The history of New Haven is of special interest for many reasons. It was the first township settled in Huron county. The village was the first one laid out in the county (1815), and the first deed was made out to David and Royal Powers. William Moore was the first mayor in 1839. The Indians were very prominent in the experiences of the early settlers, and Johnny Appleseed occupies a large place in the history of the town as well as in the hearts of the people.

New Haven is bounded on the north by Greenfield, south by Richland county, east by Ripley, and on the west by Richmond. The Huron River flows through the township. There was formerly a large marsh in the southwestern part and until thoroughly drained the principal crops were cranberries and massasaugers, or rattlesnakes. The marsh is cultivated at present (1896), and a colony of young Hollanders have recently settled there who will engage in market gardening. Celery of the highest grade is raised on the reclaimed land as well as all other vegetables.

The early settlers remember embankments within the limits of the town plat which were circular in shape and very plainly marked, and large trees were growning on them fifty years ago. They were supposed to be the remains of an old fortification.

Caleb Palmer was the first settler in Huron county. He was a surveyor and had visited this township, and bought land in the year 1810. He came to settle on his farm in 1811. At three different times during the Indian war, he and his family were compelled to fly from home and take refuge in the block house at Mansfield. On one of these occaisions Palmer returned on foot to find his house and all it contained burned to the ground. At another time they were at a loss how to carry their two children. Finally, Mrs. Palmer made two strong sacks, and putting a child in each sack hung them over the saddle on either side of the horse, and thus carried them safetly to their destination. Palmer and his family returned to New Haven as soon as it was safe to do so, for he liked this township best of any. He was told afterwards by the Indians that he might have remained at his home, all through the war, for they always felt friendly towards him, and would have done him no harm.

Johnny Appleseed, or Jonathan Chapman, lived with Mr. Palmer at one time. He derived his name from the fact of sowing apple seeds and raising so many apple trees.

The first marriage was that of James Skinner and Harriet Beymer. The first death was that of George Beymer. The first school was taught by Sophia Barney, in 1815.

The prosperity of New Haven began to grow backward about 1844, after the Sandusky, Mansfield and & Newark Railraaod (now the Baltimore & Ohio) was built and went a half mile west of town instead of entering the town. People began to trade at other points, business began to get dull, and after a few years all life and energy seemed to have left New Haven, and today there are many deserted weather-beaten houses to attest to the "better days". At present there are but a few places of business. A general grocery and provision store kept by Frank C. Pennington. One also kept by Fred C. Layer; one by F. H. Long; the postmaster, L. C. Heller, besides having the office, keeps school books, drugs, candies, tobacco, etc.; there is one blacksmith shop, D. R. Ewin, proprietor; a saw-mill owned by William Smith--these are about the only places where business is done.

Thomas Mulford came to Ohio in the early autumn of 1819 from Wyoming, Pa. He was a tanner by trade, and in company with David Dow and Elisha Stewart established a tannery in New Haven. In the autumn of 1820 he rode on horse- back to East Lynne, Conn., to marry Miss Phoebe Stewart, having become acquainted with her in Wyoming, Pa., where she was visiting a sister, Mrs. Mary Lewis (Mary Stewart), who afterwards moved to New Haven. Mr. Mulford was married at the home of his bride in March 1821. He made a harness for his horse, and buying a wagon without springs, for springs were then unknown, he put his wife and her effecrts in the wagon, and bidding "good-bye" to their friends started for a THOUSAND MILE JOURNEY through the wilderness to their home in New Haven. They were six weeks making the journey. Mr. M--had made the resolve that in five years he would take his wife to see her friends at the old home in Connecticut. He kept his resolution, and they went back with their two little children in the same primitive fashion in which they had come five years before. In 1828 Mr. M-- bought a farm just east of the town of New Haven, which he reclaimed from the forest and on which he lived and died. He was often heard to say that the happiest days of their lives were those early days. There was no distinction of caste, one being as good as another if they behaved as well. All were poor alike, and all tried to make their fellows as happy as possible. There seemed to be no selfishness. He has said that the first sign of selfishness he ever detected was after the Erie Canal was completed to Buffalo, and wheat could be sold at Huron for fifteen cents a bushel. To Mr. And Mrs. Mulford were born six children.

Mrs. Mulford used to tell of her experience on her arrival at New Haven. There was a tavern there kept by a widow, a Mrs. Benson, with whom Mr. and Mrs. Mulford stopped. They were cordially received by the people of New Haven, and by Mrs. Benson especially. Mrs. B. had the reputation of being one of the best landladies and cooks New Haven ever had. Mrs. Benson made these people feel at home, and in a few days she made a party and invited in the neighbors so they might become acquainted with Mrs. Mulford, and there was only one room in the tavern (which was a log one) in which all the cooking and visiting had to be done. The room was large and the guests occupied one side an Mrs. Benson and her cooking occupied the other. Mrs. Mulford did not see any table, and how the dinner was going to be served she did not know, but when the time arrived to set the table two flour barrels were rolled out into the middle of the floor and a door taken from the hinges and put upon the barrels, a clean sheet was spread on it for a table-cloth, and the table was ready. Mrs. M. said it was the best she ever ate.

Sophronia Curtis was the oldest daughter of Josiah and Mary Curtis. She was born in 1811, in Lake county, Ohio. Her parents came from Vermont and settled in that place in the year 1810. They made the entire journey in a wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen. Contrast the speed of the railroads with that of the ox team and we will have some idea of the tedium of the journey.

In the fall of 1814 the family moved to New Haven. Here Sophronia lived until she was twenty-one years old, when she married Elder Marcus Mugg, and with him removed to Sandusky county. In 1854 she moved to Michigan, where she died, leaving a husband and seven children to mourn their loss.

Calista Curtis was born at Painesville, Lake county, in February 1813. She a sister of Sophronia Curtis, and the family moved to New Haven when she was two years old. There were then but three families in the township. Like others of that day, she learned to be skillful with the wheel and distaff and loom. A sister of hers now has in her possession some pieces of bedding woven by her over sixty years ago. She was united with the Free Will Baptist Church of Greenfield, and with her sister Sophronia frequently made the trip to it on foot, a distance of five miles. In May 1838, a Free Baptist church was organized near her home, and she transferred her membership to it, becoming a charter member and remaining a worthy member until death.

At eighteen years of age she married John Loveland. To her were born ten children, eight of whom were reared to manhood and womanhood.

She lived for seventy-nine years in the same neighborhood, and died on the same farm where she first began housekeeping and in sight of the ancestral roof. She departed this life in October 1894, being eighty-one years old. Only three of her ten children survived her. Her husband preceded her to the spirit land some four years, he being ninety-one years of age.

What changes she saw in her long life! The wilderness has given place to fields of golden grain, the log cabins to comfortable homes furnished with all the modern appliances. The spinning wheel and loom have given way to piano and organs. The home is surrounded with luscious fruit and in place of the cart and oxen are comfortable carriages and fine horses.

Philena Curtis was born in New Haven township in September 1824, and lived here until her marriage to Reuben Snyder, in 1844. They moved to Wisconsin. The hardships of a new country were more than she could endure and in 1852 she returned to New Haven and spent some years. She endured many disappointments, but met them like a heroine. In 1881, she removed to Oregon, where she now lives surrounded by her family and all that is needed to make her happy.

Elizabeth Gougher was born in Pennsylvania in 1811, and her family moved into New York State when but two years old. She was married to Andrew Strimple in 1833, and started for Ohio, to make for themselves a home in the new country. They bought a farm with but a small clearing. The cabin they lived in for some time had neither window nor door. The floor wa made of logs split in halves and laid flat side up. Their cooking was done by a fire-place. A log-chain fastened to a pole across the chimney served to hang the kettle on. The bread was baked in a large flat kettle set on coals; the iron coved over it also was covered with coals. Like all other pioneer women, she spun wool and flax to make clothing for her family. Her husband died in 1847. She lived a widow for many years, raising her children and managing her farm. In 1865 she married William Howard, who died the next year. She still lives on the farm which she helped to clear. The cabin has given way to a nice large house. All she has left of her family is one grandson and one daughter-in-law. Although she has passed through aflication deep and severe, she is kind and cheerful, with always a smile for everyone. Sorrow has not soured her, but she seems to be calmly awaiting her Master's call.

When Jane Johnson (Mrs. William F. Knight) was a little girl playing about the house, she ran into the blanket of an Indian squaw, who was selling bead- work in the nieghborhood. Little Jane was so frightened that for some time she could not be quieted, but the squaw gave her a bead basket, which was treasured for many years.

Roxanna Andrews (Mrs. John B. Johnson, and mother of the little girl referred to above) was a doctor's wife. Many times, as she was sitting at her window sewing, the dark face of an Indian would appear suddenly at the window and inquire: WHAR'S DOCTAH? The doctor was a great favorite with the Indians, and could travel at all times of night without fear of them. At one time they held a war dance in his honor in his own dooryard. During the evening they had him stand in the porch, and they threw tomahawks around him, which stuck in the door-posts. His faith in them was so great that he never moved a muscle. It was considered by them a feat honor to hold a war dance for a person.

When Mr. and Mrs. Johnson first came to New Haven, in 1827, they had to wait for some days for their household goods to arrive. Mrs. Johnson had many handsome presents given her (for those days), among the rest was a number of damask tablecloths. While they were at New Haven awaiting the arrival of their goods Mrs. Johnson became very homesick and would cry nearly all the time. One must admit that things did look discouraging. A house to live in but scarcely anything to put in it.

One day, while she was still crying, Mr. Johnson undertook to get the dinner. When it was time to set the table, he put a rough board on two barrels, then went to her and said in his blandest tones: "Mrs. Johnson, where is one of your damask table cloths? I want to set the table." It is said that she smiled. the first smile which had lightened her face for many days. But their goods soon came, and things brightened for them, and they lived a great many years in New Haven and died at an advanced age.

Electa Palmer, who married for her first husband Jacob Guyselman, and for second C. C. Harding, is still living in New Haven. She was of a jovial nature and fun-loving disposition, and many are the jokes she remembers of the good old pioneer days. At one time there were two young men boarding with her, and on the first day of April Mrs. Gunselman and a girl who live with her, Emily Bunnnett, grated potato into vinegar and passed it on the table for horseradish. The boys, as she called them, owned that they were nicely fooled but declared that the joke should not be on them again that day, and certainly not with potato. That evening some one thought a glass of cider would taste good, so the boys offered to go to the cellar to draw some from the barrel. The candle given them somehow would not light. The tried and tried, but still no flame. Then they began to examine the candle, when they found they had been trying to light a potatoe. "Fooled again, and by a potato!"

Mrs. Guyselman, now Mrs. Harding, remembers distinctly her experience with the Indians. It was always of the pleasantest character, for they were her especial friends. She and her sister Ruth (Mrs. Youngs) would often, coming from school, see Indians approaching, and the children would get up on a stump and look for Chief Seneca John. If he were along, they would wave their little hands and call to him, and he would come to them, and, putting a little girl on each of his shoulders, would carry them to where they were going. The children thoght a great deal of him, and had no fear of him or his tribe.

Salina Hough (Mrs. Salina Davis) was another woman who for fun, tricks and jokes New Haven has never seen the equal. Among the numberless jokes which her friends tell of her perpetrating on her friends is the following: At one time there was a dinner party given at the home of Judge Ives. At the table one of the gentleman present, a Mr. Wicks, a merchant whose store was near by, gave to Mrs. Davis a chicken bone which he had picked. After dinner Mrs. Davis asked Mrs. Guyselman to accompany her to this gentleman's store. Mrs. Davis requested the clerk to deposit a package for her in the safe. She had wrapped up this chicken bone very neatly and carefully adressed it to Mr. Wicks. She knew he would find it before many days, which he did. As he unwrapped the package carefully and came to the bone he exclaimed "Salina Davis!" In payment (as he thought) for this, he sent her a pig-tail. Mr. Wicks bought butter of Mrs. Davis, and one evening she sent down a larger roll then usual, sending word to Mr. Wicks that as the roll was large he could divide it with his business partner. Mr. Wicks was to cut it in two in the store, which was always full of men in the evening. He had some difficulty in separating the roll, which, of course, called the people's attention, and when it was finally cut in two there was that pag-ail, nicely cleaned, cooked, and placed there by Mrs. Davis. He owned then that he was completely sold.

At one time when she was living with her first husband (Hubbard May), she sent him to one of the neighbors very early in the morning to bring home her brass kettle, which the neighbor had borrowed a day or so before. After arousing them from their slumbers, and inquiring for the kettle he was told they did not have it, and was reminded that it was the first day of April.

Mary J. Woodwoth, Chairman and Historian

New Haven committee--Mrs. N. J. Heller

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), 184-187.

Transcribed and submitted by Cathi Vannice 01 January 2002

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