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Friday Finds

While going back thru my DUGGINS research in Preble County, Ohio, I was able to download a copy of the 1881 book, History of Preble County, Ohio. While I had previously used this source, I was using the book form and not able to search it like I can now. I also had not known as much about my CRAWFORD FAN club as I do now. Thus, it is highly unlikely that I would have realized the wealth of information contained in the section, The Pioneers of Gasper.

page 175

It has generally been thought that the first settler in
this township was Gasper Potterf, after whom the town
ship was named, but after a careful investigation the
writer finds that Silas Dooley, sr., settled on Paint creek,
in the western part of the township, in 1805, while
Potterf located on Seven Mile creek, in the eastern
part, in 1806. We will, therefore, begin with Silas
Dooley, sr. The writer gleans most of his facts respecting
the settlement of Mr. Dooley from an interview held
with a friend a few years prior to the death of the aged
pioneer, and published at the time in the Eaton Register,
February 20, 1873.
Silas Dooley, sr., was born in a blockhouse in Madi
son county, Kentucky, March 8, 1786. He was the
seventh child of Moses Dooley, who emigrated with his
family—a wife and five children—in 1781, from Bedford
county, Virginia
, a distance of five hundred miles, the
mother carrying her youngest child in her arms and
walking most of the way, having no other way of travel
ling, except on pack horses. The route led through
mountainous country, and numerous dangers lurked in
their pathway, but despite the hardships endured they
arrived safely in Kentucky. The savage barbarities of
the Indians compelled the settlers to live in forts strongly
garrisoned. The Indian massacres of 1782-3 disheartened
the settlers very much, and they longed for liberty
from their enforced imprisonment. Moses Dooley,
chafing under the long confinement and apprehensive of
the safety of the morals of his children, who were often
thrown into bad company, concluded at all hazards to
move to a farm.
Accordingly, with several others he settled in the midst
of a canebrake in Madison county, Kentucky. There
they erected a school-house and educated their children.
In 1805 Moses Dooley, with his son, Silas, accompanied
by Jacob Railsback, started for Ohio in search of
land. They came to Springfield, now Springdale, Hamilton
county, Ohio, and spent the first night with Elder Thompson,
a Presbyterian minister. As Mr. Thompson was at
that time in need of a hand Silas was hired for one
On Monday morning the company started for Seven
Mile, arriving on the next: Sunday at the house of John
Pottenger, which was located about a mile and a half north
of the present site of Camden. They made his home
their headquarters during the three or four days they were
prospecting for suitable locations for settlement. Mr.
Dooley chose ‘one hundred and sixty acres of land on
Paint creek, now owned principally by John Overholser.
Jacob Railsback selected a quarter section on Seven Mile,
in Gasper township, which land is now owned by the
Huffmans. The party then turned their faces homeward,
Silas stopping at Springfield to fulfil his engagement
with Elder Thompson. His work was rail splitting, at
ten dollars per month. With a part of the first money
received he paid for his axe.
Moses Dooley and Jacob Railsback went on to Cincinnati,
‘and then entered the land they had selected. The
price was two dollars per acre, to be paid in specie, one
fourth in hand and the residue in three annual instalments.
The payment of sixteen dollars gave the settlers
the refusal of the land for forty days, and a second-payment
of eighty dollars secured it for two years.
After finishing his job of rail splitting Silas Dooley
came back to Seven Mile and engaged to clear two acres
of land one foot and under, for James Crawford, commonly
called “Big Jimmie.” He also cleared two acres
for John Pottenger.
Now comes the turning point in Silas Dooley’s life.
Homesick, out of work, without money and poorly clad,
he became discouraged and resolved to go home to his
native Kentucky. Having no other means of accomplishing
the two hundred and fifty miles that lay between
himself and his relatives, be resolved to walk. Just as
he was getting under way he met Captain David E.
Hendricks, who immediately hired him to clear six acres
of land, for which he was to receive three dollars and
fifty cents per acre. This clearing is now occupied by
the town of Camden. The same year Robert Runyon
put the cleared land in corn. At the same time Captain
Hendricks had three other bands chopping and splitting
rails, viz: Isaac Wiseman, James Wright, and Thomas
Combs, a half Indian. The chopping went steadily on
until the deer became so tame that they would browse
off the tops of the trees while the men would be cutting
up the trunks. They worked in different places for
Captain Hendricks, and cleared part of the ground on
which Eaton now stands. Messrs. Wiseman and Dooley
cut down a giant poplar tree on the lot now occupied
by the Presbyterian church. Thus was his time occupied
until the arrival of his father, mother and brother,
David, who came toward the close of the year 1805.

page 176
The family was soon busily engaged in making the farm
previously entered habitable. The first house consisted
of a camp hut, constructed of round poles, enclosing,
three sides and leaving one end open for the fire in front.
They had a skillet and a Dutch oven, in which they
boiled and baked, and made sugar. Their farm was
well stocked with sugar trees, and the largest and best of
them were tapped, and a considerable quantity of sugar
made by Mrs. Dooley. She tried the Indian plan of
making sugar, viz: To allow the sugar water to freeze
and to throw away the successive coats of ice that would
form on the surface of the liquid until nothing but the
finest quality of molasses would remain. She made
sugar also by making a clay furnace, and then inverted
the skillet lids and baked a clay rim around them, in
which she boiled the sugar water. By dint of hard
labor the family felled the timber, picked and cleared
away the brush, and thus prepared six acres of land for
the reception of corn, which they constantly attended,
and managed to lay by. A few days after the noted eclipse,
which occurred in June, 1806, they went to James
and held a Thanksgiving meeting. After this
they started back to Kentucky to remove the balance of
their family; and in August of the same year they got
started, bringing their teams and a number of cattle with
them. They were accompanied by one or two neighbor
Upon their arrival they cut and hewed the
logs for their cabin. The Indians often came from Fort
St. Clair, and camped by the big sulphur springs on the
farm of Silas Dooley, afterwards owned by his son,
Hayden. i
In the spring of 1807 Silas Dooley entered a quarter
section on Paint creek, three and a half miles southwest
of Eaton. In that same year he cleared five acres of
this land, and raised thereon a good crop of corn, despite
the thefts of the squirrels. The following winter
he was sick, and did nothing until spring, when he broke
up his cleared ground again and prepared to plant. But
at this junction Silas stopped work, and Cornelius, Katie
and Polly VanAusdal, and perhaps Sallie Curry, were
the guests invited to the wedding, for Silas Dooley
wouldn’t stop work for anything short of his own wed
ding. On the fifth of May, 1808, he was married to
Johanna Westerfield, the daughter of Samuel Wester
field. The affair was held on the sixth at his father’s,
and the honeymoon was spent in planting corn. Then
he set to work to construct a round log cabin, fourteen
feet square, with a puncheon floor and large, open fire
place, and he testified that there were spent the happiest
days of his life.
In the War of 1812 Mr. Dooley was a member of
Captain David E. Hendricks’ rifle company, which was
not subject to the draft, as the militia volunteered in a
body. It was a full company of sixty-four men, rank
and file, and was raised in the Paint and Upper Seven
Mile settlements. Many families were thus left destitute
of male help, but the parents, wives, and daughters
put their hands to the plow, rolled logs, and carried and
burned brush.
Silas Dooley procured a substitute in the person of
Nathaniel Bloomfield, the father of William Bloomfield,
of Eaton.
In 1819 Mrs. Dooley, the mother of Silas, died and
was buried in a coffin furnished at an expense not exceeding
one dollar.
Mr. Dooley, sr., traveled extensively through parts of
Indiana and Ohio while engaged in the ministry of the
Gospel. In the winter of 1822 he was suddenly smitten
with winter fever, and sending for Silas and George,
he told them of his approaching death, and requested
George to take his measure for his coffin, which was to
be made similar to that of his wife. George replied.
“Oh father, I can’t do that!” The old gentleman told
him to measure Silas, who was of the same height as
his father. Moses Dooley soon breathed his last, and in
order to get the coffin there in time, secured the assistance
of the late William Caster. Silas Dooley, died
July 8, 1877, aged ninety-one years and four months.
Of his family of five sons and two daughters, all are
dead save Silas Dooley, jr., who lives on the home
Hayden W. Dooley was born in Preble county, in 1814,
and in 1836 was married to Adaline A. Runyon, born in
1817, and died in 1872. They had two children. Marquis
L. was born October 16, 1837, and Mary E. was
born December 7, 1838.
Silas Dooley, jr., the youngest son of Silas Dooley, the
pioneer of Gasper township, was born on the home place,
where he now resides. In 1846 he was married to Isabel,0
daughter of Alexander and Rebecca McCracken,
who settled in Preble county about 1818. To Mr. and
Mrs. Dooley have been born two children, one of whom,
Emma, wife of William Morton, is still living. Mr. Doo
ley owns a farm of one hundred and sixty-two acres of
land adjoining his residence.

Thanks to this article I know the DOOLEY clan migrated to Preble County, Ohio about the same time as my CRAWFORD families — from the same area of Kentucky. In addition, I now know that the DOOLEY family was from BEDFORD County Virginia. This one clue might help me track my CRAWFORD family in Virginia.