A Part of Genealogy Express


Franklin County,

(Source: History of Madison Township, Franklin Co., Ohio - 1902)
Chapter IV

"I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be
The first low wash of waves where soon
Shall roll a human sea."

     The first occupancy of this continent by man as is uncertain as the date of man's origin.  Many scientists now admit man's presence here as a contemporary of the mastodon and other extinct animals.
     Who built the ancient mounds and earthworks with their rich store of implements and utensils is a sealed volume.  To present students they are still a "nameless people" and hence for want of a better name are called Mound Builders.  Where they came from, and when, are equally as mysterious and obscure problems.
     The Red Man's traditions shed no light and are worthless on the subject.
     It is quite likely  that the country was mostly open and unwooded during the dominion of the Mound Builders, and that the center of their population was in Ohio.
     It is certain that most of these ancient works have been built for more than five hundred years; this is proven by the fact that trees of five centuries' growth are found upon them.  There are other circumstances that point to even a much longer period of residence here.  Their influence over nature in the domestication of wild animals and in the transforming influence of certain plant life, such as maize, tobacco and cotton indicate a very long period.  Some of the plants domesticated by these people have been in cultivation so long that they would perish only for the fostering care of human hands.
     The fact that during the Middle Ages no investigations were tolerated and that every reference to such discovery was burned and obliterated, makes it doubly difficult to find solutions now.
     Many theories have been advanced to solve the mysterious uncertainty; Bancroft, in his Native Races, among others mentioned the following ones:  Father Duran, a native of Spain, wrote in 1585, "My opinion and supposition is that these natives are the ten tribes of Israel that Salmanazer, king of the Assyrians, made prisoners and carried to Assyria in the time of Hoshea, king of Israel, and in the time of Hezekiah, king of Jerusalem, as can be seen in Esdras, Book Fourth.  Chapter Third, they went to live in a land, remote and separated, which had never been inhabited, to which they had a long and tedious journey of a year and a half.  L'Estrange contraverted this theory, but concluded that Shem was the progenitor of the American; and says: "Shem was ninety-eight years old at the time of the flood and was not present at the building of Babel."  It is claimed by some that the word Peru has the same meaning as Ophir, the grandson of Heber, from whom the Hebrews derived their name, then setting up the theory that Solomon's ships, on the voyages, which lasted sometimes for three years, went to Peru for the "gold of Ophir."  The conjecture of some has been that the Queen of Sheba came from this continent.
     Others claim that Noah's long and aimless voyage in the ark encouraged his immediate descendants to construct similar vessels and undertake voyages.  These falling in the adverse winds and currents were driven to these shores and being unable to return they became the colonists.
     Ignatius Donnelly, in his Atlantis, published a score of years ago, attracted renewed attention to the theory based on Plato's "fabled island of Atlantis."  It is related that the priests of Egypt told Solon of an island continent which furnished an almost continuous land passage across the Atlantic ocean.  The Azore islands, it is claimed, are the mountain peaks of this submerged island.
     The Book of Mormon, said to have been discovered by John Smith, September 22, 1827, in a mound called Cumorah, Ontario county, New York, tells that the colonization of America took place soon after the confusion of tongues at Babel.
     Some claim that the remnant of the inhabitants of Tyre, who escaped the siege of Alexander the Great, 332 B. C., sailed to America and landed in Florida, and in proof of their theory quote Ezekiel 27; 26.  Still others point to the similarity between the architecture and sculpture of Mexico and Central America and Egypt for a solution of the problem.  Some advocate Carthaginian, Phenician or Greek colonization.  The narrowness of the channel at Behring Straits has invited others to look in that quarter for a solution.  Among the arguments presented are for a Tartar colonization, nothing the resemblance in manner of life and physical appearance of the natives on both sides of the channel.  Others argue for a Japanese and still others for a Chinese colonization.  Others refute all these theories and claim the race is indigenous; others that God created an original pair of human beings here as He did in the old world; still others look to evolution.
     Most of these conclusions have very little to stand upon except the productiveness of an imaginative mind.
     There are several pre-Columbian discoveries that rest on documentary evidence, although each of these have their disputants.
     In the writings of the early Chinese historians is found the statement that in the year 499 A. D. Hoei-Shin, a Buddhist priest, returned to China fro a long journey to an island which he called Fusang, on account of the many trees of that name growing there.  It has been assumed that this country was Mexico or California.  Two discoveries are accredited to the Irish; one to "White Man's Land," claimed to be located on the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida, the other when St. Patrick sent missionaries to the "Isles of America," which would place the date of the latter prior to 493 A. D.  The Norsemen discovery in 1002 A. D. is familiar.  The Welsh discovery by Madoc in about 1170 A. D. of the coast of Mexico or California.  In 1380 A. D. it was claimed the Venecians established a church in Greenland.  The Portugese date their discovery of New Foundland about 1464 A. D.  The discovery of the Poles is given as 1476 A. D.
     The writer has spent many of his leisure hours in the study of the earthworks and implements of these people, and has many times let his imagination look in on their domestic and outdoor life.  He has often sat with a stone pipe or axe or other of their relics before him trying to lure it to unfold its mysterious history.
     A conservative view of the consensus of the conclusions of those who have had the best opportunities to give these investigations intelligent study seems to be that they are of old world origin; that they came in installments, some coming from the southeast, others from the northwest, meeting in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys where they were amalgamated, as is proven by the finding of the crania of the long heads and of the short heads with their intermediate types in the same mound; that they became populous and widespread; that they evolved a system of government which controlled multitudes; that they were in the main agriculturists, although they had a division of labor by which some devoted their time to special trades; that they developed a civilization and culture of no mean type, as is shown by their domestic utensils, artistically formed and decorated vessels, cloth, implements and earthworks; that they mined copper, which they made into ornaments and implements; that they quarried mica for mirrors; that they worked salt mines and flint quarries.  The finding of copper from Lake Superior, mica from North Carolina, lead from Missouri, and shells from Florida, all in the same mound, indicates their wide-spread commerce.
     The next race - the American Indian - most likely the descendant of the Mound Builders, has less fixed homes, leading nomadic lives, from the fact that most of their time was devoted to hunting and fishing.  As far as we are able to learn to Indian villages were located in this township, although a flint-worker's shop must have been located in the neighborhood of Asbury Church, judging by the large number of flint chips found there.  The early settlers in Violet township, Fairfield county, remembered a small village of some twenty or thirty wigwams located on the north bank of Little Walnut creek about one mile east of Winchester.  In a year or two after the first settlements the Indians left, and while they still occasionally passed through the township they scarcely ever molested any one or attracted any attention.  One of their trails leading from To-be-town (Royalton) to Cranetown (Upper Sandusky) passed over the farm of Irvin E. Stevenson.  The prominent imminence on this farm no doubt furnishing them a good view of the surrounding country.  One thing is certain, they did not make proper use of the rich soil by cultivating it.  After game sought the deeper and more unvisited forests of the unexplored and uninhabited country farther west and north they seemed to realize the inevitable and yielded their old familiar haunts to the "pale face's power to make the "desert rejoice and blossom as the rose."
     The early settlers came not from wealthy and luxurious homes, neither did they come from the indolent class.
     Many of them had no competence except healthy bodies and determined wills.  They came seeking homes of their own, rather than continue as tenant to a class whom they feared might oppress and emaciate them, as had been done by the landlord system in Europe, with which they were familiar and which they abhorred.
     They knew full well that in seeking a home in the western forest they were sacrificing many comforts, which they could not hope to secure for many years, if at all in their generation; they knew that they were facing sickness in a malarious climate; they must have, at least in part, considered the great hardships and privations to be endured.
     Congress strengthened the ordinance of 1785 by the execution of the great "Compact" of 1787 establishing, as Salomon P. Chase in his Preliminary Sketch of the History of Ohio says, "Certain great fundamental principles of governmental duty and private right as the basis of all future constitutions and legislation, unalterable and indestructible."  Mr. Chase further remarks, "Never, probably, in his history of the world did a measure of legislation so accurately fulfill, and yet so mightily exceed the anticipations of the legislators."  Faith in a country governed by such provisions as this ordinance contained inspired a courage and hope that here, where slavery was excluded and where property rights were sacred they would perpetuate the principles of freedom and liberty that moved their ancestors to come to America.  The early settler therefore came with a purpose to enter a tract of land, which at once made him an interested citizen who would have every incentive to seek and hold fast to the very best in government and morals for himself and family.  They were mostly persons in the same circumstances, so very little distinction in modes of life existed among them; but had there been distinctions the perils and hardships to be mutually endured would have made them akin.  Their manner of living compelled them to seek and avail themselves of each other's help.  They could not erect their cabin or clear away the giants of the forest alone; they must help each other, and no one ever failed to respond unless sick or otherwise disabled.  When one family would butcher or go to mill or make a successful catch of fish or game, all the near neighbors would be remembered with a portion.  Many other similar neighborly acts, such as ministrations in sickness and death, and indeed, kindly assistance and sympathy in every experience of their wilderness life knit them together in a bond of friendship the durability and grace of which can only be found in a community where common privations and perils are experienced for a long time.  The effects of these beautiful friendships thus formed are even now held dear and sacred among the descendants of many of the pioneer families.
     The fact that they had to worship in log cabins and barns, and were denied all of those peculiar comforts and conveniences, as books, pictures, etc., which cultivate and culture the asthetic side of man's nature, gave them a characteristic frankness and bluntness, which might in older communities appear as abrupt and unceremonious, perhaps even inelegant.  In principal they were positive and firm as a rock, yet gentle and considerate to man and beast.
     The great majority were Christians, members of the different denominations now represented in the township.  Their Christian characters were unimpeachable, and their lives, although partaking of their surroundings and circumstances, exemplified the highest virtues of true manhood and womanhood.
     Among the very first settlers was George Tongue, who located on George's creek (perhaps this stream is named after him) on the southeast quarter of section No. 7, as early as 1802 or 1803.
     By 1805 quite a number of others settled in the township, among them John Kalb, Geo. Kalb and wife, John Stevenson and family, William Stevenson and family of five boys and two girls, all from Maryland; Stauffel Kramer, Charles Rarey and sons, Adam, Benjamin, William, Charles and George, and James, Samuel and Robert Ramsey from Pennsylvania; Elias Decker and family, William D. Hendren and wife, Esau Decker and Ezekial Groom from New Jersey; Mathew and Samuel Taylor and families from Nova Scotia; John Guffy from Kentucky and others.  From 1805 to 1810 many from the eastern states as well as the adjoining counties of Ross and Fairfield located in the township.  Among them were Lewis (Ludwig), Philip, George, John, Michael, Adam and Jacob Kramer, all brothers, and their families from Pennsylvania; John Schoonover and family, Ralph and Elijah Austin, John Decker, John Craun, Jonathan Lee and wife, Thos. Gray, Geo. Smith, Jacob Weaver, John Tallman, John Sharp and wife, Samuel Brown, Samuel Bishop, John Swisher, Fredrick Peterson, Phillip Pontius, Alex Mooberry and family, Abednego Davis, Matthias Wolf, John and Jacob Gander, Emmer Cox, Wm. Elder, Billingsly Bull, Daniel Kramer, Abraham Harris, Geo. Rohr and sons, Cubbage Needels and wife, Henry Whetzel and family, David Wright, John Wright, Joseph Wright, James McClish, John Kile and family, and a few years later, but early enough to help bear the burdens and hardships incident to a pioneer's life in those days were Henry, Harmon, Andrew, Daniel and John Dildine, Jacob Rhodes, Henry and Fredrick Bunn, Michael Rohr, Adam Havely, Christian and Adam Sarber, the Daylongs, John Rager, Zebulon and Elias Leigh, George Seymore, Samuel Murphy, Peter Long, Wm. Patterson, Wesley Toy, Phillip King, Thomas Needels, John, Philomen and Andrew Needels, ____ Farley, Edward Hathaway and Greazy Harrison, ____ Horshor, Wm. Fleming, Jacob Powell, ____ Francisco, Wm. Perrin, Dr. Wm. Riley, and others whose names cannot be recalled.
     Few colored persons have ever lived in the township, in fact so few that they have always attracted the attention especially of the children.  Among the first and best known as Black Charlie.  (Chas. Hatten) who when a boy was brought here by Wm. Stevenson.  After Mr. Stevenson's death he lived with Anna B. Stevenson, a daughter, until he died.  He was good-natured, polite, a friend of the children, and always had a bright new penny for them.  He could speak "Pennsylvania Dutch."  Thomas Gray brought a colored man with him from Maryland in about 1810, who was known as Black Sam.  Others, known to persons about Winchester, were Yellow Nick (Nicholas Gossage), Reuben and Samuel Gloyd.


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