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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

Pg. 130

     THE village of Rushville was laid out at an early day by a man named Montgomery and Joseph Turner, latter being owner of the land.  Montgomery kept a tavern there as early as 1804.  A man named Owens was the first merchant.  What became of him or his family is not known.  A man named Plummer erected the first mill near the village.
     The descendants of Turner still reside in the village or in the county.
     Daniel Baker, one of the most prominent men of the early period, was a native of Maryland.  When a young man he learned the trade of a carpenter with William Duffield of Lancaster, whose dwelling stood where the courthouse now stands.  He married Mary McNamee of Walnut township, and lived for a time on the farm now owned by Mrs. Boyer, on the Salem pike.  There is son Milton  was born Nov. 28, 1815.  Daniel Baker moved to Rushville in the year 1817.  Daniel Baker moved to Rushville in the year 1817, and died there in the year 1855.
     He was during his life a very highly esteemed citizen and a very zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  He built their house of worship of Rushville, but in what year we cannot state.
     As late as 1821 the Methodists worshipped at Richland chapel near Daniel Stevenson's.
     Baker was a fine carpenter and built most of the early homes in and about Rushville.  His son, Milton Baker, a very exemplary citizen, is now in his 84th

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year, the oldest man of Rushville, having lived there 82 years.  He has had a log life and it has been a useful and honorable one.  A daughter of Daniel Baker married a McFee of Lancaster, Ohio.
     The wife of Daniel Baker was a daughter of Thomas McNamee of Walnut township.  He owned the land where Henry Musser now lives.  There were several McNamee brothers; Job and Adam lived in Walnut, George and Moses lived and died in Maryland.
     The McNamees were prominent people and the owners of good land.  One of their sisters married a Shane and one of his daughters was the first wife of James Ashbrook.
     Job McNamee
of Kankakee, Illinois, is a son of Job, Sr.  A sister of Job was the first wife of the late John Lamb.  The second wife of John Lamb was the Widow Gafford of Baltimore, Ohio.
     John Baker, a brother of Daniel, was once county recorder of this county.  His wife was a daughter of Judge Swayze.  Another brother was Rev. Job Baker, who was an early Methodist preacher in this vicinity, but went South, and after a long career, died in Texas.
     Rev. Henry Baker and Rev. Samuel Baker, nephews of Daniel Baker, were Methodist preachers.  Rev. Henry Baker was stationed in Lancaster, Ohio, in the year 1840.  J. H. Baker, son of Rev. Henry Baker, became a newspaper man and was elected Secretary of State for Ohio and Minnesota some thirty or more years since.  He now resides at Mankato, Minn.
     As has been stated, Owens was the first merchant.  In 1821 there came to Rushville one who soon became

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its distinguished and well known merchant, William Coulson.  He was a native of Pennsylvania, but came to Rushville from the town of Barnesville.  He was a brother-in-law of Hon. John Davenport, who at one time was a member of Congress from Ohio.  William Coulson transacted a very large business for 20 years.  Sold many goods and dealt largely in tobacco.  When the Ohio Canal was completed in 1831 he formed a partnership with his son-in-law, Michael Ruffner, and opened a store in Baltimore.  He also built a large warehouse and a flouring mill.  The warehouse is still standing but useless for that purpose.  William Wing was a rival of the firm, and they made a very disastrous failure in 1841 or 1842.
     Mr. Coulson never recovered from this failure, and resorted to teaching school for a living.  He was an effective local preacher of the Methodist Church.  He was a man of fine presence, of fine mind and well informed.  He lived beyond the age of 90 years.
     His children were Louisa, who married Michael Ruffner, and died in Baltimore, Ohio.  Mike Ruffner, before going to Baltimore, ran a small store in Pleasantville, Ohio; he had formerly kept a tin and copper shop in Rushville.   After the death of his wife, he courted and married a girl who lived with William Wing, and with her moved to Greenup, Illinois, and set up for a doctor without much preparation for so responsible a profession.  His body was buried at the cemetery near Casey, Illinois, along with many other Fairfield County people.
     Ann Coulson married Mr. Hyde, the most prominent man of Rushville, and a very fine scholar.

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     Mary Coulson married G. W. Ritchie, who was a merchant in partnership with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Coulson.
married W. B. Lewis, who was a merchant and justice of the peace; they reared a nice family.  Dr. Lewis and John Lewis, the merchant, both of Rushville, are their sons.
     Lydia Coulson married for her first husband, Joel Beckwith of Somerset, Ohio.  For her second husband, she married Lewis Peters of Nebraska, Pickaway County.  She is still living, the widow of Mr. Peters, with her step-son Dr. Peters.
     Nathaniel Coulson
succeeded his father in business, with G. W. Ritchie as his partner, and later he was in business for himself.  Late in life he moved to Edina, Missouri, where he died.
     Thomas Coulson married for his first wife a Miss Tallman of Greenfield township.  She was said to be the handsomest young woman in Fairfield County.  For his second wife he married a daughter of the late Joshua Clarke.  He has lived in the West for over 45 years.  For some years he lived in Trinidad, Colorado, where he died a short time ago.
     John Davenport Coulson was a school teacher, and died while yet a young man.
     William Coulson, Jr., died before he had attained his majority.
     The grandchildren of William Coulson are numerous and highly respected people.
     Some years after the coming of Coulson to Rushville, C. G. Wilson & Co., of Zanesville, opened a store there.  This store was managed by Gilbert McFadden, who in time became the sole proprietor.  He lived in Rushville many years, an honest, upright life, and

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after the war, moved to Hillsboro, Ohio.  He died in a few years after settling in Hillsboro.
     William Reed of Baltimore, Maryland, came to Rushville about 1850, and opened a store, which he operated a few years.  He then closed out and removed to Chicago, Illinois.
     W. B. Lewis was a merchant in Rushville for a number of years.  He was a good citizen, but did not leave much of an estate.
     Rev. Henry Fernandes was a pioneer preacher and a very popular one for many years in Fairfield County.  In his old age he ran a small store in Rushville.  After his death his daughters became teachers of Chillicothe, Ohio.
     Mansfield & Kelley were merchants in Rushville in 1840.  Brooke & Lewis were there in 1849 and 1850.  Joseph G. Nourse, a well educated man and a very thorough business man, was a merchant for several years in Rushville, going there in about the year 1851.  From there he moved to Cincinnati, where he died of smallpox.  He married a daughter of the late Orren Abbott of this county.
     William Hutchinson, Asa Dennison and Bud Kerr were merchants in later years.
     Dr. Simon Hyde and the elder Turner were the early physicians of Rushville, and Dr. Nathaniel Wait still earlier in West Rushville.  Dr. Wait was the father-in-law of the late John Van Zandt.
Rushville is located upon a high bluff, just where Rush Creek enters the great canyon, which is the wonder and admiration of all who visit the locality.  Here is the high bridge, 45 feet above the waters of Rush Creek.  It is an interesting old town, one of the earliest of the county, the home and trading point of

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many famous old pioneers, whose names even will be lost to history, unless soon gathered up and preserved in some permanent form.
     This generation cannot learn too much of the history of the prominent people of forty or fifty years ago.  Dr. Simon Hyde, late of Rushville, Ohio, father of Eber Hyde and Mrs. Dr. Lewis, of this city, was a giant in intellect, a famous scholar and an eminent physician of that period.  When quite a young man two of his brothers were sent to college.  Young Simon was not of robust health, and remained with his parents upon their farm near Norwich, Connecticut.  As his brothers laid aside their books, he took them up and alone and unaided mastered the college course.  He was a fine Latin, Hebrew and Greek scholar, and was especially fine in mathematics.  Of the latter, astronomy was his favorite.  During his long life he was a student of the Bible, and always read it either in the Latin, Greek or Hebrew.  At about the age of twenty-three years, he left his Connecticut home and made his way the best he could on foot to Ohio.  This was about the year 1815.  On leaving home he said to his mother: "You will find in my trunk some old papers which you may be interested in after I am gone."  Like all mothers under similar circumstances, she lost no time in mastering the contents of the trunk.  Among other interesting papers found was a complete almanac, calculated for twenty years, as perfect as any professor of astronomy could have made it.  His first stopping place in Ohio was Franklinton, on the Scioto river.  He remained there two years, but was so afflicted with chills, that he concluded to try the hill country, and removed to Rushville, where he continued to reside until his death.  There he taught school and

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completed his medical studies.  He became a very popular and successful physician, and his practice extended over a very large extent of country.  He would call to see a patient ten miles distant, would then be called upon to go further, and in this way his trips often extended over two or three days.  He was somewhat eccentric, but possessed a generous heart.  At about the age of forty years he married a daughter of William Coulson then one of the prominent merchants of Fairfield County.  This union was blessed with eleven children, four dying in infancy.  The sons were Dr. William Hyde, of Detroit; Eber, of Lancaster; Solon, of Columbus; Joseph K., of Rushville, and Rodney, of Adams county, Ohio.  The daughters were Mrs. Dr. Lewis, of of Lancaster, and Mrs. Harmon, of Columbus, Ohio.  His boys were principally taught by their father, in which employment he spent his leisure hours, and in which he took great delight.  He was a strong, rugged-looking man, kind and affectionate to his family.  His daughter Mary (Mrs. Lewis) was educated at Lee Female College, Massachusetts.  Dr. Hyde was a man of great endurance, and of great physical strength.

" He never felt fear."

     This was demonstrated on one occasion in a very singular and dramatic manner.  He was called to visit, in great haste, one of the Wilsons, just west of West Rushville, and as he approached the old bridge over Rush Creek, not so high as the present one, he saw a drove of cattle near the west end.  He pushed on, however, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the drover, who urged him frantically to stop.  Seeing the doctor determined to cross first, he took off his coat and met him in the center of the bridge, and caught

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his horse by the bridle.  The doctor very cooly dismounted, and remarking, "I will teach you better than to stop a doctor in a hurry to visit a patient," picked up the drover, raised him over the bridge railing, and dropped him into the water, some ten feet below.  Then, as calmly as he got down, he mounted his horse and rode off.  Dr. Hyde died at the advanced age of 79 years.  His life was pure and honorable, devoted to his family, and to the good of his fellow men.  The poor and unfortunate always found in him a friend.  The good that he did lives after him.
     "Greater is he that easeth men of their pains, than he that taketh cities. -
Oriental Proverb.



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