John W. Stevens Letter, Jan. 16, 1879

Jan 16, 1879  Dear Sir: In October, 1812 my Uncle moved to Rush county, Indiana.  Wm. Gridley, late proprietor of the "Griffey House," and myself went with him, taking our whipsaws with us.  At that time that place was settling very fast, and most of the settlers were from Campbell county.  There were the two Griggs, John and James, both Methodist preachers, whom some in this county will remember.  My uncle entered land joining theirs.  There were two young men with whom we were acquainted, with their whipsaws assisting the Grigg brothers in building.  I will name them, as one of them afterwards became my brother-in-law: William Harrison and Sam'l Coons.  About that time there was to be a wedding (I think Coons' sister) and these two boys wanted to go to the wedding in Campbell county, and wanted Griffey and myself to saw 450 feet of plank for James Grigg, but they did not offer our price.  We told them we had plenty of time to saw it and be at the wedding too.  They said we could not do it; but we boastingly said we could saw that much in one day.  They still held that it could not be done, and made us an offer that if we would saw the plank in one day we should have the plank and an eight dollar watch, but if we did not saw it one day, we were to saw it for nothing.  We told them to get out the stock as near the size of 450 feet as they could, and we would go that evening and help to pit it.  The stock when measured was 463 feet.  We were to saw it between sunrise and sunset.  John Griggs, the preacher, and uncle, a class leader, were to go with us to the put to see that we did not begin before sunrise.  This was about the middle of October.  We finished sawing at nearly an hour before sunset.  My uncle hawled the plank home and put it in his own house and the boys did not go to the wedding.  We got some sawing to do on the Little Flat Rock in December of that year.  I went to Indianapolis, but there was nothing doing.  There were but few houses then at that place, and they were log houses.  The distance from Rush county to this place was traveled by section line, as there were no roads.  I came back that winter in Campbell county and went into the lumber business, boarding at Samuel Baker's (the father of our distinguished Gov. R. T. Baker), who lived on Licking river.  We still took our lumber to Cincinnati, boating it across the Ohio river.  This was in 1822, and seeing I had no saved any money much but having a good horse, saddle and bridle, and plenty of good clothes, I concluded to settle in life. 

My wife and I am enjoying the fine sleighing as much as any of the young people, taking a sleigh ride every day in a substantial sleigh with a high spirited mare in the shafts.

 (to  be continued)  John Stevens

from the Newport Local, January 16, 1879