Greenwich is the southeast township of Huron County. It received its name from the town of Greenwich, Connecticut. West of the center of the township the B. & O. railroad crosses the C. C. & C. and a few rods north runs the Northern Ohio railway. At the junction of these roads the village of Greenwich is situated.
When the C. C. & C. railroad was built, forty-six years ago, the homes of Hiram Townsend, Wm. Carl Sr. and Abram Gifford were the only houses, while the incorporated village now boasts of four churches, a fine graded school with two hundred pupils, five dry goods stores, a large, well-kept hotel, several mills, and two grain houses, and a nearly completed system of water works and electric lights.
As the township was not settled until after the close of the war of 1812, I do not think the life of a settler was ever in danger from Indians, and it is doubtful if an adult was ever in peril from wild beasts.
From Ulster County, N.Y., came Henry Carpenter and his wife, whose maiden name I have been unable to learn. Mrs. Carpenter was the first woman who prepared a meal for her family under their own roof tree in Greenwich. With them came their three children, Henry, David and Sarah (afterward Mrs. B. Huick)
The following spring their son, Adna C. was born, the first white child born in the township. The next October Mrs. Carpenter was left alone with her little children, the husband having died from over-exertion at a house-raising. She afterward married Abraham Mead, of Fitchville, and died in 1825.
Mrs. Ephraim Barker (Hannah Moss) came September, 1818, with her husband and six children. The father and two eldest children came the spring before, built a log cabin, cleared a few acres and planted it. The children remained IN THE LONE CABIN whilst the father went to bring the mother and younger children.
The cows having strayed away, Daniel went to find them, was overtaken by a thunder storm and obliged to stay in the woods all night. The young girl, Alyina, all alone in the cabin, with a fierce storm raging around her, said she could see the eyes of wolves glaring in the bushes in the pitchy darkness intervening between the vivid flashes of lightening.
The family was reunited in their new home September 11th, and the next May the mother died, leaving a baby daughter a few hours old.
A good woman in an adjoining township offered to take the babe and raise it as her own. The father took the little one in his arms and on horseback through the woods rode with her to the foster mother.
The child cried, and, dismounting, he placed her on a bed of dry leaves, and gathering a few light boughs, he set them on fire and warmed some milk for her. A slight noise came to his ears, and, looking around, he saw a large wolf about to make off with the first white girl baby born in Greenwich township. He frightened the wolf away, and the baby, afterward Samantha Booth, lived to old age.
The first couple married in Greenwich was Alyina Barker and David Briggs. Briggs was a great hunter and the care of the large family that soon gathered around his fireplace, devolved largely upon his wife. Upon the advent of the little ones, she sent for a neighbor (Mrs. Luther Mead). When Mrs. Mead arrived she found Mrs. Briggs alone, Briggs on a hunting tour and the children at the neighbor's.
Mrs. Briggs said: "I think I can get along all right"--and she did.
Mrs. Briggs not only helped greatly in raising her younger brothers and sisters, and rearing her own large family, but until the last of her long life she was greatly sought after as a nurse in the families of her neighbors. She died at the home of her brother, Daniel Barker, in Ripley, aged eighty years.
Annis Mead was born in West Chester County, N. Y. She did not change her name when she married, as she became the wife of Luther Mead. In 1830 they came to Greenwich with their two sons and one daughter. Mrs. Mead was a very INTELLECTUAL WOMAN as well as a devoted Christian. She often walked four and a half miles through the woods to church. Good reading and plenty of it was considered a very necessary part of the family supplies.
Upon returning one time from a visit to a sick neighbor, and when entering her doorway, a strange sight met her eyes. It was strewn with charred clap- board and slabs, and the side of the house dripping with loppered milk and peas.
Soon after she left home it was discovered that the house was on fire. The alarm was given. The few neighbors came, but the water supply was very limited. The swill barrel had been filled that morning with loppered milk and peas. Someone suggested using this. The fire was extinguished but a sorry- looking house was the result.
AUNT ANNIS, as she was called, was a ministering angel to the sick; quiet, unobtrusive, yet efficient. Her death occurred in 1885, only one month more and she would have been ninety-three years of age.
Willis R. Smith and wife (Anna Underhill) came in 1824. They were educated people, unused to hardships, and felt somewhat discouraged at their surroundings in the backwoods. But they went to work with a will, and by industry and economy they succeeded in gathering a fine property. Many of the young men in the new country could not write, and at their request, Mr. And Mrs. Smith taught them the art.
Mrs. Smith was at one time invited to visit Mrs. Varney Tearse as the first apples that ever ripened in Greenwich were about fit for use, and the occasion must be celebrated. They decided to bake a pie. The crust was rolled out with a smooth ear of corn, and fitted to the bake kettle, some maple molasses poured over the precious apples, the upper crust added. Then the pie was baked and the woman pronounced it was the most delicious morsel they ever had tasted.
Mrs. Smith long ago passed over to another and a better world. Three of her daughters are respected residents of the village of Greenwich; Miss Amelia, Miss Sarah and Miss Ann, are very hospitable and have a host of friends. They are very fond of flowers and their house plants are the envy of their neighbors while their dooryard is gay with blossoms all through the summer months.
Mrs. Abraham Van Scoy (Polly Knapp) was a wonderful, cheery, little woman married when only seventeen years old; she became the mother of thirteen children. Her early life was one of privation and hardships, yet she was patient and uncomplaining, and in her old age retained her faculties and sunny disposition. She lived to be nearly eighty-seven years old.
MRS. THADEUS FANCHER nee Sally Mead, came to Greenwich with her husband and nine children form Ulster County, N.Y. They were six weeks on the way.
Mrs. Fancher's hands were ever busy with the cares of her own household. Her daughter, Eliza, married Hiram Townsend April 1823, and for fifty years lived upon a farm where the village of Greenwich now stands. She was a very bright, energetic woman and reared her family of six children to be useful, respected men and women. No doubt she often stood in her dooryard in an early day peering through the woods to catch a glimmer of a friendly light in the window of a neighbor far away. Today she could see the dooryard flooded with the mellow light from the beautiful stained-glass windows of the Disciple church. Mrs. Townsend is yet living, at the age of eighty-nine years. Her home is in the city of Cleveland.
Mrs. Joshua Frost (Susan Fisher) was often obliged to stay alone at night, as her husband worked in a mill a long distance from the home. Some nights the wolves would howl around the house until she became so frightened that she would climb to the low loft, and with her baby boy in her arms, sit trembling is the darkness.
Mrs. Mordica Jenny (Isabella Saulsbury??), in common with many of the XXXX pioneer women, was greatly afraid of Indians. As she sat in her cabin one day, with her little ones around her, a shadow fell on the floor. She glanced at the window and saw an Indian who passed around the house toward the door. The large watch-dog lay on the doorstep, and upon seeing the dog, the Indian marched off, greatly to the relief of the frightened family.
Mrs. Squires Kniffin (Sally Callan) came to Greenwich from Ithaca, N. Y. She was the mother of thirteen children, a plump, rosy little woman, ever bright and cheerful. Many times has she grated corn to make mush to fill the hungry little mouths--when it was impossible to reach the distant mill-- until the measure of meal was exhausted.
In the year 1822 came Solomon Doud and wife (Polly Scott) from Cayuga County, N.Y., via Buffalo, then by boat to Cleveland. One of the daughters feared water so much that she had to be carried screaming on board the boat. They located at the center of the township. One day one of the daughters was left alone with the baby. Presently the door opened and to her unspeakable horror, an Indian entered. To his inquiries in broken English she could only shake her head. As he stepped out and closed the door all the horrible stories of Indian massacre she had ever heard flashed through the child's mind. PANIC STRICKEN she snatched her sleeping sister from the cradle, and with her in her arms, crawled through a back window, ran wildly through the woods to a neighbor's where her mother had gone on an errand. As she entered breathless from her wild race, two Indians rode up to the door wishing to sell venison. Recognizing the child, they laughed heartily, and said: "Little squaw 'fraid! Run with papoose!"
Mrs. James Mitchell (Lorana Sutton) deserves honorable mention. She was a woman's nurse, and in her arms many of the children of the early settlers first saw the light. Many a night, called from her bed, she would start out all alone through the woods, wading small streams, with only the light of a torch to guide her on her errand of mercy.
Mrs. Charles Brand, nee Charity Kniffin, was fated to pass through the deep waters of affliction. Soon after reaching the new country her husband left the house in the company with her brother, and in less than two hours was brought back dead, killed by the accidental discharge of his gun.
The gentle Quaker lady was left with a family of little children. She says; "Our house was a mere shelter right in the woods, without door, chimney, hearth or window."
Yet she raised her family to become respected citizens. She lived to a serene old age.
Mrs. Weber D. Horr, nee Nancy Doud, twice journeyed from Cayuga County, N.Y., to this township, coming with her parents in 1822, remaining in the new country ten years, then in company with friends returning to the land of her birth.
In 1834 she came with her husband and six-month-old baby boy, and settled on the farm where they lived for many years. She was a very small, spare woman but had wonderful strength and endurance. Besides doing the work for a family of six, she earned money enough by weaving linen cloth to pay for her first cook stove. After spinning all day, she would sit late at night knitting woolen socks to sell, which with a sack of geese feathers, and a few pounds of butter, would be taken to New Haven, and traded for a few badly needed family supplies.
Jerry and Benjamin Roscoe bought a large tract of land in the new country. Jerry married Celina Sheldon. Benjamin married Laura Dodd. Their father and mother soon came to live near them. Grandma Roscoe's maiden name was "HANNAH BOUGHTEN."
Both the Roscoe wives raised large families. Several of their sons were in the army, but they were more fortunate than many mothers, for they saw them all return.
There are many, many more of the pioneer women of this township who deserve honorable mention, but we can gather nothing concerning them, only that they came, they endured privations and hardships. The most of them brought up large families. Although they have passed away their works live, and to them are due the comforts of civilization we now enjoy.
Mrs. Lottie Horr, Chairman and Historian
Greenwich committee: Miss Sarah Gifford Miss Anna Mead Miss Ann Smith Mrs. Chloe Jenny Mrs. Mary CarlWickham,
Gertrude Van Rensselear, editor, A Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve (Cleveland, OH.: 1896) 653--656.
Transcribed and submitted by Cathi Vannice 01 January 2002