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Humphrey Nichols, John Gardner, William Hudson and their respective families, ranging all the way from very young children to young men and women.
Baskets were brought and the tables were spread with all the dainties the land could afford. The greatest ornaments of the table, however, were the three roast pigs, each with a corncob in its mouth. One was placed in the centre of the table and the others at the ends.
The rest of the long board was filled in with rye and corn bread and a bountiful supply of all the vegetables that we cultivated. The drinks were rye coffee, tea, eggnog, toddy and whisky straight. Everbody got mellow; it was one of the privileges of the day.
After dinner was eaten the women folks stored the slight remains of the feast in convenient Indian baskets, and the speech-making began. Every speech was impromptu, but I remember such ones as stirred our souls with enthusiasm. Our plain living brought high thinking. It was here that the younger ones learned to regard the union of states and our glorious heritage of liberty with the devotion that was expressed at Gettysburg, Lookout mountain and Sherman's wonderful “March to the Sea.”
A few years later came the dances, which lasted from noon until daylight-eighteen continuous hours to trip the “light fantastic toe.”
In 1824 and 1825 we celebrated until chore time and then went home. With us it was "early to bed and early to rise,” or, as mother used to say “we went to bed with the chickens and got up with the lark.” The only light we had for years was a wick put in the centre of a saucer or lard or oil. The tinder box, too, with a piece of punk, was a family necessity. Nobody intended to let the fire go out, but it would somtimes, and then we went to borrow fire of our next door neighbor who lived at least hali a mile off. If he too had lost his fire we went until we found someone who had not lost it.
In 1823 and 24 every owner of land in the East End spent all his time that was not actually reeded in the cultivation of his crops,
in cutting down the great trees that must be got out of the way to clear up the land. From sunrise until sunset the stroke of the woodman's ax resounded. When he had done all that he could alone, or with the assistance of the boys, in August or September he called upon his
friends and neighbors to assist at a logging bee. I remember several of these, one at my father's, whose farm lay along Euclid street and southwest of Madison; another just across the road at Mr. Shenefelt's; one on Mr. Merwin's land on what is now the Jones property; one on the Strong farm where Mr. Babcock now lives, and others at various places.
A description of one of these will answer for all. So I will tell you of the bee on my father's farm. The day for the bee had been appointed some days ahead so that the men could arrange their work before hand. Timothy Watkins, John Shenefelt, Rufus Dunham, Amos Haloday, James Strong, Jonas Deardoff, Noble H. Murwin and Samuel Spangler could always be relied on for such work.
The inen were assembled; they were divided up into two parties, and each party had a yoke of oxen. One man drove, one carried the log chain and four or five rolled the logs together. The piles were about ten feet high and about the same in width and from twelve to sixteen feet long. In one day from forty to fifty log heaps were made. Some of these logs had been chopped, others niggered--this process of niggering helped matters. While the axes were busy one log was rolled across another and set on fire where they crossed. This would burn at night and in its way help along. Of course this had been done before the logging bee. There was nothing for the neighbors to do but draw the logs together and pile them up. There was little market for wood, but such trees as were thought to be suitable had been drawn away and cut and split into firewood by the boys. When the men had finished their work the fun began. About sunset the boys and girls set fire to the heaps. It was the dry season and the flames leaped and darted over the dry wood and an immense conflagration was soon well under way. As soon as the coals appeared the nearest cornfield was raided for roasting ears. No other corn was half so sweet as that common field corn roasted by those blazing wood fires. The next move was to find a watermelon patch. Now it so happened that at the time of this particular bee, Oliver Jones had a splendid patch which he watched day and night. Those melons grew about where East Prospeet street is crossed by Madison avenue. They were luscious-looking fellows and we wanted some—but how to elude the argus eyes of the owner was an
open question. A council of war was called and this plan adopted. One of the boys was to get an old cow bell and go down to Mr. Jones' cornfield at the edge of the wood and imitate as much as he could the jingling of that bell attached to a cow's neck. The boy went-and so did Oliver Jones. Strange to relate the very best melons in that field disappeared while he was gone.
After the work was done the old folks repaired to the house, where the women folks had already assembled, and ate nut cakes, corn bread and potatoes, and drank tea, eggnog and whisky. When the men had drank enough to unloose their tongues they talked about the hardships of men who come to a new country as pioneers before they could get ready to live. Of the future outcome of their labor they entertained no doubt. These talks were never in a complaining spirit, but always with the idea of tiding over, in the best possible manner, the intervening time that must elapse before they could hope for the comforts and advantages of the older settlements of the east. When this had been well discussed, and each one had gained new cheer and comfort and sympathy in the thought that all sought for that same steadfast purpose -the building up of God-fearing homes in the Reserve—then they went back to the real amusement of the evening-story telling. Every man took his turn, until it was time to go home.
The singing school was amongst our early institutions. About 1824 Elijah Ingersoll, who lived on the ridge in Newburgh, started a singing school for the winter evenings. This was held once a week or once in two weeks at the log school house on the corner of Giddings and Euclid avenues, and also in the school 'house on Fairmount street. He taught patent notes which ran "fa-so-la-me,” etc. Amongst those who attended were Sophia Watkins, Timothy H. Watkins, Rebecca Doan, Harry Haloday, Delia Willard, Electra and Drucilla Triscott, Huntington Triscott, and a good many others one time and another. When it was time to begin, Elijah brought his pitch pipe to his mouth and blew on it. Then he pulled a spring that stopped at the pitch that he desired to start the tune. This wind instrument was book shaped, about ten inches long and four wide. To the youngsters it was a wonderful affair. The tuningfork was a later invention. He lined and we sang, and the woods rung with the melody. About 1840
Jarvis F. Hanks taught singing school in the stone school house which stood where George Watkins' store now stands.
Half a century ago men built houses which they intended should be substantial, though they were not always elegant. When the great tim. bers had been hewed, it took from thirty to forty men to raise the house. It took two strong men to hold the foot of a post. Those whose assistance was desired were invited the previous day. The preparations made for the raising were one-half a barrel of nutcakes and two jugs of whisky. The whole building was put together with huge wooden pins. The man who made these pins had charge of the eatables.
My father made the first pair of pegged shoes made in Cuyahoga county. He made the pegs, too, and killed the animal that furnished the hide for leather. In those early days one of the first things to be thought about as soon as a clearing had been made, was to sow a small piece of flax, so that there should be some prospect for the tow cloth for
This flax was pulled in July and spread upon the ground to rot, and wet twice each day until it was ready to be broken, swingled, hatcheled, and spun and woven into cloth. The spinning and weaving are an important part of the household industries. My mother and sisters carded by hand, spun the yarn, and wove the cloth for our clothes. The tow cloth from the flax was made into summer wear. One long frock was the only garment worn when at work in the fields in the summer. This was called a smock frock. It was for service, but not very dudish.
When the women of the household could not manage all the spinning, a woman was hired at seventy-five cents per week. Her day's work consisted of two runs of filling or one and one-half of warp. There was nobody idle; all worked, even the child of tender years must do something to accustom him to habits of industry, and to inculcate virtue by teaching him thus early that there was work for all to do faithfully and cheerfully. The only other article needed by the farmer except shoes was a straw hat. Mrs. Danhaus braided all the straw hats and bonnets we had for a long time out of rye straw. The largest seaside of to-day would be small in comparison with the immense head gear of those days. Somebody attempted to make hats of buckeye shorings and succeeded tolerably. These went by the name of buckeye hats.
I will tell you of an old cannon and a few other things not generally known at the East End. In these early days I remember there was an old cannon that belonged at Euclid creek. On one general training day it had been honored and brought up to town. It had been used several times—and so had the whisky—when it was decided to give one "souser.” It was filled with powder, brickbats and everything else convenient. When it was ready everybody repaired to old Boughton's tavern to take a drink before lighting the slowmatch attached to the cannon. Roswell Wheeler, it was supposed, decided to forestall the fun while the others were absent, so he took a match and touched it off. A terrible explosion instantly followed. The cannon was burst into pieces and Wheeler so injured that he died within a few hours.
About where Cedar street crosses Madison was, I think, the site of an old Indian village. I can remember a good many places where there stones were put together in such a way as to serve for a rude fireplace. These invariably bore marks of long-continued fire. In plowing about these places a good many stone hatchets and arrow heads were turned up. I remember to have seen here and in other places in the neighborhood several quite curious stones. These were about one foot square and four or five inches thick. In the center of this stone was a circular excavation reaching about half way through the stone ; on each was similar indentures, though not quite as large and deep. These the early settlers called honey stones, and they soon utilized them in this way. Honey was burned in some of these places and left fresh in others. The scent of the burning honey reached a long distance. The bees came about the stone, took what honey they could, and then started on a straight line for some hollow tree in the woods, where their summer stores were hoarded. A bee hunter easily followed and secured the welcome sweets. This wild honey aided very materially the stores of the poorly furnished larder.
THE LOVE FEAST.
The dinner was announced at one o'clock P. M. as ready in the basement, when the association adjourned. Some four hundred sat down at the tables. It was a true “love feast,” in a social way. The