HISTORY OF PERRY COUNTY
NATIONALITY AND RACES.
The first settlers of Perry county, as a class, were Pennsylvania Germans. They located chiefly in Thorn, Reading, and Hopewell townships. Notwithstanding subsequent modifications, from various causes, the impress of the original type is very perceivable in Thorn, and much of Hopewell and Reading, at the present day. Industry, frugality, and thrift characterize these people and their descendants in an eminent degree. Along with the Pennsylvania Germans, or very soon after them, came other Pennsylvanians, of English descent; also Virginians and Marylanders, who were not German, who settled principally in Reading, Madison, Harrison, Clayton, Pike, Jackson, Saltlick, Monday-creek, and Bearfield. There were many exceptions, of course; but, as a class, these emigrants were light haired, with fair complexions and blue eyes. Some of them also settled in Thorn and Hopewell townships, in near proximity to their good neighbors, the Pennsylvania Germans. A little later, and not long after 1820, came a very considerable influx of people of Irish birth or parentage, who settled in something like colonies or groups, mostly in Jackson, Reading, Pike, Clayton, Harrison, Monroe, and Monday-creek townships. Previous to this time a considerable number of Scotch Irish, or their descendants, had sought and obtained homes in various parts of the county. There was also, about this time, and before and after, a considerable sprinkling of English, Scotch, German, and French, direct from the old country. The county also received some population from the New England States, and from New York, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Canada and Nova Scotia also added to its numbers. As a matter of course, many persons came in from adjoining, neighboring, or even distant counties of Ohio, and these and other causes have contributed still further to making the present population of Perry one of mixed nationality and race. From 1840 to 1869 there was no sudden or marked change in the elements of population; but, soon after the latter date, the coal and iron development began, the mining towns grew with astonishing rapidity, and their inhabitants almost all came from outside the county. The Welsh, a race who had before made no foothold, now came in large numbers, erected churches, bought houses, and became, in every way, a factor in the permanent population. There was also an influx of English, Norwegian, and men of other nationalities of the Caucasian race. There has also come in a colored population, at Rendville and Corning, of nearly one thousand, and probably a majority of them from Meigs county, Ohio, and West Virginia, while others are from widely separated places, and some from distant southern States. The opening of mines at Buckingham and Hemlock, on the west branch of Sunday creek, was signalized by the introduction of a colony direct from Germany,
consisting of about one thousand persons, and embracing about seven hundred active German miners. This large concentrated German element, if it meets with no bad luck, will make its impress on the population of the region, which will be easily perceptible half a century from now. Of course, the building up of the mining towns has brought in many tradesmen, shopkeepers, and merchants, from various cities, towns, and villages, in different States; and this adds yet further to the mixed and varied character of the people; and this state of affairs is likely to be increased, rather than diminished, by events that are now clearly foreshadowed. Intermarriages between the different classes of people referred to, except the colored race, have, in some respects, been the rule, rather than the exception; while, in other cases, the rule has been the other way, though the exceptions have been numerous. The marriages of persons of Irish descent with other races has probably been less frequent than any other mixed marriages, in proportion to numbers; but the exceptions are very numerous, where persons of this race have married with Germans or English, or their descendants, and sometimes with other races. There is no other county in Ohio, outside of the large cities, that contains such a diversified population as Perry, as regards race, descent, or intermarriage. It is also worthy of note that, in most cases, it is next to impossible in the second or third generation, even of unmixed blood, to distinguish the race to which the youth belong. All races and people assimilate, and, in a little while, instead of speaking the mother tongue or dialect, and having the distinctive habits and customs of clans or factions of Old World origin, they become identified as an integral part of the great Anglo-Saxon race, which has, apparently, just commenced its influence and work upon the earth. While losing none of the intellect or virtues of the Old World ancestors, their descendants are quick to take in all the benefits and acquirements of better opportunities for self improvement in the American Republic of the New World. This assimilation of diverse nationalities is carried on faster in a rural and town population, like that of Perry county, than it is in large cities, where there is more disposition and better facilities for maintaining class societies and keeping up Old World habits and customs.