EARLY OHIO DAYS.
The Marietta Pioneers and Their Descendants. Romance of the Pretty Daughter of Ohio's First Governor. The First Sheriff in Ohio and His Early Adventures.
The lineal descendants of the pioneers that came to Marietta and made the first settlement of Ohio, in 1788, can be traced readily to this generation, and it is a matter of very general interest to know that many of these old families have at the present time representatives who reflect distinguisehd credit upon their founders. The hardy qualities of brain and body that marked the leaders among the early settlers of Ohio have been transmitted to succeeding generations and anothing has been lost in the descent.
In the late war there were four distinguished Generals upon the Union side who trace their lines back to some of the families that came to Marietta before 1790. Two Generals who are descended from the pioneers are Don Carlos Buell, Irwin McDowell. The other tow are Generals Pope and Backus. McDowell was a descendant of Colonel Abner Lord, and there are a great many well known persons now living who had Mr. Lord for an ancestor. E. F. Andrews, the Washington artist, is one whom I recall, and there is a prominent family in Columbus that belongs to this same branch of the Lord descendants.
Mrs. J. B. Foraker, the wife of the present Governor of Ohio, was Miss Julia Bundy, of Jackson County, and one of her great-grandparents came to Ohio in the Western Mayflower that bore the first settlers here, or a few months later, with a second part of pioneers. The connection with the pioneers is on her mother's side, the maternal ancestor having been a Captain William Jones, a soldier of the Revolution.
Another well known descendant of Colonel Abner Lord is Prof. Tappan, the State School Commissioner elect. One of Colonel Lord's daughters married Judge Benjamin Tappan, of Steubenville, who was one of the U. S. Senators from Ohio. Colonel Abner Lord was a Connecticut man, and he lived in an oblong frame house near the station of the Marietta and Cincinnatie Railroad, which is now used, in part , for a hotel.
First Sheriff in Ohio.
One of the most conspicious figures in the early history of Ohio was that of Colonel Ebenezer Sproat. He was the first Sheriff in Ohio, and his commanding figure led the formal and solemn procession that marched to open the first court in the Northwest Territory. Dr. Andrews, of Marietta, has recently discovered that Sproat changed his name when he came to Ohio. In Rhode Island he was known as Sprout, and there are old papers extant signed by him in that way. Why he altered the spelling of his name is not known, but it is certain that he did so.
There used to be a story floating about among the old people in Washington County that the Indians favorably impressed by the handsome physique of Sproat, gave to him the name of Hetuck, or Big Buckeye, and that from this circumstance the name of Buckeye was gradually applied to all residents of Ohio.
Colonel Sproat was the physical hero of early times, and there is small doubt that he commanded the hearty admiration of the hunters and Indians. He was six feet four inches in height.
He was a native of Massachusetts, born in 1752, and was a man of some education, and engineer by profession. At the beginning of the war of the Revolution he was given the command of a company, and he speedily rose to the first place in his regiment. It is said that he was the tallest man and stricted disciplarian in the brigade. At the close of the war he removed to Providence and married Catherine Whipple, the daughter of the bluff, quaint old naval officer who has been mentioned in these sketches. After his marriage Sproat engaged in business, but war had unfitted him for the pursuits of peace, and he very promptly lost his own money and all that his wife brought to him. In 1787, he was made one of the surveyors of the Ohio Company, and in the fall of that year led a party of men to Simrell's Ferry, near Pittsburgh where he superintended the building of the Mayflower. Colonel Sproat was employed as a surveyor of the Ohio Company till 1791 when the Indian war gave him more congenial occupation. He held the position of High Sheriff, as it was then called under Governor St. Clair for fourteen years and no Sheriff of Ohio or other State has given to the office more dignity and form. He had reat respect for the office and always carried a sword as the proper emblem of his position. Colonel Sproat was a friend of General Washington and an acquaintance of Lafayette. He died suddenly in 1805. His daughter was married to Solomon Sibley, who became one of the prominent men in the early days of Minnnesota.
The First Governor.
The first Governor of the Northwest Territory was General Arthur St. Clair. He was born in Scotland in 17?4 joined the British Army and was sent to America to fight in the French war. He was present at the storming of Quebec. In 1763, St. Clair was made Commandant at Fort Ligonier in Pennsylvania where he settled and received one thousand acres of land. He became attached to the colonies, and when the war with Great Britain broke out, he was given command of a regiment of Continental troops. He rose to the rank of a Major General. When Ticonderoga was captured by Burgoyne, St. Clair was in command of the fort, and he was charged with cowardice and incapacity, but was completely exonerated by a court martial.
In 1785 he was elected a member of the Continental Congress and was afterwards chosen President of that body. St. Clair was appointed Governor of the Northwest Territory in 1787, and in the winter of 1790 he moved with all his family to Marietta. His family consisted of a son and three daughters. The son, Arthur St. Clair, jr., became a lawyer, and lived in Cincinnati. Louisa, the eldest daughter, was a dashing girl of eighteen, and there has been a great deal written and told about her.
"The Major General's Daughter."
She was a beautiful girl of lithe, fine figure and attractive features. She had a good deal of physical and mental courage, and was madly fond of stirring adventure. She was a splendid rider, and always chose a mettlesome, spirited horse which she could urge at a tremendous speed throught the trackless woods.
Tradition makes of her a modern Diana. She could shoot with a rifle better than most men, and was devoted to hunting. She excelled in skating and all athletic sports in which she could engage, but at the same time her mind was not neglected. She read much and with care, and had been educated in the city of Philadelphia at great expense.
There is an entertaining legend that smacks of romance and connects Louissa St. Clair with an Indian lover. It seems that shortly after her arrival in Ohio the Indian wars broke out, and there was not much that seemed hopeful in the outlook for the settlers. Finally a treaty was proposed, and the place named for its discussion was Fort Harmar, opposite Marietta, but the Indians declined at the last moment to come so far down the river. They encamped at Duncan's Falls, below Zanesville, and informed Governor St. Clair by means of a messenger that they would hold the conference there or not at all. The Governor suspected that they wanted to get him to the falls for the purpose of killing or abducting him and he sent back the Indian messenger to the Indian King Brandt that he would deliberate over the matter and inform him of his conclusions within a few days. So a trusted scout was sent with a letter to Brandt, and given orders to make himself acquainted with the position and numbers of the Indians.
Twenty miles above Marietta, Ker saw hoof prints and following them for a while he heard the merry laugh of a woman, and soon was struck dumb with amazement by seeing Louisa St. Clair, mounted on her pony and alone, within a few miles of the hostile Indians. She was dressed in the Indian style and had a rifle slung over her shoulders. She cooly informed Ker that she was going to Duncan Falls to see Brandt. Remonstrance on his part was vain. She declined to return to the fort at Marietta, and he could not deter her from going forward. That night they camped out after making a supper from dried venison, a supply of which he always carried. The pony was tied to a tree and Louisa St. Clair sat against one and slept while the ranger kept guard. The next morning they continued their journey, and toward evening came near to the camp of the Indians. She took her father's letter from the scout and dashed forward on her pony. In a few minutes she was a prisoner in the hands of the Indians. She asked for Brandt, who soon appeared in his warrior dress. She looked at him with much coolness and extending her hand, said "We have met before", "Where" said the Indian, "In Philadelphia, when we were both at school there," answered Miss St. Clair.
Brandt, who had recognized her in the first place, bowed and smiled at her dashing courage. They had frequently seen each other in Philadelphia, as they had both been educated there.
In the meantime she, observing that she had mad a favorable impression on Brandt, told him that she had risked her life to get the letter into her hands, and she asked for a guard to see her safely back to Marietta. Brandt told her that he admired her bravery, and that he himself would accompany her to her home. The next morning they set out for Marietta and after a pleasant journey of two days and a half, the stockade was reached. The appearance of Louisa, who had been missing for nearly a week, was the signal for a vast commotion. She gave no heed to the comment upon her conduct, but hastening to her father she introduced Brandt and told General St. Clair of all that had taken place. Brandt was treated with kin consideration--but he could not agree with St. Clair upon the terms of a treaty and he returned to his warriors without one, but his heart was filled with passionate love for Louisa St. Clair.
In the following year he took no part in the treaty of Fort Harmar, but visited the settlement and asked for the hand of Louisa St. Clair. The Governor did not want an Indian for a son-in-law, so he refused to comply with Brandt's request. It was repeated again and again, but in vain. In the fall of 1791 Brandt led the Chippewas in the battle which resulted in the defeat of St. Clair and he instructed his braves to shoot the General's horse, but not to harm him. St. Clair had four horses shot under him and his clothes were torn with shot, but he escaped unhurt.
Young Brandt, who loved Louisa St. Clair, was a fellow of many fine qualities and it was the belief at that time that great Indian war that cost so much blook and treasure could have been averted by and alliance between the daughter of the Governor of the Northwest Territory and the son of the Chief of the Western Confederation of Indians. It is possible that had St. Clair listened with favor to the pleadings of Brandt he would have been spared the humiliating defeat of 1791, and that there would have been no necessity for the military exploits of General Wayne, a few years later.
Governor St. Clair was removed from his official position by President Jefferson, in 1803. He went back to Pennsylvania, where he died in 1818. The latter years of his life were made bitter by the poverty that followed grave financial losses, and it is stated that the man who was succesively Major General, President of Congress and Governor of the great Northwest Territory, was forced to peddle pastry for a living.
I am told that today the grandchildren of brave Louisa St. Clair are living in absolute want of many of the common comforts of life in their Pennsylvania home. [Source: Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, January 22, 1887, Transcribed by C. Anthony]
Sampson Cole was one of our early settlers in this section of country. He lived on Ohio street, a few doors from the corner of Third, in the house built by Moses McFarland. Levi, too, was one of our old citizens. Joseph Holden, who lived on Front street, wsa one of our early settlers. Samuel Shipman, who lived, I think, among our first settlers. C. J. Sheppard was one of our early music teachers. Nearly all of the old ladies were his pupils. During the late Rebellion the Silver Greys was organized, with Chas. Shepard as Captain. Hugh Brenan was, I think, sergant. They drilled on Greene street. John Mills lived on Putnam street, just above Third. B. [Source: Marietta Daily Leader, January 2, 1896, Transcribed by C. Anthony]
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