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Paddy's Run

Rev. B. W. Chidlaw, 'Historical Sketch of Paddy's Run, Butler County, O.', (mewn dwy ran), The Cambrian, Cyfrol I, Rhif 2 (Mawrth/Ebrill 1880), tt. 39-45; Cyfrol I, Rhif 3 (Mai/Mehefin 1880), tt.73 - 81.

We have received several Historical Sketches of different Welsh Colonies in Ohio. Desiring to give the precedence to the oldest one, we have found it difficult to decide between Paddy's Run, Butler Co., and the Welsh Hills, Licking Co. From the data at our command, it appears that the first settlers in each, left different parts of Wales in the spring of the same year, (1795), within a few weeks of each other, arriving in the same port, (Philadelphia).

The most of them remained in the State of Pennsylvania until the year 1801, when it appears the first land was bought and the first settlers came to each place, - Edward Bebb and William Gwilym to Paddy's Run, and Theophilus Rees and Thomas Phillips to the Welsh Hills. But owing to the fact that Ezekiel Hughes and Edward Bebb came to Cincinnati in 1796, and squatted on the Big Miami, not far from New Baltimore, Hamilton Co., (which is not many miles from Paddy's Run), we have decided, in the absence of any more accurate information, to give the preference to Paddy's Run as the Pioneer Welsh Settlement of Ohio. [EDITOR.]


In the spring of 1795 the good ship "Maria", of Salem, Mass., left the port of Bristol, England, bound for Philadelphia. On board was a company of Welsh emigrants. After a tedious passage of thirteen weeks the ship reached her destination. Some of the emigrants found employment in and around Philadelphia, others passed on to Cambria Co., Pa., and laid the foundation of a large settlement amid the pines and laurels of the Allegheny Mountains. Others more adventurous found their way to the gates of the North West Territory of Redstone, Old Fort, and thence descended the Monongahela and the Ohio Rivers to the new settlements in the valley of the Miami.

In 1796 Ezekiel Hughes and Edward Bebb, of Llanbrynmair, North Wales, landed at Cincinnati, and spent some time in exploring the new country. The land west of Miami was not yet surveyed, and until it should be brought into market, they squatted on Blue Rock Creek, on the east side of the Miami, opposite to where the village of New Baltimore now stands. Here they were joined by William Gwilym and his wife, who followed them from Red Stone.

When the US land was offered for sale in 1801, Ezekiel Hughes bought two sections in what is now Whitewater Township, Hamilton Co., and Edward Bebb bought a half section on the Dry Fork of Whitewater, in what is now Morgan Township, Butler Co., This was the first land bought in the Township. On the land of his choice, Edward Bebb found a squatter named Aaron Cherry, who two or three years previously had built a cabin and cleared a truck patch. The owner of the soil proposed to pay the squatter for his improvements. This honest, fair dealing surprised the squatter, - it was a new thing to his roving life as a frontiersman. The offer of payment being made and accepted, Aaron Cherry said "This is the thirteenth time I have squatted, and it is the first time I was ever offered any pay for my improvements." The generosity of Edward Bebb made Aaron Cherry, henceforth, his trusty friend.

After buying land, Mr Bebb returned to Ebensburg, Pa., and married Mrs Margaret Owens (formerly Roberts) of Llanbrynmair. This long journey he performed on foot, but his toil was well rewarded in the prize secured. With his young bride he at once left for his Western home. Their son, William Bebb (afterwards Governor of Ohio), born December 8th, 1802, was the first white child born in the township. Edward and Margaret Bebb, the first actual settlers, were pillars in society; the latchstring of their cabin always hung out, and all new comers received a cordial welcome and timely aid. Mr Bebb died June 18th, 1840, aged 72 years and Mrs Bebb, Dec 3rd 1851, aged 77 years, and their graves are among us marked by the loving hands of their sons and daughters, faithful in their testimony of the useful, happy, and prolonged life of their honoured parents.

William and Morgan Gwilym, brothers from Cevmaman, South Wales, after spending some time at Red Stone, Pa., came down the Ohio, landed at Cincinnati in 1798, and squatted on Blue Rock Creek, near their friends Hughes and Bebb.

While at Red Stone, Pa., they aided in manufacturing the first iron made west of the Allegheny Mountains. William Gwilym was married to Ann Rowlands of Llanbrynmair, North Wales, and in her found a true woman and faithful wife. Their daughter Rachel, (now Mrs. Davies, an honoured resident of Paddy's Run,) was born on the Blue Rock Creek, near Colerain township, Hamilton Co., May 28, 1800, and is the first white child born in that township. In 1802, William Gwilym, who had removed to Paddy's Run, Morgan Township, commenced clearing the forest. Morgan Gwilym returned to Red Stone, and for two years worked at the furnaces. He invested his earnings in a two-horse wagon and iron castings, which were the first brought to the neighborhood. In 1808 he married Elizabeth Evans, and theirs was one of the first weddings in the settlement. These two families were as polished stones in the foundation of society in the community. Pioneer hospitality abounded in their log cabins as well as in their brick dwellings of later times. William Gwilym died in 1848, aged 82 years, and his wife in 1838, aged 74 years. Morgan Gwilym died in 1845, aged 76 years, and his wife in 1862, aged 78 years.

Andrew Scott and his wife settled at the mouth of Paddy's Run about the same time. John Vaughan, from North Wales, bought half a section and settled on it in 1802. He was a man of a quiet spirit and a kind heart. Mr. Vaughan built the first frame barn and the first brick house in the settlement, and they remain yet though built in 1816. He was industrious and enterprising, and his influence for good was widely diffused. He died in 1848, aged 83 years. David Francis and his wife Mary, after remaining some time near Philadelphia, came west, walking to Pittsburg, then on a "broad horn", down the Ohio to Cincinnati, and settled on Paddy's Run in 1802, on a choice piece of land which is now owned by his grandson, Abner Francis, Esq. Deacon Francis died in 1848, aged 76 years, and his wife in 1852, aged 78 years. James Nicholas and his wife Mary, from South Wales, settled in 1803. Mr. Nicholas was the first blacksmith in the neighborhood, and built the first mill on Paddy's Run. In 1831 he removed to Allen Co., Ohio, and was one of the first settlers of that large and prosperous community of Welsh people. He lived to an advanced age. His wife survived him many years and died in 1861, aged 87 years. The Parkinson family, consisting of three brothers, came from Pennsylvania, and bought a half section of land in 1803. The land is now owned by Andrew J. Jones, Thomas F. Jones and Robert Reese. Maurice Jones and his wife Ann, from North Wales, bought land and settled on Paddy's Run in the year 1803, and both died of cholera in the year 1834, within 3 days of each other, much respected and deeply lamented.

During 1803 the families of Jacob Phillis, John and Samuel Harden, Bryson Blackburn, George Drybread, John Howard and Thomas Milholand settled on Paddy's Run and Dry Fork. Blackburn was a blacksmith. His customers had to find the iron and steel which he hammered into axes, hoes, butcher-knives, etc., with a brawny arm and skilful hand. In 1804 James Shields, a native of Ireland, educated at Glasgow, Scotland, emigrated with his family from Virginia, and purchased a half section of choice land on which his posterity still reside. Mr. Shields was a man of intelligence and sterling integrity. He served the public as a Representative in the Legislature for nineteen years. These Assemblies of which he was a member met at Chillicothe, Zanesville and Columbus; In 1828 he was elected to Congress, and served his country with fidelity, and returned to his constituents a faithful and honoured public servant. Mr Shields travelled from his home on Paddy's Run to our State Capitols, and to the Federal City, on horseback, and doubtless enjoyed the long and sometimes tedious rides. The evening of his life was spent in the quiet and comfort of his home, in the bosom of a loving family, when in 1831 he died, aged over 70 years, leaving a good name and inheritance to his twelve children, and the example of his life for coming generations. In 1804 John Halstead of North Carolina, came to the settlement and bought a section of land, which is still owned and occupied by his descendents. Mr Halstead lived to see his eightieth year and died in 1855. Mrs. Halstead, a most exemplary woman, and good neighbor, died in 1840, aged 66 years. Abel and Thomas Appleton, with their families, settled on the half section of land on which some of their descendants still live. Thomas died in 1845, aged 72 years, and his wife Abigail, aged 70 years, soon afterward. Abel Appleton died in 1834, aged 62 years, and his wife Elizabeth long survived him, departing in peace at the advance age of 89 years.

From 1806 until the close of the war of 1812, the following families came into the settlement: William Evans and family, from North Wales, settled on the hill west of Dry Fork. Mr. Evans died in 1822, aged 66 years. William Jenkins and family from Virginia, settled on the hill west of Dry Fork. Mr. Evans died in 1822, aged 66 years. William Jenkins and family from Virginia, settled on Dry Fork. Mr Jenkins and his wife died at an advanced age. Two brothers, King and Alexander De Armond, natives of Pennsylvania, settled, the one on Paddy's Run and the other on Dry Fork. They lived to a good old age, and left a numerous posterity, many of whom are still living in the township. Rev. Michael Bottenberg from Maryland, a minister of the United Brethren Church, a faithful and honoured servant of God; many of his descendants are among us today. John Merring, a son-in-law of Mr. Bottenberg, came at the same time, and settled on the land now occupied by his son-in-law, Evan Evans, Esq. Robert Mahaffy, from Pennsylvania, with a large family, settled on the hill between Paddy's Run and Dry Fork. Rev. Hezekiah Shaw, a son-in-law of John Halstead, a laborious minister of the Gospel, resided in the neighborhood, and devoted his time to the service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, traveling extensive circuits, useful and honoured in his laborious and self-sacrificing duties as a pioneer herald of the Cross. William D. Jones, from Wales, settled near Mr. Shields', and opened the first mercantile house in the township. Peter Youmans and his family, from New Jersey, settled on the farm where he lived for many years, a faithful Christian and a genial neighbor. He died in 1837, aged 60, and Mrs. Youmans in 1874, aged 93. Ephraim Carmack, from Maryland, brought with him a team of eight horses and a genuine Conestoga wagon. He settled where Robert Reese now lives. He was a natural born teamster, and distinguished in his cherished avocation. He was also a "mighty hunter", and seldom returned from his excursions without bringing many trophies of his skill in the chase. He removed with his family to Mercer County, and was among the early Pioneers in that section. In 1817 Rev. Rees Lloyd and family came from Ebensburg, Pa., and bought land on the hill between Paddy's Run and Dry Fork. His life and labors will be considered in the history of the church. In 1818, a new era of emigration from Wales was inaugurated, and large accessions made to the population and resources of the settlement. During the year the following families, chiefly from Montgomeryshire, North Wales, made this valley their homes: John C. Jones and Jane his wife, Evan and Jane Morris, John and Jane Breese, Richard Jones and wife, William Davis and wife, (the parents of the distinguished physicians John and William B. Davis, now in Cincinnati), George and Catherine Williams, Evan and Mary Humphreys, Griffith Breese and wife, and Humphrey Evans and wife. Connected with these families were a number of adult unmarried persons, among them Francis Jones, who married Elizabeth Francis, John Evans (still surviving at the good old age of 85 years), who married Miss Sarah Nicholas; Deacon David Jones, who married Mrs. Mary Humphreys, John Swancott, who married Miss Mary Jones; David Davis who married Miss Rachel Gwilym. The families of Evan Owens, Evan Davies and Tubal Jones, from Cardiganshire, South Wales, were added to the families of this valley at this time. From 1820 to 1830 many emigrants from Wales found their way to Paddy's Run, adding to the religious and industrial prosperity of the neighbourhood. Among them were Deacon Hugh Williams from Anglesea, North Wales, who married Mrs. Eliza Gwilym Francis, who is with us this day; Joseph Griffiths and Jane his wife, with a large family of sons and daughters from Carno, North Wales, who in 1837 removed to Allen County, Ohio; Henry Davis from Ebensburg, Pa., who married Miss Mary Evans; Thomas Watkins, who married Miss Jane Evans; David Roberts, who married Miss Annie Nicholas, Rowland Jones and wife; John Jones who married Miss Jane Gwilym. In 1832, these families, with James Nicholas and family, became the pioneer settlers of the large and prosperous Welsh community now found in Allen County, Ohio.

Thus we have endeavoured to recall the names of the early pioneer families of Morgan Township, especially of the valley of Paddy's Run - families whose record for industry, frugality, probity, hospitality, patriotism and religion is a rich legacy to their posterity and to the entire community.

The facts and incidents connected with life in the cabin and toil in the clearing are worthy of remembrance. The first settlers were men of sound judgement and clear perception. After selecting the land and entering it at the land office, they fixed upon the spot, amid the unbroken forest, where they would build their cabin, and it is evidence of the wisdom of their selections that, in almost every instance, the beautiful dwellings adorning the valley and its hillsides are located on the identical spot selected over sixty years ago. After selecting the location for a home, the site was cleared, logs chopped, clapboards rived and the puncheons hewed. The cabin was then raised, all the neighbors assisting; four corner men, expert choppers, on the building, the rest rolling up the logs; men and women uniting their strength kept the corner men busy receiving the logs, chopping the notch and hewing the saddle. Two days finished the job; oil papered windows, doors of clapboard hung on wooden hinges; the floors laid with smooth hewed puncheons; the cracks chunked and daubed; the chimney built of wood and mud - the home of the pioneer was finished and occupied. The furniture was largely made by the help of the axe, drawing knife and auger, and of whatever articles the settler brought with him or purchased in the village of Cincinnati. The question what shall we eat and what shall we drink they answered by using the articles of substance that a kind Providence brought in their way. The forest abounded in game, and the river in fish; sugar and honey they obtained from the forest, and their truck patches furnished vegetables; soon their industry enabled them to husk corn and harvest wheat; pork and poultry contributed to the supplies, and their tables were loaded with good things. Instead of "store tea", they had sassafras and spicewood, delicious and aromatic. None ever suffered for the want of daily food, and in a few years all the necessaries and comforts of life abounded.

In early times our pioneer ancestors were compelled to use ingenuity as well as invention in providing clothing. Buckskin furnished material for moccasins and fringed hunting shirts, but in a few years sheep were introduced and flax sown; these the women spun, wove and cut, and made substantial and comfortable garments; the bark of trees was used in coloring, and there was no lack of taste or subjection to the tyranny of fashion in the art of dress-making. Sun-bonnets, made of pasteboard, and a yard of calico, were fashionable for forty years.


Y Parch. B. W. Chidlaw, 'Historical Sketch of Paddy's Run, Butler County, O.', The Cambrian, Cyfrol I, Rhif 3, (Mai/Mehefin 1880), tt. 73-81.


For several years "blazed" tracks or paths, with the underbrush removed, answered the purpose of traveling from cabin to cabin. After the country roads had been laid out and opened from Cincinnati to the Miami and the regions beyond, in 1805, and Morgan Gwilym brought the first wagon into the township a new era of transportation dawned on the new country. For many years the settlers took the produce of their fields, poultry yards and dairies to Cincinnati on pack horses. At an early day, Paddy's Run butter commanded a quick sale and a premium in lower market, then the business centre of the Queen City. Hospitality and sociability were cardinal virtues among the pioneers. Their raising, log-rollings, cornhuskings and harvestings; their chopping frolics, quilting and wood-pickings are the memorials of their readiness to help each other. In the absence of a factory, their home-made woolens were filled by using a trough - a row of men on one side and of women on the other using their feet, the soap and water served a good purpose, and the process was eminently successful. Whisky, made in the one horse distilleries of the day, free from adulterations, was used on these occasions, but seldom to excess. Some knight of the fiddle being present, the youth would up the labors of the day with dancing. The "Race Lane" is suggestive of horse racing, and shooting matches, which were the common sports of the day.


The first death in the township is said to have been a daughter of Benjamin James, a squatter on Dry Fork, and resulted from the bite of a rattlesnake at the spring. A coffin was made by splitting a black walnut log and dressing it with a broad-ax and drawing-knife. These slabs were fastened with wooden pins; the body, laid in this rude casket, was carried by loving hands to the first grave dug in the neighborhood, at the foot of what is now known as "Race Lane." Mrs. Blackburn, mother of William Blackburn, was the first who died on Paddy's Run, and her remains were buried in the woods on the hill west of where Mrs. Margaret Sefton now resides. A pen of logs surrounds it, and some of us have seen it.


The year 1811 was memorable for the appearance of a wonderful comet. During the summer a fearful pestilence visited the settlement, and nearly all who were smitten by the disease died. It was called the "cold plague." After the pestilence came a terrible hail-storm, covering the ground with pieces of ice of irregular shape, some of them measuring six inches in circumference. In 1811 an earthquake convulsed the settlement and filled the hearts of the people with terror. Many of our older citizens remember the shocks, having felt them in their own persons. These wonderful visitations of Providence produced a marked effect on the people, not of superstitious awe, but a devout acknowledgement of the rulings of Divine Providence.


In a malignant type visited the neighbourhood in 1834, especially the eastern side of the valley of Paddy's Run. About sixty persons, mostly adults, died during the prevalence of the epidemic which continued about three weeks. Some families were almost swept away by the power of the deadly pestilence, and there was scarcely a house which the angel of death did not visit. In 1852 the flux prevailed as an epidemic, and in two weeks twenty died of the disease. On the 16th November, 1854, a terrible calamity was occasioned by the fall of the steeple of this church. Six valuable lives were lost. Nathaniel Jones and Robert Jones were instantly killed; on the next day John C. Jones, Esq., aged 58, died from injuries received. His death was a great loss to his family, the church, and the community. In a month, Jacob Phillis, the contractor died; and other lingering several weeks, Thomas Jones and Elias Williamson died. In 1856 Robert Griffiths and his family, after residing several years on Paddy's Run, beloved and respected, left for Missouri. They embarked at Cincinnati on the steamer "Nannie Byers." Near Madison, Ind., the boat sunk, and this worthy family, father, mother, four adult children, and a son-in-law lost their lives in the turbid waters of the Ohio. Their remains were recovered and buried in the old graveyard, in the presence of an immense concourse of sorrowing friends.


The oldest in the township was located on the west side of Camp Run, near its mouth; all traces of this first burial place are obliterated. John Halstead and Ephraim Carmack opened graveyards on their farms, which the neighbourhood used for many years. In 1821, John Vaughan and Morgan Gwilym donated the lot for a meeting house and graveyard, and until 1867, when the new cemetery was opened, this was the place where the dead found a sepulchre, and where nearly all the old settlers have been buried.


A clock case, now owned by Mrs. Mary Vaughan, made for her father, Edward Bebb, by Stephen Hayden, in 1804, shows the ingenuity and taste of this pioneer cabinet maker. It is made of cherry slabs, dressed as best he could, overcoming the want of saw mills with a whip-saw. For over seventy-six years it has been the cosy home of a brass clock which Mrs. Bebb brought from Wales eighty-three years ago. The face of the clock is 12 by 12 inches; but when the case was made the Cincinnati market could not furnish a piece of glass large enough to cover it. The glass is in two pieces, neatly joined by the hand of the skillful mechanic. This venerable clock (good as new after all its ticking in four score years) was a great curiosity to the Indians who frequently visited Mr. Bebb's cabin. He would make the clock strike around in their hearing; but the children of the forest must have the cabin door open, that in case of danger they might seek safety in flight. Capt. Wm. D. Jones brought the first stock of goods into the township on a pack-horse, and opened a place of business near where the turnpike crosses Paddy's Run. His business was conducted chiefly on a bartering basis, as specie was very scarce. The first physicians were Drs Sloan and Millikin, of Hamilton, and Dr Crookshank, of Harrison. They practiced as early as 1806 and were eminent in their profession and useful in the community. The township was organized in 1811, but in 1808 Maxwell Parkinson officiated as Justice of the Peace, but by what authority is unknown - probably appointed by the Governor. After the organization of the township, the citizens selected King DeArmond, Wm. D. Jones, Hugh Smith, Wm. Jenkins, Wm. Bebb, Ephraim Carmack and others to this office.


The men who laid the foundations of society in these beautiful valleys were intelligent, and the firm friends of knowledge. In 1821 a bill was passed in the Ohio Legislature incorporating the "Union Library Association of Morgan and Crosby Townships." The shares cost $3, and sixty-five were taken. The books purchased were standard works on history, morals and science. The Library was kept at Smith's Mill on Dry Fork, and the shareholders assiduously improved their opportunities to read.


In 1813 a company of volunteers was raised in Morgan Township under the command of Capt. W. D. Jones. The house of John Vaughan was the place of rendezvous. The patriotism and liberality of the settlers were manifested in an abundant supply of blankets and subsistence for the use of the volunteers. They marched with other troops to the relief of Gen. Hull, then beleaguered by the British at Detroit. On their way through the forest they suffered for food; near Fort Wayne, Ind., they captured three bushels of parched corn in bark boxes secreted by the Indians, and on this they subsisted until they reached the Fort. Hull having surrendered they returned. One of their number, Samuel Harding, died of disease contracted in the service. In 1861 when our National life was imperilled by armed traitors, thirty-eight volunteers from this township enlisted in the 5th O. V. Cavalry, and during the war a large number entered the army, all rendering their country in the time of its need heroic and important service. Some laid down their lives on the battle field, and others have suffered from wounds and disease. The war record of Morgan Township is a noble tribute to the loyalty and heroism of its inhabitants and the names and memory of the brave soldiers should be held in everlasting remembrance.


Rev. Thomas E. Thomas, D.D., graduated at the Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1834, and entered the ministry in 1836 as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Harrison, O. He was afterwards pastor of Hamilton and Dayton, O. He closed his useful life in 1875, when serving the church as Professor in Lane Theological Seminary. He was a profound scholar, an able expositor of the Holy Scriptures and an eloquent preacher. Alfred Thomas graduated at the same University in 1838, entered the profession of law, and now resides in Washington, D.C., where he holds an important position in the Law Department of the U.S. Treasury. Rev. Abner Jones, son of Francis Jones, graduated at Oxford in 1858 and at Lane Seminary in 1861. He became pastor of the Congregational churches of Columbia and New Albany, Licking Co., Ohio. In 1864 he responded to the call of his country and entered the service as a Christian hero. He died at Alexandria, D.C. His remains were brought home to rest in the new cemetery. Rev. Wm. Mark Williams, son of Hugh Williams, graduated at Oxford, in 1858, and at Lane Seminary in 1861. After an acceptable and useful ministry of two years, he, with his wife, embarked, under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, for China, where he remains in charge of the Mission of Kalgan, in the northern part of the empire.

Rev. Thomas McClelland and his brother Samuel, sons of Isaac McClelland, graduated at Oxford. The former is pastor of the Presbyterian church at Chester, Ohio, and the latter doing good service as educator. Oliver Jones, son of Deacon Thomas F. Jones and Griffin M. Shaw, son of Dr. Shaw, graduated at Wabash College, Ind. Mr Jones is a successful teacher. Mr Shaw died in 1873. Roger Williams, son of Hugh Williams, graduated at Oxford in 1872, went to Europe the following year, lost his health, and with much difficulty came home to die. He was preparing for the life of a journalist, but his early death cut off his purpose, and his sun went down while it was yet noon.

Several of the young men of this neighborhood, without a University education, have made their mark in the world in professional life. Among them we note Evan Morris, a civil engineer. The new church was built under his supervision, and several important turnpikes show skill and faithfulness in his profession. Dr. Griffin Shaw entered the medical profession, was greatly esteemed in the community, and his early death universally lamented. Murat Halstead, son of Col. Griffin Halstead, has for many years edited the Cincinnati Commercial, one of the leading newspapers of our country. Mr Halstead is esteemed as one of the first journalists of our land. Many of the young women of Paddy's Run deserve great credit for their noble ambition to obtain an education, and for the use they have made of their scholarship and talents in their devotion to the work of life in its highest forms of usefulness and true womanhood.