William W. Williams
History of Astabula Co., Ohio
Philadelphia, Williams Bros., 1878
O H I O,
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
PIONEERS AND MOST PROMINENT MEN.
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FOR many months the author has given his diligent attention and study to the compilation of this volume. A great mass of material, sufficient perhaps to fill a book twice the size of this, was at hand, and, through the friendly offices of the county historical society, placed before him. It needed sifting; the facts obtained in many instances needed verification; important data not given had to be gathered. The problem was: a given amount of matter to be published and a safe limit prescribed, what should be taken and what rejected? An error of the author's judgment may be frequently and palpably manifest to some, but his honest endeavor has been to include those facts and topics which seemed to him most pertinent and important; his aim has been the attainment of relevancy and accuracy. If he and his associates could place in the hands of the patrons of this work a book absolutely free from inexact and irrelevant matter, he and they would deem their success a marvel. This is not to be expected. It would be unreasonable. The hope is that these defects will be few and of trifling character.
The biographical department will be found to be an attractive feature of the history. a variety of excellent literary talent has contributed to the production of this portion of the work. The author believes the public will appreciate the publishers' success in securing the sketches of Joshua R. Giddings and Edward Wade, from the pen of Hon. A. G. Riddle. The biographies of other prominent persons have been prepared by writers of acknowledged ability.
The treatment which the author and the publishers have received at the hands of the people of Ashtabula County has been so uniformly kind and courteous that they feel incompetent to make fitting acknowledgment. Several leading citizens from the first have shown a personal interest in the publication of this history. This fact has served to greatly facilitate the author's and the publishers' labors, and to render certain their success in producing a work that should be satisfactory to their patrons. The historical and philosophical society, in the appointment of committees in each township for the careful revision of the work, did the people and the publishers a great kindness. Each department of the history, save the biographical, has been submitted to these committees for their revision, and their certificates of attestation to its correctness obtained.
The author's and the publishers' thanks are in a special manner due to the society's president, Hon. O. H. Fitch, and to the secretary, Hon. Henry Fassett, to A. C. Hubbard, Esq., and to Dr. J. C. Hubbard, to Hon. Abner Kellogg (whose unexpected death at the moment of going to press we are called upon to deplore), to C. S. Simonds, Esq., to Hon. Edward H. Fitch, to all the county officers, including the county commissioners, and to the several township revisory committees.
Others are entitled to mention; but, if we were to begin, with whose name would propriety and justice permit us to stop? The author's and publishers' gratitude can in no other way be so fittingly shown as in the inspiration which the people of Ashtabula County have given to them to labor elsewhere with increasing fidelity and earnestness. This they will do.
With these words they place the book in the hands of its patrons, trusting that it will fill the measure of their just expectations.
WILLIAM W. WILLIAMS,
THEODORE F. WILLIAMS, The Publishers.
LOUIS A. WILLIAMS
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HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE. HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY. CHAPTER PAGE INTRODUCTORY . . . 7 I. -- The Progress of Discovery . . . . 8 II. -- The Connecticut Western Reserve . . . 9 III. -- The Connecticut Land Company . . . 10 IV. -- The Geography of the County . . . . 14 V. -- The Geology and Topography of the County . . 15 VI. -- The Mound-Builders . . . . . 16 VII. -- The Indians . . . . . . . . 20 VII. -- The Parent State . . . . . . 24 IX. -- Pioneer Settlements . . . . . . 24 X. -- Means of Communication . . . 21 XI. -- Civil Organieation . . . 28 XII. -- Social Life in Early Times . . . . 31 XIII. -- Connection with the Anti-Slavery Movement . 33 XIV. -- Religious and Educational . . . . 35 XV. -- The Press . . . 38 XVI. -- Societies . . . 41 XVII. -- The Ashtabula Railway Disaster . . . 115 XVIII. -- Statistics . . . 48 XIX. -- The Military History of the County . . 49 Rostcr of Soldiers from Ashtabula County: War of 1812 . . 57 Roster of Soldiers from Ashtabula County: War of the Rebellion 58 HISTORIES OP THE TOWNSHIPS. Andover . . . . . 215 Ashtabula . . . . 130 Austinburg . . . 185 Cherry Valley . . 236 Colebrook . . . . . 211 Conneaut . . . . . 154 Denmark . . . . . 213 Dorset . . . . . . . . 209 Geneva . . . . . . . 173 Harpersfield . . . 169 Hartsgrove . . . . .254 Jefferson . . . . . . . . 146 Kingsville . . . . . . 204 Lenox . . . . . . . . . 222 Monroe . . . . . . . 200 Morgan . . . . . . . 194 New Lyme . . . . 225 Orwell . . . . . . . 231 Pierpont . . . . . . 234 Plymouth. . . . . 221 Richmcnd . . . 227 Rome . . . . . . . 215 Saybrook . . . . . 153 Sheffield . . . . . .238 Trumbull. . . . . 228 Wayne . . . . . . . . 243 Williamsfield . . 241 Windsor . . . . . . . 250 ERRATA. . . . . . . 256 BIOGRAPHICAL DEPARTMENT. PAGE Allen, Hon. D. C. . . . . . . . . . 166 Andrews, Benoni . . . . . . . . . 168 Atkins, Josiah. . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 Atkins, Hon. Q. F. . . . . . . . . . 113 Austin, Hon. Eliphalet . . . . . 114 Badger, Rev. Joseph H. . . . . . 86 Bartholomew, Rev. J. B. . . . 193 Beals, A. E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238 Bedell, Henry . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 Betts, Hon. E. J. . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Blakeslee, Joel. . . . . . facing 212 Booth, Charles . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Booth, Philo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Brown, John . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 Burington, N. . . . , . . . . . . . . 167 Burrows, S. S., M.D. . . . . . . . 120 Cadwell, Hon. Darius . . . . . . 93 Castle, Amasa, Jr. . . . . . . . . . 143 Caswell, N. S. . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 Churchill, John . . . . . . . . . . 230 Clark,Wesley . . . . . . . . . . . . 238 Coleman, Elijah, M.D. . . . . 119 Coleman, Nethaniel. . . . . . 248 Cook, S. H. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126 Cowles, Alfred . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Cowles, Miss Betsey M. . . . 100 Cowles, Miss Cornelia R. . . 101 Cowles, Edwin . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Cowles, E. W., M.D. . . . . . . . 99 Cowles, G. H., D.D. . . . . . . . . 93 Cowles, Giles H. . . . . . . . . . . 192 Cowles, Joseph B. . . . . . . . . . . 192 Cowles, Capt. Lysander M. . .193 Cowlee, Hon. Samuel . . . . . 102 Crosby, D.L. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 Crosby, Elijah . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 Crosby, Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 Crowell, W. H. . . . . . . . . . . 125 Crowell, William, Sr. . . . . 220 Curtiss, C. E. . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 Dibble, A.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . .167 Farnham, Elisha . . . . . . . . .167 Farrington, S. H., M.D. . . 120 Fassett, Hon. Henry. . . . . 104 Fifield, A. K., M.D. . . . . . 121 Fifield, Greenleaf, M.D. . 127 Fitch, E. H. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Fitch, Hon. O. H. . . . . . . . . 90 Fobes, Ferdinand . . . . . . 249 Fobes, Henry C. . . . . . . . . . . . . .180 Fobes, O. P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 Fobes, Simon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 Follett, N. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235 Gaylord, Harvey R. . . . . . . . . . 118 Gaylord, Maj. Levi . . . . . . . . . .116 Gibson, Thomes . . . . . . . . . . . 167 Giddings, Hon. Joshua R. . . . . 72 Giddings, William . . . . . . . . . 242 Gist, D. D., M.D. . between 148, 149 Hall, Rev. John . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Hammond, Edward . . . . . . . . 208 Hardy, H. F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Harmon, Austin . . . . . . . . . . . 217 Harmon, Edward . . . . . . . . . . 218 Hart, Elijah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 Holbrook, S. G;., M.D. . . . . . . 126 Howard, A. W. . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Howells, J. A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Howells, Hon. W. C. . . . . . . 103 Howland, Hon. W. P. . . . . . . . 91 Hubbard, Henry . . . . . . . . . . 124 Hubbsrd, J. C., M.D. . . . . . . . 119 Hubbard, Hon. Matthew . . 123 Hubbard, William . . . . . . . . 124 Hurlburt, E. G. . . . . . . . . . . . 256 Jones, Linus H. . . . . . . . . . .. 246 Jones, Samuel, Sr. . . , . . . . . 246 Jones, Samuel, Jr. . . . . . . . . 246 Kellogg, Hon. Abner . . . . . 106 Kellogg;, Amos . . . . . . . . . . 115 Kellogg, L. D., M.D. . . . . . . .120 Kellogg, Martin . . . . . . . . . 115 Kellogg, Paulina . . . . . . . . . 116 Kellogg, Hon. William . . . 107 Kelley, Dr. D. E. . . . . . . . . . . 145 Keyes, Gen. Henry . . . . . . . 168 Kiddle, John . . . . , . . . . . . . 249 King, Mrs. Lydia . . . . . . . . 167 Kingsley, M., M.D.. . facing 208 Lattimer, V. D. . . . . . . . . . . 198 Lee, Ferdinand . . . . . . . . . . 123 Leonard, Hon. E. B. . . . . . . 125 Lindsley, H. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 Maltby, Nelson . . . . . . . . . . 181 Mason, E. F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Mills, Deacon Joseph . . . . . 194 Morse, Rev. Elias . . . . . . . . 242 Northway, Hon. S. A. . . . . . 92 Parker, Luther. . . . . . . . . . 181 Peck, E. O. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228 Peck, S. W. . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Pinney, W. K. . . . . . . . . . 203 Poole, Calvin, Jr. . . . . . . 168 Randall, B. C. . , . facing 199 Ranney, Hen. Rufus P. . . 85 Ransom, Miss C. L. . . . . . 111 Raymond, D. W., M.D. . .166 Reed, James . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Rieg, J. P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Robertson, J. P. . . . . . . . . 146 Salisbury, Capt. O. . . . . 166 Schramling, Alvin . . . . 235 SeCheverell, Col. G. H. . 172 SeCheverell, Dr. J. H. . . 172 Simonds, C. S. . . . . . . . . .105 Simonds, W. T. . . . . . . 185 Smith, Hall . . . . . . . . . . 145 Smith, L. W. . . . . . . . . . . 145 Smith, Plin . . . . . . . . . . 168 Spelman, Dr. Luther . . 246 Spencer, H. A. . . . . . . . . 110 Spencer, H. C. . . . . . . . . 110 Spencer, L. P. . . . . . . . . . 110 Spencer, Platt Rogers . . 107 Spencer, Platt R., Jr. . . . 119 Spencer, R. C. . . . . . . . . . 111 Spencer, W. P. . . . . . . . . 122 Spring, R. . . between 176, 177 Stiles, Captain A. W. . . 126 Stone, James . . . . . . . . . 199 Talcott, Charles . . . . . . . 180 Talcott, Henry . . . . . . . . 153 Thorp, Hon. Freeman . . 119 Tinker, Charles . between 176, 177 Wade, Hon. B. F. . . . . . . . . 67 Wade, Edward . . . . . . . . . . 84 Warner, Hon. Jonathan . . 115 Watroust John B. . . . . . . . . 144 Webster, E. M., M.D. . . . . 127 Webster, H. H., M.D. . . . . 127 Wilder, Hon. Horace . . . . 89 Willard, George . . . . . . . . 144 Woodbury, Hon. H. B. . . . 91 Wright, M. W. . . . . . . . . 208 Wyman, Rev. O. T. . . . . . . 169 Young, Thaddeus S.. . . . . . 125
PAGE Court-House (Frontispiece) . . . . facing title page Map of Ashtabula County . . . . . . facing 7 County Jail and Recorder's Office, with portraits of E. O. Peck, E. C. Hurlburt, and W. T. Simonds . . . . . . . . . . . facing 31 County Infirmary Buildings, with portraits of Edward Hammond, C. E. Curtiss, and M. W. Follett . . . . . . facing 48 Ashtabula Disaster -- Ruins of the Bridge . . . " 45 Residence of Hon. B. F. Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 70 Portrait of Hon. B. F. Wade (steel) . . . . . . . . . " 67 " Joshua R. Giddings . . . . . . . . . . . . " 72 " Edward Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 84 " Rufus P. Ranney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 86 " Rev. Joseph Badger . . . . . . . . . . . . " 86 " Hon. O. H. Fitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 90 " Horace Wilder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 89 " Abner Kellogg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Portraits of Group of Attorneys: Hon. W. P. Howland, Hon. H. B. Woodbury, Hen. Edward H. Fitch, Hon. S. A. Northway, and Charles Booth . . . . facing 91 Portrait of Hon. Darius Cadwell . . . . . . . . . . . 93 " C. S. Simonds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 " Edwin Cowles (steel) . . . . . . . facing 99 " E. W. Cowles, M.D. (steel) . . . . . . . " 99 " Miss Betsey Cowles (steel) . . . . . . . " 101 " Miss Cornelia Cowles (steel) . . . . . " 101 Portraits of Physicians' Group: Dr. John C. Hubbard, Dr. A. K. Fifeld, Dr. L. D. Kellogg, Dr. S. S. Burrows, Dr. Elijah Coleman, and Dr. S. H. Farrington . . . . facing 121 Portatit of Hon. William Kellogg . . . . . . . . . . 107 " W. C. Howells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 " Henry Fassett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Portraits of Editors' Group: J. A. Howells, James Reed, Warren P. Spencer, J. P. Rieg, and Ferdinand Lee . . . . facing 123 Portrait of Hon. Q. F. Atkins . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 " Harvey R. Gaylord . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Portraits of Physicians' Group: Dr. S. G. Holbrook, Dr. H. H. Webster, Dr. Greenleaf Fifield, Dr. E. M. Webster . . . . facing 121 Portrait of Hon. FreemanThorp . . . . . . . . . . 119 Portraits of Spencer Group: Prof. Platt R. Spencer, R. C. Spencer, H. C. Spencer, H. A. Spencer, Lyman P. Spencer, and Platt R. Spencer, Jr. . . . . facing 108 Portraita of the Hubbard Group: Hon. Matthew Hubbard, William Hubbard, and Henry Hubbard . . . . facing 124 Portraits of the County Officers' group: Hon. E. J. Betts, W. H. Crowell, E. P. Mason, Hon. E. B. Leonard, D. L. Crosby, A. W. Stiles, T. S. Young, and S. H. Cook . . . . facing 125 ANDOVER. Residence of Austin Harmon . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 217 " C. Stillman, with portraits . . . . . . . . " 215 " and mills of C. H. Bitts . . . . . . . . . . . " 216 ASHTABULA. Portrait of Philo Booth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 " Dr. D. E. Kelley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Residence of George Willard, and interior and exterior Views of Store, with portraits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . between 144, 145 Residence of John P. Robertson . . . . . . . . . facing 138 " M. G. Dick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 130 " Wm. M. Eames . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 " James P. Jennings . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." 135 Pheonix Iron-Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 Exterior Views of Store and Opera-House of L. W. Smith & Son . . facing 142 Interior View of Webb & Son's Store . . . " 142 Carriage-Works of F. D. Fickinger, with portrait . . . between 140, 141 Carriage-Works of Thorp & Pfaff . . . . . . . . . facing 138 Flouring Mills of Semour and Son . . . . . . . . . . . . " 138 AUSTINBURG. Portrait of Deacon Joseph Mills . . . . . . . . facing 188 Residence of A. W. Howard, with portraits . . " 193 Residence of the late Rev. C. H. Cowles . . . . . " 188 Church at Austinburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 CHERRY VALLEY. Portrait of Joel Rice (Williamsfield Group) . facing 242 Residence of Wesley Clark, with portraits . . . . . . . . . 236 " A. E. Beals, " " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 238 " H. Lindsley, " " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 231 COLEBROOK. Portraite of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Blakeslee . . . . facing 212 CONNEAUT. Portrait of Hon. D. C. Allen . . . . . . . . . . . between 166, 167 " General Henry Keyes . . . . . . . . . . . . " 166, 167 Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Plin Smith . . . . . . . . " 166, 167 Portrait of Dr. D. W. Raymond . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." 166, 167 " Nelson Burington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 166, 167 " A. C. Dibble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 166, 167 " Aunt Lydia King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 166, 167 Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Benoni Andrews . . . " 166, 167 Christian Church, with portraits of Rev. O.T. and Mrs. O.T. Wyman facing 162 Residence of J. P. Rieg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 162 " S. J. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 156 Business Block of S. J. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." 156 Town Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 154 Residence of Thomas Oibson, with portraits . " 160 " Captain Salisbury, " between 158, 159 " Calvin Poole, . . . . . . . . . . . " " 158, 159 Mill Property of Benton, Ayers $ Cushing . . . . . 165 Portrait of E. Farnham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 203 DENMARK. Residence of J. C. Andrews . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 213 GENEVA. Portrait of R. Spring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . between 176, 177 " Charles Tinker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 176, 177 Residence of Charles Talcott, and exterior & interior Views of Store " 178, 179 Residence of S. H. Munger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 174, 175 " N. S. Caswell, with portraits facing 182 " N. H. Dickerman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 172 " R. Spring . . . . . . . . . . between 176, 177 " H. W. Forman . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 178 " Henry C. Fobes . . . . . . between 180, 181 Portraits of H. C. Fobes, Electa Fobes, Sanford L. Fobes, Flora H. Fobes, David A. and Fanny C.Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 180, 181 Public SchoolBuilding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 174, 175 Hotel of Thomas B. Tuller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 173 Residence of Luther Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 " Henry Bedell, with portraits between 180, 181 " Nelson Maltby, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 180, 181 " Samuel W. Peck, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 179 " Robert Woodruff, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 177 " Cynthia Hart, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 175 Geneva Congregational Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 183 HARPERSFIELD. Portraits of Dr. J. H. SeCheverell and wife . . . . . facing 171 " Col. G. H. SeCheverell and wife . . . . . . . " 171 Residence of M. Wharram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 172 JEFFERSON. Portrait of Dr. D. D. Gist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . between 148, 149 Residence of H. P. Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 146 Property of Henry Talcott, with portraits . . . . . . . . . " 153 Jefferson Educational Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 150 Residence of E. L. Mullen . . . . . . . . . . . . between 148, 149 " John Watters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." 148, 149 KINGSVILLE. Portrait of Dr. M. Kingsley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 208 Residence of Dr. E. M. Webster (Frontispiece) . . . . " 204 Kingsville Cemetery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . between 206, 207 Residence of John Holmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 208 " H. P. Newton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . between 204, 205 " Stephen Sabin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 204, 205 " J. F. Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 207 " Charles H. Crater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 208 MONROE. Portrait of H. F. Hardy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 203 " William K. Pinney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 203 Residence of Hiram Griggs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 192 MORGAN. Portrait of B. C. Randall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 199 " Alonzo Moses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199 Residence of the late James Stone, with portraits, facing 194 " E. O. Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 Stores of Lattimer & Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 PIERPONT. Residence of Alvin Schramling, with portraits . facing 234 ROME. Residences of L. and G. H. Crosby, with portraits, facing 218 Residence of Elijah Crosby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 220 SAYBROOK. Residence of Isaac Brooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 183 " O. H. Calloway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 183 " D. H. Kelley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 184 TRUMBULL. Residence of John and Eleanor Churchill facing 196 " John Brown, with portrait . . . . . . . " 228 WAYNE. Portrait of Rev. E. T. Woodruff . . . . . between 248, 249 " Dr. Spelman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 245 " Nathaniel Coleman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 245 " Mrs. N. Coleman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 245 " Samuel Jones, Sr. . . . . . . . between 246, 247 " Linus H. Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 246, 247 " Samuel Jones, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 246, 247 " Anson Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246, 247 Residence of O. P. Fobes, with portraits of Simon and Berdinand " 248, 249 Residence of Rollin L. Jones, with portraits " 246, 247 " Wm. Kiddle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 243 WILLIAMSFIELD. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. William Giddings . . . facing 242 " Rev. Elias and Mrs. Abiah Morse . . . . . . " 242 WINDSOR. Residence of F. R. Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 159 " S. C. Wilson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 251 " Prof. E. Hamilton . . . . between 252, 253 " Thompson Higley . . . . . . . . . " 252, 253
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TWO pictures in American history are significant. They are the pictures of two vessels. The one is the Mayflower, the other the Griffin. They represent the nationalities of two powers that contended long and fiercely for the ascendancy in the right to American soil. In the one picture is presented a vessel nearing the American coast. On board is a small band of refugees who had fled from oppression in the Old World to find liberty in the New. The whole number of them is one hundred and two, sixty of whom are women and children. They are all earnest, brave, and prayerful. They are gathered in a group with upturned faces, all engaged in earnest devotion, the skylight streaming down upon them. One of them holds a piece of parchment bearing the signature of every man on board. It contains the compact which gave birth to popular constitutional liberty. The features of the picture are distinct. A sense of the grandeur of their enterprise, a sublime faith in its success, a trust in the Divine Protector and Guide, resolute determination, -- all these are strikingly depicted in the countenances of the group. The vessel is the Mayflower; the group the Pilgrim Fathers. In religion they are Protestants; in nationality they are English. The time was in the latter part of the year 1620.
In the other picture may be seen a vessel upon the placid waters of our own Lake Erie. It had just been launched on the Niagara river, almost within sound of the mighty cataract. It was built after the fashion of its time. Its stern rose high above the deck. The curved and carved sides formed a singularly antique appearance. On its prow was the form of a griffin. Its portentous form and hideous face constituted the figure-head of this strange vessel. Amidships on the castle was perched the gilt figure of a massive eagle. The vessel is a French craft of forty-five tons' burden. On the deck is gathered a group of thirty-four men. They are clothed in various costumes. Their leader is clad in a cavalier's dress. By his side are three monks, -- their long black robes and shaven crowns contrasting: strangely with the military costume of their leader. Their cloaks are embellished with the various symbols of their order. Around them are gathered the swarthy faces of their fellow-voyagers. They are chanting the Te Deum. The ship is the Griffin, and the men are the explorers of the great west. The commander is Robert Cavelier de la Salle. His companions are Tonty, his lieutenant, an Italian veteran, Father Louis Hennepin, Zenobe Membre, and Gabriel Ribourde, three Fleming friars, and about thirty followers. Theirs is the first vessel that ever plowed the virgin waters of Lake Erie. The date is 1679. The nationality is French. The members of the group are all Roman Catholics. Their object is the exploration, the conquest through right of discovery, and the ultimate colonization of the great west.
Had the vast schemes of these heroic explorers been successful, the entire valley of the Mississippi would have been peopled to-day by the descendants of the French instead of by those of the English. The language would have been Gaelic instead of Anglo-Saxon; the dominant religion of the people would have been Roman Catholic instead of Protestant.
The contrast between the two vessels is striking, not alone in their appearance and in the character and purpose of those on board, but in the fate of each vessel and of the members of each group. The picture of the Griffin is that of a vessel sailing onward, carrying a company of adventurers to far-distant regions; that of the Mayflower, of a vessel anchoring with a view to landing its inmates as a colony for settlement. On board the one vessel the family was present; on board the other the family was lacking. Men, women, and children in the one; men alone in the other. The adventurers of the Griffin, after some years spent of brilliant exploration, became scattered. Some perished in the wilderness from cold and hunger; others were captured, and some of them murdered by savages; the chieftain himself was slain by his own companions; the vessel was wrecked, and disaster came to all. The families on board the Mayflower became the fathers and mothers of a race that have helped to people a continent. All that was done by the one company was transient; all that was accomplished by the other was enduring.
The descendants of those on board the Mayflower are they, in part, the history of whose fortunes this volume is to record. From such heroes of the human race sprang the men who became the fathers of New Connecticut. The men who penetrated this region nearly a hundred years ago were no discredit to their ancestors of Plymouth Rock. They brought with them many of the sterling traits of character that distinguished so signally their illustrious forefathers. They possessed the same reverence for truth, the same love of liberty, the same hatred of oppression and wrong.
To follow the fortunes of such a people, to record their heroic deeds, their sufferings and privations, to trace their progress through many hardships along. the difficult path leading to more prosperous days, is a pleasing task for the historian.
The first generation that came hither has passed away; the second is rapidly following. It is time that history should make its record; time that it should gather up and place in enduring form a memorial of the lives of these hardy pioneers; to signalize their achievements in biographies of their representative men.
Eighty years have wrought a wondrous change. Then a dense wilderness inhabited by ferocious beasts and savage men; now a prosperous, populous community where civilization has reached its highest form. Appeared first the settlers' cabins scattered here and there, hidden by the thick foliage of a dense forest, constituting rude but cheerful woodland homes; blazed lines for roads; a few acres adjacent to the dwellings for farms; log houses for schools, and "God's first temples" for churches. As the years advanced farms were opened; highways were cut through the forests; log: cabins gave place to neat frame houses; streams mere bridged; the nuclei of towns were formed; neat frame school-houses and churches appeared. Then came the stage-coach with its weekly, then its tri-weekly, and at last its daily mail, until finally it too disappeared to give place to the track of steel and the iron horse. Farms multiplied; hamlets grew to be villages; villages to be towns; and towns to be cities.
Where once stood the lonely cabin now stands a thriving, populous city, with its busy industries, its palatial residences, and beautiful churches. Instead of the rude log dwelling, with its small patch of cleared ground, standing in utter loneliness in the midst of a dense woodland, may now be seen the beautiful dairy-farm, with its farm-house almost deserving the name of mansion; its commodious barn, with all the conveniences skill and money may provide; its broad fields of luxuriant pasturage; its quiet woodlands, where at eventide may be heard the lowing of many gentle kine. Where stood the log school-house, with its half-dozen pupils, stand now the normal university and the academy of learning.
The fortunes of a community are not under the guidance of a blind destiny. Its affairs are largely controlled and directed by a favoring Providence. It will be the object of the present work to follow the steps which the county has taken through different stages of its progress in order to have reached its present advanced and happy position.
8 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
C H A P T E R I.
THE year 1492 signalizes the achievement of Columbus, -- the greatest maritime enterprise in the history of the world. Born of a holy faith, an inflexible purpose, and an unfailing greatness of soul, it was the triumph of reason over superstition; of knowledge over the ignorance of cosmography; and, in less than fifteen years, Copernicus had made known to the world the true theory of our solar system. England, France, and Spain are aroused and eagerly set on foot plans for exploration and discovery. In 1497, John Cabot and his son, Sebastian, discovered the western continent among the dismal cliffs of Labrador. In 1498, a year famous in the annals of the sea, Columbus set foot upon the mainland of South America, and Sebastian Cabot explored the North American coast from Newfoundland to Albemarle Sound. In 1501, Gaspar Cortereal, with two caravels, furnished by his sovereign, Manuel, king of Portugal, ranges the coast of North America from the Delaware Bay to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As early as 1504 the fisheries of Newfoundland are known to the hardy mariners of Brittany and Normandy, who came thus early to our shores from the northwest of France, and, in remembrance of home, gave to the island of Cape Breton the name it still retains.
Thus early did England, Portugal, and France become competitors with Spain and with one another for the unknown world. The Spanish nation had given this impetus to efforts of discovery, and for some years maintained the first position among the contestants. Extraordinary success had kindled in her breast extraordinary enthusiasm. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon, a fellow-voyager of Columbus in his second expedition, a gallant soldier in the wars of Hispaniola, rewarded by Ovando with the government of the eastern province of that island, embarked at Porto Pico with a squadron of three ships, and on Easter Sunday, which the Spaniards call Pascua Florida, discovered the southeastern peninsula of what now are the United States. He went on shore near St. Augustine, explored the coast from this point south to Cape Florida, and sailed among the group of islands, and named them Tortugas. In 1519, Francisco de Garay, likewise a companion of Columbus on his second voyage, and at the date mentioned the opulent governor of Jamaica, equipped four ships, and, placing them under the command of Alvarez Alonso de Pineda, explored the coast to the west of Florida for a distance of nine hundred miles, examining attentively the ports, rivers, inhabitants, and everything else that seemed worthy of remark, noticing particularly the volume of water poured into the gulf by one very large river. Thus early was the Father of Waters made known to the white man. In 1525, Stephen Gomez, under instructions from the emperor king to seek out the northern passage to India, sailed into Long Island sound, and discovered the Hudson river. In 1528, Pamphilio de Narvaez, under a contract from Charles V. to explore and reduce all the territory from the Atlantic to the river Palmas, with an expedition of more than three hundred men, whereof Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca held the second place as treasurer, anchored in Tampa bay, and landing, took possession of Florida in the name of Spain. Allured by the prospect of gold, he struck into the interior, creased the Withlochooche, visited Appalachee, and, coming into the harbor of St. Mark's, where he constructed five boats of the rudest sort, embarked upon the gulf in search of the river Palmas. The shallop, commanded by Cabeza, and another under the captaincy of Alonso de Castillo, were thrown upon the surf, on the sands of an island which Cabeza named the Isle of Misfortune, and most likely was the same as what now is known as Galveston. Here he became a captive of the Indians for five years, when he made his escape and began a pilgrimage, which lasted more than twenty months. He and his companions passed through Texas as far north as to the Canadian river, thence westward to the Rocky mountains in New Mexico. With a fortitude that was proof against hunger, cold and weariness, amidst perils from savages, the brave voyagers journeyed from one Indian town to another in New Mexico, and finally crossing the mountains, entered Arizona, and, on a day in May, 1536, drew near to the Pacific ocean, at the village of San Miguel in Sonora.
In the city of Mexico the story was published which an Indian slave had told of the wonders of the seven cities of Cibola, the Land of the Buffaloes, that lay at the north, and abounded in silver and gold. Francisco Vasquez Coronado, the governor of New Galacia, burning with a desire to subdue those vaunted provinces, resolved to head an expedition formed for this purpose. In 1540 the army of three hundred Spaniards, part of whom were mounted, having sworn on a misal containing the gospels to maintain implicit obedience and never abandon their chief, who, in taking command of the hazardous enterprise, had parted from a lovely young wife and vast possessions, began their march from Compostella with flying colors and boundless expectations. The result of this expedition was the discovery of the Colorado of the west, and its exploration for nearly a hundred miles north of the present southern boundary of the United States; its discovery at a much higher point, where the river has hollowed out for its channel a gulf so deep that the party who first stood upon its bank and looked down the sides of the interminable cliff described the precipice as being loftier than the highest mountain; the proof that Lower California is not an island; the exploration of portions of the territory of New Mexico, Texas, the Indian Territory, Kansas, and Colorado; and that the golden cities of Cibola were a few scattered and feeble villages of the rudest sort, inhabited by a small number of poor Indians, who sought friendship by presents of skins, cotton, and maize.
While these events were occurring, an expedition of six hundred men, led by Ferdinand de Soto, a brave soldier and a daring adventurer, but blinded by avarice and the love of power, had landed in Floridia, and in quest of gold had explored the: territory of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. These bold adventurers reached the Mississippi river not more than two hundred miles below the mouth of the Ohio, and crossed it at about the thirty-fifth parallel of latitude. In June of 1541 they ascend the mighty river as far north as to the present site of St. Louis; they traverse from east to west nearly the whole of the State of Missouri; they pass to the south and visit the Saline Springs of Arkansas, and, after long and wearisome marches, reach the gulf with no more than one-half of their original number. Thus did the Spanish nation, to which America is indebted for its discovery, in less than fifty years make known to history nearly one-half of the present territory of the United States.
In 1534, James Cartier, a bold mariner of St. Male, discovered the great river of Canada, and in the succeeding year explored if as far to Montreal; and, as the spring of 1536 approached, erected a cross bearing a shield with the lilies of France, and an inscription declaring Francis I. to be the rightful king of this new-found realm, to which he gave the name of New France. For the next fifty or sixty years the French nation accomplished but little toward extending its dominion in the New World. In 1603, however, Samuel Champlain, who came to be known as the father of the French settlements in Canada, and the able and patriotic De Monts began their wonderful exploits on the soil of the western continent. Acadia and Nova Scotia spring into being; the territory of New York is visited; and the country far to the northwest is penetrated. Then follow the marvelous explorations of the Jesuits. The great west is traversed to the head-waters of the Mississippi; that great river is explored to its very mouth. In a few years the claims of France to North American territory exceed those of any other European power. At the time of the accession of William, Prince of Orange, to the throne of England, in 1689, France's sovereignty in America embraced Newfoundland, Acadia, Nova Scotia, Hudson's Bay, all the Canadas, more than half of Maine, Vermont, and New York, the whole valley of the Mississippi, including its tributaries, the great chain of lakes at the north and Texas at the south, as far as to the Rio Brave del Norte. The waters of every gushing fountain and bubbling spring and babbling brook west of the Alleghanies were claimed for the French nation.
England's dominions in America lay along the Atlantic seaboard. The thirteen original colonies skirting the Atlantic from Florida to the verge of Nova Scotia were the planting of the English people, and constituted that nation's possessions up to the time of the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713. By virtue of this treaty England obtained large concessions of territory from France. The entire possessions of the Bay of Hudson and its borders; of Newfoundland, subject to the rights of France in its fisheries; and all of Nova Scotia, or Acadia, according to its ancient boundaries, passed from the dominion of France to that of England. And now the strife in America for the possession of colonial monopolies and territorial sovereignty was confined to these two great powers. France still maintained her claim to much the larger extent of territory, but her population, scattered over this immense area, numbered only eleven thousand two hundred and forty-nine persons in 1688, while that of the English colonies in the same year exceeded two hundred thousand. A contest of fifty years' duration between these two great powers for territorial acquisition in America followed, resulting in the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, by virtue of which France lost and England gained the whole country between the Allegheny mountains and the Father of Waters, except a small tract lying at the mouth of the great river. The valley of the Ohio, for whose special conquest a seven years' war had been begun, thus passed to the possession of Britain. Strangely enough, for the success of this undertaking, the English nation was mainly indebted to the very hero who, a few years later, as commander-in-chief of the American armies, was engaged in wresting it in common with the territory of the whole country from British rule, in order to transfer it to the free people who should make for humanity a new existence in America. In less than a decade the dominions which England took from France were in turn taken from her, and the United States of America obtained a place
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 9
among the nations of the world; and undertook the glorious work of filling a territorial continent with commonwealths.
Thus it was that the soil of Ohio, of which Ashtabula County forms a part, was in the first instance, waiving the rights of the red man, the property of the French, in the next instance that of England, then of the United States. This county constitutes a part of what is known as the Connecticut Western Reserve, a short account of which we will give in the succeeding chapter.
There have been numerous claimants to the soil of the Reserve. In addition to the red man's title, France, England, the United States, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut have all, at one time or another, asserted ownership. The claim of France arose by reason of its being a portion of the territory which she possessed by right of discovery. England laid claim to all territory adjoining those districts Iying along the Atlantic seaboard, whose soil she possessed by right of occupancy, asserting ownership from sea to sea. The greatest ignorance, however, prevailed in early times as to the inland extent of the American continent. During the reign of James I., Sir Francis Drake reported that, from the top of the mountains on the Isthmus of Panama, he had seen both oceans. This led to the belief that the continent from east to west was of no considerable extent, and that the South Sea, by which appellation the Pacific then was known, did not lie very far removed from the Atlantic. As late as 1740 the Duke of Newcastle addressed his letters to the "Island of New England." This ignorance of the inland extent of America gave rise, as we shall see, to conflicting claims of western territory. England's valid title to the great west was obtained through conquest, compelling France, in 1713 and 1763, to surrender nearly the whole of her American possessions. The United States succeeded Great Britain in her rights of ownership in American soil, and thus came to have a claim to the lands of the Reserve. The claims of Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut were obtained by virtue of charters granted to English subjects by English sovereigns. The tract of country embraced in the London Company's charter, granted by James I. in 1609, whence arose Virginia's claim, commenced its boundaries at Old Point Comfort, on the Atlantic, and extended two hundred miles south and two hundred north from this point. From the southernmost point a line drawn due west to the Pacific formed the southern boundary; from the northernmost point a line running diagonally northwesterly through Pennsylvania and Western New York, across the eastern portion of Lake Erie, and terminating finally in the Arctic ocean, formed the northwestern boundary; and the Pacific ocean, or what was then called the South Sea, the western boundary. The vast empire Iying within these four lines included over one-half of the North American continent, and embraced all of what was afterwards known as the Northwestern Territory, including of course the lands of the Reserve.
The claim of Massachusetts rested for its validity upon the charter of 1620, granted by James I. to the Council of Plymouth, and embraced all the territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific Iying between the fortieth and forty-eighth degrees of north latitude. This grant comprised an area of more than a million square miles, and included all of the present inhabited British possessions to the north of the United States, all of what is now New England, New York, one-half of New Jersey, very nearly all of Pennsylvania, more than the northern half of Ohio, and all the country to the west of these States. In 1630 the Earl of Warwick obtained a grant to a part of the same territory, and in the following year assigned a portion of his grant to Lord Brooke and Viscounts Say and Seal.
In 1664, Charles II. ceded to his brother, the Duke of York, and afterwards King James II. of England, the country from Delaware bay to the river St. Croix, and afterwards it was insisted that the granted territory extended westward to the Pacific. This constituted New York's claim to western territory, of which the lands of the Reserve were a portion. In 1662 the same monarch granted to nineteen patentees an ample charter, from which Connecticut derived her claim to a territory bounded by Massachusetts on the north, the sea on the south, Narragansett bay on the east, and the Pacific on the west. This grant embraced a strip of land sixty-two miles wide, extending from Narragansett bay on the east to the Pacific ocean on the west, and the northern and southern boundaries of this tract were the same as those which now form the boundaries at the north and south of the Reserve.
Thus arose conflicting claims. The extent of territory to which Virginia insisted that she was rightful owner was the largest, and included all the other claims. That of Massachusetts was next in size, and included the whole region claimed for Connecticut, as did the territory embraced in New York's claim.
The United States did not appear as a contestant until the time of the Revolutionary war, when she, with good reason, insisted that these disputed lands belonged of right to Great Britain's conqueror; that a vacant territory, wrested from a common enemy by the united arms and at the joint expense and sacrifice of all the States, should be considered as the property of the conquering nation, to be held in trust for the common benefit of the people of all the States. To show how groundless were the claims of these contesting States, it was pointed out that the charters upon which their titles were founded had in some instances been abrogated by judicial proceedings, and the companies to whom they had been given dissolved; that the charters were given at a time when much of the territory to which ownership was claimed under them was in the actual possession and occupancy of another power; that all the various grants were made in the grossest ignorance of the inland extent of the American continent; and that George III. had either repudiated the charters of his royal predecessors, or denied to them the right of sovereignty over territory of so vast extent, by issuing a proclamation forbidding all persons from intruding upon lands in the valley of the Ohio.
Popular feeling ran high. Contentions between conflicting claimants frequently resulted in bloodshed. The prospects of the American Union were darkened; the ratification of the Articles of Confederation was retarded; the difficulty and embarrassments in prosecuting the war for independence were greatly augmented. Maryland would not become a member of the Union unless the States claiming western territory would relinquish to congress their title. In the midst of these gloomy and foreboding events, in which disaster to the common cause was more to be feared at the hands of its friends than of its enemies, congress made a strong appeal to the claiming States to avert the approaching danger by a cessation of contentious discord among themselves, and by making liberal cessions of western territory for the common benefit. New York was the first to respond, and in 1780 ceded to the United States the lands she claimed Iying west of a line running south from the western bend of Lake Ontario, reserving an area of nineteen thousand square miles. Virginia, in 1784, relinquished in favor of congress her title to lands Iying northwest of the Ohio, reserving a district of land in Ohio Iying between the Scioto and Little Miami, which came to be known as the Virginia Military District, which reservation was made in order to enable Virginia to fulfill pledges to her soldiers in the Revolutionary war of bounties payable in western lands. In 1785 Massachusetts ceded the western territory to which she had been a claimant, reserving the same nineteen thousand square miles reserved by New York, which disputed territory was afterwards divided equally between these two States. Connecticut was the most reluctant and tardy of all the contesting States in sacrificing State pretensions for the common benefit. However, on the 14th day of September, 1786, her authorized delegates in congress relinquished all the right, title, interest, jurisdiction, and claim that she possessed to land within her chartered limits Iying west of a line one hundred and twenty miles west of and parallel with the western boundary line of the State of Pennsylvania. The tract of land and water Iying west of Pennsylvania for one hundred and twenty miles, and between latitudes 41 degrees and 42 degrees 2 minutes north, was not conveyed, -- hence reserved by Connecticut, and hence was called the Western Reserve of Connecticut.
As Connecticut's claim included nearly the whole of the northern half of the present State of Pennsylvania, it infringed upon the rights of the people of the latter State or colony, who alleged ownership by virtue of the charter to William Penn, granted by James II. of England, in 1681. Both States strove for the occupancy of the disputed soil, and Connecticut sold to certain individuals seventeen townships, situated on or near the Susquehanna river, organized the tract
10 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
into a civil township, called it Westmoreland, and attached it to the probate district and county of Litchfield, in Connecticut. Westmoreland representatives occupied seats in the Connecticut legislature. Pennsylvania protested, and, when the Revolutionary contest closed, sent an armed force to drive the intruders from the lands. The shedding of blood resulted. The controversy was finally submitted to a court of commissioners, appointed by congress, Upon the petition of Pennsylvania, as provided in the ninth article of the Confederation, which gave to congress the power to establish a court for the settlement of disputed boundaries.
This court sat at Trenton, New Jersey, in 1787, when the case was tried, and decided against Connecticut. The title to lands Iying west of Pennsylvania was not involved in this adjudication, and Connecticut still insisted upon the validity of her claim to lands not ceded by her to the United States.
At a session of the Connecticut legislature, held at New Haven, in 1786 and in 1787, it was resolved to offer for sale that part of the Reserve lying east of the Cuyahoga, the Portage path, and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum, and a committee of three persons was appointed to cause a survey to be made and to negotiate a sale. Nothing, however, was immediately done. On the 10th of February, 1788, however, certain lands Iying within the limits of the Reserve were sold to General Samuel H. Parsons, then of Middletown, Connecticut. This was afterwards known as the Salt Spring tract. No survey had been made, but in the description of the land conveyed the numbers of the ranges and townships were designated as if actually defined. General Parsons had explored the country, and had found the location of a salt spring near the Mahoning. He selected his tract so as it should include this spring, from which he expected to manufacture salt and to make his fortune. The entire number of acres thus sold and conveyed to Mr. Parsons, as afterwards determined by the survey made by the Connecticut Land Company, was twenty-five thousand four hundred and fifty. The description in the deed is as follows: "Beginning at the northeast corner of the first township, in the third range of townships; thence running northwardly on the west line of the second range of said lands to forty-one degrees and twelve minutes of north latitude; thence west three miles; thence southwardly parallel to the west line of Pennsylvania two miles and one-half; thence west three miles to the west line of said third range; thence southwardly parallel to the west line of Pennsylvania to the north line of the first township, in the third range; thence east to the first bound."
In 1795 Connecticut sold all the Reserve, except the "Sufferers' Lands" and the Salt Spring tract, to a number of men who came to be known as the Connecticut Land Company. The "Sufferers' Lands" comprise a tract of five hundred thousand acres, taken from the western end of the Reserve, and set apart by the legislature of the State on the 10th of May, 1792, and donated to the suffering inhabitants of the towns of Greenwich, Norwalk, Fairfield, Danbury, New and East Haven, New London, Richfield, and Groton, who had sustained severe losses during the Revolution. Upwards of two thousand persons were rendered homeless from the incursions of the British, aided by Benedict Arnold, and their villages pillaged and burned. To compensate them for this great calamity this donation was made to them. The lands thus given are bounded on the north by Lake Erie, south by the base-line of the Reserve, west by its western line, and east by a line parallel with the western line, and at such a distance from it as to embrace one-half million of acres. The counties of Huron and Erie and the township of Ruggles, in Ashland, comprise these lands. An account of each sufferer's loss was taken in pounds, shillings, and pence, and a price placed upon the lands, and each of the sufferers received lands proportioned to the amount of his loss. These lands finally took the name of "Fire Lands," from the fact that the greater part of the losses resulted from fire.
The resolution authorizing the sale of the remainder of the Reserve, adopted at a session of the General Assembly, held at Hartford, in May, 1795, is as follows:
"Resolved, by this Assembly, that a committee be appointed to receive any proposals that may be made, by any person or persons, whether inhabitants of the United States or others, for the purchase of the lands belonging to this State Iying west of the west line of Pennsylvania as claimed by that State, and the said committee are hereby fully authorized and empowered, in the name and behalf of this State, to negotiate with any such person or persons on the subject of any such proposals. And also to form and complete any contract or contracts for the sale of said lands, and to make and execute, under their hands and seals, to the purchaser or purchasers, a deed or deeds duly authenticated, quitting, in behalf of this State, all right, title, and interest, juridical and territorial, in and to the said lands, to him or them, and to his or their heirs, forever. That before the executing of said deed or deeds, the purchaser or purchasers shall give their note or bond, payable to the treasurer of this State, for the purchase-money, carrying an interest of six per centum, payable annually, to commence from the date thereof, or from such future period, not exceeding two years from the date, as circumstances, in the opinion of the committee, may require, and as may be agreed on between them and the said purchaser or purchasers, with good and sufficient sureties, inhabitants of this State, or with a sufficient deposit of bank or other stock of the United States, or of the particular States, which note or bond shall be taken payable at a period not more remote than five years from the date, or if by annual installments, so that the last installment be payable within ten years from the date, either in specie or in six per cent., three per cent., or deferred stock of the United States, at the discretion of the committee. That if the committee shall find that it will be most beneficial to the State, or its citizens, to form several contracts for the sale of said lands, they shall not consummate any of the said contracts apart by themselves while the others lie in a train of negotiation only, but all the contracts which taken together shall comprise the whole quantity of the said lands shall be consummated together, and the purchasers shall hold their respective parts or proportions as tenants in common of the whole tract or territory, and not in severalty. That said committee, in whatever manner they shall find it best to sell the lands, whether by an entire contract or by several contracts, shall in no case be at liberty to sell the whole quantity for a principal sum less than one million of dollars in specie, or if the day of payment be given, for a sum of less value than one million of dollars in specie, with interest at six per cent. per annum from the time of such sale."
The following were appointed a committee to negotiate the sale: John Treadwell, James Wadsworth, Marvin Wait, William Edmonds, Thomas Grosvenor, Aaron Austin, Elijah Hubbard, and Sylvester Gilbert. These eight persons were selected, one from each of the eight counties of the State. They effected a sale in separate contracts with forty-eight different individuals, realizing for the State the sum of one million two hundred thousand dollars. Most of the purchasers made their bargains each separately from the others, although in some instances several associated together and took their deeds jointly. The contracts made were as follows: with
Joseph Howland ......................... $30,461 Daniel L. Coit, & Elias Morgan, & Daniel L. Coit................................ 5,1402 Caleb Atwater ................................22,846 Daniel Holbrook ..............................8,750 Joseph Williams ..............................15,231 William Low ...................................10,500 William Judd ...................................16,250 Elisha Hyde .....................................57 400 Uria Tracey & James Johnson ................................30,000 Samuel Mather, Jr. ..........................18,461 Ephraim Kirby, & Elijah Boardman, & Uriel Holmes, Jr. ............................. 60,000 Oliver Phe]ps, & Gideon Granger ............................. 80,000 Solomon Griswold ..........................10,000 William Hart ....................................30,462 Henry Champion (2d) .....................85,675 Ashur Miller ....................................34,000 Robert C. Johnson ..........................60,000 Ephraim Post ...................................42,000 Nehemiah Hubbard, Jr. ...................19,039 Solomon Cowles .............................10,000 Oliver Phelps ..................................168,185 Ashael Hathaway ............................12,000 John Caldwell, & Peleg Sandford ............................... 15,000 Timothy Burr ...................................15,231 Luther Loomis, & Ebenezer King, Jr. ...........................44,318 William Lyman, & John Stoddard, & David King ...................................... 24 730 Moses Cleaveland .......................... 32,600 Samuel P. Lord ................................14,092 Roger Newbury, & Enoch Perkins, & Jonathan Brace ............................... 38,000 Ephraim Starr .................................. 17,415 Sylvanus Griswold ............................1,683 Jabez Stocking, & Joshua Stow .................................... 11,423 Titus Street ...................................... 22,846 James Bull, & Aaron Olmstead, & John Wyles...................................... 30,000 Pierpont Edwards ............................ 60,000 Amounting to ........................... $1,200,000
The State by its committee made deeds to the several purchasers in the foregoing amounts, each grantee becoming owner of such a proportion of the entire purchase as the amount of his contract bore to the total amount. For example, the last-named individual, Pierpont Edwards, having engaged to pay sixty thousand dollars towards the purchase, received a deed for sixty thousand twelve hundred thousandths of the entire Reserve, or one-twentieth part. These deeds were recorded in the office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut, and afterwards copied into a book, commonly designated as the " Book of Drafts."
The individuals above named formed themselves into a company called the Connecticut Land Company, a brief history of whose doings will be presented in the succeeding chapter.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 11
required to execute a deed in trust of his share in the purchase, receiving in exchange a certificate from these trustees showing that the holder thereof was entitled to a certain share in the Connecticut Western Reserve, which certificate of share was transferable by proper assignment. The form of this certificate is given in Article IX. Article III. provides for the appointment of seven directors, and empowers them to procure an extinguishment of the Indian title to said Reserve; to cause a survey of the lands to be made into townships containing each sixteen thousand acres; to fix on a township in which the first settlement shall be made, to survey the township thus selected into lots, and to sell such lots to actual settlers only; to erect in said township a saw-mill and a grist-mill at the expense of the company; and to lay out and sell five other townships to actual settlers only. Article IV. obliges the surveyors to keep a regular field-book, in which they shall accurately describe the situation, soil, waters, kinds of timber, and natural productions of each township; said book to be kept in the office of the clerk of said directors, and open at all times to the inspection of each proprietor. Article V. provides for the appointment by the directors of a clerk, and names his duties. Article VI. makes it obligatory upon the trustees to give to each of the proprietors a certificate as named above. Article VII. imposes a tax of ten dollars upon each share to enable the directors to accomplish the duties assigned to them. Article VIII. divides the purchase into four hundred shares, and gives each shareholder one vote for every share up to forty shares, when he shall thereafter have but one vote for every five shares, except as to the question of the time of making a partition of the territory, in determining which every share shall be entitled to one vote. Article X. fixes the dates of several future meetings to be held. Article XI. reads: "And whereas, some of the proprietors may choose that their proportions of said Reserve should be divided to them in one lot or location, it is agreed that in case one-third in value of the owners shall, after a survey of said Reserve in townships, signify to said directors or meeting a request that such third part be set off in manner aforesaid, that said directors may appoint three commissioners, who shall have power to divide the whole of said purchase into three parts, equal in value, according to quantity, quality, and situation; and when said commissioners shall have so divided said Reserve, and made a report in writing of their doings to said directors, describing precisely the boundaries of each part, the said directors shall call a meeting of said proprietors, giving the notice required by these articles; and at such meeting the said three parts shall be numbered, and the number of each part shall be written on a separate piece of paper, and shall, in the presence of such meeting, be by the chairman of said meeting put into a box, and a person, appointed by said meeting for that purpose, shall draw out of said box one of said numbers, and the part designated by such number shall be aparted to such person or persons requesting such a severance, and the said trustees shall, upon receiving a written direction from said directors for that purpose, execute a deed to such person or persons accordingly; after which, such person or persons shall have no power to act in said company." Article XII. empowers the company to raise money by a tax on the proprietors, and to dispose, upon certain conditions, of so much of a proprietor's interest, in case of delinquency, as shall be necessary to satisfy the assessment. Article XIII. provides for the appointment by the company of a successor to a trustee who may have caused a vacancy in the office by death. Article XIV. places. the directors in the transaction of any business of the company under the control of the latter " by a vote of at least three-fourths of the interest of said company."
The following gentlemen were chosen to constitute the board of directors: Oliver Phelps, Henry Champion (2d), Moses Cleaveland, Samuel W. Johnson, Ephraim Kirby, Samuel Mather, Jr., and Roger Newbury. At a meeting held in April, 1796, Ephraim Root was made clerk, and continued to act in this capacity until the dissolution of the company, in 1809. A moderator was chosen at each meeting, and changes of directors were made from time to time.
THE NAMES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CONNECTICUT LAND COMPANY.The following are the names of the persons who subscribed to the "Articles of Association and Agreement constituting the Connecticut Land Company":
Ashur Miller, Uriel Holmes, Jr., Ephraim Starr, Luther Loomis, Roger Newbury for Justin Ely, Elisha Strong, Joshua Stow, Jabez Stooking, Solomon Cowles, Jonathan Brace Daniel L. Coit Enoch Perkins, Elijah Boardman, William Hart, Samuel Mather, Jr., Caleb Atwater, Nehemiah Hubbard, Jr., Lemuel Storrs, Joseph Howland, Pierpont Edwards, James Bull, Titus Street, William Judd, Robert C. Johnson, Samuel P. Lord, Ephraim Kelley, Oliver Phelps, Gideon Granger, Jr., Zephaniah Swift, Moses Cleaveland, Joseph Williams, Peleg Sandford, William M. Bliss, John Stoddard, William Battle, Benajah Kent, Timothy Burr, William Law, James Johnson Elisha Hyde, Uriah Tracey William Lyman, Daniel Holbrook, Ephraim Root, Solomon Griswold, Thaddeus Levvett, Ebenezer King, Jr., Roger Newbury, Elijah White, Eliphalet Austin, Joseph C. Yates, and Samuel Mather, in behalf of themselves and their associates in Albany, State of New York.
Before this organized body of men lay the important work of obtaining a perfect title to their purchase; of causing a survey of the lands to be made; of making partition of the same; and then of inducing colonies of men to undertake the settlement.
To these tasks the purchasers addressed themselves in right good earnest. In order to make sound their title they must obtain from the United States a release of the government's claim, -- a very just and formidable one, -- and to extinguish the title of the Indian, whose right to the soil rested upon the substantial basis of actual occupancy. Whatever interest Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York may have had in the Western Reserve had passed to the United States, and if none of the claiming States had title, the dominion and ownership were transferred to the general government by the treaty made with Great Britain at the close of the Revolution. There was, therefore, a very reasonable solicitude upon the part of the Connecticut Land Company lest the claim of the United States would, if issue were made, be proven to be of greater validity than that of Connecticut, the company's grantor. Another difficulty made itself felt. When an attempt was made to settle the Reserve, it was discovered that it was so far removed from Connecticut as to make it impracticable for that State to extend her laws over the same, or to make new ones for the government of the inhabitants. Congress had provided in the ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwestern Territory; but to admit jurisdiction by the general government over this part of that territory would be a virtual acknowledgment of the validity of the government's title, and therefore an indirect proof of the insufficiency of the company's title. The right to such jurisdiction was therefore denied, and Connecticut was urged to obtain from the United States a release of the governmental claim. The result was that congress, on the 28th day of April, 1800, authorized the President to execute and deliver, on the part of the United States, letters patent to the governor of Connecticut, releasing all right and title to the soil of the Reserve, upon condition that Connecticut should, on her part, forever renounce and release to the United States entire and complete civil jurisdiction over the Reserve. Thus Connecticut obtained from the United States her claim to the soil, and transmitted and confirmed it to the Connecticut Land Company and to those who had purchased from it, and jurisdiction for the purposes of government vested in the United States.
THE EXTINGHISHMENT OF THE INDIAN TITLE.At the close of the Revolution the general government sought by peaceable means to acquire the red man s title to the soil northwest of the Ohio. On the 21st of January, 1785, a treaty was concluded at Fort McIntosh with four of the Indian tribes, -- the Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas, and Ottawas. By this treaty the Cuyahoga and the Portage between it and the Tuscarawas were agreed upon as the boundary on the Reserve between the United States and the Indians. All east of the Cuyahoga was in fact ceded to the United States. The Indians soon became dissatisfied, and refused to comply with the terms of the treaty. On January 9, 1789, another treaty was concluded at Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum, between Arthur St. Clair, acting for the United States, and the Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas, and Sac Nations, by which the terms of the former treaty were renewed and confirmed. But only a short time elapsed before the Indians violated their compact. Peaceful means failing, it became necessary to compel obedience by the use of arms. Vigorous means for relief and protection for the white settler were called for and enforced. At first the Indians were successful; but in 1794, General Wayne, at the head of three thousand five hundred men, encountered the enemy on the 20th day of August, on the Maumee, and gained a decisive victory. Nearly every chief was slain. The Treaty of Greenville was the result. General Wayne met in grand council twelve of the most powerful northwestern tribes, and the Indians again yielded their claims to the lands east of the Cuyahoga, and made no further effort to regain them.
The Cuyahoga river and the Portage between it and the Tuscarawas constituted the boundary between the United States and the Indians upon the Reserve until July 4, 1805. On that day a treaty was made at Fort Industry, by which the Indian title to all the Reserve west of the Cuyahoga was purchased. Thus the Indian title to the soil of the Reserve was forever set at rest, and no flaw now existed in the Connecticut Land Company's claim to ownership of the lands of the Reserve.
12 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
SURVEY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE.The title having been perfected, the company made preparations to survey the portion of the Reserve Iying east of the Cuyahoga. In the early part of May, 1796, the company fitted out an expedition for this purpose, of which Moses Cleaveland was the leader of a company, -- all told of about forty men, -- five of them surveyors, one a physician, and the rest chain-men and axe-men.
By previous arrangement they met at Schenectady, New York, at which point they commenced their journey, ascending the Mohawk in four fiat-bottomed boats, proceeding by the way of Oswego, Niagara, and Queenstown to Buffalo, reaching the soil of the Reserve on the 4th of July.
ARRIVAL OF THE SURVEYORS.The records of the Ashtabula Historical and Philosophical Society contain an interesting narrative made by Judge Stow of the journey of this surveying party, and from this we gather what follows in relation to the expedition.
At the time the party commenced its journey, Fort Oswego, which they were compelled to pass, was garrisoned by the British. They anticipated difficulty in being able to get beyond the fort. At Fort Stanwix, however, they had the good fortune to be overtaken by Captain Cozzens, who had been sent by the British minister, Mr. Bond, with open dispatches to all his majesty's officers and subjects, announcing the ratification by both governments of Jay's Treaty, and that the navigation of the lakes should henceforth be free to all American vessels. They now anticipated no trouble. Captain Cozzens took passage on board Judge Stow's boat, and they ascended Wood creek toward Lake Ontario. When arrived at Oswego, however, permission to pass the fort was denied on the ground that his instructions were positive, and, without the sanction of his superior officer, then at Niagara, he was powerless to grant the request.
Mr. Stow's instructions from the Land Company were not in any event to attempt to run by the fort; but if permission were withheld, to lie in wait until further orders from the company should be received. But the climate was unhealthy; the soldiers in the garrison were many of them sick, and some of them dying; time was precious, and the anxiety to reach the Reserve was great. After much deliberation, it was almost the unanimous voice of the party to attempt the passage. The boats were floated down to within four miles of the fort, when they were hauled into a small bay and secreted among the bushes. One of the boats was then relieved of the greater part of its cargo, manned with double oars, and, with the agent (Mr. Stow) on board, moved down to the fort. The British officer in command of the fort evidently supposed that the boat was on its way to Fort Niagara to obtain the consent of the officer in command at that point to make the passage, and the crew were not disturbed. The garrison was thrown off its guard by this stratagem, and at dead of night the other boats passed the fort unobserved, and joined their companions on the waters of Lake Ontario. The following incident of the voyage will be of interest:
"The first boat had proceeded as far as to Sodus, where the little fleet intended to make a harbor. A sudden storm arose, and overtook the boats before they could reach Sodus. Night had come on, and the darkness was intense; the storm became more and more violent, and the situation was one of imminent peril. Beacon-fires were built by the crew of the boat which had landed, but it was impossible for the rest of the boats to make the harbor. The situation of the agent at this moment was intensely painful. His companions were in a perilous situation, and it was out of his power to afford them any relief. They were but a short distance from a dangerous shore, and the next billow might dash their little barks in pieces. Besides, he had assumed the responsibility of running by the fort, and, although successful in that attempt, yet if the boats were cast away or lost, the whole responsibility of the catastrophe would rest upon him. In this state of suspense and alarm, a man from one of the boats came running from the beach with the intelligence that all was lost.
"No anxiety could be greater or suffering more intense than that of the men on shore. They ran up and down the beach to see if it were not possible to render some assistance or gain some tidings from their companions. They found thrown upon the shore a gun and oar, which they recognized as belonging to Captain Beard, who was in charge of one of the boats. This increased their alarm. The next moment, however, they met Captain Beard himself, and anxiously asked if all were lost. He replied that nothing was lost but a gun and an oar! No lives were lost. The boats sustained much injury, and one was so badly damaged it could not be repaired and was abandoned."
Without more adventure worthy of note Mr. Stow and his comrades reached the mouth of Conneaut creek in the early part of July, 1796.
The names of this surveying-party, a company of fifty-two persons, all told, are as follows: Moses Cleaveland, the Land Company's agent; Joshua Stow, commissary; Augustus Porter, principal surveyor; Seth Pease, Moses Warren, Amos Spafford, Milton Holley, and Richard M. Stoddard, surveyors; Theodore Shepard, physician; Joseph Tinker, principal boatman; Joseph McIntyre, George Proudfoot, Francis Gray, Samuel Forbes, Elijah Gunn, wife, and child, Amos Sawtel, Samuel Hungerford, Amos Barber, Stephen Benton, Amzi Atwater, Asa Mason, Michael ()offin, Samuel Davenport, Samuel Agnew, Shadrach Benham, William B. Hall, Elisha Ayers, George Gooding, Norman Wilcox, Thomas Harris, Timothy Dunham, Wareham Shepard, David Beard, John Briant, Titus V. Munson, Joseph Landon, Olney F. Rice, James Hamilton, John Lock, James Halket, Job V. Stiles and wife, Charles Parker, Ezekiel Morley, Nathaniel Doan, Luke Hanchet, Samuel Barnes, Daniel Shulay, and Stephen Burbank.
It is a noteworthy coincidence that this advance-guard of the army of civilization that was soon to people the territorial limits of what is now known as " Old Ashtabula," first touched her soil on the anniversary of America's independence. Thus in this signal manner did a new colony, destined to play so important a part in the future of the nation, begin its existence on the same day of the same month in which the nation itself began to exist. Nor were these sons of Revolutionary fathers oblivious of the day which not only commemorates the birth of their country's freedom, but should henceforth be to them and their posterity the anniversary of the day on which their pilgrimage ended, and on which began their labors, toils, and sufferings for the establishment in the wilderness of Ohio of homes for themselves and their children. Animated with emotions appropriate to the occasion, these Pilgrim Fathers of the Western Reserve celebrated the day with such rude demonstrations of patriotic devotion and joy as they were able to invent.
They gathered together in groups on the eastern bank of the creek now known as the Conneaut; they pledged fidelity to their country in liquid dipped from the pure waters of the lake; they discharged from two or three fowling-pieces the national salute; they ate, drank, and were merry, blessing the land which many of them had assisted in delivering from British oppression; and they may have indulged in glowing predictions as to the future greatness and glory of the colonies they were about to plant. Could one of their number who shared their fancies, but who lived to see no part of them realized, behold to-day the changes which have proceeded in so wonderful a manner, we think that he would admit that the boldest anticipations of the little party of 1796 were but a feeble conception of the reality. However difficult it might be for him to understand the stages of the process by which so great a transformation has taken place, the actual truth would still present itself for his contemplation. What would astonish him most would be, not the conquest of forests, but that they have been succeeded by the numerous thriving cities and villages and the multitudinous homes of the prospering farmer, established on nearly every quarter-section of land in this county; that distance has been annihilated by the use of steam and the consequent acceleration of speed; that wealth and population have been so rapidly cumulative; that the community is so opulent and enlightened; that education is fostered by so admirable a system of free schools; that intelligence is universally diffused by so many representatives of a free press; that moral opinion has gained such ground; that religion is sustained by the convictions of an enlightened faith, and that the happiness of the people is universal and secure.
They christened the place where occurred these demonstrations of patriotism and joy Fort Independence, and the following are the toasts which they drank:
1st. The President of the United States.
2d. The State of Connecticut.
3d. The Connecticut Land Company.
4th. May the Port of Independence and the fifty sons and daughters who have entered it this day be successful and prosperous!
5th. May these sons and daughters multiply in sixteen years sixteen times fifty!
6th. May every person have his bowsprit trimmed and ready to enter every port that opens!
The surveyors proceeded to the south line of the Reserve, and ascertained the point where the forty-first degree of north latitude intersects the western line of Pennsylvania, and from this line of latitude, as a base, meridian lines five miles apart were run north to the lake. Lines of latitude were then run five miles apart, thus dividing the Reserve into townships five miles square. As the lands Iying west of the Cuyahoga remained in possession of the Indians until the Treaty of Fort Industry, in 1805, the Reserve was not surveyed at this time farther west than to the Cuyahoga and the portage between it and the Tuscarawas, a distance west from the western line of Pennsylvania of fifty-six miles. The remainder of the Reserve was surveyed in 1806. The surveyors began, as we have seen, at the southeast corner of the Reserve, and ran parallel lines north from the base-line and parallel lines west from the Pennsylvania line five miles apart. The meridian lines formed the ranges, and the lines of latitude the townships. The southeast corner of what is now Ashtabula County is thirty-five miles distant from the southeast corner of the Reserve, and the southeast township
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 13
' of the county (Williamsfield) lies in range one and township eight, Andover next north in the same range, and in township nine, Richmond in township ten, same range, etc.
THE APPOINTMENT OF AN EQUALIZING COMMITTEE.After this survey was completed the Land Company, in order that the shareholders might share equitably as nearly as possible the lands of the Reserve, or to avoid the likelihood of a part of the shareholders drawing the best and others the medium and others again the poorest of the lands, appointed an equalizing committee, whose duties we will explain.
The amount of the purchase-money, one million two hundred thousand dollars, was divided into four hundred shares, each share value being three thousand dollars. The holder of one share, therefore, had one four-hundredth undivided interest in the whole tract, and he who held four or five or twenty shares had four or five or twenty times as much interest undivided in the whole Reserve as he who held but one. As some townships would be more valuable than others, the company adopted, at a meeting of shareholders at Hartford, Connecticut, in April, 1796, a mode of making partition, and appointed a committee of equalization to divide the Reserve in accordance with the company's plan. The committee appointed were Daniel Holbrook, William Shepperd, Jr., Moses Warren, Jr., Seth Pease, and Amos Spafford, and the committee who made up their report at Canandaigua, New York, December 13,1797, were William Shepperd, Jr., Moses Warren, Jr., Seth Pease, and Amos Spafford.
The directors of the company, in accordance with Article III. of the Articles of Association, selected six townships to be offered for sale to actual settlers alone, and in which the first improvements were designed to be made. The townships thus selected were numbers eleven, in the sixth range; ten, in the ninth range; nine, in the tenth range; eight, in the eleventh range; seven, in the twelfth range; and two, in the second range. These townships are now known as Madison, Mentor, and Willoughby, in Lake county; Euclid and Newburg, in Cuyahoga county; and Youngstown, in Mahoning. Number three, in the third range, or Weathersfield, in Trumbull county, was omitted from the first draft made by the company owing to the uncertainty of the boundaries of Mr. Parsons' claim. This township has sometimes been called the Salt Spring township. The six townships above named were offered for sale before partition was made, and parts of them were sold.
Excepting the Parsons' claim and the seven townships above named, the remainder of the Reserve east of the Cuyahoga was divided among the members of the company as follows:
MODE OF PARTITION.The four best townships in the eastern part of the Reserve were selected and surveyed into lots, an average of one hundred lots to the township. As there were four hundred shares, the four townships would yield one lot for every share. When these lots were drawn, each holder or holders of one or more shares participated in the draft. The committee selected township eleven, in range seven, and townships five, six, and seven, in range eleven, for the four best townships. These are Perry, in Lake county, Northfield, in Summit county, Bedford and Warrenville, in Cuyahoga county.
Then the committee proceeded to select from the remaining townships certain other townships that should be next in value to the four already selected, which were to be used for equalizing purposes. The tracts thus selected being whole townships and parts of townships were in number twenty-four, as follows: six, seven, eight, nine, and ten, in the eighth range; six, seven, eight, and nine, in the ninth range; and one, five, six, seven, and eight, in the tenth range; and sundry irregular tracts, as follows: number fourteen, in the first range; number thirteen, in the third range; number thirteen, in the fourth range; number twelve, in the fifth range; number twelve, in the sixth range; number eleven, in the eighth range; number ten, in the tenth range; number six, in the twelfth range; and numbers one and two, in the eleventh range. These tracts are now known as Auburn, Newbury, Munson, Chardon, Banbridge, Russell, and Chester townships, in Geauga county; Concord and Kirtland, in Lake county; Springfield and Twinsburg, in Summit county; Solon, Orange, and Mayfield, in Cuyahoga county. The fractional townships are Conneaut gore, Ashtabula gore, Saybrook gore, Geneva, Madison gore, Painesville, Willoughby gore, Independence, Coventry, and Portage. After this selection had been made they selected the average townships, to the value of each of which each of the others should be brought by the equalizing process of annexation. The eight best of the remaining townships were taken, and were numbers one five, eleven, twelve, and thirteen, in the first range; twelve, in the fourth range; eleven, in the fifth range; and six, in the sixth range. They are now known as Poland, in Mahoning county; Hartford, in Trumbull county; Pierpont, Monroe, Conneaut, Saybrook, and Harpersfield, in Ashtabula county; and Parkman, in Geauga county. These were the standard townships, and all the other townships of inferior value to these eight, which would include all the others not mentioned above, were to be raised to the value of the average townships by annexations from the equalizing townships. These last named were cut up into parcels of various sizes and values, and annexed to the inferior townships in such a way as to make them all of equal value in the opinion of the committee. When the committee had performed this task, it was found that, with the exception of the four townships first selected, the Parsons' tract, and the townships that had been previously set aside to be sold, the whole tract would amount to an equivalent of ninety-three shares. There were therefore ninety-three equalized townships or parcels to be drawn for east of the Cuyahoga.
THE DRAFT.To entitle a shareholder to the ownership of an equalized township it was necessary for him to be the proprietor of twelve thousand nine hundred and three dollars and twenty-three cents of the original purchase of the company, or in other words, he must possess about three and three-tenths shares of the original purchase.
The division by draft took place on the 29th of January, 1798. The townships were numbered from one to ninety-three, and the numbers on slips of paper placed in a box. The names of shareholders were arranged in alphabetical order, and in those instances in which an original investment was insufficient to entitle such investor to an equalized township, he formed a combination with others in like situation, and the name of that person of this combination that took alphabetic precedence was used in the draft. If the small proprietors were, from disagreement among themselves, unable to unite, a committee was appointed to select and classify them, and those selected were compelled to submit to this arrangement. If after they had drawn a township they could not agree in dividing it between them, this committee, or another one appointed for the purpose, divided it for them. That township which the first number drawn designated belonged to the first man on the list, and the second drawn to the second man, and so on until all were drawn. Thus was the ownership in common severed, and each individual secured his interest in severalty. John Morgan, John Cadwell, and Jonathan Brace, the trustees, as rapidly as partition was effected, conveyed by deed to the several purchasers the lands they had drawn.
The following is an abstract of the drawing of lands lying within the county of Ashtabula.
It will be borne in mind that it required twelve thousand nine hundred and three dollars and twenty-three cents to entitle a shareholder to one of the equalized townships or an average township. It frequently happened that a number united and drew several townships together. As, for example, in draft No. 61, Gideon Granger, Oliver Phelps, and Phelps and Granger united their joint money, being ninety thousand three hundred and twenty-two dollars and sixty-one cents, or seven times twelve thousand nine hundred and three dollars and twenty-three cents, which entitled them to seven townships.
ABSTRACT OF LANDS DRAWN WITHIN ASHTABULA COUNTY.
14 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
OTHER DRAFTS.The second draft was made in 1802, and was for such portions of the seven townships omitted in the first draft as remained at that time unsold. This draft was divided into ninety shares, representing thirteen thousand three hundred and thirty-three dollars and thirty-three cents of the purchase-money.
The third draft was made in 1807, and was for the lands of the company Iying west of the Cuyahoga, and was divided into forty-six parts, each representing twenty-six thousand six hundred and eighty-seven dollars.
A fourth draft was made in 1809, at which time the surplus land, 60 called, was divided, including sundry notes and claims arising from sales that had been effected of the seven townships omitted in the first drawing.
QUANTITY OF LAND IN THE CONNECTICUT WESTERN RESERVE,
Land west of the Cuyahoga, exclusive of surplus land, islands, and Sufferers' Lands = 827,291
Surplus land, so called = 5,286
Cunningham or Kelly's = 2749
Bass or Bay, No. 1 = 1322
Bass or Bay, No. 2 = 709
Bass or Bay, No. 3 = 709
Bass or Bay, No. 4 = 403
Bass or Bay, No. 5 = 32
Parsons' or " Salt Spring Tract" = 25,450
Sufferers' or Fire Lands = 500,000
Total amount of acres in the Connecticut Western Reserve =3,366,921
Its capital town is Jefferson, which is situated in the eleventh township of the third range, and is in latitude 41 degrees 45 minutes north, and in longitude 80 degrees 45 minutes 5 seconds west. Its entire territory embraces a total area of nine hundred and seven square miles, two hundred and twenty of which are water. The land portion, in reference to which, as disunited from the water of the lake, it is more properly considered when regarding it as an organized county, contains an area of six hundred and eighty-seven square miles, and is larger, by about fifteen square miles, than any other county in the State.
Its position upon the map is in the shape of a quadrilateral, two of whose sides, the east and west boundaries, are parallel; the other two sides are not parallel, the northern line being formed by the shore of the lake, which, in this locality, trends to the south of west, making the western boundary-line about eight miles shorter than the eastern. The county is divided into twenty-eight townships, whose names are as follows: Conneaut, Monroe, Pierpont, Richmond, Andover, and Williamsfield, in the first range; Kingsville, Sheffield, Denmark, Dorset, Cherry Valley, and Wayne, in the second range; Ashtabula;, Plymouth, Jefferson, Lenox, New Lyme, and Colebrook, in the third range ; Saybrook, Austinburg, Morgan, Rome, and Orwell, in the fourth range; Geneva, Harpersfield, Trumbull, Hartsgrove, and Windsor, in the fifth range. Had each township been an exact square five miles in length or, in breadth, there would have been just four hundred and forty-eight thousand acres. Some of the townships are irregular, and contain a few more than an average township of sixteen thousand acres, and others less than this amount, the whole number of acres being four hundred and thirty-nine thousand three hundred and eighty-six.
Two ridges, lying at a considerable distance of from one-half mile to two miles from each other, traverse the northern part of the county, following the trend of the lake-shore, the soil of which is a fertile sandy loam, especially of the northern ridge. This portion of the county is well adapted to the growing of cereals and of fruits. Between the ridges the soil merges into a darker and heavier mould, while the central and southern portions of the county have a clay soil, whose nature is admirably adapted to pasturage and dairy farming. Ashtabula leads all other counties in the State in the manufacture of butter and cheese, and in the tonnage of hay produced. The surface is of a slightly undulating character, and an excellent of drainage extends throughout the entire county. Conneaut creek and Ashtabula river, in the northeastern part of the county, with their tributaries, Grand river in the western, and the Pymatuning in the southern part of the county, with their tributaries, make this one of the best-watered districts in the State.
From an examination of the map of the county, it will be seen that a portion of the streams flow northward, emptying their waters into the lake, while the Pymatuning and Mosquito creeks and their tributaries flow southward, pouring their waters through branches of the Ohio into that stream, and are thence carried to the Mississippi and finally to the Gulf of Mexico. The streams in the southwestern part of the county take this direction, and drain the territory of the townships of Williamsfield, Wayne, Colebrook, Cherry Valley, and Andover. The water which falls upon the soil of the other townships of the county is carried
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 15
for the most part into the lake. This county therefore contains a portion of that water-shed that extends from the Allegheny mountains to the Mississippi, dividing the waters that flow north from those that flow south. This water-summit is of such slight elevation that it cannot be distinguished in most localities from contiguous territory. The portages are very short. In some places indeed the dividing ridge resembles a depression instead of an elevation. In the southeastern corner of Dorset township there is a remarkable instance of this kind. The head-waters of the Pymatuning and of Mill creek, the former stream flowing south, and the latter north, have their source in the same marsh, across the centre of which an artificial embankment, supposed to have been formed by the beavers, has been constructed. The waters which are emptied from the same cloud, upon this embankment, flow a part down its southern slope into the Pymatuning, and the other part down its northern slope into Mill creek. Two particles or drops of water that were in close and friendly proximity to each other in the same storm-cloud, being precipitated upon this beavers' dam, the one flowing in the one direction, and the other in the contrary direction, are soon as widely separated from each other as the mouth of the Mississippi is distant from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The principal towns and villages of the county, named in the order of their population, are as follows: Ashtabula, Conneaut, Geneva, Jefferson, Rock Creek, Andover, Orwell, Kingsville, and Austinburg.
THIS REGION OCCUPIED AT ONE TIME BY
In looking a second time on the map, we see the great system of mountains, - of the Allegeheny range upon one side, and of the Rocky mountains and Sierra Nevada on the other, with the great valley of the Mississippi between them. The eastern portion of this valley is that with which we are concerned. Here we find two great valleys in a transverse direction, one filled with the chain of the great lakes, the other with the Ohio river. It is, however, but a single valley with two channels. A range of mountains or highlands, northward of the lakes, starts from the sea-coast to the northeast, and runs far into the interior. Opposite this, and south of the Ohio river and its tributaries, is another range of highlands, running from the Alleghenies to the Mississippi. Between the two valleys of the Ohio and the lake is a slight ridge, which divides the waters of the one from the other. From this ridge to the northern highlands we find the deep valley, marked in green, running from the region of the Arctic ocean to the Mississippi river in a southwest direction, looking as if a wide sea had run the whole breadth of the eastern part of the continent from the cold regions of the north, and at last poured itself into the warm bosom of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, it is through this very valley, marked by the deep gorges of the lakes and by the green lowlands east of the Mississippi river, that geologists suppose a great sea of ice to have been situated, which, during the glacial period, rested upon the upper part of the Mississippi valley. By this great glacier, which thus ground its way, it is supposed that the basin of the lakes was gouged out of the solid rocks. By the grinding process of this great sea, too, it is supposed that the dividing ridge itself was formed, and by the trickling of the streams from beneath its sides the Ohio river and its tributaries were drawn. By the debris, also, which accumulated at its base the great alluvial plains and deep bottom-lands at the west were formed. By some means, however, the western part of this valley became obstructed. Either the accumulations of the soil became a barrier, or possibly a transverse ridge was raised in the centre of the lake, where now a dividing ridge stretches from Cincinnati northward. By some means the current of the great lakes was changed, and they, with their tributaries, began to flow the other way. According to this theory, we shall need to consider the ridge which we now occupy as only the edge of this great sea or basin of ice, and with the same theory shall we understand how the different ridges which mark the northern part of our county were formed. It is evident it would only require the gradual rise of the land or the subsidence of the sea of ice for the lake to be formed which would fill the valley, but deposit its bar of sand and clay upon the highest hills, and afterwards recede and form a second ridge, and so come to its present level. By this process the decline from the ridge to the lake was abrupt, and the streams were short. After the sea had disappeared a great lake remained, but its beach was far above the present one. The south ridge was thus formed, and contains within its depths not only the ground, clay, and stones, but the remains of logs, swamps, and other vegetation.
This ancient beach formed a barrier to the streams themselves, so that they were obliged to make their way along its surface in either direction until they could find an outlet to the lake. For this reason do we find the course of streams on the south shores of the lake so crooked, and their months so turned from their proper place. It is interesting, in looking at the geography, to study this crooked-mouthed family. Each stream, as it sets out, seems to go directly to the lake, but finally turns far to the westward, -- the Ashtabula river emptying about where the Grand river should, and the Grand river, by mistake, making a harbor for our neighbors at Painesville. The course of these streams to the westward follows the dip of the strata or the incline of the great valley.
THE NORTH AND SOUTH RIDGES.The water-shed, then, and the terraces form the chief topographical features of the county, this insignificant rise giving character to the soil and variety to the surface and a free drainage for the streams, while the ridges or terraces, in their manner of being formed, would account for the difference of soil along the lake-shore and the interior of the county. That there are two ridges, called the north and south ridges, is a proof that the decline or settling of the lake to its present bed was gradual or in successive stages. The character of the north ridge is entirely different from that of the south ridge. "The outer or higher terrace, where exposed by railroad-cuts," J. S. Newberry, State geologist, says, "is shown to be a ridge or wall of compact, unstratified clay, composed largely of the debris of the local rocks, but with many fragments of granite and other metamorphic rocks, not rounded by the action of the waves, but in irregular forms, -- round, polished, and marked with striae and scratches on all sides." "This ridge contains beneath its surface the traces of an old swamp, with fragments of coniferous wood, the earth deeply stained with iron, and in places with deposits of bog-iron at the bottom. The whole is now covered to the depth of about six feet with drifted sand. This swamp has its origin in the causes which raised the clay ridge into its position, and was evidently filled with swamp-vegetation at the time the waters of the lake were resting upon the northern slope of this ridge, the winds gradually carrying the beached sands over the crest of the ridge into the swamp-basin, and in time burying it beneath the constantly-accumulating sandy deposit." "This ridge, with its mass unstratified and without rounded, water-worn pebbles, cannot be the slow accumulation of a water-washed beach, nor can the materials be deposited in water, which would rot and stratify them." There are some evidences that, even after this ridge was formed, great bodies of ice still existed in the lake. For instance, there are fractures or upheavals of the rock-shales, which are below the surface, which show the effect of a mighty force. Such fractures are found near the depot of the Lake Shore railroad at Ashtabula, and in the valley of the Hubbard run. Professor Newberry says, "It is manifest that such a local break in the shale could be caused by neither an upheaval nor the subsidence of the strata. A vast mass of ice moving on from the north, and impinging on the exposed strata of the shale with sufficient power to cause apart of the strata to buckle upwards at some point where the sliding motion was arrested, is alone competent to produce the condition of things here seen. The movement of a glacier, like a sheet of ice, is the only known force to produce such a result." The records of icebergs in the old lake at comparatively recent epochs are also left in the granite boulders scattered along the north slope of both of these ridges, generally not upon the surface, but so
16 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
slightly buried that they are uncovered by the plow in cultivation. This south ridge, throughout Ashtabula County, appears, says Professor Newberry, "to mark the line where the outer margin of the ice scooped out of the lake-basin on to the strata which it had not force enough to remove." The yellow clay and the sand ridges to the north mark subsequent chapters in this recent geological history. The ridges north of this are composed of sand and gravel. The spaces between the north and south ridge and the north ridge and the lake present to the eye the appearance of level terraces.
OTHER PORTIONS OF THE COUNTY.The rock which composes the substratum of Ashtabula County is designated by geologists as the "Erie shale." It is composed entirely of soft, blue aluminous slate, often weathering red on exposure, and finally decomposing into a stiff yellow clay. This shale gives a peculiar character to the topography of the county. South of the lake ridges the surface is one broad level plain of stiff clay, except as it has been eroded by water or covered by occasional deposits of gravel. Where the streams are rapid they form deep and narrow gorges, cutting down almost precipitously, sometimes one hundred feet into the shale. The stiff clay soil derived from the decomposition of this shale forms a fine and undulating grazing country, which, if properly under-drained, would be very productive.
Fortunately, the surface of the county is sufficiently undulating to render under-draining practicable. There is no county in the State where a systematic resort to this improvement would result in greater benefit. Such a soil, when drained, is not excelled by any for the cultivation of apples, pears, quinces, and grapes, and for this result the climate in proximity to the lake is especially favorable. The geological structure of the county in other parts is also the cause of the peculiarities of soil. There is a scarcity of building-stone in the north part of the county, in the south part it is more abundant. "In the east part of Williamsfield is a high ridge, capped with the conglomerate rock," which has supplied the largest part of the stone used in building in that vicinity. The Cuyahoga shales underlying the conglomerate are the surface rocks in the central part of Wayne, and the western parts of Hartsgrove and Windsor. The latter two townships are marked by long stretches of level tenacious clay soil. In Wayne these shales are more siliceous, and so the soil is more gravely. The Berea grit is found in Ashtabula County; its outcrop extends through the centre of Hartsgrove and east of the centre of Windsor. Its position is marked by a ridge rising towards the west, covered with fragments of sandstone; the best exposures are at Windsor Mills, where the stream has cut a channel forty feet deep, and where stone had been quarried for many years. The high ridge east of the stream is composed of the same rock exposed in the gorge. When systematic quarrying shall take place, and railroads are constructed, the whole county will be supplied with stone from this source, and the extensive region along the lake-shore will draw an abundant supply. The Bedford shale, underlying the Berea stone, is found in the western part of the county, and forms the basis of a tenacious clay soil. Thus we see the geological structure of the county is really at the basis of its topography, and gives character to its soil as well as direction to its streams.
VARYING ALTITUDES OF THE DIVIDING RIDGE.The direction of the dividing ridge is a subject of interest. "The actual crest of the divide forms a singularly tortuous line, which exhibits at different points remarkable variations of altitude; for example, beginning on the Pennsylvania line, east of Ashtabula County, the head-waters of the Chenango reach within ten miles of Lake Erie, and drain a surface which has an altitude of over six hundred feet above the lake. Thence the crest of the water-shed strikes south-westerly through Ashtabula County, and falling down to a level of three hundred and sixty-three feet at the summit of the A. Y. P. R. R., in Orwell; thence it sweeps with a sharp curve nearly at the same horizon around the head-waters of Grand river, far down in Trumbull county. Here it turns almost due north, coming again within ten miles of the lake in the northern part of Geauga county, and attaining at Little Mountain an altitude of seven hundred and fifty feet. There is one peculiarity about this ridge, -- that the wettest lands are upon its summit. The reason for this can be understood by a little thoughtfulness. The drainage of the county is formed by the sides of the ridge. As the streams make their way, they are likely to sweep off in their course all obstructions, but upon the summit of the ridge no such streams exist; consequently swamps and the wet clay soil, with heavy forests, are here found. The Conneaut lake, near the Pennsylvania line, and the wet lands in Pierpont and Dorset, are formed in this way, while the swamps between Jefferson and Ashtabula are caused by the water which has been set back by the south ridge along the lake.
The high lands or hills which form the peculiarities of the southern part of the county, where wide valleys intervene, may also be understood by the geological history.
CLIMATE AND SOIL.The climate of this county also deserves our attention. There is no doubt but that the advantages of the country in this respect are great. The proximity of the lake has an effect to prevent those extremes of cold and heat which are peculiar to some localities. If has been proved, by long experience in agriculture, that the more solid grains can be raised here with as much certainty as in colder regions; but at the same time fruits which are dependent on a mild climate can be grown abundantly. Even in its wild state it was discovered that this county was distinguished for its variety of fruits and foliage. If was then indeed a wilderness, which showed how thick and strong the combined elements of soil and climate had served to make the native growth. At that time the ridges were covered with wide-spreading chestnut and walnut, and other trees which are peculiar to a sandy soil. The hills and gorges were overgrown with a dense mass of hemlock and pine, which rooted themselves strongly in the sand and rock. In the interior the land, more level and composed of clay and abundantly watered, was covered by a dense forest of beech, maple, oak and ash, elm and white woods. In the swamp there was a dense jungle of alder-bushes, mingled with red-elm, rock-maple, and black-ash. One can at this date form but a poor idea of the density of these forests and the massiveness of the great monarchs which dwelt amid their shadows. Occasionally a stump may now be seen where some gigantic chestnut stood, giving us a slight indication of the size to which they grew, but those who contended with them for the mastery of the soil knew best their strength. It is narrated that six men surrounded one great monster with axe in hand, and swung freely the glittering blade; when at last the monarch fell twelve men mounted the stump and drank a bumper to the success of the owner.
FAUNA.Animals which in other countries had long been extinct were, when first settlers arrived, the common habitants of this region, and their habits became familiar to those who early made their residence here. Bears and wolves were numerous, as indeed were deer and elk. The panther and the wild-cat were occasionally met with. Wild turkeys were also abundant in the forest, and wild geese and ducks in the streams, and poisonous serpents had their dens in various places.
SCENERY.The scenery of Ashtabula County, notwithstanding the depth of the forest which covered it, was even at an early day attractive. The streams, which are for the most part small and gently-flowing rivulets, were attended with valleys, which gradually rose upon either side, that in the primitive wilderness were picturesque and beautiful. The variety of scenery and vegetation, soil and climate, was at this time correlated. Though different from New England in the absence of hill and valley, rock and rill, and a broken surface, yet the early settlers found even in the sullen forests and the hidden streams some deep, dark gorge, where steep precipices hung lowering over lonely glens, and the romantic element was not wanting. If there has never been the wide expanse of scenery which is peculiar to a prairie land, yet there are not wanting spots here where the vision stretches for miles away across intervening valleys, and the white form of house and the gleaming spire are mingled with the dark foliage of the distant prospect. The forest-clad region has been changed to fertile fields, the varied soil of sand and clay has been covered with grass and grain, the hills have been made the sites for houses and the level fields become the teeming place for harvests, and the inhabitants have found it a land of plenty, a home of comfort. Though at times there are storms which sweep over this belt of land, burying everything in a depth of snow, making travel in winter difficult and sometimes dangerous, yet these are of short duration. The earlier months of the year are generally introduced with long rains, and spring often proves deceptive. It is early to promise and late to fulfill, and winter often lingers in the lap of spring. This delay, however, has its advantages, the promises for fruits and the prospects for the season becoming the better for the long delay. Taking it all in all, few regions are more favored than this. The hand of nature has from the beginning built up a structure here well adapted for the home of man. Each successive age has approached nearer and nearer to the completion of the designs of the great Creator, when man should come upon the stage.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 17
went, have been the subject of research; but an impenetrable mystery still hangs over them. All that can be said of them is that they were a race preceding the various tribes of Indians which history has come in contact with, and may be regarded as strictly pre-historic.
The traces of an ancient population are scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the frozen regions of the North to the banks of the Gulf of Mexico, showing in many places that a numerous population long inhabited the land.
Ohio gives numerous evidences of such. a race. Here, it would seem, was the chief seat of the ancient empire. With the exception of the remarkable people which inhabited the region of Mexico, Central America, and Peru, none have given evidences of a more advanced state than those who inhabited the banks of the Ohio.
It is worthy of notice, however, that in this State two classes of works have been discovered, which seem to indicate two modes of life quite distinct and separate, and possibly two races as existing together. Throughout the southern counties the works are much more massive and distinct. They are also much more complicated and mysterious in their design, and evidently belonged to a people who were agricultural in their habits, and at the same time very religious; a people ruled by a strong system of government, but one who had attained to a considerable degree of civilization.
The works at the north, on the other hand, are much simpler in their character, and are mainly indicative of a military race. There is an entire absence of emblematic or religious significance to them. In these respects there is striking resemblance between the structures of the State of New York and those on the northern counties of Ohio. In fact, the same kind of defenses have been discovered scattered throughout the borders of the great lakes and along the numerous streams which empty into them. They consist mainly of fortifications located on the summit of lofty hills, or on islands surrounded by marshes, or on the banks of streams whose waters might serve as a barrier, or, in fact, in any place whose nature presents a refuge or a defense. Associated with these, however, there are, occasionally, traces of a more peaceable mode of life, such as trails which are supposed to have connected the different villages; also pits which were used for the storing of grain or for the catching of game; springs, wells, and various evidences of a peaceful life. There are also numerous graves, tumuli, and burial-grounds, which show that the same people who inhabited the land also have left the remains of their dead.
It may be difficult, in tracing the remains of these people, to separate the early from the later races. Whatever distinction may be made from the description of them must depend on the reader's knowledge of the races, for the record of all needs to be given at the same time, and without drawing the lines between the two classes.
Ashtabula County abounds in earthworks. These are located in various townships, and are much more numerous than has been generally supposed. Some of these have been discovered and are familiar to the citizens; others, however, have had only a local notice, and are scarcely known except to the owner of the land on which they are situated. Others, too, once known to the first settlers, have become mostly obliterated by the passage of time. These works are generally situated on the banks of streams, or in such locations as to have attracted attention, and are frequently surrounded with scenery of surpassing beauty.
The most remarkable of these ancient structures are the three which are located, one on the banks of the Conneaut, one on the Pymatuning, and a third near a stream called Phelps' creek, in the township of Windsor. All are works of defense, and are well chosen for this purpose. They are here described in successive order:
1. That at Conneaut is situated on the summit of a lofty hill, not far from the spot where the village now stands, and almost directly across the creek from the village cemetery. It is on an isolated spot, on a hill which has been left by some former change of the bed of the stream, and which now stands an abrupt eminence, its sides washed by the waters of the stream, which flows in silence underneath its very banks. A steep ascent protects it on all sides. The only approach is up a gradual slope to the eastward, formed by the narrow strip which has been left by the wash of the waters. The height of the eminence is the same as that of the opposite bank and the surrounding country, -- about seventy-five feet. From the summit there is presented a view of the valley, or gorge, of the surrounding hills and of the village. In the distance, to the eastward, the river bends around a point and disappears from sight, but leaves a bold bluff covered with lofty pine-trees and a rocky front. The spot is a romantic one, and, situated almost within the sound of the roar of the surf of the lake, and in the midst of the deep valley of a swift-flowing stream, must have been a favorite resort to the ancient inhabitants. The only mark of artificial defense is found on the summit. This consists of a simple earth-wall built on the very edge of the bluff, and following closely the very line of the bluff. A ditch was on the inside of the wall, and the height of the wall may have been at one time five feet. Possibly a stockade may have surmounted it, making the inclosure doubly secure both from the natural and artificial defense. The work has been described by those who visited it at an early date. The land thus inclosed was perfectly level, and embraced an area of about two acres, triangular in shape. According to measurements taken at various times, the walls were on the northeast two hundred and fifty feet in length, and on the southwest two hundred and fifty feet, and on the southeast three hundred feet.
A single opening to the inclosure existed, and this was approached only from the level of the stream below by a narrow pathway, which leads up the tongue of land before mentioned. The work might have served for a defense to the various tribes of Indians which inhabited the region, or it may have been the residence of the ancient people called the mound-builders.
There is on the bank opposite this work, but farther down the stream, a large burial-mound, which might indicate that the occupants of this spot were of the more ancient race of original mound-builders.
This mound is beautifully situated on the very summit of the point of land where the river turns to the northward, and commands, as does the fort itself, an extensive view up and down the beautiful valley. The location of this mound was favorable as a lookout, and connected with the defense. The defense itself might have served as a signal-station, to warn against the approach of an enemy from the lake below.
There are also other mounds in this neighborhood, though they are of comparatively small size. They were situated in the eastern part of the village. It is not improbable that the Book of Mormon has some connection with these mounds, and possibly may have been suggested by them. Its author, Rev. Mr. Spalding, lived in Conneaut, and the story is based on the common sentiment that the descendants of the lost tribes buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts and sciences and civilization account for all the curious antiquities found in North and South America. This theory of the lost tribes has long since been exploded.
There are burial-places belonging to the ancient races in the vicinity. An ancient burying-ground was situated a little west of the village, which occupied an area of about four acres. It was upon the bank of the stream, was in the form of an oblong, and was laid out in lots, exhibiting all the order and propriety of modern burials. These graves, disposed in straight rows with intervening spaces and alleys, covered the whole area, and were estimated to have been two or three thousand in number. They were examined as early as 1800, and were found to contain human bones, some of which were of a large size. The mounds, when opened, contained a quantity of charcoal, which may have been the remains of sacrificial fires, and fragments of earthenware, which may have been the remnants of vessels in which incense was offered. There have been also traces of ancient cultivation observed, the land once having been thrown up into squares and terraces and laid out into gardens.
2. That on the Pymatuning is situated in the southeastern part of the county, and has frequently been the subject of remark. It is located on an island, which at one time was surrounded by a deep morass. Its eastern side is washed by the running waters of the Pymatuning. It is a work of defense. The area inclosed embraces an acre and a half, but the island itself contains about three acres. The location is admirably chosen as a place of defense. It is at the upper end of the island, and the walls are built on the very edge of the rise of ground, and extend in a circular form around this portion of the island; but a three-cornered strip of land is left outside of the inclosure, to the southward. The island itself is twelve or fifteen feet above the morass, and its sides are gently sloping. But the walls of the fort were massive, and capable of protecting inmates from attack. These walls are double, having a deep ditch on the outside, a shallow depression between them, and a ditch again on the inside, and may have combined the double feature of a circular wall and of a stockade within the wall, with the ditch in this case on the outside. The dimensions, as given by the writer to the Smithsonian Institution, and published in their report of 1816, are as follows: "The outer wall is five feet high; from the bottom of the outside ditch the inner wall is about two and a half feet high. The outside ditch two and a half feet deep from the level; inner ditches at present are but slight depressions. The width from the outside to the middle ditch is nineteen feet, and to the inside ditch thirty-five feet; from the top of one wall to the top of the other it is fourteen and a half feet. It is two hundred and fifty feet across in one direction, and three hundred feet in the other. The outer wall extends in a tangent towards the creek, leaving a space on the water side with a single wall. The space between the two arms of the outer walls is at present occupied by a mill and a mill-race. It is described, however, by a Mr. Fobes, one of the first settlers of Wayne, as surrounded by the outside wall, with
18 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
the exception of one place, where seemed to be traces of an ancient stockade which crossed the stream. The remains of old logs have been discovered imbedded in the stream, and so situated as to give the idea that they were the remains of an old stockade."
This earthwork may have been used by successive races, -- the outer wall being the defense for the mound-builders and the inner walls the place of a stockade for later Indians. It is likely that the place was a favorite residence for both races. The beauty of the spot is remarkable, -- a fine growth of forest-trees, a meadow across the brook, and an occasional copse that dots the lowlands. The gentle slope in the distance, and the massive trees that cover the hill-sides, and the running streams stealing round the island and through the meadow, all make a lovely spot. It is just the place for a happy and contented community. The fish in the stream, the wild animals in the forests, the fruits of the wildwood, consisting of chestnuts and hickory-nuts growing upon the hill-side, the cranberry and blueberry in the swamps, furnished food in abundance for the inhabitants, while the scenery around was pleasing to the eye, and yet the location was a safe one for defense. When first discovered there was a trail leading from the neighborhood of the lake-shore to this place, and from it across rude bridges and through the forests far to the southward.
There are near this work other evidences of ancient habitation. The farmers frequently plow up in their fields not only the usual relies of the stone age, such as arrow-heads, axes, and fleshers, but in several places they have turned up the remains of ancient hearths, or fire-beds, which have long lain buried beneath the accumulations of the forest. These fire-beds are formed by cobble-stones arranged in a circular form, but bellowing down in the centre, like a saucer, and are generally covered with debris of ashes and burnt bones and other remains. They may have been the hearths of the primitive homes which were erected on these beautiful hill-sides, but they now become expressive of the domestic life of the people which have long since passed away.
Professor M. C. Reed, assistant State geologist, mentions the fact that there is a mound on the bank of the stream, north of these works, which he designates either as a burial-mound or a lookout-mound.
Joel Blakeslee, in his "History of Wayne Township," has given a description of another earthwork in this vicinity. It is situated upon either side of a flat- bottom ravine, and just below a fine spring of water called Cold spring. About forty rods below the spring are now seen the ruins of two large excavations, the largest found in the county. They are about eighteen or twenty feet in diameter, and seven or eight feet deep. When discovered, forty years since (he wrote in 1850), they were twelve or thirteen feet in depth, below, which, to an unknown depth, appeared rubbish; logs, and dirt. These excavations are near the brow of a steep bank, from which the scenery is beautiful and extensive. Along the brow of this south bank of the ravine may be seen a grand avenue or royal high-way, running about half the distance to the Cold spring. At this point the high-way may be distinctly seen to descend the bank to the bottom, thence up the ravine to the Cold spring. The work on the bottom land towards the springs was in a serpentine form, and extended about twenty rods. Many ancient relics are also found in this vicinity. Captain Terry Hart, in plowing his field on a high piece of ground about twelve rods east of the Pymatuning creek, in lot 49, came upon one of the circular pavements about twenty or twenty-five feet in diameter, constructed of unwrought stone. He also found a circular wall about ten rods north of the pavement. This circular wall was sunk in the earth in a regular manner, resembling the wall of a well, but filled in with small burnt stone, charcoal, and ashes, and a few stone relics mingled with them. Near the circular pavement, among other ancient relics, he found a steel hatchet with a tobacco-smoking pipe-head. This probably belonged to the red Indians.
3. The earthwork in the township of Windsor. This is situated on a tongue of land which seems to have been chosen for its advantages as a place of defense. It is at the junction of two streams, one called Phelps' creek and the other Grindstone creek. The land here rises abruptly about one hundred feet above the valley of the streams, forming a spot on the summit which is inaccessible except from the crest of the bluff above. The sides of the gorge are precipitous, trickling with water, and abounding in stalactites and damp limestone, which is in the process of formation.
The point of land assumes the shape of a man's foot, the toe being formed by the circuitous course of Phelps' creek. At the top, across the narrow place which would correspond to the ankle of the foot, is the earthwork in question. It consists of two walls, constructed partly of earth and partly of flat stones, which are parallel with one another, and about ten feet apart. These walls do not extend quite across the summit; but one commencing at the base of the bluff on one side, and the other at the summit on the other side, they overlap one another. The entrance is at the point, left by the end of either wall, and necessitates passing the whole length of the passage-way between the parallel walls, and through to the narrow openings near the edge of either bluff. The only defense along the side of the gorge is to the westward, where the inner wall follows along the edge about six rods to a point where a fall in the stream renders the wall for defense unnecessary. The walls across the upper end were in the form of a crescent, and were originally six or eight feet high, but at the present they are almost obliterated.
The area within the fortification is about one acre and a half. The length of the parallel walls is nine rods, and of the wall at the side about six rods. The distance from the walls to the point corresponding with the heel is in all sixteen rods; along the transverse line, or across the sole of the foot, twenty-eight rods; and from the point or toe back to the walls again, twenty-six rods; the point corresponding to the ball of the foot being only about three or four rods across. The point is admirably chosen, both as a place of defense and as a residence, the scenery from the summit being wild and picturesque, and the land being inaccessible except at one point. There are other works in the county which are not so well known as these which have been mentioned, but which are worthy of record.
Rev. Mr. Hall, the former, rector of St. Peter's church, Ashtabula, has described several important structures which he discovered in the vicinity of the village of Ashtabula. One of these was a plat of ground situated in the rear of the present site of the Roman Catholic church. It was a beautiful and fertile spot. When the country was very new, and the forests were covering the land, it was discovered that the growth on this spot was entirely different from that on the surrounding region. The plat of ground was situated on the brow of the steep precipice which forms the rocky side of the deep gorge through which the Ashtabula river flows, and was protected on that side by the bluff. It was isolated from the surrounding land by a ditch formed by the old bed of the Badger brook, whose channel has changed, and is now running directly down the bluff to the south of this point. It was a plat of ground gently declining on all its sides, and seemed a very beautiful spot for an ancient village or encampment. A deep path was worn into the rock from this spot down the precipitous side of the bluff, and underneath the overhanging trees to the water's edge.
This spot was selected at an early date as a garden by the white settlers. Rev. Mr. Badger, the earnest and devoted missionary of those days, made it a favorite place of resort; and Rev. Mr. Hall, also here, spent many hours in tilling its rich and mellow soil.
Here have been found, in the process of tillage, many remains which are supposed to have belonged to the ancient people, such as fragments of pottery, arrow- heads, pipes, pestles, stone door-steps, worn smooth by long use," and many other relics. It was a spot in the midst of the surrounding wilderness where many memories doubtless clustered and where many sunny hours were enjoyed, and seems to have been selected even by those of the successive races as a delightful place for residence or for tillage. Hon. Matthew Hubbard says of it when he first saw it, in 1804, "It was the most beautiful and lovely spot I ever beheld. If embraced some seven or eight acres; its east side formed by the semicircular bank of the creek, and the west by a curved embankment and ditch about twelve feet in depth. The character of the soil and timber of the exterior was totally different front that which composed the interior. The soil outside was a hard, unyielding yellow clay, covered with oak, white maple, and dwarf hemlock, with other scraggy underwood and green briers; while the soil here was the most beautiful and yielding imaginable, with a level surface as smooth as a palace-walk. It was shaded with trees as if by an irregular orchard, composed of black walnut, cherry, and mulberry, with no underbrush, and was overspread with a rich carpet of fine grass. A person passing over the region with the most hasty and impatient speed, when treading upon this spot -- one of the loveliest of nature's gardens -- would instinctively halt and loiter, being enamored by the scene and absorbed by conjectures. Here the tiny songsters of this Eden of the wilderness warble the richest melodies, such as were unheard in the surrounding forests. One might imagine himself on the ground of Paradise, and that he had escaped the curse of offended Deity." It is said that Mr. Hubbard spent many hours here while following his lonely life as the first settler in this uninhabited wilderness. This interesting place is now covered with buildings, and all traces of its former occupation have disappeared. There are other evidences, however, of the former races. In the vicinity of the village, opposite this plat of ground, in the direction of the east village, where now the white stones of the cemetery may be seen, was another ancient place. It was a place of burial then as now. On the very spot where lie the bodies of those who have died from the present race there were also found the remains of bodies that belonged to a people who have passed away. The places of their graves were formerly indicated by hollows or sinks indented in the soil, and it is said that nearly a thousand of these were discovered in regular rows close together.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 19
In cultivating the soil in the vicinity implements have been found, and in excavating the ground for graves it is said that bones have been exhumed which seemed to have belonged to a race of giants.
This land at one time belonged to a Mr. Peleg Sweet, who was a man of large size and full features; and it is narrated that at one time he, in digging, came upon a skull and jaw which were of such size that the skull would cover his head and the jaw could be easily slipped over his face, as though the head of a giant were enveloping his. Other burial-grounds of an ancient people existed in the vicinity, -- one on the very bank of the lake, near the mouth of the river. On the west bank of the stream, a short distance from the lake, on the summit of Plum point, has been discovered also a massive mound or burial-heap thirty-five feet in diameter and seven feet in height. At the time of its discovery it was covered with massive trees of very ancient growth.
Still another burying-place existed farther up the stream in a spot nearly opposite the present site of Chestnut cemetery, and between the gorges formed by Factory brook and Hubbard's run. Here also the graves were discovered by the hollows or sinks in the ground.
The most wonderful of all the works in the county are, perhaps, those which mark the remains of an ancient fortification which have been discovered in this vicinity, but have not been generally known. It is a double fortress, situated at the junction of three streams, just south of the village, and close by the village cemetery called "Chestnut Hill." One of these fortresses was on the very point which extends from the cemetery southward. It consisted of a single wall, which ran, in a form of a crescent, from one edge of the bluff to the other. There was an opening in the centre of the wall and a ditch outside, and a graded way across the ditch. The length of the wall was about one hundred and fifty feet, and from the wall to the extreme point of the land about two hundred and fifty feet. This wall is now almost obliterated. Opposite this point, across the gulf, on an isolated height of land, which is now called the "Sugar Loaf," was the other fortress. The walls of it can now be dimly traced around the edge of the summit though the wash of the steep banks has almost obliterated these walls. These two fortifications seemed to answer to one another across the deep gorge. The scenery around these heights, fortified by nature and by art, is wild and lonely. The two branches of the stream come from out the deep recesses of the forest to the westward, and after uniting just below this point of land make their way into the Ashtabula river, which at this place flows underneath the overhanging precipices.
The point itself stands high above the stream, and the solitary column of rock stands immediately opposite, looking like some vast sentinel placed there to guard the dark gorges which are to the rear of it. There are, traversing these steep bluffs and dark precipices, various paths which lead down into the lonely gorge, and which were the only approaches through the wild, forest-covered valley to the solitary defenses at the summit. The scenery from these points is such as becomes a wild and ancient fortress. In the background can be seen the dark recesses of the forest-covered gorges, the tall and dark pines and fir-trees on their summits answering back to the white, ghostly forms of sycamores, which lift up their arms from below like so many spectres. Immediately beneath the sullen waters of the stream roll darkly, the overhanging branches almost hiding them from the sight. To the northward the open expanse of the wider stream brings before the eye a more extended landscape. Here the steep banks of the valley stretch apart, while the stream flows beneath them. In the distance, drowning the summits of the bluff, can be seen the long line of houses which form the main street of the village. Just before one is the village cemetery, its white monuments contrasting with the lofty oaks and dark cedars which hang over them. Farther away over the summit of this cemetery the broad expanse of a lovely landscape stretches out in the distance, its surface bounded only by the blue expanse of the distant lake, while nestling among the trees may be seen the different houses which belong to the village. Across this landscape the streaming lines of cloud-like vapor occasionally follow fast-fleeing trains, while on the blue expanse beyond the white sails of the distant vessel can be seen. It is a scene of mingled wildness and beauty. In its primitive state the site of the fortress was indeed a formidable one. The fearful chasms and dark forest nooks were calculated of themselves to carry fear to the heart, but when surmounted with defenses, and occupied by the dark-faced and mysterious people, it was one of the strongest and most fear-inspiring fastnesses of the country.
The other earthworks contained in the county are not so important. They, however, will be mentioned. In the town of Saybrook there is a beautiful bank, with an elevation of about ten feet, which embraces an area of about one-fourth of an acre, which once contained in regular form thirty or forty circular sinks or depressions in the surface; they were two or three feet in depth, and were closely contiguous. A spring was near by. It is probable that an ancient village was situated here, and these were either their cellars, or caches for storing grain, or the sites of their tents. Near the east vicinity of these ruins a silver clasp was found; also pottery and other relics. A pipe has been described as having been of large size, finely carved with a figure emblematical of some imaginary being, part man and part beast. There were also pits near the lake-shore in the township of Ashtabula, near a large swamp on the Chenango creek, in the township of Andover, and in various localities in Monroe and other towns. These were supposed to be pits used for hunting deer.
THE COUNTY OCCUPIED BY UNKNOWN WHITE PEOPLE. >There is a mystery about the early occupation of this county. Traces have been discovered of the white race long before the advent of the white settlers. But no one knows who the mysterious strangers were. It has been stated by Colonel C. Whittlesey, in a published pamphlet, that the prints of an axe were found in the heart of a tree, around which the wood had gathered and afterwards grown, making at least one hundred and seventy-nine or two hundred rings of annual growth. Other evidences also have been presented. It should, however, be stated that there are some proofs that the south shore of Lake Erie was known at a very early date. The oldest maps in existence which give any view of the interior laid down the outlines of the lake with a tolerable degree of accuracy, though they seldom show any knowledge of the region farther south than its south shore. In fact, the strangest ignorance of the country, with the exception of the lake and its banks, was manifested. A chain of mountains was located at one time between the west end of Lake Erie and the east side of Lake Michigan, but no rivers at the south; and not until as late as 1703 did the Ohio river appear on any map, except a single one which was never published. On these maps, however, the territory of this vicinity was represented as occupied by that native race which has been described under the name of the Felians, or the Cat Nation, otherwise called the Eries.
It may be supposed that this correctness of outline of the lake and the representation of the primitive occupants of the territory signified some acquaintance with it. Possibly this very point had been visited by white men and explorers; hence the ancient marks on the trees. In reference to these, however, the proof is by no means conclusive. The testimony is that the markings were of a rough character, as if made by a blunt axe, and were as likely to have been caused by the stone axe of a native as by a white man. The theory of Colonel Whittlesey, that La Salle and his companions visited this region while on his way to discover the Ohio, can hardly be sustained by the evidence. Another more conclusive sign of the presence of the white man is in the discovery of an inscribed stone. This was near the burying-place upon the east side of the Ashtabula creek, at the edge of the bluff. It was found by the son of Peleg Sweet, who owned the land, as early as 1808. It consisted of a stone plate or slab on which were inscribed certain letters. A small tree had been turned up by the roots, near the banks, and this remarkable stone was found sticking into the bank near the top, its end inclining somewhat downwards towards the creek. The stone was taken out of its place, and was seen by a number of citizens, but was neglected, and has since been destroyed or covered up by the washings of the bank. It was, when found, lying with its smooth face downwards, the other side being flat but unpolished. On turning it over it was discovered that its surface was covered with marks of inscribed letters. The lower end seemed to have been broken off, but what there was in an oblong shape, twenty-two inches long, fourteen broad, and three inches thick. The top and edges were squarely finished and straight. The inscription was as follows: across the face of the stone, about six inches from the top, were two parallel straight lines cut skillfully (on a bevel), and beneath the lines on the left hand were two Roman capital letters, -- "E. P.,"-neatly cut. Beneath this, and about three inches below the lines, was another inscribed line, and beneath the line on the right side two more letters, -- "O. S.," -- of similar size and shape. Beneath this again, and three inches below the last-mentioned line, were two more lines, and under these, at the left hand again, these figures -- "121" -- cut in large and distinct outlines, and underneath the figures was still another line, equally distinct from the others. From this to the broken edge there was no inscription, and no other marks were found upon the stone. This interesting relic was, however, left to perish, having laid on the bank until it was buried or destroyed, and all further trace of its history has gone. What this stone was, or to whom it belonged, is now one of the mysteries, as well as the story of the skeleton and the many braves at the top of the hill. Evidently it was the work of a white man, as no other one could have inscribed the letters, and in such shape, and yet there is no record of any burial or surveyors' marks ever having been found in the vicinity. It was too deeply planted in the ,ground to have belonged to any of the white settlers, as the discovery was within four or five years of the occupation of the place.
Another affecting discovery of the presence of an unknown people was made on the bank of the same stream, and in the vicinity of the same village. This was the finding of two skeletons, with muskets in their hands.
20 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
When discovered they were lying on their faces within a few inches of the surface, having hardly been hidden from sight by the accumulation of soil and leaves from the forest. Their bones were complete, and though the flesh and skin had decayed, yet it was evident that they had lain thus buried until their flesh had fallen off and decayed. They were lying in one way, their heads towards the stream and their faces down, as if they had fallen. A rusty gun- barrel was clasped by the fingers of one of these skeletons about one foot above the breech end. Where the fingers had clasped the musket the rust had eaten through the barrel and consumed it. They were found not far from the mouth of the river, on the brow of the bluff where it overlooks the stream. Who they were and by what sudden fate they fell is unknown. The skeleton in armor has been celebrated by the poet Longfellow, but these perished unwept, unhonored, and unsung; the forest hid them and their bodies perished; they lay in their loneliness, the lake only moaning out their requiem, and the wind sighing: over their untimely death.
It is impossible to tell at what time this wandering race became the occupants of the soil. A veil of obscurity hangs over the earliest period of this region, as it does indeed over the whole continent. In fact the history of this region, front the earliest time up to a very recent date, is wrapped in impenetrable mystery. From the epoch when nature became fitted for the abode of man up to the date when civilization was first introduced among the forests, there is scarcely a record left. The waves may have washed the shores and sent their echoes through an uninhabited wilderness. The primeval forests may have become the home of that ancient, mysterious people who have left the remains of their habitations and burial-places covered with the growth of the centuries which have succeeded them. The later tribes also continued to wander for many years through the unchanging forests, themselves experiencing the only change. Thus have the succeeding dynasties of the human period rolled on, race following race like the waves of the sea. But with all these changes and the many events which may have occurred, not one record is left for us to read. There is absolutely no history of all this period. History begins only with the introduction of civilization, The records of the advent of the whites alone have been gathered. Even if there had been traditions, -- and there doubtless were many, -- these have been lost, -- buried in the mystery of the past.
It is, however, interesting to stand on the border land between the savage and the civilized, and to trace pictures of a life which has passed away.
The stories of the frontiersmen are valuable to history, since they disclose something of the unknown past and help us to look back into the dim and shadowy regions of the traditionary period.
In classic days the heroic period followed the mythical; but the heroes of our times are the pioneers who first emigrated to these wild forests and laid the foundation for society. By their contact with the rude tribes and the traditionary people, they are able to tell us something of the mythical period which preceded them.
The people which are first known to have inhabited this region were a tribe of aborigines, who have left their name upon the waters near which they resided. The Eries were a tribe which occupied all the territory lying south of the lake which bears their name, and are thus described by the earliest maps of the country. The French, who were the first explorers and discoverers of the great west, called them the Felians, or Cat Nation. How they came by the name is unknown, but possibly it was given to them from the wild animal that prowled so stealthily among these forests. It was, however, a name which at the earliest date was assigned by the natives themselves both to the tribe and to the lake, and never changed.
The history of this people is unknown. All that is known of them is that, about one hundred and fifty years after the time of the discovery of the continent, they came in contact with the powerful, all-conquering people to the east of them, -- the fierce and cruel Iroquois, - -and were subdued by them. No people on the continent ever served to carry so much fear into the hearts of the savage tribes as did that confederated and warlike race. For a time the Eries were shielded from their attacks by the tribes which were called the Neutral nation, and who occupied the country east and north of Lake Erie. This people were able to make their land the neutral ground, where all the tribes of the west might meet on friendly terms, and be safe from the attacks of the confederates. Even after the Hurons had been attacked on their lands, and were nearly exterminated, this tribe was able to continue its neutrality. The destruction of the neutral people did not occur until at least one hundred years after the discovery of the continent. The Jesuits had long occupied their missions at the north, and had even explored the distant west, before this barrier was removed and the terrible Iroquois began their incursions into the interior. Then, however, the destruction was sudden and complete. The western tribes faded away before this relentless foe far quicker than they did before the milder incursions of the civilized race. The destruction, indeed, was made before the white man entered these unexplored regions, and the natives of these forests lost their possessions through the incursions of those who were of their own race and blood. The Iroquois were not the possessors of the soil which they sold, but they conquered if from other tribes, and after the advent of the white race, by treaty after treaty, disposed of it to this advancing people.
The first nation which fell before the conquering savages was the Eries, who occupied the territory nearest them. The story runs that, about the year l650, the Eries and the Iroquois met in bloody conflict in the neighborhood of Buffalo, and that the former were completely vanquished. Whatever became of the nation is now unknown, for no fragment of them has been recognized among all the wandering tribes of the west. Were they incorporated into the same confederacy, and, becoming mingled with their conquerors, lost their separate existence? Or did they escape in scattered and fugitive bands, and become absorbed with the other tribes of the great west? It is singular that such perfect oblivion could pass over a people who lived so recently on this soil, and that no one should know what was their fate. They are, however, a lost tribe, -- lost to history, and lost to the land on which they dwelt. Not a record of them remains. The name they bore rests upon the beautiful lake near which they lived, but it rests in silence, its peaceful waves not even whispering the story of their fate.
Such has been the strange history of the land in which we dwell. Successive races have found their abode here, but they have perished by the hand of savages like themselves, and no one knows their destiny. The silent vestiges found on these hill-sides -- their weapons of warfare and their buried bodies -- speak to us of their existence. The corn-fields in many a fertile valley, the burial-grounds, beside the beautiful rivers, the occasional pit where they entrapped their game, and the many signs of their encampments, still convince us that they were a numerous and powerful people. Whatever may have been the race who erected the mounds and earthworks, it seems probable the burying-places were those of this lost people, and that the skeletons which are now looked upon are the exhumed members of the race which has given its name to the lake where was their residence. The blue waters may moan their departure, the forests sigh out their requiem, but their joys and sorrows are buried in the soil made sacred by their bodies. No tale of slaughter and no deed of cruelty can ever fix to their name. It is well that these residents of this county had departed before the advent of the white man, for then there had doubtless been a tale of treachery and cruelty and dark deeds which would have cast a cloud over their memory. As it is, however, the record of this people who sleep on this soil where now we dwell is unstained by any tale of warfare. The same air of peace which gathers over the waters which bear their name also gathers over their memory; and their name may ever continue to stir associations of the beautiful, the peaceful, and the true.
The tribe which conquered the original possessors of this soil soon became themselves its occupants, and before many years the name of the Eries disappeared from the land. For many years the whole of this wild territory embraced in the State of Ohio was known as the hunting-ground of the powerful Iroquois; and the Senecas, which were the westernmost of the confederate tribes, were known to be its occupants. It has been stated, however, that the Ashtabula river itself was the dividing line between this tribe and others who were allowed to dwell beyond them. The maps which were published about the year 1750 designate the region indeed as the hunting-lands of the Iroquois; but it is related that the Wyandots were by permission allowed to occupy the western part of the territory. A path is marked across this whole territory, from the region east of Lake Erie to a distant point on the Mississippi river, which is definitely stated to be the path which the Iroquois took in their attacks upon the Illinois and the western tribes. The deep forests became again neutral territory. This time a subjugated people, the remnant of the great Huron nation which had been so recently exterminated, was placed as a barrier against their enemies at the west. Thus did the Iroquois occupy the land in comparative security for many years. At last the incursions
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 21
of the whites became too great even for this powerful people. By degrees the chiefs sold the lands to the conquerors, and their treaties designated the boundaries of the new territory. The treaty by which the land was ceded where this county lies, and of which it forms a part, was made by the Iroquois, in the year 1726, at a council held at Albany. By virtue of this treaty, the whole territory west of Lake Erie, and a strip of land, sixty miles in width, along Lakes Ontario and Erie to the Cuyahoga river, was surrendered. The treaty of 1726 is the first in which this region is mentioned. The recognition of the river and lake at so early a date helps us to carry the history of this county, then the hunting-field of the red man, at least fifty years farther back than the date at which it is next mentioned. Up to 1684 no map had been published which described the continent correctly, or even contained a mention of many of the rivers in it. Indeed, it was as late as 16T6 before the southern shore of Lake Erie had been visited or the Ohio river had been explored. Such had been the fear of the warlike Iroquois, even among the French explorers and missionaries, that they had avoided this side of the lake, and had confined themselves to the Ottawa river and the northern lakes. The great west had been explored by these hardy and heroic men; the great river, the Father of Waters, had been navigated from the falls of St. Anthony to its mouth; the Wisconsin and the Illinois had been explored and described, and forts and missions erected on them, long before this region had been visited. Now, however, the ceding of the territory became the means of its occupation. The French at once became jealous of the aggressions of the English, and by right of discovery, and by virtue of treaties which they themselves had made with the western tribes, they also laid claim to all this territory lying west of the Allegheny river. The French government at once sent out officers who should lay claim to the land, and plates inscribed with the French coat of arms were buried in various localities to prove their claim. Forts were also erected at various advantageous points, as at Presque Isle, now Erie; at Venango, near Franklin; at the mouth of French creek; and at Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh.
This led to the embassy of George Washington into the wilderness, and for the first time the streams and forests and borders of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania became the object of attention. The solitude of the forest had, however, been broken. The eyes of the world had been fixed upon this locality. The streams and portages had become the lines of communication. Transports of soldiers, arms, and provisions had been conducted through the wilderness at no great distance to the east and south of this locality. Ashtabula County remained an unbroken wilderness through the French and Indian war which followed; and even the treaty of 1763, by which it in common with the great west was ceded to the English, did not affect its solitary state. So, too, during the Revolutionary struggle, the deep forests remained untouched, and only the wild Indian tribes, who were still haunting the frontiers, made it their resort. Yet the course of events was such that it was inevitable that it must come into notice and become occupied by the white settler. Unlike other points to the east or west, such as Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, or even Erie, its nearer neighbor, the county was not traversed by the ordinary routes of the early exploring or military expeditions, so that its history may be supposed to have begun later.
From the French war to the treaty of Greenville, a period of more than thirty years, this whole territory had been distracted by Indian depredations, and it is said that over five thousand persons were killed or captured west of the Alleghenies. Yet in all this time the number of Indian warriors was far less than was supposed, and all combined did not equal the number which had been slain. According to estimates made by Colonel C. Whittlesey, in his historical sketch of Ohio, the whole number of warriors did not exceed two thousand three hundred and fifty; of this number the Senecas and the Iroquois, who occupied this region, did not exceed two hundred warriors. This estimate may be too small. Against these savage forces eleven military expeditions had been sent, and seven regular engagements had taken place, and about twelve hundred soldiers had been killed. After the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, al! the disturbances ceased. What Indians there were lingering here were only the scattered members of the different tribes. This county was a half-way point between the reservations of the six tribes in New York and their territory on the Sandusky. The Ottawas also, and Chippewas, who really belonged far to the west and north, occasionally made the dense forests the scene of their hunting expeditions. The tribe, however, which was the most numerous was that of Massasaugas, a people who belonged to the Delawares, but who had been permitted by the Iroquois to leave their haunts on the Ohio and occupy this region. They were a harmless people, evidently intimidated by the conquests which had been gained over them. Years ago the Iroquois had subdued the whole Delaware race, or, to use their own expressive language, had "eaten them up" and "made women of them;" that is to say, they were obliged to give up all warlike expeditions and to live at peace.
Thus they lost their warlike propensities, and now dwelt wherever they were permitted to stay. This was the people with which the white settlers first came in contact. They had their village or encampments at Conneaut and in the township of Wayne. The remains of their camps are still found in various localities. One is on the bank of the Pymatuning and the southeast corner of Wayne, situated on the east side of the river.
Other traces of Indian encampments are found in the south part of the county. One in the town of Andover, not far from the Pymatuning, covered nearly an acre of ground, and the land is still very rich where the Indian village stood. Near this encampment many stone implements have been found. A nest of leaf-shaped flint implements, consisting of two hundred and fifty pieces, has been found buried in a swamp, and partly covered with sand to mark the spot. It is stated that traces of former occupation were found in the township of Wayne, on the very spot where the first log church built by the whites formerly stood. In tilling the soil, after the destruction of the house, there was discovered an immense quantity of the bones of deer, bears, and other wild animals.
INDIAN DANCES.The Massasauga tribe was very religious, and punctually observed their ancient feasts. They are described by the first settlers as occasionally holding dances and pow-wows for heathen worship on the site of the old fort. Some of these were performed with great solemnity. One has been described by Joshua Fobes as follows: "They arrange themselves in circular form around a large fire, one of them with a sort of drum, beating on if to mark the time, while the rest, stooping forward, kept up a sort of jumping dance, with much prolonged activity, all the time singing the words 'He-up-a-he-oh-a, He-up-a-he-oh-a' in a monotonous manner."
THE DANCE OF THE MOON.One of their modes of worshipping the Great Spirit was described to Mr. Joel Blakeslee by a lady, one of the first settlers in Williamsfield, who often visited the Indian camp, and in the night season witnessed the solemn ceremony. She describes it as follows: "When the hour arrived the worshipers arranged themselves in two lines, one of males, the other of females. Three or four Indians, drummers, sitting on the ground with their single-headed drums and single drum-stick, struck up the solemn tones, accompanied with the voice. At that, all parties in both lines commenced an active and regular motion to and fro towards one another and back again, all keeping exact time with their feet to the drum, while their voices, united in solemn tones, chanted aloud the following notes:
Weter-weter we-hah, Weter weter, we hah. Weter weter, we hah wah.
How-we-ah, how we ah hah. How we ah, how we ah hah wah.
High-tonne-ah, high tonne ah hah wah; High tonne ah, we ah hah wah.
"This tune, expressed in a plaintive voice and accompanied by the melancholy sounds of the drums and the measured tread of the dancers, gave an air of solemnity to the whole. To witness one of these exhibitions of a savage worship at midnight, by moonlight or torch-light, in the otherwise silent hours of night when all nature was hushed in soft and deep repose, was indeed impressive."
This company of Massasaga Indians consisted of twenty or twenty-five families; they lived by hunting till about the time of the arrival of the whites. Friendly intercourse was kept up between them and the settlers, and through the efforts made in their behalf they soon became more civil, turned their attention to cultivating lands and raising corn and cattle.
INDIAN TRADING.It is told of them that, notwithstanding the efforts made in their behalf, the Indians played a trick with some of their benefactors, which showed their inherent trenchery. Good old Father Wakeman engaged to let them have an excellent piece of ground for corn-land, consisting of about five acres. He prepared the ground in good season and style, expecting that the Indians would work upon the halves. The Indians came and were punctual to their contract, and about the time the corn was to be gathered, Mr. Wakeman was so well pleased that he told his wife to prepare a good dinner for the whole gang, as he would give them a good feast for their faithfulness. Just at this time one of Mr. Wakeman's friends came and asked him "what had become of his corn." Mr. Wakeman started over the ridge
22 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
which lay between his house and corn-field; but when he arrived at the top, behold, not, a stalk remained! It had been cut up close to the ground, nothing remaining but the roots. Wakeman then directed his course to the Indian camp, where he found the Indians, old and young, feasting on roasted corn. They had carried the whole crop on their backs, going a considerable distance around through the woods to prevent discovery, and had taken it to the camp. Mr. Wakeman concluded the next time to till his own land. These Indians afterwards joined the British in the war with the Americans in 1812, and did not again appear in this vicinity.
OTHER INDIANS.Other Indians who were found in the county at the time of its first settlement were members of the different tribes from the east and the west. It appears that the township of Windsor was the chief resort of these wild hunters. It is stated that at one time there were over four hundred gathered there, engaged in hunting and fishing. Among them the Ottawas, Chippewas, Cayugas, and Tonawandas, and others. Their manner of life was the common one of savages. Dressed in blankets, and living in wigwams, which were constructed from the poles cut from the forest, and covered with mats or with bark and boughs, they led a mere wild life; as near to nature as it is possible for a man to live. For their lodging at night the skins of animals served as beds, and they slept crowded thick within the walls of their rude huts. They neither tilled the soil nor wove their own garments, and subsisted on the wild fruits of the forest and products of the chase. They differed somewhat in their religious customs, but all seemed to be worshipers of some divinity, and believed in the immortality of the soul. Their ideas of the future were varied: some of them seemed to imagine that after death the spirit would go to a land where the water abounded with fish and the streams never froze; where the forests were full of game, and none to molest them in their happy hunting-grounds.
We close this chapter on the Indian tribes that once inhabited this region, with the following account of the manner in which the Eries were subdued and driven from the soil by their powerful enemies, -- the fierce and warlike Iroquois. The narrative is Indian traditionary history, and was published in the Buffalo Commercial, of July, 1845, accompanied with the following statement: " Its accuracy may be implicitly relied upon, every detail having been taken from the lips of Blacksnake, and other venerable chiefs of the Senecas and Tonawandas, who still cherish the traditions of the fathers. Near the mission-house, on the reservation adjoining the city, can be seen a small mound, evidently artificial, that is said to contain the remains of the unfortunate Eries slain in their last great battle. The Indians hereabouts believe that a small remnant of the Eries still exist beyond the Mississippi. The small tribe known as the Qwapaws, in that region, are also believed to be the remains of the Kankwas, the allies of the Eries." Notwithstanding the above, we must bear in mind that the account here given is furnished by the traditionary history of the Iroquois, and may be colored to their advantage to some extent.
When the Eries heard of the confederation which was formed between the Mohawks, who resided in the valley of that name, the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, who lived, for the most part, upon the shores and the outlets of the lakes bearing their names respectively (called by the French the Iroquois nation), they imagined it must be for some mischievous purpose. Although confident of their superiority over any one of the tribes inhabiting the countries within the bounds of their knowledge, they dreaded the power of such combined forces.
In order to satisfy themselves in regard to the character, disposition, and power of those they considered their mutual enemies, the Eries resorted to the following means: They sent a friendly message to the Senecas, who were their nearest neighbors, inviting them to select one hundred of their most active, athletic young men to play a game of ball against the same number to be selected by the Eries, for a wager which should be considered worthy the occasion and the character of the great nation in whose behalf the offer was made.
The message was received and entertained in the most respectful manner. A council of the "Five Nations" was called, and the proposition fully discussed, and a messenger in due time dispatched with the decision of the council, respectfully declining the challenge. This emboldened the Eries, and the next year the offer was renewed, and, after being again considered, again formally declined. This was far from satisfying the proud lords of the great lake, and the challenge was renewed the third time.
The blood of the young Iroquois could no longer be restrained. They importuned the old men to allow them to accept the challenge. The wise counsels which had hitherto prevailed at last gave way, and the challenge was accepted.
Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm with which each tribe sent forth its chosen champions for the contest. The only difficulty seemed to be to make a selection where all were so worthy. After much delay one hundred of the flower of all the tribes were finally designated, and the day of their departure was fixed. An experienced chief was chosen as the leader of the party, whose orders the young men were strictly enjoined to obey. A grand council was called, and in the presence of the assembled multitude the party was charged in the most solemn manner to observe a pacific course of conduct towards their competitors and the nation whose guests they were to become, and to allow no provocation, however great, to be resented by any act of aggression on their part, but in all respects to acquit themselves worthy the representatives of a great and powerful people, anxious to cultivate peace and friendship with all their neighbors. Under these solemn injunctions the party took up its line of march for Tu-shu-way. When the chosen band had arrived in the vicinity of the point of their destination, a messenger was sent forward to notify the Eries of their arrival, and the next day was set apart for their grand entree.
The elegant and athletic forms; the tasteful, yet not cumbrous, dress; the dignified, noble hearing of the chief, and, more than all, the modest demeanor of the young warriors of the Iroquois party, won the admiration of all beholders, They brought no arms; each one bore a bat, used to throw or strike a ball, tastefully ornamented, being a hickory stick about five feet long, bent over at the end, and a thong netting wove into the bow. After a day of repose and refreshment, all things were arranged for the contest. The chief of the Iroquois brought forward and deposited upon the ground a large pile of elegantly wrought belts of wampum, costly jewels, silver bands, beautifully ornamented moccasins, and other articles of great value in the eyes of the sons of the forest, as the stake or wager on the part of his people. These were carefully matched by the Eries with articles of equal value, article with article tied together, and again deposited on the pile.
The game began, and, although contested with desperation and great skill by the Eries, was won by the Iroquois, who bore off the prize in triumph. Thus ended the first day.
The Iroquois having now accomplished the object of their visit, proposed to take their leave, but the chief of the Eries, addressing himself to their leaders, said their young men, though fairly beaten in the game of ball, would not be satisfied unless they could have a foot-race, and proposed to match ten of their number against an equal number of the Iroquois party, which was assented to, and the Iroquois were again victorious.
The Kaukwas who resided on the Eighteen-Mile creek, being present as the friends and allies of the Eries, now invited the Iroquois party to visit them before they returned home, and thither the whole party repaired. The chief of the Eries, as a last trial of the courage and prowess of his guests, proposed to select ten men, to be matched with an equal number of the Iroquois party, to wrestle, and that the victor should dispatch his adversary on the spot by braining him with a tomahawk and bearing off his scalp as a trophy. This sanguinary proposition was not at all pleasing to the Iroquois; they, however, concluded to accept the challenge, with the determination, should they be victorious, not to execute the bloody part of the proposition. The champions were accordingly chosen. A Seneca was the first to step into the ring, and threw his adversary, amid the shouts of the multitude. He stepped back and declined to execute his victim, who lay passive at his feet. As quick as thought the chief of the Eries seized the tomahawk, and, at a single blow, scattered the brains of his vanquished warrior over the ground. His body was dragged away, and another champion of the Eries presented himself. He was quickly thrown by his more powerful antagonist of the Iroquois party, and as quickly dispatched by the infuriated chief. A third met the same fate.
The chief of the Iroquois party, seeing the terrible excitement which agitated the multitude, gave a signal to retreat. Every man obeyed the signal, and in an instant they were out of sight. In two hours they arrived at Tu-shu-way, gathered up the trophies of their victories, and were on their way home. This visit of the hundred warriors of the Five Nations and its results only served to increase the jealousy of the Eries, and to convince them that they had powerful rivals to contend with. It was no part of their policy to cultivate friendship and strengthen their own power by cultivating peace with other tribes. They knew no way of securing peace to themselves but by exterminating all who might oppose them. But the combination of several powerful tribes, any of whom might be almost an equal match for them, and of whose personal prowess they had seen such an exhibition, inspired the Eries with the most anxious forebodings. To cope with them collectively they saw was impossible. Their only hope, therefore, was in being able by a vigorous and sudden movement to destroy them in detail. With this view a powerful party was immediately organized to attack the Senecas who resided at the foot of Seneca lake (the present site of Geneva), and along the
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 23
banks of Seneca river. It happened that at this period there resided among the Eries a Seneca woman, who in early life had been taken prisoner, and had married a husband of the Erie tribe. He died and left her a widow without children, a stranger among strangers. Hearing the terrible note of preparation for a bloody onslaught upon her kindred and friends, she formed the resolution of apprising them of their danger. As soon as night set in, taking the course of the Niagara river, she traveled all night, and early next morning reached the shore of Lake Ontario. She jumped into a canoe, which she found fastened to a tree, and boldly pushed into the open lake. Coasting down the lake, she arrived at the mouth of the Oswego river in the night, where a large settlement of the nation resided. She directed her steps to the house of the head chief, and disclosed the object of her journey. She was secreted by the chief, and runners were dispatched to all the tribes, summoning them immediately to meet in council, which was held in Onondaga Hollow.
When all were convened the chief arose, and, in the most solemn manner, rehearsed a vision, in which he said that a beautiful bird appeared to him and told him that a great party of the Eries was preparing to make a secret and sudden descent upon them to destroy them, and that nothing could save them but an immediate rally of all the warriors of the Five Nations, to meet the enemy before they should be able to strike the blow. These solemn announcements were heard in breathless silence. When the chief had finished and sat down, there arose one immense yell of menacing madness. The earth shook when the mighty mass brandished high in the air their war-clubs, and stamped the ground like furious beasts.
No time was lost. A body of five thousand warriors was organized, and a corps of reserve, consisting of one thousand young men who had never been in battle. The bravest chiefs of all the tribes were put in command, and spies immediately sent out in search of the enemy, the whole body taking up their line of march in the direction whence they expected the attack.
The advance of the party was continued several days, passing through, successively, the settlements of their friends, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas; but they had scarcely paused the last wigwam, now the fort of Ca-an-du-gua (Canandaigua) lake, when the scouts brought in intelligence of the advance of the Eries, who had already crossed the Ce-nis-se-u (Genesee) river in great force. The Eries had not the slightest intimation of the approach of their enemies. They relied on the secrecy and celerity of their movements to surprise and subdue the Senecas almost without resistance.
The two parties met at a point about halfway between the foot of Canandaigua lake, on the Genesee river, and near the outlet of two small lakes, near the foot of one of which (Honeoye) the battle was fought. When the two parties came in sight of each other the outlet of the lake only intervened between them.
The entire force of the five confederate tribes was not in view of the Eries. The reserve corps of one thousand young men had not been allowed to advance in sight of the enemy. Nothing could resist the impetuosity of the Eries at the first sight of an opposing force on the other side of the stream. They rushed through it and fell upon them with tremendous fury. The undaunted courage and determined bravery of the Iroquois could not avail against such a terrible onslaught, and they were compelled to yield the ground on the bend of the stream. The whole force of the combined tribes, except the corps of the reserve, now became engaged. They fought hand to hand and foot to foot. The battle raged horribly. No quarter was asked or given on either side.
As the fight thickened and became more desperate, the Eries, for the first time, became sensible of their true situation. What they had long anticipated had become a fearful reality. Their enemies had combined for their destruction, and they now found themselves engaged, suddenly and unexpectedly, in a struggle not only involving the glory, but perhaps the very existence of their nation. They were proud, and had hitherto been victorious over ail their enemies. Their superiority was felt and acknowledged by all the tribes. They knew how to conquer, but not to yield. All these considerations flashed upon the minds of the bold Eries, and nerved every arm with almost superhuman power. On the other hand, the united forces of the weaker tribes, now made strong by union, fired with a spirit of emulation, excited to the highest pitch among the warriors of the different tribes, brought for the first time to act in concert, inspired with zeal and confidence by the counsels of the wisest chiefs, and led by the most experienced warriors of all the tribes, the Iroquois were invincible.
Though staggered by the first desperate rush of their opponents they rallied at once, and stood their ground. And now the din of battle rises higher; the war- club, the tomahawk, the scalping-knife, wielded by Herculean hands, do terrible deeds of death. During the hottest of the battle, which was fierce and long, the corps of reserve, consisting of a thousand young men, were, by a skillful movement under their experienced chief, placed in the rear of the Eries, on the opposite side of the stream in ambush. The Eries had been driven seven times across the stream, and had as often regained their ground; but the eighth time, at a given signal from their chief, the corps of young warriors in ambush rushed upon the almost exhausted Eries with a tremendous yell, and at once decided the fortunes of the day. Hundreds, disdaining to fly, were struck down by the war-clubs of the vigorous young warriors, whose thirst for the blood of the enemy knew no bounds. A few of the vanquished Eries escaped to carry the news of the terrible overthrow to their wives and children and old men that remained at home. But the victors did not allow them a moment's repose, but pursued them in their flight, killing all who fell into their hands.
The pursuit was continued for many weeks, and it was five months before the victorious party of the Five Nations returned to their friends to join in celebrating the victory over their last and most powerful enemy, -- the Eries. Tradition adds that many years after a powerful war-party of the descendants of the Eries came from beyond the Mississippi, ascended the Ohio, crossed the country, and attacked the Senecas, who had settled in the seat of their fathers at Tushuway. A great battle was fought near the site of the Indian mission-house, in which the Eries were again defeated, and slain to a man. Their bones lie bleaching in the sun to the present day, -- a monument at once of the indomitable courage of the terrible Eries and of their brave conquerors, the Senecas.
ABSTRACT OF TREATIES CONVEYING LANDS.
Date of the Treaty. where made, and by whom.
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