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Pioneer Women of Wayne
Posted by: Carol Page Tilson (ID *****2353) Date: June 05, 2010 at 23:41:07
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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. 180-183:


In the southeastern part of famous old Ashtabula county is located the township of Wayne, named after the noted general of Revolutionary times.

The early pioneers of the township were from the New England States, descendants of a God-fearing people.

The first civilized man to tread the soil of Wayne was Titus Hayes, a man of more than ordinary energy and intelligence, with no companion but his faithful dog and trusty rifle. Left Hartland, Conn., in June, 1798, to join a party of surveyors to be employed on the Reserve during that season. While on his way passing through Andover, his dog in the pursuit of game failed to return as soon as expected. While waiting for his faithful dog, with his jack-knife, he cut his name and this date, June 21, 1798, on a beech tree, which a short time ago had not been obliterated.

He entered the township of Wayne near the northeast corner, swimming the Pymatuning Creek. As he landed on the western bank of the creek, the scene that met his view was so enchanting that he resolved to purchase this tract of land, which resolution he afterwards carried into effect.

In 1803 Simon Fobes, of Somers, Conn., contracted with Oliver Phelps for sixteen hundred acres of land in Wayne township. On the 12th of June, same year, his son Joshua was married to Dorothy Orcutt, and for their wedding trip, accompanied by his father and younger brother Elias, left their home in Connecticut for the wilderness of Wayne. A few days after their departure, they were joined by a cousin, David Fobes. They were forty-five days on the road. They were the very first settlers in the township, and erected the first log cabin.

After seeing them settled in their new home, their father Simon returned to his home in Connecticut. Soon after David returned to Connecticut, leaving Elias, Joshua, and his bride as the only inhabitants in the township during the fall and winter of 1803-1804, with no neighbors within five miles.

The following April a son, Alvin, was born to Joshua and Dorothy, the first white child born in Wayne.

In December, 1805, a daughter, Mary P., was born to them, being the first female child born in the township. The event was one of more than ordinary interest. She is still living, in good health, although her vision is somewhat impaired; she retains her mental faculties very remarkably, celebrating her ninetieth birthday in December, 1895.

In May, 1804, Simon Fobes, Jr., came to Wayne, lived with his brother Joshua until autumn, and built a cabin, when returned to Connecticut. The following spring he returned with his parents, taking up their residence with Joshua. The February following, Thankful, wife of Simon Fobes, Sr., died at the age of eighty-seven years. Three days later Simon died at the age of eighty-six. These were the first deaths in Wayne.

At the beginning of the winter of 1807 and 1808 there were thirteen families actual residents of Wayne -- in all forty-seven inhabitants.

Among the notable women who came to Wayne in the early days was Deborah Hayes, the wife of Samuel Jones. She was a teacher in Connecticut previous to her marriage, and an uncommonly intelligent woman for those times. She was very homesick after her arrival, and used to stand in the door of her cabin WITH TEARFUL EYES, looking toward the east. Her crowning virtue was generosity.

In the early days of the American Educational Society, when there came a call to aid young men in preparation for the ministry, not having money, she gave her dead motherís gold beads, being the only ornament or jewelry she possessed.

Phebe Cooley, wife of Titus Hayes, though very quiet and unassuming, was a woman of great courage, good common sense and judgment, and in full sympathy with her husband, who was an agent on the underground railroad, and many a colored traveler has partaken a bounteous repast at their station, prepared by her own hands, and there found a hiding place until the stars appeared.

The following incident illustrates her bravery. During the absence of the men at work a hungry wolf appeared at the cabin door, and with a sniff toward the cradle which held the sleeping babe, indicated that its contents would make him a choice repast. With womanly sagacity and courage she seized the broom and drove the hungry brute away from the cabin.

Philothetta Fish, wife of Elisha Giddings, was ready with wise counsel to lighten the heavy burdens of afflicted ones, cheer, the downhearted, and was blessed with more than ordinary talent as a singer.

As one of the many instances of people being lost in the woods in early times we notice that of Abigail Wakefield, wife of Oshea Fobes, who was a wanderer in the wilderness in the northern part of Trumbull county for five days without food, but was finally rescued from her perilous situation by the searching party, consisting of all the men for miles around, who found her weak, although not discouraged, never giving up the thought but that she surely would be rescued by her friends, who she was confident were searching for her.

Keziah Jones, afterwards the wife of Nathaniel Coleman, Sr., Esq., taught the first school in the township at the center. Logs split in halves, turned flat side upwards, were the seats on which sat some of the boys and girls who afterwards became prominent men and women in the nationís history.

Sally, wife of George Wakeman, was one of the noted women to brave the hardships of the early pioneers.

Elizabeth Pease, wife of Joshua Giddings, was the mother of Hon. J. R. Giddings, the talented statesman and pride of the Nineteenth Ohio Congressional district. His only sister, Submit, was the wife of Nathaniel Coleman, Sr.

Rebecca Parsons, wife of Nathan Fobes, left numerous descendants whose annual reunions are looked forward to with a great deal of pleasure by the Fobes family. Their daughter Sarahís marriage to Philemon Brockway in 1807 was the first wedding in Wayne. All the people in the township were invited guests. History fails to record the number of courses served at the wedding feast, and we suppose the no card feature of the occasion was up to date.

Rebecca Fobes, wife of H. G. Dean, was of a quiet, unassuming disposition. A daughter-in-law said of her: "She was one of the best women that ever lived." Her daughters, Rebecca and Fanny, were very tasty and well-skilled in the art of millinery and are still in the business at Jefferson, O.

The Misses Rebecca Dean, Lauretta Cutler, and Elizabeth Tuttle, during the late civil war, were nurses at Chattanooga, caring for the sick and wounded soldiers.

Sylvia Huntley, married to Dean Simon Fobes, in common with others, raised a large family and displayed much business ability, hiring girls to spin flax, one of the products of early times, supplying the material for garments, bedding, etc. The stipulated price paid for such labor was fifty cents per week. Sixteen knots composed what was termed a run, a run being considered a good dayís work.

Eunice Brown, with her husband, Levi Fobes, whose residence was opposite the church and known as "Zionís Hotel," were among the prominent early pioneers. A bakerís dozen numbered their children.

Aunt Eunice, as she was familiarly called, every Saturday, aside from her regular daily labors, always prepared an extra PAN OF COOKIES or doughnuts for the little folks who attended church the following day. Itinerant preachers and colporters, knowing her hospitality, made an extra effort to reach "Zionís Hotel" at time for meals or lodging, and at their departure their repaired and clean garments displayed the handiwork of Aunt Euniceís labor and skill. Many a physician lost his fee through her knowledge of herb tea and skillful nursing.

Amanda Brown [Mrs. Horace Miner] was among the energetic, enterprising women.

Betsey Orcutt [Mrs. Benjamin Ward] was a firm believer in the truism that "a merry countenance maketh glad the heart," for her lively sallies and cheerful presence always made her a welcome guest. Her daughters partook largely of their motherís disposition, and were noted for their well-ordered homes and culinary skill.

Abigence Woodworth for his first wife married Sally Woodworth. They were the first settlers on the creek road. His second marriage was to Elizabeth, widow of Rev. Robert Allen. Intellectually she had few equals and no superiors, a woman of strong religious principles, a staunch friend and champion of the colored race.

Deacon Norman Wilcox married Rebecca Case in Barkhamsted, Conn. and with family of five children in 1816 moved onto their farm in Wayne, where they died at advance ages, she being ninety-nine years and eleven months and her husband ninety-two years. They were six weeks making the journey to their new home. In order to pay for their farm they returned East in the summer season, taking jobs building turnpike roads, Rebecca boarding the hired help, thus displaying the pioneer spirit of the woman of the early times to assist in paying for their homes. Many a little sufferer with aching head and fevered body gratefully cherished the memory of Grandma Wilcox, by her kindness and knowledge of the soothing properties of wild plants and herbs growing in the forest.

Lola Ives, wife of Captain Jerry Hart, was one of the ambitious pioneer women and the first milliner in Wayne. Her fame and skill in the art extended over a wide section and many of her customers were from adjoining towns. Her daughter, Orilla [Mrs. Flavel Jones Burton], braided the straw for bonnets. Abigail [Mrs. Cyril Woodworth] taught school and did the family knitting. Fidelia [Mrs. John Spelman] did the spinning and assisted in the household duties. Phoebe [Mrs. Leonard Tuttle] taught school and did the family sewing.

Our allotted space forbids entertaining into an extended personal detail of the numerous Woodworth family. Mrs. Ezra Woodworth was Anna Woodworth. Mrs. Diodate Julania Persival, Mrs. Horatio, Sr., Charity Ketchum, Mrs. Rufus W., Jane Hull, all estimable women who shared in the hardships of early pioneer life, transmitting the strong religious sentiment they possessed to their descendants.

Rev. Ephraim T. Woodruff, the first installed pastor in Wayne, with his wife, Sally Alden, a woman of noble traits, culture, and refinement, and an invalid, when asked a communion Sabbath what dress she would like to appear in at church, replied: "The best I have, as it is the Kingís Feast."

His widowed sister, Lucy Woodruff [Cadwell], a noted teacher in the East, accompanied them and taught many terms of school in Wayne gratuitously.

Dr. Luther Spellman, the first regular graduated physician in the township, encountered a rival in his wife Anna, who declared that she could cure more of the ills mankind was subject to with her saffron and tansy tea than the doctor could with his calomel squills and pikery. Their children numbered eight, four sons and four daughters.

Eliphalet Phelps, a blacksmith, skilled in the trade, and his estimable wife, formerly Mehitabel Dodge, were among the early pioneers, and raised a family of twelve children, five sons and seven daughters. Their daughter Harriet, whose misfortune caused by a fever sore compelled her to have a limb amputated, still ambitious for noble works, taught school.

Among her scholars were half a dozen frolicsome boys, whose desire to swim in a brook not far from the log schoolhouse often made them tardy for school at noon. Being reproved without the desired effect, they were finally given the choice of a whipping or being expelled from school. Thinking a woman couldnít hurt them much, they chose the whipping. THE LIVELY ANTICS and peculiar exclamations of the boys were recently related to the writer by one of the participants, now a man eighty-four years old, who said the punishment as applied was a success, and they never wanted that woman to whip them again.

Elijah Cutler married Editha Jones and came to Wayne in 1817. Of their daughters, Dorinda married __ Wakeman; Louisa, Jasper Bartholomew; Lauretta, Rev. W H. Hoisington; Olive, Rev. S. D. Peet. Lucinda died unmarried.

Miriam Pillsbury came from Connecticut in 1834 and married Charles Walworth. Two of their daughters, Lucy and Eliza, married Moody Chase; Salome, Josiah Barber. Their son, Dr. C. B., a physician in Wayne until his death, married Hannah Hotchkiss, of Vernon, O. They were quiet, home-loving women, most amiable and generous, leaving a lasting impression of a good name which is "rather to be chosen than great riches."

Deacon Calvin Andrews married for his wife Eliza Crosby. In harmony with her husband in all religious work, their influence for good was felt in the Congregational church, in which both were shining lights. Their four daughters were very exemplary women, showing the good effects of their early training.

Silas Babcock, with his wife and family, consisting of three sons and four daughters, came to Wayne in 1808. The sons were all college graduates. The daughters were noted for their scholarly attainments.

Amanda Buell [Mrs. Deacon Fitch] was ever ready to aid the needy and distressed. Their family numbered twelve children, eleven sons and one daughter. As time grew apace the sons, thinking the division an unequal one, sought to supply the deficiency from among the charming damsels of their neighbors. The only daughter, Catherine, was the wife of Simon Fobes the fourth.

James Barber married Hannah Billings. Norwich, Conn., was their home. The husband and father was a sea captain, causing the mother many anxious hours. Their eldest son, Joseph, early displaying a love for his fatherís calling and thinking distance might be effective in breaking the charm, they disposed of their property in the East and came to Ohio. Their daughters, most estimable women, married -- Zeriah, Lervy Hayes; Elizabeth, Richard Hayes; Fanny, Anson Jones.

Pumelia Reed, a reigning belle in the East, was united in marriage to Hori Miner, who had the honor of being the first postmaster in Wayne and held the office twenty years. Their eldest daughter, Sabra, was the wife of Rev. Alfred Sturgis.

Rev. Nathaniel Latham married Mary Robbins. Their only daughter, Mary, was the wife of Nathaniel Coleman, Jr., whose home was in pleasing contrast with early pioneer homes.

Mrs. Frances Coleman [Mary Miles] came from Weymouth, England, and relates many pleasing incidents of her English home. At the building of the Portland breakwater, Queen Victoria honored the occasion by her presence, landing at the wharf from her yacht with great pomp and ceremony, and laid the foundation stone [a tiny pebble] with a silver trowel.

Eunice Morse [Mrs. Norman Wilcox, Jr.] was a woman of noble character, fine sensibilities, and a talented singer.

Statira Jones [Mrs. Elon Parker], Emily Jones [wife of Dr. Thomas Best] and Almira [Mrs. Horace Giddings] were daughters of Samuel and Deborah Jones. Among the daughters of the early pioneers born prior to 1815 we mention Amelia Fobes [Mrs. Lyman Bentley], Vashti Stockwell [Mrs. Levi Fobes], Henrietta Fobes [Mrs. Henry Wilder], Mariah Fobes [Mrs. Milo Wilder], Electa Ward [Mrs. Henry Fobes], Matilda Ward [Mrs. C. C. Wick], Submit Coleman [Mrs. David Hart], Eliza Coleman [Mrs. Sylvester Ward], Keziah Coleman [Mrs. Stephen Bailey], Malinda Phelps [Mrs. Gamaliel Wilcox], Mary Phelps [Mrs. Linus Jones], Deliah Fobes [Mrs. C. T. Champ], with many others equally worthy of mention who knew the hardships of early pioneer life. We can only refer the reader to the list of early pioneers. THE CRANKLESS WHEEL they were taught to spin over the cabin floor was minus the silvered spokes, pneumatic tires, and frictionless bearings the young ladies of the present day delight in spinning over city pavements and beautiful country roads.

The horseback tandem was a noble substitute for the tandem on wheels, but was handled with equal skill. The Sunday morning barefoot walk to church, carrying shoes and stockings until nearing the sanctuary, would undoubtedly shock the dignity of the "new woman," and is a wonderful change from then till now.

They were expert with the needle, as many pieces of fancywork still in existence kept as treasured relics would compare favorably with similar work of the present time. As time rolled on the forest disappeared and the thrifty appearance of homes gave little evidence of the hardships and privations the early pioneers endured. Although the pioneer women were not leaders in the new movement of reform they were women of cordial nature and gracious manner. Their noble example and influence for good can never be obliterated.

MRS. C. L. WILCOX, Chairman and Historian. Wayne committee -- Uncle David Hart, M. F. Dean, R. P. Miner, Mrs. H. S. Simpkins, Mrs. T. A. Hayes, Miss Ellen Jones.


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 Womenís Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, c1924], p. p. 1984-985:


Phila Fish, wife of Elisha Giddings, came to Wayne in 1803 from Canandaigua, N. Y. She was a typical pioneer woman. If a sudden shower threatened the big burning log heap, she assisted in fixing it up so it should not be extinguished, she was also ready to scrape up the ashes afterwards, for ashes meant black salt, and black salt would purchase store tea for company, or fifty cent calico, or jeans for the childrenís wear, although it was necessary to go to Hartford for them.

Were Uncle Elisha ill, Phila could hitch up the oxen to wagon or sled and drive them to mill or church.

"Training Day" was a gala one for good Aunt Phila. Her brick oven was heated just right and into it went pork and beans and huge loaves of brown bread. In the spacious fireplace suspended on a huge crane were hung two big iron kettles filled with turnips, potatoes and other vegetables in season; while in a tin pail down among the coals and ashes simmered delicious rye coffee.

Precisely at noon she rang a cow ball, and each and every officer and private training on the common who happened to have a YORK SHILLING in his pocket could feast on the goodies provided.

About the time she was assisting the future Joshua Giddings for his departure to the War of 1812, she had a very young child and Sidney, one of her sons, had just had the fingers of his right hand clipped off. But these were trifles to indomitable "Aunt Phila."

It is said that Mrs. Joshua Fobes [Dorothy Orcutt] drove a score of Indians out of her kitchen with a broom, when a young bride, her husband being absent for the day. The Ohio Indians were peaceful but troublesome beggars, and they were crazy for white folkís cooking. They would smell the bread baking and doughnuts frying from afar and make for the log cabin from which the desirable odor came. Dorothy died at the age of ninety-three.

Sally Randall was the daughter of Captain Randall, one of the first settlers of Youngstown, but removed to Kinsman later on. Sally married Rex Brown, the jovial Wayne miller. They were both very large, tipping the scales at 300 pounds. Her twin sister, Phoebe Randall, who married Charles Woodworth of Williamstown, was slim and slight, making a queer contrast with her enormous sister.

The Browns removed from town many years since. Sally Randall, a niece, married Gen. Joseph B. Barber in 1832.

Betsy Orcutt, who married Benjamin Ward, came from Massachusetts. Her son, Benjamin, Jr., married Samantha, a niece of Gen. Putnam of Revolutionary fame. Another son, James, kept a hotel at Put-in-Bay for many years. Her daughter Matilda was the bride of Calvin C. Wick and died aged forty-two years.

J. B. MILLER, Historian.


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