PERRY COUNTY was formed March 1, 1817, from Washington, Muskingum
and Fairfield, and named from Commodore Oliver H. Perry. The surface is
mostly rolling, and in the South hilly; the soil is clayey, and in the middle and
northern part fertile.
Area about 410 square miles. In 1887 the acres cultivated were 66,700;
in pasture, 102,176; woodland, 33,929; lying waste, 2,487; produced in wheat,
159,585 bushels; rye, 2,898; buckwheat, 212; oats, 54,621; barley, 108;
corn, 517,542; meadow hay, 23,029 tons; clover hay, 883; potatoes, 34,286
bushels; tobacco, 500 lbs.; butter, 431,940; sorghum, 2,087 gallons; maple
syrup, 11,472; honey, 3,005 lbs.; eggs, 370,713 dozen; grapes, 20,286 lbs.;
wine, 270 gallons; sweet potatoes, 1,643 bushels; apples, 3,944; peaches,
1,017; pears, 622; wool, 334,183 lbs.; milch cows owned, 4,747. Ohio min-
ing statistics, 1888: Coal mined, 1,736,805 tons, employing 3,301 miners and
433 outside employees; iron ore, 10,129 tons; fire-clay, 45 tons; limestone, 4,217
tons burned for fluxing.
School census, 1888, 8,063; teachers, 195. Miles of railroad track, 139.
|TOWNSHIPS AND CENSUS.
||TOWNSHIPS AND CENSUS.
Population of Perry in 1820 was 8,459; 1830,14,063;
1840,19,340; 1860, 19,678; 1880, 28,218, of whom 22,528 were born in Ohio; 1,165, Pennsylvania; 523, Virginia;
149, Kentucky; 136, New York; 48, Indiana; 1,346, England and Wales; 925, Ireland; 269, Scotland; 249, German Empire;
56, British America; 39, France; and 17, Sweden and Norway. Census of 1890, 31,151.
COAL AND IRON.
Perry is the largest coal-producing county in the State. It also produces
large quantities of hematite iron ore. A few miles south of McLuney Station,
Bearfield township, a valuable deposit of black-band ore has been discovered and
quite extensively worked on the Whitlock farm, for Moxahala furnace. Within
three miles of New Lexington, the so-called Baird ore is mined quite extensively
on many farms. It has been demonstrated that the Baird ore of Perry county
is the limestone ore of the Hanging Rock district.
Monday Creek, Salt Lick, Coal and Monroe townships belong to the Hocking
Valley coal field, constituting an important portion of what is known as the
"Great Vein" territory, in which the Middle Kittanning seam ranges from five
to thirteen and one-half feet in thickness.
The coal mines of the northern and central townships of Perry are similar in
character to those of Muskingum county; they are specially adapted to domestic
uses and for making steam. The Columbus and Eastern railroad is doing much
for the development of the coal fields of this region.
This county was first settled by Pennsylvania Germans, about the years 1802
and 1803. Of the early settlers the names of the following are recollected; John
Hammond, David Pugh, Robt. McClung, Isaac Brown, John and Anthony
Clayton, Isaac Reynolds, Daniel Shearer, Peter Overmyer, Adam Binckley, Wm.
and Jacob Dusenbury, John Poorman, John Finck, Daniel Parkinson, John
Lashley, Peter Dittoe, John Dittoe, and Michael Dittoe. The first church
erected in the county was at New Reading;, it was a Lutheran church, of which
the Rev. Mr. Foster was the pastor; shortly after, a Baptist church was built
about three miles east of Somerset.
The road through this county was, "from 1800 to 1815, the great thoroughfare
between Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and the Eastern States, or until steamboat
navigation created a new era in the history of travellers---a perpetual stream of
VIEW AT THE COAL MINES, SHAWNEE.
emigrants rolled Westward along its course, giving constant occupation to hundreds
of tavern-keepers, seated at short distances along its borders and consuming all
the spare grain raised by the inhabitants for many miles north and south of its
line. Groups of merchants on horseback with led horses, laden with Spanish
dollars, travelled by easy stages every spring and autumn along its route, congre-
gated in parties of ten or twenty individuals, for mutual protection, and armed
with dirks, pocket pistols, and pistols in holsters, as robberies sometimes took
place in the more wilderness parts of the road. The goods, when purchased, were
wagoned to Pittsburg and sent in large flat boats, or keel boats, to their destina-
tion below, while the merchant returned on horseback to his home, occupying
eight or ten weeks in the whole tour."
Somerset in 1846.---Somerset, the county-seat, is forty-three miles easterly from
Columbus, on the Macadamized road leading from Zanesville to Lancaster, from
each of which it is eighteen miles, or midway, which circumstance gave it, when
originally laid out, the name of Middletown.
In 1807 John Finck erected the first log-cabin in the vicinity of this place.
Having purchased a half-section of land he laid out, in 1810, the eastern part of
the town; the western part was laid out by Jacob Miller. They became the first
settlers; the first died about eleven and the last about twenty years since. The
present name, Somerset, was derived from Somerset, Penn., from which place and
vicinity most of the early settlers came. The board of directors of the Lutheran
seminary at Columbus have voted to remove it to this place. The town contains
1 Lutheran, 2 Catholic and 1 Methodist church; 1 iron foundry, 1 tobacco ware-
house, 3 newspaper printing offices, 16 mercantile stores and about 1,400 inhabi-
tants. A very large proportion of the population of the county are Catholics.
They have in the town a nunnery, to which is attached St. Mary's seminary, a
school for young females. It is well conducted and many Protestant families send
their daughters here to be educated.---Old Edition.
About two miles south of Somerset are the buildings shown in the annexed
view. The elegant building in the centre is St. Joseph's church, recently erected;
on the right is seen the convent building; the structure partly shown beyond St.
Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.
SAINT JOSEPH'S CHURCH AND CONVENT.
Joseph's church is the oldest Catholic church in the State, the history of which
we give in an extract from an article in the United States Catholic Magazine for
January, 1847, entitled "The Catholic Church in Ohio."
At this place a number of young men are being educated for the
priesthood of the Dominican order. A large library is connected with the institution, which affords facilities
to the students in becoming acquainted with church history and literature. Among them are the writings of many
of the fathers and rare books, some of which were printed before the discovery of America.--- Old Edition.
The first chapel of which we have any
authentic record that was ever consecrated to
Almighty God within our borders was St.
Joseph's, in Perry county, which was solemnly
blessed on the 6th of December, 1818, by
Rev. Edward Fenwick and his nephew, Rev.
N. D. Young, of the order of St. Dominic,
both natives of Maryland, and deriving their
jurisdiction from the venerable Dr. Flaget,
who was then the only bishop between the
Alleghenies and the Mississippi. This chapel
was first built of logs, to which an addition of
stone was subsequently made, so that it was
for a considerable time "partly logs and
partly stone." When the congregation,
which consisted of only ten families when
the chapel was first opened, had increased in
number, the logs disappeared and a new
addition, or to speak more correctly, a
separate church of brick, marked the prog-
ress of improvement and afforded new
facilities for the accommodation of the faith-
ful. An humble convent, whose reverend
inmates, one American, N. D. Young, one
Irishman, Thomas Martin, and one Belgian,
Vincent de Rymacher, cheerfully shared in
all the hardships and privations incident to
the new colony, was erected near the church,
and from its peaceful precincts the saving
truths of faith were conveyed and its divine
sacraments administered to many a weary
emigrant who had almost despaired of enjoy-
ing those blessings in the solitude which he
had selected for his home. The benedictions
of the poor and the refreshing dews of heaven
descended on the spiritual seed thus sown. It
increased and multiplied the hundred fold.
New congregations were formed in Somerset,
Lancaster, Zanesville, St. Barnabas, Morgan
county, Rehoboth and St. Patrick's, seven
miles from St. Joseph's, and in Sapp's settle-
ment and various other stations still more
distant was the white habit of St. Dominic
hailed by the lonely Catholic as the harbinger
of glad tidings and the symbol of the joy,
the purity and the triumphs which attest the
presence of the Holy Spirit and the fufilment
of the promises made by her divine founder
to the church.
THE PERRY COUNTY COURT-HOUSE, NEW LEXINGTON.
OLIVER H. PERRY.
Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.
CENTRAL VIEW IN SOMERSET.
The old County Court-House shown on the right is
yet standing, and M. F. Scott
still in his store ready for customers.
SOMERSET, for many years the county-seat, is seven miles northwest of New
Lexington, the present county-seat, on the Straitsville Branch of the B. & O. Rail-
road. City officers, 1888: D. O. Brunner, Mayor; Thomas Scanlon, Clerk;
Owen Yost, Solicitor; E. T. Droege, Treasurer; W. C. Weir, Marshal and Street
Commissioner. Newspaper: Press, Labor, W. P. Magruder, editor and publisher.
Churches: 1 Lutheran, 1 German Reformed, 1 Catholic and 1 Methodist. Pop-
ulation, 1880, 1,207. School census, 1888, 361; J. B. Phinney, school superin-
In the old description of Somerset we have spoken of the female academy of
St. Mary's. It has long been a famed institution. It was established at Somerset
in 1830 by Bishop Fenwick, the first Catholic Bishop of Cincinnati. Years after
our visit it was destroyed by fire, and it was removed to about four miles east of
the capital building at Columbus. It was incorporated in July, 1868, under the
direction of the Dominican Sisters. It is now widely known as the "Academy of
St. Mary of the Springs," and is a highly popular institution. It is near Alum
creek, a branch of the Scioto, and under the general charge of Bishop Watterson.
The building is large and commodious. "The location is unsurpassed in its salu-
brity and beauty of landscape; the distracting sights and sounds of the bustling
world are excluded by shady groves and sloping hills."
St. Joseph's Church, shown in the view taken in 1846, was also destroyed by
fire, but another replaces it and with a noble college building standing by it.
SOMERSET, May 21.---Somerset has changed but little. The old picture fits
even to this day. As I was making the drawing for it a brother of Phil Sheridan,
then 9 years old, on his way to school, looked over my shoulder as he now tells
me, while Phil himself was clerking it in the town somewhere---may be saw me
seated in a chair near A. Arndt's sign. The old sign has gone---no longer creaks
in the wind---catches no snow---gone, too, is Andy. Nobody lives forever. The
old court-house is still standing, with the same old inscription over the door, with
its Irish bull---
" Let Justice be Done IF the Heavens should
The one-story brown building beyond it exists now only in my picture; never
was a sparkling gem set in the brow of Somerset. It was Garlinger's grocery---a
great institution in the times of the thirsty and free fights.
Free fights.---Says an old citizen tome: "I remember one muster-day, about
forty years ago, seeing a crowd of men pouring out of that grocery and indulging
in a free fight, and all wearing red warmers, i. e., roundabout loose jackets of red
flannel. At that time there were often fights on the square. When parties had
a grievance, they would put off settling it until muster-day. Then they would
have it out, rough and tumble, often with rings around. The fight over, they
would become good friends again. Frequently these fights would be to see who
was the best man." "In those days, when any farmer was sick, his neighbors
would get in his crops and take good care of him."
" They do that now; don't they ? "
" No ! " he replied; " but they don't fight any more."
The sign " M. F. Scott," is gone, but the building is there, and so is M. F. Scott;
for I found him on an evening and had an hour's chat with him. Mr. Scott is a
small, hale, rosy-cheeked old gentleman, 74 years of age, hair of snow and never
was sick a day. I think he is of Irish extraction or birth. He told me he came
here in 1838, and paid $7 per 100 pounds freight for his goods from Philadelphia,
and "now," added he, "the charge being fifty cents, some of my neighbors com-
plain of the extortionate charges of railroads.
Phil. Sheridan’s Boyhood.---I asked about
Phil. Sheridan. He replied, "Sheridan was
a very bright, trusty boy. Before going to
West Point he clerked for various parties in
town; once clerked in this very store." I
asked, "How did he get his appointment ?"
"Why, he got it himself. There was a va-
cancy from this district, when he wrote to
Gen. Richey, our member of Congress, that
he wanted it." In speaking of it, years
afterwards, and just after Stone River,
Richey said: "It was at the close of the
Mexican war; the pressure upon me was so
tremendous for a cadetship, backed by strong,
influential recommendations, that I was in
great anxiety which way to move when I got
Phil.'s letter backed by no one. I knew him,
and it was so manly and so spirited that I
that very day went to the War Department
and ordered the warrant to be made out,
fearful that if I deferred it some malign in-
fluence would be brought to bear to make
me reject the application; and having done
it, I had a deep sense of relief."
The Boyhood Home of Sheridan.---The
next morning after this conversation I
sketched the boyhood home of Phil. Sheri-
dan. His father was a laboring man, and
took contracts for macadamizing the Na-
tional Road and other roads. The house
was occupied by the family in their more
humble days. In his later years he built a
neat cottage residence about half a mile south
of the town. He died at the age of 75 years
from blood-poisoning, which originated from
a kick at night in the wrist from a vicious
horse, the wound not healing.
The old homestead is but three minutes'
walk from M. F. Scott's store, and yet quite
out of town. Somerset, like the old towns
built upon the National Road, and like other
macadamized thoroughfares, consists mainly
of a single street with the buildings compact,
like poor pieces of cities set down in the
country. Such places have no pleasant vil-
lage aspects, and therefore make one sad in
thinking of what "might have been."
The main building of the old homestead
consists of three rooms only, and is unoccu-
pied and dilapidated, and we have tried to
make it look as it did in "Phil.'s" boyhood
days, and so have introduced the boy gallop-
ing on a horse around the corner, which is
supposed to be "Phil." as he then was, pre-
paring, unknown to himself, for that later
ride, "Up at morning, at break of day."
The wing this way, consisting of a single
room, was built in 1847, and is occupied by
Mr. Zortman and wife, laboring people.
Germans, of course, they are, for they had
flowers blooming in the windows of their
very humble home. I asked Mrs. Maggie
Morris, who lived next door, the name of the
street. She answered, "I don't know; some
call it the 'Happy alley.'" The Happy
alley has upon it out three or four houses,
and commands a grateful, open prospect of
green fields and sweet smelling slopes, falling
away down to the Hocking valley, fifteen
miles away to the south, and where, some
three years ago, one night, when the mills at
Logan were burned, the light was seen red-
dening the sky.
From here, on the left, over an apple or-
chard, quarter of a mile away, on a slight hill,
stands the old St. Mary's. It was a female
seminary, with nunnery attached. St Mary's
has been removed to Columbus. It brought
back pleasant recollections of hospitable en-
tertainment there, and at St. Joseph's, from
the Catholic Fathers and Sisters.
Talk upon Corn and Grapes.---From the
cottage I walked to the present Sheridan
homestead, half a mile south. Passed a
large field where two men and three boys
were hoeing open ground for corn, while two
girls were following them, planting. They
wore sunbonnets and their aprons were filled
with the kernels, which they held up with
one hand and dropped from the other---a
pleasant sight. My companion, Mr. ___, a
friend of the Sheridan family, said: "In
corn-planting the women and the girls often
help. Under the most favorable weather
corn will mature in ninety days from plant-
ing; sometimes it requires 120 days. The
ground must be right as to moisture. If too
wet, the corn will decay. The season being
short the planting has to be hurried; hence,
all of a family help. The heavy frost of
June 5, 1859, destroyed the wheat of this
region. Yet that was one of the most fruitful
years here known, for the entire population
turned out, put in varied crops, and, the au-
tumn being long and warm, everything
"Some fifteen or twenty years ago," he
continued, "there was a great furore here
abouts for planting grapes, the soil and cli-
mate seeming especially adapted to them,
the varieties being Catawba, Ives' Seedling,
Delaware and Concord, the last the most
prolific. Some parties went into it so largely
that it ruined them. For a while, wine was
made largely and sold even as low as eighteen
cents a gallon, and even then there was no
market. Physicians were anxious to pre-
scribe it, but Americans can't be taught to
drink sour wines."
The Sheridan Homestead.---I found this
to be a neat, simple cottage of wood with
eight rooms. It stands back about twenty
yards from the road, midst trees and shrub-
bery. Among these were evergreens and
honeysuckles climbing trellis-work. The lo-
cation of the cottage is in a small valley, in
front of a grove, now called "Sheridan’s
Grove." A big tree stands by the house.
marking the spot where, in the campaign of
1840, Harrison, Corwin, Ewing and Hamer
addressed political meetings. Here, too, in
the grove was held the first meeting of the
three years' men in the civil war.
The Mother of Sheridan, now in her 87th
year, is a short, slender, delicate woman, with
sparkling black eyes. She could not have
weighed over ninety pounds, erect, active
and sprightly as a girl. She was all volubility
and seemed overflowing with good spirits.
At lunch she asked me, "Please to take that
seat." I replied, "Any seat at the table
with the mother of Gen. Sheridan is an
honor." She gracefully bowed, smiled, and
gave a "Thank you, sir."
To a question, later, in the parlor, about
her son, she replied, "Oh, he's an Ohio boy."
The way she replied, "Oh, he's an Ohio
boy," showed she was filled with the sense
of the greatness of Ohio. Just as she an-
swered it, the subject was changed by my
companion, Mr. ___, a friend of the
family, interrupting. He took from the
shelf and showed me a war bonnet of the
Cheyennes. It was a gorgeous affair of fuss
and feathers, and the only garment which
those wild creatures wear when they go naked,
riding and whooping, into battle.
Among the curiosities in the house was the
ink stand used by Gen. Lee in signing the arti-
cles of surrender. In the parlor Mrs. Sheridan
showed me "Phil.'s''photograph in a line
with his staff, some fifteen or twenty young
men. With a single exception he was the
shortest of the group, and so worn down at
the close of the war, she said he weighed but
130 pounds. It was evident that Sheridan’s
activity of mind and person came from this
bright little woman. It is quite a satisfac-
tion to me that I have had interviews with
the mothers of both Sheridan and Grant---
the latter is given in Vol. 1., p. 333.
From the Sheridan place we continued our
walk to St. Joseph. The church shown in
the picture had been burnt and rebuilt, and
a new noble college building added. The
Fathers showed me a large billiard-room for
the recreation of the students, an innovation
upon the idea of the old time as to the pro-
prieties; also the library, which is famous
for its rare collection of ancient theological
South of St. Joseph the whole country
looms up into one huge rounded hill, dotted
with fields, forests and farms, and thus to the
eye ends the globe in that direction. St. Jo-
seph is a very secluded "shut-out-of-the-
world" spot. In my original visit I passed
over the Sabbath with the Fathers at St. Jo-
The Sisters were at St. Mary's and were
teachers in the seminary. Pleasant young
women I found them, social and kindly. One
with whom I conversed, I alone remember---
Sister Veronica. I inquired about her and
the answer was. "She died about seventeen
years ago;" and about Father Wilson, whom
I also met there, and the answer also was,
SISTER VERONICA is a pleasing memory of
a blue-eyed, fair-haired girl. I could not
well forget her, for she told me in such a
simple, artless way why she had that name
given to her, by relating the beautiful legend
on which it was founded, which we here give
for the reading of such as may never have
"As Christ was bearing the cross a woman
advanced from the crowd and taking her veil
from her head, wiped the sweat and blood
from his face and brow, when a miracle was
performed; an exact image of our Saviour's
face was printed thereon. Thereafter she
was called Veronica, the woman of the veil.
That concluded, she is one of the legends of
the church. It is not essential to our faith
that we should believe them."
FATHER WILSON was a different character,
but interesting. He was, I believe, New
England born, and I think from the State of
Maine. He had first gone from a carpenter's
bench into the ministry of the Methodist
church and then into that of the Catholic.
As is usual in such cases his zeal was propor-
tionate to the greatness of the change. He
invited me to hear him the Sunday I was
here. I remember only the opening words,
"In the world's great progress..." At
the same time he outstretched his palms and
carried into his preaching the shoutings and
mannerisms of an old-style Methodist camp-
meeting orator. This must have sometime
astonished his associate priests, being so differ-
ent from their own.
With tender sympathy he approached me on
the subject of my soul's salvation. I inquired
if after the manner of the Protestants would
not answer every practical purpose? He
shook his head. Thereupon. I said: "'I have
a cousin, a Protestant, a cashier in a bank;
his name, Amos Townsend. For years when
a young man, he boarded himself; lived on
the most frugal fare and dressed in simple
attire; this was to save money that he might
alleviate human woe. All his spare time was
given to religious ministrations and visiting
the poor and sick, and his purse was ever open
to objects of suffering. When well advanced
in life he married a woman who was his
counterpart; she had long been his helpmeet
in works of charity and they had grown into
each other's lives. Then he took a little
cottage and kept a horse and buggy. For his
own gratification ? Not in the least; but to
take out the sick poor that they might have
the benefit of fresh air and green fields. So
holy, pure and self-denying is he that his
townsmen look upon him as a wonder, the
single one man among them all who follows
to the last syllable the teachings of the 'Ser-
mon on the Mount.' He is small in person,
face sad, calm and saintly---so saintly that his
townsmen call him Saint Paul."
Having thus stated, I asked the reverend
father, "Where he would go when he died ?"
He replied, "Amos Townsend is doubtless
a good man. He has repented, but not
believed. He has fulfilled only a part of the
law, so can't be saved."
"Go to Purgatory? "
Upon this he simply nodded, but uttered
no dreadful word; neither did I.
Were Father Wilson living to-day he would
doubtless find that "in the world's great prog-
ress" his opinions had changed.
Furthermore, he would see that this world
is growing wiser, more humane as it grows
older. The angelic in man is rising. The
children are better than their fathers, because
wiser. With true religion, intelligence, and
not ignorance, must be considered the mother
of Devotion. The conception of a recluse of
the middle ages was weak compared to the
sublime thought which filled the soul of Car-
dinal Newman when he was brought to face
that ever unanswerable question, "Canst
thou by searching find out God?" Science
teaches Him in the universe and but supple-
ments and enlarges our conception of the
"Great First Cause least understood," the
all-soul-filling ONE. Justice is the armor of
love. In the ultimate, love must triumph.
God reigns. "God is love." These, my
lines, express in part my theology.
THE SUPREME POWER.
JEHOVAH moves the mighty worlds,
And spreads the silent stars in view,
With glory lights the summer clouds,
Beneath the beauteous dome of blue.
He whispers in the rustling leaves
And sparkles in the smiling morn;
Awakes the soul with sweetest strains,
And blesses from our very dawn.
|No woe betides and no storm alarms,
Offspring of His great, loving heart;
Cast in his celestial form
'Mid mystery all, we form a part;
While every sound that charms the ear,
And every scene that glads the eye---
Innocence, love and starry worlds---
Alike proclaim DIVINITY:---
Who spake, when light from darkness flashed,
Mountains from oceans skyward sprang.
While star sang unto star
As each in glory on its course began.
GENERAL PHILIP HENRY SHERIDAN
Born in Albany, New York, March 6, 1831, the son of Irish laboring people. Lived his
infancy and youth in Somerset, Ohio; was a clerk for a while in Somerset in the hardware
store of John Talbot and then in the dry-goods store of Finck & Dittoe, and from there
entered as a cadet the United States Military Academy, July 1, 1848. Graduated July 1,
1853, thirty-fourth in his class of fifty-two, of which James B. McPherson was the head,
and of which General Hood, of the Confederate, and Schofield, of the Union army, were also
members. Then he entered the army as Brevet Second Lieutenant, 1st Infantry, May 14,
1851; became Captain, 13th Infantry. In the volunteer service the ranks and dates of ap-
pointment were: May 25, 1862, Colonel, 2d Michigan Cavalry; July, 1862, Brigadier-
General; January 31, 1863, Major-General. In the regular army the dates and ranks were:
September 20, 1864, Brigadier-General; November 8, 1864, Major-General; March 4, 1869,
Lieutenant-General; June 1, 1888, General. Three officers only had before received this
commission, viz.: Washington, Grant and Sherman. He was the nineteenth General-in
chief of the United States army. For forty years---1848 to 1888---from Cadet to General, he
was in his country's service. He died, August 5, 1888, at Nonquitt, Mass., fifty-seven years
five months of age, and lies buried in the National Cemetery, Arlington, the greatest city of
the soldier's dead, and he the greatest soldier of them all. His grave is on the hill-slope,
overlooking the capital of his country, which he loved so well. In 1879 Sheridan married
Miss Lucker, the daughter of Daniel H. Lucker, of the United States army. He was a
Roman Catholic and devoted to his duties as such.
Sheridan never was defeated and often
plucked victory out of the jaws of defeat,
He was thoroughly trusted and admired, and
loved by his officers and men. He bore the
nickname of "Little Phil," a term of en-
dearment due to his size. like the "Petite
Corporal" of Napoleon I. He was below
the middle height, five feet five inches; but
powerfully built, with a strong countenance,
indicative of valor and resolution. His
energy and endurance were remarkable. He
could, when occasion required great efforts,
endure for long periods great physical strain
and loss of sleep.
It was frequently said that Sheridan had
seen the backs of more rebels than any other
federal General. This is doubtless true, and
of itself expresses as well as implies a good
deal. It was known that he was about equally
skilful in the command of artillery, cavalry
and infantry. He commanded in the East as
well as in the West and was popular and suc-
cessful with both armies. He changed the
cavalry arm of the service from an inefficient,
unreliable force, into a well-disciplined, in-
vincible, victorious army. He brought his
division---all there was left of it---intact out
of the deadly struggle in the tall cedars at
Stone river. Though badly cut up with
General McCook's corps at Chickamauga,
Sheridan rallied the remnant of his division
and proceeded to march in the direction of
the sound of General Thomas' guns.
It was Sheridan who changed the valley of
the Shenandoah from a valley of humiliation
into a land of triumph. After the Shenan-
doah was cleared of the enemy he was called
back to the main army in front of Richmond.
Drawn by Henry Howe in 1886.
PORTRAIT AND BOYHOOD HOME OF GENERAL SHERIDAN
Grant's whole operations during the summer
of 1864 and the early part of the year 1865,
had been little less than a series of bloody
disasters, and, as offensive movements, were
certainly not successful. Eventually, Grant
decided to make a last desperate effort to
break the rebel lines and General Sheridan
was selected to lead the momentous expedi-
tion. About three o'clock one morning Grant
called Sheridan from his bed and told him
what was to be done. "I want you to break
the rebel lines," says General Grant, "and if
yon fail go and join Sherman." "I'll make
the attempt," replies Sheridan," but I'll not
go to Sherman; I propose to end it right
here." Right there, in the breast of little
Phil Sheridan, was the crack of doom for the
Southern Confederacy, Sheridan’s command
charged at Five Forks, the hitherto invincible
lines of General Lee were broken, and Rich-
mond doomed. Lee's army was routed; re-
treated in great confusion and the Confederate
administration hastily deserted the rebel
capital. It was a great victory for the army
of the Potomac; but few dreamed---not even
General Grant---that the war was virtually
over. It was Sheridan who, with his accus-
tomed habit of following closely upon the
backs of the defeated rebels, at once discovered
the true condition of things and despatched
back to Grant: "Hurry up the troops; Lee
must surrender if closely pressed. I am
sure of it."
Meanwhile Sheridan had a sharp engage-
ment at or near Hanover Court-house, the
last stand Lee's ragged and brave veterans
ever made. Grant hurried up the troops and
Appomattox was the result.
From the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Ohio Commandery, issued in
memoriam of Sheridan, we extract these passages:
His humble birth and humble life to his cadetship was not the least important
in shaping his subsequent career. Though of foreign parentage he was imbued
with the true spirit of Americanism which possessed him in mature manhood to
a marked degree. The warm Irish blood flowing in his veins made service for
his country a passion as well as a duty.
General Sheridan, with true soldierly instinct, preferred to attack the enemy
and keep him employed, rather than to allow him time to make combinations and
execute his own plans.
A characteristic of General Sheridan, not common to many other commanders
on the field, and the one without doubt that enabled him to achieve success and
fame, was the quality of being more self-possessed and fuller of resources and
expedients in the tumult of the battle than at any other time. He gave con-
clusive evidence to those who observed him closely before and during a great and
severely contested field engagement of awakening to a higher degree of mental
power when danger was most imminent, than he displayed at any other time, or
under ordinary circumstances. His original plan of battle, as is common through
unforseen causes, might prove to be defective, or become impracticable; yet he
under such circumstances never became disconcerted or dismayed, and he was
always fortunate enough to instantaneously make a new plan of battle or other
new combinations, which were executed to meet the exigencies and to insure final
and complete success.
Success and generalship are synonyms in war.
He had no patience with mediocrity in an officer high in command---it was
not ordinary acts that were required to win a battle, but extraordinary ones, and
an officer incapable of such should be removed.
Shortly after General Grant took command of all the armies of the United
States, and on April 4, 1864, Sheridan was placed in command of the cavalry
corps operating with the Army of the Potomac. At once his superiority as a
cavalry officer showed itself. To confront him was the flower of the Confederate
cavalry under an active, renowned leader, with other experienced officers under
him. The pride of the South was in the efficiency and chivalry of its mounted
soldiers and their best were concentrated in the East.
General Sheridan decided to fight with the sword and thenceforth the carbine
and pistol became comparatively useless instruments in the hands of the enemy's
cavalry; as, in close conflicts or melee, friend was as likely to be shot as foe,
and the sabre wielded by the strong-armed Northern soldier was irresistible.
When confronted by infantry, he fought his cavalry dismounted, then using the
From the time this mode of warfare was put in practice to the end of the war,
Sheridan’s cavalry against a like arm of the service was invincible, regardless
of any disparity of numbers. We have the recent testimony of the present
Emperor of Germany that, in the manner of fighting cavalry and in the mode
of conducting campaigns, Sheridan has taught great military men new lessons
The greatest soldiers of modern Europe, Von Moltke and others, and
the most illustrious soldier of our own country, General Grant, have concurred
in pronouncing Sheridan the most accomplished of the great field-generals of
When, after the battle of Cedar Creek, in recognition of that great exploit,
Sheridan was commissioned to be Major-General in the regular army, the
veteran journalist, Chas. A. Dana, then Assistant Secretary of War, was de-
spatched with the commission from Washington to Sheridan’s camp, where he
arrived late that night. What followed he related, years after, in his paper the
New York Sun:
The next morning the General took me on
foot through his camp, and as we went among
the regiments and brigades and greeted old ac-
quaintances on every hand, I was everywhere
struck with the manifestations of the personal
attachment to Sheridan. I had not seen any-
thing like it in either of our great armies.
Grant, Sherman, Thomas, all moved among
their troops with every mark of respect and
confidence on the part of the men; but in
Sheridan’s camp it was quite different. They
seemed to regard him more as a boy regards
the father he believes in, relies on and loves,
than as soldiers are wont to regard their com-
mander. Finally, as we were completing our
morning's tour and had got nearly back to
headquarters, I said to him; "General, how
is this ? These men appear to have a special
affection for you, more than I have ever seen
displayed toward any other officer. What is
the reason ?"
"Well," said he, " I think I can tell you,
I always fight in the front rank myself, I
was long ago convinced that it would not do
for a commanding general to stay in the rear
of the troops and carry on a battle with paper
orders, as they do in the Army of the
Potomac. These men all know that where it
is hottest there I am, and they like it, and
that is the reason they like me."
"One thing more. General," I said. "Are
you afraid, or don't you care? What is the
real truth about it ?"
"The man who says he isn't afraid under
fire," he answered, "is a liar. I am damned
afraid, and if I followed my own impulse I
should turn and get out. It is all a question
of the power of the mind over the body."
This famous poem beginning with---
"Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,"
was a great factor in spreading the fame of Sheridan, and goes linked with it to
posterity, together with the name of Buchanan Read, the poet-painter, who wrote
it for James E. Murdoch, the elocutionist. Read died, May 11, 1872, in New
York, while Murdoch is still living in Cincinnati, where he is greatly respected,
and at the advanced age of eighty years.
The History of its production is thus given in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette
of July 17, 1887, by Henry W. Teetor:
"Sheridan’s Ride" was composed Mon-
day, November 1, 1864, in the front room of
a three-story brick building, yet standing,
and now known as No. 49 West Eighth
street, then occupied by Cyrus Garrett, Esq.,
brother-in-law of Mr. Read.
The simple story of the composition of the
famous ode is this: The evening of that day
had been set apart for the Murdoch ovation,
which took place at Pike's Opera-house. Mr.
B. D. Grafton, the eminent artist, had met
Garrett upon Fourth street in the morning and
handed him Harper's Weekly, containing the
picture of "Sheridan’s Ride to the Front."
After a word of conversation in regard to the
illustration, Garrett took the picture to his
residence and soon after the subject of the
celebrated ride, as sketched, came up. The
following is Mr. Murdoch's account of that
conversation, as told upon the stage by way of
a prelude to reading the poem: "During the
morning a friend with whom I was conversing
happened to pick up the last issue of Harper s
Weekly, on the title-page of which was the
picture of Sheridan. 'There's a poem in
that picture,' said my friend. 'Suppose I
have one written for you to read to-night ?'
'But,' I replied, 'I shall not have time to
look it over and catch its inner meaning and
beauties, and besides I am not in the habit
of reading a poem at night written in the
That friend was Cyrus Garrett, who had
previously familiarly said to his brother-in-
law, "Buck, there is a poem in that pic-
ture." To which Read replied, "Do you
suppose I can write a poem to order, just as
you go to Sprague's and order a coat?"
[It is Mr. Alexander Hill's impression, how-
ever, that this remark was also made by Mr.
Murdoch to Read.] After this Read and
Murdoch parted---Read to his room and Mur-
doch to his musings.
When Read retired to his room he said to
his wife: "Hattie, do not let me be inter-
rupted. I am not to be called even if the
house takes fire." During his seclusion Read
called for a cup of strong tea and then re-
sumed his pen. About noon his work was
done. The poem was given to his wife to
copy, while Read at once left home and, going
over to the studio of his friend, said,
'"Grafton, I have just written something
fresh---hot from the oven---and left Murdoch
committing it for a recitation to-night."
Concerning the reception of that poem, as
inimitably interpreted by Murdoch, the Com-
mercial's report was, "Peal after peal of en-
thusiasm punctuated the last three glowing
verses. So long and loud was the applause at
its end that Mr. Murdoch was called to the
footlights, and Mr. Read only escaped the
congratulations of the audience by refusing to
respond, as he could not adequately do, he
seemed to think, to the clamorous utterances
of his name."
A remark made by a prominent citizen
may also be given as indicating the effect upon
the audience. When the poem was ended
and Sheridan had "got there," with profound
relief the late William Resor said: "Thank
God ! I was afraid Sheridan would not get
"In a conversation with Read," said Mr.
Grafton to the writer, " I once ventured to
say, 'Read, did you take nothing but a pot of
black tea into your room with you when you
invoked the muse for 'Sheridan’s Ride ?'
To my surprise, in a most unexpected, placid
manner, he said: ' I took nothing else but
that. Let me confess to you a fact: I can
do nothing with the pen unless I am clear-
headed. I know,' he continued, 'that poem.
with its faults, came from no inspiration of
the bottle. I would like, however, to have
corrected some of those faults, but Bayard
Taylor advised me not to allow the least
change or emendation, but to let it stand as
written. ' The wisdom of this advice insured
its acceptance, and if I mistake not, it now
stands word for word as the muse gave it,
nothing to add or subtract."
"Mr. Read also said this to me: 'They
may talk what they choose about Byron,
Burns, Poe and others writing so finely under
the influence of drink, but I don't believe a
word of it. If the tongue does wag, the
brain will lag when much drink has been in-
dulged in, for then I have discovered I
am just about as dumb as a Prince's Bay
Not long before "Death bowed to him his
sable plume," Read thug wrote to his friend,
Henry C. Townsend, Esq.:
"I want to tell you now and solemnly that a
deep sense of my duty to my God, as well as
to my fellow-man, has gradually been descend-
ing upon me, and it is to me a source of in-
finite pleasure that I can look back upon all
the poetry I have ever written and find it
contains no line breathing a doubt upon the
blessed Trinity and the great Redemption of
man. When I have written my verses I have
been alone with my soul and with God, and
not only dared not lie, but the inspiration of
the truth was to me so beautiful that no un-
worthy thought dared obtrude itself upon the
page. This was entirely owing to the good-
ness of God, who saw what it was to be, and
saved me from subsequent mortification and
NEW LEXINGTON, county-seat of Perry, is about fifty miles southwest of Co-
lumbus, on the C. & M. V. and T. & O. C. Railroads. This town was laid out
in 1817, by James Comly, on farm land bought by him of Samuel Clayton, whose
farm it had been. Just before the outbreak of the Rebellion, after a struggle of
years with the people of Somerset, the county-seat was removed from that place
County officers, 1888: Auditor, Asbury F. Randolph; Clerk, Philip Allen;
Commissioners, Levi H. Kennedy, Z. S. Poulson, Joshua B. Larimer; Coroner,
Glen A. Emery; Infirmary Directors, James Danison, Charles Watts, William
T. Stevens; Probate Judge, Charles E. Spencer; Prosecuting Attorney, Maurice
H. Donahoe; Recorder, David E. McCloy; Sheriff, George W. Irvin; Surveyor,
John D. Minaugh; Treasurer, B. F. Rodgers. City officers, 1888: Edgar M.
Braddock, Mayor; Frank E. Fox, Clerk; Jas. W. Montgomery, Treasurer; A.
J. Robinson, Marshal; Jefferson Tracy, Street Commissioner; Henry D. Cochrain,
Solicitor. Newspapers: Democratic Herald, Democratic, Cullinan & Meloy,
editors and publishers; Tribune, Republican, J. F. McMahon, editor and pub-
lisher. Churches: 1 Methodist, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Catholic, 1 Lutheran and 2
Manufactures and Employees.---Oliver K. Granger, flour, etc., 3 hands; Starr
Manufacturing Co., Powers' feed grinders, 18, S. A. Arnold, flour and feed, 3;
Selden McGirr, doors, sash, etc., 5; D. C. Fowler, lumber, 3; Perry Creamery
Co., butter, 3.---State Report, 1888.
Population, 1880, 1,357. School census, 1888, 525; Celwin Fowler, school
superintendent. Capital invested-in manufacturing establishments, $43,000,
Value of annual product, $48,300.---Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888. Census,
The site of New Lexington is pleasant. It is on a gentle elevation, just south
of the "Pan Handle" Railroad. I entered it May 19, 1886. The best building
in the place was the school-house, an imposing brick structure on a commanding
site, the court-house then being unfinished. I noticed that north and east the
country consisted mostly of gently rolling hills, on whose surface were broad
fields luxuriant in growing wheat.
The one great absorbing point of interest connected with the place is that near
here was born one of the world's great heroes, and in the cemetery here were laid
his mortal remains, Sept. 9, 1884, and with great honors.
MACGAHAN, BULGARIA'S DELIVERER.
It is remarkable that a little interior county of Ohio should have produced two
such extraordinary characters in the line of heroism as Philip Henry Sheridan
and Januarius Aloysius MacGahan. Both were of Irish stock and both of Cath-
olic birth and training.
MacGahan was born June 12, 1844, on the Logan Road, about three miles
south of New Lexington, on what is known as Pigeon Roost Ridge. His father
was James MacGahan, a native of County Derry, Ireland, and his mother, Esther
Dempsey, of mixed Irish and German stock. They were married in St. Patrick's
Church, in 1840, and settled on a little farm near by. When MacGahan was 6
years old his father died, leaving the widow in straitened circumstances. But she
had a dower interest in the farm, and managed by struggling to get along with
her little flock, in her little cabin nestled among the hills and almost surrounded
by an unbroken forest.
MacGahan, as a boy in the district school, was far ahead in his studies, and he
is spoken of as the mildest-mannered boy of the school and neighborhood---almost
feminine and girlish in his ways and manners. He read all the books in the house
and neighborhood, and when a boy of about 12 got hold of Dick's works---a
great acquisition. Then, at night, he often wandered about, studying and locating
and naming the stars, as described by Dick; also, would frequently rise in the
morning, before daybreak, to see and locate the stars and planets not visible in
the early part of the night.
When about 14 years old he began working on farms in Hocking, Fairfield
and Fayette counties, returning winters with the money he had thus earned to
Pigeon Roost to attend school. In 1861 he applied to teach the Pigeon Roost
school, but was refused on the ground of youth and inexperience. He took this
to heart and left Pigeon Roost as a home forever, and went to Huntington, In-
There he got a school and taught with very great success two winters, aston-
ishing his patrons by using the word and object methods. Then he sent for his
mother and the rest of the family.
In the winter of 1863---64 he removed to St. Louis, where he remained four
years, studying and writing for the press and finding employment as book-keeper
in the house of John J. Daly & Co. While there, he met for the first time Gen.
Sheridan, and gave a brilliant description to the Huntington Democrat of a grand
ovation to that officer; later he met Sheridan in Europe.
In December, 1868, he sailed for Europe, to study the languages---Latin, Ger-
man and French---and with the ultimate design of returning to his native country
and practising the law.
Just at the juncture when he had his trunk
packed to return home, his funds being about
exhausted, the Franco-Prussian war broke
out, when he was engaged by the New York
Herald to go with the French army as its war
correspondent. He speedily procured a rough
suit, rode hastily to the front, and soon after
the wing of the army which he was with was
driven back with considerable haste and dis-
order. His graphic letter describing the re-
treat immediately placed its author among
the foremost war correspondents of the world.
He then made a similar engagement with the
London News. As a correspondent of these
journals MacGahan was in all the wars of
Europe for eight or ten years previous to his
death. He was an unparalleled correspond-
ent, for he seemed destitute of fear; would
ride into the midst of a battle with the com-
manding officers that he might truthfully
describe the thick of the fight---then, per-
chance, at times sit down under the shade of
a tree with bullets whistling all around, and
coolly spread out a lunch and partake thereof,
or make notes of tragic events as they were
transpiring around him.
His experiences, in variety, during the few
years of his foreign life, were not probably
ever equalled by any journalist, and never
did one accomplish so much, excepting Stan-
ley. These included his experience with the
Commune in Paris, when he was arrested
and condemned to death, and his life only
saved through the influence of United States
Minister Washburne; his travels through
Europe with Gen. Sherman and party in
1871-72; his long and lonesome journey
across the Asiatic country to Khiva in the
early part of 1873; his cruise on board of a
war ship on the Mediterranean, and his acci-
dental and unexpected visit with the same
to Cuba, Key West, New York and else-
where in the United States in the latter part
of 1873; his ten months with Don Carlos'
army in 1874; his capture by the Repub-
licans, who took him for a Carlist, and he
undoubtedly would have suffered death but
for the intervention of a United States rep-
resentative; his voyage to the Arctic seas
with the Pandora expedition in 1875; his
experience with the Turkish army, and his
memorable trip through Bulgaria in 1876;
his visit to St. Petersburg and subsequent
accompaniment of the Russian army to Bul-
garia in 1877, where he was everywhere
hailed as a liberator and deliverer; for the
grateful people ran after him as he rode
through the streets of the towns and villages
of that country, kissing his boots, saddle,
bridle, and even the little pet horse that he
rode. Archibald Forbes, the great English
writer and correspondent, who rode by his
side, says the grateful and affectionate demon-
strations of the people of Bulgaria towards
MacGahan, surpassed anything of the kind
he ever saw or imagined.
Forbes, who loved him as a brother, in an
article on MacGahan, pays this tribute to his
"MacGahan's work in the exposures of
the Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria, which he
carried out so thoroughly and effectively in
1876, produced very remarkable results.
Regarded simply on its literary merits, there
is nothing I know of to excel it in vividness,
in pathos, in a burning earnestness, in a
glow of conviction that fires from the heart
to the heart. His letters stirred Mr. Glad-
stone into a convulsive paroxysm of burning
revolt against the barbarities they described.
They moved England to its very depths, and
men travelling in railway carriages were to
be noticed with flushed faces and moistened
eyes as they read them. Lord Beaconsfield
tried to whistle down the wind the awful sig-
nificance of the disclosures made in those
wonderful letters. The master of jeers jibed
at, as 'coffee-house babble,' the revelations
that were making the nations to throb with
"A British official, Mr. Walter Baring,
was sent into Bulgaria on the track of the two
Americans, MacGahan and Schuyler, with
the intent to disparage their testimony by
the results of cold official investigation. But
lo ! Baring, official as he was, nevertheless
was an honest man with eyes and a heart;
and he who had been sent out on the mission
to curse MacGahan, blessed him instead alto-
gether, for he more than confirmed the latter's
figures and pictures of murder, brutality and
atrocity. It is not too much to say that this
Ohio boy, who worked on a farm in his youth
and picked up his education anyhow, changed
the face of Eastern Europe. When he began
to write of the Bulgarian atrocities, the Turk
swayed direct rule to the bank of the Danube,
and his suzerainty stretched to the Carpathi-
ans. Now Roumania owns no more the su-
zerainty, Servia is an independent kingdom,
Bulgaria is tributary but in name, and Rou-
melia is governed, not for the Turks, but for
the Roumelians. All this reform is the direct
and immediate outcome of the Russo-Turkish
"But what brought about the Russo-
Turkish war ? What forced the Czar, reluc-
tant as he was and inadequately prepared, to
cross the Danube and wage with varying for-
tune the war that brought his legions finally
to the very gates of Stamboul? The pas-
sionate, irresistible pressure of the Pan-Slav-
ist section of his subjects, burning with un-
governable fury against the ruthless Turk,
because of his cruelties on those brother
Slavs of Bulgaria and Roumelia; and the
man who told the world and those Russian
Slavs of those horrors---the man whose voice
rang out clear through the nations with its
burden of wrongs and shame and deviltry,
was no illustrious statesman, no famed lit-
terateur, but just this young American from
off the little farm in Perry county, Ohio."
MacGahan was preparing to attend and
write up the International Congress at Ber-
lin, when, declining to abandon a sick friend
at Constantinople, he was himself attacked
with the malignant fever that had prostrated
his friend, and died after a few days' illness,
June 9, 1878. Had he lived three days
longer he would have exactly completed his
MacGahan's meeting with the lady who
subsequently became his wife, is full of ro-
mance. He was travelling through the prov-
inces of Russia, along with Gen. Sherman
and party, when his horse stumbled and
threw him, spraining his ankle so severely
that he was taken to the nearest house, where
he was compelled to remain quiet for several
days. News of the accident, and the further
fact that the sufferer was a young stranger,
from a far-off country, brought many to see
him; among others a company of young girls
of whom one was Miss Barbara D'Elaguine.
MacGahan could not speak Russian at that
time, and the lady could not speak English.
Both could speak French, however, and that
was the language of their courtship. There
is one child of this marriage, a boy, born in
Spain in 1874, during the Carlist war. The
United States has been the home of widow
and son for several years.
Thursday, September 12, 1884, was an
ever-memorable day in New Lexington. It
was the occasion of the funeral of MacGahan,
who six years after his death was laid to rest
in his native land. His remains at Constan-
tinople were disinterred and brought by the
United States steamer "Powhatan" in an
outer casket to New York at the expense of
the Press Club of that city, and were accom-
panied here from thence by his widow and
child. They had previously lain in state in
the City Hall, New York, and in the State
Capitol, at Columbus.
Over 8,000 people were present, among
them about sixty representatives of the press
from various parts of the State. The streets
and houses were decorated with evergreen
arches and intermingled flags of black and
white. One large streamer bore the inscrip-
tion: BULGARIA'S LIBERATOR; and another,
REST IN THY NATIVE LAND. The casket
was taken into St. Rose's church. On it was
a handsome plate, bearing the inscription:
J. A. M A C G A H A N ;
BORN, JUNE 12, 1844,
DIED, JUNE 9, 1878.
At the head of the casket was placed a
large photograph of the dead journalist as
he appeared in life, in citizen's dress, and at
the foot was a full-length likeness of him in
the costume of a war correspondent, as he
roughed it with the boys or slept and dined
in the tents of generals.
In the church was conducted the religious
exercises, when Bishop Watterson preached
on the "Power and Responsibility of the
The following-named gentlemen acted as
Gen. James M. Comly, Toledo Telegram;
Senator John Evans, of Gallia county; D.
L. Bowersmith, of the O. S. Journal; S. J.
Flickinger, Cincinnati Enquirer; Senator
John O'Neil, Zanesville; Thomas Wetzler,
Ohio Eagle; Lecky Harper, Mt. Vernon
Banner; Hon. W. E. Finck, Somerset; Ed.
L. Davenport, Logan Republican Gazette;
Hon. J. L. Vance, Gallipolis Bulletin; Dr.
F. L. Flowers, Lancaster; Jas. T. Irvine,
Zanesville; James W. Newman, Secretary
of State; L. C. Smith, Shawnee Banner;
Capt. Charles N. Allen, Columbus; T. M.
Gaumer, Zanesville Signal; C. E. Bone-
brake, Springfield Globe.
About 11.30 the casket was brought out
of the church and the procession began to
form, under the direction of Hon. H. C.
Greiner, assisted by several aids, in the fol-
Platoon of G. A. R. men, with reversed
swords; Columbus Barracks Band; G, A.
R. Posts; Military organizations; Military
Band; Members of the Press; Committees
and Speakers; Pall-bearers; Hearse with
guard of honor; Relatives of deceased;
The guard of honor was composed of a de-
tachment of the New Lexington Guards.
After the usual religious rites at the
grave, the people gathered about the stand
which had been erected near by, to be used
for the public exercises. Hon. H. C. Greiner
took the chair and acted as President. The
exercises consisted of:
1st---Eulogy on Life and Character of J.
A. MacGahan, by E. S. Colborn.
2d---Poem, written for the occasion, by W.
3d---An Address on the Office of the
Newspaper Correspondent, by Silas H.
The New Lexington Tribune, from which
the foregoing sketch is largely taken, thus
The great event has come and gone and
the mortal remains of the famous Ohio boy,
who perished so honorably and bravely in a
far distant country, now repose in his native
The Nation, the State and the people of
this county have heartily united in paying a
just tribute to a brilliant genius, to a patient,
hard worker, to a brave, noble man, who
lived and toiled for others more than himself;
who freed a nation of people, who opened
the way for the story of the Cross, and who,
with his young wife and child awaiting his
return in Russia, stopped amid malaria and
malignant disease to lay down his life for a
When qualities like these cease to attract
the admiration and love of men and women,
the world will scarcely be worth living in, and
finis may be appropriately written upon its
The Central Press Association of Ohio,
after the funeral, organized to collect funds
for the erection of a monument to the
memory of their illustrious brother.
GEN. JAMES M. COMLY, journalist, was
descended from a family of Friends who
came to Philadelphia with William Penn, in
1682. His grandfather James and great-
uncle located, after the war of 1812, on the
site of New Lexington, which the latter laid
out. James was born there March 6, 1832.
He went to Columbus to learn the trade of
a printer, and was successively "devil,"
journeyman, foreman, local editor and finally,
editor and proprietor of the Ohio State
Journal. He was Colonel of the 23d Ohio,
Hayes' regiment; then General in the army,
postmaster of Columbus, and was subse-
quently appointed by President Hayes as
Minister to the Sandwich Islands. He after-
wards removed to Toledo and edited the
Toledo Commercial, and died July 26, 1887,
from wounds received in the late war, and
which had made his later life one of great
suffering, borne with noble fortitude.
General Comly had a high place among
Ohio's gifted men. The Memorial volume
published of his life and services bears this
motto, which truthfully characterized him;
"Whose wit in the combat, as gentle as
Ne'er carried a heart-stain away on its
And his old commander, Rutherford B.
Hayes, in the same memorial work, gives
this testimony; "Knowing General Comly
intimately more than twenty-five years, and
specially having lived by his side day and
night during almost the whole of the war, it
would be strange indeed if I did not deem
it a privilege and a labor of love to unite with
his comrades in strewing flowers on the grave
of one whose talents and achievements were
so ample and admirable and whose life and
character were rounded to a completeness
rarely found among the best and most gifted
STEPHEN BENTON ELKINS, the eminent
politician of the Republican party and rail-
road magnate, was born in Thorn township,
September 26, 1841; removed when very
young to Missouri and eventually to New
York City, JACOB STRAWN was one of the
early settlers of the same township; removed
to Illinois, and at the time of his death
became there the greatest cattle owner in the
world. JOHN W. ILIFF, was born and brought
up in Harrison township; removed to Col-
orado; received there the name of the
"Cattle King," for he also, in turn, became
the greatest cattle owner in the world. He
died leaving an estate valued at two millions.
WALTER C. HOOD, pronounced "a walking
library and dictionary," was born at Somer-
set, and died while honoring the position of
State Librarian under Governor Allen.
OLIVER HAZARD PERRY, in whose honor this county was named, was of chiv-
alrous stock, and the name fell to the right county, considering how she has
responded by producing a Sheridan, a MacGahan and a Comly. His father,
Capt. Christopher Raymond Perry, was a native of Newport, R. I., a gallant
naval officer of the old Revolutionary War, and his mother, Sarah Alexander,
was born of Scotch-Irish stock, in County Down, Ireland. She had five sons
and three daughters. "To great strength of character Mrs. Perry added high
intellectual power and rare social grace, training her children with extraordinary
care to high ideals of life and duty. After the victory on Lake Erie, some far-
mers in Rhode Island declared it was Mrs. Perry's Victory."
Her son Oliver was born at South Kings-
ton, R. I., August 23, 1785. She carefully
trained him to obedience and gifted him with
the spirit of heroism by narrating to him the
deeds of her military ancestors---the old
Scotch Covenanters. His favorite books
were the Bible, Plutarch's Lives, Shake-
speare and Addison. He excelled in the study
of navigation and mathematics; at the age
of 11 was confirmed a member of the Prot-
estant Episcopal Church, and in 1799, at
the age of 14, was commissioned midship-
man; in 1807 was a lieutenant in the Tri-
politan war. When the war of 1812 broke
out he had, in expectation of hostilities, been
unwearied in the training of his crews and in
gunnery, and by assembling gunboats occa-
sionally, gained experience in the evolutions
of a fleet, with which he practised also sham
battles, dividing them into hostile squadrons.
Within twenty-four hours after receipt of
orders to go to Lake Erie and build a squad-
ron, February 17, 1813, he had sent off a
detachment of fifty men, and on the 22d
following started thither with his younger
brother, Alexander. He was five weeks on
the way, going mostly in sleighs through the
wilderness to Erie, Pa. A few months later
the squadron had been built, the battle
fought, and the victory won.
At the time of the battle Perry was but
28 years of age. In June, 1819, he died of
yellow fever, at the age of 33 years, in Port
Spain, island of Trinidad, while in command
of a squadron. A brother, Matthew Gal-
braith, was also a very accomplished naval
officer. He figured in the bombardment of
Vera Cruz and commanded the famed expe-
dition to Japan.
In 1806 the State of Ohio purchased
W. H. Powell's famous painting of Perry's
Victory, and suspended it in the rotunda
of the Capitol at Columbus. It represents
Perry just as he has left the Lawrence for
the Niagara, in a naval launch. The launch
is in the foreground, while the vessels are
shown around engaged in action. The chief
merit of the painting lies in the lifelike
figures of Commodore Perry and his brave
In this county are many ancient mounds of various dimensions, and four
or five miles in a northwesterly direction from Somerset is an ancient stone
fort. Although irregular in shape it approaches a triangle. Near the centre is
a stone mound, about twelve feet high, and in the wall a smaller one. The fort
encloses about forty acres. Just south of it is a square work, containing about
half an acre.
SHAWNEE is eight miles south of New Lexington, on the Straitsville branch
of the B. & O. R. R. It is one of the greatest coal-mining points in Ohio.
City officers, 1888; E. W. Williams, Mayor; D. C. Thomas, Clerk; C. C.
Marsh, Treasurer; John Welch, Street Commissioner; Thomas M. Jones, Mar-
shal. Newspaper: Banner, Independent, A. Maynard, editor and publisher.
Population, 1880, 2,770. School census, 1888, 1,094; C. Pierce, superintend-
ent of schools.
NEW STRAITSVILLE is ten miles south of New Lexington, on the Straitsville
Division of the C. H. V. & T. R. R. The largest veins of coal in the State are
found here and the daily shipments are very large. It has seven churches.
City officers, 1888; Henry Spurrier, Mayor; John E. Evans, Clerk; J. L.
West, Treasurer; John Park, Street Commissioner; Leonard Harbaugh, Marshal.
Bank of Straitsville, H. H. Todd, president, C. B. Todd, cashier. Population,
1880, 2,872. School census, 1888, 1,152; C. L. Williams, superintendent
A recent visitor writes; "New Straitsville is in the heart of the richest coal-
producing district west of Pennsylvania; it is only three miles over the high,
steep hills to bustling Shawnee, with its mines and blast furnaces; southward are
Gore, Carbon Hill, and finally Nelsonville, all strong mining towns of the Hocking
Valley. A good deal of life is underground. When a stranger comes to Straits-
ville and beholds a few houses on half-a-dozen ridges and but two streets of con-
sequence, he is scarcely ready to think that there is a population of nearly three
thousand in the town, but if he went into many of the houses he would find them
packed with people, and very often one roof shelters half-a-dozen families.
"Straitsville and Shawnee were desperate places during the great strikes that
prevailed in Hoadly's administration. A good many deeds of violence were
planned and executed in this neighborhood. At times human life was lightly
valued, and yesterday a tree was pointed out to me from the limbs of which a
man was lynched for shooting an officer during stormy times.
"These are good, happy and busy days in the Hocking Valley. The mining
region has not been so prosperous for half-a-dozen years. There is an abundance
of work and a steady demand for more coal. The railroads are working their
men night and day and still they can not haul coal away from the mines rapidly
enough to meet the current market demands."
CORNING is twelve miles southeast of New Lexington, on the T. & O. C. and
K. & O. Railroads. The surrounding country is rich in coal and iron. It has
City officers, 1888: G.W. Carroll, Mayor; Chas.W. Roof, Clerk; Dessa
Donnelly, Treasurer; A. T. Winning, Marshal; John Clifford, Street Commis-
sioner. Newspaper: Times-Monitor, Independent, Times-Monitor Publishing
Company, editors and publishers. Population, 1880, 2,500 (estimated).
JUNCTION CITY is at the crossing of the B. & O. and C. & M. V. and T. & O.
C. Railroads, five miles west of New Lexington. School census, 1888, 190.
RENDVILLE is on the T. & O. C. R. R., eleven miles from New Lexington,
Population about 500. In 1887 Dr. I. S. Tuppins, born a slave and a graduate
of Columbus Medical College, was elected Mayor. He is said to have been the
first of his race elected to such a position in Ohio.
THORNVILLE is near the eastern end of the Licking Reservoir, on the line of
the T. & O. R. R., and has a population of about 500.
THORNPORT is about two miles north of Thornville, on the B. & O. R. R. and
on the Reservoir. In our old edition is stated:
"This portion of country was settled about 1810; land was then so cheap in
the neighborhood that one Beesacker purchased twenty acres for an old, black
mare; luckily, in laying out the country, two important roads intersected his pur-
chase. He immediately had it surveyed into town lots, naming it New Lebanon.
An embryo town sprung into existence. This took place about 1815. It was
afterwards changed to Thornville, from being in the township of Thorn."