if an excerpt from the Franklin County Centennial Biographical History
R977.156 – C333
Lewis Publishing Co. 1901 Found at: Ohio Historical Society Columbus,
Deardurffs, 1798 to 1901
was but a yearling of the forest. Abraham Deardurff, of Southeastern
Pennsylvania, came by wagon, over mountain-trail, trough forest,
following the blazed trees to the wild little settlement. Having
started "out west" early in March of that year and arriving at the
west banks of the Scioto about April 13, 1798, accompanied by his
eldest son David.
It was partly a trading expedition, as the wagon was laden with
desirable goods obtained in Philadelphia, consisting of axes, plowshares,
nails, spikes, augers, gimlets, awls, knives, scissors and such
articles as would be in demand by the white settlers; then about
eight or twelve in number. But there were in the load also, gay
glass beads, bright colored chintz, and a variety of bells, sleigh-bells,
cow-bells, a couple of hand bells and one larger than the others
that might have answered for a meeting house.
These were to be exchanged with the natives for whatever might
be obtained of them, principally baskets, jerked venison, bear-skin,
wild honey, buckskin, and hides; these later the Indians cured in
a superior manner never attained by the whites.
Apropos of the large bell, there exists an old family tradition
related to the writer (then a child) by the widow of David Deardurff
many years ago, beside the great fireplace with its brass andirons,
hickory backlog and black crane, amid the sweet sound of crackling
flames. This tale was later corroborated by William Deardurff, Sr.,
her stepson, in December, 1890.
He had often heard his father tell about it as follows: Some Indians
whose wigwams were down the Scioto river near Salt Lick southwest
of the present court house site, took a fancy to the bells, and
bartered with Abraham Deardurff for several of them, and before
nightfall, is said that every Indian squaw, pony and dog about the
camp had a bell on. One very tall old redskin whom the nicknamed
"Deerlegs," was out hunting, and being attracted by strange new
sounds, the tinkling of the bells, he crept through the tall grass,
up near the clearing, and there, lying flat on the ground, peering
out through the hazel sassafras bushes, he spied the large bell
suspended on a pole near the camp fire surrounded by a number of
braves, squaws, papooses and two white lads, who were delightedly
ringing the bells.
Deerlegs, in his lurking place, was no less pleased. He lay watching
and waiting for a long time, when he finally saw the party disperse
in the evening shadows. As the last Indian departed, or fell asleep,
he stealthily crawled to the pole and quietly made off with the
bell to his own camp, near Alum creek. Next day search brought to
the hunters’ ears sweet peals from Deerlegs.
Upon being detected he is said to have snatched the bell and quickly
springing upon his pony, clinging by in hand its mane and grasping
with the other the precious bell, his long legs dragging in the
underbrush, he disappeared into the woods, a ludicrous figure. Some
days later a white man, aiming at squirrel spied a shinning object
in a tall oak tree. This proved to be the stolen bell, which he
secured and returned to Franklinton.
soon finished his trading, procured by barter ten acres of rich
bottom land, planted this in corn, and left his son David. A lad
of about fourteen year, to tend the crop, and left his son David.
A lad of about the fourteen years, to tend the crop, and work in
the clearing. He camped near the white settlers, then eight or ten
in number. Returning to Pennsylvania Mr. Deardurff, who was a railmaker
by trade, soon made a sale, told his eastern friends of the fertile
Ohio valley, turned part of his property into money,
And then set out for Ohio. He was accompanied by his family, consisting
of his wife, Katherine Deardurff, who was born in north Germany,
his three sons Samuel, Daniel and Joseph, and daughters, Elizabeth
and Polly or Pauline. A stout ox team brought the great wagon over
the mountains in the fall of 1798; the family traveling by day and
camping by a spring or stream by night, as Indians were lurking
near the trail. Bears, panthers and wild cats were numerous and
wolves prowled about.
In the wagon there were large walnut chests ("kiesters") from Germany,
well filled with homespun linen, bedding, and some favorite pieces
of china; there were the necessary three-legged kettles, the crane
and the spider or Dutch oven with its iron lid for cooking corn
doggers. Several pieces brought to Franklin County at that time
are yet in the possession of the family.
A small china tea set, three pieces of Britannia ware, a pair of
sheep shears, a tailor’s goose and shears, a large and a small spinning
wheel, a reel, some brass candlesticks, candle molds, some good
strong linen and "coverlets" in colors, some wearing apparel of
those times, and some very fine needlework, are highly prized, and
carefully kept by the great-grandchildren. They speak eloquently
of ye olden days.
On a bright
spring morning, in ninety-seven,
As the sun shone out in the eastern heaven,
Lending the rose her brightest hue,
Tinting the hilltops with diamond dew,
in the rude log hut, a wail,
A strange new sound, from where did it hail?
In the fireplace corner, away from the damp,
In a hewed out log from the "Sugar Camp"
On a mossy
pillow, in coonskin wrap,
In a "dimity" slip and "bobinet" cap,
A sweet girl babe in this cradle lay,
Her blue eyes wide with the open day.
had come from that home in the east,
Snugly stowed in the till of the old walnut chest,
To the new forest home in Ohio so wild,
Where our pioneers cherished their first born child.
strong grew this maiden fair;
Learned to spin, weave sew with greatest care.
Linsey, counterpane, coverlet, wove she without fears,
That they would wear out in a hundred years;
so pretty, and so well made,
That they cast our goods of to-day in the shade;
They are dear to our eyes, our hands, and our hearts
For thy attest Great-grandmother’s houswifely arts.
Lapse of 50
As the sun
steals low o’er the western plain,
Great Grand Dame nods at us rogues again,
As we beg for a tale she has thrice told,
That is ever new, nor will it grow old,
Of the dear
old pioneer day long gone,
Of the conquests made, and the hard tasks done.
The dear far-away days, when she was young,
Of the games they played, and the songs they sung,
Of the swift
wild deer in the forest path,
Or the howling wolves, and the panther’s breath,
Of the sly fox lairs, skulking Indians’ trail;
Thus she spins us many an old tale.
As she patiently
turns to poke up the fire,
And softly smiles at our white grandsire,
While we silently wonder how
With her toilworn hands and wrinkled brow,
Her trembling voice and tottering knee
Was she ever so young and supple as we.
(The above was dedicated to and written for the Old ladies’ Quilting,
Knitting and Spinning Bee, at the Franklinton Centennial, at Columbus,
Ohio, September 4, 1897, by Alice Gillespie (Deardurff) Allen, M.D.)
The movers arrived in Franklinton on the 3rd day of
October 1798. All hands fell to work. David had got some of the
settlers to fell a number of trees; these he had trimmed and hewed
himself; and with the ever-ready aid of the men already sheltered,
there was soon a good log house built with its outside chimney,
puncheon floor and clapboard roof. On the 28th day of
November, "while the first snowflakes flew," this became the first
Buckeye home of the Deardurffs.
The father continued to take trips east semi-annually for the purpose
of carrying various articles of merchandise and mail; later a stage
line was established; a toll gate erected on the west bank of the
Scioto, near where the national pike was soon built, and this was
kept by Daniel and his mother for some time.
mover farther west upon attaining his majority, and after a few
years all trace of him was lost, he failing in time to write home.
In a few years Daniel Deardurff moved to a settlement near Urbana
and bought and cleared a tract of government land, which he farmed
for years He also kept up a trading business with the Indians from
Sandusky, who still stuck to their old trail through his "Big Woods"
across his well tilled farm. He made regularly each year a trip
clear to Baltimore.
Spring and fall brought always a string of Indians over the trail.
One fall "Big Medicine Man" found Uncle Daniel flat on his back
with "shakin’ ager," or malaria, then prevalent in all the new country.
As he was a favorite with the friendly Indians, this one at once
volunteered to "sweat" him, as he often afterward described to his
grandchildren; "White man heap sick, eat much salt, me give him
corn sweat, me make him well." Accordingly he asked for ripe corn
in the ear.
Placing a bushel of this in the large iron kettle outside, over
a bright wood fire, just covering it with water, he soon had this
boiling; removing it, he then poured off the water into wooden keeler
or tub over a double handful of red pepper pods, broken in this
When some cooler
he placed Mr.Deardurff ‘s feet in this for about ten minutes, until
they were quite red; he then placed him on a feather bed, rolled
in a warm homespun blanket; he next placed the steaming ears of
corn around his body, covering him with a second feather bed. He
then gave him to drink a large "noggin" of hot spice bud tea. In
less than an hour he was covered with great beads of perspiration;
his headache and nausea gone; and he was hungry as a bear. That
ended his ague.
About 1820 he returned to Columbus with a two-horse wagon to remove
his mother, Katherine Deardurff, to his home. As she was very old
and daily called for "Dan’l," she gladly went with him, but insisted
upon having her own house. This he built of logs, near his own,
and here she lived in peace, with her ash floor sanded, shinning
and white, her old Dutch Bible, she spent many an hour reading the
"Gutes Buch" or counting her "Geld", as she called her little hoard
of gold pieces.
In 1884 she died, at the age of 94, and was buried on the farm.
Her Bible, brought by her husband Abraham Deardurff, from Germany,
1780, was kept by Daniel. At his death, about 1850, it was given
to the eldest daughter, Katherine, who in turn gave it to her youngest
brother, Daniel, who went in 1876 to the Black Hills. As he died
there among strangers, it is lost. It contained in German the old
records of four generations. The old lady had feared the Indians,
and used to say that once while she was washing her boiled corn
grains, in the old-fashioned hulling process for what was called
dye or witch hominy, stooping over her tub she saw a shadow.
Raising her head, she was confronted by a red face with two black,
hungry eyes watching her. With one scream she made a dash for her
door, and, being alone that day, she barred it and waited in terror
for the return of her "men folks," which was an hour later. They
eagerly looked in the woodshed for her visitor, but found instead
and empty tub, a fine large deer, and some muskrat hides; these
the hungry but harmless redskin had left in exchange for a large
"mess" of half hulled hominy.
Samuel Deardurff, the second son of Abraham and Katherine Deardurff,
married Betsey Barker, of Charleston, Virginia. He purchased and
kept a tavern at the old house now standing at the southeast corner
of Skidmore and Broad streets; its quaint woodwork and outside plastered
walls attest its age. The smithy, just opposite, was kept by him,
and the little brick store just west was conducted as a bakery by
They had one child, Percival, who married Sarah Davidison. He was
for several years on the Little Miami Railroad. He died in 1874.
His widow and daughters, Clara, Lucy and Anna, with their brother
Orrin, still occupy the old homestead. One son, Irving, is dead;
the others, George, William, and Gustave, are living on the west
side in good homes.
in the spring of 1815,mounted on his trusty riding horse, started
east on a business trip to dispose of the rest of his property,
amounting to considerable. Several weeks passed, when some newcomers
led into the town his riderless horse, picked up near the border
of Virginia. The saddlebags, supposed to have contained a goodly
sum in gold, were slit open and empty. It was afterwards learned
that his dead body, with a dirk-knife thrust in his side, had been
found and interred in the woods by travelers. His sons, David and
Samuel, identified a few articles found on his person.
David Deardurff’s numerous progeny still occupy some of the old
town property, now grown valuable. One piece, costing but fifty
dollars in 1815, is now valued at ten thousand dollars. The old
family bible now owned by William Deardurff, of Newark, Ohio, (lost
sight for many years, but recovered in 1891), shows the following
recorded in the early days of the old town: David Deardurff, born
February 6, 1785, died February 12, 1844. Elan King, born April
28, 1783, married in October 1807.
Our first born, a son, Daniel David, August 7, 1808; Elias King,
born August 7, 1809; John, born September 16, 1811; Andrew Person,
September 12, 1812; Eliza, March 16, 1817; Margaret, February 26,
1819; William, March 27, 1821; and Griffin, November 24, 1822. John,
Eliza, and Daniel died in youth. Elias King grew up, married and
lived in his grandmother’s house, at the corner of Gift and Culbertson
streets, Franklinton. During the cholera Siege of 1848 his last
wife, Charity Clowson, himself, and two sons all succumbed to the
plague in one week.
Mrs. Katherine Deardurff, after the death of her husband Abraham,
lived alone in the above named house, built by her son David, who
had a log raising about 1816. It was on one of the old Sullivant
plat lots on South Gift Street. This old relic was pulled down by
boys in 1896. Then William Deardurff, the III, only survivor of
Elias, who had kept up the taxes for over twenty-five years, had
the court to make him a deed: then he sold it at a round sum to
the Columbus Dash Company.
They erected a large factory thereon. David’s house, on the opposite
corner, still stands in good condition. It was built by him in 1807,
of heavy walnut logs, cut along the "run" just east of it (later
used as a mill-race, now Seward and Mill streets proper). These
logs, carefully hewed, fitted, "chunked and daubed," formed a wall
that is to-day as intact as when put up in the woods, ninety-four
years ago; the woodwork is of oak, dovetail in; the fireplaces,
high mantel-pieces, and heavy doorways, held up by huge wooden pins,
show the old care-taking and lined, for milk crocks.
The old folks say it once held sweet, cool spring water. As the
front room was used for the first postoffice ever kept in the old
settlement, the broad oak and ash floorboards show the imprint of
many a long-forgotten foot. The heavy hand-hewed sills are in perfect
preservation. David’s son William was "bound out" to a tailor. When
his "time" was up he married Miss Lizzie Smith, who died early.
He afterward married Mrs. Martha Hanger, nee Hancock, of Logan county,
Ohio. He lived for over thirty years in Franklinton in the employ
of the Little Miami Railroad.
In 1889 he removed to a fine farm near Urbana, but his new cares
proved too much for his toilworn old man, and soon he laid aside
his burden to rest in the "Land Ahead." His widow, now almost blind,
survives to mourn the absence of that calm, peaceful life of his
that shed sunshine on all who knew the noble man. His sister Margaret
went to Colorado in 1840 and died there, leaving a daughter at Storm
moved to Monticello, Ill., and conducted a grocery. He died in 1882,
leaving one son, David now a farmer in Ross county, Ohio. David
Deardurff’s first wife, Elan, died in 1822. The following fall he
found himself and his business, "postmaster and squire," hampered
by so many little ones. He then married Elizabeth Griffin, a beautiful
but frail young lady. With the advent of her pretty babe her sweet
life went out, and she was tenderly placed beside Elan in the old
Franklinton graveyard, where twenty-six Deardurff’s lie in a row.
To Darby Creek settlement about this time there came two brothers,
Joshua and Benjamin Ford, also their sister Rachel, a tall, handsome,
robust southern girl, originally from North Carolina and later from
Maryland. She had been reared on her father’s plantation, where
blacks were numerous, but she, having Methodist ideas, freed her
twenty-five slaves for which she was disinherited. After this she
came north with her brothers. Coming to town to trade, the family
became acquainted with the Deardurffs, and Rachel, who had been
taught by her old slave "mammy" to spin, knit, sew, bake, and brew,
was selected by Squire David for his last helmeet, in 1823.
Thus follows the last record: Rachel ford, born at Ford Plantation,
Maryland, January 1798, granddaughter of Benjamin Ford, of England,
and Elizabeth Benjamin, of Wales; daughter of Frederic and Margaret
Ford, of Maryland. Harvey Broderic Deardurff, born March 12, 1824;
Mary Jane, April, 1826; Matilda Angeline, February, 1828; Eli Gwynne,
July, 1830; Sammuel, September, 1832; Malinda (three pounds) and
Clarinda (five pounds), twins, August 6, 1834; and Elizabeth, September
Harvey Broderic Deardurff married Elizabeth Young about 1852. His
was the lot to leave the old family name in the old town. He was
a railroader for years, and after an accident he became a grocer.
He was an active member of the city council. Thrifty and industrious,
by his energy he accumulated considerable real estate. He died in
1881, leaving a family of eight children. His son and two daughters;
James D., has six sons and one daughter, Christina Sands, of Milwaukee,
Wis,; Katherine, Mrs. Albert Rickenbacher, has two sons and five
daughters. Charlotte, Mrs. John Frank, has two daughters.
The men mentioned above are sturdy workers and homeowners in Franklinton.
Mary Jane, David’s eldest daughter, married Joseph Davidson and
died in 1868, leaving eight children. Her eldest son, George, is
a successful business man. His fine bearing and Christian character,
perseverance and energy are but some traits of the old stock cropping
out. His popular store is but one square south of the old postoffice
on South Gift Street, corner State Street – his mother’s homestead.
He is an active member of the Gift Street Methodist Episcopal church,
the outgrowth of Heath Chapel, where old "Daddy" heath preached
to his grandparents.
married Jacob Bauman, M.D. of Bellefontaine, Ohio, in 1844. Two
sons and two daughters were theirs, but they have all passed over
Time’s threshold, and are no more.
married Martha Gautz, of Grove city, in 1851. He was a carpenter
by trade, migrated to Burlington, Iowa, became a railroad bridge
contractor and is now retired comfortably at seventy-one years of
age. He has a daughter, Frances Barcus, and a son, Jeremiah, of
Fairfield, Iowa. Samuel D. died of typhus fever in 1853.
died in peritonitis in 1859.
The twins were Malinda and Clarinda. The latter lives at North
Columbus, or near by, and is hale and active. She married Johnathan
Moats in 1853, and is the mother of five living sons and three daughters.
Malinda Deardurff married George Davidson Sr., and aided him in
raising his four sons. He was a noble, upright man, descended from
an old Virginia family who settled here early in 1800. A stroke
of apoplexy ended his busy life in 1881.
He was missed in the Methodist Episcopal church and Magnolia Lodge,
I.O.O.F. Malinda, who resided in the city with her husband, then
returned to the old place, which held for her peculiar charms. Strange
to say, she was the last of David’s children to live on the old
street; she purchased a cottage on the north end of it, and there
in comfort spent the last eighteen years of her life with her daughter
Alice, now a prominent physician, and her two grandchildren, Carol
and Bernice Gillespie. Here she pieced her two beautiful centennial
quilts that created so much comment at the one-hundredth anniversary
of the settling of Franklin county, in September 1897 pieced to
commemorate the date of her grandfather’s arriving in the new country.
One is a double compass of one hundred points to the block; the
other "Eastern Star," one hundred and twenty pieces to the block,
joined accurately, quilted feather pattern and neatly done. She
was always noted for her fine needlework and excellent cooking.
She and Clarinda were counted the belles of the place when girls,
and two finer, handsomer, healthier women were not to be found at
sixty-five. They were the finest looking old ladies of their class.
By an unexpected attack of kidney trouble, on April 3, 1899, she
breathed her last, bravely crossed from the dear old scenes where
the passing years changes had come and gone, changing a wild forest
to a thriving city of one hundred thousand within sight of her first
home. Thus went out the life of the last one of the old family left
on the old site.