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Pioneer Women of Trumbull
Posted by: Carol Page Tilson (ID *****2353) Date: May 20, 2010 at 04:28:00
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From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part II, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, September, 1896], p. p. 224-227:


Forty- five miles east of Cleveland, midway in the western tier of townships of Ashtabula county, lies the township of Trumbull. No railroad runs through the town, the nearest being the A.,Y. & P., five miles east, and the L. S. & M. S. and Nickel Plate, ten miles north.

The first attempt at a settlement of this township was made in 1799 by Holly Tanner, of Scipio, N. Y., who, with his wife and two little boys, came with a boat to Harper’s Landing, thence through the forest ten miles to the north line of Trumbull, built a cabin, cut twenty acres of timber, raised a small crop of wheat, staying nearly two years, when he became discouraged and removed from the state.

From the date of his departure there was no settlement in the township until about 1818, when Daniel Woodruff, originally from Colebrook, Conn., removed to Trumbull and located in the southwest part of the township. There is no record of his wife’s maiden name. She was the mother of the first white child born in the township, which occurred December 24, 1819.

The first school taught in the town was a cooper shop on the farm of Daniel Woodruff. There were five scholars; name of the teacher not known.

Immediately following Woodruff came Isaac H. Phelps, from Harpersfield, O., who moved into the southeast part of the township. His family consisted of his wife [Eleanor Gregory], two sons, and four daughters. Sylvia, who married Henry Bryant [dying soon after, she was buried on the bank of Trumbull Creek, there being no cemetery in the township]. Marcia married William Hinckley and removed from the town. Rebecca married Jason W. Baker and resided here several years, removing to Michigan, where she died. Lavinia became Mrs. James Moore and is now a widow living in Milwaukee, Wis. Mr. Phelps was the first postmaster in the township, the office having been established in 1823.

Alta Andrus, the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, was born in Vermont in 1800. She removed with her parents to Austinburg, O., in 1814, and at the age of nineteen was married to Andrew Winne, removing to Trumbull soon afterward. She became the mother of seven children.

When a girl she and her sister walked one and one-half miles to church every Sabbath, carrying their best shoes and putting them on in the preacher’s barn before entering the log church. She is now living with her son in Trumbull. Her general health is good and she can read without glasses.

Lorana Keith was born in Bethany, N. Y. in 1798, married Nathaniel Brown, and removed to Trumbull in 1828, reaching Harpersfield with a wagon. They were obliged to leave it and walk a distance of seven miles to their future home. Mrs. Brown carrying her babe in her apron through a drenching rain. She was the mother of ten children.

Phebe Smith was born at Orange, N. J. in 1799. From thence she removed to New York, where she was married to Peter S. Lewis. In 1830 she, with her husband and family, removed to Seneca county, Ohio., where they remained about a year, when she started with her husband and three children in an ox team and wagon to Trumbull, arriving about the 15th of December. She lost one child and raised four sons and three daughters to maturity. Her death occurred in 1871.

Almon Damon and Theodoria Leonard were married at Northampton, Mass. in 1820, and in April 1836, they started with their family of five children for the Western Reserve. Arriving in Trumbull, they bought a farm in the wilderness, erected a log house, and commenced a pioneer life. The money to pay for the farm was brought in an iron teakettle. Mr. Damon, with the assistance of his wife and sons, cleared the farm without a team, rolling logs and doing all the labor by hand. Mrs. Damon died at the old homestead in 1876.

Mrs. John Sanders, with her family, arrived in Trumbull in 1844 from the State of New York. She was the mother of twelve children and lived with her husband nearly sixty years, dying at the age of seventy-seven. “Aunt Phebe” was an industrious, energetic, wideawake matron, a devoted, mother, loved and respected by all who knew her.

Elizabeth Marshall was a native of Vermont. Her parents moved to Courtland, N. Y., in her childhood. She was married at the age of fifteen to John B. Barnes, riding on horseback to the magistrate. Soon after her marriage they moved to Trumbull, purchasing a farm near the east line. Her husband died two or three years later and was buried near their home, she giving the land for a small cemetery, the first in the township.

She had a good team with which she did all kinds of hard farm work, such as logging, etc. After a time she married Silas Bullis, a widower with several children. The built and kept the first hotel in the town, called the “Center House.” She and Bullis did not live happily together, he having a bad temper, and at times she was afraid of her life, and many a night she slept on her husband’s grave in the little cemetery, for he, being superstitious, would not follow her there. After several years they separated, he going to live with his children until the year before he came back and wanted “Betsey” to care for him, which she did. Having no children of her own, she brought up three boys and two girls to mature years. She was always good to the sick, going far and near to minister to them, and acting as midwife, had a record of over a thousand births. In the year 1863 she married Henry Cogswell, surviving him many years and dying at the age of Ninety-four.

Mrs. Marilla [Wait] Clark was born in 1805, in Cazanovia, N. Y., and moved to Trumbull in 1833. Her husband, Nathaniel Clark, and her brother, Asa Wait, built the first grist mill in the town. They worked all the summer of 1834 to complete the mill. The first grist ground was corn, each declaring he would eat it first. Clark carried it home and his wife made a pudding, but just as it was done Watt happened in, and seizing the kettle, ran home with it.

She was a zealous worker in the church [Freewill Baptist], and though never a healthy woman, is still living at the age of ninety. Her family consisted of four boys and two girls. The latter are both dead.

Emily Johnson and John Clark were married on the Catskill Mountains, in Greene county, N. Y., in 1832, removing to this town in 1839, locating about a mile north from East Trumbull, where they bought a farm. She was quite a noted singer, and her clear, sweet voice was welcome in the service of the church. She was a very hard worker, making cheese from a dairy of from thirty to fifty cows. She was the mother of four children and is now living with her son at the age of eighty-eight.

Mrs. Louisa [Beach] Quirk was the only daughter of Marvin and Hannah Beach, was born in 1834, lived to care for her father and mother [the latter being blind for many years], was a dutiful daughter, and affectionate wife, the kindest of mothers, and though at times a great sufferer, she always carried sunshine in her heart.

Betsey Parker and Isaiah Burgett were married in Harpersfield and moved to Trumbull in 1832, locating in the northeast corner, built one of the first frame houses on the town line road, and they had ten children. Their daughters were Lucy, Sarah, and Martha. Sarah, wife of Micah Pool, lived in town forty-one years. She was a native of New Milford, Conn. Her children are ten in number. Two sons and one daughter were unmarried. They, together with a widowed sister, cared for the aged mother, who was nine years blind and lived to be ninety-nine.

Harriet Pool was twice a widow, her married names Hunt and Beach. She relates that her two little boys, Chauncey and Frank Hunt, aged five and three, and a little daughter of her brother wandered into the woods and were lost. There came up a terrible thunder shower and they were not found until nearly night, all three cuddled together fast asleep.

Sally Cloes was born in Penfield, N. Y., in 1788, married Ebenezer Andrus, and removed to Austinburg, O., in 1816, and, in 1836, moved to Trumbull. She was the mother of four boys and two girls, Julia [Hubbard] and Sarah [Davis]. While living in Austinburg, she rode a horse through the woods to Trumbull, a distance of ten miles, carrying a ten-month-old child, to attend the funeral of her brother-in law, Leonard Blackmar.

Mrs. Zilpha [Newton] Baker, a widow with two sons and two daughters, came from Hartwick, N. Y., in 1834. Her daughter Susan helped to support the family by teaching school in one of the first log school houses in the township, afterward marrying P. S. Livingston and tenderly caring for her aged and invalid mother.

Josiah Gregory and wife [Pruilla Cloes] located near what is now East Trumbull about 1828, there being but seven families in town. Their sheep were kept nights in a pen near the house to save them from the wolves, which were numerous and hungry. “Aunt Pruilla” is remembered as a kind neighbor . She was a great Bible reader, had a wonderful memory, and when eighty years old would repeat Scripture by the hour.

Mrs. Rachel [Hayden] Chilson, with her husband, Luther Chilson, and ten children, three boys and seven girls, came from Northampton, Mass., in 1836. She spun and wove the cloth to clothe her family for many years, finding time to visit the sick and afflicted for miles around with her basket of roots and herbs. She was blind seven years, dying at the age of ninety. She was cared for by a twin daughter, Mrs. Lucinda Gregory, who now resides on the old homestead.

Daniel Dodge and wife [Meleson Hayward] and five children came from Stafford, N. Y., in 1837, locating on Trumbull Creek, near the center, where he built a large grist mill. Mrs. Dodge was possessed of wonderful courage and endurance, assisting in logging and clearing land and doing fancy weaving, etc. A devoted Christian, she frequently walked four miles to church.

Of the early settlers in the southwest part of the township, now called Footville, were the families of Loren and Julius Foote, Levi Mills and sister, Mrs. Clark Loomis, Orson and Otis Grant. Their descendants having taken Horace Greeley’s advice and gone West, but little can be learned of their history.

In the winter of 1849, Mrs. Laura [Grant] Chapman left her home to visit a neighbor, having to cross Trumbull Creek on a log, not returning, the neighborhood was aroused and search made during the night. Next day the men for miles around searched the woods and the creek and on the third day her body was found in the creek frozen in the ice. The descendants of Bathsheba [Foote] Bacon, who moved into the township about 1840 from Palmyra, O., claim she was the first white woman born on the Western Reserve.

Mrs. Abigail [Mather] Stevens, supported her family many years by weaving, her husband being an invalid. In the month of November, about 1848, she was lost in the woods while returning from a neighbor’s. She knew she must spend the night in there unless she could make herself heard. The night being very cold, she must exercise to keep from freezing, so she wrapped herself as warmly as she could in her blanket shawl and walked back and forth between two trees, calling as loudly as she could. Two men, who were out cooning, heard her, and, guided by her voice, found her, so that late in the night she reached home safely.

Betsey Maynard was born in Conway, Mass., in 1810, removed to Auburn, O., married Nelson Daniels, coming to Trumbull in 1849. She was very industrious assisting in clearing a new farm. She was the mother of two daughters, the oldest now residing on the old homestead.

Mrs. Elizabeth [Gregory] Bartram was a daughter of Judge Ezra Gregory, who was one of the three first settlers in Harpersfield, O. Her daughter, Eleanor Churchill, was a great lover of flowers and her beautiful yard, filled with shrubs and flowers, was greatly admired by all.

Miss Florilla Gregory was a graduate of Western Reserve Seminary. Although constantly suffering from the effects of an accident received in early childhood, no word of complaint or despondency crossed her lips. She commenced her life work, teaching, when quite young. Her labors taxed her frail body to the utmost, yet she never faltered in her self-appointed task; but the destroyer had marked his victim, and in the months of pain and weariness that followed Jesus alone was able to comfort and sustain her. She died at the age of thirty.

Of the teachers who were born or lived in the township previous to 1850, may be mentioned Miss Samantha Brown, who received a certificate and commenced teaching at the age of sixteen. Josephine Clark, Celestia Kellogg, Emma Davis, Marina Chilson, Lucinda Hall, Eugenia M., and Nina Bowe.

The history that we have not written is much greater than that contained in this brief sketch, but we close, trusting that it will in a measure help to preserve the record of the noble women who were so largely identified with the early settlement of Trumbull.

“Oh mothers brave, you guarded well
The house, the child, the farm,
For you, within our heart of hearts
We have a corner warm.”

MRS. E. ADELL LIVINGSTON, Chairman and Historian. Trumbull Committee -- Mrs. H. Bartram, Mrs. A. E. Graham, and Mrs. A. H. Thompson


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