Before the necessities of today were known, even as luxuries,
life's comedies and tragedies were as real as now, and the woman
of the first half of the nineteenth century filled their spheres
as completely and acceptably as do those of the end of the
century. The seeming monotony may have been caused by the
difficult distances separating the few settlers, for, when we
learn of individual lives, we find them anything but dull.
In January, 1800, Benjamin TAPPAN, Jr.,
whose father had purchased that portion of New Connecticut which
comprises our township, came to Ravenna as agent for his father.
At the same time Benjamin BIGSBY came with
his wife and family, and assisted Mr. TAPPAN in the work of
clearing his place and building his cabin. In that bleak first
month of the new century, the history of Ravenna commenced.
To Mrs. BIGSBY belongs the distinction of being the first
white woman to live in this township, and she was also the first
mother in Ravenna to go with a loved one down to the "valley of
the shadow." Not long after the BIGSBYs came to Ravenna a son
about fourteen years old died from the effects of the bite of a
rattlesnake. Kind hands made a rude coffin by sawing through the
center of a section of the trunk of a tree and hollowing each
half. In this the sorrowing mother laid her son to rest, and in
its rough secureness she left the loved form, the family soon
after leaving this portion of the wilderness.
In August of 1800 Mrs. Conrad BOOSINGER,
with her husband and family, moved into the township and settled
on the Mahoning about a mile and a half southeast of Ravenna
center. Miss Polly BOOSINGER soon became Mrs.
BOSZOR, and her little daughter Elizabeth was the first
white girl born in the township.
Little Elizabeth's cradle was a hollow log, but the hardships
of pioneer life only seemed to strengthen and sweeten her
naturally lovable disposition. The BOSZORs lived in Ravenna only
a short time, when they moved to Brimfield. There Elizabeth
married Joseph CHAPMAN and except two years
which were spent in Perry, Lake county, Brimfield has been their
In 1796 Miss Matilda BOOSINGER, a sister of Miss Polly, was
married at Hagerstown, Md., to Henry SAPP,
and in the spring of 1803 they emigrated to Ravenna with their
three children. They made the journey by wagon until they
reached the Ohio River.
From that point the only roads were Indian paths, and the
travelers completed their journey on horseback. Mrs. SAPP saw
George WASHINGTON at the time of the whisky
insurrection, and heard him speak the much-quoted words, "Only a
man, my son," in reply to the disappointment expressed by a boy
in the crowd at finding Washington to be only a man.
At the dinner party given Mrs. SAPP March 10, 1875, to
celebrate her one hundredth birthday, this honored centenarian
said grace in the German tongue, using the form and words used
by her father from her earliest remembrance.
In her ninetieth year she spun, with wheel and distaff, flax
for over thirty yards of linen cloth. Soon after the loss of her
sight put an end to her industry. At the age of one hundred
years she retained great vigor and was a happy, contented,
interesting old lady.
In the year 1803 Miss Sarah WRIGHT, with
the children of three families for pupils, opened the first
school, the school house a log cabin. About this time the
CARTER, PRICE, SMITH, JUDD, JENNINGS, and
FULLER families came to the township.
Mrs. William PRICE, Barbara BOOSINGER, was a shrewd German
woman. Her name was originally VAN BUESSINGER,
and so it is given on her quaint baptismal record. This record
is dated at Wirtemburg, Germany and is a valued relic in the
At one time a neighbor, wishing to purchase a yoke of steers
in Mr. PRICE's possession, went to
interview him on the subject. Mrs. PRICE, knowing her husband's
slight acquaintance with the language, cam out to assist him if
need be. The younger steer was especially large and fine,
larger, indeed, than the older one.
Mr. PRICE, in explaining the situation to the prospective
purchaser, said: "It vas dis vay, der biggest vas der
schmallest." Whereupon Mrs. PRICE corrected him with fine
contempt, saying, "He not speck Englesh ver well. He mean der
oldest vas der yoongest."
In 1807 the court house square was cleared. From "Ravenna
Forty Years Ago" we copy a paragraph in reference to it. It may
be of interest to some to learn what prompted that particular
clearing at that time. Mrs. TAPPAN, who was the better business
man of the two, said to her husband, "This is the place for the
county seat; now clear off the ground as fast as you can, and
have something to show the commissioners when they come.
Franklin (Kent) is ahead of us in settlement, and they will try
to get it." Because of the energy displayed by Mrs. TAPPAN,
Ravenna became the county seat for "Old Portage."
Once during the war of 1812, orders were sent for every man
able to bear arms to repair to Cleveland. The company marched
away, and their wives, being pioneer women, were not even
allowed the luxury of grief, but must make preparations for
instant flight to Pittsburgh in the event of Perry's victory,
and soon the waiting hearts were gladdened by the return of
their loved ones.
Many instances of children being lost in the woods can be
recalled by the older inhabitants. Mrs. William
FRENCH (Amantha PRICE) tells with graphic
clearness the story of an adventure which she and her sister
Nancy experienced when very small.
After telling how they left home in the morning to drive the
cows to the drinking hole, and describing the surface of the
country around, and the first of their wanderings, she says:
"Then we knew we were lost. We wandered all day, calling out
often, trying to make some one hear us." Bears and wolves
abounded in the neighborhood, and Indians were often seen
skulking about. Search parties were sent in all directions, but
it was not until evening that the blast on the ram's horn was
given as a signal of their safe discovery.
As the village grew, there arose a demand for public
religious services. There was neither church nor school house in
which to hold them, and the court house was not available. Three
of the women, Mrs. David GREER, Mrs.
Salmon CARTER, and Mrs. Almon BABCOCK,
whose husbands kept the three "taverns," met the emergency with
the offer of their dining rooms for preaching service Sabbath
In this connection we copy from an old record: "Charity
CAMPBELL, wife of Richard
BRUSH, Polly CAMPBELL, wife of Isaac
THOMPSON, and Clara
BOSTWICK, wife of Deacon Ashbel BOSTWICK, were prominent in
the organization of the Congregational Church in 1822. The
influence of their combined efforts is still felt in the
"Clarissa WETMORE, wife of Cyrus
PRENTISS, Eliza BROWN,
wife of Samuel FOLJAMBE, and Abigail
KING, wife of Dennis
STULIFF, were prominent laborers in the early organization
of the Methodist Church of Ravenna. Such was the moral influence
of this band of faithful workers that for a period card parties
and dances were unknown in the community."
Miss Eliza THOMPSON, who on her eighteenth birthday (1818)
became the wife of Dr. Isaac SWIFT, was
one of the active, useful women of her time. Her daughter says:
"I think she was very brave and did so much good. I look back
upon her married life as the happiest one I ever knew."
Of Mrs. Frederick WILLIAMS, who came to
Ravenna in 1828, her daughter, Miss Mary WILLIAMS, of Hiram,
writes: "She was not a demonstrative woman, but to us who knew
and loved her, 'Her price was far above rubies,' and with
Solomon we can say, 'Many daughters have done virtuously, but
thou excellest them all.' I do not know that she did anything
that can pass into history, but this we do know, that when the
books are opened her name will be found written in the 'Lamb's
Book of Life.'"
In connection with Mrs. WILLIAMS should be mentioned Mrs.
John BRIGHAM (Francis
BARKER) who was a neighbor and life long friend of Mrs.
WILLIAMS. Almost from the time Mrs. BRIGHAM could toddle around
she had a penchant for doing little kindnesses to people who
were sick or in trouble. Not long before Mrs. WILLIAMS' death
she gold with great pleasure how, years before, little
five-year-old Francis BARKER had come when she was sick,
bringing to her a dish of chicken pie to tempt her appetite.
Mrs. BRIGHAM has lived in Ravenna since 1830, and being
observing and possessed of a wonderful memory, has a most
interesting fund of reminiscences.
In 1836, Mrs. Daniel MERRITT came to
Ravenna from Hunter, N.Y. Upon her arrival, she immediately set
out to visit her sister, Mrs. Elijah SKILTON,
of Beech Woods. When nearly there she stopped to inquire the way
to her sister's home, and was met with the sad news that Mrs.
SKILTON had been dead two months. Such was the slowness with
which news from the remote districts traveled as late as 1836.
Mrs. R.G. BEATTY, of this place, has in
her possession a letter from her grandmother, Mrs. Israel
FORKER, from which she has kindly allowed
extracts to be taken. "II was about twelve years old," writes
Mrs. FORKER, "when we moved to the village of Harrisville, Pa.
There were no schools near the farm, and father was anxious to
live where we could go to school regularly.
"Some few years later we moved to Centerville, where we lived
when I married Israel FORKER, July 11, 1833, and we moved west
to Ravenna a few days later. It seemed a great way to me at that
time. Our household goods were moved in a two-horse wagon, and
we were two days and a half on the road.
"There was never any place looked so lovely to me as Ravenna
did when we arrived in sight. Mr. FORKER had already gone there
two years previous to our marriage, and was started in business.
There all my children were born."
One of the few of the very early settlers whom we have been
privileged to know personally was dear old "Aunt Judd." Her
father, Moses SMITH, moved from
Shalersville to Ravenna in 1804, when Lucina was four years old,
and the remainder of her life was spent in this town. Mrs.
JUDD was an ardent Christian, and when one
came from her presence he felt the thrill of noble aspirations,
even if only the most ordinary matters had been mentioned.
Mrs. JUDD and her husband were in perfect accord, and through
their generosity many an aspiring youth with more brains than
money has been helped to a thorough education, and because of it
has been able to fill distinguished positions.
Mrs. JUDD was one of the first women to be baptized into the
Disciple Church of Ravenna, and she never wavered in her
allegiance to it. After the passage of the fugitive slave law
their farm northwest of Ravenna village was one of the stations
of the underground railway. This quiet little woman, with the
resolute black eyes, was ever ready with food or clothing, with
medicines or words of kindly cheer, to help the fugitives on
their way to freedom. But life was not all work, nor all
sacrifice, however sweet the toil may have been or how blessed
"We didn't live then as we do now," said one plump little
woman with silver hair, "but we had just as good times."
Mrs. BEAZELL's father, Julius
SKIFF, came in 1825 with his wife and
eight children from Kent, Conn. They came from Buffalo to
Cleveland in a boat, and were fourteen days on the lake. Mr.
SKIFF cleared a little place just north of town, and built a
house with two rooms and a loft. In the living room was the
fireplace with its great brick oven that occupied the entire
side of the room. There the great dye-pot stood in the corner;
the bench where the shoemaker worked when he made his
semi-annual visit, had its place; the mother's woolen and flax
wheels were in that room and the father's materials for making
During the day the work kept them occupied, but at night,
after the "chores" were done and the work put back, some of the
neighbors would come in, as neighbors will where a cordial
welcome awaits them. A chair was put up on the kitchen table;
there the "fiddler" took his place, and the gayest of dances
The treasures of the garrets - the real old-fashioned
garrets, not the hot little coops of modern houses - show forth
the industry of our pioneer women. A quaint gown, in the
possession of Miss Lucy FRENCH, was made
by her mother from flax raised on their own farm. The gown has a
tiny short waist reaching just below the bust, leg-o'-mutton
sleeves, and the skirt has just two medium width breadths in its
Mrs. Nelson WARD's wedding dress, made
in 1849 or '50, is a dainty picture, every stitch from the neck
to the hem being set by hand. Another piece of beautifully
intricate needlework in Mrs. WARD's possession is a canopy of a
bed. This piece of linen came from Germany, and has been in Mrs.
WARD's family for about 210 years. The fabric is beautiful, and
the embroidery, done in very fine worsteds, has apparently lost
little of its brightness, although it is used as a lambrequin in
the family sitting room, and has been laundered many times.
Mrs. William CARNAHAN, although past
her three score years and ten, has made all Mr.
CARNAHAN's shirts since she made the one
with tiny frills, which was one of his wedding garments. They
are sewed with such marvelous stitches that any machine would
hum with satisfaction if it could produce such as they are.
About 1839 there was a large number of Nantucket people who
came to Ravenna, and some of the beautifully carved bedsteads,
bureaus, and tables, and the quaintly ugly and grotesquely
beautiful chairs are even more dear to the hearts of their
present owners than to their original possessors.
Among these Nantucket people was Isaac
BRAYTON, with his wife, Love MITCHELL,
and their family. Ravenna is proud of having been the home of
Mary Ann BRAYTON (Mrs. F.W. WOODBRIDGE)
who is known and loved in many lands. Not only do we honor Mrs.
WOODBRIDGE, the temperance evangel, but her friends love Mrs.
WOODBRIDGE, the woman who, though great matters claimed her
attention, could still remember the pet schemes of her humblest
friends; who could place her fine library at the disposal of the
poor girl starving for books; who could lavish her flowers with
unsparing hand; whose ready sympathy and wise counsel lightened
many a burden and lifted up many despairing ones.
Sarah ELY - belonging to a well-known
Massachusetts family by that name - came to Deerfield, Portage
county, with her parents in 1799, and the following year married
John CAMPBELL. It was perhaps the first
marriage on the Western Reserve. Four years later the young
couple removed to Ravenna.
"During the war of 1812 Captain, afterward, General CAMPBELL,
raised a company of soldiers and led it to the front of
hostilities near Detroit. There he either was wounded or fell
ill, and returning as far as Sandusky, was unable to reach home.
His intrepid wife, upon learning of his condition, mounted her
horse and set out alone through the wilderness to succor her
husband. Finding that he could not be cared for comfortably in
Sandusky, she had him placed upon her horse and then led the
animal all the way back to Ravenna. Eleven children called her
"mother," the older of whom, Anna A. FRASER,
was born and died in Ravenna after a continuous residence of
Honor RILEY ROBBINS was born in
Weathersfield, Conn., and while yet in her teens accompanied her
parents to Solon, Cuyahoga county. Their objective point at
first had been Cleveland, but upon his arrival at that place,
Mr. ROBBINS was disappointed in the size of the town, and the
serious prevalence of malaria. He continued on to Solon and
purchased a farm, upon which his grandchildren yet reside.
Anna was a girl of education and culture, and soon after her
arrival in the Western Reserve found herself in demand at
Ravenna as a teacher. Here Robert Ely CAMPBELL, son of General
CAMPBELL, met and won her and they were married in 1829.
Mrs. CAMPBELL survived her husband many years, and today, at
the age of ninety-three, resides with her daughter, Mrs. Orville
SKINNER, at No. 91 Dorchester avenue,
Mrs. Horace SKINNER (Olive LANGDON) was
one of the early settlers of Ravenna. She was born in Salisbury,
Conn., and about the year 1820, with her husband and eight
children, began pioneer life on a small farm adjoining that of
Richard THOMPSON, midway between Ravenna
and Campbellsport. Her eldest daughter, Olive, married Harris
CURTISS, of Charlestown, O., and Fanny,
the youngest daughter, married Gustavus LANE,
Mrs. SKINNER's six sons were all a
credit to their mother's training and counsel. Only one remained
here - John N. The youngest boy became a judge in Oregon.
But many names worthy of extensive mention can only be noted.
During the war of 1812, Aunt Polly ROUNDY
showed her patriotism and her goodness of heart by preparing
bountiful meals for the soldiers as they passed through the
Among the scholars which Achsah EGGLESTON
had in her school in 1809 were Ruthallia and Lois Carter, who
married Howard and Lester JUDD, and
Samantha SMITH, who married Richard
Eunice GOODRICH (Mrs. DE
WOLF) came from Rootstown in 1803. Her
daughter, Adaline (Mrs. R.S. ELKINS), has
spent the greater portion of her life in Ravenna, and still
occupies the old homestead west of town. Although very dignified
and reserved, there could be no more perfect a friend than Mrs.
Many a person has had cause to thank "Mother
KELLEY" for speedy restoration to health
on account of her nursing and counsel. Mrs. KELLEY was the life
of the social circle, although no one ventured the second time
to measure swords with her in repartee. Her two daughters,
Martha and Lucinda, who died in 1838, are remembered as young
women of unusually lovely character.
Mrs. John SKINNER (Mary ROUSE) combined
a superior intellectual ability with tender charity and
unbounded hospitality. It is said that at her home have been
entertained more people who have gained a national reputation
than at any other home in Ravenna. This home is now occupied by
Mrs. Whiting CARTER with her husband and
Mrs. John FLETCHER and her mother, Mrs.
Alexander LOWREY, came from Aberdeen,
Scotland, in 1837. They both remembered seeing Walter Scott
throw pennies into the crowd of children who followed him.
Mrs. Andrew HERRIFF has many pleasant
recollections of her home near Paris before she came to America
Mrs. Lyman W. HALL, who at one time
kept a select school in Ravenna, was a most efficient church
worker, and attained an enviable reputation as a poet.
Mrs. Sylvester PARMELEE also, who
before the was principal of a young ladies' seminary in the
South, wrote charming newspaper letters of travel.
Mrs. Spaulding BEACH, of Tallmadge,
writes: "I remember that while on my way to Deacon
FULLER's a drove of wild deer came out of
the woods and ran across the road directly in front of us, I
think quite near where the Erie Depot is located."
Mrs. H.S. BEEMAN also distinctly
remembers seeing deer in this vicinity as late as 1833.
Mrs. Mary SWIFT WAITE and Mrs. Emily
SWIFT MORRISON still occupy the beautiful
SWIFT home. From their childhood they have both possessed that
charming grace of manner which made a flower given by them or a
kindly word from their lips a thing to be cherished.
Another beautifully rounded character was that of Mrs. A.B.
GRIFFIN. Their home was always the
"preachers' home," her hands were never idle, her piety never
wavered, and her charity never waned.
Others among the church workers were Mrs. George
SOMERVILLE, Mrs. H.P.
BRADFORD, Mrs. Lois HOTCHKISS POE,
Mrs. WHITTLESEY and her daughter, Clarice
WHITTLESSEY MEHARG, who belong to those
successful Sunday school teachers who make the world brighter
The lively sallies and interesting stories of Mrs. Carrie
JENNINGS made her a welcome addition to
any circle of her friends.
Mrs. Daniel DAY was long noted for her
fine greenhouse, and as she petted and nursed her plants, her
sweet face framed with silver hair, she seemed like one of her
own sweet flowers.
Mrs. Eliza FRAZER EVANS was the first
and only woman who has occupied the position of postmistress in
Ravenna. Her sister, Mrs. Ezra B. TAYLOR,
formerly of Ravenna, is the mother of the talented Harriet
Emily DOTY M'BRIDE
Chairman and Historian
Ravenna committee - Mrs. Emily D. McBRIDE, Mrs. Carrie E. ESTY, Mrs. Elmira
D. DOTY, Mrs. Eliza KING, Mrs. Whiting CARTER, Mrs. A.J. JENNINGS
In 1801 John WARD, with his wife, Agnes
(DUFFIELD) WARD, moved to Ohio from West
Moreland County, Penn., they located first on the
ELY farm in Rootstown, near the Ravenna
line, and afterward in the village of Ravenna. An incident in
the life of Mrs. WARD, which is familiar to many Ravenna people,
may bear repeating.
Mrs. WARD wandered a long time through the unbroken forest
searching for her cows before she heard the tinkle of their
bells. Following this lead she discovered, not only the lost
cows, but also a beautiful sheet of water. She reported the
discovery and the lake was named in her honor Mother Ward's
Pond. It retained this name until a few years ago, when on
account of the purity of its water it was selected as the
reservoir of Ravenna's water supply and re-christened "Crystal
In 1802 David JENNINGS, with his wife Hannah (WELLMAN)
JENNINGS, and their three sons, aged six, four and two
years, emigrated to Ohio and settled in Ravenna Township.
Mrs. JENNINGS, making her home in the then unbroken
wilderness, endured the many hardships of pioneer life.
Surrounded as she was by the dense forests, with plenty of
wild animals and Indians near, she had to exercise great courage
for herself and her children. Especially would this be necessary
when her husband was absent from home as he was sometimes
obliged to be, since many household supplies must be brought
The Indians liked to take advantage of her when they came to
buy corn. If she took up a short ear, they would place another
on the end of it, and she dare not object, they, knowing her
fear, would laugh among themselves and say, "that squaw is shy,
Mrs. JENNINGS had six children whom she took great pride in
training to be useful, respected citizens. She died in 1840.
Hannah H., daughter of Mrs. David JENNINGS was born in
Ravenna in 1804 and was married to Schuyler
CUTLER in 1822.
Mrs. CUTLER lived with her husband on a farm on the west line
of the township where she died in 1835. She was the mother of
six children. One of her daughters, Mrs. John
DODGE, and a granddaughter, Mrs. J.H.
FURRY, are residing in our little city.
In 1815 Elliot RAWSON came from
Franklin County, Mass. And located on a tract of land one mile
west of the court house.
His family consisted of a daughter and a son, with a second
wife (Hannah WILLIAMS, sister of his first
wife) whom he had married but a short time before.
The daughter, Hannah, a girl of seven, was bright and active,
and although deprived of the many advantages she had in her
eastern home, yet as she grew to womanhood, she made the most of
what knowledge she could obtain from the limited means within
Her father died when she was but a little over sixteen, which
threw a great deal of responsibility upon her since her
step-mother's health was far from good.
In the year of 1825, one month before she was seventeen she
became Mrs. David JENNINGS, Jr.
She was a bright woman with great energy of character, never
shirking any hardships which duty placed in her way. Her heart
and home were always open, strangers and friends finding a
welcome at all times, while a call from the sick or suffering
was never unheeded.
In 1832 Elizabeth KNOWLTON came to
Ravenna from Kennebec, Me., where she was born in 1813.
In 1833 she and Lewis JENNINGS were married and resided on
the homestead with his parents. Although she did not have to
endure the privations of the very early pioneer life, yet she
has seen many changes in both city and country. Seven of her
twelve children lived to maturity. Four of her daughters reside
in Ravenna, three at the old home, and one, Mrs. M.
GLEDHILL, in the village. Mrs. JENNINGS
died in 1895, on the farm where she and her husband first lived,
where his father reclaimed the land from an unbroken forest.
Miss Nancy A. SAPP was born in
Maryland in 1810, and was married to Squire L. JENNINGS in 1833.
At the time of her marriage she was living with her parents in
Rootstown. The delightful air of hospitality which pervaded her
home and her many, many kindly deeds are held in grateful memory
by her friends. She had two children, a son, and a daughter, Ann
Janette, who married Lorenzo BOSWORTH.
Betsey TROWBRIDGE was born in Franklin
County, Mass. In January 1785. In 1807 she was united in
marriage with Joseph TORRY. In 1816 they
with their young family left their native hills and came to
Ravenna. She endeavored, in spite of difficulties to give her
children all possible advantages of education and refinement
that could be obtained. She was well informed on current events,
and having a fine memory, could have given a good history of
Ravenna during nearly seventy years of its growth.
To show how well her mind was preserved, we will by
permission, give an extract from a letter to a friend written
soon after the death of his wife. Mrs. TORRY was then
ninety-eight years old. After expressing deep sympathy for him
in the loss of so dear a friend, she says, "After severe
suffering she has left her frail casket; her mortal has put on
immortality, she has bade her friends and all the glittering
toys of earth adieu, and has ascended up through the ethereal
blue to mansions of the blest."
The winter before Mrs. TORRY's death,
which occurred in Cleveland at the age of ninety-nine years, she
cut and sewed rags enough to make a carpet, which shows that she
was physically as well as mentally vigorous.
Hannah TAYLOR was born in Franklin
County, Mass. In 1788. Her parents moved to Phelps, N.Y., where
in 1810 she was married to James T. TROWBRIDGE. In 1833 they
came to Ravenna with their family. She was a domestic woman,
seldom leaving home, but her friends were warmly welcomed to her
own fireside. Her three daughters lie in Maple Grove cemetery,
Adaline, unmarried, Mrs. Wm. BOND and
Mrs. Samuel BLOOMER.
Sally BLAKELY was born in Genoa, N.Y.
in January, 1797. She was married to Daniel TROWBRIDGE in
Phelps, N.Y. in 1818, and they in 1833 removed with their family
of eight children to Ravenna. To them were born in Ohio three
more children and only one of the eight daughters and three sons
is now living in Ravenna. This daughter, Mrs. A.J.
JENNINGS is residing on the farm where
she and her husband first went to housekeeping, the farm on
which Mr. JENNINGS was born. Mrs. JENNINGS wields a very facile
pen and has kindly furnished the items for the
JENNINGS, TROWBRIDGE and RAWSON families.
Four daughters of Mrs. TROWBRIDGE live in Cleveland, and one
in Michigan. One of the daughters, Percy, is a successful
teacher in the Cleveland Central High School
Mrs. TROWBRIDGE retained the vigor of her mind until the time
of her death, which occurred in Hudson at the age of ninety
Sally RAWSON was born in Ravenna in
1816, and was married to N.D. CLARK in
1834. Her entire life was spent in this place where her death
occurred in 1889. Mrs. CLARK had two daughters, both of whom
preceded her to the world beyond. She was a genial, pleasant
woman with a warm heart for all, especially the sick and needy.
Mrs. CLARK loved society and so long as she was able, her home
was open for the entertainment of friends.
Czarina RAWSON was born in Ravenna in 1820 and married Geo.
HARPER in 1844. Mrs. HARPER still lives
in Ravenna where the most of her life has been spent. Her memory
being good, she has many entertaining reminiscences of the early
days of our town.
Mary ABEL was born in 1770, and about
the year 1803 came from Kent, Conn. With her husband, Moses
SMITH, and their two daughters, to make
their home in Ohio.
Mrs. Joel THOMPSON of Waterloo, Ind.
says: "My grandmother, Mary SMITH was prompt and methodical in
all things. In common with nearly everyone she worked up wool
and flax to clothe her family. She would commence the work as
soon as the sheep were sheared in the spring, and before winter
the wool would be made into blankets and clothing for her
family, with extra for possible needy ones. Her life was filled
with a continuous round of home duties, and can only be of
interest from a historical standpoint since it is representative
of the lives of hundreds and thousands of noble women who laid
the firm foundation for the beautiful superstructure which the
women of today are raising
"My mother, Samantha SMITH" (Mrs. Richard McBRIDE), continues
Mrs. THOMPSON, "had for a pet a young deer which she kept for
some time, but it became so mischievous that grandfather was
obliged to kill it.
"The school mother attended was, I think, the second one
opened in the village and was taught by Miss Achsah
EGGLESTON of Aurora. The building was a
tiny log cabin with oiled paper for windows. Turkey quills
supplied the pens, and puncheon boards laid on pegs in the wall
were used for desks.
"Within a few years after her marriage to Richard McBRIDE
they moved to Indiana where they spent the remainder of their
In the year 1812 Mrs. (Gen.) Samuel D.
HARRIS, Sr. (Lucy S. KENT) came on
horseback from her home in Middletown, Conn., carrying her baby
Lucia in her arms. Mrs. HARRIS was not only intellectual and
cultured, but was also an expert needle woman. One triumph of
her skill was the making for her husband of one dozen ruffled
cambric shirts with one needle. A specimen of her work which is
still in the family is a table cloth of fine, beautiful linen.
Her daughter Lucia grew to womanhood in Ravenna, and was
married to John GILLIS of the firm of
Gillis & Prentiss. Those who knew Mrs. GILLIS remember her as a
beautiful woman. She was especially fond of music and art,
poetry and flowers. During her life she made a valuable
collection of gems of poetry. Only one of her seven children is
now living in Ravenna, Mrs. (Judge) Geo. F.
Mrs. S.D. HARRIS, Jr. (Joanna DOTY)
came from Sharon, Conn. In 1837 and is still living in this
place, a beautiful example of loving, cheerful devotion to
husband, family and friends. Her love of flowers and her success
in their culture is only one of her many charming traits of
In 1811 Miss Pamelia LEWIS, a native
of Farmington, Conn. Was married to Zenas KENT. The father of
Miss LEWIS was a Revolutionary veteran and also a carpenter and
joiner, as were also both her husband and his father.
Mrs. KENT was a charming woman and one who possessed rare
tact in the management of household and family affairs. She was
mother of thirteen children, ten of whom lived to maturity and
are known as men and women of spotless integrity.
The eldest daughter, Harriet KENT, married Charles
CLAPP, then a merchant of Ravenna. Some
years after their marriage, Mr. CLAPP becoming convinced that
the Shaker faith was the only right one, made suitable provision
for his wife and family, and joining that peculiar sect, became
their Shaker Elder, while his wife subsequently settled in New
York city. Of her he said to a friend but a short time before
his death in 1891 or 1892, "I would not have you think it was
for any fault of her who was my wife, that I did as I did. She
was without a fault."
Mrs. KENT's son, Marion KENT, is well
known in business circles throughout the country, his chief
enterprise being the inauguration and completion of the A. &
G.W.R.R. (now the Erie) through the state of Ohio.
Her four younger daughters who lived to maturity were Eliza
A., who became the wife of John POAG, a
merchant of New York city. Emily was married to R.B.
DENNIS, Esq. Of Cleveland; Francis became
Mrs. Geo. W. WELLS and Amelia, Mrs. J.W.
SHIVELY who was a surgeon in the U.S.
army during the war of the Rebellion, now residing in
Maria L. JOHNSON was born in Mifflin,
Penn. 1810. Her parents removed to Lancaster, O., where in 1831
she was married to Geo. E. ROBINSON. In 1835 Mr. and Mrs.
ROBINSON, with their baby boy, Alfred, moved to Ravenna. Mrs.
ROBINSON was domestic in her tastes and very benevolent,
eminently a keeper at home. But she was a typical pioneer woman,
in the sense of being always ready to undertake any duty which
came to her. Mr. ROBINSON's business took
him often from home, but his wife was entirely capable of
carrying on the home both outdoors and in the house. She was a
fearless house woman, and beside her many beautiful womanly
traits possessed a talent for business which served her well,
when as circumstances sometimes made it desirable, she bought or
sold stock in her husband's absence. Mrs. ROBINSON had eight
children. Her son Henry was the first soldier from Ravenna to
lay down his life in the late war. Another son, Judge Geo. F.
ROBINSON was captain in the army and was confined for months in
Three of the four daughters are living in this place, Emily,
Mrs. H.W. RIDDLE; Elizabeth, Mrs.
(General) T.F. WILDE, and Miss Franc
ROBINSON. The youngest daughter, Mrs. A.E.
HERMANN, resides in Terre Haute, Ind.
Huldah OVIATT, who came to Ravenna
from Goshen, Conn. Was first married to a son of David
HUDSON, the founder of Hudson, O. After
the death of Mr. HUDSON, she was married to Darius
LYMAN, who was at one time candidate for
governor of Ohio.
Mrs. LYMAN had one daughter, Laura, married to W.S.C.
OTIS. Mr. OTIS was at the time of his
marriage a lawyer in Ravenna. They removed from here to Akron
and finally to Cleveland, where Mrs. OTIS still lives.
The marriage of Miss LYMAN to Mr. OTIS was the first ceremony
of the kind performed by the Rev. E.E.
ATWATER. During his pastorate here, Rev. ATWATER was himself
married to Miss Rebecca DANNA of New
Mrs. LYMAN died in 1832 and Mr. LYMAN's
second marriage was to Mrs. Hiram WALBRIDGE
(whose maiden name was Lucy Ann ROSE) of
Canaan, Conn. Two more daughters came to the home, Mary
LYMAN (HOOD) and Anna
LYMAN (WOODWORTH), both of whom reside in California.
Polly BURROUGHS came from Vermont to
Ohio about the year 1825. She was married to Mr. Wm.
COOLMAN, proprietor of the Globe Tavern,
which stood on the site of the present Etna House. Mr. COOLMAN
was occupied much of his time at the courthouse, and in
consequence the management of the hotel fell largely to Mrs.
COOLMAN. She is remembered as a woman with a marvelous capacity
for work and a model housekeeper. Some of the beautiful cut
glass decanters and glasses which were used in their hotel are
still in possession of the family.
Nor did Mrs. COOLMAN allow her household duties to entirely
engross her mind, for she was a leader in social and
intellectual circles. There were three sons and two daughters in
the family. Her daughter Amelia was first married to Thomas
BURGESS, and after his death to John G.
Augusta COOLMAN was born in 1820. From her mother she
inherited a talent for work and unlimited energy. She was
married to H.Y. BEEBE, and with her
husband went to keeping house in the residence which is still
standing on the northeast corner of Cleveland Ave. and Main St.
The building had been erected for a store and was not yet
completed when they first occupied it, but with their push and
perseverance it was converted into a beautiful home.
Mrs. BEEBE had a very fine voice, and for many years sang in
the Universalist choir of this place. She was also an invaluable
member of the aid society, and was the one upon whom they
depended to cut all the garments which they made.
Mrs. Camilla (KING) HARMON, wife of
Orrin HARMON was the eldest of eleven children of Dr. Robert
KING, who settled in Charleston, Portage County in 1826. She was
born in Sandisfield, Mass. 1802, came to Portage County with her
father and was married to Orrin HARMON at Ravenna, September,
1832. One time in welcoming a new neighbor, Mrs. HARMON said,
"I'm very glad you are to be near us, but I don't go out very
much and I probably won't come to see you unless you are sick,
then I'll come." That was the keynote of her life; devotion to
home and untiring ministrations to the sick and needy were her
dearest joys. The memory of this quiet, unassuming, little woman
is fragrant in the hearts of all who knew her.
Mrs. Perry Hazard BABCOCK (Cynthia
HICKOCKS) came to Ravenna in 1818 from
Granville, Mass. Mrs. BABCOCK was an intrepid horseback rider,
and with her husband was accustomed to ride fifty miles over the
hills from Granville to visit their relative, Oliver Hazard
PERRY, afterward Commodore PERRY. She was
a tireless knitter, one of her best pieces of work being a
beautiful white quilt. Another kind of handiwork in which she
excelled was embroidery and her bed curtains were wrought with
her own swift flying needle.
Mrs. BABCOCK had four sons and two daughters, all of whom
settled in Ravenna.
Mary COLLINS came to this place as a
teacher in 1811 from Hartford, Conn. She became acquainted with
Almon BABCOCK who came to Portage County in 1810, the eldest son
of Mrs. Perry H. BABCOCK, and they were married at her father's
home in Rootstown, Christmas day, 1814. During the following
year they erected the first brick house in this place (which was
the second in the county) for a hotel, on the ground now
occupied by the Opera House.
Her wedding gown was of white cambric, beautifully
embroidered by her own hands. Among her many lovely traits of
character she possessed the qualifications of an excellent
nurse, and was sent for from far and wide to help neighbors and
friends in distress.
There were six children born to them, Perry H., who is a well
known business man in Cleveland, being the eldest, Miss Mary Ann
BABCOCK lives with her brother Albert, south of Ravenna. She is
a charming conversationalist and has a great fund of
reminiscence. From her was obtained much of the information
concerning the family.
Mrs. Edmond BABCOCK (Laura BATES) came
to this place in 1820 from Granville, Mass. They were six weeks
coming from their home to Buffalo. Here they left their teams
and boarded a scow which was to take them across the lake to
Cleveland. Five times they were driven back by storms. When
Cleveland was finally reached they were unable to bring their
clumsy craft to the shore with safety. It was anchored some
distance out in the lake, and Mr. BABCOCK swam back and forth
between the boat and the shore and thus landed wife and babies
Three of her daughters, Corinthia, Mrs. Julius
HOTCHKISS (afterward Mrs. McCLUNN);
Betsey, Mrs. Nelson WARD, and Eliza, Mrs.
Lawrence COOLMAN, settled in Ravenna.
Harriet, Mrs. CARRINGTON went to
Alliance, and Sarah, Mrs. WILLIAMSON,
removed to Wisconsin.
Mrs. Ethan BABCOCK (Harriet ROBINSON)
is still living at her home north of town, where she first went
as a bride. Mrs. BABCOCK is a loved and honored member of the
Methodist church, a blessing wherever she is.
Mrs. Dr. DeWOLF (Eunice GOODRICH) was
a life friend of Mrs. Almon BABCOCK, and was married at about
the same time. She was pleasant, social and unusually keen
witted. Her manner of relating bright, humorous anecdotes was
inimitable, and no company of which she was a member could be
Mrs. Dr. Lyman COLLINS (Lucy WHITTLESY)
came from Canfield, O. in 1838. One of the pleasant things for
which she is remembered in Ravenna is the active part which she
took in the Congregational church of this city.
One of the early pioneer women was Mrs. Wm.
TAPPAN who was a miss
PATTISON. Mrs. TAPPAN was very highly educated and the
people of this western town were inclined to stand in awe of her
superior accomplishments, but they soon found that they only
made her the more charming. She was very brave under the many
trials which came to her and is held in loving remembrance by
About the year 1838, Cottage Hill, now owned by D.R.
HANNA of Cleveland, was purchased from
Wm. STODDARD by a Mr.
CURTIS of New York city.
Mr. and Mrs. CURTIS started with their two daughters and
their household goods for their new home. Mr. CURTIS was taken
ill and died during their journey. Mrs. CURTIS and the daughters
continued on their way sorrowing. The elder daughter became the
wife of John M. HOOD, and the younger
daughter, Ellen, the wife of his brother, Robert HOOD.
Mr. Robert HOOD was occupied in some position which required
his presence in the Manila Islands. From here he sent to his
fiancee many gifts of beautiful foreign good, among them being
shawls of fine crepe "like crinkled cream on scalded milk."
After her marriage, Mrs. HOOD went with her husband to Manila
Islands, but she could not endure the climate and died in a
short time. On the stone which marks her resting place in Maple
Grove are inscribed the following lines: "Her remains were
brought from far o'er the seas to rest beside her kindred in her
Mrs. John KING (Polly
BLACK) came from Charleston, O. in 1815.
Miss BLACK's sister, Betsey, married Mr.
KING's brother, William, and both were
valued members in the village. Mrs. Polly KING's daughter,
Elizabeth R. KING was married to Wm.
WADSWORTH. Mrs. WADSWORTH was a lovely Christian woman, and
so long as health permitted was a regular attendant at the
Only one of the four children is now living in Ravenna, Mrs.
In 1828 Judge Ira SELBY came from
Canandaigua, N.Y., with his wife Alice (GIDDINGS)
SELBY, and his family. Hon. Ira SELBY was a man prominent in
public affairs, both in Portage County and in the place in New
York from which they came, and Mrs. SELBY was eminently fitted
to be a help meet to him. Their daughter, Henrietta SELBY,
married James BARKER, and is remembered
with the deepest love and respect by her daughter, Mrs. John
BRIGHAM, who is the only one of her
children living in Ravenna.
Another daughter, Caroline SELBY, became Mrs. John Berkeley
KING. Mrs. KING is considered now to have had great artistic
ability, and although pioneer life did not offer conditions
favorable for its development, there are among the family
treasures some of her drawings which show marked talent.
Edmond BOSTWICK and his wife, Mercy,
came from Vermont in 1818. Mrs. BOSTWICK died in 1823, aged
eighty-nine years. There were twelve children in the family,
eleven sons and one daughter. The daughter Lucy died in Vermont.
The following sketch was very kindly furnished by E.P.
BRAINARD, for fifty years a resident of
Ravenna, a man widely known for his broad views and advanced
"In the spring of 1810, Mrs. Mary McKENZIE
MASON came with her husband Jared MASON and her four
children from Beaver, Penn., and settled in Ravenna.
"Her husband sunk vats and established a tannery east of the
courthouse, where the Gretzinger Block now stands. Mrs.
MASON's husband died 1813. The widow
continued to run the tannery, employing John F.
WELLS and Jesse R.
GRANT, father of U.S. GRANT, to work out the stock. Later
she married J.F. WELLS, and sold out the tannery to GRANT, who
carried it on till 1819, but failing to meet his obligations,
the tannery reverted, and was taken back and GRANT left Ravenna.
"By her second husband Mrs. WELLS became the mother of two
daughters and one son. The eldest daughter married E.P.
BRAINARD, the youngest, John B. KING, Jr., and Benj. J., the son
married Miss Hannah DOTY.
"In all that tends to make up Christian character, pure and
noble womanhood, Mrs. WELLS approached a model. Her kind,
sympathetic, affectionate disposition and ways, won for her the
love and esteem of all who knew her.
"February 1839, at the age of fifty-five, her useful and well
ordered life terminated and she was summoned to answer the last
roll call on the other shore, leaving behind her a memory
fragrant with the virtues that adorn the character of a faithful
wife and mother."
Mrs. Emily D. McBRIDE, Historian