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Jay County Indiana Biographies


RUTH  and JOHN HEADINGTON

 

Ruth A. Headington, wife of Col. Jim Headington, but 
known and loved far and near as "Aunt Ruth," is one of the pio-
neer women of Jay County. Of the women identified with the 
earliest history of Portland, she alone remains ; and Hon. Robert 
Huey, who will soon celebrate his 86th birthday, is the only man 
now living who was here w4ien she first came to this place. 
 
Mrs. Headington's mind is stored with many interesting re- 
miniscences of the earlier settlers of Portland and vicinity. When 
she first came to Portland our populous little city could boast of 
but two houses. One of these was a log house, occupying the 
ground where the Silvemale store now stands. It was used as a 
court house, and the hickory trees stood so close that in the fall 
the nuts beat a lively tattoo upon the clapboard roof. The other 
house was a long,double log house, and stood where the Miller 
& Huston building now stands; this was the residence of Chris- 
topher Hanna. 
 
In building the first hewed log structure in the town, it took 
all the men within five miles two days to raise it and several 
gallons of whiskey to keep up the steam. This building after- 
ward became famous as "Hickory Hall." 
 
The first frame house was built by Dr. Dixon Milligan, where 
the "Trade Palace" now stands. The lumber was hauled from 
Richmond with oxen, and it often took seven or eight days to 
bring one load. This eventually became the first tavern in the 
town. The first store of any note was started by William Shull, 
and was afterward transferred to William Brandon. 
 
 
 
JOHN M. HEADINGTON. 
 
I was born in Knox County, Ohio, December 13th, 1833. 
My parents were Nicholas and Ruth (Phillips) Headington, who 
emigrated from Maryland in the early part of the present cen- 
tury. I was educated in the common schools of Ohio and came 
to Portland in September, 1853, where I have lived ever since. 
In 1856 I commenced the study of law with Hon. J. M. Haynes, 
and was admitted to the bar in 1858. In May, 1858, I was mar- 
ried to Miss Nancey Bosworth, a daughter of Dr. Jacob Bos- 
worth, who died in 1874. In August, 1862, I enlisted as a private 
in Co. H., 100 Regiment Indiana Vol. Inft. On the organiza- 
tion of the company I was elected captain of the company at 
Wabash, Indiana, where we first went into camp. We were at 
once ordered to Indianapolis and in old Camp Morton we began 
to school ourselves as soldiers. We graduated early, partly on 
account of our proficiency and partly because of necessity. On 
the lithe of November, 1862, we started for the field of battle 
and landed at Memphis, Tenn., where we joined Grant's army on 
his campaign through Mississippi, which was defeated by the 
fall of Holley Springs in our rear, and we were forced to retire to 
Grand Junction, Tenn., here we spent the winter (1862 and '63) 
guarding the Memphis & Charleston railroad until June, 1863. 
We went to Vicksburg and participated in what is known as the 
"Vicksburg campaign." In the fall of 1863 we came to Memphis 
and thence across the country to Chattanooga, where we joined 
with the army of Thomas and fought the battle of Chattanooga 
 
and Mission Ridge, here our regiment lost in killed and wounded 
a greater per cent, of our force than the loss of the famous 600 
and greater than any other regiments engaged in that great battle 
except the 90th Illinois, on our immediate left, and the 40th 
Indian regiment in Sheridan's division. We marched to the re- 
lief of Burnsides at Knoxville after the battle of Chattanooga, 
though our men were worn out and barefooted or nearly so. We 
returned to Bellefonte, Alabama, where we spent the winter, and 
on the 1st day of May, 1864, we started on the "Atlanta cam- 
paign," which lasted until the 3rd day of September, and we were 
under fire every day from May 3rd to September 3rd, 1864. We 
made the march to the sea with Sherman, and after the fall of 
Savannah and a short rest, we made the campaign through the 
Carolinas and were at Raleigh, N. C, when the war closed. Our 
regiment participated in the battles of Vicksburg, Jackson, Chat- 
tanooga, Dalton, Snake Creek Gap, Resact, Kingston, New 
Hope Church, Rome, Dalas, Chattahoocha River, Big Shanta, 
Kenesaw Mountain, Manitta, Atlanta, Nickerjack Creek, Jones- 
boro, Lovejoy, Gresworldville, Savannah, Bentonville and a host 
of other smaller engagements and skirmishes, and it never fired 
a gun at the enemy when I was not: with it. In June, 1864, I was 
promoted to the rank of Major of the regiment and later on I was 
promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the regiment. On 
the 22nd of November, 1864, while on the march to the sea, our 
brigade, then numbering 1,300 men present for dvuy, had an en- 
gagement with the enemy at Gresworldville, Ga., which I desire 
to mention particularly because of the fact that on account of our 
being in the rear of the wagon train and away from the great 
body of the army, the historian has never done us justice. The 
enemy, 10,000 strong, attacked us about noon and we were com- 
pelled to fight them with our 1,300 men until darkness closed 
the bloody scene, and we held our ground and slaughtered the 
enemy the worst they ever experienced. The southern papers 
admitted a loss of 614, but the estimates of our generals place 
their loss much higher. In that engagement I was in command 
of six companies of our regiment, (the looth Ind.) and occupied 
the center of our lines where our loss was the greatest. Every 
horse in our brigade, including the artillery horses, were killed 
or wounded except mine, and six of the number (four killed and 
two wounded were killed or wounded within 30 feet of me. You 
may imagine we slaughtered the enemy when I tell you we shot 
at them 92,000 rounds of fixed ammunition besides what was 
thrown by the two pieces of artillery. After the close of the war 
I returned to Portland and resumed the practice of the law in 
this and adjoining counties, where I have remained ever since. 
I commenced in the "free for all" a poor boy and have had many 
ups and downs like most people who have to struggle for them- 
selves. In my early practice of the law, being poor in purse, I 
was compelled to practice in justices' courts all over the county, 
and occasionally a little over the line. We have had some lively 
times and many amusing incidents connected with the practice 
before justices of the peace. On one occasion I was called upon 
to defend a well-known farmer, who I will call Mr. "A." who 
was charged with the crime of perjury before one of the justices of 
was charged with the crime of perjury before one of the justices of 
the county. Mr. "A." was a very noisy man when excited, had 
a course, loud voice, and when he wanted to he could make more 
noise than a dozen wild beasts. On the way out, knowing so well 
his disposition to make a noise, I said to him, "I know your ability 
to make a noise, and I will warn you now if you don't keep still 
and let me do the talking I will withdraw from the case on the 
first outbreak, and if you don't promise to keep still I won't begin 
the case. He promised to keep still until the case was decided, 
and kept his promise, but when the justice, about midnight, in 
a room full of people waiting in breathless silence, made his de- 
cision "not guilty," he gave way to his pent-up feelings in his 
best and most improved style, so that in a few minutes he and the 
justice were alone in the room, all the balance having retreated 
as from a cyclone. In early days in our practice in this county 
turnpikes and gravel roads were not dreamed of, and we were 
■compelled to trudge through the mud on horseback. There 
were no buggies in the country to be had, and for about nine 
months of the year a horse could not have pulled them through 
the mud if we had had them. On one occasion we tried a case 
before Esquire "B." which lasted until late in the night. It was 
his first case and he tried hard to be on both sides of the case all 
through, and when both sides were done he deliberated for a time 
and finally said, "when the plaintiff rested his case I could have 
decided it easily, but since the defendant has got through it is so 
mixed up that the d — 1 can't decide it." 
 
Esquire C, Q Township, issued an injunction enjoining  
a party from removing a lot of corn in the shock, and on the re- 
fusal of the defendant to obey the injunction he attached him 
for contempt. His attention was called to the fact that a justice 
of the peace could not issue injunctions, he demanded to be 
shown the law that prohibited him from doing so. One justice 
of the peace, 'Squire D., who was a justice for several years in  
Township, always held that a party arrested for a crime was 
presumed to be guilty or he would not have been arrested, and it 
was his rule to require the defendant to prove himself "not 
guilty," or he was sure to convict him, and on one occasion he 
found a party guilty of grand larceny, and seeing the statute 
providede for imprisonment in the state prison, proceeded to 
sentence him to the states prison. 
 
In 1876 I married Laura E. Haines, with whom I am still living. 
 
Source
Reminincises of Adams, Jay and Randolph Counties
Author: Lynch, T. A., Mrs., b. 1854, comp. cn
Publisher: [Fort Wayne, Ind., Lipes, Nelson & Singmaster, job printers
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: 31833008272400
Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive
Book contributor: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Collection: americana
Notes: No TOC. Very tight margins. Some pages have text bound too far into gutters.
Scanfactors:
46

Published 1897 by Lipes, Nelson & Singmaster, job printers in [Fort Wayne, Ind .
Written in English.

Edition Notes

Compiled by Mrs. Martha C. M. Lynch. cf. Introduction.


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