A CITY ON PAPER
It may be profitable to leave for a moment the little village on the Cuyahoga, here at the dawn of 1800, to touch upon the manner of life of those who came into the Ohio wilderness, the perils surrounding them, and the resolution with which they met want, sickness, and depredations of wild beasts, and the lack of those surroundings of civilization to which they were used in the old life of the East. It took courage of several sorts to make the westward venture,62 and the journey from the East was in itself no light experience.
Not only were the railroad and canal unthought of then, but the stage-coach and the road along which it was to be drawn were still in the future. The springless wagon or the sled, loaded with household goods, farming implements, weapons of defense, and food, with wife and children stowed in corners, were the chief vehicles of transportation, and the road a mere path through the woods, or a trail, along which room for passage must be cut through the trees. Months were often consumed in this tiresome journey, and its discomforts uncomplainingly borne. Incidents without number, in illustration of the above, are held as household legends in all parts of the
Reserve; and some of the pioneers who were spared for more prosperous days, have told us touching tales of the sufferings they, as children, regarded as matters of course—like the rains and snows and chills of winter.
Among the first to settle in these northeastern Ohio forests was Amos Loveland, who had been a soldier in the Revolution, and was engaged in surveying on the Reserve as early as 1798. He selected piece of land in what is now a corner of Trumbull County, and decided to locate upon it. He returned to Vermont in the fall of the year, and in December started westward with his family of seven, and all his worldly goods packed on two sleds, each of which was drawn by a team of horses. They traveled days, and encamped at night when better accommodations did not offer. They crossed the Susquehanna River on the ice, and when the snow disappeared soon after, the sleds were traded for a wagon for the rest of the journey, which occupied altogether four months. It was April before he arrived a the piece of woodland he expected to transform into a farm. Jacob Russell came from Connecticut to Cleveland with an ox-team, his wife riding their only horse. Leaving her here, he returned for their children, and one of these, in recently relating their adventures, said: "Our journey was attended with the greatest suffering. My youngest sister was sick all the way, dying three days after her arrival. Father was then taken down with ague, so our house was built slowly. With the greatest difficulty mother hewed with an adze the stub ends of the floor boards, and put them down with the little help father could give her. We moved in, toward the close of November, our house possessing neither door nor window. At that time, two of the children were sick with ague. Father worked when the chills and fever left him for the day, putting poles together in the form of bedsteads and a table."
The Morgan family came in a covered wagon, drawn by a yoke of oxen and a span of horses. A girl eight years of age rode one of the horses, and guided the lead-team
the greater part of the way between Albany and Cleveland. The road was simply a trail through the woods, the underbrush between the trees having been cut away sufficiently to allow a wagon to pass. Three months were consumed in this journey, including a two weeks’ stop because of sickness.
Other families came in two-wheeled carts, some in small wagons to which but one horse was attached, while occasionally the horse, without the vehicle, would be the style of transportation employed. Streams had to be crossed y any means that could be improvised, dangers guarded against, and much suffering endured. It was not unusual for a team to give out, and a week or even a fortnight be allowed for recuperation.
When the rough journey from the east was completed, the next thought was for providing a shelter. The log house, for so many years the only structure seen or attempted in pioneer settlements, has often been described.
In one recorded instance, the family dwelling contained one room eighteen feet square, with greased paper for windows, a door of split boards with strips across, and wooden hinges—not a nail in the whole building; a puncheon, or split-lot floor covered about one-half the ground included in the four walls, no upper floor, and no chimney, except a stone wall built up five feet to keep the fir from the logs. The protection against intrusion from the outside world in one cabin is thus graphically pictured by the pen of one of its inmates: :We hung up a quilt, and that, with a big bull-dog, constituted the door." When the four walls of the home were up, the settler proceeded to "chink" the openings between the logs, using pieces of wood on the inside, and plastering them with mortar on the outside. During the leisure of the evenings, the inner sides of the logs would be hewed smooth, and the bark removed from the joists above. Sometimes there was an upper loft, and even stairs leading to it, but usually a ladder was the means of communication. In rare cases a sleeping-room would be partitioned off on the
ground floor, but generally the bed stood at one end of the sole room, concealed behind chintz curtains, which would often disappear as the question of clothing became more and more pressing. The bedstead was made of smooth, round poles, while elm bark served as cords. Seats, tables and shelves were made as time would allow, and according to the skill of the occupants; occasionally some of these articles had been saved from the breaking up of the old home in the east.
The domestic economy within this family temple was of the most primitive character. A Dutch oven, a couple of kettles and a spider were considered essentials, although many an outfit fell far short even of this idyl of completeness. Judge Robert F. Paine, of Cleveland, once used these words in describing the home accommodations of his boyhood in Portage County: "We possessed few dishes of any kind. There was a man in Trumbull County who made them of wood, and his advent into the neighborhood would cause more excitement than the establishment of another national bank in Cleveland to-day. We ate on what we called trenchers, a wooden affair in shape something like a plate. Our neighbors were in the same condition as we, using wooden plates, wooden bowls, wooden everything, and it was years before we could secure dishes harder than wood, and when we did they were made of yellow clay."
Theodore Wolcott and Gad Hart spent the winter of 1806 in Farmington township. Desiring straw with which to fill their beds, they marched to Mesopotamia, five miles away, and as the woods were so dense that their bundles could not be carried through, they were compelled to travel out of their way a long distance, going along the Warren path to Grand River, and then coming back on the open highway afforded by the ice. The first bed on which Heman Ely, the founder of Elyria, slept, on his arrival in this section, was made of the cloth covering of the wagon in which he came, and filled with straw brought, with the greatest difficulty, from a barn located miles away.
The question of food was naturally one of the great moment, and much could be written of the privations experienced in that direction. The skill, with which the pioneer mother made the means at her command fill the place of those to which she had been accustomed, was remarkable. "The first mince-pie I ever ate on the Reserve," once said Joshua R. Giddings, "was composed of pumpkin instead of apple, vinegar in place of wine or cider, and 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."
While such makeshifts were possible in some directions, there was one in which they were not.
Salt they had to have, at any price, or any cost of daring or toil. There was a salt spring nine miles west of Youngstown, where people would repair from all parts of the Reserve and manufacture their own article, carrying a kettle with them, or trusting to good-fortune for the obtaining of such an article at the spring. The Old Salt Road, as it is yet called, that leads from the mouth of Conneaut Creek at Lake Erie into Trumbull County, was so named because the demand for this staple article was one of the causes of its being laid out. The salt from the manufactories of Onondaga, N. Y., was brought to Buffalo by the lake, and then transported onward by ox-team. By the time it reached Trumbull County it cost twenty dollars a barrel. It was also brought from Pittsburg on pack-horses, at great trouble and expense.
Sugar was costly and had to be used sparingly, but the maple variety could be made easily and cheaply, and there was little privation in that line. Corn-bread was the staple article of diet, and one pioneer, who has traveled in many lands, and partaken of great varieties of fare, has been heard to lament. "Would that it still were." The meal dough was spread on a clean board, kept especially for that purpose, and then placed before a roaring fire,
And one of the younger members of the family detailed to watch it. When the side next the flame was well baked, it would be turned around, and careful tending soon finished the process. When beautifully browned and smoking hot, it was placed on the table, in company with a bowl of milk and a wooden spoon. In contemplating this picture, a hungry man can somewhat understand the mournful outburst quoted above.
The grinding of the grain was a matter of no small difficulty and labor. A hollow in an oak stump, and a rude stone pestle dependent from a spring-pole, was the simplest machine employed. Then came the rude hand-mills that most of the settlers used prior to 1800, which took two hours of steady grinding to supply one person with food enough for the day. In a sketch of the Doan family, it is recorded that for two or three months all their food was supplied by the young son, John, who had two attacks of fever and ague daily. He walked to the house of a neighbor five miles distant, with a peck of corn, ground it in a hand-mill, and then carried it home. He adjusted his labors and his shakings to a system. In the morning, on the ending of his first attack, he would start on his journey, grind his grist, wait until his second spell was over, and then set out on his return. One of the children of that day, while recently relating her experiences, drew this touching picture: "The only flour we could get had become musty, and could not be eaten unless one were driven by extreme hunger. I was eight years old, and not sick and was therefore compelled to satisfy my hunger with it, and give to those of the family who were suffering a better chance at the corn-meal rations. The bread made from this four was hard as well as unpalatable. I could only eat it by crumbling it into pellets and swallowing them whole. I often wondered why father cried as he sat down at the table and looked at the food, as the Johnny-cake and mush looked so attractive to my hungry eyes."
The venerable John Doan once said: "In those days
we ground corn in little hand-mills. There were two stones about two and a half feet in diameter, one above the other, the upper one being turned with a pole. The corn was poured in through a hole in the upper stone. When a larger quantity of meal than could be ground in one of these mills was wanted, I was sent to Willoughby, ten miles away, to mill. I began when eight years old. Three bushels of corn and myself would be placed aboard a horse, and I would start early in the morning and get back late at night." In 1799, Joel Thorp’s family found themselves out of provisions, and he started to a point in Pennsylvania twenty miles distant, to replenish his stock. While he was absent, his wife and three small children were reduced to a condition of dire necessity. They fed on such roots as they could find. The eldest son remembered to have seen some kernels of corn in a crack in one of the logs of their cabin, and passed several hours in an unsuccessful search for them. The mother emptied the straw of her bed on the ground and picked it over to obtain what wheat she could, and that little handful she boiled and gave to the children. She had been taught to handle the gun, and when she saw a wild turkey providentially approach her cabin door, she took down her husband’s rifle, and discovered there was but one charge in the house. With her heart beating high in the excitement of hope and fear, she crept near the fowl and luckily killed it, thus providing means to keep her little ones alive until their father’s return.
In 1797, the first settlers of Canfield, Mahoning County, brought all their provisions and other necessities from Pittsburg, being guided on their way solely by marked trees. When William Sager, a pioneer of Bristol, Trumbull County, desired to purchase some wheat, which could not be had at home, he rode to Mesopotamia to obtain two bushels, and consumed a whole day in doing so. On the next morning he started for the nearest mill, at Warren, and spent the day in getting there. His grist was ground in the evening, and the next day occupied in
the return home. Ichabod Terrell tells of purchasing salt in Cleveland at forty dollars a barrel, and hauling it to Elyria at the rate of three miles per day, cutting a road through the woods a large portion of the way. In 1807, one family was compelled to subsist for three days upon boiled beech leaves, while the father was away after food. "On the fourth day," relates one of the sons, "my brother, twelve years of age, came hurrying in and cried. ‘Give me the gun! I believe I can shoot a deer!’ From its high place on the wall, mother handed it to the eager boy. She bade us hush and listen. Soon came the report, and the boy’s shout of joy told us of his success. Then mother and children ran out to see. There was the quivering, prostrate form of the deer." At one time, the few families living in Harpersfield were so reduced that but six kernels of parched corn were allowed daily to each person, and life was only saved through the heroic efforts of two young men, who tramped through deep snow and over frozen rivers, to Elk Creek, Pennsylvania, where they obtained two sacks of corn, which they carried home on their backs, making several like journeys during the winter. The grain grown was at the expense of much trouble and care. The spot of woods once chosen for a cornfield, the large trees would be girdled and left standing, while the smaller ones were cut down and burned. Holes were then made in the ground by means of a hoe or pickaxe, and into each of these a few kernels of corn were dropped; no cultivating or hoeing followed, except to cut down the largest weeds. Where buckwheat was sown, the boys of the family, in many cases, were compelled to watch it all day long, to keep the wild turkeys from destroying it.
The next gradation in the scale of necessity was that of clothing. The Eastern cotton and woolen fabrics were too expensive, and beyond the reach of the pioneers, who had little money, and practically no market for their produce. Home ingenuity was called into play, and flax and buckskin were the bases upon which it built. Flax was
early introduced, and the loom set up. Sometimes the fiber of the nettle was gathered, and on being spun could be woven into garments that might be worn with comfort until after they had been washed, when they would rasp any portion of the body with which they came in contact. To remedy this annoyance, the boys would often roll their clothing into a ball, when unseen and laying it upon a stump, bound it back to the desired softness. "A buckskin suit over a flax shirt, was considered full dress," declares one of the pioneer authorities. When the coat of hide became hard and stubborn from long usage, it was washed, scraped and pounded to the requisite pliability. A small patch of land would be planted with flax, and at the proper time the crop would be pulled, dried, bleached and hackled. It was then beaten into shape for the spinning wheel. Raw cotton was imported and exchanged for flax or wool. This had to be hand-picked and carded, and then, like the flax, given to the women of the household for spinning. Many of the settlers had a few sheep, whose wool was treated in a manner similar to the cotton. Summer clothing was made of cotton mixed with flax, while in winter wool was used in the filling. Leather was expensive and difficult to obtain; therefore the men went barefoot when they could, while the women carried their shoes to church, sitting down on a log near the meeting-house to slip them on.
With all these hardships, the lack of so much that in these later days are regarded as essentials, there never was a people, even in the most polished age the world has witnessed, whose hearthstone so well illustrated the right meaning of hospitality. Wherever the wanderer through the forest found a cabin, there he found a home. When white man met white man, each hailed the other as friend, and made good his profession in his deeds. The latch-string on the heavy wooden door was out in literal truth, and he who touched it and came in was welcome to all the humble cabin could command. Settlements a score of miles apart drew close to each other in a union of fra-
ternity. And the story of mother or babe sacrificed to the brutal wrath of the red foe, would cause a hundred resolute men to spring forth with study purpose to follow to the death, and die themselves if necessary, in defence of their homes and loved ones. The forests, yet standing, could whisper the names of brave men, in homespun and buckskin, who beneath their branches gave up life as grandly as did their fathers on the fields of the Revolution, and many dark legends are yet told us by men and women who received them from the lips of those who had part therein, or on whom a portion of their shadow fell.
There was a moral force behind these New Englanders who came into the wilderness to subdue it, and make it the habitation of civilized man. "The civilization of the Western Reserve," says Harvey Rice,63 "though comparatively of modern origin, is characterized by peculiarities that have been inherited from a renowned ancestry. It is a civilization scarcely less peculiar in its elements then it is progressive in its instincts. It aims high, and has already achieved high aims. It began its career a little less than a century ago by conquering the rude forces of nature, and securing for itself a land of beauty, of wealth and of social refinement. The spirit of enterprise that transformed within so brief a period an unbroken wilderness into a land of refined civilization, must have been not only invincible, but a spirit that has rarely, if ever, been excelled in the annals of human advancement. This can only be accounted for on the basis of inherited traits of character. The civilized life of the Western Reserve had Puritanic blood in its veins, or, in other words, has a New England parentage. One age not only modifies another, but differs from another in its thought and in its aspirations as one star differs from another in its brilliancy and in its magnitude."
The Hon. Henry C. White touches even a little more closely upon this thought of the Western Puritan: "The
Connecticut Western Reserve is the last home of colonized Puritanism. In individuals and families it has been carried into the Mississippi Valley, and beyond it, up the slopes of the Rockies, and down the western slopes, but in no other locality of the West does its organizing quality appear, in no other place has its social flavor so permeated, as here upon this Western Reserve. It was actually colonized here. The settlement of North-Eastern Ohio at the beginning of this century was unprecedented. It was not the straggling immigration of a few families; it was the veritable exodus of a colony. The grand elements of Puritan civilization are Land, Law, Liberty. These fundamental interests, as they found lodgement in the settlement, and development in the growth of the Western Reserve, are worthy of our consideration. . . . The little company which landed at the mouth of the Cuyahoga on the afternoon of July 22nd, 1796, was a band of New England surveyors. They brought with them from the far-off Saxon forests, through a long line of Puritan colonists, the idea of the ‘arable mark,’ and the ‘village community.’" 64
Hon. F. J. Dickman65: "It is not our office, in the light of historic truth, to exalt to the stature of heroes all who carried the compass or chain, or plied the settler’s axe in the forests of New Connecticut. But during the first sixteen or seventeen years following the 22nd of July, 1796, when the surveying party entered the mouth of the Cuyahoga from the lake, there came to the Western Reserve, and settled within the present limits of our country, a class of men whose characteristics we may well admire and commemorate. They did not leave their homes because they were there the victims of intolerance, and could not there follow the dictates of a tender and enlightened conscience. They came here to improve their
material condition—to better their worldly fortunes. Like the rest of us, they had an eye to the main chance in life; but they richly earned and paid a hundred fold, for all they received."
James A. Garfield66: "The pioneers who first broke ground here accomplished a work unlike that which will fall to the lot of any succeeding generation. The hardships they endured, the obstacles they encountered, the life they led, the peculiar qualities they needed in their undertakings, and the traits of character developed by their work, stand alone in our history. . . . The materials for a history of this Reserve are rich and abundant. Its pioneers were not ignorant and thoughtless adventurers, but men of established character, whose opinions on civil and religious liberty had grown with their growth, and become the settled convictions of their maturer years. . . . These pioneers knew well that the three great forces which constitute the strength and glory of a free government, are the Family, the School and the Church. These three they planted here, and they nourished and cherished them with an energy and devotion scarcely equaled in any other quarter of the world. On this height were planted in the wilderness the symbols of this trinity of powers; and here let us hope may be maintained forever the ancient faith of our fathers in the sanctity of the Home, the intelligence of the School, and the faithfulness of the Church."
In lighter vein, but with the same elements of philosophic truth as their foundation, are these reflections of Hon. Robert F. Paine,67 with which this series of quotations from men competent to speak may well be closed: "I suppose that God had such confidence in the self-re-
liant power of our Western Reserve emigrants that he saw no necessity of giving them title to their land, or furnishing them quail or manna to eat while they were preparing it for crops. But the migrants were adequate to the occasion. They generally, by the exchange of their property in New England, secured evidence of title to a small portion of the wilderness on the Reserve; by marshaling the balance of their assets they generally possessed themselves of a span of horses, or yoke of oxen and wagon, loaded in the wife and children, and such household goods as room could be found for in the wagon, and thus equipped the devoted husband and wife bade farewell to all the associations, and scenes of childhood and youth. They had but little more idea of what awaited them than Paul had when he went bound to Jerusalem. Sometimes a New England young man had concluded the delightful business of courting a wife, and found himself without well-settled plans for the future, and but little to support a wife and rear a family; consultation with her he loved would result in an agreement to postpone the marriage, and that the lover should go to New Connecticut, and if he thought best, secure a piece of land, and if possible clear off a parch and sow it to wheat, and returning, make title to his wife, and with her visit his little farm on the Reserve, and enter upon the real substantial business of life The early settlers, men and women, were honest, industrious and generous to a fault. The men felled and cleared off the towering and thickly-studded forest. The women came up fully to Solomon’s description of a good wife, ‘She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff,’ and none went hungry from her door, if there was anything within to eat."
With thus an adequate understanding of the methods of life in pioneer days, and of the character of those who laid the foundations of Ohio, we can once more take up the thread of direct narration, with the beginning of the new century.
There were, in the opening of 1800, perhaps, some
Twenty people residing in that portion of the Reserve, marked out as the city of Cleveland, including the families of Carter and Spafford, while some sixty or seventy made up the population of the immediate neighborhood. Affairs were not progressing, in a material sense with that successful push which the managers of the Connecticut Land Company had probably looked for. A visit was made in midsummer by Turhand Kirtland,68 who seems to have come with authority, and who expresses his views upon the situation in a letter to the east. He addresses General Cleaveland at Canterbury, Connecticut, from "Cleaveland, Ohio," under date of July 17th, 1800, and says:
"On my arrival at this place, I found Major Spafford, Mr. Lorenzo Carter, and Mr. David Clark, who are the only inhabitants residing in the city, have been anxiously waiting with expectations of purchasing a number of lots, but when I produced my instructions, they were greatly disappointed, both as to price and terms. They assured me, that they had encouragement last year, from Col. Thomas Sheldon, that they would have lands at ten dollars per acre, and from Major Austin at twelve dollars at most; which they think would be a generous price for such a quantity as they wish to purchase. You will please excuse me from giving my opinion, but it really seems to me a good policy to sell the city lots at a less price than twenty-five dollars (two acres), or I shall never expect to see it settled.
"Mr. Carter was an early adventurer, has been of essential advantage to the inhabitants here, in helping them to provisions in times of danger and scarcity, has never experienced any gratuity from the company, but complains of being hardly dealt by, in sundry instances. He has money to pay for about thirty acres, which he expected to have taken, if the price had met his expectation; but
he now declares that he will leave the purchase, and never own an acre in New Connecticut. Major Spafford has stated his wishes to the company, in his letter of January last, and I am not authorized to add anything. He says he has no idea of giving the present price, for sixteen or eighteen lots. He contemplated building a house, and making large improvements this season, which he thinks would indemnify the company fully, in case he should fail to fulfill his contract; and he is determined to remove to some other part of the purchase immediately, unless he can obtain better terms than I am authorized to give. Mr. Clark is to be included in the same contract, with Major Spafford, but his circumstances will not admit of his making any advances. I have requested the settlers not to leave the place, until I can obtain further information from the board, and request you to consult General Champion,69 to whom I have written, and favor me with dispatches by first mail. . . . Mr. Edwards has gone to see the governor. Crops extraordinary good, and settlers health and in good spirits. They are increasing as fast as can be expected, but the universal scarcity of cash, in this back part of the country, renders it extremely difficult to sell for money, and the vast quantity of land in market will prevent a speedy sale of our lands. The people have been encouraged that the Company would have a store erected, and receive provisions in payment for lands, for money is not to be had. Mr. Tillitson, from Lyme, wants two one-hundred acre lots, and would pay for one in hand if horses, cattle or provisions would answer, or would take them on credit, if he could have sufficient time to turn his property, but has no cash to advance.
"I have given a sketch of these circumstances, in order that you may understand my embarrassments, and expect you will give me particular directions how to proceed, and also, whether I shall make new contracts with the
Settlers, whose old ones are forfeited. They seem unwilling to rely on the generosity of the Company, and want new writings. . . . I have the pleasure of your brother’s company at this time. He held his first talk with the Smooth Nation, at Mr. Carter’s this morning. Appearances are very promising. I flatter myself he will do no discredit to his elder brother, in his negotiations with the aborigines."70
Glancing ahead of the date under consideration, we find that the sale of the six reserved townships, and also that of the city lots of Cleveland, fell short of the company’s expectations. City lots which had been held for fifty dollars with down payment were now offered for twenty-five dollars, with time given. The treasury was replenished by assessments upon the stockholders, instead of from proceeds of sales. "By individual exertion," says Col. Whittlesey, "the private owners under the previous drafts, had disposed of limited mounts of lands, on terms with did not create very brilliant expectations of the speculation. In truth, the most fortunate of the adventurers realized a very meager profit, and more of them were losers than gainers. Those who were able to make their payments and keep the property for their children, made a fair and safe investment. It was not until the next generation came to maturity, that lands on the Reserve began to command good prices. Taxes, trouble with interest, had been long accumulating. Such of the proprietors as became settlers secured an excellent home at a cheap rate, and left as a legacy to their heirs a cheerful future."
It was thought best that all the property should be in private hands, and on the 8th of December, 1803, another draft was made of the six townships which had been divided into ninety parcels, which included all of the lands east of the Cuyahoga, with the exception of a few Cleveland city lots. The following is a list of the original owners of lots in Cleveland by draft, or first purchase: Samuel
Huntington, Caleb Atwater, Lorenzo Carter, Ephraim Root, Elijah Boardman and others; Ezekiel Hawley, David Clark, Joseph Howland, Charles Dutton, James Kingsbury, Samuel W. Phelps, Joseph Perkins and others; Austin & Huntington, Wyles and others; Judson Canfield and others; Samuel P. Lord, Jr., William Shaw, Samuel Parkman, John Bolls and others; Asher Miller, Ephraim Stow and others; Martin Sheldon and others; Amos Spafford, Oliver Phelps, Richard W. Hart and others.
The few settlers, who had made their home in Cleveland previous to 1800, had troubled themselves but little with questions of legal jurisdiction or the form of local government nominally extending over them. They were far more interested in building their cabins and clearing their lands for corn or wheat. The proceedings of the first judicial body of the Northwest Territory, at Marietta, on the Ohio, in the fall of 1788,71 therefore attracted little attention in this corner of that great expanse of wilderness. A more direct personal interest was of course felt in the first Court of Quarter Sessions of Trumbull County, to which Cleveland belonged, and which was held at Warren, on August 15th, 1800. The court was organized in this manner: Under the territorial law the governor was authorized to designate officers for any new
County which he might choose to erect. The justices of the peace constituted the general court of the county, five of their number being designated justices of the quorum, and the others associates. They met quarterly; were known as the Court of the Quarter Sessions, and in their hands was lodged the entire civil jurisdiction of the county—local, legislative and judicial.
The first session for Trumbull County opened on Warren Common, at four in the afternoon, under a bower of trees, between two large corn-cribs. It continued five days, and the labors it accomplished can be best shown in the following synopsis of the record,72 preserved in the handwriting of Judge Pease:
"Court of General Quarter-Sessions of the Peace, begun and holden at Warren, within and for said county of Trumbull, on the fourth Monday of August, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred, and of the independence of the United States, the twenty-fifth. Present, John Young, Turhand Kirtland, Camden Cleaveland, James Kingsbury, and Eliphalet Austin, Esquires, justices of the quorum, and others, their associates, justices of the peace, holding said court. The following persons were returned and appeared on the grand jury, and were empaneled and sworn, namely: Simon Perkins (Foreman), Benjamin Stowe, Samuel Menough, Hawley Tanner, Charles Daly, Ebenezer King, William Cecil, John Hart Adgate, Henry Lane, Jonathan Church, Jeremiah Wilcox, John Partridge Bissell, Isaac Palmer, George Phelps, Samuel Quimby, and Moses Park. The court appointed George Tod, Esq., to prosecute the pleas of the United States for the present session, who took the oath of office. The court ordered that the private seal of the clerk shall be considered the seal of the county, and be affixed and recognized as such till a public seal shall be procured. The court appointed Amos Spafford, Esq., David Hudson, Esq., Simon Perkins, Esq., John Minor,
Esq., Aaron Wheeler, Esq., Edward Paine, Esq., and Benjamin Davidson, Esq., a committee to divide the country of Trumbull into townships, to describe the limits, and boundaries of each township, and to make report to the court thereof."
Acting in accordance with these instructions, the committee divided the county into eight townships,73 of which Cleveland was one, and the report was accepted and confirmed. Constables for the various township were also appointed. Lorenzo Carter and Stephen Gilbert being designated to serve for Cleveland; and after a variety of orders had been given upon minor matters by the court, it adjourned—and local civil government in north-eastern Ohio was started.
It will be noted that Gilbert and Carter were not the only representatives of the village by the Cuyahoga, in these important judicial proceedings between two corn-cribs on Warren Common. Amos Spafford was a justice, but not of the quorum. Our pioneer friend, James Kingsbury, occupied a seat of honor on the bench, due to an appointment at the hands of the territorial governor. At a subsequent period he held other offices of trust, being a justice of the peace, and collector off taxes, under the district system; and, being elected a member of the Legislature after Ohio had become a State, so well served his constituents that he was chosen for a second term. He died at his residence in Newburg, on December 12, 1847.74
From the above action upon the part of the territorial authorities it will be understood, of course, that Connecticut and the United States had come to an understanding as to their rights of jurisdiction over the Reserve, and that the proposed state of New Connecticut was already counted among the things gone by. The National Government had simply withdrawn its claim to the soil leaving the sales from Connecticut to the Connecticut Land Company and others good in law, while the New England State had in turn given up its claim to political sovereignty. It was by right of this agreement, therefore, that Governor St. Clair had ordered the creation and organization of Trumbull County, as above recorded. On September 22nd, of the same year, he issued a proclamation for elections under the territorial system, commanding the sheriff: "That on the second Tuesday of October, he cause an election to be held for the purpose of electing one person to represent the county in the Territorial Legislature."
This election was, of course, held in the county seat, at Warren, and was conducted after the English method: The sheriff of the county assembling the electors by proclamation, presiding, and receiving the votes of the electors by word of mouth. On this occasion there were but forty-two votes case, and as General Edward Paine received thirty-eight of these, he was declared elected, and took his seat in 1801.
It was in the fall of 1800 that David Bryant came to Cleveland, with the purpose of making it his permanent home. In those days, prior to the passage of internal revenue laws, and the spread of a general temperance sentiment, a still was thought by many to be almost as necessary as a grist-mill or loom and when the new arrival came, accompanied by a still which had seen service in Virginia, he was accorded a double welcome. He built a still-house "under the sand-bank," as his son Gilman tells us in the statement already quoted, "about twenty rods above L. Carter’s and fifteen feet from the
river. The house was made of hewed logs, twenty by twenty-six, one and a half stories high. We took the water in a trough, out of some small springs, which came out of the bank, into the second story of the house, and made the whisky out of wheat."
Mr. Bryant not only in this way opened a market for the disposal of superfluous grain, but became a producer as well. "My father purchased ten acres of land," continues the son, "about one-fourth of a mile from the town plat, on the bank of the river, east of the town. In the winter of 1800 and the spring of 1801, I helped my father to clear five acres on said lot, which was planted with corn in the spring. Said ten acres were sold by my father in the spring of 1802, at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents per acre."
In closing this chapter, and the year 1800 altogether, it seems well worth the space occupied to enumerate the settlers who had become permanently or for a time a part of Cleveland up to that time:
1797, Lorenzo Carter and wife, and their children, Alonzo, Henry, Laura, Mercy and Betsy; Miss Chloe Inches; James Kingsbury and wife, and their children, Amos S., Almon and Abigail; Ezekiel Hawly and wife, and one child; Elijah Gun and wife, and one child; Pierre Meloche; Peleg Washburne.
1798, Nathaniel Doan and wife, Job, the three daughters, afterward Mr. R. H. Blin, Mrs. Eddy, and Mrs. Baldwin; Samuel Dodge, Rodolphus Edwards, Nathan Chapman, Stephen Gilbert, Joseph Landon.
1799, Richard H. Blin, William Wheeler Williams, Mr. Gallup, Major Wyatt.
1800, Amos Spafford, wife and family; Alexander Campbell; David Clark and wife, and their children, Mason, Martin, James, Margaret and Lucy; David Bryant, Gilman Bryant; Samuel Jones.