Peter Chardon Brooks,
of Boston, was the proprietor of large tracts of land in this
portion of the Reserve and this township was held by him until 1814.
He then sold it to Ephraim Brown, of Westmoreland, New
Hampshire and Thomas Howe of Williamstown, Vermont.
Although the purchasers were of nearly the same age, Howe was
Brown's uncle and the playmate of his boyhood. It is
said that the first business transaction between the two took place
when the uncle and the nephew were both less than ten years of age,
and was of a most unique nature. Howe rented a hen of
Brown for the season, and, at the expiration of the time agreed
upon, returned her with half her chickens. Two or three years
after purchasing the township, Howe sold out to Brown,
reserving one thousand acres in the southern part.
THE FIRST SETTLER.
LEMAN FERRY, of
Brookfield, Vermont, started for his new home in the western wilds
about the 10th day of January, 1815, and reached his destination
about the 20th of February following. He started with two
teams, one a sled drawn by two yoke of oxen, the other a sleigh
drawn by a span of horses. The teams conveyed his household
goods and his family. Mr. Ferry was accompanied by his
hired man, Mrs. Ferry was accompanied by his hired man,
Mrs. Ferry, and two sons and three daughters. When west of
Buffalo it was found impracticable to proceed further with the
ox-sled on account of the scantiness of snow. Therefore Mr.
Ferry exchanged the sled for a wagon and continued his journey,
but kept the sleigh along, the horses dragging it over bare ground
much of the way. He entered this township from the northward
guided journey. There was then no house between Rome center
and Bristol township, and no road ...............MORE
TO COME UPON REQUEST
The spring and summer after
Mr. Ferry's settlement a number of others came and began
improving their farms, and a few brought their families during that
year. In the spring of 1815 Willard Crowell, Israel
Proctor, Samuel Eastman, and David Comstock came to this
township from Vermont on foot.
EPHRAIM BROWN, from
Cheshire county, New Hampshire, was one of the first settlers and
most prominent citizens. He settled at the center in 1815, in
a log cabin built a short time previously by Major Howe.
The site of the cabin is now covered by the residence of his son,
E. A. Brown. Ephraim Brown married Mary B. Huntington,
and at the time of their arrival in the township their family
consisted of four children; five were afterwards born to them.
The names of the children were Ephraim Alexander, George W.,
Mary, Charles, Elizabeth H., James M., Marvin H., Fayette, and
Anne F. E. A. Brown now resides upon the old homestead.
He was in business in Pittsburg from 1829 to 1845, principally as a
wholesale dry goods merchant. George W. died in
Bloomfield; Mary (Wing) still lives in the township as
also Elizabeth; Charles died in Georgia in 1880; James
died in Massillon; Marvin resides in Painesville, and
Fayette in Cleveland, Annie F. in Bloomfield.
Ephraim Brown died in 1845, and his widow in 1862. Mr.
Brown was the first postmaster, the first merchant, and the
second justice of the peace. With Major Howe, and
Judge Austin, of Austinburg, he was among the originators of the
Warren and Ashtabula turnpike.
CLISBY was the
second settler at the center, arriving soon after Mr. Brown.
AMASA BIGELOW, a brother of
Mrs. Leman Ferry, settled near Ferry in1816. His son
Elijah made the first improvements upon the place. The
four sons were Daniel, Timothy, Amasa, and Elijah.
Amasa and Elijah did not reside permanently in
Bloomfield. Daniel and Timothy passed their
lives here. One daughter, Jemima, married John Weed.
SAMUEL EASTMAN was an
early settler in the northern part of the township west of the
turnpike. He married Sophia Meecham, of Greene
township. He was a most eccentric character.
AND CYRIL GREEN
came to the township
in 1815, and settled on lot forty-six. Jared was then
unmarried. Cyril married Polly Sherman and she
came with him. Cyril lived until 1874, when he died in
his eighty-first year. He was favorably known as an
enterprising, public-spirited man. Two years after the arrival
of Jared and Cyril Green, their father, Jared Green,
came out and settled. Besides the two above mentioned, his
sons were Charles, Noah, Marcus, and Archibald.
Charles returned East; Jared, Jr., moved north;
Archibald is still a resident of the township. One
daughter, Julia (Whitcomb) moved away.
In 1817 THOMAS
Williamstown, Vermont, brought his family to this township, and
settled in the southern part on lot eighty-five. He was born
in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, in 1799, and in early life was a
merchant. He carried on that business successfully a number of
years in Williamstown. His wife, Clarissa, was born in
Woodstock, Connecticut. Both were esteemed and honored
throughout their lives. They had five children, all born in
Vermont- Clarissa (Wilder), Thomas M., Dr. George W., Nancy
(Green), and William H. Thomas M. and Mrs. Green
are dead. The others all reside in Bloomfield. There was
not a death in the Howe family until the youngest child was
forty-six years old. Thomas M. lived in Pittsburg, and
represented his district in Congress several terms. Dr.
George W. has been a Representative to the Legislature,
following in the footsteps of his father, and has held other
HEZEKIAH HOWE came
from Vermont in company with Asa Works, in 1817, and settled
on lot sixty-five, where he still lives. He is now in the
ninety-sixth year of his age. None of his sons now reside in
ASA WORKS settled in
1817, where his only son Nelson now resides, on lot
AARON SMITH, about
1816, settled in the south of the township. Soon after his
arrival he built a frame house, the first in the township. It
is still standing, but has been removed to Bristol. Mr.
Smith's only child, a daughter, married Leonard Osborn
and lives in Michigan.
MAYHEW CROWELL settled about a half a mile north of the center in 1815. His
wife, Mehitabel (Howe) Crowell, died Sept. 20, 1817, being
the first death in the township. Her daughter, Harriet
was the first child born in the township. The Crowell
family included five sons, and three daughters, who arrived at
mature years. All are now dead. Their names were as
follows: Willard, Obadiah, Henry, Thomas, Roswell, Mehitabel
(Bellows), Mercy and Mary (Butler). Charles Thayer
settled in the northwest of the township about the year 1816.
None of the family now remain in Bloomfield. One son, Hiram,
resides in Bristol.
JOHN BELLOWS, about
the same time, located one mile northwest of the center. One
of his sons, Dr. Bellows, now resides in Michigan.
William moved to Chagrin Falls. None are left here.
The elder Mr. Bellows engaged in brickmaking quite early.
His brother Benjamin resided a while in this township.
This, we believe,
about completes mention of the Vermont families who made the early
Later, a number of English families established homes
in the township. This class now forms more than half the
population. They are industrious thrifty, and excellent
Mr. William Haine was among the first of the
English settlers of the township, and still resides here.
ORGANIZATION OF FIRST OFFICERS.
ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
TREED BY WOLVES.
TRAPPING A BEAR.
HOWE'S DOG ARGUS.
RESCUE OF SLAVES
As the people of Bloomfield
were returning home from church one quiet Sabbath afternoon in the
month of September, 1823, a negro with a woman and two children was
seen on the turnpike. They appeared nearly worn out with much
travel and almost ready to lie down and die. Those who saw
them supposed, of course, that they were fugitive slaves, but
communicated their suspicions to no one. About dark three men,
the slave-owner, his son, and an attendant, rode up to the door of
the tavern in the village, and inquired if the negroes had been
seen. They were informed that they had gone on a short
distance. The landlord advised the strangers to tarry with him
all night, as they could easily overtake the objects of their
pursuit in the morning. Having traveled very far that day and
being much wearied, they consented. The slave-hunters retired
early, asking the landlord to call them as early as possible in the
morning. When it became known in the village that
slave-hunters were at the tavern, the greatest excitement prevailed.
The will to have the negroes escape was strong, and 'Squire Brown,
hacked by the public sentient of almost the entire community devised
a plan to effect this result. He sent his covered wagon and a
party of willing men, under cover of darkness, to overtake the
runaways. About twelve miles from Bloomfield, in Rome,
Ashtabula county, they learned that the objects
of their search had been secreted in a certain house. They
rode up to it, and on making known their object to its owner, were
repulsed and ordered off his premises. Considerable
expostulation and explanation ensued before he could be made to
understand that their mission was a friendly one. But when
satisfied of the sincerity of their intentions he allowed the
Bloomfield men to take the negro family into the wagon. They
then conveyed them south a short distance to a tavern kept by a
Mr. Crowell, with a barn standing back of it in a field.
Into this barn the wagon was driven and the doors securely closed.
Now let us go back to the Bloomfield tavern.
Morning dawned, but for some inexplicable(?) reason the landlord and
his family were not awake as soon as usual. In fact, the first
to awake and arouse the household was the slave-owner. The
landlord apologized; didn't know when such a thing as his
oversleeping had happened before; said he was much ashamed of
himself; and so on. He tried to dress, but one boot was
missing. After much search it turned up in some unusual place.
Then he proceeded to the barn; the door was locked and he had left
the key in the house. Back to the house and then to the barn;
the key didn't fit, and much time was wasted in unlocking the door.
At length this was accomplished, and the horses were led out.
Another discovery - each animal had lost a shoe and besides the hoof
of one of them was badly broken. The owners thought the shoes
of the horses were all right the night before; at least they had not
noticed that any were missing. But they were missing now -
that was evident, and the services of the village blacksmith were
required before the impatient Virginians could proceed on their
journey. Mr. Barnes, the smith, was not at his shop,
and it required some time to hunt him up. Usually he was at
his post early - a model of promptness. After he was found he
had trouble in unlocking the door, and succeeded poorly in making a
fire. He had not a nail in his shop, and used his last shoes
in a job which he did the previous Saturday evening. Nails and
shoes had to be made, but the blacksmith appeared in no hurry.
At last the horses were shod, and about 9 o'clock the slave hunters
started off. About noon they drove up to the tavern in front
of the barn where the wagon and the fugitives were. Through
the cracks in the barn the happy negro family saw their pursuers
start on. A little later the covered wagon emerged from
its hiding place and returned to Bloomfield. Under the
direction of 'Squire Brown a shelter for the fugitives had
been prepared - a rude camp constructed between the roots of two
upturned trees. Here the negroes remained being supplied with
food by the kind-hearted people of Bloomfield until all danger was
past. Then there were brought to a log cabin near the center,
where they resided for some time, the man being employed by
'Squire Brown. At length they were put on a vessel at
Ashtabula harbor and reached Canada in safety.
When the slave-hunters returned to Bloomfield, after a
fruitless search north of this place, they were arrested on a
warrant charging them with having run a toll-gate north of Warren.
Supposing that the objects of their pursuit would take the State
road to Painesville instead of continuing on up the pike, they had
paid toll only to the former road. They were fined five
dollars each and costs. The village tavern-keeper refused to
admit them, or to feed their horses. Some malicious
mischief-maker removed the hair from the tails and mains of the
horses while the owners of the team were at 'Squire Kimball's
house, and pinned to one of the saddles a notice containing the
For sincerely we swear
That if again here
You ever appear,
We'll give you the coat
Of a Tory to wear.
This slave rescue was the
first of a series of similar acts in which prominent citizens of
Bloomfield took an active part. After the underground railroad
was put in operation, it received sympathy and support fro the good
people of this region. Though there was hostility to the
Abolitionists, and though liberal rewards were offered for the
return of slaves to their owners, there never was, so far as known,
an instance in which a runaway was betrayed.
The first Child born
in this township was Harriet Crowell. The first male
child was Charles Thayer.
The first death was that of Mrs.
Crowell, in 1817; the second, that of Mrs. Hannah Brown,
Apr. 28, 1818.
The first marriage ceremony was performed by Lyman
Potter, Esq., of Bristol, in uniting John Weed and
The first sermon was preached by Mr.
Cole, missionary, in Ferry's cabin in 1815. Mr. Badger,
Congregationalist, preached soon after. The first sermon by a
Methodist minister was preached in 1817 by Rev. Ira Eddy, in
Mr. Thayer's house. Before any church was organized
persons of different denominations united in holding meetings, where
professors of religion offered prayer, and in the absence of a
minister sermons were read and hymns were sung by those attending.
THE FIRST STORE.
THE VILLAGE HOTEL.
This township has sent the
following men to the Legislature in the order named: Thomas
Howe, 1819; Ephraim Brown, Augustus Otis, George W.
Hoe, and J. K. Whig. Some of them served several
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
THE DISCIPLES' CHURCH.
The chief burying place in
this township is the cemetery near the center. One acre of
ground was given to the township by 'Squire Brown, and
additional ground has since been purchased. The cemetery is a
beautiful spot, thickly shaded by evergreens and other ornamental
trees. Interments were made at an early day, and here repose
the pioneers, their life struggles ended.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool, sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
In the northern part of the township, a small piece
of land was purchased and laid out as a graveyard. But few
interments have been made here.
stores, William C. Savage, D. W. Smith, and J. W. Haine.
Post-office, George W. Howe. Harness shop, R.
Welchman. Manufacturer of wind-mills, H. F. Headley.
Cheese factories: Center Brook factory,
center, Kincaid & Little. Clover Hill factory, north
part of the township, George E. Haine.
Steam saw-mills: Russell &
Ackley, east of the center, and A. Canfieldin the north.
Hay-bailing: Steets & Davis, eat of the
ROAD AND RAILROAD FACILITIES.
HON. THOMAS HOWE
DR. G. W. HOWE
WILLIAM H. HOWE
JOHN SAGER was born
Apr. 12, 1810, in Bristol township. His father, William,
was an early settler in Trumbull county. Mr. John
Sager spent his entire life in Bristol and Bloomfield townships.
He came to the latter in 1835 and settled upon the farm where his
widow and daughter now live. The farm was formerly owned by
George Norton. The many improvements now apparent
have all been made by Mr. Sager. He was married
Apr. 12, 1835, to Miss Louisa Moffat, daughter of
Hosea Moffat, of Bristol township. She was born
July 11, 1816, in Orleans county, New York. They have had
seven childrenóMary, Martin, Sarah, Albert,
Edwin, Sophronia, and Ella. Mr.
Sager died Apr. 2, 1881. Martin was killed at
Malvern Hill, Virginia, July 28, 1864. He was in company A,
Sixth Ohio cavalry. Sophronia died Dec. 20, 1850. Ellen
died May 29, 1871. Mr. John Sager was a member of the
Disciple church, also Mrs. Sager and children.
ISRAEL O. PROCTOR
JOSEPH KNOWLES WING
[ PORTRAIT OF EPHRM BROWN ]
[ PORTRAIT OF MARY __ BROWN ]
WILLIAM C. SAVAGE
ARTHUR V. CROUCH
L. WELLINGTON MEARS
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