SUMMIT, STOW, APRIL 2nd, 1872
I read with deep interest the article from your Hinckley correspondent, Doctor Wilcox, no doubt. To think he would give so minutely, and yet so truthfully, facts connected with my fathers early settlement in this township! As I read of the doings of my dear mother, in relation to the disposition made of that quite expensive flour; I thought of what she used to say and do with and by her importuning children. Mother used with aching heart and falling tears give sparingly of those carefully kept loaves of bread, lest there might be greater suffering by giving than witholding. But we, through the kindness of the Indians, lived to see better days. In the fall of 1805, my father was sick, apparently near unto death, and the kindness and attention we received from the Indian Chief, Wagmong, will go with me to the end of life. He was the chief of a tribe settled upon the south bank of the beautiful Stow Lake (Silver Lake). There are many things that might be said of and by the few remaining of the early settlement of this country that must be said soon, or never, for time is winging us away to our eternal homes.
Copied from Cleveland Herald
At the time of the affair which I am going to narrate, there were only four families in Stow township, but Indians were numerous. There were two large villages of them at the Big Falls of the Cuyahoga one on the west side occupied by the Delaware, and …one on the East side occupied by the six nations probably of the Seneca tribe the Cuyahoga being the national boundary between them. Wagmong with his band lived on the south side of Stow Lake. Peace and quietude prevailed between the whites and Indians, and among the Indians themselves, and they maintained friendly intercourse with one another, but private squabbles and fights would now and then happen, as my story will go to show. Judge William Wetmore lived in a log house on the east shore of the lake, and but a few rods from it. Capt. Thomas Rice lived a little south west of the lake, and Wagmong lived between on a sandy ridge thrown up by the action of the wind and waves on the south side of the lake. It was a lovely spot. The Cuyahoga was only a short distance to the south and lake on the north. Both abounded with fish. It was a favorite resort for wild fowl, and in summer, the deer, then numerous, would wade in the water in the night to escape from the torment of insects, and it was a fine place to hunt deer by a process called by the whites “candling,” and of spearing fish by torch light. All these advantages and the natural beauty of the scenery made it favorite resort for both whites and Indians.
“About eighty rods from our house where we first settled, John Campbell who was one of the four heads of families mentioned, built a log house and put his wife and one child, a babe, in it. Having no boards in those days for floors, split logs were used, with the split side up. These would shrink and make open places, which, added to frequent knots and other irregularities, made rough and open floors. One day Mrs. Campbell put her child, then two or three years old, in the middle of the floor and gave it a tin of bread and milk, shutting the door, went up to see my mother. On her return she thought she would just look in through a little window to see what the child was doing, as she heard the child uttering some childish words, and, behold, there lay a large yellow rattle snake, coiled almost into the child’s lap, and was licking the milk off from the child’s apron, which had dropped upon it: and the child, just at the moment the mother looked in, was patting the snake over the head with the spoon to make him stop doing so. Mrs. Campbell opened the door with a scream, and the snake went down through a crack in the floor. She took the child to our house, and my Father and M. Campbell, who soon came, turned over the logs of the floor and killed the snake. It evidently smelt the milk, and with an instinctive impression of the child’s innocence and inability to hurt him, attempted to partake of some of the child’s food.”
My father came here with a single span of horses and one of them was bitten and died, which proved a great loss to us at that particular time. A man Samuel Baker, came here about 1808 or 09, and built a Log House just North of the Cemetery, …at that time a plan was formed to watch every spring at the different places where the snakes came up out of the Gulf until they should be exterminated. And Baker said he would be one of the number if Sunday was given to him, as he could not spend a working day, which was agreed to. One Sabbath morning, about 10 a.m. he discovered a large number of snakes just opposite the Cemetery coming out of a small crevice in the rocks about 10 feet below where he stood, at the base of which was a narrow strip of land above the abyss below, upon which the snakes were sunning. When Baker supposed they were all out he pulled off his coat and dropped it down the mouth of the crevice, and then with a pole prepared for the purpose he croked the crevice with his coat.
Then with the pole he descended and killed 65 rattle snakes. My Father, Brother, good old Deacon Butler, myself and others saw them counted, why I have mentioned Deacon Butlers name is this: he, with the few inhabitants here, was holding a Deacons Meeting at Stow Corners in a Log House, and just as Mr. Butler was in the midst of a prayer Bakers son came bounding into the room exclaiming at the top of his voice, “O, Dads got a pile of snakes; Dads got a pile of snakes!” The Deacon said “Amen”, and all ran out to view the slain enemy, which was a sight for is indeed and which I will remember. My Father hired Baker to blast open the den the next day, and found only one more in there, the largest one of all, supposed to be the pioneer, and the mother and grandmother of good share of those killed. The Den was like an old out door brick oven, only larger, and full of leaves carried in by animals before the snakes took possession. This watching was continued every spring until they were exterminated in this vicinity.