Pictured is the Cadiz, Ohio Courthouse. We were in the pursuit of George Laporte’s Last Will and Testament in the Spring of 2011. The record’s office was quiet as our visit preceded the current frenzy over the shale oil deposits which underlay this part of Ohio. We found the original papers and made copies. The smallest denomination that I had with was a $5 bill for which there was no change. A well dressed gentleman at the counter asked who we were looking for and I told him that we had found the will of George Laporte. He corrected me in my pronunciation with a “In these parts the family is known as the Layports”. He kindly offered to pay the 85 cents on my behalf and then left. The clerk then explained that the gentleman was the local judge. Having been corrected by the judge, I left the office much wiser.
I am still not sure about George’s actual birthplace having “narrowed” it down to Alsace-Lorraine or Normandy in 1747. Still working on this. In 1769 he marries Nancy McCaslin in Washington County, Maryland. Mary was born in Harrison, New Jersey in 1750. George’s Huguenot beliefs would not of been a hindrance to a Presbyterian like Nancy, but her father did not seem to have been too excited by the match. Father Patrick dies shortly after the wedding and leaves his daughter, Nancy Leport, 5 shillings. Less than 1 percent of his 80 pound estate.
George enlists in Captain Daniel Cresap’s Maryland 3rd Militia Battalion and is awarded 50 acres in Allegheny County in Western Maryland for his three years of service. By 1800, George and Nancy move their family to Beech Flats near Steubenville, Ohio on the Ohio River. By 1806, George had moved to Cadiz on the frontier. These cabins were typical of George’s Ohio frontier. Since there were no roads at this time, settlers would have carried their earthly goods on pack horses following Indian trails. Settlers depended on venison, wild turkey and bear meat while waiting for a crop of potatoes, pumpkins and corn. Community feasts were common and roasted green corn was cause for celebration.
During the 1793 Indian border wars (probably Delaware or Wyandots), the family cabin was burned and his 18 year old son, Thomas was killed. After a truce had been reached, one of the Indians who had taken part in the attack on the family cabin boasted of his killing Tom in the presence of his brother John during a general muster being held in New Philadelphia, Ohio. John attempted to kill the Indian on the spot but was restrained temporarily. John followed the Indian to Salt Run in Jefferson County and “despatched” the Indian when the Indian stooped to get a drink of water.
George was recognized as one of the famous hunters and trappers of Harrison County. George and his sons managed to catch many things besides bears in their traps. An itinerant Methodist minister managed to have his horse tangled in one of the traps and remained there until rescued by George. In a story that is widely reported, George and his two sons captured a sheep eating wolf and skinned it alive before releasing it. This had to happen before the SPCA an PETA were formed.
George and Nancy raise their surviving five children of whom Abraham is our next ancestor to follow. In George’s will, he bequeaths to Nancy Leeport “all my Beds and Bedding and all my Household Goods with my Bay Mare and Colt with two cows, a Heifer and six heads of sheep and if she stands in needs of any more she shall have the rest of the property.” The eldest son, John received the family farm in the Stock Township and married Verlinda Harrison, second cousin of President William H. Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe.
Abraham decided to head west.
We did locate the family farm to the west of Cadiz but the land was being strip mined for coal and there were blasting warning signs everywhere. We did not explore too much The picture is the family farm where no blasting is taking place.