Ohio History Journal

366 Ohio Arch

366      Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.






Hudson is town four, Range ten, and was purchased of the

Connecticut Land Company by David Hudson, Birdseye Nor-

ton, Nathaniel Norton, Stephen Baldwin, Benjamin Oviatt, and

Theodore Parmele, for fifty-two cents an acre. In the original

survey it was laid down as a

swamp township, and in order

to make it equal to the average

townships, there was annexed

to it from the equalizing town-

ships, 10,000 acres, which re-

duced the price of the land in

this township to about thirty-

four cents an acre.

In the spring of 1799,

David Hudson started from

his home, Goshen, Litchfield

county, Connecticut, for his

new purchase. This journey,

which is now performed with

ease in a few hours, at that

time  took  months.   Near

Grandequot Bay, on Lake Ontario, Hudson overtook Benjamin

Tappan, the owner of Ravenna, with whom he subsequently

kept company. In crossing Lake Ontario they overtook Elias

Harmon, on his way to Mantua, where he had made a purchase.

They then pursued their journey in company and on arriving at

the foot of the rapids below Niagara Falls, landed their goods,

and drew their boats around the Falls by land.

The party at length arrived opposite the mouth of Ashta-

bula creek, where they were driven on shore in a storm, and Mr.

Harmon's boat stove in. Hudson purchased the wreck for $5,

and repaired it, and with Mr. Tappan, proceeded up the lake.

On the 8th of June they arrived at the location of Cleveland,

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Hudson Centennial Celebration.        367

then occupied by a population of one family, Lorenzo Carter,

from Rutland, Vt. Carter had a fine crop of wheat on the pres-

ent site of the city; and the crop was worth more than the land

on which it grew.

Hudson's party proceeded up the Cuyahoga, until they sup-

posed they were in the latitude of Hudson, when they landed at

the mouth of Brandywine creek, in what is now the town of

Boston; and after a search of six days, discovered the southern

line of Hudson.

Mr. Hudson erected a bark shantee and commenced putting

in a field of wheat, and on the 25th day of July began the survey

of his township, which he completed on the 10th of October, and

on the 11th, with his son, Ira, then only seven years old, he left

his new settlement to return to Goshen, Conn., for his family.

He took the old wreck, bought of Harmon, and in this frail

bark started down the lake. At Ontario county, N. Y., Mr.

Hudson left his little son, and proceeded alone to Goshen, and

immediately prepared to remove his family-and in Feb., 1800,

left Goshen to return to his wilderness home in Ohio. They

stopped at Bloomfield, Ontario county, N. Y., until spring, dur-

ing which time Hudson purchased four boats, and thoroughly

repaired the old one, which was now about to make its third

trip across the lakes. On the 24th day of April, 1800, they

started up the Mohawk, in their open boats; the fleet consisting

of "Sloth," Capt. D. Hudson, "Lion," Capt. Joel Gaylord,

"Beaver," Capt. W. McKinley. Reuben Bishop, then in his

13th year, was steersman on the "Duck." From the Mohawk,

they passed down Wood Creek to Oneida Lake, through the

lake to Oswego River, down that river to Lake Ontario, up the

lake to the "Falls," round which they carried their fleet on

wagons. They followed the lake until they reached the mouth

of the Cuyahoga. On the 28th of May they reached their land-

ing place at Brandywine creek, where they made some wooden

sleds, on which to draw their things up to Hudson.

Elijah Noble, Luman Bishop, David Bishop and Joseph G.

Bishop, drove the cattle and hogs by land through the wilder-

ness, and arrived about the time of the fleet. When collected

for public thanksgiving, as was done soon after they arrived,

368 Ohio Arch

368      Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


the company consisted of David Hudson, his wife and six chil-

dren, Samuel, Ira, William N., Milo D., Timothy and Abigail

L.; Joel Gaylord, Heman Oviatt, Samuel Bishop, Joseph Dar-

row, George Crandell, Wm. McKinley, Allen Gaylord, Derick

Stafford, Gordon Crandell, Dr. Moses Thompson, Reuben P.

Barass, Reuben Bishop, Mrs. Samuel Bishop, Miss Ruth Gay-

lord, Mrs. Noble and an infant son.

On the 4th of July they celebrated our National Independ-

ence, David Hudson delivering the oration; after which all the

inhabitants of the town and surrounding country, sat down to

a sumptuous repast placed on a table made of bark spread on

poles lying in crotched sticks set up in the ground. This table

was surrounded by 43 persons, men women and children.

Of this party Heman Oviatt deserves special mention owing

to the prominent part he took in the establishment not only

of Hudson, but also of the town of Richfield.

Captain Heman Oviatt was born in Goshen, Litchfield

county, Connecticut, September 20, 1775. He was the son of

Benjamin Oviatt, who served in the Revolution, enlisting from

Goshen. In April, 1800,

Heman Oviatt,    having

caught the "western fever,"

left Goshen for the West-

ern Reserve of Ohio. He

left Connecticut on horse-

back and traveled till he

reached Bloomfield, On-

tario county, New York.

There he found David

Hudson fitting out his sec-

ond expedition for Ohio.

It was necessary to pur-

chase, and take with them,

not only their provisions,

but all necessary imple-

ments for future use in the

western wilds. They proceeded to Lake Ontario (as narrated

above) where they bought flat boats called Schenectady Bat-

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Hudson Centennial Celebration.        369

teaux. These boats were built at Schenectady, taken up the

Mohawk river into Oneida lake, thence down the Oswego river

to Lake Ontario, thence up the lake to Grandequot creek, from

which point Hudson and Oviatt and party embarked. They

started from Grandequot bay for Niagara river, and proceeded

up the river to the landing below the falls. Here they unloaded

and carried boats and goods by land around the falls, launched

and reloaded above the falls, proceeded to Buffalo and thence

in the open boats up Lake Erie to Cleveland, or rather to the

mouth of the Cuyahoga river, having no propelling power but

the muscle of stout arms and "white ash breeze" (oars) rowing

all the way. Reaching the mouth of the Cuyahoga, they pushed

their boats up the river to Brandywine creek, where they landed,

and thence hauled their goods and provisions on wood sleds

through the woods a distance of seven miles, to the location of

Hudson, their destination, arriving there the last of May, 1800.

Here they built themselves log huts and kept bachelor's hall

through the summer, preparing a place in the wilderness for their

families. Heman Oviatt located his land a mile south of the

centre, and he and Joel Gaylord raised a shantee on the bank of

the creek and put in four acres of spring wheat. In October,

1800, Captain Oviatt returned to Connecticut for his family, and

on the 10th of January, 1800, with his wife and two children,

Marvin and Orson, he left Goshen with a wagon and team and

two yoke of oxen, which he drove himself by the way of New

York, Reading and Pittsburg. They reached Hudson in safety

on the 22nd of March, 1801. From this time on Heman Oviatt

was intimately connected with the growth and history of the

town of Hudson.  He was a man of great energy, thrift and pub-

lic spirit; of deep religious convictions with the stern unflinching

character, cold exterior and rigid conduct of the Pilgrim fathers.

To the foundation and perpetuity of the time-honored institution

of learning, known as Western Reserve College (chartered Feb-

ruary 7, 1826), and located at Hudson, Heman Oviatt contrib-

uted twelve thousand dollars-in those days a princely donation.

He was an enthusiastic and liberal advocate of education, regard-

ing it as not only promotive of good morals and religious faith,

but of the best citizenship.

370 Ohio Arch

370       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


By the treaty of Fort McIntosh, in 1785, the Cuyahoga,

Portage Path, and Tuscarawas were the western boundary of

the United States. This was confirmed by what is called

Wayne's Treaty, made at Greenville, August 3, 1795, when the

chiefs of twelve tribes were present, and ratified it. The land

on the west side of the Cuyahoga was not purchased till 1805,

when the United States acquired it by the treaty of Fort Industry,

on the Maumee.

Richfield being town four, in range twelve, was consequently

west of the Cuyahoga, and became a part of the United States

by the Treaty of Fort Industry in 1805, or by what was known

in those days as "the new purchase." In the conveyance of

"the Western Reserve" to the State of Connecticut, and by the

State of Connecticut to "the Connecticut Land Company," Rich-

field in "the Drafts," fell to four proprietors. Benjamin Tall-

madge drew the N. W. quarter, Capt. Smith the S. W. quarter,

a family by the name of Green the S. E. quarter, and Uriel

Holmes the N. E. quarter township containing 16,000 acres.

In 1811 Capt. Heman Oviatt returned to Connecticut, and

in an interview with Col. Tallmadge, the Colonel expressed

great fears of a war with England, and that one consequence

would be the loss of our western territory. Capt. Oviatt had

greater faith in the American Republic and inquired what the

Colonel would take for his lands, when the Colonel offered them

for $1.25 per acre. Capt. Oviatt agreed to give it, and thus be-

came the owner of one-fourth of the township. He subsequently

took his father, Benjamin, and brother, Nathaniel, into partner-

ship in the speculation, and in the fall of that year Nathaniel

moved onto the Richfield land.

Captain Oviatt continued to reside in Hudson till 1836, when

he removed to Richfield with the history of which he was iden-

tified till his death, December 5, 1854.

Eunice Newton, daughter of Isaac Newton and grand-

daughter of John Newton, all of Goshen, Connecticut, where she

was born, November 15, 1777, and married to Heman Oviatt,

June 10, 1797, was one of the most remarkable women among the

first settlers of the Western Reserve. She possessed extraordi-

nary fortitude, bravery and presence of mind, and very many are

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the accounts of her acts of kindness to the Indians and of cour-

age in encountering the perils of frontier life. Among the Red

men she won many firm friends, who in numerous instances ren-

dered her inestimable service, indeed in two or three cases pro-

tected her life. She was a woman of varied accomplishments,

and would have graced any sphere of life. She spoke three

Indian languages fluently, Chippeway, Seneca and Delaware.

Her regard for fidelity was very strict. She considered all

verbal engagements between man and man, whether they were

white or red, as sacred. She died September 13, 1813, at Hud-

son, Ohio. Heman Oviatt subsequently married Sophia Elmira

Kilbourne, and upon the death of the latter married a Mrs. Cur-

tiss, of Akron.*

* An interesting recital of some of the pioneer experiences of Heman

Oviatt and Eunice Newton Oviatt, in the Western Reserve frontier, is

preserved in the history of the Newton and Oviatt families, written

(1875) by Mrs. Harriet Oviatt Randall (b. Hudson, May 26, 1808, d.

Columbus, September 12, 1885), daughter of Heman Oviatt and Eunice

Newton (above) and wife of Rev. D. A. Randall, D. D. (b. January 14,

1813, Colchester, Conn., d. June 27, 1884, Columbus, Ohio), son of

James and Joanna (Pemberton) Randall and grandson of John Randall

and of Patrick Grant Pemberton, both Revolutionary soldiers in the

Connecticut Volunteers. For much of the above data we are indebted

to the "Historical Reminiscences of Summit county," by Gen. L. V.

Bierce (Akron, Ohio, 1854).-E. 0. R., Editor.