A History of Belpre, Washington County, Ohio

The history of a township bears a similar relation to the history of a nation that the biography of an individual bears to the record of human affairs.

Occasionally an individual accomplishes a work which becomes an essential and abiding influence in the history of the world. Such persons however are rare, although a considerable number represent events which are important in the minds of relatives and friends. The story of only a few townships represents great historic events, but accounts of the transactions in many localities are of importance to the present and future residents of the place. Belpre township is only a small spot on the map of Ohio and a smaller speck on the map of the United States. Neither is this locality celebrated for the transaction of many events of world-wide importance; at the same time the early history of Belpre exerted, an influence on the well being of the State which makes an interesting story for the descendants of the pioneers and other residents of the township. Within a very few months of the arrival of the first settlers at Marietta, they began to look for the most favorable places to locate their homes. A considerable number of influential families discovered special attractions in this locality and as a result the first branch settlement was made here early the following Spring. Probably there is not a township in the west which had so large a proportion of Revolutionary War officers among its pioneers as Belpre. The early history of this township was considered so important by that eminent local historian Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth that in his valuable Pioneer History he devoted eighty pages to the history of Belpre, and as many more to the lives of the early settlers here.

These two books, of rare value to students of the early history of Ohio, were published eighty years ago and are now found in only a few public libraries and as rare books in a few homes; and they will probably never be republished. These facts led the present writer to copy a substantial portion of Dr. Hildreth's account of Belpre for the purpose of publishing it in a convenient Brochure. While engaged in this work we resolved to make to this early record such additions as would continue the history to the present time. This must be our apology for adding a modest volume to the list of books of "the making of which there is no end." When Dr. Hildreth prepared these books he expended a large amount of labor and time in collecting material from the few pioneers then living and from children of pioneers. His books are not only reliable they furnish nearly all the reliable history of Belpre during the first quarter of a century. For this reason it has seemed best to us to copy the language in which the history was originally written with only such omissions and editorial changes as would adapt it to present readers. In collecting material for the remaining portion of the book we are indebted to Mrs. Laura Curtis Preston for permission to copy freely from her excellent history of Newbury (a part of Belpre). Also to Dr. Frank P. Ames for an account of the Kidnapping Case in 1846 and other important facts and for his generous legacy of one hundred dollars which made it possible to publish the History at the present time, notwithstanding the large increase in cost. We are also indebted to Mrs. Sophia D. Dale for valuable facts respecting the Temperance Reform and other matters To Charles L. McNeal for the account of Farmers Lodge of Masons and to Mrs. C.L. McNeal for the story of the Methodist Church, list of soldiers from Belpre, and other valuable assistance. We have quoted freely from both Williams and Martin R. Andrews Histories of Washington County.

The Roll of Honor of our Civil war, which we have copied from these Histories, was the work of S.J. Hathaway, Esq. who also furnished the account of "The Belpre Guards."

Our research has led us to examine histories, records, letters, newspaper articles and diaries as well as the memories of the living. We would thank the Officers of the Belpre Historical Society and other friends who have encouraged us in the prosecution of the work. Also all those who have aided us, and added to the attractions of the book by furnishing illustrations.


Table of Contents



CHAPTER I — Settlement. Page 8

CHAPTER II— Indian War 1791-1795. Page 18

CHAPTER III — Continued Hostilities. Page 26

Mutual Insurance. — Floating Mill. — Murders at Newbury. — Scarlet Fever. — Schools. — Religious Services. — Spies and Rangers. — Small Pox.

Domestic Manufacturers. — Experiments with Crops. — Stone's and Goodale's Forts Built and Occupied. — Kidnapping' of Major Goodale.

Amusements in Farmers Castle. — Joshua Fleeharts Winter Hunt. — Discovery of a Salt Spring. — A Night Alarm. — A Providential Escape.

Murder of James Armstrongs Family. — Murder of James Davis. — Close of the War. — Return of Families to their Farms.

Extracts from Lives of Early Settlers. — Captain Jonathan Devol. — Griffin Greene. — Captain William Dana. — Colonel Nathaniel Gushing. — Mapor Jonathan Haskel. Colonel Ebenezer Battelle. — Colonel Israel Putnam. — Aaron Waldo Putnam.— Captain Jonathan Stone. — Major Nathan Goodale. — Mapor Robert Bradford. Captain Benjamin Miles. — Captain Perly Howe. — Guthrie Brothers. — James Knowles. — Captain Eleazer Curtis. — Bull Brothers. — Aaron Clough. — Peregrene Foster.

CHAPTER IX. — After the Indian War. Page 88

CHAPTER X. — War of 1812. Page 99

CHAPTER XI. — After the War of 1812. Page 104

CHAPTER XII. — Underground Railroad. Page 116

CHAPTER XIII. — The Civil War. Page 135

Belpre's Roll of Honor.

CHAPTER XV. — After the Civil War. Page 160

CHAPTER XVI. — Education. Page 166

CHAPTER XVII. — Religious History. Page 178

CHAPTER XVIII. — Organizations. Page 194

CHAPTER XIX. — Fraternal Organizations. Page 202

CHAPTER XX. — European War. Page 212

Personal Mention. — Closing Reflectioss.


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We wish we might give as an introduction to the history of Belpre the story of an important and interesting race of men who occupied this region at an unknown period in the past, but left no record of themselves except the mounds of earth which they erected. Marietta was an important center of these monuments where the pioneers found the elevated squares, the great mound, and the Covert Way. The latter was destroyed many years ago, the others are still visible. There were several small mounds in Belpre at the time of the settlement. Many of these have been leveled through cultivation of the soil, a few are still visible. The one which is most complete is situated on the ridge in the east part of Rockland on land now owned by Jesse Pride, Esq.