Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   




Vinton County

Page 731

 

            VINTON COUNTY was formed March 23, 1850, from Gallia, Athens, Hocking, Ross, and Jackson counties, comprising eleven townships, with a combined population of 9,353.  It is watered by branches of the Scioto and Hocking rivers.  Its surface is mostly hilly, with some broad, fine, fertile, level land on the streams.  The land is well adapted to grazing, and it is a good county for sheep, horses, cattle and hogs.  While the hills are generally sloping, in many places they are cultivated to their summits, and have been successfully devoted to grape culture and other fruit.  Its great wealth is in it coal, fire-clay and iron.  There are four furnaces in the county: Eagle, Hope, Vinton, and Hamden, but not now in operation.

 

            Area, 402 square miles.  In 1887, the acres cultivated were 41,645; in pasture, 69,217; woodland, 48,376; lying waste, 6,794; produced in wheat, 80,134 bushels; rye, 352; buckwheat, 412; oats, 45,907; corn, 202,241; broom-corn, 50,050 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 11,155 tons; clover hay, 38; potatoes, 15,658 bushels; tobacco, 850 lbs.; butter, 194,689; sorghum, 4,525 gallons; maple sugar, 2,248 lbs.; honey, 2,104; eggs, 189,694 dozen; grapes, 550 lbs.; sweet potatoes, 386 bushels; apples, 11,232; peaches, 1,451; pears, 78; wool, 163,853 lbs.; milch cows owned, 2,541.  Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888: Coal, 108,695 tons, employing 225 miners and 57 outside employees; iron ore, 11,761 tons.  School census, 1888, 5,931; teachers, 158.  Miles of railroad track, 68.

 

 

Township And Census

1850.

1880.

Township And Census

1850.

1880

Brown,

  648

1,241

Knox,

 

  947

Clinton,

  886

1,608

Madison,

 

2,217

Eagle,

  476

1,044

Richland,

   493

1,668

Elk,

1,221

2,000

Swan,

1,154

1,095

Harrison,

  580

1,172

Vinton,

   460

1,131

Jackson,

  835

1,288

Wilkeville

1,037

1,812

 

 

 

            Population of Vinton in 1860, 13,631; 1880, 17,223; of whom 14,839 were born in Ohio; 594, Pennsylvania; 500, Virginia; 115, Kentucky; 81, New York; 32, Indiana; 327, Ireland; 160, German Empire; 94, England and Wales; 13, British America; 12, Scotland; and 11, France.  Census, 1890, 16,045.

 

            This county is named in honor of SAMUEL FINLEY VINTON, one of Ohio’s eminent statesmen of a past generation.  Mr. VINTON is a direct descendant of John VINTON, of Lynn, Mass., whose name occurs in the county records of 1648.  The tradition is that the founder of the family in this country was of French origin, by the name of DE VINTONNE, and he was exiled from France on account of his being a Huguenot.  Mr. VINTON was born in the State of Massachusetts, September 25, 1792, graduated at Williams College in 1814, and soon after 1816 established himself in the law at Gallipolis.  In 1822 he was, unexpectedly to himself, nominated and then elected to Congress, an office to which he continued to be elected by constantly increasing majorities for fourteen years, when he voluntarily withdrew for six years, to be again sent to Congress for six years longer, when he declined any further Congressional service, thus serving in all twenty years.

 

            Mr. VINTON originated and carried through the House many measures of very great importance to the country.  During the period of the war with Mexico, he was Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, and at this particular juncture his financial talent was of very great service to the nation.  During his entire course of public life he had ably opposed various schemes for the sale of

 

Page 732

 

the public lands that he felt, if carried out, would be squandering the nation’s patrimony.  He originated and carried through the House, against much opposition, the law which created the Department of the Interior.  Hon. Thomas EWING wrote of him: “Though for ten or fifteen years he had more influence in the House of Representatives, much more than any man in it, yet the nation never has fully accorded to him his merits.  He was a wise, persevering, sagacious statesman; almost unerring in his perceptions of the right, bold in pursuing and skilful in sustaining it.  He always held a large control over the minds of men with whom he acted.”

 

            In 1851 Mr. VINTON was the unsuccessful Whig candidate for Governor of Ohio.  In 1853 he was for a short time President of the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad, and then, after 1854, continuously resided in Washington City until his death, May 11, 1862.  There he occasionally argued cases before the Supreme Court, and with remarkable success, from his habits of patient investigation and clear analysis.  He exhausted every subject he discussed and presented his thoughts without rhetorical flourish, but with wonderful lucidity.  His use of the English language was masterful, and he delighted in wielding words of Saxon strength.

 

            In accordance with his dying request he was buried in the cemetery at Gallipolis, beside the remains of his wife, Romaine Madeleine BUREAU, the daughter of one of the most respected French immigrants.  His only surviving child is Madeleine VINTON DAHLGREN, noticed on page 681 of this work.  “Mr. VINTON was of slight frame, but of great dignity of presence.  His mild and clear blue eye was very penetrating, and his thin, compressed lips evinced determination of character.  His manner was composed and calm, but very suave and gentle, scarcely indicating the great firmness that distinguished him.”

 

OHIO SOUTHERN BOUNDARY LINE.

 

            The question as to what constitutes Ohio’s Southern boundary line is one that has never been satisfactorily settled, and the argument made by the Hon. SAMUEL F. VINTON on this question is one of great importance to the people of Ohio, as well as those of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

 

                In 1820, when the case of HANDLY’S Lessee vs. ANTHONY et. Al. was tried in the U. S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice MARSHALL decided that “When a great river is the boundary line between two nations or States, if the original property is in neither, and there be no convention respecting it, each holds to the middle of the stream.  But when, as in this case, one State is the original proprietor, and grants the territory on one side only, it retains the river within its own domains, and the newly created State extends to the river only.  The river, however, is its boundary.”

 

                As between high and low water mark as the boundary line Justice MARSHALL in this case set it at the low water mark.

 

                In 1783 the Legislature of Virginia empowered its delegates in Congress “to convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States in Congress assembled, for the benefit of said States (proposed new States northwest of the Ohio), all right, title and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction, which this Commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia Charter, situate, lying and being to the northwest of the river Ohio.”

 

                In 1845 Richard M. GARNER and others, who were captured by Virginia officers at the north bank of the Ohio river, near Marietta, in the act of assisting runaway slaves to escape, were tried in the Virginia courts.  The case was decided against them in the lower courts, and on an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court was argued at the December term, 1845, by Hon. S. F. VINTON, for the defendants, being assigned to that duty by the Governor of Ohio.

 

                VINTON’S argument was based on the ground that Virginia never had a valid claim to the lands northwest of the Ohio river.  He held that Chief Justice MARSHALL’S decision was based on an erroneous historical assumption.  VINTON says: “All the parties to that case (HANDLY’S Lessee vs. ANTHONY), both the court and the bar assumed, without any historical investigation in the court below, that Virginia was the original proprietor of the country beyond the Ohio river, and that the question of boundary was to be decided by the laws of Virginia, and by her deed of cession to the United States.”  He further states that the “Virginia Charter,” upon which Virginia’s claims were base, was granted in 1609 to “The Treasurer and Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London.”  In 1724 this grant was dis-

 

Page 733

 

solved by the Court of the King’s Bench; henceforth, until the Revolution, Virginia was a crown colony with no claim to the territory northwest of the Ohio, and that after the Declaration of Independence the territory came under the jurisdiction of the United States by right of conquest.

 

                In May, 1890, the Supreme Court of the United States reaffirmed the decision of Justice MARSHALL in a controversy between Kentucky and Indiana as to jurisdiction over Green River island, in the Ohio river, some six miles above Evansville.  The court held that Kentucky’s boundary extended to the low water mark on the north bank at the time Kentucky became a State, and Commissioners were appointed to ascertain and run the boundary line as designated, and to report to the court.

 

                Shortly after this decision had been rendered, ex-Governor COX wrote a letter to Governor CAMPBELL, drawing his attention to the interests involved, and suggesting that he request Attorney General WATSON to intervene in the suit (if not being actually closed until the Commissioners’ report had been accepted), and that Illinois and West Virginia be made parties.  Measures were at once taken by Governor CAMPBELL and Attorney General WATSON to interplead in Ohio’s behalf before the United States Supreme Court.

 

                Ex-Governor COX denied the validity of Virginia’s claim, and in his letter stated some of the complications likely to ensue if the decision of the Supreme Court was permitted to stand without question.

 

                “The reasons for making the median line of a stream the boundary between private properties are infinitely stronger when it comes to nations and States.  Cincinnati has six or eight miles of river front, on which she has built levees and public landings, and our merchants and manufacturers have made docks, coal chutes, etc.  If the ancient meandered line of the low water mark be rigidly renewed, the whole commercial front of this great city may possibly be held to be cut off from Ohio by some narrow strip sufficient to fence us in.

 

                “If Kentucky prudently does not urge such a claim, we may still hold our territory, rather by sufferance than by title of a better kind.  Railways have been built up and down the river on the Ohio shore.  It can hardly be possible, in the nature of constructions of such a sort, that they have not trenched upon the water line.  Shall a quo warranto in Kentucky forfeit their Ohio charters and rights of way?  Kentucky companies plant bridge piers so close to Ohio that the value of adjacent property is destroyed.  Must the Kentucky jury on the opposite shore have sole jurisdiction to assess damages?

 

                “Suppose the war of secession had resulted in the independence of the South, and the Ohio had been the boundary, as the South claimed.  The idea of a boundary on the north shore would have made peace forever impossible.  The river is too important a highway of commerce to permit any separation of jurisdiction except in the middle of the stream.  It has always been admitted that such also is the general rule of law.  But an exceptional interpretation is claimed exactly where the reasons for the rule are most overwhelming.  There could have been no GOOD reason for Virginia and Kentucky controlling the whole river, and it cannot be supposed that the cession of Virginia saved such jurisdiction for BAD reasons.  I believe the publicists of the world would be shocked to see the claim of Virginia recognized as a rule of law.”

 

EARLY HISTORY.

 

            Nearly half a century elapsed after its first settlement before Vinton county was formed.  The first settlers centred most strongly around McArthur and Vinton townships.  A Mr. MUSSELMAN was one of the earliest.  Of him but little is known, except that he was the discoverer of the burr stone.  He worked a few years quarrying these stones, as did most of the early settlers.

 

            It was in 1805 that MUSSELMAN came.  He settled in Elk, the pioneer township of the county.  He was a miller; being something of a geologist he discovered the fine burr stone, and in the spring of 1806 began his quarrying operations.

 

            The first permanent settler in Elk was Levi KELSEY, who came about 1802, and was probably the very first settler in the county.  Isaac and John PHILLIPS came in 1806 and 1807.  Levi JOHNSON came in 1811, put up the first distillery, and, being justice of the peace, performed the first marriage ceremony.  Then came, and a little later, Jacob and Paul SHRY, Geo. FRY, James and William MYSICK, Edward SATTS, Thaddeus FULLER, David RICHMOND, Rev. Joshua GREEN, Lemuel and Allen LANE, Joseph GILL, and Isaac WEST.

 

            We copy here the personal recollections of early times in Vinton county by one of her pioneer women, Mrs. Charlotte E. BOTHWELL, given in 1874 at McArthur, when she was 86 years of age.  She, with her husband and brother, and their two children, emigrated here in the summer of 1814 from Silveysport, Md.  She was then twenty-six years of age, and her husband twenty-nine.

 

Page 734

 

            They came down the Monongahela and Ohio rivers by pirogue, which he bought, hired a pilot, landed at Gallipolis, and came thence by wagon, having been just thirty-two days on the way.

 

            It was on a Tuesday morning when they left Gallipolis with Mr. PIERSON, her sister’s husband, who had come with his wagon to help them on their way.  The next morning they took breakfast at what is now Jackson.  It was then nothing but “a salt works, a number of rough, scattering cabins, and long rows of kettles of boiling water.”

 

            The roads all the way were but mere paths, and the three men compelled to cut out roads with axes, and drive along hillsides, when it was all the men could do to keep the wagons from upsetting.  After leaving Jackson, it was nine miles to Mr. PAINE’S, the first house.  The remainder of her narrative we give in her own words.

 

            About the middle of the day it began raining very hard, and rained all day; everything was soaking with water.  My youngest child lay in my arms wet and cold, and looked more like it was dead than alive.  Several times we stopped the wagon to examine to see if it was dead.  But we had to go on.  There was no house to stop at till we got to Mr. PAINE’S.  It was more than an hour after dark when we got there, wet, cold, and still raining.  We found Mrs. PAINE one of the best and kindest of women.  An own mother could not have been more kind.  After breakfast next morning, we started and got to my brother-in-law’s the evening of the 5th of August, when four days afterward our child died.

 

            My husband had been here the spring previous, entered 160 acres of land, being now (1874) the farm once owned by David RAY, and reared the walls of a cabin upon it.  When we got here, it had neither door, floor, window, chimney, nor roof.  My husband hired two men to make clapboards to cover it, and puncheons for a floor, we remaining with my brother-in-law until this was done.  We then moved into our new house, to finish it at our leisure.  Isaac PIERSON then “scutched” down the logs, my husband chinked it, and I daubed the cracks with clay.

 

            There was no plant to be had, the nearest saw-milling being DIXON’S, on Salt creek, twenty miles away.  So I hung up a table-cloth to close the hole left for the window, and a bed-quilt for a door.  The back wall of a fire-place occupied nearly one whole side of the house; but the chimney was not built on it, and sometimes the smoke in the house would almost drive me out.  We lived in this way five months.  I was not used to backwoods life, and the howling of the wolves, with nothing but a suspended bed-quilt for a door, coupled with other discomforts of border life, made me wish many a time I was back at my good old home.

 

            On the 14th of January, 1815, the chimney was built.  My husband had some plank and sash, and made the door and window.  The hinges and latches were of wood.  Our cabin was the only one in the whole country around that had a glass window.  On the same day, while the men were working at the house, I finished a suit of wedding clothes for David JOHNSON, father of George and Benjamin JOHNSON, who still live here.  I had the suit all done but a black satin vest when he came here.  I didn’t know it was a wedding suit, and tried to put him off; but he would not be put off.  The next day my third child, Catherine, who is the widow of Joseph FOSTER, and lives near Sharonville, was born.

 

            My husband was a cabinetmaker and painter, but bedsteads and chairs and painting were not in use here in that day, and his business was confined to making spinning-wheels and reels.  He did not get his shop till the first of May, and as he had not worked for a year our little accumulated earnings were all spent.  However, we were now comfortably fixed.  I had some pipe-clay and white-washed the inside of the cabin, and some of our neighbors regarded us as very rich and very aristocratic—thought for this country we put on too much style!

 

            I had learned the tailoring business and found plenty of work at it.  There

 

Page 735

 

Top: SAMULE F. VINTON

Bottom

Drawn by Henry Howe, 1846

VINTON COUNTRY COURT HOUSE, McARTHUR.

 

Page 736

 

was not much money in the settlement, and I was more often paid in work than in cash; but we wanted our farm cleared up and therefore needed work.  It cost us about $10 per acre to clear the land, beside the fencing.  Lands all belonged to the government and could be entered in quarter sections or 160 acres, at $2 per acre, to be paid in four annual payments of $80 each.

 

            When we first came here there were perhaps fifty families in and around this settlement, most of them quarrying and making millstones.  There was no person making a business of farming.  All had their little patches of garden, but making millstones was the principal business.  Isaac PIERSON, father of Sarah PIERSON, of Chillicothe, had the principal quarry.  Afterward Aaron LANTZ and Richard McDOUGAL had large quarries.  A man named MUSSELMAN first discovered the stone in 1805 and in 1806 employed Isaac PIERSON to work for him.  This was on section seven.  There were no white people here at that time and the two camped out.  MUSSELMAN quit, but the next year PIERSON, finding the business to be very profitable, moved out, built the first cabin and made the first permanent settlement.

 

            He employed hands to help him, and soon the settlement began to grow.  The business was very profitable, and all engaged in it would have become independently rich but for one thing—whiskey!  Most of them drank; and nearly every pair of millstones that was sold must bring back a barrel of whiskey, whether it brought flour or not.  If the flour was out they could grind corn on their hand-mills, but they made it a point never to get out of whiskey.

 

            Trading was done principally at Chillicothe.  There was no store closer than Chillicothe or Athens.  Everything we bought that was not produced in the country was very dear.  The commonest calico, such as now sells at 6 to 10 cents, was 50 cents a yard; coffee, 40 cents; tea, $1.25; we made our own sugar.  We made it a point, however, to spend as little as possible.  Our salt we got at Jackson; gave $2 for fifty pounds of such mean, wet, dirty salt as could not find a market now at any price.

 

            All kinds of stock ran loose in the woods.  Each person had his stock marked.  My husband’s mark was to point one ear and cut a V-shaped piece out of the other.  I marked my geese by splitting the left web of the left foot.  These marks were generally respected.  There was good wild pasturage for the cattle, and hogs grew fat upon the mast.  When one was wanted for use it was shot with the rifle.

 

            A wilder country than this in the early days it would be hard to imagine, with its great systems of rocks and intermingled forests.  Indians, wolves, wild game and snakes were more numerous than interesting.  I remember distinctly one time, my son Thompson was a baby, I put him to sleep one afternoon in his cradle and went out to help my husband in the field.  He had an Irishman working in the shop.  In a little while after he went into the house to get some tobacco.  He came soon running out to us, hallooing in the field, “Oh, mon! come quick; the devil he is in the house!”  We hastened to the door, and found a large rattlesnake which had been lying by the cradle.  Our presence disturbed it, and it ran under the bed, and my husband got a club and dragged it out and killed it.

 

            MCARTHUR, county-seat of Vinton, about sixty miles southeast of Columbus, about 105 miles east of Cincinnati, is on the Ohio River Division of the C. H. V. & T., and three miles north of the C. W. & B. R. R.  It is in the midst of a rich iron and coal region.  The surrounding country is largely devoted to raising fine wool sheep, cattle and swine.

 

            County Officers, 1888: Auditor, John MCNAMARA; Clerk, David H. MOORE; Commissioners, William J. COX, Lyman WELLS, Henry C. ROBBINS; Coroner, Jacob D. CHRIST; Infirmary Directors, Nathan B. WESTCOOK, John BRAY, E. McCORMACK; Probate Judge, John N. McLAUGHLIN; Prosecuting Attorney, William S. HUDSON; Recorder, Cyrus C. MOORE; Sheriff, Enos T. WINTERS; Surveyor, Simon R. WALKER; Treasurer, Eli REYNOLDS.  City Officers, 1888: H.

 

Page 737

 

W. HORTON, Mayor; John S. MORRISON, Clerk; V. R. SPRAGUE, Treasurer; John LOWRY, Marshal.  Newspapers: Democrat-Enquirer, Democratic, Alexander PEARCE, editor; Plaindealer, Democratic, J. W. BOWEN, editor; Vinton Record, Republican, A. BARLEON, editor.  Churches: 1 Christian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian and 1 Episcopal.  Banks: Vinton Co. National, Daniel WILL, president, J. W. DELAY, cashier.  Population, 1880, 900.  School census, 1888, 343; Joseph REA, school superintendent.  Census, 1890, 888.

 

            McArthur was named from Gov. Duncan McARTHUR, a sketch of whom will be found under the head of Ross County.  It is sometimes called the “Mineral City,” and is on a pleasant elevation of table land, between two branches of Elk fork of Raccoon creek.  It is environed by low hills, with coal banks from every direction facing the town.  Previous to the year 1815, this spot was mostly a forest, where two brothers, William and Jerry PIERSON, built cabins, and possibly some others.  Burrstone quarries were then being worked in the north part of the county by the first settlers, and two of the roads coming together here made it of some importance as a stopping-place.

 

            McArthur was laid out in 1815 under the name of McArthurstown, after Gov. McARTHUR.  The name was changed, Feb. 7, 1851, by act of the legislature, and the place incorporated.  By the census of 1850 it had 424 inhabitants.

 

            Robert SAGE, Esq., gave us some interesting items, which we noted as he talked to us on our visit to McArthur, Tuesday, 5 P.M., March 30, 1886.  He said: “McArthur was laid out in 1815 by Moses DAWSON, Levi JOHNSON, Isaac PEARSON, George WILL, J. BEACH, and Samuel LUTZ the surveyor, who is now living at Circleville.  His age is 98, is in good health, and within a year has surveyed land.  [He died in 1889, aged over 101 years.]  The acknowledgement of the laying out was taken before Joseph WALLACE, on Saturday, the day before the battle of Waterloo, which was fought Sunday, June 18, 1815.  My father, Joel Sage, built the first house that was built after the laying out, and in the ensuing fall began to keep therein what is believed to have been the first tavern opened in the limits of the county.  I have been a justice of the peace twenty-one years, and was the first boy who had a home here.

 

            “PHILLIPS & WINZER, about the year 1817, opened a store on the lot now owned by Dr. A. WOLF.  At that period James STANCLIFF, the first justice of the peace, started the first school.  The population of the county is, I think, more largely than usual of the old American stock, and we claim for them extraordinary health and vigor.  Living is very cheap.  Retail prices for sirloin steak 10 cents a pound; best pork steak at 8 to 10 cents; chickens, 15 to 25 cents each; turkeys, 6 cents per pound; eggs, 8 to 10 cents per dozen, and coal delivered at 5 cents per bushel.”

 

            From the “History of the Hocking Valley” we learn that the 18th Ohio, which was formed from this and the adjoining counties, had a somewhat unusual experience while stationed, May 1, 1862, just outside of Athens, Georgia.  Being attacked by a superior force, they were ordered to retire towards Huntsville.  Their route took them through Athens, whereupon the citizens, seeing them fall back, insulted them, the men throwing up their hats and the women waving their handkerchiefs and all jeering and hooting at them, while some shots were fired from the houses.  The men were so abused that the officers could with difficulty restrain them.  Gen. TURCHIN came to their support with the 19th Illinois and some artillery, when they faced about and drove the enemy out of town and vicinity.  This was the occasion when TURCHIN’S brigade “went through Athens.”

 

                Some of the Illinois companies were composed of Chicago ‘roughs; with such men for leaders, the soldiers, feeling outraged by their treatment from the citizens, who had been well treated by them, retaliated.  This was in accord with Col. TURCHIN’S European ideas of war customs, so in the result there was scarcely a store or warehouse that they did not pillage.

 

                Col. TURCHIN laid in the Court-house yard while the devastation was going on.  An aid-de-camp approached, when the colonel remarked.

 

                Vell, lieudtenant, I think it is dime dis dam billaging vas shtop.”

 

                “Oh, no, colonel,” replied he, “the boys are not half done jerking.”

 

                Ish dat so?  Den I schleep for half an hour longer,” said the colonel, as he rolled his fat, dumpty body over on the grass again.

 

Page 738

 

                The boys of the 19th Illinois used the word “jerk” in the sense of steal or pillage.  This gave the 18th Ohio and 19th Illinois the appellation of “TURCHIN’S Thieves.”  For this act TURCHIN was court-martialled and dismissed from the service by orders of BUELL; but LINCOLN, recognizing his soldierly qualities, restored him with the rank of brigadier-general.  This retaliation secured better treatment from the citizens.

 

            A gentleman of many years and experience, who has long known Vinton county, Mr. S. W. ELY, agricultural editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, who made it a visit in the summer of 1886, has put in print these valuable facts:

 

            “Since our last issue we have enjoyed the opportunity of visiting the county of Vinton, Ohio, which is situate on the C. B. & W. Railway, within 150 miles east of this city, and contrasting conditions and appearances at present with those existing thirty years ago.  At that time the county had recently been formed from Ross, Athens, Hocking and Jackson, and a scattering country village, almost unapproachable from the outer world, located as its ‘court-house,’ with a patronymic derived from one of Ohio’s early governors.

 

            “McArthur was situate on the long and difficult hilly and muddy road which extended sixty miles from Chillicothe to Athens, nearly equidistant between those pioneer boroughs.  A few of its early settlers were known to the Scioto valley stock feeders as reliable breeders of ‘sassafras’ bovines and mountain sheep, and occasionally a caravan of ‘Salt Creekers,’ with their few hundred feet of ‘plank,’ their feathers, eggs, ‘parilla, and maple molasses came into the ‘Ancient Metropolis’ for marketing purposes.

 

            “It was understood before that time, however, that Vinton county territory abounded in both sylvan and mineral riches.  The first geological survey of the State under Prof. MATHER, assisted by the veterans, BRIGGS, WHITTLESEY, etc., had been finished and particular mention made of the millstone, coals, iron ores, and other mineral riches of the new county and its neighboring shires.  But not until the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad was completed to the Ohio river did the newly opened territory begin earnestly to improve.

 

            “Trade in the ‘black diamonds’ with the communities towards the west opened and rapidly increased.  The finest timber and best tanbark—the prey most greedily coveted on our new railway lines—were soon wheeled off and utilized.  An English colony introduced its ‘best methods’ at Zaleski, and ‘astonished the natives’ by erecting a gas-house and indulging in expensive gradation of streets before their hamlet was fairly started, following up with a large blast furnace, in which they vainly strove to make good pigs with a raw sulphurous coal—a task they had to abandon, so that their stack soon crumbled down to the foundation, and a slowly-growing village, kept alive by a portion of the railway machine shops, ensued their bright expectations.

 

            “Within a few years the Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad has been thrust southwardly, across Vinton county, from Logan, through McArthur to Pomeroy, reinforcing the old Portsmouth branch of the C. B. & W. in connecting this interesting region with steamboat navigation.  And this brings us to the point of our paragraph.  In no respect has this county more positively improved since our earliest acquaintance with it than in that of its agriculture.  On every hand, within sight of the railroad, the lands have been largely cleared, and the fields are clothed with rich coats of cultivated grasses, including blue grass, orchard grass, red-top, timothy, etc., while great attention is paid to the clover crop.

 

            “A gentleman who kindly drove us over a considerable scope of country remarked: ‘Our farmers formerly paid more attention to the cereals, but after three or four crops of corn on the same ground they found that their warranty deeds were not strong enough to hold their lands, so they have resorted to grass, hay, pasturage, and cattle and sheep breeding and fattening, so that the old gullies washed in our hillsides are filled up, smoothed over, and ‘all dressed in living green.’  Meantime agricultural methods have greatly improved in most other

 

Page 739

 

respects.  The fields we cultivate are well plowed, harrowed, and the clods broken, before the seed is sown or planted.  Our crops are larger and more sure than before; the values of lands have increased correspondingly, and our farmers pay their taxes, and become rich and independent.’

 

            “We observe that great attention is paid to orchard and fruit raising.  Our friend, on sixty-six acres, has 1,100 apple trees, a moiety of which are the Hughes Virginia Crab, from each of which he will make this year a barrel of cider, worth ten dollars in market.  This, he thinks, will pay better than grain or grapes.  His place adjoins the town of McArthur, and is remarkably fertile, underlaid also by good, workable coal.  It is in a lovely region.  It is probable, we think, that no part of our great State can boast of a greater degree of agricultural improvement, effected in the same period, than Vinton county.  The construction of railroads through her territory has led in this desirable direction.  In picturesque beauty she can now challenge the most favored regions, while in all other respects we have reason to believe her people have advanced.  Good agriculture is at once the basis and proof of civic improvement.  The population of this part of the State is very rapidly increasing, and the inducements for the exercise of industry and energy are excellent.”

 

            ZALESKI is on the C. W. & B. R. R., forty-two miles east of Chillicothe and about six northeast from McArthur.  It is named from Peter ZALESKI, a banker in Paris, a native of Poland, and financial agent for Polish exiles of wealth in France.  He was a leading member of the Zaleski Mining Company, which bought large quantities of mineral land hereabout and laid out the town on their land in 1856.  For many years it was simply a mining town, the company building houses for rent to their employees.  The ores proving unremunerative, the houses have fallen into the ownership of the individuals, and it has lost its identity as a mining town.  The greatest industry here is the repairing shops of the railroad, which employs many workmen.  It has 1 Episcopal Methodist, 1 Catholic and 1 Mission Baptist Church.

 

            City Officers, 1888: Sylvester SHRY, Mayor; Peter HOFFMAN, Clerk; Jacob DORST, Treasurer; John McCOY, Marshal and Street Commissioner.

 

            Population, 1880, 1,175.  School census, 1888, 374; J. W. DELAY, school superintendent.

 

            HAMDEN P. O., Hamden Junction, is seven miles southwest of McArthur, on the C. W. & B. R. R.  It has 1 Presbyterian and 1 Disciples church.  City Officers, 1888: S. F. CRAMER, Mayor; H. D. WORTMAN, Clerk; R. R. BROWN, Treasurer; J. B. WATTS, Marshal; William OGIER, Commissioner.  Newspaper: Hamden Enterprise, Independent; K. J. CAMERON, editor and publisher.  Population, 1880, 520.  School census, 1888, 250; D. B. DYE, school superintendent.

 

            WILKESVILLE is fifteen miles southeast of McArthur.  It has 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Brethren, and 1 Catholic                    church.  Population, 1880, 309; school census, 1888, 104.  The hills there are rich in iron and coal. .


Image button58061219.jpg