Saturday, September 10, 2011

Next time you need a loaf of bread...

The old sandstone marker at the grave of Jacob Foust (d. 1841) tells us in words and in symbol—oak leaves—that Foust led a long life.

In memory of
died April 22, 1841,
in the 86 year of his

Wondering whether one of my go-to accounts of early Delaware County would shed some light on Mr. Foust’s life, I turned to History of Delaware County and Ohio.

Bingo! The following passage helped to bring Jacob Foust back to life, if only in my mind’s eye.

Jacob Foust, with a large family, came to what is now Ohio from Pennsylvania as early as 1799. Upon his arrival at the Ohio River, he found it so swollen by rains that he was forced to camp until it subsided. Crossing near Wheeling and plunging into the forest, he started in the direction Zanesville, at which place he arrived after countless trials, and quarter his family in a blacksmith shop. In a short time, he moved to Ross County, where he remained until the spring of 1807, when he came up to the forks of the Whetstone,1 and squatted on land belonging to the Campbell heirs. He immediately put up a cabin, and then set to work clearing his land, gaining material assistance from his four stalwart sons. The first season, they cleared some five or six acres and planted it with corn. Everything grew finely, and there promised to be a large yield, but the squirrels and racoons which had gotten such a high appreciation of corn from the destruction of the crop of Nathaniel Wyatt, came down in great numbers and destroyed the entire growth. All his family are now dead.

The passage goes on to relate what is a touching story of a husband’s devotion to his wife.

The following story, illustrative of pioneer life, was told by Foust to Judge Powell many years ago. Soon after he had settled and raised his cabin, his wife was taken with a sever attach of chills and fever, and from that cause, she became dyspeptic. They had an abundance of corn-bread in the house, but this, she said, did not agree with her. She told her husband that what she needed was some wheat bread. Foust knew that there was no flour within fifty or sixty miles, but from devotion to his wife, he determined to overcome all obstacles, and get the desired article. He took a bag of wheat on his back, went to Zanesville2 to get it ground, and then brought it back to his wife.

Next time you need a loaf of bread, think of Jacob Foust.

From the archives. Read about my first visit to Mound Cemetery. My daughter and I visited last September, searching for the graves of early Ohio ancestors. 

1 The Whetstone River was later renamed. Today we know it as the Olentangy.
2 From the “forks of the Whetstone” in Delaware County, Ohio to Zanesville? About seventy miles on today’s roads.

Mound (or Foust) Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio


  1. What a great story! Also, that willow tree is beautiful. I envy you your abundance of willow trees; we have so few here, stone or otherwise.

  2. We have plenty of both--live willows and gravestone willows! The more gravestone willows I see, the more I love them. So much variation...


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