Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   




ERIE COUNTY—Continued

 

Page 576

 

W. A. Bishop, Photo., Sandusky City.

INSCRIPTION ROCK, KELLEY’S ISLAND.

 

 

Page 577

pitality and recreates with much fishing in prolific waters.

 

In my original visit to Sandusky there was also residing here EBENEZER LANE, whose acquaintance I had the privilege of making. He was among the most eminent legal men of Ohio of that day: profound in scholarship and frank and cordial in his ways. In five minutes I felt as though we had been lifelong friends. His brothers in the profession idolized him. He was born in Northampton in 1793, graduated at Harvard in 1811, studied law under his uncle, Matthew Griswold, of Lyme. Conn.; early came to Ohio, was soon judge of Common Pleas, and from 1843 until 1845 judge of the Supreme Court, when he retired from the bench to give his attention to the railroad development of this region.

 

Sandusky never dreamed but what she would be the terminus of the Ohio canal. It was the shortest and direct distance across the State from the mouth of the Scioto on the Ohio to the lake, and its harbor expansive and safe. Instead of that, mainly through the efforts of Alfred KELLY, who then resided there and was one of the canal commissioners, Cleveland was made its terminus; thus increasing the distance by a winding tortuous course of perhaps thirty or more miles, yet bringing the canal nearer the big wheat fields and coal beds, and accommodating a larger farming population, a more densely settled older country.

 

The canal was a prime factor in making Cleveland the great lake city of the State. The people of Sandusky felt keenly its loss as a cruel wrong, and with the hope of retrieving the disaster started the earliest in railroad construction; so Judge LANE, prompted by public spirit, left the bench to exert his powers in that at direction, in the course of which he became President of the Lake Erie and Mad River Railroad, a link in the first con­tinuous railroad line across the State.

 

Cleveland was also on the alert in railroad construction, but a little behind Sandusky, and tapping the great coal-fields of south-eastern Ohio and bringing down the iron of Lake Superior got a power for the lead that was irresistible. The diversion of Judge LANE from his profession was a loss to his fame, as otherwise his reputation would have become national, from his unquestionably great powers.

 

On the publication of my original edition, I got four of those whom I regarded as the most influential men of the Ohio of that day to unite in a joint recommendation, two Democrats and two Whigs. Those four were Samuel MEDARY, of Columbus, editor of the Ohio Statesman, called the “Old Wheel Horse of the Democracy,” Governor Reuben WOOD, of Cleveland, the “Tall Chief of the Cuyahogas,” Thomas CORWIN, of Lebanon, “The Wagon Boy,” and Ebenezer Lane, of Sandusky, and there I rested, fortified as the book was by a “Wheel Horse,” a “Cuyahoga Chief,” a “Wagon Boy,” and a “Judge.”

MILAN IN 1846.—Twelve miles from Sandusky City, and eight from Lake Erie is the flourishing town of Milan, in the township of the same name. It stands upon a commanding bluff on the bank of Huron river. The engraving on next page shows its appearance front a hill near the road to Sandusky City, and a few rods back of Kneeland TOWNSEND’S old distillery building, which appears in front. In the middle ground is shown the Huron river and the canal; on the right the bridge across the river; on the hill, part of the town appears, with the tower of the Methodist and spire of the Presbyterian church. Population about 100.—Old Edition.

 

Milan is 8 miles south of Lake Erie, on the Huron river, 55 miles west of Cleveland, on the line of the N. & H. and N. Y. St. L. and C. Railroads. It was before the days of railroads a great grain depot, the grain product of several neighboring counties being brought in wagons here for shipment by river and canal.

 

Some of the wagons had in them loads of a hundred bushels of rain and were drawn by four or six horses. Six hundred wagons have arrived in a day. As many as twenty sail vessels have been loaded in a single day, and 35,000 bushels of grain put on board.

 

Newspapers Advertiser, WICKHAM & GIBBS, publishers. Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Catholic. Bank: Milan Banking Company, James C. LOCKWOOD, president; L. L. STODDARD, cashier. Industries: 2 flouring mills, 1 tile factory, 1 spoke factory, and Stoakes’ Automatic Pen Factory.

 

The Western Reserve Normal School, 75 pupils, B. B. HALL, principal, is located here.

 

Population in 1880, 797. School census in 1886, 225; John R. SHERMAN, superintendent.

 

Appended is a Historical and descriptive sketch of the village and township given to the old edition by Rev. E. JUDSON, of Milan.

 

Page 578

On the spot where the town of Milan now stands, there was, at the time of the survey of the fire-lands, in 1807, an Indian village, containing within it a Christian community, under the superintendence of Rev. Christian Frederic DENCKÉ, a MORAVIAN missionary. The Indian name of the town was Petquotting. The mission was established here in 1804. Mr. DENCKÉ brought with him several families of Christian Indians, from the vicinity of the Thames river, in Upper Canada. They had a chapel and a mission house, and were making good progress in the cultivation of Christian principles, when the commencement of the white settlements induced them in 1809, to emigrate with their missionary to Canada. There was a Moravian mission attempted as early as 1787. A considerable party of Christian Indians had been driven from their settlement at Gnadenhutten, on the Tuscarawas river, by the inhuman butchery of a large number of the inhabitants by the white settlers. After years of wandering, with ZEISBERGER for their spiritual guide, they at length formed a home on the banks of the Cuyahoga river, near Cleveland, which they named Pilgerruh (“Pilgrim’s rest,”). They were soon driven from this post, whence they came to the Huron, and commenced a settlement on its east bank, and near the north line of the township.

 

Drawn by Henry Howe,1846.

MILAN FORM NEAR THE SANDUSKY CITY ROAD.

 

To this village they gave the name of New Salem. Here the labors of their indefatigable missionary were crowned with very considerable success. They were soon compelled to leave, however, by the persecutions of the pagan Indians. It seems to have been a portion of these exiles who returned, in 1804, to commence the new mission.

 

The ground on both sides of the Huron river, through the entire length of the township, is distinctly marked at short intervals’ by the remains of a former race. Mounds and enclosures, both circular and angular, some of which have strongly marked features, occur at different points along the river.

 

The land in the township of Milan was brought into market in 1808. In the summer of the following year David ABBOTT purchased 1800 acres, in the northeast section of the township, and lying on both sides of the Huron, for the purpose of commencing a settlement.  He removed here with his family in 1810. Jared WARD purchased a part of Mr. Abbott’s tract, and removed here in 1809. He was the first “actual white settler,” who had an interest in the soil. The progress of the settlement was at first rapid. When hostilities with Great Britain commenced, in 1812, there were within the township twenty-three families and about forty persons capable of bearing arms. The progress of the settlement was interrupted y the war, and few or no emigrants arrived between 1813 and 1816. This interruption was not the only evil experienced by the inhabitants. The British, in the early part of the war, commanded Lake Erie, and could at any moment make a descent upon the place. Many of the Indians were hostile, and were supposed to be instigated to acts of cruelty by the willingness of the British commander at Fort Malden to purchase the scalps of American citizens.  Occasional outrages were perpetrated; houses were burned, and in a few instances individuals were murdered in cold blood, while others were taken prisoners. Near the southwestern corner of the township, at a place known as the Parker farm—from its having been first purchased and occupied by Charles PARKER—a was a block-house, used as a place of resort, during the war. A military guard was kept here. Two young men apprehensive of no immediate danger, on a pleasant morning in the fall of 1813, left the block-house and wandered to the distance of a mile for the purpose of collecting honey from a “bee-tree.” While in the act of cutting down the tree they were surprised by the Indians, who, it

 

Page 579

 

seems, had been for some time watching for their prey; one of them, named SEYMOUR, was killed on the spot; the other was recognized by one of the Indians, made a captive and treated kindly. The Indian who captured him had been a frequent guest in the family where the young man had resided.

 

Some time previous two men, BUELL and GIBBS, had been murdered by the Indians near Sandusky. Thirteen persons, women and children, had been captured near the present village of Castalia, some six miles to the westward of Sandusky. Of these, five, most of whom belonged to the family of D. P. SNOW, were massacred. All the men belonging to the settlement were absent at the time of the massacre. These repeated butcheries, supposed at the time to be instigated by the British commander at Fort Malden, whither the scalps of all who were murdered were carried, kept the people of Milan in a constant state of alarm. In August Gen. Hull surrendered Detroit to the British, and from this time to the achievement of Perry’s victory, in September of the following year, the inhabitants were in constant apprehension for their personal safety. The sighing of the breeze and the discharge of the hunter’s rifle alike startled the wife and the mother, as she trembled for her absent husband or her still more defenceless “little one.” During this interval, General Simon PERKINS, of Warren, with a regiment of militia, had been stationed at “Fort Avery,” a fortification hastily thrown up on the east bank of the Huron river, about a mile and a half north of the present town of Milan; but the inexperience of the militia, and the constant presence in the neighborhood of scouting parties of Indians, whom no vigilance could detect and no valor defeat, rendered the feeling of insecurity scarcely less than before. Some left the settlements, not to return till peace was restored. Those who remained were compelled, at frequent intervals, to collect in the fort for safety, or made sudden flights to the interior of the State, or to the more populous districts in the vicinity of Cleveland, where a few days of quiet would so far quell their fears as to lead them to return to their homes, to be driven off again by fresh alarms. With the return of peace, in 1815, prosperity was restored to the settlements, and the emigration was very considerable. The emigrants were almost exclusively of the New England stock, and the establishment of common schools and the organization of Christian churches were among the earliest fruits of their enterprising spirit. The town of Milan was “laid out” in 1816 by Ebenezer MERRY, who had two years previously removed to its township. Mr. MERRY was a native of West Hartford, in Connecticut, and by his example contributed much, as the proprietor of the town, to promote good morals among the early inhabitants. He took measures immediately for the erection of a flouring-mill and saw-mill, which contributed materially to the improvement of the town, and were of great service to the infant settlements in the vicinity. In the first settlement of the place, grain was carried more than fifty miles down the lake in open boats, to be ground; and sometimes from points more in the interior, on the shoulders of a father, whose power of endurance was greatly heightened by the anticipated smiles of a group of little ones, whose subsistence for weeks together had been venison and hominy.

 

Mr. MERRY was a man of acute observation, practical benevolence and unbounded hospitality. He repeatedly represented the county in the legislature of the State, was twice elected too seat on the bench of the common pleas, an honor in both instances declined. He died January 1, 1846, at the age of 73, greatly beloved.

 

David ABBOTT, as the first purchaser of land in the township, with a view to its occupancy as a permanent “settler,” deserves some notice in this brief sketch. Mr. ABBOTT was a native of Brookfield, Mass. He was educated at Yale College. His health failed, and he was obliged to forego a diploma by leaving college in the earlier part of his senior year. He soon after entered upon the study of the law, and located himself at Rome, On Oneida county, N. Y., whence he came to Ohio, in 1798, and spent a few years at Willoughby, whence he removed to Milan in 1809. He was sheriff of Trumbull county when the whole Western Reserve was embraced within its limits; was a member of the convention for the formation of the Constitution of the State, previous to its admission to the Union, in 1802; was one of the electors of President and Vice-President in 1812; clerk of the supreme court, for the county, and repeatedly a member of both houses of the State legislature. He was a man of eccentric habits, and his life was filled up with the stirring incidents peculiar to a pioneer in the new settlements of the West. He several times traversed the entire length of Lake Erie, in an open boat, of which he was both helmsman and commander, and in one instance was driven before a tempest diagonally across the lake, a distance of more than a hundred miles, and thrown upon the Canada shore. There was but one person with him in the boat, and he was employed most, of the time in bailing out the water with his hat, the only thing on board capable of being appropriated to such use. When the storm had subsided and the wind veered about, they retraced their course in the frail craft that had endured the tempest unscathed, and after a week’s absence were hailed by their friends with great satisfaction, having been given up as lost. Mr. ABBOTT died in 1822 at the age of 57. Of the other citizens who have deceased, and whose names deserve honorable mention as having contributed in various ways to the prosperity of the town, are Ralph LOCKWOOD, Dr. A. B. HARRIS and Hon. G. W. CHOATE.

 

The religious societies of the place are a Presbyterian, Methodist and Protestant Episcopal church, each of which enjoys the stated

 

Page 580

Thomas Alva Edison.preaching of the gospel, and is in a flourishing state. The two former have substantial and valuable church edifices. The latter society has one in process of erection.

In 1832 a substantial and commodious brick edifice was erected as an academy, furnishing, beside two public school-rooms and suitable apartments for a library and apparatus, ten rooms for the accommodation of students. The annual catalogue for the last ten years has exhibited an average number of about 150 pupils.

 

In 1833 a company of citizens, who had been previously incorporated for the purpose, entered vigorously upon the work of extending the navigation of Lake Erie to this place by improving the navigation of the river some five miles from its mouth and excavating a ship canal for the remaining distance of three miles. After much delay, occasioned by want of funds, and an outlay of about $75,000, the work was completed, and the first vessel, a schooner of 100 tons, floated in the basin July 4, 1839. The canal is capable of being navigated by vessels of front 300 to 250 tons burden. The chief exports of the place are wheat, flour, pork, staves, ashes, wool and grass seeds. The surrounding country is rapidly undergoing the improvements incident to the removal of the primitive forests, and with the increased productiveness the business of the town has rapidly increased.

 

The value of exports for the year 1844 was $825,098; of this, more than three-fourths consisted of wheat and flour. The importation of merchandise, salt, plaster, etc., for the same period, was in value $634,711.

 

TRAVELLING NOTES.

Ohio is the native State of those two eminent electricians, Chas. Francis BRUSH, born in Euclid, near Cleveland, in 1849, and Thomas Alva EDISON, born in Milan in 1847. At noon, July 20th, I loft the train at Milan to visit the birthplace of the latter. The station is down in the valley, and ascending the hill I gained the plain on which the village stands. In the centre is a neat square of an acre covered with maples and evergreens. On this stands a soldiers’ monument surmounted by an eagle and inscribed with the names of Milan’s dead heroes. No spot could be more quiet. Scarcely a soul was in sight; the spirit of repose seemed to rest there in undisturbed slumber.

 

Two old men, octogenarians, gazed upon me as I neared them, and pausing in their presence I made known my errand, whereupon one of them, Mr. DARLING, took me to EDISON’S birthplace: It is on Choate avenue, and now the residence of Mrs. Sarah TALCOTT. It is a neat brick cottage on the edge of a hill which overlooks the valley of the Huron, with a fine view, sixty or eighty feet below, of river, bridge, canal, railroad and rich farming country beyond. My venerable conductor could give me but a single reminiscence of the inventor, and that was as a child in frocks, too young to read or spell, when he saw him seated on the ground on the little village green, grasping a piece of chalk and opying on a board the letters of a store sign near by. It was a bright beginning; an ordinary child would not have done such a thing. In the evening Mr. ASHLEY, an elderly gentleman, the village jeweler, gave me some items. The father of Mr. EDISON was from Canada; the mother, originally a Miss ELLIOTT, an American. He became a resident of Milan about 1842. He was a man of magnificent physique and so athletic that when at the war period, although about sixty years of age, not a single man in an entire Michigan regiment could equal him in length of running leap. His occupation in Milan was the making of shingles by hand front wood imported from Canada. He had a number of men under him, and it was quite an industry. The wood was brought here in what are called bolts; a bolt was three feet long and made two shingles, was sawn in two by hand and then split and shaved. None but first-class timber could be used, and such shingles far outlasted those now made by machinery with their cross-grain cut. Mr. ASHLEY said he shingled his house in 1844, and now, after a lapse of forty-two years, it is in good condition.

 

The EDISON family removed to Michigan, and they being in humble circumstances, young EDISON at the age of twelve took the position of newsboy on the Grand Trunk line running into Detroit. The little schooling he received was from his mother, who had been a teacher, but he acquired the habit of reading, studied chemistry and made experiments when on the train.

 

Later he became interested in the operations of the telegraph, which he witnessed in the railroad stations, and improvised rude means of transmitting messages from his father’s house in Port Huron to that of a neighbor. Finally a station master, whose child he had rescued in front of an incoming

 

Page 581

train, taught him telegraph operating, when he followed that profession and experimented in electric science, with results so surprising and useful as to gain for him undying fame.

 

The original owner of the land on which Milan stands was John BEATTY, a native of the north of Ireland. He was the largest landowner in the Fire-Lands and the grandfather of General John BEATTY, who has favored us with this sketch of him, accompanied with some racy anecdotes:

 

Among the more prominent of the early settlers of Erie county was John BEATTY, formerly of New London, Connecticut. His first visit to Ohio was made in 1810, at which time he bought some 40,000 acres within the present limits of Erie and Huron, of what were then known as the “Fire-Lands.” In 1815 he removed with his family to this wilderness and built his first residence five miles south of Sandusky, on what is still known to the older residents of

 

Geo. W. Edmondson, Photo.,Norwalk, 1886.

BIRTHPLACE OF THOMAS A. EDISON, MILAN.

 

that section as the “stone-house place.” When the township of Perkins was organized Mr. BEATTY was made its first clerk. Subsequently lie was appointed postmaster, and for many years thereafter he served the pioneers as Justice of the peace. About 1828 he removed to Sandusky, and in 1833 was elected mayor of that city. He died in 1845, and is still remembered as an upright, intelligent warm-hearted, hospitable gentleman. The church edifice now standing on the public square of Sandusky, and occupied at this date by the Lutherans, was built at his cost and donated by him to the Wesleyan Methodist Society.

 

John BEATTY was a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and from 1815 to 1819 on almost every Sabbath met the pioneers in their log school-houses or at their homes, and addressed them very acceptably on religious subjects. He was, however, a hot-tempered, impulsive, generous, obstinate Irishman, who never succeeded in reaching that degree of perfection which enabled him to love his enemies and offer the left cheek to an adversary who had smitten him on the right.

 

An Accommodating Postmaster.—In 1816, or thereabouts, a post-office was established and BEATTY appointed postmaster. The era of cheap transportation and of cheap hostage had not arrived. The settlers were poor; few of them could raise the shilling with which to pay the postage on a letter, but it was hard to have it withheld simply because they were poor and had no money. The new postmaster proved equal to the occasion; he gave them their letters and never made returns to the department. When called upon to do so, he replied that he had received no money from the office, and therefore had none to return, and instead of being indebted to the government, the latter was in fact indebted to him. This sort of logic, however satisfactory to the settlers, was by no means pleasing to the Post-Office Department, and so the government in 1819 discontinued the office, and thus afforded Mr. BEATTY greater leisure to look after the spiritual welfare of his neighbors.

 

He was the original proprietor of the land on which the town of Milan now stands; the site on the banks of the Huron river was naturally a very pretty one. Frederick Christian DEUCKE, a Moravian missionary, had, in 1804, established a mission there and called the place Petquoting—a very handsome name by the way and one which the people should never have abandoned. In 1814 Mr. Ebenezer MERRY, having bought the place, laid out a village, and in honor of the first owner called it Beatty.

 

An Audacious Seizure.—Among the first, if not the first vessel built m what is now Erie county, was one built by Abijah HEWITT, Eleazer BELL and a man named MONTGOMERY on the bay shore a few miles southeast of Sandusky. In one of its first voyages it brought to Sandusky a cargo comprising a stock of general merchandise for Mr. BEATTY,

 

Page 852

and among other things a cask of brandy which had not been entered at the custom house. The vessel was consequently seized and subsequently confiscated. Mr. BEATTY’S merchandise was put under lock and guard and the case reported to the department. The mails moved slowly in those days; time passed. and conscious of no fault on his part respecting the matter, BEATTY grew impatient, and finally called his friends about him, drove his teams onto the wharf, put revenue officers and their employes aside, broke open the doors of the warehouse, and carried off his merchandise. All this was not difficult to do; the troublesome part of the affair came afterward, and resulted not from the cask of smuggled brandy, but from the violent and unwarrantable manner in which he had regained possession of his goods. The United States government was a big thing, even then, and no single citizen could afford to defy it, as Mr. BEATTY discovered some years afterward when compelled to pay the costs and penalties growing out of this unfortunate transaction.

 

The Candle Story.—While a resident of New London, Connecticut, a boy stole from Mr. BEATTY a box of candles; the thief was promptly arrested and arraigned before a magistrate; a witness appeared who testified that the boy was guilty as charged, and BEATTY being called to prove the value of the property, swore that “the candles were worth four dollars, every, penny of it.” Under the law respecting petty offence at that time in force in Connecticut, when the property stolen was worth from four dollars and upward, the penalty was whipping at the post! The magistrate was about to pass sentence, when BEATTY realized for the first time the terrible nature of the punishment; his anger had by his time cooled, and a feeling of pity for the boy supplanting every other emotion, he took he witness stand again and said: “If it please your honor I desire to correct my testimony. I swore that the candles were worth four dollars, but I omitted to add that that was the retail price; as the boy took a whole box I’ll put them to him at three dollars and thirty-three cents.” The boy was not whipped.

 

Jay Cooke’s Start.—Mr. Pitt COOKE once told me how his brother Jay happened to get into the banking business, and as nearly as I can recollect it was as follows: The COOKES were living in a house on Columbus avenue (Sandusky), near the present site of the Second National Bank. One day, when the family were seated at the dinner table, Eleutheoros COOKE, the father, said in a spirit of pleasantry.” “Well, boys, you must look out for yourselves. I have sold this house to ‘Squire’ BEATTY, and we have no home now.”  Jay was the only one who took the matter seriously. He obtained a situation in a store that afternoon, subsequently accompanied his employer to Philadelphia, and this opened the way for him to the position of clerk in a banking house, and from this humble start in life he became the financial agent of the United States.

 

The Rev. Alvan COE, a very worthy and devout man, at an early day established a school for Indian boys, on the Fire-Lands in the vicinity of Milan, where he sought to instruct them in the mysteries of religion and teach them to read and write. The father of one of the Indian buys came over from the Sandusky river to visit his son, and while lingering in the vicinity wandered into a distillery. As was the custom in those days, the proprietor offered him a cup of whiskey. The Indian shook his bead, and with much dignity said: “My boy tell me, Mr. COE say, Ingrin no drink, good man: go up much happy. Ingin drink, bad man: go down burn much.” Then looking wistfully .at the whiskey he picked it up, and raising it slowly to, his lips said: “Maybe Mr. COE tell d--n lie,” and drank it down.

 

BERLIN HEIGHTS is a village on the line of the N. Y. St. L. & C. R. R., which has three churches and about 500 inhabitants. Census of 1880 was 424. School census 1886, 208; Hugh A. MYERS, superintendent. It is the largest of the three villages of Berlin township, the other two being Ceylon and Berlinville. The township of Berlin from a small beginning has become noted for the perfection of its various fruits and the skill of its horticulturists. The proximity to the lake prevents damaging frosts, and the soil is well adapted to the apple, pear, peach, and grape. The pioneers at an early day were determined to have orchards, and began to plant trees before the ground was clear of the forests. Canada was the nearest place from whence fruit-trees could be obtained, and in 1812 John HOAK and Mr. FLEMMING, of Huron, crossed the lake, and returned with a boat-load of trees, apple and pear. Some of these old trees are now standing, vigorous, and of enormous size and productiveness. One of the pear trees is seventy feet in height, with a girth of eight feet nine inches eighteen inches from the ground; an apple tree is over nine feet in girth.

 

A quarter of a century ago Berlin Heights widely attracted attention from the organization therein of a Socialistic or Free Love society; only a single citizen of the township was identified with the movement, its supporters being drawn from various States. Three successive communities were established and each failed.

 

Page 583

The last was the Berlin Community, or Christian Republic; it commenced in 1865, and had twelve adult members and six children, and lived about one year. The Socialists started journals, which had in succession brief careers, but striking names, as Social Revolutionist, Age of Freedom, Good Time Coming, The New Republic, The Optimist and Kingdom of Heaven, etc. One of the papers, The Age of Freedom, issued in 1858, was so obnoxious that twenty Berlin women seized the mail-sack which Frank BARRY, the editor, had brought on his shoulders to the post-office, loaded with copies, and made a bonfire of them in the street.

 

The author of the historical sketch of Berlin Heights, from which the foregoing items are derived, says: “The drifting to this section of so many individuals who, to use their own phrase, were ‘intensely individualized,’ and who remained after the complete failure of their schemes, has had an influence on the character of the town. They engaged in fruit-growing, have multiplied the small farms, and added to the prosperity and intellectual life of the people. From the beginning their honesty was never questioned, however mistaken their ideas.” This author, Hudson TUTTLE, was born here in 1836, in a log-cabin, on the spot where he now has a productive fruit-farm of between 200 and 300 acres of orchards and vineyards. He is known to the outside world by his spiritualistic and other works, and his wife, Mrs. Emma TUTTLE, by her two volumes of poems: “Blossoms of Our Spring” and songs which have been set to music, as “My Lost Darling,” “The Unseen City,” and “Beautiful Claribel.”

Almon Ruggles.Hon. ALMON RUGGLES, the original surveyor of the “Fire- Lands,” was a resident of Berlin and died in 1840 in the sixty- ninth year of his age. He came in 1805 from Danbury, Conn., to survey the “Sufferers’ Lauds,” as the Fire-Lands were sometimes termed. In addition to his salary he was permitted to select one mile square anywhere on the lake shore within the limits of his survey at one dollar per acre. He selected the land in the township of Berlin. His early life was a struggle with adversity, and he had but six months schooling. He obtained his first book by catching wood-chucks, tanning the skins and braiding them into whip lashes for market; and later he became a school-teacher. He was a man of great kindness of heart—had a store of general merchandise and trusted all those who could not pay. It was said of him that he might have been very rich had he been disposed to grind the face of poverty. He preferred to live more unselfishly and merit the confidence and respect of his fellows. He not only encouraged the early settlers with material aid, but with cheerful looks and kind words. He represented this senatorial district in the State legislature in 1816-17-19, when the district consisted of the counties of Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage, Cuyahoga and Huron. He was associate judge for several years under the old constitution. His ability, his integrity, his knowledge of the country and the people eminently qualified him for the places he filled. He was an earnest worker in the Whig party, and a personal friend of Gen. Harrison.

 

Mr. TUTTLE, from whose township history the notice of Almon RUGGLES is derived, draws a refreshing picture of virtue in his sketch of Rev. Phineas BARKER Barber of Berlin. He was a Methodist preacher who died in 1877 at the age of eighty-four.

 

His ministry commenced in Ohio in 1830, when he could stand in his own door and shoot deer and other game, which he frequently did. During the fifty-eight years of his ministry he never received a dollar for preaching, but supported his family by hard labor on his farm. His endurance was wonderful. He preached every Sunday and his appointments were from five to twenty miles apart: in the early times he went through the wilderness on foot. He also attended on an average three funerals a week, and invariably suffered with a sick headache after preaching. His long and useful life was filled with labor and adorned with love.

 

Page 584

 

HURON, on Lake Erie, at the month of the Huron river, is nine miles east of Sandusky and fifty-six miles west of Cleveland, on the L. S. & M. S. and N. & H. Railroad. Newspaper: Erie County Reporter, Independent, D. H. CLOCK, publisher. Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist and 1 German Evangelical. Bank: Huron Banking Co., V. FRIES, president; H. W. RAND, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Industries—One of the largest fishing industries on the lakes is located here, employing 150 men. About 500 tons are annually frozen during the winter months and 2,000 tons salted during the fall and spring. Its manufactures are tackle blocks, mast hoops and a patent shifting seat for top buggies.

 

Population in 1880. 1,038. School census in 1886, 371; C. K. SMOYER, superintendent.

 

Huron has one of the best harbors on the lake, with about fifteen feet of water in the channel and room enough for all the shipping on the lake. The French had a trading-post at the mouth of the Huron river about the year 1749. The Moravian missionaries, consisting of a few white settlers and Indians, located oil a part, of the southeast corner of Huron and the northeast corner of Milan townships, which they abandoned previous to the Revolutionary war.

 

In the latter part of the last century or beginning of this, John Baptiste FLEMOND or FLEMING from Montreal opened a trading station and dealt with the Indians on the east bank of the Huron about two miles from its mouth. He at one time assisted the surveyors in surveying the Fire-Lands.

CASTALIA is a neat village on the line of the I. B. & W. and L. E. & W. Railroads at the head of Coal creek, five miles southwest of Sandusky City. It borders on a beautiful prairie of about 3,000 acres; was laid out in 1836by Marshall BURTON and named from the Grecian fount.

 

The phenomena presented by the Castalia Springs has excited considerable curiosity and interest. At Castalia a volume of water called Cold creek, which forms quite a river, flows up front several deep orifices in the limestone rock and supplies in its descent of fifty-seven feet to Sandusky bay, three miles distant, the motive power for several mills. Being fed by subterranean fountains it is not much affected by floods and droughts. In its natural channel this creek ran through a piece of prairie covering several hundred acres into a quagmire and “muskrat garden.” It now runs nearly its whole length through an artificial channel or mill-race.

 

In 1810 a grist mill was built near the head of Cold creek which ground corn until the settlers were driven away by the news of Hull’s surrender. This was probably the first grist mill on the Fire-Lands.

 

Similar springs to the Castalia are found in all limestone countries. The water is so pure that the smallest particle can be seen at the bottom, and when the sun is at the meridian all the objects at the bottom, logs, stumps, etc., reflect the hues of the rainbow, forming a view of great beauty. The constituents of the water are lime, soda, magnesia and iron, and it petrifies all objects, as grass, stumps, moss, etc., which come in contact with it. The water wheels of the mills upon it are imperishable front decay in consequence of their being incrusted by petrifaction. The water is very cold but never freezes, and at its point of entrance to the lake prevents the formation thereof ice; it maintains nearly the same temperature summer and winter.

 

In 1870 Mr. John HOYT procured a couple of thousand of eggs of the brook or speckled trout, made hatching troughs and was successful it, raising trout on Cold creek. The stream is now well stocked with trout, and is leased to two clubs of gentlemen for sporting purposes, “The Castalia Spring Club” and the “Cold Creek Trout Club.”

 

The village of VENICE is on Sandusky bay, near the mouth of Cold creek, and on the L. S. & M. S. R. R. In the summer of 1817 the village was founded and the mill-race was begun to bring Cold creek to the present site of the Venice mills. The flouring mills here have performed a very important part in the development of the country. The Venice flouring mills, completed in 1833, established the first permanent cash market for wheat in the “Fire-Lands.” The first 100 barrels of flour in the merchant work was sent to New York. On its arrival hundreds of people went to see it, for it was the first shipment of extra flour from Ohio, and some even predicted that in time Ohio might furnish them with several thousand barrels of flour a year.

 

Much of the flour made in Ohio before 1840 was sent West for market. In

 

Page 585

 

1836 Oliver NEWBERRY purchased 500 barrels of flour, at $8 per barrel, and took it to Chicago, then a struggling frontier village, and sold it for $20 a barrel, citizens holding a public meeting thanking him for not asking $50. It was all the flour the people of Chicago had for the winter. Board in Chicago was; at that early day enormously high, owing to the scarcity of food, the country around being then an unproductive wilderness.

 

Before the starting of the flouring-mills in the fire-lands, the earliest settlers in some cases took their wheat in boats over the lake to the French mills, near Detroit. A touching incident is told of a party of men who started with their year’s wheat in a boat and landed near the close of the day on one of the islands and then went inland a short distance to select a place to camp over night. On their return to the shore, lo and behold their boat was nowhere to be seen. A sudden gust of wind had freed it from its mooring and it had floated off with its precious load upon the broad expanse of Lake Erie. What situation could be wore deplorable! They were on a lone island and no way of escape. There were no passing vessels to rescue them. The lake was at that time but a solitude of water. Thoughts of their families, starvation for them and starvation for themselves seemed inevitable. Poor men ! they broke down, shed tears, and passed a night of woe. Morning came. Heartbroken, they wandered down to the shore and gazed upon the wild waste of waters. Then all at once in a little nook, safe and close in shore, they discovered their boat. A change of wind in the night had floated it back as silently as it had floated away.

 

Kelley’s Island is a township of Erie county; lies in the lake, thirteen miles from Sandusky and contains a little over four square miles. It was originally called Cunningham’s Island, from a Frenchman, who came here about 1803. He was an Indian trader, and built a cabin or trading shanty. In 1810 came two other Frenchmen, POSCHILE and BEBO; all three left the island in the war period, at which time Gen. Harrison, in command of the “Army of the Northwest,” stationed a guard on the west point of the island to watch the movements of the British and Indians on the lake. In 1818 a man named KILLAM came with his family and one or two men. The steamboat “Walk-in-the Water,” the first built upon the lakes, came out this year, and KILLAM furnished her with fuel—all red cedar. In 1820 the “Walk-in-the-Water” was wrecked at Point Albino. In 1833 Datus KELLEY, of Rockport, in connection with his brother, Irad KELLEY, of Cleveland, bought the island, with a view of bringing into the market the red cedar with which much of the island was then covered. At this time there were only three or four families, and those squatters, on the island, and only six acres of cleared land. In 1836 Mr. Datus KELLEY moved his family to his island home, and remained until his death, in 1866, in his seventy-eighth year. He was a man of great force of character, and careful not to sell land to any settlers except to people of thrift and general good habits; the result of this is apparent in the fine moral status of its present population. The census of 1840 gave it a population of 68; that of 1880, 888.

 

The sales of wood, cedar, and stone soon repaid many times the entire purchase, and the tillable land, a strong limestone soil, proved to be of superior quality. The stone trade grew into great proportions. Large quantities of limestone were then quarried for building and other purposes. Some of the most elegant structures of our cities are built with the Kelley Island limestone.

 

Another element came in to effect revolution in the pursuits of the people. About the year 1842, Mr. Datus KELLEY noticing that the wild grapes upon the island were remarkably thrifty, brought from his former residence at Rockport the Catawba and Isabella grape vines, and found the soil and climate surprisingly well adapted to the culture of the grape. Mr. Charles CARPENTER, son-in-law of Mr. KELLEY born in Norwich, Conn., in 1810—planted the first acre of grapes as a field crop, and the demonstration was such that in a few years there were nearly 1,000 acres set to vines, about one-third of the entire area of the island. Large profits for a time resulted from the sale of the fruit packed for table use, and as a consequence the price of land advanced several hundred per cent. The excess of

 

Page 586

supply over demand for table use, and also the quality of the crop for that purpose, led to the manufacture of wine, and there were in course of time erected on the island cellars Which, including those of the Kelley Island Wine Company, had a capacity of storing half a million gallons of wine. The average crop of grapes, by 1880 had grown to 700 tons, all of which was manufactured into wine. Mr. CARPENTER, mentioned above, was not only prominent as a horticulturist, but he took a deep interest in the artificial propagation of fish; was active and prominent in inducing the State to experiment in the propagation of white-fish, and was put in charge of a branch of the State Fish Hatchery on Kelley’s Island.

 

Antiquities.—Kelley’s Island was a favorite place of resort of the aborigines, which is shown by the remains of mounds, burial-places, and implements. Here is the famous “Inscription Rock,” which archæologist have regarded as the work of the Eries, or Cat nation, which was annihilated in a wholesale slaughter by the Iroquois in 1655. The following brief description is from the pen of Mr. Addison KELLEY:

 

This Inscription Rock lies on the south shore of Kelley’s Island, in Lake Erie, about 60 rods east of the steamboat landing. The rock is 32 feet greatest length, and 21 feet greatest breadth, and 11 feet high above the water in which it sets. It is a part of the same stratification as the island, from which it has been separated by lake action. The top presents a smooth and polished surface, like all the limestone of this section of country when the soil is removed, suggesting the idea of glacial action: upon this the inscriptions are cut; the figures and devices are deeply sunk- in the rock.

 

Schoolcraft’s “Indian Antiquities” says of it: “It is by far the most extensive and well sculptured and best preserved inscription of the antiquarian period ever found in America. “It is in the pictographic character of the natives; its leading symbols are readily interpreted. The human figures, the pipe, smoking groups, and other figures denote tribes, negotiations, crimes, and turmoils which tell a story of thrilling interest, connected with the occupation of this section by the Eries—of the coming of the Wyandots—of the final triumph of the Iroquois, and flight of the people who have left their name on the lake.

 

In the year 1851 drawings of these inscriptions were made by Col. Eastman, of the United States army, who was detailed by the government at Washington to examine then; on the representation of Gen. Meigs, who had examined them. Copies of the inscriptions were made and submitted to SHINGVAUK, an Indian learned in Indian pictography, and who had interpreted prior inscriptions submitted to him.

 

We copy a few lines from Schoolcraft’s “American Antiquities.” page 85 to 87 inclusive: “No. 6, is a chief and warrior of distinction; 7, his pipe, he is smoking after a fast; 15-16. are ornaments of leather worn by distinguished warriors and chiefs; No. 14, ornaments of feathers; 33, is a symbol for the No. 10, and denotes ten days, the length of his fast ; 34, is a mark for the No. 2, and designates two days, and that he fasted the whole time, except a morsel at sunset.

 

“Nos. 1. 2, 3, 4, 5. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 78. 19, 20. 22, 23. 24, 25, 26. and 43 represent different objects relied upon by the chief in the exhibition of his magical and political powers denoting in him the sources of long life and potent influences; figures 30, 19, 41 denote a journey in snow shoes; 31-40 war club; 78, a road; 122, serpents who beset his path, etc., ctc.”

 

These inscriptions were first brought to the knowledge of “the white man,” about the year 1833-4, soon after the purchase of the island by Datus and Irad KELLEY, being discovered by Mr. Charles OLMSTEAD, of Connecticut, while tracing. and studying the glacial grooves. Since then the rock has been visited by thousands of persons and has become much worn, and some of it is so much obliterated as to prevent a full photograph being taken of it, as it was when first discovered.

 

Prior to photographing the view shown of Inscription Rock Mr. BISHOP and Mr. Addison KELLEY, the latter shown on its summit, passed half a day in going over the partly obliterated lines in red chalk because red photographs black.

 

The most celebrated locality perhaps in the world to show the marks of the receding glaciers is in this island region, and especially are they strong on Kelley’s Island, as described on the third page of the article in this work, “Glacial Man in Ohio.” Col. Chas. Whittlesey, in a paper read before the “American Association for the Advancement of Science,” August, 1878, entitled “Ancient Glacial Action, Kelley’s Island, Lake Erie,” says: “These islands originally formed a part of the main land on the south and of the low coast to the west. Probably all of the lake west of Point Pellce, in the pre-glacial period, was more land than water.

 

Page 587

 

Instead of a lake with islands it must have been a country with lakes, rivers and swamps.” Some of the furrows on this island worn by the ice are two feet deep.

 

In this region whenever the rocks are laid bare the evidence of ice action are very marked.  In Sandusky City many of the cellar bottoms show polished, grooved and striated surfaces.

 

VERMILLION is on the L. S. & M. S. and N. Y. C. and St. L. R. R., at the mouth of the Vermillion river, which was so named by the Indians on account of the paint they found along its banks.  Census of Vermillion in 1880, 1,069.  School census, 1886, 329; J. Q. VERSOY, principal.  The first settlers in this vicinity came between the years 1808 and 1810 and were Wm. HADDY, William AUSTIN, George and John SHERARTS, Enoch SMITH, Horatio PERRY, Solomon PARSONS, Benjamin BROOKS, Barlow STURGES, Deacon John BEARDSLEY, James CUDDEBACK, and Almon RUGGGLES, surveyor of the Fire-Lands and land agent for the company.  One of these, Capt. Wm. AUSTIN, said he often held Commodore O. H. PERRY on his knees when a baby.  About 1842 the harbor here was dredged to a depth of fourteen feet, a light-house build and ship-building extensively prosecuted.

Image button58061219.jpg



Image icon967932.png