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Clermont County Genealogical Society


As Seen Sixty Years Ago Through the Eyes of a Boy - ExtractsFrom Interesting Letter Received by Home Coming Committee From Will C. Thornton, Who Spent The First Nine Years of His Life Here

Jefferson City, Mo.,
September 12, 1907.

Home Coming Committee, Batavia, Ohio:

Dear Sirs: Many thanks to you for a pressing invitation to visit the town of my birth, after an absence of sixty years. I was born in Batavia, Clermont county, Ohio, April 21, 1838. My father, Dr. SR. Thornton, moved from Batavia to Bethel in September, 1847. In December, 1856, we moved to Missouri. It would be the greatest pleasure of my life to attend and take part in your program, which I shall do, if possible.

As I see Batavia, after looking back sixty years, it was a town of about 400. There is only one name on your committee I remember. W.E. Thompson was a schoolmate at Bethel. Now, the rest of the names I shall name lived in and around Batavia sixty years ago: Judges Fishback, Shields, Lee and Norris; lawyers R. W. Clarke (my uncle), Tom Lewis, Julius Penn, Henry Talley, Thomas O. Ashburn, Lowe, Jolliffe, Griffith, Jonathan Morris and Thomas Morris; Doctors Wayland and his son, Wm.

Wayland, and my father, S.R. Thornton; Los Sharpe read medicine with my father, and Sidney Moore, also. Merchants Dr. Dart, Col. Dustin and John M. Brown; Adam Kline had a confectionery store and bakery. Milton Jamieson's father ran one hotel and Duckwall the other. Andy Gest edited the Clermont Courier; Chas. Smith edited the Clermont Sun. School-mates, Will Shields, Lydia Shields, Tom Lowe, Frank White, John Wayland, Will Dart and sister, Eugene Lee, Dave Morris, John Leonard and his brother, George Dustin, Lib and Anna Fishback, Tip, Pink and George Fishback, John, Will and Hannah Mary Medary (my cousins), Geo. W. Hulick, Tom Brown and his sister, Bill Ulrey, Tom Cade, Loid Wayland and Zue Clarke (my cousin). School teachers, Tom Lewis, Chas. Smith, Mr. Shaw, Dodge and Roudebush. Mr. Leonard and Spence Danbury were blacksmiths. John Fishback had a tanyard and fish pond. Judge Fishback was a lame man and always had his yard full of bees. Charley and Lindsey Moore had a water-power saw and grist mill about a mile above the bridge, and always raised fine watermelons. Col. Dustin had a tinshop on the creek bank, just above the bridge. Asher Medaiy had a nursery on the hill, below the old stone church and the bend in the creek. Mr. Croshaw hauled wood to us with oxen; he lived out the other side of Lot Hulick's. There was another Hulick family lived north of the 'Burg road, not far from town.

I remember when the bridge burned, it was weather-boarded and had a shingle roof. I remember when lightning struck the lightning rod on the Court House and at the same time fired Jamieson's stable, south of the hotel. Henry Bonnel was a harness-maker; John Grant worked for him. There were two butchers, John White and Old Uncle Billy Crane and his son, Charley. Bill Sanders (colored) was a barber. Old Uncle Larkin (colored) sawed wood for us. Mr. Hay was a weaver; he lived just above the bridge. About the middle of this block, in a one-room frame house, is where I first went to school, Tom Lewis was my teacher. The stove used to smoke when the wind was in the east. So Tom would have to dismiss school. I remember several times when the wind did not come to suit us, some of larger boys would climb on the roof at noon and put boards over the top of the chimney which made is smoke so Tom had to dismiss school. This did not work but a few times until Tom caught on to it and punished several of the boys. After the new brick school house was built upon the hill above Leonard's blacksmith shop I went to Shaw and Roudebush. I used to climb the lightning rods on the court house up to the roof.

Tom Lewis, Andy Gest and Henry Tally were particular friends of mine. I think they gave me more Christmas presents than any others that I remember. Henry Tally was a lame man. I think he was from Highland Co. Tom Morris was a young lawyer. One morning he came out on the street with a new suit of clothes, with straps at the bottom of the pants legs. We didn't know whether they were to hold his pants down or his boots up. All the same we called him straps, which made him mad. He would take after us and we would run over to Bill Sander's barber shop for protection.

I remember when Charlie Smith pulled off his coat, throwed it on the pavement, roiled up his sleeves, (across the street from Andy Gest's office) he walked up and down the pavement from Jamieson's hotel and Jonathan Morris's, making all kinds of gestures, daring Andy to come out on the street. They frequently had spats through the papers.

Looking north from the court house, two blocks away, old Dr. Wayland's brick house seemed to be in the middle of the Street. R.W. Clark's first wife, Aunt Peggy, died in that house in 1840.

When we moved from Batavia R.W. Clark lived on the first street south of the Presbyterian church. If I knew the names of  the streets I could tell you where many of the people I have named lived in 1847.


Will C. Thornton, 213 E. Main St., Jefferson City, Missouri

From the Clemiont Sun: Oct. 2, 1907


Birth Records
Early Clermont Co. Births 1856-1857
First Presbyterian Churches of Monroe
At Nicholsville & Bantam
Baptisms of Children
Anderson Township Births 1906-1907
Old Bethel Church Baptisms
Old Bethel Church Baptisms 1894-1908
Early Births 1856
Early Marriages 1800 - 1808
 Marriage Book 13 1874-1876
Goshen M. E. Church

Funerals Conducted by Rev. Hezekiah Hill 1862-1908
The Old Village Graveyard

Deaths of Residents Over 75 in 1875

Infirmary Discharges That Mention a Burial Place

Death Dates from I.O.O.F. Lodge #313

Early Clermont Deaths from The Ohio Sun
Obituaries From the Clermont Sun 1890-1891

Early Deaths from Clermont Sun 1855
More Deaths 1857-1859
Stirling & Moore Funeral Records 1888
1880 Mortality Census
Goshen 1875 Quadrennial Census
Quadrennial Census, Batavia, 1847

Quadrennial Census, Batavia, 1855

Incidents in The Early History of Clermont County
Stonelick Historical Notes
Vacation of a Road in
Union Township

Brown and Clermont County Families Mentioned
in the 1880 Clinton County History
Day Book For Clarke & Frambes Mills 1838
Early Naturalizations from Common Pleas Minutes
Citizenship Papers 1844-1900
Names of New Found Naturalization Applicants
Veterans in Various Cemeterys
Revolutionary War Soldiers

Clermont Courier Ads November 18, 1863
Mexican War Veterans
Revolutionary War Veterans
Post Office
Post Marks of Clermont County
Clermont Postmasters 1800 - 1930
Early Unclaimed Letters

More Unclaimed Letters Unclaimed Letters 1855
Bible Records
Manning Bible
Banister Bible

Bible Records of James McKinnie 1830

Bible Records Index Volume Two

Bible Records Index Volume Three
Old Bethel Church and Cemetery

History of Old Bethel Church 1868

Calvary Church and Cemetery Washington Twp
Edenton Church 1861


Perin Mills in 1863
Goshen- Land Of Milk and Honey

First Settlers of Jackson Township

Legal Voters of Goshen Township 1855

Batavia in1847
Poll Book Goshen Township 1853
1840 Account Book, Laurel Ohio

Edenton School # 4 Pupils


Pensions 1890

More Pensions 1890
Indentures 1825 - 1831

Index To General Store Account Book 1816-1819

Vital Statistics From An Old Record Book

Items from Clermont Courier 1836
Clermont Pensioners 1883

Ohio Pioneers That Moved to Texas

Persons on the Petit Jury 1880

Jails and Sheriffs
Items From Early Clermont Courier 1852
Meeting of Patriarchs 1882
Surrender Records From Childrens Home
Gazetteer 1882

Articles From The Clermont Sun 1889
River Boatmen
Sale of Delinquent Lands