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 Little Home Histories, Part 87 -- Samuel Walton.

by Walton, James.

See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 86 -- Camm and Elizabeth Thomas.

Dr. Samuel Walton, a native of Philadelphia, came to Barnesville, Ohio, in 1857. He began learning dentistry when he was sixteen, doing only mechanical work for about ten years. He then attended Dental College and graduated in one of the first graduating classes of Philadelphia Dental College.

While doing mechanical work, he purchased his supplies from the S.S. Whir Co., which began work in basement rooms in Philadelphia, but their business increased so rapidly that long before his death in 1899, their establishment was the largest of its kind in the United States, if not in the world.

In 1854 he was married to Sarah J. Edgerton of Somerton, Ohio. The railroad then known as "Central Ohio" was not sufficiently completed to maintain passenger service. He came by stage coach to St. Clairsville, Ohio, and there hired a team and carriage to use at the time of his wedding. A day or two after that event, while driving down a hill near the Barnesville Water Works, the carriage tongue broke at the point at which the double tree was attached and the short end ran into the ground, instantly stopping the carriage. The team being free, the groom was pulled out on his head. The fall rendered him unconscious but did not permanently injure him.

The bride received a nervous shock, which affected her memory all through a long life. They lived for a time in Philadelphia, and then moved to Barnesville with one son, in 1857. There was no dentist in the little town at that time. They purchased a farm of 100 acres, half of it was inside the town corporation. The house to which the Waltons moved was located on a site which is now the northeast intersection of Walton Ave. and Park Street. It was a frame structure 30 ft. by 26 ft. It contained three rooms and a covered porch on the first floor and two attic rooms above, which were reached by a stairway at the north end.

The porch was later enclosed and divided into two rooms, one of which he used as a Dental Office.

A lean-to kitchen was also added, with an adjoining shed, under which was located the well with a pump. Nearby was a barn with basement stable.

At that time, what is now Walton Ave., was a private lane, and the Hendrysburg Road, now North Chestnut Street, was unimproved and often became very muddy. As there was no sidewalk, Dr. Walton tried to maintain one so that his patients could reach his office. Sometimes the road would get so muddy that those horseback riders would use the sidewalk much to the annoyance of the dentist.

For some years after 1857 cattle and hogs were allowed to run at large, so it was necessary for the villagers to protect their yards with fences. It was quite an undertaking for our dentist to follow his profession and manage his farm, as he had no experience in farming. He got his information from farm papers, especially The Country Gentlemen. He thus got in touch with new methods, so that he was frequently the first to have some new tool or try some new method. During the Civil War in the 1860s, the Waltons made hundreds of gallons of sorghum molasses -- as much as four thousand gallons in one season. The charge for making the molasses was one-third of the syrup or thirty cents a gallon.

Soon after the close of the Civil War, Samuel Walton joined with James Edgerton in sending to Long Island for thorough bred cattle. The former got a pair of Ayrshires and the latter a pair of Jerseys. It is thought these animals were the first of these breeds to cross the Allegheny mountains. He built the first silo in this area in 1886. With the exception of one or two public buildings having steam heat, there were no furnaces of any kind.

One of the writers earliest recollections of thrashing was spreading the sheaves out on the barn floor and tramping the grain out with horses and cleaning the chaff from it with a fanning mill. Other recollections are connected with the closing days of the Civil War.

During the Campaign of 1864 when Lincoln was running for the second time, I was out with our men in the field by the highway, when men were returning on horseback from a Democratic Meeting. As they rode along, their refrain was "Hurrah for Old Abe and a rope to hang him." Our men would answer, "Hurrah for little Mack (George B. McCelland) and a rope to hang him." "Hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree" was often heard during Civil War days.

This worthy couple were not pioneers in the strictest sense, yet they commenced under primitive conditions and labored to support their family and be useful citizens in the community.

They were especially interested in education, and did much for the Friends Boarding School. They were life long members of the Society of Friends. Without many modern conveniences, they entertained freely, keeping what might be called open house through the years.

Three of their five children, are still living, each over eighty years of age, now in 1942.

We, who call them Father and Mother, owe them a debt of gratitude for consistent Christian example, which always speaks louder than words.

Source: Written by: James Walton, Barnesville, Ohio.

See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 88 -- Thomas Webster, Sr., 1782-1858.

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.

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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