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gradual increase in numbers is not so much noticed. I walk the streets of Cleveland to day unmindful of the changes time and wealth have wrought. Only occasionally I look back and see the scattering houses—the vacant lots—the second growth of oaks on the square as we then called the Park.
MRS. GEO. B. MERWIN. LAKE SIDE, ROCKPORT, May 30th, 1880.
Written Recollections and Experiences received from
J. H. Sargent, Esq. MR. PRESIDENT:
For forty years all the members of this association, and some of us for a much longer period, have contributed their share towards making history for Cuyahoga County. But where shall we all be forty years hence? Every younger recruit of to-day will then be an octogenarian, at least, or on the other side of Jordan. The venerable men of that day will be telling of the great bridge victory of peace consumated in the Viaduct, as I may refer to-day to the bridge victory of war. They will be telling of fierce contests between gaslights and petroleum, and electricity, as we now refer to the tallow dips and grease cups, with overhanging lighted rags, of our youthful days.
While some of the most sensitive among us may now be looking back with longing to the quiet days of sandy streets
and grassy walks, and an atmosphere innocent of coal dust and vile smells of crude oils, slaughter houses, acid works and untrapped sewers, the veteran of that day will describe them as the dark days of "applied science.” For by that time the active minds of our “Case Institute” and of progress the world over, will have lighted our streets and dwellings with the lightnings from heaven, and warmed our homes with the vapor of water, while smoke and filth and vile smells will have become too precious to be wasted upon the desert air. Per chance electricity generated in the coal mines and brought to us on threads of metal, may furnish our busy half million with power and light and heat. At least this picture is good to look upon. The possibilities of this progressive age are almost boundless, and after all this would scarcely be more wonderful than the advancement to-day from the condition of things when I first set foot upon the shores of the sand blocked Cuyahoga. This is what I now propose to describe to you.
I hope my fellow members will not consider me egotistical if my narative takes somewhat the form of an auto-biography, what is history but the recital of the acts and experiences of men?—When a boy of four years, in 1818, we came to Cleveland from the River Raisin, New Monroe, Michigan. The little schooner, in whose hold we were all huddled together, was forced to anchor off the mouth of “the creek.” A lighter came out and took us over the bar, and landed us at the foot of Superior street, or rather Superior Lane, as it was then called. At the corner of South Water and Superior street stood the first-class Hotel of the village, kept by Noble H. Merwin.
Here we recovered from the sickness incident to rolling seas and bilge water. My father, a blacksmith, went into partnership with that well-known character “Uncle Abram Heacox," and worked and lived on the now celebrated Boulevard, Euclid Avenue. “Uncle Abram" was a historical character, and relics of him and his trade are now on exhibition in the Historical rooms. From Euclid street we dropped down into the little “ red house” on Water street, near Frankfort.
The accumulated dust of these sixty years through which memory has to peer with all the intervening experiences, leaves upon the mind of the careless boy but a shadow of here and there a fact, important and trivial, strangely mixed. Farther down on Water street, near the lake, about that time, Wm. G. Taylor established himself, who afterwards in company with “ Jim Brown” became notorious sharpers, and fitted out a ship at New Orleans to send to China with counterfeit United States bank bills to exchange for tea. They were, however, detected and escaped punishment, I believe through some tricks of the law. Taylor, I believe, was sharp enough to ever after keep clear of prison bars; but Brown after various vicisitudes and escapes through a couragous daughter, was finally caged for good.
Near this point lived Dr. MacIntosh, a rough eccentric character, who made such free use of that early manufacture of the west side which gave its name to Whisky Island, that at last he fell from his horse and broke his neck some years later. Of his two wild sons—chips of the old block—Grove and Dan, some of you can doubtless tell some anecdotes.
In those days the correct people also had their physician, Doctor Long, an exemplary man and skilful M. D.; lived on Superior street, near where now stands E. I. Baldwin's · store. His only daughter, Mrs. Mary L. Severance and her descendants, and his adopted daughter Cath arine Phelps, now Mrs. James Sears of Chestnut Ridge, Brooklyn, and their descendants are still among us.
Noble H. Merwin, “mine host," I remember as a prominent villager among us. His two sons and a daughter I remember well. The daughter Minerva broke to me the bottle upon the stern of the first water craft launched in Cleveland, and imparted to the schooner "Minerva” her name. Through her husband came the Atwater estate, now fronting upon South Water street and the Viaduct. I remember Gus, as a rather gay clerk, now gone to the “happy hunting grounds,"
while George B. is still among us and well-known to most of us.
In these days Orlando Cutter, the later well-known auctioneer, dispensed provisions, sugar and groceries, just where the Viaduct touches Superior street.
Nathan Perry's store on the corner, Merwin's tavern across the way, Walworth the hatter, and tailor White, are other dim recollections of those early days. Dovetailing into these I see Philo Scovill, and his wife Jemima, still of us, and her sisters Meriam and Rose; Ann Bixby looming up soon after in the Franklin House. Then follows “Ed” and “Ol," afterwards “Crocket” and Caroline. These shadows are bounded by Young and Scovill's saw mill out in the thick woods,” on Big Creek, Brooklyn, on the one hand and the Franklin House on the other. Mrs. Scovill and the children we have still with us; the others have gone where the good pioneers go.
These are the dim shadows that bound my vision east of the Cuyahoga, down to the end of the second decade in this momentous century.
Since then my lot has been cast on the much advertised “West Side,” and with your indulgence I will continue my recollections there down to the real marriage of the two sides—the completion of the viaduct.
By no Viaduct, by no street cars, by no iron rails, by no