Posted By:Carol Page Tilson
Subject:Pioneer Women of Morgan
Post Date:June 05, 2010 at 23:26:17
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Forum:Ashtabula County, OH Genealogy Forum
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From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part III, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, December, 1896], p. p. 529-534:


Morgan township is in Ashtabula County, on the A. Z. & P. R. R., about sixty miles east from Cleveland. It was first settled in 1801 by the Gellett brothers, Nathan and Asa, who came from Farmington, Conn. They erected a log house, eighteen feet square and eight logs high, with a bark roof made of long strips of elm bark peeled from the trees. Their families, consisting of ten persons, lived in this small house for three years. It was then taken for a schoolhouse, the first school being taught by Diantha Wilcox in 1804.

In 1802 J. B. Battell and Edmund Strong came from Torringford, Conn.; also Quintus Atkins from Barkhamsted, Conn.

Later in the same year, Stephen Knowlton, wife and eight children, also Captain Wright, wife and four children, came from Winstead, Conn., in covered wagons, drawn by oxen, and were nearly two months on the road. They brought with them one horse and one cow, the milk from the cow being an essential element of their daily diet. They endured many hardships and privations, of which we know but very little.

Mrs. Knowlton [Deidema Chubb] was a woman of excellent character and cheerful disposition, a wise counselor and trusted friend. She was a great Bible student, and would often repeat from memory chapter after chapter to amuse her grandchildren. She was also quite noted among her friends as a poetess. The first frame house in Morgan was built by her husband in 1811.

It was at their house that the Rev. Joseph Badger appeared one morning at daybreak, after having spent the night among the branches of a tree not very far away, where he had been faithfully watched by a large bear.

Mrs. Knowlton lived to be nearly one hundred years old, and was totally blind many years before her death. Her eldest daughter, Deborah, at the age of fourteen, married Caleb Chapman, and was the mother of twelve children, a woman of great courage and perseverance. They lived near the stream known as Rock Creek, which was crossed either by fording it or over a long stick of timber. Mrs. Chapman, with her little boy, Julius, started one day to visit a neighbor, who lived on the other side of the creek, and when part way over the child slipped and fell into the water. The mother sprang in after him and saved her boy, who, in after years became A MILLIONAIRE. She was familiarly known as Aunt Debby, and lived to the age of ninety-six. Two of her seven daughters married and settled in Morgan -- Mrs. Sophiah Root and Mrs. Polly Cane. They have inherited from their mother courage and industry, and are devoted mothers and grandmothers.

Laura Knowlton married David Wright in 1810. They lived on the same farm for seventy-seven years, and had one son and eight daughters. She was much beloved by all who knew her. With many household cares she found time to nurse the sick and gather money for missionary purposes. Her house was the resting place for many fugitives from slavery. Her children revere her memory.

Edward, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. David Wright, married Roseland Lawton, who came from Boston. Their eight daughters were all well educated and skilled in womanly accomplishments. Cornelia was a fine artist, and some of her pictures adorn the walls of houses in Rock Creek today. Florilla was at one time a prominent teacher in Cincinnati, married Treat Fenn, and resides in Tallmadge. She is eighty-two years old, and has the honor of being the oldest living woman born in Morgan.

Eliza, the wife of Luther Baldwin, was a beautiful singer, her rich alto voice being a great help in the church choir. She was the home center, always a patient, loving mother.

The first meeting held for divine service was at the home of Mr. and Mrs. David Wright, presided over by the Rev. Joseph Badger, the settlement at this time numbering about twenty-eight.

In 1803 the first marriage was solemnized, between J. B. Battles and Lydia Gellett. A justice of the peace came from Warren, a distance of thirty miles, to perform the ceremony. A few months later Anna Gellett married Edmund Strong.

In the same year James Stone came from Canaan, Conn., with wife and little daughter, Pauline, aged three years. Joana was born in the year following and was the first white girl born in Morgan. Pauline became the wife of Elias Woodruff. She was well fitted to become a pioneer mother, and possessed fine abilities.

She spun and wove linen and wool to make the clothing for her husband and twelve children; made their caps and braided straw hats for her own family, and for many of the neighbors. With all these cares she was often called away to help the sick and needy. One of the well-remembered incidents of her childhood was going to spend the night with Sylvia Battles, where she for the first time saw and tasted apple pie. It had been made of dried apples, which had been sent from Connecticut. Pie was a luxury very seldom obtained in those days. Joana Stone married Lester Stevens and went to Iowa.

Polly M. Stone, sister of James and also of the Rev. Randolph Stone, was one of the first school teachers in Morgan, and taught many youths and maidens to read and spell. She became the wife of Erastus Devan, who located on the banks of Grand River. Their log house had two rooms and a wide, deep fireplace.

Polly [Mrs. John Smith], their daughter, well remembers when her father used to drive in the horse hitched to the big back log, while her mother would stand, BROOM IN HAND, ready to sweep up the embers that would fly when the log would fall into place. Mrs. Smith is a very intelligent woman and a great reader; belongs to the W. C. T. U.

Bates Willey and his wife, who was Candace Merrills, came from Whitestown, Conn., in 1808, and located on what is now Jefferson street, then a dense forest. The wolves often howled at the door and some of the more daring ones would look in at the window. One time she saw a bear near the house, and with the help of her dog, succeeded in treeing it, left the dog in charge while she went quite a distance to neighbor Brown’s for assistance, who returned with her and killed the bear.

Their son, Omori Willey, became a noted physician, and married Mary Cottom, of Thompson. Their wedding journey from said town to Morgan was made on horseback through the forest, with no road but a bridle path. Dr. Omori was cut off in the prime of his manhood, leaving a wife and three small children. His last words to loving friends were: "I leave Mary and the children in your care." Aunt Mary has lived with her only daughter, Sybil, these many years, cherishing his memory and loyal to his love.

Calvin, eldest son of Mrs. Stephen Knowlton, was much surprised one morning in the fall of 1811, to see a train of emigrants, consisting of ten wagons and about ninety persons. They had spent the night at Mr. Hawley’s and were on their way to New Lyme. Calvin noticed among the girls Susan Peck, who he very much admired, and decided, if possible, to secure for a wife. After a short time he began journeying to New Lyme.

In those days courting was done on Sunday evening. As soon as the sun was set Calvin would take his tin lantern and tallow dip and start on his journey of six miles, on foot through the woods, infested with bears and wolves. One evening he started before sundown, and on the way found Sophia Hawley picking wintergreens. The next day Mr. Hawley had him arrested for breaking the Sabbath and fined him one dollar.

In the course of time the wedding day was set and Calvin started this time on horseback. He had to ford the creek, which was swollen with recent rain, and the horse stumbled, pitching him into the water. He succeeded in getting across and rode on in a sorry plight. But the large open fireplaces of those days were very convenient for such accidents, and he stood by the fire and dried his clothing until time for the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Giles Cowles, of Austinburg.

A wedding feast at that time usually consisted of bread and wild honey, or gingerbread, and on rare occasions, FRIED CAKES. Susan was equal to the emergencies of pioneer life, and met its trials and privations with Christian patience.

Their family consisted of ten children, six of whom are still living. Maria, the eldest daughter, became the wife of Harvey Watson, who came with his parents from Hartford, Conn., in 1811. They lived in this place until his death which occurred about one year ago. They had three daughters; the youngest, Mrs. Van Gorder, occupies the old home. Finetta married Dr. Rathbone; Jane, Dr. Chapel, both residing in New Lyme. Mrs. Watson spends the most of her time in New Lyme. She is now eighty-one years old, and can recall many wonderful tales of "ye olden times."

Martin and Clarissa Mills, with her only child, Harvey, about three years of age, came from Northfolk, Conn., in 1811. Their family grew to four boys and three girls, who were prominent in religious circles, always ready with a helping hand to further the cause of Christ. Harvey married Phebe Montieth, who came from Honesdale, Pa., with her parents in 1818. She was possessed of many personal attractions, and was better read than many practicing physicians of that day. She often went from home to nurse the sick, and was noted as a "water cure" nurse. Their home was the first one raised in Morgan without the use of whiskey. Their children are living monuments of principles sown by them. He died at Clarks, Neb., in 1892. She still lives at Clarks with her only daughter, Mrs. Jennie Mason and is eighty-six years old.

Simeon took for a wife, Maria Smith. They went to Madison, Wis.; by industry and business talent amassed a large fortune. Alfred married Clarissa Hopkins, who came from Randolph, Portage County.

The girls married and went to Iowa and California, except Mrs. Flora Loomis, who lives at Footville. She has been an invalid for many years; endures her affliction with a sweet patience that tells from whence her strength cometh.

Abigail Rumley [Mrs. Jonathan Moses], with her husband and family, came from Northfolk, Conn., in 1814, a journey which took about seven weeks. Thro’ that long and perilous ride, Mrs. Moses carried her baby, Rachel, in her arms. She was the mother of five sons and seven daughters. They were among honored and esteemed citizens. Among them were lawyers and teachers.

Harlow Moses is living here at the age of eighty-seven. He well remembers the trip from Connecticut to Morgan, made when he was five years old. He is A LIVING MONUMENT of what a pure, honest, temperate life can be, never having used tobacco or alcohol in any form.

Rachel became the wife of James St. John, and their only daughter, Mrs. Amy Stone, is a resident of Rock Creek. When Amy became a bride, her wedding outfit, such as bedding, table linen and toweling, was spun and woven by her mother’s own hands.

The first hotel was built by Jesse Hawley, who came in 1804. This was the half way house between Ashtabula and Warren, and situated on the old turnpike road. The four-horse stagecoach made the trip from Ashtabula to Warren one day and back the next, changing horses here at the stage barns. Among the noted men who have patronized this hotel were Governor Tod, of Ohio, Tom Corwin, Benjamin F. Wade, Joshua R. Giddings, and many others. This hotel still ranks among the first, under the skillful management of Amy Stone and daughter.

Sophia Langton [Mrs. Lemuel Clark] with her husband and children, Henry and Vesta, came from North Carolina in 1814. The mother being in delicate health, the hardships of the journey and a severe cold contracted by exposure, as the wagon they came in was their only shelter, she only lived about two weeks after their arrival.

Mr. Clark and his children were alone several hours with the dead mother, he fearing to leave them to go for assistance on account of the wolves. It is supposed that Deborah Chapman was the first to go to his relief, as she was the nearest neighbor. In after years the son, Henry, became a large land holder and a prominent citizen, married Lucy Moses, and the daughter, Vesta, became the wife of Alonzo Moses. The children of these two families are among the prominent citizens of Rock Creek.

Mrs. Mary and her husband, Elijah Smith, came to Morgan in 1821, from Rochester, N. Y. The lake being frozen over they came from Buffalo to Ashtabula on the ice. She carried an infant child six months old in her arms. This child, Marietta, now Mrs. Cyrus Wright, of Cambridge, Ill., is the mother of the Rev. C. E. Wright, D. D., who is pastor at the first Congregational Church at Austin, Minn.

Mrs. Smith’s second daughter, Charlotte, who became the wife of F. D. Wightman, is a woman of strong temperance principles, which her children have imbibed, and she looketh well to the ways of her household. Their daughters were among our best teachers, Mabel, the youngest, is now teaching at Cumberland Gap, Tenn. Allie, a granddaughter of Mrs. Mary Smith, was recently married in the GARDEN OF THE GODS to Dr. Stanhope, of Lincoln, Neb., where they now reside.

Mrs. Rhoda Dutton, wife of Roger Foot, came from Goshen, Conn., in 1814, with seven sons and one daughter, the eldest son, Samuel, bringing his bride, whose maiden name was Beach. Each of these sons was a mechanic of no ordinary skill. Roger, the second one, married Chloe Mather, and her entire life was spent in the home where she was taken a bride. Two of her daughters are still living there.

The first organ owned in Morgan was built by John Foot. It was of wonderful volume and excellent tone. Mr. and Mrs. Roger Foot once made a visit to Connecticut, driving through with a horse and wagon, carrying food necessary for the journey in a little red trunk. The only daughter of Rhoda Foot, and her namesake, married Benjamin Hoyt, who was the mother of five children, among them is Caroline Babb, a resident of Rock Creek, and Judge Hoyt, of Ashtabula.

Rosey Weatherby married Lucius Seeton in the state of New York in 1818, and came to Morgan the bride of a few weeks. They settled near Grand river on what is now the Lewis Latimer farm. Mr. Seeton was a conductor on the underground railroad and used often to be seen with his covered wagon and dark passengers going toward Austinburgh. Mrs. Seeton spun flax and wove cloth for the use of her family, which included nine children. Lovica married Mr. Tefft, and they went to Africa as missionaries. Maria became the wife of James St. John.

She tells us that in her childhood days a common way of lighting their home was by burning hemlock knots in the open fireplace. Their lamp was a saucer filled with tallow or lard, the wick being a strip of cloth about an inch wide. Her present home is about twenty rods from the place of her birth.

William Bailey and family, Jonathan Kelsey and wife, Spencer Harvy and wife, and Seth Root and wife, came from Smithfield, N. Y., in 1817. Mrs. Root was Rhoda Beech. Mrs. Bailey, Kelsey and Harvy were sisters of Mr. Root. They came to Morgan about the first of April, after a journey of six weeks.

Mrs. Harvy and her husband united with the Congregational Church, under the preaching of Rev. Randolph Stone. She lived a consistent Christian life. Her children and grandchildren are prominent in social circles and are quite noted for their musical ability.

In the summer of 1826 Solomon Pertis [sic] and wife [Ruth House], with their five children, left their home on the banks of the Hudson and journeyed to a strange country, which was then the far west. Not long after reaching here, the father, mother and daughter became victims of typhus fever. The father and daughter, a sweet girl of sixteen, never rallied and were buried while the mother was delirious.

She recovered, to find herself left alone, with four boys, to fight the BATTLE OF LIFE. And bravely did she do it. She bought a place which was the Pettis home for forty years. She lived to see her sons well settled in life, and died at the advanced age of eighty-nine years.

Gurdon Bailey and Phebe Williams were married in June, 1819. Their wedding tour consisted of a twenty-seven days’ journey from Connecticut to Morgan, made in a two-horse wagon, the cover of which was woven by the bride’s own fair hands. Their new home was a little log cabin located in a dense forest. The only serenade given them was by the wolves.

At this time fifty cents would only buy one yard of the cheapest cotton cloth; therefore, the said wagon cover was utilized in making garments for the family. In the course of time flax was raised, and Mrs. Bailey was very skillful with her wheel, and wrought wonderfully at the loom, making all the cloth used by her family, which consisted of nine children, four of whom are still living.

The son, L. W. Bailey, whose wife was a Miss Sarah Bond, resides in Cleveland. The eldest daughter, Eliza A., when three years old, knitted herself a pair of stockings. She taught school fourteen years and became well acquainted with all the mysteries of boarding around. She was the wife of the late P. Z. Anthony.

The others, Miss Jane and Ruby, who is the wife of William Gallup, are residents of this place, and women of sterling worth.

About two years later, Gurdon’s brother, Frank, came and married Martha, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roswell Woodruff. She died, leaving one daughter, who was given her mother’s name, and in after years became the wife of Nelson French. A few years after another brother, Caleb, came with his wife [Betsy Hill] and five children. The Baileys have always been prominent business men.

George, the youngest of this family, married Cordelia Latimer, and is a merchant of this town.

The three Weller girls came from Vermont. Ruth became the second wife of Erastus Devan in 1835. She was a woman of great energy and courage, well educated and a good geologist, possessing a fine cabinet of geological specimens. She was also quite an artist, and left some nice work in that line.

Julia married Cyrus Chapman, and was an accomplished needle woman. Beautiful specimens of her handy work in BIRDS, FLOWERS, and other designs are cherished by her posterity. Sophia, at the age of fifteen, became the wife of Orlando St. John. Was the mother of the great geologist, Orestus H. St. John, at present located in Topeka, Kansas.

William Latimer and wife [Lucinda Holcomb], with their family of nine children, came from Otis, Mass., in 1821. They drove all the way with oxen and were six weeks on the road. Mrs. Latimer was a devoted Christian, a faithful wife and mother. Mr. and Mrs. Latimer, with three of their children, were charter members of the M. E. church.

Their two oldest daughters married and settled elsewhere. The oldest son, William, took for a wife Corrista Reed. Their only daughter, Cordelia, is the wife of George Bailey, our well known merchant. Collins’s wife was Mary Dikeman. Hiram’s was Hulda Holdman, and Austin married Evelina Church.

She was a charter member of the first temperance society formed in Morgan, and has been a pronounced temperance woman all her life. She is living with her daughter, Mrs. Addie Baldwin.

Carolina L. was the wife of A. B. Watkins. Cornelia, the youngest, and the only one born in Morgan, married Thomas Wakely.

Among the children of these families are artists, fine singers, teachers and business men. They are also prominent in church work.

Eunice Latimer, a cousin of these already mentioned, was the wife of Deacon Silas Covill. They came from Bloomfield, Conn., in 1818. When her first child, Herman, was quite small she was called upon to go to a distant neighbor’s to watch with a sick person.

She started on horseback with her baby, but so near dark that she soon lost her way; not finding the house, continued to ride until break of day, when she found herself in sight of her own home.

Mrs. Covill was the mother of seven children, among them is Mrs.. Harvey Wilber. The sons of their families are citizens of Rock Creek.

There were other pioneer mothers equally worthy of mention, whose history we were unable to obtain.

MRS. POLLY SMITH, MRS. E. R. MILLS, Historians; Morgan Committee: Mrs. Maria St. John, Mrs. Harriet Howard, Mrs. Polly Smith, Mrs. E. R. Mills, Chairman.


From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part IV, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, February, 1897], p. p. 979:


Mrs. Luman Beach [Lydia Wright] arrived in Morgan in 1804 and located on land given her by her father John Wright.

While Mr. Beach was away doing service in the War of 1812, she was left to worry and conjecture the worst. The firing of Perry’s naval battle was distinctly heard by the Morgan settlers, but a whole week followed before they learned of the results.

Of the twelve children of Mr. and Mrs. Beach, seven were daughters. Fanny married three times: first Samuel Peck, then Taylor Peck of Ruggles, Ashland Co., afterward Samuel Beach of the same place. She died in Huron Co. at the age of seventy-eight. Charlotte married Merrills Willey and died in Iowa in 1833. Henrietta became Mrs. Cassander Sackett of Tallmadge. Cornelia became Mrs. John Chare. Caroline married Dr. E. N. Lyman of Wadsworth, dying there in 1886. Maloina became the second wife of J. B. Campbell. She died at the home of her youngest brother in Chatham where she was on a visit. She was buried at Wadsworth where rest a large number of relatives.