BELLVILLE — Jason Ireland was the speaker for the Sept. 17 Bellville Jefferson Township Historical Society. Ireland has recently published a book titled The Devil’s Fork about the early pioneers along the Mohican.
The first part of the book is fiction in that conversations have been constructed, but characters and events are historically accurate. The purpose of the book was to pique the interest of the casual history student regarding the rich history of this area.
He started his talk by pointing out that when the characters in the book refer to Lousetown, they actually mean Lexington. The derogatory term for Bellville was Shacktown.
Ohio became a state in 1803. Bellville’s original settlers, James McClure and William Oldfield came to the area in the fall of 1808. Oldfield helped McClure build his cabin, but when he built his own cabin, it had no door. Ohio became a staging point for the War of 1812, and between the British and the Indians, these settlers had as much hardship and bloodshed as they could handle.
The famous Copus massacre occurred in this era.
Then Jason turned his attention to an interesting Bellville area settler known as Celestial Light. It seems that Everah C. LeBlond, as his large obelisk tombstone names him, fled France because he had killed an antagonist in a duel. Celestial Light has quite a story, but for now it is enough to say that he had some money from wealthy parents backing him and he made quite a name for himself in his numerous business, military and government adventures.
Ireland mentioned that before the dams were built for the mills, the Clear Fork was about five feet higher than today. It was possible at that time to take a raft down the Honey Creek.
He said that Tecumseh went out into Lake Erie to watch the battle when Perry defeated the British. When it became apparent to Tecumseh that the British were going to lose the battle, he left the scene.
Tecumseh had been told that Ohio would be returned to the Indians, specifically the Delaware and Wyandots. This battle was evidence that would not be happening.
His book is available at Amazon.com or by contacting him at 60 Sherwood Drive, Lexington 44904.
The next Historical Society meeting will be Monday, Oct. 15. The speaker is to be determined.
The Historical Society, in cooperation with the library, is also sponsoring a cemetery walk Saturday Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seven characters will portray interesting past citizens of Bellville.
Participants will walk from station to station, and total time per station is expected to be approximately 10 minutes.