News of 1803

Photo of hollyhock bloom white with purple veins
From my garden this year, an extra-pretty hollyhock.
From The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, January 24, 1803, U.S. Library of Congress
[A weekly feature, sampling the news and opinions our ancestors might have been reading.]

 

Message from the President of the United States

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives

 

I enclose a report of the Secretary at War, stating the trading houses established in the Indian territories, the progress which has been made in the course of the last year, in settling and marking boundaries with the different tribes, the purchases of lands recently made from them, and the prospect of further progress in marking boundaries, and new extinguishments of title in the year to come, for which some appropriations of money will be wanting.

To this I have to add that when the Indians ceded to us the Salt Springs on the Wabash, they expressed a hope that we would so employ them as to enable them to procure there necessary supplies of salt. Indeed it would be the most proper and acceptable form in which the annuity could be paid which we propose to give them for the cession. These springs might at the same time be rendered eminently serviceable to our western inhabitants, by using them as a means of counteracting the monopolies of the supplies of salt, and of reducing the price in that country to a just level. For these purposes a small appropriation would be necessary to meet the first expenses, after which they should support themselves, and repay those advances. The springs are said to possess the advantage of being accompanied with a bed of coal.

 

TH: JEFFERSON

January 13, 1803

 

Note, above, our third president proposes as the best solution to paying the annuity the U.S. government owes the Indians who’d just ceded rights to the salt springs, giving them salt from the springs! 

 


 

[A conflagration in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire]

 

The late terrible fire with which Divine Providence has visited us, in a view of all circumstances, is believed to be without parallel in our common country. This town retarded in its early growth by many causes, seemed beginning to overcome those obstacles, when the revolutionary war, by its necessary effects, nearly annihilated its former and principal branches of Commerce. It was just emerging from this state; its trade began to revive and increase, and particularly in the central part of the town; where great exertions were made, and much money was laid out to render it commodious for the purpose, and even to embellish it.

This fair and beautiful part of the Town has in one short day become a heap of ashes and rubbish; exhibiting such a scene of devastation and ruin, as gives fresh pain at every new view. The number and value of the streets totally, or in a great measure destroyed— The number of inhabitants now exposed to sufferings and hardships, beyond the relief rendered by their sympathizing neighbors— The aged and infirm, widows and orphans unhoused in mid-winter— The stagnation of business, excepting the labor, patiently submitted to, and going on, of rearing or fitting up shelters for persons and property rescued from the flames— The great destruction of books, accounts, and papers of very great value— The inability of the inhabitants of the town, to preserve, without assistance, its trade with the interior, ready to fly off in many directions— And finally, the damages consequential to such a state of ruin, which, tho’ they may be conceived, baffle all description and calculation— ALL CONCUR to plead powerfully with the opulent and the prosperous; indeed with all in a comfortable state, who feel themselves exposed to like calamities, that relief is peculiarly desired and solicited— But injustice would be done to our own feelings, to those of our suffering friends and neighbors, to those of our benevolent fellow citizens in the union, did we not declare that the smallest donations which may be made by the compassionate of every class, will be gratefully received and with all others faithfully appropriated. This town has cheerfully had a fellow-feeling on like calamities taking place in distant parts of the union, and has no doubts of experiencing the sympathy it feels bound to shew.

 

JOHN LANGDON

DANIEL HUMPHREYS

JAMES SHEAFE

NATHANIEL ADAMS

JOHN GODDARD

 


 

Charleston, January 10

SOUTH CAROLINA BANK

 

A plan of the most daring nature to rob the vaults of this bank, was discovered during the night of Friday last and on Saturday morning. About three weeks ago a corporal of the city guard informed the porter of the bank, that while standing at the corner of the bank, he heard a noise of some person working under the ground or in the bank. Mr. Harvey, the deputy sheriff, having heard the same noise, gave the like information; but on examination, nothing of the kind being discovered, it was tho’t no more of; but on Friday night about eleven o’clock, Mr. M’Neil and his clerks, who live at the corner opposite the bank, observed a man lurking about the pavement next to the bank wall, who frequently stooped down to the pavement as if in the act of listening; struck by his conduct they went out, when the man made off. On examining the pavement, they found a brick loose and out of its place; supposing that this was the beginning of an attempt, they gave no alarm that night; in the morning, the place was again looked at, when the brick was found in its place, and some fresh earth spread over it. On taking up this brick, it was discovered that the earth below was taken away, or had caved in. On digging a little way down, a large vacancy was discovered, and some provision found lying at the bottom, also some tools by which the excavation had been made. Immediately after, the legs of a man were seen, who appeared to be desirous of retreating to the drain in the street, but was prevented, the earth that had fallen in having blocked up the passage. Convinced that he could not escape, he told those at work to unearth him, that if they would stop, he would deliver himself up, this being affected to, he came up, was apprehended and immediately committed to jail. On examination, his name is found to be William Withers, that he came to this city about a year past from Kentucky, that he had brought some horses, which he had disposed of, and spent the money. It is also known that during the last summer, he was very sick in this city, and being destitute of money, he had been obliged to lay in the Hay-Market of South Bay, he was there seen by a benevolent gentleman of this city, who had him removed to his house, had medical assistance given, and supported him until his recovery, he then suddenly disappeared; it is supposed that he then began the nefarious business he was detected in; he says that he entered the public drain of Church-street, near the French church, on the 10th of October last, and that he had been underground ever since, but from appearances it is believed he had progressed from the grating which is in the intersection of Broad and Church streets. At any rate he had worked through the palisade wall, and through the foundation of the bank, the latter of which is three feet and a half thick, this brought him to the wood cellar; a considerable quantity of wood here prevented his progress to the vaults, but it is believed, that had he not been discovered, he would have found means to remove this. He owns, which cannot be doubted, that he has accomplices. On Saturday a man named William Butner was apprehended about eight miles from the city; he is the man Mr. M’Neil and his clerks saw; another man, named Abner Robinson, has been committed by James Bentham, esq., who is charged with being an accomplice. As the court of session is to sit shortly, no doubt but it will be in our power to give a fuller account of this daring combination of villains.

 

 

 

 

(2019, Stephanie Foster)

 

 

Post-Colonial Life

See lots of cartoons at The Cartoon House!

 

From early newspapers, samples of what our ancestors, in the first years of the republic, might have been reading. First, a few titles you could buy in New York, advertised in the Gazette of the United States, August 13, 1791

 

Ruddiman’s Rudiments

Klopflock’s Messiah

Gentleman’s Pocket Farrier

Smellie’s Philosophy of Natural History

Miss Murray’s Mentoria

 


 

Portion of an editorial:

America, from this period, begins a new era in her national existence —“The World Is All Before Her”—the wisdom and folly, the misery and prosperity of the EMPIRES, STATES, and KINGDOMS, which have had their day upon the great Theatre of Time, and are now no more, suggest the most important Mememtos—These with the rapid series of events, in which our Country has been so deeply interested, have taught the enlightened Citizens of the United States, that FREEDOM and GOVERNMENT—LIBERTY and LAWS, are inseparable. This Conviction has led to the adoption of the New Constitution; for, however VARIOUS the sentiments, respecting the MERITS of this system, all GOOD MEN are agreed in the necessity that exists, of an EFFICIENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

A paper, therefore, established upon NATIONAL, INDEPENDENT, and IMPARTIAL PRINCIPLES, which shall take up the premised Articles, upon a COMPETENT PLAN, it is presumed, will be highly interesting, and meet with public approbation and patronage.

The Editor of this publication is determined to leave no avenue of information unexplored : —He solicits the assistance of Persons of leisure and abilities—which, united with his own assiduity, he flatters himself will render the Gazette of the United States not unworthy general encouragement——and is, with due respect, the public’s humble servant,  

THE EDITOR (John Fenno) (November 25, 1789)

The Gazette of the United States was a Federalist paper, based in New York City, then America’s capital. It received funding (coordinated by) and contributions from Alexander Hamilton. (Information, the United States Library of Congress.)  

 


 

The Monitor and Wilmington Repository. September 20, 1800   

 

A feature piece: 

Musquetoes enjoy successively two kinds of life, which appear very opposite, but which are also common to many other insects. It may be said, they are born fish, and latterly are winged inhabitants of the air. The male may be known from the female by the plumes on his head. Their time of love is generally when they are seen playing in the air. The female lays eggs on the surface of stagnated waters, to the number of 200 to 350, which stick together with a kind of glutinous substance, in form of a boat, with a head and stern, the small end upwards. They appear like little spots of lampblack, or small coals huddled together. From the bottom of the egg, hatches out a larva, which is a long body without legs; the large head hangs downwards, with the tail resting on the surface of the water, in which is a pipe and organ of respiration, and four fins on the opposite side. In this state it feeds on small animalculae, and grass; and then is very sprightly, for on the least agitation of the water, they dart instantly to the bottom, but are obliged to rise quickly to receive fresh air. They remain in this state two or three weeks, and then change into the Chyrsolids, in which state they do not eat. Their pipes for breathing are then transferred from the tail to the head, which represent horns. The tail is turned under quite to the head, like a lobster.

They live in this state three days, and when about to leave the watry element, they burst the shell at the top of the head, then get the two forelegs out and begin to dress, and hawl out the hinder legs and wings. The shell now represents a boat floating about, and if roughly agitated by wind, on the shaking of the water they are drowned, but if undisturbed [they spread their] wings and take their flight; abandon the waters to seek their nourishment in the blood of animals, and sacarine substances.

The best way to cure their bite, is to wet the parts bitten with saliva, and desist if possible from the itch of scratching. Volatile Alkali applied, is a remedy in this as well as in the bite of vipers. Lemon juice rubbed on our skin, it is said, will prevent musquetoes from being troublesome.  

 


 

Notice is Hereby Given

To the TRUSTEES of the POORHOUSE of the County of Newcastle 

 

That a meeting of the board will be held at the Poorhouse, on the first day of October next, at ten o’clock, A. M. at which time and place it is hoped the trustees will give punctual attendances. The Collectors of the Poor Tax for Newcastle County, are also notified that the 2nd sum of the payment became due the 7th day of this instant. It is hoped that they will, without delay, discharge the same; and those who are in arrears for old balances, and the first quarter of the current year with the Treasurer of the Board, need not expect any further indulgence. All persons having any legal demands against the Board for supplies furnished either by the orders of the Trustees, or by the order of the Overseer of the House, are required to render the same for settlement.  

 

John Crow, Sec.

Aug. 29, 1800

 


 

War Department, August 4th, 1800

 

The commanding Officers of corps, detachments, posts, garrisons, and recruiting parties belonging to the military establishment of the United States, are to report to and receive orders from Brigadier General Wilkinson, in the city of Washington, and all officers on furlough are to report themselves to the same officer with all possible dispatch.  

 

SAMUEL DEXTER

Secretary of War  

 

Some New/Old Photos

 

My grandfather, Randall Barker, with my mother. I don’t know the location…it looks like a country church. And below, my great-grandmother Barker, an Illinois teenager in the 1890s, wearing the true prairie dress.

 
 

A Pension Letter and Retirement Accolades

My grandmother had only an eighth-grade education, and grew up on a farm. She and my grandfather were able to work at a variety of jobs, at the Mount Vernon shoe factory (Brown Co., I believe), eventually in the school system. Just to editorialize, let me raise the question of whether the changes in the workplace reflect a difference in the work force itself? Do “unskilled” people today get pushed farther to the margin, although they, like the generations before them, will learn how to do their jobs, on the job? We have certifications and diplomas, the lack of which shut people out, while the people themselves must be as intelligent and capable as ever. My grandparents saved, bought and paid off a house, saved more, and left a legacy that helped me pay off my student loans. Are today’s unskilled workers not shut out of the housing market, for the disproportionate cost by percentage of income?

 
 

A Veteran Seeks His Pension

My ancestor, Jacob Barker, petitioned the court three times, trying to win a pension, as under the law passed in 1832, he would have been entitled to. Effectively, the law was enacted fifty years after the end of the war (1783), limiting the number of pensioners; further, though Jacob received a disabling wound to his leg, he could not prove he’d served for six months altogether, another limitation of the law. He probably was not aware that the state of South Carolina had a record of his service. In the 1840s, neither the railroads nor the telegraph were in practical terms of use to the average person, so a records search in another state would also be too difficult and expensive to bear on a country court case.

This transcript, from my mother’s documents, is listed as R497, fn39SC, originally transcribed by Will Graves. I have added, for readability, more punctuation, and made a few corrections of terminology, people and place names.

State of Illinois, Hambleton [Hamilton] County: On this 27th day of November 1834, personally appeared in open Court before William Allen one of the County Commissioners of the County and State [the] aforesaid Jacob Barker, a resident of the County and State aforesaid aged seventy-one years, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officer and served herein as stated:

 

That in the year 1782, he was drafted for one month under the command of Major Lyles, he then living in South Carolina, Fairfield County, and that he rendezvoused at Colonel John Winn’s [in] Winnsboro, South Carolina. From there they marched to McCord’s Ferry on Broad [in] State of South Carolina, and they laid there something more than one month after which they were dismissed by Major Lyles to return home having served, including the time of marching to and from home a time of one month and some days. And that in the year 1782, he was again drafted for one month, commanded by Major Lyles and that he rendezvoused at Winnsboro, South Carolina; from there they marched, and that they were employed in ranging and scouting through the country in different directions after the Tories, etc., and that they were dismissed from this Tour by [word obliterated] on the Catawba River, South Carolina, a distance of sixty-five or seventy miles from home, having served one month and six days.

And in that same year of 1782 he was again drafted under Captain Bishop and Major Lyles and that they rendezvoused at Winnsboro, South Carolina, and that they were employed in ranging and scouting after the Tories on Little River, Broad River, Catawba River, and the Congaree, Colonel Winn having command of this tour and that they were dismissed on Broad River, South Carolina, near a place called Shyries [Shirers] Ferry, he then returned home having served one month and eight days—and that in the year 1782, he was again drafted under Major Lyles and Colonel Winn and that they were stationed at Colonel Winn’s South Carolina, Fairfield County, after remaining some time at Colonel Winn’s, they were employed in ranging and scouting through the country until their time was out; he then returned home having served one month and nine days, and that again in the year 1782, he was again called out under Lieutenant Lyles, commanded by Colonel David Hopkins, and that they joined General Green [Nathanael Greene], near the Congaree; from there they marched to the Eutaw Springs, where we had an engagement with the British which lasted something over three hours; the militia were commanded at this place by General Pickens; and that after firing the third time, the applicant was shot through the right leg, being then compelled to retire; they then were dismissed and returned home, having served one month and fifteen days; and that he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure to establish his services; he hereby relinquishes every claim to a pension or annuity, except the present and declares that his name is not [on] the agency of any State whatever. Sworn to and subscribed this day and date above written.

 

S/Jacob Barker, X his mark

[David Powell and John Douglass gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

 

Where and in what year were you born?

Answer: In the year 1754.

Have you any record of your age?

Answer: No.

Where were you living when called into service?

South Carolina, Fairfield County.

How were you called into service?

Answer: I was drafted.

Where have you lived since the Revolutionary War?

Answer: From South Carolina, I moved to Livingston County, State of Kentucky; from there to Hopkins County, Kentucky; from there to the State of Illinois, Hambleton County, where I now live.

 

Sworn to the day and year aforesaid:

S/Jacob Barker, X his mark

 

State of Illinois, Hamilton County: September term of the Hamilton Circuit Court.

 

On this 22nd day of September, the year of 1841, at the Hamilton Circuit Court, now in session, the same being a Court of record having a clerk and seal, in open Court, before the Honorable Walter B. Seates, associate Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, and Presiding Judge of the Hamilton Circuit Court, appeared Jacob Barker, of Hamilton County, in the State of Illinois aforesaid, about eighty years of age, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress, passed June the 7th, 1832:

 

That he entered the service of the United States under Major Lyles, about the age of 17 years, and served as herein after stated; when he so entered the service of the United States, he lived in Fairfield County in the State of South Carolina, and was drafted into the service from Colonel Winn’s Regiment of Fairfield County militia, and he belonged to the company of Captain Mobesly [Mosely or Mobley?]; that when this declarant was so drafted, he was drafted for a month, but the exact year he does not know from his extreme old age and consequent debility of mind and body, but it was the same year the battle of Ninety-Six was fought, he is quite sure; he cannot recollect the number [of] men that composed the force under Lyles, but to the best of his recollection, there could not be much over 60 or 70, if that; that when the force under Lyles aforesaid, was organized this declarant and the rest of the Company marched from their place of rendezvous in Fairfield County to Ankins [Ancrum’s] Ferry on Broad River, in said County, where they lay for a few days, and then Lyles crossed Broad River, with part of the force, which set out under him to assist the Americans at Ninety-Six; this declarant and several others having stayed behind for the want of arms; and about staying behind at Ancrum’s Ferry as aforesaid, one of those who stayed behind took the smallpox; after this, declarant and some of the others having got arms crossed after Lyles and joined him; Lyles and his force were too late in coming up to be of any assistance to the Americans who were overpowered by the British; the next tour which this declarant took, after Lyles returned from Ninety-Six to Fairfield County and his first tour had expired, was under Captain Hill as a volunteer, and lay part of the time at Lyles Ford on Broad River; and whilst lying there he was wounded in his thigh by a shot fired from a rifle across the River, by which this declarant was disabled for further service for one month at least, but cannot now recollect how long he was on this tour but he is certain that is was on the actual service against the British and Tories from the time his first tour expired until the time he was again drafted shortly before the battle of Eutaw Springs (excepting the time he lost when he was wounded as aforesaid); that shortly before the battle of Eutaw Springs he was again drafted into the service of the United States, and the Regiment to which he was attached was commanded by Colonel David Hopkins and the same Major Manus Lyles was their major, and Captain Bishop was Captain of this declarant’s Company. He was drafted this time for one month, and during this time, the battle of Eutaw Springs was fought; that he marched from Fairfield County aforesaid to the place of rendezvous to join his Regiment and from that marched to join the army under Generals Greene and Pickens; that he was in the battle of Eutaw Springs and under the command of David Hopkins, Colonel of the Regiment as aforesaid; that during the fight this declarant saw General Pickens lying on the road leading to Charleston; he was lying on the ground, when this declarant came up to him and asked him if he was badly wounded; when the General replied, “I am not exactly wounded, but I have been struck by a spent ball, which struck me in the pit of the stomach and has hurt me badly, but I will be up soon again and among you”, or some such words in substance; that this declarant was himself so badly wounded in the battle of Eutaw Springs, in the right leg, that he had to be borne off the field of battle by one Isaac Waggoner, since dead, and a man of the name of James Taylor helped to carry him home to his father’s house, but what has become of said Taylor, this declarant cannot tell, as he has not heard of him for many years, and the last they heard of him was that he had gone from South Carolina, to the State of Missouri; but where he lives or whether he is alive or dead, this declarant cannot tell; that he has no evidence to prove the facts herein stated, but his own oath, that he knows of; that this declarant was disabled from performing further service in consequence of his wounds received in the battle of Eutaw Springs for 9 weeks or thereabouts, and when recovered set out again to join the American Army under Greene and Pickens; but before he could join the Army which was then at [place unknown], peace was proclaimed; that this declarant from his extreme age cannot recollect everything that happened during the time he served, nor dates when things happened, and he is unable either to read or write, or he should have tried sooner for a pension; that he employed a man of the name of Newman Jones 4 or 5 years ago to try and get a pension for him, but has never heard from said Newman more about it; that he to the best of his recollection served the United States for a period not less than 6 months altogether; that he therefore relinquishes all Claim to pension or annuity, except the present and his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State; that is, the declarant cannot state the exact year in which he was born having no record of his age, that he was in his 17th year in the year the battle of Ninety-Six was fought; that he was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, lived there until 24 years after the battle of Eutaw Springs, then moved into Hopkins County, Kentucky, where he lived about [words obliterated] years, and then moved into County of Hamilton in this state, where he has lived ever since; that he is well known by William Gholson, a clergyman, and William Allen, who is his neighbor, who can state what he knows and believes concerning this declarant’s standing and character for veracity.

Sworn to and subscribed in open Court this 22nd of September, 1841.

S/Jeduthun P. Hardy, Clerk

S/Jacob Barker, X his mark

[William Gholson, a clergyman, and A. D. Grimes gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

State of Illinois, Hamilton County: Before us, two Justices of the Peace in and for said County and State personally appeared Jacob Barker of said County and State, and personally also well known to us, as a person of credibility, who, being of lawful age (88 years old), and first duly sworn, according to law, doth on his oath declare, that he was drafted from the Militia of Fairfield County, in the State of South Carolina in (say) 1780 at home, and taken to Winnsboro, the County seat, and joined the Regiment commanded by Colonel John Winn (Richard Winn his son called General of the forces).

We went to Ancrum’s Ferry under Major [Aromanus Lyles]—continued there two or three weeks—we went then to the aid of the Army at Ninety-Six under Generals Greene and Sumter, then returned to Shirer’s Ferry across Broad River, home again, being out one month. He states that he was carried off again under the command of Captain Brashears, and served one month, then returned home; was called out again under Lieutenant Ephraim Lyles, and under him served 2 tours, one month each time; was called out again under Captain David Mayberry; was out one month through the Country. He states he went out the 6th time under Lieutenant West Daniel, and was out about 35 days and was wounded at the battle of Eutaw Springs by a musket ball, which cut off a piece of one of the bones of the right leg, and passed off through the fleshy part of the leg. He states he was carried off the field, and for 5 weeks, could not mark the ground with his leg. He states it injured him ever since in his farming pursuits materially by lameness. General Greene was there [as] commander in chief and Colonels David Hopkins and Pickens (was wounded in the battle), commanded the South Carolina Militia. He states his reasons for not applying sooner was there was no pension for militia men until the 7th of June 1832, and a want of knowledge, and a competent person, prevented him ever since, and further Deponent saith not.

 

Signed (witnessed):

S/John Braden, Jr.

S/Jacob Barker, X his mark

Sworn and subscribed before us Justices of the Peace as above, on this 16th day of October, 1843.

S/Samuel Wilson, JP

S/John Braden, JP

 

[Veteran’s application was rejected because he failed to allege that he served the required six months of active service.]

     

Links:

Catawba River

Congaree River

Nathanael Greene

Andrew Pickens

Siege of Ninety-Six

Battle of Eutaw Springs

Theme Songs

When I was growing up, we had a farm (a property with house and acreage, not a working farm) in Meigs County, Ohio. We went to play in the woods, and fish, and be spooked by imaginary ghosts in the attic, on weekends. And whenever we came back on a Sunday evening, we’d have Canadian bacon sandwiches and watch these shows we loved. (Not so much, McCloud. But Columbo and McMillan and Wife.)

 

Dr. L. B. Gregory

Here are reminiscences of pioneer days in Jefferson County, Illinois, recorded when Dr. Gregory (my Great-Grandmother’s grandfather) was alive.

A print from the Civil War era, featuring Illinoisan General John A. Logan, a figure mentioned in the story below.

Just who was the first settler in what is now Farrington Township we cannot say, as settlements were made in many adjoining neighborhoods before this, and it is not easy to say just when the first man stepped over into Farrington and pitched his tent. But among the first settlers were the Wellses, Gregorys, Haynies, Abraham Buffington, William B. Johnson, Joseph Norman and others. Berryman and Barney Wells were, perhaps, the first of these; at least, they were here when the Gregorys came. They were from Tennessee, and Berryman Wells settled on Section 14, Barney on Section 8; they have long been dead, but have descendants living in the county. Of the Gregorys, there were Jonathan and Benjamin, who came about 1828-30, and Absalom Gregory, a brother came some two years later. They were all Kentuckians, and settled, Jonathan on Section 23, Benjamin on Section 24, and Absalom on Section 26. They are dead, but still have descendants living, among whom is Dr. L. B. Gregory, the Postmaster General of Logansville, and the model farmer of the township, whose barn is a pattern for all to follow after. The Doctor is quite a stock-raiser, and the extreme docility of his stock, particularly his domestic animals, show the great care and attention they receive from their owner. We have been there and witness that whereof we speak. Dr. Gregory owns some 1400 or 1500 acres of as good land as may be found in Farrington Township. He is one of the self-made men of the country, and deserves great credit for what he is. He began life, as he informed us, without a dime, and what he is he is, indebted to no one but himself. His mind is well stored with incidents of the early history of the county, many of which he regaled us with. He came here but a lad, and his busy life has extended through all the hard times, the trials and hardships to which early settlers were subjected. He delights to tell of the time when he collected nearly the entire revenue of the county in coon skins and deer skins, which were a legal tender. John Allen was then sheriff; the season had been a hard one; people had but small crops; but few had made enough to live on, and as to money, that was an unknown quantity. In this state of affairs Sheriff Allen employed Dr. Gregory to collect the county taxes. Gregory says every farmer in those days, who could raise $8 or $10, would buy a barrel of whisky to sell again (license to sell whisky did not then cost as much as now), and as there was no money, they would take coon skins for whisky. Hence, nearly every man had a large number of coon skins on hand, and these were nearly all these whisky sellers, who were able to pay their taxes. So he collected the biggest part of the taxes in coon skins and deer skins.

***  

The first road through the township was the Mount Vernon & Maysville road, and the next road leading from Mount Vernon to Xenia. The township is now blest with as good roads as any other portion of the county, and good, substantial bridges span the streams where the principal roads cross them.

As to the educational and religious facilities, not as much can be said as in some other localities. Church edifices are not plentiful, and most of the schoolhouses are a little dilapidated, though there are some new ones, and some that are used for church as well as school purposes.

Dr. Gregory says the first teacher he went to school to was a Mr. Joseph Price, and he thinks it was the first school in the township. The doctor’s description of that school and schoolhouse and his attendance at it is quite humorous. The house, he says, was a pole cabin about sixteen feet square, slab seats, and without any floor except the ground. The fire was built in the middle of the room, and around this “council fire” the pioneer boys and girls attained the wisdom and inspiration to fit them for after life. Dr. Gregory says he wore buckskin breeches and buckskin hunting shirt, and on his way to school of a morning through the rain and snow, his breeches, which were not very well tanned, would get wet and stretch out until they would be down under his feet. But, sitting around the log-heap fire in that old schoolhouse, they would get dry and draw up until they were nearly to his knees, thus displaying his “shapely shins”, which had stood exposure to the elements until they were about like young scaley-barked hickories.

The next schoolteacher after Price was probably Absalom Gregory, an uncle of the present Dr. Gregory, alluded to above. He was followed by elder R. T. Camp, a Baptist preacher, who, notwithstanding his holy calling, was as illiterate and unlearned as the fishermen of Galilee. William Johnson was also an early teacher. Another of the early schoolhouses was built on Horse Creek. It was also a rude log cabin. The next schoolhouse in this portion of the township was built at Farrington. There are now six schoolhouses in the township, some of them good, substantial buildings, and some of them badly needed to be replaced with better one. Farrington township is Democratic in politics. It is not so great a Democratic stronghold as it used to be, mainly through the influence of that old Republican wheel-horse, Dr. Gregory, who says he intends to make it Republican yet, if he lives long enough. According to the late Ohio election, he has an army contract on hand. In 1869, Farrington was made a township. Since then, the following is a list of the township officials. (List has Gregory elected Township Supervisor 1873, 1875, 1879, 1881, 1883; Collector 1872.)

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Logansville, a little northeast of Farrington, consists of the post office of that name and a small store kept by Dr. Gregory. He commenced selling goods here some fifteen or twenty years ago, and about the same time, through the influence of Gen. John A. Logan, then in the United States’ Senate, he got a post office, and honored the “swarthy Senator” by giving it his name. Although rejoicing under the high-sounding name of Logansville, there is no town, nor has there been a town laid out here.

Excerpted from The History of Jefferson County, Illinois, William Henry Perrin, 1883.