Reserve Settled and Mapped
Chapter V, History of The Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton, 1910
James Kingsbury may be considered the first permanent settler in old Trumbull county. Stiles and Gun were ahead of him with
the party, but Gun only stayed a little while, three or four years, and it is not sure that Stiles intended to stay when he came.
It is undoubtedly true that the Kingsbury baby that starved to death was the first white child born to permanent settlers.
That Kingsbury proved later to be a valued citizen, we have seen. There is now in the possession of Miss Mary L. W. Morse,
of Poland, the following; which was found among the papers of Judge Turhand Kirtland, Miss Morse's great-grandfather:
"May 18, 1811. Rec'd, Cleveland, of Turhand Kirtland a deed from the trustees of the Connecticut Land Company for 100
acres, lot No. 433, being the same lot that was voted by said company to be given to said Kingsbury and wife for a
compensation for early settlement, and sundry services rendered said company with me.
After the Connecticut Land Company had withdrawn its surveyors, the emigrants who appeared settled in isolated spots.
This was because they bought land in large amounts and because the Connecticut Land Company scattered them as much
as possible. Settlers were thus lonesome, far away from base supplies, and obliged to grind their own corn and grain, found
trouble in procuring domestic animals, in having implements repaired, or in securing the services of a physician. No wonder
they became sick and discouraged, or as metaphysicians say today, discouraged and sick, and returned to their old homes.
They lived quiet, uneventful lives, and when they were gathered to their fathers the world knew them no more. The number
of those coming in 1798 and 1799 was small. Unlike the surveyors when they went East, it was not to write reports for
directors of a land company, but to get their families, and after they were in their new homes they were too much occupied
to write diaries by the firelight, and having few or no mails, wrote few or no letters. Summer days were too precious to be
used in letter writing, and winter ones, in dark cabins, too dismal to want to tell of them. It was expected that the northern part
of the Western Reserve would be settled before the southern, but the opposite was true. The road from Pittsburg was less
hard to travel than the one from Canandaigua; the lake winds were too severe to be enjoyed; the bits of land cleared long
before, lying in the lower part, seemed very inviting to those who had attempted to remove the huge trees covering almost
the entire section. All these things combined to draw settlers nearer the 41st parallel.
Of the first settlers, some men walked the entire way from Connecticut; some rode horseback part way, sharing the horse
with others; some rode in ox carts; some drove oxen; some came part way by land and the rest by water; some came on
sleds in mid-winter; some plowed through the mud of spring, or endured the heat of summer; some had bleeding feet, and
some serious illnesses. Sometimes it was bride and a gromm who started alone; sometimes it was a husband, wife and
children; sometimes it was a group of neighbors who made the party. Children were born on the way, and people of all
ages died and were buried where they died. But after they came, their experiences were almost identical.
John Young, a native of New Hampshire, who emigrated to New York and in 1792 married Mary Stone White, daughter of
the first settler of the land on which Whitestown now stands, came to the lower part of Trumbull county in 1796; this was the
year Kingsbury was at Conneaut. He began his settlement, calling it Youngstown. He removed his family, wife and two
children, to the new house in 1799. That year a son was born to them, William, and in 1802, a daughter, Mary. His oldest
son, John, says:
"In 1803 our mother, finding the trials of her country life there, with the latch-string always out and a table free to all, too
great with her young family, for her powers of endurance, our father, in deference to her earnest entreaties, closed up his
business as best he could and returned with his family to Whitestown and to the home and farm which her father had
provided and kept for them."
He therefore spent but seven years in the town which bears his name and which is known throughout the United States
as a great industrial center. He, however, returned occasionally for a visit, probably the last time in his own sleigh in 1814.
It is supposed that Mr. Young's brother-in-law, Philo White, and Lemuel Storrs were equally interested in the land purchase.
However, the contract with the Connecticut Land Company was made alone to Mr. Young.
James Hillman was early at Youngstown. Three different stories in regard to the friendship of Young and Hillman are in
existence. The most common one is that Hillman was on the river in a canoe, and, seeing smoke on the bank of the river,
landed and found Mr. Young and Mr. Wolcott. He visited with them a few days (people were not in such a frantic hurry
as they are now), and then he persuaded them to go to Beaver, where his headquarters were, to celebrate the Fourth of
July. This they did, and upon their return Mr. Hillman came with them, and from that time they lived in close friendship.
Another tradition is that Hillman brought Young up the river from Pittsburg and that Hillman induced to take up residence
with Young. Still another, that Young stopped at Beaver on his way west for supplies or rest, and that Hillman, whose business
was transporting passengers and trading with Indians and frontiersman, carried Young up the river, and that from their
acquaintance came a friendship which resulted in Hillman locating there. The first story seems to be the generally accepted
First Dwelling in Mahoning Valley
The first house erected as a settler's dwelling in the Mahoning Valley was Youngs. This was in the neighborhood of Spring
Common, probably Front street in Youngstown. Young also erected a cabin on the river bank in Warren back of the present
residence of Chas. Wannemaker, on South Main. This stood in a clearing made by the Indians. Here he sowed a crop,
harvested it and stored it in the cabin and transported it to Youngstown by sled in the winter.
Roswell M. Grant, the uncle of Ulysses Grant, under the date of September 7, 1875, sent a letter to the Pioneers Association
of Youngstown for its celebration on September 10th, which contained some facts in regard to James Hillman. He says that
Hillman was a native of Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, although his father lived on the Ohio river. James was in the
Revolutionary war and was captured at Georgetown. "After his return he went to a corn-husking, where he met a Miss
Catherine _____. After dancing with her for some time he proposed marriage. A squire being present, they were married the
same night. I have heard Mr. Hillman many a time say she never had a pair of shoes or stockings until after her marriage; and
I have often heard them both say that she had neither shoes nor stockings when they were married." Mr. Grant then tells
a story of Mr. Young being carried up from Pittsburg by Hillman. "Mrs. Hillman went with them. After they arrived at Youngstown,
John Young offered Mrs. Hillman her choice of six acres, any place she would choose it in the town plot, if she would remain.
She did so. Mrs. Hillman took her six acres east of the spot where William Raven's house stood. James Hillman helped
John Young to lay out the town. He understood the Indians and they understood him. When troubles arose between
the white and red man he would volunteer to settle it provided he could go alone to do it. In this way he did efficient service
to both, and did for the pioneer what no other settler seemed able or willing to do."
First Settlement in Geauga County
The first settlement in present Geauga county was at Burton in the year 1798 when three families came from Connecticut.
As we have seen, Job Stiles and his wife, and Edward Paine spent the winter of '96 at the mouth of the Cuyahoga. The
next year James Kingsbury and his family were there, togethr with Major Lorenzo Carter and Ezekiel Holley and their families.
In 1798 Rodolphus Edwards and Nathaniel Doan and family were added to the colony.
The Doan Family
The early manuscripts show that it took Mr. Doan ninety-two days to make the journey from Chatham, Connecticut. The
fever, and fever and ague, were if anything worse during this year of '98 than in '97. The Doan family consisted of nine
persons, and only one of them had strength enough to bring water to the others. This was Seth Doan, a boy of thirteen.
The fever and ague which prevailed in many parts of the Reserve in the '50s and '60s was intermittent. Chills would occur
every other day for a stated period, and then cease, beginning again on their every-ther-day schedule at the end of a certain
interval. But among the Cleveland people a patient was considered fortunate if he had only one attack a day; most patients
At one time none of the Doan family could leave the house and they had only turnips to eat. It was about this time that
Judge Kingsbury and his family did great good in nursing and caring for the sick. The Carter family did not seem to suffer
as much as did the family of Mr. Doan. Howe says, "destitute of a physician and with a few medicines, necessity again
taught them to use such means as nature had placed within their reach. For calomel, they substituted pills from the extract
of bark of the butternut, and in lieu of quinine, used dog-wood and cherry bark." Probably because of this malarious
condition, and because of the severe winds, the colony at the mouth of the Cuyahoga did not grow, and from January, 1799,
to April, 1800, Major Carter's family was the only one living there. The others had moved back onto the hills and into the
When John Doan came west he had six children, the youngest three years old. They separated at Buffalo, the father and
one son taking the Indian trail and carrying part of the goods on the backs of the horses and oxen. They followed the
first road made along the lake shore, but there were no bridges. "The mother with the other children made the trip from
Buffalo by water. She was accompanied by an Indian and several white men who had been engaged to assist her on the
journey. They came in a row-boat propelled by oars at time, and again by a tow-line carried on the bank. Besides their
furniture and household goods, they carried a box of live geese, which they declared to be 'the first domesticated birds of
the kind ever brought into Ohio.' This of course would mean northern Ohio. At the mouth of the Grandriver, the boat was
over-turned, throwing the mother, children, goods and box overboard. By good fortune, the water was shallow, and while
the red men carried the children ashore, the white men and Mrs. Doan saved the goods. The geese floated out into the
lake, but in some way became freed from their prison and swimming ashore were recaptured. At Grand river Mr. Doan met them
and the boat was taken on to Cleveland without further adventures.
Hon. Benjamin Tappan
One of the earliest settlers of the old Trumbull county was Hon. Benjamin Tappan, who arrived in June, 1799, and settled
where Ravenna now stands. A Mr. Honey, as we have seen, preceded him, but there were few others. On the way from
Connecticut he fell in with David Hudson and they came together to the mouth of the Cuyahoga river. They went up that
river as far as Boston. Mr. Hudson stayed at Hudson. Mr. Tappan left his goods and family at Boston, and cut a road through
to his new home. With the man who accompanied him built a dray, yoked on his oxen, and took part of his goods from
Boston to his camp. When he went back for the second load the man who had been left in charge of the tent had joined
Mr. Hudson's party. The weather being warm and wet, one of his oxen died from fly bites, he was left with his goods in the
wilderness, and no money. One of his men went to the commandant at Fort Erie, a hundred miles distant, to borrow money.
He himself did what most people did who lived in this new country, went to James Hillman, at Youngstown, with his troubles.
Hillman encouraged him, and sold him an ox on credit "at the usual price." It seems then as now men took advantage of other
men in distress and in several records is this fact stated to show Hillman's character. This unfortunate occurence delayed him
in planting of crops. He had to depend upon his own gun for meat, except as he bought some from the Indians. He had
to travel to western Pennsylvania for his supplies. He lived in a sort of a bark house until his log cabin was finished, which
was January 1, 1800. Mr. Tappan proved to be not only a good citizen for Ravenna and vicinity, but to the state as well.
His later biography is given under Bench and Bar.
David Hudson and Party
Mr. Hudson and his party, traveling by water, had a serious time. The Niagara river was filled with ice and their boat had to
be pulled by ropes by men onshore to keep it from drifting down the current. The lake was also dangerous from large cakes
of ice. He had fallen in with Elias Harmon, and when the party was off the Ashtabula shore their boats were driven in and
Mr. Harmon's badly damaged. They, however, repaired this, put baggage and supplies in it, and the party, including Harmon,
Tappan, and Hudson, arrived in Cleveland June 8, 1799. The river was so low, because of drought, that they had to drag
their boats over shallow places. The surveyors had described the water near the Hudson purchase to be the depth they
found the water of the Cuyahoga. So when they began dragging the boat they thought they had reached their land. The
party went ashore, tried to locate lines, and after wasting nearly a week, found they were a good ways from their destination.
The cattle belonging to Tappan and Hudson came overland. They got out of their way, and instead of going direct to
Hudson, went south to the Salt Spring tract, and, after many narrow escapes in their wanderings, reached the Cuyahoga,
at Boston, where the boats were left. While they were fixing yokes for the oxen, and making a primitive road, the Indians
stole part of their provisions from the boats. This gave Mr. Hudson grave fears of their being able to get throught the winter.
He therefore turned about, hoping to meet his man who was coming with stores, and did find him, on July 2nd, "lying at his
ease near Cattaraugus." He got back to his party in time to save them from suffering. His account of that summer of his going
east for his family in the damaged boat which he purchased of Harmon, and which was so leaky that it had to be bailed all the time it
was on the lake; of reaching his home, getting his family and his party, and returning the following year, reads like a
veritable romance. He was the founder of Hudson, had much to do with the Western Reserve College, and was a strong,
able honest man. He has direct descendants residing in Hudson now. His daughter Maria married Harvey Baldwin, both
of whom were vitally interested in the college which lately became the Western Reserve University of Cleveland. The
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin married Edwin Gregory, who was a prominent Ohio educator, being principal of the
Rayen School of Youngstown for many years.
David Daniels, of Salisbury, Connecticut, ought to be mentioned in this list of pioneers, since he came from Palmyra in 1799,
and made preparation for his family, which he brought the following year.
Ebenezer Sheldon, like Daniels, came in 1799, and prepared the way for his family. They started from Connecticut in the
early spring of 1800, and came, as did most of the settlers of that year, in a wagon drawn by oxen. They led their horses.
They had no special adventures in the beginning, but were overtaken by storm in the woods west of Warren and
miraculously escaped death. Timber fell all about them to such an extent as to hem them in. They were obliged to stay all
night in the woods and were not released the next day until they got some assistance to cut the road. One of the Miss
Sheldons became the wife of Amzi Atwater.
Hon. John Walworth
Hon. John Walworth, a native of New London, Connecticut, who had spent several years in travel, was small of stature and
supposed to have tuberculosis, visited Cleveland in 1799. He was then living in the neighborhood of Cayuga lake, New
York. Upon his return, he went to Connecticut, and bought 2,000 acres of land in number 11 range 8 (Painesville). Late
in February of 1800, he started for his new home. Others joined him, so that the party filled two sleighs when they reached
Lake Erie. They drove on the ice, stopping on the shore at Cattaraugus creek for one night. Just how men, women and
chidlren could camp in the snow with heavy wind blowing we do not understand, but they did and declared themselves
comfortable. Leaving his family at Erie, he went back to Buffalo for his goods, and all came safely to their new home.
Judge Jesse Phelps, Jared Woods, Ebenezer Merry, Charles Parker and Moses Parks were living in Mentor. It was about
April 1st when the family was settled and General Edward Paine, who had made his headquarters at Cleveland, took up
his residence there.
Atwater Township, Trubull County
One of the earliest townships settled was Atwater. Early in the spring, April, 1799, Capt. Caleb Atwater, Jonathan Merrick,
Peter Bonnell, Asahel Blakesley, and Asa Hall and his wife arrived in Atwater. In the fall all of them except Hall and his
wife returned to the east. For two whole years these people were the only white people in Atwater. Their nearest
neighbor, Lewis Ely, lived in Deerfield. In the spring of the following year a child was born, Atwater Hall, who was the
first child born inside the limits of the present Portage county.
Settlers of Deerfield
The first actual settler in Deerfield was Lewis Ely, who came with his family in July, 1799. Alva Day, John Campbell and
Joel Thrall having walked from Connecticut, arriving in March, 1800. They suffered many hardships going over the
mountains in the snow and that they made the trip successfully seems astronishing. John Campbell did not know that his
hard experiences were soon to be forgotten in his joy. In that very year he married Sarah, the daughter of Lewis Ely. This
was the first marriage among white people recorded in the present Portage county. There were no ministers in the
neighborhood, and Calvin Austin, of Warren, a justice of the peace, was asked to perform the wedding service. Justin
Austin did not know any set form for a marriage. Calvin Pease offered to teach him a proper form. They did not sit down by
some good fire and prepare for this wedding. Somehow the people of this time had to do so much walking they continued
it when it was not necessary. So these two Calvins walked twenty-one miles together through the woods in drear
November, one teaching, one repeating as they went. Calvin Pease had a great sense of humor and was a tease with
all. When, therefore, Mr. Austin had in a dignified manner repeated this service, concluding with "I pronounce you man
and wife, and may God have mercy on your souls," the assembed guests were astonished, and Mr. Pease suppressed his
laughter, with great difficulty. The great-granddaughter of the frontier bride remembers that when she was nearly eighty
she was tall, straight for her age, wore a dark brown frontpiece of hair under her snowy cap. Her dress of dark brown
delaine had pink roses, a fichu-like cape of the same material was about her shoulders, with a touch of white at the
throat. She was rather sober of face and never held or kissed this great-granddaughter. People did not show inward love
in outward expression then; besides if she had held and kissed his grandchildren and her great-grandchildren she would
have had no time for anything else, for the age of race suicide had not begun.
Daniel Boone of Trumbull County
It was the intention not to mention in this list of "first settlers" any one arriving after 1800, but the family of Mills, which came
very early in that year, having been so identified with the early settlement that the exception is made here. Three brothers,
Delaun, Asehel, and Isaac, came in covered wagons. The trip was more expensive than they expected and they had
less than twenty-five cents among them when they arrived. At that time the northern part of Portage was being surveyed
under Amzi Atwater, and these men engaged to work as ax-men under the surveyors. Isaac was not married and after a
time went back to the east. Delaun and Asehel settled on the road running west from the center of Nelson, now Portage
county. All of the old diaries of early travelers who went to Burton, Painesville, etc., have this statement, "Stopped at Mills
for dinner," or "Fed horses at Mills," or "Stayed several days at Mills." Delaun received the title of captain and was a great
hunter, of both animals and Indians. He was the Daniel Boone of old Trumbull county. Wonderful, indeed, are the stories
told of his adventures. His children are Methodists, and it is not hard for the author to close her eyes and hear the rather
sweet voice of Albert Mills, a son of one of these men, leading the Sunday school with "There'll be something in Heaven for
children to do." The son Homer still lives on the old home farm.
First Map (Pease) of the Reserve
Albion Morris Dyer, curator of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland - and a close student of history, lately
contributed the following to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and with his consent it is reproduced here: "There has recently
turned up among a lot of unclassified letters and papers in the Western Reserve Historical Society four letters bearing date
of 1798, that have an interesting connection with the beginning of civilization on the Connecticut Western Reserve. The
four lettes tell the making of the first map of the Western Reserve and disclose as a fact the source of the family names
sprinkled over the geography of the lake counties of Ohio."
"As the reader may have observed the names of the townships in northeastern Ohio read like a list of epitaphs in a
Connecticut town grave-yard. Some of the names point to the classics, and no doubt may be traced to the sanctum of the
Greek department of Yale College. Others follow the town names of the local names of Old England - Norwalk, Canterbury,
Groton, Windsor, Harford, etc. But the most of the townships of the reserve bear the names that indicate the proprietary
nature of the foundation of society inthis part of the west - Pierpont, Kinsman, Trumbull, Hubbard, Boardman, Leffingwell,
Randolph, Granger, Townsend, Perkins, Sherman, Bronson, Jessup, Parkman, etc., reminders of the 'millionaires' of that day."
* * * * *
"Several copies of the map in the possession of the Historical Society, tell the story of the zeal of the proprietors to secure
undying fame by attaching their family names to the townships - they wanted their own names on the map and they besieged
the workshop of the engraver while the map was being made to secure that distinction."
"The letters were written at New Haven soon after the return of the first company of surveyors from Cleveland, and before
the draft of lands was negotiated at Hartford. It happened that there dwelt at New Haven, and worked at his art, a famous
engraver and printer of views and maps and to him applied the surveyor to prepare a plate for the map of the Connecticut
Reserve. This engraver was Amos Doolittle and his workshop and home stood at the northwest corner of the college green
opposite the campus where the Yale Divinity school is now located."
* * * * *
"The engraver made some famous plates here - of early Yale - of events of the revolution, and of maps for the New York and
Boston publishers. He made maps of the early states and of the North American Continent - some of which are in the
cartography collection of the Historical Society. They show a technical ability of engraving and printing equal to that of the
map makers of the old world. He worked on a polished copper plate and with the wax process and his lines are clear and
sharp. He used the simple wooden press with the platen coming down to strike on points and no doubt mixed his own ink
of real lamp black and linseed oil so that the lines have a rich velvety appearance as if cut with a steel die and placed
applique out of the depths of Nubian darkness as clear and black and glossy today as when first printed over a century ago."
"Doolittle was a self-developed engraver and something of a local hero. He went to the front at the outbreak of the
Revolutionary war along with his fellow townsman Col. Benedict Arnold, and he turned up in Boston in time to witness the
famous engagement at Concord. He used this historic scene as the subject of his first engraving. This picture appeared in
all the early illustrated histories of the American war and besides it stands at the head of the list as the first engraving on metal
made and printed in America. This and other historical scenes made by Doolittle won him the title of the Father of American
Engraving - all of which is duly enshrined in the classics on this subject, Stauffer's American Engravers on Copper and Steel,
and Dunlap's History of the Art of Design."
* * * * *
"The four lettes were found among papers of Seth Pease, chief of the surveyors of the Reserve, to whom they were
addressed. Pease had finished the survey and returned to his home in Suffield, where he drew off his notes and made the
beautiful manuscript plat on the reserve now on exhibition in the museum of the historical society. He wished to publish the
map and wrote to the engraver asking his price. The letters written by Doolittle in the correspondence that followed tell
the story. Here is one, with the peculiarities of orthography and punctuation characteristic of the time:"
Sir: I here with send you a ___ Maps, of the Connecticut Reserve; hope they will answer your expectations. - There has
a number of Gentlemen sent in names to certain Towns in which they were concerned and trust it will meet your Aprobation -
I am now printing the Maps and shall have the 500 ready for delivery next week would thank you to enform whether I shall
dispose of any of the maps and send you an account, also the price you propose to sell them at.
The paper which is made for the maps weigs 35p pr Reem which is charged at 2s pr lb.
I am Sir with Esteem your most
Newhaven, April 19, 1798
Seth Pease, Esqr.
Home Life of the Pioneers
Before we proceed farther with the history of the Western Reserve after 1800, let us take a look at the home life of the
people in New Connecticut in the first early days.
There were no steam cars, street cars, automobiles, or coaches. No large boats came this way, since even on the lake
there were no natural harbors to admit them. Men who had the most money and had therefore bought large tracts of land
arrived during the summer days, located their land, cleared a spot for the house, and returned home. If they were very
wealthy they left a man or two to stay through the winter to construct the cabin and care for a few domestic animals.
The following spring they brought their families and began a new life. Such cases were few, because the number of rich
emigrants was small. Most of the travelers came in family or neighborhood groups, with an ox cart for the baggage, and a
horse or two. There was seldom place for all to ride and they took turn about. A large percent came by horseback.
Sometimes a woman would ride, carrying a baby and utensils for cooking, while the husband would walk, leading another
horse on which was piled the baggage. Often a husband and wife, newly married, would ride horses, or one horse, to
the new home. Sometimes men used boats as far as streams were navigatable, walking the rest of the way. Sometimes
men walked all the way. Sometimes women came in pairs without men, walking the entire distance. Sometimes women
carried babies on their backs while the husbands carried provisions on his. When it came night they would sleep on the
ground, with no covering if it were pleasant, under the trees or large pieces of bark stuck on poles, if it were rainy.
Record is given of women who came alone (except as they would fall in with parties now and then), carring a baby or
leading a child. In this latter case the trip was exceedingly hard. In the beginning such a traveler was in civilization, where
she could easily find shelter and lodging. However, as she proceeded, and grew more weary and more lonesome, hamlets
were farther apart, until houses almost disappeared. It is recorded that several women carried their babies in their aprons
all the way from New England. The apron was worn almost as much as the dress, colored cottons for hard work, white for
home dress-up, and among the wealthy silk for visiting. They were used for many purposes for which we would never think
of using them today.
When women came alone it was usually because they were exceedingly poor and had inherited land in the new country,
or because the husband had preceded them to prepare a place for them. Many a pioneer mother, when she reached the
land belonging to her or to her husband, saw the wild country, remembered her abiding place "back home", covered her
face with her hands, sat down on the fresh hewn logs, or made her way into the forests, and gave way to her feelings in
floods of tears. As soon as this disappointment was over, she turned her attention to her duty. If any women, anywhere,
in all the wide world, ever did the courageous things, the right things it was the women who came to New Connecticut and
helped to transform it from wilderness to one of the msot prosperous places of the world.
As there were some women who came in rather comfortable ox-carts, so there were some women who had homes awaiting
them, but this percent was so small that it is hardly to be considered.
Sweet Child Voice in the Wild
Mr. Ephraim Brown, of North Bloomfield, one of the early wealthy men, came one season, left men there to build his house,
while he went back for the winter. There were no women in that neighborhood. One Sunday morning in June of the
following year as his men, with some neighbors, were sitting in the sun in the opening about the house, they heard a sound.
They all listened. They recognized a baby's cry. One of the men said afterwards, "That was the sweetest sound I ever
heard in my life." Of course, he did not mean that the distressed baby's voice was so pleasant, but he knew that where a
baby was, a mother was, and where a mother was a real home would be.
Great traveling preparations were made by the emigrants. One woman in Connecticut baked her oven several times full of
bread, dried it, rolled it, and packed it in sacks that it might serve for food on the journey.
Upon arrival, families sometimes slept in the ox-cart, but more often slept under bark roofs, keeping their clothing and
provisions near by in hollow trees. One of the first things these pioneers did, if they came in the early spring, was to clear a
little patch and start a garden. Men struggled for a chance to make garden then as boys and men struggle now not to make
them. Almost all of them brought seeds, and so carefully did they have to plan not to have heavy baggage, nor to be burdened
with small bundles, that apple seeds were sometimes brought in the hollow cane which they used as a staff.
The second act was preparing logs for the house. Some of these buildings had no chimney, no doors, no windows. It is
surprising to find in how many cases this is true.
Women cooked meals at the side of chestnut stumps for weeks and months at times. In many cases men were so occupied
in other directions that they gave little attention to domestic conveniences of any kind. Record is had of several women who,
in despair, made ovens of clay and mud in which to bake their bread. Before that, they had had to stir their bread on a fresh
hewn log and wrap it around a stick or a corncob. Their children were set to holding it and watching it as it baked and
browned. Children, in those days, were like children in these, and some of them carefully watched the bread, baked it
evenly, while others who dropped it in the ashes or burned it were chastised for their carelessness. The result was the same
in those days as now; the careless child did not grow any more careful, and the careful child did most of the bread-baking.
One of the study foremothers, a Farmington woman, who had a poor fireplace in her dingy cabin, and who loved to prepare
good things to eat for her family, became desperate because her husband procrastinated in building an oven for her. She
said she had baked bread and done all her cooking in one big iron kettle and she was tired of it. She, therefore, fashioned
some bricks of mud, burned them in some way, and constructed an oven which was such a success that people traveling her way
stopped to see it.
Men and women, by temperament and environment, were the same in that day as this, and some husbands were thrifty,
loving, temperate and just, and some were quite the opposite; some women were clinging, tender and childish, while the
majority were not. The forefather was really the monarch of the family, and when the food was low it was he who braved the
storms and the cold to bring provisions from Pennsylvania; nevertheless, he was neglectful of the smaller things.
On many farms even in late days there were no cisterns. All water had to be caught in tubs as it fell from the roof on a
flatboard leading into barrels and tubs. These receptacles naturally must stand near the house, and the mosquitoes hatched
therein were conveniently near their feeding grounds. Women carried their clothes to the nearby creeks and washed them,
laying them on the grass to dry. The well was often far from the house. If there chanced to be a spring, the stable was
invariably put nearer to it than the house.
Within the recollection of the writer, a farmer who kept five men and whose wife did the work, either thoughtlessly or
purposely neglected to keep her supplied with sufficient wood. Several times the housewife threated to get no dinner unless
wood was brought to her. This threat was not effective. She knew and the men knew that there was plenty of cold food
in the pantry with which to satisfy themselves. One day when the husband came home to dinner with the hired hands he
was obliged to step over two rails of his choice fence which were sticking out of the doorway, the other ends being in the
stove furnishing fuel for the dinner. As this rail fence was his pride and as rail splitting was hard work, he always thereafter
delegated one of his men to keep the wood box full.
Evils of the Quilt Doorway
We have seen that most of the log houses had no doors or windows. Blankets and quilts often served the places of doors.
Bears sometimes walked in under them; wolves sometimes ventured so near that if there was a loft and the men were away,
mothers took their children and climbed into the loft. Sometimes women built fires in front of these blanket doors, or stood
outside and waved pieces of burning wood, or set fire to a little powder to frighten these dangerous animals. Indians were
especially attracted toward the quilt doorways. As we know, they walked very quietly, and many an early housewife has
been badly frightened as she realized that Indians were examining her quilt from the outside.
It is not possible, often, to finish a house immediately. Sometimes the roof was not on for a long time in the summer. The
time in the warm weather was precious and a settler could build his house when he had nothing else to do. As soon as
possible doors were hung. After a time windows were made, but not of glass - only greased paper.
The chimneys were usually built outside and under certain climactic conditions smoked badly.
After a time there was a floor, and women and children, on winter evenings, helped to stuff the cracks between the logs
with anything suitable that they could procure, while the father, and sometimes the mother, smoothed with the axe the inside
of the logs. As a rule, this primitive log house had but one room. Poles were struck in between the logs and furnished the
bedstead, while the cord for the same was made of strips of elm bark. Ticks were usually filled with straw. As soon as it
was possible a loft was made, and here, in summer, and sometimes in winter, the children and hired men slept. In reading
of the early self-made men of this country, it is almost universally stated that as children they used to wake in the morning
to find snow on their beds. Access to these lofts was had by ladder usually; occasionally by rude steep stairs. As a rule,
there was a hatch door to keep the cold from the room below. Sometimes when there was no loft, a corner of the cabin
was screened off by cotton curtains.
The early plows were made of wood with points of steel. The harrows used at first was made of tree crotch with wooden
pegs set in. Dishes were often of wood. However, each foremother seemed to find a way to bring something to her crude
home which she loved. The early German women, and the New England women as well, often brought a favorite bulb or
cutting from a plant at home, and these they nursed and nourished, and by exchanging with each other had some lovely
gardens in this wilderness. A woman of Champion had some peonies which had bloomed in that town for seventy years,
and one of these roots still lives on the old Rutan farm.
Sometimes they brought a few pieces of silver, or a picture. One of the plainest women in Portage county, who was a
foremother, brought a looking glass. This her granddaughter still cherishes. They struggled to make the interior of their
dingy cabins look homelike. Rude shelves were put over fireplaces, and upon these they set their pewters, which, despite
all other hard work, they faithfully polished with wood ashes. They had no rocking chairs. The stools were made with three
legs, since it is easier to adjust them on the rough floors. They could work at nothing in the evening which required close
attention, since the flicker of the log or small tallow dip furnished meager light. However, every evening was full of duties,
for they dipped candles, plaited straw for hats, shelled corn and cracked nuts. They also spun, sometimes far into the night.
As Hon. Thomas D. Webb, of Warren, observed his wife spinning one evening, he made a calculation of her steps, and
when she had finished he told her she had walked as far as Warren to Leavittsburg and back; that is six miles.
The Best Bargain of the Yankee
Most of the pioneer mothers who really clothed and fed the people of the Western Reserve had to beg for all the money
they had, and the forefather took great pride in thinking how well he supported his wife. He did not know it, but the Yankee
settler, when he married a young, virtuous, strong, capable woman, made the best bargain any made ever made. Sometimes
a woman, inheriting a strong feeling of independence from her independent father, stood up, in what seems to us now, a
feeble way, and demanded a small part of what was due her. Such a woman was said to "wear the breeches," and her
husband was termed "hen-pecked." Next to drunkenness and infidelity, the women who first lived in new Connecticut
suffered more from financial dependence than from any other one thing.
The pleasures were visiting, church-going and house raising. There were no undertakers and no nurses. The housewives
knew the medicinal value of herbs, and when left alone did good service. The community was like a great independent
family, one man ingeniously making ax helves, while another pulled, or rather screwed out the teeth with a turn screw,
and each helped the other when in trouble. If a man was sick, his neighbors raised his house or gathered his crops. A
pioneer who had nursed the sick and shared the sorrows of his friends in the early days, died recently at extreme age, and
some of his young neighbors throught they could not leave plowing to attend his funeral. In the old days, it was friendship
first, money afterwards.
People were baptized in streams when the ice had to be cut.
Books were few and reading not indulged in to any great extent. In fact, it was considered almost wicked to waste day-light
in study. Occasionally, a boy had determined to become a professional man did almost all his studying winter evenings by
the light of the log fire, and hunted the neighborhood for miles around for the worm and tattered volumes which there were
Reserve School Houses
When the schoolhouses began to appear, the smaller children attended in summer, and most of the smaller ones, and the
older ones, in winter. They walked miles to school, wore no woolen underclothing, the girls cotton dresses, the boys no
overcoats. They carried their dinner in a pail or basket, and often ran most of the way. They studied or not, learned or not,
got whipped or not, as they cared to or deserved, but at noon they ate their half-frozen dinners in front of the blazing logs.
The only thing the early settlers of Trumbull county had was plenty of firewood.
Neighbors would sometimes gather in schoolhouses where the men held debates. No one any more thought of asking a
woman to debate a question than they would of thought of urging her to become a candidate for governor. In some
committees these debates were on a religious subject. The question of atonement, fore-ordination, sprinkling, immersion and
like topics were debated to such a degree that friendships were broken and communities divided and disturbed temporarily.
Other questions less serious were "Which is worst, a scolding wife or a smoking chimney?" or "How many angels can stand
on the point of a needle?"
And here in this new country, where all started nearly equal, some men became leaders, others were lost sight of. Some
accumulated property and assumed a certain superiority (as most moneyed men are bound to do), while others, struggle as
they might, never held to that which they bought and died owning nothing, or worse, owing much. Stores are told how some
of the original land owners became rich by pressing hard men who owed them, and how the same bits of land came back
to them, time after time, with pioneer improvements, because payments could not be kept up. The people were better than
their Connecticut ancestors, in that they did not bring the whipping post and ducking stool, did not burn witches, and did not
torture, physically, heretics, but in the matter of money they followed closely their progenitors.
One of the early settlers writes that the members of his family were great readers and being unable to procure many books,
read those which they had through repeatedly. He himself read "Pilgrim's Progress" twice without stopping.
Joshua Giddings' First Mince Pie
In the beginning they had few pastries and pies. Joshua R Giddings says: "The first mince pie I ever ate on the Reserve
was composed of pumpkin instead of apple, vinegar in place of wine or cider, bear's meat instead of beef. The whole
was sweetened with wild honey instead of sugar, and seasoned with domestic pepper, pulverized, instead of cloves,
cinnamon and allspice. And never did I taste pastry with a better relish." The pie soon became a necessity in the household.
In the early winter the housewife would bake fifty or more mince pies and put them in a cold room where they would often
freeze, and then they were brought out on occasion needed and warmed. The woman who made the oven bricks once
had it full of pies, cooling, when the Indians came in the night and carried them off.
Cooking was interfered with in the early time in the spring by the leeks, which rendered the milk almost undrinkable. The
remedy for this was the serving of onions at meals, since one bite of an onion disguised the taste of the leek.
Women not only were the cooks and housekeepers, as we have seen, but they spun cotton, occasionally mixing it with
a linen which they always spun for summer clothes. They not only spun the flax, but hetcheled it. They carded the wool,
spun it, wove it, and made it into garments. Some of the early men and boys wore suits of buckskin which, over a flax
shirt, made a full-dress suit. One writer says that once when a pair of scissors was lost, his mother cut out a buckskin suit
with a broad-ax. Another woman cut wool from a black sheep, carded, spun, wove it, and made a suit in three days for a
Openings for Women
There were three occupations open to women, and even these were not open practically the first few years of pioneer life
here. They were teaching, tailoring, and housework, and the renumeration was exceedingly small. One of the earliest
teachers (all were paid by the patrons of the school) received, in compensation, among other things, calves, corn, a bureau,
the latter being still preserved by her family. One man paid her by giving her a load of corn, another by carrying this corn to
Painesville and exchanging it for cotton yarn, while a third, a woman, wove the yarn into a bedspread. This spread is
preserved with the bureau.
Women were good nurses and in many cases they worked side by side with a doctor. Again and again do we read of women
walking through snow and cold to be with other women at the birth of children or to encourage them during the illness of
members of their family. These women often rode miles horseback; sometimes they were so helpful that the doctor begged
them to help him and carried them behind him on his horse. There are authentic cases of women not only going in the cold
on horseback, but swimming streams and arriving at the destination with frozen clothes. Occasionally, a woman would be
more capable or more ambitious than her husband or her neighbors, and by extra hours of weaving would pay the taxes on
the property, or make a payment on the principal. Girls of fourteen or fifteen sometimes became expert spinners or weavers.
One in particular was able to weave double coverlets at that age. There were no poorhouses, nor hospitals, and women,
suddenly bereaved of husbands were taken into other families, while men, losing wives, were looked after by the women of
the neighborhood. Children left alone were cared for in the families as if they belonged there. Hardly a family existed which
did not have attached to it a dependent or unfortunate person. Some women, feeling that they had a right to a certain
percent of the earnings, demanded a calf or a sheep, which as it grew gave them a little revenue; or asked for a small
portion of crop from which they had their "pin" money.
In 1814 it took seventy-two bushels of corn to buy a woman's dress.
Why Pioneer Women Died Early
Under the hardships and exposures, with the long hours of work and the large families, women died early, and most men
had two wives. Occasionally a father and mother would both die and leave the children to care for themselves. Several
cases are given in early records and letters of girls who reared their little brothers and sisters in their primitive cabins.
One such girl, eleven years old, kept house for three younger children and was herself married at sixteen to a boy aged
nineteen. The community watched over these young folks and called them "babes in the woods." They themselves were
the parents of six girls and seven boys. Families were large in those days, but, although people had many children, the
percent which grew to mature years is so small as to be startling.
When churches began to be built, women contributed in work, not only in furnishing but even in raising the building. One
woman solicited small donations of wool from people of the vicinage and wove a carpet for the church.
Although women spun and wove the clothes which they and their families wore, even the men's caps, they did not make the
shoes. Therefore, when the shoes wore out, they sometimes went without them; in consequence, they were careful of them.
In the "Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," many times shoes are mentioned as being the most desired belongings.
Women who walked to Warren from Howland put theirs on under the elm tree in front of Harmon Austin's residence on
High street. Those who came from Lordstown, if they came to market, stopped on the bank of the river for this same
purpose, and if to church, they sometimes waited until they got nearer the meeting house. In one township we read that it
was not an unusual thing to see women sitting on the church steps putting on their shoes and stockings. In another place
we read: "We always put on our shoes at the preacher's barn." Sometimes a woman would have two or three pairs of
shoes, or two or three dresses, in which case she gladly loaned them to her less fortunate neighbor.
A woman in Mecca, who was exceedingly enterprising, raised silkworms and spun silk to get extra money.
Many of the women were devoted Christians and traveled many miles on Sunday by horseback, sometimes taking two
children with them, to attend services. These same women allowed little or not work to be done on Sunday. Cows, of course,
must be milked, and stock fed, but no cooking was permitted. Beds were aired all day and made up after sundown.
Although people did their duty, there was more sorrow then than now, more discomfort then than now, less freedom then
than now. There was less open expression of love, and more repressed feeling of all kind. Women were tired and worn
out, and, in many cases, scolded. Men were sometimes overbearing, sometimes drunken, and occasionally cruel. A very
nice woman living in the early days of old Trumbull county, when quite young, lost her husband. She continued to reside
for a little time in her lonesome cabin, but later was induced to marry a man of the neighborhood who had several children.
After a time he became abusive and she was afraid he would take her life. Because of superstition, he was afraid to go
into the graveyard after dusk. The only place, therefore, that she was absolutely safe was in the cemetery, and many a
night she slept in peace on her first husband's grave.
Women's Recreations - None
Assistant Attorney General of the United States Frank E Hutchins, in writing of the early life, says: "The principal recreations
for men were hunting, fishing and trapping, while for the women - well, poor souls, they didn't have any."
Mr. H.K. Morse, of Poland, told the author that he had a feeling of sadness every time he thought of the women pioneers.
His stepmother, of whom he was very fond, was the hardest worker they had on the place, and when he narrated what the
men did each day this is a strong statement. His grandfather and his father were energetic, resourceful, enterprising and
diligent men. Mr. Morse said that their every-day table reached clear across the room, twenty-five people sitting down at
the first table, while sometimes half filled the second. The mother had help, of course; but what were two or three pairs of
hands with one head to manage such a party as this? He says they ate their breakfast about four o'clock and their supper
late. Often the women were still at work at eleven o'clock at night.
Another gentleman, two years younger than Mr. Morse, in making a speech at a pioneer reunion, said he never remembered
going to bed as long as he lived at home that his mother was not working, and no matter how early he arose she was always
ahead of him. A dozen men's voices shout: Here! Here! Here!
The first comers among women suffered cold, hunger and loneliness. Their followers had more comforts, but work was
increased. Even the third generation put in long, laborious hours.
One ambitious woman who wanted to make a rag carpet, and whose duties kept her busy all day, used to rise at three
o'clock and go quietly onto the porch, where she sewed an hour and a half before the men of her family (she had no daughters)
bestirred themselves. In the afternoon she again had about an hour and a half on three days in the week, and at this time
in the summer she sat in an entryway, but near by she kept a camphor bottle which she was obliged to smell now and then
to keep herself awake. As she sewed great balls of cherry-colored rages which were to be striped with darker red and
black, she would say gently, "I must be getting old; I'm so sleepy." Eighteen hours of work and six hours of sleep day after
day might have explained it. As finished, the carpet was beautiful, and when the men of the family walked thereon with
muddy boots, she would upbraid them. The husband would say, "Well, it beats things all the hollow the way mother jaws
about that carpet. A person might think it cost something." Cost something!
The Housewife's Early Troubles
Among the early troubles of the housewife was getting of the material for the breadmaking. Mills were far distant; at first in
Pennsylvania, then Youngstown, Warren and Cleveland. Many families utilized a hollowed stump with a long pole from which
a stone was suspended for grinding corn and grain. The hand mills which came later required two hours' grinding to supply
one person with food for one day. Sometimes wheat would get wet, or was not properly harvested, and bread would run
despite the greatest efforts of the housewife. Baking powder was unknown, and sour milk and saleratus was used for
lightbreads; the latter was made by the housewife herself from ashes. The bread was that known as "salt-rising" or "milk-
rising," and required no hop yeast. If this fermented too long it would spoil, and the emptins would have to be made again.
As cows became more numerous, the churning and cheese-making grew heavier. There was no ice in summer, and churning
would sometimes occupy half a day. Cheese was made in huge tubs or hollowed logs on the floor, and we wonder how
women ever could stoop over and stir curd by the hour, as they were obliged to do. They dried the wild berries, and later
the apples, peaches, and other fruits; they rendered their land, dried and corned their beef, put in pickle their pork, and when
winter closed down, after 1800, almost every cabin had provisions enough to keep the family from want, and most of this
had been prepared by the housewife.
Wolves were everywhere. Few were the settlers who did not encounter them and hear their threatening howls. No one on
the Western Reserve today thinks of wolves, but in the present northwest last year they destroyed $13,000,000 worth of
property. Bears were very plenty in this country up to 1815. After that their numbers lessened. They were probably the
least ferocious of any of the wild animals here, and yet so long have we thought of bears as devouring people that bear
stories in connection with the pioneer settler are told by their descendants in great numbers. These animals, loving berries
and honey, occasionally carried off pigs, but as a rule ran away from men, women and children. Children were always
afraid of them, but some women were not. Margaret Cohen Walker, of Champion, seeing a bear near the house, chased it
to a nearby tree, when it jumped into the hollow. Quickly she returned to the house, got a shovel of coal, built a fire, and
burned both bear and tree. A woman in Braceville, working in her kitchen, was greatly startled by seeing a bear jump into
her room and run under her bed. It was being chased by some farmers from Nelson.
The Question of Drink
The free use of liquor was more or less distasteful to all early women and to some men. We know of some early belles who
deplored the fact that some men were so drunk at balls that they could not dance. In isolated spots the women took a
stand against whiskey and wine as early as 1805. A man, at the solicitation of his wife, determined to do away with whiskey
at a barn raising. When the husband gave out the word, the men who were ready for work declared they would do nothing
without liquor. The wife promised them coffee and an extra meal, but it was no use. The husband was just about to relent,
when the wife said: "Just as you like, gentlemen; you can go without whiskey or we can go without a barn." They went
away. A few days later part of them, with others, raised the barn without whiskey, and consequently without a fight or
accident. Wine was always served at weddings. The first women who refused it on those occasions were considered to be
insulting to the hostess, and they were "treated rather coldly by their convivial friends." Soon a few men realized how
harmful the habit was becoming, and refused to serve it. One of these men was Mr. Morse, of Poland; another, Ephraim
Brown, of Bloomfield; and James Heaton, of Niles. These men had to endure much harsh criticism.
The Better Times of Today
Eventually the shacks of barn became the log hut; the hut became the cabin; the cabin had two stories, and later was
covered with clapboards and painted red or white. The chestnut stump was supplanted by open fire inside; the fireplace
then had a crane, later came the brick oven, followed by the stove with the elevated oven, and then the range. The
laundry was moved from the creek to the porch or the back room, and now the windmill pumps the water, and the
windmill or electricity runs the washing machine. The men went to the woods for meat, while now the meat man takes it
to the most isolated farm, while in the towns it is brought to the kitchen, ready from the coals.
Then, people, after weary miles of travel, camped alone in the wilderness, or at hamlets, while now farmers can ride their
bicycles over find roads to nearby railroad stations, go to the county seat and pay their taxes, sell a crop and be back for
dinner. Then, women longed for a few hours of visiting; now, they can have conversations over their own wire without
having to exert themselves at all. And who knows how much of the prosperity of our time is due to these frugal, courageous
forefathers and foremothers who sowed so carefully?
Early Settlements in the Reserve
Early settlements were made as follows: