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History of Ashtabula County, Ohio

with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of its
Pioneers and Most Prominent Men.
by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers -
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)



Residence of
Hon. Benjamin F. Wade,
Jefferson, Ohio

B. F. Wade

Jefferson Twp. -
     In West Springfield, Massachusetts, there is a region abounding in beautiful but rugged hills, whose slopes in the early days were devoted to the pasturage of herds and flocks; and from that circumstance it was called "Feeding Hills Parish."  Here the subject of this sketch was born.  He commenced with the century, Oct. 27, 1800.  The present generation have but a faint conception of the condition of the country and the hardships endured by that people in those times.  His father, James Wade, had been a soldier of the Revolution, and the events of that period had deprived him of the means of supporting a large family and giving them more than the ordinary education afforded by the common schools.
     Work was the rule; schools were few and beyond the reach of many; children were compelled to share the privations and toil of their seniors.  Frank, for so he was then and through all his earlier years familiarly called, lost no opportunity of making himself acquainted with all the books that came with his reach.  Hence, when he arrived at maturity he had acquired a fund of historical and general information far superior to many who had enjoyed all the advantages of a higher classical education.  In the fall of 1821, James Wade and his family removed to Andover, in the county of Ashtabula, Ohio.  Here Frank  was for two years employed in clearing land and with the ordinary work of a farm during the summer, and in the winter as a teacher of common schools.
     In the fall of 1823 he assisted in driving a drove of cattle over the mountains of Philadelphia; and from there he went to Massachusetts, performing the whole distance on foot.  His brother James was then a practicing physician near Albany, in the State of New York.  Here Frank commenced the study of medicine, but becoming dissatisfied with that profession he abandoned it, and in the fall of 1825 returned to Andover.  It was during his stay in the State of New York at this time that, being without funds and finding no other employment for which money could be obtained, he labored for a time, with spade and wheelbarrow, upon the Erie canal, which was then in process of construction.  Many years later, Mr. Seward, speaking in the United States senate and alluding to this incident, said, “From whence came the labor that performed that work?  I know but one American citizen who worked with spade and wheelbarrow upon those works.  Doubtless there are many others, but I know but one, and he, I am glad to say, is a member on this floor,—Mr. Wade, of Ohio, and one of the most talented members.”  His younger brother, Edward, who has since for many years ably represented the Cuyahoga district in congress, was at that time a student in the law-office of the Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, at Canfield, Ohio.
     Frank was induced to join his brother in that office, and at the end of two years was admitted to the bar, at Jefferson, Ashtabula County, Ohio.  Here he commenced the practice of his profession, and soon acquired the reputation of an acute special pleader and a successful advocate.  Joshua R. Giddings was then a leading lawyer, having the largest practice of any attorney in the county.  In 1831, Mr. Wade entered into partnership with that gentleman, and they continued together in a large and successful practice in Ashtabula and the adjoining counties until 1838, when Mr. Giddings was elected to congress.  In the fall of 1835, Mr. Wade was elected prosecuting attorney for the county of Ashtabula.  This was his first public position, and from that time forward his talents, fidelity, and energy assured him the confidence of the public.
     In the fall of the year 1837 the Whig convention nominated him, and he was elected a member of the Ohio State senate.  This nomination was made in his absence and without his knowledge or desire.  Up to this time the subject of southern slavery, as an element of political and party contention, had scarcely been agitated.  Legislation both State and national had all favored the institution, and there existed in Ohio a miserable set of black laws which was the product of the prevailing sentiment of the country.  But at the same time the better feelings of human nature could not be wholly suppressed.  There were some in the south who saw and felt the injustice of the institution and favored emancipation; and arrangements had been made by which a settlement of blacks was formed at a place called Red Oak, on the free side of the Ohio river, where those who desired could bring their slaves and emancipate them.  This settlement created a feeling of jealousy on both sides of the line.  The conservative spirits of the north feared they might be overrun by the blacks, and the slave-holders were alarmed by any movement which had a tendency to weaken or relax the rigor of the slave system or to ameliorate the condition of the slaves.  Fugitives from slavery were frequently
escaping across the line, and were either harbored in Ohio, or were aided in their flight to Canada.  Thus it happened that, not content with the state of things then existing, in 1838 the legislature of Kentucky sent two commissioners, Messrs. Morehead and Price,—the one a Whig and the other a Democrat,—to persuade the legislature of Ohio to pass still more rigorous and effective laws for the return of fugitive slaves. This measure was proposed in the Ohio senate, and Mr. Wade and only four others arrayed themselves in opposition to its passage.  These five senators, of course, could do nothing but obstruct and delay the passage of the measure.  But this was so boldly and adroitly done that the commissioners sought an interview with Mr. Wade, in hopes to mitigate his opposition to their scheme.
     That meeting was amusing and characteristic.  They came with an injured and deprecating air, as though appealing to the better feelings of his nature.  They told him of the patriarchal character of the institution, and how slaves were treated by their masters as their own children, and showed the cruelty of sundering such ties of tenderness, and consequently the necessity of more stringent laws to prevent the evil.  Mr. Wade did not see the character of the institution in that light, and in response to Mr. Morehead, the Whig commissioner, he said, “ You want us to pass a law to prevent your children from running away.  In other words, you want to make us all negro-catchers.  Gentlemen, do you engage in this business of negro-catching, yourselves?  I see you do not.  If I were master in Ohio, and found you in this negro-hunting business, I would put you in irons.”  Price, the Democratic commissioner, cried out, “By heavens!  Morehead, he has got us; it is certainly not the most honorable business.”  So ended the memorable interview.  The resistance to the passage of the bill was protracted two days and one entire night, and a part of another.  The following extract from a speech made by Mr. Wade on that occasion may be interesting to those who remember the excitement that followed upon the passage of those fugitive slave laws:
     “ Though I stand here at two o’clock at night, and after a protracted session since yesterday at nine o’clock in the morning, and though I speak to ears that are deaf and to hearts impervious to a sense of right and justice and liberty, still I will be heard; and although, from the timid and servile policy that has been manifested by the majority on this floor, I have no hope of arresting the progress of this measure, which shall ere long stamp its supporters with deeper infamy and degradation than did the famous ‘alien and sedition laws.’  The champions of this measure, like the heroes of old, before taking up the gauntlet in its defense, have thought proper to preface their remarks with a history of their own birth, habits, and education; and, as I suspected, it appears that they were themselves born or descended from parents who were born in the murky atmosphere of slavery.  Were I to follow their example and speak of so unimportant a subject as myself, I would say that I was born in a land where the accursed system of slavery was unknown; where the councils of the State were swayed by the great principles of equality; where right and justice were deemed the greatest expediency.  My infancy was rocked in the cradle of universal liberty, and my parents were of the Revolution. The earliest lesson I was taught was to respect the rights of others and to defend my own; to resist oppression to the death neither do nor suffer wrong; to do unto others as I would they should do unto me; and, though my venerated instructors have long since passed away, the Godlike principles they taught can never die; and when they shall cease to influence my conduct, may my right hand forget its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!”
     The five senators made a gallant but ineffectual resistance.  The measure was carried, and slavery triumphed for the time.  But the event stamped Mr. Wade as a man of mark, and one of the most fearless and formidable opponents of the slave-power.  It brought him into immediate and signal notice, and men came to him from the Red Oak settlement bearing a petition, numerously signed, for a charter establishing an academy to educate the freedmen at that place.  On the presentation of the petition a storm broke forth.  “Do you know that these are niggers?”  And resolutions were offered to expel him from the senate, so violent were the feelings against him for presenting a petition signed by colored men.  But while a member of the senate of Ohio he performed noble work in other respects.  He was a member of the judiciary committee, and exerted a controlling influence in abolishing imprisonment for debt in Ohio, and also for the passage of a law exempting certain property from execution.
     The legislature was then beset by applications for aid to various public and private enterprises to promote internal improvements in the State, which resulted in what were afterwards known as the “Plunder laws."  These he opposed, and thereby incurred violent opposition from members of his own party.  In the fall of 1839 he was renominated by the Whig party in the district, in their regular convention.  There was a Whig majority in the district of four thousand, but so strung was the pro-slavery feeling in the district, and especially in his own county of Ashtabula, that he was beaten, and a Democrat elected in his place.  But during the ensuing two years there was a marvelous change wrought in the feelings of the people.  During the presidential canvass of 1840 he was prominent in the advocacy of General Harrison for President, and his voice was heard from almost every platform in northern Ohio; and when the Whig district convention met in 1841 he was again nominated as a candidate for the Ohio senate by acclamation.  The subject of slavery had been discussed, the views of Mr. Wade had become popular in the district, and his election was then triumphant.  In the winter of 1841 and 1842 he resigned the office, but was again elected in the fall of 1842.  And during his service in the senate he had the satisfaction of seeing the Kentucky black laws erased from the statute-book of the State.  He then declined further service, and devoted himself to the practice of his profession.
     In the spring of 1837 he entered into partnership in the practice of law with Rufus P. Ranney, who had previously been a student in his office.  The business of that firm was very large, requiring their attendance upon all the courts in several counties in the northeast corner of the State.  This partnership continued until Mr. Wade was elected to a judicial position.
     In 1841 he was married to Miss Caroline Rosekrans, of Middletown, in the State of Connecticut.  By her he has two sons, both of whom performed service for the country in the war of the Rebellion.  James F., the oldest son, still remains in the cavalry service, where he now holds the commission of major, and has had several brevets for meritorious services.
     In February, 1847, Mr. Wade was elected by the legislature of the State presiding judge of the third judicial circuit, embracing the counties of Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage, and Summit.  He entered immediately upon the duties of the office, which he continued to hold until March, 1851, when he was elected to the senate of the United States.  The circuit was large, and the dockets of the several courts were very much encumbered with business when he went upon the bench, but his high legal attainments and application to business enabled him to dispatch the business of the courts with great facility, and he soon became as popular on the bench as he had previously been at the bar.  The intelligence of his election to the United States senate was brought to him in the court-room, while presiding in court at Akron, in Summit county.  The papers in the northeastern portion of the State had urged his election to that position but still the news of his election came to him wholly unexpected, and like every other official position which he had held it was unsolicited on his part.  He did not feel at liberty or disposed to decline the high honor, and assumed its duties and responsibilities, and continued to hold the position for eighteen years, during the most interesting period of the history of the country.
     He entered the senate just after the notable compromise measures of 1851.  The terrible storm in which those measures had been adopted had been allayed, but not spent.  The compact imposed eternal silence upon the north on the subject of slavery in the councils of the nation.  It also laid upon the north the ungracious burden of returning fugitive slaves.
     Parties were preparing for the presidential contest.  The Whigs had become demoralized by the death of President Taylor, and the trouble and perplexity arising from the administration of President Fillmore.  Both of the great national parties gave in their adhesion to the measures of the compromise, and adopted the same plank of eternal silence on the subject of slavery.  But there was no silence!
     The first day that Mr. Wade took his seat in the American senate, Mr. Foote, of Mississippi, introduced a series of resolutions to confirm what had already been done by congress on the subject of slavery, and upon these resolutions frequent speeches were made during that session.  The canvass of 1852 resulted in the election of Franklin Pierce to the presidency, and with him a Democratic congress.
     Mr. Douglas, chairman of the committee on Territories, reported in favor of the organization of Kansas and Nebraska, leaving the report silent on the subject of slavery.  Upon this a fiery debate sprung up; speeches were made by southern men of the most inflammable character, claiming that the old Missouri Compromise of 1821 should be abrogated.  The report was recommitted and amended, containing the proposed abrogation of that old national treaty.
     After the nomination of General Taylor for the presidency in 1848, a large majority of the Whig party on the Western Reserve revolted and refused to vote for the nominee for the reason that he was a slave-holder, and uniting with the Democrats who were disaffected with the nomination of General Cass by their party, under the name of Free Democrats, supported Martin Van Buren for the presidency.  Van Buren, when in the presidential chair, had shown himself most subservient to the slave power.  Mr. Wade had confidence in General Taylor for uprightness, and believed he could be relied upon for integrity and impartiality, and he therefore zealously supported the slave-holder in preference to the northern man with southern principles, although he was thereby placed in a minority among his own friends and associates.  The death of General Taylor elevated Mr. Fillmore to the presidency.  Mr. Wade, though sadly disappointed in the course pursued by President Fillmore, still adhered to the Whig party.
      He agreed with that party upon the subject of a protective tariff, river and harbor improvements, and other kindred measures, and many of the southern Whigs had proposed to hold generous and moderate sentiments on the subject of slavery, and he hoped that the old Whig party might be instrumental in bringing back the government to the purposes of its founders.  He therefore, in 1852, supported the nomination of General Scott, and vigorously urged his election before the people.  In March, 1854, during the agitation of the proposed repeal of the Missouri Compromise, he made a speech in the senate clearly defining his opposition to the measure, and fully demonstrating that the repeal of that act would be fraught with more evil to the country and more danger to its peace than had ever occurred to disturb the harmony of the different sections.  He learned from the discussions upon the question that it was to be carried by a combination of the southern Whigs and those who, for the occasion, assumed the name of “National Democrats.”  At this union for such a purpose his heart sickened, and he gave utterance to his feelings in a speech delivered in the senate on the night of the final passage of the measure.  The New York Tribune of that date appropriately called it the “ new declaration of independence.”  In the course of that speech he severed his connection with the Whig party, and bade farewell to his former Whig friends of the south.  A short extract from that speech may not be inappropriate.  He said, “Mr. President, I do not intend to debate this subject.  The humiliation of the north is complete and overwhelming.  No southern enemy of the north can wish her deeper degradation.  God knows, I feel it keenly enough, and I do not wish to prolong the melancholy spectacle.  I have all my life belonged to the great national Whig party, and never yet have I failed, with all the ability I possessed, to support its regular nominations, come from what portion of the Union they might; and much oftener has it been my lot to battle for a southern than for a northern nominee for the presidency, and when such candidate was assailed by those who were jealous of slave-holders, and our people did not like to yield the government to such hands, how often have I encountered the violent prejudices with no little hazard to myself.  How triumphantly would I appeal on such occasions to southern honor, to the magnanimity of soul which I believed actuated southern gentlemen.  Alas! If God will pardon me for what I have done, I will promise to sin no more in that direction.  We certainly cannot have any further connection with Whigs of the south.  They have rendered such connection impossible.  An impassable gulf separates us. The southern wing of the old Whig party have joined their fortunes with what is called the ‘National Democracy,’ and I wish you joy in your new connection.  Tomorrow, I believe, there is to be an eclipse of the sun, and I think it is meet and proper that the sun in the heavens and the glory of this republic should go into obscurity and darkness together.  Let the bill then pass; it is a proper occasion for so dark and damning a deed.”  No words could do justice to the feelings of the man, or the occasion which called them forth.  From that time he knew no Whig party.  He joined in the organization of the Republican party, and devoted himself earnestly to the advocacy and support of the principles and measures of that party in congress and before the people from Maine to the Mississippi.
     In congress the issue was now clearly defined.  The south declared the institution of slavery to be holy, and insisted that it should be extended and made coextensive with the bounds of the republic; while the north declared the institution to be inhuman and a relic of barbarism, and insisted that it should be limited to the territory it then occupied.  A southern senator had declared that he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill monument, and that threat had met with defiance from northern men.
     The repeal of the Missouri Compromise was the torch that lighted the pile.  It raised the tempest that culminated in the Rebellion.  There were but few men from the north in the senate who had the courage to speak out boldly on that question, but Mr. Wade was conspicuous among that number.  Events followed of a startling character.  The old land-mark of peace was obliterated.  Then came
the border ruffians, asking for the admission of Kansas as a slave State.  Douglas, Broderick, and a few other Democrats became alarmed, and a sense of common danger drove them to take counsel with some of the most extreme radicals.  Of all men in the senate, Mr. Wade was most feared, trusted, and respected by his political opponents.  He was a plain, blunt man, like Marc Antony, and spoke right on.  He had none of the graces of oratory; what he said was clear, simple, and direct. In a single sentence he would sometimes annihilate an opponent.  An instance of this occurred in the debate on the Kansas-Nebraska question, when Mr. Badger, of North Carolina, appealed to the senate in a sentimental way.  “What!” said he, “will you not allow me to take my old mammy with me to Kansas; she on whose breast my infancy was cradled; who watched over my childhood and takes pride in my manhood?”  “Yes,” said Mr. Wade, “we will permit you to take your old mammy to Kansas, but we will prohibit you, by law, from selling her after you get her there.”  Mr. Badger was extinguished.  That argument admitted of no reply.  Badger was afterwards heard to say that Wade was the only man he could never get even with. In the same debate, a New Hampshire senator was making a speech subservient to the ideas of southern gentlemen.  Mr. Wade was listening attentively to him, when he suddenly turned and said he would like to put a question to the senator from Ohio.  “Would he recognize his obligations and perform his duty in executing the fugitive slave law?”  Mr. Wade rose, and, in language more emphatic than reverent or parliamentary, responded, “No, sir;  I’d see ’em damned first.”  And he immediately returned the question, but before the New Hampshire senator had completed his argumentative reply, Mr. Wade turned to the Kentucky senators and put the same question to them.  The response came quickly, “No, sir; there is no occasion for it so long as we have men like the honorable senator from New Hampshire to do it for us.”  Nothing could have been more humiliating to the New Hampshire senator.
     During those years the greatest excitement prevailed in congress, as well as the country, and scenes of violence were rife on every hand.  The code of honor was prevalent at the south, while at the north it was condemned by public sentiment.  The result was that the conduct of many southern men became overbearing and insolent.  Challenges could be given with impunity, as it was known that no challenge could be accepted by a northern man without incurring social and political ostracism among his own people.  At this time a few men in congress, among whom were Wade, Chandler, Broderick, Douglas, and Cameron, of the senate, and Burlingame, Potter, and others of the house, agreed that they would submit to no further insolence, and that they would accept the first challenge given by any southern member of congress.  That if assailed in words they would resent the insult in words, and if challenged they would fight.  In the session of 1856, Mr. Sumner spoke in the senate on the “ barbarism of slavery.”  The next day he was stricken down in the senate chamber by Preston S. Brooks, of South Carolina.  Senator Toombs, of Georgia, declared that he witnessed the assault, and declared his approbation of the deed.  He said, “It was nothing more than the senator from Massachusetts richly deserved; he had played the part of a dog, and he merited the treatment of a dog.”  Mr. Wade, in response to Toombs, said, “Those are the sentiments of a coward and an assassin.”  A duel was expected as the result, and Mr. Wade made his arrangements accordingly.  Colonel James Watson Webb, who before that time had some experience in dueling, volunteered to act on his behalf.  Inquiries were made whether a challenge would be accepted; but no challenge came, and on the morning of the fourth day Toombs approached Wade cheerfully, and said, “What is the use of a man’s making a damned fool of himself ?”  “There isn't much,” replied Wade, “but some men can’t help it.”  So ended the expected duel, to the chagrin of many of the southern members.
     Some little time afterwards there was renewed excitement in the chamber.  The Democrats were resorting to all manner of dilatory movements, when Senator Toombs arose and launched out into a most violent denunciation of the north and northern men, and especially northern members of congress.  He was just in the height of his declamation, when Mr. Wade arose, and demanded to know if he was included in the invective?  Mr. Toombs was suddenly brought to his senses, and replied, “No; he excepted the senator from Ohio,” and then went off into a glowing panegyric of Mr. Wade.  Another instance of Mr. Wade’s vindication of justice, and of his bold and decided character, came out in a passage which occurred between the Hon. John M. Clayton and himself during the existence of the American or Know-Nothing party, the purposes of which Mr. Clayton reviewed in an elaborate speech in the senate.  Senator Wade was deeply interested in the passage of the “Homestead bill,” and upon this bill he stood side by side with Senator Dodge, a Democratic senator from Iowa.  He brought all his influence to bear upon the success of the measure, and had delivered a powerful argument in favor of the bill, setting forth the advantages to the country, the pioneer, and the emigrant.  Mr. Clayton followed, commenting upon the speech in a frank but friendly spirit, to which Mr. Wade took no exceptions.  The speeches were supposed to be printed in the Congressional Globe as they had been delivered in the senate.  Mr. Wade took no pains to revise or prepare his speeches for publication, but trusted that work entirely to the reporter, and had not looked to see that those speeches were correctly reported.  A few days afterwards, Mr. Dodge came to him and asked him if he had seen Senator Clayton’s reply to his speech on the Homestead bill, as printed in the Globe, saying, “You ought to take notice of it, as he has ascribed sentiments to you which I am sure you never held, and has put language into your mouth which you never uttered.”  On looking into the Globe the representations were found to be true, and Mr. Wade lost no time in calling to it the attention of the senate and the public.  He was willing to suppose that the senator from Delaware had, through mistake or inadvertence, attributed to him opinions and expressions which would be offensive to his constituents and the country.  He had satisfied himself that the reporter of the senate had faithfully transcribed his language, and he could not account for the course the senator from Delaware had pursued.  Mr. Clayton interrupted with the remark, accompanied by a malicious glance, “When the senator gets through I will give my version of the matter.”  Mr. Wade concluded by saying, “It is therefore a mistake or something worse.”  Mr. Clayton followed in a lofty, justifying strain, in which he bore down severely on Mr. Wade, and took his seat, leaving the impression on every mind that he had made no mistake, and that his review of the speech of the senator from Ohio was exactly right.  Then Mr. Wade, rising to his feet, and with a deliberate manner, and looking Clayton full in the face, declared, “ You, sir, sneaked into your office and wrote what you knew to be false.”  This was the signal for the intervention of the presiding officer, and the matter was at once dropped in the chamber, but of course it was anticipated that Mr. Clayton, as a southern man, would not let the matter rest.  That evening Senator Pratt, of Maryland, acting as the friend of Mr. Clayton, called on Mr. Wade at his lodgings to inquire on behalf of the senator from Delaware if Mr. Wade was a fighting man,—if he recognized the code?  Free from the restraint of parliamentary rules and the decorum of the senate, Mr. Wade replied, “Go tell the scoundrel if he is tired of life and wants to know my views of dueling, he can find out by sending the communication in the usual form.”  Senator Pratt remonstrated upon the severity of this reply, and tried to have him soften it.  “I do not desire to have you act in the matter,” said Mr. Wade, “but if you tell him anything you will give him my answer unmodified.”  The following morning they met, and Senator Wade was first to speak.  “Well, senator, what next?”  “Nothing, nothing at all,” said Senator Pratt; “ he is a damned old coward.”  There was no further intercourse between Messrs. Clayton and Wade for the remainder of the senatorial term.  When within a few days of its close, and Mr. Clayton was to retire to private life, he one day came to Senator Wade, his eyes filled with tears, and his voice trembling with emotion, and said, “Senator, that affair which has so long interrupted our friendship, has cost me more trouble of mind than almost any other of my life.  I feel that I have done you injustice, and that I ought to rectify it here in the senate, before I leave it forever.  I will do so in any manner you may suggest.”  And the brave heart, so quick to vindicate wounded honor, melted immediately with kind ness.  “No,” said he: “Mr. Clayton, it would have gratified me in the day of it; but it has long gone by, the circumstance is forgotten; to revive it now will only open to the public an old wound which they think nothing of.  It will be up-hill business to do it now.  Let it rest in oblivion where we have consigned it.”  They grasped hands. Such was the magnanimity which covered the fault of a fellow-man.
     These qualities of mind and heart made him respected even by his most violent political opponents in the senate far more than many a northern doughface, whose subserviency they both employed and despised.  After these occurrences they were really better friends than if he had truckled to their dictation, or failed to show that he would brook no insolence and hold no malice.  In truth, it became quite customary for gentlemen from the south to pay him public compliments, and the matter went so far that one day when Senator Mason had been saying some very nice things of him, he, with some pleasantry, repelled the praise, responding to the senator from Virginia, “Sir, if you do not stop saying these things of me it will ruin me at home.”  It became quite common with some of the southern members of congress to affect great independence of northern markets and manufactures by wearing what they called home-made clothing.  In this matter Senator Mason, of Virginia, was quite conspicuous.  He appeared one day in the senate chamber clad from top to toe in a genuine suit of Virginia gray.  Wade accosted him.  “Well, senator, you are well dressed to day,” at the same time closely inspecting his dress.  “Yes,” said Mason, “ I mean to do justice by the south, and by my own State in particular.  We will show that we are not dependent upon the north for a shred of anything.”  Wade, looking full of mischief, stepped up closer, and, taking hold of a button on Mason's coat, said, “Of course you will do that.  In what part of the south did you obtain these buttons?”  They were, in fact, made in Connecticut, and Mason's face fell as he growled out, “Nobody hut a damned Yankee would have found that out.”  Senator Evans, of South Carolina, a very bigoted and precise man, once came into the senate chamber, and, taking his seat, lifted up a copy of the Anti-Slavery Standard, which some one had placed there in his absence, and then, turning to Mr. Wade, who  was standing by, observed, “Who could have put this vile thing upon my desk?”  “Why,” said Wade, “it is a most excellent family paper.” “Ugh!” said Evans, “ I would no sooner touch it than I would touch a toad.”  At this Wade laughed heartily, and left the old gentleman in his tribulation.  On another occasion, at the very close of the session, Mr. Evans was in trouble about some bill, of no general importance, but in which quite a number of his constituents were interested.  He had been trying all winter to get it passed; but a few hours of the session remained, and his anxiety was intensified.  It was late at night; Senator Foote, of Vermont, was nodding in the chair.  The senate had been in continuous session for two days and nights.  Probably not a quorum was present or could have been found.  Some were absent, some in the ante-rooms, eating or sleeping; only a few who could get the floor were attending to business.  In his distress he came across the chamber to Mr. Wade, on the radical side of the hall, a thing he seldom did, and which was almost as offensive to him as the innocent paper he had found on his desk, and said, “Here, sir, I have been all winter trying to get a bill through in which some five hundred of my old neighbors are interested, and the time is rapidly passing.  What can I do?”  “My friend,” said the senator, “jump right up now, interrupt the proceedings, call up your bill; now is the very time. I will help you.” Evans went back to his seat and commenced fumbling about for a copy of his bill, somewhat dazed at the sudden suggestion of his counselor, when Wade was on his feet and called out, “Mr. President, the senator from South Carolina, Mr. Evans, has a bill of a private nature which has been pending for a long time; he is anxious it should pass.  I move the rules be suspended for that purpose.  It will take but a moment.” No one objected Mr. Evans was recognized almost before he was aware of it.  His bill was passed, much to his delight. “I declare,” said he, “nobody but a Yankee would have gone to work in that way.”  This was the southern fashion in those days; they spoke of all northern people as Yankees.  Such promptness of action and readiness in expedients were always characteristic of him, at the bar as well as in legislative halls.
     Captain M. H. Simonds commanded a company in Colonel Ball’s regiment of cavalry in the Mexican war.  He died in the service, leaving three horses and a full outfit for the campaign.  The major of the regiment, as his duty required, took possession of the property and converted it to cash.  The major also died in the service, never having accounted for the property, and leaving his estate insolvent.  The mother of Captain Simonds, who was a widow, applied to the departments at Washington for compensation, but the claim was rejected on the ground that the loss arose from the failure of the major to discharge his duty in accounting for the property, and the government does not hold itself responsible for the failure of its agents.  The equity of the case seemed so strong that she appealed to congress for relief, and the application was placed in the hands of Senator Wade.  The bill passed the senate promptly, but the committee on pensions, to which the bill was referred in the house of representatives, rejected the claim for the same reason urged against it by the departments.   At the next session of congress the bill was again passed through the senate, went to the house, and was again referred to the committee on pensions, and the committee reported against the claim as before.  Mr. Wade labored with the chairman of the committee, and urged the equity of the claim, but he was deaf to all entreaties, and assured Mr. Wade that he should not permit the bill to pass, under any circumstances, as he should regard its passage as a dangerous precedent.  Some few days after, Mr. Wade went into the house of representatives and found the house engaged in passing private bills, and he observed that the chairman of the committee on pensions was absent.  He went to the seat of Mr. Morgan, of New York, and told him the nature and merits of the claim and the difficulties attending its passage.  Mr. Morgan expressed his desire to aid him, but feared that nothing could be done; that it could not be carried over an adverse report of the committee.  “Why,” said Mr. Wade, “don’t you see that they are now taking up the reports of committees and passing the bills without objection ?”  “Yes,” said Morgan, “ but in those cases the reports are all in favor of the claims, and in this case the report, you see, is against the claim.”  “But,” said Wade, “ you can move to take up the report and put the bill on its passage without mentioning the fact that the report is adverse.” Morgan consented to try the experiment.  The motion prevailed, and the bill passed without objection.  Thus an equitable claim triumphed over technical objections.
     In September, 1860, Senator Broderick, of California, fell in a duel.  Mr. Wade held that gentleman in high estimation, and regarded him as one of the most reliable men in the senate on the subject of northern rights, which were then imperiled.  And the circumstances regarding his death were such that Mr. Wade regarded him as a martyr to the cause of freedom.  The following expression of his estimate of the character of Senator Broderick, as made in the senate, is quoted here because of the striking similarity of character between the fallen senator, as described by Mr. Wade, and his distinguished eulogist: “Mr. President, though not of the same political party, I cannot suffer this occasion to pass without expressing my deep sense of the noble qualities and manly character of David C. Broderick.  It was my good fortune to become well acquainted with him soon after he took his seat in this body.  He was unassuming in manner, but frank, outspoken, and sincere, despising all intrigue and indirection.  He was possessed of an excellent understanding and a fine capacity for business.  His love of justice was remarkable.  Having once determined and settled in his own mind what was right, he was as immovable as the hills.  Neither the threats or blandishments of power nor personal peril could move him from his purpose.  Being of the people, their rights, interests, and their advancement was the polar star of his action.  For these he was at all times ready to labor, and, if need be, to die.  In short, he was the very soul of honor, without fear and without reproach.  The loss of such a man, Mr. President, is indeed a public calamity.”
     Buchanan’s administration had been as weak and imbecile as it was possible to be, and events were culminating rapidly.  The Republican party had been forced into existence by the very necessity of the time.  The presidential canvass of 1860 had resulted in the election of Mr. Lincoln, and the time intervening between November and the ensuing March, when he was to be inaugurated, was used by southern members of congress to promote the project of secession, and to plunge the country into civil war.  It was a period of the utmost uncertainty and anxiety, when men’s hearts failed them for fear, and when many who had been resolute on the slavery question were trembling, vacillating, and ready to give everything to the demands of the south.  Mr. Wade was one of the few men who never flinched.  He looked the question squarely in the face, and acted in that great emergency with a coolness and deliberation which now seem surprising.  He was one of the famous joint committee of thirteen to take into consideration the last peace resolutions ever offered in congress for the conciliation of the two sections,—the resolutions presented by Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky.  His associates on that committee from the senate were Messrs. Davis, Mason, Toombs, and Benjamin.  In the consultations of this committee every inducement brought to bear on Mr. Wade to make him swerve one hair's breadth from the line of his convictions proved utterly futile.  He told Mr. Davis, who was the acknowledged leader of the southern men in congress, that he was convinced that while the south professed to desire peace, that she meant war; that the resolutions, however well designed by their author, were only a delusion and a snare; that the north would not accept them, and even if she did, it would not satisfy the augmenting demands of the south.  “Well,” said Jefferson Davis, “if war comes it will not be on our section on which it will spend its force.”  He had good reason for saying this, for the opposition journals of the north were teeming with declarations that if the black Republicans adopted any measures of coercion to prevent secession they would first have to encounter opposition at home, and to walk over the dead bodies of countless Democrats, who would not, in such a crisis, abandon the cause of their southern brethren.  But the reply of Mr. Wade showed how well he understood the situation, how clearly he saw the real heart of his countrymen through the mist and darkness of that perilous hour.  “I know," said he, “ what the city of New York has done; I know the resolutions which have just been passed by two hundred thousand Democrats in Ohio, and I know what has been done in Indiana; and let them carry out the doctrine and purpose of their resolutions who can.  But the first gun that is fired will secure emancipation, and the Democrats will desert you.  They are now leading you into a trap, and, like the devil, they will leave you there to get out the best way you can.”  The consultations of the committee failed; the counsels of the great peace convention, held at Washington about the same time, failed.  Everything failed which even looked towards peace.  The tide of alienation was sweeping all before it.  The Republican members of congress, giving themselves up to the drifting current of events, sat silent while the torrent of speech-making was flowing from southern lips.  At length Mr. Wade got the floor for the ensuing Monday; meantime Mr. Douglas came to him and said, “I want to make a speech.  It shall be strong anti-slavery.  There is no use talking longer for peace.  I will make the speech on Monday if you will yield me the floor.”  To this Mr. Wade assented, and Douglas kept his mind until Sunday night, and then gave up his purpose.  It was just as well.  Mr. Wade occupied the floor on that signal Monday.  He did not speak very long, but long enough to exhibit the real situation.  His words were blunt and plain.  He closed by saying, “You have made yourselves believe that you can whip the north.  If, however, you should make a little mistake here, you will be in hell!”  He afterwards remarked that Stephens, of Georgia, had told them the same thing.  That speech had a vast influence.  From that time forward there was little talk of peace.  The southern States, led on by South Carolina, began to take measures and pass ordinances of secession.  The southern members of congress began to make farewell speeches, and to vacate their seats in the capitol.
     The 4th of March arrived.  Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated in a scene of the greatest excitement and apprehension; and old President Buchanan was relieved, at once and forever, of the burden of a position where he had been sitting for the last three months of his term crying and wringing his hands and sobbing out his broken and incoherent and despairing conversations with his visitors, “I have been the last President of the United States.”  Fort Sumter was attacked on the 12th of April, 1861.  Congress had done its work and gone.  The new congress was summoned to meet on the 4th of July of the same year.  Senator Wade was early recognized as one of the few spirits who had the nerve to meet the great emergency.  He was the chairman of the joint committee on the conduct of the war, and held this position during the whole of that bloody struggle which followed.  He was up early and late; he did an immense amount of business, visiting the different sections of the country and the armies in the field, and making reports, from time to time, on the progress of the strife, the subjects of which now fill eight large volumes, containing some of the most thrilling passages in the history of the war.  It was towards the close of Mr. Lincoln’s first term that the brilliant success in the southwest, which re-opened Louisiana to the Federal jurisdiction, induced him to propose a line of policy for the restoration of the recusant States that would have left the whole subject of emancipation in a very precarious condition.  Senator Wade, who was then chairman of the committee on Territories in the senate, and Henry Winter Davis, who was chairman of the committee on Territories in the house of representatives, were the only men who stood up openly opposed to this policy.  The subject came up just at the close of the session, which gave them no opportunity to present the question fairly before congress.  They therefore prepared a powerful manifesto against the proposal of the President, signed it, and sent it to the New York Tribune for publication.  Tried and pronounced against slavery, in all its forms, as were the conductors of that paper, they refused to publish the document; but it was issued in the form of a circular, and effectually did the work; the scheme was abandoned.  This was done, not out of opposition to Mr. Lincoln, but because they saw more clearly than he seemed to see, the pernicious tendency of his policy; they stood by him notwithstanding.  He was chosen for a second term, and at last the fearful struggle was ended.  In his rejoicing over the result, Mr. Lincoln was about again to yield to the weakness of excessive kindness.  He actually went down to Richmond, after its occupation by our troops, and gave a private order to General Heintzleman, then in command in that city, to convene the old Confederate Virginia State legislature, and to clothe them with all the authority they possessed as a legislative body before the act of secession.  Then it was that Senator Wade again remonstrated and brought down upon himself much ignorant and ill-timed censure of the press.  But the result showed him to be right in this, as he was in his joint action with Mr. Davis before.  A commission of military men was formed to examine the action of the officer in charge at Richmond.  When asked upon what authority he had convoked the rebel legislature, he quietly drew forth an order in the handwriting of Abraham Lincoln, bearing a foot-note which read, “Show this to no one but Judge John A. Campbell,”  who was still in Richmond, having been a member of the rebel cabinet.  But in the midst of these rapid and marvelous events President Lincoln was shot down.  The nation and the world were shocked by the murderous deed.  The whole order of things was changed by the elevation of Andrew Johnson to the presidential chair.  Johnson proved false to the Republican party and to the interests of the nation.  Mr. Wade was now regarded as the head of the Republican party in the senate.  He was made president pro tem, of the senate, and became vice-president in fact.  The impeachment trial of Johnson followed, and he was acquitted by one vote.  Had that trial resulted differently, Mr. Wade would have succeeded Johnson in the presidential chair.  In 1869, Mr. Wade retired from the senate, and up to the time of his death remained much in private life, occasionally, however, engaged in professional affairs, which required his attendance at Washington during most of the sessions of congress.  When, however, the excitement arose on the Saint Domingo question, President Grant appointed him chairman of the commission to visit Saint Domingo.  The expedition was successfully accomplished, and a report was made which sustained the views of the President and his action in relation thereto.
     In 1875, Mr. Wade participated in the State canvass, and several public speeches were made by him in behalf of the Republican party and General Hayes, its candidate for governor.  He was a delegate from the Seventeenth congressional district of Ohio in the Republican convention in 1876, and was very influential in procuring the nomination of General Hayes as the candidate for the presidency.  He was also one of the presidential electors for the State at large, that cast the vote of Ohio for General Hayes for President, and was selected to convey the electoral votes to Washington.
     He took a deep interest in the affairs of the nation, and was prompt in expressing his disapprobation of the policy adopted by President Hayes, regarding his course as unjust to the Republicans of the south and as endangering the perpetuity of the Republican party, which Mr. Wade regarded as essential to good government and the protection of the rights of the citizens.
     In the summer of 1861, when the call of the President was issued for seventy-five thousand men, in pursuance of a proclamation by the governor of Ohio the citizens of Jefferson came together and were addressed by Mr. Wade.  A call was made for volunteers, and Mr. Wade’s name appeared first upon the roll.  The requisite number for a company was immediately obtained, and the company was organized and their services tendered to the governor.  But the result showed that seven companies in Ashtabula County had organized at the same time, and the governor could receive only two of that number.  The Jefferson company was not one of those selected.
     Through life Mr. Wade was abstemious in his habits, alike in eating and drinking, and he possessed a strong and vigorous constitution, which rendered him capable of great endurance, and this, with his indomitable perseverance and untiring industry, always enabled him to discharge with promptness whatever duties devolved upon him.  Hence he never seemed to be pressed with business, but possessed much of apparent leisure.
     He was plain and unassuming in manners, whatever position he held, whether at the bar, on the bench, or presiding over the senate of the nation.  He was zealous and earnest in the advocacy of measures, and sometimes sarcastic in language, but he impressed all who heard him with his sincerity, and he rarely created an enemy.  He was prudent and economical in his personal expenses, but liberal in his charities, and the sufferer never went empty-handed from his door when he had the power to relieve.  Integrity of purpose and a keen sense of honor were conspicuous traits in his character.  The writer of this sketch on one occasion went into his law-office and found him alone and apparently moody and in ill temper; at length he broke out: “I never have felt so humiliated in my life as by an incident that has just occurred.  I cannot restrain myself from speaking of it, and still I should feel disgraced in the opinion of all honest men were it made public.”  He referred to a citizen of intelligence and good standing in the community, saying, “That man has just left my office, and while here he referred to a suit which I am prosecuting against him, indirectly offering me a consideration if I would not press the suit against him.  My first impression, ’ said Wade, “was to kick him out of the office; but on reflection, on second thought, I was so humiliated by the proposition that it seemed to me that I had been guilty of some wrong myself.  I asked him what I had ever done, or what he had ever seen or heard of me that led him to suppose it was safe to offer me a bribe to induce treachery to my client.”  Mr. Wade said it was the first time he had ever been approached by any man with such an intimation, and he hoped his character for integrity stood high enough so that it might never be repeated. It probably never occurred again.  And his friends have the satisfaction of knowing that through his long career of public and private duties no man ever impeached his integrity or made a charge of pecuniary wrong against him.
     Since the foregoing sketch was prepared for publication Mr. Wade has passed away.  The following announcement of his death in the Cleveland Herald, of Mar. 4, 1878, we append, as a just tribute to his memory.


     The Hon. Benjamin Franklin Wade, formerly United States senator from Ohio, died at his home in Jefferson, Ashtabula County, Mar. 2, after an illness of more than four weeks, which he bore with characteristic fortitude.  The news of the death of Mr. Wade, at the ripe age of seventy-eight years, has long been anticipated by the public.  His vigorous constitution gave way slowly to disease, and death came only after a long and painful struggle.  Mr. Wade has for a quarter of a century been a prominent figure in the politics of Ohio, and is among the last of the anti-6lavery pioneers.  Elected to the senate by the Whig party in Ohio, in 1851 after serving two terms in the senate of this State, and as judge of his district, he was twice re-elected, and for eighteen years held a conspicuous position in the councils of the nation.  His fame as a statesman will rest upon his long, earnest, and devoted adherence to the principles of the anti-slavery party in America.  It was during his term of service in the senate that the slavery excitement culminated in civil war, and the north and south met in bloody conflict to decide the issue by an appeal to arms.  From his entrance into the senate he was known as an Abolitionist, and one year after taking his seat voted in favor of the repeal of the fugitive slave law.  On all questions calculated to extend or benefit slavery he was always found bravely and fearlessly in the opposition, and his speeches against the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Lecompton constitution for Kansas, the purchasing of Cuba, are all fresh in the memory of our people.  A genuine friend of the laboring man, he advocated for years the passage of the Homestead bill, and had charge of the measure when it passed the senate.  As chairman of the joint committee on the conduct of the war, he urged the most vigorous action on the part of our armies, favored confiscation of the property of leading rebels, and the emancipation of their slaves.  He was prominent in compelling the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in 1862 reported a bill abolishing slavery in all the Territories of the Union or in any any that might be acquired.  His connection with the impeachment of President Johnson is well known, and his narrow escape from becoming President familiar to all our readers.
     When Mr. Wade entered the senate he was unknown to nearly all its members.  Plain in person and speech, with homespun manners and provincial dress, holding principles abhorrent to nearly all his colleagues, he met with a cold reception, and for a time was almost personally ignored.  He was placed on no committee, and the majority of the senate took small pains to L__gu__ how little sympathy they felt for him or his principles.  But Mr. Wade was naturally a bold, fearless, courageous man, and the efforts to silence his voice and discourage his speech were early met by him with open defiance, and senators soon found he not only was determined to be heard, but had the will and the pluck to assert his rights fearlessly and with manly vigor.  He sought no personal quarrel, nor avoided one by any sacrifice of principle.  It was soon discovered that the plain, unassuming man form Ohio was equal to any emergency, and would prove an ugly customer if forced into a merely personal conflict.  Hence he gained the genuine respect of his opponents, and finally their warm friendship and regard.
     Mr. Wade during the years of his public life, was eminently trusted and beloved by the people.  They liked his rugged manner, plain, straightforward, homely speech.  They knew he was earnest, honest, sincere.  His fearless utterances upon the question of human liberty found a ready response in their hearts, and his stirring eloquence upon the stump aroused their enthusiasm and stimulated their real.  Few men could portray the evils of slavery with more effective skill, and his denunciation of the "hellish traffic" in human beings found ready response in the heart of his bearers.
     The life of Mr. Wade had been one eminently useful to his country.  From the humblest position, with scanty education, and from the home of poverty, relying upon his own common sense, shrewdness, and practical nature, he rose steadily in the affection and confidence of the people until he became the acting vice-president of the United States.  Mr. Wade was the most earnest and sincere of men in his convictions, and even under the influence of strong emotion had full command of suitable and expressive words, and the power to move his bearers in strains of true and genuine eloquence.  His manners were open and frank, his speech at all times free and unreserved, and the absolute sincerity of the man was stamped in every line of his countenance.

* By C. S. Simonds.

Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 17

Edward Wade
EDWARD WADE.*  The Wades were a tough, hardy, brave, intellectual, strong-fibred folk. One would like to know something of the genesis of the family and the course of their history.  A family of nine by the same parents, of which “Frank” (B. F.) and “Ned” were the youngest, must have been remarkable.  The four elder died between ages of seventy-eight and eighty.  The two survivors are eighty and seventy-eight.  Of the others, one died at fifty-three, one at sixty-three, and one at sixty-nine.*  Thoroughly English in breed, of the average rank, impregnate with the honesty, wholesome virtues, wisdoms, and experiences of the common toiling life, full of vigor and vitality, with a sense of the ludicrous, a germ of grim humor, and a touch of the heroic, combative and tender.  The father, James, was some time a shoemaker, a stout soldier, a daring privateer, and fought as often and as bravely as the eight years War of the Revolution permitted.  The mother, Mary Upham, was the daughter of a Baptist clergyman, Edward Upham, inbred with the religious elements of the denomination, intensified by its persecutions in Massachusetts in colonial times.  Edward, the youngest, was born at Feeding Hills, West Springfield, Massachusetts, Nov. 22, 1802.  He received his grandfather’s name and religious nature.  The family removed to Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1821.  He early manifested an ingenious mind, with a tendency for mathematics; and when about twenty-one composed and wrote a new arithmetic, which was burned with a brother-in-law’s house, where it was deposited.  He studied law with Elisha Whittlesey, and after a three years’ thorough course was admitted at Jefferson in 1827; was elected justice of the peace in 1831; married the first time in 1832; elected prosecuting attorney in 1833.  He resided a few years at Unionville; removed to Toledo engaged in speculation; went up in the explosion of 1837, though he afterwards paid every dollar.  After the failure he removed to Cleveland, formed a partnership with Woolsey Wells, and later with H. A. Hurlbut.  Subsequently he was a member of the firms of Payne, Wilson & Wade, Hitchcock, Wilson & Wade, and Wilson & Wade.  He was four times elected to congress from the Cleveland district, serving from 1853 to 1861.  He died at East Cleveland, Ohio, 1866.  Edward Wade had but the scanty opportunity for education found by a boy of the people of his time.  An eager thirst for knowledge, indomitable pluck, a strong, quick intellect, and hopeful spirit enabled him to outstrip the average boys of his neighborhood.  More sanguine than his brother Frank, he induced him to enter upon the law. Few men ever more thoroughly mastered the common law.  He was the best special pleader of his day.  His success was slow,—might have discouraged a less determined spirit.  His ventures in speculation were a grave hindrance.  Dark and saturnine of face, which to strangers was a little forbidding, to which was added the austerities of religion, and the odium that attached to the name of Abolitionist, which he early acquired, an early lack of fluency, with his often change of residence, conspired to keep him for many years in the background.  Nor was he fortunate in the associates of the two first firms of which he was a member.  Persistent, indomitable, aspiring,—such a man cannot always be repressed.  He laid his foundation deep in thorough learning, and his time came.  He overcame the counties around Cleveland first.  Lawyers who knew him had him employed in difficult cases, and the other side sometimes found themselves beaten by his better law, and they could hardly tell why.  And the shrewd, hard-headed New Englanders came to know that behind the repulsive, cast-iron mask of a face there lay a charm which they saw was potent. He became a leader in Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and visited other counties on important retainers, yet he had no place at the Cleveland bar, where he lived.  Finally, Henry B. Payne, one of the ablest lawyers of the State, overworked and in failing health, wanted relief, and Payne & Wilson were supplemented with Wade, and the city was astonished by the revelation which the firm made of him.  With the failing health and gradual diminution of the head, the firm became a legal kangaroo. Upon the retirement of Mr. Payne, Reuben Hitchcock took his place, Mr. Wade content to stand nominally third.  No man perhaps ever cared less where his name stood.  Mr. Hitchcock was then at his best, and second to none as an able and laborious lawyer.  Mr. Wilson did the dignity, suavity, and deportment of the firm.  For several years the house ranked with any in the State.  I have stated the thoroughness of Mr. Wade’s legal training.  On his early foundation he carefully built the ever-growing, ever widening and rising structure, a profound and accomplished lawyer.  Master of the common law, thoroughly versed in chancery, and at home in the narrow range of the laws of crimes, there was not at the bar a more versatile man.  He was also widely read in history, biography, and politics; kept up with the progress of the natural sciences.  He excelled as nisi prius lawyer in the management and trial of cases before a jury.  A master of pleading, with the rules of evidence at his command, knowing and sympathizing with the average mind, the habits of life, and mode of thought of the people of whom he came, he became one of the most formidable opponents to be met with in northern Ohio, whose bar was in no way behind that of any section of the State.  With practice and perseverance he became one of the best and most successful advocates of his region.  The defects and hesitancies that marred his utterance disappeared forever.  He had a copious command of language, a flowing delivery, free, bold action, warmed readily, was intensely earnest, ingenious, and logical.  Nature had given him a fine, strong voice of great power, with the tone of a trumpet in its higher notes.  He was not without fancy, and an abundant, homely humor.  He never overshot the jury.  His illustrations were all drawn from common things,—the kitchen door-yard and barn-yard,—were always apt, often irresistible.  He said a good many things which were repeated.  With his strong, deep, intense nature, kindled to a height which he often attained, his declamation was most impressive, sometimes splendid, and justly called eloquent.  He had much of that magnetic power which seizes the blood and sympathy of an audience, adding effectiveness to an assault which shatters a position found proof against logic and argument.  Combative was he, as lawyers must be, and a masterpiece of will, which is a great force.  Men often carry cases because they will.  Though a man of the quickest and tenderest feelings, he had no pathos and little imagination.  A most unambitious speaker, he never labored for fine effects.  The good things were struck out by the collision of thought, his fire a natural product, and his humor unstudied.
     Edward Wade was originally a Whig,—made the canvass of 1840 for Harrison.  The anti-slavery seed had quick, vigorous, and hardy growth in his deep, rich nature.  He became, soon after the canvass, an avowed, unwavering political Abolitionist.  Thought with him became immediate action.  He was at once the leader and the spokesman of the few despised and persecuted who had the conviction and courage to organize in political opposition to slavery.  At the county-seats where he attended court, at secluded school-houses, whether the audience was few or many, a master of the subject, with labored earnestness he planted with unstinting hand the seed that was so soon to spring up and ripen.  He was the Liberty party candidate for congress, against Mr. Giddings, as long as Cleveland was in the same district.  He canvassed with more labor and care than after the multitude came to act with him.  In 1849, in the triangular contest between the Whigs, Free-Soilers, and Democrats, he was a candidate for the Ohio senate, and defeated by a small plurality.  In 1853, in a similar contest, he was elected to congress against Judge Wilson, his former partner, and William Case.  His more famous brother had been four years in the senate when he took his seat in the house.
     Though the odium which attended the name “Abolitionist” had in a way died out in Mr. Wade’s district, it had not in Washington, and was remembered against him.  The time was past for partisan warfare.  He was one of many, all able and all older men in the house.  He was not favored with any conspicuous place on any important committees, although he served with great credit for four congresses, and retained the undiminished love and confidence of his people to the last.  His early unselfish devotion to truth bore him this endearing fruit. He made several able and telling speeches, but can hardly be said to have gained the ear of the house.  On the committee of commerce he made a masterly and exhaustive report on the commerce of the lakes,—the first upon that subject.  The results which it exhibited were a revelation even to men whose lives, labors, and capital were embarked in it, and gave the author a reputation through the country which should have secured him a better recognition in the house.  Those were the evil days, the breaking up of old political organization, and of the government as well.  Another, and personally to Mr. Wade and his friends a most melancholy factor, is to be taken into the account in estimating the reason why he never reached the position in the house which those who knew him best expected. He certainly did not fall below his brother in ability.  He had a wider reading at that time of their lives, and much more general culture; in manner and address more polished.  He died of a softening of the brain.  How early the shadow of the awfulest of fates, heralding its oncoming, had darkened the high, pure soul, and weakened the faculties of his strong, clear, practical, fervid intellect, no mortal knows.  From things learned at the capital, it must have been some years before his retirement from the house. His career there, compared with the average, was not only most useful but highly honorable.  It saddens me to remember that it fell short of the promise of his powers and abilities as exhibited at the bar and as a political speaker.  Mr. Wade’s first wife was Sarah Louise Atkins, one of the several daughters of Judge Q. F. Atkins, of whom it was said that his face, if
set on Mason and Dixon’s line, turned to the south, would of itself abolish slavery.  The daughters were all superior women, and it was understood that it was the earnest, personal solicitation of the young lady, preceding marriage, that first effectively called the attention of her lover to the subject of religion.  Mrs. Wade was quite the equal of any of her sisters, and save that the marriage was unblessed with offspring, it was one of rare felicity.  Gifted and cultivated, of rich and varied charities, harmonious in life, united in effort for the various causes of human advancement, especially of the slave and temperance, their house became the asylum of the flying fugitive, as their hands were eager to relieve suffering in all forms.  The cause they knew not they searched out.  They adopted two children, offsprings of different parents, a son and daughter, whom they reared with the utmost care.  The son was an early victim of the late war.  The daughter is the accomplished wife of Henry P. Wade, son of B. F. Wade, a gallant young officer late of the regular army.  The first Mrs. Wade died in 1852.  During the early years of Mr. Wade’s congressional services he contracted a second marriage with Miss Mary P. Hall, the accomplished niece of the late Dr. J. P. Kirtland, who survives him.  This marriage was also childless.  The religious element in the nature of this well-endowed man was large and constantly active.  The tone of his mind, although he wrote an arithmetic in youth, had a tendency to the visionary, and for a time he was a believer in the Second Advent.  It was remarked by his opponents, however, that during this period his cases were prepared with the same care and tried with the same consummate skill that marked his entire career at the bar.  In person he was compact, well-made, with an erect carriage, and the same manly and lofty pose of head that characterized his brother Frank.  These men, though the least conscious of mortals, could not help carrying themselves as full men.  In repose Edward was grave and thoughtful, with an earnest, almost sad outlook from black eyes, the rather austere, dark face, framed in night-black curly hair, of silky gloss and fineness, and late in life adorned with a full whisker, was ever ready to break into smiles, which lit it up with great winningness.  Of frank and pleasing manner, modest and retiring
deportment, no man could be more genial and cordial, no man was ever better loved by those who came to know him,—a not difficult acquisition,—and no man had a wider and stronger hold on the popular heart than he finally won.  A more open spirit, a tenderer, braver, purer soul, never found lodging in the frame of man.  A more unselfish, devoted heart never sent warmth through the human form.  A man was he in every fibre of his person, every instinct of his nature, every impulse of his heart.  Brave and blameless, trusted, loved, deplored, compelled to linger above the horizon after his night had set in, the mere body breathing and feeding when the masterful spirit had departed.  The sadness of this fate throws its shadow back over his life, and invests his memory with a regretful

     *Hon. A. G. Riddle.     Written before the death of B. F.

Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 84

  HON. JONATHAN WARNER, was born at Chester Parish, in old Saybrook, Connecticut, Dec. 11, 1782.  His father, Jonathan, was a farmer, and also owned some interest in vessels engaged at that time in the coasting trade.  The young man was bred principally upon the farm, but had acquired some experience as a sailor upon his father’s vessels, and had at one time made a cruise to the West Indies.  In the fall of 1804, in company with a man named Olmsted, he ventured on an exploring expedition to the western country.  He was provided with a letter of credit, which spoke of him in high terms of praise.
     At Buffalo they procured a boat, and started upon the lake for New Connecticut, and his nautical experience was of value during a violent storm, which compelled them to run their boat ashore, where they spent a night under its shelter.  They landed at the mouth of Ashtabula creek, and made their way to the interior as far as the present village of Jefferson.  Here Mr. Warner selected lands embracing a part of the present village, while his companion made his settlement in what is now known as the township of Kingsville.  At that time there was but one resident of the township of Jefferson, a man by the name of Mapes, who had previously settled upon a part of the same land, and had built a log house and cleared a few acres.  Mr. Warner purchased his improvements and made provision for a future home, although before locating permanently he went back to Connecticut.  In the spring of 1805 he returned, and fixed his permanent residence in Jefferson.
     In 1806 other settlers came into the township.  Among them came Edward Frethy, with his family, from Washington city.  He was the first postmaster, the first justice of the peace, and the first merchant in Jefferson.
     Mr. Warner was pleased with the wilderness in which he had located, and which he was making every effort to destroy.  As a matter of choice he had settled in a hermitage far from human habitations, and yet he found it not good to be alone, and on the 4th day of May, 1807, he was married to Nancy, a daughter of Edward Frethy.  His residence was three-fourths of a mile distant, and he went for his bride on horseback.  After the ceremony was performed he took her upon the crupper and carried her to his cabin, near the same spot where she now resides, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, and where she continued the partner of his joys and of his sorrows through his life.
     The first selection of land made by Mr. Warner embraced the land upon which the court-house was afterwards located; but to accommodate the new village and to secure the county-seat he was induced to exchange a portion of his selection for lands lying farther west and adjoining the proposed town.
     In the year 1815 he was appointed recorder of deeds for the county, for the term of seven years. In the year 1825 he was appointed treasurer of the county.  Soon after this time the anti- asonic excitement prevailed in politics, and Mr. Warner was an active leader in the anti-Masonic party.  In the fall of 1831 he was elected a representative to the State legislature, and in the spring of 1839 he was elected by the legislature of the State an associate judge of the court of common pleas, for the term of seven years, his term expiring on Apr. 1, 1846.  He was always an active partisan in politics, and always in sympathy with the Democratic party, except during the few years that the anti-Masonic party had a political existence.  He had eleven children, one of whom died in infancy.  Of the ten who reached maturity,—four sons and six daughters,—all but one are now living, and all have families of their own, who now hold respectable positions in society.  George, his second son, was killed by accident, Mar. 25, 1877, in Washington Territory, where he left a wife and two children.  Judge Warner died at his old residence in Jefferson on the 12th day of April, 1862, in his eightieth year, respected and honored by all.
     He was a vigorous man, possessed of a strong will, a kind heart, and affectionate disposition.  He was a valuable citizen, exact and trustworthy in all his dealings, as well in public as in private life. And as one of the pioneers of the county, who has helped to found and build up its institutions, his life and character are worthy of commemoration by the present as well as by the future generations of this county who may follow after him.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 115
  CAPTAIN JOHN B. WATROUS, second son of John and Roxanna Watrous, was born at Saybrook, Connecticut, Jan. 15, 1790.  When seventeen years of age, he made the journey to Ashtabula, Ohio, on horseback, and bought the farm on which he afterwards resided, now known as “ Maple Grove.”  He returned to Connecticut, and remained there until 1810, when, with his parents and family, he removed permanently to his wilderness home.  The journey was performed by means of ox-teams, —two yoke of oxen to each wagon.  A log dwelling was soon erected, which quickly became a centre of graceful hospitalities to a large circle of genial friends.  John B. was a soldier in the War of 1812, as were also two of his brothers.  He was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, one of the first workers for the establishment of an Episcopal church in Ashtabula, and a director in the “Warren and Ashtabula Turnpike Company,” then considered a road of great importance to the country.  His tastes were literary, and to a polished exterior he added the graces of a Christian character.  His was a nature dispensing sunshine wherever he moved.  Married at thirty-three years of age to a beautiful woman much his junior, he was a tender husband and judicious parent.  He died in ripe old age, Feb. 24, 1869.  His wife, Julia Montgomery, was born in Conneaut, Dec. 14, 1806.  She was the youngest daughter of James Montgomery (who was the son of Robert Montgomery), and was born in Schoharie, New York. Robert Montgomery had emigrated from the north of Ireland, had been a soldier of the Revolution, and was a cousin-german of the Robert Montgomery who fell at Quebec.
     James Montgomery had married Mary Raldwin, of Catskill, New York.  The pair became pioneers of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, having removed there three years after the first settlement of Harpersfield.  The journey from Buffalo was made in open boats, the intervening country being but a trackless forest.  The parents and their four children disembarked at night, sleeping on the beach beneath their sheltering boats.  Arrived at Conneaut, a dwelling was hastily constructed from the barks of trees, until a more substantial one of logs could be made; and this speedily became “a tavern,” for the accommodation of people emigrating still farther towards the setting sun.
     The husband followed the business of boating between Conneaut and Erie, thus supplying the infant colony with provisions and other necessaries of life.  He served for a time in the War of 1812, and later served for two successive terms in the legislature at Chillicothe, then the seat of government for the State.
     Four more children were born to them in Conneaut, and when Julia was four years of age the Watrous family, then on their way to Ashtabula, stayed overnight at this inn, and then and there began the acquaintance which culminated in the marriage of John B. Watrous and Julia Montgomery on the 23d of June, 1823.
     James Montgomery removed to Austinburg in 1813, and here soon after was born his son, Colonel James Montgomery, of Kansas celebrity,—the famed “ guerrilla chieftain,” the “ fighting preacher.”  Colonel Montgomery also commanded the Union army in Florida during the “ late unpleasantness.”  He died at Mound City, Kansas, in 1872.
     James Montgomery, Sr., died at Ashtabula in 1834, and Mrs. Julia Montgomery Watrous is now the sole survivor of her father’s family.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 144

E. M. Webster
E. M. WEBSTER, M. D., was born in the township where he now resides, on the 21st day of May, 1827.  His parents were Hiram Hall and Corinna L. Webster.  He received an academic education, and, on its completion, read medicine with his father, and graduated at Hudson medical college, Cleveland, Ohio, receiving his degree Feb. 22, 1854.  Has practiced medicine with eminent success until this time, except a brief period passed at Philadelphia, as follows: in 1862 he was mustered into the United States army as an assistant-surgeon, and assigned to duty as post-surgeon at that point.  His brother, who was with the army, died soon after, when the doctor resigned his commission and came home.  He has been physician for the county infirmary for the past fifteen years.  Dr. Webster was married to Miss Emily A. Beckwith, June 4, 1851.  Have had two children. Darwin P. was born June 28, 1852; died in infancy.  George E. was born July 25, 1858.  The doctor is thoroughly Republican in politics; is a member of the Presbyterian church; is a Knight Templar, and affiliates with Cache commandery, No. 27, at Conneaut.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page127

H. H. Webster
DR. HIRAM WEBSTER was born in Lanesborough, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, on May 17, 1800.  He is the second child of Clark and Naamah Hall Webster.  When he was five year of age his parents removed to Franklin, Delaware county, New York.  After two years passed at this point his father made a trip to "New Connecticut," as the Western Reserve was then called, and without making a purchase of land put in a piece of wheat on the Ashtabula flats.  This land was owned by Matthew Hubbard.  Returning to Franklin for his family, he soon started for Ohio, calculating to reach Buffalo on runners.  At Skaneateles he found two families named Pratt and Bartlett also en-route for the "promised land," and in company with them proceeded onward and in due time arrived at Black Rock, where they found a large open boat, which was offered them at a low price, as it had become unseaworthy,—indeed was almost a wreck.  However, an arrangement was effected whereby Mr. Webster repaired the boat, and in return was given a passage for his family and goods to Ashtabula Landing.  It was not altogether a safe voyage, as not one of the company was acquainted with handling a boat except Mr. Webster.  The motive power was oars and setting-poles, aided by extemporized sails of bed blankets and sheets.  There were twenty-one on board at night the boat was beached and made fast, the greater portion of the passengers going ashore to sleep.  An incident is related in which the subject of this sketch was an active participant.  He and a younger brother were sleeping on the boat in company with several other persons; about midnight he was shaken quite roughly by an old lady of the party, and ordered to get off the boat quickly, as it was sinking.  In the dense darkness he was unable to find his brother, and while groping about in search of him doubtless got in the way of the said female; be that as it may, the result was a sudden push and an equally sudden plunge into the lake being near the bow, however, the water was not deep, yet before getting out his feet and his head became submerged, and he “shipped” considerable water.  Reaching Ashtabula, tarried there until June, 1809, when the family removed to Kingsville and made a permanent settlement.  In the twenty-first year of his age, Hiram Hall Webster commenced the study of medicine, and in 1825 entered upon the practice of his profession, and diligently pursued it until his son, Dr. E. M., was qualified to take the labors upon himself, when the doctor left the field.  Those years of pioneer practice were fraught with hardship and often danger.
     Dr. Webster was united in marriage, in April, 1824, to Corinna Lucinda, daughter of Russel and Corinna Loomis, of Windsor township, this county.  The fruits of this union are Corinna Naamah, born Mar. 10, 1825, married Rev. E. C. Williams (deceased); Eleazur Michael, born May 21, 1827; Laura Ann, born July 8, 1829, died in infancy; Ann Eliza, born Dec. 14, 1830, married Darwin P. Venen, and is deceased; Clarinda L., born Aug. 19, 1833, married D. P. Venen; Charles Hiram, born July 21, 1836; and Henry Clark, the youngest, who was born Feb. 11, 1842, was a soldier of the Union army, and died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oct. 8, 1862.  The wife of Dr. Webster is likewise deceased, since which time he has resided with his son, Dr. E. M.   Dr. Webster, senior, is a worthy member of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, and a Republican in politics.  
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 127

Hon. Horace Wilder
HON. HORACE WILDER, one of several sons of a farmer of limited means, was born upon a spur of the "Berkshire hills" in West Hartland, Connecticut, Aug. 20, A. D. 1802.  In 1819 he entered, and in the class of 1823 graduated, at Yale college with honor.  He almost immediately entered as a law-student the office of the Hon. Elisha Phelps, of Simsbury, Connecticut, where he pursued the study of his profession until the spring of 1824, when he went to Virginia, and for about two and a half years was there employed in teaching a “family” school in the family and upon the plantation of Mrs. Morton, of Stafford county.  It is believed that the Hon. James A. Seddon, secretary of war of the Confederate States, was one of his pupils.  During this period he devoted his leisure hours to the study of the aw, books being procured for him at an office in Fredericksburg.  In January, 1826 he was “ licensed” to practice in the courts of Virginia, but in the fall of that year he returned to Hartland, where he remained during the winter, and in the spring of 1827 left for Ohio, where he had determined to make his future home.  His first point was Claridon, Geauga county, at which place he had a sister (Mrs. Judge Taylor) residing.  Shortly before this, Edson Wheeler, Esq., of East Ashtabula, Ashtabula County, a lawyer of character and influence, had deceased; and, after inquiry and consultation with members of the bar in the vicinity, Mr. Wilder located at that place.  Never having “practiced,” by the law of the State he was compelled to wait a year before admission.
     At the August (1828) term of the superior court in Geauga county he was duly admitted to the bar, in the mean time doing his professional business in the name of a friend.  In October, 1833, he was elected prosecuting attorney of Ashtabula County, and in the fall of 1834 was elected representative to the State legislature,—the only office of a political character ever held by him.  In 1837 he removed to Conneaut.  In 1833 he married Phebe J. Coleman, the eldest daughter of the late Elijah Coleman, M.D., well known to all the residents of the county of the past generation.  Mrs. Wilder died in 1847. He never re-married.  Mr. Wilder, during the entire period of his active life, devoted himself exclusively to his books and professional duties, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, and at a comparatively early day earned for himself an enviable reputation as a sound and skillful lawyer, a safe and prudent counselor, and an honest and honorable man.  In 1855 he was elected judge of the court of common pleas for the third subdivision of the ninth judicial district (composed of the counties of Ashtabula, Lake, and Geauga), to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge R. Hitchcock, and in 1856 was again elected to the same position for the full term of five years.
     In 1862, soon after his term expired, Judge Wilder was appointed by the late Governor Tod draft commissioner for the county of Ashtabula, and as such superintended and conducted the first draft of troops made in the county.
     In the spring of 1S63 he removed to Ashtabula and formed a copartnership, in the practice of the law. with E. H. Fitch, Esq., under the name of Wilder & Fitch. This business arrangement was of but brief duration, for, in December, 1863, Judge Wilder was appointed by Governor Tod a judge of the supreme court, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Gholson, and in the fall of 1864 was elected to the same position for the balance of Judge Gholson’s term.
     In 1865, Judge Wilder resumed practice at Ashtabula. In May, 1867, he retired from active business and removed to Red Wing, Minnesota, where he has since resided with and as part of the family of his younger brother, E. T. Wilder, between whom, even for brothers, very intimate relations have always existed.
     In politics, Judge Wilder was a Whig so long as the Whig party existed.  After it disappeared he affiliated with the Republican party until some years subsequent to the close of the war, when, dissatisfied with the policy of that party towards the south, he has since been more nearly in harmony with the Democratic party, though not fully identified with it. 
     In early life Judge Wilder was. in religious matters, inclined to adopt views not in all respects deemed orthodox, but in later years these opinions have been entirely changed, and he now is and for some years has been a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church.
     His decisions from the bench are enduring testimonials to his familiarity with the law and to the accuracy of his legal acquirements. Both his natural and acquired ability peculiarly fitted him for the duties of a judge.  In scholarship thorough, in judgment sound, his knowledge of the law extensive, and its exactness unquestioned, in character irreproachable, and to business scrupulously attentive, he was a jurist who honored the position he filled.
     During his long residence in Ashtabula County he gained the warm friendship of a large circle of acquaintances, by whom he is still remembered with strong affection.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 89

Res. of
Geo. Willard,
Ashtabula Co., O

George Willard
Mrs. George Willard
Interior View of
George Willard's
Drug Store
Willard Block
George Willard,
Ashtabula, OH

Willard Block
as of the year 2020

Ashtabula -
GEORGE WILLARD was born in Holland patent, New York, on the 12th day of August, 1812, and is the fifth of a family of twelve children born to Simon and Rhoda Wills Willard, originally of Weathersfield, Connecticut, but who removed in 1804 to Holland patent, where they remained until 1834, at which date they came to Ashtabula township.   There the parents died,—the mother January 21, 1842, and the lather November 18, 1850.  Of the brothers and sisters of George Willard, all are dead except one, the oldest brother, William, who is still a resident of Ashtabula.  The education of Mr. Willard was acquired through the medium of our American system of common schools, after the completion of which he began what has proved to be the occupation of his life, that of merchandising, making his debut, in 1828, as clerk in a general store and forwarding and commission house, at Whitestown, Oneida county, New York.  The Erie canal was then in its palmiest days.  Remained here, engaged in this avocation, until 1831, when he came to Ashtabula, Ohio, and for the succeeding five years was clerk in the post-office and store of A. C. Hubbard.  In April, 1836, Mr. Willard associated himself with Richard Roberts, and, under the firm-name of Roberts & Willard, opened, in the north half of the double two-story brick block built by H. J. Rees, a stock of goods, consisting of drugs, medicines, groceries, hardware, nails, and iron.  This firm continued in business only about six months, when the death of Mr. Roberts occurred.  From this time until 1844, Mr. Willard conducted the business in his own name.  He, however, rented the south half of the building, and put in a dry goods stock.  In 1844 the firm was changed to that of George Willard & Co., by the admission of S. B. Wells, Esq., a former clerk, as a partner.  General produce became a feature of the business at this time.  In the year 1850 the firm was again changed, by the admission of another clerk (Henry Griswold), to Willard, Wells & Co.  In 1855, Messrs. Wells and Griswold withdrew.  Since this time Mr. Willard has been the sole proprietor.  The fine three-story brick block which he now occupies was erected in 1874.  The first real estate purchased by Mr. Willard in this township was the lot upon which stands his present business block.  This was in the year 1838, and the subsequent year he purchased the property now occupied by William WillardMr. George Willard has been engaged in the mercantile business in this city for forty-two years, in addition to five years’ service in the same occupation as clerk.  During this time has been quite largely engaged in lake commerce.  Had a controlling interest, in whole or in part, in the following vessels, viz., schooners “ B. F. Wade,”  “Boston,” “ Julia Willard,” “ York State,” and the bark “ Naomi.”  Has served as mayor one term, and member of the common council of the “ incorporated village of Ashtabula” for several terms.  Has also been township trustee.  Has been one of the directors of the Farmers’ National bank from its organization.  Was director and president of the Ashtabula County Central plank-road company for a number of years.   This road was constructed some time prior to the opening of the Franklin division of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad, and extended from Ashtabula Harbor to the village of Jefferson, and thence on to the lumber region in Richmond township.  This road was for its time a great convenience. Politically, Mr. Willard is ardently Republican.
     On the 15th day of September, 1833, he was united in marriage to Julia Francis, daughter of Err W. and Sarah Slawson Mead, who were living at the time in Ashtabula.  No children have blest this union.  He is a member of the Episcopal church.  Mr. Willard served as a member of the vestry and treasurer several years, and as senior warden some twenty years.  Thus have we briefly sketched the life of one of Ashtabula’s representative business men.  The pioneer in trade, he has grown gray in its prosecution.  As a business man, he has been longer in service than any other citizen of Ashtabula.  He has ever proven himself a useful and public-spirited citizen.  The best interests of his village and of his county and of his church he has always zealously striven to promote.  Quiet and unassuming, he is nevertheless an influential citizen, and universally esteemed for his many sterling qualities.  The name of George Willard will not be forgotten when in coming years other generations shall be the denizens of this beautiful village.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 144

H. B. Woodbury
HON. HAMILTON BLOSS WOODBURY is the eldest of a family of six children.  His parents were Ebenezer B. Woodbury, who was born in New Hampshire, and removed to Ohio in 1811, and Sylva Woodbury, born in Cazenovia, Madison county, New York, and came to Ohio in 1816.  They were living in Kelloggsville, this county, when the subject of this sketch was born Nov. 27, 1831.  They, however, removed to Jefferson after a term of years, and the mother is yet a resident of that village, the father having died Aug. 14, 1870.  Judge Woodbury was educated in the common and select schools of Ashtabula County.  When seventeen years of age he entered the law office of his father at Kelloggsville, and began the study of the profession in which to-day he occupies a high position.  In the year 1852, at the September term of the district court of Ashtabula county, he was admitted to practice.  Some twelve years since, he was admitted to practice in the United States courts.  In 1854 he was elected a justice of the peace for the township of Monroe, this county, and re-elected in 1857.  In October of that year he removed to Jefferson, where he still resides.  Has held numerous offices; among these we may mention trustee of the township and mayor of the village.  In April, 1873, he was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention of Ohio.  He now occupies the position of common pleas judge of the third subdivision of the ninth judicial district of Ohio, having been elected in January, 1875, and again re-elected in October of the same year.  On the 5th of September, 1863, he was by his excellency Governor David Tod commissioned as lieutenant-colonel of the Second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Militia, which position he held until the disbanding of the organization.
     The wife of Judge Woodbury was Mary E., daughter of Peter and Sarah W. Hervey, to whom he was united in marriage at Jefferson, Ohio, on the 12th day of October, 1854.
     Four children have blessed this union.  They are Frederick H., born Oct. 24, 1855; M. Jennie, born Sept. 10, 1857; Hamilton B., born Dec. 17, 1867; and Walter W., whose birth occurred June 19, 1871.  Politically Judge Woodbury is a Republican.  As a jurist it is perhaps correct to say that no sounder one is known to the courts of northern Ohio.  Conversant with the law, his decisions are rarely called in question, and he presides over the tribunals of justice with dignity and firmness.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 91

Ephm T. Woodruff
Wayne Twp. -
was born at Farmington, Connecticut, Oct. 17, 1777, and was the youngest son of Timothy Woodruff, by his first wife, Lucy Treadwell, sister of John Treadwell, one of the governors of Connecticut.  He graduated at Yale college in 1797.  Rev. James Murdock, who, in 1848, wrote a work entitled “Brief Memoirs of the Class of 1797,” says in his preface to that work:  “The Class of 1797 is distinguished for the longevity of its members, twenty-four out of thirty-seven, or about two-thirds of all that graduated, being alive after a separation of half a century.” He also says:  “It was distinguished for the uniform good scholarship of its members.”  Among its graduates are such well-known names as Henry Baldwin, judge of the United States supreme court; Lyman Beecher, D.D.; Judge Thomas Day, official reporter of the supreme court of Connecticut; and Horatio Seymour, Sr.   Mr. Woodruff, after finishing his theological course as the pupil of Rev. Charles Backus, D.D., of Somers, Connecticut, and teaching the academy at Stonington one year, was ordained pastor of the church in North Coventry, Tolland county, Connecticut.  His health failed him in 1817 so much that he resigned his pastoral charge, and he took a commission from the Missionary society of Connecticut to labor on the “Connecticut Western Reserve in Ohio.”  He, however, stopped for one year at Little Falls, Herkimer county, New York, and taught an academy.  He arrived in Wayne, Ashtabula County, in April, 1819, and became the first pastor of the church, settling upon a tract of land which he purchased from Issacher Jones, of Connecticut, all heavily timbered, and upon which the sound of the woodman’s axe had not been heard; but with the generous aid of such stout hands and hearts as were possessed by Nathaniel Coleman, Samnel Tuttle, Jonathan Tuttle, Norman Wilcox, Joseph Ford, Deacon Ezra Leonard, Samuel Jones, Deacon Calvin Andrews, Simon Fobes, Titus Hayes, Elisha Giddings, and Joshua Giddings, he soon erected a log house, in which his family, consisting of his wife and sister and six children, were made as comfortable as any of his congregation.  He preached one-half of his time in Wayne, while the remainder was spent in missionary work and in the distribution of Bibles all through the wilderness for more than fifty miles in every direction from his home.  On that same spot he died, on the twenty-sixth day of November, 1859, at the age of eighty-two years.  On his death-bed, being in great pain, he said to his youngest son: “This is a rough road to travel, but its roughness has elevated spots, from which I see ‘the city' beyond.”
     Mr. Woodruff was married Oct. 7, 1801, to Sally Alden, orphan daughter of Jonathan Alden, a lineal descendant of John Alden, the pilgrim of Plymouth Rock of that name.  She died in 1829.  In 1832 he married Susan Porter.  He had no children by his second wife.  His oldest daughter, born in 1804, was the wife of Hon. Seth Hayes, of Hartford, Trumbull county.  She died in 1850.  Phoebe married Dr. T. J. Kellogg, of Girard, Erie county, Pennsylvania. Jonathan Alden, a graduate of Hamilton college, and Presbyterian minister, died Sept. 12, 1876, at Imlay City, Michigan.  Harriet died in 1828, at the age of eighteen years.  Charlotte Maria, who married J. B. Clark, of Kelloggsville, Ashtabula County, removed to Michigan, and died in 1871.  Samuel Ebenezer, born Mar. 31, 1817, is an attorney-at-law, and with his son, Thomas S., constitutes the firm of S. E. & T. S. Woodruff, attorneys-at-law, Erie, Pennsylvania, and in which county the senior partner of the firm has practiced his profession for thirty-four years.
     The first meeting house in Wayne was erected in 1816.  A grave-yard was opened upon the tract of land purchased, as before mentioned, by Mr. Woodruff.  The meeting-house was in dimensions twenty-eight by thirty-six feet, built of legs hewn only on the inside.  A heard pulpit, ascended by five steps, stood at the north end; a singers’ gallery, six steps high, of the same material, extended across the south end, with wings about ten feet along the east and west sides.  A hearth of rough cobble-stones, about six feet square, in the centre of the building, without either chimney or stove-pipe, was the only fire-place previous to 1825.  At first most of the seats were slabs without backs; but they were crowded with true, faithful worshipers every Sabbath-day.  They were not of the fair-weather kind.  At the right of the pulpit sat the elder Deacon Leonard.  He generally selected and read the hymns: he was a noble man, six feet in height, with flowing white hair, knee- and shoe-buckles, faultlessly clean, white bosom, rich, sonorous voice, and one of the best of readers.  In the west wing of the gallery Elisha Giddings was the leading bass singer; in the centre, Captain Levi Leonard led the tenor, assisted by his nephew, Marvin Leonard, son of the deacon, and who, some time after the death of his father, which occurred in 1829, became a deacon of the church.  Linus H. Jones was one of the prominent members of the choir, composed of about twenty persons.  The music was of a high order, on account of the heart and soul it possessed.  This meetinghouse stood on the identical spot where the Rev. George Roberts, a subsequent pastor, lived immediately before his death.  It was burned down about the year 1829. This church was highly prosperous, and its membership was increased to more than two hundred.
     The chief obstacle to Mr. Woodruff’s usefulness as a pastor was the bronchial complaint that had compelled him to leave Coventry.  This affected his utterance so much as to make it difficult at times to be heard by a large audience; yet, it is doubtful if his efficiency and usefulness as a pastor were much affected for many years; yet it detracted somewhat from his popularity as an orator, though his success and reputation as such fully sustained the character ascribed to him by an eastern cotemporary, “He was an excellent pastor.”  He continued in the pastoral relation of the original church until about 1835, when the infirmities of age, and the consequent failure of his vocal powers and hearing, induced him to resign, and attend church as a listener, often standing in a leaning position upon the front of the pulpit, so that his dull ears might not fail to catch each word that fell from the lips of the speaker.  In a letter to his son Samuel, dated Dec. 7, 1856, he says: “On the Lord's-day I get out with my family, without fail, and attend to my Bible-class of aged members, who gather together with great regularity, with the simplicity of little children, to receive instruction.  I wait upon them with great delight.”  In further addressing his son in regard to his hope, confidence, and appreciation of the great refuge, as he was nearing the end of his days upon earth, in closing, he says:
“If thou, my Jesus, still art nigh,
  Cheerful I live, and cheerful die
  When mortal comforts flee.
  To find ten thousand worlds in Thee.

“Great King of Grace, my heart subdne
  I would be led in triumph too,
  A willing captive to my Lord,
  And sing the triumphs of His word.”

     Among the former residents of the township of Wayne no family is more kindly remembered
or associated with stronger ties of friendship and appreciation, than that of Ephraim T. Woodruff.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page betw. 248-249

  Kingsville Twp. -
MARSHALL WILLIAM WRIGHT, INFIRMARY DIRECTOR, a fine portrait of whom appears in connection with the sketch of the county infirmary, was born on the 27th day of August, 1818, and is a child of Sherman and Fanny Howes Wright, originally of Wilbraham, Hampden county, Massachusetts, but who removed to Ohio and located in the township of Conneaut in the fall of 1811, where they resided until their decease, which occurred—the father's on Jan. 3, 1847, and the mother’s Jan. 15, 1872. The education of Mr. Wright was received at a common district school, principally at the school-house on the south ridge in Conneaut.  His time was divided between labor in his father’s tannery and shoe-shop, and the tilling of the small farm owned by him, until his failure in business in 184S, since which time he has served his township and the county in the discharge of various public trusts.  He was first elected a justice of the peace in 1851, and since that date has been an incumbent of that office some thirteen years, and still administers justice to those who are unfortunately compelled to resort to the law to settle their differences.  In the year 1853 he was elected to the office of sheriff of Ashtabula County, and served two terms, and in 1868 was elected county commissioner, and continued in office one term of three years; was elected to his present position as infirmary director in the fall of 1877.  He has also served as trustee of his township several terms, and for the greater portion of the time since attaining his majority has filled the office of school director.
     On the 1st of August, 1862, he entered the volunteer service of the United States in the capacity of quartermaster of the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry; served until April, 1864, at which time he was compelled by failing health to resign.  In reply to the question, “Were you wounded ?” he answered, "Once only, when at home on leave of absence in 1863, by a friend congratulating me on the position I held in the service, which would give me an opportunity to make money"
     On the 27th day of March, 1844, Esquire Wright was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Wayland, daughter of the Rev. Asa and Sarah Saxton Jacobs, of Conneaut (this county).  The children of this marriage are Elizabeth, born Feb. 9, 1845; married Levi T. Scofield, and now resides in Cleveland, Ohio.  Lydia, born Mar. 20, 1847; married Conrad J. Brown; residence, Erie, Pennsylvania.  Altie, born Apr. 23, 1850; married the Rev. Jeremiah Phillips, Jr., and whose home is now in Kenosha county, Wisconsin. Sherman, the next child, was born September 29, 1854; and Nellie, the last, whose birth occurred on Jan. 8, 1859.
     The ’squire was from the outset a Liberty-party man, and is, as a matter of course, at this writing a Republican, and believes that one hundred cents should make a dollar.  He is a member of Kingsville post, Grand Army of the Republic, and his religious belief is in keeping with the tenets of the Free-Will Baptist church, of which he is a member.  We cannot perhaps better close this sketch than by quoting from the notes of the gentleman himself:  "Have thus far lived on my own resources; none of my family have as yet been charged with crime, have became a public charge or a member of congress."
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 208
  Conneaut Twp. -
REV. ORRIN T. WYMAN.  This gentleman was born at Millville, Orleans county, New York, Aug. 25, 1836.  His parents, who were natives of New England, were Oliver and Emily Wyman.  The mother is yet living; the father died in 1861.  The education of the Rev. Mr. Wyman was academic.  In 1855, feeling the need of a better preparation for the ministry, he, in September, entered “ Meadville Theological School” for one year, then became a pupil of Antioch college (Yellow Springs, Ohio).  Sickness obliged him to leave this school after two mouths.  September, 1857, returned to Meadville, Pennsylvania, completed a three-years’ course, and graduated June, 1859. About Oct. 1, 1854, he left home with an uncle—Rev. S. H. Morse, evangelist—to assist in revival meetings in Chautauqua county, New York.  Preached his first sermon at Fluvanna, New York, Jan. 14, 1855.  After leaving school continued his studies, and supplied churches at different points in Orleans and Chautauqua counties.  Was ordained at a special session of Erie Christian conference, called for that purpose at De Wittville, New York.  June, 1862, and on the 15th of same month delivered his first sermon in the Christian church at Conneaut, Ohio.  The membership, when he became pastor of this church, was not numerous, but during the sixteen years he has been in charge, he has raised its membership to two hundred and fifty, and has thoroughly repaired the church edifice.  His labors have certainly been crowned with merited success.  He is a strong advocate of temperance, and a member of the Independent Order of Good Templars and Royal Templars of Temperance. In politics, Republican.  He is also president of the Erie Christian conference, and a trustee of “ Christian Biblical Institute,” at Stanfordville, New York.
     On the 7th of September, 1859, he was united in marriage to Miss T. V., daughter of Newell and Lucy Putnam, also natives of the New England States.  This estimable lady received an academic education, and was a teacher for several terms.  She is also a member of the Christian church.
     But one child has blessed this union, Benson N., whose birth occurred on June 17, 1863.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 169





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