Morgan’s Raiders Meet Mrs. Roudebush
Roudebush Farm–described in my last two blog posts–while fantastic from an architectural standpoint, is also associated with some interesting historical tidbits about its original owners. Located in Harrison Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, the property is a uniquely-preserved late 19th century farmstead with an Italianate house and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Ref #76001449).
Harrison Township, located in the northwestern corner of the county, was created in 1835 from portions of nearby Crosby and Whitewater townships as a result of the area’s increasing population. Its boundary lines may be artificial but the township does sit chiefly in the valleys of the Whitewater River and Dry Fork Creek, providing both soil fertility and mostly flat terrain. This attracted Hamman Hersch Roudebush, who, in 1859, bought the property at the intersection of Kilby and Campbell roads, known as “Sand Hill”.
That same year, Hamman and his wife, Emaline Avery Simonson Roudebush, built a frame home and barn (the brick Italianate portion of home was built in 1870 and the original barn still stands to the east of the farmhouse).
One of the more notable events in the early history of Harrison Township occurred in July 1863: the John Morgan Raid.
Morgan’s Raid was great for Confederate propaganda. The raid was a cavalry incursion into the Northern states of Indiana and Ohio during the Civil War. The raid took place from June 11 to July 26, 1863, and is named for the commander of the Confederates, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan. The raiders covered over 1,000 miles from Tennessee to northern Ohio. Occurring at the same time as the Vicksburg and Gettysburg campaigns, it served to draw the attention of tens of thousands of Federal troops away from normal duties and, of course, struck fear in the civilian population of Northern states.
The Confederate raiders entered Ohio on July 13, 1863, destroying bridges, railroads, and government stores. As the column passed through Harrison Township, they took horses and burned the bridge over the Whitewater River…Coincidentally, at the same time, Mrs. Roudebush had taken a horse and buggy and was en route to visit her sister and husband, Henry Roudebush, who were expecting a child…
Mrs. Roudebush–22 at the time–left her sister’s home shortly after the baby was born. With only so many roadways available for travel, she soon “bumped” into Morgan’s raiders. As the story goes, one of the raiders dumped his assorted booty and weapons into her buggy and demanded to be taken to Harrison. She was then forced to wait while the Confederates looted the stores–and again forced to drive her buggy out of Harrison heaped high with plundered goods.
Fortunately, Mr. Roudebush–32 at the time–had been warned of the raiders presence and quickly went out to search for his wife. As they were leaving Harrison, he spotted the Confederates as well as his wife’s buggy in the procession. He desperately tried to grab her, to pull her to safety when one of the raiders shouted “How dare you accost this fine lady?!” He quickly responded that she was his wife! The couple were forced to ride on with the Confederates but Mr. Roudebush whispered to his wife to whip the horse when they passed New Haven Road (a main road heading east out of Harrison towards Dry Fork Creek)…It worked and the Roudebushes escaped to safety. Reportedly, Mrs. Roudebush is known to have considered the ride worse than the raiders, the later having been “perfect gentlemen”.
After the death of Hammond and Emeline (1914), Roudebush Farm passed to their daughter Jane Catherine Roudebush. Upon her death in 1945, the property passed to her brother and youngest son of Hammond and Emaline, Clarence C. Roudebush, and then later to to his daughter Nancy Ann Roudebush McGary (2012). Being kept in the family for such a length of time, we can can thank the entire Roudebush family for the wonderful preservation of their farm.
1999 Horwitz, Lester V.
The Longest Raid of the Civil War. Farmcourt Publishing, Cincinnati, Ohio.