OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

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Welcome to
ASHTABULA COUNTY, OHIO
History & Genealogy


Source:  
History of Plymouth, Litchfield, Connecticut,
Publ.

SKETCH of PLYMOUTH, OHIO
Originally Settled by Families from Plymouth, Conn.
Re-Union of Descendants, now Numbering about 400, June 25, 1895.
Who The Pioneers Were.
(Note:  The rest of this volume will eventually be found in Litchfield Co., Connecticut)

CHAPTER XV.
PLYMOUTH, OHIO.
Pg. 426

Offshoot of Its Namesake in Connecticut and the First Episcopal Parish in the State of Ohio - Descendants of These Early Settlers, Numbering Four Hundred or More, Organize Themselves as the "Mann, Blakeslee and Seymour Re-union Association."

     A GLANCE at the man of Ohio, will convince any one, that the early settlers of that state were an unusually loyal, patriotic body of men.  The larger number of counties are named directly after the heroes of the Revolution, in grateful remembrances of their noble self-sacrificing labors.  The first settlement in Ohio was named Washington, and the county seat called Mariette, in honor of Marie Antoinette, the beautiful Queen of France.  Among the prominent counties are Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Fayette, Carroll, Hancock, Jackson, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Wayne, Starke, Adams, Warren, Henry, and others, all names recorded in history, and held in sincere regard by every lover of his country.
     The Western Reserve, comprising about 325,000,000 acres, was sold by the State of Connecticut, to a syndicate of her sons, for a sum about equal to the cost of building the viaduct across the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland.  The early settlers of New Connecticut, as the Reserve was called, were nearly all New England men and women, bred to labor, economical, frugal, industrious, patient, intelligent, God fearing, believing in schools, college, churches, and liberty protected by law.  The growth of the Reserve was slow, until after the war 1812, when it became the homes of tens of thousands of emigrants.  The character of the early settlers gave promise of a secure future of the new colony, which time has fully redeemed.  It is probably true, beyond question, that at this moment, the Western Reserve, for its extent and population, it not surpassed in any country, for the thrift, general prosperity, public and private morality, and high standard of education of its people.  In 1806, the Reserve contained about six thousand souls, and was divided into two counties.  In 1895, it had ten counties, and nearly a million inhabitants.
     In 1811-12, several families went from Plymouth, Conn., and settled in South Ashtabula.  The name of the township was soon after changed to Plymouth, in compliance with the wises of the original settlers.  Nearly all the early emigrants were Episcopalians, and their first worship was by lay-reading, led by Zadoc Mann, who presided, until the arrival of Rev. Roger Searle, their former minister in Plymouth, who held service in the house of Hal Smith first, on Feb. 19, 1817,and immediately followed the organization of "The Parish of St. Peter's Church, Ashtabula." the first Episcopal denomination in the State of Ohio.  Mr. Searle named the parish after the one he had formerly presided over in Plymouth.
     As near as can be learned, at this late date, the families that went from Plymouth, Conn., were those of Zadoc Mann, Warner Mann, John Blakeslee, Asher Blakeslee, Lynus Hall, Titus Seymour, Dr. David Warner and Elias Cook Upson.  There were, doubtless, others.
     Originally, Plymouth Township was included in the limits of Ashtabula, and it was not until Jan. 7, 1838, that the territory was, by order of the County Commissioners, detached from that township, and created a new one, to be known as Township No. 12, of the third range.

     On July 4, 1838, the township was regularly organized and these officers elected: Samuel Burnet, Andrew Wiley, and William Stewart, trustees; Levi P. Blakeslee, township clerk; Bennett Seymour, treasurer; Elias Cook Upson and William Foster, overseers of poor; Joseph Mann, James Hall and Solomon A. Simons, Elias C. Upson and Merritt M. Mann, supervisors.  The first Justice of the Peace, was Warner Mann who was elected on the 9th day of November, 1838, his commission bearing date Nov. 26, 1838.  This election was held at the house of the justice elect.  Warner Mann was succeeded by Josiah Allen, and he, by Wells Blakeslee.  Previous to the expiration of Warner Mann's commission, however, a second justice was ordered for the township, and Daniel Hubbard was the first to fill the office.  Levi P. Blakeslee succeeded him, and was in turn succeeded by Samuel Burnet.
    
The township was originally owned by Nehemiah Hubbard, of Middletown, Middlesex County, Conn., Hon. Matthew Hubbard, who located in Ashtabula in 1804, being agent for the proprietor.
     The first settlement, within the present limits of the township, were as follows:  In 1804 or 1805, Wm. Thompson and Thomas McGahhe, with their family, located on lot number five.  In the spring of 1806, Samuel White began improvements on two hundred acres, upon the north line of the township.  Fitz's woolen factory was subsequently established on this lot, which was later owned by Ezra Bunnell.  David Burnet settled on lot number twelve, also in the spring of 1806.  This lot was afterwards owned by Wells Blakeslee; then Oliver Gary became occupant.  Both White and Burnet came from Hubbard, Trumbull County.  in 1807, Thomas Gordon purchased two hundred and forty acres, in lot number six, and in the spring of 808, took possession of the same with his family.  William Foster, of Sacket's Harbor, New York, arrived in the township in 1810, locating on lot number ten.  His mode of transit was by a small boat to Ashtabula; at Niagara Falls, he hired a team to haul his boat some seven miles around the falls.  Captain Moses Hall emigrated from Connecticut in 1811, and began the life of a pioneer on the northwest corner lot.
     The first log house was erected in 1804 or 1805, on lot number five, by William Thompson, the oldest inhabitant, who removed from the township in1807.  The First orchard was planted by Samuel White, in the spring of 1807.  It was located on his farm, near the pond, and consisted of forty trees.  They first bore fruit in 1811, which was, without doubt, the first produced within the territory composing the townships of Plymouth and Ashtabula.  Capt. Moses Hall was the owner of the orchard at this time, and it is said he distributed nearly the entire yield of the orchard, among the sick of the township.
     Upon the first settlement of the Plymouth pioneers, the only road was the "girdled" one, laid out by the Connecticut Land Company, running form Kelloggsville, via Sheffield, through Plymouth and west through Saybrook, Austinburg, etc., terminating at or near Cleveland.  The first road road authorized by the county commissiones, after Plymouth became a separate township, was in June, 1842, which began on the Jefferson and Ashtabula road, at William Willard's northeast corner, thence east on lot lines to Denmark road.  March, 1844, another road was surveyed, running from William Stewart's, northeast and north, to the road south of Amos Moses, in Kingsville.  March, 1850, the last one was established from the southwest corner of the township, north to the turnpike, and from the west line of the township, at the northwest corner of lot number eighty, easterly to the plank road.
     Much of the western portion of the township is of high rolling ground, while in the southern part extensive marshes prevail, the largest of which is some three miles in length, and averaging, perhaps, three quarters of a mile in width; its waters, flowing westerly, are discharged into Grand River, in Austinburg.  South of the "big marsh," lie two smaller ones, which are separated by a natural roadway, over which the mail was carried to Jefferson, until the opening of the Franklin division of the Lake Shore Railroad.  The waters of these two marshes flow, one easterly, into Ashtabula Creek, the other westerly into Grand River.
     The streams, aside from Ashtabula Creek, which forms a portion of the northern boundary of the township, are Hubbard's Run, which rises principally from springs in Saybrook, and forms another part of the northern boundary, uniting with Ashtabula Creek, about one mile southeast of the Village of Ashtabula (known as the West Gulf).  Smith Creek, which heads in the southern part of the township, runs easterly, uniting with the waters of "Little Marsh," and finally reaches Ashtabula Creek in Sheffield.
     The first marriage occurred in 1810, at the residence of Captain Manoah Hubbard, the contracting parties being his daughter, Miss Julia and Walker Richmond, of New York.  The first white child born in Plymouth, was a son of David Burnet, in1807, and the first death was, without doubt, a widow lady named Hanan, who diedin the spring of 1807.  The first school house was built in the summer of 1810.  It was of logs and stood in the "hollow," a short distance south of the present cemetery, on the farm formerly owned by Asher Blakeslee, and the first school taught therein, was in the succeeding winter.


St. Matthew's Parsonage

and Warner Mann.  There were twelve scholars in attendance, the parents paying each his share of the teacher's salary, which was, undoubtedly, a trifling sum.  The first saw mill was erected in 1809, by Thomas Gordon, on the site where, afterwards, was located a woolen mill.  In the spring of 1831, Emmerson Gibbs put in operation, a carding machine, and in the fall of the same year, cloth-dressing machinery.  The next season, a mill for grinding corn, was placed in the same building.  In 1839 this site was purchased by Messrs. Hubbel and Kenney, and a woolen factory, of one hundred and eighty spindles, established.  This was destroyed by fire on the night of Dec. 24, 1847.  The first frame house was built by Captain Moses Hall, on the northwest corner lot, and the first frame school house was erected in the spring of 1817, by subscription; its location was some three quarters of a mile north of the Center (known as the Chapel).
     The first church organization, was that of the Episcopal denomination.  However, services were held by all denominations, from the time of the first settlements, at the houses of the settlers, and at the frame school house, or chapel, mentioned above.  There are now two fine church edifices in the township:  St. Mathew's Episcopal, which is located some half mile east of the Center, erected in 1841, and the Methodist at the Center, which was not finished till, perhaps, 1874.  The first post office, and, in fact, the only one in the township, was established June 16, 1846.  William Warner Mann was the first postmaster, serving twelve years.  The first store was established in 1849, by William W. Mann, in a building, then standing between the school house and the residence of Charles Wright.  Mr. Mann continued in business some ten years in Plymouth, removing first to East Ashtabula, where he engaged in the mercantile business, for two years more, and then moved to the corner of Center and Park streets, Ashtabula.  In 1824, and for the five years subsequently, he was engaged as mail-boy for the "Recorder," published in Ashtabula, which paper was, probably, the first one published in Ashtabula County.  Peter LaGrange also conducted a store in Plymouth for some years.  Plymouth has been largely devoted to the manufacture of butter and cheese, principally by individuals.
    During the Rebellion, Plymouth sent many of her brave sons to the front in support of the flag and defense of the integrity of the nation, having representatives in the "Glorious old Twenty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry," the "One Hundred and Fifth," the "One Hundred and Twenty-fifth," "Eleventh New York Battery," and other organizations.  They gave to their State and the Union, their bravest efforts, and much of their best blood.
     Much of the above information has been copied from teh History of Ashtabula County, and the author is also greatly indebted to Mrs. Ellen S. Lockwood for other facts presented in this sketch.  Of her own family Mrs. Lockwood writes as follows:  My mother was born in Plymouth, Conn., March 2, 1825, and here I was born October 17, 1845.  My grandmother died July 21, 1860, and my grandfather in March, 1879.  The old house is still owned by my parents and is in a good state of preservation, the frame apparently as good as ever.  My parents celebrated their golden wedding May 19, 1892."
     Mrs. Hannah Maria Graham McNutt, who now keeps the post office, relates, that in 1820, Harry Graham and wife, and one child, came to Plymouth, Ohio.  Mrs. Graham's name was Elizabeth Miller, from New York State.  Mr. Graham was born in Philadelphia, and went to Canada.  They both came to Ashtabula at the same time, before they were married, in a boat owned by him, and located in Plymouth in 1818, two miles from any inhabitants, in the woods, on the same ground that is now occupied as a station, on the Jamestown and Franklin Division of the Lake Shore Railroad.  All the goods they had were drawn in on a hand sled.  He payed for his farm by clearing two acres for one, and had the first crop of wheat.  Zadoc Mann, owned 900 acres of land here, heavily timbered, which he bought for twenty-five cents an acre.  He gave each of his children a farm, gave ground for a church lot and sold the balance in that way.  All the music they had in those days, was the howling of the wolves, and the mother's cradle song.  They fed the wild turkeys, by raising the back window and throwing out corn.  Mrs. McNutt, today, cooks diner in the same kettle that her father and mother brought from Canada, in the boat with them, in 1818.

     Of the original settlers from Plymouth, Conn., or their descendants, the following notices have been copied:
     WILLIAM WARNER, son of Warner Mann, born in Ashtabula, Ohio, June 22, 1813, died May 24, 1880.  Grandson of Zadoc.
     Elias Cook Upson, born in Waterbury, Conn., Dec. 16, 1797; married Orra, daughter of Bella Blakeslee, Mar. 31, 1824; died March, 1879.  He was a Mason over fifty-four years, and took charge of the church over forty years, without pay.
     Merrit L. Satterlee, son of Clara Blakeslee Satterlee, born in Connecticut, went to Chicago in 1836, died Jan. 28, 1894.
     Died in Plymouth, Ohio, Sept. 10, 1894 - Mrs. Clara Casady, daughter of the late Stephen and Amanda Mann, and granddaughter of Joseph Mann, wife of Charles Casady, aged forty-four years.
     In Ashtabula, 11th inst. (year unknown), Henry Jude Blakeslee Seymour, son of Titus Seymour, aged seventy-three years.
     Hon. Andrew W. Mann, son of Warner Mann (by first wife), born in Plymouth, Ohio, Sept. 4, 1845, and died at his home, in Burr Oak, Kansas, May 9, 1890.  He was a member of Company C, 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was transferred from the Army to the Navy in 1864; served nine months on the monitor, Winnebego, and three months on the Circassian.
     Robert Seymour died Mar. 25, 1875, aged eighty years.  Melissa, his wife, died Feb. 1, 1863, aged seventy-four years.
     Asher Blakesleee died Jun. 4, 1831, aged sixty years.  Charlotte his wife, died May 13, 1818, in the thirty-seventh year of her age.
     Collins Wetmore died July 14, 1859, aged seventy-two years.  Maria Wetmore died Dec. 15, 1880, aged eighty-four years and six days.
     Amanda Mann died Aug. 30, 1853, aged sixty-four years.
     Zadock Mann died Sept. 29, 1846, aged eighty-seven years.  Hannah, his wife, died Jan. 21, 1846, aged seventy-six  years.
     Esther, his first wife, died July 9, 1825, aged sixty-six years.
     Clara Blakeslee Satterlee died Apr. 30, 1874, aged eighty-two years.
     Warner Mann, born Feb. 16, 1784, died May 27, 1858.
     Died in Plymouth, Ohio, May 15, 1892, Mrs. Amanda Mann, the widow of the late Stephen Mann (son of Joseph), and daughter of Mrs. Clara Blakeslee Satterlee, aged seventy-one years, two months and nineteen days.
     In Plymouth, Ohio, 10th inst. Mrs. Sophia G. Mann, second widow of Joseph Mann, aged ninety-six years.
     Died at McGregor, Iowa, July 19, 1883, Mrs. Amanda Mann Matthews, wife of Isaac Matthews, and daughter of Warner Mann  She died on her fifty-sixth birthday.
     Died in Ashtabula 20th inst., of paralysis, Frances A., widow of Garwood Blakeslee, aged 69 years.
     In Plymouth, O., Feb. 20, Mrs. Olive Lewis, widow of Wm. Lewis and daughter of Bela Blakeslee, aged eighty-one years.  Mrs. Esther R., his wife, died Aug. 20, 1865, aged seventy-five years.  Emigrated from Plymouth, Conn., in 1813.
     In Plymouth, O., Oct. 11, 1865, Lucy C., wife of Darius Van Slyke, and daughter of Elias Cook Upson, aged twenty-nine years; also on the 15th inst., an infant daughter, aged nine days.
     In Plymouth, O., Sept. 30, 1862, Chauncey Blakeslee, son of John Blakeslee, aged thirty-nine years.  Died in Plymouth, O., Dec. 23, 1880, Mrs. Lucy Blakeslee Ross, a daughter of John Blakeslee, aged about sixty-five years, widow of the late Felix Ross.
     Died in East Ashtabula, Dec. 15, 1880, Maria Mann, daughter of Zadoc Mann, and relict of the late Collins Wetmore, aged eighty-four years.
     In East Ashtabula, O., May 30, 1880, Minerva, wife of Collins E. Mann (son of Joseph), aged fifty-seven years.
     In Ashtabula, O., Oct. 1, 1880, Mrs. Rebecca F. Mann, the late relict of Wm. Warner Mann, aged seventy-one years and six months.
    
In Plymouth, O., Feb. 4, 1884, Mrs. Lucy C. Mann, wife of Hiram E. Mann, aged sixty-seven years (formerly Lucy C. Judd of Connecticut.)
     Died in Lenox, O., Feb. 13, 1886, Mrs. Helen Harper Graham, granddaughter of Joseph Mann, and wife of Joseph Graham.
  
  Died at Independence, Iowa, Oct. 6, 1895, Mr. Cassius Mann Matthews only son of Isaac and the late Amanda Mann Matthews, aged fifty-one years.
     Died in Plymouth, O., Nov. 5, 1895, Edgar Orson, son of Orson H. and Mary Mann, aged thirty-one years.  Died in Plymouth, O., Dec. 6, 1895, aged seventy-seven years, Mrs. Julia Mann Seymour, widow of the late Wm R. Seymour; she was a daughter of Joseph Mann and sister of Austin and Orson Mann, of Plymouth; she was the mother of ten children, seven of whom survive her.    

RE-UNION OF THE DESCENDANTS OF PLYMOUTH, CONN., FAMILIES.

     Of the families that went from Plymouth, Conn., in 1813, there are now some 400 descendants of the Manns, Blakeslees, and Seymours.  It was decided to hold a re-union of those living June 20, 1895, at Woodland Beach Park, near Ashtabula, Ohio.  It was not as largely attended as could be wished, on account of the heavy rain which commenced quite early in the day and continued far into the night, thus making it impossible for many to get there.  A goodly number, however, were on hand early, and although the rain made it unpleasant in some respects, the affair as a grand success.  There were about 150 or more people present, of which were recorded 119 names of relatives.


FIRST STORE and POST OFFICE

     The occasion was indeed a very pleasant one.  After some time spent in visiting, dinner was served, which was truly bountiful and excellent.  Dinner was followed by a business meeting, R. O. Rote of Geneva, being chairman of the meeting, and Francis Atwater of Meriden, Conn., acting as secretary.  After a few brief remarks, the Mann, Blakeslee and Seymour Re-union Association was duly organized, and the following officers were elected: President, William Seymour; vice president, Mrs. Maria Seymour Ticknor; secretary, Mrs. Ellen S. Mann Lockwood; treasurer, Fred W. Blakeslee.
      A committee of three, on date of next meeting, were elected.  After which came the reading of letters from absent ones.
     The first was from Bela Blakeslee Satterlee, of Plymouth, Conn., containing a goodly number of "Town Orders" given to different men.  Among them were Zadoc Mann, Titus Seymour, Abel Seymour, Jude Blakeslee, Bela Blakeslee, Asher Blakeslee, Aaron Dunbar, and others and bearing date from 1793 to 1809, signed by Gen. Daniel Potter, Capt. Oliver Stroughton, Samuel Blakeslee, Elijah Warner and others, "Selectmen of the town."
     Then came a letter from Isaac Matthews, of McGregor, Iowa, in which he gave a brief description of the town of Plymouth, Ohio, from 1835 to 1850, speaking of many of the pioneers who have passed to the great beyond, but are not forgotten.
     A postal card from Mrs. Olive Mann Isbell, was read, expressing many regrets that she could not attend, sending congratulations and messages of love to all.
     A very excellent letter from Austin W. Buffum of Tecumseh, Nebraska, in which a desire to be remembered, is earnestly expressed; also a letter from Mr. and Mrs. George W. Buffum, with regrets that distance would not allow their attendance.  One from Mrs. Betsey Gordon of Plymouth, Conn.  Postal from Mrs. Emma Satterlee Fuller of Cleveland.  A letter from Mr. Geo. Satterlee of Chicago, in which ill health prevented attendance.  Letters from L. W. and John H. Mann of Ocala, Fla., with best wishes to all.  A letter from Mrs. Eleanor Paine was noticed, wishing to know if Milton Phelps was yet alive.
     Others were from Carlos A. Mann, of Portland, Oregon, and Mr. Henry Seymour of Waupacca, Wis., all of which tell of the love that binds us together in kindred affection.
     Those present were:
     Mrs. Ellen S. Mann Lockwood, Plymouth, Ohio
     Mrs. Frankie Mann Warner and one child, Mr. Wilber Warner, Mrs. O. H. Mann, Orson H. Mann, son of Joseph, Mrs. Edgar O. Mann, and two children, Edgar O. Mann, grandson of Joseph, Plymouth, O.
     Mr. and Mrs. O. Perry Mann, son of Merrit, Miss Flora M. Mann, Frank L. Mann, Charles T. Mann, Earl T. Mann, Plymouth, O.
     James L. Flint, 221 West Prospect street, Ashtabula, O.; Mrs. Esther Mann Flint, daughter of B. P. Mann; George Porteus Flint, Estella M. Flint, Sarah Flint, James Beilby Flint.
     Milan M. Seymour,
 Walter Seymour, 276 Euclid avenue, grandchildren of Wm. R. Seymour, Cleveland, O.
     Merrick J. Seymour, son of Wm. R. Seyour; Mrs. Harriet Blakeslee Seymour, daughter of L. P. Blakeslee, John Mann Seymour, William Merrick Seymour, Plymouth, O.
     Miss Lucy E. Topper, Ford Porteus Topper, grandchildren of B. Porteus Mann, East Plymouth, O.
     Mrs. Mary Castle Fulkerson, daughter of Electa Mann Castle, and granddaughter of Joseph Mann, and daughter, Mrs. Adell Fulkerson Smith, D. S. Fulkerson, Geneva, O.
     Fred W. Blakeslee, son of Garwood Blakeslee, Mrs. Fred W. Blakeslee, and two sons, Ashtabula, O.
     Norman Colby and child, Mrs. Estella Amidon Colby, daughter of Emily Seymour Amidon, daughter of Julia Seymour, daughter of Joseph Mann.  H. C. DeGroodt, and Mrs. Mattie Amidon Degroodt, Chauncey Amidon and son, Moses.  Mrs. Emily Seymour Amidon, Ashtabula, O.
     Austin W. Mann, son of Joseph Mann, Ashtabula, O.
     Frank E. Harmon and wife, Mrs. Emeline Seymour Hrmon, who great grandfather was Zadoc, grandfather Warner, on her mother's side; her mother was Sevea Mann, her grandmother was Amanda Mann, wife of Warner, and daughter of Bela Blakeslee, and granddaughter of Jude.  Mrs. Harmon's father was Bennett, son of Titus Seymour, and his mother was Sevea Blakeslee; so she is directly related to all three families - Manns, Blakeslees and Seymours.
     James White
, whose mother was Fannie, daughter of Zadoc Mann, had with him his daughter and one child; her name as Lucy White Harvey.
     Mrs. Hobart Blakeslee, (Hobart
, son of John), Miss Lucy Blakeslee, Charles Blakeslee, Mrs. Charles Blakeslee, Ashtabula, O.
     William Seymour (son of Robert), Mrs. William Seymour, Ashtabula, O.
     Frank Harper, son of Loyd Mann Harper, son of Betsy Mann Harper, daughter of Joseph, East Plymouth, O.

     Allen H. Morgan, son of Julia Mann Morgan, daughter of Wm. Warner Mann; Mrs. Hattie Morgan and children - Grace, Tommy, Hazel, Jasper, Howard, Morgan - East Plymouth, O.
     Mrs. Julia Blair, granddaughter of Henry Jude Blakeslee Seyour, Ashtabula, O.
     Oliver Perry, Clayton Perry, Mrs. Flora Ticknor Perry,  daughter of Maria Seymour Ticknor, Grigg's Corners, O.
     Miss Mae Mann daughter of Watson E. Mann, son of Beilby Porteus Mann, son of Warner, son of Zadoc, Ashtabula, O.
     Kate Seymour, Alice Seymour, Clarence Seymour, children of Rev. Edward Seymour, supposed to be relatives - cannot trace readily.
     Elder Edwin Dibell, claims distant relationship to one of Great Grandfather Zadoc Mann's wives, Kingsville, O.
     Frank E. Mann, son of Austin, son of Joseph, Plymouth, O.; Wilfred M. Mann, son of Austin, son of Joseph; Mrs. Mira I. Mann, wife of Wilfred, and daughter of Beilby Porteus Mann, and children - Grace Minerva, Ethel Lorena, George Kenneth Mann - East Plymouth, O.
     Frank Layton Pancost, grandson of B. P. Mann, and so of Ellen Mann Pancost Lockwood; Alice Cary Lockwood, daughter of Ellen S. Lockwood, East Plymouth, O.
     Mrs. Maria Seymour Ticknor, wife of Edmund Ticknor, and daughter of Henry Jude Blakeslee Seymour and granddaughter of Titus Seymour, Maria Mann Wetmore, and Miss Louise Elida Ticknor, Grigg's Corners, Ashtabula, O.
     Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Hine, daughter of H. J. B. Seymour, James Hine, Zoe Hine, Huber Hine, Ashtabula, O.
     Mr. and Mrs. F. B. Ashley, and child, North Richmond, Ashtabula County, O.
     Mrs. Louise Harmon Dickson, (granddaughter of Bennet Seymour, daughter of Emeline Seymour Harmon), and baby, Dorothy Dickson, Charles Clare Dickson, Ashtabula, O.
     Beilby Porteus Mann, John Henry Mann (sons of Warner Mann and grandsons of Zadoc), Plymouth, O.
     John Josiah Morgan (sonof Julia Mann Morgan), East Plymouth, O.
     Reuben Hall (son of Lucy Seymour Hall, daughter of Ziba Seymour, brother of Titus Seymour), Dover, O.  James Hall, 1110 Bloomfield street, Hoboken, New Jersey.
     Byron Mann, Mrs. Charlotte Mann and daughter of Jessie Adella Mann, Cherry Valley, Ashtabula County, O.
     Solomon Phillips, Mrs. Eva Robinson, (daughter of Ruth Mann Phillips, daughter of Warner Mann by second wife), and Gertrude Mann Robinson, Akron, O.
     Francis Atwater, Meriden, Conn.
     L. L. Blakeslee and wife, S. E. Blakeslee and wife, J. A. Blakeslee and wife, Mr. Paden and wife, Mr. Perine, Colebrook, Ashtabula, O.

THE FIRST AMERICAN TEACHER IN CALIFORNIA.


MRS. OLIVE M. ISBELL

     Mrs. Olive Mann Isbell, now living in Santa Paula, Ventura county, was one of the earliest pioneers, and teacher of the first American school in California.  She went from Plymouth, Ohio.
     October 1, 1846, an emigrant train of twenty-one wagons - escorted by Col. John C. Fremont and a detachment of soldiers who had met them at Johnson's ranch - arrived at Sutter's Fort.  Capt. Sutter welcomed them with characteristic cordialty, and did everything possible for their comfort.  This company, commanded by Capt. John Aram and Dr. I. C. Isbell, had left Illinois, in April, for California, with no definite knowledge of its location, except that it was somewhere on the Pacific Coast.  They had made their pathless way over plains, desert and mountains.  By some mischance they failed to meet the Donner party at the Mississippi; passed them at Gravelly Ford; left them there in a quarrel - and thus narrowly escaped their tragic fate.  At Fort Hall they learned from panic-stricken refugees returning to the States that war with Mexico had been declared.  A council was called to decide whether they should go forward or back.  Women cried and begged to be taken home; men were divided in opinion.  "What shall we do, Olive? said Dr. Isbell.  The stout-hearted matron of twenty-two replied. "I started for California, and I want to go on."  That settled it.  Others took heart, and the train went on undivided.  After resting a week at Sutter's Fort, under orders from Fremont, they proceeded to the Santa Clara Mission, 150 miles south, and reached it October 16.  The old adobe building of the Mission was not an inviting shelter to the homesick immigrants, if shelter it could be called at all.  There were no floors but the hard-baked earth, no windows, no fire-places, no escape for smoke, save a hole in the roof.  The ancient walls were infested, and the crumbling tiles let the rain through almost as copiously as it fell outside.  The section assigned them had been previously used for stabling horses.
     Col. Fremont left a few men to protect the women and children, and took all the able bodied to re-inforce his small army, preparing to move southward to join Stockton at San Diego.  Dr. Isbell enlisted as surgeon, and went as for as the Salinas river.  Here he was seized with "emigrant fever" (typhoid pneumonia), which compelled his return to the Mission, where by that time the fever had become epidemic.  The rains came early that year, with strong southwest winds.  There was no physician nearer than St. Jose, and he to be had but once a week.  From their well stocked medicine chest Mrs. Isbell distributed on an average one hundred doses of medicines a day, and for six weeks slept in a chair by her sick husband's side.  They were in any enemy's country, expecting daily to be attacked.  Indications of treachery led them to send a messenger to Capt. Webber and San Jose for additional protection.  He in turn sent to Yerba Buena for Capt. Marsten with a company of twenty-five marines and one cannon drawn on an ox-cart.  The first intimation the immigrants had that help was near was the report of firearms in the distance.  Climbing on the wall they saw the soldiers trying to pull the cannon out of the mud, while the natives, concealed in the chaparral, were firing at them.  Capt. Marsten rode up and asked the loan of a white cloth for a flag of truce; and Mrs. Isbell gave her wedding pocket handkerchief for the purpose.
     In this skirmish two soldiers were wounded: one in the fleshy part of the leg, the other in the head.  Mrs. Isbell and Mrs. Aram dressed the wounds and prepared dinner for the hungry soldiers.  This was the much disputed battle of "Santa Clara,"  as seen by an eye witness.  Mrs. Isbell had spent several nights in cleaning firearms and running bullets- determined, if attached, to aid in the defense.  Another company of soldiers from Santa Cruz arrived soon after.
     The winter was marked by unusual cold and over-abundant rains, and tested the endurance of the settlers.  Four at $8 a barrel was beyound their slender purses, so they subsisted on government rations, glad to be saved from starvation.  The few who kept well were taxed beyond their strength in ministering to the sick, and many died under distressing conditions.
     Near the end of December Mrs. Isbell was persuaded to open a school.  A room fifteen feet square, too dilapidated for any other purpose, was obtained.  It was damp, dark and dirty; and after suffering several days with eyes smarting from smoke, they were obliged to forego the luxury of fire.  The school supplies were limited to a few textbooks, brought by the various families.  A daughter of Capt. Aram, now living in Los Angeles, says she remembers distinctly her struggles with the letter E.  For want of black-board, slates or paper, the teacher printed it on the back of her hand with a led pencil.  There were twenty-five pupils and the term continued two months.  It was the first American school in the State.
     In the Spring of '47 Dr. Isbell and wife went to Monterey, where she was induced to resume her work.  The school opened with twenty-five scholars, but soon increased to fifty-six.  At the close of the term, three months, the teacher left the school-room for ranch life at French Camp.

 

NOTES:

Also see biography of Barrett B. Seymour whose family was of Litchfield Co., Ct. - CLICK HERE
 

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