William W. Williams
History of Astabula Co., Ohio
Philadelphia, Williams Bros., 1878
Return to: page 23
As early as 1630 the valley of the Connecticut had become an object of desire. It soon became the object of dispute. The Dutch were the first to explore fhe river and to occupy the country; but the people of Massachusetts and New Plymouth, having informed themselves of the advantages the region offered to new settlements, were eager to transplant thither themselves and their estates. A company of sixty, in the last days of October, 1635, carried their desire into execution. Settlements were begun at Hartford and Windsor and Weathersfield. Early in the following year a body of about one hundred persons, led by Thomas Hoover, "the light of the western churches," began a pilgrimage to "the delightful banks of the Connecticut. The emigrants were from among the most valued citizens, the earliest settlers, and the oldest churches of the Bay. Many of them had been accustomed to affluence and the ease of European life. Among them was Rodger Ludlow, unsurpassed in his knowledge of law and the rights of mankind, and John Haynes, who had been for one year governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Thomas Hooker, famed as "a son of thunder," and had no rival in force of character, liberality of spirit, and soundness of judgment. The "Dutch intruders," as they were called, no longer indulging the hope of dispossessing their more powerful neighbors, gradually retired to more congenial habitations. The vigor and courage which the infant colony displayed in the war with the Pequods -- the first Indian war in New England -- struck terror to the savages and secured a long period of peace.
The constitution which they adopted in January, 1639, was of unexampled liberality and wisely adapted to the governmental needs of the colony. The people chose their own magistrates, installed them, and obeyed them. "The foundation of authority," said the admirable Hooker, "is laid in the free consent of fhe people, to whom the choice of the public magistrates belongs by God's own allowance. They who have power to appoint officers and magistrates, it is their power, also, to set the bounds and limitations of the power and place into which they call them. Let the judge do according to the sentence of the law. Seek the law at his mouth." "In matters of greater consequence, which concern the good, a general council, chosen by all, to transact businesses which concern all, I conceive, under favor, most suitable to rule and most safe for relief of the whole. This was the practice of the Jewish church, and the approved experience of the best-ordered states."
From this seed sprang the constitution of Connecticut, the first of written American constitutions framed by the people for the people. The people were sovereign. All power was to proceed from them. From the beginning Connecticut was constituted a republic. We quote the following eloquent sentences fpom the pen of the historian Bancroft, to whom we are indebted for the facts herein given: "More than two centuries have elapsed; the world has been made wiser by the most varied experience; political institutions have become the theme on which the most powerful and cultivated minds have been employed, and so many constitutions framed or reformed, stifled or subverted, that memory may despair of a complete catalogue; but the people of Connecticut have found no reason to deviate essentially from the frame of government established by their fathers. Equal laws were the basis of their commonwealth, and therefore its foundations were lasting. These unpretending emigrants invented an admirable system, for they were near to nature, listened willingly to her voice, and easily copied her forms. No ancient usages, no hereditary differences of rank, no established interests impeded the application of the principles of justice. Freedom sprins spontaneously into life; the artificial distinctions of society require centuries to ripen. History has ever celebrated the heroes who have won laurels in scenes of carnage. Has it no place for the founders of states, the wise legisiators who struck the rock in the wilderness, so that the waters of liberty gushed forth in copious and perennial fountains?"
The government was exercised by men who sought not their own gain or advancement, but considered with care the rights of the people. While the magistrates were often men of liberal endowments, and gifts of learning and genius were valued, the commonwealth was content with virtue and uprightness of intenfion.
Education was cherished, and there were common schools from the first. Religious knowledge was carried to the highest degree of refinement and applied to moral duties. They were interested in questions concerning the nature of God and of the soul. Their existence was one of unsurpassed tranquillity. There was mutual trust and a universal sense of security. "The best house required no fastening but a latch, lifted by a string." The widest latitude was given to forms of belief, and "that heavenly man, John Haynes," would say to Roger Williams, "I think, Mr. Williams, I must now confess to you that the most wise God hath provided and cut out this part of the world as a refuge and receptacle for all sorts of consciences." Connecticut from the first possessed unmixed popular liberty,and the minds of her yeomanry were kept active by the constant exercise of the elective franchise. "There was nothing morose in the Connecticut character." Life was not sombre. Mirth mingled with innocence. Religion itself sometimes wore the garb of gayety. Happiness was enjoyed unconsciously. Inequalities of condition were not numerous. All were thrifty and all were prosperous. The people multiplied along the alluvium of the streams, and subdued the more rocky and less inviting fields. The population for a century doubled once in twenty years. "The soil had originally been justly divided, or held as common property in trust for the republic and for new-comers." Disputations were infrequent, and for a long time there was hardly a lawyer in the land. "When Connecticut emerged into scenes where a new political world was to be created, the rectitude that had ordered the officers of a neighborhood showed itself in the field and in council" For a century its history was the picture of colonial happiness.
Such was the character of the people whose progeny have spread themselves over the soil of Ashtabula, Both in population and wealth they outrank the parent State at the time of the proposed union of the colonies. In 1678 the population of Connecticut was probably not far from fourteen thousand. In 1877 the population of this small fraction of New Connecticut is two and one-half times as large.
The explorations of the surveyors in 1796 served to dispel many erroneous notions with which the region was unjustly regarded, and in face, the opposite extreme of believing New Connecticut a veritable garden of Eden, whose natural advantages and beauties were unsurpassed; whose soil was of marvelous fertility; whose forests were magnificent in their beauty, with trees of gigantic growth, among which roamed the deer, the elk, and other animals affording food to man; whose streams of clear water abounded in fish and afforded excellent sites for mills, and whose lake was the most beautiful the eyes of man had ever beheld. In short, it was an enchanted region, to remain away from which evinced the greatest folly. Such were the representations of the land company. In 1798 the settlers began to arrive. The year 1791 most probably marks the date when the first white man was introduced to the forests of this region, at which time two young men were made prisoners at the defeat of General St. Clair, on the Miami, and were brought by a band of Seneca Indians to the banks of the Conneaut. A full account of their captivity, of the release of one of them from death by burning by the intercession of an Indian maid, and their final escape from the clutches of the red men, is given in the history of Conneaut township. The reader is referred to that history also for a narrative of the Conneaut hermit, -- an individual found
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 25
residing here in 1796, when the surveyors arrived, and who had probably lived here some three or four years prior to their coming. Mr. Kingsbury's temporary residence at the mouth of the Conneaut, during the winter of 1796-97, is also mentioned in the Conneaut history.
FIRST PERMANENT SETTLERS.The year 1798 signalizes the arrival of the first permanent colonists within the limits of Ashtabula County. The eastern half of the Reserve had been surveyed, and partition thereof had been made among the members of the Connecticut land company. This latter event took place January 29, 1798. In the preceding year a land company was organized in Harpersfield, Delaware county, New York, and called the Old Harpersfield land company. The-object of its formation was the purchase of lands in the Connecticut Western Reserve. Its members originally were Alexander Harper, William McFarland, Joseph Harper, Aaron Wheeler, and Roswald Hotchkiss. Others were subsequently included in it.
In June of the same year they entered into a contract with Messrs. Oliver Phelps and Gideon Granger, of the Connecticut land company, whereby they became possessed of six townships of land in New Connecticut, three of which townships were to lie east and three west of the Cuyahoga river. In September following a committee of exploration were sent out, who selected the lands. Number eleven of the fifth range was one of the townships chosen, and here it was decided to begin a settlement. The township was afterwards christened Harpersfield.
On the 7th day of March, 1798, Alexander Harper, Wm. McFarland, and Ezra Gregory, with their families; started from Harpersfield, New York, for what was to be Harpersfield, Ohio. The entire number of these emigrants was twenty-five, as follows: Colonel Alexander Harper and wife; their children, James A. and Wm. A. Harper, Elizabeth and Mary Harper, Alexander Harper, Jr., and Robert Harper; J. Gleason, a hired man; Wm. McFarland and wife; Ephraim Clark; Parthena Mingus, her son William Mingus, and Benjamin Hartwell, an adopted child; Mr. Ezra Gregory and wife, and their children, Eli, Jonathan, Anna, Eleanor, Daniel, Thatcher, Betsey, and Ezra.
This company embarked in sleighs and came as far as Rome, New York, where they remained until the first of May, and then proceeded in boats to Oswego, and thence to Queenstown, and Fort Erie. Here they found a small vessel which was employed by the government to transport military stores for troops stationed at the west, and being about to sail up the lake the company took passage. Reaching the peninsula on the Canada side, opposite to Presque Isle, or Erie, they were obliged to remain at that point an entire week before they could procure boats to take them forward on their journey. Their landing at the mouth of Cunningham's creek was effected on the 28th day of June. That night they encamped on the shore of the lake, and the next day Mr. Harper, accompanied by the women and children, started on foot, following the township line from the lake, and arrived at the place of his future home about three o'clock in the afternoon, a distance from the shore of the lake of about four and one-half miles. The rest of the company having remained behind, to make sleds whereon to transport their goods, and to cut a road for their passage, arrived later in the evening.
A rude lodge was constructed by driving forked poles into the earth and placing upon them other poles, which latter received the bark and branches of trees, and in this wilderness home the whole company dwelt together for about three weeks. At the end of this time they had built for themselves log cabins, and the families separated.
POPULATION OF THE RESERVE IN 1798.At the time of the arrival of these first permanent settlers on Ashtabula soil there were only fifteen other families on the Reserve, -- ten of these were at Youngstown, three at Cleveland, and two at Mentor. Three other families came this same season, and settled in what is now Burton township, Geauga county, and two or three others in Hudson township, Summit county. Perhaps the number one hundred and twenty-five would include all that were settlers upon the Reserve during the summer and fall of 1798 and the succeeding winter, a little more than one-fifth of which number were located upon the soil of this county.
WHERE THEY LOCATED.The Harpers and Mr. McFarland settled in the extreme northwestern part of the township, not far from the present site of Unionville, Harper on lot No. 16, and McFarland near the site of the present Episcopal church; while Mr. Gregory, with his family, settled farther to the southeast, on Grand river, lot No. 90. In August following their arrival, J. Gleason, the hired man, died and shortly after Colonel Harper himself was taken sick, and died on the 10th day of September.
SOME HARDSHIPS THESE FIRST PIONEERS ENCOUNTERED.In the fall of the year, their stock of provisions growing scarce, the colonists sent two of their number to Canada to procure a new supply. They placed four barrels of flour on board one vessel, and had previously contracted with the captain of another vessel to transport pork and other provisions up the lake for them. This latter vessel was wrecked before reaching the port where the supplies were in waiting, and the two men were obliged to return without their greatly needed stock of provisions. The vessel containing the flour, just before reaching Erie, was driven into shallow water by a storm, and frozen in, and the hour could not be obtained until the ice should become sufficiently strong to admit of going with sleds to the boat and bringing it to land.
The delay which these untoward event;s occasioned was so great that when the two agents of the settlers arrived with the flour, the latter had been without any kind of breadstuff for six weeks, and had subsisted for this time on salt beef arid turnips alone. The flour was used up before the winter had passed, and something had to be done to obviate the approaching danger of starvation. We copy the following from Mrs. Sherwood's narrative, furnished to the Historical Society, which describes vividly the perilous situation of these first settlers during this first winter:
"It was with feeling akin to horror that our little party saw our provisions dwindle away. Some plan must needs be adopted. What should it be? In the midst of this dense darkness there appeared a single ray of hope. If was ascertained that a man living on Elk creek, Pennsylvania, had raised some corn the year before. Thither the two brothers, James and William Harper, hastened. They arrived and told their story. The stranger listened attentively, and then inquired their names. Learning these, with some emotion he inquired their father's name. Their father was dead, but his name was Alexander Harper. 'Yes,' he exclaimed, I will divide with you for your father's sake;' and then went on to relate that he had been a fellow-prisoner with the father of the young men in the war for independence, and became greatly attached to Mr. Harper. When released, the two separated, never to meet' again; but if was the grateful remembrance of other years which was to preserve Colonel Harper's family from perishing in the wilderness.
"The boys were provided with corn, which they packed upon their shoulders, and carried more than fifty miles.
"Now, while our travelers are returning homeward, we will take a peep into one of the homes of the settlers in the Harpersfield wilderness. Here are the widow and her helpless orphans; the last morsel of corn had been parched and divided among the colony, sixteen kernels for each individual. Night closed in, accompanied with all the horrors of winter; the driving sleet beat upon the bark roof, while the raging blast threatened demolition of every dweller's cabin. Day broke drearily upon their troubled vision. The boys had not returned. The mother's heart grew sick with despair: she could not rise from her bed. The daughter strove to soothe and comfort; her mother, all the while watching eagerly for the approach of her brothers. Soon the joyful tones of her brother William's voice broke the withering spell, as entering the cabin he threw the sack of corn upon the floor, and bade his sister throw away her leeks, as he had something better to eat. The mother's strength revived, and all hearts were now made happy."
The corn was ground in a little mill resembling a coffee-mill, and in order to supply all with meal it had to be kept grinding continually. These instances of hardship were not alone the unhappy experience of these first settlers, but serve to show what indeed was the common lot of all who came hither the first few years in the settlement of the country.
The coming of spring was hailed with great delight. A few acres of ground were cleared and planted to corn; and thus the means of subsisting in the wilderness were provided.
OTHER EARLY SETTLEMENTS.The territory of Conneaut township was the next place at which settlers located. In the spring of 1799: Aaron Wright, Levi and John Montgomery, Nathan and John King, Robert Montgomery and family, and Samuel Bemus and family, arrived and made their homes along the banks of Conneaut creek, within the township that now bears the same name as the stream.
A few months later a settlement was begun in what is now Austinburg township, by Eliphalet Austin, George Beckwith and family, Roswell Stephens and family, David Allen, and one or two other young men.
About the same time the soil of Windsor received a settler in the person of George Phelps and family, who settled in the southern part of that township in June of that year.
Monroe township likewise this year became the residence of a pioneer, Mr. Stephen Moulton and family.
An accession was made to the settlement in Harpersfield in the fall of 1799, Mr. Aaron Wheeler and family and Joseph Harper and family arriving.
26 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
The number of settlers within the limits of the present county of Ashtabula during the winter of 1799-1800 was therefore not far from fifty persons. Harpersfield outranked the other townships as to the number of inhabitants; Conneaut came next, then Austinburg, then Windsor and Monroe.
Fresh additions were made in the spring of 1800. The settlement in Windsor was increased by the arrival of Solomon Griswold and family; that of Harpersfield by the coming of Daniel Bartholomew and Mr. Morse, with their families; that of Conneaut by the arrival of Seth Harrington, James Harper, and James Montgomery, with their families. The population of Austinburg was increased by the following arrivals: those of Joseph Case, J. M. Case, Roger Nettleton, Joseph B. Cowles, Adam Cowles, Josiah Moses, John Wright, Sterling Mills and family, Noah Cowles and his son Solomon, Dr. O. K. Hawley, and Ambrose Humphrey. The most of this numerous company made the journey from Norfolk, Connecticut, to Austinburg on foot. The greater part of them came without their families, returning for them after they had erected cabins wherein they might live. Some of this number finally took up their residence in other townships.
This was the year when the entire Reserve was erected into a county and called Trumbull. There were then residing in this large county, at the date of its organization, eleven hundred and forty-four persons.
TIME OF SETTLEMENT OF EACH TOWNSHIP.The following furnishes a statement of the date of settlement of each township in the county, with the names of the first permanent settler or settlers.
Conneaut, 1799; Montgomery, Wright, King, and Bemus, from New York State.
Austinburg, 1799; Austin, Beckwith, Stevens, and Allen, from Connecticut.
Windsor, 1799; George Phelps, from Connecticut.
Monroe, 1799; Stephen Moulton, from New York.
Morgan, 1801; Nathan Gillett, from Connecticut.
Pierpont, 1801; Ewins Wright, from Connecticut.
Geneva, 1802; Tobalt Bartholomew, from New York.
Wayne, 1803; Joshua Fobes, from Connecticut.
New Lynn, 1803; Joel Owen, from Connecticut.
Williamsfield, 1804; Charles Case, from Connecticut.
Ashtabula, 1804; Matthew Hubbard, from Connecticut.
Andover, 1805; E. Lyman, from Connecticut.
Jefferson, 1805; Michael Webster, from Connecticut.
Kingsville, 1805; Walter Fobes, from Connecticut.
Plymouth, 1805; William Thompson and Thomas McGahe.
Richmond, 1806; Yateman, Newcomb, and Tead.
Rome, 1806; William Crowell, from Connecticut.
Lennox, 1807; Lisle Asque, from Maryland.
Denmark, 1809; Peter Knapp, from New York.
Saybrook, 1810; George Webster, from New York.
Orwell, 1815; A. B. Paine, from New York.
Shefield, 1817; Chancey Atwater, from Connecticut.
Trumbull 1818; Daniel Woodruff, from New York.
Cherry Valley, 1818; Nathaniel Hubbard, from New York.
Colebrook, 1819; Joel Blakeslee, from New York.
Dorset, 1821; John Smith, from Massachusetts.
Hartsgrove, 1828; Thomas Burband.
EARLY POPULATION OF THE COUNTY.Joshua Fobes, in his narrative of the early history of Wayne, states that about the close of 1804 the Rev. Thomas Robbins, from Connecticut, a missionary on the Reserve, made a thorough census of the population then upon the Reserve, counting two bachelors one family. According to this enumeration there were at that time ninety-three families within the boundaries of this county, -- a total population of perhaps between four and five hundred. The largest number was in Harpersfield, which contained twenty-seven families; the next largest at Conneaut, which contained twenty families; then Austinburg, where there were seventeen families; then Morgan, where there were thirteen families. Each of the others of the settled townships contained less than eight families. In 1812, when the war between the United States and Great Britain took place, the population of the county could not have been far from fifteen hundred souls.
FIRST EVENTS.The first house built upon the soil of the county by white people was the one erected at the mouth of Conneaut creek, in 1796, by the party of surveyors. It was first occupied by themselves, then by Judge Kingsbury and his family during the winter of 1796-97, and then by Robert and Thomas Montgomery, in 1799.
The first marriage solemnized in the county, according to the rites of civilization, was that which occurred in March of the year 1800, between Aaron Wright and Hannah Montgomery, of the Conneaut settlement. The contracting parties went to Harpersfield, and were married by Justice Wheeler of that township, there being no magistrate in Conneaut with authority to perform the ceremony.
The first birth of a white person in the county was the child of Judge Kingsbury, in the winter of 1796. (See Conneaut history.) The next birth was that of the child of Samuel Bemus, of Conneaut, born on the 12th day of March, 1801, and called Amelia. About the same time a little daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. George Phelps, of Windsor township.
The first death, with the exception of Judge Kingsbury's child, was that of J. Gleason, Mr. Harper's hired man, which occurred in August of the year 1798. Mr. Harper died in September following.
The first school within the county was taught by Miss Elizabeth Harper, afterwards Mrs. Tappen, in the summer of 1802. The first male teacher was Mr. A. Tappen, in the succeeding winter. The fist religious meetings were held in this same year in Harpersfield, Conneaut, and Austinburg.
The first saw-mill in the county was that erected in Windsor township by Solomon Griswold, in 1800.
The first grist-mill was erected on Grand river, in Austinburg, by Ambrose Humphrey, in 1801.
O. K. Hawley was the first physician in the county, arriving in Austinburg in 1800.
FIRST DEED.Lands were sold and deeded and the same recorded prior to the organization of Ashtabula County. The first deed recorded at Jefferson is in volume "A," page one, Ashtabula County records, and was given by Eliphalet Austin and Sybel, his wife, to Joab Austin, November 14, 1810. The parcel of land conveyed by this instrument consisted of fifteen (15) acres, in lot No. 15, Austinburg township. The witnesses are Roswell Austin and Smith Platt, and the following is the acknowledgment: " State of Ohio, Geauga county, ss.: Richfield, December 14, A.D. 1810. Personally appeared Eliphalet Austin and Sybel Austin, signers and sealers of the within instrument, and acknowledged the same to be their free act and deed, before me, J. R. Hawley, justice of the peace." Indorsed as follows: "Received the 11th May, A.D. 1811, and recorded the 17th October, 1811, in Ashtabula County records. James A. Harper, recorder."
The first town plat recorded was that of Jefferson village. The record may be found in Geauga county records, September 25, A.D. 1806. Transcribed to Ashtabula County records June 8, A.D. 1839.
DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING BREAD.The problem which engaged the minds and energies of the first settlers was how to keep from starvation. However thinly clad, it was not difficult to escape suffering from the cold, as fuel was plentiful and near at hand. But how to obtain a sufficient quantity of breadstuffs during the winter months was a question whose practical solution was often resisted by almost insurmountable difficulties. No grain could be raised for the first winter's supply; settlements were so few, and so widely separated, that if they possessed the means of rendering relief to each other, the distance, and the dense forests that intervened, made mutual assistance extremely difficult; but the truth is, that each settlement found that, however liberal in heart, it lacked the ability to render help, and was obliged to consider the law of self-preservation of first importance. When the settlers had passed the first winter, they were able, during the following spring and summer, to prepare a small piece of ground and plant it with corn and vegetables; but after the grain was harvested the obstacle of converting it to flour presented itself. For several years after the settlers began to arrive there were no mills within the limits of the county. The nearest place where grain could be ground was at Elk Creek, Pennsylvania, a distance of sixteen miles from the Conneaut settlement. Thither settlers living nearest to this mill, would often carry corn and wheat on their backs, and carry the flour back again in the same manner. Aaron Wright says, in his narrative of the early settlement of Conneaut township, "I have often carried a bushel and a half of wheat on my back to Elk Creek, Pennsylvania, a distance of sixteen miles, and if, on my return, my provisions had failed. I struck a fire, dipped some water into the mouth of my bag with my hands, and mixed my bread, and then spread it on a basswood bark, obtained for the purpose, and baked it before my fire."
Various means were resorted to to reduce the corn and wheat to a condition such that bread could be made from it. GeneralIy the kernels were ground by a process of pounding. The modus operandi is given in some of the township histories, and need not be repeated here. The first grist-mills that were constructed
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 27
were extremely rude and clumsy affairs, almost always out of repair, and, when in running order, were most toilsome and tedious in producing the needed grist. When they would do service they were in constant requisition, and sometimes, when the claims upon them crowded thick and fast, they did not stop even for Sundays, reminding us of the mill which the poet Browne describes:
'Twixt days for work and holy tides for rest,
But always wrought and ground the neighbors' grist."
In certain seasons of the year the wild game of the forests and the fish from the streams supplied, in a great measure, the needed means of subsistence; but even these important articles of food could not appease the desire or relish for bread.
During the entire period from the time of the earliest settlement up to the close of the war of 1812, and even after this time, the people were suffering from the lack of facilities for converting their grain to flour. The mill erected by Mr. Humphrey on Grand river, in 1801, was at no time able to do what was required of it, and soon became totally unfit for duty. In 1808 a mill was erected in Conneaut township by Aaron Wright, and one in Jefferson township by John Shook, in 1809, which now afforded the inhabitants of the county much better facilities for obtaining flour than they had hitherto enjoyed.
"TO THE GENTLEMEN, PROPRIETORS OF THE CONNECTICUT LAND COMPANY, IN MEETINGS AT HARTFORD, --"Your committee, appointed to inquire into the expediency of laying out and cutting roads on the Western Reserve, report that, in their opinion, if will be expedient to lay out and cut through a road from Pennsylvania to the city of Cleveland, the small stuff to be cut out twenty-five feet wide, and the timber to be girdled thirty-three feet wide, and sufficient bridges thrown over the streams as are not fordable; and the said road to begin in township No. 13 in the first range, at the Pennsylvania line, and to run westerly through township 12 in the second range, No. 12 in the third range, No. 11 in the fourth range to the Indian ford at the bend of Grand river; thence through township No. 11 in the fifth range, No. 10 in the sixth range, No. 10 in the eighth range, and the northwest part of No. 9 in the ninth range, and to the Chagrin river, near where a large creek enters it upon the east; and from crossing of the Chagrin river the most direct way to the middle highway leading from the city of Cleveland to the hundred-acre lots. Submitted with respect by
"WM. SHEPARD, JR.,
The suggestions of the committee were adopted, and the road laid out without delay. The following are the names of the townships in Ashtabula County which this road passed through, as they now stand upon the maps: beginning at the Pennsylvania line, the first town is Conneaut, the second is Sheffield, the third is Plymouth, the fourth Austinburg, and the fifth Harpersfield. It seemed to deflect to the south, and pass across a corner of Trumbull township; then passing into Geauga, across the township of Thompson; thence into the town of Leroy, in Lake county. The road across this township is open and traveled at this time. Passing through Concord township, it crossed the road leading from Painesville to Chardon, about a mile south of Wilson's Corners, at a place called, fifty years ago, the "Log Tavern."
Temporary roads were constructed by the first settlers coming into the county, who generally landed at the mouth of some creek, and then cut a passage-way through the forest, leading to their destined place of settlement. Thus the Harpersfield colonists landed at the mouth of Cunningham creek, and in June of 1798 cleared a way for a few miles into the interior, along which their teams passed, transporting their goods. In 1800, Aaron Wright, Nathan King, and Seth Harrington, residents of what now is Conneaut township, opened the present South Ridge road from Conneaut creek westwardly to a point a short distance west if the present city of Ashtabula, where they met the Harpersfield inhabitants, who had opened the road from their settlement eastwardly to the point named. In the same year a north and south road was made from Harpersfield settlement to Windsor. This was done at the time Solomon Griswold and family penetrated the forests of the country as far south as to the northeastern part of Windsor, where he located in the early spring of 1800. The old stage-route from Erie to Cleveland was laid out through the country in 1802, by Aaron Wheeler, of Harpersfield, Eliphalet Austin of Austinburg, and Solomon Griswold, of Windsor, who were the commissioners at this time. A great deal of labor was expended by the early settlers upon this important thoroughfare. In after-years it became the leading east and west route of travel through northern Ohio. In 1801-2, what was known as the old Salt road was formed, leading from the mouth of Ashtabula creek southwestwardly to Austinburg, where it crossed the old Girdled road, and passed southwardly through Morgan, thence northeastwardly through New Lyme into Wayne, and thence into Gustavus and Kinsman, to Vernon. There seem to have been several roads that were styled "old Salt roads." One leading from the mouth of Conneaut creek southwardly through the first range of townships was laid out in 1804, and bore this appellation. The road leading from Austinburg to Jefferson was formed as a blazed route, or bridle path, in 1804, and opened for teams in the following year. The above named were the most important roads in the early settlement of the country.
MAIL-ROUTESThe earliest pioneers of the county felt severely the lack of mail facilities for the first few years, having no way of communicating with their friends, except to intrust their letters with some one of their number who, being obliged to return to the east, became mail-carrier for all the colonists of the different settlements. When any one of the inhabitants contemplated a trip to the east, knowledge of this fact was generally circulated among the settlers weeks and even months before the time of departure, so that all who had letters to write might get them in readiness. This tedious and uncertain mode of communication was felt to be no slight hardship, and the establishing of a mail-route was looked for with eager expectancy.
The first mail-route that entered the limits of this county was established in 1803, and extended from Warren, Trumbull county, northwardly through Mesopotamia, Windsor, Morgan, Austinburg, thence westwardly to Harpersfield, thence to Painesville and to Cleveland; thence back southeastwardly to Warren. In Windsor, Solomon Griswold was postmaster; in Morgan, Roswell Stevens; in Austinburg, Eliphalet Austin; and in Harpersfield, Ezra Gregory. A man by the name of McElvaine was the first mail-carrier, and accomplished his trips on foot about once every week, the distance being not far from one hundred and fifty miles. The route was soon afterwards extended west to Detroit, and a boy or young man, mounted upon a sure-footed horse, superseded the plodding foot-man. In 1806 the route was extended so as to include Jefferson, where Edward Friethy was postmaster. In 1808 a mail-route from Erie to Cleveland was established, and a man by the name of John Metcalf was the first carrier over this route. He made his journeys likewise on foot, and continued to do so until the year 1811. This man's fidelity to his duties deserves laudable mention. The settlements along the route were widely scattered; the road often in a wretched condition, at some seasons of the year almost impassable; oftentimes he was obliged to swim the streams, with the mail-bag poised upon his head to keep it from the water; yet neither muddy roads nor unbridged and swollen rivers, neither cold, nor heat, nor storms and tempests, prevented this persevering man from delivering the mail at the different stations with surprising punctuality. Gideon Leet was then the postmaster at Ashtabula. In 1811, when Asher Bigelow was employed to carry the mail on horseback from Ashtabula to Buffalo, he was allowed, when the traveling was good, twelve days to go and return, and fourteen days when the waters were high and the mud deep.
28 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
In 1812, John Metcalf is again found carrying the mail over his old route from Cleveland to Erie. At this time he is provided with a heavy lumber-wagon and a span of spirited horses.
In 1815 the wagon was superseded by a neat little stage-coach, with two seats for passengers, and the driver's box. Metcalf still retained his position, and did not relinquish it until 1818, when a regular line of mail-stages was established by Wm. Whitman, of Ashtabula, and Calvin Cole, of Painesville, and the stage-route was then extended as far west as Detroit.
In 1819 the Trumbull and Ashtabula turnpike-road was established, an enterprise of great importance to this county at the time of its construction. A line of stage-coaches from Ashtabula to and from Warren, and eventually to and from Wellsville, continued to operate this route for more than thirty years.
About the year 1820, Edwin Harmon succeeded Whitman & Cole as proprietor of the stage-route from Erie to Cleveland, and larger coaches, drawn by four horses, were placed upon the route, delivering a daily eastern and western mail to the inhabitants of the different towns along the route. Mr. Harman occupied the route for about seven years, and was succeeded by Colonel Henry J. Rees, of Ashtabula, who, in a few years, was followed by Rees & Converse; after the latter came Hubbard & Rees; then, in 1838, Neil, Moore & Co., who continued to operate the route until 1852, when it was abandoned, and the track of iron, with the swift-flying engine, came in its stead.
RAILROADS.The minds of leading men of the county were at an early day awakened to the importance of connecting the Ohio river and the lake by a railroad. The fact that the shortest distance between these two points was on a line running south from the lake through this county was a feature very favorable to the project. The first railroad projected was incorporated under act of legislature by a company called the Erie and Ohio railroad company, the road "to commence at some point on Lake Erie between the west line of the county of Geauga, now Lake, and the east line of Ashtabula, to extend through Trumbull county, and terminating at some point on the Ohio river, in Columbiana county." The capital stock was one million dollars, but was not subscribed, and the project failed.
"In February, 1836, the Ashtabula, Warren and East Liverpool railroad company was chartered, with a capital of one million five hundred thousand dollars. A company was duly organized under this charter, surveys made, and some work done; but, owing to the commercial crisis which commenced soon after, the work was abandoned." The names of Matthew Hubbard, Horace Wilder, Roger W. Griswoid, Joab Austin, and G. W. St. John, of Ashtabula County, headed the list of incorporators.
THE ASHTABULA AND NEW LISBON RAILROAD.was the enterprise destined to secure the object so long desired. It was chartered February 23, 1853, with a capital of one million dollars. Books were opened and sufficient subscriptions secured, so that on the 4th of July following directors were elected. They were as follows: Henry Hubbard and Frederick Carlisle, of Ashtabula; Joshua R. Gidding, of Jefferson; Lewis B. Austin, of Austinburg; Henry L. Springer and A. L. Brewer, of New Lisbon. Mr. Brewer was chosen president, G. I. Young, of New Lisbon, was appointed secretary, and O. N. Filch, of Ashtabula, treasurer.
As subscriptions were to determine whether the road should be located through the third or fourth ranges of townships, between Ashtabula and Warren, the people of the towns on these ranges engaged in earnest competition to secure the road. The people of the fourth range were the successful competition. The road was divided into two divisions, -- the northern from Ashtabula harbor to Niles, and the southern from Niles to New Lisbon. The amount of subscriptions obtained on the northern division was two hundred and seventy-four thousand six hundred dollars, including about sixty-three thousand dollars in real estate; on the southern division, one hundred and twenty-one thousand one hundred and seventy-five dollars.
Lemuel Clark, of Morgan, deeded his farm of twelve hundred and forty-nine acres to the company for twenty-five thousand dollars; but the directors induced him to take other lands, valued at six thousand dollars, reducing his subscription to nineteen thousand dollars. He subsequently donated his stock to the American Bible Society.
July 4, 1854, Roger W. Griswold was chosen president and Henry Fassett secretary. Mr. Griswold served two years, when Eben Newton, of Canfield, was elected, who served three years, when Henry Hubbard was elected, and still holds that position. Henry Fassett has held the position of secretary from 1854 to this date.
Prominent among the directors who rendered valuable service to this company, for many years, were Aaron E. Austin, of Austinburg, and James Stone, of Morgan.
July 14, 1864, that portion of the road lying south of the Mahoning river, at Niles; was leased for ninety-nine years to the New Lisbon railway company, and soon after completed and put in operation.
September 20, 1870, the Ashtabula and New Lisbon railroad company sold all of their road between Ashtabula Harbor and Niles to the Ashtabula, Youngstown and Pittsburgh railway company.
In 1872-73, forty years from their first efforts to secure a railroad from Ashtabula harbor to the Ohio river (the same length of time it took the children of Israel to get out of the wilderness), the citizens of Ashtabula County had the satisfaction of seeing two roads: completed from this place, one passing through the central and eastern part of the county to the oil and coal regions of Pennsylvania, with a branch from Andover to Youngstown, and the other through the thriving villages and towns in the western part of the county, connecting us by rail with Warren, Niles, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh, thus making our harbor one of the most prominent shipping ports on Lake Erie, especially for the iron and coal trade.
February 11, 1848, the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula railroad company was chartered, and its road soon after completed, which now forms a line in the greatest railroad thoroughfare in the world, connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific.
The value of railroad property within the county is one million eight hundred and sixty-two thousand and seven dollars, and, in 1816, the taxes paid were twenty-six thousand eight hundred and ninety dollars and seventeen cents.
For the above facts in relation to railroads we are indebted to Henry Fassett, Esq., of Ashtabula.
In 1788 the county of Washington was organized by proclamation of the governor and judges. It included that part of the Western Reserve east of the Cuyahoga river, the old Portage path, and the Tuscarawas river. In the year 1796 the county of Wayne was established, including, with other territory of vast extent, the remainder of the Reserve not embraced in Washington county. In 1797 Jefferson county was organized, and its boundaries were such as to include ail of the Western Reserve east of the Cuyahoga. The county-seat of this county was at Steubenville.
Notwithstanding the inclusion of the soil of the Reserve, by act of the Territorial government, within the limits of these several counties, civil government was not organized in New Connecticut, so as to have been recognized as of binding force by its inhabitants, until the year 1800. Prior to this date, Connecticut and the Connecticut land company denied to the United States the right of jurisdiction within the limits of New Connecticut, and refused to yield to congress or to the Territorial government the right to make laws for the settlers upon the Reserve. (The reasons for this are given in Chapter III of this volume.) Thus it happened that from 1796-97, the time when the first settlers arrived, until May 30, 1800, the pioneers of this region were without municipal laws. Their conduct was regulated and restrained, and their duties were prescribed, solely by their New England sense of justice and right. There was no law governing the descent and conveyance of real property, or of the transfer of personal goods; there were no regulations for the redress of wrongs, or for the protection of private rights. They were literally a law unto themselves. But few cases of misdemeanor arose, but if a settler were guilty of theft, or if he misused his wife, his neighbors constituted a court of justice, and decided among themselves that punishment should be indicted. The offender's back generally furnished the only record of these judicial proceedings. On the 10th day of July, 1800, the legislature of Connecticut having authorized its governor to return to the general government all right of jurisdiction within the limits of New Connecticut, the Western Reserve was erected into a county, and called Trumbull, in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut. This was done by proclamation of the governor and judges of the Northwestern Territory. The county-seat was at Warren.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 29
The first court in Trumbull county convened in Warren on Monday, August 25, 1800. The following were the first officers of this large county:
John Young, Turhand Kirtland, Camden Cleveland, James Kingsbury, and Eliphalet Austin, Esquires, justices of the peace and quorum.
John Leavitt, judge of probate and justice of the peace; Solomon Griswold, Martin Smith, John Struthers, Caleb Baldwin, Calvin Austin, Edward Brockway, John Kinsman, Benjamin Davison, Ephraim Quinby, Ebenezer Sheldon, David Hudson, Aaron Wheeler, Amos Spafford, Moses Park, and John Minor, justices of the peace.
Calvin Pease, Esq., clerk; David Abbott, Esq., sheriff; John Hart Adgate, coroner; Eliphalet Austin, treasurer; John Stark Edwards, Esq., recorder.
The following extract from the diary of Judge Turhand Kirtland, of Poland township, will be of interest:
"Monday, 25th. -- Went to Warren, took dinner at Adgate's, and went to Quinby's. Met the judge and justices of the county, when they all took the oath of office, and proceeded to open the court of quarter sessions and court of common pleas, agreeably to the order of the governor. They proceeded to divide the county into eight townships, and appointed constables in each. A venire was issued to summon eighteen persons as grand jurors."
The following is an abstract from the records of Trumbull county :
"August term, 1800. ss.
"The court appointed Amos Spafford, Esq., David Hudson, Esq., Simon Perkins, John Minor, Aaron Wheeler, Edward Payne, and Benjamin Davison a committee to divide the county of Trumbull into townships, to describe the limits and boundaries of each township, and to make a report to the court thereof."
The committee above named executed their instructions by dividing the reserve into eight townships for the better government of the few settlers then living within the county. These township were Richfield, Painesville, Cleveland, Middlefield, Vernon, Youngstown, Warren, and Hudson. Richfield embraced the whole of the present county of Ashtabula, with the exception of the present townships of Williamsfield, Andover, Wayne, Cherry Valley, Colebrook, New Lyme, Orwell, Rome, Windsor, and Hartsgrove. The first six of these outlying townships were included in Vernon township, and the others in Middlefield. Richfield embraced also the present townships of Madison and Thompson, in Lake county. At the May term of court, 1801, these eight townships were divided into election districts, called respectively the "northern district" and the "southern district." The towns of Middlefield, Richfield, Painesville, and Cleveland constituted the former, the place of holding elections being at the house of Mr. Simon Perkins, at the intersection of Young's road and Lake road, now Concord, Lake county. The towns of Youngstown, Warren, Hudson, and Vernon constituted the latter district, the place of balloting being at the house of Ephraim Quinby, in Warren.
Of the township of Richfield the following were the first officers, as nearly as can be ascertained: Noah Cowles and Nathan King, trustees; Aaron Wheeler, justice of the peace; and John A. Harper and Mills Case, constables. The names of the other officers cannot now be ascertained. In 1804 Geauga county was formed from Trumbull county, and included the greater portion of the present limits of Ashtabula County. In 1807 the present limits of Ashtabula County were defined, and January 22, 1811, the county was organized. Starting with this township of Richfield, embracing the entire territory of what is now Ashtabula County, with the exception of the two southern tiers of townships, we will trace the steps which were taken whereby the county came to have its present number of organized townships. The township of Salem, now Conneaut, was the first to be carved out of this immense district. Richfield remained intact from 1800 till 1804, when numbers twelve, thirteen, and the gore, numbered fourteen, of the first range, were separated from it, and incorporated into a distinct township, and called Salem. No other change was made until the year 1807, when Harpersfield, embracing what now is Geneva, Harpersfield, Trumbull, and Hartsgrove, was organized into a separate township. In 1808 Ashtabula township, embracing what now is Kingsville, Sheffield, Ashtabula, and Plymouth, was carved out. About the same time Jefferson township began an existence, including the present townships of Jefferson, Denmark, Pierpont, Lenox, Dorset, and Richmond. In 1810 Kingsville, embracing besides its present territory that of Sheffield, was detached from Ashtabula and organized. At the time of the organization of Ashtabula County, January 22, 1811, there were six organized townships within the limits of the county, as follows: Salem, including numbers twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, of the first range; Harpersfield, including numbers nine, ten, eleven, and twelve, of the fifth range; Ashtabula, including numbers twelve and thirteen, of the third range; Kingsville, including numbers twelve and thirteen, of the second range; Jefferson, including numbers ten and eleven, of the first, second, and third ranges; and Richfield, which included the remaining territory of the county, except numbers eight and nine, of the above ranges. The settlers in the county south of the tenth tier of townships voted, for the most part, with the people of the original townships of Vernon and Middlefield. In 1806 the three number eights, now constituting Williamsfield, Wayne, and Colebrook, belonged to a township called Green, which included considerable other territory in Trumbull county. In April 11, Wayne township was organized, embracing the present townships of Williamsfield, Wayne, Colebrook, Andover, Cherry Valley, and New Lyme. In July of the same year Windsor township was organized, and included Leffingwell (now Orwell) in addition to its own territory. The organization of the remaining townships was effected as follows:
Austinburg, including besides its present territory that of Saybrook, in 1812; Lebanon, including the present townships of New Lyme and Colebrook, in 1813 (in 1825 the name was changed from Lebanon to New Lyme); in 1813 Denmark was detached from Jefferson, and embraced the present townships of Denmark, Pierpont, Richmond, and Dorset; in 1816 Wrightsburg, changed in 1827 to Saybrook, was detached from Austinburg; in 1816 Geneva was taken from Harpersfield; in 1818 Pierpont was detached from Denmark, and included Richmond with its own territory; in 1818 Monroe was formed from Salem; in 1819 Andover, embracing in addition to its own territory that of Cherry Valley, was taken from Wayne; in the same year Morgan was taken from Richfield, and organized; in the same year Lenox was detached from Jefferson; in 1820 Sheffield was taken from Kingsville; in 1823 Leffingwell (afterwards Orwell) was attached to Richfield, and the two townships were known as Richfield until 1826, when Orwell was organized into a separate township. In 1825 Trumbull was detached from Harpersfield and made to embrace the present townships of Trumbull and Hartsgrove. In 1827 Cherry Valley was severed from Andover, and Richmond from Pierpont in 1828. The last vestige of the name of Richfield disappeared in 1828, when, upon the petition of Christopher Champlin and other inhabitants, the name was changed to Rome. Hartsgrove became a separate organized township in 1830, and on the 4th day of July, 1838, the last township organization of the county was perfected, the greater part of number twelve, of the third range, being severed from Ashtabula on the 7th day of January preceding, and erected into a township at the date first named above, and called Plymouth. Thus did the single township of Richfield, together with the two southern tiers numbered eight and nine, yield the twenty-eight independent sovereignties into which the county is to-day divided. The first and present officers of these townships will be found in the separate town histories.
FIRST OFFICERS OF ASHTABULA COUNTY.The county of Ashtabula began a separate and distinct existence on the 22d day of January, 1811, the following-named persons serving as first officers: Presiding Judge, Benjamin Ruggles; Associate Judges, Aaron Wheeler, Ebenezer Hewins, and Solomon Griswold; Treasurer, David Hendry; Recorder, James A. Harper; County Clerk, Timothy R. Hawley; Sheriff, Nathan Strong. The first official act was the organization of the June term of the court of common pleas. The following were the first grand jurors: Noah Cowles, Peleg Sweet, Stephen Brown, Jesse D. Hawley, William Perrin, Walter Fobes, Ebenezer K. Lamson, Sterling Mills, Michael Webster, Gideon Leet, Joshua Rockwell, Eliphalet Austin, James A. Harper, Moses Wright, and David Hendry. The court appointed Eliphalet Austin foreman. The jury were duly empaneled and sworn, and were charged by the court. The first suit was the State of Ohio vs. Orison Cleveland, assault and battery. The defendant was discharged by order of the court. There was no petit jury. There was a case that came before the judges, and was for debt, the plaintiff receiving a judgment for seventy dollars. The late Peter Hitchcock was the first prosecuting attorney pro tem., and Ezra Kellogg the first regular prosecuting attorney.
THE COURTS OF RECORD.The first court established on the reserve, and whose jurisdiction first extended over the settlers upon the soil of Ashtabula, was organized at Warren in August, 1800, and was known as the court of quarter sessions, -- a tribunal which ceased to exist upon the admission of Ohio into the Union, in 1802. Since that date
30 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
and up to the time of the adoption of the new constitution, March 10, 1851, the court of common pleas and the supreme court have held jurisdiction. Since 1851 the courts of record known to the citizens of the county have been the district court, the court of common pleas, and the probate court. The following are the names of the presiding judges, who were the appointees of the governor of the State up to the year 1855, when the office became elective: 1811, Hon. Benjamin Ruggles; 1815, George Todd; 1830, Reuben Wood; 1833, Matthew Burchard; 1837, Van R. Humphrey; 1844, Eben Newton; 1847, B. E. Wade; 1851, Reuben Hitchcock; 1854, Eli T. Wilder; 1855, Horace Wilder; 1861, N. L. Chaffee; 1871, M. C. Canfield. Mr. Canfield died while in office, and E. Lee was appointed to fill the vacancy until the first succeeding election, when D. W. Canfield was chosen to the office, and served until 1876, when L. S. Sherman, the present incumbent, was elected. By special statute H. B. Woodbury was elected at special election spring of 1875, and in the succeeding fall was re-elected, to serve for a term of five years.
The following are the names of associate judges: 1811, Aaron Wheeler, Ebenezer Hewins, and Solomon Griswold. Nehemiah King succeeded Aaron Wheeler in 1817; Eliphalet Austin succeeded E. Hewins in 1818; Amos Kellogg succeeded N. King in 1824; Titus Hayes and Thomas Smith succeeded E. Austin and S. Griswold in 1825; Jonathan Gregory succeeded Thomas Smith in 1826; Lemuel Moffitt succeeded Amos Kellogg in 1830; Luther Spellman succeeded Titus Hayes in 1832; Ashbel Dart succeeded Jonathan Gregory in 1838 ; James M. Bloss succeeded L. Moffitt in 1838; Jonathan Warner succeeded Luther Spellman in 1839; Matthew Hubbard succeeded Ashbel Dart in 1840; John Sherman succeeded M. Hubbard in 1843; Lathorp Rawdon succeeded J. M. Bloss in 1845; Lynds Jones succeeded J, Warner in 1846; Chester Stowe was appointed to fill vacancy caused by death of Mr. Sherman in 1846; was elected to the office in 1847; Wm. S. Deming succeeded Lathorp Rawdon in 1851; Stephen D. Dann succeeded Lynds Jones in 1851. In 1857 the office of associated judgeship was abolished.
The first jury trial occurred in the March term of court, 1812, in which George B. Merwin was plaintiff and Gideon Leet was defendant, in which a judgment was rendered for Merwin in the sum of thirty-two dollars and fifty cents.
THE PROBATE COURT.The first judge of probate for Ashtabula County was J. Addison Giddings, in 1852, who served until 1857, and was succeeded by Hiram A. Plumb, who died in office, August 25, 1859. Henry Fassett was appointed to fill vacancy, and in October following was elected to the office. He held the position one year, and, resigning, was succeeded by D. S. Wade, appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr. Wade was elected to the office in October, 1860, and continued to serve until 1866, when B. T. Cushing became his successor. Mr. Cushing resigned the office in 1872, and E. J. Betts, the present worthy incumbent, was appointed to fill the vacancy. In 1875, Mr. Betts was elected to the office.
THE OFFICIAL ROSTER.United States Senators. --- Hon. Benjamin F. Wade was elected to the United States Senate in 1851, and served for three senatorial terms, or until 1869, when he was succeeded by Allen G. Thurman. No county of the State has furnished a citizen who has served the people with greater honor as senator of the United States than did this son of Ashtabula.
Members of Congress. -- Ohio, before its admission as a State, in 1802, was a part of the Northwestern Territory, and its representative in the Seventh congress from 1801 to 1803 was Paul Fearing. He was born in May, 1762, and died in Ohio in 1822. Upon the State's admission into the Union, in 1802, its entire territory constituted one congressional district, and no change was made until 1813. During this time it was represented by Jeremiah Morrow in the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth congresses. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1770. Died in Ohio in 1852. After the expiration of his term of office as representative he became United States senator. He was twice elected governor of the State, in 1822 and 1824.
The Ashtabula district was represented in congress from 1813 to 1814 by Reson Bell, and from 1814 to 1817 by David Clendening. From 1811 to 1819, Peter Hitchcock, of Geauga, was the delegate. He was born in Connecticut, October 19, 1780, and died at Painesville, Ohio, May 11, 1853. He was one of the foremost men of his day. His name appears below as member of the house and senate of Ohio. He was one of the supreme judges of the State for twenty-eight years, -- part of the time chief justice, -- and was one of the ablest and most useful judges the State ever had.
John Sloan represented the congressional district of which this county was a part in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth congresses, or from 1819 to 1823. He was born at York, Pennsylvania, 1779, and died at Wooster, Ohio, in 1856.
Hon, Elisha Whittlesey, from 1823 to 1838, represented the Ashtabula district in Congress. He was one of the ablest men in congress at that time. He was born in Connecticut in 1783, and died in Washington, District of Columbia, 1863. Whittlesey was succeeded by the Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, in 1838, who served until 1859, and was succeeded by John Hutchins. Mr. Hutchins' term of office was from 1859 to 1863, when Hon. James A. Garfield, the present able representative, was elected. Mr. Garfield has represented this district continuously since 1863. He is the acknowledged Republican leader in the house of representatives. At the present time he is a resident of Mentor, Lake county.
State Senators. -- Peter Hitchcock, 1812-15; Aaron Wheeler and Almond Ruggles, 1816; Aaron Wheeler and John Campbell, 1818; Almond Ruggles and John Campbell, 1819; Aaron Wheeler, 1820; Samuei W. Phelps, 1821-22; Samuel Wheeler, 1823-28; Eliphalet Austin, 1859-30; Uri Seeley, 1831-32; Peter Hitchcock, Sr., 1833-34 Ralph Granger, 1835-36; Benjamin P. Wade, 18~7-38; Benjamin Bissell, 1839-40; Benjamin F. Wade, 1841-42; William L. Perkins, 1843-46; Brewster Randall, 1847-50; Laban S. Sherman, 1852-54; Lester Taylor, 1856; Darius Cadwell, 1858; John F. Morse, 1860; Peter Hitchcock, 1862; William C. Howells, 1864; Abner Kellogg, 1866; J. B. Burrows, 1868: Decius S. Wade, 1870; John S. Casement, 1872; I. N. Hathaway, 1874; S. S. Burrows, 1876 ; W. P. Howland, 1878.
State Representatives -- Samuel Huntington, 1811; Samuel S. Baldwin, 1812; John H. Strong and William A. Harper, 1813; William A. Harper and Alfred Kelley, 1814-15; William Kerr and Alfred Kelley, 1816; Lewis Dille and Levi Gaylord, 1817; Lewis Dille and Ebenezer Merry, 1818; Alfred Kelley and Ebenezer Merry, 1819; Levi Gaylord, 1820; Robert Harper, 1821-22; Nehemiah King, 1823; Robert Harper, 1824-25; Joshua R. Giddings, 1826; Lemuel Lee, 1827-28; Jonathan Higley and Amos Fisk, 1829; Amos Fisk, 1830; Jonathan Warner and D. M. Spencer, 1831; Amos Fisk, 1832; Gains W. St. John and Ira Benton, 1833; Horace Wilder, 1834; Ora H. Knapp and Christopher Champlin, 1535-36; Marvin Leonard and O. H. Fitch, 1837; Erastus Chester and O. H. Fitch, 1838; Zaphna Lake and John S. Rogers, 1839; Roger W. Griswold, 1840; Sebastian P. Taylor, 1841; Jonathan Tuttle, 1842; Abner Kellogg, 1843; Brewster Randall, 1844-45; Nathaniel Owen, 1846; Stephen H. Farrington, 1841; N. L. Chaffee, 1848; C. W. Ensign and Henry Krum, 1849; John P. Morse and Samuel Plumb, 1850; Samuel Plumb, 1852; John J. Elwell, 1854; Darius Cadwell and Uriah Hawkins, 1856; William S. Deming and D. C. Alien, 1858; Abel Krum, 1860-62; Abner Kellogg, 1864; Stephen A. Northway, 1866; William M. Eames, 1868; Samuel Hayward and Edward H. Fitch, 1870; W. P. Howland, 1872-76; Freeman Thorp, 1878.
Sheriffs. -- Nathan Strong had been elected sheriff of Geauga county before the organization of Ashtabula, and continued to hold the office after the organization until 1813, in which year he was succeeded by Quintus F. Atkins, who was sheriff from 1813-20; Lynds Jones, 1820-24; Samuel Whelpley, 1824-28; Benjamin Hebard, 1828-30; Zaphna Lake, 1830-34; James M. Bloss, 1834-36; Uriah Loomis, 1836-40; Charles Stearns, 1844; John A. Prentis, 1844-48; Edward Chapman, 1848; died in spring of 1849, and was succeeded by R. L. Bartholomew, 1849-53; Marshall W. Wright, 1853-57, William Hendry, 1857-61; Edward A. Wright, 1861-65; H. J. Covell, 1865-69; A. W. Stiles, 1869-73; D. L. Hart, 1873-74; died in 1874, and was succeeded by E. A. Thompson until the fall of 1874, when Thaddeus S. Young, the present incumbent, was elected.
Prosecuting Attorneys. -- Ezra Kellogg was the first officer under this head, being appointed in 1811. He was succeeded by Robert Harper, in 1818. The records do not furnish the names of Mr. Harper's immediate successors. Just prior to the office becoming elective Edward Wade was the incumbent. Office became elective in 1835, at which time B. F. Wade obtained the position. Since then the following have been the prosecuting attorneys: S. F. Taylor, 1837-39; L. S. Sherman, 1839-41; O. H. Fitch, 1841.-43; N. L. Chaffee, 1843-47; C. S. Simonds, 1847-49; L. S. Sherman, 1849-51; S. Y. Jones, 1851-53; Mason King, 1853-57; A. S. Hall, 1857-59; J. Q. Farmer, 1859-61; Stephen A. Northway, 1861; resigned in 1865, and J. D. Ensign appointed to fill vacancy; in the fall of 1865 Edward H. Fitch was elected, and was succeeded, in 1867, by W. P. Howland; in 1871 Howland surrendered the office to E. C. Wade: who yielded it to his successor, the present incumbent, E. B. Leonard, in 1875.
County Clerks. -- Timothy R. Hawley, 1811-25; Samuel Hendry, 1825-41; Amos C. Hubbard, 1841-49; Abner Kellogg, 1849-58; J. D. Ensign, 1858-64; A. B. Watkins, 1861-67; D. C. Lindsley, 1867-73; Asa Lamb, 1873: and is the present incumbent.
Recorders. -- James A. Harper, 1811-15; Jonathan Warner, deputy recorder, 1815-22; Lynds Jones, 1822-29; Harvey K. Gaylord, 1829-38; Benjamin B. Gaylord, 1838-44; James Whitmore, 1844-62; Marshall P. Atkin, 1862-68;
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 31
Truman Reeves, 1868-74; Erwin F. Mason was elected to the office in 1874, and still retains the position.
Treasurers. -- David Hendry, 1811-14 Levi Gaylord, 1814-15; Orestes K. Hawley, 1815-18: Levi Gaylord, 1818-20; Solomon Fitch, 1820-24 Jonathan Warner, 1824-26; from August, 1826, to June, 1827, both Warner and Gilbert Webster claimed the office; Gilbert Webster, 1827-30; James E. Dunn, 1830-34; Church Smith, 1834-36; Lucius M. Austin, 1836-38; Platt R. Spencer, 1838-40; E. C. Root, 1840-42; Platt R. Spencer, 1842-52; Caleb Spencer, 1852-53; A. N. Wright, 1853-58; C. L. Bushnell was appointed to fill vacancy caused by Wright's resignation, served a few months, and in the fall of 1858 N. E. Brench was elected, who held the office from 1858-61; C. L. Bushnell, 1861-63; Walter Burgess, 1863-65; M. J. Foote, 1865-69; Sylvester T. Fuller, 1869-73; Dwight L. Crosby, 1873-77; Sidney H. Cook was elected in 1877 to succeed Mr. Crosby in 1878.
Auditors. -- Quintus F. Atkins, 1820-22; Levi Gaylord, 1822-29; Samuel Whelpley, 1829-31; Apollos D. Bates, 1831-33; George Morton, 1833-35; Elnathan G. Luce, 1835-45; T. H. C. Kingsbury, 1845-49; J. C. A. Bushnell, 1849-54 ; W. C. St. John, 1854-56; J. C. A. Bushnell, 1856-66 ; William H. Crowell, the present officer, was elected in 1866, and has served continuously to the present time.
County Commissioners. -- There are three county commissioners, each holding office for three years, an election for one commissioner occurring each year. The following is an abstract of the proceedings of the first meeting held by these officers: "State of Ohio, ,Ashtabula County, Commissioners' office, June 3, 1811. Be it remembered that the commissioners met on this day for the first time. Present, Messrs. Nathan Strong, James Harper, and Titus Hayes, Esquires. appointed Nehemiah King, Esq., clerk of the board, and David Hendry, county treasurer; received listers' and appraisers' returns from Harpersfield, Richfield, Ashtabula, and Wayne."
The following are the names of the succeeding commissioners: Levi Gaylord and Orestes K. Hawley were sworn into office November 23, 1812; James Montgomery, November 16, 1813; Rufus Houghton, 1817; Eben Hewins, 1818; Jonathan Tuttle, 1824; John Bean, 1827; Christopher Champlin, 1828; Henry Tuttle, 1829; George Webster, 1830; Samuel Higley, 1831; Selah Whiting, 1832; John Henderson, 1833; Samuel Higley, 1834; Asaph Turner, 1835; G. W. St. John, 1836; Jonathan Tuttle, 1837; George G.. Gillett, 1838; William Hooper, 1839; William Morgan, 1841; John Ransom, 1842; Zebediah Denison, 1843; Morris Kellogg, 1844; John Ransom, 1845; Morris Kellogg, 1847; Sidney Bushnell, 1850; John J. Elwell, 1851; Henry Krum, 1852; Josiah D. Freer, 1853; Charles S. Wade, 1864; John H. Kilburn, 1856; William T. Simonds, 1857; Gains W. St. John, 1858; John H. Kilburn, 1859; William T. Simonds, 1860; William Barnard, 1861; Joseph D. Hulbert, 1862; William T. Simonds, 1863; Joshua Fobes, 1864; Joseph D. Hulbert, 1865; William B. Quirk, 1866; Joshua Fobes, 1867; M. W. Wright, 1868; William T. Simonds, 1869; Duren Way, 1870; Edward G. Hurlburt, 1871; Henry L. Morrison, 1872; Edwin O. Peck, 1873; Edward G. Hurlburt, 1874; William T. Simonds, 1875; Edwin O. Peck, 1876; Calvin Dodge, 1877.
Coroners. -- Gilbert Webster, 1824-30; Jesse N. Blockington, 1830-32; Elemuel Webster, 1832-33; Uriah Loomis, 1833-36; Thatcher Gregory, 1836-37; Milo Webster, 1837-39; Jonathan Warner, Jr., 1839-41; John A. Prentice, 1841-45; John C. Woodworth, 1845-47; Elihu B. Ford, 1847-49; Noah Bartholomew, 1849-50; R. L. Bartholomew, 1850-56; D. . Clifford, 1856-58; Noah Hoskins, 1858-60; John J. Hoyt, 1860-62; B. Veits, 1862- 65; E. Hewitt, 1865-67; Jonathan Warden, 1867-69; L. W. Peck, 1869-73; N. Kingsley, 1873-74; E. J. Thompson, 1874; Richard P. Walcott, 1874-76. Dr. Flowers was elected in 1876; refused to qualify, and A. W. Stiles was appointed for one year; he was re-elected in 1877, and is the present coroner.
Surveyors. -- Harvey Taggart, 1827-29; Josiah Atkins, 1829-36,; George Morton and John Pickett, Jr., 1836-44; William Hunter, 1844-46; Benj. B. Hunter, 1846-51; N. B. Sherwood and W. W. Hopkins, 1851-63; Abner D. Strong, 1863-66; W. W. Hopkins, 1866-69; A. B. Watkins, 1869-71; W. W. Hopkins, 1871-74; James A. Fickinger, 1874. Mr. Fickinger is the present county surveyor.
The following lawyers are now or have been residents of the county:
Jefferson. -- J. R. Giddings, S. S. Osborn, Alvin Bagley, Cyrus T. Smith, Appollus P. Bates, Edward Wade, B. F. Wade, R. P. Ranney, Flavel Sutliff, N. L. Chaffee. Abner Kellogg, A. B. Watkins, Wm. H. Ruggles, C. S. Simonds, H. B. Woodbury, C. P. Giddings, J. A. Giddings, W. P. Howland, E. B. Woodbury, D. S. Wade, A. S. Hall, B. F. Wade, Jr., E. J. Betts, L. H. Means, Samuel Hendry, Joseph Ruggles, Darius Cadwell, C. T. Chaffee, E. B. Leonard, J. D. Ensign, Stifes P. Jones, S. A. Northway, Hiram Plumb, James L. Oliver, E. C. Wade, D. C. Sperry, Theodore Hawley.
Ashtabula. -- R. W. Griswold, O. H. Fitch, M. M. Sawtell, L. S. Sherman, Charles Booth, Mason King, Edward H. Fitch, Hiram Boom, Edward Wheeler, Eusebius Lee, Ezra Kellogg, Theodore Hall, Edgar Hall, W. H. Hubbard, B. A. Pettibone, T. E. Hoyt, John Strong, ____ Russell.
Conneaut. -- O. H. Knapp, Horace Wilder, Brewster Randall, Wm. B. Chapman, S. E. Taylor, M. C. Leland, Benson Owen, J. Q. Farmer, Alien M. Cox, C. B. Godard, A. R. Chase, Benjamin Carpenter.
Geneva. -- J. B. Burrows, Burt Beett, N. Bennen, M. B. Gary, O. C. Pinney, J. E. Pinney.
Harpersfield. -- Samuel Wheeler, Robert Harper, and A. W. Edmunds.
Monroe. --ÊS. B. McClung.
Andover. -- J. N. Wight and C. D. Ainger.
Richmond. -- S. D. Ashley, L. D. Marsh.
Windsor. -- F. R. Smith.
Saybrook. -- J. Robinson.
Pierpont. -- M. A. Leonard.
New Lyme. -- Nelson Hyde.
Morgan. -- Halsey Moses, Charles Meigs, Erastus Divan.
This people left homes of comfort and refinement in New England, and undertook life anew in a wild forest whose soil had never felt the touch of the husbandman. Their character was tested by the new surroundings, but with a firm, strong hand they controlled circumstances, and in a large measure prevented their characters from being dwarfed by a material environment.
We who live at the present time can hardly appreciate the difficulties under which they labored. But they laid well the foundations for society here. We can trace the present prevalent social condition of the people to the influence which sprang from the exemplary lives of the first settlers. We may say of these worthy men and women that "they builded better than they knew." If is remarkable, however, that successive generations have been called upon to do this same work of laying foundations. Their ancestors contended with the difficulties of a new country in the early settlement of New England; many of their children have gone out from these scenes and laid the foundations in other regions farther west. Thus each successive generation has been a generation of founders. This progress of settlement, this advance of civilization, this march of empire and conquest of soil has gone on until now the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast are the limits to its power. There was a conquering spirit in the hearts of the New England fathers. It worked through peace, freighted with blessings. Civilization followed in its wake, and society is to-day the result of what it accomplished. Two hundred years ago New England was what Ohio was when the first settlers came to this region. Bancroft says, in speaking of Connecticut in 1676, "there was venison from the hills, salmon in their season, and sugar from the trees of the forest; for foreign market little was produced beside cattle, and in return for them but few foreign luxuries stowed in. The soil had originally been justly divided or held as common property in trust for
32 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
the people. Happiness was enjoyed unconsciously; beneath the rugged exterior humanity wore its sweetest smile. There was for a long time hardly a lawyer in the land. The husbandman who held his own plow and fed his own cattle was the great man of the age. No one was superior to the matron who, with her busy daughters, kept the hum of the wheel incessantly alive spinning and weaving every article of their dress. Fashion was confined within narrow limits, and pride aimed at no grander equipage than a pillion, and could exult only in the common splendor of the blue-white linen gown with short sleeves, and in the snow-white flaxen apron, which, primly starched and ironed, was worn on public days by every woman in the land. There was no revolution except from the time of sowing to the time of reaping; from the plain dress of the week-day to the more trim attire of Sunday. Every family was taught to look upward to God as the fountain of all good; yet life was not sombre. The spirit of frolic mingled with innocence, and religion itself wore the garb of gayety, and the annual thanksgiving was joyous as it was sincere."
Such is the picture of the people in their homes before they set out for the forest region in this vicinity. We shall see how much the early condition of society in this county became the repetition of it. The old character daguerreotyped itself upon the new circumstances; the same traits appeared under new conditions.
In the early years of the settlement of the county the country was indeed new; everything was rude and wild, the forest still covered the land, the few openings in its depths only revealed how dense were the shadows. The roadways which had been cut through the wilderness were still lined by tangled brush and hemmed in by overhanging branches, while a single path wove in and out among the great stumps, but abounding with many a mud-hole and deep rut, which made traveling exceedingly slow and irksome. Little clearings had been made along the roads so that the sunlight might easily penetrate them, warming and mellowing the damp and long-darkened soil. The fields were full of piles of brush, while the great trunks of trees were hiding beneath them. Heaps of logs were blazing day and night, filling the air with smoke, far and near. An army of stumps lifted up their heads, as if in very mockery at the attempt of the husbandman. In tile midst of this mingled scene, where the wildness of the primitive forest still triumphed over the improvements which had been made, the people had their homes. These homes were also rude, in keeping with the wild surroundings. They were constructed of the trees which they had felled; the rough logs presented their rugged bark and notched ends at their sides and corners, while smaller poles rested on the roofs, and kept in place the long stakes or split pieces of wood. The chimneys were constructed of sticks and mud, and sometimes took up a good portion of the room within. In some cases there was an entire absence of glass, oil-paper taking its place; the doors were of rude construction, often with wooden hinges and latches. Near at hand was the well-used axe, and the beetle and wedges were not far away. A few frame houses here and there contrasted strangely with the log buildings that were scattered in every direction. It was a mingled scene of wildness and rude cultivation. Civilization was struggling with nature. The wild Indian had disappeared; the native forests had been invaded; nature's spell had been broken; but the face of culture was scarcely discernible. It was under a coarse garb and in deep disguise that the refinement of the people appeared. Yet it was present. Within the rude cottages there were many cultivated minds.
The refinements of society had not been lost, the privileges of their former life had not been forgotten. Piety and a zeal for improvement conspired to destroy the effect of their surroundings. They could not become rough or uncouth and barbarous with the possession of these sterling characteristics and the memory of gentler influences. "If barbarism was their first danger, piety was their safeguard."
Those homes in the wilderness! what a gentle air pervades everything about them! The home-spun clothing, the home-made furniture, the plain appearance of everything does not obscure the gentility of the people. The family gather around the blazing fireplace, sit down to the evening meal, happy in their home, and contented with their lot. To enter one of these domiciles at night-time was to encounter hospitality and to find a scene of happiness.
The blazing fire cast its radiance across the interior, filling the little cottage with lights and shadows, which served to disclose the faces of the inmates. Parents resting from their toil; young men and maidens with books in hands surround the blazing hearth; children at their play or gone to their rest. All, cheerful, happy, amid their rude surroundings. A homelike feeling and a gentle character are predominant. We wonder, when we consider the disadvantages they experienced, that so much intelligence and refinement survived; but, when we remember that within them there was something superior to all their circumstances, we find an explanation.
Even at this early date they had secured many advantages. The school-house and the church attended the primitive settlements. Even before the fields were cleared or the forests subdued the place for schooling and the house for worship made its appearance. The first tide of immigration was not an army which had sheltered itself to leave desolation, but it was a people which had settled to bring civilization.
There was scarcely a community in the county where the former privileges were not soon prevalent. We picture to ourselves that primitive log church at Austinburg, isolated from any community, standing alone in the forest half-way between the south and north part of the town where the settlements were. Its very loneliness peopled the woods, for here the people gathered regularly on the Sabbath. It also proved a welcome shelter to many new-comers.
If the furniture was stowed away to make room for the congregation on the Sabbath, the hospitality of the house of God showed itself by this certain sign. This house was erected as early as 1803, and continued down to 1816, when the first frame church building made its appearance. Another house was built about this time in Wayne. It was used for many years by the people of two townships, -- Williamsfield and Wayne. It was a large double log building, built with two lengths of logs, and a wide gable-end with a single door for entrance. It was a rude-looking structure, the crevices between the logs filled with chinkings of mud; the ceiling disclosed the rafters and shingles; the seats were slabs; a simple desk occupied one end, but there was no stove and no other furniture. Here in this primitive structure the people assembled from Sabbath to Sabbath for many years. The school-houses of the county at this time were of this same character. Among the first erected in the county was one at Austinburg. It was built of thick plank, and was located near the spot where Grand River institute now stands. Other school-houses built of logs, were located in different parts of the county, and were used for meetings, elections, and all other public gatherings. The influence of education and religion was very great. It overcame the rough life of the frontier, and brought in refinement and culture. There was a refining influence, too, in the forests, -- the lofty arches and the whispering leaves filled the inhabitants with a reverent spirit. The silence of solitude, broken only by the deep bass of the forest hymn, filled the soul with a sense of solemnity. There was a melancholy interest surrounding the primitive homes. The shadowy forests gathered closely their dark depths, and furnished a contrast to the little clearings, and a sense of awe mingled with the home feeling. Then again the silence of the forest was broken by the sharp ring of the axe and the crashing blow or the heavy thud of the falling tree. Occasionally the deep bay of the hound echoed through the forests, while the sharp crack of the rifle could be heard in the distance. Nor was there lacking a sense of beauty in these scenes. There was beauty in the wildwood, there was beauty in the cottages, and the very location of the houses as they nestled among the trees unconsciously had its educating power. A description may have been seen of a little school-house on the banks of Lake Erie, which must have presented a picture of beauty hardly surpassed. It was located beneath the overshadowing branches of a great hemlock, and on the very beach of the lake, and close beside the water. So near, indeed, was it that the waves would sometimes wash up to the very door. The clean pebbles of the beach were a pavement for it; a trickling stream served for a fountain, and the lake itself was a picture of beauty and an inspiration to each beholder, filling the mind with a sense of grandeur. The sound of the waves made incessant music, while the sighing of the branches made a rich refrain in the melody. A few pictures of social life at an early day from the pen of Miss Betsy Cowles were made shortly before her death, who wrote a series of articles for the Ashtabula News, wherein she says, "A new country, free from conventionalities, seems about the only place in which the social element can be fully enjoyed. These people came together as neighbors, in the full meaning of that term. First, the Sunday meetings gave ample scope for visiting, coming together in the morning at ten o'clock, separating at three in the afternoon. Who could help spending that hour in social intercourse? They talked of what pertained to local interest, -- of the news from old Connecticut, the political upheavals from old Europe, Bonaparte and the allied powers, or the Indian wars. Men found ample time for gossip; the young folks walked into the woods and picked winter-greens, and the women gathered in circles and groups. The social gatherings during the week were of a very friendly character. The women would gather at some house, usually going on horseback, two on a horse. Their dress was a checked apron, on the head a plain white cap, with a black ribbon over the frill; their gown was a chintz, brought from old Connecticut. Each one carried a work-bag, and no time was lost from work. Whatever was to be done in the family could be done while visiting, -- darning stockings, mending trousers, and making shirts. The horses lazily dozed at the hitching-post and gave an occasional stamp, caused by a vicious fly, while the women visit through the long afternoon. At four o'clock the tea-kettle is- suspended over the blazing fire in the fireplace, and the short-cake is baked in a spider. The cross-legged table is drawn out from the wall, a brown cloth is
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 33
spread over it, a small plate of butter is placed in the middle of the table, and a dish of sauce by the side of it, composed of wild plums or cranberries, sweetened with maple-sugar. There is put at each place a spoon and knife. Supper ready, the guests stand reverently while the host asks a blessing; then seated, each one is handed a cup of tea, sweetened with maple-sugar, and the smoking hot short-cake is broken and handed around, and each one helps herself to butter with her own knife, and to sauce with her own spoon out of a common dish. Such a thing as a plate for each one was unusual. Even for breakfast the meat and potatoes were cut in morsels and fried together, then served in a dish set in the middle of the table, and all, supplied with a fork, would proceed to stab the morsels from the platter and to help themselves from a common dish.
"In the winter the visiting was generally during the long evenings. One man would take his oxen and sled and call for each neighbor between his home and the place of rendezvous. Here a pile of logs aglow, thoroughly warming the one room of the house, and lighting it more brilliantly than half a dozen gas-jets could do, awaited their arrival.
"A social evening is spent, with refreshments, consisting of nuts, pop-corn, and maybe doughnuts. The clock hanging against the wall strikes the hour of nine, the orthodox hour of retiring, and the company disperse. Every family in the country was clothed in home-made cloth. The wool has been carded during the summer, the mother has taken if to the mill herself, the huge sack which contains it being strapped to the rear of the saddle, and in some cases rises as high as the head of the rider. With a baby in her arms and five or six colts following or capering ahead, with two or three dogs lolling with their open mouths, she, amid a cloud of dust, would make her way to the mill. Every house was a place where she was welcome to stop and take tea with the family, and rest herself and little one. Having arrived at home, the garments for the household were made of the same material which her hands had prepared from the time the wool came off from the sheep's back. In some cases the clothing of men was still more primitive than this." Mr. Joel Blakeslee describes the buckskin pants which the men sometimes wore, and says that they became so tight after getting them wet, it was almost impossible to get them off. When they had dried they became so stiff that one felt as though he was clad in cast-iron. It was not an uncommon sight to see men with pants of buckskin and vests of fawnskin, with the hair left on. Boys were frequently clothed in buckskin, and wore squirrel-skin caps, with the tails dangling. This mode of dress was more common in the more retired towns, such as Pierpont, Richmond, and others. In the history of Wayne it is told that the men were accustomed to go to church barefoot, and the women carried their shoes with them, and put them on before entering the house of worship.
The amusements of these days have also been described. The young people would gather and find pleasure in "twirling the platter" or "holding the button." In some places there was an interdict against tripping the " light fantastic toe." The story is told that the young folks of Austinburg were actually interrupted in a social gathering where the fiddle was to be employed, and the parental authority of Judge Austin suddenly put a stop to the prospective dance. These scruples were not maintained in every place. It is said that in Harpersfield old and young would frequently gather, and enter into the dance with a freedom which was not to be restrained. We can imagine the grace displayed by the cow-hide boots of the young gentlemen and calf-skin shoes of the young ladies. But these were in keeping with the puncheon floors and rude furniture of the log dwellings of that day.
Sometimes the young people would go several miles to attend an evening party. They went two on a horse, each young gentleman with a lady behind. If the rain overtook them it did not dampen their ardor; though at times the chintz dresses were soiled by the ride, yet a little soap and water would restore them. At barn-- and house-raisings, all the people within many miles congregated, and the favorite amusements were wrestling and foot-racing. One practice -- that of drinking whisky -- was almost universal. Nearly every settler kept on hand a plentiful supply. Yet drunkenness was not common. The crime of habitual intemperance, a crime by means of which a man debases his better nature, failed to fasten itself upon the lives of the mass of the people. Instances of excess there were. Even good people, who loved sobriety, would sometimes become intoxicated when mingling with their fellows at raisings and other social gatherings. Local temperance societies were organized at an early day, which served to check the tide of intemperance, and, in the language of Platt R. Spencer, to lead the people
That dance along in silvery sands,
And springs that hide in rocks and woods,
Whence come the brave spirits of our lands.
There drink, when living friendships burn,
Rich, pure waters from Nature's urn."
"The precious spark of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved by the Puritans alone; and it was to this sect, whose principles appear so frivolous and habits so ridiculous, that the English owe the whole freedom of their constitution. Nothing but a pious zeal which disregards all motives of human prudence could have made them entertain hopes of preserving any longer these privileges." In speaking of King James I. he says, "The more he knew the Puritanical clergy the less favor he bore to them." "He had remarked in their Scottish brethren a violent turn towards republicanism and a zealous attachment to civil liberty, -- principles nearly allied to that religious enthusiasm with which they were actuated." This radical character their descendants have inherited. After their settlement in New England the colonies prayed "for the continuance of civil and religious liberties." During the times of Cromwell the sympathies of the Puritans were with the struggle against oppression. After the restoration of Charles II., Connecticut was especially successful in securing chartered liberties. There never was any betrayal of the cause on the part of that commonwealth. The descendants of the Connecticut colony brought the same love of liberty to their new homes in the wilderness of Ohio. Bancroft says of the Independents in England, "They gradually became the advocates of religious liberty and the power of the people. This tendency cropped out at last when oppression in a new form came to be apprehended in all its evils. The Puritans of New England and of the west were the first to abhor the atrocities of American slavery. They were ready to put themselves as a bulwark of defense for the rights of the oppressed, as before they were willing to make sacrifices for their own rights of conscience. Human liberty was as dear to them as religious liberty."
We have already spoken of two vessels -- the "Griffin" and the "Mayflower" -- as representing different civilizations. Protestantism and liberty landed from the "Mayflower" upon the New England coast; popery and monarchy were represented by the French explorers.
In the same year of the landing of the "Mayflower" a Dutch vessel entered Jamestown harbor. That vessel contained a cargo of slaves. Thus three different systems were introduced by three different nationalities. America inherited the institutions of Europe, and partook of its different forms of civilization. All along through the ages it became a question which should prevail upon this continent, -- Puritan liberty, papal despotism, African slavery. It is singular that the tides which began to beat all along the sea-shore should meet here upon the borders of this lake. Fortunately, the contest between the French and the English was decided before the settlement of this county. The influences which came in through the mouth of the St. Lawrence never reached the south shore of Lake Erie. They expended themselves upon the northern coasts. Not so with those which found lodgment at the south. They spread themselves over the whole southern territory, and at last sent up their tide to meet the Puritan influences which had landed upon the New England shores. This was the place where these two great forms of civilization met. Here Puritanism and slavery contended. "There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will." It was inevitable; the two systems could not exist together. When fugitives came panting from the house of bondage to this asylum, those who had in the person of their fathers escaped from the oppression of the Old World were in readiness to receive them.
The citizens of Ashtabula County were worthy sons of the New England fathers. When the fugitive slaves came to their doors they found shelter and protection. They seemed to remember that their fathers had also been fugitives from oppression, and that America had become their asylum. Their offspring could take no backward steps.
The same language which had been used by the colony of Massachusetts after
34 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
the return of Charles II was the language of their hearts. "The civil liberties of New England are part of the inheritance of their fathers; and shall we give that inheritance away? Is it objected that we shall be exposed to great suffering? Better suffer than sin. It is better to trust the God of our fathers than to put confidence in princes. If we suffer because we dare not comply with the wills of men against the will of God, we suffer in a good cause, and shall be accounted martyrs in the next generation and at the great day." They felt that the fugitive slave law was the violation of the rights of humanity. Long before it was accepted in the halls of congress the citizens of this county adopted the doctrine of the higher law. They felt that it was better to obey God than man. They were early called upon to put into practice the very principles which they had unconsciously adopted. For some reason this county became the resort of fugitive slaves. As early as 1834 they began to escape from their oppressors and to seek a refuge in this vicinity. The proximity of the Ohio river to the lake made this route the nearest. It was lamentable that nowhere within the bounds of the United States the poor black man was safe from his oppressors. England had declared an emancipation. The spirit of Wilberforce stood upon the banks of Lake Erie inviting the refugees to escape to its shores, but liberty was beyond the waters. Only by the aid of the friends of humanity could the oppressed escape the clutches of their masters. Fortunately, there were true, brave hearts who were willing to meet the vengeance of the law and the wrath of the oppressors if they might save some of these trembling captives who came to their doors. Narratives have been told of the scenes of those days which carry us back to the dark times of the struggle of American freedom. We almost breathe again the stifled air, feel the oppressor's lash, hear the opprobrious epithets and the bitter words which in those days so stirred our sensibilities and caused our bitter feelings to arise within us. It is well for us to remember from what a nightmare dream we have awakened. Thank God, we are free!
The various cases of fugitive slaves which made their resort in this region awakened the attention in their behalf. There were many friends in different parts of the county who made it a point to harbor them. There was a regular line, or "underground railroad," extending from Wheeling, on the Ohio river, to the harbor at Ashtabula. There were regular depots at which fugitives stopped and were carried on their way by the friends of the slaves. Whenever it was known any of them had arrived, it was expected as a matter of course that the citizens would feed them. No one knew who fed them, but they were cared for and sent on their way. A certain vessel, too, was relied upon to take them. If slaves reached Ashtabula County, they always escaped.
The Anti-Slavery society of Ashtabula County was formed June, 1832: Amos Fisk, president; O. K. Hawley, vice-president; A. E. Austin, recording secretary. There were also local anti-slavery societies established in various parts of the county. One was formed in Ashtabula in January, 1837. These different societies continued through the whole period of the anti-slavery contest. The Colonization society was the more conservative, but was itself strongly opposed to the system. The subject must have engrossed public attention, for in the year 1837 the Fourth of July was celebrated by meetings of the two anti-slavery societies, one in Kingsville, and the other in Ashtabula.
Ashtabula County had a noble record during the whole anti-slavery conflict. She chose one of her own sons, a man who had endured the hardships of pioneer life, who had been trained up under the influences and become imbued with the spirit which prevailed here; one who, if not born in the county, was from the stock which constituted her true citizens, and who had received his entire education and promotion here, and put him forward to fill one of the highest and most responsible positions in the gift of the nation.
The choice of Joshua R. Giddings as a representative to congress at this trying time reflected great honor upon the judgment and sentiment of the people. But the sustaining of the man through all the trying emergencies of his eventful career was one of the grandest things in the history of the nation. Never will it be forgotten that old Ashtabula was so true to the right when the right was unpopular and the wrong was in the ascendancy. No storm of faction, no rage of his enemies, no imprecations which were hurled at his defenseless head disturbed the confidence which they had placed in the man of their choice. While the tide of unpopularity rolled over him threatening to engulf him, while the storm of passion and prejudice was aroused from every aide, they stood true, and like a rock presented themselves a bulwark to liberty.
There is no doubt but that the strength of Mr. Giddings was in his constituency. He knew on whom he relied. His heart beat in sympathy with their hearts, and he expressed sentiments which he knew to be dear to them as their own life. We do not wonder that the man was bold and daring in the fierce conflict, for he knew the hearts of the people whom he was representing.
There were three parties in Ashtabula County during the. latter part of the anti-slavery struggle. They were the old Democratic, the Whig, and the Free Soil party. These divided the sentiment of the people somewhat, but it may be said that the Free-Soil party at last gave tone to the sentiments of the people. There may have been some extreme measures proposed and the. expressions were oftentimes decidedly radical, but it was this very determined spirit which gained the victory. There was a conviction lying back of these expressions which could not fail to have force. If the advocates of anti-slavery lost all patience, it was because they realized the evils of the system as few others did. The very fact that fugitive slaves made this their asylum awakened minds to the subject and stirred the sensibilities of the people. In order to show the intense feeling that prevailed in some localities, we take the following extracts from the Ashtabula Sentinel, published in Ashtabula, December 21, 1850. This was in the height of the anti-slavery excitement under the administration of President Fillmore. A public meeting of the citizens of Hartsgrove was held for the purpose of taking action relative to the fugitive slave law. Out of fifteen resolutions passed we quote the four following. We doubt whether any public meeting of the present time could frame such resolutions, for their language is the result of the intensity of the thought and feeling which prevailed only then. They are as follows:
"Resolved, That we hold the fugitive slave law in utter contempt, as being no law, and pledge ourselves to despise the conduct of the makers of it for their utter destitution of principle, as well as for their reckless violation of the constitution of these States; which they were sworn to support;
"Resolved, That sooner than submit to such odious laws we will see the Union dissolved; sooner than see slavery perpetual we would see war; and sooner than be slaves we will fight!
"Resolved, That Herod made a law in regard to male children; King Darius made a law in regard to Daniel; Duke George made a law in reference to Luther; John Bull made a law in reference to the American colonies; and, meanest of all, congress made a law in reference to fugitive slaves; a law to strip us of our humanity, to divest us of all claim to Christianity and self-respect, and herd us with blood-hounds and men-stealers, upon penalty of reducing our children to starvation and nakedness. Cursed be said law!
"Resolved, That we will not aid in catching the fugitive, but will feed and protect him with all the means within our power; and that we pledge our sympathy and property for the relief of any person in our midst who may suffer any penalties for an honorable opposition or a failure to comply with the requirements of this law."
An editorial in the same paper says, "The underground railroad through this section of the State is doing a fair business nowadays. Two fine-looking 'chattels,' fresh from 'Old Virginia,' passed up the fourth range of this township, last week, en route for Canada. We learn that they met with no difficulty in finding food, shelter, and necessary assistance in their course.... The voice of our people is, 'Constitution or no constitution, law or no law, no fugitive slave can be taken from the soil of Ashtabula County back to slavery.' If any one doubts that this is the real sentiment, they can easily test it."
There is an account also in the same paper of the escape of a mulatto, a slave. Being straight-haired and light-complexioned, he represented himself successfully as a white man.
There is no doubt but that the sympathy for the fugitives and the abhorrence of the evils of slavery made these sentiments palatable.
There was a great deal of prejudice against Ashtabula County during those days, but it was a prejudice which was founded in wrong and sprang from the passions which would sustain that wrong. If there were those who were extreme in their views, yet the diversities of party held the balance well poised. The radical element had some force, but there was conservatism mingled with it. When Abby Kelley and Foster and Parker Pillsbury came into the county, they were listened to with respect, but their sentiments did not obtain. There were those who sympathized with them, but, unlike other counties, there was no actual disruption and division made by them. In many places churches were divided, friends were torn asunder, and society was disturbed. When they said the constitution was a covenant with death and a league with hell; when they denounced the church and the clergy for their position; when they sowed broadcast the seeds of discord and infidelity, the religious sentiment of the people here revolted. There is no doubt the people were anchored by their faith, so that the storm of passion did not drive them to sea or leave them wrecked amid the breakers. They were anchored to a rock. If there were those who made a wreck of faith in their devotion to freedom, the majority of the people were held firm. It was this very conviction, so deep, so abiding, and so true, that prevailed. It was fastened to the eternal principle of right, and anchored to God himself. Commonly and steadily this conviction made its way. It entered deeper into the hearts of the people; it had force with the nation; it ruled the councils; it controlled the parties; and at last was triumphant.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 35
When the madness of the oppressors became so unbounded that they would submit to no constitutional vote and yield no authority, but resolved to make slavery a corner-stone for a new confederacy, the people realized what spirit had ruled them.
In this connection we publish the following, written by a member of the Blackstring band, a resident now of Andover. It is an interesting -
CHAPTER OF HISTORY.Among the many instances showing the devotion of the citizens of Ashtabula County to the cause of the slave, I venture to narrate some of the events preceding and following the memorable attack on Harper's Ferry by John Brown and his handful of followers, as illustrative of the fact that no part of the United States was more devoted to human liberty. And I do so for another reason, -- to perpetuate a scrap of unwritten history.
It will be remembered that a secret convention was called by Brown at Chatham, Canada West, May 8, 1858, at which convention a provisional constitution and ordinances for the people of the United States were adopted. During the following winter Brown crossed the border from Kansas into Missouri, liberated seven slaves, and deliberately accompanied them through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan to Canada. Between March 20 and 30 Brown was in Cleveland, where he advertised and sold the horses he took with the slaves in Missouri, giving everybody notice that the title to the horses might be defective. Early in April, Brown Kagi, who was Brown's secretary of war, Captain Stevens, and others arrived in West Andover. Brown's Sharp's rifles and other warlike material were shipped to this place, and stored at King & Brother's cabinet-manufactory, on the Creek road, in Cherry Valley. Thence from about the 1st of April, 1859, West Andover became, so to speak, for a time the headquarters for the immortal undertaking of revolutionizing this government by means so out of proportion to the magnitude of the enterprise that most men not acquainted with John Brown believed him to be insane; but to those who knew him, -- who knew the depth and fervor of his religious sentiments; his unwavering trust in the Infinite; his strong conviction that he had been selected by God as an instrument in His hands to hasten the overthrow of American slavery, -- to such he seemed inspired rather than insane. In a conversation I had with him the day he started for Harper's Ferry, I tried to convince him that his enterprise was hopeless, and that he would only rashly throw away his life. Among other things, he said, "I believe I have been raised up to work for the liberation of the slave, and while the cause will be best advanced by my life I shall be preserved; but when that cause will be beet served by my death I shall then be removed."
The result proved that his sublime faith and trust in God enabled him to see what others could not see. He had so lived that, though dead, "his soul went marching on."
I do not purpose writing a history of the attack on Harper's Ferry, but something seemed necessary as an introduction to the action of our citizens in relation to the immediate results of that historic enterprise. The forces with which Brown made his attack constituted of seventeen white and five colored men. In addition to these a few were stationed outside of the town, and two I believe were left at the Kenneda farm. A few of these escaped, Owen Brown being one of the number. Merriam, a young man from Boston, one of the fugitives, made his way to West Andover, and was received and cared for by the writer. a few more were in the vicinity; and Owen Brown, after resting for a short time in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, came to West Andover, and went to his brother's, John Brown, Jr., who had moved from his residence on the Creek road, in Cherry Valley, to Dorset, with whom he remained for some time.
The narration of these events after eighteen years have elapsed seems tame and spiritless. The young can have no conception of the terrible excitement that was produced all over the country. But a large portion of the readers of this will well remember, and remembering will know that no words of mine could depict the reality.
The United States senate ordered John Brown, Jr., to appear before a committee of their body and give evidence. He refused to obey, and their sergeant-of-arms was instructed to take him to Washington. Grave apprehensions were felt by the citizens that an armed force was to be sent not only to arrest john Brown, Jr., but to take Merriam, Owen Brown, and other fugitives who were in the vicinity. If taken it was believed their speedy trial, conviction, and execution would follow as a matter of course. Under these circumstances a number of the citizens of West Andover met for consultation, and resolved that they would attempt to defend these men with their lives if need be. Signals, signs, pass-words, and a badge were agreed upon, by means of which members of the association could know each other. A place of rendezvous was agreed upon and arms procured, and all solemnly pledged themselves to be in readiness at the slightest warning. Persons from surrounding townships came forward to join this association, and as knowledge of its existence extended new associations or lodges were organized; and as this went on, to insure uniformity of work and harmony of action, an affiliated secret society was formed. A State lodge was organized, and finally a United States lodge.
This order increased with great rapidity. Its object was the overthrow of slavery, and designed to act politically and in a revolutionary manner, if necessary, for the attainment of that object.
In the initiatory ceremonies of our lodge at West Andover a pistol was used that was presented by the Marquis de Lafayette to Washington. This pistol was brought by one of Brown's men, who escaped from Harper's Ferry. It will be remembered that Brown sent a squad of men who arrested Colonel Washington, and took his arms, the night of the assault on Harper's Ferry. This pistol was afterwards sent to the owner.
It is difficult to say what the result would have been if the War of the Rebellion had not put an end to slavery, and with it all necessity for the longer continuance of the order of the Independent Sons of Liberty. Members of this order were called "Blackstrings," from the badge which they wore, which was a black string or ribbon tied into the button-hole of the shirt- collar.
The records of the war are known, but from the time that the agitation began, and in fact thirty and even fifty years before the outbreak of civil war, the county was loyal; but it was a loyalty to humanity, to principles, and to God, rather than to any party or partisan leader. The constitution was upheld so long as it was properly interpreted, and its spirit was carried out. But when the spirit of slavery undertook to make it an instrument of oppression and a rod for the oppressed, the sentiment of the people revolted against it. It was never held by the majority of the people of this county that the constitution should be overthrown, the Union dissolved, or even the slaves by force set free. All through the Mexican war, the discussions in reference to the annexation of Texas, the admission of Oregon, the forming of new States, the sympathies of this people were with the north. During the Kansas struggles also, and the discussions of the squatter-sovereignty doctrine and the Dred Scott decision, and in all the cases that came up in the anti-slavery conflict, the county was consistent with itself. Joshua R. Giddings and John Quincy Adams stood aide by side, and so, we may say, old Massachusetts and old Ashtabula were together in this conflict. There mere no extreme measures advocated, or at least indorsed. There was no fanaticism cherished, but the people were true to their convictions. It was known in congress that the county and the district would sustain their representative, no matter what storm of faction should be raised against him or obloquy thrust upon him. Even Ben Wade, the old war-horse of anti-slavery, was sure of defense at home. And through the conflict, while Joshua R. Giddings was battling for freedom in the house, he stood up manfully for its defense in the senate. Few counties ever had such a record. Two heroes from the same county -- yes, from the same place -- in the two halls of congress, both contending for the same cause, and both conscious that they were sustained by the people at home! It was more like the days of Grecian daring, when Ajax and Achilles were contending before the walls of Troy. No blandishments of Priam, no corruption of gold, no fear of suffering, no dread of conflict, shook the heroes in the strife. They were sustained by an army of voters, who, with weapons more deadly than steel, and with shields more enduring than brass, were ready to stand up and meet danger and death, It was the banner of duty that led them in the conflict. It was the shield of integrity, it was the armor of right, that defended them. No bulwark could resist them. The citadel of slavery was bound to be destroyed, and her walls do lie prostrate, never again, we trust, to be rebuilt.
36 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
was in various parts of the State of New York and in the Wyoming valley. In all of these places New England institutions were at once established. The tide of religious influence, as well as of population, swept in waves across the land, leaving successive marks on the different localities in the churches and the schools and other institutions which were established in the States farther east. When the wave struck this region the country had become established. Its independence was declared. The purchase of the land by the Connecticut company directed New England people into this channel; but very few foreigners made their homes in this country.
The Pilgrims gave tone to the society of New England, and their independence moulded the religious character of the whole people. The removal from the monarchies of the Old World, and the love of freedom, which found scope in the New, resulted in the establishment of a pure democracy, both in the church and in the state. The aristocracy of the south and the democracy of the north were largely the result of church influences.
The hardy pioneers who first came to this county were many of them men of great intelligence and of high position in New England; but they were men who had undergone the experiences of the Revolutionary war, understood something of the hardships of the west, and had caught something of the spirit of patriotism, which had enlarged their minds and aroused them to great enterprise. They were men of practical, honest piety and religious zeal. It was providential that such men as Father Badger, the Rev. Mr. Robbins, and Dr. G. H. Cowles were influenced to come to this region. Mr. Robbins was the author of "Robbins' History," and was a great scholar. Mr. Badger, however, did more than any other one in organizing churches. He was sent out in the year 1801 by the Connecticut missionary society. This society had been organized about ten years before, in 1792. It was the first home missionary society in the United States. This was long before the American board was formed, or before missions had begun in other States. The only missionary society before this was that which was formed by the parliament of Great Britain in the times of Cromwell, designed to send missionaries to the Indians. John Eliot was the first missionary. The Moravians had also had missions among the Wyandots on the Muskingum river and at Sandusky Bay, but during the Revolutionary war their mission had been broken up, and many of the Christian Indians had been wantonly and cruelly murdered. This was done, it is a shame to say, by citizens of the United States, rather than by the savages themselves. The history of missions in our country is connected directly with the history of churches in our county. This region, and that about Marietta, were the first missionary fields west of the Alleghenies. The missionary work extended on from this to the west, leaping over at times whole States, but landing at first on the banks of Lake Michigan, then of the Mississippi river, then of the Missouri, until at last it reached the shores of the great Pacific. A belt of New England people, and of Congregational churches, was lodged in this region of northern Ohio, while to the east of it in Pennsylvania, and to the south through the great part of Ohio, and to the west in Indiana, there were scarcely any Congregational churches. The emigration around the lakes carried New England people to Wisconsin and northern Illinois before it planted them either in southern Ohio or anywhere else at the west. This accounts for the fact that Ashtabula County and the Reserve were more closely connected than other parts of the country. The religious training, the national origin, and all the peculiarities of the people were different from those to the south and east.
Rev. Joseph Badger, as he arrived and went through the settlements in the year 1801, found many communities longing for religious privileges. Schools had been established, but the only churches then were those that existed in the families of believers. It was fortunate that so much stress was laid upon the Abrahamic covenant in those days, for by that means religious training was secured in the families without the presence of a minister or even the organization of a church. There was not, at the time of Mr. Badger's arrival, a church on the Reserve. It was like the days of Micah, when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes," and happy was the man who could "find a Levite for his priest." The first church which was organized in Ashtabula County was that at Austinburg in October, 1801. No other church in the county was organized for several years. There was one at Hudson, and at Youngstown, and at Canfield. The following is the list of the first Congregational and Presbyterian churches, with the dates of their organization and the names of their first ministers: Austinburg, 1801, Rev. Joseph Badger; Harpersfield and Geneva, 1809, Rev. Jonathan Leslie; Kingsville, 1810, Rev. Joseph Badger; Wayne and Williamsfield, 1816, Rev. Ephraim T. Woodruff; Andover, 1818, Rev. Joseph H. Breck; Conneaut, 1819, Rev. Giles H. Cowles; Morgan, 1819, Rev. Randolph Stone; Rome, 1819, Rev. Giles H. Cowles; Ashtabula, 1821, Rev. Joseph Badger and Rev. Perry Pratt; Pierpont, 1823, Rev. E. T. Woodruff; Windsor, 1824, Rev. G. H. Cowles; Monroe, 1829, Rev. E. T. Woodruff; Colebrook and Orwell, 1831, Rev. Giles H. Cowles; Jefferson, 1831, Rev. Wm. Beardsley; Lenox, 1832, Rev. G. H. Cowles; Millsford, 1832, Rev. G. H. Cowles; Andover (2d), 1832, Rev. G. H. Cowles; Wayne, 1832, Rev. G. H. Cowles; Sheffield, 1833, Rev. Henry T. Kelley.
THE BODILY EXERCISES.In giving the history of the churches of Ashtabula County it would be a great oversight if mention were not made of the bodily exercises which were common at an early day. These were not confined to any one locality. They first appeared among the inhabitants of Kentucky and Tennessee, where a very rude class of people was living. These manifestations, however, were not in this region any signs of ignorance or superstition or wild excitement. The record which has been made of them was made by intelligent men. They are at first described as occurring in a meeting in western Pennsylvania, at a place called Cross Creek.
It should be said that the custom of Presbyterians in this western country was to meet in large numbers on sacramental occasions. Three or four ministers would attend, and the most of the people within twelve or fifteen or twenty miles, and some much farther, would come together. On these occasions, however, the attendance was spontaneous. Large numbers would go along the road in silence, and those who were working in the fields would leave their work and follow on, while the utmost solemnity would attend the whole company. Rev. Mr. Badger says, in reference to the Cross Creek meeting, "People were gathering from all quarters. Probably a thousand were now upon the grounds; about twenty large five-horse wagons were standing, with as many more large tents pitching around the general assembly, many of whom were now occupied in speaking to each other of the rising glory of the Redeemer's kingdom in this Western World. . . . It is said that only persons of ignorance, weak nerves and intellects fall; but men of strong minds and learning, in the vigor of life and health, are brought down like other people. I will mention one instance, without naming the gentleman, who attended on a sacramental season, I think the first Sabbath in June, declaring to the ministers and others that he could by his medical skill, and on philosophical principles, account for all the extraordinary exercises. He said none but weak women and persons of weak nerves were made to fall; but if some stout, healthy, brawny-built man should fail he should think it something above human art. It was so ordered that he had the most fair trial. Some time in the meeting he found himself alarmed from his security, and instead of philosophizing on others was constrained to attend to his own soul; his strength was so far gone he could not escape; asked some near him to carry him out, which they did immediately. When they had got him out of hearing, 'Oh, carry me back,' he says. 'God is here; I cannot get away from God. I know now that I am in God's hands; this is God's work!" They carried him back into the assembly, trembling and feeble as a dying man. In time of intermission many gathered around to hear what he would now say. 'Oh, I have lived forty-seven years an enemy to God. I have been in some of the hottest battles, and never knew what it was to have my heart palpitate with fear, but now I am all unstrung; I have cut off limbs with a steady hand, and now I cannot hold this hand still if I might have a world. I know this is not the work of men. I feel that I am in God's hands, and that he will do with me just what he pleases.'"
The appearance of these exercises in Ashtabula County was confined to very few places. The account has been given in the history of Austinburg of bodily exercises which appeared in that place. The memoir of Mr. Badger also contains the following account: "November 6 (1803), Lord's day, the people assembled in Deacon J. Case's barn. Preached twice to a very solemn assembly. Several were in deep distress, and became unable to support themselves. As the distressed were unable to go from the barn, prayer, exhortation, and singing were continued until after the sun was down. As three children, twelve or thirteen years old, were going from the barn to my house they all fell helpless. They were taken up and taken care of. One of them continued in a perfectly helpless situation for more than twelve hours." His manuscript diary, unpublished, mentions some cases of families who became insensible while at communion, and another case of a young man falling at the supper-table while the conversation was upon religious subjects. The sincerity of these exercises in Austinburg is shown from the fact that, as a result of the revival, the following spring forty-one persons joined the church, a large number of them adults and prominent persons. These exercises continued in the county for two or three years. In 1805, Mr. Badger records, "Lord's day, preached twice in Austinburg. Tuesday, attended the stated conference. In time of the first prayer three or four of the young people fell. At all our meetings there is great solemnity and feeling. Bodily exercises continue with members. Much inquiry is made and the Bible studied to get a correct knowledge of both doctrinal and practical truths."
EARLY YEARS OF CONGREGATIONALISM.The first organization in which the Congregational churches were associated was called the Presbytery of Hartford. This religious body embraced for a time
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 37
nearly all the churches on the Western Reserve and western Pennsylvania, and belonged to the synod of Pittsburgh. The early members of this presbytery were Rev. Mr. Badger, settled at Austinburg; Rev. Mr. Barr, settled at Euclid; Rev. Mr. Leslie, of Vernon; Rev. Mr. Darrow, of Harpersfield ; Rev. Thomas Wick, of Youngstown; Rev. Mr. Robbins; Rev. Messrs. Hughs and Tait, of western Pennsylvania. In the year 1814, the synod of Pittsburgh was petitioned to divide the presbytery of Hartford, and erect a new one. The synod made the division, and ordered the presbytery to meet and organize in Euclid. The new organization was to be called the Presbytery of Grand River, and included the whole Western Reserve, with the exception of six townships in the southeast corner. Among the ministers of this presbytery were Rev. Joseph Badger and Rev. Giles H. Cowles. This ecclesiastical body continued to embrace nearly all the churches of the Reserve for many years. After the time of the division of Old-School Presbyterian assemblies, a plan of union which had worked so harmoniously began to decline.
It may be said that the prevalence of radical sentiments among the churches of the Western Reserve was one cause of that disruption and the ill success of the plan. In 1841 the Grand River presbytery was divided, and ultimately the Congregational and Presbyterian churches united with separate bodies. Grand River conference, which embraces the Congregational churches of Ashtabula County, was organized in the year 1850. The churches of this county which belonged to this body are as follows, with the date of their organization affixed: Austinburg, 1801; West Williamsfield, 1816; Andover, West, 1818; Geneva, 1818; Morgan, 1819; Conneaut, 1819; Monroe, 1829; Wayne, 1832; Andover Centre, 1832; Williamsfield Centre, 1839; Lenox, 1845; Saybrook, 1847; Pierpont, 1849; Jefferson, 1850; and Ashtabula, 1860. The account of these organizations belongs to the local history.
EARLY METHODISM IN ASHTABULA COUNTY.The Methodist church has generally been the pioneer denomination, but in this section it was preceded by the Presbyterian and Congregational.
Our authority for the facts here given is the work, recently published, called the "History of Erie Conference." We learn from this work that the Western Reserve, with its New England inhabitants and peculiarities, seemed to be ill adapted to a rapid spread of the doctrines and usages of the Methodist Episcopal church. The first record we have of any effort to plant the standard of this church in this region was in the year 1806. This was under the ministry of Rev. Obed Crosby, who had the preceding year removed to Vernon, Trumbull county, Ohio. He reached that point in an open wagon with an ox-team. On his arrival he found one Methodist family there, and immediately formed a class, consisting of five in all.
This was the first Methodist class on the Western Reserve.
The Baltimore conference at this time extended to this region. In 1800 the Pittsburgh district of the Baltimore conference was formed, embracing all of west Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and Ohio, with eight circuits in the district. The amount of the annual salary of prominent preachers was but eighty dollars, and traveling expenses. In 1810 the Hartford circuit was formed, and in 1812 this was divided into Trumbull and Grand River circuits; the latter embracing all the region along the lake-shore, from the eastern line of Ohio to the Grand river. During this year Rev. Jacob Young, who was presiding elder for the Erie conference, attempted to hold a quarterly meeting at Ashtabula, Ohio, but just then the news came of Hull's surrender of Detroit, and the people were so alarmed that the meeting was broken up. A camp-meeting previously appointed was abandoned. This is the first record of the visit of a presiding elder to this county. During this same year John Norris, a local deacon in the Methodist Episcopal church, settled in the town of Windsor, and immediately commenced preaching in that town and in Mesopotamia. In 1811 organizations were effected in Jefferson and Richmond. In the year 1812 a class was formed in Windsor. In the same year a class was formed in the town of Ashtabula, consisting of Thomas Benham and wife, Samuel Benham and wife, and Adna Benham and wife.
Rev. Ira Eddy was an active laborer in this field. He was sent to the Western Reserve in 1818. His circuit was called Grand River, and consisted of forty-three townships, and appointments so arranged as to require him to preach in each of them in every twenty-one days. He established preaching in Farmington, Bristol, Bloomfield, Orwell, Jefferson, Austinburg, and fourteen other places. Reformed societies in all of these places with the exception of Orwell and Jefferson, and the number on his class-books increased to two hundred and ninety-two.
The ministers who preached on this circuit were very laborious. It is rather remarkable that the first parsonage in Erie conference was built in this county. This was in 1827. It was located in the town of Geneva, about one mile and a half from the present village, on the South Ridge road. It was a plain, small frame structure, containing two moderate-sized apartments, a luxury in those days. It was first occupied by Rev. Mr. Carr's family. The first meeting-house was built in 1821, at Ashtabula. It was called the Block meeting-house. It was one of the first built by any denomination in the county.
Organizations in various townships were effected as follows: Jefferson and Richmond, 1811; Ashtabula and Windsor, 1812; Saybrook, 1816; Austinburg, 1819. For later organizations the reader is referred to the separate township histories.
THE EARLY YEARS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN ASHTABULA COUNTY.Rev. Dr. Moore, rector of St. Peter's church of Ashtabula, has written some historical notes, from which we gather the following facts: The diocese of Ohio was not organized until the consecration to the episcopate of the Rev. Philander Chase, D.D., in the year 1819. Bishop Chase was succeeded in 1832 by the Rev. Charles P. McIlvaine, D. D. He was succeeded by the Rev. G. T. Bedell, D. D., in 1859. Since the consecration of the last named Ohio has been divided into two dioceses. The parochial organization of St. Peter's has the precedence of all others in the northern diocese, having been organized September 26, 1816, Rev. Roger Searle, rector of St. Peter's church, Plymouth, Connecticut, having received an appointment, started on a journey to the west in January, 1817. After enduring much from cold and fatigue, he reached the border of Ohio on the morning of February 16. As he approached the dividing line between Pennsylvania and Ohio, he desired his companion, who was transporting him, to stop his sleigh on the line. The request being complied with, Rev. Mr. Searle kneeled down in the snow and put up a fervent prayer to Almighty God for a blessing upon his labors on the wide field which he was now entering, -- a prayer which his companion on his death-bed declared was more affecting than anything which he had ever heard before.
Mr. Searle arrived at Ashtabula on Sunday. Here, with great joy, he was welcomed by several families who had been his parishioners in Connecticut. The few church people that had become settled in this neighborhood had, since 1813, been accustomed to assemble together on Sunday for public worship in the use of the liturgy.
Incipient measures towards the organization of a parish mere taken September 26, 1816. At this meeting an election of wardens and vestrymen took place. Another parish meeting was held on February 19, 1816, after the arrival of Rev. Mr. Searle. This meeting was held at the house of Mr. Hall Smith. The constitution of the Protestant Episcopal church of the United States was read, and assented to unanimously.
The naming of the parish was referred to Mr. Searle, and he, in remembrance of his parish of St. Peter's church in Connecticut, decided that it should be called St. Peter's church, Ashtabula. This was the first regularly organized church parish in Ohio. Another distinction of this church is it was the first parish of the Episcopal church on the American continent to inaugurate and maintain the weekly celebration of the holy eucharist.
Immediately after the organization of this pariah Rev. Mr. Searle proceeded on a missionary tour, and visited Cleveland, Liverpool, New Columbia, in Cuyahoga county, thence to Boardman: in Trumbull county. In all these places he found such associations of church members as that at Ashtabula, and was instrumental in organizing seven parishes, in all of which he administered the Word and sacraments.
The first diocesan convention was held at Windsor. This met at the house of Hon. Solomon Griswold. Rev. Roger Searle was called to act as president, and Rev. Philander Chase -- afterwards bishop of the diocese -- secretary. Mr. Chase had just arrived from Hartford, Connecticut.
Rev. Mr. Searle returned to Connecticut in the autumn of 1817, attended a general convocation as a deputy, and soon afterward resigned his rectorship, which he had held for eight years, and, with his family, moved to the Western Reserve.
A parish which should be mentioned is that at Windsor. One Episcopal family settled in this township as early as 1800. Among them was Judge Solomon Griswold. He, although always ready to welcome missionaries to his home, and sympathize with them in their labors, always had a preference for his own church. He built with his own means a house of worship, which, in honor of his Christian name, was called Solomon's temple.
It was a singularly constructed building, and long stood attracting attention, both from its novel architecture and the name that had been applied to it.
The first diocesan convention held in Ohio met at the house of Mr. Griswold. Rev. Philander Chase was present. Rev. Mr. Searle continued to visit the parish.
Fuller sketches of the churches of the county may be found in the township histories in this volume. We aim here to give simply the prominent facts connected with the first few years of the church.
38 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
SCHOOLS.When the pioneers of Ashtabula County came hither from their New England homes they brought with them their New England zeal for enlightenment, for intellectual, social, and religious culture. No sooner had they provided for themselves in their wilderness homes places of shelter and abode, and had prepared a few acres of ground as a means for their subsistence, than they turned their attention, to the school-house and the church.
Had the Spanish nation gained the ascendancy in America, and this region been peopled by Spaniards, the ruling passion of the dwellers upon this soil to-day would probably have been, as exemplified by the Spanish cavaliers, a thirst for gold. Had the French been successful in obtaining the control, a love for exploration and conquest, for glory and renown upon land and sea, would probably be the ruling motive of her people in America. But hither came the descendants of the Pilgrim fathers with a desire to establish in this fertile region a thriving commonwealth, to people it with a hardy race whose aims should be to subdue the forests, to found homes, to build churches and school-houses, and to make certain for their children all the blessings of which enlightenment and religion may be the source. They brought their institutions with them, and this is why to-day we find school-houses and churches so numerous in this county. Have not its inhabitants of to-day some reason to feel grateful to their fathers and forefathers?
The school statistics for the year ending September 1, 1877, will furnish an idea of what attention is to-day bestowed upon education in this county. We give them by townships:
Ashtabula township at that date had nine school buildings, valued at $5250, with an enrollment of 506 scholars, and paid to teachers for the year previous $2063.
Austinburg had seven school buildings, valued at $6000, and paid its teachers $833. Number of scholars, 296.
Andover had nine school-houses, valued at $5500, and paid its teachers $1223. Number of scholars, 307.
Denmark had seven school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $743. Number of scholars, 299.
Geneva township had nine school buildings, valued at $8000, and paid its teachers $1255.71. Number of scholars, 383.
Harpersfield had ten school-houses, valued at $5000, and paid its teachers $1358. Number of scholars, 339.
Jefferson had eight school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $1221.88. Number of scholars, 265.
Kingsville had ten school-houses, valued at $6500, and paid its teachers $2189.98. Number of scholars, 356.
Lenox had eight school-houses, valued at $4600, and paid its teachers $1095. Number of scholars, 231.
New Lyme had six school-houses, valued at $3300, and paid its teachers $661.85. Number of scholars, 209.
Morgan had five school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $835.58. Number of scholars, 127.
Monroe had twelve school-houses, valued at $7200, and paid its teachers $1167.16. Number of scholars, 458.
Dorset had four school-houses, valued at $3000, and paid its teachers $814.63. Number of scholars, 126.
Pierpont had six school-houses, valued at $2400, and paid its teachers $1196.85. Number of scholars, 205.
Rome had five school-houses, valued at $5000, and paid its teachers $638.80. Number of scholars, 173.
Conneaut township had twelve school-houses, valued at $9000, and paid its teachers $1450.25. Number of scholars, 492.
Sheffield had eight school-houses, valued at $3000, and paid its teachers $1183.89. Number of scholars, 245.
Trumbull had eight school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $1204.50. Number of scholars, 324.
Williamsfield had seven school-houses, valued at $2690, and paid its teachers $932. Number of scholars, 269.
Wayne had eight school-houses, valued at $5500, and paid its teachers $1006.63. Number of scholars, 260.
Windsor had nine school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $983.50. Number of scholars, 261.
Saybrook had twelve school-houses, valued at $10,000, and paid its teachers $1733.85. Number of scholars, 465.
Orwell had nine school-houses, valued at $4000, and paid its teachers $983.15. Number of scholars, 290.
Colebrook had eight school-houses, valued at $3800, and paid its teachers $1034.75. Number of scholars, 263.
Cherry Valley had six school-houses, valued at $5000, and paid its teachers $1064.37. Number of scholars, 191.
Richmond had ten school-houses, valued at $3000, and paid its teachers $1250.93. Number of scholars, 306.
Hartsgrove had nine school-houses, valued at $4500, and paid its teachers $878.70. Number of scholars, 276.
Plymouth had seven school-houses, valued at $3500, and paid its teachers $1035. Number of scholars, 214.
Ashtabula city's school property is valued at $15,000, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1877, was $4111.18. Number of pupils, 978.
Geneva's school property is valued at $21,000, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1877, was $2552. Number of pupils, 391.
Jefferson's school property is valued at $14,400, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1877, was $2977. Number of scholars, 347.
Kingsville Village school property is valued at $5000, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1877, was $745. Number of pupils, 138.
Rock Creek's school property is valued at $10,000, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1817, was $1598.80. Number of pupils, 209.
Conneaut's school property is valued at $8000, and the amount paid to teachers for the year ending September 1, 1877, was $2626.99. Number of scholars, 352.
TOTAL RESULT.Whole number of school-houses in the county, exclusive of those of the villages -- 228 Total number of scholars of the county for the year ending September 1, 1877 -- 10,551
Total valuation of school property, exclusive of villages -- $1356.50
Total valuation of school property of the villages -- 734.00
Total valuation of all school property in the county -- $2090.50
Total amount paid to teachers, exclusive of village teachers -- $32,039.56
Total amount paid to teachers of the villages -- 14,610.97
Total amount paid to the teachers of the county for the year ending September 1, 1877. -- $461650.53.
It was a small folio sheet, its pages measuring twelve by eighteen inches. If was not a sensational paper. It had no special local editor or reporter, and contained, so far at least as I have had an opportunity to examine it, but little that would be of present interest. The following extracts, however, giving an account of the dedication of the first "meeting-house" in the village, the wounded feelings of the editors at being obliged to suspend the publication of their paper for twenty-one days to make some repairs of their press, which now could be done in as many hours, and an advertisement which is illustrative of the humor of one of the leading citizens of that day, are perhaps worthy of a reprint:
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 39
"On Thursday last [August 12, 1820], the Baptist meeting-house, recently erected in the village, was dedicated to Almighty God as a place of religious worship. The day being pleasant, a large and respectable concourse of people gave their attendance. The dedication sermon was preached by Elder Elisha Tucker, from Psalms xxv. 8: 'Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the piece where thy house dwelleth.'
"The meeting-house, which is very respectable for size and appearance, has been erected solely at the expense of one individual. It was commenced the last season, and is now entirely completed."
"-- Circumstances render it very necessary that we should procure a new stone for our press, and make some other repairs, in order that we may be enabled to do our work more satisfactorily to our own feelings, as also to render it more intelligible to our readers; we shall therefore, however at variance with our feelings, be under the necessity of suspending the publication of the Recorder until the twenty-fifth instant, which we trust will afford us sufficient time to accomplish the desired object." --(February 4, 1825.)
"WHAT DRUNKARD HAS LOST HIS JUG?"A jug containing whisky, and lying exposed in the middle of the road called the North ridge, leading west from this village, was picked up by the subscriber. The owner is desired to prove property, and take it from the printing office at Ashtabula, where it is lodged for safe keeping.
"Ashtabula, September 16, 1824."
Asa W. W. Hickox, the principal founder of the Recorder, was a mild, inoffensive man, without much mental or physical energy. He lived to an advanced age, occasionally holding some small office, and working a portion of the time as he had opportunity as a journeyman printer, always on the verge of poverty, as he never succeeded in accumulating property. By his familiar title of Deacon Hickox, he is still remembered by many of our citizens. He died a few years ago in Conneaut, where he resided during the latter part of his life. John A., his nephew, left Ashtabula many years ago, and I know not what became of him. Bowen, soon after he closed his connection with the Recorder, removed to Elyria, studied law, and was, I think, for some time a judge of the supreme court of this State. Park and Lowry were afterwards connected with the Journal, and both died many years since.
Its successor, the Western Journal, was commenced in August, 1826, by R. W. Griswold, and was published by him about fifteen months, when it passed into the hands of Park & Terril, November 8, 1827 (Vol. II, No. 13), who continued its publication until November 8, 1838, when they sold the establishment to Hugh Lowry.
In the fall of 1828 the proprietors of the Western Journal, as stated before, sold the press, type, and good-will of the paper to Hugh Lowry, a practical printer, who continued the publication under the same title, and with but little change in its general appearance. Though a great improvement upon the Recorder, it was a small affair compared with the village papers at the present time. It was published in a building now composing a part of the dwelling of Mrs. Sawtell, which then stood back of the brown dwelling-house now owned by O. H. Fitch, near the Baptist church, and fronting eastward on the public square.
Great changes and improvements have been made since that time. The little Ramage press used by Lowry was made chiefly of wood, and the pressure upon the type was made by an iron screw, and it required a strong pull to make the necessary impression upon each page of the paper. It was substantially the same kind of press as was used by Franklin when working as a journeyman printer in Philadelphia. The iron presses now in use, with their complex machinery of cylinders and levers, were then unknown, and instead of the composition rollers in use, the ink was distributed upon the types by beating them with large leather balls stuffed with wool.
The labor in the office was performed by Lowry and his two brothers, Robert and Samuel. Robert had served an apprenticeship in the trade, and was a fair workman. He was intelligent, shrewd, kind-hearted, and fond of a joke, but unfortunately more fond of whisky, which not unfrequently sadly interfered with his type-setting. Samuel was merely an apprentice. They all died many years since.
Lowry was a bachelor when he purchased the press, but some time after married Miss Paddock. He was a close, shrewd manager, with a very limited education, but with a determined purpose to make money. To accomplish this purpose it required the most rigid economy, and he and his brother for some months kept bachelors' hall, -- cooking, eating, sleeping, and working in the same room. His defective education, however, forced him to employ an editor, who for two years wrote all the editorial matter and corrected most of the proof-sheets. Yet, strange as it may seem, there was but one person, outside of the office, who knew or even suspected the writer. And who he was would probably ever have remained unknown; had he not been forced to resort to a suit at law to recover the very moderate sum he claimed for his editorial labor. The name and the facts were thus spread upon the records of the court, and became known to the public.
The first number of the journal under its new management was issued November 15, 1828, and announced that it would support what was then termed the "American System," -- the encouragement of domestic manufactures and internal improvements, and the measures of Mr. Adams' administration.
In a statement of votes given at the presidential election that year, it appears that this county gave for Adams 1961, and for Jackson 183, and that the vote of this township, then comprising Plymouth, was for Adams 235, and for Jackson 18. In looking over the columns of this old paper, the eye now and then rests upon some item which brings vividly before the mind the great changes which have taken place since it was written. Thus, in the paper of January 1, 1829, we notice that a petition has been presented to the legislature, from Cleveland, for a lottery, "for the purpose of raising funds to protect that town from the encroachments of the lake, which has for several years past been making sad inroads upon the village plat." Cleveland was but a village then, less than one-third of the present size of Ashtabula.
On the 31st of the same month, the public are informed that "a new post-office has been established on the North ridge, in the town of Geneva, in this county, and E. Mills, Esq., appointed postmaster." This was the first post-office in the locality of the present and thriving village of Geneva.
The anti-Masonic excitement caused by the alleged abduction of Morgan had reached this county some time before Lowry's connection with the Journal, and had spread so rapidly among the people, that in the fall of 1828 a strong political party had been formed, and in November its friends established an anti-Masonic newspaper in Jefferson, under the somewhat pretentious title of The Ohio Luminary. It was, however, but a small light, and the Journal for some time did not notice it, or admit the subject of political anti-Masonry into its columns.
The reason for this course was probably that Lowry, who was a Mason, did not wish to offend his subscribers who were not Masons, and who composed a large portion of his patrons. The editor, being unknown to the public, could gain no laurels by it, and was not anxious to enter upon what he knew would be a long and bitter controversy, increasing the excitement and very probably doing no good. But there was so much feeling on the subject among the people that it was impracticable long to remain neutral, and on the 4th of April, 1829, the Journal came out with an editorial article, from which the following is an extract:
"Violent party excitements, from whatever cause they may originate, are ever found to be productive of great evils to the communities in which they exist. It is, however, frequently necessary to take a firm and decided stand in opposition to principles or measures which are supposed to be erroneous. It is a right which belongs to every citizen, of the temperate use of which he ought not to be deprived. But when opposition degenerates into party excitement; when the honest desire of correcting evils is perverted into a desire of gaining proselytes to a party; and when calm reasoning and sound arguments are converted into personal abuse and bitter invective, we believe it the duty of every good citizen to endeavor to suppress its progress." This, with the announcement that the columns of the Journal would thereafter be open to candid and well-written communications on the subject of the anti-Masonic excitement, drew out an abusive attack from the editor of the Luminary, and a bitter warfare between the two papers continued until the Luminary expired, on the 12th of June, 1830. The anti-Masonic party, however, lived for seven years thereafter, and for a time was the ruling political power of the county.
On the 13th of June, 1829, the Journal was enlarged and printed on white paper; its appearance was much improved, and its name was changed to the Ashtabula Journal. In the winter or early spring of 1831 its printing-office was removed to the second story of a building on the north side of Church square, and in a few months afterwards, on account of the poor health of Lowry, its publication was discontinued, and the press and printing materials sold to a party in Conneaut (then Salem), and was used in printing the Salem Advertiser, the first newspaper published in that town.
January 1, 1853, the paper was sold to W. C. Howells & J. L. Oliver, and removed to Jefferson.
The Democratic Free Press was started in Ashtabula, January, 1834, C. L. Clark & Company, publishers. After one year it ceased to exist.
The Ashtabula Republican was published in Ashtabula six months from June 22, 1833; Lewis B. Edwards, the editor.
The Ashtabula Sentinel traces its birth back to January 21, 1832. Its founders were Matthew Hubbard, Wm. W. and Jas. L. Reed, Henry Hubbard, Amos C. Hubbard, Stephen H. Farrington, Epeneteres W. Lockwood, Clark & Lee, Philo Booth, H. J, Rees, Wm. A. Field, and O. H. Fitch. The first volume was edited by the last-named gentleman. The second volume was published by James Graham. The third, fourth, and fifth were edited and published by O. H. Fitch. January 14, 1837, Messrs. Parkman and Fassett purchased the paper. They published it until the next March, when the latter gentleman withdrew, leaving Mr. Parkman proprietor. October 21, 1837, Mr. Parkman sold out to his former partner, Henry Fassett, Esq. Mr. Fassett continued
40 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
the editor and proprietor until June 15, 1839, when Mr. O. H. Fitch edited the paper for one year, Mr. Fassett remaining the proprietor, and after the expiration of one year resumed the editorial charge.
Henry Fassett continued the publication up to volume ten, number thirty-four. At this date S. S. & H. Fassett became the publishers, with the latter as editor. From October 28, 1843, up to May 11, 1844, Messrs. Fassett & Nellis were publishers, with the former as editor. From May 1, 1844, to November 30, 1844, S. S. Fassett & Hendry were the proprietors. From the last-named date to March 20, 1848, A. & S. Hendry were the publishers, with S. Hendry as editor, and J. Burton printer. Then H. Fassett & Company obtained control, with J. A. Giddings as editor. From volume seventeen, number forty, to October 19, 1850, Giddings & Burton were publishers, with J. A. Giddings editor. May 10, 1851, Henry Fassett again assumed control, and July 10, 1852, sold a half-interest to W. C. Howells.
The Ashtabula Telegraph, was started in the fall of 1852, N. W. Thayer being the publisher, and a man by the name of W. E. Scarsdale the editor. In 1853 the office became the property of John Booth, Esq. The paper was not a paying venture, and during the time of the management of Thayer and of Booth prominent citizens had advanced means to keep the sheet alive, and in the fall of 1855 a consultation of these patrons was held, which resulted in the purchase of the office by the Messrs. Willard, Hendry & Morrison. These three citizens were among those who held claims against the office, and the other creditors offered to surrender to Messrs. Willard, Hendry & Morrison their claims, if these gentlemen would agree to publish the paper. The offer was accepted. During the proprietorship of Willard, Hendry & Morrison, R. W. Hanford was the editor-in-charge. April 12, 1856, the Telegraph passed into the hands of James Reed, Esq., the present senior proprietor. In the first ten years of his connection with journalism in Ashtabula, Mr. Reed maintained a severe struggle in behalf of measures whose leading element was the anti-slavery question. He has lived to see the principles which he so openly and fearlessly advocated firmly and permanently established. Mr. Reed has but one senior in journalism in the county. When he took charge of the Telegraph it was a seven-column folio. January 25, 1813, his son became his partner, and James Reed & Son the proprietors of the paper. In January, 1814, the paper was enlarged to all eight-column folio, its present size. The Telegraph is published on the Acme cylinder-press, propelled by steam, and the entire edition is printed in about one hour and a half. The Telegraph is one of the most complete printing-offices in this part of the country. The paper has a large and growing circulation, and a future prosperous career is assured.
The Ashtabula Jeffersonian commenced an existence October 8, 1870, J. B. Brown, proprietor and editor. It advocated the principles of the Democratic party; but, owing to lack of patronage, ceased to exist in about one year from the date of ifs first issue.
The Conneaut Citizen, C. G. Griffey, editor and proprietor, was started at Conneaut, in June of 1871, continued to be published at that place for about two years, and was then removed to Ashtabula, January 1, 1873. After an issue of twenty-six numbers the office was sold to Mr. A. E. Sperry. This was an eight-column folio.
In June of 1873, Mr. Sperry began the publication of the Ashtabula News. Its first number appeared June 7 of that year. It was begun as an eight- column folio, but in September, 1877, was enlarged to a mammoth seven-column quarto. In August, 1874, Mr. Sperry sold a half-interest in the paper to N. C. Hawley, who, by reason of failing health, soon sold his interest to Mr. E. J. Griffin and A. E. Sperry, the latter becoming proprietor of a two-thirds interest in the office. The firm is now known as Sperry & Griffin. The News is the largest paper in the county, and has a weekly circulation of nine hundred copies. In politics it is independent, but not neutral. It is ably edited, and its patronage is constantly increasing.
The Democratic Standard, under the able management of Sherman, Rote & Fardon, with Henry Apthorp as associate editor, has been published in Ashtabula since November 14, 1877.
JOURNALISM IN JEFFERSON.The Luminary was the first paper established in Jefferson. It was started in 1828. A man by the name of Morehead was the publisher, and Jonathan Warner its chief patron. It was an anti-Masonic sheet. It was not of long duration.
In March, 1852, the Western Reserve Farmer and Dairyman made its appearance,Ê-- G. B. Miller, publisher, and N. E. French, editor. The form of this paper was a sixteen-page octavo, and was issued monthly. The paper was soon merged into the Ohio Farmer.
The publication of the Ashtabula Democrat was begun in the same year, 1852, its editor being B. J. Loomis. It was removed to Geneva the subsequent fall, and was soon after discontinued.
Jefferson was left without a printing-office. The necessity of having a paper at the county-seat was constantly felt, and the pressure was finally so strongly brought to bear upon the Sentinel office, that Mr. Fassett, its publisher, was induced to sell out. A partnership was then formed between W. C. Howells and J. L. Oliver, under the firm-name of J. L. Oliver & Co. The Sentinel office was, on January 1, 1853, moved to Jefferson. The paper was enlarged and changed to an eight-page paper, one of the first, if not the first, to have that form in the State. A steam-press was bought, which was also a great advance, it being the first country paper in the State to have a steam-press.
Under the new arrangement the paper prospered. In October, 1854, Mr. Oliver sold his interest to J. A. Howells, and there has been no change in its management since. The firm of J. A. Howells & Co. is familiarly known throughout the county as a household word.
The Sentinel was at an early day identified with the anti-slavery cause. Its editor, W. C. Howells, having met with severe pecuniary losses in southern Ohio on account of his abolition sentiments, felt the luxury of freedom of speech which the air of Ashtabula County gave him, and he never lost an opportunity to give the monster sin slavery the full force of his pen. Mr. Giddings acted as corresponding editor while he remained in Congress. The Sentinel, before the war, was an outspoken Free-Soil sheet. In 1852 supported Hale and Julian on the presidential ticket, and in 1856 Fremont and Dayton. When the Republican party was organized, it being about as radical as could be hoped for at that day, the Sentinel entered fully into the spirit of the party, and has always stood by the principles of the Republican party.
It was enlarged in 1853, 1866, and 1874, and is now the largest home-printed country paper in Ohio, if not in the United States. It devotes a large amount of space to local county news, and has done a great deal towards perpetuating the history of the county by publishing many sketches relating to the early settlement of the county, and in some cases giving complete history of townships.
Mr. W. C. Howells, the editor, has been in Quebec since June, 1874, and contributed a letter each week to the Sentinel, giving much valuable information relative to that place.
The Sentinel building, a fine three-story building, south of the court-house, Chestnut street, Jefferson, is entirely occupied with the printing-office and book- store in connection therewith. In 1853 the Sentinel was printed on a hand-press. Now it is printed on one of the largest steam-presses in the State, and the office is fully equipped with steam-presses for job work.
The Jefferson Gazette was first issued November 3, 1876, by D. Lee & Son, who had previously published The Madison Gazette, at Madison, Lake county, Ohio. The Jefferson Gazette is a thirty-two-column folio weekly, independent in politics. Its publishers aim to make it a first-class county paper, devoting from seven to eight columns each week to the publication of county and local news. The establishment has an excellent outfit of presses and machinery for the trade. The paper has the largest corps of correspondents of any paper published in Ashtabula County. It has attained a position that places it in the first rank of country newspapers. It circulates largely among the farmers of Ashtabula County. Its weekly edition is nine hundred copies.
JOURNALISM IN CONNEAUT.The first attempt to establish a newspaper in Conneaut was made by O. H. Knapp, February, 1832, while the town was yet known by the appellation of Salem. The material used consisted of a second-hand Ramage press, and a small quantity of type which had been previously employed by A. W. W. Hickox in the publication of the Ashtabula Recorder, the first paper published in the county. Mr. Knapp's paper was known as the Salem Advertiser. It was Whig in politics, and was published for the space of two years, when it was succeeded by the Conneaut Gazette. Mr. Knapp retained the editorship, and continued therein until about August, 1835, when Mr. S. F. Taylor became identified with Mr. Knapp, and the paper was published by Knapp & Taylor until April, 1836, when Mr. Knapp withdrew, and the proprietorship passed into the hands of Mr. Jacoby, Mr. S. E. Taylor remaining as editor. Under this management the paper seems to have been indifferently published until October 28, 1836, when C. A. Randall & Co. succeeded to the ownership, and carried on the business until the spring of 1838, when the name of W. W. Ainger appears as publishing agent. Mr. Ainger's administration seems to have been rather short, as the name of S. E. Taylor appears at the head of the paper the following October as editor and proprietor. Mr. Taylor published the paper for the space of nearly three years, or until May 29, 1841, at which date we find the following under the editorial head, which seems indicative of rather poor success:
"To Printers. -- The press and materials in the office of the Gazette are offered for sale. If any one wishes to go on here he may try the experiment, The circulation falls but little short of six hundred, and the advertising and job work
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 41
is fair. A printer can make money if he can get his pay from those who are abundantly able to pay. Unless the establishment is disposed of before that time (which is not very probable) the publication of the Gazette will be suspended, or, to use a stronger term, discontinued, on the 12th day of June. There is one condition, however, on which it may go on. If my patrons, who owe me at least twelve hundred dollars, will pay one-third in cash they may protract its existence. I am not going to work longer without pay, nor am I going to do much longer without pay for what I have done."
True to the promise, Mr. Taylor closed his administration of the Gazette with a valedictory of bitter lamentation. From this time until the 11th of September there seems to have been no paper, at which time the publication of the Gazette was resumed by D. C. Allen & William J. Tait. The firm of Allen & Tait published the paper for one year, bringing it to September, 1842, when Mr. Allen retired from the firm, and Mr. S. F. Taylor again became identified with the concern in the capacity of editor. Mr. Tait published the paper until the 6th of April, 1843, at which time he published his valedictory, and finally closed the unprofitable career of the Gazette for want of pecuniary assistance. In the course of; a few months the material of the office was sold and taken away, leaving the town destitute of an organ. The inconvenience of not having a newspaper being soon realized, in the winter of 1843-44, D. C. Allen, Esq., raised a small amount of money and purchased material, all of which he transported from Buffalo in one wagon-load, and in January, 1844, issued the first number of the Reporter. Although the auspices were favorable, the new enterprise did not escape the grievances and annoyances of its predecessors. The early years of its existence amounted to a business hardship, which required great perseverance, economy, and unremitting toil to overcome.
Fortunately, Mr. Allen possessed these qualities, and finally vanquished the obstacles that lay in the path of a successful newspaper in Conneaut. A Mr. Rollo was associated with Mr. Allen for a short time in its early publication, but to Mr. Allen is due the credit of founding the Reporter. Under his management the business of the office was brought to an approximation seldom equaled in the history of country journalism, and which finally gave him a pecuniary reward for the long years of oppressive labor which he had undergone. January 18, 1861, the Reporter passed from Mr. Allen into the hands of J. P. Rieg, who had associated with himself Sidney Kelsey as assistant editor. In May, 1863, Mr. Rieg sold the office to Mr. Kelsey, and he being unable to meet his obligations, the property relapsed to Mr. Rieg's hands October 12, 1864, and it has since been under his control up to the present date, with the following list of partners: A. Harwood, C. G. Griffey, and C. D. Stoner; and is at present published by J. P. Reig & Co., Mr. S. C. Brooks, his father-in-law, being the company.
The Reporter, during the past fifteen years, has attained as large a circulation as any paper in the county, and is at present in a prosperous condition. From the Reporter office have graduated a number of typos who have attained considerable prominence in the profession; notably among them are Charles Hunt, who has been for a number of years prominently connected with the New York Tribune; Marshall Preston, president Scranton Printing Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania; and James W. Hart, editor Dickinson County Chronicle, Abilene, Kansas.
In June, 1871, the Conneaut Citizen was established by C. G. Griffey, ostensibly as a Republican paper, and out of spite to Mr. Reig. When Greeley was nominated it became Liberal, and died with Mr. Greeley. Mr. Reig bought the press, and the balance of the material was moved to Ashtabula and became the nucleus of the News.
In 1838, during the Patriot war, a small daily paper called the Budget was published for several months by Allen & Finch, at the Gazette office. Mr. Allen would go to the Harbor each evening and interview the officers of the steamers for news, and returning put it in type and print the paper for circulation early the succeeding morning.
The Young American, a small paper published monthly during the years 1859-60, was started by O. M. Hall and V. P. Kline, lads of but fourteen or fifteen years of age. Owing to a division of sentiment on politics the young firm soon dissolved partnership, Mr. Kline retiring, when the paper was published for some time by Mr. Hall. This paper received a fair support in subscription-list and advertising. It was published at the Reporter office, and its editorial articles are such as would have been creditable to older heads. Mr. Hall was honored with a free pass as editor to attend the editorial excursion to Baltimore and Washington in the summer of 1860, and went with Mr. Allen to the same. Hall and Kline are now prominent young attorneys, the former residing at Red Wing, Minnesota, and the latter at Cleveland, Ohio.
Of the old editors of the Gazette, Mr. Knapp is dead; Mr. Taylor has for several years occupied a position as judge of common pleas in the southern part of this State; Mr. Tait for many years held the position of librarian of the public library at Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Hickox, who started the first paper in the county, the Ashtabula Recorder, the material of which was bought for the Gazette, died in the county infirmary, at Kingsville, in 1874, He was an honest man and a good printer, but lacked financial ability.
The Geneva Times was established at Geneva, in 1866, in the building first door north of Talcott's jewelry-store, H. H. Thorp, proprietor; Warren P. Spencer, editor. First number issued on the 20th of December of that year; size, twenty by thirty inches. Enlarged in 1867, and continued under the proprietorship of Mr. Thorp till June 12, 1868, when it was sold and transferred to its editor, Warren P. Spencer, and Carey A. Vaughan, who again enlarged it, and published it under the firm-name of Spencer & Vaughan till July, 1868, when the firm procured a power-press and put the paper in new type, removing the office during that month from Pancoast block, North Broadway, west side, to the present "Times Building," West Main street, opposite the Allen House. On the 1st day of October, 1873, Mr. Vaughan sold and transferred his one-half interest in the office to Henry W. Lindergreen, and the firm-name became Spencer & Lindergreen, the present proprietors. Mr. Spencer has been the editor of the Times since its first issue, and still acts in such capacity. The paper is now twenty-eight by thirty-nine inches in size, and is published on Thursday morning of each week. It is Republican in its political preferences, and mainly devoted to county news and general local interests.
The Plea for the Oppressed was a paper published at Austinburg by the ladies of that place in the latter part of the year 1846. It issued but a few numbers. It was devoted to the cause of anti-slavery, and Miss Betsey M. Cowles was the editor.
There was a paper published at Andover some years ago, the account of whose existence is given in the history of that township.
42 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
by the meeting to draft a constitution and code of by-laws for the government of the society, consisting of Nehemiah King, Robert Harper, and Jonathan Warner. This committee reported a constitution, but asked for further time on by-laws, whereupon the meeting adjourned till the 16th day of January, 1823. At this meeting the organization was completed, and the following persons elected its first officers: President, Nehemiah King; Vice-Presidents, Eliphalet Austin and Edward Fiefield; Corresponding Secretary, Matthew Hubbard; Recording Secretary, Jonathan Warner; Auditor, Joab Austin; Treasurer, Timothy R. Hawley. The first cattle-show and fair was held in Austinburg, the first Tuesday of October, 1823. The amount of premiums offered amounted to forty dollars, -- ten dollars on the best improved farm in the county of not less than fifty acres, and thirty dollars on all other objects. . . . No sheep or horses were exhibited at this fair, although a premium was offered for sheep, but none for horses. The second fair of this society was also held at Austinburg, the third at Ashtabula, the fourth at Jefferson, and the fifth was appointed to be held at Austinburg, on the first Tuesday of October, 1827, but for some reason not set forth in the record the society did not hold a fair this year, and for the intervening period of fifteen years there was no active agricultural society in the county. During the whole time of the life of this society, I do not find among its records a single allusion to what to-day has come to be one of the great industrial interests of our people. I mean the business that has fastened upon our county the nickname 'cheesedom.' I suppose that it was good policy on the part of the society to foster and improve only those branches to which they directed their chief efforts. It must be remembered that at this period the means of transportation were limited. The Erie canal at the date of the formation of this society was not completed, and railroads had hardly been dreamed of as a means of transportation, To produce at home what was needed to eat and wear, and to grow for market only that which could transport itself, was certainly the dictate of reason and good sense, when we reflect that transportation from Albany to Buffalo cost one hundred dollars per ton. Under this condition of affairs, it would have cost not less than seven cents to carry a pound of cheese or butter to market in the city of New York. The first shipment of cheese from this county to Cincinnati was made in the year 1829, and was hauled by oxen and wagon to Beaver, in Pennsylvania, at a cost of one dollar and a half per hundred, and was then put on flat-boats and delivered at its destination at fifty cents per hundred, making the total cost of transportation about forty dollars per ton. This shipment was made by Colonel St. John, then in the mercantile business at Rock creek.
"During the next ten years, such had been the increase in the facilities for getting to market, the dairy business of this county had assumed considerable proportions, and had come to be regarded as one of the growing interests of the county that should be brought to a higher state of perfection. After the lapse of fifteen years from 1827, another attempt was made to organize the Ashtabula agricultural society. Accordingly, a notice was published by the auditor of the county for a meeting to be held on the 7th day of March, 1842, at the court-house, for the purpose of organizing the society under a law recently passed by the legislature of Ohio, providing for the encouragement of agricultural societies in the several counties of the State. Colonel Lynds Jones was chosen chairman of the meeting, and N. L. Chaffee secretary. A constitution and by-laws were adopted and the following officers elected: R. W. Griswold, president; G. W. St. John, vice-president; B. B. Gaylord, recording secretary; Lynds Jones, corresponding secretary; and E. G. Luce, treasurer; Jas. M. Blass, George Mitchell, and Sylvester Ward, executive committee. The first fair of this society was held at the court-house on the 15th day of October, 1842. The dairy products were exhibited in the hall, and the domestic goods in the court-room. The cattle, sheep, and hogs were exhibited in a vacant lot just west of Messrs. Woodbury and Ruggles' law-office, and the horses were shown upon the streets of the town. For six years the society continued to hold its annual fairs at the same place, and it was not until the year 1849 that anything had been done towards the ownership of grounds for the society. This society embarked vigorously in the improvement of the dairy products of the county. At its first fair it issued a certificate to Abel Krum, of Cherry Valley, for the best cheese shown, and to James Stone for second best. These two gentlemen at that time were among the heaviest producers of cheese, and are both well entitled to be considered the pioneers of the cheese interest of this county and its improvement. At this early day the dairy products of this section of the Reserve did not have, as a whole, a very enviable reputation in the best markets of the country. 'Ohio grease' was at this time known to mean the worst form and quality of butter that found its way to market, and the make of our cheese was so imperfect that after it had found its way to market, east or south, it became valueless, and was tumbled into the docks and rivers, and accounts of sales rendered accordingly. It is a fact in the history of that class of business men who first engaged extensively in the cheese trade of this county that they became bankrupt, in some cases, perhaps, dishonestly, but, in more, honestly forced to become so by reason of continued losses in the dairy products of our county. The agricultural society, for a series of years, gave a very large share of its attention to the improvement of this business. Liberal premiums were offered for the best butter and cheese made in the county at different seasons of the: year. Committees were appointed to go over the county and examine the fixtures and conveniences in use for the manufacture of these articles, and advise and instruct the producers as to the best methods of making and curing. Statements were required of the best producers, detailing the whole routine of their processes, and these were published in the papers of the county and entered upon the records of the society. Improvement has continued, until now the products of this county stand as high, in the markets of the world even, as the like products of any section of our country. The society owns commodious grounds, with suitable buildings and as fine a race-track as exists in Northern Ohio."
The following is a list of the officers from and succeeding those given above until the present, viz.:
1843. -- R. W. Griswold, president; Gains W. St. John, vice-president; B. B. Gaylord, recording secretary; Ebenezer Wood, corresponding. secretary; Almon Hawley, treasurer; Jonathan Warner, Harvey Nettleton, and Jon. Tuttle, executive committee.
1844. -- R. W. Griswold, president; Ebenezer Wood, vice-president: B. B. Gaylord, recording secretary; P. R. Spencer, corresponding secretary; E. G. Luce, treasurer; Jonathan Warner, G. W. St. John, and John Sill, executive committee.
1845. -- Ebenezer Wood, president; John Sherman, vice-president; T. H. C. Kingsbury, recording secretary ; R. W. Griswold, corresponding secretary; Jonathan Warner, Jr., treasurer; Abel Krum, L. P. Blakeslee, and Lynds Jones, executive committee.
1846. -- Same officers as previous year, except Almon Hawley and Rensselaer Strong, executive committee.
1847. -- G. W. St. John, president; Jonathan Warner, vice-president; N. E. French, secretary; and Jonathan Warner, Jr., treasurer; James Stone, Lynds Jones, Rensselaer Strong, John B. Watrous, and F. Udell, board of managers.
1848. -- Same as previous year, except Ebenezer Wood, vice-president; and E. A. Mills, Walter Strong, S. Sargeant, and Andrew Bailey, directors.
1849. -- Jeremiah Dodge, president; Ebenezer Wood, vice-president; N. E. French, secretary ; Jonathan Warner, Jr., treasurer; J. Warner, Lynds Jones, F. Udell, N. Hoskin, and A. C. Austin, managers.
1850. -- A. Krum, president; G. W. St. John, vice-president; J. Warner, Jr., treasurer; and N. E. French, secretary; F. Gee, H. P. Giddings, H. E. Parsons, Alex. Osborne, and U. N. Smalley, directors.
1851. -- No fair held this year.
1852. -- Chester Stowe, president; N. L. Chaffee, vice-president; N. E. French, secretary; James Norris, treasurer; and S. D. Dann, Henry Krum, Asa Hartshorn, E. Devan, N. Hoskin, managers.
1853. -- Same officers. H. J. Nettleton, B. F. Phillips, and J. Warner, Jr., managers.
1854. -- Abel Krum, president; J. Warner, Jr., vice-president; Noah Hoskin, secretary ; James Norris, treasurer; B. F. Phillips, C. Terril, M. Wilder, F. Gee, and E. Hewlett; managers.
1855. No record.
1856. -- Same officers as those given in 1854.
1857. -- Abel Krum, president; J. Warner, Jr., vice-president ; N. Hoskin, secretary; A. N. Wright, treasurer; and C. G. Calkins, E. Hulett, J. Fobes, Jr., and B. F. Phillips, directors.
1858. -- Shelby Smith, president; Joshua Fobes, vice-president; C. G. Calkins, secretary; N. E. French, treasurer; Erastus Hulett, J. P. Jennings, Harrison Loomis, Calvin Dodge, and Galusha Case, managers.
1859. -- N. L. Chaffee, president; Joshua Fobes, Jr., vice-president; C. L. Bushnell, secretary; N. E. French, treasurer; Erastus Hulett, J. P. Jennings, Noah Hoskin, Shelby Smith, and Calvin Dodge, managers.
1860. -- Calvin Dodge, president; Abel Krum, vice-president; C. L. Bushnell, secretary; James Norris, treasurer; J. P. Jennings, Harrison Loomis, Stephen Daniels, E. D. Chapman, and Lewis Calby, managers.
1861. -- Calvin Dodge, president; Harrison Loomis, vice-president; W. H. Burgess, secretary ; N. E. French, treasurer; J. P. Jennings, J. M. Ray, D. H. Prentice, Joshua Fobes, Jr., and Wm. Jarvis, managers.
1862. -- Calvin Dodge, president; J. P. Jennings, vice-president; W. H. Burgess, secretary; N. E. French, treasurer; J. Fobes, J. M. Ray, D. H. Prentice, Robert Hutchinson, and Wm. Jarvis, managers.
1863. -- Abel Krum, president; J. P. Jennings, vice-president ; E. F. Abell, secretary; N. E. French, treasurer; D. H. Prentice, J. R. Beckworth, Wm. Jarvis, J. P. Eastman, and D. L. Bailey, managers. It appears the secretary,
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 43
treasurer, and one manager resigned, and on Angust 1 J. D. Ensign was elected treasurer; C. L. Bushnell, secretary, and R. E. Fillmore, managers.
1864. -- J. P. Jennings, president; D. H. Prentice, vice-president; C. L. Bushnell, secretary ; J. D. Ensign, treasurer; Wm. Jarvis, J. L. Fillmore, D. L. Bailey, Lewis Thurbur, and Trask Creesy, directors.
1865. -- D. H. Prentice, president; Wm. Jarvis, vice-president; E. J; Betts, secretary; J. D. Ensign, treasurer; Hiram Hickok, H. J. Nettleton, D. L. Bailey, Henry Talcott, Joseph Shepard, John Dodge, Samuel Snow, and Stephen Daniels, directors.
1866. -- Wm. Jarvis, president:. D. L. Bailey, vice-president; E. J. Betts, secretary; J. D. Ensign, treasurer; Henry Talcott, H. J. Nettleton, W. B. Hubbard, Hiram Hickok, R. E. Fillmore, Jas. Shepard, Samuel Snow, and E. D. Knapp, directors.
1867. -- Wm. Jarvis, president; D. L. Bailey, vice-president; E. J. Betts, secretary; H. J. Nettleton, Henry Talcott, E. D. Knapp, and Jas. Shepard, managers. .
1868. -- D. L. Bailey, president; H. J. Nettleton, vice-president; Wm. P. Hubbard, Henry Talcott, E. D. Knapp, Jas. Shepard, N. E. French, J. J. Dodge, H. Hickok, and A. L. Strong, directors; E. J. Betts, secretary.
1869. -- Old officers re-elected.
1870.--H. J. Nettleton, president; Hiram Hickok, vice-president; N. E. French, J. J. Dodge, D. L. Bailey, and L. R. Griffis, managers holding for two years, remainder holding over; E. J. Betts, secretary.
1871. -- H. J. Nettleton, president; Hiram Hickok, vice-president; E. J. Betts, secretary; E. C. Wade, treasurer; H. Talcott, Joseph Shepard, Henry Bowman, and John Chapin, directors; balance holding over.
1872. -- Hiram Hickok, president; Harry Talcott, vice-president; J. J. Dodge, E. G. Hurlburt, L. R. Griffis, and R. M. Norton for two years ; balance holding over ; E. J. Pinney, secretary.
1873. -- Hiram Hickok, president; Henry Talcott, vice-president; S. A. Northway, T. E. Yates, Ezra Rawdon, E. O. Peck, and Henry Bowman, for two years; balance holding over, directors; E. J. Pinney, secretary.
1874. -- J. J. Dodge, president; E. G. Hurlburt, vice-president; E. J. Pinney, secretary; S. A. Northway, L. R. Griffis, Hiram Hickok, and J. P. Jennings, directors.
1875. -- All officers same as previous year.
1876. -- George E. Nettleton, president; E. O. Peck, vice-president; Calvin Dodge, E. C. Wade, C. E. Warner, Thos. Gillis, and J. P. Jennings, directors; E. J. Pinney, secretary.
1877. -- President and vice-president same as previous year; John Gill, treasurer; E. J. Pinney, secretary; Calvin Dodge, B. F. Perry, Henry Bowman, and E. G. Hurlburt, directors.
ASHTABULA COUNTY HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.Of this association, to whom the citizens of the county are largely indebted for the present history, we find that on Friday, the 17th day of July, 1838, pursuant to previous notice, a meeting of the citizens of Ashtabula County convened at the court-room in Jefferson for the purpose of organizing a "County Historical and Philosophical Society." Horace Wilder, Esq., was called to the chair, and Orramel H. Fitch and Platt R. Spencer were appointed secretaries; and here let us add that the records from which this article is compiled were written by the last-named gentleman, the originator of the Spencerian system of penmanship, which has now a world-wide reputation. The following resolutions were severally adopted, viz.:
Resolved, That this meeting do now proceed to organize a county historical and philosophical society.
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draft a constitution, and report to this meeting.
Whereupon the chair announced the following gentlemen to constitute said committee, to wit: J. R. Giddings, R. P. Ranney, H. R. Gaylord, S. P. Taylor, and S. Wright, who retired, and in due time reported the following:
PREAMBLE.We, the undersigned citizens of Ashtabula County, in order to form a more perfect union of scientific effort, awaken an enlightened spirit of energy, insure greater facilities for individual culture, and the promotion of public virtue and prosperity, provide for the perpetuation of the history of our highly-favored land, promote the general welfare of all classes of citizens, and secure the blessings of science, virtue, and universal education to ourselves and our posterity, do agree to form ourselves into a society to be governed by the following
CONSTITUTION.Article 1. This society shall be called the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ashtabula County.
Article 2. The object of this society shall be the collection and preservation of the facts constituting our early history, of the Indian tribes, and of the county and State generally, their antiquities, settlement, population, politics, etc., their native productions, animal, mineral, and vegetable; and it shall also be a primary object of the society to use its efforts to improve schools and the means of instruction, and to extend the blessing of education and useful knowledge to all.
Article 3. Any persons resident within the county of Ashtabula may become members of this society by subscribing to this constitution and pledging themselves to attend its regular meetings, and otherwise to use their influence to promote its interests, honor, and prosperity.
Article 4. The officers of this society shall be a president, four vice-presidents, a recording and a corresponding secretary, who shall be chosen at the annual meeting of the society, and shall perform the duties usually required of such officers. The recording secretary shall also perform the duties of treasurer.
Article 5. The annual meeting of this society shall be held on the first Tuesday of January annually, at the court-house in Jefferson.
It was then Resolved, That the society do now proceed to elect officers to serve until the first Tuesday in January, 1839; whereupon the following persons were elected, viz.: Roger W. Griswold, president; Horace Wilder, H. S. Hitchcock, Levi Gaylord, and Halsey Phillips, vice-presidents; Platt R. Spencer, recording secretary, and Orramel H. Fitch, corresponding secretary. It was then Resolved, That a committee of five persons be appointed to ascertain and report at the next meeting of this society, as far as practicable, the early history of the several townships of this county, and all the facts and incidents connected therewith which come within the purview of this society; and also a committee of persons on natural history to report as above; whereupon the chair announced the following:
On Early History. -- R. P. Ranney, J. R. Giddings, Elijah Coleman, Harvey Nettleton, and S. F. Taylor.
On Natural History. -- Dr. James Lyman, Dr. S. H. Farrington, Albert L. Kellogg, Dr. Robert Reed, and Dr. Daniel M. Spencer.
This constitution was signed by the following members, viz.: David Wright, H. L. Hitchcock, Halsey Phillips, Elijah Beckwith, Henry Fassett, Drayton Jones, Alvin Bayley, Hiram Woodbury, Horace Wilder, Platt R. Spencer, Samuel Hendry, S. F. Taylor, R. P. Ranney, H. R. Gaylord, J. R. Giddings, E. S. Leland, Lynds Jones, Benjamin B. Gaylord, Samuel Wright, A. L. Kellogg, Sidney S. Bushnell, S. H. Farrington, James Lyman, O. P. Brown, Jonathan Warner, A. Dart, O. H. Knapp, O. H. Fitch, E. Coleman, M. M. Sawtell, William Crowell, Jr., R. W. Griswold, N. L. Chaffee, Wm. Brigden, E. Chapman, James F. Whitmore, Epephras Lyman, G. G. Gillett, Charles E. Whelpley, W. S. Noyes, Gideon Bushnell, Artemas Luce, J. B. Hawkins, H. Nettleton, E. W. Hickok, Jeremiah Dodge, Truman Watkins, Elisha Giddings, G. W. St. John, T. H. C. Kingsbury, Solomon Jones, Ira Dolph, David Pierce, Arlinus Brewer, A. J. Giddings, C. C. Wick, Sylvester Ward, B. F. Phillips, Jeremiah H. Philiips, Gilbert Cole, Zebulon Congdon, Henry Powell, Sally Phillips, Chester Stow, W. Phelps, W. P, Spencer, William Ward, Charles Steams, Aseph Turner, Lysander Cowles, Benj. Whiting, Jr., Elijah Covell, John A. Prentice, Ansel Udell, A. P. Giddings, C. S. Loomis, H. N. Hulbert, Flavius Jones, A. C. Hubbard, Almon Udell, H. R. Arnold, Nelson Hyde, Ira Taft, Jas. Whitmore, E. K. Woodbury, George N. Tuttle, Milo Devan, Reuben Nellis, Charles S. Simonds, Joel Blakeslee, Alanson Slater, N. Yarsons, Levi Leonard, W. W. Reed, Abner Kellogg, Archibald Gould, A. H. Marvin, M. R. Atkins, James Hoyt, Daniel Powell, William C. St. John, Thaddeus Hoyt, H. A. Taylor, Zalmon Sperry, William W. Mann, James Gordon, Bennett Seymour, Levi B. Seymour, Bela B. Blakeslee, Daniel M. Spencer, William Steele, Henry E. Parsons, James Burton, H. J. Nettleton, John Hall, Frederick Udell, Oliver Atwell, Samuel Plumb, N. E. French, A. R. Latimer, P. G. Beckwith, O. W. Brown, Perry G. Gee, Warner Maun, Samuel Burnett, E. Brown, Jesse Steele, William S. Deming, Harvey S. Spencer, Elisha Giddings, William Ward, Humphrey Hollis, Henry Hubbard, I. C. Allin, William Goodrich, Matthew Griswold, Charles Booth, Nathaniel M. Parsons, Abel Krum, Cornelius Udell, Henry Krum, Linas Jones, L. Lobdell, Nathaniel Owens, Rufus Houghton, Benjamin Scott, Asa Wait, F. A. Brown, N. Brown, Josiah Gregory, George Minch, A. D. Brown, E. L. Gibbs, Amos Sperry, Joseph Mann, Nathaniel Coleman, Asa W. Reed, T. E. Best, Calvin Dodge, C. B. Walworth, A. Adams, O. F. Gibbs, Eusebius Lee, John Dodge, Elijah Peck, Erastus Chester, L. D. Dann, Josiah Atkins, John A. Coffin, Fannie Griswold, Ursula Griswold, Jonathan Higley, H. A. Walcott, H. A. Plumb, Thomas Oliver, Cornelius Norris, Porter Kee, Asa Hartshorn, S. V. Blakeslee, Harrison Loomis, Asa M. Tinker, E. P. Church, P. M. Cook, William Jarvis, D. Way, Gerod A. Pratt,
44 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
Lyman Peck, E. W. Whitmore, James Loomis, H. A. Greene, David Parsons, and I. C. Osborn.
This society continued its labors until 1852, and in the mean time prepared several hundred pages of historical matter relating to the early settlements of the county, and also a large collection of relics. By far the greater portion of the local histories now in the archives of the association were collected and written by Joel Blakeslee, formerly a resident of Colebrook township. In August, 1877, the following call was published in the county papers, viz.:
"Citizens of Ashtabula County who are interested in the publication of a full and reliable history of the county are requested to meet in Jefferson, on Tuesday, August 28, for consultation to procure that object. It is expected that there will be parties present with whom a satisfactory arrangement can be made to prepare, compile, and publish the work.
E. O. PECK,
J. C. A. BUSHNELL,
C. S. SIMONDS,
W. T. SIMONDS,
O. H. FITCH,
E. C. WADE,
H. C. TOMBES,
E. G. HURLBURT,
N. L. CHAFFEE,
EDWARD A. FITCH,
W. P. SPENCER."
Pursuant to which notice a meeting was held in Jefferson, on the 28th day of August, 1877, and a consultation was had in reference to the proposed publication by Messrs. Williams Brothers of a history of Ashtabula County. Hen. B. P. Wade was called to the chair, and Henry Fassett appointed secretary. Hen. O. H. Fitch made a statement of the objects of the meeting, urging such measures to be taken as shall insure a full and reliable history of our county, if one shall now be published. After further remarks by several gentlemen present, C. Udell, Esq., offered the following resolution, which was adopted:
"Resolved, That we do now reorganize the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ashtabula County, and proceed to elect officers of same."
The following officers were elected: President, O. H. Fitch; Secretary, Henry Fassett; Executive Committee, W. P. Spencer, A. Kellogg, C. S. Simonds, A. W. Stiles, and Amos C. Hubbard; the president and secretary to be ex-officio members. This committee were requested to meet at the office of O. H. Fitch, on Monday, September 3. Signed, B. P. Wade, chairman, and Henry Fassett, secretary.
On the 3d day of the following September the executive committee mentioned above convened at the office of its president, Hen. O. H. Fitch, in Ashtabula, when the following resolutions were offered by Hen. A. Kellogg, and on motion adopted:
"Resolved, That the president of our society is requested to obtain from the officers of the Western Reserve Historical Society, and from others, all the papers and records belonging to this society now in their possession, for the purpose of examination and preservation.
"Resolved, That the president, secretary, A. C. Hubbard, Esq., and Hon. E. Lee are hereby appointed a committee to confer with Messrs. Williams Brothers in reference to the proposed history of this county, and to give them access, for that purpose, under such terms and restrictions as said committee may deem proper, to the papers, records, and documents now belonging to this society, and to take such action in reference to the supervising the papers intended for publication as may be deemed essential in securing a fair and impartial history of our county."
The following gentlemen were appointed local committees for their several townships, and were requested to attend a public meeting of the society, to be held at the court-house in Jefferson, on the 26th instant, at one o'clock P.M.:
Ashtabula Township. -- R. W. Griswold, E`. Carlisle.
Austinburg Township. -- Lewis B. Austin, Joseph Mills.
Andover Township. -- S. C. Merrill, B. F. Perry.
Conneaut Township. -- Loren Gould, Rev. __ Keyes.
Cherry Valley Township. -- W. W. Hopkins, Henry Krum.
Colebrook Township. -- L. Reeves, Halsey Phillips.
Denmark Township. -- W. H. Seagur, H. E. Williams.
Dorset Township. -- Austin Burr, B. W. Phillips.
Geneva Township. -- W. Y. Spencer, R. S. Munger.
Harpersfield Township. -- Hiram Hickok, Charles Atkin.
Hartsgrove Township. -- William Jarvis, R. D. Norris.
Jefferson Township. -- C. S. Simonds, Cornelius Udell.
Kingsville Township. -- E. M. Webster, M. W. Wright.
Lenox Township. -- John Chapin, M. S. Jewett.
Morgan Township. -- N. Thompson, H. J. Covell.
Monroe Township. -- John Hardy, E. P. Baker.
New Lyme Township. -- B. F. Phillips, W. S. Deming.
Orwell Township. -- C. A. B. Pratt, R. E. Stone.
Pierpont Township. -- E. B. Ford, Dr. Brayman.
Plymouth Township. -- L. P. Blakeslee, B. P. Mann.
Richmond Township. -- S. P. Warren, E. O. Peck.
Rome Township. -- Levi Crosby, A. W. Stiles.
Saybrooke Township. -- Dan. J. Sherman, Wm. S. Simonds.
Sheffield Township. -- J. R. Gage, H. Fox.
Trumbull Township. -- N. D. Kellogg, Hiram Spafford.
Windsor Township. -- Edwin Rawdon, William Barnard.
Wayne Township. -- L. H. Jones, Richard Hayes.
Williamsfield Township. -- E. J. Smith, William Giddings.
The duty of these local committees was to assist in collecting the facts and to attest their correctness when prepared, thus insuring thoroughness in the compilation of the work. The society's committees have, in nearly every instance, shown a deep interest in the history, and have given to it much of their time and attention, so as to have the facts accurate and full. We trust this body, to whose kind offices the publishers of this volume are so largely indebted, has a bright and useful future before it.
THE ASHTABULA COUNTY CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION.This body is of recent organization. On the 1st day of February, 1878, in response to a call previously published, many of the temperance people of the county assembled in Ashtabula and organized the society whose name appears above. The following is the preamble to the constitution and by-laws then and there adopted: "Being fully persuaded that all men may be saved by the grace of God and the power of human sympathy, we, the undersigned, with humble dependence upon Almighty God, do form ourselves into a society for the purpose of uniting our efforts and prayers in the cause of temperance." The following is the pledge to which the members subscribe: "With malice toward none, and with charity for all, I, the undersigned, do pledge my word and honor, God helping me, to abstain from all intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and that I will by all honorable means encourage others to abstain." The following are the present officers of the society: Prof. J. Tuckerman, president; C. W. Jaques, corresponding secretary; D. Loomis, recording secretary; A. C. Stephens, treasurer.
THE NORTHEASTERN OHIO DAIRYMEN'S ASSOCIATION.In January, 1877, there was an arrangement for a meeting of this association the succeeding year, and, accordingly, the first annual meeting took place at Jefferson, February 28 and March 1, 1878. The objects of this association were so well explained by the president, Mr. N. E. French, in his opening address, that we quote from it as follows:
"I should, perhaps, speak of the principal reason that prompted to the organization of the association, and, negatively, I would say that it was not for the purpose of drawing away from larger associations organized in the interest of the dairy farmer any of their strength, or in any way to cripple and render less effective their efforts to improve the quality and increase the quantity of the dairy products of the country; but, affirmatively, it was claimed that these larger associations did not reach, in the most effective way, the masses of the people who were engaged in the dairy business, but that a similar association, organized and holding its meetings and carrying on its discussions in the immediate neighborhood of the producers, would elicit an interest and lead to results not likely to be reached so speedily and so surely by the larger associations holding their meetings in the larger cities, and somewhat remote from the great centres of production. It was claimed that comparatively few of the practical dairy farmers found their way to the meetings of the larger associations, and for the purpose of awakening thought, stimulating investigation, and inducing to a better system and greater prosperity, was the Northeastern Ohio Dairyman's association organized.
"In politics, if the politicians desire to carry through any great party measure, they do not go alone to the great cities for influence and strength, but every township and school district is thoroughly organized for the campaign. And on the question of dairy improvement all should feel a lively interest, for it has become already a great interest in this country, and is destined, in all time, to remain such. Milk, butter, and cheese are not luxuries alone; they have become absolute necessaries in the food of every family, and the home consumption of these articles of food is almost beyond computation. In addition to the home trade, this country is now sending abroad to other countries not less, perhaps, than $20,000,000 worth of butter and cheese per annum. To this extent, then, the dairy interest of the country swells the amount of our domestic exports and aids us in making our exchanges with other nations. While this item, when put in comparison with the aggregate amount of our exports, may seem inconsiderable, it is, nevertheless, a large item, and one that cannot be overlooked by the intelligent political economist who has at heart the prosperity of every legitimate industry of
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