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down, he wanted a quarter for the chart and I only had left half enough to buy one, or I might have gone in and made a fortune by this time. The great idea in those days was to found a city, the spirit of Romulus was abroad in the the land. It was a big thing to have a franchise in an imaginary city with corner lots and water lots a plenty. Many people in a speculative way followed the course of streams in their chase for fortune, and looked for a sight for a dam or a good chance for a saw mill or a grist mill; the idea was to pitch in and make a fortune as quick as possible and let other people do the work; speculating on paper was one of the open gateways to wealth in that day.
The boom struck Cleveland between wind and water, she had it tolerably bad, but weathered it through rather better than most towns that were struck. In Cuyahoga County beside our own city that was sure to win in the end we had the city of Gilnett at the mouth of Rocky River, and St. Johnsville at Chagrin, while plats and surveys were made for the mouth of Euclid Creek and Doan's Brook. As for the interior of the county cities in embryo were a plenty, and Tinker's Creek was said to have the finest water power anywhere between Niagara and St. Antony.
Railroads that had just been tested for utility in the east were being projected for us in the booming west. William B. Lloyd and John R. St. John, two of our most enthusastic citizens were the firmest advocates of this new means of transit, but they had more mind than money.
We had Pittsburgh connected with us by links and chains by grades and curves on paper, but we had to use the old mud roads long before the cars and rails were ready for use. Those enterprising gentlemen were only a score or more of years in advance of our necessities.
Speaking of railroads we had an unmistakable one in our midst which is worthy of more than a passing mention. The Cleveland and Newburgh Railway was an accomplished fact, had its day, carried its loads of human freight and blue stone combined, yielded up its dividends and the ghost simultaneously, and where is it? Ahaz Merchant was one of the public spirited men of those days that not only projected improvements, but his enterprise brought many to a practical test; it was his head and hands that brought this Newburg road to completion, and if it was not financially a success it became no excuse to call Mr. Merchant a visionary man. He was bound to test the practicability of bringing the blue stone of the Shaker quarries to a profitable purpose. The western terminus of that road was in the southwest corner of the Public Square and its eastern was in the midst of the blue stone of the Shaker brook at Doan's Corners, near where the famous spring of blue rock water has burst through its seams. The line of route was directly through Euclid street (now an “avenue,"') and a single passenger coach carried all the human freight that sought transit; one horse was quite enough for any car load and we prided ourselves that we had a street railroad in real good earnest, and two trips a day was quite enough for all the travel, but the rails were of the stately forest oak and there was no fear of snake heads or of Ashtabula holocosts nor yet of such mysterious and terrible water casts as that of the river Tay in Scotland.
You all know that the Cuyahoga is a crooked stream and that its present outlet is through a channel cut out by the hand of man; its waters once meandered westerly through the delta till it sluggishly reached the Lake about a mile west of where it ought to be, if nature is mistrusted to have made any mistake about the matter. That old river bed was rich in allusions, in flags and rushes, in muskrats and snipe, in bull frogs and water snakes, in wild ducks and sunfish, and it was one of the safest winter quarters for Lake craft anywhere to be found on the shore. The experienced eye of men of means saw what could be done with that “old river bed," and a company set to work and dredged the channel and opened the mouth with a determined intent to make a roadstead that would eclipse the new channel in every essential manner. The work was completed to a degree, and the first steamer was to pass through the channel to the open sea on a given Fourth of July loaded with the beauty and chivalry of those who lent their favor towards the new enterprise. It was indeed a gay scene when that load of gay citizens steamed down the channel with flags above and flags below and shouts of triumph all around. The steamer moved like a thing of a good deal of life for a while, but whether in consequence of too much delta or too much boat or too many happy people on board, she got stuck in the mud and never got out to sea with its gay load after all. Whatever you may say about that old river bed it is rapidly coming into use in spite of its early history, we may yet see immense fleets riding through it in safety and no sectional jealousies to question the practicability of the enterprise in view of the coming breakwater.
You well remember what an effort was made to get a railway from Cleveland to Columbus. Sandusky had already formed a connection by rail with Cincinnati. It touched the pride and poverty of our Cleveland people to such a degree that they got just a little bit on their ear. Everyone wanted everyone else to go down into their pockets and bring up enough to secure the progress of the road. How they did beg and plead, pull and haul, tear, and perhaps swear, for a railroad, but those things won't come without a pretty loud call upon the purse.
In order to save the charter, which had lain dormant for a time, it was thought best to make a show of work on the line already surveyed. One bright autumn forenoon about a dozen men got themselves together near the ground now occupied by the A & G. W. Railway depot with the noble purpose of inaugurating the work of building the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. Among the number was Alfred Kelley, the President, T. P. Handy, the Treasurer, J. H. Sargent, the Engineer, James A. Briggs, the Attorney, and H. B. Payne, Oliver Perry, John A Foote and others besides your humble servant. On that memorable spot one could look upon those vast fields of bottom land and nothing could be seen but unbroken wide meadows, the brick residence of Joel Seranton on the north, and the ruins of an old mill in the ravine of Walworth Run on the south, were the only show of buildings in all that region round about. These gentlemen had assembled to inaugurate the work on the railway, yet there was a sadness about them that could be felt, there was something that told them that it would be difficult to make much of a railroad without money and labor. Yet they came on purpose to make a show of a beginning. Alfred took a shovel and with his foot pressed it well into the soft and willing earth, placing a good chunk in the tranquil wheelbarrow close at hand, repeating the operation until a load was attained and dumping it a rod or so to the south. We all shouted a good sized shout that the road was really inaugurated. Then Mr. Handy did a little of the same work as well as Sargent and Briggs, while I sat on the nearest log rejoicing