Lyme is one of the western townships of Huron County, forming part of the western boundary of the Reserve. We have been able to trace the ancestry of the early settlers back over 230 years, when a sturdy and resolute band of people left their homes in Lyme Regis, on the southern shore of England and came to the banks of the Connecticut, giving to the new home the name Lyme.
About a century and a half later a company of their fire stricken descendants came to the wilds of Ohio and made new homes in this western portion of the Reserve. The first house built in the unbroken forest was by Conrad Hawks, who came in 1808. He settled in the eastern portion of the township, but remained but a few years when he removed to Green Springs, O. Susan Hawks was the first bride named in the township in the winter of 1816-17, the husband's name being Burwell Fitch. A daughter, Mrs. Husted, lived for many years in the southern portion of the township. A few years ago, she moved to Norwalk, O., and there died.
Burwell Fitch was previously engaged to Miss Polly Hand, who confided to a friend that she had been over pursuaded by her friends and regretted her promise. The secret was passed on to the magistrate, and when the young couple presented themselves before him he questioned them closely. Like Barkus, the bride-groom was willin', "but Miss Polly confessed her reluctance.
Mr. Fitch generously released her and they returned home, but nothing daunted, in a short time he presented himself before the same magistrate with Susan Hawks, who became the first bride in the township, and they settled in Sherman township soon after.
The second bride was Miss Polly Hand, who became the wife of Ira Bassett and settled in the township. The early settlement of Lyme was not very rapid, and we find but few names until after the close of the war of 1812. In 1813 Lucy Elderkin Strong, the second wife of Major Strong, came from Manlius, N.Y. with husband, ten sons and two daughters, and made a home for them in a little log cabin purchased by Major Strong two years before. But the wife and mother did not long survive the hardships of pioneer life.
Four brother named Strong, with families were here by 1816, and possessed a large tract of land along the ridge. The road along which they settled is still known as STRONG'S RIDGE. The names of these pioneer women cannot be found in the public records of those times, but they none the less deserve the greatest respect and esteem for their kindness at the bedside of the sick and suffering, for their fearlessness in the cause of right and marked disapproval of the wrong; for their patience, their economy and thrift, conferring unnumbered blessings upon succeeding generations. Scarcely were they settled in this region, when in 1815, we find the little log school- house which also served for many years as a house of worship. The Lyme Congregational church is one of the oldest organizations on the Reserve, prhaps the oldest Sabbath School in the state. The first ordination services on the Reserve were in this church. Of the ten charter members, five were women, Susan Strong heading the list.
She was born in 1762, was married to Deacon John Baker, and came to Lyme in 1815. Mrs. Baker was an energetic, thrifty woman, kind and gentle, and has left a blessed memory of kindly deeds, though misfortunes seemed to be her earthy lot.
Early in her married life, on returning to her home after a day's absence, she found her home and all its contents a smoldering ruin. Too poor to rebuild, they sold the land and returned to New York, and in the woods built another home, but after twenty years labor the title was found to be defective and and she was again homeless. They came to Lyme again, where her brothers had settled two years previous. Her husband soon after was fatally injured while helping to raise a log house, and she followed him in August 1826. She had two daughters and four sons.
Mrs. Rhoda Bemiss Rash came with her parents to Lyme in 1823. Two years later she was married to Livy Rash. She was naturally of a sweet and amiable disposition, though a VERY FRAIL WOMAN; for thirty years she had charge of the primary class in the Sunday School, and had begun to teach the second generation faithfully and earnestly. She died at her home February 1869. Two daughters survived her, the eldest has since joined her mother. The youngest married Mr. Minzey and lives at the old home.
Mr. And Mrs. Samuel Bemiss came from Onondaga, N.Y., in 1823, three daughters and two sons coming with them. For a long time they lived with Mr. Rash, then moved into a frame house built by Nathan Strong, the first frame house in the township. The children all in later years made homes near by, the oldest son remaining on the homestead.
Mrs. Bemiss was Nancy Searles of Worthington, Mass. She was an ideal matron, receiving and caring for all the homeless ones of the family. At one time her household contained the grandparents, three unmarried sisters, her husband and five children. A woman who could safely steer her bark amid such breakers must have an overflow of humor. Fact and kindness as rare as it is delightful. She died in 1853.
Sephronia Branch, the wife of Elijah Bemiss, came with her husband from near Auburn, N. Y. in 1824, driving their own team all the way. She began her married life in a primitive style. Industrious and economical, and of uncommon thrift she laid the foundation for future prosperity. Her children were well nurtured, wisely taught, and became respected, useful citizens and efficient church workers.
Her husband's sisters, Polly and Anna, married brothers, Asahel and Lyman Strong; Polly died early, but Aunt Anna, as she was familiarly called, lived for many years after her marriage. She was a woman of great energy and perseverance. After the blindness of her husband and the consequent loss of property, with her indomitable will she planned their removal to Cleveland, that she might care for the doctor's patients to pay for the treatment of her husband's eyes; with restored sight fortune again smiled upon them. Full of care always, her great heart never failed. Her son died a few years after his marriage, and his widow and two children were provided a home with her. A little later her daughter was left a widow with two small children, and the home was again opened to them The grandchildren were given every advantage, until in turn they went out from it to make homes of their own. She survived her husband several years.
Sally Bassett Strong, wife of Abner Strong, came to Lyme in 1815. She was genial, kind, and everybody claimed her as AUNT SALLY. She and her husband cleared and improved a large farm, but as they grew older they divided with their children, retaining only enough to make them- selves comfortable to the end. Five children came to their home, Cyntha the eldest married John U. Sloane, father of Rush Sloane of Sandusky. Another daughter, Emma, married Winthrop Ballard, and for many years lived near the church. She had a family of two daughters and four sons. Her husband died suddenly in 1864, and a little later she sold the home and passed the rest of her days with one of her children near Clyde, O.
Mrs. Zadok Strong, familiarly called "Aunt Dinah", camed with her husband and seventeen-year-old son (Stephen Russell) in the winter of 1814. She was born in Middlebury, Vt., bore the name of Dianah Sperry, and was first married to Capt. Zadok Strong and come at once to Ohio. She survived him a number of years. For many years she lived alone, about a half mile from the church, of which she was a charter member.
Aunt Dinah gave a certain signal when she was able to go to church, and a neighbor with his ponderous ox team would halt at her door, upon seeing a white flag hung out the window. In winter she carried a small foot stove for her personal comfort, and at all times had her pockets well filled with dainties for the little people who could find a place within reach of her generous hand.
Susanna Cogswell Strong, daughter of Deacon Francis Strong, came with her parents to Lyme when only two years old. There were in her mother's family, five girls and five boys. Her sister Mary Ann was the first child born in the township, August 3, 1817. This sister in 1840 became the wife of J. D. Collins, but died just six months from her wedding day. Her sister Chloe became the wife of John Sowers of Monroeville; another sister married Joseph Pierce, but she lived only a few years, leaving a motherless daughter, and Eliza Branch became his second wife. The roughness of pioneer life had passed by before her arrival; she still lives a widow with her son on the old place, one of the land marks of a past generation.
Susanna Cogswell Strong was present at the organization of the church in 1817, and for over three-fourths of a century was found in church and Sunday School unless unavoidably detained. In her young womanhood she married Wm. Holton, but has survived him many years. She has had a home in Lyme longer that any other person, extending over nearly four score years. A few years ago she went to live with her only daughter at Bowling Green. Her son is living near her, and in her declining years she is tenderly cared for and surrounded by every comfort. She still retains her membership in the church of her childhood. Mrs. Holton vividly recalls how the Indians who were frequent visitors at her father's house were frequently allowed in winter to sleep before the open fireplace and in summer in a passage-way between the double log house forming the home.
Another charter member of the old church was MRS. WM. FERGUSON who came in 1811 with her husband, son, two brothers of her husband and their families. They remained until 1833, then sold their home to James Ford and removed to Indiana.
Mrs. Ford was the wife of a Methodist minister, who came with his own and several other families from Bideford, England in 1833, and brought 300 acres of land in Lyme at ten dollars an acre. Three weeks after they reached their new home, the husband sickened and died, leaving a wife and eight children, the five older ones being girls, the youngest boy only two years old. Alone in a strange land with a large family, this energetic woman displayed remarkable business ability in paying for her farm and keeping her family together, all of whom became useful members of society. She survived her husband nearly forty years, dying in the old home 1870.
She was a kind neighbor, and faithful friend. Her eldest daughter, for many years a resident of Lyme, is now living with her family near Rochelle, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Woolway, life-long friends, settled near the Ford family.
Mrs. Samuel Cowle, with her husband, two daughters , two sons, and a nephew, John Cowle, who had remained a few weeks in Lockport, N.Y. came on to Sandusky. Inquiring for Mr. Ford they first learned of his death. They purchased a home about a mile in A STRAIGHT LINE through the forest from Mrs. Ford's. The latter in an attempt to make her first call upon them one afternoon came three times back to her home in a circuitous, having lost her way.
Mrs. Cowel's maiden name was Ann Alferd. She had two daughters and two sons. Only one daughter is living, whose home is on the old McKurdy place.
Mary Woolway was the wife of Richard Woolway, and having no children of their own she opened her home to two orphan nieces, Sarah and Mary Challace. Sarah was born in England in 1818. Shortly after her arrival here, she married Wm. Hale. Seven children came into her home, and she lived to see them all useful members of society, and spent her last days surrounded by every comfort. She died in 1880.
Her sister, Mary, married a Mr. Stebbins, and went west soon after, where she died.
Mts. Phoebe Root, wife of Josiah Root, came from Cayuga County, N.Y. in 1816, settled here with her husband and six sons, and was one of the original ten charter members of the church. She died in 1828.
A granddaughter, Martha Root, married Bristol Downard and removed to Zanesville many years ago.
Mrs. James Hamilton (Hannah) came to Lyme from Granvile, N.Y. with her husband in 1818, but lived only a year. The family then moved to Monroeville.
On an adjoining farm lived Mrs. Betsey McNaughton Adams. She came from Pultney, Vt. and died the following year, leaving one daughter, Hannah, who lived at the old home for many years with her father. Miss Chloe Cooke became the second Mrs. John Adams, her name appears on the church's rolls, but her life was a brief one, as she died in 1847.
Two years later, Caroline Selome married Mr. Adams. She was a cultivated, refined woman and lived in Lyme, honored and respected. She removed with her family to Milan, O. in 1866. Miss Hannah Adams after the death of her father removed to Zanesville, O.
In 1827 Asa Nims and wife Mary Worthington, with their sons and their families, came from Shelburne, Mass., and purchased a large tract of land from the Strong family. Mrs. Nims was somewhat primitive in her dress, which consisted of a short petticoat, over it a long blouse, made from two widths of home-spun materal gathered at the neck to the required size. Places were left at the sides to receive the sleeves, and the remaining portion was sewed into a seam at each side, the garment extending down about to the knees. The fullness was gathered in at the waist by a belt.
This was the prevailing style for week days as well as Sundays, tho; on extra occasions her one ornament was a velvet belt with a silver buckle, on which was engraved her initials. She was a short, fleshy, fair, blue-eyed matron, with snowy white hair. Faithful in all her domestic relations, she was also a God-fearing woman. Her husband was a soldier of the American Revolution, and one of her sons served in the war of 1812. She died in 1847.
Mahala and Zilpha Long married sons of Mrs. Asa Nims. Mahala, wife of Samuel Nims was born in Shelburne, Mass., and came here with one child, now MRS. BETSEY RUSSELL of Toledo. She was a small delicate woman and lived only a few years after her marriage, leaving two children, the second, a son who lives near the old home. The mother is remembered with deep affection by those who knew her and has left her impress upon the lives of all her friends.
Zilpha Long, wife of Elihu Nims, was left a widow with seven children, the next year after her arrival. That she was a woman of great force of character and considerable executive ability is shown by her keeping her large family together and fitting them for the various stations in life which they occupied. She lived to the good old age of four score and seven.
Mary Nims who was familiarly known as Aunt Polly, and a daughter of Mrs. Asa Nims, never married, but made her home with her brother Samuel, and by her skillful fingers became almost indispensable in his family. Fanny Peck, the second wife of Samuel Nims, was a graduate of Mount Holyoke, and a successful teacher near Shelburne, Mass.
In November, 1834, while engaged in her school one day, she was interrupted by the call of an old friend. The sequel was that in about two weeks she started on her bridal tour, with Mr. Samuel Nims for a new home in Lyme, O. She entered upon the duties of pioneer life with courage, hopefulness and trust, and proved a model step-mother, even when two daughters of her won came to gladden her home. She was a kind neighbor, a faithful friend, a great Bible student, loyal to her home, her church and her God, and entered into rest 1878.
One daughter, Ardelia, a beautiful woman in face and character, married Edward Barton many years ago, but she lived only a short time, leaving one daughter who now lives in Bowling Green, O., surrounded by husband and children.
The other daughter, Augusta, Mrs. Samuel Bemiss, is now living near the old home. A son and his wife live with them, the fourth generation of that name who have occupied this home successively.
Betsey Barnard was born in Shelburne, Mass., 1809. For several years after her mother's death, she was her father's housekeeper, which position she resigned when eighteen years old, to become the wife of Worthington Nims, a playmate of her childhood. A few days later, September, 1827, they started for Lyme on their wedding trip of seventeen days.
Her home that winter was in the double log house with the families of her husband's father and brother, or rather in a covered wagon, ten feet wide, boarded up at the ends between the two houses. The following spring they built a home on their own property where they lived for more than HALF A CENTURY, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary in 1877. She was thrifty, energetic and prompt, looked well to the ways of her household, and as a neighbor, was invaluable. The old wooden clock always was running half an hour ahead of time, found her at her work at four o'clock in the morning.
There is still in the family a block tin tea-pot that she earned before she was married by spinning. She died in 1880.
Her brother lived on an adjoining farm. His wife, Mary Nims Barnard, a niece of Worthington Nims was a successful teacher here before her marriage in 1839. Two children of Mr. Barnard's by a former wife lived with them, and four boys afterwards came to her home. Two of them she gave for three years' service to her county.
Lucinda Kemp, also a native of Shelburne, Mass., was born 1808, married Orrin Dole and removed to Lyme in 1843. They purchased a farm of Abner Strong and occupied it for nearly forty years. The house had formerly served as a hotel. Mrs. Dole was the mother of eight children. She gave one of them for the cause of freedom. Mrs. Dole was possessed of sterling traits of character.
Eliza Fanning, born in Ontario County, N.Y., 1811, married Alfred Stebbins, and in 1834 they came to Lyme and began their pioneer life amid very trying circumstances. Funds were very low and starvation stared them in the face; the only ham had been stolen and the larder was empty. Her husband went out with his gun and shot a deer, which relieved their immediate wants. They won a competence, and in later years were surrounded by every comfort. She was a typical pioneer and lived here for near half a century. She was tenderly cared for by her four daughters in the long illness that preceded her death, May, 1880.
Elvira Clark spent the first years of her life in Worthington, Mass., and when about twenty, married a young physician Dr. Otis Boise, a playmate of her youth. A few years later, in 1833, she came to Lyme with husband and one child. For fifteen years she went in and out among the people, seconding her husband's efforts to give aid to the sick and suffering. For a time she lived in Cleveland, but after her husband's death, she returned to Lyme, where she died. She left two children.
SARAH ATHEREON THACHER grew up slender and straight to a little above medium height, full of life, quick to learn, very social, mirthful, abounding in courage and energy, and, best of all, a Christian from her early years. She possessed great beauty of face and figure and, although much of her life was spent in what would be called the frontier, she had great refinement and an innate sense of the proprieties of life, often wanting in those who occupy positions in the world of great influence and trust. Her ancestry was remarkable. From the Rev. Peter Thacher, of England, in 1574, there was an unbroken line of clergymen down to Rev. Peter Thacher, pastor of the church at Attleboro, Mass., for 43 years. His son, Deacon Moses Thacher, was the father of Sarah A. Thacher (Mrs. John Seymour) who was married in 1820 and came to Lyme a few years later.
For more that sixty years she and her husband walked together on their way to the Celestial City. He preceded her only a few weeks. Her husband's sister, Mehitable, came to visit them soon after their settling in Lyme and here met the young pioneer, Dr. Charles Smith, a prominent physician.
In an old letter dated 1827, written to Miss Mehitable by her brother, after her return home, and while she was evidently considering the doctor's proposal, we find these word: " I think the doctor an industrious and worthy young man, increasing in business and in favor with the people." This seems to have had THE DESIRED EFFECT as soon after she became his wife. She had three sons, two of whom survived her, and one of her Sunday school scholars in speaking of her says: "She was one of the most spiritual-minded women I ever knew."
Mrs. Phoebe Morse subsequently became a mother to her children. Her son, who followed his father's profession, says: "She was a good mother and tried to make the home pleasant for us." She survived her husband a number of years.
Dorothy Lansdale Sawyer came form England in 1810. Henry Griswold, son of Gov. Roger Griswold, of Connecticut, was captain of the ship in which the Sawyers crossed the ocean. Mrs. Sawyer was a refined and cultured lady and became a great favorite with the captain. He asked her one day if she had a sister, and, learning that she had, he asked for a letter of introduction to her. Soon after Captain Griswold returned to England, presented his letter and eventually persuaded her to return to America as his wife. Mrs. Sawyer had eleven children.
Emma Crooks lived in the Sawyer family for many years She died in 1896.
Nancy Latimer Fitch, born in Chesterfield, Conn., married at the age of sixteen William Fitch, and came to Lyme with eight children in 1826, and settled in a section still bearing her name, Fitch's Corners". She died at the old home at the age of 83.
Miss Martha Hulme was married to Joseph Wood in Staffordshire, England, and in 1833 sailed with her family from Liverpool. They built a log house on the farm of 380 acres which they had purchased in the northern part of the township. Mrs. Joseph Wood was A BRIGHT, CHEERY WOMAN, of superior mind and great kindness of heart, and full of sympathy for the suffering. She spent her declining years in the enjoyment of every comfort.
Mrs. Mary Williams came with her family from Orange, N.J., in 1834, and settled on a farm in the eastern part of the township. She suffered much from illness. She was one of the first members of the Lyme Episcopal church. She died in 1887, greatly beloved by her family and neighbors.
Mrs. Moses Fisher (Elizabeth Morgan) moved to her home in Lyme at the time of her marriage, 1846, and remained there until within a few months of her death. She was an invalid for over fifteen years. She died in 1888, aged sixty-two years. Five daughters survived her.
Mrs. Eudora J. Grinnell married Stephen W. Standart in Lancaster, N.Y., and came directly to her home, a log house in the southern part of Lyme township, where she commenced housekeeping in the simplest manner. Her passion for "fixing up" things developed early, and she frescoed her walls with slacked lime, put on with a paint brush, while to the ceiling it was applied with a broom, insuring as much happiness as the well furnished homes of modern times. Through sunshine and shadow she has pressed steadily on life's journey. In later years they left their farm in the country for a house in town. She had two children, both well settled in life. Her husband died some years ago, and she now has a home with her daughter, Mrs. Affa Fitch, near Bellevue.
A few families settled in the southern part of the township previous to 1820. Mrs. Sutton belonged to one of them. They came in 1814. She died in Aug., 1875. Mrs. Hiel Hunt came In 1820. Charity Patton, wife of George Morehead, came in 1832 and died in 1838.
Mrs. Thomas Ashton came from Somerset in 1835. Her mother died soon after arriving in this country, and she became her father's housekeeper, and had charge of the smaller children. She was married and had two children, daughters. She was always the friend of the sick and suffering, and a BLESSING TO OTHERS. Her home is with her daughter in Monroeville.
Ruth Ann Slocum was born in Wyoming County, Penn.., in 1808. She came to Bellevue in 1824 and on Independence day, two years later, was married to James Stevens of Lyme. They lived here for seventeen years, when they removed to Lima, Indiana, where she died. She had two daughters and five sons.
Elizabeth Slocum, a sister of Ruth Ann Slocum, was born in the Wyoming Valley, made memorable by the capture of her aunt, Frances Slocum, who was stolen from her father's home November 2, 1787, when only a child of five, and found fifty years afterward in Indiana, the widow of an Indian Chief, and living in a little cabin in the midst of her large farm of nearly 700 acres.
Elizabeth Slocum came with her parents to Bellevue and settled on what was then known as the Latimer Place. Her father built the first two miles of the Maumee pike, extending from Bellevue to Toledo, and for this service received from the government 400 acres of land. Nealy all of this property is now covered with city residences. At the age of twenty-one she married Mason Kinney and began housekeeping in a log cabin, a short distance from her old home. A flat stone, all that remains of the old fireplace, marks the spot where she cooked her first meal. In 1849 they purchased a home about a mile south of Bellevue, where a year later, her husband died, leaving her with six small children. For forty years longer she gave herself untiringly to her work and her children, until God called her suddenly to himself. She was widely known and universally loved.
After the death of Mrs. Kinney's mother, her father, Isaac Slocum, married Lydia Slocum, of Bellevue, grandmother of Gen. McPherson. On the death of her grandson, when eighty-seven years old, she wrote (unknown to her friends) to Gen. Grant. In closing her letter she says: "O pray the God of battles may be with you and go forth with your armies till rebellion shall cease, the Union be restored, and the old flag wave over our entire lines." In reply Gen. Grant says, in reference to her grandson: A nation grieves at the loss of one so dear to our nations' cause. Your bereavement is great, but CANNOT EXCEED MINE."
Mrs. Capt. Mark Hopkins, from Genesee County, N.Y., was from one of the first families of New England, well educated and refined. She struggled bravely through adverse circumstances, till the deadly bite of a rattlesnake caused her death, and the family returned to New England.
Mrs. Thomas Amsden came a bride from New York in 1823. She was a sister of Frederic A. Chapman, and the mother of seven children, one of whom, Mary, married Abishiai Woodward. She died in 1841.
Clemence A. Follett came from western New York with her parents in 1824. She taught in one of the first schools. In 1830, she was married to Frederic A. Chapman. She was the mother of eight children.
Arbella Chapman, the wife of Dr. Amos Woodward, still resides in Bellevue. In her later years she enjoyed all the comforts and luxuries which a devoted husband could provide, and was active in church work, president of the Bible Society for many years, and a constant friend to the poor.
Her sister, Julia Follett, married Dr. L. G.. Harkness. She was a lady of culture and refinement, whom the trials of pioneer life seemed only to sweeten. She had seven children.
Her daughter, Isabella, became the wife of D. M. Harkness in 1849, and made his home happy for twenty years, when God called her to leave husband and son. She was a lovely Christian woman, faithful and earnest in every good work. She is held in loving remembrance by all who knew her. Her husband, a few years ago, built HARKNESS MEMORIAL CHURCH as a tribute to her memory
Another sister, Tryphena Follett, married Cuyler Green, by whom she had three children. Mr. Green died in 1848. She subsequently married Dr. G. W. Goodson, She faithfully performed all life's duties. She was a prominent temperance worker, one of the Crusaders.
Elizabeth Harkness, or as best known, Aunt Elizabeth Harkness, is another who deserves special mention. Her mother died, leaving a family of nine children, of whom Dr. Harkness was the youngest, a mere infant. She never married, but gave her life, her intelligence, her strength, to rearing this family of motherless children. She died in 1864, at the age of eight-five, at the home of her brother, Dr. L. G. Harkness.
Sarah Orwig was born in Union County, Pa., and married Samuel Miller in 1832. One year later they came to Bellevue, the company consisting of father, mother, three brothers and one sister. Three of her sons enlisted in the Union army. Mrs. Miller's home was a refuge for the fugitive slave, where they were kindly cared for till conveyed away by the underground railroad, her husband being one of the directors. They finally located on the place that she has occupied for fifty-seven years. Mr. and Mrs. Miller celebrated their sixty-third wedding anniversary in 1895, only a few months before his death. Mrs. Miller was one of the thirteen charter members of the M. E. church of Bellevue and the oldest member now living. "At evening time it shall be light."
Nancy Forbes was born in Windsor, Vt., in 1815; came to Ohio with her father's family in 1824. Her mother died the following year and she went to live with Abner Strong's family. There she incidentally became acquainted with the underground railroad system for runaway slaves. She wondered as a child why the horses were hitched up so often to take a load of hay or straw to Sandusky after dark; but knows now that if anyone had made a thorough search they would have found some wood among the cargo, ready to be shipped to Canada.
At the age of seventeen she went to have a home with her sister, Mrs. Hiram Baker, in Bellevue, and soon after married Dr. Daniel Lathrop, an eminent physician of the town. Her whole life has been spent in this vicinity, and now, at the age of eighty, you can find her living alone, caring for herself, interested in the politics and reforms of the day, fully abreast with the times, sprightly, witty and intelligent.
Mary Savage, of Whitestown, N. Y., possessed not only a beautiful face but a noble character and true heroism, that led her to give up friends, relatives and a delightful home to marry Gurdon Woodward, the stalwart young soldier of 1812, and with him make a new home in the wilderness of Ohio. Soon after marriage they started on their long journey in the "historic chaise", picking their way through the forests by Indian trails and opening until, after six weeks of many hardships, they reached the double log cabin that had been built two years previously for her by young Woodward.
Here it was that the young wife of seventeen often entertained Indian tribes and by tact and uncommon good sense succeeded in keeping on friendly terms with the dark-skinned aborigines. She was a pure-minded and religious woman and at all times charming. A few years later Rachel Savage, her oldest sister, who had married her husband's brother, Amos Woodward, came with her family and made her home near them. It was in these families that the first services of the Episcopal church were held. About ten years before her death, Mrs. Gurdon Woodward and her husband celebrated their golden wedding. In her declining years she was surrounded by children, grandchildren and many friends, so that it might well be said her last days were best days. She survived her husband four years and died February, 1879 full of YEARS AND HONORS.
Her daughter, Lucy, married George Sheffield. Mary became the wife of Rev. Moses Hamilton; Rachel married a Boardman, and Julia died a maiden. The sons were Dr. Amos, and Abishai Woodward.
Julia Ann Woodward, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Amos Woodward, came with her parents for Oneida County, N.Y., in 1820, when fourteen years old. Six years later she was married to Richard McCurdy and settled on the beautiful farm which was her home for nearly sixty years. She had no children, but gave a home to several motherless girls, and always had someone live with her. She was noted for her hospitality and friendliness.
Mrs. Samuel Sparrow, who was a Woodward, came into that part of Lyme known as the Woodward settlement in 1820. She lived only two years, leaving five children. She was a woman of rare worth. Her eldest son was one of the first graduates of Kenyon college, and for many years afterwards one of its professors. One daughters married William Woodward and the youngest daughter married Mr. Mitchel and was for a few years a resident of Lyme.
Mrs. George Frith reached Lyme after a weary journey for six weeks from her home in England. She had eleven children, two of whom laid down their lives for their country. Mrs. Frith possessed a bright sunny nature and was much loved by all who knew her. She gave much time and means towards the erection of Lyme Episcopal church.
Elizabeth Ann Dameriel, wife of Frederic Aves, came with her husband and two children from London, England, in 1834. She was a women of great strength of will and energy, as shown in the careful training of her children, and fitting them for the positions they now occupy, and the mother has lived to see her heart's desire fulfilled.
She has three sons, Frederic, the oldest; C. S., an Episcopal clergyman living in Norwalk, O.; H. D., in charge of a parish in Texas. Both are highly successful and very popular. Mrs. Aves' only daughter, Charlotte, married a Mr. Whateley.
Harriet Baldwin was born in 1800, in Newark, N.J., and with her husband Alvin Anderson, came to Lyme in 1838 with their four children. Mrs. Anderson was a woman of strong faith and simple trust in God; of lovely disposition, patient and gentle. Her daughter, Adeline, married J. B. Higbee, one of the oldest inhabitants of Bellevue, and emulated her mother in all her Christian graces, ready for every good word and work.
Mrs. Jerusha Jackson Sheffield is another pioneer held in loving remembrance. Her early home was in Halifax, Pa. When only twelve years old she came to this section with her parents. She was her mother's assistant in the home, where she early learned the arts which in those primitive days were essential accomplishments. She was married at nineteen and became widely known for her generosity and hospitality. She was well versed in the knowledge of plants and medicinal herbs and responded quickly to the calls of the suffering neighbors and friends. Her presence in the sick room was an inspiration. She was a widow for thirty years.
Many other pioneers equally honored have not been mentioned. We should be glad to speak to these and of their daughters whose homes were here for many years, but space forbids.
Mrs. Josephine Drury, Chairman and Historian
Lyme Township committee: Mrs. Aura S. Dole Mrs. A. C. Williams Mrs. Nancy Lathrop Miss Lucinda Cady
Gertrude Van Rensselear Wickham, editor, A Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve: published under the auspices of the Woman's Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission 2 volumes (1896; reprint, Middleton, KY.: Whipporwill Press, 1981), 697-706.
Transcribed and submitted by Cathi Vannice 01 January 2002
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