Interview with Hiram Oliver of Jackson Co, Ohio


Jackson Standard Newspaper, Jackson, Ohio – Wednesday, August 3, 1892


Hiram Oliver of Ophir Furnace was a pleasant caller last Wednesday. He related to us many interesting facts about a family of pioneers. His recollections are in substance as follows:

            “My father Thomas Oliver was a native of Maryland. He was born May 10, 1763, on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay. His father died when he was 14 years old and he then went to live with his uncle David Loffland in Louden Co, Virginia. He remained with him about 3 years when he enlisted in the Revolutionary Army. He joined the 6th Virginia Regiment commanded by Col. Muhlenberg. This was in 1779. He enlisted for seven years or for the war, and when the war was ended he was discharged having served 3 years and 7 months. For this service he was pensioned in 1834 getting a pension of $880 a year. He was married 3 times. His first wife was Sarah Edwards, daughter of Joseph Edwards a Welshman. This marriage occurred when he was 27 years of age. Eight children were born to them all of whom grew to maturity. They were William, Thomas, Charles, Wesley, Nancy, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Sarah. His wife died in Mason Co, Virginia. In 1810 he came to Ohio and settled on Symmes Creek in this County, leasing a part of the school land. The lease was for 99 years and the land was a part of what is now the David Griffith farm near Moriah Church. He was soon after married to Mrs. Naomi Smith widow of Jonas Smith. She was a sister of Dr. Gabriel McNeel. One child was born to them viz. Leonard. After her death, my father was married to my mother, Mrs. Eleanor Spriggs, widow of David Spriggs. They had two children, myself and a sister, Emily. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a Democrat, although he did not believe in slavery. He helped many a runaway slave to escape. He left Symmes Creek in 1835, selling his lease to Joshua Perry. He settled near Jackson, buying the Edward Faught Farm now owned by Mr. Ed Howe. On July 4th 1843, he and James Dawson, another Revolutionary soldier were brought to Jackson and sat on the stage at the Celebration. A man by the name of Hoffman made a speech and I remember his reference to my father and Dawson. My father died Feb 23, 1844 age 80 years, 9 mo. and 13 days. He was the first buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery near this city. His children by his first are all dead. Nancy married Jacob Rickard in Mason Co, West Virginia. They moved to Missouri. Rebecca married Samuel Bumgarner. They had a large family of boys, one of whom was once a member of the West Virginia Legislature. Elizabeth married Valentine Acard in this county. They settled in Lawrence County on land now owned by Washington Furnace. Sarah married James Faulkner of Gallia County. They had seven children. After his death she married James Romaina, and all moved to Hamilton Co, Illinois where the children are still living. William married Nancy Smith and moved to West Virginia where his wife died, after which he came back and past his life in Gallia Co. Thomas married Hannah Delaney of this County and both lived and died here. Charles a Miss McIntire. They had 12 children. After his wife’s death the family to Illinois but two of the boys came back to Madison Township in this County. They are Henderson and John Oliver. Wesley married Mahala Acard and moved to Indiana, and then farther west. I do not know where they made their final home. Leonard married Mary Ann Faulkner, daughter of John Faulkner. They moved to Hamilton County, Illinois where they still live as far as my knowledge extendes. Emily married Amos Dixon. She now lives a widow near Monroe Furnace. I was born in 1829. I never got much schooling. I believe I went to school altogether only 23 days. That was when I was between 10 and 17 years old. Charles Rose was my first teacher. He taught in a little log house in Scioto township near the head of Buckeye Creek. The house was rented of Robert Blair. A schoolhouse was built there soon afterward and I remember going a few days to a school taught by Milton Keenan, a brother of Beverly Keenan, the old Surveyor. I went again to David Bell. My last teacher was a lady, Miss Joanna Elliott. She is still living and is Mrs. Ezekiel Inman now. I enlisted in Co. H of the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the war and served until it was discharged. I was twice wounded, but not severely. I have lived near Ophir Furnace for about 10 years, and am now 64 years old. I used to see many wild deer in this county but never killed any. The last time I saw deer here was in the winter of 1861-62. It was down in Liberty township near the Pike County line and there were 5 together. I never saw a bear here but I have seen wolves and wild cats. We had to take our corn to horse mills in the early days. I remember starting once before daylight to take a bushel of corn to a horse mill on the Gallipoils road near Wi_c____er Run by George Barlow. When I got there a large number of boys and men were ahead of me and I had to wait in turn until nearly midnight. I was about 10 years old then. I remember a water mill on Salt Creek. It was owned by a Mr. Strong. His widow married John Burnside and he and her son Jared Strong run the mill together for a while. It then passed on to others and a man by the name of Crooks was the last to run it. It was torn down about 30 years ago. It stood on Salt Creek about 3 miles from Jackson on the Chillicothe road. Solomon Mackley used to run a horse mill near the spring by the side of the road about a quarter of a mile west of Oak Hill Station on land now owned by the Thomas heirs. Hick Powers had a water mill near Moriah Church in Madison township in those early days also. My mother died May 20, 1860, aged 74 years and 6 months. She was buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery by my father’s side. I remember many of the old pioneers. I saw John Burnsides, John James, Daniel Hoffman, Elias Long and George L. Crookham many a time. I passed Crookham one day when I was foing to the Strong mill and had a talk with him. He was sitting on the road side and was making a calculation. I think the oldest brick wall in Jackson is a part of the Isham House. When the Isham was built some of the old wall was left standing and built on, if I remember correctly. I remember another revolutionary soldier beside my father. That was James Dawson who was about my father’s age and who died in August 1844. One of our old neighbors was Thomas Richardson, a Methodist preacher. Silas Lake one of our neighbors was a strong abolitionist and so was Crookham. I was well acquainted with Philip Fout, a soldier of the war of 1812. He belonged in Scioto township but moved to Beaver were he died in the winter of 1864-65. I sat up with him many a night during his last illness. I was at a political meeting in 1844, which I remember distinctly. I had made a flag of white muslin. The muslin did not reach the top of the staff, and I pulled the skin of a raccoon tail down over the end of the staff. When I came to town a man tried to take it away from me, for I was only a boy, but a lot of Whigs got around and helped me to save it. I had writen on it with fire coals “Clay and Frelinghuysen.” the names of the Whig candidates. Lawyer Hughes spoke that day. I believe he was afterward appointed Governor of Minnasota. I have always been a Republican and am a Harrison man. Harrison made only one pledge four years ago. He said he would not veto a pension bill and he never has. There is many an old democrat who was an Union Soldier who will vote for him.”