HISTORY OF PERRY COUNTY

CHAPTER V.

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,

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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.

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