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Pioneer Women of Plymouth
Posted by: Carol Page Tilson (ID *****2353) Date: June 05, 2010 at 23:35:03
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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 Womenís Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, July, 1896], p. p. 120-122:


Originally the township of Plymouth was included in the limits of Ashtabula, but in June, 1838, by order of the County Commissioners, it was detached from that township and created a new one. Plymouth received its name from Plymouth Conn., having been settled principally by people from that town, at an early date.

Among the earliest pioneers were the families of David Burnett, who came in 1806, Thomas Gordon in 1807, Samuel White in 1806, Josiah White in 1806, Obed Edwards in 1809, Collins Wetmore in 1809, Zadock Mann in 1809, Warner, Elial, and Joseph Mann in 1809, John G. Blakeslee in 1810, and in 1811 Captain Moses Hall, father of Rev. John Hall.

In 1811, led by Zadock Mann as lay reader, the Episcopal Church service was used in Plymouth for the first time on the Western Reserve.

The first child born in the township of white parents was Edmund, son of David and Mary Polly Burnett, in 1808, on the farm now owned by James Gary, and formerly owned by Wells Blakeslee.

The first bride in Plymouth was Julia Hubbard who was married in 1810, at the residence of her father, Manoah Hubbard, to Walker Richmond, of New York.

THE FIRST DEATH, without doubt, was a widow named Hanon, who died in the spring of 1807. Miss Dorcas Seymour Welton was believed to be the first person to be buried in Plymouth Cemetery, now called "Maple Grove Cemetery," near the first schoolhouse which was built, of logs, in the year 1810. The pioneer women who taught in the town were Hannah Seymour [afterwards Mrs. Josiah Allen], Lucia Hall, Lucy Blakeslee [afterwards Mrs. Felix Ross], Lucy Rockwell [Mrs. Homer Fenn], Levea Mann [Mrs. Bennett Seymour], Rachel Pierce [Mrs. Stephen Hall], and Maria Stowe, all considered first-class teachers.

The second physician who located in Plymouth was Dr. David Warner, who came with his family in 1816 from Connecticut. His wife was Esther Mann, daughter of Zadock Mann. Dr. Warner removed to Wisconsin in 1848. Mrs. Titus Seymour-Levea Blakeslee, one of our most revered and honored ones, was a very self-denying woman, kind to the poor, always ready to leave her own work to go to the help of another, a good nurse, and a great spinner. She also used to bind shoes for her husband, who was a shoemaker.

Esther Warner [wife of Zadock Mann] was thrown from a wagon and killed in 1825 while riding with her daughter, Mrs. Maria Wetmore. She had her grandchild in her arms at the time, who was not seriously hurt.

Zadock Mann was also killed by falling from a scaffold in his barn in 1846. Mrs. Mann was as good as any physician in administering relief to the sick and needy, often for this purpose called to go several miles through the woods on horseback. She was usually supplied with simple remedies, which she freely used. She died aged sixty-six years.

Elizabeth Miller came from Canada in 1818, and was married soon after to Henry C. Graham. They came across the lake in a bark canoe, bringing all their worldly goods with them. Among other things was an iron kettle, which is now in the possession of her daughter, Hannah Maria McNutt, and still in use. They moved upon what is still known as the Graham farm at Plymouth station, when it was an unbroken forest, and often FED THE WILD TURKEYS from the window, and when they were fattened, feasted on them. She lived to hear the howl of the wolf succeeded by the whistle of the locomotive, and see the forest give way to fields of waving grain. Though she raised a large family of children and grandchildren, she was always seeking to aid the homeless. Like many other noble pioneer women, she passed away, loved and mourned by all who knew her.

Mrs. Erastus Johnson [Candace West] who came to Plymouth in 1821 from the East, was a very strong, hearty pioneer, a woman who had many hardships to overcome, a genial, kind and social woman, who raised a family of ten sons and five daughters. She now lives in Michigan with her sons.

One day many years ago while Mrs. Winthrop Watrous [Pamelia Castle] was spending the day with Mrs. David Burnett [Mary White], they heard the pigs squeal, and going out found a bear in the pen. Miss Castle wanted to get the gun and try to shoot the bear, but Mrs. Burnett would not allow her to do so, being fearful of accident, as the ground was strewn with logs. They succeeded in frightening the bear away by their cries, and saved the pig. Mrs. Burnett when a girl was a teacher in the Plymouth school at 75 cents a week. She was strictly a domestic woman, and raised a family of five sons and four daughters.

Mrs. Warner Mann [Amanda Blakeslee] came from Connecticut in 1810. She had a large family of children, and was a great nurse, often going a number of miles to visit the sick. She died at the home of her daughter in Akron, O., August 31, 1854, aged sixty-five years. Mrs. Mann, whose later years were clouded by deep sorrow, has ever retained the respect of a large circle of friends.

Mrs. Eliza C. Upson [Orra Blakeslee] was one who had the greatest influence for good over the people of that day. So many came for help, which she always freely gave. She was an earnest church worker, an artist in fine needle work, an expert in spinning and weaving.

A fit of sickness in 1840 left her an invalid until she died in 1860, mourned by all.

Mrs. Robert Harris [Mary Upson] is a very quit [sic], unassuming woman, social and kind, a fine cook, and good housekeeper. Lucy [Mrs. Darius Van Slyke] died in 1865, left one daughter. She was a great lover of music and was skillful in fine embroidery. She also was a DRESSMAKER AND MILLINER.

Mrs. Dr. Chauncey Isbell [Olive Mann, daughter of Warner and Amanda] was born in Plymouth in 1824. With her husband she crossed the plains to California in 1846. In crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains they were met by General Fremont and his command, whom they joined, and served through the Mexican war, Dr. Isbell as surgeon and Mrs. Isbell as nurse, after which they finished their trip and settled at Stockton, Cal., he practicing medicine and she teaching school. Mrs. Isbell taught the first school every opened in California. In 1856 they moved to a ranch in Texas on the Frio River, where they invested in ten thousand acres of land and stocked it with seven thousand head of cattle, where they lived peaceably until the outbreak of the war, when they were forced to leave all and fly to Mexico.

They traveled across Mexico over land, took vessel, and were forty-four days reaching Frisco, since which time they lived in the Santa Clara Valley. While in the line of duty the doctor was thrown over a precipice, breaking both legs, one of them in several places. He lay a helpless cripple for nineteen years, until his death in 1886. They had no children, and to-day Mrs. Isbell lives alone, far from all relatives, in order to keep a promise to be buried by the side of her husband. She receives a pension from the Mexican Government. Her home is in Santa Paula, Ventura county, Cal.

Mrs. Isaac Matthews [Amanda Mann] was born in Plymouth in 1827. She lived here several years, them moved to Iowa where she died on her fifty-sixth birthday. Her husband and daughter, Mrs. Quincy A. Stone, survive her.

Miss Julia Blakeslee when a little child crept or fell into the fire, burning her right hand terribly, so that her fingers could never be straightened. She is a lovely, patient, self-denying woman, always kind.

"Aunt Alma" Mann [wife of Joseph] raised a large family of children, twelve, I think, who were all a credit to their mother. She was once terribly frightened by a bear. Mrs. Schuyler Garrison, familiarly called "Sally," is very old, and remarkably strong and hearty for one of her years, was skillful in spinning, and never idle, She also raised a large family. The writer remembers well, in early life, Aunt Lydia Smith, who came to her fatherís house to do the family weaving of cloth. It was great fun to watch the pedals as they worked, and to see the shuttle fly through the noisy loom. We used to like to fill the shuttles with the bright yarns, and also wind the balls of pretty rags for the new carpet. Our neighbor, Mrs. Hines, also wove carpets. It was our delight to go and visit her. Warm biscuits and honey always were plenty upon these occasions. She spent the last few years with her daughter, Mrs. L. A. Oliver, in Jefferson. Her son Isaac married Lucia, daughter of H. J. B. and Nancy Seymour, who lives in Plymouth, and a very energetic business woman, social and kind-hearted, and an active MEMBER OF THE W. C. T. U.

Mrs. Eleanor Seymour Darrow lives in Kansas, where she has been for several years. She was extremely found of music, and a fine vocalist.

Mrs. Frank LaBounty, Jr. [Mary Griggs] lived here until 1848, then moved to Ashtabula [North Woods], where she still resides. By nature a poet, her live is beautiful, her company most entertaining and instructive. May her remaining days be bright and peaceful.

Old Mrs. Horton came to Plymouth very early. She used to bake johnny cake on a large board by the fire. Mrs. Norman Seymour [Aunt Sally] was a great quilter. She was of a very social disposition, and late in life spent her time happily with her immediate friends.

Mrs. Sarah Upson, afterward Mrs. B. P. Mann, spun and wove thirty yards of toweling, which she sold for money enough to pay for a pair of sheets, and for her wedding bonnet, which Mrs. Valerious Hall, mother of Henry Hall, made of rye straw that she braided, sewed and bleached. It was a pretty bonnet trimmed with pink and white ribbons, and a beautiful, seventeen-year-old bride was the writerís mother, who wore it.

How many young ladies of the present generation would be willing to work like that for their wedding bonnet? If obliged to do so, I fear there would be more old maids than in pioneer times.

Mrs. Mann lived to celebrate her golden wedding, May 19, 1892, and to see her descendants number eight children, forty grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Obed Edwards -- Martha Strong -- came to Plymouth in 1809, from Massachusetts. Her children, while on their way to school, were kept in constant terror of wolves.

Indians were frequent visitors in those days, and often engaged in the peaceful occupation of making cradles for pioneer babies out of logs hewed out. But Uncle Ben Hall, when his twins arrived, had high aspirations, and himself manufactured a rough cradle for them out of boards. It was long enough to hold a child in each end, and doubtless, the sleep of those twins was as sweet, and the lullabies sung over them as tender, as if they slumbered in the most luxurious childís bed.

Mrs. Tower -- Martha Bartholomew -- came to Ashtabula in 1800, and was a life long resident of Plymouth. He first husband, Williams, died at Fort Meigs during the war of 1812. Her second husband, Shears, was also a soldier of that war, by whom she received a pension. Her daughter, Betty Shears, now Mrs. Nathaniel Amidon, still lives in Plymouth. Mrs. Tower was totally blind for several years before her death.

The writer is aware that a large number of pioneer women not mentioned in this sketch should have been included. They equally were worthy of having their names and virtues inscribed in this memorial, but space forbade.

MRS. ELLEN S. LOCKWOOD, Chairman and Historian; Plymouth Committee -- Mrs. Sarah Upson Mann, Mrs. Austin W. Rockwell, Mrs. Philo W. Blakeslee, Mrs. Seymour Morgan, Mrs. Joseph Edwards, Mrs. Albert Rockwell.


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