A Nobel Experiment -- The Making Of A New County

[This is another newspaper article written by Silas Thorla and published on March 27, 1952 in the Caldwell Journal. Silas was a young 93 when it was written. I include this because of the picture of the area it paints for the mid 1800s. Although not labeled, Renrock is at the location of the small circle on State Route 83 just inside of the western most part of Nobel County.]

If I were to see a cardboard cut into the shape of Nobel County, Ohio (map to the right), my mind would instantly go back two or three generations when the women from Renrock to Hoskinsville would save all the scraps of dressgoods, calico and gingham, and by means of a pattern, cut them into a variety of designs and piece them into a quilt. These quilts were designated by various beautiful (?) names such as "monkey's wrench", devil's claw, fool's puzzle, etc; but a pattern shapped anything like the outline of Noble county would be for a "crazy quilt".

Since we have moved out of the said county, the only crazy thing we know about it is its irregular shape.

This county, the last one formed, (March 11, 1851) was made out of scraps. They took slices off the sides of adjoining counties and pieced them together - enough to make a decent looking county - if it hadn't such ragged irregular edges.

When they got it pieced together, it threw the little village of Sarahsville close to the center and as it doubtlessly had been named for estimable woman, we know not who, it was chosen for the county seat.

Brookfield township, which had formerly belonged to Morgan county, now became part of Nobel County. [Renrock would have been located on what is labeled as Route 83 in the western most part of Nobel County.] During the half dozen years that intervened between the formation of the county and choosing Caldwell as the county seat, aside from the heated controversy over the proposed change, there must have been numerous incidents and happenings of which we fail to have any record.

Back in those days, people just had to do something to relieve their systems of pent-up emotions. It was caused, we think, from the enforced isolation of frontier life. Soon after this new county was formed, some one in the Dye Settlement (about this time it was being changed to the meaningless name of Renrock) committed some little misdemeanors contrary to the law - no serious offense, but instead of having to appear before the court in McConnelsville, he would have to go to a new seat of justice in this little comparatively insignificant village of Sarahsville. For some reason the people of the settlement did not take the case seriously. Rather, they regarded it as a prank. In a way, the resented going to court at Sarahsville = regarded it more as a joke. When the morning of the day came, the affair had grown into a pageant. .... McConnelsville was their emporium. Some had even been to Zanesville. Going to a little "ville" like Sarahsville for law and justice was apparently beneath their dignity.

It was the morning of the day of the trial. What a sight. Had we slipped back into medieval days when knights arrayed in their armor mounted on gaily caparisoned horses, all agiltter with rich trappings, with their ladies at their side, sallying forth to pay homage to some distant castle?

All the available men and women in the community had been mustered and formed into a procession-mounted on gaily decorated horses, such as the county had never before witnessed. What did it mean to the people of Hoskinsville and others along the way? but the approach and entering into Sarahsville was the crowning event?

They make the grand entrance with the trumpets blasting the air with the discordant sounds of long tin dinnerhorns. What does it all mean? The village is being taken by storm! Hither and thither the people of the town run an gather into knots, "what do they want of us?" or "what have they got to sell?". With he horde of strange visitors it was "where can we get something to eat?" and "where can we get something to drink?" Babel and pandemonium reigned supreme. How inadequate the courthouse! How dazed the new county officials. All was scurry and hurry and confusion. Court could not maintain its proper dignity in such an unexpected emergency. The pettifoggers who represented the accused, seemed to be in the ascendency and whether justice was thwarted or not, the defendent got off scot-free!

[Another piece of family history -- I inherited is a crazy quilt made by my great aunt Rosa Dye, daughter of James Harvey Paxton. It hangs on the door into the study as a reminder of family history.]