Previous to 1803, the
history of Scioto County belonged to that of the Northwest Territory
and to the counties of Washington and Adams. The Scioto River
was the dividing line between Washington and Adams counties. The
mouth of the Scioto was a favorite rendezvous for the Indians who
captured many boats passing down the Ohio, their occupants becoming
victims to their cruelty. The surface is generally hilly, and
the valley of Scioto rich and beautiful beyond dispute. The
Scioto River led to one of the principal settlements of the Indians,
in what is now Ross County, and they reached the Ohio by canoes down
The first white man who camped upon the soil of Scioto
County was undoubtedly George Croghan, an Indian agent.
Possibly some French trappers and traders may have been here before
that, for they were in the country fully twenty years previous to the
date of Croghan's arrival. George Croghan and four
companions, on their way to St. Vincent (Vincennes, Ind.), arrived at
the mouth of the Scioto, May 23, 1765, and remained encamped near its
mouth until May 28, 1765, some five days. They then left for
their destination. They expected to meet Indians to treat with.
On their way down the Ohio, below Cincinnati, on June 8, 1865,
Croghan and his little band were captured by hostile Indians, but
were taken to Port St. Vincent, then in possession of the French.
Croghan and his band were English. He stated his mission,
and after being kept awhile as prisoners, were released and allowed to
return. The Indian wars, after that of the Revolution caused the
country through all this section to become thoroughly explored, and
the beautiful valley of the Scioto once seen was not soon forgotten.
But the war of the Revolution was scarcely closed ere were found
adventurous spirits, who were determined to prospect and if possible
make their home in the valley, which brings us to the first settlement
on the soil of Scioto County.
While there was a French
trading post located on the soil of Scioto County as early as 1740,
and which was located something over a mile below the old mouth of the
Scioto River, the first attempt at permanent settlement was in 1785.
From the American Pioneer the following article was taken,
having been contributed by George Corwin, of Portsmouth.
"In April, 1785, four
families from the Redstone settlement in Pennsylvania descended the
Ohio to the month of the Scioto River, and there moored their boat
under the high bank just below where Portsmouth now stands. They
commenced clearing the ground to plant seeds for a crop to support
their families, hoping that the red men of the forest would suffer
them to remain and improve the soil.
"Soon after they landed, the four men, heads of the
families, started up the Scioto to see the paradise of the West, of
which they had heard from white men who had been captured by the
Indians, and traversed it while in captivity. Leaving their
little colony of four women and their children to the protection of an
over-ruling providence, they wandered over the beautiful bottoms of
the Scioto as far up as the prairies above, and opposite to where
Piketon by name, pleased with the country, cut the initials of his
name on the beech tree pear the river, and upon the margin of a little
stream that flowed into the Scioto. These letters afterward
being found, gave the name of 'Pee Pee' to the creek, and then to the
prairies through which the creek flowed. And from this also came
the name of Pee Pee Township in Pike township.
A SURPRISE PARTY.
"Encamping near the site of
Piketon they were surprised by the Indians, two of them killed as they
lay by the fire, while the other two managed to escape over the hills,
reaching the Ohio River at the mouth of the Little Scioto just as some
white men going down the river in a pirogue were passing. Their
petition for help was heard and answered at last by the boat coming to
the shore and taking them on board. Then passing down to their
claim they hastily loaded in their effects, amid the heartrending
lamentations of those who had lost their husbands. No time was
lost, as their safety depended upon instant flight, and getting their
movables, they put off to Limestone, now Maysville, as a place of
greater safety, and the owners of the pirogue there left them and
pursued their own way to Port Vincent, their destination.
Mr. Corwin gives as his authority for the above,
"One who came down in the pirogue."
A MISTAKE AND A PROBABILITY
WORTHY OF HISTORICAL RECORD.
COUNTY PIONEER LIFE.
WHAT THEY DRANK.
A SHORT BEAR STORY.
NAMES OF PIONEERS, 1796 TO 1806
The space at our disposal will not admit
with to give biographical sketches of all the pioneers of early days
as much as they are deserving and to us a pleasure in doing so, and
the reader must be contented to read over the names of many others who
left the imprint of their strong and rugged nature upon the future
destiny and material progress of Scioto County. This list is a
portion of the names of the old settlers who were residents of the
county within its first decade:
Andrews, A. A.
Burens, R. P. Geo.
Burt, Benjamin F.
Carroll, John B.
Carroll, John B., Sr.
Charpentier, Antoine Louis
Clingman, George W.
Crawford, Samuel L.
Gilkison, James & Jno. C.
Ginat, Jno. B.
Groninger, Leonard, b. 1804
Logan, John, Sr.
McDougal, Daniel, Jr.
McKinney, David, Jr.
Malone or Mahone, Sam'l
Martin, Turner M.
Maston, Chas. T.
Nelson, Jonathan R.
Noel, Jacob P.
Noel, John, Jr.
Noel, John, Sr.
Offnere, Jacob C.
Peck, Wm. H.
Pollock, John & Joseph
Richart, Anderson C.
Swenney, Thomas Wm.
Thorpe, Wm. D.
Turner, Jno. R.
Van Armond, Benjamin
Wedding, James H.
White, Thayer D.
Wilcoxson, Geo. W.
Wright, John, Sr.
THE SETTLEMENT OF THE
Among the first settlers of the upper part of Scioto County,
lying on the Ohio River, was a colony of French, numbering nearly a
hundred families and adult individuals without families, who
immigrated from France in 1790. On arriving in this country
and touching at Philadelphia and Baltimore, they came up the Potomac
River to Alexandria and there disembarked, crossed the mountains to
the Ohio River and settled at Gallipolis. Many of these
emigrants had bought land of the agents of the Scioto Company.
This company was a failure and a fraud, and falling to get the land
from the company, tried to purchase of the Ohio Company a portion of
the tract they had purchased from Congress. The Ohio Company
failing to pay for all their lands, sold to the Scioto Company such
amount of land as they could pay for, at the same rate and payment
they had purchased of Congress. The Ohio Company secured
1,500,000 acres of land, and the Scioto Company failed in paying for
any of the Ohio Company's purchase, and were considered a fraud, and
the poor French immigrants had paid their money and got no land.
The action taken by the Ohio Company will be found at the close of
the first chapter of this history, including a letter from Judge
Cutler. Mr. J. G. Garvais, a man of high character and
influence, and General Rufus Putnam took great interest in
the emigrant's favor. Stephen Duponsan, of
Philadelphia, was employed as an agent to secure from Congress,
which was then in session in Philadelphia, if possible, a grant of
land to the French settlers at Gallipolis.
In March, 1795, Congress granted to the French at
Gallipolis 24,000 acres of land, to be located and surveyed under
the instruction of General Rufus Putnam. Absalom Martin,
the surveyor, divided the tract into ninety-two lots, which were
numbered in order. A few men were still not supplied with
land, and, in 1798, Congress granted eight lots more of 150 acres
each, at the lower end of the former grant on the Ohio River.
J. G. Garvals was granted 4,000 acres out of the 24,000 which
was not numbered into lots. Mr. Garvais laid out a
portion of his tract, which included part of the Ohio River bottoms,
into town lots and outlots, after the plan of the rural villages,
and named his town Burrsburg, in honor of Aaron Burr, who was
then quite popular. As the French were poor, Garvais
proposed in a letter to Duponsan to give him a number of
tickets to draw lots in his town, or to give him 200 acres of land
fronting on the Ohio River. Duponsan chose the w00
acres which Garvais located on the upper corner of his tract,
being sixty-four rods fronting on the river and running back for
quantity; made a deed and acknowledged the same before Kimber
Barton, the fist Justice of the Peace in the French Grant, and
the deed was recorded in Book A, page 1. In 1832 Thayer D.
White purchased this 200 acres of Duponsan for $1,000
cash. The town of Burrsburg was a failure. Garvais
cleared a few acres, built a log house sixteen feet square, set out
some fruit trees, and kept bachelor's hall, having no family.
It was in this cabin that he entertained the celebrated traveler and
scholar, Volney, the Professor of History in the Normal
School of France, who visited this country in 1797, and who, on his
return to France, published an account of his visit to the Scioto
But few of the French ever settled on the "Grant,"
preferring to remain at Gallipolis. Some that came to the
"Grant" sold out and left, and one, a Mr. Fisho, who owned
the lot now known as Burk's Point, after making considerable
improvement, left and was never heard of afterward, and no one ever
came to claim the property. The names of those who became
permanent settlers on the "Grant" and are still represented by
descendants, were Vincent, Chabot, Cadot, Valodin, Duduit,
Bartvaux, Lacroix, Duthy, Faverty, Serot and Andre.
Considering their want of experience in clearing up the wilderness
the settlers made good progress, and in a few years had fine farms
and fruit orchards. The only thing that would bring money was
good peach and apple brandy, and distilling fruit was resorted to
and a good article was made by them. The French immigrants
suffered much from their want of experience and a fear of the
Indians, which was not without cause. Mr. Vincent, on a
hunting trip, saw a party of Indians, and, secreting himself, lay
out all night, freezing his hands and feet, it being a very cold
night, from which he suffered greatly. William Duduit
had been a coachman in Paris, was stout and active, and became very
expert in handling the canoe, and made several trips to Gallipolis,
and to Limestone, now Maysville, Ky., and always without adventure
with the Indians, as he kept constantly on the watch for his dusky
foe. He married a French woman after he came to Gallipolis, by
whom he had four sons and five daughters. They married, and
are represented by the names of Gillin, Waugh, Copper, Stuart,
and Phineas Oaks. The sons were William,
Frederick, John and Desso, who lives in New York.
They all have families. William Duduit's first wife
died and he married Zair Lacroix, by whom he had two sons and
four daughters. The sons were Edward, of the Madison
Furnace, and Andrew, who lives in Kentucky. They both
have families. One of the four daughters died unmarried; two
of the others married John and Isaac Peters; the other
married a Mr. Ridenour. The oldest survivors of the
French settlers here in the "Grant" were John Baptist Burtraux,
who died at ninety-four years of age, and Mrs. Vincenet, who
was the last survivor of the French colony here. She was very
nearly a hundred years old at her death.
About the year 1800 J. G. Garvais sold his 4,000
acre tract (except 200 acres he conveyed to Duponsan), to
Samuel Hunt, from New Hampshire, and returned to France.
Hunt went to work and made great improvements in clearing the
land of the heavy growth of timber, and built a two-story house of
hewed oak timber forty feet square, with a stone chimney in the
center nearly large enough for a furnace stack. There came
here with Hunt Joel Church, who married here and
settled on Gennett's Creek. When Greene Township was
organized he was made Township Clerk, and continued in that office
for more than twenty years. He died at his home on
Gennett's Creek about 1857. Of Church's sons,
Rowell, the oldest, is in Texas. The whereabouts of the
two other sons is not known. One daughter married Andrew
Haley, a Red River planter, and lives in Louisiana; Emeline
became second wife of E. H. Oaks, and the third married a
Mr. Hunt kept several men at work besides those
engaged in building his house, and undertook to drain the big pond,
which was mostly on his land. At that time, and many years
afterward, about one-third of the Ohio River bottoms was shallow
ponds and slushes which would dry out in August and September,
poisoning the atmosphere and causing ague and bilious fevers that
few unacclimated persons escaped from. Mr. Hunt died in
1806, a victim to the unhealthy condition of the country and his
brother in New Hampshire, who would not go to a place where a
brother had been so unfortunate, sold out the Ohio property, or
traded it for property in New Hampshire. Mr. Asa Boynton,
of Haverhill, N. H., after making a journey to Ohio and viewing the
property, became the purchaser in connection with Matthew White
and Lawson Drury, and they moved to Ohio with their
families in 1810. White had 850 acres of the Garvais
tract, which was taken of the lower side of the tract, and Drury
a strip sixty-four rods wide in front, next to the Duponsan
lot, on the upper side of the Garvais tract, and covering the
back end of the Duponsan lot; the rest belonged to Boynton,
and that part of it fronting on the river still belongs mostly to
his grandchildren. Boynton was industrious and
enterprising, and of the stock needed to develop a new country.
It was difficult at that early day to get money for produce, and
Boynton built a flat-boat and took a load to New Orleans; took
his return passage home on the steamboat Congress, and was
thirty-one days getting to Louisville.
Mr. Boynton had built in 1813 the best horse
mill then in the country, which enabled him to make good flour.
The only disadvantage was, the bolt had to be turned by hand.
If he ground for a customer and furnished the team, he took
one-fourth toll; if the customer furnished his team, he took
one-eighth toll. Boynton, in connection with his mill-wright,
Mr. Skinner, and Mr. Thurston built a water mill on
Storm's Creek, in the hills back of where Ironton now stands, where
sawing and grinding were done. Boynton sold E. H.
Oaks seven acres off his upper corner on the river, and next to
that an acre to Madam Naylor, a sister of Mrs. Serot,
who married Dr. Andrew Lacroix in Alexandria. Shortly
after the death of her husband Mrs. Naylor, then a young
woman, removed to Baltimore, and did not come to Ohio until 1823,
bringing with her a daughter, Sally, who married James S.
Fulsom. Mrs. Naylor kept the first dry-goods store in
Mr. Asa Boynton, one of the most prominent of
the early settlers, was born in Lynn, Mass., arch 4, 1760, and was
married to Mary Edmunds in 1782; settled in Haverhill, N. H.,
where he lived until he emigrated to Ohio. His family that
came with him besides his wife was four sons and five daughters.
In 1813 the oldest son, Joseph, married Betsey Wheeler,
daughter of Major Wheeler, settling where Wheelersburg now
is, and who emigrated from Bethlehem, N. H. Joseph died
in 1817. Charles Boynton, the second son, married
Rhoda Sumner, daughter of Captain Sumner, who emigrated
from Pacham, Vt., in 1812 or 1813. They were married March
1814. Charles Boynton died August, 1837.
Cynthia, the second daughter, was married to Benjamin Lock
in December, 1814. Lock was from Massachusetts, a
carpenter by trade, Lydia, eldest daughter, was married to
James B. Prescott November, 1815. Lydia Prescott
died February, 1825. The third daughter, Lucy, was
married to George Williams, a Pittsburger, who at fist
principally followed keel boating and flat-boating, and then steam
boating, in the capacity of Captain. He died in 1832 of
Cholera. William L. Boynton, the third son, was married
to Nancy Feurt Jan. 1, 1822. Polly Boynton was
married to Thomas H. Rogers Jan. 1, 1822. Rogers
followed boating in the capacity of steamboat Captain for many
years, and led a useful and industrious life. He served one
term as County Commissioner, and died July 11, 1870, leaving his
third wife with one daughter, and four sons and two daughters by his
first wife living.
Jane Ann Boynton married Thomas Whittier
December, 1822, who died soon after, and his widow afterward married
John Duthy, who was of the French stock. Asa
Boynton, Jr. married Julia Bartraux Dec. 25, 1828.
Both were good and industrious citizens, and accumulated a handsome
property. He died July 11, 1879, and his wife about two years
John Boynton, the youngest of Asa Boynton,
Sr.'s, children, was born in Ohio in 1811; was married to
Felicity Bartraux, and died Aug. 15, 1848, Felicity, his
wife, dying Feb. 7, 1852, leaving three sons, who served in the
Union army and are still living.
The family of Matthew White were but recently
from England when they came to the "Grant", and consisted of the two
old people and two sons, Matthew and Edward, young men
when they came. The old people died soon after they came.
Matthew married the Widow Rector, sister of Kimber
Barton, one of the earliest settlers. Two other sisters of
Mr. Barton married respectively Ellis Chandler and a
Matthew White had three children, twin daughters
and a son. Edward, who, like his Uncle Edward,
never married; he died young. One of the daughters married
Dr. James Vanbeber, who subsequently settled in Newport, Ky.;
the other married Franklin Carrol, a Frenchman, of
Gallipolis. The two girls, joint heirs, sold their land, which
was composed of all that part of the White tract that lay in the
Ohio River bottom, to Alexander Lacroix. Matthew
White attended the farm. Edward, although he never
learned a trade, was very ingenious, and generally employed in
pattern making at the furnaces. Both the brothers died at
about fifty, and were conspicuous for their intense loyalty to
Lawson Drury, the other purchaser of the
Garvais tract, had four sons and two daughters. The
eldest, Ann, married Alexander Beatty and died soon
after. Betsey became the second wife of Carter Haley,
settled in Kentucky, and is represented by a numerous family of sons
and daughters. Lawson married Ann Smith, and in
1831 sold his farm to E. H. Oaks, moved to Illinois and
settled in Morgan County. Charles, the second
son, went away with Dr. Bivins in 1819, and settled in
Missouri. George married Miss Cartney,
and he and the Cartney family moved to Indiana and settled.
Harvey, the youngest, married and settled in Burlington,
Lawrence County, Ohio, and was killed by lightning while sitting in
his porch a few years since. The elder Lawson Drury was
the first Post-master in French Grant; kept the first ferry
across the Ohio to Greenup; held the office of Associate Judge and
Justice of the Peace. He sold his part of the land to
Phineas Oaks, having previously sold the ferry property to
William Thomas, and went to his son Charles in Missouri,
as he had been living without any of his family for years. His
wife died soon after he came to Ohio.
At this distant day it is hard to say who were the
first settlers, other than the French. Commencing at the upper
line of the French Grant, Thomas Gilruth, Vincent Furgeson, John
Haley all settled here before 1800. Lower down in the
Grant the Feurts, four brothers by the name of Bakers,
several families by the name of Patton, a family of
Salladays and William Montgomery at the lower end of the
Grant. Montgomery was the most useful and enterprising
of that class of settlers. Almost unaided, except by his two
oldest sons, he built a dam across Pine Creek and erected a saw and
grist mill, which was the first mill on the creek. He
afterward built a much better mill for grinding grain at the other
end of the dam, on the upper side of the creek, all of which are
still standing. The next mill on the creek was built by one of
the Pattons, a few miles above Montgomery's which is
still kept. Afterward Charles Kelley built a mill on
the creek, near the upper back corner of the French Grant.
The Salladay family owned and made a good
improvement on the lower lot in the Grant, and sold the lower half
to Hezekiah Smith; the upper half belonged to
Matthew Curran, whose wife was a Salladay. In
the spring of 1815 he sold to Bethuel White and moved to the
interior of the State. The Salladay family were
afflicted with consumption, and had a family burying ground on a
ridge, at the lower line of the old farm. Samuel Salladay
had died during the fall of 1815 and was buried there. Two or
three months after they took up and Mat Wheeler cut him open
and took out his heart, liver and lungs; they were burned up in fire
prepared for the purpose, the family sitting round while they were
burning, hoping it would arrest the disease. Mrs. Curran
was not present, but she and her sister, Mrs. Bradshaw, died
within a year. George Salladay was the only one that
lived to a reasonable old age. The adventurous Samuel Hunt
was the cause of bringing a good many people here from New Hampshire
and the contiguous part of Vermont. From Vermont came the
Kimballs, Haleys, Campfield, Kellogg, Lamb, Pratt, and a quite
prominent person in Captain Sumnerb, with a married son,
Henry, a young son named Horatio and four daughters.
The oldest, Rhoda, married Charles Boynton;
Friendley married Robert Lucas, afterward Governor of
Ohio for four years; Maria married Dr. Reynolds; Margaret
married Mr. Whitmore, and Horatio married a
daughter of Robert Lucas by a former wife. Sumner
bought and settled on the two French lots Nos. 8 and 9, where
Joshua Oaks lives, and had built in 1814 and 1815 the large
frame house now occupied by the Oakses. He came
to the county in 1813.