Someone call the doctor!

Farming has always been known as a dangerous job, even more so when complicated machinery started being invented to make farming faster and more efficient, as the machinery was built with very little to no thought of operator safety at the time.

That being said, the following farm accident which occured about 1811 was caused by a scythe, a very old timey, uncomplicated and simple tool, although, apparently, still extremely dangerous:

     “When [(Dr.) John George Rogers] the doctor was a lad only fourteen years old, William Goble, a farmer living near Bethel [Clermont County, Ohio], was severly and it was thought fatally cut by a scythe upon his back and shoulder, and a messenger came for his father to come and dress Mr. Goble’s wounds; but the father being miles away on his professional duties, his wife persuaded her son, John, to go and attend the wounded man. The boy went, examined and dressed the wounds, and sewed them, putting in eleven stitches an inch and a half apart, and such was his success that his father on examining him the next day, declared it to be a perfect surgical job.”1

          Dr. John George Rogers was one of the most noted of the physicians and surgeons of the pioneer days of Clermont County, who practiced at a time when it was necessary for great sacrifice of personal comfort for the taking of long, arduous rides over poor roads in sparsely settled districts.
After having acquired the knowledge usually taught in the schools of his day, John was placed under the instruction of his father at home…His father, having a large practice, was often away from home and many of the duties were placed on his son, who in boyhood acquired great dexterity in extracting teeth, bleeding and many of the operations of minor surgery, as well as dispensing medicine in the absence of his father. When fourteen years of age, William Goble, a farmer near Bethel, was severely and thought to be fatally wounded by a cut from a scythe upon the back and shoulder, which in the absence of his father, the boy was compelled to attend. He took eleven stitches into the wound, with such success that the next day, upon examination, his father pronounced a perfect surgical job.2

The William Goble of this story was my 4x great grandfather. He managed to survive the accident, and surgery, and went on to live another 40 years, still farming. No doubt due to the loving care administered by his wife Ruth, and of course the ‘perfect surgical job’ of his young doctor.

HW1875P772042
The scythe mentioned regarding the accident isn’t specified as being the type in this picture, it could have been a smaller hand scythe. Either way…ouch!

Sources:
1. The History of Clermont County 1795-1880, by Louis H. Everts. p414
2. History of Clermont and Brown Counties 1913, by Byron Williams p

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Another Goble murder…

Stephen P. Goble
Stephen Porter Goble, Stephen, senior’s son with his first wife, Elizabeth Brown. (1832-1866).

Stephen Goble and his first wife Elizabeth had, according to online trees, seven children. Sadly only one, a son, lived to adulthood and had a family of his own, Stephen Porter Goble, who was born in 1832. When Stephen senior died in 1889 his will left all his property to his 5 daughters (whom he had with his second wife Alice), clearly indicating that none of his son Stephen’s heirs were to receive a farthing:

Item 2nd — It is now considered by me that my deceased son Stephen P. Goble, having in his lifetime received his full share and proportion of my estate and assets, It is my wish and will that his heirs viz; the heirs of the said Stephen Goble, deceased, shall not inherit or have any part or portion whatever of my said estate, or of any estate or assets of which I may die seized.1

As one can see in the reading of the will, there was actually nothing nefarious going on, Stephen had already given Stephen Porter his share of the estate, probably when he had married. The fact that Stephen Porter’s heirs are mentioned instead of Stephen Porter himself also clearly indicates that his son had died previous to 1889, so of course I was curious as to why he had died before his father. The possibility of it having happened during the civil war was pretty high as he was of an age to have enlisted.

I found one online tree that had this to say regarding his passing: ‘met his death in 1866, by a shot fired from the gun of a trespasser.’…and that was it. All I could think was – ‘Seriously, that’s all you wrote? Weren’t you curious about the details?’ But this did give me a clue that he probably wasn’t killed in the war. The Goble family website has the following entry for Stephen Porter:

“Stephen Porter Goble died May 30, 1866. He and a farm hand were going through his farm on the lane when they saw a stranger walking through the wheat field. This would cause the wheat to be mashed down so that it could not be harvested. They called to the stranger who turned and shot Stephen P. Goble. The farm hand took Stephen on the farm sled to the house and a doctor was sent for. Stephen P. Goble died, leaving a wife, Frances S. (Ashburn) Goble, and three young children and a farm.”

The above story being shared by a descendant of Stephen Porter had been passed down for several generations through the family. However, thanks to the good old internet, and those great folks who are digitizing newspapers as fast as they can, here is the story as found in a Minnesota newspaper just days after the event3:

newspaper_goblestephenjr_murder

At this time, I can find no record of the perpetrator of the crime having ever been caught.

This event is an interesting and excellent example of how family stories change over the years, where the basics of the story turn out to be mostly true, but the details get all muddied up at each telling.

The murder of his son and the loss of 6 children with his first wife, were not the only devastating things to happen to the family. I caught this horrible bit of news in an 1885 paper:

The house of Stephen Goble, near New Richmond, O., was destroyed by fire.4

Who knows what precious heirlooms were lost to the family. Thankfully no lives were. So, we can be relieved that this wasn’t a Goble doing the murdering, but a Goble getting murdered. Although I am sure Stephen Porter would have preferred to have not been the subject of this gruesome post.


  1. Will probated April 10, 1889, Wills of Clermont County, Ohio, 1800-1915, Book P, p. 512-517 [image on FHL digital images of these wills is 303-305 of 669].
  2. Told to Jean E. (Coddington) Bogart by her mother Marguerite (Frey) Coddington and her Aunt Dorothy E. (Frey) Lanter.  Goble family website
  3. A Horrible murder…, Taylors Falls Reporter, June 2, 1866, page 23, col. 4; Stillwater, Minnesota weekly.
  4. Newark Daily Advocate, Saturday, September 5, 1885, Newark, Ohio, page 1, column 7.

Steam boating on the Ohio…

Replica of the New Orleans, (built in 1911), the first steamboat that traveled on the Ohio in 1811.
Replica of the New Orleans, (built in 1911), the first steamboat that traveled on the Ohio in 1811.

The introduction of steamboats on the Ohio River in 1811 revolutionized river travel during the first half of the nineteenth century in America, and by the 1820s the Ohio was bustling with more boats than you could shake a stick at. Early travelers using the river for transportation spent much more time and energy getting from place to place because they had to power the boats themselves. This technology made travel on the water faster and more efficient. The only drawback was the steamboat’s tendency to explode, but this drawback was more than made up for with the speed they could achieve to meet tighter schedules, traveling against the current, and by being able to take more passengers and higher value cargo upstream.

Although most of the earlier steamboats came from Pittsburgh or Wheeling, it wasn’t long before Cincinnati also emerged as a significant player in the industry. “Cincinnati shipyards launched twenty-five steamboats between 1811 and 1825, and the number only increased after that period. The industry and the transportation system that it developed helped Cincinnati to become one of the most important cities in the West prior to the Civil War.”

Stephen Goble, Senior, sometime in the late 1870s to early 1880s, as he died 1884.
Stephen Goble, Senior, probably taken sometime in the 1880s.

One of those early pioneers of this revolution in river travel was my 3x great Grandfather Stephen Goble, Sr.. Stephen was born in 1804 in Clermont County, Ohio the son of William Goble and Ruth Beck. He was named after his paternal grandfather. The lure of the Ohio River called to him, and one can easily imagine the appeal to a young man of the early 1800s, watching the hustle and bustle of the steamboats traveling up and down the Ohio at all hours of the night and day, with many heading to St. Louis and New Orleans. It must have been quite a sight to see.

The thrill of adventure was so alluring to Stephen, that at the age of 15 he had left his family in Bethany and eventually ended up working on the steamboats running the river. By 1826, at about the age of 22, he had become an engineer on the first two lever engine boat that started in Cincinnati, the Wm. Tell.I found the following wonderful news articles in the Ohio papers. They give us a hint of his early adventures.

River News, Daily Port Register. Arrivals. Personal.
Several weeks ago we noticed the death of Capt. Embree,…Capt. Embree was one of the earlierst steamboat captains in the west…In the year 1828 he built a boat at New Richmond, Ohio, on which such venerable steamboatmen as Captain John Conner, Robert Davis, and engineers James Temper and Stephen Goble, Sr. each served terms as youthful engineers.4

Shipping News: Miscellaneous —
Stephen Goble probably the oldest river engineer living, was here Thursday. He was on the Wm. Penn[Tell], the first two lever engine boat that started from Cincinnati, and also on the Marion the second of the same class. He is now 84[78] years old, hale, hearty and in possession of every faculty. He lives up the river near New Richmond, and made the trip on the Bonanza as the guest of his old frine Mac Ketchum. He was greatly interested in the changes that have occurred since his day.3

River Intelligence: Personal.
Stephen Goble, an old time engineer, was on the Wm. Penn, the first two lever engine boat, that started out from Cincinnati and also on the Marion, the second of the same class. He is now eighty-four years old, hale and hearty and in possession of every faculty. He lives up the river near New  Richmond.5

River Intelligence: Personal.
A correspondent at New Richmond writes us that the item in the Gazette a few days ago in regard to Stephen Goble was not altogether correct, he being in his seventy-eighth year. The Wm. Tell was the first steamboat he went out on as engineer from Cincinnati, in the year 1826.6

We don’t know exactly how long Stephen worked on the river as an engineer although one paper reporting his death indicated that he was involved with the river for over 40 years and other sources say until he retired, which could be at any time.7 newspaper_goblestephen_deathIn the 1840 census he is listed as being engaged in agriculture, so he was probably involved with both occupations during his lifetime. He was now an adult and had settled down with his first wife with whom he had married in 1824, Elizabeth Brown. His second wife was Alice Brown (sister of Elizabeth), our ancestress, whom he married in 1841. She was about 14 years younger than him. Together they had five daughters of whom Sallie is my gg grandmother, and one son.

DIED.
Goble—March 24[1889], Stephen Goble, at New Richmond, O, aged 85 years.8

It is a pity that we can’t go back in time and relive Stephen’s river adventures with him. It must have been a thrilling time.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Steamboats?rec=1524
  2. http://www.cincinnativiews.net/steam_boats.htm
  3. Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Cincinnati, Ohio 04-02-1881, page 7, col. 1
  4. Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, Ohio 12-03-1870, page 4, col. 2
  5. Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, Ohio 04-02-1881, page 3, col. 2
  6. Cincinnati Daily Gazette, Cincinnati, Ohio 04-15-1881, page 3, col. 2
  7. Wednesday, March 27, 1889; Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, Indiana), page 3, col. 6. The article indicates that he was involved with the river for over 40 years, but I do not know how accurate the information is because they also state he left a widow. Alice had died a few years earlier. It is possible that he both farmed and still was involved with the river over the years.
  8. Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Cincinnati, Ohio 03-25-1889, page 4
  9. History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio: Biographical…, by Byron Williams; p342-343

John Fay’s naughty exploits…

I have more goodies to share from my recent research trip to Salt Lake City. Sit back and enjoy.

massbaycolony003_s
Just some picture of Puritans I stole from the internet. Have to add media interest.

The Fay family has appeared in a previous post when I talked about Stephen Fay who was the owner of a famous tavern in Vermont during the Revolutionary War. The Fay in this post is either his grandfather or father, I am not 100% sure which one is the principal character.

John Fay, sr. was born in England about 1640 and came to America sometime after. He settled in Middlesex County, Massachusetts and sometime before 1669 he married Mary Brigham (his first wife). She bore him 4 children, dying shortly after the birth of Mary, the youngest, in 1676.

The publication titled: The History of the Brigham Family; Descendants of Thomas Brigham, compiled by Rhonda R. McClure has a quote from Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in Massachusetts County, 1649-1699, by Roger Thompson, which is of interest to us Fay descendants as it regards a court case I have summarized as follows:

William Hudson, came to court in April of 1691 and bewailed “the danger that whores accuse rich single men or married men as the father of their bastards.” Because he was protesting his innocence in the case of fathering a child he was asked to provide evidence that another male could be responsible. Hudson produced evidence that “in August [1689] the soldier John Fay had been at the house of Ephraim Roper** in Lancaster, in or on the bed with sd. Mercy Rugg, lying upon his belly with some violent motions toward her.” By the time of William’s testimony in the case John Fay, sr. had conveniently died, so could offer up no defense. Hudson was judged to be the father.

I was a little taken aback when I saw this entry, then I started shaking my head trying to get the images out that had popped in there. Geez gramps, close the curtains! (Well, that’s assuming they had curtains. Or doors.)

After reading the entry a few time the next thought that came to mind was: “Is it possible Mr. Hudson is actually taking about John Fay, jr.,  who would have been about 20 years old at the time.” The mention of ‘soldier John Fay’ brings to mind someone younger. But, if it was John, sr. then he was definitely having sexual relations outside of his marriage. Susanna, his 2nd wife, would not have been pleased. If it was John, jr., then he would also have committed adultery, as he was married December 1 of 1690 to my 8x great grandmother Elizabeth Wellington. Or he had relations shortly before his marriage; the case doesn’t say whether Mercy had had the child, or was still pregnant in April of 1691. (As I haven’t seen the actual case it is possible that mention is made of John Fay, sr.’s demise, which would of course answer the question of which ‘John’ (ouch! no pun intended).)

Typically, William, who is being accused, calls Mercy a whore, it is doubtful she actually was one. He was just a little too free with his favors, proceeded to get her pregnant, and didn’t want to pay the price for unprotected sex. I have a little violin playing just for him in the ‘oh woes me’ band.

While investigating this source I ended up reading the whole book by Roger Thompson. I learned quite a bit about our ancestral Puritan’s and everyday shenanigans. They were a group of pretty typical humans whose Puritan beliefs really didn’t change the natural tendencies of human nature, and their children were just as rebellious and annoying as teenagers today. The Puritans fooled around, got into squabbles, swore, and blasphemed with the best of them.

**Interesting side note: The Ephraim Roper mention in the above case file, was the second husband of Hannah Brewer Goble Roper, our ancestress. So this incident involved two ancestors or ours, Hannah Brewer and John Fay, who was having sex in her house, with her servant. And…when Montreal Goble Shaw married Charlotte Hatch in 1909 the two families were now connected by marriage. In our family at least.