ATHENS MESSENGER, Athens, Ohio. (Dated June 1953?). Story and picture by C. H. Harris.--
"The log cabin pictured here was long the home of members of the pioneer Haning family of Athens County, who with the Brooks family, came in the Ohio Company area in 1797 and settled in Alexander and Lodi Townships.
"The rude log cabin was erected in the extreme southwest corner of Lodi Township, almost on the Alexander Township line and there is every reason to believe it was built about 1800 and was the first Ohio home of Margaret Haning Snowden for whom Margaret Creek was named and who is credited with being the first white girl ever to set foot in this region, she was first to land from the canoe which bore her family to the headwaters of this stream.
"The old Brooks home stands in nearby Alexander Township near Wood Lake and was built about the same time or perhaps a couple of years later than the Haning cabin which was near the Baptist Church and the Haning Cemetery of Lodi Township. Both were log structures and each had two floors. The members of the families intermarried and left many descendants.
"Matthew Haning and his family and John Brooks and his family were in the first group to settle in "Southtown" and soon there were others in the settlement and nearby, including the Thompsons, Gabriels, Stanleys, Armstrongs, Ross, Martin, Bobo, Merritt, Lowther. Bowers, Stroud, Stevens, Bowman, and Reeves families. With Matthew Haning were his wife and children, including the 12 year-old Margaret who married a Snowdon, Mary Magdalene, who at 17 married the widower, John Brooks, who was 35, and James Haning who became a soldier in the War of 1812.
"The first wife of John Brooks died shortly after the party arrived overland from New Jersy via the Marietta blockhouse, to the wilderness and was buried near the family home. John Brooks then married Mary Magdalene Haning and they were the parents of 12 children. James Haning lived in Meigs County for a time--Scipio Township is near the home shown above.
"The James Hanings also lived in Alexander and later in adjoining Lodi Township. Among their children were Rev. James Haning, a prosperous farmer of Lodi Township who was long a minister and married twice, both times to members of the Dudley family, and sisters. Another son of James Haning was John, who was a farmer and married a member of the Reeves family. James Haning, Sr., cleared 320 acres of wild land in Lodi Township where he spent his last years.
"Mary Magdalene Haning Brooks was the "doctor" of the area in which is now Wood Lake and also Pleasant Valley Church, She had a diploma which name her as a physician, and rode, day and night over a wide district to tend the sick.When the roads were impassible she road a horse and when the season was more favorable she rode in a buggy. One of her nephews, son of James Haning, was the Rev. Ira Z. Haning, a circuit rider of pioneer days who is credited with the founding of Rio Grande College in Gallia County.
"Mary Magdalene Brooks lived in the ancient log house near Wood Lake, a structure now covered with patent siding.
"In the Haning Cemetery near the log house pictured here are buried James Haning and members of his family, even more members of the pioneer Lodi Township Carsey family,. Millers, Reeves, Morrisons, Abbotts, Kenneys, Pierces, Burts and Brooks family members. The cemetery and the Haning settlement region is west of Shade on a branch of Pratts Fork. The last home of Margaret Haning Snowden and her husband Joseph Snowden, is near the top of the hill region known now as Blackburn Heights on Route 50. It is a log cabin in the last stages of ruin. Her grave is near the home of Francis Lavelle, along Route 50, not far from Fisher Station.
"There are three Haning cemeteries of record in Athens County, and in two of them is buried a Haning who was a soldier in the War of 1812. James Haning is buried in the Lodi Township Cemetery of that name, Moses Haning in the Athens Township cemetery, and John Jones, War of 1812, in the Alexander Township Haning Cemetery. The Athens Township Haning Cemetery is in the extreme corner of the township, a mile east of Route 50, where Athens, Dover, Ames and Canaan township corner."
N.B.: Charles Gabriel, the famous composer of church music, was born southeast of Tipton, Iowa. His ancestors were the Gabriels named above in this article by Harris. Lawrence Welk featured Gabriel's famous "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" with soloists Norma Zimmer, Rhonda English, on several different occasions.