RANDOLPH 1802 - 1850

Randolph is located in the southern part of Portage County, and is fifty miles from Cleveland. Previous to its settlement it was owned by Col. Lemuel STORRS, of Connecticut, and was named for his son, Henry Randolph STORRS. It was first surveyed in 1797 by Amzi ATWATER and Wareham SHEPHARD. The first settlers came in March, 1802, from, Connecticut. They were Bela HUBBARD, Salmon WARD, Avad UPSON, wife and two sons, Salmon and Lorenzo, Joseph HARRIS, and Calvin WARD.

To Mrs. Avad UPSON belongs the distinction of being the first white woman to live in the township, and she was also the mother of the first white child born in the township, a daughter, Sophronia, born 1803. Sophronia married Morris ADAMS for her first husband.

Mrs. Josiah WARD, with her husband and six children, in company with their brother, Salmon WARD, came from Jefferson County, New York, to Randolph in 1803. They made the journey by lake in an open boat, and suffered very much by exposure to cold.

One day, when Mrs. WARD was walking on a hill about one mile west of the center, she exclaimed: "What a beautiful spot this would be for a burying ground," and only a short time afterwards, February, 1804, she was buried on the spot she admired, and on this account it was established as a burial ground. Her death was the first of an inhabitant of the township.

Her daughter, Miss Clarissa WARD, married Bela HUBBARD in 1806. They were first married by a minister, but there were some doubts raised to his being authorized legally to solemnize marriage, so they were married again by a justice of the peace in 1809. She was a very conscientious woman, and at the time of her wedding the only marriageable girl in the township. She was the mother of four girls and four boys.

Her daughter, Mary, married a Mr. ROGERS, and moved to Deerfield; Caroline married a Mr. HAYDEN and moved to Michigan; Phoebe married a Mr. PERDY and moved to Mogadore; Harriet married O. HENSTED and is still living.

Esther WARD, daughter of Mrs. Josiah WARD, married a Mr. TUTTLE and moved to Michigan.

Mrs. Jehiel SAVAGE came from Middleton, Conn., in 1803, with her husband and family. Also during this year came Mrs. Timothy CULVER and Mrs. Daniel CULVER, with their husbands and families. One morning, Mrs. Timothy CULVER went to prepare breakfast for her family, and like "Old Mother Hubbard," her cupboard was bare. She went out in the fields and gathered nettles, boiled them, and her family ate them without salt, or had anything else for their breakfast.

After this queer repast Eliakim MERRIMAN, who was living with them, took a bushel of corn on his back, went on foot to Deerfield to get it ground into meal; waiting until the meal was ground, he walked home with it, and Mrs. CULVER cooked some without salt for their supper.

The next morning, with oxen and cart, he started for Cleveland for a barrel of salt. The first night on the road he hitched his oxen to a tree and lay down beside them to sleep. The next day he arrived in Cleveland, purchased his barrel of salt, and started home. The second night he occupied the same bed as the first, reaching home the third day. Mrs. CULVER then had plenty of salt to season her nettle greens and corn mush. When going to Cleveland he took an ax to chop a road for his oxen and cart to pass.

Miss Hannah RUSSELL married Eliakim MERRIMAN June 16, 1806, the day of the great eclipse.

Mrs. Rufus BELDING (Miss Charlotte SABIN) came from Cattaraugus, N.Y., in 1807. Her husband was the first physician in Randolph.

Mrs. Ebenezer GOSS, with her husband and children, were from Plymouth, Conn., arriving in this town in 1804. Her daughter, Polly, married Abisha CHAPMAN and soon after they moved away. Her son, David, married Hannah RYDER and their home was a place of refuge for the widows and orphans. Aunt Hannah was a good cook and always had plenty on the table to eat.

During this year came Mrs. Oliver DICKINSON, with her husband and children. She had four sons and two daughters. Mr. and Mrs. DICKINSON were charter members of the Congregational Church, in which they always took an active part. Her son, Oliver Cromwell, married Lovissa ROSE in 1812. She was born in Granville, Mass., 1791, at which place a colony was formed in 1804, and emigrated to Granville, Ohio. She came with her parents in this company.

After her marriage to Mr. DICKINSON she took her bridal tour on horseback, carrying her "trousseau" in saddle bags; as there were no bridges in those days they had to ford streams. Came to Randolph, 120 miles, where her husband had provided a home. She was the mother of five sons and four daughters. Three of the sons, at the call of Father Abraham, went into his service. She was kind, genial, charitable ever ready to do for others. "None knew her but to love her." She died December 1869, in Randolph, where she always lived after her marriage. Thus lived and died the little blue-eyed woman, many years known as "Aunt Lovissa."

Her oldest child died suddenly, and Dr. LEE of Randolph and Dr. COOK of Atwater, held the postmortem examination, and, it being the first one in this part of the country, it created much excitement.

Percy ROBERTS of Middleton, Conn. Married Alpheus DICKINSON, in 1824. She left one child, a good singer, who is still living.

Mr. DICKINSON afterward married Mary JOHNSON, in 1826. She is, as far as is known, the first woman to buy land with her own money. She bought fifty acres for about two dollars an acre with money she brought from the east with her.

The fourth wife of Alpheus DICKINSON, Martha CURTISS, was a singer, and always at church was able to be there. Her apple pies were inquired for at "donation parties" and picnics, long after they had been sampled out of sight, though she always provided her quota.

Miss Lydia SABIN, the youngest child of Jeremiah and Phoebe BURDSELL SABIN, was born in New York state. Her mother died when she was a child. She came to Randolph with her father and brothers in the fall of 1805. She made her home with her brother-in-law, Dr. Rufus BELDING, and married Calvin WARD December, 1814. They had eleven children. Four daughters grew to womanhood. Miss Mary WARD married Dr. J.C. FERGUSON, and moved to Mogadore, Summit County, where she died. Miss Phoebe WARD married Wesley STANFORD and died in Indiana. Miss Annie WARD married Lorenzo Don JEROME and is yet living, also is Miss Eunice WARD who married Geo. BROCKETT.

When Miss Lydia was a girl she was helping her Aunt Nancy SEARS SABIN during harvest. One morning after the men had gone to the field they went to the barn, caught a pig, killed and dressed it, and roasted it before the fire for dinner. At another time she and her daughter, Mary, took one hundred pounds of wool, cut from the sheep to make cloth; then carded, spun and wove it into cloth. Mary was teaching school at one dollar per week, and she would do her day's work (two and one-half round a day) besides her school work. She was a good spinner, weaver and knitter, and would often take her children's clothes while they were in bed at night and wash them and have them ready for them to put on in the morning. She died at the age of 76 years.

Mrs. Isaac MERRIMAN (Esther MERRIMAN), with her husband and one child, were from Wallingford, Conn., in 1805. She was a great home body, and had seven children. Her daughter, Jerusha, married Jonah HINE. They were great lovers of flowers and had the first greenhouse in town. Delight married Austin COLLINS. She was a fine cook, and very neat housekeeper. Alvira married Wm MEANS; Nancy, Robert ALEXANDER; and Lovinia, J.C. BRAINARD.

Mrs. Elathan JENNINGS (Miss Hanna GOSS) arrived with her husband and children from Pennsylvania in 1807. Her husband was a carpenter and he soon left his family to provide for themselves. On the small stream west of the center one-half mile, she shot many wild turkeys, and at one time two at one shot of the rifle.

Her daughter, Elizabeth, taught school. She first married Carver GOSS, and after his death, Joel PEGG. She went to Canton, a distance of about twenty miles, on horseback; bought and brought home her dishes and wedding dress, which was calico, and cost a dollar a yard. She spun and wove both wool and linen; she was a tailor by trade and made their own clothes. She was a Thompsonian doctor and sent for far and near. At one time a fire broke out near her home, and being no men near, she harnessed the horses and plowed a furrow around the field.

Minerva, the daughter of Philo and Rosanna BEACH, was born in Granby, Conn., in 1809. When she was six years old her parents put their household goods in an ox-cart and started for New Connecticut, in company with her Uncle Andrew BEACH. They traveled "over the mountains" to Pittsburg, through Beaver, Pa., to Deerfield, Portage County, where she and her mother remained with relatives until her father and uncle came to Randolph. When they reached the corners, a mile and a half east of the center, they had to cut their way half a mile north to their claim, where they soon erected a house, splitting logs for floors, hanging blankets for doors, and building fires around the house to keep the wolves at bay.

In due time Mr. BEACH returned to Deerfield for his wife and child. They were glad to get to their own home, even though it was surrounded by thick woods and howling wolves. Minerva had to go to school through the woods for about two miles from home. When she was seventeen years old she was married to Ben Ami ALLEN by Rev. Joseph MERIAM, the first couple he married after being ordained a minister. They united with the Disciple Church in their youth. She lived within a quarter of a mile of her father's home all her life. When she was married her father bought a bedstead, for which he paid seventy-five cents, on which she slept all her life, until her last sickness of two weeks, when she was kindly cared for at her son Munroe's.

After her husband's death in 1880 she lived entirely alone (but only a few steps from her son's). She suffered many privations of pioneer life. She was a great worker and her home was a pattern of neatness. She was a kind mother and every ready to lend a helping hand to the needy. Peaceful, patient and gentle, she closed her eyes in that last long sleep, June 10, 1896.

Mrs. Marcus SPELLMAN writes as follows:

"Among the early settlers came Deacon Festus SPELLMAN and his wife, Hannah DICKINSON, and seven children, four daughters and three sons. They emigrated from Granville, Mass., and arrived in Randolph October, 1816, and settled on the southwest center lot. The eldest daughter married Almon B. COE and raised a family of four sons and one daughter, who resides in Waupun, Wis. She is a woman of remarkable executive ability and as willing as she is able."

The second daughter, Aurilla, married a Mr. COOLEY and died in Randolph.

The third daughter married Justin BELDING, merchant. They had three daughters, the youngest, Mrs. GILLMAN, is yet a resident of our village. Mrs. BELDING died in 1890, aged 84 years. She was an earnest Christian worker.

The fourth daughter, Deborah, married Charles SANFORD of Rootstown. They had four sons, only one living, O.M. SANFORD.

The year 1818 was remarkable for sickness in Randolph, occasioned by the overflowing of a large territory by a mill pond, and among the many deaths was that of Deacon SPELLMAN. Some months after his death his widow married Dr. Rufus BELDING, who had nine living children. This constituted a family of eighteen, and she performed well the duties of housewife for so numerous a family, and yet found time to bestow on her Savior ardent love, and to perform good works. Two sons are yet living, M.F., who resides in Rootstown in his 88th year, and the other Rev. R.D., resides in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

During the removal an incident occurred which remains in the memory eighty years after. The family being large, the opportunities for lodging were various, but more generally the floor was the bedstead for the children, and on one occasion, the lad being unusually sleepy when the mother wished to pack for a start, refused to surrender his bed and she, motherlike told him she would switch him.

He told her he would break her stick, and, true to her word, she switched him, which only raised his ire, and, to get even with her, called her a vile name and made off, but kept his eye on father and mother as they were counciling. Ere long the lad came into the hands of the mother and then happened what remains in the memory. Moral: If good words and gentle means will not reclaim the wicked, they must be delt with more severely.

Miss Minerva GOSS married William ROGERS in 1817. She is noted for her great memory. Very benevolent and ready to go in sickness.

Miss Maria BEACH was only twelve years old when she came from Connecticut in 1816 with her father's family. She married Stephen CHURCHILL at the age of seventeen. She was a great lover of flowers, always called on in sickness, and a skilled weaver. Her sister-in-law, Mary CHURCHILL was a noted school teacher.

Mrs. Norman HUMPHREYS (Miss Sarah KENNEDY) came from Augustus, New York, in 1819, with her husband and two children. Her daughter, Jane, married Levi MERRIMAN, and is still living in Randolph, known to old and young as Aunt Jane.

Almira CASE (Mrs. Timothy TERRY) was born in Simsbury, Conn. Soon after her marriage in April, 1824, she removed to Randolph and settled on the farm where she and her husband lived and died. She was the mother of four sons and four daughters and lived to see them all have homes of their own. She was a member of the Congregational Church.

Amanda GRISWOLD, born in New Hartford, Conn., in 1789, married D.P. ELMORE in 1814. One child was born to them; Elizabeth. About the first of June, 1819, they started for Ohio. The mother and only one child, with household goods were packed in an ox wagon; accompanied by D.K. WHEELER and Jonah HINE. The journey to Randolph was made on foot, occupying forty-seven days. They first lived two miles south of the center, a few years after they moved to the center, to the north-east corner of the square, where they opened the first tavern kept in Randolph. She died in 1872.

Miss Elizabeth Amanda ELMORE, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. ELMORE, married Wm. STEDMAN; she was the mother of three sons and two daughters, Helen and Ellen. A kind neighbor, and true friend. Her devotion to her family was one of the great characteristics of her life. She was one of the pioneer band who early exposed the anti-slavery cause, in a day when it cost to give utterance to conviction. She lived to see the triumph of freedom, a national jubilee.

Three sons with their father went to the front in the Army of the Potomac, while she watched with bated breath the reports of that army for three eventful years, and hailed their return as a wife and mother only can.

She was one of the few who was presented with a volume "Own Acre and its Harvest," a book published by the Cleveland branch of the United States Sanitary Commission. Within the space of five years she buried her parents, husband, and three children. She died in Randolph, where she had always lived, March 2, 1880.

Mrs. Clarissa S. AUSTIN, commenced Feb. 21, 1821, pioneer life in Ohio, moving with her husband and four small children on the wild, uncultivated land once owned by a Mr. BACON. A double log house, a fire place and chimney made of stone, bake oven to chimney. On starting a fire, a large possum came out from the oven, down into the room with the family.

They had a trap door leading to the cellar, a hole dug out to put some things for family use; Mrs. AUSTIN went to her cellar one day bare footed, soon she called for help, for there were snakes in the cellar; her husband, with her help, brought out a black snake and stretched it out eleven feet in length, and large around in proportion; the next day they caught the mate, the same size. This was the beginning of pioneer life in Ohio. At another time they had a small flock of sheep, twelve in all; the wolves attacked them in the night and killed three of them. Mrs. AUSTIN got up, took the coarse furniture out of one room of the log house, and helped drive the sheep into it to save their lives.

Mrs. AUSTIN was a very devoted religious woman. She would walk two and a half miles to church on the Sabbath. She would carry her stockings and shoes in her hand, and when near the meeting house she would put them on, and on her return do the same. They had no horses or wagons; having no money, could have no luxuries.

Her son, Hiram, married Miss Elizabeth SEARS, and she is today the oldest living person born in the township. Mrs. AUSTIN is a good housekeeper, and an earnest Christian worker.

Miss Betsey SLEATH was born in England in 1798; when four years old, she came with her father to Wallinford, Conn. January, 1817, she married Albert BROCKETT, and about May 1st, 1825, they started for Ohio, with three children and their few household goods packed in a one-horse covered wagon. They bought themselves a home one mile and a quarter east of the center, where she died August, 1843. She was the mother of six daughters and three sons. Three of the daughters are living in Randolph today. Mrs. Lodema B. BELTES, Mrs. Mary B. FENTON, and Mrs. Alvina B. SHOOK. Mrs. BROCKETT owned the first tin baker in Randolph. She was always kind to the poor.

Miss Fidelia MORSE was from Wallingford, Conn., in 1827. She was a fine singer and good nurse, also a weaver and spinner.

Mrs. Josiah BROCKETT (Miss Rebecca RAYMOND) came from Connecticut in 1829, with her husband. She was a noted housekeeper, and the mother of four daughters and four sons; all the daughters are living. Mrs. Susan REDFIELD and Mrs. Ellen JARIAN live at Randolph; Mrs. Belinda BELTES, in Talmadge, and Mrs. Lucinda ELLIOTT at Ravenna. Her mother who was blind for several years, lived with her, and is always spoken of as a very patient old lady.

In January 1826, she who the day before was Miss Emiline BIDWELL, now the wife of Rev. Joseph MERIAM, started from Madison, Lake County. A one-horse wagon contained a feather bed and her little all for housekeeping. The roads were bad, but her experience in coming from Middleton, Conn., had taught her patience in traveling. Between Buffalo and Erie, with the upsetting of wagon and the miring of teams, their little company worked hard for eight house to get through the four-mile woods.

Wise to plan and strong to do she assisted her husband in his parish duties. Three-fourths of his small salary was by agreement to be paid in produce, wheat being reckoned at one dollar a bushel and other things in proportion.

Hence, industry and economy were necessary on her part to make ends meet and keep her five children comfortable. It was her tact and social nature that made successful and attractive forty successive New Year donation parties at the parsonage. Of nearly two hundred weddings solemnized by the pastor, the greater number took place in her "front room" By her kind words and genial manners the most timid were made to feel at perfect ease. The wedding cake was never lacking.

Her sympathetic nature was shown in the following incident. A neighbor, Mrs. DICKINSON, died leaving a babe six weeks old. Mrs. MERIAM immediately took it into her care and keeping. Her own babe was nearly the same age. When both babes cried at once, Walter, "the poor motherless one," was always the first to receive attention.

At the organization of a Sunday school she refused to take a class already collected, but gathered one from the highways and hedges. This was not new work for her. When only nineteen years of age while teaching at Waterford, Penn., she organized a Sabbath school with seventy scholars, though at that time she had never seen a Sabbath school. Evening meetings at the parsonage were frequent. Those coming from a distance through the woods would, on their return, light their way with a torch of hickory shagbark, for an all evening meeting of those days commenced at early candle lighting.

At one time she and other ladies were visiting at a neighbor's. As they returned to the parlor from the tea table a large rattlesnake came out from its place of concealment on the bureau. It probably came in the morning through an open window. On another day she was called out of doors by her husband, when she saw lying in the path a rattlesnake which he had just killed. Her grandfather was on General Washington's staff.

She was personally acquainted with her great grandfather and great grandson, making seven generations.

On a stone in Sand Hill cemetery in inscribed, "Rev. Joseph MERIAN, for 64 years pastor of the Congregation Church in Randolph, the longest pastorate in the United States." On another side of the monument: "Emeline BIDWELL, wife of Rev. Joseph MERIAM, died March 1st, 1803. A helpmeet, indeed. Her children also rise up and call her blessed."

Miss Fanny RYDER was born in Vermont, 1796. Came to Hiram with her father in 1814. Married Silas BELTES, of Talmadge, in 1819; lived in Akron at the time of the building of the Ohio canal. She cooked for twenty men and cared for a family of four small children. All the assistance she had was a young girl of fourteen years of age; and, to make her burden heavier, her little boy of four years old, was brought home to her one day with a broken leg.

She moved from Akron to Randolph and then back to Talmadge. When the cholera reached Akron in 1830 she used to walk from her home to Akron to help take care of the sick, coming home every third day to look after her family of four small boys. She took care of a husband and wife, sick with the cholera, both dying, and no one but herself to do anything for them until they were ready for burial. The neighbors would come to the fence to inquire if she needed anything, but dare not enter for fear of catching the dreaded disease.

In 1832, after the death of her husband, she moved back to Randolph, where she was married to Fredrick DYE, who died in 1856. She afterwards married Samuel Buel SPELLMAN, of Rootstown.

Her life was a busy one. She learned to weave in her girlhood and afterwards learned the tailor's trade. Her webs of cloth always held out full measure after they came from the loom, and her seams never ripped, no buttons came off. She found time during her busy life to read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelations over thirty times. She was familiar with its teachings and tried to make them practical in her life. She was a member of the Disciple Church of Randolph for almost sixty years. She was familiarly known by old and young as simply "Aunt Fanny." She died in 1885, aged 89 years.

Mrs. Hiram WINCHELL (Miss Olive GOODWIN), born in Harwinton, Conn., 1799; came to Randolph in 1827. Her parents were wealthy, but marrying against their wishes, they disowned her. Mr. WINCHELL was naturally a very smart man, but whiskey ruined him. He died in 1854, after which she lived entirely alone in her little two-room house, save her numerous cats and house plants. That terribly cold morning, December 9, 1882, which is well remembered, her house caught fire and burned to the ground with all its contents and she in it. A sad ending of two unhappy lives.

Mrs. LADD (Miss Mary CHAPMAN) arrived in 1827, a widow with three sons and two daughters. She was a very useful woman; always called on in sickness and ready to do any kind act. She was very poor, but bravely struggled with poverty. She wove and spun.

Mrs. Otis MERRIMAN (Miss Phoebe HART) came to Randolph in 1833. She had three sons and three daughters. Martha married Wesley PLUMMER; Mary married John RANDALL. Mrs. MERRIMAN married James COLLAR in 1879. She practiced midwifery and is a good nurse. She is known to old and young as Aunt Phoebe. She is an earnest Christian worker and a member of the Disciple Church.

Mrs. Henry BRUMBAUGH (Miss Catherine STIFFLER) came from Pennsylvania to Randolph in 1832. She raised a large family of children.

Miss Temperance HUTCHINSON, from Danbury, Conn., moved to Hudson in 1806. She married Samuel CHENEY and came to Randolph in 1836. A strong, religious character. She was a famous spinner. She was at one time teaching school, from which she was discharged for keeping company with her future husband.

Betsey HINE was born in Milford, Conn., and married Joseph CLARKE, a resident of the same town in 1813. They moved to Randolph in 1836, and to Cuyahoga Falls in 1851. Mary E., only child of Betsey and Joseph CLARKE, was born in Connecticut in 1815, came to Randolph with her parents in 1836. She was married to C.D. FARRAR from Vermont in 1838 by Rev. Joseph MERIAM.

For many years Mrs. FARRAR was an mantua-maker, in which she excelled. A lady in town has a dress Mrs. FARRAR made for her more than fifty years ago, that in needle-work the young ladies of today might pattern from.

One child was born to them, Harriet. About 1850, with her family, she moved to St. Albans, Vt. Her husband died in 1870; the following year she went to Boston, Mass., to live with her daughter and family. She is in her eighty-second year and still does any amount of knitting, embroidery and fancy work, of which she is an artist.

We are indebted to Mr. E.P. BRAINARD of Mantua for the following sketch of his mother:

Nancy POST BRAINARD-MITCHELL was the third daughter of Josiah and Lydia (nee PLATTS) POST, born in Saybrook, Conn., July 26, 1788. In the spring of 1803, when Nancy was fifteen years old, her father, with his wife and seven children removed to Leyden, Lewis County, New York, which was then a primeval forest. Having made the best of her school opportunities in her native town, soon after settling in the new home she engaged in teaching, with more than ordinary success. July 5, 1823, she married Joseph BRAINARD, by whom she was the mother of four sons and one daughter. This union was replete with happiness to both husband and wife, until the death of the former, which occurred March, 1831. When Mrs. BRAINARD was left a widow with the care of five young children, then it was that her superior executive ability manifested itself in her good management, parental care and devotion to the best good of her fatherless children.

At the age of sixteen she united with the Baptist Church; to the time of her death she continued a zealous, consistent member, and her life was adorned by all the virtues of a Christian character, and she never missed the opportunity of imparting to her children, as well by precept as example, the principles of integrity and honor, which formed the basis of her own character. March, 1835, she married Deacon Jotham MITCHELL, of Steuben, New York. In March, 1837, she and her husband removed to Ohio, and in 1839 settled in Randolph, where she died, 1865, aged 76 years. Her death resulted from the effects of a fall.

Mrs. MITCHELL possessed a retentive memory and a sound, logical mind; a great reader and strong reasoner. As wife, mother and friend, she was kind, steadfast, ardent in her nature, self-sacrificing, devoted and affectionate. Human suffering always excited her warmest sympathies, and she was ever ready with a helping hand to mitigate it.

The first religious services were held in 1806 at the home of Oliver DICKINSON.

The first church (Congregational) was organized on July 5, 1892 , by Rev. John SEWARD, and comprised twelve members. When the schoolhouse at the center was completed, religious services were held therein. A Methodist society was organized in 1810, consisting of ten members, and a Baptist society of about the same number in 1819. In 1832 the Congregational society erected a church, and the year following the Methodists built their first house of worship.

The Disciple Church was organized in 1828 out of the Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational societies, and in 1860 erected a house of worship. Their new church was erected in 1884 and completed in the spring of 1885.

The German Reformed church was founded in the township at an early day, and in 1857 the members of this society erected a house of worship.

Time and space forbid mention of others worthy of notice, and are connected with the early pioneer life of the town. But we all can pay a tribute of respect to our brave, loving pioneer women who toiled so patiently and bravely to make homes in the unbroken wilderness.

         Miss Viola L. BETTES
Randolph Committee - Mrs. Helen P. HAUGHAWOUT, Mrs. Mary B. FENTON


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