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Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, March 30, 1878, page 1, cols 2-3
Contributed by Ky Longley

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

For the Courier,


    In the spring of 1806, a young man in search of fame, and fortune in the western wilderness, stopped at John Green's tavern. This young man was John L Cochran. The tavern was a double hewed-log house, and stood on the west side of the pike opposite to Silliman street.

    Mr. Cochran was a carpenter by trade, and aided to erect the frame dwelling on the hill at the head of Fountain alley, for General Green, in the spring and summer of 1806. Gen. Green afterwards traded this house, together with a few acres of land, to Judge Silliman, for a farm on the Marietta road, four miles from Zanesville. This transaction took place in 1807.

    Mr. Cochran boarded for some time with Gen. Green, and worked at the carpentering business, and on wet days and of evenings he would make cigars, being a tobacconist by trade as well as a carpenter.

    Mr. Cochran, like many young men though he couldn't be truly happy in this western wilderness without a wife, and, looking around among the fair ladies of Zanesville, at that time - and the ladies of Zanesville were always noted throughout the West for talent and beauty - he became acquainted with Miss Catherine Brocker, a step-daughter of William Stinson.

    He, in his enthusiasm, concluded that some super-human power must have directed his steps to Zanesville for the very purpose of bringing him into the presence of the young lady he had always been looking for and never could find in any other locality where fate had directed his steps. The young lady listened to the pleadings of the love smitten young man, and they became plighted, and were married by 'Squire Wm. Craig, January 20, 1811.

    Mr. John L. Cochran, helped his brother James to build Zanesville's first Market House, in the spring of 1814, and became Zanesville's first Market Master in 1814, and received for his services the magnificent sum of $150 a year. In the spring of 1817, Mr. Cochran engaged in the business of a tobacconist in Mud Hollow on Main street, between Sixth street and Sewer alley, on the ground now occupied by property owned by Mr. C. Geis. He manufactured tobacco for a great many years. His sign was a negro about three feet high, called Congo. In one hand the little black fellow had a bunch of cigars, in the other a box of snuff. The young chap was not flesh and bone, but wood. Wesley Alwine gave him the ebony tint.

    Mr. Cochran was the first man who entered into the business of a tobacconist in Zanesville, in all its branches. His son Hugh L. Cochran, now a resident of McConnelsville, is engaged at present in the manufactured tobacco on a large scale, and makes a splendid article. Mr. Cochran owned the hill east of Zanesville, between the old Wheeling and the National roads. On the top of the hill there was, in early times, a grove of black oak trees. This locality became known as Cochran's hill. He also owned the two story frame house, built by Mr. Green in 1809, an Englishman and a stone cutter by trade, the man who cut the date stone which for so many years marked the date of the erection of "old 1809." The stone is still in existence, and will be gazed upon by future generations of Zanesville yet unborn.

    It was thought in early days that the property at the foot of Fifth street would become very valuable on account of being in the immediate vicinity of the ford and keel boat landing. After Mr. Cochran retired from the business of tobacconist on Main street he moved to his property at the foot of Fifth street and lived there many years, and died there on the 21 of April, 1868, being at the time, more than four score years old. In the early times of Zanesville, Cochran was quite a prominent and popular man. He was elected by his fellow-citizens to a number of offices, among which was Market Master, Marshal, Councilman and Collector of Borough taxes. Mr. Cochran was considered an honest, reliable man, and much respected by the old citizens. He was lively and jolly, fond of company, and fond of telling huge stories about the exploits of his early life.


    One of the earliest tobacconists of Zanesville was Daniel Christ. He located here away back in the olden times, and lived on Fourth street. His residence stood on the plat of ground now owned by M. C. Mitchell and Henry Rimple. He manufactured cigars exclusively. His shop was located by the side of his dwelling. This was a day before all business men rushed for Main street. His sign read, Daniel Christ, Tobacconist. The boys rhymed it thus: "Daniel Christ Tobacconist." The boys all knew that shop. He was a very close man in his dealing, inclined to be somewhat miserly.

    He was very industrious, and gave close attention to business for many years, but unfortunately for himself and family, he indulged rather freely in intoxicating liquor. The habit grew upon him until the passion for drink became stronger than the desire to save and accumulate - towered above all passions and desire - took possession of the man, and he began gradually to neglect his business, and grew to be a confirmed inebriate. About the year 1827 or 1828, Mr. Christ and Parson Shide, a Lutheran minister, well known to all the citizens of Zanesville of that day, got on a spree together. The gentlemen seemed to be much attached to each other. In fact, the good whisky of those days seemed to unlock the store house where affections were confined, and they flowed out engulfing all things.

    When a man became drunk he became happy, and the drunker he became, the more loving he appeared to become. However, at times the comrades would get into disputes, and such was the case with Mr. Christ and Parson Shide. They were at Galigher's hat store, and being gentlemen, their pride of birth prevented them from settling the matter in a rough and tumble fight, and so they agreed to fight a duel with horse pistols - pistols well known to the old settlers. They are seldom seen now. At Galigher's, in those early times, there were chaps who always took delight in pushing toward anything which would afford innocent sport. So arrangements were made to have the matter of honor settled immediately, in the third story of Galigher's store room. The weapons, as before mentioned, were horse pistols - a very formidable weapon, and the distance twenty paces. Jimsey Culbertson and Nev Thompson were the seconds, Billy Galligher the umpire.

    In addition to the seconds, several intimate friends of the principals were present. The principles were in earnest. With them it was a matter of honor which might result in the death of one or both. It was a serious matter. And yet it was an affair of honor, and if a man kills his nearest and dearest friend, his honor must be maintained unsullied. One gentleman heedlessly had made some remark during the dispute which seemed to impugn the honor of his friend and comrade. The gentleman in a gentlemanly way, demanded a retraction, on the spot. The other gentleman not meaning to impugn the honor of any one, and not believing that any remark he made could be so construed, his honor would not permit him to retract. In fact he had nothing to retract. Friends interested by the friends only made matters worse. And to the regret of principles and their friends, it was found that it was necessary to prepare coffee and pistols for two. The gentlemen had nerve. They marched up boldly to the third story, their seconds carrying the horse pistols, accompanying them.

    In silence, twenty paces were measured off. The Parson, during these proceedings, thinking perhaps, that his last day upon earth had probably come, made a beautiful prayer. The seconds, in whispers, addressed each other. Everything was still and quiet, and the proceedings partook very much of the characters of a funeral. The gentlemen were stationed twenty paces from each other, back to back. The horse pistols, each loaded with powder and a light paper wad, were placed in their hands by the seconds. And now came: "One," "Two," "Fire!" at which command Mr. Christ, in his eagerness to whirl around first, and get in the first fire upon the Parson, accidentally shot his pistol off in turning. The Parson, now seeing his opponent at his mercy, became magnanimous and fired his pistol towards the ceiling. And thus the affair of honor was settled satisfactorily to both parties, without bloodshed.

    Parson Shide was the Lutheran minister in Zanesville about the year 1822, and preached to the good people of that denomination for a number of years. Shide was a son of the "Fadderland." He came from Germany here, was well educated, very gentlemanly in his deportment, and was an eloquent speaker. He married a splendid young lady, whose parents lived in the neighborhood of Zanesville. The Parson and his wife are now sleeping beneath the green sod. They died several years ago. The Parson was accustomed to indulge in a glass of wine, like his countrymen, and no bad effects apparently flowed from it. But here in this wilderness, wines were almost out of the question. John Barley Corn was Emperor in the western wilderness, and would tolerate no rival. The Parson, under the circumstances, attempted to substitute whiskey for wine, and not being at all familiar with the "creatur," (?) it got him down.

    Mr. Christ married a daughter of old Spencer Lahew. Mrs. Christ was a very fine lady, and much respected by all her neighbors and acquaintances. Mr. Christ had one daughter - Susan Christ - a very intelligent, kind-hearted young lady. She married many years ago and moved to the West. The passion for drinking grew upon Mr. Christ as the years gilded away. The monster soon had him completely bound, hand and foot. The jolly days had flown; the b??? companions had dropped away, one by one. He was left alone with the monster that had dragged him into the gutter. His case was hopeless. He was gone beyond the hope of reform. And when he boys had all deserted him, he took a razor, walked into his smoke-house, and cut his throat. This circumstance happened about the year 1826 or 1827. And then passed away a good man in many respects, and one who had many elements of a successful business man in him.

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