Ohio History Journal

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Among the hills of southern Ohio in that portion now in-

cluded in the county of Athens the sound of the woodman's

axe broke oftentimes the forest quiet during the winter of

1797-98. A vigorous pioneer was making a clearing upon a

few acres of ground and building a log cabin to which to bring

his family.

For miles around the unbroken forest stretched away.

Huge sycamores traced the courses of the streams, while beech,

oak, maple, hickory and walnut covered the lowlands and hill-

sides with their vigorous growth. To make the preliminary

clearing was no light task. The sturdy arm of Lieutenant George

Ewing, the wielder of the axe, needed to use all its strength

against the giant hardwoods of this primeval forest. Under

this luxuriant growth, the quick eye of a young New Englander

had seen a year before the fertile properties of the soil. From

a little settlement on the Muskingum River twenty miles to the

northeast he had cut a bridle path through the woods to this

place where he owned a large tract of land. This vigorous man

of thirty-two years, Ephraim Cutler by name eldest son of

Dr. Manasseh Cutler of Hamilton, Mass., had come to the

western country in 1795, and now determined to make a perma-

nent settlement on this spot which he found "exceedingly fertile

and well watered."

The lands were in the Ohio Company's purchase in that

section which is now Ames Township of Athens County. They

lay along the course of a tributary of the Hockhocking River

which having thirteen branches received from early explorers,

so runs tradition, the name of Federal Creek, suggestive of the

thirteen colonies now united in one nation.

Ephraim Cutler had engaged in his scheme of settlement

Lieutenant George Ewing and Capt. Benjamin Brown, and as