Lake County Ohio GenWeb
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Dedicated to the Pioneers Meeting at Conneaut, July 4th,
1896, and All Other Similar Assemblages
Ye Pioneers, we greet you here
On this our two-fold natal day,
That speaks to every patriot ear
The glories of that far away
Of which ‘tis said in burning phrase,
“Those were the times that tried men’s souls;”
The days that call for louder praise,
As on the tide of freedom rolls.
We greet you as the honored few
Left to us of those halcyon days,
Of which our early childhood knew
But just enough the wish to raise,
That we might live the simple life
Whose changing phase but ushered in
Stern fashion’s sway, dread social strife,
And an unceasing business din.
Here greet you, too, bright childhood’s lay,
The ever swelling heart of youth;
The one would hear “the good old way,”
The other garner threads of truth;
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For sure the first did grandpa run,
In “days lang syne,” when he was young:
And grandma oft the other spun—
To that alone her life was strung.
Yes, greetings to these forms of old
Come from the lips of all around;
No heart to-day is stiff and cold,
But all in heartiest thanks rebound,
In view of homes your hands have reared,
Thro’ years of unremitting toil,
When woodman’s ax the forest cleared,
And rude plows cleft the virgin soil.
Rehearse you now those journeys long,
From ‘mid New England’s rugged hills,
That brought the West a sturdy throng
Of men of nerve and iron wills;
Of wives to husbands true as steel,
‘Mid many wants, ‘mid comforts few;
Whose smiles alike, ‘mid woe and weal,
Their hearts in closer union drew.
Build once again the cabin home,
Walls filled with “chink” all mudded o’er;
With “clapboard” roof, protruding “comb;”
With fireplace board, and puncheon floor;
In corner place the humble bed,
One post a pole, the rails the same;
From walls to these let bark be spread—
A birthplace fit for sons fame.
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Build now the fire, send high the blaze,
To spread abroad its genial cheer,
And whilst we on its seethings gaze,
Ope wide your doors, old Pioneer;
No matter if your chairs are stools,
Or sections from the forest oak;
We modern men are no vain fools,
But chips of a grand older folk.
Come, tell us how when settled here,
Your axes in the forest rung;
How oft your rifles felled the deer,
How wounded stag his antlers swung;
Tell how the wolves came howling round,
How nightly herded was the fold;
How “’possums,” “’coons,” and bears were found
Disturbing much those days of old.
Come, thread again the pathless woods,
Provisions pack for many a mile,
And, Then, for want of finer goods,
In tanning buckskin, hours beguile;
Or ply the “brake” or “skutching” choose;
Above the grain the “swingel” swing;
Or make the babies’ “raw-hide shoes”—
No matter what – all comforts bring.
Get up a raising now, just one;
Call neighbors in from miles away;
Exhibit well the mines of fun,
Of that, the settlers’ gala day;
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Of “logging bee” now were we glad,
Or husking in the autumn sere,
When rang the whoop or swinging gad,
Or smacking kiss for each red ear.
Come, gather “tansy” from the sod,
Of “morning bitters” drink your fill;
‘Twas better far than “forty rod,”
That whiskey made in early still;
Now lead us to your meadows green,
And fields where wave the golden grain;
Get up such race as you have seen –
A real old-fashioned harvest train.
Come, live again this day we greet;
Well mounted, with your girl behind,
There ne’er was pressure half so sweet
As when her arms she round you twined.
Re-beat the drum, the fife apply,
Join stately march or giddy reel;
The dinner eat, imbibe the “rye,”
Such patriot joys we may not feel.
In great ox-sled now visit make,
Take wife and children all along;
Enjoy the pork and johnnycake,
The spice-wood tea, corn-coffee strong,
And then the nuts and turnips eat;
Thus while long winter eves away,
Your tales and converse just as meet
As mark “surprises” of to-day.
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Say, don’t forget the Sabbath chime;
Tho’ long on high no bell was hung,
Marked well the coming “meeting time,”
The ax o’er Sunday woodpile swung
Come, gather to those temples quaint,
Sing “Coronation,” “China,” “Mear,”
And list the shout of many a saint
Whose memory lingers sweetly near.
Come, mothers, let us hear from you
Of household duties long ago;
How spindle then and shuttle flew,
How weary fingers oft did sew;
Play once again that game of “cards”
Which won for girls a garb of plain,
Or deftly drew the “kersey” yards,
In clothes from which your boys were clad.
Come, draw the trundle from its place,
There tuck the children, “lying spoon:’
Let fine-tooth comb their fair locks trace,
E’en sulphur may prove sweetest boon.
Repeat those visits of the past,
Where, in the “tea-grounds” of the cup,
The future did its shadows cast,
And life’s deep secrets yielded up.
Come, gather now of “herbs” a host,
With which to sweat the fevered moist,
And don’t forget the “powder-post”
For babies scraped from off the “joist.”
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Wilt show us of your “samplers” now,
And “testers” placed above your beds?
Your growing taste they do avow,
Full transferred to our own wives’ heads.
Bring out the “spider,” lade the “crane,”
And of your cooking teach our girls;
Show them how beauty to retain
Through use of “tongs” in twisting curls
Theirs are the “beau;” yours were the “boys”
That gave the hum to many a wheel;
That brought each home hose household joys-
The dye-tub’s fumes, the snapping reel
Well, it were pleasant to recall
The thousand things those times begot,
Which soon will be forgotten all,
As for our use they answer not.
We court the steam, the lightnings tame,
And seek to float on airy wings;
Our souls are more and more aflame—
Each morning some strange blessing brings.
But those old days may not return;
Nay, you would ask them not again,
Tho’ memory makes your fond hearts burn,
In view of what was real then;
Far brighter days and purer these,
Fit cradles for your evening hours,
And you to nourish, you to please,
Are ministrations that are ours.
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Here’s to the grand old mothers ours,
Who in the days of yore,
Presided o’er the cabin homes
On Erie’s southern shore;
Who left New England’s Pilgrim shrines
For Western glade and glen,
As consorts on the wild frontier
Of stern and rugged men.
‘Twas theirs to cross the storm-tossed lake
In crafts of rudest kind;
Or forest ‘mid or on the beach
In strange vehicles wind
For days and weeks, until at last,
Wearied in limb and soul,
With none to kindly welcome them,
They reached their long-sought goal.
Beneath the forest-arching boughs
Began their earnest work,
And be it to their credit said
They ne’er did duty shirk
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They learned the “hang of trammel pole,”
To “swing the crane” as well;
The richness of their “ember cakes”
No modern tongue can tell.
They learned to make the deerskin bed;
When feathers later came,
Then picking geese, heads stocking bound,
Became exciting game;
With care they mopped the puncheon floor,
Nor carpet ever laid,
And yet no brighter homes than theirs
Has carpet ever made.
Their babes were rocked in sap troughs rude,
For want of better thing;
And with right tuneful lullabys
They made their cabins ring.
Most joyfully they hailed the day
Of cradles made from board,
And with them tiny rattlebox
Of acorns in a gourd.
They often changed the garments old,
The fathers erst had borne,
And these in tasty Sunday suits
Were by the children worn.
They knew how sulphur to apply,
To ply the fine-tooth comb,
Expelling emigrants that sought
Their children’s heads to roam.
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When night adown her curtain let,
They set piled brush aflame,
And then thrust in the sickle keen,
When golden harvest came;
They raked the hay in winrows long,
And loafed it quite neat;
Each woman was to husband then,
“An out-of-doors helpmeet.”
They pulled the flax in autumn time,
In winter carded tow,
And in the sugar-making spring
Spread wax upon the snow.
From forest, following tinkling bell,
The herds they gathered home;
And when were cut the bee-trees down,
Made wax of honeycomb.
They, women of expedient,
Burned cobs to soda make;
Corn grated in its season, too,
For juicy johnnycake;
To venison did woodchuck convert
When came the preacher ‘round;
And gave him nicest spice-wood tea,
And toast when bread was found.
They leached their ashes in a gum,
Made soft soap that excelled,
With which from out their wardrobes slim,
They well all dirt expelled;
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When “butchering” came in early fall,
They deftly tried the fat,
And corner for the cobbler fixed
Where he might “whip the cat.”
His cowhide shoes were highly prized,
They wedding shoes became
For many a daughter in those homes,
Ere she became a dame;
Oft they to church barefooted went,
Those dainty soles to save;
For know you well each mother then
To fashion was no slave.
They little had to fashion feed;
‘Twas always “cut and carve”
To cover back and stomach fill--
‘Twas hustle ‘round or starve.
And yet, some way they “made ends meets,”
As ran the years along;
And never women more deserved
To be embalmed in song.
They claimed as neighbors even those
Who miles away might live,
And borrowed of them flour and fire,
Molasses, sugar, sieve;
Whenever visitors there came,
In eve or afternoons,
Forth sent they children borrowing
Knives, tablecloths and spoons
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Now smile we at the idea,
With abundance e’er at hand,
But behold ‘mid scenes soul-trying
Mothers fit for any land;
The blood and nerve they left us,
Let us worthily inherit,
That they through generations, may
Run blood and nerve of merit.
It was blood that prompted action,
It was nerve that guided stroke
‘Til early haunts of savage
To a higher life awoke;
‘Til farm house, school and church spire,
And many a town, I ween,
Took the place of primal forest
And its vested garb of green.
They watched beside the palid form,
They soothed the fevered brain;
Tho’ “fever ‘n’ager” wasted oft,
Theirs seldom to complain;
They closed the eyes of old and young
With an angelic care;
And oft the funeral service marked
Some mother’s earnest prayer.
Their deeds of charity would fill
Full many a printed page,
And yet no herald set them forth
As in this newsy age;
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But in that court where justice reigns,
Them credit will be given,
And certain theirs a rich reward
Well merited in Heaven.
Their weaknesses were truly few,
And very far between;
The gravest, their granddaughters say,
Was in the snuffbox seen,
Or in the corncob pipe, perchance,
Which soothed their weary powers;
Would these could say this hundredth year,
That “Faults as few are ours;”
For whilst these fume, and fret, and stew,
And grace themselves with airs,
Those bore in patience heaviest cross,
And history declares
That tho’ there were some family jars,
They took them as of course,
Ne’er getting up in “tantrums” wild,
Or suing for divorce
Without great school advantages,
They trained a race of men
Whose thoughts have thrilled the nation round,
From platform, through the pen;
Who in life’s rugged battlefield,
Their marks right well have made,
As Tod, a Giddings, Riddle, too,
A Garfield and a Wade.
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They reared a race of daughters fair,
Who their mother’ places fill,
With a vim, determination,
That what they will, they will;
They are moving on the fountains
Begirt with shame and sin,
With the ever-ringing war cry,
“We know no word but win.”
Then here’s to our grand old mothers,
Worthy wives of Pioneers,
Whose deeds shall grace the annals
Of our first one hundred years;
Tho’ fame’s bright page ne’er marks them
As subjects of renown,
We know that in a higher sphere,
Theirs will be a radiant crown.
We will cherish well their memories,
In cheery lake shore homes;
They shall be unto our children,
Ever bright and fairy tomes;
Inspirations to high motives,
Through all the coming years: --
Such shall be the living spirit
Of our Mother Pioneers
And we, their sons and daughters,
In this first centennial year,
Will inscribe upon our banners,
“All honor,” bright and clear;
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Yes, all honor to our mothers,
Who ‘mid cares and toils untold,
Bequeathed us an inheritance
Richer far than hoarded gold.
At a tidy home on the hillside,
In view of Erie’s bright sheen,
With beautiful village and farmhouse
Bedecking the country between,
I met a kindly old lady
Whose good man was “choring about,”
But she said, “You needn’t go seek him,
He’ll come in when he gets thro’ without.”
So we seated ourselves in quiet,
But the good dame’s tongue was aglow;
“Sixty years, sir, “ she said, “we’ve been married,
A good long time, as you know;
Indeed we were babies together,
My good old husband and I,
And squalled in Middlebrook church, sir,
When babies in churches might cry.
“We went to the old log schoolhouse,
There learned just a little to read;
Together, from the grave pastor,
We acquired the truths of the creed;
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And when at length we got married,
My “set-out” in a bundle we tied,
And hied to our hut in the forest,
Just the happiest husband and bride.
“Of an ax was my man the possessor,
Which he plied with sturdiest stroke,
Felling the beech and the maple,
Carving rails from many an oak,
‘Til fields were spreading around us
The fruits of his own manly toil;
And thus we became the owners
Of a measured portion of soil.
“In the cabin was little to vex us;
Our table was only a chest,
And cuddled in bark of a hemlock
We cradled our babies to rest;
There Hannah, and Mary, and Sarah,
And William, successive, were stored;
But then for the nine that came after
We’d a knobby cradle of board.
“Early James said, said he, ‘Eliza,
Don’t you think ‘twill be about square
For the blessing conferred upon us
To set up an altar of prayer?’
I did, and the fire set a-going
Soon grew such a regular flame
That, where erst we as babes went a-crying,
James a regular deacon became.
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“Our boys and our girls all too early
Were to manhood and womanhood grown,
And then they went forth and were mated
And set them up homes of their own;
I don’t think theirs are the comforts
That used to be deacon’s and mine,
Altho’ they’ve had cribs for our cradle,
And other things equally fine.
“See here, sir’s a cane they gave deacon
When just fifty years we’d been wed,
But he doesn’t care much for the using –
Just a little too golden’s the head;
And these little things they gave me, sir,
But they’re not of much service, you know,
Just only the love of the children,
Whenever I see them, they show.
“But see here, sir, are things of real value,”
And forth from a closet she brought
Rare quilts and garments in plenty,
Which her motherly hands had wrought;
“Sir, the boys and the girls are a-coming,
All again to sit at our board,
And these, my last gifts to my babies,
For that coming, away I have stored.
“Only Harriet will not be with them,
But a place for her I shall spread;
Don’t you think we’ll be all together,
Tho’ one of my flock, sir is dead?
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And the deacon will give them his blessing,
There’ll be many a final “Good-bye,”
And, then, as in the beginning,
Here’ll be found only deacon and I.
Remember I’ve a baker’s dozen,
No family wickedly crimped;
And though we were poor and straightened,
For vituals they never were scrimped;
But, you see, I’m a poor old body,
And my mind wanders here and there;
Twill be nice when the children come, tho’,
To have with them something to share.
“But here comes the deacon. ‘This stranger
Has been briskly chatting with me;
Just bring in a pail of water
Till I make us a nice cup of tea,
For tho’ he may not be an hungered,
I know he’ll remember with pride,
The evening he supped with you, deacon,
And with me your sixty-year bride.’”
* * * * *
As I left that grand old couple,
The sun far down in the west
His rich hues flashing from Erie,
A majestic emblem of rest,
I thought I divined the spirit
That has clothed these words with might:
“To the old who have spent life purely,
In the evening-time there is light.”
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Full well do I remember, boys,
The grand display I made,
In the first suit of broadcloth clothes
In which I was arrayed.
The coat was of a dainty green
A brother’d worn erstwise;
“A perfect fit, “ they all did say,
When cut down to my size.
The “jacket” was a jetty hue,
And service long had seen;
“Fit complement,” my mother said,
`”For coat of ‘bottle-green.’”
The “trowsers” were a navy blue;
An uncle gave them me,
But, from the service they had seen,
Were thin upon the knee.
It mattered not; soon sister planned
To amputate the legs,
To turn them’round and then cut down,
And fit them to my “pegs.”
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The “dickey” did from cousin come,
For ‘tending well her boy,
And with its standing collar starched,
To me was source of joy.
My head was crowned with hat of wool,
My feet bore cowhide shoes;
Indeed, there was no other kind
From which a boy might choose.
Well, those were real transition days,
What need to be afraid?
Not e’en was I, tho’ bashful boy,
In broadcloth thus arrayed.
I went to church, to see my friends,
Of happiness as full
As any boy of modern days
With a far better “pull.”
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“Mr. Johnson,” queried a lady in Conneaut of
me in January, 1896, as we were discussing the Cen-
tennial question, “why do you people call this the
Western Reserve when it is in the northeastern part
of Ohio?” A little later, in Youngstown, under
similar circumstances, another one remarked: “O, it
will do well enough for you people up about Cleve-
land and along the Lake, where the Reserve is, to
celebrate, but it is nothing to us back here in the
These ladies were not reared on the Reserve, but
A gentleman of the latter city, whilst conversing on
the same topic, said: “I was born within five miles
of here and have lived on the Reserve for seventy
years, yet I cannot explain the origin of the name,
nor do I know its bounds or dimensions.”
These questions and remarks are not cited to re-
flect on the intelligence of the parties referred to,
for in that line they are up to the average, and not
at all to be ranked with two ladies who met in a
millinery store, in a town of my acquaintance, shortly
after a Fourth of July celebration in which the orig-
inal States had been represented by thirteen
misses appropriately dressed. In the lull of busi-
ness conversation, one of them remarked to the
other, “Wasn’t them girls just too nice for anything?”
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“Yes,” replied her companion, “they were just
“Well, what did they mean anyhow?”
“Why, don’t you know? Them was the thirteen
“And what was them?”
“Why, them was the things Columbus found
here when he discovered America.”
“O!, yes, yes, I remember now,” and both ladies
looked happily wise, whilst the proprietor had great
difficulty in repressing her mirth at this show of
For the convenience of true seekers after informa-
tion, for the benefit of the young whose study does not
cover this ground, and as a matter of reference for
all, the following brief history of the Western Re-
serve is made a part of this Souvenir.
When the original grants of land in the New
World were made to companies or Colonies by the
monarchs of Europe, its geography was very little
known. As a result, there were many conflicting
claims. After the close of the Revolution, these,
lying mostly west of the Alleghenies, had to be
adjudicated. Whilst most of the States readily
ceded their titles to the general government, Con-
necticut was very tenacious of one she held to a
strip embracing all the lands between 41 degrees
and 42 degrees 2 minutes, north latitude, and extend-
ing west from the State of Pennsylvania to the
Mississippi. On the 14th day of September, 1786,
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however, she released all this territory to the United
States, excepting that portion lying east of a line
parallel with the western boundary of Pennsylvania,
and 120 miles from it. This soon became known as
the Connecticut Western Reserve,” [sic - no starting “] or, as it was
about the size of the parent state, “New Connecti-
In May, six years later, Connecticut set apart
500,000 acres of the west end of this reservation to
indemnify certain of her citizens for losses they had
sustained from incursions of the British during the
Revolution. This tract is known as the “Fire
Lands,” because much of the damage done was from
the burning of towns and villages, and comprises,
mainly, the present counties of Huron and Erie.
September, 1795, in consideration of $1,200,000,
Connecticut deeded the balance of the Reserve,
estimated at 3,000,000 acres, to the Connecticut Land
Company, and arrangements were at once made for
Moses Cleveland, one of the Company’s directors,
was appointed general agent, and with a party of
forty-nine men, two women and a child, left Sche-
nectedy, N.Y., in the spring of 1796, reaching Buffalo
in June, and on the 27th of the month they took a
final departure for the scenes of their labors, which
they reached July 4th.
Seth Pease has left the following with regard to
“Monday, July 4th, 1796, we that came by land
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arrived at the confines of New Connecticut and gave
three cheers precisely at 5 o’clock, p.m. We then
proceeded to Conneaut at 5:30; our boats got on an
hour after. We pitched our tents on the east side.”
General Cleveland says:--“The men under Cap-
tain Tinker ranged themselves on the beach and
fired a salute of fifteen rounds, and then the sixteenth
in honor of New Connecticut. Drank several toasts.
* * * Closed with three cheers. Drank several
pails of grog. Supped and retired in good order.”
The toasts were as follows:--
First. The President of the United States.
Second. The State of Connecticut.
Third. The Connecticut Land Company.
Fourth. May the Port of Independence and the
fifty sons and daughters who have entered it this
day be successful and prosperous!
Fifth. May these sons and daughters multiply
in sixteen years, sixteen times fifty!
Sixth. May every person have his bowsprit
trimmed and be ready to enter every port that
Arriving as they did on July 4th, the point of
landing was christened “Fort Independence,” and
a cabin built near the mouth of the creek, was
named “Castle Stow,” in honor of the Commissary
of the party.
Delaying only until the 7th, a detail of surveyors
and ax men took the Pennsylvania line, which had
previously been surveyed and underbrushed, and
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going south to the 41st parallel, north latitude, be-
gan work and laid off that part of the Reserve east
of the Cuyahoga River, into townships five miles
square, giving the location by “range” from the
Pennsylvania line westward, and by number from
the south, northward, what is now known as Poland,
the southeast corner of the Reserve, being No. 1,
first range. The full survey was not completed
Having held a council with a village of Massa-
saugas, near his camp, and purchased their friendship
with a little whiskey and a few trinkets, Gen. Cleve-
land, with a small party coasted along the Lake until
July22nd, when he reached the mouth of the Cuya-
hoga and decided upon the locations of the city
which bears his name, and was designed as the
capital of the Reserve. Though for many years
lagging behind some of its competitors, the end of
a century finds it, if not crowned with capitolian
honors, the metropolis of the great Buckeye State.
The party we have been considering, be it re-
membered, was simply a party of survey. The real
settlers were to come later, but from that Fourth of
July landing, dates the real birth of the Reserve,
though what is known as the “Parson’s Purchase,”
in the Mahoning Valley about Niles, had been tem-
porarily occupied some years previous in the
manufacture of salt. The dimensions, it will be
perceived, are 120 miles in length, by 71 in its great-
est breadth, the water line on the north following
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where necessary, that dividing the United States
from Canada. The entire area is 7,440 square miles,
about one-third of which is water. In this, its first
century year, it comprises the full counties of Ashta-
bula, Trumbull, Portage, Geauga, Lake, Cuyahoga,
Medina, Lorain, Huron and Erie, and parts of
Mahoning, Summit, Ashland, and so much of Ottawa
as is made up of a small portion of Lakeside Penin-
sula, Kelly’s, Put-in-Bay and contiguous islands.
The land breadth on the Pennsylvania line is sixty-
eight miles, and on the west about thirty-three. The
whole number of townships, some of them fractional,
is 211, exclusive of the point and islands of Ottawa
During the winter of 1796-97, the family of Judge
Jas. Kingsbury resided at Conneaut in a small
cabin where now roll the waters of the lake, and at
Cleveland was found the family of Job V. Stiles,
with whom sojourned one Edward Paine. These
were the first families wintering on the Reserve, un-
less, as some traditions have it, there was one at Youngstown.
The spring of 1798 found fifteen families within
its limits, distributed as follows: -- Youngstown, 10;
Cleveland, 3; Mentor, 2. Six additional ones came
during the summer, three to Harpersfield, two to
Hudson, and one to Burton. All told, the Reserve
now numbered about 125 persons. The best author-
ities place the whole number of settlements in 1800
at 30, and the entire population at about 1,000.
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The Indian titles to lands on the Reserve were
variously extinguished, and on the 30th of May,
1801, Connecticut, having found that exercising
judicial authority over the Reserve was rather an
empty honor, relinquished all right and title to the
same, the general government quitclaiming all
right to the soil, and it became a constituent part of
the territory of Ohio, it having been organized as
Trumbull County, the year previous. The county
was so named in honor of two consecutive Governors
of Connecticut, from one of whom we derive our
national soubriquet, “Brother Jonathan,” Washing-
ton and others, being accustomed to refer to the
illustrious Governor in that way, when seeking his
advise on momentous questions.
The original stock of the Connecticut Land
Company, consisted of 400 shares of $3,000 each, and
this money, I believe, makes a part of the Connect-
icut school fund. The land was apportioned by lot.
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TRUMBULL COUNTY having been organized, there
arose a strife about the county seat. Youngstown
claimed it as being the center of population, but the
“plumb” was accorded to Warren, so named for
one of the surveyors, as the more central location.
Cleveland cut no figure whatever, being considered
merely an outskirt settlement, and her citizens long
paid their taxes in the valley town.
Warren, on the Mahoning, still continues the
county seat. It was laid out in 1801 by Ephriam
Quimby, and is now a beautiful city of about 10,000.
The other towns of the county are Niles, Girard and
Hubbard. Kinsman, Courtland, West Farmington
and Newton Falls, with several others, are other
GEAUGA was the first slice taken from Trumbull.
This was in 1805.
Chardon, the county seat, occupies an elevated
ridge, and is one of those quiet, cultured towns,
most inviting as a home. Burton, Parkman, Middle-
field and Thompson are pleasant villages
PORTAGE COUNTY was erected from Trumbull in
1807. The name came from “portage,” the Indian
path of seven miles between the Cuyahoga and
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Ravenna, the county seat, was first settled in 1799,
by Benjamin Tappan, whose house was the first seat
of justice. It is a fine inland city in which the man-
ufacture of glass has been a leading industry. Kent,
Garretsville, Windham, and Palmyra, with several
others, are thriving villages. Hiram is noted for its
“College on the Hill.”
CUYAHOGA was organized as a county in 1810, and
ranks as one of the first in the State in wealth and
civil and political influence.
Cleveland, the county seat, has a population of
about 340,000, Cincinnati being its only competitor
for metropolitan honors. The growth of the city
was slow for many years, the population being but
6,000 in 1840, as given for the benefit of schoolboys
in Smith’s and Olney’s Geographies, the standards
of that time.
It is celebrated for many things, among them its
magnificent system of shading, giving it the nom de
plume of “Forest City,” and for having, for its
length, seven miles, the finest Avenue in the world,
Euclid. As showing how little items sometimes
amount to much, I remark that on my father’s re-
turn from serving under Harrison in the War of 1812,
he was offered 100 acres of land in that part of the
city where the “Weddell” now stands, for $300. If
he had only made that purchase-my!- but he
didn’t The other most important towns are Wil-
loughby, Chagrin Falls, Bedford, Brighton, Berea
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noted for its “grit” and several colleges, Brecks-
ville, Independence, Collinwood, Collimar, Glenville,
and other suburban towns.
ASHTABULA, the largest county in the State, was
formed from Trumbull and Geauga in 1811. It ac-
quired the title of “Benighted Ashtabula” in 1850,
when Reuben Wood, the Democratic candidate for
Governor, so characterized it in the expression,
“From benighted Ashtabula to enlightened Ham-
Jefferson, the county seat, is a pleasant, broad-
streeted village of about 1,200 inhabitants. The
other leading towns are Ashtabula, probably hand-
ling the largest amount of coal and ore of any city
in the world; Conneaut, fast coming to the front as
an important shipping point, and honored as the
“Plymouth of the Reserve,” Geneva, Andover,
Kingsville, Rock Creek and Orwell.
MEDINA COUNTY was organized from Portage in
1818. The first settlement within its limits was at
Lodi, by Joseph Harris, in 1811.
Medina, the county seat, is in name emphat-
ically Mohammedan. It is a quiet, pleasant town, and
rejoices in the Root Bee Plant, the most extensive
thing of its kind in the country if not in the world.
In this town on a stormy day in December, 1843, I
expended the first dollar I ever earned, in the pur-
chase of a Kirkham’s Grammar and an Adam’s
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Arithmetic. The other towns are Lodi, Seville,
Wadsworth, and Le Roy, where is located the fine
headquarters of the “Ohio Farmers’.”
HURON COUNTY was organized from the “Fire
lands,” in 1815. The name is an Indian one, signifi-
cation unknown to the writer.
Norwalk, meaning “Middle land,” the county
seat, is a city of taste and enterprise, 16 miles back
from the lake. The other towns are Bellevue, Green-
wich, New London, Monroeville, Chicago, Wake-
man, Clarksfield and New Haven.
LORAIN was formed from Huron, Cuyahoga and
Medina in 1822.
Elyria is a thrifty town. The name comes from
the first settler, a Mr. Ely, and his wife, Maria. The
other principal towns are Oberlin, famed for its
college; Lorain, fast developing into a manufactur-
ing and commercial center, North Amherst, Wel-
lington, Grafton, La Grange, Kipton and Avon.
ERIE COUNTY was formed from Huron and San-
dusky in 1838.
Sandusky, on the bay of the same name, is the
county seat. It was first settled in 1817, and is a
flourishing commercial city, especially historic from
its connection with the Rebel prison on Johnson’s
Island in the bay. Huron, Berlin Heights, Milan and
Vermillion are the other most important towns.
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MAHONING was organized from Trumbull and
Columbiana in 1846. The two northern tiers of
townships are in the Reserve.
Canfield was the county seat for a time, but this
was ultimately removed to Youngstown, the “Iron
City of the Valley,” now numbering 45,000 people.
The other towns are Poland, Lowellville, Struthers,
Austintown, Ellsworth and Jackson.
SUMMIT COUNTY was erected out of Medina, Por-
tage and Stark in 1840. It was so named from being
the highest point of land on the Ohio Canal, called
the Portage Summit. The two southern townships
are not in the Reserve.
Akron, the county seat, is one of the hustling
cities of the Reserve, and largely engaged in manu-
facture, particularly of rubber goods, agricultural im-
plements and pottery. The Werner Company, one
of the largest and best book manufacturing estab-
lishments in the country, is located here.
In Grace Park, most appropriately named, stands
a fine bronze statue of Col. Simon Perkins, a son
of General Simon Perkins of Warren. For years
General Perkins was one of the foremost men of the
Reserve, and in 1825 assisted in founding Akron.
Some of his Warren neighbors, particularly, Judge Cal-
vin Pease, guyed him much about his new town, espe-
cially as to what should be its name, suggesting many
with absurd meanings. S.A. Lane, Esq., in his his-
tory of Summit County, tells us that the general.
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with the aid of a friend, finally selected Akron, on
which they thought the judge could perpetrate no
pun. When it was reported to him, however he
thoughtfully exclaimed: “Ach-e-ron! Ach-e-ron!
Ah, yes, I see! Ach-e-ron—river in hell!” To those
acquainted with the surrounding, the pith is ap-
The other leading towns are Hudson, the original
site of Western Reserve College, Cuyahoga Falls,
Talmadge, Barberton, and New Portage.
That part of Ashland County lying within the
Reserve consists of Sullivan, Troy, and Ruggles
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Last updated 06 Dec 2003
©2003 by Cynthia Turk