Garrettsville, on the line of the Erie Railroad, is thirty-six miles southeast of Cleveland. It is supposed to be one of the two instances in Ohio where the corporation and township limits are coextensive. It has ever maintained a prominent place in political and social affairs in Portage county, and has furnished several eminent jurists.
The first settlement was made by Colonel John GARRETT and family, who came from Wilmington, Del., in July 1804. In company with them came Abraham DYSON and wife, a Quakeress, with two sons. For several weeks the party lived in the wagons, which brought them on land now covered by the pavement of Main street. This was their home until the completion of a cabin for Colonel GARRETT, which occupied a site near the present residence of William McCLINTOCK, and that of Mr. DYSON, near the home of Hiram PIERCE.
Colonel GARRETT's death occurring two years after their settlement here, his widow assumed the cares and responsibilities devolving upon an enterprising colonist. With a family of small children, the charge of the mill, and, as settlers came, the disposal of lots for the embryo city, these duties were discharged in a manner to indicate her a woman of marked administrative ability and decision of character.
She was an ardent supporter of the Baptist faith, and at her house some of the first meetings were held. Her husband had given land for cemetery and church uses and she was a prime worker in the erection of a house for worship. Some time after the occupancy of the new meeting house the leader of the choir introduced a bass viol. Upon the sound of that instrument Mrs. GARRETT left the meeting expressing great surprise at the desecration. Twice on horseback, accompanied by a young son, she made the trip to Philadelphia and back. She died in 1846 having survived her husband forty years.
Mrs. Clarinda FRENCH had the distinction of teaching the first select school in Garrettsville. Some of her pupils are still living and can testify to the worth and excellence of her character. She not only taught them arithmetic and other elementary branches, but instructed the girls in the art of needlework, of which she was a notable expert.
She sang as naturally and sweetly as a bird. Her father, Deacon Leavitt HEWINS, came to Garrettsville at an early day from Sharon, Mass. Mrs. FRENCH was mother of one child, Milton FRENCH, who died a few years since. She is living at her home in Taunton, Mass., although aged and infirm.
Mary Henrietta GREENE was born in Barre, Mass., in 1799. She was a relative of General GREENE. When fourteen years of age she united with the Baptist Church and always lived a consistent Christian life.
In 1819 she was married to John TABER. Ten years later they came to Ohio, locating in Mogadore, Summit county. In 1833 they came to Garrettsville. A son and daughter were born in Mogadore, also a son and daughter in Garrettsville. The eldest daughter, wife of Dr. A.M. SHERMAN, died soon after marriage. Mr. TABER fell dead while on his way to church, Sunday, March 12, 1871. Mrs. TABER died thirteen years later at the home where she had lived half a century. Twice during her widowhood she visited her dearly loved home in the East.
Her life, though humble, was a glorious success, full of helpfulness both in sickness and in health and always a benefaction to her family and the community in which she lived.
Mary (DUNN) GAGE, oldest daughter of James and Mary DUNN, was married in 1830. Upon coming to Ohio they bought the Phineas HATCH place, now owned by Frank WELLS. There was no road to the farm and but three acres cleared, with a log house in the center. It was no uncommon thing for him to get lost on his way home after dark, and often he was guided only by the sound of his wife's voice.
Mrs. Eliza (FRISBY) CUTTS, one of Garrettsville's oldest residents, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1813. The December following when the city was burned by the British, her mother, obliged to flee for safety, packed a few things in a small tin box, went out from her comfortable home with her box on one arm and her child less than a year old on the other. Upon reaching a place of safety, five miles out of the city, the child's feet were found to be frozen stiff. The father, who was with the troops defending the city, returned later to find their home in ashes, and so they came west and began life anew.
Eliza MANSFIELD and Nathaniel T. FRISBY were married in Chardon, Ohio, in 1832. Their wedding trip was made the next day to Garrettsville, their future home, where she has since lived continuously. They were the parents of six children, four of whom are living. The death of Mr. FRISBY occurred in 1865 and seven years later his widow married Daniel B. CUTTS, who lived but three years after the marriage.
Mrs. CUTTS is possessed of a remarkably strong constitution and has always lead a very active life. A kind and skillful nurse, she has always done what she could for those in sickness and disease. If her early years were passed amid perils and privations may the remaining ones be spent in the peaceful enjoyment of all life's comforts and blessings.
The first wife of John M. TILDEN was an able woman and mother of a large family of children, all of whom became prominent and respected members of society.
Chloe FERRY was born in Brookfield, Vermont, in 1799, and came with her parents to Ohio in 1815. They were six weeks in reaching Bloomfield, Trumbull county, her father's family being the first to locate in that township. She was married September, 1817, to William McCLINTOCK, and together they began life in Bloomfield.
In 1832 they removed to Garrettsville, occupying a log house which stood on the bank of Silver Creek, near the present site of CRANE Brothers' store. Three years later they moved into the house now occupied by Miss Sallie McCLINTOCK where they reared a family of seven children, only three of whom are still living.
Here they spent their declining years. Mr. McCLINTLOCK's death took place in 1873, at the age of eighty years, and that of his wife in the year 1878, also aged eighty years. Both were for many years active, earnest members of the Baptist Church. They were by nature very cordial and hospitable, and their home became a favorite stopping place for all preachers of that denomination.
Calista (DANIELS) TAYLOR was always known as a great lover of flowers and later in life she devoted much of her time to the culture of them. She died five years ago at her son's in Kansas.
In October, 1834, Deacon Peleg FRANCIS and wife, Nancy ALLEN, with their son-in-law, William BOYD, his wife Catherine FRANCIS, and children, William F. and Catherine BOYD, also Peleg FRANCIS, Jr., and wife, Catherine NICKERSON, then a bride, in all a party of eight, arrived in Garrettsville.
They came from Taunton, Mass. The route was by boat from Providence to New York, up the Hudson River to Albany, thence by canal to Buffalo, and from there to Cleveland by boat. The best conveyance they could here procure was a spring-seated wagon, and reached STEVENS tavern, in Hiram, that night, and KEMP's tavern, in Garrettsville, next morning, their trip requiring nineteen days.
Mrs. GARRETT, always spoken of as "Mother GARRETT," learning of their arrival, insisted that they make her house their home until the completion of the building which John TABER was constructing for Deacon FRANCIS - now owned by F.D. SNOW. Each of the party, on being presented to Mother GARRETT, was saluted with "I welcome you to my country."
Mr. BOYD's original intention was to locate in Dayton, O., but the cordiality of their reception and the promising outlook for the place induced them to remain.
In 1835 came Ebenezer LEE and Tyler WILLIAMS with their wives and children. Both were sons-in-law of Deacon FRANCIS. They were Fanny (FRANCIS) LEE and Lovina (FRANCIS) WILLIAMS. They were accompanied by Elizabeth DEAN, widow of the late Willard WHITE. A member of this party was the late Dr. E.B. LEE. Two years later they were followed by Deacon Mace LUTHER and wife, Eliza FRANCIS, and her brother Everett FRANCIS. After a residence of twenty years Mr. BOYD and family returned to Mansfield, Mass. All the others, except Catherine, wife of Peleg, Jr., lived and were buried here. The few who remember Mrs. Deacon FRANCIS will recall her as a woman of marked ability and kindly charitable disposition with an impress of the sterner virtues of the Puritan stock from which she descended.
Mrs. Lucy MIX, of Rootstown, and Dr. Lyman TRASK were married in 1829. He was a man of considerable literary ability, and a few years later recommenced the publication of the first paper ever printed here, "The Western Pearl," a semi-monthly of eight pages. The first issue bears the date of January 1, 1836.
In early days the WOLCOTTS, eight in number, came from Hartford, Conn. They were a true type of cultured Eastern people. Courteous and polite to every one on all occasions, they became much respected. Ohio was away out west to them, and they evidently knew little of Western life. Upon a neighbor asking if they intended opening their sugar camp, Oliver, as head of the family, replied:
"We expect to do so when the weather and roads become settled, and if we like it, will probably make a little all summer."
Another of Garrettsville's dear old pioneer women was Adeline COOLEY WILLIAMS. She was born in Vermont in 1804, and married to Jefferson WILLIAMS in 1827, when they came to Ohio by boat, landing at Fairport. Here they lived three months, after which they came to Garrettsville, and located permanently. She suffered many privations and hardships, but we do not learn her courage and bravery were ever called in question by encounter with Indian, bear, or rattlesnake. She established a reputation for cheerfulness and good nature, impressing all with the beauty of her character. When they came west they brought no furniture with them, and her first table was a drygoods box. After a time a boarder who was a cabinet maker, made her first real furniture. Several pieces are yet in possession of her descendants. She spun and wove a parlor carpet, which in those days was considered a beauty. She was mother of six children. Two daughters were born here, and still remain. She died in 1892.
Delia COOLEY PEFFERS accompanied her sister's family to Ohio, and willingly shared their privations. She learned the tailoress trade of her brother-in-law, Jefferson WILLIAMS, and worked in his shop until her marriage with Samuel PEFFERS a merchant. To her was born one child - a son. Perhaps the strongest characteristic of Mrs. PEFFERS was her bright, sunny, genial nature. She was the spirit and life of the society in which she mingled. She passed away many years ago.
Mary UDALL DUNN arrived from Hartfort, Vt., in 1832, fifteen years after her father's family came. Soon after their arrival her husband, James DUNN, bought the farm where their son, James, Jr., now lives, and there they occupied the remainder of their lives. Mrs. DUNN was the mother of seven children, four of whom are living. It was the custom in those days when a new family came to the place to "warn them out," to prevent their ever becoming a public charge. The next year after the DUNN family arrived an old neighbor named SPAULDING joined them in Garrettsville. They were "warned out," and not knowing the custom, were very indignant, and soon left, feeling they were imposed upon.
John UDALL came from Vermont in 1817 with his father's family. He soon went back, however, and married Phoebe Ann DEWITT, who came with him to Garrettsville. They were the parents of six children. Mrs. UDALL died in 1838 at her home west of the village.
The parents of Sarah Ann PINNEY, who was born in Hiram, 1822, came from Connecticut. When she was six years old her father died, and she came to live with Martin MANLEY's family, where she learned to spin and do such work as was required of pioneer mothers and daughters in those days. She tells of picking up chestnuts which she sold to buy her first apron.
When seven years of age she knit her own stockings and well remembers that when going to church on Sunday she would carry her shoes and stockings almost to the church door before putting them on, so choice was she of them. When twelve years of age she made a cheese, taking the entire care of it through the curing process, after which she took it with her on horseback to ATWWOD's store and sold it for a pair of kid gloves.
In 1840 she was married to Lyman GREEN, and was the mother of five children, three of whom are living. She has been a consistent Christian for many years.
Mrs. Marinda MASON HAZEN, wife of Deacon John HAZEN, was a highly respected woman and influential in the erection of the First Congregational Church building here.
Elizabeth DEAN was born in Taunton, Mass., 1820. She lived in the family of Deacon Peleg FRANCIS, and came with them to Ohio. Her early Ohio life was passed with them at their home on "Redding Hill." When fifteen years old she was immersed by Elder GREENE, then pastor of the Baptist Church in Garrettsville, and has ever remained an earnest, devoted, and helpful member of that church.
In 1837 she became the second wife of Willard WHITE. The marriage took place at the home of Elder GREENE in Southington. The nuptials were celebrated by a reception at the house of Marcus MORRIS in Nelson. She was then installed as mistress of the home in Garrettsville, where she still remains. There were two small children already in the home - Emeline and Caroline - who were reared to womanhood.
The second Mrs. WHITE was mother of four children. A son died in infancy, and two daughters, Elvira and Ann, after reaching the years of young womanhood, died with consumption. Mary, the wife of TREMOLIN, remains to comfort and solace the mother in her old age. Mrs. WHITE has always been a faithful, devoted mother, generous and benevolent, always seeking to be useful to others. Her home and hospitality have been known, enjoyed, and appreciated by many. Elizabeth GARRETT ATWOOD was born in 1800 and came here with her parents, the founders of the village. She is described as a lovely lady. One child was born to them, the late Elizabeth ATWOOD PRATT. Mrs. ATWOOD's death took place in 1833.
Eliza Austin BYRON, born of English parents, September 29, 1802, at Scarboro, Westchester county, New York, removed to Painesville, O., in 1836, married Edwin ATWOOD August 30, 1837, and from that date resided in Garrettsville, O., until her death, which occurred February 1, 1881.
Mrs. ATWOOD was all of her life a devoted Baptist, and identified herself closely with the interests of that church. In early life she had the opportunity of extraordinary culture and educational advantages, and was always remarkable for her social and literary attainments. Her life was a bright and shining light for over seventy-eight years. Its radiance warmed and cheered the hearts of all who came within the range of its influence.
Among the early settlers of Garrettsville few were more widely known than Polly McCLINTOCK. Up to the time of her death in 1895 she had lived here sixty-four years. Being the oldest of a large family she became, when quite young, the mother's main dependence in the care of the younger children and in assisting with household duties. Amid all difficulties she managed to acquire a good education, so that when eighteen years of age, began teaching school, and continued in the work until she had taught about forty years.
Polly was the embodiment of all that was good and noble, and her life was literally spent for those she loved. Sally McCLINTOCK also was possessed of a good education, and when young began the then laborious work of teaching school and boarding around, often being obliged to walk long distances through deep snow or mud, and not receiving more than $1.50 a week for her work.
Later in life she learned the millinery business and became the village milliner with a record that probably no other milliner, in the county at least, can reach - of occupying the same room for her store for over forty years. She has, after an active, busy life, retired from business, and now occupies the old home on South street.
The children of our pioneer mothers were early imbued with strong, patriotic feelings and not backward in the defense of their favorite candidates. Mrs. Jane TILDEN HULL, a respected resident of this place, tells of a spirited encounter which took place at school when Harison and Van Buren were candidates for the Presidency. A favorite song of the time was:
"Oh, where, tell me where, was your Buckeye cabin made Twas built among the merry boys who wield the plow and spade."
There was a Democratic parody which ran thus:
"Twas built among the merry boys who were by bankers paid."
On the occasion spokes of Jane TILDEN and others began singing this melody, which at once resented by Emily HAZEN, who championed the Whig cause. Trouble ensued, fists were shaken, tongues flew, and pandemonium reigned for a time. When quiet was restored all saw the ridiculousness of the affair, but it was evident that each faction stood true to their colors.
Diana SPRAGUE, whose maiden name was WILLIAMS, came here at an early date. She was one of the original seventeen members of the Congregational church when it was organized in 1834. Her affectionate, kindly spirit has been felt by many, who will always remember her with love and esteem. She enjoyed the reputation of being the handsomest woman in the village. When married to Jesse SPRAGUE, the minister who performed the ceremony remarked she was the fairest bride he ever looked upon. She is now old and feeble, but is kindly cared for her by her son and his wife at their home here.
Sixty-three years ago Louisa WHITING TALCOTT came here. She was a woman of industrious habits and raised a large family of children, which necessitated much toil and labor, but through all her trials there shone a bright, sunny nature that was always hers. If she is still living may the good angels watch over her and guard her with tender care!
Mrs. Maria BEECHER Chairman and Historian Garrettsville committee - Mrs. O.S. FERRIS, Mrs. W.W. McCLINTOCK, Mrs. Anna E. NORTON, Mrs. Marion M. SMITH, Mrs. Mary W. TREMOLIN