Richland Co., Ohio
Franklin Township Sixty Years Ago!!
source: Shelby Independent News: 20 July 1876, Vol. 8, No. 39
Among the settlers who first wended their way from Beaver County, Pennsylvania, to Franklin Township, Richland County, Ohio, were Jacob Crum and Jacob Cline, cousins. Jacob Crum purchased the farm which John Crall now owns; Jacob Cline the one his son John possesses. The wonder of the people was why Crum bought the farm he did, as it was mostly swampy, though its fertility was not disputed. To-day, the wisdom of that purchase is understood.
A man by the name of Friend lived on the Gates farm. Indian blood was said to predominate in his veins. This was in 1816, the year after peace was declared. The Indians were on friendly terms with the whites. About three hundred yards east of the Crum cabin was an Indian camp. The Indians, at first, were very shy of the pale face, and the pale face was not a little shy of his red neighbors. A short time sufficed to remove all fear. White man and red became communicative, and this led to neighborly acts of kindness. The Indians were quick to reciprocate a kind act, and so long as they lived here gave no cause for complaint. A few anecdotes illustrative of their ways may be of interest to some, showing what a people and how they lived. The red men of Franklin were called the Upper Sandusky Indians -- the Wyandotts [sic.]. They frequently passed to and from Sandusky; it was a kind of headquarters for them.
The Indians were accustomed to make sugar, and seeing Crum's big iron kettle, they took a fancy to it, and Mr. Crum loaned it to them. They found it an admirable improvement over their own pans, pots, etc. After the season they brought it home scoured to mirror-like brightness. They usually repaid the loan with a saddle of venison or a turkey. They cleared their sugar with ashes, and made a fair quantity.
One day while Mrs. Crum was busy at her work in the house, she heard boisterous laughter in the road, in front of the house. She stepped to the door and observed an Indian in high glee over something. She asked him what he was laughing at. He clapped his hands against his sides and said: "Chook! with a bell on! ha! ha! Ha!!" The hog was wearing a bell to prevent it from straying. Indian thought this style for a hog! They were never known to enter the cabin with their fire arms. They invariably left them outside the door. The most of them could speak English and were quick in perception. The little ponies were their beasts of burden. It was not uncommon to see a dozen or more at a time going by in single file.
One day Mr. Crum was hunting some lost calves or colts -- I disremember which -- and observed an Indian in the act of firing at something. Soon a report was heard; then the Indian hastily laid down his gun and started for something, running. Now was an opportunity to gratify a trait of the Crums by playing a trick. So a big log concealed a Crum and a gun. The Indian presently made his appearance, carrying a dead turkey. Great was his surprise to find no gun where his gun ought to have been. He looked first this way and then that, but no gun. He stooped down and reconnoitered, and with true Indian sagacity, took the trail to the big log. Slowly but surely came those piercing eyes. When near enough to suit, the practical joker rose, a smile upon his countenance, and uplifted gun in his hands. The Indian took the good joke and ever after appreciated pale face. At another time, Mr. Crum was logging a down tree which had upturned roots and a mass of earth. While chopping off the first cut, an Indian came up. After talking a few minutes he disappeared. When the log was nearly severed Crum bethought himself. The Indian might be behind the stump. He went around the stump, and sure enough there sat the Indian in the cavity, digging. Mr. Crum told him to come out as the stump might fall back and bury him. The Indian could not understand the philosophy of that, but came out. A few strokes and back it did go. This was an illustration which impressed the Indian deeply. He thanked the white man for his timely warning, and probably never forgot this, his first lesson on backward tendencies.
The Clines had a number of the wildest cats imaginable. They considered the bullet the only think that could catch them. One day an Indian came to the house, and saw the cats taking an unpremeditated flight as usual. Thinking there were more than the family needed, he asked if he might have one. Of course he was perfectly welcome to one if he could catch it! He went out. Nothing more was thought of him till he came in, carrying a cat under his arm! How he caught that cat they never knew!
Thus it will be seen that two of Franklin's pioneers had experience with the much abused red man. The Indians never gave an hour's trouble to either family. They were next door neighbors to Crums, and good neighbors they were.
A strange, unaccountable, chopping and whistling, in after years, were heard on the old hunting grounds. It was heard in the evening, and was of a shifting character. Twenty-five years ago it ceased to be heard. Was it the spirit of the red man bidding a last adieu? The settlers called it the "Old Indian". Sixty years has made a wonderful change in this country. - - H.W.C.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008