Springfield, and ClarK County, Ohio AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS EDITED A.ND COMPILED BY
HON. WILLIAM M. ROCKEL SPRINGFIELD, OHIO
"History is Philosophy Teaching by Examples" PUBLISHED BY BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING CO.
GEO. RICHMOND, Pres. C. R. ARNOLD, Sec'y and Treas. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 1908
County so far as is definitely known was Jesse
Chapman, who first saw the light in the year 1800 near the town of Tremont City.
It is possible that children were born about the same time, to some of the six
families that came with Simon Kenton in 1790, but of this we have no record. It
is possible that there were white people of the squatter variety inhabiting the
Indian village of Piqua or at a trading post, which tradition says was at one
time located near the entrance of Buck Creek into Mad River, prior to any of the
dates or settlements that may be given, but so far as we know, a man by the name
of John Paul was the first actual settler in Clark County. It is known that in
1790 he was living at the forks of Honey Creek a short distance above the
present village of New Carlisle. How long prior to that time he had lived there
is not known. Some writers seem to think that there is some doubt about his
settlement, but Mr. Young who wrote the history of Bethel Township in Beer's
History of Clark County gives it as an undoubted fact.
Pg 96 John Paul, The First Settler
We have before referred to the fact that John Paul was the first white settler, so far as is definitely known, in Clark County. In a recent issue, January 16, 1908, of the New Carlisle Sun, Mr. Julius C. Williams, himself a pioneer, has given a very good history of Mr. Paul in which he states the means of his information, and I deem that I can do no better than to quote this article for the history it gives of the early times as well as the life of the person whom so far as is known was the first white settler of this county.
Mr. Williams says: "All the printed histories have to say of this man Paul is, that he and his family were surprised and killed by the Indians somewhere north of Fort Washington, now the city of Cincinnati, sometime in 1789 or 1790. So far as location is concerned the student of history is left to judge for himself where the massacre took place. Some few persons who have taken a deeper interest in the early history of the Miami Valley have delved into early traditions and have sought to show that Mr. Paul and his family met death at the hands of the Indians somewhere near the forks of Twin Creek. The part Mr. Paul and his son, John Paul, Jr., played in the making of Clark County, would indicate that the slaughter must have taken place somewhere within the county's borders. "One son and one daughter of the Paul
family escaped being slaughtered by the Indians. They remained where the father had built the first cabin in Clark County and continued to farm, the son, John, dying at the age of ninety-one years in 1851.
He was buried in the New Carlisle cemetery where now a marble slab marks his last resting place. Mr. Benjamin Suddoth who, until death at the age of eighty nine years, two years ago, was one of the pioneer residents of the county and lived with John Paul, Jr., for a period of thirty years during his early life. In this way Mr. Suddoth heard Mr. Paul tell the story of the massacre many times and became quite familiar with all details regarding the death of John Paul, Sr., his wife and three children. Mr. Suddoth related the following narrative of the Paul family to the writer a number of times, going to the Paul farm and pointing
out the exact location of the original cabin and the place where the slaughter took place. "Mr. Suddoth heard John Paul, Jr., relate many times the experiences he had with the Shawnee Indians and heard him
tell of the slaughter of his father, mother and other members of the family. According to the boy's story of his father's life, Mr. Paul, Sr., was a member of the Kentucky Squirrel Hunters who marched with General George Rogers Clark against the Indians at the Battle of Piqua. One division of Clark's army pursued the Indians westward from Piqua, near what is now Durbin, until they came to Honey Creek. Here, near the forks of the creek on what is now the Joseph Kable farm, the last stand was taken with the Indians
against Clark's men. This fact is borne out from the finding of cannon balls and musket balls that compare with those found in the battlegrounds of Piqua. After the skirmish the Indians disappeared in the forests toward the west, and Clark's men retreated to the south, going back to Kentucky. "When Mr. Paul, Sr., who was with this division, visited the valley in the vicinity of the forks of Honey Creek he was very much impressed with the fertility of the soil and thereupon resolved to bring his family from Kentucky and settle at this point. Soon after the organization of the Northwest Territory by the Ordinance of 1787, John Paul gathered his family into his wagon and they started northward from Cincinnati to find, if possible, the place where he had visited in his skirmish with the Indians while with the Squirrel Hunters.
"The journey northward must have been fraught with many hardships, as many times it became necessary to use the axe to cut their way through the tangled forest. Mr. Paul and his family, on their lonely journey, followed the Miami River as far as Dayton, then took up the banks of Mad River and proceeded northward toward the point of the former battle. Many nights the Indians prowled about the little wagon, around which one member of the family always stood guard while the others slept lest they be taken
by surprise and lose their lives during a night attack of the treacherous Redskins. "After many days of such experiences, Mr. Paul and his family reached the place with which he had been so impressed
during his former visit to Clark County. "All members of the family at once set about to erect the cabin. Little did these folks think that right then and there they were building the first cabin in what is
now Clark County. The cabin must have been a rude affair compared with our houses of the present, and there were none of those 'modern conveniences' so desired bj' the present-day tenant. There
is evidence that the cabin was built hastily, as Paul well knew that, there were Indians in the vicinity and it was his desire to protect his family from their probable attacks. "A stockade was constructed about
the cabin, just at the base of a small hill which extends either way from the point where the cabin was built. . "The next thing- in order was to clean a small patch of ground on which corn and some vegetables could be raised. The first winter was spent in clearing a plot of ground which lay immediately north of the cabin and between the forks of the creek. When spring came, every day saw Mr. Paul and his family earnestly working in this truck patch to provide supplies for the long winter that was to follow. "One day in the summer of 1790, when the family was thus engaged in the patch north of their cabin, there was a sudden war hoop came piercing from the woods nearby and a small band of Indians could be seen hurrying from tree to tree making their way toward the cabin. Instantly the Paul family started for the cabin to make ready for defense, but no sooner had they started than a half-dozen of the screaming Indians in full war paint cut off their escape, all the time firing into the terror-stricken little family. In quick succession the father, mother and three of the children were pierced by the bullets of the Redmen and fell mortally wounded to the ground. The son, John, picked up his father and started to drag him to the cabin, but the father gasped to him, 'Save yourself, I am dying, you can't help me.' "In the excitement of the moment and their haste to secure the scalps of the white settlers and get back into cover, the Indians did not notice John and his sister, and they made their escape to the cabin. A moment later, however, there was a crash from one of the port-holes in the cabin from John's trusty musket and one of the Indians who was engaged in scalping the father and mother fell dead. Another flash, a whiff of smoke and the
second Indian fell mortally wounded beside the bodies of their slaughtered victims. This so terrified the remainder of the Indians that they withdrew to the woods a short distance away, carrying the bodies of their dead members with them, but leaving the bodies of the Paul family, five in all, laying on the ground
minus their scalps. "For two long days following this attack, John and his sister remained at the port-holes in the cabin, rifles in hand, ready to pierce the heart of the first Redskin who would dare to show his face from the neighboring woodland. On the third day, there having been no further signs of an attack, the sister and brother ventured out where lay the bodies of the loved ones and buried them on the spot where they met death. "John and his sister continued to live in the cabin, and oftentimes saw the Indians skulking- along the creek nearby, but they were never molested by an organized band after this time. Mr. Suddoth stated that it was no uncommon occurrence for John Paul to be riding about his farm on horseback and to shoot an Indian when he saw one, as Mr. Paul was regarded as one of the trustiest shots
with a rifle with whom the Indians had ever contended. It is said that Paul often came riding up to the door of his cabin with tbe body of an Indian thrown cross-wise on the saddle, his heart pierced
by one of John's rifle bullets. 'There's another of them damn Redskins,' was the remark, it is said, he would make when bringing home his trophy. 'That this account of the massacre of the Paul family is the most authentic so far recorded cannot be doubted, as the details are more complete and compare very favorably with existing circumstances in later years. The point where the cabin was erected and where the subsequent massacre took place is near the forks, of Honey Creek, about one mile northwest of New Carlisle. A brick house has been erected on the spot and the farm is owned by Fissel Brothers, nurserymen, of this place. Near the cabin was a spring and today the spring still sends out its bubbling stream as it did years ago, though the ground round about it has become neglected and has the appearance
of a swamp. Mr. Carson, who lives on the farm, says he finds many Indian arrows and other relics as he plows in the fields around the slope of the hill, serving as further evidence that this spot was no strange location to the Redmen who loved to fish and hunt along the stream. "At the Centennial celebration in Warren County a few years ago a contest was conducted and a prize offered for the best authentic account of the family that raised the first corn in the Miami valley. It was here shown that John Paul, the subject of this sketch, produced the first corn in the Miami valley as early as 1792. "Mr. Paul, Jr., was also one of the founders of the Honey Creek Presbyterian church. That he was a remarkable character and was the first pioneer settler of Clark County is beyond dispute. Mr. Suddoth, to whom the writer is indebted"
for much of the information contained in this interesting sketch, was also regarded as a man of his word and the story he related is beyond question one of the important connecting links in the early history of Clark County."
There is some tradition that when John Paul located up near the forks of Honey Creek above the Rayburn Mill, some kind of a mill was erected by him at that point, but this, as above said, only rests on tradition,
and nothing more at this time is known. However, Paul lived in this vicinity and like most early settlers he may have had a diminutive mill, if nothing else.
The date of the first settlement of Bethel Township is somewhat obscure, but from indubitable evidence we are able to say that John Paul was living at the forks of Honey Creek in 1790, and that some evidence points just as clearly to an earlier period. Relatives still remember hearing Mr. Paul speak of crossing
the Ohio River at the point where Cincinnati now stands, before any settlement was made there ; that his father was killed by the Indians soon after crossing the river. The remainder of the family escaped.
The same night Mr. Paul went back, found the body of his father (which had been scalped), and buried it. Mr. Paul wandered on with the rest of the family, himself the eldest, a brother and sister, they making their final stop on what is now part of Section 29. Mr. Paul died in 1853, aged ninety years. The older citizens well remember that the habits of caution and care necessarily acquired in the dangerous times, remained with him as long as he lived.
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