Submitted by: Joanette
Ohio Valley Genealogies, Charles A. Hanna, New York, 1900
Reprint by The Bookmark, Knightstown, IN, 1980
BELMONT COUNTY was established September 7, 1801, by proclamation of Gov. St. Clair, being the ninth county formed in the Northwestern Territory. The name is derived from two French words signifying a fine mountain. It is a very hilly, picturesque tract and contains much excellent land. Area 500 square miles. In 1885 the acres cultivated were 112,269; pasture, 136,301; woodland, 81,396; lying waste, 8,684; produced in wheat, 83,141 bushels; corn, 1,095,664; tobacco, 1,425,866 pounds; butter, 743,059; apples, 323,137 bushels; wool, 725,463 pounds; grapes, 229,360; cattle, 22,730; sheep, 158,121; coal, 573,779 tons. School census 1886, 18,236; teachers, 275. It has 113 miles of railroad: TOWNSHIPS AND CENSUS. 1840. 1880. Colerain, 1,389 1,499 Flushing, 1,683 1,705 Goshen, 1,882 2,208 Kirkwood, 2,280 2,028 Mead, 1,496 1,970 Pease, 2,449 8,819 Pultney, 1,747 10,492 Richland, 3,735 4,361 Smith, 1,956 1,977 Somerset, 1,932 2,241 Union, 2,127 1,686 Warren, 2,410 4,531 Washington, 1,388 1,633 Wayne, 1,734 1,719 Wheeling, 1,389 1,349 York, 129 1,420 Population in 1820 was 20,329; in 1840, 30,902; in 1860, 36,398; in 1880, 49,638, of whom 38,233 were Ohio-born. Belmont county was one of the earliest settled within the State of Ohio, and the scene of several desperate encounters with the Indians. About 1790, or perhaps two or three years later, a fort called Dillie's fort was erected on the west side of the Ohio, opposite Grave creek. About 250 yards helow this fort an old man named Tate was shot down by the Indians very early in the morning as he was opening his door. His daughter-in-law and grandson pulled him in and barred the door. The Indians, endeavoring to force it open were kept out for some time by the exertions of the boy and woman. They at length fired through and wounded the boy. The woman was shot from the outside as she endeavored to escape up chimney, and fell into the fire. The boy, who had hid behind some barrels, ran and pulled her out, and returned again to his hiding-place. The Indians now effected an entrance, killed a girl as they came in, and scalped the three they had shot. They then went out behind that side of the house from the fort. The boy, who had been wounded in the mouth, embraced the opportunity and escaped to the fort. The Indians, twelve or thirteen in number, went off unmolested, although the men in the fort had witnessed the transaction and had sufficient force to engage with them. Captina creek is a considerable stream entering the Ohio, near the southeast angle of Belmont. On its banks at an early day a sanguinary contest took place known as "the battle of Captina." Its incidents have often and variously been given. We here relate them as they fell from the lips of Martin Baker, of Monroe, who was at that time a lad of about twelve years of age in Baker's fort: The Battle of Captina. - One mile below the mouth of Captina, on the Virginia shore, was Baker's fort, So named from my father. One morning in May, 1794, four men were sent over according to the custom, to the Ohio side to reconnoitre. They were Adam Miller, John Daniels, Isaac M'Cowan, and John Shoptaw. Miller and Daniels took up stream, the other two down. The upper scout were soon attacked by Indians, and Miller killed; Daniels ran up Captina about three miles, but being weak from the loss of blood issuing from a wound in his arm was taken prisoner, carried into captivity, and subsequently re¬ leased at the treaty of Greenville. The lower scout having discovered signs of the enemy, Shoptaw swam across the Ohio and escaped, but M'Gowan going up towards the canoe, was shot by Indians in ambush. Upon this he ran down to the bank and sprang into the water, pursued by the enemy, who overtook and scalped him. The firing being heard at the fort, they beat up for volunteers. There were about fifty men in the fort.. There being much reluctance among them to volunteer, my sister exclaimed, "She wouldn' t be a coward." This aroused the pride of my brother, John Baker, who before had determined not to go. He joined the others, fourteen in number, including Capt. Abram Enochs. They soon crossed the river, and went up Captina in single file, a distance of a mile and a half, following the Indian trail. The enemy had come back on their trails, and were in ambush on the hill-side awaiting their approach. When sufficiently near they fired upon our people, but being on an elevated position, their balls passed harmless over them. The whites then treed. Some of the Indians came hehiud, and shot Capt. Enochs and Mr. Hoffman. Our people soon retreated, and the Indians pursued but a short distance. On their retreat my brother was shot in the hip. Determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, he drew off one side and secreted himself in a hollow with a rock at his back, offering no chance for the enemy to approach but in front. Shortly after two guns were heard in quick succession; doubtless, one of them was fired by my brother, and from the signs afterwards, it was supposed he had killed an Indian. The next day the men turned out and visited the spot. Enochs, Hoffman, and John Baker were found dead and scalped. Enoch's bowels were torn out, his eyes and those of Hoffman screwed out with a wiping-stick. The dead were wrapped in white hickory bark and brought over to the Virginia shore, and buried in their bark coffins. There were about thirty Indians engaged in this action, and seven skeletons of their slain were found long after secreted in the crevices of rocks. M'Donald, in his biographical sketch of Governor M'Arthur, who was in the action, says that after the death of Capt. Enochs, M'Arthur, although the youngest man in the company, was unanimously called upon to direct the retreat. The wounded who were able to walk were placed in front, while M'Arthur with his Spartan band covered the retreat. The moment an Indian showed himself in pursuit he was fired upon, and generally, it is believed, with effect. The Indians were so severely handled that they gave up the pursuit. The Indians were commanded by the Shawnee chief, Charley Wilkey. He told the author (M'Donald) of this narrative that the battle of Captina was the most severe conflict he ever witnessed; that although he had the advantage of the ground and the first fire, he lost the most of his men, half of them having been either killed or wounded. The celebrated Indian hunter, Lewis Wetzel, was often through this region. Belmont has been the scene of at least two of the daring adventures of this far-famed borderer, which we here relate. The scene of the first was on Dunkard creek, and that of the second on the site of the National road, two and one half miles east of St. Clairsville, on the farm of Jno. B. Mechan, in whose family the place has been in the possession of since 1810: Fight at Dunkard's Creek. - While hunting,Wetzel fell in with a young hunter who lived on Dunkard's creek, and was persuaded to accompany him to his home. On their anival they found the house in ruins and all the family murdered, except a young woman who had been bred with them, and to whom the young man was ardently attached. She was taken alive, as was found by examining the trail of the enemy, who were three Indians and a white renegado. Burning with revenge, they followed the trail until opposite the mouth of Captina, where the enemy had crossed. They swam the stream, and discovered the Indians' camp, around the fires of which lay the enemy in careless repose. The young woman was apparently unhurt, but was making much moaning and lamentation. The young man, hardly able to restrain his rage, was for firing and rushing instantly upon them. Wetzel, more cautious, told him to wait until daylight, when there was a better chance of success in killing the whole party. At dawn the Indians prepared to depart. The young man selecting the white renegado and Wetzel the Indian, they both fired simultaneously with fatal effect. The young man rushed forward, knife in hand, to relieve the mistress of his affections, while Wetzel reloaded and pursued the two surviving Indians, who had taken to the woods, until they could ascertain the number of their enemies. Wetzel, as soon as he was discovered, discharged his rifle at random, in order to draw them from their covert. The ruse took effect, and, taking to his heels, he loaded as he ran, and suddenly wheeling about, discharged his rifle through the body of his nearest and unsuspecting enemy. The remaining Indian seeing the fate of his companion, and that his enemy's rifle was unloaded rushed forward with all energy, the prospect of prompt revenge being fairly before him. Wetzel led him on, dodging from tree to tree, until his rifle was again ready, when suddenly turning he fired, and his remaining enemy fell dead at his feet. After taking their scalps, Wetzel and his friend, with their rescued captive, returned in safety to the settlement. Fight at the Indian Springs - A short time after Crawford's defeat in 1782, Wetzel accompanied Thomas Mills, a soldier in that action, to obtain his horse, which he had left near the site of St. Clairsville. They were met by a party of about forty Indians at the Indian springs, two miles from St. Clairsville, on the road to Wheeling. Both parties discovered each other at the same moment, when Lewis instantly fired and killed an Indian, while the Indians wounded his companion in the heel, overtook and killed him. Four Indians pursued Wetzel. About half a mile beyond, one of the Indians having got in the pursuit within a few steps, Wetzel wheeled and shot him, and then continued the retreat. In less than a mile farther a second one came so close to him that, as he turned to fire, he caught the muzzle of his gun, when, after a severe struggle, Wetzel brought it to his chest, and, discharging it, his opponent fell dead. Wetzel still continued on his course, pursued by the two Indians. All three were pretty well fatigued, and often stopped and treed. After going something more than a mile Wetzel took advantage of an open ground, over which the Indians were passing, stopped suddenly to shoot the foremost, who thereupon sprang behind a small sapling. Wetzel fired and wounded him mortally. The remaining Indian then gave a little yell, exclaiming, "No catch that man; gun always loaded." After the peace of 1795 Wetzel pushed for the frontier, on the Mississippi where he could trap the beaver, hunt the buffalo and deer, and occasionally shoot an Indian, the object of his mortal hatred. He finally died, as he had lived, a free man of the forest. ST. CLAIRSVILLE IN 1846. - St. Clairsville, the county-seat, is situated on an elevated and romantic site, in a rich agricultural region, on the line of the National road, 11 miles west of Wheeling and 116 east of Columbus. It contains six places for public worship: 2 Friends, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, and 1 Union; one female seminary, twelve mercantile stores, two or three newspaper offices, H. Anderson's map~engraving and publishing establishment, and, in 1840, had 829 inhabitants. Cuming's tour, published in 1810, states that this town "was laid out in the woods by David Newell in 1801. On the south side of Newell's plat is an additional part laid out by William Matthews, which was incorporated with Newell's plat on the 23d of January, 1807, by the name of St. Clairsville." By the act of incorporation the following officers were appointed until the first stated meeting of the inhabitants should be held for an election, viz., John Patterson, President; Sterling Johnston, Recorder; Samuel Sullivan, Marshal; Groves Wm. Brown, John Brown, and Josiah Dillon, Trustees; William Cougliton, Collector; James Colwell, Treasurer, and Robert Griffith, Town Marshal. The view given was taken from an elevation west of the town, near the National road and Neiswanger's old tavern, shown on the extreme right. The building in the distanee, on the left, shaded by poplars, is the Friends' meeting-house; in the centre is shown the spire of the court-house, and on the right the tower of the Presbyterian church .- Old Edition. ST. CLAIRSVILLE, the county-seat, is on the St. Clairsville road, a short line connecting on the north with the C. L. & W. R. R., and on the south with the B. & O. R. R. County officers in 1888: Probate Judge, Issac H. Gaston; Clerk of Court, William B. Cash; Sheriff, Oliver F. Foulke; Prosecuting Attorney, Jesse W. Hollingsworth; Auditor, Redney R. Barrett; Treasurer, George Robinson; Recorder, John M. Beckett; Surveyor, Chalkley Dawson; Coroner, Andrew M. F. Boyd; Commissioners, William J. Berry, John C. Israel, Morris Cope. Newspapers: Belmont Chronicle, Republican, W. A. Hunt, editor; St. Clairsville Gazette, Democratic, Isaac M. Riley, editor. Bank: First National Bank, David Brown, president, J. R. Mitchell, cashier. Churches : 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, and 1 United Presbyterian. Population in 1880, 1,128. School census 1886, 407; L. H. Watters, superintendent. The village has increased but little in the last forty years. Recently a magnificent court-house has been erected, at an expense of about $200,000. In the spring of 1887 St. Clairsville was visited by the most severe tornado known in Eastern Ohio, which did much damage. Although always small in population, the town has long been regarded, from the eminent characters who have dwelt in the place, as an intellectual centre. St. Clairsville derives its name fiom the unfortunate but meritorious Arthur St. Clair. He was born in Scotland, in 1734, and after receiving a classical education in one of the most celebrated universities of his native country, studied medicine; but having a taste for military pursuits, he sought and obtained a subaltern's appointment, and was with Wolfe in the storming of Quebec. After the peace of 1763 he was assigned the command of Fort Ligonier, in Pennsylvania, and received there a grant of l,000 acres. Prior to the Revolutionary war he held several civil offices. His military skill and experience, intelligence and integrity were such that, when the revolutionary war commenced, he was appointed Colonel of Continentals. In August, 1776, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier, and bore an active part in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. He was subsequently created a Major-General, and ordered to repair to Ticonderoga, where he commanded the garrison and, on the approacb of Burgoyne’s army, abandoned it. Charges of cowardice, incapacity and treachery were brought against him in consequence. He was tried by a court-martial, who, with all the facts before them, acquitted him, accompanyingtheir report with the declaration that “Major-General St. Clair is acquitted, with the highest honor, of the charges against him." Congress subsequently, with an unanimous voice, confirmed this sentence. The facts were, that the works were incomplete and incapable of being defended against the whole British army, and although St. Clair might have gained great applause by a brave attempt at defence, yet it would have resulted in the death of many of his men and probably the capture of the remainder; a loss which, it was afterwards believed in camp, and perhaps foreseen by St. Clair, would have prevented the taking of Burgoyne's army. In daring to do an unpopular act, for the public good, St. Clair exhibited a high degree of moral courage, and deserves more honor than he who wins a battle. St. Clair served with reputation, until the close of the war. In 1785, while residing on his farm, at Ligionier, he was appointed a delegate to the Continental Congress, and was soon after chosen president of that august body. After the passage of the ordinance for the government of the Northwestern Territory he was made governor, and continued in the office until within a few weeks of the termination of the territorial form of government, in the winter of 1802-3, when he was removed by President Jefferson. The remainder of the sketch of Gov. St. Clair we give in extracts from the notes of Judge Burnet, who was personally acquainted with him. Beside being clearly and beautifully written, it contains important facts in the legislative history of Ohio. During the continuance of the first grade of that imperfect government, he enjoyed the respect and confidence of every class of the people. He was plain and simple in his dress and equipage, open and frank in his manners, and accessible to persons of every rank. In these respects he exhibited a striking contrast with the secretary, Col. Sargent; and that contrast, in some measure, increased his popularity, which he retained unimpaired till after the commencement of the first session of the legislature. During that session he manifested a strong desire to enlarge his own powers, and restrict those of the assembly; which was the more noticed, as he had opposed the usurpations of the legislative council, composed of himself, or in his absence. the secretary, and the Judges of the General Court; and had taken an early opportunity of submitting his views on that subject to the general assembly. . . . The effect of the construction he gave, of his own powers, may be seen in the fact that of the thirty bills passed by the two houses during the first session, and sent to him for his approval, he refused his assent to eleven; some of which were supposed to be of much importance, and all of them calculated, more or less, to advance the public interest. Some of them he rejected because they related to the establishment of new counties; others, because he thought they were unnecessary or inexpedient. Thus more than a third of the fruits of the labor of that entire session was lost, by the exercise of the arbitrary discretion of one man. This, and some other occurrences of a similar character which were manifest deviations from his usual course not easily accounted for, multiplied his opponents very rapidly, and rendered it more difficult for his friends to defend and sustain him. They also created a state of bad feeling between the legislative and executive branches, and eventually terminated in his removal from office, before the expiration of the territorial government. The governor was unquestionably a man of superior talents, of extensive information and of great uprightness of purpose, as well as suavity of manners. His general course, in the main correct, was in some respects injurious to his own popularity ; but it was the result of an honest exercise of his judgment. He not only believed that the power he claimed belonged legitimately to the executive, but was convinced that the manner in which he exercised it was imposed on him as a duty by the ordinance, and was calculated to advance the best interests of the Territory. Soon after the governor was removed from office he returned to the Ligonier valley, poor and destitute of the means of subsistence, and unfortunately too much disabled by age and infirmity to embark in any kind of active business. During his administration of the territorial government he was induced to make himself personally liable for the purchase of a number of pack-horses and other articles necessary to fit out an expedition against the Indians, to an amount of some two or three thousand dollars, which he was afterwards compelled to pay. Having no use for the money at the time, he did not present his claim to the government. After he was removed from office, he looked to that fund as his dependence for future subsistence, and, under a full expectation of receiving it, he repaired to Washington City, and presented his account to the proper officer of the treasury. To his utter surprise and disappointment it was rejected, on the mortifying ground that, admitting it to have been originally correct, it was barred by the statute; and that the time which had elapsed afforded the highest presumption that it had been settled although no voucher or memorandum to that effect could be found in tbe department. To counteract the alleged presumption of payment, the original vouchers showinmg the purchase, the purpose to which the property was applied, and the payment of the money, were exhibited. It was, however, still insisted that, as the transaction was an old one, and had taken place before the burning of the war office in Philadelphia, the lapse of time furnished satisfactory evidence that the claim must have been settled, and the vouchers destroyed in that conflagration. The pride of the old veteran was deeply wounded by the ground on which his claim was refused, and he was induced from that consideration, as well as by the pressure of poverty and want, to persevere in his efforts to maintain the justice and equity of his demand, still hoping that presumption would give way to truth. For the purpose of getting rid of his solicitations Congress passed an act, purporting to be an act for his relief; but which merely removed the technical objection, founded on lapse of time, by authorizing a settlement of his demands, regardless of the limitation. This step seemed necessary, to preserve their own character; but it left the worn out veteran still at the mercy of the accounting officers of the department, from whom he had nothing to expect but disappointment. During the same session a bill was introduced into the House of Representatives, granting him an annuity, which was rejected, on the third reading, by a vote of 48 to 50. After spending the principal part of two sessions in useless efforts, subsisting during the time on the bounty of his friends, he abandoned the pursuit in despair and returned to the Ligonier valley, where he lived several years in the most abject poverty, in the family of a widowed daughter, as destitute as himself. At length Pennsylvania, his adopted State, from considerations of personal respect and gratitude for past services, as well as from a laudable feeling of State pride, settled on him an annuity of $300, which was soon after raised to $650. That act of beneficence gave to the gallant old soldier a comfortable subsistence for the little remnant of his days which then remained. The honor resulting to the State from that step was very much enhanced by the fact that the individual on whom their bounty was bestowed was a foreigner, and was known to be a warm opponent, in politics, to the great majority of. the legislature and their constituents. He lived, however, but a short time to enjoy the bounty. On the 31st of August, 1818, that venerable officer of the Revolution, after a long, brilliant and useful life, died of an injuiy occasioned by the running away of his horse, near Greensburgh, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. Charles Hammond, long an honored member of the county bar, was born in Maryland, and came to Belmont county in 1801 and was appointed prosecuting attorney for the Northwest Territory. During the war of 1812 he published the Federalist at St. Clairsville. In 1824 he removed to Cincinnati and attained a high position as editor of the Cincinnati Gazette. He was the author of the political essays signed "Hampden," published in the National Intelligencer in 1820, upon the Federal Constitution, which were highly complimented by Jefferson. He died in Cincinnati, in 1840, where he was regarded as the ablest man that had wielded the editorial pen known to the history of Ohio. "I know of no writer," writes Mansfield, "who could express an idea so clearly and so briefly. He wrote the pure old English - the vernacular tongue, unmixed with French or Latin phrases or idioms, and unperverted with any scholastic logic. His language was like himself - plain, sensible and unaffected. His force, however, lay not so much in this as in his truth, honesty and courage, those moral qualities which made him distinguished at that day and would distinguish him now. His opposition to slavery and its influence on the government was firm, consistent and powerful. Probably no public writer did more than he to form a just and reasonable anti-slavery sentiment. In fine, as a writer of great ability, and a man of large acquirements and singular integrity, Hanimond was scarcely equalled by any man of his time. St. Clairsville is identified with the history of BENJAMIN LUNDY, who has been called the "Father of Abolitionism," for he first set in motion those moral forces which eventually resulted in the overthrow of American slavery. He was of Quaker parents, and was born on a farm in Hardwick, Sussex county, N. J., January 4, 1789. When nineteen years old, working as an apprentice to a saddler in Wheeling, his attention was first directed to the horrors of slavery by the constant sight of gangs of slaves driven in chains through the streets on their way to the South, for Wheeling was the great thoroughfare from Virginia for transporting slaves to the cotton plantations. He entered at this time in his diary: "I hear the wail of the captive; I felt his pang of distress, and the iron entered my soul." Lundy married, settled in St. Clairsville, working at his trade, and soon began his life-work, the abolition of slavery, finally learning in later years the printer's trade to better effect his purpose. He formed an anti-slavery society here in 1815 when twenty-six years old, called 'the Union Humane Society," which grew from six to near five hundred members, and wrote an appeal to philanthropists through-out the Union to organize similar co-operating societies. He had written numerous articles for The Philanthropist, a small paper edited at Mt. Pleasant, in Jefferson county, by Charles Osborne, a Friend, and then sold his saddlery stock and business at a ruinous sacrifice to join Osborne and increase the efficiency of his paper. In 1819 he removed to St. Louis where the Missouri question - the admission of Missouri into the union with or without slavery - was attracting universal attention, and devoted himself to an exposition of the evils of slavery in the newspapers of that State and Illinois. In 1822 he walked back all the way to Ohio to find that Osborne had sold out his paper, when he started another, a monthly, with six subscribers which he had printed at Steubenville and called the Genius of Universal Emancipation. This was soon removed to Jonesboro, East Tennessee, and in 1824 to Baltimore, to which place he walked and held on his way, in the States of South and North Carolina and Virginia, anti-slavery meetings among Quakers and formed abolition societies among them. In 1828 he visited Boston and by his lectures enlisted Wm. Lloyd Garrson in the abolition cause and engaged him to become his associate editor. By this time Lundy had formed by lecturing and correspondence more than one hundred societies for the gradual though total abolition of slavery." In the winter of 1828-29 he was assaulted and nearly killed in Baltimore by Austin Woolfolk, a slave-dealer. He was driven out of Baltimore and finally established his paper in Philadelphia, where his property was burnt in 1838 by the pro-slavery mob that fired Pennsylvania Hall. The following winter he died in La Salle, Illinois, where he was about to re-establish his paper. In his personal appearance Lundy gave no indication of the wonderful force of character he possessed. He was about five feet five inches in stature, very slenderly built, light eyes and light curly hair and hard of hearing. He was gentle and mild and persuasive with pity, not only for the slave, but he ever treated the slave-holders with the kindliest consideration.
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