Calvinist Jean Paul Lemmert left the Netherlands around 1574 as a religious refugee and settled in Paris where he organized a church. After the death of King Henry IV, he moved to Germany to start over once more. One of his descendants, Lewis Lemmert, came to America before 1765 and found a job as steward on the estate of George Washington.
Lewis Lemmert had a son, Lewis, Jr., who was a farmer and a staunch Quaker. He also operated a distillery and a general store. He married Elizabeth Glasscock in 1793, who was not a Quaker, so he was expelled from the church. Elizabeth was six years younger than Lewis and had a burning desire to join the westward movement. Lewis, however, was settled and satisfied with his situation in Virginia. Lewis then died at 47 years old in 1816, so Elizabeth had her chance to fulfill her dreams, although without her husband. Lewis’ will had directed that their property be sold so that his wife could purchase property in Ohio.
The couple had had seven children. Two of their sons, Laban and Beverly, came to Ohio in 1817 to make the purchase while Elizabeth settled the estate back in Virginia. She made the ten day trip by covered wagon later that year with the rest of her children. Laban and Beverly had built a cabin for them, but it was only temporary. They set to work building a brick kiln and used it to produce bricks to build a large home within a few months. This home still stands in Perryton and is still owned by Elizabeth’s descendants. She conducted church services and a singing school in her home. Her young son, Thaddeus, died in 1821, so she set aside some land for a cemetery, which is now the Perryton Cemetery.
The family decided to lay out a town on their property in 1831, and they called it Elizabethtown. It grew through the 19th Century to include groceries, schools, churches, cobblers, milliners, seamstresses, blacksmiths, a wagon shop, sawmill, carding mill, planing mill, grist mills, hotel, post office, funeral parlor, ice cream parlor, tanner and a shoemaker. It even had a ball team, a grange hall and a Coronet band. Elizabeth did not get to see most of this development, because she died of influenza in 1834.
When the Civil War rose its ugly head, at least sixteen grandsons of Elizabeth Lemert (the spelling changed at some point) answered the call. One of these was Thaddeus, who first recruited for Col. Charles R. Woods and then was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He held an ice cream party at the old homestead where he signed up 41 men who came from as far away as Irville and Fallsburg. By November 1, 1861, he had enough men to form a full company, and he was made Captain of Company A of the 76th OVI regiment. They fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg. Then came Arkansas Post, where Thaddeus was killed. His last words, heard by his brother, Orren, were “Our forefathers died for their country—why should not I?” When the G.A.R. was formed after the war, the Lemert Post #71 in Newark was named after Captain Thaddeus Lemert. The Perryton Post #668 was named after Captain Zebulon P. Evans, who had been recruited by Thaddeus.
In 1883 the Post Office discovered that there was another Elizabethtown in Ohio, so the one in Licking County had to change its name. They chose Perryton, since it was in Perry Township, named after Commodore Perry, hero of the War of 1812. A large bronze marker for Elizabeth can be seen in Perryton Cemetery, as well as the graves of 39 Civil War veterans.
- Fleming, Dan. “The Founding of Elizabethtown (Now Perryton)” in Licking Valley Ledger, Apr. 2011.
- Fleming, Dan. “The Lemert Family in the Civil War,” in Licking Valley Ledger, July 2011.