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DEERFIELD 1799 - 1850

As a prelude to the memorial of Deerfield's pioneer women, it may be worthy of mention that in forming plans for the work, the committee chosen as aids to do it were all descendants of early settlers. They all live on the old homesteads, beloved by their neighbors, earnest, Christian women, and worthy representatives of their sires.

The historian is a great-granddaughter of the first pioneer who came to the town in 1799.

Deerfield, Portage county, is on the Lake Erie & Western Railroad, fifteen miles from Ravenna, the county seat. It has a north, south, east, and west road, and where they meet in the center is a fine soldiers' monument, erected to the memory of the heroes of Deerfield who served in the civil war. Cutting through the town from northeast to southwest is also the old, diagonal stage road, from Cleveland to Pittsburg. All Deerfield live on one or another of these roads.

In 1840, the town numbered 1,500 inhabitants, but the present populations is about 900. Deerfield was named by Lewis DAY - one of the first settlers - in honor of his mother, Sarah MUNN, whose native place was Deerfield, Mass. It was originally owned by Gideon GRANGER and Oliver PHELPS.

In 1799, Lewis ELY, Lewis DAY, Moses TIBBALS, and Daniel DIVER purchase one-third of Mr. PHELPS. Anna GRANGER, wife of Lewis ELY, was the first white woman to settle in the town. The family consisted of the parents and nine children, started from Granville, Mass., June 12, 1799, in ox teams, and were forty-four days on the road, encountering all the hardships and perils connected with such a journey in those days. Their greatest suffering on the way and ever after their arrival at Deerfield, was through the scarcity of provisions, which only could be obtained from Georgetown, Pa., forty miles distant.

Their hut was built on a rise of ground on the east road, about three-quarters of a mile from the center. The ELYs spent the long, cold winter without a neighbor in the township, and hailed with delight the month of May, 1800, which brought Lewis DAY, his wife, Sebra WARD DAY, and their daughter, Sebra, six sons, and a daughter-in-law, Hannah HINMAN, wife of Horatio DAY.

This family all moved into a hut built nearly a year before by Lewis DAY, who with his son had then visited the spot, driving all the way from Connecticut with horses and wagon, and having to cut a road for themselves the last twenty miles of the journey.

The two families lived diagonally across from each other, within gunshot range, as a protection against Indians. Lewis ELY and Lewis DAY were congenial neighbors; both strong of constitution, and with minds equal to any emergency. They were also related, and were veterans of the Revolutionary war.

Although separated from the endearing associations of early live Sebra DAY never was heard to express any regret or a desire to return to her old home. She lived to see great changes in the town, and after a residence of twenty-three years, while in the full vigor of health, and engaged in drying apples, she was stung in the arm by a yellow wasp, and died within twenty minutes.

In preparing for this western trip, the DAYs had filled a hollow cane with apple seeds, with which they established a nursery that supplied threes not only for themselves, but for all their neighbors. I surmise it was feminine ingenuity that suggested the unique conveyance of the seed.

Anna ELY and Sebra DAY were both a little past forty years of age when they came to Ohio. They were near neighbors and their lives were so closely connected that the history of one almost could be given for the other. Both had large families, who intermarried, as the ELYs and DAYs had been doing in every generation since 1659, when Samuel ELY married Mary DAY.

Anna lived to outgrow her log cabin and to move into a commodious brick house. She spent thirty-eight years on the Reserve, and is buried in the Deerfield cemetery, the land of which had been donated to the town by her husband.

A little story is told of Lucy, the third daughter of Lewis and Anna ELY, which shows the extent of

Anna ELY and Sebra DAY were both a little past forty years of age when they came to Ohio. They were near neighbors, and their lives were so closely connected that the history of one almost could be given for the other. Both had large families, who intermarried, as the ELYs and DAYs had been doing in every generation since 1659, when Samuel ELY married Mary DAY.

Anna lived to outgrow her log cabin and to move into a commodious brick house. She spent thirty-eight years on the Reserve, and is buried in the Deerfield cemetery, the land of which had been donated to the town by her husband.

A little story is told of Lucy, the third daughter of Lewis and Anna ELY, which shows the extent of parental discipline in those days, and the fact that when given a commission they were expected to execute it.

When Anna left Massachusetts for her Western home she could not bear to think of leaving the family cat. So kittie came along with the rest, and had the honor of being the first cat in Deerfield. One day a neighbor from Atwater was spending the day with Mrs. ELY, and during the visit told how greatly annoyed she was with mice. Mrs. ELY kindly offered to lend Deerfield's only cat, and it was arranged that Lucy and her brother should deliver it. So, not long after, they started on a horse with kittie in a bag. When three miles on their way and in the dense forest the animal escaped and ran off into the woods to the great dismay of the children. They went on to Atwater and called upon their mother's friend, but never once said "cat" to her, and then returned home in much distress of mind, again avoiding all allusion to the purpose of their journey.

About four days afterward the cat came back home, much to the relief of the children, who had been spending anxious hours in making up their minds to a confession.

March, 1800, brought John CAMPBELL, Joel THRALL, and Alvah DAY from Connecticut on foot. The snow in the Alleghenies laid six feet deep as they crossed them, and the weather excessively cold.

In the November following John - afterward General - CAMPBELL married Sarah ELY, the eldest daughter of Lewis and Anna GRANGER ELY. She was the first bride in the township. The ceremony was performed by Calvin AUSTIN, Esq., of Warren, who, from that town, twenty-seven miles, came on foot for the purpose. He was accompanied by Judge Samuel PEASE, then a young lawyer, who taught him the marriage service on the way. The young couple made their home at Campbellsport, a small town named for General CAMPBELL, and afterward a part of Ravenna."

Children were as mischievous in those days as at the present generation, for "Aunt Sally" CAMPBELL's granddaughter - Mrs. Orville B. SKINNER, of Cleveland - tells of hearing her grandmother relate one of her own pranks as a little girl. When the Indians visited her father's log house, the papooses - fastened to boards - would be left outside leaning against the house. Sally would slip out and push them over for the sake of the outcry and sensation it occasioned. Mrs. Dr. PRESTON also is a granddaughter of Mrs. Sarah CAMPBELL.

In 1807 Mrs. ELY visited her former Eastern home, and on her return was accompanied by her mother, Abigail DARDLEY GRANGER, who spent the remainder of her days and was buried in Deerfield.

Quite a colony came with Mrs. ELY, among which were two young girls Persie DEMING and Chloe COOK, relatives of the ELYs and GRANGERs. Persie married Lewis DAY. After two years' of mutual happiness the war of 1812 broke out, and he felt it his duty to serve his country as sergeant of a company commanded by Captain John CAMPBELL. He never returned, but died in Maldin, Canada, one month after his departure, aged twenty-five years.

We can imagine the hardships the young widow encountered. She had one son, Alva, at the time, and in a few months afterward another son, Lewis, was born, who is now a resident of Cleveland. She worked hard to rear and educate her two fatherless boys. Every spring the few maple trees on their small farm were tapped, and by the combined efforts of mother and sons enough sugar was made to last through the year.

The other young girl, Chloe COOK, whose former home has been in Salisbury, Conn., married, eight years after her arrival, Solomon DAY. Her daughter, Mr. Dr. FRY, of Cleveland, remembered her as a woman of extraordinary nerve, a natural surgeon, and a born nurse. She was frequently called upon by the resident physician to assist him in cases of accident. She was generous and ever willing to lend her services. A fervent Methodist, her latch-string always was out for the traveling itinerant, and amid her numerous cares she could find time to minister to his comfort. She was "Aunt Chloe" to all Deerfield, and in 1881 it mourned her death.

Mary KIDD, wife of Ephraim B. HUBBARD, came from Duchess county, N.Y. While making a tour of the West, in search of a favorable location, Mr. HUBBARD fell into the company of a Mr. PENN who persuaded him to settle in Deerfield. He afterward became captain of the local militia. Sophia Watson HUBBARD, their daughter, was one of the first school teachers in town. She married Harvey MILLS and removed to Nelson. Her brother, Steven HUBBARD, married Diantha MILLS, who was the first white child born in Nelson. Her parents removed to Deerfield when she was eleven years old. She died at the age of forty years.

One of the earliest pioneers was Elizabeth CARTER, a native of Maryland, who came to Ohio in the year 1800 with her husband James CARTER. Her journey was made upon horseback, the animal also carrying a child and their bed and bedding. They frequently were followed and annoyed by Indians. The farm upon which they settled remained in the family many years. Thirteen children were born to them, twelve of whom became heads of families before their number was depleted by death. Elizabeth CARTER lived to be seventy years old.

A sad accident happened to her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth MOTT, who married John CARTER. While yet a bride, and riding home in a fierce wind storm on horseback behind her husband, from Newton Falls, where they had been spending the day, she was instantly killed by a falling tree. John CARTER afterward married Mary CRAIG.

Moses TIBBALS was one of the proprietors of Deerfield. His wife, Ruth SPELLMAN, came with him in 1806. One evening, while walking down East street alone, and timidly looking out for Indians or wild beasts, she espied a dark object lying in the road. After much hesitation she mustered up courage to investigate, and found it to be a nice young pig in a bag that some Indian had stolen from a settler and then lost. She took the prize home, and doubtless enjoyed it as much as the Indian would have done. Her son, Aribut, married Lucy ELY DAY's daughter Harriet, who is now living with her daughter, Mrs. W.P. DAVIS, of Akron. In speaking of her age - ninety years - she remarked that she did not think ninety years was so very old. As I sat at her knee I asked: "What did you do when you were a girl?" "What did I do? Why, I had to spin. I went to school when I could, but never got only from Baker to Diaphragm, and then I had to stay at home and spin. My mother had a loom and I wound quilts for the shuttle. My father made a small wheel for me from the rim of the quill wheel when I was seven years old, and my stint for one day was five knots."

"What did you play when you were little?" "Well, in winter time we played fox and geese in the snow,"

It was customary for settlers to make their maple sugar on government land. One day, after little Harriet had sup a half run of yarn, her mother gave her permission to go to the sugar camp a mile and a half away. Late in the afternoon her father left her and her young brother to attend to the boiling of the sap during the night. Soon after he left a severe storm arose, the blackest clouds she ever saw accompanied by terrific thunder, lightening, and wind. The wolves howled, and the frightened children, hastily pulling the wood from under the kettle, started on a run for home, and never stopped till they reached the clearing. They feared their father would be displeased, but he received them with open arms.

Mrs. Lucinda GIBBS WILCOX came from Massachusetts with her family. They traveled with a horse and three yoke of oxen. Among many other things brought with them was two hundred weight of wool, which she carded, spun, and wove into cloth for garments to wear.

As has been mentioned, Alva, afterward Judge DAY, arrived on foot from Connecticut in the spring of 1800. His wife, Sarah BEACH DAY, came in the following July, and in August the census of the town was increased by a non-voter. Little Polly was the first child born in Deerfield, and the second in Portage county.

Judge DAY served as an officer in the war of 1812. His wife kept a quaint diary during his absence, which she read to him on his return. It is yet preserved as a precious souvenir of pioneer days.

Mrs. DAY was called "Aunt Sally," and is said to have been a very intellectual woman, and exceedingly capable. She always wore caps, invariably made of white ribbon, trimmed with bright green. It was the style those days for women to wear caps as soon as married, "to let folks know you were married."

Little Polly DAY afterwards became Mrs. Jeduthan FARNUM, and her daughters, Mrs. Isaac WILSON and Mrs. George HOUGH, are still living in Deerfield, the latter in the old homestead.

As young girls they were very unlike in disposition and bearing. Juliette was quiet and dignified, while Helen was full of fun and always playing practical jokes upon her sister and others.

Elisha FARNUM, a Revolutionary soldier, his wife, Thankful DAY, three young daughters and a son, arrived in Deerfield in 1814. The oldest girl, Philena, had married and settled in Mantua.

The three girls are remembered as being very pretty. Their calico dress brought with them, were very attractive to the Deerfield girls, for it was an entirely new material to them.

Lucinda died, and the remaining two FARNUM sisters married brothers, Lovisa to Merrick ELY, and Thankful to Lewis ELY, jr., sons of Lewis, Sr., and Anna ELY.

Both women were bereft of their husbands by death, and left with families of young children. Neither married again, but managed to bring up their little ones creditably and give them a good education. Lovisa moved to Cleveland, and Thankful to Amherst, O. The latter is recalled as a quiet unassuming woman.

Peggy DIVER, eldest daughter of Daniel DIVER, came with her father from Massachusetts in 1803. She had been married to Simeon CARD, who died within six years afterward. Her sister, Polly DIVER, married Dr. Shadrack BOSTWICK, a physician and minister from Vermont, for many years a pioneer circuit rider. Dr. and Mrs. BOSTWICK died in Canfield at a good old age.

There was a settlement of HARTZELLs, who came early to Deerfield from Pennsylvania. One of the first arrivals was George HARTZELL, whose wife, Christina NOLAN, it is said, could speak nothing but Irish until she was ten years of age. Afterward forgot her native tongue, and could speak only German and never learned the English language.

Ann HARTZELL, who died in 1829, was the first person buried from the church in the southern part of the township, known as the "Free Church." Her funeral caused quite a stir in the community, as many were decidedly opposed to having the dead carried into the church.

Nancy HARTZELL married Stephen MILLER, and they lived together fifty-five years and six months upon the farm where they commenced housekeeping.

In early life Eliza COOK married Colvin REED, and always has lived in Deerfield. In later years she became the wife of Rev. Caleb BROWN. As long as she was able to respond to calls for help in times of sickness and death, she was ever ready.

Her cellar has the reputation of being an excellent place for a hungry person to visit. To this, the writer can testify from personal knowledge, having with other children helped herself to the tempting contents of its shelves. Her home was the one to which ministers and often their families resorted for temporary shelter, and sometimes their stay would be prolonged for weeks. But every one was welcomed by this good big-hearted woman known to all as "Grandma Brown."

GRANT's grandmother - Noah GRANT and his wife Rachel KELLY came to Deerfield in 1804. They had one son, Jesse GRANT, afterward the father of President Ulysses Simpson GRANT. Rachel GRANT was a woman loved and respected by all. An evidence of her industry yet remains in town. It is nothing less than the small flax wheel with which she used to spin. She died in Deerfield, and her grave may yet be found in the old part of the cemetery, but as no stone marks the spot, a few years later, no one may be able to tell its location.

Rejoice DIVER REED, a pioneer, was a lovable woman and of her eight children the three daughters, Mrs. Harriet GIBBS, Mrs. Mary GIBBS, and Mrs. Almena DAY, were good Christian women and a power in the community.

In 1800 came Major ROGERS and his wife, Rebecca. "Aunt Becky" became a familiar name in Deerfield, and she is recalled with much affection. A sad incident in her life was the death of a beloved young daughter from the bite of a rattlesnake. This child was the first occupant of the village cemetery.

In 1802 James LAUGHLIN built the first mill. It was located on the Mahoning, or, as the Indians called it, Ma-um-ing River - meaning the way to market.

Mrs. LAUGHLIN - Lettie DUNLAP - had a large family of children. One of them, Polly, married Ralph, son of Judge Alva DAY, and their daughter, Mrs. N.L. WANN, has in her possession many valuable papers and relics of those pioneer days. Among other recollections of her mother was that of seeing the Indians peering at them through the chinkins of their log cabing and saying to the frightened children: "Papoose afraid."

Also when Polly and the others would ask their mother to make doughnuts she would say: "Wait, childrn, until pappy kills a bear, and then I will have some fat to fry them in."

There was no door to the cabin; only a quilt hung at the opening to keep out the wind and storm. One day some wolves chased the children into the house, while their father was away, and the frightened mother and little ones scrambled up a rude ladder into the loft, and there they had to remain until the father returned, and with his shot gun dispersed the marauders. Meanwhile, they had been wrecking the interior of the cabing.

Eunice LANE EVERETT, who came from Connecticut in 1815, is still living in Deerfield, where the writer found her happy with her children about her. It was through her kindness in reviving old memories that we have been enabled to rescue much that otherwise would have been forgotten. Mention must also be made of Mrs. HAZZARD and Mr. ROBB, who gave valuable assistance in the census part of the work.

The women of Deerfield all have had from the first to the present day one characteristic in common - that of whole souled, never-wearying hospitality. Otherwise, also, their lives have had much in common. It is the same old story of spinning, weaving, visiting the sick, caring for others, and in various ways forgetting themselves in trying to give happiness to others.

Mrs. Charles Heber SMITH Chairman and Historian Deerfield committee - Mrs. E.M. DAY, Mrs. O.L. DIVER, Mrs. Frank HARTZELL, Mrs. James FORSYTH, Mrs. Wesley HUBBARD, Mrs. N.L. WANN


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