As half the pleasure of life is found in anticipation, so the
pioneers of this new country, amid the hardships and privations
to which they were subjected, gazed at the glittering goal which
they pictured for themselves in the future.
Mantua bears the honor of receiving the first settlers that
entered Portage County, an honor of which it is justly proud.
The township was originally the property of an eastern land
company and was surveyed by Daniel ABBOTT,
a member of the convention which framed the first Constitution
The first man to drive a stake, put up a cabin and settle
down to business in Mantua was Abraham HONEY,
1798. Elias HARMAN and wife arrived at the
clearing HONEY had made 1799. Their daughter, Eunice, was the
first white child born in the town, and for this honor was
presented fifty acres of land. She became Mrs. Simeon
SHELDON, and passed her life here.
In 1799 Baschal McINTOSH with his wife and five children,
came from Haverhill, N.H. Mrs. McINTOSH was undoubtedly the
first white woman to arrive in Mantua and perhaps the first to
settle in Portage County. She brought from the east apple,
peach, and cherry seeds, which she planted, and her's was the
first bearing orchard in the county.
No better mince pies were ever made than those made by her in
the fall of 1799, as follows: The flour for the crust was made
by pounding wheat, the meat was venison, and the fruit, crab
apples. It has been handed down even to this generation that
those pies were the best.
Both Mr. and Mrs. McINTOSH were charter members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, organized 1807. She was a valued
citizen, and a genial, hospitable lady. Her husband was one of
those who, disguised as Indians, boarded the British ship and
emptied the tea into Boston harbor in Revolutionary times.
In 1800 Basil WINDSOR and wife, with a
family of children, settled in the east part of the town. They
united with the Methodist Episcopal Church at its organization.
Mrs. WINDSOR experienced many hardships, but accepted all with
fortitude and resignation.
Lettia WINDSOR married Rufus EDWARDS in
1803. It was the first wedding in town and a gala day for the
few settlers. Her husband came in 1799, being the second white
man to make a settlement. He constructed a hand grist-mill,
which was the first built in Mantua. Mrs. EDWARDS had charge of
it and was an excellent business woman. She could also manage a
spinning wheel as well as a grist-mill. The first public Fourth
of July celebration was held at her home, in honor of the return
of the Mantua soldiers from the war of 1812, her husband being
one of the number.
Huldah SHELDON married Amzi ATWATER at
her father's house in Aurora in 1801, and with him settled here
on a two hundred acre farm. He became an associate judge in
Portage County, and was a man of great influence. The farm is
now the site of the village of Mantua Station, and the
hospitable homestead a part of the Cuyahoga House. John ATWATER,
who filled the President's chair at Hiram College, was Huldah's
Lydia ALCOTT SNOW, with her husband,
Franklin SNOW, and two children arrived from Becket, Mass.,
1807. It was said of her that she would listen to a sermon with
such interest as to be able with her wonderful memory, to repeat
it verbatim. She died in 1820.
Clarissa LADD CARLETON was born 1789,
one week before the inauguration of George Washington as
President. She lived in Stafford, Conn., until 1811, when with
her husband, Peter CARLETON, she came to Ohio and not long
thereafter settled her. She was a most hospitable, loving lady.
Sally CARLETON KNEELAND, born in
Stafford, Conn., 1795, came here some time prior to 1816, with
her husband, George KNEELAND, and bought a farm on Lime Ridge.
It was completely in the wilderness, there being but one other
family in that locality. Mrs. KNEELAND lived to see the
wilderness transformed into productive farms, and surrounded by
friends and neighbors, continued to reside, first with her
children, then with her grandchildren, on the same farm.
Rhoda BRAMP CARLETON, born in Rhode
Island, came here in 1814, and with her husband, Caleb CARLETON,
settled in the western part of the town. The farm is still owned
by the son, C.C. CARLETON, of Cleveland, O. Mrs. CARLETON made a
home for many of the newcomers, and clothed many destitute boys
with cloth of her own spinning and weaving. She was blind for
several years before her death, which occurred in Cleveland, but
patiently submitted to her affliction.
Rosetta PETTIBONE, wife of Oliver SNOW,
from Becket, Mass., 1805. Lived on the place which she aided in
settling until 1837.
Hannah McINTOSH, whose mother was a pioneer of 1799, married
Peter CADY, a Frenchman from Canada, and
settled on a farm near the old grist-mill. Mrs. CADY cultivated
many varieties of flowers, and was noted for having the most
beautiful flower beds in the town. Her daughters, Marosia and
Catherine, married and settled in Michigan.
Mrs. Wareham LOOMIS, with her husband,
came in an early day and settled in the Cuyahoga Valley. She
buried a child, aged two years, 1805, the first white child to
die in Mantua. The second person who died was Mrs. Enoch
JUDSON. Mrs. LOOMIS was a devout, noble
woman. She left many descendants, who now wield a great
influence for good in this community.
Mrs. Pattie SMITH BLAIR, with her
husband, John BLAIR, and children, came from Massachusetts in
1806, and settled on a farm a little north of Mantua Station.
They built the first frame house and opened up a hotel, which
remodeled still stands. Mrs. BLAIR's
hospitality was one of her many virtues. Her daughter, Anna,
married Avery PATTERSON, and lived in
Mantua for more than eighty years. Mrs. BLAIR also lived to be
eighty, and was a woman of great influence and much respected.
Betsy WINDSOR, left a widow with three daughters, came with
her brother in 1800, and settled in the southeast part of the
town. She was the owner of the first loom in all this region,
and took in weaving to help defray the expenses of the family.
The first summer here the girls cleared six acres, which they
sowed to wheat. They harvest it with the sickle, threshed it
with the flail, and cleaned it with the fanning mill. Their
reward was a well stored bin of excellent wheat.
It is related of these girls that they could do a man's work
in the field, yet they were genteel and handsome.
Mrs. POMEROY and husband owned and
operated a carding mill on the Cuyahoga River. She was an
experienced carder and often ran the mill unattended. She was a
woman with convictions of her own. Her daughters, Emily and
Eliza, were considered the handsomest girls in Mantua. They were
also pleasant and agreeable women. The former married John
WILLIAMS and moved to Michigan. The latter
became Mrs. J. VAN DUSEN, and moved to
Mrs. Joseph SKINNER and husband settled
here in 1819, and built a distillery, for which the latter made
the machinery. He was a fifer in the war of 1812. Mrs. SKINNER
was a quiet, orderly woman who never allowed trifles to annoy
Mrs. Gresham JUDSON and family settled near the line next to
Hiram township. She was a brave, fearless woman, who wielded
great influence. She induced some Mantua men to join the Hiram
mob that "tarred and feathered" the prophet Joseph Smith, who
was then endeavoring to build a Mormon temple in Hiram. Smith
left, "tar, feathers and all," and built his temple in Kirtland.
Mrs. Samuel JUDSON and husband settled in the Cuyahoga
valley, 1806. She was dubbed the "herb doctor" by the early
settlers, as her "loft" was always well stored with native herbs
of medicinal qualities. These were gathered in their season and
well cured before storing away. As there were not regular
physicians in those days, her skill was greatly in demand. She
was in every way a typical pioneer woman.
In 1816 Mrs. Benjamin SHARPE, and her
husband, settled in the east part of the town. They were colored
people, and Mrs. SHARPE's face was as
black as the blackest, but she had a heart full of love and
delighted in doing good to others. It is believed her house was
a station on the underground railway where the good Deacon
WOODFORD used to send the escaping slave
for a few days' rest.
In 1806 James RAY, Sr., with his wife
and children, settled on the place now occupied by Samuel
COLT. They built a log house, the
foundation of which is plainly seen. Mrs. RAY was a quiet,
unassuming woman, with strong convictions jealously adhered to,
and was well fitted for life in the wilderness. On one occasion,
in broad day-light, while her husband was away in the field at
work, a bear came prowling around the pig-pen, intent on a feast
of fresh pork. She seized the dinner horn, called the dogs, and
blew the horn for her husband. Relating this incident to her
neighbors, she said: "I tooted the dinner horn till my husband
came and shot it." Where are the women who have the nerve to
hold a bear up a tree with a dinner horn for hours?
A most excellent woman of early times was Margaret
KOONCE, who came from Mercer County,
Penn., soon after her marriage to Patrick RAY, a soldier of the
war of 1812. Mrs. RAY could always be counted on in charity and
church work, especially in time of sickness and death. She
possessed that rare tact which caused everyone to feel at home
in her presence. After her husband's death in 1856, she lived on
the farm for twenty years, and was very successful in the
management of her business. She was greatly respected throughout
a useful life of 76 years. Her six sons were all volunteer
soldiers in the Union army during the rebellion. Of her three
daughters the eldest, Julia RAY BRADLEY,
settled in Wisconsin. Emeline RAY CARTER
settled in Kansas. Sarah died in Mantua, aged 18.
Mrs. RAY was a great horsewoman, and on one occasion, on her
return from visiting relatives in Mahoning County, she carried
in her hand a willow twig for a riding whip. On reaching home
she thrust it into the ground near a spring, where it grew to an
enormous size, and was referred to for more than fifty years as
"Mrs. RAY's riding whip."
Rebecca RICHARDSON, born in Lemstead,
N.H., 1792, married Wm. PIERCE, and with
him came to Mantua, 1824. She was one of the sixth generation
descended from Thomas RICHARDSON, who came from England, 1635,
and settled in Massachusetts.
Lewis, one of the RICHARDSON family of England, married Ann
Washington, a relative of Geo. Washington. Mrs.
PIERCE's father was a soldier of the
Rachel GILLETT came from Suffield,
Conn., 1833, with her husband Dumas HARMON,
and one daughter, Maria. They settled on the state road and
lived in a log house a half mile removed from the highway. In
connection with their farm they owned and operated a sawmill.
Mrs. HARMON was left a widow and subsequently married Mr.
MOONY. She was again widowed, but by the
aid of her children was able to clear the home from debt. She is
still living with her daughter, Mrs. REED,
on the same place. Mrs. MOONY is the most aged person living in
Mantua, being ninety-one years of age. She still retains her
mental faculties and her health is good.
Sarah GREGORY, wife of Jonah
WHITE, came in an early day. Her daughter,
Mary, married Orville BLAKE, a Baptist
minister, and lived here. Mary, the other daughter, never
married, but devoted her life to teaching. She was most
successful, spending several years at Twinsburg, and later in
Cleveland. Her memory is still precious to those with whom she
associated. Mrs. WHITE was the mother of Dr. E.E. WHITE, who has
been prominently connected with education in various cities,
through his numerous text-books.
Among the first to lay the foundation of Mantua Center were
the SQUIRES. As the more elderly ones look
back they can see the home once occupied by them; the old doctor
known by so many, Clarissa STEWART SQUIRE,
came from Becket, Mass., 1816. Her daughters were Lucy, Clarissa
and Sally. The doctor married Martha WILMOT.
Sophronia WARREN GREGORY, wife of
Samuel GREGORY, came from Vermont in 1820. She reared a large
family of children and carefully did a mother's duty in training
Another family that helped to build the frame work of this
town was the SANFORDS. Rhoda
ATWATER SANFORD, with her husband, Samuel
SANFORD, came from Hamden, Conn, 1817. Her daughters were Julia,
Emeline, Parthena, Charlotte, and Jane. One of her sons married
Nancy PERKINS, Mrs. Seth SANFORD, who
came from New York, 1839, lived to see her children settled in
homes of their own. She had many friends. Her daughters were
Mary GRANGER, Sarah PEEK
and Martha SMITH.
Zenas KENT and his wife, Ann, came from
Leyden, Mass., 1814. Their daughter, Maria, married Deacon
CHAPIN, and some of their children still
reside here. No one remembers Mrs. CHAPIN without recalling the
accuracy with which she did her work. Hon Marvin KENT, grandson
of Ann, was the one who first broke ground, and drove the last
spike, in the Atlantic & Great Western R.R. He was also elected
president of the road, which office he creditably filled for
Dorcas TAYLOR BOOTH, born in Great
Barrington, Mass., 1800, came to Mantua, 1835. Her sole wealth
was in her daughter, Almeda, whose life was devoted to
educational pursuits. At the age of twenty-four, this young lady
met with a loss, which shattered her hopes for life. She was
preparing for her nuptials when her lover, Martin HARMON, a most
estimable young man, teaching in Kentucky, was stricken with a
sudden and fatal illness. Her plans and hopes seemed buried in
his grave, her heart being wedded by ties as sacred as any that
marriage can consecrate.
In 1851 Miss BOOTH was chosen instructor in English in Hiram
College. She also pursued her studies there, graduating at
Oberlin. She was later superintendent of the schools at Cuyahoga
Falls. Prof. James MONROE said of her:
"It was one of the pleasures of my life to have had under my
instruction in a collage class Miss BOOTH. What at first struck
my attention was the union in her character, in a degree very
uncommon; of masculine intellectual strength and womanly
Another said of her: "In natural powers of mind, in breadth
of scholarship, and in quality of effective work, she has not
been excelled by any American woman." Those who knew her best
loved her most. She was ever ready to impart aid and direction
to the inquiring mind, deeming it not task, but rather a
Fanny SARGENT, Mrs. Benjamin
MOORE, who came from New Hampshire, 1843,
was an active, intellectual woman, who could entertain her
friends in a way as never to be quite ready to have them depart.
She was also one of whom her visitors could say: "I am better
for having been in her company." She has one daughter, Mrs.
DERTHICK, with whom she lives, being now
eighty-four years of age, still bright and active.
Miss Eleanor KENT
Chairman and Historian
Mantua Committee - Mrs. Walter MOORE, Mrs. Maria WHITE, Mrs. Lydia THAYER,
Mrs. C.H. RAY, Mrs. E.M. KENT, Mrs. Phila MERRYFIELD