The Squirrel Hunters of Ohio; or, Glimpses of Pioneer Life
Squirrel Hunters of Ohio
Glimpses of Pioneer Life
by N. E. Jones, M. D.
⁂ THE ROBERT CLARKE Co ⁂
Copyright, 1897, by
N. E. JONES.
It required long trains of complex circumstances,and peculiar conditions for each, to giveto the world a Moses, an Alexander, a Napoleon,a Washington. Still greater were the pre-arrangementsand preparations for the development ofthe coming man of the Nineteenth Century, thathe might stand pre-eminently upon the summitof American manhood. The habitation selectedwas the most elaborate and lovely of all the giftsof nature: A domain dedicated to freedom forever,bountifully supplied with animals, vegetables,and minerals; with lakes, rivers, andrunning brooks, grassy lawns and fields of flowers;making a fitting place for the best blood leftof the American Revolution; descendants ofAnglo-Saxon kings; knights of Norman titlesand heroic deeds; supporters of William the Conqueror,whose ancestral names appear in theDoomsday Book, but more imperishably writtenin the law of descent and transmission. Withsuch the new environment brought forth an improved[iv]species, christened by a sovereign state,“The Squirrel Hunters of Ohio; or, Glimpses ofPioneer Life,” and to whom this volume is mostrespectfully dedicated.
N. E. Jones, M. D.
As an actor and interested witness of the marvelouschanges which have occurred in the settlementand civilization of the “North-west Territory,”the author places before the reader thisbook, entitled, “The Squirrel Hunters of Ohio; or,Glimpses of Pioneer Life.”
Others have faithfully recorded the wars, bloodshed,victories, defeats, dangers and deaths itcost to subjugate the savage and establish thecivilized. And it is as the gleaner follows thereapers and gathers in the wayward straws, thatthe author hopes to interest and entertain, bypicking up some of the fragments, that nothingmay be lost which contributed to the elevation,pleasure, subsistence and safety of the pioneer,or added attractiveness to his home during therise of the first state in the great empire of theNorth-west.
It is often the little things that become the mostimportant—things the immigrant in old age delightsto recall—things that bring up associations[vi]and pleasures of former days—“the good oldtimes,” when with dog and gun the pioneerwalked the unbroken forest and made himself familiarwith the alphabet of beasts, birds andtrees.
At the close of the Revolution, the EasternStates were old and prematurely gray, andpoverty, bankruptcy and starvation induced thepatriotic soldiers to accept pay for their servicesin unsurveyed wild land in the “North-west Territory.”The new acquisition was lauded as acountry flowing with equivalents to “milk andhoney,” and would sustain a large population,make delightful homes, and furnish an easily-acquiredsubsistence.
As soon as the Indian dangers were no longerdetrimental, the homeless poor, with guns, ammunitionand land certificates, flocked in fromall quarters of the world, took possession of thecountry, and became the progenitors of a greatand pre-eminent people—“The Squirrel Hunters ofOhio.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
|Chap. I.||Ohio—Early Settlement,||1|
|II.||Ohio—Educational, Social, and Political,||51|
|III.||Ohio—Professions: Medical, Ministerial and Legal,||107|
|IV.||Ohio—Her Beasts, Birds, and Trees: Aids to Higher Civilization,||166|
|V.||Ohio—Her Coach, Canal, and Steamboat Era,||267|
|VI.||Ohio—Her Railroad and Telegraph Era,||310|
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
|Home of the Pioneer,||7|
|This is Freedom!||9|
|The Gum Tree,||12|
|Our Cabin, 1821,||37|
|Ground Hog Club—Certificate of Membership,||58|
|Ohio School-house from 1796 to 1840,||64|
|School-house of 1851, in which President Garfield Taught,||92|
|The Olive Branch,||95|
|Hunter and Dog,||118|
|Man of Special Providences,||128|
|Church, Residence, and Court-house,||131|
|Public School Building, Pickaway County, O., 1851,||148|
|A Squirrel Hunter,||171|
|A Herd of Bison,||174|
|Camp Red River Hunters,||176|
|Turkey River, Iowa, 1845,||221|
|Conflict in Pre-emption Claims,||250|
|Map—Lord Dunmore’s Campaign,||256|
|Monument, Boggs Family,||263|
|Canal Era, 1825,||290|
|Log Cabin Luminary,||292|
|Ohio Stage Coach,||301|
|New Passenger Car on the Toledo and Adrian R’y, 1837,||320|
|Pontoon Bridge over the Ohio River,||337|
|Governor’s Certificate of Honorable Membership,||343|
|The Squirrel Hunter’s Discharge,||344|
THE SQUIRREL HUNTERS OF OHIO;
GLIMPSES OF PIONEER LIFE.
From the time the Mayflower landed at FortHarmar (Marietta) in 1788 until 1795, emigrationhad not materially increased the population of theNorth-west, owing to the unstable and dissatisfiedcondition of the Indians.
All this time, the soldier, who had served histime in the cause of independence and been honorablydischarged without pay:—the poverty-strickenpatriot, unable to procure subsistence forhimself and family in the bankrupt colonies, hadbeen listening to accounts of a land “flowing withmilk and honey,” and was anxious to get there.It was described as a country “fertile as heartcould wish:”—“fair to look upon, and fragrantwith the thousand fresh odors of the woods inearly spring.” The long cool aisles leadingaway into mazes of vernal green where the swiftdeer bounded by unmolested and as yet unscaredby the sound of the woodman’s ax or the sharpring of the rifle. “He could imagine the woodedslopes and the tall grass of the plain jeweled withstrange and brilliant flowers;” but there theredman had his field of corn, and would defendhis rights.
The success of General Wayne in procuringterms of peace with the warlike tribes of Indiansin the spring of 1795, caused such an influx ofemigration into the Ohio division of the North-westTerritory, that in 1798 the population enabledthe election of an Assembly which met thefollowing year, and sent William Henry Harrisonas a delegate to Congress. So rapidly did thecountry fill up with new settlements that theprospective state at the beginning of the nineteenthcentury was knocking at the door for admission,with all the pathways crowded by pedestrians—men,women, and children—dogs andguns; crossing the perilous mountains to reach acountry where a home was a matter of choice,and subsistence furnished without money orprice.
Where all these lovers of freedom and free soilcame from, and how they got here, will ever remaina mystery next in obscurity to that of theAncient Mound Builders. They brought withthem the peculiarities of every civilized nation,and continued to come until Ohio became thebeaten road to western homes beyond. Theywere God’s homeless poor—the file of a successfulrevolution—the founders of a republic. Assuch they accepted pay and bounty in wildlands—established homes of civilization, cultivatedthe arts and sciences, and soon increasedin numbers, until they became a people powerfulin war and influential in peace.
Men and women, the chosen best, of the entireworld, by causes foreordained, were made the exponentsof the axioms contained in the charterfounding the great empire of freedom. Theywere strangers to luxury—unknown to the corrodinginfluences of avarice, and unfamiliar withnational vices. Their lives were surrounded withhappiness, and they lived to a good old age, enjoyingthe pleasures of large families of childrenin a land of peace and plenty. These and theirdescendants are the “Squirrel Hunters” of history.
Kentucky had received her baptism into theUnion in 1791, but afterward felt slighted anddissatisfied, looking toward secession, if the fiveproposed states, outlined by the act of 1787 asthe North-west Territory, should constitute anindependent confederacy. The opinion seemedto exist to no small extent, that the North-westwas by necessity bound to become separated fromthe Atlantic States; and Kentucky was lendingher influence to this end. Josiah Espy, in his“Tour in Ohio and Indiana in 1805,” says: “Intraveling through this immense and beautifulcountry, one idea, mingled with melancholy emotions,almost continually presented itself to mymind, which was this: that before many yearsthe people of that great tract of country wouldseparate themselves from the Atlantic States, andestablish an independent empire. The peculiarsituation of the country, and the nature of themen, will gradually lead to this crisis; but whatwill be the proximate cause producing this greateffect is yet in the womb of time. Perhaps someof us may live to see it. When the inhabitantsof that immense territory will themselves independent,force from the Atlantic States to restrainthem would be madness and folly. It cannot be prevented.”
But the inhabitants of this immense territoryhad a better and clearer vision of the mission ofthis “vast empire;” it was to be the heart andcontrolling center of a great nation of freemen.And when Ohio, in 1803, entered the Union underthe enabling act, binding the Government toconstruct a national highway from Cumberlandto the Ohio river, and through the State of Ohio,as a bond of union between the East and West,no more was heard of secession until the rebellionof the sixties.
In 1821, a member of the Virginia legislature(Mr. Blackburn), in discussing the question ofsecession, claimed there ought to be an eleventhcommandment, and taking a political view of it,said it should be in these words: “Thou shaltnot, nor shall thy wife, thy son or thy daughter,thy man-servant or thy maid-servant, the strangeror sojourner within thy gates, dare in any wiseto mention or hint at dissolution of the Union.”Mr. Blackburn did not live to see it, but thewords of the commandment came sealed in bloodand “were graven with an iron pen and lead inthe rock forever.”
Many persons at the very dawn of independencefelt the weakness of a union of such conflictingsentiments and interests as those of freedomand slavery, and were free in the expressionthat either slavery or freedom must rule and controlthe destinies of the nation—that the twocould not, nor would not, co-operate peaceably inthe same field.
Francis A. Walker, in “Making of the Nation,”says: “No one can rightly read the history ofthe United States who does not recognize theprodigious influence exerted in the direction ofunreserving nationality by the growth of greatcommunities beyond the mountains and theirsuccessive admission as states of the Union.”And the author apprehends “great danger” fromthe aversion of Western people to “measures proposedin the interests of financial integrity, commercialcredit and national honor. ‘Having apredilection for loose laws regarding bankruptciesand cheap money has been a constant menaceand a frequent cause of mischief.’ This,however, we may regard as due to the stage ofsettlement and civilization reached.”
No one, if he reads at all, can read otherwisethan the “prodigious influence” of the WesternStates. To these the nation owes its freedom.Through this prodigious influence, slaves andslavery have been wiped out, national finance establishedwith enlarged commercial credit, integrityand national honor. And if the history ofthe United States is correctly read, the countryneed fear no danger from any stage in the settlementand civilization of the North-west. Theearly pioneers of this lovely country brought withthem from the South and East large stocks ofpatriotism perfumed with the firearms of a successfulrevolution; and it was prized more highlyas it was chiefly all they had in a home wherepoverty was no disgrace, and a “poor-house” unknownin nature’s great empire. Their descendantsinherited much, and increased their talents,and have under all circumstances been ready torender a favorable account and go up higher.
The residence of the immigrant was exceedinglyprimitive; still, it could not be said the logcabin of the pioneer made a cheerless home, byany means. Man retains too much of the unevolutionizednot to find and enjoy the mostpleasure in things nearest the heart of nature.Many pointers and pen pictures originating inthese humble domiciles exist in evidence of thepleasure and satisfaction enjoyed by the early inhabitants,regardless of apparent privations,previous conditions