Source: North Manchester Journal, August 24, 1893
A Hale Old Man.
John Abbott, one of the earliest settlers in the Eel river valley, was born in East Tennessee in the year 1805. His parents soon after moved to Preble county, Ohio, where John lived many years and was married. In 1834 in company with his father he moved to this township and John settled on a piece of land in the north-east corner of the township. His father was his nearest neighbor, over two miles away. In answer to our question in regard to his hunting experience he said:
"Yes, I had to hunt or starve. It was a long way to mill and grain was not plenty or easy to get in the first few years. I used to fire hunt in company with Indians along the river from where a Mr. Chaplin had settled on what is now the Joseph Myers farm, half a mile below Collamer, down as far as to where Liberty Mills was afterward located. It was not an uncommon thing to kill from three to five deer of a night on that run. Our stock run in the woods winter and summer and in the fall months the cows often "layed out," making it necessary to hunt for them. It was on an occasion of this kind that I treed my first bear, or rather three bears on one tree. I had shot and wounded a large buck and started my dog on his trail when the dog soon began barking and I rushed up expecting to find the deer but to my chagrin the dog was barking up a tree. I got mad, thinking he had left the deer's track and treed a squirrel. On looking up, however, I saw a bear and before I could shoot I discovered two others. By that time my heart was thumping around at a fearful rate. I shot and missed and then discovered I had no more bullets. The nearest house was that of Jesse Jenks, to which I made haste after putting my jacket and shirt against the tree on opposite sides to keep the bears from coming down. I rushed up to Mr. Jenks' door, forgetting I had left most of my clothing with the bears, and my coming broke up a meeting being held there and enough of the worshipers went back with me to kill the bears."
Mr. Abbott makes his home with a son at Alexandria. He has just gone home from a visit with his daughters, Mrs. David Hidy and Mrs. James Wilson and their children up to the fifth generation. He is hale and active and says he can jump up and crack his heels together oftener than any young man in town. He is, perhaps, the only man living that came here the head of a family in those early days.