SOME YEARS OF STEADY GROWTH.
The canal was well under way, but not yet completed, when Cleveland began to feel the need of enlargement in several directions. She had awakened to the belief that metropolitan honors were within her grasp, and that it was the part of patriotism and good business judgment to live up to her opportunities.
In the first place, it was generally agreed that the old court-house and jail were outgrown. The rude structure, down in one corner of the Public Square, had done well enough for the days of small misdemeanors and petty litigations, but now the larger affairs of a growing county-seat, needed better housing and greater protection.
When the subject was first brought into discussion by the Cuyahoga tax-payers, the dormant ambition of Newburg was aroused, and the old claim put forward. The sturdy dwellers in that modern iron center had never given up their hope of earlier days; in their opinion the decisive time had come when the question ought to be settled for all time, and before any more public money was expended in Cleveland. The battle was fought out to the end, and was the last one of which we shall hear, in the history of these two places that have now become one.
There were three county commissioners by whom the question must be decided. One of them was removed by death, and it was found that the other two were equally divided, one favoring Newburg, and the other Cleveland. An election was held in 1826 to fill the vacancy. It was one of the hottest and most exciting that had as yet been seen in that section, all other issues being swallowed up in this great question. Dr. David Long, the Cleveland nominee, was elected by a small majority, and Cleveland’s last struggle with Newburg was won.
The building was planned, and work upon it soon commenced. It was located in the southwest corner of the Public Square. It was finished in 1828, and on October 28th, of that year, court was first held within it. Here, the public judicial and administrative business of Cuyahoga County was carried on for nearly thirty years. It was two stories high, of brick, surmounted by a wooden dome, faced the lake, and was entered by a half-dozen steps, front and rear. The lower story was divided into offices for use of the country officials, while the upper floor was used for court purposes. Two or three years later a substantial stone jail was erected in the rear of the court-house and across the street—a structure that, from it sombre appearance, was usually called "the blue jug."
Another advance step was taken in this same year, 1826, when arrangements were made for a larger and more distant cemetery than the original burying-ground which was laid out, on Ontario street, in Cleveland’s very early days, when David Eldridge’s body was laid within it. Grounds were secured out where Erie street now runs, and the City Cemetery, as it was first called, was dedicated to its uses. The name was changed, afterwards, to the Erie Street Cemetery, and for many hears it was Cleveland’s chief place of burial. At first it comprised but two acres, but was afterwards enlarged to ten. It first interment was in September, 1827, when Minerva M., the daughter of Moses and Mary White, was laid away to her eternal rest. No regular register of the sale of lots, or even of burials, was kept before 1840, in which year the whole tract was replatted, and a complete record opened and kept up thereafter.
It was in, or near, this year of many improvements that
the well-known old Franklin House was completed, and opened its hospitable doors for the accommodation of the stranger. N. E. Crittenden came and opened the first jewelry store in Cleveland, occupying a small one-story brick building next door to the Franklin House.
The first actual official connection of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County with the question of slavery, in any shape or form, which I have yet discovered, was formed in 1827, when the Cuyahoga County Colonization Society came into existence. It was a branch of the national organization—the Colonization Society—which had for its object the gradual removal of the colored people of America to Africa, the theory being that many slave-holders would free their bondsmen if assured they would be sent out of the country. Samuel Cowles was elected president; Rev. Randolph Stone, Nehemiah Allen, Datus Kelley, Josiah Barer, and Lewis R. Dille, vice-presidents; A. W. Walworth, treasurer; James S. Clarke, secretary; and Mordecai Bartley delegate to the national society. The meeting for the organization of the society was addressed by the Rev. William Stone. The movement was vigorously opposed by the advocates of an entire abolition of slavery.
An added interest in church matters was felt during the same year, especially among those holding to the doctrines of Methodism. As early as 1818, a class had been formed in Newburg, which passed through various trying experiences, and then went out of existence. Preaching under the auspices of this denomination commenced in Cleveland in 1822, when the Rev. Ira Eddy established a place for services, as a part of the Hudson circuit. Among those who officiated at that time and a little later were the Revs. William H. Collins, Orin Gilmore, Philip Green, William C. Henderson, Robert Hopkins, John Crawford, and William R. Babcock. In 1827 the first Methodist
society of Cleveland was , in the shape of a class, under the ministrations of Revs. John Crawford and Cornelius Jones. The names of those who participated and thus laid the foundations of the First
Methodist Church of Cleveland, are as follows: Mrs. Grace Johnson, Andrew Tomlinson, Eliza Worley, Elizabeth Southworth, Joel Sizer and wife, Elijah Peet and wife, and Lucinda Knowlton. Mr. Peet became the leader. The Cleveland circuit, as it was then called, comprised all of Cuyahoga County, with Lake, Geauga and Summit Counties and a part of Ashtabula and Portage.
Cleveland was made a permanent station in 1830, the Rev. George McCaskey becoming pastor. The society, as yet having no church building, used halls, school-houses, and the court-house, and continued to do so until 1841, when a structure was erected on the corner of St. Clair and Wood streets. The society continued to worship here until 1869, when a new stone chapel was erected on Erie street, near Euclid avenue; and in 1874 the present fine stone church fronting on Euclid avenue was completed and dedicated. The church has had a wonderful influence for good in Cleveland, in many ways, and from the aid it has given in the formation of other societies of the same denomination may bell be called the main fountain-head of Methodism in Cleveland.
The Methodist Church Society of East Cleveland was also organized in 1827. It remained a part of the Newburg circuit until 1858; and in 1860 it was made a station. Its first church building was erected in 1836, and its second was dedicated in 1870.
The beginning of two of Cleveland’s greatest sources of wealth—coal and iron—came together, as it happened, in
1828, although it was many years before either assumed any great proportions. John Ballard & Co. put their small iron foundry in operation in the spring; and a little later Henry Newberry shipped, from his land near the canal, a few tons of coal. An attempt was made to introduce it as the fuel of Cleveland. A wagon load was driven from door to door, and its good qualities explained. "No one," says one chronicler, "wanted it. Wood was plenty and cheap, and the neat housewives of Cleveland especially objected to the dismal appearance and dirt-creating qualities of the new fuel. Once in a while a man would take a little as a gift, but after the wagon had been driven around Cleveland all day, not a single purchaser had been found. At length, after nightfall, Philo Scovill, who was then keeping the hotel known as the Franklin House, was persuaded to buy some, for which he found use by putting grates in his bar-room stove. Such was the beginning of the coal business in Cleveland. The new fuel soon found favor for the small manufacturing and mechanical industries of the period, but it was long before the matrons of Cleveland would tolerate it in private residences."
The ambitious village began to feel the need of a little more room for the extension and development of her many growing interests, and therefore, in December, 1829, legislation was secured at the hands of the general assembly which extended her boundaries. All the land "from the southerly line of Huron street down the river to a point westerly of the junction of Vineyard lane with the road leading from the village to Brooklyn, thence west parallel with said road to the river, and down the river to the old village line," was annexed. In February, 1834, a second act was passed, which again extended the boundaries and added; "All the two-acre lots east of Erie street, the tier south of Ohio street, and a parcel at the southwest corner of the original plat, which was not originally surveyed or laid off."
The first step in the direction of organized fire protec-
tion was taken also in 1829, when the village purchased a "Fire Engine No. 3," of the American Hydraulic Company, at an expense of $285. These are the figures given in the village records, although they do not exactly agree with those stated by John W. Allen in a published address. His story, as to the general circumstances attending the sale, however, may be relied up, as he was a party thereto." In the old village corporation," said he, "there was a president, recorder , and three trustees. The legislation was in the hands of the trustees and president. I happened, in the year 1828, to be one of them. Dr. Long was another. We thought it expedient to buy a fire engine, and we negotiated with Mr. Seelye for the purpose of purchasing a small engine. It was before the days of steam fire engines. We were about to make a contract with him for the engine, and were to pay him $400, $50 down and $350 in a note of the corporation. There was a set of men here who were hostile to the measure. They got up a meeting and talked pretty strongly, intimating that we had jointed hands with Seelye to swindle the people here, and that we undoubtedly participated in the plunder. But we bought the engine and paid the $50 like honest men, and gave the note of the corporation for the balance. An election intervened the next spring, and we were all turned out, and a new set of men put in who repudiated the note. The note came here for collection, judgment was rendered, and those men had to walk up to the captain’s office and settle the bill.152
A market soon followed the fire engine, an ordinance for
the regulation of the same being passed in 1829. The receipts during the entire year following were but $27.50. The receipts for show-licenses, during the same year, amounted to exactly $5.
The laying-out of new streets, preparatory to organization as a city, which was now but a few years off, went bravely on. In 1828, Orange alley, now known as Frankfort street, was run between Water and Bank streets; Canal street, nearly as now known on the lower portion, was laid out, and named, in 1829; in 1831, Prospect street, from Ontario to Erie street, also was laid out; Ahaz Merchant being the surveyor. It was, as before mentioned, at first called Cuyahoga street, but, before the entry was officially made, the name was happily changed to the one it now bears.152a The following streets also
were added to the growing map of Cleveland, in the years named: In 1833, River street, from Superior street to Union lane; Meadow, Lighthouse, and Spring streets; in 1835, High street, Sheriff street, Middle street, Clinton street, Lake street, Lake alley, Ohio street, Rockwell street, and the continuations of Prospect and Bolivar streets.153
The United States government added its contributions to the growing importance by building, in 1830, the first lighthouse in Cleveland, at a cost of eight thousand dollars. The work was done by Levi Johnson, and the structure located on the bluff at the north end of Water street, at a point one hundred and thirty-five feet above the level of the lake. It has been since replaced by a more costly and elegant structure.
Among the arrivals of 1830, were Seth A. Abbey, who served for a number of terms as city marshal, and later as judge of the police court; and Norman C. Baldwin, who formed a partnership, in the produce commission business, with Noble H. Merwin. He was afterwards a member of the firm of Giddings, Baldwin & Co., forwarding and commission merchants, who sent and received a large amount of business over the Ohio Canal. The firm also owned one of the first regular line of steamers to ply the lake. The line of boats and packets from Portsmouth to New York by the Ohio and Erie canals and the lake, was called the "Troy & Erie line," each packet carrying thirty passengers, and one hundred bushels of wheat. In later years, Mr. Baldwin was interested in the banking business and real estate.
It would be an unwarranted discrimination, if, in this mention, here and there of the arrival of business and professional men, none was made of the coming of a noble woman whose life-work in Cleveland, in various forms of usefulness, was blessed for the public good. Mr. Rebecca C. Rouse lived a long and useful life in the city of her chosen home, and her memory long will be held in grateful remembrance. The brief sketch of her life and labors,
that follows, is from the appreciative pen of one who in her own field of labor has done much for Cleveland’s good: "At eighteen," writes Mrs. Ingham,154 "Miss Rebecca Cromwell married Benjamin Rouse, a young man in the business circles of Boston, Mass. In 1825, they removed to the City of New York, where, under the lead of Arthur Ta[an, she visited the byways and worst localities of the metropolis. In time, both herself and husband decided, upon the request of the American Sabbath School Union, to go as missionaries to the Western Reserve, with residence and headquarters at Cleveland, O. After parting with friends, particularly those of the Delancy Street Baptist Church, they journeyed many days, arriving at this port October 19th, 1830. At that time there was no village above the Public Square; the population numbering one thousand. Euclid avenue was known as the Buffalo road, and Fairmount, the road to Newburgh. They stopped on that Sabbath morning at Merwin’s Tavern, a frame building painted red, on the present site of Bratenahl’s Block, Superior and South Water streets, the latter called, then, Vineyard lane. After breakfast, Mrs. Rouse asked the landlord if there were no place of worship in the village, and received for reply that a few Methodists were holding a prayer-meeting in the upper story of the house opposite. They crossed the street, and found present among other few, Mr. Daniel Worley, Joel Sizer, and young Mr. Bump, the school-master. At this time, the Episcopalians had a small, wooden meeting-house, corner of St. Clair and Seneca streets, with organized parish service and Sunday school; here, again, female piety predominated, there being but two male members. This was Old Trinity. During the week following her arrival, Mr. Rouse gathered about her several good women for religious work, at her own hired house, temporarily occupied, on Superior street, near the later Judge Bishop Block.
In a picture owned by Mrs. Rouse, their newly built home shows favorably as a white cottage, on the exact site of the present Rouse Block. The cottage has a face, apparently all windows, from the fact that the front room was used as a depository for the publications of the American Sunday School Union and Tract Society. This called forth the derisive remark from many male ‘sinners,’ then resident in our city, that ‘there is more religion in Rouse’s windows than in the whole village besides.’ The names of those who constituted these early assemblies in Cleveland were Mr. Joel Scranton, Mrs. D. Worley, Mrs. Dr. Long, Mrs. Chas. Giddings, Mrs. Moses White, Mrs. Gabberden, Mrs. Edmund Clark, Mrs. George Hoadley [sic], Mrs. H. P. Weddell, Mrs. John M. Sterling. From this gathering grew the Woman’s Union Gospel work of Cleveland, which now, under various forms, is a crown of glory upon the fair brow of our own Forest City. October 30th, 1830, Mrs. Rouse had organized the Ladies’ Tract Society of the Village of Cleveland, auxiliary to the parent society of New York, the leader being its representative in the homes of our people."
Thee was one newly-arrived resident of Cleveland in 1831, who was not pleased altogether with what he experienced, although he was compelled to confess that the place was fair to look upon. His personal view of various things is interesting, as he spoke with that confidential freedom that friend uses with friend. This was Milo H. Hickox, and these are the impressions he conveyed to a friend in Rochester, by private letter:155
"Cleveland is about two-thirds as large as Rochester, east side of the river, and is the pleasantest sight that you ever saw. The streets are broad and cross each other at right angles. The court-house is better than the one in Rochester; the rest of the buildings altogether are not worth more than four of the best in that place, and one room of a middling size rents for one dollar per month.
Everything that we want to live upon commands cash and a high price. Mechanics’ wages are low. Journeymen get from $10 to $20 per month and board; I get nine shillings and six pence per day, and board myself. I have the best of work. Now for the morals. There are between fifteen and twenty grogships, and they all live. There was one opened here last week by a man from Rochester. There is a temperance society, with ten or a dozen male members. The Presbyterian Church has four male members, Baptist six, Methodist about the same, the Episcopal is small; they have a house, the others have not. The court-house is used at this time for a theatrical company, and is well filled with people of all classes. My health has not been good since we have been here. About four weeks since, we awoke in the morning anf found ourselves all shaking with the ague. I had but one fit myself. My wife had it about a week, every day, and my son three weeks, every day, and what made it worse, my wife and son both shook at the same time. I spent one day in search of a girl; gave up the chase and engaged a passage for my wife to Buffalo to be forwarded to Rochester. She was to leave the next morning. I was telling my troubles to an acquaintance, who told me that he would find a girl for me, or let me have his rather than have my family leave, so we concluded to stay."
Previous to 1831, that section of modern Cleveland which lies to the west of the river had received less consideration, at the hands of the settlers upon the eastern banks, than its importance and promise for the future deserved. We have had glimpses, here and there, of its connection with the general development, and a long step was taken in that direction in the year above named.
When the fourth draft of the lands, under the auspices of the Connecticut Land Company, occurred in Aril, 1807, Samuel P. Lord and others drew the township of Brooklyn, No. 7, in range 13. It was surveyed, in 1809, by Ezekiel Hoover. Of the early conditions existing upon that
side, Col. Whittlesey has said:156 "On the west side of the river, opposite St. Clair street, where the Indians had a ferry, a trail led out across the marshy ground, up the hill past the old log trading house, where there were springs of water, to an opening in the forest, near the crossing of Pearl and Detroit streets. In this pleasant space the savages practiced their games, held their powwows, and when whisky could be procured, enjoyed themselves while it lasted. The trail continued thence westerly to Rocky River and Sandusky. Another one, less frequented, led off southerly up the river to the old French trading post, where Magenis was found in 1786, near Brighton; and thence, near the river bank, to Tinker’s Creek, and probably to the old Portage path. A less frequented trail existed from the Indian villages of Tawas or Ottawas and Mingoes, at Tinker’s Creek, by a shorter route, direct to the crossing of the Cuyahoga at the ‘Standing Stone’, near Kent. The packhorsemen, who transported goods and flour to the northwest from 1786 to 1795, followed this trail, crossing the Cuyahoga at Tinker’s Creek.
Exactly when and where the first white resident of Brooklyn made his appearance is not known. Most of the glimpses we have had of the forerunners of civilization upon the West Side, were caught down near the lake and about that part now known as Main and Detroit streets. There was, however, out near the present Riverside Cemetery, a grassy slope running up from the Cuyahoga River, which, even in late years, was known as "Granger’s Hill." Here came, from Canada, one Granger, who became a "squatter," but at what date is not certainly known. He was there when James Fish, in May, 1812, became the first permanent settler of the Brooklyn Township of the later days. The stay of the squatter, however, was not long, as he migrated, in 1815, to the Maumee country.
James Fish came from Groton, Connecticut, having
purchased land of Messrs. Lord and Barber. He left home, in the summer of 1811, with his family stored away in a wagon drawn by oxen. He was accompanied by quite a company of pioneers, and spent forty-seven days upon the road. He passed the winter in Newburg; early in the spring of 1812, he crossed over to Brooklyn, erected a log-house at a cost of eighteen dollars, and in May took his family over and commenced house-keeping. In the same year came Moses and Ebenezer Fish, the last named serving as one of the militiamen guarding the Indian murderer, whose execution in 1812 has been elsewhere recorded. In 1813, came Ozias Brainard, of Connecticut, with his family; while in 1814, six families arrived as settlers within one week—those of Isaac Hinckley, Asa Brainard, Elijah Young, Stephen Brainard, Enos Brainard, and Warren Brainard, all of whom had been residents of Chatham, Middlesex county, Conn. They had all exchanged their farm lands at home for those placed upon the market in this section of the New West. Their journey and reception has been described thus—with what warrant of exact truth we are not prepared to say: "All set out on the same day. The train consisted of six wagons, drawn by ten horses and six oxen, and all journeyed together until Euclid was reached (forty days after leaving Chatham), where Isaac Hinckley and his family rested, leaving the others to push on to Brooklyn, whither he followed them within a week. It appears that the trustees of the township of Cleveland, to which the territory of Brooklyn then belonged, became alarmed at the avalanche of emigrants just described, and concluding that they were a band of paupers, for whose support the township would be taxed, started a constable across the river to warn the invaders out of town. Alonzo Carter, a resident of Cleveland, heard of the move, and stopped it by endorsing the good standing to the new-comers,--adding that the alleged paupers were worth more than all the trustees of Cleveland combined." 157
Richard and Samuel Lord, and Josiah Barber, of the firm of Lord & Barber, above referred to, removed, as early as 1818, to that part of Brooklyn which is now the west side of Cleveland. Brooklyn Township was organized on June 1st, 1818, and originally embraced "all that part of Cleveland situated on the west side of the Cuyahoga River, excepting a farm owned by Alfred Kelley." Major Lorenzo Carter and his son, Alonzo Carter, purchased lands on the west side soon after the survey, the son occupying the same and keeping tavern in the Red House, as it was called, opposite Superior lane.
The first real boom in land speculation, upon that side, began in 1831, when an organization, known as the Buffalo Company, bought a large tract in that section, laid it out into streets and lots, and began to push various improvements forward at a rapid rate—with what degree of eventual success we shall discover some years later.
Among the events of 1832, was the organization of a church in Newburg, which was Congregational in form, although attached to the Cleveland Presbytery. It came into existence at the residence of Noah Graves, under the direction of Rev. David Peet, of Euclid, assisted by Rev. Harvey Lyon. A temporary place of worship was fitted up in a carpenter’s shop, and services were held occasionally under the leadership of Rev. Simeon Woodruff, of Strongsville. This organization became known in later days as the South Presbyterian Church. Timothy P. Spencer, afterwards a well-known citizen, one of the founders of the "Cleveland Advertiser," and later postmaster of Cleveland, became a resident of the village in 1832. At a meeting of the trustees in June, the purchase of a hearse, harness, and bier, was ordered; Dr. David Long and O. B. Skinner being appointed to make the purchase.
An approaching plague, of a severe nature, foreshadowed the early and perhaps frequent use of these trappings of death. The cholera season, of 1832, is still remembered by the older settlers of Cleveland and vicin-
ity, more from the apprehension and dread that it caused than from its actual ravages in this neighborhood.
The researches of medical science, at that early day, had not robbed this eastern plague of its terrors, so, when the alarm was sent through the west that death in its worst form of wholesale slaughter was approaching, the people of Cleveland, like their neighbors, were panic-stricken, and ready to resort to any measures for protection.
toward the end of May, an emigrant ship landed at Quebec with a load of passengers, and the cholera aboard. It spread over that city with great virulence; moved up the St. Lawrence River; attacked Montreal, where its effects were fatal in most cases. A feeling of panic spread rapidly through all the lake region, as it was known that the march of the scourge, in that direction, would be certain and rapid.
The authorities of the village on the Cuyahoga acted with humane promptness. In the record book of 1832, under date of June 24th, occurs this entry: "At a meeting of the board of trustees of the Village of Cleveland, on the 24th of June, 1832, present J. W. Allen, D. Long, P. May, and S. Pease, convened for the appointment of a Board of Health, in pursuance of a resolution of a meeting of the citizens of the village on the 23rd instant, the following gentlemen were appointed: Dr. Cowles, Dr. Mills, Dr. St. John, S. Belden, Ch. Denison."
John W. Allen was then president of the corporation. With wise energy, he set out to protect the citizens, and at the same time care for the helpless sick who should seek shelter in Cleveland harbor. In a communication to this new Board of Health, he said: "At a public meeting of the citizens of this village yesterday to adopt measures in relation to the anticipated arrival of the Indian cholera within our limits, it was determined that a committee of five persons be appointed, whose duty should be to inspect any vessels arriving here from Lake Ontario, or any port on the lake where the cholera does or may exist; to examine all cases that may be suspicious in
their character, either on the river or in the village; to examine into the existence of, and cause to be removed, all nuisances that may have a tendency to generate or propagate the disease. . . . And, also, that they erect or procure a suitable building for the reception of strangers, or others, who may be attacked, or who have not the proper accommodation of their own." An ordinance was also passed relating to the inspection of vessels, or the placing of them in quarantine. At a later date, Dr. S. J. Weldon and Daniel Worley were added to the Board of Health. In July, all quarantine regulations were abandoned.
The story of that fated summer in Cleveland, has been so graphically told by, perhaps, the chief actor therein (John W. Allen), that I will give his relation in full.
"The famous Black Hawk War" was then raging in the territory which is now called Wisconsin, and in adjacent parts of Illinois clear through to the Mississippi
River. The Indians were all on the war-path. The garrison, at what is now Chicago, had been massacred, and every white man, woman, and child they could hunt out, murdered. With a horrible pestilence threatened in the east and at home, too, and a war of extermination in progress in the west, it may well be inferred the popular mind was in a high state of excitement. About June, General Scott was ordered to gather all the troops he could find in the easte4rn forts at Buffalo, and start them off in a steamboat in all haste for Chicago. He embarked with a full load on board the ‘Henry Clay,’ Captain Norton commanding, a most discreet and competent man and officer. Incipient indications of cholera soon appeared, and some died, and by the time the boat arrived at Fort Gratiot, at the foot of Lake Huron, it became apparent that the effort to reach Chicago by water would prove abortive. General Scott, therefore, landed his men, and prepared to make the march through the wilderness, three hundred miles or more to Chicago, and sent the
‘Clay’ back to Buffalo. Captain Norton started down the river, having on board a number of sick soldiers. All were worn out with labor and anxiety. They hoped, at Detroit, to get food, medicines, and small stores, but when they got there every dock was covered with armed men and cannon, and they were ordered to move on without a moment’s delay, even in the middle of the river, and did so, heading for Buffalo. Before the ‘Clay’ got off Cleveland, half a dozen men had died and were thrown overboard, and others were sick. All believed there would not be men enough left to work the vessel into Buffalo, and Captain Norton steamed for Cleveland, as his only alternative. Early in the morning of the 10th of June, we found the ‘Clay’ lying fast to the west bank of the river, with a flag of distress flying, and we knew the hour of trial had come upon us, thus unheralded. The trustees met immediately, and it was determined at once that everything should be done to aid the sufferers, and protect our citizens so far as in us lay. I was deputed to visit Captain Norton and find what he most needed, and how it could be done. A short conversation was held with him across the river, and plans suggested for relieving them. The result was that the men were removed to comfortable barracks on the West Side and needed appliances and physicians were furnished. Captain Norton came ashore and went into retirement, with a friend, for a day or two, and the ‘Clay’ was thoroughly fumigated, and in three or four days, she left for Buffalo. Some of the men having died here, they were buried, on a bluff point, on the West Side. But, in the interim, the disease showed itself among our citizens in various localities, among those who had not been exposed at all from proximity to the boat, or to those of us who had been most connected with the work that had been done. The faces of men were blanched, and they spoke with bated breath, and all got away from here who could. How many persons were attacked is unknown now, but in the course of a fortnight the disease became less virulent and ended
within a month, about fifty having died. About the middle of October following, a cold rain-storm occurred, and weeks, perhaps months, after the last case had ceased of the previous visitation, fourteen men were seized with Cholera and all died within three days. No explanation could be given as to the origin, no others being affected, and that was the last appearance of it for two years. In 1834, we had another visitation, and some deaths occurred, but the people were not so much scared."
To the above graphic description of a trying time, may be added the statement of another prominent Clevelander, made to the writer in person some years ago. This was Captain Lewis Dibble,159 who simply tells a story in which he had a personal part. "I was here in the two cholera scares," said he, "We had heard a great deal of it, and some marvelous tales were told of men walking along the streets and falling dead, with others of the same character. It was in 1832. I was on the schooner ‘America,’ and Mr. May asked me whether I would lay up or go on to Buffalo, where the disease was then raging. I replied that I would probably have to face it one place or another, and that it might as well be Buffalo as here. We accordingly went down. We saw a great many hearses going to and fro, and I must confess that things did not look pleasant. When we came back (to Cleveland), we found a guard on the dock, as the people were determined that no ships with cholera on board should stop here. The wind was well in the northeast, and we came in at a good pace. The sentry, a man named Marshall, caught sight of us, and when he saw me he sung out ‘Any sick?’ I answered that we had none and he said it was all right. . . . When the ‘Henry Clay’ came in here on her way back from carrying troops up to the Black Hawk War, she had a number of cases on board. There was great excitement, and many declared she should not remain, some wishing to go down and burn her. I remem-
ber her captain came up town in disguise, and stopped for a time at the tavern kept by Mr. Abbey. I entered the place once and saw him, but before I spoke to him, he gave a look that explained the situation and led me to hold my peace. On one occasion water was wanted at the cholera hospital on Whisky Island, and no one could be got to take it there. My vessel was at the foot of Superior street. We took two casks to a spring near Superior street, filled them, and then rowed them down the river to the point of destination. Word came in from Doan’s Corners that Job Doan, the father of W. H. Doan, was down with it and needed help. A man named Thomas Coolihan and I agreed to go out and see him. We got a buggy and went to the Franklin House, where we waited a long time before a couple of doctors whom we expected came in. They then mounted another buggy and we drove out, the hour being quite late. We all four went in. The doctors look at him, shook their heads, and going out returned to the city. He was in great agony. When we, the other two, went up to bed, he took our hands, and by his look showed that he was in great pain. Captain Stark and a man named David Little stood over him, rubbing him all the time. It was no use. We remained about an hour and then returned to the city. An hour after we left, he died."
The subject of a water supply, and of increased fire protection, both came before the Cleveland public for discussion, if not for very definite action, in the year 1833. In June, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating the Cleveland Water Company, with Philo Scoville and others as incorporators. They were granted the privilege of furnishing water to the Village of Cleveland, but it does not appear that anything was done for the accomplishment of that laudable purpose. In March, 1850, this act was so amended as to extend their privileges; the company was organized, and some stock subscribed, but again nothing came of it; and it was some years before such active steps were taken that the founda-
tion of the great system of to-day was successfully laid.
The purchase of Cleveland’s first fire-engine, and the criticism of that action upon part of the village authorities, have been related in detail elsewhere. In 1833, a volunteer fire-company, Live Oak No. I, as it was called, came into existence, although there was no regular organization. The foreman was Captain McCurdy. Out of this, there grew, in 1834, a regularly organized company, called Eagle No. I, of which McCurdy was also foreman. The organization of a regular department soon followed, and Neptune No. 2, Phoenix No. 4, Forest City Hook and Ladder Company No. I, and Hope Hose Company No. I, were the component parts thereof; there was a No. 3, but it was composed of boys, and had no official recognition. In April, 1836, Cataract No. 5 was added. The first chief of the department was Samuel Cook, with Sylvester Pease as first assistant, and Erastus Smith as second assistant. The succeeding chiefs of the old volunteer department were as follows:
Sept. 29, 1837, H. L. Noble, chief; Erastus Smith and Jonathan Williams, assistants. June 14, 1838, T. Lemmon made chief. April 3, 1839, T. Lemmon resigned, and John R. St. John succeeded. June 29, 1840, J. R. Weatherly, chief; A. S. Sanford and N. Haywood, assistants. June 19, 1841, J. R. Weatherly continued, with Thomas Well and C. W. Hurd, assistants. June 13, 1842, M. M. Spangler, chief; John Outhwaite and Zachariah Eddy, assistants. June 7, 1843, John Outhwaite, chief; Jacob Mitchell and W. R. Virgin, assistants. June 26, 1844, M. M. Spangler, chief; C. W. Hurd and Zachariah Eddy, assistants. June 2, 1845, A. S. Sanford, chief; W. E. Lawrence and James Barnett, assistants. June 2, 1846, John Gill, chief; Joseph Proudfoot and James Bennett, assistants. June 19, 1847, M. M. Spangler, chief; S. S. Lyons and C. M. Reed, assistants. June 5, 1848, S. S. Lyon, chief; W. E. Lawrence and George Cross, assistants. June 22, 1849, James Bennett, chief; William Sabin and John R. Radcliff, assistants. June 4, 1850, M. M. Spangler, chief; T. C. Floyd and John
Kilby, assistants. June 3, 1851, M. M. Spangler, chief; T. C. Floyd and William Delany, assistants. June 15, 1852, Jabez W. Fitch, chief; William Delany and John Bennett, assistants.
The City Council, in 1853, refused to set a time for the election of a chief, and for some subsequent time they were chosen directly by the people. General J. W. Fitch was followed by William Cowen, who, in turn, gave way to James Hill, who held the office until the breaking out of the war, when he was succeeded by Edward Hart. The latter was re-elected in 1862, but the law was once more changed, and the City Council elected James Craw. Mr. Hill was again made chief on his return from the war. It would, of course, be impossible to give all the changes that occurred in the make-up and leadership of the various companies in this long series of years, but we may glance at the constitution of the department in 1850, as follows: Eagle No. I; Forest City No. 2; Saratoga No. 3; Phoenix No. 4; Cataract No. 5; Red Jacket No. 6; Forest City Hook and Ladder No. I. Neptune No. 7 was organized in 1853, and Hope No. 8 in 1852. When Ohio City was annexed, Washington No. I and Forest No. 2, already organized upon that side of the river, became respectively Nos. 9 and 10 of the Cleveland department. Alert Hose Company was organized in 1857, and Protection Hose Company in 1858. It is said that upon the breaking out of the war in 1861, fully two-thirds of the active members of the department answered the country’s call for volunteers, which is a significant illustration of the character of the men of which that old department of unpaid firemen was composed.
The reorganization of the department came in 1863, as
will be shown when the events of that year are under consideration. It would not be just, however, to dismiss the old volunteer service without some recognition of its services, and the public-spirited efforts and personal bravery of those having its fortunes in charge. One citizen, who was acquainted with the whole subject through personal contact and personal knowledge, has borne such minute, expert testimony upon that point, that I cannot forbear reproducing it quite fully: "It was simply," says George F. Marshall,160 "a concentrated man power, and willing hands and without horses or steam. It comprised a goodly share of the young blood of the city—young men with more muscle than money—men strong of arm and fleet of foot—men who had no other purpose in ‘running with the machine’ than a desire to do something worth their manhood. Of those who did not belong to that volunteer band were Joel Scranton, Philo Scoville, Benjamin Harrington, Nathan Perry, Peter M. Weddell, George Kirk, Moses White, Erastus Gaylord, Dr. Long, Levi Sartwell, Daniel Worley, Melancton Barnett and many more like them, whose hearts were in the work, but were not fleet of foot enough to keep out of the way of the engine. Many young men who had not a farthing in combustible matter at stake, except what covered their backs or was at the washerwoman’s, were the most active men in the department. They could work with the same vigor to save the poor man’s cottage from the flames as the rich man’s palace; while on parade and drill days they would march with a more stately tread, and run with greater speed, if they but knew their sweetheart was among the spectators. This young city was miserably poor in those early days, and she was small as well, while there were scattered here and there a pretty good lot of combustible dwellings and places of business which needed the supervising care of a well-drilled fire department. The ‘machines’ were well enough for those times, but they were
heavy to handle, while the streets, during one-third of the year, were nearly impassable, and the common council forbade the running of fire-engines on the sidewalks. The entire compensation to individual volunteers was rated according to the roll-call of the companies, who appeared at the six-monthly drills and parades each year—one dollar each, while the city orders were at a discount and protested for non-payment. The real service was performed for the honor and glory of the enterprise, as well as the fun to be had between times of hard work."
We are further told that at the tap of the old Baptist Church bell, repeated in quick succession, the town would become alive with hurrying people, whether it was day or night. Among those most certain to respond to this call to duty were such sturdy and active men as Milo Hickox, J. L. Weatherly, J. W. Fitch, James A. Craw, E. C. Rouse, John E. Carey, Elijah Sanford, Jefferson Thomas, B. W. Dockstader, John Proudfoot, John Gill, B. L. Spanger, Jacob Lowman, C. W. Heard, Nelson Hayward, Samuel Mason, and many others The facilities for obtaining water were not good, and limited "to four or five cisterns, located at street corners, the Ohio Canal, the river; and although there was a vast lake on one side of the city, the waters were never utilized for the purposes of the department. The cisterns or reservoirs were often out of repair and out of water, while some of the engines in trying for water from them were compelled to act like some of our modern political newspapers—they would throw nothing but mud."
It was, also, in 1833, that yet another of the powerful church organizations of the Cleveland of to-day came into existence. On the 16th of February, of that year, the First Baptist Church of Cleveland was organized, under the pastoral care of Rev. Richmond Taggart. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Moses Wares, of Columbia, and the charge to the church by Rev. T. B. Stephenson, of Euclid. The newly-created society came into the fellowship of the Rocky River Baptist Association on Septem-
ber 28th, 1833. The first meetings were held in either that universally useful place of gathering, the old Academy on St. Clair street, or the Court-House, until the erection of their own place of worship on the corner of Seneca and Champlain streets. This was a brick structure, the foundations of which were laid in 1834, the dedication occurring on February 25th, 1836. The church cost thirteen thousand dollars, and was, at that time, considered one of the largest and most attractive in that section of the west. The society gained steadily in strength and usefulness; and in 1855 purchased of the Plymouth Congregational Church a brick church building, on the corner of Euclid avenue and Erie street, where services were first held on April 8th.
The Hon. John A. Foot, who passed a long and useful life in this city, was among the arrivals of 1833. He was a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and the son of Samuel A. Foot, governor of that State, who, as a member of the United States Senate, introduced that historic resolution in reference to the public lands, which called forth the memorable Webster-Hayne debate. Mr. Foot was a graduate of Yale, and upon his arrival in Cleveland formed a law partnership with Sherlock J. Andrews, which continued until the latter was elected to the bench. In 1837, Mr. Foot was elected to the State Legislature by the Whigs, and afterwards served as a member of the City Council, and was president of that body. He was elected to the State Senate in 1853. In his later years, he
was connected with various educational and reformatory institutions, and performed many useful labors for the good of mankind. He passed from life in July 16th, 1891.
Another notable accession, in the same year, came in the person of Thomas Burnham, one of the city’s early business men. He was a native of Saratoga County, New York, and was for some time master of a freight boat running from Whitehall to Albany, on the Champlain Canal. In 1833, he concluded to abandon boat life, was married on October 29th of that year, and on the same day set out with his young wife, and one hundred and fifty dollars, to try his fortune in the then far west, in Ohio. The conveyances by which they reached their final destination were various in kind, and their journey illustrates somewhat the common methods of travel in that day. They were conveyed by team from Glens Falls to Saratoga, where they took the cars to Schenectady. Railroading was then a primitive thing, and the line upon which they rode possessed cars fashioned like stage-coaches, running on a strap rail, and drawn by three horses driven tandem. The Schenectady and Albany line was, at that time, employing steam power, but the new motive
power was not as yet used on the smaller roads.
At Schenectady, Mr. and Mrs. Burnham took passage on a boat on the Erie Canal, and proceeded to Buffalo, where they embarked on the steamer "Pennsylvania" for Cleveland. The boat was a slow one, her fuel green-wood, and as she stopped at every port along the way to receive and discharge freight, four days and four nights were consumed in the passage. Soon after his arrival, Mr. Burnham took charge of a school on the west side of the river, in Brooklyn township; Ohio City not having been created. The school building was located on the corner of Washington and Pearl streets, and among the pupils who attended were A. J. Wenham, Henry and Mark S. Castle, and Josiah Barber. Mr. Burnham afterwards entered business life, where he was very successful and served at Mayor of Ohio City for two terms.
A somewhat touching incident, connected with a famous Indian chief and his visit to Cleveland, has been related by Harvey Rice161 as occurring in this year, and will bear relation. "At the close of the Black Hawk War, in 1833," says he, "the chieftain, Black Hawk, and several of his band were taken, in the custody of a government officer, to Washington as captives, to be dealt with as the authorities might decide. The captives, instead of being shot, as they expected, were kindly received, and lionized by being taken about town, shown its wonders, and then sent through several eastern cities, with a view to convince them of the invincible power of the white people. They were than returned, under escort, to their homes in the ‘far west.’ While on their return, the party stopped over a day at Cleveland, as requested by Black Hawk, in order to give him an opportunity to visit the grave of his mother, who, as he said, was buried on the banks of the Cuyahoga. He took a canoe and proceeded alone up the river to the bluff that projects into the valley from the southeast corner of the
-Riverside Cemetery. Here he remained for an hour or more, in silent meditation, and then rejoined his comrades with a tear in his eye, though it is said that an Indian never weeps. From the fact of this visit to the grave of his mother, Black Hawk, it may be presumed, was born on the banks of the Cuyahoga."
There was another visitor to Cleveland in the same year, who represented the civilization of transatlantic countries, even as this unfortunate Indian chief represented the supplanted and departing savagery of the west. Unlike the red visitor, he noted his impressions of the neighborhood and times and the same have come to us in the form of a letter, which this John Stair, of England, wrote from "Newburg, county of Cuyahoga," on August 16th, 1833.162 He regarded Cleveland as "an increasing place," and "for the size of it, the prettiest town I have seen in American" He believed that its situation on the lake was so commanding, that it would soon be a place of great importance, and even then the inhabitants were beginning to have a taste for the fine arts, "so that a person who understood drawing, music, etc., so as to teach it well, might make money apace there." Each letter that he mailed to England cost him twenty-five cents; large turkeys could be purchased in the Cleveland market at fifty cents each; fowl, one shilling;’ roasting pigs, twenty-five cents; mutton, beef, pork, veal, etc., from two to four cents per pound; butter, nine cents, and cheese, six. Cows could be purchased for from ten to twenty-five dollars each, and horses from thirty to one hundred. "This is a poor man’s country," he adds, "but unless he has land or can labor hard, a man with a family of small children stands but a poor chance. Situations for single men are very scarce, except as bar-tenders at tavern, clerks, etc." He complained of the great scarcity of a circulating medium—" frequently men who are possessed of a good farm and considerable stock are weeks and months without a cent; they barter,
or as they call it, trade for almost everything. Many raise all they eat, with few exceptions, such as tea, coffee, etc. They raise their own wool and flax, which are spun and woven by the women for clothing, so that a farmer is the most independent person in this country." Mechanics of all descriptions met with ready employment. Women school-teachers were paid six dollars per month, and "boarded around" with the parents of their pupils. Men teachers received from ten to twenty dollars per month, and also obtained a living by swinging around the circle of the district. There were a few select or private schools, on of which Mr. Stair kept in Newburg.
Another entertaining view of the Forest City, in the same year, may be briefly quoted, as supplemental to the above:163 "Few places in the western country are so advantageously situated for commerce, or boast greater population and business. Here is the northern termination of the Ohio Canal, 309 miles in length, by which this village will communicate with Columbus and Cincinnati, with Pittsburgh, St. Louis and New Orleans. . . . An inspection of the map will show that Cleveland has a position of extraordinary advantage, and it only requires a moderate capital, and the usual enterprise of the American character, to advance its destiny to an equality with the most flourishing cities of the west. Two years, ago it had one thousand inhabitants; it has now two thousand, and is rapidly increasing. The vicinity is a healthy, fertile country, as yet mostly new, but fast filling up. An artificial harbor, safe and commodious, constructed by the United States, often presents twenty to thirty sloops, schooners, and steamboats."