In Honor of July 4th: A List of Revolutionary War Patriots Buried in Guernsey County

William G. Wolfe gives us an outstanding list of Revolutionary War Veterans buried in Guernsey County in his book “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio.”

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Image (14).jpg(Page 243 was of an illustration not pertaining to the Revolutionary War) Image (15)
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Welcome to GuernseyCountyHistory.Com: Jonathan Bye Days Memories!

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90’s “Bye Days” Style

I remember growing up in the village of Byesville back in the 1990’s and everybody getting excited about the “Annual Jonathan Bye Days” festival. After driving my Mom crazy for $10, I can remember cutting through the wind on my bike to get to the park and then trying to decide what I was going do from there. I remember that hot–almost wet air– from the humidity we get in Ohio during the summer months combined with the smell of concession food stands permeating the wind as it passed through the basketball court. The more brave and wild kids, filled my ears with the sounds of pop snaps, as they ran about smashing box after box on the concrete. The sights of people walking with golf caps on backwards, over their sprayed red hair, wearing baggy Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren t-shirts with even more baggy JNCO jeans. A kaleidoscope of taste, sound and sights percolated through the fun: talent shows, basketball tournaments, Elvis impersonations, concerts, and skydivers.

I remember my stepdad commenting on the festival and how ridiculous he thought it had became, “Every year they try to do something bigger and better than the year before to get people to show up down there.” The gossip was rampant: “Who was boyfriend and girlfriend with who?”, “Why were those two headed off to the dugouts earlier?”, and “Why did so and so get into a fight with so and so?”  We spent our days running out energy in as many different ways as we could find: I feel a bit tacky and even old for saying I remember when only rich people had cell phones. In Byesville nobody was really rich so there was not anyone walking around with a phone to their face. We were social animals not social media animals and because of it our lives were very animated. A story about a fight could start off with, “John” breaking, “Doe’s” jaw and by the time that same story made it’s way around the park, “Doe” broke “John’s” nose and now the police were looking for them both. In all this craziness, the question hardly even crossed my mind, “Who is this Jonathan Bye guy and why am I celebrating him?” After asking the question one time before and being told “Jonathan Bye was the founder of Byesville”, my curiosity was satisfied.

As I have gotten older and learned to love history, I still wonder, “Who was Jonathan Bye, really?” I get that he supposedly “found” Byesville, but beyond that I knew nothing. Despite being such an important person–we celebrate him over 150 years after he passed away–you cannot “Google” him and find a Wikipedia page. The village of Byesville has a festival every year to honor the man, but there is not a shred of information out there about him unless you are willing to dust off old books at the local library and research him. So I decided to take this project and do the research for you and I hope a few more knowledgeable members of the community will help me. Not only do I want to know, “Who is Jonathan Bye ?” I’d like to find someone that knows something about the railroad history in Cambridge and have them write an article about it’s hey day. I’d like to see a, “Top 10 torn or burnt down buildings” list and a, “Top 10 gone out-of-businesses of Cambridge.” I could do all this research myself, but it would take me forever, so I’m asking you–the community–to help me make this site as good as it can be for future generations. I’m open to any idea’s anyone wants to throw my way.

Which brings me to my next point, the reasons for this site. The morale towards the area is not so high, at least not from my experience. After some controversial “Top Ten” articles that have painted our county seat as a post-industrial ghetto, people have felt confirmed in talking badly of our home. One article places Cambridge and our next door neighbor Zanesville on the, “Top Ten Worst Places to Live in Ohio”; meaning–according to roadsnacks.com–our little region here makes up 20% of Ohio’s worst places to reside. Another website put Cambridge on their “Ten Most Dangerous Places in Ohio.”  Unfortunately, I don’t believe a lot of people my age are real proud of their connection to Guernsey County. Actually, it’s too often the butt of the joke. Honestly, I have even been guilty of it myself. It is my hope to change this negative view of our home. I want to act as a neutralizer to these bad articles and give people something positive about their community to point at and say, “That’s where I am from and it’s a great place.”

You see nobody has ever educated my generation about what there is to be proud of in Guernsey County. Nobody told us about the fascinating people here before us, or that we were unique because we have a first generation American town. So how could we feel a sense of pride? All we have ever heard about is how the area has, “gone down the tubes.”So I have decided to build this site for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which is to boost that morale and pride of our citizenship. The truth is, it’s not the best of times in Guernsey County but I think history can make us forget about our problems for a little while. With history we can escape into our imagination and paint a picture of what used to be here.

History is an important tool to have while going through life. I know some people would debate that but I don’t believe it’s debatable. The Founders of the United States were learned in history and they used it to build the greatest nation the world has ever seen. History is the most under utilized tool in our society today. Dr. Phil says something like, “The best way to predict the future is too look at the relevant past.”  When we put relevant history under a microscope we can better predict the future. With history we have an accurate tool that tells us consequences before we make the mistakes. Relevant history gives us an idea of what the future will hold when we are weighing important decisions in life. So, despite what scientists and mathematicians think; history is important.It is my mission to give the people of my community a little more relevant history to use in their day to day lives and even more history of which to be proud.  

You see, unlike large cities who have their history all over the internet; small rural villages and towns do not have the luxury of easily accessible history. Nowadays if it isn’t on the internet, kids don’t give a hoot about it. It’s my hope that I may gain a few fans of history by making it more available to future generations while also enlightening the rest of us… Including myself. I have barely scratched the surface, I have to tell you I have been surprised at how much has been left behind to us in our libraries.

I am standing on the shoulders of giants in this field. There are more books on the history of Guernsey County than I expected I would find; one of which was written and published in 1911 by COL. Cyrus P.B. Sarchet, a man who’s grandparents were among the very first settlers here. I have found a book on Guernsey County’s African American history by Wayne L. Snider published in 1979, and published in 1943, “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” by William G.Wolfe is truly the holy grail on this topic as anyone who has done research on the history will tell you.

On top of the the Daily Jeffersonian, there are also numerous out-of-print newspapers from the small towns that make up our great county. When material is in the public domain I will scan and credit the source. If I feel I have an experience or idea that can add to a subject then I will write an article myself. I will often use my own photography and graphics and eventually I would like to add short video documentaries and interviews. If you’re curious or have a question in regards to any of this this feel free to ask me, you can add me on Facebook here or click the link at the bottom for other ways to contact me. Obviously, there is an enormous wealth of information and research to be done, and I for one am excited to know the information is out there for us to find and bring back to life! Let’s start off with, “Who was Jonathan Bye, really?”/“A Movement West: The Settling and Founding of Cambridge, Ohio” and “3 Year Old Girl Captured by Indians: the John Chapman Story.”

Please feel free to converse by making comments. Thank You.

“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.”

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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. 

“Who was Jonathan Bye, really?”

“Who was Jonathan Bye, really?”

I remember growing up in the small village of Byesville back in the 1990’s and everybody getting excited about the “Annual Jonathan Bye Days” festival. I was much like every kid in our small town of 2,000 people, with our one stop light. After driving my Mom crazy for $10, I can remember cutting through the wind on my bike to get to the park and then trying to decide what I was going do from there. I remember that hot–almost wet air– from the humidity we get in Ohio during the summer months combined with the smell of concession food stands permeating the wind as it passed through the basketball court. The more brave and wild kids, filled my ears with the sounds of pop snaps, as they ran about smashing box after box on the concrete. The sights of people walking with golf caps on backwards, over their sprayed red hair, wearing baggy Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren t-shirts with even more baggy JNCO jeans. A kaleidoscope of taste, sound and sights percolated through the fun: talent shows, basketball tournaments, Elvis impersonations, concerts, and skydivers.

I remember my stepdad commenting on the festival and how ridiculous he thought it had became, “Every year they try to do something bigger and better than the year before to get people to show up down there.” The gossip was rampant: “Who was boyfriend and girlfriend with who?”, “Why were those two headed off to the dugouts earlier?”, and “Why did so and so get into a fight with so and so?”  We spent our days running out energy in as many different ways as we could find: I feel a bit tacky and even old for saying I remember when only rich people had cell phones. In Byesville nobody was really rich so there was not anyone walking around with a phone to their face. We were social animals not social media animals and because of it our lives were very animated. A story about a fight could start off with, “John” breaking, “Doe’s” jaw and by the time that same story made it’s way around the park, “Doe” broke “John’s” nose and now the police were looking for them both. In all this craziness, the question hardly even crossed my mind, “Who is this Jonathan Bye guy and why am I celebrating him?” After asking the question one time before and being told “Jonathan Bye was the founder of Byesville”, my curiosity was satisfied.

As I have gotten older and learned to love history, I still wonder, “Who was Jonathan Bye, really?” I get that he supposedly “found” Byesville, but beyond that I knew nothing. Despite being such an important person–we celebrate him over 150 years after he passed away–you cannot “Google” him and find a Wikipedia page. There is no photograph or painting of him anywhere. The village of Byesville has a festival every year to honor the man, but there is not a shred of information out there about him unless you are willing to dust off old books at the local library and research him. So I answer the question, who is Jonathan Bye?

The Times of Jonathan Bye the Traveler 

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President James Monroe

Jonathan Bye was not the first settler in what is now known as Jackson Township. However, it can be said he was the first to settle in what is now Byesville, Ohio. Jonathan came to the area in 1820 from Pennsylvania. To put that into perspective, just 8 years before we were fighting the War of 1812 which produced a song that would have been sang in every smoky tavern across the land–including the ones in Cambridge–known as the Star Spangled Banner. In the 1820 election James Monroe was re-elected to his 2nd term. After 59 years on the throne the famous–or infamous depending on who you talked to–King George III (the king we fought against to gain Independence) passed away, ending the longest tenure as King in British history. Susan B. Anthony and William Tecumseh Sherman were born, we’re 15 years from having Morse Code and a practical form of photography. We’re 40 years before the Civil War. Here is Jonathan Bye, an ambitious young man traveling through the wilderness west for opportunity.

 

Jonathan Bye the  Pioneer, Entrepreneur, and Civic Leader

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An 19th Century (1800’s) Grist-Mill (not Jonathan Bye’s)

A devoutly religious man, Jonathan was a Quaker like many pioneers of his time. He finds and settles on what is known as Wills Creek. He builds a cabin and being very ingenious and innovative he sets up a water-powered grist mill. The mill proves to be a profitable idea for the young man, as it allows him to grind grain into flour and sell it to the areas people. Now having some income Jonathan is filled with the spirit of an entrepreneur and decides to invest into a saw-mill that also proves to be a good investment. Now having much in surplus to sell he establishes a store and his little compound of businesses becomes known around the area as “Bye’s Mill.”

Having his businesses expand and with the area’s population growing, Jonathan Bye is ever imaginative. At the time having only horse and wagon on trails to get his products to market north in Cambridge and being surrounded by wilderness, he goes around to his nearest neighbors with pen and paper and gathers support for a road to be built from his mill to the City of Cambridge. In December of 1823 he travels to the county seat with signatures in hand and presents the petition to the Guernsey County Commissioners. Records at the commissioners office state the following:

“Jonathan Bye presented a petition for himself and sundry (many) citizens for a road from Bye’s Mill on Big Wills Creek, running the nearest and best way to Cambridge.”

In 1826, he repeats the process to have a road built in the other direction to Senecaville.

I think it’s quite obvious Jonathan was attempting to attract as many customers as the area could provide him while at the same time building an infrastructure of roads citizens needed and wanted at the time. Bye’s flour business flourished so much eventually he builds the “Maria Bye:” a large keel boat made to float his surplus in the shallow waters of Wills Creek. With this boat and eventually more he was able to ship his flour down the Ohio and subsequently Mississippi River. In 1832, he may have finally bit off a little more civic duty than he could chew when he led an unsuccessful movement petitioning the State of Ohio. He wanted them to dredge Wills Creek so that larger boats could navigate up and down his stream, the state apparently did not see the advantages that he did, as the project never manifest. Nevertheless, Jonathan was able to build a profitable efficient business and live a comfortable life through using his keel boats to send his manufactured products to the maximum amount of markets, while at the same time leading civic movements to develop the area.

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Jonathan Bye Made Flat and Keel Boats to Ship his Manufactured Flour

Jonathan Bye the Abolitionist 

It is somewhat common knowledge between those in the intelligence industry, that when a person of interest is hiding from those who are interested in finding them, they must have people rich with resources helping them move and survive in hiding. The reason it took the CIA so long to capture Bin Laden is that they never thought a supposed ally receiving aid from the United States would give him sanctuary. The government of Pakistan was Bin Laden’s largest resource. Likewise when trying to solve the mystery of Hitlers death, former CIA and Military guys, have formed a theory that Hitler escaped Germany through the sanctuary of Spain, and eventually made his way to a compound in the backwoods of South America. They believe he was able to do this through having the help and cover of loyal German business families whom had acquired loads of wealth and resources in Argentina. Not that I am comparing completely innocent slaves to the most evil men the planet has ever seen, that is absolutely not what I am doing. I am simply making the point that, fugitives need people of wealth, connections, and resources to stay hidden for extended periods of time.

Jonathan Bye spent his life acquiring wealth, making business connections, as well as acquiring and utilizing resources . As I said before, he was also a devoutly religious man. Quakers are famous for their principles. They were often criticized for refusing to fund wars. Being vehemently against violence and holding humanitarianism close to their hearts; Quakers were naturally and passionately against slavery. So with Jonathan having been a man of considerable means and relentlessly against slavery at his very core, he was the perfect kind of person to hide and move slaves in the 19th century. As a result he used and risked his home and businesses to become a conductor and set up a station on the famous Underground Railroad. When the slaves entered Guernsey County they would do so at one of its most southern borders in the village of Senecaville. Having made connections in Senecaville through civic leadership and business, Jonathan would accept the slaves from an Underground Railroad station there and move them to his home. Here he would provide them with beds, shelter, food, and clothes until it was time to move them further north where he would drop them off to Alexander McCracken or Samuel Craig, both station-masters in Cambridge.

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Fugitive Slaves Running on the Underground Railroad

It just fascinates me to think of the different scenarios:

I imagine it being a very cold fall evening at Bye’s Mill. You know where a lot of the leaves have changed colors, some are hanging onto their branches for dear life while piles of others are lying on the floor of the wilderness. I picture Jonathan on his horse pulling a wagon full of flour to Senecaville on the very road he led a movement to build. Puffs of smoke from the cold weather coming from his and his horse’s mouth’s. He has dressed the wagon for what looks like a typical business trip. When he gets to Senecaville he drops off the flour and at the same time picks up a slave man. He instructs him to hide between some large barrels that are stacked perfectly in the wagon to conceal the man’s presence. On his way back, he passes John Beymer, who is currently serving one of his eight years as Guernsey County Sheriff. With Jonathan being a respected, prominent member of the community, this conversation goes very smoothly, the Sheriff having no idea Bye has hidden a fugitive slave on his wagon. I imagine them getting back to Bye’s Mill in the darkness where Jonathan’s windows are lit up and smoke is coming from the chimney on the roof. The closer they get to the door, the more it smells like wood burning.

When they get inside candles light the rooms and a nice flame is going in the fire pit to warm the cabin. They sit to eat with Jonathan’s daughter Maria; conversation fills the room about the mans journey hitherto. I figure Jonathan has a hidden basement under his floor boards where a nice bed is awaiting the fugitive slave. They awake before the sun comes up, Jonathan has another load of flour on his keel boat waiting to take up Wills Creek to Cambridge. Jonathan has a discreet location at which to load the flour onto a wagon. When they arrive, Samuel Craig of Cambridge is waiting there for them. The fugitive is hidden once again on a wagon with the loaded flour until he reaches the home of Mr. Craig’s. Jonathan takes his keel boat back down Wills Creek to his home awaiting the next fugitive to come his way. 

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It is not known why but in the 1850’s Jonathan Bye sold off all his wealth and businesses and moved from Jackson Township to Sterling, Illinois. Unfortunately in Sterling he built another collection of Mills that were a financial failure for him. I would think him being in the latter years of his life, he might not have had the youth it would have taken to run a successful startup in those days. Some of his descendants are buried in Byesville.

Jonathan Bye spent the majority of his lifetime in our beloved area. He left such an impression and was liked by the people–so much–that when a small town was platted in 1856 near his old Mill they named the town “Byesville.” Jonathan never lived in Byesville when it was called Byesville; by this time he had moved on to Illinois. I’m sure when he passed away people must have felt he made a mistake leaving an area that had served him so well and eventually named a town for him for a place he did not succeed. This should not prevent us from celebrating an interesting an extraordinary life. Given his participation in the Underground Railroad, I think it is a great thing for the village to celebrate his life with an annual festival.

 

Comments are more than welcome 🙂
Sources for this article include William G.Wolfe, “Stories of Guernsey County” 1943 and History of Guernsey County, Ohio by Sarchet, Cyrus P. B. (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty) 1911