Lake County Ohio GenWeb
From The TELEGRAPH=REPUBLICAN Painesville, Ohio, Thursday Evening, April 2, 1908 and subsequent issues May 5, August 29, September 5, and September 12. This offering was transcribed by Cynthia Turk using the first issue from the Telegraph, and, not finding the subsequent issues, from two (both incomplete) transcriptions found in the Concord Box at Morley Library in Painesville. Because it was done from transcription, most of the "errors" were corrected here.
By A. G. Smith.
Less than four full generations of men have lived and died since upon the lands now occupied by farm and cities and known as the "Western Reserve" flourished an unbroken wilderness of woodland.
We believe it is safe to say that no similar area in this latitude produced a greater variety or more beautiful specimens of valuable timbers than Northern Ohio. Be this as it may, it is quite apparent that our forests are shorn of their ancient glories–and in too many instances have been wantonly despoiled by the merciless ax, and other destructive agencies, until not even a small block of unculled timber of commercial value remains. Indeed, so completely and generally has the earth been robbed of its primeval growth that were it necessary or desirable to restore even the rail fences of seventy-five years ago, the material still standing would be wholly inadequate for the purpose; or if it still could be found within our depleted woodlands, its value in nearly all cases would greatly exceed that of the land it might enclose. The hasty denudation of the earth was a grave mistake on the part of our pioneers. A mistake which seemed never to have been observed or realized until the lapse of half a century or when too late to stay the loss. A reckless zeal seemed to have outrun the better judgment of
There were a good many of him even in those far-away days and his tribe is by no means extinct at the present date.
Remembering however that many of us are lineal descendants of those who once constituted that pioneer cult–the "Ancient Order of Woodmen" in its most practical import and literal meaning, let us preserve in kindly memories as far as possible, some token or tradition of their active lives and labors, not forgetting that they like ourselves, were human; and we all labor in the dark, and see but a little way into the future.
At the dawn of the last century and even before, New England began sending scouts to "spy out" the lands of the "New Connecticut Reserve" and these were followed by largely increasing numbers, especially at the close of the war of 1812-15 when safety from British invasion and Indian outbreaks was fully assured.
Along the rapid streams taking their rise in the highlands in and near the county of Geauga were numerous inviting sites for power-mills and factories and from time to time many and various industries were installed and the waters utilized to furnish power. The age of steam was in its childhood at these early dates and a serviceable water-power lent additional value to the richly timbered lands lying near and saw-mills were erected all along the valleys. But these were by no means the only manufacturing industries that sprang up to meet the increasing needs of the pioneer population –in fact it was the age of
a term now nearly obsolete, but in days past often used by wise men of Congress when discussing the revision of the tariff on imports. At the present time the phrase has little meaning, for the "infant" in many instances has become a stalwart and dictatorial giant, a trust, if you please, and does not hesitate to financially smother and behead every new-born enterprise that is not of his own blood or refuses adoption into his family of commercial pirates. ***
Several years ago an interesting letter written by my father, S. C. Smith, (1802-1896) to his brother, the late Col. Ashbel Smith, who had recently taken honors at Yale–(a classmate of our townsman, the late Dr. H. C. Beardslee) and hung out his shingle in a North Carolina town as physician, was found among his effects and mailed to me after his death in Texas by his executor, the late Dr. Geo. A. Smith. This letter bearing date of 1830 rehearses at some length the beauties and advantages of his newly adopted home in Concord, Geauga county, Ohio. The township name is said to be in patronymic of Concord, N. H. Aside from anything of a personal nature the letter contains, it is a witness to the exceeding slow and expensive operation of the mails of that early period. As an item of general news it notes the irruption of the Mormons into the adjoining township of Kirtland, together with some peculiarities of their belief and practice; and one other item having a more immediate reference to the section of country lying in and about his own locality when he says, "There are twenty-six waterpowers near us and as many more unoccupied." By this it is understood as alluding to the matter of
Of these once busy centers not one remains in active operation and, with few exceptions, not a vestige of stone or stake remains to mark their original locations.
It is worthy of note that the available waters of the above named streams lie almost wholly within the small township of Concord.
Of these historic places it is our purpose to speak. In our endeavor to rescue from total oblivion these fading memories of the past, we rely not wholly upon our own recollection but have received substantial aid from others to whom reference will be made as we proceed.
Big creek, sometimes called West creek, is the main artery through which flow the waters from the highlands lying directly south of us, and on its way northward receives additional volume from three considerable streams on its left or westerly bank and some smaller ones from the east. And after a tortuous journey of many miles is lost in the larger waters of Grand river near the foot of "Moodey Hill," one and a half miles south of Main street. In many instances exact dates are not attempted, and original ownership is also sometimes in doubt; and in such cases we are compelled to adopt statements that are akin to tradition. But to proceed.
Southward on the stage route of sixty years ago are four corners, formerly known as the "Protestant Meeting House," lying just within the county of Geauga as it now is. Eastward a mile, more or less, we descend into the quiet valley of Big Creek at
This quiet nook, sheltered by surrounding hills and shaded by magnificent maples, once boasted two important industries, a well known lumber mill and a stone sawing plant familiarly known as "Old Stone Grit" and at one time operated by Samuel Van Valkenberg.
In its active days the mill and its near-by quarry were somewhat widely known as headquarters for grind stones, cope stones and memorial slabs, etc., and these latter especially, may still be identified in many, if not all the ancestral burying grounds of this and Geauga county. The product of the quarry is a close-grained, gray sandstone, with here and there an extremely hard irony nodule which detracts much from its value.
A mile down the valley the waters were again harnessed to furnish power on the line of the "Old State road at Searl's hollow"–afterward more generally called
Here was once a saw-mill built and operated by Roland Searl, also a small grist mill, both of which have vanished. Mr. Searl also established a kiln and burned lime for the building of the Mormon Temple at Kirtland, using stone from the north bank of the valley–(1832-1833.) There was a tannery and a turning works (1842) for the manufacture of wooden bowls, operated by John C. Way, father of our esteemed townsman, K. F. Way, Esq., and about the same time David Maine built and ran a sawmill a little below the mills at Griswold's Hollow.
On the northern bank are some quite remarkable springs, chief among them are those of Warren Winchell, Esq. These limpid waters, unexcelled for purity, are substantially housed with conveniences for bottling and for many years have been a source of income and are much prized wherever used.
A little to the westward of Mr. Winchell's is a snug little repair shop by the road-side, on land owned by E. P. Brown, and receives power from a twenty-foot over-shot wheel turned by a generous supply of spring water. These two fountains are alike picturesque and profitable and have no duplicate for quantity and purity in the county. To the refreshing ripple of the waters, Mrs. Winchell adds the beauty of many flowers by the road-side–an example worthy of imitation.
A mile or more to the northeast, the stream crosses the "Old Girdled Road," said to have been the first road surveyed in this part of the Reserve by the "Connecticut Land company." This road, leading directly west, intersects the "Old State Road" at "Judd's Corners," once known as "Handy's Tavern" and later on as "Warner's Corners" or as "Warner's Store," a thrifty business plant kept by Daniel Warner, Sr., grandsire of our esteemed townsman, F. G. L. Warner, and Mrs. J. Q. Darrow.
In the earlier days a watering trough fed by springs was installed close by the road, and, while the thirsty team slaked its thirst at the trough, the driver probably fearing tad-poles or typhoid germs in the water, usually repaired to the tavern for something else.
The road continuing to the west crosses Stony Ridge and the Chardon road at "Log-tavern Corners," thence westward over Little Mountain at its crest and still on into South Mentor. Simon Perkins–(afterwards General Perkins), who first came west in 1798, and in 1805 as land agent settled in Warren, is generally referred to as having located and surveyed the road and this belief has substantial confirmation in the fact that the exact site and location of his camp or headquarters is now known to be on the farm of Richard D. Bond, Esq., a hundred rods or so east of Log-tavern Corners.
Mr. Pond relates that many years ago the late venerable George Mitchell, a pioneer resident of Concord township (1817) assured him that he had personal knowledge of its location as already stated, and upon this testimony the almost mythical "Perkins Camp" becomes a historic genesis of our civilization within the red man's haunts along the lake region. It is a sightly place and commands an extensive view of the lake; an ideal spot upon which to erect a monument suitably inscribed. The material is at hand and Mr. Bond would without doubt favor the project in every way. The entire expense would be the skilled labor. What patriotic person or society will plan and promote it, ready to unveil next "4th?"
But this is digressing, and we now return eastward to the valley formerly known as Brown's Hollow, where once stood a saw mill built and owned by John Brown. Both mill and owner have long since gone the way of all the earth. Here Wm. Truax also operated a tannery about the same time. The place is now generally known as "Pease Hollow" taking its present name from an enterprising and esteemed family which located here something over fifty years ago and built up a prosperous business in turning fancy cups and useful wood dishes. It was their custom to obtain concessions and power to run their lathes at state fairs and great expositions and ply their ingenious craft before the eyes of waiting customers and thus their wares found many friends and patrons in many states. Within the last few years the three brothers, one by one, have put by their tools, turned off the rapid belt and, like the singing waters at their door, gone down the valley of life to new industries. Today the place is desolate and we believe has not a single resident. The shop still stands but there is a forbidding lock upon the door, the gate is calked, the wheel hangs silent in the pit, while the imprisoned waters in the race as if waiting for release grow foul and stagnant.
Some eighty rods down the valley a small branch which once turned a mill upon its upper borders, leaps over the shale barriers of the main stream, falling some twenty or more feet, carrying just enough water to give the place a name,
This broad valley was once an important centre of industry. About the year 1830, or perhaps in the twenties, Eliakim Fields established a forge and a Mr. Swift a tool factory here. Swift's axes achieved a wide notoriety and were among the most popular tools of the time. One can hardly realize that this broad valley was once the seat of noisy industries and that these precipitous banks and wooded nooks once echoed to the stroke of heavy power-hammers and the ring and rythm of a real "Anvil Chorus," led by the master workman and his helpers, and that here were pleasant homes, now deserted, forgotten. But the waters flow forever onward, the grass does not forget to creep athwart, the wagon track and the aromatic flag gluts the wayside pool as of yore. Many people love to picnic near these quiet scenes, away from the dust and noise of trade and travel.
(To be continued.)
THE PAINESVILLE TELEGRAPH and TELEGRAPH=REPUBLICAN
Tuesday May 5, 1908
(Second letter on local history by A. G. Smith)
Crossing the lower bridge and along the banks of the creek a short distance northward we reach the well known
This retired place was for many years known and noted for its ingenious specimens of the turners skill and its output of fancy and useful articles, similar to those made by the Pease Brothers as already mentioned, found purchasers in many states. The shops though still standing, have long ceased to be used for their original purpose and are now owned and occupied by Mr. Otis Brown. The dam still remains and the glimmer of its little overflow is seen a short distance up the stream trand by the towering wash-bank to the north.
A hundred rods or more down the road hedged on either side by a thick growth of trees and undergrowth we emerge into the desolate open valley long known as the site of
It lies on the north and south road connecting the old State road at Wm. J. Haskell's place and the plank road, so called, at "Huntoon's Corners" and about midway between the two points. It has always been considered one of the best water powers on the creek, having abundant fall and a safe location for a works. Herman Williams was born in Hanesboro, Mass., (1797) and in early life (1822) came to Ohio and settled in this promising valley, built a carding works, however, was soon after transformed into a grist mill. A saw mill was also built nearby and both mills had the reputation of turning out good and honest products. The flower mill falling gradually into decay a new and commodious structure took its place over sixty years ago.
Not a trace of either of the three remains to tell the story of their former existence, and the place has not an inhabitant and it's utterly unused and unoccupied, except as farm lands. In the winter of 1854, Joe, a son and highly respected young man, met with a most distressing injury which resulted in his death. He had descended into the pit to free the wheel from ice, when the wheel started unexpectedly, crushing him so badly that he died soon after being rescued. To the northward half a mile is Hemlock Run, a fluctuating little stream which crossing the highway goes rattling down the rocky glen and is hidden from view by the dense undergrowth within which sixty years ago the scream of the big gray bobcat made night hideous for the belated footman. The waters of this uncertain stream were once utilized to operate a small wood-sawing works. Upon a pleasant little plateau to the north and west of the old mill site a pre-historic monument known as the
Just why it should be so named we will not presume to guess, for it originally consisted of a large upright boulder some five or six feet high around which was a circle of stone fragments of perhaps twenty feet diameter with no indications of an excavation beneath. From time to time amateur archaeologists have sought to probe the secret of its meaning by digging near and under the boulder, but all to no purpose or result save to destroy the original symmetry. It has been thought by some that it was built to commemorate a hard fought battle and the sacrifice of vanquished prisoners, but we shall never know. Still it has a language and a voice which proclaims the earth is old and other men have lived thereon. So tribes and nations leave a trace and disappear.
About a mile in a direct northwest line and perhaps twice that distance, if we were to follow the windings of the stream, is the famous valley generally known as
This was the seat of several manufacturing enterprises; among them a furnace, a sawmill and a woolen mill or carding works. "Concord furnace" was built soon after the Geauga plant, at "Pepoon's Crossing" in 1825. Its promoters are understood to have been Timothy Rockwell, Homer Higley and Jonathan Stickney. It flourished a number of years and was burned in ’34 or ’35, if we do not mistake. The townships of Madison, Perry and Mentor supplied bog ore not for this place only, but for "Geauga;" "Arcole," the "Blair" and other furnaces.
Charcoal was the only fuel used. This was hauled in great flaring wagon-beds whose capacity was from eighty to one hundred or more bushels. These bulky vehicles are now seldom seen, having disappeared for lack of use. The ore beds are also practically dead, since the ferruginous waters upon which the formation depended are more fully drained away.
The sawmill had a large patronage and at some seasons of the year the valley was literally piled and packed with logs awaiting transformation into lumber.
The late Eber D. Howe, founder of the Painesville Telegraph (1832), moved to this valley in 1838 and began the erection of a woolen mill. About a year afterward he was joined in the enterprise by Mr. Frank Rogers of Vermont and under the firm name "Howe & Rogers" a large and prosperous business was conducted for many years.
The building was a large one standing close to the hill and on the main front was three stories in height. It was fully equipped with the newest appliances and the output was considered "number one," for "shoddy" was not at that date a legitimate compound in the manufacturing of cloths. In those long-ago days, when the mills were in active operation the air was filled with the hum of spindle and the clack and chatter of power looms, the thud of fuller's beams. Every one was busy, there were no "strikes" and time went merrily on. Later on another building was erected and in 1876 and ’07 [sic] was operated by Messrs. E. G. Wetherbee and Addison Drake in the exclusive manufacture of woolen yarns. This factory was run by steam power and the shifts of eight or ten hands were employed and the mill kept busy day and night. This factory like those that preceded it has disappeared and the building now does duty as a barn on Mentor avenue. And so the once enterprising valley again becomes desolate and practically uninhabited.
The valley was first known as "Howe's Hollow" and a little later on it was sometimes called "Liberty Hollow" from the fact that here abolition sentiment found early and earnest advocates. In the forties and fifties it was generally recognized as a station on the "Underground Railroad," a humanitarian oasis where the "Higher law" was advocated and fugitive slaves found sympathy and aid in their efforts to reach Canada, the land of the free. Party politics waxed warm and the bare mention of political interference with the institution of slavery, as it then existed south of "Mason's and Dixon's line." had the effect of a red flag in the face of both parties, and their spleen sometimes found vent in dubbing the place "Nigger Holler."
But the agitation would not "down" and found its inevitable fruitage of blood in the sixties. In the course of some twenty or more years the Howe & Rogers works were sold and were afterward known as Drake's Woolen Mill. In 1865 the factory was destroyed by fire. The sawmill and furnace had served their term and disappeared and the waterpower was permanently abandoned. Crescent Valley
About half a mile below is Crescent Valley a back-ground of steep and wooded hillsides and looking out upon the twinkling stream as it sweeps rather abruptly from the west to the north and the shaded roadway running parallel. It is a pleasant and picturesque nook along the inviting summer drive up or down the valley. Hard by the highway until quite recent years stood a large factory built some time in the forties for the manufacture of revolving hay-rakes by Messrs. Church and Curtiss and operated by them some thirty years more or less.
It has long since fallen into disuse and nothing now remains save a remnant of the foundation. Thousands of rakes were made and sold to farmers of this and adjoining counties and even now some part of one of these labor-saving implements may be seen ornamenting a crippled farm-yard fence or rotting on a rubbish pile. A little distance to the north of the factory site is the old "Church" mansion a spacious building of concrete, once surrounded by thrifty gardens and fruit trees and a center of diversified floral culture; now for many years untenanted, while the placid waters of the pond almost in front, flow leisurely along as of yore until they leap the dam below in a shimmering sheet and, leaving a ribbon of white bubbles, go laughing down their stony bed. The winding canal at the right of the wagon drive that once fed the waters to the mills below have ceased to flow and serve only to moisten vegetable life along its borders and down the drifting autumn leaves. And now we come in full view of
It is believed that this waterpower was in service over a hundred years ago. So far as we are able to learn the original mill was built of logs and was located a little to the east of the present structure and known as "Martin's Mill." In the course of time this was succeeded by a small frame mill and was purchased by Jonathan Stickney after the burning of the Concord furnace. Mr. Stickney added a sawmill and some sixty years ago (1848) he erected the present substantial building.
Samuel Wass (born 1840 - died 1898), whose descendants are well known and respected citizens of our town, was employed by Mr. Stickney for many years as a competent and obliging miller. He was the first one of whom we have nay recollection or account and "Looking Backward" over the vanishing years there comes to mind that pathetic little song by John G. Saxe, "Little Jerry the Miller," the first stanza of which we venture to quote from memory as befitting the early days of the place and its pioneer operators:
"Beneath the hill you may see the mill
Of wasting wood and crumbling stone
The wheel is dripping and clattering still
But Jerry the miller is dead and gone
year after year, early and late,
Alike in summer and winter weather
We pecked the stones and calked the gate
And mill and miller grew old together.
And thus in few words is told the life history of more than one who lived two generations ago when water was the only available power for operating country grist mills. About 1850 Mr. H. S. Fay became an active partner in this milling business and soon after Mr. S. W. Weigel was employed as head miller, a position which, with the exception of some three or four years spent elsewhere, he held for thirty-two years. Meantime Mr. Fay became sole owner of the business. Upon the retirement of Mr. Weigel from active service, Mr. B. L. Stafford took charge and for seventeen consecutive years received and delivered the grists upon the tireless little hand-trucks and dipped the honest toll as others had done before him. Both Mr. Weigel and Mr. Stafford are among the best known and respected citizens of today.
Mr. Fay was a public spirited man and at one time a county commissioner and his sound judgement upon matters in general command respect. At his death, (Dec. 1895) Mr. Stafford purchased the property and continued to operate it until 1906 having sold it the fall before to the Epworth League of Cleveland for a fresh air camp for which it seems an ideal place.
So ends our imperfect history of the most widely known and the oldest industry upon the borders of "Big Creek." The decadence and discontinuance of the water mills and factories along our smaller streams is attributable to several causes-the increasing scarcity of native timber the uncertain water supply, and the adoption of steam power and the diversion of trade and manufacture into larger channels, aided by improved methods and cheap transportation. This ancient center is the last one of any to succumb to the inevitable of the numerous ones that once dotted the banks of the well known streams from the borders of Geauga county to its mouth, and to the sincere regret of many of its former patrons.
Many a team has dumped its load at the mill door and waited for the grist at the hitching rack. And now and then a stalwart lad from miles away, mounted upon the gentle family horse, rides close up and heaves a sigh of relief as he sees his slippery load of sixty or eighty pounds of grain land safely upon the dusty platform. He also "ties up" and waits his turn. Meantime he wonders at the complex array of spouts and hoppers and the steady rumble of the great burr stones. It is all a marvel of mechanism and he can't understand that constant knocking of the bolts up stairs. Perhaps he muses- what an improvement over the primitive way of pounding corn in the hollow of a hard-wood stump, as some of the early pioneers had been compelled to do or go without a dish of samp or johnnycake for breakfast. But the grist is ready and the miller is like other millers, is kind and adjusts the load and the lad mounts and rides homeward through the lengthening shadows as proud as an Arab prince upon his favorite dromedary.
Hundreds of similar incidents have occurred upon these grounds since they were first occupied more than a century ago. These experiences, commonplace and even trivial of themselves, go a great way in satisfying the hungry instincts of human life in more ways than one, for they minister not only to the physical needs but they educate in a way not unlike the kindergarten.
The social nature is stimulated and the lesson of the mutual dependence of men, though a little obscure to the multitude is distinctly taught by them, for the farmer reaps and binds the rumbling mills as quickly grinds, the miller takes the proper toll, and thus the farmer feeds the whole. And so in every calling and department of ily [sic] for themselves, but are compelled to bear some tribute and make concessions to their fellows. This is a fixed principle and can not be put aside or disregarded and in a certain sense men may be said to live upon each other for their interests are common and reciprocal and we flourish or languish together.
There is perhaps good reason for believing that Drake's Hollow should still be known by its original name, "Howe's Hollow," since Mr. Howe, as has been stated, was by far the most prominent in building up its original industries, with all respect to its later occupants.
The same remarks apply with equal force to "Fay's Mill" for Jonathan Stickney was the real promoter and builder of this once prosperous center.
But we proceed: Northward some thirty rods just across the iron bridge stands an ancient domicile known as the first frame house built in the township of Concord. It was the early home of Mr. Stickney and at present is occupied by Peter Sweet, Esq. A beautiful location close by the protecting ledge beneath which one hears the ripple of hastening waters night and day. Still further to the north, another bridge and the roadway winding around the wooded banks joins the "old Plank Road," so called near where the venerable Samuel Rogers for many years stood day by day twisting by hand his long auger in the manufacture of wooden pumps. He was a cheery soul - much respected - and his hearty laugh still rings in the memory of those who knew him. He too, joined "the innumerable throng" many years ago. Across another bridge and we are in
On the right bank of the creek back from the much traveled highway, once stood the stove works and foundry of Rust & Merrill, built in 1840 and continued in business until 1863. The ]sic] Solon Hall, Esq. was also at one time interested in the business. The produce of the enterprise was considered among the best and most reliable. Scarcely a vestige of the works remain and the several operators have long since passed the mortal doorway leaving an honest business record and many friends. This was the last works on the main stream.
Before closing this, our second installment of local history, we wish to correct some statements which appeared in our initial letter of April 2nd.
I am assured that the fall of McMillen's creek at Cascade Hollow is sixty feet. There is also some question as to whether Simon Perkins made the original survey of the "OLD Girdled Road. This, however, does not in any way cast doubt upon the location of his camp which lies upon the road. But it is believed by some that General Anthony Wayne "blazed" the road on his say westward to quell Indian outbreaks in the latter part of the 18th century. It is doubtful if we ever know.
In our next and final number we propose to note the various factories which once adorned the banks of the three principal tributaries on the left side of the main stream, one of which flows into the larger stream just above the former site of the Howe & Rogers woolen mills and the other two being erected a mile or two west of the B.&O. Viaduct, join the main stream near its mouth in Moodey Hollow.
Saturday August 29, 1908
It will be remembered by your readers that our second voyage along the main stream ended at its mouth in "Moodey's Hollow." It now remains to survey the three principal tributaries flowing from the south and west, or such portion of them as lie within the township of Concord.
This stream takes its rise on the northern slope of lands lying within the adjoining township of Chardon and receive its name from a pioneer who at one time lived upon its borders about half a mile west of Concord center. On one of its branches which crosses the "center road" a short distance south of the "Old Girdled Road" at the "Baker schoolhouse" stood snug turning works built by the late Luther Baker some sixty years ago. Mr. Baker was a well known carpenter and builder and many houses and other buildings still remain and bear witness to his mechanical skill and industry. Both he and his shop passed away many years ago.
Half a mile or more northward Mr. Daniel Woodruffe built and operated for a number of years a sawmill on the creek, and later on he erected the first and only stationary steam saw-mill ever built in the township. In this second enterprise he adopted what was considered a novelty if not an uncertain experiment in the use of a "Muley saw," that is to say a vertical saw minus the support of the usual sash to give the proper tension to it.
The building was a model of strength and solidity through the nice adjustment of mortise and tenon, so firmly framed that when the saw was in full operation, scarce a jar or tremor of the floor was noticeable. This mill, like many another, ceased operation as timber became scarce.
A mile or two down the valley near the home of the late Wm. B. Tuttle was the dugway generally known as
This peculiar name had its origin and adoption from the fact that at one time an "ashery" was located on the creek bank near the roadway. Doubtless there are many in these modern days, who will be curious to know what an "Ashery" really is or was, in fact the inquiry has more than once been made within our hearing.
Briefly then, the ashery is an industry to be found only where hard woods abound. Its mission is to utilize the by-product of combustion. The outfit for an "Ashery" is quite simple, often primitive and consists of a long leach or vat made broad at the top and converging to rest within a trough at the bottom. The leach being filled with dry wood ashes, water is allowed to slowly percolate through the mass usually containing several wagon loads, more or less, and flows in amber colored rills into the large cauldrons set in an arch in which a hot and continuous fire is maintained until evaporation is complete, leaving a dark and caustic residuum commonly known as black salts. In this form it is simply "concentrated lye." With continued heat and further manipulation with an iron "spud" it takes on the appearance of molten metal and having undergone a baking process it gradually assumes a lighter color and is then known as pearlash or saleratus, a strong alkaline substance used in cooking but now superceded by "baking soda." Every active "ashery" had one or more large wagons regularly on the road gathering ashes at the domestic hearth or from newly cleared and burned fallows. Each wagon carried a generous basket in which to measure its purchases and the "ash peddler" was never accused of taking short measures. His periodical calls were always of interest to the little folks and when having completed his load he enters the house with his big tin trunk and displays its contents consisting of needles, pins, thread, steel, thimbles, wooden pocket combs and other household necessities from which attractive assortment the good housewife was expected to select her dues (for no money was offered.) Many a childish want found earnest expression and claim.
The product of the "Ashery" always commanded cash, and many a payment on the primitive home, or the taxes thereon was earned by patient and persistent labor in one of these ramshackle industries. With the disappearance of timber the "Ashery" became extinct, and it is not at all surprising that many of the present generation have no knowledge of it.
In those early times, when both money and market facilities were scarcely known, if the household supply of saleratus became exhausted the ashes of a handful of corncobs were sometimes made to do duty in its stead until a further supply could be obtained.
It is related that at one time a load of freshly lime burned from the kilns at "Searl's Hollow" for the building of the Temple at Kirtland (1832-34) in fording the creek at this place was chemically fired by the unusually high water.
A few years later Wm. B. Tuttle was awarded a contract for the erection of a bridge across the stream at this point.
Less than a half mile to the north Frank Horton, an enterprising manufacturer of hay forks and farm implements, was about to build a power shop to meet the increasing demand for his goods but he was taken suddenly ill and died in 1839, and the project was dropped.
Not far from the proposed site, the "Ellison" pours its floods into "Kellogg Creek" and here loses its further identity and name. Not far from the junction of the two streams Erastus Merrill, who formerly owned the large and valuable estate now known as "Clover Dale farm," built and operated a saw-mill. Mr. Merrill was somewhat widely known and often quoted as among our most intelligent and successful farmers.
About midway between the mill just named and the B. & O. viaduct David L. French had a saw-mill and carding works and in 1832 advertised in the Painesville Telegraph (then a small weekly) "Cloth-dressing and fast colors at his place on Johnnycake Ridge." In after years Mr. French sometimes pettifogged suits in justice's court. In the same year and the same paper S. Mathews offers 12,000 acres of land lying in Concord, Perry and Mentor townships at $2.00 to $8.00 per acre! Some of these lands have greatly enhanced in value since the day of the "forest primeval" but his is history, not news. And we follow the stream downward to the Severance farm. There are also some vague and uncertain traditions of another saw-mill just below Mr. French's plant.
(To be continued)
Saturday, September 5, 1908
(Continued from August 29)
There once existed on these banks a large "Ashery" operated by Eilah French and still later by Joseph Sedgebeer. The highway bridge just below was the scene of a distressing accident on the night of June 10th, 1843, when as the four-horse stage coach and a number of passengers were crossing, the whole were precipitated into the stream some twenty feet below by the collapse of rotten timbers and resulting in the immediate death of a child and a few days afterwards of its mother, Mrs. Finley McGrew, who with her husband and child were among the passengers.
The late Frank Bryant was driving at the time and escaped with a broken leg, while the rest of the number were more or less injured. The disaster occurred during a heavy rain and thunderstorm.
To the north of the bridge a tannery once flourished, built and operated by William Howe, the date of its building is obscure, but probably eighty-five years ago. The place it once occupied is beneath the "dump" of the B. & O. Viaduct, and its remains of half a century ago are as effectually buried as the bones of Lord Nelson at St. Paul's in London.
The B.& O. Viaduct, built some sixty years ago, by the Painesville & Hudson R.R. Co. Is often pointed out as a fine example of solid and graceful bridge architecture. Originally intended for a single track narrow gauge road, it has in recent years been changed to accommodate cars of standard gauge, and many heavy trains of ore and coal pass over its lofty arches daily.
Thirty or forty rods below the viaduct a waterworks pumping station was built in 1882 and for some three years was operated to supply our city with clean and wholesome water from a stream of doubtful flow and still more doubtful quality.
It was a silly expedient and though it may have filled the mains with silt and typhoid germs it did not "fill the bill." Innocent wells were condemned as microbic and ordered closed albeit their waters were harmless so far as analyzed and it is quite within reason to suppose that saloons flourished as a result. In 1890-91 Lake Erie was discovered and the water supply from the source has been and still is fairly satisfactory.
The most picturesque and refreshing nook near the county seat is the well-known
lying in a deep recess or amphitheater, surrounded by wooded hillsides, the whole occupying several acres. The lakelet is fed by perennial springs, the waters of which drop over the shale rock some twenty feet or more into the creek below. Many years ago it was known as "Eaton's pond" and was stocked with fish by its owner, Mr. Eaton, who at that time kept a popular tavern on the road above.
It would seem he was a pioneer in the rearing of fish and took much pains in caring for them. It was said his finny friends knew his voice and came at his call for their daily rations. In the course of years Mr. John Paige acquired the property and built a small repair and machine shop close upon the verge of the precipice, utilizing the waters for driving an overshot wheel of large diameter hung close to the edge. Some forty years ago, Mr. Charles Leonard became a partner of Mr. Paige in the manufacture of grains cradles but the works were eventually destroyed by fire and in the loss of its only industry, the secluded little valley was given up to wild and watery growths until the late Major Cheney of the Severance household, a man who loved and appreciated the beautiful in both Nature and art, spent much time and labor in grading the borders of the lakelet, planning pleasant walks and planting the soft soil of diminutive islands with water- loving flowers. Many a passer-by has halted on the highway above, seeking vainly to penetrate its umbrageous depths at a glance but seeing only a glimmer of silver reflected by the still waters through the trees' tops. Below the little factory just described, the waters of the creek go unharnessed to their outlet near Grand river.
has its rise south of the "Old Girdled road" and mainly from springs which flow from the high sandstone ridge between the "Chardon road" westward to the "Center road."
This clean little stream boasts no "Stormy banks' as sung from the Hymnal and was not named in honor of the famed river of the Orient, as might be inferred, but simply flows to the memory of one Tom Jordon, a very early pioneer who settled near it. It has been known by other names such as "Morse Creek," "Winchell Creek," etc. but none seems so appropriate as its first.
A short distance from the crossing of the ways long known as "Log tavern corners," but in more modern days as the "Halfway House" once stood a distillery operated by James Boyle. It is not quite certain however, that he was the builder of it.
The series of years say from 1830 to 1850 seems to have been particularly prolific of taverns and country stores. It has been said that at one time there was quite as much business activity, barring merchandising in "Howe's Hollow" as in the village of Painesville. In the township of Concord with which we are now dealing, there was both a store and tavern at "Wilson's Corners." The former has for many years been utilized as a barn on the farm of the late David Burr, half a mile south of "The Corners" and the latter has been transformed into a grand an commodious residence, the farm home of F. H. Murray, Esq., president of First National Bank of this city.
More recently Roswell Burr, lately deceased, kept a small store near by.
The "Concord Furnace hollow," so-called prior to 1838, had no hotel, but in its stead a "boarding house" which afterwards became the home of Hawley Drake, Esq., lately deceased, and directly across the wagon road at the south approach to the bridge, the furnace company operated a general store, believed to have been discontinued soon after the destruction of the furnace in ’35.
About the year ’38 or ’40 the place gradually took on the name of Howe's Hollow, which is thought to be historically appropriate and should be perpetuated.
A tavern was also projected on the "Center road" near the farm and former home of our townsman, Robert Corlett, Esq., but was subsequently erected on the Chardon road and became the home of Edw. P. Norton who died fifty years ago in Illinois.
There was for many years a tavern at "Judd's Corners" as before noted, at which time the place was known as "Warners Corners," or Warner's store" owned and managed by Daniel Warner, Sr.
"Log Tavern" probably ante-dates all the other hostelries named and some sixty years ago there also stood near the corners a small shop bearing a sign which announced "Grocerys and vitlin!" albeit there was a school house not twenty rods away and phonetics had no footing with "ye Pedagogue" of the day. Some two miles west on the "Girdled road" as it then ran, was the "Reynolds' Tavern" or "Mountain House," located close to the cliff at the north and having a magnificent outlook covering many miles of both land and lake. This however, was rather a pleasure resort than a resting place for the emigrant.
Since then, the "tavern" has been removed and is now succeeded by the "Pine crest hotel" and a portion of the former road to the east also has been discontinued. It will thus be seen that at one time or another not less than five stores had an existence within the township lines, in addition to the "taverns."
Saturday, September 12, 1908
The distillery operated by James Boyle was suddenly abandoned about 1840 and its owner is said to have disappeared between two days.
A half mile farther west was an "Ashery" run by "Jimmy" Wilson. Both of these were located upon the head waters of "Jordan creek," which descends rapidly through a narrow channel and again appears and crosses the stage road near
This is still an old landmark though in modern days the building was greatly enlarged and for the last fifty years more or less, it has been devoted to other than its original use. I am kindly permitted by our well known townsman, Mr. George Morse to quote from several letters, written by his grandfather, Jacob Morse, Sr., in 1817. Soon after his coming into the then western wilderness. In these letters to his relatives and family whom he had left behind at Providence, R. I. but were soon to follow him, he recounts the cost of many things, the labors and many hardships incident to pioneer life and there is something almost pathetic in his solicitude for the welfare of his family whom he so longs to see, and he writes explicit details of how and when to make the slow journey to the home he is preparing for their reception. He tells them, corn is worth one dollar, wheat two dollars, iron fifteen to twenty cents per pound and nails thirty cents. Pork ten cents and beef five cents per pound, and woolen cloth three dollars a yard.
He estimated the cost of the journey at $70.00 to $80.00 and even at that rate one must for most part furnish his own means of conveyance. Game was abundant and to quote a line or two, "The woods here are full of wild creatures bear, deer, elk, which are as big as an ox, though not plenty."
He also says there is a saw-mill within 80 rods of his land. This was located above the present wagon road and was operated by an undershot or flutter wheel.
A half mile down the creek was the saw-mill and turning works of E. P. Norton, built in the forties. Its product was heavy ship fenders and hand spikes, belaying pins, broom handles, wagon hubs, etc., most of which found a market in Buffalo by vessel.
Adjoining the above works an addition was built some sixty years ago and devoted to the manufacture of hay and manure forks in which humble scribe bore a hand with W. W. Norton under the firm name of "Smith & Norton."
Three years later the firm was dissolved by mutual consent and the business was continued only a short time by Mr. Norton.
About this time the voice saying, "Go West young man," grew peremptory and the once noisy lathes and hammers became forever silent and the works deserted.
A half mile below was a shingle mill run by water. This also has disappeared.
Just below the bridge that spans the creek on the "State road" there were at least five industries built at different dates, one of which was operated eighty years ago by Asa Mallory in the making of buttons.
Occasionally a full suit of "sheep's gray" cloth, unsheared and without nap or other finish, made to order was worn and when fully decorated with bone buttons, big and little, a man might well consider himself ready for war as well as winter weather. The button business was, however, a short-lived one and ceased suddenly upon the disappearance of its owner. But the same works were continued as a cabinet shop by a very worthy citizen familiarly known as "Father Hazen," and for a number of years the country side near and about depended upon him to make the plain burial casket or coffin as occasion might demand.
The outfit of the undertaker of those half-forgotten days was exceedingly simple, consisting chiefly of a few hand-made shrouds, and a bier upon which to bear the mortal tenement or if the distance to the burial place was too great, a one-horse wagon served in the place of the elegant modern hearse. The religious services were usually, if not always, held at the church or school-house and consisted in the main of a gloomy doctrinal sermon upon the certainty of death, as a just punishment for "original sin" and the futile hope of the "unregenerated Man" however good and pure his life may have been. These narrow views, however, have now largely mingled with the dust and decay of those who once taught them.
On the left side of the stream nearly opposite the turning works stood the most noticeable industry of the group, a two-story woolen works built by the brothers, Ansel and Orson Wilson. This was operated at one time by a Mr. Merrill. Forty rods further down the stream the same parties also built a saw-mill which was at one time operated by Daniel Woodruffe, Esq. Nearby, it is said there was a distillery of which, however, we have no definite account. This despised industry seems to have been regarded as almost necessary in the settlement of the country, to furnish a fair and ready market for the increasing crops of grain. At least that was the usual excuse or explanation while the fiery product of the "worm" was in general demand at from one to two "York shillings" per gallon until "Uncle Sam" recognized a grand opportunity to reap a rich revenue from its sale, became the chief stockholder in the business and boosted prices amazingly, but the multitude is still thirsty and the price is paid.
Midway between the mills already mentioned stood a cider mill run by horse-power.
About the time this favorable nook was first occupied for business, certain spurious coins (approved Spanish imitations) appeared and were supposed to have their origin nearby, though the "artist's" name was only hinted as far as we ever knew. Such money-making schemes sprang up in several locations and the output gave birth to the newly coined word "Bogus" which first found printed utterance in the Painesville Telegraph while under the management of its founder (1822) the late Eber D. Howe, and has been fully adopted by the modern dictionaries as a lawful "Americanism" expression of a counterfeit or imitation of the genuine.
A half mile down the deep and wooded ravine, near where the stream enters "Big Creek," Mr. John P. Oviatt and his sons built and operated for several years in the "forties" a small power works for the manufacture of hay and manure forks. Afterwards, as increasing business demanded more room and better facilities a much larger factory was erected at "Big Falls" some thirty rods farther up the stream. This was undoubtedly one of the largest and best equipped works of its time. A finely built water wheel thirty feet in diameter drove saws and lathes while several rapid hammers filled the otherwise quiet glen with the daily echoes of industry.
A short time before the war of ’61 the works were practically abandoned for the more promising life on the prairies of Iowa.
After several years of idleness the works were converted into a chair factory but this enterprise did not prove a lasting one and though the building still stands and the diminishing waters still flow down the gorge, the whole is given up to solitude and decay. Seventy-five years ago "Big Falls" were nearly perpendicular, a sheer fall of over thirty feet, but are becoming more and more sloping since the average flow of water is less than formerly and the shale rock being more frequently exposed to atmospheric action is slowly disintegrating. Still the place is not without interest and has been the scene of numerous picnic gatherings.
Directly west from the "Falls" some 80 rods nearer the highway once stood a small red school house closely backed by the original forest of pines and oak and like most of those who taught or attended within its narrow precincts it no longer lives save as "a tale that is told." It was organized as a high school by the combined efforts of the citizens and its curriculum embraced not only the common English branches but the Latin and Greek classica and the higher mathematics and to some extent the use of language and oratory, and we do not quite forget how on "speaking days" we were expected to forego all diffidence and standing before our fellow sufferers repeat the stirring sentiments of Patrick Henry, Robert Emmet, Sir. Walter Scott or some selection from the old Rhetorical Reader. Ah! Those were halcyon days, full of youthful hopes and budding aspirations. And even now I seem to hear the echo of merry voices in the lusty shout at close of school days each to take up a "post graduate" course in the severer school of everyday life, some to plow and plant and some to ply mechanic arts, others to adopt vocations suited to taste and circumstances.
Of the entire list of pupils numbering perhaps a hundred or more who received instructions within the walls of this modest academy, from its inauguration about 1840 to the close, some seven or eight years later, we are unable to name a half dozen who survive to sound praises to those "good old days of yore."
And now in summing up these historical fragments, gathering chiefly in several imaginary voyages along the water-courses lying within the "staid old township of Concord," and naming some fifty mechanical and chemical industries that once made merry music along their now desolate banks, and having consigned our little cargo of reminiscences to the "Art Preservative," we have moored our humble Caravel, without further engagement in full assurance that our several articles under the general head of "Big Creek and its Tributaries" are not only approved but appreciated by a large number of readers, and we would say to those interested, place them in your scrap-book for other generations, remembering that, however simple or common-place the various items may now seem, all history is built on human experiences and grows and thrives only as the years recede. In our last letter the name of "Daniel I. French" by some oversight was made to read "David." Also name of Williams Howe (observe the letter S) instead of the usual name William as printed. Mr. Howe who built and operated the tannery, the site of which as before stated is beneath the "dump" at the north approach to the B. &. O. Viaduct, crossing Kellogg creek, was a brother of the late Eber D. Howe and uncle of Mrs. Minerva Rogers of West Jackson street, this city.
Then again Edward P. Norton should read Eden P. Norton. In correcting these errors of print we are disposed to "beg pardon' of the compositor for "copy" is not always faultless. Aside from this, we believe both names and dates contained in our several letters are substantially correct.
The condition of public highways is frequently cited as an index of the civilization that builds and controls them, and admitting they have been greatly improved throughout the township within the past generation are now in good general repair, having official attention and care throughout the year, they are much in need of proper fingerboards to guide the stranger whether he travels for business or pleasure and we respectfully suggest to the township authorities that a series of what may be termed monumental signboards bearing the true name of half-forgotten localities would add much of interest to its picturesque drives along and through its many noteworthy valleys and "corners." A small outlay would declare to the traveler that though its once numerous mechanical industries have disappeared, the township still lives and keeps abreast the times.
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Last updated 1 Jun 2010
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