History of Sullivan Township, OH
From: The History of Ashland County, Ohio
By A. J. Baughman
Published By The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1909



Mr. S. Parmele, one of the party which surveyed Sullivan township gave the following account of the survey and early settlement of the township:

“Sullivan township was surveyed in 1816, by Esquire Baldwin, of Newburg, Cuyahoga county, assisted by myself and others. The survey was commenced in the month of October, and the surveying party camped in the woods two weeks, there being no settlement nearer than Harrisville east, and Elyria north; no road but a line of marked trees. A road was laid out in the time of the war of 1812, nearly parallel with the present, but had never been marked. Game was very plenty. Business of importance recalled Mr. Baldwin to Newburg; being absent. longer than was expected, the county not having very comfortable quarters, I started after him, there being no mode of communication but by messeiigers. I traveled on foot the whole distance, by the aid of marked trees and trail not very well defined after I had left Harrisville.

“On the 8th of November, a very heavy fall of snow obstructed my walking very much; it was about a foot deep in the woods, but I went through. After all this fatigue and delay, I was obliged to return without him. On my return night overtook me, and I was unable to follow the trail; but, nothing disheartened I sat down on a log and waited for the moon to rise. It was still very difficult to follow the trail, and I could only do so by feeling the marked trees. As good fortune would have it, I was not very far from Mr. Strong's, of Strongsville; and arriving there, I tarried till morning. In a few days Mr. Baldwin came, and we again prosecuted the survey; he brought another surveyor with him, which expedited our business much, and we accomplished the survey in about a week. During this time, considerable rain fell, and from Wednesday till Friday had to wade in water in some places up to our armpits. On Saturday morning finished the survey; it was a very rainy day, the water had been so high we could not get to Harrisville for provisions, and were obliged to divide our rations having only one-fourth of a pound of bread a piece for three days, and some beef. We finally succeeded in getting to Harrisville on Saturday night. We went to James Rogers, and, notwithstanding they had a wedding, we were received from the woods with the greatest kindness, and treated with marked attention; and surely wedding supper was never more acceptable to any one or devoured with keener relish-meats, pudding, pies, cakes, and a variety of sauce of wild fruits, cranberries, crab apples, plums, etc., for dessert. Soon after this I returned to Vermont, having finished surveying and selecting three thous-. and acres of land for myself and friends.

"On the 6th day of June the following year, (1817) seven families, all living in one neighborhood, namely, John Parmely, Sr., his wife Dorothy and his two youngest children, two married sons, namely, Sylvanus Parmely and Lois Parmely. and four children; Asahel and Fanny Parmely and two children; Jesse Chamberlain and his wife Betsey Chamberlain; Abijah and wife; Thomas and Lucinda Rice, with nine children; and James Palmer and his wife and five children, started for Ohio.

"All had ox teams but one - Thomas Rice had a span of horses. Each had one or more cows, which afforded them plenty of mith.

"Soon after our arrival in Sullivan, Mr. James Palmer went out to gather nuts, of which there was a great abundance. It was on the afternoon of one very pleasant day in September; but venturing out of sight of clearing, he got lost. He wandered about till dark, without finding anything from which he could judge of his direction or distance from home. Night overtook him, and in this dilemma he was obliged to give up and laid himself down by a log to rest till morning. He passed a restless, if not a sleepless night. At one time a huge bear came very near him, but fortunately was not hungry enough to attack him. His friends became quite alarmed at his prolonged absence, and at dark rallied out to find him; but their search was fruitless. Preparations were then made for search next day; two men were dispatched to Harrisville to raise men to assist them. They were fitted out with hickory torches and went this whole distance and returned before daylight - making a journey of twenty miles by torchlight. Mr. Palmer, however, by the aid of the stakes set up by the surveyors was enabled to find his way home about nine o 'clock in the morning. A messenger was instantly sent to Harrisville with the glad tidings that the lost was found.

"Our cattle grazed in the woods, and we took turns watching them; one of our number following them through the day and bringing them up at night, fortunately we did not lose any. Each family selected one hundred and sixty acres of land. as near the center as possible, and then decided to draw lots, as being the best way of settling the matter satisfactorily, for all had their preferences. This being amicably disposed of, all immediately built rude huts or shanties upon their land, without chimneys, and with but part of a floor; and around these rude fireplaces clustered their hearts' fondest affection, and the endearments of home in this forest wild rendered them contented and happy; and to this day they will cite you back to those times with delight and affection.

"Truly, what mighty changes have taken place, and how the wilderness has been made to blossom as the rose!

Thus located in the midst of a dense forest, far from any settlement, and entirely dependent upon their own resources and good luck, they saw no dark side to the picture, but hopefully gazed on the bright sunlight that streamed in upon them as the forest trees fell before the athletic arm of the pioneer, and saw, or thought they saw, in the future many blessings in store for them and their children.

"Our nearest neighbors on the east were at Harrisville, ten miles distant; south, about eight miles; north, Elyria, twenty-five miles; west, New London, fifteen miles; sundry necessary articles of consumption and clothing could not be obtained this side of Cleveland. Salt was nine dollars per barrel, and cotton cloth fifty cents per yard. The nearest store was at Wooster, Wayne county. I walked through the woods to the latter place without any road, to obtain fifteen lights of glass for a window to my log house.

"I recollect at one time I went six miles south, to get my horse shod, through the woods, with only a footpath, which was nearly obscured by the falling leaves. On nay return it became so dark that my horse could not follow the path, and I was obliged to dismount and lead him. The only way I could keep the path was by the breaking of sticks under my feet when I got out of it. Twice in my efforts to find the old path, I turned round and went back a quarter of a mile to a certain place I knew I had passed, and you may imagine how difficult it was to get along, when I tell you it took me all night to get home over the distance of two miles. About this time a large body of Indians came from Sandusky into town on a hunting expedition; making rather too free use of firewater, they were quite quarrelsome, and had frequent disturbances among themselves. At one time they got into a quarrel, and in their affray killed one of their number. This affair shortened their stay, arid they left, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who dreaded their presence; indeed, they were rough neighbors, and sent terror to the hearts of every family.

"A child of Mr. Durfee went out just at dusk with his uncle; he sent him back while he went into the woods to hunt some hogs. On his return he found the little boy did not go home. They immediately searched for him, and continued it for several days, but found. no trace of the missing child. The next spring his bones were found by the side of a log, where doubtless he had perished the first night.

"On the evening of the day the boy was lost two girls, daughters of a neighbor in Sullivan township, on their return home from Thomas Greer's, heard, on their way, what appeared to be the hoarse moans of a child; but fearing that it might proceed from a wild animal, they continued on their way. Mr. Durfee 's house lay in their path, and calling there, they were for the first time informed of the loss of the child. Their conclusion at once was that the voice they heard proceeded from the lost boy; and the father immediately started for the spot indicated - heard distinctly the sound, but his agitation and bewilderment finally traced it to the tree tops, and the voice becoming uudistinguishable from the noise of the rain falling upon the dry leaves, he abandoned his search in despair, and returned home."

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