Page images

zation of Geauga county, March 1, 1806, what is now Cuyahoga county, east of the river, belonged to Geauga, until 1809, when this county was organized.

Very respectfully, yours,




During the past year many of those whose names appear in the “Annals of Early Settlers' Association," have passed from among us, and with them is laid away volumes of unwritten history of rare interest, relating to the early days of Cleveland and surroundings.

One of these, AHIMAAZ SHERWIN, than whom none took greater interest in all that concerned the times, past or present, departed this life on the 24th of January, 1881, after a few hours' illness, at the ripe old age of 89 years. He retained, up to his last day, the perfect enjoyment of a most active and versatile mind, that was a complete storehouse of interesting and amusing reminiscences of Cleveland pioneer life.

Mr. Sherwin was born on the 5th of February, 1792, in the town of Baltimore, in the southeastern part of Vermont; afterwards living in Hartland and Middlebury till his marriage and subsequent removal. He left Middlebury for Cleveland, February 10th, 1818, making the entire journey in a two-horse sleigh, accompanied by his wife and little daughter (now Mrs. J. D. Carlton, of Elkhart, Ind.), and bringing some household goods. The sleighing was excellent all the way, and the weather very severe, the thermometer standing for ten days below zero, moderating, however, as they reached Buffalo.

An incident of the journey which illustrates the hardships of traveling in those days, occurred between Buffalo and Dunkirk. As they crossed the lake on the ice between those points, they came, early in the evening, unexpectedly upon a sink-hole, into which the horses plunged, thoroughly wetting the occupants of the sleigh; but soon righting themselves, they rode on with frozen clothes, but with ardor undampened, to find a stopping place for the night. They arrived in Cleveland the 1st day of March, making an eighteen days' journey; a little snow covered the ground, but soon disappeared. Could find no place in the city to stop, was therefore obliged to go out to East Cleveland, then known as Doan's Corners, consisting at that time of the Doan Hotel, kept by Job Doan, a log house opposite, and a one story house on the corner of Doan street and Euclid avenue, occupied by Judge John H. Strong. Richard Blinn owned a farm on the Newburgh road; there Mr. Sherwin made his first home, and his first employment was to finish the inside carpenter work of Mr. Blinn's house, which enabled him to return to Vermont on the 26th of August, 1818, with a two-horse team, to bring to Cleveland his parents and two sisters.

On the return trip, upon reaching Buffalo, he left his parents to continue the journey with the team, while he and his sisters took passage on the sloop Huntington, commanded by Capt. Day, of Black River. Left Buffalo on a clear, pleasant evening, but when near Erie, a most perilous storm arose, and they were driven back to Point Abino, where they remained until the storm abated, reaching Cleveland on the morning of the seventh day out of Buffalo. A flat-boat came out to the sloop and took off the baggage and passengers, landing them on the side-hill near the foot of Superior street. “Foot & Walker's Line” was the only accommodation in those days, so they were obliged to continue their journey to Doan's Corners on foot, the intermediate distance being then an almost unbroken wilderness, with but two or three openings between. The pathway through the the woods and brush was delightful at that season; the trees in beautiful foliage and laden with nuts, many bushels being gathered that fall. Peaches were also abundant that season. They

[ocr errors]

arrived at the “Corners” just in time to meet the other members of the family driving in. The journey consumed six weeks from time of leaving Cleveland.

Mr. Sherwin's first purchase of property was a piece of timber land, fifteen acres, of Jno. H. Strong, where the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church now stands. There his parents lived several years, till his father's death. The first large piece of work undertaken in this city was the finishing of the inside of the Johnson House, kept by Levi Johnson. The next was building a large two-story house for Horace Perry, now standing, corner of alley and the Square, occupied at present as a market; considered in those days a fine building. About this time he also built a steam flouring mill at the foot of St. Clair street, for Wm. G. Taylor, the first in the city. Finished the home of Nathan Perry, on Euclid avenue, now occupied by N. P. Payne; then did the wood work of the Weddell stone dwelling, for Peter M. Weddell, now owned and occupied by Horace P. Weddell. These houses were the only ones on the avenue at that time, except Orlando Cutter's. The residence where Henry H. Dodge lives being built soon after.

He assisted in surveying and laying out Prospect, Ontario and St. Clair streets, and many others. The year 1827 was attended by much sickness—fever and chills—which proved fatal to great numbers. Among those who fell victims to the fever was his wife. The canal was put through in that year, which probably caused the unusual sickness. In 1828 he contracted a second marriage with Miss Sarah M. King, who survives him after a union of over fifty years. Six children remain, a son and daughter by his first wife, and four daughters by his present wife. Although nearly blind the last few years of his life, he never murmured, but was ever cheerful and patient, entertaining everyone who visited him, and seeming to impart to them a measure of his own happy nature.

The first piece of property purchased by Mr. Sherwin in the city, was on the corner of Ontario and Prospect streets, eight

rods square.


He afterward sold it to Clark & Willey, and is where the “Farmers' Block” stood. It afterwards reverted to his possession again and was held by him a number of years, bringing when sold what was then considered a fair price, but which would now be a mere nothing. In 1832 he purchased a small farm, part of the Richard Blinn farm, on the Newburgh road, and in March, 1832, moved out there, developing it into one of the finest farms in the vicinity of Cleveland-gratifying every sense by its natural beauty and varied resources. There may be some yet who remember with pleasure riding out there to the sugar camp in the early spring to feast on maple syrup, warm sugar and wax.

In 1853 N. C. Baldwin purchased the place, and Mr. Sherwin built a brick house on Fairmount street, near the village, being the only house then on that street between the Newburgh road and the Corners, except the old Stark house. During his latter years he built, occupied and sold several homes, residing a portion of the time with some of his daughters, spending the last two years of his life, however, at 51 Sibley street, the last home he built. The enterprise of his youth which enabled him to make those two long, tedious journeys from the east to the west, there to establish a home and help build up a city, seemed never to flag. He took the greatest interest in everything progressive -in politics, religion and science. All recollections of early times given by others to the papers, were lived over in his memory. He was greatly interested in the Early Settlers' Association, though not permitted to attend their meeting, owing to feebleness and advanced years.

Of all the old friends of whom he often spoke, who have witnessed the growth of our beautiful city from its small beginnings, John W. Allen and Moses White alone remained at the time of his decease.

With reverent hearts, scan the list of the noble dead who have left behind so rich a legacy of worthy deeds and noble thoughts. For them,

“Life's labors done,
Life's battles won,

No need of granite stone

Their virtues to record.
In loving hearts enshrined,
The good shall ever find

Virtue its own reward.”
Cleveland, July 2, 1882.


MR. PRESIDENT: I came to the Reserve in 1824 in a vessel; landed in Cleveland the third day of May, about five in the evening; Captain Williamson commanded the vessel; was obliged to cast anchor three miles out; no wharves or docks; came ashore in a small boat. The captain hesitated about trying to come on shore until morning, but finally he says: “If you dare venture, I will take two sailors and your trunk.” We had no such mammoth trunks as there are in this age. There were a hundred and sixty passengers, and most of them sea-sick. I said I would as soon be at the bottom of Lake Erie as to be here; we made the attempt, and got on shore all right. The captain took me up to Doctor McIntosh, who then kept public house. There we found Doctor Burton and Rodney Strong, the doctor on horseback, and Mr. Strong in a buggy, who very kindly gave me a ride to Euclid, now Collamer. The road was very full of stumps, the trees were cut, but the stumps were still standing. After going about two miles there came up a heavy thunder-shower; we were in total darkness, only when it lightened. The doctor was directly behind us, urging us on, but we arrived safe at Mr. Strong's door at eight in the evening; he was then keeping public house in the Lyndley House, now torn down; this was Saturday evening. Sunday, at noon, Mr. Adams came there, and after an introduction, he invited me to go to church with him -a nice old gentleman, Mr. Darius Adams' father—he said he

« PreviousContinue »