Lake County Ohio GenWeb

1796 Western Reserve Centennial Souvenir 1896
pp. 64-83

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      The Reserve has furnished one President, six

Governors, five Lieutenant Governors, sixteen

Judges of the Supreme bench of the State, four

United States Senators, one, however, never taking

his seat, and forty-five members of the House of

Representatives. The complete list is as follows:--

PRESIDENT – James A. Garfield

GOVERNORS – Samuel Huntington, Seabury

Ford, Reuben Wood, David Tod, John Brough, and

William McKinley, only by birth.


W. Curtis, Jaboz Fitch, E.L. Lampson and A.W. Jones.

SUPREME JUDGES – Samuel Huntington, George

Tod, Calvin Pease, Peter Hitchcok, Reuben Wood,

Matthew Birchard, Ebenezer Lane, Rufus P. Ranney,

Rufus P. Spaulding, W.W. Boynton, Milton Sutliff,

Horace Wilder, Luther Day, Walter F. Stone, W.

H. Upson and J.F. Dickman.


H.B. Payne, B.F. Wade and James A. Garfield,

who was elected President before taking his place

in the Senate.

REPRESENTATIVES – J.W. Allen, S.J. Andrews,

C.B. Beach, H.G. Blake, Geo. Bliss, Phil. Bliss,

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H. Brinkerhoff, T.E. Burton, D. Clendenin, E. Cook,

G.W. Crouse, J. Crowell, S. Edgerton, J.S. Edwards,

M.A. Foran, J.A. Garfield, J.R. Giddings, E.S.

Hamlin, P. Hitchcock, W.H. Hunter, J. Hutchins,

T.L. Johnson, W.D. Lindsley, J. Monroe, E.

Newton, S.A. Northway, D.R. Paige, R.C. Parsons,

H.B Payne, A.G. Riddle, J.M. Root, J. Sloane,

R.P. Spaulding, E.B. Taylor, V.A. Taylor, D.R.

Tilden, A. Townsend, N.S. Townsend, W.H.

Upson, E. Wade, E. Whittlesey, C.P. Wickham,

L.D. Woodworth, S.T. Worcester, W.J. White.

Of these, Giddings served eleven terms; Garfield,

nine; Whittlesey, eight; E.B. Taylor, six; Monroe,

five; Wade, four; and Foran, Root, Spaulding and

A. Townsend, three each.

The combined time of Whittlesey, Giddings,

Garfield and Taylor, representing the “Nineteenth

District,” is sixty-eight years, being, I believe, with-

out a parallel in any other district of the country.

In March, 1842, a vote of censure was passed upon

Mr. Giddings, by Congress. He immediately re-

signed and appealed to his district, and was reelected

at once by a large majority.


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            Probably the first burial on the Reserve, of a

white person, was that of Col. Alex. Harper, in what

is now the cemetery of Unionville, lying along the

old Ridge Road on the line between Ashtabula and

Lake Counties.

Colonel Harper’s and two other families, number-

ing twenty-five persons in all, landed at what is known as

 “Madison Dock,” June 28th, 1798, and immedi-

ately began arranging for their homes. But a few

days after their arrival, as the men were walking

days after their arrival, as the men were walking

over the Ridge, the colonel thrust a stick into the

loose soil and remarked, “Here will be a good place

for a burying ground.” At this identical spot, on

 the 10th of September following, he was laid to

rest. This extract, copied from Mrs. Sherwood’s

“Tales of Our Grandmother,” will give a clear idea

of the difference between a burial among the Pio-

neers and one of to-day: “The funeral obsequies

were prepared by his sorrowing friends; a coffin of

 plank, hewn from one of the forest trees, was the

best that could be procured, and the war-worn sol-

dier was borne to his long home. His was a pioneer

grave of the forest. * * * Imagination can scarcely

conceive the dread solemnity of this burial. No

sable hearse or nodding plume decked this funeral

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array; no minister of God pronounced the solemn

ritual for the dead; all was dreary, all was desolate,

and only the fading leaves of autumn strewed the

solitary mound.”

The first sermon preached was by Rev. Joseph

Badger, at Austinburg, August 1800. On the 24th

of October, of the year following, he organized the

first church, Congregational, consisting of sixteen

members, ten men and six women. In 1810 this

society erected its first house of worship, a log struc-

ture, covered with long oak shingles, held down by

weight-poles; a “puncheon” floor, a stick and mud

chimney, and doors with wooden hinges and latches,

the strings always out. The puncheons were split

logs. This structure was superseded in 1824 by the

first frame church ever built upon the Reserve. The

raising of this occupied from Monday morning until

late Saturday afternoon. The last act was the

mounting of an “old salt” to the top of the steeple,

105 feet, from which, when three cheers had been

given for the new church, he threw a bottle of

whiskey as far as he could.

To Poland, is undoubtedly to be accorded the

first wedding, school, store, debating society and

blast furnace.

The wedding was somewhat on this wise. In

1800 John Blackburn and Nancy Bryan having

agreed to get married, four written notices were

posted, one on each side of the Blackburn cabin.

For want of a clergyman, Judge Kirtland, who had

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had authority in Connecticut for that purpose, was

selected to perform the ceremony. To fortify him-

self, the judge hunted up his Episcopal prayer book

and laid it on a small stand in front of the young

couple, when the appointed time arrived. Just as

he was about beginning, some one proposed a drink

of whiskey all round, to which the seventy guests

unanimously assented. Whilst the gourd and tin

cup were going the rounds, some one contrived to

steal the prayer book. Thus deprived of his prop,

the judge said if the couple were agreed it was all

right, and pronounced them man and wife without

further formula.

A school taught probably by one Perly Brush,

was opened in a small log house, about 1801. If

there are any reasonable competitors for this first

honor, they are, in order, Vernon, Warren, and

Youngstown, all of which established schools about

the same time.

A debating society met at the house of John

Struthers, as early as 1803. This, and similar ones,

were kept up for many years.

The first store was opened by one Foster or

Montgomery, in 1802. Prior to and after this, Jas.

E. Caldwell supplied the people along the Mahon-

ing with goods dispensed from a canoe.

A blast furnace was established by Daniel Eaton,

in 1803.

The first gristmill, a sawmill connected, was built

in the spring of 1799 by W.W. Williams and

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Major Wyatt, near where the Asylum stands at


The first regular celebration of the Fourth of

July, was at Warren in 1800. The village was then

the capital, as it was for twenty-five years after the

principal town of the Reserve, and the celebration

was participated in by citizens of Youngstown,

Painesville, and other points. A section of a hollow

Pepperidge was extemporized for a drum barrel, and

a fawn skin furnished the heads. A fife was manu-

factured from an elder. Music, firing, fun, whiskey

and speeches were abundant, and it is questionable

if Warren ever had a more patriotic celebration.

To Cleveland belongs the honor of the first ball.

It took place July 4th, 1801, in the log cabin of one

Major Carter, and was attended by about thirty

persons. How evenly the sexes were divided,

history does not record. John and Benj. Wood and

R.H. Blinn were managers, and “Sam” Jones,

musician. Though they scamper-downed, double

shuffled and half-mooned on a puncheon floor, and

regaled themselves on whiskey sweetened with maple

sugar, it is doubtful if Forest Citiers ever entered

into a more enjoyable dance.

The first mail route of the Reserve was established

in 1803. Beginning at Warren it ran, by way of

Mesopotamia, Windsor, Rock Creek, Austinburg,

Harpersfield, and Painesville, to Cleveland, and

thence back, by way of settlements farther south, to

Warren. Over this, about once a week the mail was

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carried by a man on foot. Later, the line was extended

from Cleveland to Detroit, the mail being carried on

horseback. In 1808 a route was established from Erie,

Pennsylvania, to Cleveland, over which one John

Metcalf carried the mail on foot, until 1811. For

some years after that, it was carried from Ashtabula

to Buffalo on horseback, from twelve to fourteen

days being allowed for the trip.

Before these provisions, and even after their

establishment, people often waited weeks, and some-

times traveled many miles to get an opportunity to

send letters to or receive missives from their friends

in the East, money being scarce and postage twenty-

five cents per letter. No such things as envelopes

were known. The letter being written, the sheet

was then folded, tucked and sealed with wax or


The first training of which any account is obtain-

able, was a drill of about fifty privates and a few

officers at Doan’s corners, now within the limits of

Cleveland. There was a large crowd of lookers-on,

as the “troops” went through their evolutions to

the airs of “Yankee Doodle,” “Hail Columbia,”

and “Who’s Afeared,” discoursed by Joseph Burke

and Lewis Dill.

      Triump of Fame, the first newspaper, was issued

at Warren, June 16th, 1812. It ran under this pre-

tentious name until October 4th, 1816 when it was

changed to Western Reserve Chronicle. Files of

it are still in existence, and it contrasts strongly

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with the papers of to-day. It is a folio sheet, the

pages being about four times the size of one in this

book, and is made up mainly of extracts from other

papers, those from Washington being at least a

week on the road.

The change of name was brought about in this

wise: “Uncle Ben” Stevens, having recently set-

tled in Warren, from Vermont, and meeting the

editor one day in the post office, casually remarked:

“I think a less high-sounding name would be more

appropriate for a paper in a new country, say West-

ern Reserve Chronicle or Gazette.” The editor, Mr.

Bissell, though repudiating the suggestion at the

time, seems to have profited by the idea, for in about

four weeks the change was made as above, and with

it quite an improvement in the paper. For eighty

years the Chronicle has not failed to pay its wel-

come weekly visits to hundreds of homes in “Old

Trumbull,” and it is to be hoped it will not fail to

do the same for a thousand years to come.

The Mormon Church, first founded in New York

State, April 6th, 1830, was transferred to Kirtland,

Lake County, in 1832, where the Temple, still stand-

ing was completed in 1835.

The first open discussion of the propriety of

gathering the public schools of a township to some

central point for instruction, was in a letter from the

clerk of the Board of School Examiners of Ashta-

bula County to the School Commissioner, about 1870,

and the first “Public School Sunday,” for instruct-

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ing the children in manners, morals and the duties of

citizenship, was held in the M.E. Church, Orwell,

the last Sunday in October, 1894.

The founding and locating of the Soldiers’ Wid-

ows’ Home, at North Madison, Lake County, had its

origin in a conversation between one of the trustees

of the old seminary standing there and the writer, in

the spring of 1887. A correspondence was kept up

for nearly two years between the latter and presi-

dents of the State and National Corps, before the

idea began to materialize.

DAVID TOD, the illustrious “war governor” of

Ohio, was the first to suggest the inalienable right of

the soldiers in the field to the privilege of voting, a

suggestion hailed by all patriotic men as eminently

just and proper.

The following telegrams show the governor’s in-

terest in the boys. A requisition for tents and other

equipments for Ohio troops in Kentucky being de-

layed, he angrily telegraphed: “It is well I don’t

know whose fault it is, or I would whip the fellow,

if he were as strong as Sampson.” Again: “For

God’s sake send our troops in Kentucky, canteens.”

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Illustrative of Western Reserve Life



TYPICAL PIONEERING. – Ira Tuttle came to

 the south part of Austinburg, Ashtabula County, in

1810; made a small clearing, the first, on the bank

of Mills Creek; built him a cabin; and then walked

back to Connecticut. The following spring there

were seen gathered about a huge covered wagon, to

which were attached six yoke of oxen, fourteen per-

sons, four families in all. To the rear end of this

ancient “schooner” were tethered several cows,

whilst a “dasher” churn could be seen standing in

the box. Around this group were assembled a large

number of friends and neighbors. The church

pastor came forward and read a portion of Scripture,

a hymn was sung, prayer offered, and then, amid

final good-byes and tears, the little band of emigrants

took up their western march, one of the mothers

bearing in her arms for the entire journey a delicate


On that long ago morning, most of them looked

upon the home of childhood for the last time. For

fourteen weeks they cut their way through forest,

forded streams, or wended along the beach of the

Lake before they reached Mr. Tuttle’s cabin in New

Connecticut. Nights they camped about the wagon,

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the cows supplied them with milk, daily was there

a churning of butter, and with thankful hearts and

healthy bodies they made a final unpacking amid

the flowers of May in Grand River Valley.

For thirty years the family of Mr. Tuttle was reg-

ularly represented at the old Austinburg church on

Sunday, excepting once. On that day his pious

team, “Baalam” and “Syphax,” were duly attached

to the “Old Ship of Zion,” as his family carriage was

called, and left standing at the door. There was a

moment’s delay within; not so without. The church

bell gave out its inviting peals. The team, as was

its custom, yielded at once to the call, and was off

at a brisk pace, duly halted at the church landing and,

after a moment’s waiting, quietly walked to their

shed, where they were found by those of the men-

folks able to walk

Mrs. Tuttle spun, wove and bleached the linen

for her wedding dress and household furnishings, in

1807.                     Mrs. C.I. PECK, Eagleville, O.


A PIONEER VISIT. –In Conneaut, many years

ago, Mrs. Daniel Hazeltine paid Mrs. Elizer Peck a

visit. The journey of two miles was made in an ox

cart in which Mrs. H. had placed her cards and

wool. The time going and coming was spent in

carding “rolls,” that her daughters might not be in

want of something to spin. During the afternoon’s

visit, the same industry was manifest. Carding,

hatcheling and knitting were regular accompani-

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ments of visiting. It is not to be inferred from this

that gossip was wanting, though the subjects were

generally quite different from those of the present

day. Telling fortunes was a regular accompaniment

of the tea table.


FROM THE FIRELANDS.—The first regular set-

tlement on these was in 1808. The few inhabitants

were isolated and suffered much for want of food

and clothing. They subsisted much of the time on

parched and pounded corn, together with wild meat.

            It is recorded that once upon a time, a hunter

rapped at a cabin door, and was bidden enter by a

feeble voice from within. Doing so, he found a pale

emaciated woman sitting by the fire, holding a puny

babe. On beholding him, the women burst into

tears. Soon recovering herself, she pointed to the

bed saying, “There is my little Edward, I expect

he is dying; here is my babe so sick I cannot lay

it down. I am so feeble I can scarce remain in my

chair, and poor husband lies buried beside the cabin.

Oh, that I could fall into my mother’s arms!” It was

only one of many similar scenes incident to pioneer

life on the Reserve.

In my early boyhood I used to fish with a young

lawyer, named “Thom” Johnson, residing near Se-

ville, Medina County. On one occasion he told me,

that whilst hunting on the Fire Lands sometime in

the thirties, he, together with two or three others,

became lost in the forest and did not find a clearing

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until late in the evening. Making their way to a log

house, in the center of this, they found it occupied

by a lone woman. Stating their case, they asked

supper and lodging. The woman told them she had

nothing but a little meal and some milk. From the

meal she made a johnnycake and of this and the

milk, they partook with a relish and then retired to

bed. During the entire night, the hostess busied

herself grating the glazing corn on the bottom of a

pan punched full of holes, in order to have the

wherewith to breakfast her guests. The frugal meal

over, they asked for their bill. “O, nothing,” was

the reply. A five dollar bill was placed in her

hands, and the hunters pursued their way as well

satisfied as though they had lodged at a hotel. Those

were the days of genuine, unselfish pioneer hospi-


The following, from Howe’s “Historical Collec-

tions of Ohio,” shows something of the early pen-

chant for visiting: “A gentlemen settled with his

family about two miles west of Vermillion River

without a neighbor near him. Soon after, a man

and wife settled on the opposite side of the river,

about three miles distant. The lady on the west

side was very anxious to meet her east-side neigh-

bor, and sent her a message stating when she would

make her a visit. At the appointed time she went

with her husband to the river but found it so swol-

len from recent rains as to render it impossible to

cross on foot. There was no canoe or horse in that

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part of the country. The obstacle was apparently

insurmountable. Fortunately, the man on the other

side was fertile in expedients; he yoked up his oxen,

anticipating the event, and arrived at the river just

as the others were about leaving. Springing upon

the back of one of the oxen, he rode him across the

river, and when he had reached the west bank, the

lady, Europa-like, fearlessly sprang upon the back

of the other, and was borne safely across the surg-

ing waters, and safely landed upon the opposite

bank. When her visit was concluded, she returned

in the same manner.”


A SUPPLY OF PORK. –In the fall of the year 1812,

Ralph Freeman, one of the early pioneers of Braceville

 Township, started, rifle in hand, up the Mahoning

River, in search of his cows. The valley at this time

was a vast wilderness, and wild hogs roamed through

the woods in large numbers. In his wanderings,

Ralph came upon a large drove of these wild deni-

zens of the forest. The temptation for a fine porker

 was great; the larder needed replenishing, and

now was the time to accomplish it. Selecting one

of the largest he took deliberate aim, and his trusty

rifle brought its victim to the ground. But it was

only a moment until there was a general uproar

among the infuriated herd. Soon they discovered

the cause of their trouble and rushed en mass toward

their assailant. His only refuge was tree, and he

had just succeeded in reaching the lower branches

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when it was surrounded by the bristling, angry

herd. In his haste his rifle was left at the foot of

the tree. The only question now was, which would

hold out the longer. After patiently waiting two

long hours, Ralph concluded the porkers were

stayers, and something must be done. His stentorian

voice rang through the woods until it reached the

ear of Vernon Allen, who, with his brother, Harvey,

started in the direction from which the sound came.

They soon discovered the predicament their neigh-

bor was in. A council of war was held, and it was

decided to take the enemy by storm. Sheltered by

the trees, they commenced firing into the ranks. It

was not until some twenty of the hogs were killed

and the herd scattered, that our hero deigned to set

foot again on terra firma. It is needless to say, that

there was no lack of pork and bacon among the set-

tlers during the winter following.

                                    H.F. AUSTIN, Braceville, O.


AN EARLY INCIDENT.—About 1820, some years

before I was born, there came into Lenox, as pioneer

settlers a man and wife who were some thirty-five

years of age. The husband was, in several ways, a

character, and had many peculiarities which soon

became generally known, and rendered him an object

of dislike to all.

Among his other bad qualities was the love

strong drink; and on all occasions, when some other

party furnished the whiskey, he made freer use of it

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than any other of the men. So great was his penuri-

ousness, he was never known to treat a friend “to a

drink,” either at his own home or at the bar of the

pioneer tavern.

This stinginess was most severely criticized, and

close watch was kept for an opportunity to even up

the score of his delinquencies.

The time came. He must have a barn to house

the products of his farm. A mechanic had been em-

ployed to hew the timber and prepare the frame.

Invitations were sent in all directions, into all the

nearby towns, to the men to come to the raising on a

specified day. Along with the invitations went the

information, furnished by the mechanic, that the

owner of the barn had just bought and got home a

full barrel of whiskey.

This fact, alone, was sufficient to induce every-

body to accept the invitation, and many were on hand

who had received no bid.

In some mysterious way I shall not attempt to

explain, the agreement seemed to have been unani-

mously reached that the barn should not be erected

until the barrel of whiskey was completely exhausted.

For three days and two nights the Pioneers of sev-

eral of our now prosperous townships, wrestled with

that 30x40 foot barn and their neighbor’s whiskey,

and history declares that the whiskey was gone before

the rafters of the barn were in place. When more

whiskey was demanded, the owner of the barn is said

to have responded: “You have robbed me of my full

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year’s stock of whiskey, you have eaten the last morsel

of food my wife had cooked in the house, and now

if you will go to your several homes and leave us

alone, my wife and I will try to put the rafters on

our barn and put the building in shape to shelter our

crops. I look upon myself as the victim of a cruel




LIAR.—The presidential campaign of 1840 was the

most enthusiastic one that has ever occurred in our

country. For many years the Democratic party had

been in power, and the leaders of the Whig party felt

that their party ought to be placed in control of the

affairs of the government..

The administration of Martin Van Buren would

terminate in 1841, and the Whigs nominated Gen.

Wm. H. Harrison to succeed to the Presidency.

The Democrats renominated Martin Van Buren.

The Whigs charged the administration of Mr.

Van Buren with gross incompetency, dishonesty,

and great extravagance in the White House, alto-

gether unbecoming a Republican form of govern-

ment. It was charged that he had purloined from

the White House, many of the valuables belonging

thereto, and had sent them to his private home at

Kinderhook where they were used by “Prince

John,” his eldest son, in dispensing a princely hospi-

tality. It was charged, specifically, that all the best

spoons had been taken from the “White House”

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and transferred to the home of the “Sage of Kinder-


The election occurred in November, and General

Harrison was elected, much to the gratification of the

Whigs. The bitter feeling that had been engendered

during the campaign, was not speedily allayed. For

months after the election, when Whigs and Demo-

crats came together, many of the charges of the

campaign were reviewed with more or less


In the north part of our town, Lenox, lived, as

adjacent neighbors, two good citizens, one a Whig,

and the other a red-hot Van Buren Democrat. The

latter had formerly lived in the State of New York,

not far from the home of Van Buren, and was a

great friend and admirer of the President, and nothing

would awaken his wrath quicker than to have the

honor of his presidential friend in any way called in

question. The former came to our town from the

State of Vermont and was a zealous a Whig as his

near neighbor was a Democrat. Personally they were

good friends but politically they were great enemies.

Along in the winter of 1840-41 there was to be

a lawsuit in the neighborhood, growing out of a

horse trade, and everybody turned out to hear and

see the fun. My father was one of the spectators,

and he allowed me, a boy just in my teens, to go

with him.

While the crowd was waiting for the lawyers to

arrive from the county seat, the above-described


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Whig and Democrat got to reviewing the 1840 cam-

paign. The Whig affirmed that Van Buren stole the

White House spoons. This was denied by the

Democrat—re-affirmed and denied several times.

Finally, the Democrat, a large, portly man, straight-

ening himself in the most pompous manner, said:--

“Neighbor, either you or I lie like h—l, and I swear

I don’t.”

This closed the political debate for that time and

the disputants and spectators adjourned to listen to

the legal combat. N.E. FRENCH, Jefferson, O.


A PRACTICAL JOKE.—The practical joking pro-

clivities of the early settlers are proverbial. To play

a joke upon someone came like a second nature.

Some of them were so practical that were they per-

petrated now they would be the cause of either a

fistic encounter or a lawsuit. James King, Sr. and

Ira Case were well-to-do farmers in Vernon Town-

ship, Trumbull County, both living south of “the

center,” Mr. King about one and one-half miles

and Mr. Case about one-half mile farther. Almost

directly across the road from Mr. King’s house was

a magnificent field of clover nearly ready to be cut,

which he intended soon to have done. It was elec-

tion day, and Mr. King was one of the judges. Mr.

Case was on his way to election. When near this field

of clover, he met a drover with a large herd of cat-

tle which he wished to “bait” somewhere, at noon.

Mr. Case told him to turn them into that field of

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clover. The drover expressed surprise, but Mr.

Case assured him it made no difference as they

should “plow it under.” Accordingly the cattle

were turned into the field. Mr. Case hastened to

the center and told Mr. King he had better hurry home

as a man seemed to be taking possession down there.

Getting excused, he hastened home. Upon the road-

side he found a man watching the cattle as they were

eating. Mr. King inquired of him whose cattle

they were and how they came in that field. He

was told that the owner told him to turn them in. It

at once dawned upon Mr. King that Mr. Case was

the one to blame for his clover being trampled

down, and of course he watched his opportunity to

repay him.       J.L. KING, M.D., Martel, O.


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