Ephraim Quinby, practically
the first settler and founder of Warren, was born in NEw Jersey,
May 11, 1766. He married Ammi Blackmore, at
Brownsville, in 1795, and settled in Washington county,
Pennsylvania; thence removed to Trumbull county in 1799, at
which time the family consisted of three childen, Nancy,
Samuel, and Abrilla. Seven children were
born in Warren —Elizabeth, William, Mary
G., James, Warren B., Ephraim, Jr., Charles A., and
George. Mr. Quinby during his lifetime
was a man of considerable prominence in the community and
acquired considerable wealth by the fortunate location of his
land. He served several years as associate judge of the
common pleas court and took an active part in organizing the
county. His life was devoted chiefly to dealing in real
estate and farming. His death occurred June 4, 1850.
Mrs. Amma Quinby died Mar. 16, 1833. Four of
the family are yet living—Nancy, wife of Joseph H.
Larwell, Wooster, Ohio; Mary G. Spellman, Wooster,
Ohio; Warren B., Warren, Ohio, and George,
Wooster, Ohio. Warren B. Quinby has always made his
home in Warren. He married in 1840 Rebecca Hixon,
daughter of Timothy Hixon, who settled
here in 1812 on a farm, and died in 1868. They have had
two children, both dead–Ephraim and Amma
Elizabeth. Samuel Quinby, oldest son of
Ephraim Quinby, was born in Pennsylvania, Nov. 27,
1794. His name is first found in business annals in 1814,
as a member of the firm of James White & Co.,
publishers of The Trump of Fame. He was again connected
with the paper from 1817 to 1819.
Having received the appointment of receiver of moneys
derived from the sale of United States public lands, Mr.
Quinby removed to Wooster, Ohio, in 1819. The land
office for the district of Northwestern Ohio was then located at
that place. The office was abolished during Van
Buren's administration and in 1840 Mr. Quinby
returned to Warren. While at Wooster he had been a
candidate on the Whig ticket for Representative in Congress, but
the district being Democratic he was defeated. On
returning to Warren he was chosen secretary and treasurer of the
Ohio and Pennsylvania canal, which office he held several years.
Outside of official business Mr. Quinby was
otherwise actively employed. He dealt largely in real
estate, and directed farming operations. He was one of the
original stockholders in the Western Reserve bank, as was also
his father, and was elected to the directorship in 1817.
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business, such as the settlement of estates in probate, was
transacted by him. Mr. Quinby was an active
politician. He served two terms in the Ohio Senate, first
in 1844–45, and again in 1862–63. He married at
Steubenville, Dec. 30, 1819, Lucy Potter.
Two daughters by this marriage are living, Elizabeth (Stiles)
and Abigail (Haymaker), both in Warren. For
his second wife he married Mrs. Emma B. Brown, Oct. 22,
1847. George H. Quinby is the only son living.
Samuel Quinby died in Warren Feb. 4, 1874. Mrs.
Quinby remains a resident of Warren.
Elizabeth Quinby, the daughter of
Ephraim Quinby, Sr., was married to Dr. Heaton, of
Warren. She died in Warren. William Quinby
was recorder of Trumbull county a number of years and afterwards
engaged in mercantile business in Warren, where he died.
James was also in trade in Warren, then removed to New
Lisbon, where he died. Ephraim, Jr., settled at
Wooster, Ohio, being at the time of his death the wealthiest man
in the place. Charles A. died in Warren.
HENRY LANE and FAMILY.
Henry Lane's settlement in Warren was noted at
the proper place, but no idea was there given of the man.
He was industrious and thorough-going. The first
mill in Warren was built by him, and the first apple trees
planted by him. In company with most of the other first
settlers, he was present at the Indian tragedy at Salt Springs,
but was in no way responsible for that unfortunate affair. Mr.
Lane represented Trumbull county in the Legislature four
terms—1816 - 18 - 19 and 1826. He was a man of
extraordinary strength, which alone, in a new country, is a
certificate to respectability. It was claimed that he
could whip anybody in the county, and when a bully advertised
himself for a fight he always excepted Henry Lane.
He was considered an excellent man for the Legislature because
of his strength. But he had other claims to public
confidence, being a good man and citizen. His son Asa
returned to Pennsylvania in 1820, and died there. Henry
Lane had two daughters - Catharine, who married
John Tait, a Lordstown settler, and Annie, who
married Samuel Phillips of Austintown. John, Asa,
and Benjamin were the three sons. Benjamin
Lane was born in Washington county, in 1785, and came
with his parents to Warren in 1799. The farm on which they
settled is now owned by Henry J. Lane. This farm
consisted of one hundred and thirty acres. He was married
in 1841 to Hannah Cook, a native of England.
They raised a family of three children, viz: Henry J.,
born Feb. 11, 1843, married in 1866 Anna Murdock,
and has a family of two children–Harry E. and Grace
M.; Benjamin F., born May 3, 1850, married in 1879 Mary
Ackley, of Bloomfield, and has one child—Lina,
resides in Lordstown; Mary S., born Apr. 24, 1853, is
married to Samuel Greiner, and resides in
Lordstown. Benjamin Lane engaged largely in
buying and selling live stock, and driving them over the
mountains to Philadelphia. Mrs. Lane died in
1853, Mr. Lane in 1866.
John Lane was born in Pennsylvania in
1793. He married in Mansfield, Ohio, Mary
Caldwell, and in 1821 removed from Mansfield, where he
resided, to Trumbull county, and settled in Weathersfield and
engaged in farming. He finally removed to Warren, where he
spent the balance of his life. He died in 1854 in his
sixty-second year. His widow is still living, in her
E. C. Lane, the oldest of the surviving children,
was born in 1829, in Weathersfield. He is an engineer by
occupation, and is now employed in the Packard planing mill in
JAMES L. VAN GORDER. Few men, if any, have
ever lived in Warren of greater energy of character or more
effective activity of life than James L. VanGorder.
Some idea of the man is gained from a mere statement of the
predominant fact of his life—the fact that notwithstanding heavy
and embarrassing losses and with no other capital to start with
than a strong, healthy body, indomitable perseverance and
industry, united with a sound judgment, he accumulated an estate
amounting to $125,000.
James L. VanGorder was the son of Abram and
Elizabeth VanGorder, and was born in Sussex county, New
Jersey, Apr. 1, 1785. He came to Warren at the age of
about twenty years, and having a ready hand for almost any
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kind of work, had no difficulty in finding employment. But
he was not the kind of metal that hirelings are made of.
After a short time of service under Henry Lane in
his mill and clearing, he began boldly and with perseverance an
independent career. In 1809 Mr. VanGorder
married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Spear, who
was born at Washington, Pennsylvania, Feb. 13, 1789. Her
parents having died she became a resident in the family of her
grandparents, and came to Trumbull county with her uncle, John
Prior, in the year 1805. As was very common at that time
the trip was made on horseback. One hundred miles' journey
would seem like a great task for a girl of sixteen, but it was
lightened by exercise in that method of travel. Mr.
Prior settled a mile and a half s southwest of Warren.
About two years after his marriage Mr.
VanGorder removed to Suffield, Portage county, and engaged
in milling on an extensive scale. He ran a train of flour
wagons to Cleveland harbor, and soon built up a business
surpassing any of the kind on the Reserve, at that time.
In 1821 Mr. VanGorder returned with his family to
Warren, having become interested in the mills of this place.
The upper dam and mill had been built by Henry Lane,
and the lower mill by George Lovelace, the latter
being just below the Market-street bridge. (The present
lower dam was built by Mr. VanGorder in 1838–39. He
built at the same time four of the locks in the canal adjoining,
and made a mile of excavation.) The control of both of
these mills, in addition to two saw-mills, did not occupy his
whole attention for any great length of time. He purchased
in 1828 the old Cotgreave house, more familiarly
known as Castle William, and by get ting the stage
office and stage patronage he soon made it the leading hotel in
the place. “Old Pavilion” was a familiar name among
travelers, and especially among coachmen. Seven stages
passed through Warren daily, giving the “regulation tavern” a
good patronage outside of irregular custom. On the ground
floor was a stage office, a bar-room, and a store; the second
floor was used for bed-chambers, and the third for a dancing
hall. This was the same building in which John S.
Edwards speaks in his letters of having attended balls. The
house had under gone repairs, however.
Mr. VanGorder was an extensive contractor on the
Ohio and Pennsylvania canal, employing at one time as many as
one hundred hands, fifty of whom were boarded at the “Pavilion.”
The completeness and thoroughness of his operations are shown by
the fact that he had his own wagon maker shop, his own
blacksmith shop, his own tavern to board his men, and his own
mills to grind the flour for their bread; and further than this,
raised some of the wheat which was ground into flour.
Mrs. VanGorder superintended all the cooking and
baking, which was no light task, for dinners for the laborers
had to be sent to their place of work. Anyone who has had
any experience, even in a small way, of preparing food to be
eaten in that way will readily appreciate the task of thus
making dinners for fifty masons and shovelers.
One of the upper mills burned in October, 1845, but was
rebuilt as quickly as was possible. In the great
conflagation in June, 1846, the old Pavilion tavern was reduced
to ashes. Before a year had elapsed, a block containing
six stores stood in its place. This block was in turn
consumed in 1854, but before the living flames had exhausted
their food, a contract had been signed for rebuilding the entire
block. The second block was again partially destroyed in
1860. During the five years preceding the five of 1854,
and including that conflagration, Mr. VanGorder's
losses by fire, and his losses as surety, for which he had
obligated himself to a large amount, aggregated over $34,000,
yet he never permitted himself to be embarrassed, depending upon
industry to regain what he lost through misfortune.
He was characteristically successful in the management
of hired labor. His own strength being inexhaustible he
was always able to lead. He seldom said “go,” but “come"
was a familiar command. Week after week for as long as six
weeks in succession, he has stood in water covering his knees,
repairing some of the mill appendages. Never did he
require of a hireling what he was unwilling to do himself.
In addition to other operations, he carried on merchandising for
about forty years. Mr. VanGorder was a member of
the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Van Gorder's
connection with that society antedates that of her husband.
She still retains her membership. During his older years
he was a partial cripple, having met with an accident at his
saw-mill. He was not incapacitated, however, for any kind of
work. He was actively employed until the sickness which
resulted in his death, Sept. 14, 1858.
Mrs. VanGorder, now
past her ninety-fourth year, is the oldest resident of Warren;
with two exceptions she is the oldest person living in the city.
Her long preservation through a toilsome life is indeed
remarkable. She is clear in mind and cheerful in
disposition. She has borne a family of thirteen children,
and nurtured from childhood two grandchildren. Eleven of
her children lived to mature age. The following is a copy
of a page from the family record: Albert, born in Warren,
July 18, 1810; Emeline, born in Suffield Nov. 5, 1811;
Olive, born in Suffield Apr. 26, 1813; Cyrus J.,
born in Suffield Apr. 1, 1815; Martha J. (Newell),
born in Suffield Jan. 7, 1817; Ann Mary (Marvin), born in
Suffield Aug. 30, 1819; Phebe, born in Warren June
11, 1821; Betsy (Scott), born in Warren Apr. 22, 1823;
James R., born in Warren Mar. 30, 1825; George, born
in Warren May 8, 1827; Isaac F., born in Warren Feb. 18,
1829; Charles, born in Warren Mar. 8, 1831; Charles,
(second) Apr. 15, 1836. Albert, Cyrus J.,
Martha J. (Newell), Ann Mary (Marvin),
James R., George, and Isaac F., are still
was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, Aug. 18, 1786. He
came to Warren in September, 1805, but returned to Reading in
1808, where, in January, 1809, he married Miss Justina Lewis.
In February he started for the Reserve with his wife, and
reached Warren April 20th. He was in the War of 1812, and
was afterwards chosen major in the militia. He was elected
to the Legislature in 1830-31. His death took place Mar.
At his golden wedding, in 1859. Mr. Iddings gave
the following description of his trip to the Reserve with his
I first came to Warren in September, 1805, and remained
here until the fall of 1808, when I returned to Berks county, my
native place. I married Miss Justina Lewis, at
Reading, Pennsylvania, on the evening of the 15th of January,
1809, at 8 o'clock just fifty years ago. On the 8th of
February we started for Ohio in a two-horse sleigh, with our
household furniture, for which there was plenty of room.
When we reached the top of the Allegheny mountains the snow was
four feet deep; but we learned there was no snow at the foot of
the mountain, nor westward to Ohio. Therefore, we went to
the house of an uncle to my wife, who resided in Fayette county,
some twelve miles from Brownsville. Leaving her, the
sleigh, and one horse, I proceeded to this place on horse back.
Here I hired a canoe, and, engaging Mr. Henry Harsh
to assist me, I went down the Mahoning and Beaver rivers to
Beavertown, and up the Ohio and Monongahela to Brownsville.
Taking my wife and a few household fixings on board, we floated
down to Pittsburg, where I purchased a barrel of flour, and went
on to Warren. The weather was quite cold, and the settlers
few and scattering. Some nights we lodged in houses near
the river, and sometimes on its bank, without shelter.
Sometimes we had plenty to eat, and sometimes we went without
food for a whole day. We were two days getting over the
falls of Beaver river. Mr. Harsh and myself were
most of the time in the water (frequently up to our waists),
pulling up the empty canoe, while my wife sat on the shore
watching the goods which we had landed. At the mill-dams
on the Mahoning the same process was repeated. We reached
Warren on the 20th day of April, having been twenty-one days
coming from Brownsville.
was born May 1, 1789, at Suffield, Connecticut. He married
Oct. 12, 1814, Julia Ann Huntington, daughter of Hon.
Hezekiah Huntington, of Hartford, Connecticut, and died at
North Bloomfield, Trumbull county, Ohio, Sept. 19, 1856, at the
residence of his son-in-law, Charles Brown.
Mr. King removed from Westfield, Massachusetts,
where he was engaged in the mercantile business for a few years,
to Warren, Ohio, in 1817, where he continued the same business
until 1833. At that time, becoming interested in the
project of building the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal, he
abandoned mercantile life, and devoted the most of his time to
forwarding that enterprise; and it was mainly through his energy
and labor that it was finally constructed - he being for a long
time the president of the company. He filled the position
of associate judge of the court of common pleas, and represented
the Trumbull district for two successive sessions (1835-39) in
the State Senate. He was a decided Abolitionist, although
elected as a Whig, and at each session introduced and advocated
a bill to repeal the infamous "Black laws," which then disgraced
our statute books. After the spirited Presidential contest
of 1840 he identified himself with the few who organized the
Liberty party, and was the first candidate for Governor
nominated by that party in 1842; and he was renominated in 1844.
As the champion of that forlorn hope he thoroughly canvassed the
State, discussing its platform of principles in every county and
in almost every school district. He was president of the
first United States Liberty party convention, held in Buffalo in
1844, which put in nomination James G. Birney as
candidate for President, and Thomas Morris for
Vice President of the United States. In 1847 Mr.
King was the nominee for Vice President, with John P.
Hale for President, both, however, declined the nomination
in favor of Martin Van Buren and Charles
Francis Adams, as candidates for the Free soil
party—the Liberty party there after being merged into this new
party of anti-slavery principles. After the death of Mrs.
King, Jan. 24, 1849, Mr. King withdrew from
politics, although he continued, until the day of his death, a
warm advocate of the principles for which he had declined all
political preferment and personal position from the old Whig
The earnest zeal with which he sowed the seed through
the State of Ohio required but a few years to bring forth an
abundant harvest of right sentiments, and had its due share in
the successful contest for human rights, which resulted
inplacing Abraham Lincoln in the executive chair
* From Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812.
[Page 311] -
HENRY BISHOP PERKINS
was born in Kinsman township, Trumbull county, Mar. 4, 1807.
His education until his eighteenth year was confined to the
common schools of his native township, with the exception of one
summer at Geauga academy. In February, 1825, in company
with his oldest brother, he rode on horseback to Connecticut,
where he then sold his horse and entered Plainfield academy.
After spending a year at the
[Page 312] -
academy he entered the military school at Camp Partridge, at
Middletown, Connecticut. A diversion of school-days'
monotony which is remembered with interest, was a visit to New
York on the semi-centennial of American independence (July 4,
1826). Three hundred cadets, all in bright uniform and
fully armed, were conveyed to the city in a boat and
participated in the parade. He remembers to have seen on
that day Aaron Burr, erect, clear-eyed, and with
flowing white hair, watching the ceremonies but scarce receiving
any recognition. The fallen politician may be gazed upon
but is never courted.
Mathematics and engineering occupied the greater part
of Mr. Kinsman's time while in the military
academy. Late in the year 1826 his class was detailed to make a
topographical exploration of the country. While thus
engaged he was prostrated by typhus fever as the result of a day
of over-exertion. He had traveled one morning to a high
point on the Meriden mountains to establish a flag-station—a
distance of about ten miles. He reached a point from which
could be seen Hartford, New Haven, Middletown, and other cities,
where he set up a flag and returned to Middletown that night,
completing a laborious trip of more than twenty miles through
brambles, woods, and over rocks. The fever which set in on
the following day confined him for some time, eventually
terminating his academic career.
Mr. Kinsman, on returning to Ohio,
engaged in his brother's store as clerk until the year 1830.
He was then employed two years in the land office of General
Perkins, at Warren, at the end of which time he married
Olive D. Perkins. In 1832 he became a partner in
the land business with Mr. Perkins, and eventually
assumed entire charge of the office. Mr. Perkins'
agency was the largest in the State, the taxes one year being
one-fifteenth part of all the land taxes in the State of Ohio.
Mr. Perkins was agent for the Erie company and
for Daniel L. Coit. The Erie company's business was
settled up in General Perkins's life time, but the
Coit agency business was not finally closed out until
1872, by Mr. Kinsman. This was the last of
Western Reserve land agencies. Mr. Kinsman
was elected to the office of associate judge in 1845— an office
of little profit. He took an active interest in public
affairs, and enterprises calculated to enhance the value of
property. As one of the original directors of the
Cleveland & Mahoning railroad he exerted all his energy, and was
one of the six to assume personal liability, that the road might
be completed and placed upon a remunerative basis. The
Mahoning valley owes more to Jacob Perkins,
Frederick Kinsman, Charles Smith,
David Tod, Dudley Baldwin, and
Reuben Hitchcock, than any other six men in the
Reserve. Mr. Kinsman was a director of the
Western Reserve bank until its conversion into a National bank,
and has continued in the same office since that time. He
served several years as a member of the city council, and not
only favored measures looking toward the improvement of streets,
etc., but gave much time and personal attention to the work.
Mr. Kinsman has not been a politician in
the ordinary meaning of that term, but has always been active in
furthering the interests of his party, and has never shrunk from
the obligations of citizenship. He was a delegate to the
National Republican convention in 1864, and Presidential elector
in 1868. During the war he aided the Union cause in a
substantial way. He has long been looked upon as a leader
in matters of public improvement. He is an attendant and
liberal supporter of the Episcopal church. Mr.
Kinsman has been a careful agriculturist and judicious stock
man. He was long prominently identified with the county
agricultural society, and for two years its president.
Mrs. Olive Perkins Kinsman died in 1838.
Mr. Kinsman married for his second wife Miss
Cornelia G. Pease, daughter of Judge Calvin Pease. She
died in 1873. The children of his first wife died young.
Four sons by his second wife are living– Frederick, Jr.,
in Cleveland; John, Thomas, and Charles P.,
in Warren. Mr. Kinsman is well preserved for
a man of his years. He is tall, erect, and dignified.
His manner is firm but clever. He possesses that keen
appreciation of pure humor which characterizes a clear mind.
John B. Harmon
Mrs. John B. Harmon
[Page 313] -
COMFORT MYGATT. In 1807
there settled in Canfield a family, several members of which
afterwards became prominent in Warren business affairs.
The head of this family was Comfort Mygatt.
Accompanying the party from Connecticut were three sons in-law
with their wives and families—Lewis Hoyt, Eli
S. Bouton, and Elisha Whittlesey; eight daughters—Elizabeth,
afterwards married to Zalmon Fitch of Warren;
Lucy, afterwards wife of Asahel Adams, of
Warren (the oldest lady living in the city); and Maria,
who died unmarried; Amanda, who married William
McFarlane, of Warren; Eleanor, who married Allison
Kent, of Canfield; Hannah, who married W. S. C.
Otis, of Cleveland; Juliana, and Almira; three
sons— George, Comfort, and Eli, and two
step-sons, Jairus and Henry Stiles.
JOHN B. HARMON AND FAMILY.
Northern Ohio is justly noted for the
intelligence, energy, integrity, and thrift of her people.
Her pioneers came from the best New England families. They
came with the grand purpose of founding a new State in which the
rights of man and the consequent happiness of the people should
be amply secured. They had the knowledge and the means
requisite to a greater degree than almost any other portion of
the West. They foresaw the hardships they would have to
endure, but had the will to face them with unswerving courage.
The toils, privations, and fatigues of pioneer life fall upon
none more heavily than the physician who enjoys the general
support, and ministers faithfully to the wants of such a
settlement. The pioneer doctors of northern Ohio were
admirably fitted for their work. Strong, enduring in body,
sagacious and fertile of mind, resolute and daring, they went
everywhere among the settlers, lights amid darkness, beacons of
hope in hours of peril, and almoners of help in time of need.
Of no one of them is this more rigidly true, than of the subject
of this sketch. Six feet tall, with a round, full chest, a
bundle of muscle and nerve of the finest quality, a high, square
forehead jutting over deep, bluish-gray eyes, whose smile could
hold the love of woman at their pleasure, or whose frown could
cow a fiend, he commanded the life-long respect and friendship
of the early pioneers of the Western Reserve. This imposed
upon him an amount of work and responsibility which very few men
could ever have met so well.
His early life fitted him for the part he was to play
in after life. In helping his father carry on a large
farming business in Vermont, he early began a life of exposure,
often going through the winter storms on foot, with his dog and
gun, from the home or Valley farm to one several miles off up
the mountains. His father, Reuben Harmon, Jr., was
an extensive landholder, and had been a member of the Vermont
Legislature or assembly for a number of terms, and had the
privilege of coining copper coins upon his own responsibility,
which was in those days no light distinction. In 1796 he
purchased of Samuel H. Parsons, five hundred acres of
land embracing the “salt springs,” in Weathersfield township,
and went there in the summer or fall of 1797, and began the
manufacture of salt, which he continued through the winter, and
returned home in the spring.
It is not known to the writer whether he left any one
to continue the salt manufacture during the summer or not, but
each fall and winter he returned and continued the business, and
erected a cabin to become the future home of his family.
In the early spring of 18oo he returned to Vermont and prepared
for the final removal to the new field, which seemed to promise
so much to one of his vigor and activity. An old settler
of Warren, John Ewalt, said of him, “He was the smartest
man I ever knew, and Doctor John B. is exactly like him.
Looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, is exactly like
him in all respects.” He illustrated his idea of smartness
by adding that “he was a general business man to draw deeds,
contracts, and settle disputes. He could converse with a
room full of people, fifteen or twenty, all at once, hear them
tell their story, and write at the same time, and when done no
word had to be erased or another to be put in. He could do as
many things at a time as he needed to, and do each exactly
right.” While the feat is not so very difficult to one
accustomed to such work, it doubtless indicates an unusual
expertness and accuracy.
Having all things ready, the family started in June for
the far West. Besides his wife, four
[Page 314] -
daughters and four sons, the youngest, Reuben third,
being a babe three months old, he brought a family with him by
the name of Barnes, who afterwards settled in Fowler.
While wending their slow way thither, fresh disturbances with
the Indians occurred, and they halted some time at Beaver, so
that they did not arrive at the salt springs till August.
Young Harmon had begun the study of
medicine in 1796, with Dr. Josiah Blackmer, and was
prepared to practice so far as the wants of the family and the
few scattered settlers should require. In the spring
of 1806 Reuben Harmon, Jr., returned to Vermont to finish
settling his business there. He took with him his son to pursue
study further with Dr. Blackmer, who had married his
elder sister Ruth, and was a skillful physician in
Dorset, Vermont. Upon his return west Reuben
Harmon found the agent whom he had left in charge of the
salt works had disappeared with $2,000, part of which he had
collected from sales of salt, and part had been sent on before
his return. Thus stripped of his means he was called to
all the harder work for the support of his family. In the
midst of it he was taken with fever, and died Oct. 29, 1806,
in the fifty-seventh year of his age. His loss was a sad
blow to his family, and caused much inconvenience to the
settlement. For nearly ten years he had made them their
salt, and been a leading man among them. He had been for
many years a member of the Congregational church of Rupert,
Vermont, and in 1803 united by letter with the First
Presbyterian church of Warren, and was noted for his decided
piety, kindness to all, and rigid integrity. From a
condition of independence and prospective affluence, the family
were left in comparative poverty. His widow proved equal to the
occasion. Ruth Rising was a daughter of
Aaron and Anna Rising, of Suffield, Connecticut; was married
to Mr. Harmon in September, 1774. She was a
resolute, capable woman, above average height, of a broad,
muscular build, sociable, cheerful, and of indomitable patience
During the war of the Revolution Reuben Harmon, Jr.,
was in the revolutionary army, and his wife either resided with
his father at Sunderland, Massachusetts, or was there on a visit
when it was burned by the British and Indians. Mrs.
Harmon caught an unbroken colt in the field and mounted
it, bare-back, with a babe three weeks old in her arms, and fled
while the smoke of her husband's early home rolled up behind
her. One of such pluck was well fitted to be the first
white woman in Weathersfield township. Fearless amid
semi-hostile Indians, and strong in every hour of trial.
The babe she had carried in her arms during the long journey
west was scalded to death in 1802. May 10th of that year
their youngest child, Eliza, who afterwards married
Reuben Allen, and died in Illinois Mar. 2, 1856, was born.
She was a lively girl, full of song and mirth, a favorite in
social gatherings, and an unfailing fountain of cheer wherever
One day Mrs. Harmon was left alone in the cabin
and three intoxicated Indians intruded with threatening demands
for more whiskey, which she sturdily refused, and had a hard
day's work to keep them from violence. At dark young
Harmon returned from a day's hunting. Awhile after
supper the Indians became again more violent, especially one of
them, “Big Bill” as he was called, who envied the
young white's skill with the rifle, was determined on whiskey or
a fight. Young Harmon instantly threw him,
and bumped his head soundly on the hearth, and bade him lie
there until morning. When he left he brought his gun to
his shoulder, and pointing to Harmon gave a whoop of
vengeance. After that Big Bill and the young
doctor when out hunting kept one eye for deer and one eye for
the “the first shot." A sudden attack of lung fever soon
after ended the strife. Passing the camp toward night,
heard loud lamentations. Going in he found his enemy in
the last agonies of pain, and was glad that he was relieved from
shooting him or being shot himself.
Such incidents disclose some of the special perils of
the new settlers.
Mrs. Harmon met all her trials with rare
fortitude and sagacity. She spent the last few years of
her life in Warren, at the homes of Dr. Harmon and her
son, Heman R. Harmon, at whose house - a brick on the
corner of Main street and Franklin alley, which he had erected
with the aid of his father-in-law, George Parsons,
about 1829 or 1830 she died, Apr. 10, 1836, in her
seventy-eighth year, of congestion of the lungs. She kept
bright, cheerful, and active, with a large share of the
enjoyments of a ripe|
[Page 315] -
old age. She was a member of the Methodist church in
Warren for many years, and died in the full hopes of such a
faith. Thus much of the parents of Dr. Harmon.
His grandfather, Reuben Harmon, was the
sixty-fourth descendant of John Harman (so spelled
in the records), who immigrated from England prior to 1644, when
he settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, and died Jan. 7, 1660.
Reuben was his great-grandson, born at Sunderland,
Massachusetts, or perhaps at Springfield, Feb. 18, 1714, and
married Eunice Parsons, of Suffield, Connecticut, Aug.
25, 1739. He died at Rutland, Vermont, Sept. 6, 1794.
His widow died there Nov. 18, 1803, aged eighty-six years.
He sold his real estate in Suffield in 1759. In 1776 he
became a large land owner in Rupert. In 1779 he bought one
hundred and seventy acres in Rutland, and soon after moved
there, and was selectman and justice of the peace in 1780.
June 30, 1780, he conveyed to his son Oliver, in Rutland,
ninety acres of land, and to his son Reuben, Jr., of
Rupert, ninety acres. Some forty-five deeds passed to and
from Reuben and Reuben, Jr., in the course of a
few years. Dr. John B. appears to have had a
leaning to land also, for in 1803 he bought of his father two
hundred and fifty acres of the Salt Spring tract for $2,500 in
currency, which was resold in 1806. He became the owner
afterwards of some two hundred and eighty acres in Warren
township, and carried on farming quite extensively. He
devoted special care to raising thoroughbred horses, but kept
also choice cattle and Merino sheep, and invested in mules also
to a large extent. He made himself the first horse-rake
used in this section, from a fence rail, eleven feet long, in
which a few long teeth were put, and two stakes for handles.
Hitching a large stallion called “Buck Oscar” (a racer who had
never had harness on before) to this, he raked up in the
afternoon nine acres of heavy grass. The weight of the
rake and rapid gait of the horse made this a very hard feat.
The stoutest of his hired men could not repeat it. When
this rake was broken a few years later Hugh Riddle, who
was in Warren temporarily, made him a light one, but it was not
until several years later he could persuade his brother farmers
to give up the hand rake.
At an early day he established his brother, Heman R.
Harmon, in trade under the firm name of Harmon
Brothers. The store was on the west side of Main
street, south of one formerly occupied by Ephraim
Quinby. In connection with Walter King
they built the three story brick in 1827–28, known as the
King and Harmon block, which was, in
April, 1882, torn down. Harmon Brothers occupied
the north half, keeping drugs in the south end and dry-goods in
the north end. It had a handsome cherry circular counter,
and was regarded as a grand affair in its day. King
occupied the south end of his half with a jewelry store.
Henry Stiles had the north part of King's
half (a separate room) for a saddlery store. There the
late Edward E. Hoyt, James Hoyt, and O.
H. Patch, learned the saddler's trade.
Harmon Brothers lost largely by outside
business, dealing in cattle, clocks, etc., and by endorsing for
others. In 1832 they failed. The debts were
eventually paid, by Dr. Harmon mostly, but the
loss stript him of his farms, and imposed on him the necessity
of prolonged toil in his profession. He never did business
in the store himself, but his surplus earnings were absorbed by
it. In fact, his whole life was helpful to others far more
than to himself.
Upon the death of his father, he naturally assumed the
guidance of the family. While at Dorset he wrote his
brothers Hiram and Heman “to be careful of
their leisure hours, to shun all bad habits, study evenings, so
as to fit themselves for future usefulness and honorable
positions in life, and to cherish always a reverent regard for
the great Author of the Universe.” Afterwards he sent
Heman to school at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, with the view
of his studying medicine, but exposure led to necrosis of the
femur, a large part of which the doctor removed. He
was left slightly lame, and gave up the study of medicine to
become a merchant, farmer, and general business man, in which he
was remarkably active, industrious, and useful, but a fatality
adverse to financial success hovered over him.
Of the children of Reuben Harmon, the
following additional particulars may be of some interest:
Anna Harmon was born Feb. 20, 1782, in
Rupert; died March, 1841, in Bristol. She was for many
years employed as a school teacher in different townships of the
county, and is still remembered by some of the older descendants
[Page 316] -
of the pioneers as the woman who could teach them arithmetic.
Clary Harmon was born Apr. 12, 1785;
married William Leavitt, son of John
Leavitt, Esq., of Warren, from whom she was divorced
because of intemperance. Afterwards she married Dr.
John Brown, and moved to Lancaster, New York,
where she died Jan. 22, 1844. She was a very pleasant,
agreeable, exemplary woman.
Betsey Harmon was born Nov. 12, 1788, and
died Nov. 7, 1853; married Samuel Gilson, by whom she had
a son, Reuben H. Gilson, and two daughters—Mary,
who married Henry McGlathery, of Bristol, and
Julia, who married Hugh Lackey, of Youngstown,
who live now in Hartsgrove, Ashtabula county. After the
death of Mr. Gilson, she married Albert Opdycke,
and lived in Hubbard till 1836, when they moved to Pulaski,
Williams county, Ohio, where they prospered greatly— one of the
happiest families to be met with anywhere. Dr. Harmon
prized them both very highly, and made them two visits with
his wife and other relatives, which were full of pleasure to
all. Dr. Harmon was an overflowing fountain
of life and fun on such occasions. His last visit was in
1854. By a break in the canal they were detained a day at
Toledo. At the hotel a professional checker player had
cleaned out the company at a dollar a game. Dr. Harmon
wore a long dressing gown and broad brimmed hat, and gravely
invited the gamester to play for amusement, which was
contemptuously refused. The gamester kept inquiring,
“Well, old man, have you got your courage up to risking a dollar
yet?” “I have never played for money, and am too old now
to break my rule,” was the answer. The company were
anxious to take their chance on the “Old Man,” but the
temptation was resisted till late in the afternoon the gamester
grew too impudent to be tolerated. He was relieved of five
successive dollars. The broad-brim was tipped up a little,
and a quizzing eye, asked if he wished to spare more. As
he rose up, the hooting was more than he could stand; he paid
his bill, and struck for another hotel. Dr.
Harmon said he thought the scamp was worse punished than he
was himself, but concluded the end justified the means. Mr.
and Mrs. Opdycke had six sons and one
daughter, who is the wife of O. H. Patch, of Warren.
Lucretia Harmon was born Feb. 11, 1791,
and married William Draper, of Weathersfield, who
lived but a short time. She afterwards married William
Frazier, of Hubbard, moved to Trenton, Ohio, and
afterwards to Dearborn, Indiana, where he died in May, 1862.
Mrs. Frazier died at Dillsboro, Indiana, January, 1871,
and was the last of the family of eleven children - four sons
and seven daughters, of whom nine were well known by the
pioneers of Trumbull county.
Hiram R. Harmon was the ninth child and second
son, born at Rupert, Vermont, Dec. 18, 1793, died at Ives Grove,
Wisconsin, Oct. 15, 1852, was a blacksmith, lived in Liberty and
Brookfield a few years, then moved to Bristol, and bought the
Potter farm, where he kept a hotel for many years,
working at his trade some, and farming extensively. He
sold his farm, and moved on one a mile west of the village, but
a few years later moved West, and died of apoplexy in the
harvest field about three years after, an active, industrious,
honest, and capable man, and a zealous advocate of temperance
Heman R. Harmon was born Feb. 12, 1798, and died
Dec. 1, 1859. He began business early in Warren as a
merchant, dealt extensively in cattle, taking large droves East,
and carried on a large farm near the springs. He was at
different times a member of the firm of Harmon
Brothers, of Harmon & Stiles, and of E. E.
Hoyt & Co., and of Harmon & Johnson. He
served two terms as sheriff of the county, was an ardent
politician, and an indefatigable worker in all that he
undertook, - aided in the manufacture of the Heath mowing
started the first one in the county. Liberal minded,
truthful and kind to all, he did work enough to have amassed a
fortune. His losses grew out of adverse circumstances more
than from special faults of his own.
Dr. John B. Harmon was born in Rupert,
Bennington county, Vermont, Oct. 19, 1780; was named after John
Brown, a friend of his father in the Vermont Assembly. His
early education was limited, but he was sufficiently acquainted
with Latin to give him a good understanding of the Latin terms
in use in the medical books of his day. He was correct in
spelling and grammar, quick and accurate in arithmetic,
[Page 317] -
well versed in English and American history, and was fond of
speculative inquiries, such as Locke's Essay on the Human
Understanding, Hume's Moral, Political, and Religious
Essays, etc. He was partial to poetry also, Pope,
Burns, and Shakespeare he often quoted, as well as
Cowper and Watts. The Bible was at his
tongue's end as much as with a Methodist or Disciple minister.
In politics he was a Jeffersonian, afterwards a J. Q. Adams
man and Whig. In medicine he was cautious and
conservative, but progressive, so as always to adopt new views
and remedies so far as reason and experience showed them to be
of value. In 1814–16 he abandoned venesection in camp
fever. He early adopted stimulants and cold water in
fevers, and chlorate potassa, tincture of iron, and digitalis in
scarlet fever. Ether and chloroform he hailed at once as
boons to the suffering. At seventy years of age he was
more progressive than many doctors of thirty-five. He was
bold and skillful in surgical operations, having a hand which
remained steady to the last. But he always studied
carefully every operation of danger before he began it.
His knowledge of anatomy was derived largely from books and
plates, but it was accurate and minute. His observation
was acute to a proverb, and his sound judgment was admitted as
master of all. The late Tracy Bronson, M.
D., said of him: “He had the best judgment of us all. I
thought I had as much science, but when we got in a pinch and
didn't know what to do, he would see at a glance, and help us
From 18oo to 1806 he aided his father in the salt
works, which were carried on extensively, and furnished salt to
the settlers at distant points, as well as those nearer.
He enjoyed the common sport of the day, deer and bear hunting,
and was one of the most expert at an off-hand long shot.
One winter he had some twenty deer strung up on a hill a mile
west of the springs. The law of hunters made such property
more safe than bolts and locks now make our hams and bacon.
The fat of the bear was used in cooking. Dr.
Harmon used to say, “with a short cake in his bosom, made
from bears' oil, he could travel further on a hunt or a ride,
than on any other food.” One time he treed a cub, placed
his gun at the foot of the tree, and his dog to guard it, and
climbing secured the cub. Its cries quickly brought the
she bear from the thicket, but the sagacious dog, keeping out of
her reach, quickly seized her as she essayed the tree, so at
last she retreated, and Harmon descended with his cub,
and regained his gun, when the bear renewed the attack.
Backing off with the cub on his shoulders, and the dog at the
heels of the enraged animal, while he held his gun cocked, and
ready for the shot, he saw her finally give up the pursuit, and
he bore his cub home in triumph.
In 1804 Dr. Enoch Leavitt settled in
Leavittsburg, and Dr. Harmon resorted to him at
intervals for study. In 1808 he returned from
Vermont and located in Warren. His practice rapidly
increased, and although the fees were low, yet they enabled him
to meet his large expenses easily. Part of this time he
boarded at the tavern kept on Market street, by Colonel
William W. Cotgreave, by whom he was commissioned surgeon of
the Second regiment, Fifth brigade, Fourth division of the
militia of the State of Ohio, on the 10th day of August, 1813.
This commission was repeated by Stephen Oviatt, colonel,
Feb. 5, 1817, and by Governor Worthington, July
17, 1818, only his brigade was the first, and the rank of
captain was assigned to him. He was present at the attack
on Fort Mackinaw in 1813. When our forces first reached
the fort, Dr. Harmon urged an immediate attack,
but the general delayed some three days, during which it was
reinforced, and the attack was repulsed with great loss.
During the fight a captain was shot with a poisoned arrow in the
body. His sufferings were great, and he cried out, “Oh
doctor, for God's sake give me a cup of water.” A spring
near by had been alternately in possession of the contending
parties. The doctor got a squad of twenty men, and gained
possession long enough to secure some muddy water. The
captain drank a cupful and exclaimed, “Now, if I had a shot at
that d-d Indian I'd die content.”
On returning to Cleveland the doctor was left on the
boat with his sick and wounded while the officers proceeded to
the tavern. He charged them first of all to send supplies
to the boat; waiting until he became impatient, he went to the
hotel and found the company at table. To an invitation to
a seat, he sternly replied, “He did not eat till the sick were
cared for." Their
[Page 318] -
needs were attended to while the feasting was delayed.
Near the close of the war he resumed practice in
Warren, and from this time on his rides extended greatly,
reaching to Cleveland, Painesville, Ashtabula on the lake, and a
long distance in all directions, as, indeed, they had
previously, but now more frequently. These rides were made
on horseback, and it is no wonder that he sought out the
elastic, easy-gaited racer. The fast walk, easy trot,
courage, and endurance made him indispensable. One night
his favorite “Buck Rabbit” broke through the ice with him in
crossing Musquito creek, near Captain Joseph Marvin's.
The game horse struggled through ice and up the steep miry bank.
The doctor rode, with his clothes froze to him, some four miles
on, sat beside a woman in labor and rode home without food the
In the winter of 1816 he laid out in the woods, three
miles west of Warren, in a fierce storm, his horse chained to a
sapling, and himself beside a log, while the wolves kept up
their howling and snapping at his horse, who kept them at bay
with his heels. He lost his watch there, but noted the
spot so carefully that it was found the next spring. In
riding home one night the doctor fell asleep, and his horse
walked a fourteen-inch stringer laid across the Mahoning river
at the “Wilmot center of the world,” and as he stepped off the
doctor wakened, to find how safely his favorite had carried him
over the roads were too bad for the best of horses. Then
the doctor went afoot with his saddle-bags on his arm, across
the country as best he could. His light, agile step
enabled him to do a vast deal of such pilgrimages. In one
of these tramps he walked sixty-five miles, starting at break of
day, seeing many patients, and reaching home at 10 o'clock at
In the winter of 1816 he attended a family of six
children and the parents in Aurora, all down with the epidemic
of typhoid pneumonia. He reached them each night, laid
upon the hearth floor, and returned next day. Upon their
recovery, he was himself taken sick. He went to the house
of his mother at “Salt Springs,” hired a trusty nurse, and gave
her directions how to manage him in the bad turns of the
disease, with the promise of his horse and saddle should he not
recover. One night he was thought to be dying.
Dr. John W. Seeley was sent for, but he said “Dr. John B.
will be all right in the morning,” and did not visit him.
The nurse tided him through, but for six months after he was so
emaciated as to ride with a pillow on his saddle, and carried a
cold foot, which he had to warm even in warm weather, ever after
warm weather, ever after.
In 1816 he bought the frame (which had been erected the
year previous) on lot forty in Warren, and in 1817 finished the
story and a half dwelling, where he afterwards resided.
His sisters, Mrs. Clara Leavitt and Mrs.
Dunscomb, kept house for him several years. Mrs.
Dunscomb was made blind by small-pox, but was a neat
housekeeper; kept everything easy in her hands, could make a
good shirt even, and made a good home for the doctor as well as
herself, her husband having died early after his removal from
Rupert to the springs in 1802. Afterwards the wife of
Captain Thompson (who taught in the academy) kept
house for him. In 1822, February 6th, he married Sarah
Dana at Pembroke, New York. Although never engaged, an
early friend had forsaken him for another, and this no doubt had
led him to postpone so important an event, but at the suggestion
of Mrs. Leavitt, mother of the late George
Parsons, and an aunt of Miss Dana, he had
obtained by letter “the promise.” He drove on in a double
team sleigh, was introduced to the bride to be, and the next day
started for home. He could not have found one better
suited to aid him in his hard toil, had he looked over New
Although of poor health, she kept his house in order -
kept track of his patients, provided for all his home wants with
economy, and left him free of all such cares as often vex men in
In the summer of 1822 Dr. Leavitt wished to
operate on a Mrs. Norton for the removal of a
tumor in the abdomen. Young Dr. Harmon
advised against it, but Dr. Leavitt had removed a
large fatty tumor from a Mrs. Gaylord some two
years before, and was determined that this was like it. It
proved to be a cancerous mass on the under side of the liver.
He handed the knife to Dr. Harmon, who dissected
out several masses from the size of a goose's egg to a small
pullet's egg. Dr. Leavitt staid with her six
days and nights, and she recovered so as to ride to Warren, a
distance of some three miles, but died about four months after.
During his attendance
[Page 319] -
on her Dr. Harmon was induced by Mrs.
Leavitt to adopt one of her daughters, Mitty, then a
girl of eight years. She proved to be a woman of rare good
sense, an elder sister to his children, and a life long faithful
daughter. She was born June 23, 1814, at Hamburgh, New
York; married Jacob Gimperling Apr. 8, 1833, lived
several years in Hudson, Ohio, then moved to Ravenna, where he
died Dec. 25, 1848. She returned to Dr. Harmon's,
and married Rev. John McLean, then in
Bristol, Nov. 4, 1863. She died in Canfield in 1878 or
1879; was a devoted Methodist from sixteen years of age, and was
highly respected by many warm friends.
In 1830 Dr. Harmon was prostrated by a
severe run of fever, which nearly proved fatal. In 1833 he
was pulled by a colt he was leading, from his saddle, and his
horse ran, dragging him by the heels in his stirrup till the
breaking of the girth released him. His back was so hurt
that he could not sit down or get up for a long time without
help. Years after in attempting to do so he would suddenly
fall helpless. But he kept at his work. In February,
1838, his horse ran away and broke his ribs and one leg, and he
lay in the snow for some time till found by John
McConnell, whose son William he was visiting.
He was helped in his sleigh, and went on and prescribed for his
patient, and was brought home before his own injuries were cared
for. About 1840 a tumor formed on his left side, beneath
the deep pectoral muscle. It was opened by Dr.
Delamater, and again by Dr. Bronson, and a
seton put in. The inflammation was severe, and was nearly
fatal. In the summer of 1845 he was again severely sick,
and again in 1854 he had a congestive chill, in which for four
hours he seemed to be past recovery. All of these attacks
were results of excessive work and special injuries, which his
iron constitution enabled him to survive.
In 1852 he returned East with his wife and visited his
early home and hers also. They spent six weeks of May and
June in such pleasant way. He found the remains of his
father's old copper mill, still at Rupert, and several boys like
himself grown to be seventy and eighty years of age.
In 1854 he foreswore practice, saying that "an old man
without eyes, ears, teeth, fingers had no business to be
dabbling in medicine." This was not true of him, but it
indicated his belief, that a man should quite before he becomes
incompetent. His help, however, continued to be sought in
counsel often, and was ever of aid to his son, who was taking
his place in active work. His last case of obstetrics was in
July, 1857. His practice in this branch extended over
fifty-five years. He early supplied himself with a
complete set of obstetrical instruments, and was expert in their
use. In general surgery he was recognized as a master till
the time of Ackley. In his fine sense of touch and
cautious judgment he occasionally proved himself superior even
to him, and the still more celebrated Mott, of New York
In 1838 he was sued for malpractice, in having (as was
said) unnecessarily amputated a leg. The prosecution was
conducted by the Hon. J. R. Giddings, with the help of
Wade, Sutliff, and Ranney. The defence was made by
David Tod and R. P. Spalding. The leg
had been crushed by a timber rolling down from the top of a
cabin which was being raised. Doctors John W. and
Sylvanus Seeley were called in, on the second day
as counsel, and the operation was done. They were all
sued. The unquestioned ability of the surgeons, and the
fame of the counsel, gave the case great notoriety. The
issue was squarely made: Had an ignorant public the right to
pass judgment on the action of three eminent surgeons, who had
fully considered the case at the time? Giddings
claimed the right, and had succeeded a few years before in
obtaining a verdict against a doctor in Ashtabula county, for
not properly caring, as was charged, for an injured ankle.
He was a monomaniac on the subject, as it were, and left nothing
undone that a zealous and able man could do, to win his case.
Tod and Spalding were equally zealous and able for
the defence, and were completely successful. The expense
was large. It cost Dr. Harmon more than he had ever
made from surgery; but it showed to the public the essential
impudence of such prosecutions, and has resulted in a better
understanding of medical responsibility. There is no more
sense in such a suit than there would be if a doctor should
assume to prosecute three eminent lawyers for losing a case they
had done their best to win, and such is the feeling “an old man
without eyes, ears, teeth, or now with the legal profession.
[Page 320] -
Dr. Harmon was usually a silent, thoughtful man, but when
occasion called expressed himself fluently and clearly. He
was outspoken in all his convictions, and gave his reasons with
such force and originality as to command a respectful hearing.
While opposing invariably what he thought errors in religion, he
yet made firm friends among the most devout of women, and the
ablest of preachers. From early days until his decease
Presbyterians and Methodists, Baptists and Disciples alike
patronized and honored him. Said the women, “We can't see
why he thought as he did, but he was surely a good man, and he
has gone to heaven.” He was ever at the call of the sick,
whether pay was to be had or not. He sometimes swam his
horse across the Mahoning, swollen with floating ice, to meet a
professional engagement. A large part of his life regular
sleep was unknown to him. Within the memory of his
children he has gone two weeks without undressing at home,
daily calls. He learned to sleep on his horse, or in his
sulky, and when he lay down instantly fell asleep; would awake
at a call, put up medicine in his bed, give directions, and be
asleep before the waiter was out of the room. He had his
amusements. The fleet horse must be put to his mettle, and
he delighted in the race, not for gaming but for love of the
beauty and fleetness of the horse. About 1830 the “Warren
Jocky Club” was formed, and a mile track was made on the John
Leavitt (now James Hoyt) farm in
Leavittsburg. In the spring and fall one, two, three, and
four mile races were held. Sporting men came with the best
racers of neighboring States. Dr. Harmon
kept some of the fleetest himself. The Pennsylvania & Ohio
canal went through the track and ended the sport in 1839.
In boyhood he began the play of check ers, at which he soon
became the best of his day. In the leisure hours of later
life he often met his friends, the Seeleys, Bronson,
and King, in the auditor's office, where Jacob H.
Baldwin presided so long, and had a tilt. He had less
fondness for backgammon, but indulged in that occasionally with
Judge Pease, Parsons, and Freeman,
and others. He had become known as a checker player from
Maine to New Orleans. Champion players from all parts came
to play with him, only to find their superior. He excelled
in whatever he undertook. His natural endowments were of
the very highest order. One who had seen the leading
public men of his age, both in this country and abroad, said:
“He always impressed me as being the peer of any man I ever
met.” The last few years of his life were spent in quiet
ease. Young in face, hair but slightly gray, and scarcely
thinned, erect and straight as an arrow, he took his daily walks
with a light step, read the news of the day and the last Medical
Journal, and mingled with his friends, cheerful and thoughtful
himself, and greatly revered by all. He was taken with an
acute pleuro-pneumonia in January, and died Feb. 7, 1858.
The Cleveland Leader said of him:
Dr. Harmon was skillful and scientific, and
met the largest success to which one in his profession can
attain. As a man, he was true in all his relations, a
faithful husband, kind father, obliging neighbor, steadfast,
generous friend, patriotic citizen, a helper in every good work,
a great, good, and true man - ‘‘we ne'er shall look upon his
His wife, Sarah (Dana) Harmon, was born in Enfield,
Connecticut, Sept. 24, 1796; was the seventh daughter of
Daniel and Dorothy (Kibbee) Dana. Her father was born
in Ashford, Connecticut, Sept. 16, 1760, and died in Warren,
Nov. 8, 1839. He graduated at Yale college, and was a
studious man of letters; of the fifth generation from Richard
Dana, who immigrated from France, and died at Cambridge,
Massachusetts, Apr. 2, 1690. Miss Dana was delicate
in health, barely escaping death in early womanhood by
consumption; but had perseverance and energy sufficient to
enable her to meet the demands of her day with ample success.
She was a friend to all; her “charity covered a multitude of
sins” in the erring, and her household gifts were ever at the
disposal of the young, who lacked in the requisites of good
housekeeping. She toiled hard to bring up the family, and
was anxious to see them educated as well as possible. In
the evenings her kitchen table was set for her boys to study,
and with the intuitive tact of woman, she could help them to
learn what she did not know herself. She was a natural
cook, and delighted in surprising her family with new dishes.
The love of flowers was strong within her, and she kept as many
in her door-yard as economy would permit. She early became
a member of the Presbyterian church, and remained a quiet,
unobtrusive, but firm and consistent member. After the
[Page 321] -
of her husband, she gave up the cares of the house, and led an
easy, cheerful life till its close, Nov. 6, 1868.
They had six children. John B. Harmon, Jr.,
born Oct. 29, 1822; graduated at Yale in 1842, a lawyer of San
Francisco; grand master of Odd Fellows in 1878–79, to whom they
gave a grand reception in Warren Oct. 4, 1878, in which the
citizens universally joined, making it by far the grandest
celebration ever held in Warren, if not in the State. Six
hundred and seventy-two guests sat at the table at one time in
Methodist church, details of which may be found on another page,
in the History of Odd Fellowship.
Doctor Julian Harmon, born Aug. 1,
1824, graduated at Western Reserve college August, 1846, at
Cleveland Medical college Feb. 28, 1849; practiced with his
father till Mar. 1, 1854; continued alone till June, 1860, when
Dr. J. T. Smith formed a partnership with him.
Smith went out, as assistant surgeon with the Second Ohio
volunteer cavalry in 1861. Dr. Harmon
continued his rides during the war, during which his practice
became very extensive. In the winter of 1862–63 he rode
horseback through snow and mud for ninety consecutive days, a
trip of from thirty-two to fifty-two miles, going on foot
evenings and mornings around the town. One night he walked
between 8 and 11 o'clock six miles, after a ride of fifty-one
miles. Small and delicate, he seemed unfitted for such work, and
was induced to enter the drug business in September, 1865.
He left it Apr. 1, 1868, having lost some $16,000. His
wife had died six weeks previous, and he was, in consequence,
deprived of the help he relied on, which made his pecuniary loss
greater. He resumed practice in his old office, with Dr.
Metcalf, till April, 1875, since when he has been alone.
He has acted as examining surgeon for Trumbull county, for
pensions, for some twenty years; is an active member of Trumbull
county, Northeastern Ohio, and the State Medical societies, and
has been a trustee of the Newburg insane asylum and of the
Western Reserve college.
He married J. Rebecca Swift, daughter of
George and Olive (Kinsman) Swift, July 30, 1857, by whom he
has two daughters and one son. He was married again, June
6, 1871, to Mary E. Bostwick, daughter of L. L. and
Margaret (Wetmore) Bostwick, of Canfield, by whom he has one
son living, an elder one having died Oct. 26, 1881. He
himself was severely sick from thirteen to nineteen years of
age, and in 1851, and again in 1871 was nearly cut off by
erysipelas of head and neck. In 1840 he was prostrated
nine weeks by jaundice, and has had no light burden of infirmity
to contend with a large part of his life.
The loss of Captain Harmon's son Ellis,
(whom he had adopted) at thirteen years of age, and his own son,
Charlie, at nine years, both by malignant diphtheria,
were severe disappointments of his hopes in the future.
The sudden loss of his wife, Feb. 13, 1868, made a black
chasm across his pathway. Brilliant and sociable, unwearying and
devoted as a wife and mother, generous and helpful, she was
taken away just when she would have been of the highest value to
him and their children. His sister was a close friend and
intellectual companion and adviser, whose recent loss has added
heavily to his burdens. Amid all, he has remained true to
his manhood. Integrity unsullied, and elastic in spirits,
he bids fair to keep his ship afloat awhile longer, and bring
her to port in good trim at last. As a physican he
has been prompt in attendance, quick to recognize and skillful
in combating the dangerous forms of disease. He was
eminently successful in 1854 during an epidemic of vesicular
bronchitis among children. During the great prevalence of
scarlet fever and diphtheria in 1861–62–63 and 1864 he lost but
very few out of a large number of cases. In the gravest
accidents of obstetric practice he has been prompt, skillful and
successful. For many years he acted as surgeon for the
Cleveland & Mahoning, and Atlantic & Great Western railroads,
and has managed some desperately bad cases with most gratifying
success. Unassuming in manners, devoid of all trickery,
frank in speech, clear in convictions, enthusiastic in the love
of his profession, he may fairly be called a chip from the
Captain Charles R. Harmon was born Nov. 4, 1826.
Active and restless as a child, he abhorred the confinement of
school, but when the fit was on him, would learn in a few weeks
all that his mates had spent a full term on. At thirteen
he entered the store of E. E. Hoyt & Co. as clerk, and
remained there till 1846, when
[Page 322] -
he became a clerk with T. P. Ellis & Co., of New York
city, dealers in hardware. Mar. 5, 1848, he married
Mary, daughter of James and Sarah (Heywood) Hezlep,
of Girard, Ohio, and established himself in the hardware
business at Warren, in company with Edward E. Hoyt, under
the firm name of Harmon & Co. Mr. Hoyt
withdrew their part of the business from the firm of E. E.
Hoyt & Co., and Charlie pushed the business to a
large extent. Warren Packard and James G.
Brooks were his clerks. In a few years the firm was
dissolved, and he continued the business alone. Packard
was started in a separate store with $1,200 worth of goods
bought by Harmon, who was a silent partner with Mr.
Packard for three years.
In 1854 Mr. Harmon formed a partnership
with H. A. Opdycke, but continued in business only a few
months. An uncurbed passion for sport brought his business
to a close. Soon after, he moved to Iowa, remained there
one or two years, and returned to Warren.
With the aid of relatives he built a house on
Washington avenue, published a spicy sheet in the interest of
the Mecca oil business for about a year, enlisted in company F
of the Twenty-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry as a private, was
in the Western Virginia campaign in Colonel Ammon's
brigade, served as a valuable scout, and enjoyed the hearty
respect of Colonel Ammon. He was home on a
recruiting furloughwith rank of lieutenant. In February
and March, 1862, he rejoined his regiment with his recruits
immediately after the battle of Shiloh, was the first soldier
over the defences at Corinth, and was in the march from Alabama
to Louisville when the race was run on quarter rations. In
a letter to the Spirit of the Times he gave a vivid caricature
of the performance under the signature of “Reuben.”
At the battle of
Perryville he wrote home:
Here we are, fifty-five thousand men in arms, anxious to
fight. The country is rolling and our cannon could sweep
it, but we will have no order to move. Buell will
let McCook be slaughtered, he will never fight unless he
is forced to; then he would go in grandly to save his
reputation. Our officers say it is only a skirmish, but
every private as well as officer know it is death to McCook
and his men.
At the battle of Stone River the lieutenant colonel was shot at
the outset. In the afternoon Lieutenant Harmon
and men were ordered down flat, to cool their guns and let our
cannon play over them; raising his head a little upon his hands,
he encouraged his men, humming, “Who would not be a brave
soldier boy?” A sharp shooter up a neighboring tree sent a
bullet through his brain. While being carried back,
Major Terry (then in command) said, “Halt, let me see
him.” As he leaned forward the same gun brought him to the
ground, as he was saying “Oh, God, but it's hard.” All the
officers were picked off save one captain, who had more
discretion than valor. The sharpshooter was seen at last,
and a volley riddled him.
The commission of captain was mailed Lieutenant
Harmon by Governor Tod the day he was
killed, and after long discussion between Commissioner
Bartlett and Dr. J. Harmon as to the pension his
widow was entitled to, the commission was returned home by the
valiant captain, who had kept it till after the battle at
Chickamauga. The same day came the pension as lieutenant.
Dr. Harmon forwarded both to Washington, and soon
after President Lincoln issued an order that in
all such cases the soldier should be put on the rolls as if he
had received his commission and been formally mustered-in.
He had been acting captain for some six months, and justice was
done his widow by the effect of the order.
Captain Harmon was naturally extremely
sensitive to suffering, and not till after long effort could he
see blood without fainting, yet he was cool, brave, and daring
in the extreme.
Although addicted to sport, he was rigidly temperate,
and would not permit liquor or tobacco to the young in his
employ. He was a courteous and very popular salesman, and
could command a high salary. When pressed with poverty, he
was offered a salary of one thousand dollars to enter a grocery
and liquor store in Warren, but said “he would starve sooner
than engage in such work.” He was a very sociable and
attractive man, correct in business, a ready writer, furnishing
a play for school exhibitions, or a racy letter to the Chronicle
from the army, with ease. His companions in arms honored
and trusted him. Had fate spared him his career would have
been one of continued and increasing success. When he
arrived at Louisville from Alabama, the news reached him of the
death of his twin son Ellis, by diphtheria. The
blow was cruel indeed. He wrotehome, “If ever I return, I
[Page 323] -
shall be looking for the dear boy, with a longing earth can not
fill. If I fall, let my body rest where it falls.”
The cemetery at Murfresboro holds the remains of few men so
brave, unselfish, and capable as was Captain Charles R.
Edward D. Harmon was born May 1, 1831; clerked
for his brother, Charles R., some time; went to
California in March, 1853; returned and married Marie
Metcalf, of Newark, Ohio, in the summer or fall of 1868.
He is a prosperous farmer and real estate dealer in Oakland,
Sarah D. Harmon, their only daughter, was born
Apr. 3, 1833, and died in Warren, July 6, 1880. She was
highly educated, and taught in the grammar and high schools of
Warren, Dunkirk, Columbus, Elkhart, and Poughkeepsie, (Select
Ladies seminary,) and also in Sanford's seminary, at Cleveland.
Never robust, she over worked in her school duties, and wore
herself out prematurely, but had done a good life's work with
great success, and bore a year and a half of intense suffesing
with great courage and resignation, and the firm hope of an
humble Christian woman.
Their youngest child, Willie, was born June 30,
1835, and died Apr. 10, 1836, a pet favorite with his father,
never forgotten. The stern, stoical man years after would
drop a tear when, coming to his home, some incident would recall
his babe. The inner feelings of such men are seldom
understood. A few years before his death, a poor woman
said to him, “Oh doctor, you can't imagine how I felt when my
child was scalded.” “Ah, mother,” he said, “yes I do; my
youngest brother was scalded to death, over fifty years ago, and
I hear his cries again every time I am called to care for such a
case.” This acute sensibility, coupled with resolute
courage and self control, is largely enstamped upon his
children, softened in some more than in others, by the quiet
tenderness of his wife.
* From Mahoning Valley Cooections.
[Page 324] -
Judge Francis Freeman
[Page 325] -
JUDGE FRANCIS FREEMAN
was a conspicuous figure in Warren business
affairs for nearly half a century. He was born in Amenia,
Dutchess county, New York, June 7, 1779. During his youth
he acquired a good education in the schools of his native
county. On leaving school he engaged for some time in the
lumber trade, but western emigration and settlement had opened a
more profitable field for enterprise. His first visit to
Ohio was made in 1803. Warren had been made the county
seat of the whole Reserve, and was regarded as having excellent
prospects for growth. This fact determined Mr.
Freeman's choice of location. He returned to New York
to close out his business there, which was accomplished in about
two years. His brother joined him in the removal to
Warren, and each purchased a farm. This purchase was the
foundation of Mr. Freeman's future wealth, and
shows his characteristic business sagacity. A large part
of his tract was within the present city limits, being that part
lying south of the Cleveland & Mahoning railroad. Being a
man of powerful physique and vigorous health, he was enabled to
accomplish with cheerfulness the rugged labor of clearing and
cultivating new land. His business qualifications and
business habits were soon recognized
[Page 326] -
by his neighbors. He was one of the original stockholders
of the Western Reserve bank, and was chosen one of the first
board of directors. He continued a director until his
death, being during the whole period one of the most influential
members of the board. A prominent trait of his business
character was rigid and judicious economy. This he
exercised both in private and public transactions, and acquired
the reputation of being a “safe” man. His voice and vote
in bank directors' meetings always received the respect of his
associates, who were, during the whole history of the bank
representative business men.
In 1832 Mr. Freeman was chosen one of the
associate justices of the court of common pleas, and held the
position for seven years. The three associate justices
under the old judicial system transacted the probate and minor
judiciary business, and during terms of court sat upon the bench
with the presiding judge. Their place and subordinate
dignity upon the bench gave them the appellation of “side
judges.” Mr. Freeman had previously served
sixteen years as treasurer of Trumbull county. He
succeeded John Leavitt after the death of the
latter in 1815, and was regularly chosen to the position at the
election following. He was successively re-elected until the
expiration of his eighth regular term in 1831. It will be
seen that with the exception of one brief interval he was in
continuous official life twenty-three years. Mr.
Freeman sold his farm to a company of capitalists, realizing
a handsome profit on his original investment. During his
older years he had extensive real estate interests in the
vicinity of Warren, which occupied a large portion of his
business energy. Physically Judge Freeman
was one of the largest men in the county, being tall, round
featured, and broad-shouldered. He married Jan. 27, 1817,
Lyndia, only daughter of Samuel and Abigail Kent
Leavitt. She was born at Rupert, Vermont, July 5, 1785.
She was married in 1807, to Joseph Hopkins, who
died a few years afterward.
The family of Francis and Lyndia Freeman
consisted of three children: Samuel L., the only son, was
born Mar. 29, 1823, married in 1846, Charlotte L. Tod,
and has been identified with commercial and banking business in
Warren until recently; Laura Abigail was born Aug. 24,
1819, was married to Charles Hickox in 1843, and resides
in Cleveland; Olive, born Oct. 25, 1825, was married to
Albert Morley July 9, 1851, and died in Warren
Feb. 12, 1866.
Judge Freeman died in Warren Sept. 8,
1855. Mrs. Freeman survived her husband
nearly twelve years, the date of her death being Apr. 20, 1867.
HON. GEORGE MYGATT.
This venerable gentleman, for many years a
resident of Trumbull county, now residing in Cleveland, was born
in Danbury, Connecticut, June 14, 1797. His parents were
Comfort S. and Lucy (Knapp) Mygatt, who were among the
pioneers of Canfield, now Mahoning county. They came from
Danbury to Ohio in the summer of 1807, arriving in Canfield on
the 7th day of July.
Comfort S. Mygatt was engaged in mercantile
business in Canfield some sixteen years. Soon after coming
to Canfield he entered into partnership with Herman
Canfield and Zalmon Fitch, under the firm name of
Mygatt, Canfield & Fitch, and opened a general
store. The firm was dissolved after about two years, and
the business was continued by Mr. Mygatt during
the remainder of his life. He had been a member of the
Connecticut Legislature before removing to Ohio. He died
in October, 1823.
George Mygatt obtained his education in
the common school, but enjoyed very limited advantages after the
removal of the family to Ohio. He entered the employ of
the Western Reserve bank at Warren in 1818. He carried on
a mercantile business in Warren for about five years; was county
tax collector in the fall of 1821. He was elected sheriff
of Trumbull county in 1829, and re-elected in 1831, serving four
years. He removed to Huron county in 1834, and was cashier
of the Bank of Norwalk, residing there about two years. He
removed to Painesville, and was cashier of the Bank of Geauga
county for ten years. In 1846 he removed to Cleveland,
where he now resides, and was subsequently elected president of
the City bank of Cleveland, which position he held four years.
He was a member of the firm of Mygatt & Brown,
private bankers in Cleveland six years. He was elected to
the Legislature from Cuyahoga county in 1855,
[Page 327] -
THE HOYT FAMILY
[Page 328] -
In this register of Warren business men, more
than passing notice must be made of George Tayler,
who was for twenty-three years cashier of the Western Reserve
bank, and on the organization of the First National bank, was
chosen to the cashiership of that institution. His father,
James Tayler, was born in Pennsylvania, his
parents being natives of the north of Ireland. He married
Jane Walker, and settled in Franklin county. In
1814 they removed to Beaver county, and in 1815 came to
Youngstown township. He purchased on Mill creek a fulling
mill and wool factory, which he operated for several years.
In the year 1831 Mr. Tayler removed to Youngstown.
His death occurred in 1834. Their family consisted of nine
children, only one of whom, Jane, the oldest, is living.
Robert and James D. were lawyers respectively in
Youngstown and Warren, and are spoken of in other parts of this
volume. John was a commission merchant at Warren;
Nancy was married to Dr. Adair, of Poland, and
Susannah to John B. Canfield, of Warren; Albert,
the youngest son, died in Youngstown; a sketch of Matthew B.
the third son, follows in this connection. George
Tayler was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in
1811. While his parents resided on Mill reek, in
Youngstown township, he assisted in the woolen factory and on
the farm, and in the meantime attended the district school.
After spending a term or two at the Youngstown academy, he began
the study of law, in 1832, in the office of Burchard &
Tod at Warren. Tod was postmaster at that time,
and his student was employed so much of the time in the
post-office, that his study was seriously in terfered with.
This, after all, was probably a fortunate circumstance, for it
threw Mr. Tayler into a business instead of a
professional channel. What he might have become as a
lawyer can only be guessed; that he possessed business
qualifications of a high order he proved by a highly successful
career. In 1835, having left the law office and the
post-office, we find him employed as clerk to the treasurer of
the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal, then in course of construction.
The following year he accepted a situation in the Western
Reserve bank, at Warren. That he proved himself faithful
and efficient is shown by the fact that upon the death of Mr.
Hickox, he was the choice of the direct ors for the
cashiership. This position he held in the Western Reserve
bank, and in its successor, the First National bank, until his
death, which occurred May 25, 1864. During the
twenty-eight years of his connection with the bank, he proved
himself worthy of the confidence which the directors placed in
him. Competent, honest, and courteous, he won the confidence of
all with whom he came in contact, both in business and social
relations. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal
church, and practiced the faith he professed. Mr.
Tayler was married Apr. 25, 1837, to Elizabeth
Woodbridge, who still survives. Six of their family
lived to mature age. The monument which marks the
grave of Mr. Tayler was erected by the bank
directors as a tribute to his memory.
MATTHEW B. TAYLER.
Matthew B. Tayler was the third son
and fourth child of James and Jane Walker Tayler, whose
settlement near Youngstown has been noted. He was born at
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Mar. 17, 1815. His boyhood was
spent on the farm in Youngstown township, his time being divided
between farm work and attendance upon the country school.
After his parents re-
Matthew B. Tayler
[Page 329] -
moved to the village of Youngstown, he became a pupil at the
“academy,” where he completed what may be termed a good business
education. At the age of eighteen years he embarked upon a
business career. From this time forward his life was one
of earnest, ceaseless activity, and in that, chiefly, was the
secret of his success. His life furnishes an example of
the value of early discipline, It was the close application and
solicitous care which he gave to every transaction in his
younger years that moulded the character of the exemplary and
trustworthy business man. Mr. Tayler's first
experience was in the dry-goods business in the store of W.
H. Goodhue, at Warren. He continued in the dry-goods
trade six years, until 1839, when he entered the Western Reserve
bank as teller. When the bank closed its accounts under
the first charter in 1843, Mr. Tayler embarked in
the forwarding and commission business on the Pennsylvania and
Ohio canal. This was his first independent venture, and
gave him a wider and freer field of action than he had hitherto
occupied. Year after year the business grew and
satisfactory gains rewarded his enterprise and labor.
While not actively employed in the old bank he became connected
with its business in 1849, in the capacity of director, a
position which he held until the bank closed out its business in
1863. He subsequently became one of the first directors of
the First National bank, and sustained that relation until his
Mr. Tayler, in 1856, discontinued the
canal trade and became a member of the coal firm of Tod &
Yates, subsequently Tod, Yates & Tayler.
The office of the company was at Cleveland, but his family
remained in Warren. After about five years he severed his
connection with the firm.
In 1864, after the death of George Tayler, the
directors of the First National bank showed their confidence in
his brother, Matthew B., by choosing him to the vacant
cashiership. From that time until his death he discharged
the duties of that office.
Mr. Tayler was married Mar. 17, 1841, to
Miss Adaline A. Hapgood, daughter of George Hapgood.
A family of eleven children blessed this union, all of whom are
living. In this large and interesting family the father
took great pride and interest. Always loving, always
indulgent, always gentle, he found in the home circle a quieting
refuge from every troubling care incident to active employments.
Mr. Tayler in 1840 became a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church, and during the forty years of his
connection with that society he was always found pure, tender
and sincere. Mr. Tayler was religious
because he believed in Christianity, he was charitable because
it gave him pleasure to relieve suffering and want. Many
unfortunate people lost a full-hearted friend and assistant when
During the month of November, 1880, Mr.
Tayler complained considerably of indisposition, but with
that will and determination which characterized all his conduct
he remained at his post of duty. On November 22d he was
compelled to yield, and at 8 o'clock on the following morning,
November 23d, he died. The funeral services were held in
the church of which he was a member November 26th. As a
token of the universal respect in which he was held all business
was suspended during the sad funeral hour.
Mr. Tayler was a man of medium height,
broad shouldered, full-chested and compact body. His large
face wore a settled and benevolent expression. His eyes
and hair were dark. Native affability quickly won the
friendship of people with whom he came in contact, qualities of
character held the friendship of those with whom he associated.
His manner was warm, hearty and sympathetic. No better
analysis of his character or tribute to his memory can be
written than the memorial prepared by his business associates:
When honored men pass away, it is well
for us to consider those elements of character through which
they won honor and achieved success. Mr. Tayler
was a modest, retiring man, seeking not the approbation of his
fellows so much as the approval of a good conscience, and yet
was he honored of all who knew him, and of none so much as those
who knew him best. In qualities of mind and heart he was worthy
of the esteem he secured from all.
He was a man of a remarkably clear and well-poised
judgment. Everything submitted to his consideration was
carefully examined and well weighed before a decision was given.
He had the rare faculty of retiring all extraneous questions,
and personal influences, and judging of things upon their merits
alone; his decisions were, therefore, accepted, and relied upon,
as just, wise and conclusive. In matters of great
interest, and in times of deep excitement, his equanimity was
undisturbed, and his judgment unclouded.
He was a man capable of making fine moral distinctions,
and was pre-eminently a lover of justice. Everything in
his own conduct and life was harmoniously keyed thereto.
No individual interest, no financial gains, no bias of
friendship could make him deviate from the way commanded by the
[Page 330] -
strictest justice, and the most uncompromising righteousness.
He was as true to the claims of honesty and probity as the
chronometer to the hour of midnight.
He was a man of convictions, and dared to maintain
them. Such was the constitution of his mind that he loved
truth, and in his eye it was of great price. He would not
yield to error; he made no compromise with it. Liberal,
charitable in his thinking, he nevertheless paid homage to the
truth as it came to him, and refused to part with it.
Unobtrusive in his opinions he was firmness itself in holding
his beliefs. He regarded beliefs as the constructors of
character, and character as priceless. A man of great
strength of will, he was not obstinate - obstinacy seeks not for
reasons; his opinions and decisions were always supported by
He was successful in business and gained a competence;
but he used it not for selfish gratification. He was a man
of benevolence and kindness of heart; a generous contributor to
those institutions of society upon which its stability and
excellency depend. He had an ear to hear the wants of man
kind, a heart to feel for them, and an open purse to relieve
them. Many were the objects of his charity who received
his bounty not knowing whence it came. He was a friend of
the poor, a distributor to the needy. Attentive to
business and bearing heavy responsibilities, he yet found time
for the discharge of those social obligations which devolve upon
men in his station, and those church obligations which devolve
upon the Christian. As a friend, none could be truer, more
reliable, more constant.
He was a true Christian man. This is saying much,
but there are none who knew him that will question it. His
experience, his deeds, his life all bear witness to the great
fact. He carried his religion into his business, and
business into his religion. No man in the city of Warren
commanded a larger share of the public confidence in his
Christian integrity. He was an example of a Christian
business man to whom reference may be made with great assurance.
For forty years he lived in communion with the Methodist
Episcopal church, of Warren, Ohio - a pillar, a wise counsellor,
“a safe guide. The uniform testimony of that large, intelligent
church to his simple, unaffected piety, his liberality, and the
wisdom of his counsels, is a witness to his character that
cannot be misinterpreted. The esteem in which he was held
by the citizens of Warren and the business communities adjacent,
is a proof that no ordinary man has passed away. Such men
are rare, and dying, they leave vacancies that go unfilled for a
[Page 331] -
JOSEPH MARVIN. The Marvin family of this county are
descended from Reynold Marvin, one of the Puritan
settlers of Massachusetts. Joseph Marvin, son of
Matthew Marvin, was born at Lyme, New London county,
Connecticut, Mar. 26, 1772. He married in his native
village in 1797. This union continued for a period of
nearly sixty eight years, until broken by the death of Mrs.
Marvin, Sept. 24, 1864, then in the eighty fourth year of
her age. Mr. Marvin lived to the remarkable
old age of one hundred and one years, five months, and three
days, the date of his death being Aug. 29, 1873, at Atwater,
Port age county, Ohio. On the same day of the same month,
sixty-seven years before, his father, Matthew Marvin,
died. He was a man of great industry and activity, being
able to swing an axe even after he had passed the centennial of
his birth. Mrs. Marvin, too, was strong and
healthy even in her old age.
Joseph Marvin, son of Joseph Marvin,
Sr., and well-known within the field of this history as
teacher, merchant, and preacher, was born Jan. 12, 1807, in Lyme,
Connecticut. He accompanied his father's family in 1821
from their Connecticut home to Ohio, the journey being
accomplished in the old-fashioned way, the wagon with goods
being drawn by an ox-team, and the family by a horse-team.
Slowly they traveled for forty days, until Musquito creek, in
Bazetta township, was reached. There they settled in the
midst of a woods more than five miles in extent, with all the
surroundings of pioneer frontier life. Turkeys, squirrels,
and raccoons destroyed crops, and wolves made night hideous with
horrible howling. When the Marvin family
settled in Bazetta there were only thirty-seven families in the
township. All that were then married are dead, except
Mrs. William Davis, who lives with her son-in-law,
William Kennedy, in Bazetta, now in her ninety-eighth
Mr. Marvin, after having assisted his father on
the farm seven years, began life for himself. A boy's work
on a farm at that time was wholly unlike a boy's work since
machinery has come into general use. Added to the toil of
cultivating the soil was the severe labor of clearing, which was
carried on year after year. Mr. Marvin
engaged in teaching until 1835, and in the meantime had devoted
considerable attention to the study of medicine. While at
New Castle teaching, in 1834, he became interested in a
religious revival, and on September 13th was soundly converted
in the old Methodist style. Before the year closed he
joined the Methodist Episcopal
[Page 332] -
church, and was licensed to preach in 1835 by the quarterly
conference held at Greenville, Pennsylvania, in October of that
year. The presiding elder engaged him to labor on Salem
circuit, consisting of twenty-seven appointments to be filled
every six weeks. Mr. Marvin filled his appointments
in regular succession, preaching as often as eleven times in
eight days. There certainly was very little financial
inducement for a Methodist itinerant in that day. The
highest salary Mr. Marvin ever received was $142
for a year. The pay of most circuit riders was much less
than that. Mr. Marvin had weakened his
constitution before entering the ministry, by excessive study,
so that the physical exhaustion caused by his severe itinerant
labors brought on nervous prostration. He quit the circuit
and resumed teaching. In 1837 he was employed in an
academic department to be connected with Ohio university at
Athens. He labored in his new field with success for some
time. He married, Dec. 25, 1838, Lucy Temple Dana,
daughter of Joseph Dana, of Athens.
Mr. Marvin, accompanied by his wife, returned to
Trumbull county in January following, having resigned his
position to a young college graduate. Since that time he
has been engaged in merchandising and farming, holding these
employments, however, as secondary to the calling to which he
devoted himself in early life. During the forty-six years
of ministerial life, sometimes in conference relation, but for
the most part as local preacher, he has asked or received little
monetary compensation for his labor, having ample outside means
of support. During all that period he has failed to meet
but two appointments of his own announcement. He has
traveled in his buggy more than forty miles on Sunday and
preached to two congregations. It is a remarkable fact
that despite the hard labor to which his life has been devoted
he is yet, at the age of seventy-five years, hearty and strong.
His figure does not suggest old age, nor is he willing to admit
what the incontrovertible logic of mathematics proves, that he
is an old man. Mr. Marvin, after the death of his
first wife, married Ann VanGorder, daughter of James
L. VanGorder, of Warren. This city has been his home
BENJAMIN STEVENS AND
STEVENS FAMILY. The name of Stevens has been
the history of Warren since 1816. The advance member of
the family was Benjamin Stevens, a clothier, who
took charge of the works here at that date, being then in his
twenty-ninth year. Mr. Stevens is yet living
in Warren, as are also two of his brothers, the youngest of whom
has passed his eighty-sixth year.
The ancestry of this family has been traced to
General Nicholas Stevens (or Stephens) a brigadier
under Cromwell in the revolutionary army of 1649.
After the overthrow of the commonwealth and the restoration, in
1660, General Stevens, deeming prudence the better part
of valor, came to America and settled in Taunton, Massachusetts.
From his youngest son Henry, Zebulon Stevens
was descended. He was a small Connecticut farmer, and had
a family of seven sons, three of whom were in the Revolution—
Zebulon, Thomas, and Benjamin. The
seventh son, Jonathan, was born in Canaan, Connecticut,
Mar. 7, 1767. He married in Connecticut Susan
Wells, and in 1789 removed his family to Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania, and from there in 1799 to Addison county, Vermont.
The family at that time consisted of one daughter and five sons,
the daughter and eldest son having been born in Connecticut.
The children were, Harriet, born in 1787; Benjamin,
born July 20, 1788; William, born in 1790; Charles, born
in 1792; Horace, born Feb. 4, 1794, and Augustus,
The Stevens family belonged to the
Jeffersonian or Democratic party, and in consequence were
supporters of the war which was declared against England in
1812. The father and all the sons belonged to the militia
companies, and when an invasion of New England from the north
was threatened, all but the youngest son volunteered. All
were engaged on the celebrated field of Plattsburg, Sept. 11,
1814, which resulted in the complete rout of British General
Provost, with a loss of 3,000 men. The American forces
were mostly militia from the neighbor ing towns of Vermont and
New York. Every boy able to carry a gun was admitted to
Jonathan Stevens came to Ohio after
the emigration of his children, and settled at Newton
[Page 333] -
Falls, where he enjoyed a peaceful old age. His death
occurred in 1848. Mrs. Susan Wells Stevens died in
Vermont. Harriet, the only daughter, was married to
Mr. Harris. She came to Ohio in 1827, and
lived with her father; went finally to reside with her son,
Judge S. W. Harris, of Morris, Grundy county, Illinois,
where she died. William is residing in Pennsylvania,
having attained the advanced age of ninety-two. Charles
married Catherine Sterling, of Lancaster,
Fairfield county, Ohio. He died in Warren in 1860.
He was in partnership with his brother Benjamin in the
manufacture of cloth. Horace came to Warren in 1817.
He was a hatter by trade, and opened a shop on Market street.
With the exception of an interval of a few years he has resided
here ever since. Augustus came to Warren in 1816,
and engaged in business with his brother Benjamin in the
cloth business. He afterwards established a factory at
Newton Falls which he operated for a number of years. He
now resides with the family of his brother Benjamin at
Benjamin Stevens at the
age of fourteen was apprenticed in a clothier's establishment in
Vermont for a period of seven years—as it looks to us now, a
long time to learn a trade. At the expiration of his
service he was given charge of the works, but soon engaged in
business on his own responsibility. He met with heavy loss
at the conclusion of the War of 1812, in consequence of the
demand for army clothing being suddenly stopped. Mr.
Stevens started West in search of a favorable location in
1816. Warren being at that time the leading town in the
Reserve, he like most other emigrants made this the objective
point. Levi Hadley was operating a carding machine
and Thomas Wells had just fitted up machinery for making
cloth. Mr. Stevens purchased both establishments
and operated a regular factory. Water-power was not
adequate to a large business in all the departments of carding,
spinning, weaving, and fulling, but considerable flannel was
made for the Pittsburg market, and cloth was manufactured at $1
The business mainly consisted in carding wool ready for
the domestic spinning wheel. During the year 1842 Mr.
Stevens worked twenty-eight thousand pounds of wool.
The business began to decline about 1850 in consequence of the
growth of larger establishments and increased transportation
facilities. Mr. Stevens sold out and retired in
1847. He married, in 1825, Mary Case, daughter of
Meshach Case. Their family consisted of five
children, three of whom are living. Mary and
Harriet reside in Warren; Lucy (Opdycke) in
New York; Benjamin and Leonard are dead. Mrs.
Mary (Case) Stevens died in Warren Apr. 18, 1874.
He was initiated into the Masonic fraternity in Vermont
and in former years attended the communications of the lodge at
Warren. He is the oldest member of the Methodist Episcopal
church, having been received into membership but a few months
after the organization of the first class in November, 1819,
composed of six persons. For more than sixty years Mr.
Stevens has made the simple demands of his church a part of
his life, and in his old age is comforted by the faith which has
ripened with years. (CLICK
HERE TO SEE PHOTOS)
was born in Huntingdon
township, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, Feb. 2, 1794. In
1808 or 1809 he went to learn the hatters trade, at which he
served some six years. In the fall of 1816 he came to
Warren, Ohio, and the following spring commenced at his trade in
Warren, in which he continued until 1828, when he removed to
Newton Falls, and with his brother Augustus built a
flouring- and saw-mill, and also clothing and carding works.
He resided there until 1867, when he retired from active
business and removed to Warren, where he has since resided.
In 1819 he married Miss Aurelia Pier, who was born in
1798. She died in 1851. Mr. Stevens
volunteered in the War of 1812, and was under fire at the battle
of Plattsburg. He was captain of the Rifle Grays in Warren
in 1825 or 1826. His first American ancestor was
General Nicholas Stevens, who came over in
1660 and settled at Taunton, Massachusetts. Of his family
four daughters are living, namely: Aurelia Hall, of
Philadelphia; Mary B. Fuller, of Warren; Laura A.
Merwin, of Fox Lake, Wisconsin, and Frances Smith, of
Waupun, Wisconsin. Mary B. Stevens was born in
Warren Oct. 25, 1822, and married Ira Lucius Fuller Dec.
10, 1840. Mr. Fuller came to Warren at an early day
and was a clerk in the post office and county clerk's office;
read law and was admitted
[Page 334] -
to the bar in Warren, and was a successful lawyer. He was
subsequently elected probate judge. He died Oct. 16, 1874.
Six of the eight children of Judge and Mrs. Fuller are
living— Mrs. Mary C. Harmon, Horace S., and Emily S.
Tidball, of Nebraska; Lucius E., of Bradford,
Pennsylvania; Harriet P., attending Cooper seminary at
Dayton, Ohio; Robert P., at home. Lily S.,
wife of R. H. Freer, died May 22, 1873, and Ella T.,
at the age of twenty, in 1872.
was born in
Pennsylvania in 1796. He was married to Esther C.
Sherril, of Vergennes, Vermont, in 1821. She died in
Newton Falls in 1860. He removed with his family to
Vermont, and in 1816 made his first visit to Ohio. He
stopped with his brother Benjamin in Warren, and
subsequently engaged with him in the manufacture of cloth at
this place. He built a grist-mill about 1822, below the
present Market-street bridge, which he sold in 1828 to James
L. Van Gorder. Mr. Stevens then removed to
Newton Falls, where he built a grist-mill and cloth factory,
which he operated in partnership with his brother Horace.
In 1861 he returned.
family settled in Trumbull county, near Warren, in the year
18oo. The name is of Dutch origin. Meshach Case was
of Holland parentage on his father's side and Irish on his
mother's side. He was born in New Jersey in 1752, and in
1780 he married, in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania,
Magdalen Eckstine, who was of German descent.
They settled in Washington county, Pennsylvania, whence they
removed to Trumbull county. Mr. Case was a
farmer and shared the experiences incident to life in a new
country. Mrs. Case died in 1832 at the age
of seventy years. Mr. Case lived to the age
of eighty-nine years, his death taking place in 1841.
Their family consisted of eight children. Elizabeth
was married to James Ellis, of Warren, Ohio,
removed to Kentucky, and after his death she returned to Warren
and died here; Leonard removed to Cleveland; Catharine
was married to Daniel Kerr, of Painesville;
Mary was married to Benjamin Stevens of
Warren; Reuben removed to Maysville, Kentucky; Sarah
was married to Cyrus Bosworth, of Warren; Jane
died in childhood; Zopher, the only surviving member of
the family, resides in Cleveland.
Of Leonard, the oldest son of Meshach
Case, it is proper that something more should be said
although his mature years were spent in Cleveland. He was
born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1786, and
was consequently about sixteen years old when his parents
settled in this county. A severe sickness the following
year left him a cripple for life. Poor and unfitted for
physical labor, his chief anxiety was how to escape becoming a
burden upon his friends. He secured a few books and began
the study of surveying, which at that time was considered
profitable business. This was at a period of life when a
whole career depends upon the little things which lead the way.
Though he never became a regular surveyor he acquired a fair
knowledge of the business, which was of in estimable service to
him in after life. In 1806, being twenty-two years old, he
obtained employment in the land office in Warren. His work
attracted the attention of John S. Edwards, county
recorder, who induced him to study law. In connection with
other work he did sufficient reading to be admitted to the bar.
His position in the land office gave him an accurate knowledge
of the Western Reserve—its history and its resources. The
appointment to the position of collector of taxes of
non-residents on the Reserve still further increased his
In 1816 the Commercial bank of Lake Erie was organized
and Mr. Case was appointed cashier.
Cleveland was a small town at that time, and the bank did not
occupy Mr. Case's whole attention. He
pursued his profession and acquired the reputation of being the
best authority in northern Ohio on questions relating to the law
of real estate and land titles. He seldom appeared in the
trial of general causes in the courts. In addition to
banking and professional work he dealt extensively in real
estate, which, after 1834, occupied all his time. His life
was by no means devoted exclusively to the accumulation of a
fortune. He was public-spirited and used his influence and
wealth for the upbuilding of his adopted city. He died in
Cleveland Dec. 7, 1864, leaving one son, Leonard, who has
since died without issue.
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