“A healthy year, marked by increased emigration and the organization of the state of Ohio. The first indictment found on the Reserve was against Mr. Carter, the pioneer, for an assault upon James Hamilton, of Newburg. A second frame house was erected by Major Spafford on the brow of the hill, between Superior and Vineyard Lanes, at the end of Superior street. Postmaster Daniel Worley once occupied the same building as a residence.”-(Barr.)
Election of 1803-Statement of Warren Young, Esq.,
of Warren, March 27th, 1848.
“I am unable to find he canvass sheet of this year. The year election was held in Cleveland, Oct. 11th, and there were twenty-two votes given. For two representatives, David Abbott had twenty-two votes; Ephram Quinby, nineteen; Amos Spafford, one; and David Hudson, one. Timothy Doan, Nathaniel Doan and James Kingsbury, Judges of election. Rodolphus Edwards and Stephen Gilbert, Clerks. Sworn in by Timothy Doan, Justice of the Peace.
Bryant’s log distillery, of course, attracted the attention of such Senecas, Hurons, Chippeways, and Delawares, as had a weakness for fire-water. Alexander Campbell, who was doubtless a Scotchman, saw that here was a good place to traffic with the stoic of the woods. He built a rude store a little further up the hill, near the spring, but more towards the junction of Union and Mandrake Lanes. St. Clair street was an improvement of much later times. The same spring, afterwards, supplied the tannery of Samuel and Matthew Williamson’s establishment, on lot 202, the vats of which were directly across River street.
In this cluster of log shanties, the principal traffic of Cleveland was transacted. Here the red man became supremely happy over a very small quantity of raw whisky, for which he paid the proceeds of many a hunt. If anything remained of his stock of skins after paying for his whisky, the beads, ribbons, and trinkets, of Mr. Campbell’s store absorbed the entire stock. Here the squaws bartered and coquetted with the trader, who in their eyes was the most important personage in the country. Here the wild hunter, in his dirty blanket, made the woods ring with his savage howls, when exhilarated with drink. He shone forth a moment in his native barbarity, ferocious alike against friend or foe.
THE MURDER OF MENOMPSY.
The first murder committed within the limits of this city, occurred at the cabins under the hill. The parties were Indians. There are three persons now living who were in Cleveland at the time, and saw the combatants. They are Allen Gaylord and Alonzo Carter, of Newburg, and Julius C. Huntington, of Painesville. As to the precise time when it was committed, they do not agree, but place it in 1802 or 1803.
Nobsy, Menobsy, or Menompsy, was a medicine man, either a Chippewa or an Ottawa. Among Indians, a medicine man is a conjuror, priest, prophet and warrior, as well as a doctor. Menompsy had prescribed officially for the wife of Big Son, who was of the tribe of the Senecas, and she had died.
Big Son was brother to Seneca, a noted Indian and friend to the whites, sometimes called Stigonish or Stigwanish.
At the time of the murder, David Bryant had in operation his still for making whisky, under the hill.
Alexander Campbell, was also at his trading house; that must have stood in River street.
In the dusk of the evening, Big Son and Menompsy, somewhat elevated by the fire-water of Bryant’s still, had an altercation respecting the case of mal-practice, by which Big Son claimed that his wife had been killed. Retaliation is the Indian law of justice.
He had threatened to kill the Indian doctor, but Menompsy claimed that he was a charmed man and no bullet could hurt him. “Me no fraid,” said Menompsy, as they walked out of the store and took the trail that wound up the bluff, along Union lane.
The Senecas were encamped on the east side of the river below Carter’s, and the Chippewas and Ottawas on the west side, partly up the hill.
As they went along the path, Big Son put out his hand as though he intended a friendly shake, after the manner of white men. At the same time he drew his knife and stabbed Menompsy in the side. The blood spirited from his body, which Carter tried to stop with his hand, as the Indian fell. “Nobsy broke now, yes, Nobsy broke,” were his last words. In a few minutes he was dead. The Chippewas took up the corpse and carried it to their camp on the west side.
Major Carter knew full well what would happen, unless the friends of Menompsy were appeased. During the night the valley of the Cuyahoga echoed with their savage voices, infuriated by liquor and revenge.
The Chippewas and Ottawas were more numerous than the Senecas. In the morning the warriors of the first named nation, were seen with their faces painted black, a certain symbol of war. Governor Huntington resided here at that time, and Amos Spafford, who, with Major Carter, constituted the principal men of the place. The murder of Menompsy was compromised for a gallon of whisky, which Bryant was to make that day, being the next after the killing. One of the stipulations was that the body should be taken to Rocky river before it was “covered,” or mourned for, with the help of the whisky. Bryant was busy and did not make the promised gallon of spirits. The Chippewas waited all day, and went over the river decidedly out of humor. They were followed and promised two gallons on the coming day, which reduced their camp halloo, to the tone of a mere sullen murmur. But Carter and his party well knew, that in this surpressed anger, there was as much vengeance as in the howlings of the previous night. They fulfilled their promise, and upon receiving two gallons, the Chippewas and Ottawas took up the corpse, according to agreement, went to Rocky river and held their pow wow there. Carter did not sleep for two nights, and a few of the residents enjoyed their beds very much, until the funeral procession was out of sight.
Such is the substance of the statements of Captain Gaylord, Mr. Carter, and Mr. Huntington, all of whom remember the event.
Big Son was a half brother of Stigonish, Stigwanish or Seneca, and previous to the murder had been regarded as a coward. Seneca refused to acknowledge him on this ground, until his heroism had been demonstrated in this way. By the Indian code of honor, a successful trick against an enemy, takes rank with high personal bravery.
STATEMENT OF ALONZO CARTER.
Newburg, June 14, 1858.
My father came here on 2d of May, 1797. He was from Rutland, Vermont, but stayed the winter previous in Canada. I was seven years old then. going on eight. We built a log cabin under the hill, five or six rods from the river, and about twenty rods north of St. Clair street. There was an old trading house on the west side of the river, which stood nor far from the corner of Main and Center streets.
It was a double log house, quite old and rotten, which the traders used only during the trading season. James Kingsbury and his family came here two or three weeks after we did, and stayed a while in that house.
In July, 1797, our hired girl was married to a Mr. Clement, from Canada. They were married by Mr. Seth Hart, who was a minister, and the agent of the company.
I remember seeing the cabin where the crew of the British vessel wintered, after it was wrecked. It was about two miles down the river, on the bank of the lake. The vessel had two brass guns on board, which were buried on the shore. My father used to go to the wreck, and get bolts, spikes and other pieces of iron. Some of this iron is in the gate at my house now.
In the year 1798 my father brought on some goods to trade with the Indians. I remember when Menompsy, the Chippewa medicine man was killed ; it was towards evening. Menompsy had doctored Big Son’s wife, who said he had killed her with his medicine. They were in Campbell’s store, under the hill, which stood between the surveyor’s cabin and store house. Big Son threatened to kill the doctor in the store, but Menompsy said, “me no ‘fraid.” They went out and walked along the road up Union Lane. It was getting pretty dark. Big Son pretended to make friends, and put out one hand, as though he would shake hands. With the other he drew his knife and stabbed Menompsy who fell down and died. The Chippewas were encamped on the west side of the river, and the Senecas and Ottawas on the east side. Every body expected there would be an Indian fight. The west side Indians painted themselves black, and threatened the Senecas very severely. My father did not sleep for two days and nights.
My father built a new frame house in 1803, near the junction of Superior lane and Union lane. Just as it was finished the shavings took fire, and it was burnt.
He then built a block house on the same spot in the same year.
I knew Amos Spafford ten years; he was a surveyor and came here to live in 1799. He and my father set the big posts at the corners of the streets in 1801, 1802. I and my brother were boys with his boys, and in 1799 we went about the streets a good deal, and sawed the corner stakes. Spafford took up the stakes, and put down the posts which he cut in the woods near by. The stakes had been there three or four years. Superior lane was a sharp ridge where we could not get up or down. Traveled up and down to the river, on Union lane. In 1800, or 1801, a vessel landed one hundred barrels of salt on the beach, which was carried off on horses, or carried up the beach. My father built his warehouse there in 1809 and ’10. General Tupper, an army contractor, used it in 1812 to store provisions, and also Murray’s warehouse. In 1813 they moved everything two miles up the river, to Walworth’s Point, to keep the stores from the British.
My father’s warehouse was washed down in 1816 or ’17. The remains were there in 1823 and ’24. It was a double log house, and was undermined by the lake.
Persons were buried in the old burying ground in 1797. A Mr. Eldridge was drowned at Grand river, and his body was brought here. We got some boards and made a strong box for a coffin.
We put him in, and strung it on a pole with cords, to carry him up to the burying ground. Built a fence around the grave.
The water rose in 1813-overflowed all the low ground. Bank begun to slide in 1818. Ontario street was cut out at the time of the war.
The Connecticut Land Company built two buildings between Superior and Union lanes.
The general landing was near foot of Superior lane. Vessels could seldom get into the river. They anchored off and had lighters. When they came in they landed at the foot of Superior lane.
My father died in 1814. They began to work Superior lane very early-soon after I came here.
The Indians had been camping on the beach at the Point, and left a cat there which my mother wanted. It was in 1798, I went with her to catch the cat, who ran under the logs back of the beach, and as I jumped over after her I went plump into the water on this side where the swamp was.
In 1806, the channel was three rods wide, and ten inches deep. My brother went in there to bathe, and got on the bar. I was across the river in the field topping corn. I saw his hands out of the water and ran there as fast as I could. He was never seen any more. The river has never been so far east as it was then.
In 1803 and ’04, the hill road was traveled to Painesville. It crossed the Cuyahoga at the foot of Union and Mandrake lanes where the Indians used to cross. They swam their horses.
In 1802, a man killed a bear with his hoe on Water street, near the Light House.