Tuesday, July 28, 2009

History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton

In 1910, Harriet Taylor Upton, along with H. G. Cutler and the collaboration of “a staff of leading citizens,” wrote a three volume set of books entitled History of the Western Reserve. It was published by the Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago and New York. In the introduction Mrs. Upton stated: “In writing this homely history of a vigorous, prosperous people, the author has purposely kept away from usual lines. The reader will find little geology, topography, or zoology; little of that which is military or political, but instead, the home life of the pioneers and the domestic conditions of today are treated in great fullness.” Mrs. Upton felt that women should be represented in her book, because “women, as well as men, laid the foundation of Western Reserve and helped build its walls….” She spent two years researching and writing the book, which is available in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, and is also found full text on Google Books. An Every-Name Index to the History of the Western Reserve, a project of the Lake County Genealogical Society, provides ease in searching the three volume set.

In Volume 1, Mrs. Upton wrote about the pioneers and surveyors of the Western Reserve, as well as roadways, mail routes, religious organizations, the press, cemeteries, and schools of the region. Also included in Volume 1 is a chapter devoted to each of the twelve counties of the Western Reserve, including: Trumbull County, Lorain County, Lake County, Geauga County, Summit County, Medina County, Erie County, Huron County, Cuyahoga County, Ashtabula County, Mahoning County, and Portage County.

In Volumes 2 and 3 are biographical sketches about hundreds of residents of the twelve counties of the Western Reserve. Many biographies also include photographs. Volume 3 of History of the Western Reserve features a biographical sketch and photograph of Erie County residents J. J. Dauch and Carrie Chase Davis. See the Every-Name Index to check for other names.

According to Ohio Authors and Their Books, Harriet Taylor Upton was born about 1861. She was the wife of a Warren lawyer, George M. Upton. Mrs. Upton was president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association for eighteen years, between 1899 and 1920. She was appointed vice-chairperson of the Republican National Executive Committee under President Harding. Besides knowing President Harding, Harriet Taylor Upton also personally knew President Hayes, President Garfield, President McKinley and President Hoover. Harriet Taylor Upton was named to the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1981. Harriet’s home for sixty years, the Upton House in Warren, Ohio is continuing to undergo restoration, and achieved National Historic Landmark status in 1993.

Mrs. Alice Kelley Hertlein wrote about Mrs. Upton’s encouragement in the Erie County women’s activities in the Women’s Suffrage movement. Mrs. Hertlein’s article appears in the January 1921 issue of the Firelands Pioneer. An earlier blog post recalls the first female jury in Erie County, on which Alice Hertlein served.

No comments: