Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

From Madison Democrat 50th Anniversary
Published by the Madison Democrat, 1908


The first copy of this paper was issued November 10, 1857, under its present name (except that it was called the National Democrat.) It was published by E. D. King and succeeded a paper started by him, known as the Buckeye Union. On January 7, 1858, Mr. King disposed of the plant to John M. Smith, a London business man, who placed D. M. Creighton at the head of the editorial department. On January 28, three weeks later, Mr. Creighton resigned and the proprietor, Mr. Smith, turned over the paper to the control of M. L. Bryan and J. A. Kissinger, who were generously given the plant upon condition that they would run a Democratic paper in Madison county for one year.


This fact shows that Mr. Smith was a staunch and active member of the Democratic party, and also was ever alert to its welfare as well as that of the community in which he lived.

On May 8, 1858, Mr. Smith was called to his final reward. In its next issue is found the following editorial obituary mention of the deceased:

"This community has been saddened by the loss of one of our most estimable citizens, J. M. Smith, late proprietor of this establishment, who departed this life on Saturday morning last, at his residence in this place. Many of our citizens will ever cherish a fond remembrance of him, who has placed them under so many obligations by his friendly counsel and timely assistance. He was beloved by a large circle of acquaintances for the spotless integrity of his private life, the honesty of his dealings and the benevolence of his heart. In his demise we have lost a firm and steadfast friend and most liberal patron. Though our connection with him was brief, yet he endeared himself to us by so many acts of kindness that we beg to mingle our tears with those of the bereaved family for our mutual loss.

"Although eminently a business man, scrupulously exact in all his private affairs, the deceased was not mercenary or selfish. He took a lively interest in public affairs, enthusiastically devoted to the principles of his party, in which he was a prominent and active member. He was not interested in the success of his party as a politican acting from sinister motives, but he desired it for the sake of principle. Yet he has not been without honor in his party, having been regarded as the leader of the Democratic party of this county for many years, having served as a member of the Democratic state central committee, and having been appointed as the delegate from this district to the late National convention at Cincinnati. It was owing to his efforts principally that a Democratic press has been established for the first time in Madison county, and by his energy and liberality that it has been placed on a permanent basis. To the Democrats of Madison county the news of his death will come to spread sorrow and gloom. They will involuntarily inquire —

"And he is gone? the pure of the purest?
The hand that upehld our bright banner the surest?
Is he gone from our struggles away?
But yesterday lending a people new life,
Cold, mute in the coffin today."

"If the object which most excited the interest and enlisted the zeal of the deceased as a citizen was the greatest good of the country, so, to do good, was his religion, and mankind were his brethren. But in the midst of a life of usefulness, in the meridian of his energies, he has been stricken down. He sinks to rest followed by grateful blessings to his memory. Over his passing bier have been shed, by a whole community, tributary tears to his meritorious life; and often will repair to the turf that wraps his clay the many whom his benevolence has blessed, to breathe over his remains, form hearts of gratitude, secret orisons for his happiness in heaven."

By E. Douglass King

In complying with your request for "Recollections," I asure you "the pleasure is all mine." My only fear is that they will not reach the standard you have set. Naturally South Charleston will come in for a few paragraphs, for it was in that pleasant village (very dear to my memory) that I decided to locate in London.

Looking forward fifty years to the young man is almost an eternity. Looking backward, fifty years, to the septuagenarian is but a span. It seems but a little while ago when I closed up the business of the South Charleston Recorder and looked around for another location.

I will not permit myself to even think of the many and varied ups-and-downs I have encountered in the past half century. To do so might lengthen the years to more than "a span." I prefer the latter, and so let it go at that. This by the way of parenthesis which the editor is at liberty to blue pencil.

The Recorder was my second venture as a newspaper publisher, having, prior to my 17th birthday, established the Canton (Ky.) Observer early in 1854, on the banks of the Cumberland River. I would be fortunate now if I knew as much as I thought I knew then.

I first met Charley Brown (Artemus Ward) and Whitelaw Reid in South Charleston. The former was a printer and the latter (just out of college) principal of the public schools.

Brown, under the pseudonym of "Artemus Ward," became a noted humorist, famous in this country and Europe as a lecturer. On a lecturing tour in England he died and was buried in that country.

Whitelaw Reid entered journalism, was popular war correspondent during the Rebellion, and finally drifted to New York, became editor and owner of the Tribune, entered politics, and is today one of the ablest diplomats in the service of his country. He is the present Ambassador to England, and supports an establishment that would have been impossible on the salary he received in 1856-7 as principal of the South Charleston public school. He won his spurs by hard work and is worthy of all the honors he has received.

Gen. J. Warren Keifer was another schoolmaster that used to haunt the suburbs of South Charleston. During vacation and off-days in the school term, "he a courtin' went," and his face and figure was familiar in that section fifty years ago.

In the final issue of the Recorder, I named the town as a finished hamlet, and suggested that it be fenced in and whitewashed. After fifty years' reflection I am glad they didn't heed my advice. On a brief visit last March, (1906), I found in place of the old Charleston, one of the handsomest and best equipped villages in the Western or Middle States — stately residences, paved sidewalks, extensive business in all lines of trade, and an air of prosperity and contentment pervading the entire community — to say nothing of four or five saloons, where in the old days Tommy Hines' tavern, near the old railroad, sufficed to supply the needs of all the thirsty.

South Charleston is endeared to me in many ways, but I fear I have forgotten much that should have been remembered and remember much that should have been forgotten. but the names of Theodore Haughey, John Rankin, John Hedrick, Ed. Edwards, Newt. Paullin, Davy Armstrong, Dan. Heiskel, David Clark, Charley Wentz, John Bussard, Mike Leidick, Wm. L. Warner, Hen. and Ab. Bateman, Henry C. Hounston, Lon Houston and many other friends of my youth will abide with me while memory lasts.

Soon after the demise of the Recorder, I decided to locate in London. On consultation with John L. McCormack, a printer by trade and a lawyer by profession, and several other citizens, I was encouraged to make the venture.

I decided to name my new paper "The Buckeye Union," and issued the regulation "Prospectus," asking encouragement in the way of a large subscription list and liberal advertising; that the new paper would fill a "long-felt want," etc. I may have claimed to be prepared to print anything from a horse-bill to a 16,000-page encyclopedia. I'm not clear on this point.

At that time, George W. Sprung owned and published the only paper in Madison county, and for a number of years had enjoyed a monopoly of all the luxury and prosperity incident to the career of country editors fifty years ago. He was a pracitcal printer, and I was told, when hard pushed would make his own ink, and used tin column rules. My informant may have been mistaken, but the appearance of some issues of the Chronicle led me to believe that there was some truth in the rumor. All my personal recollections of Mr. Sprung are pleasant; I remember him as a quiet, inoffensive individual who seemed to pity rather than blame my temerity in proposing to start a rival establishment in a county where he had ruled so long. He thought, perhaps correctly, that I had been "pulled before I was ripe."

However, after issuing my prospectus I determined to canvass the rural inhabitants before opening my books in London. Starting from South Charleston I entered Madison county at South Solon; and from that hamlet to Midway, Mt. Sterling, West Jefferson, Pleasant Valley, Big Plain, Lafayette, Somerford, West Canaan, and other settlements, when I struck London with a patronage that I felt would justify me in carrying out my project.

In London I met with unexpected encouragement, and soon the first number of The Buckeye Union was given to the public. The paper was independent in politics, with a strong leaning toward Democracy, and before the first year expired, I entered into an arrangement with John Smith, chairman of the Democratic County Committee, under which the name of the paper was changed to The National Democrat, and Robert Hutchinson and D. M. Creighton were installed as political editors. In a short period after the change, I arranged to sell the plant to Mr. Smith, who in turn transferred it to your honored father, M. L. Bryan, who localized it by changing the name to the one it now bears. That the Madison County Democrat is appreciated by the people it serves is so well evidenced by the success that has attended its publication from the day Toby Bryan took charge of its affairs. He has passed to his reward, but through the happy visitations of the stork on the name of Bryan will, let us fondly hope, be connected with Democratic journalism in Madison County for generations to come.

I have reached the reminiscent age, and it is one of my favorite pastimes to "look backward" and in memory call up the associations of my youth. The name of each one of my first subscribers is dear to me, though probably the great majority has passed away. How I would like to shake hands with all who are still on this side of the Great Divide. I may meet some of them in the few years that may be allotted me. Who knows?

I want to say right here that men come and men may go, but Maley Thompson you have with you always. He was also a young pedagogue.

Now, Mr. Editor, these disjointed recollections, crudely expressed, may not reach your expectations, but kindly look at the ocunterfelt presentment I send you, and tell me if you could honestly expect anything better.

I append herewith a list of names procured on my first canvass in 1856 in the interest of The Buckeye Union:

South Solon.

David McHenry, Jane Selsor, J. H. Harrod, H. Curry, Clem Shockley, H. Orr, Jacob Smith, Jacob Linson, Chas. K. Wheatly, Henry Shane.

Tradersville P.O.

B. D. Evans, Postmaster, D. C. Taylor.


W. A. Freeman, Hugh Workman, J. M. Byers, William Stroup, M. Lemen, S. L. Carr, D. E. Johnson, D. D. Johnson, William Swank, Thos. Betherd, James Huffman, William Hemphill, James Hornbeck, Thomas Custer, L. S. Baldwin, J. W. Smith, A. F. Wright, J. W. McKinney, John D. Runes, L. W. Blizzard, P. McDaniel, John Timmons, Joseph Countys, William H. Creighton, A. Jenkins, D. McClimans, L. Day, Isaac Howseman, G. H. Chenoweth, James Peterson, James Clark, Robert Roby, John Johnston, O. G. Field, William Carr, N. Allen, Joseph Peters, William Purnell, L. Crotty, David Haskell, Daniel Wendell, J. B. Fisher, Peter Counts, William Crawford, James Richardson, Samuel Phillips, Peter Ellars, Frances Crispen, Isaac McClimans, Joseph Cox, Carty Ellers, J. N. Hume, Frank Chapman, Thomas Hughes, W. T. Gerard, John S. Halpen, A. A. Hanson, James Counall, A. Miller, J. Q. Minshall, Jacob Howsman, Job M. Ellers, Geo. W. Ford.

Mt. Sterling.

Miss Mary E. Nigh, Peter Kemp, Moses Gifford, F. L. Smith, Joseph Fitro, John A. Smith, Jacob Silver, J. Coffman, John Clark, N. R. Stanford, Moore & Riddle, W. C. Atkins, L. Timmons, C. W. Selman, Samuel Bruffett, A. A. Buzick, J. W. rogers, O. P. Buckley, Wm. O'Connell, Cyrus Gordey, C. H. Hannanalt, John Lake, A. Longerbone, John O'Day, James Dennison, John Snyder, Dr. D. E. McMillan, S. S. Robison, E. W. Wheeler, Adam Young, W. K. Rowe, J. N. Hume, S. S. Beal, W. D. Wood, Creighton Thomas, Milton Timmons, Wm. R. Alkire.

West Jefferson.

James Stuston, Daniel Durflinger, Edward McCaully, A. Wynegar, Watson Hunter, John Galligher, Joseph Tapkey, J. S. Craig, G. P. Simpkins, James H. Moreland, James Curry, Jacob McNeal, E. S. Hancock, William Clark, Jacob Englesperger, Dr. J. McCullough, John Wilson, S. B. Morris, Isaac Gardner, E. A. Hann, John M. Horn, Obediah Thomas, Luther Johnson, Alfred Crabb, A. Furry, William Cannady, Joseph Harbage, T. D. Brown, Miss Rebecca Timmons, Isaac Alder, James Millikin, Jr., Daniel Nunamaker, Daniel Peterman, Maley Thompson, C. C. Jones, C. H. Mantle, Thomas J. Stutson, G. W. Lewis, S. Roberts, Isaac Ingalls, A. L. Martin, Postmaster parks, John L. Fickey, J. E. Blair, P. K. Maxwell, William Thomas, John Ayle, Jackey Ford, W. N. Wadsworth, W. Tillman, James Arnett.

Big Plain P.O.

William Scott, Thos. Bell, John Davidson, M. H. Roby, Wm. Davidson, Sylvester Corder, Daniel Lilley, James Jones, J. T. Hale, G. W. Jones, John H. Jones, Noah Cox, Postmaster, Dr. B. F. Welch.

Darby Creek P.O.
(Now Plain City)

R. Woodruff, G. H. Houser, Almon Dominy, S. G. Chapman, Daniel Boyd, Jos. Gadtner, C. McCloud, William Allen, A. Hagar, A. H. thomas, B. H. Marshall, A. G. Curry, E. D. Bovey, R. G. Graham, William Taylor, Jacob Weaver, Orange Davis, Jeremiah Smith, Samuel McCampbell, Philip Snyder, Daniel Hagar, E. W. Barlow, John H. Scott, Luther McCullough, J. E. Bigelow, Dr. William Ballinger, A. Downing, D. C. Wingett, S. Weatherington, M. P. Beach, E. Kile, D. A. Bigelow, John Taylor, J. K. Halm, Alex. Wilson, T. J. Haynes, Miss Melissa Downey, O. G. fields, E. Perkins, Eber McDowell, S. W. Bowers, T. C. Bigelow.

Rosedale P.O.

John Weaver, Wm. Goff, John W. Morris, Jacob Weaver, Elwell Pratt, Cordelia Pratt, S. Robins, D. Y. Bunker, Horace Sanford.

Walnut Run P.O.

E. Hussey, John W. Smith, James Cuberly, John Sifert, A. Watson, Alex. Emerson, Henry J. Beckman, Postmaster, Wm. Johnston, A. G. Jones, B. F. Shepherd, Steel Douglass, Addison Deffenbauch.

West Canaan P.O.

John Milliken, S. W. Stamp, John McCullough, Silas Porter, Alvin Harrington, W. D. Wilson, T. M. Finch, Postmaster.


A. H. Lewis, William Teter, Peter Bigelow, Sherman Fisher, G. S. Melvin, V. C. Wilson, A. W. Kirkley, John B. Locke, Postmaster.


David M. Bradley, Benj. Boudre, G. H. Buzick, David Byerly, John wilson, L. B. Wright, Joseph Brown, J. H. Badley, Dr. W. Morrow Beach, John Snyder, Crawford Minter.


Wm. Smith (Sheriff), John Dungan, A. Shanklin, Chrisman & McCormack, R. Acton, J. M. Winchester, George Bowen, E. J. Gould, I. C. Kemp, A. L. Martin, A. Driesback, James Kinney, F. M. Chapman, John Graham, W. Dungan, Thomas Acton, Martin ryan, James Trimble, James McClimans, David McLaughlan, R. A. Harrison, H. Philips & co., Joseph Warner, Frank Reed, Clinton Rayburn, McCormack & Bates, John L. McCormack, A. A. Hume, William Jones, C. Newcomb, J. Smith Davidson, Oliver P. Crabb, John Cooper, Rev. C. W. Finley, John Jones, Dr. N. S. Darling, A. Downing, John Betts, John R. Montgomery, Dr. Toland Jones, J. W. Baker, G. W. Creath, John Shaw, James Kane, Isaac G. Peetry, James J. Jones, william A.Athey, John Phifer, James McClain, William Waudby, C. C. Lafferty, Peter Moore, — Minter (Marble Yard), Edwin Bird, Irving F. Willis, A. L. Brown, John Smith, Peyton R. Chrisman, Patrick McClain, John Keneaster, William Housman, George Lohr, Joseph chrisman, Henry Warner, H. E. Pearce, Henry G. Southron, Miss Victoria Harding, Benj. H. Montgomery, D. G. Weisz, Lewis Kahn, P. C. Palmer, H. W. Smith, B. F. Clark, J. E. Lotspeich, Jeremiah Ray, George Bowen, Augustus Watson, James Burchnell, R. Lotspeich, Carty Ellers, James Rankin, A. McDaniel, David Carter, Agnes Hornbeck, George Mitchell, Mrs. Sarah A. Brock, Robert C. Amos, Josiah Melvin, Daniel B. foster, Bertha Custer, Matthew Rea, J. F. Armstrong, Benjamin Melvin, James Armstrong, E. D. Kizer, W. J. Brooks, John M. roberts, G. M. Johnson, Caleb McPike, L. F. Shepherd, Addison Cornwell, A. voorhees, W. H. Chandler, Roselle M. Thomas.


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