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Mentor Twp. -
  ISAAC SAWYER

Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page     (Portrait of Residence on 248a)

 
Painesville Twp. -
  JOSEPH SEDGEBEER.  Few men, in the private walks of life, have had a career so checkered and eventful as the subject of this sketch.  Few men have exhibited more energy and perseverance in the accomplishment of their purposes.  His history serves to illustrate the saying that "there is nothing impossible to him will wills.Joseph Sedgebeer was born at Bristol, England, Dec. 3, 1805.  His father was a king's guardsman, and for his services received a pension form the British government.  His grandfather was an English farmer in comfortable circumstances.  Through the death of his father, in 1811, and the marriage of his mother, two years later, an opportunity was afforded the boy for the gratification of his ambition to be a sailor.  Late in the fall of 1814 he shipped as a cabin-boy on a merchant-ship bound for the West Indies.  While on this trip, which occupied a year, the master of the ship, Captain Sands, became much attached to his cabin-boy, and treated him with great kindness.  At the early age of ten the child showed himself to be the father of the man.  From the first he declined to drink the customary ration of "grog," and formed the resolution of constituting himself a temperance society of one.  And such was his inflexibility of purpose and strength of will that no persuasion or ridicule ever moved him from his boyhood resolution.
     On returning to England he lost his place and his best friend by the death of Captain Sands.  His step-father, Mr. Price, was not disposed to provide him a home, and he was compelled to seek employment on the ocean.  For some six months he was employed on the coasting vessel, when on his return to Bristol, he found his mother and step-father ready to sail for New York, with the intension of making their home in America.  It was talked and understood that Joseph should accompany them; but on the night the brig was to sail, and a carriage ready, he was given a half-crown and sent on an errand to a neighbor, and on his return to the house they were gone.  By this strange conduct on the part of his relatives he was left, at the age of ten, wholly dependent upon his own exertions and judgment.  He sought and found work on a farm in the country for four months, and then, upon his return to Bristol, wandered, day after day, among the shipping to find a situation.  At length, after a long and discouraging search, he found a chance, in 1816, to work his passage on a ship to New York.  When he arrived at New York and went to the place he had heard his relatives were stopping, he learned that his mother and step-father had gone to Canada, but could not ascertain to what place or part of Canada they had removed.  In this dilemma a lady, Mrs. Hylamen, heard his story and welcomed him to her house.  A few days later this lady saw in the list of advertised letters one directed to James Sedgbury, and immediately made inquiries for this person, in the hope that she might find a relative of per protgShe had doubtless heard that the Sedgburys, Sedgmoors, and Sedgebeers were of the same family.  Her hopes were soon realized by the discovery that James Sedgebury was Joseph's uncle, and that he was a brewer in good circumstances and lived in Amity street, New York.  The uncle took the wayfarer to his home and gave him employment for several months.  In the mean time, dissatisfied with being dependent upon his new-found relative, he kept a constant lookout for an apprenticeship to some trade, or to procure some steady employment.  In this he was not successful.  February, 1817, he accepted an offer of eight dollars a month as a sailor-boy on the ship "Margaret," of Glasgow.  After a stormy voyage, upon which the ship was disabled and two men and a boy died from exposure and hardship, they reached the Clyde.  Here he was apprenticed for three years to the ship-owners.
     After repairs they sailed to Nassau and Havana, and took cargo to Leghorn, on the Mediterranean.  At Havana the crew were attacked with yellow fever, and recovered by putting immediately to sea.  On arriving in Scotland they repeated the same voyage until they arrived off Tulon, when the ship, cargo, and two men were lost in a storm, and the survivors were sent to Scotland by the British consul.  He had now served two years under his indentures.  The owners put another ship of the same name in the same trade, with the same captain and officers.  Just as she was ready to sail, believing her to be unseaworthy, Joseph deserted the ship, and was compelled to remain secreted for a time, as he was advertised as a runaway apprentice.  Working his passage to New York, he there hired as a sailor on the brig "Hibernia," bound for Dublin.  On the return trip, when he was called out in the night to go aloft, after having been deprived of regular sleep, he went up into the rigging in a state of unconsciousness, and fell a distance of thirty-seven feet, striking upon a shipmate and crippling him for life.  In the latter part of hte summer of 1820 he arrived at New York, and resolved to abandon sailing.  While on the "Hibernia" the sailors called him "Old Head," on account of his steady ways and habits, and were accustomed to make him their banker while they would go ashore for a spree.
     He had not learned that his mother lived near Port Hope, Canada, and immediately set out on foot to visit her.  After remaining with her and Mr. Price during several months, and bestowing upon them his labor and the money he had saved while sailing, he worked a year in the vicinity as a farm-hand, and then entered a hundred acres of wild land, and lived alone in a shanty after the manner of the frontiersmen of that day.  With his own hands he cleared and sowed twenty-five acres the first season, and with the aid of a boy cleared and sowed forty acres more the next year.  In 1825 his entire crops of wheat and barley, and also his barn, were consumed by fire.  One incident occurred about this time that illustrates the inconveniences of frontier life, as well as the resolute character if Mr. Sedgebeer.  While chopping alone in the woods his leg was broken by a falling tree.  Without the assistance of a surgeon he reduced the fracture, and managed the case himself.  In 1826, upon arriving of age, he began to take part in political discussion, and expressed his opinions so frankly and vigorously that the crown commissioner threatened him with arrest.  He thereupon sold his property and removed to Rochester, New York, and engaged for a year in the manufacture and sale of ship-timber.  By economy and industry he had now accumulated between two and three thousand dollars, when he married, and purchased four hundred and fifty acres of land in Niagara county, New York, most of which was then a wilderness.
     After clearing and improving this farm, he moved to Lockport in 1834, and there engaged in business, owning and managing a drug-store, four asheries, and afterwards a dry-goods store.  Until 1837 his business projects were all successful, and speculation was at high tide.  When the panic came he was worth twenty thousand dollars, but had indorsed largely for his friends, who failed, and in 1838 he was compelled to make an assignment and see all his property sold by the sheriff.  In 1839 he gathered into a covered moving-wagon a few household goods saved from the financial wreck, and started with his family to find a home in Ohio and begin the struggle anew.  He journeyed to Ashtabula, then to Columbus, and back towards the lake.  The whole family became sick, and his wife died near Mount Vernon, and left him with three small children.  Coming to Painesville, he purchased a small farm south of the village, and two years later married again, moved on the little farm, and built an ashery upon it.  In three years the profits of this ashery, carried on against the most strenuous competition, exceeded five thousand dollars.  Having leased his ashery, he removed to Rochester, New York, to take care of his aged mother and step-father, who died the following year.  He then moved back to Painesville in 1848 and opened a daguerrean room, and for several months pursued that business successfully.  In the spring of 1849 he started for the gold-diggings of California, but sold his teams and outfit at St. Joseph, Missouri, and returned to Rochester, New York, where he remained until 1852, when he engaged in the business of selling the Ross mill.  He pursued this business with the greatest energy for three years, and until the failure of Ross, when he determined to make a mill of his own.  First at Nashville, Tennessee and then at Cincinnati, he invented, improved, and tested different mills, until he finally invented the celebrated Nonpareil mill.  To this mill first premiums have been awarded at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, and at State fairs throughout the Union.  The sales of the Nonpareil have already aggregated over four hundred thousand dollars.  In the manufacture and sale of these mills, with the large correspondence and book-keeping required, he has been his own clerk, and has done the work with such perfect system and accuracy that it has been attended with no considerable dispute or litigation.
     With great self-reliance and untiring industry Mr. Segebeer has become an adept in divers trades, arts, and professions.
     In addition to his profession as a seaman, and occupation as a farmer, he is an expert manufacturer of potash, and the use of his own inventions and improvements was the secret of his success in that business.  At one time and another, as opportunity offered or occasion required, he mastered the photographer's art, learned the shoemaker's trade, became a practical miller, lumberman, carpenter and joiner, cooper, as well as druggist, merchant, and inventor.
     With no opportunity of attending school since a mere child, he has acquired a competent business education; and whether in the solitude of the forest or on the trackless deep, his leisure has always been largely devoted to reading and study.  With very little instruction he became proficient in painting and music, and in 1874 premiums were awarded to his painting at the State fair of Ohio, and at the Northern Ohio fair, at Cleveland.  He is naturally of a philosophic and religious cast of mind, and early gave the claims of Christianity and the Bible a careful and prayerful examination.  After a patient and diligent investigation, he came to the conclusion, mainly from the study of the Bible itself, that it could not be accepted as of divine origin.  In later years he carefully examined and investigated the phenomena of modern spiritualism, and failed to discover any reliable proof that the spirits of the departed were in any manner concerned with these phenomena.  He has always acted upon the wise saying, "To prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good."  With an abiding faith in the First Great Cause, he occupies the position of rational skepticism as to the fact of a future life.  Hoping for the immortality of the soul, he cannot find the clear evidence to confirm his hope.  His religious tenets are best expressed in the maxim, as old as Confucius, which is known as the golden rule.  Although deeply immersed in business, and never an applicant for office or place, he has taken a lively interest in public affairs.  He was a zealous anti-slavery advocate, and has been a member of the Republican party since its organization.  Mr. Sedgebeer is now retired from active business, and finds enjoyment in the investigation and discussion of moral, scientific, and theological questions, and the perusal of history and general literature.  At the ripe age of seventy-three, after passing through trials and hardships of more than ordinary severity, he finds himself hale and hearty and in the full possession of every faculty as the result and recompense of a temperate, industrious, and well-spent life.
Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 224

Painesville Twp. -
URI SEELEY was one of the most widely known of the old settlers in Lake County.  He came to Painesville township about the year 1817, and soon after purchased the large farm which he owned throughout his life.  He was the embodiment of all that we are accustomed to look upon as the pioneer spirit, - a man whose most prominent characteristics were energy, intense activity, fearlessness, and integrity.  He was practical, brusque, rugged, and, above all, a man of strong convictions and unflinching devotion to duty.  With these qualities as his most prominent ones, it was not strange that he led a career which left is mark and influence upon the community, and in some measure upon the whole country.  He was sheriff of the old county of Geauga from 1824 to 1828, and during his occupation of the office exhibited the same rigid adherence to principle, and the same unbiased, uncompromising sense of justice, that made him a mighty force in the long and severe campaign against slavery.  He was perhaps the most prominent man of this neighborhood in the anti-slavery movement, and worked side by side with Wade and Giddings.  He had a most fierce hatred of slavery, and his whole strength was exerted in the battle for its overthrow.  He was a member of the first National Anti-Slavery convention, later a delegate to the Free-Soil convention, and was the first representative of the abolition element in the State legislature, his constituency being embraced in the counties of Lake and Ashtabula.  Mr. Seeley was one of the oldest members of the Presbyterian (now the Congregational) church, and through his long connection with the society was one of its leading men.  Uri Seeley was one of the oldest members of the Presbyterian (now the Congregational) church, and through his long connection with the society was one of its leading men.  Uri Seeley died Aug. 10, 1877, aged eighty-six years.
Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 220
 
Painesville Twp. -
  ABRAHAM SKINNER was born at Glastonbury, Connecticut, Oct. 18, 1755, and married Oct. 13, 1788, to Mary Ayers  To 1795 he made a trip to England, and brought back from that country four thorough-bred horses, from which have sprung some of the finest horses in the United States.  He made a visit to Ohio in 1800 or 1801, and came to settle in1803, when he completed his purchasers of large tracts of land in what is now the township of Painesville, also in Springfield and Twinsburg, Summit county, and Breckville, Cuyahoga county.  In February, 1805, he brought his family to his new home.  Three large two-horse sleighs were used to convey the family and houses hold goods.  From Buffalo the journey was made on the ice of the lake, arriving on the 5th of March, and having much difficulty in getting on shore because the ice had separated.  Mr. Skinner first moved into a log house which stood on the ground now occupied by the residence of his son, Augustus Skinner.
    
That same season he erected a frame house, which he moved into in the fall, and in which he lived until his death, Jan. 14, 1826, aged seventy years and three months.  His wife, Mary Ayres Skinner, died Oct. 7, 1812.  The building Mr. Skinner then lived in forms the main part of the house now occupied by his grandson, Homer H. Hine, and is perhaps the oldest frame standing in this part of the State, being seventy-three years old.  Captain Skinner was a genial, warm-hearted, hospitable, and enterprising citizen, to whom this section of country was indebted for much of its early prosperity.  He laid out and was the original proprietor of Fairport.  He also laid out a town which he called New Market, some three miles, by the course of the Grand river, above Fairport, and at the head of vessel navigation on the river.  New Market at one time bid fair to be quite a thriving place.  It contained three warehouses on the river, one or two stores and taverns, a number of residences, and a distillery.  The first jail in the county was built by Captain Skinner, and stood in what is now Mr. Hine's garden.  The first court held in the county was held in a large frame barn belonging to Captain Skinner, the frame of which barn, still in good repair, stands in the rear, to the north of Mr. Hine's house.
     Captain Skinner was in active correspondence with numerous parties at the East, trying to induce the emigration into this country of an enterprising and valuable class of citizens.  Among those whom he nearly persuaded were the Hon. Gideon Granger, postmaster-general of the United States, and General Champion, of Connecticut.
     Captain Skinner was noted for his liberality in aid of all public enterprises.  He built a large hewed log building at New Market for a court-house, composed entirely of black-walnut logs cut from his river-bottom land.  He was also noted for the free-handed liberality with which he aided the early settlers in furnishing them with seeds, provisions, and other necessary aid.  His heirs have now in their possession promissory notes, representing thousands of dollars, given during those early days, which still remain unpaid.  Many of those early settlers remember with gratitude the aid then extended to them.
     The children of Captain Skinner were Mary, born Sept. 20, 1788; Abram Ayres, born Oct. 19, 1791; Paulina, born Mar. 14, 1794; Roderick Washington, born July 3, 1796; and Augustus, born July 7, 1798.  The oldest daughter, Mary, was married in 1807 to Homer Hine, a lawyer of Youngstown.  She was the mother of Homer H. and Augustus Hine, of Painesville, with the latter of whom she now resides, at the age of ninety.  Paulina Skinner married Nathan Perry, of Cleveland.  R. Washington Skinner died Jan. 17, 1871.  Abraham Ayres died in 1831, after an active life.  Captain Skinner died Jan. 14, 1826, and his wife, Oct. 12, 1812, and the community lost in their taking away two of the most worthy settlers it had.
Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 220

DANFORD SMITH, another one of the well-known and highly respected farmers of Willoughby township, Lake county, Ohio, was born in Spafford, New York, Mar. 8, 1819, a son of Sylvester Smith and a grandson of Asa Smith, the former a native of New York and the latter of Connecticut.  His great-grandfather Smith, a native of England, came to America at an early period in the history of this country and settled in Connecticut, on the Connecticut river.  Asa Smith, a brick mason by trade, turned his attention to farming in the latter part of life.  During the Revolutionary war he was a teamster in the employ of the Government.  His death occurred at the age of eighty-six years at Evanston, Indiana, where he had resided for some time.  Sylvester Smith emigrated from New York to Ohio in 1827, and was among the first settlers of Willoughby township, Lake county, Here he purchased a piece of land, built a log cabin and at once went to work to clear and improve a farm.  He died at the age of sixty-eight years.  He was a member of the Reformed Methodist Church and a man of many sterling qualities of mind and heart.  His wife, whose maiden name was Lucretia Lyons, was a daughter of Luther Lyons, was a daughter of Luther Lyons, a resident of New York, who died at the age of one hundred years.  She was seventy-three at the time of her death.  The subject of our sketch was the fourth born in a family of seven children, three of whom are living, and in the pioneer schools of Willoughby township he received his education.
     Mr. Smith was married in 1842, to Miss Prudence Whelpley, a native of Warrensville, Cuyahoga county, Ohio.  Her father moved to Ashtabula county, Ohio, at an early day, and while clearing land was killed by a falling tree.  His wife died of a cancer.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have six children: Sarah, George H., Cyrus S., Harriet, Amelia and Willie.
    
After his marriage Mr. Smith located on his present farm.  For fourteen years he carried on boot and shoe making, and since that time he devoted his attention exclusively to his farming interests, having cleared and drained the whole place.  He has seventy-five acres of choice land, all under a high state of cultivation, and is engaged in general farming and stock raising.
     Politically, he is a Republican; was formerly allied with the old-line Whigs.
     Such is a brief sketch of the life of one of the successful farmers of Willoughby township.
Source:
Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio - embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake - Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co. - 1893 - Page 881

Painesville Twp. -
  CHESTER STOCKING

Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 237

Madison Twp. -
  ELIAS STRONG was born in Hampshire county, in the State of Massachusetts, on the 31st day of October, 1798.  He came to Thompson township (then), Geauga county, when nineteen years of age.  This journey was a very tedious one, requiring forty-three days to perform it, during which Mr. Strong had disrobed himself but three nights.
     The country in which he had settled over what is now known as the Grand river hill.  His early educational advantages were limited, yet, possessing good natural abilities and a strong desire for knowledge, he acquired a fair education, and is a man of more than ordinary intelligence.  He is also a man of strict integrity.  In the year 1827, being then twenty-nine years old, he was joined in marriage to Miss Harriet E. Russell, who was born in Hampshire county, Massachusetts.  Six children are the result of this union, four of whom are living.  Mr. Strong moved into Madison township about five years since.  His occupation has always been that of a farmer.  He, however, some time since retired from active labor, and is now living in the pleasant village of Madison.
Source: 1798 - History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio - Publ. Philadelphia:  Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 236

 

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