Lake County Ohio GenWeb
From The Painesville Telegraph,Painesville, Ohio, November 17, 1859, "Sketches of the Pioneers No. 1," and reprinted in the December 1981 "LakeLines," the newsleter of the Lake County Genealogical Society.
The traits and characteristics that distinguish the man, who, as a Pioneer, goes before the tide of immigration, and the march of civiliation, improvement, home comforts, and refined society, are at once marked, peculiar and important, in comparison with the ordinary qualities and endowments of men. They are of a nature that stand out in striking distinctness, and are possessed by few. A common man, with the ordinary traits of his race, cannot be the faithful pioneer of intelligent, refined, social life. The moral courage, the determined purpose, the power of endurance, the unremitting effort and toil, give the true pioneer a nobility of nature that is peculiar to his class. no incident or circumstance must discourage him - no privation or obstacle turn him back - no dangers cause him to relinquish his designs. In an eminent degree, Gen. EDWARD PAINE, the subject of this sketch, may be said to have possessed these qualities. He was not merely a companion of a Pioneer band, but he was the original planning personage of the first company of settlers that came into the town of Painesville - thus making himself its main support and instrument of success. His will, his courage, carried the enterprise into effect, and crowned it with a prosperous termination.
Gen. PAINE was born in Bolton, Tolland Co., Conn., in the year 1746. Of his early life but few facts remain. For a pursuit by which to earn a livelihood, he became master of the art of Blacksmithing. How far he made it his business, is matter that has not come down to the present. That patriotic feelings excited him to action, is a matter of record; and he was one of those who fought for and secured a new county with a government of its own establishment, and one which has vouchsafed to this land almost countless pleasant homes and happy firesides, with all their blessings super-added. In the Revolutionary War he held the post of Captain, over a company of his fellow men, who bore the designation of "Silver Grays." For this service his counrty gave him a pension, which he enjoyed for several years prior to the close of his life.
From Bolton, at a very early day, he moved to the State of New York, at some point on the Susquehanna River. Here he made sundry improvements, among which was a grist mill. From this point he again removed to Aurora, a town of considerable note on the east shore of Cayuga Lake. Military affairs at this period were in their glory and their pride, and our subject was chosen Brigadier-General of the Militia.
Such was the respect and esteem in which Gen. P. was held by his fellow citizens in Aurora and vicinity - such was his character as a man of mental and moral worth, that he was by their partiality chosen to represent their wishes in the Legislature for several sessions.
But Gen. PAINE was a man well calculated to carry forward enterprises which, from their nature, would task the courage, perseverance, and hardihood of the undertaker, more than those connected with the civilized portions of the country. In the Fall of 1796 he conceived the project of making an excursion into the Western wilds of Ohio, for the purpose of trading with the Indians. Accordingly, he and his oldest son, EDWARD PAINE, Jr., fitting themselves out with the needed articles of traffic, and with pack horses, started out on their journey of trials, privations and sufferings. At Buffalo they pruchased a sail boat, disposed of their horses, stowed away their goods in the little boat, and commenced - to say the best that can be said for it - a perilous voyage. Coasting the lake as fast as the winds and waves would carry them, they at length reached the mouth of Cuyahoga River, and landing, fixed upon that point as one favorable for the purposes of the journey. Here they found only two white persons - Job Stiles and his wife - with an unbroken wilderness for any extent on every side, ranged by its untamed red men. After arranging matters, Gen. PAINE left the son to carry out the plan of the journey, whilst he started on foot, and alone, to return through the pathless woods to his home and the abode of civilization. Of the incidents of that journey, none are preserved to this day. But the region about Grand River struck his fancy, which ripened eventually into a desire to make a portion of it his own property, and to establish thereon his final home. In the Spring following his son returned to Cayuga, and in 1798, he went to Connecticut, and purchased of Henry C. Huntington, in tract No. 3, in what afterwards, in honor of its first settler, was called Painesville, one thousand acres of land.
The next thing in order was the removal of his family to these wilds which he had chosen for his future home. Through his influence Gen. P. secured a company to go with him as settlers. Among this party were JOHN MILLER, Judge JOHN WALWORTH, ELEAZER PAINE, JEDEDIAH BEARD and JOEL PAINE, who were heads of families - the whole company numbering 66*
They left Aurora on the 5th of March, 1800, with sleighs, intending to take the ice at Buffalo, and travel on that to Grand River; but, at Cattaraugus, 30 miles West of Buffalo, the ice in the Lake failed them. Here their troubles were greatly augmented. To travel by land was impossible; and their only course was to stop until the Spring should give them a clear Lake and calmer weather by which to make their place of destination. The work of raising some log huts was dispatched as soon as possible, and the families moved in as comfortably as their rude habitations would permit. This being done, several of the men drove on their stock, in March, and went to work to prepare for the coming of their families left behind them. The latter event did not take place until the 1st of May. As one of the misfortunes of the delay at Cattaraugus, should be mentioned the loss of a valuable horse and several head of cattle, from eating rushes; and this was a sad one, inasmuch as the party had no more, of either cattle or horses, than were needed to carry on the operations of the ensuing Summer.
Gen. P. and his little colony lost no time after their arrival. On the interval, or bottom land, the Indians had made some improvements, and had grown some patches of corn, and these being unoccupied, the party at the earliest seed time planted these cleared grounds to corn, potatoes, and garden vegetables; and at an early time in the Summer, the settlers had a abundance of the latter articles, and in the Fall a fine crop of corn.
Painesville, as it may already be inferred, took its name from Gen. PAINE. He was elected to the Territorial Legislature of Ohio twice. He was one of the enterprising, influential men of the Northern part of the State. He lived to see the marvelous changes that take place in a country during a period of forty years, when inhabited by the representatives of the indomitable Yankee Nation. He "passed down to the grave" at the green old age of 95 years and 11 months, the 28th of August 1841. The old homestead, on the bottoms mostly, of Grand River, still retains its name of "Paine Farm;" and in all probablility will retain that designation in succeeding times, thus perpetuating the memory of the Pioneer of Painesville, whose deed, influsence, and example, "still lives" to bless his kind.
* Among the 66 comprising this party were BENJ. SOTLE, Carpenter; ISAAC LANE, Shoemaker; CHESTER ELLSWORTH, Work-hand.
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