Geauga County Ohio Families
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It was thought best at our last reunion that someone should be chosen as historian, to collect and get together some reminiscences of facts in the early history of the NEWCOMB family in Ohio, and also of others who were co-workers in the early development of the country, immediately surrounding that part where the family first settled in 1818, on the old state road in Middlefield, Geauga Co. It was thought that as the survivors of those early days were fast approaching the day of collapse, that a great many things of interest might yet be remembered by the older ones, that, were they set down in black and white and read at our next reunion, might perhaps be entertaining, and so I was chosen as the one to collect these facts for that purpose and get together sketches of some things that transpired in the early history of the NEWCOMBs and neighbors surrounding. I think in choosing me they made a very poor selection. I certainly cannot get anything up in shape that will suit myself very well. Of course, being myself quite young at the time, having been born seven years after the arrival of the family in the town, I have to thank the older ones of the family for things that happened previous to my advent.

It seems that the family arrived in Middlefield, in Oct., 1818, from Rochester, N. Y. How long they had lived in Rochester or what happened there, I have not the particular details, except that father was in the shoe and leather business and being of a speculative turn of mind, he, in company with another man, freighted a ship of some kind with that sort of merchandise, to take across Lake Ontario to Canada, expecting to realize a large profit. But adverse winds arose, and a storm of unusual severity disabled their ship, and they were driven about by changes of wind for several days, everything had to be thrown overboard, the storm froze as it fell and they nearly perished, but as fortune would have it, they drifted into Sackett's Harbor, and were discovered just in the nick of time. Help was sent to them just as they were being taken out into the lake again, and they were saved. He lost all or nearly all his earthly effects, and when he moved to Ohio soon afterward, he came very poor. His whole outfit consisted of an oldish pair of horses with a covered wagon and what it contained. They landed at Uncle Silas YOUNG's, on the old state road in the south part of Middlefield township, about half way between Painesville and Warren.

Uncle Silas YOUNG had lived there about ten years. He had a grist-mill erected and also a still, and was doing a thriving business with the new settlers that were already there and were arriving almost daily. He also had a hotel and they had a large family of boys and girls. I remember Uncle Silas and Aunt Hannah very well myself as they were afterward and bowed down with age. Aunt Hannah gave me many a piece of bread and butter and molasses. Uncle Silas was very much bent over, but it was said that he could carry a pretty heavy grist on his back.

Father bought one hundred acres of land joining the YOUNGs' farm, on the north, of Gen. PERKINS, of Warren, Ohio, for four dollars an acre. Of course, he had to run in debt for it, and with the interest and taxes which had to be paid, and with a fast increasing family, it is not to be wondered at that it was not paid for until he sold out. About 18 years afterward, he sold to a York State man, and since that time the farm has been sold and re-sold several times I understand. During the time the family lived on this farm, all the children were born, except Otis, Orman and Olive, who were born in Rochester, N. Y., and Canada. Father carried on manufacturing of leather boots and shoes and for several years was in company with Uncle Darius ROBINSON in that business. He had one apprentice who learned the shoemaker's trade of him, Samuel RUSSELL, whom I remember very well, but not as an apprentice. I remember him as a man of great profanity, whose rough expressions, although rather shocking at times, were somewhat amusing.

Father was a very stirring man, always full of business, although lame from a stiff ankle,which I suppose was caused by a fever sore. He used to hire a good deal of work done, and pay in shoemaking. Uncle Darius sold his interest in the business to father, and went to Bucksville, Cuyahoga Co., where he went into the business of tanning leather and shoemaking and was fast accumulating property, when he was taken sick and died in 1858, leaving a large farm in Bucksville, on Chippewa Creek, one mile west of the village. His oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and youngest san, Lucian, died about the same time. The rest of the family are all dead now,except one daughter, Edna (Mrs. LEORD), who lives in Indiana, a widow with three grown-up boys, two of them preachers, and the other a druggist in Neb.

Father died on Mar. 15, 1836, when I was 10 years old. I remember the circumstances very well. He had gone to Parkman to mill with an ox team and sled, and it was very cold weather. I remember that Orman sat up waiting for him to come home until 12 o'clock and then went to bed, thinking that he was not coming home that night, but it seems that in the morning he was there in front of the house, in the road, nearly frozen stiff and dead. It was learned that he started very late from the mill, and it being such a long distance to go with a slow ox-team and so bitter cold, that undoubtedly he became chilled and sleepy and froze so that he was unable to get into the house when he got home. Exactly how it was no one knows or ever will. But it seems that he lived on the old farm for about seventeen and a half years, and for several of those years I have quite vivid recollections of a good many things that transpired, some of which I will mention farther on.

It seems that Gen. PERKINS was very lenient with people who bought land of him and he gave father a chance to work out the interest on what he owed him by working out his taxes on land he owned in different parts of the township. He also sold father two cows for $28.00 apiece, which died shortly afterward with the murrain, which was a very common disease in those days and a great many cattle died with it, but a disease never heard of nowadays. Mother, of course, did her full share of the work in those days toward supporting the large family. The cloth that made all our winter and summer wear was woven by her, while Olive and Orrella did the spinning. The wool and flax were raised on the farm, and if I remember rightly, I used to pull most of the flax myself. Father made all our boots and shoes and did all the repairing. Otis and Orman and Orris were brought up to work, and like all the rest who were old enough, were kept busy. In fact, our home was like the majority of homes in those days, a hive of industry, of necessity. I am told we always had enough to eat, and if I remember rightly, we did have, and that that was good, and I can vouch for the fact that nobody could make better butter, sweeter custards, better apple-dumplings, or have better baked beans than my mother, and such sweet, steaming panes (as we used to call them), as would come out of that old bake kettle. My mouth still waters when I think about them. But the old bake kettle is gone. No more do we see it on the hearth with its lid covered with live coals. The old fireplace with its andirons and crane -- its big back logs that used to be hauled out of the ashes mornings, a bed of coals, to start fires with (for there were no matches), are among the things that were. I remember that if we let the fire go out, we had to go to the neighbors to get fire, or strike fire with flint. It seems to me that the days of my youth, before I was ten years old, are better remembered than days and years that have passed since. The days that my sister Orra and I were wont to stroll around the farm and fields hunting flowers or when hunting eggs in the barn, especially when I slipped down through the straw between the rails over the barn floor and striking flat on my back on the barn floor, I have a vivid recollection of. I remember going all around the barn-yard, trying hard all the time to get my breath again. It seemed minutes before I could do it. Or when with the axe I was hacking on logs of the wood-pile, I cut three of her fingers off because she did not happen to take them up quick enough off the log she said I must not chop on. Or going to school up past Uncle Johnny Young's, to the old log school-house. Some of the old teachers I remember, especially old Mr. CLAPP and Electa CLAPP. Old Mr. CLAPP gave me a great many tickets. I prided myself on reading and spelling, and in reading I thought one must read fast, and sometimes in reading fast I would call some of the words wrong. I remember that Harvey ROBB was sitting by me one day, and I was reading "I am monarch of all I survey," and when I came to the line "I am lord of the fowl and the brute," I read it "lord and fowl of the brute," and Harvey corrected me or I would never have known it. Mr. CLAPP wrote to my father to come and saw off the bench legs off so I could not swing my feet. Otis says that Uncle Johnny and Aunt Tryphena both kept school there, but I don't think I went to school to them; they must have taught before I was old enough to go, but I have a distinct recollection of them, when they lived in the old house that we passed on the way to school. Aunt Tryphena and Aunt Dorcas were a good deal alike in looks and disposition, and were as good as they could be, and I think Aunt Lucy and our mother were a good deal alike in appearance. All were alike in disposition and equally good. Aunt Dorcas I never knew until 9 or 10 years after we moved to Parkman, when my sister Orrella and myself went down and spent the summer of 1844 with them. Orrella stayed at Aunt Lucy's and Uncle Aaron HILL's, and I worked at Aunt Dorcas' and Uncle Archie Bates'. That was the summer before I was 19 years old. I remember it as being the hardest work I ever did, and Orrella worked hard at HILL's. She used to milk ten cows twice a day and then do about two days' work in one spinning. Uncle Darius used to brag her up as being the smartest girl he ever saw. When we went down there, I think Orman took us to Akron, and then we took passage on a canal-boat for Newark, and went flying. I think it only took us about a week to go down about 150 miles. Now we could go in two or three hours.

But to go back to Middlefield, there are some things yet I would like to mention, although this may not be very interesting to anybody but myself. But with myself I think as an old chum wrote me the other day, as we get into the sear and yellow leaf of life, a goodly portion of our time is passed in living~ over again our early years. We never forget the happy days of youth, and their associations, whether we were fishing up and down Swine Creek for horned dace and suckers with pin hooks, or gathering wintergreens and honeysuckles on Uncle Jesse CLEMENTS' hills, or gathering blackberries away down on George's chopping, or gathering chestnuts or butternuts in the woods, or walking on stilts in the springtime in the sugar-bush, or sliding down hill by our old home or on the ice, or doing a thousand and one things that we well remember doing when in the flush of boyish days, are things that we all enjoy looking back to, and thinking over, although 55 or 60 years have passed away since then.

I must relate a little circumstance which Orrella may remember yet. She and I were hunting chestnuts just north of our place, near Furnace Run, I think they called it, when we got lost. Orrella declared the road was one way and I was certain it was the other. She ran the wrong way and cried "Father," as loud as she could, but I found the road and was right about it, but could hardly make her believe it.

At another time I was out with Orman, away down back of BUNDY's, between the old state road and where the center road now runs. (But I believe there was no road there then.) The woods had all been burned over and it was easy to find the chestnuts which were partly cooked. Why I remember it is because we came across a girl in the woods who had gotten lost. I think her name was Betsey TAYLOR. Orman was only too glad to go and show her the way home, leaving me to find my way home as best I could. I believe I did not think she was lost as much as she pretended to be, but wanted an escort. I don't think I saw anything more of Orman that day.

Orris, if he were alive, would remember waking me up one morning as soon as it was light, very much excited because it had frozen so the ice would hold up, as he had been out and tried it. There was good chance for skating beside the road north of our house and of course I was up and out there in a hurry.

The first slip I made I landed on my head, and have always carried a mark over one of my eyes, where I cut me on a piece of ice. I ran to the house, my face covered with blood and almost killed, as I thought.

Then again how well I remember the consternation I created in the house when I came in from looking for hens' nests under the barn, where the hogs had their nests. I had got covered with fleas, and the way I was hustled out was a caution. Many and many such little incidents made lasting impressions on my mind.

The old man, Angus, who was on the town, and lived at our house so long, had many peculiar notions, and I have many recollections of him that are quite humorous, for we boys were constantly teasing him for his knife or something else. When he got mad he would invariably throw it down on the floor for us. When we teased him to tell his age, he would say nothing until he got mad, then he would ask if we knew the age of a louse. I shall never forget when he fell down stairs in the night-time, pulling a barrel of flour down on top of his head and hurting himself badly. He was a very old man and was always telling about Emily SANDERSON, down in Tennessee. And I have understood that afterwards, when he escaped from the poor-house, he headed in that direction and that was the last ever heard of him. He was kept at our house and John Young's for a great many years.

While I am about it I must not forget to record my impressions of some of our old neighbors at that time. All were neighbors within a radius of several miles, and it was customary, I believe more than now, to meet one another and have good evening visits occasionally and pass the time in sociability. They would generally stay until after tea, or until 10 or 11 o'clock, and of course-in those days all, or nearly all, would partake of some stimulants, which were always forthcoming on such occasions, and they would have a jolly, good time; and in recounting Indian and bear stories they made it very interesting, as there were some good story-tellers among the old neighbors that lived in the vicinity. There were John YOUNG, Rease YOUNG, Isaac GATES, Ransford BUNDY, Uncle Joe HINKSTON, Thomas YOUNG, Uncle Stephen GATES, Uncle Jesse CLEMENTS and a great many others. I have seen a great many of them at my house. Especially do I remember Uncle Jesse CLEMENTS and Ransford BUNDY, as story-tellers. CLEMENTS was a great talker. I can see him yet as he was a"ting out his part in some great Indian or hunting story, a man of splendid physique, with great gift of language and a monstrous tusk protruding from his upper jaw. Mr. BUNDY was a great hunter and shingle-maker, and it was very interesting to hear him tell his hunting stories, as he had a very peculiar way of doing it, which I cannot well describe. He was very imaginative, yet truthful, I think. He and Orman have entertained each other many a time with hunting stories.

Uncle Stephen GATES lived up where Uncle Tommy YOUNG lived before he moved to Parkman. I remember him as an oldish man when he came there, somewhat bow-legged and crippled, a man of not many words, good-natured, and as the man who killed the unruly ox with a handspike because he jumped the fence and ate a pile of choice apples one night. John YOUNG, Rease, Tommy and Hercules, or Hank, as he was called, were sons of Uncle Silas YOUNG. Ransford was his youngest son. He also had a daughter, Mrs. JOHNSON. I believe they have all passed away long since. Jesse CLEMENTS was killed in Michigan by having his head split open with an axe in the hands of his oldest son, James, who I think, if not dead, is now in the penitentiary. We now come down to 1836, when I was ten years old, in my eleventh year. That summer we left our old homestead and moved into Parkman, in an old, double log house that stood a little south of where Andy NEWCOMB now lives. There was a small clearing there, but most of the country was yet covered with timber and it was here and vicinity that Otis and Orman and Orris did their full share of hard work clearing up the land. Chopping, logging and splitting rails was the order of the day over the whole country. Father was dead and Otis was appointed administrator and assumed control. He and Orman worked together for a few years and then dissolved, and it is to them as much as to any other two men that the township is indebted for the removal of its heavy forests and its transformation into green and cultivated fields. Olive taught school most of the time; Orrella helped mother and worked out; Orris for a few years lived in Chardon and Brecksville, but after marriage, in 1841, settled in Parkman on part of the farm that Orman now owns. He afterwards moved to Pennsylvania, where he lived for a few years, and then settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived up to the time of his death, which occurred on the 8th of the present month. He was a hard worker and successful in business, leaving a good, snug fortune to his worthy son, H. R. NEWCOMB.

When we moved into Parkman and for a good many years afterward, there seems to have been more people living to the square mile than now. The farms were smaller, but gradually a part sold out to the rest" and moved away, consequently the farms became larger and the inhabitants less. For a logging bee or a raising or a dance in those days there could be a crowd raised on short notice, and such were of frequent occurrence, especially dances. They were frequently held after a raising or ball-playing. Ball-playing was then sport, now it is business.

Our neighbors at that time were the JONESes, the POTTERs, the NORTONs, the FRENCHes, the PHARIAs, the PECKHAMs, the SULYs, the PITKINs, the WELLSes, the GOULDs, the VESEYs, the GREINs, the JOLLYs, the YOUNGs, the WARRENs, the HAMMELs, the HOLLIDAYs, the ROBBs, the WILSONs, the GATESes, the HINKSTONs, and others too numerous to mention. I guess the majority of them are gone, but a half century has passed since then and more, and with the change of inhabitants, what other great changes have we not seen? Railroads and telegraph wires encircle the globe. We can talk with our next door neighbor in an opposite direction around the world in less time than it would take to walk to his house. We can talk with our friends hundreds of miles away as well as we can talk to them in the same room. The improvements in the arts and sciences in the last fifty years have had no parallel since the world began, and we have seen in this time our government shaken from center to circumference. Fathers and sons have gone down by the hundreds of thousands to make this government in fact what it was in name, a free government. In the great war of the rebellion, but one of the brothers took part, and I almost envy him the great satisfaction he must feel in having had a hand in it, as it was the greatest war of all time and most glorious in its results, for by it the cause of liberty took a stride forward that is seen and felt throughout the world, and by it was sealed the fate of kings.

I think considering the great progress that has been made in the enlightenment of the world in the last half century, that we should congratulate ourselves that we have lived in this age, and that we can go to our long home realizing the fact that in no other age since the world was made could we have lived and seen so much. The triumph of mind over matter has been wonderful, and it now seems to be gaining control over the elements. Science can tell whether it will rain tomorrow, whether it will be cold or warm, which way the wind will blow, and can control the electric current and make it subservient to the will of man. There seems to be no end to the results attained by the study of man, and could we live on fifty years longer there is no telling what we might see. Undoubtedly men will be navigating the air, and rain will be made to fall in dry places, and many things that now seem impossible will be realized."

The above text is from pages 10-15 of, "Record of the Descendants of Orrin NEWCOMB Together with a Short Account of His Ancestors as Far Back as 1620", by Fred C. NEWCOMB, Ozro NEWCOMB, and Claribel (NEWCOMB) French; published privately, 1915, Akron, Ohio, Ben Franklin Printing Co., 41 pages.

Our thanks to WALT NEWCOMB for contributing this story written by one of his ancestors.

From Eileen Sage comes the following information:

My husband's great grandfather is listed in Geauga County, OH Genweb under Marriages 1806-1919, Groom's Index, S1.txt. Might you be able to add a notation giving his full name?

Listed as: SAGE, R.A. married Ettie M. Fitch on 5 Oct 1870
Full name: SAGE, Ransom Alden
My source: "The Jonathan Sage Family" by Harold K. Sage, 1951

The following newspaper articles are written about the Stafford family of Geauga Co.

Stafford 50 Year Anniversary


The celebration of one of those rare occasions, a golden wedding anniversary, was held Friday at the Highland Hotel in Chardon. The day was ideal and guests to the number of 28 sat at a dinner table and were served a fine dinner. The table was decorated in green and gold, with bouquets of ???,

The invitations called for no presents but the children presented their parents each a gold watch. Other presents were a $5. gold piece, two china plates, hat pints, stick pins, tie clasp, and the best wishes of all.

During the afternoon, the parents and their four children were photographed. Mrs. Stafford was born in Streetsboro, Portage County, O. Feb. 20, 1852. She was the oldest of six daughters burn to O.S. and Sarah Churchill. Five of the daughters being present. When she was 9 years of age, she moved with her parents to the farm adjoining the Stafford farm, and lived their until her marriage. Her great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary war.

Mr. Stafford was born March 31, 1841, the only son of Rebuen and Almira Stafford. Two daughters died in infancy. He was born in a log house on the site of the present one which was built when he was 18 years old. His entire life of 74 years have been sepnt on the farm. Five generations have lived there, and three generations wereb born there. They have 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. No deaths have occurred in the immediate family in 50 years. All were present at the anniversary except one son-in-law, one grand-daughter, and the great-granddaughter.

Mr. Stafford enlisted in the 165th OVI but on account of illness was unable to leave with the regiment and was transferred to the 103R. He served under Col. Jack Chamment, who was afterward promoted to general. He was honorably discharged, and at the close of his service was ?. Mr. Stafford had been for many years an official of the Chardon Savings Bank.

Thgose present were Mrs. Myrra Knowles. of Kansas City, Mrs. ? Sweeney, a daughter of Los Angeles, Mrs. Cynthia Akins, of Cleveland, Gaylord Robinson and wife, Geo Murray, wife, son and daughter of Painesville, Mrs. Jacob Smith and granddaughter, Mrs. Grace ?(maybe Shady), Mrs. Ida Robinson, Mrs. ? Orrin, Fred Stafford and family, Mrs. Williams and daughter ?, Mrs. Sarah ? and Re. M Stafford and family all of Chardon. It was an experience long to be remembered by all present. One Who Was There


Chardonite Burned as Coal Range "Explodes" (no date given on this)

Chardon--Fred Stafford, retired mail carrier, suffered severe burns on his head and hands when a a coal range exploded at d 3 a. m., at hs home , 220 East King St. The kitchen was instantly aflame as a series of explosions sent flying pieces of metal and kitchen equipment through the ? The fire quickly ate through a ? into an upstairs bedroom and storeroom. The kitchen is located in a front room in a north wing of the home. Off the kitchen is the parlor in the main section. Mrs. Stafford was sleeping in a chair in the parlor as she is unable to go to bed because of a heart condition.

The explosion awakened her and she summoned the fire department. Firemen were enabled to keep the blaze in the interior of the two rooms. Considerable furiniture and storage, however, were badly damaged. Mr. Stafford had arisen to go to the cellar to attend the furnace. He had just ascended the basement stairs and opened the door into the kitchen when the explosion came. Only the fact that the stairway goes into a sort of alcove off the ktichen, and close to the stove, saved his life, as he had protection in the little areaway. he was given first aid when firemen arrived, and later treated by a physician.

"The first explosion was followed by several more," said Mrs. stafford. "Loud and sharp, they awakened me. I called to Mr. Stafford, but got no answer from him and was considerably worried for a time. Then I called the department. "Cause of the fire was the hot water'dog' that let go because of a large accumulation of lime from Chardon water. The explosions also sent hot coals from the stove all over the kitchen. Front door of the house is even scorched on the outside.

"Among the many unfortunate things about the fire is that a four-post-rope-tied bed over 100 years old, which had been in the family that long was damaged. it stood near the register on the second floor."

The above articles were contributed by Linda Israel


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