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Shirer Family Genealogy Project
Person Page 1735

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James Sprague Sr.1,2

b. circa 1761, d. 1845

Family Susanna Rice b. circa 1765
Children  1. Samuel Sprague b. 4 Mar 1796
  2. Jonathan Sprague b. 20 Feb 1799
  3. Elija Sprague b. 1801
  4. William Sprague b. a 1801
  5. Lavina Sprague b. 29 Jul 1814, d. a 23 Mar 1889

Note*   James Sprague was the second settler to come to Monroe Twp., Muskingum Co., OH. He settled in what would become Otsego in 1812 and became the first person to own land in that village. He was also an early settler to Ohio having first settled in Mariatte and then in 1800-1801 in Wakatemeka or what would become Dresden. He ran a gristmill owned by another person.

He came to Dresden from Marietta by canoe with his family. He had come to the area well before the time he brought his family. His brothers nehemiah and Jonathan Sprague, were also experienced woodsman and hunters and from marietta would set out north by canoe up the Muskingum to Wills creek. They would go up stream about five miles where they discovered a lake which is now known as James WIlson's pond. There they would hide their canoes from the indians and hunt game, sinking the meat in the lake until they had enough and then recover their canoes and head back down river to Marietta.

These forays into the area were well before any settlement was made at Zanesville or Dresden and may have been some of the first by white men.

Often visiting Monroe township hunting game, he became familiar with the area and had a fondness for it. Around 1812 after the natives were moved to a reservation, he moved his possesions on sled to Monroe township.

He was a well known wolf hunter and is credited with the demise of a good part of their population. He was a prime example of what an Ohio hunter and pioneer should be. He was described as tall, strong and large boned man weighing from 185 to 200 pounds. He dressed in buckskins and coonskin cap.

James is also credited with cutting the first road through Monrow township along with his sons in 1811-1812. It followed the trail he had blazed from Dresden.

James lived for a time in Somerset Co., PA in Brothers Township. It was there that he met and married Susanna Rice. His brothers had moved to marietta Ohio in what would become Athens Co. before James marriage. It is assumed he knew this or he would not have followed them there. In the area arounf Marietta in 1789 were the following Joshua Sprague & family, William Sprague & family and Jonathan Sprague. In 1790 we also find Nehemiah Sprague. 
Birth* circa 1761  PA1,2 
Marriage* 25 January 1795  Brothers Valley Twp., Somerset Co., PA, Principal=Susanna Rice3 
Death* 1845  Otsego, Muskingum Co., OH1,2 

Last Edited 27 Jan 2001

  1. [S94]
    Genealogical gleanings from Highland and Monroe Townships
    , Muskingum County Genealogical Society.
  2. [S79] Unknown author, Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum Co., OH.
  3. [S95] Sealings for the dead, couples and children (includes some living spouses and children) 1943-1970; heir indexes, 1943-1968 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Logan Temple, Film Number: 455228 .

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Compiled by: Denny Shirer, Canton, Ohio

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