Royalton is twelve miles south of Cleveland. It is still untouched by steam railroad of trolley lines. However, it has several pike roads and its nearness to a large commercial and manufacturing district greatly enhances the value of real estate in the township.
Some of the early settlers in search of good farming land looked with contempt upon the swamps, marshes, and barren sand hills of what is now the great city of Cleveland. But they lived to regret their lack of appreciation of its future as a lake port.
The first clearing made in Royalton was started in the southeastern corner of the town by a man named CLARK, who soon after moved his family upon it, in 1811. It was then a veritable “forest primeval.” Indians and wild beasts roamed at will. For five years this family was the only one in the township.
Could the veil that covers the past be lifted and the life of the wife and mother of that household be revealed, it would show hours of solitude in that wilderness, days and nights of weary watching and waiting, hardships and even gaunt famine.
Mr. CLARK (Christian name unknown) died before 1816, for in that year, his widow married Lorenzo CARTER, possibly related to the famous Cleveland pioneer of that name. A son, also called “Lorenzo,” was the first white child born in Royalton.
The year 1816 brought a number of accessions to the population. Among them the families of Robert ENGLE, Thomas and Henry FRANCIS, John COATES with his sons John and Charles and families, Samuel STEWART and Boaz GRANGER.
All came from New York except the STEWARTS. The COATES family had previously lived in New England and probably some of the others.
The first deaths recorded were those of Mrs. Charles COATES and Mary GRINNELL. The first girl born was Rhoda, daughter of Thomas FRANCIS, the second one Catherine, daughter of John and Ann BEST COATES.
Catherine became Mrs. Joseph TEACHOUT and was early left a widow with four young children whom she reared to maturity with the greatest effort and care. One son, George TEACHOUT, enlisted in the Union army while attending college in Hillsdale, Mich., and was instantly killed in battle. The death of this son nearly broke his mother’s heart, but with Christian fortitude she rallied and was long noted for her tender ministrations to the sick, her hospitality and kindness. She ended her days with her sons James and Abram in Iowa. Her daughter, Mary TEACHOUT (Mrs. Lorenzo TUPPER), is still a resident of Royalton, a useful and much admired woman.
Besides Catherine, John and Ann COATES had several daughters who were counted among the belles of that day. On one occasion a certain young man rode seven miles on horseback to visit one of these girls. Upon his arrival he removed the saddle from the animal and hid it under the porch of the house. While visiting with the young lady, her mischievous brother slipped out and unhitched the horse, which at once started for home.
The young gallant, unmindful of the trick played upon him, prolonged his stay until the “wee sma’ hours,” and was obliged to return on foot through the dense woods carrying on his shoulders the heavy saddle. Needless to add that that courtship was nipped in the bud and opportunity for a similar trick to be played upon him was never given, in that house at least.
Another funny story connected with the same family was of a valuable and much prized calf. One evening, at a gay merry-making in their home, where nearly all the young people of the neighborhood were gathered, one of the party rushed into the house with the announcement that a panther was in the barn yard devouring the calf. The whole company rushed to the rescue armed with everything handy with which to assail the beast, while the household rifle was brought into play. It was fired twice in the direction of the “painter” and then Mr. COATES found only the calf with two bullets through its hide, and quite dead. The story intimates that there had been no panther at all.
Margaret COATES became Mrs. Miller WILCOX and was the mother of several sons, two of whom became quite distinguished. John M., lately deceased, was editor of a popular Cleveland daily newspaper, and Frank N. is a well-known lawyer of the same city.
Eleanor COATES married James WELD, the “Esquire WELD” of this sketch, who later removed to Richfield and with the assistance of his excellent wife advanced the interests of the old Richfield Academy.
Their daughters Charlotte WELD (Mrs. Schuyler OVIATT) and Louise (Mrs. Elijah HAMMOND) live in Cleveland, honored and beloved.
Elizabeth COATES (Mrs. R.C. ELIOTT) died young, leaving several children. One daughter, Cornelia ELIOTT, was long a teacher in Royalton and adjacent towns. Scores of her pupils now living will attest to her worth.
Jane COATES (Mrs. Edward WILCOX) passed her long life in Royalton beloved by all who knew her. Her daughter Eleanor (Mrs. Francis MINER) also resides here in a home where the most generous hospitality ever presides.
Mary Ann COATES never married, but became the good angel of her brothers’ and sister’ families during her useful life of over three score and ten.
Charles COATES married, secondly, Amanda, daughter of John TEACHOUT who moved in some time in the ‘30s. She was noted for her piety and Christian virtues. Her daughter, Clarissa (Mrs. William WILCOX) lives in Cleveland.
John SHEPHERD of Geneva, N.Y., was one of the most remarkable of the early pioneers in that he lived to be 118 years old. In his one-hundredth year he passed through a severe fit of sickness, and afterward built a loom that was long in use among his descendants. The maiden name of his wife is not given, but she had five daughters: Margaret, Mrs. Robert ENGLE; Jane, Mrs. Abner BEALS; Rebecca, Mrs. BURROUGHS; Isabella, Mrs. John MACK; Sarah, Mrs. William GORDON.
Mrs. Robert ENGLE was noted for her kindness and skill in caring for the sick. At one time she was sent for to visit a woman very ill living over two miles distant. There had been a heavy rainstorm and in order to reach the place she had to pass through a swamp. The only way over this was on logs and fallen trees all wet, slimy and slippery. She took off her shoes and stockings, crossed over bare-footed, and thus reached the bedside of her sick friend. She was also one of those many pioneer women who, in the absence of her men folks, chases away a bear from the calf he was attacking. In the darkness of the night she heard the calf piteously bleating its fright.
Mrs. ENGLE’s six daughters were Margarette, Mrs. Azaiah REMINGTON of Bedford; Emily, Mrs. DE LONG of Copley; Adaline, Mrs. Joel LAWRENCE of Berea; Fidelia, Mrs. LAWSON of Los Angeles; Amoret, Mrs. Simeon ENOS and Laura ENGLE of Royalton.
Jane SHEPHERD, Mrs. Abner BEALS came with her husband in 1820 and remained five years, then removed to Parma, Ohio. Mrs. BEAL’s leading characteristic was an unwavering trust in God. She was much given to prayer and believed implicitly that He would answer. Her daughter, Mrs. Julia HODGEMAN of Parma, though well advanced in years, is following closely the footsteps of her mother. She is a model mother, neighbor and friend.
Mrs. Solomon SHERWOOD, Orilla BIGELOW, was a direct descendant of a sister of General Ethan ALLEN, the famous revolutionary hero. Orsemus SHERWOOD, one of her sons, has in his possession some household articles that once belonged to Ethan ALLEN.
Mrs. SHERWOOD had many rare qualities of mind and heart. She was well educated, a fine reader, and a good penman. Esquire WELD, one of the early justices of the peace, partially lost his eyesight for several years, and for two years of that time Mrs. SHERWOOD did all his writing, daily walking for that purpose to and from her home nearly a mile distant from his office.
She was the mother of eight daughters and three sons. The late Judge SHERWOOD of Cleveland of honored memory was her grandson. Her son Oresmus is still living in that city at an advanced age. Two daughters, Mary (Mrs. SPRAGUE) and Elizabeth, the wife of Dr. BAKER, are residents of Berea, Ohio.
Rev. Henry HUDSON, M.D., was for many years a marked character among the pioneers. He was honored and beloved as well. Being both pastor and physician, he was present at births, marriages and deaths. Long years after his own death, old settlers would tell of his comforting ministrations in afflicted households.
His wife equally was noted for her eccentricities as he was for his excellencies. She appears to have been a woman of superior intellectual abilities and acquirements, but her environment was unfavorable to cultivate them. It is said that she would carry on the greatest variety of household work and one and the same time of any known woman: cooking, washing, ironing, spinning, weaving, dyeing, etc., and all of these industries, perhaps in one room.
Mrs. Daniel ANIS (Catherine DARRELL) once gave a tea party at which a number of friends were invited. A large iron tea kettle served first to bake the biscuit, and afterward for the making of the tea. But is recorded that both biscuit and tea were excellent, and the guests had a most enjoyable time.
Lucinda, daughter of Boaz GRANGER came with her parents from New York state in an ox wagon. She was then fifteen years old. The GRANGERS lived for some years in a log house, the chamber floor of which did not extend entirely across the room, but left a space directly over the edge of the fireplace below. The boys, of whom Milton CURTIS (father of J.M. CURTIS of Cleveland) was one, slept in this room and every night before retiring had a frolic. Upon one such occasion, young CURTIS’ trousers were thrown down into the fire and burned up. As they were the only pair he possessed, there was no alternative but to remain all the next day while Lucina and her sister made him a pair out of an old military overcoat.
Lucina became Mrs. Francis BARR and lived to a good old age. She left a family of sons and daughters that were an honor to her and a blessing to the community.
Olive GRANGER, Mrs. John ANIS, yet lives at an advanced age in the home she has occupied for over sixty years. She has been a helpless invalid for several years, tenderly cared for by her daughter Jane. Her sons John and Everett live with her. The whole life of Mrs. ANIS has been marked by ministrations of love, and it must have been of such that the poet Lowell wrote:
|“She doeth little kindnesses|
Which most leave undone of despise,
For naught that sets one heart at ease,
And giveth happiness and peace,
Is low esteemed in her eyes.”
The first marriage in Royalton was that of Asa NORTON and Lovey BUNKER. Esquire J.B. STEWART performing the ceremony. The bride belonged to the family after whom Bunker Hill was named. She must have been a handsome bride for even in old age she was fair to look upon.
During the ‘30s, the TEACHOUT and TOUSLEY families moved in and proved a most valuable accession to the population. These families were foremost in all educational, religious and temperance movements.
Abraham TEACHOUT, Jr., started the first meeting of the latter in the old red school-house at the Center, and it was there that he met his first wife, Julia TOUSLEY. She was a fine looking woman and always a lady. Her son Albert is a highly respected and influential business man of Cleveland. Mr. and Mrs. William TEACHOUT, the latter Lydia TROOP, reside in New York City.
Mrs. James TOUSLEY (Julia GREEN) was remarkable for her thrift and neatness. She was long the town milliner and active in all good works. She lived to be aged and died at the home of one of her children in Brooklyn, Ohio. Her son William TOUSLEY is a Cleveland attorney and a grandson, Charles, is an architect of much promise.
Mrs. William TOUSLEY (Maria BOSTWICK) was a beautiful woman, a perfect lady, dearly beloved of all who knew her. The family lived in a house at the Center, built some time in the ‘40s, and considered quite an aristocratic mansion. Mr. TOUSLEY was a successful business man. Emily TOUSLEY became Mrs. Francis HOWE, and her daughter Maria (Mrs. William TUPPER), who lives in Cleveland, is a lady of superior ability and worth.
At a still later day, a large number of English families settled in Royalton, nearly all of whom proved excellent citizens, thrifty and industrious. Among them were TOMKINS, AKERS, KENDALS, and the families of John and James SCARR. The KENDAL children were very musical and great singers for those days. The daughter of John SCARR, Mrs. Emma SCARR BOOTH, is a Cleveland writer of note. She has written a volume of poems and several novels.
Mary, daughter of John TOMKINS, became Mrs. Abram TEACHOUT, of Shenandoah, Iowa, and is a most excellent woman.
The TUPPER family were well known people of this community. The daughters, Philomela and Leonora, taught school in both Royalton and Parma. The latter married a TEACHOUT and lives in Oberlin.
The former became Mrs. Francis NORTON and died young, leaving two sons, who became honorable and useful citizens of a far western state.
The EGERTON families, several in number, did a thriving lumber business in town. For many years, their wives and daughters were active in church work, and several Cleveland public school teachers are descendants of these families.
Mrs. George CHICKERING was among the early pioneers. She helped her husband clear their farm, and, doubtless, packed the dozen eggs in his hat that were carried in that way to market. The story is that Mr. CHICKERING walked to P.M. WEDDELL’s store in Cleveland, twelve miles distant, with a box of butter in one hand and a pail of eggs in the other. He informed Mr. WEDDELL that he had so many eggs, but when the merchant counted them one dozen was lacking. At his look of inquiry, the farmer made a low bow, and took his hat off which contained the missing number in good condition.
A noticeable addition to Royalton was the very early arrival of the STEWART family 1816. Among the revolutionary soldiers of 1776 whose presence in Ohio stood for patriotism of the loftiest type, was Sergeant Samuel STEWART, a hero of Bunker Hill, of the battle of Bennington and other momentous conflicts for American freedom.
He was the son of Samuel and Alice HUTCHINSON STEWART, born in Londonary, N.H. in 1794 and in his infancy taken to Cohasin, Mass. His father’s farm was divided by a stream of water which to this day is called “Stewarts Brook.” At the close of the war he removed to New York, and again to Vermont and lastly to Royalton, Ohio.
His wife was Elizabeth ABBOTT of Paulet, Vt. Like her husband, she was a born pioneer, possessed of an equal amount of resolution and courage. Not many pioneer women of the Western Reserve came to it with such a record for daring and intrepidity.
At the time of the battle of Bennington in 1771, her parents were living within sound of the firing. Her father and brothers were taking their part in the conflict, and women of the household took refuge in flight. A sister was ill with measles. Hastily yoking the oxen and putting a few valuables in the cart, she bade a slave drive the animals while she harnessed the horses. Placing a bed in the wagon, she helped her feeble mother and sick sister in, while she drove. The road led to within sight of the battlefield and then diverged into a marshy one, deep with mud. The ox cart became mired and stuck fast in it. The slave, doubtless piqued because not allowed to drive the horses, made no effort to assist her. Elizabeth alighted and seizing some rails laid them across the mud, then hitching the horses in front of the oxen, with one long pull the cart was extricated and the party proceeded to safety.
Her daughter, Phoebe, married Isaac ISHAM of Royalton and died leaving no children. Eunice (Mrs. VAUGHN) had a son Samuel S. VAUGHN, state senator of Wisconsin, and left two daughters and a son.
Polly STEWART, the first white child born in Bristol, Vt., married Captain Jehiel SAXTON. She survived her husband and died in the old SAXTON homestead in Cleveland. Her daughter Josephine, who married Col. J.R. AMMON, was a gifted woman, and her grand-daughter, Hattie AMMON COWING, is a wide-awake little woman and a prominent member of the Western Reserve Chapter of the D.A.R.
Mrs. Samuel STEWART also had three sons, Chauncey, John and Samuel.
Lois, daughter of Jonathan BUNKER, was a successful school teacher and possessed of much literary talent. Her sister, Mrs. MORRELL, was a fine scholar and music teacher.
Many lives besides those mentioned should be recorded in this testimonial to the pioneer women of Royalton, but space forbids. It is a large subject to handle in a few pages.
Jane ELIOTT SNOW
Chairman and Historian
Royalton Committee: Mrs. Lorenzo TUPPER, Mrs. Nancy TOUSLEY, Roddie HODGMAN, Orsemus SHERWOOD, Abraham TEACHOUT, Sr.