June 14, 2011 01:12PM Admin
Dr. Howard L. Bevis, who died at Columbus, Ohio April 24, 1968 was a descendant of this pioneer family who were among the early settlers of the Northwest Territory. He was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, receiving a Bachelor's degree and a law degree there. He taught law at UC and was the secretary of the Charter Amendment Committee which organized the Charter Party in Cincinnati. He was appointed state director of finance in 1931 and in 1933 became an associate justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to fill out an unexpired term. He received a doctor of science of law degree from Harvard and joined the Harvard faculty in 1935 as a professor of government and law in the graduate school of business administration. He became the seventh president of Ohio State University in 1940. He was president of the state's largest university for sixteen years until his retirement in 1956. He was married in 1914 to Alma D. Murray, a classmate of his student days at the University of Cincinnati. They had one son, Murray Bevis. Dr. Bevis was a member of the Colerain Historical Society during the past several years, expressing his interest in the area which his ancestors helped to settle.
Issacher Bevis, the pioneer ancestor, was in the Revolutionary War in Capt. Taylor's Company of the 7th Battalion of the Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Militia. He was the only child of Thomas Bevis born 1710 in England, and Ann Draper Bevis. Issacher was born in Burlington County, New Jersey in 1740 and there married Ann Kirkpatrick about 1776. They moved to Huntington County, Pennsylvania, where their children were born: Charlotte, 1778; Elizabeth, 1779; Jesse, 1783; and Andrew, 1785. The family came to Ohio in 1792 and helped to re-settle Dunlap's Station abandoned the previous year after St. Clair's disastrous defeat. Elizabeth died January 14, 1801 and was buried in the Dunlap Station Cemetery. Her stone records the earliest known burial. Issacher followed her in 1805 and Ann was buried beside them in 1835.
Jesse Bevis, in 1808, married Sarah Martin, daughter of Samuel W. Martin, another early pioneer. They lived in a cabin near the site of his father's home on the Great Miami. Jesse built a large flatboat on the river bank in 1812 and, taking his own and his neighbors' produce to sell in New Orleans, set off down the river. There he sold his boat load of goods and the boat, bought a horse and made his way back over the old Indian trail known as the Natchez Trace.
This dangerous journey was undertaken by venturesome pioneers because
there weren't enough buyers for their surplus produce. Jesse Bevis
returned home with $400, with which he purchased a tract of land in
Colerain Township and in 1816 established the settlement known as
Bevis. As the hamlet grew larger he built a grist mill near the head
of Bluerock Creek and later a distillery which had an output of 20
gallons a day. He made another flatboat journey to New Orleans in
1825, taking his older sons with him. (The family genealogy lists
his brother Andrew as dying in Vicksburg in 1825. Andrew must have
lived in Colerain Township for his children all married people known
to be residents of Colerain Township. Perhaps Andrew was on this
trip and died on the way down the river). This trip was very profit-
able and less dangerous as they were able to return by steamboat. He
was able to increase his land holdings in Colerain Township and to
improve his buildings. He replaced the old log cabin in 1818 with
a large frame building, with a porch running the full length of the
south side of the building. Jesse Bevis was appointed postmaster,
the postoffice expanding into a general store, later into a prosper-
ous tavern. Some years later this frame was replaced with a sub-
stantial brick. In 1836 the old distillery burned and was replaced
by a much larger one. The first steam engine in the area replaced
the horse power machinery of the old distillery. About the middle
of the century the distillery was converted into a sawmill. The
old brick tavern and community meeting place had to be abandoned
with the building of the Colerain Turnpike, which moved the route
some distance west of the old one, which had joined the Hamilton
Road by what is now known as Belmont Avenue in College Hill. The
old route had been Banning Road as far as Pippin, then somewhere
between Pippin and the present Colerain Road until it joined the
present road somewhere in the vicinity of Struble Road. The
building of the turnpike left the old Bevis settlement stranded and
it naturally moved to the scene of greater travel. A large frame
tavern was built on the turnpike and dedicated New Year's Eve of
1855. Jesse and his sons dug a huge well, some 20 feet in diam-
eter across the pike from the tavern. This was called Franklin
Well. One of his sons started a bus line from Cincinnati to the
tavern. Another son, Martin Bevis, built a hotel known as the
Bevis House at the terminus of the bus line, Court and Walnut
Streets. The 12 children of Jesse and Sarah (Martin) Bevis were:
Martin and Eleanor (Stout) Bevis; James A. and Margaret (Ramsey)
Bevis; Elizabeth Bevis and Joshua Davis (whose sister Phebe marr-
ied Peter J. Laboyteaux; David and Axsher (Stout) Bevis; Mary Bevis
who married John Ramsey and later, James Dick; Charlotte, whose two
husbands were James Beard and Samuel Withrow; Anna (twin of Char-
lotte) was the wife of Thomas Moorhead; Jesse and Nancy (Williamson)
Bevis; Sarah was the wife of Harp Huston; Catherine married Stockton West, a descendant of Charles West, who founded West Union, later to become Groesbeck; Samuel and Elizabeth (McHenry) Bevis; John K. and Katy (Hughes) Bevis.
The grandchildren of Jesse Bevis were united by marriage to
many other of the early pioneer families. Names of Gosling,
Maynard, Struble, Huston, Wetherby, Bosserman, Peck, Jessup,
Williamson, West Hughes, Moorhead, Stout, and many other families
familiar to students of local history. Many of these went to other
parts of the country to become leaders in other communities. Issac-
her, son of Martin and great-great grandson of Issacher, the pioneer
was a prominent businessman in St. Louis. Philemon Bevis, great
grandson of Jesse, was one of the leaders in national Y.M.C.A. work.
Reverend Norman Bevis was the pastor of the U.B. Church at New Haven.
Clifford and Joseph Bevis were in business in Harrison, Ohio. Clif-
ford was also a member of the State Legislature. Physicians in the
family were Dr. Ralph Peck, of California; Dr. J.A. Davis, of Coving-
ton, Ky.; Dr. Campbell, in Newton, Ohio; and Dr. James Potter, of
Baltimore. Dr. Howard L. Bevis's record is well known. Great grand-
sons of Jesse in Cincinnati are St. Clair Bevis and Robert Bevis. Emory A. Bevis lives in Dunlap, Colerain Township. The Bevis family has had along and interesting connection with Hamilton County's history.
Mrs. Howard L. (Alma) Bevis, a member of the Colerain Historical Society, sent some interesting historical information on the area. Quoted from her letter: "Regarding the Bevis house at Bevis: It was the home of David Bevis, my husband's grandfather. Perhaps it was built by his father, Jesse Bevis, owner of Bevis Tavern of early days. It was the first house in that area to have central heating. The heating system was installed by David Bevis's son-in-law, Peck, a member of the heating firm of Peck, Williamson, and Co.
There used to be a large, very substantial barn on the property that dated back many years. (Note - The barn is still there and has many Bevis initials carved on the old beams. The house, also, is still there. It is owned by Klei Lawnmower Sales & Service 10345 Colerain Pike. Dr. Howard Bevis once stopped and talked to Mr. Klei, later wrote him giving him the history of the house. The Klei family are very proud of their home and its history).
The Bevis house was on the west side of the Colerain Pike at the
top of a rise. I remember it as the house on the highest point at
Bevis, a little north of a road that leads east from the Pike. (Struble
Road). The original Bevis Tavern was located on the Pike, which was
then a little east of where it is now. This other road ran east from
Colerain Pike at the point where the Tavern was. (The original Bevis
Tavern site was on present day Bevis Lane. the old Colerain Road hav-
ing been located about a quarter mile east of the present one at that
point. The original Colerain Road left the Hamilton Road by what is today Belmont Avenue in College Hill).
The Tavern was operated at the time of the Andrew Jackson campaign for on one wall of the main room was scrawled a campaign slogan.
At Bevis there was a well. known as Franklin Well. which furnished water to residents of the area. As I recall. the well was on the present Colerain Pike, east side. It was very large and covered with a frame shed.
David Bevis was the father of twelve children. They and their families were accustomed to gather at the David Bevis home on Sundays after church. My husband was a frequent visitor.
David Bevis's brother, Jesse. operated the Bevis Hotel at Court
and Walnut Streets Cincinnati. I think he also operated the Tavern
at Bevis. (Note - the 1855 Directory shows: Bevis House (Bevis &
Ridenour) s.e.c. Court & Walnut; Martin Bevis. s.e.c. Court & Walnut.
The 1858 Directory - Alfred Bevis (Leavitt & B.) Furnishing goods,
bds. Bevis House; Martin Van B. Bevis - bar k. Bevis House. In 1859
appears; Bevis, Martin Van B. - clk - Bevis House; Bevis, Issachar, -
clk - bds Bevis House. In 1861, Bevis, Martin B. & Riley B., Prop.
of Bevis House. In 1862, Bevis, Uriel - b.k. at Bevis House; Bevis,
Jesse (John B. & Co.) h. Bevis, Butler Co.; Bevis, John & Co. (John B. & Jesse B.) prop. Cincinnati & Colerain, Venice & New London Omnibus Line - 169 Walnut St. In 1870 the Bevis House changed owners, but carried the Bevis House name until 1881, when it became the Globe Hotel).
David Bevis built the U.B. Church at Bevis and laid out the adjoining cemetery. He said he was inclined to follow the teachings of Alexander Campbell (Disciples of Christ founder), but established the United Bretheren Church at Bevis because most of the residents of the area subscribed to that faith.
Although Issacher and his son Jesse Bevis bought up their neighbors' corn liquor and floated it on a flat boat down to New Orleans where they sold it and bought a horse and made their way up the Natchez Trace, the Bevis family later became staunch drys.
When I was at Zanesville years ago, I attended a picnic meeting of the Bevises there. As I recall the Bevises there knew they were related to those in Hamilton County, but were uncertain as to the chain of relationship. Apparently some of the Bevises coming west from New Jersey remained in eastern Ohio, but Issacher followed the John Cleves Symmes party to Losantiville."
(Source: Bicentennial publication: Our Heritage: Colerain Township, Ohio. Colerain Twp. Bicentennial Committee, 1976.)