Hugh Mercer 1774 Patent


By Margaret Strebel Hartman, Historian; Originally published in the Falmouth Outlook Nov 1979


THE TEN MILE STATION was located on the military survey of Hugh Mercer, who had been given 5000 acres of land for military service performed as colonel of The Third Battalion of the Pennsylvania regiment in the war between Great Britain and France according to the terms of the King of Great Britain proclamation of 1763.

If Hugh Mercer had planned to settle here, his death prevented the move.  Hugh Mercer was born in the city of Aberdeen Scotland about the year 1720, the son of William Mercer and his wife, Ann, daughter of Sir Robert Munro of Scotland.  Hugh was educated there at the University and held the position of assistant surgeon in the army of Prince Charles Edward in 1745.  In 1747 Hugh settled near what is now Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and later moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he married Isabella, daughter of John Gordon and became distinguished for his skill in medicine. His house in Fredericksburg, in which was his apothecary shop, stood on the southwest corner of Princess Ann and Amelia streets.

In the Indian War of 1755 he served as a captain under George Washington and was wounded in the right wrist by a musket ball.  In 1775 he was in command of three regiments of minute-men and in 1776 a Colonel of the army of Virginia.  He joined the Continental Army and was confirmed a brigadier-general.  He was killed at Princeton Jan 3, 1777 and was buried in the Christ Church Cemetery in Philadelphia.

It was on May 9, 1774, that Hancock Taylor (brother of James Taylor) Abraham Hepenstall and Hancock Lee came down the Ohio River, surveyed Mercer's land which extended down the river "from the mouth of Wells Creek formerly called Locust (now Twelve Mile) to the mouth of Sellema or 4 Mile Creek & back." Hancock Taylor had met Abraham, a woodsman, on his first trip into Kentucky in 1867 and from that time on they became friends.

Without the deposition of Isaac Spurgin, the settlement of the "Ten Mile Station: might have been lost to us.  Isaac, aged about 55 years on Saturday, July 26, 1823, answered the following questions for a law suit. "Do you know the place or improvement called the Ten Mile Station, who made the same, is it not in the bottom below the Ten Mile Creek, and is it no within the bounds of Mercer's Military survey.  When was the settlement first made at said Station as near as you can recollect?"

Isaac answered, "The improvement at the Ten Mile Station was made about one year before I settled on said Mercer Land which would make it about 1792.  The settlement of Ten Mile Station was made by John Beall, James Miller and John Miller.  The said Station is on the Bottom below Ten Mile Creek. John Beall was a bachelor according to the information I have.  He was a pastor of the Mouth of the Licking Baptist Church and was described as a very stern man but one who could speak 'kind and tender'." (June 5, 1801 tax list-John Beall owning 50 acres of 2cd rate land on 12 mile creek)

Liberty Hall, Cincinnati, Saturday, March 11, 1815

"Taken up by John Beel, living on Four Mile Cree, Campbell County, Ky. a white and black cow marked with a swallow fork in each ear, with a large bell on or about five years old last spring; appraised to $12 by Thomas Manning and Lunceford Griffith."

The area east of the Licking River in 1792 was a part of Mason County.  The settlers of Ten Mile Station were not on the tax list of that year, but do appear on the 1793 tax list; John Beal, James Miller, John Miller Junior, John Miller.

James Taylor was to purchase all but a small portion of the Mercer survey.  In his reminiscences, he tells us that in March 1817, "As I passed through Fredericksburg, Virginia, I purchased from the heirs of General Hugh Mercer their remaining interest of military tract of 5000 acres on the Ohio River granted to the said heirs for the General's services under the British proclamation of 1763.  This interest was upward of 3000 Acres-I had previously purchased the other interest.  The locators claimed one fifth part and 1000 the heirs had sold to General Posey and 500 acres to Mrs. Betsey Green.  This tract extended from near the mouth of Four Mile (or Selma Creek) about 5 miles above the mouth of Licking by road, across a bend of the Ohio, but the river about 10 miles.  It extends up to the mouth of Wells Creek (generally called 12 Mile).  It held out about 6400 acres and embraces near 9 miles by the meadows.'

The only other bit of information that I discovered about "Ten Mile Station" was an agreement entered into between James Taylor and Stephen Nutting on March 21, 1818.  By that agreement James "Doth rent or lease all that parcel of ground called the Ten Mile Station suppose to be thirty acres in plough land and between six and seven acres of pasture to the said Nutting for the term of four years.  The said Nutting is to pay to the said Taylor for the plough land two dollars and 50 cents per acre and for the pasture one dollar and 25 cents per acre, and that the said Taylor will allow the said Nutting to repair the building in a comfortable manner and the said expenses shall come out of said rent; also any old rails that are owed and put up on the place the said Nutting is to be allowed 25 cents per hundred......"  attest Seth Henkley & George Swan


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