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the ferry across the river, using a scow for teams and skiff
for footmen, one shilling for teams and six pence for footmen
was the charge for ferryage.
My father built the schooner“Minerva” at the foot of Superior street. She was launched in March 1822, and was
the first vessel registered in the District of Cuyahoga, under
the United States revenue laws; she was named after my
mother; when she was launched I stood upon the heel of the
bowsprit, as the stern touched the water and called out the
name and smashed a gallon jug of whisky, as
was the custom at launching in those days. She was the first vessel west of Buffalo that had a chain cable. My father got suitable iron rods from Pittsburg, and an excellent blacksmith, Washington Jones, who made forty-five fathoms of chain during the winter; to test its strength was of the first im
At that time there were several butternut trees along the east side of Water street; my father sent out to Judge Kingsbury and Esquire Samuel Dodge at Euclid, to furnish him fifteen yoke of oxen; they were brought in, the chain fastened to one of the trees, the cattle were hitched on, all being ready word was given to surge away, which being done three times without parting it, Capt. Clifford Belden, her master and two or three other masters present, pronounced the trial satisfactory; the chain would hold the vessel in any gale.
Office holders in those times were not as numerous as now.
Ashbel W. Walworth was custom house collector, postmaster
and the pioneer letter carrier, as he usually carried the letters
in his hat and delivered them to the persons addressed when
he met them.
The famous itinerant preacher, Lorenzo Dow, held forth under one of these trees one Sunday afternoon in July 1827. His first words were, “well, here you all are, rag, shag and bob tail.” He sat flat on the ground during his discourse.
The arrival of Gov. DeWitt Clinton, of New York, to break ground for the commencement of the Ohio Canal on the Licking County summit in 1825, the celebration of the opening of the canal from Cleveland to Akron in June 1827, and many
other items relating to early Pioneer times, I will defer to
some future meeting of the Association.
GEO. B. MERWIN.
LAKE SIDE, ROCKPORT, May 20, 1880.
Written Remarks received from Mrs. Geo. B. Merwin.
I was brought to Cleveland when a baby, in the first steamer that ever ploughed the waters of Lake Erie, the * Walk-in-the-water",-A fierce gale blowing, there being no wharves, as docks, the steamer rode out the storm of three days and nights at anchor, in great danger of going on the beach, watched most anxiously by the few inhabitants from the shore, there being no possible means of communicating with her. At that time all freight and passengers were landed by means of lighters and yawl boats. The greatest speed of the Walk-in-the-water was ten miles an hour; her route from Detroit to Black Rock, three miles below Buffalo, and in coming up the Niagara, there not being force enough in her engines, she was towed to Buffalo by six yoke of oxen. The price of passage was ten dollars from Detroit to Cleveland, and twenty from Cleveland to Buffalo. The first teacher I remember was Miss Eliza Beard, to whom I went when five years old. Her parents were cultivated Irish people. At the age of nine I was sent to Harvey Rice, a young law student from the East, who taught in a brick building on St. Clair St., an Academy, and used on Sundays for holding church services, An adjoining lot, covered with old stumps, deposited there from various parts of the town, weather-beaten and bleached by storms, was our
play ground. the stumps our horses and play houses, where we arranged our bits of broken crockery, not a set of dishes intended for children having yet been brought to the village. On the south side of Superior street, nearly opposite the City Hall I should think, there was a spring of soft water, and near it a shelter was built of boughs of trees in summer, and here many of the women used to congregate for washing, hanging there clothes on the surrounding bushes. The wells, what few there were containing only hard water. The only water car rier for a long time, was Benhu Johnson, who with his sister a Mrs. White, lived on Euclid street, about where the Vienna Coffee House is now. Benhu, with his wooden leg, little wagon and old horse, was in great demand on Mondays, when he drew two barrels of water at a time, covered with blankets, up the long, steep hill from the river, now known as Vineyard street, to parties requiring the element. In fancy I see him now, with his unpainted vehicle, old white horse, himself stumping along keeping time to the tune "Roving Sailor" which he was fond of singing, occasionally starting "Old Whitey" with a kick from the always ready leg, especially if he had been imbibing freely. At the corner of Bank and Superior streets was the store and dwelling of Peter M. Weddell, a brick building with a piazza in front. Our friend, the present Mrs. Weddell, being then noted, as since, for her love of flowers, and the choice assortment she then possesssed. Judge Kings
bury's was a favorite place to visit, for health, pleasure and cherries; the latter being the sour French fruit, brought from Detroit, as delicious to our uncultivated tastes, as the choicest of the present day. A sulphur spring on his farm was sought
as a cure for cutaneous diseases.
The completion of the Ohio canal was celebrated by a great ball at the Mansion House kept by James Belden. I attended with my parents and sat awhile in the lap of Gov. Allen Trimble who had honored the occasion by his presence. It took all the men, women and children in the village who danced, to make enough for a set of contra dances, or quadrilles. A violin player by the name of Hendershot, who lived in Euclid, was the musician for many years.
When a ball was held, the managers went for the ladies in a carriage, commencing at five in the afternoon, that all might be there in time for business at six o'clock, and I well remember the late Mr. Orlando Cutter, escorting mother and myself to one when I was nine or ten years old. Cows pastured in and around the town at their own sweet will, coming home at night to be milked, mother insuring the return of hers by feeding her now and then slices of bread and sugar. These are a few of my early recollections. The change from the hamlet to the village, from the log house to the frame building, is better remembered, than from the village to the city. After a few good residences are built, the eye becomes accustomed to them, and the