|Editor's note: This document has been transcribed from a photocopy of a carbon copy (i.e., a copy made by placing carbon paper behind the original in a typewriter) of an original typescript. In some places, the corrections made on the original overprinted the copy and made it very difficult to ascertain certain words. Our best guess is used in this transcription. In other places, spelling and grammar is rather different from modern usage. We retained the original spelling and grammar. Page numbers from the typescript have been placed at the left margin denoting the division of the text on the original typescript from one page to the next..|
"St. Clair", "Fawcettstown" Now East Liverpool for
Written by William G. Smith in 1876.
Born here, June 17 1803.
Mr. Smith spent all his boyhood days and the most of his long life here. It was his privilege to have long conversations with Mr. Fawcett and his father and mother, (Abigail Fawcett), day after day. He also met and talked with all the other pioneer residents from 1797 up to centennial year. Mr. Smith's wonderful memory and his reputation as a citizen, together with his love for preserving historical data, to make his "Reminiscences of Fawcettstown", priceless in value, covering seventy-five years.
Claiborne R. Simms came to Liverpool in 1824 from old Virginia, at the age of 12 years with his father's family. His record overlaps that of Mr. Smith's 75 years, from 1824 to his death January 27, 1900. The writer J. H. Simms entered East Liverpool in 1851, and had long conversation with both Mr. Smith and his father, Claiborne R. Simms over the pioneer days of "St. Clair," "Fawcettstown," and "Liverpool" and East Liverpool. The writer continues the story from 1851 to 1824 seventy-five more years. The three people mentioned above, tell the story and furnished most of the data from which this history is compiled. All that portion from 1797 to 1876 and 1900, were verified by Mr. William G. Smith and Claiborne R. Simms.
Early reminiscences of "Fawcettstown" or East Liverpool.
Written by William G. Smith in 1876.
East Liverpool is a very old town. That portion of the town bounded by Union St. on the east, Market St on the west, Fourth Street on the north, and the Ohio River on the south, was laid out by Thomas Fawcett Sr., and named on the plat, "St. Clair", although it was generally called Fawcettstown, after the name of the proprietor and it obtained that name in the list of post towns; also in Cramer's guide to the navigation of the Ohio River, and on the primitive maps. I think that portion of the town was platted about the year 1798; certainly as early as 1800. Thus, the town is old, and yet, most of its improvements are new. The place is an apt illustration of human life, having had many "ups and downs" and maintained for many years, but a sickly existence, several times narrowly escaping premature death. First it was fortunate in the possession of as beautiful a sight as could readily be found on the banks of the river which washed its southern boundary; but it was unfortunate in its paternity its founder, Thomas Fawcett, Sr., was grandsire to the writer, on the maternal side, and although a good old Quaker gentleman of the very kind, peace loving, hospitable disposition, yet he had not the natural or acquired abilities for a successful town builder. He lacked the ambition and go-aheaditive vim that characterize successful proprietors, and for want of which, at the organization of the county, he lost to East Liverpool the county seat by one vote.
Previously, two or three gentlemen of wealth and influence, residents in Philadelphia, had by proxy, purchased some lots in the town, and had it been fixed upon as the county seat, they would've pushed it ahead with vigor; but when that was lost, they lost all interest in it, paying taxes on their lots for a few years, and then let them be sold for delinquency. Fawcettstown went into its first decline; a few families of very limited means, who had purchased lots at the first sale and had erected cabins thereon, remained as monuments of anticipated but, "departed greatness". From the hill all around to the river, it was native forest or open common, and thus it remained for some years. At that day, the first decade in the 19th century, the place could boast of a post office, kept by old Mr. Larwell, father of Joseph, William John and Jabax Larwell late of Wooster, Ohio. I expect the statistics of the receipt and emollments of that office, could they be exhibited to the astonished vision of your present (-1876-) Postmaster Geo. A. Humrickhouse, who is a distant connection of that first postmaster he would bless his Star that he did not live to hold office in the previous age. The mail was carried on horseback once per week from Steubenville through Fawcettstown to Pittsburgh.
My progenitors were pioneers in the first settling of Pennsylvania. Two brothers, Joh and Thomas Fawcett, and also two brothers, Robert and Richard Boyce, with their families, were among the early settlers in Chartiers Valley, Washington County, Pennsylvania, near the line of Allegheny County. Richard Boyce and John Fawcett raise their families there, lived to a good old age, died respected by the community around them, as virtuous pioneers should be. Most of the second generation has passed off the stage and the curtains are drawn between them and us. The above named Robert
Boyce, a grandnephew of Hon. David Boyce and Thomas Fawcett, first proprietor of "St. Clair" afterwards called Fawcettstown, sold their farms in Pennsylvania and immigrated to the then "North-West Territory" in 1798. Thomas Fawcett, purchasing of Col. Craig, a tract of land containing eleven hundred acres, fronting on the river from the present foot of Union St., down to Jethro made his first clearing and built his log cabin on that portion at present, owned by James Gaston Sr.. His old friend and neighbor Robert Boyce, settled on the uplands near the Spring Grove Camp Ground, east of little Yellow Creek.
At this point, I will pause to answer a question that may arise in the minds of some who read this informal synopsis of early history in connection with that of another more recent date; "how did the writer acquire a knowledge of persons and incidents spoken of?" Answer, "I became a settler of Columbiana Co. as early as 1803 and the knowledge gained from my ancestors is the source from which I draw." The question thus being answered, I will proceed to narrate events as they occur in my memory.
Thomas Fawcett built the old mill on Carpenters run at the foot of the hill on New Lisbon road, and this was the first flouring mill in the county. I understand a pottery (West End Pottery) is there now. He subsequently conveyed the mill with two hundred acres of land to one of his sons; said tract fronted on the river from James Gaston's east line up to the town plat of St. Clair; the proprietor reserved the unsold town lots and forty acres of land imediatly back and north of the town until his decease. His will transferred the lots to four daughters, then living, but long since passed away. One mistake was, in the old town plat no streets bounded it. The lots
abutted against land on every side except the south which was bounded by water. The streets as then laid out, ran parallel with section lines north and south, east and west. You will learn later why they became changed. In these early days of the settlement, my father, Joseph Smith, bought the tract of land adjoining the east side of town, on the west side of Union St., with river front up to Hon. Josiah Thompson's west line, thence north to the late Michael McKinnon's line, who subsequently bought thirty acres of the north end; then Griffith Williams, a Welsh tanner, purchased fifty acres south of that sold to McKinnon, and started a tanyard, where at a subsequent date one of your citizens, "Capt. Houston," carried on a tanning business. The land between the tannery and the River was retained as the family homestead. The state road from Steubenville to Pittsburgh after passing through the town, going east, cut off a fraction, say two acres, between it, 'the road', and the river. On that tract my father built a two-story hewed log house with a kitchen of the same material attached; the shingles were of white oak, split and shaved, and were put on with wrought nails, that is, made by a hammer. That was the first shingled roofed house on the north side of the river, in that region of the country of course it was considered A No. 1. To give an idea of the character and nerve of some of these old pioneers I will relate a few incidents.
The carpenter who constructed that A No. 1 house was known by the sobriquet of "Old Gage", given him on account of the strength and steadiness of his nerves; his proper name was William Hudson. Well, when he had the rafters properly adjusted, he nailed on the top lathe next to the comb; on that lathe edge he stood up and walked from gable to gable, carrying a large
bottle of whiskey in his hand, occasionally swinging it around his head. When he got to the end, he broke the bottle and split the whiskey over the rafters, a process he called baptizing the house. He could gauge his steps and retain his erect position while walking on the comb of the house roof, bottle in hand, as heretofore stated; then he felt he was master of the situation, but alas! the same kind of spirit with which he baptized the house, stealthily and by degrees so coiled itself around that strongman as to conquer him at last. Let all take warning and avoid the wily serpent that charms but to kill.
Most readers, no doubt have heard or read of the great fight between Adam and Andrew Poe on one side, and the celebrated Indian chief "Bigfoot" and one of his braves on the other side. It was Adam and "Bigfoot" who had the hand to hand fight and struggle in the river, and Adam finally coming off conqueror. It is thought by many that that great struggle between the white and the red man took place at the rocks opposite East Liverpool. During the years 1808, 1809 and 1810, I frequently saw Adam and Andrew Poe at my kinsman's house in Georgetown Pa. I was too young to ask questions, but I still remember their looks. They were powerful man, large bone and muscle, but no unwanted corpulency about them; physically they were just such men as the frontier needed. In those days, John Christmas and John Beaver, both Englishmen, were merchants doing business in Georgetown. Their greatest wealth consisted however, of large land properties in the new state of Ohio. The great thoroughfare from eastern Pennsylvania to the new state, passed through Georgetown, which made Smith's Ferry a celebrated crossing.
I mentioned Georgetown and Smith's ferry for the reason that they have a retarding effect upon the prospects and progress of "Fawcettstown". Georgetown was a trading point before New Lisbon had an existence, and controlled the trade of Beaver County PA and Columbiana Co. Ohio, for several years. Smith's ferry was the junction of two of the eastern immigration tracks to the great Northwest territory; one through Pittsburgh and Beavertown, the other through Brownsville and Washington connecting at the state line near the ferry, with the "Old Western Trail," afterwords the state road, led on west through New Lisbon and Canton to Wooster. Thus you will perceive that Fawcettstown was left out in the cold.
John Beaver, one of the Georgetown merchants, in connection with Thomas Moore, (father-in-law) to your fellow citizen, Matthew Laughlin, Esq., at an early day erected a large flouring and saw mill on little Beaver Creek, near the bridge on which the road from Smith's Ferry to New Lisbon crossed the creek. The mills, a blacksmith shop, a Tavern and a store kept by Mr. Moore, made it quite a lively place of business for many years, making it necessary that business should obtrude upon the habits of the villagers for miles below. But time is a great level where, "it cuts down all both great and small." Where are the lively actors of those days, and the busy scenes at those trading post? "Echo answers: Where'?" Doubtless most of them have passed to that "bourne from which no traveler ere returns," but, as we record past events, mark how uncertain are all ter
restrial things; the business as well as the people have departed from the above named points, notwithstanding the advantages they once possessed. A portion of the money made at the once celebrated "Moore and Beaver Mills" is now helping to build up East Liverpool.
Early in the present century, Wm. Foulks laid out the "Foulkstown," afterwords renamed Calcutta, four miles north of Fawcettstown, which still further circumscribed the territory expected to do their butter and egg trading at the quiet village. So between good and bad luck, East Liverpool has had as much luck in quantity as any other place of its size now existing. It will compare favorably with the luck of the chronicler. Should there be an item of allegory discussed in this panoramic pen picture, in being presented, it does not detract from the truth herein recorded; with this explanation, I shall make haste slowly, to unroll the picture and let it pass in review. Unfortunately, or otherwise, the writer suffered himself to be all mixed up with the matters and things appertaining to the deserted village, that he cannot give a true history of the rise and progress of East Liverpool without having perhaps very often, to refer to his own acts and doings. However, pioneers do not often care for epithets or charges of egotism, for they have faced fiercer foes; and I shall, without fear or malice aforethought, set down the truths of history in which I may be incidentally connected. I have been swinging around to point out to those who may fell interested, something of the past history of East Liverpool, of the surrounding influences [unreadable material due to bad copy ran off the end of the page]
life and of the contrary influences that preserved it. Having shown the opposition to its interests in the east and north surroundings, I will proceed to notice those in the west and south, merely naming the points at present, to which I will recur and give details hereinafter.
First on the south side were Hookstown, Frankfurt and Pughtown, and most important of all, Wellsville on the west. Thus is closed the circle of unhealthy influences that surrounded the weakly town. Now, reader, go back with me to 1815, and I will raise the curtain and let new actors appear in the scene: two new doctors to administer internal and external curative remedies, which they felt assured would restore the sickly one to health. Those two personages, John Fawcet and James Pemberton, were at that time merchants of Wheeling, and were men of considerable wealth and influence, and bought the two hundred acre tract of land with the old mill, heretofore described, thereon. On said land they laid out an addition to the town, platted it and the old town anew, changed the course of the streets having first obtained the consent of the lot owners and paying damages to three or four who had their small houses to move; so Fawcett and Pemberton became second proprietors and named the place "Liverpool". They spent some money making a road up the Hill on the opposite side of the run and proposed establishing a glassworks. And to introduce other kinds of manufacturing to that location they sold some lots, but those proprietors failing to get
the manufactories started, purchasers of lots would not improve them, excepting four persons, Philip Cooper, Messrs. Welch and S. C. Hill, and a certain person John Smith, who administered the law as a justice of the peace for a time in the village. He was a man with the bump of self-esteem largely developed; when asked at one time "why he remained in such a forsaken place," he replied, "that he preferred being king among dogs than dog among kings." It was written in the old Book of books that "that the scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh should come." In the case of Liverpool, the proprietors number two, Fawcett and Pemberton had in 1817 become government contractors to supply the forts up the Missouri River; they forsook their new town, and gave it up as a lost cause, and after waiting a few years to see what would turn up, the king and lawgiver departed as noted above. During those years, the writer, a poor boy without money or influence, and with limited education was gradually approaching manhood and watched with great solicitude the various misfortunes happening to my native town. I had been nurtured until five years old, near the spring, a little north of the Messrs. Vodrey's pottery; then, after three years in Pennsylvania, returned to Fawcettstown, and resided there during 1811, 1812-1813; then to Wheeling in 1814-15; then went to Pittsburgh in 1816, only being at Liverpool occasionally until 1820; when it and its suburbs became my home for over 40 years, excepting
four years absence. In 1821an abortive attempt was made to reinvigorate the "sick town", the particulars of which will be hereafter related.
I resolved, circumstances permitting, I would yet save the "invalid" from entire oblivion. The attempts to revive the weakly one happened as follows: Cleveland commercial interests demanded a first-class wagon road from that point on the lake to the nearest suitable point on the Ohio River. Some of those interested, visited the town situated on the most direct available route, and stirred up the people in its favor. The result was, they determined to raise funds by subscription, to construct a free clay pike from Cleveland to new Lisbon, Columbiana County, and from thence to the Ohio River, at some point to be selected by the commissioners appointed for the construction of the road. Said commissioners viewed and surveyed three lines from New Lisbon; one along the Georgetown Road (as it was called) to the River near the Pennsylvania line, one to "Liverpool" (it had not the prefix "East" to it at that time) and the third line to Wells landing, for there was no town there than. The commissioners told those interested at each point to procure all of the subscriptions for the construction of the road on their route that they could, for on the amount of available funds would very much depend the decision in adopting the route. A time was appointed for the subscription list to be laid before the Commissioner in New Lisbon, which was accordingly done. The commissioners informed those interested in the Liverpool route, that the
point below them had the best water landing, but the Liverpool route was most favorable for making a good road, and at the terminus, much the best site for a town; hence their route should be adopted on condition that 15 responsible freeholders should sign a bond to secure the amount subscribed on their route, and gave them to the evening of the next day (if my memory serves me right,) to fill and present their bond. Accordingly, John Bough, then residing where the road would cross the west fork of little Beaver, was designated to take the bond and secure signatures on the route between New Lisbon and his residence. Mr. Bough fulfilled his mission that afternoon, and the next morning it was to be completed between that and Liverpool, but as the vulgar saying has it, "there's many a slip twixt cup and lip." After Mr. Bough's evening business of obtaining signers to the bond was over, he reached home and retired to bed; in the night he was aroused by one of his neighbors who had signed the bond. He told Mr. Bough he wished to see the paper he had signed. It was handed to him; as soon as he had it in his hands, he threw it into the fire, remarking, that after he had gone to bed, he had studied the matter over and concluded that it might be the means of breaking up the signers, and he thought the fire the safest remedy to secure them from danger. The next morning, a small group of signers from the immediate vicinity of Liverpool, including a Mr. Duncan from Frankfurt, Pa., were collected in front of the aforesaid, J. Smiths' Tavern on Market Street between First and Second Streets',just north of the C & P. railroad
near Baggott's pottery; awaiting the arrival of the bond, intending to sign it and carry it to New Lisbon to the commissioners and thus secure the road. About noon, a messenger arrived with the news of the destruction of the bond. The awaiting group was composed, with few exceptions, of men possessing but a small amount of intelligence and less enterprise so with the above exceptions, the news was rather grandly received by the ignorant and timid, and in a few minutes the group was scattered, each one making a bee-line for home. Not so on the other line. Mr. George Wells and the late Henry Eaton, Esq., said to the commissioners "we will take the subscription on our line and make the road." They were permitted to do so and the road paid them 100%, within two years, in the increase in property values. I think the road was completed in 1822 to 1824. Wellsville improved rapidly it became the transshiping depot for north and eastern Ohio, and continued such until the Sandy and Beaver and Mahoning Crosscut Canals intercepted her trade.
I do not propose to give a history of Wellsville, only so far as to show the varied influences that retarded the growth of Liverpool. It is natural for the plant and tree, while young and small, to draw their substance from within a small circumference; but as they grow toward maturity their roots reach out farther and farther in search of nutriment. So with the young child or young town and I have seen that the circle of business points, and avenues of trade and travel had so environed Liverpool as to cut her off from the usual channels through which nutriment is conveyed to sustain the town and city and hence, capitalists shunned her, and with
out capital, she could not burst the bands that bound her to poverty and weakness. "Wise men" stood aloof and invested where prospects were more flattering for quick returns therefore, up till that time, no savior had been found for the apparently doomed town.
About six families and two bachelors constituted the population in 1823. The streets were a sward with a single horse path along the center of Second St. Fawcett and Pemberton had traded the old mill and farm adjoining town to Mr. Claiborne Simms, Sr., taking in exchange Mr. Simms' farm near Wheeling, W. Va. Mr. Simms laid out a portion of the farm in building lots, west of the Fawcett and Pemberton addition, and he thus became the third proprietor but lots were not in demand, and he had the privilege of retaining them for a considerable length of time.
In an article in an early issue of the East Liverpool Morning Tribune ("Rambling through the Schools,"), reference is made to the old log schoolhouse that once occupied the spot where the Fourth St. Central school building now stands. That reference refreshed my memory with an incident said to have occurred in the old schoolhouse, which I heard related by the party interested, when he was rather an aged man, and a distance over a thousand miles from the place of the occurrence. The relator was the Reverend Adam Poe, son of the Indian fighter, (A. Poe), heretofore spoken of, he stated that when he was young, he attended a meeting and heard a sermon preached, (in the old log house) that pricked him to the heart and caused him to repent. He said he sought religion for some time and at length found peace and pardon while at prayer
by himself in the woods on the side of the hill above the former residence of John Beaver. He, Poe, became an imminent preacher and was an agent of the Methodist book concern at Cinn. Ohio when he died.
The above spoken of schoolhouse was however, not the pioneer or primitive one. The first inhabitants can boast of a house of still greater antiquity, if not of more generous artistic construction. It stood on land owned by Basil Simms, Sr., (a little northeast of his dwelling house). The walls were composed of round logs, the openings between being chinked and plastered with clay. The roof was of clapboards, the floor of puncheons split out of large logs for windows, a log was cut out of the south side and one out of the west end thus the light was let in but to keep the cold out they were glazed with old newspapers. Holes were bored in the logs immediately under the windows, 2 inch square wooden pins, 2 feet long, with four or five inches of one end rounded, were driven into these holes on said pins, boards about 18 inches wide were fastened those were the writing desks with seats to correspond. Such were the facilities afforded the students of penmanship in primitive times. Tara Jones, the surveyor who surveyed the first seven ranges in the Northwest territory, was one of the early teachers in that old log schoolhouse. The seats for the urchins educated in this old log schoolhouse were made of slabs, with flat side up, and the legs sufficiently strong to support the number of students that could find sitting thereon. As the sons and daughters of pioneers were expected to be educated to endurance as a fundamental accomplishment, hence the alma mater was furnished in accordance
with that idea, and as if the hard seats, hard fair and hard work when at home, were insufficient to accomplish the desideratum in due time, the pedagogue usually aided the process by and an occasional to the exterior, of what was in common parlance, termed "hickory oil." It was followed by a majority of parents and teachers to be an efficient aid-de-camp to the drillmaster, in those good old days of yore. Then we were not troubled with carrying large satchels filled with books every morning and evening, knowledge was furnished to us in a more condensed form. We were unencumbered with surplus books or clothing; the Webster or United States spelling book, the Bible or New Testament, and the Western Calculator were mainly the textbooks for frontier schools in those days, so in many respects, we were lightly equipped, built free and easy, happy as "wood sawyers," that is when free from under the eye of parent and teacher. Schools were only taught during the winter season, some of the pupils having from two to then miles to walk through the snow and then, what fun we did have snowballing each other on the way. Then when holidays came around, we had extra sport. "Barring out the master," and would only let him in on condition that he would give us a Christmas treat, consisting usually of apples, cider and cakes. If they were to be had; but in those days, so short a time ahead, intervened since the Declaration of Independence, everybody considered this a free country; and consequently had the right to go barefooted if they did not have any shoes and to read the Bible in school if they chose to do so. Such was the alma mater of the writer: likewise some among your best citizens received the rudiments of their schooling within its consecrated walls.
Prior to the advent of Wellsville, the freehold settlement along the river between big Yellow Creek and little Beaver Creek was about as follows: On the Ohio side at the mouth of Yellow Creek, Nessly first above Harry Eaton; between his land and the little Yellow Creek, William Wells Sr., owned land and improvements; next Mr. Ramsay; next, John Rough and Thomas Ashton; Angus McBain owned the land from Ashton's up to Coonrads run (Jethro); then Thomas Fawcett's town and farm; going east, Joseph Smith's, (this tract afterwards passed into many hands;) east of the Smiths' tract John Babb owned and resided, where George S. Harker's pottery now stands; he also owned the island opposite. From J. Babb's land, John Beaver owned to the state line; from the line to the little Beaver, the land was owned by a Mr. Dawson. Then on the Virginia side opposite Yellow Creek; first Christly Brenneman; then John Hamilton, Sr., owned a large portion of the beautiful bottomland opposite and above Wellsville, his son Linn settling on the lower end; the old gentleman's residence was, I think, about a mile above the present town of Hamilton. The writer remembers of having visited the place in 1808, in company with two cousins who were grandchildren of the aged couple, whose hospitalities who shared. After refreshing ourselves with a good dinner, with the old gentleman's approbation, we went out to gather plums, which were then in great abundance on his farm; and in climbing a tree after the delicious fruit, a thorn penetrated my knee, and the subsequent pain made such an impression upon me that it remains undefaced. Next above the Hamilton farm was that of Harvey Heath, afterwards owned by McClintock; next Freel, then Greathouse, who sold to James Todd, and he sold to Murray; next the Reeves Farm (Gardners), next the Cochran tract afterward owned by Samuel E. Marks and his heirs.
Greathouse was among the first pioneers on that side of the river, settling there when Indians were troublesome. His house was what was termed by the settlers a "blockhouse,"* built with an overset and loopholes in the second story, so as to fight the Indians from within; but when civilization began to approach closer than the old gent cared to have it, he pulled up stakes and "went to the front" again, in Indiana, low down in the state where the population was sparse. The lands of himself and sons bordered on the Ohio River. The writer was in the habit of passing them annually from 1821 to 1829, and one winter, with a produce boat, was caught in a frozen river opposite the old pioneers lands; we had to remain there a number of weeks icebound, and every night could hear packs of wolves howling through the thick forests, then owned by the stalwart sons of the old Pioneer. (He had passed away.) The building of the Greathouse family was similar to that of the Poes. The first generation within our knowledge who lived contemporary with Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone have all passed away. Peace to their ashes; they served their day and generation well.
*This block house stood on the Virginia side of the Ohio River, opposite that part of East Liverpool now known as Jethro. Greathouse built his cabin here, soon after the close of the Revolutionary war.
It was stated in a paper read before the Pioneer Society of Columbiana County, that the first store in the place was kept, if my memory serves me right, by S. C. Hill, Esq., but this was a mistake, occurring for the want of an earlier knowledge of the place. A few goods had been sold in Fawcettstown by Thomas Fawcett,
Jr., son of the first proprietor; but the first store worth notice established there, was in 1809 or 10, by the firm of Sutton, and McNickle, at that time, large mercantile dealers in Pittsburgh, who had set a lot of men to work to bore for salt on little Yellow Creek. They placed the store at Fawcettstown in charge of the late Richard Boyce, Esq., father of Hon. David Boyce. After the firm had spent a large amount of money in seeking salt without success, they discontinued the store above mentioned. The next store, and the first after the town received its new name, was kept by Moses Kelch, and the next by S. C. Hill, Esq., who continued the business but a short time after settling in the place. In 1824 Benj. Stock opened a store in Liverpool, and in 1825 I entered into the same business in the same small house that Welch had sold goods in. The house afterwards became the property of Wm. Brunt, Sr., and stood near his first pottery. (Old knob pottery on the riverbank west of Market.) In 1826 Mr. Stock left the place, seeing that it would not support two stores, and the writer found himself turned loose upon this short pasture to gain a support for his mother, two younger brothers, three sisters and himself, and to recuperate the dying, one might almost say dead town. To undertake so hopeless task in the face of all the opposing difficulties, and without capital, (of any consequence,) was an apparent foolhardiness. It is true that there may have been some motive not exposed to the public view. That would somewhat mitigate the apparent folly of such an undertaking. I was solicited by some of the family of the proprietor of Wellsville, and other businessmen of that place, to remove the business and interests to that place, where the pros-
pects at that time were so encouraging. I listened to their arguments, and admitted the cogency of their reasonings, but tenaciously refused to help build up an opposition to my native town, then struggling in apparently the last stage of existence. Many other instances of a similar kind could be cited to show that men do not always pursue the course that even their own judgment tells them would promote self-aggrandizement; but be it wise or foolish, such is the fact.
In 1826, I bought of John Nessly who was then the living owner, the A No. 1 log house, heretofore spoken of, together with one acre of land attached, and also two lots adjoining said land, south of Second and west of Union.
The town was, 1826, perhaps the most forlorn of any located on the Ohio River. It had for a long time ceased to be a post town, no mail route passed through it. The mail route from the west passed through New Lisbon, (the mail was carried in coaches,) Calcutta, Little Beaver Bridge, and Beavertown to Pittsburgh. So persons residing in Liverpool and vicinity had to send and receive their mail matter either at Calcutta, Beaver Bridge or Wellsville. There was not a landing in front of the town for steamboats except when the water was high. The river had increased its width from bank to bank, one third since the first settlement, leaving a wide beach covered with boulders and rocks, so that the water was shoal in front of the town, even when the river had 5 feet of water in the channel to Pittsburgh.
I mention these uninteresting details simply to show the almost insurmountable difficulties to be surmounted, and the reason why it took so long to do it. I mean those already mentioned and others yet to note. Those whose lives have been contemporary with that of Fawcettstown and Liverpool are fast passing
away, and hence the propriety of my throwing together as much of its early history as I can remember, is a foundation for future historians of East Liverpool, (who may possibly be the editor of the Tribune.).
The reason I purchased the original log house with the land and the two lots adjoining, (although they were at the extreme east end of town,) was that the ferry was kept there, and had the only road to the river that a wagon could ascend or descend, I concluded it was the point to catch business that might come from the opposite side of the river, and hence removed the store to this house. The ferry road was simply excavated in the sand and clay bank on the acre of land, and every freshet in the river washed it partially or entirely away, and a new road had to be dug in the bank. So my first care was to secure the landing, and it being on private property, of course it had to be done at my own expense. I secured it pretty well with timbers and boulders from the beach. That was a very small commencement to remove the difficulties in the way of an increase in business and in population, yet, strange to say, it was sufficiently large to create a jealousy in a portion of the population to cause some trouble. The place at that time contained about 18 families, 10 of whom were freeholders and the rest were renters; the population may have reached one hundred. To see a community of such small dimensions divided against itself did not auger well for success. From Washington Street west, the people wished to see Market St., the center of business, (should such a commodity be induced to the place,) and fearing that I was going to draw the business to the upper end of town, a few of them clubbed together
and bought an old ferry flat, and started an opposition ferry at the foot of Market St. in charge of "King Smith," mentioned before. He had a small tug in court about license, ran the ferry a month or so, but, notwithstanding, as a rule, the "course of the Empire was westward," the present case was an exception; they "threw up the sponge" and quit the unprofitable enterprise.
But to return to the past. In 1821 I made my first trip with a small venture, on the river, in company with (as he was familiarly known and spoken of) "Old Father Bottenburg" and his son Levi, both of whom have stepped behind the curtains and left the stage forever. That trip extended no farther south than Memphis, Tenn., where we sold the boat and the remaining amount of produce to a merchant, a son of Gen. Winchester, who was somewhat notorious for having been defeated by the Indians. Memphis was new at that time, and contained but two stores and a few groceries (so called,) but the groceries on sale were mostly of the liquid kind, and much of it was carried away in vessels somewhat similar to the skin bottles used by Eastern nations (to carry water on the backs of their camels). Except that those used in modern times are encased in "earthen vessels." Finding the pasture short at home, I continued to make a trading voyage annually for the succeeding eight years, and during the portion of those eight years spent at home I tried hard through cooperative effort, to accomplish what my individual means were inadequate to do toward introducing capital and business to the place. I went round among the farmers and induced them to subscribe certain amounts as donations to any one who would construct a steam flouring mill in Liverpool and I obtained the promise of J. Dickey, who was then running an engine in Steubenville, to build and run the mill, provided the means were furnished and loaned to him. I also
obtained the promise of the late, well-known Liverpool Township banker, Alex. Young, to furnish the money. The plan for securing Young was arranged, the parties were brought together, the papers drawn up to the satisfaction, apparently of all concerned, but Dickey said he would take two weeks to arrange some matters and then return and sign the papers; however he ultimately backed out, and thus another effort for progress proved abortive, but "faith and perseverance will overcome mountains." I held a consultation with Mr. Claiborne Simms, Sr., owner of the old mill and urged the propriety of rebuilding the mill and using steam power, the water power only being sufficient to run one pair of burrs three months in the year. The plan to raise the necessary cash means were agreed upon, to wit: To sell a sufficient number of Mr. Simms' lots at $20 each to pay for the engine. I undertook to obtain subscribers for lots, and the effort proved a success on a small scale, the mill was built and of some benefit to the neighborhood.
In 1829, retrospecting the decade about ending and perceiving so little advancement had been made either in improvement or population, and I being of rather an impulsive nature, concluded that the next decade must do better if it should have to be through my own individual exertions, so I commenced building a house, (the one on the corner of Union and Second Streets, now occupied by Miss Lizzy Brawdy,) and the next fall took unto myself a wife, thus inaugurating, at once, a decade of improvement and an increase in population. My new house was furnished in 1830, and in September of the same year, one more was added to the population. I employed three brick masons who resided in Fairfield to do the brickwork of my house, laid before them my plans for the future of East Liverpool and induced each of them to purchase unimproved
lots and two of these men soon after built brick houses on their lots. Those two men were John Taylor and Joseph Forbes. I knew the condition of Liverpool at that time was a critical one. I had ignited the embers, and must add fuel or they would die out again. Two or three citizens and myself agreed to bear the expense of carrying a special mail from Wellsville to Liverpool; afterwards through the courtesy of the postmasters at Wellsville and Little Beaver Bridge, they obtained from the Department at Washington, an arrangement for a mail to be carried on horseback between these points, establishing a post office at Liverpool, with John Collins as postmaster, being the first one under the new dispensation, and the only person who would accept the position without grumbling, knowing it would not pay.
In view of the crisis in Liverpool affairs, and in view of the supposed or reported influence that E. Carroll could wield in drawing a forwarding and commission business to Liverpool should he locate in it, I offered to rent him my warehouse and dwelling and build a store house on the corner, where the Messrs. Gaston's drug store stood, (southwest corner of Second and Union,) all of which he could have a lease of for two years. During said term Mr. Carroll proposed building to suit himself, and subsequently did build the "Mansion House," and for a time kept a store and hotel in the same. Although he failed in, I think, 1834, and the public lost some money, which he as road commissioner had collected for the making of a road to New Lisbon, yet he was of some use to the town. He not only built "Mansion House," but influenced a number of families to try a residence in the place, one of them at least, remains a citizen and a very good civil one in my estimation, to the present day, and I give it as my opinion that he has introduced more young people into the community than any other 26
citizen of the town. I refer to Dr. B. B. Ogden, now deceased and thus speaking of his exhibition of ettiquette I mean no flattery, but actually think that Dr. deserves much credit for his kind station to strangers. He and his father each built a house for themselves and so far aided improvements. Although I cannot give dates for buildings and town improvements in their regular order, yet I can say that all the buildings worth calling such, in the place up to the introduction of the potteries, were put up between 1829 and 1837. I hear name some of the persons who built during the period above spoken of: Wm. G. Smith built three brick buildings, a warehouse, storehouse and hotel, also three small frame dwellings; John Taylor, J. Forbes and William Davidson, each built brick houses; Jon Hill, built two brick dwellings; S. C. Hill, the residence he occupied on Second St., up till his death; Thomas Geddes a brick, corner of Fourth and Market Sts.; Thomas B. Jones, R. B. Fawcett, Robert Boyd, James Warwick, William Warwick, B. Baker, A. Brawdy, Wm. Plants, Isaac Johnson, Benj. Davidson, D. McClure, John McClure, P. Cooper and Wm. Moore ("Uncle Billy,") all built during those years and perhaps others not remembered.
Liverpool being a fractional Township, had for election purposes been attached to St. Clair Township and the people had to go to Calcutta to vote. Perhaps in 1830, through the assistance of S. C. Hill, Esq., they got a row of sections stricken off St. Clair Township and added to the fractional Township, constituting (and having it named) what is now Liverpool Township. So the curative remedies administered began to produce quite an improvement in the appearance of the invalid. The writer having become postmaster, and finding that the mail matter intended for it, was frequently taken to Liverpool in Medina County, and would
thus be detained for an indefinite time, unless the County of Columbiana was included in the address no revision of the printed list having taken place since the establishment of the office postmasters at a distance did not know where to return the matter and after having written to the postmaster in Medina County, soliciting him to get the name of that office changed, but failing and that I wrote to the Post Office Department and had the prefix "East" added to the town name. Subsequently, in getting the town incorporated, the prefix was included in the incorporating act, so it became East Liverpool, through the force of circumstance, at its incorporation birth.
During the successive years before mentioned, the writer continued to agitate and suggest measures calculated to promote and continue the healthy condition in which the town had already obtained. Among those measures, I might name a few that were for want of capital, and through great effort and difficulty partially, at least, carried into effect:
First, the building of a steam saw mill with a view of getting a yard for building boats. And second, the construction of wharves; and third, the building of a steamboat to be named "Liverpool," and to be run in the interests of the place. All these institutions were built during the decade ending with 1839. But the projector's views were not fully carried out in the third enterprise named. When getting stock taken I verbally stipulated that as soon as the "Liverpool" was completed, and got to earning something, a second vote should be built, and with the two boatss form a daily line between Pittsburgh and Wheeling, meeting at Liverpool for halfway point, thus making it their home. I hoped also to procure the running of a line of carriages from the North
to meet and exchange passengers with the boats at this place. When the "Liverpool Company" was inaugurated, Capt. Houston (a stockholder,) was appointed to superintend her construction. The pine lumber brought from Pittsburgh for the cabin, while being kiln dried, was burned up. A second lot was purchased, the boat finished, and by a vote of the company, Capt. Houston took command. She was run for a time between Pittsburgh and Wheeling; then through the influence of two or three of the company, she was loaded at Wheeling for the Arkansas River, she was then run between Little Rock and New Orleans for a year or two, was blown up and that was the last of her. She never paid a dividend and was a total loss to the company. Such are the ups and downs, the downs predominating, where "many cooks spoil the broth."
When the Brawdy house was built, it "astonished the natives" that a man should build such a house in the town where a streets were overrun with grass, and in most cases indistinguishable from the rest of the common. When the proprietor was interrogated as to the future prospect that induced him to make such an unwarrantable investment, his reply usually was that nature had so unmistakably marked the place as a site for a town, and that a town it would eventually become; and that he would capitalize upon the efforts necessary to bring about the desired result. I induced old Mr. Hill, father of the late S. C. Hill, Esq., to unite with me In adding Union St. to the town, made donating said street from the river to Second St. And Mr. Hill, giving from Second to Third St; the two persons having thus united in making the street public property, they named it Union Street. The next move in the program I made was the building of a brick warehouse on the riverbank, east side of Union St. And the commencement of the wharf to protect the wharf at the foot of Union St.
By the above move Liverpool became the shipping point for a large amount of flour and other staples of the northeastern portion of the county, that heretofor had been wagoned either to Wellsville or Smith's Ferry. In those days Columbiana County was if my memory serves me right, the second in the state in the production of wheat, and the tree forks of the little Beaver and their tributaries gave her great facilities for manufacturing it into flour, hence, her exportations of flour were large up to 1840, when it began to decrease, but increased in wool growing. The writer had a number of enterprises in view which he considered important. Among them were first the procuring of a good road from New Lisbon, then an important point on the east and west commerce from Liverpool, thence through Virginia and Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh; as Liverpool was nearly on a straight line between the two places, such a road would have shortened the distance between New Lisbon and Pittsburgh ten miles. The second of these enterprises was to secure by some means a steam saw mill, in order to secure the building of steam boats, both of which would make business for men and increase the population. The third was to regain the lost mail route and post office. All these enterprises required, to carry them out, more capital than had at that accumulated in the place; other plans of greater import were held in reserve for more auspicious times. The sequel will show the amount of effort that was made, and the degree of success that was obtained.
I laid out the acre of land east of Union street in town lots, thus taking the initial step towards becoming the fourth proprietor which culminated in 1836. Previously in the
session of the Ohio legislature of the years 1830-31, I carried a petition and had it signed by persons along the route and by the the principle citizens of New Lisbon, for a graded state road from Liverpool to New Lisbon.Among those, who signed it was one Edward Carroll, then a merchant doing business in New Lisbon. He made some inquiries in regards to the views of of the presentor of the petition, what he expected to accomplish at the river terminus, etc., etc. The petition went on to Columbus and was granted. James Marshall being the representative from Columbiana County that year and bing a friend of Mr. Carrolls, was induced to have Carroll and two other men whom he could control, named in the act to locate and open said road. The grading would have to be done by public subscription. I headed a subscription paper and circulated it along the route, and wherever a subscriber to the fund for the construction of the road could be obtained. It was a thankless task, and no one would undertake it except the projector of the enterprise, and during the same period, he had the preliminaries for the road on the other side of the river to attend to. Through Samuel E.Marks of Virginia, and Gen. Marks of Penna., I obtained the legislation necessary for the opening of a road to Pittsburgh to through these states, obtaining a subscription on the Ohio side of the river to aid in constructing said road, and was deputed to see the money judiciously expended inconstructing the road.
Liverpool bore the expense of surveying, locating and opening the road from the ferry to the crossing of the Georgetown and Washington road. Beyond that the Pennsylvanians disputed so much about the route that it was never completed. But the agitation about this and the New Lisbon roads and the commencement of work on them aided in keeping up the spirit of improvement and the induction
of population into the place so happily commenced in 1829-30. Edward Carroll belonged to the society of Friends, (Quakers,) and consequently was supposed to have a strong influence in the north part of the county, where the Quakers predominated, and also in New Lisbon where he was in business, and on the above supposition negotiated with him, when visited Liverpool with a view of removing his business and his family to that point. He said, "If I come here, my design is to keep a public house, (hotel,) warehouse, and store, the very business you are in yourself, and there are no other suitable buildings in the place and there is not time, for me build. As I have made arrangements to change my place of business, either to Wellsville or this point by certain time, (naming it) and as I see I cannot be accommodated here, I must go to Wellsville." Rather foxy.
The following incidents connected with the early history of Liverpool were appended to Mr.Smith's story by the editor of the Tribune in 1876.
A man named Kimball was employed to dig what is now known as "Brawdy's well." He had gotten down some thirty or forty feet when the sides caved in on him. In a short time a great crowd was on the spot. Some cried out, "fill up the well and dig another; it' no use to dig another." Others most earnestly protested against such a heathenisn procedure. Through the exertions of S.C. Hill and others, a guard was placed to keep the mass away from the aperture, as it was likely to cave in again. This was just after dinner. Work was commenced to dig him out. Men are said to have worked heroically. About eleven o'clock at night they got near enough to hear him moan, and cried out to him to cheer up, that they would soon have him out. It was found the timbers had kept the
dirt from smothering him while one was lying across his breast. A saw was soon procured and the unfortunate man rescued. Although considerably injured he lived a number of years.
While Kimball was digging the "Geddes well" on Market Street, where the Brunt opera house now stands, his nephew, a small boy came to look down the well at his uncle. He placed his hands on a timber running across the top, and in getting up they slipped off, letting him headlong into the well. He fell to the bottom, a distance of about one hundred feet, and strange to say, neither he nor Kimball were much hurt. The sawmill mentioned in the last paper was owned by a Mr. Scott. He went to Pittsburgh about 1839, taking with him considerable money, and has not been heard of since. He is supoosed to have been murdered. He owned considerable land in West Virginia, part of which is now known as the "Bucher Farm." Previous to the occurance of the building of the steamer "Liverpool," the building of a steam sawmill had taken place, being brought about in the following manner: No persons sat that time in Liverpool, felt that they had capital to spare from their legitimate business, to build the required unit. The projector, therefore, lacking pecuniary force resorted to strategry. He proposed to get up a subscription paper and secure cash subscriptions, and labor from those not able or willing to pay cash, and from the farmers get timbers for the mill. All thus subscribed to be donated to the man or men who should build the mill. John Hill and Wm. Scott undertook and built the mill. It stood near where the Bennett Pottery was afterwards erected, and near where Abel Ciffin started a boat yard, and there built two steamboats, "Olive Branch" and "DeKalb." The Liverpool he built at his residence, he was then living and owning where the
pottery works of Geo. S Harker and Co. now stand. The land on which all three of these boats were built has long since passed toward the great ocean, where commingling with other particles of matter, new land will be formed, new vegitation spring up to sustain animal life. In like manner is the human family drifting down the tide of time, to the great ocean of eternity; the body to seek its mother dust, and the spirit its affinity, whether that be good or evil.
During the years 1830-36, I cleared the beach of rocks, from above Union to below Washington, having them split and hauled to secure the landing and wharf at Union Street, thus relieving steam boat pilots of the fear of striking rocks when rounding to land. The great freshet of 1832 destroyed the warehouse which stood upon the bank. I replaced it with a frame building on the south end of the lot afterwards occupied by Gastons drug store. In 1833 Carroll's lease expired and he removed to his own (Mansion) house, from 1830 to 1834 inclusive, more buildings were put up, and more business done in Liverpool than had been done in the last twenty years, but symptoms of relapse became evident unless other remedies were resorted to that would remove the cause that obstructed a healthy or vigorous growth. Nature had placed a remedy, in its own crude state, within reach, but as yet it was unknown to the people. However in 1836, the idea of a railroad from Lake Erie to the Ohio River was agitated. Ii was proposed by the parties interested to build a railroad from Painesville on the lake to Wellsville. Other parties argued that the best and shortest line would be from Ashtabula on the Lake, through Warren to East Liverpool. A convention was called to meet in Salem. Both lines
sent delegates; Aron Brawdy, S.C. Hill and myself were sent as delegates from East Liverpool. David Todd (afterwards governor) and Senator Crowell were delegates from Warren; there were delegates from Ashetbula and other towns on the eastern line whose names I do not remember. Messers. Todd and Crowell being lawyers and accoustomed to speaking in public, were requested to be our spokesmen in the convention, and they aquitted themselves with honor and dignilty. But the friends of the western line were determined that no delegates should have a voice in the meeting, except such as were in favor of their points, to-wit: Painesville, Salem and Wellsville; that point being settled, the delegates from the eastern line withdrew in a body to their hotel, and organized a meeting, and after an interchange of views agreed to call a convention to meet in Warren on a certain day, to discuss the subject of a railroad from Ashetbula through Warren to East Liverpool. That convention was held and resulted in a petition to the Legislature to grant a charter for the construction of said road, which was granted. The friends of the opposing line also obtained a charter at the same session. I knew that all the stock that East Liverpool could take and pay up would be but a drop in the bucket. I had risked all the energies of manhood to advance the interests of my town, and now the circumstances were transpiring that would in all probability make it an assured success, or cast it into the snares of oblivion for at least three generations if not, for all time. It was well known that but one of the companies if either, would build a raiIroad. The points on the lake were about equal in strength, Warren at that time was ahead of Salem, but Wellsville was far ahead of East Liverpool in the number of business men and amount of capital, and also had a wide spread reputation as business point. The reader will readily conceive that
the crisis and a dark appearance as far as East Liverpool was concerned. Some expedient must be resorted to, other than depend on few shares of stock her citizens would subscribe, and no one stepping forward to point out "a way to salvation," the only expediate I could think of to relieve the place of its acknowledged dilemma was, if possible, to get men of money and influence from a distance, to become interested in property in the place to an extent sufficient to induce them to give money and influence for building of the railroad in order to enhance the value of their own property, "disguise it as we may, that is the string to pull," as a rule (pecuniary gain), to get men to take hold of public enterprises. The writer has known western towns and cities to raise by subscription, large sums with which to purchase property for a man or company, who could wield great influence in favor of their town or city, but Liverpoolians were unacquainted with that policy, at the time spoken of, and whether that policy be a correct principle on which to act, I leave to them to determine. I was left to my own resources with which to accomplish the great desideratum, to-wit: the introduction of foreign capital and men of enterprise into the place. The discerning reader, who has pursued the preceding paragraphs, will have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that task would be a difficult one to perform.
The assumer of the task spoken proceeded in the following manner. The farm on which I was cradled, was owned by Mr. Wm. Hill; at the time, the railroad charter was obtained, it was the only one adjourning the town and having a riverfront where a good landing could be made, and the only one in which he thought that foreigners could be induced to take an interest. I therefore went to Mr. Hill and asked him if he wished to sell his farm and he said he did not.
"Well, what do you consider your farm worth?"
"Perhaps three thousand dollars," was his reply.
"Will you take that for it?"
"No," was the reply.
"Will you take four thousand?"
"Will you take five thousand?"
A negative answer was still given, for the reason he did not want to sell as it had been the homestead of his parents for many years and his mother was still living. The feelings of the family were duly appreciated, but the case was a desperate one. Both parties knew the offer was much more than the intrinsic value of the farm, but the one had a strong (family) reason for wishing to retain it, and the other with views entertained, considered the acquisition of the place essential to the salvation of the town, in whose interest I had labored for many years, and hence, with the infatuation of youthful lover, determined to leave no stone unturned to accomplish the assumed task, which I knew I could not do unless I obtained control of said farm. Having been a close observer of human nature, I knew I must make it to the interest of Mr. Hill to part with the farm, and make it so apparent that no one inheriting ordinary judgment could gainsay it. Rightly conjecturing Mr. Hill's unexpressed reasons for refusing so liberal on offer in money, I determined to procure a farm that Mr. Hill himself, or anyone else, would prefer as a farm to the one adjoining town. So I purchased the farm on which Mr. Hill now resides, and traded it for the one on which his infantile years were spent. The native grove of sugar maple trees were still standing, in which the syrup and sugar were made
that he remembers as among his chief joys when yet a lisping urchin. And now having, through a singular process and with unflagging effort gained the control of said farm, I anticipate its subdivision becoming happy homes of hundreds of the present generation and more to come. I was now proprietor of that portion of the ampitheatre where water was easily obtained, (which was the great want west of Market street.) I had but little doubt that from among my acquaintances in Pittsburgh, I could induce some to take hold of the land where there was a prospect of it becoming a railroad terminus. After the railroad company was incorporated, a meeting was held in Warren to elect president and directors. Gen. Perkins of Warren was elected president, Todd and Crowell, Colonel Hubbard of Ashtabula, and some others north of Warren, whose names I had forgotten, John Dixon of Columbiana, Aaron Brawdy, S. C. Hill, John Patrick and myself of East Liverpool, elected directors, with authority to open books at different points. I was appointed to open books at Pittsburgh to receive subscriptions to the capital stock of the Ashtabula, Warnen and East Liverpool R.R. Co., and it happened just as I anticipated; it was only through making them interested in property at a low figure, that any could be induced to take stock in the road. I agreed to let Gen. William Robinson, a wealthy proprietor of Allegheny, have an undivided sixth, Geo. A Cook, a banker of Pittsburgh, one sixth, Laurence Mitchel, one sixth, James Blakely, one twelfth, and R. Mansley, one twelfth of the farm spoken of above. I also sold to James Blakely and Co. fourteen acres of land north of Fifth, and west of Market Sts., and west and north of this fourteen acres they purchased a large tract of Claiborne Simms, Sr.'s, farm. All of these persons took
stock in the road, thus swelling East Liverpool's subscription. This being included, $200,000 were taken along the line of the road, and John Patrick went to New York and obtained subscriptions to the amount of $500,000 and more. The road was located and work was commenced on each end. The new town company having had the sugar tree grove cut into cordwood and removed from the river front of their farm proceeded to lay it off into lots from Union to College streets inclusive, and from front or water to Robinson Street inclusive. Cook and Robinson being able to do the most for the railroad, I having the management of laying off the addition, concluded to honor the individuals by name, naming a street for each of them, and yet neither of them proved to be of any service to the company, for about that time, Mr. Robinson, sniffing the coming monetary crash, transferred his claim, which he only held by article of agreement, not having yet paid for it, to Geo. A. Cook. So Cook became responsible for Robinson's railroad stock, and also responsible for one third the price of farm. After he paid the first installment I made him a deed and took his note for future payments, but before the notes matured, the great monetary crash and panic of 1837 took place and Cook went by the board. He made an assignment classifying his creditors, and I being in the fourth class never received anything. Within two years, Cook died insolvent, and thus adding another evidence among thousands daily occurring of the uncertainty of riches. At the time Cook's notes were taken he owned a private bank, and was a stockholder in Merchants and Manufacturers Bank of Pittsburgh, and was considered worth not less than $200,000. So many banks and businessmen failing destroyed competence and caused an abrupt stagnation of business generally and
depreciated values from 50 to 75% generally, according to location and circumstances. Some of the rail road stockholders in the East failed, the company disbanded, the projected road was abandoned, and the town and its fourth prorietors went under a cloud, their Sun eclipsed for a season.
Although the purchase of the Wm. Hill alias Smith Farm did not cause the railroad to be built, yet it proved to be the medicament that saved the life of the town, as the sequel will show. Notwithstanding the temporary convalescence procured through efforts, and appliances made during the first half of the decade, the incidents which were related in previous lines, yet without the aids secured through the instrumentality of the aforementioned farm purchase, the shock of 1837 must have paralyzed the town almost if not quite beyond recovery. As it were it took a decade of time to recover convalescence. The mainspring of a watch operates all the inside machinery, but it needs some person to wind it up every 24 hours. In the case under consideration the farm proved to be the mainspring in a crude condition; it needed manipulating, formed into proper shape, placed in position and set to work, which was done. It was attached to the other machinery as previously stated, by distributing two thirds of it among Pittsburghers, which cause then in the first place to purchase all the available land adjoining town, in order that they let their friends have a portion, and thus increase the property influence among nonresidents, and thereby enhance the value of their own. And in the second place it caused them to influence an addition to the population, some of whom is true did not stay long, but others tarried for years and were useful citizens. James Blakeley Esq., in order to have his brother, John S. Blakeley, take an interest in the place, bought four acres of land from S. C. Hill, eight acres from Philip Cooper, and a large tract from Claiborne Simms, Sr., in all of which his brother took an interest and become a prominent citizen, engage both in merchandising and in manufacturing. The companys sale of lots in 1837 brought a number of a families from Pittsburgh and other places, some of whom improved their lots, and all helped to make a live town during the railroad excitement. When that went down, the "watch ceas ed to run for a time;" it had run down and needed winding up. But the hand that held the key was partially paralyzed by the financial shock of 1837. A new key was therefore needed and was at hand in a crude state, but required time to use it. The purchase and distribution of the land and lots, brought to the place among others, a certain Mr. Anthony Kearns, who is a very useful citizen, he bought and ran for a time the steam sawmill spoken of previously; he also bought and improved the place where the Hon. Josish Thompson resides. It also brought the honorable George Smith (now of Missouri). He built three brick houses and was otherwise the most consistent backer I had and gave efficient aid, when most needed. (That was while the new key was being prepared.) It also brought Daniel and Jon Shook who put up two new buildings; Thomas Pratt, machinist, and James Bennett, Potter were drawn indirectly through the attractive influence it had disseminated. In fact with the exception of the population attracted by the improvements made in 1830 to 1835, the present population is there through the aforesaid influence.
Thos. Pratt was an ingenious mechanic, but lacked capital and encouragement in East Liverpool. After a few years residency moved to St. Louis, where he superintended the gasworks for many years, and then he and his son erected a gas works of their
own in Kansas City, Missouri.
James Bennett, the pioneer potter commenced working on the key perhaps as early as 1837, and for a time made such poor progress that he became discouraged. He said to Mr. George Smith, (who had bought my store and stand, corner of Second and Union Streets, where he and Matthew Thompson were then merchandising.
"I have experimented until I have neither money or credit to buy a five cent loaf of bread or a pound of butter, and must quit." Mr. Smith said to him: "Bennett you must not give up; when you need anything to eat, send up your order; you can have credit with us until things go better for you."
Not many months elapsed until his brothers came and things did go better. Other workmen soon culminated at this point, key was ascertained to be of the proper material, and the skilled labor soon brought it into the required shape for a utility. (The metaphorical key is the potting business). The use of it set all the wheels of improvement in motion, and if skillfully manipulated, will keep them going for generations to come.
But I have anticipated too much and must go back and record events previous to the sale of lots by Smith, Blakely & Co., who at their own expense, constructed the Broadway wharf. In 1837 Mr. George Smith and myself purchased the farm of two hundred acres, at present owned by H. Crofts and Michael Fisher, (now Pleasant Heights). In 1838 they traded, Mr. George Smith, taking the store at the corner of Second and Union Streets, and I taking the entire farm lived on it one year, and then sold it to the Messers. Booth and Woodward. I then returned to town and built a warehouse
in front of where the First National Bank now stands, and a brick dwelling between it and the railroad depot. In 1842 Mr. George Smith went west, and settled there with his family the following year, and in about two years thereafter Mr. Kearns (his father-in-law,) also moved to Missouri, Liverpool thus losing two enterprising citizens, and they losing largely on their properties by selling during a standstill, while the new key was being molded and polished. However they mated up in the West, and what they called lost, was a gain to those who took their places, and as "God made of one blood all the nations of the earth," and hence it was all in the family, and really no loss at all. Mr. William Thompson Sr. purchased the store and dwelling of Mr. Smith and his son (Hon. Josiah Thompson) purchased Mr. Kearns' residence and now occupies the same, having made many improvements.
I have in previous lines recorded the "ups and downs" and hard struggles the town had for place among young cities of Ohio, from its earliest inception up to1837, including a few instances occurring at later periods. I being among the first crop produced within the 19th century, in retrospecting, I am astonished to find that my compeers of the first three decades have nearly all passed away. Within Liverpool Township, Joseph McKinnon is perhaps the only living witness to the earliest incidents recorded in the first part of my story. A few contemporaneous persons still survive at this date (1876), who were cognizant of the incidents related as having transpired from 1826 upward, among whom are William Davidson, Sr., and wife, widow Forbes, Bazil Simms Sr., C.R. Simms, Jonathon Purinton, Dr. Ogden, Enoch Bradshaw and wife, Thomas and Andrew Blythe, Isaac W. Knowles, M. Laughlin, John Smith, Sr., Joseph Carey, John Bagley and Hon. J. Thompson. In the country
are Geo. Anderson, Wm. Hill, widow Fisher, Samuel Fisher, James McCoy, John Montgomery; there may be a few others not remembered, or considered of later date, or less acquainted with the facts related. But the great mass born in the first decade of the present century have passed away and there are "more to follow." It has been noticed that the main effort producing improvements of 1830-35 was the state road excitment, steam mills, boat yard, etc. The second impulse given to improvements was in 1836-37, vis: the railroad excitment and the formation of the new town company. The third and last with which I was connected, resulted from the first and second, and from the progress of the potteries and from carrying out the new town plan as hereinafter related. The opening for navigation of the Sandy and Beaver canal cut Liverpool off from the forwarding and commission business that have been appertained to her, and otherwise interfered with her mercantile interests, hence I concluded to remove to Pittsburgh and try my luck in business there for few years, until it would be made manifest what the potting industry would do for Liverpool. So in 1848, I rented my storeroom and dwelling to Jon S. Blakely & Co. and went to Pittsburgh where I formed a partnership with James Cummins, Esq., and carried on a wholesale produce and commission business for four years. My real estate interests in East Liverpool were still held however. Previous to my removal to Pittsburgh, the town company dissolved, each one taking his portion of the unsold lots, and likewise in the land, 45 acres remaining unsold. Fifteen acres would have been my remaining interest, but I accepted in lieu thereof, ten acres of the most desirable part through which Broadway now runs. But lots not being in demand during the fourth decade, and money being needed, I sold the land to Enoch Bradshaw, Esq., for $50 an acre, and when I returned in 1852, I repurchased it
excepting the block on which Bradshaws residence now stands, at I think, about $250 an acre; not that the land intrinsically worth that price but gave it for reasons somewhat similar to those influencing my first purchase from Mr. Hill. It will be remembered that the company had only laid out the lots and streets from the river to Robinson Street, and I foresaw necessity of that plan being carried out to the tanyard run, but the plat would cover lands owned by the following individuals; four acres owned by Thomas Blythe, four acres by Jon F. Smith, ten acres by Enoch Bradshaw, and six acres owned by Lawrence Mitchell. While residing in Pittsburgh I wrote to Mr. Bradshaw giving him my views on the propriety of carrying out the aforesaid plan, and requesting him to consult the other owners, and try to come to an agreement to have their lands valued, and then consolidate them into one tract, and lay it out as it is at present, but where there are "many men there are many minds." Nothing was accomplished till after my return from Pittsburgh in 1852, when I concluded that those lands must be brought under the control of one mind, or they would retard the progress of improvements for an indefinite period. I therefore approached Mr. Bradshaw on the subject of a re-conveyance of the ten acres of land. Mr. Bradshaw said he had bought it and built on it intending to make a permanent home; but Enoch you know is a clever fellow, and would not demur if asked to ride in a "flying chariot." He knows which side of his bread is buttered especially if it is spread pretty thick -- so after some pleasant talk unmixed with "hard cider," a bargain was concluded, and about the same time a bargain was made with Mr. Blythe for his four acres. Satisfactory arrangements were made with John F. Smith and Mr. Mitchell to have their land, platted on the same plan. S. C. Hill was engaged to survey and plat the new edition to correspond
with the company's first edition, so the plan originated by the fourth proprietor in 1837 was, after many struggles and anxieties, ultimately carried out in 1853 -- not to the profit of the proprietors but of utilitarian importance to the entire community, and now the little village flourishes and branches out like a "green bay tree;" no invidious comparison is intended, and yet the truth is sometimes spoken in jest. But from the reputed new churches already built, and those in prospect for the near future, I should judge the inhabitants to be religiously inclined, keeping their mental vision upon the maxim "to be truly great is to be truly good."
During my residence in Pittsburgh, built up a snug trade and would have remained some years longer, but for three reasons. First, a cherished scheme for carrying out the town plan needed my presence. Second, Fred and Charles Hambright who were then and has been in business for year or two, occupying my store and residence, went into bankruptcy; third, Salt and Mear, among the largest potting firms in the place, were about leaving it, which would throw many operatives idle and otherwise have a discouraging influence. Although to drop my business and business connections in Pittsburgh would be a great sacrifice, yet I concluded to make it, hoping to save as much by attending to my interest in East Liverpool, personally, and at the same time aid in preserving in a healthy condition the pet of my infatuatas youthful love. With this in view, in connection with Benj. Harker, I took hold of the vacated Mansion Pottery, (an imprudent step for one having no practical knowledge of the business.) This diverted my capital attention to some extent from my legitimate mercantile business. On the eve of my leaving Pittsburgh, I told on[e] of my mercantile friends, Mr. Jon I. House, that I was ab to return to East Liverpool, Mr. House replied, "don't you do it; re
consider your resolution, for last night I dreamed I saw you drowned right in front of East Liverpool, and though I put but little faith in most dreams yet I feel that it impressed upon my mind that you ought not to go." But I had made every preparation and taking the risk did go, and the result was after succeeding in extending the town plat as heretofor described and in potting and merchandising unto 1857, I became swamped and drowned in business point of view. Different causes produced the result; diversion of means, giving injudicious credits, the panic of 1857, etc.. My property sold in 1857-- 59 at a great sacrifice, and within three years thereafter was worth more than double the amount realized, and is now estimated at many times the price then realized, but as heretofor remarked the loss was a gain to others; and it being all in the family (human) of course it is all safe, only changed hands, and will soon do so again. If my 40 years of active business life added anything to the happiness of the aggregate family, "then I have fulfilled my mission at least in a secular point of view, and have no regrets on that score, but continue to feel toward the place something like the Jews felt toward Jerusalem. When they were in Babylon-- they loved the place, whether in prosperity or adversity, and although the fourth proprietor now owns no real estate in the place, (except) a feather edge of river bank and beach between Broadway and College Street, which the council thinks I deeded to Corporation; (so the records will show;) yet it gives me pleasures to hear of the prosperity of the town. And now having, as I think, fulfilled my promises at the outset, permit a few suggestions.
A political axiom is that 'eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." I think it equally true, the cooperative efforts are essential to the prosperity of any community-- I allude
of course to public enterprises. With capital now accumulated in Liverpool Township, and with united effort, you should, to use the phraseology of Caleb and Joshua, "be fully able to go up and possess the land"-- that is, you are fully able to continue the prosperity and [growth and prosperity] of the place, an active and intelligent cooperation in procuring or wooing other industries or manufacturing enterprises to those already in operation. I have learned through the press that opportunities have been let pass by, for the want of diligence engineering and unity of action. With the proper effort, you should have had a railroad crossing at Babb's Island for a railroad to Pittsburgh, and a like connection with New Lisbon; also glassworks, ironworks, etc.
You need a pleasant drive on which to air your friends and talk business to them, when they come to see your beehive city. The township of St. Clair and Liverpool would scarcely feel the amount of tax necessary to make such a road between Liverpool and Calcutta. It should be macadamized with limestone; in fact all the avenues leading into the town should be improved -- township trustees and City Council should work harmoniously together in such improvements, being mutually interested.