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.
Most citizens of Guernsey County are not aware of an epic event that happened right here during the Civil War. If this event had not happened at nearly the same time as the famous Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Vicksburg—both happened in July of 1863—certainly more of this story would be told to kids in history classes across the nation. However, the Battle of Gettysburg and Vicksburg are often placed on timelines and curriculums—rightfully—as the more important events to teach about when talking about the summer of 1863. Despite this, our ancestors here were certainly taught and aware of what’s known as “Morgan’s Raid.” According to William G. Wolfes book, Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio, which was published in 1943; older folks–during his lifetime–would still tell you when asked about their recollection of the Civil War, “I remember when Morgan went through.” Morgan’s Raid maybe considered by most historians as the most monumental thing to ever have happened in Guernsey County.
A Confederate General named John Hunt Morgan started a raid from Tennessee on June 11th, 1863 that ran through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The raid lasted until July 26th, covering 46 days total. After going through Kentucky Morgan decided to cross the Ohio River into Southern Indiana, and then go into Southern Ohio (both Union States), with 2,462 men under his command. When Mr. Morgan realized he had the attention of many Union officers, he tried to go back across the Ohio into West Virginia but by then the Union Troops had him blocked. Rather than wave the white flag and surrender, Mr. Morgan then decided to try and lose the Union Troops by continuing to head northeast. He hoped he could find a way back across the Ohio River somewhere. It was a “scorched earth” attack, as him and his soldiers plundered anything they came in contact with that would help them sustain themselves and burned anything they felt would help people attempting to stop them. They fought in a series of battles with Union supported militia’s and different Union regiments.
As he went through the different towns news traveled and gossip grew, Morgan and his men were taking necessary provisions from innocent citizens, but nothing nearly as viscous as the rumors conveyed. Morgan made it all the through Guernsey County starting at its most southern town of Cumberland and leaving at one of our most northern towns Symra.
A short battle ensued in Old Washington, where some men were killed, others surrendered and were arrested, and some, including Morgan, got away and continued onward. The “Battle of Washington” as it would come to be known was the closest the Union got to making Morgan surrender or defeating him before he was overtaken two days later. Some critics say had General Shackleford of the Union, been less naive and more aggressive, Morgan could have been made to surrender here, as on his way through he was once overtaken near Salt Fork, but then got away again. None-the-less his raid and subsequent battle to get through Guernsey County are directly responsible for injuring and fatiguing his raiders enough to make them give up in Columbiana County, Ohio where they finally surrendered just two days after the Battle of Washington.
By Thursday July 23rd, the day Morgan entered Guernsey County, the raid had been going along for 42 days, almost a month and a half. Many of the Confederate Raiders were said to have looked tired and wore down. In the morning around 9:00 a.m. the Raiders were running from Colonel R.W. McFarland’s advance around the borders of Guernsey, Morgan, Noble and Muskingum County. In between Muskingum County where the town of Zeno used to reside, and where Cumberland sits today in Guernsey County, lived a Cumberland grocer and harness maker named Theodore Frazee. Here we have a story that shows just how close Confederate strangers were to Union strangers, where an American brotherhood saves a man from falling victim to a nation at war with itself.
At 10:00 a.m. in the morning Mr. Frazee is approached by Cumberland doctor John McCall. McCall was traveling from Zeno–now what we call a ghost town–on his way back to Cumberland when he stopped to warn Mr. Frazee of the raiders coming their way. He rode by horse screaming “Morgan’s Coming! Morgan’s Coming!” One can think of Paul Revere almost a century before famously doing a very similar thing. Mr. Frazee—hearing the doctor’s warning—frantically got to work hiding his most prized horses so the Raiders could not find them. He left only his eldest horse Old Barney in plain sight for them to see and he went back to his porch to await their arrival. With the doctor and the horse seemingly oblivious, Old Barney was taken by his daughter and wife to the sheep barn where the raiders could not find him. Frazee certainly heard the raiders coming as the sound of hundreds of horse hooves chattered from a distance kicking up dust on the old road. When the starving men seen the grocery they immediately began jumping from their horses to grab what they wanted in the name of the Confederate States of America. Suddenly Morgan shouted at them, “Halt! The first man who enters that house without orders will be shot! And pay for anything you take in the store. (Horwitz 2001.)”
The men were certainly confused. What had changed since the last time they had come about a grocery store and were allowed to sack the place? Well, when Mr. Morgan arrived he looked upon Mr. Frazee sitting on his porch with his hand held in a way that only a fellow brother of the ancient Society of Freemasonry would recognize. In this moment Morgan chose to have mercy on his fellow American brother rather than allow his men to make a victim of him. Likewise, Mr. Frazee showed his humanity by having his family cook the best lunch possible for Morgan and his men, more or less cleaning them out of their food supply. According to his daughter’s diary, the men made off with Daddies good horses, while Old Barney was spared from the ladies having taken him to the sheep barn. So it is somewhat safe to say, when John H. Morgan and his raiders came upon Guernsey County, they were welcomed with open arms and sent on their way with new horses.
According to David Thompson, who did his senior seminar on Morgan’s Raid, and is a graduate of History from Muskingum University, as well as a productive member of the Guernsey County Historical Society, the site would have been one to behold,
“He left Kentucky with 2,462 men and officers. By the time he got to Guernsey County only about 600 remained. The rest having been killed, wounded or captured. Three were killed in the skirmish at Old Washington. All were cavalrymen and would have all been on horseback. They travelled quickly and pretty much lived off the land with no support structure. For example, they rode diagonally across Guernsey County from SW to NE and were in and out of the county in little more than 24 hours. They constantly stole horses to keep fresh rides. I do remember one account that said Morgan sometimes road in a buggy (Thompson 2016.)”
When Morgan entered the town of Cumberland it was somewhere around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon on the 23rd of July. They approached a house that was well-known in the community as a landmark, called the Globe Home; the house was owned by Dr. Stone. Here General Morgan set up headquarters for a short time. Some ransacked the house for any food and supplies they could find, while others fell asleep in the many rooms the doctor had to offer. When they went for Dr. Stones horses the doctor pleaded with them to leave his most prized one. He told them a white-lie, he said he had a very-ill patient he needed to see. Dr. Stone offered the men $75 (about $1,460 dollars today) to keep the horse. The cash was taken and the horse was left. However, later that evening, a set of the raiders that were lagging behind, came along and took the horse while they plundered nearly all the general stores of the town. This left the Doctor without any money and no horse to see his supposed dying patient. Imagine the fear and helplessness the doctor must have felt to see hundreds raiders run off into the night on his horses with all of his savings. Before Morgan left Cumberland he forced a local man to accompany him as a guide to the next town.
From Cumberland the Raiders took a road northeast to Pt. Pleasant, a town known today as Pleasant City. When they arrived–now the evening of the day–they allowed their Cumberland guide to return home on his own horse. Again, Morgan’s overall goal was to eventually make it to the Ohio River near West Virginia where he must have thought he would have better success making it back to a southern state. In the meantime, he needed to feed and rest his tired and hungry men, so he kept a steady track headed northeast, choosing to pick up guides and drop them off once he had reached the next town at which he could use to revitalize his men. When he reached Point Pleasant, the owner and operator of the local Elks Hotel, Harrison Secrest, was picked up as his next guide. In route to Hartford (known today as Buffalo) and Senecaville, the Raiders come across a bridge. Knowing the local Union Army was in pursuit of them they attempted to tear down the bridge. Apparently feeling this to laborious a task they then chose to burn the bridge. Many of the raiders swam their horses across the creek. The Bridge was put out quickly by a group of local people following them. General Shackleford of the Union Army was getting closer to him with each passing hour.
Through the night a group of the raiders straggling behind the lead, stopped to search for fresh horses at a stable. While looking at a dark bay horse—a local family’s most cherished possession— they seen a man slumped over on a horse heading in their direction. After failing to respond to the Confederates calls, they shot the man off of the horse. Upon further inspection they found John Happs, a confederate soldier of their own. One man was ordered to get Happs medical treatment, he rode back to Point Pleasant looking for Dr. Teeter only to find the local doctor’s horse had been stolen (Horwitz 2001.) Teeter—a passionate Union man—was able to get there in time to dislodge the bullet before it killed the man, but Happs needed care his fellow rebels were not able to give and he died as a result. This an example of how deeply exhausted Morgan’s men were by the time they entered Guernsey County and of how the group were in constant search for horses with fresh legs. They continued their march through the night into the early morning through Buffalo and Senecaville, before reaching Campbell’s stations in Lore City on the morning of Friday July 24th, 1863.
Lore City has a very interesting story in the event known as Morgan’s Raid. There was no Lore City as we know it today, only a train depot called Campbell’s Station with a small collection of houses and citizens who the majority of which were likely local coal miners. The station carried anything a small town of the 1860’s might need, including a telegraph. When Morgan and his men went through here they caused more damage than any other place in the county. They burned a bridge that crossed Leatherwood Creek, they also burned three freight cars filled with tobacco. Because his son and namesake was a Lieutenant in the Union Calvary whom was also a successful raider himself, having plundered many Confederate strongholds in Kentucky and Tennessee; the owner of the tobacco, S.W. Fordyce, seen his warehouse and home burnt to the ground. Morgan’s men were aware of Mr. Fordyce’s son and his exploits, as some remarked while lighting the house on fire,
“We are only following Fordyce’s plan (Horwitz 2001.)”
While at Campbell’s Station, Morgan cleverly had one of his telegraphers send a message east to Barnesville inquiring about the defense set up between Lore City and Barnesville. Morgan’s plan from here was to start heading east towards the Ohio River, however, Provost Marshal McCartney more than likely supposing the telegraph coming from Morgan, sent word back that the area had more than enough soldiers there to protect it. This forced Morgan to head further north rather than east. On his way out he destroyed anything useful to the men trailing him under General Shackleford, including the telegraph lines (Wolfe 1943.) Morgan and his men continued on that morning growing yet even more tired and restless. They were headed towards what is today known as Old Washington where they would encounter General Shackleford for the first time.
About two hours after leaving Campbell’s Station in shambles the men arrived in Washington, Ohio. When entering the town from the South they come across the American Hotel at roughly 10:00 a.m. Exhausted from non-stop traveling and pillaging, Morgan gave orders to post men on each road traveling into the small town. The men were to swap out as they took turns using the towns resources to rejuvenate; his men took rest while the local housewives prepared them meals. The women had no choice as most of their men had taken off to fight in the war. This was a tedious mistake by Morgan. General Shackleford and accompanying Union forces were trailing him quickly and not far behind. Around Noon, Morgan made orders to leave, just shortly after Shackleford and his men had reached town where some of Morgan’s men remained.
At an outpost of the town one of the Confederate soldiers fired a shot to warn his fellow rebels of Shackleford’s presence. Morgan immediately rushed down the stairs of the American Hotel and out into the street. Some rebels ran to their horses and took off on Winchester Road going north, others stayed in the confusion. Shacklefords men started firing at the men from a distant hillside from the south facing north. The Confederates thus returned fired as they rode off on their horse’s. This exchange of gunfire in Guernsey County become known as the “Battle of Washington.” This conflict was further north than any other battle in the Civil War. Three Confederate soldiers were killed, several wounded, and eight were captured and taken to Cambridge where they were housed in the Guernsey County Jail.
Shackleford noted the pursuit and battle,
“With 500 men, on the morning of the 21st, we resumed the chase. Traveling day and night, we came up with the enemy on Friday Morning, the 24th, at Washington. Captain Ward, of the Third Kentucky Cavalry, with his own company and a detachment of the First Kentucky, under Adjutant Carpenter, had command of the advance. He drove in the rebel pickets, and, by a flank movement, drove the entire rebel force out of the town of Washington, killing and wounding several of the enemy. One mile east (north) of Washington the enemy made a stand, in a dense wood. We formed a line of battle, and soon drove him from his position. He fell back 2 miles, tore up a bridge over a rugged stream (Salt Fork), and took up his left flank, while a portion of the Fourteenth Illinois crossed the stream just above the bridge, and moved up the hill in the face of a heavy fire from the enemy, steadily they moved up and drove him before them. Late Friday evening he burned two bridges over Stillwater, causing considerable delay. We succeeded in crossing and pressed on all night (Jr 1998.)”
16 year old Elizabeth McCullin also documented the event with the most vivid of eyewitness accounts (Perkowski 2011,)
“We were all frightened … The townspeople hid their horses and buried their valuables, The town was almost defenseless, since most of their men had joined the Union and gone off to war. Capt. John Laughlin, who lives south of town, was home on furlough and advised the residents to offer no resistance. Nearly all the town gathered at the corner where the Campbell’s Station-Winchester Road crossed the pike.
“Riding two abreast, the rebels came up the road. Rev. Ferguson, our Presbyterian minister, stepped out in front and waved a white handkerchief. The rebels did not pass through as we had hoped, but dismounted and gathered along the street. They entered homes and ordered dinners to be prepared for them immediately. Morgan and his staff of 14 men went to the American Hotel, rebel guards were placed around the town … Anyone could come in, but nobody was permitted to go out.
“Morgan and his staff ordered dinner at the hotel and the Smiths called in some of us older girls to help prepare the meal. I waited on the table … His soldiers having eaten their dinner and fed their horses, were lying on the street from one end of town to the other … Suddenly a gun was fired by one of the rebel guards as a signal that Gen. Shackelford was near. The soldiers ran to the horses and headed toward the Winchester road (now Morgan’s Way). There were in (Old) Washington for two or three hours.
“We saw Shackelford’s army gathering on Cemetery Hill. They began firing at the Confederates, who, in turn, shot back. Above the noise of the battle we could hear voices from the Federal lines ordering women and children to run to cellars. I ran to one that was nearest, where 20 or 30 other persons had gathered. The shooting continued. The Union men were firing from the south, the Confederates from the north. We could hear the bullets whizzing over our heads, and the crash of broken glass. It was terrible.
To think we had living and breathing rebels that fought in a battle housed in Guernsey County and eight of them taken to Cambridge—our county seat—to face justice. When the men were interviewed by local law and Union officials: they gave up Morgan’s plan to cross back over to the Ohio River, they expressed how severely exhausted they had become with the raid, and they spoke of their strong inclination to return home. Morgan got away and Shackleford faced heavy criticism for his decision to fire at long distance rather than charge to the town. Many said if he had taken command and charged the town, Morgan would not have escaped and the raid would have come to an end right here in Guernsey County.
Morgan and the remainder of his men kept fleeing north towards Winterset. Shackleford caught up with him and overtook him at the Salt Fork Bridge. Morgan agreed to surrender but had no intention of actually doing it. Under the guise of a truce, Morgan had a conversation with Shackleford, all the while it was happening Morgan’s men were fleeing further north. At some point Shackleford turned his attention away from Morgan allowing him to flee as well. Again, Shackleford would be criticized for letting Morgan slip through his fingers, though, as people would find out later, he was not alone in having this happen. Shackleford gave critics reason to believe he was much more vanilla than the man he was charged with capturing. John Hunt Morgan gave critics reason to believe he could not be captured by anyone. The men left Guernsey County at the town of Symra near Londonberry. He entered Guernsey County at its most south eastern point and left Guernsey county at its most north eastern point, totaling a period of 24 hours.
Two days after fooling Shackleford and leaving Guernsey County with more than $40,000 in destruction, ($780,000 in today’s money according to measuringworth.com 2016.) Shackleford’s forces caught up with Morgan once more and finally got him to surrender where Salineville is today in Columbia County Ohio (Jeffersonian 1863.) He had just 335 of his men remaining from the 2,462 from which he started the raid (Jr 1998.) When captured these men were sent to several different prisons across the state. Morgan himself was sent to the state capital where he proved to be one of the greatest escape artist of the Civil War. In Columbus, he and six of his captains managed to climb the wall of the Ohio Penitentiary. Once out and free Morgan managed to gain plain clothes that allowed him to walk right into the Union Terminal in Cincinnati unnoticed. According to Morgan he had an interesting discussion with a Union Officer while in disguise after boarding the train. The Union Officer said to him as they passed a penitentiary,
“Over there is where Morgan is now spending his leisure time.” Morgan responded, “and he ought to be kept there until the end of the war (Wolfe 1943.)
Horwitz, Lester V. 2001. The Longest Raid of the Civil War: Little-Known & Untold Stories of Morgan’s Raid Into Kentucky, Indiana & Ohio. Cincinnati: Farmcourt Publishing.
Jeffersonian, The Daily. 1863. “Property Taken, Destroyed in County As Result of Raid Valued at $40.074.” July 30.
Jr, Russell H. Booth. 1998. A Brief History of Guernsey County, Ohio: Including the Morgan Raid Claims. Cambridge, Ohio: Gomber House Press.
measuringworth.com. 2016. measuringworth.com. July 16. Accessed July 16, 2016. https://www.measuringworth.com.
Perkowski, Judie. 2011. “The Daily Jeffersonian.” The Daily Jeffersonian. August 21. Accessed July 23, 2016. http://www.daily-jeff.com/community/2011/08/21/civil-war-arrives-in-guernsey-county-with-morgan-s-raid.
Thompson, David, interview by James Shively. 2016. How Morgan entered Guernsey County? (July).
Wolfe, William G. 1943. Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio. Kingsport Tennessee: Kingsport Press.
Jim Evans is a Cambridge History enthusiast not so different than yourself if you’re here reading. Jim has managed to amass an amazing collection of Wheeling Avenue photos that are just a boat load of fun to go through. Given the size of his collection, finding and crediting every picture was just simply to time consuming for him to make happen. However, don’t let that stop you from clicking here to check out the entire collection. I’m also giving you a sneak peak of some of the better ones I found right here.
To see the rest of this click here. 🙂
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.
Cyrus P.B. Sarchet was our first author on local history. An ancestor of both the Beatty family and the Sarchet family his superb memory formed the foundation on which most of us view our local history. He published a book in 1911. You can find the book online for free here. This book was very fragmented and hard to follow chronologically as it included an entire life’s work of different articles he published for local newspapers. While reading it you can certainly see he was a man from a different era as the gap in language is a struggle not many can overcome to read. William G. Wolfe picked up the work of preserving our history and in the process wrote a bio on Col. P.B. Sarchet. You can find that bio here. Wolfe is the most celebrated author we have in Guernsey County history. He was able to translate the Colonels work and he literally wrote the Bible on our local history. His life was dedicated to going around and finding, preserving and documenting great stories that would have otherwise been lost to history. He used national events in combination with local events and made a masterpiece known as “Stories of Guernsey County Ohio.” You can pick up a copy of this book at County Coins. Mr. Wolfe passed away a few years after his work was published in 1943. Richard Booth picked up some of this work and published a small book, “A Brief History of Guernsey County, Ohio.” You can pick this up at the Guernsey County Historical Museum. Although an excellent and needed book for the education of our citizens, Booth’s book was made primarily to celebrate settlement and expand our general knowledge, it didn’t offer us in depth stories of our history like the previous books. Well, we would like to continue this work. From 1943 onward, we have at least four generations of stories to tell. We cannot do this without your help.
Have you got stories about Guernsey County you would like to share? Was your Grandfather a veteran of WWII and a citizen of Guernsey County? What about Vietnam? Are you yourself a veteran? The best way for us to collect the history of our area is to have people tell and share the stories they have. Did you do an essay some years ago on a member of your family and their experience in a national event or even local history? Tell us about your first doctor visit, your broken arm, your first day of school. It can even be current. Do you have a story about your experience in a recent event? This includes younger students. These things need to be documented for history too. If you’re interested in telling your story, write us an essay or share one you have already written by submitting it to us on Facebook or emailing it to us at GuernseyCountyHistory@Yahoo.Com! We’ll take what you’ve got and publish it on the website to share with the community! Do not let grammar scare you away, if you would like, we will do an edit over what you give us before we publish. Help us by sharing this and whatever else you can! We have a new book to write people and we can only do that if you help us! 😀
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. 😀
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
There 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! 😀
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.
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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 jail today after being exonerated from death row. He must have been overwhelmed with happiness knowing–he and only he–would be in control of his own destiny. Unfortunately where and what Tobey did following this has been lost to history. We have no records of what he went on to do with his life.
Likewise another African American named Charles Mewson helped John Hall–a “prominent Quaker”–build a cabin east of what would become Quaker City. Charles would have also been a freeman as Quakers were categorically against slavery. This would have also been a site to behold. Charles and John chopping away at the trees, carrying, stacking, sawing, hammering away at the taboo’s of the time, sweating side by side working effortlessly on the frontier together. Charles destiny is also lost to history. What we can say without a doubt is that African Americans were here building Cambridge and the surrounding area as it was being founded and before Guernsey County was established in 1810. We’re talking about the presidential administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and we have African Americans participating in building our communities.
In 1810 the area had grew enough in population to consider itself a county and because Ohio was a part of the Northwest Ordinance which said, “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in said territory,” it was against the law to own slaves. This doesn’t mean slaves could run here and just be free, numerous different laws did things to try and prevent slaves from running here and people from protecting them. Despite this, brave Guernsey County residents established stations on the Underground Railroad and still many free blacks came and settled in the outliers of the county where they could find employment. They lived in rural areas like Spencer, Center, and Wills Township, including what’s now known as Four Mile Hill between Cambridge, Lore City, and Old Washington. As employment opportunities changed throughout the years many began moving in closer to the county seat of Cambridge. Farming was listed as the most common job of our early black settlers when the U.S. began asking for occupations on the 1850 census.
Cumberland would become home to many of these early settlers. I will leave you with a vibrant, vivid description of an African American family of Guernsey County provided by Mrs. May Belle Ransome that was published in a book called History of Early Cumberland by May Stranathan.
John, the oldest, lived on Water Street where he built a house. He was a tanner for many years, also a farmer, working for persons in Senecaville and Lore City. He had four children. The oldest, Charles, worked for the B. & O. Railroad for many years… Homer worked for the J.C. Bay Company and is an expert in fine woodwork. The only daughter Nellie, is married and lives in Pittsburgh. George Ransome, known as “Jeff,” and his wife Jennie were long residents of Cumberland. Jeff used to carry a little ladder and go from lamp post to lamp post and light the streets long before we had electricity.
All research credit belongs to the books “Guernsey County’s Black Pioneers, Patriots, and Persons” by Wayne L. Snider and “Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio” by William G. Wolfe.