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Fairfield County, Ohio
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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

pg. 75


     THE first visit of James G. Baline to Lancaster was made with a lad twelve or thirteen years of age.  He came to visit the children of his cousin, Mrs. Senator Ewing, and his stay here extended over several months.  This visit was early in the forties, during a time of great political excitement.  One of the incidents of this visit was a trip, made by the three boys, Tom, and Hugh Ewing, and Blaine, to Columbus, where they put up at the hotel of Colonel John Noble, once a famous landlord of Lancaster and the father of Secretary Noble.  On their trip, in passing Greencastle, they discovered a hickory pole and flag, the emblem of Democracy; when Blaine and Tom Ewing took off their hats and waving them in the air gave three cheers for HarrisonHugh remonstrated with them for what he called unbecoming conduct, remarking that everybody knew their father's carriage and if their conduct was repeated on their return home they would walk to Lancaster, a distance of nine miles.  At Columbus, after spending a day or two sight-seeing they ordered out their horse and called for their bill, supposing their means would be exhausted.  Col. Noble replied: "Boys, you are welcome, Mr. Ewing's boys cannot pay me anything for entertainment."  With one accord they declared they would stay another day and ordered their horse back to the stable, greatly to the amusement of Colonel Noble.
     The next day, on their way home, the two boys repeated their offense at Greencastle and Hugh, true to his word, put them out of the carriage, drove off and left them to walk home.
     Mr. Blaine's next visit to Lancaster was made at the time he was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.  The occasion was a Presidential campaign and he was received by a great concourse of people.  He was a guest of General Tom Ewing at the Ewing mansion.  Mr. Blaine was then a new man in Ohio politics and many strangers came to meet him, among them General Comly of the Ohio State Journal.
Mr. Blaine's great memory has often been referred to, and on this occasion, after a quarter of a century since his first visit as a boy, he surprised the committee by his questions and remarks.  Just as we left the depot eh said, pointing to an old building, "There was old Mr. Lilly's marble shop; down there was the swimming hole; Dan Sifford used to be the postmaster; are Reber and Kutz still in business?"  When surprise was expressed at his remarks he replied: "Oh, I remember every ash pile in town."
     His third visit here was made during the campaign of Foster and Tom Ewing for Governor.  He made a speech or two in the State, but positively refused to say a word in his relative's own town and among his neighbors.
     His fourth and last visit here was made during his candidacy for the Presidency.  He was a guest of Judge P. B. Ewing, whose wife was his cousin.  All will remember the great reception accorded to him and his brilliant speech.  On this occasion he was accompanied by his favorite son, WalkerMr. Blaine had a warm side for Lancaster and he never forgot the acquaintances formed on his visits here.
     the writer had occasion to visit Washington City during his last term as Speaker and called upon him at his room in the capitol.  His recognition was instant, his greeting hearty and cordial.  After inquiring about Lancaster friends, he said: "You see I am busy with calling members.  You must excuse me.  Go to the door-keeper in the rear of the speaker's desk and tell him that I sent you and to give you a seat on the floor of the House."  I was given a vacant seat behind General Sherwood, who, turning round, recognized me and said:  "How did you get in here?  I cannot get a friend n."
     This was a great compliment bestowed by a great and kind-hearted man who remembered Lancaster and the kind attentions he had received there.
     It has often been stated that Mr. Blaine, on his first visit here, attended Williams's Greenfield Academy one term.  But that is a mistake, as Mr. Blaine so staed on the occasion of his third visit here.
     The Blaine connection, through the Gillespie family, was very large at one time in Lancaster.  General Beecher, Judge Irvin and Hugh Boyle married sisters, John Gillespie, a brother, married Miss Myers, of Lancaster, afterwards Mrs. Wm. Phelan.  The father of the late Henry Miller, of Columbus, married a cousin of the three sisters named.  The father of  T. Ewing Miller, of Columbus, also married a cousin of the three, and of John Gillespie.
     Senator Ewing's wife was a daughter of Hugh Boyle.  The wives of Attorney General Henry Stanbery and Judge Van Trump were daughters of General Beecher.  Colonel Wm. Irvin, who served in the Mexican war, and who afterwards died in Texas, was the only son of Judge Irvin.  Mrs. P. B. Ewing was the daughter of John Gillespie.
     Many descendants of these honored pioneers of Lancaster are living elsewhere.  



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