53

CHAPTER III

THREE TRYING YEARS

Through the leafy avenues of the June that followed, the eyes of the waiting pioneers upon the Cuyahoga saw the advance guard of the second corps of surveyors who had been sent out for another year of labor. Some changes had occurred in the winter. Mr. Paine had permanently departed in the early spring for a point to the eastward, where he laid the foundations of the little city that bears his name. In May, the Guns had come from Conneaut, thus making the second family to find a residence in Cleveland.

In the January preceding (1797), a meeting of the Connecticut Land Company had been held, at which the directors and trustees were instructed to urge upon the Legislature the expediency of erecting a county which should include all of the Western Reserve. A committee on behalf of the stockholders was appointed to inquire into the causes of the "very great expense of the company during the first year; the causes which have prevented the completion of the survey; and why the surveyors and agents have not made their report." An assessment of five dollars per share of the company stock was ordered; and a committee of partition appointed, consisting of Daniel Hollbrook, Moses Warren, Jr., Seth Pease and Amos Spafford. In the hands of another committee was reposed the duty of making a general inquiry into the conduct of the directors; which body made a report in February, exonerating these officials in all respects. It was voted that "Moses Cleaveland’s contract with Joseph Brant, Esq., in behalf of the Mohawks, of Grand River, Canada, be ratified."

The Rev. Seth Hart was appointed superintendent of

54

this second expedition, and Seth Pease the principal surveyor. Just why General Cleaveland did not return has not been spread upon the official record; and it is with no small reluctance that we see this stalwart figure disappear from these pages until near a century later, when a patriotic body, in the city he founded, embodied in bronze a lasting recognition of his services.

In addition to the leaders above names, we find in the party a number of those who had gone out the year before—particularly Amos Spafford, Richard M. Stoddard, Moses Warren, Joseph Landon, Theodore Shepherd, and Joseph Tinker. Samuel Spafford, a son of Amos, was one of the employees.

Mr. Pease had charge of the funds, and the details of outfitting. He organized at Schenectady. He was assisted in this labor by Thomas Mather, of Albany, N.Y. There seems to have been a temporary dearth of funds, as we find this entry in the Pease journal, under date of April 14th: "Spent the week thus far in getting necessary supplies. The want of ready cash subjects me to considerable inconvenience. Mr. Mather purchases the greater part on his own credit; and takes my order on Mr. Ephraim Root, treasurer."

On April 15th "rations began to be issued," and on the 20th "six boats started up the Mohawk. Each mess of six men received for daily rations, chocolate, one pound; pork, five pounds; sugar, a small porringer; one bottle of rum; one half-bottle of tea; flour or bread not limited. A man, his wife and a small child, taken in one of the boats." They went by Fort Schuyler, Fort Stanwix, Oswego Falls portage, and the garrison at Niagara, which they reached on May 14th. Five days later found them at Buffalo, where there awaited them the party which had come overland. The latter were sent ahead with the stock; the expedition by boat reached Cattaraugus, where they "tried to get an interpreter, but could not; the Indians stole eight to ten pounds of our pork and ham." They reached Conneaut and Port In-

Facing Page

St. Clair Street, East from Bank Street, 1833

St. Clair Street, East from Bank Street, 1833

55

Dependence on the night of the 26th. "We found that Mr. Gun’s family had removed to Cuyahoga. Mr. Kingsbury, his wife and one child, were in a low state of health, to whom we administered what relief we could."

On June 1st they reached Cleveland. The land party and some of the delayed boats came later, bringing the melancholy news that David Eldridge, one of the men, had been drowned in an attempt to swim his horse across Grand River. The body was brought on to Cleveland and buried in its first cemetery, on the east side of Ontario street, just north of Prospect street. The burial service in this, the city’s first funeral, was read by the Rev. Mr. Hart, following the form of the Episcopal Church. The details of this sad accident are thus told by one of the surveyors45 in charge of the party: "I was ordered with a party of men to take the horses and cattle to Cleveland. We got along very well until we got to Grand River; we had no boat or other means of conveyance across, except we found an old Indian bark canoe which was very leaky—we had one horse, which I knew was a good swimmer. I mounted him, and directed the men to drive the others after me. I had got perhaps half way when I heard the men on shore scream—I looked back and saw two men, with horses in the water, but had parted from them—one of them got ashore, and the other, David Eldridge, made poor progress. I turned my horse as quick as I could and guided him up within reach of him, when I very inconsiderately took hold of his hand, as soon as I could. This turned the horse over, and we were both under the water in an instant; but we separated, and I again mounted the horse and looked back and saw him just raise his head above the water, but he sunk to rise no more. We built a raft of flood wood, lashed together with barks, and placing on it three men who were good swimmers, they with hooks drew up the body, but this took some time—perhaps two hours. We took some

56

pains to restore the body to life, but in vain. Two of our boats came up soon after with a large portion of the men. They took the body to Cleveland, and buried it in the then newly laid out burying ground."46

Headquarters were located at Cleveland, and the surveying parties went out upon their labors. The little town put on an appearance of activity. A piece of land was cleared on top of the bank, near the west end of Superior street, fenced in, and a garden planted.

There were several notable arrivals during this year. One of these was Lorenzo Carter—of whom we shall hear anon—who came from Rutland, Vermont, and had spent the previous winter in Canada. He erected a log cabin on the lowlands near the river, not far from Union (now Spring) street. He was a man of energy, and a daring and successful hunter, who soon made his presence felt in various ways, and left an impress upon the community. Near the same time came his brother-in-law, Ezekiel Hawley.

drawing of James Kingsbury

James Kingsbury

Another arrival of importance was that of James Kingsbury, whose brief residence in Conneaut has been noted above. His experience in the wilderness, probably similar to that of many other early settlers, was one of extreme privation and hardship, and as an illustrative case I relate it somewhat in full. Col. Whittlesey speaks of him as "the first adventurer on his own account, who arrived on the company’s purchase," and we have already

57

Noted the gracious and generous manner in which the company recognized that fact. He came from Alsted, New Hampshire, and arrived at Conneaut soon after the first appearance of the surveyors. He was accompanied by his wife and three children.

When the surveyors had gone home in the fall of 1796, the exigencies of the situation demanded his return to his old New England home. He made the journey by way of Erie, Buffalo and Canandaigua, on horseback, and expected to complete it within four to six weeks. He reached the old home with no special delay or accident, but was there attacked by fever. As soon as he dared mount a horse he set out for home, filled with anxiety for those who were awaiting his return. He reached Buffalo in a state of exhaustion, on December 3rd, and on the following day pushed forward into the snowy wilderness. He was accompanied by an Indian guard. For three weeks the snow fell without intermission, until at places it was up to the chin. Weak in body, and full of trouble for his loved ones, he pushed on and on, although it was December 24th before his cabin was reached. His horse had died from exhaustion, and he was not in much better condition.

Meanwhile the wife and children subsisted as best they could. The Indians supplied her with meat until the real weather of winter came on. She had for company a nephew of her husband’s a boy of thirteen, whose especial charge was a yoke of oxen and a cow. Day after day went by, and still her husband did not com; and as if cold and loneliness were not enough, the supreme pain of motherhood was added, and the first while native son of the Reserve became a member of the household.

She had regained sufficient strength to move about the house, and had about decided to remove to Erie, when toward evening she looked up, and her husband was at the door.

Mrs. Kingsbury was then taken with fever; the food left by the surveyors was about exhausted; and the snow pre-

58

vented calls upon their Indian friends. Before his strength had fully returned, Mr. Kingsbury was forced to make a journey to Erie, to procure food. He could not take the oxen because of the lack of a path through the snow, and so he set forth hauling a hand sled. He reached Erie, obtained a bushel of wheat, and hauled it back to Conneaut, where it was cracked and boiled and eaten. The cow died from the effect of eating the browse of oak trees, and with it gone, the chances of life for the little one were meager indeed. In a month it died. Mr. Kingsbury and the boy made a rude coffin from a pine box which the surveyors had left. "As they carried the remains from the house, the sick mother raised herself in bed, following with her eyes the lonely party, to a rise of ground where they had dug a grave. She fell backward, and for two weeks was scarcely conscious of what was passing, or what had passed. Late in February or early in March, Mr. Kingsbury, who was still feeble, made an effort to obtain something which his wife could eat, for it was evident that nutriment was her principal necessity. The severest rigors of winter began to relax. Instead of fierce northern blasts, sweeping over the frozen surface of the lake, there were southern breezes, which softened the snow and moderated the atmosphere. Scarcely able to walk, he loaded an old ‘Queen’s Ann’ which his uncle had carried in the War of the Revolution, and which is still in the keeping of the family. He succeeded in reaching the woods, and sat down upon a log. A solitary pigeon came, and perched upon the highest branches of a tree. It was not only high, but distant. The chances of hitting the bird were few indeed, but a human life seemed to depend upon those chances. A single shot found its way to the mark, and the bird fell. It was well cooked and the broth given to the wife, who was immediately revived."47

When the surveyors came to Cleveland in 1707, the Kingsbury family came with them. There was a dilapi-

59

Dated house on the west side of the river, probably where Main and Center streets now intersect—a log house48--which, it is usually stated, was left by the early traders with the Indians; and it sheltered them, while a more substantial cabin was being put up east of the Public Square, near the present location of Case block.

Said to be the Oldest House in Cleveland

Said to be the Oldest House in Cleveland

Judge Kingsbury—so called because of his later appointment as a judge of the Court of Common Please of Trumbull County—was of no small prominence in his day and generation. In December, 1797, he again removed, this time to a point upon the bluff on the line from Doan’s

60

corners to Newburgh, where he lived to the end of his life, which came on December 12th, 1847.

The year 1797 saw a marked addition to the street lines of Cleveland. "Central Highway" was laid out as a road into the country, but as it led to the new town of Euclid, it became known as Euclid road. The "South Highway," or Kinsman street, was also added, as was also "North Highway," or St. Clair street. In the fall, the surveyors completed their labors, so that the land could be intelligently divided among the stockholders of the company, and returned home. In January, of the year following, the partition was made. It was also during this year that Cleveland, with the rest of the Reserve, became a part of Jefferson County, but no steps of visible jurisdiction were taken by the territorial authorities. In October, 1798, a petition, on behalf of the Connecticut Land Company, was laid before the General Assembly of Connecticut, in which were set forth the various failures of all appeals to Congress for action in regard to the legal status of New Connecticut, and praying for relief.

Early in 1798, Nathaniel Doan, who had been induced to come, perhaps, by the donation of a city lot upon which a blacksmith shop was to be maintained, arrived

61

With his family, and the fire of his forge was soon seen arising from a little shop on Superior street, near the corner of Bank, and the ring of his anvil was heard as he sharpened the tools and shod the horses of the little community.49 Job P. Stiles had left his cabin down near the heart of affairs, and moved out near the Kingsbury home on the ridge. Elijah Gun went tot the same section, while Rodolphus Edwards,50 a new arrival, went further north, near that point known later as the intersecton of Woodland avenue and Woodland Hills avenue. Joseph Landon, who had come back from the East and Stephen Gilbert cleared a piece of ground, which they sowed to wheat, while a couple of acres given to corn on Water street showed the agricultural activity of Lorenzo Carter.

That scourge of the new western lands, the fever and ague, was also present during this year of early settlement, and had not a little to do with the removals to the higher lands to the eastward At one time nearly every member of the settlement became a victim to its power, and the burden of providing food and the necessaries of life fell upon the few who were equal to it. A mainstay in many close places was the redoubtable Carter, whose gun and dogs enabled him to obtain wild game when

62

nothing else was to be had; and it is hardly necessary to say that to each of his needing neighbors was sent a generous portion. At one time, all the nine members of Nathaniel Doan’s family were sick at once, which had not a little to do with the removal to that point which has since borne his name.

Out on the Ridge, the Kingsburys, Guns and Stileses had found immunity from the scourge, and been able to raise good crops of corn. The famous "stump mortars" of the early day, which had until now been their only means of preparing this corn for use, have been described as follows: "An oak stump was hollowed out so that it would hold about half a bushel of corn. Above it a heavy wooden pestle was suspended to the spring-pole, the large end of which was fastened to the neighboring tree. A convenient quantity of corn being poured into the hollow, the pestle was seized with both hands and brought down upon it. Then the spring-pole drew it up a foot or two above the corn, when it was again brought down, and thus the work continued until the corn was reduced to a quantity of very coarse meal."

Judge Kingsbury decided to secure a better method of preparing the chief staff of family life, and accordingly brought from the banks of the run, which still bears his name, two large stones, which he rudely shaped into millstones, one of which he placed upon the ground with the other above it, and by fastening a handle to the upper one so that it might be rocked forward and backward, was able to produce an article of meal far ahead of that made in the ruder appliance.

There was no physician in the little settlement, and no quinine, a decoction of dogwood bark being used in its stead, as a specific for the ague. As the cold weather approached, the chills disappeared, but there was still a lack of food. It was near the middle of November when four of the men, still weak from the effects of the ague, made an attempt to bring a supply of flour from Walnut Creek, Pennsylvania. They went by the lake, and some-

63

Where between Euclid Creek and Chagrin River the boat was wrecked, and their mission ended in failure.

In 1799, Mr. Hawley also left the settlement at the mouth of the Cuyahoga and moved to the neighborhood to which the others had gone. This left the Carters in virtual possession, and as they had now become pretty well acclimated, they concluded to remain and take their chances. It was in this year that Wheeler W. Williams,51 a new-comer, and Major Wyatt, also a late arrival, built at the falls of Mill Creek, later Newburgh, the first grist-mill of the neighborhood. This labor was not completed until fall, when the pair of mill-stones for grinding were furnished by David Bryant and his son

Gilman, who had been getting out grindstones near Vermillion River.

The younger Bryant has left us a brief description52 of this structure, which marked so important an advance in the material interests of the neighboring towns of Cleveland and Newburgh: "In the fall (1799), father and myself returned to Cleveland, to make a pair of mill-stones for Mr. Williams, about five miles east of Cleveland, near the trail to Hudson. The water was conveyed to the mill in a dugout though, to an undershot wheel about twelve feet over, with one set of arms, and buckets fifteen inches long, to run inside of the trough, which went down the bank at an angle of forty-five degrees, perhaps. The dam was about four rods above the fall; the mill-stones were three and a half feet in diameter, of gray rock."

As this was one of the first mills on the Reserve, its completion was naturally celebrated in an appropriate manner.52a

64

All the neighborhood roundabout was asked to be present—some ten families in number. Few details of this event have been left us, but it was no doubt conducted in accordance with the known light-hearted sociability of our pioneer fathers. The result of this new venture in the mechanical line was, that "during the following winter our citizens enjoyed the luxury of bolted flour, made in their own mills, from wheat raised by themselves."

In the above general outline of early events, we have carried the story of Cleveland to the edge of 1800. Before stepping across the century line, and viewing the enlarged horizon of later days, it will be our task and pleasure to take up a number of detached events that must be related to make the record complete, and can best find that relation just here.

A marked event of the last three years of the departing century was the fact that warm weather came back unusually early in each returning spring, which shortened mercifully the days of cold for which the settlers were not always well prepared. "Pinks an other flowers bloomed in February each year, and peach trees were in full blossom in March."

In discussing the question of travel, Mr. Rice says:53 "The only highways, which existed in the country at this time, were narrow paths, designated by blazed trees, and a few old Indian trails. The trails were well-beaten paths, which had existed from time immemorial, leading from one distant point of the country to another. One led from Buffalo along the lake shore to Detroit. Another from the Ohio River by way of the portage, as it was called, to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. They concentrated at Cleveland, where the river was crossed by a ferry established by the Indians. In this way the principal trading posts erected by the French and English were made accessible , and furnished the early pioneers with the facilities of securing an important commercial intercourse with those distant points of trade. The goods

65

and provisions needed were transported on pack-horses.54 While Cleveland was the central point on the lake shore, Newburgh took the lead in respect to population. Hence Cleveland acquired the reputation of being a ‘small village six miles from Newburgh.’"55

The hardy and able men who conducted the surveys already described, or assisted in the same, deserve more than the passing mention which has been given heretofore in connection with a description of their work. Of some of these we know little, beyond the fact that they wee sent out in the employ of the Connecticut Land Company and presumably performed their duties to the satisfaction of their employers. Judge Amzi Atwater, in his sketches of his associates, says of John Milton Holley, to whose journal we have been several times indebted: "He was then a very young man, only about eighteen years of age, though he appeared to be older; tall, stout, and handsomely built, with a fair and smiling face, and general good appearance. He was a beautiful penman." He did not return with the surveyors of 1797, but settled in Salisbury, Conn., where he spent the remainder of his days, leaving a large and respected family, a member of which afterwards became the governor of that State.

66

Mr. Atwater, himself, left an impress upon his time, and was an honored citizen of this section of Ohio until his death in 1851. He was a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and learned the art of surveying in company with Wareham Shepard, who was one of the first exploring party on the Reserve. Atwater joined the party at Canandaigua, his special duty being to collect the cattle and pack the horses. He returned the next year as one of the assistant surveyors. In 1800, he settled in Mantua, Ohio; served as an associate judge of Portage County, and filled other offices of public trust.

Ezekiel Morly was born in Glastonbury, Conn., in 1758, and died in Chester, O., in 1852. He served as a soldier in the Revolution; was a member of both the first and second surveying parties; emigrated to Ohio in 1832, and "supposed himself to be the first white man that saw Chagrin falls." Lot Sanford was not with the party of 1796, but with that of the year following. He assisted in digging the grave of the drowned Eldridge, "thus performing the office of sexton to the first white man who was buried in Cleveland." He did not remain in Ohio, but made his permanent home in Vermont, where he died in 1860. Oliver Culver came out with the party of 1797; returned in 1798, and assisted in the work of laying out a road to the Pennsylvania line; in 1804, he again came to Cleveland with a boat-load of salt, dry goods, liquors and tobacco, and opened a store. The next year he married, and settled on a farm in Monroe County, N. Y.

Seth Pease, who, perhaps , was the most prominent of the surveyors, is described by Mr. Atwater as "above medium height, slender and fair, with black, penetrating eyes; in his movements very active, and persevering in his designs, with a reflecting and thoughtful air. He was a very thorough mathematician." His journals, in excellent penmanship, show business habits. He was in the service of Massachusetts as a surveyor; was engaged in the layout of the "Holland Purchase" in

Facing Page

Cleveland in 1833 (View east from Brooklyn Hill)

Cleveland in 1833 (View east from Brooklyn Hill)

67

Western New York; and under Jefferson became Assistant Postmaster General of the United States.

Augustus Porter spent some ten years in the woods, in one place and another, as surveyor and explorer, and then settled on the Niagara River, where he spent the remainder of his life. He lived to an advanced age. He was of medium height, full face, and dark complexion.

Sickness and death were the part of several who engaged for labor in the wilderness. Judge Atwater,56 in relating the experiences of 1797, says: "I was taken sick with the ague and fever. Sickness prevailed the latter part of the season to an alarming degree, and but a few escaped entirely. William Andrews, one of our men, and Peleg Washburn, an apprentice to Mr. Nathaniel Doan, died of dysentery at Cleveland, in August or September. All those that died that season were of my party who came on with me, with the cattle and horses, In the spring, and were much endeared to me, except Tinder, our principal boatman, who was drowned on his return in the fall. At Cleveland, I was confined for several weeks, with several others much in the same situation as myself, with little or no help, except what we could do for ourselves. The inhabitants there were not much better off than we were, and all our men were required in the woods. My fits came on generally every night, and long nights they appeared to me; in day-time I made out to get to the spring, and get some water, but it was a hard task to get back again. . . . I procured a portion of Peruvian bark and took it, it broke up my fits and gave me an extra appetite, but very fortunately for me we were short of provisions, and on short allowance. My strength gained, and I did not spoil my appetite by over-eating."

It was during this summer of 1797 that Mr. Atwater passed through a trying experience which may be briefly related. He was in the woods with Minor Bicknell, when the latter was taken with so violent a fever that he was unable to ride a horse. They were at a great distance

68

from help or medical attention, and it seemed imperative to get him to Cleveland as soon as possible. Two poles were tied together with bark, and a couple of horses placed between them, as in the shafts of a wagon. There was room for a man to lie in a bed of blankets and bark, slung to the poles, with one horse going before him, and the other coming behind. In this rude conveyance the unfortunate Bicknell was carried for five days, over a distance of fifty miles, being in a high fever and delirious for a portion of the time. His sufferings ended in death, and he was buried on the south line of the township of Independence. Well may Judge Atwater add: "This was the most affecting scene of my life. My feelings I cannot attempt to describe. My fatigue was great during the whole distance. My anxiety stimulated every power I possessed of body or mind."

The journal of Surveyor Pease during August, September and November is an almost continuous record of sickness, and for the greater part of the time headquarters at Cleveland took on the character of a general hospital. Such entries as these are of almost daily occurrence: "Solomon Shepard came in sick." "Reynolds taken sick." "Jotham Atwater came in sick with the fever and ague." "Green set out to take his place, but returned at night sick." "This morning had chills, headache, backache and fever." "Twelve persons sick." "Andrews died about eight o’clock last night." "Mr. Pease had a hard fit of fever and ague." "Tupper is not well, but able to cook"

Malaria was not the only enemy to be avoided in these laborious excursions into the woods. Another danger is suggested: "In its forest condition this region was very prolific in snakes. The notes of the survey contain frequent mention of them, particularly the great yellow rattlesnake. In times of drought they seek streams and moist places, and were frequently seen with their brilliant black and orange spots crossing the lake beach to find water. Joshua Stow, the commissary of the survey, had a positive

69

liking for snake meat. Holly could endure it when provisions were short. General Cleaveland was disgusted with snakes, living or cooked, and with those who cooked them. They were more numerous because the Indians had an affection or a superstitious reverence for them, and did not kill them."57

A view of Cleveland as it appeared to the eyes of a stranger in 1797 is found in the statement of Gilman Bryant, already quoted. "My father, David Bryant, and myself," said he, "landed at Cleveland in June, 1797. There was but one family there at that time, viz.: Lorenzo Carter, who lived in a lot cabin, under the high sand bank near the Cuyahoga River, and about thirty rods below the bend of the river, at the west end of Superior street. I went up the hill to view the town. I found one log cabin erected by the surveyors, on the south side of Superior street, near the place where the old Mansion House formerly stood. There was no cleared land, only where the logs were cut to erect the cabin, and for fire-wood. I saw the stakes at the corners of the lots, among the logs and large oak and chestnut trees. We were on our way to a grindstone quarry, near Vermillion River. We made two trips that summer, and stopped at Mr. Carter’s each time. In the fall of 1797, I found Mr. Rodolphus Edwards in a cabin under the hill, at the west end of Superior street. We made two trips in the summer of 1798. I found Major Spafford in the old surveyor’s cabin. The same fall Mr. David Clark erected a cabin on the other side of the street, and about five rods northwest of Spafford’s."

Any excursion into the history of these early days of Cleveland is certain to bring one into direct contact, sooner or later, with Lorenzo Carter, who played no minor part in the fortunes of the settlement, and who possessed a personal character well fitted for service in the rude surroundings of his day. His arrival in Cleveland has already been noted. He was born in Warren, Litchfield

70

County, Conn., in 1766,58 and although his education was meagre, his natural qualities made him a man of mark wherever his lot was cast. His half-brother, J. A. Ackley, says of his early life: "He was left to the care of a widowed mother, in moderate circumstances, with a family of six children, all young. Lorenzo was a strong, athletic, self-willed boy, and it could not be expected that a mother would guide and direct him like a father. But our mother was a thorough-going woman, and managed to get along reasonably well, until the close of the war (Revolution), when she married again, and soon after moved to Castleton, Rutland County, Vt., then almost a wilderness. Lorenzo was about eighteen years of age, a very natural age to become fond of a dog or gun, hunting and fishing. The country being new, and game plenty, he soon became quite a Nimrod. Arrived at manhood, he bought a lot of new land, took to himself a better half, and settled on his land. But farming, or at least clearing a new farm, was not exactly to his mind. He soon became restless, and wished for a change. About this time the Ohio fever began to rage, and Carter, in company with a man by the name of Higby, started for the western wilds. Their course was through Western Pennsylvania, to Pittsburg, down the Ohio River as far as the Muskingum River. They then turned north, and struck the lake at Cleveland, from thence by the nearest route home"

drawing of Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter

This excursion determined his future. He bade adieu to New England, in the fall of 1796, and in company with

71

his brother-in-law, Ezekiel Hawley, set out to find a home in the West. When the two families reached Lake Erie, they passed across to Canada, where they remained for the winter. In the spring of 1797 they moved onward to Cleveland, which they reached in May, and where they had decided to make their permanent home.

The active Lorenzo soon made himself a conspicuous figure in the pioneer community. While Hawley decided to make his home back upon the elevated land, Carter preferred to remain in the very center of events—and there he hung on, faithful to his first choice, while malaria and ague drove his neighbors out to the more healthful ridge. He erected, down near the river, a log cabin, which as more pretentious than the rude affairs constructed by the surveyors, having two apartments on the ground floor, and a spacious garret.59 He next built a boat, and estab-

72

lished a ferry at the foot of Superior street. He kept a small stock of goods for trade with the Indians. In 1801 he was granted a license to keep a tavern at Cleveland, by the territorial court sitting in Warren. "It was Carter’s enterprise," says Mr. Rice, "that built the first frame house in Cleveland. He also built the first warehouse. During the early part of his career at Cleveland his spacious log cabin on the hillside was regarded as headquarters. It served as a hotel for strangers, and as a variety shop of hunting supplies. It was also a place of popular resort, where the denizens of the town and surrounding country held their social festivities." It was in Carter’s cabin that occurred the first wedding ceremony solemnized in Cleveland, when on July 4th, 1797, Miss Chloe Inches, who was in Carter’s employ, was married to a Canadian, who answered to the name of Clement. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Seth Hart, General Cleaveland’;s successor as superintendent of the Connecticut Land Company.

In 1804, Carter was elected to the office of Major in the State militia. He built the first vessel constructed in Cleveland, the "Zephyr," of thirty tons burden, for the lake trade. He accumulated a fine property, and in later years purchases and improved a farm on the west bank of the Cuyahoga, nearly opposite the lower end of Superior street. He died in February, 1814, and was buried in the Erie street cemetery, near the western entrance. "Two marble headstones mark the spot, and also bear upon their face a brief record that is worth of a reverent remembrance."

Carter is described as having had the muscular power of a giant, standing six feet in his boots, of swarthy complexion, with hair long and black, which he allowed to fall nearly to his shoulders. He was brave to the edge of daring, but amiable in temper and spirit; and while he never picked a quarrel, he saw the end of any upon which he entered. He was always to be found upon the side of the oppressed. "Major Carter was far from a quarrel-

73

some man," wrote Ashbel W. Walworth, in 1842.60 "I never heard of his fighting unless he was grossly insulted, and as he would say, ‘driven to it.’ It was a common saying in this region that Major Carter was all the law Cleveland had, and I think he often gave out well measured justice. It was not unfrequent that strangers traveling through the place who had heard of the Major’s success in whipping his man, who believed themselves smart fighters, thought they may gain laurels by having it said that they whipped him. I never heard it asserted by an one, and never heard of any one boasting, that such an act had been performed. He was kind and generous to the poor and unfortunate, hospitable to the stranger, would put himself to great inconvenience to oblige a neighbor, and was always at the service of an individual or the public when a wrong had been perpetrated. In all the domestic relations he was kind and affectionate."

Thee are a great many stories found in the various records of early Cleveland of Major Carter’s dealings with both Whites and Indians, illustrative of his courage and off-hand methods of disposing of practical questions as they presented themselves. Of these anecdotes, half-brother Ackley tersely says: "Some are true, and many are not true." In touching upon these one cannot undertake to say with certainty in which class they fall, although most of them are in accord with the known character of the man.

It is said, that on one occasion he returned from the hunt, and found that a party of thirsty Indians had broken into his store-house, removed the head from a whisky barrel, and were freely helping themselves to its contents. He found them engaged in an endeavor to empty the barrel, "marched in among them, drove, them out, kicked and cuffed them about in every direction, and rolled several of them, who were too drunk to keep their legs, into the marshy brink of the river. The Indians did not relish this kind of treatment, and meditating revenge, held a council the next day, and decided to exterminate Carter.

74

They selected two of their best marksmen, and directed them to follow his footprints the next time he entered the woodlands to hunt, and shoot him at the first favorable opportunity. This the delegated assassins attempted to do, and, thinking to make sure work of it, both fired at him at the same time, but failed to hit him. In an instant Carter turned on his heel and shot one of them, who fell dead in his tracks; the other uttered a terrific war whoop, and fled out of sight. This dire result overawed the Indians. From that time no further attempts were made to take Carter’s life. His rifle was the law of the land. The Indians became subservient to his will, and were confirmed in the belief that he was the favorite of the Great Spirit, and could not be killed. It was in this way that Carter obtained an unbounded influence over the Indians. He always treated them, when they behaved as they should, with kindness and generosity, and when they quarrelled among themselves, as they often did he intervened and settled their difficulties." 61

An incident that finds a more certain foundation in fact, shows Carter’s influence with his dusky neighbors, and is connected with the first murder that occurred after the settlement of Cleveland. It is not certain whether it occurred in 1802 or 1803. A medicine man, of either the Chippewa or Ottawa tribe, by name Nobsy, Menobsy, or more commonly called Menompsy, had rendered official aid to the wife of Big Son, a near relative to the famous Seneca, of the tribe of Senecas. She had died despite his ministrations, and under the influence of the fire-water obtained from the distillery which David Bryant had established under the hill, Big Son set forth the claim that his wife had been killed, and therefore, under the Indian law, he demanded the life of the medicine man. The latter claimed that he bore a charmed life and could not be hurt, which Big Son proved

Facing Page

Spafford's Map of Cleveland 1801

Spafford's Map of Cleveland 1801

75

to be untrue, by stabbing his enemy as the two walked side by side along Union Lane.

His friends took up the body of the murdered man, and carried it to their camp on the west side of the river. They were furious for revenge, and only the prompt action of Major Carter and other white men prevented a bloody encounter. The Chippewa warriors were seen in the morning with their faces painted black, which meant war. The demand was made that Big Son should be surrendered. Carter opened negotiations, and for a gallon or so of whisky, backed by his eloquence persuaded them to abate the demand, go home, and drown their vengeance in that for which it had been surrendered.

It is pleasant to turn from this scene of blood to an incident that occurred on the last Christmas of the century, when Lorenzo Carter, the hunter, saved the lives of several lost little ones. Three children of Judge Kingsbury, and two of the Hawleys, the eldest but eight years of age, lost their way in the dusk of the evening when homeward bound from a visit to Job Stiles. They wandered about, in the cold and dark, in danger from wild beasts. The eldest carried the youngest; at last they all gave up, and sat down upon the frozen ground to await whatever fate the winter night might have in store for them.

It happened that toward evening, Carter, the uncle of the Hawley children, called at the house of their parents, on his way from the hunt. An alarm had already been given, and the few men of the neighborhood had started out in search. The Major of course joined them. He took his hound to where the children had been last seen. The trail was found, although the little ones had crossed their own tracks again and again. After a long run through bush and brier, the faithful animal dashed down into a hollow, and among the frightened children, who thought that at last the wolves were upon them. We can rest assured that, along all his triumphs in forest and field, Lorenzo Carter counted the privilege of returning those children to the arms of their parents that Christmas night, by no means the least.


PREVIOUS CHAPTER | TABLE OF CONTENTS | NEXT CHAPTER