Ewing Family Association

Clan Ewing of Scotland
Elbert William R. Ewing, A.M., LL.B., LL.D.

Chapter XXIII

Descendants of John Ewing of Penna.-Ohio

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The descendants of John Ewing, born about 1760, who for a period lived near Gettysburg, are certainly closely, in my opinion, related to the older Cecil County family.  Family traits, resemblances, etc., are so striking that little other proof is needed.  Hence, these facts and traditions of Scotch descent satisfactorily show that this John Ewing branch is also descended from the old Loch Lomond family, the ancestor of which bore the old Ewing arms, and to one branch of which Bishop Ewing of Scotland belonged.  This older John Ewing married Margaret Townsley, and to them were born: Rachel, born 1793; Margaret, 1795; Samuel, 1797; John, January 16, 1800; James, December 27, 1801.

In 1795 John, the father of this family, moved to Campbell County, Kentucky, and about 1802 to Clermont County, Ohio, and there died in 1803.

John II of this family in 1833 married a daughter of the wealthy Silas Roberts of Ohio, and to them were born twelve children.  Four of them are living as this book goes to press:  William, of Colorado; Miss Elizabeth Ewing of Los Angeles, California; Miss Ida Ewing of New York City; and Mrs. Dr. Cummins B. Jones of Los Angeles.

An article published in an Ohio newspaper, March 14, 1890, contains an interview with this John II Ewing, aged ninety.  From what he said we get some interesting facts.  This article refers to him as "prominent in the gallery of Ohio's venerable pioneer patriarchs and known to most of the old settlers of Southern Ohio, and the people who traveled in the old stages from Cincinnati to Columbus and Springfield before the days of railroads."

From this interview we find that from Gettysburg the elder John went down the Ohio River in a flat bottom boat, then so much used by travelers going in the direction of the current.  What is now Cincinnati was then known as Fort Washington, and occasionally as Losantville.  The fort protected a little settlement on the north bank of the river; while on the Kentucky side there was another settlement.  For a time the older John Ewing cast his lot on the Kentucky shore; but, as we have seen, shortly crossed to Ohio.

Ohio was then yet largely a dangerous wilderness.  The Ewing home was far from the older communities, and the family bravely met the inevitable hardships and inconveniences, the children not neglecting such education as could be had.

In 1814 John, the younger, went to Xenia and entered the store of J. Gowdy, a relative.  He found time from store duties, however, to attend school.  When of lawful age, Mr. Gowdy made Ewing a partner, the firm becoming Gowdy, Ewing & Co.  This firm became one of great prominence, being, among other things, an important pioneer in the pork packing industry.  Ewing in a few years purchased the interest of the other partners and continued a most successful career.

In the interview John II says his father meant to settle in Ohio when he left Pennsylvania, but paused on the Kentucky side of the Ohio because of the acute danger from Indians on the north side of the river.  Too, a brother lived on the Kentucky side.  After the elder John's death the mother took young John back to this uncle in Kentucky, and there the boy remained several years.  The mother made the trip on horseback, necessarily; and though the lad was only three years old he never forgot two impressions made then.  One was that when the mother was worn out carrying him in her lap she would place him behind her, warning him that if he went to sleep and fell off the bears would eat him up!  The other impression was his "utterly lost feeling when he found that his mother had gone home and left him."  The uncle's family were kindly and aided him to forget his grief by teaching him to build houses of corn cobs, a representative and touching picture of the amusements and play-toys of our early American Ewing ancestors generally.

"Afterward he went to Batavia (Ohio) with his uncle, who also moved there, and went to school to another uncle," until about the age of fourteen when he went to Xenia with Gowdy, the first merchant of that place, as we have seen.

In mature life John II made several trips on horseback from Xenia to Philadelphia.  In the "thirties" he loaded two steamboats with bacon, flour and other commodities, steamed into New Orleans, sold part of merchandise in that market; loaded a brig with the bacon and sailed around Florida to Charleston, South Carolina; advertised the bacon for three days "and then sold it at a big profit."  He then went north to Philadelphia, purchased merchandise for his store, which goods, by the way, went out in big wagons of the pioneer type, and returned to Xenia in September.  He left home in April.

John II. Ewing built and long controlled the Ewing House, for many years Xenia's leading hotel.  "The stage used to start from it, and many is the prominent person who stopped at this hotel long years ago."

At ninety-three this John Ewing died at his lovely Xenia, Ohio, home, April, 1893.  Honest, of great energy, fearless, progressive, he stands a representative of the Ewing blood which came to him as to us from our Scotch ancestry.       

Miss Lizzie Ewing and Miss Ida Ewing and their brother, Samuel, all remained unmarried and tenderly cared for their father at his home.  But the historic old Ewing home of Xenia is now no more—alas, representative, again, of so many of the old homes of our clan.  Miss Lizzie lives now in Los Angeles, amid its roses; Miss Ida, having become an accomplished musician by study in Europe, now operates a successful musical studio in New York City; and Mrs. Alice Ewing Jones, widow of the late distinguished Dr. Jones, spends her time between her Los Angeles home, Washington, D. C., and New York City; and most wisely handles her large financial interests.

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Page last updated 13 October 2008.
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