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Something of the Pettijohn (Pettyjohn) Family

 




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RUTH  PETTIJOHN

(10, 50)

 

AMONG the children of William Pettyjohn (7), and his wife Constance, was a daughter, Ruth (10), who was quite a character in the history of the family. The following from the pen of her great-great-granddaughter, Margaret Pettyjohn, daughter of Sherman Pettyjohn (304), of [address omitted]., Walla Walla, Wash., will be of interest to her descendants:

"Ruth Pettyjohn (10, 50), third child of William Pettyjohn, Jr., (7), was born in Monongalia County, West Virginia, June 24, 1784, where, on August 30, 1802, she married her second cousin, Thomas Pettyjohn (50). The first of their thirteen children was Samuel (79), my great-grandfather, born June 15, 1803. He was followed by his sister, Huldah (80), born December 17, 1804, and Boaz (81) was 'on the way,' when in 1806 the young family loaded their few household goods on a flat boat and floated down the Ohio River in search of better land and opportunity. They settled in the beech woods of Highland County, Ohio, just a little north of the river in the western part of the state. Here, soon after their arrival, the son Boaz (81) was born, August 27, 1806.

"The country was heavily wooded and the husband and father, Thomas (50), immediately set himself to the task of carving out a home. He was an industrious worker, and while the land was extremely hard to clear, in the next eighteen years he had quite a farm in cultivation. He served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church of Highland County and became a man of some importance in the community. At the age of forty-four years he died, leaving his wife, Ruth (10, 50), then forty years of age, with a family of thirteen children, Samuel (79), my great-grandfather, the eldest, being but twenty-one, and the youngest a babe in arms. Jonas (85), one of the thirteen children, in his 'Autobiography,' says that 'It was a hard row for Mother to hoe,' and we may well believe it to have been true.

"Samuel (79), the eldest, was but twenty-one when his father died, and, although he married in the following year, he attempted to help his mother by renting some of her land and managing her farm. Since he was the eldest child, the responsibility fell on him. Times grew hard and, according to Jonas in his book, the old farm became very much run down. An 'on west' movement was on again, and sometime during the winter of 1837-8 the old home farm in Highland County, Ohio, along with the land Samuel (79) had accumulated on his own, was sold, and Samuel and his family, his sister Rhoana (84) (Mrs. John Graham), and family, and grandmother Ruth (10) and her three youngest children, Titus (109), Hannah (110) and Thomas (111), started by wagons and teams to Illinois, where Samuel's oldest sister, Huldah (80), then married to John Milton, had preceded them earlier in 1837. The Miltons settled in Highland County and the Grahams located in Schuyler County, Illinois. Samuel (79) first settled in Edgar County, but later moved to Schuyler County. Grandmother Ruth (10) bought forty acres of land adjoining the Milton's place, and, according to Jonas' book, had quite a comfortable log house on it when he 'wandered back there in 1839.' He says it had a fire place with a chimney, the lower part of which was built of stone, and the upper part of sod, such chimneys being quite common at that time.

"Samuel (79) lived but seven years after moving to Illinois where his death took place September 28, 1845. Like his father before him he left a large family of young children. There were eight of them, the eldest being Jonathon (112), my grandfather, then but eighteen years of age. The mother, Abigail, was undoubtedly a woman of great fortitude and of moral and physical strength. Praise is due such pioneer women as great -great-grandmother Ruth (10), and great-grandmother Abigail for their determination to carry on in that new country, and to rear their families, left, as they were, to depend upon their own resources by the untimely deaths of the heads of the families.

"Great-grandmother Abigail successfully operated and managed the Edgar County farm. When well advanced in years she paid a visit to her son, my grandfather Jonathan (112), who lived near Prescott, Washington. Although an old lady at the time, she was active in mind and body. As an example of her vigor and resourcefulness, the family story is told, that while on this visit, Joe Utter, who had married into the family (225), came rushing down to Grandfather Jonathan's to have one of the boys mount the fastest horse on the ranch and hurry to Walla Walla for the doctor - another Utter was about to be. Great-grandmother Abigail, overhearing the conversation, hurried out and said, 'Tom, Amos, or one of you boys, put that horse away. I'll take care of her myself,' and she did. As Joe Utter (225) married Carrie Pettyjohn in 1878, his offspring must have come along some time after that date, and great-grandmother Abigail undoubtedly was past seventy-five years of age at that time. She spent the last years of her long and eventful life with her son, Thomas (264), on his farm on the South Fork of the Touchet River, near Dayton, Washington, where she died August 31, 1897, at the ripe old age of ninety-three years."

(Note: The numbers in parenthesis refer to the corresponding number in the Genealogical List, where further data is set out.)

 

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