|Little Home Histories, Part 32 -- John H. Edgerton.|
by Galloway, Ella Coventry.
See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 31 -- Edgerton History.
John H. Edgerton of Morgan County, Ohio, was a great grandson of the first John Doudna. His grandparents were John and Zilpha Doudna Edgerton, who moved in 1835 to Deerfield Friends monthly meeting, Morgan County, Ohio, from Somerset Monthly meeting, near Barnesville, Ohio, where John H. Edgerton's father John Edgerton (Son of John and Zilpha) was born 5-19-1829. Zilpha Doudna Edgerton died in 1858 and John Edgerton Sr. in 1869.
Zilpha was third from the youngest child of the first John Doudna's large family of fourteen children, being eight years old when the Doudna family came to Ohio from North Carolina in 1804.
The historical sketch written by John H. Edgerton concerning John Doudna's early life, appears to be almost the only account of that early period, which has been preserved in writing. There is, however, in another branch of Doudna descendants -- descendants of another and older child, Knowis Doudna -- a quite different tradition relating to the way in which John Doudna was stolen.
According to that tradition, the boy who was afterwards known as John Doudna was with his parents on a vessel bound for America, when yellow fever broke out and both parents died and were buried at sea. It is believed the boy thereafter was kept a captive on the vessel until again at sea.
By the former account, this boy is said to have been only six years old when stolen -- and while kidnapping of boys and young men to be trained as sailors was a common practice in earlier times -- it would seem to be an exceptional case for a boy of six to have been deliberately kidnapped for that purpose at a wharf in England. Generally, the victims of such "body snatching," as it was called then, were older -- at least ten or twelve.
The oldest son and child of John Doudna was Henry and the following tradition relating to him suggests that possibly in the course of time, the earlier tradition (if different from that account) might have been mostly forgotten and so became confused with the circumstances connected with an attempted kidnapping in North Carolina of Henry Doudna, when he was about ten or twelve years old.
He was with his father, who was selling provisions for a vessel preparing to sail from a N. Carolina port, and when his father was about to leave, and turned to look for Henry, he was no where in sight. Instantly recalling his experience and the way he was hidden on a ship long before, he lost no time in going aboard and was just in time to see Henry's head disappearing down hatchway.
This tradition was well remembered by both Joseph W. Doudna and Anna Livezey Hall, from their early years. It has been handed on to later descendants of John Doudna, the second son and second child of that first Doudna family, who must have been about ten years old when this incident occurred.
When the first Doudna family reunion was held at Stillwater meeting grounds, 8-5-1932, there were present fourteen great grandchildren of the first John Doudna and also several great great grandchildren whose ages ranged along with of the older ones present.
At this reunion, one of the great grandsons, Jesse D. Doudna, made known to several who were present, that his father Knowis Doudna Jr. passed on to him the very different tradition, before mentioned, that John Doudna was with his parents on a vessel bound for America when yellow fever broke out and both parents died and were buried at sea -- and it was then and in that way that this ancestor was separated from his parents and kindred.
Jesse B. Doudna said further that he must have been at least twelve years old when his father talked with him about these matters. He also said that he had never heard of the other story -- that John Doudna was kidnapped at some seaport in England -- until he read the sketch by John H. Edgerton, when it was published in the Barnesville Enterprise in 1908.
Jesse B. Doudna attended several of the Doudna-Hall reunions after that and at one held in 1936 he made a talk to the company assembled on this same subject and repeated these statements. There he also mentioned the tradition that John Doudna was in service at the siege and battle of Quebec, was one of the company that scaled "the heights of Abraham", and this too his father had told him in his boyhood. (This battle was the decisive victory of the British over the French, which made Canada part of the British empire.)
This later tradition is referred to in the biographical sketch of Hosea Doudna, in the history of Belmont and Jefferson Counties by Caldwell, published in 1880 and no doubt Hosea himself was the Historian's authority for what he stated.
The some tradition also was mentioned in the obituary notice, in the local papers, at the time of Hosea Doudna's death, 7-3-1888, at the age of ninety-five years. Hosea Doudna had a family Bible which is said to have contained, besides birth records of his brothers and sisters, some account of his father's early life and some facts relating to his mothers people, but inquiries in recent years have disclosed no knowledge of its whereabouts.
Anna Livezey Hall remembered seeing this Bible, many years ago in the home of Hosea's son, Joseph F. Doudna.
Source: Written by: Ella Coventry Galloway, whose mother was a sister of Joseph W. Doudna.
See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 33 -- Aaron Frame, 1815-1896.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
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