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Jacob Felton History
A SHORT SKETCH OF THE LIFE & LABORS OF JACOB FELTON
In compliance with the earnest request of many friends, I will try to give a sketch of my life, and the life of my father and mother, as far back as my old and feeble mind will let me. I have kept no journal, that was a fault, I confess, and now if I write anything in my 76th year, I must depend chiefly on my memory. Are these reasons not sufficient, my dear friends? You say, "NO", and still urge me to write? Well, then, by the help of God and the assistance of sister M. Davis, I will try.Received from Betty Felton
My father was born in the lowlands of Germany. His father and mother brought him over to America when he was about 6 years of age. They died in a short time after they reached Pennsylvania, leaving my father, William Felton, then a small child, and two older brothers, John and Robert Felton, orphans in a strange land. My father was bound to a man who brought him up in the Presbyterian faith. He was sprinkled by a Presbyterian minister.
My mother was the daughter of John and Margaret Mansfield. They were born in Ireland. They moved from Tyroon Co. to Pennsylvania where my mother was born. She was christened by a Catholic priest and was brought up by Catholic parents. She became acquainted with William Felton and they were joined in marriage when she was 18 years of age. They were married at the foot of the Shade Mountains in Pennsylvania. One child, Katie, was born to them there. They then emigrated to Kentucky near Lexington Co., on the headwaters of the Licking River. Two boys, John and Robert were born to them there on the wild frontier.
My father was a farmer and by the help of his trusty rifle kept the family in wild meat such as bear, elk, deer, and wild turkey.
How well I remember the old hunting stories he used to tell us boys. I will try and give you a sketch of a hunting expedition my father and three other men took on one of the head branches of the Licking River. They killed 16 bear and a number of deer. They took their horses with them and they would tie one horse and the others wouldn't leave him. They would then dig out troughs and pack the meat their horses couldn't carry home in the pack saddles. They would pack the meat in the troughs and split out puncheons and cover the meat with them and pin them down to keep the wolves from eating their meat till they took their first loads home and go back after it. They used the fat bear meat to cook the deer meat with. I remember many other adventures that he used to tell, too numerous to mention. They lived there five or six years, on the wild frontiers.
They then moved to Ohio, them and 25 or 30 more families colonized together on the west side of the big Miami River about 25 or 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati, near the mouth of Indian Creek. On the old coal reign road. The land was what they called squatters claims. The colony took with them a hand mill and the women done the grinding. They put the mill as near the middle of the colony as they could to make it as convenient as possible for all the women to grind their corn. They lived in crude log huts. Their beds were constructed of slabs stood on edge the same as we make flower beds. Now there was no floors in their huts and they carried leaves and put inside of those slabs and spread blankets over the leaves for a bed as there were no bedsteads or straw in them days in their colony to be had. The whole country abounded in game, both north and west. The rivers and creeks abounded in fish and here they depended on their guns for their meat.
There were no soldiers nearer than the fort at Cincinnati. While father was back in Kentucky, settling up some business, word came to the little colony that the Indians were coming to make a raid on them. This news put the whole colony in commotion and preparations were made to fly to the fort at Cincinnati for safety. As father was gone, Mother had to do the best she could. Father had two horses and Mother put the pack saddle on one and threw a salt sack (salt sacks were different in them days to what they are now, as they were a long strip on hemp cloth with a pocket in each side) over the saddle and put Robbie in one pocket and Johnny in the other one and she got on the other horse and took Katie on her lap and led the horse with the precious load on it and got to the fort in safety.
Father came back from Kentucky down the Licking River to Covington and crossed the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and there he found Mother and the little ones safe at the fort. But on learning this to be a false alarm, they left the women and children at the fort and they took the soldiers and went back to their claims and found their huts all right and there they built Fort Derrah or Derrahs station. When they got their fort completed, they went and moved their families back in the fort and went to work over their claims again and still they depended on their guns for their meat. Running short of meat they detailed four men, Mother's brother, Charlie Mansfield, and Robert McLeland, William Crumm, and John Larison, to go out on a little hunting expedition. They hadn't went more than one-half mile, when McLeland shot a deer and they had just got the entrails out and were just going to put it on a stick when the sentinels, Crumm and Larison, gave the alarm that the Indians were coming for sure this time. They thought the report of the gun had attracted the Indians attention and they had to drop the deer and run for the fort.
Larison, being the slowest on foot, got behind and one of the Indians being swifter on foot than the others, placed poor Larison in a close place. The Indian got close enough to give him a flesh wound in the calf of the leg, which greatly impeded his speed. This encouraged the Indian, and throwing down his gun, he grasped his tomahawk and came on faster than ever. Crumm, seeing the danger Johnny was in, called to the others to stop and help save him and he jumped behind a tree and let Larison pass and when the Indian came close enough he stepped out and gave him the contents of his trusty rifle and that gave them time to get Larison into the fort before the other Indians came up.
When the sentinel at the fort saw them coning they opened the gate and let them in, and there was an old man at the fort about 50 years old, and he got a musket and slipped out at the gate. He got down on his knees and rested his gun on a stump and said he was bound to kill one of them redskins and they had to pull him in and close the gate.
Then the battle began. The men hurried to the portholes and Mother and Aunt Nancy Swimm and Aunt Becca Goble had to run bullets all night and they burned their hands into blisters with the hot lead. They fought hard all night. But when morning came the Indians took their dead and left the fort, leaving the little colony with but one wounded man. He got shot in the hand through the porthole. From that time until the next summer, their hostile movements ceased, and the people at the fort began to feel so secure that they would let their little ones outside the fort to play.
There was a small buckeye tree in a little brushy glade about one-fourth mile from the fort, and there was a grapevine ran up this tree, and little Johnny Crumm and his sister ran off down there to play, and he spied the grapes and threw his little hat on the ground. He climbed up after the grapes. The little girl got tired or something caused here to go back to the fort and they asked her where Johnny was and she said he was there getting grapes. They went down after him and all they found was little Johnny's hat and the dreaded moccasin tracks, which told all too plain that little Johnny was gone. Oh, the agony that poor mother suffered when they brought back the sad, sad news that the Indians had stolen her little pet.
No one but a mother that had passed through that trying ordeal, can know the void left in that poor mother's heart. But she had the sympathy of that little colony and they made all haste possible and the settlers and what soldiers they had, set out to follow the Indians and bring back the stolen boy. But, all to no purpose, for it seemed they had completely disappeared with him.
The people had their huts built close to the blockhouse and they held church in the blockhouse and everyone had to go for they were afraid to stay at their huts. They would all take their guns and stand them up in the corner till church was out. They had sentinels posted to watch for the Indians, for they had not forgot the sad event that had happened so short a time before. But they saw nothing of them till the next summer, when Father and Uncle Henry Whitaker and some of the other men went over to the fields to see how their corn was doing and they heard a rail fall off the fence and looking up they saw the Indians right there, almost on them, and they broke and ran for the fort. Uncle Henry, being slower than the rest, was left behind, and to make a bad matter worse, he caught his foot under a grapevine and threw him flat on the ground. Seeing he couldn't make it to the fort, he crawled in under the large bunch of grapevine and hid until the Indians were gone past. As soon as they found they could not catch the men, they turned and sneaked back and when Uncle Henry heard them coming back he laid quite still, but they turned and went a different path and when he thought it safe, he crawled out again and ran for the blockhouse. He had just got to the bank of the creek when he saw an Indian behind a tree. His appearance seemed to frighten the Indian and he broke and run and Uncle Henry jumped in to ford the creek, but when the Indian saw he was alone, he whirled and shot at him but the bullet struck the water, and Uncle Henry got home safe.
The Indians were defeated so many times they thought they would go and make their raids somewhere else, for they never came back very close to the fort, but once after that time.
There was and old Indian scout in the fort who went out reconnoitering about to see if there was any Indians around and he found plenty of them and he had to get, for they took after him and they thought they had him for they were close behind and on both sides and there was a big high log ahead of him and he supposed they thought when he got to the log, they would have him, but he leaped that log like a deer, and ran right on back to the fort. When they saw him jump the log, they turned and went back.
They were the Miami tribe, and the whites kept moving in and pushing the Indians back till they didn't bother the colony anymore. They had defeated the Indians so many times and the colony got so strong, that after six or seven years, there was a treaty effected and the Indians had to bring back all the prisoners they had taken. The parents found that little Johnny had been adopted by an old Indian couple and this same two brought Johnny back, but he would not stay with that poor old father and mother who had mourned for him so long, but preferred to go back with his adopted Indian parents. He stayed another year with them and then they brought him back again. His white parents begged so hard for him to stay, that he stayed. He was now thirteen years of age and his own father bought him again and the next day after the Indian couple had gone, the boy was missed, and his mother thought he had gone back to the camp, but they inquired of the neighbors and they had seen them return alone. They set out to search for him and found him up a small branch. He had killed a deer, and had built a fire and was roasting the meat. His gun was standing by the side of a tree.
I think, while writing if we could but of seen those rude little huts with their fireplaces of stick and clay chimneys and their johnny cake boards and dutch ovens and their turnips scraped out and filled with bears oil and some with potatoes scraped out and filled with bears oil and rag wicks. We imagine we can see the potatoes roasting in the fire and the meat broiling on the colas and the children eating their mush and milk out of wooden bowls and iron spoons and the older ones using pewter plates and the people with buckskin clothes on, it makes the cold chills run over me to think what danger they were in from the Indians and wild animals. And yet, they stuck to their claims and improved them up and most of them got rich right there. It was in these troublesome times, two more sons were born to William and Margaret Felton, William and Charlie.
The land was very rich and fertile and the large bottoms were covered with peavine, while the grapevines hung suspended from the buckeye, hawthorn, hackberry and walnut and pawpaw, giving it the appearance of an Eden, while the fish by moonlight played in the broad ripples on the great Miami and the otter and the beaver traversed the banks. While emigration came pouring in, the Indians kept going back while the howl of the wolf and the whoop of the savage began to die out. The sound of the axe and ____ was heard with new energy and many a big buck elk or bear covered the peavine with their rich blood drawn by the hunter's ball.
As there was no railroad and no steamboats, it made it very inconvenient to the people as their nearest trading point was Cincinnati about 25 or 30 miles away. Yet, as cultivation increased, the farmers sowed flax and the women were busy scrunching and hackling and spinning flax and weaving it into cloth and making that into garments. But it wasn't long till villages began to spring up. The people built a mill and a town on Indian Creek and they named the town Millville and another one Rossville, and one Hamilton, which finally became the capital of Butler Co., Ohio.
The people kept coming in there so fast and taking up claims that the land was all taken up at least, clear to the boundary line, and Father came to the conclusion, he would sell out and go where he could get land for his children. So, he sold his farm, and left his family there. He took his four oldest boys and two other men and went into Indiana on the Big Muscatatuk bottom where he took a squatters claims and him and his men went to work and cleared out 4 or 5 acres, and piled their brush and in the spring there came a fresh and took all their brush and the water stood a foot deep all over the ground and swam their logs all apart. So he left there and went farther north into the new boundary on the west fork of Whitewater, just below the junction of Nettle Creek.
He took squatters claim there again and then went back into Ohio for his family and there was 25 or 30 families went back to Indiana with him and they colonized there again and took squatters claims. They found the land there as rich and fertile there as it was in Ohio. They went to work and built their huts and began to improve the land. We had to go to Connersville to do our trading. That was about 20 miles from Nettle Creek junction and we had to go back to our old home in Ohio for our wheat, for Father thought it best not to sell it.
When our claims became _________- , Father bought out all the squatters and they took other lands. He kept buying till he had six hundred acres all in one body. He then told his neighbors if they would help him, he would build a mill. The people were well pleased with this, and were willing to help what they could. Father willing to pay them in part for their labor. So father employed a millwright and the leveling up and work began by their help and by asking in hands (?) and working bees, the first saw mill was built in that colony. There was more than 30 men there at work and father boarded them.
The emigration kept pouring in and in a short time father built a grist mill. He had plenty of money and he bought his three oldest children 80 acres apiece about 15 miles from his six hundred acres and he had 6 sons left to work on his farm yet besides me. I was then about 12 yrs of age. I was the shepherd boy, for my work was to tend the sheep and do other chores. Right here the reader perhaps would like to know the lay of the country. Well, the river ran a southeast course. The land was rich bottom running the full length of the river. Those bottoms differed in width from one half to a mile wide. The timber on this bench of land was buckeye, hackberry, burr oak, sycamore, box elder, interspersed with grapevine and willows bending their waving branches along the river banks formed a cover for the otter, mink, coon, muskrat and some beaver. The second bench of land was about ten or twelve feet higher than the first. It was rich black soil and the timber was wild cherry, walnut, blue ash, gray ash, buckeye and pawpaw. The land was well watered and lots of fish in the water while upon the divide the land was level and good wheat land. It was about 40 feet above the level of the creek. The timber up hear was poplar, sugar tree, red oak, white oak, beechwood, ironwood, and dogwood and an immense quantity of blue grapes grew amongst the dogwood and ironwood. There was plenty of game here amongst the timber such as bear, deer, wildcat, catamount, and hundreds of timber wolf and thousands of possum. My brothers were all counted good hunters, but I think my oldest one, Robert was the best. I remember, one time after father got too old to hunt, Robert went out and killed 5 deer and brought them home and threw them down in the yard for father to look at and one other time he went and killed 4 young bear.
There was no church in the area at this time and we were all very much pleased when we heard a minister of the gospel had moved right into our midst. It was at this time Mother's faith was shaken, for this minister, (Goble by name) preached in the homes of the settlers. From my infancy, Mother had brought me up in the Catholic faith and made me read my catechism. I was brought up at my Mother's feet like Paul at the Feet of Gamaliel. I and my two younger sisters were taught to pray to St. Peter and the Virgin Mary. How well I remember one day when I and Eliza were out in the harvest field and there was a storm coming up and father told us to go to the house and we started out but had not got far when the storm began to rage and we ran into an old deserted hut to wait till it would cease and we were scared very much, and she prayed to the Virgin Mary and I to St. Peter.
This minister wakened up such an interest in the colony that they went to work and built a log house to worship in and they named it Harmony, and after awhile there was another minister came into the settlement by the name of William McLucas, and they got quite a number of members and after awhile a 3rd minister came by the name of Elijah and when Mother heard him preach, her Catholic faith was gone and she became a member of the old Christian Church and I joined with her. This was when I was 14 years old in the year 1831. We were taken into the church by this same Elijah Martindale and were baptized by him. I can remember as though it were yesterday. We were led down into a stream called Gobles Run. I stood in the edge of the water and waited till they brought my dear old Mother out and she stood and waited till they baptized and brought me to her, and she took me by the hand and led me away. Oh, those were happy days.
How well I remember a scene that took place in Felton's Grove at camp meeting. My father and a fellow by the name of Adam Stonebraker, went to hear the sermon that our Christian minister would preach. They both belonged to the Presbyterian church. It happened to be in the time of the falling (?) exercise and this Adam got disgusted and started home and on the road he came to the conclusion he would look at the Bible and the first verse he laid his eyes on, this he would believe. And when he opened it this is what he read. "Behold, ye despisers, wander and perish, for I will work a work in your days. Ye will no wise believe it though then declare it unto you." He then closed the Bible and went back and joined the church and lived a Christian life till his death and most of his family became members of the Christian Church. My brother, William, married his daughter, Sallie Stonebraker, and father bought him 80 acres of land joining his 600 acres.
He moved onto it and began to improve it up and done well for a while, but the accursed appetite for whiskey grew faster than his improvements on the place and he went down. His appetite grew worse for rum that he soon had to sell his farm that his father gave him and all he had left was a poor heartbroken wife, but the love he had for this poor wife and the regard for his own health caused him to repent and he went to work again and bought 40 acres of land in Henry Co. about is miles from his old house. He then joined a society called the Christians friend and he never touched strong drink again.. Everything he done seemed to bring him in the cash, and he built a large brick house and bought more land and sons and daughters were born to them. He lived to be quite an old man. He was 75 yrs. old when he died and was buried in the cemetery in Henry Co.(Now Delaware Co., Ind.)
Whiskey was a very common thing in those days and the older Felton boys formed such an appetite for strong drink that it proved their curse and not being satisfied with the grist mill and sawmill, prevailed on father to let them build a copper distillery on the place, for they couldn't let well enough alone and when they got this done, the road to ruin was short and sure. They took to card playing and then to gambling in other ways and as they were thrown in all kinds of company at the distillery, they soon formed other bad habits that was a curse to our dear parents in their old age, but amidst all these troubles, our dear old Mother stood like a pillar of fire like old Hanna at the temple . Oh how cold that poor Mother felt on seeing six hearty, robust boys, all her own offspring, on the very brink of ruin, I am ashamed to confess. But I stood with, and, Oh, dear reader whoever you may be, take warning by this, for I began backsliding to the drinking of eggnog and the neglect of the brothers and sisters in the church. Oh, Brethren, be not too hasty to censure the backsliding. Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
I went to a house raising, never thinking Satan would tempt me. But they had the curse of the nation there and they took sugar, milk, and eggs and stirred into the whiskey and __________, me to drink of it and I was green enough to submit and drank too much. I crawled away and lay down, trying to hide the disgrace. Poor old Mother wept bitter tears when she heard of my downfall and begged me to repent, but all to no purpose, for I was young and stubborn and waited the brothers of the church to come and talk to me. But they didn't miss the one lost sheep like our Savior does. There was 90 and 9 in the fold but one was missing and the Brethren searched not for it and I kept going on from bad to worse. Drinking, fighting, gambling, playing the fiddle for dances, and a great many other things.
At the age of sixteen I became tired of the restricting hand of my parents, and ran away from home. But when I was gone I became sorry of my mad act and wished myself home again, but I was determined to earn something before I went back. But all the long nights that I lay thinking of my dear old Mother. I hired out to drive oxen for $8 a month, and when my 5 months were up, he gave me fifty dollars instead of the forty for my good conduct. You had better think I was proud when I got my money and got started back home.
I forgot to say, that when I first left home I went to Indianapolis and hired out to James Ray, the governor of the State of Indiana at that time, and I was doing well there, but him and his wife had some trouble and she left and went back to her people in Centerville, Wayne Co., therefore I had to get a new place. I started farther west. I traveled awhile till I got tired and I sat down on a log and while I sat there I changed my mind and got up and went right back to the suburbs of the same town and there I hired out to drive a dray wagon for a man by the name of McPherson. He owned a grist mill and I delivered flour, meal and feed. This McPherson was a bachelor and he hired our board of a man by the name of Mike Vanblarigan and they fell out at something about boarding the mill hands and had quite a spat. One day after that, McPherson had occasion to cross the river and the ferryboat was on the other side of the river and he hired a fellow to take him across in a canoe and just as they were starting, Vanblarigan came up and wanted to cross too, and the ferryman took him in and when they got out into the middle of the river, Mike Vanblarigan said he was going to upset the canoe. McPherson begged Mike not to, for he could not swim, but Mike got up, put one foot on either side and began rocking the canoe and did upset it, and as it went over, Van grasped McPherson as though he would save him, but they went down to the very bottom. Van came up all right, but the authorities had to drag the river for the body of McPherson, and when they found him, the side of his head looked like it had been struck with a rock. They arrested Vanblarigan, and put him in jail and he came near getting out and only for the guard at the jail, would have made his escape. But they could not prove enough on him to condemn him and they had to set him free. But if he escaped true justice there, there is a higher court where he will get his just desserts. The death of McPherson caused me to change my place, and I then hired to McDermott to drive oxen as I stated before. As soon as I got my $50, I started home. I will never forget when I got to the barn, I saw my dear old mother out at the clay oven. There was a little ravine between the barn and the house and I could scarcely get up the bank, but I took a little repentant cry and then started on, and my dear old mother met me at the gate and threw her dear old arms around my neck and said, "Thank God the prodigal has returned.", and with tears in my eyes I exclaimed, "Mother, I've come back to thee. No other help I know, no spot of land do I possess, no cottage in the wilderness." A poor wayfaring boy, I plucked up courage and went on into the house to see father, and all the welcome he gave me was, "Well, you've got back," but by sisters and brothers gave me a warmer welcome.
Well, father still run the grist mill and the sawmill and the boys run the distillery and a tannery and kept on drinking and gambling and the farming kept going down.
I stayed at home about one year this time and took a notion to go Michigan. Myself and another young man went on foot through to southern Michigan. We traveled 30 miles through an Indian reserve with not one white man's house. This land looked very fertile and we saw plenty of signs of game. We passed through 6 or 7 Indian villages and we saw their wigwams and the old squaws and their papooses. We passed through one wilderness about 8 miles long and we passed through the tamarack swamps and lakes and rivers. We had to swim Eel River with our knapsacks on our backs. We overtook 5 other men before we got to Yellow River and in the night I and one of those five men I spoke of planned to scare the rest at the boys. We could hear the Indians up the river yelling and we thought it would be such fun to play a trick on them and we tied our heads up in Indian style and slipped out and got us a club. We came back in with an Indian whoop and our clubs raised and our handkerchiefs tied over our head. But I tell you, we was glad to beg for life. I think the stoutest one that gang got hold of my throat and we dare not laugh that night or afterward if we had felt inclined to do, which I don't think either of us did. It learned us not to play Indian again, but we went on to Michigan together and took a parting glass and that last time I ever saw them. One day we were passing on a ridge between two prairies and we saw four objects coming toward us and we stopped to see what they were. When they came closer, we saw they were three deer and a large timber wolf. The deer had their tongues run out arid the wolf wasn't fifteen yards behind them and we had not a gun nor a revolver. We went on a piece farther and came to an old shanty and inquisitiveness caused us to take a peep into it and there sat an old Indian chief dead. We learned afterward that he had fell out with his son and had tried to kill him, but the boy ran into the shanty where his mother was and took the gun down and killed his father and they left him there. He had his gun and his tomahawk and butcher knife with him and woods mice had eat off the toes of his moccasins and eat his toes off away back, and we went on and left him.
I forgot to say that I went there (Michigan) to see my sister and her husband who had moved there before. We went on to my sister's house. How glad she was to see me. I stayed there all summer and worked at the ironworks and the last time I ever saw that sister was when a I started that fall. She stood outside the door with her head leaned against the wall, weeping bitterly and she was dead in less than one year from that time, leaving 5 children with a drunkard for a father. There was a man found dead awhile after that and the papers in his pocket bore the name, John Cooper, and as that was Katie's husband's name, we supposed it to be him. But we couldn't find out whether he had been killed or had died in a drunken spree. Willie, their oldest boy procured homes for the other children.
I went on about 30 miles from there and took sick on the very place where we had camped and played the Indian as we going, but during this time a man by the name of Pomroy had built a kind of a boarding house there and I lay sick about 2 weeks right there where Plymouth is now. It is now called Marshall Co., but was then a wilderness. They took good care of me and when I got able, I started on and passed right where Peru now stands. There was but one house built there then. It also was a vast wilderness then, but is now Cass Co. I think if I am not mistaken, and all this time I had served the devil well.
A short time after I got home we heard of the Indian counsel with the government and my brother, John and myself thought we would go and speculate among the Indians, and having cattle and one wagon of our own, we bought some sugar, tobacco, shawls, handkerchiefs, rings, beads and a barrel of whiskey. We hitched 3 yoke of cattle to one wagon and set out through the swampy wilderness. We had to go 150 miles to get to the treaty and some days we wouldn't go more than 6 or 8 miles, but we kept right on and we got there at last. But other men had took in so much whiskey that they could do nothing with the Indians, for some of them would come to the counsel in war paint and the officers had to build a guardhouse and take the whiskey from them when they brought it iii and they took our barrel as soon as we came there. While the treaty was going on I often went: to their Indian war dances. They were all painted up in red paint. They cleared off a great round circle so they could dance round and round. I have saw as many as 500 Indians dancing at one time. They danced round a big fire kept up by two Indians who kept constantly poking dry sticks on. They had a large brass kettle hung over this fire filled with deer meat. Their music was made by one of the tribe who had stretched a deer skin right over a hoop and for a drum stick he used the leg of a deer cut off at the knee with the foot left on. He would beat a tune on the deer skin and the little bells on their leggings would keep time to the beating of the hoop and skin drum.
The women and men were next to the fire, or I should of said, the squaws were in a circle around the fire and the men next and the warriors in a ring around the outside. This, I suppose was to show their protection over the weaker ones and when they would come to a certain post, they would give a war whoop that would almost make the hair raise on your head. The warriors had butcher knives in their left hands and tomahawks in their right and they all went round and round to the left, while the firelight reflecting on those weapons looked like an army with banners.
They would wave their weapons over their heads in a perfect circle. It made them look terrific. I saw a horse. run against a drunk man and it killed him instantly and the next morning after this, an Indian got killed by his horse __________ running away.
I will here relate a little circumstance that occurred to me. While there, we had turned our cattle out to graze on the blue grass. We put a bell on each yoke so we could hear them and find them without any trouble. Someone had took the bell off of one yoke and I couldn't find them, so I had a young Indian to go with me to hunt them. When we got in the woods, I wanted to buy a blanket from him and I took my pocketbook out to show him how much I would give him for it, and he wanted to lift my pocketbook to see how heavy it was and I like a fool let him have it, and he turned and run with it. But I was young and swift on foot and I got me a club and it didn't take me long to catch him. He stopped and gave it to me.
I saw a great many things while there. I was standing on the banks of the great Wabash river and I saw two squaws come down to the river with their babes and I waited to see what they would and they took them out of their blankets and dipped them into the water 3 times each to harden them for the future. This was in the last of October and very cold and frosty. One other day I was hunting the cattle and I heard the sound of an ax in the forest I was eager to see who it was away out there and I hurried forward and when I got close enough to see who was chopping, I saw an Indian squaw chopping in the top side of a log. I was anxious to see what she going to do. I discovered she was chopping a trough in the log. I saw something laying an the log wrapped up in a blanket. 1 remained hid till she had finished and she then took the bundle up and laid it in the log and covered it up the best she could. She then cut a small pole and tied a white handkerchief.
......................... The rest of the pages are torn out of this book.
In 1844, William and Margaret's son Mansfield, died. Margaret died ten years later, and William died in 1857. At the east side of the Hagerstown airstrip, near the southern end, is the family plot. Three graves, marked by head and foot stones are enclosed by a wire fence. That family plot is the only tangible evidence remaining of the German born man and his Irish wife who lived there, raised a family, and established a community that flourished for a time, until it, too, died.
As they became adults, most of the 12 children of Margaret and William Felton, moved out of this area. Some went no farther than Delaware, Henry, Madison and Grant Counties. Others ventured to the newer lands of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. Son, William, who married Sarah Stonebraker stayed close to the area and there are descendants of that couples 12 children still in the Nettle Creek area.
Much of the Jefferson Township lands of William Felton is being utilized by the airstrip, the David Davis farm along Heiney Road, and the south potion of the Girl Scout Camp, Wapi- Kamigi.
Contact - Tom Hesler
James Felton History
PIONEER RESIDENT, JAMES FELTON
James Felton was born in Butler Co., Ohio ca 1806, the son of William Felton, (possibly born in Germany ca 1770), and Margaret Mansfield, born 22 August 1774 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Margaret Mansfield, who came from Tyrone Co., Ireland.
William and Margaret were married at the foot of Shade Mountain in Pennsylvania about 1792, and their first child, Katie, was born there about 1794. The family then moved to Kentucky and settled near the headwaters of the Licking River and their first 2 sons, John born 1796 and Robert, born 1798, arrived while they were living here.
About 1800, William and his growing family, along with twenty-five or thirty other families, moved north into Ohio to Butler County. The rest of their children were born here. Their settlement in Butler Co. was on the west side of the Big Miami River near the mouth of Indian Creek. This area was still populated by Indians and these families had several encounters with them, some were very hostile. At one time, when William had gone back to Kentucky to finish some business there, he heard that the Indians had attacked his settlement. He rushed back to the fort at Cincinnati and was relieved to find that Margaret and the children had all made it to safety at the fort.
Another time, Johnny Mansfield, a nephew of William and Margaret's, was captured by the Indians, and treated as one of their own. He was later returned to his family, but went back to the Indians twice before he finally stayed with his family for good.
As the Felton children matured and began to marry, William presented each of them with a small farm for their own young families. However, by about 1819, Butler County was getting a little crowded, so William and his four oldest sons decided to look for a new home. They came into the new state of Indiana to Wayne Co. and settled there on the west fork of Whitewater River, just below the junction of Nettle Creek. During the next few years, William acquired about 600 acres of land, besides giving his sons each eighty acre farms. William also built a gristmill on his property.
The twelve Felton children are; Katie, born ca 1794, married John Cooper in Butler Co., Ohio, 28 Sept. 1818.
John, born 1796, married first, Elizabeth Brightwell and second, Elizabeth Murry, settled in Grant Co., Indiana.
Robert, born 1796, married first Eliza Felton, second Elizabeth Mason, and third, Eliza Bailey, settled in Howard Go., Indiana.
William, born 16 Feb. 1801, married Sarah Sally Stonebraker, 10 March 1624, lived in Wayne Co., but later settled in Delaware Co., Indiana.
Mansfield, born 1 Jan. 1804, unmarried, died in 1844 aud is buried in the Felton Cemetery. at Hagarstown, Indiana.
Charles, born 1805, married first Nellie Robbins, second Harriett Bradbury, settled in Grant Co., Indiana.
James, born 1806, married Kesiah Marchel (Marshall), 27 Oct. 1831 settled in Liberty Twp., Grant Co., Indiana in 1837.
George, born 1808, married 16 Sept. 1830, to Sarah Jordan, settled in Liberty Twp. Grant Co., Indiana.
Nancy, born 1811, married Andrew Householder 13 Feb. 1831, settled in Grant Co., Indiana.
Jacob, born 1814, married Nancy Ann King, lived for a while in Grant Co. Indiana, but later settled in Richland Co., Wisconsin. He wrote a short story of his family, and much of this information comes from his recollections.
Eliza, born 1816, married Alfred Wilson 19 Sept. 1837, lived in Grant Co. Indiana.
Margaret, born 1818, married William Wilson on 12 April 1839, lived in Grant Co., Indiana.
There are still descendants of these families in this area, but this story will center on the family of James Felton.
In 1837, James entered land in Liberty Twp., Grant Co., Indiana. He came here with his wife and at least two children. Liberty Twp. was very swampy at this time and the trees and other growth were so thick that the children were not allowed to wander away from the small clearing around the house, for fear they would be lost. The woods was full of all kinds of wild animals, including bears and wild cats.
Of the four oldest boys, three of them served in the Civil War, Harrison, William, and Benjamin. Samuel was crippled in some way, and was not able to serve, according to Oren Felton's recollections.
The seventh child, Eli, was never very strong, and was a sickly child. When he grew up, he was not strong enough for hard labor, so he made his living carving handles for tools, making excellent ax and hammer handles.
James was still living at the time of the 1860 census, but his grandson, Oren Felton thought James died during the Civil War, or shortly thereafter. Oren also thought that Kesiah may have still been alive at the time of his own birth in 1895, but could not be sure.
The children of James and Kesiah were, Harrison born 1834, Samuel, born Nov. 1836, William born 1838, Elizabeth Jane born 1841, Benjamin, born 1844, Jacob, born 1850, Eli, born 1852, George, born 1855, and Nancy, born 1858.
Contact - Tom Hesler History of the Eli Felton Family
Eli. Felton, seventh child of James and Kesiah Marshall Felton, was born Sept. 1852 in Liberty Twp., Grant Co., Indiana. He lived in and around Fairmount, Indiana all his life. He married Mary Catherine Huffman June 1, 1877. Mary Catherine was born 18 Nov. 1854 in Indiana, the daughter of Allen Huffman. Her mother's maiden name was Cofer. I have no other information on her family, except that she was supposed to have a brother named Frank. When Eli died, 28 Dec. 1927, he was buried at Back Creek Cemetery. However, he was buried in the wrong grave, and later had to be reburied in the proper grave, out close to the road. Oren Felton told me he was present at both burials. Mary Catherine Huffman Felton died 16 Sept. 1936, in Fairmount, and is buried beside Eli in Back Creek Cemetery. The children of Eli and Mary Catherine are, *1. George Otto Allen Felton, born 12 Aug. 1879, died Mar 25, 1951, Married Blanch May Bright on 11 Oct. 1910. *2. Fred, born June 1882, in Fairmount, Indiana, he married Grace (?) had a son, Charles. They later moved to California. *3. Almeada, born April 1886, Grant Co., Indiana, married 5 July 1904 to James Armfield, had a son, James, they also moved to California. *4. Martin Luther Felton, born 1 Nov. 1887, died 7 July 1951 and is buried with his parents at Back Creek Cemetery. He married Jesse Kelly Tyler on 15 Sept. 1918. Their children are, Thomas M. Felton, Harry Felton, who lives in Upland, Indiana, James, who lives in Washington state, Herbert, Lela, who lives in Illinois, and George, who died in an auto accident shortly after coming home from WWII, and Marie, who lived all her life in Fairmount. She was married to Harold Watson. *5. Edward Felton, born Oct. 1890, in Fairmount, Indiana. He died in 1958 in Frankfort, Indiana. He was married to Leona Enyeart 14 Oct. 1916, and had children, Pearl, Opal, Glen, Wayne, and Margaret Ann. *6. Elma Felton born Sept. 1898 in Fairmount, Indiana and was married to Roland Fredricks. She spent most of her married life in Peru, Indiana. She had no children.
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