Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lucasville Duels and Conflicts: Major Munn and Captain Lucas

Lucasville residents may know that the Lucas family founded the town and that Robert Lucas later served as the 12th Governor of the U.S. state of Ohio, but do they know of Lucas's dangerous encounters with resident Major James Munn?

Read on and discover some little-known local history.

Robert Lucas came to Ohio with his father in 1802. He was of mature age, and well qualified both by ability and education to take an active part in all matters pertaining to the organization of a new county and State. In 1803 he was the first county surveyor of Scioto county. He was especially efficient in organizing the militia, and was the first brigadier-general in the country.

The “Almost” Duel

Historian Henry Howe (1816 – 1893) recounts a dispute between Lucas and Munn:

A number of horses had been stolen by Indians, and the settlers formed themselves into a military company to pursue the thieves, and if possible recover their stolen property. Robert Lucas was elected captain of the company (in 1807). They overtook the Indians, but not until after traveling a long distance from the settlements and Lucas concluded that it would not be safe to attack them.

Many of the company were indignant at this extreme caution, and Major Munn applied the epithet of “coward” to Lucas; whereupon the latter challenged Munn to fight a duel. The challenged was accepted, broadswords chosen as weapons and the next morning the appointed time.

Munn was promptly on the ground, but Lucas failed to appear, sending instead a note asking if the difficulty could not be settled in an amicable manner. Munn read the note and smiled, saying, “Certainly, it is his quarrel, and if he is satisfied, so am I.”

(Henry Howe. Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio Volume II. 1888.)

Governor Lucas and Major Munn crossed paths again. This time the conflict was the result of a rather delicate matter. Here is Henry Howe's account:

In 1810 a girl of the neighborhood laid a child to his (Lucas's) charge and called upon him to pay damages. This he declined to do, and a process was procured to take him to jail. When the sheriff attempted to serve the process he resisted and would not be taken. Thereupon, rather than endanger his life, the sheriff resigned, and his duties devolved upon the coroner, Maj. Munn, whom Lucas had previously challenged to fight a duel.

Maj. Munn failed to arrest Lucas, and he also resigned. Then Lucas threatened to kill the clerk who had issued the writ, and he resigned.

Upon this a call was made for county officers who could and would enforce the laws and arrest him. A young school teacher, John R. Turner, of Alexandria, came forward and said he would issue a writ if made clerk. Elijah Glover said, 'Make me sheriff, and by G--d I’ll take Gen. Lucas to jail, or any other man.'

They were appointed, the writ was issued, and when Glover showed the writ to Lucas, he quietly submitted and went to jail. But Squire Brown, father-in-law of Lucas, interfered to prevent the arrest, when Nathan Glover, a brother of the sheriff, picked him up and threw him into a clump of jimson weed, and told him to lie there and keep quiet or he might get into trouble. He lay there and kept quiet.”

(Henry Howe. Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio Volume II. 1888.)

Nothing more is recorded about the outcome of this incident, so we must speculate as to the final verdict rendered. By the way, Major Munn is buried on a knoll overlooking Clarktown. Anyway, the stories excite our imaginations with tales of Indians, broadswords, and frontier affairs. Perhaps, somewhere out there under the weeds of time, there lies the proverbial, yet-to-be-discovered “rest of the story.”

The Lucasville Area Historical Society would like to help those with genealogical interests. Here are some records for the Munn family. Feel free to add more information to this important part of Lucasville, Ohio history.

John Munn, Sr.

December 1, 1736
before 1802
Washington, PA, USA
Immediate Family:
Husband of Mary Margaret Munn
Father of Capt. James Munn; Mary Byers; Josiah Munn; John Munn, Jr.; Margaret Adams and 3 others

Managed by:
Janet Anne Petrak (Crawford) R1B
Last Updated:
March 2, 2015

James Munn

October 26, 1755 (83)
Cumberland, PA, USA
March 11, 1839 (83)
Scioto, OH, USA
Place of Burial:
Near Clarktown, Ohio, USA
Immediate Family:
Son of John Munn, Sr. and Mary Margaret Munn
Husband of Arzubah Munn
Father of John Munn, Jr.; William Munn; Hannah Burt; James Munn, Jr.; Margaret (Peggy) Munn and 5 others
Brother of Mary Byers; Josiah Munn; John Munn, Jr.; Margaret Adams; David Munn and 2 others

James Munn, Jr.

1796 (57)
Scioto, OH, USA
1853 (57)
Immediate Family:
Son of Capt. James Munn and Arzubah Munn
Husband of Filena Ann Munn
Father of John Heller Munn; Henry Harrison Munn; Nathaniel Franklin Munn; William Ridgley Munn; Electra Ann Munn and 3 others
Brother of John Munn, Jr.; William Munn; Hannah Burt; Margaret (Peggy) Munn; Polly Munn and 4 others

Managed by:
Private User
Last Updated:
January 2, 2016

Ira Munn, great grandson of John Munn, Sr.

Hell's Hollow Strawberry Pickers on the Willima Rheinoehl farm near present Burns Road. (Rheinoehl right, seated) Fourth from left, back row, Ira Munn II, great-grandson of Capt. (Major) James Munn.

No comments: