"Going West” was a great undertaking in 1809 when Jared HICKOX and family made their way from Waterbury, Conn., to Cuyahoga county, Ohio, and located in “number six range fourteen” - since 1820 Middleburg township. Mrs. Rachel (MERRILL) HICKOX “kept house” in their wagon while her husband and sons felled trees and built their log cabin, which, though small, was large enough for its furnishings, the most important being the children, four sons and as many daughters. The HICKOXES were the first permanent settlers in the township. They chose a location which included Lake Abram, because of its fish and excellent variety of frost grapes in the locality. A little north of Lake Abram was Podunk Swamp, in the center of which was a piece of firm ground that later became the hiding place of a band of counterfeiters, who for years, carried on their business undiscovered.
Untold hardships and dangers fell to the lot of the brave woman, already past middle life, who so willingly did her full share of work, and did it well, whether in baking Johnnycakes, hetcheting flax, running bullets, or burning brush. Indeed, Mrs. HICKOX never gave it a thought to the “sphere” question, but like other women who soon followed her to the unbroken wilderness, wrought out to its grand solution the problem of woman’s fitness for heroic endeavor in the interest of home, church, and state.
The year following their arrival Mr. HICKOX went to Newburg, then larger than Cleveland, to purchase a yoke of steers. His path was marked by blazed trees. As he did not return at the expected time members of the family went in search of him, for the dense forest was full of danger, and were horrified at finding his lifeless body not many miles from his home. He had unyoked his oxen, and was found in a sitting posture, leaning against a tree, where he had breathed his life away, evidently without a struggle.
There were neither undertakers nor sawmills in that lonely region, but from the boards of their wagon box they made his coffin, and, with simple rites, laid him to rest on his own farm, later known as the Hepburn place.
The next year his married son, Nathaniel, fell a victim to typhus fever, the deadly scourge of the new settlement. His grave, with those of numerous descendants, may still be seen in the old-time burial place. Two years after the arrival of the HICKOX family, Abram FOWLS and a younger brother walked from Connecticut to Middleburg. Abram, with but $2.50 in his pocket, selected his farm on what has long been known as the Fowls road. He soon formed the acquaintance of Rachel Ann HICKOX who became his bride in 1812. This was the first couple married in Middleburg, which at this time contained five or six families, scattered and defenseless, whom the declaration of war had filled with apprehension. A blockhouse had been erected in Columbia, where the people fled for safety when threatened with assaults by Indians. At such times all the able bodied men for miles around were called out for its defense. When the last call was made Rachel Ann FOWLS refused to go to the little fortress whither her husband had been summoned, and remained in her home alone, with the exception of the young brother of Mr. FOWLS, they being for a time the only white persons in Middleburg. Not long after, in the shadow of isolation and alarm, a baby came to the young mother in the FOWLS cabin, the first white child born in the township.
This daughter, Lucy, became Mrs. Nathan GARDNER, whose long married life was spent in the neighborhood where she was born. Her only daughter, a sweet-spirited, beautiful girl, married Charles THORPE of Warrensville, where she died. Mrs. FOWLS was the mother of ten children. Her fifty-five years were marked with patient, fearless devotion to duty. A daughter, Mrs. Roxanna FOWLS, is still living in Cleveland.
The other daughters of Jared HICKOX, Sr., Mrs. Lucy OSBORN, Mrs. Hannah DILLINGHAM, and Mrs. Esther DILLE, were praiseworthy women. Eri HICKOX was eighteen years old when the family came to Ohio. Five years later he married Alma HOADLEY, of Columbia, where, after a protracted residence in Middleburg, they spent the closing years of their lives. The family consisted of five daughters and a son, Azor, who died when eight years of age.
The training of young ideas was begun in season in pioneer times. Little Jemima HICKOX, when four and one-half years of age, was sent to live with her grandparents at Columbia, that she might go to school. Her teacher was Betsey NESBITT. It was not unusual for children even younger to be made to study and to work. But they grew and thrived, were strong-limbed, clear-brained, and self-reliant to a degree not yet excelled by our modern kindergartners.
One day Miriam and Jemima HICKOX were permitted to go to a neighbor’s half a mile distant to spend the day while their parents went to Columbia. The children, aged eight and six respectively, started off in high glee. They were familiar with the path through the woods, and were not at all afraid until about half through, when Miriam saw a huge bear. They did not scream nor cry, but turned and ran home. Their parents had gone, and the fire was carefully covered with ashes. Being sensible little maidens, they did not rake it open, but cuddled under the covers of their trundle-bed, scarcely daring to breathe, lest the bear would find them. After a while a neighbor, who also was on his way to Columbia, chance to call, and soon as possible informed Mr. and Mrs. HICKOX of the uncomfortable situation of their children, whom, on their return, they found in bed, where they had lain nearly all day.
Another time Mr. and Mrs. HICKOX went to a meeting held in Ephraim WAUGHN’s log house, which stood on the site occupied later by John BALDWIN’s old red house leaving the children at home alone. The time seemed long, and while watching for their parents’ homecoming, they saw two Indians crossing the little clearing - coming toward the house. Terribly frightened the children ran and hid behind a log, but the Indians found them, and said they were after a lost saddle, which Mr. HICKOX had found; then went away. The little girls feared their parents had been killed, but were soon overjoyed by their safe return.
Mr. Eri HICKOX built the first frame house in Middleburg. Mrs. HICKOX came to Columbia with her father’s family from Connecticut in 1807. She was twelve years old. Several others were in the company. They were two months in reaching Buffalo, west of which there were no roads. Here the party separated; some decided to continue the journey by land, the others, among whom were Alma’s parents, by water. After a long and terrific battle with winds and waves they reached Cleveland, where they were joyfully received by the rest of the company, who had arrived several days before. At this time there were but seven log houses in Cleveland. One of those who walked from Buffalo was Mrs. Bela BRONSON, who carried her child in her arms to the place, fifty miles west of Erie, where they were met by teams sent for them from Cleveland. The child was Shalock BRONSON, who afterward became the eminent Episcopal clergyman and president of Kenyon College.
Mrs. Miriam BAKER, Mrs. Weltha SABIN, Mrs. Harriet VAUGHN, Mrs. Almira WILDER, and Mrs. Rachel Jemima HOADLEY, daughters of Mrs. And Mrs. Eli HICKOX, were noble women. The last mentioned, Mrs. HOADLEY, resides in Cleveland with her daughter, Mrs. Dr. VAN NORMAN. She is a bright, intelligent, lovable woman, to whom the historian is largely indebted for data.
Mention has been made of Nathaniel HICKOX, who died two years after his arrival. His five children found homes in Euclid. His widow, who married Roswald SCOVILLE, was ill at a time when an alarm caused by the report, “The savages are coming!” drove the terrified settlers to the blockhouse at Hudson, thirty miles away. Having no other means of conveyance, Mr. SCOVILLE securely tied a feather bed upon an unbroken pet colt, on which he placed his wife and three weeks old baby, they riding and the husband leading the colt through tangled woods the entire distance, but they reached the blockhouse in safety.
Among Middleburg’s pioneer women deserving honorable mention were the wives of the VAUGHNS, Ephraim, Richard, and Jonathan, Mrs. MEEKER, and Mrs. Daniel FAIRCHILD. Ephraim VAUGHT was commissioned by the Governor as the first justice of the peace. The first school was taught in his house 1822-23, by Levi CASTLE, afterward a prominent Methodist minister of the Genessee conference. His mother, Olive (BRONSON) CASTLE, was the courageous woman who rode from Waterbury, Conn., to Ohio on horseback alone. Years later she and her widowed daughter and her two girls joined the Shakers at Warrensville, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Mrs. CASTLE’s brother came from Connecticut on foot in 1805, but soon returned in the same way. Four years later he walked back again to Ohio, and settled here. When the war of 1812 broke out, and the settlers were in danger of Indian massacres, his wife, with four children, the eldest a girl of thirteen, the youngest an infant boy, left Cleveland for Connecticut with a horse, saddle, and bridle. The journey required four weeks - the resolute mother walking the entire distance. Three years later she started back, better equipped for the long, wearisome journey, herself and children in a lumber wagon; but her money gave out, which left her stranded on the road. She then hired out the two oldest daughters at fifty cents a week, while she worked for her board and that of the younger children. When enough money had been earned she hitched up and continued the journey, reaching Cleveland in March, 1816.
About this time several families were added to the little colony, among these Thaddeus LATHROP, wife, and five children, the eldest, Susan, nine years old. Susan became the wife of Benjamin TUTTLE, who erected a small shop on the bank of Rocky river, where he tanned leather and made shoes. Susan is credited with having made the coat, vest, and trousers worn by Mr. TUTTLE at their wedding. Soon after they began housekeeping, she made a coat for the miller and took for pay a barrel of flour. The family moved to Strongsville, where the closing years of this estimable couple were spent.
In 1816 a Methodist camp meeting was held near Cleveland, and some of the Middleburg people attended it and became deeply impressed with the importance of religious advantages. They began holding meetings in each other’s houses, singing, praying, and exhorting with such fervor that several were converted. Soon after, Rev. Jacob WARD, of Brunswick came and formed a Methodist Society, the first religious organization in the township.
Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler WELLMAN were followed the next year by Mr. WELLMAN’s father-in-law, Solomon LOVEJOY, wife (nee Sirena BITLIS), four sons, and a daughter, Abigail, who married Charles BASSETT. The LOVEJOY family is one of the best known in Middleburg. Solomon LOVEJOY built the first tavern in the township - it is still occupied by his descendants.
Paul and Silas GARDNER married sisters - Jemima and Sally WOOLEY, of Otsego county, New York, and located on the large farms in the eastern part of the township. Their log cabins soon gave way for comfortable homes, the somewhat portentous red farmhouse with its queer oval front windows, built and occupied by Silas GARDNER, has but recently disappeared. Mrs. Parley BASSETT was a sister of Paul and Silas GARDNER.
Middleburg township was organized about 1820. There was little immigration during the half-dozen years that followed. It is recorded that immigrants were repelled by the wet soil, and the more pleasantly located settlers in “number five” declared that “if Middleburg were not fastened onto Strongsville it would sink.” But this “sinking” town had sure footing. Axes were swung will a will. Sunshine flooded the clearings, and rich farm lands were developed. Meanwhile, from almost hopeless condition, Middleburg’s pioneer women of courage, faith, and purpose, were slowly but surely working their way to ease and wealth.
Before the advent of grist mills, “jointing” corn was common. The ear was held in a vise, and with a plane or knife the corn was shaved off very thin and, after being boiled for hours, was eaten with milk. It was called samp - a delicious dish. The fat tried out from bear’s meat was used for frying doughnuts and making short-cakes, which the hardy pioneers ate with great relish. Several families settled along the old stage coach route - later the Cleveland and Wooster pike.
Mr. Daniel SMITH and family, from Amherst, Mass., reached Middleburg in 1832 with five dollars. The first payment on the farm, ten dollars, was raised by selling hickory nuts. Mrs. SMITH, nee Nancy WILLIAMS, battled bravely with privations in those early days, but lived to reap a rich harvest of good things. Of her nine children, two were daughters, Mrs. Emeline Eliza BAILEY and Charlotte E., who was born in this township. Mrs. SMITH’s husband died soon after the celebration of their golden wedding. Cheerful and happy through a long life, and lovely in old age, she lived to be almost ninety-six years old. Two years before her death she knit a pair of well-formed mittens, which her children keep as a precious souvenir of her latest work.
Mrs. William FULLER and wife (Charlotte HOWE) located and built the first frame house on what is still called the big bend on the Wooster pike. Into this house, with the FULLERS, Daniel SMITH moved his family, to remain while he cleared a site and built his log house. The FULLER residence had but one room - a seam in the floor was the dividing line between the two families, and thought there were eight active young SMITHS, it is said not one crossed the forbidden line during the entire year, and the most amicable relations existed all around. Mrs. FULLER’s husband was a stage driver, and died of cholera in ’34.
Lorinda DOTY married Samuel, a brother of William FULLER, who died early leaving his young widow with two sons.
Another pioneer family that settled in the locality was that of Lebbeus POMEROY, from Otsego county, New York. Mrs. Fanny (NORTON) POMEROY had one son and four daughters, Mrs. Sophrona ELDERS, Mrs. Sophia EGGLESTON, Mrs. Chloe HENRY, and Melvina. Mrs. POMEROY was conspicuously conscientious. The then farmers’ wives and daughters not only spun the rolls, colored the yarn, and knit socks, but sold them at the stores for twenty-five cents a pair. In order to make it a paying industry and get even with the merchants, some of her neighbors would knit loosely, then stretch and press the socks into orthodox shape and size. But Mrs. POMEROY knit hers upon honor and run the heels besides; for she said she didn’t want those who bought them at the stores to be cheated.
Martha HUTCHINSON arrived from Fort Ann, N.Y., in ’32, and some years later married Daniel BROWN. She had one daughter, Mrs. Mary Jane SIMMERS. Mrs. BROWN was very industrious, a good, helpful neighbor. She was an adept at spinning and fine weaving - notably the fancy counterpanes in vogue at that time. Mrs. BROWN attained the age of ninety-one years.
The coming of John BROWN, Sr., and his wife, a few years before, had given the little settlement about thirty families, a fresh start. The young wife, Mary D. CHAOOELL, was a native of New London, Conn. Hungry for and education circumstances did not permit her to secure, she worked in a mill at one dollar per week, and at the end of five years had saved $200 with which she had intended to go to school, but changed her mind and loaned the money to an ambitious school teacher whom she afterward married and accompanied to Ohio.
Their log house had neither windows nor back to the chimney, but they took immediate possession with a dry goods box for their table, and bedstead made of poles fastened to the logs on one side of the room, and supported with blocks of wood on the other, the top covered with boards. Grandma BALDWIN used to say: “It made quite a comfortable bed.”
The circuit preachers, Revs. SHELDON and McINTYRE, in homespun clothes, always found the latchstring out at the BALDWIN cabin, and its “prophet’s chamber” to which they climbed on a ladder. In course of time Mr. BALDWIN built a commodious two-story frame house, ever since known as the “old red house,” a revered landmark but recently quarried away.
The upper room of this house was devoted to divine service. There Mrs. BALDWIN taught a Bible class in the first Sabbath school organized in the township, and there preaching, prayer, class, and most impressive watch night meetings were held. The cause of Christian education in Berea had from the first her hearty support.
The founding of Baldwin Institute and its development to Baldwin University represents not only the wisdom and benefaction of her noble husband, but her counsels, prayers, and self-denying gifts. Mother BALDWIN passed away, aged ninety-four years. Her surviving children are Mrs. Rosanna WALKER, Mrs. Martha McCULLUM, and John BALDWIN, Jr., all in Southern homes.
There was a difference of opinion as to the name of the first post office at Lyceum village, as the few cabins were called. One party wanted the name Burea, the other Tabor. By throwing up a half-dollar the question was decided in favor of Burea - the name by which the gritty little city which is the business and educational center of Middleburg has since been known.
About this time, through the agency of Messrs. SHELDON and GILRUTH, the “community” was established on Rocky River, near the site of the depot. The members were to hold their property in common and all their business was to be transacted by a board of trade known as the Twelve Apostles. But the system of Christian cooperation did not work well in farming under the direction of “Twelve Apostles” and the community was abandoned.
With the twenty new families that came in 1836 were Rev. H.O. SHELDON and his wife, Ruth BRADLEY, a woman of refinement and lovely in person and character. Her daughter Ruth, a fine scholar, married Milton BALDWIN and died at her Western home. Mrs. Julia LEE and Mrs. Rhoda PATTERSON are also daughters of Mrs. SHELDON. The latter still resides in Berea.
Mr. and Mrs. PEASE (Lydia REMELS), from Lee, Mass., joined the community. “At that time,” her daughter writes, “religion was plenty and rations scarce.” Of the four daughters two are living - Emma and Lucy - who were born in the “old red rouse.” Lucy became Mrs. C.M. STEARNS, for years Berea’s sweet singer, now a resident of Cleveland. George R. WHITNEY and wife, Harriet BRONSON, came in 1837. They, too, joined the “community.” Mrs. WHITNEY reared to noble manhood and womanhood two sons and two daughters. Harriet married Frank MOE and died in a Western State. Mary is the wife of Rev. B.J. HOADLEY. She is one of those rarely accomplished women itinerant Methodist ministers sometimes win for wives. That gentle, patient woman, Mrs. Dr. McBRIDE nee Emma HENRY, spent many years in the quaint brick cottage on River street. Her daughters, Agnes and Lucy, left Berea after the death of their parents. Both are highly esteemed. Mrs. William ENGLE was an ideal pioneer woman, who did her best under all circumstances and looked hopefully forward to the “good times coming,” which both she and her husband have lived to realize. Their sunset skies are golden.
Fannie TINKER and Clark GOSS were married in Montague, Franklin county, Mass., in 1824, and ten years later came to Berea, occupying a log house south of the bridge, nearly opposite the MURPHY place. The Cleveland & Columbus Railroad cuts through the then GOSS farm. Mrs. GOSS was a faithful member of the Berea Methodist Church fifty years. But five of the twelve children are living. At the home of her daughter, Mr. J.C. WLTON, Bedford, O., the dear mother fell asleep ninety-three years.
It would be difficult now to find the spot where the little house stood into which Nathaniel MORSE, wife, and child moved with their few belongings in 1845. The locality - valuable quarry land - has been worked for stone until today it is a dreary waste. Mrs. MORSE (Mary Ann FITCH) died a year after her arrival.
Two years later Mr. MORSE married Emma ROBBARDS, of English parentage, and without delay started for the Western home from Onondagua, N.Y., coming by canal-boat to Cleveland, thence to Berea in a wagon owned by “Paddy” JOHNSON. Another young married couple, Mr. and Mrs. (WALLACE) McCLUTCHY, had secured transportation in the same wagon, and had with them a new cook stove. The road was rough and in part hilly, so that it required the combined efforts of all the passengers at times to hold it right side up. However, grooms, brides, and cook stove reached Berea without accident. Mrs. MORSE’s daughters, Laura (Mrs. ANDREWS) of Cleveland, and Lois (Mrs. FRASER), of Denver, are both graduates of Baldwin University. Mrs. MORSE resides in Cleveland and is held in grateful memory by the members of the Alethean Literary Society of Baldwin University, of which she is an honorary member.
Lucretia M. NELSON, later Mrs. Charles PEEBLES, with her husband, sought a home in Ohio in 1832 making the journey from South Amherst, Mass., to Parma with an ox team, at which place one of the oxen died, which necessitated a halt. The family found shelter in an abandoned log house, but soon learned that an acquaintance, Mr. Daniel SMITH, was located in Middleburg and decided to settle near by. Their wilderness farm was transformed by forty years of hard work to an attractive rural home with pleasant surroundings and fruitful acres. Harriet PEEBLES married Godfrey BROWN. Her death occurred in Berea several years ago. Mary is the wife of Warner ALDRACH, at whose home her mother entered into rest aged ninety years, having nearly spanned the century.
The CRANES were a large and important family, Methodists of the early, pronounced type, who settled in the northeastern part of the township, the locality being still known as the “CRANE neighborhood.” The sons, James Reason, and John, were preachers. Ellias became a physician of note. The four daughters were excellent women. Nancy (Mrs. David DORLAND) until recently lived in Berea. Mrs. CRANE was indeed “a mother in Israel.” In old age, through years of severe suffering, she was cheerful, submissive, and gracious, with the light of heaven reflected in her face.
Mrs. Austin FULLER, nee Elizabeth TAFT, is a native of Mendon, N.Y. She was one of the girls who worked in the glove factory in 1844. Mrs. FULLER and Mrs. PATTERSON are the only persons in Berea now who were here at that time.
Mrs. Matthew REUBLIN also came in 1844. She was the mother of eight children. Martha, the only surviving daughter, resides in Cleveland. Mrs. REUBLIN hated shams - was a woman of stanch integrity, warmhearted, and generous to the poor. She died in Berea.
A most lovable woman is Mrs. Nancy (REED) WATSON, a longtime resident of Berea, now of Oberlin, O. Mrs. WATSON has been an almost lifelong member of the Congregational church - her sweet, Christian character a blessing to all with the charmed circle of her influence. Her only daughter, Mrs. Sarah PIERCE, died in Oberlin.
Mrs. WALLACE, with a family of grown up sons and daughters, came from Ireland. Mary married James McCLUTCY and Ann Daniel HANCOCK. John married Jane HENDRICK, and Robert, Maria BRIAN, of Brunswick, whose home since her marriage has been here. James married Ellen MOE, of Strongsville, and moved in 1863 to Detroit, where he died. James WALLACE gave largely to the German educational work in Berea. German Wallace College will perpetuate his memory.
One of the fourteen MORGAN children, of Elizabethtown, N.J., was Lydia, who married H. BERWICK. After a residence of several years in New York city they came to Berea. This bright little woman was much embarrassed the first time she attended the Methodist meeting, which was held over the old Case store. Her gloves, shoes, white corded skirts, and silk dress rendered her painfully conspicuous, and she determined not to go to meeting again till she could dress like the Methodist women. But unconventional the cut of her dresses, she was always distinguished by the fine manners and an unexplainable style. Her pleasant home near Berea was enlivened by several sons and one daughter, Mrs. Belle PITCH, who resides near the old home.
The HOLBROOKS, Dwight and Alfred, U.C. and F.R. VAN TINE about 1840 opened up the manufacture of school supplies in what was known as the Glove Factory. A little later Daniel STEARNS moved from Brunswick to Berea and engaged in the stone business. Mrs. Mary (McINTIRE-FRENCH) STEARNS had eight sons and one daughter, Lucy (Mrs. F.R. VAN TINE of Berea).
A woman good and true was Mrs. J.V. BAKER. The family came in ’49. Their house was an important station on the “underground railroad.” The daughter, Mrs. Lucy WOODBRIDGE, whose entire life has been spent on the Reserve, used to aid in secreting fugitive slaves in the house where she still resides.
The wife of Dr. H. PARKER, whose maiden name was Elizabeth SHERWOOD, has for nearly fifty years resided in Berea, where her sterling worth is appreciated by all who know her. Her only daughter died in infancy. Mrs. PARKER is of New England parentage. Her father drove the first ox team into Royalton.
Mrs. Jared FARRAND, nee Sarah RANDALL, was an estimable Christian woman who spent seventeen years of her life in this community. The worth of those years is still a felt force. From early life Mrs. FARRAND was a faithful member of the Baptist church, foremost in every good work. Four of her six children survive her.
Mr. BEVANS and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth (MUMFORD) BEVANS, emigrated from Otsego county, New York, to Ohio in 1817, Mrs. BEVANS walking much of the way and carrying her baby. Their first location was in Ashland county, from which place they came to Berea soon after the institute was opened. Mrs. BEVANS had not been favored with the educational advantages she coveted for her children, and spared no effort to secure for them. Blessed with such a mother, the two sons and six daughters attained majority.
Caroline, loved and respected by all who knew her, lived a long and useful life, and has but recently been called to her reward. Mary became Mrs. FOURNIER, Juliette Mrs. Lyman BAKER, Abbie Mrs. WILSON, Mrs. PORTER, and Mrs. JOHNSON - the last named being the only survivor of the family. These sisters inherited pure and noble qualities, which are still potent for good. A daughter of Mrs. FOURNIER, Mrs. Florence DOERING, an intelligent leader in Christian and educational work, is at the head of the Berea Literary Club.
Mrs. Lucinda (WATKINS)PEIRCE, of precious memory whose birthplace was Lee, Mass., had good New England training and superior educational advantages, through which was developed an exceptionally fine character. Her husband, Rev. William C. PEIRCE, was the first conference preacher sent to this charge. Their first home in Berea was a sheep shelter, but however rude and uncomfortable, it could not long remain so. Mrs. PEIRCE had exquisite taste, and innate sense of the pure and beautiful, her home could but be attractive. As a teacher in Baldwin University, she was tenderly loved by her pupils. Her life was a benediction.
Another woman whom to know was to love for her sweet Christian graces and work’s sake was Mrs. Silas CLAPP, nee Esther RISLEY, from East Hartford, Conn. The family came to Berea in 1846, where Mr. CLAPP’s ability as an active worker in church and society was soon recognized. Especially skillful and tender in her care of the sick, her services were called for and cheerfully given with a self-forgetfulness seldom witnessed. Who, that ever experienced it, can forget the soothing pressure of her hand upon a fevered brow? Her daughters, Jane, Esther, and Mrs. Emma LESEMAN, were permitted to minister to her in life’s decline. The two sons and three daughters of this saintly mother have a rich inheritance of blessed memories.
Among those whom Berea “delights to honor” must be classed Mrs. Hannah (BROWN) JANES who, with her father’s family, removed from Plymouth, Vt., to Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1827. Her parents were Daniel and Polly (JEMMISON) BROWN, the latter a daughter of a Revolutionary soldier. Hannah BROWN and her sister, Rebecca, formed the first Methodist Episcopal church in Ann Arbor, with a class of seven. “Now we must have a preacher,” said Miss Hannah, and to this effect wrote the presiding elder at Detroit. In response to this call Rev John JANES was sent to Ann Arbor. The young preacher did not care to look elsewhere for a wife. The following year they were married and appointed to Sandusky circuit, where Rev. JAMES received for his first year’s salary $80, while his gifted young wife taught school for $1 per week. She decided to invest her first earnings, $18, in a feather bed, but the man by whom she sent for the goods made off with her money. A cruel loss. At thirty-five years of age Mrs. JAMES was left a widow, with five children to care for, but was not the woman to fold her hands and ask “What shall I do?” She read law that she might intelligently settle her husband’s estate, moved her family to Berea, and placed her daughters in Baldwin Institute, from which Emma graduated.
Mrs. JANES was remarkably endowed, impressing her personality upon with whom she associated. Her last residence was Cleveland, where, in the home of her daughter, Mary (Mrs. W.A. INGHAM), president of the woman’s department, centennial commission, her long and well spent earthly life was sweetly ended.
When Fanny GRANGER came from Great Barrington, Mass., to Brunswick, Medina county, in 1827, to visit her sister, Mrs. Dr. SOMMORS, she never dreamed of returning home the promised bride of Fletcher HULET. The promise was made good, and the first seventeen years of her married life Mrs. HULET spent on the Brunswick farm, with its still wild surroundings; but at the opening of Baldwin Institute the parents came to Berea to educate their six children. Martha married Charles LYON; Margaret, a beautiful girl of rare promise, graduated in ‘59 married William CHAPPELL, and died early; Clara became the wife of Dr. John WHEELER, for many years the beloved president of Baldwin University; and Harriet married T.B. WALKER, and resides in Minneapolis. Gilbert died in early manhood. Marshall’s home is in the South.
Mrs. HULET was a superior woman, fitted by nature, education, and environment to grace whatever position it was her lot to fill, in home or society. Her quiet dignity and gracious manners were charmingly blent. There was always room at her table, and a spare bed for the unexpected guest.
Surely, no one ever made such delicious coffee as “Aunt Fanny.” But the dear hands have long been folded in restfulness. Her grave is in our village cemetery, but her cherished name is in our hearts. Other names, just as worthy could not be obtained, hence do not appear in this sketch, but it matters little.
For when the books are opened,
They shall glow on pages white
Where angels keep the records
With their pens of living light.
Hannah A. FOSTER, Berea
Chairman and Historian
Middleburg committee - Miss Mary BIGELOW, Mrs. Lucy VAN TYNE, Miss Mary STONE, Mrs. Mary E. ELMORE, Miss Lou PEEBLES, Mrs. J. P. COLE