This is the
northwestern township of Trumbull county, bounded on the
north by Windsor, Ashtabula county, east by Bloomfield,
south by Farmington, and west by Middlefield, Geauga county.
The surface is more variable than that of most townships in
the northern part of the county, east of the center being
low, moist land, while the western and northwestern portions
are high, arable land, composed mostly of a succession of
hills and ridges of moderate elevation. The soil of
Mesopotamia is fertile and well adapted to grazing. It
is also the best wheat land in this part of the country.
The soil, like the surface, varies much. The Grand
River valley is sandy and clayey. The western portion of the
township has but little clay on the surface, and sandy and
gravelly loam predominates.
The principal water-course is the Grand river, which
crosses a small corner of the southeastern part of the
township, and after continuing its windings through
Bloomfield, again enters Mesopotamia north of the center
road, and pursuing a northerly course, passes out a short
distance from the northeast corner of the township.
Grand river is only a small stream in dry weather, but when
it and its branches are swollen by rains it inundates a wide
territory. Swine creek, Plum creek, and Mill creek are the
principal streams flowing into the river. The two
former drain the western and southern portions of the
township, uniting in one stream about a mile and a half
south of the east and west center road, and thence flowing
northward about three miles, where they join the river.
A short distance below the mouth of Swine creek, Mill creek
enters the river from the northwest. Numerous springs
and small creeks supply an abundance of water for stock, and
the fertile meadows are excellent pasture lands for the
The only village in the township is at the center, and
is about the size of the average "center" throughout the
At a meeting held
in the district of Troy the 7th day of April, 1806, the
following officers were chosen: Otis Guild,
chairman; Hezekiah Sperry and Jonathan Higley
judges of election: Ephraim Clark, township
clerk; William Cox, Gager Smith and Jonathan
Higley, trustee; S. D. Sackett and Abraham
Daily, overseers of the poor; Griswold Gillette
and Alpheus Sperry, fence viewers; Isaac Clark,
appraiser and lister; Timothy Alderman, appraiser;
Joseph Alderman, Jr., Amadeus Brooks and William
Reed, supervisors of highways; Griswold Gillette
and Samuel Forward, constables; Ephraim Clark,
After Mesopotamia became independent an election was
held at the center school-house on the 5th day of April, in
the year 1819, and the following officers elected, namely:
Otis Guild chairman; Zimri Baker and Moses
Bundy, judges of election; Addison Tracy, clerk;
Luther Frisby, Moses Bundy, and Elisha Sanderson,
trustees; Reuben Joslin and Job Reynolds,
overseers of the poor; John Sanderson and Amadeus
Brooks, fence viewers; Lucius Frisby,
appraiser and lister; Linus Tracy, appraiser;
Matthew Laird, Job Reynolds, Zimri Baker, Noble Strong, Levi
Pinney, Anson Hatch, and Guien Crawford, supervisors;
Lucius Frisby, constable; Luther Frisby,
This township was
owned principally by Pierpont Edwards of New Haven,
Connecticut, and his son, Colonel John Stark Edwards,
acted as agent for its sale. After the death of the
latter in 1813, Seth Tracy acted in that capacity.
The first settlers
of this township came mainly from Connecticut. Some five or
ten years after their arrival a few Pennsylvania families
came in. At the time of the War of 1812 there were
about a dozen families in Mesopotamia. The growth of
the township was slow, and not until after 1820 was there
any considerable addition to the number of settlers.
The village was also built up very gradually.
owner of the township, through his son, John Stark
Edwards, offered to give one hundred acres of land to
each of the first five men who should purchase land, bring
their families to this township and reside here a certain
number of years (probably five); and to each of the first
five single men who came and resided a like period he would
give fifty acres. John S. Edwards visited the
township in 1799, and put forth this offer on his return to
Connecticut. He thenceforth resided upon the Reserve a
portion of each year up to the time of his death (1813).
From 1800 to 1804 his home was in Mesopotamia. Mr.
Edwards was a graduate of Princeton college. From
1800 to 1813 he was recorder of Trumbull county. Among
those who, as the heads of families, first settled in
Mesopotamia were: Hezekiah Sperry, Otis
Guild, Joseph Noyes, Joseph
Clark, and Seth Tracy. Sperry,
Guild, and Tracy remained permanently, and in due
time came into possession of the hundred-acre gifts.
What other settlers received premiums is no longer certain.
In the fall of
1800, HEZEKIAH SPERRY, his son
Alpheus and his daughters, Martha and Cynthia,
moved in, being the first family. He built the first
cabin, on lot twenty-nine. The following year he
returned to Woodbridge, Connecticut, his former home, and
brought out his wife and the rest of his children. His
cabin was situated upon the present Woodruff farm.
His family consisted of four sons and nine daughters.
Seven of the daughters lived to marry. The sons were:
Alpheus, Hezekiah, Elias, and Lucius,
all of whom lived and died in Mesopotamia. Lucius
never married. The three others reared families, and
some of their descendants are still in the township.
Captain Sperry died in 1833, aged
eighty-eight. His wife died in 1827.
The second arrival
was that of OTIS and LOIS GUILD and
their family. They came from Sharon, Connecticut, to
the Reserve in 1800, and after about one year's residence,
came to Mesopotamia, and located on lot forty-one, near the
center of the township. They had eight children, seven
of whom grew to manhood and womanhood. Two sons and
one daughter are still living. The names of the
children were Jerusha, Oliver, Jairus,
Albert, Charlotte, Oswin, Aurelia,
first, and Anrelia, second. The youngest
youngest daughters died, one at the age of two, and the
other at the age of eighteen. The three now living are
Oswin, and Mrs. Charlotte Sheldon,
Mesopotamia, and Dr. Albert Guild,
took up seven hundred acres of land in lots lying near the
center. On the four acres first cleared the first
orchard in the township was set out about the year 1806, in
rows exactly two rods apart each way. Most of the
trees are still living. They were procured from
Detroit by David Barrett, who made a nursery
on Mr. Tracy's land, and cultivated it until
the trees were large enough to be planted in an orchard.
Seth Tracy was the first justice of the peace
in this section, and a very active man in his day. He
died in 1827 at the age of seventy, and his
wife when eighty-five. The family consisted of seven
children, the youngest of whom was born in Mesopotamia:
Clarissa, Pamelia, Sabrina, Sophia, Adeline,
Linus and Addison. Clarissa
married Griswold Gillette, and died in
Cleveland. Pamelia married Deacon
Horace Loomis, and resided in Mesopotamia. Sabrina
married Horace Wolcott, of Farmington. Sophia
married Dr. John S. Matson, of Mesopotamia. Adeline,
youngest of the family, married Mr. Pelton and
had one child. She died m Cleveland when a young
woman. Excepting her all lived to rear families.
Colonel Linus Tracy, the only survivor,
was born in Massachusetts, Mar. 2, 1794. He married
Betsey Talcott, a native of Massachusetts, who
lived to be seventy-five. She bore five daughters and
two sons, all of whom are still living, two of the daughters
in Mesopotamia and the two sons. One daughter resides
in Madison and two in Cleveland. Mrs. Tracy
died in 1873. Mr. Tracy, when a
young man, entered the store of William Bell,
at Warren, and after a service of six months went into the
store of Judge King, where he remained five
years. In 1818 he bought out Mr. King
and removed the goods to Mesopotamia, where he continued the
business several years. He served as a volunteer in
the War of 1812, six months, and was chosen corporal.
Subsequently (in 1825) he became a colonel of militia.
The manner in which he studied military tactics was
peculiar. While clerking for Judge King
in Warren he procured a manual of military tactics, and had
a hundred wooden figures turned, which he maneuvered upon a
board until he became familiar with all the movements of
troops. He served as lieutenant, major, and colonel of
militia. In the time of the late war he also helped to
train military companies. Both his sons were in the
army. Colonel Tracy is as smart and
active as many men who have not half his age, and is in full
possession of all his faculties, with a vivid recollection
of early events. He is one of the oldest residents of
arrived in the township with his family the 6th of July,
1801, and settled a short distance west of the center.
He had received a liberal education and graduated as a
lawyer. Considerable wealth inherited from his father
soon departed from him and he look to farming in the wilds
of Ohio. After residing here a few years he exchanged
farms with Isaac Clark, of Burton, and went to
that township to live.
In July, 1801, Mr. Sperry harvested a
good crop of wheat upon land which he had improved the
In August, 1801, Mr. Edwards wrote to his
sister, from Mesopotamia, as follows:
My settlement is
doing finely. We have this day had a lecture delivered
by a clergyman. There were about forty people present.
Every part of our country is rapidly increasing in numbers.
You can have no idea of what pleasure is derived from the
improvements that are daily making; every day brings a new
inhabitant; a neighbor opens a new road, raises a new barn,
or begins a new farm. Indeed, the Scripture is
fulfilled where it says, The wilderness shall be made
to blossom as the rose.' Our country does literally
flow with honey. Bees are beyond calculation numerous.
Go into a cornfield m blossom and you are stunned with their
noise. Trees of them are found in every direction.
The rich variety of flowers which our woods afford it would
give you pleasure to see.
DR. JOSEPH CLARK,
the first practicing physician, settled near the center in
1801, but did not long remain.
located in 1804, on the northwest corner of roads crossing
at the center. His sons were Almon and Isaac.
The former died in this township, and the latter in
Bloomfield. His daughters were Electa and
Susan. Electa married Rensselaer Smith, and
lived in Bloomfield.
settled in 1805 on the farm where his son Edmund now
JAMES LAIRD and
family, from Washington county, Pennsylvania, arrived in
this township Apr. 15, 1811, making the thirteenth family in
a Mesopotamia. They lived in a log cabin on toe spot,
until October, 1814, when they removed the present J. H.,
Laird farm, lot thirty-nine. Of Mr. Laird's
family of ten children eight came
with him, viz: John, Matthew, Andrew, Margaret,
Betsey, Polly, James, and William. His oldest
daughter, Rachel Morrison, moved into this
township with her husband in October, 1811. Josiah, the oldest son, settled in Beaver, Pennsylvania.
Excepting him, the children spent
most of their lives in this township, and all of
them raised families but John and Rachel.
Three, Matthew, James, and Mrs. Betsey Higby,
passed their lives in this township; Matthew
upon the old place. Two only are now living,
William, in Cleveland, and Mrs. Margaret Holbrook
in Toledo. John and Rachel (Chambers)
each married, but had no children. Andrew
married Tabitha Parish in 1823, and settled
one and one-half miles north of the center. He reared
a family of four children, now all living. John
resides in Stockwell, Indiana ; Orris P., in
Mesopotamia : Maria, single, in Fresno City,
California; Mary is at present in New York city. James
Laird, Jr., married Catharine Cox
for his first wife, and had by her six children who
reached mature years. For his second wife he married
Lorain Joslin, who is still living. By
his first wife his children were Stephen, Josiah,
Ralph, Susannah, Minerva, and James.
All are living but Ralph. Stephen
resides is Mesopotamia, and is a member of the Ohio
Legislature for 18S1-82—the first Representative ever sent
from this township. Josiah and James
reside near Jesup, Iowa. Susannah (Griswold)
and Minerva live at Hart's Grove, Ashtabula county.
Orris P. Laird, the second son of Andrew, was
born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, in 1829. Six
years later his father returned to Mesopotamia, where Mr.
O. P. Laird has since resided. He was married
Sept. 9, 1857, to Betsey L. Atwood, of Licking
county, Ohio. Their children are Louie
(deceased), Marcy C., and Martin W.,
living. Both are being educated at Hiram college.
SETH MORRISON, Laird's
son-in-law, came about the same time with the Laird
family, and settled on lot forty-two.
ZIMRI BAKER, from Vermont, settled
south of the center as early as 1812. None of the
family are now in Mesopotamia. His son, Porter,
lived on the old farm till his family were grown, when he
AMADEUS BROOKS, who married a
daughter of Captain Sperry, settled on lot thirty
previous to 1812, and remained a number of years. He
moved to Bloomfield, and thence to Warren, where he died.
He was a man of fine intelligence and a good citizen.
Indeed, the same may be said of nearly every one of the
pioneers of this township.
As early as 1815
SETH I. ENSIGN settled one and
one-half miles south and a mile west of the center, where he
lived and died. He was an early teacher in Bristol and
a justice of the peace in Mesopotamia a number of years.
His daughter, Mrs. Parish, still lives upon the farm
where he settled.
REUBEN JOSLIN came here quite
early, and settled on lot forty. He was a carpenter
and had worked at his trade in Boston before coming here.
MOSES BUNDY settled in the
southwest of the township at an early date, and lived and
ELISHA SANDERSON settled on
lot thirty-one previous to 1819. His widow, two sons,
and two daughters are still living.
WINTER married a sister of 'Squire Isaac Clark and
settled on lot twenty-five previous to 1820.
JOSEPH EATON and a family consisting of nine children
settled on lot twelve. They were from Massachusetts.
JOB REYNOLDS, a soldier of 1812
and a native of Rhode Island, located in this township in
FLAVEL SHELDON, born in
Massachusetts in 1791, died in Mesopotamia in 1832. He
married Charlotte Guild, who is still living, the
mother of three children.
ALVA LAKE settled in this township in 1817. He
married Mary Hogan a native of Vermont. He was
born in Castleton, Vermont, in 1799.
The first birth
that took place in this township occurred in 1801, when a
daughter was born to the wife of Dr. Joseph Clark
The child died young. The second child was born in
September, 1801, and is still living. Her name is
Charlotte, widow of Flavel Sheldon. She was
the daughter of Otis and Louis Guild. Sardis Morse,
son of Joseph Morse, was the first male child. His
parents were here but a short time. The first death
occurred in the spring of 1802. Mrs. Joseph Noyes
died of consumption. The first wedding was in 1806, at
the residence of the bride's father. The wedded couple were
Griswold Gillette and Clarissa Tracy, and in addition to
"giving away the bride," the father performed the marriage
ceremony, having recently been elected justice of the peace.
Mrs. Gillette lived to be ninety-one years of age and
died in 1874.
The first frame house, as well as the first cabin, was
built by Captain Sperry. Joseph
Morse was the first blacksmith. John
Tomlinson made the first grave-stones from stone found
in Mill creek. Some are still standing. For
several years each settler acted as his own shoemaker,
making and mending boots and shoes for his family.
Some time after the settlement Hezekiah Sperry, Jr.,
went to New Haven, Connecticut, and worked a year at
shoemaking. He then returned and went from house to
house working at his trade. He carried his tools with
him and made pegs from maple. His shoe-thread was made
In nothing is the
progressive spirit of the early settlers more clearly shown
than in the matter of schools. The first thought of
the pioneer, after becoming established in his log house,
seems to have been to provide for the education of his
children. And though the speller, the reader, and the
arithmetic—fortunate boy who possessed all three!—were the
only books used in these early schools, many a pupil, who
afterward became noted for intelligence and usefulness,
received all of his educational training within the walls of
rude log buildings.
The first school in Mesopotamia was taught by Samuel
Forward, in 1803, in a room of Seth Tracy's
house. Samuel Higley, of Windsor, taught the
next winter term, which was followed by a summer school
taught by Jerusha Guild.
The first school-house was built on the northern part
of Seth Tracy's farm in 18o6, a few
rods south of the east and west center road. Linus
Tracy, whose own schooling amounted to only about six
months' attendance, taught school in this building in early
days, and was a successful instructor. He has lived to
see the most of those who were his pupils grow old and die
and be gathered with their fathers in the quiet village
It is said that the
first sermon ever delivered in this township was preached by
the pioneer missionary, Rev. Joseph Badger.
The first church organized was the Presbyterian in 1817,
with eight members. This organization still lives and
prospers but is now Congregational. Among the early
members were Deacon Zimri Baker and family,
Mrs. Silvina Tracy, Mrs.
Clarissa Gillette, Horace and Pamelia
Loomis, Jairus,l,aura, and Charlotte Guild, Israel
Sheldon, Betsey Laird, Seth and Rachel Morrison, and
John Crawford. The Presbyterians erected the
first church edifice in 1822, at a cost of about $500.
The house now in use was built in 1843 and cost about
$2,500. The early preachers were Revs.
Badger, Stone, Leslie, Cowles,
Osborn, and others. Rev. Randolph
Stone was the first pastor and remained a number of
years. He was a talented man, liberally educated, and
possessed great power and earnestness.
The first Methodist preacher was named Daniels.
A class was formed quite early, but at exactly what date we
cannot ascertain. The Methodists erected a house about
1830, which is still in use, having been twice rebuilt.
Among the early members were Elisha Sanderson
and wife, Matthew and Andrew Laird,
John Easton and wife, Seth I. Ensign, Ira
Parker, Benjamin Smith, and many others. The first
quarterly meeting was held in Elisha Anderson's
barn. Mrs. Sanderson was one of the most
active and influential female members. Elders
Mack, Ira Eddy, and William Brown
were among the early preachers. In 1833 a great
revival took place and about fifty persons experienced
religion. Isaac Winans and James
McMechan were on this circuit at that time.
The Universalists had quite a flourishing church in
Mesopotamia, and built the edifice which is now the town
hall. Wishing to outdo their orthodox brethren they
built their church one foot larger each way than the
Congregational house. Spiritualism and the lack of
religious interest destroyed their organization.
The first burials
were made on a hill north of the center. Mrs.
Noyes, a daughter of Mrs. Guild, and
Mr. Crawford were buried there. Nothing now
remains to indicate their resting place.
The first of Captain Sperry's family
who died were buried on his farm.
The first graveyard for the public was the present one
at the village. It is a pleasant spot in the rear of
the churches and is thickly marked with gravestones.
The first person buried there was the mother of Seth
Tracy. She died in 1818, on the 4th of July.
MILLS, STORES, ETC.
The first saw-mill
was built by John S. Ed-
wards in the northwest of the township, on Mill
creek, in 1803. In 1805 a grist-mill run by water from
the same dam, was built. Fifteen years later Isaac
Clark erected a grist-mill on the same stream, one
mile below Crawford's. In the first mill William
Crawford, a brother of John, was killed by
falling between the water-wheel and the rocks.
The first store in the township was opened in 1818, by
Linus Tracy, who with his brother Addison
carried on the business a few years, then shut up the
store until 1827, when Colonel Linus Tracy
erected a new building for a store, and continued the
business. The first store stood a few rods north of
Colonel Tracy's present residence. Isaac
Clark and his son Almon had a store a short
time about 1830. Mr. Clark built the
stone building on the southwest corner, which, enlarged and
remodeled, is still standing.
GRISWOLD GILLETTE had a small distillery, consisting of
a copper boiler, in a log building near the center, in early
times. This was the only establishment of the kind
ever in the township. An old resident assures us that
he made a first rate article of whiskey, using only corn and
rye in its manufacture.
SETH TRACY gave GEORGE IVES
an acre of land on which to set up a tannery. He
began the business about 1818, and carried it on
successfully several years.
Dr. D. L. NEWCOMB, from New York, built and kept the
first tavern about 1823. The present hotel was built
by 'Squire Isaac Clark, and kept for a
lime by his son Hiram. The old tavern forms a
part of it.
Mesopotamia center was never laid off into lots as a
village. A piece of land fifteen rods wide and one hundred
rods long was donated to the township as a public square,
and around this, buildings have been erected at the pleasure
of the inhabitants.
The first road, through the township was laid out along
the west end of the tier of lots fronting on the present
road running south from the center.
There were a few
Indians in and about this township in early times. An
old chief, Pauqua, sometimes came here, and though a
"big Injun," he did not hesitate to beg food and drink.
Before the War of 1812 all the Indians withdrew from this
neighborhood. After the war a small band encamped near
Grand river, and engaged in hunting. Some of the
settlers visited their camp one day, but found the Indians
absent. They broke some of the kettles in the camp,
drew the image of an Indian on the bark of a tree, shot a
ball into the head of the figure, and returned to their
homes. The Indians then cut the figure of a white man
upon a tree, and made no mark upon it, in token of their
friendliness. But the white men's warning, doubtless,
had the desired effect, as the Indians left soon after.
It may be of
interest to some of our readers to know the origin of the
singular name of this stream. About the year 1802 a sow
belonging to Seth Tracy wandered from his premises, and for
some time the owner could learn nothing as to her
whereabouts. Thinking that the Indians might perhaps
discover her during some of their hunts, he caused the red
men to be notified of his loss, and desired that they would
report to him if they chanced to find the hog.
One evening an Indian came to the house while Mr.
Tracy was away. He poked some ashes out upon
the hearthstone, and drew a winding line in the ashes with
his finger, talking in his own tongue meanwhile, and making
frequent use of the words "coosh-coosh " and "pappoose
coosh-coosh," but none of the family understood what he was
trying to explain. When Mr. Tracy came
home, the Indian again went through with his talk
illustrating it as before. In the figure drawn in the
ashes Mr. Tracy recognized the course of the
creek, and at a certain bend which the Indian traced very
minutely, he was made to understand that his lost hog was to
be found. Mr. Tracy went the next day to
the spot indicated, and there found his missing property
with a fine litter of pigs. Accordingly he named the
stream "Hog creek;" but some one more fastidious in the
matter of names suggested the modification now in use, and
it was immediately adopted.
THE EARLY RECORDS.
of the township show that the system of
"warning out" such persons as were considered likely to
become township charges prevailed; and also that some of the
men thus warned out remained and afterwards became
prominent, wealthy, and respected citizens.
IN THE WAR OF 1812.
A military company
had been formed under the command of Captain Hill,
of Windsor. On the breaking out of the war a call was
made for volunteers. Linus Tracy,
Oliver Guild, Jairus Guild, and Whitney
Smith volunteered; and afterward another call was
made, when Matthew Laird, Elias Sperry,
Griswold Gillette, Ebenezer K.
Lamson, Amadeus Brooks, Lucius Sperry,
and Isaac Clark went. Elias
Sperry was wounded by the Indians in a fight on the
"Peninsula." His brother Lucius took the fever,
came home, and died, as did also two of his sisters, who
attended him and took the fever from him.
quality of freestone is found in this township, and the
business of quarrying it has been carried on quite
A post-office was
established about 1809, Seth Tracy, postmaster.
Mail was then brought once a week from Warren by a man who
usually traveled on foot. Linus Tracy
became postmaster in 1825 or 1826. Under Jackson's
administration, he was turned out, and Isaac Clark
succeeded him. Mr. Tracy again received
an appointment after 'Squire Clark had served
his term, and kept the office many years.
THE SOLDIERS' MONUMENT.
This memorial of
the brave boys in blue who served in the late war stands at
the south end of the public square. It is of marble,
eighteen feet high, surmounted by the image of an eagle.
On the north side of the base ate the words " Liberty and
Union;" on the south, the name of the patriot president,
Abraham Lincoln; on the east the date of the
dedication of the monument, 1867, and on the west, " Honor
the Brave." It was erected by the citizens of the
township at a cost of $2,500.
General store, Elias Sperry; hardware, C. E.
Holcomb; drug and grocery store, V. C. Peck.
A fire in the fall of 1881, destroyed two stores.
Cheese factories: Highland factory. Pierce & Caldwell,
in the northwest of the township; Davis Brothers' factory
one mile north and a half mile west of the center; Center
Brook factory. Jacob Lepper ; Cold
Spring factory, E. C. Cox, center.
Hotel: Eagle house, E. P. Griffin, proprietor,
E. C. Cox has recently started a broom-handle
factory at the center.
Feed-grinding-mill: Woodford Bros., center.
Steam saw-mills: Sperry & Wilcox, center;
A. R. Harshman, sawing-, planing-, and shinglemill,
west of the center; Bridgen & Holcomb in the
southeast of the township are sawing lumber for handles; and
in the northeast of the township Watson is sawing for
Kirk & Christy, of Warren.
ROSWELL A. BUTTON. *
We can give in this
volume but a brief outline of the career and experiences of
Captain Button. His life has been
written, and few more fascinating volumes have ever been
published. It is the record of ten years of seafaring life
in its most interesting phase. From the unpublished
manuscript we derive our information for this sketch.
Captain Button is a descendant of
Thomas Button, a mariner whose name is found in the
record of North American discoveries and explorations in the
seventeenth century. Among the descendants were
several sailors, and of his father's family, consisting of
ten children, there were three—James, Erasmus,
and Roswell A. James was lost at sea near Kamtschatka.
Erasmus became a partner of Roswell in
the management of the merchant bark Clara Windsor.
Captain Button was born at Preston, New
London county, Connecticut, June 28, 1822, and was the son
of Allen and Anne A. (Witer) Button, both natives of
Connecticut. He was quite young when his father died,
and left without the means of acquiring an education.
He attended the common schools, and early formed a taste for
reading. He was especially interested in works of
travel and adventure, which aroused his imagination and
produced an ardent
longing for the sea.
In 1843, having just passed his twenty-first year and
ambitious for adventure, he enlisted as a common sailor
before the mast on board the whaling vessel Lowell of New
London, about to embark for the northwest coast of North
America. Her course was by way of Cape of Good Hope,
Indian ocean, and across the Pacific. After eight
months voyaging the Isles of the Azores were reached, where
the sea abounds in Its "mightiest of monsters." Here
the first prize of the seamen was spied, and after an
chase captured. This voyage occupied three years,
during which time the vessel coasted among the Azores,
around Australia, touched Van Dieman's Land, and coasted the
Sandwich Islands. We quote a glimpse or two from the
manuscript volume of which we have spoken:
of the most interesting peculiarities of the whale is its
immense loss of blood in death. It is presumed to have
a large supply arteriorized in a reservoir, which is brought
into use when that in general circulation becomes vitiated
during a prolonged submergence. This reservoir is what
whalemen term the life of the whale, and it is the spot
sought by the harpoon and lance. When touched the
bloody torrent surcharges the lungs and is expelled through
the spout hole, suffocation and death following, but when
the wound is slight the agonies of the dying beast are
prolonged. The poor creature will lie on the surface
feebly propelling itself onward, and with quick repeated
sobs will pour out its life by slow degrees, coloring the
surface of the ocean a deep crimson. From this stupor
it is aroused to its last struggle. The head rises and
falls, and the flukes, which are fifty feet long, thrash the
water rapidly. With great speed it swims in a large
circle two or three times, and then falls on its side dead.
The narrative of
the first voyage concludes:
let us follow our old friend, the Lowell, on her way home.
When we left her she was near New Zealand in about 35°
south latitude; here two sperm whales were caught and
then on she went into the southern sea, and then doubling
the horn .and stormy capo in latitude 57°
south, after this her course Lay through the north
.Atlantic, continuing her voyage until port New London was
reached, where sails were furled, the anchor dropped, and to
express their joy for safe return and good success in
achieving the object of their expedition - a full cargo of
oil and bone - they fired fifty-eight guns. Two weeks
after their arrival their cargo was discharged and each man
was paid off according to his share. Then the sailors
visited their friends; the first voyage was ended.
After six weeks
spent in rest at home the "Lowell of New London" again
raised anchor and set sail for another voyage. After
sailing six months Kamtschatka was reached, northeast of
Asia, and the Yellow sea was traversed. At the end of
this voyage four thousand barrels of oil, worth $50 per
barrell, besides a large amount of bone, was brought home.
This second voyage occupied the same period as the first
with almost equal results, but Mr. Button, who
was one of the experienced men, experienced more perils.
He had two boats stove and was once thrown twenty feet into
the water. He acquired the reputation (an enviable one
among sailors) of being the strongest man in the whaling
service. We again quote from Jones' manuscript
biography of him:
secret of Captain Button's wonderful strength
lay in the possession of a naturally strong constitution,
increasing instead of diminishing its energies by constant
exercise and the regular observance of temperance habits.
from the second voyage on the "Lowell" six more weeks were
spent at home. The "Lowell" was sold and the Montezuma
purchased for a third journey. On the second voyage he
had been boat-steerer and was now advanced to second mate.
While at the Sandwich islands Mr. Button left
his own ship and engaged as first mate on the Clematis and
after returning to this country abandoned the whaling
service. His last seafaring was as captain of the
"Clara Windsor," a merchant vessel which made regular trips
between New York and St. Domingo.
In 1853 Mr. Button quit the sea for more
quiet pursuits. He came to Ohio and settled on the
farm he now owns, west of Mesopotamia center, and the
following year married Miss Caroline S. Reynolds,
whose acquaintance he had made in Connecticut. She was
his perfect counterpart, and their married life was a season
of unbroken happiness till the dread disease, consumption,
began to show signs of its presence. Mr.
Button traveled extensively in Cuba, Florida, and
California, m company with his wife, in the hope of
arresting the progress of the fatal disease, but without
effecting the desired result. She died at Sacramento,
California, Dec. 28, 1873. From this time until his
second marriage, Oct. 6, 1881, Mr. Button
lived entirely alone at Mesopotamia. The maiden name
of his present wife was Louie Humphries,
daughter of Richard and Ann H. Humphries, of
son of James Laird, was born in Washington county,
Pennsylvania, Nov. 20, 1809. He came to Mesopotamia in
1811. His father moving there at that time, and
bringing his wife and eight children, was the eleventh
settler in the township. His father and mother both
died in 1826, and William, who was the youngest son,
lived with an older brother until he arrived at the age of
eighteen, when he commenced life for himself. He
resided m Mesopotamia until 1874, at which time he went to
Dakota Territory, where he pre-empted a claim in the
Vermillion valley and became a citizen of that Territory.
In 1832 he was married to Hannah Chambers, of
Champion, Trumbull county, a daughter of John
Chambers, with whom he lived forty-two years, and buried
in Dakota, Oct. 9, 1874. In 1877 he came to Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1880 he was married a second time, to Mrs.
Eliza Sartin, of Cleveland, and now resides at
No. 34 Herman street, in
that city. Of his children, five in number, Matthew
A., the oldest son, married Rachel McDonald,
of Toledo, Ohio, and is now a manufacturer and dealer in
City, Missouri; John Chambers, his second son,
died in 1855 at the age of eighteen and lies in Mesopotamia;
Elizabeth M., his only daughter, married William
B. Fauss, of Mesopotamia, and
now resides with her husband and three children at Elk
Point, Dakota, in the town where her mother is buried;
Edwards W. married Ada E. Williams, daughter of
Justin Williams—he is a member of the law firm of
Marvin, Laird & Cadwell, of Cleveland, and
resides at No. 266 Franklin avenue,
in that city; Marcellus G., his youngest son, died in
Dakota, Aug. 20, 1874. Maggie Pierce, his wife,
and daughter of Deacon Joseph Pierce, of Champion,
Ohio, died Sept. 21, 1874, in the same Territory, and son
daughter he by the side of the mother in Elk Point.
William Pierce, their son, and the namesake and only
grandson, died in May, 1875, the house of his grandfather,
in Champion. Mr. Laird is of Scotch descent,
being of the third generation born in this country. He
has been a member of the Presbyterian church for more than
fifty years, and was for many years one of its ruling
officers. His early life as well as a part of his
later years, has been spent on the frontier and his whole
life has been an active one, yet at the age of seventy-three
he is hale and hearty, retaining all his faculties.
Though residing in Cleveland, he retains his old home in
Mesopotamia, and says he will as long as he lives, and when
he says home it means either Cleveland or Mesopotamia, the
meaning of the word depending upon which place is spoken of.
SHARON WICK'S NOTE: Both
addresses listed are no longer in existence.
COX was born in York county, Pennsylvania, Apr. 12,
1799. His father, John Cox, was of
English descent. He removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio
with his family in 1805 and settled in Bristol township,
where he was one of the earliest pioneers. The family
consisted of twelve children, three of whom are living.
Mr. Cox was one of the most energetic farmers
and pioneers in Bristol, where he died in 1856.
Timothy Cox, the only surviving son, remained at
home until the age of twenty-one years. He then took a
contract to clear forty acres of land, receiving in payment
forty acres of wild land. Mr. Cox
married in 1824 Sarah Bonner, who was born in
Pennsylvania in 1805. They had a family of ten
children — Joseph A.; Ephraim; Mariah A., wife of
Martin F. Smith, residents of Mesopotamia; Harriet,
wife of Eben E. Caldwell, resident of Cleveland;
Seymour A., killed in battle of Perryville, Oct. 8,
1862; Clarissa P., wife of John Ritter,
resident of Washington, District of Columbia; Louisa M.,
resident of Mesopotamia; Aaron P., resident of Cass
county, Nebraska; Phebe, wife of Edwin
Brigdon, of Mesopotamia; and Enos S., resident of
Nebraska. Mrs. Cox died Feb. 12, 1882.
Mr. Cox lived in Bristol township until 1865,
when he removed to Mesopotamia.
CHAUNCEY BATES was born
in Geauga county, Ohio, July 19, 1835. His father,
William M. Bates was a native of Norwich, Connecticut,
the date of his birth being 1808. He came to Ohio and
settled on a farm near his present residence in 1829.
In 1831 he married Rachel, daughter of Wallace
Winter one of the pioneers of Mesopotamia township.
She was born Jan. 28, 1810. The family of William
and Mrs. Bates consisted of five children of whom four
are living. Edwin the oldest son,
was a volunteer in the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth Ohio
volunteer infantry, and died in the hospital at Nashville,
Tennessee, in June, 1865. Chauncey Bates,
after passing through the common schools attended the
seminary at Orwell three terms. He subsequently taught
school eighteen winters. He was married Oct. 14, 1858,
to Eliza H. Hart, a native of Geauga county.
They have a family of three children—Frank A., born
June 3, 1860; Earl H., born Jan. 25, 1872; and
Blanche E., born Jan. 5, 1877. Mr. Bates
enlisted in the United States service in 1865. He has
served several years as clerk of the township, and has also
filled other public positions. He is a member of the
Congregational church, leader of the choir, and
superintendent of the Sunday-school.
EDWARD P. GRIFFIN, the
son of Edward and Leah Griffin was born in
Mesopotamia township, Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1848.
He followed farming until 1872, when he took charge of the
hotel at Mesopotamia center, where he still continues.
He married in 1870 Ella, daughter of Ellory and
Saloma Williams. She was born in Mesopotamia in
1852. They have a family of three children. Lulu,
Maud, and Walter.
SEBA and JANE ENSIGN,
with their family came to Mesopotamia from Cataraugus
county, New York. They were among the early settlers
of the township, settling in the northwest part. Seba
Ensign, Jr., married .Almira Smith,
daughter of Edmond Smith, one of the early,
and now one of the oldest residents of the township, having
been born in 1800. His wife, Polly, is still
living also. Mr. Ensign has been a
carpenter and joiner by trade. For the past seventeen
years he has been an invalid, being afflicted with
dyspepsia, and has endured much suffering, on one occasion
going without food for over twelve days. Mr.
Ensign has a family of one daughter and two sons, viz:
Julia, wife of Irvin E. Brigden, of Cleveland;
Eugene J., in the same city, and Frank,
engaged in merchandise in Garretsville, Ohio. The
latter married Jessie Holcomb, of Cleveland.
E. J. Ensign was born in Mesopotamia, June 23,
1850; married Betsey, daughter of Stephen W. Irwin,
a well-known and early family of Mecca township. Two
children have been born of this union, Leon E. and
Carrie Bell. Mr. Ensign removed to
Cleveland in 1881, and is now engaged in business there.
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