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PIKE COUNTY

 

Pike  419

 

PIKE COUNTY was formed in 1815 from Ross, Highland, Adams, Scioto and Jackson counties.  Excepting the rich bottom lands of the Scioto and its tributaries, its surface is generally hilly.  The hills abound with the noted Waverly sandstone.  Area, about 470 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 59,554; in pasture, 50,068; woodland, 61,078; lying waste, 6,492; produced in wheat, 135,490 bushels; rye, 324; buckwheat, 30; oats, 84,125; barley, 490; corn, 500,281; meadow hay, 6,608 tons; clover hay, 1,063; potatoes, 21, 327 bushels; tobacco, 1,345 lbs.; butter, 168,541; sorghum, 4,808 gallons; maple syrup, 1,719; eggs, 201,612 dozen; grapes, 11,400 lbs.; wine, 15 gallons; sweet potatoes, 550 bushels; apples, 14,685; peaches, 4,545; pears, 271; wool, 21,314 lbs.; milch cows owned, 2,621.  School census, 1888, 6,191; teachers, 149.  Miles of railroad track, 44.

 

 

Township

And Census

1840

1880

 

Township

And Census

1840

1880

Beaver,

1,075

   750

 

Pebble,

   504

1,594

Benton,

 

1,474

 

Pee Pee,

   813

2,725

Camp Creek,

   299

   947

 

Perry,

   565

   879

Jackson,

1,096

2,067

 

Scioto,

 

   921

Marion,

 

   908

 

Seal,

1,875

1,411

Mifflin,

   645

1,230

 

Sunfish,

   325

   976

Newton,

   337

1,369

 

Union,

 

   676

 

 

Population of Pike county in 1820 was 4,253; 1830, 6,024; 1840, 7,536; 1860, 13,643; 1880, 17,937; of whom 15,620 were born in Ohio; 661, Virginia; 359, Pennsylvania; 144, Kentucky; 67 New York, 58, Indiana; 606, German Empire; 44, Ireland; 24, England and Wales; 5, Scotland; 4, France, and 3, British America.  Census, 1890, 17,482.

 

The Origin of Names is always a matter of interest.  It is a tradition that an Irishman whose initials were P. P., cut them in the bark of a beech, on the banks of a creek.  This gave its name to the creek—Pee Pee, and later to a township.  Waverly is in Pee Pee, and James EMMITT, the founder, had called the place Uniontown until 1830, when the Ohio canal was in progress at that point.  An attempt was then made to establish a post-office, when it was discovered there was already an Uniontown in Northern Ohio.  In this quandary Capt. Francis CLEVELAND, later an uncle of Grover CLEVELAND (for Grover was then unborn), an engineer on the canal who had been deeply engrossed in reading Scott’s novels, suggested the name Waverly, and it was adopted.  The uncle died in Portsmouth in 1882.

 

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BIOGRAPHY.

 

ZEBULON MONTGOMERY PIKE, from whom Pike county was named, was born in Lamberton, N. J., January 5, 1779, and died in York (now Toronto), Canada, April 27, 1813.  His father was a captain in the Revolutionary army; was in ST. CLAIR’s defeat in 1791, and was brevetted a lieutenant-colonel in the regular army.  His son was an ensign in his regiment, and while serving as such was an earnest student of Latin, French and mathematics.  After the Louisiana purchase had been made from the French, Pike, who had been promoted to the grade of lieutenant, was given command of an expedition to trace the Mississippi to its source.  Leaving St. Louis in August, 1805, he returned after nine months of hardship and exposure, having satisfactorily accomplished the service.

 

In 1806-7, while engaged in geographical explorations, he discovered Pike’s Peak in the Rocky mountains, and reached the Rio Grande river.  He and his party were arrested on Spanish territory and taken to Santa Fé, but were subsequently released.  He arrived at Natchitoches in July, 1807, received the thanks of the government, and three years later published an account of his explorations.  In 1813 he was placed in command of an expedition against York (now Toronto), Canada.  His troops had taken one of the redoubts, which had been constructed by the enemy for defence, and arrangements were being carried forward for an attack upon another redoubt, when the magazine of the fort exploded, and Gen. PIKE was fatally wounded, surviving but a few hours.

 

ROBERT LUCAS was born in Shepherdstown, Va., April 1, 1781.  His father was a captain in the Revolutionary army and a descendant of William PENN.  The son removed to Ohio in 1802 and settled near the mouth of the Scioto, where Portsmouth now stands.  He raised a battalion of volunteers for the war of 1812; served as a brigadier-general, and saw considerable service at Fort Meigs and Lower Sandusky.  He removed to Piketon, and there, in connection with his brother, conducted a general store.  He was several times elected to the Ohio Senate and House, serving as Speaker of the latter.  In 1832 he presided over the Democratic National Convention that nominated Andrew Jackson for a second term.  The same year he was elected Governor of Ohio, defeating his opponent, Gen. Duncan McARTHUR, by one vote.  In 1834 he was re-elected Governor.  While Governor the “Toledo war” occurred, and he successfully maintained the Ohio side of the controversy.  In 1848 he was appointed by President VAN BUREN the first Territorial Governor of Iowa.  He died in Iowa City, Iowa, February 7, 1853.

 

JAMES EMMITT was born in Armstrong county, Pa., November 6, 1806.  His career is a striking example of what may be accomplished by persistent energy, industry and frugality.  He removed to Ohio when a boy, and before he was 13 years of age was hired out to a farmer for the sum of $6 per month and board.  He had the board, but the $6 were turned over to his father to aid him in his struggle to earn a home.  Later he worked at blacksmithing at a country tavern; again at farm labor, and then as wood-chopper at $4 per month.  From 1825 to 1828 he was a teamster between Portsmouth and Chillicothe.  At 22 he engaged in a partnership with Mr. Henry JEFFERDS in a small grocery business in Waverly.  In 1831 he was appointed postmaster.  The next year he bought a mill, and for the next forty years he gradually accumulated property interests, until the taxes he paid were one-tenth of the total tax receipts of Pike county, and one-half the population of Waverly was employed in his various establishments, such as a bank, a store, a huge distillery, a furniture factory, a lumber yard and saw and grist-mills.

 

He was the principal factor in the removal of the county-seat from Piketon to Waverly in 1861, and when this was accomplished he presented a fine court-house to the people.  He served two years in the State Senate.

 

His opportunities for an education were meagre, but his force of character, strong common sense and great energy made his success in life something almost phenomenal for a small place like Waverly.

 

Mr. EMMITT is over six feet in height and almost gigantic in his proportions.  For his recollections, he may be considered a walking history of Pike county, and from this source much herein is derived.

 

The first permanent settlers in the county were Pennsylvanians and Virginians.  From about 1825 and later many Germans settled in the eastern part.  The first settlement in the vicinity of Piketon was made on the Pee Pee prairie, by John NOLAND, from Pennsylvania; Abraham, Arthur and John CHENOWETH, three brothers from Virginia, who settled there about the same time Chillicothe was laid out, in 1796.

 

Piketon in 1846.—Piketon, the county-seat, was laid out about the year 1814.  It is on the Scioto, on the Columbus and Portsmouth turnpike, sixty-four miles from the first, twenty-six from the last, and two east of the Ohio canal.  Piketon contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist, and 1 German Lutheran church, an academy, a newspaper printing-office, 4 mercantile stores, and had, in 1840, 507 inhabitants.—Old Edition.

 

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In 1861 the county-seat was removed to Waverly.

 

In our old edition were given these historical items: Piketon was originally called Jefferson, and was laid off on what was called “Miller’s Bank.”  The origin of this last name is thus given in the American Pioneer: “About the year 1795 two parties set off from Mason county, Ky., to locate land by making improvements, as it was believed the tract ceded to the United States, east of the Scioto, would be held by pre-emption.  One of these parties was conducted by a Mr. MILLER, and the other by a Mr. KENTON.  In KENTON’S company was a man by the name of OWENS, between whom and MILLER there arose a quarrel about the right of settling this beautiful spot.  In the fray OWENS shot MILLER, whose bones may be found interred near the lower end of the high bank.  His death and burial there gave name to the high bank, which was then in Washington county, the Scioto being then the line between Washington and Adams counties.  OWENS was taken to Marietta, where he was tried and acquitted."

 

On Lewis EVANS’ map of the middle British Colonies, published in 1755, is laid down, on the right bank of the river, a short distance below the site of Piketon, a place called “Hurricane Tom’s;” it might have been the abode of an Indian chief or a French trader’s station.—Old Edition.

 

A late writer states: Piketon was surveyed and platted by Peter DUNNON, a Virginian and a good surveyor—as surveyors went in those days.  The court-house was not built at Piketon until about 1817, and prior to its completion court was held in a stone building near Piketon, owned by John CHENOWETH.  The court-house built at Piketon, which is still standing, was of brick.  Among the earliest settlers in and about Piketon, were Jonathan CLARK, Charley CISSNA, Major DANIELS, Joseph J. MARTIN—who was for years Lord High Everything of Pike county—the BRAMBLES, MOORES, BROWNS, SARGENTS, PRATERS, NOLANS, GUTHRIES and the LUCASES.  Most of these families first came into “the prairie” about 1797, but the LUCAS brothers came later.  Robert LUCAS, one of these pioneers, afterward became Governor of Ohio.  His brother founded the town of Lucasville.  About 1820 Robert LUCAS was conducting a general store at Piketon, which he afterward sold to Duke SWEARINGEN.  In 1829 LUCAS was elected to the Legislature from Pike county, and thus began his political career.

 

THE GRADED WAY AT PIKETON.

 

Among the many examples of ancient earthworks in Ohio occurs a most remarkable one about one mile below Piketon, described as follows in SQUIER & DAVIS’S “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley:” It consists of a graded ascent from the second to the third terrace, the level of which is here seventeen feet above that of the former.  The way is 1,080 feet long, by 215 feet wide at one extremity, and 203 feet wide at the other, measured between the bases of the banks.  The earth is thrown outward on either hand, forming embankments varying upon the outer sides from five to eleven feet in height; yet it appears that much more earth has been excavated than enters into these walls.  At the lower extremity of the grade the walls upon the interior sides measure no less than twenty-two feet in perpendicular height.  The east ascent here afforded has been rendered available in the construction of the Chillicothe and Portsmouth turnpike, which passes through it.  The walls are covered with trees and bushes, and resemble parallel natural hills, and probably would be regarded as such by the superficial observer.  Indeed, hundreds pass along without suspecting that they are in the midst of one of the most interesting monuments which the country affords, and one which bears a marked resemblance to some of those works which are described to us in connection with the causeways and aqueducts of Mexico.

 

A singular work of art occurs on the top of a high hill, standing in the rear of the town of Piketon, and overlooking it, which it may not be out of place to mention here.  It consists of a perfectly circular excavation, thirty feet in diameter, and twelve feet deep, terminating in a point at the bottom.  It contains water for the greater part of the year.  A slight and regular wall is thrown up around its edge.  A full and very distinct view of the graded way just described is commanded from this point.

 

To the foregoing account of the “Graded Way” we append the conclusions of Mr. Gerard FOWKE on this work.  Mr. FOWKE was for years connected with the

 

Page 422

 

 

Top Picture

THE GRADED WAY, PIKETON.

 

Bottom Picture

E. P. Miller, Photo, Waverly, 1886.

WAVERLY.

The view is from the west on the road to the Quarry; the hills are those bounding the Scioto

Valley on the east.

 

Pike 423

 

Smithsonian Institution, and has done much to explode many absurd theories and notions on archæology promulgated by authors ignorant of their subject and writing only to strike the popular mind and pocket.

 

It may be well to state that the celebrated “Graded Way” near Piketon, whose use has caused much speculation, is not a graded way at all in the sense usually employed.  The point cannot be made clear without a diagram, but the depression is simply an old waterway or thoroughfare of Beaver creek, through which, in former ages, a portion of its waters were discharged, probably in times of flood.  It is not just “1,080 feet in length,” but reaches to the creek, nearly half a mile away.  The artificial walls on either side are not “composed of earth excavated in forming the ascent,” for the earth from the ravine or cut-off went down the Scioto before the lower terraces were formed, but are made of earth scraped up near by and piled along the edge of the ravine, just as any other earth walls are made.  The walls are of different lengths, both less than 800 feet in length along the top; neither do they taper off to a point, the west wall in particular being considerably higher and wider at the southern extremity, looking, when viewed from the end, like an ordinary conical mound.  The earth in the walls thus built up, if spread evenly over the hollow between them, would not fill it up more than two feet, and that for less than a third of its length.

 

CONFLICT FOR THE COUNTY-SEAT.

 

The history of every new State is replete with the conflicts between towns for county-seats.  That between Waverly and Piketon is thus told in the Chillicothe Leader:

 

A Strange Fatality has overhung Piketon from its earliest day.  A town of fair promise, it has “just missed” everything good but the county-seat, and that was taken from her.  When the course of the great Ohio & Erie canal was first laid out, it passed through Piketon.  When the survey was completed, the people of that town were jubilant; they believed the future success of their town was assured, and that the death-warrant of Waverly—its rival—was written and sealed.  It so chanced that Hon. Robert LUCAS was in the Legislature at this time—Speaker of the House.  Mr. LUCAS owned large tracts of land about the present town of Jasper, and so it happened that after a while the people of Piketon were startled by the information that another survey was being made, with the view of running the canal down on the Waverly and Jasper side of the river, completely cutting them off.  The hand of Robert LUCAS was plainly discernible in this new deal, and his influence was great enough to secure the location of the canal through his Jasper lands.  This was a blow between the eyes for Piketon—a most fortunate circumstance for Waverly.

 

The canal gave Waverly water-power for her mills, an advantage that was of great importance to any town in the days before steam-power was introduced.  Waverly very promptly felt the impetus that this advantage gave her, and began to exhibit a vigorous growth.

 

About 1850 a project was gotten up to build a railroad from Columbus to Portsmouth, down the valley, which was to pass through Piketon.  Every county along the line voted $100,000 or more to this railroad, but Pike, and there the road was refused an appropriation by the people at the polls.  Pike’s refusal to do anything was the result of the work of the Waverly people, who did not want Piketon to get a road, to carry away the trade they were building up.  The project was thus defeated, although a part of the road, from Portsmouth to Jackson, was built.  This piece of road is now the C., W. & B.’s “Portsmouth Branch.”  This was another blow at Piketon’s prosperity—one more link in her chain of calamity.

 

When the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad was projected, it was to run from Cincinnati to Hillsboro, thence on down to Chillicothe and on to Marietta.  The road was built to Hillsboro, but for some reason, best known to the managers of the road and the schemers who were hand-in-glove with them, the line stopped right there, and the road shot off at a tangent and struck out for Chillicothe from Blanchester.  This left Hillsboro stuck out at one end of a railroad’s arm, without direct connection with anybody or anything.  Mr. Mat. TRIMBLE, the brother of Dr. Carey A. TRIMBLE, was the soul of the scheme for getting Hillsboro into connection with the world, and he was enraged at this treachery of the M. & C. people toward that city.  So, to get even with Hillsboro’s enemies, he set to work to organize a company to build a road—an air-line—from Hillsboro to a point on the river near Gallipolis.  This company was organized, the line surveyed and work commenced at both ends of the road.  The roadway was built, culverts and abutments for bridges put in, immense levees built, a great tunnel through the hills near Jasper started, the heaviest kind of stone-work was done wherever required, ties were bought and laid along the road, iron was imported from England, and everything was getting into nice shape, when the company bursted, after

 

Pike 424

 

sinking two million dollars.  The road was a very expensive one, as the engineers wouldn’t get out of the way for anything.  If a house was in the way, they bought it.  “Brown’s Mill,” Pike county, was purchased and razed to the ground.  If a hill was encountered, they cut right through it, rather than go around it.  This sort of “air-line” work ate up capital rapidly and ruined the company—and Piketon’s chance for a railroad.

 

If Piketon had gotten this railroad, the fate of Waverly would have been sealed.  But she didn’t get it.

 

Waverly had always boasted that she would capture the county-seat, and “down” Piketon.  The towns were always jealous of each other, and as early as 1836 the county-seat question became a political issue.  In 1836 the Democrats nominated James McLEISH, of Waverly, for the Legislature.  The people of Piketon took alarm at this, and set to work vigorously to beat him.  Some of the leading Whigs—Dr. BLACKSTONE, James ROW and others—came up to Chillicothe and had a lot of circulars printed with a cut thereon, showing a man with a house on a wheelbarrow, and labelled, “Jimmy McLEISH moving the Court-house from Piketon to Waverly.”  That circular settled the political aspirations of Jimmy McLEISH.  His defeat so enraged him that he left Waverly and removed to Sharonville.

 

From that time on the “county-seat question” grew in prominence.  But it was not until 1859 that Mr. EMMITT inaugurated the great “war” that resulted in Waverly capturing the desired plum.

 

Waverly in 1846.—Waverly, four miles above Piketon, on the Scioto river and Ohio canal, was laid out about the year 1829 by M. DOWNING.  It contains one Presbyterian and one Methodist church, four stores, and had, in 1840, 306 inhabitants.—Old Edition.

 

WAVERLY, county-seat, about eighty-five miles east of Cincinnati, sixty miles south of Columbus, is on the west bank of the Scioto river, on the Ohio canal, and the S. V. & O. S. Railroads.

 

County Officers, 1888: Auditor, Snowden C. SARGENT; Clerk, George W. EAGER; Commissioners: George W. BRODBEEK, John MOTZ, Jacob GEHRES; Coroner, John R. HEATH; Infirmary Directors, Henry SHY, Thomas MARKHAM, Jacob BUTLER; Probate Judge, Branson HOLTON; Prosecuting Attorney, Stephen D. McLAUGHLIN; Recorder, Newton E. GIVENS; Sheriff, James H. WATKINS; Surveyor, Henry W. OVERMAN; Treasurer, Frank EHRMAN, City officers, 1888: Mayor, Philip GABELMAN; Clerk, George BARINGER; Treasurer, George HOEFLINGER; Marshal, Jas. R. BATEMAN.  Newspapers: Pike County Republican, Republican, H. R. SNYDER, editor and publisher; Watchman, Democratic, John H. Jones, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 German Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 German Lutheran, 1 German United Brethren, and 1 Catholic.  Bank: EMMITT & Co., James EMMITT, president, John F. MASTERS, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—James EMMITT, doors, sash, etc., 6 hands; GEHRES Brothers, doors, sash, etc., 5; James EMMITT, flour and high wines, 15; James EMMITT, lumber, 4; Pee Pee Milling Co., flour and feed, 8; M. D. SCHOLLER & Co., oak harness leather, 3; Waverly Spoke Works, wagon spokes, 12.—State Report, 1888.

 

Population, 1880, 1,539.  School census, 1888, 522; James A. DOUGLASS, school superintendent.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $120,200.  Value of annual product, $145,500.  In addition to the handling of grain and stock, ties, bark and hoop-poles are largely shipped, and, although the place is largely known as a whiskey town, local option is in force.  Census, 1890, 1,514.

 

RECOLLECTIONS OF HON. JAMES EMMITT.

 

In 1886 the Chillicothe Leader published a series of valuable and interesting articles on the pioneer history of Pike county and the surrounding region.  These articles were largely the recollections of the Hon. James EMMITT, whose father settled in Pike county when all about was a wilderness.  James EMMITT, then a small boy, developed with the country, and his career is largely identified with the history of the Scioto Valley.  We quote the following from this series of articles.

 

Pike 425

 

Why Pioneers Settled in the Hills.—It is often cause for wonderment to people now-a-days why the pioneers of the Scioto Valley, as a rule, settled in the hills, some distances away from the river, instead of in the rich bottoms, which are now our most prized lands, said Mr. EMMITT.  But if they had seen this country about here as it was when I first saw it, they would understand why the first settlers took to the high ground.  Vegetation in the bottoms, in those days, was absolutely rank.  Sycamore, black walnut and hackberry trees grew abundantly and to splendid proportions, and the vines of the wild grape clambered up in a dense and tangled mass to their very tops, interlacing their branches, and often uniting many trees in a common bond of clinging vines.  The growth of weeds and underbrush was wonderfully dense, and when the floods would come and cover the bottoms, several inches of water would remain in those brakes of weeds for months after it had receded from less densely overgrown ground.  As a matter of fact, the water would stand almost the year around, in lagoons, over a large portion of the bottoms, converting them into huge marshes, and causing them to closely resemble much of the swamp land now so abundant in the South.

 

Poison Breeding Land.—The bottoms, under the conditions that then existed, were nothing more than immense tracts of poison-breeding land, marshy in nature, and wholly unfit for the agreeable habitation of man.  The atmosphere of the bottoms was fairly reeking with malaria, and it was simply impossible to live in the low lands without suffering constantly with fever and ague.  And the ague of those far-off days was of an entirely different type from that with which we now have acquaintance.  It took on a form, at times, almost a malignant as yellow fever.  When a man was seized with the “shaking ague,” as it manifested itself in 1818-20, he imagined that a score of fiends were indulging in a fierce warfare over the dismemberment of his poor person.

 

Physical Suffering.—Every member, every nerve, every fibre of his wretched body was on the rack, and the sufferer thought that surely something must give way and permit his being shaken into bits.  Oh, what torture it was!  After the terrible quaking ceased then came the racking, burning fever, that scorched the blood, parched the flesh, and made one pray for death.  Torture more absolute and prostrating could not well be conceived of.  And when it is remembered that no one who dared brave the dangers of the bottoms was exempt from ague, in some one of its many distressing forms, during the entire spring and summer seasons, and often year in and out, it is not surprising that the early settlers shunned what was to them a plague-stricken district.  The consequence was, that the hill country bordering the bottoms was first settled up, and the bottom lands were gradually conquered by working into them from their outer boundaries and clearing away timber, vines, underbrush, debris and weeds.  When land was cleared of timber, the sun speedily converted it into workable condition.  Fever and ague grew less prevalent as the land was cleared up.

 

Floods Enrich the Land.—Nothing could be richer than these bottom lands when first turned up by the pioneer’s plow.  Before the timber was cleared away, as has been said, there was so much underbrush and debris—logs and limbs and all forms of flotsam and jetsam—covering the lands adjacent to the river, that a flood could not quickly recede, having so many impediments.  As a consequence, at every rise in the river, the water was held on the bottoms until they had become enriched by a heavy deposit of the soil carried down from the hill-tops.  There is a point here worthy of consideration.  Our bottoms are now almost entirely cleared of timber, and, as a result, they yearly receive less benefit from the floods that sweep over them.  They are, in many instances, impoverished, instead of being enriched by the high water, which now flows over them with a strong current, and carries away tons of the finest soil.

 

Blacksmith Shop in a Tree.—Some idea of the size of the sycamores that were then so abundant in the bottoms may be had when I tell you that the trunk of one of these trees, not far from Waverly, was used as a blacksmith shop.  The hollow of the tree was so large that a man could stand in the middle of it, with a ten-foot rail balanced in his hand, and turn completely around without either end of the rail striking the sides of the trunk.  Both the hackberry and walnut trees made splendid rails.  They were favorite woods for this purpose, as they split so nice and straight.

 

Dangerous Plowing.—A man took his life in his hands when he went out into the newly cleared field to plow, in those days.  Stumps and roots and rocks were but trifles compared with what they had to contend with.  Mr. EMMITT says that he has followed the plow, when, at an average of twenty feet, a nest of bees—yellow-jackets, with a most terrible sting—would be turned up.  Enraged at the destruction of their homes, these bees—and the air was full of them from morning until night—would keep up an incessant warfare on the plowmen and attack them at every exposed point.  Their sufferings from the stinging of bees was really frightful.

 

Their danger was even increased when harvest time came.  When the reapers, wielding sickles, would enter a wheat field, they would find the ground fairly full of snakes—vipers and copperheads and black snakes—which not only threatened human life, but dealt great destruction among the cattle.

 

“Squirrel Plague.”—The invasion of squirrels was one of the most remarkable events of that period, and spread the widest devastation over the land.  There had not been an unusual number of squirrels in the woods the year before, and only an average number were observable the year following.

 

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But the year of the “squirrel plague,” the bushy-tailed pests came like an irresistible army of invasion, laying waste every foot of territory they invested.  They spared nothing.  They utterly annihilated the crops of every kind.  Nothing comparable to this invasion can be pointed to in our later history, save the grasshopper plague, that a few years ago almost impoverished Kansas and Missouri.

 

Squirrels Set the Fashions.—The squirrel invasion had an important effect upon the “fashions” of the day.  Fur became so plentiful that everybody decorated their clothing with it, and every man in this section of country wore a Davy CROCKETT outfit.  A jaunty coon-skin cap, with squirrel-fur trimming was just the thing at that time; and if a young man was particularly anxious to do the swell act, he would decorate his fur-trimmed buckskin shirt with brightly polished pewter buttons, made by melting down a piece of pewter plate, or the handle of a water pitcher or tea-pot, and moulding it into the desired form.

 

Locusts and Crows.—Then later came the dreaded locusts to eat up the crops and blight the trees and make life unbearable with their hideous and never-ceasing singing; and with all the other afflictions, the pioneer had to constantly battle with his smaller foes—the birds, crows, rabbits and squirrels.

 

Mr. EMMITT says that the crows would follow the plow in such numbers, to gather the worms turned up to the surface, that the furrows would be absolutely black with them.  After the corn was planted, two or more of the older children, and often men, would be compelled to watch the fields from morning until dark, to keep the cawing, black thieves from scratching up and eating the grain, and destroying the sprouting corn.

 

Phenomenal Fog.—About 1820 the pioneers were overawed by one of the strangest phenomenons of their experience.  A great fog or smoke came up, about midsummer, so dense that one could not see a light ten feet away, or a man or a tree even a few feet distant.  The sun appeared as a great fiery ball in the heavens, and had a rather fearful aspect.  All-enveloping and dense as was this fog, it did not in anyway interfere with one’s breathing.

 

In the days of flat-boating on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the mysterious disappearance of men who had started for New Orleans with cargoes of produce, was no uncommon occurrence.  It was the custom to take a cargo down the rivers, and if the pioneer merchant had escaped the perils of the river and successfully disposed of his cargo, he had a still greater peril to face when, with his gold on his person, he journeyed on horseback toward home.  The Mississippi country was infested with robbers and murderers, ever on the lookout for unwary victims.

 

The SWEARINGEN Mystery.—A black mystery to this day enshrouds the fate of Duke SWEARINGEN, who succeded Gov. LUCAS in his mercantile business at Piketon.  About 1823 SWEARINGEN started for New Orleans with a flat-boat load of flour and meat.  After he passed out of the Ohio into the Mississippi he was never again heard of.  When the time had passed when he was due at home, his friends at Piketon became uneasy about him.  Weeks and months passed, and no word was received from him.  A search was made for him up and down the river, and at New Orleans, and he was advertised for, but Duke SWEARINGEN was never again heard from.  Shortly after Mr. SWEARINGEN’S disappearance another merchant of Piketon, Mr. WILLARD, forever disappeared after a manner identical with the circumstances surrounding SWEARINGEN, becoming lost to the knowledge of his friends.

 

Opening of the Canal.—The canal was opened in 1832.  It was announced that the water would reach Waverly on the morning of September 6th, of that year, and preparations had been made to welcome its advent.  Almost the entire population of the surrounding country had flocked into Waverly “to see the water come down the big ditch.”  The citizens had arranged to give a grand public dinner in the open air, and Governor LUCAS and Governor McARTHUR—who were opposing each other in the race for the governorship—were present.

 

The Water does not Come.—The canal banks were packed for a long distance on either side with people eagerly awaiting the advent of the water.  But it didn’t come—although it was struggling bravely to reach the point where hundreds of people were waiting to greet, with ringing cheers and noisy salutes, its advancing, incurving amber wave.

 

The trouble was, the canal was for long distances cut through gravelly land, and as a matter of course, when the water reached these gravel-bottomed channels, it was absorbed, as though by a huge sponge.  It was not until such places had become well water-logged that the south-bound tide made much progress toward Waverly, but at noon a mighty shout announced its arrival at that point.

 

The First Canal Boat.—Following close in the wake of the advancing tide was a boat bearing a party of jolly Chillicotheans—among them Gen. James ROWE, Dr. COATES, James CAMPBELL and Edward EDWARDS—to whom the odd little craft belonged.  They were the first navigators of the waters of the canal south from Chillicothe to Waverly.  Their badly-built and leaky boat had an ec-

 

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centric fashion of sinking every night, while they were afloat, and they were forced to amuse themselves every morning by “raising the craft” and pumping her out.  The first regular passenger and freight-boat that reached Waverly, and it came down with the water too, was the “Governor Worthington,” owned by Michael MILLER and Martin BOWMAN, of Chillicothe.  It brought down quite a number of passengers from Chillicothe, and was a great curiosity.  The owners had mounted a little brass cannon on the “Gov. Worthington’s” deck, and fired it off at brief intervals on the way down, attracting the widest attention.

 

All those who came, either by land or water, were feasted at the great public dinner, bountifully served by a rejoicing people.  Both Governor LUCAS and Governor McARTHUR made after-dinner speeches—McARTHUR addressing himself directly to the Whig element present, and LUCAS to the Democrats; but both joined in prophesying the incalculable blessings and wonderfully increased prosperity that would follow close upon the opening of travel and traffic on the then great waterway.

 

The greatest developments of the past few years in the direction of combination and consolidation of financial enterprises, give historic interest to this combination of an early day.

 

Must Have Hogs.—In 1850 a very strong syndicate was formed by men of abundant capital with the view of getting up a corner on stock hogs.  Their organization extended all over the country, their headquarters for Ohio being at Columbus.  The syndicate sent out its agents everywhere, and was rapidly getting the control of all the young hogs in the market.

 

They seemed to make a particularly clean sweep of southern Ohio, and before the magnitude of their operations was discovered they had secured about every stock hog in sight.  This was a move that EMMITT & DAVIS could not stand, as they were always in need of stock hogs to which to feed their distillery slops.  Mr. EMMITT got track of a nice bunch of young hogs that could be secured in Franklin county.  The hogs were held at a stiff price, and before deciding to buy them, Mr. EMMITT sent for Mr. DAVIS.

 

“We need the hogs, don’t we, DAVIS?” he asked.

 

“Yes, sir,” was the answer.

 

“I think you had better go up and buy them.”

 

A Tough Experience.—Mr. DAVIS mounted his little gray mare the next morning and rode up into Franklin county to buy the stock hogs and drive them home.  It was a miserable journey of sixty miles, over rough roads and in very distressing weather.  He reached his destination, bought and paid for the hogs, and made all arrangements for starting them on the homeward road the morning after the deal was completed.  The hogs were quartered that night in an exposed field near the road.  A heavy rain had fallen, and later on a terrible sleet veneered all creation outdoors with a thick encasement of ice.  The poor hogs caught the full fury of the storm, and when Mr. DAVIS went into the field at daylight the next morning, he kicked hog after hog in the endeavor to get them to their feet, but many of them were stark dead.  With the animals that were in a condition to be driven, he started for Waverly.  It was a terrible trip, but DAVIS, although an old man, never complained of the hardships of it.

 

RACE HATRED.

 

An unusual history of race hatred within the limits of Ohio is that related by a correspondent of the Chillicothe Leader, as existing in Waverly, and which we give herewith:

 

A Town Without a Negro Citizen.—The one thing that distinguishes Waverly over every other city or town in Ohio having a population of 2,000 is the fact that she does not harbor a single negro within her borders.  This antipathy to the negro at Waverly dates back to the earliest settlement of the town.  When Waverly was still in its swaddling-clothes there was a “yellow nigger” named LOVE living on the outskirts of the town.  He was a low-minded, impudent, vicious fellow, very insulting, and made enemies on every hand.  His conduct finally became so objectionable that a lot of the better class of citizens got together one night, made a descent upon his cabin, drove him out and stoned him a long way in his flight toward Sharonville.  He never dared to come back.  Our first acquaintance with negroes about Waverly was with rather rough, objectionable members of that race, and many things occurred to intensify the prejudice which many of our people always held against the negroes.

 

A Friend of the Negro.—Dr. William BLACKSTONE was a strong exception to the general rule.  He was a friend of the negro, their champion, and the prejudiced whites accused the doctor of “encouraging the d---d niggers to be impudent and sassy to us.”  Opposed to BLACKSTONE was a strong family of BURKES, and a number of DOWNINGS,

 

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who thought that the only correct way to treat a negro was to kill him.  This was their doctrine, and they proclaimed it, with much bravado, on all occasions.

 

Outrages on Negroes.—There was a splendid fellow, a darkey named Dennis HILL, who settled at Piketon and established a tanning business, who was almost harassed to death by the negro-haters.  He finally left this section and went to Michigan, where he grew rich.

 

A lot of Virginia negroes settled up on Pee Pee creek, in the neighborhood of the BURKES and the DOWNINGS.  Some of them prospered nicely, and this enraged their white neighbors.  Tim DOWNING was the leader of the gang that made almost constant war on these negroes.  DOWNING’S crowd got to burning the hay and wheat of the colored farmers, harassing their stock, interfering in their private business, and doing everything in their power to make life absolutely miserable to the colored people.  They concentrated the brunt of their hatred against the most prosperous of these colored farmers, whose names I can’t recall.

 

Raiding the Wrong Man.—One night they organized a big raid into the colored settlement, with the avowed purpose of “clearing out the whole nest of d----d niggers.”  They went fully armed, and didn’t propose to stop short of doing a little killing and burning.  One of the first cabins they surrounded was that of the especially hated colored man spoken of.  They opened fire upon it, hoping to drive the negro out.  But the darkey—an honest, peaceable fellow—wasn’t to be easily frightened.  He, too, had a gun, and taking a safe position near one of the windows of his cabin, he blazed away into the darkness in the direction from which the shots had come.  A wild cry of pain followed his shot.  The buckshot from his gun plunged into the right leg of Tim DOWNING’S brother, cutting an artery.  DOWNING fell but he was picked up and carried to the home of Bill BURKE.

 

Downing’s Death.—The crowd abandoned the attack after DOWNING’S fall, and followed him to BURKE’S house.  There DOWNING bled to death.  A coroner’s jury, of which I was a member, was empanelled and returned a verdict to the effect that DOWNING had come to his death from the effects of a gunshot wound—but the jury refrained from saying who had discharged the gun.  The gang of whites to which DOWNING belonged surrounded the house in which the jury was in session, and threatened it with all sorts of vengeance if it did not return a verdict expressing the belief that DOWNING had been murdered by the negro.  But their threats didn’t procure the desired verdict.  They afterwards had the negro arrested and tried for murder, but he was acquitted.

 

Cowardly Revenge.—The morning after the fatal raid the DOWNINGS, BURKES and their friends, armed themselves and marched to the negro’s cabin.  They lay in wait there until the darkey’s son, a nice, young fellow, came out of the cabin.  They opened fire on him, and one of the bullets struck him in the head, fracturing his skull and allowing a portion of his brains to escape.  When the young man fell the crowd broke and ran.  The wounded negro lingered quite a long while, suffering most frightfully, and finally died.  No one was ever punished for this crime.  After these two tragedies the negro moved away.

 

He Met his Match.—Tim DOWNING had a brother, Taylor, living up near Sharonville, and this man concluded that he had to have “an eye for an eye,” to avenge his brother’s death.  One morning, just after DOWNING’s death, he was going through the woods with his gun on his shoulder, and came upon a negro chopping rails.  He told the darkey to make his peace with God, as he was going to kill him right there.

 

The darkey knew that DOWNING meant what he said, and quick as a squirrel’s jump he made a dash at DOWNING with his ax, striking him full on the side of the face, and shattering his jaw in the most frightful fashion.  DOWNING lived, but he was horribly marked for life.  The negro was arrested and tried, but was acquitted.  This only enraged the white gang more, and they made life in this neighborhood entirely too hot for the negro.  It was under such circumstances as these that the bitter anti-negro feeling at Waverly had its origin.  This race hatred was fostered and extended until even moderate-thinking people, on any other subject, came to believe that they couldn’t stand the presence of a negro in Waverly.

 

WILLIAM HEWITT, THE HERMIT.

 

On an adjoining page is given a view of the Cave of the Scioto Hermit, which we visited to make the drawing for our first edition, and therein gave the following account: About eleven miles south of Chillicothe, on the turnpike road to Portsmouth, is the cave of the hermit of the Scioto.  When built, many years ago, it was in the wilderness, the road having since been laid out by it.  It is a rude structure, formed by successive layers of stone, under a shelving rock, which serves as a back and roof.

 

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Top Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846

CENTRAL VIEW IN PIKETON.

 

Bottom Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.

CAVE OF WILLIAM HEWIT,

The Hermit of the Scioto.

 

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Over it is a monument, bearing the following inscription:

 

WILLIAM HEWIT,

 

THE HERMIT,

 

Occupied this cave fourteen years,

While all was a wilder-

Ness around him.

 

He died in 1834, aged 70 years.

 

 

 

But little is known of the history of the hermit.  He was, it is said, a Virginian, and married early in life into a family of respectability.  Returning one night from a journey, he had ocular proof of the infidelity of his wife, killed her paramour, and instantly fled to the woods, never to return or associate with mankind.  He eventually settled in the Scioto valley and built this cave, where he passed a solitary life, his rifle furnishing him with provisions and clothing, which consisted of skins of animals.  As the country gradually filled up he became an object of curiosity to the settlers.  He was mild and inoffensive in his address, avoided companionship with those around, and if any allusion was made to his history, evaded the subject.  Occasionally he visited Chillicothe, to exchange the skins of his game for ammunition, when his singular appearance attracted observation.  In person, he was large and muscular; the whole of his dress, from his cap to his moccasins, was of deerskin; his beard was long and unshaven, and his eye wild and piercing.  In passing from place to place he walked in the street to prevent encountering his fellow-men.  Many anecdotes are related of him.

 

He planted an orchard on government land, which afterwards became the property of a settler; but so sensitive was he in regard to the rights of others, that he would not pluck any of the fruit without first asking liberty of the legal owner.  While sitting concealed in the recesses of the forest, he once observed a teamster deliberately cut down and carry of some fine venison he had placed to dry on a limb of a tree before his cave.  HEWITT followed, got before him, and as he came up, suddenly sprang from behind some bushes beside the road, and presenting his rifle to his bosom, with fierce and determined manner bade him instantly return and replace the venison.  The man tremblingly obeyed, receiving the admonition, “never again to rob the hermit.”  A physician riding by, stopped to gratify the curiosity of his companions.  He found the hermit ill, administered medicine, visited him often gratuitously during his illness, and effected a cure.  The hermit ever after evinced the warmest gratitude.

 

In the above account, William HEWITT is stated to have refused to associate with mankind, a result of the infidelity of his wife and the killing of her paramour.  This fact was related by the hermit to the father of Col. John McDONALD.  Hon. James EMMITT, who knew HEWITT intimately, states that the cause of his solitary life was a quarrel with other members of his family over the disposition of his father’s estate.  Disgusted with the avariciousness of his relatives he sought the solitude of the Western wilderness.  This occurred about 1790, when HEWITT was twenty-six years old.  He first located in a cave in what is now Jackson county, Ohio, but as the game upon which he subsisted began to grow scarce with the advent of the settler and trader, he removed into what is now Pike county.

 

Mr. EMMITT gives many interesting reminiscences of HEWITT, from which we extract the following:

 

The Hermit’s Cave.—Almost at the base of the Dividing Ridge’s gentle slope to the southward, he found a cave in a lowly hillside.  This cave was nothing more than a great ledge of rock, projecting out eight or ten feet over a shelving bank, and forming a one-sided room of fair dimensions.  The rock-ceiling was so low, however, that at no point could a man of ordinary stature stand erect.  He enclosed the cave’s open front with a loosely laid up wall of rock.  At one end of the cave he erected a heavy oaken door, which he had hewn out with his little tomahawk.  This door was swung on very clumsy wooden hinges, and was fastened by driving a peg through its outer board and into a crevice in the rocky wall.

 

A Magnificent Physique.—When HEWITT first came into this section, and took possession of his cave, he was a splendid specimen of a man.  He was six feet two inches in height, broad and deep-chested, and as straight as a nickel-tipped lightning rod.  He weighed something over 200 pounds, and was as strong and active as a gladiator.

 

Clad from head to foot in buckskin—moccasins, leggins, hunting shirt, belt and hat—and always armed with gun, tomahawk and knife.  HEWITT, the hermit, was a very picturesque citizen to suddenly meet in the woods.

 

An Ohio Robinson Crusoe.—When he took possession of his cave, be it remembered, there were very few people in this section, and the only road traversing this county from north to south, was known as Yoakum’s

 

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Trace.  It was merely a wagon trail, and passed HEWITT’S cave at a point about 100 yards distant from the present curve-beautified turnpike.  When the travellers up and down Yoakum’s Trace first became aware of the fact that there was a sort of buckskin-clad Robinson Crusoe skulking about the woods, armed to the teeth, they were much alarmed, and their alarm was heightened when it became evident that the Recluse of Dividing Ridge didn’t seek their company.  But this fear gradually diminished as they became more familiar with his appearance and manners, and managed to strike up an acquaintance with him.  There was this peculiarity about HEWITT, while he never sought any man’s company, he never acted the fool about meeting people, when a meeting was unavoidable.  When brought into contact with his fellow-men, he always bore himself with striking native dignity; rather with the air of a man who felt himself to be a trifle superior to the ordinary run of citizens.

 

The Hermit’s Antecedents.—One day, in 1832, Mr. EMMITT, while at the Madeira Hotel, in Chillicothe, was accosted by a gentleman, who introduced himself, and said that he was from Virginia. He came to Ohio, he said, to look up a man named William HEWITT, who years before had disappeared from his Virginia home, and had been lost to the knowledge of his friends until a few months ago.

 

Mr. EMMITT heard the story of HEWITT’S flight from home—related above—and then proffered to accompany the stranger to HEWITT’S cave.  The two men rode down to the cave, knocked, and were bidden to enter.  They found HEWITT comfortably seated on his fur-carpeted floor.  He did not get up to receive his visitors, but in a friendly way made them welcome.  He did not at first recognize the stranger, but when told who he was, he said:

 

“How are you, Bill,” as though it had only been yesterday that they had met.

 

The stranger sought HEWITT to acquaint him with the condition of his property back in Virginia, and how it had been abused by those who then had unlawful possession of it.  HEWITT heard him through, with but little show of interest, and when urged by the stranger to return and claim his property, he answered, with some vehemence: “Never mind; I’m going back some of these days, and then I’ll give’em hell.”  He didn’t seem to care anything about the value of his property, but showed that he was filled with bitterness toward those on whose account he had renounced civilization and home.

 

The stranger went back to Virginia, a dissatisfied and rather disgusted man.

 

A Pitiable Condition.—HEWITT, as he grew old, became very careless in his personal habits, and for two years preceding his death never changed his buckskin garments.  He had grown fat and lazy, and made no exertion that was not a necessity.  And as he grew old he became more sociable.  One day, in the winter of 1834, he stopped at the house of a widow woman, named LOCKHARD, with whom he ate a hearty dinner.

 

After dinner he was taken violently ill with a chill.  Mr. EMMITT, who was then one of the Poor Commissioners of Pike county, was notified of HEWITT’S illness, and he had the old man removed to a frame building in Waverly.  Dr. BLACKSTONE was summoned and gave the man needed medical assistance.  The Hermit was stricken with pneumonia.

 

His person was in an absolutely filthy condition.  The dirty buckskin garments were cut from his person, and he was given a thorough bath—the first he had had for three years, or longer.  He was newly and comfortably clothed by Mr. EMMITT, was provided with a male nurse, and made as comfortable as possible.  The ladies of Waverly were very kind to him, and daily brought him many delicacies.  He began to improve, and one night, about a week after he was taken ill, his nurse, a man named COLE, left him alone, and went up to DOWNING’S Hotel to spend the night.  When he returned in the morning, HEWITT was dead.

 

The Hermit’s Skeleton.—HEWITT was buried in the old graveyard at Waverly, about one square southeast of the court-house.  But he was not allowed to remain long in his grave.  He was resurrected by Dr. Wm. BLACKSTONE, and carved up in artistic shape.  A portion of HEWITT’S skeleton—the entire skull, and the bones composing the chest, ribs and backbone—was mounted by Dr. BLACKSTONE.  No one knew what became of the remainder of the skeleton until 1883, when they came to light in a most unexpected way.  One day, while some of Mr. EMMITT’S workmen were digging a cellarway to a house he owned, adjoining what had been Dr. BLACKSTONE’S office, they came upon a pile of bones, buried four feet below the surface of the ground, and close to the stone foundation wall.  The bones were evidently those of a victim of the Doctor’s dissecting-table, and Mr. EMMITT promptly concluded that they were a portion of HEWITT’S skeleton.  This opinion found its way into print, and a few days later he received a letter from Dr. BLACKSTONE, of Circleville, making inquiry about the discovered bones.  He said that he was in possession of what he believed to be the other portion of HEWITT’S frame, bequeathed to him by his uncle, Dr. Wm. BLACKSTONE.  Mr. EMMITT boxed and sent him the bones, and they fitted, exactly, the upper half of the skeleton in Dr. BLACKSTONE’S possession.  This was a remarkable reunion of bones, surely, after a separation of a half-century.

 

Hewitt’s Monument.—The Columbus & Portsmouth turnpike was built past the mouth of HEWITT’S cave in 1840, and in 1842, Mr. Felix RENICK, the first President of the company, had a respectable freestone monument erected on the shelving rock forming the roof to the cave, to mark the grewsome home that HEWITT occupied from 1820 to 1834.

 

The erection of this monument was a wise,

 

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money-making scheme, and has paid for itself an hundred times over.  Thousands of people have driven up or down that pike—and paid their toll both ways—in order to see the monument, and the cave where the old Hermit lived, slept on a bed of finest deerskin, ate his choice venison, and laughed at the cares of a struggling, feverish world.

 

He always ate his pawpaws in peace.

 

PIKETON is five miles south of Waverly, on the Scioto river and S. V. R. R.  Newspaper: Sun, Republican, W. E. BATEMAN, editor and publisher.  Population, 1880, 665.  School census, 1888, 217.

 

JASPER is seven miles southwest of Waverly, on the Scioto river and Ohio canal.  School census, 1888, 103.

 

BEAVERTOWN, P. O. Beaver, is eleven miles southeast of Waverly, on the O. S. R. R.  It has three churches.  School census, 1888, 66.

 


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