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OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

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ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO
HISTORY & GENEALOGY
 


 


Source: 
History of Adams County, Ohio
from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time
by Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers
West Union, Ohio
Published by E. B. Stivers
1900

PLEASE NOTE:  The names in
Bold Blue
are for people that are researching those particular names to conveniently find them quickly.

PART I

CHAPTER XIII

NOTE:  I will pick things out of this chapter for now and detail it later.  ~ SW

EARLY TAVERNS AND OLD INNS
p. 124
The First Tavern at Manchester - Pioneer Tavern Keepers - A Wayside Inn -
Observations of a Traveler.

     There were no settlements made outside the stockade at the Three Islands in the territory from which Adams County was formed before the autumn of 1795.  But early in the year following the tide of emigration set in so strong that cabins were erected and clearings were made along all the principal streams in the interior.  The mouth of the Scioto, the vicinity of Brush Creek Island, Manchester, Ellis' Ferry, opposite Maysville and Logan's Gap, near the mouth of Eagle Creek, were the principal gateways through which the pioneers entered this portion of the Territory.  Of these, Manchester at the Three Islands, and Alexandria at the mouth of the Scioto were the principal entranceways.  And at these towns were opened the first taverns of the county.  They were rude log structures not arranged with the view of contributing to the comfort of guests, but only for the purpose of furnishing shelter from the elements, and a simple fare to appease hunger.  At most of these early taverns whiskey was sold, and many of them became the resort of the idlers and rowdies in the vicinity.  George Sample, who settled on Ohio Brush Creek at the mouth of Soldier's Run, in writing to the Western Pioneer in 1842, with reference to his first visit to Adams County in 1797, among other things concerning Manchester, says:

The First Tavern at Manchester.

     "There were fifteen to twenty cabins at Manchester, one of which was called a tavern.  It was at least a grogshop.  There were about a dozen visitors at the tavern, and as the landlord was a heyday, well-met tippler with the rest, they appointed me to assist the landlady in making eggnog.  I was inexperienced in the art, but I made out to suit them very well.  I put about a dozen eggs in a large bowl, and after beating, or rather stirring the eggs up a little, I added about a pound of sugar and a little milk to this mass; I then filled the bowl up with whiskey, and set it on the table; and they sat about the table and sipped it with spoons.  Tumblers or glasses of any sort had not then come in fashion."  This tavern was conducted by John Magate, an Irishman, who with his good wife Katy were noted characters in the pioneer days of Manchester.  The early Court records tell the story of many broils and fisticuffs at McGate's in which the landlord and landlady were participants.  One James Dunbar, school-master, seems to have given much time to the "manly art," in and about this resort form the number of "mills" reported to the Court in which he is alleged to have taken a principal part.  In fact the grand jury report of that day would be incomplete without the familiar return:  "We do present James Dunbar and William Hannah for beating and abusing John McGate and wife."  Or, "We do find a bill against Catherine McGate for a breach of the peace on the body of James Dunbar.

Pioneer Tavern Keepers.

     At the sitting of the first Court of Quarter Sessions at Manchester in 1797, Samuel Stoops, John McGate and Job Denning each petitioned the Court for a recommendation to the Governor for a tavern license, and their petitions were granted, "to keep tavern in the town of Manchester."  At the same time John Pollock was given a recommendation for a tavern license in the town of Alexandria at the mouth of the Scioto.  In June, 1798, William Keggs and Benjamin Goodin, and in September of that year, Peter Mowry, were each license to keep tavern at Manchester.  These and Daniel Robbins (residence not known) were the first licensed tavern keepers in Adams County.  As the settlements began to dot the valleys in the interior, and traces were blazed and roads cut through the forests to them, "the wayside inns" were opened for the accommodation of the traveling public.  The earliest of these was kept by James January on the Limestone and Chillicothe road (Zane's Trace) in the valley just to the west of where West Union now stands, on what is known as the Swearingen farm.  This house was opened in 1798, and license early in 1800.  In the latter part of the year, 1798, John Hessler opened in 1798, and licensed early in 1800.  In the latter part of the year, 1798, John Hessler opened a tavern at Alexandria, and William Faulkner began to entertain travelers at the mouth of Brush Creek.  The next tavern in the interior was that opened by John Trebar in the latter part of 1798 or early in the year 1799.  When George Sample was his first trip over Zane's Trace in 1797, he noted the fact that but two houses were on the trace from the vicinity of where West Union now stands to Chillicothe - Trebar's on Lick Fork, and one at the Sinking Spring, Wilcoxon's.  But neither of these was at that time places of public entertainment.  In 1800, David Bradford was licensed to keep a tavern at the town of Washington, the new county seat; and about the same date Noble Grimes opened a place of public entertainment there.  In this year George Edgington, father-in-law of William Leedom, who for many years conducted the house, opened a tavern near Bentonville.  This afterwards became one of the noted old inns of the county.  It is a large two-story, hewed log structure, now weatherboarded, and in a very good state of preservation.  It is pleasantly situated among great spreading elms and locusts, just to the south of Bentonville on the old Limestone road, and is at present the private residence of Henry Gaffin who married a granddaughter of William Leedom.
     In 1801 a petition was presented to the Court recommending Peter Wickerham as a "civil citizen and very worthy of the character of innkeeper,
 and that "he lives on such a part of the road as requires some person to officiate in that capacity.  "Granted at four dollars a year."  This was the old tavern so long kept by Mr. Wickerham at Palestine between Locust Grove and Peebles on the Limestone road, or Zane's Trace as it was first known.  The old brick tavern, the first of the kind in the county, is still standing and is the residence of Jacob Wickerham.
    
In this year, also, Richard Harrison, at the town of Waterford near the mouth of Lick Fork, and Joseph Van Meter, at Zane's crossing of Brush Creek, petitioned for and were granted license to keep houses of public entertainment at their respective residences.
     There was great rivalry among these tavern keepers in the new towns like Manchester, Alexandria, Washington, Killinstown and Waterford where two or more taverns were kept, and the landlords each manifested much bitterness of spirit toward his rivals in business.  As one of many instances illustrative of this fact, the following is cited:
     "To the Honorable Court of Adams County:  Whereas, a certain Christian Bottleman, of Alexandria, has for almost two yeas followed the practice of selling spiritous liquors by the quart and pint, and of late by the half pint, I had it in contemplation to inform on said Bottleman last court but was unable by sickness, and am so that this time, but I thought it not improper to make this kind of information; and if the Court think proper to bring the offender to justice, the fact can be proved by calling on Joshua Parrish who will be at court, etc.  I think it hard that the said Bottleman should take away the privilege that I purchased at the rate of seventeen and a half dollars per year."  From your humble servant,              William Russell.
"Alexandria, December 5, 1801."

     About this date John Scott was keeping tavern also at Alexandria, and John Killin was licensed as a tavern keeper at Adamsburg, better known as Killinstown.  A few years later the Bradford Hotel at West Union, The Stone House on Lick Fork, Horn's Hotel at Locust Grove, and Ammen's near the county line on the "old trace," Sample's on Brush Creek, Allen's (old stone house) and Treber's on Lick Fork, became noted stopping places for travelers over the old stage rout from Maysville to Chillicothe.  These and some others will be further noticed in the township histories.

A Wayside Inn.

"As ancient is this hostelry
As any in the land may be,
Built in the old Colonial day
When men lived in a grander way,
With ample hospitality;
A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall
Now somewhat fallen to decay
With weather stains upon the wall,
And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
And creaking and uneven floors
And Chimneys huge and tiled and tall."

"A region of repose it seems,
A place of slumber and of dreams
Remote among the wooden hills!
For there no noisy railway speeds
Its torch-race scattering smoke and gleeds,
But noon and night the panting teams,
Stop under the great oaks, that throw
Tangles of Shade and light below
On roofs and doors, and window sills"

THE TREBER'S TAVERN

     The above view of the old Treber Inn built by John Treber Inn built by John Treber, in 1798, was recently made for this volume.  It stands on the left bank of Lick Fork, fronting the Old Limestone road, about five miles to the northeast of West Union.  The main building is constructed of hewed logs weatherboarded, while the large kitchen and dining room to the rear is of stone quarried in the immediate vicinity.  With the exception of Bradford's in West Union, this is the most celebrated of the "old inns" yet standing.  Soon after the erection of this building, there was swung form a huge post near the highway, the inviting sign - "Traveler's Entertainment" - which swayed to and fro at the caprice of the winds for more than half a century.  This old inn sheltered many distinguished guests in the days of the old stage line form Maysville to Wheeling.  Here General Jackson and party warmed and refreshed themselves when he was on his way to be inaugurated President after his election in 1828.  Here Thomas H. Benton, Henry Clay and scores of prominent characters from the southwest have sipped and praised "Mother Treber's most excellent coffee" while eating the "finest biscuits ever baked."  *"Mother Treber" as she was familiarly known, was very proud of the reputation she had acquired of making the "best coffee" and "finest biscuits" anywhere to be had.  On one occasion some noted guests were present at table, and had purposely refrained fro praising the coffee and biscuits to annoy Mother Treber who had bestowed extra care in the preparation of that portion of the meal.  After waiting for the accustomed word of praise and not having received it, she ventured to remark that the meal was not to her liking and offered some apology.  A guest more daring than the others replied that the meal was very satisfactory with the exception of the coffee and biscuits; whereupon came the impetuous retort "you never tasted finer coffee nor eat better biscuits, for I prepared them myself."
     A few rods to the southeast of this old inn, at the roadside, stands an elm tree near which it is said Asahel Edgington was killed by the Indians in 1793, a full account of which occurrence appears elsewhere under the chapter devoted to "Adventures and Conflicts with the Indians."
     Some fifty or sixty rods to the northeast of the house, in a field near the roadside, is a grave of Zachariah Moon, a member of a Kentucky regiment in the war of 1812, who died here and was buried by his comrades when returning home after the close of the war.
     In 1825 John Treber removed to a farm in the vicinity, and his son Jacob Treber took charge of the old tavern and conducted it until about the time of the Civil War.  William Treber, his son, now resides here.

 

Observations of a Traveler.

     In August, 1807, D. F. Cumming, while touring the western country, traveled afoot across Adams County along the old state line from Ellis' Ferry (Aberdeen) to the Sinking Springs; and thence to Chillicothe.  The following interesting notes are taken from his "Sketches of a Tour:|
     "Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I was employed in rambling about the woods, exploring and examining a tract of land, of a thou

-------------------------
* Wife of Jacob Treber, son of John Treber, the pioneer.

Page 128 -
sand acres, in the State of Ohio, which I had purchased when in Europe last year, and which had been the principal cause of my present tour.  As it was only six miles from Maysville, I crossed the Ohio and went to it on foot.  I had expected to find a mere wilderness, as soon as I should quit the high road, but to my agreeable surprise, I found my land surrounded on every side by fine farms, some of them ten years settled, and the land itself, both in quality and situation, not exceeded by any in this fine country.  The population was also astonishing for the time of the settlement, which a muster of the militia, while I was there, gave me an opportunity of knowing - there being reviewed a battalion of upwards of five hundred effective men, most expert in the use of the rifle, belonging to the district of ten miles square.
     "And now I experienced amongst these honest and friendly farmers real hospitality, for they vied with each other in lodging meat their houses, and in giving me a hearty and generous welcome to their best fare.  Robert Simpson, from New Hampshire, and Daniel Kerr and Thomas Gibson, from Pennsylvania, shall ever be entitled to my grateful remembrance.  I had no letters of introduction to them, I had no claims on their hospitality, other than what any other stranger ought to have; but they were farmers, and had not acquired those contracted habits, which I have observed to prevail very generally amongst the traders in this part of the world.
     "On Saturday, I returned to Ellis' Ferry, opposite Maysville, to give directions for my baggage being sent after me by stage to Chillicothe.
     "On the bank of the Ohio, I found Squire Ellis seated on a bench under the shade of two locust trees, with a table, pen and ink, and several papers, holding a Justice's Court, which he does every Saturday.  Seven or eight men were sitting on the bench with him, awaiting his awards in their several cases.  When he had finished, which was soon after I had taken a seat under the same shade, one of the men invited the Squire to drink with them, which he consenting to, some whiskey was provided from Landlord Powers', in which all parties made a libation to peace and justice.  There was something in the scene to primitive and so simple, that I could not help enjoying it with much satisfaction.
     "I took up my quarters for the night at Powers' who is an Irishman from Ballibay in the county of Monaghan.  He pays Squire Ellis eight hundred dollars per annum for his tavern, fine farm and ferry.  He and his wife were very civil, attentive, and reasonable in their charges, and he insisted much on lending me a horse to carry me the first six miles over a hilly part of the road to Robinson's tavern, but I declined his kindness, and on Sunday morning, the ninth of August, after taking a delightful bath in the Ohio, I quitted its banks.  I walked on towards the northeast along the main post and state road seventeen miles to West Union, - the country becoming gradually more level as I receded from the river, but not quite so rich in soil and timber.
     "The road was generally well settled, and the woods between the settlements were alive with squirrels, and all the variety of woodpeckers with their beautiful plumage, which in one species is little inferior to that of the bird of Paradise, so much admired in the East Indies.

Page 129 -

     "I stopped at tavern miles at the house of Squire Leedom, an intelligent and agreeable man, who keeps a tavern, and is a justice of the peace.  I chose bread and butter, eggs and milk for breakfast, for which I tendered a quarter of a dollar, the customary price, but he would receive only the half of that sum, saying, that even that amount was too much.  such instances of modest and just honesty rarely occur.
     "West Union is three years old since it was laid out for the county town of Adams County.  The lots of one-third of an acre in size, then sold for about seventy dollars each.  There were upwards of one hundred lots, which brought the proprietor above three thousand dollars.  It is a healthy situation, on an elevated plain, and contains twenty dwelling houses, including two taverns and three stores.  It has also a court house and a jail, in the former of which divine services was performing when I arrived, to a numerous Presbyterian congregation.  One of the houses is well built with stone; one of the taverns is a large frame house, and all the rest are formed of square logs, some of which are two stories high and very good.
     "Having to get a deed recorded at the clerk's office of the county, which could not be done till Monday morning, I stopped Sunday afternoon and night at West Union, where my accommodation in either eating or sleeping, could not boast of anything beyond mediocrity.
     "Monday the tenth of August, having finished my business and breakfasted.  I resumed my journey through a country but indifferently inhabited, and at four miles and a half from West Union I stopped for a few minutes at Allen's tavern, at the request of a traveler on horseback, who had overtaken and accompanied me for the last three miles.  He was an elderly man named Alexander, a cotton planter in the southwest extremity of North Carolina, where he owns sixty-four negro slaves besides his plantations - all acquired by industry - he having emigrated from Larne in Ireland in early life with no property.  He was not going to visit a brother-in-law at Chillicothe.  He had traveled upwards of five hundred miles within the last three weeks on the same mare.  He had crossed the Saluda Mountains, and the States of Tennessee and Kentucky and had found houses of accommodation at convenient distances all along that remote road, but provender so dear, that he had to pay in many places a dollar for a half bushel of oats.
     "Allen's is a handsome, roomy, well finished stone house, for which, with twenty acres of cleared land, he pays a yearly rent of one hundred and ten dollars, to Andrew Ellison, near Manchester.  He himself is four years from Tanderagee, in the County Armagh, Ireland, from whence he came with his family to inherit some property left him by a brother who had resided in Washington, Kentucky; but two hundred acres of land adjoining my tract near Maysville, was all he had been able to obtain possession of, although his brother had been reputed wealthy.  I have met many Europeans in the United States, who have exeprienced similar disappointments.
     "My equestrian companion finding that I did not walk fast enough to keep up with him, parted from me soon after we left Allen's.  At two miles from thence I came to Brush Creek (at Sproull's), a beautiful river about sixty yards wide.  A new State road crosses the river here, but

Page 130 -
as I had been informed that there was no house on it for ten miles.  I preferred keeping up the bank of the river on the stage road, which led through a beautiful but narrow unsettled bottom, with Brush Creek on the right, and a steep, craggy precipice on the left, for a mile and a half.  I then ascended and descended a steep and barren ridge for a mile, when I forded the creek to Jacob Platter's finely situated tavern and farm on the opposite bank.
     "Having rested and taken some refreshment the growling of distant thunder warned me to hasten my journey, as I had five miles through the woods to the habitation.  The road was fine and level - the gust approached with terrific warning - one flash of lightning succeeding another in most rapid succession, so that the woods frequently appeared as in a flame, and several trees were struck in every direction around me, one being shattered within fifty paces on my right, while the thunder without intermission of an instant was heard in every variety of sound, from the deafening burst, shaking the whole atmosphere, to the long solemn cadence always interrupted by a new and more heavy peal before it had reached its pause.  This elemental war would have been sublimely awful to me, had I been in an open country, but the frequent crash of the falling bolts on the surrounding trees, gave me such incessant warnings of danger, that the sublimity was lost in the awe.  I had been accustomed to thunder storms in every climate, and I had heard the roar of sixty ships in the line of battle, but I never before was witness to so tremendous an elemental uproar.  I suppose the heaviest part of the electric cloud was impelled upon the very spot I was passing.
     "I walked the five miles within an hour, but my speed did not avail me to escape a torrent of rain which fell during the last mile, so that long before I arrived at the hospitable dwelling of the Pennsylvania hunter who occupied the next cabin,  I was drenched and soaked most completely.  I might have sheltered myself from some of the storm under the lee side of a tree, had not the wind, which blew a hurricane, varied every instant, but independent of that, I preferred moving along the road to prevent a sudden chill; besides every tree being a conductor, there is greater danger near the trunk of one, than in keeping in a road, however, narrow, which has been marked by the trees being cut down.
     "My host and his family had come here from the back part of Pennsylvania last May, and he had already a fine field of corn and a good deal of hay.  He had hitherto been more used to the chase than to farming, and he boasted much of his rifle.  He recommended his Pennsylvania whiskey as an antidote against the effects of my ducking, and I took him at his word, though he was much surprised to see me use more of it externally than internally which I did from experience that bathing the feet, hands and head with spiritous liquor of any sort, has a much better effect in preventing chill and fever, either after being wet or after violent perspiration from exercise, than taking any quantity into the stomach, which on the contrary rarely fails to bring on, or to add to inflammatory symptoms.  A little internally, however, I have found to be a good aid to the external application.
     "I found at my friendly Pennsylvanian's, a little old man named Lashley, who had taken shelter at the beginning of the gust, which be-

Page 131 -
ing now over, he buckled on his knapsack, and we proceeded together.  He had traveled on foot from Tennessee River, through a part of the State of Tennessee quite across Kentucky, and so far in Ohio in nine days, at the rate of thirty-six miles a day.  He had assisted in navigating a boat from Indian Wheeling, where he lived, to Tennessee, for which he got thirty dollars, ten of which he had already expended on his journey so far back, though using the utmost economy.  He remarked to me, that although he was upwards of sixty yeas of age, and apparently very poor, he had not gotten gratuitously a single meal of victuals in all that route.  Are not hospitality and charity more nominal than real virtues?
     "The country for the next five miles is tolerably well improved, and there is a good brick house which is a *tavern owned by one Wickerham at the first mile, and a mile further is Horn's tavern, where the stage sleeps on its route to the northeast to Chillicothe.
     "Old Lashley complaining of fatigue, we stopped at Marshon's farm house, ten miles from Brush Creek, where finding that we could be accommodated for the night, we agreed to stay, and were regaled with boiled corn, wheaten griddle cakes, butter and milk for supper, which our exercise through the day gave us a good appetite for, but I did not enjoy my bed so much as my supper, notwithstanding it was the second best in the house, for besides it was not remarkable for its cleanliness, I was obliged to share it with my old companion; fatigue, however, soon reconciled me to it, and I slept as well as if I had lain down between lawn sheets.
     "Marshon is from the Jerseys, he has a numerous family grown up, and is now building a large log house in which he means to keep a tavern.  Three of his sons play the violin by ear - they had two shocking bad violins, one of which was of their own manufacture, on which they scraped away without mercy to entertain us, which I would have most gladly excused, though I attempted to seem pleased and believe I succeeded in making them think I was so.
     The land here is the worst I had seen since I had left the banks of the Ohio; it had been gradually worse from about two miles behind Squire Leedom's, and for the last two miles before we came to Marshon's it had degenerated into natural prairies or savannas, with very little wood, and none deserving the name of timber, but well clothed with brush and low coarse vegetation.
     "On Tuesday morning the eleventh of August, we arose with the dawn, and notwithstanding thee was a steady small rain, we pursued our journey having first paid Marshon fully as much for our simple and coarse accommodations, as the bet on the road would have cost, but our host I suppose thought his stories and his son's music were equivalent for all other deficiencies.
     "The land was poor, and no house on the road until we arrived at Heistand's tavern, four miles from Marshon's, where we met the Lexington stage.  Heistand is a Pennsylvania German, and has a good and plentiful house, in a pleasant situation, called the Sinking Springs, from

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     * This house is yet standing at Palestine, and is the present residence of Jacob Wicherham, a grandson of Jacob Wicherham who erected it in 1800.  It was the first plastered building in Adams County.

Page 132 -
a great natural curiosity near it.  On the side of a low hill now in cultivation, are three large holes, each about twenty feet deep and twenty feet in diameter, about sixty paces apart, with a subterranean communication by which the water is conveyed from one to the other, and issues in a fine rivulet at a fourth operting near the house, where Heistand's milk house is placed very judiciously.  The spring is copious and the water very fine."

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