Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



The Military History of Clark County


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 290


properly begins with the means of defense provided by the first settlers, to protect themselves against the Indians. The minor details of these preparations are not found recorded upon any public or private pages, and are mostly lost to tradition.

"In 1799, Simon Kenton, John Humphreys and six other families," etc., built a sort of fort, or block-house, near the mouth of Buck Creek. During the summer of 1807, the people of Springfield were greatly alarmed over some performances of Tecumseh and his followers; it is said that "Mr. Foos' house was turned into a fort, and the inhabitants there assembled for protection," to which is added "others were formed into militia companies," etc. There is hardly another subject connected with the history of this county that is so obscure as the one relating to the home military operations of the period from 1807 to the close of the war of 1812. There are no accounts of "trainings" or musters until some time after the establishment of the county in 1818. One writer says of Granny Irenbarger that "she was a regular attendant upon the military musters," so it seems that the people here, as elsewhere, complied with the law which required them to muster.

From the year 1811 to 1814 was a period of "wars, and rumors of wars," and this locality was well out on the frontier line, not very far from the seat of war, thereby bringing the operations and consequent alarms close home.

One would naturally expect to find an abundance of material, both recorded and traditional, from which to fabricate an interesting chapter pertaining to the local events which transpired during this period, as well as of the individuals who took part in them; but the only source of information is hearsay, the business note-books of pension and claim agents, or bounty land speculators, and once in a great while a time-stained and imperfect muster or pay roll which is as likely to be the roll of a company from Maine or Maryland as any other. There are on file in the Adjutant General's office, at Columbus, only nine of the rolls of 1812, and they contain little else than the names of the members. One of these is the roll of Capt. Joseph Vance's company of riflemen, which was organized at Urbana. As the list embraces some names which were well known in this county then, it is here inserted:

Captain, Joseph Vance; Lieutenant, William Ward; Ensign, Isaac Myers; Sergeant, David W. Parkinson; Sergeant, Charles Harrison; Sergeant, James Ward; Sergeant, Reuben McSherry.

Privates — Randal Sargeant, David Henry, Bennet Tabar, John Dawson, Samuel Slower, Joseph Gutridge, George Sanders, John Lewis, John Rigdon, John Ford, William Sargent, Lord Thomas, John Wiley, Francis Stevenson, Britton Lewis, John W. Vance, Thomas Ford, William Stevens, Andrew Thorp, John Ross, Zebulon Cantrill, Henry Mathew, William H. Fyffe, John Taylor, William McRoberts, Solomon Petty, Lewis Rigdon, Elijah Richards, Isaac Carter, Frederick Ambrose, William Vance, Archibald mcGrew, Philip Jarbo, Joseph Voll, Abraham Custer, William McGrew, Daniel Newcomb, John Pearce, Joseph Duncan, Jesse Egman, James Brown, Henry Coffman, Edward Johnson, Matthias Sturm.

The following names have been picked up, one at a time, from various places, and are those who are known to have been "out" in the war. It is not given as anything near a complete record, but for the sake of preserving the names found in course of inquiries after historical matter:

David Jones, Emanuel Zirkle, Abraham Zirkle, Peter Pence, Jacob Pence, Adam Kiblinger, Peter Baker, John Maggart, Gersham Gard, Prestly Ross, John Ross, David Kizer, Elijah Hammett, Pearce Taylor, William Overpack, James Foley, Obediah Lippencott, George Albin, Benjamin P. Gaines, — Runhon, William Enoch, John Gentis, Daniel Kiblinger, Jacob Kiblinger, John Moony, Peter Bruner, Jesse Godard, Connoway Rector, William Runkle (Judge), John Branstitter, Selty Hullinger, Philip Kizer, Hugh W. Wallace, Jacob Olinger, Jacob Moss, William Ward, William Layton, Joseph Keifer, Abraham Smith, David Hughs, Jacob Ellsworth, William Curl, A. McConkey, William Hunt, Joseph Coffe, Charles Botkin, Daniel Long, Richard Dawson, Pearce Taylor. Drafted — Jeremiah Curl, Jacob Moses, William Runyon.

An incident is related of Gov. Shelby, of Kentucky, who accompanied the troops from that State, on their march to join Gen. Harrison's forces in 1813. The Kentucky men reached Springfield on a Saturday and encamped on the ground near where John Foos' oil-mill now stands, where they remained over Sunday. During the day a young clergyman of Springfield volunteered to conduct services in camp, and in course of his remarks tried to impress the men with the devout character of Gov. Shelby, who, he said, never engaged in any enterprise without first appealing to the Almighty for guidance. The speaker urged them each to follow the pious example of their leader and all would be well. In a day or two after this the troops encountered bad weather, and for various reasons became somewhat demoralized, which called forth the prompt administration of discipline of the day. Gov. Shelby's voice could be heard echoing through the woods as he showered a volley of oaths at some stubborn subdivision. One of the soldiers who overheard the language hinted that the Governor might be engaged in devotional exercises or else wanted some new favor; at all events the high notions set forth by the chaplain, in regard to Gov. Shelby's piety, were forever dispelled.

During the few years immediately after the war of 1819, there seems to have been a re-actionary sentiment prevailing among the people in regard to local military matters, which resulted in nothing more than the assembling, according to law, from time to time, to perform muster duty. About the years 1824 to 1830, the martial spirit began to revive, and a number of so-called "Independent Companies" were organized, among these were the Springfield Artillery, Capt. Benjamin Brubarker, the Clark Guards, Osceola Plaids, Springfield Cadets, and later one or two other companies, the names of which are not known. It should be mentioned that the "militia law" was one of the most important acts on the "scroll of edicts" then. The first law enacted, by the first law-making body in Ohio, was "a law for regulating and establishing the militia," published at Marietta July 25, 1788, Chase, Vol. I, Page 92. By the requirements of this act, "all male inhabitants between the ages of sixteen and fifty," were required to perform military duty.

This law, or some modifications of it, continued in force until 1847 or 1848, when the system had become so rediculous, [sic] that the act was repealed.