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Pioneer Women of Monroe
Posted by: Carol Page Tilson (ID *****2353) Date: May 20, 2010 at 04:06:59
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From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part I, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, July, 1896], p. p. 87-92:

PIONEER WOMEN OF MONROE, 1800-1850

I know of no better way of beginning this history of the pioneer women of Monroe township than to say that they were nearly all, as far as honorable historical mention goes, “Mute inglorious -- female -- Miltons.” “The hand that rocked the cradle ruled the world” then, as now, in unnumbered, unwearied, frequently unrecognized, but always priceless services.

The first woman spoken of in the country history was the alleged wife of Colonel Stephen Moulton, from Whitestown, N. Y., the first white man to settle in Monroe coming in 1799. Her maiden name was unknown. She was a woman of grit, and in the absence of her husband killed two wolves that carried off their precious pigs.

She built a pen of poles at the right angle to let them in, but not out, left the remains of a pig for bait, loaded her gun with three fingers, long, of powder, and waited for the wolves, which soon arrived. The discharge killed one wolf and nearly so the huntress. Her little son brought water, which revived her, and undismayed, she reloaded her musket with only a finger and a half, and finished THE REMAINING WOLF.

Next comes Polly Ferguson, in 1802, but the next year left with the family to return in 1808* the wife of Sanford Miles [sic, Niles], brother of David Miles [sic, Niles], Jr., teacher of the first school in Kelloggsville.

The wife of William Hardy, from Pennsylvania, died on the way, but her crippled sister, a Miss Ferguson, doubtless cousin or sister to Polly, took the mother’s place and brought up the family. In the families of John and Hance Hardy were numerous daughters, who spun and wove and walked the ways of the industrious homeseekers of the period.

Mrs. Caleb Blodget seems to have been swallowed bodily by her husband’s astonishing individuality.

Anna Lester, Mrs. Martin Kellogg, came with her husband and three children from Berkshire county, Massachusetts, via Virginia, in 1813, and helped to make the first forest home, which the next year, welcomed the family of Amos Kellogg, brother of Martin and Charlotte, only daughter of Anna Lester Kellogg, married Dr. S. G. Holbrook and spent her short life in Kelloggsville, dying in early middle age, leaving two daughters, Celestia, Mrs. John Beach, and Laura E. Holbrook, both Oberlin graduates and successful teachers, now of Cleveland

Phoebe Westover -- Mrs. Abner Kellogg, Sr. -- then a widow, came with the family of Amos and, lies buried at the head of a long line of her descendants in the Kelloggsville cemetery.

Paulina Deane, Mrs. Amos Kellogg, was a woman of nerve and character. For sixteen years, 1814-1830, hand to hand and heart to heart, with her husband, she spent in anxious and arduous pioneer life, and then, having wrenched comfort and success from their forest universe, their children FAST NEARING MANHOOD and womanhood, and the future beckoning bright, the way was blocked by her husband’s grave. She took up alone the burden, never faltering by the way, or allowing her interest in matters of general moment to flag, or any neighbor to go unhelped.

A student of the times, she was also a notable housekeeper. One cold day Giddings and Wade, that notable pair, already forging to the front, stopped to get warm and call upon the family, and after the comfortable fashion of the time, were shown into the ample kitchen. From a great covered pot in the big fire place came a most appetizing odor and they were cordially invited to stay for dinner. Giddings reluctantly demurred, because of haste, but Wade temporized, and finally said:

“See here, Giddings, do you expect to get me away from here with the savor of one of Mrs. Kellogg’s potpies in my nostrils?”

Of the two little daughters who participated in the long sleigh ride from Massachusetts, Laura, the eldest, married Dr. Greenleaf Fifield, and spent a long and useful life in Conneaut; a woman of quick wit and incisive speech, not of the cutting, but of the bullseye order; and her sayings and helpful doings will be remembered in Conneaut as long as any of that generation are left.

Her daughters, Laura and Louisa, often used to tell of the gay times they had riding through the woods to visit, and to dance at the balls, always the chief amusement in new countries; with their cousins of the same age, Maria Deane, Charlotte Kellogg, and a special comrade, Mrs. Reuben Brown, who, will appear in the Conneaut record, they enjoyed special favors in the way of partners, having a young uncle, L. Q. C. Deane, or “Alphabet” Deane, as he was often called, and an older cousin, James M. Bloss, who always presented desirable new comers, and saw that best partners were always forthcoming.

Maria Deane early became Mrs. Kent, marrying a minister, and removing from Kelloggsville, dropping dancing, doubtless, with dispatch.

The cousins, Charlotte, Mrs. S. G. Holbrook, and Louisa, who married Sidney B. McClung, and removed to Unionville, O., were married at the same time at the home of Amos Kellogg, the large white house built early in the 20’s at the foot of Main street, south, and burned a few years ago, thereby laying the ghosts that seemed to throng within its walls.

L. Q. C. Dean and J. M. Bloss, uncle and cousin of the two brides, and friends of the bridegrooms, were best men; and a few years afterward, when death had claimed the young lawyer, Mrs. McClung returned to her father’s house, and in time married her cousin, J. M. Bloss. Her long life in Kelloggsville was a lovely and beneficent one, though marked with much sorrow and loss. At thirty-seven she was again a widow, and for a quarter of a century, she stood to her six children the embodiment of womanly perfection, an intelligent guide to her children’s growing minds, a delightful companion IN THEIR MATURE YEARS.

Of her children, two daughters alone remain, Rowena, Mrs. H. W. Hickox, of Kelloggsville, and Paulina Mrs. E. P. Baker, of Ludington, Mich., lately left a widow.

The third of the three Kellogg sisters, Clarissa, passed twenty-one lovable years in the town of her birth, and married Robert Lyon, of Conneaut, O., in the history of which town her late years will find mention.

For the last two years she has made her home with her son, T. R. Lyon, of Chicago. Paulina, the fourth daughter, and the youngest child, married William Dennison, of Conneaut, dying within the year in Buffalo, in her sweet youth.

Rowena Kellogg, sister of Amos and Martin Kellogg, married first James Bloss, who died in Massachusetts; second, Alex. Patterson; and again being left a widow, has returned to Kelloggsville.

Her long widowhood and the care of her young family could not impair the sweetness of her temper or sharpen the wit that was scintillant [scintillate?], but always kindly. The death of her eldest and youngest sons within a month of each other, the last, unkindest cut of the many that fate had dealt her, did not embitter her, but, entirely ready, with-out pain, in a moment, she answered a gentle summons, and after her seventy-five years’ journey, one morning lay smiling and silent, and was not, for God took her. Said her grand-daughter, “When I read ‘For sweeter woman ne’er drew breath,’ I always think of grand-mother.”

Her eldest daughter, Eliza, Mrs. Kempshall, for many years a widow, a woman of intelligence and culture, a pleasant writer and successful teacher, remained in the old home until her death, forty years ago, when it was broken up, and the farm sold.

A few are still living who will remember the “log cabin” made of cat-tails, which she constructed for the “Tippecanoe” mass meeting in Monroe. Clarissa, the youngest daughter, a most winning and lovable woman, married Heman Tichnor, and died in Williamsfield, O., more than a half a century ago, leaving one little daughter, Harriett, now living in Menominee, Wis.

Phoebe, second of the first Kellogg sisters and wife of Harvey Dean, with her family, soon followed her brother, settling in Monroe, a little north of Kelloggsville, where, with her large family and early widowhood, she bore her full SHARE OF PIONEER HARDSHIPS.

Mrs. Dean was a woman of indomitable will and fine intelligence. She died more than forty years ago. She handed down the family facility of speech in especial measure to her youngest daughter, Ednah, Mrs. Samuel Hayward, now of Conneaut. The brightest of women, she operates like new yeast upon a roomful of dullness.

The women of to-day can hardly imagine the difference between their freedom of movement and that of forty and fifty years ago. The men of that time still had well-defined views of “commanding their households after them.”

Eunice Kellogg, Mrs. Lemuel Moffitt, youngest sister of Rowena and Phoebe Kellogg, came to Monroe [Kelloggsville] with her husband and four of her daughters, in November, 1825, from West Stockbridge, Mass., via Albany and the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by stage through the sand on the lake shore.

Mrs. Bushnell, the only surviving member of the family party who came full of life and hope to their new home in the West, says; “My chief remembrance is of the comfort mother’s well-filled baskets added to the boat supplies. The boat was crowded with passengers of little congeniality, each one for himself.” Mrs. Bushnell sent a wisp of beautifully fine and even linen thread, spun during the Revolution, by her father’s sister Abigail Moffitt. Of her three sisters, Harriet, Mrs. Heman Tichnor, died in Kelloggsville, within a few years of her marriage; Almira, Mrs. Elijah Scott, died not many years ago in Cleveland; Laura A., Mrs. Sidney S. Bushnell, lived till past middle age in Kelloggsville; when the family, including her widowed mother, removed to Chicago, their present home. Mrs. Moffitt died after a green and beautiful old age.

Matilda and Maria Spencer of Vernon, O., married the cousins Abner and Albert Kellogg, during the early thirties, and spent the first decade of their married life in Kelloggsville. Mr. and Mrs. Abner Kellogg removed to Jefferson, when their daughters were still quite young; and where she died in 1885, after years of helpless invalidism. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Kellogg removed to Yellow Springs in time for the opening of Antioch College, where the parents, as well as the children, enjoyed the “sweet influences” of the short reign of Horace Mann. Their home there was ideal in every way. It was the benign autumn of their lives; and when Mrs. Kellogg died, her husband never recovered from the shock. His daughter, Mrs. Hill, nursed him UNTIL HIS DEATH.

Mrs. Pliney Kellogg next moves, a white-haired wraith, across the stage, faintly remembered in her seat at church, attended by her daughter, Louisa, and Cynthia Spaulding, the wife of her son, Francis. When her place knew her no more, no Sabbath passed that did not see the two left in their places, quiet, devout, Quaker-like, the mother watchful of her two boys. When she went “where eternal Sabbath reigns,” and “Aunt Louisa” alone was left. A year ago, old and bent, she, too put on immortality.

Irene Munn, Mrs. John Dean, brought up her three daughters in Monroe, Phoebe, Mrs. J. R. Hayward, Ashland, Neb.; Rowena, Mrs. Fish, York State; Ida, Mrs. Laughlin, California, but spent her later days in East Conneaut. The eldest, Phoebe, inherited much of her paternal grandmother’s quick wit and facility of expression.

Calista Miles -- Mrs. Chauncey Deane -- came to Monroe from Vermont with her parents in 1835.

Arrived at Monroe, the mother and children, except the two oldest, who went with their father, were left at Scribner’s on the “center road” while the father pushed on to prepare a little cabin for their home.

Twelve-year-old Calista was housekeeper, with a sky roof, a dirt floor, and a blanket door, and the brave child cooked their meals over a fire on the floor. At last one end of the cabin was roofed after a fashion, and the father started after the goods through forest paths and mud of unknown depth. Darkness came on, the wolves began to howl, but no father. Finally the boy made a torch and started out to meet him. In terror of the wolves, the lonely child climbed to a board the lay across the top logs; then, fearing they might come over the logs to her perch, thinking it might be safer under the roof corner, she somehow managed to move the board there, and her father found her lying on it, her head hanging off, both arms clasped tight about it, fast asleep.

A year later the same brave girl walked weekly a long two miles to do washing and baking for a sick aunt, returning home at night, in opposition to much persuasion; and once followed so closely by a wolf that, not daring to run, she turned towards him with a scream, and threw a washboard she was carrying at him. This so astonished the animal that he beat a retreat, which, it is needless to say, she imitated, though IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

Lucia Sampson -- Mrs. Isaac Smith -- came to Kelloggsville from Lyme, N. H., in 1832, the year after her marriage, and for nearly a half century identified herself with the interests of the community. A woman of marked intelligence, she kept well to the front in knowledge of affairs, not only in the smaller round of village life, where her friendship was valued by old and young, but in the great outer circle that still touches us all so closely. But one daughter, Susan -- Mrs. George Waite -- now of Hutchinson, Kan., survives her.

Sylvia Benson -- Mrs. E. B. Woodbury -- came to Kelloggsville soon after her marriage in the early “thirties,” and all her children were born here. She died in Jefferson years ago, the family having removed to that place about 1850.

Mrs. Woodbury was a woman of kindly heart and helping hands, at one time receiving into her family for an extended time an unfortunate relative of her husband’s with young twin babies, and caring for them most kindly.

Mrs. Eliza Benson, wife of Eri Benson, after her husband’s death, left the home farm, and purchased the “brick house” in Kelloggsville, living there for many years with her only daughter, Ursula -- Mrs. Martin -- and the youngest son, in a house large enough for twenty people.

Mrs. Parkman Baker -- Minerva Ballard -- from Leroy, Lake county, Ohio, came to Kelloggsville in 1837. Of her two daughters, Lucebia M. still lives in Kelloggsville.

Thankful, wife of Deacon Chapman, effaced herself in her husband and family and spent her devout days to the last in Kelloggsville, leaving two daughters. The two ladies slowly sewed themselves into the grave, one after the other, as spotlessly pure and as cruelly crushed as many another Christian martyr.

Mrs. Philip Doel, born Fox, still lives in Geneva, O. where she undoubtedly dwells, as of yore, in an atmosphere of sunshine, radiating from her own good heart and face.

Sarah Pierce, Mrs. William Ensign, a pioneer of the earliest days, whom I remember a white, fragile-looking woman with silvery hair, had four daughters: Catherine, Mrs. Benjamin Preston, of Monroe; Caroline, Mrs. G. F. Lewis, of Cleveland; Harriet, Mrs. George Dewey; and Maria, Mrs. John Tracy, all women of fine face, mind, and physique, and all “gone home.” Catherine Preston was a host in herself. Early left a widow with three young children, she held herself on call for mother, sisters, and brothers, and was a benediction to all. Two daughters survive her.

Rhoda Swain, Mrs. Sedgwick Bushnell -- 1820-30 -- was the mother of four daughters, none of whom survive.

Mrs. Pardon Harrington, mother of seven daughters, was faithfully cared for by them for twenty bed-ridden years. She could not endure noise, and lay in a little house, built for her by her faithful husband, a few rods from that in which the family lived, the daughters caring for her in turn. I can remember my wondering awe when a child, I once saw the wan form upon the bed in the silent room.

Polly Ann Green, Mrs. Hiram Griggs, daughter of Phineas and Harriet Noyes Green, claims collateral descent from General Green of revolutionary fame. She is one of those rarely happy women, always perfectly SATISFIED WITH HER HOME. In pioneer days, or fast as her husband felled trees about the little home, she planted roses in the hearts of the stumps and soon had a veritable rose garden. When I called at the large, comfortable house, now her home, she still spoke of “taking comfort” from the log house and roses time to the present, when she and her “John Anderson” are going down the hill together. She showed me, on a crane in the fireplace, with its red brick hearth, hanging among the hooks, a trammel; something we had heard of, but never seen before.

Then she brought out a pile of tablecloths and towels manufactured by herself from the flax plant, a generous and handsome outfit for all her boys and girls, and told how she raveled a towel to learn the diamond pattern.

Mary Peck, Mrs. Ogden Coombes, a naturally bright woman, of quick temper, married a good-natured man, who kept her teeth on edge with his slowness, while she made life miserable for him by her energy. She was always stirring up the animals, and he lived in dread of her pole. A good cabinet-maker, the house never had anything but the absolute necessaries in the way of furniture, since, if he made anything for her, some irate customer always got it, because his own order was not filled. After long waiting, she at last obtained a large dining table, through the top of which she deliberately bored three auger holes and covered them with a spread, exclaiming, “Now then!”

Jane, Mrs. James Kinnear, the genius of neatness personified, came from Franklin, Pa., about 1840. She had eight daughters, who all lived to maturity, though but three now remain. Ellen Hawkins, Mrs. John Kinnear, was a low-voiced gentle woman. She left two daughters.

Elizabeth Campbell, Mrs. Samuel Hayward, Sr. came to Monroe in 1833. An exceptionally strong and capable woman of New England birth, she did not flinch at pioneer trials, or when her husband died, after long illness, leaving her with twelve children; several quite young, and small worldly goods, but breasted the storm and came off conqueror, to spend her later days in comfort among the children for whom she had striven. Of her seven daughters, but four are now left.

Betsey Jones, Mrs. Israel Parker, and family, came to Monroe in 1827. She had two daughters, Sarah, Mrs. Nelson Noyce and Angeline, Mrs. Harmon Roundy, now living in the house where their mother learned her letters, seventy years ago.

Thankful G. Lucas, Mrs. Benjamin Wetmore, came to Monroe in 1820, from Middletown, Conn. She had eight daughters. Two -- Sally and Lucretia -- lived in the old home, unmarried, till old age, and brought up the two motherless children of their brother, John.

The family have the full record of direct and collateral branches, from Thomas Wetmore, who came from England in 1535, one of the original proprietors and founders of Middletown, Conn.

Rachael Hawkins, Mrs. Almeron Hill, came in 1817, her husband a mighty hunter. They had twelve children, five daughters, all reaching maturity. The children of Robert and Wallace, who married Laird sisters, are connected collaterally with the FAMILY OF ETHAN ALLEN.

The women of the Durkee family, Betsey and Sylvia, with Ruth Hayward, Mrs. David Durkee, the new wife of their brother, came from Tunbridge, Vt., 1818. Starting a week after her marriages, she spent her honeymoon on the road, walking the entire distance, because she “couldn’t wait to ride after oxen,” and knitting on the way two pairs of stockings. She saw peaches growing for the first time near Erie, Pa., and secured a quantity of the stones which had been thrown away to pigs, with which she planted an orchard at her new home, from which her descendants long gathered fruit. She taught school the next year in the South Ridge log school house, Rufus Clark, future Yale graduate and preacher, being one of her pupils. She was paid in wheat for the spring’s sowing on the new farm.

Four daughters were born to this busy woman, of whom at least one, Marcella, Mrs, Searles, inherited her mother’s energy. Now, at almost her seventy-third birthday, she last summer walked a distance of five miles to pay a debt against her husband’s estate, which she administered, rested an hour, and walked back the same day.

Betsey Durkee was a notable weaver of wonderful coverlets, and of wool and linen for bedding and clothing. Sylvia was an invalid, and never left home; but Betsey, who lived to be ninety-four, talked of the balls of her youth. Mrs. Searles showed us a pair of faded silken slippers that she used to wear “when she danced the minuet long ago.”

Mrs. Luther Brown, born Raymond, sister of the late Dr. Raymond, of Conneaut, bore a goodly family of sons and daughters, none of whom furnished me with data.

Of the many Huntleys, this bit of history was furnished. Amos Huntley and wife came to Monroe about 1829. He returned to New York soon to arrange business affairs, and died there, leaving his wife, Ada, with seven small children in the Ohio wilderness. She had three daughters, Amanda, Mrs. Knox, Mary, Mrs. Smith and Martha, Mrs. Clark

Mary Hayward Haviland, wishing to visit her sister, Mrs. Dr. Venan, in Salem, her husband John Haviland, went to the woods and cut two long saplings for thills and runners. On these, he securely fastened two wash-benches, and placed a wagon-box on top of all. This, with plenty of straw in the bottom, furnished a comfortable and sufficient, if not handsome turnout; though, to make it complete, Priscilla Alden’s wedding steed, should have graced the shafts.

Juliana Badger, Mrs. Josiah Hicks, came to Ashtabula from Vermont, 1813; to Monroe, 1834. She is the granddaughter of Elder Badger, well known everywhere as the first preacher or missionary on the Reserve. Mrs. Hicks now lives in Conneaut.

Another old family, the Mitchels, has a most pathetic history. Of six daughters, four were, and are, LIFE LONG INVALIDS.

Mrs. Elizabeth [Hall] Ely, from Wilbraham, Mass., emigrated to Salem 1817 or 1818, and settled in Monroe township, then a part of Salem, where her two daughters were born, Elizabeth E. -- Mrs. Elliott Vinton White 1822, and Harriett Newell -- Mrs. Edward Pease Brewer in 1827.

Mrs. Ely taught the first school in the town of Monroe, south of Conneaut Creek. A woman of many resources, all were utilized in supplying the wants of the pioneer family. She was skilled in fine needle work and embroidery, was a straw milliner, braiding and doing over bonnets for the settlers, and an expert at the little wheel, spinning linen to make cloth to exchange, one yard for two yards of cotton. Her neighbors were the Colbys, Hatches, Eatons, Spaldings, Durkees, and Abbotts, the latter also weavers of wonderful coverlets.

The eldest daughter tells of learning to spin on a high wheel when so small that she had to walk on a raised board. She was one of Elder Richmond’s pupils at the old Conneaut Academy, and afterward at Kingsville, under Zwinglius Graves. Like their mother, both girls became teachers.

Olivia Palmer -- Mrs. Benjamin Woodward -- was born in Vernon, Trumbull county, Ohio, 1810, and now lives, physically and mentally alert, in Cleveland. When three years old, she was left alone for a moment, and, having managed to set on fire a quantity of flax which hung over the fire place, she hid behind the door for safety! The family came to Monroe [Bushnell postoffice] during the thirties, where she married Benjamin Woodward 1850. One daughter, Mrs. Olivia M. Durkee, of Cleveland, O., represents her.
The Pinney family were among the early comers of the township, and everybody past fifty years of age will remember Mrs. Pinney, mother of William K.

Of the Hatches, the Eatons, the Hickses, the many Browns, the Joneses, the Brydles, who came from England in 1838; the Colbys, the Colegroves, the Randalls, the Fords, the Sanfords, the Osbornes et al., ad infinitum, it is hopeless to attempt to speak within the limits of a much larger article than this, already more than double the length proposed. Their names will appear in the index, Monroe census of pioneer women

ROWENA BLOSS HICKOX, of Kelloggsville, Chairman and Historian. Monroe committee -- Mrs. Lucy White Wood, Miss Lucia Smith, Mrs. Laura Colby Clark, Mrs. Marcella Durkee Searles, Mrs. Angeline Parker Roundy, Mrs. Polly Green Griggs.

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Submitter Note:

*Ashtabula County Marriage Records show Polly [aka Mary] Ferguson and Sanford Niles were married 20 Aug 1811. This union did not last. By July 1814, Polly had met, married and started a family with Jonathan Sprague. She died in Iowa County, Iowa, 08 Feb 1852. In Monroe on 26 Apr 1821, Sanford Niles wed secondly Susanna Spooner, a daughter of Pardon Spooner and Susan DeMaranville.


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