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.
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.