Reminiscences of Samples Landing and Bladen

Some time before the 1812 War, there lived in Berkshire, England, a very rich nobleman by the name of White: John White. He owned horses and land. He was especially proud of his stock of horses, for he rode in his coach of black or white horses, or whatever pleased him best. He also had a fine young coachman and five or six young sons they had; I do not know their names. They only had one girl; one lovely daughter. Her name was Sarah Elizabeth White.

One fine, lovely morning, when they arose, there was nowhere to be found their fine young coachman, John Barker, and upon further investigation, our lovely Sarah Elizabeth had disappeared. Oh, who could ever imagine such a thing or believe such a thing? My fine daughter to elope with a coachman! Oh, how terrible! We never, never will forgive her. We never will as much as will her one pound of our wealth. And they kept their word; they never did.

I am not trying to write fiction. I never read much fiction. This is genuine, authentic truth, facts. Circumstantial evidence proved they still lived in Berkshire, England. Their Shires signify our Country?s counties.

This union was blessed with rather a large family; I do not know the exact number of sons and daughters. I think it was their second or third son, the only individual I am interested in at present. His name was Thomas White Barker, the son of John Barker and Sarah Elizabeth Barker, nee White; a beautiful, fin young man of medium size, tall and rather slender, light weight beautiful dark brown eyes and hair, pale and very fair. He said when he was a boy he and his parents worked in chalk. They made beautiful ornaments to decorate houses with pipes to smoke, with great long stems. Chalk pipes and these ornaments was the aristocratic style of the day.

I never really heard if this boy or young man Thomas White Barker, was a sailor boy or a soldier that run on some British Man O?War ship. Some suggested the Peacock; or the Mayflower. I remember some said it was the Steamship Essex. This is all guess work, I do not know. I leave him here without compliment for the present time.

They say Thomas White Barker was a near-sighted man. If he was, that was all the deficiency we ever knew about him. He was up to the highest notch in truth and honesty, charitable and kind.

At one time they were in a wreck at sea. It appears it was night for some of them were drowned. I do not know when or where. Three of them strove in the water for some time; there were only two that ever reached the shore.

They strove so long in the water and their strength was so exhausted they lay for hours on the shore until the sun rose and dried their clothes and they gained sufficient strength to reach the road.

They walked and walked and never even met one person. After a long distance they saw a path that went out from the main road. ?This will lead us somewhere after a while? they thought. They saw some bananas and went and gathered some and ate some of them but were so very sick and threw them up. They proved to be paw-paws.

After some time they discovered smoke in the distance. Encouraged, they went on but were so weak they were crawling on their hands and knees.

The men at the house saw them and came running to them and carried them into the house. They gave them a few spoonsful of the very best brandy. In a little while they gave them some more brandy and a few bites of something to eat and continued until they were strong enough to eat a full meal. They kept them over three weeks then they parted never to hear from each other again. The stranger went one way and Thomas White Barker the other way.

Next time we heard from him he was at Norfork, Va. Next time a place on the South Branch of the Patomac, so grand. I guess that was where he found his Lady Queen of the Land, with a complexion of fair, so very fair that it corresponded with the light tint of her light colored blonde hair, eyes of a beautiful blue, a kind loving heart that remained through life so very true. Strange, yet true to speak, in age the roses remained upon her cheeks.

Beautiful young lady! Her nationality, one parent was English, the other German. She brought her English Bible and her German Bible with her. She could read them both.

The Miss?s name was Miss Diana Weice, or Weise, from the South Branch of the Patomac. She married the aforesaid, Thomas White Barker, from Berkshire, England. I do not know how long they lived there. For home name, she called him Barker, he called her Diana.

They moved around considerably. Once they lived at Charleston, W. Va., or Malden. Diana made her dollar or more each day sewing.

Bladen, Ohio. Twelve miles below Gallipolis, they had a great Iron Forge and were professional manufacturers of Iron, wholesale contractors and retailers, I guess. Brick for buildings took them down to Cincinnati, on flat boats, they said.

I do not know if the Samples Company ran the Iron Manufacturing Works or not. They had charge of the coal mines, they and a man from Pittsburgh, Penna., by the name of William Clark, a native of Yorkshire, England. His wife?s name was Dorothy Clark. She had a nephew she had raised, by the name of William George Parmley. Mr. Clark assisted with or superintended these coal mines. He died in 1861, and was buried at Bladen.

I expect Bladen and Samples landing were real prosperous in those ancient days. I say for compliment, with their prolific coal mines and timber and a great many more in population.

Thomas White Barker sons worked most of the time on the river, but William had weak lungs. He traveled for some company for his health. Then there was Thomas, John, Robert, Isaac and Hiram. These were the six sons. They had three daughters. The eldest, Miss Eleanor Barker. See married Mr. Joseph Toddoff, from Yorkshire, England, a civil engineer, ship carpenter and cabinet maker. After he had passed away, she married John Urwin. The next daughter?s name was Sarah Elizabeth Barker. She passed away when she was about fourteen years old. The next daughter?s name was Minerva Barker. She married James Morgan Day, a farmer at Leaper, Ohio.

I would be much pleased today if dear old Bladen had as good a prospect of prosperity in view as that day. They say a family lived there by the name of Thomas Bladen; a very fine old gentlemen. That is where it took its individual glorious, sun-kist name from. The reign was assisted by the right honorable Thomas White Barker, who bought himself 160 acres for a home nearby.

Now Thomas White Barker and his beloved wife, Diana Barker, lie buried on the hill immediately back of Elijah Neal?s store, later Ida L. Neal?s store. George Riley Smith had a store there. Dr. Shallcross lived in Bladen; James M. Montgomery lived in Bladen; later Robert Blacklock. His widow still lives there. William and Elizabeth Thompson lived in Blade. Dufours, and Porters lived nearby.

The first coal mine was the John Dufour Coal Mine. He had two sons names August Dufour and Jack or John Dufour. August Dufour married Mary Eleanor Urwin, a beautiful young girl. The next coal mine belonged to Joseph Wilkinson, Englishman from New Lisbon, a school teacher. The next coal mine was Mary Small?s and next Samples Landing, all good mines.

Thomas White barker?s boys worked on the river most of the time. His son, Isaac Barker was on the Blue Ridge Steamboat when she blew up. They say he was pilot on the Steamboat Olevia, she run to Charleston, W. Va. He died in Cincinnati, in 1851, buried in Mercer?s Bottom Cemetery, in W. Va. , by the side of his brother, John Barker. He was drowned and his sister, Sarah Elizabeth Barker, died with fever.

Thomas White Barker moved several times in those days. He bought a home down at Cincinnati, on or near Walnut Hills. They went out shopping or some place and came back just in time to get a trunk that had their money in it, seven hundred dollars, all they had. They moved back to Samples Landing, a gay little prosperous village then, and had a large brick room to teach school in.

There was a good many large families living there then. Small?s, Urwin?s, Robert Barker, yes and many more, too numerous to mention just now. Those were the fine old Spelling Match days and exhibitions. Some of the gentlemen with their house raising days, and ladies with their quilting days, and above all their wool picking bees.

Yes, we like to think of the company as going to meet next month. We are to entertain them. We do not care for turkeys, hens and hams, but they may think they ought to be cooked superior to them old French cooks at Delmonico?s in New York. I heard John Urwin say one of the Samples; I do not know his given name and Robert Barker were two of the most handsome men he had ever looked upon.

Thomas White Barker and Diana Wiece Barker had a very long time ago been called Grandfather and Grandmother Barker. They had bought about 160 acres of land about one mile back of Bladen and their oldest daughter, Mrs. Joseph Toddoff, nee Eleanor Barker, bought 60 acres, more or less, joining.

Near by, people by the name of Blake owned much land near there. They had a Maple grove and had a sugar camp there where they make maple sugar. They said Blake?s raised hops too. The vines run up high poles. When the hops got ripe they brought them in the big barn, picked them off, put them in barrels to get them ready for the Cincinnati market. This is the only hop Bee I ever remember.

?Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord? in the Faith of God.


If I ever had thought these deficient lines of the history of Bladen and Samples Landing would ever be in print, they would have been written differently. They wanted me to write some Memories or Reminiscences of Bladen and Samples Landing, but I did not know they wanted it printed at the time I wrote it.

Written by Josephine Blacklock nee Toddoff and supplied by Terry Daniels. Josephine is Terry's Great Great Grandmother's niece. It was published as a very small book by Downtain Printing Co. of Gallipolis sometime between 1898-1908.

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