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would at no remote period invade their wild domains and
appropriate them. In fact, there were at that time, though
unbeknown to the Indian prophets, great moral forces at work
in the civilized world, which ultimately verified their prophetic
utterances. Adventurers from the Old World soon began to
colonize, at various points, the wilds of the New World. Our
Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock. A series of small
colonies soon dotted the New England coast. Among these was the colony of New Haven, a colony that grew in strength
and in greed, loved land and liberty, and resolved to have
more of both. In order to effect this, she sent her favorite
Governor, Winthrop, in 1662, to England, with a prepared
charter such as she desired, to solicit from Charles II. a grant
of additional land and liberty. Though Winthrop accepted
the mission he felt doubtful of its success, for the reason that
his constituents had sympathized with Cromwell, who had
beheaded Charles I., the royal father of the reigning King, and
especially as the latter had recently expressed his indignation by ordering the dead body of Cfomwell to be disinterred,
publicly hanged and buried at the foot of the gallows.
In view of this expression of contempt on the part of the King for the memory of Cromwell and his adherents, Winthrop, when admitted to an audience, became sadly embarrassed in hitting upon a favorable method of introducing the subject of his mission, but, as luck would have it, he be
thought himself of the sparkling, massive finger-ring which he wore, and which had been bestowed by Charles I. on his father in recognition of valuable public services, and, disengaging the ring, related its history, and placed it in the hand of His Majesty, who, at sight of it, was moved even to tears, since it instantly recalled from the past many endeared memories of his royal sire. Availing himself of this golden opportunity, Winthrop delicately alluded to the subject of his mission, and in a reverential manner presented the prepared draft of a charter which he had brought with him, and requested His Majesty's seal and signature, which were readily accorded. The Colonial Governor then returned to New Haven, bearing the “glad tidings” of his success, and was received by his expectant constituents with wild enthusiasm.
The charter thus obtained granted to the New Haven Colony all the territory lying west of her limits and between the same parallels, from “sea to sea.” Neither the King nor the colonists at that time had any definite knowledge of the extent of the grant. Soon after this Charles II. died and was succeeded by James II., who did not sympathize with the New Haven colonists or approve the extravagant grant which they had received from his royal predecessor. He therefore demanded a surrender of the charter and directed a military force to march on Hartford, where the Colonial Assembly were in session, to enforce the demand. The Assembly,
though surrounded by royal troops, instead of being intimidated, proceeded coolly to discuss the question of surrender, until nightfall overtook them, when candles were sent for; but before lights could be brought some sly colonial patriot seized the charter, which lay on the table, escaped with it through an open window, and hid the prize in the heart of a neighboring oak.
When the lights appeared, the charter was nowhere to be found. The commander of the besieging troops appreciated the “logic of events" and retired with his troops in disgust, frankly acknowledging that he had been completely outgeneraled. In due time, however, the charter was reproduced. The old charter oak, while it stood, was revered as the "tree of liberty.” The great and glorious principles of that charter still remain embodied in the Constitution of the plucky little State of Connecticut—a State that has produced more eminent men, in proportion to her population, perhaps, than any other State in the Union.
It was in the month of August, 1679, that the first ship that ever sailed on the waters of Lake Erie was seen in the distance approaching the coast of the Western Reserve. This ship was the “Griffin," commanded by La Salle, built by Frenchmen near Buffalo, and sent out to explore the lake regions and secure trade with the aborigines. The Indians of the Reserve beheld the vision with alarm, and believed it to be a white-winged messenger, half walking and half flying
on the water, sent by the Great Spirit to chastise them for their neglect of divine observances, and hence they fled, panicstricken, into the forest and hid themselves in its dark recesses until the vision had passed out of sight. This effort to secure the native trade was soon followed by the establishment of French and English trading posts and military forts
at different points along the great chain of our northwestern lakes. Then came missionary efforts to christianize the natives, followed by the introduction of a more refined race,
whose object was to secure wealth and western homes.
Soon after the American Revolution the vast western
territory granted by Charles II, to the colony of New Haven became the subject of contention between sundry claimants, which Congress adjusted by awarding to the State of Connecticut what is now known as the Western Reserve, because the tract was “reserved” in the adjustment as her share; but, as compared with her original claim, Connecticut thought it an insignificant patch of woodland, though it contained three and a half million of acres. She accepted it, however, as a
choice between evils, and soon afterwards sold the entire tract
to a land company composed of her own citizens.
This company in 1796 sent out, in charge of General Moses
Cleaveland, a party of surveyors to survey this tract into
townships and hundred-acre lots, preparatory to placing the land in market. The General with his survey party, accompanied with a few emigrants, some fifty souls in all, after reaching Buffalo, proceeded by way of the lake in open boats, and landed at Conneaut, on the Fourth of July, and at once resolved to celebrate the day. The party made hasty preparations, flung the "banner of freedom” to the breeze, and provided a sumptuous dinner, consisting of baked pork and beans, rye and corn bread, and other similar luxuries. The General extemporized an oration, and when the party had concluded the dinner, patriotic sentiments were offered, and responses given, crowned with the firing of guns and oft repeated drinks from cups brimming with a beverage dipped from the crystal
bowl of Lake Erie, and infused, doubtless, with a liberal share
of the "ardent” for the "stomach's sake." This was the first
celebration of the Fourth of July that occurred in the Western
The next day after the celebration the party proceeded to
fell timber and erect a log store house, which they called "Stowe's Castle," in honor of Joshua Stowe, who was their commissary. This strange and uncouth structure attracted the attention of the Indians, who gazed at it with wonder and
retired in silence. In a few days the chiefs sent a messenger,
demanding to know what were the intentions of the white
intruders. This demand resulted in an agreement for holding
a council. On the oppointed day the principal chief, Piqua,
and his son, Cato, appeared with their attendant warriors,