HISTORY OF CHAMPAIGN AND LOGAN COUNTIES
from their First Settlements
by Joshua Antrim.
PRESS PRINTING CO.
NOTE: If you want something transcribed, please
let me know... SW
CHAPTER I. - CHARACTER AND HARDSHIPS of the PIONEERS OF OHIO.
CHAPTER II. - BUILDING OF LOG CABIN.
CHAPTER III. - LOG CABIN CONTINUED.
CHAPTER IV. - LOG CABIN CONTINUED.
....... PUBLIC SQUARE
CHAPTER V. - SCHOOLS
CHAPTER VI. - CIVIL POLITY - MEDICAL MEN - CALAMITES AVERTED,
CHAPTER VII. - EARLY POPULATION (very hard to read)
CHAPTER VIII. - MILITARY OPERATIONS IN WAR OF 1812.
CHAPTER IX. - SIMON KENTON
CHAPTER X. - JOHN HAMILTON
CHAPTER XI. - ADDITIONAL PIONEER SETTLERS
....... HULL'S TRACE
....... PHENOMENAL - (Earthquake)
....... TORNADO AT BELLEFONTAINE
....... THE LOST CHILD
ANDREW HELLMAN alias ADAM HORN, his life, character and
crimes (LOGAN COUNTY)
....... A REVIEW OF ADAM HORN'S CONFESSION, showing its
Falsehoods, Omissions and Prevarications.
....... ANDREW HELLMAN IN OHIO
....... EXECUTION OF ANDREW HELLMAN
....... THE LOST CHILD
....... CONCORD MILLS
A FORTIFICATION IN
CHAPTER XII -
CHAPTER XIII. PUBLIC SQUARE
Champaign County was formed from Green and Franklin March 1,
1805, and originally comprised the Counties of Clark and Logan.
The Seat of Justice was originally fixed at Springfield, in Clark
County, and the first Courts were held in the house of George
FITHIAN. It is said it was named from its appearance, it
being a level, open country. Urgana, the Seat of Justice,
was laid out in the year 1805, by Col Wm. WARD, formerly of
Greenbrier County, Virginia. It is said by some that Mr.
WARD named the town from the word Urbanity, but I think it was
quite likely he named it from an old Roman custom of dividing
their people into different classes - one class, the Plebeians,
and this again divided into two classes - Plebs Rustica
and Plebs Urbana. The Plebs Rustica lived in the
rural districts and were farmers, while the Plebs Urbana
lived in villages and were mechanics and artisans.
George FITHIAN opened the first tavern in a log
cabin on South Main street, formerly the residence of Wm.
THOMAS; but I think it is now owned by the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and they intend to improve it and make a parsonage of it.
Samuel McCLOUD opened a Dry Goods and Grocery
Store in the same cabin in the same year, (March, 1806).
The first house covered with shingles was a house
occupied by McDONALD as a store room, on the north corner
of Public Square, west of North Main street.
For a full and satisfactory description of Urbana and
its surroundings, see Judge PATRICK's able, minute, and
satisfactory history, found in the body of his work, in which he
has placed me under many obligations, and also done himself
credit, and the city of Urbana, of which he writes.
I find in Howe's History of Ohio the names of a few of
the first settlers in Urbana and also in the rural districts, and
although most of the names found in his history will be found in
the body of his work, for fear some valuable names may be
overlooked I here transcribe them. But let the reader be
assured that most of those honored and venerated names will appear
in these pages.
But before I proceed to record those names I wish to
make a remark or two in regard to the first settlers of this
county. In vain have I made inquiry of the oldest living
pioneers as to the first white man that settled here.
Likewise the public records have been searched with the same
unsatisfactory results. IT may seem to a matter of very
little consequence who first settled a country, but we find people
in all ages disposed to attach very great importance to so
apparently trifling a circumstance. The Carthginians have
their Dido, the Greeks their Cecrops, and the Romans their
Romulus; so in our own country William PENN settled
Pennsylvania; BOONE, Kentucky, &c.; and in the most of the
counties of this State the first settlers are known, and the date
of their settlement. I find in a very able and interesting
document, furnished me for this work by an old and respected
pioneer, Mr. ARROWSMITH, the name of Wm. OWENS, who,
he says, came to this county in the year 1797 or 1798. I
think it not unlikely that he was the first white man that made
this county his home.
I now commence the list of names: Joseph C. VANCE,
Thos. and Ed. W. PEARCE, George FITHIAN, Sam'l. McCORD, Zeph. LUSE,
Benj. DOOLITTLE, George and Andrew WARD, Wm. H. FYFFE, Wm.
and John GLENN, Frederick AMBROSE, John REYNOLDS and
Sam'l. GIBBS. Those living in the country - Jacob
MINTURN, Henry and Jacob ANDERSON, Abner BARRET, Thomas
Pearce, Benj. and Wm. CHENEY, Matthew and Charles
STUART, Parker SULLIVAN, John LOGAN, John THOMAS, John RUNYON,
John LAFFERTY, John OWENS, John TAYLOR, John GUTTRIDGE, John
CARTMELL, John DAWSON, John PENCE, Jonathan LONG, Bennet TABER,
Nathan FITCH, Robert NOWEE, Jacob PENCE and ARTHUR THOMAS.
Joseph C. VANCE was the father of Ex-Governor
VANCE, and was the first Clerk of the Court in this County.
Capt. Arthur THOMAS, whose name is in the above list, lived
on King's Creek, about three miles North of Urbana. HE was
ordered to Fort Findlay with his Company, to guard the public
stores at that place, and on their return they encamped at the Big
Spring near an old Indian town called Solomon's Town, about seven
miles north of Bellefontaine.
Their horses having strayed away in the night, he and
his son went in pursuit of them. When they had got some
distance from the encampment they were discovered by the Indians,
who attacked them with an overpowering force and they were killed
and scalped and left dead on the spot.
Urbana was a frontier town during the war 1812.
HULL's army was quartered here the same year, before taking
up their line of march for Detroit. In fact, it was a place
of general rendezvous for the troops starting for the defense of
our northern frontier. They were encamped in the eastern
part of the city, and here lie the bodies of many brave soldiers
mingled with their mothers dust, and no monument to mark the
place where they rest, nor to tell the story of their sufferings;
even their names have perished with them. All we can do now
is to drop a tear over their sleeping dust and say, "Here lie in
peaceful slumbers the brave defenders of our once frontier homes."
In penning these sketches, I find myself very much in
the condition of the early pioneer who had to blaze his way
through a dense forest to find his way from one place to another.
Fortunately for me, however, others have preceded me and blazed
the way to some extent for me. And to none, perhaps, am I
under more obligations than to Mr. HOWE, in his History of
Ohio; and he is not entirely reliable, for I have been obliged to
make some corrections in his statements of facts in the history of
this country. For instance, the time of settlement of Logan
County, putting it in the year 8106, when in fact it was settled
in the year 1801. Also, the names of the first settlers.
Of course he had to rely on others for information, and they did
not know; but in the main, however, I believe he is correct.
I now resume my sketch of Urbana: On the corner
of Public Square and North Main street - now McDONALD's
Corner, but in the war of 1812 called Doolittle's Tavern - were
the headquarters of Governor MEIGS. On the opposite
corner - now ARMSTRONG's Bank - stood a two story brick
house, and on the end fronting the Square, could be seen the date
of its erection - 1811. This was occupied for many years by
D. & T. M. GWYNNE as a stoore-room. All the old
settlers of Champaign now living, will call to mind the once
familiar face of Robert MURDOCK, was with his obliging and
gentlemanly manners, who was then a partner in the firm.
The above described building was the place where the
commissary's office was kept during the war of 1812, and is the
one to which Richard M. Johnson was brought wounded after
his personal and deadly conflict with the renowned Tecumseh at the
battle of the Thames.
Urbana was visited by a dreadful tornado on the 22d of
March, 1830. Passing from the South-west to the North-east,
it leveled the Presbyterian Church with the ground, and unroofed
the M. E. Church, throwing it down to within a few feet of its
foundation. Both of these buildings were substantial brick
edifices; also, a great many private residences were either
unroofed or wholly demolished, killing three children and
crippling others. For a more satisfactory account, see Judge
Patrick's history of Urbana in this work.
I can not leave Urbana without giving a short account
of the old Court House, built in 1817. I have never seen a
description of this then imposing structure. It stood in the
center of the Public Square, now called, I believe, Monument
Square, fronting North and South, built of brick, two stories
high, the roof having four sides, coming to a point in the center,
surmounted by a cupola and spire on which was a globe and a fish
that turned with the wind. The main entrance was on the
South. This, for the time in which it was built, was an
elegant and commodious public building.
How many pleasant and interesting memories cluster
around this, to the old pioneer, almost hallowed spot! Here,
too, or near this spot, many a soldier breathed his last and bade
adieu to all earthly conflicts. And the soldier mounted on
the pedestal on the spot where the old Court House stood,
surveying with down-cast eyes and in solemn and impressive silence
the battlefields of Gettysburg and Shiloh, may drop a tear over
the graves of those heroes that freely shed their blood in the
defense of our country in the war of 1812.
On the southeast
corner of fractional lot No. 1. Benjamin DOOLITTLE
occupied a two-story log house, with a back building attached
to west rear for dining room and kitchen, as a tavern stand, and
being the same lot now owned and occupied by McDONALDS and
Joseph HEDGES occupied a small frame with shed
roof, called the knife-box, little west of northeast corner of
fractional lot No. 4, as a store room of HEDGES & NEVILLE,with
small family residence in the west end, and being the same lot now
owned and occupied by GLENNS and others.
John REYNOLDS owned and occupied a neat white
two-story building on northeast corner of in lot No. 48, fronting
east on the Public Square, and used in part as a store room; the
balance being his family residence. The store room being on
the corner was also by him used as the Post-office, he being the
first Postmaster of the place. The very same spot is now
used for the Post-office in the WEAVER house. This
whole lot is now owned by Henry WEAVER, and as already
intimated, is the site of the WEAVER House.
Widow FITCH, the mother of Mrs. BLANCHARD,
owned and occupied in lot No. 1, opposite the WEAVER House,
and had a small log building on it, which was occupied as a family
residence, to which she added in front facing east on the Public
Square, a respectable two story hewed log house, using the same
soon after as a tavern stand for several years. This site is
now known as the DONALDSON corner, &c.
Mr. DAVIDSON occupied a small frame, fronting
the Square on lot No. 151 on part of the site of L. WEAVER's
SOUTH MAIN STREET.
From the Public
Square, south. Alexander DOKE owned and occupied
in-lot No. 104, and had on it a little south of the present tavern
stand of Samuel TAYLOR, a double cabin residence of his
family, and being a blacksmith, he had on the same lot of a smith
shop. This lot embraces all the ground south of S. W.
HITT's store to the corner on market space, and owned now by
several individuals. All this ground during the war of 1812,
was used as a artificer yard.
W. H. TYFFE owned the south half of in lot No.
55, &c., and occupied the southeast corner of it, as his family
residence; it being the same building now on said corner, having
since been weather-boarded, and is now owned by his descendants.
George FITHIAN, the grandfather of Milton
FITHIAN, owned and occupied as a tavern stand, the same
building now standing on in lot No. 63; it has undergone but
little improvement in outside appearance, excepting the
weatherboarding of the log part of it. This same tavern was
afterward owned and occupied by John ENOCH, the father of
John ENOCH, Jr., and is now owned by the Second M. E.
Church as a proposed future site for a Church edifice.
George Hite, on the next abutting lot on
west side of South Man St., being No. 71, erected a two-story log
house for his family, and being a wheel-wright, had a shop near
it. The present residence of Mr. BENNETT occupies the
site of the old dwelling.
Job GARD, the father of Gershom GARD,
owned in-lot No. 87, the corner of South Main and Reynolds
streets, and lived in a hewed log house near the present residence
of Col. CANDY. This lot is now owned by the New
Jerusalem Church and others.
Alexander McComsy, father of Matthias McCOMSY,
owned and had a cabin for his family on south-east corner of South
Main and Reynolds streets, on out-lot No. 18, now vacant and owned
by William ROSS.
William and John GLENN owned in-lots No.
124, 125, 126 and 127, on which they had sunk a tan-yard, with a
rough log shop for finishing; this is now what is called the lower
tannery, in the present occupancy of SMITH, BRYAN & Co.
William GLENN then owned and had a cabin-residence on lots
No. 134 and 135, now owned by John CLARK, George COLLINS,
NORTH MAIN STREET,
from Public Square, north.
John SHYACH owned in-lot No. 163, upon which his family
lived in a respectable two-story, hewed log house, near the drug
store of FISLER & CHANCE. (Years afterward was
burned.) This property embraces the row of business
buildings now occupied from the corner of North Main and East
Court streets, to J. H. PATRICK's hardward store.
Samuel McCORD had nearly opposite to last
mentioned place, his family residence on lot No. 173, being a
story and half hewed log house, which was many years after burned
N. CARPENTER lived in a small one-story log
cabin on the corner of in-lot No. 32, near the present residence
of John SMITH, corner of North Main and West Church
John FRIZZLE, occupied a large double two-story
log cabin as a tavern-stand, fronting east on North Main street,
on in-lot No. 40, near present residence of O. T. CUNDIFF.
EAST MAIN OR SCIOTO STREET,
from Public Square, east.
Joseph VANCE owned lot No. 155, and was erecting
in the fall of 1811, the present two-story frame and part of the
back building in which his son, Judge VANCE, now dwells, as
owner of the premise described.
Frederic GUMP occupied a small one-story cabin
on east half of in-lot No. 160, near the present site of the
David VANCE owned lot No. 97, and had on it a
small story and half hewed log house, occupied by Solomon VAIL,
and being the same house, with some additions, now owned and
occupied by Joseph S. KIGER.
WEST MAIN OR MIAMI STREET,
Public Square, west. David PARKISON owned
and occupied a two-story log house, and had a smith shop near it,
both fronting the street on in-lot No. 2, now opposite the
WEAVER House, near the livery-stable and FISHER's
Zephaniah LUCE owned in-lot No. 50, and occupied
it by his family in a double log house, standing on the ground now
occupied by Doctor MOSGROVE's large brick residence.
Mr. LUCE was also the owner of in-lots No. 51, 52, 53 and
54, and on the two first sunk a tan-yard, and had finishing-shop
on same, which he used during the war of 1812, as Issuing
Commissary Office, he holding that post.
Lawrence NILES (hatter) occupied a hewed log
house on east part of in-lot No. 3, being the same property now
owned and occupied by Wm. SAMPSON, having been repaired in
such a manner as to present a neat two-story house. His
family, like many new settlers, after living here a few years,
became dissatisfied, and without waiting to dispose of their
property moved west, seeking new adventures, and were never heard
of afterward. It was supposed they were either all drowned,
or murdered by the savages.
EAST MARKET STREET,
East from South Main.
James FITHIAN occupied a two-story hewed log house, with an
addition of a one-story on west side of it, (the latter being used
in the war of 1812, as a Quartermaster's office) on in-lot No.
105, being the present premises of Mrs. Dr. Stansberry; the
log buildings above described were moved east on to lot No. 109,
property of estate of Samuel McCORD, and very recently torn
Simon KENTON, as Jailor of Champaign County,
occupied one family room below and the rooms above in the old Jail
building, on lot No. 107, as his family residence. Here two
of his daughters, Sarah, afterward Mrs. Jno. McCORD,
and Matilda, afterward Mrs. Jno. G. PARKISON, were
married. This lot is now owned by two of the LAWSONS.
Frederick AMBROSE, by trade a potter, afterward
Sheriff and County Treasurer, owned and occupied in-lot No. 111,
and lived in a cabin on southeast corner, with a shop near it;
this lot is now owned by Havery STUMP.
Wilson THOMAS, colored, right south on the opposite
side of the street on in-lot No. 121, owned and occupied a small
cabin, near the present residence of Mrs. Jacob FISHER.
______ TONEY, a colored man, whose full name I have
forgotten, but who was somewhat distinguished in the war of 1812,
according to his own statements, occupied an old cabin in the
NOrtheast corner of E. B. PATRICK's in-lot No. 112,
fronting East Market Street.
Peter CARTER, colored, husband of old Fannie,
owned in-lot No.113, and had a cabin in the rear, which stood on
the ground now occupied by the present African M. E. Church
WEST MARKET STREET,
West from South Main.
Edward W. PIERCE, a very highly educated lawyer, without
family had a hewed log office near the present residence of
Mrs. E. P. TYFFE, on in-lot No. 61. He possessed
sterling talents, but from some cause had much mental affliction,
and in the winter of 1816, was found dead in the woods between
here and Springfield, much torn by wolves as then supposed.
Persons of that day who professed to know the fact, said that in
his very early life he had the misfortune to exchange shots in a
duel, and killed his adversary, which was the secret of his mental
malady. This I give as a matter of information only.
EAST WATER STREET,
From South Main East.
Daniel HELMICK owned in-lots No. 136 and 137; on the latter he
had a double cabin as the residence of his family, and on the
corner of the former in front of the Second M. E. Church, his
hewed log cabinet shop; he afterward built the brick house now
owned by J. C. JONES.
Nathaniel PICKARD, owned and occupied lots No. 142
and 143, and erected for his family residence a hewed log cabin,
standing immediately West of Moses B. CORWIN's present
WEST WATER STREET,
West from South Main.
William WARD, Sr., the old proprietor of the town, then lived
in a double log cabin standing near the present residence of
Mr. SMITH, southeast corner of West Water and High Streets, on
a block of lots, No.'s 83, 84, 85, 86, 91, 92, 93, 94 and now the
property of Messrs. SMITH, DONALDSON and others.
EAST REYNOLDS STREET,
East from South Main Street.
Joseph C. VANCE owned and occupied in-lots No.'s 152 and 153,
and erected on the premises a two story log office, he being the
first Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, and Surveyor, &c.
WEST REYNOLDS STREET,
West from South Main Street.
Isaac ROBINSON, a brick mason, occupied a cabin on one of
out-lots on south side of the street, but I am now unable to
John GILMORE, a brick mason, occupied a cabin on
out lot No. 8, now enclosed in the private park grounds of Col.
John H. JONES, in which his superb family mansion is situated.
EAST COURT STREET,
West from North Main Street.
Capt. Wm. POWELL occupied a small frame tenement on West side
of in-lot No. 14, being the present premises of Duncan McDONALD.
______ STOUT occupied a small roughly built frame,
which stood near the present residence of Miss Nancy JENNINGS
on in-lot No. 22.
EAST CHURCH STREET,
East from North Main Street.
Samuel TREWETT the grandfather of Nathan
REECE occupied in-lot No. 194, and lived in a hewed log one
story cabin near the present residence of Robert BELL.
He was a local M. E. preacher.
WEST CHURCH STREET,
West from North Main Street.
John Huston a rough carpenter, built a story and a half hewed
log cabin and occupied it on in-lot No. 26, being the present
premises of William SCORAH.
Daniel HARR the father of Newton HARR, was
here with his then small family, and as I have no other building
in my eye for a family residence, I am inclined to the opinion
that he occupied a small cabin on in-lot No. 27, the present
premises of W. H. COLWELL; if he did so occupy, it was only
temporarily, for I remember soon after, he improved the north half
of in-lots No. 55, 56 and erected the two story frame now owned by
W. L. STUDYBAKER on South Main Street and occupied the
upper part and rear buildings as his family residence, and front
as a store room of Harrand RHODES - the latter being the
father of Nelson RHODES, Esq.
Henry BACON if memory serves me, owned and occupied
a small frame building on the ground now owned by Mr. OSBORN,
on in-lots No. 38, 39; he afterward erected the brick building
known as the insurance Office on in-lot No. 8, and occupied it as
Here are thrown hastily together a pen sketch of the
population in Urbana in 1811, comprising 45 families, describing
from memory the kind of tenements with their localities as nearly
as possible; there may be some errors but it is believed they are
few. One sad reflection presents its self now;
all these have gone the way of all the earth. There may
possibly be an exception, but the writer of this is not aware of
It may be proper here to point out the public buildings
of the town. The jail has already been noticed. The
Court-house was a large log building on lot No. 174 on East Court
Street, which has undergone a change, and is now the property of
Duncan McDONALD, and is used as a family residence.
During the war of 1812-15, it was converted into an army hospital,
and in it many deaths occurred from a prevalent epidemic malady of
that day denominated "cold plague," and the bones of the victims
now rest in the old town grave-yard. And may God in his
merciful Providence avert that unhallowed cupidity, that is now
instigating municipal desecration upon their silent abode.
This building having been appropriated to the use above indicated,
the upper part of the jail was fitted up for the purpose of
holding the courts, and was so used until the new court house in
the public square was finished, in about the end of the year in
1817,and this latter temple of justice remained as county court
house, until the clamorous raids of the populace culminated in the
erection of our present one, standing on in-lots No. 16 and 17,
about the year 1839.
In the earlier settlement of the town, the practice in
the winter seasons, was to convert the larger class residences,
for the time being into Bethels for public worship, and in the
warm summer months, to congregate near the present Public Square,
under the shade of the spreading branches of the large oak trees
then in that vicinity. And as soon as the Court House first
alluded to was finished, it became a place of public worship, and
the same will apply to all its successors. But, I started
out with the intention of informing the public that when I first
came to Urbana, a large hewed log M. E. Church had recently been
erected on in-lot No. 207, and under the itinerant made of that
denomination, was regularly supplied by many sterling pioneer
preachers, during the years up to about 1816, when the brick
church now part of the GANSON livery establishment was
erected. The pulpit in the old log house was supplied
something in this order during the years indicated, by Rev.
John MEEK, ____ CLINGMAN, Samuel BROCKANIER, John
COLLINS, and perhaps some others. About 1816 as already
stated, the brick edifice situated on east half of in-lot No. 176,
was duly dedicated and supplied in the manner named above, by the
higher order of talent in the persons of Rev. David SHAFER,
Henry B. BASCOM, _____ CRUME, _____ CUMMINGS, John STRANGE, _____
WESTLAKE, &c. It may also be remarked that they were
fortunate in the years here embraced, say up to 1825, in having a
first-class order of local ministrations, and the interests of the
Church were fully sustained under Rev. Samuel HITT and
otehrs like him, who were ornaments to their profession, and she
added to her number daily such as gave evidence that they had
passed from death unto life. Many incidents might he
recorded of the thrilling scenes connected with the spiritual
labors of that old church, before it put on its new dress, in the
exchange of the old houses of worship for its present new temple,
situated on north half of in-lots No. 24 and 25. This
denomination has always been in the lead in this locality, owing
perhaps to the indomitable zeal manifested by both ministry and
laity, in the propagation of their popular tenets.
The only other religious interest in this town for the
first thirty years after its first settlement, was
Presbyterianism, but its growth was greatly behind that of the
Church described. It however was the instrument in
disseminating much wholesome religious instruction, and exerted an
influence for good, upon the morals of the community. It had
to encounter difficulties, and inconveniences for want of a house
of worship; the Court House was substituted, and not till
about 1829 had it any house of its own for the congregation, and
before it was finished, the tornado of 1830 entirely demolished
it, and another was erected on a new site on lot No. 18, on the
same site of the present imposing structure, this being the third
within less than thirty years. --------- and so on.....
I will at this
point break the thread of those scattered _____ sketches and
return to the subject of the early population of the place.
The forty-five families that have been _______ braced within their
numbers many young persons of both sexes and frequent
intermarriages occurred. And _____ the years between 1811
and 1820. I will ____ few in this _____ I can from memory.
intermarried with Ruth Fitch. _____ Mrs. Blanchard
James Robinson intermarried with Miss S______
_____ ______ Alex Doke.
As__ Sweet with Miss ______
Allen M. Poff?. afterward _______________
_______ Fithian, daughter of George Fithian.
John Gl__n with a Miss ______ of Kentucky
William N___ with Miss Swing, ___ sister
of Mrs. _____
Amos J. Yarnall with Miss Swing, sister
Hugh Gibbs with Elizabeth Fitch daughter of
Nathan Fitch and sister of Mrs. Blanchard.
Peter R. Colwell with Lavina _____. Sister
John Goddard with Mary ____ father and
mother of Doctor Goddard.
David Vance, S___&c. with Miss Wilson.
James Paxton with Miss Luce, sister of
Col. D. Luce.
George Moore with a Miss Luce, sister to
Samuel Miller with Elizabeth Dunlap,
daughter of Rev. James Dunlap. Mrs. Miller survives.
Col. William Ward, Jr. with Miss Hughs,
daughter of Rev. James Hughes. Mrs. Ward survives
William Chatfield with Elizabeth Hull,
niece of Mrs. Goddard.
Doctor William Fithian, now of Illinois, with a
Miss Spain, and after her deceased, with Miss Berry,
daughter of Judge Berry.
John A. Ward with Eleanor McBeth, daughter
of Judge McBeth, one of our first Representatives in the
Benjamin Holden with Lucinda Pennington.
Mathias McComsey with Phebe Logan.
Joseph S. Carter with Miss Fisher, daughter
of Madox Fisher, of Springfield.
John Downey with Miss Parkison.
John McCord with Sarah Kenton in 1811, and
John G. Parkison with M___ Kenton, both daughters of
General Simon Kenton.
John Hamilton, _________ 1811, and soon after
intermarried with Miss Atchison, sister of Mr. _. H.
____ Eva_ Banes, with Miss Ward, daughter of
Col. William Ward, Senior.
J___ _ ___ with __________
G_____ _____ with a Miss McGill, daughter of
J___ _y__s with Miss ______
Col. Douglas Luce? with Miss Taylor,
daughter of Alexander Taylor.
David ____ with Miss T_____
John M____dex? with Miss ____-g____
William _____ with _____ Ki________
_______ _____ with ________ _____ _____ name of
Calvin _____ __ who came here a __________ without
any means. __________ as best _____ by perseverance
in study ___ ____ himself for the ____ ______ Miss Hill,
sister of Col. ______ and _____. ____ ___ ___ _ ____
sufficient to take himself and wife ____ ____ _____ _____ where he
NOTE: The rest is too hard to read.
It may ____ stated that ____ ____
____ ____ ____ list of early pioneers, very large number of
enterprising young men came to Urbana and located themselves as
merchants, mechanics &c. I will name a few, Hezekial
WELLS, Thomas WELLS, and William McDONALD (who is well
known, and came here at an early day, connected himself in a
mercantile interest, and became afterwards a public man, he
representing this county in the Legislature in after years.)
William NEIL, late of Columbus, commenced business here as
a merchant, in a small frame near the stove store of John
HELMICK. He was likewise the Cashier of the old Urbana
Bank. J. BIRDWISTLE, about the beginning of the War
of 1812, opened a hotel in the corner building lately torn down by
Kauffman and Nelson on corner of fractional lot No.
2, and will here note that Joseph LOW, father of Albert
and others, continued the same business after BIRDWHISTLE,
in the same house; John and Uriah Tabor
manufactured hats on the hill west of the square on West Main
Street, near the present residence of E. KIMBER. _____
PRICE had a shoe shop, location not now recollected.
Henry WEAVER, a previous old settler of Mad River township,
came to Urbana with his small family about 1813, built the
small room now standing on the east end of Mr. GANMER's
present residence on lot No. 160 Scioto Street and occupied it as
his family residence, in which he also had a shoe-bench and worked
at shoe-making connecting with it a stall for the sale of apples.
This was the beginning to the vast amount of wealth which he has
acquired and is now enjoying in the eighty-fourth year of his
life. George BELL, who came here at an early day
erected a small nail cutting establishment on lot No. 160, North
Main Street, near the present location of P. R. BENNETT's
jewelry shop. Francis DUBOIS opened a kind of tavern
stand in a double log house on the corner of in-lot No. 24 near
the First M. E. Church building. The GWYNNES located
within the years indicated in these sketches, and opened what was
then a large dry goods store in a red one-story frame building on
lot No. 154, being the lot now occupied and owned by Mr. L.
WEAVER; William DOWNS was also one of the early
settlers here, and carried on blacksmithing. John HURD
was one of the oldest settlers, and learned the trade of
blacksmithing with Alex. DOKE, and carried on the business
afterward to some considerable extent. John WALLACE
and Elisha C. BERRY came here at a very early day as
carpenters, and when REYNOLDS and WARD had
determined to establish a factory, they were employed to erect the
large building now occupied by Mr. FOX, and in the process
of its erection Mr. WALLACE met with an accident that came
near proving fatal; he was employed about the hip in the
roof on the south side, when the scaffolding gave way and
precipitated him to the ground, making a cripple of him ever
after. Mr. WALLACE being very worthy man with
considerable culture, was elected Sheriff, and held other
important public trusts up to the time of his emigration west,
About the end, and at the conclusion
of the war, many accessions were made to the population from New
Jersey, Kentucky and other places, but as there are some other
subjects before that time that need attention, I will have to
bring this to a point, by remarking that this historical dotting
of business men and business places might be greatly extended in
locating tailor, shoemaker, cabinet, wheelwright, carpenter,
chair, saddler, potter and other mechanical shops; adding to the
list other mercantile interests not already noticed.
SIMON KENTON, whose name
will appear frequently in these pages, was an early settler in
Urbana. I quote from Judge Burnet's letters as found in
Howe's History. In his letters he says that when the troops
were stationed at Urbana, a mutinous plan was formed by aprt of
them to attack and destroy a settlement of friendly Indians, who
had removed with their families within the settlement under
assurance of protection. Kenton remonstrated against the
measure as being not only mutinous but treacherous and cowardly.
He contrasted his knowledge and experience of the Indian character
with their ignorance of it. He vindicated them against the
charge of treachery which was alleged against them as a
justification of the act which they were about to perpetrate, and
reminded them of the infamy they would incur by destroying a
defenseless band of men, women and children, who had placed
themselves in their power relying on a solemn promise of
protection. He appealed to their humanity, their honor and
their duty as soldiers. Having exhausted all the means of
persuasion in his power, and finding them resolved to execute
their purpose, he took a rifle and declared with great firmness
that he would accompany them and declared with great firmness that
he would accompany them to the Indian encampment and shoot down
the first man that dared to molest them; that if they entered
their camp they should do it by passing over his corpse.
Knowing that the old veteran would redeem his pledge they
abandoned their purpose and the poor Indians were saved.
Though he was brave as Caesar the reckless of danger when it was
his duty to expose his person, yet he was mild, even tempered and
had a heart that could bleed at the distress of others.
General Keaton lived many years in Logan county,
on what was called the old Sandusky road, about four miles north
of Zanesfield on his farm, where he died April 29th, 1836,
aged 81 years and 26 days. His remains were removed to
Urbana by the deputation of citizens from that place I think in
1865, and buried in the cemetery about three-quarters of a mile
east of the city in a lot of ground appropriated by the city for
that purpose containing about seventy-five or one hundred feet in
a circular form with a view of erecting a monument at some future
day. The only thing that now marks his grave is the same
plain stone slab that stood at the head of his grave in Logan
county, with his inscription: "In memory of Gen. Simon
Kenton, who was born April 3d, 1755, in Culpepper County, Va., and
died April 29th, 1836, aged 81 years and 26 days."
His fellow citizens of the west will long remember him
as the skillful pioneer of early times, the brave soldier and
In connecting Urbana with the incidents of the war of 1812,
some mention should be made of one of her citizens who came, as
has been elsewhere intimated, at a very early day, raised a large
family and at one time seemed very prosperous in his affairs, but
reverses came, and John Hamilton died in 1868, dependent upon his
children for the necessary comforts at the close his life.
The writer of this, knowing the facts that
Mr. Hamilton, when a
young man, had volunteered in the service of his country in the
war of 1812, taken a very active part, and been prisoner among the
Indians for one year, thought in view of is dependent condition,
that the Government, upon proper showing would make special
provision for him, and he waited upon
Mr. Hamilton a short
time before his death, and proposed to prepare a narrative of his
service and wild adventures, coupled with a memorial of the old
citizens who knew him, asking Congress to grant him a special
pension for life. He
being then in his seventy-sixth year and being a very modest man
rather declined at first, but upon weighting the matter consented.
It was drawn up, and through
Hon. Wm. Lawrence, was
introduced in the beginning of the year 1868, and a bill to make
such provision passed its second reading in the House, but before
it could be finally acted on his death occurred.
Since I commenced these sketches, by accident I have found a rough
draft of all his statements, which were verified at the time by
him, and that will enable me to do him a (word illegible) justice
and perpetuate facts that would soon have passed out of knowledge.
I shall not attempt to publish his whole narrative of the
events, but will merely condense in as small a compass as possible
He begins by telling that his father about 1793, emigrated
to Kentucky from Maryland before he was a year old, that he continued with
his father until about 1811, having in the meantime learned the
saddlers trade, and went to
Winchester, and worked as a journeyman with
one Robert Griffin
until the breaking out of the war of 1812.
The enthusiasm that animated the young men of that day
and under the call of
Governor Scott, he volunteered and attached himself to
Company which was attached to the regiment commanded by
Col. Lewis, of
Jessamine county, which moved on to Georgetown the latter part of
June, thence to Newport where they were equipped and ordered to
Fort Wayne via Dayton, Piqua, and St. Mary’s.
From Fort Wayne they were ordered westward in the direction
of Tippecanoe, to drive away and destroy the supplies and burn the
village of a hostile tribe, which was accomplished, and they
returned to the place of their last departure.
From Fort Wayne, Colonel
Lewis’ Regiment was ordered by
General Winchester to
march to Defiance and start rations about November 1; thence down
the (illegible 2 words) Camp. No. 1, 2, and 3.
Here they had __
___ a__ ___ ___ ___ for about three weeks.
He ___ __ ___ __ ____ this place while on a scout, Logan
being in company with Captain Johnny and
Comstock, was shot
through the body some seventy___ miles from camp, and rode in
behind the latter and died soon after his arrival in camp, a
little p__ was furnished, but that they were still on short
afflictions were here endured from fevers and other diseases
incident to camp life, and many died.
On the 25th of December 1812, they left this
encampment, and it commenced snowing, continuing all day, and fell
two feet deep. They
reached a point on the banks of the river, and pitched their tents
with much difficulty in the deep snow, and enjoyed themselves that
night in all the sweats of soldier life.
The next day they marched in body to the head of the
Rapids, and encamped and
remained there a few days.
ordered Colonel Lewis
to detach about six hundred of his regiment, and move them
immediately to the river Raisin, to dislodge the British and
Indian forces there encamped, and on the 18th of
January, 1813, Colonel
Lewis commenced the assault and drove them from their quarters
into the woods, both belligerents suffering great loss in the
Colonel Lewis returned
and occupied the enemy’s position within pickets enclosing a
Catholic Church sufficiently large to contain his forces, when he
immediately sent a courier to
reporting the victory, which induced the General to order another
detachment of three hundred to support
Col. Lewis, of which
Mr. Hamilton was one,
and these were commanded by the General himself, who arrived and
encamped outside of the pickets.
the morning of the 22d of January, 1813, the British forces with
their Indian allies, were discovered in line of battle; the long
roll was sounded, and the American lines were formed, the battle
commenced, and was fought with desperation, the enemy having the
vantage ground; at this juncture
Major Graves ordered
the second detachment to retreat, and it retreated into the woods,
when Col. Lewis rode up
and requested it to make a stand, that perhaps the force of the
enemy might be broken.
The request was complied with; but before many rounds had been
fired, he exclaimed, “Brother soldiers, we are surrounded; it is
useless to stand any longer; each take care of himself as best he
Here was the beginning of the _____ of
John Hamilton, and in
my further extracts, I will let him speak for himself, and he
says: “I immediately
shaped my course southward, and soon discovered I had been singled
out by an Indian; I kept about sixty yards ahead of him – so near
that we could converse.
I was still armed and held him in check, and wa_ I stopped
I would tree, he using the same precaution.
He could use enough English to say with a beckoning hand,
I responded “No!” We remained in this position until I could see an opportunity
to make another effort to escape.
Then I would present my gun in shooting position as though
I would shoot; this would drive him again to his tree, when I
would spring forward and gain another tree.
Spending sometime in this way, I discovered I had another
pursuer who fired upon me from a western position, and I at once
was satisfied I could not dodge two – one north and one west – so
I made up my mind to surrender to the first to avoid being
instantly killed. I
leaned my gun against my covert tree and beckoned to the first,
and gave myself up to him; the other arriving immediately,
demanded a division of spoils, which was settled by No. 2 taking
my long knife and overcoat, and he left me the prisoner of No. 1,
after showing me his power to scalp me, by the flourish of his
knife over my head.
My captor then took me to the rear of the British lines,
where we remained by some camp-fires, it being a very cold day,
and while at the fire the same Indian that got my over-coat and
knife made further claim, which was not so easily settled this
time. In this
controversy between the two, my friend being an
and the other a Potawatamie they had much difficulty.
The Indian No. 2, the Potawatamie they had much difficulty.
The No. 2, the Potawatamie, manifested a determination to
take my life by actually cocking his gun and presenting it to
shoot, when it was again settled by an agreement to take my
remaining coat and relinquish all further claim, which was
complied with, and I became the undisputed prisoner of No. 1, the
At this point a Canadian Frenchmen, who was a camp-suttler,
beckoned me one side and said if I had any money or other
valuables that I wished saved he would take charge of them, and at
the end of my captivity he would be at Detroit and restore them to
me; and if I did not I would be rifled of them; not knowing what
to do I yielded. I had
a small sum of money, and some other valuables, which I handed to
him, but never realized any return.
I could not find him at Detroit after my release.
While we remained at the fire,
General Winchester and
other prisoners passed by, stripped of their honors and apparel,
which was the last I saw of my suffering comrades-in-arms; and at
this point I also discovered the fight was not over, but the
defense within the pickets was still continued by
Major Matison, under
charges of the British forces, demanding surrender; finally, after
consultation, he agreed to surrender on the terms that the British
would treat all as prisoners of war, protect them from their
savage allies, and remove our wounded to Amherstburg to be
properly cared for; but the history of the sequel must supple this
part of my narrative.
On the evening of the battle, I as a prisoner with the
Indians retired to Stoney Creek, about four miles eastward; there
I was informed by an interpreter that I would not be sold or
exchanged, but must go with my adopted father, who was the natural
father of my captor, to his wigwam, where we arrived after about
nine days’ walk in about a northwestern direction, and with whom I
remained up to the 1st day of January, 1814.
brevity, I would say I lived with them nearly one year, and
endured all the privations and hardships of savage life.
And this is saying a great deal in my case, as all the
warriors were absent preparing for the intended siege of Fort
Meigs, which left the old men, women and children, including
myself, without the supply generally provided by hunters, and we
were reduced almost to starvation much of the time I was with
them. I became so
reduced that many times I was almost too weak to walk, by reason
of short supplies. My
condition really was worse than that of my friends, as I may call
them, for they resorted to horse flesh, and even to dog meat,
which I could not eat.
I do not design to spin out this narrative, or I could present
many diversified incidents, that might be considered very
At this point Mr. Hamilton made some statements which were merely intended as
episodes, not intending to add them to this narrative, which I
will, however, from memory, try to give in his own language, and
it was about to this effect:
“The family belonging to our wigwam at a time when
starvation stared them in the face was very agreeably surprised
one day, when my old adopted father drew forth from a secret place
he had a small sack, and required his whole family then in camp to
form a circle around him, myself among them, when he began by
opening his sack to distribute in equal quantities to each a small
measure full of parched corn, and as small as this relief may
seem, it was received by us all with great thankfulness, and
seemed to appease our hunger.
We appreciated it as a feast of fat things.
“This old Indian Patriarch had traits of moral character
that would adorn our best civilized and Christianized communities;
he was strictly impartial in distributing favors and in dispensing
justice to those around him, and was in all respects
unquestionably an honest man.
His moral sense was of a higher order; he could not
tolerate in others any willful obliquity in the shape of deception
or prevarication, as I can very readily testify; on one occasion,
I had attempted to hold back a fact of which I new affected one of
his natural children that he was about to punish for some
disobedience, and as soon as he became satisfied of the built of
the culprit and my prevarication, he procured a hickory and
applied it upon both of us in equal measure of stripes.
This was characteristic of that man of nature’s mould.”
Here his written narrative
is resumed: “Some time in
the latter part of November, 1813, the commanding officers at
Detroit sent a deputation to our little Indian town, offering
terms of peace to the Ottawa Nation or tribe, o condition that
they would bring into Detroit their prisoners and horses, which
they had captured, and that if these terms were not accepted and
complied with in a reasonable time, measures would be adopted to
compel a compliance.
“A council was shortly afterward called and convened, and the
terms proposed were accepted, and complied with, and I was
delivered of Detroit
on the first day of January, 1814, to the commanding officer of
the Fort, and there I met with other prisoners and we were all
Mr. Hamilton’s captivity ended, and in the continuation of his
narrative, he says he found himself three hundred miles from home
in the middle of a cold northern winter, thinly clad, and without
money. He was here
furnished with an order for rations to Urbana,
to which place he came and remained a few days with friends and
then left for Winchester, Kentucky,
where he arrived without any further government aid about the
middle of February, 1814, after an absence of nearly twenty
months. He further says, he
remained at Winchester a few days, arranged his little affairs and
returned to Urbana
and ___ __ his home.
exemplary and religious life is well known to his community, and
here this narrative ends.
(SHARON'S NOTE: The beginning of this is
very hard to read but I will extract what I can)
There might many more
pioneer scenes be presented in relation to Urbana and Champaign
County, but it is difficult to weave them into the narrative of
events in order in which they occurred, and I will leave them for
other pens. The same general remarks that I have delineated
in these sketches, in regard to the disposition to aid each other,
may be applied to the old settlers of this whole community; the
same wild adventures are also equally aplicable, and older
settlers than myself will be more competent to portray them.
I will, however, here state that some other old settlers' names
should be mentioned in connection with early pioneer life in
Urbana. Thomas PEARCE, father of Harvey, as I
am informed, before Urbana was located, built and occupied a log
cabin on what is now known as market space, and opened a field
north of Scioto Street, and cultivated it for some years.
The following additional names may be noted as very
early settlers in this town: William BRIDGE, James McGILL,
James HULSE, Folsom FORD, Joseph GORDON, William MELLON, Samuel
GIBBS, Hugh GIBBS, Benjamin SWEET, Martin HITT, A. R. COLWELL,
William McCOLLOCH, William PARKISON, Curtis M. THOMPSON,
George MOORE, Alexander ALLEN, and others. At this point
it may be noted that Harvey PEARCE and Jacob Harris
PATRICK are believed to be the oldest male settlers now here
who were born in Urbana, both of whom are over sixty years old.
Through the kind assistance of Col. Douglas LUCE,
who has been in Urbana from 1807 to this time, I am enabled to
present the following list of old settlers of the township of
Urbana. It is to be regretted that it will be impossible to
extend to them individually anything more than the mere names,
which will divest them of much interest, as each one of them might
be made the subject of interesting pioneer experience. It
may be here noted that as other persons who live in the other
townships of the county are engaged in presenting the names of old
settlers in them, it will supercede the necessity of my extending
them beyond the limits of Urbana township: Samuel POWELL,
Abraham POWELL, John FITZPATRICK, Joseph KNOX, James LARGENT, John
WILEY, Joseph PENCE, Jacob PENCE, William RHODES, John THOMAS,
Joseph FORD, Ezekiel THOMAS, John TREWITT, George SANDERS, Jessie
JOHNSON, Benjamin NICHOLS, William CUMMINGS, John WHITE, Robert
NOE, Robert BARR, Alexander McBETH, Isaac TABOR, Bennett TABOR,
Tabian EAGLE, Job CLEVENGER, James DALLAS, John WINN, S. T.
HEDGES, Jonas HEDGES, Rev. James DUNLAP, John PEARCE, John DAWSON,
Charles STUART, Christopher KENAGA,, Minney VOORHEES, Jacob ARNEY,
John G. and Robert CALDWELL, Richard D. GEORGE, ____ WISE,
(near the pond bearing his name,) Thomas DONLIN, Isaac TURMAN,
William McROBERTS, ____LOGAN, Andrew RICHARDS and Thomas
WATT. Many of the above settled in Urbana Township as
early as 1801, and all of them before 1820.
...........................and so on.....
The following facts in regard to Hull's Trace, I obtained from
several pioneers that were here and saw HULL when he passed
through with his army. I will give the names of some of my
informants: Judge VANCE, of Urbana, John ENOCH,
Wm. HENRY, and Henry McPHERSON. It was in the
year 1812 he took up his line of march from Urbana. Their
route was very near the present road from Urbana to West Liberty,
a few rods east until they reached King's Creek. About two
miles beyond this they crossed the present road and continued on
the west until they arrived at Mac-a-cheek, crossing that stream
at Capt. BLACK's old farm. Coming to Mad River, they
crossed it about five rods west of the present bridge at West
Liberty. Passing through Main street, they continued on the
road leading from the latter place to Zanesfield until they
reached the farm now owned by Charles HILDEBRAND.
Here they turned a little to the left, taking up a valley near his
farm. Arriving at McKees Creek, they crossed it very near
where the present Railroad bridge is; thence to Blue Jacket,
crossing it about one mile west of Bellefontaine on the farm now
owned by Henry GOOD. They continued their line of
march on or near the present road from Bellefontaine to
Huntsville. They halted some time at Judge McPHERSON's
farm, now the county infirmary, passing through what is now
Cherokee, on Main street, to an Indian village called
Solomon's Town, where they encamped on the farm now owned by
David WALLACE. The trace is yet plain to be seen in many
places. Judge VANCE informs me there is no timber
growing in the track in many places in Champaign county.
I forgot to say they encamped at West Liberty.
James BLACK informs me he saw Gen. HULL's son fall into
Mad River near where Mr. GLOVER's Mill now stands, he being
so drunk he could not sit on his horse.
There has been, as the reader will see
elsewhere, two dreadful tornadoes in these counties; one at
Bellefontaine, the other at Urbana. In addition to these
phenomena this county was visited by several earthquakes.
These shocks were distinctly felt in Champaign and Logan counties.
They were in the winter of 1811-12. See PATRICK's and
my accounts of tornadoes elsewhere in this volume.
On the 7th day of February, 1812, at an hour when men
were generally wrapt in the most profound slumbers, this country,
generally, was visited by another shock of an
earthquake. It was of greater severity and longer duration
than any previous one yet. It occurred about forty-five
minutes after three o'clock in the morning. The motion was
from the south-west. A dim light was seen above the horizon
in that direction, a short time previous. The air, at the
time, was clear and very cold, but soon became hazy. Two
more shocks were felt during the day. Many of the
inhabitants, at this time, fled from their houses in great
consternation. The cattle of the fields and the fowls
manifested alarm. The usual noise, as of distant thunder,
preceded these last convulsions. The shock was so severe as
to crack some of the houses at Troy, in Miami county. The
last shock seemed to vibrate east and west.
This shock was felt with equal severity in almost every
part of Ohio. Travelers along the Mississippi river at that
time were awfully alarmed. Many islands, containing several
hundred acres, sunk and suddenly disappeared. The banks of
the river fell into the water. The ground cracked open in an
alarming manner. Along the river, as low down as New
Orleans, forty shocks were felt, from the16th to the 20th.
At Savannah, on the 16th, the sock was preceded by a noise
resembling the motion of the waves of the sea. The ground
heaved upward. The people were affected with giddiness and
Tornado at Bellefontaine, June 24, 1825, as related to me by
those who witnessed it: About one o'clock, there was
a dark mass of clouds seen looming up in the west and seemed to
increase in volume and in terrific grandeur as it approached the
town. The mass of black clouds now intermingled with others
of a lighter hue of a vapory appearance, all dashing, rolling and
foaming like a vast boiling cauldron, accompanied by thunder and
lightning, presenting a scene to the spectator at once most grand,
sublime and appalling. A few minutes before its approach
there seemed to be a death-like stillness, not a breath of air to
move the pendant leaves on the trees. It seemed as if the
storm king, as he rode in awful majesty on the infuriated clouds
had stopped to take his breath in order to gather strength to
continue his work of destruction. Man and beast stood and
gazed in awful suspense, awaiting to all appearance, inevitable
destruction. This suspense was but for a moment; soon the
terrible calamity was upon them, sweeping everything as with the
besom of destruction, that lay in its path. Fortunately this
country was then new and almost an unbroken forest, consequently
no one was killed. It passed a little north of the public
square, however within the present limits of the town, struck
Mr. HOUTZ's two story brick dwelling, throwing it to the
ground, and a log spring-house, carrying it off even to the mud
sills; it picked up a boulder that was imbedded in the ground,
weighing about three hundred pounds, carrying it some distance
from where it lay. Mr. CARTER, who was there at that
time, informs me it stripped the bark off a walnut tree from top
to bottom, leaving it standing; it carried a calf from one lot and
dropped it into another. Mrs. CARTER says she saw a
goose entirely stripped of its feathers. Passing through the
town its course lay in the direction of the Rushcreek Lake,
passing over the little sheet of water, carrying water, fish and
all out on dry land. The fish were picked up the next day a
great distance from the Lake; even birds were killed and stripped
of their feathers. The writer of this followed the track of
this storm for nearly thirty miles. Its course was from the
south-west to the north-east, passing through a dense forest.
I don't think it varied from a straight course in the whole
distance. Its force seemed to have been about the same.
It did not raise and fall like the one that passed through Urbana
some years after. Last summer the writer visited the track
of this storm where it crossed the Scioto near where Rushcreek
empties into that stream in Marion county, where the primitive
forest stands as it left it. There as elsewhere it is about
one-half mile in width. In the out-skirts of the track there
are a few primitive trees standing shorn of their tops looking
like monumental witnesses of the surrounding desolation. But
for five hundred yards in the center of the track there is not one
primitive three standing, they have fallen like the grass before a
scythe. If such a storm should pass over Bellefontaine now,
there would be nothing left of it.
THE LOST CHILD.
About two miles directly west of Lewistown, in Logan county on the
farm now owned by Manasses HUBER, was the scene of this
melancholy event. Abraham HOPKINS (son of Harrison
and Christiana HOPKINS) about five years old, was lost
November 13, 1837.
"Heaven to all men hides the
book of fate,
And blindness to the future has kindly given."
How cosily this little fellow slept in the arms of his mother the
night before this sad event. The father and mother likewise
slept sweetly, unconscious of the sad calamity that was then at
their very door. They got up in the morning, ate their
breakfast as cheerfully and with as great a relish as they ever
did; the father goes singing to his daily toil, while the mother
attends to the ordinary duties of her house, cheered by the
innocent prattle of her happy boy. Everything passed off
pleasantly till about 2 o'clock, when Mrs HOPKINS started
with her little son to visit a neighbor, about a half mile distant
- a Mr. ROGERS. She had to pass by a new house, now
being built by Charles CHERRY, an uncle to the boy.
When they got there, they stopped for a few moments. The
little boy wished to remain with his uncle; he did so, and the
mother passed on to Mr. ROGERS'. The little fellow
got tired playing about the house, and said he would go after his
mother, and started. There was a narrow strip of timber
between the new house and ROGERS', and nothing but a dim
path through it. Mr. CHERRY cautioned the boy not to
get lost. It seems he soon lost the dim path, for he
hollowed back to his uncle, saying, "I can go it now; I have found
the path." These were the last words he was ever heard to
say, and the last that was ever seen of him. Mrs. HOPKINS
having done her errand, returned to the new house where Mr.
CHERRY was still at work, and inquired for her boy; and what
was her surprise, when she was told he had followed her and not
been seen since! Immediate search was made by the frantic
mother and father, and Mr. CHERRY. They immediately
went to Mr. ROGERS' and to another neighbor living but a
short distance from him, but no tidings could be had of him.
It was a pleasant day, and he was barefooted. They could see
the tracks of his bare feet in the dust in a path that led through
the field to the house. It seems he had gone to the house,
and not finding his mother there (for she, finding the family
absent had gone to another house) he attempted to return to his
uncle at the new house, where his mother had left him. Soon
the alarm was spread far and near, and people collected from all
parts of the country. There were at times over a thousand
people hunting him. They continued their search for three
weeks. Every foot of ground for three miles from the house
was searched, even the Miami river was dragged for miles; but all
in vain - not a track could be seen in the yielding allavial soil
of the neighborhood - nothing, save the imprint of his little feet
in the dust of the path in the field above - mentioned; not a
shred of his clothing was to be seen anywhere, and to this day his
history is a profound and melancholy mystery. It is,
however, the opinion of Mr. CHERRY, the uncle of the child,
that he was stolen by the Indians. He says there was an
Indian who, for many years, had been in the habit of trapping in
the neighborhood, and suddenly disappeared, and has never been
seen there since. There was a deputation of the citizens
sent out where the Indian lived, and accused him of the crime, but
he resolutely denied it. Mr. HOPKINS has been
singularly unfortunate with his family; one son died in the army,
and another was crushed by the cars, near Champaign City,
Illinois, where he now resides.