Local authority on Morgan’s raid to be presenter

Lyle Zerla will be the speaker at the next meeting of the Jefferson County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogy Society when it meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Powell’s Lane in Wintersville.

It is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Zerla is a local expert on the history of the raid across our area by John Hunt Morgan and his men during the Civil War. He has been interested in Morgan since he was a toddler who played on a Morgan Monument near his uncle’s car dealership in Dillonvale. At that young age, he knew that when he could read, he would learn all he could about this man Morgan that the monument spoke of. He has since been researching Morgan’s Raid. He has given many informational talks about Morgan and frequently guides a tour for the public along Morgan’s trail through Jefferson and Columbiana counties.

His next tour is scheduled on July 27 and is open to anyone who is interested.

Confederate Brigadier Gen. John Hunt Morgan brought the Civil War to the North as he raced across Ohio with over 2000 veteran Confederate soldiers at his command. His mission was to occupy and divert the Union soldiers to him so that there would be less opposition in the South and the Confederates could more easily win the war.

His troups entered Ohio near Cincinnati and continued across in a southeasterly manner until they reached the Ohio River. At this point, under pressure form the Ohio militia, they tried to cross into Kentucky but were stopped and many captured or killed. The remainder, including Morgan continued north, into Jefferson County. Their trail through our county included Dillonvale, New Alexandria, Wintersville, East Springfield and Bergholz. Morgan was finally captured in Columbiana County on the road between Lisbon and West Point by Major Rue. He was confined in the Ohio Penitentiary where he escaped to the south but was killed in battle there in less than a year.

As Morgan and his men crossed Ohio they stole supplies and over 2500 horses from civilians. Over 4000 people filed for compensation with the federal government for items lost to the Raiders. Claims totaled almost $7000. About 50,000 Ohio militia men were activated to stop Morgan costing Ohio over $100,000. There were clashes and casualties in Wintersville, East Springfield and Bergholz.

This year Zerla will guide the tour along Morgan’s route from Harrisville to West Point. The tour is 44 miles long and will be a full 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. Lunch will be in Wintersville. There is a $5 charge of which a percentage will go to a monument for an unmarked grave of one of Morgan’s men.

For information, contact Zerla at 101 Novak Drive, Dillonvale, OH 43917 or (740) 769-29959 if interested.