DISTINGUISHED MEN OF CLERMONT COUNTY.
COL. THOMAS PAXTON
The first house erected between the Little Miami and Scioto Rivers was built early in the spring of 1795, by Col. Thomas Paxton, the first permanent settler in Clermont, and who was the first white man to raise a field of corn in the Virginia Military Reservation, comprising the lands between these two historical streams. Born in Pennsylvania, during the stormy and troublous times of the Indian and French wars, he removed to Kentucky, where he took an active part in frontier fights with and expeditions against the savages, then in arms and on the war-path. In the spring of 1794, Gen. Anthony Wayne assembled an army at Greenville of some two thousand regulars and fifteen hundred Kentucky volunteers, to march against the Indians, conquer peace, and give quiet to the Territory, then overrun by the merciless red men. Of this army, the finest ever raised to subdue the savages, Col. Thomas Paxton was the bold and brave commander of the advance-guard, specially selected for this perilous and responsible position by the old hero of Stony Point, the general commanding this famous expedition, as the best officer for this dangerous and important post. The march of the army began on July 28th, and on August 20th the great battle was fought on the bank of the Maumee River, at and around a hill called Presque Isle, in Lucas Co., Ohio, and resulted in a disastrous defeat to the Indians and their allies and a glorious victory for the Americans, and has passed into history as the "Battle of Fallen Timbers." Gen. "Mad Anthony Wayne" was a man of most ardent impulses, and in the soldier. When the attack on the Indians, who were concealed behind the fallen timbers, was commenced by ordering the regulars up, Col. Thomas Paxton addressed his superior and commander: "Gen. Wayne, I am afraid you will get into the fight yourself, and forget to give me the necessary orders." "Perhaps I may," replied Wayne; "and if I do, recollect the standing order for the day is 'charge the damned rascals with the bayonet.'"
Gen. Wayne, having a bold, vigilant, and dexterous foe to contend with, found it indispensably necessary to use the utmost vigilance and caution in his movements, to guard against surprise, and to secure his army against the possibility of being ambuscaded. He employed a number of the best woodsmen the frontier afforded as spies, who were formed into divisions and corps, two of them commanded by those bold and intrepid soldiers, Capts. Ephraim Kibby and William Wells, but all attached to and under command of that bold warrior, Col. Thomas Paxton, commander of the advance-guard. Col. Paxton, as a result of this expedition into Ohio, got a glimpse and knowledge of its fertile lands and beautiful country, and was particularly enamored of the rich bottoms and upland fields of the Little Miami River. On his return to Kentucky, finding the title to his large tract of land, embracing part of the present city of Covington, Ky., and extending back far into the country, to be defective, he was given lands in exchange in the then Northwest Territory, and in the following spring (1795) returned to Ohio with his entire family and settled in Miami township. The house he put up - a comfortable double log cabin - was many years ago destroyed by fire, but the many romantic incidents connected with the history of the old pile of logs and mud still retains a sacred place in the memories of his descendants. But the old well, with its moss-covered curb and sparkling water, is still in a good state of preservation. The woods were then a wilderness, inhabited by wild beasts and frequented by various parties of Indians, who passed over the Indian trace leading by "Three Islands," over the site now occupied by the great railroad town, Loveland.
During the lifetime of Col. Thomas Paxton, both here, in Kentucky and in Pennsylvania, he had several scrimmages with the Indians, and one time, while on a deerhunt below Milford, on the Little Miami, made a very narrow escape with his life.
Col. Paxton was twice married. By his first wife he had six children, - Robert, who never removed from Kentucky, and five daughters, of whom four were married, respectively, to Col. John Ramsey (father of Col. William Ramsey, who laid out Loveland); Owen Todd (a justice of the peace in Hamilton County before the erection of Clermont, in which he was the first justice, and presiding justice of the Territorial Court of General Quarter Sessions from February, 1801, to December, 1803); James Smith; and Silas Hutchinson. By his second wife (Martha) he had two sons - Thomas (father of Col. Thomas B. Paxton, the eminent Cincinnati lawyer) and Samuel, now living at his elegant homestead, reclaimed from the woods in 1795 and 1796, at the advanced age of nearly ninety years - and four daughters, married, respectively, to Robert Orr, David Snider, Samuel S. Jack, and John Donnels. Thus, of the first settler in Clermont eight of his daughters and two of his sons reared large families and settled around him in pleasant homes, and achieved social and public prominence, making their locality one of the choicest garden-spots in Ohio for fertility; and to this day the name of Paxton, in Clermont, is associated with commodious residences, unequaled orchards of choicest fruits, and gardens and greenhouses containing every variety of plants and flowers. In horticulture and floriculture the Paxtons have been so extensively and successfully engaged that they have achieved a reputation co-extensive with the bounds of the State.
The venerable Samuel Paxton, before alluded to, made several trips to New Orleans, sometimes bringing back his money at great risk and trouble. On one occasion he realized for his products seven thousand dollars in silver, and often he had to return on foot through the wilderness and across the Indian country at the greatest peril, as he had his money in a leather belt strapped around his waist.
A few years subsequent to Col. Paxton's settlement immigrants began to arrive, and in 1806 a number came from New Jersey under very inauspicious circumstances, for that was the year of the great drought, and from May 4th to Aug. 22d no rain fell to moisten the ground, and at "Three Islands," opposite the Obannon, the Little Miami was so low as to be readily forded. The same year witnessed the great eclipse, which occasioned more alarm than would be caused by a visitation of the plague at the present time; and during the darkest moments of the eclipse objects in the houses were invisible. In the early history of the Paxton settlement witchcraft was a popular delusion, and cows, it was said, would die very mysteriously and suddenly, and as mysteriously be restored to life again by the witch doctor, who, after performing certain incantations, would rub the hide of the animal with a silver dollar till he found a protuberance under the skin, which was understood to be the elf spot, and once extracted the animal would immediately recover. Often sundry indispensable articles of furniture or implements of husbandry would get bewitched, so that they would fail to be of any service. Col. Paxton was not exempt from the trouble. At such times his rifle would fail for days to bring down sufficient game for the family. So, provoked and alarmed, he would send a messenger for the weird doctor, and should that useful member of the commonwealth fail to come forthwith and answer the call, a swift messenger, laden with a fearful oath and a worse threat, to be executed by bewitched weapons, would promptly bring him to time. Furnished with a bottle of whisky from the Paxton cellar, doctor and hunter would proceed to the woods, where incantations and good whisky would perform the miraculous care and break the witches' spell.
Col. Paxton bought fifteen hundred acres of land where he settled, by title bond, just before he moved on to his possessions, but for which he got in 1802 (the five-hundred-acre tract) and in 1811 (the one-thousand-acre piece) deeds of warranty, the first from Gen. Lytle and the latter from William Daniels. In 1802 he bought of the general the Campbell survey tract of two hundred and fifty acres, in Goshen township, and shortly after purchased three lots in Williamsburgh, Johnson's Survey, No. 1774, in Batavia, and afterwards owned numerous other tracts of land, and before his death was reputed very wealthy. He died in 1813, and his personal property inventoried thirteen hundred and forty-seven dollars and ninety-two cents, an immense sum in those days. Among the articles of the personal inventory were a pair of silver shoe-buckles, relics of the Revolutionary age, a rifle-gun (in the use of which Col. Paxton was hard to excel), with powder-horn and bullet moulds, and a gold and silver watch.
Col. Paxton was a man of wonderful nerve and coolness, of stern, inflexible honesty, and of Spartan independence in thought and action, and though possessed of the old-time notions about supernatural matters (in vogue on the frontier till after the present century came in), he was just the man in spirit and physique for a hardy pioneer, and was singularly gifted in sound judgment in his selections of lands, and thereby located in the very pristine paradise of the county, so far as generous fertility of soil and beautiful scenery and salubrity of climate were concerned. As the first actual settler in Clermont, this brace old Indian-fighter made a most honorable record in life, and left an impress by his acts and in his large number of worthy descendants that will live as long as the story of Clermont's first settlement remains on the annals of its history.
The ancestors of Isaac Ferguson emigrated to America from Ireland early in the eighteenth century, and were of the house of Fergus. His father, Thomas Ferguson, was an early settler on the Monongahela River, eighteen miles above the French Fort Duquesne, one of the first lodgments of civilized life west of the Alleghenies. The great valley of the Mississippi was first explored by the French, who in 1730, or near that year, built a line of forts from New Orleans to Quebec, and ascending the Ohio, erecting one at the head of that river, where Pittsburgh now is, which received the above name. The English colonists along the Atlantic coast were jealous of the encroachments of the French upon what they regarded as their territory, and formed an association called the "Ohio Company," composed of Virginia and English merchants, whose object it was to trade with the Indians for furs. The company obtained a grant of six hundred thousand acres of land on the river Ohio, and when it came to possess it they found among the persons residing there Thomas Ferguson. Later he was in their employ and engaged in their trading expeditions. As they lived so remote from the settlements, Ferguson and his neighbors were compelled to procure their "store goods," such as nails, wares, kitchen utensils, etc. (calicoes and other species of dry goods were then unknown), at Philadelphia or Baltimore, and convey them across the mountains on pack-horses, as no roads had yet been built. In this enterprise engaged Isaac and Henry Ferguson (sons of Thomas), who, with a number of pack-horses, proceeded to Baltimore, at that time the great mart for supplying the outposts of civilization. Each horse had a bell on him, and every evening they were gathered together and relieved of their burden. The way led through dense wildernesses and across streams which had to be swum; Indians had to be braved and wild beasts faced, and all sorts of adventures had to be met; but these two courageous young men made seventy-two trips in all, supplying their neighbors with such things as could be procured only in this manner.
The Governor of Canada, in turn, becoming jealous of the English settlements, ordered its traders to be seized and opened communications between Lake Erie and Fort Duquesne. Along this line he stationed troops and built fortifications, being determined to break up the trade of the "Ohio Company" and hold the country. These were among the prefatory events which led to the "French and Indian war," or those long years of hostilities between the French and British which were fanned into open rupture in 1756, when war was actually begun. In this struggle Thomas Ferguson was a brave soldier, and was with Washington (at that time a colonel at the age of twenty-two) at the "Great Meadows," in the attack by the French and Indians, where the battle lasted from eleven in the forenoon until eight in the evening. Overpowered and outnumbered, with ammunition exhausted, the English were surrendered to the French commander, Count De Villiers, who allowed them to return to their homes.
Thomas Ferguson was also one of the Monongahela settlers who participated in the historical battle which led to the defeat of Gen. Braddock, July 9, 1756, and had three bullet-holes in his clothes, his hair badly singed, and his powder-horn shot to pieces. In the Revolutionary war Isaac Ferguson served under Washington in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and fought gallantly at Brandywine, Princeton, Germantown, and other hotly-contested battles for independence.
Soon after the close of the Revolutionary war Isaac Ferguson moved with his family westward, and in 1784 located for a time at Limestone (now Maysville), Ky. The boat in which he and his family and some other immigrants descended the Ohio was an old-time pirogue, which the wily savages frequently attempted to capture and daily fired into. It was a common thing for the Indians to compel white prisoners whom they had captured to go down to the bank of the river and hail passing boats, telling tales of woe and uttering tearful entreaties to be taken aboard. Many a boat was thus unsuspectingly allured to the shore, plundered, and its passengers tomahawked and scalped. Then, again, very frequently persons in real distress and suffering asking for relief at the hands of the descending boats had to be unwillingly passed by, owing to the proximity of the Indians or fear of capture.
In 1791, Isaac Ferguson was one of the little band of settlers about Limestone and Washington, Ky., who, under Kenton and Downing, crossed the Ohio, tracked the Indians with their stolen horses to the east fork, between Williamsburgh and Marathon, and there had a severe night-battle, as is elsewhere in this book narrated. In 1795 he settled on the Kentucky shore of the Ohio River, about fifteen miles above Cincinnati, where he lived but a year, coming to the then Northwest Territory in the spring of 1796. He located on a fine tract of land several miles below New Richmond, in the present county of Clermont, where he established and kept in operation many years what was widely known as "Ferguson's Ferry," the first in that part of the State and in its day a famous crossing-place.
He died on the farm he had opened to civilization in 1818, leaving a wife, seven sons, and five daughters. He was a noble pioneer, of a hardy stock, and of lineage reared among the civil wars of Great Britain, which were so intense at times that they threatened to blot out that now prosperous kingdom. Isaac Ferguson as a boy saw the colonists fighting the savage Indians and their mercenary French allies; as a young man he participated most honorably in the struggle for the independence of the American colonies; in ripe manhood he was a pioneer in Kentucky; and in his later years one of the very earliest settlers of Clermont, where his last days of a long and eventful life were ended, at a ripe age, which had been full of checkered adventures, but untarnished in honor and character.
Isaiah Ferguson, a son of Isaac, was born in 1777, near Brownsville, Pa., and came with his father to Clermont. He nobly aided in reclaiming our county from its primeval condition and making it one of the garden-spots of Ohio. In the war of 1812, in response to the call for volunteers to protect the frontiers against the incursions of the Indians, he was thrice enrolled as a soldier, serving part of the time as a major. After the memorable siege of Fort Meigs by the British under Gen. Procter and the Indians under the famous chieftain Tecumseh, and its gallant and successful defense by the Kentucky and Ohio troops, March 4, 1813, Gen. Harrison left for the interior of the State to organize new levies, intrusting the command of the fort to Gen. Green Clay. Again, on the 25th of June, the combined forces of the enemy invested the fort, but, like the first time, they were as signally defeated and retired for good. Maj. Isaiah Ferguson fought gallantly at both sieges, and after the second one was raised he was appointed commander of the fort, holding that position for quite a period of time.
To relieve the tedium of camp life the soldiers at Fort Meigs frequently beguiled their time by singing patriotic songs. Among the papers left by Maj. Isaiah Ferguson we find some of these, one verse of which indicates its general character.
"Freemen! No longer bear such slaughter,
Avenge your country's cruel woe;
Arouse, and save your wives and daughters,
Arouse, and expel the faithless foe!
Chorus. - "Scalps are bought at stated prices,
Malden pays the price in gold."
Malden was a Canadian town where the British militia were fitted out and the enemy's stores housed, and it was currently reported that a reward was there paid for the scalps of the American soldiery.
In 1805, Major Isaiah Ferguson settled in what is now Pierce township, where he lived until the time of his death, in 1852, at the good old age of seventy-five years.
We close this sketch with a brief notice of a Ferguson of still a later generation. Major Ira Ferguson, son of Isaiah, grandson of Isaac, and great-grandson of the old soldier, Thomas, was born at the Ferguson homestead, in Pierce, in 1818, the same year that his grandfather died. For many years he was a colonel of the State militia, and at the breaking out of the Rebellion he went into the Union army, rendering gallant service as an officer for about a year, when his health compelled him to resign. In 1871 he was elected to the Assembly of Ohio as the representative from Clermont, and in 1879 was honored with a similar election, sharing with Dr. L. W. Bishop the office of representative from Clermont County. Like his ancestors on both sides, his life has been characterized by fidelity to duty, and he unswervingly maintains what he considers the right, to the great satisfaction of his constituents.
The Washburn family originally lived in New Jersey, and there, in the year 1774, the subject of this sketch was born. Six years later his father, Jeremiah Washburn, migrated to the Redstone country, in Pennsylvania, and in 1789, with several uncles, moved to Limestone, Ky., which at that time was one of the extreme frontier settlements. Here they became noted for their courage and activity in the various conflicts with the Indians, so common at that time; and here, too, our young hero first gave evidence of possessing the qualities which in after-life would distinguish him as a frontiersman. "Neil from his early years showed a disposition to follow the woods," and when but nine years of age he passed his time setting snares for pheasants and wild animals. Shortly after, his father purchased him a shot-gun, in the use of which the boy soon excelled. Like Kenton and Wetzell, he killed his first Indian at the early age of sixteen, under the following circumstances: His father, who at that time resided near Washington, in Mason Co., Ky., a few miles south of Maysville, being out of provisions, crossed the Ohio River, with Neil, in a canoe to hunt deer at a lick near the mouth of Eagle Creek, near the present Adams County line. On entering the creek from the river they heard a peculiar hacking noise some distance up the bank. Neil having been placed ashore, cautiously advanced, with gun in hand, towards the place from whence the noise proceeded, when he saw an Indian about twenty feet up a hickory-tree, cutting off the bark with his tomahawk to make a canoe. The moment the daring and intrepid boy saw the Indian he brought his gun to his shoulder, and taking deliberate aim fired, and the red-skin fell dead to the earth. Thinking that there might be other Indians in the neighborhood, he and his father beat a hasty retreat, recrossing to the Kentucky shore, and communicated the information to the neighbors. As they did not fully credit the story, the next morning Neil guided a party of men to the spot, where, sure enough, at the foot of the tree lay the dead Indian, who had never moved from where he had fallen, a bullet having passed entirely through his body. Neil took the Indian's scalp and showed it many days to his friends, who bestowed presents on him for his bravery. This adventure produced a marked change in his life, and his manners and habits were soon after almost transformed. His step became as light and as stealthy as a cat's, and his rifle was his inseparable companion.
Not long after, Neil had another opportunity to engage the wily Indian and show his skill in beating the cunning of the red man. For many weeks an Indian, by imitating the gobble of a turkey on the Ohio side, had decoyed Kentucky hunters across the river and killed them. But Neil was too sharp a woodsman not to know that a turkey did not gobble in July, so having heard the noise one day he at once made up his mind that it was produced by the Indian, and resolved to cross over and kill him. Waiting until night had well advanced with its darkness, he silently crossed the stream a short distance below where he had heard the noise, and cautiously crawled to a place to conceal himself, where he would lie until the next morning, when he supposed the Indian would again begin his gobbling. He had not advanced far when he heard a noise issuing from behind a log not far from him. He soon saw the Indian's head slightly raised above a log behind which he lay concealed and again commence to gobble. At that instant Neil fired, killing him at once. Taking the Indian's scalp he returned to his Kentucky home, which he reached before his friends knew of his absence. The Indian he had killed proved to be a daring warrior, who had killed no less than twelve whites in that many weeks.
In 1791 the Indians became very troublesome, crossing the Ohio between Maysville and the Little Miami to steal horses and murder the Kentuckians. To watch their movements and give the whites warning of the approach of their savage foe required great caution and courage on the part of the spy. Yet Neil Washburn, though but seventeen years of age, was selected for this perilous and responsible position, which he filled to the safety of the whites and the terror of the Indians. Once while thus employed he gave them a terrible example of his skill. At the mouth of Bullskin, in Clermont County, he made a sudden attack on an Indian camp of five warriors and killed all but one without receiving a wound.
This daring act gave him a still greater reputation as an Indian fighter and caused him to be selected, in the spring of 1792, as the government spy to patrol the country between the Great Kanawha and Maysville. Although Gen. Lee had selected some other men to engage with Washburn in this perilous enterprise, none but he had the courage to go out and warn single boats not to descend the river. He was provided with a good horse and well armed, and met with no adventure until after crossing the Big Sandy. He swam that stream and had proceeded about a mile, when he was suddenly fired upon by a party of Indians in ambush.
His horse fell dead, and with a yell of triumph the savages sprang forward to capture the spy. But Washburn was unhurt, and fleeing like a deer evaded his pursuers as he made his way back to the Big Sandy. He plunged into the stream and swam across it, holding his rifle and ammunition above his head. Panting from exertion, he rested for a moment on the opposite bank, when the Indians, whooping and yelling, appeared in pursuit. Neil took aim with his trusty rifle and killed one of the Indians, then ran down the river. The Indians pursued so closely that he was obliged to strike inland to evade them, and after much effort arrived safe at Maysville. The same year he was engaged with Kenton and others at the battle of Grassy Run (an account of which is elsewhere given in this book), and again displayed great daring. Twenty-five years after this battle Washburn found McIntyre's gun, which he saw him place against a tree while he was cooking his supper. The stock was almost gone and had sunk several inches into the earth.
Not long after the above battle Neil Washburn encountered two Indians on horseback near the mouth of the Bullskin, one of whom was riding a short distance in advance of the other. He fired at him, and succeeded in killing him without alarming the other Indian, who was also killed when he came up, and both horses were taken by Neil to Kentucky.
About the same time an Indian crossed the Ohio, and stealing six horses in Kentucky, had almost reached the river on his northward way when he was overtaken by Washburn and two others. The Indian had plaited the tails of the front horses into the foretops of the ones in the rear, and was taking them along without any trouble. They fired on the Indian, who shot at Neil, and almost disabled him before he was killed and the horses recovered.
While acting as a spy in the summer of 1793 he discovered where about twenty Indians had crossed the Ohio and sunk their canoes at the mouth of Holt Creek. He immediately notified Simon Kenton, who soon raised a body of choice men, with himself and Washburn at their head. They crossed into Ohio at Maysville, and proceeded down the river till they were opposite Holt Creek. Here they concealed themselves, and after watching four days, some of the Indians arrived with a number of stolen horses, which they commenced to swim to the Ohio shore, at the same time crossing over in one of the canoes. As soon as the boat touched the shore Kenton and his party fired, killing all the Indians, but saving the life of a white man who was with them. Going down to the canoe the white man attempted to shoot Kenton, when the latter gave orders that he, too, be killed. Three or four hours later another party of Indians came from Kentucky and crossed as did the first body of Indians, when Kenton's party again fired and killed all of them. In the evening the remainder of the Indians approached and commenced hooting like owls, but receiving no response from the Ohio side, and suspecting an ambuscade, reconnoitred until they found that it would not be safe to cross there. They beat a hasty retreat just as a company of Bourbon County militia came up in pursuit of them. These were among the last Indians that crossed into Kentucky from Ohio for warlike purposes.
After this occurrence Neil Washburn continued to act as a spy until Wayne's expedition was set on foot, when he joined Kenton's battalion and acted as a scout in the march to Fort Recovery. He participated in the battle of Fallen Timbers, fighting in the advance line, and it is said that he killed thirteen Indians in that engagement. After the treaty of Greenville Washburn made his home with his father, at Manchester, in Adams County, where he had settled in the spring of 1792. He now spent most of his time hunting and trapping until the war of 1812, in which he was at the head of a company of rangers in Gen. Hull's command. In the war he rendered good service, and received the thanks of Gen. Harrison for the part he took at the siege of Fort Meigs. On one occasion he came near losing his life. While on an expedition to learn the strength of the enemy, his command was led into an ambush, and had it not been for the timely aid rendered by Jacob Ulrey, who arrived at this moment, many would have been killed. Washburn received a wound over the eye, and Ulrey had a horse shot under him.
In 1815, Cornelius Washburn moved to Williamsburgh township, where he resided until 1833, but most of the time he was engaged in trapping along the rivers of the Southwest. In the fall of 1833 he accepted a position as a hunter and scout for a fur-trading and trapping company on the Yellowstone, where he was killed in March of the following year, it is supposed by the Indians, under the following circumstances: The trappers were divided into two companies, of one of which Neil Washburn was the commander. At the close of the season the men divided into small parties and proceeded in that manner to a general point of rendezvous. Neil Washburn and two others decided to take passage by water, while the rest of the men went overland, where they arrived safe, and waited five days before they had any tidings concerning Washburn and his companions. On the morning of the fifth day an Indian rode into camp with some trapping on his pony which were recognized as having belonged to Washburn, and another Indian appeared clothed in garments which belonged to one of his companions, which left but little doubt as to the fate of the unfortunate men; and as the country was infested by hostile Indians, the trappers were obliged to leave without learning anything more definite about the matter.
In personal appearance, Neil Washburn was more than six feet in height, with broad shoulders and a very symmetrical body, although his hands and feet were small. He was active and powerful, and it is said that his physical appearance was strikingly like that of Cortez. His dress was the common garb of the true woodsman, and his feet were never encased in anything but moccasins, which gave his step a light and cautious tread. His speech was low, his hearing remarkably acute, and, in general, all those faculties which characterize men of his stamp were developed to an unusual extent, and he was a thorough master of every species of Indian tactics. He was one of the last of that class of men - like Boone, Kenton, Beasley, and Wetzel - who appear to have been specially raised up to make the settlement of the great West possible, by protecting the pioneers as they extended the way of civilization towards the setting sun, and the story of their valor and manly deeds will always be gladly read as long as the love for the heroic exists.
was to a large extent a contemporary of Cornelius Washburn, and, like him, was nurtured in the ways of frontier life from his infancy to his manhood. He was born at the old Redstone Fort (now Brownsville, Pa.), and was the son of German parents, who were massacred by the Indians, who made an incursion in that country when Adam was but eight years of age. None of the whites escaped, and had not Adam and a younger brother been away from home they, too, would have met a cruel death. The two orphan children were taken in charge by an uncle, with whom Adam lived until he was fourteen years of age, when, being strongly imbued with a military spirit, he enlisted in a company of soldiers which was stationed at Fort Redstone. They remained there about a year, young Adam being engaged most of the time as a hunter for the garrison, a position of honor for one so young. In 1785 the soldiers were sent to Pittsburgh, where they remained about two years. In that time young Bricker was connected with several expeditions against the Indians, and displayed so much courage and coolness in battle that he won the admiration of his comrades.
In 1787 we find Bricker and his company at Fort Lawrence, and two years later at Fort Harmar (now Marietta). From thence the soldiers were sent down the river to Fort Washington (now Cincinnati), and later to the falls of the Ohio, where Adam Bricker's term of enlistment expired. When St. Clair recruited men for his ill-fated expedition at Pittsburgh, Bricker again enrolled himself as a soldier, and on account of his courage and pioneer experience was assigned a place in the van of the army. This place he kept until two days before St. Clair's defeat, when he and some comrades were detailed to return and bring up a convoy of provisions and some stragglers of the army. Failing in their mission they returned to their regiment, and were with it at Fort Jefferson at the time of the battle. After the defeat Bricker's company proceeded to the Ohio River, and was at Louisville until after Wayne's victory in 1794.
In December of that year they were ordered to Pittsburgh, and in the early part of 1795 they were engaged in suppressing the whisky rebellion in Western Pennsylvania. Having now been connected with the regular army more than ten years, Adam Bricker decided to cast his lot among the settlers who were pushing their way to the Miami country in Southern Ohio, and went to Columbia in the fall of 1795. Here he connected himself with Gen. William Lytle's surveying-party, and went with it to lay out Williamsburgh, in Clermont County, serving as a hunter for the surveyors. While thus engaged, one day, watching for deer at a lick in what is now Perry township, in Brown County, he discovered an Indian with a bridle on his arm, which he doubtless intended to put on the first horse he could steal. Adam, who was concealed behind a log, cocked his gun, and was on the point of firing, when suddenly the Indian made a movement, which the wily frontiersman interpreted as a lookout for his companions, and lay as quietly as possible until the Indian had passed by, when Bricker beat a hasty retreat and reached the surveyors in safety.
In 1796 he built a small cabin at Williamsburgh, and followed a hunter's life until 1805, when he married Rebecca Hartman, a woman of more than ordinary ability, and thenceforth applied himself to the work of opening a farm; but having been a soldier and hunter so long, he felt it hard to be satisfied unless he had a gun on his shoulder. Even at the age of seventy he spent much of his time in the woods hunting, and often expressed a regret that the Indian wars were over. In company with Adam Snider and Cornelius Washburn he spent two months of the winter of 1804-5 searching for Lydia Osborne, who had been lost the previous July, traveling more than five hundred miles among the Indians of the northern part of the State, and subsisting on wild berries and game. In 1806, while hunting on the Stonelick, near where is now the residence of John Barnacle, he discovered an enormous black bear on an old ash-tree, which was covered with a blue-grape vine, on the berries of which the bear was feasting. To shoot the bear was but the work of a moment, and almost as quickly the monster fell to the ground. Adam, thinking that the bear was dead, ventured too close, and soon found himself in the grasp of the wounded animal, who embraced him with a terrible force. After a short struggle Bricker drew his hunting-knife and plunged it into the heart of the bear with such effect that he soon found himself free and unhurt, save a few scratches. A few years after this encounter he killed a very huge panther near Williamsburgh. He had been imitating the cries of a fawn to decoy the doe, but to his astonishment was confronted by a ferocious panther instead of a deer. The bloodthirsty animal had stealthfully crouched near him, and it required quick action to save himself from being town to pieces. He fired and the panther fell dead. It measured eight feet in length, and is said to have been the last one killed in Clermont County.
The closing years of Adam Bricker's life were spent on his farm a few miles south of Williamsburgh, where he died Aug. 31, 1843, at the age of eighty years, ten months, and twenty-five days. He was a man of small stature, but had great powers of endurance, often walking to Cincinnati and returning the same day.
was a contemporary of Cornelius Washburn, Adam Bricker, and other pioneers of noted courage and bravery. He was a native of Maryland, but was of German parentage, and until he was twelve years of age Jacob could speak no word of the English. From Maryland his parents moved to Washington Co., Pa., and when he was fifteen years of age he became the owner of a rifle, in the use of which he soon became an adept, and at eighteen he had a reputation extending through all the country as a skillful hunter. At twenty he married, and in 1794 started with others to Kentucky, and after a perilous voyage down the Ohio settled about twenty-five miles from Louisville. Three years later, attracted by the glowing accounts of the Miami country, he immigrated to Clermont County, and settled in the northern part of Monroe township, on the stream now so widely known as Ulrey's Run. Here his fame as a hunter and his good qualities as a citizen caused him to be favorably known. His family was provided with the best the forests afforded, and he supplied the wants of his neighbors with a liberal hand. Many pioneers, and frequently Indians, were attracted to his cabin to see his wonderful skill as a marksman, the latter especially being loud in their praise of his skill.
About 1805 a gang of horse-thieves and other desperate characters infested the county, greatly harassing the good citizens, whose property was rendered wholly insecure by their presence. Among the boldest of these desperadoes was a man named Colwell, who not only stole without fear of the law, but defied the authorities to capture him. Their indifference provoked Ulrey to a determination to hunt Colwell down, and he soon had the satisfaction of not only capturing him, but of breaking up his gang, which had a wholesome fear of this brave, cool-headed man.
When the war of 1812 broke out he became a member of Capt. Flinn's company of Kentucky rangers, and was at the battle of Brownstown. Shortly after Hull's surrender, when near the head of the Maumee River, his company was attacked by a large force of Indians. Seeing an Indian in the act of tomahawking a wounded comrade, he dismounted to take aim, when his horse became frightened and ran some distance, tearing off his saddle before he was caught. He killed the Indian, and mounted the horse bareback and rode all the way to Vincennes. As he weighed about two hundred and forty pounds, the exercise was so violent that he was thrown into a severe fever, which nearly caused his death. Recovering, he again engaged in active service, and thereafter had many personal combats with the Indians and the British. After peace was declared he returned to his home in Clermont, where he was engaged in farming till his death, Sept. 7, 1838, although he spent much of his time hunting; and, as he was a man of splendid physique and a good horseman, he was one of the finest men in his day when he engaged in the chase. The descendants of Ulrey became noted as useful and important citizens, and many yet remain in Clermont.
GEN. JAMES TAYLOR.
Although Gen. Taylor was never a resident of Clermont, he was so closely identified with her early material interests that a short sketch of his life will be perused with general interest. He was a native of Virginia, but in 1792 he immigrated to Campbell Co., Ky., settling on the site on which now is the city of Newport, which he laid out. He was a surveyor, and engaged largely in locating lands, beginning his operations in the military reservation in 1795, chiefly as a partner of Gen. William Lytle. This relation was continued until 1805, when the partnership was dissolved. Gens. Taylor and Lytle caused several of the earliest mills in Clermont to be built by Peter Wilson, a millwright, whom they employed for this purpose. One of the best known was on the Obannon Creek, in the northwestern part of Goshen, better known as "Wilson's mill."
In the war of 1812, Gen. Taylor was one of the first to volunteer, and served as quartermaster-general of Gen. Hull's army, and was in all the engagements around Detroit.
As a business man, Gen. Taylor had no superior in his day, and by his energy had accumulated a vast estate. At different times he owned over three hundred thousand acres of land in the State of Ohio, most of which was patented to himself, and it is remarkable that he lost but very little land by reason of a superior title. He died in 1848, leaving to his son, Col. James Taylor, the management of his affairs, embracing also his realty in Clermont County, which amounted to several thousand acres of choice land. The latter is still a citizen of Newport, yet for the past fifty years has sustained close relations to Clermont. He was thoroughly educated, and adopted the law as his profession, being admitted to the bar in 1825. He took an active interest in the land-operations of his father, and himself made the last entry for Clermont County before the land-office was closed at Chillicothe. Col. Taylor is at present reputed one of the wealthiest men in Kentucky, and is liberal in his benefactions to humane and charitable institutions.
REV. FRANCIS McCORMICK.
The life of a person closely connected with a political or religious movement is generally invested with much interest; and a short sketch of such a life cannot but prove instructive to the careful reader of history. Francis McCormick was born in Frederick Co., Va., June 3, 1764. His father was a farmer in easy circumstances, and in the earlier years of his life a strict Presbyterian. Later, however, his religious convictions were not so clearly defined, and he lived in a condition of moral darkness. Consequently, young McCormick grew up a wild and wicked young man. But at the age of twenty-six, under the preaching of Rev. William Jassop, he was awakened on the subject of his soul's salvation, and entertained serious thoughts of reforming. This state of mind was not agreeable to his parents and friends. They bitterly opposed his convictions, and ridiculed the Methodists, under whose influence he was led to seek a change of heart. As their decision did not dissuade him from his purpose, his father imperatively commanded him to renounce his belief or leave home. But as the opposition from without waxed stronger the spirit within became more courageous, and on the 25th of December, 1790, he fully united himself with the Methodist Church. His wife had joined the same body a short time before. Even now his relatives did not desist from their purpose, and tried to bring him and his denomination into disrepute by getting him drunk. Happily in this and other efforts to turn him from the faith which he had espoused they failed, and Francis McCormick was spared to become a useful man in the church. Soon after his conversion he was made a class-leader, by the Rev. Valentine Cook, and in 1792 he was licensed to preach.
In 1795 he immigrated to Bourbon Co., Ky., but having long entertained a dislike for the institution of slavery, the following year he moved to the Northwest Territory, which had been consecrated to freedom, where he might escape its baneful influence. He located on a fine tract of land, just north of the present village of Milford, where, in the spring of 1797, he organized the first class of Methodists in the State of Ohio, and practically became the founder of the Methodist Church in the great Northwest Territory.
In 1798 he accompanied the Rev. John Kobler (who was sent hither for that purpose by the Kentucky Conference) on the first missionary tour in Ohio, which had the effect of more fully occupying the ground for Methodism. In 1799 he formed two Methodist classes in the present county of Hamilton, the first at a Mr. Ramsey's, near Lockland, the other at Columbia. At these points and other places he preached, and nobly aided the circuit preachers in after-years to plant the banner of the cross in many a benighted neighborhood.
In 1806 he sold his home at Milford, and removed to what is now known as Salem, in Hamilton County, where he died in 1836. "During the latter part of his life he was partly disabled by disease, which he contracted in the service of the church, arising from exposure to the wet and cold in his earlier ministry." Though never formally appointed as a circuit preacher, he did as much in the ministry, gave as much to the church, and exerted as much influence for good on the minds of his neighbors as his eminent contemporaries. He never shirked his duty, and was always at his post to promote whatever work was required of him. Fervent in his piety, liberal in his belief, humane in his actions, genial in his nature, and refined in his sentiments, his life was a power that was felt throughout the entire Miami country. "In person he was large and well developed, his height being six feet and his weight two hundred and forty pounds. His gigantic body was surmounted by a well-developed head and a florid face, with a clear, blue eye, expressive of good temper, intelligence, and benevolence."
REV. JOHN COLLINS.
In the early history of Clermont County no one of the grand old pioneers bore a more prominent part than the Rev. John Collins, the "old man eloquent" of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was born in Gloucester Co., N. J., in 1769, seventeen years before the Declaration of Independence was promulgated, and died in 1845, at Maysville, Ky. His parents were Quakers, but he was most happily converted in 1794, and united with the Methodist Church, in which for over half a century he preached to a suffering people with remarkable and unprecedent success in reclaiming sinners and leading them into paths of holiness they had not known. After laboring some years as a local preacher in New Jersey he removed in 1803 to this county, and in 1804 preached the first Methodist sermon ever delivered in Cincinnati. In 1807 he was admitted into the Western Conference, and among the thousands he led into the church and to the Saviour was John McLean, afterwards judge of the Supreme Court of the United States for about a third of a century. Father Collins' appointments, with two intervals of location, were for thirty years in Ohio; and in 1837 he took a superannuated relation, and died, at the ripe old age of seventy-six years, a blessed death, his last words being "Happy, happy, happy!"
Rev. Collins, hearing of the rich land in Ohio and the vast resources of this then far-distant Western State, became desirous of emigrating to this new El Dorado, and by conversing with a few of his neighbors he induced several of them to go with him. In the summer of 1802 he came out to view the country, intending, if he found it as represented, to purchase land for three men besides himself. He learned that Gen. William Lytle, an old Indian fighter, was a land-agent living at Williamsburgh, then the shire-town of the new county, and that he had many large tracts of land for sale. Gen. Lytle took Mr. Collins to see many tracts, but none suited the latter, till at last the general said, "I have one more fine large survey to show you (Clayton's survey, No. 581), belonging to Gen. Nathaniel Massie, called 'The Horseshoe Bottom,' on the east fork of the Little Miami River." This tract greatly delighted Mr. Collins, and pleased him better than the hundreds of tracts he had examined in Southern Ohio; and of it Cornelius McCollum, Isaac Higbee, and Josiah Allbason each took two hundred acres, and Mr. Collins the balance, the whole calling for nine hundred and sixty-six and two-thirds acres, but overrunning considerably. In the division Mr. Collins got the lower part of the land, including the famous Horseshoe Bend, which he came to occupy in the spring of 1803, his associates building cabins on the tract above him.
These pioneers spent the summer and fall clearing the land, preparing to be comfortable in the coming winter, and by next spring Mr. Collins had two acres ready for corn, it being too late the year of their arrival to raise anything but turnips, of which they produced vast quantities, but in the year following they raised over a hundred bushels of corn to the acre. Mr. Collins selected a most beautiful site, where there was a splendid spring of water, on the second bottom from the river, in the centre of his land, to build a house, where, after it was cleared, he had the loveliest view to be found in this Virginia Military Reservation district. At that day there was a very large and luxuriant growth of all kinds of vegetation, - wild pea-vines, wild grapes, several varieties of wild plums, crab-apples, black and red haws, strawberries, gooseberries, and blackberries. All kinds of wild animals abounded, and game and fish were in great abundance. There were salt springs, frequented by deer, on Mr. Collins' plantation, and the hills on the north side of the east fork were therefore called by hunters "Elk Lick Hills."
There being no church nearer than six or seven miles, Mr. Collins immediately opened his house for Christian service and religious worship, and one of the rough settlers near by, when he heard that a Methodist minister had bought the land, kneeled down and prayed the Lord would kill him, but when Mr. Collins arrived this rough but honest settler visited the pioneer parson, was soon converted, and became one of Clermont's best citizens, and a most exemplary and zealous member of the church. Mr. Collins gave a large lot off his place and had on it built a log meeting-house, in which was regular preaching and a flourishing membership; and in 1818, on the same site, was erected a tasty frame edifice, and named "Bethel Church." The sacred memories that cluster around the old "Bethel Chapel," built of logs about 1807, and the later more imposing frame church, awaken old associations of the noble pioneer preachers and sainted Christian mothers of Clermont, who laid broad and deep the pious foundations that made Clermont County so early and notably identified with religion, and the almost endless happy influence therefrom resulting.
Mrs. Collins was a woman of rare beauty and rarer intellectual accomplishments. She was a sister of James and Learner Blackman, both eminent in early Methodism, and the latter especially noted for his eloquence and winsome manners. He was born in New Jersey in 1781, and after coming to the West, in 1802, often preached in Clermont. In 1805 he went south, and preached in the Holston, Nashville, and Cumberland districts, was presiding elder, and in 1808 and 1816 a delegate to the United States General Conference. Returning from a visit to his friends in Clermont, when crossing the Ohio River on a flat-boat, at Cincinnati, his horse becoming frightened plunged into the river, carrying this distinguished minister with him, and the eloquent Blackman found a watery grave.
Mrs. Collins died on the homestead about 1863. Her most distinguished son was Gen. Richard Collins, in his day one of the best attorneys of Ohio, who lived at Hillsboro many years, but in the latter part of his life resided on the Old Collins farm, where he erected what was at that time the handsomest residence in the county, and which yet remains as a memorial to the worth and enterprise of the Collins family, and especially as a tribute to the memory of the old pioneer preacher whose touching appeals and untiring labors brought so many within the folds of the Christian church.
REV. WILLIAM B. CHRISTIE
was born in Williamsburgh, Sept. 3, 1803, and was the youngest of a family of ten children. His parental grandfather was a duke in Scotland, and owned a large landed estate called "Beech Green." He had in his family of five children two sons, George and Robert, the latter being the father of the subject of our sketch. The former died at an advanced age, without issue, leaving, according to the custom of the country, his vast estate to his younger brother, Robert, who had run away from his home at the age of seventeen and joined the British army about the time of the Revolution in America. He was non-commissioned officer in Lord Cornwallis' army, and was among the men surrendered by him at Yorktown. After this event he settled in Fauquier Co., Va., where he was married to Frances Burdett. In 1792 he immigrated to Kentucky, settling at Newport, where he followed weaving for a livelihood. It was here that he formed the acquaintance of Gen. Wm. Lytle, and for the weaving of a pair of blankets for him Lytle gave Christie a deed for ten acres of land, located where is now Fountain Square, in the city of Cincinnati. In several years Christie sold this land back to Lytle, and came with a number of others to the newly laid-out town of Williamsburgh, in Clermont County, and finally settled on a farm on the East Fork, west of the old Bethel road, where William B. was born. Of his father little more can be said except that he was a man of fine natural abilities and well educated, but being given to intemperate habits, his good qualities were frequently overshadowed by his faults. His mother possessed strong sense, and was kind and generous to a fault.
From his earliest youth William B. Christie gave signs of coming greatness. He was apt at learning, and had a wonderful memory. Nevertheless, he possessed a mischievous disposition, and it is said that he had but one teacher who could fully govern him, or properly direct his vivacious disposition. At an early age he seemed to delight in the exercise of public speaking, and would often mount a stump or log and make speeches on various subjects, to the amusement and edification of his companions. At twelve he evinced an uncommon fondness for books of history and biography, reading with great avidity everything in that line that came within his reach. Like Farwharson, as a farmer he was a decided failure. Naturally of a weak constitution, and having a great fondness for study, he was unfitted for the heavy work of clearing up the country; yet being obliged by force of circumstances to labor as a woodsman, he carried a book in his pocket which he would read at every spare moment; and thus, under great difficulties, laid the foundation of his brilliant career.
At the age of sixteen, while attending a camp-meeting at Clough, in Hamilton County, he was happily converted, and in 1820 baptized by the Rev. J. B. Finley, at a meeting held near Milford. The same year he commenced to proclaim the glad tidings of the gospel, and preached with such persuasive eloquence that his fame was soon in the mouths of his brethren. While preaching at a camp-meeting in Hamilton County, a man by the name of Armstrong became much interested in the boy-preacher, and learning that he was an orphan, and had not enjoyed proper advantages for securing an education, he offered to send him to Augusta College, in Kentucky, at his expense. Accordingly, he entered that institution in 1823, while it was in charge of the eminent theologian, Finley. His stay there was continued eighteen months, and his benefactor having died, meantime, he left Augusta in the spring of 1825. The same year he became an itinerant in the Methodist Church, and was assigned to Union Circuit.
As a minister he was eminently successful, and in the service of the church filled several responsible offices. He was one of the delegates to the general conference held at Baltimore, and his fervid oratory on that occasion was the theme of general admiration. Twice more was he sent as a delegate to that body, and always with credit to his conference. Thus he toiled, preaching with such persuasion that thousands were converted, but in 1839 his health began to fail, and from that time until his death he could not stand to deliver his sermons. In the beginning of March, 1842, he was obliged to leave Urbana, where he had been stationed the year before, and go to Cincinnati for medical attendance. There he resided with his brother-in-law, Dr. Wright, until the 26th of the same mouth, when death brought his earthly career to a close. His disease was bronchitis, and during all his sickness not a murmur escaped his lips.
In personal appearance the Rev. William B. Christie was prepossessing in an eminent degree. He was somewhat above the medium height, and of a slender build, his hair was black as a raven; his eyes dark and piercingly brilliant; and when he was animated by the theme of his discourse they gleamed as if lighted by the fires of inspiration. "About his countenance there was a bland and sometimes seraphic sweetness, especially when with soft and measured cadences he would labor to win his rapt and listening audience to the cross or bear them away on imagination's wings to heaven. His like in the pulpit for fervid oratory was seldom equaled; his equal in rapid and impassioned eloquence we never expect to see again." His contrasts and comparisons were usually clear and strong; his pathos was sublime, and nothing human, seemingly, could withstand its power. His voice was more musical than Clay's, and more sonorous than Webster's. In a word, it was sweet like the music of Orpheus. His logic was invincible; his language chaste and pure. "Dignified in his deportment and courteous in his manner, he won the affections of all with whom he had intercourse." His ambition - and who that excels is not ambitious - was of that towering kind which sought to rise above all others, but never stooped in envious flight to pluck another's honors. He was, all in all, one of the greatest men Clermont has ever produced, and his name will never be held in sacred reverence by its citizens.
REV. WILLIAM H. RAPER
Among those who entered an itinerant ministry in the beginning of the present century was the Rev. William H. Raper. That he was born in troublous times is evident from the fact that a block-house in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania was the place of his birth, which occurred Sept. 24, 1793. His father, Leonard Raper, was a surveyor under the government in the Northwest Territory, which obliged him to be much away from home in the discharge of the duties of his calling. His mother was a woman of great piety and exemplary character, belonging to that little band of Methodists which was organized in Ohio before the close of the last century. She was, moreover, a true pioneer, and ardently loved her country, as her subsequent history in relation to her sons most abundantly shows. When the subject of this sketch was quite young his parents removed to Columbia, on the Ohio, a few miles above Cincinnati, where his early days were spent in those employments incident to pioneer life. After this the family moved to Williamsburgh, and when he had reached his nineteenth year the thoughts of William H. were turned to the war of 1812, then commenced, and his two brothers in the army of Gen. Hull, whose base surrender has forever associated his name with an ignominy little less than which attaches to Arnold. A call was made for volunteers, and young Raper joined the company of Capt. Stephen Smith, of Clermont County, and went forth to try the rigors of the camp and field. Not long after entering the company, the sergeant being disqualified by sickness from filling his post, young Raper was chosen to the office. He felt an ambition to fill with honor and bravery the part assigned him, and labored with zeal and diligence to become master of all the arts of war. A day or two before the battle of the Thames his company was ordered to march up the lake some fifteen miles, to prevent the landing of the British, and the engagement took place during their absence, and the battle was nearly closed before the company arrived on the ground. This circumstance rendered it necessary, as Capt. Smith's Clermont company was now the strongest, that it should take charge of the prisoners of war which had been taken by Commodore Perry and Gen. William Henry Harrison, and bring them to the Newport Station, in Kentucky.
All the officers who ranked above Raper in the company having been taken sick, the command devolved upon him. It was a responsible undertaking, but, as the sequel shows, the young officer proved himself adequate to the emergency. The company consisted of one hundred soldiers, and the number of prisoners amounted to four hundred; and every arrangement being made, they commenced their march. On their route it was necessary for them to cross the Black Swamp, which at that season of the year was nearly covered with water, extending for miles through a drear and desolate wilderness. In their march the company became bewildered and lost, and the young commander, Raper, was at his wits' end to know what to do. For three days and nights they wandered about in the swamp without food. The company had become scattered, and on the morning of the third day he found himself with a guard of only twelve men, and about one hundred prisoners. The prisoners, seeing the weakness of the guard, resolved on a mutiny, and refused to march, threatening to kill the few who had them in charge. No time was to be lost, and Raper calling out his men drew them up in line, and commanded them to make ready for the emergency, which they did by fixing their bayonets and cocking their guns. In this position both parties stood for some time. At length, finding that the prisoners refused all entreaties to march, the commander, young Raper, gave them five minutes to decide, and if at the expiration of that time they did not march he would fire and charge upon them. When the last minute had expired the soldiers were ordered to present arms, take aim, and - but before the word "fire" had escaped his lips a large Scotch soldier, fresh from the Highlands of his native country, cried "hold!" and stepping aside, asked the privilege of saying a word. Raper asked him if it was for peace, and receiving an affirmative reply, granted the request, whereupon, addressing his fellow-prisoners, he said, "We have been taken in a fair fight, and are prisoners, honorably so, and this conduct is disgraceful to our king's flag, and is not the conduct becoming true soldiers, but disgraceful to ourselves and country. Now," said he, "I have had no hand in raising this mutiny, and I propose that all who are in favor of behaving themselves as honorable prisoners of war shall come to me, and we will take the others in hand ourselves, and the American guard shall stand by and see fair play."
This speech had the desired effect, and the mutiny was brought to an end without bloodshed, and Raper continued in charge till he delivered them over at Newport, opposite Cincinnati. He was one of the best soldiers and bravest men in the army, and under every almost conceivable position in which a soldier could be placed he was never seen or known to evince the least fear. They had among the prisoners two Indians, who, after very severe threatenings, and, indeed, at the point of Raper's sword, finally led them out of the swamp. That evening they reached a settlement, where they obtained provisions, and notwithstanding the efforts of the officers many of the men killed themselves by eating. After his arrival in Newport with the prisoners he was offered a commission in the regular army, which he consented to take, provided it was agreeable to the wishes of his mother. Such was his love for her that he would take no important step without first consulting her. His mother's answer was characteristic of the noble mothers of that day: "My son, if my country was still engaged in war and I had fifty sons I would freely give them all to her service; but as peace is now declared, and there is no such necessity, as a Christian mother, therefore, I cannot consent, for I think something better awaits my son than the mere camp-life of a soldier in time of peace." Mr. Raper often spoke in gratitude of this advice of his mother, and felt it a far greater honor to be a humble minister of Jesus Christ than to be at the head of the American army.
In the spring of 1816 he joined the Methodist Church, under Rev. Russel Bigelow, at the house of Judge Ambrose Ranson, at Newberry, Clermont Co., Ohio, and after four months of deep penitence he was joyfully converted. Shortly after he assisted in holding meetings in his neighborhood and at Milford and Goshen, and the next year was employed by the presiding elder on what was then called the Miami Circuit. In the year 1819 he was received on trial in the traveling connection at the conference held at Cincinnati, and appointed to Madison Circuit, with the Rev. Henry Baker for a colleague.
While traveling in Indiana, upon the first visit to one of his appointments, after the meeting was closed a fine, large man approached him and called him brother, and said, "I knew you the moment I saw you, but I suppose you have forgotten me." Brother Raper told him he did not remember to have ever seen him. "Well, sir," said the man, "I am the Scotch soldier that made the speech to the prisoners the morning of the mutiny in the Black Swamp." Their meeting, under such a change of circumstances, was remarked by the brother as being very delightful, when he added, "After we were exchanged as prisoners of war my enlistment terminated. I had been brought to see the justice of the American cause and the greatness of the country, and determined I would not return to the old country. I commenced working at such labor as I could find, saved a little money, came to this State, rented some land, and opened a farm. I have joined the Methodist Church, and, praise God the best of all is, I have obtained religion. And, not among the least of my blessings in this new country, I have a fine wife and a noble child. So, come," said he, "dinner will be ready by the time we get home." All other claims from the members had to be set aside this time, and the two soldiers, now as friends and Christians, were permitted to renew their acquaintance; and they were ever after fast friends.
At another time, having lost the direction on a strange road at night, he crossed the mouth of Bullskin Creek, where it empties into the Ohio, where it was perhaps fifty feet deep, when the Ohio River was very high. The mouth of the creek being full of drift-logs and brush, and it being dark, he mistook the drift for a bridge and went upon it; he thought it was a very shackling kind of a bridge, but passed over, leading his horse, without injury, although when upon it he feared his horse would fall through, and knew no better till the next morning, when he was told of his danger by the family to whose house he had been attracted late in the night by seeing the light from their cabin window. But for that cabin he would have had to remain all night in the woods, as he had done several times before. During that year he swam his horse thirty-two times in order to reach his appointments, and on one of these swimming excursions he met with a singular accident. His horse, by some means, became entangled and sank, throwing him off. It was a cold morning, a little before sunrise, and being encumbered with a great coat and leggins he found it very difficult to swim, but with great effort he succeeded in catching hold of the limb of a tree which was hanging over the stream, where he was enabled to rest and hold his head above the water. While thus suspended in the stream the thought rushed upon him, "Mother is praying for me, and I shall be saved." After thus resting for a moment or so he made the effort and got ashore. His horse had also made a safe landing, having the saddle-bags on his back all safe. His clothes and books were wet, and himself very much chilled by the early bath. But while this was going on with himself in the stream, his mother, some eighty or ninety miles away, that morning awoke suddenly as from affright, when this thought rushed upon her, "William is in great danger," when she sprang from her bed, and falling on her knees prayed for some time in intense supplication for his safety, when she received a sweet assurance that all was well. When they met and related the facts, and compared the time and all, they precisely agreed.
He was ever a favorite preacher in Clermont, where he was known to nearly every Methodist household, and where he preached some of the ablest of his discourses for which he was distinguished. In the years 1840, 1841, and 1842 he was presiding elder of a Cincinnati district, including most of this county, and under his labors and ministry thousands of souls in Clermont enlisted in the cause of Christ, many of whom went before to bid him welcome into everlasting habitations, while others yet follow him as he followed the Saviour. Blessed with an extraordinary memory, he acquired a very large amount of historical and general information, and possessed the happy art of turning all to good account. Some ministers excel in some things pertaining to their office and fall behind in others, but Preacher Raper succeeded well in almost every particular. He was a profound theologian, mighty in the sacred Scriptures, readily perceived the line separating truth and error, and had superior logical skill in advocating the one and opposing the other. While this generation lives on earth he and his labors will be remembered with delight by many both in and out of the church. Spiritual gifts were conferred on him in great variety, and he sang delightfully and usefully, and was highly gifted in prayer and exhortation. In fine, he was an eloquent preacher, an able expounder of the word of life, a very judicious administrator of church discipline, and a faithful and affectionate pastor. Whether on a circuit, on a station, or over a district as presiding elder, he appeared to be alike at home, and everywhere useful. His stated ministry was exercised chiefly in Indiana and Ohio (and much of it in the county of his adoption, and where his many kin dwelt), but his connection with several sessions of the General Conference, and subsequently with the General Mission Committee, caused him to be well known about the Eastern cities, where he was highly esteemed. Indeed, his amiable social qualities, superior conversational powers, and rich fund of useful in-cidents, gathered from practical life in camp, pulpit, and cabin, not only gained him access but secured him warm personal friends wherever he went, and few men had more admirers and none more devoted friends, either lay or clerical, than Preacher Raper.
In the early part of February, 1852, he accompanied Bishop Morris to Aurora, Ind., to attend a quarterly meeting and visit his old friends in that place. There he preached his last sermon, with peculiar clearness and effect. On Tuesday, the 10th of February, he started for home, in company with Bishop Morris, on the steamer "Forest Queen." He was attacked some time in the night with spasms, and when his condition was discovered by the brother who was in the same state-room consciousness was gone. The boat being in port, medical aid was immediately had, and all that human skill could do was done, but to no saving effect. He was carefully and tenderly borne to the bosom of his family, whose feelings we cannot attempt to describe, where he expired about half-past six P.M., surrounded by his affectionate and deeply-afflicted family and many sympathizing friends. The chariot of the Lord at length had come, and the eloquent Clermont minister had ascended to mansions on high. On a lovely spot in the Wesleyan cemetery the hand of affection reared a beautiful white marble obelisk, as a sacred memento, to tell the passerby where sleeps the sainted dust of one of Ohio's best and bravest sons.
GEN. ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT.
This eminent native of Clermont was born at the little village of Point Pleasant, in Monroe township, April 27, 1822, and was the oldest child of Jesse R.. and Hannah (Simpson) Grant. His father was a tanner by trade, and was at that time engaged in carrying on that avocation at Point Pleasant, but soon after removed to Georgetown, in Brown County, where the boyhood days of young Grant were spent. His mother was a daughter of John Simpson, an estimable citizen of Tate township, where the family still resides. His father was possessed of an unusual amount of native sense, and was a shrewd business man, in the later years of his life amassing considerable property. He observed with fatherly pride the many evidences of talent and tact which young Ulysses manifested, and gave them proper encouragement. The character of the boy is generally father to the man, and General Grant was no exception to the rule.
When Grant was very young he attended school with his cousin John, a Canadian, who had been sent over to the United States to be educated. The two boys were warm friends, but John had inherited prejudices against our country which at times he could not restrain, and his language often gave offense to young Grant. One day they were talking about George Washington, when John said, "It appears to me, Ulysses, you think a great deal too much of Washington"
"And why shouldn't I think well of him ?" replied the
tanner boy. "He is the father of my country, and was raised up by the Almighty to lead it to independence."
"All very fine," retorted John; "but he was a traitor to his king, nevertheless."
"A what?" asked Ulysses, rising to his feet.
"A traitor and a rebel," said the Canadian.
"John," calmly replied Ulysses, "how should you like to have your sovereign called such names?"
" Why, of course, I should not like it," replied John.
"Then," said young Grant, "let me tell you I will not allow you or any one else to insult the memory of George Washington."
"Well, what are you going to do about it?" said John, with a sneer.
I shall resent it, as I have a right to do. You may take advantage of me, for you are older and bigger than I am. My mother told me not to quarrel with my school-mates and I mean to mind her, and shall not attack them on my own account. But when Washington is assailed, and especially by an English boy, I shall defend the father of my country. Cousin or no cousin, John, you have got to take that back or fight."
John would not retract, and so, taking off their coats, at it they went. John was the stronger and forced Ulysses down, but young Grant hung on and finally turning John, hit him a blow on the nose, which completely blinded him. After a hard fight John finally had to cry out "enough!" but Grant would not let him up until he not only retracted his offensive language, but promised never again while on American soil to speak ill of George Washington. This was Grant's first battle for his country, and it was indicative of his future illustrious career as a man and a soldier.
Young Grant grew up a strong, self-reliant boy, of whose daring and tact, in overcoming difficulties, many anecdotes are related. He was as rugged as his native hills, and, although unobtrusive, strove to excel in all things. After a period of school life at Maysville, his father secured for him an appointment as a cadet to West Point, through the influence of his friend. Gen. Thomas L. Hamer, of George-town, at that time representative in Congress.
At the age of seventeen he entered the military academy of West Point, and four years later graduated twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine, receiving the commission of brevet second lieutenant. Ho was assigned to the Fourth Infantry, and remained in the army eleven years; was engaged in every battle of the Mexican war except that of Buena Vista, and received two brevets for gallantry. In 1848 he married Julia, daughter of Frederick Dent, a prominent merchant of St. Louis, and in 1854, having reached the grade of captain, he resigned his commission in the army. For several years he was engaged in farming near St. Louis, bat mat with small success, and in 1830 he entered the leather store of his father at Galena, Ill.
When the civil war broke out in 1861, Grant was thirty-nine years of age, but entirely unknown to public men, and without any personal acquaintance with great affairs. President Lincoln's first call for troops was made on the 15th of April, and on the 19th Grant was drilling a company of volunteers at Galena. He also offered his service to the adjutant-general of the army, but received no reply. The Governor of Illinois, however, employed him in the organization of volunteer troops, and at the end of five weeks he was appointed colonel of the Twenty first Illinois Infantry. He took command of his regiment in June, and reported first to Gen. Pope, in Missouri. On August 7th he was commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers, the appointment having been made without his knowledge. He had been unanimously recommended by the Congressmen from Illinois, not one of whom had been his personal acquaintance. For a few weeks he was occupied in watching the movements of partisan forces in Missouri.
On September 1st he was placed in command of the district of Southeast Missouri, with headquarters at Cairo, and on the 6th, without orders, he seized Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee River, and commanded the navigation both of that stream and of the Ohio. This stroke secured Kentucky for the Union, for the State Legislature, which had until then affected to be neutral, at once declared in favor of the government.
From this time on the events in his career are too numerous to admit of detailed mention in this book. The history of the war, from 1862 to its close, is in essential features the history of his life. It is so comprehensive in its results that its story has filled volumes. To convey a limited idea of his greatness as a general and his character as a man, we make allusion only to the last year of the war for the Union. Grant's entire loss among the troops immediately under his command, included those in Butler's army, amounted to twelve thousand six hundred and sixty-three killed, forty-nine thousand five hundred and fifty-nine wounded, and twenty thousand four hundred and ninety-eight missing; total, eighty-two thousand seven hundred and twenty. He captured in the same time sixty-six thousand five hundred and twelve soldiers; of the Confederate killed and wounded no return was ever made. He had destroyed every army opposed to him,---those of Lee, Early, and Beauregard, besides the reinforcements sent to Lee from all quarters of the South,---leaving at the last not a living man of all those armies who was not a prisoner. His forces had never been more than one-third greater than those of his antagonist, and he had constantly fought on the offensive. The terms granted to Lee at Appomattox were so magnanimous that the whole population of the South at once sought to share their benefits. All the other Confederate armies offered to surrender, and the greatest civil war in history was at an end.
Grant returned at once to Washington to superintend the disbandment of his armies. This work was scarcely begum when President Lincoln was assassinated. It had doubtless been intended to inflict the same fate on Grant; but he, fortunately, on account of leaving Washington early in the evening, declined an invitation to accompany the President to the theatre where the murder was committed. This event made Andrew Johnson President, but left Grant by far the most conspicuous figure in the public life of the country. He became the object of an enthusiasm greater than had ever been known in America. Every possible honor was heaped upon him; the grade of General was created for him by Congress; houses were presented to him by citizens; towns were illuminated because he entered. President Johnson soon took such a position in politics as threw most of those who supported the war into open hostility to him. At first he had been so bitter towards the defeated South that Gen. Lee asked Grant's interposition in his behalf, and it was given. Grant saved Lee from prosecution for treason when Andrew Johnson was eager for it. But Mr. Johnson soon became the ardent friend of the former Confederates, and was believed by many to be plotting their return to power. In this conjunction all parties turned to Grant. Congress passed laws to restrain the President, and giving Grant an amount of power unknown before to any subordinate. His position was extremely delicate. He was a soldier, and it was his duty to be subordinate to the President. Yet the President was in direct opposition to the Congress,---the law-making power. Grant, however, for a long time was able to comply with the directions of Congress without offending the President. Johnson, indeed, sought to obtain the sanction of Grant's name for his policy. He suspended the Secretary of War and placed Grant in his stead, and the soldier for some months was a member of Mr. Johnson's cabinet. Finally, however, it became necessary for him either to break with the President or, by compliance, as he thought, to disobey the law; and he refused to do the latter. From this time President Johnson was his personal and political enemy.
Grant's popularity, however, remained unshaken with those who had supported the war, and in 1868 he was elected President by large majorities. He was inaugurated March 4, 1869. His first administration was distinguished by a cessation of the strifes which sprang from the war, by a large reduction of the national debt, and by a settlement of the difficulties with England, which had grown out of the depredations committed by privateers fitted out in England during the war. These difficulties threatened at one time to embroil the two nations, but they were referred to arbitration, and the result was a large award of damages, which were paid by England to the United States on account of the injuries she had occasioned and allowed. During the latter half of his administration a violent opposition arose to Grant, led by men in his own party, who were dissatisfied with his course. He was, however, re-elected to the Presidency in 1872 by a larger vote and a larger majority than any candidate had received since the United States became a nation.
After he had laid down his civil office Gen. Grant went abroad, and in Europe was everywhere received as the guest and equal to kings, queens, and emperors. Without office, and on account of his great wisdom alone, his advice was sought by the most eminent statesmen of the world, and rulers begged him to settle for them intricate disputes with foreign nations.
After two years' absence he returned once more to his native land. Hark! "What a sound is that which comes from the West?" It is the voice of the people proclaiming Gen. Grant has landed upon the coast of California. Louder and louder grew the shouts, until from the apex of the Rocky Mountains the glad sounds roll back undying to Freedom's farthest mountain. Now he moves eastward, this man without an office, a private citizen only, but wherever he goes the people gather to receive him, and he walks among them a king,---not by such a worthless title as a crown, but king over the hearts of a grateful people. Everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the land that struggles in the grasp of two mighty oceans the people invite him to come and see them, and wherever he presents himself they gather in such multitudes as were never seen there before.
We are told some men are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them, while others again wring greatness from the world. To the latter class emphatically belongs Ulysses Grant; and yet it may with truth be said that he belongs to the second class, for being as modest as he is great, he claimed nothing for his services, and honors and greatness had to be thrust upon him. The world furnishes few such examples of greatness and humility, and our country only one other,---that of George Washington.
We have written these words because we believe them to be true; because we think Grant to be a great and good man; because we admire him as a soldier and statesman, and feel grateful to him for re-establishing the Union of the States, and thus preserving for us and our children the government which the fathers founded. What Washington established, he with his mighty sword has preserved; and hereafter the names of Washington and Grant will stand side by side, and in marble and brass fill every niche of our country's fame to the latest posterity.
GENERAL WILLIAM LYTLE
In the early history of Clermont no character was more widely or favorably known than Gen. William Lytle. When he first became permanently identified with the material interests of the county as a surveyor and landowner, he was a young man of large frame and spare form, of erect carriage and keen blue eyes, which gave him an agreeable appearance. He was born in Cumberland, Pa., in 1770, and nine years later was taken by his parents to Fayette Co., Ky., where most of his boyhood was spent, and where he imbibed the spirit which so distinguished him as a young man. In 1786 the Mack-a-chuck Indian towns in Ohio were destroyed by a body of Kentuckians under Col. Benjamin Logan. It was the autumn of that year that Gen. Clarke raised his forces for the Wabash expedition, constituting a numerous corps. Col. Logan was detailed from the army at the falls of the Ohio to recruit a large force of men, with which to proceed against the Indian villages on the headwaters of Mad River and the Great Miami. William Lytle, then living with his parents in Kentucky, was strongly imbued with the martial feeling incident to pioneer times, but being only sixteen years old was too young to come within legal requisition for enlistment of troops; but he, with that spirit of bravery and duty which ever characterized him and his noble lineage, offered himself as a volunteer. Col. Logan went to his destination with the boy Lytle in his forces, and would have surprised the Indian towns against which he had marched had not one of his own men basely deserted to the enemy, not long before they reached the town, and given notice of their approach. As it was, he burned eight large towns, destroyed many fields of corn, took eighty-odd prisoners, and killed twenty warriors, among them being the head of the nation. But this last act caused deep regret, humiliation, and shame to the commander-in-chief and his troops.
When they came in view of the first two towns, one of which stood on the west bank of the Mad River and the other on the northeast of it, separated by a prairie half a mile in extent, it was found that the town on the northeast was situated on a high, commanding point of land, which projected a small distance into the prairie, at the foot of which eminence broke out several fine springs, and that this was the residence of the famous chief of the nation. His flag was flying at the time from the top of a pole sixty feet high, and they advanced in three lines, the commander and some of the horsemen marching at the head of the centre line, and the footman in the rear, Col. Robert Paterson commanding the left and Col. Thomas Kennedy the right. When they came in sight of the town the spies of the advance-guard made a halt, and sent a man back to inform the commander of the situation of the two towns. He ordered Col. Paterson to attack the towns on the left bank of Mad River, and Col. Kennedy was also charged to attack those on the left, while he himself determined to charge, with the centre division, immediately on the upper town. Lytle, though but a boy, heard the commander give his orders and caution the colonels against allowing* their men to kill any of the enemy that they might suppose to be prisoners. He then ordered them to advance, and as soon as they should discover the enemy to charge upon them. Lytle had his doubts touching the propriety of some of the arrangements, but was willing to view the affair with diffidence of youth and inexperience; but, at any rate, he resolved to see all that was going on, and to be as near the head of the line as his colonel would permit it, as he was extremely anxious to try himself in battle.
The commander of the centre line waved his sword over his head as a signal for the troops to advance, and Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton commanded the advance, and Col. Trotter the rear. As they approached within half a mile of the town on the left, and about three-fourths from that on the right, they saw the savages retreating in all directions, making for the thickets, swamps, and high prairie grass to secure themselves from their enemy. Lytle was animated with the energy with which the commander conducted the head of his line, who waved his sword, and in a voice of thunder exclaimed, "Charge from the right to left!" The horses appeared as impatient for the onset as their riders, and as they came up with the flying red men Lytle was disappointed at discovering that they would have little to do. He heard but one Indian, with the exception of the chief, cry for quarter. They fought with desperation as long as they could raise knife, gun, or tomahawk, after they found they could not screen themselves. The whites dispatched all the warriors they overtook, and sent the women and children prisoners to the rear. They pushed ahead, still hoping to overtake a body where they might have something like a general engagement. The boy Lytle was mounted on a very fleet gray horse, followed by fifty of his companions, and had not advanced more than a mile before he discovered some of the enemy running along the edge of a thicket of hazel and plum bushes.
Lytle made signs to the men in his rear to come on, and at the same time, pointing to the flying enemy, he obliqued across the plain, so as to get in advance of them. When he arrived within fifty yards of them he dismounted, raised his gun, and discovered at this moment some men of the right wing coming up on the left. The warrior the young hero Lytle was about to shoot held up his hand in token of surrender, and he heard him order the other Indians to stop. By this time the men had arrived, and in the act of firing upon the Indians when Lytle called to them not to fire, for they (the savages) had surrendered to him. The warrior that had surrendered to Lytle came walking towards him, calling his women and children to follow him. Lytle advanced to meet him, with his right hand extended, but before he could reach him the men of the right wing of the force surrounded him. Lytle rushed in among their horses, and while the warrior was giving him his hand several of the soldiers wished to tomahawk the Indian, but Lytle informed them they would have to tomahawk him first, and led him back to the place where his flag had been. He, with the scattered troops, had taken thirteen prisoners; among them were the chief Moluntha, the great sachem of the Shawnees, his three wives,---one of them a young and handsome woman, another of them the famous grenadier squaw, upwards of six feet high, and sister to the distinguished chief, Cornstalk, who fell (basely murdered) at Point Pleasant, W. Va.,---and two or three fine lads. The rest were children, but of these lads one was a remarkably interesting youth, about the size and age of Lytle, to whom he clung closely, and appeared keenly to notice everything that was going on.
When Lytle and his force arrived at the town a crowd of the Kentucky soldiery pressed around to see the chief. A young man named Carner had been to one of the springs to drink, and discovering the young savage by Lytle's side came running towards him. The young Indian supposed he was advancing to kill him, and as Lytle turned around the little savage let fly an arrow at Carner, for he was armed with a bow. Lytle had just time to catch his arm as he discharged the arrow, and it passed through Carner's clothes, grazing his side, and the jerk he gave undoubtedly prevented his killing Carner on the spot. Lytle then took away his arrows and sternly reprimanded him, and led him back to the crowd which surrounded the prisoners. At the same moment Col. McGary, the same man who by his rashness and impetuosity had caused the terrible disaster at Blue Licks, Ky., some years before, coming up, Col. Logan's eye caught that of McGary, and he said, "Col. McGary, you must not molest these prisoners." "I will see to that," said McGary, in reply. Young Lytle then forced his way through the crowd to the chief, with his young charge by the hand. McGary ordered the crowd to open and let him in, and coming up to the chief, his first salutation was in the question, "Were you not at the defeat at the Blue Licks?" The Indian, not knowing the meaning of the words, or not understanding the purport of the question, answered, "Yes." McGary instantly seized an axe from the hands of the grenadier squaw, and raised it to strike a blow at the chief. Lytle threw up his arm to ward off the blow, and the handle of the axe struck the young hero across the left wrist, and came near breaking it, but the axe sank in the head of the chief to the eyes, and he fell dead at Lytle's feet. Provoked beyond measure at this wanton barbarity, Lytle drew his knife for the purpose of avenging his cruelty by dispatching the cowardly McGary, but his arm was arrested by one of the men, which prevented him from inflicting the thrust upon McGary, who escaped from the crowd.
A detachment was then ordered off to two other towns, distant six or eight miles, and the men and prisoners were ordered to march down to the lower town and encamp. As they marched out of the upper town they fired it, collecting a large pile of corn for their horses, and beans, pumpkins, etc., for their own use. Lytle told Capt. Stucker, who messed with him, that he had seen several hogs running about the town which appeared to be in good order, and that he thought a piece of fresh pork would relish well with their stock of vegetables. He readily assenting to it they went in pursuit of them, but as orders had been given not to shoot unless at an enemy, after finding the hogs they had to run them down on foot until they got near enough to tomahawk them. Being engaged at this for some time before they killed one, while Capt. Stucker was in the act of striking the hog, Lytle cast his eye along the edge of the woods that skirted the prairie, and saw an Indian coming along with a deer on his back. The fellow happened to raise his head at that moment, and looking across the prairie to the upper town saw it all in flames. Then Lytle spoke to Stucker in a low voice, that here was an Indian coming, and in the act of turning his head around to address Stucker, he discovered Hugh Ross, brother-in-law to Col. Kennedy, at the distance of about sixty yards, approaching them. Lytle made a motion with his hand to Ross to squat down, then taking a tree between him and the Indian, slipped somewhat near, to get a fairer shot, when at the instant he raised his gun past the tree, the Indian being about one hundred yards distant, Ross' ball whistled by him (so close that he felt the wind of it) and struck the Indian on the calf of one of his legs. The Indian immediately dropped his deer and sprang into the high grass of the prairie, all of which occurred so quickly that Lytle had not time to draw a sight on him before he was hid by the grass. Lytle was provoked at Ross' shooting when he (Lytle) was near enough to have killed him, and now the consequence would be that probably some of their men would lose their lives, as a wounded Indian never gives up but with his life.
Capt. Irwin rode up that moment with his troop of horse and asked where the Indian was, and Lytle pointed as nearly as he could to the spot where he saw him in the grass, cautioning the captain, if he missed him the first charge, to pass on out of his reach before he wheeled to recharge, or the Indian would kill some of his men in the act of wheeling. It is not known whether the captain heard Lytle or not; at any rate, the warning was not intended to, for, after passing the Indian a few steps, Capt. Irwin ordered his men to wheel and recharge across the woods, and in the act of executing the movement the Indian raised up and shot the captain dead on the spot,---still keeping below the level of the grass, to not give the other men any opportunity of putting a bullet through him. The troop charged again, but the Indian was so active that he had darted into the grass some rods from where he had fired at Irwin, and they again missed him. By this time several footmen had got up, and Capt. Stucker and Lytle had each taken a tree that stood out in the edge of the prairie, among the grass, when a Mr. Stafford came up and put his head first past one side and then the other of the tree. Young Lytle was behind, and the latter told him not to expose himself that way or he would get shot in a moment, and had hardly expressed the last word when the Indian raised up out of the grass. His gun, Stucker's, and Lytle's, with four or five behind them, all cracked the same instant. Stafford fell at the side of Lytle, while the others rushed at the wounded Indian with their tomahawks. Before they had dispatched him he had made ready the powder in his gun and a ball in his mouth, preparing for a third fire, with bullet-holes in his breast that might all have been covered with a man's open hand. They found with him Capt. Beasley's rifle, the captain having been killed at the Lower Blue Licks a few days before the army passed through that place on their way to the towns.
Next morning Col. Logan ordered another detachment to attack a town that lay eight miles to the northeast of where they then were, and which they burnt, together with a large block-house which the English had built there of huge size and thickness. The detachment returned that evening to the main army. The Indian lad captured by Lytle was taken, with others of the prisoners, into Kentucky, and Col. Logan, the commander of the expedition, was so much pleased with him that he made him a member of his own family, in which he resided some years, and was at length permitted to return. He was ever afterwards known by the name of Logan, to which the prefix of captain was eventually attached. His Indian name was Spemica Lawba,---i.e., the "High Horn." He subsequently rose to the rank of a civil chief on account of his many estimable moral and intellectual qualities. His personal appearance was commanding, being six foot in height and weighing near two hundred pounds. He from that time continued the unwavering friend of the Americans, and fought on their side with great constancy. He lost his life in the fall of 1812 under melancholy circumstances, which evinced that he was a man of the keenest sense of honor. Logan left a dying request that his two sons should be sent to Kentucky, and there educated and brought up under the care of Maj. Hardin. They were schooled awhile at Piqua, Ohio, the old chiefs refusing to let them go away so far as Kentucky, but their mother, a bad woman, finally coaxed them and took them away and emigrated to the far West, and there these boys became some of the wildest of their race.
In the following year (1787) young Lytle was at Grant's defeat in Indiana, and exhibited Spartanlike conduct, for in that desperate action the Kentuckians, overpowered by nearly four times their number, performed feats of bravery scarcely equaled even in early border warfare. In this battle young Lytle (only seventeen years old) had both his arms shattered, his face powder-burnt, his hair singed to the roots, and nineteen bullets passed through his body and clothing. In this condition, a retreat being ordered, he succeeded in bringing off the field several of his friends, generously aiding the wounded and exhausted by placing them on horses, while he himself ran forward in advance to the last remnant of the retreating party to stop the only boat on the Ohio River at that time which could take them over and save them from the overwhelming force of their savage adversaries. On reaching the river he found the boat in the act of putting off for the Kentucky shore. The men were reluctant to obey Lytle's demand for a delay until those still in the rear should come up, one of them declaring that "it were better that a few should perish than that all should be sacrificed." Lytle them threw the rifle, which he still carried on his bleeding shoulder, over the root of a fallen tree, and swore he would shoot the first man who pulled an oar until his friends were aboard. In this way the boat was detained until they came up, and were safely lodged from the pursuing foe. Disdaining personally to take advantage of this result, the boat being crowded almost dipping, he ran up the river to where some horses stood panting under the willows, after the escape from the battle-field, and mounting one of the strongest, forced him into the river, holding on to his mane by his teeth, until he was taken, in the middle of the stream, into the boat, bleeding and almost fainting from his wounds, by the order of his gallant captain, the lamented Stucker, who had observed his conduct with admiration throughout, and was resolved that such a heroic spirit should not perish, for by this time the balls of the Indians were rattling like hail about their ears.
Previous to the settlement of Ohio, young Lytle was in many other desperate engagements with the Indians, where his cool, heroic bravery won general admiration. Before the victory of Wayne and his treaty at Greenville, while making surveys in the Virginia Military District, between the Little Miami and Scioto Rivers, he was exposed to incessant dangers, suffered great privations, and often came near losing his life at the hands of the cruel savages. He followed the business of surveying the greater part of his life, and entered and located more lands in Ohio than any other surveyor. In 1796 he laid out and founded the village of Williamsburgh, at that time called, "Lytlestown," on the survey he had entered a few months previous. Conversant with the promise of the great fertility of the East Fork valley of the Little Miami, young Lytle must have observed that this tract marked the termination of the abrupt and precipitous hills that everywhere else characterize the western portion of the beautiful stream, which, with gentle current, almost encircles the land of his wise selection. At any rate, with the whole broad land of the county from which to choose, he sought and obtained the control of this area, on which a few years later he made his home. Amid the cares and duties which engaged him as a surveyor, he laid out a town on this domain which for many years was known as "Lytlestown," but which in the act of dedication, was, from his own given name, called Williamsburgh.
When Clermont County was created by the proclamation of Governor St. Clair, in 1800, Williamsburgh became the county-seat and Gen. William Lytle was commissioned the prothonotary (or clerk of the courts), which office he held until the admission of Ohio into the Union and the Territorial gave place to the State government, when, in 1803, he had his special friend, whom he had brought from Kentucky, the scholarly Roger W. Waring, appointed by the court. Lytle kept his office in a little stone building adjoining his residence, and his papers still extant, showing him to have been gifted with the pen, are rare curiosities.
In the war of 1812 he was appointed major-general of the Ohio militia, with his headquarters at Cincinnati, to which city he had removed two years previous. In 1829 he was appointed surveyor-general of the public lands of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. And died---in 1831---while holding this important position. As a citizen he was distinguished for his public spirit and benevolence, and his personal appearance and character strikingly resembled President Jackson, who was his long and steadfast friend, personal and political.
Gen. Lytle was the father of one of Ohio's distinguished orators, the lamented Col. Robert T. Lytle, who represented Cincinnati in the Congress of the United States from 1833 to 1835. He was the grandfather of the brave and chivalrous Gen. William H. Lytle, Cincinnati's favorite son, who fell, in defense of his country, his flag, and the honor of his eloquent father and brave grandfather, at the bloody battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 19, 1863, and who, aside from his military renown and heroic death, will ever be remembered as the gifted poet-soldier. His death came to him as he had so prophetically written years before:
"On some lone spot, where, far from home and friends,
The way-worn pilgrim on the turf reclining,
His life and much of grief together ends."
Before the war he frequently gave scope to his poetical genius, and some of his fugitive contributions to the public press are likely to retain a prominent place in American literature. His poem "Antony and Cleopatra" is such a gem that it deserves a place in this connection:
"I am dying, Egypt, dying,
Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast,
And the dark Plutonian shadows
Gather on the evening blast.
Lest thine arm, O Queen, enfold me,
Hush thy sobs and bow thine ear,
"Listen to the great heart-secrets
Thou and thou alone must hear.
"Though my scarred and veteran legions
Bear their eagles high no more,
"And my wrecked and scattered galleys
Strew dark Actium's fatal shore;
"Though no glittering guards surround me,
Prompt to do their master's will,
"I must perish like a Roman---
Die the great Triumvir still.
"Let not Caesar's servile minions
Mock the lion thus laid low;
'Twas no foeman's arm that felled him,
'Twas his own that struck the blow,---
His who, pillowed on thy bosom,
Turned aside from glory's ray,
His who, drunk with thy caresses,
Madly threw a world away.
"Should the base plebeian rabble
Dare assail my name at Rome,
Where the noble spouse, Octavia,
Weeps within her widowed home,
Seek her; say the gods bear witness---
Altars, augurs, circling wings---
That her blood, with mine commingled,
Yet shall mount the throne of kings
"And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian!
Glorious sorceress of the Nile,
Light the path to Stygian horrors
With the splendors of thy smile;
Give the Caesar crowns and arches,
Let his brow the laurel twine,
I can scorn the Senate's triumphs,
Triumphing in love like thine.
"I am dying, Egypt, dying;
Hark! The insulting foeman's cry.
They are coming! Quick, my falchion,
Let me front them ere I die.
Ah! No ore amid the battle
Shall my heart exulting swell;
Iris and Osiris guard thee!
Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!"
Although the name of Lytle is one of the earliest in the local history of Clermont, yet the deeds of the three men---William, Robert T., and William H.---which gave it a place in State renown also gave them a national fame, never to be effaced while our free institutions survive and their valor is told in the English tongue. While Gen. William Lytle may have at times, so common at an early day, when land was cheap, been careless and negligent in some of his real-estate transactions, he was the personification of honor, and never willfully injured mortal man. He was kindhearted and generous, and his great confidence in friends nearly stripped him before his death of his entire possession. An avaricious and scheming man would certainly not allowed himself to bereft of such a vast property, and whatever errors of this nature he may have committed never originated from his heart.
Col. Dowty Utter, one of the old and best-known Ohio politicians, for native intellect, honest of purpose, and stern, unyielding devotion to principle, was one of the men around whom the proudest recollections love to cluster. He was born Oct. 3, 1791, at Brownsville, Pa., and came when quite a small boy with his parents, a few years before the close of the last century, to Clermont County, and settled a few miles from Neville, in Washington township. Here he was able to obtain but a limited education, for school privileges in those days were hard to get in the then wilds of Ohio, and all the efforts of the pioneers were required to procure the substantials of a life bare of comforts and culture. But he was deeply read in the great book of nature, and with it came a knowledge of man; and yet with all this knowledge he not unfrequently allowed his heart to run away with his judgment. In a story of distress he could not, or rather would not, separate truth from falsehood, and continually allowed his good-nature to be imposed on. He was the standing security for small debts, for costs, and for purchases at the sales at public vendue, for he could not bring his generous heart to refuse, and the results were that he lost large sums in paying petty surety debts. In 1833 he was elected a justice of the peace for Washington township, and re-elected in 1836, and in his six years of office he had settled and adjusted, without litigation, double the cases he tried, and would always invariably throw in his costs to get the litigants, often poor and needy, to compromise. In 1835 he was first elected to the General Assembly as representative, re-elected the next year, and in 1837 elected State senator for two years, and re-elected in 1839, and again in 1845, making eight years in almost continuous Legislative harness.
If ever there was an unpolished diamond in human form---rough and with sharp edges, yet the more valuable from its roughness---that diamond was the long-time Senator or Representative Utter, of Clermont. He was a democrat and republican from birth, and no training could have made him otherwise. It was in-born, and he could not have rid himself of it if he would, and he would not if he could. His big heart beat in unison with the masses,---every feeling of his nature was with the toiling millions, and to have made him adverse to their interests, the whole man must have been changed. Among the Legislative orators (and Ohio has produced as many as good as any State in the Union) none in his day were listened to with more attention than the subject of this sketch. Yet in the scholastic sense he was no orator. Occasionally he murdered the king's English, but there was no terseness about his speeches and an occasional burst of true eloquence which made him at all times a favorite speaker. He condensed his speeches,---they were always to the point,---and he had the faculty, rare to most speakers, of knowing when to quit. He was a man of unswerving truth, and he who would doubt the word of Dowty Utter on a matter of fact would be scouted by his party friends, no matter whether he was a Whig or Democrat. A lack of truth, or even an evasion of it in debate, would draw from him his fiercest wrath, and that wrath was terrible. So fierce was he in denunciation of wrong that he acquired, and while in the Legislature retained, the sobriquet of the "Democratic Meat-Axe," and although, as before stated, a kinder heart never beat in a man's bosom, yet the cognomen was well earned. In debate, when excited, no man was quicker at a retort. In anger-for his temperament was of the sanguine-he no doubt said many things that he afterwards regretted, but never did he say a word in debate that he did not at the moment believe ; and what he thought he spoke, and spoke nothing he did not believe.
In the councils of his party he was invaluable, and nothing more provoked him than a base truckling to expediency. He was fond of quoting Gen. Jackson's admirable saying, " The right is always expedient," and no expedient that did not carry right with it found any favor in his eyes. In Col. Utter there was a rich vein of humor, of which a single anecdote will show. Col. Samuel Spangler, of Fairfield County, who had been senator time out of mind,-in truth, in age and term of service he was the father of the Senate,-like Col. Utter, was guilty of using words more common in his own neighborhood than in refined society. His seat was immediately in front of the speaker; that of Col. Utter behind him on the left.
One day, on opposing the passage of a bill, Col. Spangler said it was advocated on the ground that it would benefit Southern Ohio. To disprove this, he said the senator from Clermont stated that he did not care a "hait" about it. Col. Utter, in a low voice, intended only for the ears of the Fairfield senator, said it was false. In an instant Spangler got mad, his eyes fairly flashed through his green spectacles as, turning to Col. Utter, he said, "You did say so,-you told me so with your own mouth !" A question of veracity between these senators created a sensation that caused quite a commotion, bringing the Governor of the State and members of the House in great numbers into the chamber, and emptying all the offices of the various departments to see the emeute between the two most able and distinguished senators in Ohio. Soon Col. Utter rose to reply: " I told you no such thing, sir. I did say to you that I didn't care a Continental damn whether the bill passed or not; but, sir, I never used the word hait so improperly in my life!" This explanation-Satan rebuking sin-for a time destroyed the gravity of the Senate and convulsed with laughter Governor Shannon and the sedate Supreme Court judges, who had filed in to witness the scene, and no one seemed to enjoy and relish the affair more than the honorable Fairfield senator himself.
No sketch of a public man can be complete or of interest that is all in praise, and, although Dowty Utter had fewer foibles than most men, yet he had one which, as he used it, was of but small account. Every man, it is said, must dissipate somewhat, and Col. Utter's dissipation was playing euchre. He was a capital player, and loved it well, yet he never played for money. But the most desperate gamester could not watch the progress of the game where his all was at stake with more interest than did Col. Utter when playing with his friends for amusement. He usually, nay, always, carried a large jack-knife with him to cut his tobacco, and that jack-knife was always on the table before him to tally his game. Lying closed on the table it counted one; the blade one-quarter opened counted two ; half opened, three; opened its full length, four; and when the next "point" was made the jack-knife went back to Col. Utter's breeches' pocket until he made one in the next game. When playing with the chief dignitaries of the land, in the finest parlors of Cincinnati, Columbus, Washington, or New York cities, amid the assembled fashionable butterflies of the day, the "brusque Clermont senator" ever used his old farm jack-knife to count his points in the game of euchre, then so universally played.
When in the Legislature it was found necessary to send a special agent of the State across the ocean to London to negotiate a loan of some two millions of dollars to complete the great canals of Ohio, whose effects upon the improvements and prosperity of the State, in affording to the farmers of the interior an easy access to market, enhancing the value of their farms and productions, facilitating communication between different sections, and tending to make the people more united as well as prosperous, cannot be too greatly estimated. The political party of which Col. Utter was a member, and its leading one, so to speak, in a caucus, which was conclusive as the party was then in power, unanimously selected Col. Utter to proceed as the agent to England to raise the funds. The scene in the caucus that followed his selection would be a fit subject for the painter, for the rough old farmer-senator of " Bear Creek," with tears in his eyes and with the diffidence of a noble and brave man, declined the honor, saying a man must be chosen whose manners and address would not defeat the grand undertaking by exciting the ridicule and derision of the money-lords of London, who would be too apt to judge of the State's resources by the air and style of the envoy it sent to raise funds for its needful improvements. And so another man went; but those who knew Utter best say he could have shown in the fashionable saloons of the British metropolis as much ease and courtly grace as the most noted of America's polished cavaliers.
At the grand gubernatorial party, the first evening following Governor Wilson Shannon's first inauguration, it fell to the lot of Col. Utter and Mrs. Col. Robert T. Lytle -one of the most beautiful and accomplished ladies of the land-to receive the guests, embracing the 'elite of Ohio and neighboring States; and although Col. Utter was loath to make the trial, he did, and won the plaudits of the fashionable guests and received the warmest praise from his fair assistant, one of the best judges in the Union of dignified ceremony and courtly graces. In 1844, Col. Utter failed of the Democratic nomination for Governor by only one vote in the committee of the convention that reported the nominee, David Tod being successful; but the same convention unanimously made him one of the two senatorial electors on the ticket for President and Vice-President,-" Polk and Dallas."
The last appearance of Colonel Utter in public was in the summer of 1862, at a public meeting in Mc Murchy's Grove, at Felicity, to raise volunteers to recruit Company K of the Fifty-ninth Ohio Regiment Infantry. Aged and palsied, but with clear mind and patriotic impulses, he presided at this meeting, and in warm eulogy for the " Union flag and its sacred cause," introduced the speaker of the day,-Judge Owen T. Fishback.
We must not forget to state that Utter's old Legislative friends and colleagues never forgot him when they came to Clermont, and Judge John L. Green (still on the bench in the Columbus district), who had been in the Legislature with Utter many years before, and though then a staunch Whig, he and Utter were bosom friends. Judge Green, after the new constitution went into effect, came down to Batavia to hold district court, and as soon as he got out of the stage inquired of the court clerk, " Shall Col. Utter be here at court?" and the clerk replied he thought not, as the colonel had no suit on the dockets and was a witness in
no case. The judge then ordered the clerk to have Utter subpoenaed in some case, and that night the sheriff rode twenty-five miles through the mud, over dirt-roads, and subpoenaed the colonel.
The next morning, just after court had been opened, in came Col. Utter, wondering " why in thunder!" he had been summoned in a case about which he never had heard, and of which he knew less than the man in the moon. Judge Green caught "Old Senator's" quizzing eye, and instantly adjourning the court till next day, came down from the bench and grasped, with tears in his eyes, the honest hands of his old friend, and straightway took him to his rooms at the hotel, where all day long old times were talked over, with an occasional glass of hot toddy to renew the days of "Auld Lang Syne," when, as the two chieftains of opposite political parties, they ruled and enjoyed themselves at the State capital. Col. Utter was never deaf to the entreaties of a person in distress,-black or white,-and once, while senator, he kept and succored in his house overnight a poor, bleeding fugitive slave, and filled his purse the next morning, to continue his journey northward, which incident is related in " Uncle Tom's Cabin," but with no name given. In later life Col. Utter became poor comparatively, -though he had plenty for all his wants, and kind friends and relatives to attend to his long sickness,-security debts impoverishing him. His constituents thought they had a lifelong lease on Dowty Utter for senator, but he refused further nominations. He died in the autumn of 1863, and was buried on the banks of the beautiful Ohio River, which in his long and honorable life he loved so well. Just back of Chilo, in the handsome little cemetery adjoining the farm of Dr. Allen Woods, and near the old homestead of James Sargent, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1802, and from which is obtained the finest landscape and river scenery in Ohio, all that was mortal of Dowty Utter was interred, with the mystic rites and grand honors of the Masonic order, of which, for over a third of a century, he had been a true and zealous member. When the light of earth was shut out from his sight, to give place to that of another and a better world, Dowty Utter left many, very many friends to bless, but none to curse his memory, which is still green in the hearts of those who knew him ; and no man in Clermont ever had warmer or more sincere friends than Dowty Utter.
" His memory should be kept freshly living among the lovers of liberty and progress" was the language of Salmon P. Chase on hearing of the death of Thomas Morris; and in response to this noble utterance of the chief among the towering intellects of humanity's cause in America, Ohio will ever honor and hold in grateful remembrance the services and memories of her first legislators, and those who, in her subsequent history, with earnestness and ability, maintained the principles of freedom which gave her birth and by which she has risen to unexampled prosperity and greatness. It is a debt of gratitude due from the people of this State to honor the memories and to perpetuate, in their historical annals, the labors of those earliest legislators and founders of the fame and greatness of Ohio,-men who ornamented the State by their private virtues and public services. Identified with the legislative history of Ohio for fifteen eventful years as a member of both branches of the General Assembly, a United States senator for six years, and connected with the politics of the country most actively for nearly a half-century, it is most proper and befitting that the county in which he arose from humble obscurity and poverty to national renown and distinction should, in its history, give his name that place and rank which his great ability and patriotic services entitle it. In 1637 the first representative of the Morris family-a name prominent in English history and redolent with patriotism (of which stock some fell among the martyrs in the reign of " Bloody Mary," and others have a place in the history of the parliamentary struggles with Charles I., and in the campaigns of Cromwell)-came from England and settled in Massa- chusetts, from whom numerous and honorable descendants sprang, and the head of that first family bore the name of Thomas, the same as he whose life and services are presented in this sketch. Uniformly the Morrises were found in Great Britain on the side of freedom, and the name is brightly extant with the glowing annals of England, Scotland, Ireland, America, and Wales, from which last country the ancestral family of the subject of this article came.
Isaac, the father of Thomas Morris, was born in Berks Co., Pa., in 1740, and his mother, Ruth Henton, in 1750, being the daughter of a Virginia planter. Nine sons and three daughters were the fruits of their marriage, of whom Thomas, John, Benjamin, and David came to Ohio, the first three at length settling in Clermont and David in Warren County; and the names of the others were Daniel, Isaac, James, Joseph, Henton, Hannah, Hester, and Mary. All these twelve lived to be men and women, and from them sprang a large number of descendants, scattered now over almost the entire West. Thomas was the fifth child, and was born Jan. 3, 1776, six months before the promulgation of American
independence, and first saw the light of earth under the reign of a British king. Soon after his birth his parents moved to Western Virginia and settled in the wilds of Harrison County, near Clarksburg. They were exemplary Christians of the Baptist Church, and the father was a faithful minister of that denomination, preaching for sixty years the gospel, never failing in a single appointment, and never taking a dose of medicine, and at last, at the ripe old age of ninety-one, was gathered, in 1830, to his Maker on high, whose word he had spoken in trials and tribulations for threescore years to saints and sinners alike.
The mother of Thomas Morris was one of those noble Revolutionary women whose sacred memories will live in history as long as the language of English annals endures; and as the daughter of a Virginia slaveholder, she refused to receive her patrimonial inheritance of four human chattels, and would do no act that would recognize the right of one man or woman to make another man or woman a slave.
The college of Thomas Morris was the mountain-wilds of Virginia, and there he graduated with a diploma from nature and a blessing from a Christian mother. At fourteen he made a full hand in the harvest-field; at sixteen he shouldered his musket to repel the aggressions of the Indians; at seventeen he served several months in Capt. Levi Morgan's company of rangers, stationed in the wilderness between Marietta and Steubenville, in Ohio.
In 1795, Thomas Morris, nineteen years of age and full of vigor, spirit, and enterprise, arrived, fresh from the mountains of Western Virginia, in Columbia, just above Cincinnati. He was immediately employed as a clerk in the store of Rev. John Smith, the then famous Baptist preacher, to from he had
brought letters from his father, Preacher Isaac Morris. Smith was a remarkable man, possessed of varied talent and a versatile genius. He was a successful merchant, an adroit politician, a sagacious legislator, and an able divine. A contemporary, Judge John Pollock, of Clermont, said of him: "As an ox-driver no man was his superior; at a log-rolling or horse-racing he was the foremost man; at the end of a hand-spike few could outlift him ; and the Sabbath day would find him in the pulpit, an able advocate of the doctrines of Christianity and of the Baptist denomination; and as a member of Congress he stood among the great men of the nation. Smith, however, fell a victim to the machinations of Aaron Burr's conspiracy, resigned his seat in the United States Senate in 1807, fled from Ohio, and ended his career in dishonor and poverty in Louisiana."
On Nov. 19,1797, two years after he reached the Columbia settlement, Thomas Morris married Miss Rachel Davis, daughter of Benjamin Davis, originally from Lancaster Co., Pa., but direct from Mason Co., Ky. She was reared in the midst of the privations of a pioneer life, and was the fitting companion of him who was to endure the hardships of a new country, and to achieve his own fortune and character. And here let us add that the pioneer women of the West were efficient and faithful participators in the great work of laying the foundations of the new empire, and endured with patient heroism the dangers and privations of a backwoods life. In the year 1800-two years before Ohio was admitted into the Union, and six months before Clermont County was created-Thomas Morris and his wife Rachel removed from Columbia to Williamsburgh, then a part of Hamilton County, but soon to be the shire- town of the new county of Clermont. This removal was most fortunate in the sequel for Mr. Morris, for here his energies found an active field for development, and be resolved to be a successful winner. Without friends, without pecuniary means, with a growing family, without a preceptor, and with but a few books, he commenced in 1802 the study of law. Early and late he was at his legal books, and after the hard labors of the day were over night found him at his studies, reading Blackstone, not by the light of an astral lamp, nor yet by the common light of a tallow candle, for his poverty forbade him even this cheap convenience, but by the light afforded by hickory bark or a clapboard in his cabin, and often from a brick-kiln which he was burning for the support of his family.
Under these formidable difficulties, with a resolute purpose and an iron will, he pushed his way onward, and reached the goal before him. Completing two years of study, he was admitted to practice as an attorney- and counselor-at-law, having passed a most creditable examination before a committee consisting of those three men who afterwards all sat on the Supreme bench of Ohio, one in the Senate of Congress, and one in the United States Supreme Court at Washington,-Joshua Collett, Jacob Burnet, and John McLean. For the next forty years Morris was among the first of the bright galaxy of lawyers who met at the " Clermont Bar." Before a jury there were none who surpassed him in effect and power, and, although engaged in almost every case in court, he ever maintained an eminence equal to the highest, and was a most successful winner in the field of legal honors. A successful lawyer for forty years, yet he never encouraged litigation, and his maxim was, " It ought to be our aim to prevent litigation, as far as compatible with the ends and rules of justice." His services as a lawyer were rendered as willingly and energetically to the poor as the rich; and, indeed, he was generally on the side of the poor; if it had not been so, his ability as an advocate would have yielded him an immense fortune. With him the right was the great leading motive, and the effort to violate it stirred the strongest energies of his nature, and brought him down on his adversary with an irresistible force and power.
In 1804, Mr. Morris, with his family, removed from Williamsburgh to Bethel, which town soon arose to importance, and for long years disputed with Williamsburgh the question of supremacy as the metropolis of the county, and where he made his home till his death. In 1806 he was elected a representative from Clermont (David C. Bryan was declared elected, and receiving his certificate took his seat, but on a contest the House unseated him and admitted Morris), and took his seat at Zanesville, then the capital of Ohio. In the Legislature he was a prominent and active participator, and his abilities soon placed him among the first of the distinguished men who from year to year met in the legislative halls. No matter what party was in power, he was chairman of the most important committees, most generally the judiciary, and often appointed special committees. His influence, in the judgment of contemporaries, was always equal to any in the Legislature, and he labored for the equal rights of all, and to conform the action of civil government to the true doctrines of democracy, and the principles of justice and Christian morality. He was opposed to all chartered monopolies, and to all legislation which gave one class civil privileges above another. He be- lieved the traffic in spirituous liquors as a beverage was a moral wrong, and on all occasions voted to restrain the evil by putting the price of license up to the highest possible sum, so as to prohibit it altogether; and used his influence against all lotteries. The common schools found in him its warmest friend, and the law of imprisonment for debt- that relic of barbarous ages, and whose terrible rigor he had personally felt while a poor young man-was swept away by the progress of purer and more Christian views, and for its extinction no man in Ohio labored with more earnest ability. He sought, as a legislator, to keep the taxes as low as the necessity of the government would permit, and opposed all extravagant expenditures of the public money. He early advocated the doctrine, now so popular, of making all offices elective.
In 1828 he introduced a bill in the Senate to allow juries before justices of the peace; and the next year one that judges should not charge juries as to matters of fact, but might sum up the evidence and declare the law. In 1812 he obtained the passage of the bill allowing each person who had a family to hold twelve sheep, also the wooI, and the yarn cloth manufactured by such families, exempt from all executions for payment of debts. I n 1828 he endeavored to obtain a law taxing all chartered institutions, and such manufactories as foundries, glass-houses, mills, and distilleries, and exempt all dwellings from taxation. He had faith in the future greatness and grandeur of Ohio, although he alone, of all the public men in the State, strenuously opposed the system of canals, and declared his convictions of the impractical nature of such a system of internal improvements to develop the State. But he made a prophecy, which has been fully realized, that in twenty-five years Ohio would be covered with a network of railroads, and the canals superseded; and the present day confirms his prophecy and sagacity. An incident will illustrate the wonderful progress of Ohio, and the rapid transit over its area, when compared with her condition half a century ago. At an adjournment of the Legislature, in March, 1827, heavy rains had made the ordinary mud-roads from the capital impassable for the " stage," then in common use. The streams were overflowing their banks, rendering a homeward return of the members almost impossible, but Mr. Morris determined to conquer all obstacles. The Scioto River, on whose banks the capital has stood for sixty-four years, afforded an egress for some of the members. A canoe, or, in Western dialect, a " dug-out," was made and put upon the rapid current of the swollen river, and Mr. Morris and Col. Robert T. Lytle, an eloquent and able re- presentative from Hamilton County, embarked with their baggage in this frail water-craft for home. A passage of some hundred miles brought them to Portsmouth, where the Scioto mingles its waters with the Ohio, and there, taking an old-fashioned small steamboat, they safely reached their homes, after a perilous journey of four days, Morris landing at New Richmond and " Bob Lytle" going on to Cincinnati. This transit now, by rail, occupies but four hours.
In this county he was most active in building up a fund for the support of the common schools, and for several years acted as commissioner of the county school funds, and to him more than to any other person or agency is Clermont indebted-he having laid the foundation long years ago-for its present system of schools. In 1808 ho was again elected a representative, with William Fee as his colleague, and in this, the Seventh General Assembly, Mr. Morris made a reputation coextensive with the State, and established his claims as a great public leader. Articles of impeachment were presented against Calvin Pease and John Tod, two of the judges of Ohio, the former a Common Pleas and the latter a Supreme judge (as elsewhere more fully narrated in this book), and Mr. Morris was appointed to conduct the impeachment on the part of the House before the bar of the Senate; and the historical record shows that he performed the duty with ability and with such honor and distinction as to secure him his election as one of the Supreme judges of Ohio by the same Legislature. But after a protracted trial, the impeachment, lacking the necessary two-thirds vote, was not sustained, and by a subsequent act of the succeeding Legislature he was prevented from taking his seat on the Supreme bench, being, as it were, legislated out of office. However, he performed one official act as judge, in administering, in November, 1809, the official oath of office to Oliver Lindsey, sheriff-elect of Clermont. In 1810 he was again representative, with John Pollock as colleague; also in 1811. In 1813 he was first chosen senator. In 1820 he went to the House again; and in 1821 was the second time elected senator, and the third time in 1825. The fourth in 1827, and fifth in 1831. While occupying this position as State senator for the last time, the crowning honor to Mr. Morris and to Clermont County was conferred in his election for the full term of six years as United States senator of Ohio from March 4, 1833, to March 4, 1839, to succeed Benjamin Ruggles, who had held his seat for eighteen years. He was nominated by the caucus of his party (Democratic) over such distinguished chieftains as Judge Reuben Wood (afterwards Governor), Judge John M. Goodenow, Daniel P. Leadbetter, of Holmes County, and Judge Humphrey H. Leavitt (afterwards of the United States District Court of Ohio). The vote stood on joint ballot in the Legislature: Thomas Morris, 54; John W. Campbell (Whig), 49 ; scattering, 4 (including Morris' own vote) ; and thus by one majority he went to the United States Senate, where for four years Thomas Ewing was his colleague from the
State, and for the other two William Allen.
The year before (1832) he had received his party nomination for Congress
in the Adams, Brown, and Clermont district against Judge Owen T. Fishback, the Whig nominee, but Gen. Thomas L. Hamer, running as an independent Democrat, defeated, in a poll of six thousand two hundred and seventy-six votes, Morris by one hundred and fifty-six votes; hence the popular verdict in Ohio in 1833 was that Morris' election to the United States Senate righted his wrongs and was otherwise a wise choice for the State. In 1826 he had been offered the nomination for the same position against Judge Jacob Burnet, but his party being that year in the minority he wisely declined the honor till a more fitting time, which at last came, as above narrated. Mr. Morris had no sooner taken his seat in the Senate of the United States, on the opening of the session in December, 1833, than he became actively identified with the growing anti-slavery movements against the extension and the aggressions of the slave-power; and while on other subjects but slavery he was in full accord with his party, on that he was independent and had his own views that the party lash and party caucus could not change or move. To him were addressed the petitions and memorials from all parts of the land on this topic, and covering every conceivable phase of the subject, in a legal, legislative, constitutional, moral, and political sense, and in spite of the frowns and entreaties of his party he would introduce them all.
Agitation is the source of light and progress, securing the triumph of truth and the downfall of error and despotism, and in Mr. Morris the apostles of human freedom in the Union found their first beacon-light, their first champion, and first true representative in the American Senate. The Congress of 1837 and 1838 saw a deep and extended agitation of this now paramount question in the land,-this vexed question, like an ever-present apparition, returning and demanding a rehearing, and Mr. Morris, in an able and elaborate speech, replied to the arguments of the distinguished John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, and which attracted the attention of the entire country by its bold and truthful utterances.
Henry Clay, on the 7th of February,1839, with all his fascinating eloquence, eminent abilities, and great political influence, made a great speech to counteract and arrest the public agitation of slavery. Who was to speak for freedom? Was it Webster, Buchanan, or Silas Wright? No. Their voices and votes, like Clay and Calhoun's, were for timid compromise, delay, and no agitation. But the firm patriot, Thomas Morris, who made the welfare of mankind his care, dared to speak while tyrant senators frowned on him. Two days after Clay's speech Morris replied to it in his last speech in Congress, and in the mightiest and crowning effort of his life, concluding with these prophetic words (golden in the light of subsequent events and the hateful rebellion): "Though our national sins are many and grievous, yet repentance, like that of ancient Nineveh, may yet divert from us that impending danger which seems to hang over our heads as by a single hair. That all may be safe, I conclude that the negro will yet be free."
This noble speech startled the Senate, produced a marked sensation throughout the country, and electrified the warm hearts of humanity the world over. He could not have chosen a better topic for a valedictory speech on the eve of his retirement from the Senate. That venerable Quaker poet, John G. Whittier, then a young editor, said in his paper, and which was the best criticism on this speech, " The old painters, in the imperfection of their art, were wont to underwrite upon their canvas, 'this is a horse;' 'that is a lion;' but Thomas Morris needs no label,-he stands confessed the lion of the day."
The 9th of February,1839, was a most memorable day in the political life of Thomas Morris and in the history of the Senate of the United State. On that day he laid the corner-stone in the monument of his fame and character in a great speech, replete with the principles of freedom, and uttered under the inspiration of their truth and importance. It was an occasion of unusual interest. All efforts to prevent agitation on slavery had failed, and the voice of freedom, ever instinct with life, would be heard, and that voice still rang loud and clear in both halls of the National Legislature,-aye, agitators would agitate, and the public councils of the nation, following in the lead and by the great example of Ohio's senator, were the arena for the third of a century for the battle between freedom and slavery, till at last the latter succumbed on a field of carnage, and the Union was saved in the death and extinction of human bondage.
The rigid creed of political parties allows no liberal latitude in the expression of opinion, and the party of which Mr. Morris was a member, and with which on every subject but slavery he was in full unison, refused to re-elect him to the
Senate, and in less than a month after the delivery of his speech that startled the world he left the national councils, never again to return to public life,-an exile, politically, for views far in advance of those that then generally obtained in the North. A committee of his party of the Ohio Legislature, consisting of Thomas J. Buchanan, John Brough, and David Tod,-and a singular coincidence is that the last two were afterwards " War Governors" of Ohio for freedom and liberty,-on Dec. 7, 1838, addressed a communication to Mr. Morris as a sort of political catechism, and Mr. Morris answered it in his bold and independent way with language characteristic of a moral hero ; but it sealed his doom. Judge Benjamin Tappan, of Steubenville, was nominated and elected as his successor, as he was supposed to favor the discountenancing and opposing of all anti-slavery doctrines. Tappan and Morris were old personal and political friends, had served together in the Legislature, and met often in the legal forum, and Judge Tappan, who came of a distinguished anti-slavery family, for a year or so was rather quiet on the slavery topic, but ere his term closed his early convictions controlled him, and he was nearly as zealous as Mr. Morris in his opposition to the arrogant slave dynasty.
Mr. Morris now soon became identified with the " Liberty Party," and labored for its efficient organization and success, traveling in different States, attending conventions, making speeches, and writing letters. In August, 1843, this party of freedom's pioneers met at Buffalo to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President for the election of 1844. Every State but New Hampshire was represented, and more than a thousand delegates were in attendance. Leicester King, of Ohio, presided, and for President James G. Birney, of Michigan, was nominated, and for Vice-President Thomas Morris, of Ohio. In 1840 this party polled but seven thousand votes, but the above ticket received sixty-two thousand one hundred and sixty-three at the November election of 1844, and shortly after the campaign closed this good and great man passed away to a better world. He died suddenly, on the 7th day of December, 1844. In perfect health, with his intellectual powers un- impaired by age, his physical system in vigorous activity, and his heart still warm in the cause of human freedom; he was stricken down by a fatal attack of apoplexy. Engaged in the early morning in making preparation for a visit of affection, to bring the invalid family of his eldest living daughter to the paternal home, he felt the disease coming upon him. He hastily entered his dwelling, sank upon the floor, and with an audible voice exclaiming three times, "Lord have mercy on me!" expired in less than five minutes.
He died at his loved homestead farm, four miles from Bethel, and on the following Monday, the third day since his death, his remains were entombed in the grave-yard at Bethel, in the presence of a vast concourse of neighbors, friends, and relatives. Throughout the land his death was noticed by the friends of freedom with appropriate tokens of sorrow and tributes to his memory and services. The spot of his burial is in the retired and beautiful rural village of Bethel, in Clermont County, in the service of which he so long labored as a lawyer and legislator. If ever the lover of liberty or the friend of suffering humanity should visit that spot-grand historical ground-he will find in that cemetery of the dead a marble monument which the filial affection of his children has erected to his memory, and on that monument may be read this brief inscription:
Born January 3d, 1776. Died December 7th, 1844.
Aged 69 years.
Unawed by power, and uninfluenced by flattery,
He was, throughout life, the fearless advocate
READER WRIGHT CLARKE
reputed the greatest political strategist the county has ever produced, was born at Bethel, May 18, 1812. Before eighteen he had mastered the art of printing, and subsequently distinguished himself in the editorial profession. As an attorney he attained prominence, but as a politician he was pre-eminent. His political career began in 1840, when he was elected by the Whigs to the General Assembly, where he evinced unusual legislative ability, which secured him future preferment. He was the able representative to Congress of the Clermont district from 1864 to 1868, the reconstruction period, and always arrayed himself on the side of those who held radical views towards the States lately in rebellion. Subsequently he held honorable positions in the United States Treasury Department, but was obliged by ill health to retire from active duty in 1870. On the 23d of May, 1872, he died at his home in Batavia, and in the history of that township in this book a further sketch of his life is given.
JAMES F SARGENT
This was probably the most singularly-gifted man in the county. No native of Clermont had a greater command of language than he, and to none did this faculty seem of less value. Instead of cultivating the pure forms of speech, and employing them in the advocacy of measures which affected the welfare of his fellow-men, as he was so abundantly able, he allowed himself to fall into the habit of using words that were seldom employed to express the simplest ideas, most generally monosyllabic ones; and his speech, instead of being persuasive, proved at best but a diversion. This habit grew upon him until it seemed a part of his nature, and even after he desired to break himself of it he could not do so. He became an oddity, yet having many good parts and fine attainments was elected to the Legislature in 1843. Among his fellow-legislators he was known as " Dictionary Sargent," and they would have rare sport with him in session and at nights, hearing him speak in his inimitable manner. The speech which is here subjoined was delivered on one such occasion in the presence of the assembled legislators, Governor, State officials, and the most distinguished personages of Ohio. A few months later, in 1844, Mr. Sargent died, while in the discharge of his duties at Columbus, and not many years ago his remains were brought to Clermont, and reinterred at Felicity. Aside from this foible BM. Sargent was a worthy man, and greatly esteemed for his amiable qualities.
The speech referred to was on history, and is produced here merely as a literary curiosity:
"The knowledge of history has an accessory convergency to extructure, a circumvallation circumventional to the pestiferous exudation of the human heart, instigated by the correlate semnifications of vernacular engenderment in our nature and subsidiary to extimulate to the practice of morality and virtue by the desideratum conglomeration of its multiferous hypostatical, besides embrocating the mind with a diaphornical and antidilapidational synopsis, imparting a knowledge of the past. It is, indeed, the exclusive matallsphic vehicle through which we can become acquainted with exorbitant and interesting facts of antiquity which alias would have been veiled from us by the ebony intercipient of lenebrosity to the admiration of the pruriently disquisitional and perforating philosophic mind, though it may have sought for and obtained a knowledge of nature's interior and extrinsical by a circumforaneous peregrination through its concavity. It is the only hieroglypsical dioptric commensurate with which we can focus to adjacent vision, so as to intelligibly ventilate the consectaneous ellluence of the book of fate. In this only mirror we can trace notions in their upward proclivity towards the goal of their aerial acme, their meridian profluence, the trepidational and spasmodic ebullition of kingdoms and yulational narrative of their engulphment in the noisome abyss of destruction."
" Through this medium we can hold voluminous colloquies with ancient sages and renowned statesmen whose lofty genius and acanatious intellects achieved for antique nations literary encircling amaranthine wreaths that once embellished their palecious temples of fame, for whose happiness the pendutus ether seemed to blow, evincing heaven's philanthropy to profuse erogation, together with the fructiferous recourse of agriculture and paramymphal boom of acts.
" History enables us to take a survey of man by a retrogradational perambulation in his primordial state, being in a condition of moral proximity to his Maker located and happy in terrestrial delectable paradise or paradissum voluptatis, and pursue him through the devious zigzags of the arbicular whirl of versatility and eventful resolutions in the area of expanded casuality and the interjacent expansion of contingency to the present time.
"From history we acquire a knowledge of the ephemeral transitoriness of human affairs, the misanthropistical syndrome of nefarious aspirants organically winding their interdicted way through the ambidextrous pathway of culpable duplicity and ruthless assassination to wield imperial sceptres and immolate the immunities, the tranquillity and happiness of mankind, upon the execrably assumed altar of their reprehensibly acquired regal power; also in a dilatep and sky banking proruption is semipellucidly delineated the world's configurational prospaea emitina, a corruscation that enables us to project a vatiscination of the future, as well as to marshal the vacillation of the past for a paradigm restricted to homogeneous principles. It embalms the memory of the past, and has interposed a conservatine dike that has prevented the dramatic and didactic re- sources of beacon protreptrical from being entombed in the shuttle- fleeting pernicity of the elapsed fragment of eternity, which has in its climacteric circumgyrate become identified with sempiternia duration beyond the flood."