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“…a perpetual debt of gratitude…”

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Jacob Oswalt III, son of Jacob Oswalt II

Jacob Oswalt III, son of Jacob Oswalt II

I publish this as it appeared. The bold type is mine to highlight the pioneer life. Read it and ponder the totally different lives our ancestors lived in those times.

“A Pioneer Gone / A Sketch of the Life of Jacob Oswalt, Who Came to Ohio in 1802 – Written for the Review,” from the eighth page of “The Alliance Weekly Review,” Alliance, OH, Wednesday, 4 May 1887:

Jacob Oswalt died near Strasburg, Stark County, Ohio, April 25, 1887. He was born in Bedford County, Pa., January 1st, 1797, and had reached the advanced age of 90 years, 3 months and 26 days. In 1803, the year that Ohio became a state, his parents moved from Pennsylvania and settled on the banks of Yellow Creek, Jefferson county, when, the deceased was but five years old. In 1807 they moved from Jefferson County to Carroll County, and settled down in Rose Township, three miles south of Waynesburgh, on the road leading from Canton to Steubenville. At that time there were but two or three log cabins in Canton and only three families living on the road between Canton and Steubenville. In 1822, in the month of December, Father Oswalt was united in marriage to Catherine Waggoner, with whom he walked pleasantly in life for almost sixty-five years, and who is now left behind to mourn her loss, being 84 years of age, and remarkably well preserved for one who bears the weight of so many years. To them were born thirteen children, nine boys and four girls, eight of whom are yet living, five having preceded their father in death. In 1832 Father Oswalt came to Washington township, where he has lived for fifty-five years. In 1841 he joined the German Baptist church, that humble, plain, honest, upright and devout people, everywhere of good report, with whom he continued in fellowship until death. He was an exemplary Christian, scrutinizingly honest in his dealings, peaceful and helpful as a neighbor, affectionate and dutiful as a husband and father, and was highly esteemed and loved by all, and was of that class of citizens that form the very marrow of every well regulated community, and such as are always sadly missed when called away. His last end was peace. He filled well his part in the earnest activities of a noble life, and has passed on to a good reward in the land where saints never die. When Father Oswalt left Jefferson County to come to Carroll, the forests were infested with bears, wolves and other savage animals, as well as savage Indians. Wild game of all kinds, such as deer, wild turkeys,etc., also abounded. The deceased learned to speak the Indian language fluently, and was well acquainted with “Beaver Hat,” an old Indian chief, who lived in an Indian town near the present Canal Dover. He was also well acquainted with all the pioneers along Sandy Valley–such men as Judge Loefler, Gen. Augustine Porter, Capt. Downing, Miller, Huff, Thompson Titball, and many others. At that time nearly all the land about Canton and Massillon belonged to the government and could be entered at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Father Oswalt was a celebrated hunter, unequalled in all the surrounding country, and was threatened by the Indians at different times because he was a more expert marksman and hunter than they. He would slay from forty to eighty deer each fall and winter, and scores of wild turkeys. As a bounty was given for wolf scalps, about the only money they could secure was from this source and the sale of wild honey. His uncle Michael Oswalt was a member of the Ohio Legislature at an early day and was one of the prime movers of the Ohio Canal, advocating the measure with great zeal before that body, and lived to see it accomplished, and shared in the financial prosperity that it produced. It will be seen by this brief history that Jacob Oswalt in his long life, passed through eventful scenes, and saw the wilderness turned into fruitful fields of finest cultivation, canals made, steamboats navigating our lakes and rivers, railroads netting the whole land, the telegraph connecting continent with continent, by which distance is decimated and almost the ends of the earth are brought together and communication held in a few seconds of time. He passed through all the wonders, civil, religious and otherwise of the nineteenth century. He belonged to the hardy, honest, self-sacrificing, industrious, frugal class of pioneers that is now so rapidly becoming extinct. He raised a large and honourable family amid the privations of early settlement and the pressure of hard times. The children and grandchildren will never be able to realize what the fathers and mothers passed through in the settlement of the country and the preparation of the comfortable homes, which they now enjoy, but they owe a perpetual debt of gratitude to them for their toils, privations and hardships, and should ever hold their memory revered and sacred. Their noble work is done and most of them sleep quietly amid the beauty and prosperity that their hands of toil secured, and the few remaining pilgrims will soon be gathered home to “our Father’s house of many mansions.– At the request of the friends the writer conducted the funeral services of Father Oswalt, the principal service being held at the Beech church, where a larger number, especially of old persons, had assembled to hear testimony to the sterling qualities of the deceased and to condole with the living in the great loss. The services were solemn, and the people listened with attention to the discourse, founded in Numbers, 23:10–“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” Peace to the slumbering ashes of the dead, and blessings upon his living. B.F.Booth Massillon, O., April 30, 1887.

Thank you to Gayle Schell for creating WikiTree profile Oswalt-23 through the import of SCHELL NICHOLS ancestors of Gayle 8-2013.ged on Aug 8, 2013

About croywright

The author, a writer of history and historical fiction, always yearned to go back in time.

8 responses »

    You can find the pages here along with some Oswalt family photos I happen to have.
    Please let me know if you can’t log on.

  2. You are more than welcome. If you are part of the Oswalt clan, you may also be interested in my posts regarding Morges, Rose Township, Ohio.

    • I did! I’m still absorbing and processing the information. I have a handwritten family history that was written by Fred Oswalt’s son Lavere if you are interested. I could scan it in and email it to you.

      • Would love to see it.

      • I will work on getting it scanned and let you know when I’m ready to send it.

      • I finally got it scanned. It is 45 pages, handwritten! I could post the pages on either Flickr or Shutterfly in a limited access folder and share the link with you. Could you please give me an email address or some way to converse in a more private manner in order to share that link? Lavere’s wife is still living as are his children and grandchildren. I would prefer to keep the current family information confidential (not public), but I see no problem sharing the family tree information of deceased relatives. Most of that is available in public records already.

  3. I’m so thankful to have found this. THANK YOU!


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