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Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, March 2, 1878, page 1, cols 2-3
Contributed by Ky Longley

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

For the Courier,

    One of the early settlers, and one of the most prominent men of the early days of Zanesville, was Samuel Thompson. He came to Zanesville in the spring of 1805, and purchased of Mr. Crayton, his brother-in-law, his stock of dry goods and his property on the southeast corner of Main and Fifth streets. His store room was a one story hewed-log house. It stood on Main street on the grounds now occupied by the confectionery establishment of Mr. Oshe (sp?). Mr. Thompson transacted business in the dry good and grocery line for many years. His dwelling house was a two story hewed-log house. It stood some distance from Main street on Fifth street, back from the street a few feet. He subsequently built and erected a brick residence south of the Maginnis block. Mr. Thompson had two children when he came to Zanesville - William, the oldest of his children, and Margaret, afterwards Mrs. James Raguet, a former well-known merchant of this city. Mr. Thompson buried a sister in the fall of 1805, in Zanesville's first burying ground, on the North Sixth street, where the gas works now stands. He was elected justice of the peace in Zanesville in the spring of 1808, and was re-elected to the office for thirty-two years in succession. During the latter years of his official life the citizens voted for him on account of their respect for him. He did not do much business in his office except acknowledging deeds and performing marriage ceremonies. He was also elected Coroner in the fall of 1817, and served the people in that capacity until 1821. He also served the citizens of Zanesville in the town council as fence viewer and overseer of the poor, a great many years. He was unfortunate enough to lose a part of his property in going security for a friend. Raguet purchased a part of the lot owned by Squire Thompson on Fifth street and Fountain alley, and erected a large brick dwelling upon it, and erected a large brick store room on Main street, on the ground now occupied by Oshe's confectionery establishment. In the early days of Zanesville 'Squire Thompson joined in wedlock many persons here. He, Squire Spangler and Squire Craig, monopolized that business during the infancy of the city, there not being, in those days, any resident minister here. The old 'Squire was a peace-maker. He succeeded in settling many a difficulty among neighbors, and prevented many costly lawsuits. That good practice is not followed by lawyers and 'squires at the present day. It is the costs that keeps the machine in motion. The 'Squire sold the corner lot, where Hattan Bros. drug store now stands, to his son William. He commenced the erection of the present three story brick building, but did not live to finish it. He went down to New Orleans with a trading boat, took sick, and died there. 'Squire Thompson afterwards sold the property to G.A. Hall. He finished the building between 1828 and 1830, and used it as a dry goods store.

    'Squire Thompson was the father of three sons and five daughters. Nevel, the youngest son, was well known to the boys of 1825. He was as full of fun and mischief as a boy could well be. It gave him much pleasure to get Billy Jones - a half-witted colored man - half drunk, dress him up with military coat and cap of the old Zanesville Guards, rub flour over his face and head, and give him a broomstick for a gun. Then there was fun for the boys, and for the old folks too, to see Billy go through with the manuel of arms. Whenever Billy came to town there was fun for the boys, and Nev. Thompson was the leader in all kinds of sport. 'Squire Thompson, like many of the prominent men of the early days of Zanesville, was an Irishman by birth. He was a genial, good-hearted man full of jokes, which it gave him much pleasure to relate, and furnished his friends great amusement. He possessed all the good qualities of the Irishman. He was honest in his dealings with all men, thoroughly reliable, and during his whole life much respected by all who knew him. He was the first Captain of the Light Horse military company that was organized in Zanesville. The company was organized in 1809, and Capt. Thompson resigned his post just before the war of 1812. When he resigned, Benoni Pierce, his Lieutenant, was elected Captain, and John Lee was elected Lieutenant.

    During the war of 1812, the company was called into the service, and at the battle of Massissinaway (sp?) Capt. Benoni Pierce was killed, and John Lee became Captain. In the spring of 1816, Dr. John Hamm and Christian Spangler were opposing candidates, for Mayor of the city. The excitement ran high. Each candidate brought out all his followers in full force. Each voter was closely scrutinized and where there was the least doubt about the right of a citizen to vote, he was challenged and made to produce evidence that he was entitled to exercise the elective franchise. When 'Squire Thompson went up to the polls to vote, he was challenged on the grounds of not being a naturalized citizen. He had voted at every election for years, and was never challenged before. It produced a great sensation. The judges asked the 'Squire if he was ever naturalized. He replied: "No, sires." The judges replied: "Then you can't vote." The 'Squire replied: "Please, your honors, I was a citizen of this country before the formation of the Constitution of the United States." The judges replied: 'Squire you can vote." Mr. Thompson's family were among the first Presbyterian of the city. For some years before his death, 'Squire Thompson lived with his son-in-law, William Galigher, his wife having previously died. He died in Zanesville on the 16th of July, 1858 in the 93rd year of his age, having lived in Zanesville for over 50 years. He saw the town grow from a small village, to a wealthy and populous city. His old acquaintances and companions of this early days here, had gone before. He saw them, one by one, take their departure from his world of sin and sorrow to a better world, it is to be hoped. His life was so bound up in public matters during so many years, that the history of Zanesville could not be written without writing the history of the life and services of Samuel Thompson. he died full of years, much respected by the citizens living in Zanesville at that time. During his whole life he had hosts of friends.

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