Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Connecticut Yankees in Perkins Township

Truman B. Taylor was a pioneer Erie County citizen, farmer, and financier. For many years he was the president of Citizens National Bank. He was born on February 10, 1846 to Dennis and Phoebe Wright Taylor. His grandfather Jesse Taylor was an early settler from Connecticut. Truman B. Taylor married Mary Jane Eddy in 1872, and to them were born three children, Carrie, Burt, and Nelle, who became Mrs. C. W. Hord. Mrs. Taylor died on April 6, 1914. Truman Taylor died on May 28, 1930 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

In the Firelands Pioneer of June, 1865, Truman Taylor tells of his grandmother’s reminiscences of the settlement of Perkins Township. John Beatty had inspected the land in Ohio in 1814, and came back with a favorable report. In the fall of 1815, fourteen families from Glastonbury, Connecticut loaded their goods into “Yankee wagons” and headed west. Oxen and horses pulled the wagons. The journey was begun on September 5, the trip taking forty-nine days of traveling along seven hundred miles of unbroken roads. Along the way they had to buy provisions. When clothing was laundered, they had to dry the clothes on piles of brush if no fence was to be found. One youngster accidentally fell out of the wagon, and though the wheels passed over his body, he survived to live a long life.

Truman’s great-uncle Julius House was so sick with fever, that they had to leave him with relatives in Pennsylvania for a time. When they reached Cleveland there were only a few frame buildings and some log cabins. The settlers were all Methodist and they formed a “Methodist class,” later building a church where circuit riders would preach.

Once in Perkins Township, which was part of the “Firelands” of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the settlers had to clear the woodland. The prairie grass was so high that a man could sit on a horse and tie the grass over the top of his head. Fires often threatened their homes, and the sod proved difficult to break up. Through hard work and perseverance the settlers built homes, raised families, started business ventures, and eventually had thriving farms.

Most of the settlers were buried in Perkins Township. In 1941 when the government purchased 9000 acres of township land to build a munitions plant, the cemetery had to be relocated. In 2002 the Ohio Historical Society placed a marker telling the story of the Perkins Cemetery.

Hewson Peeke says in his 1916 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, ”The Taylors and their associates in pioneer settlement were all people of substantial New England stock, moral and upright and thrifty, and in many ways the influences and results of their lives can be traced in the history of Erie County.”

You can read many narratives of the early settlers of Erie and Huron Counties in the Firelands Pioneer at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.


Bruce said...

I was very pleased to find your article entitled "Connecticut Yankees in Perkins Township".

The article features my maternal grandmother's
(Nelle Hord) father, Truman Taylor. I happen to have an original copy of the 'Firelands Pioneer" of June 1865, describes the family's original trek from Connecticut to Perkins Township, Ohio.

Your article is fascinating reading. Thanks.
Bruce Hord

Anonymous said...

Contact Sandusky Library if you would like more information about the Hord or Taylor families.