Family Genealogy Home Page / Contact Information


           John William Myers, Jr., was born at The Knoll, in Pickaway County, Ohio, on Friday, October 24, 1907, and died Easter Sunday, April 19, 1981, at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

           My father had a unique style of writing, some of which has been necessarily lost in editing his book. He always printed. I never saw him write in longhand except to sign a check or other legal document. He almost always used the modern ampersand in place of writing the word "and". To preserve the flavor of his style of writing, a photocopy of the original manuscript is included after the printed one.

           I know he would have wanted the dedication in the Preface expanded to include his granddaughter, Mary Kay Tessier, and his other grandsons, Ken Myers, and Matt Tessier, in addition to grandson John Myers IV who was born prior to the start of the manuscript.

John William Myers, III
November 25, 1982
Pasadena, California


written by


Dated 1968-69

Printed by Mary Tessier and John Myers, III
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Pasadena, California
Christmas 1982
Internet version produced December 2005













SATELLITE VIEWS - Farm House "The Knoll" and The Deer Creek Mill


           Since time passes so rapidly and information about past generations and their activities and accomplishments is soon lost, I am setting down in writing the things about the Myers and related families that are known by me. I dedicate this effort to my grandson John William Myers, IV, and to other grandchildren that may arrive in the future.

           I will attempt to furnish accurate historical data as well as narrative information about the activities on the farm and by individuals in the family. Much of the activity took place in an age that is rapidly being forgotten by my generation, and will never be experienced by those who have matured in the present era or will mature under circumstances about which we can now only speculate.

           I do hope this book will be of interest to my son, John, and daughter, Mary, and be preserved for future generations who may wonder who and what went before.



           The Myers farm was located about one and one-half miles south of Williamsport, Ohio, in Pickaway County, the county seat of which is Circleville. The farm was in Deer Creek Township, which originally had schools consisting of little red brick school houses within walking distance (two miles or less) of all children. The little schools had one room and one teacher for children from the first through the eighth grade. In 1914 the little schools were closed, and all children hauled in horse-drawn covered wagons to the centralized school in Williamsport.

           The farm was a portion of land containing two hundred eighty acres that was a part of the Virginia Military Land Grant Area in the Ohio Territory. After the Revolutionary War, the Colonies did not have money to pay the soldiers of the Colonial Armies for their services. Consequently, the U.S. Government granted them land for each day of military service, to be staked out on a first-come, first-choice basis.

           The farm was a tract then called two hundred acres, granted to Michael Alkire and Moses Colvin, assignees of Joseph Kerr, who was assignee of David Scott, who served as Captain for three years in the Virginia line of the Continental Establishment. The deed, written on parchment paper and among my papers, was issued on the fourth day of May, 1818, and the forty-second year of independence of the United States of America. It is signed by Josiah Meige, Commissioner of the General Land Office, and James Monroe, President of the United States.

           The tract later known as the Myers Farm was purchased by William McCafferty in 1870 and occupied by his eldest child, Mary McCafferty, and her husband, John Jacob Myers, and their six-month-old son, John William Myers, who was born on January 23, 1870, and died November 4, 1936.

           The farm was a pretty place, made up of fertile fields and woods. Through it ran a small clear spring-fed stream called Deer Creek. At most times it was a clear stream with small rapids and deep pools, but occasionally flooded the adjacent fields and did considerable damage to fences and crops. The house and barns were situated on a hill near the center of the farm, with a view of all fields from the yard. My mother later names the place "The Knoll".

           My Grandfather, John Jacob Myers, who had served as a Lieutenant with the Union forces in the Civil War, returned to the Myers family home near Bloomingburg, Ohio, a large two-story brick home with about twelve large rooms. He married Mary A. McCafferty, the daughter of a large landowner near Mt. Sterling, Ohio, on November 20, 1866.

           At the time that Grandfather, Grandmother, and Jack, as my father was called, lived, there were two houses and at least one barn on the farm. The main house was unusual for the area as the front portion was two stories high and constructed of hewn logs. Other early log houses were of the typical one-story, one-room cabin type. To the back a frame portion had been added, part of which was two stories high and part single story. The kitchen, dining room, pantry, and quarters for the help were in the back portion. The two rooms of the log part were the parlor down, and one bedroom upstairs. Presumably, before the frame part was constructed, cooking was done over a fireplace opening into the single downstairs room, with a ladder or stairs to the sleeping room upstairs.

           There is some uncertainty as to the date of the original construction. During remodeling operations in 1905 my father found an old newspaper that had been used to stuff a crack between the logs, bearing the date of 1810. It is doubtful that so large a house for its day could have been built by squatters on Government land. More probably, it was built by Michael Alkire or some of his associates after the date of the grant deed, and the old paper was among the effects of the first occupants. Alkires and their descendants now live around Williamsport, and probably some descend from Michael, the first owner of the farm.

           The other house was a small one-room log cabin located across Deer Creek from the main house. The barn, built of logs, had stalls for eight horses, lofts for the hay, and a wagon shed in the middle. It has been reroofed several times and the outside sided with boards. The last time I saw it in 1966 it was still in use.



           My father {John William Myers} grew up on the farm and attended either of two one-room brick schools until the eighth grade. One school, known as the Ater School, was about a mile west, and the other was about a mile east. He said that the house was on the district boundary, so he had his choice, and attended the school where he liked the teacher best. He either walked or rode a horse to school.

           Since high schools were located only in the larger towns, it was not possible to live at home and pursue more education. He attended high school at Washington Court House, Ohio, and during the school months boarded with relatives in that town. Although it was unusual for farm boys at that time to attend high school, he enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated with a Batchelor of Arts degree with the class of 1892. While attending this school he met Etta Hoyt, daughter of Dr. William Hoyt, of Hillsboro, Ohio, who he later married.

           My father, Jack Myers as he was known, was an unusual farmer for his time, as most other men had grown up in the community, had no more than high school education at most, and had had no experience other than farming, while my father had a broader view of life and read extensively of the happenings of the world. Upon leaving college in 1892, an economic depression called a panic existed in the United States. Farm prices were low and jobs for young men were scarce.

           Through a friend he secured a job as lineman's helper on an electrical crew installing electrical lines at the Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) in Chicago. He worked at the fair during constructions, operations, and dismantling, and rose to the position of line crew foreman. During his stay at the fair he met many prominent and interesting people from all over the world, and gained valuable knowledge of electricity, which was only then coming into commercial use. After leaving the fair he became line boss for the Dayton, Ohio, Power and Light Company, and supervised the construction of power facilities required to convert the Dayton Street Railway from horse cars to electric trolley cars.

           He was offered a position to electrify the gold mines in Johannesburg, South Africa, but since his father and mother were in failing health, returned to the farm, married, and spent the remainder of his life improving and successfully operating the farm.



           Mother, Etta Hoyt Myers, was born in Hillsboro, Ohio, September 21, 1870, and was the oldest child of Dr. William Hoyt and Sarah Keeler Hoyt. She attended grade and high school in Hillsboro, which was a county seat town and by city standards was country, but still was large enough to shield Mother from country-type living. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University and working several years as office girl in her father's office, she married Father and embarked on a new life in the country.

           Because of her background and because of her association with her mother-in-law, who was a very snobbish woman, she never became a close friend of the women of the neighborhood. She was always very proper and used correct grammar at all times, dressed well, and was looked upon by the other women as somewhat of a snob. She nevertheless had many friends scattered around the country who frequently visited the farm. These were people she had known in Hillsboro, Chillicothe, and in college. They were well educated and had wider interests than the farm folk of the neighborhood, whose lives revolved around local politics, town gossip, and cooking and sewing.

           Since I was an only child, Mother was so determined that I be properly raised and trained that she tried to supervise my every move. Had it not been for my father, who would overrule when necessary to let me do like other boys and try things for myself, she probably would have ruled my life completely. Probably the age difference accounted for much of her concern, as she was thirty-seven when I was born. She nevertheless made a good and loving mother, and with my father the two were the finest parents a son could want.



           Since Father was an only child, I had few relatives on his side of the family. My paternal grandmother had died about two years before I was born and my paternal grandfather died when I was two, so my only knowledge of them is hearsay. My father had uncles and aunts, all of the McCafferty family, who lived around Mt. Sterling, Ohio, about twenty miles away. We visited them once or twice a year and I always hated it as they were all old people and there were no children to play with, so it made a boring day for me.

           My maternal grandfather and grandmother lived in Hillsboro, about thirty miles away. I first remember going to visit by train, about a half-day trip with train change at Blanchard, Ohio. Sometimes we went by horse and buggy, almost a day each way. After 1915, we went by car, roads permitting. It took about three rough hours each way if we had no car trouble or got stuck in the mud.

           Grandfather was a doctor and a very stern man. He wore a full beard and looked like Santa Claus. He used a horse and buggy to call on his patients. He did not write prescription, but dispensed medicine from his large medicine case which he carried at all times. I liked to visit his office to see Polly, a green parrot he kept in a cage in the waiting room. I also liked to get medicine. He always gave the children a bottle of sugar pills that were better than candy.

           Grandmother was a short, fat, jolly woman. My father said she could not fall down, although she might roll over. They lived in a large brick house with large yard in front and garden and stable for the horse and buggy in the rear. Grandfather died when I was about six and Grandmother a few years later.

           Mother had two brothers and two sisters, who among them had twelve children, my cousins. I liked to visit the Boulware family in Hillsboro, as the children varied from a few years older to a few years younger. We also often visited the Robinsons in Mt. Gillead, Ohio. My five cousins there were all older, but Rudolf was near enough my age to make the visits enjoyable.



           Soon after Grandmother Myers's death, when my father came into ownership of the farm, and about a year before my birth, my father decided to rebuild and modernize the house in accordance with the standards of the day (1906). All of the old frame additions were torn down and the lumber salvaged to the extent possible. The old brick chimney and fireplace that would accommodate an eight-foot log was torn down. The log part was jacked up and leveled. A basement was dug about six feet deep under this part and extended about forty feet where the old frame portion had been. The basement was walled with concrete, a relatively new product to the area at that time. The log portion was lowered onto the walls that served as a foundation, and the new part was built on the extended basement walls.

           The resulting house was sided on the outside with pine weatherboards over the logs and new frame. The roof was metal shingles. The interior was plaster finish with wallpaper. The resulting home was one hundred feet long and about thirty feet wide, being partly two-story and partly one-story. Downstairs were two halls, a parlor, a den, dining room fourteen by twenty-two feet, pantry, kitchen, breakfast room, and bedroom. Upstairs were five bedrooms, a billiard room, bath, and storage room. It was a large house and so laid out that one upstairs bedroom, the breakfast room, and the downstairs bedroom could be cut off from the remainder of the house by locking two doors. In this way they became a private apartment for servants.

           Although this was before the day of electricity or indoor plumbing in the country, my father installed the wiring in the walls so that many years later electricity could be installed with little trouble. A large pressure water tank was installed in the basement, which was hand pumped once a week by one of the hired men. This supplied the bath with running water. Bathroom fixtures consisted of tub, lavoratory, and flush toilet, all quite like today. Hot water was furnished from a tank heated by a water-back in the kitchen range. I imagine that this was the first bathroom with running hot and cold water outside the larger towns in the state. The house was heated with a large hot air type furnace in the basement, also an unusual installation in the country at the time. Fuel storage bins in the basement would hold fifteen tons (a winter's supply) of coal, and several wagonloads of corncobs used for kindling. The basement had a large laundry room and a darkroom used to store potatoes and smoked meats.

           The house had a large front porch with four round white columns. The house was painted white and trimmed in green. Situated as it was on a hill, it was quite an imposing structure as well as a most comfortable home.



           After the house was completed in 1907, we usually had a colored man and woman as live-in servants that occupied the back bedroom and used the breakfast room to the rear of the kitchen as a sitting and living room. The first couple that stayed two winters was John and Racheal. They appeared at the farm one fall evening carrying their belongings and offered to work for room and board, stating that Racheal was a good cook and he, John, could do any house or farm chores.

           As it turned out, Racheal was an excellent cook and John was quite capable. At dinner parties he would put on my father's old dress suit and be the butler and wait table, all done very correctly and professionally, which impressed guests no end. When spring came they gathered their belongings and left to return again for the second winter. They were "railroad n-----s" and served as cook and waiter on the Engineers Camp Car during the construction season on the N and W Railroad.

           At his time Grandfather was living with us, that is, John Jacob Myers. Colored John said Grandfather should be called "Father John"; my father was to be called "John"; I, "Baby John"; and he, "N----- John". Of course as I was only two when they last departed, this is written from accounts by my parents.

           The next colored couple was Pearl and Zetta, cousins who had a son, Raymond, my age. I believe Zetta was the mother and probably the father had been white, as Raymond was very light, while both Pearl and Zetta were quite black. They stayed about three years, so I have some personal recollection of them.

           While help of this type was in residence, Mother and Father did a great deal of entertaining of friends and relatives from Circleville, Chillicothe, and Washington Court House. These were mostly dinner parties with the bountiful menus that the farm provided. Also, there were relatives that stayed for from two days to a month as houseguests. After about 1915, live-in help in the country could no longer be obtained at prices we could afford and after that time Mother operated the house without much outside help, and consequently entertaining and social activities were greatly reduced.



           When I first remember, we had two driving horses, two buggies, a one-horse spring-wagon, and a carriage that was glass-enclosed and could be drawn by one or two horses. I recall a trip to town with my father in the spring-wagon when I was about three. As usual, we went the shortest route that involved fording Deer Creek at the ford, about two feet deep and fifty feet wide. We stopped in the middle of the creek to allow the horse to drink. My father had forgotten to refasten the seat, and when he walked out on the shaves to unrein the horse the seat turned over backwards, spilling me in the creek. We returned home where I got dry clothes and my father some unkind words about his carelessness from Mother.

           As we lived some distance from the road, where it was inconvenient to get to the school wagon that took children to the Williamsport Centralized School, Mother though it best to start school at a one-room school near Clarksburg, about six miles away. They drove me to our friends, the Browns, each Monday morning and picked me up each Friday evening. During the week I lived with the Browns and walked to the school nearby. The Browns had two daughters: Harriet, too young to go to school, and Eleanor, in the third grade. It was a one-room red brick school with a steeple and bell, a coal stove in the middle of the room, a well and pump in the schoolyard, and two outdoor toilets. There were about thirty children in grades one to eight. The teacher brought each grade group in turn to a bench in front to hear them read or work arithmetic on the blackboard. Sums and writing were practiced on slates, each child having one instead of paper and pencils.

           During this year, one Friday Mother and Father came to get me in an automobile, our first, a 1915 Hupmobile. It could go up to thirty miles per hour, but road conditions held speeds to ten or fifteen miles per hour. However, this was several times as fast as old Fred and the buggy.

           From 1915 until 1922, I attended school at Williamsport. In order to get there I walked about one-quarter mile to the road where I boarded a two-horse covered school-wagon for the two-mile trip to town. For several years I set rabbit traps along my route. Any rabbits I would catch I would take along to school and sell to people in town for twenty-five cents each. They liked the trapped rabbits better than those sold by the shotgun hunters. During the winter I would catch four or five a week.

           I remember 1917 and 1918 quite vividly as they were most unusual years. First, there was World War I. I remember visiting Camp Sherman at Chillicothe. I recall one Sunday when they had the 83rd Division review, with many bands, many companies of horse-drawn artillery, and mounted cavalry units. Before mechanization, the army was much more colorful than it is today.

           The winter of 1917-1918 was unusual, as it was the coldest on record, with temperatures below zero for weeks at a time. There was much snow that was fine for coasting. Freezing rain fell on top of a foot of snow and froze an inch thick crust. On this we could ice skate across fields, and often skated cross-country to school rather than ride the wagon. It was a hard winter with a flu epidemic, but we children had great fun sliding and skating.

           When the spring thaw came, there was a great flood on the Ohio River, with ice jams at Cincinnati that crushed many steamboats and barges. My father had business in Cincinnati and took me along to see the flood. This was a most exciting trip for a nine-year-old that had never been to a big city. We went by train, a trip of about four hours. We stayed overnight at the Gibson Hotel, which was one of the finer hotels of the country. I remember the lobby, which was very large and two stories high with marble columns all around. A classical orchestra played on the balcony each evening. At six each evening, when the bellboys changed shift, the orchestra struck up a march and the bellboys, in bright uniforms and led by the bell captain, marched down the marble staircase in military formation. While in Cincinnati, we walked out on a bridge and viewed the river. Miles of steamboats were crushed by the great ice floes that had choked the river and flooded much of the low-lying part of the city. Years later when I attended military school in Cincinnati and chanced to drop into the Gibson Hotel lobby, I often though of that first exciting trip to the big city.

           Nearly as exciting was a trip the next fall to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, where all the newest machinery was on display. At the fair my father ordered a small gasoline engine and washing machine. When installed in the basement, the engine pumped the water and powered the washing machine for Mother. This was the first power on the place, and, in fact, was one of the first farm power installations in the county. It was not until some years later that we installed a 32-volt Delco light plant and did away with kerosene lamps for light.

           Because of the distance between farmhouses I had few playmates. My closest friend was Harry Hurst, who was my age and lived on an adjoining farm. I was also friendly with William (Bill) Radcliff, who lived in Williamsport. Our summer activities centered around Deer Creek and the swimming hole, which we had improved with the installation of a dock and diving board. One summer we built a pole and tarpaper shack so that we could camp all night, which we did a few times, but mosquitoes made it unpleasant. Harry had a pony which we could both ride. With farm work at a high level in the summer, there was always something to do or watch.



           The mill race, which was a small canal about twenty feet wide and from two to three feet deep, ran at the foot of the hill about fifty yards from the house. This canal had been dug in the early 1800's to furnish water to run a water-powered sawmill. It originated from a pool formed by a low wooden dam on Deer Creek about on-half mile north of our house, and ended at the mill about the same distance to the south. At the mill the water dropped fourteen feet through two turbines in the bottom of a large structure called the fore bay. The turbines, each developing about thirty horsepower, turned the machinery in the mill.

           I recall going to the mill with my father to have corn ground for chicken feed. Uncle Billy Bazoor owned and ran the mill. Corn or wheat was ground on stone burs turned by the water wheels or turbines. Uncle Billy ground corn for corn meal and chicken feed. He ground wheat and made flour by running through a set of rolls and sifters. He sold flour to local bakeries and housewives. His charge for custom grinding of chicken feed was ten cents per bushel, or he would "toll" it. That is, he would keep ten percent of the corn for the services of grinding.

           The great flood of 1913 that did great damage along all Ohio rivers and streams washed out a portion of the dam and undermined the fore bay so that it could not hold water. The flood also destroyed the two-span covered bridge that crossed Deer Creek by the mill.

           Uncle Billy decided that he was too old to rebuild the mill, so it stood idle until shortly after World War I, when Uncle John Jones bought it. Uncle John was a first cousin of my father and a bachelor, so he boarded with us. He had been a road contractor and understood building. The year it was rebuilt I spent all my time watching the work. They had a concrete mixer, derrick, steam pump, and many teams of horses and scrapers. The mill was completely rebuilt with a concrete dam, concrete fore bay, and concrete spillways. The old stone burs were discarded and a set of steel rolls and a modern hammer mill installed. Flour was no longer made. The products were various types of animal feed, and a small amount of corn meal for human consumption. A considerable portion of the output was shipped to the coalmine section of southeast Ohio. This consisted of feed for the mine mules and whisky corn. The whisky corn was lightly cracked corn and was always packaged forty-seven pounds to the sack. I never knew exactly why the unusual weight. Possibly it was a handy size package for a moonshiner to carry back into the hills on a horse. When I worked at the mill I liked to grind whisky corn, as the small sacks were much easier to handle than the one hundred pound sacks of mule feed.

           Uncle John always said that under his will the mill would go to me. However, he married late in life and when he died he had either not made a will or, as I suspect, his widow found it and destroyed it. Under Ohio law, she inherited the mill. I passed by a couple of years ago and it was still in operation, but powered by electricity. The dam has washed out and the race is dry.



           There were two other houses on the place, one with six rooms and one with three, where the two farm hands and their families lived. Although laborers paid by the day, they were referred to as tenants and the houses were referred to as tenant houses. Men wishing to work did not apply for a job, but for a house, it being understood that a job went with the house. The pay for most of the time I was on the farm was one dollar per day of ten hours, six days a week. The lead hand got a dollar and a quarter and one-half day for Sunday to milk cows and feed the livestock.

           Their standard of living was not as low as it might seem. House and repairs was furnished, water was from the well furnished with pump. Wood for cooking was free for the gathering. A garden plot was furnished where they raised food for summer and enough potatoes and dry beans for the winter. Some tenants also canned vegetables and pickles, and in general always had a supply of good food. Each tenant house had a chicken house where they raised chickens and they were also allowed to fatten two hogs with our market hogs. When butchered at about two hundred pounds, they furnished fresh meat during the winter months and the cured ham and bacon lasted well into the summer. These families fared well, set a good table, had adequate if not fine clothing; the children attended public schools and had social life according to their intelligence and industry, as I will bring out in describing some of the various families.

           The first tenant I remember was Frank Bartin. Frank and his wife moved on the place when I was about two under the following circumstances. Across the creek from our house was an old two-room log cabin that had not been occupied for some time, and my father considered it uninhabitable and intended to raze it. He was approached by Frank, who wanted a house. My father replied that he had none, but was going to build one the next year or so. Frank begged to move into the cabin, saying it was a much better house than either he or his wife had ever lived in. They had walked from the poor southeast section of Ohio, some one hundred miles distant. They moved in and stayed for sixteen or eighteen years, leaving with eight children.

           Frank turned out to be a dependable farm hand and good gardener. Both he and his wife were illiterate and of very low mentality. They lived like animals, never bathed, and were the bane of the school authorities because the children had lice and always came to school dirty. The health nurse occasionally deloused the children by washing their hair in kerosene. In spite of filth and poor diet, mostly potatoes, beans, and pork, the children were healthy, but mentally they could not seem to progress beyond the third grade.

           My father had seen this type before and thought any attempt to improve their way of living would be futile, so he paid Frank his wages every Saturday and let them strictly alone in their personal affairs. The county health authorities finally started insisting they change, all to no avail. They became unhappy and moved to another county where they hoped they would not be bothered. After they had lived in the log cabin two or three years, we built them a new three-room house, but they never used the upstairs room, as it was unhandy and they could see no use for more than two rooms. Later other tenants occupied this house for short periods. These were typical laborers, and since they usually stayed for a year or less I do not remember their names.

           The other house, with six rooms, was built when I was about four, and I vaguely remember the construction work. It was first occupied by a colored man and his wife. I remember his wife being very fat and helped Mother with the housework. I believe the name was Seward. He was an excellent farm hand until he took up preaching and would not show for work after late preaching, which forced my father to fire him.

           The next family were the Thorntons: Ike, his wife, and two grown boys. They stayed several years. I remember Ike and his wife were always fighting and she could out-swear a sailor.

           From the time I was ten until after I went away to school the Justice family lived there: Jim, his wife, George, Mud, and Maud. This was a progressive family. The house was clean, they had a horse and buggy and, later, a car. All did well in school except Mud, who was dull and could not get beyond the third grade and later went into the Army. George and Maud both graduated from high school. George was a good athlete and played basketball and was on the track team. Maud was in my grade and was sort of like a sister. Later, after I was in college, the Morgans moved in and later farmed the place on the shares for my mother after my father's death in 1935.


Click image below for a full-size version


Google Maps Link


Google Maps Link



CHAPTER I - THE FARM:  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5




CHAPTER V - THE HOUSE:  1 - 2 - 3





This information is provided for the use of persons engaged in non-commercial genealogical research
and any commercial use whatsoever is strictly prohibited. Copyright © 1982 by John William Myers III.