Lake County Ohio GenWeb

General Eli Bond

From The Painesville Telegraph, Painesville, Ohio, April 19, 1860, "Sketches of the Pioneers No. 7," and reprinted in the November 1983 "LakeLines," the newsletter of the Lake County Genealogical Society.

General Eli Bond, one of the early settlers of Ohio, was the son of Captain Thomas Bond of Brookfield, Worcester Co., Mass. He was born March 18, 1782, and resided in Brookfield until the age of 21, when he left his native State and journeyed on horse back to Painesville, Ohio -- carrying his clothing and lunch in his saddle bags - often camping out nights, the earth for a bed and the canopy of heaven for a covering. He, with his father and brother, owned a large tract of land in what was then Bondstown, (now Hampden) and township adjoining. Doct. Solomon Bond, a cousin of his, came here at the same time. He also had a large tact of land in the Western Reserve.

General Bond had the agency and found purchasers for the land, or a part of it, and went back to Mass., returning again in 1805, bringing with him a few Dry Goods, and opened the first Dry Goods store in Painesville. The people at that time made their own clothing, of Flax and Wool of their own raising; occasionally there would be a wedding, and then Ribbons, Muslins, and finery Dry Goods were in demand. His customers extended 20 or 30 miles. About this time, Mr. Bond purchased a farm, a part of what was then called the Walworth tract, east of the village of Painesville; a part of which is now owned by Mr. Alkin and heirs. He also purchased many village lots, then called the Opening or Champion village, now Painesville. He owned the lots on the North side of Main street, from the corner of State street to St. Clair,- built a dwelling house on the corner where S.T. Ladd's store now stands, - also a Brick store adjoining, in which building the PAINESVILLE TELEGRAPH was first published by E. D. Howe. The dwelling house was removed many years since, and now occupied by Henry Williams. Mr. Bond met with many heavy losses by trusting dishonest men, he being of a kind and generous nature himself, and of strict integrity, was disposed to think well of others. He lost many thousands by endorsing for men who proved themselves rogues and bankrupts. June, 1815, Mr. Bond was elected sheriff of Geauga County; re-elected in Nov. 1816, and held the office four years, - James R. Ford being his successor. While Ford held the office, Ben Wright was hung, the first murder and execution in the county. Limping Ben, as he was called, - previous to his killing Warner, - fell into the river; Mr. Bond being near by, resued him from drowning, and remarked to Ben that he had a very narrow escape, he replied: "Yes, General, but a man who is born to be hung will never be drowned," little thinking at the time it would prove true in his case. Mr. Bond was at the trial and flogging of Meeker. We have often heard him relate how Meeker after the flogging turned to the sheriff, Joel Paine, and thanked him for treating him so much like a gentleman. He was also present at the trial and execution of the Indian at Cleveland, who was hung for killing a white man. He and his wife were at Capt. Skinner's social party, and witnessed the accident of the choking of the Captain by swallowing a chicken's heart, mentioned in Pioneer Sketches, No. 6.

General Bond took an active part in the War of 1812. He was commissary under Gen. Harrison of the North Western Army, and many a thrilling anecdote have we heard him relate of the hairbreadth escapes from being massacred by the Indians and others. Once, while out buying provisions for the army, stoppig at a tavern over night, had his pistols plugged up; but for the timely discovery he would undoubtedly have been murdered. There was ten miles of woods; no settlers in that distance; he had proceeded on his way a few miles when he stopped his horse to light his pipe, and was obliged to use the flint on his pistols to obtain fire, when he discovered they were plugged; he soon set them right and started on; had not proceeded far before a man rushed from the thicket, caught hold of his horse and demanded his money; instead of giving him his money he gave him a bullet, which caused him to release his hold from the bridle. Mr. Bond put spurs to his horse and got through safe. On another occasion he had a narrow escape. He stopped at Fort Meigs over night, and turned his horse out to pasture on the opposite side of the river, there being a family living there by the name of Greer. In the morning, himself and Major Frederick Fally went over the river for their horses. Just as he was putting the bridle on his horse, he was apprised of Indians being near, looked and saw a dozen or more; he then left his horse and secreted himself in the bushes near the river; while secreted he saw the Indians kill and scalp the Greer family, five in number. Major Fally fled to the river, the Indians pursuing him; he sprang into the river and swam acorss, not without two bullet holes through his hat, and found safety in the fort.

The Indians soon left and went their way. Mr. Bond left his hiding place, found his horse, mounted him and swam the river, (Major Fally's horse following) went to the Fort and soon had a scouting party out, killed two and took ten Indian prisoners. Again he was on his way to Detroit with a drove of cattle for the army, when he was apprised of the Indians being in pursuit by the appearance of his horse, who, Mr. Bond said would smell an Indian some distance off. They had put the cattle in a pasture for the night, and staying by them camping on the gorund, with his saddle for a pillow. His horse gave the alarm, Mr. Bond put his ear to the ground and distinctly heard the Indians' horses hoofs tramping on the rocks in close pursuit. Immediately their horses mouths were tied up with their halters to prevent them from neighing or making noise. One old stag was also served in the same way, he being the only one of the drove but what had laid down. The Indians passed by, and went to a camp where they found whiskey, all got intoxicated, and he passed by them with his cattle while they lay in a drunken sleep.

The next day while near their place of rendezvous they were apprised of the fact that they were all prisoners, - General Hull having surrendered all up to the British. This surrender of Hull's, Mr. Bond always denounced as a piece of cowardice and uncalled for on the part of Hull, and a disgrace to the commander. In 1815 he was elected quarter master of the 1st Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Division of Ohio Militia; 1816 elected Col.; 1818 received commission as Major Gen. (of 9th division), from Allen Trimble, Governor of Ohio. This commission and office he held until his death, in 1830.

In 1814 Mr. Bond married Miss Sarah E., daughter of Deacon Pomeroy, of Hampden. Mr. Pomeroy was one of the Pioneers who came to Ohio in 1808, a man of strict religious principles; he performed the journey with teams, driving a few cattle for his own use; was six weeks on the way, always put up every Saturday night; on the Sabbath held religious worship, such as reading the scriptures, a sermon, and singing. There were several families in company with him, who left Mass. the same day, but none of them lay by on the Sabbath; the consequence was, their teams gave out for the want of rest, their families were fatigued and always invariably were overtaken by Mr. Pomeroy about the middle of the week, whose teams and cattle were in good condition; thus proving the necessity of resting from our labor one day in seven.

At Concord 1808 there were a few Indians; one of them had been out hunting, shot a deer and hung it upon a tree, and then went looking for more game; on his return the Indian found the deer had been taken down and carried off. The Indian came to the white settlement at Painsville, called upon Gen. Bond and said to him, that he wanted to find a white man who was a short man, had a short gun, and bobtail dog, for such a man had stolen a deer that he had shot and hung up on a tree. The General asked the Indian how he knew that this was the man, and he said he was a white man because when he walked he could see from the prints of his feet in the snow that he turned his toes out; that he was a short man, because he was obliged to get a log to stand on to take the deer down; that he had a bobtail dog, because he saw this where the dog sat down in the snow, that he had a short gun because he set it up against the tree, and left a mark just at the top of the gun. The Gen. said walk with me. They went to one Tim Adams' shanty, a shoemaker, hearing the above description, and there found the deer. Tim was made to take the stolen deer to Concord, and give the Indian a bottle of good old whiskey.

In 1828, Mr. Bond built a house on his farm over the river, removed thither with his family, died March 18th, 1830, leaving a wife and six children. The only surviving daughter, Mrs. Asa Childs, is living in Painesville. His widow resides in Cleveland, with her son, T. N. Bond.

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Last updated 28 Apr 2003

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