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pavements of solid stone or rotten wood, by only the Ferry boat could the great east communicate along the shore of Lake Erie, with the almost unbroken west.
Charon's duties were here performed by old father Gun and his boy, nick-named Pistol. We settled down on an acre of ground on Pearl street, near Franklin, for which we gave seventy-five dollars, a large sum in those days. Judge Josiah Barber, the patron of Brooklyn Township, then lived on the corner of Pearl and Franklin streets, in an unpretensious log house, and Alonzo Carter down by the ferry in a frame house, the only one then on the west side; but a half dozen more sprang up quite suddenly. Alonzo Carter was a character of the olden time, but long gone from among us. I imagine I. see now the particular kink to his eye and jirk to his head as he starts out with his rifle on his shoulder, and his pack of hounds at his heels for a deer hunt. The flat about the old river bed was then a dense swampy thicket, bounded on the lake side by a narrow sandy beach. The hounds would drive the deer on to this beach, when thinking to escape their tormenters they would take to the lake. But there was no escape, for the old hunter was there with his unerring rifle to brain them. His children, and I believe his widow, are still among us to connect the old with the new.
In those days there were too few children to support a school west of the River and the mysteries of Webster's spell
ing book were taught me in a two roomed frame building on St. Clair street, perhaps where the central station of the fire department now is. This single school was sufficient for the united vilages of some four hundred inhabitants.
Well I remember seeing the forest slowly driven back towards the setting sun. The first great want of the settlers a Distillery was soon supplied.
The Walworth run was then really a spring creek as it was called of pure clear water very different from the sluggish pool of blood and filth it now is. Its waters drove a paper mill near Mill street, and a planing mill near Willey Street and another near its mouth. The native forest trees were cut away on the top of Detroit street hill for the blacksmithshop, while shoemaker Smith went about “whipping the cat” and guzzling Josiah's low wines, and at this early day a store was started on the corner of Franklin and Pearl—Trinity Church was there instituted about this time and Bishop Chase and Parson Searl lent an occasional helping hand to Judge Barber and others in conducting services and Sunday schools in private houses.
This progress had been made down to the close of the year 1822. The next ten years I spent in New Hampshire, imbibing Democracy from Isaac Hill and Levi Woodberry, and my liberal religious views from Hosea Ballou—and they, the views, stick to this day.
I left the west side with the genus "Homo,” disputing its possession with the bears, deers, black snakes and clouds of wild pigeons, and Pearl and Detroit streets in undisputed possession of jimson weeds and sand hills.
Fellow Earlies—I must tell you that my trip to New Hampshire was made in a two horse sleigh carrying most of our provisions with us. This was before the days of canned food, but Jack Frost came to our assistance and preserved our meats.
My ten years sojourn in the land of steady habits wrought some change in the means of locomotion. Steamboats had established themselves upon domestic waters; and even a railway fifteen miles in length had been built between Albany and Schenectady. A young locomotive drew the carriages over the level part of the Road, but the grades were operated by animals and gravity. Thence to Buffalo the “ Line Road” dragged its slow length along, and from there the “ Henry Clay” rushed us through in twenty-four hours. This was a decided improvement over the two horse sleigh, but how small! Compared with the accomplishments of the half century intervening since.
These ten years had wrought great changes in Cleveland. The government Piers had been constructed and the “Ohio Canal” with its produce laden boats and gay Packets, made things lively, Still that great cause of future contention between the east and west, and between land and Water commerce—beginning with the Columbus street Bridge and ending with the Viaduct, had not yet arisen. A single raft of logsa “float bridge” spanned the river at Center street and this was succeeded by a pontoon bridge, these when the freshets came it made sundry excursions to the lake. Our present great interest, the Iron industry had already made a beginning. The “Cuyahoga Steam Furnace” was standing on its present site, and Blast Furnaces were making pig iron at Dover and Middleburgh, from charcoal and bog ore.
About this time arose that sectional strife known as “the bridge war”—a chasm but just bridged by the completion of the Viaduct.
A Buffalo company uniting with local spirits bought up the Carter and Charles Taylor farms, and these with the Patroons of Brooklyn, sought to overshadow the pretensions of their eastern neighbors. Then arose those enterprising spirits, James S. and Edmund Clark, who buying up Cleveland Center and Willeyville opened up Columbus street straight south from Superior street, and erected the Columbus street draw-bridge. This they donated to the then city of Cleveland which uniting with certain marine interests sought to prevent the construction of any bridge below Columbus street; while Brooklyn, new incorporated under the specious name of “The City of Ohio” determined that there should be more bridges or none. This war continued to rage until the bridge interests have seen the travail of their souls and are satisfied.
About that time another of Cleveland's great interests received its first “ Boom”. Elijah F. Willey, a Baptist clergyman put in operation on the Walworth run near Willey street a Brewery, so the introduction among us of this wicked beverage cannot be laid at the door of the immigrant Tueton.
These events, thus rapidly sketched, occurred, to use round numbers, between 1820 and 1840.
In the year 1840 the first movements in the direction of Railways were made in what is new Cleveland. But they were made by men with more brains and enterprise than money, and it was ten years before the locomotive whistle was sounded in Cleveland.
Since then, Ladies and Gentlemen, you have all been citizens of Cuyahoga county, and I will not tire your patience longer. When all the members of this Association shall have as minutely related their experiences as I have, they will be in possession of the history of Cuyahoga County.
J. H. SARGENT.