Ephraim Cutler, known in the early history of Athens county as Judge Cutler, was the oldest son of Dr. Manasseh Cutler, and was born at Edgartown, Duke’s county; Massachusetts, April 12th, 1767. He did not receive A collegiate education, but, being an industrious reader; he acquired during youth considerable mental culture, and a large store of useful knowledge. From the age of three years he lived with his grandparents, at Killingly, Connecticut, both of whom he was wont to mention in after life with great respect and affection. His grandfather was a pure and pious man, and an ardent patriot. In a sketch written long afterward, Judge Cutler says:
“I well remember that the express with the news of the battle of Lexington, which was the commencement of the revolutionary struggle, came directly to my grandfather’s house in the night after the battle. He was in bed, and I slept with him. He arose immediately and fired his gun three times, which was, doubtless, the agreed signal, as it was universally expected that there would be an attack from the British. Before sunrise he, with fifteen others, had started for the battlefield. Before leaving he gave a particular charge to his housekeeper to provide carefully for the wants of any soldier who might call during his absence.”
In 1787 Mr. Cutler married Miss Leah Atwood, of Killingly, a lady whose great worth and excellence of character were for many years well known in Athens county. After his marriage he engaged for a few years in mercantile pursuits at Killingly. In 1795 he accepted the agency of the Ohio Company, in which he had been a shareholder from the beginning, and, on the 15th of June in that year, set out with his wife and four children for the company’s purchase in the northwestern territory. The journey was made in the usual way of that time-in wagons across the mountains to the headwaters of the Ohio, and thence down the river in a small flat boat. While descending the river they lost two of their children, Hezekiah, the youngest, and Mary, the eldest, whose remains were buried in the forest on the banks of the beautiful river. They arrived at Marietta, September 18, 1795, having been more than three months on the way, and thirty-one days on the river. At Marietta Mr. Cutler lay sick for several weeks in the block house. As soon as he was able they proceeded to the garrison at Waterford, where they remained till the spring of 1799. The circumstances of his removal to and settlement in Ames, in 1799, are narrated elsewhere. Mr. and Mrs. Cutler brought with them to their new home four children-Nancy and Charles, born in New England, and Mary and Daniel, born in Waterford. All of these, except Charles, are still living. Nancy, now Mrs. Carter, lives in Franklin county, Ohio. Mary, Mrs. Gulliver Dean, lives in Ames township, near the old Cutler homestead. Daniel lives in Kansas and is an intelligent and prosperous farmer.
For the next few years Mr. Cutler devoted himself with great energy to developing the interests of the Ohio Company, and of the Amesville settlement in particular, taking a leading part in all the social, political and educational movements of the day. During the first year of his residence in the territory he had been commissioned by Governor St. Clair captain of the militia, justice of the peace, judge of the court of quarter sessions and of the court of common pleas. He was appointed by the territorial legislature, at its first session, one of the seven commissioners to lease the school and ministerial lands in each township of the Ohio Company’s purchase. In September, 1801, while living in Ames, Judge Cutler was elected to represent Washington county in the territorial legislature. At this legislature, which sat at Chillicothe, the question of the formation of a state government came up, and Judge Cutler and his colleague, William R. Putnam, were the only two who voted against the measure. In doing this they represented the wishes of their constituents, who were opposed to forming a state government so soon. This vote made them for a short time very unpopular in Chillicothe, and for two nights a mob threatened to attack the house where they boarded. In September, 1802, still living in Ames, Judge Cutler was chosen as one of the four delegates from Washington county to the convention to form a state constitution. In this convention, and in the framing of the first constitution of Ohio, he exercised a large influence. Article III, establishing the judicial system of the state, was almost wholly shaped and drafted by him. But the greatest service rendered by Judge Cutler in this convention was his determined opposition to the introduction of slavery into the state of Ohio; for, strange as it may seem, a strong effort was made to fasten this system on the state, notwithstanding the positive language and the solemn compact of the ordinance of 1787. There were delegates in the convention who, representing the sentiments of settlers from slaveholding states, claimed that the ordinance was in the nature of a contract, and was not binding till its terms had been accepted by the new state; and, consequently, that if she chose to reject any portion of the proposed terms, it was competent for her to do so, while adopting her fundamental law and becoming a state. We have not space to describe the contest in detail. A determined effort was made by the party referred to to plant slavery on the soil of Ohio, and the great name and influence of Thomas Jefferson were used to further the attempt. It was then a theory of Jefferson’s that the extension of slavery diluted and weakened it. He desired, or at least professed to desire, its extinction. Judge Cutler stood in the breach, and with all his power and great persistency battled against this movement. His friends rallied around him; he was finally successful, and to Ephraim Cutler more than to any other man posterity is indebted for shutting and barring the doors against the introduction into Ohio of the monstrous system of African slavery.
Mr. Cutler also took a leading part in framing and securing the passage of secs. 3, 25 and 26 of article VIII of the constitution, relating to religion and education.
In December, 1806, Judge Cutler removed from Athens to Washington county, settling on the Ohio river about six miles below Marietta. Here his first wife died in 1807. In 1808 he married Sarah Parker, a native of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Four of the children by this marriage are still living, the only son, William P. Cutler, being esteemed among the first men in the state.
William P. Cutler was born near Marietta, July 12, 1813; was a member of the Ohio legislature from 1844 to 1846, officiating as speaker of the house during his last term; was a member of the constitutional convention of 1850; afterwards was for some years president of the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad Company; was elected in 1860 a representative to the 37th congress, and has been for a few years past again officially connected with the above mentioned railroad.
In 1818 Judge Cutler again appeared in public life as a member of the Ohio legislature from Washington county. We regret that we can not exhibit in detail his noble services at this period of his life; we can only state the results. He succeeded in changing the land tax system from a direct tax to an ad valorem basis. Prior to 1824 the whole burden of state taxes was laid on the lands as a direct tax, levied by the acre and without reference to value. Consequently thinly populated counties like Athens and Washington actually paid more into the treasury than wealthy and populous counties like Hamilton and Butler. The system was grossly unequal and oppressive. Judge Cutler’s clear vision enabled him to perceive this, and he labored long and successfully to change it, so that taxes should be assessed on the whole property of the people according to value.
His other great achievement at this time was the establishment of an excellent common school system. The first public allusion to education in Ohio is found in an oration by Solomon Drown, delivered at Marietta, April 7th, 1789. The first memorial on behalf of the general interest of public schools read in the Ohio legislature was offered in 1816, by the Rev. Samuel P. Robbins, of Marietta, but prior to 182o there was no organized sentiment in the state on the subject of common schools, and no general legislation. In 1821 the legislature passed an act for the regulation and support of common schools, but it did not provide any adequate revenue for their maintenance, and was by no means an efficient system. The common school question was an issue in the elections of 1824. Several ardent advocates of a thorough system were elected, among them Judge Cutler, as senator from Washington county. We do not aver that he alone deserves the credit for the success of the measure in the legislature of 1824-5, but he was the acknowledged leader of the friends of common schools, and his experience in public affairs and as a legislator rendered his services of the greatest value. On the 5th of February, 1825, an excellent school bill, providing a thorough system and liberal support therefor by taxation, was passed by the legislature. When the vote in the senate was taken, Judge Cutler and Mr. Nathan Guilford (senator from Cincinnati, who was an ardent and able friend of the cause, and who drafted the bill), were standing side by side. When the result was announced, a majority for the bill of twenty-two votes, judge Cutler turned to Mr. Guilford, and, with great solemnity and earnestness, said: “Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
The latter years of Judge Cutler’s life were spent quietly at his, place in Washington county, amid the enjoyments of home and the affectionate attention of relatives and friends. He died July 8th, 1853.
George Ewing, commonly called during his residence in the county Lieut. Ewing, was, it is believed, the first white settler within the bounds of what is now Ames township. A native of Salem, New Jersey, he entered the continental army at the beginning of the revolutionary war, and served with credit during its whole course. For his bravery and good conduct he received, soon after entering the service, a commission as first lieutenant of the Jersey Line, which position he held till the return of peace. Shortly after the conclusion of the war he emigrated to what is now Ohio county, West Virginia, which then constituted the very frontier of civilization, and was, with the surrounding region, the scene of many a bloody conflict between the “LongKnives” and the red men. After a few years’ residence here he removed with his wife and young family, in 1793, to the Waterford settlement, on the Muskingum river, where he passed a year or two in the block house, until the danger from Indian attacks, then imminent, had passed. In the spring of 1798, Lieutenant Ewing, encouraged and assisted by Judge Cutler, removed his family to a place seventeen miles northwest of the frontier settlements, in what is now Ames township, and became the pioneer of that section of country. He settled on what is now known as the Thomas Gardiner farm. During the period of his residence here he was an active supporter of schools and every means of developing and improving the community. He was chosen township trustee at the first election, in 1802, and in after years filled that position and the office of township clerk. He was fond of reading, possessed a bright and active mind, and a fund of sterling sense, combined with lively wit and good humor. In 1818 he removed to Perry county, Indiana, where he died about the year 1830.
Mr. Ewing’s professional career thus begun, was destined to be one of uninterrupted success. In 1816 he was appointed by the commissioners prosecutor for Athens county, and continued for many years to attend the courts of Athens regularly. His eminent abilities soon gave him a commanding position among the lawyers of Ohio, and in 1830 he was elected to the United States senate, where he remained till 1837. He was a member of President Harrison’s cabinet, as secretary of the treasury, in 1841. On the accession of President Taylor, in 1849, he was invited into the cabinet, and became secretary of the interior. In 185o he was appointed United States senator from Ohio, holding the position till 1851, when he retired from public life and resumed the practice of law. As a lawyer, orator, publicist and statesman, Thomas Ewing ranks among the greatest the United States has produced, and Athens county may well be proud to have nourished, during his childhood and youth, so noble a citizen.
Capt. Benjamin Brown, father of General John, and of Judge A. G. Brown, and one of the most prominent among the early settlers of Ames, was born October 17, 1745, at Leicester, Massachusetts. His grandfather, William Brown, came from England to America while a youth, was the first settler in the town of Hatfield, on the Connecticut river, and was often engaged in the Indian wars of that period. Capt. John Brown, father of Benjamin, served with credit in the colonial army during the French war, and represented the town of Leicester in the Massachusetts legislature during, and for many years after, the revolutionary war. In February, 1775, Benjamin Brown, then thirty years old, joined a regiment of minute men, and two months later was engaged in active hostilities. In May he was commissioned a lieutenant in Colonel Prescott’s regiment of the Massachusetts line, and in June participated in the battle of Bunker’s Hill. Two of his brothers, Pearly and John Brown, were also engaged in this battle, the latter being dangerously wounded in two places, and borne off the field during the engagement. This brother Pearly was subsequently killed at the battle of White Plains, and another brother, William, died in hospital. In January, 1777, Lieut. Brown was commissioned a captain in the eighth regiment Massachusetts line. His regiment took a very active part in the operations directed against Burgoyne during the summer of 1777, and Capt. Brown was engaged in nearly all of the battles that preceded Burgoyne’s surrender, in some of which he particularly distinguished himself by his gallantry and daring. A short time after this he was offered the position of aide-de-camp on Baron Steuben’s staff, but declined it, fearing that his military knowledge was inadequate. In 1779, compelled by the necessities of his family and other personal reasons, he resigned his commission and returned home to provide for their support. About the year 1789 he removed with his family to Hartford, Washington county, New York, then a new settlement, whence he again migrated in the fall of 1796, and sought a home in the northwestern territory. He reached Marietta in the spring of 1797, and in 1799 came to Ames township, in company with Judge Cutler, as elsewhere stated. He was one of the prominent citizens during the time he resided in Ames, holding various township offices, and contributing largely to the advancement of the settlement. In 1817, his health becoming feeble, he went to live with his son, Gen. John Brown, in Athens, and here he died in October, 1821.
His wife, whom he married in Massachusetts in 1772, and who bore him a large family of children, died at Athens in 1840, aged eighty-six years.
John Brown (nephew of Capt. Brown), born February 10, 1774, at Leicester, Massachusetts, married Miss Polly Green, of ,Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1797, and set out for the Ohio Company’s purchase in the autumn of 1801. He brought his young family and few effects over the mountains, with one horse, in a little wagon, and, when descending difficult places in the road, attached a small tree to the rear end of his wagon, to act as a break, or lock. When he reached Wheeling, on the Ohio river, after a most toilsome journey, he “swapped” his wagon for a canoe and two heifers, and proceeded down the river toward his destination. His second son, Lemuel Green Brown, was born the day after their landing, near Marietta, and the head of the family found himself in these rather difficult circumstances, with but fifty cents in his pocket. As soon as practicable he resumed travel, and reached Ames township in March, 1802. He first settled on the farm now owned and occupied by the heirs of Stephen Green, where he lived for a short time, and thence moved to where John D. Brown now lives. He was soon elected a justice of the peace, and was frequently re-elected, holding the position, altogether, twenty-seven years. He was also at one time one of the appraisers of the college lands in this county, and of the same in Miami county. In 18r i he built a brick house on his farm in Ames (one of the first brick houses, if not the first, erected in this part of the county), where for many years he kept public house. Being situated on the principal thoroughfare from Marietta westward, it was, during fifteen or twenty years, much resorted to by travelers. The building was standing till within a few years. Of excellent business capacity, and of a kind and genial nature, Mr. Brown was always able and willing to relieve the poor and help the distressed. His house was at all times open for religious services, and a list was made of seventy-two preachers, who, at different times, had held meetings there. He was twice married, and his second wife is still living in the county, nearly eighty years old. He died July 23, 1833.
Pearly Brown, oldest son of the preceding, was born in Massachusetts, July 24, 1798, and was four years old when brought to this county. In the year 1819 he married Eliza Hulbert (who is still living), and settled in Ames township, on a new farm, given him by his father. A hard-working and energetic man, he soon improved his circumstances, and laid the foundation for a competence. To afford some idea of the prices that prevailed when he was a young man, Mr. Brown states that he worked a week for Judge Currier, in Athens, in 1823, at 311 cents a day, and at Saturday night was paid in two tin cups at 25 cents each; a quarter of a pound of tea, 5o cents; one pound of coffee, so cents, and 371 cents in money-making $1.871-with which valuables he walked home-ten miles. While yet living with his father, in 1814 or 1815, he was hired to carry the mail, with two other riders, between Marietta and Chillicothe, the distance being about one hundred miles, and to make three trips a week, or two hundred miles a week for each rider; for which service he received $6 a month. He cultivated his farm in Ames till 1829 or 1830, when he removed to McArthurstown (then in Athens county), and engaged for many years in selling goods and dealing in live stock. In 1839 he and his partners drove across the mountains to the eastern markets 2,100 cattle, 1,300 hogs, 1,800 sheep and 20 horses. He was at the same time quite extensively engaged in the mercantile business with his brother, Samuel H. Brown, well known in the county for many years, and till his death in 1854, as an untiring business man. Pearly Brown has held the positions of county commissioner and justice of the peace, and is widely known in this and adjoining counties as a man of unswerving integrity. He has reared a family of three sons and six daughters. His oldest son, Pinckney Brown, is an extensive dealer in live stock.
John B. Brown, another son of John, was horn in the year 1803, in Ames township, where he has lived ever since. He has been successful in life, and is respected as one of the solid men of the community.
Samuel H. Brown, youngest son of John, was born in Ames township, October 8th, 1807. He became an active business man, and well known in southern Ohio and in the eastern markets as an extensive and successful cattle dealer, in which business he engaged, with little intermission, for over twenty-two years. He served as justice of the peace and associate judge in this county. He removed to Meigs county about 185o, and died there October 2d, 1854. He was an honest and capable man.
Samuel Brown, brother of John and nephew of Capt. Benjamin Brown, a native, of Massachusetts, came to the northwestern territory in 1797, and settled with his family on “Round Bottom,” on the Muskingum river. In the year 1800 he bought a piece of land on Sunday creek, within the limits of Ames township as soon after defined, but in the present township of Dover. In 1805 he returned to Washington county (having sold his farm on Sunday creek), and opened a new farm about eight miles west of Marietta. He lived here till 1835, when he took up his residence with his son-in-law, Mr. James Dickey, at whose house he died January 15, 1841.
William Brown, son of Capt. Benjamin Brown, settled in Ames township in the year 1800, and lived here till about 1817, when he removed to the Moses Hewitt farm, in Waterloo. In 1820 he moved to Lee township, where he lived until a short time before his death, which took place at his son, Leonard Brown’s, in Athens. His son, Austin, still lives in Lee township, on a part of the old homestead. Another son, Leonard, who served one term as sheriff and two terms as treasurer of the county, now lives in the, town of Albany. He is engaged in the mercantile business, and is a leading citizen.
John Brown, son of Samuel, was born in Ames township, December 23, 180,, but lived the greater part of the time, until 1840, in Washington county, about eight miles from Marietta. In that year he bought property in Albany, Athens county, where he located and engaged successfully for many years in the mercantile business. In 1867 he associated with him his son, J. D. Brown, and engaged in the banking business. During the present year they have removed from Albany to Athens, which is Mr. Brown’s present residence. He is a gentleman of fine business capacity, and a public spirited citizen.
Silvanus Ames, long known in this county as Judge Ames, was born at Bridgewater, Massachusetts, March 26, 1771. His father, whose ancestor, William Ames, came from England in 1643, was a graduate of Harvard college, and an Episcopalian clergyman. He preached several years at Trinity church, in Taunton, Massachusetts, was afterwards a chaplain in the revolutionary army, and died in the camp at Valley Forge, during the hard winter of 1777-78. Silvanus Ames married Nabby Lee Johnson in 1795, and moved to the northwestern territory in 1798. They settled temporarily in Belpre, whence they removed to Ames township, in May, 1800, and settled on the farm now owned by the Henrys, and still familiarly called the “Ames farm.” Mr. Ames’ strong sense and solid judgment gave him a commanding influence among the early settlers, and he was soon brought into the public life of that day. He was the second sheriff of the county, colonel of militia, trustee of the Ohio university for many years, and associate judge from 1813 to 1823. He was also several times elected representative to the state legislature, and in all of these positions evinced a capacity for public affairs, and gained the approbation of the community. Intimately connected, as he was, with the political movements of the day, Judge Ames’ house became the resort of the political leaders in southern Ohio, and a favorite stopping place of public men, when making their long trips between the east and west. He was an active and liberal supporter of all educational and religious movements, and an acknowledged leader in the community for several years. He died September 23, 1823. At the time of his death his family consisted of five sons and four daughters, of whom four sons and two daughters are now living, viz: the Rev. Bishop E. R. Ames, John, in Kansas, Charles B., in the state of Mississippi, and George W., at Greencastle, Indiana. One of the daughters, Mrs. Eliza Dawes, lives at Ripon, Wisconsin, and the other, Mrs. A. B. Walker, at Athens. Another daughter, Mrs. de Steiguer, died at Athens, July 29, 1851; a son of her’s, Rodolph de Steiguer, a native of the county, is a leading lawyer at Athens.
Capt. Sabinus Rice, son of Jason and Sarah Hibbard Rice, was born in Poultney, Vermont, December 18, 1795, and came with his father’s family to Ohio in the year 1800. The journey from New England was made in the usual way at that time-by wagon to Pittsburg, and thence down the Ohio river by flat boat. His parents lived for about three years at the White Oak settlement, on the Muskingum river, a few miles north of Marietta, whence, in 1803, they removed to Ames township, where they bought and settled on an eighty acre farm. By hard work and good management they acquired a comfortable competency, and the later years of the old people were passed in ease. The Rice family will long be remembered in the community where they lived, for their hospitality, refinement and intelligence.
Jason Rice died in 1843, in his eighty-eighth year. His wife died in 1824, aged sixty-two years. Their children were Reuben, Ambrose, Jonas, Sabinus, Sally, Jason and Melona, of whom the two last only are living. Jason is a farmer in Ames township and highly respected, and the sister, now Mrs. William Corner, lives in Malta, Ohio. Jonas Rice died on the Mississippi river, near Natchez, in 1829, of yellow fever. A grandson of his, Thomas H. Sheldon, is now cashier of the National Bank at Athens. Ambrose, who possessed great mathematical talent, removed to the northern part of Ohio, where he became very wealthy, and died many years since. Sabinus Rice, a man of excellent judgment and most amiable character, was one of the leading citizens of Ames. He died July 23, 1852. His only son, Sabinus Jason Rice, died in Ames township, in April, 1857, leaving a wife and two children. Of the daughters of Capt. Rice, Mrs. Esther Richardson lives in Spring Hill, Ohio; Mrs. Rebecca R. Hibbard in Wauseon, Fulton county, Ohio, and Mrs. Eunice M. Mower in Springfield, Ohio.
Isaac Linscott, a native of Maine, and of English extraction, came to Ames township in the year 1800, and settled with his large family on the farm now owned by George Linscott, Jun., where he lived till 1824. His descendants, mostly farmers, are very numerous, being scattered through Ames, Bern and Dover townships, and inherit the energy, thrift and strict honesty of their ancestor. The children of Isaac Linscott were Noah, Lydia, Joseph, Isaac, Miriam, Eleanor, Olive, Israel, Amos, John, Mary and Jonathan. Linscott’s run, a branch of Ewing’s run, received its name from this family.
Joshua Wyatt, known during his residence in Athens county as “Deacon Wyatt,” was a native of Beverly, Massachusetts, whence he came out as far west as Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1790, and from thence to Marietta, in 1799. He settled with his family in Ames township in 1801, having the year before opened a few acres of land, and got a house under way, which was finished after the family moved in. His family and goods came up the Hockhocking, in a boat, to Warren’s station, in Canaan township, whence they were taken in teams across to his place in Ames. His effects made seventeen wagon loads, and were mostly hauled by Peter Mansfield, through the woods, without as yet any road. From the date of his settlement in the township till his death, in 1822, he was a leading citizen. He was a man of distinguished piety, and his life, both in public and in private, was singularly devout. Upon the organization of the first Presbyterian church in Athens he was chosen one of the elders, and, with Deacon Ackley and Judge Alvan Bingham, continued to act as such for several years. Soon after settling in Ames, as early as 1805, he appointed and himself conducted religious reading and prayer meetings at the school house. These meetings were kept up as long as he lived. His eldest daughter, Betsy Wyatt, married William Parker, May 13, 1 This was the first wedding in Ames township, and supposed to be the second marriage in the county.
John McDougal, born in Schenectady county, New York, August 26, 1776, came to Athens county in July, 1807, and settled in Ames township, on the creek which now bears his name, where he continued to live till his death in 1854.
Gilbert McDougal, his youngest son, was born in Ames township, June 30, 1819, and now resides on the old place owned by his late father. He is a successful farmer, has taught the district school in his vicinity seventeen quarters, held the office of justice of the peace six years, and county commissioner seven years.
Col. Absalom Boyles, born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1797, came with his father’s family to the northwestern territory in 1799, and to Ames township in 1801. He grew up with the community, and was largely identified with the development of the township and county during a long and active life. With fine intelligence, high sense of honor and ardent desire to benefit others, he was always one of the first and most active supporters of social reform, and of every movement that tended to the common welfare. He held various civil positions in the township and county, and, in connection with the early militia organization of the county, was commissioned, by Governor Ethan A. Brown, ensign in 1819; lieutenant in 1820; captain in 1821; by Governor ‘Trimble, lieutenant colonel in 1822, and by Governor Morrow, colonel in 1823.
He lived an honorable and useful life, and died May 3, 1863, on the farm near Amesville, where he had resided for sixty-two years.
Abel Glazier was born in Massachusetts, in 1769. During early life he lived for a time in Washington county, New York, whence he removed to Athens county, and settled in Ames township in 1804. He bought of Capt. Benj. Brown the farm on which Daniel Fleming now lives, and afterward married a daughter of Capt. Brown. He lived in the township over thirty years, during which time he was one of its most prominent and useful citizens. He died in January, 1837. Numerous descendants of his are living in the county, and are highly and justly esteemed in the communities where they dwell, for their intelligence, energy, and sterling qualities. Two of his grandsons, J. H. Glazier and A. W. Glazier, are among the first citizens of Ames township.
George Walker (known during his residence in the county as Judge Walker) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1774. His father, John Walker, came of an old family in Leicestershire, England, was a graduate of the university of Edinburgh, and a barrister at law, removed to America in 1753, married in Boston, and settled in Hartford, Connecticut. George received a good business education, and engaged in mercantile business in Cooperstown, New York. For several years he was highly successful, but, through the dishonesty of a partner, he became deeply involved, and was compelled to close business at a great sacrifice. Disheartened by his losses, and soured by the meanness and dishonesty of his late associates, he determined to seek his fortune in a newer country, and came to Athens county in 1804. Here he purchased and settled on a farm near the present town of Amesville, where he remained all his life. The country was almost a wilderness, and the farm uncultivated, nor had the owner any practical knowledge of the work before him. Mrs. L. W. Ryors, to whom we are indebted for the substance of this sketch, says: “I have heard my mother say that, had it not been for the aid of the man who accompanied them in their long journey as a driver of a wagon, they would have suffered. His name was William Hassey, and he continued to live with the family, a faithful friend and helper, for nearly fifty years. In this wild pioneer life this man was invaluable in every respect, assisting my mother in her new and trying duties, and instructing my father in the art of felling trees and removing brush-not greatly to the credit of his pupil, as the family tradition testifies that he never learned to perform, with skill, that first and necessary part of pioneer life.”
Soon after his arrival in the township, Mr. Walker was elected a justice of the peace, which position he held, continuously, for about twenty-four years. He also acted as county commissioner for sixteen years, and was elected by the legislature, an associate judge of the court of common pleas, which office he held for fourteen years. He was one of the founders and principal supporters of the Western library association, of which Mrs. Ryors recalls some reminiscences. She says: “As long as I can remember this library was kept at my father’s house, and it was most highly prized by the whole family. Books, now a necessity, were then, in that isolated place, a rare luxury. The books were selected with good judgment, and comprised a little of everything-poetry, history, romance, law, medicine, and some scientific and religious works. Poems and novels were the first attraction, I am sorry to say, for the female portion of the family, but they were soon exhausted, and we were glad to turn to more substantial reading. It was no uncommon thing to find a child reading eagerly from the heavy volumes of Rollin or Hume. I was not more than ten or eleven years old, when, in the absence of any ‘juvenile books,’ I read, with delight, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and the translation of Homer’s ‘Iliad.”‘
An active supporter of schools and of every movement calculated to promote the welfare of the community, judge Walker exercised during his whole life a large and healthful influence. He died in 1856. His wife, who is still remembered by some of her contemporaries as a most amiable christian lady, died in 185o, aged seventy-one years.
Judge Walker had one son- George Walker, Jun., who was, for many years, a successful business man in Amesville. He is deceased. Of his seven daughters, the eldest was married to Col. Charles Cutler; the second to Edgar Jewett, of Athens; two of the others married physicians; one a banker, and one a merchant. Another daughter, Mrs. Ryors, relict of the Rev. Alfred Ryors, minister of the Presbyterian church, is well known in Athens. Her accomplished husband, for many years connected with the Ohio university, and subsequently president of the Indiana state university, was one of the choicest among the many rare and scholarly men, who, during its history, have been associated with the university at Athens. He died at Danville, Kentucky, May 8, 1858.
Edward R. Ames, third son of Silvanus Ames, was born in Ames township, May 2o, 1806, on the farm now owned by James and George Henry. His early education, though limited, was healthful and solid, and, while still a youth, having access to the local library in Amesville, he formed a taste for reading that has largely influenced the conduct of his life. At the age of twenty he left his father’s farm to attend the Ohio university at Athens, where he remained some two or three years, mainly supporting himself, meanwhile, by teaching and other chance employments. While at college he became a member of the Methodist church.
In the autumn of 1828 the late Bishop Roberts presided over the Ohio conference of the Methodist church, which was held at Chillicothe. To see their manner of doing business, and to obtain some knowledge as to the growth of the church, the young collegian attended the session. Bishop Roberts, who had a rare discernment of men, saw the youth and that there was something more than ordinary in him. The result of their acquaintance was, that, acting on the advice of the bishop to “go west,” young Ames accompanied him a few weeks later to the Illinois conference, held that year in Madison, Indiana. Here he made further acquaintance with active Methodists from the western states, and, at their suggestion, he proceeded to Illinois and opened a high school at Lebanon, in the present county of St. Clair. He had fine success as a teacher, and remained here, making friends and influence, till 1830. In the autumn of this year he was licensed to preach by the Illinois conference, and was admitted and appointed to Shoal Creek circuit, embracing an indefinite extent of country.
Thenceforward, for some years, his was the usual history of a Methodist itinerant. He was elected as a delegate from the Indiana conference to the general conference, which met in Baltimore in 1840, and, by that body, was elected corresponding secretary of the missionary society for the south and west. This was before the days of railroads. Traveling was slow and difficult, and the labors of his office were arduous and wide extended. During the four years that he filled it, he traveled some twenty-five thousand miles. In one tour he passed over the entire frontier line, from Lake Superior to Texas, camping out almost the whole route, and one part of the time so destitute of provisions that, for two days, the only nourishment of himself and fellow travelers, was a little moistened maple sugar.
In 1859 he was elected one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal church, since when his official labors have been most onerous, responsible, and unremitting. Possessed of extraordinary capacity for business, and of great physical endurance, no task appals, and apparently no amount of labor fatigues him. His character and talents are so well known, both in and out of the church, as to render any analysis or description of them unnecessary in this place.
Bishop Ames is esteemed one of the most eloquent preachers in the Methodist church, as he certainly is one of the most popular. A well known minister and editor of the church says:
“As a conference debater he was always effective. We often met in the conference room, but never did we hear him make a speech ten minutes long. He listened to the discussion till he saw the strong points of a case, and these he would present in a few clear, terse statements, which could not be misunderstood, and which went far toward conviction. As a public speaker he is impressive and commanding, whether on the platform or in the pulpit. His voice is quite peculiar, and while under his management it is quite effective, yet it should never be imitated. He rises calmly, states his subject clearly, introduces it with some striking remark, which at once rivets the attention, and then by an easy, direct manner, moves along the track of thought chosen for the occasion. His sermons, though never written, are evidently carefully thought out. His style is molded by the old English classics. Many of his sentences are pure aphorisms. On he talks, till he talks up into the highest realm of thought. We think perhaps his most effective preaching was when he was presiding elder, and addressed gathered thousands on western camp grounds. Then we have seen his whole soul aroused, and his full tide of impassioned oratory was almost resistless. We forbear sketching some of those scenes, though they pass before us.”
During the greater part of his adult life, Bishop Ames has resided in Indiana, though his official duties have required protracted absences from home, and long journeys to the most distant parts of the country. A few years since he removed to Baltimore, Maryland, which is his present place of residence. Of late years he has frequently visited Athens, where he has relatives living, and where he finds great enjoyment in meeting the friends of his youth, and in recalling early memories. He is very fond of familiar converse, and, in his “hours of ease,” talks in the most genial manner, of early reminiscences or of more modern and weighty affairs. During an evening recently passed by the writer in his company, when his boyhood and early life were the topic of speech, he gave, with much amusement, the following account of a wolf hunt.
Doctor Ezra Walker, the first resident physician of Ames township, was born December 9, 1776, at Killingly, Connecticut, in which state he studied his profession, and practiced for some years. Removing from Connecticut he settled in Poultney, Vermont, about the year 1800, and from thence migrated with his family to Marietta, in the autumn of 18 to. He remained on the Muskingum till the spring of 1811, when he came with his family, consisting of wife and seven children, into Ames township, and immediately resumed the practice of medicine. He pursued a general practice for more than twenty years, and, in a few families who would never excuse him, he continued to practice for almost forty years, or till near the close of his life. When he began to practice medicine in the county, and for many years later, what with bad roads or no roads at all, absence of bridges, sparse and scattered settlements, etc., his long rides, frequently of fifteen or twenty miles, were always attended with difficulties and sometimes with dangers. In one instance he had to cross the country from where the present town of Plymouth, Washington county, is situated, to another settlement at Barrows’ mill, in Rome township, which took him till far in the evening, when he found himself followed by wolves. As their numbers increased the animals were emboldened to contract their circle around him, till he was obliged to climb into a tree for safety; and there he spent the night, keeping a sharp lookout for his horse beneath, and trying to frighten away the wolves, by beating with a club against the body of the tree in which he was perched. When day dawned his hungry enemies gradually drew off, and the doctor proceeded on his journey. When he reached the first cabin, not very far distant, and situated just below the present site of Big Run station, he found the wolves had taken this man’s premises in their retreat, and killed a calf near his house for their breakfast.
Doctor Walker taught school in Ames, for one or two quarters in 1811-12, always holding himself ready, however, to attend the sick. By means of his profession, and by farming some, he gained for himself and family a comfortable subsistence, living to see his children all creditably settled in life. He died January 9, 1852.
His eldest daughter was married to John Brown (now General Brown), in 1811, and his second daughter to the late James J. Fuller, of Athens, in 181 S. Mrs. Brown died in 1853, and Mrs. Fuller in 1864. His sons, William R. Walker, Archibald B. Walker, Ezra Walker, and Ralph M. Walker, were natives of East Poultney, Vermont, but were reared from boyhood in Athens county. William R., though a man of fine native talent and much refinement of character, was oppressed by self-distrust and timidity. He lived for a short time, during the early portion of his adult life, in Lancaster, Ohio, where he was highly respected for his integrity, business talent, and literary culture. Among those whose friendship he acquired at that time and always retained, was Mr. Hocking H. Hunter, who recently stated to the writer that, he “had never in all his life, seen any person who recited and acted the part of Hamlet so perfectly, in his opinion, as Wm. R. Walker.” At that time fine business prospects were opened to him, and for awhile he revolved “enterprises of great pith and moment.” But melancholy overcame him. He abandoned active business and the wide fields of usefulness that were opening before him, returned to the paternal farm, and there passed the rest of his life, remote from the society which he was so well calculated to adorn. An amiable christian gentleman, he lived and died respected by the whole community. His death took place in 1855.
Ezra Walker, another son of Dr. Walker, graduated at the Ohio university in 1829, studied law with Judge Summers at Charleston, West Virginia, and settled in that place. He published the Kanawha Republican for several years, and afterward was superintendent of the “James River and Kanawha Improvement” more than twenty years, and until his death in March, 1853. He was widely known and universally respected.
Ralph M. Walker, the youngest brother, graduated at the Western Reserve college. The greater part of his life has been passed as a teacher in Otterbein college, Franklin county, Ohio, and in the Grand River institute in Ashtabula county. He now lives in Missouri.
David Rathburn, born in Rhode Island in 1766, removed to the state of New York, where he lived several years, and thence, in 1809, to Ames township in Athens county. Here he rented the Cutler farm for one year, and then moved up into the “hill settlement,” some five miles further north, where he tended the horse mill owned by Christopher Herrold, for about four years. This was the first mill erected in this part of the country, and was patronized by the settlers for many miles around. In 1814 he bought a farm on the little creek where Judge Walker lived, and resided there till his death, March 8, 185o. After coming on this farm, Mr. Rathburn got up an excellent hand mill that proved a great convenience to the neighborhood at times. He had great skill in trapping wild animals, and his neighbors, for miles around, would come to him for instruction in preparing bait and setting traps for wolves. He left two sons and four daughters; the sons and one daughter, wife of Judge R. A. Fulton, are still living in the same neighborhood in Ames township.
Capt. Thomas S. Lovell was born in Barnstable county, Massachusetts, January i8, 1785. At the age of fifteen he went to sea as cabin boy, and, during his first cruise of three years, was advanced before the mast. Returning home he went to school for one or two terms, learned something of navigation and a little mathematics, then took to the sea again. He was successful in his calling, became master of a ship before he was twenty-one years old, and before he had reached his twenty-ninth year had crossed the Atlantic forty-two times. Capt. Lovell says:
“In 1812, when war began, I loaded my ship with corn in Philadelphia for a Spanish port, depending on the good sailing of my ship for safety. I went through safely, sold my cargo at a good advance, and lay in the harbor five months, waiting for an opportunity to get out, the bay of Biscay being alive with armed vessels. When I thought it was safe to come out I did so, but myself and crew were captured. My ship was ballasted with sand. The English were very anxious to know what had become of the proceeds of my cargo. I told them I had remitted it to London, but they thought that was a Yankee lie, and they probed the sand through and through to find the money, but to no effect. I was then taken before the admiral (I forget his name), and he finally cleared me and gave me a permit to St. Ubes in Portugal, there to load with salt, and I made a good voyage home.”
Finding times dull (in 1814), and commerce languishing, he resolved to quit the sea. We give Capt. Lovell’s language again:
“My brother Russell and myself were partners in business, and, as times were so very dull, we decided to emigrate to the west. So we sold our property, rigged what was called a Yankee wagon, and a small wagon and team of five horses, and started for Ohio. We traveled by land to Redstone, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where we separated. My brother took the teams down by land, while I, with a flat-bottomed boat, a queer kind of craft without mast, jib, or sail, took the families and most of the effects by water to Marietta. From there we came on to Athens county, and settled on Sharp’s fork of Federal creek, in what was then Ames township. We reached here November 18, 1814, after a journey of ten weeks. For awhile both families lived in one cabin, not a large one either, belonging to job Phillips, and we had hard sailing to get along. I was willing to work, but did not know any more about farming than a land-lubber does about working a ship-however, we got along. Wolves were very troublesome; they killed our sheep constantly, and once they killed a yearling steer of mine. Elijah Latimer, who lived near us, was a famous hunter. I sold him thirty acres of land adjoining my farm, and took pay in hunting. He would furnish venison for my family, and also fight off the wolves whenever they invaded my sheep flock. Sugar making was quite an occupation when I came here. When I commenced I tapped trees without regard to kind-smooth-bark hickories, buckeyes, and sugar trees. The first pig I ever owned in Ohio got badly scratched by a bear. The men folks were all away from home, and the bear came into the door yard after some fresh pork, but piggy ran under the house and escaped with a severe cuff or two. My dogs would often tree a bear twenty or thirty rods from the cabin, when I would call Latimer and he would shoot him. They frequently weighed two hundred and fifty and three hundred pounds. Wild turkeys were very plenty. I have often set a square pen made of rails, then scattered a little corn about and into it, and caught eight or ten fine ones at a time. The pen being covered at the top the turkeys could not fly out, and they never thought of ducking their heads to get out by the same passage they came in. We had great difficulty in getting grain ground. We were far from any mill, and I have often ridden on horseback to Lancaster to get a bushel of corn ground. Before coming west I had heard that there was shipbuilding on the Ohio river, and my real object in coming to Ohio was to take out ships. There had been a few built at Marietta before I came out, but I think there was only one built after I came here, and I took that to New Orleans, where I fitted her for sea, then sailed across the gulf to Havana, and from there to Baltimore. There I bought a horse and rode home, and made a good trip.”
Touching this vessel and voyage we are able to add a little to Capt. Lovell’s reminiscence. We find the following item in the Cincinnati Gazette of April 15, 1816:
“Came to anchor before this place (Cincinnati), on last Saturday evening, the schooner Maria, Captain Lovell, of and from Marietta, Ohio, bound to Boston, Mass., full cargo of pork, flour and lard. The Maria is 50 tons burthen, has 51 feet straight rabbit, 18 feet beam, and draws six feet of water. She was built, rigged, and loaded at Marietta, and is owned by Messrs. Moses McFarland and Edmund B. Dana-the latter gentleman on board. The Maria sailed hence yesterday at 11 o’clock. The present state of the water is favorable to her descent of the river. May prosperous gales waft her to her port of destination.”
And in Niles’ Weekly Register, published at Baltimore, we find the following item in the issue of July 13, 1816:
“Singular arrival. A fine schooner arrived at Baltimore last week, in 46 days from Marietta, Ohio, with a cargo of pork. It is well observed that ‘the mountains have melted away before the enterprise and indefatigability of our countrymen.’ ”
The farmers of Athens county have a somewhat better mode now of getting their produce to market than by salt water. Captain Lovell is living on the farm where he first settled in 1814. At that time it was in Ames township, Athens county, then in Homer township, and finally in Marion township, Morgan county. Thus, living in one spot for fifty-four years, Captain Lovell has been a citizen of three different townships and two counties. He is in his eighty-fifth year and is unusually bright for one of his age.
The Lovell brothers married sisters and lived on adjoining farms for many years. Russell was a painter and was killed by the kick of a horse in the town of Athens-year unknown.
Lewis Columbia, born in France in 1770, came to Ames township is 1815 and settled on the creek above the Owens settlement, whence, after a few years, he moved on to Walker’s branch and settled on the farm now owned by Mahlon Kasler. Here he erected a rude tannery, the first established in this part of the country, which served a good purpose to a limited extent in tanning the skins of wild animals, with which the region then abounded. He died in 1825.
Gulliver Dean, born in Norton, Bristol county, Massachusetts, August 9, 1772, came to Athens county with his father’s family in the year 1815. In 1818 he married Miss Mary Cutler, second daughter of Judge Ephraim Cutler. He settled in Ames township where he still resides, and where his family are well known and highly respected.
Back to: Ames, Athens County, Ohio History
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