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Columbiana County, Ohio


Anecdotes and Miscellanies

Transcribed from:
History of Salem and the Immediate Vicinity - Columbiana County, Ohio (1898)
Author: Hunt, George D. (George Dillwyn), b. 1819

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HUGE BURNS came from Chartiers, Washington County, Pa., and settled on the section south-west of that entered by Job Cook and John Straughan. Soon afterwards Jonathan Stanley came from Virginia, and purchased a hundred acres from Job Cook cornering Burns's. The wife of the latter had heard ill reports about the character of the Quakers, wherefore when she heard that a family of that obnoxious class had come and would be neighbors, she held up her hands in horror and declared that they "would be obliged to sell out and go back to Chartiers."

Soon after the Stanleys were fairly settled, the wife of Job Cook went to their house and asked Mary Stanley to go with her on a neighborly visit to Hugh Burns's. There her plain dress and plain language were quite a novelty to one who had never seen a person of the Quaker persuasion. Notwithstanding these peculiarities, such an impression was made that Mrs. Burns was convinced that the Quakers were not such bad people as in her delusion she had thought them to be. And thenceforth these women became close friends while they lived.

When Mrs. Burns apprehended that her end was near, she requested that a plain cap, such as the Friends wore, should be made and placed on her head at the time of her burial. This was therefore done by Mary Stanley.

Maria Britt. - Some time in the twenties a fugitive

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slave woman of this name came to Salem. Here she found a place of refuge and employment among the people called Quakers; especially Samuel Davis. By the proceeds of her work she got a lot from him on what is now Green street. It is now occupied by a small dwelling house which for some years was used for the Episcopal church. On this lot a small brick house was built in which she passed most of the remainder of her life. But the course of liberty with her (like the course of love with some rustic swains) did not run smoothly. She had a husband who was held in bondage in the South; and like any true and faithful wife, she wished him here, that he, too, might share with her the blessings of liberty, as it could be had in this place. Wherefore she got some one of her white friends to write a letter to him. By some mishap this letter got into the hands of her old master, who set about the job of rescuing her.

A relative of Dr. Stanton, who lived in Steubenville, got wind of the plot, and he thereupom sent word that the master was coming hither in search of his "property." Thereupon Maria was clandestinely sent to Conneaut, a, settlement of Friends, near the north-east corner of Trumbull county, and just over the State line. There she remained till it was deemed safe for her to return to Salem. During her absence a mysterious stranger came to Salem, and stopped some days at one of the taverns. He frequently walked the streets and peeped into the houses, especially the kitchens, but he did not find his lost "property."

Maria Britt found some true friends here besides the Quakers, and she made a fair living by doing

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such work as washing, house cleaning, cooking wedding dinners, etc. Thus she made herself very useful to the people here. Being of a pious turn she took delight in attending religious meetings. But there prejudice of color prevailed, and she felt much embarrassed. None of the meeting-houses were then so far advanced in modern improvements as to have "Negro Pews" or "Galleries for colored people."

"Samuel Davis was an excellent judge of human nature, and settled more law-suits by conciliation between disputants, in the last few years of his life, than did the courts, and assisted often, financially, in adjusting compromises; his love of humanity leading him to prevent resort to 'legal suasion,' as he termed suits at law."

"He was always on the alert for the ludicrous, and many bits of humor are told of him; one of which is as follows: A Dutchman went out beside a spring to indulge in a private drink from his bottle; he there encountered Davis, whom he invited to partake. Davis at first declined, but when urged appeared to consent, remarking that he 'couldn't take it undiluted.' He thereupon suggested that the whiskey be poured into the 'run,' while he drank from just below. The Dutchman complied, and, as Davis continued to drink and called for more, the Dutchman continued to pour until the bottle was empty. All too late to save a portion for himself the Dutchman discovered that he had been duped, and that Davis had taken water only, 'straight.' He afterwards declared, 'I never had no Yankee come it over me, or cheat me so pad as Sammy Davis.' " *

[note at bottom of page 188] *Columbiana County History.

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John Straughan and Job Cook boughht the section from which the south-west part of tho town was formed. In dividing the land the latter got the south half; and he took a notion that Straughan got an undue advantage by the location of a spring or something else. Wherefore when John had cut some logs for building a cabin, he took revenge by following and cutting them in two. Samuul Davis, as a peace-maker, rebuked him for such an improper action, and told him that "that was not the way for people in a new country to do." And by this means a reconciliation was effected.

Job Cook was an unlettered man quite boorish in manners. But he was one that stood for his rights, and he was sensitive about anything being imposed on him more than ordinary duties. A neighbor once borrowed a drawing-knife of him, and was rather slow in returning it. When reminded of his negligence and the article was offered to him, he refused to take it, and required the borrower to carry it to his house. Many borrowers in our days need to be served in the same manner.

Isaiah Bowker came from New Jersey, in early times, bringing his family and household goods in an old-fashioned covered wagon. They camped one night on land now owned by heirs of Joshua Hilliard; the whole family sleeping in the wagon. Early in the morning, Mrs. Bowker awakened her husband and told him that there was a calf close by. Isaiah recognized the animal as a deer, took his gun and shot it. And then the family had a breakfast of venison good enough for any of the epicures of the town at this day; only not in modern restaurant style.

John Webb settled on the first section north of

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that on which Salem was commenced. He came from Maryland, about the year 1805. He built a cabin and commenced clearing the land. In his family he had seven sons and four daughters. Soon after he was thus fixed in a new home, Philip Bowman with his family came along in a wagon and stopped for a night with the Webbs. He had entered a section further north and was now on his way to it. The second son in the Webb family then and there commenced acquaintance with one of the daughters of the newcomers that ripened into a marriage from which came nine children.

A Father's Choice.
Some time in the last years of the last century a Mr. Jennings, who resided somewhere in the state of New Jersey, took a trip to certain places in western Pennsylvania and Virginia. At one place where he stopped, he saw a blooming maiden, named Rebecca Everly, whose appearance pleased him. On returning to his home, he told his son, Levi, about her, and encouraged him to go and see her. Also saying that he had selected her for his wife. Levi, then a young man went, saw her and gained her hand in marriage. They first settled in Beaver county. Pa. Afterwards they moved to the farm now occupied by Lovern L. Cook, on the Deerfield road. That land was cleared and put into good condition. And they raised four sons* and four daughters. Some of their descendants now reside in Salem. The conjugal union of this venerable couple was eminently happy; each of whom reached the ripe age of eighty-five. And their adaptedness for each other shows that parental judgment is not always to

[note at bottom of page 1990]*Namely: Simeon, Levi, Jesse and William-three of whom were well known in Salem.

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be disregarded in making marriage alliances for hopeful sons and daughters.

Thomas Webb, oldest son of John Webb, married Naomi Smith, daughter of Samuel Smith. And they commenced house-keeping in a cabin, somewhere on what is now the Brooks farm No. 1. One day the dogs were heard barking, and Mrs. Webb discovered that they had a bear treed. Taking an ax she cut down the tree, and the dogs then tackled the bear, and she went with the ax to their help. The animal was soon dispatched, but in such a mangled condition that its skin was spoiled. Bear skins were then articles of some value. Soon the dogs were heard barking at another. This tree also was cut down. And that she might not spoil its skin, she used the poll of the ax. And this bear was killed, but with much more difficulty than the other.

A MAN named Icenhour lived somewhere in Goshentownship. At one time he had his neighbors assembled to help raise a building. For them a good dinner had to be furnished; and he discovered in time that he had not meat enough for the purpose. Taking his rifle, he went into the woods, and there found a flock of wild turkeys, from which he got enough to give his good neighbors a feast that might have done ample justice to a modern Thanksgiving; style only excepted.

Robert French drove the first wagon that went from Salem to the place where Damascus now is. The party started at daylight, and reached their destination at dark. They were obliged to open the road as they went along. Anthony Morris' family were thus moved and settled there. Wild animals then were not scarce. Wolves and bears were some

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times troublesome. Mrs. Morris once heard a great fuss in the hog-pen. Going to see what it was, she found a bear trying to carry off one of the shoats. Bruin then turned his attention to her and the dog, whereupon she retreated to the house, and kept the animal at bay till the arrival of her husband. She signalled to him the state of affairs, and he came up without being seen by the bear, and then his rifle pronounced the death warrant of the "varmint."

An Encounter with Wolves.
Thomas Spencer, who was well known in Salem, in his last days, was raised on the farm now belonging to the heirs of Israel Barber, two miles west of Salem. When a young man, he, one evening, went on horseback into the woods on some errand. Somewhere on the north part of land now owned and occupied by Joseph Burton, he saw a female wolf coming out of a hollow log. On looking in he saw the bright eyes of six young ones. Here was then a chance for a speculation. The government gave a bounty of six dollars for destroying each one of this kind of animals. They were very destructive to sheep. Mr. Spencer then tied the rein of his horse's bridle to one of his feet, and crept into the log; then seizing the cubs, he killed them as best he could; and, then he tied them in pairs and swung them across the horse's neck. As he went homeward with his trophies, the old wolf followed, growling in a furious manner till he got into cleared land. For the scalps of these six young wolves he got $36.

A Catamount in This Place.
A certain class of animals has been found in this part of North America, which have been known as such names as panther, painter, puma, catamount and cougar. They are rapacious

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and carnivorous; often they kill more than they eat. Samuel I. Chisholm relates the following: "Late in the fall or early in the winter of 1814, John Rakestraw, then a young man, lived about a mile and a-half south of Salem. He went out one morning to feed his pigs. One of them was missing, and, on lookinig around, tracks in a slight fall of snow showed that a catamount had paid the pen a visit and had helped himself to a pig. After breakfast he took his gun and followed in pursuit of the missing porker. He soon found the place where it had been devoured; but he kept on thirsting for revenge and the money for the varmint's hide, as payment for the shoat. The animal took nearly a north-easterly course, and was overtaken and killed while lying curled up and sleeping on the fork of an oak tree that stood near where the power house of the Electric Railway Company now stands. Some Salem people yet remember that tree. That animal's skin was over nine feet long, * and brought the sum of four dollars and a-half, two or three times the value of the stolen pig. and was the last of the kind taken in this neighborhood."

A CERTAIN one of the early settlers had several colonies of bees. Bears like honey as much as any of the human race. Hence they came by night to this place, and overturned some of the hives, and then their condition in the morning told what had been done in the night. Thereupon a couple of young men came one evening with their artillery, ready for business. But there were some girls in the house by whom these gentlemen were nicely entertained till a noise at the bee hives gave notice that the enemy

[note at bottom of page 1993]*Tall and fore legs are suppose to be included.

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was on hand. A gun was quickly pointed at him; but before a good aim could be taken the bear left its sweet feast and ran for the woods through a cornfield making a rattling among the blades-apparently mocking at the attempt on its life.

About sixty years ago absconding wives were sometimes advertised thus: "Whereas, my wife, __________, has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation; I, therefore, forewarn all persons against trusting or harboring her on my account, as I will not pay any debts of her contracting unless compelled by law."

A man who lived in Salem advertised his wife after this manner in a New Lisbon paper, and the unfeeling printers added the interjections-haugh! haugh!! haugh!!! His bad spelling was copied to show how he had trifled away his opportunities while attending school. Some truant husbands, at this day, might be advertised in the same manner, with just as much propriety.

David Scholfield came as an adventurer from Campbell county, Virginia. He first saw Rebecca Davis in a clearing helping her father. She was driving a yoke of oxen at the time. We cannot say whether he was smitten more with her personal charms, or a chance to get some of the land that her father had entered. They were married on the 20th of November, 1805, by Friends' ceremony in a log meeting house that stood in the rear of the site of the town hall. This was the first wedding in the place. All of the meeting was invited to take dinner with them. The house being small, all could not be accommodated at once at one table. Wherefore a part of them stood around a log heap fire (it being

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a damp and chilly day), while the others partook of the wedding feast. Thus they took their turns.

Robert French and Anna Street were the next couple married here. Their wedding was on the 25th of February, 1807. Their son, Zadok, was the first white child born in Salem. David Scholfield settled on land three miles east of the town, and owned by his father-in-law. There, most likely, his children (part of them) were born.

In the fall of 1829 Stacy Hunt and his nephew, Emmor, took a hunting excursion in Goshen township. Both were good marksmen, and took some delight in this kind of amusement. Somewhere in the woods west of the present residence of Lycurgus W. Strawn, they discovered a porcupine. A shot from one of their rifles brought it down from the tree on which it was perched. The skin of the animal was preserved, and, for some time, shown as a curiosity to admiring people. This was most likely the last animal of that kind killed in this regiom.

The Last Bears.
Allen Fanquhar lived about a mile and a-half east of Salem. One day about the year 1828, he was astonished at seeing his calves running from the field to the barn. And, on looking to see the cause of their fright, he saw a black bear sitting on a fence. Taking his dog and gun, he pursued it to a tree on David Painter's place, where a shot from his gun brought the animal down.

In 1829, Howell Hise had a captive bear that was caught on what is now Brooks's farm No. 2.

He kept it chained, and had a little house for it, in the rear of his father's house, which was where the Opera house now is. It was an object of great curiosity to the young folks in the town. It was

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kept there two or three years, when its savage disposition was manifested in biting a little boy and its master, who thereupon terminated its life. These are supposed to have been the last animals of that kind that ventured so near to this town, except those brought by showmen.

The Last Wild Turkeys.
Samuel I. Chisholm relates the following: "The last flock of these wild fowls in this region was met in September, 1860, by himself and James P. Day, who were hunting in the woods north of the Damascus road, and about two miles west of Salem. When they discovered the birds, they succeeded in shooting among them an old gobbler, a young one, and two hens. There were eleven birds in the flock, and the remainder escaped out of the neighborhood. The hunters had the bad luck of losing the gobbler because it flew so far after being shot. Ridgeway Shreve found it on the next day. He, having some skill as a taxidermist, took off the skin, stuffed, and mounted it; and then it was kept on exhibition during several years in John C. Whinnery's Dental office."

Vocal and Instrumental Music.
The Quaker element in Salem kept down the interest in music of all kinds during many years. And very little of what was made by instruments was to be heard except when traveling shows came to the town. They always had a band with them. And they thus made a great excitement. There were, however, a few persons here who could perform on a violin (then called a fiddle), and some could use a flute. The singing of epic songs was not uncommon. A love affair was mostly an element in them. The charms of these often tempted the young Friends to break away from the ascetic decorum of their seniors.

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In 1841 and '42, an impulse was given to both vocal and instrumental music. Some time in the former year, a Mr. Everett came to Salem and kept a singing school. This created much interest in vocal music, and that by instruments got so much attention that a band was organized, and an instructor engaged, some time in the next year.*

In the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches there was singing without any instrumental accompaniment. The tunes were very simple, and the meter was always announced. There was a leader who was called a "clerk." The attendant on a bricklayer or mason was sometimes known as a "clerk." But such a perversion of language is an insult to the memory of Noah Webster and all standard authors in our language. Why have not our people improved their vocabulary by adopting the Scottish word "precentor?" meaning the leader of congregational singing.

In church service the leader read two lines or a whole stanza of a hymn, and then led the congregation in singing them. Note books were scarce then and seldom seen in the churches.

In the Baptist church Aaron Hise was leader (precentor) many years. In the Presbyterian church, John Campbell and Josiah Bowman were prominent in this part of the service. In those days the hymns used were in Commom, Proper, Short and Long meter, and the tunes were so simple as to be easily learned. In modern times there has been so much speculation in new hymns, new meters, and new tunes, that the note book becomes a necessity in this part of church service. Good singing masters are

[note at bottom of page 1997]*See page 182.

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more needed now than the encouragement that they get.

It was some time in the sixties that organs were first used in the churches. Small parlor instruments were first adopted. The Presbyterian church was the first to have a pipe organ. The use of these instruments encountered great opposition when they were first introduced. This opposition has been much lessened by the demise of the older members and the progressive ideas of the younger ones.

An Immigrant's Experience.
The following account of first impressions of Salem has been furnished by a son of him who is the subject of the narrative:

"Dr. John Harris was born in Adams county, Pa., in the year 1808. When about twenty-one years of age, he started west on horseback, without any definite idea as to where he would locate. In approaching the then small hamlet of Salem, on what is now Lincoln Avenue, he was so struck with the beauty of the surroundings that he resolved at once to make it his future home. After being here a short time, he rode back to his old home in Pennsylvania, and prevailed on his father to come to Salem with his family."

"The moving was done in wagons, and the family settled on a farm, about two miles south-west of Salem. John Harris then went into the office of Dr. B. Stanton to study medicine. After completing his course of study, he opened his own office, and for years he and Dr. Stanton were the principal physicians in this neighborhood. After a number of years of extensive practice, finding that close application and loss of rest at night was injuring his

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health, he gave up the practice of medicine and studied Dentistry."

"After a course at a Philadelphia dental college, he practiced this profession in Salem for a number of years. He was one of the first in this business in this place. In 1835, he married Mary Trescott, daughter of Samuel C. Trescott. He died in 1879, aged seventy-one years.

"Dr. Harris was always a progressive and public spirited citizen. He was for several years mayor of the village, was on the school board for a long time, was one of the school examiners, and was interested in the publication of one of the earlier newspapers of the town. He was an aggressive anti-slavery and temperance man. And he was frequently called upon to act as chairman at meetings in the interest of these causes."




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