The first person who settled in what is now Rome township was David Dailey, a veteran soldier of the revolution, and decidedly "a character." Born in Vermont in 1750, he removed to western New York after his discharge from the army, and thence to Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, whence he migrated in the year 1797 to the northwest territory. With his family, consisting of two daughters and five sons, of whom Benonah H Dailey, of Carthage township (the youngest son), is now the sole survivor, he came down the Ohio river in a pirogue to the mouth of the Hockhocking, and up that stream to the mouth of Federal creek, where he at once opened up a farm. The place on which he settled is now known as the Beebe farm.
Around him was an unbroken wilderness. The nearest neighbors were at the settlement at Athens, about twelve miles distant. Parties of Indians were frequently seen on hunting excursions, or on their way to Wheeling to barter their furs. Having lived about three years on the farm first settled by him, he sold it to Judge Elijah Hatch, and, with his family, removed to Carthage township. Dailey was a famous hunter, fond of the exciting sports of pioneer life, and cultivated a sort of contempt for the comforts and conveniences of civilization. With his dogs and hunting equipments, and with a dead bear or deer on his back, homeward bound, he was as happy as a king. The story of his many rencounters with wolves, bears, and panthers, after settling in Athens county, would form an interesting narrative, and graphically illustrate the excitements of pioneer life. Our informant says:
"I exceedingly regret that some of these stories, which I have heard him relate, are so blurred in memory that I find it impossible to reproduce them. And, then, the old man told them with such a peculiar zest that much would unavoidably be lost in a repetition. His imperturbable gravity, the immobility of his contenance, even when uttering a dry joke or relating an amusing anecdote, at which the bystanders were in a perfect roar of laughter, were wonderful. Yet I have often seen his eyes fill with tears at a tale of suffering. Even in relating the death of a favorite dog—Piper—belonging to a fellow huntsman, the tears would start. He assisted in burying the dog with 'military honors,' on the bank of a branch now bearing the dog's name."
Captain Chittenden, afterward governor of Vermont, commanded the company in which Dailey served during the revolutionary war. Several years after he came to Ohio to live, Dailey applied for a pension, and walked all the way to Vermont to obtain, from his old captain, the necessary certificate and vouchers. After his return to the west he would often relate, with much gusto, the hearty greetings and warm welcome he received from the governor, and, during his stay of several days, remembered to have particularly relished the governor's "cognac."
The old man was exceedingly severe in his criticisms on St Clair's disastrous campaign against the Indians, in 1891. It so happened, on one occasion, that St. Clair, while governor of the northwestern territory, in passing across the country, called at Dailey's cabin in Rome, to obtain refreshments for himself and horse. Dailey's larder, however, was exhausted, and, though full of hospitality, he could do little or nothing for the hungry governor, who was compelled to press on to Athens, where he arrived very much exhausted and very angry. The incident worked on his mind to such a degree, vexing him more the more he dwelt upon it, that he threatened to send Dailey out of the territory—declaring that he would not have such a shiftless man within his jurisdiction. This, Dailey pretty soon heard of. Not long afterward the governor met Dailey in "Southtown" (Alexander), and thought it a good opportunity to at least administer a sound reprimand with, "Well, Mr Dailey, how do you succeed in farming at the mouth of Federal creek?" Dailey, assuming an unusual amount of solemn gravity, replied: "Pretty d——d poorly, as you did fighting the Indians; but I think the difference, if any, is on my side, for, being born without a shirt, I have made out to hold my own till the present time, which is an almighty sight better than you did." The governor let Dailey alone after that.
[From "History of Athens County...." Charles M. Walker, 1869]