All photographs Copyright 2005 Mark Blubaugh
 

APPENDIX III, "THE MAGERS - LOGSDON FAMILIES IN AMERICA" by Mary F. (Magers) DeVault, read at the First Annual Magers - McKenzie Reunion at Ft. Wayne, Indiana, July 24, 1938


(This is a reprint from 1977. My editorial comments are set in parentheses. - Rev. Homer D. Blubaugh, March 8, 1996)
 
(This treatise offers a very informative insight into early Maryland, especially the northwestern areas of Cumberland, Frostburg and Mt. Savage. This travelogue by a Magers descendant, Mary DeVault, takes us to Knox County, Ohio, and into Indiana. It is composed of her research and "extensive family stories" and also includes information about Blubaughs, Durbins and Logsdons.)



"Less than two centuries ago, the hills and valleys of western Maryland were covered with primeval forests, through which roamed wild beasts and in which the Indian made his home.
 
The beautiful and now historic Potomac River flowed on its way to the sea undisturbed save by the Indian's canoe. The few white settlements were made near the river and what is now Allegheny County was beyond the frontier.
 
A half century later, civilization had crept this far west. In order to protect the few white settlers and establish a military post, a log fort was built at the mouth of Wills Creek in 1754. It was called Fort Cumberland in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, for then Maryland had been one of the original thirteen colonies.
 
There is a family tradition that our ancestors came to America with Lord Baltimore, seeking religious freedom in 1634. This has not been proven, but many histories make this statement and we may give it some credence.
 
Of the three-hundred passengers on the ships, 'The Ark' and 'The Dove', from England and Ireland and Scotland, only twenty were men of wealth and influence. While the rest were laborers and men of small means who paid their passage by working for the landed proprietors after their arrival in America.
 
I feel sure that, if the tradition is true, our ancestors were among the latter class, anyway I like to think of them as having attended that first Mass on American soil by Father Joseph White, the historian of the expedition.
 
An Indian chief had given him permission to use his wigwam in the in the wilderness as a chapel in which to give thanks for their safe arrival. In traveling from place to place in search of new homes, I have found many of the families in the same pilgrimage, and in consequence many sons and daughters of one family married sons and daughters of others of these pilgrim families.
 
They intermarried to such an extent (often using the same first names) that it is like hunting the proverbial 'needle in the haystack' to trace any particular line.
 
Back in the days of the 'French and Indian War' (1754-60), we find recorded the first Catholic settler in Allegheny County, Maryland, was John Mattingly, a member of one of these closely allied families. Another member of these families was John Arnold, whose 'Will' was recorded in 1761, and his death was the first recorded in the Cumberland District.
 
The first record I have found of the Logsdons is that of five brothers who came to America at least one generation prior to 1799 and settled for a time at Leonardstown, Maryland. Later they moved to other parts of the state. Benedict and Lawrence went to Baltimore and John, Raphael (Ralph) and David went to Mt. Savage, Maryland. (A brief early Logsdon History is available about the grandfather of these five brothers, William Logsdon, a 10-11 year old cabin boy who came from England in 1673-4.)
 
The earliest reference that I can find of the Magers/Majors is in Harford County, Maryland. This reference is to the effect that 'Nathan Magers came to Harford County at a very early period and was one of the pioneers of Allegheny County', so I am assuming that this Nathan was the son of Peter Magers, Sr., who had lived in Harford County before going to Allegheny County.
 
Then we find the 'Will' of Peter Magers, Sr., probated in Frederick County, March 3, 1790, in which are mentioned his wife, Ann, and the following children: Peter, Jr., Nathan, Elias, John, Lawrence, and daughter, Mariah Henrietta.
 
We find many of these allied families (including Blubaughs) as pioneers of Frederick County, then after a time they went farther west to Allegheny County, and it is here that our story becomes more tangible and we can speak with more authority.
 
Raphael/Ralph Logsdon and Margaret Arnold were married at Mt. Savage in 1795. It is possible that they were married in Margaret's father's tavern, where Mass was read until 1825, when St. Ignatius Church was built. John Arnold gave the land for the church and cemetery and many of our forbearers are buried here.
 
Father Stephen Badin, the first priest ordained in the U. S. in 1793 was stationed at Mt. Savage for a few years. He made the journey from Baltimore to Kentucky on foot, and later came to northern Indiana and with Father Soren were the founders of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana.
 
Mt. Savage is a beautiful mountain town ten miles northwest of Cumberland. From William's "History of Allegheny County" I quote the following: 'A visitor in 1845 described Mt. Savage as follows: 'I was astonished to find in the very heart of the wilderness, a scene which almost realized the enchantment of an Eastern fable. I found myself in the midst of a busy manufacturing town of 3,000 souls. The iron works are really stupendous, the fabulous amount of $1,000,000. being invested and about 200 tons of iron being manufactured in one week in this little mountain hamlet. The Mt. Savage Iron Works had the distinction of rolling the first rails made in America. '"
 
Prior to 1787 we find at least one of the Logsdon families migrating to Kentucky. They were among the frontier settlers in the broadest sense of the word and were always found a little beyond the confines of civilization. This life demanded courage in the highest degree, together with an intrepid and resourceful nature.
 
In (George) Washington's diary for 1784, dated in September, he speaks of stopping at the house of Joseph Logsdon for the night and at Thomas Logsdon's on the north branch of the Potomac, where he met a brother of Thomas, and intelligent man, 'who informed me that some years ago he had traveled to the great Kanawha (River in West Virginia), where he asserted that communication to the western world could be made. '
 
Leaving Mr. Logsdon after an early breakfast, Washington crossed the Alleghenies and arrived at Fort Pleasant, Joseph Logsdon acting as his guide.
 
An old history published in 1840 gives an account of Joseph and Mary Logsdon and their son, Joseph, who were among the frontiersmen who settled near the Green River in Kentucky, in 1185. Joseph, the son, was employed by the federal Government as an Indian Scout in this territory and his name is on the original 'Roll and Muster of Scouts and Spies in the Service of the U. S.'
 
Joseph Logsdon was a member of the Regulars, a very necessary organization, following the great war. He was killed in a skirmish with Indians.
 
At a very early date, St. Joseph Seminary was founded at Bardstown, Kentucky, near the Green River. That our ancestors were true patriots in the Revolutionary War is proven by the fact that many of them were members of the Associators or Committee of Observation in the middle district.
 
These Associators or Guards were required to take the 'Oath of Allegiance' and to be men who could be depended on for sobriety and attachment to the cause. Among the members of this guard we find the names Anthony Arnold, (Jacob Bluebaugh), William Logsdon, Sr., Ralph Logsdon, Edwin Logsdon, John Logsdon, Peter Magers, Sr., and his son, Peter Magers, Jr., Elias Magers, Moses McKenzie, Joseph McKenzie, Gabriel McKenzie and Elias McKenzie.
 
(Moses McKenzie was a fifer in the War with England. His daughter, Hannah, married Jacob Blubaugh, son of John Blubaugh I. John and Hannah Blubaugh later migrated to Danville, Knox County, Ohio. Moses' two brothers, Jesse and Joshua, were young drummer boys in the same war. All of this is in the National Archives.)
 
These men all received Military Tracts of Land in Allegheny County, Maryland, in 1188, for their services. Also among those receiving similar tracts we find the family name of Durbin, Mattingly, Porter and Frost. These names are clearly related to the previous list.
 
Our families (including the Blubaughs) were all farmers at this time, so far as I can learn.(In 1776, 90% of the American people lived on farms, while in 1976 less than 10% resided on farms.) They all lived in log cabins, each one as good as his neighbor's. Work was done in a primitive way. The ox team was used, the cradle, the sickle and the flail was used to harvest the grain and corn was ground with mortar and pestle (items now found only in American museums).
 
The house wife's duties included the making of soap (from grease and lye), the baking of bread and corn pone by the wide open fireplace. Even the sugar was homemade (squeezed from corn sorghum) and stored in barrels in the little lean-to. There was scarcely a cabin without its spinning wheel and loom. The mother and daughters 'pick' the wool, card, spin and dye it, then weave the cloth with which they made their men's, women's and children's clothing.
 
In later years a traveling weaver would go from cabin to cabin weaving counterpanes and coverlets. One of these beautiful covers was in the possession of Miss Mary Logsdon of Mt. Savage. It is in six colors and has this legend in one corner: 'Woven for Mary Magers in 1846 by August Brailor. I This was the way of identifying the owner and the weaver.
 
In 1812 an interesting event took place in the family of Nathan Magers, Sr., at Mt. Savage. His daughter, Miss Catherine, became the bride of Meshech Frost on June 16th. The 'National Pike' had just been surveyed by the government and work had just begun at Cumberland, the eastern terminus. Meshech Frost and his bride journeyed the eighteen miles on horseback to Mt. Pleasant and went immediately to housekeeping in a double hewn log cabin where they kept a tavern and boarded laborers on the new highway.
 
In later years this tavern was known as 'Highland Hall' and was the favorite stopping place for all travelers from the south and southwest to the east. The incessant crack of the whip and the clatter of hooves and wagon wheels heralded the arrival of fortune hunters, teamsters, actresses, laborers and statesmen. Among the latter class were Henry Clay, Col. Richard Johnson and Andrew Jackson, who made it a point to stop here on their way to Washington.
 
When Mt. Pleasant changed its name is not certain, but from the building of the 'National Pike' and the establishment of the Post Office it has been called Frostburg, now a town of 6,500 people, year 1938. In 1912 Frostburg celebrated its centennial on an elaborate scale.
 
The Frostburg Mining Journal published a handsome souvenir edition descriptive of the town and its history. In part it says: 'Mr. and Mrs. Meshech Frost built their home and conducted a tavern on the spot where St. Michael's Church now stands, directly on the National Highway. They are laid to rest in this yard and a beautiful monument has been erected to honor and perpetuate the memory of the Founders of Frostburg.'
 
Their old house is still occupied. It is called the 'Frost Mansion', located on Frost Avenue, and has every appearance of having been the home of a prosperous and influential family.
 
The pioneer spirit that prompted their ancestors to migrate to America in the 17th century is still possessed by these hardy families and we find a caravan of these allied peoples moving to the far West, the 'Ohio Country' in 1819.
 
The history of Knox County has this to say of these pioneer home seekers, 'The Catholics were the religious pioneers of Union Township, Knox County. They were composed of families from Maryland who were descendants of Lord Baltimore's Catholic Colony.'
 
Among the many brides and grooms who made this perilous journey through the wilderness were my grandfather, Nathan Magers, Sr., and his bride, Winifred Logsdon Magers, who were married April 11, 1819, in Mt. Savage. They are also the grandparents of many of the Magers and McKenzies here (in Indiana) today, for their families still intermarry as of old.
 
This caravan from over the mountains in Maryland did not travel in the protection of covered wagons. They rode horseback, carrying all their earthly possessions, clothing and their household utensils. Their journey was fraught with dangers of every kind, attacks of wild animals and Indians and no doubt many harrowing experiences were theirs if but we knew.
 
They traveled over bridle paths and Indians trails for roads had not yet been surveyed as far West as Central Ohio. Upon their arrival at this Promised Land these related families settled a few (fifteen) miles northwest of Mt. Vernon in Knox County.
 
These settlers cleared the land and used the logs to build their cabins, each man helping his neighbors. As soon as homes were built, they erected a small log church in 1822, the second Catholic Church in Ohio. (The first Catholic Church was built and blessed as St. Joseph, near Somerset, Perry County, Ohio, in 1818.)
 
These pioneers were all farmers and located their cabins as near to each other as possible for convenience and protection. They named their little settlement Danville (after the local pioneer surveyor and veteran of the War of 1812, Daniel Sapp. Previously the area 2 mile southwest was known as 'Sapps Settlement' where the Catholic churches and cemetery were located,)
 
After clearing their lands and planting their crops, they planted a small garden patch of vegetables and beautified it with flowers. The famous benefactor of mankind known as 'Johnny Appleseed' carne into this section at an early date and planted many fruit orchards, apples, plums and peaches. He also warned many settlers of Indian attacks.
 
On one occasion he made the trip from Mansfield to Mt. Vernon, the county seat, under cover of night, to secure help when Indians (the Mohicans) threatened attack on the settlers. He made the thirty mile trip on foot, in five hours, and thus averted serious trouble.
 
After these pioneers had worshipped ten years of more in this little log church, it became necessary to accommodate the increasing congregation, so a larger frame church was built in 1831 by Father Lamy, who afterward became Bishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among the highest subscribers of St. Luke Church was my grandfather, Nathan Magers, who gave $1,000 and a few others gave a like amount.
 
My grandparents lived all their married life in St. Luke's Parish. They died there and are buried in that cemetery. Their funeral sermons were preached by Father Julius Brent, a relative who was stationed there, 1854-74. In St. Luke's Church the eight sons of Nathan and Winifred Magers were baptized, from Ambrose, the eldest, born May 5, 1820, to my father, Francis Marion, born January 28, 1838. One of the sons died in infancy. Grandfather died when my father was four years old, leaving grandmother to raise her seven sons to manhood.
 
She must have been a very self-reliant, resourceful, and courageous woman to have accomplished this task as successfully as she did. She lived on the same farm until her death in 1863. Her sons may have been denied many of the joys and advantages of youth, but they were comfortably clothed and fed, and educated as well as conditions allowed.
 
At the age of fourteen my father entered St. Mary's Academy at Perrysville, Missouri, near St. Genevieve, where he remained three years. He also spent one year at St. Joseph Seminary, Bardstown, Kentucky, where he lived with a Logsdon family who were relatives.
 
The wandering spirit still possessed these families and we find some of the Magers and the McKenzies making the trip to the new country of Noble and Allen Counties in Indiana. They were pioneers in this section for they came in the 1850's. Elias McKenzie settled in Allen County and Ambrose and John Magers in Noble County.
 
Frances Marion, my father, came from Knox County in 1855 and taught school in Noble County for a few years. He then returned to Knox County, Ohio, where he taught in the district school until his mother's death. He remained in Knox County and read medicine with Dr. Casimer Bryant at Mt. Vernon.
 
He then in 1864 entered the Medical School at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following year he engaged in active practice in Churubusco, Indiana, where for over fifty years he was eminently successful as a country doctor, his practice extending through Allen, Noble and Whitley Counties, Indiana.
 
Francis Magers married Mary Ellen Metzger at Academie, northeast of Ft. Wayne, on November 23, 1865, by Father Carrier. They were the parents of seven children, all living except the eldest, Casimir Bryant Magers, who died suddenly in 1924, and the youngest, a daughter, Gertrude, born in 1885 and died in 1912. Ursula, single, lives in the old home in Churubusco, where the family lived for over sixty years.
 
Edmond is located at Thayer, Missouri, and Frank at Bismark, North Dakota. Bessie Maloney resides in Milford, Indiana, and I, Mary F. (Magers) DeVault, in Kendallville, Indiana. They were devoted members of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at Ege, Noble Country, Indiana, and are buried in the church cemetery. Francis died in 1915 and Mary, 1934. They were revered and respected by the whole community in which they had lived for some many years.
 
TO OUR FOREFATHERS
Our Forefathers belonged to an aristocracy not of royal blood, but of service. Their true Christian character, aims and achievements are very worthy of preservation, none the less. 'Their coat of arms are Noble Deeds. Their peerage is from God.
 
TO OUR PIONEER MOTHERS

They conquered the primeval wilderness with a fortitude unparalleled in the annals of sublime womanhood. They gave counsel and comfort to the sturdy, heroic men who became the founders of our nation. They directed their children along the trail that led to the very summit of useful patriotic citizenship.
 
They braved the perils of plain and forest, of mountain, and river, of wild beast and lawless men to build a home in the freedom of the open spaces on the Western frontier. They had no thought of direction, save that it was God's will to guide their footsteps into a land rich in opportunity for their loved ones.
 
They broke all ties of ancestry and kindred and set their faces fearlessly into the golden glow of the setting sun. It is to them that we give praise for a patriotism, a courage and vision far greater than our own."


      
(P. S. My clarifications, additions and corrections to Mary's manuscript came from information that she did not have almost sixty ago. Having visited Cumberland, Frostburg and Mt. Savage, Maryland, her descriptions are apt. - HdB)

All text Copyright 1977-2002 Father Homer Blubaugh