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Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, May 25, 1878, page 1, cols 4-5
Contributed by Ky Longley

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

For the Courier,

    Mr. Elijah Hart, the grandfather of the writer, passed through Zanesville in 1805 on his way West, in search of a home in the then almost untrodden wilderness. What courage and sacrifices it required on the part of our ancestors, to cut loose from the early home, which was dear to them; from relatives, friends, comrades, schoolmates; deprive themselves of all influences incident to an old settled country, and strike out into a land inhabited by the wild red men of the forest, where hardship, and trials, and misfortunes come, every day and every year, during all the days of their lives, which must be surmounted in order to lay well the foundations of the new community. The comforts of the old home never greet them in the wilderness, and after long years of hardship and trials, they are only permitted to get a glimpse of the good results of their life work. All these sacrifices they make for their children, in order that they may have a fair start in life, and have an equal chance with those more flavored by fortune, to become prosperous and influential in the world. Successors of the old heroes often forget the sacrifices they made, the trials and misfortunes they endured, while founding an empire in this wilderness.

    The grandfather of the writer in 1805, had a brother living in Kentucky and he traveled through Zanesville to visit his brother and purchase a farm, a home for himself and family. On arriving in Kentucky, his brother advised him not to purchase land in that State, as it was difficult at the time to secure a good title, but advised him to return to the State of Ohio and there in that land of freedom to locate the home for which he was searching. He returned to Ohio, traveled to the old town of Chillicothe, where his friend Jeremiah Morrow were old friends; had been boys together in the old Keystones State; went to school together; conned their lessons together; played together; hunted, fished, sported on the green together during holidays and half holidays. The greeting was warm between these two gentlemen who had been friends and comrades in the olden time when they met in the western wilderness, on the banks of the Scioto. They talked of the olden time; the schoolmates of the happy days of boyhood, and the little bright-eyed, bewitching girls who had attended the same old school, who recited in the same classes, who sported upon the green with them, and to whom in after years they first whispered words of love.

    Who did they marry? Are they at the old home yet? Are they happy? Are they as beautiful and bewitching as of old? Do they still laugh, and joke and make merry as in the olden time upon the school house green? And how are the boys who played and hunted and fished and sported with us, twenty years or more ago? And thus they talked until the day had passed, and the shades of night gathered around the little cabin in the wilderness; and the hours of the night glided swiftly by, and still they talked, until in imagination they were at the old home once, more with old friends, among the grand old hills, along the swift flowing stream, even upon the green before the neat little school house, and there around them as in the olden time, the boys and girls laughed, and talked and shouted and sung songs as they did in the happy days long since past, and gone.

    After all the questions about the old home; about those who had gone away, those who still remained, those who had married and those who were sleeping in the little green churchyard, Mr. Hart informed his old friend of his travels in search of a home, his visit to Kentucky, the advise of his brother; informed him that in passing through Zanesville he was pleased with the appearances of the country, and thought of locating a home for himself and family in that neighborhood, if, upon a second visit and a more thorough investigation, the land was as good, and the country as healthy as appearances indicated.

    Jeremiah Morrow gave his old friend a letter of introduction to Mr. Willis Silliman, at that time Register of the Land Office at Zanesville, requesting Mr. Silliman to assist his friend in selecting a farm in the neighborhood of Zanesville. Mr. Hart returned to Zanesville, called upon Mr. Silliman, presented his letter, and Mr. Silliman gave him a letter of introduction to Mr. Joseph Vernon, who at that time owned the large and valuable tract of land in Washington township, now the property of our esteemed fellow citizen, Mr. Moses Robertson. Mr. Vernon went with Mr. Hart to the farm north-east of the one he owned, showed him the land, and Mr. Hart concluded to locate his new home here, and entered this tract and started on his long and weary journey through the wilderness and over the Alleghenies to Adams county, Pa., near Gettysburg, his old home, for the purpose of bringing his family to the western wilderness.

    In November, 1806, Mr. Hart arrived in Zanesville with his family. At that time Mr. Hart's family consisted of his wife, four sons and five daughters. With this large family, he came through a new country, over rough roads, cut through the wilderness, over the mountains, with a four horse team, attached to what was known in those days, a "scooner," a large covered wagon, the cover being two or three feet higher at each end, than in the middle. As Mr. Hart was driving along the road six miles this side of Zanesville, Mr. Thomas Wickham drove out from a tavern, on the side of the road, with a four horse team attached to a "scooner" bound for Zanesville. The two families bound for the same locality, soon became acquainted, and came to Zanesville together assisting each other up the hills.

    These two families became very intimate friends, and remained on terms of the greatest intimacy for many years. Mr. Hart upon arriving in Zanesville, rented a cabin which stood near the foot of Main street, oposite the residence of Daniel Convers. The cabin was the property of Robert Spear, who lived at that time, at New Concord. Robert Spear was the father of that well known and highly esteemed fellow citizen of ours, Mr. Alex Spear. Mr. Hart, and Mr. Spear were friends and acquaintances in Pennsylvania. At the time Mr. Hart rented the cabin, Mr. William Langley was living in it, and at the same time building a log hewed house on the northeast corner of Second street, and Fountain Alley.

    It was four or five days after Mr. Hart arrived, before Mr. Langley's house was sufficiently advanced in construction for occupation. During these days, both families occupied the cabin, Mr. Hart's boys sleeping in the wagon. In traveling over the mountains, Mr. Hart received a wound, injuring the jaw bone. With this wound, he was confined to the house during the greater part of the winter of 1806-7. This wound was finally the cause of his death. He died on the 17th of March, 1807. During his sickness, his attending physicians was Dr. Richard Hillier, a sketch of whose life appeared in the Courier some weeks ago.

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