History of the Train Stations and Railroads

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

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

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt circa 1902

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

 

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Teddy Roosevelt 1912 Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Sarchet says in his book:

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

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

Guernsey Times excerpt (2016_03_02 21_24_35 UTC)

Tom Severans

B&O Car Credit Daniell Adair

Photo Credit: Daniel Adair

B&O caboose at Union Station Tom Severns

Photo Credit: Tom Severns

The Cleveland and Marietta Railroad/Pennsylvania Railroad

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

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

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

1875

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

C&M Shops

Cleveland & Marietta Shops

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Trains being serviced at C&M Shops

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C&M Group Picture

Pennsylvania Railroad

Pennsylvania Railroad

The Economic Significance of the Railroads

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

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Byesville Main Street

The Train Station

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

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

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

Blood Bucketbloodbloody bucket SeveransThe Bloody bucket Depot Hotel Bill Quarles

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

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The Union Train Station

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Train Station Jim Fite

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Epic Sarchet Family Voyage!

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


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


 

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

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

 


The Epic Sarchet Family Voyage!

Living on Guernsey Island

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

Guernsey

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

Guernsey Farmhouse

Guernsey Isle Farmhouse

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


Let’s imagine for a moment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Journey Begins!Begninning

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

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

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Eliza is stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

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

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The men wrestle control of the ship from the captain


I imagine it going down something like this:

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

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

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

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

Click the photo to zoom in better

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


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

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After two months of sea travel the reach America


Reaching the United States of America!

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

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Norfolk to Baltimore

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

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

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

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

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

Lol Pass

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

Lewis logs in his journal

Meriwether Lewis Monday June 16th 1806

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

Clark logs in his journal

William Clark Monday June 16th 1806

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


Flashback to 1755

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

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


Over the Mountains and Through the Woods!

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Old Braddock Road

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

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

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

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

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


Finally Ohio! 

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Zanes Trace

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

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

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

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

Camping in Cambridge!

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

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The Sarchet Land Voyage

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

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

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

Here’s more from the C.P.B.’s book.

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

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

We Are Not Going One Step Further!

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

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

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

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

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


Becoming Citizens of Guernsey County

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

Cambridge Cabin Locations

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

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

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


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

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The Betty Pallet Story

The Betty Pallet Story

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

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1800’s Sweat Box

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

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

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


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

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

Beatty holds the paper up to his face and states,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SssssssssNAP!

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

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

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

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A Public Whipping of a Woman

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

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

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

Frontier Log Cabin 1802

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


For Reference. Provided by www.guernseysheriff.com

For Reference. Provided by http://www.guernseysheriff.com

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.

A Movement West: The Settling and Founding of Cambridge, Ohio

Establishing Cambridge as a First Generation American Community 


A Monument in the Founders Grave Yard to the Veterans of the American Revolution

A Monument in the Founders Grave Yard to the Veterans of the American Revolution

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)

(http://www.guernseycounty.org/cms/?q=history)

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.

Imacon Color Scanner

Battle Erie from the War of 1812

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.

The grave of Jacob Gomber, co-founder of Cambridge, Ohio and veteran of the War of 1812

The grave of Jacob Gomber, co-founder of Cambridge, Ohio and veteran of the War of 1812

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