the first distillery at a point three miles west of New Philadelphia, in 1807.
At Gnadengutten, in 1808, Conrad WESTHOFFER, receiving license, began the business of ferrying man and beast across the bridgeless Tuscarawas.
The first school house in Tuscarawas county was built of light logs, and Daniel BLACK is credited with being the first of the many school teachers the people of the county have employed. The house was built and school taught in 1808. Two years later a small frame was built, not far from the site of the present jail.
In the absence of settled pastors, the visits of traveling preachers were warmly welcomed, and houses were thrown open with old-time hospitality. Rev. John STAUCH, from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, was the pioneer minister of the Lutheran Church, who crossed the Ohio River, and threading wild Indian paths, fording and swimming the bridgeless streams, and wading through mud and mire to his horses knees, visited and preached in their cabins, baptized their infants, and confirmed their youth. Rev. Jacob RHINE was the second pastor for the scattered settlers; and in 1815, the Rev. Abraham SNYDER came to New Philadelphia and became the first settled Lutheran pastor. HE organized a church, erected a house, and it was used for school during the week, and for church on Sunday.
The first marriage recorded was that of Conrad REGHART and Elizabeth GOOD, on the 17th of July, 1808. The rites were performed by Abraham MOSSER, Justice of the Peace of Lawrence Township.
The first child born in New Philadelphia was Joseph STOUTT, in about 1808, and the first death, a child from the family of Nathan PETTYCORD.
The "Chronicle" was the oldest newspaper, and Judge PATRICK edited it.
The first religious meeting in Dover was a prayer meeting, attended by Gabriel CRYDER, William COULTER, William BUTT and others. The first regular Methodist preacher was Rev. James WATTS; the circuit he traveled was computed to be four hundred and seventy-five miles around. One of the first classes was at Guinea Creek, a name without a present place. It was on Sugar Creek on what is known as the DOWNY farm.
BAKER built the first dam across the Tuscarawas, and constructed a mill on the eastern side, from which he made much profit. John BEYER was the first produce dealer in Dover, and his first essay was two flatboats loaded with wheat, bought at thirty-five to fifty cents per bushel, floating them down the rivers to New Orleans, and taking all summer for the trip. The first canal boat built and sailed from Dover was the "Growler," the work of Geo. WALLICK. Jacob BLICKENSDERFER was first toll collector on the canal, and held the office for twelve or fourteen years.
The Dover Manufacturing Company was organized in 1842, and built what is now called the "Calico Dutch." It was a joint-stock company. WELTY and HAYDEN built their mill, and the mill and ditch were finished in 1844.
The first three Justices of Peace for the County, in 1808, were Boaz WALTON, Salem Township; James DOUGLASS, Oxford Township; and Abraham KNISELY, of Goshen Township. The first Associate Judges were John HECKEWELDER, Augusta CARR and Christian DEARDORFF. Common Pleas Judge was William WILSON.
The first Grand Jury to sit in council to arbitrate, in reason, the differences of other fellows, consister of Samuel MOSSER, Godfrey HOFF, Gideon JENNINGS, John HARBAUGH, Abraham KINSELY, George STIFFLER, Isaac DEARDORFF, James SMILEY, Lewis KNAUS, John KNAUS, Abraham ROMIG, Joseph EVERETT, Philip ZEIGLER and Conrad ROTH.
The first Petit Jury recorded in criminal case in Tuscarawas county was composed of Aaron COREY, Tobias SHUNK, John BALTZLEY, Philip ITSKIN, John UHRICH, John BEXVER, Boaz WALTON, Charles HILL, James WELSH, Jacob WINTSCH, John JUDKINS, John ROMIG, James CARR, and William MULLAIN.
The first criminal indictment recorded was tried before the Associate Judges, on the 28th of August, 1809. David WOLGAMOT, of Oxford Township, was charged with having sold three quarts of whiskey to John JACOBS, an Indian, for four deerskins, contrary to law. The above named jury found WOLGAMOT guilty, and the court decided that the skins be returned to JACOBS, and five dollars and cost be paid to the State by WOLGAMOT.
A FOUL MURDER AND EXECUTION: --September 10, 1825, the mail-carrier from Freeport to Coshocton -- a boy named CARTMELL -- was shot and killed while making his usual trip. The place where the crime occurred has ever since been called Post Boy. A quiet man, named JOHNSON, was the first to reach the scene and first to spread the tale. He narrowly escaped trial for the crime by identifying a young man named FUNSTON as the guilty party. FUNSTON was the guilty party and was tried in November, confessed his crime to Judge PATRICK, and was executed December 30, on an elevation west of New Philadelphia, in what is known as Allentown. The religious exercises were by Rev. P. WILLIAMS, and the execution by Sheriff Walter M. BLAKE. Although this was not the only murder ever committed within the limits of the county, it is the first and only execution. We do not think that such crimes form an important part of our history as a county, and as their story only appeals to a morbid propensity of mind, we have given only this very brief sketch.
Shanesville Disaster. --We reproduce the account of this disaster as given in the History of Tuscarawas Conty, published by Warner, Beers & Co., of Chicago, in 1884. "One of the most appalling disasters that ever befell a community occurred at Shanesville on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1881, at which time a lodge of Knights of Pythias gave a festival for its benefit on the second floor of the Goeler Building, south-west corner of the square. Over two hundred persons were in attendance, and the small hall was packed. Supper had been announced in the adjoining room, but the crowd lingered to listen to the enlivening strains of the village band, while a number of boys beat time to the music with their feet. Suddenly the floor parted in the center, and the mass of human beings, stove, lamps and furniture were precipitated in a heap into the store-room below. Fire was soon communicated to the clothes of the struggling victims, and for a time it seemed as if all must perish. The doors of the store-room could not be opened for the fallen floor, which hung by its sides above, securely barred it. The doors were finally broken down by men from the outside, and by great effort the throng was released and the flames extinguished, but not until ten had received their death wounds from the devouring element, and many more severely burned. There was scarcely a house in the village which did not have a struggling sufferer extricated from that terrible trap. -- Miss Mary NEFF was instantly killed, and the following died from injuries received: Mrs. Catherine YODER and her son, Melta YODER; Miss Anna ORIN; Mrs. Allen GOELER; Frederick SCHLARB, the village clothier; Frederick WEIMER, a blacksmith; George FROELICH, farmer; Miss Amanda TROYER and Miss Annie GROFF.
The Story of Johnny Apple Seed. --No doubt many of the older inhabitants of our county are yet familiar with the story of an eccentric character who was famous throughout Ohio in earlier times, and who was generally known as Johnny Apple seed. He was one of those individuals whom the present generation looks upon as having been mythical. His name was John CHAPMAN, and he came originally from New England.
He had imbided a remarkable passion for rearing apple trees from the seed. He first made his appearance in western Pennsylvania, and from thence made his way to Ohio, keeping on the outskirts of the settlements, and following his favorite pursuit. A pioneer of Jefferson county said the first time he ever saw Johnny he was going down the river, in 1806, with two canoes lashed together, and well laden with apple-seeds, which he had obtained at the cider presses in western Pennsylvania. Sometimes he carried a bag or two of seeds on an old horse; but more frequently he bore them upon his back, going from place to place on the wild frontier. He was accustomed to clear spots in the loamy lands on the banks of the streams, plant his seeds, enclose the ground, and then leave the place until the trees had in a measure grown. He had little nurseries all through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. When the settlers began to flock in and open their "clearings," Johnny was ready for them with his young trees, which he either gave away or sold for some trifle as an old coat, or any article from of which he could make use. Thus he proceeded for many years, until the whole country was in a measure settled and supplied with apple trees, deriving self-satisfaction amounting almost to delight, in the indulgence of his engrossing passion. As the outskirts of the settlements moved westward Johnny moved on just a little in advance. His personal appearance was as singular as his character. He was quick and restless in his motions and conversation; his beard and hair were long and dark, and his eye quick and sparkling. He lived the roughest life, and often slept in the woods. His clothing was most old, being generally given to him in exchange for apple trees. He went barefooted, and often traveled miles through the snow in that way. In religion he was a follower of Swedenborg, leading a moral, blameless life, likening himself to the primitive Christians, literally taking no thought for the morrow. Wherever he went he circulated Swedenborgian works, and if short of them would tear a book in two and give each a part. He was careful not to injure any animal, not even an insect, and thought hunting morally wrong. He was welcome every where among the settlers, and was treated with great kindness even by the Indians. He was a true, albeit an eccentric philanthropist, devoting his whole life to the benefit of others. A great many conjectures were made as to the probable cause of the strange life he led. Evidently something had divirted him from the ordinary path of life. It appears that in early life, Johnny, like the rest of us, had had a little romance of his own. On one occasion he was asked if he would not be a happier man, if he were settled in a home of his own, and had a family to love him. He opened his eyes very wide -- they were remarkably keen, penetrating grey eyes, almost black -- and replied that all women were not what they professed to be; that some of them were deceivers; and a man might not marry the amiable woman he though he was getting, after all. Then he said one time he saw a poor, friendless little girl, who had no one to care for her, and sent her to school, and meant to bring her up to suit himself, and when she was old enough he intended to marry her. He clothed her and watched over her; but when she was fifteen years old, he called to see her once unexpectedly, and found her sitting beside a young man, wih her hand in his, listening to his silly twaddle. He grew very angry while relating his story. He thought the girl was basely ungrateful. After that time she was no protege of his.
The father of Johnny Appleseed, Nathaniel CHAPMAN, with the remaining members came from Springfiel, Mass., in the year 1803, and settled at Marietta. He then moved from Marietta to Dutch Creek, where he died. The CHAPMAN family was a large one, and may of Johnny's relatives were scattered throughout Ohio and Indiana.
Johnny often returned to visit his friends throughout the older settlements. He lived the allotted three score and ten, and died in Allen County, Indiana, in the year 1845, and was burried two and one-half miles north of Ft. Wayne.
Many of the old orchards in Tuscarawas County were from the trees furnished from this queer character's pioneer nurseries, and many of those trees are still bearing fruit. He had his mission upon earth and fulfilled it.
Progress.--Less than a hundred years have passed away since the actual settlement of our county began. It seems like the work of magic, that in so short a time the primitive wilderness should be brought under the dominion of the hand of man, and be converted from the forest home of the savage into the habitation of a civilized race enjoying all the advantages that the science, literature and inventions which the latter part of this nineteenth century can bestow on a favored people. The four great branches of human industry, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and commerce flourish within our boundaries, in well balanced ratio. A great variety of products rewards the labors of the farmer. Our hills are vast natural storehouses of mineral wealth, the development of which has added much to the happiness and prosperity of our people. Seven railroad lines pass through the county, carrying immense quantities of our surplus products to outside markets. The Ohio Canal is still in operation. Electric car lines are in operation, and citizens of our larger towns communicate by means of the telephone. In all our villages, the hum of manufatcturing industries may be heard. Nature's blessings have been showered on our native county with a prodigal hand, and for the most part out people are contented and happy.
The history of the educational progress of the county, would, in itself, make a large volume. In each of our larger towns, and in some of the smaller, fine edifices have been erected, in which the public instruction of the youth is conducted under the management of able superintendents, assisted by competent teachers. But we must leave the individual history of each find space in more extensive histories. Our rural districts have kept pace with the spirit of progress. The rude, primitive little log school houses of the earlier time have given place to large, comfortable and well arranged school rooms. Our people are, for the most part, educated, cultured and refined. No county, outside of those containing great cities, can boast of a higher standard of journalism than is represented by the editorial staffs of our home newspapers, and they are, as they should be, powerful factors in the general education of our people. When we turn from a retrospective view of the past century, although the wisest may not penetrate the future, the question arises, "What may not another century bring forth?"
© J.M. Richardson. Used with the permission of author's daughter 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2004
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