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SCIOTO COUNTY

 

 

                                                                                                                                             SCIOTO COUNTY was formed May 1, 1803.  The name Scioto was originally applied by the Wyandots to the river; they, however, called it Sci, on, to; its signification is unknown.  The surface is generally hilly, and some of the hills are several hundred feet in height.  The river bottoms are well adapted to corn, and on a great part of the hill land small grain and grass can be produced.  Iron ore, coal, and excellent freestone are the principal mineral productions of value.  The manufacture of iron is extensively carried on in the eastern part of the county.  The principal agricultural products are corn, wheat and oats.

 

Area about 640 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 52,195; in pasture, 31,961; woodland, 64,518; lying waste, 8,359; produced in wheat, 109,946 bushels; rye, 88; buckwheat, 173; oats, 104,516; barley, 3,375; corn, 619, 367; broom-corn, 16 pounds brush; meadow hay, 9,552 tons; clover hay, 445; potatoes, 52,127 bushels; tobacco, 22,500 pounds; butter, 246,756; cheese, 2,181; sorghum, 16,506 gallons; maple syrup, 223; honey, 3,514 pounds; eggs, 221,085 dozen; grapes, 2,010 pounds; wine, 181 gallons; sweet potatoes, 1,902 bushels; apples, 18,887; peaches, 3,719; pears, 237; wool, 10,185 pounds; milch cows owned, 3,498.  Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888: Iron ore mined, 11,816 tons; fire clay, 39,290; limestone, 1,000 tons burned for fluxing; 10,070 cubic feet of dimension stone.  School census, 1888, 12,454; teachers, 189.  Miles of railroad track, 94.

 

Township

And Census

1840.

1880.

Township

And Census

1840.

1880

 

Bloom,

   913

2,211

Porter,

1,014

  2,274

Brush Creek,

   401

2,093

Rush,

 

     778

Clay,

   696

1,148

Union,

   570

  1,168

Green,

   973

1,935

Valley,

 

     951

Harrison,

   686

1,325

Vernon,

   902

  1,481

Jefferson,

   578

   919

Washington,

   653

  1,131

Madison

   830

1,852

Wayne Tsp and

 

 

Morgan,

   265

1,019

Portsmouth City

 

 

Nile,

   860

1,905

Co-extensive,

1,853

11,321

 

 

Population of Scioto in 1820 was 5,750; 1830, 8,730; 1840, 11,194; 1860, 24,297; 1880, 33,511; of whom 25,493 were born in Ohio; 1,569, Kentucky; 1,125, Pennsylvania; 967, Virginia; 276, New York; 153, Indiana; 1,815, German Empire; 400, Ireland; 309, England and Wales; 256, France; 33, British America, and 28, Scotland.  Census, 1890, 35,377.

 

The mouth of the Scioto river at Portsmouth is ninety feet below Lake Erie, and 474 feet above the sea.  The Scioto falls, from Columbus to Portsmouth, 302 feet, as given by Col. ELLET; distance in a direct line, about ninety miles, or a trifle over three feet of fall to the mile.  The Kentucky hills opposite rise abruptly to the height of 633 feet above low-water mark in the river.

 

CÉLORON DE BIENVILLE’S EXPEDITION.

 

Céloron De BIENVILLE, the French explorer, in 1749, in his expedition down the Ohio to take possession of the Ohio country for France, landed at the mouth of the Scioto.  They remained from the 22d to the 26th of August.  There had been here for years a Shawanese village, and living with them a party of English traders.  Céloron warned them off, and although he had over 200 men, he refrained from force.

 

“Capt. Céloron, knight of the military order of St. Louis, was acting under

 

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the orders of the Marquis de la GALLISSONNIÈRE, Governor-in-Chief of New France, to drive back intruders and vindicate French rights in the valley of the Ohio.”  He had under him a chaplain, eight subaltern officers, six cadets, twenty soldiers, 180 Canadians and thirty Indians, Iroquois and Abinakis.  This expedition crossed over from Canada, and embarking on the headwaters of the Allegheny, floated into the Ohio and down it to the mouth of the Great Miami.  Thence, making his way up that stream as far as Piqua, in what is now Miami county, he burned his canoes, crossed over on ponies to a French fort on the site of the city of Fort Wayne, and then returned to Montreal, where he arrived on the 10th of November.

 

Céloron planted six leaden plates at the mouths of various streams, as at that of the Kanawha, Muskingum, the Great Miami, etc., signifying a renewal of possession of the country.  This was done with ceremony.  “His men were drawn up in order; Louis XV. was proclaimed lord of all that region; the arms were stamped on a sheet of tin, nailed to a tree; a plate of lead was buried at the foot, and the notary of the expedition drew up a formal act of the whole proceeding.”

 

The plate at Marietta was found in 1798 by some boys on the west bank of the Muskingum, and that on the Kanawha in 1846, by a boy playing on the margin of the river.

 

Céloron planted no plate at the mouth of the Scioto.  One of his plates, as he was on his way to the Ohio, was stolen from him by a Seneca Indian and after his return, in the winter of 1749-1750, fell into the hands of Gov. Geo. CLINTON; a liberal translation of which here follows:

 

“In the year 1749—the reign of Louis XV., King of France, we, Céloron, commandant of a detachment sent by Monsieur the Marquis of GALLISONNIÈRE, Commander in Chief of New France, to establish tranquillity in certain Indian villages of these Cantons, have buried this plate at the confluence of the Ohio and of TO-RA-DA-KOIN, this 29th July—near the river Ohio, otherwise Beautiful River, as a monument of renewal of possession, which we have taken of the said river, and of all its tributaries and of all the land on both sides, as far as to the sources of said rivers—inasmuch as the preceding Kings of France have enjoyed [this possession] and have maintained it by their arms and by treaties, especially by those of Ryswick, Utrecht and Aix-la-Chapelle.

 

Christopher GIST in 1751 on his journey to the Indians of Ohio, visited the Shawnese village at the mouth of the Scioto.  It was known to all the traders as “the Lover Town” to distinguish it from Logstown on the upper Ohio, which last was 14 miles below the site of Pittsburg.  GIST describes the Lower Town as on both sides of the Ohio, immediately below the mouth of the Scioto.  It contained about 300 men.  On the Ohio side were about 100 houses and on the Kentucky side about 40 houses.  On the Ohio side was a large council house 90 feet in length, having a light cover of bark.  In this house the Indians held their councils.

 

The mouth of the Scioto was a favorite point with the Indians from which to attack boats ascending or descending the Ohio.  We have several incidents to relate, the first from “MARSHALL’s Kentucky,” and the two last from “McDONALDS’s Sketches:”

 

Indian Decoy Boats.—A canoe ascending the Ohio about the last of March, 1790, was taken by the Indians near the mouth of Scioto, and three men killed.  Within a few days after, a boat coming down was decoyed to shore by a white man who feigned distress, when fifty savages rose from concealment, ran into the boat, killed John MAY and a young woman, being the first persons they came to, and took the rest of the people on board prisoners.  It is probable that they owed, according to their ideas of duty or of honor, these sacrifices to the manes of so many of their slaughtered friends, while the caprices of fortune, the progression of fate, or the mistaken credulity of Mr. MAY, and his imitator, is to be seen in the essay to insure their safety by advancing to meet these savages with outstretched hands as the expression of confidence and the pledge of friendship.  Mr. MAY had been an early adventurer and constant visitor to Kentucky.  He was no warrior; his object was the acquisition of land—which he had pursued with equal avidity and success to a very great extent.  Insomuch, that had he lived to secure the titles many of which have been doubtless lost by his death, he would probably have been the greatest landholder in the country.

 

Soon after this event, for the Indians still continued to infest the river, other boats were

 

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taken and the people killed or carried away captive.

 

The 2d of April they attacked three boats on the Ohio, near the confluence of the Scioto; two being abandoned fell into the hands of the enemy, who plundered them; the other being manned with all the people, made its escape by hard rowing.

 

Such a series of aggression at length roused the people of the interior, and Gen. SCOTT, with 230 volunteers, crossed the Ohio at Limestone, and was joined by Gen. HARMAR with 100 regulars of the United States; these marched for the Scioto.  The Indians had, however, abandoned their camp, and there was no general action.  On the route a small Indian trail was crossed; thirteen men with a subaltern were detached upon it; they came upon four Indians in camp, the whole of whom were killed by the first fire.

 

The Four Spies.—This spring, 1792, four spies were employed to range from Limestone (now Maysville) to the mouth of Big Sandy river.  These four were Samuel DAVIS, Duncan McARTHUR (late Governor of Ohio), Nathaniel BEASLEY (late canal commissioner and major-general of the militia), and Samuel McDOWELL.  These men upon every occasion proved themselves worthy of the confidence placed in them by their countrymen.  Nothing which could reasonably be expected of men but was done by them.  Two and two went together.  They made their tours once a week to the mouth of Big Sandy river.  On Monday morning two of them would leave Limestone and reach Sandy by Wednesday evening.  On Thursday morning the other two would leave Limestone for the mouth of Sandy.  Thus they would meet or pass each other about opposite the mouth of Scioto river; and by this constant vigilance the two sets of spies would pass the mouth of Scioto, in going and returning, four times in each week.  This incessant vigilance would be continued until late in November, or the first of December, when hostilities generally ceased in the later years of the Indian wars.  Sometimes the spies would go up and down the Ohio in canoes.  In such cases one of them would push the canoe, and the other go on foot through the woods, keeping about a mile in advance of the canoe, the footman keeping a sharp lookout for ambuscade or other Indian sign.

 

Adventure of McARTHUR and DAVIS.—Upon one of these tours, when DAVIS and McARTHUR were together, going up the river with their canoe, they lay at night a short distance below the mouth of Scioto.  Early the next morning they crossed the Ohio in their canoe, landed and went across the bottom to the foot of the hill, where they knew of a fine deerlick.  This lick is situated about two miles below Portsmouth, and near Judge John COLLINS’ house.  The morning was very calm and a light fog hung over the bottom.  When DAVIS and McARTHUR had arrived near the lick, McARTHUR halted and DAVIS proceeded, stooping low among the thick brush and weeds to conceal himself.  He moved on with the noiseless tread of the cat until he got near the lick, when he straightened up to look if any deer were in it.  At that instant he heard the sharp crack from an Indian’s rifle and the singing whistle of a bullet pass his ear.  As the morning was calm and foggy the smoke from the Indian’s rifle settled around his head, so that the Indian could not see whether his shot had taken effect or not.  DAVIS immediately raised his rifle to his face, and as the Indian stepped out of the smoke to see the effect of his shot, Davis, before the Indian had time to dodge out of the way, fired, and dropped him in his tracks.  DAVIS immediately fell to loading his rifle, not thinking it safe or prudent to run up to an Indian with an empty gun.  About the time DAVIS had his gun loaded, McARTHUR came running to him.  Knowing that the shots he had heard were in too quick succession to be fired by the same gun, he made his best speed to the aid of his companion.  Just as McARTHUR had stopped at the place where DAVIS stood, they heard a heavy rush going through the brush, when in an instant several Indians made their appearance in the open ground around the lick.  DAVIS and McARTHUR were standing in thick brush and high weeds, and being unperceived by the Indians, crept off as silently as they could and put off at their best speed for their canoe, crossed the Ohio and were out of danger.  All the time that DAVIS was loading his gun the Indian he had shot did not move hand or foot; consequently he ever after believed he killed the Indian.

 

Attack on the Packet Boat.—During the summer of 1794, as the packet boat was on her way up, near the mouth of the Scioto, a party of Indians fired into the boat as it was passing near the shore, and one man, John STOUT, was killed, and two brothers by the name of COLVIN were severely wounded.  The boat was hurried by the remainder of the crew into the stream, and then returned to Maysville.  The four “spies” were at Maysville, drawing their pay and ammunition, when the packet boat returned.  Notwithstanding the recent and bloody defeat sustained in the packet boat, a fresh crew was immediately procured, and the four spies were directed by Col. Henry LEE (who had the superintendence and direction of them), to guard the boat as far as the mouth of Big Sandy river.  As the spies were on their way up the river with the packet boat, they found concealed and sunk in the mouth of a small creek, a short distance below the mouth of the Scioto, a bark canoe, large enough to carry seven or eight men.  In this canoe a party of Indians had crossed the Ohio and were prowling about somewhere in the country.  Samuel McDOWELL was sent back to give notice to the inhabitants, while the other three spies remained with the packet boat till they saw it safe post the mouth of Big Sandy river.

 

McARTHUR’s Adventure.—At this place the spies parted from the boat and commenced their return for Maysville.  On their way up they had taken a light canoe.  Two of them

 

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pushed the canoe, while the others advanced on foot to reconnoiter.  On their return the spies floated down the Ohio in their canoe, till they came nearly opposite the mouth of the Scioto river, where they landed and Duncan McARTHUR [afterwards Governor of Ohio] went out into the hills in pursuit of game.  TREACLE and BEASLEY went about a mile lower down the river and landed their canoe, intending also to hunt till McARTHUR should come up with them.  McARTHUR went to a deer lick, with the situation of which he was well acquainted, made a blind, behind which he concealed himself and waited for game.  He lay about an hour when he discovered two Indians coming to the lick.  The Indians were so near him before he saw them that it was impossible for him to retreat without being discovered.  As the boldest course appeared to him to be the safest, he determined to permit them to come as near to him as they would, shoot one of them and try his strength with the other.  Imagine his situation.  Two Indians armed with rifles, tomahawks and scalping-knives, approaching in these circumstances, must have caused his heart to beat pit-a-pat.  He permitted the Indians, who were walking towards him in a stooping posture, to approach undisturbed.  When they came near the lick, they halted in an open piece of ground and straightened up to look into the lick for game.  This halt enabled McARTHUR to take deliberate aim from a rest, at only fourteen steps distance; he fired, and an Indian fell.  McARTHUR remained still a moment, thinking it possible that the other Indian would take to flight.  In this he was mistaken; the Indian did not even dodge out of his track when his companion sunk lifeless by his side.

 

As the Indian’s gun was charged, McARTHUR concluded it would be rather a fearful job to rush upon him, he therefore determined upon a retreat.  He broke from his place of concealment and ran with all his speed; he had run but a few steps when he found himself tangled in a top of a fallen tree; this caused a momentary halt.  At that instant the Indian fired and the ball whistled sharply by him.  As the Indian’s gun as well as his own, was now empty, he thought of turning round and giving him a fight upon equal terms.  At this instant several other Indians came in sight, rushing with savage screams through the brush.  He fled with his utmost speed, the Indians pursuing and firing at him as he ran; one of their balls entered the bottom of his powder-horn and shivered the side of it next his body into pieces.  The splinters of his shattered powder-horn were propelled with such force by the ball that his side was considerably injured and the blood flowed freely.  The ball in passing through the horn had given him such a jar that he thought for some time it had passed through his side; but this did not slacken his pace.  The Indians pursued him some distance.  McARTHUR, though not very fleet, was capable of enduring great fatigue, and now he had an occasion which demanded the best exertion of his strength.  He gained upon his pursuers, and by the time he had crossed two or three ridges he found himself free from pursuit, and turned his course to the river.

 

When he came to the bank of the Ohio, he discovered BEASLEY and TREACLE in the canoe, paddling up stream, in order to keep her hovering over the same spot and to be more conspicuous should McARTHUR make his escape from the Indians.  They had heard the firing and the yelling in pursuit and had no doubt about the cause, and had concluded it possible, from the length of time and the direction of the noise that McARTHUR might have effected his escape.  Nathaniel BEASLEY and Thomas TREACLE were not the kind of men to fly at the approach of danger and forsake a comrade.  McARTHUR saw the canoe and made a signal to them to come ashore.  They did so, and McARTHUR was soon in the canoe, in the middle of the stream and out of danger.  Thus ended this day’s adventures of the spies and their packet boat and this was the last attack made by the Indians upon a boat in the Ohio river.

 

Prior to the settlement at Marietta, an attempt at settlement was made at Portsmouth, the history of which is annexed from an article in the American Pioneer, by George CORWIN, of Portsmouth.

 

In April, 1785, four families from the Redstone settlement in Pennsylvania, descended the Ohio to the mouth of the Scioto and there moored their boat under the high bank where Portsmouth now stands.  They commenced clearing the ground to plant seeds for a crop to support their families, hoping that the red men of the forest would suffer them to remain and improve the soil.  They seemed to hope that white men would no longer provoke the Indians to savage warfare.

 

Soon after they landed, the four men, heads of the families, started up the Scioto to see the paradise of the West, of which they had heard from the mouths of white men who had traversed it during their captivity among the natives.  Leaving the little colony, now consisting of four women and their children, to the protection of an over-ruling Providence, they traversed beautiful bottoms of the Scioto as far up as the prairies above and opposite to where Piketon now stands.  One of them, Peter PATRICK by name, pleased

 

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with the country, cut the initials of his name on a beech near the river, which being found in after times, gave the name of Pee Pee to the creek that flows through the prairie of the same name; and from that creek was derived the name of Pee Pee township in Pike county.

 

Encamping near the site of Piketon, they were surprised by a party of Indians, who killed two of them as they lay by their fires.  The other two escaped over the hills to the Ohio river, which they struck at the mouth of the Little Scioto, just as some white men going down the river in a pirogue were passing.  They were going to Port Vincennes, on the Wabash.  The tale of woe which was told by these men, with entreaties to be taken on board, was at first insufficient for their relief.  It was not uncommon for Indians to compel white prisoners to act in a similar manner to entice boats to the shore for murderous and marauding purposes.  After keeping them some time running down the shore, until they believed that if there were an ambuscade of Indians on shore they were out of its reach, they took them on board and brought them to the little settlement, the lamentations at which cannot be described nor its feeling conceived, when their peace was broken and their hopes blasted by the intelligence of the disaster reaching them.  My informant was one who came down in the pirogue.

 

There was, however, no time to be lost; their safety depended on instant flight—and gathering up all their movables, they put off to Limestone, now Maysville, as a place of greater safety, where the men in the pirogue left them, and as my informant said, never heard of them more.

 

THE FIRST SETTLERS.

 

Thos. M’DONALD built the first cabin in the county, but we are ignorant of its site or the date of its erection (Col. John M’DONALD, his brother, is our authority for this assertion).  Early in the settlement of the country the village of Alexandria was founded at the mouth of the Scioto, on the west bank, opposite Portsmouth, which, at the formation of the county, was made “the temporary seat of justice and courts ordered to be held at the house of John COLLINS.”  Being situated upon low ground liable to inundations, its population dwindled away so that the locality ceased to exist as a town.

 

The historian of Scioto county, the late Mr. Samuel KEYES, to whom its people are much indebted for his praiseworthy efforts to preserve its pioneer history, stated that Samuel MARSHALL, Sr., the father-in-law of Thomas McDONALD, built the first cabin at a point about two miles above the site of Portsmouth, in February, 1796.  He was followed in March, by John LINDSAY.  Mr. MARSHALL and John LINDSAY had moved up from Manchester and were probably the first permanent settlers in the county.  Mr. KEYES also stated that MARSHALL put in the first crop of corn; that the first person married was a daughter of his and that the first child born in the county was another daughter.

 

The distinction of having built the first cabin is also claimed for John BELLI, he having bought land at the mouth of Turkey creek in 1795, but did not remove there until a later date.  Hezekiah MERRITT is another claimant for the honors of first settlement.  He while on his way stopped during the summer of 1796, at a point near Lucasville, where he built a temporary cabin and raised a crop of corn.  However, the question of a few months priority of settlement is not a matter of vital importance.

 

In 1795 Major Isaac BONSER, who had been sent out by parties in Pennsylvania, staked out land preparatory to settlement at the mouth of the Little Scioto river.  In August of the succeeding year, he returned with five families and descending the Ohio river in flatboats they took possession of this land.  These five families were those of Isaac BONSER, Uriah BARBER, John BEATTY, William WARD and Ephraim ADAMS.

 

Among other early settlers in the county were John COLLINS, David GHARKY, Joseph FEURT, the HITCHCOCK family, James MUNN, John W. and Abraham MILLAR, Philip SALADAY, Martin FUNK, Thomas GILRUTH, Dr. Thomas WALLER, William LAWSON, Philip NOEL, Henry UTT, Wm. MONTGOMERY, James COCHRANE, Captain William LUCAS and his sons William and Joseph LUCAS, John LUCAS, Robert LUCAS (afterward Governor of Ohio), Stephen CARY, Samuel G. and William JONES.

 

The original proprietor of Alexandria was Col. Thomas PARKER, who served in the Revolutionary war and located the land at the mouth of the Scioto.  In 1799 his brother Alexander PARKER laid off the town; Elias LANGHAM was the surveyor.  This was the first town in the county and until Portsmouth was laid out bid fair to become the principal town of the county.

 

Portsmouth was laid out in 1803, by Henry MASSIE, and named for Portsmouth, Va., the former home of Mr. MASSIE.  Owing to its higher elevation and freedom from floods, it soon outstripped Alexandria, was made the county seat and its rival city was subsequently abandoned.

 

The first permanent settler on the site of Portsmouth was Emanuel TRAXLER, in the year 1796.  He built on the extreme west of the high ground, near what is now Scioto street.  Vincent BRODBECK occupied the place in

 

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1880.  The first child born in Portsmouth was the daughter of Uriah BARBER, named Polly, and born in 1804.

 

A frame court house was erected and completed in 1817 on land donated by Henry MASSIE.  It was on Market street, between Front and Second streets.  December 29, 1814, the town of Portsmouth was incorporated.

 

Portsmouth in 1846.—Portsmouth, the county-seat, is situated on the Ohio river just above the mouth of the Scioto, at the termination of the Ohio canal, ninety miles south of Columbus, and 110 above Cincinnati by the river.  It is a town of considerable business, and does a heavy trade with the iron works; three steamboats are continually plying between here and the iron region in the upper part of this and in Lawrence county, and two run regularly between here and Cincinnati.  In the town is a well-conducted free school, which has nine teachers and 320 pupils.  It is supported mainly by property bequeathed for this purpose, yielding about $2,000 per annum.  Portsmouth contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist and 1 Catholic church, 2 printing-offices, 1 rolling, 1 merchant and 1 oil mill, 1 carding machine, 1 forge, 2 foundries, 17 mercantile stores, and a population estimated at 2,500.  A company of Eastern capitalists are constructing in the old channel of the Scioto, opposite Portsmouth, a commodious basin, with dry docks attached for the building and repairing of steamboats.  It is said that a mile and a half below the old mouth of the Scioto, about the year 1740, stood a French fort or trading-station.—Old Edition.

 

PORTSMOUTH, county-seat of Scioto, is ninety-five miles south of Columbus, on the Ohio river.  The town is entered by the O. & N. W. and S. V. Railroads, and is within easy access of the C. & O. or N. N. & M. V. Railroad.

 

County officers, 1888: Auditor, Filmore MUSSER; Clerk, John H. SIMMONS; Commissioners, John KAPS, Milton W. BROWN, Frank RICKEY; Coroner, Charles C. FULTON; Infirmary Directors, Ross COURTNEY, Charles HACQUARD, Samuel J. WILLIAMS; Probate Judge, James M. DAWSON; Prosecuting Attorney, Theodore K. FUNK; Recorder, Benjamin F. HARWOOD; Sheriff, Thomas T. YEAGER; Surveyor, Joseph W. SMITH; Treasurer, Mark B. WELLS.  City officers, 1888: John A. TURLEY, Mayor; John W. LEWIS, Marshal; Volney R. ROW, Solicitor; R. A. BRYAN, Civil Engineer; William BENNETT, Commissioner; Henry POTTER, Wharfmaster; Chas. KINNEY, Treasurer; J. W. OVERTURF, Collector; S. G. McCOLLOCH, Clerk.  Newspapers: Blade, Republican, J. E. VALJEAN, editor and publisher; Correspondent, German Independent, Carl HUBER, editor and publisher; Leader, Labor, J. B. CARTER, editor; Times, Democratic, James W. NEWMAN, editor and publisher; Tribune, Republican, J. F. STRAYER, editor; Press, Republican, Enterprise Publishing Company, publishers, N. W. EVANS, president.  Churches: 2 Protestant Episcopal, 1 German Evangelical, 3 Presbyterian, 4 Methodist Episcopal, 1 United Brethren, 1 Church of Christ, 2 Catholic, 1 Jewish, 1 African Methodist Episcopal.  Banks: Citizens’ Savings, D. N. MURRAY, president, J. W. OVERTURF, cashier; Farmers’ National, George DAVIS, president, John M. WALL, cashier; First National, Robert BAKER, president, A. T. JOHNSON, cashier; Portsmouth National, John G. PEEBLES, president, W. C. SILCOX, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—G. D. WAITE, furniture, 34 hands; Henry PRESCOTT, wheelbarrows, 14; CUPPETT & WEBB, sawed lumber, 10; REITZ & Co., sawed and cut stone, 15; Portsmouth Brewery, 8; BURGESS Steel and Iron Works, 180; YORK Manufacturing Co., road scrapers, 8; Portsmouth Foundry and Machine Shops, boilers, engines, etc., 50; John DICE, carriages and buggies, 10; Portsmouth Steam Bakery, 3; PADAN Brothers & Co., ladies’ and children’s shoes, 187; NICHOLS Furniture Co., 85; Portsmouth Veneer Mills, 10; DREW, SELBY & Co., ladies’ and children’s shoes, 223; Enoch J. SALT & Co., blankets, flannels, etc., 49; LEHMAN RHODES & Co., doors, sash, etc., 13; Wm. H. KEHRER, seamless hosiery, 11; Excelsior Shoe Co., 13; Portsmouth Fire-Brick Co., 87; JOHNSON Hub and Spoke Works, 64; Ohio Stove Co., 70; Portsmouth Wagon Stock Co., 49; H.

 

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Top Picture

Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.

PORTSMOUTH.

 

Bottom Picture

THE LANDING AT PORTSMOUTH.

 

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LEET & Co., flooring, siding, etc., 10; T. M. PATTERSON, book-binding, etc., 20; Portsmouth Steam Laundry, laundrying, 10; C. C. Bode & Son, cut and sawed stone, 6; S. V. R. R. Shops, railroad repairs, 85; O. & N. W. R. R. Shops, railroad repairs, 25.—State Report, 1888.

 

Population, 1880, 11,321.  School census, 1888, 4,161.  E. S. COX, school superintendent.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $1,020,800.  Value of annual product, $2,046,700.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1887.

 

Census, 1890, 12,394.

 

The beautiful plain at the confluence of the Scioto and Ohio at Portsmouth, forms the site of a singular and interesting series of ancient works.  They are in three divisions or groups. Extending along the Ohio river for eight miles, and are connected by parallel lines of embankments, two of which divisions are on the Kentucky side.  These are described in the great work of SQUIER and DAVIS, published by the Smithsonian Institution.  The following items upon the quarries of this region are from Dr. ORTON’s “Geological Report:”

 

The PORTSMOUTH QUARRIES have been worked since the first settlement of the Ohio valley.  All the ravines that reach the Ohio valley below Portsmouth for twenty miles disclose a large amount of excellent building-stone.  At the quarry of Messrs. REITZ & Co. the stone occurs in layers from six to twenty-four inches in thickness.  For flagging the stone is unequalled in the Ohio valley, as it wears evenly, always gives foothold, and is in every way satisfactory.  It is well adapted to sawing, and is used quite extensively for general building purposes.

 

The quarry of Mr. J. M. INSKEEP is located about twelve miles below Portsmouth, on the Ohio river, at a horizon about sixty feet above the Buena Vista stone proper.  For the last three or four years this quarry has supplied material most extensively for the Columbus market, and a number of fine stone fronts have been constructed from it.  The stone varies considerably in quality and needs to be carefully inspected.

 

The southwestern portion of Scioto county and the southeastern corner of Adams county, two adjoining districts, were once the most important localities in Ohio for the production of building-stone.  In the earlier days of the State an engineer of reputation, employed upon the construction of canals, became conversant with the then known building-stones of the State, and recognizing the great value and accessibility of the ledge, commonly known as the Buena Vista Freestone Ledge, bought a large territory here, and began the development of the quarries in a large way.  Other horizons of good rock were found at various levels, but this one bed, by its color and quality, supplied the Cincinnati market almost exclusively.  Its reputation spread throughout the whole Ohio valley and beyond.  Large quarries were opened on both sides of the river, government patronage was secured, and the material for the construction of custom-houses and other public buildings was ordered from the Buena Vista quarries.  So great was the demand for this stone that material of poor quality as well as good was hurried into the market.  The green stone while full of quarry water was laid in massive walls, and the bad behavior of this material soon excluded the stone almost entirely from the market.  It is, however, as good now as when it earned its high reputation, but needs careful and conscientious selection and suitable seasoning.

 

THE FRENCH GRANT.

 

The “French Grant,” a tract of 24,000 acres, is situated in the southeastern part of this county.  “It was granted by Congress in March, 1795, to a number of French families who lost their lands at Gallipolis by invalid titles.  It extended from a point on the Ohio river one and a half miles above, but opposite the mouth of Little Sandy creek in Kentucky, and extending eight miles in a direct line down the river, and from the two extremities of that line, reaching

 

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back at right angles sufficiently far to include the quantity of land required, which somewhat exceeded four and a half miles.”  Twelve hundred acres additional were, in 1798, granted, adjoining it towards its lower end.  Of this tract 4,000 acres directly opposite Little Sandy creek were granted to Mons. J. G. GERVAIS, who laid out a town upon it which he called Burrsburg, which never had but a few inhabitants.  Thirty years since there were but eight or ten families residing on the French Grant.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRENCH SETTLERS.

 

Among the few Frenchmen that settled on the Grant were A. C. VINCENT, Claudius CADOT, Petre CHABOT, Francois VALODIN, Jean BERTRAND, Guillaume DUDUIT, Petre RUISHOND, Mons. GINAT, Doctor DUFLIGNY.  The sufferings and hardships of these Frenchmen, so poorly adapted for pioneer life, were very great.  (See Gallia County.)  They were a worthy, simple-hearted people, and those who remained on the Grant eventually became thrifty and useful citizens.

 

It was in the spring of 1797 that the families of DUDUIT, BERTRAM, GERVAIS, LACROIX and DUTIEL located on their lots in the Grant.  They were followed by others, but, as previously stated, only a comparatively small number removed from Gallipolis to Scioto county.  In the very valuable series of biographical sketches of Scioto county pioneers, by Mr. Samuel KEYES, are many interesting items illustrative of the characteristics and life of these Frenchmen.  We give the following:

 

Liberal Dealing Profitable.—M. DUTIEL, in selling grain, used a half-bushel measure a little larger than the law required.  Some of his neighbors called his attention to the fact that he was giving more grain than was necessary, when he replied, “Well, I know it; but I would rather give too much than too little.”  This becoming known, DUTIEL always sold out his surplus grain before his neighbors could sell a bushel.

 

Easily Scared.—Mons. DUDUIT, unlike most of his fellow-countrymen, took naturally to the woods, and soon became an expert hunter and woodsman.  Before his removal to the Grant, he had been employed by Col. SPROAT to scour the woods between Marietta and the Scioto, in company with Major Robt. SAFFORD.  It was their duty to notify the settlements of the approach of hostile Indians.  On one occasion DUDUIT was out hunting with several of his countrymen, when he fired at and killed a deer; whereupon his companions, supposing they had been fired upon by Indians, fled to the settlement, and reported that the Indians had killed DUDUIT and were coming to raid the village.  DUDUIT hung up his deer and hastened back to the village, which he found in an uproar and the settlers panic-stricken; but he soon quieted their fears, and induced some of them to assist him in bringing in the deer he had killed.

 

The Laziest Man in the World.—Petre RUISHOND was called the “laziest man in the world.”  How he ever came to have energy enough to cross the ocean and work his way out to Ohio was a mystery to all who knew him.  He spent a large portion of his time gazing at the stars and predicting future events, particularly changes in the weather.  On one occasion a general meeting of the neighborhood was called for a certain date, to put up a bridge.  “Big Pete,” as he was called, predicted rain on that date.  Sure enough, it did rain.  No almanac-maker could have found occupation on the French Grant after that.

 

RUISHOND was large, awkward and raw-boned.  He never married, although often in love.  He would go to see the fair object of his affections, but was too bashful to speak his love.  He would sit and look at her all day without courage to say a word.  He cleared only enough of his 217 acres of land to raise a few vegetables, just sufficient to support life.  For weeks he would live on beans, which he boiled in large quantities to save building a fire too often.  Occasionally he would trap a few turkeys, and then revel for a brief time in a change of diet.  Finally his cabin burned down.  He was too lazy to rebuild, but made a contract with one of his neighbors to keep him for the balance of his life in exchange for his 217 acres of land.  He died about 1823.

 

A French Pettifogger.—Mons. GINAT had a medium education, and was quite useful to the French in the Grant, through his tact as a pettifogger.  His mind seems to have been well adapted to this business, for he is said to have had a particular liking for disputation.  He would always waive previous impressions and take the opposition on any question, simply for the sake of showing his talent and confusing his opponent.  The French often had misunderstandings with the Yankees, and, as most of them spoke poor English, it was difficult for them always to obtain justice.  M. GINAT had given much attention to law and spoke English fluently; he was therefore well prepared to advocate the causes of the French.  He must have been expert in this craft, for men much dreaded him as an opponent.

 

A Peculiar Method of Cleaning Wheat.—“Petre CHABOT had a peculiar method of separating wheat from the chaff not practised much, because few could do it.  He had what was called a fan.  It was made of light boards, with a hoop around three sides about six inches wide.  The front was left open, with handles at the sides.  He would put in about a peck of wheat and chaff altogether, and would then take it up by the handles in

 

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front of him, and throw it up in such a manner that the wheat would fall back in the fan and at the same time blow the chaff out.  By throwing it up in this way a few minutes the chaff would all be blown out and the wheat remain in the fan.  I have seen negroes in Old Virginia clean hominy in a tray in that way that had been pounded with a hominy block.  On account of Mons. CHABOT’s ability to clean wheat, he was employed by all his neighbors for the purpose of threshing and cleaning wheat.”

 

A Penurious Doctor.—Doctor DUFLIGNY left the reputation of extreme penuriousness.  While keeping bachelor’s hall, two Frenchmen, VINCENT and MAGUET, called on the doctor just before dinner-time.  “Well, Doctor,” they said, “we are very hungry and tired, and will have to trouble you for a little dinner.”  Doctor, looking up sadly, sighing and rubbing his eyes, said, “Friends, I am very sorry it is so, but I have been very poorly for some days; have no appetite and have not cooked anything, nor have I prepared anything to cook.”  The two, making themselves very free, opened the cupboard and continued, “Well, Doctor, as you are sick, we can cook a little for ourselves.”  Doctor—“I don’t like to put you to so much trouble; besides I have nothing fit for you.”  The two exclaimed, “Oh! no trouble! Why here are eggs, meat, flour, etc.  Oh! we can get a good dinner of this.”  One made a fire, the other made up some bread, and broke in plenty of eggs.  At this the doctor exclaimed, “Oh! gentlemen, you can’t eat that.”  The reply was, “Never mind, Doctor; don’t worry yourself.”  They prepared a good dinner, put it on the table, and were about to partake, when the doctor remarked, “Well, gentlemen, your victuals smell so well, my appetite seems to come to me.  I think a little of your dinner cannot hurt me and may help me.”  Whereupon he drew up his chair, and eat a very hearty dinner with his importunate guests.

 

A Suicide.—M. ANTOINME, a jeweler, who had brought his stock in trade to Gallipolis, finding there was no demand for his goods in the backwoods of Ohio, concluded to take them down the river to New Orleans.  It was in the autumn of 1791 that he procured a large pirogue and had it manned by two hired men.  Besides a vast amount of watches and jewelry, he took with him a supply of firearms for defensive purposes.  The party fared well until within a short distance of the mouth of the Big Sandy, when a party of Indians appeared on the river bank.

 

ANTOINME seized a musket and prepared to fire on the Indians, when his cowardly hirelings became panic-stricken and threatened him with instant death if he dared fire at them and thus provoke their anger.  ANTOINME in despair over the prospect of losing all his possessions, placed the musket to his head and blew out his brains.  At the report of the gun the Indians turned to flee, but the hired men called them back, saying the man had only shot himself.  The Indians boarded the pirogue, threw ANTOINME’S body overboard after rifling it, and took possession of such ammunition, provisions, arms, clothing and jewelry as suited their fancy.  Much jewelry, tools, watches, etc., of which they could see no value, were thrown overboard and it is said that for many years afterwards watch crystals, etc., were found near this place.  The Indians gave the cowardly hirelings two blankets and a loaf of bread each and sent them to the fort at Cincinnati.

 

A Scholarly Pioneer.—Antoine Claude VINCENT settled on the grant as a farmer.  He had been educated in France for a Roman Catholic priest, but his liberal opinions prevented his ordination, and he became a silversmith, and came to Gallipolis in the service of M. ANTOINME, whose tragic death we have related.

 

VINCENT settled in Gallipolis, afterward taught school in Marietta.  It was while teaching school at the latter place and boarding at a hotel, that Louis PHILIPPE with two relatives, traveling incognito visited the same hotel.  There were many French then in Marietta and being favorably disposed to the Royalists’, Louis PHILIPPE made himself known to them.  The Duke of Orleans (Louis PHILIPPE) and his relatives were on their way to New Orleans, and sought some one to accompany them.  Louis himself was very dejected and gloomy and sat with his “chapeau” far over his eyes, his face downcast and supported by his hands.  He rarely spoke, but his relatives had the free use of their tongues.  They were much pleased with Mons. VINCENT and greatly desired him to share their fortune and accompany them to the city of New Orleans; and as the two relatives seemed about to fail in their object, the future sovereign of France broke his gloomy silence and with honest tears streaming from his eyes said, “Yes, come along with us, VINCENT, come; we are now wretched outcasts, alone, friendless, homeless, moneyless, wandering through this wilderness infested with wild beasts and worse savages, far from our dear native land.  We need you now, and yet can repay you nothing, but the time will come when we can and will; law and order will soon be restored; we will wait that occasion and then peaceably return and be restored to our possessions and rights.  Then we can and will repay you; we will have offices to fill and titles to confer.  They will be yours, only come with us now in our distress.”  Louis and his companions, however, could not prevail on M. VINCENT to accompany them.

 

A Copperhead.—Some time after this VINCENT was living alone in a house in the wilderness.  He had occasion to get up one night, when he felt something, which he thought was a wire strike his foot repeatedly.  He was soon convinced, however, that it was a snake and he started for the village to seek a physician.  Before he could reach the village his feet were so swollen, that he was obliged to crawl the last quarter of a mile.  The physician pronounced the bite that of a cop-

 

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perhead, and for three weeks VINCENT lay at the point of death, during which time he suffered excruciating agony, in his paroxysms literally gnawing to pieces the blanket which was his covering.

 

Lost in a Snow Storm.—On another occasion VINCENT was overtaken in the night by a severe snow-storm, lost his way, was overcome by the cold and fell to the ground unconscious.  Recovering consciousness in a short time he discovered that the storm had passed over and near by stood a house.  He endeavored to rise, but his feet were frozen and he found he could only move by dragging himself along, using his elbows.  After much painful effort he reached the house, and his cries soon brought assistance.  For six weeks it was a question if he would survive his terrible experience, but, by the external use of lime water, his flesh was healed, although not with the loss of most of the first joints of his hands and feet.

 

Notwithstanding his sore experiences Mons. VINCENT lived a long and useful life, during which he became wealthy, reared a large family and held the high respect of all who knew him.  He was a man of liberal education, read VOLTAIRE and ROUSSEAU, and while in his Western home, was a student of history, philosophy, mathematics, ethics and music.  He was a find musician, being a great lover of the flute and violin, both of which he played well until he lost part of his fingers by freezing.  He died August 22, 1846, in his 74th  year.

 

HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE MISCELLANIES.

 

 

“The Pioneer Sketches,” by Mr. JAMES KEYES, is a little work of peculiar value, because a labor solely of love and knowledge.  It gives pictures of original characters, whom he knew, and things long since past of which he was for the time being a part.  His father was of an old Massachusetts family, who married a lady of Virginia, in which State (Albemarle county) he was born in the first year of this century.  In 1810, when he was a lad of nine years, the family came to Scioto county, and here he lived his life.  He was educated at the Ohio University, at one time taught school, made several trips on flatboats to New Orleans, and well knew Mike FINK, “the last of the boatmen,” and his gang; was a great reader, very social, and knew more of the people of the county than any other man.  He died June, 1883, at the advanced age of 81 years.

 

MAJOR ISAAC BONSER, in the spring of 1795, came on foot with his rifle and other equipment to the mouth of the Little Scioto, where he marked out land for settlement.  He then started to return to Pennsylvania for the parties by whom he had been sent out when he fell in with a surveying party under Mr. MARTIN, who had just completed the survey of the French Grant.  They were returning to Marietta in a canoe.  BONSER found them in rather a bad predicament.  They had exhausted their stock of provisions, their powder had become damp and unserviceable, and they were in danger of suffering for want of something to eat.  Mr. BONSER proposed to them that he was going up into Pennsylvania and had rather a heavy load to carry, if they would take his baggage in their canoe, he would travel on shore with nothing but his rifle to carry, would kill as much meat as they all could eat, and camp together every night.  This proposition was received with much satisfaction.  BONSER being relieved of his heavy load walked on the bank with great alacrity, and occasionally brought down a deer or a turkey, or perhaps a bear, buffalo or elk, which were plenty at that time; they would take the game aboard the canoe and so traveling was made easy and expeditions for both parties.  The first night after they had eaten their supper of fresh venison, Mr. BONSER asked them to let him see the condition of their powder.  The powder was contained in a horn and too damp to ignite readily.  He took a forked stick and stuck it into the ground a suitable distance from the fire, hung the powder horn up and took out the stopper so as to let the steam pass out, and let it remain in this position until morning.  The heat from the fire dried out the powder so that it was fit for use if needed.

 

In this manner they meandered the river to Marietta, where they separated—Mr. MARTIN to report to Gen. PUTNAM, Surveyor General of the Northwest Territory, and Mr. BONSER to cross the mountains of Pennsylvania and report to those who had sent him out.

 

Major BONSER returned to the mouth of the Scioto river the following year, and

 

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after Ohio had been admitted to the Union, contracted in partnership with Uriah BARBER and another to build a State road from Portsmouth to Gallipolis.  It lay nearly all the way through a dense forest.  They had to cut the stumps so low that a wagon could pass over them, and to clear every thing out so as to make a good road.  They surveyed and measured the distance and marked every mile tree.  This was called a State road in contradistinction to other roads.  The location has been changed very little since.

 

A PIONEER FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION.

 

“In 1808, the people of the surrounding county celebrated the Fourth of July on the farm of Major BONSER.  Great preparations were made, and the people came from far and near—West Union, Gallipolis and all the intermediate country were represented.  They bored out a log and banded it with iron to serve as a cannon.  But it soon burst.  Robert LUCAS read the Declaration of Independence, and made a speech.  It is said to have been the first celebration of the kind every held in the valley and formed an epoch in the annals of the Scioto country.”

 

A STRANGE SUPERSTITION.

 

The family of Philip SALLADAY came from Switzerland, bought and settled on a lot in the French Grant soon after the opening of the country for settlement.  Hereditary consumption developed itself in the family sometime after their location in Scioto county.  The head of the family and the oldest son had died of it and others began to manifest symptons, when an attempt was made to arrest the progress of the disease by a process which has been practised in numerous instances, but without success.  They resolved to disinter one of the victims, take his entrails and burn them in a fire prepared for the purpose, in the presence of the surviving members of the family.  This was accordingly done in the winter of 1816-17, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators who lived in the surrounding neighborhood, and by Major Amos WHEELER, of Wheelersburg.  Samuel SALLADAY was the one they disintered and offered up as a sacrifice, to stop if possible the further spread of the disease.  But like other superstitious notions with regard to curing diseases it proved of no avail.  The other members of the family continued to die off until the last one was gone except George.

 

A NOVEL FOOT RACE.

 

Thomas GILRUTH had a son James, the most athletic young man in all that section of country.  Running, jumping, hopping, wrestling and even fighting when necessary, he generally came off the winner.  He was bragging about his running one day in the presence of his father and said he could outrun any man about there.  The old man listened for some time and at last said, “Jimmie, I can outrun you.”

 

“Oh no, father.  You are too old for that.”

 

“Well,” said the old man.  “I’ll tell you what I’ll do.  We’ll both strip off everything but our shirts, and take each of us a good switch, and you may start first and I will follow you.  If you can keep out of my reach, it is well.  If not, I’ll whip you all the way through.  Then coming back, I will take the lead and you may whip me as much as you like.”

 

“Agreed,” said Jimmie, “we’ll try that race.”

 

They were to run a hundred yards and James started ahead.  The old man kept so close to his heels that he gave him a severe flogging before they got through.  Then it came the old man’s turn to take the lead.  He started off, but Jimmie never got near enough to give him one stroke with his switch.  The young man came out crestfallen, and never wanted to hear of a footrace after that.

 

HABITS OF KEEL-BOATMEN.

 

Claudius CADOT just after the war of 1812, went on the river to follow keel-boating to raise money to buy land.  At that time keel-boating was about the only occupation at which money could be earned, and the wages were very low even there.  CADOT hired himself to the celebrated Mike FINK, at fifty cents per day.  The boats belonged to John FINCH, one of a company that ran keel-boats from Pittsburg to different points in the West.  CADOT soon learned the art of keel-boating.  It was the usual practice of boatmen at that time to get on a spree at each town, but CADOT did not choose to spend his money in that way, and soon saved a considerable sum.  He asked Capt. FINK to put this money in his trunk for safe-keeping.  FINK consented to do this, but insisted that CADOT should carry the key as he had the most money.  FINK was a noted character in his day (see Belmont county), he placed great confidence in CADOT and at the end of his first year’s service paid him at the rate of 62½ cents per day, although the bargain only called for 50 cents per day.

 

HOW KEEL-BOATS WERE MANNED.

 

The hull of a keel-boat was much like that of a modern canal boat, but lighter and generally smaller.  The larger keel boats were manned by about twenty hands.  It was the custom to make a trip from Pittsburg to New Orleans each year.  They went down “under oars” and with a half dozen or so pairs worked by stout men they made good speed.

 

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They took down flour, pork, beef, beans, etc., and brought up cotton, hemp, tobacco, etc., to Pittsburg.  Many of these boats were manned by Canadians who seemed much to fancy their mode of life.  As the boats went up they were pushed by poles on the shore side, while oars were worked on the outside.  The average progress up stream was twelve miles per day—they lay up at night—but often when the wind was fair they would sail fifty miles.

 

It was the custom with the Canadians to sing hoosier songs and their yell was heard many miles.  They also, since they were much exposed to the weather, made free use of liquors, the effect of which was plainly visible in their ruddy, full face.  Much boating was also done from Charleston, Va., to Nashville and St. Louis.

 

THE DUEL OF GOVERNOR ROBERT LUCAS.

 

A number of horses had been stolen by Indians, and the settlers formed themselves into a military company to pursue the thieves, and if possible recover their stolen property.  Robert LUCAS was elected captain of the company.  They overtook the Indians, but not until after traveling a long distance from the settlements and LUCAS concluded that it would not be safe to attack them.  Many of the company were indignant at this extreme caution, and Major MUNN applied the epithet of “coward” to Lucas; whereupon the latter challenged MUNN to fight a duel.  The challenged was accepted, broadswords chosen as weapons and the next morning the appointed time.

 

MUNN was promptly on the ground, but LUCAS failed to appear, sending instead a note asking if the difficulty could not be settled in an amicable manner.  MUNN read the note and smiled, saying, “Certainly, it is his quarrel, and if he is satisfied, so am I.”

 

A REFRACTORY BRIGADIER.

 

Robert LUCAS came to Ohio with his father in 1802.  He was of mature age, and well qualified both by ability and education to take an active part in all matters pertaining to the organization of a new county and State.  In 1803 he was the first county surveyor of Scioto county.   He was especially efficient in organizing the militia, and was the first brigadier-general in the country.

 

In 1810 a girl of the neighborhood laid a child to his charge and called upon him to pay damages.  This he declined to do, and a process was procured to take him to jail.  When the sheriff attempted to serve the process he resisted and would not be taken.  Thereupon, rather than endanger his life, the sheriff resigned, and his duties devolved upon the coroner, Maj. MUNN, whom LUCAS had previously challenged to fight a duel.  Maj. MUNN failed to arrest LUCAS, and he also resigned.  Then LUCAS threatened to kill the clerk who had issued the writ, and he resigned.  Upon this a call was made for county officers who could and would enforce the laws and arrest him.  A young school teacher, John R. TURNER, of Alexandria, came forward and said he would issue a writ if made clerk.  Elijah GLOVER said, “Make me sheriff, and by G--d I’ll take Gen. LUCAS to jail, or any other man.”  They were appointed, the writ was issued, and when GLOVER showed the writ to LUCAS, he quietly submitted and went to jail.  But Squire BROWN, father-in-law of LUCAS, interfered to prevent the arrest, when Nathan GLOVER, a brother of the sheriff, picked him up and threw him into a clump of jimson weed, and told him to lie there and keep quiet or he might get into trouble.  He lay there and kept quiet.

 

THE SYCAMORE OF FIFTEEN HORSEMEN.

 

The rich land which afterward produced such prolific crops of corn as to give to the valley of the lower Scioto the sobriquet of Egypt, were rank with vegetation when the early settlers came into the valley.  The trees were, many of them, of enormous size, particularly the sycamores—although such species as the poplar, oak, cottonwood, black walnut and others, also attained large proportions.  (See Ross County, the Chillicothe Elm.)  The most remarkable tree, however, and probably the largest tree ever known in Ohio, is that mentioned in the Ohio Gazeteer, and described in the “Cincinnati Almanac”of 1810.

 

On the slopes of Mount Ætna stood, in the last century, a tree known as the “Chestnut of a Hundred Horses,” from the statement that 100 mounted horsemen had rested at once beneath its branches.  Therefore, this suggests that we shall call the Scioto valley sycamore  The Sycamore of Fifteen Horsemen,” because that number could stand within its trunk.  It stood on the farm of Abram MILLAR, in what is now Valley township.  It was a forked, hollow sycamore, measuring twenty-one feet in diameter at its base and forty-two feet in circumference at the height of five feet.  The opening of the cavity was ten feet in width at the bottom, was nine and one-half feet high, and had an inside diameter of fourteen feet.  The fork was about eight feet from the ground.  The tree was the wonder and admiration of the surrounding neighborhood, and parties were often made up to visit it.  In June, 1808, a party of thirteen persons advanced on horseback into the cavity of the tree, and it is stated that there was ample room for two more.

 

William HEADLEY, of Frederick county, Va., reported on account of this episode, he having been one of the party, and in the following November Maj. William REYNOLDS, of Zanesville, inspected the tree and caused to be published the facts here given.

 

Mr. Samuel KEYES reports that this tree stood until the farm on which it was located was turned into a stock farm by Mr. Thomas DUGAN.  He turned some blooded bulls into the field where the tree was, and they got to fighting within the cavity of the tree with

 

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the result that the vanquished was driven to the wall and gored to death—not being able to retreat and fight another day, as in an open field.  The consequence of this was that Mr. DUGAN ordered the tree cut down.  The stump remained for several years; but some hogs having been turned into the field, and cholera breaking out among them, it was concluded that so many hogs of all sizes, ages, and sexes, piled together in one old stump, must have caused the disease.  Therefore orders were given and the stump was removed, thus destroying the last vestige of what was a true “monarch of the forest.”

 

DANIEL J. RYAN was born in Cincinnati, January 1, 1855.  His father was an Irish laborer in a foundry, and died a few years after his removal to Portsmouth, while Daniel was a small child.  Under the careful guidance of his mother, Daniel received a good common-school education, graduating with credit from the high-school class of 1875.

 

He studied law in the office of Hon. James W. BANNON, and in February, 1877, was admitted to the bar.  In the same year he was elected city solicitor of Portsmouth.  In 1883 he was elected to the Legislature, and re-elected in 1885.  At the National Convention of Republican Clubs, held in New York, December, 1887, Mr. RYAN was chosen temporary chairman.  In 1888 he was elected Secretary of State, and re-elected in 1890.  Mr. RYAN’S public life has been devoted to the best interests of the people of Ohio, regardless of party advantage.  He has been a hard student and is thoroughly informed on every public question requiring official action.  He has been a leader in many important reforms.  At the request of both capitalists and laborers he published an interesting volume on strikes and their remedies, entitled, “Arbitration between Capital and Labor.”  He is also the author of a concise and excellent “History of Ohio.”

 

 

BUCKHORN COTTAGE. (A retreat of One of the Literati.)

 

In 1855, just before the war, under the magic of money, a curious structure arose on the hills near the lines of Adams and Scioto counties.  It was in a beautiful country, some little way back of Buena Vista.  The cottage was of peeled white poplar logs, resin-varnished and mortar-daubed; it was therefore peculiar,

 

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It was seventy-four feet long by twenty-two feet broad; in two parts, on the plan of the ordinary double cabin, with a seventeen-foot-wide floored and roofed space between them.  A stone kitchen in the rear is out of the view.  The chimneys were also of stone. Vines were placed to climb over it, which they accomplished in profusion; the summer breezes fluttered their leaves and the autumnal frosts put on them a blush.

 

In the Buckhorn lived for a term of years its owner and architect, Hon. William J. FLAGG, and wife—a daughter of the late Nicholas LONGWORTH, of Cincinnati—with occasional guests to share the romance of their solitude.  On writing to him as an old friend and schoolmate, how he came to build it, and what he did when there, he gave this characteristic reply:

 

“In 1852 I bought a fifty-acre tract of hill land near Buena Vista, on the Ohio, through which the line runs that divides Adams and Scioto counties—bought it because I supposed there was valuable stone in it.  This purchase led, step by step, to the acquisition of something over 9,000 acres adjacent.  I cleared off woods and planted orchards and vineyards to the extent of more than 100 acres; opened a quarry, built a tramway, until my operations culminated in a log house on a hill top, a mile east of the county line and a half mile from the river, where, in different broken periods of time from ’56 till ’68, we spent about five years.  It was mighty like being out of the world, but none the worse for that.

 

“In that hermitage we managed to lodge as comfortably as in a palace, and feed better than at Delmonico’s.  Our society, too, was excellent.  William SHAKESPEARE was a frequent visitor; Francis of Verulam was another; he was a nobleman, you know—a baron—so were others; Viscount MONTESQUIEU, for instance, and Sir Charles GRANDISON.  To prove how agreeable these made themselves, I will mention that the two packs of cards I provided myself with to pass away the time, were never cut or shuffled but for two games in the whole five years.

 

“Buckhorn, as we called the place, after the form of the hill and its branching spurs, was indeed an ideal retreat.  I have never found a climate equal to it.  But even souls at rest in Buddha’s DEVEGHAN, after a certain stay there, feel a desire to live again, and so did we, and we returned to earth.  Two years later the cabin went up in flames.  I am glad it did.  No insurance.”

 

THACKERAY, when he was travelling in our country, lecturing upon the Georges, in his sing-song sort of way, one day took his huge body up into the Mercantile Library, in Cincinnati, and said to the librarian, Mr. STEPHENSON: “Nowadays, everybody is an author; everybody writes books.”  Mr. FLAGG is not an exception.  He is a literary gentleman and author of varied books, as “A Good Investment,” “Three Seasons in European Vineyards” “Wall Street and the Woods,” etc.  This last is a novel description of the wild hill country in the regions back of Buckhorn, while the characters are mainly drawn from the very primitive inhabitants who dwell there—made so because of the inaccessibility of their homes, little or no intercourse being had with the outer world, not even in the way of books and newspapers; while, from the slender area of land for tillage, and the want of other industrial occupation, there is abundant leisure for meditation and the practice of a wisdom and morality peculiarly their own.

 

SCIOTOVILLE is four miles above Portsmouth, on the Ohio river, at the mouth of the Little Scioto river, and on the C. W. & B., S. V. and O. & N. W. Railroads.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—Scioto Fire-brick Co., fire-brick, 33 hands; Scioto Lumber Co., doors, sash, etc., 15; J. P. KIMBALL, flooring and siding, 8; Scioto Star Fire-brick Co., fire-brick, 61; Big Sandy Lumber Co., lumber, 12.—State Report, 1888.

 

Population, about 1,200.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $50,000.  Value of annual product, $100,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.

 

LUCASVILLE is on the Scioto river and S. V. Railroad, ten miles north of Portsmouth.  It has one Methodist church, one newspaper.—the Transcript—Independent, C. A. HOOVER, editor and publisher.  Population, about 350.

 

BUENA VISTA is on the Ohio river, eighteen miles below Portsmouth.  Population, 1880, 324.  School census, 1888, 150.

 

GALENA P. O. Rarden, is eighteen miles northwest of Portsmouth, on the O. & N. W. Railroad.  School census, 1888, 183.

 

WHEELERSBURG is on the Ohio river and S. V. Railroad, nine miles above Portsmouth.  School census, 1888, 231; G. W. FRY, superintendent.

 

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