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“Early in the spring, Mr. Hunter, his wife and one child, with a colored man, called Ben, and a colored boy, were driven ashore in a skiff, a short distance east of Rocky river. The shore at that place is a rocky cliff, nearly perpendicular. They held as fast to the rocks as possible, the surges breaking over them continually.

“The wreck occurred on Friday, and the storm continued to increase that night. On Saturday there was no abatement, and the children died. Mrs. Hunter expired on Sunday and Mr. Hunter on Monday. Some traders were passing along the coast for Detroit on Tuesday, and discovering Ben, who was the only survivor, brought him back to Cleveland. He was almost naked, having for three days and four nights kept his position on the cliffs, without a morsel to eat, by means of some bushes which grew in the crevices of the rocks. Major Carter took care of Ben, and treated him kindly, for a year or more, while he was an invalid. The flesh came off from his lower limbs, rendering him a very disagreeable object.

“Surveys were commenced this year on the lands west of the Cuyahoga river. This brought many strangers to the place, which contained more white people than ever before. The year was rendered conspicuous by the holding of a militia training. They marched and countermarched to the lively roll Joseph Burke’s drum, which he had used in the Revolutionary War, and to the soul-stirring strains of Lewis Dille’s fife. They were all undoubtedly brave, many of them bearing on their shoulders the old fire-arms of the Revolution.”

“The little settlement sustained a severe loss in the death of David Clark, and received a valuable accession in Judge Walworth and Major Perry, Senior.”-(Barr.)

Abraham Tappen, an old surveyor, proposed to run the town lines. The following extracts are from a full account of the survey by himself, published in the Cleveland Herald, in January, 1851:

“I had spoken to Mr. Amos Sessions to join with me, and endeavor to obtain a contract for surveying the new purchase the coming season. Mr. Sessions was not a surveyor, but he was a man then in the prime of his life, and possessing energy of character, and great perseverance in business he undertook, would make him a safe and trustworthy partner. We accordingly made the following proposals to be laid before the Directors:

‘Painesville, August 20th, 1805.

‘To Gen. Henry Champion:-We will survey the land belonging to the Connecticut Land Company, west of the Cuyahoga river, at the rate of dollars, cents per mile. We will survey it into townships, and make other sub-divisions as shall be directed by the Company. We will plainly blaze and accurately chain the lines; will map, and return field book, &c. We will begin and finish the survey next season. For the purpose of furnishing provisions and other necessaries for said survey to receive dollars in hand at the commencement of the survey; remainder at the close. For the well and faithful performance of such survey, we will bind ourselves in bonds with sufficient security.


‘Abr’m Tappen,

‘Anson Sessions.’


The contract was made, the work commenced and vigorously prosecuted during the season.

“From the west side of the Reserve, five hundred thousand acres of land, was to be measured off by the surveyor of the Fire Land Company. Almon Ruggles, Esq., was the surveyor of that Company. The balance of the Reserve, from the east line of the Fire Land to the Cuyahoga river, was comprised in our contract for surveying, amounting to some eight hundred and thirty thousand acres. We agreed to and did meet in Cleveland on the 15th of May, together with our men, chain carriers, pack-horses and their drivers. Capt. James Harper, of Harpersfield, was engaged as surveyor. The names of the men employed were James Arbuckle, Ira Wright, Augustus Staughton, Guy Carlton, John Ross, Samuel Parker, Mr. McMahan and his two sons, Alex. McMahan and Wm. McMahan, and a young man by name of Hewit, and an Englishman, a worthless fellow, whom we soon discharged. Also, for a short time, an active young half-breed Indian, who took charge of a very vicious Indian horse, hired as a pack-horse. The horse had once been the property of the noted Indian chief Ogontz. As before stated, our party assembled at Cleveland on the 15th of May, and our boat with flour, tents, and other necessary articles, came into the river on the same day. We were prepared to send out two surveying parties immediately; but the surveyor designated by the United States Government to run the south line had not yet arrived. We had notified Judge Kirtland at what time we should be at Cleveland to commence the survey. He accordingly met us at that place on the day of our arrival. As it could not be known the precise time when the Government would commence running the south line, Judge Kirtland proposed that our surveying parties should commence, and should measure off their own meridians, taking care to commence so far south that when the south line was run, it would be sure to cross our ranges. The Government surveyor did not commence running the south line until the 24th of June, at which time we had nearly finished our meridians.

“The south line of the Reserve, as surveyed in 1796 by Seth Pease, measuring from the Pennsylvania line, ended at Tuscarawas river, a distance of fifty-six miles. A further distance of sixty-four miles was yet to be run, making the whole distance, to the south-west corner of the Reserve, one hundred and twenty miles. From the south-west corner a line was to be run to the lake, parallel to the west line of Pennsylvania. The running of these lines was to be done by a surveyor, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, at Washington. The surveyor selected by the Treasurer was Seth Pease, then a principal clerk in the post office department at Washington, and who, ten years before, had run the eastern section of the south line, to the Tuscarawas.”-(A. Tappen.)

The same process was gone through with to obtain a division west of the Cuyahoga as had been east of it. Tappen and his assistants, of whom Capt. Harper was the principal one, completed their meridians and parallels during the season of 1806. An equalizing committee was out with the surveyors, whose track among the towns is shown upon a map now before me, by dotted lines. The parties in the woods suffered from want of water, there being an unusual drought that summer. On the 16th of June a total eclipse of the sun occurred, which for a short time, produced in the shady forest the darkness of night.

A commission, consisting of Amos Spafford, of Cleveland, and Almon Ruggles, of Huron, was organized to establish the division line, between the Fire Lands and the Land Company. Their directions were, to lay off half a million of acres from the west end of the Reserve, using the meridian one hundred and twenty miles west of Pennsylvania, as the farther side, and the forty-first parallel as a base. Their measurement did not agree with those of Mr. Pease, and the dividing lines was not established until sometime in the winter of 1806-7.

This left an unsurveyed space on the margin of the Company’s tract. These difficulties protracted the work of survey and of the final draft. The Government not being satisfied with the southern boundary, ordered it to be re-surveyed in 1808.

The committee on equalization reported to Judge Kirtland, and in February 1807, he started for Hartford with the results. Only one whole township was sub-divided into lots for the purpose of equalization, but several of the fractional ones on the lake shore, were. No person then lived on the tract, as Mr. Tappen expresses it “white, red or black.”

In 1805 the Government concluded to have this coast open no longer to free trade with Canada.

A collection district was established for the south shore of the lake, called the “District of Erie,” and John Walworth, of Painesville, was appointed collector. The mouth of the Cuyahoga was made a port of entry; and in 1806 Mr. Walworth became a resident of Cleveland with his family. His first clearance was issued to the schooner “Good Intent,” which was soon after lost on Long Point together with cargo and crew. Up to this time, the more healthy settlement at Painesville, had taken the lead of the sickly city of Cleveland. The mouth of Grand river presented a much better natural harbor than the Cuyahoga. A state road had been surveyed from the forks of the Muskingum (near Coshocton) to the lake, which terminated at Grand river. Cleveland had hitherto been on the verge of the settlements.

On the west bank of the Cuyahoga, within the cast of a stone from the houses under the hill, the Indian tribes had claimed the territory as their own, indefinitely westward, and the claim had been respected. They had the acknowledged right to establish their lodges in any number, within half rifle range of the principal residents of Cleveland, from whence, at any time, they might instantly destroy the settlement, by a concerted discharge of their guns. This state of affairs was now ended, and the Indians were here only on sufferance and good behavior.

The Cuyahoga had one advantage which Grand river had not. Its boatable waters approached those of the Tuscarawas, having a portage of only seven miles, to reach indefinite canoe navigation connecting with the Ohio river. This route began again to be regarded as important, expecting through it to obtain commercial intercourse of much value. A scheme for improving the rivers and portages was already under discussion.


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