The last of the soldiers of the Revolution who died in Butler County was Pierson SAYRE. His lamp had burned to the very last, and finally had gone out from mere exhaustion. He was the son of Ezekiel SAYRE, and was born at a place now known as Providence, New Jersey, on the 12th of September, 1761. He was too young to enter the service of his country at the beginning of her struggle with Great Britain, but before he had attained his growth as a man entered the army of heroes who had determined to defend their homes and firesides. He was but seventeen when he joined Lord STERLING’s division as a private soldier. In no State did the soldiers have more hardships to endure than in New Jersey, and of these SAYRE had his part for two years and a half. He was in most of the battles fought during that time, and in particular was in the battle of Springfield. General GREENE was his commander, and the troops bore themselves nobly. He frequently had an opportunity of seeing Washington, and a half century after the general’s death loved to recount what he knew of him. Often he would paint from his recollection to those around him that majestic figure, that serene countenance, that power of command that seemed inseparable to him, and would describe his action under trying circumstances.
After Mr. SAYRE left the army he went to New York City, where he learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, as there was then a great demand in that city for persons of that calling. Four years before, the place had been set on fire by either British incendiaries or American patriots, it was never clearly known which, and a third of the town was burned. With the return of peace in 1783, New York became again a center of trade and speculation, and many new houses were built, giving full employment to all. Of this Mr. SAYRE had his part; and in 1786, on the 29th of June, he married Miss Catherine LEWIS, with whom he lived happily for fifty-two years until her death in Hamilton on the 25th of December, 1838, at the age of seventy-five. He remained in New York until 1790, when he moved to the western part of Pennsylvania, and settled in Uniontown, Fayette County, where he remained until 1809, when he came to this State. He was an important man in that community, and was sheriff for three years. He also took an active interest in the militia, and was at different time commissioned as lieutenant, captain and major. The date of issuing this last was August 2, 1800, and it was signed by Governor McKEAN.
In 1809 Mr. SAYRE, with his family, removed from Uniontown, buying a farm and tavern-stand seven miles from Hamilton, on the road leading to Middletown. It was then known as "Cross Keys." It is worth remarking that nearly all the early places of entertainment hereabout were indicated by emblematic signs, such as the Black Eagle, Blue Ball, Lamb and Shepherd, as they are even now made known in Europe and parts of Pennsylvania. The "Cross Keys" had formerly had much custom , and was widely known. Many meetings of the pioneers had been held there in the days when it had been kept by Andrew CHRISTY. Mr. SAYRE conducted this place for a few years, when he sold to Andrew MILEY, and removed to Cincinnati, where he kept a tavern near the corner of Walnut and Front Streets, at the sign of the "Green Tree." Mr. SAYRE’s father had preceded him on his removal to the West, settling in Cincinnati, in 1790, but afterwards removing to Reading.
After going to Cincinnati, Pierson SAYRE purchased a tract of land in Lemon Township, which, under another owner, was the site of the town of Monroe. In 1814 he came back to this county, purchasing of John SUTHERLAND lot No. 20, on Front St., between Dayton and Stable Streets, but only remaining there a few months. When he removed to the Torrence tavern-stand, situated on the corner of Dayton and Water Streets. The building is now owned by Henry S. EARHART.
In October, 1817, he was elected sheriff of this county, and in October, 1919, he was again chosen. Being withdrawn at the expiration of this time, in consequence of a constitutional limitation, he was succeeded by Dr. Samuel MILLIKIN. In October, 1825, Mr. SAYRE was again elected by a large majority. On the completion of this section of the Miami Canal, he was
appointed the first collector of tolls, having his office at the East end of the Hamilton basin. He held this position for two years, or until April 1, 1830. In 1835 he was appointed toll gatherer for the bridge across the river at this place, holding the position until April 1, 1839. He was then seventy-eight years old.
In the year 1820, while sheriff, he contracted with the Board of Commissioners to erect two public offices in the court-house square, one on the east and the other on the west of the court-house, and he completed this task to the satisfaction of the people. He also built the Female Academy, on the south side of the hydraulic race, finishing it in the year 1834. This is the building now used for city offices, and in which the fire occurred in the spring of 1882. He also built several other houses.
Mr. SAYRE, more than any other person who ever lived in this county, had an opportunity of witnessing the changes that time has wrought in our land. When he was born the population of the British colonies was but a little more than two million souls; at his death they were at least 24 millions. George the Second had but recently died, and he saw the heads of political affairs, George the Third, WASHINGTON, ADAMS, JEFFERSON, MADISON, MONROE, John Quincy ADAMS, JACKSON, VAN BUREN, HARRISON, TYLER, POLK and TAYLOR, besides the heroic governor, William LIVINGSTON, of New Jersey, and the worthies who presided over the Continental Congress. When he entered the army, Philadelphia, our largest city, was smaller than Dayton now is; the inland towns were Albany and Lancaster, and he married before Ohio had a single settler. This State had as great a population at his death as the whole country had when he was born. He had witnessed great changes in the Miami country. Bridges, roads, canal, and railroad, all were made while he was here, in his long residence of forty-three years.
He did not escape the drawbacks of age. His children had died before him and his wife; his strength became weakness, and his mind worn out. For two years he required to be handled like an infant. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church for many years, and as a neighbor, father, and husband was universally esteemed. He was not an idle man, and was always ready to assist others. He died on the 4th of April, 1852, and was buried in Greenwood, the funeral sermon being preached by the Rev. J. W. SCOTT, of Oxford.
A few wandering disciples of Esculapius may have been in the present townships of Liberty, Union, Lemon and Fairfield, before 1802; but it is believed that the first two who settled in the county were Dr. Squier LITTEL, of Trenton, and Dr. SLOAN, of Fairfield. They came here about the same time, but only Dr. LITTEL remained for a term of years. We have no further particulars of Dr. SLOAN, except that he boarded with the father of Celadon SYMMES, and occasionally went over into Ross Township.
Dr. LITTEL was the son of Captain LITTEL, of New Jersey, a patriot distinguished for his services and sacrifice in our Revolutionary struggle, and was born in Essex County, December 1, 1776 – a year memorable in the annals of mankind. Having completed his early education, he entered upon the study of medicine, and, after practicing his profession awhile in his native State, emigrated to the Northwestern Territory about the beginning of the present century, and stopped in the city of Cincinnati. Here he remained for a brief period, when, following the guidance of circumstances, and failing, in common with all others, to penetrate the brilliant futurity which was res erved for a place whose claims to pre-eminence were disputed by the neighboring village of Columbia, he removed some thirty miles into the interior, and fixed his abode in Butler County, at Trenton, which was then called Bloomfield. Before leaving New Jersey, the doctor had married Mary, one of the daughters of Michael PEARCE, who also came out here. Mr. PEARCE was a farmer in good circumstances, and had a large family of daughters, who were much sought after, as their manners and acquirements were much more than were then usual in the backwoods. Dr. LITTEL practiced in Trenton from his first going there until a short time before his death, when weakened by age and infirmities. He devoted himself to the cultivation of his farm and the still more laborious duties of a profession, the calls of which, in the scattered population of the country, expanded occasionally to a circle of some sixty miles in diameter, extending from Dayton on the one hand, and to Cincinnati on the other. As a medical practitioner, he was remarkable successful, being distinguished by his sagacity and observation, qualities which enabled him, in several important instances, to anticipate the discoveries and improvements of later times, and to secure for him a wide range of popularity. Notwithstanding the engrossing nature of his avocations, he was repeatedly chosen by his fellow-citizens to offices of local trust and influence. In 1813 he was appointed surgeon of the First Regiment, Third Detachment, of Ohio Militia, having for his assistant Dr. Jacob LEWIS, who came to Butler County very soon after he did, but had not engaged actively in practice. Colonel James MILLS commanded the regiment, which rendezvoused at Dayton. They were ordered to St. Mary’s, when the regiment was divided into three divisions. Soon after this, Dr. LITTEL resigned and came home. His personal appearance was very striking. He was a tall man, perhaps a little over six feet, and full in figure, even in youth. As his years increased he attained a size truly colossal, with accompanying weight. To accommodate himself, he brought hither a spring-wagon, the first ever seen in this portion of the country, and used that ever after, discarding horseback riding, which was the usual method of traveling for physicians fifty years ago. Arrived at home, after a visit, he would cast himself upon the carpet, preferring this posture of perfect repose to the more dignified but less easy arm-chair. This habit became almost a necessity. His weight increased until it reached three hundred and fifty, and he became the largest man in Butler County. Dr. LITTEL was of a fiery disposition, and used to domineering. He had a piercing black eye, that seemed to read the very secrets of the soul, and he was possessed of great weight of character. Whatever he desired he generally accomplished. He was a virulent Jackson Democrat, never speaking in public, but using his influence in private. When fair words would not avail, he used harder ones. He was postmaster at Trenton in 1837, having been appointed by VAN BUREN, through the influence of John B. WELLER, and against the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of that village, who had petitioned for another person. Dr. LITTEL was also an associate judge of this county, being chosen in 1834, and holding for a term of seven years. This was about the time he had acquired his greatest obesity; and for the other associate judge he had Dr. Daniel MILLIKIN, whose weight could not be less than two hundred and fifty, the sheriff of the county at that time being SHEELY, who was also of herculean proportions, not inferior to MILLIKIN. Dr. LITTEL remained in Trenton until the ravages of age, aggravated by corpulency, caused him to retire. He went to Winchester, Preble County, where soon after died, at the close of 1849. He had accumulated some means, which he divided among his nephews, whom he had brought up. Of these there were three. Dr. Squier LITTEL, now of Philadelphia, was the second. He is a man of high attainments, well read, and has published several medical works. Eliakem was the oldest. He first lived in Philadelphia, published a magazine called the Museum, which was very successful, and then going to Boston, where he began the Living Age. It is a magazine of compilation from European periodicals, and contains a vast treasury of facts and fancy. A complete set is contained in every public library. He is now dead, and his sons are carrying on the publication. John was the youngest nephew. He studied law, but never practiced much. He began publishing law books, and in that pursuit amassed a fortune. He was at one time a candidate for Congress from Philadelphia, and came very near being elected, lacking only a few votes. He contested the election, but it was decided against him. He formerly lived in Germantown, a handsome suburb of the City of Brotherly Love, but is now dead.
Mrs. LITTEL, the wife of Dr. Squier LITTEL, the elder, survived him. She was a most excellent woman, and had great power over her husband. Even in his greatest fits of rage she was able to pacify him. The doctor brought up one of the daughters of the Rev. Stephen GARD, his brother-in-law. This was Mary, who afterward married Ezra POTTER. He also brought up another niece, Rachel TAYLOR, who married William POTTER.
Dr. LANIER came to Hamilton about 1805 and remained a short time.
Dr. Charles ESTE, brother of the distinguished Judge ESTE, once of Hamilton but late of Cincinnati, was in Hamilton as early as 1810 or 1811, but did not remain long. We find his name afterward as one of the medical censors of the district. Dr. William GRANDLEE occupied a somewhat prominent place between the years 1814 and 1817.
Dr. Jacob LEWIS never really practiced much, but was here as early as 1803. He was born in Somerville, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 13, 1767. His father was in the Revolutionary army, and while in service was attacked with camp fever and sent home, where he died. He left a wife and seven children. The family had a good farm, upon which they were able to raise everything necessary for comfort. In 1790 Jacob went out on a visit to his sister, who was settled in the western part of Virginia. The neighborhood was exposed; but as there had been no attacks by Indians latley, the inhabitants began to think they were safe. One evening in the spring of 1791 he returned from hi work, feeling sleepy, and laid down, waiting the preparation for supper. While asleep, three Indians came into the house and shot his brother-in-law dead. A young man who was sitting by the fire struck at the Indians with a drawing knife, which fell from his hands, and he immediately bounded out the back door, passing through the room where Jacob was lying. The noise woke the latter, and he, too, made his escape. As he rose he saw through the half-open door the lifeless bodies of his sister and brother-in-law, with the hostile Indiana, and he fled to alarm the neighbors. This, he found, had already been done by the other young man; and as soon as a sufficient party could be gathered, the Indians were pursued.
The next day two neighbors went to the house and found the dead bodies of KINAN, the brother-in-law, his little daughter, and one of the children of Mrs. WARD, a neighbor. Mrs. KINAN was nowhere to be found, so they concluded she must have been taken prisoner. Six had escaped out of the ten who were in the house at the time.
Jacob LEWIS was thus left with the care of two orphan children on his hands. After considering the matter, he decided to leave the children with one of the settlers and return to New Jersey, where, he did not doubt, he could persuade one of his brothers who had been recently married, to move out, take the farm, and take care of the boys. Nothing, however, could induce him to do so. The country was too hazardous for him. Two of the family were willing, however, each to take one of the boys and bring him up in New Jersey. He consequently returned, worked on the place the whole Summer, and in the following Spring conveyed the boys to their uncles, who brought them up as their own.
Mr. LEWIS remained in New Jersey, taking up the study of medicine with Dr. John RANDOLPH, of Somerset County. In the Fall of 1793 a letter was received from his sister, Mrs. KINAN, who was a prisoner among the Indians. She had been enabled to send it through a Quaker gentleman , who was in attendance upon the commissioners empowered to treat for peace with the Indians. Her messenger took the yellow fever in Philadelphia, dying of it, and consequently the letter had been long delayed. She said that if her brothers would call on Mr. Albert, an Indian trader, at Detroit, they could find out where she was.
Jacob LEWIS was the only unmarried one of the family, and it was resolved that he should make the attempt, his other brothers helping with their means. He set out on horseback about the 1st of November, going by way of Western New York. At Genesee he left his horse, and engaged to help a young man who was just starting for Niagara with a drove of cattle. On the way they suffered much with cold, and were obliged to camp out for two nights. Late on the third day they reached Niagara. This was still three hundred miles from his destination, with an unsettled country to pass through.
On telling his story, he received a pass from the authorities, and an introduction to Colonel BUTLER, Indian agent for that section of the country. He gave him a letter to Captain BRANT, the chief of the Six Nations, whose camp was about thirty miles in the direction of Detroit. He remained at the Indian camp for about a week before he could get a guide. At last Captain BRANT, who, in the meantime, had treated him well, procured for him two guides, who agreed to make the trip for twenty dollars. It was a very weary journey, traveling through unbroken woods and swamps, in snow and sleet, with little food and little rest, camping every night with such frail shelter as they could put up after a hard day’s tramp. They reached Detroit on the third day of February, 1794. Here he dismissed his guides, and presented his pass to Colonel ENGLAND, the officer in command at Detroit. These were suspicious times on the frontier, so he had to stand a close examination; but after exhibiting his letters and telling the object of his travels, Colonel ENGLAND gave him a permit to remain. The next day he fortunately found Mr. Robert ALBERT in town, and showed him his sister’s letter. He said he knew her well, that he had goods for her tribe, and she had often worked for him when he was with them. He appeared very willing to give LEWIS all the assistance in his power, but said that he would have to act very cautiously, as, should the Indians suspect that he was at all concerned in her release, that would be an end to his trade with them. He also met Israel RULIN, who knew her, and tried to make arrangement for her purchase. RULIN made application with the old squaw who owned Mrs. KINAN; but she could not be induced to part with her. Much disappointed at his failure, he spent some weeks at Detroit trying to devise other plans for her release. He received the sympathy and friendship of many of the best people in the place, and was advised by all to act very cautiously, as, if the Indians suspected his object, his sister would be hurried off to some of their distant camps.
Weeks passed in this way, alternating between hope and fear. All the traders he met seemed to sympathize with him; but were unwilling to run any risk to aid him. He could not even induce them to acquaint his sister of his presence in Detroit, as it would only result in a useless attempt to escape, followed by greater hardship and her removal to a distant camp. Mr. LEWIS, however, was determined to remain in the neighborhood and persevere in his plans, however long it might take. Just as he was looking around for means to get into the Indian country, a contractor came to Detroit to engage men to cut and clear timber around Fort Maumee. This gave him just the chance he wanted; so he engaged at once as a chopper, and in a few days was at work.
A few weeks afterward the advance of General Wayne and his army was reported at the fort, and with it came large numbers of Indians, who encamped in its neighborhood. Mr. LEWIS had enlisted the sympathies of a companion of his daily work, Thomas MATTHEWS, and they resolved to go out to the Indian encampment, though without much expectation of finding the missing one.
"We went out," he says, " and straggled among them in a careless manner for fear of being suspected. While thus walking about, a woman clapped her hands and cried out, ‘Lord have mercy on me!’ I knew her at once, but turned my back toward her, and walked off, telling MATTHEWS who she was. We dare not go to speak to her, but turned our course toward the fort, at the same time fixing in our minds the direction toward her tent and the lay of the ground and timber about the camp. There was a large burr or white-oak tree lying prostrate near the camp with a dense top. As we knew the Indians kept no sentries at night, we thought if we could only get her to come there at night we could easily carry her off; but how to make the arrangement with her to meet us was the puzzling part. We had observed that the squaw at whose tent she was had a cow. ; and it was agreed that MATTHEWS should go the next morning to the squaw with a loaf of bread, and try to exchange it for milk. I was afraid to go myself, lest I should, by my emotion, betray myself. So MATTHEWS went; and, fortunately, my sister was called to interpret. This gave him the opportunity he wanted, and he mingled the milk and bread talk with the plan for escape, which she agreed to. Fortunately the head engineer had command of the outposts that night, and, as he knew my story, when he learned of our plans he told the guard to pass us outside of the lines, and allow us to return with any one we might bring with us.
"We went to the tree as soon as it was quite dark, and waited there till near daylight; but my sister did not come, and we were obliged to return to the fort disappointed. The bread and milk strategy was tried by MATTHEWS again. He found that she had been out all night, but in a different tree-top. He soon made her understand which tree was to be our meeting-place, and returned. Again our friend, the engineer, favored us. We waited at the tree but a short time, when my sister came. Our greeting was short, as the slightest noise might defeat our plans. We started at once for the fort. When we got within the lines, not deeming it safe to take her into the fort, we took her to a large brush-heap near the fort, where we had been at work that day, in the middle of which I had made a hollow large enough for a person to sit in quite comfortably. Here we left her, well supplied with water and provisions. The next day had nearly passed, when I heard that a boast called the Shawnee had been ordered down the river, and thence to Turtle Island. I immediately went to the boat, and frankly told the captain how I was circumstanced, and asked him to carry myself and my sister to Turtle Island. After studying a few minutes, he said that he would if I could get my sister safely aboard; but said he, ‘It will be almost impossible; se yonder there are almost a hundred Indians scattered along the bank.’ I told him to leave that to me. I went to the fort, got an extra suit of clothes I had, and, taking them to the brush-pile, told my sister to put them on. When she was dressed, I tool her by the arm as if she was sick, and started for the boat. One of my fellow-workmen saw us, and, not knowing what I had been doing, halloed to me, ‘You are afraid of Wayne, are you, and going to Detroit?’ I answered that I was helping this sick man on board the Shawnee, and walked on through the crowd of Indians, and got aboard without attracting attention.
"By daylight next morning we were safely moored at Turtle Island. Hre we took passage on a brig bound for Detroit; but when we got to the head of the lake we were becalmed, and, fearing delay, at my request the captain landed us on the Canadian side, and we walked up to Detroit. Here we procured a rooms at a tavern; and I was so overcome with my anxiety and excitement that I was taken sick, and was confined to my bed for a week. We had to remain some time here before we could get a chance to go to Niagara. Colonel ENGLAND again befriended me. When a vessel was about starting for the mouth of the Chippewa, he procured a passage for us, and gave us a pass. We had a smooth passage down the lake, landed at the mouth of the Chippewa, and made our way down the Canadian side to Queenstown. Here we obtained new passes, and sailed for the mouth of the Genessee River. Thence we traveled on foot to where I had left my horse on my outward trip. I found the horse had been traded off; but I got another. On this my sister rode, and I walked by her side all the way to New Jersey. We reached Somerset in the month of October, lacking only a few days of a year from the time I started out, and there was a great rejoicing among the family and neighborhood."
Mr. LEWIS remained in New Jersey about a year, finishing his professional studies, when he married and moved to the western part of Pennsylvania, and established himself in practice. In the Spring of 1802 he moved to Hamilton, Ohio, where he lived quietly and prosperously.
In 1813 Dr. LEWIS was appointed surgeon’s mate of the First Regiment, Third Detachment, of Ohio militia. Colonel James MILLS commanded the regiment, which rendezvoused at Dayton. They were ordered to St. Mary’s, where the regiment was divided into three divisions. Dr. LEWIS had professional charge of the two divisions stationed at Wapakoneta and Amanda, which were on the Auglaize, almost twelve miles apart.
His superior officer, Dr. Squier LITTEL, soon after this resigned, and LEWIS had charge of the whole regiment. When news came that the British and Indians were collecting strongly near Fort Meigs, the First Regiment was ordered down the St. Mary’s to that point; but LEWIS was left at Amanda in charge of a large number of sick and wounded at that place. Here he had comfortable quarters and good attendance. Sheriff James SMITH, paymaster, was his room-mate.
At the end of six months for which the regiment had enlisted they were mustered out, and returned to Hamilton. LEWIS then made a visit to his friends in New Jersey, and on his return settled on his farm, which he had purchased in 1804.
Dr. LEWIS died July 19, 1851, of apoplexy, it is supposed, having been found dead in his stable on his farm in Butler County.
The first regular physician who practiced in this town for a long time, and whose history was identified with it, was Dr. Daniel MILLIKIN. Several other members of his family came here with him, or subsequently, and they and their descendants have maintained a distinguished position up to the present time.
Dr. Daniel MILLIKIN was the first child of James and Dolly MILLIKIN, who resided on Ten-Mile Creek in Washington County, Pennsylvania. James MILLIKIN was born on the fifth day of January, 1752, in the county of Antrim, Ireland. His father was also named James, and was born in 1727, and his mother, formerly Martha HEMPHILL, was born in 1729.
The father of Dr. MILLIKIN left Ireland, and came to Pennsylvania in 1771, when only 19 years of age. He did what was then a very unusual thing, but what is now a common undertaking. He separated from his parents, his home, and his friends, and sought the American colonies under the impulse of an adventurous spirit, to seek a home in a new country. He was not impelled to the movement by the importunities of relatives and friends who had preceded him. His example, however, was followed by his brothers William and Robert, who both lived and died in Greene County, State of Pennsylvania. He had other brothers in Ireland, one a "factor," and another a merchant.
As all of the children of James and Dolly MILLIKIN are deceased, it is now not possible to ascertain accurately the residence, the pursuits, or the experiences in life of the father after he landed in this country and previous to his marriage to Dolly McFARLAND, on the 31st of March, 1778. At the time of this union he was twenty-six years old. Mrs MILLIKIN was born near Dartmouth, in Bristol County, Massachusetts, on the 6th day of June, 1762, and was consequently, when married, under the age of sixteen. This marriage was the union of a young, adventurous Protestant Irishman to a simon-pure Massachusetts Yankee girl, which resulted in a prosperous and happy married life and the rearing of a large family.
Dolly MILLIKIN was the daughter of Daniel McFARLAND and Sally Barber McFARLAND, who were married on the first day of July, 1752. They had a large family. Eight of their children were born in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and two in Burlingto, Burlington County, in the State of New Jersey. One of her brothers, Daniel McFARLAND, removed from Pennsylvania to Warren County, Ohio. Another brother, Abel McFARLAND, continued to reside on Ten-mile. He was an active, intelligent man of more than usual prominence, having represented his county of Washington in the General Assembly of that State. His family was numerous. One of his sons, Major Daniel McFARLAND, was an efficient and accomplished officer, and was killed at the battle of Bridgewater during the War of 1812.
Another brother, William, continued to reside in Washington County, where he raised a large family. He was the father of Major Samuel McFARLAND, who became a prominent citizen of the county. He was conspicuous for the maintenance of his convictions, and for his fearless and uncompromising advocacy of antislavery doctrines, and was the candidate for vice-president of the United States of the Liberty Party, in 1844, on the ticket with James G. BIRNEY, the candidate for President. William McFARLAND had a son named James who was the father of Noah C. McFARLAND, who, for many years, was a prominent lawyer and politician in Hamilton. He was the junior partner in the law firm of SCOTT & McFARLAND, and represented Butler and Warren counties in the Senate of Ohio. Subsequently, he removed to Topeka, Kansas, was elected to the Senate of that State, and is now a commissioner of the General Land Office of the United States at Washington City.
Dr. Joel B. McFARLAND was a nephew of Mrs. Dolly MILLIKIN. He took up his residence in Hamilton in 1835. He was a popular practicing physician in Hamilton in this county for many years, and represented the county in the Legislature in 1841-2. He afterwards removed to Lafayette, Indiana. There, too, he practiced his profession, and represented the county of Tippecanoe in the Legislature of Indiana.