Unique Local Newspaper Notices and Advertisements

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Make sure your rotation feature is on and flip your phone sideways to enjoy reading the page in a more pleasing format.

The following are excerpts from the the book Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio by William G. Wolfe. They are a collection of unique notices and advertisements he found while researching our local history. You can enlarge on mobile devices by using your thumb and index finger as well as flipping your phone sideways as shown in the image above.. Enjoy. 😀

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We are now the”Official” Website of the Guernsey County Historical Society and Museum

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Sometime ago I decided to create and manage a website that would make Guernsey County History more accessible to the great citizens of our county. It was and still is my hope, that sharing the rich history of our area, will change some peoples mind about our community. It is true, we have a lower median income then the national average; it is true we have a higher unemployment rate, and some of area’s infrastructure is in bad shape.
However, it is also true we live in genuinely American towns that go back as far as the administration of Thomas Jefferson. Our communities forefathers fought alongside and for the nations forefathers in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The National Road was established by their children and their peers and it brought many of our ancestors here from all over the world. They found an opportunity here during the Industrial Revolution and we should all be thankful for the great communities they left behind for us to enjoy.
We have always had citizens here that have fought long and hard for humanity even when it was against the law. Many slaves were brought here, hidden, sheltered, and sent on to safer places as a part of the famous underground railroad. Many more joined the good guys and fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Our ancestors and grandparents signed up and fought evil in World War I and World War II. Some of our fathers, uncles, and brothers went off to Vietnam, and some of our children more recently, to the Middle East. Our county is filled with exceptional people who want to preserve our great history and bring our community into the 21st Century at the same time. We should be proud of how beautiful our downtown and countryside has become. Many comparable communities have not been so lucky to have such dedicated individuals and they have suffered much more then ourselves as a result.

I am proud to say today that the Facebook page I created to promote the website has been merged with the Historical Societies. Since becoming a member of the society, I have realized by speaking with other great men and women, the potential of my own small contribution. So the website that I will continue to innovate and manage for the foreseeable future, will be done exclusively for the society and I am proud to make it–with the great help my fellow historical society tech guys like David Thompson–the “Official Website of the Guernsey County Historical Society and Museum.” On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal to some people. What does it represent really? It is just a title? Right? Well, not really. I think it is more. It is my hope, that this website will be a small foundation on which many generations beyond ours can use and build upon to tell our children and their children why being a citizen of Guernsey County is something we should all be proud of.


If you’re interested in writing and publishing a blog, an essay, a photo collection or anything else regarding Guernsey County History you would like to share with the community please do not by shy. You can contact us through the Facebook page and let us know, you’ll receive full credit for anything you share. 🙂 

“Rocks-That-Burn” To The Gilded Age: How Coal Mines Built Guernsey County


Pre-1800’s     

Indians

The history of Coal Mining in Guernsey County goes back further than Euro-American settlers. Indians that once used Wills Creek for fishing, also knew of the great resource coal could be to keep warm throughout the winter. Before any mining operations were setup, veins throughout the county resulted in coal being on the surface. Early settlements found in the area were said to have proved the Native Americans use of the coal. You could literally pick it up off of the ground as easily as a rock. According to Dave Adair, the Guernsey County Historical Societies foremost coal mining historian, the Indians of the area did just that, collected the coal for fires and called it “rocks-that-burn.”


Pioneer Days—1800-1850

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Despite the great amount of wood provided by our areas vast wilderness—there was so much wood trees had to be chopped down in order to plat the different surrounding towns—early settlers of the area, in the pioneer days, also made use of the abundance of coal. William G. Wolfe ponders that the first settlers must have found it a novelty, or at some point they must have found the coal was much easier and efficient to obtain than cutting down trees in times when labor and wood were scarce. Whatever the reason, farmers begun setting up “coal banks” where they would gather the easily accessible coal on their land for their own use or maybe even sold to neighbors for a little profit.


Industrial Revolution—1850-1870

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C&M Group Picture

It wasn’t until technology such as steamboats and railroads were developed that these black rocks were seen as lucrative. In the 1840’s Trains and Steamboats had established themselves as premiere technologies that would catapult America on to the world scene of commerce and industry. Railroads were being developed along routes that were never considered previously as having any potential economically. Steamboats made rivers and the great lakes yet even more valuable for transporting commerce long distances. Guernsey County none-the-less was caught up in this great national phenomena known as the Industrial Revolution. Thus the demand and price for coal skyrocketed and here little old Guernsey County was with it literally bursting at its seems. In the 1850’s a series of mines were established. The first was on an old “coal bank” on the farm of George Scott sitting just east of Cambridge near the National Road (Route 40) between Lore City and Cambridge. The enterprise become so large it was no longer deemed a “coal bank” and the name was changed to the “Gaston Mine.” Following the Gaston Mine, the Scott Mine and the Norris Mines were established nearby. The location of the railroads alongside the mines made them extremely efficient and very profitable for investors.

In an interview with Dave Adair, I learned of a Ghost Town located where Reservoir Road meets the crossroads near Coal Ridge today. The town of Scotts was one of many towns established for keeping the miners near their work site and when the coal mines went out of business some years later, the location and the towns were completely and totally abandoned. Today there is almost nothing in the area to reflect the daily life of the miners. I cannot help but think of the men waking early, drinking coffee to start the day, going to the mine to work a tough shift, and then hitting a small tavern at the end. The different jokes and smiles they must have shared, the different daily toils that were common of the time, and the conflicts that might have arisen because of working rivals, different languages, or them being forced to live among each other in a small collection of buildings with nowhere to escape. All of this now long forgotten about with not a single trace of their lives and what they consisted of, all vanished by space and time.

Norris Newspaper

A Daily Jeffersonian article dated for February 20th, 1991 gives us insight into the early mines as a part of a piece for black history month, it reads as follows: BLACK SETTLERS ARE FOCUS — The Guernsey County Historical Society will a slide presentation depicting black settlers of Guernsey County between 1860 and 1920 at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul CME Church, 123 Gomber Ave. In Part, the presentations will give the viewer a glimpse of ealry settlements, schools, churches, houses, and places of employment. Pictured is a portion of the Norris Mine, four miles east of Cambridge along the B&O Railroad, as it looked 100 years ago. Many of the miners at Norris were children and former slaves who moved to Guernsey County at the close of the Civil War and lived in some forgotten coal mine towns such as Danford, Craig, and Scotts. Sunday’s presentation is part of Black History Month. 

The Norris Mine was the last of the early eastern Guernsey mines to be established in the 1850’s. It was also maybe the most financially successfully as we can see in the picture from the Historical Societies research room dated from the 1880’s, it was open for some time. Also I should note in a book about the history of African Americans in Guernsey County by Wayne L. Snider, and as documented in the newspaper clipping in the photograph, early African American communities were established near Four Mile hill by Lore City, and it was not until employment near Cambridge did they leave their residences and move into the county seat. The Coal Mines are likely the reason for these early segregated settlements in eastern Guernsey County. As were the small towns of the county established for people off all nationalities. In fact, in the book written by Russell Booth you can find a long list of different European nationalities that traveled to and worked in the Guernsey County Coal Mines, some coming from as far away as Russia. The very growth of surrounding towns like Byesville, Lore City, Kipling, Walhounding, Buffalo, Pleasant City and so on, owe their existence to the attraction of our coal mines.

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A copy of the original photograph of the Norris Mine from the Historical Societies Research Room.

Norris Clipping

A closer look at the information given by the Historical Society, it reads as follows: “Norris Coal mine located near “MS” Telegraph Tower and South of the railroad seen in the background used a trestle to reach it’s opening approx. 300 yards away. “Bock and Berry” were used to (Shove/Pull) loaded cars away from the coal tipple. Photo dates circa 1890.”

Lore City

Black Top Mine located near Lore City on Cherry Hill Road

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The Buffalo Mine

If you would like to see more pictures you can click this link to go to an album uploaded by Tom Severns to the Facebook group “You know You’re From Guernsey County When…” 

The Gilded Age—1870—1920’s

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Downtown Cambridge in front of the Courthouse

As wealth and civilization grew in the surrounding area’s so did wealth and civilization in the counties seat of Cambridge. After the Civil War the growing population of the area gives rise to a growing manufacturing and retail base. With a small amount of money to spend, immigrants from the surrounding coal mining towns would have traveled by horseback to Cambridge to buy things they could not otherwise buy in their small villages. Retail stores in Cambridge boom as a result, and with so much money pouring in to the area manufactures of glass and other industries are built and provide yet even more jobs and wealth and thus a row of extravagant mansions are erected along 7th Street. Despite the world growing in population by 700-800% since 1900, there were more people in Guernsey County then, than reside here now. Thus it is true, the manikins designed and put out on display each year by the Dickens Village folks, are truly an accurate representation of the people in Cambridge at its height in the Gilded Age. Cambridge is a classic Victorian era city. Our history is very reflective of the history of the entire nation. We were not much more than an outpost in the wilderness at the beginning, our area grew greatly with the industrial revolution and with the introduction of coal mining and technology, we reached our economical heights at the turn of the 1900’s. There was not a soul in the county that could not find work if they had a shred of virtue or ambition. A massive beautiful courthouse was erected, an elegant monument to salute veterans of the Civil War, there were multiple newspapers, and even a street car on Wheeling Avenue. Almost every town in the county owes its infrastructure to the coal mining era. All this growth and history from what the Indians once called “rocks-that-burn.”

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Coal Mining brought get wealth and prosperity to Guernsey County


Dave Adair’s Coal Mining Exhibit At The Guernsey County Museum

Dave Adair

 

Dave Adair, whom I have mentioned a few times in this article, has worked long and hard to make a Coal Mine Exhibit at the Guernsey County Historical Society Museum. A part of the exhibit is a great collection of photographs documenting many of the different mines around the area. According to Dave, all told there were as much as 1,500 different coal operation sites within our county lines at one point or another. Some of the most prominent companies include: Cambridge Collieries, Akron Coal Company, and the Old National Coal Company. You should at some point come in and check out this exhibit, to get an idea of how influential the coal mines were to the development of your community. You get to experience firsthand the darkness and isolation these men must have felt working underground.

Exhibit


For Museum Opening and Hours for this summer you can click here. 

History of the Train Stations and Railroads

The railroad industry was very volatile. The truth is, too many of them were built, and this gave some people, most famously robber baron Jay Gould, an opportunity to make a living off of buying up small railroad companies, selling off their assets and then shutting them down. Railroads often changed names as they were bought and sold by numerous companies. This is why we refer to the same railroads with different names.

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Let’s imagine a day without the interstate highway. Let’s imagine a day when Southgate Parkway is nothing more than wilderness with deer’s running about the weeds in open fields. Imagine when Wheeling Avenue is a dirt road; that get’s trampled on by horses as they carry behind them carriages of people. The sound of a freight train chugging and chooing as it carries on it a very important person.

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Teddy Roosevelt circa 1902

The year is 1912 and people have started to gather near the old covered bridge at Union Station (more widely known today as Ameridial)—the old log bridge would not be replaced by a viaduct for another 12 years—people are awaiting the arrival of the beloved former President turned candidate Teddy Roosevelt. Excitement and anticipation fills the air, people are telling the terrible story of Mr. Roosevelt’s first appearance in Cambridge a decade earlier. “His face was terribly bruised” says one bystander. Another person agrees, “He was hardly recognizable.” Mr. Roosevelt appeared in Cambridge in 1902 shortly after an accident in New England. Another eyewitness complains of the speech, “One would think with the President coming to town, preparations would have been made better so that we could hear him speak.” On the first visit, steam engines at the station were so loud the President’s words were incomprehensible. It was so bad, the President become frustrated and left Guernsey County early to get ahead of schedule.

 

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Teddy Roosevelt 1912 Campaign

But here we are now ten years later, people are awaiting the arrival of the most famous man to set foot in Cambridge, again. They’re pouring out of the Depot Hotel and bar, many more coming down Wheeling Avenue all of them traveling over to the station to catch a glance at the head of the newly formed Bull Moose Party. It’s said some 6,000 people awaited his arrival and in the afternoon on May 20th, 1912 he appeared. This time the counties officials had done their due diligence by setting up an event at the courthouse where the former President could give a speech. Some 2,000 more people joined at the courthouse, for a total of 8,000 people gathering to hear Teddy. He started his speech with “Splendid, looks like victory!” he went on to make a persuasive argument to the counties republicans, convincing many of them—but not enough of them—to give him his vote over the current President and his protégé, William H. Taft. When the speech was finished Teddy went back down to the Union Station, hopped back on his train and continued north on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Central Ohio Railroad/The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad

I tell you this story because I think it’s reflective of the history of the railroads and the train stations of our area. Rather than bore you with a bunch of historical facts I would much rather challenge your imagination. There were two important railroads that come through Cambridge of which all others branched off of at later dates. First the Central Ohio Railroad Company/B&O Railroad that went east and west, and secondly the Cleveland and Marietta Railroad/the Pennsylvania Railroad that went north and South. Both have interesting histories but in order to tell you that history, I need you to hop into our time machine once again and travel back another 60 years from 1912 to 1847, on this journey you’ll need to erase the Union Station and the Depot Hotel, you’ll have to erase many advancements and building brought on by the industrial revolution, and you have to imagine Cambridge, as not much more than a large collection of wood cabins, along with some taverns and civic buildings. On February 8th 1847, a special act by the Ohio Congress, gave authority to build a railroad from the Ohio River to Columbus, Ohio. The path was outlined roughly by the state and included naming Cambridge at the center of the project.

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The B&O Entered Guernsey County Near Quaker City and Leaves in New Concord

At this time the industrial revolution is in mid swing. Steam boats had made it quicker to travel across large bodies of water. Ports in New York City, collected products sent them up the Hudson Bay through the Erie Canal and onto the Great Lakes where they could be distributed to midwest urban centers like Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit. In response to the steam boat technology, cities that weren’t fortunate enough to have a body of water taking them into the west were getting crushed in the market and they decided to start investing in technology that would give them steam power over land. Thus the railroad was born. Initially the project in Ohio was headed by The Central Ohio Railroad Company. They were the ones that sold stock to have the railroad built and subsequently the route it would take. A short battle ensued in Guernsey of where the railroad would enter the County, however, a prominent Quaker from Millwood (Quaker City) named John Hall was able to make this battle a somewhat short one by pledging $23,000 to the project, $10,000 from his own pocket. So it was decided the train would enter the county at Quaker City, go through Cambridge, include a tunnel and exit in New Concord heading towards Zanesville. Though the project set out in 1847, the first passenger train to arrive in Cambridge was not until April 27th, 1854. The significance of the event can be found in the books History of Guernsey County by C.P.B. Sarchet, Stories of Guernsey County by William G. Wolfe, and the Guernsey Times: a predecessor of the Daily Jeffersonian. Most people were very excited to ride a train, others swore they would never ride such a dangerous monstrosity.

Sarchet says in his book:

“The arrival of the first regular passenger train over the road now known as the Baltimore & Ohio, from Columbus was on April 27th, 1854. It consisted of six coaches and it was welcomed right royally. The march from the station to the public square was a long, enthusiastic one, was under marshalship of Loll Lordon I. of land and an address was made by Hon. Nathan Evans. Military Companies from Columbus and Zanesville were present.”

Wolfe includes this excerpt from the Guernsey Times (on mobile devices use index finger and thumb to zoom):

Guernsey Times excerpt (2016_03_02 21_24_35 UTC)

Tom Severans

B&O Car Credit Daniell Adair

Photo Credit: Daniel Adair

B&O caboose at Union Station Tom Severns

Photo Credit: Tom Severns

The Cleveland and Marietta Railroad/Pennsylvania Railroad

I’m going to have to ask you to jump in that time machine once again. We have to take a ride pass the bloody Civil War, and pass Lincolns assassination to the era known as “Reconstruction.” Shortly after the war a wave of prosperity passed through the nation.  Interest and enthusiasm rose in Guernsey County when a survey was taken for a railroad going north and south from Marietta to Cleveland by a former General named A.J. Warner. There was already a railroad from Marietta to Caldwell so it seemed and was a logical idea to continue that route up through Guernsey County. Once again the county had to raise money through selling stock. Meetings were scheduled at the courthouse to explain the potential investment. It’s said John H. Sarchet had a song he would sing when the town’s excitement turned to skepticism. The song was titled, “Buy Another Share or Two,” and he went about the old courthouse singing this to get people interested again. Just before the deadline the quota was met to build to the railroad.

Soon after the money was raised, a feud arose between the leaders of Cambridge and the leaders of Marietta. Leaders from both the communities understood the economical significance of the location of the machine shops. The machine shops meant jobs, and for local economies jobs meant money, a higher standard of living, and further community development. After the railroad was built, the machine shops would mean a servicing center in Cambridge for trains. Cambridge leaders took the initiative and called for a special election. The election was to entice voters into paying for a road from the proposed machine shops to the building sites of the railroad. The deal was that the road would be leased to the railroad company for free until the project was finished and begun seeing returns. This was ideal for the railroad company and so the shops were built in Cambridge.

Marietta officials were furious. They opened a case against Cambridge, claiming the special election was against the law. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Ohio, they ruled in Marietta’s favor claiming the special election unconstitutional. However, since the shops were already built and the project already underway, Cambridge got to keep the machine shops and no other damages were awarded. Cambridge leaders must have toasted to this win in jest while the citizens did the same at the taverns across town. We have to be proud of not just the leaders who made this happen, but our ancestors who without the vote would not have been possible. And so the Marietta and Cleveland Railroad was built entering the county near Pleasant City and leaving the county pass Liberty City (later named Kimbolton.) In 1873 it was finished and celebrations again occurred as two engines were placed on the tracks. One named “Cambridge” and the other named “Liberty” commemorating the town’s most prominent in having the railroad built.

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There Was a Political Battle Between Cambridge and Marietta Leaders Over Where These Shops Would Be Located: Cambridge Won the Battle

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Cleveland & Marietta Shops

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Trains being serviced at C&M Shops

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C&M Group Picture

Pennsylvania Railroad

Pennsylvania Railroad

The Economic Significance of the Railroads

As I mentioned in the beginning of this history, the Central Ohio Railroad/the B&O Railroad and the C&M Railroad/Pennsylvania Railroad laid the foundation for smaller tracks to branch off of to our county’s smaller towns. They weren’t the only tracks laid in the county, they were just the first and all other tracks led back to them. Before the railroads came to Guernsey County our towns weren’t much more then small groups of cabins connected by paths through the wilderness. After the railroads were built, our towns become markets for industry. Byesville owes it’s existence to the coal industry, which depended on the railroad to export its product to bigger American metro’s like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The buildings that make up Byesville are there because there was a coal industry to attract workers, which ultimately made a village that needed stores, schools, and churches. While Cambridge was luckier in that it had a more developed community before, it wasn’t until after the railroads were put in that Cambridge generated enough wealth to become a classic Victorian era city. Company owners were wealthy enough to build “Boardwalk and Park Place” like mansions down 7th Street. From 1890 to 1910 Cambridge’s population increased by 177%, an unprecedented number in its history.  There were more people living in the Cambridge City limits in 1910 then there were in 2010. Likewise there were more people living in Guernsey County as a whole in 1910 then what live here today.

Byesville

Byesville Main Street

The Train Station

Our ancestors failed to see the significance the Depot Hotel had to our history. Before it was a hotel and a bar called the “Bloody Bucket” or “Bucket of Blood” it was our area’s first train station. Think about how cool it would be to travel back to the 1800’s, where you would get off a train at the Depot, get a room for the night, and travel down stairs to the bar for a drink and bite to eat. The Depot fell into bad shape, gained a terrible reputation, and was torn down. Before that, it gained so much traffic as a train station a new station had to be built to take on that traffic. We’re lucky that station and its history are still available to us all to see with our eyes. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. For years this building held the telemarketing company Ameridial. It’s now sitting doing nothing and it’s my fear eventually this building will see the same future as the Depot. It’s my fear it will be seen as a public or commercial scar instead of a gem and it will be sold off to a buyer that intends to tear it down and replace it with something new. This would be a tragic situation for our area and future generations. I don’t think I have ever seen a building more fit for a museum then this one. It is my hope that somehow people will begin to see the value of this property and the history behind it and something can be done to save it from the same fate as the “Bloody Bucket.”

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Think about how cool it would be to travel back to the 1800’s, where you would get off a train at the Depot, get a room for the night, and travel down stairs to the bar for a drink and bite to eat.

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“The Depot” When it Operated as a Train Station and a Hotel

Blood Bucketbloodbloody bucket SeveransThe Bloody bucket Depot Hotel Bill Quarles

For well over a century, from 1850 to 1961, the railroads and the local train station symbolized a connection to a much larger world. It was real proof to the citizens of this area; proof that they were a part of a society greater than their eyes could see from day to day. Real living and breathing Presidents came and gave speeches at the station. Many events started with people waiting for trains to come in with important people on them and followed with a trip to the town square. When the nation called and it was time to go to war, throughout many generations our citizens didn’t sit at the train station awaiting an important person; they were taking an important person to the station to send them off to defend America against the evils filling our world. When the war was over, once again the community paraded to the bottom of Wheeling Avenue to celebrate the return of their children. Some sat home to mourn a loss that would not show up there. In any case, the train station that sits at the bottom Wheeling Avenue was not only the heart of the city of Cambridge; it was the heart and soul of the entire county for many, many, generations and it saddens me to drive by today and see an empty post-industrial building with a for sale sign instead of something reflecting what it truly symbolizes.

Train Station

The Union Train Station

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Train Station Jim Fite

This Appears to be Soldiers Leaving or Coming Home From War. Photo Credit: Jim Fite

I did my best to photo credit the correct people. If you feel you should be credited please feel free to contact me via Facebook. 

African Americans Have Been a Part of Guernsey County Since it was Founded

In honor of Black History Month, we take a look at the influence African Americans have had on our history. 🙂

The Guernsey County Historical Society

Frontier Log Cabin 1802

As you may or may not know after Guernsey County was settled by folks running a ferry over Wills Creek; the Beatty family bought the rights to the land surrounding Cambridge and then traveled here to take over the ferry business and map out a town. In 1803 when John Beatty came to Cambridge he brought with him a slave who had worked for him in Fredrick, Maryland named Tobey Beatty. As it turns out Tobey was somewhat lucky for his masters acquisition and emigration to this new land, which was in a free state. John granted his freedom as a result. My imagination fills with scenarios thinking of John Beatty breaking this news, “Well Tobey, I can’t keep you no more here in Ohio, you’re a free man now.” This being 1803 way before the Civil War or any major abolishment movements to free the slaves, Tobey must have felt something like a man walking out of…

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Take the Poll: Help us Decide What is Next!?

cropped-800px-morganwashington.jpgThere are many great events in the history of Guernsey County. I am curious from you, the readers, of what it is that interest you all the most? So far I have placed most of my energy on the pioneers of the area. If I am just going to continue forward chronologically–which I have no problem doing–the next project would be on the War of 1812 or the first County Courthouse built in 1810 and subsequently, the two current ones we have. However, I do wonder if I shouldn’t just first cover some of the major events in our history, such as Morgans Raid, and/or the building of the Railroads or the early economic boom from coal?

I have also reached out to members of the community, to help me provide you all with more content. Despite it being rather time consuming, I love researching and writing these articles. And I would also like to expand this work into video documentaries that feature photography, videography, and interviews of citizens that have much more knowledge than myself. I certainly don’t have all the knowledge there is to have on our local history. I’m learning a lot of this stuff myself as I write it. If anyone is interested in writing an article, giving an interview, or being a part of a piece to be featured on the blog, please by all means contact me via Facebook messages here or here! Heck you can even comment on this article and I will find a way to get back to you! Anywho, I ask you all what is next?

Without further ado please participate in the poll! I have made it possible to pick more than one answer and if the answer you want isn’t provided you can write in an answer for your  vote! Thank you all again for reading! 😀

The Epic Sarchet Family Voyage!

Disclaimer: In this article there are some sections done by myself that are both creative and imaginative. I understand some readers may not be interested in this type of writing and are just interested in knowing the story as it’s told by history. In order to identify the parts that are both creative and imaginative I have placed block quotes and italicized the dialogue within that blockquote. In direct quotes from historic sources I will bold the letters only. This I hope will allow those disinterested in creative writing, an opportunity to skip over these imaginative parts. Thank you all for reading. 🙂 


“My creative writing will look like this in dialogue. ” And this outside of dialogue.


 

“Direct Quotes taken from historic sources will look like this. “

rotating_screenFor better reading on mobile devices be sure your screen rotation setting is turned on and flip the phone horizontally.

 


The Epic Sarchet Family Voyage!

Living on Guernsey Island

It’s the summer of 1806. Just three years have passed since news came of the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark are in the midst of their famous expedition and have yet to report back to Congress and President Jefferson. Meanwhile on the other side of the world off the coast of Normandy, tucked away in the English Channel between France and England–two superpowers and bitter enemies–sits a tiny little island composed of people who speak both English and Norman French.

Guernsey

Guernsey Island is just one-tenth the size of Guernsey County

Guernsey Farmhouse

Guernsey Isle Farmhouse

Great Britain and France are typically at war with each other and the red coats have decided to use this little island as a base for their military. Much like they did prior to the American Revolution, the British regulars decide to quarter and tax the people of the island to help pay for their supposed protection. Among the regular folks of this European island are four brothers named Thomas, John, Nicholas, and Peter Sarchet. Having heard in the news of Napoleon Bonaparte’s decision to sell off all French assets to the United States the four siblings must have spoke in great detail of the opportunities opening up for pioneers in what has been described by many as the”New World.”


Let’s imagine for a moment:

After a fall day harvesting crops Thomas, John, Nicholas, and Peter are sitting at a table in the evening. The aroma of a meal cooked by their tough talented wives hovers and wafts in the air. The vegetables come from their farm, the meat from local cattle, and it’s all made fully from scratch. The sounds of children running, jumping, and playing fill the background. Thomas the outspoken one of the group releases his frustration in a conversation with his brothers.

He is becoming more and more aggravated by the presence of the British Military. He says (in French of course), “I am so sick and tired of these red coats occupying our land as if they own it!”

“And the taxes!” John is quick to agree, “As if we need them to protect us against an invisible invading army! It is not enough to come here and force themselves into our home, they must take our money as well?”

“What of this New World though? Nicholas brings up the news of the Louisiana Purchase, People have been migrating there for hundreds of years now, and with their open doors, expanding territory and great quality of life is this not the answer to our problems?”

“Nicholas, do you not know of how much such a voyage would cost? Peter is a bit reluctant, “Do you not realize we would have to sell off and risk everything to make such a voyage?”

“But Peter we could do this! If we all sell our assets, the land, the cattle, the crops, and put together the gold we have saved; we could afford to make this journey and buy land where it is cheapest in the world. Thomas continues in a very assertive, inspiring tone, “If we use your skills as a carpenter, John’s experience as a blacksmith; I could get Nicholas to help me on a farm… How could lose? We could transform the wilderness into a home! He slams his hand on the table and says, “We could forever change the lives of our children and their children, giving them a chance to live and prosper in a land where tyranny has been defeated and the people govern themselves!”

After John’s inspiring speech the four brothers decide at the end of winter sometime next spring they will set sail for the United States of America aiming for a growing pioneer city with many opportunities called Cincinnati.


The Journey Begins!Begninning

The spring of 1806 arrives; the four brothers, their wives, sons, and daughters–along with the extended Sarchet family (aunts, uncles, cousins etc.)–all decide they are ready for this great voyage and need to commission a sea-captain. In what would seem natural they hire an experienced sailor named William McCrindell for their trip. William is a distant relative–he is Peter’s son-in-law–so they are more comfortable with this decision than they would be with a complete stranger. They feel secure trusting William and his ship “Eliza” to get them to the United States safely. The excitement was somewhat spoiled when  “Eliza” floats her way into the dock. As grandson and namesake of Peter, Colonel C.P.B. Sarchet describes Eliza a century later in his book, “History of Guernsey County” he calls the ship a “frail bark”, “not fitted for ocean service.” The idea of landing in America must have gave the people great feelings of inspiration as they made provisions, packed up their belongings and loaded them all onto the dilapidated ship.3035

The adventure had begun, people playing checkers, mothers reading stories of the Bible, a great view surrounded by water. A couple weeks go bye of good sailing, the wind is carrying them from Europe to the New World as it has millions of others since the days of Christopher Columbus. Everything is good until one day they awake and the ship is not moving. It seems as if the wind has stopped. A stretch of eight days goes by in the middle of the ocean without any waves or wind to push them. People on board must have begun worrying, the thought of running out of food and having to fish desperately in a vast ocean, thoughts of being left on a floating ship to die must have crossed their minds. The situation become so disturbing William McCrindell made orders to tack the sails all the way around the ship so that a breeze from any direction might be caught to move the ship.

Stuckin ocean

Eliza is stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Meanwhile, William stereo-typically plays the part of sailor; it seems as if the more dire the situation becomes the more rum William drinks. Finally, the sea came to life, wind and waves begun pushing them in the right direction again. However, it did not take long for them to realize they were being pulled and pushed into a storm. When the rain begins to pour, the people take cover in the middle deck where they find their sea-captain had drank himself delirious. By this time the ship was moving in the wrong direction and the man that was supposed to point it in the right direction had rendered himself incapable of walking and talking correctly; let alone steering a sail ship across thousands and thousands of miles. A meeting was called in the forecastle between the crew and the men of the family. It was decided they would ask him to give up his command of the vessel. Wanting to prove himself worthy of the job he was entrusted and paid to do, he refused to do this; but it was becoming more and more apparent they were headed the wrong way. A second meeting was made and it was decided they would physically overwhelm William, handcuff and chain him to his cabin.

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The men wrestle control of the ship from the captain


I imagine it going down something like this:

The rain is clamoring down on top the ship above the passengers. On the upper deck there is the sight of waves crashing against one another, the sound of thunder cracking the skies with no echo, while William McCrindell is stumbling around wonderlessly with a rum bottle in his hand, he is screaming incoherent commands at people that do not exist. Most passengers are huddled in the middle deck where the family bunks are located. Some mothers are singing lullabies, others are eating their daily ration of salt-pork and biscuits. The mothers that have infants can be seen feeding them oatmeal. The young children are napping and the older ones bickering over playing cards. In the forecastle–the living quarters for the crew–you find a group of men, some standing some sitting, having a seemingly long-faced conversation. It is the second of it’s kind in just 24 hours.

One man says, “He has gotten completely out of control!” Another man says, “We must take over this ship, we are headed in the wrong direction!” A couple men nod their heads in accord. Peter Sarchet tries to defend his son-in-law in a defenseless debate, “Maybe we shall wait another day to see if he is more sober and agreeable tomorrow?” Thomas quickly snaps at his younger brother, “We already tried that Peter… He is not getting sober.” John, having had some experience as a sailor, volunteers–along with a shipmate from the crew–to command the vessel the rest of the way, after the remainder of the men catch William, drag him to the captain’s chamber and handcuff him there.

The men go up to the top deck where they find William soaking wet from the storm. The small group of men run toward him at once, overwhelming him in a way that he cannot fight back. William slurs at them, “Youuuu know what all yaaa’s problem issss? When yun’s wake up in da morning dats da bessst yun’s areee gunna feel allllllll daaay looong, but me? Nope! I feeel bettter as da daaay goooess onnn! You’s all jealous!” He continues his rant, “I told you’s we’re headdded in the rriiight directtion, but you’s donnn’t wanna belieeve mee.”

Then, the men drag him down the stairs to the middle deck, past all the chatter going on in the family bunks, and finally into the captain’s cabin where they handcuff and chain him in a way he can no longer fight for control of the ship. The children, who were traumatized with fear from the entire debacle, now, feel at ease again.

Click the photo to zoom in better

Early 1800’s passenger ship, click the photo to zoom in


After they get the captain settled in and calmed down, it’s decided John and a shipmate will do as they volunteered and sail the ship to their target of Virginia. John and his partner are able to safely direct the ship out of the storm into nice weather. From here on out the voyage is smooth sailing and after many days the passengers and crew finally see land.

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After two months of sea travel the reach America


Reaching the United States of America!

Imagine the relief of the people who had hitherto: overcome getting stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no wind and waves, they had subdued a drunk captain, and they rode out a long dreadful storm. Imagine the relief they had felt and the emotions flowing through them when they seen land after being on a “frail bark, not fit for service” for two whole months. They had finally reached Norfolk, Virginia. The ship docks, they uncuff and unchain the captain and set him free; they presumably do a lot of stretching no different than we do in modern times when we stop alongside rest stops on a road trip. After getting a short break from the ship, they re-board quickly and make their way up the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore, Maryland. Many must have felt the difficult part of the journey was done, but they would have been mistaken.

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Norfolk to Baltimore

After letting the captain go freely, the group traveled up the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore, Maryland

When they reach Baltimore everyone comes off the ship as they have conquered the sailing leg of the adventure.  They take some of the savings they brought with them and buy horses, wagons, and other necessary provisions to begin their long land journey through the Appalachian Mountains to Cincinnati. It is Monday, June 16th, 1806 when they reach Maryland and the day must have been a sight to behold as it just so happen that the sun was in total eclipse with the moon. (Colonel C.P.B. Sarchet cites the date as the 14th but this is incorrect, as multiple sources–including NASA–show the famous event known as Tecumseh’s Eclipse happened on the 16th of 1806 not the 14th) Here it was the middle of the day and as they made their way up Howard Street in Baltimore, the town was so dark they had a man go around and light all the street lamps. As they passed houses and businesses they could see where people inside had lit candles as if it were the evening and the sun setting. The Sarchet Family left Baltimore heading for the Old Braddock Road.

Colonel C.P.B. Sarchet describes the event in his book, “History of Guernsey County.”

“Horses and wagons and provisions were procured, and at midday they passed up Howard street, on the 14th (16th) of June, 1806, the sun being in total eclipse and the town in partial darkness, lamps lighted on the streets and candles burning in the houses and places of business.”

Amazing to think that on the same exact day the Sarchet family landed in Baltimore, Lewis and Clark were in the Rocky Mountains well into their return to St.Louis where they were to meet President Jefferson with their reports. Literally, the exact same day the Sarchet family was in Baltimore experiencing an eclipse on their journey, Lewis and Clark were 2,250 miles away in the Rockies fighting falling timber and snow on what’s called the Lolo trail.

Lol Pass

The same day the Sarchet Family witnessed an eclipse in Baltimore, Lewis and Clark were fighting their way through the Rocky Mountains on their return to president Jefferson in St.Louis

Lewis logs in his journal

Meriwether Lewis Monday June 16th 1806

“We collected our horses very readily this morning, took breakfast and set out at 6 A. M.; proceeded up the creek about 2 miles through some handsom(e) meadows of fine grass abounding with quawmash, here we passed the creek  [1] & ascended a ridge which led us to the N. E. about seven miles when we arrived at a small branch of hungry creek.  [2]    the difficulty we met with from the fallen timber detained us untill 11 oC before we reached this place.”

Clark logs in his journal

William Clark Monday June 16th 1806

“Collected our horses early and Set out 7 A M proceeded on up the Creek through a gladey Swompy bottom with grass and quawmash Crossed the Creek to the East and proceeded on through most intolerable bad fallen timber over a high Mountain on which great quantity of Snow is yet lying premisquissly through the thick wood, and in maney (many) places the banks of snow is 4 feet deep.”   


Flashback to 1755

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General Edward Braddock travels on an old Indian path before he is killed in a conflict starting the French and Indian War

The Old Braddock Road was an Indian path that just fifty years earlier was made into a road by Major George Washington for the the Ohio Company and the British Military. The Ohio Company was a group of investors that attempted to petition the British King and add Ohio as a colony before the War for Independence. It was thought by the Ohio Company–who Washington and many of his peers were a part of–that the French had begun infringing on land they intended to make into a 14th colony. In 1754, George Washington was sent to a French outpost called Fort Duquesne, later renamed Pittsburgh. His mission was to tell the French they must leave at once as they were getting too close to the American Colonies. After the twenty-one year old Washington and his men failed and were chased out of the area by French and Indian fighters, the British crown decided they would need to send a more experienced General to evacuate the French. The following year in 1755 General Edward Braddock was sent to finish what Washington started, the old Indian path was the last road Braddock would ever travel on alive as he was killed in the conflict. This subsequently escalated into the French and Indian War. Washington gained fame and notoriety throughout the Thirteen Colonies and England when he published his own account of the event, despite having failed to accomplish his mission. This fame and notoriety is thought to have positioned him for the appointment of General of the Continental Army. The Old Braddock road would later give direction for the National Road and U.S. route 40.


Over the Mountains and Through the Woods!

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Old Braddock Road

Fast forward fifty years and here is the Sarchet Family traveling towards Pittsburgh and camping alongside the same path that Washington carved a reputation on as a young British Major. As they were passing through the Allegheny part of the Appalachian Mountains, the group come across a young woman sitting alongside the road in ragged clothes crying. When they asked the fourteen or fifteen year old girl what was the matter with her, she responded by saying she had no home or family. She told the group she had run away from a Catholic school somewhere in Pennsylvania and now had nowhere to go. Of course with the rise in Protestantism from the first Great Awakening the century before, and the United States having the perfect constitution for Christians who want to interpret the bible freely, it’s fair to think the Sarchets felt a great deal of sympathy for her concerning her running from the Catholics, a religion etched in orthodox and power. The family felt sorrow and compassion for the young girls apparent suffering and misfortune and they chose to offer her a place on one of their wagons. Her name was Betty Pallet. Remember that name.

The group made their way through the mountains in constant rains and storms until they finally got to Pittsburgh. Here they gave up the wagons and jumped on boats making their way down the Ohio River towards Wheeling, Virginia where they set up camp. When they reached Wheeling they were happy to see the sun was finally shining again.

Col. C.P.B. Sarchet describes this moment in his family history in the book “History of Guernsey County, Ohio.”

They were rejoiced to see the sun shining once more. Now, amid the sunshine, the women began to wash their soiled clothing. If there was any one thing that a Guernsey Woman despised more than another it was dirt. They opened their boxes and dried and aired the contents. They seemed to feel that a new life was before them, and they sang around their campfires the melodies of their far-awav island home. The men and boys of the party assisted the farmers on the Wheeling creek valley to dry out their damaged wheat and get it into ricks and to harvest their oats, much of which had to be cut with a sickle. From the creek valley Thomas Sarchet, on horseback, followed the Zane Trace west as far as Chillicothe. On his return to the camp, preparation was made for their further journey. Their horses were well rested, and had fared finely on the wild pea vines and the rich wild grasses of the valley. When all was in readiness for the start, the horses soon showed that they would rather browse on the Wheeling creek bottoms than haul wagons. In order to get up Wheeling hill, they had to hire an extra team to help.

According to William G. Wolfe’s, “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” the group’s goal was to settle somewhere around Cincinnati. It is unknown why they chose to take Zane’s Trace from Wheeling instead of just continuing down the Ohio River via boats. My best guess is that taking boats was either more expensive than horses, they could find no one to purchase the horses they obtained, or there were simply not enough boats or a large enough boat to accommodate an entourage the size of the Sarchet family.


Finally Ohio! 

zane-trace

Zanes Trace

As fate would have it, they got provisions and made their way up Wheeling Hill and then onto Zane’s Trace they went. The rain and the storms proved a difficult obstacle to overcome for the group; as they traveled they were constantly fighting overblown trees on their path. As a result, they ditched most of the wagons and decided they would use packhorses as much as possible, limiting the number of tree’s they had to move to pass a wagon through Zane’s trace. At the end of day they had made it to “Newellstown” which we now know as “St. Clairsville.”

Here there was a tavern ordinarily named “Newell’s Tavern.” On such a journey, anytime you came across a tidbit of civilization it would have been wise to take full advantage. Here they were able to stay the night and when they awoke the next day they were met with a familiar friend outside the windows of the tavern, the rain. Having been exhausted and tired of traveling in the rain they remained at the tavern for another day. In hindsight, this is a decision I’m sure the women played a key role in making. This gave them plenty time to hire another team of four horses and a wagon. The next morning they packed up their stuff and on Zane’s Trace they continued. Not having the luxuries we have today when we stop at a motel, like a local weather forecast on the nightly news, they were discouraged when yet another violent storm impeded their going further. This storm was bad, the wind swept heavily through the forest, the lighting lit up the skies, and the thunder drummed with echoes through the wilderness. The rain showered so heavily an upcoming creek had risen too high for them to pass; so once again the group had no choice but to set up camp until the creek lowered enough for them to travel through.

The Sarchet family continued on the road when they could pass the creek. They had left Wheeling early Monday morning, they had fought the wild and the weather and the wild weather to St. Clairsville where they stayed two days and then began fighting again. After traveling since sunrise it was now Saturday afternoon when they decided it was time to stop and set up camp again. This camp becoming much more significant than they could have ever imagined. What started as just another stop in their journey, wound up being their destiny. The camp was set on what is North Fifth Street in Cambridge. Yea that’s right, the Sarchets had arrived in what some call the “bottoms” today. They had no idea just over a small hill there were two cabins sitting on Wills Creek.

  • (Both C.P.B. Sarchet, and William Wolfe locate these cabins on “Main Street” at the Wills Creek Crossing. They both state that Main Street is later renamed Wheeling Avenue. Given this information I suppose the location of these two cabins would have been on the lower end of Wheeling Avenue between the Pavlov’s building and the Viaduct going to Dewey Avenue. There are more specific locations given, but all consist of businesses and/or other places that have since gone-out-business or no longer exist. If anyone can provide more specific, up to date locations I encourage your input.)

Camping in Cambridge!

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The Sarchet Family traveled two months by sea and two months on land. Making their voyage from Guernsey Isle to Cambridge a total of 4 months. A flight from Guernsey Isle to Norfolk Virginia takes 14 and half hours; to drive from Norfolk to Cambridge it’s another 8 and half hours. So what took them 4 months to accomplish in 1806 now takes us less than one day.

Zoom

The Sarchet Land Voyage

The Sarchets set up camp, the scene must have been one of exhaustion, as the story goes, it was just afternoon when they stopped. On most days they would have normally traveled until the sun set leaving them just enough light to set a campfire. The people would have been soaked wet, mud all about their clothes. They would have sat around a fire getting warm, eating and rejuvenating their bodies for their trip onward.

When Sunday Morning come, a short distance from the Sarchet camp, people awoke in the cabins by the creek. Being Sunday, it was common for these Cambridge men to take it easy and forfeit work for a day when possible. As they went outside they noticed a smoke stack off in the distance. This likely excited the men, it was either the nuisance of “Indians” or potential suitors for their town. Either way they needed to find out, they had spent the two previous years isolated from civilization as they plotted their town. Three of the them, said to be Jacob Gomber, John Beatty, and Ezra Graham by C.P.B. Sarchet, (the memory and oral history may have been mistaken in this case about Ezra Graham as it’s thought by others that he left the area when he sold his tavern to George and Henry Beymer) decided to go at once and welcome their visitors.

When they reached the Sarchet camp they were surprised to find twenty modesetmanieresdujour1798-1808six people all strangely dressed. The woman–who were busy preparing a very economical meal around the fire– were wearing short dresses and gowns that were belted around the waist, they also wore large frilled caps on their heads. The men–who were hanging out around the wagons speaking a foreign language–were wearing outfits more attuned to the 1700’s then the new century of the 1800’s: they had on small frocks (jackets that flare at the bottom), pants that stopped at knees, with long stockings rising up to them, they had heavy shoes 1800-menwith white broad wool hats. When Thomas Beatty introduced himself and his buddies, John Sarchet–who spoke the best English in the family–told the Cambridge men they were Norman-French from the Island of Guernsey in Europe, and that they had been on their way to Cincinnati seeking a new home. After two parties become acquainted with each other some festivities followed that evening.

Here’s more from the C.P.B.’s book.

On this day of rest and sunshine, August 15, 1806, they sang hymns of thanksgiving and rejoicing, written and compiled by Jean De Caueteville (Quetteville), of the Wesleyan Methodist church. The French hymn book of Thomas Sarchet the writer has in his possession, published in 1785, having on the preface the endorsement of John Wesley. On this Sabbath day, for the  first time the strains of a Methodist hymn echoed through the Wilderness at Cambridge, Ohio. During the day, the three resident families of the town visited the camp of those strange looking emigrants.

The Sarchet Family was excited to have come across such friendly strangers, and the Cambridge families were equally pleased to have their first visitors since the town had been settled. On Monday morning the Guernsey woman–having set up camp between two flowing springs, decided to take the opportunity of washing their clothes before they continued onward. It did not take long before they were visited by a third party. To the surprise of everyone a group of Native Americans–Indians as the settlers would have called them–came along to trade with the family. They come with papooses tied to a board swinging on their backs. The European men and woman must have felt much more comfortable with their differences in culture and fashion when these Indians paid visit. And what an amazing time to think of in hindsight. A time when our little city of Cambridge, was a wilderness. A time when major interstates were not the most significant thing meeting here but rather a family of American pioneers, a family of settling European travelers, and friendly Native Americans, coming from different directions to find themselves altogether in Cambridge, Ohio.

We Are Not Going One Step Further!

In the afternoon, the Beatty and Gomber women decided to take their children down to the Sarchet camp to pay another visit. Being elated in the wonderful time they had spent with the Sarchet family the night previous, being tired of living rather isolated lives, aware of many conversations between their husbands of what the future of Cambridge would look like as they plat the town just months prior, and knowing it was the plan of the Sarchet family to find a place they could settle and start an industrious future; the pioneer woman launched an assertive persuasive campaign to get the Sarchet woman to stay and build their future here. At the same time the Cambridge women were buttering up the Guernsey women, the Beatty-Gomber men were also on a mission showing the Sarchet’s how they had spent the summer staking-off lots for a town.

At that time, it wouldn’t have looked like much other than wood sticks in the ground, as only Wheeling Avenue had the wilderness cut out of it. When they returned to camp the European ladies had made up their mind. After four months of traveling across the ocean, through mountains, up and down hills, feeling as if they had been rained on more than not, they were weary of more travel. They were to stay. There journey was over and the American future the men had discussed on the Island of Guernsey, was to begin here. The Sarchet men, were not so sure of this at first. They certainly weren’t impressed or enthusiastic at the potential of the town the Beatty’s and Gomber’s had carved out and having heard great things of Cincinnati they protested the woman to continue forward where they had planned all along to settle. The women, would have none of it. They told the men they were not going to go, one step further.

C.P.B. Sarchet–who was a grandson to both the Sarchet and the Beatty families–describes his grandmother and her sisters.

After their call at the camp, the women held the first Woman’s rights convention perhaps in the state of Ohio, and decided that they would go no further west…

The men protested, but their protest was of no avail. When a Guernsey woman puts her Foot down.. it is there. The dye was cast and Cambridge was to be the Guernsey town, and the name of Guernsey county was to perpetuate their memory.


Becoming Citizens of Guernsey County

So the men had no choice but to call on Beatty and Gomber to again show them the different lots they had for sell in order to begin building their cabins. Among a collection of out-lots (not in downtown) to plant Apple trees, farm, and manufacture products, the brothers wisely bought property in the middle of Cambridge to build homes and businesses. Peter Sarchet chose to buy two lots west of the public square, where U.S. Bank is located today. Thomas Sarchet chose two lots where on each side of the road where 7th Street meets Wheeling Avenue. John Sarchet chose the lots on the other side of the street from Thomas, where Country Bits and Pieces sits today. Nicholas must not have been a wealthy man as there is no record of him buying property at this time.

Cambridge Cabin Locations

It was decided John’s lot would be the location for the families first cabin and work commenced immediately. They were in a rush to get this built as they knew winter was just around corner. Tired of living in tents, camping out on the outskirts of the town, the family moved into their new home before it had floors, a chimney, or even a door. It would have been a crammed space for such a large group. On top of many people living in the structure they had brought with them to America many boxes and chests filled with different tools and utensils, which would have been very rare in those days. They made it work through that winter. C.P.B. Sarchet tells of this winter from his family’s oral history. 

Near the cabin, where the trees were cut, the brush was piled, and the women raked up the leaves and burned the brush, and in the cleared space they raked and dug in turnip seed. The turnips grew large and afforded all of the vegetables they had during the winter. I have heard my uncles and aunts tell how they sat around the big wood fire in the long winter nights, and scraped turnips, and listened to the fierce winds sweeping through the trees, while packs of wolves howled around the cabin.

By the time work on the second cabin began it was apparent the Sarchet family would become great citizens for the development of the area. The Indian woman they had met at camp frequently paid them visits and other settlers coming to the area came to them for much needed supplies and services. Four years after their arrival, more people traveling west from the first established American states, started to settle the area and yet even more settlers had come from the Isle of Guernsey. With other small towns like Old Washington growing alongside Cambridge the area had enough people around to be considered a county in 1810. When talks began, and petitions made to the State of Ohio, the Sarchet ladies once again inserted themselves in what was typically a matter for men. They insisted the county be named, “Guernsey” after their homeland. They said the area’s rolling hills reminded them of their old home. Then it was decided, the county would be named Guernsey in honor of their excellent, talented, and influential Guernsey citizens. 


Shortly after the first cabin was built the Sarchets begun work on the second cabin. In this time something happening that resulted in Guernsey Counties first criminal proceedings. Click here to find out how the Sarchets were involved and what ever happened to Betty Pallet, the estranged Catholic girl they picked up on their voyage through the Appalachia Mountains. 

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The Betty Pallet Story

The Betty Pallet Story

Remember that girl the Sarchets found on the side of the road during the Epic four month long journey? Betty Pallet. Well, as the Sarchets were building their second cabin in Cambridge, they needed everyone that was capable of working helping with the cabin. So they had Betty babysitting the kids while the woman in the family helped with manufacturing the new home. When the group returned home one evening finished with the days work, they found that a sack of gold coins was missing from one of their chests. With no one –other than Betty and the children–coming in or out of the cabin throughout the day they accused Betty of placing the gold where no one but her would know the golds whereabouts.

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1800’s Sweat Box

Suspecting Betty, she was not let out of anyone’s sight for days. They looked in tree stumps, rolled over logs, and all around trees but could not find the gold. With a theft having apparently happened they made John Beatty and Jacob Gomber aware of the criminal act. They apprehended Betty and put her into a sweat box; a sweat box was exactly what it sounds like. A small box they used to put people in solitary confinement. The goal was often to get them to admit to a crime they were being accused of committing. The sweat box is more known in popular culture as a form of punishment for slaves, however in the pioneer days, it was not just slaves who were subject to cruel forms of punishment.

Despite this Betty continued to plead she was innocent. A few days later, the gold coins were found by a water well. It was then figured that Betty had made a trip to the well stocking enough water so that no one would need to goto the well anytime soon. When she did this she placed the coins nearby with the intention of coming back and running off with the gold. She was not able to do this when the group grew suspicous of her and placed her under twenty-four hour surveillance. When confronted with this scenario, Betty succumbed to the pressure and admitted her guilt. In her admission she did not reveal where she had planned on running off. With the town and Muskingum County–Cambridge was a part of Muskingum County until Guernsey County was officially formed in 1810– not having any organization, justice of peace, or jail; John Beatty and Jacob Gomber used a recent punishment given in Zanesville to some counterfeiters as precedent. The counterfeiters were sentenced to public lashing.

A statement was made by John and Jacob stating they were acting as a court, going on to say Betty had betrayed people who befriended her in a time of need. She was sentenced to lashing on the bare back and told to leave town afterwards. Peter Sarchet was appointed to do the lashing with a “hickory” rod. When he was finished Betty ran off into the woods assumingly crying in physical pain and shame for her actions. Betty and her whereabouts become the subject of much conversation and gossip in the future. One rumor placed her in a Catholic home in Perry County, Ohio.


Let’s try and visualize this moment in Guernsey County History.

John Beatty and Jacob Gomber enter the town square where a small crowd is awaiting them. With them is a young woman walking alongside Jacob with her face towards the ground in humiliation;. John Beatty has a paper in his pocket which he pulls out and unfolds. The crowd is made up of the Sarchet family, many members of the town, and new settlers to the area and they know they are here to witness justice served to the young lady for being a thief.

Beatty holds the paper up to his face and states,

“Do to the lack of incorporation hitherto, before God and with you all as witness; myself John Beatty and Jacob Gomber will be acting as prosecutor and court on behalf of the citizens of Cambridge, Ohio. It has been brought to our attention that Betty Pallet has confessed to the stealing and concealing of gold coins from the Sarchet family cabin. Due to the lack of a justice of peace, and no jail herein Muskingum County, we take it upon ourselves to look at precedent in order to find and make a judgement on this matter.

Let the record show, that Betty Pallet, having betrayed the trust committed to her by those who had befriended her and provided protection to her in an extreme time of need, should be whipped  on bareback and driven out of the camp and town. Similar and recent events in Muskingum County give us the authority to declare the punishment–of public lashing–as sufficient and fit consequences for such dishonest behavior as the defendant–Betty Pallet–has displayed. If anyone has any objection to this ruling now is your time to speak. Does anyone here today object to this judgement? 

A long silence is broke only by the wind passing through the town square. The crowd has no objection.

“Given the Sarchet family is the sole victim of Betty’s actions, I call upon Peter Sarchet to give out the whippings with a hickory rod prepared and brought here today. Are there any objections to this appointment?”

With no objections made and as Peter comes forward; Jacob Gomber is pulling Betty Pallet closer to the tree she is to stand over. The crowd watches her as she whines and cries: the Sarchet women in attendance gaze at her in disappointment as some had grew to love her as their own, some are looking at her as if every step she takes she loses her humanity and is turning into a monster before their eyes, and others in the crowd are gawking at her like she is some kind of weird grotesque monstrosity they had never seen the likes of before. She is mortified knowing a grown man will soon unleash a weapon with all his brute force onto her bareback.

Peter Sarchet meets Jacob and Betty Pallet at the tree in the town square. Betty is instructed to reveal her bareback by pulling the top of her dress down to her waist. This makes the event even more humiliating to the young girl as she is undressing half her body in front of the entire town. She’s then told by Gomber to put both hands onto the tree in front of her and Gomber then hands Peter the hickory rod typically used for whipping horses or other live stock.

Peter raises the rod to the heavens and swings his arm downwards in motion with all his strength. The rod hisses through the air and hits her back.

SssssssssNAP!

The sound echoes through the wilderness and the crowd watches in awe.

He quickly raises his hand up and comes back down again with all the speed and power his strong arms and frame can muster. He systematically repeats the process, the strikes rip through the skin on her back causing her to yelp as she begins to bleed. When Peter gains momentum with his movements the slashes become more harsh and alongside the blood on her back, welts begin to swell and reveal themselves. One whip after another, almost making a sound that resembles firecrackers being let off one at a time.

When Peter is finished, Betty quickly pulls her dress back up to her shoulders. She has never been so overwhelmed with humiliation and physical pain before and it’s likely she never does afterwards. Not wanting to look the townspeople in the eyes, she takes off running to the nearby woods never to be seen or heard of again by the people of Guernsey County.

corporalwhipping3

A Public Whipping of a Woman

I will finish this article with another excerpt from Col. C.P.B. Sarchet (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty Sarchet)–who I have not mentioned, was a grandson to both the Sarchet and the Beatty families–that describes his uncle thinking of Betty Pallet and Guernsey Counties first criminal proceedings many, many, many years later.

I was seated at the bedside of a dying uncle, who was twelve years old at the time of the whipping and witnessed it. He turned over in the bed and said,: “I do wonder what became of little Betty Pallet.” I remarked, “Who was Betty Pallet.” Then he related the story as above, and of Betty being found wandering- in the mountains. Is it any wonder that that old Christian man, eighty-four years old, who died the next day, should turn back in thought to that boyhood scene in the wilderness, seeing Betty’s bare back, the welts and the blood? Certainly it seemed to him barbarous and in-human treatment, as it would to us, yet such treatment was lawful punishment for crime in those days of Ohio.