MANTUA 1798 - 1843

As half the pleasure of life is found in anticipation, so the pioneers of this new country, amid the hardships and privations to which they were subjected, gazed at the glittering goal which they pictured for themselves in the future.

Mantua bears the honor of receiving the first settlers that entered Portage County, an honor of which it is justly proud. The township was originally the property of an eastern land company and was surveyed by Daniel ABBOTT, a member of the convention which framed the first Constitution of Ohio.

The first man to drive a stake, put up a cabin and settle down to business in Mantua was Abraham HONEY, 1798. Elias HARMAN and wife arrived at the clearing HONEY had made 1799. Their daughter, Eunice, was the first white child born in the town, and for this honor was presented fifty acres of land. She became Mrs. Simeon SHELDON, and passed her life here.

In 1799 Baschal McINTOSH with his wife and five children, came from Haverhill, N.H. Mrs. McINTOSH was undoubtedly the first white woman to arrive in Mantua and perhaps the first to settle in Portage County. She brought from the east apple, peach, and cherry seeds, which she planted, and her's was the first bearing orchard in the county.

No better mince pies were ever made than those made by her in the fall of 1799, as follows: The flour for the crust was made by pounding wheat, the meat was venison, and the fruit, crab apples. It has been handed down even to this generation that those pies were the best.

Both Mr. and Mrs. McINTOSH were charter members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, organized 1807. She was a valued citizen, and a genial, hospitable lady. Her husband was one of those who, disguised as Indians, boarded the British ship and emptied the tea into Boston harbor in Revolutionary times.

In 1800 Basil WINDSOR and wife, with a family of children, settled in the east part of the town. They united with the Methodist Episcopal Church at its organization. Mrs. WINDSOR experienced many hardships, but accepted all with fortitude and resignation.

Lettia WINDSOR married Rufus EDWARDS in 1803. It was the first wedding in town and a gala day for the few settlers. Her husband came in 1799, being the second white man to make a settlement. He constructed a hand grist-mill, which was the first built in Mantua. Mrs. EDWARDS had charge of it and was an excellent business woman. She could also manage a spinning wheel as well as a grist-mill. The first public Fourth of July celebration was held at her home, in honor of the return of the Mantua soldiers from the war of 1812, her husband being one of the number.

Huldah SHELDON married Amzi ATWATER at her father's house in Aurora in 1801, and with him settled here on a two hundred acre farm. He became an associate judge in Portage County, and was a man of great influence. The farm is now the site of the village of Mantua Station, and the hospitable homestead a part of the Cuyahoga House. John ATWATER, who filled the President's chair at Hiram College, was Huldah's grandson.

Lydia ALCOTT SNOW, with her husband, Franklin SNOW, and two children arrived from Becket, Mass., 1807. It was said of her that she would listen to a sermon with such interest as to be able with her wonderful memory, to repeat it verbatim. She died in 1820.

Clarissa LADD CARLETON was born 1789, one week before the inauguration of George Washington as President. She lived in Stafford, Conn., until 1811, when with her husband, Peter CARLETON, she came to Ohio and not long thereafter settled her. She was a most hospitable, loving lady.

Sally CARLETON KNEELAND, born in Stafford, Conn., 1795, came here some time prior to 1816, with her husband, George KNEELAND, and bought a farm on Lime Ridge. It was completely in the wilderness, there being but one other family in that locality. Mrs. KNEELAND lived to see the wilderness transformed into productive farms, and surrounded by friends and neighbors, continued to reside, first with her children, then with her grandchildren, on the same farm.

Rhoda BRAMP CARLETON, born in Rhode Island, came here in 1814, and with her husband, Caleb CARLETON, settled in the western part of the town. The farm is still owned by the son, C.C. CARLETON, of Cleveland, O. Mrs. CARLETON made a home for many of the newcomers, and clothed many destitute boys with cloth of her own spinning and weaving. She was blind for several years before her death, which occurred in Cleveland, but patiently submitted to her affliction.

Rosetta PETTIBONE, wife of Oliver SNOW, from Becket, Mass., 1805. Lived on the place which she aided in settling until 1837.

Hannah McINTOSH, whose mother was a pioneer of 1799, married Peter CADY, a Frenchman from Canada, and settled on a farm near the old grist-mill. Mrs. CADY cultivated many varieties of flowers, and was noted for having the most beautiful flower beds in the town. Her daughters, Marosia and Catherine, married and settled in Michigan.

Mrs. Wareham LOOMIS, with her husband, came in an early day and settled in the Cuyahoga Valley. She buried a child, aged two years, 1805, the first white child to die in Mantua. The second person who died was Mrs. Enoch JUDSON. Mrs. LOOMIS was a devout, noble woman. She left many descendants, who now wield a great influence for good in this community.

Mrs. Pattie SMITH BLAIR, with her husband, John BLAIR, and children, came from Massachusetts in 1806, and settled on a farm a little north of Mantua Station. They built the first frame house and opened up a hotel, which remodeled still stands. Mrs. BLAIR's hospitality was one of her many virtues. Her daughter, Anna, married Avery PATTERSON, and lived in Mantua for more than eighty years. Mrs. BLAIR also lived to be eighty, and was a woman of great influence and much respected.

Betsy WINDSOR, left a widow with three daughters, came with her brother in 1800, and settled in the southeast part of the town. She was the owner of the first loom in all this region, and took in weaving to help defray the expenses of the family. The first summer here the girls cleared six acres, which they sowed to wheat. They harvest it with the sickle, threshed it with the flail, and cleaned it with the fanning mill. Their reward was a well stored bin of excellent wheat.

It is related of these girls that they could do a man's work in the field, yet they were genteel and handsome.

Mrs. POMEROY and husband owned and operated a carding mill on the Cuyahoga River. She was an experienced carder and often ran the mill unattended. She was a woman with convictions of her own. Her daughters, Emily and Eliza, were considered the handsomest girls in Mantua. They were also pleasant and agreeable women. The former married John WILLIAMS and moved to Michigan. The latter became Mrs. J. VAN DUSEN, and moved to Hudson.

Mrs. Joseph SKINNER and husband settled here in 1819, and built a distillery, for which the latter made the machinery. He was a fifer in the war of 1812. Mrs. SKINNER was a quiet, orderly woman who never allowed trifles to annoy her.

Mrs. Gresham JUDSON and family settled near the line next to Hiram township. She was a brave, fearless woman, who wielded great influence. She induced some Mantua men to join the Hiram mob that "tarred and feathered" the prophet Joseph Smith, who was then endeavoring to build a Mormon temple in Hiram. Smith left, "tar, feathers and all," and built his temple in Kirtland.

Mrs. Samuel JUDSON and husband settled in the Cuyahoga valley, 1806. She was dubbed the "herb doctor" by the early settlers, as her "loft" was always well stored with native herbs of medicinal qualities. These were gathered in their season and well cured before storing away. As there were not regular physicians in those days, her skill was greatly in demand. She was in every way a typical pioneer woman.

In 1816 Mrs. Benjamin SHARPE, and her husband, settled in the east part of the town. They were colored people, and Mrs. SHARPE's face was as black as the blackest, but she had a heart full of love and delighted in doing good to others. It is believed her house was a station on the underground railway where the good Deacon WOODFORD used to send the escaping slave for a few days' rest.

In 1806 James RAY, Sr., with his wife and children, settled on the place now occupied by Samuel COLT. They built a log house, the foundation of which is plainly seen. Mrs. RAY was a quiet, unassuming woman, with strong convictions jealously adhered to, and was well fitted for life in the wilderness. On one occasion, in broad day-light, while her husband was away in the field at work, a bear came prowling around the pig-pen, intent on a feast of fresh pork. She seized the dinner horn, called the dogs, and blew the horn for her husband. Relating this incident to her neighbors, she said: "I tooted the dinner horn till my husband came and shot it." Where are the women who have the nerve to hold a bear up a tree with a dinner horn for hours?

A most excellent woman of early times was Margaret KOONCE, who came from Mercer County, Penn., soon after her marriage to Patrick RAY, a soldier of the war of 1812. Mrs. RAY could always be counted on in charity and church work, especially in time of sickness and death. She possessed that rare tact which caused everyone to feel at home in her presence. After her husband's death in 1856, she lived on the farm for twenty years, and was very successful in the management of her business. She was greatly respected throughout a useful life of 76 years. Her six sons were all volunteer soldiers in the Union army during the rebellion. Of her three daughters the eldest, Julia RAY BRADLEY, settled in Wisconsin. Emeline RAY CARTER settled in Kansas. Sarah died in Mantua, aged 18.

Mrs. RAY was a great horsewoman, and on one occasion, on her return from visiting relatives in Mahoning County, she carried in her hand a willow twig for a riding whip. On reaching home she thrust it into the ground near a spring, where it grew to an enormous size, and was referred to for more than fifty years as "Mrs. RAY's riding whip."

Rebecca RICHARDSON, born in Lemstead, N.H., 1792, married Wm. PIERCE, and with him came to Mantua, 1824. She was one of the sixth generation descended from Thomas RICHARDSON, who came from England, 1635, and settled in Massachusetts.

Lewis, one of the RICHARDSON family of England, married Ann Washington, a relative of Geo. Washington. Mrs. PIERCE's father was a soldier of the Revolution.

Rachel GILLETT came from Suffield, Conn., 1833, with her husband Dumas HARMON, and one daughter, Maria. They settled on the state road and lived in a log house a half mile removed from the highway. In connection with their farm they owned and operated a sawmill. Mrs. HARMON was left a widow and subsequently married Mr. MOONY. She was again widowed, but by the aid of her children was able to clear the home from debt. She is still living with her daughter, Mrs. REED, on the same place. Mrs. MOONY is the most aged person living in Mantua, being ninety-one years of age. She still retains her mental faculties and her health is good.

Sarah GREGORY, wife of Jonah WHITE, came in an early day. Her daughter, Mary, married Orville BLAKE, a Baptist minister, and lived here. Mary, the other daughter, never married, but devoted her life to teaching. She was most successful, spending several years at Twinsburg, and later in Cleveland. Her memory is still precious to those with whom she associated. Mrs. WHITE was the mother of Dr. E.E. WHITE, who has been prominently connected with education in various cities, through his numerous text-books.

Among the first to lay the foundation of Mantua Center were the SQUIRES. As the more elderly ones look back they can see the home once occupied by them; the old doctor known by so many, Clarissa STEWART SQUIRE, came from Becket, Mass., 1816. Her daughters were Lucy, Clarissa and Sally. The doctor married Martha WILMOT.

Sophronia WARREN GREGORY, wife of Samuel GREGORY, came from Vermont in 1820. She reared a large family of children and carefully did a mother's duty in training them.

Another family that helped to build the frame work of this town was the SANFORDS. Rhoda ATWATER SANFORD, with her husband, Samuel SANFORD, came from Hamden, Conn, 1817. Her daughters were Julia, Emeline, Parthena, Charlotte, and Jane. One of her sons married Harriet WILMOT.

Nancy PERKINS, Mrs. Seth SANFORD, who came from New York, 1839, lived to see her children settled in homes of their own. She had many friends. Her daughters were Mary GRANGER, Sarah PEEK and Martha SMITH.

Zenas KENT and his wife, Ann, came from Leyden, Mass., 1814. Their daughter, Maria, married Deacon CHAPIN, and some of their children still reside here. No one remembers Mrs. CHAPIN without recalling the accuracy with which she did her work. Hon Marvin KENT, grandson of Ann, was the one who first broke ground, and drove the last spike, in the Atlantic & Great Western R.R. He was also elected president of the road, which office he creditably filled for many years.

Dorcas TAYLOR BOOTH, born in Great Barrington, Mass., 1800, came to Mantua, 1835. Her sole wealth was in her daughter, Almeda, whose life was devoted to educational pursuits. At the age of twenty-four, this young lady met with a loss, which shattered her hopes for life. She was preparing for her nuptials when her lover, Martin HARMON, a most estimable young man, teaching in Kentucky, was stricken with a sudden and fatal illness. Her plans and hopes seemed buried in his grave, her heart being wedded by ties as sacred as any that marriage can consecrate.

In 1851 Miss BOOTH was chosen instructor in English in Hiram College. She also pursued her studies there, graduating at Oberlin. She was later superintendent of the schools at Cuyahoga Falls. Prof. James MONROE said of her:

"It was one of the pleasures of my life to have had under my instruction in a collage class Miss BOOTH. What at first struck my attention was the union in her character, in a degree very uncommon; of masculine intellectual strength and womanly gentleness."

Another said of her: "In natural powers of mind, in breadth of scholarship, and in quality of effective work, she has not been excelled by any American woman." Those who knew her best loved her most. She was ever ready to impart aid and direction to the inquiring mind, deeming it not task, but rather a pleasure.

Fanny SARGENT, Mrs. Benjamin MOORE, who came from New Hampshire, 1843, was an active, intellectual woman, who could entertain her friends in a way as never to be quite ready to have them depart. She was also one of whom her visitors could say: "I am better for having been in her company." She has one daughter, Mrs. DERTHICK, with whom she lives, being now eighty-four years of age, still bright and active.

       Miss Eleanor KENT
    Chairman and Historian
Mantua Committee - Mrs. Walter MOORE, Mrs. Maria WHITE, Mrs. Lydia THAYER,
Mrs. C.H. RAY, Mrs. E.M. KENT, Mrs. Phila MERRYFIELD


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