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Fairfield County, Ohio
History & Genealogy



Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J. Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O.  1901

Transcribed by Sharon Wick


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     I AM
not acquainted with the date of Mr. McIntire's coming to Wheeling, Virginia; but it must have been somewhere near the close of the last century, as he lived there some years prior to locating the government section of land and laying out the present city of Zanesville in 1799.
     "He was born at Alexandria, Virginia, in 1759, of Scotch parentage.  Nothing further is known of his family to my knowledge, no relative ever having visited him, or come to claim his wealth.  At Wheeling, he followed the humble occupation of itinerant shoemaker, going from house to house as his services were required - according to the custom of the times in frontier settlements.  The wealthy proprietor of Wheeling, Col. Ebenezer Zane, having a large family and a plantation of slaves, employed much of John McIntire's time as shoemaker, and he made good use of his opportunities as resident Crispin by gaining the affections of Col. Zane's second daughter, a girl of fifteen.  Being a handsome man, of fine natural abilities and address, this was probably a natural consequence.  In so sparsely inhabited a village as Wheeling was at the time, he could have had but few, if any rivals, and the romance natural to the youth of the young lady was all in his favor.

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     "The first act in the drama of life that brought the young adventurer into notice was his marriage.  The girl of fifteen summers, showing the pluck that distinguished her in after life, could not be induced to give up her handsome lover, notwithstanding the violent opposition of the hitherto unsuspecting parents, especially Mrs. Col. Zane.  She could ot brook such mesalliance for her daughter.  But John McIntire, being many years her senior, had unbounded influence over Miss Sarah, and marry they would.
     "Col. Zane, of Quaker proclivities and of peaceful disposition, when he found neither persuasion nor threats availed anything, gave orders that the marriage should take place in the house.  Then, taking his gun, hid his chagrin in the depths of the forest - not returning for three days - while the mother nursed her wrath in a distant part of the house.  Mrs. McIntire in after years often told the story of her marriage, to the writer of this sketch, never for a moment seeming to realize that should was the transgressor.
     "No sooner was the bridegroom out of the way, than the outraged mother gave vent to her feelings by taking off her slipper and applying it vigorously over the shoulders of the child bride, in reproof of her disobedience.  During the recital Mrs. McIntire, by her manner, plainly showed she still felt the indignity of such treatment and never quite forgave her mother.  She always closed by saying with evident price, "Mr. Mac. became the favorite son-in-law and mother took more pleasure in visiting my house, than any of her other daughters.
     "Such being the state of affairs, the young couple

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could not remain under the paternal roof.  They made themselves a home on the banks of the Ohio river, in a little cabin, where they remained until they removed to Ohio.  Both being ambitious they, by industry and thrift, prospered - gaining the respect and esteem of the community.  Although Col. Zane at the time owned houses and land, and gold guineas by the "hat full," he left the young people to work out their own start in life - until, finding John McIntire a man of integrity and business qualifications, he, in the course of a few years, sent him in charge of a company to locate a road from Wheeling, Virginia, through Ohio to Maysville, Kentucky, rewarding his services, and partly as his wife's dower, by granting him the tract of land now occupied by the city of Zanesville and surrounding country.


     "He was the patron and father of the city of Zanesville, taking great pride in its development - using every effort to attract first-class citizens, and to further its interests, leading a life of great activity for many years.  He established a ferry where the 'Y' bridge now stands.  Two canoes lashed together was the primitive conveyance for foot passengers across the river.  Considering the Muskingum river his property, he exacted tribute of fishermen and others using the stream, wishing to turn an honest penny where he could.  But he readily relinquished his claim when aware of his mistake.  He was a member of the convention which formed the Constitution of Ohio, fully adopting the new state as his future home.

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     "The following description of John McIntire's personal appearance at this time was give me by Mr. John Sullivan, who, in his youth, saw him daily.  He was of medium height - corpulent in person, florid complexion, auburn hair and blue eyes, a man of great dignity of manners, eminently a gentleman, demanding the respect due his position.  His habitual costume was a suit of blue broadcloth, knee breeches, shadbelly coat, cocked hat and ruffled shirt.  A notable figure, who would have attracted attention in any community.  Having been cast upon his own resources at an early age, his education of course was limited, which was a source of great regret and mortification to him, he feeling daily the disadvantage under which he was placed.  This was the reason of his bequest, wishing to benefit others similarly situated; for poor boys especially were his sympathies enlisted, being a man of great benevolence of heart.
     No greater encomium on the kindly nature of the man could be written, than his high-spirited wife fully forgave his one, great dereliction.  She adopted Amelia McIntire and raised her as her own daughter.  Amelia was early sent to a seminary for young ladies at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she was educated in all the accomplishments of the day designed to fit her for her future station in life.  Samples of her fine embroidery are now in the McIntire's Children's Home.  She was always delicate in health, but was tenderly cared for by her foster mother.  After her return from boarding school she entered into gay life with a zest - attending balls, and parties, keeping late hours, fond of dress, receiving much attention from gentlemen.  After Mrs. McIntire married Rev. David Young, his strict

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religious views interfered with her gaiety.  She would not be controlled, and left her once happy home - boarding first in Zanesville, and as her health failed, going to distant relatives in Wheeling.  But missing the fostering care she had been accustomed to, and rapidly sank a victim to consumption and died at an early age.


     "John McIntire owed his success in life largely to his wife, who was a woman of strong character, a helpmate indeed, making circumstances yield to her indominatable will, and, as far as she could, keeping him up to a high standard.  Had she lived in this day of woman's rights, she would not have been relegated to obscurity.
     "Having decided to make their future home at the Falls of the Muskingum river, John McIntire erected the double log cabin near where the C. & M. V. depot now stands, then in the edge of a forest on the bank of the river.  Mrs. McIntire, having held herself in readiness, joined her husband in the fall of 1800.  She, with her escorts, goods and chattels, came by the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, their means of transportation being dug out boats of solid logs.  At night, the emigrants landed and camped on the banks of the river.  The forest was full of wild animals, and perhaps an Indian might be seen lurking among the trees.  But Mrs. McIntire was equal to the emergency, rather enjoying the adventure.  She brought with her the side-board and "chest of drawers," now in the John McIntire Children's Home.  The furniture was made by her brother-in-law, John Burkhart, a resident of Wheeling, formerly of Baltimore, Maryland, an artist in this line of business.

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     "Having established themselves in their forest home, they dispensed hospitality with a liberal hand, all being welcome to their table within the sound of the dinner horn.  Mrs. McIntire was a notable housewife and splendid cook.  They were forced to entertain strangers passing through the new settlement to the east until a hotel was established.  They had the honor of entertaining Louis Phillipe, when an exile, traveling through the wilds of the United States.  So impressed was he with Mrs. McIntire's personality and surroundings that, after he became King of France, he inquired of an American traveler about the lady who entertained him so royally in the forest of America.  Mrs. McIntire was active in establishing the first Methodist church in Zanesville, which she sustained with means and influence.  Foremost in al good works, as long as strength would permit, she was not only a mother in Israel but a mother indeed to the homeless and friendless.  Having no family of her own she adopted into her heart and home not less than twelve children, training them for useful lives, morally and religiously, surrounding them with every comfort of a happy home, and sending them forth fully equipped to fill honorable positions in the world.
     "As means increased the log cabin gave place to the stone mansion, which was erected near the cabin, on a small bluff.  This was demolished a few years since to give place to the march of improvement and the iron horse.


     "John McIntire's short and eventful life of fifty-six years, spent in honorable activity, marks him a man of ability, with noble aspirations, justifying the respect

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and esteem in which his memory is held as donor of the munificent charity which bears his name.
     'Of a social and convivial disposition, his position led him into temptation.  He formed habits which shortened a life promising great usefulness.  His early death was much regretted by the community, the citizens feeling the new settlement had lost its leading spirit.
     "It is well, also, to put on record in this connection that it was Mrs. McIntire's money that erected and exclusively built two of Zanesville's most prominent churches - being the Second Street and South Street M. E. Churches.  I make mention of this fact because it is not generally understood or known."



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