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History of Belpre, Washington Co., Ohio
By C. E. Dickinson, D. D.
Formerly Pastor of Congregational Church
Author of the History of First Congregational Church
Marietta, Ohio
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia


Indian War 1791 - 1795
Page 18
Beginning of the War - Farmers Castle built and occupied - A list of Families and Persons in Farmers Castle.


     THE suffering and distress attendant on a famine had no sooner disappeared, than they were assailed by a new calamity.  The County Court of quarter sessions met at Marietta on the first Monday in January 1791.  A considerable number of the most active men were called there to attend as jurors, witnesses etc.  As it was a laborious task to get there by water in canoes, many of them went up on Saturday and Sunday preceding.
     The Court had barely opened on Monday, when word was brought of the sacking and slaughter of Big Bottom.  It was immediately adjourned, and the men returned to their homes full of anxiety for the fate of their own families.  Notice had been sent to the settlers at Belpre from Wolf Creek mills at the same time it was sent to Marietta.  The women and children suffered much from fear, expecting every hour that the Indians would attack them.  The inhabitants were scattered along on the river bank, living in their log cabins, without any preparation for defense, not expecting an Indian war, as a treaty had been made only two years before.  Captain Jonathan Stone, at the upper settlement had built a small block house for his dwelling, and into this the women and children were gathered on Monday night.  On Tuesday there was a general gathering of all the heads of families, to consult on what was best to be done.


     They decided that all, about thirty families, should be collected at the middle settlement where Col. Cushing and Col. Battelle had already built two large log houses, and erect a spacious, strong, and well arranged garrison, sufficient for the accommodation of all the inhabitants.  The spot selected was on the bank of the river, about half a mile below the bluff, and nearly against the center of Back-

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us Island.  A swamp about six rods back from the  Ohio protected the rear, while the river protected the front.  The upper and lower ends opened into a smooth level bottom, suitable for a road by which to enter or depart fro the garrison.  The work was commenced the first week in January, and prosecuted with the utmost energy.  As fast as the block houses were built the families moved into them.  These were thirteen in number arranged in two rows with a wide street between.  The basement story was in general twenty feet square, and the upper about twenty-two feet, thus projecting over the lower one and forming a defense from which to protect the doors and windows below, in an attack.  They were built of round logs a foot in diameter, and the intersitives nicely chinked and pointed with mortar.  The doors and window shutters were made of thick oak planks, or puncheon, and secured with stout bars of wood on the inside. *** *The pickets were made of quartered oak timber growing on the plain back of the garrison, formed from trees about a foot in diameter, fourteen feet long, and set four feet in the ground leaving them ten feet high, over which no enemy could mount without a ladder.  The smooth side was set out- ward; and the palisades strengthened and kept in their places by stout ribbons, or wall pieces, pinned to them with inch tree nails, on the inside.  The spaces between the houses were filled up with pickets, and occupied three or four times the width of the houses, forming a continuous wall, or inclosure about eighty rods in length and six rods wide.  The palisades on the river side filled the whole space and projected over the edge of the bank, leaning on rails and posts set to support them.  They were sloped in this manner for the admission of air during the heat of summer.  Gates of stout timbers were placed in the East and West ends of the garrison, opening in the middle, ten feet wide, for the ingress and egress of teams, and to take in the cattle in case of an attack. A still wider gate opened near the center of the back wall for hauling in wood, and all were secured with strong heavy bars.  Two or three smaller ones, called water gates, were placed on the river side, as all their water was procured from the Ohio.  When signs of Indians were discovered by the spies, the domestic animals were driven within the gates at night. At sunset all the avenues were closed.  Every house was filled with

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families and as new settlers arrived occasionally during the war some houses contained several families.
     The corner block houses on the back side of the garrison were provided with watch towers running up eight feet above the roof, where a sentry was constantly kept.  When the whole was completed, the inmates of the station called it “Farmers Castle” a name very appropriate, as it was built and occupied by farmers.  The directors of the Ohio Company, with their characteristic beneficience, paid the expense of erecting three of the block houses, and the money was distributed among the laborers.  The view of the Castle from the Ohio river was very picturesque and imposing; looking like a small fortified city amidst the surrounding wilderness.  During the war there were about seventy able bodied men mustered on the roll for military duty, and the police within assumed that of a regularly besieged fort, as in fact it was a great portion of the time, the Indians watching in small parties, more or less constantly, for a chance to kill or capture the inhabitants when they least expected it.  At sunrise the roll was called by the orderly sergeant, and if any man had overslept in the morning, or neglected to answer to his name, the penalty was fixed as the cutting out the stump of a tree level with the ground, stumps being thickly scattered over the surface within the Castle.  This penalty was so rigidly exacted that but few stumps remained at the close of the war.  A regular commander was appointed with suitable subalterns.
     Maj. Nathan Goodale was the first Captain, and held that office until he removed into his own garrison in 1793, when Colonel Cushing took the command.  The flagstaff stood a few yards west of the back gate near the house of Colonel Cushing on which floated the stars and stripes.  Near the staff was a large howitzer, or swivel gun, mounted on a platform incased in wood, hooped with iron bands and painted to resemble a six pounder. It was so adjusted as to revolve on a socket, and thus point to any part of the works.  During the Spring and Summer months, when there was any probability of Indians, it was fired regularly morning and evening.  It could be distinctly heard for several miles around, especially up and down the river; the banks and hills, re-echoing the report.  This practice no

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doubt kept the Indians in awe, and warned them not to approach a post whose inmates were habitually watchful, and so well prepared to defend themselves.  Around this spot it was customary for loungers and news mongers to assemble, to discuss the concerns of the Castle and tell the news of the day.  It was also the rallying point in case of an assault and the spot where the muster roll was called morning and evening.  The spies and rangers here made reports of their discoveries to the Commandant; in short it was “place d’armes” of Farmers Castle.
     In the upper room of every house was kept a large cask or hogshead constantly filled with water to be used in case of fire. It was a part of the duty of the Officer of the day to inspect every house, and see that the cask was well filled.  Another duty was to prevent any stack of grain or fodder being placed so near the Castle as to endanger the safety of the buildings should the Indians set them on fire or to shelter them in case of an assault.
     They also inspected the gates, pickets, and houses, to see that all were in repair and well secured at night.  They received dispatches from abroad, or sent out expresses to the other stations. Their authority was absolute and the government strictly military.  The greatest and principal danger to the settlers arose from their exposure to attacks when engaged during the Spring and Summer months in working in their fields.  The clearings of some of the inhabitants lay at the distance of three miles, while others were within rifle shot of the garrison.  Those could only be visited in companies of fifteen or twenty men.  Their exposure was not confined to their actual engagement in their fields, but chiefly in going to and returning from their labors.  While at their work, sentries were constantly placed in the edge of the adjoining forest; and flanking parties examined the ground when marching through the wood between the upper and lower settlements.  It was a great labor to transport their crops for so long a distance after they were harvested, although it was chiefly done by water.  For these reasons, in the second year of the war, it was decided as best for them to divide into smaller communities.  Accordingly, a strong stockade garrison was built three miles above called “Stones Garrison,” and one below called “Goodales Garrison.”  To these several fami-

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lies, whose lands adjoined, removed and continued to occupy them until the close of the war.  Fresh emigrants however continually arrived so that Farmers Castle remained crowded. 

     A list of families in Farmers Castle at Belpre in 1792.
No. 1 - Colonel Ebenezer Battelle, wife, and four children: Cornelius, Ebenezer, Thomas and Louisa
     No. 2 - Captain William James, wife, and ten children: Susan, Anna, Esther, Hannah, Abigal and Polly; William John, Thomas and Simeon.  Also Isaac Barker, wife, and eight children: Michael, Isaac, Joseph, William and Timothy; Anna, Rhoda, and Nancy.  Also Daniel Cogswell, wife and five children: John, Abigal, Peleg, Job and Daniel.
     No. 3 - Captain Jonathan Stone wife and three children: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel, and Rufus Putnam.
     No. 4 - Colonel Nathaniel Cushing, wife, and six children: Nathaniel, Henry, Varnum, Thomas, Sally and Elizabeth.  Also Captain Jonathan Devoll, wife, and six children: Henry, Charles, Barker, Francis, Sally and Nancy, with a nephew, Christopher Devoll.
     No. 5 - Isaac Pierce, wife, and three children: Samuel, Joseph and Phebe.  Also Nathaniel Little, wife, and one child.  Also Joseph Barker, wife and one Child, Joseph, born in Belpre.
     No. 6 - Maj. Nathan Goodale, wife, and seven children: Betsey, Cynthia, Sally, Susan, Henrietta, Timothy, and Lincoln.
     No. 7 - In the South west corner of the garrison, A. W. Putnam, wife, and one child, William Pitt born in the garrison.  Also D. Loring, wife, and seven children: Israel, Rice and Jesse; Lulba, Bathsheba, Charlotte and PollyMajor Oliver Rice lived in the family of Mr. Loring.  Also Captain Benjamin Miles, wife, and five children: Benjamin, Buckmaster and Hubbard, (twins), William, Tappan and Polly.
     No. 8 - Griffin Green, Esq., wife, and four children, Richard, Philip, Griffn and Susan.
     No. 9 - John Rouse, wife, and eight children: Michael, Bathsheba, Cynthia, Betsy, Ruth, Stephen, Robert and Bar

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-ker, twins.  Also Maj. Robert Bradford wife and three or four children.  Several of these children died of scarlet fever, others were born after the war.
     No. 10 - Captain John Leavens, wife, and six children: Joseph, and John, Nancy, Fanny, Esther and Matilda.  Also Captain William Dana, wife, and eight children: Luther, William, (young men) Edmond, Stephen, John, Charles and Augustus; Betsy Mary and Fanny.
     Between 10 and 11 there was a long low building, called the barracks in which a small detachment of United States troops were quartered.
     No. 11 - Mrs. Dunham widow of Daniel Dunham, who died in 1791, one son and two daughters.  Also Captain Israel Stone, wife, and ten children: Sardine, a young man, Israel, Jasper, Augustus, B. Franklin, and Columbus; Betsy, Matilda, Lydia and Harriet, born in the Castle.
     No. 12 - Benjamin Patterson, wife, and six children: three of the rangers, or spies who were single men, boarded with him, viz: John Shepherd, George Kerr, and Matthew Kerr. Patterson served as a spy three years for the settlement at Belpre and then moved down the river.  Also Benoni Hurlburt, wife, and four children.
     No. 13 - Colonel Alexander Oliver, wife, and eleven children: Launcelot, a young man, Alexander, John and David, Lucretia, Betsy, Sally, Mehala, Electa, Mary.  Also Colonel Daniel Bent, wife and four children: Nathan, Daniel, Dorcas, and daughter who married Joel Oaks.  Also Silas Bent, Esq., oldest son of the Colonel, wife and two or three children.
     Several other families lived in Farmers Castle for a short time and then proceeded down the river but the above list contains nearly all the permanent and substantial heads of families who settled in Belpre in 1789 and 1790.
     Joshua Fleehart, wife, and four children, lived in a small cabin east of block house No. 3.  He was a noted hunter and supplied the garrison with fresh meat.  Soon after the war closed he removed nearer to the frontier where he could follow trapping and hunting to better advantage.  One of his hunting adventures will be related later.

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     Unmarried men in Farmers Castle: Jonathan Waldo, Daniel Mayo, Jonathan Baldwin, Cornelius Delano, Joel Oaks, James Caldwell, Wanton Casey, Stephen Guthrie, Truman Guthrie, Captain Ingersol, Ezra Phillips, Stephen Smith, Howell Bull, Samuel Cushing, William and John Smith, Jonas Davis, Dr. Samuel Barnes.
     Within the walls of Farmers Castle there were assembled about two hundred and twenty souls, twenty-eight of these were heads of families.  A number of those enumerated as children were males above sixteen years and enrolled for military duty.  Others were young women from sixteen to twenty years of age.
     Among the inmates of the garrison the name of Christopher Putnam or Kitt as he was familiarly called, must not be forgotten.  He was a colored boy of sixteen or eighteen years of age, who had been the personal or body servant of General Israel Putnam, during the latter years of his life, and after his death lived with his son Col. Israel PUtnam.  In the fall of 1789, Colonel Putnam came out to Marietta with his son Aaron Waldo, and brought Kitt with him.  In the Autumn of 1790 the Colonel returned to Connecticut for his family.  That winter the war broke out and he did not move them until 1795.  Kitt remained at Belpre with Mr. Putnam in the garrison and was a great favorite with the boys.  He was their chosen leader in all their athletic sports, for his wonderful activity, and much beloved for his kind and cheerful disposition.  When abroad in the fields cultivating or planting their crops, he was one of their best hands, either for work or to stand as a sentry.  On these occasions he sometimes took his station in the lower branches of a tree where he could have a wider range of vision and give early notice of the approach of danger.  Under the watchful vigilance of Kitt,  all felt safe at their work.  After he was twenty-one years of age and became a free man he lived the Captain Devoll, on the Muskingum and assisting in tending the floating mill and clearing the land on the farm.  At the election for delegates, under the territory, to form a constitution for Ohio, Kitt was a voter and was probably the first and only black who ever exercised the elective franchise in Washington County as after the adoption of that article all colored men were dis

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franchised.  (Later they were allowed the franchise.)  He died about the year 1802 much lamented for his many personal good qualities and industrious habits.





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