We have information on a group of Brethren who came to Marietta about 1800 and later settled in what is now Perry County and Muskingum County along Jonathan Creek - which drains from Big Swamp (Buckeye Lake) to the Muskingum River, just below Zanesville.
Eventually they numbered about 25 families and were among the first Brethren families to come to Ohio. They were led by Elijah Scofield of near Flintstone Gap, MD. They have not been previously identified for various reasons. The church in those days considered record keeping to be prideful (a rather refreshing thought for some of our modern congregations) but such an attitude has made it difficult to find any 1800-1850 membership lists.
We think they came in several small groups. The first came down the Ohio River in 1798 with another party of Brethren who are better known, and who went on to the Big Miami River Valley. Where, under the leader ship of David Bowman they are well documented. We speculate that George Nye of near Hagerstown, Md was part of the group who remained for a few years in Marietta. George Nye and Lewis Nye ( relationship unknown) found suitable land along Jonathan Creek and George entered a half section in 1805. In the same year Lewis entered land and erected a cabin in the Jonathan Creek valley in Newton Township, by then Muskingum County?
Other Brethren soon bought land touching and nearby these first two purchases and the Jonathan Creek Brethren congregation resulted.
George Nye returned to Marietta and in 1807 married Lydia Gardner and took her back to Perry County (Later he removed to Athens County, where he is buried.) Jacob and Mary Twigg Bowser and their only child, son John had not enough money to buy land. They lived and worked in Salem Township. They apparently cared for sheep on shares and found other ways of earning cash. In about 1805 John married Mary M. someone. They had several children and are in the 1810 census. In 1814, John relocated his family and his father and mother to Perry County where they bought George Nye's half section.
The Bowser family may have taken sheep on shares and perhaps earned enough to take sheep with them to their Perry County property. There have been sheep on that property until about 1930.
Anyone interested in the early religion of Marietta and nearby countryside should consider that there were several Brethren families there about 1800 - among the first to enter Ohio.
Contributed by: Arthur H. Laube
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