It was first settled, shortly after Wayne's treaty of 1795 by John Ratliff and Ellis Hughes, in some old Indian corn-fields, about five miles below Newark, on the Licking. These men were from Western Virginia. They lived mainly by hunting, raising, however, a little corn, the cultivation of which was left, in a great measure, to their wives.

Hughes had been bred in the hot-bed of Indian warfare. The Indians having, at an early day, murdered a young woman to whom he was attached, and subsequently his father, the return of peace did not mitigate his hatred of the race. One night, in April, 1800 two Indians stole the horses of Hughes and Ratliff from a little enclosure near their cabins. Missing them in the morning, they started off, well armed, in pursuit, accompanied by a man named Bland. They followed their trail in a northern direction all day, and at night camped in the woods. At the gray of the morning they came upon the Indians, who were asleep and unconscious of danger. Concealing themselves behind the trees, they waited until the Indians had awakened, and were commencing preparations for their journey. They drew up their rifles to shoot, and just at that one of the Indians discovered them, and instinctively clapping his hand on his breast, as if to ward off the fatal ball exclaimed in tones of affright, "me bad Indian! - me no do so more!" The appeal was in vain, the smoke curled from the glistening barrels, the report rang in the morning air, and the poor Indians fell dead. They returned to their cabins with the horses and "plunder" taken from the Indians, and swore mutual secrecy for this violation of law.

One evening, some time after, Hughes was quietly sitting in his cabin, when he was startled by the entrance of two powerful and well-armed savages. Concealing his emotions, he gave them a welcome and offered them seats. His wife, a muscular, squaw-like looking female, stepped aside and privately sent for Ratliff, whose cabin was near. Presently, Ratliff, who had made a detour, entered with his rifle, from an opposite direction, as if he had been out hunting. He found Hughes talking with the Indians about the murder. Hughes has his tomahawk and scalping-knife, as was his custom, in a belt around his person, but his rifle hung from the cabin wall, which he deemed it imprudent to attempt to obtain. There all the long night sat the parties, mutually fearing each other, and neither summoning sufficient courage to stir. When morning dawned, the Indians left, shaking hands and bidding farewell, but, in their retreat, were very cautious not to be shot in ambush by the hardy borderers.

Hughes died near Utica, in this county, in March, 1845, at an advanced age, in the hope of a happy future. His early life had been one of much adventure; he was, it is supposed, the last survivor of the bloody battle of Point Pleasant. He was buried with military honors and other demonstrations of respect.


Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol 2, by Henry Howe. (pub 1888)