A Courageous Bluﬀ
—John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail —
While many Ohioans panicked in the path of Confederate
Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's cavalry — hiding their
valuables and fleeing their homes — the Schencks and the
Thompsons resolved to defend both. During the Civil War
this house belonged to farmer John Schenck and his wife,
Amelia. They lived here with their six children, a female house
servant, and, at the time of Morgan's Raid, also provided refuge
for escaped Kentucky slaves John Henry Thompson, his wife
and his five children.
Around 5 am July 14, 1863, a group of Morgan's advance
guard arrived looking for horses and food. A Schenck woman,
disguised in nurse's garb, greeted the soldiers at the door.
When the raiders demanded food, she offered to feed them
outdoors, warning that a child was sick with the smallpox and
was quarantined to the parlor. Seeing the front door covered
with a sheet and the shutters closed, the raiders believed
Morgan himself later rested at the Schenck farm to wait on
his troopers en route from Reading. The general and his staff
sat outside while the Schenck women served them breakfast
When the Raiders rode off thirty minutes later, they remained
ignorant of the Thompsons and two prized horses hidden
in the parlor!
A Famous Family
John Thompson and his wife, Clara
Jane, remained at
the Schenck farm after the war. Despite the challenges
African Americans faced during Reconstruction,
four Thompson children attained widespread fame
Garland Yancy became an award-winning wood carver.
Younger siblings — Aaron Bedford, Priscilla Jane,
and Clara Ann — became renowned poets in
the early 20th century.
The John Schenck House is private property
Please be respectful and remain on the sidewalk.
Top left: The Schencks' clever ruse kept Morgan's troopers from entering their home. While the Confederates rested and ate outside, the brave Thompson family and two horses hid in the straw-covered parlor.
Bottom left: John Schenck (1828-1873)
Top right: Poets Clara Ann Thompson (left), Aaron Bedford Thompson (center)
and Priscilla Jane Thompson (right)
Text: David L. Mowery
Illustrations: Bev Kirk