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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

A Look At Warren County In 1809

Dallas Bogan on 13 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
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While searching through my files, I came across an account concerning Warren County about 1809. The writer is described as anonymous. I shall attempt to draw from this report as he has presented it.
He relates that the early pioneers of the county were filled with genuineness and patriotic zeal. At this time the drum and fife were heard on the streets of Lebanon (the gathering took place on Main Street in front of where the old opera house once stood) calling for volunteers for military services. Lives of the Warren Countians placed second to their duty against the Britons in the War of 1812.
Jonathan K. Wilds and Jacoby Halleck, when in their saddles and ruffled shirt-blouses, made a grand appearance when galloping in front of a regiment of soldiers. General Benjamin Baldwin was an able commander of the Warren County troops, and for many years rode a "flea bitten" gray horse that had a part of his left ear cut off.
Sonny Phillips and all his compatriots were most certain to be on hand and ready to fight the "Algerians" or anybody else.
Those living in Salem Township and south of the Little Miami River were called the Algerines, a nickname that so angered them that they would fight like hornets.
In 1809 rattlesnakes and copperheads were so numerous along Muddy Creek bottoms that a boy while hunting his cows would stop to listen for a snake sound about as often as he would for his cowbell.
Our anonymous writer says his older brother was once chased by a six foot black snake. It was thought at the time the snake was after his brother he could outrun any other boy he ever saw.
The brother was carrying a water jug and walking from the oats field to the meadow when the race began. The jug was dropped and a neater race was never run. The brother won the race and the snake calmly returned to the oats field.
Muddy Creek in 1809 was filled with leeches that were of a species of aquatic worm features which was provided with a sucker at both ends of its body. Persons who went bathing in the creek would almost shudder at the thought of pulling them off their bodies. An elk's horn was found in the creek that was nearly black with leaches.
Muddy Creek bottom at this time was thickly covered with wild plum trees, which produced yearly wagon loads of excellent fruit. Black haws were also found; the trees would be black in time of snow.
Mrs. Hannah Miller was recognized for making good ginger cakes. Her shop for many years was located on the east side of Broadway Street.
She sold about a wagon load of ginger cakes every time general muster or any other large gathering was held at Lebanon.
Our writer mentions that in 1809 there was not a brick house on any farm in Turtlecreek Township; David Fox and the Society of Shakers built one in 1811. Land was at the time selling for about $5.00 per acre.
Mud roads had no bottoms in many places until poles and logs were laid down. Many miles of road had to be made in this way before wagons could be drawn over them; cattle and horses were often found mired and dead.
Tom Corwin, Joseph Whitehill and Jacob Weaver drove the finest four-horse teams that traveled the roads to Cincinnati. Mr. Whitehill was lame in one leg, yet he could manage a four- horse team with little difficulty.
Weaver sometimes drove five horses, all bright bays and close in size. The splendid teams and drivers were a treat to see.
To be in company with these teamsters in their travels, especially at night while upon their couches or spread upon the floor of a tavern around a bright fire, hear their stories and anecdotes (not to be questioned by anyone), would delight the audiences to no end. It was sufficient to know that these three gentlemen of high standing "said so."
We of today simply don't know of the hardships of the early teamsters of 1809. Their fellowship at the taverns or stops were one of gaiety. However, to be on the road from morning till night in a sleeting rain, without food or rest, and at night curry mud off the horses till 10 or 11 o'clock, was a laborious task before retiring to their couch on the floor.

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This page created 13 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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