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Source: The Zanesville Daily Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, June 15, 1878, page 1, cols 2-3
Contributed by Ky Longley

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

For the Courier,


    Came to Zanesville with his stepfather, General Isaac Van Horne, in 1805. In early life, while in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, he worked at carpentering.

    In later years he became a prominent young business man of Zanesville, and took great interest in the growth and prosperity of his adopted home, Zanesville.

    His capacity was recognized by the people of Muskingum and Guernsey counties, and they sent him to the Legislature of Ohio, where he served with credit to himself, and honor to his constituency during the years 1808, 1809, and 1810. He also served two or three terms in the Town Council. The Legislature while in session in Zanesville granted a charter to the Muskingum Bank of Zanesville. The bill granting the charter, became a law February 21, 1812. The incorporaters were Isaac Van Horne, Ebenezer Buckingham, Alexander McLaughlin and George Jackson. The capital stock of the bank was one hundred thousand dollars, consisting of four thousand shares at twenty-five dollars a share. The charter was signed by Mathews Corwin, Speaker of the House, and by Thomas Kirker, President of the Senate, on the 21st of February, 1812.

    David J. Marpole was married October 10, 1810, by Rev. William Jones, a Presbyterian minister, to Miss Martha Dillon. When the stock was taken, and the Muskingum Bank organized, Ebenezer Buckingham was elected President and David J. Marpole Cashier. The bank went into operation in the small brick building standing by the Court House, used by the Secretary of State and State Treasurer during the sessions of the Legislature in this city. Mr. Marpole erected a two story brick building for a residence in 1811, on the southwest corner of Main and Fifth streets. The contractors for the erection of this building were two brothers by the name of Young, one of whom laid out the town of Malta, opposite McConnelsville. In the corner room of this brick edifice the Muskingum Bank was removed in 1813, and remained there for several years. Mr. Marpole was a man of great enterprise and energy, ready for any venture which promised future profits. He, in company with Willis Silliman, erected the first water works in Zanesville in 1816 and 1817. Mr. Marpole being the chief mover in the enterprise. The pioneers in the movement proposed to convey the water from springs in logs bored out, to a reservoir, and from the reservoir in the same way to the doors of the citizens. It was a desperate venture at this time, and even had it worked successfully, could hardly have been remunerative.

    The reservoir was erected at the head of Fountain alley, of cut stone, puddled with white clay and arched over with brick. In those days the springs were much stronger that at the present day. In bringing the water of the spring at Best's stillhouse east of Green lane through Mrs. Fell's pasture lot to the reservoir, a cut of 22 feet in depth was made through the hill, in order to get sufficient fall to convey the water. At the time, some persons suggested the idea of bringing the water of the spring on Putnam hill, called at that time Lovers' Fountain, to the reservoir. This, however, was not attempted. The reservoir was 75 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 9 feet deep. The logs used in conveying the water were principally elm, poplar and oak. Mr. William Brooks informed the writer that the first work he did after arriving in Zanesville (1816) was rafting logs at Wills' creek, to be used in conveying the water to the reservoir from the spring around the town, and from the reservoir to the residences of the inhabitants. It required a great many thousands of these logs for the works. These logs were prepared for use by boring out with a large augur. The work of preparing the logs was done on the lot where Mr. F.J.L. Blandy's residence now stands. The writer remembers of seeing the workmen boring and preparing these logs for the water works. The logs were from ten to twelve feet long. A round iron ring was placed tightly around one end of the each log, the logs being about eight inches in diameter. The ring was about 1-1/2 inches wide, and about 1-1/2 inch thick. The end of the log upon which the rich was placed was bored out six inches in diameter.

    The hole bored through each log for the purpose of conveying the water was from 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Each log tapered at one end so as to fit into the next log around which the ring was placed. The logs were then driven tightly together so there would be no leak. The hydrants used at that day in Zanesville were curious inventions. They were made by boring a hole in one of the logs which conveyed the water, and driving in an upright pipe about seven feet long bored out like the logs. At the top of the pipe, a piece of wood was driven in to keep the water from running out, and then a fosset of wood or brass inserted into the side of the pipe. The chief water main ran down Main street, below Third street, and branches carried the water to residents on the side streets. In winter time, the water in the hydrants was liable to freeze if not well protected. These waterworks cost a large sum of money for that day, and when all things were in readiness the machine worked very imperfectly. While a person was drawing water from a hydrant at the lower end of the street, a citizen at the upper end of the street could not get a particle of water. Captain John Dulty informed the writer a few days ago, that at the time the water works were constructed he lived on the corner of Seventh street and Fountain alley, and had the first hydrant on the line. When persons were taking water from the lower end of the line, his hydrant wouldn't work until the hydrants below were closed.

    The reservoir was not much higher than the hydrants, and the pressure was not very great. The minimum price charged for the use of the water for one year, for a family was $5.00 and graded upwards from that figure in proportion to the amount of water used. The water was not suitable for drinking or cooking, on account of the peculiar flavor given it by the wooden pipes through which it passed. The water works proved to be an entire failure. The projectors of the enterprise never collected a cent for the use of the water furnished the citizens of Zanesville. The whole loss, which was heavy, fell upon the energetic gentlemen who were the pioneer waterworks builders of the West. Some years after the water works had been abandoned, the brick arch covering the reservoir, began to decay. The reservoir was nearly full of water, and there the boys of the town, in the early days congregated many and many a time to cast stones at snakes and frogs, the only inhabitants of the first reservoir of Zanesville. The writer was one of the boys then, and has a vivid recollection of the many happy hours he spent around the old reservoir.

    This reservoir remained in existence until 1831, when the cut stones were taken out and sold for building purposes. Long years afterward; years after that old waterworks had been forgotten; years after the generation on the stage at the time of the building had passed away, while digging up the street for water mains and gas pipes, some of the old logs of the water-works have been dug up. The workmen will stop and gaze upon the strange sight and wonder how that lag came there, where found; what past generation had dug there before; for what purpose; and how many long years ago. Few of the citizens now living in Zanesville have any knowledge of the first water-works of Zanesville. These water-works were the first erected west of the mountains. The citizens of Wheeling seized upon the same idea about the same time.

    They placed a wall around a strong spring on a hill above town, and conveyed the water from the spring in wooden pipes. The water was brought as far as the Court House, when it was discovered to be a failure. The corporation of Wheeling undertook the work in that city. Here it was a private enterprise. The Wheeling water-works did not cost one tenth part as much as the Zanesville water-works. D. J. Marpole continued to be Cashier of the Muskingum Bank until 1819, when some irregularities were discovered in the books of the bank. In consequence of this disclosure, he resigned his position and went to Louisville. Horace Nye went to Louisville and induced Mr. Marpole to return to to Zanesville.

    He surrendered all his property to Ebenezer Buckingham, President of the Muskingum Bank. His bondsmen were compelled to pay the bank the amount still due from Mr. Marpole, after the property had been disposed of and applied to the liquidation of the debt. The Muskingum Bank lost some thousands of dollars while located in the brick building on the Court House lot, by someone entering the vault by aid of false keys. The loss suffered was not discovered until the bank was moved to the new building, on the corner of Main and Fifth streets. The money stolen at this time was never recovered.

    The directors erected a watch house on the corner of the street. Old "Billy" Poke was the watchman. Old "Billy" was well known to the old pioneers of Zanesville. Some years afterwards the Muskingum Bank was removed to the three story brick in Putnam, which was erected, and for some years used for a tavern. Mr. Marpole remained in Zanesville until 1822 or 1823, when he built a trading boat on the banks of the river where Power House No. 2 now stands, loaded it with produce and went on a trading venture to New Orleans, and from that city to Texas where he is supposed to have died many long years ago. Mr. Marpole had many friends in Zanesville - warm friends - who felt great sympathy for him when misfortune overtook him. He was a promising man in Zanesville, and stood high in the estimation of the citizens.

    It was supposed, at the time, that the failure of the water works and over speculating had brought all of his misfortunes upon him. He has long since passed away. There is none of the name left in Zanesville. Out in the Quaker graveyard can be seen cut upon a tombstone the name of Marpole. People wonder when they see it, and inquire who was this. So soon are the best known and most energetic citizens forgotten when they pass from the stage of action. The family name in one or two generations will pass out of the minds of the people if no representatives are living. An individual is of but little account in this world. He is not missed long after he steps from the stage. His place is soon filled, and the world jogs along as usual.

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