CONNEAUT, OHIO HISTORY & GENEALOGY

History of
Ashtabula Co., Ohio

SOURCE: History of Ashtabula County, Ohio
Large, Moina W.
Topeka :: Historical Pub. Co.,, 1924, 1132 pgs.

Conneaut Township

CHAPTER XVIII.

PREHISTORIC RACE - "SOUTH RIDGE" - AMBOY - CONNEAUT - EARLY CHURCHES - CONNEAUT HARBOR - GREAT BRIDGE - ADVENTURE OF A PIONEER - CHANGED THEIR PLANS - FIRST FAMILY TO WINTER HERE - CAR FERRY DISASTERS - PULLMAN'S CONTRACT - FIRST WHITE SETTLER - STAGE COACH TRAGEDY - PLANS OF STEEL COMPANY - PUBLIC LIBRARY - COUNTRY CLUB - EAST CONNEAUT AS "LITTLE HOPE"

     It was near the mouth of Conneaut Creek, a stream not them navigable, but now one of the deepest and most important harbors on the south shore of Lake Erie that Moses Cleaveland and his party of surveyors first touched Ohio, in their journey to this section for purpose of making a survey of the Western Reserve, the new possession of the Connecticut Land Company, of Connecticut.
     While this party was given credit for being the first company of white persons to establish themselves in the country, developments of later years disclosed indisputable evidence that at some time in the far-gone centuries this section had been inhabited by a race of people of gigantic stature who were not Indians.  Delving into great mounds of earth that were not of natural formation brought for bones of this prehistoric people, as well as pottery, crude weapons and other belongings that had been buried with the dead.
     Yet, with all this evidence, there has never yet been found a manuscript or writing of any nature that would give the slightest hint as to the personality of those early residents.  Where they came from, how long there were here, or where they eventually departed for is a mystery that will probably never be solved.
     The first intimation of these people was uncovered in and about where is now the city of Conneaut, and as the settlements became more numerous and extensive many other sections of the county reported similar finds, indicating that this vicinity was well populated.
     Conneaut, however, seemed to have been the metropolis of these people, as indicated by a large burying ground on the bank of the river west of the originally settled town, and another in the sugar-loaf like prominence across the river to the south.  A writer says "When first discovered the spot was covered with trees not distinguishable from surrounding forest, except an opening near the center containing a single butternut.   The graves were distinguished by a slight depressions in the surface of the earth, disposed in straight rows, which, with intervening spaces, or valleys, covered the entire area.  The ancient burying-grounds occupy an area of about four acres and appear to have been accurately surveyed into lots running from north to south and when first seen presented the appearance of neat and orderly arrangement.
     Aaron Wright, Esq., in 1800, made a careful examination of these depressions and found them invariably to contain human bones blackened with time, which, upon exposure to the air, soon crumbled to dust.  Some of these bones were of unusual size and evidently belonged to a race allied with giants.  Skulls were taken from these mounds, the cavities of which were of sufficient capacity to admit the head of an ordinary man, and jaw-bone that might be fitted over the face with equal facility.  The bones o the upper and lower extremities were of corresponding size.
     The first tragedy involving a white man that occurred after the arrival of the Cleaveland party was the murder, in the following year, of a man named Williams, who was passing through en route from Detroit to Erie (then Presque Isle).  While sojourning temporarily here, Williams sold a gun to an Indian of the settlement that still remained near where the whites were located.  It was agreed that the Indian was to pay in pelts, which Williams calculated to take on to Erie and sell, and with proceeds buy a new gun.
     The chief of this tribe was one "Bear's Oil", a wily old Redskin, who, however, had shown no great antipathy because of the invasion of the whites.  Old Bear's Oil told Williams that the brave to whom he had sold the rifle was no good and would not pay him, whereupon Williams compelled the Indian to give back the shooting-iron.
     A short time later Williams resumed his journey, with but a few miles farther to go.  But he never reached his destination.  The Indian with whom he had had the gun transaction had held his peace and apparently nursed no grudge against the white man, but it developed that he watched the stranger with untiring vigil, and when Williams had gone the buck took his trail, overtook him on the beach of the lake a few miles east of Conneaut and murdered him in cold blood, recovering the gun, which he took back to the village with him.
     When the commander of the military post at Presque Isle learned of the tragedy, he sent messengers to the Indian village, who demanded that the chief give the murderer into their custody.  Bear's Oil, apparently, was submissive, but exacted conditions.  He agreed that if an officer and a suitable number as guard were sent forward to take charge of the prisoner, he would give him up.  Pursuant to this arrangement the guard and officer were sent and when they arrived Bear's Oil invited them to remain over night.  This they did, and when morning came they were informed by Bear's Oil that he had changed his mind and would not turn his man over.  To back his position nearly 50 Indians in paint and well armed stood about conveniently.  The officer and his men, realizing that it would be folly to attempt to force their issue in the face of such a demonstration, withdrew to their boat and returned to the barracks without their prisoner.
     The return of the men, empty handed, was a signal for action and immediately the entire garrison, strengthened by such settlers as cared to indulge in what might be a strenuous adventure, started by boat for Conneaut, under instructions to bring back a murderer and to impose such chastisement on old Bear's Oil and his braves as seemed expedient.
     The old chief had anticipated just such action, and speedily assembled his people and decamped for parts unknown.  When the soldiers arrived at the village site it was bare.  It was learned that this band of Indians continued their flight toward the west, by canoes, till they reached Toledo, and thence cut across country and was last head from as having located on the banks of the Wabash River.
     Probably the first white men that ever gazed upon the waters of Lake Erie from the Ohio shore were two men who had been captured and were held by Indians.  In 1790 and 1791 General Harmon and Governor St. Clair conducted a campaign by white settlers of Ohio against certain tribes of Indians who had been troublesome.  The Indians proved the victors and among the spoils of the war the two white men figured.  Their captors brought them to the shore of the lake in the vicinity of Conneaut.
   The bringing of these white prisoners to the village was a cause for great rejoicing and they were subjected to many tortures and hardships before the question of their final disposition came up for settlement.  It was finally decided to let one of them live and witness the death of the other through burning at the state.  The program was carried out almost to the point of realization when an unexpected interruption occurred.  A fair young squaw of the tribe, like Pocahontas, interceded for Capt. John Smith, rushed to the rescue and begged that the young white man's life be saved.  There was a lot of pow-wowing, pro and con, but the young woman was evidently a favorite with the band, and her prayer was granted and the man was released.  He soon became a great favorite with all the tribe and his influence grew until he became the recognized representative of the Indians in their dealings with the white men.  The other prisoner also remained with the Indians for a long time, but, eventually, both men were allowed to withdraw to their own people and they became settlers and spent the rest of their lives in this vicinity.
     "South Ridge." - The gradual moving back from the lake some of the settles had the result of establishing small settlements within the territory constituting townships that had been laid out and named.  Conneaut had, for instance, a four-cornered sub-village called South Ridge, situated in the road of that name in the southern part of the township.
     This was a flourishing little settlement for many years, boasting the usual essentials of such a colony, general store, blacksmith shop, church, school and sometimes some thriving little commercial industry.  South Ridge had, for some years, a post office all its own and a flourishing cheese factory.
     The church-going people of that immediate vicinity formed themselves into a general church society, in which capacity they worshiped until 1837, when the Free-Will Baptist element, which had organized in 1826 but continued to join in the union services, withdrew and built a church edifice of its own, under the ministry of the Rev. Samuel Wise.  

     Amboy - Another settlement within the township of Conneaut was, and still is, Amboy.  That colony started about four miles west of the river on the North Ridge, and also had its palmy days, and was larger than South Ridge village.  In addition to the advantages named for the neighbor on the south, Amboy had a tavern, one more church, a flouring mill, a cabinet shop, a cobbler's shop, several cigar factories and a platform station on the line of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad.
     There are plenty still living who well remember when "Pumpkin Hook" meant the same as Amboy.  Our grandfathers used to tell a story to effect that some weary travelers once came to Amboy as daylight waned and, thinking the tavern there was a good place for a rest, they engaged quarters for the night.  Their wagon and its load were put in a barn, for safe shelter, but when they were ready to hitch up for another start they discovered that someone had "hooked" several pumpkins that had been in the wagon.  From that incident the town became possessed of the strange nickname "Pumpkin Hook".

     Conneaut -  The following is taken from the News Herald: 
"The name of Conneaut was given to the stream bordering our city by a tribe of Seneca Indians and signifies "River of Many Fish."
     "Arriving at the mouth of Conneaut River, July 4, 1796, a group of 50 surveyors under Moses Cleaveland named the point of land on which they touched "Fort Independence".
     "In the fall of the same year came the first settlers, James Kingsbury and family.  He had one child, the first to be born on Western Reserve territory, which included what is now Ohio.
     "The year 1789 saw the first permanent settlement.  These pioneers consisted of Thomas Montgomery and wife and Aaron Wright
     "The following year found several other settlements started along the creek and in the closely succeeding years many other families arrived.
    "Conneaut Township was organized in 1804 and born the name of "Salem" until 1832, when the name was changed to "Conneaut."
     "The year 1832 saw the publication of the first journal in Conneaut, called the "Ashtabula County Gazette."
     "The first real estate boom started in 1833 and continued until 1836.  The cause of the boom was a railroad to be built from Conneaut to Beaver Falls, Pa.  Much land was purchased on account of this and was platted into streets and building lots.  The proposed railroad plans, however, failed to materialize.  The principal streets at the time were:  Liberty, Main Street, Broad, Washington and Harbor; these were laid out by blazing trees, this explaining why our streets today do not run parallel or straight.
     "The nineteenth century marked the beginning of activities at Conneaut Harbor.  Ship building, shipping of grain, lumber, etc., became one of the most important industries.  The first appropriation received from the government was $7,500, used in construction work at the harbor.
     "The year 1834 witnessed the incorporation of Conneaut village.  The mayor and council plan of government was adopted, and Dr. Samuel L. Fenton was made its first mayor.  A census in 1835 showed Conneaut to have had 450 males over 21 years of age.
     "During the next few years a tannery was opened and the weekly journal was sold to new managers, who named it the "Conneaut Reporter".  A company was formed to lay a plank road from Conneaut to Youngstown.  A plank road was also laid at this time between the village and the harbor, with a toll gate at the harbor.
    "In 1852 Milo Osborn laid a plank road from the foot of Main street to Amboy.  A Mr. Blakeslee was first toll gate keeper, the gate being near the A. B. Crittenden home west of the city, the spot now being marked by a bronze tablet.
     "t this time stage coaches ran regularly form Painesville to Erie.  Taverns lined the route, among them being the Tremont House at Conneaut, which gained much fame.  This hotel was located where the Dorman block now stands.
     "The year 1852 marked the completion of the Cleveland-Painesville-Ashtabula Railroad to Conneaut, later being continued to Erie, and the name changed to Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.
     The old fair grounds just west of the old city limits were opened in 1853.  One of the exhibit buildings still stands.
     "At this time considerable trade was carried on through the harbor.  Exports were farm products and imports consisted of manufactured goods.
     "Conneaut began to grow at this time, gas was discovered, two flour mills and a paper mill were put in operation and David Cummins started (1863) canning "Lake Shore" tomatoes.  On Main street there was but one big structure, the Cleveland block.  State coaches made regular trips between Conneaut and Pierpont and the Lake Shore Railroad brought the mail from the east and west.
     "On the south side of Liberty street and east of Washington street all the tillage land in 1866, as was tillage land in 1866, as were the lands west of Sandusky street.
     "A new town hall was built in 1876, new lumber mills were erected and many people offered to make Conneaut their home on account of the advantages, and in 1878 the population was put at 1,300; the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) was constructed through Conneaut between the years of 1881 and 1882, which saw the first real boom.  After much active work by leading citizens, Conneaut won over Ashtabula in efforts to secure the Nickel Plate shops.  The coming of these shops to Conneaut brought the arrival of mechanics, new business concerns and new residences until in 1886 the census total amounted to over 2,200.
     "The next year, Conneaut subscribed enough money to bring the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad, now known as the Bessemer.  At the harbor new docks were built and the old ones reconstructed.  The channel was deepened and widened in readiness for the coming of the great ore and coal trade.
     "The first ore was received in 1892.
     "It was discovered that it took too long to unload the big boats by the wheelbarrow method, so Brown hoists were purchased.  The number of tons of ore gradually increased from year to year, thus necessitating the purchase of the powerful machines known as Huletts and electrics.
     "July 4 of the year 1896 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Conneaut, which was widely celebrated.
     "The Pittsburgh Steamship Company, organized in 1897, purchased a fleet of 16 steamships and 20 barges; two new docks were constructed.
     "The Bessemer ran its first passenger train in 1897 and in this year handed about a million tons of ore.  In 1916 the largest amount of ore was received in Conneaut Harbor, it being about nine and one-half million tons.  Conneaut Harbor has made several world records for unloading ore, and has among its large structures the largest four-track swing bridge in the world.
     "The last 25 or 30 years of Conneaut's history have seen the development of many important industries, among which are:  The Conneaut Brick Plant (1898); The Conneaut Can Company (1901); The Conneaut Leather Company (1903); The Cummins Canning Factory moved into their new building (1909); The Burke Machine Tool Company (1910); and the Conneaut Shovel Company (1904)."
     As the Western Reserve developed the stream of emigrants toward the west flowed steadily and Conneaut, being on the direct line of travel, became quite an important stopping place.  The need of accommodations for the floating prospectors soon became apparent and this was supplied at first by the construction of a log hotel where is now the corner of Main and Broad streets.  The landlord's name was Dunn.  This was succeeded soon afterward by erection of a frame hostelry, of which Pierpont & Davenport were the first proprietors.
     The first schoolhouse was erected near the corner of Main and Washington streets.  In 1835 Conneaut Academy was incorporated, the incorporators being A. Dart, Henry Keys, Lewis Thayer, Josiah Brown, James Brooks and Aaron Wright.  This institution of learning opened in an old building that was moved onto the property now the corner of Main and Mill streets.  The Rev. Judah L. Richmond was the first teacher, he being assisted by Miss Sara Bonney, who was appointed principal of the institution eventually merged into the regular public school of the city.  From the time of this transfer, the schools followed the trend of public school progress, always keeping up with the times and today the educational facilities of Conneaut are among the best.  The latest addition to the requirements was a large new building erected within the past year in the western section of the city.

     Early Churches - The early settlers of Conneaut Township had a distinct sense of obligation to the Author of their being for His guidance and protection over them during their journey westward and their efforts to establish for themselves homes for the future in the new land.  The first public demonstration of this spirit was in 1800, when a meeting was called to be held at the home of Aaron Wright.  This was but the forerunner of a succession of like gatherings which were attended faithfully, but it was not until 1818 that a regular organization was effected.
     The Conneaut Christian Church Society was organized at a meeting held in the school house on the ridge road between Conneaut and Amboy on May 23, 1818.  The original roster contained the names of fifteen members and on that occasion Elder Cheney preached the initial sermon.  Subsequently, meetings were held in the school house generally until 1834, when the congregation had reached numerical proportions that warranted their having an independent place of worship and they builded for themselves and such non-members as desired to identify themselves with the society a church home on the site where is now the home of the Cummings families, the location then being known as the "Center".  After seven years, the building was moved closer to the business section and located on Buffalo street.
     The next church organized effected was that of the Congregational Presbyterian faiths, at the home of Robert Montgomery, in 1819; the itinerant preacher, Joseph Badger, was the organizing officer as there were not enough Congregationalists or Presbyterians in the immediate vicinity to support separate churches, it was decided to make this a union organization of both, to which all agreed.  In 1828 the congregation were able to occupy their own church home which had been under construction for a couple of years.
     A Methodist class was formed in the east part of town in the early '20s, one in what is now Amboy in 1823 and one in the village in 1828.
     On Oct. 18, 1831, a meeting was held in the Ridge school house at which was effected an organization of the Baptist Church, 23 members signing a charter roll.  Twelve of these had letters from other churches and the others had recently been baptized.  The first pastor was the Rev. Asa Jacobs, who served in that capacity for six years.  Shortly after he was succeeded, in 1837, by the Rev. J. L. Richmond, the church meetings, which had up to that time been held in the school house, were changed to Conneaut village.
     In the passing of later years other denominations organized and built their houses for worship and the church representatives in Conneaut is today that of the average modern city.
     The most elaborate structure of this nature in the city is the First Congregational, which was rebuilt in the years from 1907 to 1916 by personal expense of George J. Record, and dedicated as a memorial to his deceased daughter, Mrs. May Record Findley.

     Conneaut Harbor - At all points along the south shore of Lake Erie where rivers that were navigable, or could be made so, emptied in to the lake, the harbors thus afforded were of great importance to the adjacent towns.
     Conneaut was particularly blessed in this respect, the mouth of its river being broad and deep, and it was said to have been the finest natural harbor between the Cuyahoga and buffalo, with the possible exception of Erie.  The location of this harbor at the entrance to the new Western Reserve of Connecticut brought it into prominence at once, as the influx of settlers from the east came mostly by water, and Conneaut River was easily accessible to the boats that brought their personal belongings.
     When the original surveying party came to this point they were attracted by the evident advantages the spot afforded, and that was what largely influenced them to establish their headquarters there during the time that they were engaged in the eastern section of the Reserve.  They erected storehouses in close proximity to the river's mouth, thus greatly lessening the handling of shipments that came in by boat.
     The evolution of Conneaut River from a shallow stream into one of the greatest ports-of-entry on the Great Lakes reads like a fairy tale.  This work is indebted to C. S. Putnam, one of Conneaut's most enthusiastic boosters, for the greater part of the following story of the progress and development of the harbor.
     Not until in the nineteenth century did the marine business on Lake Erie begin to assume even minor importance.  In 1805 Buffalo was made a port of entry, but it was in 1817 before her fleet, then the largest on the lake, numbered seven vessels, with a total of 459 tons.  During those early years Conneaut Harbor had a very small commerce, conveyed in sailing scows and light draft schooners.  The first steamer on Lake Erie - "Walk-in-the-Water" - was launched in Buffalo in 1818.  It was a small, crudely constructed passenger and cargo boat of less than two hundred tons, equipped with inferior engine and surmounted by smokestacks made of ordinary stovepipe-iron sheets.  Her maiden trip to Detroit, with some forty passengers, consumed thirteen days.  Verily, the trip was made in a slow "Walk", but the boat's arrival here was an event which attracted a crowd of people to the harbor, as it did at every other port along the lake.  This new marine wonder continued the only steamboat on the lake during the four years of her service, until in October, 1822, she was wrecked by being driven ashore one night in a gale of wind.
     In 1825 two other steamboats of better design and greater tonnage were making regular trips between Buffalo and Detroit, stopping at principal ports along the south shore of the lake.  In 1827 the opening of the fertile states farther west resulted in a great tide of emigration in that direction and the demand for transportation caused a rapidly growing fleet of both sailing and steam craft to be constructed at ports all along Lake Erie, and as they increased in numbers, so, also, they increased in tonnage capacity, until boats of six or eight hundred tons were common.  To accommodate the passenger traffic and facilitate the handling of the cargoes of the larger boats it became necessary to build long piers out into the lake at some of the ports.  At a point about a mile west of Conneaut harbor such a pier was constructed where steamers stopped regularly, as did also many of the larger sailing craft, because unable to enter a shallow harbor mouth.  In 1829 the first Government improvement at Conneaut Harbor was completed, on an appropriation of $7,500.00, in the building of two piers, or jetties, each two hundred feet long, which made a harbor entrance one hundred feet wide, with twelve feet of water.  From then on the up-lake pier went into disuse and the harbor came back into a rapidly increasing marine growth and glory.  To recount the commercial activity and growth of the shipping business at this harbor during the '30s, '40s and early '50s in detail would not add to the interest of this history particularly.  During that period of a quarter of a century Conneaut Harbor kept its place with other ports, becoming an important point for the shipment of lumber, staves, grain, spirits and other products of  the contributing territory as far south as Youngstown, 65 miles, and long caravans of six and eight horse or ox-teams could be seen trailing along the toll road between the two places.  Tall-masted vessels and steamboats frequently filled the river for a mile back from the lake, up to Dimmick's and Wood's Landings.  The receipts at the harbor and constituting backhauls of the teamsters consisted principally of machinery, tools, agricultural implements, furniture, salt, lime, general merchandise, and a great variety of necessities and luxuries of the people of that period.  It was a regular port-of-call for the fleet of passenger packet steamers plying between Buffalo and Detroit.  These steamers always traversed the lake, well within sight of land, calling at all the principal ports, and occupied about four days in making the trip in either direction.  This was fairly expeditious, considering the number of stops and the time consumed in handling large shipments of package freight and taking on many cords of four-foot wood for fuel between ports.
     From about 1830, following the completion of the Government improvement work, which made this port one of the best deep-water harbors on the lake, the period of its greatest marine activity set in.  It soon became necessary to line the docks with warehouses to take care of the freight in transit until it could be forwarded, or came under the demands of local needs.  The rapid increase in commerce outgrew the ability of vessels available to handle it and progressive men, who could see ahead and had confidence in the permanence and ultimate growth of the new West, set about to meet the demand by building more boats.
     Thus the ship-building industry soon became an important feature of Conneaut's growing commercial importance.  Ship carpentry was a trade followed by many men here for years, and a number of owners, captains and sailors on both sailing and steam craft hailed this as their home port.  The first vessel constructed at this harbor was named in honor of the town, the "Salem Packet".  Elias Keyes and Capt. Sam Ward were the builders.  The boat was constructed on the flats above the Main Street bridge and at a point nearly under where now spans the new viaduct.  It remained on the ways for some time after its completion, waiting for a sufficient depth of water in the river and in the end did not have to be formally launched as an unheralded spring freshet carried it off the ways, but, fortunately, did it no damage.  The Salem Packet was a "fore-an'-after" with a capacity for carrying 27 tons.  That was a good-sized boat.  Capt. Ward sailed her that season.  As compared with the great ships of today the boats of that early period might be classed  as a "mosquito fleet."
     The next boat constructed was the Farmer, built by Christopher Ford and ailed by Capt. Charles Brown.  This vessel was wrecked on Long Point in the season of 1827 and later floated and taken to Cleveland, where she was rebuilt.
     James Tubbs built the Independence, a 30ton schooner, on the beach a mile west of Conneaut Harbor.  John Brooks constructed and sailed the small vessel Humming Bird, from which he was lost off Sandusky, being washed overboard.  Other craft in and about Conneaut in those early days included the following?
     The Conneaut Packett, by Applebee and Tubbs; the sloop Dart, built in Kingsville and taken overland to Conneaut to be launched and fitted

[PICTURE OF CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, CONNEAUT, OHIO]

[PICTURE OF CITY HALL]

out; The Oregon and the Commercial, built at Harmon's Landing, west of Conneaut; the Reindeer, North America, Wisconsin, Constitution, Troy, J. B. Skinner, Henry M. Kinney, J. B. Brown, the Belle, Lucy Walbridge, Lucy A. Blossom, Banner, Dan Marble, Traveler, Telegraph, Grayhound, Stambaugh, Seabird, Fairy Queen, Nightingale, Ogarita, Indianola, Thomas Swain, Loren Gould, L. M. Guthrie, Times, Monitor, Ann Maria, Valentine, T. B. Rice, J. G. Palmer, Conneaut and M. Capron.
     The North America was a steamer, the first steamboat built in Conneaut.  She was launched in 1834, was of 300 tons burden.  This ship was the property of a stock company.  Capt. Gilmore Applebee brought her out.
     In 1836 the 400 ton steamer Wisconsin was constructed at Harper's Landing.  She was also the product of a stock company and, after being launched, was towed to Buffalo for her final fitting out.
     The Banner, a trim schooner, was the boat to claim the next increase in size.  She was launched in 1847, had a capacity of 500 tons and was at that time the largest sailing vessel on the Great Lakes.  Capt. Marshall Capron was her proud skipper.
     In 1862-3 a ship of 450 tons burden was built at Conneaut, for service on salt water.  She was constructed on contract for Buffalo owners.
     Then came a still larger ship, the Ogarita, having a carrying capacity of 600 tons.  This ship quite overshadowed any other afloat on the lakes.  She also was built for Buffalo parties.  Capt. Andrew Lent was her master.
     The early marine business of Conneaut Harbor reached its height between 1845 and 1852 and the village of Conneaut grew and prospered until the advent of the railroad in the latter year, then it received a decided setback as the overland means of transportation took the lion's share of the east and west freightage as well as a goodly part of the matter to be transferred to the southern points and the general passenger traffic.
     For some years after the railroad killed the passenger and light freight business on the lakes, sailing vessels continued to do a considerable business at Conneaut Harbor in lumber and some other commodities, but as the valuable timber in the territory tributary to the lake trade became depleted, the cargoes became fewer and farther between, until during the '60s they had almost entirely vanished and many of the vessels had been sold and withdrawn to the upper lakes.
     Conneaut Harbor became very soon little more than a fishing port and so remained for many years, till one fine day great steel interests decided upon acquiring possession of adjoining property and constructing a real harbor, to serve as a transfer point for the great quantities of iron ore that were being required at the mill sites in the Pittsburgh districts.
     That was a happy day for Conneaut, and the outcome was that it was not long till the residents of that village began to boast of their wonderful harbor and the vast amount of tonnage going over their docks.
     The period sine the beginning of the new order of dispensation at Conneaut Harbor may be fittingly designated its "Iron Age", for, while millions of tons of coal and various manufactured products have in the meantime been received and dispatched, iron ore in vast quantities has constituted the greatly preponderating constituent and asset of all its activities.
     Early in the year 1887 the first faint systems of an approaching restoration of this long dormant harbor became apparent.  The survey of the Erie, Shenango & Pittsburgh Railroad was begun, and several local citizens' meetings were held in furtherance of securing the proposed railroad's terminal here.  In February, 1888, a company reorganization was effected and the name changed to Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad.  Grading for the railroad began that moth near Greenville, Pa.  Conneaut citizens subscribed a bonus of $25,000 on condition that a terminal of the road be built to this harbor, and a provisional purchase of 20 acres of land along the west side of the harbor was made by trustees of the fund.  In March surveyors ran a line between Conneaut Harbor and Albion, Pa., and the work of driving piles to repair the breaks in the piers was begun and slowly prosecuted during the ensuing summer.  Throughout the year 1889 the entire project was in a state of doldrums.  Harbor improvement work was entirely suspended, and railroad building was prosecuted in a desultory manner.  There was internal indecision and public uncertainty as to whether Erie or Conneaut would become the road's harbor terminal, until finally the company went under a receivership and all construction work was suspended.  Refinancing and reorganization were accomplished by September, 1890, and thenceforth construction work was prosecuted with a vigor.
     The years 1891-2 were historically eventful in determining the question and actually accomplished the reopening of Conneaut Harbor to navigation and marine commerce.  To Col. S. B. Dick, president, and A. C. Huidekoper, vice-president, of the reorganized railroad company the credit is due for the decision arrived at and the activity displayed in carrying it into actual effect.  During the year 8191 the railroad was completed to a junction with the Nickel Plate road to that company's passenger and freight terminal in Erie.
     In October grading for the harbor branch of the road was begun and the work pushed as rapidly as possible throughout the following winter.  Much of the land abutting the west bank of the river between the Lake Shore Railway fill and the harbor entrance was purchased, to control which, and to construct and operate the docks, the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company was incorporated as an auxiliary to the railroad company.  Work of pile-driving and building part of a 600-foot dock (later a part of Dock No. 1) was prosecuted, upon which was erected six legs of Brown hoists, with one-ton buckets.  A dredge was bought here which had first to cut the channel ahead of itself through the great sandbar at the harbor mouth, to gain an entrance and begin dredging and clearing out the many years' accumulation of sunken logs, trees and snags, which the bar had held in the river bed.  The summer of 1892 witnessed the driving of the last spike connecting Conneaut Harbor by rail with the southern coal and furnace districts.  Unable to wait the slow action of the National Government in utilizing for harbor improvement the $40,000 appropriated by Congress in that year, the dock company officials obtained permission from the War Department to repair the piers and dredge out the channel between them at the company's expense.  This work resulted in opening a narrow channel 16 feet deep alongside the west pier.  The ore dock was completed and two "whirlies" built thereon to supplement the Brown hoists in uploading vessels, and Conneaut Harbor was ready to enter into the iron ore traffic.  Dredging continued uninterruptedly throughout the season, and the dock company expended about $250.000.  The first loaded vessel to enter this harbor in nearly a quarter of a century was the barge Marine City, on September 30, 1892, with a deckload of pine lumber for the Record Manufacturing Company, of this city.  But the great event occurred on Sunday, Nov. 6, when the steamship Charles J. Kershaw, drawing 16 feet forward, entered with the first cargo of iron ore (1130 tons) ever unloaded at this harbor.
     When it became known that the first cargo of ore was arriving nearly the entire population of Conneaut hurried to the harbor to welcome it.  Deep silence and some anxiety prevailed as the tug O'Brien towed the barge slowly and carefully through the narrow channel between the piers, but after it had safely arrived alongside the dock every stream whistle at the harbor opened wide in shrill salute of welcome and the massed crowd of people sent up a great shout of exultation.  The two cargoes above mentioned were all that arrived that season, but it was a beginning.
     The year 1893 witnessed greatly increased activity at the harbor, both in improvement work and the shipping business, despite the fact that the entire financial interests of the country in its grip.  I February a contract had been entered into for the shipment of 250,000 tons of Marquette ore to the Conneaut docks during the season.  In preparation to unload the cargoes expeditiously three additional Brown hoists and two new King hoists were erected and additional "whirlies" constructed, the entire coast of the hoisting outfit then amounting to about $150,000.  A long stretch of additional dock construction, extending it to 1,700 feet, was completed, and long lines of sidetracks for switching and storage purposes were laid.  Early in the season a contract was let by the Government engineer for pier work and dredging at the harbor entrance under the appropriation made the previous year. The project adopted by the Government engineers contemplated construction of two parallel piers 200 feet apart, extending out a sufficient distance into the lake to insure a channel depth of 17 feet of water.  Early in the morning of May 15th the first disaster occurred at the harbor.  A strong flood pouring down the river created a current which broke the mooring lines of the dredge Continental.  In a few moments she was swept out into the lake on the swift current, where a high sea was running and sunk.  All aboard of her, the captain, engineer, two deckhands and a female cook, were drowned.
     June 3rd witnessed the arrival of 34 carloads of the first coal for shipment.  Whirlies loaded it into the barge Wayne, for Duluth.  On June 7th the steamer Queen of the West arrived in 1,300 tons of ore, the first cargo of the season and the second at this harbor.  A week later, the steamer Servia arrived with 1,700 tons of Ashland ore, and thereafter this harbor was fairly launched upon its career as a great iron ore receiving port.  July 30th a fleet of six steamers, "Whalebacks" and barges, were moored in the then small harbor, and the novel spectacle attracted hundreds of visitors.  Later on so many of the "whaleback" type of vessels, dubbed "pigs", came in here that rival ports named this harbor the "pig-pen."  The first season's business at this redeveloped harbor included 100 cargoes of ore, totaling 203,207 tons.  Eleven cargoes of coal that conveyed a total of 23,185 tons of coal were shipped to the upper lakes.
     In the month of April, 1894, 400 additional feet of dockage was under construction.  In May the dock company purchased 17 acres of land contained in the "Big Bend".  This was for dockage and slip excavation.  In July of this year the dock laborers went on a strike and became so demonstrative that the mayor called for a company of state militia and the Geneva Rifles were sent here and order was restored.  In September the steamer S. S. Curry, 4,750 tons of coal, which was the record coal cargo on the Great Lakes up to that time.
     The United States & Ontario Steam Navigation Company was incorporated in September, 1894, and a contract was let that winter for the building of two ferry-boats for service in connection with a contract that had been made with the Grand Trunk, in Canada, to export coal from Conneaut Harbor to Port Dover and Port Stanley.  These car-ferries were built to carry 30 cars, which, at that time, constituted a good-sized train-lad.  These chips were put into service the following season.  They were named the Shenango No. 1 and the Shenango No. 2 and the No. 1 made the first trip on August 17, taking a large party of officials and invited guests on board.  These ships started out on their mission most suspicuously and without intimation of the tragic manner in which both were to be put out of commission later  on.
     During the following winter the Shenango No. 1 was caught in the ice in midlake and drifted about with the floe for three months before she was released.
     In 1896 Andrew Carnegie and his associates purchased a controlling interest in the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad and in the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company.  Immediately thereafter the railroad was extended from Butler, Pa., to the Carnegie mills near Pittsburgh.  The railroad and dock companies contracted to deliver 2,000,000 tons of iron ore to the furnaces of the Carnegie Steel Company annually.  To accomplish this it was necessary to make extensions to their harbor facilities, for which purpose $500,000 was appropriated, and the Rockefeller "Bessemer" fleet of steel steamers was given a contract to bring down the ore.  To an appropriation of $50,000 made the previous year another like sum was added by the Government.
     In January, 1897, the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad was reorganized and renamed the Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie, and the line was extended that year to North Bessemer, giving a direct route from Conneaut, 148 miles long.  That winter a new slip 1,300 feet long and 165 feet wide was excavated southward in line with the main channel, on which new docks was installed a battery of fast twelve McMyler hoists.
   The steamer Andrew Carnegie this season brought in the record cargo of iron ore, 5,160 tons.  And this summer also saw the innovation of the first steel hopper-cars, of 50-ton capacity.  The "Bessemer" company placed an order for 600 of these cars.
     In 1898 the dock company acquired the entire Andrews estate, lying east of the river, which was used for dock and storage purposes, and made accessibly by a railroad bridge from the west side.  In 1859 the Pittsburgh Steamship Company was organized and contracts were awarded for construction of several ships larger than any then on the lakes.   The new company also purchased the 16 steamers and 20 "whaleback" barges comprising the fleet of the American Steel Barge Company.  Eventually the new fleet numbered over a hundred big ships.
     The importance of Conneaut Harbor as a lake shipping point commanded attention of the United States Government, and liberal appropriations were made from time to time.  The plans for harbor protection at this port were finally approved by the War Department, providing for a west pier 1,075 feet long, an east pier 1,467 feet long, cast and west breakwaters 1,000 feet and 1,200 feet long, respectively.  This plan was carried out and subsequent additions made, till Conneaut has nearly 8,000 feet of breakwater wall and is one of the best protected and most approachable harbors on the chain of lakes.
     In the year 1899 the first Hulett "clamshell" ore machine ever built was installed on a Conneaut dock and it was a wonder to all beholders.  That, however, was but a starter to the immense fast plants that now adorn the docks of this harbor.  Everything is of the most modern type, electricity has displaced steam as a means of power and hundreds of men have been put out of work by the inventive genius of bright minds that has resulted in the making of machinery that seems almost human in its operation.
     When improvements now under way on the Conneaut docks are completed several years hence, Conneaut will have the finest dock on the lakes, in the opinion of marine men of that place.
     One of the greatest projects under way, and scheduled for completion in 1926, is the widening of the main river, to the extent that a 600-foot steamer will be able to turn completely around in the main river with ease.  Formerly it was possible for but two boats to ride side by side in the main channel, but when operations under way by the Dravo Construction Company in straightening out the west bank of the river are completed, five freighters can easily pass.  The west bank is to be buttressed by a huge concrete wall sunk to rock bottom on which will be erected a series of electric Hullets.  Back of the machines will be storage space for 3,000,000 tons of ore, tripling the present dock capacity which is approximately 1,500,000 tons.
     At present two new electric Hullets are being erected here, and when they are in operation, sometime this summer, will give Conneaut a battery of nine Hullets, five of them electrically operated.  In the fall two of the old hydraulic Hullets, the first ever erected in the world, and the invention of a Conneaut man, will be dismantled.  These two are now in the battery of four "water dogs' on the local docks which were placed in operation years ago, being invented and perfected by Frank Hullett, now deceased.

     Great Bridge. - The most outstanding point in the history of Conneaut is the day on which the Connecticut Land Company's engineers landed, thereby starting the history of Ashtabula County.  The next biggest day in the city's annals was Friday, July 18, 1924, when the massive viaduct spanning the deep valley of the Conneaut River was dedicated, thus opening to the citizens and the traveling public the largest bridge in the State of Ohio in the construction of which the state had assisted.  The event was attended by elaborate pageantry and a program of addresses, among the speakers being several notable men.  Among these were a personal representative of the State of Ohio, the secretary of state, state director of highways, chief engineer of bridges of state highway department, chief engineer of the state highway department, senior bridge engineer of the United States Bureau of Public Roads and also a representative of the chief of the same bureau, the chief highway examiner, the city manager of Cleveland, the United States congressman from this district, and officials of Ashtabula County.  The day's program began with a great pageant in which appeared all manner of vehicles in use for the past century and more.  Notable among the equipages was the ancient coach owned and driven by Marquit Andre La Lafayette during his stay in this country, driven by a red-coated flunkey and with a green clad footman, and occupied by a couple dressed in the costumes of Lafayette's day; the carriage in which King Edward of England rode when he made a tour of this country; one of the old omnibusses that were used before the advent of the street-cars and modern carryalls; prairie schooners, drawn by oxen and attended and occupied by people garbed as in the days of old-time emigration; old-time high-wheel bicycles, and other agencies of transportation representing the evolution of the means of conveyance from the 9x-team to the airplane.  While the last-named machine could not actually participate in the parade, it was in evidence, soaring above the city and occasionally dropping an air-bomb to enliven the occasion.  From a stand erected on the west approach of the viaduct a program of speeches was delivered to an immense throng of interested listeners.  This part of the program concluded with the formal christening of the new bridge which consisted of breaking a jug of water on the superstructure, the act of being performed by Mrs. Amelia Chidester, who was nearing her ninetieth birthday and the oldest resident of Conneaut who was physically able to do the honors of the occasion.  The gallon of water that served on this occasion was made up of one quart of water from the supply of the cities of Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland and Conneaut, a novel idea and very appropriate, since the completion of this bridge eliminated two of the worst hills on the direct National Highway between Chicago and Buffalo.  It was estimated that 30,000 visitors were in Conneaut on the occasion of the "opening".  The structure of briefly described as follows:
     Located on the Chicago-Buffalo road.  Replaces the last toll bridge within Ohio.  Eliminates two of the most difficult hills on the Chicago-Buffalo road.  Built jointly by the Federal Government, the State of Ohio and Ashtabula County.  The structure is entirely of reinforced concrete.  There are seven main arch spans with six smaller approach spans.  The extreme length is 1,317 feet.  Height from water to sidewalk - 85 feet.  Width between curbs - 32 feet. Sidewalks on either side - 5 1/2 feet wide.  The viaduct is on a grade, the east end being eight feet higher than the west end.  It is the largest highway structure in which the State has ever participated.  It contains 12,500 cubic yards of concrete and 1,100,000 pounds of reinforcing steel.  The total weight is approximately 30,000 tons.  Twenty-three months were required to build it.  Cost approximately $516,000.
     The agitation for this bridge was commenced in the summer of 1912, when a petition signed by 400 citizens of Conneaut was presented to the county commissioners, asking that body to construct a high-level roadway across the valley.  At about the same time the county officials were also confronted with a movement at Ashtabula for a like structure at the north end of Main street.  The answering of both prayers was out of the question, and as neither city could be favored without objection on the part of the other, the proposition lay dormant for a number of years.  The progress in road improvements occasioned by the growing automobile traffic, the country over, called for more than local aid in construction and a National Government bureau was made, which apportioned aid to state bureaus, and with this backing, in 1921, approval of both big bridge projects in this county was obtained and federal and state aid pledged.  Just about this time the old toll bridge, which had served in Conneaut since 1902, was condemned as unsafe and closed to vehicle travel.  This necessitated all east and west traffic going through the terrible gulf road and created a demand for immediate action toward a remedy for the situation.  This urgency was recognized by all, and contracts were awarded and work begun in August, 1922, and was completed in 23 months.  This structure was, at time of its completion, the largest highway bridge in Ohio in construction of which the state had participated.  Builders will be interested in the materials entering into the bridge composition, which embraced the following:  Twenty-one thousand barrels of cement, 10,000 tons of crushed limestone, 10,000 tons of sand, 10,000 tons of crushed slag, 600 tons of reinforced steel, 9,000 square yards of waterproof cotton cloth, 450,000 paving brick, 200 tons of asphalt, 300 tons of crushed granite, 250,000 board feet of lumber, 300 pounds of paraffine.  Over 800 cars of material was unloaded for the structure.
     The advantage of this high-level roadway at this point is illustrated in the following calculations by the expert mathematician of the News-Herald:
     "With the opening of the new bridge and the consequent doing away with the necessity for motorists to use the rough and treacherous hills and road across the creek valley the average driver will probably heave a great sigh and exclaim, "Gee, I'm glad I don't have to drive under the bridge any more."
     But in addition to this satisfaction there is a distinct economic gain that few will sense.  The new route from East Conneaut across the new bridge is approximately 1,000 feet shorter than it was by way of the old structure.  An average of 5,000 cars passes along this route each day, and oftentimes on Sundays and holidays runs up to more than double that number.
     Thus each day there will be saved by the new bridge 5,000 times 1,000, or 5,000,000 automobile feet.  This is approximately 947 miles.  Figuring the average gallon mileage as 15, this means that motorists every day will save 63 gallons of gasoline at 21 cent a gallon is $13.23.  In the course of a year the bridge saves a gasoline bill of $482. 89.  One gifted at statistics might also figure the saving in time, oil, wear on tires, depreciation on the machines, etc.  Thus does the new structure justify the outlay involved, from a monetary standpoint."
     The toll bridge which the new high-level displaced was originally a railroad bridge in Girard, Pa., on the line of the Nickel Plate.  When it was displaced there, it was purchased by M. W. Culbertson, of that place, who made arrangements with the Ashtabula County commissioners to allow him to reconstruct it at the east end of Main street in Conneaut.  It was put into service there in 1902, and in 1907 the superstructure was rebuilt.  When the C. & E. interurban line was built, it crossed this bridge in a framework extension constructed especially for that purpose, along the north side.  A few years later a part of this framework gave way under a funeral car and nearly precipitated the car, the mourners and casket to the valley bottom.  Then the track was transferred to the main structure.  Teh bridge was closed to traffic in the early spring of 1922, but the trolley cars were allowed the traffic in the early spring of 1922, but the trolley cars were allowed to continue to use it until September of that year, when it was sold to a Buffalo junk concern, which shut off all vehicular traffic, and that was the death knell of the C. & E. interurban service, which was discontinued forthwith.

     Adventure of a Pioneer - One of the stories of adventures of the early day residents of Conneaut has to do with the strange experience of one Solomon Sweatland.  Several versions of the story have been published, but the main features are related quite similarly, and the following account, copied from the Williams Brothers' History, is very likely as near to the facts as could in any way be ascertained, as there is no historical record of early date.  Credit for this version is given to Harvey Nettleton.
     "Sweatland was an active young man, residing with his family on the lake shore, a short distance below the mouth of Conneaut Creek.  He was fondly attached to the sports of the woods, and made a chase a source both of profit and amusement.
     "A favorite method of capturing deer at this time was to chase up a herd of them with hounds, and drive them into the lake, as these animals readily take to the water when hotly pursued.  Sweatland kept a canoe for the purpose of going upon the lake in pursuit of the deer, and one of his neighbors, who acted in concert with him, kept a number of hounds.  The arrangement between the two men was that while Mr. Cousins, a neighbor, should go into the woods, and with the dogs start the deer toward the lake, Sweatland should be prepared to take his canoe and pursue and capture the deer as soon as it should take to the water.
     "His canoe was nothing more than a large whitewood log hollowed out and formed into the shape of a canoe, about 14 feet in length, and rather wide for its length.
     "It was a lovely morning in the early autumn of the year 1817; Sweatland had risen earlry, in anticipation of enjoying a chase upon the blue waters of the lake, and without putting on his coat or waistcoat, listening as he went towards his canoe for the approach of the hounds.  He soon heard their deep baying, and by the time he reached the boat he found that a large deer had already taken to the water and was rapidly moving away from the shore.  Throwing his hat upon the beach and boarding his canoe, he was soon engaged in an animated chase.  The wind, which had been fresh from the south during the night, began now to gradually increase until it became nearly a gale; but Sweatland, intent upon catching his prize, paid little or no heed to this.  The deer was a vigorous animal and, stoutly breasting the waves, gave proof that in a race with a log canoe, managed with a single paddle, he was not to be easily vanquished.  Our hero had attained a considerable distance from the shore before overtaking the animal.  The latter, turning and shooting past the canoe, struck out toward the shore.  Sweatland, with alarm, now discovered his danger.  Heading his frail bark toward the land, he discovered that with the utmost exertion he could make no headway whatever against the terrible gale that was now blowing against him, but, in fact, was every moment being carried further and further from the shore.
     "His outward progress had been observed by Mr. Cousins and others on the shore, who now became alarmed for his safety.  They saw at once the impossibility of his returning in the face of such a gale, and unless help could be got to him he was doomed to perish at sea.  Soon a boat containing Messrs. Gilbert, Cousins and Belden was launched, with a full determination of making every possible effort for his relief.  They soon met the deer returning toward the shore, when, meeting with a sea in which they judged it impossible for a canoe to live, they returned, giving Sweatland up for lost.
     "Our hero, meantime, was manfully battling with the waves of an angry sea.  He possessed a cool head and stout heart, which, was a tolerable degree of physical strength, and remarkable powers of endurance, were of degree of physical strength, and remarkable powers of endurance, were of immense advantage to him in his emergency.  As the day wore away, he receded farther and farther from the shore.  As he followed with his eyes the outline of the distant shore, he could distinguish the spot where his own dear cabin stood, filled with hearts burning with anxiety and distress on his behalf.  During the day one or two schooners were seen, which he tried in vain to signal.
     Seeing the utter hopelessness of getting back to the American shore, he made up his mind to sail with the wind and strike out for the Canada side.  The gale had now arisen until it was indeed furious.  He was borne on over the angry waters, utterly powerless to guide his bark.  He was obliged to stand erect, moving cautiously from one extremity of his vessel to the other, so as to trim it to the waves, fearing that each succeeding plunge would be the last one.  He was obliged, too, to bail his boat of water, using his shoes for this purpose.
     "Hitherto our hero had been blessed with the cheerful light of day.  Now darkness was rapidly approaching.  The billows of the sea looked dark and frowning.  Thinly clad and destitute of food, our hero passed a terrible night.  When morning came, he found he was in sight of land, and that he was nearing Long Point, on the Canada shore.  After being buffeted by wind and waves for nearly thirty hours, he reached the land in safety, and no mortal man was ever more thankful.  Still, exhausted from fatigue and faint from hunger, he found himself 40 miles from any settlement, while the country that intervened was a desert, filled with marshes and tangled thickets.
     "We will not undertake to describe his toilsome journey toward the Canadian settlements.  Suffice it to say he arrived in the course of 20 or more hours, and was kindly received by the people, who showed him every hospitality.  On his way to the settlement he had the good fortune to find a quantity of goods, supposed to have been driven on shore from the wreck of some vessel.  Accompanied by some of the inhabitants, he returned and took possession of the goods, which he carried to Buffalo, and from the avails of which he purchased himself a new suite of clothes.  He then took passage on the schooner 'Fire-Fly' bound for Ashtabula Harbor.  Arriving at his dwelling, guns were fired from the deck of the schooner and the crew gave three loud cheers.  On landing, he found that his funeral sermon had been preached, and that his wife was clad in the habiliments of morning."

     Changed Their Plans. - Starting from Harpersfield, N. Y., in 1798, one Thomas Montgomery, with his family and a man named Aaron Wright, set out for the Western Reserve with the idea of making their destination the town now in this county, which had been named for their old home place, Harpersfield.  When they reached Conneaut, they stopped for a rest and to look around, and the result was a decision to locate there, and they became the first permanent residents of that place.
     Being, as it were, the gateway to the great West, they decided that it was destined to become a place of importance, and the general beauty of the surroundings and promising outlook was what caused them to give up locating in Harpersfield, notwithstanding they would there be among their friends who had preceded them from the East.
     It happened that they, too, found an inviting, ready-made domicile awaiting them, the Kingsbury family having moved on and left the surveyor's house again vacant and free to all comers.  Of this the Montgomery-Wright party took possession immediately and prepared to settle.  In addition to this, they had the advantage of cleared spaces that had been under cultivation by the Indians, who had but recently withdrawn to new localities, away from the encroachments of the white men.  Thus relieved of the burden and delay necessary to the construction of a house and the clearing of trees and stumps to make room for crops, this party had a good start toward their future prosperity.
     The year following the settlement of the Montgomery-Wright party, they were joined by several families from the east, and one can imagine what a joy it was to have the solitude of their existence broken by the sight of friendly and familiar faces, the ring of the ax and the song of the chopper.  Among the newcomers, in the year 1799, were John and Nathan King, Samuel Bemus and Robert, Levi and John Montgomery, all from New York state.  They at once decided to follow the example set by their immediate predecessors and locate on the eastern edge of the Reserve, and they began the construction of cabins.  Aaron Wright built his home on the site where now stand the Cummings' homes, in the western suburb of Conneaut.  The following account of one little incident of makeshift pioneer life is credited to Mr. Wright:
    
"I once lived 16 days without seeing a human face, excepting my own, in the pail of water which I  used for a looking-glass, when compelled to shave, and this was the only facility I had for making my toilet for a long time.  After my 16 days' seclusion, a friend called upon me, and of course I was anxious to receive him hospitably and entertain him in good style.  My larder was wanting in one very important article, viz: meat, the bones of my last porcupine having already been picked.  While I was in this dilemma, two other friends called, one of them, fortunately, having killed a fine turkey.  I set him to stripping the feathers, while I prepared my kettle and some dough where with to make a potpie, by simply putting the flour and water together.  I soon had supper in readiness, and my friend has often informed me that it was the best meal to which he ever sat down, made up of my potpie, bread, pepper and salt.  When it was time to retire I spread my straw bed upon the floor as usual, and, by lying crosswise, four of us enjoyed a good night's rest."
     Another year brought numerous additions to the colony, many people of the East being attracted by the glowing accounts that got back there regarding the new country, its advantages and promise.  Among the next settlers are named Seth Herrington, James Harper and James Montgomery, with their families; Daniel Baldwin, James and Nathaniel Laughlin, Dr. Nehemiah King, the first physician, who was a most welcome acquisition to the settlement; Peter King, Sr., and Peter King, Jr., Elisha and Amos King, Hananiah Brooks, Caleb Thompson, William Perrin, David Gould, Zebediah and Seth Thompson, Daniel Sawtell, James Dunn and others.
     Each successive year brought many newcomers, from all parts of the East, and it was not many years till they who comprised the thrifty colony began to talk about organizing a village.  This culminated in the year 1804, in the organization of Salem Township, and it was the first organized township in Ashtabula County.  Salem included that territory to the south which is now Monroe, which latter section was taken from Salem in 1818 and given its present name.  The name Salem gave way to Conneaut in 1832 after the postoffice and river had been known by that name for a long time.
     The home of Nathan King was the scene of the first meeting called for the election of officers for the new town, and the men named, and their respective positions, were as follows:  Clerk, James Montgomery; trustees, respectively positions, were as follows:  Clerk, James Montgomery; trustees, James Harper, Nathan King and William Gerguson; poormasters, Hananiah Brooks and Joseph Tubbs; supervisors of highways, John King and James Montgomery; fence viewers, Seth Harrington and James Ferguson; constable, Levi Montgomery; treasurer, James Harper.  Dr. Samuel l. Fenton was elected the first mayor of Contact, in 1834.

     First Family to Winter Here - The assertion that James Kingsbury and his wife and children were the first family who spent a winter on the Western Reserve has never been disputed, and they had a most tragic experience as a result of their venturing into the unbroken West.  They landed at Conneaut Creek shortly after the surveying party had moved on to the Cuyahoga River and established its permanent headquarters.  The Kingsburys were in great luck, for a starter.  They had not known where they might settle when they reached the new land of promise, but when they found the good house vacated by the surveyors, they at once took possession, congratulating themselves on their good fortune in not having possession, congratulating themselves on their good fortune in not having to pitch their tent in the forest for an indefinite period till they could build a place of abode.
     The late Harvey Nettleton is given credit for the following account of the experiences of the Kingsbury family, is the history published by the Williams Brothers:
     "The story of the sufferings of the family during that severe winter has often been told, but by those who are in the midst of plenty and to whom want has never been known, it is with difficulty appreciated.
     "Circumstances rendering it necessary during the fall for Mr. Kingsbury to make a journey to the State of New York, he left his family in expectation of a speedy return, but during his absence he was prostrated with a severe sickness that confined him to his bed until the setting in of winter.  As soon as he was able, he started on the return trip to the new home, fully realizing that his extended absence might mean great hardship to the family back there in the wilds alone.  At Buffalo he secured the services of an Indian guide, who conducted him through the wilderness.  At Presque Isle (Erie), anticipating the wants of his family, he purchased 20 pounds of flour and proceeded on his journey.  In crossing Elk Creek on the ice, he disabled his horse and left it in the snow, and, placing the flour upon his own back, pursued his way, filled with gloomy forebodings as to the condition of his family.
     "On his arrival on the evening, his worst apprehensions were more than realized in the agonizing scene that met his eyes.  Stretched upon the cot lay the partner of his cares, who had followed him through all the dangers and hardships of the wilderness without repining, pale and emaciated, reduced by fierce famine to the last stages in which life can be sustained, and near the mother, on a little pellet, were the remains of his youngest child, born in his absence, and who had just expired from the want of that nourishment which the mother, herself deprived of sustenance, could not supply.
     "Shut up by a gloomy wilderness, far from the aid and sympathy of all friends, filled with anxiety for an absent husband, suffering with want, destitute of necessary assistance, she was compelled to behold two children expire around her, powerless to help them.
     "Such is the picture presented, truthful in every respect, for the contemplation of the wives and daughters of today, who have no adequate conception of the hardships endured by the pioneers of this beautiful country of ours.
     "It appears that Mr. Kingsbury, who later became known as Judge Kingsbury, in order to supply the wants of his family, was under the necessity of transporting his provisions from the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on a handsled, and he and his hired man drew a barrel of beef the whole distance at a single load."
     In later years Mr. Kingsbury became a prominent figure in the life and progress of the Western Reserve, and eventually he changed his place of residence from Conneaut to Newburg.

     Car Ferry Disasters. - There seemed to be an unkind fate guiding the Conneaut care ferries in their early career.  The undertaking of winter navigation proved very costly, it being quite a common occurrence for the ships to become stuck in the ice for days or weeks, and, in one instance, at least, in the winter of 1894, the Shenango No. 1 drifted about the lake for three months before being freed from the icy shackles that held her helpless.  This same boat eventually fell prey to the ice floss.  Her last trip was on Jan. 8, 1904, when she left Rondeau, Canada, for her home port and, almost at the entrance to Conneaut Harbor, in sight of her home dockage, she was stopped by the heavy anchor of ice and became so solidly embedded that she was unable to move forward or backward.  After several days' efforts to free her, dynamiting was resorted to as a last hope, and that proving also of no avail, there was nothing to do but wait for the spring breakup.  Again this ship lay fast in the ice for three months, but was not destined to so fortunate a release as before, for on March 11 she was discovered to be on fire in her hold, and all of her that would burn was licked up by the flames and only her shell remained.  When the ice broke up in the spring the hull sank, and that was the last of the Shenango No. 1.  The flames worked so fast that one fireman, who was asleep in his berth, was unable to get out and was cremated.
     The Bessemer & Marquette No. 2 car ferry left Conneaut on Dec. 7, 1909, for Post Stanley, Ont., with a cargo of loaded coal cars, and was never heard of again.  This case was one of the greatest mysteries of the history of Lake Erie.  That a ship of such magnitude could be so utterly lost in Erie's shallow waters would be unbelievable were it not for the proof given in this case, for the lake was dragged and sounded for years, till it seemed that every foot of the lower end had been examined, and not a sign of the wreck was ever located.  The ship was manned by a crew of 32 men, under Capt. R. R. McLeod, of Conneaut, and carried 30 cars of coal and structural steel.  During the afternoon of the day when she cleared, a strong southwest wind rapidly increased into a terrific gale, which continued with unabated fury throughout the following night.  No one knows where, or when, or why the staunch ship foundered, for not one who was on board survived.  It was a generally accepted theory that some of the cars must have broken their fastenings and, with the ship rolling and pitching, gone through her bow or side.  It was over a week before the first sign of the boat came to light, and that consisted of a most gruesome discovery.  A fish tug out about 15 miles from Erie picked up one of the lifeboats of the Bessemer & Marquette No. 2, about 15 miles in the lake, which contained the frozen bodies of nine of the ship's crew.  The following spring two more bodies of members of the crew were picked up on the beach below Long Point, on the Canada side, and another was recovered from the ice in the Niagara River.  During the following summer the body of one of the pilots was found in midlake, and shortly afterward Captain McLeod's was discovered nearly buried in the sand of Long Point (By C. S. Putnam).

     Pullman's Contract. - The Christian Church Society of Conneaut gave to the Pullmans, of palace care fame, their first big john, and thereby helped to put them on the road to wealth and notoriety.  Long years before the Pullmans ever thought of the palatial sleeping and drawing room cars, much less of founding a great city to carry their name and fame down the ages, the senior Pullman and his two sons, George and Albert, were the original inventors of a house-moving device that had proven very successful in transporting small buildings from one lot to another, and which they claimed would work equally well on large buildings, but they never had a chance to prove it out fully till they heard that the Christian Church Society of Conneaut was desirous of changing the location of their house of worship.  The Pullmans lived in Dunkirk, and Mr. Pullman went to Conneaut and contracted with the church officials to move the building for a consideration of $170.
     The First Christian Church was founded on May 23, 1818, and meetings were held for some time in the Peter King schoolhouse, the Rev. John Cherry being the first pastor.  After a few years, the society erected a church at the old center, a mile west of the present principal business section.  About the middle of the last century the property on Buffalo street was acquired, and then arose the question of a building thereon, as the officials had little faith in the efficacy of the moving machines of the Pullman's, of which they had heard.  The building was a heavy frame structure, 40 x 50 feet on the ground.  It was built in the days when the best of timber was used and was substantial in every particular.  To move such a building today a distance of a mile would be but a matter of a few days' work at most, but it took two months to accomplish the feat with the crude machinery of the Pullmans.  That was before the quietude of Conneaut had been disturbed by the scream of the locomotive whistle and the rumble of the cars, and the moving apparatus was brought overland from Dunkirk, a distance of more than 50 miles.  Three teams of horses were required to haul the outfit.  The three Pullmans and one other man performed the work of moving.  The men boarded with the Fifield family, strong supporters of the church, who took them in as an accommodation, and not for gain, as the Fifields did not need the money.  In fact, they received no money.  The job proved a losing venture financially, and to help recompense the contractors for their losses, the Fifields charged them nothing for the care of the men and teams while the work was going on.  The old church was placed on its new foundation without damage and served the congregation well for many years.  In 1913 it was displaced by the present splendid structure, in which was held the great demonstration that celebrated, the hundredth anniversary of the organization, on May 26, 1918.

     Stage Coach Tragedy. - Conneaut River furnished the setting for a distressing tragedy that illustrated the possibility of accidents when traveling by stage, as well as the interruptions liable to befall such means of going from place to place.  On Feb. 10, 1832, the regular stage coach left Erie for Cleveland, filled with passengers.  There had been a few days' thaw, and when the conveyance reached "Conneaught" Creek (so spelled in the newspaper account), it was found that the ice had broken up and a freshet was in progress that overflowed the banks of the stream.  It was at once apparent that the stage could not be taken farther until the water receded, but some of the passengers were anxious to be on their way and thought if they could get across, they could procure other conveyance and proceed on their journey.  The driver was induced to unhitch a horse and try to ride it through the stream, which he accomplished very successfully, and returned to the stage.  The passengers who were in a hurry, among whom was a Mr. A. M. Brown, then mounted the other horses and, piloted by the driver, started through the flood.  Mr. Brown allowed his horse to deviate from the course the others were taking and got into deep water and was swept away, out into the lake, underneath the ice and his body was not recovered.

     First White Settler - Soon after the Connecticut Land Company's party of surveyors arrived and landed at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, they were surprised upon learning of the presence of a man in that locality who believed to have been the first white settler of the Western Reserve.
     His name was Halsted, and he had a shack in what is now East Conneaut, where he said he had lived along for several years.  He was friendly in his attitude toward the newcomers, but did not court intimacy, and was never at all communicative relative to himself.  He showed little interest in anything regarding the eastern section of the country and, withal, was quite a mysterious personage.  He disappeared shortly after the surveyors arrived, not taking the trouble to say good-bye, nor to tell where he was going.

    Plans of Steel Company - The formation of the United States Steel Corporation, in 1901, was a cause for deepest regret for Conneaut residents, as it deprived that place of that which would undoubtedly have been the starter for a great future steel town.  On Jan. 8, 1901, the Associated Press announced, as given out by President Charles Schwab, of the Carnegie Steel Company, that that concern would soon begin the erection of what would be the largest tube mill in the world, its location to be at Conneaut, Ohio, and its cost $12,000,000.  This announcement attracted wide attention throughout the country, and produced a state of great excitement in Conneaut.  As an earnest of this announcement, the land agents of the company began closing options on thousands of acres of land east and south of the harbor, which options had already been quietly obtained during the preceding year.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to such landowners, and it meant independence for several of them, but the plan was doomed to be nipped in the bud, for the formation of the United States Steel Corporation included absorption of the Carnegie Steel Company and resulted in an abandonment of the tube mill project, and the anticipations of great commercial expansion by Conneaut residents underwent a decided eclipse. (C. S. Putnam)

     Public Library - Away back in the early years of Conneaut steps were taken to obtain for Conneaut a public library, and numerous schemes were worked whereby to procure funds with which to start such an institution.  Most notable of the efforts was a series of annual excursions to Conneaut Lake, which were fun for several successive years under the direction of George J. Record, and the net proceeds were turned over to the township trustees, after a library had finally been established.  In 1905 was formed the People's Free Library Association, composed of members who are willing to pay a yearly tax, that the general public might have the benefit of free reading.  The collection was in the hands of H. H. Timby, who circulated them from his bookshop.  In November of that year the question of sustaining a free public library by taxation was voted on and carried by a good majority.  Mr. Timby continued in charge of the books until 1908, when, through the generous gift of $25,000 by Mr. Carnegie, a new building was erected and formally opened to the public on May 3, 1909.  Marie T. Brown was chosen librarian, a position she still holds.  Besides the circulation from the library, there have been placed at Amboy, at the Bethel, at the schools in Amboy, Farnham and North Conneaut, small assortments of books for the convenient use of rural communities.  The patrons of the library number fully 7,000 persons.

     Country Club - One of the social institutions of which Conneauters are proud is the Country Club, which was organized in 1921.  When a few enthusiastic Conneaut men had the temerity to suggest such an organization, others looked doubtful and the promoters received little encouragement.  However, they were not to be discourage until they had put the proposition to a test, and they were most agreeably surprised at the interest shown, and the outcome of their efforts was within a month there had been subscribed $16,000 worth of stock in a holding company, a tract of 76 acres had been secured, and within 60 days from the launching of the project a new golf course had been constructed.  The club today has a splendid home and property on the lake road.

     East Conneaut as "Little Hope". - An old resident of East Conneaut, whose modesty evidently prevented the appearance of his name, wrote the following reminiscence for the News-Herald:
     "Little Hope of 60 years ago had few attractions, no business to speak of, a quiet little place.  Two schoolhouses, the little yellow one at the corner of Thompson and Main roads.  I say little, but it held all there were to go and served as Sunday school room, with good Noah Bartlett to lead and see that our verses were committed to memory.  That made Bible scholars.  And the red brick that stood at the corner of Middle road and Main, where the grade school stands today, and in 1862 was used for Sunday school, with Russell Keys as superintendent.  Now the large building erected in 1902 accommodates 140.  But that is not to be compared with the splendid fireproof building that stands on Rowe street, with grades from fifth to ninth, accommodating 178 scholars, with a large auditorium, used for all entertainments, and is a good monument to the growth of East Conneaut.
     "In place of schoolhouses used for churches, we are to have a splendid new M. E. Church, made possible by the untiring efforts of Rev. Norman and committee.
     "The first time the writer walked over the road was the Fourth of July 62 years ago.  The first stop was at Sumantha Ray's shop, later Philando Petty's, the Eden of all small children, for the things were in a splendid messy heap that we all loved.
     "Every one who had no horse had to walk and carry all of their groceries.
     "We went to Keyes' grocery and got those splendid big codfish and Bill's Buffalo soap, with the picture of a charging buffalo and the soap as strong as the buffalo.  The codfish has become an aristocrat and not for the poor people, and Bills Buffalo soap has been outclassed by many others.
     Then we came down the hill and up the hill and back to Little Hope and brought some nice striped sticks of candy six inches long.  There are none like it, the taste is not there, it is gone with many other things of childhood.
     "The other business places were Russell Thompson's wagon shop and James and Harry Guthrie's blacksmith shop.  Dunn's tavern, kept by Bob Williams, who kept drink for man and beast, where we stopped to rest a pair of tired little feet, for the trail was long, and as the years go by it grows longer."  

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