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Archiver > OHMEIGS > 2002-04 > 1018448103

Subject: [OHMEIGS] Harris History -- Bierce, Pierce, Good, Guthrie
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 10:15:03 EDT

The following article is from The Harris History by Charles H. Harris, 1957
and is being posted with the permission of the Athens Messenger. It may not
be reproduced in anyway or form without first obtaining permission from the
original publishers, The Athens-Messenger. The copyright on these articles
is held by the Athens-Messenger, Athens, Ohio.

I am posting these articles exactly as they appear in The Harris History, it
is my hope they will further aid you in your research.

I have no further information on the people mentioned in the articles. I
would suggest if you are working on any of the surnames in these articles you
consider the information within as leads only, not fact. You should always
backup these leads with primary and secondary sources. Mr. Harris obtained
his information by interviewing family and friends of the families and not
through genealogical research.

Ervin's Pioneer History of Meigs County related a story of the death of
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce, world famous author of terrifying stories, who was
born near Eagle Ridge on Horse Cave Creek in Chester Township in 1842. His
birthplace was a log cabin not far from the Bashan postoffice, the home he
left with his family when he was a youth to go on and become "Bitter Bierce,"
whose life and works have been told in several books published during the
last two decades.

The Bierces did not live too many years in Meigs County and their youngest
son, Ambrose Gwinett, rarely referred throughout his life to his humble
beginnings on Horse Cave Creek. He died of a gunshot wound while fighting
with the foreign legion of Pancho Villa's forces in Mexico - in the spring of
1914 at the age of 72. Or at least the story of his death at that time is
the most authentic one of his tragic fate.

He left the State in 1913 when he declared he was lonely and weary
of the world after asking his few friends to 'forgive him in not perishing
where he was'. In his farewell note he said, "If you hear of my being stood
up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags, please know I think it is a
pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease or falling
down the cellar stairs."

Bierce's parents were Marcus Aurelius Bierce and Laura Sherwood Pierce. The
father named his ten children - - Abigail, Addison, Aurelius, Amelia, Ann,
Augustus, Andrew, Almeda, Albert and Ambrose. He was a man of fine
background and his famous son later spoke of the good books his father owned.

One of the brothers of Marcus Aurelius Bierce was Colonel Royal C. Bierce of
Civil War fame and another was Frederick, who helped to found Rush Medical
College. And Ambrose Bierce himself had an unusual mind, even if he was
known as one of the most eccentric and caustic writers of American
literature. His work it is believed, lead to many of the stories of O. Henry
and other writers.

Some years before the Civil War, the Bierce family removed to Elkhart,
Indiana, and the world famous author's parents were buried at Warsaw in that
state. As a youth, Ambrose Bierce entered the Union army as a drummer boy,
was wounded in one of the many hard battles he engaged in, commended for
heroism, came out a lieutenant and was brevetted a major. Then he went West
and joined a brother, Albert. Soon be began to write caustic comments on the
world as it then was - - his cynicism was bitter.

Tragedy marked his personal life. He became the literary dictator of the
West Coast and published a number of books, including "Devils' Dictionary."

Columns have been written on his probable end in Mexico - - suicide by
walking into the enemy line of fire, expulsion from Villa's camp for talking
too much, and then he was reported seen alive along after his reported death.
S. Patrick Reardon, an American soldier of fortune reported that Bierce was
mortally wounded in a battle near the village of Mocho in the spring on 1914
and was buried in a trench with other Mexicans and Americans fighting with
the Mexican rebels. Reardon said that Bierce was then a colonel and military
adviser to Pancho Villa - - and a man of 72. During a scouting expedition
he was shot as he walked away from the Mexican Federals - he was too old to
crawl. When he was shot down comrades crawled with him off the field and
propped him against a wall and left his rifle as he requested. The next day
when his comrades returned, he was dead. He had died against a wall in
Mexico as he predicted in his farewell note to his fellow Americans some
months previously.

Addison Bierce, a brother of Ambrose, was a newspaper correspondent who died
of an illness in Africa during the Boer War.

Two other sisters of Ambrose Bierce married Cheshire residents, and both
couples spent their married lives in Cheshire where they are buried. Ann
Bierce married William Good and Almeda married Frank Guthrie.

Connie Cotterill Schumaker

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