Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, December 15, 1877. page 1, cols 2-3
Contributed by Ky Longley
The Early History of Zanesville
For the Courier,
Many of the inhabitants of Zanesville do not know that one of the prominent men of Zanesville was Willis Sillimon. He, a young lawyer came to Marietta in 1800, and on January 4th, 1802, was married to Miss Deborah W. Cass, a daughter of Major Johnathan Cass, at Waketomaka, near Dresden, Ohio. In 1803, the first Legislature of Ohio named Willis Sillimon as one of the first presiding judges of the then common pleas circuit. In 1804, he was appointed Register of the Land Office at Zanesville, and Thomas Van Swearingen of Chillicothe, Receiver of Public Money. Mr. Van Swearingen resigned the office the following year. Willis Sillimon was Zanesville's first lawyer. He resided on the south-west corner of Main and First streets, opposite the residence of his brother-in-law, Joseph F. Monroe, both gentlemen having married daughters of Major Johnathan Cass. The first session of court ever held in Zanesville, was held in the spring of 1804, at David Harvey's tavern, south-west corner of Main and Third streets. Willis Sillimon was the judge of this court, and his associates upon the bench were David Harvey and Jesse Fulton. The Court appointed at this time Able Lewis, Clerk, pro tem of the Court, and Lewis Betts the first judge of the Supreme Court confirmed the appointment, his associates on the bench being Jesse Fulton and Richard McBride. The first trial in the first session of the Court of Common Pleas, was a slander case. The plaintiff had sued for damages to the amount of $500, and the jury allowed the plaintiff $3.
Willis Sillimon resigned his position as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas after the first session. Judge Sillimon's law office was located at the lower end of Main street near First street in a small log house. In 1807 Judge Silliman traded a piece of land located three miles and a half from the village of Zanesville on the Marietta road to J Green for his homestead at the head of Main street, the property now known to the citizens of Zanesville, as the Dr. Brown property and removed to this new residence the same year. In 1806 John Green commenced to erect a fine residence on the site of the Dr. Brown residence, but it was not completed when he made the trade with Judge Sillimon. After the property came into the possession of Judge Sillimon, he built an addition to the house erected by John Green and made other improvements so that for that day it presented a fine appearance. He also built a stone wall around it in 1812 or 13 and erected an office on the brow of the hill, which he used for a law and Register office for a number of years. He resigned the office of Register in 1811. When Judge Sillimon was engaged in making these improvements, he traded a lot he owned on the corner of Main and Seventh streets to John Dulty, Sr., of Wheeling, for nails, glass, paints, & etc., and used the material in the building.
Willis Silliman and David J Marpole erected the first water works in Zanesville in 1816 and 1817. The reservoir was located near the corner of Underwood and Fountain alley, and was built of cut stone, puddled with white clay. The reservoir was 75 feet long and 25 feet wide, and about 9 feet high, arched over with brick. The water was brought from the springs on the surrounding hills in wooden pipes. From the reservoir it was conveyed in wooden logs to different parts of the village. When water was drawn from the pipes at the lower end of town, water wouldn't flow from the hydrants at the upper end of town. It wouldn't work like a charm; in fact, was a complete failure. This reservoir remained until about 1831, when the cut stone in the reservoir were sold for building purposes. In a few years the brick arch began to give way, but still the reservoir remained nearly full of water, and afforded an immense amount of sport for the boys of that day, of whom the writer was one. The frogs and snakes inhabited it in large numbers, and the boys put in many a happy hour in throwing stones at them.
In October, 1825, Judge Sollimon was chosen to represent this county in the State Senate, and served the people for two years in that capacity. President Jackson during his second term appointed Judge Sullimon Solicitor of the Treasury. He was a most eloquent speaker, by far the most eloquent lawyer at the Zanesville bar at that day. In criminal, breech of promise, and cases of seduction, he generally, by his knowledge of law and his eloquence, brought his client through successfully. When the life of his client was at stake, he would spare no expense to save him, and at such time would put forth every energy at his command. In appearance, Judge Sullimon was a plain, unassuming man, kind and obliging, hail fellow well met with all, jovial and good natured, and careless as to his personal appearance. In 1817, President Monroe, accompanied by Gen. Joseph Brown, Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the United States, Gen. McComb, the hero of Plattsburg, and Gen. Lewis Cass, took breakfast with Judge Sullimon when stopping at Zanesville, while on a tour through the West.
In 1836 Judge Sullimon moved to Cleveland, then to Wooster, then to Cincinnati, but finally returned to Zanesville, and died here on the 13th day of November, 1842 at the residence of Charles C. Guilbert. Thus passed away, a kind-hearted genial, obliging gentlemen - a man who could not speak without begin eloquent - a man who had been repeatedly honored with office by his fellow citizens - a pure and honest man, who never betrayed a trust committed to his keeping - one of the most influential men, who ever resided in Zanesville. He was a kind husband and an indulgent father. His wife lived to an old age and died a few years ago in California.
Mr. Paul Hahn came to Zanesville in the fall of 1803. In the spring of 1804, he built a cabin on the corner of Fourth and River street (now Canal St.) the same lot on which the Power House No. 2 now stands, close to the Springfield Ferry. The house was, what was called in those days, a double cabin, one and one-half stories high. And here he kept and entertained travelers.
Paul Hahn and Slagor would kill a beef once a week for the accommodation of the public, and continued this business until Michael Sockman settled in Zanesville in 1806 and opened a meat shop. In 1808, Paul Hahn built a brick house on Fifth street opposite the large establishment of Griffith & Wedge where he kept accommodation for boatmen and travelers. This brick building is now owned by our fellow citizen, Richard Woods, and is one of the oldest brick buildings in Zanesville. Mr. Hahn had two sons and two daughters. Frederick the oldest son was a flat boatman and was one of the first citizens of Zanesville who engaged in carrying produce on flat boats to New Orleans. His youngest son Michael Hahn was the first constable of the village of Zanesville. He was constable in 1804. He was also captain of a company during the war of 1812, and afterward followed boating occasionally. Mr. Paul Hahn was the grandfather of our fellow citizen, Mr. J. P. Egan, Mr. Egan's mother being a daughter of Paul Hahn. The Hahns were all stout, robust, hardy men, and for many years after these early days, the sons and grandsons of Paul Hahn followed boating as an avocation.
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