Alexander Finley was born in Hartford County, Maryland, in the year 1770, of Scotch- Irish parents. His father was descended from one of seven brothers who emigrated to the north of Ireland during "King William's war." They subsequently immigrated to the State of New Jersey, from whence one of the brothers migrated to Hartford County, in the State of Maryland, about a century and a half ago. Here Alexander Finley was born. Attended the schools of his native country, and obtained a knowledge of the English branches. Upon reaching manhood, he located in Green County, Pennsylvania, where he married Miss Mary Smith, a relative of the Hon. Resolve Smith, president of the first bank organized in Philadelphia. In the fall of 1803, he emigrate, with his little family, to Fairfield county, Ohio, then including the counties of what are now Licking, Knox, Richland and Ashland, and stopped the winter of 1803-4 in the cabin of Thomas Bell Paterson, on the present site of Mount Vernon. In the spring of 1804, he erected a cabin, about half a mile northwest of Mr. Patterson, on what is now the Fredericktown road, and resided there until April 1809. On the fifteenth of April 1809, he landed on the west bank of the Lake fork of Mohican, on the present site of Tylertown, where he quartered a few months in a camp cabin. In May, Benjamin Bunn and family, William and Thomas Eagle and family arrived. These were the settlers in what is now Mohican Township, in 1809. When Mr. Finley arrived, the Indians of what was then known as Jerometown, a village on the Jerome fork of the Mohican, some five miles northwest of his cabin, soon visited him. The inhabitants of the Indian village were generally friendly. Mr. James Finley, of Marquand, Madison County, Missouri, from whom was obtained these particulars, says:As near as I can recollect, the Indian village contained perhaps about thirty bark and pole huts or wigwams. The names of the heads of families were, Aweepsah, Oppetete, Catotawa, Neshohawa, Buckanddohee, Shias, Ground squirrel, Buckwheat, Philip Canonicut, and sometimes Thomas Lyons, Billy Montour, and Thomas Jelloway. The chief, Captain Pipe (Hobacon ), resided some distance from the village. He was a tall, dark, scowling old Indian, and seemed hostile to the whites. I seldom saw him. He did not associate with the whites of the neighborhood, but did his trading abroad. I learned that he and Armstrong, of Greentown, often made expeditions to attack emigrants on the Ohio River, on their way to Kentucky. John JerryBettis Jerome had a cabin on the present site of Jeromeville, near the stream, when we moved to the country. He had been a trader among the Indians seventeen years in the northwest, and was a Frenchman; and like most of the traders of that nation, married a squaw. He had a daughter ten years old, named Aweepsah. He had cleared some twenty-five or thirty acres, had horses, cattle and hogs, and often entertained the pioneers. After the declaration of war, his wife and daughter accompanied the Jerometown Indians to Piqua, where they died. Jerome sold his land and married a German woman, and removed to the mouth of Huron, on the lake, where he died some years afterward.In 1809 the region along the Lake and Jerome forks of Mohican, was an unbroken forest. Jerome, and Benjamin Mills, who resided on the present site of Wooster, as Mr. Finley supposes, were the only white people in that part of Wayne County. He became quite intimate with Jerome, and exchanged many articles of food with him, and was indebted to him for many acts of friendship. The Indian village was about one mile southwest of Jerome's cabin, and surrounded on three sides by almost impenetrable marshes, filled with alder and other swamp growths. The emigrants of 1810-11, state, that the wigwams or huts were scattered over a space of eight or ten acres, with the undergrowth cut away, and a smooth play ground in the center, which was much used as a bowling ground. Here the hunters and warriors amused themselves. The council house was located northwest of the village, and was some twenty-five feet wide and fifty feet long, covered with clapboards and bark. It was of poles and split timber. Years before the arrival of Mr. Finley, this village was conspicuous in the annals of the border wars. It was located near the ancient trail leading from Pittsburgh to Upper Sandusky, and many trembling captives ran the gauntlet in passing through it, on their way to the Indian towns in the northwest. This was the headquarters of those warriors of the Wolf tribe that still followed the fortunes of Captain Pipe. At that period the Greentown Indians seemed quite intimate with the Jerometown branch of the Delawars, and often associated with them in celebrating their feasts.In 1810, Vachel and William Metcalf, Thomas and Joshua Oram, Benjamin and John Mackerel, James and Joseph Conelly, Elisha Chilcote, John Shinnabarger, and their families joined Mr. Finley. When the war of 1812 came, and the Indians commenced hostile demonstrations, Mr. Finley, and some of his neighbors, forted in Wooster. In 1813, he joined families and forted with his neighbor, John Shinnabarger, who had a strong cabin with port holes, one mile northwest of the present site of Tylertown. Save the affair at Colyer's, elsewhere alluded to, the settlement remained undisturbed. James Finley relates a number of amusing incidents connected with the flight of the pioneers to Wooster, and other places of safety. After proceeding some distance along a circuitous path, with his family, his father remembered that he had left some young calves in pens, and fearing they would starve, returned to let them to the cows, and then attempted to pass straight through the forest to Wooster, eleven miles away, but soon became confused, and was out three days before he got to the fort, his family, in the meantime, arriving safely. At the same time, a neighbor, Mr. Jacob Lybarger, rolled his infant daughter in a small bed and took it on his back, proceeding rapidly on his way, followed by his wife, through the forest by narrow Indian trails. From the speed made by her husband, Mrs. Lybarger supposed the danger very imminent. Calling to her husband, who was some distance in advance, she said:" Jake-Jake, are you afraid?" He promptly responded, "No," and they hurried forward in the narrow path. In his flight, he dropped the infant, and his wife, coming up in haste, stumbled over it, exclaiming" "Jake, Jake, you need not tell me you are not afraid, for you have lost Maria out of the bed, and you didn't know it." The little daughter was speedily replaced, survived the war, and upon arriving at womanhood, became the wife of the late Justus S. Weatherbee. After the close of the war, Mr. Finley continued to recide on his farm until December, 1825, when he deceased, aged about 50-9 years. During the early part of his residence on the Lake Fork, it was navigable for small craft to the present site of Tylertown, known as Finley's bridge, where a structure of that sort spans the stream. Here the pioneers landed, making their way by forest paths to Orange, Montgomery, Perry, Vermillion and Mohican townships. His family consisted of James, Benjamin, John, Hannah, Sarah, Abner, Rachel, Elizabeth, and Mary. James resides in Madison county, Missouri; Benjamin and John are deceased; Hannah (widow Glenn,) resides in Urbana, Illinois; Sarah, wife of Daniel Pocock, reside near Hayesville; Abner lives near Plympton, Holmes county, Ohio; Rachel, wife of Sparks Bird, near Mohicanville, Ashland county, Ohio.; Elizabeth, wife of James Pocock, in Hayesville, Ohio; Mary, wife of Elijah Pocock, died near Hayesville. Mrs. Mary Finley, wife of Alexander Finley, deceased March 23, 1856, aged about 70-9 years.
Mine La-Motte, April 10th, 1876.
George W. Hill, Esq.
I was absent when your letter arrived, which accounts for not being answered sooner. Jerome settled on Mohican. When we came to the country, he was living at Jerometown, in a small cabin, a short distance from the Indian houses. He cultivated some six or eight acres of land, kept a few horses, cattle, and swine. He and the Indians did not get along well. They wished him to divide the products of his farm with them. This he refused to do, and the consequence was, when they got bad whiskey they whipped him. He built a cabin near the trail, on the east side of the stream, at the foot of Main street, in the present village of Jeromesville, having bought the land where Jeromesville now stands, where he kept a house of Entertainment. In 1812, when the Indians were removed, he said he gave his squaw the privilege of going or staying with him. She chose to go with the Indians. He afterwards married a white woman. He sold his farm to Mr. Deardorff, and settled at Huron, In Huron County, and shortly after died. He commenced trading with the Indians when 17 years old; but how long he continued a trader, I do not know. He then in Harmar's and St. Clair's, I do not know. The Indians did not have much cleared land. I never saw their field, but it was situated out of sight of the village. I think they had only a few small patches. The cleared land around the village was a lawn, well set with blue grass, and contained an occasional tree and a few shrubs, perhaps amounting to 8 or 10 acres. I was in the village during the residence of the Indians, some 3 or 4 times. It consisted of some fine cabins, about 16 by 18 feet, one story high, and a number of small huts or wigwams. The council house, I think, was a temporary building, built lodge fashion. I do not recollect of having seen it. I saw the wigwam of captain Pipe. It was within the cleared space of the village. I have no recollection of wife or children. He appeared to be upwards of 50 years old. Was a tall, dark, and straight Indian. I never talked with him, perhaps father did, but I think not much, as Pipe was a surly, unrelenting enemy of the white, and had little intercourse with them. I think he left early in the summer of 1812. I have no knowledge of Captain Pipe, jr. The Captain other Pipe, perhaps a son. I know that the Captain Pipe I described resided in Jerometown in the years 1809-11. I believe there was more Captain Pipe than one. I think Jerome said the Indians had been on Mohican about 10 or 12 years previous to the white settlement; but of this I am not positive.
Very respectfully, yours,
The above is a letter from James Finley, in answer to one addressed him by the author, on the subject of the Indian settlement at Jerometown, asking him to be more definite concerning Jerome and Captain Pipe. It seems that Jerome had at first a cabin in or near the Indian village, but in consequence of bad whisky, failed to agree with his red brethren. Mr. Finley remembers the wigwam of old Captain Pipe, but fails to recollect his wife or children. It is probable that Pipe lived alone. Captain Pipe Jr., if Greentown, was undoubtedly his son.