Originally published in the book, “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” by William G. Wolfe in 1943.
Originally published in the book, “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” by William G. Wolfe in 1943.
William G. Wolfe gives us an outstanding list of Revolutionary War Veterans buried in Guernsey County in his book “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio.”
Although we know from his gravestone his birth to be in the year 1738, his birthplace and date is unknown to the history books. However, his life would not be. John was known as the “Father of Cambridge” and the true patriarch of our town. As a young man he fought in the French and Indian war, as a grown man he fought in the War for Independence and as an old man he fought in the War of 1812. One could say, Zaccheus his son, gave Cambridge to him as a gift wrapped present for the great man he seen his father to be.
When John was 38 years old his wife gave birth to his most accomplished child, to the say the least. It was Sunday, December 11th, 1774. when Sarah Beatty gave birth to Zaccheus Beatty on a cold Maryland day in Frederick County, Maryland. It would have been an exciting year in Frederick County as some men had invented the Catoctin Iron Furnace, which was used to bend iron with much greater ease then the anyone had yet seen before. Buildings were designed and erected specifically to utilize this new technology. Unbeknownst–or maybe totally known and inspired by–at the time this new technology would come mightily handy for the colonists in the spring. Tensions between the British Crown and the Colonies had been escalating recently, as the Colonies cried for assistance on the frontier against the increasingly hostile Indians, Parliament insisted on taxing the Colonies without their representation for that protection. On April 18th 1775, just 4 months after the birth of Zaccheus, battles of the Revolutionary war began at Lexington and Concord Massachusetts.
The Red Coats begun confiscating weapons and ammunition shortly before the battles began, and so it become increasingly important for the colonists to have technology at which the could produce their own weapons and melt down luxuries into bullets. In 1777 the “Hessian Barracks” were erected by captured Hessian and British soldiers in Frederick County. Like the Catoctin Furnace, it is very likely this would have been something John Beatty would have been happy to have had a beer with you and reminiscence about if he were here today. These barracks would serve as a “jail in the Revolution, held prisoners from the War of 1812, were used as an armory, a Civil War hospital, and as the original building for the Maryland School for the Deaf.” According to photographs I have taken and collected on Ancestry.com, John Beatty would eventually leave his children, including the newest addition Zaccheus and his wife, to go fight for the Patriots in the new War of Independence. There is also a War of 1812 marker on John’s grave in the Founders Cemetery located in Cambridge across the street from the old municipal building. While John lived in Cambridge he ran tavern and a ferry given to him by his son. He was instrumental in setting the plat of the town and selling those plat’s to our first settlers. Him and his wife were named by the Sarchet Family in their stoies as having a leading role in their decision to stay in Cambridge rather than move on to Cincinnati where they had originally intended to settle.
John Beatty’s original stone recognized him as a veteran of the French and Indian War and the War for Independence but was weathered unreadable and replaced
Growing up with such an established man as John for a father must have either been very daunting because filling his shoes would have been difficult to do or it would have been inspiring. I am guessing the latter. Zaccheus grew up to find a job as frontier surveyor for the military out of Wheeling and then eventually he became a “land agent” working out of Newellstown, which is today known as Steubenville. When he came upon Ezra Graham’s ferry and the Beymers Tavern in what is today Cambridge, he must have thought something great about their idea’s because he immediately went back to his office and bought an undivided one-half-interest in the land. This gave him just enough of a right to lay full claim to it and send his father out to assert the families new ownership. According to Russell Booth, in the book, “A Brief History of Guernsey County, Ohio” John “bought out” Ezra Graham and the Beymers businesses sending them on their way. This is probably true, as we have lost the rest of Graham’s life to history, but we know the Beymer family went on to buy land just east of Four Mile Hill and platted the town we know as Old Washington in 1805.
Zaccheus father John setup right away collecting tolls and inviting people in for a meal and place to stay on their journey further west. Zaccheus on the hand, continued his work finding valuable land and working as a surveyor. Zaccheus had big plans for this area though, him and his brother-in-law Jacob Gomber were very close not only through family but through business, as they platted Cadiz and Cambridge together. He must have thought of Cambridge as the bread and butter though or he would not have set his father and Jacob up to go about attracting visitors to buy land. After his father had attracted a large number of immigrants from Europe named the Sarchets to invest in their platted town of Cambridge, Zaccheus decided it was time to move to Cambridge himself. One can only imagine the excitement of his decision. Coming home to his fathers tavern excited of seeing their plans grow, as they attracted was seemed and turned out to be great citizens that come as far away as Europe. They must have felt like international successes.
I imagine it is 1807, and I can see them gathering around an old fashioned frontier meal discussing what the town would become one day. The future looked bright. Zaccheus lived back and forth between Cambridge and Steubenville until 1809 when him and his wife decided to settle here for good. When Guernsey County was organized in 1810 someone had to represent her in the Ohio Assembly. According to William G. Wolfe, “everyone looked to Zaccheus Beatty in accord.” Zaccheus was also a commander in the War of 1812 and he went onto be our regions leader in the states Senate for two terms. He built the first bridge across Will Creek to replace the toll bridge, he replaced his fathers tavern with an updated one, he worked with sawed lumber from his brother-in-laws “Gomber Mill” to was a charter member of the Masonic lodge. He is also responsible for donating the land for the town square and the Founders Grave Yard. He and Jacob Gomber raised most of the money for the first county courthouse and jail. There is hardly a single man you can point at more responsible for the development of Cambridge then Zaccheus Beatty. Him and his wife Margery had ten children all together, he was described once by Eveline Tingle, “He is a heavy set man, not very tall, of light complexion and genteel.” Nobody ever said you had to be tall or skinny to be great. He did August 31rst 1835 and is also buried in the Founders Grave Yard. 😉
There are a lot of different names we throw around when we talk about the founding of our great county seat of Cambridge. The Zane’s, Mr. Graham, the Biggs, the Metcalf’s, the Beymers, the Gombers, the Hutchinson’s, the Sarchets; the truth is, most of these families were in one way or another related to each other. They were cousins, uncles, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters and they were all instrumental in the settling and founding of our area. Of these great names of the past, few hold as much weight and grab as much attention among local historians as the “Beatty’s.” It is not because they were the very first. It is because of the scale in which these pioneers worked.
Some were surveyors who seen a small fortune from Wills Creek. Some were farmers who seen great soil in the Valleys of our hills, some thought the coal would be valuable and others were more grandiose with their vision of what would become of this land. The Beatty’s, were of the grand kind, they were veterans of war and had likely seen American Civilization at its finest. They had the rhapsodic, bombastic, histrionic plan to build an extravagant yet eloquent city. I say these things for the evidence lies in the name. I imagine many nights the Beatty’s sat around the campfire talking about how people would call Cambridge, Ohio the “Cambridge of the West” as our nations greatest and most brightest men had for more than a century graduated from a place called Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Beatty’s dedicated their lives to setting a foundation for which this place would grow into an opulent Victorian town. It is more than fitting for us to have an important street named for them and I think we should probably even have more then that.
The following is an excerpt from the book “Stories of Guernsey County” by William G. Wolfe, published 1943 by Kingsport Press, Kingsport, Tennessee.
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. “
For better reading on mobile devices be sure your screen rotation setting is turned on and flip the phone horizontally.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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  & ascended a ridge which led us to the N. E. about seven miles when we arrived at a small branch of hungry creek.  the difficulty we met with from the fallen timber detained us untill 11 oC before we reached this place.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Camping in Cambridge!
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 six 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 with 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.
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.
If you enjoy this work and would like to see more of it, please share this with your friends!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The text from this piece is taken from William G. Wolfe’s “Stories of Guernsey County” which is now in the public domain. The photography and presentation of this work is registered copyright, all rights reserved ©2015 James C. Shively.