RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Coshocton County Ohio

Early 19th Century Croy Occupations: Mill Workers and Carpenters

Posted on

Andrew Croy Died Dec 20, 1859 Aged 72y 1m  18d St. Luke Cemetery, Monroe Township, Carroll County, Ohio (For more on Andrew use the site search engine.)

Often we assume that occupations are a family thing, passed from generation to generation. To a certain extent it is true. There are families of teachers, construction workers, even musicians. But the economics of the time and the needs of those inhabitants living in that time play a large role in determining how a family makes a living. I say family because, in the time of Andrew Croy, family usually worked together in the same livelihood. For this family, from at least 1830 to 1869, the profession of wood and mill worker was dominant.

In the early days of our nation, especially on the frontier edge, the inhabitants primary needed housing, food, and a means of transport. Those needs required, first, mills to cut lumber and grind grain (among other things, a nice overview here). Secondly, carpenters and wagon makers skilled in building were in demand. Our family served those needs.

Andrew Croy ran saw and gristmills. He purchased land for a mill on 22 April 1829 in Stark (later Carroll) County, Ohio. He ran that mill until between 20 January 1838 (when he sold 20 acres of that land to Akey Worley) and 27 July 1839 (when he sold the rest to the same).

andrew bark st mill

Site of first of Andrew Croy’s mill, halfway along Bark St, in Carroll County, Ohio

By 20 December 1829, he had moved to White Eyes Township, Coshocton County and purchased a mill from John Gardner, original land grant to John Graham. On 25 March 1856, likely in poor health, he sold the land to David Reed.

andrew mill site

Site of second of Andrew Croy’s mills, one mile NW of Fresno, Ohio in White Eyes Township, Coshocton County, Ohio 

white eyes

White Eyes Creek–The Carroll County site and Coshocton site were similar in that they both had a rise for the mill above a low lying creek to provide power.

Here is a newspaper account of the mill’s history.

“All three (3) mills stood along the creek banks in White Eyes Township and there was a bustle of rural community activity for weeks out of each year.

The first was located on the Ed Steiner farm, one mile north of Avondale, now Fresno. It was built in 1832 by Thomas Diehl and had an undershot wheel sixteen (16) feet in diameter and about three (3) feet wide.

Two runs of burrs, elevators, a bolting chest and other necessary appliances completed the mechanical equipment for the picturesque affair.

Its two stories towered above the wooded slopes of historic White Eyes creek and stood on a foundation 32 x 40 feet. It was enclosed by lap siding and shaved oak shingles and its capacity was seven to eight bushels of wheat an hour.

The mill was purchased by Andy Croy, father of the late David Croy in 1839 and operated by him for 16 years. [until 1855] Thomas Moore then ran the mill for several years after which David took possession. Two years later David Reed acquired it. [Does not jive with deed date of sale.] When Mr. Reed fell at the battle of Winchester in the Civil War, the mill’s years of service came to an end.”

David Croy lived in Coshocton until his death and continued in the occupation his father taught him.

OKC david croy

Photo from Oak Grove Cemetery, David married Eunice Frazee, 2 April 1846, with whom he had Robert, William, Matthew, Margaret, Mary, Eliza Jane, and Jacob. He later married Hannah McPherson. 

“Several decades ago, the second mill was still in operation. It stood at Boyd’s mills and it was operated for years by its builders, brothers William and Journal Boyd. Today the site is part of Rev. C.D. Firster’s farm.

Later the mill was sold to Robert Doak, who sold it to Robert Boyd, who in turn sold it to Adam Gardner in 1864. Mr. Gardner died in 1872 and the property was sold to Thomas Elliot and he later sold it to J.P. Benjamin in 1881. In 1883 it was again sold, this time to Mr. [David] Croy.

A third mill had stood along White Eyes Creek one mile up stream, it was operated successively by Mr. Headley, Wm Frazy,[Andrew’s sons David and Michael married Frazy/Frazee’s] Andrew Croy and David Reed. It suspended operation in 1860.”

Meanwhile, Andrew’s son Jacob who joined him in Coshocton became a wagon maker, wagons being in demand during the canal days of Coshocton County. Jacob brought his family to Washington County, perhaps floating down the Muskingum River canal improvement where he continued to work as a wagon maker. Jacob’s son, William, briefly owned a sawmill bought in 1869, and son Robert worked as a carpenter.

But times were changing. The steam engine and the movement of civilization into the far west, impacted the needs of the nation and its people. Small local mills slowly faded away. Water as an energy source was replaced by coal. The war spread families apart. We were a nation transformed.

The “good old days” were gone. When I visited David Croy’s gravesite, I met the man who lived there and maintained the cemetery. He told tales of how the lumbermen lived in tents on the Tuscarawas River a small distance south where a dance hall entertained. Across from the gravesite was a small church that had “socials” for the men. The men working lumber might have their “fun” down on the Tuscarawas but usually found their wives at the church socials. Here is how the article explained it.

“Settlers in Coshocton county nearly a century ago [now a century and a half] came many miles to patronize the grist mills, at first on horseback and later in wagons. Each customer waited his turn. During the interval many would unlimber their fishing equipment and combine business with pleasure.

Others spent the time in games and many told of the stories that were related. Evening parties were arranged and old time songs mingled with the beat of dancing feet on the broad beamed floors of the Grist Mill.”

Article printed in the Cemetery History: White Eyes Township Vol XV by the Coshocton County Chapter OGS, pg 174: from an aged newspaper clipping owned by Ed Norris of Fresno, Ohio.
Additional documentation available upon request: Census, Marriage, Land Records


How Calvin and Sarah Met (or the Geographical History of the Payne, Markley, and Croy Families)


Coshocton County Townships

Coshocton County Townships

Coshocton County, Ohio was formed out of Muskingum County in 1811.

The above map should help process things as we move along. (If I name a township in this post without indicating a county, assume Coshocton County, Ohio.)

 As noted in the previous post, to understand how Calvin Croy and Sarah Angeline Smith met and married, you must follow the couple’s family connections in Coshocton County. We were introduced to Sarah’s mother, Sephronia Payne Smith, and father, Henry Smith, in the last post. In this post I attempt to mine the family relationships of the Sephronia’s family and the Croy family in Coshocton County, Ohio. The goal: explain how the paths of Calvin and Sarah crossed (with some interesting diversions in between.)

The Payne’s lived in Coshocton County from at least 1820 when Sephronia’s father moved there with his shoe and boot repair business. (More on them in the previous post.) Their children, known and living into adulthood, were Samuel Felch (1810-1868,) Sarah (1812-1903,) Sephronia (1823-1903,) Selena (1826-between 1901-1910,) and William (between 1828-1834-about 1869.) Let’s take a look at the marriages, migration, and life experiences of these children.

The story is the sad but resilient tale of pioneer life. Zerah Payne and Fredrick Markley lived near each other in Tuscarawas Township in 1820. Fredrick Markley, died in 1828 leaving his wife, Rachel, with Nathan (11,) David (9,) Selena (5,) an unknown female, and Catherine (1.) The Payne family had also suffered a loss with Zerah Payne dying in1831. David Markley married Selena Payne on June 9, 1843 (Yes, Selena, just to make it confusing, each family had a Selena.) By 1850 David and Selena lived with her sister, Sephronia Payne Smith and Henry Smith, in Licking County, Ohio just southwest of Pike Township.

The rest of the Markley children connected in some way to the Payne family by 1850. Samuel Felch Payne had first married an Elizabeth Rice in Coshocton on March 4, 1830. Before 1850, Elizabeth died and Samuel then married Selena Markley, September 16, 1850. He likely met Selena Markley because she was living next to (or near) Samuel’s mother Amy Payne in Jackson Township. (Selena Markley is listed in two places in Jackson Township, Dwelling 301 next to Amy Payne who cared for Samuel’s son James, and # 278.) Then, on March 4, 1852 William Payne married Catherine Markley. Following me so far??? Samuel, William, and Selena Payne married Selena, Catherine, and David Markley.

After their marriages, in about 1858, Samuel and William Payne took off with their families to farm in Vincennes, Knox, Indiana. Samuel’s mother Amy Payne had died before 1860. They took the Markley matriarch, Rachel Markley, with them but after 1860 no record exists for her. Their hopes and dreams were not realized in Indiana. Illness ravaged them. On February 10, 1866, Selena Markley Payne died. Then, on January 17, 1868, Samuel Felch Payne died. Their son Gibson died about that time as well. The rest of children were shipped out to family, three to David and Selina and one to Catherine. Finally, in late 1869, William Payne died along with their son, Thomas. Catherine Markley Payne returned home to where everyone now lived in Canal Lewisville along the border of Tuscarawas and Keene Township.

With the deaths of Samuel and William, only the daughters were left. In 1870, two of them, Sephronia Smith and Selina Markley, lived three houses apart and between them lived Samuel Payne’s children Rachel, Eliza, and Burd. In the Smith house lived Sarah Angeline.

Coshocton County and Canal Lewisville figures geographically into the lives of the Croy family as well. In the late 1830’s, as documented in previous posts, Andrew Croy and his sons moved to Coshocton County with the growth of the Eerie/Ohio Canal. Jacob Croy, father of Calvin, lived in Mill Creek and White Eyes Townships. Most important to this story is the brother who stayed and settled in Lafayette Township, David Croy. Woodworking ran in the family. Father Andrew owned a sawmill in White Eyes Township. David, followed his footsteps and worked as a sawyer in White Eyes and Lafayette Townships. His son Robert followed suit, working as a sawyer in 1870 and then as a sawyer in 1880 in Keene Township.

No, I didn’t forget the original title of the post: How Calvin and Sarah met. After the Civil War, Calvin was living with his brother Nathan down in Fairfield Township, Washington County, near Marietta, on the homestead with his father and mother where he is listed as a laborer in 1870. Then his father died in 1872.

As noted two posts back, Calvin had a restless spirit. It is likely that he jumped at the chance to move out from under his older brother’s shadow and go work with his cousin in Keene Township. They may have even formed a business together. At any rate, by 1880 Calvin was working as a sawyer in Keene Township. He and Sarah lived only 24 houses apart from cousin Robert Croy. (How close were they to Canal Lewisville? My grandfather, Justus Croy, born on October 10, 1879 lists Lewisville as his place of birth on the World War I draft card.)

By the way, when searching your family be careful and check the originals carefully. I found error in the transcription of  townships, names, and households from the original. An 1820 census included two to three townships on each page and all were listed as one township! Needless to say, but I will, my brain is fried. I’m happy to return to fiction for a few days!

And look at this! Written in 1881, this History of Coshocton County contains a hint as to the parentage of Amy Felch, someone I had no definitive information on before. Yes, the piece contains some errors, but not many. And THAT is where I go next, following Zerah Payne and Amy Felch Payne back in time and ancestry. See ya then!

“MARKLEY DAVID, Tuscarawas township; farmer; was born October 13, 1819, in this township; son of Frederick and Rachel (Cartmill) Markley. David’s father came to Coshocton county in 1803 and located in Bethlehem township on the Walhonding river. His ancestors came from Maryland and are of German descent. David’s father died when the boy was but nine years old, from which age Mr. Markley has depended entirely on his own industry and management for success, and it is but just to state here that he has by honest and judicious economy obtained an ample competence for his family and himself, and to do a liberal share in assisting in all charitable and religious enterprises of his neighborhood. He also takes a live interest in education. Mr. Markley was married July 9, 1842, to Miss Selina, daughter of Lera and Ann (Felch) Payne. Mrs. Markley’s grandmother was Sarah Knox, sister of General Knox. They are the parents of fourteen children, nine of whom are deceased, viz: Caroline, William F., Christena Frances, George E., Charles D., Mary Melissa, Judge Harper, Lily May and Edward; and five living, viz: Samuel Asberry, Minerva Catherine, Emma, Annie E. and David, Jr.”

 Information for this post taken from:
  • com census data for Ohio between 1820 and 1880 and Vincennes, Knox, Indiana 1860, 1870 (Yes, I know I didn’t use the “official” style…look back to other posts. I do know how.)
  • Marriage information comes from Marriages, Coshocton County, Ohio, 1811-1930. Provo, UT: Originally compiled by Miriam C. Hunter Coshocton Public Library, 1991.
  • N. Hill, Jr. Ed., History of Coshocton County Ohio: Its Past and Present, (Newark, Ohio: A.A. Graham & Co., 1881) Pg 743
  • Note: repeating family names given for numerous children are Samuel, Asbury, Judge, Justus, Amy

You just never know!

Approximate place of Andrew Croy's Grist and Saw Mills Imagery: Google Earth (imagery date: 10/8/2013)

Approximate place of Andrew Croy’s Grist and Saw Mills
Imagery: Google Earth (imagery date: 10/8/2013)

Well, you just never know when or where a grand clue might appear! While doing some fine-tuned searching for Civil War records of the seven great uncles who fought for the Union, I discovered this totally unrelated newspaper article from the Coshocton Tribune.[i] Printed December 16, 23, and 30, 1863, [ii] the article reads (with impact to the Croy line highlighted by me):

Sale of Real Estate by Order of Court
On the 16th day of January A.D. 1864 at 9 o’clock in the afternoon, will be sold on the premises in White Eyes township, Coshocton County, Ohio, to the highest bidder, the following real estate as the property of David Reed, deceased, to wit: two small tracts of land containing together seven acres and twenty three hundredths; part of lot 9 in the first quarter, of the sixth Township and fifth Range U.S. Military lands, in White Eyes Township, Coshocton County, Ohio, being the same tracts of land purchased by said David Reed in his life time of Andrew Croy, with the grist and saw mill thereon, and conveyed by said Andrew Croy and his wife to said David Reed, by deed dated March 25th, A.D. 1856, reference to which deed now recorded in the Recorder’s office of Coshocton County, Ohio, is hereby made for a more perfect and complete description of said premises. Terms of sale, one third of purchase money to be paid in hand on the day of sale, one third in one year and the residue in two years from the day of sale, the deferred payments to bear interest from the day of sale and be secured by bond and mortgage. Sold unencumbered of dower.
            John Mackey, Adm’r of David Reed, deceased.
            December 14, 1863

From it we know exactly where great, great, great grandfather Andrew Croy lived and when he “retired” from millwork and ownership. He died December 20, 1859, three and a half years after the sale, and was buried at St. Luke’s Cemetery in Monroe Township, Carroll County, Ohio, the same cemetery of his two daughters, Mary and Margaret, both who married Russell men. Did they care for him in his final years? Likely, but his wife Susannah (Susan) Oswalt Croy died October 26, 1864 (buried in the same cemetery) and I found no census data indicating her residence after the sale of the land so we do not know for sure.

[i] Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio). Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Original Data: Coshocton Tribune. Coshocton, Ohio, USA Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Wednesday, December 23, 1863

A Story Delivered Between the Lines

Detail of Map of State of Ohio: 1850

Detail of Map of State of Ohio: 1850

1836-1855 Coshocton County, Ohio Andrew Croy (son of Jacob) and Susanna Croy (daughter of Jacob Oswalt)with their family, including Jacob Croy, my GGgrandfather

By the late 1830’s, the canal system in Ohio was fully operational It connected Lake Eerie and the Ohio River. Barges carrying farm produce and local products to market were making Ohio one of the most prosperous states in the nation. The state’s population had reached a half million by 1820 and was rushing to a million. Men and their families moved to where work was plentiful all along the Ohio-Eerie Canal. For more

           The canal system cut directly through the middle of Coshocton County. Around 1836, Andrew Croy’s oldest sons (Michael, Jacob, and, likely, Duncan) headed to Coshocton County. They moved to provide a more prosperous life for their families.

          Grandparents, Andrew and Susanna, followed an equally primal urging. There is something deep-felt and internal that takes hold like a vice grip when grandchildren are in need. Andrew and Susanna’s daughters, Margaret and Mary, had married the Russell boys, pioneers of Monroe Township in Carroll County, and were beginning lives of their own. In 1839 their parents decided to move to Coshocton County. They likely moved to help Duncan.

          That story revealed itself by following scant bits of loosely connected information surrounding Duncan Croy. He seems to have lost his wife soon after moving to Coshocton County, about the same time as the birth of a daughter, Susannah, in 1837. His parents came to help with his 5 children. By 1845 he had married again, to an Elizabeth Chipliver. They had a child named Mary. But by 1850, he and his wife were dead. Andrew and Susanna Croy continued to care for his children. Jacob Croy named his son, born in 1846, Duncan. The family pulled together.

          They lived simple working class lives with limited schooling that kept them on the edge of literacy. The men worked as wagon makers (Jacob), sawyers (David), and millers (Andrew.) Michael worked a farm. The women, while cooking over open hearths, spinning, weaving, and managing their households, produced prodigious numbers of children that tended toward twice as many boys as girls. They held family close and had a web of connections that spanned the state and often dated back to their move from Pennsylvania. As their children grew, they often worked along side aunts, uncles, fathers and mothers who passed on the skills and vocations that ensured their survival.

          The story, delivered between lines of data, carries a theme: one of protective determination. Andrew lost his father by 25 and watched his mother move to Western Ohio with a new, and possibly questionable husband. They took a brother and sisters with them. The experience motivated him to create a refuge built upon family and hard work. It resonated through the generations.

Note: I have struggled to find a balance between the story and the research in my blog and continue to experiment with the right mix and feel. This is my latest attempt. The information from this post is gleaned from the following. You are welcome to e-mail for additional details or with your own information.
  • US census records from 1820 (Andrew Croy in Rose Township, Stark County OH,) 1830 (Andrew, Jacob, Duncan Croy in Rose Township,)1840 (Michael and Andrew Croy in White Eyes Township, Coshocton County OH, Samuel Croy in Hocking County, OH) 1850 (Michael Croy in White Eyes Township; Andrew in Mill Creek Township, Catherine Croy in Hocking County)
  • Marriage certificate for Catherine McClish and Samuel Croy
  • Coshocton County marriage listings 1811-1930
  • Find-a-grave: Andrew Croy 1780-1859-St. Luke’s Cemetery (one of the first in Carroll County used by all faiths)
  • A spread sheet of dates of birth etc. to track family
  • Map a public domain work of art from Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation project with Geographicus Rare Antique Maps