DAVID HUDSON & ANNA NORTON
1761 – 1836 1760-1816
David Hudson was born in Brandford, Connecticut, the youngest son and last child of David Hudson and Rebecca Fowler. He lived most of his youth in Connecticut, marrying Anna Norton in 1783. Anna was the daughter of David Norton and Anna Brownson. After they married they settled and began raising his family in Goshen, Connecticut, where they remained until 1799.
The following is taken from a history of Ohio:
In the division of the Western Reserve in Ohio among the proprietors, the townships of Chester and Hudson fell to the lot of Birdsey Norton and David Hudson. The first settlement in that area was at Hudson, in the year 1800, by David Hudson. The story of this is history and makes for exciting reading.
In the year 1799 David Hudson came out to explore his land in company with a few others. On the way he fell in with Benjamin Tappan, since judge, then travelling to his town of Ravenna. They started in his boat from GerondigutBay, on Lake Ontario, their boats conveyed around the falls, and proceeded on their dangerous way amidst vast bodies of floating ice, having some of the men on the shore pulling by ropes until out of danger from the current of the Niagara. Arrived at the mouth of the lake, they found it full of floating ice as far as the eye could reach, and were compelled to wait several days ere they could proceed, which they then did along near the shore. When off Ashtabula county, their boats were driven ashore in a storm, and that of Elias Harmon's stove in pieces; he proceeded from thence by land to Mantua. Having purchased and in a manner repaired Harmon's boat, David shipped his effects in it, and they arrived at Cleveland on the 8th of June.
Morse's Geography having given them about all the knowledge of the Cuyahoga that they possessed, they supposed it capable of sloop navigation to its forks. The season being dry, they had proceeded but a few miles when they found it in places only eight or ten inches deep, and were often obliged to get out, join hands, and drag their boats over the shallow places, and made but slow progress. After a lapse of several days, they judged they were in the latitude of the town of which they were in search. David went ashore and commenced hunting for a surveyor's line much too far north, and it was not until after six days' laborious and painful search that he discovered, towards night, a line which led to the southwest corner of his township. The succeeding day being very rainy he lodged under an oak tree, without any covering except the clothes he wore, with the grateful pleasure of resting on his own land. In the morning he returned highly elated to the boats and gave information of his success.
While in Ontario, New York, David had bought two yoke of oxen and two cows. These had been committed to the care of Meacham, a hired man, who brought them safely out on the Indian trail through Buffalo. Their mode of travelling was to have several bags of flour and pork, together with two blankets and an axe, well secured on the backs of oxen. They waded fordable streams and compelled their cattle to swim those that could not be forded, passing across those streams themselves with their provisions on rafts hastily made of sticks.
David Hudson's company being thus collected, his first care, after making yokes for his oxen, was to open some road to his land. The gullies they crossed were numerous and frequent, and often abrupt to an angle of forty-five degrees or more. On this road, bad as it was, they performed all their transportation in the year 1799, while their oxen were tormented and rendered almost unmanageable by immense swarms of large flies, which displayed such skill in the science of phlebotomy, that, in a short time, they drew out a large share of the blood belonging to those animals; the flies actually killed one of the oxen this season.
After having conveyed their small stock of provisions on to the southwest corner of this town and erected a bark hut, David's anxiety became very great lest he and his company should suffer for want of provisions, his stock being very much reduced in consequence of the Indians having robbed his boat. Not hearing from Lacy, a man he had left behind in Western New York to bring on stores, and dreading the consequences of waiting for him any longer, David started to meet him. Taking a boat at Cleveland, which was providently going down the lake, on the 2d of July he found Lacey lying at his ease near Cattaraugus. With difficulty he there obtained some provisions, and having a prosperous voyage arrived in season, to the joy of those left in the wilderness, who must have been put upon short allowance had his arrival been delayed any longer.
The company being thus furnished with provisions, they built a large, log house. David also set his men to work in clearing a piece of land for wheat, and on the 25th of July he commenced surveying. The settlement now consisted of thirteen persons. In August every person except David had a turn of being unwell. Several had the fever and ague, and in the progress of surveying the town into lots, the party frequently had to wait for some one of their number to go through with a paroxysm of ague and then resume their labors.
By the middle of September they found to their surprise they had only nine days provisions on hand; and as David had heard nothing from his agent, Norton, at Bloomsfield, New York, he was once more alarmed lest they should suffer for want of food. He immediately went to Cleveland and purchased of Lorenzo Carter a small field of corn for $50, designing to pound it in mortars and live thereon in case of necessity. He hastened back to his station, and having previously heard that Ebenezer Sheldon had made a road through the wilderness to Aurora, and that there was a bridle-path thence to Cleveland, he thought it probable that he might obtain pork for present necessity from that quarter. He accordingly set out on foot and alone, and regulated his course by the range of his shadow, making allowance for change in the time of day. He found the Cleveland path near the centre of Aurora, then a dense forest. Thence he proceeded about two and a half miles to Squire Sheldon's cabin, and on inquiring found that he could obtain no provisions within a reasonable distance in that direction. The next morning, on his return, he found that the boat had arrived with an ample supply of the needed provisions.
Having completed his surveying on the 11th of October, David left on the next day for Connecticut, to bring out his family, in company with his little son and two men. Being disappointed in not finding a good boat at Cleveland, he took the wreck of one he had purchased of Harmon, and embarked upon the dangerous enterprise of crossing the lake in it. It was so leaky that it required one hand most of the time to bail out the water, and so weak that it bent considerably in crossing the waves. During their passage, the weather was generally cold and boisterous; three different times they narrowly escaped drowning by reason of the darkness of the night or violence of the wind. Being under the necessity of lying five days on Chatague point, they lived comfortably during that time on boiled chestnuts, in order to lengthen out their small stock of provisions.
Arrived at Goshen, Connecticut, David found his family in health, and by the 1st of January, 1800, was in readiness to leave his native State with all its tender associates. "Thus", says he, "ends the eventful year 1799, filled with many troubles, out of which hath the Lord delivered me."
Having taken an affecting farewell of his friends and acquaintances, whom he had left behind, David set out from Goshen in January, with his wife and six children and others. They tarried at Bloomfield, Ontario County, New York, until spring, making preparations for their voyage through the lakes and up the Cuyahoga. They purchased four boats, from one to two tons burden, and repaired thoroughly the wreck of Harmon's boat. Lightly loading them with supplies to the value of about two thousand dollars, they completed every necessary preparation by the 29th of April.
"The next night," said David, "while my dear wife and six children, with all my men, lay soundly sleeping around me, I could not close my eyes, for the reflection that those men and women, with almost all that I held dear in life, were now to embark in an expedition in which so many chances appeared against me; and should we survive the dangers in crossing the boisterous lakes, and the distressing sickness usually attendant on new settlements, it was highly probable that we must fall before the tomahawk and scalping knife. As I knew at that time no considerable settlement had been made but was established in blood, and as I was about to place all those who lay around me on the extreme frontier, and as they would look to me for safety and protection, I almost sunk under the immense weight of responsibility resting on me. Perhaps my feelings on this occasion were a little similar to those of the patriarch, when expecting to meet his hostile brother. But after presenting my case before Israel's God, and committing all to his care, I cheerfully launched out the next morning upon the great deep."
They had little trouble until they reached the mouth of the Cuyahoga. The wind on that day being rather high, David, in attempting to enter the river with his boat, missed the channel and struck on a sandbar. In this very perilous situation the boat shipped several barrels of water, and himself and all his family must have been drowned had not a mountain wave struck the boat with such violence as to float it over the bar. When up the river, within about two miles of their landing-place, they stopped for the night a little north of Northfield, at a locality now known as the Pinery.
A tremendous rain in the night so raised the river by daybreak that it overflowed the bank whereon they slept, and over their beds were on the point of floating. Everything was completely drenched, and they were compelled to wait five days ere the subsiding waters would allow them to force their boats against the current. On the sixth day, May 28th, they reached their landing-place, from whence David, leaving his wife and children, hurried to see the people whom he had left overwinter, and all of whom he was happy to find well.
Being busy in arranging for them, David did not take his horse to the river to bring up his family for several days. When he arrived, he found his wife, who had cheerfully submitted to all the inconveniences hitherto experienced, very much discouraged. She and the children suffered severely from the armies of gnats and mosquitoes which at this season of the year infest the woods.
After all the persons belonging to the settlement had collected, thanksgiving was rendered to the God of mercy, who had protected them in perils, preserved their lives and brought them safely to their place of destination. Public worship on the Sabbath was resumed, it having been discontinued during the absence of David. "I felt," said he, "in some measure the responsibility resting on first settlers, and their obligations to commence in that fear of God which is the beginning of wisdon, and to establish those moral and religious habits on which the temporal and eternal happiness of people does essentially depend."
David Hudson died on 17 March 1836, aged 75 years, leaving a memory revered, and an example of usefulness well worthy of imitation.
REFERENCE: Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol 2, by Henry Howe, pages 626-630.
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