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A sketch of Early Times in Cleveland, received from
Geo. F. Marshall. MR. PRESIDENT:
The comparatively recent date in which Cuyahoga county was peopled, makes this effort of the early settlers to keep alive its history, one of interest to yourselves and may become of greater importance to those who follow. Most of you have lived here fully one half the time since the first settler made his home in this part of the Reserve, and if you are disposed to brighten up your memory respecting the past and the traditions of a generation or two that preceeded you, we may gather a tolerably correct history of the region round about and make a safer record to rely upon than those of which we read respecting cities and countries away back ever so far in the past.
This association appears to have taken a broader and more liberal ground than any with which I was ever connected. It requires no standard of morals or education, it has no article of faith in religion or politics, no restriction in hight or breadth, weight, health, wealth, color, physical forces, or previous condition of the purse, has no abstemious clause or other restrictive policy, and the tenure of membership is that we have been hanging about Cuyahoga Co. two score years or more all told. The object of the organization, although not fully defined in the constitution, I take it is that we shall get together now and then and look each other in the face to see how the Lake winds have affected us, and tell pitiful and pleasing stories adout how things appeared to us when we were born into this new western world. Some of you older settlers may propose for entertainment passtimes of athletic contests, such as running, jumping, climbing greased poles, chopping, plowing, turning summersets, building log cabins, chasing foxes or other early passtimes, just to show the younger settlers how well you can do it in your old days.
The true standard by which an “OLD SETTLER” is regarded in a community, is not so well defined as that of an old sinner, (although the two qualifications may be embraced in the same person.) Whether it be that he has managed to live here forty years and more and means to stick it out, or that he left his early home for its good, or that he was unable to gain a living where he was, or that his father told him to go somewhere and do something for himself, or that he came here out of choice and was determined to make it pay; it matters but little as long as we are here and have gained a residence and claim the title. The chances or mischances which fell in qur path to make this our home do not enter into the conditions by which we gain the title, neither need these things be recorded by the secretary with our birth place and the time we landed for good in this Lake shore region.
If there be any settler who came here single handed in early manhood that can put his hand upon his heart and say that he never longed to see his former home in less than six months,-in other words if his heart was so tough that he did not feel the peculiar sensation of homesickness now and then -that he did not go down on the bank of the Lake in the winter time and long for spring to come, and the ice to melt, and the boats to run-if that sort of an old settler still lives, Rider wants his photograph. He has mine, but it hangs on the opposite side of his gallery.
At the battle of Cheribusco a guard of our soldiers heard a moan coming out of a near wood and upon following up the sound, they discovered a big, stout, healthy soldier on a cactus stump, swaying too and fro, all alone, moaning pitifully; they came to a halt and waited, undiscovered, to see what would develop
“O my God," shouted the lone soldier, “I do want to go home and see our FOLKs." He appeared to be in the agony of prayer and homesickness.
You see a brave hearted soldier, even on the (con )tented field, thinks of his home and his mother, and perhaps the pumpkin pies she used to make, but nevertheless there may have been a young lady in the case; there is no certain method to account for human sympathies and mental suffering.
It is possible that there are three or more sorts of early
settlers among us; one who came in early manhood to work his way single handed, another who came in early youtli, led by the hand of his parents, and another who by good luck was born here. It is easy to guess that the former had more yearning to go and see “our folks" than either of the latter, but what one class gains the other loses.
A man's start out in life to earn his own bread and butter is the next most important event to his birth. You will remember that Shakespeare said something about man's coming and his going, and about the parts he plays, but he said not a word about the play in ('uyahoga county. The world, we thought, was pretty large when we started out in it, and we thought we had reached about as far west as it was safe to go. Do you remember how men and things, houses and lands, the moon and the stars dwindled in comparison to those you left behind ? You made new discoveries every time you went back home and returned; after a time your eye teeth were well cut and you began to see things in their true light and became a "settler" in stubborn facts and in the uneritable.
A neighbor of mine who came from Great Britain and settled in this county some fifty odd years ago, made a visit to his native heath after forty odd years of absence, and although he found the identical fields, the orchards, the houses, the barns and hedges, he declares that if he had
waited another ten years before making his first visit, he fears all England would be dwindled to such small proportions that it would not be worth while to take a look at it. He further contends that one of two things has taken place, either his ideas he brought with him have changed, or the country he left has terribly shrunk up. It can scarcely be said that forty years ago any man came here to be a bona fide "settler” and make no sign—there were no retired men of wealth, living on a laid up fortune--about every one had his fortune to make and his bread to earn; if we should exact an accurate account of the moneys and valuables you were in possession of when you became “settled,” I think the column would not be a hard one to foot. If a man was known to have as much as two or three hundred dollars in good current money, or as much as would sell for that in “wild cat” or “red dog,” he was looked upon with suspicion, and most people could not help but think that he came by it in some mysterious and improper way. Money being rather scarce in those early days, there were now and then some public spirited people who were anxious to supply the needs and necessities of community by establishing private mints and banks of issue, and duplicating those bits of paper that passed current for all the necessaries of life. And these were banks of early profits some after fare, and the proverbial maxim that “man hath sought out many inventions," was manifest wherever you