#14 --George Beers and Grandfather Pilling.
Doctor Beers' son George had a drugstore where the Gray electric store is now located. George was very proficient at profanity, having no doubt learned much from his father, the old doctor.
George did not care to have a practical joke played on him, but I recall this one especially. A few miles south of Newcomerstown lived an eccentric character named Joe Hall. He was not so dumb either, as he got by without working. He generally wore two or three suits of clothes with a cane fastened to a long chain around his neck. For a nickel or dime, he would do a song or dance for you. He carried what little change he collected in a woman's long stocking, keeping the stocking rolled up and put away in one of his many pockets. On this occasion, he came into Jake Barnhouse's Barbershop early in the morning while I was getting shaved. I gave him a dime to go across the street to Beers' Drugstore to stand in the open doorway and sing his song and do a dance. Joe proceeded across the street, took his stand in the doorway and started his song. George Beers must have been in the back of the store because he did not realize what was going on for a couple of minutes, but when he did, he really came charging out of the door swearing at the top of his voice. Poor Joe was scared and started to run toward Main Street with George after him. We in the barber shop had reserved seats and saw the whole show.
Another little story which was related to me by George had to do with his experience with a tramp. As George told it, he and his wife, Lula, were sitting at the breakfast table one morning when a tramp knocked on the kitchen door and asked for a handout. George told him that he and his wife were having toast and jelly and coffee and would be glad to give him some, however, the tramp told George that he wanted some meat sandwiches. George said, "That made me mad, and I jerked open the screen door and started after him. On my way across the porch, I picked up a ball bat that one of the children had left lying there. The bum started to run so I threw the bat at him, shouting, "Come back you son of a bitch and I'll have my wife kill a chicken for you!"
Grandfather Pilling was as English as anyone could possibly be. He never wore a necktie, but rather a scarf wrapped around his neck with a bell-crowned beaver "plug hat." He had never lost his taste for mutton, insisting on having it served at least once a week, and sometimes twice.
For the above reason, he kept a small flock of sheep among which was across old buck. One cold morning, Grandfather - plug hat and all - was out in the feed lot putting shelled corn in the trough for the sheep. When Grandfather was stooped over pouring out the grain the old buck came up behind him and hit him a wallop, knocking him across the trough to the other side. Grandfather picked himself up, put his hat back on his head, and proceeded to scatter what grain was left. All of a sudden, the old buck also changed sides and hit him again, knocking him back on the side of the trough from which he had originally started.
Enough was enough, so Grandfather gathered up his empty bucket and his beloved beaver hat and went home. He was not given much to profanity but I can imagine that he said plenty as he walked out of the field!
Grandfather learned the trade of a weaver, having served his apprenticeship of four years in a large woolen mill. At the age of eighteen, he decided to emigrate to the United States. Not having sufficient money to pay his passage, he worked as a common sailor before the mast. The trip across the ocean consumed sixty-eight days due to heavy storms blowing them off course. Also, many days that the ship laid becalmed due to the absence of wind. Finally, he reached Philadelphia where he had some friends from England.
After living in Pennsylvania several years, he married Sarah Conard, daughter of Anthony and Anne Wheatley Conard, on October 20, 1831. To this union, there were four daughters born while they lived in Pennsylvania: Anne, born in 1833; Rebecca, born in 1835; Ellen, born in 1837; and Sabina, born in 1840.
In 1838, Grandfather made a trip to Ohio and purchased the farm, part of which is still in the family, belonging to my sister, Mrs. Anne Zimmer. In 1840, when their youngest child, Sabina, was a mere baby Grandfather decided to emigrate to Ohio. Loading all their belongings in a two-horse wagon they set forth. The three oldest little girls, together with their mother and father, walked most of the way, as there was no room for them on the wagon. They came by the National Pike through Brownsville, Pennsylvania, then to Wheeling, West Virginia, then across country to their new home at Newcomerstown.
Their new home wasn't very prepossessing. It was a log cabin of two rooms with a lean-to shed, not very big for six persons, quite different from the home in which they had previously lived in Pennsylvania but it was their own and they were happy.
In a few years, Grandfather had his woolen mill built and in operation. He bought the fleeces of wool, washed and carded it, spun it on spinning wheels into wool thread, dyed and then woven it into cloth, either for wearing apparel or for blankets.
Soon he got a sawmill and both the woolen mill and the sawmill were operated by water power. He had dammed the waste-way from the Ohio Canal which ran through his field, making a pond of two or three acres. The sawmill was vastly different from the present day mills, in that he did not have a circular saw but what was known then as an up-and-down saw, a straight blade which operated up and down.
In the meanwhile, Mother had been born in 1847 and her brother Benton in 1850 in the log cabin.
Grandmother died in 1853, and I well remember Mother telling me that a neighbor took her and her brother Benton home with her until the funeral. The art of embalming was not in practice then. Two of the neighbor women wrapped Grandmother in a winding sheet; all that was visible was her face. On the day of the funeral, Mother said that Grandmother was laid out on two or three planks supported by two wooden trestles.
This is the last story in the series. We hope you have enjoyed Mr. Moore's stories of old Newcomerstown. The stories were reprinted from a series is stories by former NCTnews contributor, D.B. Moore. The historic tales are from Moore's book, My Hometown, Gekelemukpechunk. The book is a collection of true stories that Moore recalled from growing up in Newcomerstown.