A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
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While in that city, an attack was made upon the settlers at Dunlap's Station. Two or three hundred Indians surrounded the fort, and began firing at those within. COX, afterward one of the first to take up lands in Union Township, happened to be out hunting in that neighborhood, and being satisfied in his own mind as to the cause, went to Cincinnati, and informed Governor. St CLAIR. A volunteer force of twenty-five or thirty men, of whom IRWIN was one (being in Cincinnati at the time), turned out immediately. The same number of men were taken from the regulars, the whole being placed under the command of Captain TRUMAN; and about twenty volunteered to go from Columbia the next morning. The Indians had, however, left before the troops reached the station. Two of the savages were found lying dead, as well as a white man, named HUNT, whom they had captured the day before.

About the 1st of September, 1791, Thomas IRWIN joined. StCLAIR's army. He was engaged as one of the wagoners who had charge of the gun-carriages for transporting the cannon. The army moved from Ludlow's Station on the 17th of September, and marched, under the command of Colonel William DARKE, to the Great Miami River striking it about half a mile below where the court-house now is, in the city of Hamilton. There were two companies that had charge of the artillery wagons, Mr. IRWIN belonging to one of these companies. They lay at this camp until the fort was built, or at least so far completed as to be in a condition to receive a garrison. We have sufficiently described the events of the campaign elsewhere, and shall only mention those matters which particularly concerned Mr. IRWIN. At the disastrous defeat he was posted near the artillery, which was in the center of each wing, and against which the great weight of the attack was directed. The enemy, impelled to vigorous exertions by all the motives which operate on the savage mind, rushed up boldly, tomahawks in hand, to the very mouths of the cannon, and fought with the daring courage of men whose trade is war. The artillerymen were driven from their posts with great slaughter, and two pieces were captured by the enemy Shortly after, Colonel DARKE charged the Indians with bayonets, and drove them out of their coverts with consternation. The artillery was retaken, and the Indians driven across the creek out of sight, when the colonel gave the order to march back. This they did through the mass of Indians, those they had driven back following and keeping up a deadly fire in their rear. When they arrived where the artillery and baggage-wagons stood, they found them in the possession of the Indians, and surrounded by them in great numbers. By this time there were not more than thirty or forty of Colonel DARKE's command left standing the rest had been shot down, and were either killed or wounded. To avoid this fate for the remainder of the men, the little band charged again, and at the same time a charge was made on the other side by the battalions commanded by Majors BUTLER and CLARK. It was successful, and the artillery was again retaken. General St. CLAIR ordered up the whole train of artillery in order to sweep the bushes with grapeshot; but the horses and artillerymen were soon destroyed by the terrible fire of the enemy before any effect could be produced. As fast as the artillerymen were shot down they were replaced by men from the infantry, but with no avail.

The men fell in every portion of the camp. No more hotly contested action was ever fought. The ground was covered with the bodies of the dead and dying; the freshly scalped heads were reeking with smoke, and in the heavy morning frost (as one who was present expressed himself) looked like so many pumpkins in a cornfield in December. The little ravine that led to the creek was literally running with blood. The men were evidently disheartened.

Under these circumstances, General ST. CLAIR determined to save the lives of the survivors, if possible. The troops were massed, and by a charge regained the road from which they had previously been cut off Thomas IRWIN was near the front when the retreat began, but for some reason was delayed, and fell nearly in the rear. The savages were in full chase, and scarcely twenty yards behind him. He exerted himself to place a more respectable distance between himself and the pursuing foe, although it required considerable caution to avoid the bayonets of the guns which the men had thrown off in their retreat, with the sharp points toward the pursuers, great numbers of men having thrown away their arms, running with all their might. The Indians pursued them about four miles.

The battle began half an hour before sunrise, and the retreat commenced about ten o'clock. They reached Fort Jefferson a little before dark.

In the month of December following, Mr. IRWIN having received his discharge, left Cincinnati, and returned to his father's residence in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The next April Mr. IRWIN again descended the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and in January, 1793, was married in Cincinnati, by Justice William McMILLAN, to Miss Ann LARIMORE. He remained there a few years, when he removed to this county, buying land in the neighborhood of Blue Ball, Lemon Township, where he resided until the time of his death. As the country was entirely new, he had much work in clearing up the trees, and erecting the necessary buildings.

In the war of 1812 he served a tour of duty of six months as a major in the Ohio militia, under the command of General John S. GANO. The regiment in which Major IRWIN served was commanded by Colonel Henry TUMALT. After the expiration of his term of service he returned to his home, in March, 1814. This closed his active military career, but shortly after he was elected a colonel, and commanded a regiment of militia, which gave him the title of colonel, by which he was uniformly called.

In October, 1808, Mr. IRWIN was elected a member of the State Senate of Ohio, to which he was successively reelected until his whole term of service was twelve years, or until the year 1820. In the Fall of 1824 he was chosen to the Lower House of the Legislature from Butler County, and served in that body one session. In 1823 he was elected a justice of the peace for Lemon Township, holding the position for nineteen years. He always discouraged strife, and invariably counseled a peaceful settlement of any matter brought before him.

Colonel Thomas IRWIN died on Sunday evening, October 3, 1847, aged eighty-one years. On the succeeding Tuesday his remains were interred with military honors by the Monroe Guards, in the burying-ground of Mount Pleasant, a little north of Monroe. He died a consistent Christian, having been an elder in the Associate Reformed Church from 1805. He was a man of exemplary habits, an affectionate father, and an irreproachable citizen.


Our country owed much of its rapid development to those who came here from foreign lands to seek their fortunes. Among these, in proportion to its size, Ireland has been the most prolific. Fully one quarter of our population have some Irish blood in their veins. Among these hardy immigrants was Samuel DICK, a native of the county of Antrim, where he was born on the 21st of April, 1764. His parents, who were in a respectable position of life, died when he was quite young, and left him to the care of some relatives. In the Spring of the year 1783, being then nineteen years of age, he sailed from Belfast for America. Two of his brothers were settled in Baltimore, where they had been selling goods, but on his arrival they proposed to take him into partnership, and establish themselves in business in Gettysburg. He refused this offer, although they were well-to-do and he was poor, for he had resolved to carve out his own fortunes. He went, however, with his brothers to Gettysburg, with the intention of going to school that Winter; but only a few days after his arrival he met some one who wished to have brandy distilled from apples. Mr. DICK was somewhat acquainted with the process, and offered his aid. It was accepted, and in this same employment he remained all Winter, being well compensated.

The next Spring the young man crossed the Alleghanies, and among other things he engaged to teach the son of Mr. George GILLESPIE the art of distilling. This necessarily brought him much about the house, and in frequent intercourse with the family, which resulted in an intimate and lasting friendship. Mr. GILLESPIE had a daughter, Martha of comely figure and good disposition, whom Mr. DICK admired very much. One day her father treated her rather harshly, and in a fit of exasperation she said she would accept the first respectable man that offered. Mr. DICK was close by, and said to her, laughingly, '' Here is your man." In the end what was said in a joke was taken in earnest, and he married her in 1785. They lived in great harmony together until her death, at the homestead on Indian Creek, in 1833.

The place where he was residing at the time of his marriage was Washington County, Pennsylvania; but in 1790 he concluded to go farther West, taking his wife and two children with him. He purchased a lot in the new settlement of Cincinnati, on which he erected a house. He opened a grocery, and occasionally was engaged in forwarding provisions and supplies for the troops at Fort Hamilton and other forts in the interior. He afterward kept a tavern in the house where he resided. He was one of those who went forth to the relief of Dunlap's Station, when it was attacked, and also saw HARMAR, St. CLAIR, and WAYNE each march out on their respective expeditions.

At an early period he became the purchaser of a section of land containing six hundred and forty acres, lying on the head-waters of what is now known as Dick's Creek, adjoining the Butler County line, in Warren County. The United States lands west of the Great Miami River were first brought into market in the year 1801. At the first sale Mr. DICK bought six hundred and forty acres in the rich bottom of Indian Creek, in the present town of Ross, where he removed the next year. On this land he spent the remainder of his days, bringing up his family in great respectability.

Mr. DICK was one of the grand jurors in July, 1803, at the first session of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. At the general election in October, 1803, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Ohio that met at Chillicothe, on the first Monday of December in that year. He served in the Legislature during that session, but ever afterward refused to permit his name to be used for office.

He died at the house of his son-in-law, Judge Fergus ANDERSON, in Ross Township, on the 4th of August, 1846, aged eighty-two years; and was buried beside his wife, in the burying-ground at Bethel Chapel. He was a man of high moral principle, thorough and painstaking, prompt in his engagements, and full of sagacity. His business undertakings were successful, and he amassed a considerable fortune. During a great portion of his life he was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and in his will bequeathed a legacy to the one in Venice, which he attended.

He left five sons and four daughters. George, who married Jane ANDERSON; David, who married Judith BIGHAM; Samuel; James; Elizabeth, who married Joseph WILSON; Jane, who married John WILSON; Mary, who married Fergus ANDERSON; Martha, who married James BIGHAM; and Susan, who married Thomas J. SHIELDS.


This gentleman was a native of the north of Ireland. His parents were in moderate circumstances. He was born in the year 1763. He received the rudiments of the Latin and Greek languages at a classical school in his native land, and completed his education at the University of Glasgow. He had a quick and retentive memory, a sound, discriminating judgment, and a heart formed for friendship and benevolence. Possessing a mind so capable of receiving and retaining instruction, and enjoying the advantage of well-qualified tutors, it need not be wondered at that he laid a deep and solid foundation for future improvement. He had an extensive acquaintance with every branch of useful knowledge. With natural, civil, and ecclesiastical history, and with law, physic, and divinity, he obtained a very general acquaintance. Few men possessing knowledge so various and extensive made so little display of their attainments or so reluctantly acknowledged the extent of their acquisitions.

Having early imbibed an ardent love of liberty, with an unconquerable aversion to priestly and royal domination, he resolved to leave the land of his birth, and to cast in his lot with the sons of freedom in the United States. He landed in this country in 1791 He spent a short time in the State of Pennsylvania, after which he removed to Virginia. In this State he spent thirteen years in cultivating his own mind, and in the useful and honorable employment of instructing youth. In 1804 he married Miss Jane WRIGHT, daughter of Mr. James WRIGHT, of Berkeley County, Virginia. In 1805 he removed to Morgan Township, in this county, where he had previously purchased land. He began farming in the midst of a dense forest, surrounded by few settlers, and these entire strangers. It must be confessed that from the natural disposition and former habits of Mr. SHIELDS, he was little qualified for this course of life. But while he was reasonably successful in his undertaking, he speedily rose to a commanding influence among his fellow-citizens, that must have recompensed him for the failure to reap great pecuniary success. His immediate neighbors soon discovered that they were blessed with a friend of superior acquirements, and they uniformly looked up to him for counsel, but never in vain.

He was successful in political life. He never took a step, wrote a line, or dropped an expression to obtain preferment, yet the public demonstrated their conviction of his superior worth by sending him to the State Legislature for a period of nineteen years. He was chosen a presidential elector, and for the last two years of his life was a member of Congress. Each and all of the duties incumbent upon these stations were discharged with the utmost punctuality and regularity, and although, when Congress assembled for its second term, the disease had begun which finally carried him off, he would not allow himself to be absent from any session. His duty was to be there, and he was there.

Mr. SHIELDS was a man of the highest moral character. During his long residence in Morgan Township all with whom he had any intercourse knew that he would never approach a dishonorable action. His word was, in all cases, his bond, and his declaration in regard to facts which he had witnessed was never disputed. In pecuniary transactions he would rather suffer loss than contend with a neighbor. His conduct was uniform. He was never seen at any convivial party, without a special call on important business; and wherever he was, in his family, on his farm, in a party of friends, or in public company, his conduct strictly conformed to the rules of moral rectitude

He was an enlightened and firm believer in revealed religion. Few men have studied on the subject more diligently. He had read, not only those brief and ephemeral attacks on Christianity which are at all times to be found, but also those more learned and elaborate works of Herbert, Hobbes, Bolingbroke, Hume, Gibbon, Voltaire, Volney, and Rousseau. He was a man who made up his opinion on evidence, and consequently read the answers to infidel publications written by Ireland, Halyburton, Leslie, Watson, Paley, Beattie, Campbell, Chalmers, Dick, and others. His religious opinions were strictly evangelical and orthodox.

He was warmly attached to the Bible Society, Sabbath-schools, missionary societies, the American Colonization Society, and every other institution which had for its object the illumination, liberty, and happiness of men. To establish a Sunday-school in his immediate neighborhood he exerted all his influence; and while he refused the superintendence of the school he most cheerfully became a teacher, and the diligent, profitable, and agreeable manner in which he taught was not soon forgotten by those who had the privilege of being his scholars. He was never absent, never late in attendance. He attended public worship regularly.

James SHIELDS died on the 13th of August 1831, after a lingering sickness. He had returned home from Washington, with extreme difficulty, and from the day of his arrival was generally confined in bed. He did not lose his cheerfulness, although his sufferings were great. He left an affectionate wife and twelve children to lament their loss.