1815 - 1825
(Source: History of Madison Township, Franklin
Co., Ohio - 1902)
| Not many
persons settled in this township between
1815 and 1825. Several causes might be
mentioned why so few came. The
principal one was the lack of a profitable
market for the surplus produce; the streams
furnished the only available means of
transportation. Only one attempt was
made to reach New Orleans from this
township, when "in 1824 or 1825 George H.
Stevenson built a flatboat and loaded it
at Sharp's Mill, on Big Walnut creek, with
flour, meal and pork. Daniel Ross
too the cargo down, arriving safely, but
took the yellow fever and died there."
Judge John Chaney assisted in loading
this boat. During the War of 1812
prices had run up and times were good, but
after peace had been declared and the
government's purchases ceased, prices soon
declined and no market could be found even
at the extremely low prices which prevailed.
Corn was 10 to 12 cents per bushel, wheat 20
to 25 cents, pork $1.50 per hundred.
Many who had gone in debt could not meet
back payments, so forced sales were the
order of the day. Often not enough
cash could be obtained to pay the taxes.
Then a great deal of sickness prevailed,
especially in 1823 and 1824, when a terrible
epidemic of fevers and ague and chills
raged. Nearly everybody was sick;
often not enough well persons could be found
in a neighborhood to care for the sick and
bury the dead. The pioneers of those
days referred especially to the summer and
fall of 1823 as a most discouraging one.
Among those who died in the township during
these two seasons were: Billingsly
Bull( prominent citizen), Wm. Wright,
Nicholas Hopkins, Edward Hathaway, John
Todd, Henry Longwell, Elizabeth Bowman, Mrs.
Adam Kramer, Greazy Harrison, Mrs. Thomas
Featheringgill, Aaron Michael, Mrs. Wm.
Seymour, Mrs. Elias Decker, Thomas Blakely,
Mrs. Morgan Belford, Mrs. John Moore, Mrs.
Daniel Rainier, Mrs. Isaac Lanning, Mrs.
Isaac Decker, George A. Kelly, Mrs. John M.
Thompson, Rebecca Rainier, and many
Capt. A. E. Lee, in his History of Columbus,
quotes from Mrs. D. W. Deshler's
letters to friends in Pennsylvania as
follows: "October 4, 1823. - The
sickness of this county does not abate.
The distress that the citizens of this State
and of this western country, and
particularly this section of the State,
labor under is unparalleled by anything I
ever witnessed. This town (Columbus),
and towns generally, have been awfully
visited, and with such distress as I never
wish to behold again, but at the same time
nothing to compare with what has been
endured in the thinly settled parts of the
country. I could relate cases that
would appear incredible and impossible, some
of which are these: In one instance a
mother was compelled to dig a grave and bury
her own child in a box that was nailed up by
herself, without one soul to assist her.
Only think of it! Another case was
that of a man, his wife and four children,
who had settled three miles from any other
house. The father, mother and all took
sick, and not one was able to hand another a
drink of water or make their situation
known. At length a man in search of
his horse happened at the house to inquire,
and found a dead babe four days gone, in the
cradle, the other children dying, the father
insensible, and the mother unable to raise
her head from the pillow.
In another family, ten in number, only a few miles from
town, all were sick except two small
children, who actually starved to death,
being too small to go to a neighbor's, or
prepare anything for themselves.
In numbers of families all have died, not one member
A person a few days ago passed a house, a short
distance from town, out of which they were
just taking a corpse. One of the men
told him there were three more to be buried
the next morning, and a number sick in the
same house. Such is the distress of
our country that the farmers can do no
plowing, nor gather their corn, potatoes, or
anything else. Yu would be astonished
to behold the faces of our citizens.
There is not one, young or old, but that is
of a dead yellow color. No kind of
business is going on except making coffins
and digging graves."
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