Lake County Ohio GenWeb
Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.
On the morning of the 5th of July, two boats put back to Fort Erie for some supplies which had been left there, while the surveyors began preparations for the field. On the following day the Indians, who naturally liked pow-wows, and to whom a party of settlers was a curiosity, asked for another council. Both sides were in a happy mood. The Indians made speeches full of praise to General Cleaveland, and Paqua presented him with a pipe of peace. This pipe is still in the possession of the family. Although it is hard for a New Englander to "roll out honied words," still the general did the best he could, and made up his deficiency by flattery and the giving of presents. He gave them a string of wampum, silver trinkets, besides twenty dollars worth of whiskey.
On July 7th, the members of the surveying party left Conneaut. They were ambitious not only to do their work quickly, but well. Joyously they started into the unknown wilderness, Porter, Peace and Holley ran the first east line. They found the north corner of Pennsylvania, and ran down five or six miles west of that line.
The mosquitos and gnats were troublesome. The surveyors complained of "earth gas," and they attributed the fever and ague which came later to this gas, but almost always at the same time mentioned the presence of mosquitoes.
The plan was to find the 41st parallel at the Pennsylvania line, and then run west one hundred and twenty miles. From this base line, five miles apart, lines were to be run north, and later cross lines, parallel with the base line, thus making twenty-four townships across and twelve in the deepest place.
These townships were numbered as ranges, and from the base lines up as towns. Before towns or hamlets were named, they were called by number. Poland was range 1, number 1, Cleveland range 12, number 7. Again and again do we read in diaries and papers: "Went to number4; stopped at Quinby's." Number 4 was not only township 4, but it was range 4.
As the Porter-Holley-Pease party proceeded south they, or their workmen at least, realized that New Connecticut was not a Paradise. The monontonous records show occasional changes. Only when they reached the middle-east of the present Trumbull county and could see the Pennsylvania hills with the valleys in between, they wrote that it was the first time they had seen "over the woods," and they felt cheered. The rest of the route south was a little less troublesome and more interesting. Once they thought they heard the tinkle of a cow bell, and hastened to find it, without success. They believed they had imagined the sound; not so, for there was then a family living in that vicinity. When they reached the Mahoning river they saw some traders in a boat, near the present sight of Youngstown. They talked with them and learned that supplies could be had at Beaver, and that these traders were on their way to Salt Springs, whose praises they sang.
They had been seventeen days running this line. Surely, they had not been idle, and they had overcome grievous obstacles. Their poor instruments showed variations, and they did not have time to prove their work. When the whole survey was finished, they were half a mile out of the way. It was intended that each township should have sixteen thousand acres of land, and not one of them has just exactly that much.
Moses Warren and the other surveyors came up with the Pease-Porter party on the 23rd, and they then separated, beginning five miles apart, and ran the line back to the lake. The return trip was about the same, except that the laborers showed less inclination to work, and the cooks became more irritable.
On the 5th of July the laborers began the erection of a crude log house on the east side of Conneaut creek, which was used for a storehouse. It is referred to in the early history as "Stow Castle." A second house was later erected as a dwelling for the surveyors. It was then expected that Conneaut would be the headquarters.
The running of the parallels was troublesome, the work was not finished the first summer, as there was not time to do that and to plat the Cleveland vicinity. The Chagrin river, not being on any of the maps, gave most of the surveyors some trouble, and they all took it for the Cuyahoga, of course. The field work was destructive to shoes and clothes, and, as said before, food was not always certain. Part of the laborers early became dissatisfied with only hard work and little pay, and the company, to ease things, promised them pieces of land and other rewards. Some of them were early discharged, and others left.
On September 16th, Holley writes: "Encamped a little east of the Chagrin river. Hamilton, the cook, was very cross and lazy. Was on the point of not cooking any supper, because the bark would not peel and he knew of nothing to make bread upon. Davenport wet some in the bag."
Thursday, September 22nd: "He discovered a bear swimming across the river." "Munson caught a rattlesnake which was boiled and ate."
September 28th: "I carved from a beech tree in Cuyahoga town, 'Myron Holley, Jr.' and on a birch, 'Milton Holley, 1796. September 26, 1796, Friendship." Apparently the young man was getting homesick.
October 16th: "Came to camp in consequence of hard rain; found no fire; were all wet and cold, but after pushing about the bottle and getting a good fire and supper we were as merry as grigs."
Holley says: "Tuesday, Oct. 18th, we left Cuyahoga at three o'clock and seventeen minutes for home. Left Job Stiles and his wife and Joseph Landon with provisions for the winter." Porter, Holley and Shepard rowed along the lake shore by moonlight. Pease walked, taking notes of the coast. (Pease was a poor sailor.) The pack horses were to go back to Geneva. Atwater and others took them by land. So anxious were these young men to reach home that they arose one morning at 2:00 a.m. and another at 3:00 a.m., and arrived at Conneaut by Friday, the 21st. They left Fort Erie October 23rd at 1:30 a.m. and arrived at Buffalo at 10:30, where they struck a fire "and were asleep in less than thirty minutes." As they proceeded and their desire for home increased, their hours of travel were longer. Once they rowed all night. They reached Irondequoit Friday, the 27th. Here somehow they got out of the channel and had to jump into the water up to their waists and push the boat thirty rods. Wading in the water waist deep the last of October is neither pleasant nor safe. On the 29th they separated at Canandaigua. When we remember that Holley was only eighteen years old, and all of them were young men with education, or older men without experience or education, we believe that most of them did their duty "in that state of life in which it shall please God to call them." Porter was the chief surveyor, as we have seen. Neither he nor Holley returned with the party the next year. They became brothers-in-law later. Holley settled in Salisbury, Connecticut, and his son, Alexander H., became governor. Moses Cleaveland did not return, either, though he retained his interest, more or less, in the Western Reserve. At one time he purchased an interest in the Salt Spring Tract, of Parsons. His brother, Camden, married a Miss Adams, and many of their descendants and connections live in Trumbull county.
When the winter in its wanton fury set in, there were in Cleveland only Job Stiles and his wife. Richard Landon, one of the surveying party, had expected to spend the winter with them, and it is not known why he left. Edward Paine, for whom Painesville was named, took his place in this cabin. It is a tradition that in this cabin, during the winter, a child was born, the mother being attended only by a squaw, but this has never been fully verified. Supplies had been left in Cleveland, and the Indians were exceedingly good to the settlers, so even if it was a hard winter for the three, there were some mitigating conditions. Mr. and Mrs. Stiles, who is described as a capable, courageous woman, lived to a good old age.
Before Mr. Kingsbury was able to travel, he set out and reached Buffalo the 3rd of December. This winter was a severe one, and the snow was over five feet deep in the lake region. However, Mr. Kingsbury, with an Indian guide, traveled toward his family as fast as he could. His horse became disabled, but still he staggered along and reached his cabin Christmas eve. Mrs. Kingsbury had recovered enough to be up and had decided to leave with her family for Erie Christmas day. "Toward evening a gleam of sunshine broke through the long-clouded heavens, and lighted up the surrounding forest. Looking out she beheld the figure of her husband approaching the door." So weak was she that she relapsed into a fever, and her husband, nearly exhausted, was obliged, the first minute he could travel, to go to Erie for provisions. The snow was so deep he could not take the oxen, and he drew back a bushel of what on the sled. This they cracked and ate. Presently the cow died and the oxen were killed eating poisonous boughs. The low state of the mother's health and the death of the cow caused the starvation of the two-months old baby. Tales have appeared in newspapers in regards to this incident which stated that as Mr. Kingsbury entered his door on his return he saw the baby dead on its little couch and the mother dying. The child did not die until a month after Mr. Kingsbury reached home.
From this on, the family grew slowly better, and when the surveying party came back in the spring, all were well enough to accompany it to Cleveland. Mr. and Mrs. Kingsbury occupied a cabin earlier referred to and later built a cabin on the east side of the public square. In the fall of that year a more comfortable cabin was built, further to the east. Here his family was well, decidedly better than the settlers who dwelt near the mouth of the Cuyahoga. Some time afterwards he built quite a nice frame dwelling. The first crop he raised was on the ground near the public square. He had three children: Mrs. Sherman, Amos and Almon. He lived to be eighty years old, and his wife seventy-three. He had a military commission in New Hampshire, with the rank of colonel. In 1800 he was appointed judge of the court of quarter sessions of the peace for the county of Trumbull, and in 1805 he was elected a member of the legislature. His letters written to Judge Kirtland of Poland at this time, now in the possession of Miss Mary Morse, are most dignified and business-like. He was a close friend of Commodore Perry and General Harrison. It is said the day before the battle of lake Erie, he was with Perry, and the latter asked him what he thought ought to be done. The judge replied: "Why, sir, I would fight."
From all accounts it seems that Judge and Mrs. Kingsbury were exemplary citizens and that the suffering and distresses which came to them their first winter in the new land were wiped out by the happy, joyous years which followed.
Early in the spring he organized a party and proceeded west. Of those who accompanied him, the following had been with him the year before: Richard M Stoddard, Moses Warren (who despite the report of his easy-going ways must have satisfied the company or he would not have been re-employed), Amzi Atwater, Joseph Landon, Amos Spafford, Warham Shepard, as surveyors. Employed in other capacities, Nathaniel Doan, Ezekial Morley, Joseph Tinker, David Beard, Charles Parker. Mr. Pease not only had the management of the party but the care of the funds as well. He left home on the 3rd day of April and had more inconvenience than the party of the first year, because the company was not so willing to keep him in funds. He says but for the financial help of Mr. Mathers he would have been many times greatly embarassed. Six boats started up the Mohawk on April 20th, and on April 25th were re-enforced at Fort Schulyer by Phideas Baker and Mr. Hart's boat. They received other recruits at several places, and on April 30th Mr. Pease obtained his trunk, which he had left at Three River Point the year before. Arriving at Irondequoit, May 4th, others joined the party. On May 6th he interviewed Augustus Porter, hoping to induce him to take charge of the party for the summer. In this he was not successful. One of his men on the following day deserted because of homesickness. They proceeded from Canandaigua in two parties, one going by land and the other by lake, and arrived at Fort Niagara on May 14th. The following day boats went back to Irondequoit for the rest of the stores. When the lake party reached Buffalo on May 19th, they found the land party had been there two days. They reached Conneaut on May 26th and put the boats into the creek. In the night a cry was raised that during the storm the boats had broken loose and gone into the lake; fortunately this proved to be a mistake. On May 29th Spafford began surveying, and reached the Cuyahoga June 1st. The Kingsbury family was found in a very low state of health at Conneaut, but the Stiles and Gun households were very well at Cleveland. Mr. Gun was at that date back in Conneaut. On the third day of June, in attempting to ford the Grand river, one of the land party, David Eldredge, was drowned. We find the following entry: "Sunday, June 4th. This morning selected a piece of ground for a burying ground, the north parts of lots 97 and 98; and attended the funeral of the deceased with as much decency and solemnity as could be expected. Mr. Hart read church service. The afternoon was devoted to washing." Thus have life and death always gone hand in hand.
Amzi Atwater, in speaking of the second trip, makes this curious and interesting notation: "In passing down this stream (Oswego), which had long been known by boatmen, we passed in a small inlet stream two large, formidable looking boats or small vessels which reminded us of a sea-port harbor. We were told that they were, the season before, conveyed from the Hudson river, party by water and finally on wheels, to be conveyed to Lake Ontario; that they were built of the lightest material and intended for no other use than to have it published in Europe that vessels of those dimensions had passed those waters to aid land speculations." Thus early did some Yankees attempt to interest(?) Englishmen in western commerical enterprises.
"Moses Warren, Jr. left Connecticut May 1, 1796, on the schooner 'Lark,' for the Connecticut Reserve. The party reached Schenectady May 12th; there loaded forty-four boats under the order of Mr. Porter for 'Fort Stanwix.' On July 4th, the boats reached Walnut Creek, three miles from the neck, with a fine beach all the way to Coneought. Plenty of springs of good water. About Elk creek the land is high and is called Elk Mountain. We found the shore line of Pennsylvania twenty-five miles from Delaware, and after traveling about four miles found the west line, passed it. Eight in our company, and gave three cheers for New Connecticut. About two miles farther is Coneought creek, at which place we arrived at 5 P.M. At 6 the boats and cattle arrived and a federal salute is fired and a volley for 'New Conn.' The enlivening draughts went round in plenty, five or six toasts were drank, 'The President,' 'The Conn. Land Co.,' 'Port Independence,' and the 'Sons of Fortitude that by preserverance have entered it this day,' & c; and in the future this place is to be called 'Port Independence.'
"The land looks well, the timber is plenty, here we encamp and conclude to make our first storehouse. On July 6th they laid the first log of the first house in New Connecticut." [This is what they thought, but we have seen that they were mistaken.]
On Sunday, July 10, 1796, is the following entry: "General Cleaveland, Mr. Stow and Captain Buckland go to Ash de Bouillon [notice the spelling of Ashtabula Creek] on discovery and all hands at rest once more; the hands seem more inclined to whist and all fours than the Gospel."
On Saturday, June 10th, 1797: "Started from Cleveland to run the E and W line No. 5 from the corner left by Mr. Pease last year, to Pennsylvania, being forty miles; then to run E and W line No. 2 from Penn to Cuyahoga. Have three pack horses with stores of various kinds; pork 100 lbs., flour 320 lbs., etc. With me is Col. Wait, Solomon Giddings; chainmen John Hine and Samuel Keeney; axemen John Doran and Eli Canfield; pack horseman Thomas Green; also to return in ten days with the grey mare. The horses Hannah and Peggy remain with me. West east with Shepard and his party to the east line of Cleveland; then south to No. 6, 10th range; then east till past the Sugar Orchard, and camped on Sugar creek. Good feed for the horses, and the land hereabout is excellent, being No. 7, 11th range. Northern and middle part of the line between Cleveland and No. 7 is strong beach land, but not very tempting."
Under date June 12th is a note, as follows: "The post that I set last year in the 9th meridian was thrown down and all the marks cut out with a Tomahawk. I set a new one and remarked it yesterday."
Under date of Aug. 15th, while they were near Mahoning hill and creek: "The muskitos are the plentiest I ever found them and, like the furnace of the King of Babylon, heated with 7-fold rage. I never was so tormented with them before. (Their wrath increases as their time grows short.) So greedy they were they as to light on the Company's glass and try to pierce it with their bills; I suppose deceived by the agitation of the needle and expecting blood instead of magnetism."
The records of the second party of surveyors are more distressing than those of the first. Nearly every entry mentions illness. Mr. Pease obliged to discontinue his journal because of his fearful chills and fever. Warren seemed to have escaped, or at least, he does not mention it. During this summer occasional prospectors appeared at Conneaut, at Cuyahoga, and the placed in between. "The three gentlemen we saw the other day going to Cleveland hailed us. As they contemplated becoming settlers, we furnished them with a loaf of bread." Generous!
Sunday, October 8: "Opened second barrel of pork. Found it very poor, like the first, considering almost entirely of head and legs, with one old sow belly, teats two inches long, meat one inch thick."
The party was at Conneaut October 22nd, on their way home. There they met Mr. John Young, of Youngstown, who brought them word of the drowning of three acquaintances at Chatauqua, the murdering of a man on Big Beaver, and like news. The party, in several divisions, then proceeds eastward, arriving in Buffalo November 6. The winter snows had begun. The party continued to Canandaigua and dispersed, Mr. Pease remaining some time to bring up the work.
The survey is practically finished.
The facts in regard to the distribution of land, the Connecticut Land Company, and so forth, are of great interest, but there is not space to tell of them here. How, and when, and by whom these lands were purchased will, in part, be told later.
In the unpublished journal of Turhand Kirtland is a letter written by Samuel Huntington, under date of April 12, 1806, in which he says: "At town meeting I am told there was much abuse of the Land Company. *** A harrange from C. *** and sent them and all their agents to the D_e_l. Those who were mad were in the majority. *** I think you will have a warm time when you come here."
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