A Life Story

Of all documents used in researching genealogy, none are as captivating as the stories told by the subjects themselves. The following (edited) first person account was given by James Addy, 6th great-granduncle of my niece’s husband, when he was 79 years old. It was originally published by the Pike County Republican on July 1, 1875.

“I well remember the journey from Virginia to Coshocton County. We came in a wagon, to which five horses were attached. We brought out seven horses and several cows. There were no other whites within six miles of us, but plenty of Indians. Father and the boys proceeded to make a small clearing, erect a cabin, and we moved in.

 In 1811, when about fifteen years of age, I imagined I was not so well treated as I ought to be, but for so thinking, I have since become fully persuaded, I was a very foolish youngster. Like many other foolish and undutiful sons, I resolved to run away. I went to Dillon’s Furnace, near Zanesville, and hired out as a chopper. In the course of three or four months my brothers Hugh, William and John came to see me and persuaded me to return home, where I remained awhile, till another runaway fit seized me, and I struck out to Zanesville again. On reaching that place I found a man going down the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers to Cincinnati with a boatload of produce, who hired me as a hand. Proceeded to that city where I hired out to work for ten dollars a month. This was in 1812.

In the spring of 1813, I went to Pittsburgh. I was employed to go on a boat up the Allegheny. I afterwards followed boating several years, to some advantage, financially.  In 1818, when 22 years of age, I purchased and paid for 160 acres of land in Guernsey County, owned a horse, cow, and some other property. I married Rebecca Warden, and we have had 12 children. 

I possess some peculiarities of character. I never called a physician to administer medicine to myself. I never had a lawsuit, nor do I want one. Never have had any business in a court higher than Justice’s and then only was a witness or juror. Have always belonged to the Democratic Party. The first presidential candidate I voted for was Andrew Jackson. Have voted at each presidential election since, except for Martin Van Buren, and did not vote for him because I was among the Indians, and could not.

 I have never seen my name in print, nor do I know how I shall feel when I do. And I expect my companion, who has traveled down the tide of time with me nearly fifty-seven years, will feel as queer as I will, when she learns that I have gone and put her name in the newspaper.”

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