History changed because of a migraine?

August 12, 2008 at 9:22 pm 1 comment


by Loraine Ritchey thatwb@yahoo.com

Hopefully not! Tuesday an intrepid little band under the leadership of CVSI’s Diane Wargo Medina went about learning how to preserve the crumbling headstones of Lorain’s founding families.

I had one of my “migraines” the kind that send you into the dark abyss. In the middle of my journey through hell -a newspaper called ( I bet the reporter thought I was drunk at the very least) asking about Lorain’s cemetery. I am not sure I made much sense and as soon as I was able I rushed to the computer to double check the facts I had given. I think I was alright- but I thought a reprisal of Lorain’s history and a reminder may be in order : From Deja Vu Two

Through the years Lorain’s main sources for Charleston Village have been The Black River Historical Society, Lorain Public Library System and Diane Medina. Between these resources we have been able to get a picture of Lorain’s beginnings.

“Lorain In Retrospect “ an address circa 1926 to the Lorain Real Estate Board given by J.J. Meyer states:

Dawn Era: In searching for records we encounter an inexplicable contrast between the meagerness of local recordings, compared with the vast stores of written history and folklore general in the Western Reserve……..

But here – (ed Lorain) nary a line about hearing the boom of Oliver Hazard Perry’s cannon on that eventful September 10th, 1813 only 35 miles distant, so plainly heard at Cleveland, 30 miles further away, with a distant relative of the hero of the event conducting a trading post here”

However, the History of Lorain, Ohio, (Chronology to 1879 -compiled by the Lorain Public Library) seems to disagree as they do mention the following

Guns of the Battle of Lake Erie can be heard at Black River on September 10, 1813.

It seems the community on the Black River was probably more concerned with living the history rather than noting it. A History of Lorain by J.B. Nichols-1924

A removal into the depths of the Ohio woods, where a man was directly placed face to face with primitive conditions, brought him at once to the practical contemplation of his problem and the solution was in his own hands; food, shelter, raiment. Here was the earth, whose soil was to furnish bread and clothing, but it was covered with a thick growth of great trees to be removed before it could be planted. Their trunks and barks must be converted into houses.

A temporary supply of food was carried by the immigrant with him. In making his way to his purchase he pursued the trail that led nearest to it, and, with his ax, opened the rest of the way. The point gained, the same implement cut down and prepared the tree trunks for the first cabin, which the hands of the whole party, women and children as well, helped to place in the low crude walls of the primitive structure, while the bark of the basswood and elm made the cover. Doorless, floorless, windowless, chimneyless, the pioneer eagerly took possession of his cheerless cabin.

Thousands of them within 70 years were built and occupied in the Lorain woods. Men and women lived in them there; and children – all the elders of the new generation – were born in them. Death came in them there; and there young women became brides and dwelt the happy wives of happy husbands. Of all the dwellings in the woods, scarcely the site of one can now be identified. Next to the erection of their own cabin, the most important event was the arrival of another family in the woods and the erection of their dwelling received the joyous help of every male within 10 miles of it.

Mr. Meyer continues:

“(Lorain) content(s) itself with the scant available records of this period, preceding the 16th day of July 1834, when a tiny map somewhat crude according to present day standards (1926) was presented to the county recorder for public record “

This was the Durand Map of May 10th 1834

Mr. Meyer refers to this as “our corporate birth certificate”
ED NOTE: it was Barna Meeker’s headstone and Daniel Baldwins that were in such a terrible state.
On July 2nd 1834 Conrad and Abigail Reid, Daniel and Sophia Baldwin, Quartus and Elizabeth Gilmore, Barna Meeker and Ann Meeker appeared before Frederick Whittlesesy (Justice of the Peace) and acknowledge the map to be a true plat of the town.
Mr. Meyer continued:

“You may have observed the unusual procedure pertaining such a certificate minus the NAME, as evidenced in this case. The recording of a nameless town plat, whose survey began at the north corner of a square with sides facing east, west, south and north, would indeed require the co-operation of an obliging recorder of this day and age”….

What then was the motive of these four enterprising spirits who, with their spouses, attested with their signatures to Lorain’s nameless infant townsite?

To be continued………..

Entry filed under: city of lorain, history.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. renee dore  |  August 13, 2008 at 4:00 am

    That was a lot to post Loraine, and thanks for doing so with having such a bad day.There’s so much info to cover about this little village area. It amazes me. Diane amazes me… her passion & perseverance to keep on with this project. What great results in honor of these these old settlers who are so long gone and almost forgotten. Renee

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