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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

pgs. 385


     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 enjoyed themselves. 
     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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     Amos 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 PadenBenjamin 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 & Doty.
     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 example, and

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through four generations their training has borne fruit in the good lives and good character of a widely extended family.
     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 Quartermaster.
     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 December, 1892.
     Henry F. Leib was a member of Captain Perry's Company, the 90th Ohio Infantry.  He served honorably
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 Leib,

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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 the mitten.
     Partly for revenge and partly for mischief, he and his friend followed them home and cut the stirrups from their saddles.
     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.


     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, Fairfield County.
     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, Ohio.
     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.




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