From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part I, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, July, 1896], p.p. 36-38:
PIONEER WOMEN OF DENMARK, 1809-1850
The history of the pioneer women of Denmark, Ashtabula county, will be very unsatisfactory in many respects. Not one is left to tell the story of her early life; all that can be gathered about them is what their children and grandchildren hold in loving and grateful remembrance. Of the hardships and privations which they endured, we, of this generation, can form but small idea. The Puritan women have always been considered very brave, to embark on the Mayflower for this unknown America; but it required just the same courage for our great-grandmothers to leave their safe, pleasant homes in the East, and start out in clumsy wagons, drawn by slow oxen, through a wild and trackless region, exposed to all weathers, and in danger from wild beasts; often more than six weeks was consumed in making the journey.
Peter Knapp and his wife, Phoebe, were first settlers in Denmark. They, together with their children, arrived here late in the afternoon of July 7, 1809. Family history relates that "Uncle Peter," as he was always called, set to work at once to prepare a shelter. This architecture of this first house was simple in the extreme. Six poles were sharpened and driven into the ground; over these the wagon cover was drawn. It was finished to SLEEP IN THAT NIGHT, and served them until logs could be cut for a house. About two years after their coming here Mrs. Knapp gave birth of a daughter who was christened Laura; this was the first white child born in this township; in after years she married William Brockett, of Saybrook. There were other daughters born to them. They were named Peggy, Chloe, and Lovina, besides the first named, Laura.
In September, 1809, Elihu Knapp, with a large family, came here from Windham, N. Y. Three girls were numbered among them, Polly, Sally, and Rachel. It is related of the two elder girls, that one day while they were intent on gathering nuts, their attention was drawn to a crunching noise in the underbrush near at hand. A cautious investigation revealed to the frightened girls a large black bear busily eating nuts. It is perhaps needless to add that the girls made all haste to leave his bearship in undisputed possession of all the nuts which grew in that locality. Another story, a wolf story this time, is told about the same children by one of their descendants. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Knapp, were obliged to be away from home on a night which the wolves had decided to have a supper on the sheep. These were kept in high log pens, in view of visits from such gentry as bears and wolves. Soon after dark the children heard the dreaded howl of wolves in the distance. Soon the hungry pack was tearing round and round the stock pen and making mighty leaps to get inside, all the time keeping up their blood-curdling howl; they stayed several hours, and the poor little children were frightened half to death. The following spring little Rachel was the first to leave for the silent world. Her's was the first grave made in the old cemetery here.
Early in the spring of 1810, Philip Goff and his wife, Chloe Cole Goff, of Durham, Conn., came here. They were over seven weeks on the he way, and that, too, before the weather had become very genial. They had, of course, a large family, Chloe, Sally, and Mercy were the girls of this flock. Two years after their arrival  the eldest daughter Chloe, was the bride when the first wedding ceremony was performed in the town. She was married to William Morrison, of Geneva. It is said that no partiality was shown in the invitations of the guests, in fact the whole settlement was invited; this most have been, children and all, about forty. The next girl, Sally, married John Claflin, and Mercy married Giles Ives. She never moved away from the farm she went onto as a bride until she entered the last long rest six years ago.
In 1811-12 quite a tide of emigration came from different Eastern points. The names of Dibble, Platt, Sackett, Palmer, Williams, and Harvey belong here, and they can be dimly remembered by some, but their descendants have not come forward with any incident of the women who bore the names. There were also the Barkers and Boomhowers. Abigail Barker married Philip Goff, Jr. She was a very pleasant woman, and HER NUMEROUS NIECES and nephews, speak lovingly of Aunt Abby Goff to this day. Submit Barker married Harmon Knapp, Sr. She lived here many years, but passed her last few years in Ashtabula. Polly Barker married Alanson Williams. She was for many years an invalid, much of the time helpless, yet her patience was an example.
Of the Boomhower girls there were three, Sarah, Sophronia, and Catherine. One of these married a Mr. Griggs and settled that part of the township known as Griggs' Corners.
Sometime about 1825 Daniel Palmer, and his sister Sarah came here from Grafton county, New Hampshire. Daniel married Sally Knapp [the heroine of the bear story], and to their son, Daniel K. Palmer, Jr., the writer of this sketch is indebted for nearly all the names and dates, he being the only old person who could furnish any reliable information. Sarah Palmer married Ira Beckwith, of Mesopotamia, and removed with him to that place.
Sometime in the thirties, Elisha and Lorena Hains moved here from Dorset. This excellent woman, everybody's "Aunt Lorena," should have more than passing notice. Of trouble she had full measure, such as would have crushed a less resolute spirit to the earth; yet she was ever cheery and bright, her presence in the sick room and to the down-hearted was like a gleam of sunshine. She died about two years since.
William Crooker and his family are fast being forgotten by the present inhabitants, yet to them is due many of the early improvements which made life endurable to the pioneer. Of the daughters of William Crooker, we learn the names of only two, Belinda and Nancy, who married men named Ward and Warner, respectively. There was a son, Harvey Crooker, who married Nancy Strong, of Ashtabula, and lived here many years. Of their daughters many pleasant memories linger in the hearts of their schoolmates, now past the noon hour of life. These girls were Delia, an invalid, who we believe lives now in Ashtabula with her aged mother, Elizabeth Crooker Sill, Lucy and Adelaide Dibble. Lucy married Mr. Dibble and died; afterward he married her sister Adelaide.
Ebenezer Williams and his wife, Miriam, came here in 1820 from Stockbridge, Mass. Mrs. Williams was blessed with a large family, five daughters among as many sons. Olive was the eldest. She married Asher Wright and reared a family of upright Christian men and women. During her last days she was a helpless paralytic, tenderly cared for by her daughter, Theody Stahl. Mrs. Wright died in 1874.
Ira Harvey and his wife, Deborah Spencer Harvey, came here from Massachusetts, what year we could not learn; in the twenties, we think; they struggled hard with the ROUGH PIONEER LIFE, three of their children died one after the other; then the husband and father. After that, we are told, Mrs. Harvey used to walk to the cemetery every evening, to be near her dear lost ones for a short time. She herself was laid to rest by them two years ago, at an advanced age.
There are no doubt many names left out which should belong here. We would be glad to chronicle anything of interest in the lives of these brave, unselfish women, who wrought so much greater than they knew.
Perhaps here is a good place to touch upon the social life in early days. Our grandmothers found time to visit. They could take knitting or sewing with them for an afternoon's visit; thus no time was lost. When supper time came the hostess usually baked a short-cake and brewed a pot of tea, then a homespun tablecloth was spread on the home-made table. A dish of stewed fruit or fresh berries in season graced the center of the board. The short-cake was broken in squares and passed around; each one helped themselves from the one common sauce dish. Such things as dishes for individual use was not thought of for many years.
When the long winter evenings came some neighbor living two or three miles from the one he wished to visit would yoke his trusty oxen and call for everyone between his home and the friend he wished to visit. Sometimes staying out as late as 10 o'clock! This was considered a late hour and was seldom indulged in; 9 o'clock sharp was the orthodox time to go home. As the young folks grew up a different order of proceedings came into fashion. A "fiddle" would mysteriously find its way into the company; then young men's cowhide boots and girls' calfskin shoes would trip through the old-fashioned minuet and quadrilles as gracefully as was in their power to do.
Miss Patience Baldwin, of Kingsville, taught the first term of school here in 1812-13. And there were at the same time two resident Baptist preachers, the first a Rev. Drake and wife and the next Rev. Sylvester Rouse, whose amiable wife is remembered by middle-aged ladies who were children then, as one of the most wonderful women it could be the lot of bashful little girls to know.
Blessed be the memory of our dear grandmothers. Let us not look back with indifference on their limited resources nor scorn their way of living, which would seem unbearable to us now. Taken altogether, their lives were peaceful and happy, and we find no record of their appealing to the divorce court.
LUCY M. S. UPTON, Chairman and Historian; Denmark committee -- Phoebe Hains, Charlotte Knapp, Sarah Palmer, Mary Stone, Annis Smith, Lizzie Burr.
Note: In this transcription, the original sketch has been broken into shorter paragraphs for easier reading.