by Wally Garchow
"But don't forget the pioneers!
So ends Long's remarkable little tale of early Versailles, Wayne Township, Darke County, Ohio. Anecdotal and reverant, his tale concludes where we as genealogists begin. Placing this work on the web is a way of extending to new generations Long's completely charming preservation of a past and milieu he knew so well.
Samuel Washington Long (1839-1907) was the youngest child of New Light minister Rev. Stephen Long and his wife Sarah McFlin. In 1862 Sam married Eliza Jane Finfrock (1839-1917), youngest child of John "Peter" Finfrock and Barbara Palmer. Sam, Eliza, and their 11 children were all born in the locale of which he wrote. They lived there all their lives. Sam personally knew many of those mentioned in his pages, and personally witnessed some of the events. Those he didn't know from personal experience, he heard about from honored elders who could provide him first-hand accounts or told the same stories again and again so that their repetitions from teller to teller created in his mind a 'veracity' worth saving.
While there is a little of Sam in the way the book is written, its quaint style and manner, now archaic speech patterns, and what Sam himself calls 'sparkles of poetry', the book is not about him. It is, rather, a lovingly-remembered portrait of the little town where he grew up. It is a record of what Sam himself believed was important about Wayne Township. His enthusiasms (politics and religion) and sense of humor (social commentary) reflect the culture of where he lived during the latter half of the 19th century. It is vintage small-town America written before the Great War and the loss of American innocence.
The book was reprinted in 1975 for America's Bicentenniel with a surname only index added at that time. For this version on the web, the original text was used (as it has now passed into the public domain) and a Table of Contents was constructed from the little section headings, although no contents page actually appeared in the original book. An entirely new FULL name index sorted by surname is being added. This index will include active links to the pages where the names appear as well as links (when they were available to me) to Family Charts where more complete information can be found about these particular families.
The actual pagination of the original has been retained (even though some pages' texts seem not to fully fill the 'frame'). Spelling and capitalization have been preserved as it was in the original, including most of the errors; they are part of the 'charm' of the work. By recreating the pagination and preserving even the errors, researchers can cite their findings in Long as if they had the little book in their hands.
Each web page will have navigation helps at top and bottom so moving around in the book can be as much like flipping pages as possible given the requirements of web page design and on-line environment. I am also making available a scanned image of the township as taken from the 1857 Atlas. It has recently been re-drawn by Tom Midlam just to illustrate this book on-line.
[Caution: the index to Long's Pioneer History available at this web site is my own creation and may not be reproduced in any form or in another location without permission. Contact Wally Garchow to inquire about using this index elsewhere.]
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