4/6/2011 at 12:25 PM
I found this interesting:
, History of Muskingum County
Thomas McLees was born, November 12, 1823, in a log cabin on what is now known as Blossom farm, Blue Rock township, Muskingum county, Ohio. His father, Joseph McLees, was born, October 24, 1778, in County Antrim, Ireland. Thomas McLees, the father of Joseph McLees, died about 1799 in Ireland, and his wife, Sarah Hunter McLees, came to the United States, in 1801, with four children -- two sons and two daughters: Thomas, Joseph, Agnes and Mary, and landed at Newcastle, Del. One son, William, had preceded them, and Samuel and Rachel died in Ireland. Thomas and William never married; Agnes married Gabriel Blair, and Mary married Thomas Snyder. The parents were natives of the Highlands of Scotland, but were married in Ireland and ther reared their entire family, the youngest, Agnes and Mary, being twenty-one and nineteen years of age, respectively, when they came to this country. Joseph McLees was twenty-three years of age when he came to this country with his mother. He lived in Delaware two years, and then removed to Westmoreland county, Penn., where he remained fifteen years, the coming to Muskingum county, Ohio, he settled in Blue Rock township, on what is now known as Blossom farm. Government land was then selling at $2 per acre, payable in four annual payments, without interest, but before the last payment was due the price had dropped to $1.25 per acre. At that time, March 15, 1818, there was not a stick amiss, and the brush had to be cut to allow the wagon to pass. He cut a trail almost to the top of the hill, there halted, and commenced to clear the ground and build a cabin, 16x18 feet, of round logs. A great hole was cut out for a fire place and another in the side, for a door, a quilt answering the purpose of the door. A large poplar puncheon served as a table. A split rail and holes bored in the walls served as bed posts, forming a bed, 4x6, in the corner of the house, and another in another corner, made in the same style. The mother kept house for her two sons, Joseph and William. Later, William bought a quarter section of land in Blue Rock township, where he built a cabin and lived there seven or eight years all alone, dying in 1827. The mother died in 1826, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, and they both were buried on Blossom farm. Thomas had died in Delaware, soon after coming to this country. The McLees and Hunters were Presbyterians as far back as is known, and the grandfather of Thomas McLees, of Scotland, used to wear his sword to church to defend himself. They were known as Mountain men, and on Grandmother Hunter's side of the family were large, broad-shouldered, muscular men who never gave nor took an insult. The following will illustrate the same: Uncle John Hunter, as he was called, was at a fair given on Lamas day, when he saw a prize fighter abusing an old man. He immediately stepped up to the bully and said: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, to abuse an old man." At this the man became very angry and struck at him, but Uncle John was too quick for him, and felled him to the ground. This settled the fight. The same trait of character follows in the entire family. They love fair play and always sympathize with the abused one. When Joseph McLees moved to this township, in 1818, neighbors were very few: Benjamin Lee was one mile east; John Gibbons Sr., two miles north; Andrew Dixon, three miles west; and David Mitchell and Archibald Bowls four miles southeast, and Hyatts and Carlins, in Morgan county, five or six miles away. It was quite common in those days for neighbors to go six miles to assist in building a cabin, and as they generally came at sunrise, it was without their breakfast. Half their time was taken up assisting their neighbors. March 15, 1821, Joseph McLees, the father of Thomas, married Miss Hannah Morrison, youngest daughter of Capt. Samuel Morrison, of Washington county, Penn. Capt. Morrison was in the volunteer service of his native state, Pennsylvania, in the War of 1812-14. He reared a family of nine children -- five sons and four daughters, and their ancestors were also natives of the Highlands of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. McLees reared a family of two sons and six daughters: Thomas (our subject), John Morrison, Sarah Hunter, Mary L., Margaret M., Agnes, Hannah and Rachel, all living except Margaret M., who died in October, 1863. The father died December 26, 1848, and the mother in September, 1863. The early settlers of this county had many privations, and often the mother has spoken of the time when she picked and burned brush at night, which they used for light. Still they were light hearted, worked with a will, and were very successful.
Thomas McLees received a common-school education in the subscription schools of that day. The salary of the school teachers at that time was about $10 per month; $1.50 a scholar, and twenty to twenty-four scholars was considered a good school. The branches taught in these schools were reading, writing and arithmetic as far as the rule of three, and a school term three months. The first schoolhouse was built on the land owned by Frederick Wion. Thomas McLees first attended school at the Blue Rock Baptist church in 1832, six weeks being the length of a term, and his teacher was Jeremiah Arge. Later he attended the school on Starrett's farm. John Darr was the teacher; he received $100 per year for his services and boarded around among the scholars, remaining a week at each place. This was in 1833 and 1834. A new schoolhouse was built on lands owned by John Grandstaff, about one-half mile from the old one. Thomas McLees stopped school at the age of seventeen years, and in his studies was always at the head of his class, mathematics being his favorite study. When twenty-three years of age, in 1846, he removed to Perry county, Ohio, and lived ther four years, taught three terms of school, and in 1850, after the death of his father, returned to his native home and bought Blossom farm. Here he lived and owned the same until 1891, when he sold it to his son, James R. S. This farm has been owned by McLees for over seventy-four years. August 27, 1844, Thomas McLees married Miss Elizabeth Starrett, and nine children blessed this union -- five sons and four daughters -- seven living at the present time, June 1, 1892. In June, 1855, Mr. McLees was a delegate to the American convention which met at Cleveland and nominated S. P. Chase for governor and Thomas H. Ford, lieutenant governor. In February, 1856, he was duly elected delegate to the national council and nominating convention which met in the city of Philadelphia and nominated Fillmore and Donelson. He, with fifty-seven others -- anti-slavery Americans -- left the convention and on May 31, 1856, helped lay the foundation of the present republican party. Mr. McLees shaved his face smooth and made a promise that he would not shave again until Fremont was elected. Fremont was never elected, neither has he shaved. Mr. McLees has been known as an outspoken anti-slavery man, and served in the Morgan raid five days under Capt. N. F. Claypool. He was mustered out, received his pay, and entered te O. N. G., Ninety-first battalion. On May 2, 1864, he and his two sons reported at Zanesville, Ohio. He and the eldest son, Josiah were mustered into the service of the United States army, in Company I, One Hundred and Sixtieth regiment, Capt. Henry S. Finley, under Gen. Franz Seigel. This regiment was placed in the First brigade First division of Gen. Hunter's army of West Virginia. On the night of July 3, 1864, they retreated from Martinsburg, W. Va., marched through the Potomac river and lay on the banks of the canal in wet clothes. On July 6 they went on to Maryland Heights at 11 o'clock p.m., Gen. Early in his raid following, and the fight began July 5. On July 7, 1864, Josiah McLees was in line of battle between Sharpsburg road and the Potomac river, and at 10 a.m. was mortally wounded, dying July 20. On September 7, 1864, Thomas McLees was mustered out of service. April, 1866, he was elected assessor, and assessed the property in Blue Rock, made his returns in twenty-six days and was reelected for the office in 1867 and 1868. In 1886 he was elected school treasurer, took the books out of chaos, held the office six years in succession, settled annually, and returned the books in good shaped to his successor. In 1866 he was the first commander of the G. A. R. organized in Blue Rock township; was a charter member in Hazlett post No. 81, Zanesville, Ohio. In 1887 Mr. McLees withdrew and joined Dan Brown post No. 380, Duncan's Falls, Ohio, has held the office of commander, was twice delegate to deppartment, also elected surgion, and is at this time chaplain. He is also a member of P. O. S. of A., and has been admitted in Sons of Veteran camp, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Mr. McLees was raised a Henry Clay whig, first voted for Zachary Taylor for president in 1848, and has never missed a spring or fall election. Mr. McLees has been twice married. With his first wife he lived over twenty-four years, and with the second twenty-one years. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church forty-eight years, and by the grace of God, expects t live and die in that church. Mr. McLees bought a house in the Eighth ward, Zanesville, Ohio, and expects to make this his permanent residence. He is one of the prominent citizens of the county, progressive, enterprising and energetic.
From the book "History of Muskingum County, Ohio, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers"