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 way 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.
For some time the men and woman at the museum have been working hard to scan and preserve thousands of great historical photos. Tonight we are finally giving you all a chance to look at our progress. Flickr is a site that allows users to carry a very large amount of high definition pictures–1 terabyte to be exact–so many museums with similar projects are also using Flickr as a resource for holding their photo’s. We have decided to create a Flickr account to store our collection and now we would like you all to know where to find it.
We will be adding many more local historical photos soon, and documenting the ones that are there now more fully as time goes on. The reason the Flickr site is being released now, is that the Civil War letters on the site are meant to accompany the July edition of Now & Then Magazine, which has now been published. Please note the Collection is a work in progress. Be sure to pick up a copy of the local magazine “Now and Then,” and check out the awesome photo’s of our Civil War letters!
You can check out our great collection on Flickr by clicking here.
*”Now and Then” is a free magazine that’s distributed at many business locations around Cambridge and Guernsey County. It’s printed by the Jeffersonians parent company, and they have copies. It’s also at SEORMC, most banks, Riesbeck’s, Circle K, Jamboree, various gas stations, and Cambridge News. Total there are over 100 locations in Guernsey and the surrounding counties. People snap up the free copies quickly, so it’s often hard to find by mid-month, so get yours quickly!
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. 😀
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.
Establishing Cambridge as a First Generation American Community
To start off, I think it’s an important side note for people to know before the founding and settling of this area by Americans; Indians occupied the region completely unharmed from the outside world (which I will get to eventually in another article) until 1669. Then the French Crown famously sent a man named Robert de La Salle from Canada to Louisiana, laying markers along all the rivers claiming everything as a part of Quebec. They claimed much more then he traveled, and thus the reason for us buying this later in the Louisiana Purchase. The British Crown fought for and won the Northwestern Territory after the French and Indian (7 years) War in 1764. Hunters, Soldiers marching through, and squatters, had been through what’s now Guernsey County following that and leading up to Zane’s Trace, but since there were no settlers, no border, and no name, we have almost no actual account of this occurring specifically by anyone, we only know from the evidence left behind by the travelers, found by the first settlers.
Northwest Ordinance and Zanes Trace
We are Americans not French, not British, so let’s move on to our good ole American story. When the War for Independence was over, one of the first objectives of the founding fathers was to “set those Indians straight” and expand west. This is something England refused to let them do as colonies because of the perceived cost of war and a fear of further upsetting Native Americans. So by the end of the war–Americans and immigrants alike–were itching to go out across the Appalachia Mountains into the Ohio Valley. In 1787 the “Northwest Ordinance” was the last action signed in New York by the old Continental Congress established under America’s first and rather ineffective constitution called the Articles of Confederation. This new ordinance let eager Americans go out into the frontier and start settling and platting towns. The Northwest Ordinance was signed into effect the same exact summer the Constitutional Convention was basically tearing up the Articles of Confederation and writing a new Constitution in Philadelphia. Actually some of the men whom signed the Ordinance thought it more important than the convention with which they were also delegated to attend. This new land decree was also a way–by issuing land grants–for the National Government to appease War Veterans whom were becoming increasingly upset with the fact that they were not paid what they were promised for risking their lives against the red coats.
The popular enactment opened up the land from the Ohio region to the Wisconsin. But… People found out pretty fast, crossing the mountains into the frontier was not as easy as they had thought up in their imagination. They simply could not get to that land quickly–unless by lakes or rivers–because no roads had been built, it was still all wilderness. Despite Native Americans still occupying the region, established trading sites alongside waterways become cities like Cleveland (est 1797) and Cincinnati (est 1798) overnight; all this happened almost as quickly as the ink was drying on the paper. Just prior to the signing of this long-awaited piece of paper, a man named Ebenezer Zane petitioned and was paid by the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, to blaze a trail from Wheeling, Virginia to Maysville, Kentucky. The agreement gave him a significant amount of land next to the three major rivers on this trail: the Muskingum, Hocking and Scioto. Not so ironically, he then paid the family members that helped him blaze the trail by setting up ferries and taverns for them to collect tolls and other profits. They did just that and in the process established towns. Zane gave the town over the Muskingum River to his son-in-law John McIntire, and thus McIntire appropriately named the new town “Zanesville,” after the man who made it all possible.
Settling and Founding of Cambridge, Ohio
Old Ebeneezer forgot about our little muddy Wills Creek in his agreement with Congress, so when John noticed a ferry was needed here, it is believed he quickly wrote to his relations summoning them to come and join in this great enterprise. When George and Henry Beymer came following McIntire’s advice, I am sure they were not happy to find a guy named Ezra Graham had beat them to the punch. Ezra was living in a cabin by Wills Creek and was already collecting tolls for helping people cross the creek. Knowing there was more to this venture than just a ferry, the Beymer brothers and Graham came to an agreement to run the ferry and build a new tavern to go with it. This was designed so that people could stop and grab a bite to eat, get warm, or get some rest, before they crossed the creek and continued further into the wilderness. Graham was to collect the profits from the ferry and the tavern was to be run by the brothers.
Ezra Graham is considered by history as a “squatter” i.e. someone that occupied the land without owning it. Ezra eventually left Cambridge and the rest of his life is lost to history. The Beymer family can be considered the area’s first settlers as they would go on to keep the tavern and run the ferry. In 1801, the land was granted to Revolutionary War Veteran Zacchues Beatty; whom then gave parts of the land to his father and brother-in-law, Zaccheus Beatty and Zaccheus Biggs. Zaccheus Beatty was assigned the job of surveyor in Wheeling and thus informed the Beymer’s that his father would be coming from Virginia to run the place from here on out, and with no legal title the Beymers had no choice but to give up the ferry and the tavern they had labored over to build. When John Beatty showed up as Zaccheus said he would, in his party was a former slave named “Tobey Beatty.” In 1806, John Beatty and his son-in-law Jacob Gomber (whom bought Biggs land) laid the plat, and named their little collection of growing cabins “Cambridge, Ohio.” It is true they were amid a national movement of expanding settlers going west. A huge influx of government surveyors, passerby’s and yet more settlers came to this region following the Ordinance. Including the epic journey of the Sarchet family in 1806, who are credited with giving us the name of Guernsey County. This large movement west is why so many different family names are attributed to being Cambridge and Guernsey Counties “first settlers.”
I should also note that Guernsey County was not established until 1810 and since Cambridge predates the county, there is a distinct difference between Cambridge’s first settlers and Guernsey County’s first settlers. As for who the first settlers were and who founded and platted the town of Cambridge, I have tried my best to give you both. Which you choose to admire more is your own preference. Later Zanes Trace, the trail that made it all happen, would be expanded on and a larger road built over it and it become known as the “National Road.” It is a big reason for the founding of more inland rural settlements like our own. Wills Creek, Zanes Trace and the National Road are our claims to a rich history that goes back to the generation of the founding fathers.
(William G.Wolfe, “Stories of Guernsey County” 1943. PG. 29-30)
(William Snider, “Guernsey County’s Black Pioneers, Patriots, and Persons” 1979. PG 1)
The Founding Fathers and the Movement West
I don’t believe many people identify Ohio as the frontier but at one time we were the wild west, with “crazed” Indians and pioneers battling each other for land. Our neighbors the Virginians (West Virginians didn’t exist, they were still just Virginians) and the Pennsylvanians were both original 13 colonies and thus a part of the fight against England for Independence. Unlike most small inland counties throughout the United States, we are the direct result of America’s first major effort to build a road into the frontier. Our history goes back further than other inland rural counties because of our connection to this road. When it was announced as a part of the Northwest Ordinance that the land won in the Revolution was finally going to be open to settlers, and then subsequently a road built to get to it; many pioneers came rushing over the Appalachia Mountains in a huge movement to get to that land. Guernsey County was a part of that land and the people that settled it were a part of that movement.
Zane’s Trace, didn’t just give us a ferry that needed settlers to work, it gave us a road that traveled directly back to Maryland where a person or a companies goods could then hop on a boat down the Potomac River to Washington D.C. or other large commercial cities. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both are documented talking about the beauty of the American frontier. Washington’s brothers were a part of the Ohio Company of Virginia, which attempted to colonize the region for the British Crown. Washington, as a British Officer, was told to go push the French out of Western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley. Washington was unsuccessful and a “more experienced” General Braddock was killed trying to clean up Washington’s mess. This event led to the French and Indian War before the Revolution. Ben Franklin was also a part of multiple efforts to settle our region under a revitalized version of the Ohio Company called the Grand Ohio Company. After this plan collapsed and after the Revolution, Franklin privately expressed that he felt shorted, and under-appreciated by the Congress for his work in France when he said they could have granted him and his family a tract of the Ohio for his years of service. These ideas of settlement would not be realized until after the Revolutionary War and after Washington and Franklin both passed away. However, Jefferson and Madison certainly picked up the cause and made it happen. I find it very interesting that Ben Franklin and George Washington, both made political pushes for the land we live and drive on everyday.
Cambridge land is thought to have been settled by Graham and the Beymers as early as the administration of John Adams (1796-1800). Cambridge was officially founded and established under the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson in 1806: the author of the Declaration of Independence. It is kind of fitting our paper is the “Daily Jeffersonian” then isn’t it? Guernsey County was founded in 1810 under James Madison: “the Father of the Constitution.” While Guernsey Counties founding fathers were settling the area we all have come to know (they were of the same generation as the nations founding fathers as they fought for them in the War for Independence.) Madison was presiding over another military conflict–considered by many as a part of the Revolution–against England called the War of 1812. In 1813, the American Navy captured 6 vessels of the British Royal Navy on Lake Erie. Pretty crazy to think the red coats were attempting to invade northern Ohio, just 3 years after the establishment of Guernsey County. What’s even more crazy? You can go to “Founders Grave Yard” across from the old county jail, and you will find “War of 1812” and “War for Independence” flags next to those that fought those red coats, and you can also look at a huge monument dedicated to all the veterans a part of the Revolution which span’s some 50 years from the early protests in the 1760’s against taxes, to the end of the war of 1812 which was actually fought in 1813. I can honestly say before I had sought out this information, I had no idea Cambridge had soldiers buried on her land that fought under the command of General George Washington. I just didn’t think the town was that old. But I was wrong, it is that old, and these men and women were extremely proud of the beautiful Ohio land they had settled, the same beautiful land you and I take for granted everyday.
This is the kind of stuff I love. I love thinking of Guernsey County without all the buildings, roads, and highways we have grew all up with, thinking of it as nothing more than a vast wilderness of trails, with Indians fishing in Wills creek and hunting wild bears and whatever other creatures they could find wondering the land. I love thinking of the huge movement of people crossing the Appalachia Mountains in Pennsylvania and West Virginia as if it’s a horse and carriage race to find the best land. I love thinking of those people turning old Indian trails into small dirt roads that connect little collections of cabins some miles away. How cool would it be to take a machine back in time, and ride in a wagon pulled by horses from the cabins in Old Washington to the taverns in Cambridge, and then off to Bye’s Mill (Byesville) to talk to Jonathan Bye. From there he would point us to some cabins and good people to feed us in Senecaville, where when we were done there, the people would send us off to Pleasant Point (Pleasant City). What an experience it would be to know our way around this vast wilderness from our modern day experience, telling the people where the buildings and the schools would be built in the future.
We are connected to the founders and first settlers of Guernsey County–people we can all be proud of–because we walk the same land and breath the same air they once did. They are connected to the famous events we read about in history books because to them these were current events. Ebenezer Zane once stepped foot on our land blazing his trail, Zane was veteran of the War of Independence and one can only imagine the famous people he may have encountered on his trips to petition congress. We are also connected to the famous people in history by their visits to our land. We are connected to the famous movements in history because the men and women that walked our land were a part of and experienced those movements. This what I am trying to do, find the stories that connect us to the people and events of the history books, and find the great stories that make our history unique. I encourage anyone that is interesting in doing the same to help us out. 🙂
If you’re interested in writing and having an article published email me at JS066513@ohio.edu or friend me on Facebook. (J.c. Shively) and send me a message