RANGE 12, NUMBER 8, CLEVELAND TOWNSHIP
Except for the uneven shore of Lake Erie, this township would have contained a tract five miles square. It is
the last of the subdivisions of Cuyahoga County that we are to consider, and as much of the history of Cuyahoga
County centers here, we will consider it in its various stages of development. While the townships of the Reserve
have been variously divided in the survey, some in quarter township divisions, some in 100 acre lots, this one
distinct from all the rest began with a survey of a city with smaller lots. A surveyed city is not a city, hence
we must first discuss the township with this added distinction. In September of 1796 the surveying party under
Moses Cleveland, engaged in the survey of the Connecticut Western Reserve, came to this township, known only as
number 8 in range 12, and laid out the plan of a city and named it, with the township, Cleveland, in honor of Moses
Cleveland, the commander of the expedition, and then on October 18th they went away. The surveyors were professional
men, their expenses were paid and they, after their arduous labors on the survey, went back to New England to rest
up for another year. The following year they again made Cleveland their headquarters. To recite in brief the condition
of the enterprise, Moses Cleveland was a director of the Connecticut Land Company, and was given a power of attorney
as follows: "To Moses Cleveland, We the directors of the Connecticut Land Company having appointed you to
go on to said land as superintendent over the agents and men sent on to survey and make locations on said land,
to make and enter into friendly relations with the natives, who are on said land or contiguous thereto and may
have any pretended claim to the same, and secure such friendly intercourse amongst them as will establish peace,
quiet and safety to the survey and settlement of said lands not ceded by the natives under the authority of the
"You are hereby for the foregoing purpose fully authorized and empowered to act and transact all the above
business in as full and ample a manner as we, ourselves, could do, to make contracts in the foregoing matters in
our behalf and stead and make such drafts on our treasury as may be necessary to accomplish the foregoing object
of your appointment. And all agents and men by us employed and sent on to survey and settle said land, to be obedient
to your orders and directions. And you are to be accountable for all monies by you received, conforming your conduct
to such orders and directions as we may, from time to time give you and to do and act in all matters according
to your best skill and judgment, which may tend to the best interest, prosperity and success of said Connecticut
Land Company, having more particularly for your guide the Articles of Association entered into and signed by the
individuals of said Company."
The procedure up to the point of sending out the surveyors was like this. Fifty men bought out this tract (the
Western Reserve) from the State of Connecticut. Some of the names of these men are familiar in this county and
city, that is the family name, Joseph Howland, Daniel S. Coit, Elias Morgan, Caleb Atwater, Samuel Mather, Jr.,
Ephraim Kirby, Gideon Granger, Jr., Solomon Cowles, Moses Cleveland, Samuel P. Lord, and Aaron Olmsted. The fifty
original purchasers paid for the land to the State of Connecticut by forming a pool as it is sometimes called.
The amount paid to the state was $1,200,000. This sum was placed in the school fund of the state and has remained
there. This body of men organized into the Connecticut Land Company. The deed from the State of Connecticut must
have been a joint deed to all the contributors, for they all joined in a deed of trust to Jonathan Brace, John
Caldwell, and John Morgan, authorizing them to give deeds to purchasers. Of course they had bought this tract of
land to sell again. It was not altogether a rosy proposition. It was known that a large part of this land was on
the west side of the Cuyahoga River and could not be disposed of until the Indian rights were extinguished. This
purchase was to include 3,000,000 acres and it was generally assumed that there was much more land in the tract,
exclusive of the Fire Lands, and so several gentlemen offered to take the balance from the state, it is presumed
at the same price, 40 cents per acre. These men were called the Excess Company. Naturally they must await the more
accurate survey of the first, the Connecticut Land Company. In order to make an accurate division of the profits
according to the amount each man had put into the pool the company organized as a corporation with a capital of
$1,200,000 divided into 400 shares of $3,000 each. These shares were distributed in proportion to what each man
had paid into the enterprise. A board of directors was chosen as follows: Oliver Phelps, Henry Champion 2nd, Moses
Cleveland, Samuel W. Johnson, Ephraim Kirby, Samuel Mather, Jr., and Roger Newberry. Articles of agreement adopted
provided that the tract should be surveyed into townships five miles square, the part east of the Cuyahoga as soon
as possible, that west as soon as the Indians were bought off. Some townships were to be sold to pay the expenses
of the survey: Moses Cleveland, a lawyer of Canterbury, Windham County, Connecticut, forty years old, was chosen
as one of the directors to manage the survey in person. Some generalship would be required in this undertaking,
and he had been promoted by successive stages to the generalship of the Fifth Brigade of the Connecticut State
Militia. This may not have been taken into consideration in the selection, but he was of a dark complexion and
some writers have suggested that by reason of that fact he was more successful in dealing with the Indians, as
they often took him for one of their race. Be that as it may he was an able man of great natural dignity of carriage,
scholarly, and a born leader. As to the spelling of his name we use the present spelling, but the records show
that he wrote it both Cleaveland and Cleveland, and the history of the section from which his ancestors came to
America gives the spelling Cleveland. Seth Pease, the astronomer and one of the leading surveyors of the expedition
led by the General, spells it Cleveland on his maps.
Of this surveying party Augustus Porter of Connecticut was the principal surveyor, and Deputy Superintendent Seth
Pease we have mentioned. The other surveyors were Amos Spafford, John M. Holly, Richard M. Stoddard, and Moses
Warren. Joshua Stow was commissary of the expedition, and Dr. Theodore Shepard, physician. There were thirty six
other employees. The various members of the expedition were directed to assemble at Canandaigua, New York, on the
southeast shore of Lake Ontario, and from there they proceeded in a body to the Western Reserve, Mostly by boats.
In getting here they rowed, sailed, and walked the shore. This expedition involved large expense, and apparently
each member kept a record of his expenses to present to the company, in connection with a diary for general information,
from the time of leaving his home. From the diary of Seth Pease, one of the young surveyors, preserved in the Western
Reserve Historical Society annals can be found this entry: "I began my journey Monday, May ninth 1796 Fare
from Suffield to Hartford six shillings, expenses four shillings six pence Fare on my chest from Middleton one
shilling sixpence - Trip to New York - Passage and liquor 4 dollars and 3/4 - In New York - Ticket for play 75
cents liquor 14 cents, show of elephants 50 cents, Shaving and combing 13 cents." Seth wanted to be prepared,
in case he was asked the question that was commonly propounded to one, who had been to New York: "Did you
see the elephants ?"
The history of Cleveland begins with the surveying party, but the story behind the survey is extremely interesting.
No attempt was made to settle here until the passage of the ordinance of 1787 and the beginning of government under
the territorial system. Then, as one expresses it, toilers on the rocky farms of Connecticut sighed for the mellow
soil of Ohio, and the sale began. Oliver Phelps, a native of Windsor, led the enterprise, opening an office at
Canandaigua, the first in the country for the sale of forest lands to settlers. At this town the surveyors gathered
for the trip to New Connecticut under Moses Cleveland, of Canterbury, "magnetic, able, decisive, and patriotic."
Connecticut had been especially favored by King Charles, who was incensed at Massachusetts, and this was not the
first attempt of the state at similar occupancy. The sad history of Wyoming was known to the hardy pioneers, who
bought of the Connecticut Land Company. By a grant from King Charles the state was given a tract, about the size
of the Western Reserve, of land later claimed and acquired by Pennsylvania. In the beautiful Wyoming Valley traversed
by the north branch of the Susquehanna there had been planted a colony under the Connecticut town system of individual
"On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruined wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all."
After getting the charter rights, the Susquehanna Land Company was formed just as the Connecticut Land Company
was organized in the purchase of the Western Reserve. Wyoming was bought from the Five Nations for 12,000 by the
Susquehanna Company, and settlers bought their land from this company. Here flourished a happy community immortalized
in song by Thomas Campbell in "Gertrude of Wyoming," from which the above fragment is taken. The Revolution
came and then the massacre, designated by historians as one of the darkest crimes perpetrated during the War for
Independence. As history records, the Tories under John Butler, and the Indians under Brandt fell upon these Wyoming
settlements, while the able bodied men of military age were at the front under Washington. Half the population
were killed, the old men and boys covering the flight of the women and small children who had to endure the hardships
of an overland retreat to Connecticut. After peace was declared, scattering settlers returned to keep alive their
claims to land purchased. Then came the Articles of Confederation empowering the establishing of courts to arbitrate
disputed boundaries between states. Connecticut dung to her grant from the King, but kinks were in disfavor after
the Revolution, and the court gave Wyoming to Pennsylvania. Connecticut gracefully accepted the decree and withdrew
her claim. The settlers, thus seemingly deserted by their state, had a hard time of it. Writs of the Pennsylvania
courts were enforced, the property of Connecticut men destroyed, fences were cast down, and the rights or claims
of the settlers ignored. The old Susquehanna Company, that had sold them the land, was reorganized to aid them
in enforcing their claims. Ethan Allen and some of his Green Mountain Boys settled here after the war. The settlers
became strong, and there raged what was called the Yankee and Pennamite war. Then the State of Pennsylvania passed
laws confirming the Connecticut settlers in their titles, and the war ended.
Connecticut having so gracefully surrendered her claim to Wyoming, that is the State of Connecticut, when her grant
westward, which is described in the charter from King Charles as extended to the Pacific Ocean, was taken up, it
was decided to give her the tract known as the Western Reserve. Thus in releasing her claim to the great western
belt she was given this territory, as was asserted, to recompense her for the loss of Wyoming. As one writer claims,
"It would have been absurd to ask Connecticut to surrender a claim so sound in law and so fortified by repeated
recognitions without any recompense. Her proposition that she should reserve a tract about the width and length
of the Wyoming tract was accepted."
In this manner is the sad history of Wyoming linked with that of Cleveland and the Western Reserve, and the fact
that the settlers who came here were familiar with its history adds to our estimate of their courage and indominative
will. When the first emigrants left their native Connecticut for the far West the parting words of friends were
spoken as if they were the last, and they were tenderly remembered in the public prayers of the village minister.
The township of Cleveland was organized before that of any other in the county, before the state was organized
and before the county was organized. A territorial court of quarter sessions met at Warren, Ohio, in the early
part of the year 1802 and erected the Township of Cleveland. The meeting of this court was held in a sheltered
locality between two corn cribs, a few feet from the site of a house afterwards occupied by F. Freeman of Warren.
Acting under an order from this court the inhabitants of the township met at the house of James Kingsbury on April
5, 1802, and organized by choosing Rudolphus Edwards as chairman and Nathaniel Doan as clerk, and elected township
officers. The names of some of the officers have been preserved. The trustees elected at this meeting were Amos
Spafford, Timothy Doan and W. W. Williams. Samuel Huntington was elected one of the supervisors of highways, he
was afterwards supreme judge and then governor of Ohio. Timothy Doan was Common Pleas judge, as we have related.
Thus this first township seems to have been well officered. The election the following year was held at the same
place, the house of James Kingsbury, and these were the officers who presided over the town meeting: Amos Spafford,
chairman, and Nathaniel Doan, clerk. The officers elected were Amos Spafford, James Kingsbury and Timothy Doan,
trustees; James Kingsbury and James Hamilton, overseers of the poor; Rudoiphus Edwards, Ezekiel Nolley and Amos
Spafford, fence viewers; Elijah Gunn and Samuel Huntington, appraisers of houses; James Kingsbury, lister; William
Elvin, James Kingsbury and Timothy Doan, supervisors of highways, and Rudolphus Edwards, constable. Two months
later the electors met at the same place, and an election for justices of the peace, presided over by Samuel Jones,
was held. Amos Spaffotd and Timothy Doan received the honor and were duly elected justices of the peace. In this
year the state was organized and at this justice election, that is on the same day, another election was held.
This was more formal and in accordance with the strict letter of the law. Amos Spafford, Elijah Gunn and Samuel
Jones were chosen judges of election, and Stephen Gilbert and Nathaniel Doan, clerks. This election was for the
choice of one state senator, two state representatives and one member of Congress, the Township of Cleveland voting
as a part of Trumbull County.
For Congress, David Hudson received twenty seven votes, and Michael Baldwin, six. For the State Senate, Benjamin
Tappan received twenty one votes, and Amos Spafford, one. For State Representatives, David Abbott received twenty
two votes; Ephraim Quimby, nineteen; Amos Spafford, one, and David Hudson, one. The representatives elected to
this first legislative session of Ohio by a vote of twenty six to three refused to employ a chaplain, eight new
counties were erected, and John Smith and Thomas Worthington were chosen United States Senators. Edward Tiffin
was declared elected governor, receiving 4,564 votes. The election in Cleveland Township the following year was
held as before at the house of James Kingsbury. The date was April 22d. The Judges of election were Amos Spafford
and Lorenzo Carter. James Kingsbury, Lorenzo Carter and Timothy Doan were elected trustees; Lorenzo Carter, Thaddeus
Lacy, James Kingsbury and Timothy Doan, supervisors of highways; Rudolphus Edwards, constable; Nathaniel Doan,
clerk, and Timothy Doan, treasurer. This latter office became necessary, as it was voted at the meeting to raise
$10 by township tax. The trustees met at the house of Nathaniel Doan and divided the township into road districts.
To Lorenzo Carter was given the road leading from the "City of Cleveland" to Hudson; Daniel Rukers was
given the road from the south side of Cleveland, to Euclid to the bridge near Isaac Tillotson's; Timothy Doan was
given the road from Isaac Tillotson's to the east line of the town of Euclid; James Kingsbury was given the road
from Nathaniel Doan's to Wilson's Mills, and to Thaddeus Lacy was given the road leading from Daniel Purker's to
We have been giving the early organization of number 8, range 12, the township which included a "city."
The separate history of this city began September 16, 1796, when Augustus Porter began laying out some streets
on the east side of the Cuyahoga River. Porter ran the street lines; Seth Pease, Amos Spafford and Richard Stoddard
surveyed the city lots. In the same month and year it was named. Previously it had been called Cuyahoga or spoken
of in the minutes of the surveyors as mouth of the Cuyahoga. The first mention on record of the name occurs in
the minutes of the agreement entered into by Moses Cleveland and his surveyors as to the Township of Euclid. The
minutes state "at a meeting held at the City of Cleveland," etc. The "city" contained at this
time two log houses, one occupied by Job Stiles and Tabitha, his wife, who kept house for members of the surveying
party from time to time. It was sometimes called Pease's Tavern, because of the frequent presence and attractive
personality of that gentleman. The other was used by the surveyors. The surveyors left in October for the East,
leaving Mr. and Mrs. Job Stiles and Jacob Landon. The three had decided to become permanent settlers, although
coming originally as employees of the Connecticut Land Company. The surveyors built a log cabin for them at what
is now the west end of Superior Avenue. Landon only stayed a few weeks, and went East before winter came, but Edward
Paine, afterwards the founder of Painesville, came and boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Stiles and commenced trading with
the Indians, who camped on their lands west of the river. These three remained alone, except for Indians, during
the winter. Job Stiles and Tabitha Stiles were the first settlers of Cleveland, and Edward Paine the first trader.
On the edge of the Indian country in the winter of 1795 these three constituted the entire population of Cleveland.
The part of the Western Reserve east of the Cuyahoga River was cleared of the Indian claim by the treaty of Greenville
in 1795, and that west of the river by the treaty of Fort Industry in 1805, ten years later. Cleveland, with its
population of three souls, was in the County of Washington of the Northwest Territory, but it was though by some
that the Connecticut Land Company was invested with the powers of government as well as title of land. This township
was one of those sold to provide the expenses of the survey.
Mrs. Job Stiles, the first woman resident of Cleveland, in the log cabin on the bank of the Cuyahoga on that first
winter, was deserving of recognition, and she got it. The directors and stockholders of the Connecticut Land Company
gave her one city lot, one ten acre lot, and one 100 acre lot in Cleveland Township. They also gave 100 acres to
Mrs. Anna Gun, wife of Elijah Gun, who had charge of the company's stores at Conneaut, but intended to move to
Cleveland. They gave 100 acres of land in the township to James Kingsbury and wife, the first settlers on the Western
Reserve not connected with the company. Kingsbury and wife first located at Conneaut. They gave a city lot to Nathaniel
Doan, who had acted as blacksmith for the company, shoeing the pack horses of the surveyors.
In the spring of 1797 Edward Paine, who had spent the winter trading with the Indians, having beads, calico, and
other articles for barter, left Cleveland and his boarding place with Job and Tabitha Stiles and made his permanent
residence at Painesville, which town he founded and which bears his name. In the spring of this year the Guns came
from Conneaut and became the second family resident of Cleveland. In June the surveyors returned, and this time
Seth Pease was head surveyor. On the way to Cleveland one of their number, David Eldridge, was drowned in Grand
River, and they brought the body with them to Cleveland for burial. The burial was on the east side of Ontario
Street, some distance from the Stiles cabin and therefore out of town. The surveyors, before starting in with their
second year's professional labors, did some clearing around the cabin of Job and Tabitha Stiles at the west end
of Superior Street as we now designate the site. They planted a garden and flowers and brought a bustle of life
This year came Lorenzo Carter, known to early settlers as Major Carter, and brought his family from Rutland, Vermont.
His son Alonzo was then seven years old. He was a remarkable man, a typical pioneer. He had great strength, was
a master with the gun and the axe, had unlimited assurance and the courage of a Richard Cceur de Leon. He soon
gained a wonderful influence over the Indians unequalled by any other white man in the vicinity. He was the Miles
Standish of Cleveland. He even impressed the Indians as one having supernatural power. While Moses Cleveland could
plan a civilization, it required men like Lorenzo Carter to build it. The writer, gazing at the massive monument
to Miles Standish on the Atlantic coast near Plymouth, was impressed with the idea that a monument to Lorenzo Carter
by the side of that of Moses Cleveland here would be most appropriate. The founder and the builder side by side
in this great city of wealth of brain and brawn would be a beautiful historical setting. Lorenzo Carter built his
log cabin on the flats near the river, dose by a thoroughfare afterwards known as Spring Street.
The next family of settlers was that of Ezekiel Hawley. The daughter, Fanny, was then five years of age. In 1879
she was Mrs. Theodore Miles, and was living in the eighteenth ward, the oldest survivor of the residents east of
the river. James Kingsbury and family came next. They first "squatted" on the Indian country west of
the river, living in a log building that had been occupied by the agents of the Northwestern Fur Trading Company.
While living there Kingsbury built his log cabin in Cleveland on the site now occupied by the Federal Building,
on the public square, and moved his family in. The raising of this building, like all in the early days, was an
event, and as the settlers were so few the surveyors were invited. This home was not established on the 100 acres
given to the family by the Connecticut Land Company, but on a city lot secured by Kingsbury.
The first wedding in Cleveland and in Cuyahoga County took place in this year of 1797 when William Clements
was married to Chloe Inches. Miss Inches was a hired girl and was not ashamed of the fact. Clements took his bride
away, and the settlement of Cleveland was reduced by one. In the fall of this year the surveyors completed the
survey. In the spring of the next year Nathaniel Doan moved his family into a cabin built on his city lot given
him by the Connecticut Company. He opened a blacksmith shop on the south side of Superior, near where the Cleveland
Hotel now stands, but he did not stay long. The privations of pioneer life were augmented by fever and ague that
was no respecter of persons. The Kingsbury and Stiles families had moved out on the Ridge to avoid it, then the
Guns moved. Rudolphus Edwards came from Chenango County, New York, and sought the healthier locality. He engaged
in the manufacture of wood thills. In the "city" the only families left were the Doans, Carters, and
Hawleys. Then Joseph Landon came back, and with him came Stephen Gilbert. They cleared some land and sowed wheat.
Carter planted two acres of corn on Water Street, near the lake. All the men and women of Cleveland, that is the
city, not the township, were sick with the fever and ague. Between chills Carter and his hounds would go out and
get a deer and thus provide food for the families. Nathaniel Doan's family of nine were all sick. Seth, a boy of
thirteen, was the only one who could get around, but he had shakes every day. He cut wood, got water, and went
out to Kingsbury's for corn. The people on the Ridge had found health, but in Cleveland there was no doctor and
no quinine. The people used dogwood bark as a substitute for quinine. About the middle of November four men, weak
from ague, started in a boat for Walnut Creek, Pennsylvania, for flour. Between Euclid Creek and the Chagrin River
the boat was wrecked and they returned empty handed. Throughout the winter of 1798 all in the "city"
and at the Ridge depended on Mr. Kingsbury's hand gristmill, which as was said, ground flour coarse enough to satisfy
The next spring of 1799 Nathaniel Doan abandoned his city lot and moved out four miles to the place afterwards
designated as Doan's Corners. The Hawley family also left the sickly place at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River for
the Kingsbury neighborhood. These were still in the township but the "city" had only two families left,
the Carters and Spaff ords. Carter stuck and Spafford stuck because he did. Carter said you must fight disease
like anything else and he proposed to stay until he became acclimated. Carter and Spafford kept a sort of tavern
and traded with the Indians. Their principal articles of barter were salt and whiskey. In this year of 1799 the
gristmill was built at Newburgh and soon the families were provided with good wholesome flour and a better era
was at hand. One of the millstones from that mill, the first turned on the Western Reserve, rests opposite the
Old Stone Church on the Public Square at Cleveland and the other is on Broadway near the site of the first mill.
We have spoken of the building of the mill in the chapter on Newburgh. Its stones turned before the beginning of
the nineteenth century brought a blessing to the pioneers, whose value it is hard to measure.
In 1797, while the "city" existed only in the far seeing vision of a few, Surveyor Warren began the survey
of three highways leading out into the country. A survey of the town had been made and the city streets only extended
to the city limits or westward to the river and eastward about a quarter of a mile east of the present East Ninth
Street. He first began at the eastern end of Huron Street, which was in its present locality, and ran the lines
due east. This was to be a road, not a city street, and being outside of the city limits it was called Central
Highway. As it soon became the main highway from Cleveland to Euclid it was called Euclid Road. Then it was extended
west to the Public Square and it became Euclid Street. Finally lined with palatial residences it took on the name
of Euclid Avenue, and while so named was pronounced by Bayard Taylor, the famous traveler, the finest street in
the world. Now commercial Cleveland is taking over the avenue and it is fast becoming a great business street.
But we are getting ahead in our history as the present chapter has to do with Cleveland Township. Warren laid out
other roads, among them North Highway, which became St. Clair Avenue. The original city surveyed in the northeast
corner of range 12, number 8. Cleveland Township, had no Euclid Street. Huron was laid out and its eastern terminus
at the Hanna Building was the eastern limits of the surveyed city.
A Christmas incident of Cleveland in 1799 appears in the early annals. The scene is laid out on the Ridge, but
just the same Lorenzo Carter was as usual the hero. Mr. Kingsbury's eldest daughter Abigail, seven years old, and
two younger brothers, Amos and Almon, together with Fanny Hawley, afterwards Mrs. Miles, and her younger brothers
all went to visit the children of Job Stiles, who lived only half a mile or less away. The distance was not far
and there was a woods road or path along the Ridge. Childlike, they stayed late and it became dusk before getting
home and they lost their way. They wandered as lost children will. The older ones carried the smaller ones as they
became tired and then they gave up, as the little ones went to sleep in their arms. What could they do? They laid
the sleepers on the ground and covered them with Abigail's cloak. Two alternatives seemed to be facing them, either
they would be eaten by the wolves or frozen to death. In the meantime the parents began a wild search but fruitless
for a while. As luck would have it, Lorenzo Carter, who had been out hunting, happened along and with him his faithful
hound. He set out and came near enough to the Seth Stiles house to find the trail of the lost children. The dog
had some trouble at first but soon led him to the sleeping children. A wild scream greeted his coming in advance
of Carter. The waking children thought a wolf had come for a meal but Carter came up at once, silenced their fears,
and fired his gun in the air to notify the searchers.
In 1800 Cleveland Township had a population of about sixty souls while the "city" part had only twenty,
one third of the total population. We have in the story of this year to record the establishment of the first manufacturing
plant in Cleveland. David Bryant and his son Gilman brought a still from Virginia and built a log distillery on
the flats. They carried water in a trough from the hillside into the second story of their quite pretentious plant.
At this time this new enterprise was hailed with delight. The first business enterprise of Cleveland was a respectable
business. The settlers were increasing their acreage of grain and the product of the field could be reduced to
a small compass and marketed without its costing its entire worth for transportation. This new industry soon attracted
the Indians from their country the other side of the river. They had a ferry opposite St Clair Street and kept
canoes there for crossing and re-crossing. After getting a supply of fire water they would congregate at a point
where Detroit Street now meets West Twenty fifth Street. Here they would hold many of their pow wows. The settlers
on the east side could hear them in their ball games at which they were expert. It is quite likely that baseball
and football are aboriginal games. Oratory, too, was heard, not soap box oratory, for the dusky denizens of the
forest did not include soap in their family supplies. They would recount the deeds of their fathers ere the white
man came to grasp their land. Gilman Bryant was invited to one of their feasts over there He said all Indians considered
white dogs sacred. Among the six nations white dogs were offered as sacrifices to the Great Spirit, the God Manitou.
Demoralized by the white man's whiskey they compromised in this religious rite. Gilman Bryant says they placed
a large bowl of the stew on a scaffold as a sacrifice to Manitou and ate the rest, applying it to wordly uses,
so to speak. They offered young Bryant a dish of the stew containing a forepaw to which much of the hair remained,
which he declined, whereupon they ate it themselves, saying a good soldier could easily eat that.
In this year of 1800 Samuel Huntington came to Cleveland. He was thirty five years of age and was a nephew of the
governor of Connecticut of the same name. He built a large house on the south side of Superior Street near the
top of the bluff. It was constructed of hewn logs and was the most aristocratic residence in the town. We have
already related how he participated in the township government, then was chosen to the state senate, supreme judge,
and then governor of the state. Besides building his fine log mansion he hired Samuel Dodge to build for him the
first frame building in the town, a barn. Another settler who came this year was Elisha Norton. He was a trader
and not so much a wielder of the ax and battler with the forest.
The first school, the beginning of the educational system in Cleveland, was opened in the house of Lorenzo Carter
by Ann Spafford in 1802. She had about a dozen scholars (not pupils) and the three R's included the course of study.
Just across the river from the Indian country the small settlement had little trouble with the red man. The influence
of Lorenzo Carter had much to do with this. He spoke the Indian language fluently and his tact and courage gave
him a remarkable influence over them. Each fall they would come to the mouth of the river, haul their canoes ashore,
and separating into small parties would hunt and trap up the river. In the spring they would return and hold a
soft of reunion in which feasting and drunkenness was a prominent feature. These occasions were similar in the
fall and spring. The summers found them returned to their cornfields on the Sandusky and Maumee rivers. In the
winter of 1800 Gilman Bryant and his father cleared five acres of land on the bank of the river above the city
plat. In the spring Timothy Doan and his brother Nathaniel came to. Cleveland but their stay was short as they
went to Euclid in the fall.
In these early years Cleveland was not devoid of many tragic incidents connected with the inhabiting of the forest
city. Governor Huntington to be, returning from a trip to Painesville on horseback was attacked by a pack of wolves.
His good horse kept out of their reach until entering a muddy swayle in the road where Euclid and East Fifty fifth
Street cross at the Pennsylvania Railway station. There they closed in and Mr. Huntington fought them off with
his only weapon, an umbrella, until firmer ground was reached and the horse distanced his pursuers.
In the year of 1802 Carter and Spafford, who had continued to entertain strangers, were regularly licensed as
tavern keepers by the Court of Quarter Sessions. The following year Ohio was admitted into the Union as a state
and Samuel Huntington was speaker of the first House of Representatives. Even when a judge of the Supreme Court
he kept his residence in Cleveland, making the journeys to the various sessions of the court at Chillicothe on
horseback. In 1803 Lorenzo Carter built the first frame house in Cleveland near the foot of Superior Street. It
was just completed when a fire which started in a pile of shavings destroyed it. Carter immediately rebuilt but
with hewn logs instead. This was seven years after the first settlement and it was seven or eight years more before
Cleveland had a frame house. The settlement of this section was slow, about one family a year was the increase.
Oliver Culver, one of the surveyors, came as a trader. He brought salt, calico, tobacco and whiskey to trade with
the Indians, but his venture did not pay. The freight from Buffalo was $3 a barrel. As soon as Ohio became a state,
militia companies were organized for the defense of the commonwealth. A militia company was organized in Cleveland
with Lorenzo Carter as captain, Nathaniel Doan as lieutenant and Samuel Jones as ensign. The same season Carter
was chosen major of the second battalion of the First Regiment, Second Brigade and Fourth Division, and Doan and
Jones became captain and lieutenant, respectively. In 1805 came the purchase of the land west of the river from
the Indians. Previous to this time the town of Cleveland seemed to be falling back. The activities of this section
centered about the gristmill in Newburgh. Samuel Dodge, who married a daughter of Timothy Doan, built a log house
away from the river bank with its springs, and has the distinction of having dug the first well in Cleveland. It
was walled up with stones which the Indians had used for fireplaces in their wigwams. Cuyahoga County was erected
in 1810 with Cleveland as its county seat and Cleveland Township as one of its townships. Cleveland was regarded
as a city long before it had an organization as such, for on February 15, 1802, a plat of the City of Cleveland
was filed in Record A, page ten of the Trumbull County records. A record plat was filed later, after the dream
became a reality, in Record number two of the records on file in the office of the County Recorder of Cuyahoga
County. In 1812 the first courthouse was built in Cleveland. It was built of logs and stood on the Public Square.
The hanging of Omic, the Indian, for the murder of two white trappers near Sandusky, Ohio, occurred that year,
but before the building of the courthouse. This first execution in the county has been frequently mentioned in
local histories, but an incident connected with the early life of the culprit in which Major Carter took a hand
has not been so often told.
After the sale of the lands west of the river by the Indians many of them lived more or less of the time on the
old ground and had cabins like the whites. Among these was an Indian by the name of Omic, who had a son called
Omic. The whites called the son John Omic to distinguish him from his father. John Omic was from boyhood of an
evil disposition and generally bad. It was in 1805 when he was sixteen years old that he crossed the river and
began stealing vegetables from Major Carter's garden. Mrs. Carter ordered him away when he drew a knife and chased
her and did not stop until a young man of the neighborhood happened along and drove him away. If his only intention
was to scare her he succeeded. When Major Carter came home and heard of the incident he was furious. He put a rope
in his pocket and started for old Omic's cabin on the other side of the river. He told old Omic what his son had
done and declared he was determined to hunt up the young man and hang him and exhibited the rope as evidence of
his intention. Carter spoke the Indian language fluently. He was known as a fighting man among the whites and had
a great influence over the Indians. Old Omic was terribly frightened, he begged.the major not to hang his boy and
pleaded as best he could. Carter, who had a kind and tender heart under a rough exterior, finally agreed to spare
the boy on condition that he stay on the west side of the river. "Now remember," said Carter, "if
I ever catch him on that side of the river, I'll hang him to the nearest tree." "He no come, he no come,"
was the old Indian's reply in English. It is recorded in the early annals that the young rascal kept his side of
the stream and did not cross it until several years after when he was on his way to his trial and execution.
In a former chapter we have related the tragic death of a settler, his wife and child on the rocky shore of the
lake during a storm and of the rescue of the colored man Ben on a rocky cliff of the shore just east of Rocky River
after clinging there from Friday until the following Tuesday. Some French traders rescued Ben from his dangerous
perch on the rock and took him to Major Carter's tavern, which always was open to the unfortunate. Rheumatism drew
Ben's limbs out of shape following his terrible experience and he was unable to work but the kind hearted major
kept him all summer. In October two Kentuckians came to Carter's tavern and claimed Ben as a runaway slave. The
major told them how he had boarded Ben for nothing because of his misfortune and his answer to the slave hunters
was this: "I don't like niggers but I don't believe in slavery and Ben shall not be taken away unless he wants
to go." The owner declared he had always treated Ben well and asserted that he had been coaxed to run away
and would probably be willing to go back and he desired to talk with him The major who at that period was practically
the law in Cleveland would not permit that unless Ben was willing. Ben agreed to a conference and a parley was
agreed upon but to avoid treachery Carter arranged to have Ben on one side of the river and the slave hunters on
the other and this programme was carried out. They talked across the stream. Ben after much discussion finally
agreed to go, many interesting inducements were held out. It is not in evidence that Carter had anything to do
with the final denouement, but when the party had started for the South, the negro Ben riding a horse and his master
walking by his side, the two slave hunters having their pistols in the holster, two hunters, not slave hunters,
stepped out of the woods and with their guns presented said: "Ben, you d - fool you, jump off and run,"
which order was complied with. The owner and his aid gave up the search and never came back for the slave. It is
asserted that Ben did not go to Canada but some years later was living in a cabin near the line of Brecksville
and Independence. This was the first slave rescue but not the last in the history of this new country.
It has been said that Cleveland was a tough place at this stage of its history but as we cite instances of Major
Carter's unusual code of ethics we see only a rough exterior. We will give one of many by way of illustration.
To a great extent his personality was reflected in the community. On a morning of 1807 a man, who had been working
for the major suddenly disappeared. He had taken nothing but his own and the major owed him. Spafford, a brother
in law of Carter's, informed him that the man had gone. Carter said no one should run away from Cleveland and shouldered
his rifle and started in pursuit. He overtook the man at what is now Fifty fifth Street. The man said he had stolen
nothing and owed nothing. Carter ordered him to return in language that coming from him was extremely terrifying.
"Go back," said he, "or I will kill you and throw you to the wolves." The man sullenly obeyed
and Carter led him back to town. On returning he told Spafford that he was a rover and after working for a while
in a place got a travel bee in his bonnet and must move on. "Well have some breakfast and we will pay you
what we owe you and then you can go." After a good breakfast the man declared he had decided to stay and he
This was a rather rough civilization in the main this "city" of Cleveland in those days but it was honest
if not God fearing. Preachers who came complained of the rough talk, of the infidelity, of the wickedness of the
inhabitants, their profanity. They killed hogs on Sunday, etc., but crime of every kind was rare. It was a border
town without the border ruffian. Daniel Parker attempted to organize a new religious sect called the Haleyonites
here but it faded notwithstanding its attractive name. During the War of 1812 there was little civic progress.
had and J. R. Kelly built a brick store in 1814. This was the first brick building in the town. When this was built
there were thirty four buildings of all kinds in Cleveland. A rather unique start in the shipbuilding industry
was made by Levi Johnson, who built the schooner Pilot. For convenience in getting timber he built it in the woods.
The extremely dry dock was a little way out Euclid Avenue. When it was finished he made a bee and farmers came
from all around with twenty eight yoke of oxen and it was hauled and launched in the river at the foot of Superior
Street. Thus began an industry that developed rapidly and in later years grew to enormous proportions.
A big jollification when peace was declared was the last and greatest event in the history of Cleveland as a township
before it was broken into by the forming of the Village of Cleveland. The ending of the War of 1812 was an event
that gave security to the settlers in their titles to land, a respite from anxiety as to the raids of hostile Indians
and consequent danger to the family and home. This celebration was a most enthusiastic one and not equalled perhaps
by any in later years except in point of numbers. Whiskey was free, a government cannon was used to make the noise,
and everybody participated. Abram Hickox, the town blacksmith, was much in evidence and carried the powder in a
pail. In the wild excitement a spark found its way to the somewhat diminished pail of powder and an explosion not
on the programme occurred. Abram blackened and torn declared he was killed but he lived to continue the "Village
Smithy" for many years.
[Next File Village of Cleveland ]