Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of
Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J.
Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O. 1901
SEVERAL VISITS OF THE LATE JAMES G. BLAINE TO LANCASTER.
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 Harrison. Hugh
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
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
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
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 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, Walker. Mr. 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
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.
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
Many descendants of
these honored pioneers of Lancaster are living