Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Hope This Is Her

The writing I am attempting about the history of my home town is coming along.  I found a picture of Elizabeth Glasscock Lemert, the woman who founded Perryton Ohio.  I hope this is her.  I can't imagine writing such a book without pictures of the people who I am writing about!  I was just about to settle for art of the time, when I decided to turn to ancestry.com, and this may be the very same Elizabeth Glasscock from the early 1800's.  She is exactly like I imagined her to be.  Perryton has a facebook page.  Perhaps Elizabeth will be on facebook!  So far I have written some of part three and have made a beginning on part one which I will place here just in case I don't live long enough to see the end of my own book!  Concha's Cauldron has always been about my ancestry, and it would not be complete without writing about the town that my Grandmother O'Flaherty, her parents (McKee's,Anderson's, Robinson's), then her grandchildren lived...and some of them buried in the cemetery.  Some of them are buried in nearby cemeteries.

The little town of Perryton Ohio was not always named Perryton. Originally, the town name was Elizabethtown which was founded by Elizabeth Glasscock Lemert. We can assume that Elizabeth Glasscock had a history prior to her marriage to Lewis Lemert Jr. but that will be for feminist scholars of the future to uncover. For now, like many of the pioneer women, their lives become visible only after marriage. We do know that she was 8 years younger than her husband, and not a Quaker. It is written that Mr. Lemert was expelled from the Quaker church as a result of this union.

Much of the writing about the Lemert Family and what we know about Elizabeth Glasscock Lemert comes from a small book The Lemert-Montgomery Saga compiled by Elenore J. Weber and The History of Perryton & Vicinity by Jesse Montgomery. Doris Barrick and Vinetta Moran are two other Perryton historians who have contributed much to this account. This book has largely been compiled from the work of Daniel Fleming author of the local Licking Valley Ledger, records from The Licking County Genealogy Society

I think it is important to note that the Lemert family was not the first to inhabit the land we now call Perryton. There were people living there prior to the Lemerts migration from Virginia. Artifacts of Native Americans are still being unearthed in the spring plowed fields surrounding that area, and we can assume that they were driven out by the practices of colonial America as was the case in those times. Flint Ridge and Black Hand Gorge would be “vicinity” enough to include those legends prior to the purchase of the Lemert land. The well known legend of Billy Dragoo would not have been unknown to them, as he is buried in 1856 at Pleasant Grove cemetery (Briar Cliff Road) on Dragoo Road a couple miles from the sleepy little town. The Billy Dragoo story is very well documented in The Hanover Story by Henry b. Scott and Karl J. Skutski, Hanover was settled in 1801 and is approximately 6 miles South East of Perryton. Certainly the Lemert family knew the story of Billy Dragoo, and it is almost certain that she arrived at a time when Indian settlements were moving on.

In 1817 Elizabeth Glasscock Lemert sent two of her seven children to purchase Ohio land. Mr. Lemert died in 1816 and his will stated that the money from his estate be used to purchase that land, so that his wife and family could pursue Elizabeth’s dream to go West. Laban and Beverly Lemert came to Ohio from Virginia to purchase the land while Elizabeth and the rest of the family stayed in Virginia to settle the state and prepare for their journey. It is recorded that this estate contained 288 acres of property as well as the sale of his businesses which included a grain mill, distillery, general store. Also the sale of two slaves Dick and Nat. The Lemert boys built a log cabin as soon as they purchased the land, and Elizabeth, Thaddeus, Leroy, Minerva, Ferdinand, and Abner migrated a year later guided by a Mr. Evans to lead them across the mountains to their destination. The trip took 10 days.

After building the log cabin and presumably with the whole family together, a kiln was constructed to make brick and tiles for a brick house that was constructed in just a few months after their arrival. This dwelling still stands today as a testament to their collective abilities and perseverance. That year following the departure of Laban and Beverly, must have a been a busy one for the rest of the Lemert family, for it was only about a year that the Lemert family packed up a covered wagon, several horse and cattle-drawn wagons with all their worldly possessions and headed west to pursue the new American dream.

They wasted little time it seems and once arrived plotted out the rest of the town that was later to be named Elizabethtown. Church was held in the original house (and singing lessons?), while a meeting house, barns for the cattle and the cemetery were plotted out. The Methodist Church that was built is just a few yards away from the original house, and later a second church was erected, but has since been replaced and perhaps relocated.

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