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
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Extracts from Lives of Early Settlers -
Captain Jonathan Devoll -
Griffin Greene - Captain William Dana
- Colonel Nathaniel Cushing -
Major Jonathan Haskel -
Ebenezer Battelle - Colonel Israel Putnam -
Aaron Waldo Putnam -
Captain Jonathan Stone - Major Nathan Goodale -
Bradford - Captain Benjamin Miles -
Captain Perly Howe -
Guthrie Brothers -
James Knowles -
Captain Eleazer Curtis -
Brothers - Aaron Clough -
SKETCHES OF PIONEERS, BEING EXTRACTS FROM
LIVES OF THE EARLY SETTLERS OF OHIO BY DR. SAMUEL P. HILDRETH.
JONATHAN DUVOLL, when a young man acquired the
trade of Ship Carpenter and in later years became quite noted in
the construction of boats, ships and mills. He volunteered
at the beginning of the revolution, in 1775, as first Lieutenant
and Adjutant of the regiment. In 1877 he resigned because
superceded in promotion of Adjutant of Second regiment to the
office of Brigade Major. In 1775 he performed a very
brilliant exploit in capturing a British Brig in Newport harbor
and the following year captured a band of Tories near the same
locality. He joined the Ohio Company in 1878 and was one
of the first forty-eight pioneers who arrived at Marietta, April
7th, 1788. During the winter he had superintended the
construction of boats at Sumrills Ferry.
He was chiefly engaged during the summers of 1788-9 in
building Campus Martins and removed with his family to Belpre in
February, 1790. At the breaking out of the Indian war in
1791 he superintended the construction of Farmers Castle, and
built the Floating Mill at Belpre, in 1791. In 1797 he
removed to a farm on Wiseman's bottom, on the Muskingum, five
miles above Marietta. Here the next year he built a
floating mill where he did custom grinding for the farmers on
the Ohio and Muskingum rivers. In 1801 he built a ship of
four hundred tons for B. I. Gilman, Esquire, a merchant
of Marietta. The timber of this vessel was wholly of Black
Walnut from the valley of the Muskingum for which river the ship
was named. In 1802 he built the schooner Nonpareil.
In 1807 he built a large frame flouring mill on the spot where
the floating mill was moored. The water wheel was forty
feet in diameter, the largest seen at that day west of the
mountains. During all these days he improved his farm,
planting fruit trees and making his home pleasant and
comfortable. In 1809 he purchased and put in operation
chinery for carding sheeps wool which had now become so
abundant as to need something more than hand cards, as farmers
were already owning flocks of sheep. In 1808 he erected
works for dressing and fulling cloth both of which operations
are believed to have been the first ever carried on in this part
of Ohio, if not in the whole state. He may be called the
Master mechanic of the settlers. He died, during the
epidemic fever which prevailed, in 1823, aged 64.
GRIFFIN GREENE was born at
Warwick, Rhode Island in 1749. Early in life he engaged in
the business of a smith and anchor making, and later he and his
cousin Jacob Green erected a forge for working in iron.
He was also a cousin of General Nathaniel Greene.
Both these men belong to the sect of Quakers from which they
were expelled on account of their interest in the war. He
commenced his military career in 1775, by serving as Commissary
to the Rhode Island troops, although in the previous year he had
been trained to military exercises as a volunteer in the
Company, to which his cousins Christopher and Nathaniel
belonged, with many of the most active and prominent young men
of the colony. In 1777 he was paymaster in the regiment
commanded by Christopher Greene and during the attack on
the fort at Red Bank was exposed to the shot of the enemy in
taking a supply of powder to his countrymen. In 1778 his
cousin Nathaniel Greene was appointed by Washington
quartermaster general of the army, and Griffin became one
of his deputies, continuing in that position until General
Nathaniel Greene was placed in command of the southern army.
In 1777 Mr. Greene engaged as a partner in a
company for fitting out two brigantines as privateers, the coast
being at that time pretty clear of British ships of War.
These were called the Black Snake and the Rattle Snake; but
before the one had time to erect its head and the other to shake
its rattles in defiance of the British lion they were driven on
shore at Sandy Hook in April 1778, by an enemy cruiser, and
lost. This was the fate of many American privateers and in
the estimate it is probable that as much was lost as won by the
colonies in this nefarious business.
Mr. Griffin Greene wrote many letters concerning
public affairs during these eventful years. We will give
one concerning Benedict Arnold.
Camp Tappan, Sept. 9, 1780.
Treason! treason! of the blackest kind has
been most providentially discovered. Gen. Arnold,
who commanded at West Point, was in contact with the British
Adjutant General for delivering into the enemy's hands all the
forts and fortifications of that place. The plan was laid,
the conditions settled and the time fixed for the execution.
The adjutant General had been up to King's ferry to see Gen.
Arnold and on his return to New York, near the White Plains
was taken up by three military men who carried him prisoner to
Major Jameson of Sheldons light-horse; and on his
being searched, plans of the works, the strength of the
garrison, and a hundred other observations necessary to be known
in order to favor an attack, were all made out in Arnolds
own hand writing. They were immediately sent to General
Washington who was then on his return from Hartford.
But unfortunately Jameson, from a false delicacy,
reported to Gen. Arnold, that he had taken prisoner, one
Anderson, which gave him time to just make his escape
before General Washington got to the Point. The
Adjutant general and one Mr. Joseph Smith are now both
prisoners in this camp and doubtless will be hung tomorrow.
We have only to lament that Arnold is not to greet the
gallows with them. It appears, from an inquire into
Arnold's conduct that he is the most accomplished villain in
the world; nothing can exceed his meanness. I am called
upon to attend a court martial and cannot go further into this
dark and wicked business. The military lads that took
Mr. Andre deserve immortal honor and will be most liberally
Mr. Greene came to Marietta in 1788 bringing
beside his household goods a considerable number of valuable
books. The first anchor made on the Ohio river, made for
the brig St. Clair, was constructed under his direction.
Soon after his arrival at Marietta Governor St. Clair
commissioned him a justice of the peace and one of the Judges of
the Court of Quarter Sessions. In 1789 he was made
director of the Ohio Company in place of General Varnum,
deceased, an office he held until the affairs of the company
were closed. He joined the Belpre Association in 1790, and
was a leading man in the colony, solemnizing marriages and
settling civil disputes among them. In January, 1802 he
was appointed Post Master at Marietta by Thomas Jefferson.
He was also inspector for the port of Marietta. Ships were
built here and cleared from this port. He was a leader in
the enterprise, already described, which discovered the Scioto
Salt Spring. In person he was tall of genteel and
accomplished manners, having seen and associated with much
refined company and men of talents. As a man of genius he
ranked with the first of the Ohio Company's settlers, abounding
as it did with able men.
He died in 1804 at the age of fifty-five.
CAPTAIN WILLIAM DANA was of
French Huguenot descent and was born at Brighton, Mass. in
He removed his family to the vicinity of Worcester,
Mass. just before the battle of Lexington.
He was chosen Captain of an Artillery Company and was
stationed a mile or two out of Charleston at the time of the
battle of Bunker Hill. An express from General Putnam,
near its close, arrived with orders to hasten on to the hill to
reinforce the flagging provincials. He started at full
speed but met his countrymen on Charleston neck on their
He remained in the service two or three years attached
to the department of General Knox head of the Artillery
In the Summer of 1788 he and two sons came to Marietta
where he cleared a small section of land and built a brick kiln
and burned the first brick made in Ohio. In 1789 he
removed with his family, to Belpre and drew a lot of land just
above the head of Blennerhassett Island and spent the winter in
a small cabin but built a comfortable home in 1790.
He lived in Farmers Castle during the Indian war.
A few years after its close his land was cleared, a convenient
frame house built, orchards of fruit trees in bearing, and
smiling plenty crowned his table, around which assembled eight
sons and three daughters. In person Captain Dana
was tall and in his manhood sustained the position and bearing
of a Soldier. In disposition he was cheerful and social
and never happier than when surrounded by his old associates at
the festive board.
He died in 1809.
COLONEL NATHANIEL CUSHING.
Mr. Cushing belonged to the illustrious Cushing
family of Boston and was born in Pembroke, Mass., April 8th,
1753. At the beginning of the revolutionary war he lived
in or near Boston. In July, 1775, he was commissioned
Lieutenant in Captain Trescott's Company and Colonel
Brewers regiment, promoted as Captain in 1777, and came out
of the war of Major by brevet.
He was engaged in many battles and skirmishes and was
regarded as one of the most brave and successful officers.
By his kindness to those under his command and his watchful care
for the best interest of his men, he was a great favorite with
the soldiers. His Company was attached to Gen. Rufus
Putnam's regiment of light infantry and he made some daring
and successful raids on the enemy. At that time there was
a large district between the contending armies called the
neutral ground that was nearly deserted by the inhabitants, and
ravaged by both parties especially by the Tories, who, from this
and the adjoining country, supplied the British in New York with
forage and fresh provisions. The Americans, to watch the
incursions of the enemy and keep the Tories from robbing the
peaceable inhabitants near the lines, kept strong outposts or
detachments of soldiers on the borders between King's bridge and
the White Plains. It was a dangerous position for the
troops, and none but the most active and vigilant of the
partisan officers were selected for this service. They
were not only liable to sudden and night attacks from the bands
of Tories who were born and brought up here, and were familiar
with every road and by-path, but also exposed to a corps of
light horse under the noted partisan officer Col. Simcoe
who had cut off and destroyed several advanced parties of
HOME OF WIRT SHEPPARD
PUTNAM HOME, BUILT 1800
Continued in the family until the Present time
To avoid the latter
casualties, the order of the Commanding General was, that they
should not advance beyond a certain line into the neutral
ground, but keep within their own defenses, lest they should be
surprised by the light horse and cut to pieces. Among
others ordered on this hazardous service, was Capt. Cushing
with a detachment of men in addition to his own Company.
Soon after arriving and taking up his position, information was
brought by some of the Whig inhabitants, that there was a
considerable body of Tories posted at no great distance from him
on the road to New York. The opportunity thus afforded of
distinguishing himself and the detachment under his orders was
too great to be resisted; besides, if successful, he would be
doing a service to the cause, and wipe away some of the disgrace
attached to the defeat of other officers who had preceeded
him in this service. With the main body of his man he,
early that night, commenced a rapid march across the country, by
an unfrequented road and about midnight surprised and captured
the whole party. Col. Simcoe, with his mounted
rangers, was posted in that vicinity, and received early notice
of the event, by some friend of the British and acting with his
usual promptness, immediately commenced a pursuit, with the
expectation of cutting to pieces the detachment, and releasing
the prisoners. Capt. Cushing, with all haste,
posted off the Captive Tories in advance, under a small guard;
charging the officer to rush on toward the lines as rapidly as
possible, while he followed more leisurely in the rear, with the
main body of troops. Expecting a pursuit from Simcoe; he
marched in three ranks, and arranged the order of defense if it
were attacked by the cavalry; a kind of troops much more dreaded
by the infantry than those of their own class. Where about
half way back, the clattering hoofs of the rangers horses were
heard in hot pursuit. As they approached, he halted his
detachment in the middle of the road, ready to receive the
charge. It fortunately happened that he found, in the
house with the captured Tories a number of long spears or
lances, sufficient to arm the rear rank. When called to a
halt, and face the enemy, it brought the spearmen in front.
Standing in close array, shoulder to shoulder, with one end
resting on the ground, they received their enraged enemies on
their points, while the other two ranks poured upon them a
deadly fire, leaving
many of the horses without riders.
This unexpected result threw them into disorder, and their
leader directed a retreat. Cushing now renewed his
march in the same order. Simcoe, enraged and
chagrined at the failure of his charge, again ordered a fresh
and more furious onset, but was received by his brave antagonist
in the same cool and resolute manner, and met a still more
decided repulse, losing a number of his best men and horses.
Not yet satisfied to let his enemies escape he made a third
unsuccessful attempt and gave up the pursuit, leaving Capt.
Cushing to retire at his leisure. He reached his post
unmolested, with all the prisoners, and the loss of only a few
men wounded; none killed. The following day he was
relieved by a fresh detachment and marched into camp with the
trophies of this brave adventure.
The morning after his return, in the orders of the day,
by the commander-in-chief, notice was taken of this affair, and
any similar attempt by the troops on the lines forbidden,
thereby apparently censuring the conduct of Capt. Cushing.
This was rather a damper to the feelings of a brave officer, who
was peculiarly sensitive and sustained a nice sense of military
honor. Soon after the promulgation of the order, and he
had retired to his tent brooding over the event of the morning,
and half inclined to be both angry and mortified at the nice
distinctions of the Commander, an aid of Gen. Washington
entered with a polite invitation to dine with him. He
readily complied with the request and at the table was placed in
the post of honor at Washington's right hand. A large
number of officers were present, in whose hearing he highly
complimented Capt. Cushing for the gallant manner in
which he conducted the retreat with the coolness and success he
had done; but at the same time added that for the strict and
orderly discipline of the army, it was necessary to
discountenance every act that contravened the orders of the
Commander-in-chief. This satisfied all his mortified
feelings and increased his love and respect for his revered
His was one of the first families who arrived in
Marietta, August 19th, 1788.
Soon after his arrival he was commissioned by
Governor St. Clair as Captain in the First Regiment.
He was one of the most active, brave, and intelligent men in
arranging and conducting military and civil affairs in the
settlement. After the capture of Maj. Goodale by
Indians he was chosen Commandant in Farmers Castle.
He was gentlemanly and refined in manners, very
courteous and affable in his intercourse with others, whether
poor or rich, and very highly esteemed by Mr. and Mrs.
He died in 1814.
MAJOR JONATHAN HASKELL, was born in
Rochester, Mass. in 1754 and entered the Army when twenty one
years of age and served to the close of the war. He came
to Marietta in 1788 and in 1789 joined the Belpre Association.
On the breaking out of the Indian War and received a commission
as Captain in the regular service and went to Rochester, Mass.,
where he recruited a company of soldiers and he was stationed
for the defense of that and the surrounding settlements, as
soldiers had been withdrawn from Fort Harmar in 1790.
He remained in Marietta until 1793 when he was
commissioned Captain in the second sub legion under Gen.
Wayne and joined the army of the frontier that summer.
He was stationed at Fort Saint Clair, where he remained
until June 1794 when he was appointed to the command of the
fourth Subdivision with the rank of 1795
After the war Maj. Haskell returned to his farm in
Belpre where he died in 1814.
A letter written by him to Griffin Greene
and Benjamin I. Gilman who gives very graphic account of the
celebrated campaign under General Wayne.
LETTER FROM CAPT. HASKELL TO GRIFFIN GREEN
AND B. I. GILMAN.
The last time I wrote
you was from Fort St. Clair, the date I have forgotten. In
June last I was relieved from the Post and joined the fourth
Sub-legion which I have
commanded ever since. The 28th of
July the army moved forward, consisting of about 1900 regulars
and 1500 Militia from Kentucky, by the way of the battle ground,
now Fort Recovery, then turned to the eastward and struck the
Saint Marys in 20 miles, where we erected a small fort, and left
a subaltern Command. - Crossed the St. Marys. - In four or five
days march found the Auglaize, - continued down that river to
where it formed a junction with the Miami of the Lakes - 100
miles from Greenville by the route we took - At this place we
built a garrison and left a Maj. to command it, and the army
proceeded down the river toward the Lake, 47 miles from this
garrison until the 20th inst. In the morning about nine
o'clock we found the Indians who had placed themselves for us.
When the attack commenced we formed and charged them with our
bayonets and pursued them two miles through them with our
bayonets, and pursued them two miles through a very bad thicket
of woods, logs, and underbrush and with the charge of the
Cavalry routed and defeated them. Our line extended in
length one and a half miles and it was with difficulty we
outflanked them. The prisoner, (a white man) we took, says
they computed their number as 1200 Indians and 250 white men,
Detroit Militia, in action. Our loss in the engagement was
two officers killed, four officers wounded; about thirty
soldiers killed and eighty wounded. The Indians suffered
most, perhaps 40 or 50 of their killed fell into our hands.
The prisoner was asked why they did not fight better. He
said: we would give them no time to load their pieces but kept
them constantly on the move. Two miles in advance of the
action is a British Garrison established last Spring around
which we marched within pistol shot. In the day time it
was demanded but not given up. Our artillery not being
sufficient and the place too strong to storm, it was not
attempted but we burned their outhouses, destroyed their
gardens, corn fields, and hay, within musket shot of the fort
and down beyond them 8 or 9 miles without opposition. The
27th inst. we arrived here where our fort is and are to halt a
few days to refresh. We have marched about 60 miles
through the Indian villages and settlements and have destroyed
several thousand acres of corn and all kinds of vegetables;
burned their houses, furniture, tools, etc. A part have
gone on to Fort Recovery for a supply of provisions for us.
It is said that when they return we go up the Miami 60 miles to
where the St. Marys forms a junction with the St. Joseph and
destroy all the corn in the country.
In great haste, I am, gentlemen,
Your humble servant,
B. I. GILLMAN.
Letter received by Mr. Gilman at Harmar
Point, Oct. 13th, '94 and sent to Mr. Green.
Dr. Hildreth adds the following very appropriate
words which give an insight into conditions at that time.
"This letter described,
in plain terms the ruin and devastation that marked the course
of the American Army. It might have been considered a wise
policy to devote to destruction the dwellings, corn fields,
gardens, and in fact every species of property that belonged to
the hostile Savages, but it was also a most cruel policy.
The British troops, in their inroads among the rebel settlements
of the Revolutionary war, never conducted more barbarously.
The Indian villages on the Miami and the Anglaize were snugly
and comfortably built - were furnished with many convenient
articles of housekeeping and clothing. They had large
fields of corn and beans, with gardens of melons, Squashes and
various other vegetables. Mr. Joseph Kelley of
Marietta, then a boy of twelve years old, and for several years
a prisoner with the Indians, who treated him kindly, and was
adopted into a family as one of their children, was living at
that time at the junction of the St. Marys and the Anglaize, the
spot where Maj. Haskell says the army would next go, to
complete their work of destruction. Mr. Kelley was
there when an Indian runner announced that the American troops
had arrived in the vicinity of the village. His friends
had not expected them so soon, and with the utmost haste and
consternation, the old men, with the women and children, the
warriors being absent, hurried abroad their canoes, taking
nothing with them but a few clothes and blankets, not having
time to collect any provisions from their fields and gardens.
The Sun was only an hour or two high when they
departed, in as deep sorrow at the loss of their country and
homes, as the Trojans of old when they evacuated their
city. Before the next day at noon their nice village was
burnt to the ground; their cornfields of several hundred acres,
just beginning to ripen, were cut down and trampled under foot
by the horses and oxen of the invaders, while their melons and
squashes were pulled up by the roots. The following winter
the poor Indians, deprived of their stock of corn and beans,
which were grown every year and laid up for their winter food as
regularly as among the white people, suffered the extreme of
want. Game was scarce in the country they retreated to on
the west of the Miami, and what few deer and fish they could
collect barely served to keep them alive. It was a cruel
policy, but probably, subdued their Spartan courage more than
two or three defeats, as for many years thereafter, until the
days of Tecumseh, they remained at peace.
COLONEL EBENEZER BATTELLE.
Col. Battelle was the only son of Ebenezer Battelle
and was born at Dedham, Mass., and graduated from Cambridge
College in 1775. He held a commission of Colonel under the
Governor of Massachusetts in the Militia. He was one of
the active partners in a book store in Boston for about six
years. While here he was elected to the command of the
ancient and honorable artillery Company, a noted band of
military men, composed of officers of good standing and
He became an associate in the Ohio Company and came to
Marietta with Col. May in the Spring of 1788 and his
family came in November of the same year. During the
following winter he became a member of the Belpre Association
and in the Spring of 1789 proceeded to clear his land and erect
a stout block house for the reception of his family. May
1st, Captain King was killed by Indians. The
following day Col. Battelle, with two of his sons and
Griffin Greene, Esq., embarked at Marietta in a large canoe,
with farming tools, provisions, &c. On their way down they
were hailed by some one from the shore and informed of this sad
event. They landed and held a consultation on what was
best to be done. Some were for returning; but they finally
decided to proceed.
The block-houses of these two emigrants were near each
other, and nearly opposite the middle of Backus' Is
land, on the
spot afterwards occupied by Farmers Castle. After landing
the other settlers joined them for mutual defense, and through
the night kept up a military guard, in the old revolutionary
style, the sentinel calling out every fifteen minutes "All's
well" not thinking this would give the skulking Indians where to
find them. No enemy, however, molested them during
the night, and their fears of an attack gradually subsided.
Early in April, before any families had moved on to the
ground, a party of officers from Fort Harmar, with their wives,
and a few ladies from Marietta, made a visit to the new
settlement in the officer's barge, a fine large boat, rowed with
twelve oars. These were the first white females who ever
set foot on the soil of Belpre. On their return Col.
Battelle, with several others, accompanied them by water in
a canoe, and another party by land. While on the voyage, a
large bear was discovered swimming across the river. The
landsmen fired at him with their muskets and rifles, but without
effect. The canoe then ranged alongside, when Col.
Battelle seized him by the tail and when the bear attempted
to bite his hand, he raised his hind parts, throwing his head
under water, and thus escaped his teeth. One of his
companions soon killed him with an axe. He weighed over
three hundred pounds and afforded several find dinners to his
In the plan of Farmers Castle his blockhouse occupied
the north east corner. Col. Battelle was very much
interested in Education and religion in the settlement.
Both schools and religious services were held in a large room in
his block house. He officiated as Chaplain when no
clergyman was present. Some times he gave a discourse of
his own but oftener read a sermon of some eminent divine.
He made Sunday respected and honored in the settlement. In
the early years he was paid twenty dollars by the Ohio Company
for his services as a religious teacher. He died in the
home of his son at Newport, Ohio in 1815.
COLONEL ISRAEL PUTNAM,
the elder was plowing at Pomfret, Conn. with four oxen in April,
1775 when he heard of the battle of Lexington. He
immediately left his oxen and mountain his favorite horse rode
with all possible haste to
Cambridge, Mass., where he did most
important service, and was soon Commissioned a Major General.
His son Israel soon raised a Company and served
under his father until the arrival of General Washington
as Commander-in-chief. Israel continued in the
service as aid to his Father. At the close of the war he
became a raiser of blooded Stock some of which he brought with
him to Ohio.
He also brought a considerable number of valuable books
which were the foundation of Belpre Farmers Library. He
was an influential man and was a leader in the establishment of
both education and religion.
When absent from home his wife took charge of the
family of six children. She was a woman of great spirit,
and as farm a patriot as the general himself, hating, with all
her soul and strength, the British oppressors of her
country, who were technically called Redcoats, and loving with
equal ardor the American soldiers, supplying them with food and
clothing to the extent of her ability. In the winter of
1779 when the patriot troups suffered so much from the want of
warm garments, she had spun and woven in her own house, a number
of blankets made from the finest wool in the flock, and sent on
for their relief. Numerous pairs of stockings were also
manufactured by her own hands and contributed in the same way.
No one at this day knows, or can appreciate the value of the
labors of American females in achieving our freedom. They
wrought and suffered in silence, bearing many privations in
common with their husbands and sons in the days which tried the
patriotism of the colonies. She was a woman of elevated
mind and great personal courage, worthy of the family to which
she was allied. In the absence of her husband, when the
vultures and hawks attacked the poultry, she could load and fire
his light fowling piece at them, without dodging at the flash.
AARON WALDO PUTNAM
was a son of Col. Israel Putnam, and came with his father
to Ohio in 1788, when he was about twenty years of age. He
remained in charge of his farm in Belpre while his father was
absent during the Indian War. He had two very thrilling
adventures with Indians during this time which have already been
narrated. After the close of the war he worked diligently
in improving his farm which was one of the best in the valley.
He introduced the best breeds of stock then known. He
planted extensive orchards, grafted with scions of the best
known varieties of fruit, brought from the east.
In 1800 he built a very fine house which still stands
and is occupied by his descendants. This house and also
the house built by Capt. Jonathan Stone near the village
are good examples of the best New England farm house of that
period. When built the upper story was fitted up for a
ball room, and in an inaugural ball Lady Blennerhassett
from the Island led in some of the dances. The sturdy
puritans of that time were conscientious and firm in their moral
convictions, but believed also in recreations and when we
consider the anxieties of those years when they knew that a
murderous foe might be skulking in the neighboring forest,
waiting for a night attack, we must command their plans for such
social amusements as would bind them close together and
encourage them to persevere in their homes until danger from the
Savages should pass away. This Putnam house,
painted white, and standing on the margin of the Plain, or
second bottom, and surrounded by orchards, became a conspicuous
object to travelers on the "Belle Riviere" as there were at that
time little besides wilderness and log cabins between Pittsburg
CAPTAIN JONATHAN STONE was born
in Braintree, Mass. and was son of Francis Stone who lost
his life in the army of Gen. Wolfe at the conquest of
Quebec. He entered the service of his country at the
beginning of the revolution and the following year married
Susanna Matthews a niece of Gen. Rufus Putnam.
In the army he rose step by step to the rank of Captain.
After the war he settled in Brookfield, Mass., and was employed
by Gen. Putnam as a surveyor in the Province of Maine.
He also served with Gen. Lincoln in subduing Shay's
rebellion in which rebellion a brother of his and other
relatives were engaged.
He visited Marietta in the fall of 1788 and made
provision for the reception of his family. On July 4th,
1789 he left Brookfield, Mass., with a wagon, drawn by four
oxen, containing his household goods and three children.
Two cows were driven on ahead, while his wife traveled on
horse-back the whole distance to Simril's ferry, the
western rendezvous for emigrants to Marietta. At Buffalo
or Charleston, he bartered one yoke of oxen for provisions to
support his family until he could raise a crop himself.
For the avails of a farm he had sold in Brookfield, he
secured two shares of the Ohio Companies lands being about two
thousand acres. He reached Belpre Dec. 10th and put up a
log cabin on his lot, drawn the previous winter, making the
floors and doors from the planks of the boat in which he
descended the river. His farm lay in the wide bottom
opposite and a little below the mouth of the Little Kanawha
(still owned by his descendants.) During the Indian war he
removed his family to Farmers Castle and was one of the most
active and efficient defenders of that garrison. In the
Spring of 1793, he, with several others erected a palisade and
several blockhouses on his own farm and remained there until the
peace of 1795.
In 1792 he was appointed Treasurer of Washington County
by Winthrop Sargent, then acting as governor of the North
West Territory. After the peace he was employed by the
Ohio Company, with Jeffery Mathewson, to complete the
surveys of their lands, which was done in a masterly manner.
He died after a short illness, Mar. 25, 1801 aged fifty.
Captain Stone was a man with a well formed
agreeable person, gentlemanly manners and social habits.
By his contemporaries he was highly esteemed. In 1911 the
Belpre Historical Society erected a granite monument to point
out the locality of Stones Garrison. (See account
of Belpre Historical Society.)
MAJOR NATHAN GOODALE,
son of Solomon and Anna Goodale, was born about 1743.
His father died about one year later and in 1745 his mother,
Anna Goodale, married Dea Samuel Ware and Nathan
spent his early years in his family.†
He married Elizabeth Phelps, Sept. 11th, 1765
and about 1770 removed to Brookfield, Mass., where he labored on
the farm and as a bricklayer. Mr. Goodale had made
some preparation for a soldier life in drilling as a minute man
and entered the army as a Lieutenant and was afterwards
commissioned as Captain with which rank he continued through the
war, to which was added a brevet Major.
He purchased a share in the Ohio Company and arrived at
Marietta with the first families, Aug. 19, 1788. Soon
after his arrival at Marietta Governor St. Clair
appointed him Captain of a Company of light infantry selected
from the most active men in the colony. His experience in
military affairs rendered him a very able and efficient officer
familiar with all the details of actual service. He was
one of the first settlers in Belpre in 1789. During the
short period he lived here he was considered to be one of the
most industrious, persevering and thoroughly educated farmers in
At the beginning of the Indian War he went with his
family to Farmers Castle. In making the arrangement for
the defense and military government of the garrison he was the
leading man; and the command was by unanimous consent given to
him. His tragic kidnapping by Indians make him the martyr
of Belpre and seems to make it proper that we describe his
career somewhat in detail. General Rufus Putnam
wrote to General Washington recommending Captain
Goodale for promotion in which he gives the following
description of his exploits in active service: "In the dark
month of November, 1776, Mr. Goodale entered the service
as a Captain in the regiment under my command, and was in the
field early the next Spring; but, although he always discovered
a thirst for enterprise, yet fortune never gave his genius fair
play until August, 1777. It is well known into what a
panic the country and even the northern army, were thrown on the
taking of Ticonderoga. When General Gates took
command in that quarter our army lay at Van Shaicks
island; and Mr. Burgoyne, with his black wings and
painted legions lay at Saratoga. The woods were so
infested with Savages, that for some time none of the Scouts who
were sent out for the purpose of obtaining prisoners or
intelligence of the en-
emy's situation succeeded in either.
General Gates, being vexed at continual disappointments,
desired an officer to procure him a man that would undertake, at
all hazards, to perform this service. Captain Goodale,
being spoken to, voluntarily undertook the business under the
following orders from General Gates: "Sir, you are to
choose out a enemy's camp, unless you lose your life or are
captured, and not return until you obtain a full knowledge of
their situation. Captain Goodale in his report of
this scout, says it was not performed without great danger as
the party was much harassed by the Indians which occasioned
their being in the woods three days without provisions.
However he succeeded beyond expectation; first throwing himself
between their outguards and their camp, where he concealed his
party until he examined their situation very fully, and then
brought off six prisoners, whom he took within their guards, and
returned to General Gates without any loss. This
success induced General Gates to continue him in that
kind of service. A full detail of all the art and address
which he discovered during the remainder of that campaign would
make my letter too long. It may be enough to observe that
before the capture of the British army, one hundred and
twenty-one prisoners fell into his hands. But as
Captain Goodale is no less brave and determined in the open
field where opposed to regular troops, than he is artful as a
partisan of the woods, I beg your patience while I recite one
instance of this kind. A day or two after Mr. Burgoyne
retreated to Saratoga, on a foggy morning, Nixons brigade
was ordered to cross the creek which separated the two armies.
Captain Goodale with forty volunters went over
before the advance guard. He soon fell in with the British
guard of about the same number. The ground was an open
plain, but the fog prevented their discovering each other until
they were within a few yards, when both parties made ready
nearly at the same time. Captain Goodale, in this
position, reserved his fire and advanced immediately upon the
enemy who waited with a design to draw it from him; but he had
the address to intimidate them in such a manner, by threatening
immediate death to any one who should fire, that not more than
two or three obeyed the order of their own officer, when he gave
the word. The result was that the officer and thirty-four
of the guard were made prisoners."
We have an account of another of his exploits from a
different source. At the action of Valentine Hill
the commander of the troops to which he was attached, had
ordered him to keep possession of a certain pass, important to
the Americans, at all hazards, without any discretionary power
as to contingencies. His command consisted of about forty
light infantry and a number of Indians who stood the attack of a
large body of the enemy and a company of cavalry, until there
were only seventeen men left out of the forty. Near the
close of the combat the officer who led the charge rushed upon
him with his sword. Captain Goodale with a loaded
musket, which he had probably picked up from one of his fallen
men, shot the Briton dead from his horse as he approached.
In a moment another of the enemy, seeing the fall of his leader,
sprang at him in desperation, with a full purpose to revenge his
death. The musket being discharged, the only resourse
was to parry the descending blow aimed at his head, in the best
manner he could with the empty piece. It fell obliquely,
being turned from it course by the musket and instead of
splitting the skull of its intended victim glanced on the bone,
peeling up a portion of the scalp several inches in length.
The stunning effects of the blow felled him to the earth, but
directly recovering, he rose to his feet. In the meantime
the Cavalryman, who had leaned forward in the saddle farther
than prudent to give a certain death-stroke, lost his balance
when the heavy sword glanced from the skull, and fell to
the earth. The bayonet of Captain Goodale
immediately pinned him to the ground and left him dead by the
side of his leader. Thus two of the enemy fell by his hand
in less than a minute. Seeing all prospect of further
resistance useless he retreated with the balance of his men to
an open woodland near the scene of action and secreted himself
under a pile of brush.
An Indian had hidden under another heap, where they
might have remained in safety until dark and then escaped; but
the Savage, having an opportunity to shoot one of the enemy who
approached their hiding place, could not resist the chance to
add another scalp to his trophies and shot him. The report
of the gun revealed his hiding
place, and, being discovered,
they were made prisoners. He remained for some time in the
hands of the enemy, and when exchanged, his children related,
that the British officers put poison in wine to which he was
treated. He was sick for some time but recovered and
resumed his place in the army. A narrative of his
kidnapping and death is found in the account of Farmers Castle.
An account of the dedication of a monument erected to his memory
is recorded in the history of the Belpre Historical Society.
MAJOR ROBERT BRADFORD
was born at old Plymouth, Mass., in 1750. He was a lineal
descendant of Governor Bradford, of about the fifth
remove. His wife was Kezia Little, daughter of
Captain Nathaniel Little, of Kingston, Mass. He
entered early, and with all his heart, into the service of his
country during the Revolutionary War, and for the larger part of
that period commanded a company of light infantry. His
military life commenced at the battle of Bunker Hill and ended
with the Capture of Corwallis at Yorktown, being actually
engaged in nearly all the pitched battles fought in the middle
and eastern states. With many other American Officers he
received the gift of an elegant sword from Marquis LaFayette
as a mark of his esteem.
When the Ohio Company was formed he became an associate
and removed his family to Marietta in 1788, and removed to
Belpre in 1789. He was associated with Colonel Battelle
in the expedition which discovered the site of the Scioto sale
CAPTAIN BENJAMIN MILES,
from Rutland, Mass., was an officer during the Revolution and
one of the early settlers at Belpre. His farm was in the
lower settlement. He bought on from the east some choice
cattle, among them a pair of very large oxen which the Indians
wantonly killed when they failed to capture A. W. Putnam
and Nathaniel Fisher. Captain Miles was a
substantial farmer and a man of influence. He built the
first brick house in the settlement in which he had a tavern.
The first town meeting in Belpre was held at his house.
When the First Church was organized in Marietta in 1795
was chosen deacon for Belpre. He died at
Belpre in 1817.
CAPTAIN PERLY HOWE
when a young man came to Marietta during the first years of the
Colony and married Persis, daughter of Gen. Rufus
Putnam, May 2, 1798. Soon after this he removed to his
farm about one mile west of Belpre Village. He was a
school teacher for a number of years and was known as "Master
Howe." He was considered one of the best teachers
in the County. He was commissioned Capt. of the First
Brigade, third division of the Washington County Militia in 1804
by Governor Tiffin. At the time of Burr's
conspiracy this company stood guard and Captain Howe
was a witness in the trial. He was the first Deacon of the
Congregational church of Belpre and held the office until his
death. Himself and family were prominent musicians in the
church for two or three generations.
He and his son entered into a business partnership, and
at the close of a contract with several specifications to which
they mutually agreed, they added the words, "and lastly we agree
at all times to exemplify the Spirit of Christ." What a
revolution would be wrought in business if all was conducted
according to this principle.
The following sketches of pioneers are copied and
condensed from the interesting History of Newbury by Mrs.
Laura Curtis Preston.
Truman and Stephen Guthrie each received a share in
the Ohio Company's lands from their father, Joseph Guthrie
of Washington, Conn. They journeyed most of the was to
Pittsburg on foot and by river to Marietta where they arrived
July 3rd, 1788. Truman cleared about half an acre
of land near Mound Cemetery, enclosing it with a brush fence; he
sowed about a peck of wheat he had brought from Pennsylvania.
This is said to have been the first wheat sown in Ohio and later
the product of this same wheat was sown in Newbury. During
the following year these brothers went back to
Connecticut. In 1791 they returned to Newbury, Stephen
with his wife and infant daughter Laura, in
company with Eleazer Curtis and
Truman married Elizabeth daughter of Col. Israel
Stone of Belpre, taking his wife home in a canoe. They
ate their first meal in this home from the head of a barrel.
Their first table was a poplar pincheon hewed and planed, making
a cross legged table which still remains in the family.
In 1795 when Belpre township was organized Stephen
Guthrie, begin one of the prominent men in that part of the
County, was appointed by the Governor a Justice of the Peace.
One cold day in January, while he was engaged with some men in
killing hogs, he observed a party of half a dozen coming in
their sleds, who, coming up, went into the house and made known
the object of their visit. The Justice suggested that he
should have time to change his garments, as he had on a long
white linen frock, provided in those days for log rolling and
all dirty work, and said to the party that his appearance was
not proper, as his long frock was badly soiled with blood.
"Oh! said the intended bride, We're in a great hurry; it makes
no difference." So the ceremony was performed in short
order, the groom giving the bride a smack which sounded like the
crack of a small pistol. "Waht's to pay Squire?" said the
groom. His answer was "the law allows a dollar and a
half." "All right, I have not got it today, but will pay
with flax in the Spring." But the flax never grew. (A
Pioneer Sketch by Stephen H. Guthrie. )
Howell and Captain Aaron Bull of Weathersfield, Conn., were
original proprietors of one of the one hundred acre lots at the
lower end of Newbury bottom. The brothers came to Ohio in
1789. Howell's name is found in the list of single
men in Farmers Castle in 1791 and Aarons in the list of
grand jurors the same year. They cleared about three acres
of their land, built a cabin and sold their claim to Eleazer
Curtis in 1794. Aaron returned to Connecticut.
Howell Bull was a active intelligent man. While an
inmate of Farmers Castle he rushed to the rescue of Aaron
Waldo Putnam and Nathaniel Little as they were
running toward the fort pursued by Indians.
PORTERFIELD CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HOUSE
UNIVERSALIST MEETING HOUSE,
ROCKLAND, BUILT 1912
CAPTAIN ELEAZER CURTIS (the
title was probably given him in
the Indian War) enlisted as a
private in the War of Revolution, and was discharged a Sergeant.
He endured the memorable winter at Valley Forge. He, with
his wife and five children, from Warren, Conn. made the trip to
Ohio with the Guthrie brothers in 1798. The trip to
Pittsburg was long and tedious, but with nothing more serious
than the overturning off one wagon, as they crossed the
mountains. As they floated down the Ohio, in a flat boat,
just above Wheeling the boat caught in an overhanging tree,
causing a plank to spring, and the boat would have filled with
water had not Capt. Curtis caught up a feather bed and
stuffed it into the hole. A young man who attempted to
climb the overhanging tree, fell into the water, and was
drowned. They arrived at Marietta in November, 1791.
The family resided respectively at Marietta, Goodale's
garrison, and Newbury stockade, until the close of the Indian
war, when they moved on to their farm, which Mr. Curtis
had purchased of the Bull brothers. In 1795 he built a two
story log house which was the best in the neighborhood at that
time. A brick residence was built in 1827-8 by Walter
Curtis son of Eleazer, all the material being made on
the premises. Walter purchased the farm of the
other heirs and also added other acres to it. Mrs.
Curtis who was Almira daughter of Stephen
Guthrie, boarded the men who worked on the house, and in
addition to the house work, wove fifty-seven yards of linen
sheeting, sold about one hundred and fifty pounds of cheese
besides what was consumed by a family of twelve. Walter
Curtis represented Washington County in the Legislature, was
Associate Judge, three years, Justice of the Peace, and held
other minor offices. He, and his brother, Horace,
were partners in the Keel-boat business, going to Pittsburg,
Charleston, Cincinnati, and other points down the river.
His son, Austin, was also a state representative, Justice
of the Peace, and served in the war of the rebellion.
The farm is still owned by the descendants of Eleazer Curtis.
a soldier of the Revolution, with Martha his wife and six
sons and one daughter emigrated from Cape May County, N. J. to
Ohio in 1794. A son of Reuben was a soldier in the
War of 1812. In 1810 Reuben and James were
on a produce boat going down the
Mississippi; on the way they
tied up for the night near what is now New Madrid. That
night there was an earthquake that caved off the bank where they
were and over one hundred acres of land sank, forming a lake
that still remains.
Tall Sycamore trees went down end first; in the
scramble for his life James caught hold of a tree and
climbed as it sank. All the crew came out alive from that
fearful night but the boat and contents were lost.
Reuben and Amos worked on the boat that Aaron Burr
had built at Marietta.
then a young man of twenty years, drew the land opposite Newbury
Bar. With ten other men one of whom was Captain John
Leavens a fellow townsman, he made the journey to Ohio.
One of the party kept a journal which still exists, and records
the following. "This party went out, not as members of a
Company, but on our own hook, according to our own roving
disposition and desire to see the world. We had a team of
four horses, and a baggage wagon for clothes, farming tools and
provisions, and had a very marry journey through the country."
They were forty six days on the journey, landing at Marietta,
May 18, 1788, just six weeks after the first arrivals.
was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was present at the
execution of Major Andre. After the war he removed
to Providence, R. I. where he practice law for a few years.
He was one of the surveyors in the company of pioneers who
landed at Marietta, April 7th, 1788. He returned to
Providence later in that same year, removed to Morgantown, Penn.
in 1792 and in 1796 to Belpre. During that year he secured
a franchise for a ferry across the Ohio river, on which
franchise a ferry was operated by a succession of owners until
purchased by the Bridge Company in 1918. Mr. Foster
died in 1804.
- END OF CHAPTER VIII -