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hands, built and lived in a log-cabin, set out and cultivated trees—fruit and ornamental-putup buildings for convenience, and having witnessed such changes, am rejoiced to meet with those in this hall, on such an interesting occasion, whose age and surroundings run in parallel lines from early settlement, year by year, decade by decade, to the present.
As great interest centers in educational improvement, I will relate an incident or two connected with my experience, seventy-one years ago, teaching a school in Mentor, in a log school-house, having sixty scholars in a day and ninety different ones that winter term. The scholars had a very limited number of books and so diverse, coming from different states, with different authors, that the labor of the teacher was greatly increased. Yet they made good progress and many of them became leading members in their respective occupations and professions in life.
At noon recess one day a scholar came running to a shop, where I was eating my lunch, saying, excitedly : “ Indians are coming." True, a small tribe from a hunting expedition on the Sandusky river were on the path. As they approached, the scholars proposed to form a line beside the road and salute them with bows and courtesies in old-time custom. Their teacher approved of it and assisted in the arrangement. Single file they came, the squaws in the lead with great packs of skins on their backs. Occasionally a papoose, with his head protruding from the furs, gave additional interest to the review. The programme of bows and courtesies was duly carried out, with no marked attention or sign of approbation on the part of the women of the forest. Then came the hunters and warriors of the tribe. On approaching the right of the line, the chief, in broken English and commanding tone, bade them “Begone!" It was a Bull Run flight. The school-house was quickly sought for refuge from imaginary bullets and tomahawks.
As a further illustration of progress in the way of traveling, I will relate incidents connected with my journey to attend to legislative duties in early times. The fall rains had been unusually great, so that traveling with any vehicle was almost impossible, and snow had then fallen to the depth of about a foot. Judge Peter Hitchcock had been elected senator, and we determined on what we supposed to be the most feasible road. We started about midnight Sunday night, a man accompanying each of us on horseback, alternately carrying our trunks before us. We came in this manner to Warren, Trumbull county. The rivers were high. Tuesday morning we took the stage for Wellsville, Virginia ; then steamboat on the Ohio for Wheeling, Virginia ; then National stone pike to Licking county, as far as the pike was completed; then by stage-coach with six horses to Columbus, arriving there safely Saturday night. Now we can breakfast at Cleveland and dine at the capital the same day.
As one of the governors, who was on his way to Chillicothe, then capital of the state, being benighted in the forest, was assaulted by a wolf, and as a judge of the then state court, traveling on his circuit, was attacked by a bear, both making a successful retreat, it became a saying of those early times that the wolves did not know the governor from a sheep nor Bruin the judge from a pig. As they both beat a successful retreat, it may be pardonable in me to relate my encounter with a wolf, who made the retreat in quick meter time:
During the early settlement of the country, when the population was sparse and wolves plenty, the writer was returning from Hambden in the early dusk of the evening, in the month of February. The weather was warm, with a slight southern breeze, without snow. Having just entered the Claridon woods, the sound of a pack of wolves greeted my ears from the direction of Aquila lake (Claridon pond). Their howlings were soon answered by corresponding howls from the plum bottoms in the east part of Hambden. After a few salutations from east and west, all was still. After crossing a little stream of water, and ascending a steep pitch not far from and parallel with the Cuyahoga, I picked up a stick of hard
wood an inch or more in thickness and some four feet in length, keeping it as a weapon of defense in case of necessity. A little at my right, not more than twenty feet from me, was a tree-top thick with brush. On the other side of it I heard a scratching and rustling amongst the leaves. Divining the cause, I stood still. Soon the well-known sound of a wolf, commencing with a low, shrill voice, then rising into a full bass with great volume of sound, greeted my ears. As the sound prolonged, suiting the action to the noise, he raised himself on his hind-legs, giving me a fair view of his majesty. He appeared as large as any dog I had ever seen, with jaws extended, apparently large enough to swallow me up. His voice softened down to short, quick notes of soprano. He had not. evidently seen me, although so near. It was now my turn. Accepting the challenge without having been intentionally. given, from the inspiration of the instant, without any choice of the manner or word, I hallooed with all my local energies, prolonging the sound on the second syllable, giving my lungs full tension, commencing before the last feeble sounds had left my ears. His fore-legs had not reached the ground, when, with all the elasticity and strength of his hind-legs, with one bound he struck the path directly before me. Swinging my stick defiantly, he chose retreat as the better part of valor, or rather, he probably acted from intention of self-preservation than from reason. His body, with his long bushy tail, went through the air like an arrow sped from the famous Northman's bow. From that stand-point I saw no legs, but from inference supposed he had legs, for, as he flew eastward, there was a stream of leaves flying near the surface westward. It was a deed to drive the antagonist by feat of the greatest noise. Never did I see such a race for dear life. Well was it for me that I came off victorious in the first scene of a bloodless victory. Had he chosen a " passage at arms,” probably this story would never have been told. I fancy on his arrival to his friends, he exclaimed with panting breath, in broken accents from fatigue and fright: “My fellows ! in the best of mood, in answering your call in the most respectful manner, the Great Spirit came down in the form of a man, with a voice like a roaring lion, which made the tops of the forest-trees bend with its concussions, circling a staff like 'Hercules' club,' with such velocity that would have knocked the breath out of every wolf's mortal body within its reach. My hairbreadth escape was owing to my making the best record of quick time ever made on a wolf race-course. Beware of the gigantic evil spirit on our accustomed path near Cuyahoga crossing in Claridon !"
It was a happy thought that originated this institution known as the Early Settlers' Association of Cuyahoga County. It brings the eight hundred members into one organic family. The fraternal feelings and interests center here, as you meet from year to year to renew and make acquaintances, bringing to the surface the tenderest ties of friendship, and calculated to awaken sympathies past and present, and to lead us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. Individual members must die, not necessarily associations. Addition of members may perpetuate and increase its usefulness. The organization of your association was so wisely drawn that alterations have been few. With public sentiment in its favor, it has been and now is a “power for good.”
Mr. President, this law of change is manifest here. Meeting with some whom we seldom see except on such an occasion as this, or perhaps for many years, we notice the effect of time on their appearance. The same inflexible law, according to all human calculations, will soon bring the last great change to the old members, and with them the present and only officer who has presided over the Early Settlers' association, since its formation, with so much intelligence, grace and dignity. May God bless this institu. tion, individually and collectively. May the reputation of its members for honor, and for keeping alive the sacred fires
of gratitude toward the dead and living early settlers, be continued.
I will now close in the words of the late President Garfield, who addressed our pioneer meeting in Geauga county, in 1873: “These pioneers know well that the three great forces which constitute the strength and glory of a free government are the family, the school and the church. These three they planted here, and they nourished and cherished them with an energy and devotion scarcely equaled in any other quarter of the world. Here were planted in the wilderness the symbols of this trinity of powers; and here let us hope may be maintained forever, the ancient faith of our fathers, in the sanctity of the home, the intelligence of the school and the faithfulness of the church. Where these three combine in prosperous union, the safety and prosperity of the Nation are assured. The glory of our country can never be dimmed while these three lights are kept shining with an undimmed lustre."
The next speaker was the Rev. Dr. S. A. Bronson of Mansfield, a distinguished gentleman, who is eighty-two years old, and who was formerly president of Kenyon College. He spoke as follows:
PIONEER LIFE IN OHIO. MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :- Before I begin allow me to tell a story. An Irish woman was once called upon to testify in court. She began to relate some things that occurred at the time she was born. The judge said sternly to her, “Do you pretend to testify to what happened when you were born?” “May it please your honor, I was there," said she. So if I seem to tell what occurred too early for me to remember, I can prove what I say, by the fact that I was there, and what I do not remember, my mother told me, and it was written down and printed forty years ago.
In the year 1807, about the time the first steamer moved up the Hudson, might have been seen in the town of Waterbury,