Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 46


Benjamin6, Patriarch
Southern Illinois Bunn Clan

If this story is true, and after extended and persistent efforts of Charles N. French, nothing has been found to disprove it. Three of Benjamin's and Margaret's children - - Hyatt, the writer's grandfather, Isabel, and Seely were born in or near this Indian town, just where is unknown. Further proof that the legend is true is the fact that the story was told many times by Hyatt, eldest son of Benjamin6 to his son William Benton, Sr., and he in turn told it many, many times to the writer, William Benton Bunn, Jr.

However, beginning in the spring of 1809 the historical record of his life is quite complete. Knapp's History of Wayne-County, Ohio, states:
"Alexander Finley came from Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, April 17,1809. His was the first white family in what is now Ashland County. Within a few weeks, however, William Eagle, Thomas Eagle, and Benjamin Bunn arrived. They were the only four-families there."' /1

The name of Alexander Finley appears in Hill's history, page 143. This history states Finley was born in Hartford County, Maryland in 1770. At manhood he located in Greene County Pennsylvania. Then in the fall of 1803 he located to Fairfield county (Mt Vernon) now Knox County, Ohio. In Apri1 1809, he located in Mohican Township, Wayne County, now Ashland County, Ohio. In May, 1809, he was followed by Benjamin Bunn and others. Apparently during the years of late 1804 until the spring of 1809, he served as a blacksmith and gun smith for the Indian tribes frequenting the territory, probably not many miles distant from where he settled and lived from 1809 to 1838. He made the Indians steel tomahawks, repaired their rifles, and did miscellaneous and simple mechanical jobs for the Indians. They in turn paid him rather well for his service by exchanging furs for labor. At any rate soon after he is discovered in 1809 and for a number of years thereafter until about 1825 he contacted the Government Land Office at Canton on several occasions and purchased land .If the purchase was directly from the government, the price was $2.00 per acre. He usually paid for it on the installment plan. That is, there were three or four payments. Interest often accrued and was paid along with the last installment.

The writer has access to photostatic copies of deeds proving that Benjamin owned at one time 570 acres of good land in Wayne County (now Ashland County), Ohio, free from debt. The Bunn lands were located two or three miles south east from the present village of Jeromeville. There were many Indians then in Mohican Township. The following named Indians were included in about 100 that composed Mohican Johnstown nearby:

Crane, Jelloway, Killbuck, Jonacake, Buckwheat, Catotway, and the Armstrongs. Captain Pike, the Chief, is said to have resided some distance from the village. These Indians probably were Delaware's.

From 1809 to 1812 the Indians gave the white families no trouble whatsoever. They lived in bark and pole huts and eked out an existence by hunting and fishing. In l809 the Indians of Greentown village, located in this general area, gave a great feast to which the white settlers were invited. Another famous Indian feast is on record given by the Indians of this area in 1810 or 1811. However, with the coming of the War of 18l2 the British were largely successful in inciting the Indians to make trouble for the pioneers.

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