OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS


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Franklin County,
 Ohio

1815 - 1825
(Source: History of Madison Township, Franklin Co., Ohio - 1902)
Chapter VI

     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 others.
     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 remaining.
     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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