Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of
Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J.
Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O. 1901
OF A PROMINENT RUSHCREEK
JOSEPH LEIB came with his wife
from York County, Pennsylvania, to Ohio, very early in
the century, but the exact date is not known.
They settled on Rushcreek, in Rushcreek township, two
miles north of Bremen. His wife was a sister of
the mother of Hon. Daniel Keller, late of
Pleasant township. They were good, old fashioned
German people, spoke the German language, and read the
German Bible. They were Christian people and
members of the United Brethren church. They were a
thrifty couple, honest and industrious. Like all
the pioneers, they spun their flax on the small wheel,
this being the work of the old women; the young maidens
spun the wool on the large wheel, walking barn floor, or
some other large floor, for many miles, carrying the
thread for a few cuts of yarn. They colored their
yarn and wove their own cloth and then made it into
garments. Mothers and daughters often clothed, in
this way, a family of eight to twelve persons. The
good old mothers were devoted to their families and
loved their work and enjoyed it.
Joseph Leib secured about one section of
land which he held until his children were old enough to
occupy it. He built a mill on his home place which
was run by the water of Rushcreek. This was the
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second mill built on Rushcreek. The old mill is
still standing. The old road which crossed the
creek at the mill came up the bank of the creek — and
that is why the old brick house, built by George
Beery seventy-five years ago, the Ashbaugh
and the Weaver houses, now stand so far
from the road. In the old brick house Solomon
Beery was born, but we believe that his brothers
and sisters were born in the old cabin on the same farm.
Joseph Leib and wife had a family of four
sons and seven daughters. Joseph, David,
John and Elias were the sons.
Joseph married Clarissa Allen — she
came from Waterford, Connecticut, to Rushcreek to teach
school. Joseph broke up the school by
marrying the teacher. Miss Allen was
of the same family as Dr. Silas Allen, of
Royalton, Ohio. Joseph succeeded his father
as master and owner of the old homestead and spent his
life there. His son, Samuel Leib, is a
distinguished and wealthy lawyer of California.
His son Joseph is a horse breeder in Champaign
County, Illinois. Hamilton died of disease
contracted in the army. A daughter married
Mason Pauley (half brother of M. C. Miller),
of Champaign County, Illinois. Another daughter
married Sheriff Barbee of Columbus, and
still another a wealthy Californian.
Mrs. Joseph Leib was an educated,
cultured woman, and look an interest in the education of
her children. They attended school for a time in
Lancaster. W. H. Kooken of the Gazette,
attended the wedding of two of the daughters, and at the
marriage of the second one he was the groom's best man,
and Miss Elizabeth Doty was bridesmaid.
There was a large attendance of friends and they spent
the night there. What sleep the gentlemen indulged
in was at Page 387 -
the barn — as the house was too small for so large a
party. The morning after the Pauley
wedding the whole party drove to Michael
Miller's for the wedding breakfast. The young
people had jolly times at such weddings and greatly
John married a Miss Williams of the
neighborhood and moved to Crawford County, Illinois.
There he engaged in farming and there he died. His
son. Captain John Leib, lives
in Illinois, and his sister Jane lives with him.
Benjamin and James are both western
farmers. Daniel Leib married
Barbary Leslie. He moved to Highland
County, Ohio, in 1839, where he purchased a farm and a
flouring mill. In a few years he fell through a
hatchway in his mill and was killed. His widow
moved, with her family, to Westerville, to educate her
children. Joseph, David and Enos
were sons, but their place of residence we cannot give.
Elias Leib married Delilah Hill
from the neighborhood of Rushville. He once owned
the fine farm now owned by the Ashbaugh heirs
above Bremen, and up to middle life was a prosperous
farmer. He sold his farm and opened a dry goods
store in New Salem in the spring of 1850. In two
or three years he moved his stock of goods to
Millersport, where he hoped to make some money.
Fate was against him and in a few years he closed out
his business at a loss. He dealt largely in grain,
and his losses in this trade broke him up. Amos
and Henry grew to be young men at Millersport,
and from there Henry ventured out upon the world.
He married Kate Sites, daughter of
Frederick Sites of Pleasant township.
In three or four years his wife died. He then went
west and now resides in Oberlin, Kansas. He has
been treasurer of his county.
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D. Leib married Elizabeth Pope of Walnut
township, an estimable woman of many accomplishments.
Mr. Leib lived and died in or near Millersport.
Mrs. Leib's mother was a Haver, one of
several gentle and refined sisters. A son and
daughter survive A. D. Leib. The daughters of
Joseph Leib were as follows: Catharine
married John Frey and they settled on a
farm adjoining the old home or near it. Dr. M.
Frey of Logan, was their son. Their son,
Henry Frey, married a daughter of John
Shaw. A daughter married Thomas
Paden. Benjamin Frey married
Mary Leib; they had no children. They
lived and died on a farm near the old home.
Margaret married William Black of
Perry County, Ohio. A daughter whose name we
cannot give married a Mr. Mains from a
northern county. Barbara married
Frederick Fisher; they were farmers, but
spent their old age in Bremen.
Susan married Amos Davis. He
was a good old Presbyterian and highly esteemed.
He owned a farm and a mill at the bend of Rushcreek near
Geneva. They were the parents of Mrs.
Samuel Doty, long a well known and highly
esteemed lady of Lancaster, and the wife of a once
prosperous merchant of the old firm of Kinkead &
Amos Davis, in his old age, moved to
Indiana, where he died several years since.
Elizabeth married Ralph Cherry,
for many years a substantial citizen of Walnut township.
Late in life with a large family they moved to Hancock
County, Ohio. Their eldest son was named Joseph,
for the old grandfather.
The Leib family received Christian
training and had set before them every day a good
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through four generations their training has borne fruit
in the good lives and good character of a widely
The old German father and mother had family worship
morning and night. It was the custom for "both to
pray, first the old father and then the old mother.
Their prayers were not empty sounding words — it was "
the language of the soul," and a deep impression was
made upon the kneeling children.
"From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,"
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad,
Princes and lords are but
the breath of Kings,
"An honest man 's the noblest work of God."
Samuel F. Leib, the eminent lawyer, resides at
San Jose, California. He is a trustee of the
Stanford University of California. The wife of
Joseph Leib, Sr., was a German woman
named Elizabeth Seitz, and as stated, a
sister of the mother of Hon. Daniel Keller.
She was a true pioneer helpmate. Like German women
of that period, she did a man's work. She learned
to run the mill, and has been known to do it and handle
sacks of grain for a day at one time. She could
stand in a half bushel measure and shoulder a sack of
wheat. Mr. Leib died in 1839 and his wife a
few years later, in 1841, both aged 72 years. That
is the record upon the grave stones.
The first deed on record in the name of Joseph Leib
is dated August, 1817, for about 300 acres of land on
which the old mill now stands. The grantors were
Carpenter & Shallenberger. The
soldier record of this family is a good one, part of
which has already been given. There were 17
children, 11 of whom only, lived to be well known.
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Elias Leib had three sons in the army.
Amos Davis Leib was a member of Company F,
First Ohio Cavalry. He served until near the close
of the war, when ill health compelled him to resign.
He served for some time as regimental quartermaster and
at the time he left the service he was acting Brigade
He served with distinction and retired with honor.
It could not have been otherwise, for he was a man of
ability and a patriot. He retired to his Island
home, Buckeye Lake, and spent the remainder of his days
in useful occupation and the society of his family.
He took great interest in the success of the Republican
party, and gave much of his time in its service.
He was often a delegate to county conventions and once
or twice at least to state conventions. He was an
alternate to the Cleveland convention, and was then
elected an alternate, pledged to John Sherman,
to the Chicago convention. He attended this
convention, accompanied by his wife. He died in
Henry F. Leib was a member of Captain
Perry's Company, the 90th Ohio Infantry. He
throughout the war and returned with his company to
Lancaster. He was Regimental Adjutant at the time
of his discharge. He is now a prominent politician
of Kansas, and at present is the postmaster of Oberlin.
Elias Newton was a soldier in the 196th
Ohio, and belonged to General Hancock's
corps. He now resides in Marengo, Iowa.
Joseph H. C. Leib resides at Prairie City, Iowa.
The wife of Joseph Leib, Jr., Miss
Allen, was an educated woman from Waterford,
Connecticut. She was a relative of General
Ethan Allen of Revolutionary fame.
She died in the year 1864 or '65. Joseph
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Jr., lived to be 80 years of age, and died at his
father's old home. Both were buried near the old
people in a pretty cemetery on the old farm. A few
days before his death he sent for Joseph, the son
of his old friend, Andrew Shaw. He
told him that he had once wronged his father and could
not die in peace without confession and restitution.
He said that when a young man he and a companion
escorted two young women to some kind of a gathering and
that Andrew Shaw and his companion took
the girls from them, or as it was called, cut them out,
in other words, the girls treated them rudely, gave them
Partly for revenge and partly for mischief, he and his
friend followed them home and cut the stirrups from
He told Joseph that he desired to pay the value
of the stirrups to him, and asked him to name the
amount. The money was declined and the debt
forgiven. Sixty years had rolled around and time
failed to efface the wrong he had done from his memory.
Joseph Leib was a good man and this story
will not lessen the esteem in which he is held.
THE PIGEON ROOST
One of the beautiful locations in this county is the
Fletcher chapel, a handsome Methodist Church, in the
northeast corner of Liberty township. It is
situated on the south line of the fine estate of
Isaac Finkbone. In the graveyard
adjoining lie buried the remains of old Dr. Waddel,
the Gill brothers, the Clicks, the
Parrishes, Cools, James Jeffries
and Elias and Amos D.
Dr. Waddel's grave is marked by a
handsome monument. The Gill brothers
all have handsome granite
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monuments and their graves are kept in good order.
This place is about six miles from Baltimore, two from
Kirkersville, and five from Millersport. From the
graveyard to the south and east is as fine a landscape
as can often greet the eyes. The fine homes of Fred
Mauger, W. K. Thompson and others in Walnut
township, and Luray, and many fine homes in Licking
county, backed by a range of beautiful hills; and the
old Pigeon roost swamp, now a paradise of farms and the
fertile valley of the Licking are in full view.
A drive from this point over a zigzag road to Luray is
one long to be remembered.
One-half mile north of Luray, on the hill, is the old
Wells-Holmes burying ground. In 1812
a church was built here of logs, on the land of
George Wells, Sr., and called the
"Wells Meeting House." Later a brick church was
built, but time has changed things and the church is no
more. George Wells, Sr., was
buried here Oct. 2, 1831.and his wife, Elizabeth
(Holmes), Aug. 16, 1827. George
Wells, Jr., was buried here Nov. 9, 1848.
Thomas Holmes, a brother of James
Holmes, Sr., was buried there Oct. 8,
1822, aged 78 years.
James Holmes, Sr., of Walnut township, Fairfield
County, was buried there in 1823, and his wife, Anna
(Whittaker), in 1829. James
Holmes, Jr., in 1848, aged 62 years.
All prominent, influential men. The graveyard is
not very well cared for. From this graveyard,
looking west, over the Licking, is a prospect as fine as
can be seen in any county in Ohio. Fertile farms
and beautiful homes greet the eye in great numbers.
W. K. Thompson lives a mile or two south of the
Pigeon Roost swamp, in Walnut township, Fairfield
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County. Forty years ago the Pigeon Roost swamp was
about the size of one section of land, but not square.
It was covered with a forest and the ground from one to
two feet often under water. Here millions of
pigeons roosted annually, and it was a great resort for
sportsmen in the season. The swamp was just over
the line, in the county of Licking.
Mary Hartwell Catherwood, of Hoopestown,
Illinois, is a fine story writer. She lived in the
Thompson neighborhood when a young girl.
She has recently completed a novel entitled "The Queen
of the Swamp." The story deals with the swamp and
the scenes and incidents of the neighborhood during her
childhood. People and traditions are mentioned and
preserved, and she states that the work was a labor of
love in honor of her old home. Three-fifths of the
Ohio part of the book are drawn from Walnut township,
We learn that Mary Hartwell Catherwood was
educated at Granville, and that her mother was a
Thompson. She lived near Thompson's when 10 or
12 years of age. Her father lived for a time on
the Stoolfire farm, between Luray and Hebron,
After the death of her parents she lived with her
grandfather Thompson, who had moved to
Hebron. While quite young she taught a school near
Aetna, Licking County, and boarded with Dean
German, the father of Mrs. Jacob
Ulrick, of this city. Mrs. Ulrick
and she were very good friends. Mrs.
Ulrick preserves a photograph taken when Mary
Hartwell was about 18 years of age. Judging
from the picture she was as handsome as she is now
bright and entertaining. Her first short story was
written for a Newark paper. She has written
several good novels for the Century
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Magazine. She was a bright, ambitious girl, with
no limit to her aspirations as a writer.
And with all very modest, sensitive and retiring almost
to a degree of timidity.
Her ambition, her talents and industry have been
rewarded, and she now enjoys the distinction due her as
one of the leading western authors. She is one of
the contributors to the forthcoming book of Jamesa J.
Piatt, entitled the "Hesperian," of which only 1,000
copies will be printed. It is to be an edition "de
luxe." Mary Hartwell Catherwood's
present home is Hoopestown, Illinois.