Login

History Record View

Title: The Rise and Decline of Maysville
File Attachment:
Attachment Type:
Text:

Among those who brought land at the first land sale at Crawfordsville in this immediate locality was my maternal great-grandfather, George Worthington. He was a son of Thomas Worthington, who was the first United States senator and the third governor of the state of Ohio. He and his father had disagreed and it was impossible for them to make up their differences; his father paid him in cash the portion of his estate that he considered coming to him and with that George left the state of Ohio and his father's family. Learning of the land offered for sale at Crawfordsville he with Robert Milford, the Hemphills and a party of five or six others, came to Wabash Valley. He purchased four thousand acres of land in what is now Warren county; a portion of it is the old VanReed land, and a part of it the Hiram Bright land. he bought two sections of land right near where the town of Linden stands, another section near Hillsboro, and eighty acres for his home place. The latter his now owned by John T. Nixon and known as the old James Beasly place. Worthington had been in the hotel business in Ohio and southeastern Indiana and thot he saw the possibility of a hotel someplace in this locality. The party of landseekers that he was with stopt for a while with Zachariah Cicott but there were so many Indians around Cicott's place that it made it very unpleasant for the settlers. Worthington talked the matter over with Cicott and his companions and it was decided to build his hotel across the river from Cicott's trading post, and this hotel was the first building erected in Maysville.

Soon hundreds of settlers, with their families, came across the country, over the Indian trail to Strawtown to Thorntown, from Thorntown to Crawfordsville and from Crawfordsville to Maysville, while others came up the river, the majority of them stopping at Worthington's hotel in Maysville. Worthington did not take up the land upon which he built his hotel. He ran the hotel from 1825 until about 1830.

In the Spring of 1829 Judge Samuel B. Clark, (Orris S. Clark's grandfather) operated a ferryboat between Maysville and Cicott's landing. One of the Youngs had a very sick child, and Dr. Simon Yandes practiced medicine part of the time in Maysville and part of the time across the river, but was then Cicott's Landing. Mr. Young and Clark went to Cicott's place after Dr. Yandes; the river was very h igh and all three started across in a skiff together. They got about the middle of the stream when the skiff upset and Mr. Clark was the only man who could swim. He placed Dr. Yandes and Mr. Young on the boat and told them to stay there and drift with it in the center of the stream and he would swim to the shore and get a boat and get a boat and come after them; he left them, swam to the shore, got the boat and other help and rowed back, but when he found the boat Young and Yandes had falled off. A few days afterward their bodies were found along the edge of the water, and they were buried in the same grave inthe southeast corner of Lars Anderson's farm, where a cemetery was then located. There were about two hundred persons buried there. A family by the name of Schlosser owned this land, and it was known as the Schlosser graveyard, and there were at one time many tombstones marking the graves. But there is not a tombstone left now and this graveyard is a part of a field.

When George Worthington left Maysville he built the house that now stands on the Beasley place, and this too was built for a tavern. After he died Dr. Worthington , his son, came into possession of this hotel and ran it for a while, selling the hotel at Maysville to a man by the name of Mortimore, who was the grandfather of Mrs. Albert McDermond, of this city.

The settlers who came to Maysville saw the possibility of a city there, and the fist exclusive grocery store, the first dry goods, the first bank, the first hotel, and the first saloons operated in Fountain county were in Maysville. There were soon eight hundred people living there, and the water power of Possum Hollow, then known as Young's Run and Hemphill's Run, was utilized for a saw mill, a grist-mill and a distillerywas operated by James Hemphills. The Hemphill distillery was operated by James Hemphill and continued in operation until after the Civil War. Many loads of flour were taken from the Hemphill grist-mills to Chicago, and to White Pigeon, Michigan. The Duncans and Youngs packed pork at Maysville, and the town became the most flourishing center of commerce west of Crawfordsville. Many flatboats were built there, loaded with flour, whisky and pork and sent down the river to New Orleans, while many farmers would take ox-teams, and after getting their corn and wheat ground or their hogs butchered, hauled the products overland to White Pigeon, Michigan, and Chicago Illinois, and it looked very much like Maysville would be the center of commerce in this locality. It was the largest town on this side of the river north of Terre Haute for many years, almost to the time that the Wabash and Erie Canal was built, but it was evident that Maysville, Williamsport, Independence, Attica and Portland could not all flourish, and when the millrace was constructed into Attica, to bring the water from the Stone Cut to the Woolen Mill which stood where F.K. Lemper's house now stands, Attica became the industrial center of this locality.

Jesse Marvin settled near Maysville coming into Davis township, January 1, 1829. He stopt with Mr. Sparr and Archibald Roberts, Mr. Roberts having come into the township in 1828. Mr. Marvin was a cooper by trade and soon after he came into Davis township married a Miss Clark, who lived at the south end of the township, and bought from the government the one hundred and sixty acres of land known as the Marvin Stock Farm upon which C. Afred Carlson now lives. There he began working at his trade, making barrles-flour barrels for the grist-mills, pork barrels for the packing houses and whiskey barrels for the distillery, and his was a flourishing business. In addition to his cooper shop hw would occasionally take over flour, whisky, and pork in payment for his barrels. He built the first flatboat that was ever built at Maysville and took the first load of products from Maysville to New Orleans; after that he took a flatboat load of products to New Orleans almost every year for many years. I have often talked to Mr. Marvin of the early days in Maysville and the locality. His wife was a very good housekeeper, saving and careful, and she handled the finances of the family.

Jesse Marvin soon became a wealthy man for the time. He bought land in Illinois and owned several hundred acres in Davis township; he was very pronounced in his religious views, being at that time and infidel, relying entirely upon reason for his religious beliegs and discarding the superstitions and prejudices of the early churches of that locality. Jesse Marvin was one of the best citiznes this county has ever possessed and one time was commissioner and at another time represented Fountain county in the legislature his election was a surprise to him and everyone else. He employed some of the best attorneys in this section, (among them Judge McCabe of Williamsport), before he went to Indianapolis, to help him prepare a bill to make the railroads responsible for the stock they killed, to make them fence their tracks and put cattleguards across the public highways and to make the engine sound the whistle when they approached the crossings to protect the travelers on the highways. He traded with everyone that he conscientiously could, voting for their bills with the understanding that they were to vote for his when it was presented, and at the very last of the legislature he tacked his bill onto some insignificant bill, gave those whose bills he had supported to understand that now was their time to pay their debt to him, and without knowing what his bill was, it passed the legislature almost unanimously and was immediately signed by the governor. A few weeks later it dawned on the railroad companies what had happened, and they called Marvin the "Whistling Representative," and that the "Whistling Legislature." Whenever Wabash engines reacht the line of Daivs township they began to whistle and whistled clear across the township which every way they were going, hoping to annoy Marvin. Arrangements were made to defeat Marvin if he ran for the legislature a second time, but Marvin, having gotten his pet bill thru, dropt out of politics, and I feel perfectly safe in saying that he made the best record for himself of any man who ever represented Fountain county in the legistlature. He would attend church, listen to the sermons of the reverend gentlemen and challenge them to a debate. When they would have him fined for disturbing their meetings, he would pay his fine and be on hands to disturb the next meeting. When an old woman donated $25.00 to the Baptist church at Salem and found she could not pay it he learned of the debt, went to her and gave her the $25.00 and $10.00 extra with the understanding that she was not to let the preachers know where she got the money. He proposed building the Roberts chapel without any expense whatever to the congregation, provided they would put a scaffold in one corner of the church and hang the converts as quick as they "got religion." He wanted them hanged while "saved" so as to take no chance on their backsliding.

Teddy Layton and Mike Hullihan lived at Maysville and were young men when my Uncle James Whicker was the agent of the Wabash railroad at Riverside; I used often to see them at his store. These three men were all neat dressers and each tried to out-do the other in the value of their clothes and neatness of their dress. Teddy Layton is now living at Cheneyville, Illinois, and is very wealthy man.

Mike Hullihan bought cattle, was a good trader and never worked. He had three brothers who worked for the Wabash railroad. John was a section hand, Jim and Tom watched bridges. All their earnings went into a common fund and was handled by Mike. From teh profits of his trades and the earnings of his brothers Mile would buy pieces of land around Maysville, and by this means purchased between two and three hundred stock that he bought. He was very witty, careful in his trading and honest in his dealings. Tho still a young man when he died he had saved a very neat little estate for his family, and if he had lived would perhaps have become one of the wealthiest men inthe Davis township.

"Scar Face" Murphy owned eighty acres of land near Flint, but spent most of his time with his Irish friends at Maysville. He had a black horse that could run. The horse-racing took place on Sunday afternoons. A negro, BIll Scott, and an Irish boy, Tim Haniford, would occasionally get a horse and put up a race with "Scar Face" Murphy, but Murphy always won. There would often be a scrap and once in a while an Irish fight. They may have left the horse-racing full but they always left in good humor. I used to go to Sunday school with Uncle Steven Connell at the Olive Branch church, and with one or two of the other boys slip out of the church, across the canal, and go up the tow-path to Maysville to attend the horse races. A horse race on a Sunday afternoon suited me much better as a boy than a Sunday school. There would be a large crowd gathered to watch the race, money would be bet as to the horse that would win the race, and usually Murphy came out with a portion of the stakes. The racing would be on a strip of road wide enough for the horses to run side by side, turn quickly and come back; sometimes there would be two tracks, side by side, for a half mile used for the racing. In the fall of the year this racing went on every Sunday afternoon. We finally learned taht in Newton county there was a horse taht could be purchased cheaply with a record as a running animal. Several of us boys chipt in, bought the horse, challenged "Scar Face" Murphy for a race, got a good rider who was light in weight and knew how the handle the horse. The stakes were the horses and a gallon of whiskey. Our new horse won the race, and "Scar Face" Murphy gave us the running horse and a gallon of whiskey, and went to the county poor house where he lived for many years afterwards. This was the last horse race in Maysville.

Date: 1/1/1916
Origin: Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley
Author: J. Wesley Whicker
Record ID: 00001130
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection:
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

Information in this record is provided for personal research purposes only and may not be reproduced for publication. If you have questions about copyright issues contact the archive source listed above.