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1869 BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX >
WALKER, son of Dr. Ezra Walker, was born in East
Pomeroy, Vermont, October 15th, 1800, and came to Ames township with
his father's family when ten years old. In 1825 he married
Lucy W., daughter of Judge Silvanus Ames, and in 1826 they
removed to the town of Athens, where they have since resided
continuously, and reared a family of two sons and four daughters.
Soon after coming to Athens, Mr. Walker, having formed a
partnership with his brother-in-law, James J. Fuller, engaged
for a few years in the cattle-driving and pork-packing business.
In 1839 they commenced the manufacture of salt at the old furnace,
opposite Chauncey, afterward owned by Judge Pruden, and soon
after they bored the wells and erected the furnaces now owned by M.
M. Green & Co., at Salina. For a period of twenty years the
firm name of Fuller & Walker was well and favorably known in
the valley. The partnership was dissolved in 1853. Since
that time, Mr. Walker has not engaged in active business on his
own account. During his long residence in the county, he has
always been one of the most prompt to embrace, and ardent in the
support of every useful local enterprise. At home and abroad, in
personal intercourse and through the press, he has ever been ready and
efficient in advocating the development of the county, and presenting
her claims. He was one of the original friends, and for several
years a director of the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad, and an early
and strenuous advocate for the construction of the Hockhocking Valley
railroad, which is now building under the energetic control of younger
men, and which he is likely to live to see finished.
Having been through his whole life scrupulously
faithful and exact in the discharge of every duty, public and private,
Mr. Walker is peacefully completing the last stage of a long
and worthy career in the very spot where he began it. If this
part has been acted on a comparatively narrow state, it has
nevertheless, been well acted - "there all the honor lies."
Happy in the respect of his neighbors and the affection of children
and grand-children, he possesses, in the words of Shakspeare:
"That which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends."
(known during his residence in the county as Judge Walker)
was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1774. His father,
John Walker, came of an old family in Leicestershire, England,
was a graduate of the university of Edinburgh, and a barrister at
law, removed to America in 1753, married in Boston, and settled in
Hartford, Connecticut. George received a good business
education, and engaged in mercantile business in Cooperstown, New
York. For several years he was highly successful, but, through
the dishonesty of a partner, he became deeply involved, and was
compelled to close business at a great sacrifice. Disheartened
by his losses, and soured by the meanness and dishonesty of his late
associates, he determined to seek his fortune in a newer country,
and came to Athens county in 1804. Here he purchased and
settled on a farm near the present town of Amesville, where he
remained all his life. The country was almost a wilderness,
and the farm uncultivated, nor had the owner any practical knowledge
of the work before him. Mrs. L. W. Ryors, to whom we
are indebted for the substance of this sketch, says: "I have heard
my mother say that, had it now been for the aid of the man who
accompanied them in their long journey as a driver of a wagon, they
would have suffered. His name was William Hassey, and
he continued to live with the family, a faithful friend and helper,
for nearly fifty years. In this wild pioneer life this man was
invaluable in every respect, assisting my mother in her new and
trying duties, and instructing my father in the art of felling trees
and removing brush - not greatly to the credit of his pupil, as the
family tradition testifies that he never learned to perform, with
skill, that first and necessary part of pioneer life.
Soon after his arrival in the township, Mr. Walker
was elected a justice of the peace, which position he held,
continuously, for about twenty-four years. He also acted as
county commissioner for sixteen years, and was elected by the
legislature, an associate judge of the court of common pleas, which
office he held for fourteen years. He was one of the founders
and principal supporters of the Western library association, of
which Mrs. Ryors recalls some reminiscences. She says:
"As long as I can remember this library was kept at my father's
house, and it was most highly prized by the whole family.
Books, now a necessity, were then, in that isolated place, a rare
luxury. The books were selected with good judgment, and
comprised a little of everything - poetry, history, romance, law,
medicine, and some scientific and religious works, Poems and novels
were the first attraction, I am sorry to say, for the female portion
of the family, but they were soon exhausted, and we were glad to
turn to more substantial reading. It was no uncommon thing to
find a child reading eagerly from the heavy volumes of Rollin or
Hume. It was not more than ten or eleven years old, when, in
the absence of any 'juvenile books,' I read, with delight, Milton's
'Paradise Lost' and the translation of Homer's 'Illiad.'"
An active supporter of schools and of every movement
calculated to promote the welfare of the community, Judge Walker
exercised during his whole life a large and healthful influence.
He died in 1856. His wife, who is still remembered by some of
her contemporaries as a most amiable christian lady, died in 1850,
aged seventy-one years.
Judge Walker had one son - George Walker,
Jun., who was, for many years, a successful business man in
Amesville. He is deceased. Of his seven daughters, the
eldest was married to Col. Charles Cutler; the second to
Edgar Jewett, of Athens; two of the others married physicians;
one a banker, and one a merchant. Another daughter, Mrs.
Ryors, relict of the Rev. Alfred Ryors, minister of the
Presbyterian church, is well known in Athens. Her accomplished
husband, for many years connected with the Ohio university, and
subsequently president of the Indiana state university, was one of
the choicest among the many rare and scholarly men, who, during its
history, have been associated with the university at Athens.
He died at Danville, Kentucky, May 8, 1858.
WALKER, the first resident physician of Ames township, was
born Dec. 9, 1776, at Killingly, Connecticut, in which state he
studied his profession, and practiced for some years. Removing
from Connecticut he settled in Poultney, Vermont, about the year
1800, and from thence migrated with his family to Marietta, in the
autumn of 1810. He remained on the Muskingum till the spring
of 1811, when he came with his family, consisting of wife and seven
children, into Ames township, and immediately resumed the practice
of medicine. He pursued a general practice for more than
twenty years, and, in a few families who would never excuse him, he
continued to practice for almost forty years, or till near the close
of his life. When he began to practice medicine in the county,
and for many years later, what with bad roads or no roads at all,
absence of bridges, sparse and scattered settlements, etc., his long
rides, frequently of fifteen or twenty miles, were always attended
with difficulties and sometimes with dangers. In one instance
he had to cross the country from where the present town of Plymouth,
Washington county, is situated, to another settlement at Barrows'
mill, in Rome township, which took him till far in the evening, when
he found himself followed by wolves. As their numbers
increased the animals were emboldened to contract their circle
around him till he was obliged to climb into a tree for safety; and
there he spent the night, keeping a sharp lookout for his horse
beneath, and trying to frighten away the wolves, by beating with a
club against the body of the tree in which he was perched.
When day dawned his hungry enemies gradually drew off, and the
doctor proceeded on his journey. When he reached the first
cabin, not very far distant, and situated just below the present
site of Big Run station, he found the wolves had taken this man's
premises in their retreat, and killed a calf near his house for
Doctor Walker taught school in Ames, for one or
two quarters in 1811-12, always holding himself ready, however, to
attend the sick. By means of his profession, and by farming
some, he gained for himself and family a comfortable subsistence,
living to see his children all creditably settled in life. He
died Jan. 9, 1852.
His eldest daughter was married to John Brown
(now General Brown), in 1811, and his second daughter to the
late James J. Fuller, of Athens, in 1815. Mrs. Brown
died in 1853, and Mrs. Fuller in 1864. His sons,
William R. Walker, Archibald B. Walker, Ezra Walker, and
Ralph M. Walker, were natives of East Poultney, Vermont, but
were reared from boyhood in Athens county. William R.,
though a man of fine native talent and much refinement of character,
was oppressed by self-distrust and timidity. He lived for a
short time, during the early portion of his adult life, in
Lancaster, Ohio, where he was highly respected for his integrity,
business talent, and literary culture. Among those whose
friendship he acquired at that time and always retained, was Mr.
Hocking H. Hunter, who recently stated to the writer that, he
"had never in his life, seen any person who recited and acted the
part of Hamlet so perfectly, in his opinion, as Wm. R. Walker."
At that time fine business prospects were opened to him, and for
awhile he revolved "enterprises of great pith and moment." But
melancholy overcame him. He abandoned active business and the
wide fields of usefulness that were opening before him, returned to
the paternal farm, and there were opening before him, returned to
the paternal farm, and there passed the rest of his life, remote
from the society which he was so well calculated to adorn. An
amiable christian gentleman, he lived and died respected by the
whole community. His death took place in 1855.
Ezra Walker, another son of Dr.,
graduated at the Ohio university in 1829, studied law with Judge
Summers at Charleston, West Virginia, and settled in that place.
He published the Kanawha Republican for several years, and
afterward was superintendent of the "James River and Kanawha
Improvement" more than twenty years, and until his death in March,
1853. He was widely known and universally respected.
Ralph M. Walker, the youngest
brother, graduated at the Western Reserve college. The greater
part of his life has been passed as a teacher in Otterbein college,
Franklin county, Ohio, and in the Grand River institute in Ashtabula
county. He now lives in Missouri.
WATKINS, SEN., came from Athens Township in 1803, and settled
in the lower part of Trimble, and soon after Eliphalet Wheeler
settled near him. Mr. Watkins was a blacksmith,
but, like most of the early settlers, occasionally engaged in
hunting. He shot a buffalo soon after settling in Trimble, and
broke its fore leg. He pursued the animal, thus crippled, from
Green's run in Trimble township, across Wolf plains, and over the
Hockhocking some distance, but failed to capture it.
WEETHEE was born in New Hampshire in 1779. He was a
cooper by trade, and saved money enough, during his youth, to buy a
tract of land in what is now Dover township. At the age of
nineteen he set out for the northwestern territory, made the tedious
journey on foot and alone, and reached Marietta about the middle of
December, 1798. The next spring he and another young man,
Josiah True, came out to Dover, traveling through the woods by
the aid of a compass. Arrived here they built a log cabin for
their joint occupancy (they were both unmarried), and lived together
about three years. MR. True managed, by hard work and
by selling skins, furs, etc., to secure means enough to purchase a
piece of land, and bought part of the farm now owned by his son,
Austin True, where he lived during the rest of his life.
Thus they lived for about three years in this truly pioneer fashion,
with no companions but the forest trees, and no neighbors but the
wild game of all sorts which abounded near their cabin.
In 1802 Mr. Weethee married Lucy Wilkins,
daughter of John Wilkins, one of the early settlers of
Athens township, and the next year Mr. True married Almira,
a daughter of Solomon Tuttle, then living on the creek a few
miles above, in what is now Trimble township.
In 1804 ABRAHAM PUGSLEY came in
with his family, and settled on the section south of Mr. Weethee
and Mr. True. Mr. Pugsley came in with his family, and
settled on the section south of Mr. Weethee and Mr. True.
Mr. Pugsley, who was a good citizen and excellent man, reared a
large and respectable family here. He was drowned during the winter
of the "cold plague" in 1814, while crossing the creek on the ice to
visit the sick family. His oldest son, John, died
several years since. His oldest son, John, died
several years since. The youngest son, James is living,
though very old.
One of the daughters of Abraham Pugsley had a
singular adventure in early life. She was married, when only
thirteen years of age, to a man named Neal. Her husband
enlisted in the army in 1812, and, after he had left home with his
company, on a keel boat, from the mouth of the Hockhocking (where
they then lived, for Newport, Kentucky, the rendezvous, his wife
determined to follow him and share his fortunes, whatever they might
be. She started down the river alone in a canoe, and passed
the first night in the little craft on the water; but the next day
overtook her husband, and proceeded with him to St. Louis.
Thence his company was ordered to some point further west.
While going up the river the boat was landed for some purpose, when
Indians fired from an ambush and killed her husband and the infant
in her arms, wounding her at the same time. The company, with
Mrs. Neal, returned to St. Louis, from whence she rode on a
pony all the way back to her father's in Dover township. In
1817 she was again married to Mr. John Fulton, and died in
In 1800 the SWEAT FAMILY came to
Dover, and settled near the present site of Millfield. In 1802
John Sweat built a rude mill there for grinding corn, which
was greatly prized by the settlement. Even persons from Athens
made use of this mill till the Gregory mill was built, about
four years later.
In 1802 AZEL
JOHNSON, with his family, settled in Dover, on the creek and
joining the Weethee farm. Many of his descendants are
still living in the township. Azel and Benjamin
Johnson are sons of his.
The NYE FAMILY, consisting of Ebenezer, the
father (a native of Tolland, Connecticut, who came to the territory
in 1790), and four sons, viz: George, Neal, Nathan, and
Theodorus, came from Marietta in 1814, and settled in Dover
about a mile north of Chauncey. The eldest son died in 1825,
leaving a widow, Mrs. Lydia Nye, now living at an advanced
age with her son, George Nye, on the place first occupied by
his father. The other brothers removed to Meigs county, where
their descendants are numerous and respectable.
In 1820 the Nyes and some others formed a
company to bore a salt well, on the place where Jeremiah Morris
now lies, but, after boring to a considerable depth, abandoned the
undertaking. Ten or twelve years later it was resumed by
John Pugsley, who, after boring a little deeper, struck a vein
of good salt water. This was the first successful salt well
bored in the Hockhocking valley. About this time (1820) came
the Cass, the Chadwell, the Nesmith, and the
Pratt families, who have lived in Dover nearly fifty years, and
are all excellent people.
Three sons of Daniel Weethee, the pioneer, are
now living. Daniel W. Weethee lives on a fine in
Trimble township; Lorentius Weethee owns and occupies the old
homestead in Dover; and Jonathan P. Weethee, who
graduated at the Ohio university in 1832, and has been actively
engaged during his life in the ministry and in teaching in this and
other states, is now the president of Weethee college
at Mt. Auburn, in Dover.
|JOHN WELCH, born in 1805, in Harrison county, Ohio,
came to Athens county about 1828, and settled in Rome township. Here he
and his brother Thomas Welch bought the "Beebe mill," at that time owned
by their father, and for some years he pursued the milling business. While
performing his duties as miller, Mr. Welch studied law with
Professor Joseph Dana of Athens, going some fourteen miles to recite once in a week
or two. Having finished his studies and prepared to change his vocation,
he removed to Athens, where he was admitted to the bar in 1833 by the
supreme court of Ohio, sitting in Athens county. In this field his success
was assured from the start. His eminent abilities, indefatigable industry
and devotion to his profession soon placed him at the head of the Athens
bar, and finally among the ablest lawyers of the state. He was prosecuting
attorney of Athens county for several years; a member of the state senate
in 1846-7; a representative in congress in 1851-2; and judge of the common
pleas court from 1862 to 1865. February 23d, 1865, he was appointed by the
governor, judge of the supreme court of Ohio, in place of Rufus P.
resigned, and in October, 1865, was elected for Judge, Ranney's unexpired
term. In October, 1867, he was elected for the fall term, and occupies the
position at the present time. Judge Welch's career, which has been
attended with honorable and solid success, is a sufficient eulogy upon his
character as a man and citizen, and his ability as a lawyer.
removed from the northern part of the state and settled in Rome
township in 1826. He remained here several years, living part
of the time at the mills and part of the time on the "Case farm,"
which he bought and cultivated. About 1828 he sold the mills
to his two sons, Thomas and John Welch, the latter of whom is
further noticed in connection with Athens township.
WELLS was born in New Hampshire in the year 1800. He
married the only daughter of Mr. Martin, and moved to
Carthage with his father-in-aw in 1836, where he has since lived a
WICKHAM, son of Joseph Wickham, was born in Vermont,
July 1, 1784, and came to Athens county with his father's family in
1805, settling first in Rome township. Later he removed to
Bern township where he died Mar. 19, 1863. He served as a
volunteer in the war of 1812, and was marching to join Hull's
army (his command being yet two days' march distant), when that
Warren W. Wickham, son of John, lives on
the farm of his late father at the mouth of Marietta run in Bern
township - has been a justice of the peace and township trustee.
WICKHAM settled in Rome in 1805. He was a native of
England, and serving on an English vessel when the revolutionary war
broke out. He deserted, joined the American army, and served
till the close of hostilities. After the war he lived for a
time in Vermont. Having married there he set out, in the
winter of 1804 for the new state of Ohio, but the roads getting very
bad he disposed of his horses and wagon, bought a yoke of cattle and
a sled, and came on to "Olean point." Here he procured
a white nine raft, and floated down to the mouth of Hockhocking, and
thence came up that river to Rome township, where he lived till his
death, May 3, 1833, aged seventy-four years. One of his
grandsons, Killian V. Whaley was a member of the 38th and
39th congress from West Virginia. Another of them, William
Reed, is known as one of the enterprising business men of the
|THOMAS F. WILDES was born at Racine, in the
dominion of Canada, June 1, 1834, came to Ohio with his father's family in
1839, and to Athens in 1861 as the editor of the Athens Messenger. Mr.
Wildes was an ardent republican, and in August, 1862, exchanging the pen
for the sword, he entered the military service as lieutenant colonel of
the 116th Ohio infantry. He was in active service with this regiment
during the next two and a half years, in the army of West Virginia, part
of the time commanding a brigade. In February, 1865, he was promoted to
the colonelcy of the 186th Ohio volunteer infantry, and assigned to duty
in the Army of the Cumberland. March11th, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier
general and commanded a brigade in the army last named till he was
mustered out in September, 1865. He graduated at the law school in
Cincinnati in 1866, and has since practiced his profession at Athens.
WILKINS, one of the earliest inhabitants of Athens, was a man
of very considerable learning, and for some time taught a pioneer
school. Of his son, Timothy Wilkins, the following
reminiscence is furnished by Dr. C. F. Perkins; it is hardly
less strange than the history immortalized by Tennyson in "Enoch
Mr. Wilkins was a skillful and enterprising in
business, but, through no fault of his own, became embarrassed, was
hard pressed by creditors, and pursued by writs. In those days,
when a man could be imprisoned for a debt of ten dollars, to fail in
business was an awful thing. Wilkins was not dishonest,
but had a heart to pay if he could. He battled bravely with his
misfortunes for a considerable period, but with poor success.
One day in th year 1829, full of despair, he came from his home west
of town, across the Hockhocking, and having trasacted some business
with the county clerk, went out, and was supposed to have returned
home. The next morning it became known that he was not at his
house. Inquiry and search being made, the boat in which he
usually crossed the river was seen floating bottom upward, and his hat
was also found swimming down the stream. Mr. Wilkins was
a popular man in the community; news of his loss soon spread, the
people gathered from every quarter and measures were taken to recover
the body. The river was dragged, a cannon was fired over the
water, and other means resorted to, but to no purpose; the body was
not found. The excellent Mrs. Wilkins put on mourning,
and friends remembered the departed for a time with affectionate
regret. As time sped, the sad incident was forgotten, and
Timothy Wilkins passed out of mind. His wife, faithful
for a time to his memory, had for years been the wedded partner of
another, and a little family was growing up around the remarried woman
and her second husband, Mr. Goodrich, himself a well known and
In 1834, a vague rumor - an undefined whisper from the
distant southwest - circulated through the settlement that Mr.
Wilkins yet survived. Soon more positive assertions were
made, and finally it was said that the missing man was alive and on
his way home. At last a neighbor received a letter from
Wilkins, announcing his approach; fearing to shock his wife by a
sudden appearance, he had himself originated the rumors of safety, and
now announced that he would soon be in Athens. He knew of his
wife's second marriage, and in friendly spirit proposed to meet her
and Mr. Goodrich. Much excitement and distress ensued.
Mr. Wilkins arrived; there was a cordial meeting and strange
interview among the parties most concerned. The conference was
friendly and satisfactory, Messrs. Wilkins and
Goodrich honestly left to the wife of their rivalship and final
choice of her companion, and she selected her first love, to the great
grief, but with the full acquiescence of her second. The
reunited pair bade adieu to their friends, and together set out for
the distant south.
Mr. Wilkins' disappearance was a ruse
to escape his creditors. He went to New Orleans, engaged
successfully in boating, accumulated money enough to pay off all his
debts, which he honorably did, and returned to claim his beloved.
known during his residence in Athens county as "Deacon Wyatt,"
was a native of Beverly, Massachusetts, whence he came out as far
west as Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1790, and from thence to
Marietta, in 1799. He settled with his family in Ames township
in 1801, having the year before opened a few acres of land, and got
a house under way, which was finished after the family moved in.
His family and goods came up the Hockhocking, in a boat, to Warren's
station, in Canaan township, whence they were taken in teams across
to his place in Ames. His effects made seventeen wagon loads,
and were mostly hauled by Peter Mansfield, through the woods,
without as yet any road. From the date of his settlement in
the township till his death in 1822, he was a leading citizen.
He was a man of distinguished piety, and his life, both in public
and in private, was singularly devout. Upon the organization
of the first Presbyterian church in Athens he was chosen one of the
elders, and, with Deacon Ackley and Judge Alvan Bingham,
continued to act as such for several years. Soon after
settling in Ames, as early as 1805, he appointed and himself
conducted religious reading and prayer meetings at the school house.
These meetings were kept up as long as he lived. His eldest
daughter, Betsy Wyatt, married William Parker, May 13,
1802. This was the first wedding in Ames township, and
supposed to be the second marriage in the county.