William W. Williams
History of Ashtabula Co., Ohio
Philadelphia, Williams Bros., 1878
(Pages 45-85 not yet transcribed)
REV. JOSEPH BADGER.No name is more prominent in connection with the early history of Ashtabula County than that of Rev. Joseph Badger. He was one of the earliest missionaries on the Western Reserve. He was the founder of the first church in what was called New Connecticut, namely, that at Austinburg. He was the first minister sustained by the Connecticut missionary society west of the Alleghenies. He was identified with the history of the churches of northern Ohio, and in fact with the history of this country for the first twenty-five years of its settlement. He was a resident of this county, and, though his biography does not belong to any local history, but rather to the whole country, yet we are happy to give a sketch of his life in this connection. It is fortunate that so much material has been preserved, notwithstanding the fact that his extensive diary was for the most part burned by his order just before his death. We have drawn for our information in reference to him from some unpublished portions of his journal, from the memoir which was published in 1851, but is now out of print, and from various other sources.
Mr. Badger was the descendant of Giles Badger, who settled in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in the year 1635. He was of the Puritan stock, and his ancestor was identified with the early history of the New England colony. His father also was one of the first settlers of the new, uncultivated region in Berkshire county, Massachusetts. He was born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The line of descent was Giles Badger, Newburyport, Massachusetts. John Badger, son of Giles; Nathaniel, John, Daniel, Edmond, Samuel, Mehitable, Henry, children of John. Henry Badger married Mary Langdon, and removed in 1766 to Partridge Field, Berkshire county, Massachusetts. Joseph was the son of Henry Badger, Mr. Badger spent his early days without schools or advantages, except as they were gained at the fireside. His parents were, however, professing Christians, and his mind was stored with much religious instruction. The spring after he was eighteen, which was February 28, 1175, he entered the Revolutionary army. This was about three weeks after the contest at Lexington. He was in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was enrolled in Captain Nathan Watkins' company, Colonel John Patterson's regiment, and at the time of the battle was posted on Cobble hill, in a line with the front of the battery, about half a mile distant. He says, "We could see the fire from the whole line, and the British break their ranks and run down the hill. On the third return to the charge they carried the works at the point of the bayonet." He was afterwards with his regiment at Litchmore's Point, where the British landed and endeavored to take off some fat cattle. "Here," he says," I had an opportunity to try my piece nine or ten times in pretty close order. The contest was sharp and fatal to some." After the British evacuated Boston, Patterson's regiment was ordered to New York, where they remained about three weeks, and then were ordered to Canada, and in time encamped on the banks of the St. Lawrence, in sight of Montreal.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 87
son, Henry L., was born in Waterbury, and his other children, Julia Anna, Lucius, Sarah, who died young. Lucia, Sarah, and Joseph were born in Blanford. Mr. Badger was dismissed from this church in 1800.
He received an appointment from the Connecticut missionary society during the same year to visit the churches in the State of New York; but his appointment was afterwards changed, and he was requested to go to the Connecticut Western Reserve. He began his journey November 15, 1800. He took the southern route, crossed the Hudson at Newburg, and stayed with the Rev. Mr. Carr, of Goshen, New York. He arrived at Sussex Court-House, New Jersey, and here spent the Sabbath. He was recognized as a clergyman in the congregation by Rev. Mr. Brown, and was invited to preach. From this place he passed down the Delaware, stopped with the elder of Mount Pleasant church in Pennsylvania, and here remained eight days for the sake of having the company of four young men who were going the same journey. He started with the young men on Wednesday, crossed the Allegheny mountains, where it was very cold, and on the 14th of December crossed the Monongahela about twenty miles above Pittsburgh. Here he parted with his company, and spent several days with the Rev. Mr. Ralston, forming acquaintances with several ministers of the region. He reached the Reserve late in December. This journey of six hundred miles was taken at a difficult season of the year. There was at the time but one road leading from Beaver to the Reserve, and that almost impassable. Mr. Badger took a blazed path which led to the Mahoning river; was obliged to ford the stream where the water came over the tops of his boots while he was on his horse; but reached the shore, crossed the State line, and arrived at the cabin of Rev. Mr. Wick about dark, and was received by the family as a familiar friend. Mr. Wick had been settled a few weeks before in charge of three small congregations in Hopeful, Neshannoc, and Youngstown. Mr. Badger spent his first Sunday on the Reserve at Youngstown. This was the last Sunday of the year 1800. The year was spent in visiting various localities on the Reserve. His report of his journeys, until his arrival at Austinburg, is given in the history of that township. He underwent many adventures during this journey, but did much to encourage the people. He speaks of meeting George Blue Jacket, a Shawnese Indian; also of fording the Cuyahoga after dark, and spent the night in a small cabin, lying on the floor in his wet clothes. At Cleveland he lodged at Benoni Carter's. He swam his horse across the Cuyahoga, followed an Indian path up the lake and forded the Rocky river, encamping on its hanks that night. He pursued the Indian path to Huron river, and spent Sunday among the Delawares. He stayed in an Indian cabin, and was presented with a knot bowl of string beans boiled in fresh water and buttered with bear's oil. On his departure from this place he was also presented with a bread cake, baked in the embers, filled with beans, like a plum cake. He then passed, in company with an Indian boy for guide, to the Shawnee village on the Maumee. Here an Indian woman presented him with a bowl of boiled corn buttered with bear's grease, saying, "Friends, eat; it is good; it is such as God gives Indians." He went from thence to the French town on the river Raisin; stayed with Captain Blue Jacket in a comfortable cabin, which was well furnished with mattress, blankets, furniture for the table, crockery, and silver spoons. He spent Sunday at Maiden, Canada, and on Monday was in Detroit. Here he visited Rev. David Bacon, but says, "There was not one Christian to be found in all this region, excepting a black man who appeared pious." From this place he returned by way of the Maumee village, and arrived at Hudson the 13th of September, having been two days without anything to eat, except a few chestnuts. He organized a church at Austinburg the 24th of October, 1801, and started, with Judge Eliphalet Austin, to return to his home in Massachusetts. The account of the removal of his family to Austinburg is given in the history of that township.
Mr. Badger's situation at Austinburg was attended with some hardships, but were borne cheerfully by himself and family. He was engaged in visiting nearly all the communities on the Reserve, as he was about the only missionary in the region for two or three years.
His journal at this time reveals something of the state of the different settlements. At Euclid he stopped with Mr. Burke, who had come to this place three years before, and whose wife, he says, was obliged to spin and weave cattle's hair to make covering for her children's bed. He speaks also of Ravenna, in his unpublished manuscript, as follows: "In this place were twenty families, probably not a praying person among them. A considerable number attended meeting, but their conversation disclosed their state of heart. Reproaching one another, whisky-drinking, and fighting, with deistical sentiments, formed the prominent features of this place." He speaks of Newburg -- "Infidelity, and profaning the Sabbath, are general in this place. They bid fair to grow into a hardened and corrupt society."
Mr. Badger's adventures were numerous. At one time he was followed several miles by a wolf. He spent a whole night in a tree watched by a bear. Tying himself to a limb with his large bandanna handkerchief, he remained until the morning. A heavy thunder-storm passed over him while in this position, but the heavy peals of thunder did not avail to drive off the animal. His horse was standing at the foot of the tree, in no way frightened by the bear. As he shook himself in the rain he scared the brute away, so that Mr. Badger, a little after daylight, was able to go on. He had no weapon but a horseshoe in his hand at first, and throwing this produced no alarm, and so his only resort was to climb into the tree and wait until morning.
He often forded streams even when the ice was running. At one time he found himself entangled among some trees, with the water swimming depth, and was obliged to throw his portmanteau to the shore and jump on to a log, and then make his horse jump out of the water over the log. At another time, in crossing Mosquito creek, he found a place where he could cross the flood-wood and swim his horse through. And at still another was obliged to lie on the sand of the lake and dry himself in the sun. The settlements were very scattered, the rivers without bridges, the roads mere blazed paths for miles through the forests. The missionary was frequently wet with rain, covered with snow, drenched in fording streams, and was at times obliged to camp at night in the forests alone and without shelter. He bore his hardships, however, cheerfully, and was full of the self-sacrificing spirit. His family were left alone frequently for weeks and even months at a time. They were obliged to live in a small log house, which for the first summer had a floor only half-way across its room. The poverty which he experienced was great, and even amid his most arduous labors he speaks of the anxiety which he felt for his family. The little farm which he had was conducted by his boys at home, and he spent the intervals of his sojourn at home in assisting them to make sugar, to repair the house, and to do other work on the place. The variety of employments to which Mr. Badger could give himself was remarkable. He could repair the wagon on which he was moving to his new home; he could help his neighbors build log houses, and turn out with the other citizens to build bridges; could nurse the sick; could prescribe successfully as a physician; could write letters and sermons and reports; could revise confessions of faith, attend synods, preach two or three times on the Sabbath and frequently during the week, and all the time be useful. His visits mere always welcome. He frequently found a pious family who were glad to see a minister of the gospel, and even those who made no profession regarded him with great respect and esteem. The humility of the man was one of his prominent traits. No service was too lowly for him, no sacrifice too great, if he might serve his Master. Doubtless he felt the hardships of his lot, and considered that others were perhaps improving their time and gaining reputation in other respects, while he, a poor missionary, was laboring with but little compensation and amid great privations. His zeal, however, was not without its reward. He preached in most of the places throughout northern Ohio, and was well known as the pioneer missionary of' those days. He mas not settled as a pastor when he came to Ohio, but he spent his life in laying the foundations for others to build upon. As a wise master-builder, he toiled until the Lord called him to his reward. His reward was certainly not in worldly things. He spent a large part of the little fortune he had after he went to Ashtabula to live in the support of his family. His efforts as a minister of the gospel seemed to have been very successful. There was that about his preaching -- the spirit which he manifested, his zeal, his humility, and devotion, or something it was -- which gave him great effect when he was addressing the people. He frequently speaks of the people being moved even to tears, and seemed to have produced by his preaching great solemnity among his hearers. He ascribed these impressions to the spirit of God, but doubtless it was that spirit working through his own humility and devotion, and imparting to others the faith which he had. It was a contagion of an earnest faith and of such self-denying zeal, and the work of God's holiness found no impediment in his pride or self-seeking. He was plain, unassuming, but kindly, and always gained the confidence and affection of the people. We picture him as going about among the settlements, which were scattered through the wilderness, with his portmanteau on his horse and his plain dress. When he arrived at a village he would alight and always find a welcome, and made it his home where he was. He generally visited all the families in the hamlet, talked with them kindly, and would most always have something to say of a religious character. He would gather even the children together and catechize them, and the effect of his influence was very great upon them. Children were frequently impressed by his preaching, and some of the most remarkable conversions mere among the young. At the same time he seemed to carry conviction to older persons. Judges and lawyers were frequently impressed by his words, and many additions to the churches were of adults. Those assemblies in private houses, in which whole neighborhoods were gathered, were quite remarkable. There was a kindly way among the people which made them attractive, and the very sociability of the occasion prepared the attendance for the better feeling which worship might bring. There was the true idea of the church in
88 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
these gatherings. It was but a family, and God was the father, and the home feeling was the religion of it. Worship was at that time peaceful. The missionary, whether a pastor or not, was a shepherd and had a love for the flock.
A few extracts from his journal will show something of the character of his congregations and the nature of their surroundings: "Having spent about five weeks with my family, I set out for my winter's tour. Preached at General Payne's the first Sabbath in December." "Went to Newburg and spent Sunday; from this to Hudson, twenty miles, -- a lonely tour in the cold, snow, and mud. Here I preached twice on the Sabbath and visited all the families. I visited and preached in all the neighboring settlements -- Ravenna, Aurora, Mantua, and Burton -- until some time in February, 1803." "At Palmyra preached a lecture; mostly Methodists. At this time a Methodist preacher had never been on the Reserve." "From this I went on to Canfield. Preached on the Sabbath and visited all the families. I then went through all the settlements in the south and eastern part of the Reserve, preaching twice every Sabbath and one or two lectures weekly; visiting and preaching from house to house until the forepart of April." "Having returned to my family, I continued to help them for several weeks, and visited the settlements in this part of the Reserve, preaching on the Sabbath, with frequent lectures, until the 8th of June, when I again left for another preaching tour. Rode to Vernon. Visited two sick persons and prayed with them." "Rode to Hartford. Conversed with several professing Christians on the subject of forming a church." "Rode to Vienna. Preached on the Sabbath to about sixty." "Rode to Fowler's store in Poland, the only store on the Reserve at this time. Consulted with Brother Weeks in regard to spending two Sabbaths in places where the revival was attended with extraordinary power. The next Sabbath at a place called Salem, in Pennsylvania. Preached to about five hundred people. From candle-lighting till near twelve o'clock it was made a time of extraordinary prayer and singing. I then preached a third discourse, on the doctrine of repentance, and dismissed the people. During the meeting numbers cried aloud, 'Oh, my hard heart! my sinful, rebellious heart!' and soon became powerless for some hours." "Rode to Cross creek. I preached in the afternoon to about three thousand people, -- the largest worshipping assembly I ever saw. In time of preaching there were many who cried out, and fell into a perfectly helpless situation." "From June 18 to July 1 I rode more than two hundred miles. July 10, preached twice in the woods; had a shower of rain. Rode on to Warren, visiting families. Preached on Saturday, and on the Sabbath three times. Had in the afternoon a heavy shower; took a violent cold." "August 1, rode to Nelson, then to Aurora, thirty miles; very unwell with my cold." "Rode to Hudson; visited several families, and on the Lord's day preached twice and administered the sacrament." "Attended the funeral of an infant, and then rode to Aurora, and preached to one family, -- the only one in the place, -- and the next day preached in Mantua; frequently got wet with heavy showers. Rode to Burton; visited one woman on her dying bed. Sabbath, preached twice. Monday, rode to Mesapotamia. Wednesday, rode to Windsor; stopped at Judge Griswold's about two hours during a heavy shower. Rode on through the woods without path or marked trees; came to a deep ravine filled with water running rapidly, and muddy; was met by a large bear." Here follows the record of his spending the night in the tree. "August 21, attended the funeral of Mrs. Hawley; made a prayer at the grave; preached in Mr. Austin's barn and administered the sacrament to twenty-one communicants." "The Connecticut Missionary society sent on at this time as many books as I could carry in a large bag, to accommodate the population with means of instruction. Rode to Grand River after the books. Saturday, rode to Conneaut, twenty-five miles; no marked roads. Sabbath, preached twice. Monday, visited a school of sixteen children; gave primers and books. Tuesday, rode to Erie, twenty-eight miles; then to North East, fifteen miles." The presbytery met here, and Mr. Badger preached the sermon. "Rode five miles to visit a sick man who had been drinking and abusive in his family. The next day rode to Chautauqua to visit a family. The husband and father was drowned in the lake," etc.
In the period of one year Mr. Badger visited forty-nine or fifty different places, and preached one or more sermons every Sunday, and frequently several times during the week. During the year he attended five funerals, married one couple, organized two churches, -- the one at Hartford and the one at Warren, -- and administered the sacrament nine times. He also attended two presbyteries, -- one at Slippery Rock and one at North East, -- and the synod at Pittsburgh. He began the year with the revival work at Cross Creek, Pennsylvania, where were such remarkable exercises, and continued through it with the same extraordinary interest attending his labors wherever he went. Mr. Badger was very faithful in his missionary work. The church at Austinburg, where he lived, made great progress, though he seemed to have been absent from it most of the time. On the 10th of June forty-one persons were added to this church, and among them some of the most prominent persons in the place. The church at Harpersfield also prospered. He speaks of having visited Ashtabula and preached to about twenty persons. He occasionally also visited Conneaut, though the path from Austinburg to that place was not even blazed, He says of this place," Notwithstanding there are some here, as in other places, who do all they can to profane the Sabbath and promote infidelity, yet God is carrying on the redemption of souls." Mr. Badger, after laboring five or six years as a missionary in this and other counties, resigned his commission. The reason for this was that the Connecticut Missionary society had reduced the amount of the appropriations to the missionaries on the Reserve. Mr. Badger felt that, with all his labors and hardships, the society did him a great injustice. He says, "I felt myself and family exceedingly injured by their vote to reduce the means of my support. I had encountered indescribable hardships, with my family, in performing missionary labors, and had repeatedly written to them respectfully on the subject. The subject had also been presented to them by gentlemen who were my neighbors, and well knew that my reduced pay to six dollars per week was much below the necessary expenses of my family. But all applications on the subject were unavailing."
This action of the society in reducing his salary and the consequent resignation involved a great change in the circumstances of Mr. Badger's life. He afterwards received an appointment from the Massachusetts Missionary society, and commenced labors as a missionary among the Indians at Sandusky. This change involved a removal of his family, and there were many hardships endured again in entering upon a new life. He began building a boat of three tons burden, finished and launched it, loaded it, and passed down to Austin's Mills, where he was obliged to unload and draw the boat over the dam and load again. It often stuck on the rapids, and they were obliged to get into the water and lift hard at the boat to get it down the river. They succeeded, however, and passed up the lake to Cleveland, where they arrived on Saturday night. Here Mr. Badger preached on Sunday. During the week they made out with great hardship to reach Sandusky. He says, "My labors with the Wyandot people from upper Sandusky to a place eight miles below Detroit were very fatiguing, exposed as I was to rains and heavy dews and camping in the woods." In October, 1807, he went with his wife to Pittsburgh, and was taken unwell, and was confined five weeks with sickness. On his return quite a company went with him to Sandusky, all on horseback, camping out four nights on the way. He says in his journal, "Under many discouraging circumstances I continued to labor in the mission, visiting and preaching in their villages, more than one hundred miles apart from each other." In the year 1808 he came to the determination to move his family back to Austinburg. The missionary board thought it was best that he should take a tour to the east to solicit donations. He accordingly started with his wife on the 1st of November, on horseback, to visit friends in New England, and arrived at Blanford on the 15th. During this visit the Connecticut Missionary society became sensible that they had erred and their missionary had suffered by their means. At a meeting of the board recompensation of two hundred and twenty-four dollars was paid to him, and a donation of one hundred dollars was given to him for his mission. His labors among the Indians were very useful. His influence among them was such that intemperance was very much removed. The chief, Blue Jacket, complained bitterly of the traders, and, through Mr. Badger's advice and co-operation, those who were disposed to sell liquor were driven away from the reservation. As a missionary he adapted himself to the people. He helped them build their houses, went into their corn-fields and hoed corn with them, mended their broken plows and utensils, and assisted them in this way. He prescribed for the sick, comforted the dying, and sympathized with them in all of their troubles. He gained a great influence over them. They generally listened to his advice, and were respectful in religious services. Occasionally there is a record of a few rude savages entering into the meetings and shouting the war-whoop, and so trying to make disturbance; but the sentiment of the chief and most of the tribe was friendly to the missionary's labors. He continued here, laboring faithfully, until the year 1809, when he received a letter from his wife that his house was burned, and almost all the clothing and furniture destroyed. This distressing circumstance made it necessary for him to leave the mission. He got home about the middle of November, and found his family without a house, depending on a neighbor for temporary lodgings, and were in great want of clothing as the cold season grew on. By the help of neighbors they soon got up a cabin, moved into it with but one chair, and without bedstead, or table, knife, fork, or spoon, but these and other necessary articles for housekeeping were soon procured. Mr. Badger spent the winter in preaching in a few settlements in Ashtabula County. In April, 1810, he moved to Ashtabula, where he preached half the time and missionated in other settlements. Having made an exchange of land with Nehemiah Hubbard, he commenced making a home. He had a good garden, raised some corn, and was comfortably situated. At this time there was no organized church in Ashtabula village, but Mr. Badger alternated in his preaching between Kingsville and this place. It is said that after the burning of the school-
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 89
house on the east side a meeting was held one Sabbath on the banks of the Ashtabula river, near where the iron bridge now stands. The preacher took for his pulpit a tree which was leaning over the water, and the people were scattered about on the grass. During Mr. Badger's stay in this place he started a book-store, but was not successful in it, and soon sold out.
During the War of 1812, Mr. Badger's services were sought for on account of his acquaintance with the country and his influence over the Indians. General Perkins was then at Huron. Several officers wrote very urgently to Mr. Badger, inviting him to visit them. He went, and found the sick and wounded badly situated; but he soon got help, and made the block-house comfortable, and provided bunks and attendants for the sick. In a few days General Harrison came. Without being consulted on the subject, he was appointed chaplain for the brigade and postmaster for the army. He was very useful even in military service. When the army moved from Huron to Sandusky, he, with a guard of twenty men and several axe-men, marked out the road, and afterwards piloted the army to Sandusky. After the building of Fort Meigs, on the Maumee, the men began to be sick. Major E. Whittlesey, afterwards congressman for this district, was taken very sick, and given up to die. Mr. Badger took him to his own tent, and took care of him day and night. By careful nursing and the skillful practice of the surgeon he was, by the blessing of God, restored to health. Mr. Badger soon resigned his position and returned home. He never quite approved of the war, and said many things against it, and so gained the epithet of "old Tory." After his return home, two of his sons were taken with the epidemic which had prevailed in the army. The youngest one died. Mr. Badger continued to preach in Ashtabula and neighboring settlements until about the last day of July 1818. At this time his wife was taken suddenly ill. She lingered a few days in painful sickness, and died on the 4th of August. Of her Mr. Badger says, "She was a discreet wife and affectionate mother; a consistent Christian, beloved as a friend and neighbor. She bore with Christian patience and fortitude the trials we had to encounter with our young family in this uncultivated land. On her devolved almost exclusively the task of forming their youthful minds, and storing them with principles of piety and virtue, and this she performed with unwearied fidelity." At this date the autobiography ceases. Mr. Badger married again in 1819, and his second wife, Miss Abigail fly, survived him a few months. He removed from Ashtabula to Kirtland in 1822, and preached alternately here and at Cheater. At the age of sixty-five he received a call from the people of Gustavus. He organized a church here of twenty-seven members. This was April 27, 1825. In October following he was regularly installed pastor of the church by the presbytery of Grand River. Rev. Dr. Cowles preached the sermon. During his pastorate he held a protracted meeting, in which many were converted, and the church was much strengthened. He was appointed postmaster at this place. As the mail came in on the Sabbath, he sent in to the government a remonstrance, and declared his purpose to resign unless he was relieved from this secular care on the Sabbath. His remonstrance was so far successful as to secure such a change of the route as to cause the arrival of the mail at Gustavus on another day of the week. Mr. Badger resigned his pastoral relation at the end of ten years, in 1835. He was then seventy-five years old, and the infirmities of age were creeping upon him. The church, when organized, consisted of twenty-seven members. During Mr. Badger's ministry forty-eight were added, of whom twenty-eight were by profession. The veteran missionary removed to the home of his daughter, at Plain, Wood county, who had married a minister. During his residence here, which included ten years more of his life, no particular incidents occurred. It was a season of quiet retirement, though he continued to preach almost every Sunday in destitute places. He organized a church in Milton, and supplied them about a year. His last sermon was preached in Plain, on the day of the fast proclaimed by the President. He enjoyed great peace and serenity of mind. His language was uniformly that of praise, and his constant theme the goodness of God and the glories of the future state.
His missionary life precluded study, but he always took an interest in literary advantages. The Social library in Ashtabula was established mainly through his efforts. During his stay in Plain, Wood county, he was able to procure a gift of books from the east, and succeeded in establishing what has since been incorporated by the name of the Badger library. His religious character was his most remarkable trait. It gave him a gentleness and patience and depth of character which are rarely possessed. His words were always full of feeling, but amid all his trials and disappointments no bitterness mingled with them. He had a submissive, quiet, and loving spirit. Few men have undergone more hardships, and yet few have been more useful. His memory is still cherished among the citizens of many communities, and the scenes of his former homes are redolent with his praise. His life was a sweet savor, and, though the blossoms of his hope were often crushed, they emitted a sweet perfume. During the last days of his life he seemed to live in the visions of the future. At one time, when he was apparently unconscious, his granddaughter put her hand upon his head, when he exclaimed, with a groan, "Oh, why did you call me back? I thought I was in heaven!" He died as the righteous die. His path was the path of the righteous, growing brighter to the perfect day. Surely we can say of him, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, and their works do follow them."
(pages 89-113 not yet fully transcribed)
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 113
His mother, Mary Gillett, a daughter of Captain Zaccheus GilIett, and sister of Rev. Alexander Gillett, the first settled minister in Wolcott (then called Farmingbury), was a woman of superior intelligence and many virtues.
Josiah Atkins was the youngest son of Joseph Atkins, one of the early find honored settlers in Wolcott, a man foremost in every good word and work, during a residence of many years.
During the years 1798 and 1799, a war with France seeming probable, an army was raised by the United States government, into which the subject of our sketch, at the age of seventeen years, enlisted. The regiment to which he belonged was encamped in or near New Haven, Connecticut. The war-cloud having passed away the forces were disbanded, and our young soldier sought employment in the west.
In 1801 and 1802 he worked at road-making on the "Genesee turnpike," in central New York.
In October, 1809, he joined a party of emigrants from Connecticut, bound for the then land of promise, "New Connecticut." They arrived in Morgan, Ashtabula County, in November, 1802.
Two settlers (with their families) had preceded them by a few months, viz., Timothy R. Hawley, a surveyor, and agent for the proprietors of the town, and Captain John Wright.
Mr. Atkins selected a farm in the east part of the town, but during the first year worked chiefly for others, chopping and clearing lands, making roads, etc.
On the 22d of February, 1804, he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Wright, the youngest daughter of Captain John Wright, above named.
During a considerable part of the year 1805 lie was engaged in carrying the United States mail between Cleveland and Detroit, his usual route being from Cleveland to Sandusky. This difficult and dangerous service was performed on foot through the wilderness, carrying the mail, a gun and axe. It required great courage and perseverance; but he was a man who never objected to any necessary service or duty, no matter what its hardships or privations.
In the spring of 1806, Rev. Joseph Badger, then a missionary to the northwestern Indians, engaged Mr. and Mrs. Atkins as assistants at the missionary station at Sandusky.
Having built a boat on Grand river in Austinburg, and loaded it with supplies for the mission, the party, consisting of Rev. Mr. Badger, Mr. and Mrs. Atkins: and their little daughter, Emily (afterwards Mrs. Colonel George Turner, of Geneva, Ohio), descended the river to its mouth, where they were joined by a party of Indians, who, with their families, in canoes, accompanied the missionary party along the southern shore of Lake Erie to Sandusky. Here they remained about one and a half years, when repeated attacks of ague and fever forced them to abandon the mission and return to Morgan. During 1808 he was again
114 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
engaged in carrying the mails on foot, in a more rapid manner than before, called the "express mail." His route was between Cleveland and Vermilion river.
In June, 1811, the county of Ashtabula was organized, and Mr. Atkins was appointed its sheriff, serving until July, 1813, when he resigned to enter the United States service, as a lieutenant in the northwestern army under General W. H. Harrison.
Previous to this service, however, in the fall of 1812, while sheriff, he, with other prominent citizens exempt from military services by age or official duties, viz., Colonel Eliphalet Austin, Major Levi Gaylord, Captain Roger Nettleton, Matthew Hubbard, Esq., Samuel Hendry, Esq., and many others, spent some time as mounted volunteers in scouting the country about Sandusky bay and Huron river, then threatened with invasion by the British forces and their Indian allies. Their effective service, it was believed, prevented an attack upon Camp Avery, an unfinished and therefore weak stockade upon Huron river.
Upon the reduction of the army to a peace establishment, in 1815, Lieutenant Atkins received an honorable discharge from the service, and returned to his farm in Morgan.
At the first general election after the close of the war (October, 1815), Mr. Atkins was again elected sheriff, and removed his family to Jefferson, where he continued to reside for the ensuing twenty-three years, save a brief sojourn on the lake-shore, in Geneva, about the year 1830.
Having served as sheriff the legal limit of four years, he was appointed, in the winter of 1819-20, to the then new office of county auditor, and served in that capacity until March, 1822.
At the next session of the Ohio legislature (1823-24) he was appointed to superintend the building of a turnpike-road through the "Maumee Swamp," so called, and to survey and sell the lands granted by congress to the State of Ohio, for the purpose of building said road. He was engaged in the duties of that appointment until the road was completed, occupying about three years.
He next turned his attention to the Ohio canal, then being built from Cleveland to Portsmouth. In company with a young man of some previous experience on the Erie canal, New York, a considerable job was undertaken, which proved a much more expensive and difficult work than had been anticipated by engineers or contractors, involving a very heavy loss. To add to the difficulty, his partner, having possessed himself of all the company funds, suddenly decamped to parts unknown. This misfortune and treachery forced Mr. Atkins into hopeless insolvency. He voluntarily placed in the hands of a trustee, for the payment of his liabilities, all the savings of his previous life, and having a large family, was unable in after-years to do much towards retrieving his ill fortune.
In 1835 and 1836 he was in the employ of the "Arcole Furnace Company," in Madison, Ohio, and was a careful and efficient agent in its then large business.
In the autumn of 1836 he went to Olean, New York, in the employ of a land company, to take charge of a considerable property, comprising most of East Olean, with grist- and saw-mills, pine lands, etc.
The reverses of 1837-38 so crippled the company that it was forced to sell the property, and early in 1839, Mr. Atkins removed to the farm of Edward Wade, in Brooklyn, near Ohio city, now Cleveland. At this place he resided most of the time until 1854. While residing there he was appointed an associate judge of the court of common pleas of Cuyahoga county, and held the office until, by a change in the constitution, that court was abolished. In February, 1853, his amiable and much-respected wife, Mrs. Sarah Wright Atkins, died at their home in Brooklyn, they having lived together in the marital relation forty-nine years.
Subsequently he resided for a time with his son, Captain A. R. Atkins, in Chicago and Racine, but usually had a home with his daughters, Mrs. H. R. Gaylord, in Geneva, and Mrs. P. Judson, in Brooklyn.
He died at "Barber Cottage," Brooklyn, then the home of Mr. Judson, January 23, 1859, in the seventy-seventh year of his age.
During a large part of his life Mr. Atkins was an active and efficient promoter of religious observances, and during all his later years was an earnest and unwearied laborer for the abolition of slavery. At first he held aloof on the ground of its impracticability; but the tendency of pro-slavery opinion to enforce its views with stale eggs and other objectionable arguments soon brought him to the side of the party weak in numbers, but using only reasonable arguments. He was a sturdy believer in free speech, and held mobs in utter abhorrence.
Between the years 1841 and 1853, Mr. Atkins devoted much time and means in aid of the anti-slavery movement in northern Ohio and western New York. His earnest and able addresses doubtless assisted in awakening the public mind in the localities he visited to the great wrong and injustice of the institution of slavery then darkening the whole country.
In a long service as justice of the peace in Jefferson, and later, as a judge of the courts in Cleveland, when party spirit was often bitter and unreasoning, his sterling love of justice and his dealing was ever apparent. And although his friendships and aversions were strong, he never permitted them to affect his legal administration of justice.
Through a long life his bodily and mental powers were vigorous, and whatever he undertook to do, whether chopping and clearing lands, splitting rails (in his younger days he was a famous "chopper and rail-splitter"), making roads, carrying mails on, foot through the wilderness, or arresting desperate criminals as sheriff, all was thoroughly well done.
In his later years Mr. Atkins often wrote for the press; his contributions of most general interest probably being "Recollections of Pioneer Life in Northeastern Ohio," "Road-Making in Central New York at the Beginning of the Present Century," "A Trip through Iowa in its Early Days," and "Recollections of Military Service about Huron River and Sandusky Bay in the War of 1811-15."
Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Atkins, ten (one son and nine daughters) lived to maturity. The son, Captain Arthur R. Atkins, is married and resides in Chicago. Five of the daughters are still living, in 1878, vie., Mrs. Stella M. Gaylord, in Saginaw, Michigan; Mrs. Ophelia Bostwick, in Oberlin, Ohio; Mrs. Mary Lynch, in Santa Barbara, California; Mrs. Martha Todd, in Tabor, Iowa; and Mrs. Bertha Judson, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Helen Atkins died in Brooklyn, Ohio, in 1839; Mrs. Emily Turner, in Geneva, in 1841; Mrs. Flora Wheeler, in Portville, New York, in 1850; and Mrs. Sarah L. Wade, in Brooklyn, Ohio, in 1852.
The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Atkins are numerous, intelligent, and actively engaged in various pursuits in life. They reside in the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, California, and Texas. They comprise clergymen, lawyers, college professors and teachers, railroad-builders and managers, manufacturers, mill-owners and lumbermen, ship-builders, ship-owners, and ship-captains, who have sailed on all our lakes and on every ocean and nearly every sea on the globe
One of the latter, Matthew Turner, a native of Geneva, Ohio, while engaged in commerce between San Francisco and the Amoor river, in Siberia, in the year 1863, was the first to discover and open to the traffic of the world the Pacific cod-fisheries, in the Gulf of Tartary and on the coast of Kamschatka and subsequently about the Aleutian islands.
HON. ELIPHALET AUSTIN.
HIS TITLE OF COLONEL.He was colonel of an independent or uniform regiment, was one of the Torringford land company, and in his own name, and in that of the Connecticut land company, had some twenty thousand acres. He came to Austinburg in 1799, returned in 1800, and in 1801 moved his family to Ohio. The account of his journey and first settling has already been given. Judge Austin's business capacity was remarkable. He had a large amount of lands of his own in Summit and Medina counties, also in Morgan and Austinburg, Ashtabula County, and in Madison and Perry, Lake county. He owned lots in Cleveland and in Euclid, and at one time he had the title to over three hundred acres in the spot where Cleveland now stands; he was also agent for a large amount of land for others. This land he bought at a very small price, as it was on the first apportionment. It was never complained of him that he had taken advantage of any one. His desire was to encourage settlement, and no doubt it was largely owing to his hospitality and his business capacity that Ashtabula County became settled at so early a date. His house served to be the centre of the whole region. It was a block-house, built on the summit of the hill, bullet-proof. Aaron Austin, his son, was early engaged in cutting roads through the forest, and it is said that nearly all the roads of those days centred at his house. Some of these roads still remain. He had much to do with the laying out of the first roads of the country.
(pages 115-129 not yet transcribed)
HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIPS AND VILLAGES
The river was long known as the boundary line between the eastern and western tribes, -- the Iroquois claiming the land of the east and certain Algonquin tribes claiming that to the west. This fact accounts for the different words which signify the same thing. The name Conneaut meant in the Iroquois language about the same as Ashtabula in Algonquin. The name Ashtabula was applied first to the river, then to the town, and then to the county. When General Moses Cleaveland, from whom the city of Cleveland derived its name, passed through here with his surveying company, in 1796, he proposed to give a name in honor of his favorite daughter, Mary Esther. Messrs. Porter, Warren, Shepard, and most of the surveyors were in favor of the Indian name Ashtabula. In order to secure his object, General Cleaveland offered to furnish two gallons of wine for the privilege of naming the river. The surveyors assented and the wine was procured, and so long as it lasted the name of the place was "Mary Esther." As soon as the last bottle disappeared the creek assumed the old name, and has borne it ever since.
FIRST SETTLEMENT.The first white man's habitation in the town of Ashtabula is said to have been a log cabin belonging to one Thomas Hamilton. It was situated a little above the mouth of the river, on the west side. It was erected in the year 1801. When the logs were ready for raising there happened to come into the mouth of the river a boat, with a family on board, which was bound up the lake. Hamilton persuaded the men to assist him in raising his cabin. It is supposed that this company were the Austins, as Judge Austin is said to have been the first settler who entered the harbor with a boat. Two citizens of Conneaut, Daniel Baldwin and Captain James Montgomery, afterwards helped Hamilton finish his cabin, covering it with a bark roof. This lonely hut stood with its single occupant in this place with no habitation within eight or ten miles of it, and surrounded by the unbroken wilderness with the wild waves washing the unknown shore, for two or three years. Hamilton remained but a short time.
The first family which took up their residence in the place was, however, that of Mr. George Beckwith, who removed hither from Austinburg in the year 1803. The citizens of Austinburg assisted him in raising his house. Mr. Beckwith perished in the snow in January of the following winter, some forty or fifty rods north of the south ridge and a few yards west of the Saybrook line. He had been to Austinburg after salt and provisions for his family, and was on his return. He was overtaken by a snow-storm, and, having been sick, was probably overcome by the difficulties of the way and the weight of the load which he was carrying on his shoulders. His wife had been left alone in the cabin near the harbor wit;h their children. As her husband did not return she became anxious about him, and, leaving the children locked up in the house, she made her way through the snow to her old neighbors at Austinburg, a distance of twelve miles. On her arrival the citizens also became alarmed, and set out at once to find Mr. Beckwith. Following his track, they at last came upon the spot where he had fallen. They next discovered the package which he had dropped, and at last found his body prostrate in the snow, but stiff in death. Mrs. Beckwith, however, remained in the cabin, and supported her children in part by assisting travelers to cross the stream. Her method was to paddle a canoe to the spot where the ford was, and then requiring the travelers to place their load at the top of their wagon, she would take a rope and fasten if to the end of the tongue, then paddle with it across the river. She then helped the travelers push their wagon into the creek and to drive the oxen across, when she would attach them to the end of the rope and so draw the load across. It frequently happened that the wagon would partly float and partly roll on the bottom. As it came out of the stream the load would drip with the water in which it had been pretty thoroughly soaked. Shortening up the rope again, she would draw the load up the bank, and then return with the canoe after the travelers.
ARRIVAL OF MATTHEW HUBBARD.In the year 1804, Mr. Matthew Hubbard, of Trenton, Oneida county, New York, became the agent for his uncle, Nehemiah Hubbard, and started for this place. Here we give an extract from Mr. Hubbard's article, presented by him to the historical society in the year 1850:
"On the 21st day of May, 1804, we left Trenton, accompanied by that reverend and excellent man, Nehemiah Hubbard, Esq., as far as Whitestown, fourteen miles, where we received instructions, with his blessing, and parted. At this moment, as if to repair our loss, a happy incident followed: We fell in company with the Hen. Joshua Stow, of Connecticut, with one foot in the stirrup, ready to mount his horse for Ohio. He had been engaged in the company which surveyed the Western Reserve into townships; was a resolute man of much practical experience and observation, possessing powers by which he could happily arouse the ambition of inexperienced youth, and inspire in his mind manly fortitude. The Mohawk valley appeared to me one of the most fertile and beautiful ever smiled upon by the sun. We now tendered our parting adieu. Myself and Pierce, almost for the first time, were passing beyond the view of the smoke of the family chimney. We had just given our hands a farewell shake with those friends we left behind, had been admonished that the south shore of Lake Erie was a continuous grave-yard, and that six months' exposure would insure a tenantry therein, or a bleaching of our bones on its surface. Home feelings possessed our hearts. Home thoughts occupied our minds. Like Lot's wife, we were looking back upon the plains we had left, while our bosoms beat to involuntary sighs. Never can I forget the emotions which filled my bosom when first leaving the fireside to sojourn in a distant land, where no more the kind salutations of a father and an affectionate mother would greet my ears, and the playful sallies of brothers and sisters would mingle with my boyish eccentricities. Even our horses seemed at this time to sympathize with their riders, or perhaps upon their involuntary guidance it may have happened, for they actually came to a halt, when our friend in the advance, apprehending the difficulty, called out, 'Heads up, my young lads! this valley we are leaving is not a priming to what you will live to see in Ohio!' This cheering appeal had the intended effect. We dismissed all regrets, and the stars of hope were lighted. Our horses raised a sprightly trot, we hummed 'Over the hills and far away,' all clouds of depression cleared up, our spirits resumed their usual elasticity, and forbade a sigh for home comforts.
"Western New York at this time was little less than an unbroken wilderness, but each day's travel brought us nearer our destination, and we little heeded what might interpose in our way. At length the blue waters of Lake Erie at Buffalo caught our view. Buffalo was then comprised of some half-dozen small houses, and literally swarmed with Indians. Two days more, and we were brought to
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 131
Chautauqua, a distance of seventy miles, as then computed, passing one lone house only, which was located at Cattaraugus. Two days' additional ride, and we were at the mouth of the Conneaut creek, in Ohio. Here the few settlers were hauling in a net full of fishes. Among them was a muskelunge which weighed forty pounds. Proceeding one mile farther, we found a kind reception at Mr. Hannaniah Brooks', where we feasted on the delicious muskelunge and lodged. On Friday morning, the 2d day of June, we were coursing our way along a line of trees, marked by hunters of wild game, to Ashtabula. The country exhibited a surface smooth and beautiful. There was a luxuriant growth of herbage and a profusion of wild flowers of every hue all around our deeply-shaded path, creating a landscape of enchanting loveliness. Pierce and myself were all eyes; not an object within our reach seemed to escape our notice. It was a new world to us. The formation of ground for a good road was perfected by the hand of nature, leaving for man to remove the burden of timber under which it groaned. The small runs crossing our route were apparently lost in the deepest kind of mud, filled with roots from the overhanging trees, into which our horses plunged at the hazard of legs and life. About the middle of the day the wild beasts of the forest might have seen three persons, with their faithful horses, crossing the Ashtabula creek and dismounting on the belt of bottom land near the location of the south end of the present ridge-road bridge. Here we parted with Judge Stow, a traveling companion in whom our hearts delighted. As he left us for the Cuyahoga river our eyes sadly followed his wake until his form was hidden by the underbrush. Pierce and myself now began to scale the almost perpendicular height directly fronting us. When near the top the ground slid under my horse's feet, and, my hand being clenched in the bridle, we both rolled to the bottom. Having found a landing-place, and once more on our feet, I called out to my friend, 'All is well! I shall settle in this country; I have already made my pitch!' A second attempt at climbing proved successful. We proceeded along the bluff towards the mouth of the creek in search of the George Beckwith cabin, which we supposed was deserted; but, on heaving in sight, we found it occupied to the full. As we approached it was difficult to decide which party was the more surprised, we, at finding these solitaries of our race, or they, at beholding travelers. To them it appeared like 'angels' visits, few and far between.' We were the first white travelers they had seen in twelve months. The party consisted of the widow of George Beckwith and her two little girls, Samuel Beokwith, and a Mr. Thompson and his wife, and they were the only settlers between Conneaut and the west line of Harpersfield, a distance of thirty miles. It was ten miles to the settlement in Austinburg. On the 3d day of June I selected land for a farm and a site for my cabin. On the 4th of June I rode through the woods to Austinburg, where I found a comfortable log house surrounded by a grass-plat, -- no common luxury in that day with early settlers. But the house was silent as that of the dead; not a soul to be found. I turned my horse to graze in the yard, entered the house, and took possession of the family arm-chair until near sunset, when I saw a numerous family emerging from the forest path on their return from a distant place of social worship. I met Judge Austin, the venerable sire, and presented a letter of introduction. He welcomed me cordially, and presented me to his interesting family, with an invitation to partake of the hospitalities of their roof. Their house became my home at all convenient opportunities. It was truly the abode of hospitality. The milk of human kindness flowed in their hearts in no parsimonious manner, and the fruits were of the most generous kind. Long after my first acquaintance with this household, I have known its ever-to-be-remembered and revered heads to rise at midnight and administer comfort to hungry wayfaring men. A warm meal would be prepared, and all earthly compensation refused. This proceeded from high and holy motives. Instances of this kind and other benevolent acts were of almost daily occurrence, and their labor of love can be attested by many who have shared and felt its warmth.
"We will now return to the incidents connected with the settlement of Ashtabula.
"George Beckwith, whose untimely death has been referred to by others, was the first white resident of this township. He came with his family in the spring of 1803, erected a log cabin on the bottom land of lot No. 4, in fractional township No. 13, in the third range. His family occupied this cabin, located about one mile above the mouth of the creek, until the spring of 1801. The land upon which it stood belongs at this time to Mr. Jabez Strong. The second was erected by Hubbard and Pierce, in the month of June, 1804, on the lot south, adjoining the Beckwith location. The third was put up during the same month, by our small group of humanity, for an itinerant by name of Garwood, on the west bank near the mouth of the creek. This site of the Garwood cabin is now occupied by a brick building erected by the writer. This was the first cabin put up at or near the mouth of the creek. Garwood and family soon left in an open boat, with some emigrants, for parts to me unknown. About this time our little neighborhood was broken up by removals, leaving Pierce and myself only. Soon after this, Samuel Beckwith returned to erect a cabin of respectable dimensions. On finding two solitaries only, he invited help from our nearest neighbors, at Conneaut and Austinburg, places twenty-five miles apart. No wedding-party ever obeyed an invitation with greater alacrity, although it was a two days' affair. Beckwith immediately left us after his cabin had been rolled up, for the season. Hubbard and Pierce were now successfully felling trees. The first felled of the primitive forest was a giant whitewood, an occupant of the soil before the discovery of America by Columbus, as we judged from the signs usually taken as indicative of the age of trees. The place where it stood can now be pointed out by the writer, notwithstanding the lapse of forty-six years. We had prepared ourselves with a yoke of oxen, a cow, and mush-pot, also some flour and corn-meal, which was packed on horseback from Youngstown, Trumbull county. We were also possessed of two tin cups, two jack-knives, two wooden spoons, the latter of our own workmanship, and with two axes. Thus equipped, we were in full tide of operation. Our beds were of cheap construction, being split from a log sufficiently broad for convenient lodging. We lay head and foot, and enjoyed refreshing sleep. Our cow soon left us, and we saw her no more, depriving us of an article then regarded among the luxuries of life. We once during the summer indulged in eating a piece of elk flesh, presented by young Omick and his fellow-hunter; otherwise our diet consisted of mush and water, and musty at that. These red brethren had shared with us, on several occasions, the contents of our mush-pot. They ever met us with the kindly-sounding salutation, 'Brother,' to which we replied in the same kind manner. In a short time they formed a camp of several of their tribe near us. In the course of this season we put in eight acres of wheat, and had chopped and deadened over about as much more. Our seed wheat was bought of Major McFarland, of Harpersfield, and packed on horseback by way of Austinburg, the circuitous route then traveled between Ashtabula and Harpersfield. We dragged in our wheat with a crab-apple tree. We inclosed our field and finished our labor in October."
INDIANS.Ashtabula river was one favorite resort of the wild sons of the forest. Scarcely any place in the county has a wilder aspect than has this very gorge, so full of dark shadows, lined with the tall, dark pine and the overhanging hemlock, which are only made the more striking by the white, ghostly shapes of the great sycamores which fill up the valley. A weird, wild place, almost too fearful for human heart to attempt or for human footsteps to enter. Situated in the midst of the primitive wilderness, these deep gorges were still more shadowy than the forests themselves, fit resort only for the wild bear, the wolf, and other beasts of prey.
There tire indeed evidences that an ancient race at one time made this wild fastness their resort, and that places of defense were erected on the summit of the overhanging cliffs, defense answering to defense across the deep gorge.
There are burying-places in the neighborhood of the valley, covering the surface of most prominent summits at the bends of the river and near the bank of the lake. It is also reported that the bones of a gigantic people have been exhumed from these ancient sepulchres. But of the people history knows nothing. The only knowledge we have of the former occupants has been gained from the few lingering remnants of the tribes which, broken and scattered, had removed from the region before the advent of the white man.
Fortunately 'for the first inhabitants, the land had been deserted by the wild Indians before their advent, the title to the territory having again and again been ceded to the white conquerors of the country. Doubtless the presence of the forts on the lake and river at Presque Isle and at French creek had the effect to intimidate these savage people, the sound of the cannon and the sight of the pale-face sending fear into their hearts as much as if a race of supernatural creatures had intruded upon their wild domains.
It is said that the wild animals cannot endure the sound of a church-bell. There is that in the solemn reverberations through the echoing forests which sends terror into their frames. So before the advance of civilization an unconscious influence stood unseen, driving from the lonely forest both savage foe and prowling beast. These creatures cannot bear the light and progress of civilization. They dwell amid the shadow and wild scenes, and flee at the approach of the white man's foot, and before the progress and improvement which follow his tread.
Yet there was at the time of the first settlement of this township a number of Indians still lingering amid the familiar scenes. Ashtabula river was the dividing line between the Senecas, Tonawandas, Cayugas, and Delawares, of the east, and the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Wyandots, of the west. In fact, the old line between the conflicting races, the Iroquois and the Algonquin, here remained long after all trace of this line had disappeared from treaties. The memories of individuals kept up the old dividing line between the races. It would seem almost that the spirits of departed ancestors were continually calling back the memory of their tribes to the old lingering scenes, and to the happy haunts of earlier days.
132 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
Occasionally, after the coming of the white man and the appearance of his cottage on the banks of the river, little bands of these broken tribes were seen making their way up the stream and encamping on their favorite hunting grounds. A single picture will be given. It is narrated by Mr. Wm. Jones, who settled in the place in 1807. He relates that, soon after his settlement in the south part of the present village, then in the wild forest, there came a party of twenty-five or thirty Indians from Cattaraugus for a winter's hunt. Immediately after their arrival, Mr. Jones followed his new neighbors down to the place selected for their encampment among the firs or hemlocks, a little up the creek, south of the village and east of his own dwelling. He found them merry and cheerful, and very friendly. The men immediately set about building some wigwams for shelter. This was done by driving forked stakes into the ground and laying poles across, resting them in the forks on the top of the stakes and covering the roof with hemlock-boughs resting upon poles. Thus, in the space of an hour, with their only tools their hatchets and long knives, they constructed two or three wigwams of ample dimensions for sheltering the whole company. The next want to be supplied was food. To obtain this they sent out two or three of their men, armed with rifles, to hunt for venison. In a few hours Mr. Jones was surprised to see the hunters return with so many deer. Mr. Jones expressed his surprise, saying that it often took a white man one or two days to shoot one deer. An old Indian replied, "White man know not how. He travel, travel, travel in woods; deer see him, run away. Indian no do so. He sit down; deer come along, Indian shoot him; sit down again; 'nother come along, shoot him, too. Indian know how; white man not know how."
The hard-beaten trail which extended along the south ridge, from the east to the west, remained for many years, and was known to the early settlers, but it will never be trod by the feet of this departed people.
An incident is told of this strange race which is particularly touching. It appears that a Seneca had for some reason become an exile from his tribe and people. As there was no other tribe left to which he could go, he made his home among the whites. His name was Standing-Stone, sometimes called Stanish-tone. He gained his living mainly by fishing and trapping on the Ashtabula river. He had his hut or wigwam in the valley, near where the bridge to East Village now stands. Rev. Mr. Hall tells the story, and we insert it here in his own language: "One delightful evening in May, 1812, as Standing-Stone was at his camp on the bank of the Ashtabula, he was aroused by the tinkling of a bell. He ran out and saw a squaw who had just put the bell upon the neck of her pony, and turned him out to feed for the night on the luxuriant herbage of the bottom.
"Standing-Stone was surprised and overjoyed when so unexpected a luxury presented itself as the enjoyment of a few hours, even, of social converse with a woman of his own nation and language to interrupt and cheer the gloom of his solitude. She was a Senecca woman of the Sandusky division of that tribe, who had been down to Buffalo, and was returning. The Rev. Mr. Badger and his family were acquainted with her at Sandusky, when they were missionaries there, two years before. She was induced to stop by the good pasturage found here for her horse, and by the knowledge obtained that Mr. Badger resided on the opposite bank of the river.
"Standing Stone invited her to lodge at his camp, which she promised to do, after calling on Mr. Badger and family. She went up and found Mr. and Mrs. Badger and the children glad to give her a hearty welcome and a good supper. After supper and a short social visit, she returned to her friend's camp. In the mean time he had wrought with alacrity and raised, covered, and floored with bark a new hut for her reception, contiguous to his own. Here they spent the night, and talked and talked. The next morning early, a delightful May morning, she saddled and loaded her pony, and, just as the writer returned from breakfast to the store, they made their appearance at the top of the hill, both walking, and she leading her horse. They mere engaged in earnest conversation. He was manifestly agitated with opposite emotions, -- with delight in her company and conversation, with sorrow for the separation just at hand, which must leave him sad and solitary. They walked and talked; they came to a log and sat down and talked; and then another, another, and another. And when she must go, and he could detain her no longer, she mounted her horse and passed on; he pursued her with his voice until she was beyond hearing, and with his eyes until she was out of sight, and when she could no more be seen he continued for some time looking and languishing. This was an affecting sight!"
Poor fellow! The war came the next month, and he too, like the rest of his tribe, was gone. No more was seen of the exile or of his companion.
The author of this history has made all the investigation that seems possible in reference to the Indian names which are still lingering on the waters. Mrs. Sigourney's poem is appropriate, but it would be much more satisfactory if we could ascertain the meaning of the names. Hon. J. Hammond Trumbull, of Hartford, is the best scholar in the Indian languages in the United States. He says in reference to the name Ashtabula: "I never have looked for the meaning of Ashtabula; but it certainly does not mean 'many fish' or 'river of many fish' in any Algonquin language, nor can Conneaut have had that meaning. Ashtabula, as we have it, is certainly not Algonquin, but very likely it may be a corruption of some Algonquin name which now can only be guessed at." In reference to the Missisauga tribe, a remnant of which was living in this county as late as 1812, he says, "The Missisaugas (or Massasaugas) were of the group now known as Chippewa (or Ojibwa). The Rev. John Jones, who made the Chippewa translation of St. John's gospel, was a half-breed Missisauga. The name means 'great outlet.' Whether it was originally given to the mouth of what is now known as Missisauga river, emptying into Manitou bay, I cannot say. The tribe is substantially Chippewa, only distantly related to the Shawnee. There is a tradition among the early settlers of this town that the name Ashtabula is Erie. If so, if is the only word which has descended to us, that we know of, from this lost tribe."
TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION.The first organization of a township including the present territory of Ashtabula, was in the year 1800, under the name of Richfield. This town at that time included nearly the whole of Ashtabula County, and was itself only a part of Trumbull county, which included nearly the whole of the Western Reserve. The first organization of the township under its present name was not until the year 1808. The county of Geauga had been formed from the north part of Trumbull in 1805. In pursuance of an order of the commissioners of Geauga county, notice was given to the qualified electors to meet at the house of Captain Fobes, and to organize a new township. The tenants of the log cabins sallied forth with dogs and guns, and made a general rally. A township was organized, and the name of the Ashtabula river was given to it, which in the Indian language was the name for "fish river."
The township thus organized included Sheffield, Kingsville, Ashtabula, and Plymouth. The following persons were elected the officers of the township thus formed: Clerk, Roger Nettleton; Trustees, Roger Nettleton, Isaac Harrington, William Perine; Overseers, Henry Gillmore, Gideon Leet; Appraisers, Matthew Hubbard, Thomas Harrington; Fence Viewers, Walter Fobes, Gideon Leet; Supervisors of Highways, Joseph Kerr, Gideon Leet, Zechariah Olmstead, Elijah Lewis, Hiram Blackman; Treasurer, Zechariah Olmstead. The first justices of the peace of the township were William Perine and Gideon Leet. Each person had an office, and some, two or three.
In 1810, Kingsville was organized as a separate township, embracing Sheffield, leaving the territory comprised in the present townships of Plymoueh and Ashtabula, Plymouth not being separated until 1838. The population in 1830 was 1631. In 1840, after its separation from Plymouth, 1704. In 1850, 2177. In 1860, 2740. In 1870, 3394.
Mr. O. H. Fitch says, "For many years there was a strong rivalry and some asperity between the two villages (East and West Ashtabula); the elections were held alternately on different sides of the river, long after the division of the territory of the township. Thomas Smith, Edwin Wheeler, and Horatio Wilcox were active, intelligent business men and as long as they lived the rivalry between the two villages was continued. "In 1800," says Esquire Wright, of Conneaut, "Nathan King, Seth Harrington, and myself marked the present Ridge road to Ashtabula. There we met the people of Harpersfield similarly engaged." Mr. W. Harper, of Harpersfield, cut the first tree on Bunker hill for the opening of this road. The first carriage employed in the mail service was about 1811, by Anan Harmon. It was a rude sort of a dug-out. It, however, created as much excitement as the first steamboat on the Hudson.
The old stage-route from Erie to Cleveland was laid out by Aaron Wheeler, Eliphalet Austin, and Solomon Griswold. In the year 1810 there were located in the various parts of the town only about seventy-five families. Rev. Mr. Hall, who settled in the village in 1811, has mentioned the names of these settlers and their locations. Their names are as follows, arranged according to the date of their arrival, with their occupation and State from whence they came:
1804 -- Matthew Hubbard, land-agent and surveyor, Connecticut; William Perine, surveyor, New York; Joseph Kerr, shoemaker, Pennsylvania; Samuel Beckwith, farmer, Connecticut.
1806. -- Seth Thayer, sailor and farmer, Connecticut; Joshua Rockwell, farmer, New York; Gideon Leet, postmaster and tavern-keeper, Connecticut; David Burnet, Josiah White, David White, Samuel White, hunters, Hubbard; Ohio.
1807. -- Enoch Fuller, hired man, New York; Peleg Sweet, Sr., tanner and tavern-keeper, Rhode Island; John B. Watrous, farmer, Connecticut; Purchase Sawins, blind farmer, Vermont; Caleb Rockwell, carpenter, Connecticut; William Watrous, farmer and cooper, Connecticut; Isaac Sweet, farmer, Connecticut.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 133
1808. -- William Jones, mechanic and farmer, Connecticut; John R. Read, shoemaker and tanner, Connecticut; William Starr, sailor, shiftless, Connecticut; Ebenezer Duty, brick-maker and pettifogger, New Hampshire; Manoah Hubbard, saw-mill owner, Connecticut; Manoah Hubbard, Jr., trader, Connecticut; Thomas Gordon, farmer, Ireland; John Gordon, clearing-farmer, Pennsylvania; Daniel Castle, A. Castle, Jr., New York; James McDonald, laborer, Maine; Beverly Starr (went back), Connecticut; James McKelvey, works for Mr. Leet, Pennsylvania; Pelatiah Shepard, clearing land, Connecticut.
1809. -- Nathan Strong, Sr., Samuel Strong, Jabez Strong, clearing a farm, Nathan Strong, Jr., farmer, Connecticut; Hall Smith, merchant, Massachusetts; Collins Wetmore, farmer, Connecticut; Obed Edwards, farmer, Connecticut; John McCurrie, an old man, Pennsylvania; Amaea Castle, Sr., farmer, with his sons, New York; John N. Murray, school-teacher and hired man, Ireland.
1810. -- Abner Gage, new farm, New Hampshire; Hezodiah Smith, tavern- keeper, New Hampshire; Zach. Woodbury, clearing farm, New Hampshire; Enoch Stevens, farmer and shoemaker, New Hampshire; William Woodbury, makes chairs, New Hampshire; Edmund Blood, mechanic, New Hampshire; David Henry, stone-mason, New Hampshire; Walker Richmond, clearing farm, Vermont; Isaac Cook, wolf-trapper and pettifogger, Connecticut; Warner Mann, schoolmaster, Connecticut; John G. Blakeslee, on a new farm, Connecticut; Elijah Blackmar, M.D., lives on new farm, Vermont; Luke Bonesteel, left soon, New Pork; Amos Pisk, owns grist-mill, Pennsylvania; Rev. Joseph Badger, missionary, Massachusetts; Anan Harmon, farmer, Massachusetts; George Melvin, returned, Vermont; Mrs. Rosa Watrous, Connecticut.
By comparing the above with the carefully-prepared list of Matthew Hubbard we find the following additional names of those who had settled in the township prior to 1811, and had either removed or died, or were inadvertently omitted in Rev. Mr. Hall's list, from which the above names are compiled: George Beckwith, settled in 1803, died in 1803,; William Thompson and family, settled in 1804, removed in 1806; William Pierce, removed; Henry Gillman and family and Henry Gillman, Jr., and family; Zachariah Olmstead, removed; Isaac Hubbard, settled in 1807 and died in 1809; Reuben Mendell and family, William Gault and family, and Miss Catharine Braddock all settled in 1808; Enoch Fuller, Benjamin A. Naper, and Miss Naper were settled in 1809; Wheeler and Nehemiah Woodbury, Nathan Blood, John Watrous, and Ezra Kellogg and families settled in 1810.
1811. -- Rev. Mr. Hall, to whom we are indebted for the main facts of this history, says, "Colonel M. Hubbard lived in a framed house. Amos Fisk had one in process of erection. William Jones had a frame barn. Gideon Leet, Esq., had a large frame barn and sheds, and Samuel Beckwith also had a frame barn. All other houses and barns were of logs. The inhabitants were many of them very poor, having exchanged their small estates with the land proprietors of the east for lands here, with just money enough to transport themselves and their families, and to purchase a year's provisions in the wild and untamed region."
Mr. Hall, who was a clerk in the only store in the place, and was familiar with them all, has divided the population into four classes:
First. Those who had come from the east, mainly from Connecticut, and who owned their own land, for which they had exchanged their old homes, and were struggling to make a new but permanent home in the wilderness.
Second. Poor men who had come, and having run in debt for their lands, were struggling to pay for their farms; yet by the slow process of clearing their farms and tilling their land could hardly support their families.
Third. Those who had come as adventurers, mostly young men, some without wives, having neither money nor property, but who took up land, hoping to make improvements on the same, and then sell their claims and improvements to more wealthy emigrants. They gained their living by working for others, while at times clearing their own land.
Fourth. a lees numerous class, persons of more wealth, who became proprietors of much of the land, and who ultimately arrived at considerable wealth.
With this population, society must have been somewhat crude and heterogeneous. It was a serious obstacle to improvement and social progress that the township was so divided by the physical barriers of the Ashtabula river, -- those deep gorges which form the channel, called gulfs, which separated the families from one another. Another impediment to growth also was the dense forests, which needed to be cleared before the rich soil which they covered could be serviceable. Nor was the region favorable for the raising of cattle. The forests themselves were the only pastures, and cows would often so wander, and were so long absent, that they entirely dried of their milk. The labor of oxen was indispensable to the preparation of land, but the scarcity of feed in the winter made the time of seeding too late to realize the expected harvest. Goods were also very high, or the labor and expense of transportation through the long route from the east made their cost very great. Even when the land began to produce, the farmer found but little pay for his crops, as there was no market except that made at home, and money was very scarce. The prices at this time of grain raised from land were one dollar for wheat, fifty cents for corn, twenty-five cents for oats, four cents per pound for pork, while salt, on the other hand, cost four dollars per barrel. Mr. Hall says of this period, "I do not recollect any farm but that of Gideon Leet, Esq., lying on the east bank of the Ashtabula, one mile above its mouth, which furnished the entire support for its occupants. To make up their deficiencies other farmers purchased of the merchants and proprietors,--Messrs. Hubbard, Smith, and Leet, -- or of dealers and older settlers in other localities."
SCENERY.The scenery in the vicinity of Ashtabula was very wild. The elk and deer and very numerous bears had gathered into the marshes and meadows in great numbers to feast upon the high whortle-brush and cranberries. In winter they would burrow and make beds in the wild grass of the marshes south of the town, -- now Plymouth. The beavers were common. They formed their dams on the small streams, and overflowed the lands in the north part of the town. Turkeys and other wild game were found in the forests, and supplied settlers with food A number of the first settlers did nothing else but lead the wild life of hunters, and the Indians made it a favorite ground for catching game.
No town in northern Ohio presents more variety of scenery than does this. The presence of the lake-shore, and the deep gorges which form the channel of the Ashtabula river, conspire to make it romantic and picturesque. The valleys of the streams here also become rich bottom lands, where the crooked line of the river itself winds among the overhanging branches of maple, oak, and sycamore. These gorges which are thus formed by the river and its branches are very wild and romantic. They are called "gulfs," and are properly named, for they might well have proved insurmountable barriers to those who were on the different sides. These gorges surrounded the village on the south side, and divided the settlement into two separate villages, while another little village at the mouth of the creek is called the Harbor, making in all three parts, around which the population has gathered. The ridges through which the gorges pass serve also to give additional beauty to the scenery, situated as they are on the south side of the village, and overhanging the wild gorges, whose lofty summits present an enchanting view of the surrounding country.
The village cemetery is situated on this ridge, and few spots present a more charming landscape than this does. It overhangs the gorges of the river where the dark forms of the lofty pine-trees cast their shadows down upon the deep forests below; but in front the village itself spreads out to view its white houses along the stream as it winds to the eastward and among the green foliage of its tree-lined streets. In the distance beyond the village the blue expanse of the lake stretches far away to the northward, while the forms of vessels are seen passing to and fro, their white sails contrasting with the blue waters.
The Ashtabula river winds its devious way from its sources in the borders of Pennsylvania through Richmond, Pierpont, Monroe, and Sheffield townships until it reaches Ashtabula township. Here it comes in contact with the barriers of the north and south ridges, but passes by a crooked route through, thus leaving the banks great precipices on either side, and so makes its way to the lake.
The ridges themselves, which stretch along parallel with the coast of the lake two and three miles distant from the water, form also outlines which give a relief to the scenery and surmount the wild gorges with their rolling summits. Thus we have a mingled scene of beauty and grandeur, the element of fear lurking in the wild depths, but of pleasure lingering on the gentle declivities.
THE TIMES WHICH FOLLOWED THE WAR OF 1812.It is remarkable how history repeats itself. The War of 1776, that of 1812, the Mexican war of 1849, and the War of the Rebellion of 1861, were all attended with similar results. They were each successful. They enlarged the borders of our country. They established the national strength and unity, but they were followed by financial distress and long depression among the people. The War of 1812 was not an exception. Before the war, the farmers had small quantities of produce to sell. They could obtain from Hall Smith, Ashtabula's first merchant, at this time, the nominal sum of one dollar per bushel for wheat, twenty-five cents for oats, four cents a pound for pork; though the prices of salt and sugar, groceries and cloths, were, owing to transportation, very high. During the war the prices of produce were tripled. The increased circulation of money made everything seem very profitable to the producer. But the war closed. Merchants had contracted for large amounts, but found the demands for their supplies had ceased. The circulation of war money ceased. Property had to be disposed of. Prices fell to one-fourth of what they had been. A great stagnation of business followed. Business men were driven to great straits, and some of them to bankruptcy. The war had stopped migration also, and there was no market for produce. It is said
134 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
that at this time the farmers, in order to sell their grain and so save transportation, resorted to the expedient of reducing the grains, such as rye and corn, to whisky, and in the course of the next ten or fifteen years many distilleries were erected. This was shipped n the form of high wines to an eastern market, while a considerable quantity of the whisky itself was shipped west. Some of it found a ready market at home, to the injury of health, wealth, and the morals of the people. This manufacture of whisky from the grains raised seemed at the time almost a matter of necessity. We must remember that there was no such sentiment about liquor-drinking as at the present time, It is probable that the good old rye whisky was much more harmless than the present poisonous stuff, which is drugged and diluted until it has but a small portion of the extracts of the grain. Whisky was commonly used as a beverage. It was no uncommon sight, when the country was new, to see families or neighbors gather around a table where the bottle of whisky and tumblers were placed, and for the father of the household to ask a blessing on what they were going to receive with as much sincerity as one would at the present time over an ordinary meal, For a long time it was an article of merchandise among the better class of citizens in Ashtabula County. There are merchants now living in Ashtabula and other towns who loaded whole vessels with whisky in the form of high wines. The traffic continued as late as 1837 or 1840, and the vessel which was wrecked, in which Wm. Humphrey lost his wife, had a load of whisky in its hold and of hogs on its deck. And Mr. H. L. Morrison speaks of assisting to load a vessel in which oats were turned in loose among the whisky- barrels and beef and pork were placed upon the decks. The times which followed the War of 1812 were more distressing from the fact that the country was so new. Improvements had just been made; expenses in forming new homes had been great; and had just been cleared, and the products were necessarily limited, The amount of money which the settlers handled at this time was distressingly small. Some farmers had hardly enough to pay their postage, and when their taxes became due it was a question how to raise the money. There were not many who lost their farms, though it required great industry, and economy to pay for them. In some cases the farmers had to pay for their land twice, but not in Ashtabula. This was true in Saybrook, in Wayne, and in some other townships, But the thrift and energy of the people were manifest from the fact that notwithstanding the depression of the times and the scarcity of money, they were thus able to clear themselves from debt and make for themselves homes so comfortable. We must picture to ourselves the country as occupied by log houses and the people dressed in homespun, while their homes were furnished in the plainest style, without carpets, and the table provided with plain though wholesome food.
We pass now over a period of twenty-five years. This brings us to the year 1837, another epoch in the history of the township. During this period great progress has been made in the country at large, and especially in the west. We now find that canals have been opened in different parts of the country. Navigation has increased both upon the Ohio river and the inland lakes. The harbors have been improved. Steamboats have been introduced, one built at this port. Sail vessels are traversing the lakes. Railroads have been projected. In this county a turnpike has been built. Ashtabula has become a point of considerable importance. It is even talked of as a prospective city. The railroad projected to the Ohio river is to be called the Liverpool road, and Ashtabula Harbor is to be called Manchester. Thus in the woods of Ohio we are to have a second Manchester and Liverpool. Speculation has run high all over the land. Immense debts have been accumulated. Great enterprises have failed. The balloon collapses. People come to solid ground again. They find that castles in the air are not substantial.
The picture of these times has been presented by those who are familiar with the scenes. It is no fancy sketch. However shadowy their anticipations were, memory presents the reality. Yet there are attractions about the place at this time. It has outgrown the age of log houses. It has come to the period of framed dwellings. Like the prehistoric races who had their stone age, bronze age, and iron age, the historic race has had its different periods. We are living now in the time of brick houses, have not reached the period of stone fronts or iron palaces, but we must remember that each period had its attractions. The framed houses that were built along the streets of Ashtabula village contain many happy homes. The village at this time consisted of Main street, Prospect street, Lake street, Division street, and the various roads that lead out of town. The North and South squares are laid out. The cemetery is in the rear of the present site of the school-houses. Prospect street is extended in a straight line to Lake street. The mill is in the same place. A turnpike passes through Main street, crosses the river by a bridge at the same place. There are stores scattered along Main street in different places. The Ashtabula House is fifty feet in the rear of the same place where it is now. The Fisk House is in existence. It was occupied by the family of Amos Fisk, and is a brick building, but has not been used as a hotel. There is a row of stores, one story high, corner of Main and Spring streets, called Mechanics' row. There are several stores on Main street between North and South park, and residences extend up Main street toward Bunker hill. The village is very small.
The Fisk farm includes the central part of the village, and a portion of it has been run into lots and is called "Fisk's Flat." A swamp lies between Para street and the place where the Ashtabula, Youngstown and Pittsburgh depot is now situated. The old village of 1812 has now extended up the street two or three blocks. The dwellings are all small, most of them are one story, and are mainly scattered along one street. There is at this time a church building situated on the corner of the North square, about opposite the present site of the Baptist church. This is the first house of worship erected in the village. It was a Baptist church, built entirely through the benevolence of Amos Fisk. There was also a chapel belonging to the Methodist society standing on the bank of the river opposite the South park, This building is now standing on Main street, though unoccupied. The former building was moved across the street, and is now used as one of the school-houses.
The Ashtabula academy is also standing; is on Main street at the corner of North park, and a school is taught in it by Mr. William F. Hubbard. This building was erected through the benevolence of a few individuals. It is the same building which is now used as the Firemen's hall and town-house, lately moved from the corner of Main street to a position in the rear. It was a long time used for schools, township meetings, religious assemblies, and Masonic meetings. Messrs. Hubbard, Booth, and Smith were the gentlemen who built
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CONNEAUT TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGHAshtabula County is the northeast corner county of the State of Ohio, and Conneaut is the northeast corner township of Ashtabula County. It is bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the south by the township of Monroe, on the east by a portion of the State of Pennsylvania, and on the west by the township of Kingsville and the lake. It is composed of township No. 13 of the first range (except an area of two miles in width from the southern portion thereof, which strip was cut off and annexed to the township of Monroe), and of No. 14 of the first range, being Conneaut gore. The township contains a surface of about twenty-five square miles. Its extreme northernmost point lies about sixty-eight statute miles from the base line of the Reserve on the south, and about two miles from the parallel of latitude 42 degrees 2 minutes, the Reserve's northern boundary line, the width of New Connecticut being sixty-two geographical miles, or a trifle more than seventy-one statute miles.
The face of the land in this township is somewhat diversified, and the soil is well adapted to the growing of cereals, although a portion of it produces excellent grass. Conneaut creek and its tributaries, with numerous springs, furnish an excellent system of drainage.
The Connecticut land company set aside Conneaut gore, designated by tracts one, two, and three, in township 14 of range 1, and containing five thousand seven hundred and ninety-two acres, as one of the equalizing tracts, and cut up into parcels and attached to inferior townships of land other gores for the purpose of making each of these latter equal to an average township. No. 13 of the first range was itself selected as one of these average townships, the whole number thus selected being eight. Uriel Holmes, Jr., Benjamin Talmage, Frederick Walcott, and Roger Skinner, became the proprietors of 13 -- 1, when the land company made partition in 1798, and Ezra Wadsworth and Lemuel Storrs of the greater portion of the gore.
The name Conneaut, it is said, was given to the beautiful stream that bears its name by a tribe of Seneca Indians, and signifies "river of many fish." The banks of this river had long been the favorite resort of not only the red man of the forest but of a prehistoric people, who, without doubt, dwelt here in the remote past. The number and character of the mounds and burying-places, the exhumation of bodies from their ancient cemeteries, disclosing the fact that their bones belonged to a race of larger size than any known Indian tribe, are proofs of the fact that here in this delightful locality there lived, in the unknown past, a numerous people, and different from any Indian tribes of which the white man possesses any knowledge. There is no other spot in the county, and probably but few others anywhere, that abounds in such striking proofs of the existence of a powerful and populous people. Its inviting character, the advantages which it possesses in many ways, were known to those rude children of the forest; and here along the banks of the "river of many fish" did they delight to live, and who can tell what happiness was theirs? In the woodlands was plenty of game; in the stream an abundance of fish; the rich alluvium of the lands in the valley yielded generously to their efforts of cultivation; the birds in the forests sang for them as sweetly as birds can sing to-day; the sun shone down upon them as warmly then as now; the clouds opened with as delightful showers; and the bosom of the peaceful lake was as gentle in the summer of those remote years as it is in these warm, quiet summer days of 1878.
The ancient people disappeared, leaving no written record which might serve to enlighten us as to who they were, whence they came, and whither they have gone. Nevertheless they have left abundant proof in their burial-place, situated a little west of the site of the old brick church, and in the character of "Fort Hill" as it is called, located on the southeastern bank of the creek and opposite to the present village cemetery, that they did once exist, and that they were a numerous and powerful people. The ancient burying-grounds occupy an area of about four acres, and appeared to have been accurately surveyed into lots running from north to south, and when first seen presented the appearance of neat and orderly arrangement. When first discovered the spot "was covered with trees not distinguishable from the surrounding forest, except an opening near the centre, containing a single butternut. The graves were distinguished by slight depressions in the surface of the earth, disposed in straight rows, which, with intervening spaces or valleys, covered the entire area. The number of these graves has been estimated to be between two and three thousand. Aaron Wright, Esq., in 1800, made a careful examination of these depressions, and found them invariably to contain human bones blackened with time, which upon exposure to the air soon crumbled to dust. Some of these bones were of unusual
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 155
size, and evidently belonged to a race allied to giants. Skulls were taken from these mounds, the cavities of which were of sufficient capacity to admit the head of an ordinary man, and jaw-bones that might be fitted over the face with equal facility. The bones of the upper and lower extremities were of corresponding size."
The imagination is pained in endeavoring to penetrate the mystery in which the history of this people is shrouded. That the multitude whose mortal remains people these receptacles of the dead once existed, that they were members of the human family, that they died and were buried, is incontrovertible; but what was their origin, what their language, what their habits, their religion, and their moral, political, and social condition, -- all this remains an insoluble mystery.
INDIANS OF CONNEAUT.These ancient people were succeeded by various tribes of Indians. The first of these known to the white settlers were those inhabiting this region at the time of the arrival of white immigration in 1796-97, said to be a remnant of the Massasaugua tribe, dwelling on the present town site of the village of Conneaut, under a chief by the name of Macqua Medah, or "Bear's Oil." This warrior's village consisted, at that time, of some thirty or forty cabins, inhabited by as many separate families. They were a feeble people, unable to offer successful resistance to the encroachments of the whites, and very soon retired from their pleasant hunting grounds on the banks of the Conneaut. Their cabins were rude structures, about twelve or fifteen feet in height, formed of logs, with bark for roofs, but presented an appearance of neatness and comfort seldom observed among the Indians. Here was their council-house, and here their king's palace, which the settlers, with little respect for the dignity and sanctity with which they were undoubtedly associated in the minds of these red children of the woods, converted the one into a barn and the other into a poultry-house. When the Indians were about to abandon the country, their chieftain, in a very threatening manner, warned the whites against ever trespassing upon a certain spot of ground, declaring that if they did not respect his wishes he would return and scalp the inhabitants "as far as he could pole a canoe up the creek." This spot, so sacred to the Indian king and his people, contained the grave of his mother, and was designated by a square post some eight or ten feet high, painted red, and sunk into the ground, and stood on the margin of the creek, near where the present iron bridge now crosses the stream, east of the village. The lands between the post and the mouth of the creek were the "consecrated spot." The settlers paid little or no attention to this demand.
The immediate cause of the expulsion of "Bear's Oil" and his tribe from Conneaut was a murder committed by one of his party of a white man whose name was Williams. This individual, about the year 1797-98, in traveling from Detroit to Presque Isle, or Erie, had sold an Indian a rifle, for which he agreed to trust him for a specified time, and receive his pay in peltries. After the delivery of the rifle, Bear's Oil, either from motives of friendship or from a desire to involve Williams in difficulty, told him that the Indian was bad, and that he would not get his pay. Thereupon Williams went to the Indian, demanded the return of his rifle, and compelled him to give it up. Incensed at this procedure; on Williams leaving the village, the Indian waylaid his path as he was passing down the beach and shot him, a few miles below the mouth of the Conneaut, and again possessed himself of the rifle. As soon as the circumstance was known to the commanding officer of the military post at Presque Isle, he sent to Bear's Oil, demanding the murderer. Bear's Oil, after some hesitation, agreed that if an officer and a suitable number as guard were sent forward to take charge of the prisoner, he would give him up. On the arrival of the guard, they were invited by Bear's Oil to remain until morning. The invitation was accepted, and when morning came they were gravely informed by the chief that they had deliberated upon the matter, and had decided not to yield up the murderer; at the same time making a show of his force, which consisted of thirty or forty braves, armed and painted in a warlike manner. The guard, unable to contend with so large a force, retired to their bateau, which had been left at the head of the deadwater, and descended the creek, not, however, without apprehension of a salute from the Indians' rifles as they passed some of the close thickets which covered the shore. No interruption of the kind, however, occurred, and they returned with all possible expedition to Presque Isle.
Upon the receipt of the intelligence the troops at the garrison, with as many volunteers as could be suddenly collected, were embarked in boats, with orders to proceed to Conneaut, secure the murderer, and to inflict such chastisement upon the whole party as the nature of the case demanded. But arrived at the anticipated scene of action they found the village deserted. The enemy had fled and left them nothing upon which to expend their valor. No war-cry greeted their ears. Old Macqua Medah understood the nature of the call that was likely to be made upon him, and had launched his canoes and paddled them up the lake as far as Sandusky.
Thus disappeared, never again to return, Bear's Oil and his people. It is said that he located on the Wabash.
The ruins of a more ancient village, said to have belonged to a remnant of a tribe of Seneca Indians, were yet remaining at the time the first settlers arrived. This village was located on the east bank of the creek, near the Harmon farm. There were evidences of the ground having been cultivated, and an apple-tree was found here in a thrifty condition. They probably lived here as late as the time of the treaty of Greenville, in 1794. They had been engaged in the Indian war so disastrous to the white settlers, when General Harmon, in 1790, and Governor St. Clair, in 1791, led the armies of the Ohio settlers against the red men and were sorely defeated. At St. Clair's defeat on the Miami, November 4, 1791, two young men were taken prisoners by this band of Indians and were brought to this locality. They were without doubt the first white men that looked upon this region, and were captives for a number of years. The name of one of these individuals was Edmund Fitz Jeralds, but that of the other cannot be ascertained. They were among the number that survived the slaughter on the Miami, when the Americans were defeated by the savages with the loss of more than six hundred of the militia. They were at first a part of a large company of prisoners, but as the different tribes marched homeward and began to separate, each clan, as its share of booty, took a number of the prisoners, and Fitz Jeralds and his companion became the spoil of this Seneca tribe, and thus were brought to the banks of the Conneaut. Their arrival was celebrated by the customary practices adopted by the Indians upon like occasions. The prisoners were made to run the gauntlet, to receive the requisite number of kicks and blows, and to listen to the taunts and jeers of their captors. The moment of supreme solicitude, however, arrived when the braves assembled in solemn council to decide what should be done with the prisoners. Would the sentence be death? and if so, would it be death from the tomahawk, or death from the rifle, or death at the stake? It was a moment of fearful suspense. Soon the decision was announced. One was to die, the other to be spared. Fitz Jeralds was the fortunate one. His companion was doomed to die. The youthful Indian warriors must needs be taught the art of torturing an enemy. They must be instructed in the character of that fierce cruelty necessary to be employed in dealing with a foe whom they hated. Fitz Jerald's companion was sentenced to be burned. A red-oak tree was selected, and certain significant signs rudely carved upon it, so that ever afterwards it should be a living witness to the young warriors of the scene of cruelty about to be enacted. There appeared upon the bark of the tree the figure of a tomahawk, and that of a scalp. To this tree the young man was firmly bound. A large quantity of hickory bark was collected, tied up in fagots, and placed around him. The young man's distress was beyond all expression; that of Fitz Jeralds was from sympathy nearly as great, and yet he dared not speak or he too might become a victim to their cruelty. Would nothing happen to release the young man from the fate awaiting him? Would no one plead for him, or even beseech them to shoot him instead of burning him to death? Yes. There appears upon the scene a young maiden squaw whose heart was stricken with sympathy and grief, and, like Pocahontas, she earnestly plead for the life of the young victim. Her entreaties were heeded, and Fitz Jeralds' companion was rescued from a frightful death.
The young man became a favorite with the Indians, and soon was intrusted with important matters of business, and was employed as their agent in trafficking with the whites. In the course of a few years he was sent to Detroit with a quantity of furs to be exchanged for needed supplies, and improved the opportunity to make good his escape. He returned to Conneaut in the year 1800, and himself related the circumstances herein given, and pointed out the very tree to which he had been bound, whereon were plainly to be seen the significant signs the Indians had cut upon it.
Fitz Jeralds remained in captivity. He assisted in cultivating the soil with a wooden hoe, and in guarding the fields of maize from destruction by animals. How long he remained with the Indians is not known; but after the whites arrived he became a citizen of this county and resided here many years.
THE FIRST RESIDENT A HERMIT.An individual by the name of Halsted was found residing here at the time the surveyors arrived in 1796, and from his own statement had then lived here upwards of three or four years. He therefore came here shortly after the arrival of the two Indian captives, Fitz Jeralds and his companion. He was discovered by the surveying party who, in running the meridian lines from the base of the Western Reserve to the lake-shore, were guided to his retreat by the sound of his axe. His cabin was situated in East Conneaut, on the farm known as the Baldwin farm, about one-fourth mile from the State line, and one mile to the south of the Ridge road. A strange life did this man lead, and some strange influence had brought him hither. He showed little inclination to be interrogated,
156 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
and but little information could be obtained from him. He stated that he was a native of the Old Bay State, and had lived here a number of years, subsisting by hunting and fishing, and by cultivating a few vegetables on a patch he had cleared around his hut. But of the particulars of his own history, and of the motives that had induced him to undergo this voluntary banishment from home, kindred, and friends, and to make the deep forest, infested with wild animals and wandering bands of Indians, his chosen abode, he refused to furnish any account. Perhaps he had become disgusted with the inconstancy of human friendship; perhaps he was a criminal who had escaped from the legal consequences of his guilt; perhaps it was "unrequited love" such were the explanations which conjecture could furnish, but the lips of the man himself refused to open. He manifested evident displeasure at the presence of the surveyors, whom he recognized as the advance-guard of a multitude of followers who were destined to people the land. He had supposed he had found a retreat secure from the approach of the white man, and fully intended, without doubt, to spend here the remainder of his days solitary and alone. He had girdled or deadened the timber on a few acres adjoining his cabin with the evident design of making a permanent improvement; but now he abandoned the undertaking, and quitting his cabin he disappeared from the country to seek for some more congenial locality.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE SURVEYORS.The next event of importance in the history of the township is the arrival of the party of surveyors on the banks of the Conneaut, July 4, 1796. An account of this occurrence will be found in another department of this work, and hence we make but a casual allusion to it here.
At Buffalo the party halted for the purpose of holding a conference with the Indians, remnants of tribes belonging to the once great and powerful Iroquois nation, who, notwithstanding the treaty of Greenville, by which the western band had surrendered all claim to the territory, still maintained that this tract of right belonged to them. An interview for the purpose, if possible, of conciliating them was therefore held, the leader of the expedition, who acted as agent for the party, being dressed in scarlet broadcloth, for the purpose of enhancing his consequence and producing on the minds of the Indians an imposing effect. Brant, an Indian warrior and chief of one of the tribes, insisted that he and his people had claims upon the land in question, and that it would be unsafe to enter upon them until those claims had been satisfied, insisting that the western tribes had no right to sign away the inheritance of his people. Fearing to dispute the point, the agent assured him that his claims should have the recognition, they deserved, and thus, with the distribution of a few presents, were the Indians conciliated.
When the party arrived at Conneaut they pitched their tents on the east side of the creek in a beautiful grove of young maples and other forest-trees which occupied the space between the high bank and the water's edge, a spot well remembered by the early settlers, but which has long since disappeared by reason of the encroachments of the lake. Upon this same spot, and on ground since covered by the waters of Lake Erie, they afterwards erected a substantial log building, about thirty-five feet in length by twenty in width, designed as a residence, and as a depository for their stores. It is said to have been fitted up with a reasonable attention to convenience, having a well-shingled roof, and the floors, partitions, doors, etc., made from boards sawed out by a whip-saw. This was the first building, with the exception of the hermit's little cabin, a rude structure, erected by the white man upon the soil of the Western Reserve. The surveyors, after thus arranging for their comfort during their stay in this locality, proceeded to the southern boundary of the Reserve and began their labors.
THE FIRST FAMILY THAT PASSED THE WINTER ON THE RESERVE.James Kingsbury, afterwards known as Judge Kingsbury, arrived at the mouth of Conneaut creek shortly after the surveyors had come; and as the surveyors, in the prosecution of their work, receded further and farther to the westward, they soon abandoned the building they had erected on Conneaut creek as a place of rendezvous, and removed their stores to the mouth of Cuyahoga river, where they thenceforward made their headquarters. The commodious building thus abandoned became the dwelling-place of Mr. Kingsbury and his family, who continued to occupy it through the severe winter months that followed. As this was in the year 1796-97, it is thought that Mr. Kingsbury's family was the first that passed this winter on the soil of New Connecticut. In relation to the sufferings of this family, we make the following quotation from the well-written narrative of Harvey Nettleton, Esq., to whom we are indebted for many of the facts given in this history:
"The story of the sufferings of this family during that severe winter has often been told; but by those who are in the midst of plenty, and to whom want has never been known, it is with difficulty appreciated.
"Circumstances rendering it necessary during the fall for Mr.-Kingsbury to make a journey to the State of New York, he left his family in expectation of a speedy return, but in his absence was prostrated with a severe attack of sickness that confined him to his bed until the setting in of winter. As soon as he was able he began to return, and proceeded as far as to Buffalo, where he obtained an Indian guide to conduct him through the wilderness. At Presque Isle, anticipating the wants of his family, he purchased twenty pounds of flour, and continued his journey. In crossing Elk creek on the ice he disabled his horse, left him in the snow, and placing the flour upon his own back, pursued his way, filled with gloomy forebodings as to the condition of his little family. On his arrival, late in the evening, his worst apprehensions were more than realized in the agonizing scene that met his eyes. Stretched upon the cot lay the partner of his cares, who had followed him through all the dangers and hardships of the wilderness without repining, pale and emaciated, reduced by fierce famine to the last stages in which life can be sustained, and near the mother, on a little pallet, were the remains of his youngest child, born in his absence, and who had just expired from the want of that nourishment which the mother, herself deprived of sustenance, could not supply. Shut up by a gloomy wilderness, far distant from the aid and sympathy of friends, filled with anxiety for an absent husband, suffering with want, destitute of necessary assistance, she was compelled to behold two children expire around her, powerless to help them. Such is the picture presented, truthful in every respect, for the contemplation of the wives and daughters of to-day, who have no adequate conception of the hardships endured by the pioneers of this beautiful country of ours.
"It appears that Judge Kingsbury, in order to supply the wants of his family, was under the necessity of transporting his provisions from the mouth of the Cuyahoga on a hand-sled, and that he and his hired man drew a barrel of beef the whole distance at a single load."
Mr. Kingsbury became prominently connected with the history of the Reserve, and was honored with several important judicial and legislative trusts. He soon removed from Conneaut, and finally settled in Newburg.
THE FIRST PERMANENT SETTLERS.The year 1798 marks the date of the first permanent settlement in the township. The names of these pioneers were Thomas Montgomery, with his family, and Aaron Wright. They removed in this year from Harpersfield, in the State of New York, intending to settle in Harpersfield township, where some of their friends had taken up their abode the previous year; but arriving at Conneaut, they were so delighted with the country, and the facilities it afforded for getting in crops, that they decided to make this township their home. They found the house in which the surveying party and Judge Kingsbury had lived, and another which the latter erected before he left this locality, unoccupied, and immediately took up their residence in them. These buildings were a blessing to them, saving them the necessity and expense of erecting new ones. But these were not the only source of joy to the newcomers. The Indians had cultivated fields of corn, and these were easily put into condition to yield them a plentiful supply for their wants the following winter.
Thus they fared much better than if they had gone to Harpersfield, where they would have been obliged to clear the forests before any planting could be done, and besides would have had to build for themselves cabins in which to dwell. The only other settlement within the limits of what is now Ashtabula County was at Harpersfield, where the Harpers had settled the previous year. The distance from one settlement to the other was about twenty-five miles, and consequently these pioneer fathers could not be very neighborly with each other. The hardships which they were compelled to undergo were, indeed, many; while the advantages, if so they can be considered, were those which arise from the absence of all social and legal restraint, they being a law unto themselves. The next year (1799) Robert, Levi, and John Montgomery, Samuel Bemus, and Nathan and John King arrived from the State of New York, and began settlements along the creek. The first house built by these first settlers was the one erected by Nathan King, on the north bank of Conneaut creek, a short distance south of John Brown's residence, in 1799. The next was built by Aaron Wright, on the then Ridge road, what is now Liberty street, in the village, on the present site of Geo. W. Cummings' residence. Mr. Wright says, "I once lived sixteen days without seeing a human face, except my own in a pail of water, which I used for a looking-glass when compelled to shave, and this was the only facility I had for making my toilet for a long time. After my sixteen days' seclusion, a friend called upon me, and of course I was anxious to receive him hospitably and entertain him in good style. My larder was wanting in one very important article, viz., meat, the bones of my last porcupine having already been picked. While in this dilemma two other friends called, one of them fortunately having killed a fine turkey. I set him to stripping the feathers, while I prepared my kettle and some dough wherewith to make a pot-pie, by simply putting flour and water together.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 157
I soon had supper in readiness; and my friend has often informed me that it was the best meal of victuals to which he ever sat down, made up of my pot-pie, bread, pepper, and salt. When it was time to retire I spread my straw bed upon the floor as usual, and by lying crosswise four of us enjoyed a comfortable night's rest."
The year 1800 notes the arrival of Seth Harrington, Jas. Harper, and Jas. Montgomery, with their families, and Daniel Baldwin and James and Nathaniel Laughlin. The Montgomery families and Mr. Harper settled at first on the east side of the creek, near the lake. Mr. Baldwin and the Laughlins first settled on the west side of the creek, near the Harbor, but soon removed to the east part of the township, on lands now owned and occupied by Hugh and Wm. Laughlin. It has been impossible to obtain the exact dates of the arrival of some of the early settlers of this township. Dr. Nehemiah King, the first physician who settled in Conneaut, is among this class; also, Peter King, Jr., Elisha and Amos King, Peter King, Sr., Hananiah Brooks, Caleb Thompson, William Perrin, David Gould, Zebadiah Thompson, Seth Thompson, Sr., Joseph Tubbs, -- Pitney, -- Harvey, Daniel Sawtelle, ---- Robinson, and James Dunn. The Kings mere quite a numerous family among the early settlers. They were from New Hampshire. Peter King, Jr., settled on the present William Storey farm, at the junction of the Gore and Ridge roads. Elisha King settled on the south side of Conneaut creek, near the centre of the township, on the farm now owned and occupied by O. L. Houston, and Peter King, Sr., settled on the north side of the creek, near the present residence of C. R. Goddard, Esq. Hananiah Brooks first settled on the present Gilbert farm, on the east side of the creek, opposite the Harbor. Caleb Thompson's residence was on the site of the old fair grounds at Conneaut Centre, and that of Seth and Zebadiah Thompson was in the south portion of the township, on the present L. L. Skinner farm. Joseph Tubbs settled on the present Wilder farm, near Amboy, Daniel Sawtelle near the present residence of D. Cummings, at Conneaut Centre, and the Pitney family near the Harbor.
In 1807, Ezekiel and Thomas Olds settled in the township. Ezekiel Olds settled on what is known as the Ralph Wright farm, on south ridge, but afterwards, in 1811, removed to the eastern portion of the township, settling on the farm now owned by John Dean. Josiah Brown, Sr., from Stanstead, Lower Canada, settled in the township near the present site of the residences of Joseph and Josiah Brown, in the year 1807.
In 1809, David, Joseph, James, and Stephen Hicks, brothers, arrived in Conneaut, and settled in the western portion of the township, near the present site of the Amboy cheese-factory. They also came from Canada, though natives of Vermont. In 1810, Henry Lake and Dr. Nahum Howard and family settled in Conneaut. Dr. Howard was from Kennebec county, Maine. He settled near the site of the present residence of P. M. Darling, on Harbor street. Mr. Lake was a native of Vermont. He started the first furnace in Conneaut, on the flats of the creek, a short distance above the paper-mills. He was afterwards landlord of the old Mansion House. Charles De Marranville and sons Lewis and Jabe settled in the south part of the township, on the south ridge, in 1811, on the farm now occupied by descendants of the family. This same year, Earl Pierce, from New Hampshire, settled on the lake-shore, near the present Kelsey farm.
Accessions to the settlement were now becoming quite frequent, and in various parts of the township began to appear the pioneer's cabin; the dense forests began to disappear in many localities, and in their stead could be seen fields of wheat, corn, and other grain.
EARLY EVENTS.Aaron Wright erected the first grist-mill in the township in 1806-8, on the present site of Mr. Rathbone's mill. Prior to this time the settlers were compelled to carry their grain sixteen miles in order to get it ground, the nearest mill being this distance from Conneaut, at Elk Creek, Pennsylvania. Mr. Wright says, "I have often carried a bushel and a half of wheat on my back to this mill, and if on my return my provisions failed, I struck a fire, dropped some water in the mouth of my bag with my hands, and mixed my bread, and then spread it on a basswood bark, brought for the purpose, and baked it before the fire."
The first roads were Indian trails. The main line of travel was at first along the beach, the fording of the streams being accomplished with difficulty. In 1800 the first road was marked out by Seth Harrington, Aaron Wright, and Nathan King, being the present middle road, leading to Ashtabula. Nathan King was the first supervisor, and his district extended from the State line to the ten-mile stone in Kingsville.
The first school was taught in 1802-3 by a Mr. Loomis in one of the building then standing at the mouth of the creek.
The first religious meetings were held at the cabin of Aaron Wright about the same time, Rev. Joseph Badger being the first minister.
The first marriage among the settlers occurred in 1800, Aaron Wright and Anna Montgomery being the contracting parties. They were married in Harpersfield, Justice Wheeler performing the ceremony.
The first death, with the exception of the little child of Mr. Kingsbury, was the daughter of Samuel Bemus, in 1799. The coffin was made by Aaron Wright, who says he made it from a white-oak tree, from which he cut and split the boards, obtaining the nails in making the coffin from a boat that had been wrecked and drifted near the mouth of the creek, and was painted by using the ashes from burnt straw.
The first birth was a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Bemus, born in 1801, and named Amelia. She became the wife of Daniel Hewett.
INCIDENTS.The Indians, for a number of years following the first settlement in the county, frequented this locality during the hunting season for the purpose of killing game, and seemed to take great pleasure in revisiting their old hunting-grounds, where lay buried the dust of their ancestors, and where from time immemorial roamed their fathers in chase of the bear and elk. They realized a considerable profit from the sale of the furs of wild animals, and their canoes annually descended the Conneaut richly laden with the product of the winter's hunt. Oftentimes traders would visit them on their grounds, and give them, in exchange for their furs, goods and money.
Rufus S. Reed, merchant, at Presque Isle, or Erie, was accustomed to traffic with the Indians, and for a number of years in the early settlement of this township visited frequently this locality for the purpose of trading with those red hunters. He was in the habit of traversing the woods through snows with pack of goods on his back, or on the back of a French pony that sometimes accompanied him. Engaged in one of these expeditions, he left Conneaut on a severe wintry day with his pony, intending to reach the station of old Philip, a Seneca Indian, well known to the early settlers, encamped at the time referred to somewhere within the limits of the present township of Denmark.
As the pony on this occasion had no other encumbrance than a sack of dollars, which was firmly attached to his saddle, it was supposed that he could occasionally well afford to endure the weight of his master. Mr. Reed accordingly mounted on his back, and pursued his way very industriously, following a trail which the Indians had made through the snow, until, becoming chilled, he alighted and continued on foot his journey, driving his pony before him. Whether or not there was in the mind of the intelligent animal some consciousness as to the value of the sack of money fastened to the saddle we cannot tell, but it is certain that when Mr. Reed desired to remount, the pony peremptorily refused to let him approach near enough to consummate this purpose. The hitherto docile animal rejected all terms of conciliation, and with provoking cunning perseveringly eluded every attempt to entrap him into submission, In the pursuit the trail was soon lost, and Mr. Reed, after wandering many hours, found his strength nearly exhausted. At this juncture he was so fortunate as to fall in with Seth Harrington, Esq., a resident of Conneaut, and a hunter rarely excelled, who was just returning from a hunting expedition, having just been at Phillip's camp. He besought Harrington to catch his pony for him, and if he could not secure him in any other way to shoot him and obtain the money, as he cared more for this than for the pony, Himself tired and cold, took Harrington's track and followed it to the encampment. Harrington soon overtook the pony, and by driving him into a narrow point of land in a bend of Ashtabula creek, succeeded in capturing the animal, and brought him and the money in triumph to the owner.
A FALSE ALARM.General Hull's surrender in 1812 at Detroit, whereby the British obtained possession of that commander's army and of the Territory of Michigan, left the whole northern frontier exposed to the incursions of the English, who also had undisputed control of Lake Erie. The settlements along its shore were, therefore, kept in a continued state of agitation and alarm.
The country had been actually devastated as far east as the Huron river, and the inhabitants either murdered or driven from their homes before a sufficient force could be collected to arrest their progress. To repel this invasion the whole effective force of the country had been called into the field, leaving the new settlements in an exposed and defenseless condition. Knowing the wide-spread consternation among the settlers, the British vessels took delight in sailing along the coast, firing cannon, and making other sundry demonstrations of hostility in order to increase the alarm of the inhabitants.
They had in two or three instances effected a landing from their vessels in small parties, killed some cattle, and possessed themselves of some other articles of plunder of more or less value.
Tidings were frequently arriving from the seat of war, and it was not uncommon for the people to be called out of their beds at the dead of night to hear exaggerated
158 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
accounts of the murders and cruelties of the Indians engaged in assisting the enemy.
It was during this period of feverish excitement that the following occurrence took place, the particular time being the night of August 11, 1812:
Two British vessels of rather suspicious appearance had been observed off shore during the previous day. A guard had been stationed at the mouth of the creek who watched the movements of the vessels with close attention. A larger number of persons was descried upon board, it was thought, than was consistent with peaceable intentions, and grave suspicions as to the hostile purposes of the vessels were entertained, and it was believed that they were only awaiting the approach of night, when they would land and execute their warlike designs. About dusk some boats were discovered by the sentinels at a short distance from the shore, steering directly towards the mouth of the creek. One of the guard hailed lustily, fired his musket, threw it upon the beach, mounted his horse, and fled precipitately. As he dashed through the settlements, he cried, in stentorian tones, "Turn out! Save your lives! The British and Indians are landing, and will be upon you in fifteen minutes!"
The wildest :consternation and direst confusion ensued. Before the fifteen minutes had expired, almost every home in the settlement was deserted, and a large portion of the population had taken refuge in the woods. Such was their haste that in many instances the doors were left standing open, and their lights, unextinguished. In one instance a family commenced their flight in so much trepidation that they left one of their children, a little girl of two or three years of age asleep in the house, and the mistake was not noticed until they had gone some rods from the dwelling.
The inhabitants of the upper settlement fled across the creek, and sought refuge on Fort Hill, where amidst its ancient ruins, then covered with a dense forest, they hoped to find a place of temporary security. Before reaching the :spot, however, a variety of disasters, more or less serious, had occurred, principally occasioned by the necessity of fording the Conneaut.
The younger children, and some of the women, were carried over on the shoulders of men. One rather portly lady was being thus transported on the back of her husband, who was a small man, and lost his footing on a slippery rock in the centre of the stream, and he and his precious cargo were submerged in the current; and as the little man occupied the nether position he was nearly drowned before he could shift his ballast, and get his head above it and the water.
Within the dilapidated walls of the old fort, hid among the bushes, they passed a most uncomfortable and tedious night, momentarily expecting to hear, the yells of the savages, or to witness from the hill the conflagration of their dwellings.
The people of East Conneaut had found shelter from danger of discovery, as they hoped, in a thick hemlock grove on the banks of Smoke Run, a small tributary of the Conneaut, about one-fourth of a mile south from the Ridge road. In the recesses of this grove were collected quite a numerous company, consisting principally of women and children. The locality seemed to promise security, except that its proximity to the main road made it necessary to maintain perfect silence. By the soothing attention which the mother knows so well how to bestow the children were kept reasonably quiet, but the noisy and pugnacious qualities of the canine species caused infinite annoyance and vexation. One little dog, in particular, would not keep quiet. In spite of all they could do to keep him silent, he would yelp, yelp, yelp, "without any mitigation or remorse of voice." Finding that they could not quiet him, they unanimously passed upon him the sentence of death, and resolved to hang him without benefit of clergy. The elastics of the ladies served as a cord, and soon the little culprit was dangling in the air, suspended from a sapling that was bent down for that purpose.
Thus did the villagers pass the never-to-he-forgotten night. Soon the cheerful morning light began to appear, and scouts were sent out to reconnoiter. There stood their cottages; no hand had touched them. No enemy could be found. The alarm was a false one, and all eagerly and joyfully returned to their dwellings.
The boats which the heated imagination of the sentry had filled with British and Indians, belonged to a Captain Dobbins, of Erie, who was on his way down the lake, having on board some families bound for Conneaut, whom he was endeavoring to land; but upon discovering that his vessel was creating alarm, he turned from the shore and continued his voyage.
THE ADVENTURE OF SOLOMON SWEATLAND.The incident that follows took place in the month of September, 1817, and created no little sensation at the time. As it is prominently connected with the early history of this township, we give a full account of it, substantially as given by Mr. Nettleton:
Sweatland was an active young man, residing with his family on the lake- shore, a short distance below the mouth of Conneaut creek. He was fondly attached to the sports of the woods, and made the chase a source both of profit and amusement.
A favorite method of capturing deer at this time was to chase up a herd of them with hounds, and drive them into the lake, as these animals readily take to the water when hotly pursued. Sweatland kept a canoe for the purpose of going upon the lake in pursuit of the deer, and one of his neighbors, who acted in concert with him, kept a number of hounds. The arrangement between the two men was that while Mr. Cozens, the neighbor, should go into the woods, and with the dogs start the deer towards the lake, Sweatland should be prepared to take his canoe, and pursue and capture the deer as soon as it should take to the water.
His canoe was nothing more than a large whitewood log hollowed out, and formed into the shape of a canoe, about fourteen feet in length, and rather wide for its length.
It was a lovely morning in early autumn. Sweatland had risen early, in anticipation of enjoying a chase upon the blue waters of the lake, and without putting on his coat or waistcoat, listening, as he went toward his canoe, for the approach of the hounds. He soon heard their deep baying, and by the time he reached the boat he found that a large deer had already taken to the water, and was rapidly moving away from the shore. Throwing his hat upon the beach and boarding his canoe, he was soon engaged in an animated chase. The wind, which had been fresh from the south during the night, began now to gradually increase until it became nearly a gale; but Sweatland, intent upon capturing his prize, paid little or no heed to this. The deer was a vigorous animal, and stoutly breasting the waves, gave proof that in a race with a log canoe, managed with a single paddle, he was not to be easily vanquished. Our hero had attained a considerable distance from the shore before overtaking the animal. The latter, turning and shooting past the canoe, struck out towards the shore. Sweatland, with alarm, now discovered his danger. Heading his frail bark toward the land, he discovered that with the utmost exertion he could make no headway whatever against the terrible gale that was now blowing against him, but, in fact, was every moment being carried farther and farther from the shore.
His outward progress had been observed by Mr. Cozens and others on shore, who now became alarmed for his safety. They saw at once the impossibility of his returning in the face of such a gale, and unless help could be got to him he was doomed to perish at sea. Soon a boat containing Messrs. Gilbert, Cozens, and Belden was launched, with the full determination of making every possible effort for his relief. They soon met the deer returning toward the shore nearly exhausted, but the man himself was nowhere to be seen. They continued their search until they had gone many miles from the shore, when, meeting with a sea in which they judged it: impossible for a canoe to live, they returned, giving Sweatland up for lost.
Our hero meanwhile was manfully battling with the waves of an angry sea. He possessed a cool head and stout heart, which, with a tolerable degree of physical strength and remarkable powers of endurance, were of immense advantage to him in his emergency. He kept heading towards the shore, faintly hoping that by and by the wind would abate; but it did not. As the day wore away he receded farther and farther from the shore. As he followed with his eye the outline of the distant shore, he could distinguish the spot where his own dear little cabin stood, filled with hearts burning with anxiety and distress upon his behalf. During the day one or two schooners were seen, which he vainly tried to signal.
Seeing the utter hopelessness of getting back to the American shore, he made up his mind to sail with the wind and strike out for the Canada side. The gale had now arisen until it was indeed furious. He was borne on over the angry waters, utterly powerless to guide his bark. He was obliged to stand erect, moving cautiously from one extremity of his vessel to the other, so as to trim it to the waves, fearing that each succeeding plunge would be the last one. He was obliged, too, to bail his boat of water, using his shoes for this purpose.
Hitherto our hero had been blest with the cheerful light of day. Now darkness was rapidly approaching. The billows of the sea looked dark and frowning. Thinly clad and destitute of food, our hero passed a terrible night. When morning came he found he was in sight of land, and that he was nearing Long Point, on the Canada shore. After being buffeted by the winds and waves for nearly thirty hours be reached the land in safety, and no mortal was ever more thankful. Still, exhausted with fatigue and faint from hunger, he found himself forty miles from any settlement, while the country that intervened was a desert filled with marshes .and tangled thickets.
We will not undertake to describe his toilsome journey towards the Canadian settlements, Suffice it to say, he arrived in the course of twenty or more hours, and was kindly received by the people, who showed him every hospitality. On his way to the settlement he had the good fortune to find a quantity of goods, supposed to have been driven on shore from the wreck of some vessel. Accompanied by some of the inhabitants, be returned and took possession of the goods,
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 159
which he carried to Buffalo, and from the avails of which purchased for himself a new suit of clothes. He then took passage on the schooner "Fire Fly," bound for Ashtabula Harbor. Arrived at his dwelling, guns were fired from the deck of the schooner, and the crew gave three loud cheers. On landing he found his funeral sermon had been preached, and that his wife was clad in the habiliments of mourning.
SOLOMON SPAULDING, A RESIDENT OF CONNEAUT,
"Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761, and in early life contracted a taste for literary pursuits. After he had left school, he entered PIainfield academy, where he made great proficiency in study and excelled most of his classmates. He next commenced the study of law in Windham county, in which he made little progress, having in the mean time turned his attention to religious subjects. He soon after entered Dartmouth college, with the intention of qualifying himself for the ministry, where he obtained the degree of A.M., and was regularly ordained. After preaching three or four years he gave it up, removed to Cherry Valley, New York, and commenced the mercantile business in company with his brother Jonah. In a few years he failed in business, and in 1809 removed to Conneaut, Ohio. In the year following I removed to Ohio, and found him engaged in building a forge. I made him a visit about three years after, and found that he had failed, and was considerably in debt. He then told me he had been writing a book, which he intended to have published, the avails of which, he thought, would enable him to pay his debts.
"The book was entitled 'Manuscripts Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews or lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites, and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences, and civilization were brought into view in order to account for all the curious antiquities found in various parts of North America.
"I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprise find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as the Book of Mormon; and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it fell into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr., I am unable to determine.
Mr. Howe, the author of the work referred to, obtained and published the testimony of Aaron Wright, Henry Love [sic, Lake] and others, -- all gentlemen of probity, -- confirming the identity of Mr. Spaulding's production with portions of the Mormon Bible. Mr. Howe remarks,
"Our inquiries did not terminate here. Our next object was to ascertain, if possible, what disposition Spaulding made of his manuscripts. For this purpose a messenger was dispatched to look up the widow of Spaulding, who was found residing in Massachusetts. From her we learned that Spaulding resided in Pittsburgh about two years, when he removed to Amity, Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he lived about two years, and died in 1816. His wife then removed to Onondaga county, New York, married again, and lived in Otsego county, and subsequently removed to Massachusetts. She states that Spaulding had a great variety of manuscripts, and recollects that one was entitled 'Manuscripts Found,' but of its contents she has no distinct knowledge. While they lived in Pittsburgh she thinks it was once taken to the printing-office of Patterson & Lambdin, but whether it was ever brought back again to the house she is quite uncertain; if it were, however, it was there with his other writings, in a trunk which she had left in Otsego county, New York. This is all the information that could be obtained from her, except that Mr. Spaulding while living entertained a strong antipathy to the Masonic institution, which may account for its being so frequently mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The fact also that Spaulding, in the latter part of his life, inclined to infidelity, is established by a letter now in our possession in his handwriting.
"The trunk referred to by the widow was subsequently examined and found to contain only a single manuscript book in Spaulding's handwriting, containing about one quire of paper. This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found in twenty-four rolls of parchment in a case on the banks of Conneaut creek, but written in modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship being cast on the American coast while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era, this country being inhabited by the Indians.
"The old manuscript has been shown to several witnesses acquainted with Spaulding's writing, and they identify it as in his handwriting, but, as to the matter it contains, it bears no resemblance to the manuscripts [sic] found. Now, as Spaulding's book can nowhere be found, or anything heard of it after being carried to the establishment of Patterson & Lambdin, there is the strongest presumption that it remained there in seclusion till about the year 1823 or 1834, at which time Sidney Rigdon located himself in that city. We have been credibly informed that he was on terms of intimacy with Lambdin, being seen frequently at his office.
"Rigdon resided in Pittsburgh about three years, and during the whole of that time, as he has since asserted frequently, abandoned preaching and all other employments for the purpose of studying the Bible. He left there about the time Lambdin died, and commenced preaching some new points of doctrine which were found to be inculcated in the Mormon Bible.
"He resided in this vicinity about four years previous to the appearance of the book, during which time he made several long visits to Pittsburgh, and perhaps to Susquehanna, where Smith was then digging for money or pretending to be translating plates.
"It may be observed, also, that about the time Rigdon left Pittsburgh, the Smith family began to tell about finding a book that would contain a history of the first inhabitants of America, and that two years elapsed before they finally got possession of it."
The evidence here given which seeks to fasten upon Spaulding the authorship of the Mormon Bible, or at least a portion of it, although not entirely conclusive, is still of a very strong presumptive nature, and we have thought it best to insert a full account of Mr. Spaulding's supposed connection with the Mormon book.
In 1841, Mr. G. V. Eastman bought Mr. Ormsby's interest in the business. Mr. Dart died soon after, and business was suspended about the year 1845.
A forge and furnace had been in operation for a number of years, at an earlier date, on the flats of Conneaut creek, a short distance above the present site of the paper-mills. Wrought-iron was manufactured at this place. Henry Lake, Solomon Spaulding, and Elias Keyes were at different times either proprietors or in some way interested.
In 1840, Mr. J. A. Ellis started a machine-shop at Conneaut Centre, and about two years later added a foundry, where he has continued the business till the present time.
CHEESE-FACTORIES.The first cheese-factory built in the township was that at Amboy. This was built in 1869-70 by a stock company. The building is in size thirty-two by seventy feet, and three stories high, and cost, with the necessary equipments and utensils, four thousand dollars.
The first officers were J. D. Ransom, president; P. C. Ryan, secretary; Lyman Luce, S. Hazeltine, and J. D. Ransom, directors. The factory commenced operations in the spring of 1870. N. P. Tillotson was operator for three seasons, T. Buffington two, and L. Luce two. There has been an average annual manufacture of about one hundred thousand pounds of cheese until the past three seasons, when both butter and cheese have been made. Alonzo Green owns the controlling interest at present.
In the spring of 1870, at the same time the Amboy factory commenced operations, Weldon & Brown started a factory in the old tavern building at East Conneaut. A successful business was done at this place until the close of 1874, since which time there have been changes in proprietors and little business done.
In the spring of 1872, N. B. Payne & Son built and put into operation a cheese-factory on their dairy farm, two miles southeast of Conneaut village. In
160 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
the spring of 1874 they increased the capacity of the factory by erecting an additional building and putting in new utensils and machinery. The milk of from three to four hundred cows is received at this factory, affording an average annual manufacture of about one hundred thousand pounds of cheese. A factory was built at South Ridge, in the spring of 1875, by Hayward & Sanford, who have since continued the cheese manufacturing business at that place with fair results.
CONNEAUT AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.This society was organized in the winter of 1853-54. The first officers were elected at a meeting held at the town-house, January 6, 1854, and were as follows: President, P. W. Grant; Secretary, D. C. Allen; Treasurer, S. R. Bradley; Vice-Presidents (one for each school district in the township), Benjamin Harper, H. Kilburn, Isaac Skinner, J. G. Whitney, Henry Grant, Simon Brown, Benjamin Cushing, Horace Baldwin, Henry Putney, G. V. Eastman, Thomas Gibson, Lewis Thurbur, Edward Brooks, A. Bagley; Executive Committee, President, P. W. Grant; Secretary, D. C. Allen; A. Bagley, Isaac Skinner: and H. Kilburn.
The first annual fair was held September 21, 1854, on grounds leased of Amos Thompson, at Conneaut Centre. These grounds were a part of twenty-one acres subsequently purchased by the society, and improved and used as a fair-ground until the spring of 1875, when the society sold the same to D. Cummins for $2600, and disbanded.
Twenty-one annual fairs were held by this society, the last occurring in the fall of 1874, when the total receipts amounted to $847.89. Receipts from sale of tickets, $746. The receipts for 1873 were $756.21, and for 1812, $865.04. The presidents of the society have been as follows: P. W. Grant, 1854-55; John H. Kilburn, 1856; Isaac Skinner, 1858-59; Stephen Daniels, 1860-63-66 ; Barzilla Viets: 1864; Thomas Gibson, 1865; O. L. Huston, 1867-60; Henry Putney, 1870-72; E. Hewett, 1873-74. The officers in 1874 were E. Hewett, president; J. S. Brown, secretary; A. Scott, vice-president; S. Hayward, treasurer. Executive officers, J. Hicks, O. L. Huston, P. C. Ferguson, P. M. Darling, S. Hazeltine, B. G. Viets, D. C. Allen, H. Grant, S. Wilder, A. C. Dibble, E. A. Stone, and S. Green.
CONNEAUT HARBOR.The mouth of Conneat creek, where it discharges its waters into Lake Erie, forms the best natural harbor on this shore of the lake between Cleveland and Erie. From the date of the arrival of the surveying party this harbor has been made use of, much to the advantage of the settlers of this township, and has added much importance to its history. The surveyors erected their store-houses at this point, and the early settlers who arrived in Conneaut first took up their abode here. No railroads had been thought of at this time, and lake navigation was of much importance, to the early settlers especially, in many respects. Grain grown in this vicinity, and for many miles south into the country, was shipped from this point, as well as much whisky distilled from grain at the numerous distilleries then in operation all over this section of the county. The products of the forests also added much to the shipping interests, as lumber, staves, oars, and handles were manufactured and shipped from this harbor in very large quantities. The first brick residence erected in the township -- the Ford House, for many years used as a tavern, and still standing -- was at this place. For a number of years previous to the building of the Lake Shore railway, more shipping business was done at Conneaut Harbor than at any point between Cleveland and Erie. Six or seven large warehouses were in use. A large feet of vessels sailed between this point and Buffalo. Steamboats made regular stops. Supplies for points as far south as Youngstown were shipped to this place. At the time the railroad was built it had the effect of taking much of the business from the harbor and dividing it up at different points along the road. An effort was made once or twice by the citizens of Conneaut to secure a railroad from the harbor, leading south into the coal, iron, and oil regions of Pennsylvania; but, from want of sufficient energy and capital, the effort proved unsuccessful. Ashtabula has since secured what Conneaut failed to do in this respect, and now has a busy and important port on the lakes, while Conneaut Harbor, naturally a better point, at present presents a deserted and almost lifeless appearance.
VESSELS BUILT IN CONNEAUT.Quite a large number of vessels have been built in this township for lake navigation and some for the ocean trade. The first vessel built in Conneaut was the "Salem Packet." She was built by Elias Keyes and Captain Samuel Ward, about the year 1818, on the creek, just above the present iron bridge, and was floated down the creek in a time of high water. She carried two spars, and had a capacity of about 27 tons. Captain Samuel Ward was her first master. Following this were the "Farmer," built by Christopher Ford, at Conneaut Harbor, Charley Brown, captain; wrecked on Long Point, October 20, 1827, afterwards rebuilt in Cleveland, and sailed on the lakes until forty-three years old. The "Independence," a schooner of about 30 tons, built by James Tubbs, on the lake-shore, about a mile west of the harbor. The sloop "Humming-Bird," built in 1830 by John Brooks, who was subsequently drowned off Sandusky while sailing her. The "Conneaut Packet," built by Gilmon Appleby and A. B. Tubbs. The sIoop "Dart," built in Kingsville, and trucked to Conneaut to be launched and fitted out. The "Oregon," built at Harmon's Landing by James Brooks and John V. Singer. The "Commercial," built at Harmon's Landing by Reed & Lyon and others, about the year 1833-34. O. Salisbury, captain. The "Reindeer," built about the same time by John V. Singer and others. The "North America" was the first steamer built in Conneaut. She had a capacity of 300 tons, and was built about the year 1834 by a stock company, the shares being one hundred dollars each. Her first captain was Gilmon Appleby. The steamer "Wisconsin," capacity 400 tons, was built about the year 1836 at Harper's, now Wood's, Landing. She was built by a stock company, and was towed to Buffalo to be fitted out. The "Constitution," built by Captain Gilmon Appleby and others, was a still larger steamer, having a capacity of about 150 tons. Following these again were the schooner "Troy," 130 tons, built at the harbor by Captain Harrison Howard about the year 1840; The "J, B. Skinner," 100 tons, built at the harbor, in 1841-42, by Marshall Capron and H. C. Walker, and first commanded by Captain Marshall Capron. The "Henry M. Kinney," 110 tons, built at the same time by Robert Lyon and Henry M. Kinney, and first commanded by Captain Harrison Howard. The "J. W. Brown, 200 tons, built by Captain Harrison Howard and J. W. Brown, of Toledo. "The Belle," 200 tons, built by the same parties; the brig "Lucy Walbridge," 300 tons, built at the harbor, about the year 1844, by Charles Hall, George B. Walbridge, and O. Salisbury, and commanded by Captain O. Salisbury; the brig "Lucy A. Blossom," 330 tons, built at the harbor, in 1845 or 1846, by Chas. Hall and Geo. B. Walbridge; the "Banner," built at the harbor about the year 1847, by Zaphna Lake and Benjamin Carpenter, at this time the largest sail vessel on the lakes, having a capacity of 500 tons, commanded by Captain Marshall Capron; the schooner "Dan Marble," 150 tons, built by John Tyler and Zaphna Lake; the "Traveler" and the "Telegraph," 300 tons each, built at the harbor by Chas. Hall, G. W. Walbridge, and John H. Kilburn, and commanded by John Martin and P. Snow; the "Grayhound," 400 tons, built at the harbor by a Buffalo company; the "Stambaugh," 250 tons, built and commanded by Augustus Waird; the scow "Sea-Bird," 300 tons, built at Harmon's Landing by Hiram Judson and P. B. Doty; the scow "Fairy Queen," built by Isaac Van Gorder and Daniel Gilbert; the "Nightingale," built by Captain Howard. A vessel of 450 tons capacity, for the Ocean trade, was built at the harbor in 1862 to 1865 by Wesley Lent for Tupper & Streiver, of Buffalo. The bark "Ogarita," capacity about 800 tons, was built at the harbor by O. Bugby, of Buffalo, and commanded by Captain Andrew Lent; the "Indianola," 400 tons, built and commanded by Captain George De Wolf for E. A. Keyes; the scows "Thomas Swain" and "Loren Gould," built by James A. Childs & Brother; the "L. May Guthrie," built by Judd & Childs. Besides these are a number of vessels built by Captain Marshall Capron, who has been more prominently connected with this branch of industry than any other citizens of Conneaut. His vessels are as follows: the scow "Times," capacity 69 tons, built at Harmon's Landing in 1859 and 18g0; the bark "Monitor," 500 tons, built at the same place in 1861 to 1862; the schooner "Ann Maria," 450 tons, built at Demick's Landing in 1863 to 1864; the bark "Valentine," 300 tons; the bark "T. B. Rice," 300 tons, built at Demick's Landing in 1865; the scow "J. G. Palmer," 60 tons; the schooner "Conneaut," 260 tons; and the schooner "M. Capron," 260 tons.
AMBOY.Amboy is a small village in the west part of the township, where are located two stores, a hotel, two churches, school-house, post-office, cheese factory, flouring-mill, cabinet-shop, blacksmith-shop, shoe-shop, and numerous cigar manufactories. There is also a platform-station on the Lake Shore railroad, where stops are made by two passenger trains per day each way.
The Methodist Episcopal church at this place was organized in the year 1823, by Rev. Jesse Viets. The church building was commenced in the year 1839, but not furnished for a number of years afterwards. The land was donated by Barnes-Hubbard and Silas Wilder. The first trustees were William Perrin, Jesse Viets, Bliss Ransom, Samuel Blakeslee, Charles Brown, R. S. Viets, and Raswell Viets. The first pastor was Rev. Jesse Viets. The prevent pastor is Rev. W. J. Wilson, and the church membership numbers one hundred.
The school building erected in the summer of 1877 is probably the best common-school building in the county. It. is thirty-two by fifty feet, one story, and thirteen feet between joists, and cost twelve hundred dollars.
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 161
SOUTH RIDGE.South Ridge is another small village, situated in the south part of the township. There is at this place a store, post-office, hotel, church, school-house, cheese-factory, flouring-mill, and blacksmith-shop.
The Free-Will Baptist church located here was organized December 30, 1826, by Rev. Samuel Wise. The meeting for organization was held at the house of Appollus Thompson. Their meetings were held in union with other denominations until the year 1837, when the church edifice was erected, at a cost of two thousand dollars. The pastors have been as follows: Revs. Samuel Wire, Abram Shearer, D. M. L. Rollin, Stephen Bathrick, F. W. Straight, Rufus Clark, M. R. Kenney, William M. Yates, T. P. Moulton, R. E. Anderson, A. F. Bryant, F. B. Herrick, J. R. Spencer, and L. C. Chase. The longest pastorate was that of Rev. Rufus Clark, who served thirteen years. The church is at present without a regular pastor. At one time the membership reached one hundred and fifty, but at present it numbers but fifty-four.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP, AND ITS OFFICERS.Conneaut township was organized in the spring of 1804. It was the first organized township in the county, and bore the name of Salem until the winter of 1832-33, when it was changed to Conneaut, which name had previously been given to the creek and to the post-office.
The territory originally embraced, in addition to the present limits of the township, a tract two miles wide off of the north part of the present township of Monroe. This was taken off of Conneaut and given to Monroe at the time of the organization of that township in the year 1818.
The first township meeting was held at the house of Nathan King, and the following officers elected: James Montgomery, clerk; James Harper, Nathan King, and William Ferguson, trustees; Hananiah Brooks and Joseph Tubbs, poor-masters; David Niles, John King, and James Montgomery, supervisors of highways; Seth Harrington and James Ferguson, fence-viewers, Levi Montgomery, constable; James Harper, town treasurer.
Since the first year the following-named citizens have served as officers:
Trustees. -- 1805, James Harper, Elisha King, Daniel Sawtelle; 1806, James Montgomery, William Ferguson, Gideon Leet; 1807, James Harper, David Niles, William Perrin; 1808, Josiah Brown, John Montgomery, David Niles; 1809, William Ferguson, James Harper, Nathan King; 1810, Nathan King, James Harper, Daniel Sawtelle; 1811, James Harper, David Miles, Zadoc Thompson; 1812, Nehemiah King, Daniel Sawtelle, Joseph Tubbs ; 1813, David Niles, Sr., Seth Thompson, Joseph Tubbs; 1814, David Niles, Seth Thompson, Josiah Brown; 1815, Diocletion Wright, Joab Green, Amos Kellogg; 1816, Eli Sanford, James Harper, Josiah Brown, Jr.; 1817, Jacob Williams, Henry Smith, Jonathan Gilbert; 1818, Lemuel Jones, Horace Dean, Eli Sanford; 1819, Elias Clark, Josiah Brown, Jr., Daniel Sawtelle; 1820, Joshua Z. Cozzens, Peck Clark, Edward Fifield; 1821, same; 1822, Edward Fifield, Joshua Z. Cozzens, Lemuel Jones; 1823, Josiah Brown, Jr., Seth Thompson, Nathaniel B. Harmon; 1824, Aaron Wright, Henry Smith, Daniel Baldwin; 1825, James Harper, Henry Smith, Israel A. Robinson; 1826, James Harper, John Bean, Nathaniel Brooks; 1827, Nathaniel B. Harmon, Nathaniel Brooks, John Bean; 1828, David Steel, Nathaniel Brooks, John Brooks; 1829, Appollus Thompson, Samuel Kennedy, William Harper; 1830, William Harper, William F. Clark, Appollus Thompson; 1831, William Harper, Chester Sanford, Theophilus Sanborn; 1832, William Harper, Theophilus Sanborn, Henry Smith; 1833, Henry Smith, Asa Jacobs, William Harper; 1834, William Brooks, Moses Smith, Jonathan Gilbert; 1835, Chester Sanford, Appollus Thompson, William Harper; 1836, same; 1837, Chester Sanford, Elisha Farnham, Jonathan Gilbert; 1838, William Harper, Chester Sanford, Elisha Farnham; 1839, William Harper, Appollus Thompson, P. W. Grant; 1840, John Reid, Chester Sanford, Thomas Gibson; 1841, Thomas Gibson, H. G. Walker, Samuel Blakeslee; 1842, Thomas Gibson, Samuel Blakeslee, Clement Gilbert; 1843, Reuben Sanborn, Clement Gilbert, William G. Sawtelle; 1844, William Harper, W. G. Sawtelle, William Brooks; 1845, Thomas Gibson, John Reid, Chester Sanford; 1846, Elisha Farnham, Hiram Wood, Erastus Hulett; 1847, Otho Laughlin, Hiram Wood, Ira White; 1848, Erastus Hulett, Alfred Buss, Nelson Burington; 1849, same; 1850, Clement Gilbert, Thomas Gibson, Davis Phillips; 1851, Alfred Buss, Nelson Burington, G. V. Eastman; 1852, Nelson Burington, John Judd, William Harper; 1853, Nelson Burington, John Judd, Thomas Gibson; 1854, Nelson Burington, Thomas Gibson, Benjamin Harper; 1855, Henry Putney, Erastus Hulett, Harvey Hubbard; 1856, Henry Putney, O. L. Huston, John H. Kilburn; 1857, Henry Putney, O. L. Huston, Charles Benton; 1858, Henry Putney, O. L. Huston, William Harper; 1859, G. V. Eastman, O. L. Huston, William Harper; 1860, same; 1861, O. L. Huston, G. V. Eastman, Benjamin Harper; 1862, G. V. Eastman, Benjamin Harper, A. C. Dibble; 1863, Benjamin Harper, A. C. Dibble, N. B. Payne; 1864, A. C. Dibble, N. B. Payne, Henry Grant; 1865, same; 1866, A. C. Dibble, Silas Greene, N. B. Payne; 1867, J. D. Ransom, G. V. Eastman, N. B. Payne; 1868 to 1876 inclusive, J. D. Ransom, O. L. Huston, and Hugh Laughlin.
Township Clerks. -- 1805, James Montgomery; 1806, Thomas Hambleton; 1807, John Reynolds; 1808-10, Nehemiah King; 1811-13, J. D. Jackson; 1814, John Rudd; 1816-17, Lemuel Jones; 1818, David Niles, Jr.; 1819-20, Henry Keyes; 1821-23, John Bean; 1824-25, Chancey Fifield; 1826, Wm. G. Sawtelle; 1827, F. H. Carter, appointed; 1828, Wm. G. Sawtelle; 1829, Zaphna Lake; 1830-33, Wm. Brooks; 1834, Benj. P. Fifield; 1835-36, Josiah Brown, Jr.; 1837, Loren Gould; 1838 to '43 inclusive, S. W. Grant; 1844, George Morton; 1845, Stephen R. Bradley; 1846, Samuel P. Fenton; 1847, George Morton; 1848-49, Niles Osborn; 1850, S. R. Bradley; 1851, Milo Osborn; 1852-54, J. Q. Farmer; 1855, Thomas Graham; 1856, E. Huntington; 1857-59, Loren Gould; 1860, Charles Hunt; 1861 to '70 inclusive, Loren Gould; 1871, E. A. Higgins; 1872 to the present time, Loren Gould.
Township Treasurers. -- 1805, James Harper; 1806, Walter Fobes; 1807, Zachariah Olmstead; 1808 to '13 inclusive, Elisha King; 1814, Joab Green; 1815, Daniel Coffin; 1816, Jonathan Gilbert; 1817, Edward Fifield; 1818, James Harper; 1819, Eli Sanford; 1820, Eliazer Peck; 1821 to '28 inclusive, Dr. John Venen; 1829, Cada Simons; 1830 to '39 inclusive, Dr. John Venen; 1840, Asa Jacobs; 1841, Oliver Barr; 1842 to '50, Thomas Swain; 1851, David Steele, Jr.; 1853, Wm. G. Sawtelle; 1853-54, A. C. Keyes; 1855, Gilbert Webster; 1856-59 inclusive, T. B. Rice; 1860, J. H. Kilburn; 1861-65, T. B. Rice; 1866-69, C. Gansevoort; 1870, E. A. Keyes; 1871 to '77 inclusive, D. P. Venen; 1878, B. E. Thayer.
Listers. -- l808, James Montgomery; 1809, John Montgomery; 1810-11, Nehemiah King; 1812-13, Zadoc Thompson; 1814, Joab Green; 1815, Lemuel Jones; 1816, John Brooks; 1817-18, Daniel Sawtelle; 1819, Joshua Z. Cozzens; 1820, David Niles, Jr.; 1822, Lemuel Jones; 1824, John Brooks; 1825, Samuel Blakeslee ; 1826, Lemuel Jones.
Assessors. -- 1841, Daniel Hatch; 1842-43, John H, Robinson; 1844, Ira White; 1845, Martin H. Collins; 1846-48, N. B. Harmon; 1819, J. H. Kilburn; 1850-53, Daniel Hatch; 1854, Harmon Kilburn; 1855-56, Calvin Crane; 1857, Andrew Bagley; 1858-59, Geo. S. Cleveland; 1860, Calvin Crane; 1861, Z. L. Wood; 1862, Elizur P. Grant; 1863-65, G. V. Eastman; 1866-67, Calvin Crane; 1868, Henry H. Hunt; 1869, Samuel Hazeltine; 1870 to '76 inclusive, A. C. Dibble; 1877-78, Edwin Hicks.
Justices of the Peace. -- It has been impossible for us to obtain a complete list of the justices of Conneaut, but among the number have been the following. Nathan King, commissioned in 1806; Josiah Brown, 1810; James Montgomery, 1811; Nehemiah King, 1811,'14 Zadoc Thompson, 1813; Aaron Wright, 1814; Amos Kellogg, 1816; John Beall, 1817, '20, '23; Eli Sanford, 1818; Elias Keyes, 1820; Joel Jones, 1821; Lemuel Jones, 1823, '26; Peleg Bowen, 1823; Lewis Thayer, 1853; Alexander R. Chase, 1824; Israel A. Robinson, 1828; Asa Jacobs, 1830, 33; George Morton, 1831, '42; Stephen P. Taylor, 1832; Wm. G. Sawtelle, 1835 ; S. F. Taylor, 1836, '39; Joseph Wilson, 1837; G. V. Eastman, 1838; Moses Smith, 1839; Elisha Farnham, 1839, '41, '45, '48; Brewster Randall, 1840; Hiram Wood, 1842, '45, '48, '51; Horace Wilder, 1845; Samuel P. Fenton, 1845, '48, '57, '60; Benj. Carpenter, 1850; John H. Kilburn, 1850; Zaphna Lake, 1851, '54; J. Q. Farmer, 1852; Thomas Graham, 1854; A.C. Dibble, 1854, '57, '61, '64, '67, 70, 73, '76; Hiram Judson, 1854; Wm. B. Chapman, 1855; Eber Sanford, 1857, '60, '63; Otis Burgess, 1857, '71; Henry G. Thurber, 1861, '64, '67, '70; C. R. Goddard, 1863; T. J. Carlin, 1863; B. B. Smith, 1870, '76; Austin Jennings, 1869, '72, '75, '78; S. B. Atwood, 1871; D. G. Waite, 1873; L. I. Baldwin, 1876.
STATISTICS FOR 1877.Wheat ... 568 acres. 7,043 bushels.
Oats ... 891 acres. 26,742 bushels.
Corn ... 846 acres. 54,356 bushels.
Potatoes ... 331 acres. 19,860 bushels.
Orcharding ... 358 acres. 26,450 bushels.
Meadow ... 2327 acres. 3,390 tons.
Maple-sugar ... ... 20,831 pounds.
Butter ... ... 61,465 pounds.
Cheese ... ... 105,070 pounds.
Number of school-houses, 12; valuation, $9000; amount paid teachers, $1450.25; number of schol[ars], 492.
Vote for President in 1876, Hayes, 571, Tilden, 170.
Population in 1870 of township and village, 3010.
CONNEAUT VILLAGE.The act of incorporation bears date in year 1834, but at what time the first survey was made cannot be ascertained, for the reason that the village records
162 HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO.
have been lost or destroyed. This fact produces a great deal of embarrassment in our efforts to obtain reliable data in regard to the early history of the village.
The first mayor of Conneaut was Dr. Samuel L. Fenton, who was elected in the spring of 1834. There was a survey made in the year 1837, Mr. Wm. W. Wallace being the surveyor. The territory at that time included in the village limits extended as far north as to the lake; and was bounded on the south and east by Conneaut creek, and on the west by a line running along the centre of the road that now passes between the farms of E. F. Grant and Frank Blood, then called the Centre road, and extending northwardly to the lake and southwardly to the creek. The present farms of Mr. Olmstead, on the Ridge road, and of Mr. E. F. Grant, on the lake-shore, were at that time within the village limits.
About the year 1842 the limits were defined anew, so as to include just the territory which the village now embraces. The creek forms the east and south boundaries of the village. On the north it extends as far as to Fifteenth street inclusive, and on the west as far as to the centre of Chestnut street. On the southwest is an irregular tract, lying to the west of Chestnut street, and between State street and the creek, embracing about twenty-five acres, which is also a part of the village plat.
Conneaut is a handsome town, beautifully located on the creek that bears its name, which flows along the south and east sides of the village, the ground rising abruptly from the stream, and then gradually sloping to the east and north, forming as pleasant a site for a town as can well be found. There is an air of comfort pervading the residence portion of the village, and of thrift pervading the business portion. Situated in one of the choicest agricultural parts of the county, it does a large and growing mercantile business, many of its business houses out-ranking in the amount of annual business done by similar houses in other and larger towns in this portion of the State. It is justly noted for its elegant church edifices, and its new town-hall is superior to any similar building in this section of Ohio. The people, as a class, are noted for their intelligence and morality, and it would be difficult to find a lovelier or more inviting place in which to make a permanent residence.
Its present population is in the neighborhood of thirteen hundred. We give below some of the prominent features of this delightful village.
EARLY EVENTS.The first tavern on the town site was a log building situated on the corner of Main street and Harbor street extension, where Mr. N. B. Rogers' block now stands. A Mr. Dunn was the first proprietor.
The first frame tavern was the old Conneaut House, located just east of the site of the Keyes brick store. It was built about the year 1814, but not completed until 1824. A Mr. Pierpont and his father-in-law, Mr. Davenport, were the first proprietors.
The first school-house in the village was built near the present site of Mr. Wood's hardware store, corner Main and Washington streets.
The first burial-place was located on ground now occupied by the Monroe and Union brick blocks, and ground just north of the same, between Main and State streets.
The first village physician was Dr. John Venen, who settled here in 1815. He was a very successful practitioner, and practiced his profession in Conneaut for nearly sixty years, dying March 20, 1875, at the ripe old age of ninety-two. Dr. G. Fifield was another early physician, and spent his life in Conneaut in the practice of his profession.
CONNEAUT ACADEMY.An act to incorporate Conneaut academy passed the legislature February 14, 1835. The incorporators were A. Dart, Henry Keyes, Lewis Thayer, Josiah Brown, James Brooks, and Aaron Wright.
The first school building was an old concern moved on to the corner of Main and Mill streets, near the present residence of Captain C. W. Appleby, and fitted up for the occasion. The first teacher was Rev. Judah L. Richmond, the school commencing in the spring of 1837. He was afterwards assisted by Miss Sarah Bonney, who became principal in 1839. W. W. Barris had charge of the school during the spring term of 1840, and A. Harwood during the school year 1840-41. J. V. Brown became principal in the fall of 1841, and taught two years.
The brick academy building was erected in 1844-45. The capital stock of the incorporation was divided into shares of ten dollars each. The principal original stockholders were P. H. Carter, Robert Lyon, Lewis Thayer, J. V. Brown, John Reid, G. Fifield, John Venen, Ezra Dibble, Z[aphna]. Lake, B. Carpenter, P. W. Grant, C. Appleby, M. H. Collins, and James Brooks.
A constitution and by-laws were adopted. The officers consisted of a president, a secretary, and five trustees, who constituted a board for the government of the corporation, and five of whom constituted a quorum.
The first school in the new building was taught by L. W. Savage, assisted by Miss Booth, who had charge of the school one year. The teachers since, as near as can be ascertained, have been as follows: Mr. Pierce, assisted by Chas. Hathaway, part of one year; J. E. Ingersoll, two or three years; Wm. Scales, one year; J. Q. and L. M. Burington, one year; J. Q. Burington, one year; Chas. Hathaway, one year; R. M. Merrill commenced in the spring of 1855, and taught till 1861, six years; C. W. Heywood commenced in the fall of 1861, and taught two years; Rev. A. Bartlett, C. R. Goddard, assisted by Miss Quigley; J. Q. Burington, and Miss A. Smith, one year; G. A. Starens commenced in the winter of 1866-67, and taught one year; H. A. Andrews commenced in the spring term of 1868, and, assisted by Miss M. A. Rea and others, taught until the fall of 1875, twenty-two terms, since which time N. L. Guthrie has had charge of the school as principal, with Miss M. A. Rea as assistant principal.
The school attained its greatest prosperity while under the management of Prof. H. A. Andrews, who held the position of principal for a longer period than any other teacher. The highest number of students enrolled at any one time was one hundred and twenty-one, and for several terms the enrollment was over one hundred.
The Amphictyon literary society was organized in connection with the school while Mr. Andrews was principal, in the spring of 1869, and has numbered among its members the best students of the school.
The school has been, since August, 1868, under the control and management of the board of education of the incorporated village of Conneaut, they having at that time leased the buildings, grounds, and fixtures of the academy board for a period of ten years at least. During the past year (1871) the board of education has made further changes, establishing a system of graded schools in the village, making the principal of the academy or high school superintendent of all the schools of the village.
Besides the departments in the high school, there are in the village a grammar school and four primary schools.
The church has had twenty-three pastors in sixty years, eight of them, however, serving less than one year each, being called to fill vacancies, etc. Only four ministers have had charge of the church more than three years, via., Blodgett, Barr, Burnham, and Wyman. Rev. John Blodgett came soon after the organization, and was pastor five years. Rev. Oliver Barr, who was killed at the Norwalk (Connecticut) railroad disaster, was settled with the church three different times, in all about eighty years. The great union meeting of 1838, conducted by Rev. Mr. Day at the brick church, was held during Elder Barr's second pastorate; forty-four were added to the church. In his third engagement the house was moved. Rev. H. Burnham served four years, 1849-53. Rev. O. T. Wyman, the present pastor, came in June, 1862: and remained over twelve years; and, after an absence of two years (Dr. N. Summerbell pastor in the interim), returned in October, 1876. In 1862 the church was very low; no services had been held for a year. There were but seventy-five names on the roll, and sixteen of them were dropped. In 1871 there was a great revival, -- Rev. S. H. Morse, evangelist; ninety-eight were received during the year. The present membership is two hundred and fifty. The Sabbath-school, in: 1862, was reorganized with fifteen scholars; but for the last ten years there have been from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fourteen -- the present membership -- enrolled. The Christian chapel at Amboy was built in 1873; services are held in this building a part of the time,
HISTORY OF ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO. 163
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.The Congregational church of Conneaut was organized April 14, 1849, at the house of Robert Montgomery. The services were conducted by Revs. Joseph Badger, Giles H. Cowles, and Ephraim T. Woodruff. The first members were Ebenezer Buck, Ada Buck, Robert Montgomery, Stephen Webb, Luther Jones, Mary Jones, Sarah Sanford, Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. Julia Kennedy, and Miss Laura Buck.
The church was organized on the union plan of government, -- Congregational and Presbyterian. It was a Congregational church joined to a presbytery. It was changed into a Presbyterian church in 1835, and remained such until December 30, 1847, when it was unanimously voted to make its government purely Congregational.
The first church edifice -- the old brick church on Liberty street -- was commenced in 1826, seven years after the church was organized. Religious services prior to this time were held in school-houses and private dwellings. The members were intensely interested in the project of building the church, and most of them made great sacrifices in order to accomplish it. The labor was interrupted for a time in consequence of lack of means, but a fund necessary to complete it was after a little realized from a sale of the seats. Services were held in the church before it was finished. The year 1828 witnessed its completion, and the year 1829 its dedication. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. Luther Humphrey.
The new brick edifice, situated on the corner of. Main and Buffalo streets, was erected in 1873, and finished in 1876. Sixteen hundred dollars were paid for the lot, and the building cost about eighteen thousand dollars. It was dedicated in the spring of 1877, Rev. Mr. Wolcott, of Cleveland, preaching the dedication sermon.
From 1829 to 1836 the following gentlemen officiated as pastors and ministers: Revs. Luther Humphrey, Olds, John Pettit, Maltbee (Methodist), Jesse Viets (Methodist), Kelsey, J. J. Bliss, John Keep,
Wheeler, and William Whittley. Since 1836 the pastors have been Revs. William Fuller, two years; Norris Day, one year; John Hovey, three years; E. F. Dickenson, ten years; William Scales, four years; J. A. Woodruff, two years; Alvin Nash, three years; A. Bartlett, four years; and R. M. Keyes, the present pastor, nearly thirteen years.
The present membership of the church numbers two hundred and sixteen.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH.The Baptist church was organized in the old school-house on the south ridge, October 18, 1831, with twenty-three members, as follows: Rev. Isaac Jacobs and wife, Isaac Crittenden and wife, Electa Crittenden, Phebe Crittenden, David Taylor, Mary Sawtelle, Albert Hebbard, Deborah Benton, Ira Benton, Elmira Benton, Alfred Crittenden, Sarah Crittenden, Lydia Crittenden, Sarah Ann Jacobs, Sally C. Williams, Lydia Williams, Mary Ann Williams, Louisa Williams, Thirza Wright, Elvira Clark, and Abner Clark. Of these, the first twelve had letters from other churches; the rest had been recently baptized by Elder Jacobs.
There were present at the constitution of the church Rev. Asa Jacobs, pastor elect, Rev. Jacob Bailey, of Kingsville, and Rev. Churchill, of Springfield, Pennsylvania.
The church continued to meet at the school-house on south ridge till the spring of 1837, when it moved to Conneaut village, under the pastoral care of Rev. Judah L. Richmond, in which place it has since continued to meet and worship.
In 1842 the present house of worship on State street was commenced, and dedicated February, 1844.
There have been in all twelve settled pastors, as follows: Rev. Asa Jacobs, from October, 1831, to the spring of 1837; Rev. J. L. Richmond, 1837 to 1840; 1840, no pastor; Rev. Hascall supplied six months; Rev. A. W. Baker, 1841 to 1844; Rev. S. Taylor, 1844 to 1846; Rev. J. Weatherby, 1846 to 1852; Rev. P. W. Mills, 1852 to 1860; Rev. J. Du Bois, September, 1860, to May 4, 1861; Rev. Cyrus Richmond supplied, 1861 to 1862; Rev. L. F. Ames, 1863 to 1866; Rev. A. Lull, 1866 to 1869; Rev. J. S. Van Alstine, 1869 to 1870, Rev. I. Child, 1871 to 1878; Rev. Judson Martin, 1878.
The longest pastorate was that of Rev. P. W. Mills, from 1852 to 1860; the shortest, that of Rev. J. Du Bois, from September, 1860, to May 4, 1861, when he was expelled from the church. The greatest number of additions were made during the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Weatherby, who baptized fifty-two in six years, during which time, in 1850, the church reached its highest membership, one hundred and twenty-nine. The present membership is about eighty-five.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.A Methodist class was formed in Conneaut village about the year 1827 or 1828. One had previously been organized in the east part of the township, and one at Amboy in the year 1823, by Rev. Jese Viets. We have been unable, after repeated efforts, to gather any further information in relation to the early history of this church. The present pastor is Rev. W. J. Wilson, and the membership numbers about one hundred and fifty-six.
THE ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH.was organized about the year 1861, by Rev. John Tracy. Rev. ______ Conway is the present pastor. Services are held once a month. Church located on Chestnut street.
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