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Licking County
History & Genealogy

Centennial History of Licking County, Ohio
by Isaac Smucker
Publ. Newark, Ohio: Clark & Underwood, Book and Job Printers


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     WILLIAM DRAGOO was captured in the Monongahela country, in 1786, by the Indians, and taken to the Mad River, following a trail up the Licking and Raccoon Valleys, through Raccoontown, an Indian town on the Raccoon creek, situated near the present village of Johnstown.  He lived with the Indians about twenty-five years and afterwards was long a Citizen of Licking County, dying some thirty years ago.  He was married twice and raised two sets of children, the first being half Indians, their mother being a squaw.  Billy Dragoo, as he was familiarly called, never wholly abandoned his half-Indian, half-civilized habits and modes of life, but continued to spend most of his time hunting, fishing, and trapping.  He also continued, until near the close of his life, to wear silver ornaments in his nose and ears, with other Indian trappings and jewelry.  Mr. Dragoo was an inoffensive man, esteemed by his acquaintances, and left some descendants, who still remain in our County.

     PATRICK GASS had a temporary residence in Licking County.  He had been a member of the celebrated Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia river, in the years 1804-05-06, and acquired an extensive reputation as the historian of said expedition.  He died in Brooke County, West Virginia, April 2, 1870, in the ninety-ninth year of his age, having been for many years, the last survivor of the famous expedition.

     JOHN SPARKS was also a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and lived for many years in Licking County.  He died in 1846, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years.

     AMOS H. CAFFEE came to Newark in 1811, and was afterwards and until his death in 1862, a leading and public spirited citizen, and valuable man.  He held the offices of Clerk of the Court, County Recorder, Post Master, Mayor of Newark and various other positions of honor.  Mr. Caffee was patriotic to the core, and rendered some service to his country during the war of 1812, and none felt a deeper interest in the perpetuation of our republican institutions, and in the success of the Federal army during the Great Rebellion.

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     HON. WILLIAM STANBERY came to Newark in 1809, being then a young lawyer from New York city.  He was a man of great talents and recognized as the leading lawyer of Licking County for forty years.  Mr. Stanbery's professional services were in great demand, and he attained great distinction at the Bar.  He also served in the State Senate in 1824-26, and in Congress from 1827 to 1833.  Mr. Stanbery died at "Oakland," his country seat near Newark, January 23d, 1873, at the advanced age of eighty-five years.  He was a native of Essex County, New Jersey, where he was born August 10th, 1788.

     JUDGE FIDLER settled in Licking County in 1811.  He was a West Virginian, and spent a number of years before his removal to this County as an itenerant preacher.  From 1801 to 1807 he ministered to the Frederick, Pittsburgh, Erie, Clarksburg, Botetourt and Staunton circuits.  He was elected an Associate Judge in 1813 and served as such until 1823.  Judge Fidler left this County in 1835, and located in Miami County, where he died in 1849, at the age of seventy-one years.  He was a man of considerable ability, and of fair character.  His associates on the Bench of Judges were William Wilson, Henry Smith, William Hains, Anthony Pitzer and Zachariah Davis.

     HON. STEPHEN C. SMITH was a native of New Jersey, but settled in Muskingum County, before the war of 1812, served as Associate Judge some time, and as Adjutant in Colonel Cass' regiment.  He also represented said County in the State Legislature in 1813-14 and 1815, and Licking County in 1826-27.  He was a man of ability.

     COLONEL JOHN HOLLISTER was a prominent settler near the mouth of the Rocky Fork, in 1806, and was a man of wealth and influence, and made himself useful among the Pioneer settlers of our County.

     ZACHARIAH ALBAUGH was a Revolutionary soldier, and was a long time resident of Newton Township, where he died November 9th, 1867, at the ripe age of more than a hundred years!

     THOMAS McKEAN THOMPSON was an early settler and a gentleman of extensive information and wealth, and exercised considerable influence in moulding the character of the people of McKean Township.  He served the County as one of its Commissioners from 1822 to 1825.  In his intercourse with mankind he was affable, polite, and made himself interesting in conversation.  He came from Pennsylvania where he served a number of years in the capacity of private
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Secretary to Governor McKean.  He gave the name of the Township.

     COLONEL CORNELIUS DEVINNEY was a man of mark in McKean Township.  He was a Virginia gentleman of the "Old School" - affable and pleasant in his manners, genial, companionable, intelligent, of good conversational powers and a man withal of sterling integrity.  My recollections of him are of the kind I cherish for men of frankness and candor.

     ELIAS HOWELL was also a leading man.  He was a well-informed gentleman who acquired great popularity among the people and influence and power over them by his affability, politeness and sociality.  He was collector of taxes from 1824 to 1827; Sheriff from 1826 to 1830; State Senator from 1830 to 1832; and a member of Congress from 1835 to 1837.  He lived many years in McKean Township and died there.

     THEOPHILUS REES, a Welsh gentleman settled on the Welsh Hills in 1802, and was regarded as the Patriarch of his countrymen within our County.  He was a man of some education, of integrity, of intelligence, good morals of excellent Christian character, and of great usefulness.  He was of the original members of the Welsh Hills Baptist Church, organized September 4th, 1808.  His death took place in February, 1813, at the age of sixty-six years.

     DR. JOHN J. BRICE settled in Newark in 1803, and for the entire period of more than one generation sustained himself in an extensive practice of his profession.  He was from Western Virginia, and had been a student of the distinguished D. Benjamin Rush.  Dr. Brice acquired large wealth and died in advanced life.  He was the cotemporary of Colonel Robert Davidson, David Moore, John Cunningham, Benjamin Briggs, Colonel W. W. Gault, Amos H. Caffee, Jonathan Taylor, Joshua Mathiot, William Stanbery, Judge Searle, Stephen McDougal, Judge Fidler, Bradley Buckingham, Stephen C. Smith, Judge Davis and other prominent early-time citizens of Licking County.

     WILLIAM O'BANNON was a man of great industry, energy and enterprise and became a successful agriculturalist and stock-raiser.  His intelligence, frugality and thorough devotion to business were rewarded with eminent success in the acquisition of property, for he had attained to the general reputation of the largest land owner in our County, at the time of his death, which occurred when he had reached about the seventy-third year of his age.  Judge O'Bannon was one of the early-time Justice's of the Peace of Madison town-
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ship, and served as an Associate Judge of our Common Pleas Court from 1825 to 1839, a period of fourteen years.  He discharged his official duties with fidelity, and through life sustained a good reputation.  He was distinguished for the qualities that characterized the better class of our early pioneer settlers, and was faithful in the discharge of his duties as husband, father, citizen, neighbor, and friend.  Judge O'Bannon settled upon the banks of the Shawnee Run in 1803, and remained there more than fifty years, and until the period of his death.

     BENJAMIN GREEN and RICHARD PITZER, son-in-law of the former, left their mountain home in Allegheny County, Maryland, in 1799, and came to the Northwest Territory.  They spent one year near the mouth of the Muskingum, and in the Spring of 1800 settled on Shawnee run, two miles below the junction of the North and South Forks of the Licking.  Here they remained two years and both settled in Hog Run Valley.  The first named was a Revolutionary soldier, and both were first class Pioneers.  It was at the cabin of Mr. Green, where, in 1804, Rev. Asa Shinn organized the Pioneer Church formed within the present limits of Licking County.  Mr. Green became a Baptist Minister and died in 1835 at the ripe age of seventy-six years.

     REV. JOSEPH THRAP came from the "Monongahela country," in 1805, and settled near the Eastern borders of our County.  He was a Methodist minister and a man of integrity, influence, character and fair abilities, and made himself extensively useful.  He died in Muskingum County, May 12, 1866, aged ninety years.

     MAJOR ANTHONY PITZER was a native of Virginia, removed to Allegheny County, Maryland, and from thence to the Hog Run settlement in 1803.  He patriotically and gallantly served his country in the war of 1812, and secured the confidence of the public to the extent of repeated elections to the Legislature, which body also elected him an Associate Judge in 1816.  He died May 14th, 1852, at the age of eighty-six years.

     ALEXANDER HOLDEN, ESQ., was a man of decision and marked character, an early settler, who held many offices of trust and responsibility, and was a leading man in Licking Township for many years.  He was elected to the Legislature in 1808.

     REV. THOMAS DICKSON BAIRD, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark from 1815 to 1820, was a man of marked characteristics and of great intellectual power.  He was a native of Scotland, and possessed one of those massive, logical minds, the
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Dr. Chalmer
's sort of intellects so rarely produced.  Probably Rev. Asa Shinn and Bishop Hamline are the only men of all who ever ministered steadily to Licking County congregations that attained to greater distinction, or who gave evidence of possessing equal intellectual force and vigor.

     JUDGE HENRY SMITH was one of Licking County's early and useful citizens.  He came in 1804, and was one of the Judges of our Common Pleas Courts from 1809 to 1823.  He died in advanced life.  His widow who was an admirable Pioneer woman, survived him until October 22, 1867, having attained the great age of ninety-seven years.  Mrs. Priest, a near neighbor of Mrs. Smith, and like her, an early Pioneer, also died near the same time, at the great age of over one hundred years.
     And it would be inexcusable in me if I failed to make honorable mention in this connection of Mrs. Catharine Stadden, to whom we are largely indebted for the preservation of many of the facts given in this Centennial History of our County.  She was a first-class Pioneer woman, very liberally endowed with intellect and memory, and placed us under many obligations by her readiness to communicate whatever of knowledge she possessed, relating to the early history of the Licking Valley.  Mrs. Stadden settled here in the year 1800, and died July 3d, 1870, in the ninety-first year of her age.  She was the wife and widow of Isaac Stadden, the first elected Magistrate within the present limits of Licking County.


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