The following newspaper article was copied from an old newspaper, which was
loaned me by my cousin, Clara Crumley Christy, whose mother was my father's
sister, Aunt Ella Brobst Crumley. The article was written by my Grandfather
Brobst who was born in Berks Co. Penn., a son of Jacob and Catharine Brobst.
When a small child they moved from Penn. in two covered wagons to settle in
Bloom Twp. Fairfield Co., O. The article tells of the pioneers in Fairfield and
Pickaway Counties during the early times of Ohio. It is titled: "The Days
of the Pioneers in Fairfield and Pickaway." by Peter Brobst, Esq. Great
Grandfather. (Great-Great Grandfather - Jacob.)
The Days of the Pioneers in Fairfield and Pickaway
Peter Brobst, Esq. of Madison Twp. This county, came to Bloom Twp.,
Fairfield Co., near the line of Pickaway, when a small boy, grew up with the
country, and is perfectly familiar with the trials and triumphs of the Pioneer
Settlers. In a recent interview with him, we gathered the following personal
"My Father Jacob Brobst was born in Berne Twp., Berks Co. PA, March 22
1783, and was married on the 15 day of January 1804, to Katharine Glick,
daughter of Daniel Glick, who was born in the same locality, Oct. 2,1873. They
were the parents of eight four of whom are now living. My father died March
24,1830 at the age of 47, Mother surviving until April 29,1861 in her 78th
In the year 1807, Father and Mother and three children, Sally, Jacob and
myself emigrated from their native heath in Berks Co., Pa. to Ohio, and located
upon a tract of 160 acres of land in Bloom Twp., Fairfield Co., where the
village of Marcy is now situated, part of the land now in the possession of my
brother, David Brobst. My maternal Grandfather, Daniel Glick, having come out
the previous year and brought the land at $2.50 per acre. We moved into a cabin
on the premises built by a settler named Mix. It was constructed of round logs,
with puncheon floor, wooden chimney, etc. Father made bedsteads of poles. Some
fifteen or twenty families also removed to the same locality, from the same
neighborhood in Berks Co., Pa. about the same time, viz. The Glicks, Swanders,
Curts, Woodrings, Halls, Nothstines, Runkles, Beerys and others, the ancestry
of persons bearing those names in Fairfield, Pickaway and other counties.
They raised a little corn the first season, but no wheat, as deer were too
plentiful for wheat raising; but as soon as wheat could be grown successfully,
it was made a specialty. They first pounded their grain into meal, on a hominy
block, with iron wedges, and sifted it through a buck-skin, in which holes were
cut for the purpose.
In 1813, David Wright made a corn crusher of two stones, about 18 inches in
diameter, one fastened to a frame and the other turned by a crank, on which I
helped to grind corn when a mere boy, and found it hard work. There were mills
on streams, but it was not always possible to get to them, and by grinding
ourselves it saved us the toll, which was quite an item.
About 1814, we began raising considerable wheat and my father and uncles,
Daniel and Solomon Glick built a flat bottom boat, near Foresman's Mill, near
the present town of Ashville, loaded it with 300 barrels of flour and rafted it
down to News Orleans. The water had to be high before they could cross the dam
below Circleville. They only realized $1.05 per barrel. The next year they
shipped with Dick Hooker, but did no better. In 1817, they secured a contract
to supply the Old Penitentiary at Columbus, O., with flour, and hauled flour
there for a number of years. G Young's and father Glick, at the same time,
furnished the Penitentiary with meat. In 1816, Grandfather Glick built a mill
on Little Walnut, on the site where Young's now have a flouring mill. My father
also hauled wheat to Sandusky City and lower Sandusky, now Fremont O., on sleds
in winter about 1819. We had to go to Zanesville for our salt, exchanging a
four-horse load of wheat to Lancaster, to trade for leather, but it would not
buy a whole side of sole leather, and as we had neither money nor anything else
to pay the difference, the leather was cut to the amount. Our wheat was all
reaped with a hook, and it was not unusual to see thirty hands together
My father was called out in the war of 1812, but was gone only a few days
when it closed. My Uncles, Daniel and Solomon Glick, were in this War, under
General Harrison, the former as Drum Major.
We had much trouble with the wild hogs, which then abounded. When pork was
needed, Father would go out and kill one, but if a vicious hog was near, it was
advisable to climb a tree with the greatest alacrity.
For some years we boys wore buck-skin breeches and rounda-bouts, and in
winter, moccasins also of buck-skins. Father was a tailor by trade and made our
clothing. He also tailored for the neighbors, charging $l.50 for making an
Mother made frequent trips to Lancaster on horseback, with the chickens
strung by the legs and thrown across the horse, and generally sold her load to
Straub Steinman, tavern keepers, at five cents for the chickens, five cents per
pound for the butter and three cents a dozen for the eggs.
Myself and a neighbor boy, both then about fifteen years of age had an
encounter with a wild cat near our house. We had a dog with us, but the cat all
most got the best of him first, and attacked my companion, seized him by the
leg, lacerating it very badly. I hastened and procured an iron spike when our
dog again came to the rescue, and we succeeded in releasing the other boy from
his perilous position, and killed the animal.
When my father built a better tenement than the rude log cabin, there were
yet no saw mills near, and two men were employed to saw out the boards for
flooring, with a common cross-cut saw, called a hooksaw. A scaffold was built,
the logs were rolled upon it, one man standing above and the other beneath it
and in this manner the boards were sawed, at 25 cents per hundred feet.
In 1825, Father and Uncles drove about 900 head of hogs to Baltimore, which
they bought at $l.25 and $1.50 per hundred. The hogs were swung into heavy
straps and weighed with steel-yards, one at a time. They were on the road sixty
days and sold the hogs in Baltimore, at $2.70 per hundred, except about one
hundred which became crippled and unable to travel, and were sold on the route.
I went along as a hand and received $20.00 for the trip. It took eleven days to
walk home. While in Baltimore, we ascended Washington's Monument, 300 feet.
After returning from this trip my Father's health was so impaired that he
was not again able for active pursuits and necessary duties, most of which
devolved upon me.
In 1828, Father bought the farm on which I now live, in Madison Twp.,
Pickaway Co., then comprising 160 acres, for $1500, which brother Daniel and
myself paid for. About this time, I commenced furnishing flour and provisions
to Heyl Russell and Armstrong, who kept the principal taverns in Columbus, and
continued to do so every two weeks, during the Winter for fifteen years,
receiving $1.25 and $1.35 per hundred for flour. Columbus then had a small
market house on High St. near where is the present State House, but not much
system of marketing connected with it.
In the Winter of 1829, I hauled to Columbus 400 bushels of wheat, which
Father had contracted to M.L. Sullivant, at 50 cents a bushel. His mill was on
the west side and the bridge across the river was made of plank laid on trestle
work, with no protection on the sides.
There were no bridges across the creeks in those days, and frequently when
the streams were up, I ran narrow chances several times swimming the stream. In
1831 or '32, I had a close escape in crossing Bib Belly or Big Walnut, with a
load of flour, drawn by five horses. There were two fords, and I nearly missed
both of them as the creek was much swollen. At the time, the ice got loose and
came against the horses, almost producing a disaster. On one trip, my younger
brother, David, then a boy, accompanied me. When we came to Big Walnut, it was
high and David said he would not go across. The wagon had a high bed with
English sides. I got rails and placed on top of the wagon, piled flour thereon,
told my brother to get on top and look straight ahead, which he did, and we
rode the swift stream in safety to the other side.
When father died in 1830 there was a debt of $l000.00 on the farm which I
succeeded in removing by many "hard knocks." I performed various
kinds of labor, making thousands of rails for 25 cents per hundred, splitting
as many as 516 in one day. For ordinary work, we received 25 cents per day. I
helped to build probably forty or more log cabins, and assisted in other
buildings. Have participated in log-rolling, etc., innumerable.
During eight to ten years I made one or two trips a year to Sandusky City
and Lower Sandusky, now Fremont, with flour and liquor, the latter distilled
from rye of our own raising, receiving money for the articles. I generally
stopped at Armstrong's Tavern, near Lower Sandusky, said to have been built by
the Indians, which is still standing, and now owned by Thomas Reber. On one
occasion while there, at Walker's Tavern, Upper Sandusky, about 500 Indians,
from the reservation came suddenly into the town. They drove a stake in the
ground, placed a young Indian in kneeling position by it ,and tied him to the
stake. Seven Indians were then given guns, all loaded but one, and at the
command of the leader, fired at the Indian, killing him instantly, a ball
entering his breast. Then taking the dead body, the entire crowd disappeared in
a few moments. The young Indian, who was not more than 16 years of age, had
brained an Indian boy with a tomahawk, killing him. I was an eye witness of the
execution, standing not more than ten steps distant, with Walker, who was on
the most friendly terms with the Indians, and had an Indian Squaw wife.
When enroute on these trips I frequently passed close by the spot where
Crawford was burned by the Indians in Wyandotte Co., seven or eight miles from
Upper Sandusky. In the fall of 1882 I was at the Centennial celebration held in
commemoration of Crawford's memory and there met four of the eldest citizens of
the locality and had a discussion as to the exact place where the burning
occurred, two of them agreeing with me, that the burning was on the opposite
side of the road from the monument erected.
I had but limited educational advantages, my entire schooling only a few
months at a German School. The first schoolhouse in our neighborhood was a
wooden structure, built near the center of the settlement, embracing an area of
about three miles square, in Pickaway Co., about one mile North of Marcy, the
first schools were all German. The teacher was paid by those who sent their
children, at 25 cents per scholar, never realizing more than about $8.00 per
month to the teacher. About 1832, we had the first English school, near where
the Glick church now stands, in Bloom Twp., Fairfield Co.
The first church in our neighborhood was erected in 1809, by the Lutherans
and built of logs, the organization then arid now known as the Glick Church,
and from this society, two other churches sprang, St. John's at Lithopolis, and
Trinity at Marcy, all three under one pastoral charge. Our first minister, or
missionary was Rev. Foster and the succeeding pastors as follows: Revs. Henkle,
Jacob Leist, also missionaries Stake, Wagenhals, (now living at Lancaster at an
advanced age) Mogel, Eirich, Harter, and J. Becker, present pastor.
In 1823 I joined the Light Horse Company, in Fairfield, and in 1832, joined
a similar military organization composed of citizens of Madison, Walnut,
Washington, and Saltcreek Twp., in Pickaway Co., and was commissioned officer,
in the company as follows: Second Lieutenant, Commission dated February 1,
1836, signed by Robert Lucas, Governor of Ohio; First Lieutenant, Commission
dated Sept. 4, 1837, signed by Joseph Vance, Governor; Captain, Commission
dated April 26, 1841, signed by Thomas Corwin, Governor."
The life of Mr. Brobst has been an active and busy one, and even now at his
age he is possessed of more life and energy than many persons of not more than
half his years. We can say without exaggeration, that he has discharged fully
his duty to his family, his friends, to the community, and his country. His
character has stood the test of long years, and bears no strain. Believing in
what was true, he has practiced that which is just, generous and kind, he has
rendered assistance to the needy and distressed. Endowed with excellent common
sense, he has been decidedly and eminently a practical man. A careful and safe
counsellor, his advice and experience have been often sought by neighbors and
acquaintances, his good sense and conciliatory measures saving many troubles
He has frequently served as a juryman in our Courts, and more just and
impartial juryman never sat in the box. He was Foreman of the Grand Jury,
nearly thirty years ago, when for some sinister purposes, an effort was made by
some of the jury, aided by outside pressure, to indict the County Treasurer,
for alleged unlawful use of the funds (before the present stringent law was
enacted), and Mr. Brobst was largely instrumental in defeating the vindictive
He served eleven years successfully as Trustee of Madison Twp., and held
other local positions of honor and trust.
In politics, he has ever been a staunch, unwavering, earnest Democrat from
the good old Jackson days, often a Delegate in convention, and exerting an
effective influence in every campaign. In 1881, he was urged to become a
candidate for the nomination of County Commissioner, but declined the use of
his name in the convention.
He has been from youth a zealous, consistent member of the Lutheran
Denomination, honored by the church in an official and representative capacity.
Note: This article appeared in a Fairfield or Pickaway Co. Ohio
newspaper sometime prior to 1889 while Peter Brobst was still living. (Kay
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by Kay Starr Schaney