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CLEVELAND PAST AND PRESENT
Its Representative Men
Comprising Biographical Sketches of Pioneer Settlers and Prominent
With a History of the City and Historical Sketches of Its Commerce,
Manufactures, Ship Building, Railroads, Telegraphy, Schools, Churches,
Etc., Profusely Illustrated with Photographic Views and Portraits
Photographically Illustrated by E. Decker
In many ways the story of the survey and first settlement of Cleveland has
been made familiar to the public. It has been told at pioneer gatherings,
reproduced in newspapers and periodicals, enlarged upon in directory
prefaces and condensed for works of topographical reference. Within a
short time Col. Charles Whittlesey has gathered up, collected, and
arranged the abundant materials for the Early History of Cleveland in a
handsome volume bearing that title.
But Col. Whittlesy's volume closes with the war of 1812, when Cleveland
was still a pioneer settlement with but a few families. The history of the
growth of that settlement to a village, its development into a commercial
port, and then into a large and flourishing city, with a busy population
of a hundred thousand persons, remained mostly unwritten, and no part of
it existing in permanent form. The whole period is covered by the active
lives of men yet with us who have grown up with the place, and with whose
history that of the city is inseparably connected. It occurred to the
projector of this work that a history of Cleveland could be written in the
individual histories of its representative men, that such a volume would
not only be a reliable account of the growth of the city in its general
features and in the development of its several branches of industry, but
would possess the additional advantage of the interest attaching to
personal narrative. This idea has been faithfully worked out in the
following pages, not without much labor and difficulty in the collection
and arrangement of the materials. Besides the personal narratives, an
introductory sketch to each of the departments of business into which the
biographical sketches are grouped gives a brief account of the rise and
present position of that particular industry; these, taken together,
forming a full and accurate business and professional history of the city.
An introductory sketch of the general history of Cleveland gives
completeness to the whole, whilst the numerous illustrations and portraits
add greatly to the interest and value of the work.
Numerous as are the sketches, it is not, of course, claimed that all are
represented in the volume who deserve a place in it. This would be
impossible in a work of ordinary dimensions, even were it convenient, or
even possible, to obtain the necessary materials. The aim has been to
sketch sufficient of the representative men in each leading business and
professional department to give a fair idea of the nature and extent of
that department. It is not a complete biographical dictionary of
Cleveland, but a volume of biographical selections, made, as the lawyers
say, "without prejudice."
History of Cleveland.
For the records of the first sixteen or seventeen years of the history of
Cleveland, what may be styled its pioneer history, the local historian
will hereafter be indebted to the work of Col. Whittlesey, where every
known and reliable fact connected with that period of Cleveland's history
is carefully preserved.
The city was originally comprised in lands purchased by the "Connecticut
Land Company," and formed a portion of what is termed the Western Reserve.
This company was organized in 1795, and in the month of May of the
following year, it commissioned General Moses Cleaveland to superintend
the survey of their lands, with a staff of forty-eight assistants. On the
22d of July, 1796, General Cleaveland, accompanied by Augustus Porter, the
principal of the surveying department, and several others, entered the
mouth of the Cuyahoga from the lake. Job P. Stiles and his wife are
supposed to have been with the party. General Cleaveland continued his
progress to Sandusky Bay, leaving enough men to put up a storehouse for
the supplies, and a cabin for the accommodation of the surveyors. These
were located a short distance south of St. Clair street, west of Union
lane, at a spring in the side-hill, in rear of Scott's warehouse. During
the season a cabin was put up for Stiles, on lot 53, east side of Bank
street, north of the Herald Building, where Morgan & Root's block now
stands. This was the first building for permanent settlement erected on
the site of the city, although huts for temporary occupancy had been
previously built in the neighborhood.
Upon the return of the party from Sandusky, Mr. Porter prepared the
outlines of the city. He says: "I surveyed a piece of land designed for a
town--its dimensions I do not recollect--probably equal to about a mile
square, bounding west on the river, and north on the lake. I made a plot
of this ground, and laid it off into streets and lots. Most or all the
streets I surveyed myself, when I left it in charge of Mr. Holley to
complete the survey of the lots."
The survey of the city was commenced on the 16th of September, and
completed about the 1st of October, 1796. Holley's notes state that on
Monday, October 17th, he "finished surveying in New Connecticut; weather
rainy," and on the following day he records: "We left Cuyahoga at 3
o'clock 17 minutes, for home. We left at Cuyahoga, Job Stiles and wife,
and Joseph Landon, with provisions for the Winter." Landon soon abandoned
the spot and his place was taken by Edward Paine, who had arrived from the
State of New York, for the purpose of trading with the Indians, and who
may be considered the first mercantile man who transacted business in
Cleveland. Thus, during the Winter of 1796-7, the population of the city
consisted of three inhabitants. During the Winter a child is reputed to
have been born in the cabin, which had only squaws for nurses.
Early in the Spring of 1797, James Kingsbury and family, from New England,
with Elijah Gunn, one of the surveying party, all of whom had continued
during the Winter at Conneaut, where they had endured incredible
hardships, removed to Cleveland. His first cabin was put up on the site of
the Case Block, east of the Public Square, but he subsequently removed to
a point east of the present city limits, somewhere on a line with Kinsman
Street. Here he remained until his death.
The next families who were attracted to this settlement were those of
Major Lorenzo Carter and Ezekiel Hawley, who came from Kirtland, Vermont,
the family of the Major being accompanied by Miss Cloe Inches. In the
Spring of the following year, (1798,) the former gentleman sowed two acres
of corn on the west side of Water street. He was also the first person who
erected a frame building in the city, which he completed in 1802; but an
unfortunate casualty proved fatal to the enterprise, for when he was about
to occupy the residence it was totally destroyed by fire. In 1803,
however, he erected another house on the site of the destroyed building,
but on this occasion he confined himself to hewn logs.
The fourth addition of the season was that of Nathan Chapman and his
family, who, like the patriarchs of yore, traveled with his herd, and
marched into the Forest City at the head of two yoke of oxen and four
milch cows, which were the first neat stock that fed from the rich
pasturage on the banks of the Cuyahoga.
In the Summer of 1797, the surveying party returned to the Western Reserve
and resumed their labors, with Cleveland as a head-quarters. It was a very
sickly season and three of the number died, one of whom was David
Eldridge, whose remains were interred in a piece of ground chosen as a
cemetery, at the corner of Prospect and Ontario streets. This funeral
occurred on the 3d of June, 1797, and is the first recorded in the city.
Recently, while making some improvements to the buildings now occupying
that location, some human bones were discovered.
Less than one month after the first funeral, occurred the first wedding.
On the 1st of July, 1797, the marriage was solemnized of William Clement,
of Erie, to Miss Cloe Inches, who had come to this city with the family of
Major Lorenzo Carter. The ceremony was performed by Mr. Seth Hart, who was
regarded by the surveying party as their chaplain.
In the beginning of the following year, (1798,) the population had
increased to fifteen. No other immigration is recorded until that of
Rodolphus Edwards and Nathaniel Doane and their families, in 1799, the
latter consisting of nine persons. They journeyed from Chatham,
Connecticut, and were occupied ninety-two days in their transit--a longer
period than is now allowed to accomplish a voyage to the East Indies.
In 1799, the Land Company caused a road to be surveyed and partially
worked, from Cleveland to the Pennsylvania line, about ten miles from the
lake, which was the first road opened through the Reserve. In the Spring
of that year Wheeler W. Williams, from Norwich, Connecticut, and Major
Wyatt, erected a grist mill at the falls at Newburgh, and in 1800 a saw
mill was also built by them; a substantial proof that sufficient corn and
wheat were grown and lumber required to warrant the speculation.
The desire of moral culture and education did not relax in this lonely
region, and in 1800, a township school was organized, and the children
were taught by Sarah Doane. The site of the school house was near
Kingsbury's, on the ridge road.
Cleveland received two additions in 1800, in the persons of David Clarke
and Amos Spafford, the former of whom erected a house on Water street. The
first sermon preached in Cleveland, was delivered in that year by the Rev.
Joseph Badger, an agent of the Connecticut Missionary Society.
The years of 1798, 1799 and 1800, were remarkable for the early
commencement of genial weather. Pinks were in bloom in February, and the
peach trees were also in full blossom in March.
In 1801, the first distillery was erected by David Bryant. The memorable
4th of July of the same year was celebrated by the first ball in
Cleveland. It took place at Major Carter's log house, on the slope from
Superior street to the harbor, and was attended by thirty of both sexes.
The first village school was held in Major Carter's house in 1802, and the
children were taught by Anna Spafford.
In 1803, Elisha Norton arrived in Cleveland with a stock of goods
principally adapted to the Indian trade, which he exhibited for sale in
Major Carter's house. The State of Ohio was this year admitted into the
Union, and the first election was held at James Kingsbury's.
The first Post Office was established here in 1804, when letters were
received and transmitted every seven days.
In 1805, the harbor was made a port of entry, and classed within the Erie
district. In the same year the territory on the west side of Cuyahoga was
ceded to the State by treaty. During the negotiations for that treaty, one
of the commissioners, Hon. Gideon Granger, distinguished for talents,
enterprise and forethought, uttered to his astonished associates this
bold, and what was then deemed, extraordinary prediction: "Within fifty
years an extensive city will occupy these grounds, and vessels will sail
directly from this port into the Atlantic Ocean." The prediction has been
fulfilled, though the latter portion of it required an extension of time,
of a year or two to make the fulfilment literal.
In 1806, Nathan Perry and family and Judge Walworth removed to Cleveland
the latter from Painesville. In the same year the first militia training
occurred. The place of rendezvous was Doane's corner, and the muster
amounted to about fifty men.
In 1809, the county of Cuyahoga was formed, Cleveland chosen as the county
seat, and Amos Spafford was elected representative. The same year Abraham
Hickox commenced business as a blacksmith, under the euphonious cognomen
of "Uncle Abram."
On the 5th of June, 1810, the first Court of Record was held in a frame
building erected by Elias and Harvey Murray, on the north side of Superior
Street, of which Judge Ruggles was President, assisted by three Associate
Judges. George Wallis and family arrived this year and opened a tavern.
Samuel and Matthew Williamson began business as tanners. Dr. David Long
commenced practice as a physician, and Alfred Kelley as the first attorney
in Cleveland. Elias and Harvey Murray opened a store this year in Union
lane, and may be termed the first general merchants.
In 1812, was the first trial for murder and the execution in Cleveland,
that of the Indian O'Mic, for the murder of two white trappers near
Sandusky City. In the same year the court house was built.
The first brick house erected in the city was that of J. E. and I. Kelley,
in Superior Street. It was built in 1814; but the bricks were very unlike
those of the present day, being more than twice their size. They were made
in Cleveland. This edifice was soon succeeded by another of the same
material, built by Alfred Kelley, in Water street.
In 1815, Cleveland was incorporated by the Legislature with a village
charter and Alfred Kelley was the first President.
In 1816, the first bank was established in the city, under the title
of the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, of which Leonard Case took the
management. In that year the number of vessels enrolled as hailing
from the port of Cleveland, was but seven, and their aggregate
burthen 430 tons.
In 1817, the first church was organized, which was the Episcopal church of
Trinity; but it was not until 1828 that the edifice was erected on the
corner of St. Clair and Seneca streets.
On the 31st of July, 1818, the first newspaper was printed in this city,
"The Cleveland Gazette and Commercial Register." On the 1st of September in
the same year, the first steam vessel entered the harbor, the
"Walk-in-the-Water," commanded by Captain Fish, from Buffalo, putting in
on its way to Detroit. It was 300 tons burthen, had accommodations for one
hundred cabin and a greater number of steerage passengers, and was
propelled at eight or ten miles an hour. Its arrival and departure were
greeted with several rounds of artillery, and many persons accompanied her
In 1819, Mr. Barber built a log hut on the west side of the harbor, and
may be considered the first permanent settler in Ohio City.
In 1830, was established a stage conveyance to Columbus, and in the autumn
a second proceeded to Norwalk. In 1821, these efforts were followed by
others, and two additional wagons were started, one for Pittsburgh and
another for Buffalo.
In 1825, an appropriation was made by Government for the improvement of
the harbor, being the first Government aid received for that purpose. The
water in the river was frequently so shallow that it was customary for
vessels to lie off in the lake and transfer passengers and freight by
boats. On the 4th of July in that year ground was broken at Licking Summit
for the Ohio canal, to connect the waters of Lake Erie at Cleveland with
those of the Ohio river at Portsmouth.
In 1827, Mr. Walworth, the harbor-master and Government agent, proceeded
to Washington, and after the most strenuous exertions, succeeded in
obtaining a further grant of $10,000 for the improvement of the harbor. In
the same year the Ohio canal was opened to Akron, and the first
importation of coal to Cleveland made.
In 1828, a new court-house was erected on the Public Square.
The light-house, on the bluff at the end of Water street, was built
in 1830, the lantern being one hundred and thirty-five feet above
In 1832, the Ohio canal was finished and communication between the lake
and the Ohio river opened. In the same year a new jail was built on
In 1834, some of the streets were graded, and the village assumed such
importance that application for a city charter began to be talked of.
The population of the city had grown in 1835 to 5,080, having more than
doubled in two years. There was at this time an immense rush of people to
the West. Steamers ran from Buffalo to Detroit crowded with passengers at
a fare of eight dollars, the number on board what would now be called
small boats, sometimes reaching from five hundred to six hundred persons.
The line hired steamers and fined them a hundred dollars if the round trip
was not made in eight days. The slower boats, not being able to make that
time with any certainty, frequently stopped at Cleveland, discharged their
passengers, and put back to Buffalo. It sometimes chanced that the shore
accommodations were insufficient for the great crowd of emigrants stopping
over at this port, and the steamers were hired to lie off the port all
night, that the passengers might have sleeping accommodations. In that
year fire destroyed a large part of the business portion of Cleveland. At
the same period James S. Clark built, at his own expense, the old Columbus
street bridge, connecting Cleveland with Brooklyn township, and donated it
to the city. Two years later this bridge was the occasion and scene of the
famous "battle of the bridge," to be noticed in its proper place.
In 1836, Cleveland was granted a charter as a city. Greatly to the
mortification of many of the citizens, the people across the river had
received their charter for the organization of Ohio City before that for
the city of Cleveland came to hand, and Ohio City, therefore, took
precedence on point of age. This tended to embitter the jealous rivalry
between the two cities, and it was only after long years that this feeling
between the dwellers on the two sides of the river died out.
The settlement on the west side of the river had been made originally by
Josiah Barber and Richard Lord. Soon after Alonzo Carter purchased on
that side of the river and kept tavern in the "Red House," opposite
Superior street. In 1831, the Buffalo Company purchased the Carter farm
which covered the low land towards the mouth of the river, and the
overlooking bluffs. They covered the low ground with warehouses, and the
bluffs with stores and residences. Hotels were erected and preparations
made for the building up of a city that should far eclipse the older
settlement on the east side of the river. The company excavated a short
ship canal from the Cuyahoga to the old river bed, at the east end, and
the waters being high, a steamboat passed into the lake, through a
natural channel at the west end.
When it was proposed to get a city charter for Cleveland, negotiations
were entered into between the leading men on both sides of the river with
the purpose of either consolidating the two villages into one city, or at
least acting in harmony. The parties could agree neither on terms of
consolidation nor on boundaries. The negotiations were broken off, and
each side started its deputation to Columbus to procure a city charter,
with the result we have already noticed.
Ohio City was ambitions to have a harbor of its own, entirely independent
of Cleveland and to the advantages of which that city could lay no claim.
The old river bed was to be deepened and the channel to the lake at the
west end re-opened. As a preliminary to this ignoring of the Cleveland
harbor entrance of the Cuyahoga, a canal was cut through the marsh, from
opposite the entrance to the Ohio canal to the old river bed, which was
thus to be made the terminus of the Ohio canal.
In 1837, city rivalry ran so high that it resulted in the "battle of the
bridge." Both sides claimed jurisdiction over the Columbus street bridge
built by Mr. Clark and donated for public use. Armed men turned out on
either side to take possession of the disputed structure. A field piece
was posted on the low ground on the Cleveland side, to rake the bridge.
Guns, pistols, crowbars, clubs and stones were freely used on both sides.
Men were wounded of both parties, three of them seriously. The draw was
cut away, the middle pier and the western abutment partially blown down,
and the field piece spiked by the west siders. But the sheriff and the
city marshal of Cleveland appeared on the scene, gained possession of the
dilapidated bridge, which had been given to the city of Cleveland, and
lodged some of the rioters in thee county jail. This removed the bridge
question from the camp and battle-field to the more peaceful locality of
In 1840, the population had increased to 6071, so that, notwithstanding
that the city had been suffering from depression, there was an influx of a
thousand persons in the last five years.
In 1841, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal was completed, Connecting the
Ohio Canal at Akron with the Ohio river at Beaver, Pennsylvania, and thus
forming a water communication with Pittsburgh.
The United States Marine Hospital, pleasantly situated on the banks of the
lake, was commenced in 1844 and not completed until 1852. It is surrounded
by eight acres of ground, and is designed to accommodate one hundred and
In 1845, the city voted to loan its credit for $200,000 towards the
construction of a railroad from Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati, and
subsequently the credit of the city was pledged for the loan of $100,000
towards the completion of the Cleveland and Erie or Lake Shore line.
In 1851, the 23d of February, the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati
Railroad was opened for travel; and on the same day forty miles of the
Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad was likewise completed. These
circumstances produced great rejoicings, for during the period of their
construction the city had been almost daily adding to the number of its
inhabitants, so that it had nearly doubled in the last six years, its
population being now 21,140, and in the following year (1852) it added
eighty-seven persons per week to its numbers, being then 25,670.
In 1858, the new court house was built and the old court house on the
Public Square was taken down.
We have thus glanced at a few of the leading incidents in the history of
the city. A more full and exact account will be found in the historical
sketches prefacing each department in the body of the work, and still
further details will be found in the biographical sketches. There only
remains to be added here a few data in regard to the population,
government, and officials of the city.
The population of Cleveland commenced in 1796, with four persons. Next
year the number increased to fifteen, but in 1800, had fallen back to
seven. The subsequent figures are: 1810, 57; 1820, about 150; 1825, about
500; 1830, United States census, 1,075; 1832, about 1,500; 1833, about
1,900; 1834, city census, 6,071, or with Ohio City, 7,648; 1845, 9,573, or
with Ohio City, 12,035; 1846, Cleveland 10,135; 1850, United States
census, 17,034, or with Ohio City, 20,984; 1851, city census, 21,140;
1852, 25,670; 1860, United States census for combined city, 43,838; 1866,
67,500; 1869, not less than 100,000.
The village of Cleveland was incorporated in 1814, and the first president
of the village, elected in 1815, was Alfred Kelley. Twelve votes were cast
at the election. In the following year he resigned his position, and his
father, Daniel Kelley, was elected by the same number of votes, retaining
his position until 1820, when Horace Perry was made president. In the
following year he was succeeded by Reuben Wood. From the year 1821 to
1825, Leonard Case was regularly elected president of the corporation, but
neglecting to qualify in the latter year, the recorder, E. Waterman,
became president, ex-officio. Here the records are defective until the
year 1828, when it appears Mr. Waterman received the double office of
president and recorder. On account of ill-health he resigned, and on the
30th of May the trustees appointed Oirson Cathan as president. At the
annual election in June, 1829, Dr. David Long was elected president, and
during his presidency a fire-engine was purchased. Forty-eight votes were
cast at this election. For the years 1830 and 1831, Richard Hilliard was
president, and for the following year John W. Allen was chosen, and
retained the position until 1835, one hundred and six votes being cast at
the last named election.
The mayors of Ohio City, up to the time of the consolidation, were as
follows; 1836, Josiah Barber; 1837, Francis A. Burrows; 1838-9, Norman C.
Baldwin; 1840-41, Needham M. Standart; 1842, Francis A. Burrows; 1843,
Richard Lord; 1844-5-6, D. H. Lamb; 1847, David Griffith; 1848, John
Beverlin; 1849, Thomas Burnham; 1850-51-52, Benjamin Sheldon; 1853, Wm.
The first mayor of the city of Cleveland was John W. Willey, who held the
office for two terms, namely, for the years 1836 and 1837, the term under
the old constitution being but for one year. In 1858, the term was
extended to two years, Abner C. Brownell being re-elected for the first
two-year term. Under that mayoralty the consolidation of the two cities
was effected, and the next mayor, according to the understanding, was
taken from the late municipality of Ohio City, William B. Castle being
elected for the term of 1855-6.
When Cleveland was raised to the dignity of a city, in 1836, it was
divided into three wards, each ward represented by three councilmen and
one alderman. In 1851, a fourth ward was added, the increased population
rendering the re-arrangement necessary. In 1853, under the operation of
the new constitution, the aldermen were dispensed with; the wards had
previously been restricted to two trustees, or councilmen, each. In 1854,
the two cities of Cleveland and Ohio City having been united, the
consolidated city was divided into eleven wards. This number remained
until 1868, when, by the annexation of additional territory, a re-division
was necessitated, and the city districted into fifteen wards.
As an interesting and valuable contribution to the municipal history of
the city we give the following complete record of the executive and
legislative government of Cleveland since its organization as a city:
1836. Mayor--John W. Willey. President of the Council--Sherlock J.
Andrews. Aldermen--Richard Hilliard, Joshua Mills, Nicholas Dockstader.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Morris Hepburn, John R. St. John, William V. Craw.
2d Ward--Sherlock J. Andrews, Henry L. Noble, Edward Baldwin. 3d
Ward--Aaron T. Strickland, Horace Canfield, Archibald M. C. Smith.
1837. Mayor--John W. Willey. President of the Council--Joshua Mills.
Aldermen--Joshua Mills, Nicholas Dockstader, Jonathan Williams.
Councilmen--1st Ward--George B. Merwin, Horace Canfield, Alfred Hall. 2d
Ward--Edward Baldwin, Samuel Cook, Henry L. Noble. 3d Ward--Samuel
Starkweather, Joseph K. Miller, Thomas Colahan.
1838. Mayor--Joshua Mills. President of the Council--Nicholas Dockstader.
Aldermen--Nicholas Dockstader, Alfred Hall, Benjamin Harrington.
Councilmen--1st Ward--George C. Dodge, Moses A. Eldridge, Herrick Childs.
2d Ward--Benjamin Andrews, Leonard Case, Henry Blair. 3d Ward--Melancthon
Barnett, Thomas Colahan, Tom Lemen.
1839. Mayor--Joshua Mills. President of the Council--John A. Foot.
Aldermen--Harvey Rice, Edward Baldwin, Richard Hilliard. Councilmen--1st
Ward--George Mendenhall, Timothy P. Spencer, Moses Ross. 2d Ward--John A.
Foot, Charles M. Giddings, Jefferson Thomas. 3d Ward--Thomas Bolton, Tom
Lemen, John A. Vincent.
1840. Mayor--Nicholas Dockstader. President of the Council--William
Milford. Aldermen--William Milford, William Lemen, Josiah A. Harris.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Ashbel W. Walworth, David Hersch, John Barr. 2d
Ward--David Allen, John A. Foot, Thomas M. Kelley. 3d Ward--Stephen Clary,
Charles Bardburn, John A. Vincent.
1841. Mayor--John W. Allen. President of the Council--Thomas Bolton.
Aldermen--William Milford, Thomas Bolton, Newton E. Crittenden.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Nelson Hayward, Herrick Childs, George B. Tibbets.
2d Ward--Moses Kelly, W. J. Warner, M. C. Younglove. 3d Ward--Philo
Scovill, Benj. Harrington, Miller M. Spangler.
1842. Mayor--Joshua Mills. President of the Council--Benjamin Harrington.
Aldermen--Nelson Hayward, William Smyth, Benjamin Harrington.
Councilmen--1st Ward--William D. Nott, Robert Bailey, Henry Morgan. 2d
Ward--George Mendenhall, George Witherell, Jefferson Thomas. 3d
Ward--William T. Goodwin, George Kirk, Levi Johnson.
1843. Mayor--Nelson Hayward. President of the Council--George A. Benedict.
Aldermen--William D. Nott, Samuel Cook, Samuel Starkweather.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Robert Bailey, John B. Wigman, James Church, Jr. 2d
Ward--Stephen Clary, Alanson H. Lacy, George A. Benedict. 3d Ward--William
T. Goodwin, John Wills, Alexander S. Cramer.
1844. Mayor--Samuel Starkweather. President of the Council--Melancthon
Barnett. Aldermen--Leander M. Hubby, Stephen Clary, William T. Goodwin.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Thomas Mell, George F. Marshall, E. St. John Bemis.
2d Ward--Charles Stetson, Jacob Lowman, John Outhwaite. 3d Ward--William
F. Allen, Melancthon Barnett, John F. Warner.
1845. Mayor--Samuel Starkweather. President of the Council--Flavel W.
Bingham. Aldermen--Charles W. Heard, George Witherell, L. O. Mathews.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Flavel W. Bingham, Peter Caul, Samuel C. Ives. 2d
Ward--James Gardner, Ellery G. Williams, David L. Wood. 3d Ward--Arthur
Hughes, John A. Wheeler, Orville Gurley.
1846. Mayor--George Hoadley. President of the Council--Leander M. Hubby.
Aldermen--Leander M. Hubby, John H. Gorham, Josiah A. Harris.
Councilmen--1st Ward--E. St. John Bemis. John F. Chamberlain, John Gill.
2d Ward--William Case, William Bingham, John A. Wheeler. 3d Ward--William
K. Adams Marshall Carson, Liakim L. Lyon.
1847. Mayor--Josiah A. Harris. President of the Council--Flavel W.
Bingham. Aldermen--Flavel W. Bingham, William Case, Pierre A. Mathivet.
Councilmen--1st Ward--David Clark Doan, Henry Everett, John Gill. 2d
Ward--John Erwin, Charles Hickox, Henry B. Payne. 3d Ward--Alexander
Seymour, Alexander S. Cramer, Orville Gurley.
1848. Mayor--Lorenzo A. Kelsey. President of the Council--Flavel W.
Bingham. Aldermen--Flavel W. Bingham, William Case, Alexander Seymour.
Councilmen--1st Ward--Richard Norton, John Gill, Charles M. Read. 2d
Ward--Henry B. Payne, Leander M. Hubby, Thomas C. Floyd. 3d Ward--Samuel
Starkweather, Robert Parks, William J. Gordon.
1849. Mayor--Flavel W. Bingham. President of the Council--William Case.
Aldermen--William Case, Alexander Seymour, John Gill. Councilmen--1st
Ward--David W. Cross, Richard Norton, Henry Everett. 2d Ward--Alexander
McIntosh, John G. Mack, James Calyer. 3d Ward--Arthur Hughes, Abner C.
Brownell Christopher Mollen.
1850. Mayor--William Case. President of the Council--Alexander Seymour.
Aldermen--Alexander Seymour, John Gill, Leander M. Hubby. Councilmen--1st
Ward--William Given, George Whitelaw, Buckley Stedman. 2d Ward--Alexander
McIntosh, William Bingham, Samuel Williamson. 3d Ward--Arthur Hughes,
Abner C. Brownell, Levi Johnson.
1851. Mayor--William Case. President of the Council--John Gill,
Aldermen--John Gill, Leander M. Hubby, Abner C. Brownell, Buckley Stedman.
Council-men--1st Ward--Jabez W. Fitch, George Whitelaw. 2d Ward--Alexander
McIntosh, Thomas C. Floyd. 3d Ward--Stoughton Bliss, Miller M. Spangler.
4th Ward--Marshall S. Castle, James B. Wilbur.
1853. Mayor--Abner C. Brownell. President of the Council--Leander M,
Hubby. Aldermen--John B. Wigman, Leander M. Hubby, Basil L. Spangler,
Buckley Stedman. Councilmen--1st Ward--Henry Morgan, Aaron Merchant. 2d
Ward--William H. Shell, Robert B. Bailey. 3d Ward--Stoughton Bliss, John
B. Smith. 4th Ward--Admiral N. Gray, Henry Howe.
1853. Mayor--Abner C. Brownell. President of the Council--William H.
Shell. Trustees--1st Ward--John B, Wigman, George F. Marshall. 2d
Ward--William H. Shell, James Gardner. 3d Ward--William J. Gordon, Robert
Reilley. 4th Ward--Henry Everett, Richard C. Parsons.
1854. Abner C. Brownell. President of the Council--Richard C. Parsons.
Trustees--1st Ward--John B. Wigman, Charles Bradburn. 2d Ward--William H.
Sholl, James Gardner. 3d Ward--Christopher Mollen, Robert Reilley. 4th
Ward--Henry Everett, Richard C. Parsons. 5th Ward--Chauncey Tice, Mathew
S. Cotterell. 6th Ward--Bolivar Butts, John A. Bishop. 7th Ward--W. C. B.
Richardson, George W. Morrill. 8th Ward--A. C. Messenger, Charles W.
Palmer. 9th Ward--Wells Porter, Albert Powell. 10th Ward--Plimmon C.
Bennett, I. U. Masters. 11th Ward--Edward Russell, Frederick Sillbers.
1855. Mayor--William B. Castle. President of the Council--Charles
Bradburn. Trustees--1st Ward--Charles Bradburn, E. A. Brock. 2d
Ward--William H. Sholl, William T. Smith. 3d Ward--Christopher Mollen,
Thomas S. Paddock. 4th Ward--William H. Stanley, Rensselaer R. Horrick.
5th Ward--Chauncey Tice, Irad L. Beardsley. 6th Ward--Bolivar Butts, John
A. Bishop. 7th Ward--W. C. B. Richardson, George W. Morrill. 8th
Ward--Charles W. Palmer, S. W. Johnson. 9th Ward--Albert Powell, William A.
Wood. 10th Ward--I. U. Masters, Charles A. Crum. 11th Ward Edward Russell,
1856. Mayor--William B. Castle. President of the Council--Charles W.
Palmer. Trustees--1st Ward--E. A. Brock, A. P. Winslow. 2d Ward--Wm. T.
Smith, O. M. Oviatt. 8d Ward--T. S. Paddock, C. Mollen. 4th Ward--R. R.
Herrick, C. S. Ransom. 5th Ward--C. Tice, F. T. Wallace. 6th Ward--J. A.
Bishop, Harvey Rice. 7th Ward--G. W. Morrill, E. S. Willard. 8th Ward--S.
W. Johnson, R. G. Hunt. 9th Ward--Sanford J. Lewis, Charles W. Palmer.
10th Ward--Charles A. Crum, I. U. Masters. 11th Ward--S. Buhrer, John
1857. Mayor--Samuel Starkweather. President of the Council--Reuben G.
Hunt. Trustees--1st Ward--A. P. Winslow, L. J. Rider. 2d Ward--O. M.
Oviatt, Charles D. Williams. 3d Ward--C. Mollen, Charles Patrick 4th
Ward--C. S. Ransom, R. R. Herrick. 5th Ward--F. T. Wallace, W. B. Rezner.
6th Ward--Harvey Rice, Jacob Mueller. 7th Ward--E. S. Willard, John A.
Weber. 8th Ward--R. G. Hunt, B. G. Sweet. 9th Ward--C. W. Palmer, J. M.
Coffinberry. 10th Ward--I. U. Masters, Charles A. Crum. 11th Ward--John
Kirkpatrick, Daniel Stephan.
1858. Mayor--Samuel Starkweather. President of the Council--James M.
Coffinberry. Trustees--1st Ward--L. J. Rider, George B. Senter. 2d
Ward--Chas. D. Williams, O. M. Oviatt. 3d Ward--Levi Johnson, Randall
Crawford. 4th Ward--R. R. Herrick, C. S. Ransom. 5th Ward--Wm. B. Rezner,
G. H. Detmer. 6th Ward--Jacob Mueller, L. D. Thayer. 7th Ward--J. A. Weber,
Thos. Thompson. 8th Ward--B. G. Sweet, Charles Winslow. 9th Ward--J. M.
Coffinberry, John N. Ford. 10th Ward--A. G. Hopkinson, I. U. Masters. 11th
Ward--Daniel Stephan, Alexander McLane.
1859. Mayor--George B. Senter. President of the Council--I. U. Masters.
Trustees--1st Ward--L. J. Rider, James Christian. 2d Ward--O. M. Oviatt,
Wm. H. Hayward. 3d Ward--Randall Crawford, Louis Heckman. 4th Ward--C. S.
Ransom, Isaac H. Marshall. 5th Ward--G. H. Detmer, Jacob Hovey. 6th
Ward--L. C. Thayer, Jared H. Clark. 7th Ward--Thos. Thompson, James R.
Worswick. 8th Ward--Charles Winslow, C. L. Russell. 9th Ward--John H.
Sargeant, E. H. Lewis. 10th Ward--I. U. Masters, A. G. Hopkinson. 11th
Ward--A. McLane, Thomas Dixon.
1860. Mayor--George B. Senter. President of the Council--I. U. Masters
Trustees--1st Ward--James Christian, Thomas Quayle. 2d Ward--W. H.
Hayward, .M. Oviatt. 3d Ward--Louis Heckman, H. S. Stevens. 4th
Ward--I. H. Marshall, E. Thomas. 5th Ward--Jacob Hovey, W. B. Rezner. 6th
Ward--Jared H. Clark, C. J. Ballard. 7th. Ward--Jas. R. Worswick, E. S.
Willard. 8th Ward--C. L. Russell, J. Dwight Palmer. 9th Ward--E. H.
Lewis, Wm. Sabin. 10th Ward--A. G. Hopkinson, I. U. Masters. 11th
Ward--Thos. Dixon, Daniel Stephan.
1861. Mayor--Edward S. Flint. President of the Council--Henry S. Stevens.
Trustees--1st Ward--Thomas Quayle, J. J. Benton. 2d Ward--O. M. Oviatt,
T. N. Bond. 3d Ward--Henry S. Stevens, A. C. Keating. 4th Ward--E. Thomas,
Henry Blair. 5th Ward--W. B. Rezner, Joseph Sturges. 6th Ward--C. J.
Ballard, William Meyer. 7th Ward--E. S. Willard, P. M. Freese. 8th
Ward--J. Dwight Palmer, Solon Corning. 9th Ward--Wm. Sabin, A. Anthony.
10th Ward--I. U. Masters, Wm. Wellhouse. 11th Ward--J. Coonrad, Thos.
1862. Mayor--Edward S. Flint. President of the Council--I. U. Masters.
Trustees--1st Ward--J. J. Benton, C. C. Rogers. 2d Ward--T. N. Bond. A.
Roberts. 3d Ward--A. C. Keating, H. S. Stevens. 4th Ward--Henry Blair, E.
Thomas. 5th Ward--Joseph Sturges, N. P. Payne. 6th Ward--Wm. Meyer, Jno.
Huntington. 7th Ward--P. M. Freese, E. S. Willard. 8th Ward--Solon Corning,
J. Dwight Palmer. 9th Ward--A. Anthony, A. T. Van Tassel. 10th Ward--Wm.
Wellhouse, I. U. Masters. 11th Ward--Thos. Dixon, J. Coonrad.
1863. Mayor--Irvine U. Masters. President of the Council--H. S. Stevens.
Trustees--1st Ward--C. C. Rogers, Thos. Jones, Jr. 2d Ward--A. Roberts,
T. N. Bond. 3d Ward--H. S. Stevens, A. C. Keating. 4th Ward--E. Thomas,
Henry Blair. 5th Ward--N. P. Payne, Joseph Sturges. 6th Ward--John
Huntington, Geo. W. Gardner. 7th Ward--E. S. Willard, Peter Goldrick.
8th Ward--J. D. Palmer, Jos. Ransom. 9th Ward--A. T. Van Tassel, Percival
Upton. 10th Ward--H. N. Bissett, George Presley. 11th Ward--J. Coonrad,
1864. Mayor--Irvine U. Masters. Mayor--George B. Senter, President of the
Council--Thomas Jones, Jr. Trustees--1st Ward--Thomas Jones, Jr., Chas. C.
Rogers. 2d Ward--T. N. Bond, Ansel Roberts. 3d Ward--A. C. Keating, Amos
Townsend. 4th Ward--Henry Blair, David A. Dangler. 5th Ward--Joseph
Sturges, B. P. Bowers. 6th Ward--George W. Gardner, John Huntington. 7th
Ward--Peter Goldrick, E. S. Willard. 8th Ward--Joseph Randerson, Wm. H.
Truscott. 9th Ward--Percival Upton, John Martin. 10th Ward--George
Presley, Michael Crapser. 11th Ward--Stephen Buhrer, Edward Russell.
1865. Mayor--Herman M. Chapin. President of the Council--Thomas Jones, Jr.
Trustees--1st Ward--Charles C. Rogers, Thomas Jones, Jr. 2d Ward--Ansel
Roberts, Henry K. Raynolds. 3d Ward--Amos Townsend, Randall Crawford. 4th
Ward--David A Dangler, Simson Thorman. 5th Ward--B. P. Bower, Joseph
Sturges. 6th Ward--John Huntington, George W. Calkins. 7th Ward--E. S.
Willard, Charles Pettingill. 8th Ward--William H. Truscott, Joseph
Randerson. 9th Ward--John Martin, Fredrick W. Pelton. 10th Ward--John J.
Weideman, George Presley. 11th Ward--Edward Russell, Stephen Buhrer.
1866. Mayor--Herman M. Chapin. President of the Council--P. W. Pelton.
Trustees--1st Ward--Thos. Jones, Jr., Charles C. Rogers. 2d Ward--H. K.
Raynolds, Ansel Roberts. 3d Ward--Randall Crawford, Amos Townsend. 4th
Ward--Simson Thorman, Maurice H. Clark. 5th Ward--Joseph Sturges, Wm.
Heisley. 6th Ward--George W. Calkins, John Huntington. 7th Ward--Charles
B. Pettingill, Christopher Weigel. 8th Ward--Joseph Randerson, William H.
Trascott. 9th Ward--Frederick W. Pelton, John Martin. 10th Ward--George
Presley, Reuben H. Becker. 11th Ward--Stephen Buhrer, Robert Larnder.
1867. Mayor--Stephen Buhrer. President of the Council--Amos Townsend.
Trustees--1st Ward--Charles C. Rogers, Silas Merchant. 2d Ward--Ansel
Roberts, Peter Diemer. 3d Ward--Amos Townsend, J. C. Shields. 4th
Ward--Maurice B. Clark, Proctor Thayer. 5th Ward--William Heisley, Thomas
Purcell. 6th Ward--John Huntington, Edward Hart. 7th Ward--Christopher
Weigel, Charles B. Pettingill. 8th Ward--William H. Truscott, Joseph
Houstain. 9th Ward--John Martin, F. W. Pelton. 10th Ward--Reuben H. Becker,
William Wellhouse. 11th Ward--Robert Larnder, Charles E. Gehring.
1868. Mayor--Stephen Buhrer. President of the Council--Amos Townsend.
Trustees--1st Ward--Silas Merchant, C. C. Rogers. 2d Ward--Peter Diemer, H.
G. Cleveland. 3d Ward--J. C. Shields, Amos Townsend. 4th Ward--Proctor
Thayer, Maurice B. Clark. 5th Ward--Thos. Purcell, Nathan P. Payne. 6th
Ward--Edwin Hart, John Huntington. 7th Ward--Charles B. Pettingill, George
Angell. 8th Ward--Joseph Houstain, Patrick Carr. 9th Ward--F. W. Pelton,
John Martin. 10th Ward--William Wellhouse, John J. Weideman 11th Ward
--Charles E. Gehring, George L. Hurtnell. 13th Ward--E. C. Gaeckley, Benj.
R. Beavis. 13th Ward--George Rettberg, Major Collins. 14th Ward--John
Jokus, A. E. Massey. 15th Ward--B. Lied, John A. Ensign.
1869. Mayor--Stephen Buhrer. President of the Council--Amos Townsend.
Trustee--1st Ward--C. C. Rogers, Silas Merchant. 2d Ward--H. G. Cleveland,
Peter Diemer. 3d Ward--Amos Townsend, Charles Coates. 4th Ward--R. R.
Herrick, Proctor Thayer. 5th Ward--Nathan P. Payne, Thomas Purcell. 6th
Ward--John Huntington, W. P. Horton. 7th Ward--George Angell, Horace
Fuller. 8th Ward--Patrick Carr, Patrick Smith. 9th Ward--John Martin, L.
L. M. Coe. 10th Ward--John J. Weideman, Wm. Wellhouse. 11th Ward--George L.
Hartnell, John G. Vetter. 12th Ward--Benj. R. Beavis, Eugene C. Gaeckley.
13th Ward--Major Collins, J. H. Slosson. 14th Ward--A. E. Massey, A. A.
Jewett, 15th Ward--John A. Ensign, C. W. Coates.
[Illustration: With Respect, Levi Johnson]
Trade and Commerce.
The commercial history of the early years of Cleveland does not differ
from that of most western settlements. When the white population numbered
from a few dozen to a few hundred, it is difficult to define what was
commerce and what mere barter for individual accommodation. Every man did
a little trading on his own account. The carpenter, the tailor, the judge
and the preacher were alike ready to vary their customary occupations by a
dicker whenever an opportunity offered. The craftsman purchased what
necessities or comforts he needed, and paid in the work of his hands. The
possessor of one article of daily use traded his superfluity for another
article, and for all articles furs and skins were legal tender, as they
could be sent east and converted into money or merchandise.
The first strictly commercial transactions were with the Indians. They
needed powder and lead for hunting, blankets for their comfort, beads for
the adornment of the squaws, and the two great luxuries--or
necessities--of frontier life, salt and whisky. In payment for these they
brought game, to supply the settlers with fresh provisions, and skins, the
currency of the West. In course of time the opening up of the country
beyond made a new market for the salt, whisky, and salt provisions
collected at Cleveland, and with these staples went occasionally a few
articles of eastern made goods for the use of the frontiermen's wives. As
the country became more settled the commercial importance of Cleveland
increased, until it divided with Detroit and Buffalo the honors and
profits of the commerce of the lakes.
Cleveland was settled in 1796. PFiveyears later the first commercial
movement was made by the erection of a distillery for the purpose of
providing an adequate supply of the basis of early western
commerce--whisky. The trade operations were of a promiscuous and desultory
character until about the year 1810, when a log warehouse was built by
Major Carter, on the bank of the lake, between Meadow and Spring streets,
and this was speedily followed by another, built by Elias and Harvey
Murray, which became the centre of business and gossip for the village
and the country round about. Of course a full supply of the great
In 1813 Cleveland became a lively and prosperous place, it having been
chosen as a depot of supplies and rendezvous for troops engaged in the
war. A good business was done in selling to the army, in exchanging with
the quartermasters, and in transporting troops and supplies. This was a
flourishing time for Cleveland, and its inhabitants in many cases made
small fortunes, realizing several hundred dollars in hard cash.
The close of the war brought the usual reaction, and the commerce of the
embryo city lagged, but gradually improved under the stimulus of
increasing emigration to the West. In 1816 it had reached such a point
that a bank was deemed necessary to the proper transaction of trade, and
the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie was opened, with Leonard Case as
president. It had the misfortune of being born too soon, and its life
consequently was not long. At the same time, the projectors of the bank
were not wholly without warrant for their anticipations of success, for
Cleveland was doing a good business and owned an extensive lake marine of
seven craft, measuring in the aggregate four hundred and thirty tons.
The harbor facilities of Cleveland at this time were very few. The river
mouth, to the westward of the present entrance, was frequently choked with
sand, and sometimes to such an extent that persons could cross dry shod.
Vessels of any considerable size--and a size then called "considerable"
would now be held in very slight estimation--made no attempt to enter the
river, but came to anchor outside, and were unloaded by lighters. In 1807
a scheme was set on foot for opening a line of communication for trading
purposes between Lake Erie and the Ohio river, by cleaning out the
channels of the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas riverspretentiousssage of boats
and batteaux; a wagon road, seven miles long, from Old Portage to New
Portage, making the connection between the two rivers. It was supposed
that twelve thousand dollars would suffice for the purpose, and the
Legislature authorized a lottery by which the funds were to be raised.
There were to be twelve thousand eight hundred tickets at five dollars
each, with prizes aggregating sixty-four thousand dollars, from which a
deduction of twelve and a half per cent, was to be made. The drawing never
came off, and the money paid for the tickets was refunded some years
afterwards, without interest. In 1816 an attempt was made to improve the
entrance to the harbor by means of a pier into the lake. A company was
organized for the purpose, a charter obtained from the Legislature, and
something done towards building the pier, but the storms soon washed the
slight construction away.
Ten years later, the work of improving the harbor under the direction of
the National Government was begun, the first appropriation being of five
thousand dollars. A new channel was cut, piers commenced, and the work
entered upon which has been carried on with varying energy to the present
time. The opening of the river gave considerable impetus to the commerce
of the place, which was then carried on wholly by lake.
The opening of the Ohio canal was the first grand starting point in the
commercial history of Cleveland. It brought into connection with the lake
highway to market a rich country rapidly filling up with industrious
settlers, and the products of dairies, grain farms, and grazing lands were
brought in great quantity to Cleveland, where they were exchanged for New
York State salt, lake fish, and eastern merchandise. Two years after the
opening of the canal, which was completed in 1832, the receipts amounted
to over half a million bushels of wheat, a hundred thousand barrels of
flour, a million pounds of butter and nearly seventy thousand pounds of
cheese, with other articles in proportion. Business went on increasing
with great rapidity; every one was getting rich, in pocket or on paper,
and Cleveland was racing with its then rival, but now a part of itself,
Ohio City, for the distinction of being the great commercial centre of the
West. At that moment, in the year 1837, the great crash came and business
of all kinds was paralyzed.
Cleveland was one of the first places in the West to recover. Its basis
was good, and as the interior of Ohio became more peopled the trade of the
canal increased and, of course, Cleveland was so much the more benefited.
The opening of the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal, in 1841, opened
communication with Pittsburgh and added a trade in iron, nails, and glass
to the other branches of business. In 1844 the commerce of Cleveland by
lake had reached an aggregate of twenty millions for the year.
The opening of the railroad to Columbus in 1851 marked the second step in
the business history of the city. The canals brought business from the
south-east, and by a slow and uncertain route from Cincinnati. The
completion of the railroad gave direct and speedy connection with
Cincinnati, with the rich valleys of the Miami, and with lands hitherto
undeveloped or seeking other markets for their produce. Other railroads
were rapidly built, and developed new avenues of commerce and new sources
of wealth. The population increased rapidly. The streets were extended and
lined with new buildings. Additional stores were opened and all
departments felt the rush of new life. The lake commerce of the port, in
spite of the business drawn off by competing railroads, increased in 1853
to a total of eighty-seven million dollars, more than four times the
amount reached nine years before, after the canal System had been
completed and was in full operation. The grain trade which once was the
foundation of the commerce of the city, had fallen away owing the gradual
removal of the wheat producing territory westward. It was asserted, and
generally believed, that the canals had done all they could for the
prosperity of the city, and that unless something new turned up for its
benefit, Cleveland would remain at a stand-still, or increase only by very
slow degrees. Business was extremely dull, the prospect looked dubious,
many business men moved to other cities and more were preparing to follow.
Just then two things occurred. The war broke out, and the Atlantic and
Great Western railway was extended to Cleveland. The latter event opened a
new market for trade in north-western Pennsylvania, and soon after, by
sending a large proportion of the product of the oil regions to this point
for refining or shipment, built up an immense and lucrative department of
manufacture and commerce, whose effect was felt in all classes of
business. The war stimulated manufactures, and by a sudden bound Cleveland
set out on the path of permanent prosperity long pointed out by some
far-seeing men, but until the time referred to strangely neglected. In a
very few years the population more than doubled the existing facilities
for business were found totally inadequate for the suddenly increased
demands, and the most strenuous exertions of the builders failed to meet
the call for new stores. Manufactory after manufactory came into
existence, and with each there was an influx of population and a
consequent increase in all departments of trade. And the work still goes
on, every manufactory started creating some need hitherto unfelt, and thus
rendering other manufactories necessary to supply the need.
A careful census of population and business, made towards the close of
1868, in compliance with a request from one department of the Government
at Washington, showed that the population had increased to ninety
thousand; the value of real estate was valued at fifty millions of
dollars, and of personal property at thirty millions. The commerce,
including receipts and shipments by lake, canal, and railroad, was taken
at eight hundred and sixty-five millions of dollars; the value of
manufactures for the year at nearly fifty millions; the lake arrivals and
clearances at ten thousand, with an aggregate tonnage of over three
millions of tons; and the number of vessels and canal boats owned here at
nearly four hundred. Seventy years ago Major Carter resided here in lonely
state with his family, being the only white family in the limits of what
is now the city of Cleveland. The cash value of the entire trade of
Cleveland at that time would not pay a very cheap clerk's salary
The biography of Levi Johnson is, in effect, the history of Cleveland, and
a sketch of the more active period of his life involves the narrative of
life in Cleveland during the earlier years of its existence. It is,
therefore, of more than ordinary interest.
Mr. Johnson is a native of Herkimer county, New York, having been born in
that county April 25th, 1786. He commenced life in a time and place that
admitted of no idlers, young or old, and in his tenth year it was his
weekly task to make and dip out a barrel of potash, he being too young to
be employed with the others in wood-chopping. Until his fourteenth year he
lived with an uncle, working on a farm, and laboring hard. At that age he
determined to be a carpenter and joiner, and entered the shop of Ephraim
Derrick, with whom he remained four years. At eighteen, he changed masters
and worked with Laflet Remington, and at twenty-one changed again to
Stephen Remington, with whom he worked at barn building one year.
It was whilst he was with Stephen Remington that an event occurred that
shaped Levi Johnson's future life. Considerable interest had been excited
in regard to Ohio, towards which emigrants were frequently seen taking
their way. A brother of Stephen Remington was sent west to spy out the
land and report on its desirableness as a home. This committee of one, on
lands, came to Newburgh, and was so strongly impressed with the advantages
of the place from which Cleveland was afterwards said to be but six miles
distant, that he allowed his imagination to run away with his veracity. He
wrote back that he had struck the richest country in the world; that the
soil was marvelously fertile, and that corn grew so tall and strong that
the raccoons ran up the stems and lodged on the ears out of the way of the
dogs. Great was the excitement in Herkimer county when this report was
received. Such wonderful growth of corn was never known in York State, but
Ohio was a _terra incognita_, and Munchausen himself would have had a
chance of being believed had he located his adventures in what was then
the Far West. Stephen Remington quit barn-building, shut up his shop,
packed up his tools and started in the Fall of 1807 for the new Eden, on
Lake Erie. In the succeeding Spring, Johnson followed in his footsteps as
far as East Bloomfield, near Canandaigua, where he worked during that
Summer, building a meeting-house.
In the Fall of 1808, he shouldered his pack and set out on foot for the
West. At Buffalo he found work and wintered there until February, when his
uncle came along, bound also for the land of promise. There was room in
the sleigh for Levi, and he was not loth to avail himself of the
opportunity of making his journey quicker and easier than on foot. On the
10th of March, 1809, the sleigh and its load entered Cleveland.
By that time it had come to be hard sledding, so the sleigh was abandoned
and the two travelers, determining to put farther west, mounted the horses
and continued their journey to Huron county. Here they fell in with Judge
Wright and Ruggles, who were surveying the Fire Lands. They wanted a
saw-mill, and Johnson's uncle contracted to build one at the town of
Jessup, now known as Wakeman. Levi turned back to Cleveland, and was
fortunate in finding a home in the family of Judge Walworth. The Judge
wanted an office built, and Johnson undertook to make it. Hitherto, all
the houses were of logs; but the Judge, having a carpenter boarding in his
family, aspired to something more pretentions. The building was to be
frame. At that time Euclid was a flourishing settlement, and rejoiced in
that important feature--a saw-mill. The lumber was brought from Euclid,
the frame set up on Superior street, about where the American House now
stands, and every day the gossips of the little settlement gathered to
watch and discuss the progress of the first frame building in Cleveland.
The work occupied forty days, and when it was completed, there was great
pride in this new feature of Cleveland architecture. The erection of the
first frame building marked the commencement of a new era.
That job done, Levi turned back to Huron to fulfill the contract made by
his uncle for the erection of a saw-mill. This was a heavy job for so
small a force, and between three and four months were spent in it.
Slinging his kit of tools on his back, he then turned once more towards
Cleveland, in which he settled down for the remainder of his life, the
next two or three years being spent in building houses and barns in
Cleveland, and in the more flourishing village of Newburgh. A saw-mill
also was put up on Tinker's creek.
When Mr. Johnson was building the saw-mill at Jessup, he fell in with a
young lady, Miss Montier, who enjoyed the distinction of being the first
white girl that landed in Huron, where she lived with a family named
Hawley. The young carpenter fell in love with the only pretty girl to be
found in the neighborhood, and she was not unkindly disposed to the young
man. When he returned to Cleveland she was induced to come also, and lived
with Judge Walworth, at that time the great landed owner, and consequently
prominent man in the thriving village of sixty inhabitants. In 1811, the
couple were married.
In the Fall of 1812, Johnson made a contract with the County
Commissioners, Messrs. Wright, Ruggles and Miles, to build a Court House
and Jail on the Public Square, opposite where the First Presbyterian
Church now stands. The material was to be logs, laid end-wise for greater
security. The work was pushed forward rapidly the next Summer, and towards
noon of September 12th, Johnson and his men were just putting the
finishing touches to the building, when they were startled by what seemed
the roar of distant thunder. On looking out of the windows not a cloud
could be seen in the sky, but the reverberations continued, and at once
the conviction that the noise was of cannons seized them. Throwing down
their tools they ran to the bank of the lake, where nearly all the
villagers at home to the number of about thirty, were already gathered,
stretching their eyes to the westward, whence the sounds came. Now the
reports of the cannon could be plainly distinguished. They knew that
Perry's fleet had passed up the lake, and that, consequently, a battle
could be at any moment expected. The louder reports told when the
Americans fired, for their guns were of heavier caliber than the English.
At last the firing ceased for a while. Then three loud reports, evidently
American, were heard, and the little crowd, convinced that their side had
won, gave three hearty cheers for Perry.
About two days afterwards, Johnson and a man named Rumidge picked up a
large flat-boat that had been built by General Jessup for the conveyance
of troops, and then abandoned. Each of the finders purchased a hundred
bushels of potatoes, took them to the army at Put-in-Bay, quadrupling the
money invested, and giving Johnson his first financial start in life.
As General Jessup needed the boat to transfer his troops to Malden, he
retained it, taking Rumidge also into service, and leaving Johnson to
return to Cleveland on the gunboat Somers, of which he was made pilot for
the voyage. Shortly afterwards Rumidge returned with the boat and brought
news that the American forces had fought a battle with the British at
Moravian Town. Johnson resumed command of the flat-boat, and with his
associate freighted it with supplies for the army at Detroit. The
speculation was successful, and Johnson engaged with the quartermaster of
the post to bring a cargo of clothing from Cleveland to Detroit. The
season was far advanced, and the voyage was cut short by the ice in the
upper part of the lake, so that the boat was headed for Huron, where the
cargo was landed and the freight for that distance paid.
Johnson was now a man of means, the successful transactions with the army
having given him more money than he had ever possessed at one time before.
His voyages and trading success had given him a taste for similar
occupations in the future, and his first step was to build a vessel for
himself. His first essay in ship-building was something novel. The keel
was laid for a ship of thirty-five tons, to be named the Pilot. There was
no iron for spikes, but wooden pins supplied their place. Other devices of
similar primitiveness were resorted to in the course of the work, and at
last she was finished. Now came the question of launching, and it was not
lightly to be answered. Modern builders sometimes meet with a difficulty
owing to the ship sticking on the "ways," but this early ship-builder of
Cleveland had a greater obstacle than this to overcome. He had built his
ship with very slight reference to the lake on which she was to float. For
convenience in getting timber, and other reasons, he had made his
ship-yard about half a mile from the water, near where St. Paul's Church
now stands on Euclid avenue, and the greasing of the "ways" and knocking
out of the blocks would not ensure a successful launch. Here was a
dilemma. Johnson pondered and then resolved. An appeal for aid was
promptly responded to. The farmers from Euclid and Newburgh came in with
twenty-eight yoke of cattle. The ship was hoisted on wheels and drawn in
triumph down the main street to the foot of Superior street hill, where
she was launched into the river amid the cheers of the assembled crowd.
This was not the first of Cleveland ship-building. About the year 1808,
Major Carter built the Zephyr, used in bringing goods, salt, &c., from
Buffalo. After good service she was laid up in a creek, a little below
Black Rock, where she was found by the British during the war and burned.
In 1810, the firm of Bixby & Murray built the Ohio, an important craft of
somewhere about sixty tons burden, the ship-yard being lower down the
river than the point from which Johnson's craft was subsequently
launched. Towards the close of the war she was laid up at Buffalo, when
the Government purchased her, cut her down, and converted her into a
Whilst Johnson was building his vessel another was under construction on
the flats near the present location of the works of J. G. Hussey & Co. This
craft, the Lady of the Lake, about thirty tons, was built by Mr. Gaylord,
brother of the late Mrs. Leonard Case, and was sailed by Captain Stowe,
between Detroit and Buffalo.
Johnson was now literally embarked on a sea of success. His little ship
was in immediate requisition for army purposes. Cargoes of army stores
were transported between Buffalo and Detroit. Two loads of soldiers were
taken from Buffalo to the command of Major Camp, at Detroit, and on one of
the return voyages the guns left by Harrison at Maumee were taken to Erie.
The absconding of a quarter-master with the funds in his possession, among
other sums three hundred dollars belonging to Johnson, was a serious
drawback in the Summer's operations.
In the Spring of 1815, he recommenced carrying stores to Malden, reaching
there on his first trip March 20th, and on this voyage Irad Kelley was a
passenger. His second trip was made to Detroit. When passing Malden he was
hailed from the fort, but as he paid no attention, Major Putoff fired a
shot to make the vessel heave-to and leave the mail. The shot passed
through the foresail, but was not heeded. A second shot was fired and then
Johnson considered it prudent to heave-to and go ashore. He was sternly
questioned as to his inattention to the first orders to heave to, and
replied that being a young sailor he did not understand how to heave-to.
The officer told him to bring the mail ashore, but was met with a refusal,
it being contrary to instructions. Johnson started back to his craft and
was followed by a party of men from the fort, who manned a boat and gave
chase. Johnson, on boarding his vessel, spread sail, and being favored
with a good breeze, drew away from his pursuers and reached Detroit, where
he placed the mail in the post-office.
During the early part of the war, whilst Johnson was building his vessel
and in other ways kept busy, he was chosen coroner of Cuyahoga, being the
first to hold that office in the county. The sparseness of the population
rendered his duties light, the only inquest during his term of office
being over the body of an old man frozen to death in Euclid.
Samuel Baldwin was the first sheriff of the county, and Johnson was his
first deputy. His first experience in office was noticeable. Major
Jessup, in command of the troops, had brought to Cleveland from
Pittsburgh a Mr. Robins, who built from thirty to forty flat bottomed
boats, or batteaux, to be used in the transportation of the troops. The
Major ran short of funds and left a balance unpaid in the cost of
construction. Robins brought suit, and the Major, thinking the deputy
sheriff probably had some unpleasant business for him, studiously avoided
an interview with Johnson, and whenever they met by chance, pulled out
his pistols and warned Johnson to keep his distance. It so happened,
however, that no legal documents had been put in his hands for execution,
so that the Major was alarmed without cause.
But the groundless scare of the impecunious Major was a trifling affair
compared with the grand scare that overtook the whole people along the
lake in the autumn of 1812, at the time of Hull's surrender One day a
fleet of vessels was seen bearing down upon the coast. It was first
noticed in the vicinity of Huron by a woman. No sooner had she seen the
vessels bearing down towards the coast from the westward, than she rushed
into the house, emptied her feather bed and placed the tick on a horse as
a pack-saddle; then catching up one child before her and another behind,
she rode at the top of the animal's speed, thinking torture and death lay
behind her. Whenever she passed a house she raised an alarm, and at two
o'clock in the morning, more dead than alive with terror and fatigue, she
urged her jaded horse into the village of Cleveland, screaming at the top
of her voice, "The British and Indians are coming! The British and Indians
are coming!" Men slept lightly at that time, with their senses attent to
every sound of danger. The shrieks of the woman and the dreaded notice of
the approach of the merciless foe awoke the whole village and curdled the
blood of the villagers with horror. In that brief announcement, "The
British and Indians are coming," were concentrated possibilities of
frightful outrage, carnage and devastation. Wild with the terror of her
long and agonized night ride, the woman reiterated her piercing warning
again and again, filling the air with her shouts. A chorus of voices, from
the childish treble to the deep bass of the men, swelled the volume of
sound and added to the confusion and alarm. In a few minutes every house
was empty, and the entire population of the village swarmed around the
exhausted woman and heard her brief story, broken by gasps for breath and
by hysterical sobs. She insisted that a fleet was bearing down upon the
coast with the purpose of spreading carnage and devastation along the
whole lake frontier, that the vessels were crowded with British troops and
merciless savages, and that before long the musket bail, the torch and the
scalping knife would seek their victims among the inhabitants of
At once all was hurry; the entire population prepared for speedy flight.
The greater part took to the woods in the direction of Euclid, the women
and children being guarded by some of the men, the others remaining to
reconnoiter, and, if possible, defend their property. As soon as the
non-fighting portion of the settlement was cared for, a picked force of
twenty-five men, contributed by Cleveland, Euclid and Newburgh, marched to
the mouth of the river and kept guard. It was evening when this little
army reached the river, and for hours after dark they patrolled the banks,
listening intently for the approach of the enemy. About two o'clock in the
morning a vessel was heard entering the river; the guards hastily gathered
for the attack, but before firing, hailed the supposed foe; an answering
hail was returned. "Who are you, and what have you on board?" shouted the
river guards. "An American vessel loaded with Hull's troops!" was the
reply. The astounded guard burst into laughter at their absurd scare. The
alarm spread with greater swiftness than the report of the facts, and for
days armed men came pouring into Cleveland from so far as Pittsburgh,
prepared to beat back the enemy that existed only in their imagination.
It was during this year that the Indian, Omic, was hung for participating
in the murder of the trappers, Gibbs and Wood, near Sandusky, in return
for the shelter given by the trappers to their two murderers. After
committing the murder, the Indians set fire to the hut, and the flames
became the instrument of their capture, for some boys returning from Cold
Creek Mill saw the fire, went to it, and discovered the partly consumed
bodies of the murdered men. The murderers were demanded from the Indians,
and Omic was captured by them and surrendered.
The prisoner was lodged in Major Carter's house until the trial which was
held under a cherry tree at the corner of Water and Superior streets.
Alfred Kelly prosecuted for the State, and Johnson was one of the jury.
Omic was convicted and sentenced to be hung. Johnson, who sat on the jury
that condemned him, was now employed to build the gallows to hang the
criminal. When Omic was led out by Sheriff Baldwin to execution, he
remarked that the gallows was too high. He then called for whisky and
drank half a pint, which loosened his tongue, and he talked rapidly and
incoherently, threatening to return in two days and wreak his revenge on
all the pale-faces. More liquor was given him, and he asked for more, but
Judge Walworth denounced the giving him more, that he might die drunk, as
an outrage, and his supply of liquor was therefore stopped.
Time being up, Sheriff Baldwin was about to cut the drop-rope, when he
saw that the condemned man had clutched the rope over his head to save
his neck from being broken. The Sheriff dismounted from his horse,
climbed up the gallows and tied the prisoner's hands more firmly behind
his back. The gallows was braced, and Omic contrived to clutch one of
the braces with his hands, fastened behind his back as they were, as he
fell when the drop-rope was cut. He hung in that position for some time,
until his strength gave way and he swung off. When he had hung
sufficiently long, the by-standers drew him to the cross-beam of the
gallows, when the rope broke and the body of the wretched murderer fell
into his open grave beneath.
In the same year Mr. Johnson was path-master of Cleveland, and he retains
in his possession the list of names of those who did work on the roads in
that year, armed with good and sufficient shovels according to law.
Mr. Johnson's success as a ship-builder encouraged him to persevere in
that business. In the autumn of 1815, he laid down the lines of the
schooner Neptune, sixty-five tons burden, not far below the neighborhood
of the Central market. In the following Spring she was launched, and run
on Lake Erie, her first trip being to Buffalo, whence she returned with a
cargo of merchandise for Jonathan Williamson, of Detroit. In the Fall of
that year a half interest in the Neptune was sold to Richard H. Blinn,
Seth Doan, and Dr. Long. In 1817, she made a trip to Mackinac, for the
American Fur Company, and remained in that trade until the Fall of 1819.
In the Summer of 1818, Major Edwards, Paymaster Smith, and another army
officer came to Mackinac on the Tiger, and engaged Mr. Johnson to take
them to Green Bay, agreeing to pay him three hundred dollars for the trip.
The same vessel, under Johnson's command, took the first load of troops
from Green Bay to Chicago, after the massacre, Major Whistler engaging the
ship for the purpose.
In 1824, Johnson left the Neptune, and in company with Turhooven &
Brothers, built the steamer Enterprise, about two hundred and twenty
tons burden. This was the first steam vessel built in Cleveland, and her
hull was made near the site of the Winslow warehouse. The engine, of
sixty to seventy horse power, was brought from Pittsburgh. Johnson ran
her between Buffalo and Detroit until 1828, when hard times coming on
and business threatening to be unprofitable, he sold his interest in
her, and left the lakes. In company with Goodman and Wilkeson, he built
the Commodore, on the Chagrin river, in the year 1830, and that closed
his ship-building career.
By this time he had accumulated about thirty thousand dollars, a
respectable fortune in those days, with which he invested largely in real
estate, and waited the course of events to make his investments
In 1831, he contracted with the Government officers to build the
light-house on Water street. In 1836, he built a light-house at Sandusky.
In the following year he constructed seven hundred feet of the stone pier
on the east side of the Cuyahoga river mouth. The first thing done in the
latter work was the driving of spiles. Mr. Johnson became dissatisfied
with the old system of driving spiles by horse-power, and purchased a
steam engine for four hundred dollars. Making a large wooden wheel he
rigged it after the style of the present spile-drivers, and in the course
of two or three weeks, had the satisfaction of seeing the spiles driven
with greatly increased speed and effect by steam-power.
About 1839, he took his new spile-driver to Maumee Bay and drove about
nine hundred feet of spiling around Turtle Island, filling the enclosed
space with earth to the height of three feet, to protect the light-house.
In 1840, he built the Saginaw light-house, sixty-five feet high, with the
adjoining dwelling. In 1842-3, he built the light-house on the Western
Sister Island, at the west end of Lake Erie. In 1847, he completed his
light-house work by building the Portage River light-house.
Besides his light-house building, Mr. Johnson erected in 1842 his stone
residence on Water street, and in 1845, the Johnson House hotel on
Superior street. The stone for the former was brought from Kingston,
Canada West. In 1853, he built the Johnson Block, on Bank street, and in
1858, he put up the Marine Block at the mouth of the river. This completed
his active work.
Since 1858, Mr. Johnson's sole occupation has been the care of his
property and occasional speculations in real estate. By a long life of
activity and prudence, and by the steady rise in real estate, he is now
possessed of personal and landed property to the value of about six
hundred thousand dollars, having come to the city with no other capital
than his kit of tools, a strong arm, and an energetic purpose. Though
eighty-three years of age, his health is good, his memory remarkably
active, and all his faculties unimpaired. He has two sons and one daughter
yet living, having lost two children. He has had nine grandchildren, and
Noble H. Merwin.
In classifying the early commercial men of Cleveland, the name of Noble H.
Merwin is justly entitled to stand among the first on the list. In fact he
was the founder and father of her commerce, and a man not only noble in
name, but noble in character.
He was born in New Milford, Ct., in 1782, received a good common school
education, and married Minerva Buckingham, of that town. Soon after the
war of 1812, he went to Georgia and there engaged in mercantile pursuits,
having established a store at Savannah and also at Milledgeville. He came
to Cleveland in 1815. His family rejoined him at Cleveland in February,
1816. In coming from Georgia they crossed the Alleghanies, and were six
weeks in accomplishing the journey, having traveled all the way in wagons.
The two elder children were born at New Milford, the other four at
Cleveland. The oldest son, George B. Merwin, of Rockport, is now the only
surviving member of the family.
After the family arrived at Cleveland, Mr. Merwin engaged in keeping a
public house or tavern, as it was then designated, on the corner of
Superior street and Vineyard lane, and about the same time established a
warehouse at the foot of Superior street and commenced his career in the
commerce of the lakes. He built the schooner Minerva, which was the first
vessel registered at Washington, from the District of Cuyahoga, under the
U. S. Revenue Laws. For many years Mr. Merwin, under contracts with the
Government, furnished the supplies required at the U. S. Garrisons on the
western frontiers, at Fort Gratiot, Mackinaw, Sault St. Marie, Green Bay
and Chicago, as well as the Hudson Bay Company at the Sault St. Marie.
In a commercial point of view his business became extensive for those
times, and he enjoyed the entire confidence of the Government and of
business men generally throughout the lake country. He succeeded in
accumulating a handsome fortune, which consisted mostly in vessel stocks
and in lands. He owned a large breadth of lands, extending from the south
side of Superior street to the river, which, since his time, has become
But owing mainly to over-work in the various departments of his
increasing business, while he was yet in the noon of manhood, his
health became seriously impaired, and with a view to recruit it he
sailed for the West Indies in 1829, and on the 3d day of November, of
that year, died of consumption, at the Island of St. Thomas, in the 47th
year of his age. He was a gentleman of fine personal appearance,
measuring six feet and four inches in height, erect and well
proportioned. In a word, he was a man of heart, and of generous
impulses, honest, frank and cordial. In the circle in winch he moved, he
was the friend of everybody and everybody was his friend.
The race of men who remember Cleveland in the day of its small beginnings,
is fast passing away. Of those who were residents of the little village on
the Cuyahoga fifty years ago, only about half a dozen now live in the
flourishing city that occupies its site and inherits its name. One of
these is John Blair, well known to all the Clevelanders of ante-railroad
days, but who is probably a mere name to a large proportion of those who
have crowded into the city of late years. Mr. Blair is one of the few
remaining links that connect the rude village in the forest with the
modern Forest City.
John Blair was born in Maryland on the 18th of December, 1793. His early
years were spent in farming, but at the age of twenty-three he dropped the
hoe and turned his back to the plow, resolving to come west and seek his
fortune. From the time that he shook from his feet the dirt of the
Maryland farm, he says, he has never done a whole day's work, at one time,
at manual labor.
In 1819, he reached Cleveland, then an insignificant village of about a
hundred and fifty inhabitants, who dwelt mostly in log houses, grouped at
the foot of Superior street. At the corner of Water street and what is now
Union lane, stood the pioneer hotel of Cleveland, the tavern of Major
Carter, where good accommodations for man and beast were always to be
found. The young Maryland adventurer was not overburdened with wealth when
he landed in his future home, his entire cash capital being three dollars.
But it was no discredit in those days to be poor, and three dollars was a
fine capital to start business upon. In fact sonic of the then "old
settlers," would have been glad to possess so much capital in ready money
as a reserve fund.
But even in those days of primitive simplicity, three dollars would not
support a man for any great length of time if there were no other sources
of supply. Mr. Blair recognized the fact that no time must be wasted, and
at once turned his attention to a chance for speculation. An opportunity
immediately offered itself. An old Quaker, with speculation in his eye,
entered Cleveland with two hundred and fifty fat hogs, expecting to find a
good market. In this he was mistaken, and as hogs on foot were expensive
to hold over for a better market, he determined to convert them into salt
pork. Mr. Blair offered to turn pork-packer for a proper consideration;
the offer was accepted, and this was Mr. Blair's first step in business.
Pork-packing, as a steady business, offered but little inducement, so Mr.
Blair decided on establishing himself on the river as produce dealer and
commission merchant. The capital required was small, and the work not
exhaustive, for the facilities for shipping were slight and the amount to
be shipped small; warehouses were of the most modest dimensions, and
docks existed only in imagination. When the shipping merchant had a
consignment to put on board one of the diminutive vessels that at
intervals found their way into the port, the stuff was put on a flat boat
and poled or rowed to the vessel's side, Business was conducted in a very
leisurely manner, there being no occasion for hurry, and everybody
concerned being willing to make the most of what little business there
was. The slow moving Pennsylvania Dutch who had formed settlements in
northeastern Ohio, and drove their wide wheeled wagons along the
sometimes seemingly bottomless roads to Cleveland, plowed through the mud
on the river bank in search of "de John Blair vat kips de white fishes,"
and after much chaffer, unloaded the flour and wheat from their wagons,
and loaded up with fish and salt, sometimes giving three barrels of flour
for one barrel of salt.
In 1827, the Ohio Canal was partially opened to Cleveland, and a
revolution in trade was effected. The interior of the State was soon
brought into communication with the enterprising merchants on Lake Erie
and the Ohio river. Mr. Blair was prompt to avail himself of the
opportunity to increase his trade. He built the first canal boat
constructed in Cleveland, and launched her in 1828, near the site of the
present Stone Mill, amid the plaudits of all the people of the village,
who had turned out to witness the launching. As soon as the craft settled
herself proudly on the bosom of the canal, Mr. Blair invited the
spectators of the launch to come on board, and, with a good team of horses
for motive power, the party were treated to an excursion as far as Eight
Mile Lock and return, the whole day being consumed in the journey.
Subsequently Mr. Blair became interested, with others, in a line of twelve
boats, employing nearly one hundred horses to work them.
From this time Cleveland continued to grow and prosper. The products of
the interior were brought in a steadily increasing stream to Cleveland by
the canal, and shipped to Detroit, then the great mart of the western
lakes. A strong tide of emigration had set towards Northern Michigan, and
those seeking homes there had to be fed mainly by Ohio produce, for which
Michigan fish and furs were given in exchange. But the opening of the
Erie Canal placed a new market within reach, and Mr. Blair was among the
first to take Ohio flour to New York, selling it there at fourteen
dollars the barrel.
In 1845, Mr. Blair, then in the prime of his vigor, being but fifty-two
years old, resolved to quit a business in which he had been uniformly
successful, and spend the remainder of his life in enjoying what he had
acquired by diligence and enterprise. He was then the oldest merchant in
the city, having been in business over a quarter of a century. For the
past twenty-four years he has taken life easy, which he has been able to
do from the sensible step he adopted of quitting active business before it
wore him out. At the age of seventy-five he is still hale, hearty and
vigorous, looking younger than his actual years, and possessing that great
desideratum, a sound mind in a sound body.
Familiar as is the name of Philo Scovill, but few of our citizens are
aware that he was one of Cleveland's earliest merchants. It appears that
circumstances, not altogether the choice of Mr. Scovill, induced him to
come to Cleveland with a stock of drugs and groceries. His father was a
millwright, and had brought up his son to the use of tools. He had no
taste for his new calling, and so worked out of the store-keeping as
speedily as possible, and commenced the erection of dwellings and stores
in the then new country, being only second in the trade here to Levi
Johnson. He continued in the building business until 1826, when he erected
the Franklin House, on Superior street, on the next lot but one to the
site of the Johnson House. Mr. Scovill at once became the landlord, and
continued as such for twenty-three years, excepting an interval of a five
About 1849, he left the hotel business to attend to his real estate
interests. He was successful in his hotel business; and from time to time
invested his surplus capital in lands adjacent to the city, which, within
the last few years have become exceedingly valuable. Streets have been
laid out upon his property, and inducements offered to settlers that
insured a ready sale, and materially aided the growth of the city.
Mr. Scovill, as a man, has enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens
to an unusual degree. He was hardworking, resolute, and exactly fitted by
nature for the pioneer life of his choice, a life that, though toilsome,
has left him still hale and vigorous, with the exception of the fruits of
overwork, and perhaps exposure, in the form of rheumatism.
Mr. Scovill was born in Salisbury, Ct., November 30, 1791. He lived at
that place until he was nine years of age, when his father moved to
Cornwall, in the same county; thence to Shenango county, and from thence
to Seneca county, N. Y. Here he lived on the banks of Seneca Lake nine
years. After that he lived in Buffalo one year, from which point he came
to Cleveland, as before stated.
Mr. Scovill was married February 16, 1819, to Miss Jemima Beebe. Mrs. S.
is still living and enjoying excellent health.
He who has had occasion to traverse Bank street many times, or to pass
along Superior at the head of Bank, must have become familiar with the
figure of a hale old gentleman, to be seen frequently on sunny days,
standing on the steps of the Merchants Bank, or passing along Bank street
between the bank and his residence, beyond Lake street. His clothes are
not of showy material or fashionable cut, one hand is generally employed
in holding a clay pipe, from which he draws comfort and inspiration, and
which rarely leaves his lips when on the street, except to utter some bit
of dry humor, in which he especially delights. That is Melancthon Barnett,
one of the "oldest inhabitants" of the Forest City, and whose well known
figure and quaint jokes will be missed by his many friends out of doors,
as will his wise counsels within the bank parlor, when death shall at
length summon him to leave his wonted haunts.
Mr. Barnett was born in Amenia, Dutchess county, New York, in 1789. At six
years old he was taken with the remainder of the family to Oneida county,
where he remained until 1812, when he removed to New Hartford, near Utica,
and remained two years as clerk in a store. From that place he went to
Cherry Valley, Otsego County, where he went as partner in the mercantile
business, and continued there until 1825. In that year Mr. May came west
to Cleveland for the purpose of opening a store, and Mr. Barnett came with
him as clerk. In course of time he was advanced to the position of
partner, and continued in business until 1834, when May and Barnett wound
up their affairs as merchants, and became speculators in land. Their real
estate business was carried on successfully for many years, the steady
growth of the town making their investments profitable.
In 1843, Mr. Barnett was elected Treasurer of Cuyahoga county, and proved
himself one of the most capable and scrupulously honest officers the
county has ever had. He held the position six years, and the business not
occupying his entire time, he also filled the office of Justice of the
Peace, continuing his real estate transactions at the same time.
At the close of his career as a public officer he was elected Director of
the City Bank, with which he has remained to the present time, rarely, if
ever, being absent during the business hours of the bank.
Mr. Barnett was married May 15, 1815, to Miss Mary Clark, at Cherry
Valley. Mrs. Barnett died April 21, 1840, in Cleveland, having borne five
children. Only two of these yet live, the oldest, Augustus, being in the
leather business at Watertown, Wisconsin, and the younger, James, in the
hardware business in Cleveland. The latter is well known for his brilliant
services at the head of the Ohio Artillery during the war, in Western
Virginia and Tennessee, and no name is cherished with greater pride in
Cleveland than that of General James Barnett.
Joel Scranton, whose name is associated with much of the history of
Cleveland, during the period when it grew from a small village to a city
well on the way to permanent prosperity, was born in Belchertown, Mass.,
April 5, 1792. Whilst yet a child his parents removed with him to Otsego
county, N. Y., where a considerable portion of his early life was spent.
About the year 1820 he removed to Cleveland, where he engaged in business
and remained until his death, of apoplexy, on the 9th of April, 1858,
having just completed his sixty-sixth year.
In the later years of the village of Cleveland and the early days of the
city, Mr. Scranton's leather and dry goods store, at the corner of
Superior and Water streets, was a well known business landmark. In the
prosecution of his business he succeeded in saving a comfortable
competence, which was increased by his judicious investments in real
estate. These last have, by the rapid growth of the city, and increase in
value since his death, become highly valuable property.
Mr. Scranton was industrious, economical, and judicious in business
transactions; of strong mind and well balanced judgment; a kind parent and
a firm friend.
Orlando Cutter first beheld the harbor and city of Cleveland on the 30th
of June, 1818, having spent nine dismal days on the schooner Ben Franklin,
in the passage from Black Rock. He was landed in a yawl, at the mouth of
the river, near a bluff that stood where the Toledo Railroad Machine Shops
have since been built, about seventy-five rods west of the present
entrance to the harbor. In those days the river entrance was of a very
unreliable character, being sometimes entirely blocked up with sand, so
that people walked across. It was no uncommon thing for people to ride
over, or jump the outlet with the help of a pole.
Mr. Cutter walked along the beach and on the old road to Water street,
and thence in a broiling sun to the frame tavern of Noble H. Merwin, on
Vineyard lane, near Superior street. Here he was first introduced to Philo
Scovill, a robust young carpenter, who was hewing timber for Merwin's new
brick tavern, afterwards called the Mansion House.
Mr. Cutter had experienced what our city boys would regard as a rough
beginning in life. At sixteen he went into a store at Royalton,
Massachusetts, at a salary of _four dollars a month_ and board; and at the
end of a year had saved one dollar and a half. His pay being increased to
one hundred dollars for the next year, he ventured upon the luxury of a
pair of boots. In September, 1815, having proven his mettle as an active,
capable and honest young man, he was translated to a large jobbing house,
on Cornhill, Boston, the salary being board and clothing. Having been born
at Jeffrey, New Hampshire, June 5, 1797, at the end of three years
apprenticeship in the Boston establishment, he arrived at the age of
twenty-one, and became his own master. The firm offered him a credit for
dry goods to the amount of $10,000, with which to go west and seek his
fortune, but before accepting the offer he concluded to go and see if he
could find a suitable place for trade, but as he had no money, it was
necessary to borrow $400 for the expenses of the trip. With a pair of well
filled saddlebags as an outfit, he started, and in due time arrived at
Black Rock, and from thence proceeded, as above narrated, to Cleveland, on
a tour of examination.
Cleveland had then about two hundred inhabitants, and four stores. Water
street was cleared out sufficiently for the purposes of travel to the
lake. It was also prepared for a race course--for which purpose it was
used for a number of years.
Twenty or thirty German teams from Pennsylvania, Stark, Wayne and other
counties, laden with flour, each team having from four to six horses,
encamped in Superior street at night, and gave Cleveland such a business
appearance that Mr. Cutter took a fancy to it.
After two weeks, Mr. Cutter set sail in the schooner Wasp for Sandusky,
where there was a natural harbor, and from thence in the Fire Fly, for
Detroit. But his thoughts reverted to Cleveland, and forming a partnership
with Messrs. Mack & Conant, of Detroit, the firm purchased twenty
thousand dollars worth of dry goods, groceries, and a general assortment
for an extensive establishment here.
In February, 1820, he married Miss Phelps, of Painesville, Ohio, who died
in 1829, two of whose children are now living. His competitors in business
were Nathan Perry, J. R. & I. Kelly, S. S. Dudley and Dr. David Long. It
was only about a year after he opened in Cleveland when Mack & Conant
failed, throwing the Cleveland purchase entirely upon him. After ten years
of hard work, and close application, he paid off the whole, but at the
close it left him only five hundred dollars in old goods. Ohio currency
was not exactly money in those days. It was at a discount of twenty-five
to thirty per cent. for eastern funds. There was, moreover, little of it,
and there were stay laws, and the appraisal of personal, as well as real
estate, under execution, rendering collections almost impossible. To
illustrate: a man in Middleburg, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, owed Mr. Cutter
seventy-five dollars. He went to attend the constable's sale, and found
among the effects a dog appraised at ten dollars; rails ten cents each,
and a watch worth five dollars valued at twenty dollars, so he left the
place in disgust and hurried home, through the woods, in no placid frame
of mind. Of four new shoes put on his horse that morning, three had been
torn off by the mud, roots, and corduroy between Cleveland and Middleburg.
After closing up the old business, he posted books or turned his hand
to whatever employment presented itself. Inactivity and despondency
formed no part of his character. About 1827, there was a temporary
business connection between himself and Thos. M. Kelly, after which he
started again alone, adding the auction and commission business to that
of a merchant.
Mr. Cutter, in November, 1832, was married to Miss Hilliard, sister of the
late Richard Hilliard. Of this marriage there are seven children now
living, most of them settled in the city. William L. is cashier of the
Merchants National Bank; Edwin succeeded his father two years since at the
old auction store in Bank street, and R. H. is the principal partner of
Cutter & Co., upholsterers.
Going east in the Fall of 1821, Mr. Cutter, on his return, preferred the
staunch steamer Walk-in-the-Water, to the Wasps, Fire Flies and Franklins,
on board of which he had experienced so many buffetings. George Williams
and John S. Strong were also of the same mind. These three old settlers,
and about seventy others, went on board at Black Rock, in the afternoon.
Eight yoke of oxen were required to assist the engines in getting her over
the rapids into the open lake. In the night a furious gale arose, Capt.
Rogers put back, but not being able to get into Buffalo Creek, came to
anchor near its mouth. Being awfully sea sick, Mr. Cutter lay below,
little caring where the Walk-in-the-Water went to. Her anchor, however,
parted before morning, and she went ashore sidewise, on an easy sand
beach, without loss of life.
This year completes his semi-centennial as a citizen of Cleveland, yet he
is still hale and vigorous. He has gone through revulsions, and has
enjoyed prosperity with equal equanimity, never indulging in idleness or
ease, and has now come to a ripe old age possessed of an ample competence.
Peter Martin Weddell.
One of the most noted historical and topographical landmarks of Cleveland
is the Weddell House. Its builder was one of the most valuable citizens of
the Forest City.
Mr. P. M. Weddell was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1788.
His father died before his birth, and his mother, marrying again, removed
to Paris, Bourbon county, Kentucky, the State at that time deserving its
sobriquet of the "dark and bloody ground," as the contest with the native
savages was carried on with relentless fury on both sides. Under such
circumstances it may well be supposed that he grew up with few educational
or other advantages, and that his youth was one of vicissitudes and
At the age of fourteen he applied at a store for employment, what surplus
clothing and effects he then possessed being carelessly flung over his
shoulders. He promised to do any work they were pleased to set him at, and
he thought he could satisfy them. This broad pledge was so well kept that
at the age of nineteen he was made a partner. This partnership was soon
closed by the death of the old member.
Young Weddell, with a vigorous body, good habits, a clear judgment, and
some money, removed to Newark, Ohio, during the war of 1812. While he was
successfully trading there, Miss Sophia Perry, of Cleveland, was sent to
her friends at Newark for greater safety, and to acquire an education.
She was but little past fifteen when she consented to be Mrs. Weddell, and
they were married in November, 1815.
In 1820, Mr. Weddell removed from Newark to Cleveland and established
himself in business on Superior street, taking a stand at once among the
leading merchants of the place, a position he retained as long as he
continued in business.
In 1823, Mrs. Weddell died, leaving three children, of whom H. P. Weddell
is the only survivor. A portrait of her, by Peale, still remains in the
family house, which confirms the remembrances of her friends that she
possessed many charms both of person and of disposition. In the
following year Mr. Weddell married Mrs. Eliza A. Bell, of Newark, who is
still living, and whom every old citizen of Cleveland well knows and
In 1825, he formed a partnership with Mr. Edmund Clade, from Buffalo, and
retired from active participation in business. In 1828, the partnership
was dissolved. Three years afterwards he took into partnership with him
his two clerks, Greenup C. Woods, his half brother, and Dudley Baldwin,
the firm name being P. M. Weddell & Co. The firm lasted but four years,
when Mr. Woods established himself in Newark, and Messrs. Weddell and
Baldwin continued the business together until 1845.
When Mr. Weddell commenced his mercantile life it was no child's play.
At that time there were no canals or railroads to facilitate
commerce--scarcely were there any roads at all--specie was the only
currency west of the mountains, and that had to be carried across the
mountains from Pittsburgh on the backs of mules, and the merchandise
returned in the same way. Long after, when traveling over the
Alleghanies with a friend, Mr. Weddell frequently pointed to places on
the road which he remembered, and of which he related interesting
anecdotes. Several merchants would travel together and sometimes they
would have guards, as the lonely uninhabited mountains were not
altogether safe even in those days.
In 1823, Mr. Weddell built what was regarded as a princely brick residence
and store on the corner of Superior and Bank streets, afterwards the site
of the Weddell House. His surplus funds were invested in real estate,
which soon began to increase in value at an astonishing rate, as the city
grew in population and importance. On one of his lots upon Euclid street
he built the stone cottage which he designed as a country retreat, and
after his taking his clerks into partnership, he left the store mainly to
their management, devoting his attention to the purchase and improvement
of real estate, being generally regarded as a gentleman of wealth.
In the Spring of 1845 he began work upon the Weddell House, tearing away
the store and mansion, where his fortune had been made. It was finished in
two years. He then made a journey to New York to purchase furniture. On
the way home he was attacked by typhoid fever, and in three weeks was in
As a merchant, Mr. Weddell had few superiors. His urbanity, industry,
and care made him popular, successful, and safe, while his integrity and
his liberality were well known to his correspondents and to all the
religious and benevolent institutions of the times.
He was always willing and ready to aid and assist his young men; when he
found one correct and capable he never refused a helping hand. Very few of
his day were so liberal in this respect, or could point to so many who
became prominent merchants by their aid as could Mr. Weddell.
At his death, Mr. Weddell was a man of such personal energy and business
capacity, that he had promise of twenty more years of active life. Soon
after the Rev. S. G. Aiken became pastor of the old Stone Church, Mr.
Weddell became a communicant, and he died in the Christian faith. He
bequeathed to the American Board of Foreign Missions the sum of five
thousand dollars; to the Home Missionary Society five thousand dollars,
and several other bequests amounting to some thousands to other benevolent
In 1819, Dudley Baldwin came to Cleveland from Ballston, New York, having
as his principal capital a fair common school education. In course of time
be found employment in the mercantile store of Mr. Weddell, and became one
of his trusted clerks, being, after a few years, taken into partnership.
The death of Mr. Weddell in 1847, terminated a connection that had existed
pleasantly for over twenty years.
For the next few years Mr. Baldwin was chiefly engaged in closing up the
affairs of Mr. Weddell, after which he engaged for a time in the
manufacture of agricultural implements, until, from ill heath, he was
compelled to relinquish business and seek restoration of health by travel
and in quiet retirement.
Mr. Baldwin was identified with the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad from
its inception, and during the darkest days of the undertaking he stood
firmly by it, in connection with the other directors, never losing faith
in its ultimate success--a success he has lived to see perfected. He has
also, for a number of years, been a director of the Commercial Bank of
In religious principles Mr. Baldwin is a Presbyterian, and has long
been connected with the Euclid street Presbyterian Church. He is known
to all his acquaintances as a man of quiet unassuming manners, and of
Norman C. Baldwin.
Very many of those who settled on the Western Reserve, in the early days
of its history, came from Connecticut, and the fact of so many Connecticut
families being already here induced considerable emigration from that
State long after the first rush was over. Among others of Connecticut
birth who found their way eventually to Cleveland, was Norman C. Baldwin,
born at Litchfield, July 29th, 1802, and spending his early years in the
struggles which so many of the New England families of limited resources
had to pass through in the early portion of the present century.
Whilst yet but a mere child he assisted his father in the work of the
farm, but being left fatherless at the age of eight, he was sent two years
afterwards to work in his cousin's store, where he remained four years. In
his fourteenth year he left Litchfield for New Haven, where he found
employment for a year with a provision packer.
At that time his mother joined the stream of emigration setting towards
the Ohio, and with her came her children. Stopping at Hudson, Summit
county, young Baldwin commenced trading on his own account, and built up
a good business, which he managed alone for eighteen months and then
formed a partnership with two of his brothers, the partnership lasting
eight years. Then the firm was dissolved and Norman C. came to
Cleveland, where he formed a partnership with Noble H. Merwin in the
general produce business.
In 1830, the firm of Giddings, Baldwin & Co., which had succeeded that of
Merwin & Baldwin, contained seven partners, of whom Mr. Baldwin is the
only survivor. The business was mainly forwarding and commission, the
forwarding being mostly by canal. The firm was one of the most important
on the lakes, owning a line of boats, the Troy and Erie, from Portsmouth,
on the Ohio river, to New York In those days the canal lines carried
passengers as well as freight, the boats usually taking about thirty
passengers and one thousand bushels of wheat. For emigrants, of whom many
were pouring into the West, special boats were fitted up with
accommodations, such as they were, for about a hundred and fifty
passengers. In 1836, Mr. Baldwin left the mercantile business altogether,
and thereafter devoted his attention to operations in real estate.
As illustrating the growth of the city and the consequent increasing value
of city property, Mr. Baldwin relates having purchased in 1833 three
parcels of land, neither of which cost over two thousand dollars, which
are now estimated to be worth half a million of dollars each. In 1831, he
was offered, in the course of his operations, a strip of land fronting on
Superior street and running back to the canal, with a comfortable frame
house thereon, for one thousand dollars. The price looked high and Mr.
Baldwin, distrusting his own judgment, consulted 'Squire Cowles, then a
prominent attorney. Mr. Cowles hesitated, thought the investment somewhat
risky, although they might live to see the land worth thirty dollars a
foot front. Heeding his own fears, which were not abated by the doubtful
opinion of his adviser, Mr. Baldwin refused to purchase. That same land is
worth now not merely thirty dollars a foot, but equivalent to three or
four thousand dollars a foot front.
As showing the condition of the roads around Cleveland, and the mode of
traveling in the early days of its history, it is narrated by Mr. Baldwin,
that when living in Hudson he was fond of good horses and kept a team of
which he was proud. The distance between Hudson and Cleveland was but
twenty-four miles, but that distance had never been done in one day by any
team. Mr. Baldwin thought the time had come for performing the feat, and
accordingly set out on the journey. Just at tea time he drew rein in front
of Merwin's tavern, at the corner of Superior street and Vineyard lane,
and shouted to the landlord. The guests had just seated themselves to tea
when Mr. Merwin rushed into the room in a state of great excitement,
exclaiming, "For God's sake, gentlemen, come out and see a team that has
been driven from Hudson to-day!" The guests left the table in a hurry and
rushed to the door, scarcely crediting their own eyes.
Mr. Baldwin was married in 1829, and lost his wife in the Spring of 1867.
Of this marriage there are now six children living and three dead. One
son, Norman A., is engaged in agriculture in the neighborhood of the city.
Leverett Alcott was born in Walcott, New Haven county, Connecticut, in
1820. From early boyhood his taste was for mercantile pursuits. At the age
of seventeen he obtained a position in an extensive country store at
Bristol Basin, on the Farmington Canal, (now Plainville.) By diligence and
perseverance, he was soon promoted from the duties of errand boy to a
responsible position, and in course of time stood at the head of all the
clerks in the establishment.
For the benefit of neophytes in commercial life, it may not be
uninteresting to state how boys were made merchants in those days, and the
remuneration they received for services. They were not (as is too often
the case at the present time) transformed in a few months from crude green
boys to merchants, but were obliged to learn the business by actual
experience. An arrangement was made in this case for three years, on the
following conditions: fifty dollars for the first year, seventy-five
dollars for the second year, and one hundred dollars for the third and
last year, with board in his employer's family. With this modest salary it
required the utmost care and rigid economy to clothe and keep himself; but
where there's a will there's a way, and the economy thus practiced in
early life was no detriment in laying the foundation for a sound business
career in after life. After having fulfilled his engagement with his
employer, he spent some three years of mercantile life at the South, but
the customs of the country, and the barbarous system of slavery were so
repulsive to his feelings that he abandoned that field for the more
congenial and prospectively profitable activities of the West, and in
December, 1842, landed at Medina, in this State. In the Spring of 1845, a
mercantile copartnership was formed with Mr. Augustus W. North, under the
firm name of North & Alcott. During the subsequent Fall he married Miss
Mary A. Williams, with the view of permanently settling at that place, but
the mercantile prospects, and the growth of the town not appearing
satisfactory to his views, the firm of North & Alcott was dissolved and
the business discontinued, to be reconstructed and opened in a wider field
and on a broader basis. Accordingly, in the Spring of 1849, (just twenty
years ago,) a business arrangement was entered into with his present
partner, Mr. Burrett W. Horton, a former school mate, under the firm name
of Alcott & Horton. The business was to be the retailing of dry goods, and
located at 177 Superior street, in Harrington's Block. The beginning was a
moderate one, with a very limited capital, but what was lacking in capital
was made up in energy, industry and perseverance. At first a retail trade
only was contemplated, which was continued some four years, when the rapid
growth of the city and increase of business induced them to open a
wholesale department in the lofts of their store. Subsequently they closed
their retail business and occupied the whole building for their jobbing
trade; but their apartments were soon found to be too strait for their
rapidly growing trade, and in August, 1855, they removed to the large new
store, No. 141, in Clark's Block.
Mr. Alcott has a knowledge of human nature that imparts a keen perception
of the character and motives of men, and hence, almost instinctively knows
whom to trust. He is also quick in forming his judgment, ready in the
adaptation of means to secure an end, vigorously prosecutes his plans, and
seldom fails of a successful issue.
In a young and vigorous country like the United States, where so many
opportunities are offered to ambition and laudable enterprise, and where
too often, everything else but gold is lost sight of, it is refreshing to
find some among our heaviest merchants, who recognize the fact, that man
"cannot live by bread alone." Mr. Alcott, through all his active life has
found time to attend to his religious duties. He has been for a long time
connected with the Second Presbyterian Church, and for many years one of
its elders. He was formerly President of the Young Men's Christian
Association; actively engaged in missionary Sunday School work in the
city--taking a lively interest in all Christian labor; a ready and willing
giver toward public improvements, and all benevolent enterprises.
On the evening of Sunday, August 9th, 1857, died, at nearly the ripe age
of eighty-eight, Richard Winslow, the father of the Winslow family that
have filled so important a place in the commercial and shipping history of
Mr. Winslow was born in Falmouth, Maine, September 6th, 1769, being
descended in a direct line from Knelm Winslow, brother of Governor Edward
Winslow, who played so important a part in the early history of Plymouth
colony. In 1812, Mr. Winslow removed to North Carolina, where he lived
for fourteen years, at Ocracoke, becoming largely interested in commerce,
both internal and marine. Soon after his removal to that State, he
married Miss Mary Nash Grandy, of Camden, N. C., who became the mother of
eleven children, of whom but four, N. C., H. J., R. K., and Edward, are now
alive. Mrs. Winslow died October, 1858, having survived her husband a
little over one year.
In 1830, he decided to leave North Carolina and try his fortune in the
West. A preliminary tour of observation brought him to Cleveland, then
lively with business, and more lively still with expectancy of business to
come from the completion of the canal, then in partial operation. Like
many who preceded, and more who followed him, Mr. Winslow was struck with
the natural advantages of Cleveland and concluded to try his fortunes
here. The site of what is now known as the "Winslow warehouse," on the
river, was owned by C. M. Giddings and Captain Belden, and a building was
then in course of erection on it. Mr. Winslow purchased the property. He
had strong faith in the growth of the city, but others did not have it to
the same extent, and he was strongly urged not to attempt business so far
down the river, where it was impossible that trade would ever reach him.
Immediately on concluding his purchase, he went to the eastern cities,
where he purchased a large stock of teas and groceries, which he sent with
his son, N. C., to Cleveland in the Fall. The stock arrived in December and
was at once opened on Superior street, opposite Union lane. In the
following May, Mr. Winslow followed with his family, purchased a lot on
the south-east corner of the Public Square, and contracted with Levi
Johnson for the erection of the house that was occupied by the Winslow
family until the death of Mr. Winslow.
Unlike most of the early settlers in Cleveland, Mr. Winslow came with
capital to invest at once in business, and by prudent management and far
seeing enterprise that capital rapidly increased. He soon became agent for
a line of vessels between Buffalo and Cleveland, and also of a line of
canal boats. The first step toward his own shipping interests here, which
subsequently assumed such proportions, was commenced by building the brig