« AnteriorContinuar »
did not have a very easy courtship, so far as communicating or meeting with their sweethearts affected their happiness, for their work was arduous, and their abode much of the time away on the banks of the unfilled canal. However, with but little capital and less household furniture with which to begin life, Abram married Eliza, and Amos married Alpha.
Abram and Eliza immediately after their marriage in 1819, removed to the town of Independence, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Abram was engaged in excavating for the canal. From the first day of their marriage, Eliza entered upon the work of gaining a livelihood with a will, and by weaving, knitting, keeping as boarders the workmen on the canal, she contributed her full share to the gains of the partnership. She inherited many of the noble qualities of her ancestry; and the heroism of her brother, James Ballou, in the war of 1812, or of that distinguished uncle, Hosea Ballou, in his controversy with his Baptist brethren over his Universalist belief, was never greater nor more worthy of respect than the ceaseless, and good-natured self-sacrifice of their little niece on the banks of the Ohio Canal. Many of the Ballou family have held high positions. In New Hampshire where the family first settled, in Vermont to which one branch early emigrated, and in Boston, where, as the „ President of Tufts College, as the Editor of the
Universalist Magazine, as the preacher of sermons, now classic, as the author of the History of the Crusades, the editor of Ballou's Pictorial, and The Flag of our Union, and as the editor and founder of the Boston Daily Globe, they have been known and honored; but neither the Ballou family, nor the Ingalls family, from whom they descended on their mother's side, throughout all their scholarly ranks can show a more lovable and admirable character than that displayed by those remarkable sisters Eliza and Alpha, in the wilds of Ohio. ; But it is somewhat aside from the purpose of this volume to give in lengthy detail the life of the parents and we turn with regret from a chapter that may never be written. . After the canal was completed at and near Independence, Abram moved to Newburgh, a town which has since become a ward of the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Meantime, there were born to him three children, viz., Mehitable, now Mrs. Trowbridge, of Solon, Ohio, Thomas, now a farmer at Jamestown, Ottawa County, Michigan, and Mary, now Mrs. Larabee, of Solon, Ohio, her husband being a second cousin of General U. S. Grant. .
Those early years of their married life from 1819 to 1829 were sull of unremittent toil and hardship, and aster ten years of such self-denial, Abram and Amos found themselves with a very meager sum on hand for future capital, They had labored diligently, they had saved scrupulously, they had availed themselves of every known opportunity, yet the re- * sult of the decade's work was most unsatisfactory. They had no home. Abram and Eliza had built air castles, planned, discussed and dreamed of a home in which they and their children could dwell in the
sweet retirement of domestic love and joy. Yet their children were growing up without the sweet influences and hallowed associations which brighten the life and sharpen the intellects of those who enjoy the ownership of a country home, while the presence of boarders and the objectionable people, who, for a time, sought employment on the canal and congregated at its terminus, made it almost imperative for these upright, devoted parents to seek other associations for their children.
Just at that time, 1829, there was quite an excitement over the advance in the prices of land in Ohio, which very naturally turned the attention of the people toward the purchase of wild land and toward the desirability and profitableness of a farmer's life. With a view to locating somewhere, and clearing a tract of land for a farm, Abram with his half-brother Amos made many excursions into the interior for the purpose of selecting a site; and in the summer of 1829 they concluded a bargain for fifty acres of land for each, at a cost of $2.00 per acre, and situated in the township of Orange, about sixteen miles south-east of Cleveland. It was a heavily wooded tract of land of the “forest primeval," and it must have required a very active and hopeful imagination to have foreseen in the gloom of that silent woodland, a future farmer's home, with waving fields of grain, cows feeding in the pastures, and children sporting on a wide dooryard lawn. Yet they were happy in such dreams; and our history will begin by an account, in the next chapter, of their removal to their forest home where James was born.
THE OLD HOMESTEAD.
THE OPENING OF OHIO TO SETTLERS. — THE EARLY HABITATIONS.
THE PRIMITIVE FORESTS.-WILD BEASTS.-APPEARANCE OF CLEVE-
OHIO, as early as 1803, had taken her place among the States of the nation, and the “ Western Reserve" lands, belonging to the State of Connecticut, had been nearly all sold to settlers and speculators when Cleveland was incorporated as a village, in 1814. But the State had not, as late as 1828, assumed that thrifty and mature appearance which today reminds the traveler so forcibly of that New England from whence so many of the people came. The tracts of land which had been cleared had not parted with their primitive stumps, and the towns were composed largely of log houses, or low, onestory wooden dwellings, put up in the cheapest and most hasty manner, as if for a mere temporary stopping place, to be occupied but for a few weeks. There were vast forests still untouched in which the
bears, deer, raccoons and foxes still found hiding places; and there were prairies still unbroken, where the wildest and fiercest of wolves secreted themselves by day and howled hideously by night. Cleveland, now such a stately, populous city, with a shipping that equals many old seaports of the Atlantic, was, in 1828–9, a village with several small stores, and three or four diminutive churches. The highways were few and most rudely graded, and it was not an uncommon thing to hear of settlers whose little cabins were twenty miles from any passable highway; in which case, they worked their way across the country to the public road as best they could, choosing their own route. The Indians had not been so completely exterminated by General Wayne as to be altogether unknown, and Indian squaws and Indian hunters were frequently met in the forests and seen begging at the cabin doors in the clearings. It seems hardly credible that within the memory of men and women living, such a condition of things existed in that Ohio, which to-day is so stable, so dignified, so enterprising in all the arts of this progressive age, having the appearance of centuries of civilization.
But one cannot trust to his eyes in a country like this. Ohio possessed a soil so surcharged with vegetable life, that the grains of civilization felt instantly its vivifying touch, and leaped like intelligent beings into luxuriant maturity, and danced as they ripened in the breezes of the lakes.
To clear the forests, to break up the prairie, to