From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part IV, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, February, 1897], p. p. 800-805:
PIONEER WOMEN OF COLEBROOK, 1819-1850
Colebrook is about seventy-five miles from Cleveland by railroad, and is the south middle township of Ashtabula County.
The first white woman here was Mary Emmett, daughter of Rev. Samwell Emmett, who was born in Sparta, N. Y., in 1795 and married Joel Blakeslee in 1815. After a few years spent in Caledonia, N. Y., with two children and all their household goods in a covered wagon drawn by oxen, they started for Ohio.
At that time there were no roads west of Buffalo, so the remainder of the way they journeyd on the beach of the lake where practicable, then by blazed trees, fording rivers and streams, stopping wherever they found a white man’s cabin, for then all met like brothers and sisters, even if they had never before heard of each other. They came alone, with no fire-arms or weapons of any kind save an ax, which they used to clear their pathway of fallen trees and to cut browse for their horses, while the wagon was their kitchen, pantry and often bed-room for the night.
They heard the howlings of wolf and panther,
And by fire-brands kept them at bay
Through many a lone night vigil,
As they waited the coming of day.
They arrived in Colebrook, or Lebanon, as it was then called, March 16, 1819, and the first night in the wilderness for a lodging place they had four boards under and five over them. The last night on their way, they had stopped with their nearest neighbors, four miles away in an adjoining town; these turned out and before the next night they had a log cabin well under way, and it was two years before any other white man came into the township to live.
Mrs. Blakeslee planted with her own hand some apple seeds she had brought with her, and soon had quite a little nursery, that, after the first patch of ground was cleared, was transplanted into an orchard, the first one in the township.
The next fall, wanting to do what she could to help support her little family, Mrs. Blakeslee walked four and five miles by blazed trees to get flax and tow to spin, or needlework, or anything she could do to earn provisions or clothes, for such a thing as money for work was out of the question. When she had the flax and tow nearly spun, her husband cut his foot so badly that he was unable to get out of the cabin for a long time.
It was now well into the winter. A heavy fall of snow came; seventeen days in succession it snowed, and during this time the sun did not shine. As the most of this snow, which was three feet deep on a level by measure, stayed on till March, it was impossible for Mrs. Blakeslee to get to the nearest neighbor, over four miles away, and daily she saw their little stock of provisions becoming more nearly exhausted, and she helpless to get anything more. At last there were only A FEW SMALL POTATOES LEFT, which she gave to the two little girls, while for nearly three days she and her husband had not tasted food. Then, when death by starvation stared them in the face, and they expected to perish alone, she took the yarn she had spun, put each woman’s in a bunch by itself, labeled and hung upon pegs in the cabin, so that each could find her own when she came for it.
But her husband said: "Mary, we are not going to starve to death; the Lord will take care of His own."
"You are not able to get out," she answered. "You have no idea how deep the snow is. It is impossible for me to get anywhere or for anyone to get to us."
Mr. Blakeslee’s reply was, "I know that in answer to prayer the Lord will send relief in some way. He always hears the prayers of His children."
Soon, with the aid of his crutches, he got to the door, and while looking out on the still falling snow, called to his wife: "Mary, come here and listen, for I think I hear human voices."
She listened and at first thought it was the owls in the trees, for the wind was roaring through the forest; but in a moment said: "I think -- I am almost sure I can hear voices." Again and again she went to the door to report that certainly somebody was coming nearer and nearer. After some time two young men with two yoke of oxen and a sled drove up, with some pork, potatoes and meal that they said their mother had sent them there with, and by way of apology or explanation told this story:
"Mother had a dream last night, or vision rather, as she thought, and she got up about midnight and told us ‘Mr. Blakeslee’s folks are starving to death; go and carry them something to eat.’ We told her to go to bed, it was only a dream. She laid down, but before two o’clock called us again, and said, ‘Get up, boys. Yoke up the oxen and carry Mr. Blakeslee’s family something to eat, for I have had the same dream again.’ We said to her, ‘Such a stirring man as Mr. Blakeslee would not let his family starve to death;’ that she was getting nervous, to go to bed again and we would think about it in the morning. But before daylight she was up, had a big Johnnycake baked, and some pork, and said ‘Now, boys, you must get up and carry the Blakelees something to eat. They are certainly starving, for I have had that same vision now for the third time.’ So we yoked up the oxen and started about daylight, and it has taken us till this time, nearly two o’clock, to wallow and shovel our way through the snow, some four miles, for it was up to the oxen’s necks most of the way."
Thanks to God for putting it into the head and heart of old Mrs. Gee, of New Lyme, or "Mother Gee," as she was familiarly called, for her motherly kindness to all, and her sons to save Mrs. Blakeslee and family from starvation.
Mrs. Blakeslee had three sons and four daughters and lived to see them all settled in pleasant homes in Ashtabula County, and to become a great-grandmother. Her oldest daughter, Sarah P., was born 1816. She became a teacher when quite young and taught school in her own and adjoining townships in log schoolhouses, the director coming for her on horseback, she riding to her school behind him and carrying her clothes and books, and everywhere liked as a teacher. She was married 1839 to James H. Williams. One son and two daughters were born to them. She lived to see her fourth generation. Mrs. Williams was a good wife, a kind and indulgent mother, and a good neighbor. Being an excellent nurse, she was called for many miles around. She was always ready to help the needy, the sick and afflicted in any way she could. She was loved and respected by all who knew her.
Mrs. Blakeslee’s second daughter Harriet A., born 1818, was one of the two who came with their parents to Colebrook and shared with them the hardships and privations of the early pioneers. She was the first milliner in the township. Married Lorenzo Saunders. They had one son and two daughters.
Nancy T. was born in Colebrook 1829. She taught first in a log schoolhouse and was a highly esteemed teacher. She married, 1858, Sylvester Perrin, and settled in Connecticut. They had one child Mary S. [now Mrs. J. R. Manes]. Mrs. Perrin was a kind mother, a good neighbor; loved by all who knew her.
Mrs. Blakeslee’s fourth daughter and youngest child, Mary J., born in Colebrook 1833, was married, 1856, to Wm. Addicott. The fruits of this union were three sons and four daughters. She is a faithful wife, a kind mother and a good neighbor, loved by all.
Elizabeth Delano, born in Hayfield, Pa., and, with a girlhood spent in teaching, married Samuel Blakeslee in 1845, and came to Colebrook soon after. She was a charter member of the Free Baptist church, of which she remained a member until her death. One of the pillars of the church, she was an ardent worker in the Sunday school and almost indispensable in the choir. She was also a good citizen, kind and sympathetic to those in sorrow.
Of her three children Amorilla D., a quiet, amiable young teacher, died at the early age of sixteen. The oldest son, Prof. S. H. Blakeslee, has charge of the conservatory of music at Delaware, O., and is also director of music at Lakeside. J. M. Blakeslee taught for two years in early manhood, and for the past ten years has been engaged in the mercantile business.
Mrs. Halsey Phillips [Sally Hungerford] was born in Winchester, Conn., 1790; married 1813 and reached Ohio in the fall of 1821, with a wagon and two yoke of oxen, having been six weeks on the way. They were the second family to settle in Colebrook, and O! how happy Mr. Blakeslee and wife were to hear that they had neighbors. They were also the only family in the town that winter, the Blakeslee’s having moved into a temporary home in New Lyme, where he was to teach.
The following year Mary Phillips was born, the first white child in the township. Mrs. Phillips taught school in the first log schoolhouse, located in the northwest part of the town, where the cemetery now is. She received for her services one dollar a week, boarding herself, and taking her pay in wheat, worth then fifty cents a bushel, while calico at this time was seventy-five cents a yard. She had six scholars, and took her baby with her, rocking it in a sap trough in school hours. She died in 1876.
Mrs. Phillips brought four small children, a son and three daughters, with her; of these, Delinda married Edward C. Beckwith in 1832 and settled in Colebrook, where she died 1892, leaving a son and daughter; Lucinda became Mrs. Ezra Beckwith, also of Colebrook; hers was a family of three daughters and one son; she died 1880. Martha married William Farman in 1837 and died 1877.
MARY PHILLIPS, born in Colebrook in 1822, married Milton O. Jayne. One son and daughter were born to them. She died 1878. Of the three other Phillips children, one boy and the girl died young.
The third family to settle in Colebrook was that of Mr. Samuel Phillips [father of Halsey Phillips].
Mrs. Phillips [Millie Kellog] was born February 11th, was married February 11, 1780, was baptized and died all in the month of February. They came from Colebrook, Conn. Three daughters came with them. They erected a log house with puncheon floor, greased paper for windows, and were ready to move in a few days.
When a girl Mrs. Phillips saw Burgoyne and his army pass by her father’s door. She lived under all the presidents from George Washington down to the time of her death. Her husband served in the revolutionary war.
Eleven children were born to them. Mrs. Phillips [or Mother Phillips, as she was called by everyone,] was a good nurse often walking miles through the woods to care for the sick.
She had the honor of making the first cheese in Colebrook, from the rennet of a deer; her cheese press was a rail fixed under the corner of the house. She died at the age of ninety-eight years.
Of her three daughters, Cleora married Asahel Canfield. This was the first wedding in the township. She was married at the residence of her father November 23, 1823, by Lemuel Lee, Esq., of Lebanon, now New Lyme. They had four sons and four daughters.
Cordelia Phillips married Daniel Loomis. They lived and died in the northwest part of town. She was one of the pioneers and lived to an old age.
Their second daughter, Harriet, born in Colebrook, Conn., 1793, married Eri Tuttle and came to Colebrook 1839. They had six children.
Mrs. Tuttle remembered when George Washington was inaugurated. Her husband served in the war of 1812. She did a great deal for the soldiers of the late rebellion in the way of knitting and scraping lint.
She was very energetic and always ready to go on any emergency. In sickness she was indispensable. Being a good nurse she hardly ever needed to call a physician in her own family. It has been supposed that she saved the lives of two persons when doctors had given them up to die. Mrs. Tuttle was ever ready to feed THE HUNGRY POOR that came to her door. She danced like a girl when she was eighty-two years old; her partner in the dance [her brother] was ninety-two. This was in her own house just to please her grandchildren. When she was in the forties she would spin three run of wool in a day and do her housework. She spun wool in the Ohio building at the centennial in Philadelphia at the age of eighty-two having traveled nearly 450 miles to attend it, and stopping with a daughter there. She would walk 2½ miles when she was 92½ years old. She was a member of the Disciple church and a consistent Christian.
Elizabeth A., oldest daughter of Mrs. Eri Tuttle, born in Colebrook, Conn., came to Colebrook, O., in 1839. She was a teacher for nearly forty years and taught ten years in the Freedman’s Mission, eight in southern Illinois, and two in Tennessee. In 1862 she enlisted as a nurse in the Union army, where she served in the hospitals at Antietam, Gettysburg and Harper’s Ferry, where she was also matron. Transferred to the western department, she was in the hospitals at Murfreesboro and Chattanooga till her discharge in 1865.
The other daughters were Harriet P., married David Hart, of Wayne, O.; Sarah Jane; Ellen Eugenie married Jonathan Dwight Vinton, M. D., of Philadelphia, Pa.
Mrs. Jesse Drake [Rose L. Ashley] came from Rutland County, Vermont, somewhere in the twenties. They had four girls and four boys; one girl died young.
Emily, the eldest daughter, married Ira Palmer and had one daughter, Clarissa Drake, who married John Scott and had two children. They settled somewhere in the west.
Betsey married Joshua Stowe; had one girl and four boys. Mr. Stowe died. She married again, Henry Pettet, and had two boys more. She died in 1896.
Lucinda married Frederic Shipman. They had five girls and six boys; three died young. The rest are all married.
Mrs. Shipman had twenty-five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and she is not sixty-six years old until next March. She is very industrious, a good neighbor, and ever ready to lend a helping hand to the sick and afflicted for miles around.
Sarah Osiah was born in Middlesmithfield, Pa., 1786. Married Isaac L. Jayne 1802. They, with eleven children, came to Colebrook in 1830 and lived to see nearly all of their family settled in pleasant homes, mostly in Ashtabula County. Mrs. Jayne was a very hospitable lady, never turning anyone away empty handed. Her house was a home for ministers.
Her daughter, Sarah Ann, married Peter Stults in 1829. She was a very amiable lady, loved by everyone, and ever ready to do all the good she could.
DORCAS H. JAYNE married Solomon Bunker. She was a scholar in the first Sunday school held in the township. Like her mother she was kind and generous; her house also was a home for ministers. Mrs. Bunker had no children, but took to her home two motherless infants, whom she reared to womanhood. She lived with and cared for her parents in their declining years. Her oldest sisters [widows] spent their last days with her; also her youngest sister, Malissa, a maiden lady, has had a home with her from childhood. Like Dorcas of old, she was full of good works.
Miss Eliza Richmond, born in Roxbury, N. Y., 1808, married, 1832, Asa Crippen, and came to Colebrook 1838. They had four daughters and two sons. The sons died in the late rebellion. Mrs. Crippen was a kind neighbor, a peacemaker, a zealous and earnest worker in the Baptist church, of which she was a member.
Elvira Richmond was born in Milford, N. Y., 1823. In the fall of 1830 she came with her parents to the Western Reserve in Rome township, where they died. She commenced teaching school at the age of fourteen. Though so young she was well qualified for the task, and was everywhere liked as a teacher. Being very ladylike, she was a model example not only for the girls in her own school, but for all in the township to safely follow. She was amicable and amiable.
She married 1844, John Gee, of New Lyme, and had one son and one daughter. The same fall they moved to Colebrook, where they have lived on the same farm for fifty-one years. They spent one winter in California. She always has a kind word for those in affliction; has ever been an earnest worker in the Sunday school, a consistent Christian, and one of the pillars of the church.
Miss E. A. Cortleyon, born in Cranberry, N. J., married in 1840 Lorenzo Allison, and came the same year to Colebrook. They had three daughters and one son, and have the pleasure of seeing them all settled in pleasant homes near them. All are good citizens.
Mrs. R. A. Treat [Malinda Cole] moved to Colebrook in 1830, coming from Gorham, N. Y., with her family, consisting of her husband, four small children, and an aged mother. They settled on the farm that was to be their future home. There was no road cut either way from the log cabin and their only guide to the surrounding settlements was by blazed trees. Their mode of conveyance, instead of a horse and carriage, was what in those days was called a dugout, with a yoke of cattle to draw it.
Mrs. Treat was one of the charter members of the Baptist church, and lived a faithful member until her death in 1881.
LUCY B. TREAT came with her parents; married in 1844 Jairus Miller. She had twin girls and two boys, one of which was scalded to death when a year old. In 1860 her husband contracted the California fever and started for the gold fields with a company that went over the plains. He was never heard from after he reached Salt Lake City. His wife battled single-handed to care for her little children, and remained a widow. She has lived in Chicago for over thirty-five years.
Mrs. Jonathan Cole [Polly Brewer], a widow came to Colebrook with her children in 1830. She left a home in a village in New York to assist them to make a home in the wilderness. She saw the forests leveled and good residences and roads built, and died at the advanced age of ninety-six years, loved by all who knew her.
Betsey M. Powell, of Green, N. Y., came here with her parents at the age of sixteen, and married William Bunker. She has been a member of the M. E. church nearly fifty years, and is not only one of the pillars of the church, but a great help financially. She is also a good neighbor, kind, sympathetic, hospitable, sending no one hungry from her door.
Of her children the one daughter married Carlos Stebbins and lives in Chautauqua County, N. Y. They also have one daughter. Two sons, George and Orlando, died when young men. One of them served in the late war, carrying dispatches, also in a commissary store. The other son, D. A. Bunker, went as the first teacher to Corea [Korea*], the king having sent to Washington for three well educated teachers. Mr. Bunker was also honored by being chosen principal and head manager of the schools, and has held four examinations for teachers in the king’s house. In addition, he has a regular preaching appointment, and baptized the first person in Corea. A new church edifice is now building under his direction. His wife is a doctor, and the physician in the queen’s palace.
Mrs. Ezra S. Chapel [Rachel Ann Bogue] came from Lyme, Conn., in 1829, and as a widow remained on the same farm until her death in 1877. Her oldest daughter, Betsey, commenced teaching at the age of fifteen, for one dollar a week. She taught in each school district at that time in the township, in log schoolhouses, or houses that had been vacated; and by boarding around became acquainted with every family in town, all of whom loved her. She married Josiah Beckwith. Her eldest daughter became Mrs. Samuel Peck, the other Mrs. Allen Anderson.
MRS. BECKWITH was highly esteemed as a neighbor, and, being a good nurse, was almost indispensable in the sick room.
Mrs. Josiah Peck [Betsey Bogue], from Lyme, Conn., came in 1833. Her daughter, Betsey, married Clark Walling, of this town.
Catherine Forlman arrived from Freehold, N. J., the same year, and soon after married Duren Way. Two of her four daughters are dead; one married S. D. Beckwith and has two children; the other is a teacher in San Diego, Cal. Mrs. Way, with a number of others, used to ride to singing school, some three miles, in a trough or dugout drawn by oxen. Highly esteemed as a neighbor, she is loved by all who know her.
Mrs. Asa Case [Sarah Stutts], born in Gorham, N. Y. 1807, became a resident in 1831; and when, two years later, her oldest son, a little boy of two years, died, he was carried in a dugout to the burial ground, as a wagon could not reach it. Of her daughters, Catherine married Mr. Dewey; was left a widow with one daughter; married a second time, James Hafer, and widowed again; she is a milliner. Mary married Joseph Hague, and lived with and cared for her parents in their declining years.
One day, while Mrs. Case was working on the bank of the creek, a young deer came running towards her. She caught it in her arms, but soon let it go again. She often traveled through the woods, climbing over logs or walking them to keep out of the water, to render assistance in sickness and death. At the age of eighty she would walk over a mile as spry as a girl. She died in 1894, aged eighty-five years.
MRS. JOHN A. BLAKESLEE, [nee Lucinda Maria Gladding], Chairman and Historian. Colebrook Committee -- Mrs. Hannah Webb, Mrs. Adalin Phillips, Mrs. Sarah D. Beckwith.
From "Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve," Part V, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor; Mrs. Charles Heber Smith, Assistant Historian [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, ca1924], p. 978:
PIONEER WOMEN OF COLEBROOK [Additional]
Olive Mills was born in Deerfield, Portage Co., Ohio, and in 1830 married Joseph Shattow. With two daughters and a son they came to Colebrook. Their eldest daughter, Celestia M., married Charles Cook, had a son and a daughter, Olive, who became Mrs. Edward Beckwith. The second daughter of Mrs. Joseph Shattow, [Clarissa] married Johnson Branch and moved to Pennsylvania.
Homer J. Shattow is a practicing physician in Colebrook. Mrs. Joseph Shattow at the age of eighty-three is a remarkably preserved woman. She yet performs many light household duties and can walk nearly a mile with ease. In her younger days she was a good nurse and always has been the best of neighbors.
Anna Reynolds was born in Ireland and came to America, first settling in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. She married William Taylor in 1838. They were blessed with a family of two daughters and three sons. One of the former died young. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor moved to Colebrook in 1853. Their remaining daughter, Eliza, married Franklin Highland, a soldier in the late Civil War, and also settled in Colebrook. Mrs. Taylor experienced all the solicitude and anguish of mind common to the mothers who had dear ones in the war, for she gave two sons to the service of their country, George and Thomas, and although they returned home safely their health was permanently impaired. Mrs. Taylor is the oldest member now living of the Colebrook M. E. Church. Her large flower garden and collection of window plants are levied upon each Decoration Day, and she freely plucks her floral treasures that the graves of Colebrook’s heroes may be properly decorated.
*In the latter part of the 19th century, the spelling "Corea" was generally used by American publications; "Korea" was adopted around the time Japan annexed that nation in 1910.