Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of
Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J.
Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O. 1901
of Several Families Prominent in the Early
History of Fairfield County.
pg. 176 -
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One of the famous old pioneers
of Fairfield County was Emanuel Ruffner. He
was born and brought up in Shenandoah County, Va., and
there he married Elizabeth Grove.
He belonged to a very large and highly respected
Virginia family - a family more or less distinguished in
that state. One of the Ruffner's was a man of fine
education and culture, and an author of some repute and
was well known at Richmond.
One of the family was in early times a proprietor of
the great salt works at Charleston, the same where
Senator Ewing earned the money to put himself
through college. The descendants of this man still
live in Charleston, and two of them are large wholesale
grocers of that city. The principal hotel is
called the Ruffner.
Emanuel Ruffner came with his family to Ohio in
1805 and settled on the land now owned by his grandson
and daughter, William Friend and wife, one and
one-half miles form West Rushville, Fairfield County.
He came there when the Murpheys, Ijams, Wilsons,
Rowles, Teals and Stevensons were his only
neighbors - all distinguished as early pioneers of that
vicinity. He was a teamster in the Revolutionary
War and his son John drove a team for him in the
war of 1812.
Emanuel Ruffner was a man of force and
integrity, a good citizen and a very useful member of
society. He reared a large and interesting family;
his daughters were exceptionally fine women and married
good men and reared large families.
His son John married Mary Rhodes and
settled on a farm on the south fork of Licking, in
County, Ohio, where he lived and died. His
sons were farmers. David has been dead some
years; John still resides upon a farm near
Hebron, O. He had but one daughter and she resides
in the same vicinity. John Ruffner's farm
contained five hundred acres.
Jacob Ruffner, son of Emanuel, married
Magdalene Bibler. He lives upon a farm near
the Stevenson camp ground. His son Jonas
married Susan Rhodes and they lived upon a
portion of the home farm. His sons were Jacob,
Joseph, Levi and Noah. Jacob was
the famous soldier of the 17th Ohio, known to all the
old boys as "Kate" Ruffner, a name not
soon to be forgotten - not while a 17th veteran lives.
Joseph resides upon the old home farm.
A daughter of Jonas married A. M. Stewart;
Sarah Stuart of Rushcreek township. His son
David married a Miss Harman and
they moved to Mercer County, O. Stewart Ruffner,
the teacher, married a daughter of Hiram McNaughton
and lives in Richland township, a respected and useful
man. Thomas Ruffner, son of Isaac,
is a hopeless invalid. Edward married
Minnie Shaw, daughter of J. W. Shaw, and
lives on the old home farm. Mary, daughter
of Isaac, married Caleb Copeland's
Jacob Ruffner, son of Jacob Sr., married
a daughter of Caleb Copeland. Their son
Caleb married a daughter of Reuben Phillips.
Maria married in Delaware County, Ohio, George
Ruffner married in Perry County, Ohio.
William married a Miss Zink and they live in
Sugar Grove, Ohio; Clara married Jacob Biggs,
and they live in Morrow county, Ohio; Eliza
married William Geiger and they live in Licking
County, Ohio. Margaret married Thomas
Beery and they live in Pleasant township, Ohio.
Ola married Ira Spitler and they live on
the Freed farm in Pleasant.
Barbara, daughter of Jacob Ruffner, Sr.,
married David Tussing and they moved to Findlay,
Ohio; Magdalene married John Holliday of
Rushcreek; Anna married William Cruit of
Perry County, Ohio; Rebecca married Samuel
Swartz; Mary married John Henthorn; Emily
married Jesse Rowles and recently died in Bremen,
Emanuel Ruffner, son of Emanuel, married
Barbara Harshbarger. He was a fine
blacksmith and lived many years near New Salem.
His weight was far in excess of 300 pounds. Late
in life he moved with his family to Cumberland County,
Ill., near the town of Greenup.
Colonel Joseph Ruffner, son of Emanuel, Jr.,
married Rhoda Davis of Licking County, Ohio.
He lived a long life on the old Ruffner farm in
Richland. He was one of a half dozen old Virginia
gentlemen who often met in Lancaster and spent a social
afternoon. No one who ever knew him can forget his
courtly manners and gentlemanly bearing. He was
every inch a gentleman and a good and useful man.
He reared two daughters. They married brothers,
John and William Friend, who were the sons of
another grand old man of Richland, Jonas Friend.
They inherited the old Ruffner homestead and
have lived upon it and are prosperous farmers. An
old elm tree is one of the landmarks of this old place;
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branches cover a space of ground 104 feet in diameter.
The honored dead He in a handsome spot near the elm
Barbara Ruffner, daughter of Emanuel,
Sr., married David Pence in Virginia
and came to Ohio in 1807, carrying their infant
daughter, the future Mrs. T. P. Ashbrook,
resting upon a pillow, they being on horseback.
They spent the winter in a cabin on the Ruffner
place, and in the spring moved to their new home, in the
woods, where the Peters family now live,
on Indian creek. David Pence was a
fine farmer, and he reared a large family. He was
a stanch member of the Baptist church. On one
occasion Rev. George DeBolt, a
long-winded preacher, spoke two and one-half hours.
Pence got tired of it and rose to leave the
DeBolt called out: "Brother Pence, can't
you listen as long as I can talk?"
Pence replied: "Enough is enough of anything.
I am going to feed my horses."
Aaron Pence, the oldest son, married a
Miss Hand, near Hebron. O.; Joseph
married a sister of Aaron's wife. Annie
married Tunis P. Ashbrook. Elenor
married for her first husband Benjamin Miller;
the second was George Shoemaker. She
is the mother of Mrs. J. C Hite of Lancaster and
lives with her, now 93 years of age. Mary
married Jacob Staker and they moved to
Plancock, where they are now wealthy people. Rebecca
married David Fall and they moved many
years since to Jones County, Iowa. Elizabeth
married Abraham Spitler and they have
always lived in Pleasant. Seville married S.
P. Weaver and moved to Putnam County, where
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been a very prominent citizen. Sophia
married George Miller and moved to Iowa.
David Pence, Jr., married Henrietta
Pugh of Walnut township. David was a
teacher when a young man, but since his marriage he has
been a farmer. As a citizen no man stands higher
in this county and he has but few equals as a good
farmer. He once took the Fair prize for the best
ten acres of corn, running above 100 bushels to the
acre. Mrs. J. S. Sites of this city is his
only daughter. Mr. Pence is a reader
and a very intelligent man. In early life he was a
Democrat, but the effort to enslave Kansas made him a
Republican. A physical infirmity prevented his
being a soldier, but he has unbounded admiration for the
Mary, daughter of Emanuel Ruffner,
married William Hill, a prominent citizen of
Walnut township. She died in a year or two after
marriage in the year 1829. Her only child.
John R. Hill, now living in Pleasantville, owns
the farm she inherited from her
father, on Indian Creek. John married an
Ann Ruffner married Thomas
Kraner and they lived on the farm given them by
Emanuel Ruffner. Their son Joseph
married Elizabeth Geiger; Emanuel
married Elenor Ashbrook; Susan
Kranor married Benjamin Warner, but
did not live many years, when Warner married a
Miss Miller. Eli Rowles,
a prominent citizen of Pleasantville, married a daughter
of Emanuel Kraner.
Magdalene Ruffner, daughter of Emanuel,
married Christian Baker, a remarkable
couple in many respects. Christian Baker
represented this county in the Ohio
Legislature two terms. He was not distinguished
for ability beyond good common sense, but a purer or
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more conscientiously honest man never served in any
Their daughter Mahala married David
Smith, and they moved to Greenup, Ill.
Louisa married William Risler and they moved
to the same neighborhood. Mary Ann
married H. B. Eyman, once a very prominent
citizen of Richland township. His sons have become
well known business and professional men.
Christian Baker Eyman is a farmer of
Walnut and made a good run for commissioner recently.
Lou Eyman is a druggist of Lancaster, Ohio; Dr.
Eyman is superintendent of the Cleveland, Ohio,
Lunatic Asylum, and enjoys some distinction.
Susan Baker married Owen
McNaghten of Walnut township; Rebecca married
Lewis Collins, now a resident of the state
Samantha married Thomas Clayton.
Samuel Baker, the eldest son, married
Emanuel Ruffner Pence Baker
married Louisa Stoneburner. He
studied law in Lancaster and lived here a few years.
But he did not make a success of the law and abandoned
it for the drug business in Thornville, O. While
living there he was elected a
member of the Ohio Legislature and served two terms.
Baker was a very clever man. He reared a
family. One son is manager of the Peruna Drug Co.
owned by the wealthy patent medicine man of Columbus,
Dr. Hartman. Baker's long name
gave him annoyance
at times. It was often the subject of jest.
The bad boys called him many nicknames.
Susan Ruffner, daughter of Emanuel,
married Daniel Keller. Keller
became a very remarkable man, distinguished for his good
common sense, rare judgment and fine business qualities.
His integrity was
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never questioned nor his honor smirched. He
represented this county in the Ohio Legislature in 1849
and voted with his party for Chase for Senator
and for the repeal of the black laws. He served as
a trustee of the Ohio State University and his vote
determined the location on the Neil farm,
north of Columbus. His chief reason for favoring
that particular farm was owing to a fine spring on the
premises. This spring was strong enough for farm
purposes, but soon became inadequate for a college.
The late Hon. V. B. Horton, who was one of his
associates, is authority for the above statement.
Daniel Keller owned several farms and all
had good springs of good water. He was the bosom
friend of Gov. Medill, by whom he was
highly esteemed. He was a great partisan, a
Democrat of the old school. By the time he became
an old man there had been great changes in parties and
party principles and his living sons and grandsons were
active working Republicans.
Daniel Keller and wife were the parents
of ten children.
Simon married Ellen Sites of
Pleasant township. He died in the prime of life.
His son married a daughter of John Beery
and lives near Bremen, Ohio.
Joseph married Mary Lamb, daughter
of Peter Lamb. He died in the prime of
life. Mrs. Showalter of Lancaster is
a daughter. Emanuel married a daughter of
Reuben Emick, who lived at one time on the
farm now owned by David Pence.
Emanuel Keller has been for many years a farmer in
Missouri. David Pence Keller
married a McFarland, and moved to Illinois, where
he prospered. He is now a banker and a man of
means. He is a prominent cit-
Page 236 -
izen and a very intelligent man. He at one time
represented his county in the legislature of Illinois
Augustus Ruffner Keller married a
McFarland. He was a man of many
accomplishments and a gentleman highly esteemed for his
ability and many good qualities.
Catharine, daughter of Daniel Keller,
married J. R. Shaver; they moved many years ago
to LaSalle County, Ill., where Shaver has been a
Sophia married John Caldwell and
settled on a farm near the old home.
Laura married Jonas Kite; they
lived on a farm near the Baptist church in Pleasant
township. They were the parents of Levi Hite. the
Martha A. married William L. Rigby, a
farmer, but late probate judge of Fairfield County.
Susan married William Medill, a
nephew of Governor William Medill, of
Lancaster, O. Mr. Medill is the
owner of good farms and he understands their management.
He now resides in Lancaster, but his farms are not
Emanuel Ruffner, the ancestor of the
large family sketched above, lived to be 91 years of age
and died June 4. 1848.
His first wife, Magdalene, died November, 1822,
aged 65 years.
His second wife. Elizabeth, died Dec. 1, 1842,
aged 63 years.
Elizabeth, daughter of Emanuel Ruffner,
married M. Garner: she died in Pleasantville in
There was a large Ruffner connection in the old
neighborhood, all related to Emanuel, but the
exact relationship we cannot state.
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Benjamin Ruffner. Sr., lived on
what has since been known as the Augustus R. Keller
farm. He was the father of David. Benjamin
and Noah Ruffner. Noah lived
and died on the old farm. He married a daughter of
Jonas Friend. David lived
near Millersport and was for many years a prominent man.
He married his cousin, a daughter of Daniel
Ruffner. Benjamin married a daughter of
William Lamb. He was a great
business man and very prominent sixty years ago.
He ran a large whiskey distillery for several years at
Hebron, Ohio. He finally failed in business, moved
west and settled on a farm near Fort Wayne, Ind.
THE ROWLES FAMILY
This family was of English and Scotch origin, but the
exact date of their coming to America is not known.
William Rowles is the earliest name found
upon English records. He was born July 9, 1682,
and died Nov. 17, 1750. His son Christopher
Rowles, was born May 9, 1708. This record
was found in a bible printed in London in 1716.
John Rowles the immediate ancester of the
Fairfield family, lived near Baltimore. Md. He was
born Apr. 11, 1734 and died aged 67 years, in 1804.
The name of his wife was Sarah. They had four
sons and several daughters. Jesse, Jacob,
Nicholas and William were the sons.
Jesse and William came to Ohio in 1803.
William lived a few years with Jesse; then
returned to Maryland and married Sarah
Chamberlain. He returned to Ohio and lived
until 1838 in Franklin County, when he moved to
Missouri, where he died in October, 1854. His son,
Reuben, lives in Missouri and John in
California. His daughters, Mary, Ann,
and Eliza, married brothers, named Barbee
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Grove City, O. Of this family was ex-Sheriff
Barbee, who married Joseph Leib's
Jesse Rowles was born in Baltimore
county, Md., Nov. 9, 1772. He married Elizabeth
Murphey, daughter of Rev. John Murphey, and
Esther, his wife, Mar. 27, 1798. She was
born June 2, 1777, and died in Bremen, Nov. 11, 1843.
Jesse Rowles died May 7, 1835.
Jesse Rowles came to Fairfield County with
his family in 1803 and settled on a quarter section of
John Murphey's land, since known as the
Spence farm. Here he gave his attention
to farming, making an occasional trip to Baltimore with
a freight team. George Clum, an old
wagoner, was often in his company. In early life he was
a millwright and worked on the big mills at
Ellicott's mills, Maryland.
Jesse Rowles was an Episcopalian, and he
never united with any church in this county. He
lived a good life and reared a good family. Their
descendants are very numerous and all Christian people.
Rev. J. F. Kemper, of Seward, Neb., is a
Methodist and a grandson, one we hope, worthy to wear
the mantle of John Murphey. There are
numerous teachers in the family, good business men, good
Arabclla Rowles, was born July 14, 1817.
She married her cousin, Theodore Murphey,
Apr. 9, 1842. She was the mother of a family of
children mentioned in the Murphey sketch.
Lydia Rowles was born in Pennsylvania,
Jan. 25, 1799, and died in Bremen at her sister's home,
Mrs. King, in 1853. She never
Charlotte, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth
Rowles, married Morris Smith, of Thorn
township, Perry County, Ohio, Mar. 24, 1844.
Smith came at an
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early day from Stamford, Conn. He was a typical
Yankee, plain, frugal and intelligent. He was a
good farmer, fond of horticulture and a great reader.
He was thoroughly well informed and while working his
farm and rearing a family of eight children, studied
medicine for the pure love of learning. His
children inherited his tastes and formed an interesting
family. Their mother was an excellent woman, fond
of her children and her home. Everet, lives
in Nebraska, James M., at New Salem, and Mary
and sister in Delaware, Ohio. Mr. Smith
was born July 27, 1814, and died July 14, 1893.
Althea was born August 31. She married
Asa Kemper, Apr. 20, 1843, a most excellent
man of near Thornville. Perry County, Ohio. Mrs.
Kemper died Oct. 1, 1861. They educated their
family of three children. Mrs. Abbie Tillotson
lives at Table Rock, Neb., and Rev. James F. Kemper
at Seward, Nebraska.
Elizabeth was born Dec. 6, 1806. She
married Thomas King of Rushville.
Mr. King and she were married in 1828.
He died in 1832. In 1853, the widow married H.
Barbee, of Grove City, and moved with him to
Prospect, Marion County, where she died May 3, 1887. Barbee
is living in Columbus, 84 years of age. Mary M.
King, of Westerville. is the only living descendant
of Elizabeth A. Rowles.
Mary Ellen Rowles was born December, 1819, and
died in 1834. She was unmarried. Sarah
Louisa, a teacher, never married. She was born
May 7, 1809, and died Nov. 9, 1842.
John Murphey Rowles was born Sept.
23, 1804, on the Spence farm. —He married Mary
Ann Morrow in 1829. She was born in Mifflin
County, Pa., Feb. 15, 1809. He was a farmer and
his farm, north of Bremen in 1830. They reared and
educated ten children. For many years he was a
wagoner and drove a six horse team with produce to
Baltimore, returning with goods. The merry music
of the bells cheered him on his way. He died July
10, 1878. His was a Christian home and his family
a happy one. His children were wont to gather
about him before the old fashioned fireplace and hear
the story of his trips to old Baltimore. Death has
since made sad inroads upon his once happy circle and
those joyous occasions are only a memory to those that
His daughter, Mrs. Johnson, died Sept.
27, 1882. Florence died May 30, 1890;
Adelia died January, 1898. Mrs. Ellen
Kelsey lives near Bremen; Caroline, who
married R. D. Grant, lives in Grove City, Mrs.
Jennie Shelhamer in Bremen.
James R. Rowles lives in Pulaski county,
John Rowles was a member of Company C,
Captain John Wiseman's Co., 46th Ohio. He was
24 years of age when he enlisted. He was killed
early in the morning of the first day, Apr. 6, 1862, in
the battle of Shiloh. Fifteen of his comrades fell
upon that fatal field of battle. "The Southland
holds their dreamless dust" and the mocking birds sing
their requiem. Captain and comrades are all
fame's eternal camping; ground,
Their silent tents are spread."
Rowles was first sergeant and favorite of his
company. He was a fine, manly, generous fellow,
and as brave and gallant a soldier as ever carried a
His voice is no more heard in the happy homes of
Rushcreek, but his memory is fondly cherished by many
Page 241 -
" Brave boys were they,
Gone at their country's call."
son of Jesse and Elizabeth Rowles, was born Jan.
5, 1802, in the State of Maryland. He was brought
to Ohio in 1803. He was brought up to farming, and
when old enough he was entrusted with his father's team
of six horses and carried produce to Baltimore and
returned loaded with goods for Rushville merchants.
Just when he ceased to be a wagoner we cannot state.
Jan. 13, 1826, he was married to Maria Stuart
of Rushcreek township.
They settled upon a tract of land, since known as the
Kelsey farm, once owned by Daniel
Kelsey. In a short time they moved further
down Rushcreek to what is known as the beaver dam, below
the present town of Bremen. There he devoted his
time, principally to raising tobacco, then the great
staple of Rushcreek
The farmers of Rushcreek sold their product to
Joseph Ijams & Bros., West Rushville, or to
William Coulson of Rushville, then great
merchants. This tobacco was taken east by great
wagons, or by the Ohio Canal from Baltimore, Ohio.
Both firms had branches and warehouses at the latter
This tobacco trade was a great boon to the farmers, and
enabled hundreds to pay their debts and secure titles to
their farms. In the end many good farmers were
heavy losers by the disastrous failure of both firms.
George Beery and Hedges, in 1835,
opened a store in the new village of Bremen, then but
recently laid out by Beery. John
Ashbaugh was a merchant later, as were the sons of
George Beery, Isaac, Brooks
Page 242 -
Simon. The tobacco they purchased was
shipped by canal from Lancaster. John
Holliday was kept busy for weeks at a time haulng
their hogsheads to Lancaster.
Conestoga teams came from Baltimore with goods and
returned loaded with produce. The last one seen
in Bremen was driven by a negro slave from Baltimore.
His master had agreed to free him at a certain time if he
proved faithful and true and give him the team and
wagon. He had but two years to serve when he came
to Bremen. He drove a splendid team of heavy bay
horses, six in number. He rested them for a week
in Bremen. He then put on an extra load— 10,000
pounds of bacon cured by John Ashbaugh.
The entire population turned out to see the team pull up
Rushcreek hill. He rested them for a moment at the
foot. Took each horse by the bridle and touched
him with his whip, and mounted the saddle horse, pulled
the line and they moved like clock work, without a break
or stop to the top of the hill.
William Rowles and wife while living at
Beaver Dam, about the year 1832, joined the Presbyterian
Society at Bethel, four miles southeast of Bremen, under
the pastorate of Rev. Francis Bartlett.
In 1836 he purchased the farm of Ralph Cherry,
who married the youngest daughter of Joseph
Leib, Sr., the same farm where Thompson
Rowles recently lived. Upon this farm he
continued to live up to the date of his death, which
event occurred, Sept. 9, 1863. His wife outlived
him thirteen years—dying at the age of 63 years.
He reared and educated a family of children, an honor
to their name and their township. After the
organization of the Bremen Presbyterian church, Octo-
Page 243 -
ber 21, 1844, Wm. Rowles and wife changed their
membership from Bethel to Bremen. Of this new
church, Wm. Rowles, John Ashbaugh and Daniel
Rodehafer were the first elders.
William and Elizabeth Rowles were the parents of
eleven children, eight sons and three daughters. Jesse,
the eldest, married Emily Ruffner, a sister
of Jonas Ruffner and a daughter of Jacob
Ruffner. They lived upon a farm until recently
and reared a family of children. Mrs. Rowles
died Feb. 2, 1899, aged 66 years. A daughter
married the late J. J. Elder. Their son,
Jesse A., married a daughter of Dr. Rankin.
Jesse Rowles now lives in Bremen. A daughter
married Dr. Driver.
John S. Rowles married Elizabeth Larimer,
Rushcreek. They lived upon a farm south of Bremen.
John S. died in 1897. He had a family of
nine children. Wm. Rowles married
Rebeccah Larimer, a daughter of Isaac
Larimer, once a prominent man of the county.
His first wife was Margaret Orndorf.
They live upon a fine farm in Pleasant. They are
the parents of nine children. David
Rowles married Mary Holliday. They are
both dead. The wife was a daughter of Zebulon
Holliday. Charles Rowles
married Elizabeth Ashbaugh, a daughter of
Wm. Ashbaugh. They live upon a farm
near Bremen. They reared a family of eight
children. Thompson Rowles
married Rebecca Holliday, a daughter of
They spent many years on the old home place. One
of their daughters married a son of John Q. A. Blue.
Isaac Rowles married Ella
Lehman. The wife died some years since.
Isaac owns a fine farm near Bre-
Page 244 -
men. His second wife was Rebecca R. Musser,
daughter of David Musser.
Eli Rowles, in 1872, married Ann M. Craner,
grand-daughter of Tunis P. Ashbrook. She
died about one year since. They lived in
Pleasantville. Eli has been for some years
a grain merchant. He received a good big vote for
Mary Jane Rowles married Edward Thompson.
She has been dead for some years.
Sarah E. Rowles did not marry. She died at
the age of seventeen.
Thompson and Jesse Rowles married Baptist
wives and they are now of that faith. Every third
Sunday, though living eight miles from the church, finds
them with their families in their pews. The other
members of the family are of the faith of their parents,
Rev. Charles Work and his brother, distinguished
Presbyterian clergymen, were brought up at old Bethel.
A plow boy at the head of the first church of Cincinnati
is something for Bethel to be proud of.
Distinguished lawyers, distinguished clergymen and
merchants honor the names of both Bethel and Rushcreek -
Leib, Work, Davis and Beery.
We must refer more fully to the Presbyterians of
Rushcreek. In 1803 missionary workers of the
associate Reform Presbyterians came from Kentucky and
held services in a tent. A church was soon built
just over the line of Pleasant, two and one-half miles
west of Rushville and south of Maysville pike one-half
mile. In later years this society was known as the
United Presbyterians, most of its members were Rushcreek
people. They still sing Psalms, but have
introduced modern music on account of their children.
Rev. John Wright, organized the Rushcreek
society in 1806 and in 1870 a two story hewed log house
was built in what is now Jockey Hollow on Joseph S.
Shaw's farm, two miles south of West Rushville.
This society worshiped here until 1830. William
Larimer and William Trimble were elders, when
a brick church was built in West Rushville. The
church (the old log) was abandoned and part of the
society went to West Rushville. Of this society
David Y. Davis was an elder, a part to Bethel and a
few to the United Presbyterians. The logs of the
old church were used to build a shop in the village.
The Bethel church building was erected in 1828.
Amos Davis, a public spirited man, furnished the
lumber and was a liberal contributor. The
subscriptions were mostly in produce. One man
subscribed so much wheat to be delivered at Leib's
mill. Jacob Moyer, father of John
and Thomas of Pleasant, and David Miller
were the contractors. Moyer died here;
Miller in Iowa. Jacob Moyer, John Larimer
and Amos Davis were the first elders.
Rev. John Wright preached for them once each month.
Rev. Francis Bartlett became the regular pastor
in 1832. Many of the members were Scotch-Irish,
they were strict with their children and almost
invariably raised good families.
As previously stated Wm. Rowles married Maria
Stuart. She was the daughter of pioneer
parents, William Stuart and Maria Henderson,
known as Scotch-Irish. Stuart's mother was
a Thompson. They were both born in Ireland.
The father came to the United States in 1796 when twenty
years of age. The mother came in 1797. Their
parents settled in Pennsylvania.
Here they became acquainted and were married Feb. 18,
1801. A few years after their marriage they came
to this county and settled near what is now Bremen.
In a few years they were owners of a half section of
land, a part of which is now within the corporation of
Bremen. They built a comfortable home on the bluff
just north of the present village, where they spent a
peaceful, honorable and useful life, rearing a family of
children. One of their best known sons,
Thompson Stuart, highly esteemed and useful man, was
born Mar. 20, 1816. He married Rebecca C.
Holliday, daughter of Zebulon Holliday,
another sturdy and vigorous man of Rushcreek township.
The wedding occurred Apr. 20, 1845. He purchased a
part of the old Stuart homestead and lived the
life of a farmer to the end of his days in sight of
Bremen. They reared a family of seven children.
Mrs. Charles Perrin of Columbus, Mrs. W. B.
Henry of Lancaster, Mrs. N. W. Good of Logan,
W. J. Stuart of Springfield, Mrs. W. C.
McCandish, Zebulon and Wesley of Bremen.
Thompson Stuart was an honored member of the
Methodist Episcopal church. The writer has known
him to attend a quarterly meeting twelve miles from his
home. Fifty years have come and gone since that
The brothers of Thompson Stuart were Charles,
William and James Stuart of Lancaster, who
married a daughter of Christian Rudolph, is a son
of James Stuart.
Alexander T. Stuart the great merchant of New
York is claimed as a cousin of William Stuart the
pioneer. Both were born in the same neighborhood
in North Ireland.
We cannot close without referring to the early schools
of Rushcreek. The first was taught by
Christopher Welty and George Beery's kitchen.
The second by Joseph Osborn in the kitchen of
Joseph Leib, Sr. The late David Y. Davis
attended the last named.
FAMILY OF RICHLAND
In the spring of
1800, William Wilson of Bedford county,
Pennsylvania, in company with his three sons, James,
William and Michael, started for the Ohio
country - with a pack horse to carry their camp
equipage. They arrived at Rushcreek on the 16th
day of May, and camped near the great spring now owned
by Mrs. William Friend. They spent the
summer here, and made some progress in clearing land,
but were too late to raise a crop of corn. In the
fall William Wilson left his boys in camp
and returned to Pennsylvania for the remainder of his
family. He sold his property and started for Ohio,
arriving at his camp on Rushcreek on the 27th of
At Zanesville they crossed the river on a ferry boat
with difficulty, as it was covered with ice. They
spent the night on the west bank with a brother of
Col. Ebenezer Zane. After leaving Zanesville
they fell in company with George Sanderson, whose
hore, on the way, cam near dying with the colic.
He was relieved by a liberal use of bear's oil. Whether applied externally or given
internally we cannot state. Sanderson
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was then the mail carrier. Nearly the entire route
from Zanesville was through the forest over Zane's
They found two cabins at the crossing of Rushcreek near
Whitmore's or Binckley's in Perry County.
A Mr. Atkinson and Peter Zarley were
They reached the camp of the boys at sunset — when the
family was united, thirteen in all, without house or
home. But strong hands soon put up a cabin.
Their nearest neighbor was S. Chaney, who lived
near where West Rushville now stands on what is now the
Barr farm. He kept a log cabin tavern,
undoubtedly the first in the county. Other
neighbors lived on the section north of their location,
viz.: Fredrick Heck, Ben. Johnson and a man named
William Brown, a fine scholar, the
Loofberrys, S. Hammel and J. Wilson
lived in the neighborhood. Moses Plumme
in 1800, built a small tub mill, as it was called, on
Rushcreek where the high bridge now stands. In two
or three years this mill was carried off by a flood and
Plummer moved to Muskingum county, Ohio.
There is some question as to who built the first water
mill in Fairfield County. Plummer,
Loveland and. Smith, or the Carpenters
— all three were built in 1800. So tradition and
Tn 1801 William Turner came to the
settlement and purchased the section where Rushville now
stands. S. Hammel and James Wilson
purchased 30 acres of William Turner and built a
small mill and a whiskey distillery, just below the site
of the Plummer mill.
In the fall of 1801, other emigrants came in.
Among them Isaac Thomas and William
Ijams, and settled on the land since owned by
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About 1803 John Murphy settled on what has
since been known as the Lamb section. His
son William, soon after their coming, was killed
by the falling of a log while raising the timbers of a
school house. This is the first school house in
Fairfield County of which we have any account.
About this same time Edward Teal,
Christly Smith, Robert Chaffin
and John Shepler came into the
neighborhood, to the north. Teal purchased
1200 acres of good land, now the Ashbrook
neighborhood. He was the father-in-law of Rev.
James Quinn, the first Methodist to preach
in Fairfield County. John Manly and
Judge David Swayze came about the
year 1803, and settled in the Elm flat. Emanuel
Ruffner, father of the late Col. Jos. Ruffner,
settled on a part of the Wilson section in this
same year, or near that time. David Pence
came about the same time. Daniel Stevenson,
with a large family, settled in or about 1803 on the
section north of Wilson. Edward
Murphy came to the neighborhood about this time and
courted and married Sarah Murphy, daughter
of John Murphy. Edward settled on
the section south of Wilson and Ruffner.
He kept tavern — was a farmer, and he also purchased the
mill and distillery of Hammel and Wilson
and operated them for a while. He was a good
citizen, and he and his wife were hospitable and amiable
people. They reared eighteen orphan children, some
of them black. William Wiseman was a
settler of this period. He lived near West
Rushville. He was the son-in-law of William
Ijams; was an old soldier of Gen. St. Clair's
army. Peter Ruffner, another early
settler of this period, lived near Edward
Murphy on the old State road. He was a farmer
and distiller, but died young. He left three or
four sons, Benjamin
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S., Abraham, Martin and Michael.
Martin was killed by the Indians in what is now
Ashland County, Ohio. A full account of this tragedy may
be found in Howe's History of Ohio. Michael was a
merchant in Rushville, Pleasantville and Baltimore, and
lately a doctor in Greenup, Illinois. Henry
Huddle came about 1803 or 1805. He married a
daughter of John Murphy. He was the
first man to improve the Foresman mill site on
Rushcreek. He built at an early day a grist mill
and a distillery. In a few years he sold out to
Solomon Linville, and in time Linville
sold to George Foresman; the section now belongs
to his grandson of Circleville. There is not a
vestige of the old mill left, and the exact spot cannot,
with certainty, be pointed out. William
Wilson was a prominent man in his township, and very
much esteemed. He was the first justice of the
peace elected in Richland township. Thomas
and Isaac Ijams were early justices
of the peace, and Thomas Ijams represented
Fairfield county in the legislature.
Wilson reared a large
family of children. Thomas Wilson
lived an old bachelor on the old home to a good
old age. He was a gentleman of the old school,
kind and generous, and lived a quiet, happy life.
David lived many years on a part of the old home
section, but before the civil war moved to Tipton,
Missouri. David was a prominent man and
would have attracted attention anywhere. He was a
man of fine presence and a good conversationalist.
He was entertaining and agreeable. Isaac Wilson
was all his life a farmer of Fairfield County. At
the time of his death he owned the best farm in
Greenfield. Isaac was an active, powerful man, a
leader in early times, and the man around whom everybody
rallied when they wanted
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teams used in his business are still the talk of the old
people. He failed in business in 1841, and moved
to Iowa. One of his sons became a prominent man in
The first Methodist church built in Fairfield County
was Richland chapel. It was a hewed log structure
as plain as plain could be. It stood near the old
graveyard, and in sight of the home of Daniel
Stevenson, not far from Wilson's. Those
in the neighborhood who were Methodists or patronized
that church prior to 1805, were Daniel
Stevenson and wife, Isaac and Thomas
Ijams, John J. Jackson, John
Sunderland, Edward Teal, Samuel
Hammil, David Swayze, William
Wilson, Jacob and Philip Sain,
William Turner, John Murphey,
William Harper, John Manly,
Thomas and John Bond and Isaac
Wiles and their families.
Thomas and David Wilson were
Jesse Stoneman, James Quinn
and Asa Shinn were the first men to preach
to these people. Bishop Asbury preached to
them in 1803, and again at a great camp-meeting in 1807,
when over 1000 people were in attendance.
Bishop McKendry preached there, James
Axly and Peter Cartright, James
B. Findlay and Bishop Roberts.
The writer gleaned most of the facts in this sketch
from a manuscript left by the late Thomas
Wilson, an authority that will not for a moment be
questioned by those who knew him.
THE MURPHEY FAMILY
The Murphrey Family was quite a large and
prominent one in pioneer times in this county.
Edward Murphey examined the country in 1798 and '99
and returned to the East. In the year 1800 his
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William Murphey, and three sons, William,
Benjamin and Edward, settled near where
Millersport now stands. Rev. John Murphey,
a local Methodist preacher, and a brother of William,
came in the same year and purchased a section of land
about one and one-half miles west of Rushcreek. He
built a cabin near the spot where a large brick home was
afterwards built by his son-in-law, Edward
Murphey, which brick house is still standing.
It was in this cabin where Bishop Asbury
spent his first night in Fairfield County and where he
preached in 1803. Benjamin Murphey
died early and we have no record of him, except that he
paid tax in 1806 and moved to Licking County.
William Murphey, son of the pioneer,
became a very prominent and well known man in Walnut
township. In his early years he was a hunter and
Indian trader and carried his fur on pack horses to
Winchester, Va., and with the proceeds purchased a
section of land, on which he in a few years built a
brick house. He was born in Virginia in 1774 and
died in the year 1854. He was a famous fox hunter
and up to within a few years of his death kept a large
pack of hounds. He could ride a horse to
perfection and clear the best fences.
His first wife was Hester Whittaker,
either a sister or a daughter of Eli Whittaker,
one of the early pioneers of Walnut.
Whittaker's wife was a sister of Thomas
Cherry. The mother of the late Gen. Jas.
M. Comly, editor of the Ohio State Journal, was a
Whittaker. They lived near New Lexington.
Thomas, John and Dakin Whittaker were sons
of Eli. Mrs. Elijah Kemper, Mrs. John S.
Manley, Mrs. Geo. B. Wiseman, Mrs. Geo. Haver and
Murphey were his daughters., all well known
people of the past. Murphey's second wife was a
daughter of Joseph Holmes, a grand old
pioneer of Walnut township.
The family of William Murphey consisted
of one son and five daughters. James
Wilson Pearse, who when a boy, was a clerk
along with John D. Martin in N. R. Usher's
store at Monticello, in 1833 married Eliza
Murphey. They lived upon a farm near
Millersport. Their children were William,
living in Newark, and Mrs. Matlack, of
Lancaster. James Ball, for many years a
popular justice of the peace, married Belinda.
Ball was a fine looking gentleman and much
esteemed. Their son, James Ball,
lives in Fostoria, Ohio, Mrs. R. Morrison in
Bowling Green, Ohio, and two daughters, nice maiden
ladies, in Newark, Ohio. Hester married a
Mr. White, of Pennsylvania. She is a
well preserved and handsome elderly lady, and lives with
her children in Westerville, Ohio. Dr.
Van Metre, of Circlevile, married Nancy,
the youngest daughter. Rachel Murphey
married John Pugh. They were the parents
of the late Byron M. Pugh.
William, the son, was born in 1818 and received
a good education, besides inheriting 350 acres of land.
Dec. 25, 1849. He was married to Mary
Jane Cherry, daughter of Thomas Cherry,
of Walnut. She was born Aug. 22, 1830. They
were the parents of eight children, one of whom died
Edward Murphey, brother of William
(the old hunter ) married his cousin, Sarah,
daughter of John Murphey, and a sister of
Elizabeth Rowles. They were married in
1801 by William Trimble, a justice of the
peace. Edward built a cabin on his
law's farm and in late years a large brick house, which
is still standing. In his log house he kept a
frontier tavern for a number of years. Mrs.
Murphey was a famous woman in her time. She
is credited with rearing 32 orphan children, in addition
to her own family of five. Color made no
difference to her. She raised Joseph
Blanchard, well known in Lancaster, and Isabelle,
the wife of old Perry Cooper. Edward
Murphey died in the fifties. His wife outlived
him several years and became the second wife of Asa
Murphey, who at the time lived near Carroll.
Theodore, the son of Edward and
Sarah Murphey, married Arabella
Rowles in 1840, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth
Rowles. They spent their lives upon the old
Murphey farm in the peaceful pursuit of agriculture
and the rearing of a family. Arabella
Murphey died in 1848 and Theodore married a
The sons of Theodore Murphey were Edward N.
Murphey, now a guard in the Ohio Penitentiary,
Henry, the present postmaster of West Rushville,
Pierson E. Murphey, a grain and produce dealer of
West Rushville, F. A. Murphey, also a resident of
West Rushville. The Murphey family has always
been a highly respectable one and allied by marriage to
many of the best families of the county.
CHILDREN OF JOHN MURPHEY
Elizabeth Murphey, wife of Jesse Rowles
and mother of Mrs. Theodore Murphey was born June
2, 1777. She was married Mar. 27, 1798. She
died in Bremen, Ohio, Nov. 11, 1843.
Another daughter of Rev. John and Esther Murphey
married Edward Teal, Jr. and they moved to Ox-
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ford, Butler County, Ohio. He was a son of a grand
old pioneer and the father of a large family.
Althea Murphey married a Mr. Roland
and moved to Ashland County, Ohio. Achsa
Murphey married a Mr. Bailey and moved
to eastern Ohio.
Nelly Murphey married Henry
Huddle and they moved to Augusta County, Virginia.
John and his wife, Edward and his
wife, Theodore and his wife are buried in or near
West Rushville. When on their way to their new
home in the wilderness, Mrs. Murphey
learned of the death of her mother, Mrs.
Peddicord, in Pennsylvania. This news almost
broke her heart, already full of sorrow. She could
not leave her family and return, and like other brave
pioneers, under circumstances of distress and sorrow,
she turned her face to the west and bid home and mother
They followed Zane's trace through an unbroken
forest to Rushcreek. Here in a lonely cabin with
her husband and children she spent what was left of
life. The frequent visits of Bishop
Asbury and other pioneer Methodist preachers, who
preached in their cabin and enjoyed their hospitality,
was about all there was to cheer them in their isolated
home— no roads then, no churches, no schools, no
newspapers, and but few books. All they learned of
what was going on in the world was from an occasional
letter from the East, on which the postage was
twenty-five cents, or from passing travelers or
We omitted in its proper place the name of Basil
Murphey, son of William. His family
moved to Delaware, Ohio. One of his daughters,
Miss Linda, an elderly maiden lady, resides
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MURPHEY FAMILY SUPPLEMENT
The second wife of Theodore Murphey was
Margaret Alford. Their daughter married
Alexander Huston and they live on a farm near the
old homestead. As long as sixty years ago three
sisters lived here with their mother, named Murphey.
They lived for a while in the old Peck dwelling,
opposite Hotel Martin. We can not learn the name
of the father but he was a relative of John and
In 1842 Lydia married Joel Radebaugh,
then in the clerk's office, but later Probate Judge
of Fairfield County. The judge died a year or two
since in Tacoma, Washington, leaving a widow and one
son, Randolph Foster Radebaugh, named for
Rachel married William Winthrop Sifford,
whom John Sherman, in his autobiography, named as
one of his school-mates. They moved to
Indianapolis and Sifford died there.
Elizabeth was a milliner and at one time had a
fine store in the Collins' block. She
married a Mr. Key, a gentleman from Wheeling,
Va., about 1859. They in a year or two moved to
Wheeling, Va., about 1859. They in a year or two
moved to Wheeling. Key was one of the
famous family of that name, immortalized by the "Star
Spangled Banner." He is said to have inherited a
fortune after going to Wheeling. Their son went to
Texas and became a cowboy. He married the handsome
daughter of an Indian chief. His wife died young
and left three children. These he took to Wheeling
and placed them under the care of his mother. The
writer met him on his way returning to Texas, and had
this story from his own lips.