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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Ohio: Ashtabula County

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Pioneer Women of Richmond
Posted by: Carol Page Tilson (ID *****2353) Date: June 05, 2010 at 23:37:49
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From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part V, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor and Historian; Mrs. Charles Heber Smith, Assistant Historian [Published Under the Auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, c1924], p. p. 915-916:


Richmond is on the eastern boundary of the Western Reserve. The northern row of lots in the township were sold to John Kinsman, Horace and John Stocking, and joining this tract was a thousand acres owned by Samuel Woodruff. All of the land south of this belonged to the Atwater heirs.

In the spring of 1805, Peter Yateman, Benjamin Newcomb, Samuel and William Tead with their families and a Mr. Morehouse arrived in the township and erected several log houses. Mr. Newcomb’s was a double one; two cabins side by side and separated far enough to allow a team to drive through and this space roofed over.

Soon after this came Paul Rice and a Mr. Diggs, who settled a half mile north of the others.

Mrs. Charles Jordan lived in the first frame house built in 1828. Elvira Rockwell was the first bride in town. She married Nicholas Knapp in 1824. Laura Ford taught the first school in Richmond. Whether she was a resident or lived in another township is not given.

The parents of Lavina Lamphear, born in 1800, removed from Brattleboro, Vt., in 1815 to Crawford County, Pa., where Lavina married Salmon Ashley and came to Richmond in 1821.

They were the first settlers in that part of the township, their nearest neighbor ARTEMUS WARD lived on a farm now occupied by Samuel Johnson. Mr. Ashley made all the furniture in his cabin with an ax and an auger. His wife often told that the only personal property, aside from his clothes, that he possessed at marriage was an ax. The whole county around and about them was the home of wolves and bears, but the young bride, fearful but undaunted, stood shoulder to shoulder with her husband, helping him to clear a homesite. It must be remembered that not only trees had to be leveled but almost impassable underbrush interspersed with huge rotting logs, remnants of monarchs of the forest that had fallen many years previous.

Many times she planted corn by cutting holes in the ground with an ax and dropping in the corn. She was a woman of more than ordinary strength and courage, beloved by all who knew her. It was not uncommon in those days for bears and wolves to carry off domestic animals and devour them and Lavina Ashley was one of those many pioneer women who had braved the marauder and unaided snatched his prize away from him. The story has been frequently told how Mrs. Ashley started out unarmed to the pig pen where its occupant was loudly squealing its fright at a big black bear climbing in to grab him. On her way to the rescue, she picked up a beech sapling with which she drove Bruin off.

In this connection it may be said that recent studies of native bears has disclosed that they seldom attack human beings, but pioneer women did not know this.

Mrs. Ashley lived until her death on the old homestead to which she came as a bride. She was buried in 1892 beside her husband at Richmond Center cemetery. Of her eight children, only one survives her, S. D. Ashley, a Richmond lawyer.

Nancy Platt, born in Warren, on the Genesee river in 1795, came to Ohio about 1814, and married Smith Platt, of Denmark, Ohio. Later they removed to Richmond, where they lived on the farm they purchased the rest of their lives. Mrs. Platt was eighty-three years of age at her death, and seven of her nine children survived her.

Eliza Bennet, born in 1812, in Caycuga [sic] County, N. Y., was married at the age of nineteen to John Turner. They came to Richmond about 1833, and became one of its most well known and useful resident families. Mrs. Turner lived to be old and quite helpless and made her home with her daughter, Ophelia Peck. She had the usual large pioneer family, and in consequence endured many hardships.

Matilda Drake was born in Windsor, Conn., in 1805. She married Merriam Barber and soon accompanied him to Pennsylvania near the Ohio boundary line, where they lived a short time, then came to Richmond and settled in that part of it called "Barber’s Corners." They drove the whole distance from Connecticut with a team of horses and a wagon. They endured many hardships incident to the time and condition of new, unbroken soil and SCARCITY OF MONEY and proper farming implements. Mrs. Barber died in 1870, and her only child, Helen, who was married to A. N. Slater, survived her but two years, leaving a son and a daughter. The latter, Mrs. Laura Sutton, lives in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Laura, daughter of Luman and Ruth Bartholomew, was born in Wayne, Ohio. Her parents came from Vermont in 1818, and of their eleven children Laura was the last one of her family. Her married to Edwin O. Peck occurred in 1837. The young couple lived first in Williamsfield, Ohio, then came to Richmond, where they spent the remainder of their days. Their daughter, Mrs. Andrew Wilson, lives in the old homestead, and had the privilege of caring for her parents in their old age. Another daughter, Mrs. John Parker, lives in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Mrs. Peck had twelve children and lived to see thirty-two grand-children and twenty-four great grand-children. She was a forceful woman, endowed with great energy and much beloved by friends and neighbors; very hard working until late in life when failing health compelled her to relinquish active duties. FOND OF FLOWERS, she always had a beautiful garden filled with them.

Charlotte Gibbs was born in Onondago [sic] County, N. Y. in 1826. She spent part of her early life in Lockport, that state, and in Williamsfield township, Ohio. In the latter place she married F. L. Simons and came to Richmond to reside. Of her five children, Mrs. Horace Stocking of Richmond Center is the only survivor, with whom Mrs. Simons spends her remaining days on earth.

Charlotte Platt, daughter of Hezekiah and Julia Platt, living in Wayne, Ohio, was one of seven children who were left motherless at a tender age. Three little girls of whom Charlotte was the second one, cared for the family until their father married a second wife, who relived the young housekeepers of their burdens.

In 1844 Charlotte married C. F. Sunbury of Wayne, and five years later removed to Richmond, where she resided until her death. Her daughters Mrs. C. J. Smith of Richmond and Mrs. M. E. Reed of Kinsman survived her.

MRS. MAY ADELE McCLURG, Historian. Richmond Committee -- Mrs. Laura E. Peck, Mrs. Jerome Platt, Mrs. L. D. Ashley.


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