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“Died, at Mantua, Portage county, on the 22d day of June, 1851, Amzi Atwater, aged seventy-six years and one month.”

Such is the brief notice that announces to the world the death of the last survivor of the first exploring expedition on the Reserve.

Judge Atwater was born at New Haven, Connecticut, on the 23d of May, 1776. His parents were poor, and unable to give him anything more than an ordinary education. Ushered into life in the early part of the Revolutionary war, and in that part of the colonies most exposed to the incursions of the enemy, his lullaby was the booming of artillery, or the rattling of musketry. On the defeat of the Americans on Long Island, in 1776, when Amzi was but three months old, his father was called out with the militia for the defense of New York, from which he returned sick, and with a constitution broken. When old enough, young Atwater was sent to school, where he obtained a little knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic. So straightened were his parents’ circumstances, that he was hired out to work by the day, week or month, as opportunities offered, till he was a man. At the age of eighteen his father hired him out to work for an uncle, for sixty dollars a year, who transferred him over to a man by the name of Watson. “At the end of the year,” says Judge Atwater in a letter now before me, “my parents gave me my time with their good advice and blessing.” He then hired to Watson for seven months, at eight dollars a month, but he died before that term expired. Being out of employment young Atwater went to Westerfield, in Massachusetts, to visit his uncle Rev. Noah Atwater, who was in the habit of teaching mathematics to a class of young men. He invited young Atwater to come and study with him the ensuing winter, which he did. Here he learned the art of surveying, in company with Warham Shepherd, who was one of the first exploring party on the Reserve. In the minutes of that expedition, Warham Shepherd and Amzi Atwater are called “Explorers Assistants.” At this school a friendship was formed between them that lasted till the death of Shepherd.

In April, 1796, being then nineteen years of age, young Atwater left Connecticut, on foot and alone, with heavy knapsack on his back, to meet his friend Shepherd at Ontario county, New York, with whom he remained until the agents of the Connecticut land company, were ready to commence their survey, when he left for then unknown west. He joined them at Canandaigua, June 13, 1796.

His business was to collect cattle, and pack horses, with which he went all the way by land.

Having served as chainman, drover, and assistant surveyor faithfully through the year 1796, he returned in the spring of 1797 as one of the assistant surveyors.

The last surveyors left the Reserve the fore part of November, 1797, for the most part a sorry, sickly looking set of beings, the very reverse of what they were in the spring.

In 1798-99, Judge Atwater was in the employ of the Holland Land Company, in the western part of New York, and assisted in running nearly all the township lines. In the fall of 1799 he returned to Connecticut, and spent the winter with his uncle, in study.

In 1800, in company with his brother Jotham, he came to Mantua, and made a permanent settlement on the farm where he died.

In 1808, on the organization of Portage county, he was elected one of the Associate Judges, and subsequently held many public trusts, such as his neighbors urged upon him, but which he did not covet. He chose retirement, and in the language of his old friend, Abram Tappan, of Ashtabula, “his disposition was mild, and he was honest to a proverb.”

In a letter to Mr. Tappan, written March 24th, 1851, Judge Atwater says-

“I need not say much how I have run the line of life. I have run through some of the swamps of adversity, and over many of the plains of prosperity. My assistants have generally been cheerfully, and I may say faithful. My provisions hold out well, and perhaps I have enough to carry me through to the end of my line, which I have good reason to believe will soon be completed.”



Arrived at Stow Castle at the mouth of Conneaut river September 14th, there we heard that the other companies were a part of them at the Cuyahoga, and that the Cuyahoga river, was fifteen miles west of the one we had followed to the lake, supposing it to be the Cuyahoga. A boat was at Conneaut going to carry provisions to the other companies at Cuyahoga. We prepared to go on the same, but before we could get the boat out of the creek, it was so near night that we concluded to stay until morning. The wind was so high for several days that we could not go. On the 18th of September four of us were sent to Cuyahoga by land, two leading the pack horses loaded with flour, and the other two driving the cattle. When we were within six or seven miles of Cuyahoga, we saw boats coming from there with the other company in them. They had, spent so much of their provisions that they thought it best not to stay there any longer, but when they met us they returned to Cuyahoga. The next day after we got there, I was sent with Mr. Stoddard to survey the south-east part of the township of Cleveland, No. 7, in the twelfth range, in one hundred acre lots, which will be found to vary very much in size. There were two other parties in the east part of the township about two weeks, and then returned to the house at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river. When we arrived at the house, I was sent with Pease to run out a part of the city plat. We were two or three days in finishing this, when about one-half of the company was dismissed.



Amzi Atwater always styled the proprietors of Euclid as mutineers. He has minutely narrated to me the circumstances of the mutiny. They mutinied on their first arrival at Conneaut.

The sale of the township of Euclid, was a part of the compromise made then by Cleaveland and Porter. The organization of the company of surveyors and men was of the military order, and they were enlisted the same as in the army, for two years, providing it took so long.



Substance of a contract made at Cleavland, Sept 30th, 1796, between Moses Cleavland, agent of the Connecticut Land Company, and the employees of the Company, in reference to the sale and settlement of the township of Euclid, No. 8, in the eleventh Range.-(From memoranda of Orrin Harmon, Esq.)

On the part of the surveyors forty-one persons signed the agreement. Each party to have an equal share in the township, at the price of one dollar per acre, with interest from Sept. 1st, 1797, to remain in the service of the company faithfully to the end of the year, and to perform certain acts of settlement, as follows:

To settle, in the year 1797, eleven families, build eleven houses, and sow two acres of wheat around each house-to be on different lots. In the year 1798 to settle eighteen more families, build eighteen more houses on different lots, and to clear and sow five acres of wheat on each. There must be also fifty acres in grass in the township.

In the year 1799, there must be twelve more families occupying twelve more lots, (in all forty-one,) with eight acres in wheat. On all the other lots three acres additional in wheat for this year, and in all seventy acres to be in grass.

There must be, in the year 1800, forty-one families resident in the township. In case of failure to perform any of the conditions, whatever had been done or paid was to be forfeited to the company. But the failure of other parties not to affect those who perform. If salt springs are discovered on a lot it is to be excepted from the agreement, and other lands given instead

To this contract are appended as witnesses, the names of Jeffries Marvin, and Nathan Perry, the latter of whom became a resident in 1806, and died at Black river, Oct 28, 1813.

Persons in the employ of the company who were not parties to this agreement:

Amos Sawtel,                                  Daniel Shulay,

Nathan Chapman,                           Stephen Burbank,

Samuel Barnes,                               Joshua Stow,

Robert Hamilton,



At a meeting of the proprietors of No. 8, in the eleventh range of towns in new Connecticut, held at the city of Cleavland, on the 30th day of September, 1796, being the surveyors and assistants employed in surveying the summer past the country of New Connecticut.

SETH PEASE chosen Moderator.

MOSES WARREN chosen Clerk.

In said meeting it was agreed, that a majority of votes shall govern in any question before the meeting , without contradiction.

Voted that it be determined by a lottery which of the said proprietors shall do the first, second and third years settling duties, as required by our patent this day executed by Moses Cleavland, Esq., director of said New Connecticut Land Company, without contradiction.

The lots being drawn, it is as follows:

No.                                                   No.

Seth Pease                    1                 Michael Coffin             2

Moses Warren              2                 Nathaniel Doan            3

Milton Holley               2                 Samuel Davenpoart     3

Amos Spafford             3                 Timothy Dunham        1

Joseph Tinker               2                 Samuel Forbes             1

Theodore Shepherd     1                 Elijah Gun                    3

Richard M. Stoddard  3                 Francis Gray                 2

Elisha Ayer                   1                 George Goodwin         2

Amzi Atwater               1                 Luke Hanchet               3

Samuel Agnew             1                 James Hacket               2

Shadrach Benham       2                 James Hamilton           2

Stephen Benton            3                 Samuel Hungerford     1

David Beard                 3                 Thomas Harris              2

Amos BarbeR               3                 William B. Hall            2

John Briant                   3                 Joseph Landon             3

John Locke                2                   Charles Parker               2

Asa Mason                2                   Olney F. Rice                3

Joseph M’Intire         2                   Wareham Shepherd       1

Ezkiel Morley           2                    Job P. Stiles                  2

Titus V. Munson       1                  Norman Wilcox            2

George Proudfoot     1                       Total                    41


The names marked No. 1 are to do said settling duties in the year 1797, and the names marked No. 2 are to do said duties in the year 1798, and the names marked No. 3 are to dos said settling duties in the year 1799, agreeable to said lottery.

A true copy of part of the proceedings of the proprietors meeting.

Examined by Moses Warren, Jr., Clerk.

This copy is in the hand writing of Seth Pease. Mr. Atwater who was one of the parties to this compact, always spoke of the transaction as a mutiny. There is no such mention made of it, so far as I know, in the papers of General Cleavland, or of the Land company. If they had regarded the conduct of Messrs. Pease, Spafford and Warren in that light, the proprietors would not have employed them again in the year 1797. After a trial of three months, wherein they had undergone the hardships of forest life, they were no doubt inclined to obtain some additional advantages for their services. The Company, on their part, required an early settlement of their lands.


“Terms proposed by Augustus Porter, for the sale of the one-fourth part of the township of Cleveland after, making the following reservations, to wit: City lots No. 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, and the point of land west of the town, and also some reservations of flats on the river if it should be advisable, after surveying. The aforesaid quarter to be selected in the following manner, to wit:

To begin with lot No. 1, and to take every fourth number in succession through the town, which should be offered for sale on the following terms;

“1st. To sell to each person who would engage to become an actual settler in the year 1797, one town or city lot, one ten or twenty acre lot, and one one hundred acre lot, or two one hundred acre lots, or as much less as they may choose, but in all cases to make settlement as aforesaid.

“2d. The price of town lots, fifty dollars, cash in hand.

10 acre lots      at $3.00 per acre

20 acre lots      at $2.00 per acre

100 acre lots    at $1.50 per acre

“Payable 20 per centum in hand, the remainder in three annual payments, with annual interest from date.

Sept. 28th, 1796.

The above is in the hand writing of Amos Spafford.


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