Southeastern Ohio Civil War Roundtable

Home | News & Events | Newsletter | About Us | History & Photos | Links | Contact Us

< Back
Cumberland's View of Morgan's Raid
Published in the History of Early Cumberland, Compiled Under the Auspices of The Women’s Civic Club Of Cumberland, Ohio
Edited by May Stranathan 1943
Submitted by Peggy Whited


The most exciting event in Cumberland during the Civil War was the raid of John Morgan and his men. News of the approach of the raid of John Morgan and his men. News of the approach of the raiders was shouted to the family of James McClelland, about two miles southeast of the town, by Dr. James McCall, riding by from Zeno. All the men of the family were in the field at work some distance from the house.  Mrs. McClelland and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Alexander McClelland with her small daughter Alta, and step-daughter, Mary, were in the house.  The men had left one horse “Bonnie Blink”, a three year old filly yet unbroken.  Mary McClelland, then but a slip of a girl hurried to the pasture and caught the filly after some effort, succeeded in bridling it, jumped on its back with neither saddle nor blanket, and started to spread the alarm and find the men.  The girl was as spirited as the filly and hung on when the latter cleared the bars to the field, which the girl had not laid down, fearing the animal might go through and escape her.  Mary started sidewise, the only proper way for women in that day, but she now threw one leg over the back of the filly and rode astride, clutching its mane.  Before she reached the men in the field she saw the guns of Morgan’s men facing her, the sun shining on the gun stocks making them seem like a phalanx of spears.  She rode right through them, paying no attention to the command to halt, but digging her heels into the sides of the filly.  When she reached the men in the field she was so exhausted that the men lifted her from her steed, which they hid in a thicket some distance from the road.

Later in the afternoon Morgan’s men took possession of her grandfather’s house, Morgan and several of his officers being quartered in the parlor.  With his army blanket for a shawl Morgan was lying on the floor trying to get some sleep, when he received word that the Union men were near.  He rushed out, forgetting to take the blanket, which has been a prized trophy of the war in the McClelland family ever since.  The heroine of this ride married Thomas Hathaway and lived in Cumberland many years. She died in 1921, leaving a son and daughter.  The latter, Miss Eva Hathaway, still lives in the home.  The son William, died in New York some years ago.  Another daughter, Edna, died many years ago.

At the time of Morgan’s raid Theodore March Frazee was living on a farm between Cumberland and Zeno.  He had come to Ohio in early forties.  He was a harness maker and a dealer in horses.  In the early days he had gone to the eastern market on horseback, leading the horses he had to sell.  At time of Morgan’s raid  Mr. Frazee heard the raiders coming and took his seat on the front porch of his residence.  When the rebels came up they jumped off their horses and started toward the house and shop, when Morgan called, “Halt! The first man who enters that house or shop without orders will be shot.”  That stopped any raiding.  Mrs. Frazee thought that the signal of Free-masonry had been given between her husband and Morgan.  The family had a southern girl working for them and she was told to prepare the best dinner she could for the men.  Morgan, Basil Duke, his second in command, and the rest of his staff sat at the table and the others were fed as long as the food lasted.  All they took from the farm were horses.  One of the men, John Devol, from Kentucky, gave Agnes, the young daughter of the Frazees, his horse, called Robin, which he said his sister had given him when he first joined the cavalry.  He said the horse was exhausted but might live.  Later Union men came through and took this horse, but left it at the fairgrounds in Zanesville.  When Mr. Frazee went to get it the horse was dead.

When they reached Cumberland the members of the Morgan staff became the self-invited guests of the Globe House, demanding supper of the proprietor, while the other soldiers made the same demand of other families.  It was here they began plundering, taking from the store of J. J. Squier goods valued at four hundred dollars, and from the Albert J. Holmes store three hundred dollars worth.  In both cases it was clothing and food which they needed.  From Thomas Lindsay they took a pocketbook containing  twenty-five dollars.  They took guns from other citizens.  Many of the men were so exhausted by the long and hard ride to elude the Union forces hot on their trail that they went to sleep.  One man slept tool long and was riding fast to catch up with his company, when he was told to stop.  He kept on and was shot in the stomach and badly wounded, but he recovered.  More than a hundred horsed were taken from the Cumberland district, fifteen from the Mc Clelland families.  Those who could hid their horsed in the woods.  Morgan was so closely pursued by an army greater than his own, that his men exhausted their horses and abandoned them for fresh ones.  A valuable horse was taken from Dr. Stone.  He offered the Confederates seventy-five dollars if they would leave it, saying he had a critically ill patient he must visit at once.  They took the money and left the horse, but the doctor forgot his patient, and another squad of raiders came along and took the horse.  The doctor having no more money to offer, they were not impressed by his repeated story of his patient.  A Confederate, shot by mistake by one of his comrades, was found lying in the road in front of the home of William LaFollette on the ridge between Cumberland and Point Pleasant, now called Pleasant City.  The LaFollettes cared for the man, who said his name was John Happs. When, after four months, he was able to leave, Union officers took him to prison and the LaFollettes never heard of him again.

More horses were taken by General Shackleford in his pursuit of Morgan than were taken by the raiders.  Claims for these horses were allowed by the state, amounting to more than ten thousand dollars.  But it was hard in many cases to prove these claims as horses had been picked up and left all over the state.

Morgan was in the Ohio penitentiary for four months when he escaped with six of his officers.  With knives taken from the kitchen they cut through nine inches of concrete floors in their cells and nine inches of brick work that formed the roof of the air chamber under the cells.  They tunneled under the stone wall of the building into the prison yard and scaled the outer walls with ropes made of towels and bed ticking.  Mr. Wolfe in his history comment s that there were many “fifth columnists; during the Civil war, and there are still those who believe Morgan and his men walked out the prison doors.  Morgan himself said it was his wife’s prayers that delivered him.  His adventures before he reached his home in Lexington, Ky., are a thrilling tale of daring and persistence.

John H. Morgan, nephew and namesake of the raider, told Mr. Wolfe that his uncle John was kind, generous and very religious, he and his wife being members of the Episcopal church in their home city, and beloved for their deeds of charity.  He never harmed women or children nor did he plunder and burn as most invaders do, with the exception of bridges destroyed to impede the advance of the enemy.  The Ohio State Journal declared that the escape of Morgan was the most humiliating thing that had ever taken place in the history of Ohio.

When Morgan reached Ohio, Governor Todd proclaimed martial law and called for men, more than fifty thousand responding to the call.  It was rumored that the invaders were burning, plundering, killing and taking everything of value.  More than half the adult men of Guernsey County entered the army.  One of these, George McEndree, who had lived in Virginia before moving to Cumberland, and had fought with the rebel forces of that state, now joined the Union forces and fell wounded on the field of Gettysburg. Several Valley township residents, especially those who had come from the Shenandoah Valley and settled near Pleasant City, fought on both sides in the Civil War.

Copyright 2011 © Southeastern Ohio Civil War Roundtable
Questions or Comments concerning this site contact the Webmaster at