I have been told away back one hundred years or more ago there was a man, a Scotsman, by the name of James Methven, a minister of the gospel and a man of rather more than the average ability as a preacher, who lived in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.
The preacher was noted for his good, entertaining and interesting sermons. When he preached, the church would almost always be densely crowded. One night while preaching and perhaps about the middle of his sermon, all of the lights in the church was suddenly extinguished and left the church in total darkness. The church was so densely crowded with humanity that in breathing, the people used all the oxygen in the air, which caused the formation of gas similar to or the same as the gas that is sometimes found in deep wells of water. If a lighted torch or candle is let down in one of those wells when it gets to the gas, the light will go out, there being no oxygen to feed the flame. That was the kind of gas that was in the church that night, - there being no oxygen in the air to feed the flames, the lights went out and some of the people fainted and had to be carried out of the church into the open air. The doors and windows were opened to let in the fresh air before the candles or lamps could be lit. They did not have gas or electric lights in those days. They did not even have kerosene oil to burn in their lamps, but used tallow candles and burnt lard in lamps to supply them with light.
This preacher had another peculiar gift of nature. He could see in the darkest night almost as good as in the daytime. He had three sons. These boys did like to get out on the streets of Edinburgh at night and have some fun and a good time, but if they did not come home at the proper time their father would go out after them and round them up. When the boys would find out that the Old Man was after them they would drop everything and light out for home. They knew there was no use for them to try to get away from him, for he could see in the dark and they could not and he would catch them every time. This preacher had three sons and two daughters. He gave all of them a good education. He gave the boys mental and physical education. He sent them to a Fencing Master to learn to fence and box, so that they would be able to defend themselves if ever required to do so. He put them in charge of man to teach them to swim, so if ever they got shipwrecked or thrown into the water they would be able to swim ashore and save their lives. He also sent them to a Shooting Gallery and had them learn to shoot. Those three boys were names Angus, Thomas, and James. I do not know whether Angus and James were good marksmen or not, but I do know that Thomas was hard to beat with the rifle. He would hit the nail on the head most every time, hardly ever missed. No other man could hit him with the fist in a boxing match. He was also fond of fishing and hunting squirrels and other wild game. He would not shoot at a squirrel unless he could hit it in the head.
When Thomas became a young man he left his old home in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland and crossed the Atlantic Ocean and came to the United States of America. When he landed at New York he struck out West and traveled in that direction until he reached the town of Carlilse, Pennsylvania. He put up there for a while and taught school for a living. While in Carlilse he became acquainted with a young lady by the name of Elizabeth Lightfoot. He fell in love her and they were married in the year A.D. 1825. On April 27th, 1826, the stork paid them a visit and left them a little baby boy to take care of. They named this boy, James Fraser. On October 16th 1827, the stork paid them another visit. This time he left them a little baby girl. She was named Catherine.
After these two children came to them they were not contented to live in Pennsylvania any longer and took Horace Greeley's advice and "moved West to grow up with the country". Thomas managed somehow to buy a horse and a one-horse wagon. He hitched the horse to the wagon and put all his worldly belongings, including his wife and little boy in the wagon and started them out over the Allegheny Mountains. He then put his rifle on his shoulder and took his little baby girl in his arms and walked by the side of the wagon and shot squirrels and other wild game to keep the family in meat on the way. I was told that he carried his little girl in his arms and walked all the way from Carlilse, Pennsylvania to the little town of Kendal, Stark County, Ohio. They settled down there for a while. He took up his old occupation teaching school, hunting, fishing, and trapping rabbits.
In those days, at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, they would have shooting matches and shoot turkeys. This school teacher would sometimes attend them and go home with all the turkeys he could carry. The other fellows said it was no use for them to shoot with him for he would hit the nail on the head and take all the turkeys.
At this early day, there were very few, if any, stoves in the country. Instead of stoves, they would have a large fireplace of brick or stone built in the wall at one end of the house and a large hearth made of brick or stone in front of the fireplace, so that if any sparks of fire would fly out, they would drop in the hearth and not on the floor to set the house a fire. This fireplace was large enough to receive wood from three to four feet long and make a fire to do the cooking and heat the house. They would lay a large round log for a back-log with another in front of it laid on fire-irons or bricks to hold it up out of the ashes and to let the air pass under it to keep the fire burning. Then they would fill in the intermediate space between the front and back logs with small wood and kindling. To start the fire, they would take a piece of flint in the left hand and hold a piece of punk wood under it in the same hand, - then take a piece of steel in the right hand, and strike the flint with the steel - that would cause a spark of fire to fly out of the flint and drop on the punk wood and ignite it. They would then lay the punk with the fire in it among the kindlings and that would start the fire and when the fire was once started they would hardly ever let it go out. When they went to go to bed at night they would rake the live coals up to the back-log and cover them and the log with ashes, in the morning uncover the live coals and there was the fire, all they had to do was pile on some wood and it commence to burn. As I have told you, this fireplace had a brick or stone hearth in front of it. When Papa Methven would bring home rabbits he would sometimes lay them down on the hearth before the fire. There were two little children playing around the house in Kendal, Ohio. The oldest, a boy named James and the other, a girl named Catherine. Little James always called his sister Cassie. The stork made them another visit on November 23, 1829 in the morning. I know it was morning for I was there at the time and ought to know. This time he left them a wee mite of Humanity in the shape of a boy, it was said there must have been a mistake somehow for this baby was so little and delicate and he looked so much like a girl that he ought to have been a girl. When this little baby came into the world, the nurse took charge of it and wrapped it up in a blanket or shawl and laid it down on the hearth before the fire to keep it warm and when little James got up in the morning he happened to see something laying on the hearth and he thought it was a rabbit his Papa had caught and he called to his little sister saying, "Oh, Cassie, Cassie come and see the pretty little rye." (Rye is the Scottish name for rabbit). That baby was called Little Rabbit for a long time, but its name was finally changed to Daniel.
The next child was a girl, born June 19, 1831 at Dorcas Factory, Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio. She was named Hetty Ann. The next was a boy, born December 3, 1832 at Dorcas Factory. He was named Angus Archibald and was said to be the prettiest baby in the country. There was a son born September 28, 1834, but he died before he was named. The last child was a girl, born October 28, 1835 at Dorcas Factory. She was named Elizabeth. Her mother died when the babe was only four weeks old. I think we had one of the best mothers that ever lived. I can remember when I was only between three and four years old that one day mother and some other ladies went visiting, when they returned to our house the other ladies stopped in for a few minutes. I was playing around in the house at the time all alone, they made the remark, "what a good little boy you have got." "Yes," said Mother, " Daniel is a very good little boy. He gives me the least trouble of any child I have got." That was 77 years ago and I remember as distinctly as though it happened yesterday. I never could forget it. I remember of thinking at the time that I was not worthy of her good opinion, for I had done some naughty little tricks that day that I was ashamed of.
That Little Rabbit lived and grew up to be a man and got acquainted a young lady, Ellen Flack, who resided in Chester Township, Wayne County, Ohio. They fell in love with one another. I was married to her on June 20, 1864.
To this union were born ten children, whose names are as follows:
Thomas H born Mch. 22d, 1855
James Robinson " May 3d, 1857
Mary Elizabeth " Feb. 17th, 1859 died Jan. 16th, 1897
Lincoln " Apl. 2oth, 1861 died May 3d, 1861
Edgar Kirk " May 26th, 1862 died Oct. 1907 in Guatemala City, Guatemala <-
Arthur D.O. " June 21st, 1864
Chas. Andrew " June 2d, 1866 died Aug. 10th, 1895
William B. " Mch 31st, 1868 died Dec. 10th, 1894
Harry H. " Jul 24th, 1869 died May 27th, 1899
Daniel Boone " Jan 29th, 1873 died May 13th, 1897
Ellen Flack Methven, born Oct. 24th, 1834, died Feb. 17th, 1902.
Daniel Methven, " Nov. 23rd, 1829 <-- My Gt. Grandfather
Merry Christmas, To All Of You.