Back to Newspaper Article Index

Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, December 22, 1877. page 1, cols 2-3
Contributed by Ky Longley

The Early History of Zanesville
by E.H.C.

For the Courier,

    Dr. Richard Hillier came to Zanesville in the spring of 1805, having passed the preceding winter at St. Clairsville. The Doctor had been a surgeon in the English army for several years, and on coming to this country stole his bride, her people objecting the the marriage on account of her age. Her people were wealthy, and she had been carefully raised and educated. They, however, got married and shipped for New York. On the way across the briny deep Mr. and Mrs. Hillier formed the acquaintance of a Mr. Parker and family, and Wm. Launder. The Doctor had intended on starting from England to take on his residence in New York city, and there enter upon the practice of his profession. Before arriving in New York he and his wife formed the resolution of going to the western country with Mr. Parker and family and Mr. Launder. Each purchased two horses and a wagon for the long and weary journey over hill and dale, plain and mountain. It was a great undertaking for people reared in the cities of old England to attempt to make their way in life in an almost untrodden wilderness. And yet they were young, and strong, and ambitious.

    Before such people, obstacles apparently insurmountable, melt away. Here in these western wiles, Dr. Hillier commenced the practice of his profession, and at times, was compelled to ride through the wilderness from twenty-five to forty miles, to perform a magical operation upon a patient. He was the only sergeon in Zanesville at that early day, and for a circut of many miles around. In those days, a knock down was nothing unusual among the old pioneers. Indeed some of them seemed to enjoy the sport. It was an honor to be considered the best man in the neighborhood and every neighborhood always had a best man. And the fighting was a kind of a rough and tumble bulldog fighting. Anything to come off victorious, seemed to be the motto of the day. They would bite and gouge and kick and strike and pound, until one of the combatants would yield the victory to his opponent. On one occasion, Dr. Hillier was called upon to put on a man's nose which had been bitten off in a fight. The nose hung to face by a small piece of skin. The Doctor dressed it and placed it in the right position, and fastened it with silver pins which he had brought from England with him. Just about the time the nose appeared to be progressing so finely, that the Doctor thought it was unnecessary to use the silver pins longer, the man "eloped" with the silver pins without paying his bill. The Doctor not accustomed to such treatment, became furious, so much did he regret the loss of the silver pins, which could not be replaced without much trouble and expense.

    In early times in this western country the people moving west in wagons were put to much inconvenience in getting baked bread and cakes while on the journey.

    In order to supply this want Mrs. Hillier, Mrs. Christian Spangler, and Mrs. Samuel Parker, baked loaves of bread and cakes in Dutch ovens. The loaves ranged from one and one-half pounds to five pounds. The Dutch ovens were placed upon an open wood fire or over hot coals, and kept there until the bread and cakes were nicely baked. There were no cooking stoves in this new country in those days. The bread was sold for a "fip" (6-1/2 cents) per lb., and cakes at a "levy" (12-1/2 cents) a dozen. Mrs. Geo. Parker informed the writer, and his mother and others continued to bake bread and cakes to sell to travelers until Mr. Hatman started a bake shop in 1807 or 1808. Dr. Hillier continued to live in Zanesville and practice his profession until the spring of 1809 when he moved to Beach Bottom fifteen miles from Mt. Vernon. He have(?) lived on a farm in the wilderness his nearest neighbor being one mile away.

    The Doctor died in 1813, and it was his wish to be buried in the highway so the Indians would not get his scalp. He had a great dislike for the Indians, and was eccentric in his ways. He left five sons, Thomas C. Hillier his fourth son, served an apprenticeship at the shoemaking trade with Joseph Church in Zanesville, and carried on the business here for several years. He is now living three miles east of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

    Mr. A.R. Hillier, the gentleman who furnishes the good people of the Zanesville of today good and cheap bread, is a grandson of Dr. Hillier, and a son of William Hillier, now living near Adamsville, this county.


    Mr. Robert Taylor, in the fall of 1803, kept tavern on the southwest corner of Main and Sixth street, James Herron having built the hotel for him. He kept tavern here until the fall of 1808, when he took charge of a frame hotel he erected opposite the public square, on apart of the grounds now occupied by the Clarendon Hotel.

    This was the most prominet hotel in the town at that date, and was patronized by the members of the Legislature, when in 1810 and 1812 the General Assembly held its sessions here. Mr. William H. Baird was his bartender or office clerk, during the time the General Assembly held its sessions in Zanesville. Mr. Baird was employed in the hotel at the time of the earthquake shocks in 1811. He told the writer some years ago, that he was standing at the front door of the hotel, between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when the shock came. He observed a spire of the Court House vibrate backwards and forwards several inches, and then the Senators and Representatives came tumbling out the windows and doors, nearly frightened to death. The Senators coming down the stairs didn't wait to reach the doors, but jumped through the windows which were located along the stairway. The horses commenced to neigh, the cows bellowed, the dogs howled, the hogs squealed, and all animated nature seemed to act as though some dire misfortune was coming upon them, from which it was impossible to escape.

    There was no damage done in Zanesville with the exception of the falling of a few bricks from some chimnies and the dishes from some cupboards. Previous to this shock there were two or three shocks during the night, but not so heavy. During these shocks there were exciting times in Zanesville, for no one knew what would next happen. It was at this time that acres of land sank near New Madrid, Missouri, and the Mississippi boiled like water in a pot over a hot fire, and flat boats going down the river were carried up stream for some distance in the neighborhood of New Madrid. All kinds of rumors were in circulation in Mississippi at that time. It was reported that the whole lower country had sunk, and there was a vast sea where the land had been. Mr. Taylor recommended Mr. W. H. Beard in Governor Meigs for his Private Secretary. Mr. Baird went with the governor and served him as Private Secretary while he was Governor of the State, and afterwards was with him in Washington City when he was Postmaster General.

    Mr. Baird gave the writer of this sketch of his life a few years before he died. Mr. Geo W. Jackson married Miss Rebecca Taylor, a niece of Robert Taylor, in the fall of 1814. Mr. Taylor sold his tavern to Kirker and Fulton, and purchased a tavern stand on the northeast corner of Main and Sixth streets, previously occupied by James Reeves. He shortly afterward sold this stand to a Mr. Turner, who sold it to John S. Dugan on account of his inability to meet the payments on the property. Mr. Taylor, after this transaction, remained a few years longer in Zanesville, and then removed two and one-half miles northeast of Zanesville, on a farm owned by his brother. Here he farmed a little and hauled fire wood to Zanesville as an occupation, making two loads a day, and very often indulging in the intoxicating bowl rather freely before departing from the city before departing from the city after delivering the last load. He died in 1829 or 1830 a poor man.

    He was buried a short distance from his dwelling, on his brother's farm. The writer aided in lowering his remains to their last resting place. Thus passed away one of Zanesville's first settlers, and for many years one of her prominent men. He was highly respected by the community in which he lived, but toward the close of his life, like many other good men, formed habits that brought misfortunes upon him. Mrs. Rebecca Taylor, his wife, lived several years after her husband had passed away. She was an intelligent lady, much respected and loved by all who knew her. She was the first member of the Presbyterian Church of Zanesville. The Church was organized at her husband's hotel in the fall of 1805. She died in a small house near the residence of Joshua Brown, several years ago.

    Mr. Taylor's brother, a rich merchant of Baltimore, supplied all her wants, and her latter days upon earth were passed in ease and comfort.

Return to the top of this page

This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by Denny Shirer < drdxneo.rr.com >