Retired Director, APHGA
Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States.
Library of Congress photograph collection.
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Brush with Celebrity
David’s brother Cyrus was born 1779 in Stillwater, Saratoga County, New York[iii]. He was named co-executor of his late father’s estate with his widowed mother on 14 Jul 1800 in Saratoga County, NY, his residence being identified as in Stillwater.[iv] He removed from Stillwater and settled in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York about 1801, where he was employed as a schoolteacher.[v] In 1802 he married Lydia Stow[vi], and by her had at least five children. Cyrus was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Cayuga County, New York in 1804 and in 1806 was a Judge of the County Courts.[vii] Cyrus was a Senior Warden at the first meeting of the Sylvan Lodge, No. 41, Free and Accepted Masons, in Moravia, NY, of which lodge he was an Acting Worshipful Master on 8 January 1811.[viii] On 6 February 1811, Cyrus was named an officer of the newly formed St. John the Baptist R.A. Chapter, No. 30 in Moravia.[ix] “At a communication held October 29, 1811, Cyrus Powers was appointed a deputy to the Grand Lodge of the State of New York to procure a charter. He attended the session of the Grand Lodge held November 27, 1813 in New York City... At a communication held January 6, 1812, Cyrus Powers, Ithlel Platt and Jesse Millard were appointed a committee to confer with the school district committee in regard to the erection of a building for the use of the school and Masons. The subscription paper bears the date of April 8, 1812.”[x]
Cyrus Powers was named a head of household in the 1820 U.S. Federal Census, living in Sempronius, NY. In his household were two free white males under 10 years of age, one free white male of 10 through 16, one free white male of 16 through 18, one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, one free white female of 10 through 16, two free white females of 26 through 45. Three people in the household were engaged in agriculture.[xi] Cyrus’ wife Lydia died May 1821 in Sempronius, at the age of 41.[xii] She was buried in the Kelloggsville Cemetery in Sempronius.[xiii]
Cyrus married a second time o Mrs. Orpha Walker, a widow, on 2 February 1826 in Lansing, Tompkins County, New York.[xiv] He was listed as head of household in Lansing, NY according to the 1830 U.S. Federal Census. Cyrus and Orpha had a son, Lemuel Powers, born in 1827 (probably in Lansing, NY).[xv] In his household were one free white male under 5 years of age, two free white males of 15 through 20, two free white males of 20 through 30, one free white male of 50 through 60, two free white females of 15 through 20 and one free white female of 40 through 50.[xvi] Cyrus was listed as head of household in Niles, Cayuga County, New York according to the 1840 U.S. Federal Census. In his household was one free white male of 10 through 15, one free white male of 15 through 20, one free white male of 60 through 70, two free white females of 15 through 20, one free white female of 50 and under 60. His son Warren Powers was listed on this same census page.[xvii] Cyrus died 10 October 1841 in Sempronius[xviii], suffering, perhaps from diabetes.[xix] After his death Dr. William F. Cooper who had, prior to his death, treated Cyrus for trouble in his legs and ankles was assigned guardianship of Cyrus’s youngest son Lemuel.[xx]
Warren Powers, the eldest child of Cyrus and Lydia (Stow) Powers, was born 1807 in NY[xxi], married Matilda Judson in Moravia, Cayuga County, New York in 1831 and had with her two children, Warren Powers, born in 1836 and Lydia Powers born about 1839 in NY[xxii]. Warren Powers, Sr., died 17 August 1865 in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota[xxiii]. His wife Matilda died 8 Nov 1889 in Pleasant Valley, Carleton County, Minnesota, at the home of her daughter Lydia, wife of Matthew James Laird[xxiv].
Dr. Cyrus Powers, the third child of Cyrus and Lydia (Stow) Powers, was born 8 Jul 1814 in Sempronius.[xxx] He was a practicing physician in Moravia in 1845, when he joined the Cayuga County Medical Society[xxxi]. He married Cornelius Carter, daughter of Eleazer Carter on 22 September 1846 in Moravia[xxxii]. No children are known of this union. Dr. Cyrus Powers died in Moravia on 21 March 1880[xxxiii] where he was buried in the Indian Mound Cemetery[xxxiv].
The fourth child of Cyrus and Lydia (Stow) Powers was a son, Haven Powers, born in 1817 (probably in Sempronius). He also became a lawyer and lived in Croydon, Sullivan County, New Hampshire[xxxv], Irving, NY and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Adaline in 1850.[xxxvi] The youngest child of Cyrus and Lydia (Stow) Powers, was Henry Powers who was born in 1820, probably in Sempronius[xxxvii]. He was living in Plymouth, Wayne County[xxxviii] prior to his death in Moravia on 10 December 1850.[xxxix] It is not believed that he married. He was buried in the Kelloggsville Cemetery in Sempronius, NY.[xl]
David’s brother John Powers was born in 1784 (probably in Stillwater), and married Phena Southworth probably before 1810. [xli] John was listed as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census of Dryden, Tompkins County, New York. In his household were one free white male of 26 through 44, two free white females under 10 years of age, one free white female of 16 through 25 and one free white female of 26 through 44.[xlii] John and his family were living in Sempronius at the time that the 1820 U.S. Federal Census was taken. In his household were one free white male of 26 through 45, three free white females under 10 years of age, one free white female of 10 through 16, and one free white female of 26 through 45. One person in the household was engaged in agriculture. It would appear from this and the previous census that John and Phena had children. His brother Cyrus Powers was also listed on that same census page.[xliii] John died about 1821, probably in St. Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri, based on a letter written from David Powers to his sister Mary on 24 April 1823 in which he states “I received your letter of December. last in which was the supposed death of our Brother John & I think we have no reason to doubt the Reality of it from the accounts you state – I Much feared his death sometime before at St. Louis & knew not that a confirmation of such an account would so shoct me – But Dear Sister we must all died! and as the Poet expresses It must “have the parting breath, and pass alone the gloomy vale of Death!” But Alas! our Brother! lying upon the bed of Death – far from friends & his native home, the thought how agonizing – yet you a Sister can realize as well as I a Brother – But our Mother – who have children can better judge of her feelings than you...”[xliv] What brother John was doing in St. Louis, and what he died of, we do not know.
David’s brother Royal Newland Powers was born in 1786 in Stillwater, NY.[xlv] He studied medicine under Dr. Annable in Moravia, NY and later joined on 4 August 1808 the Cayuga County Medical Society.[xlvi] He married, before 1808, Francis L. Bottom in Stillwater.[xlvii] The couple had one son, Dr. Erasmus Darwin Powers, born 1808 in Cayuga County, (probably Stillwater).[xlviii] Royal N. Powers was listed as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census in Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York. In his household were one free white male under 10 years of age, one free white male of 16 through 25, and one white female of 16 through 25.[xlix] Also, in 1810, he served as a surgeon in Lt. Colonel Cornelius D. DeWitt’s regiment of the New York militia.[l] On 25 December 1810, he was present at the first meeting of the Sylvan Lodge, No. 41, Free and Accepted Masons, held at Moravia, NY.[li] He had moved to Ohio prior to 19 June 1811 when he was admitted to the Mt. Zion Lodge in Clinton, Knox County, Ohio, of which he was a member through 1812.[lii] Royal was drafted and served as Assistant Surgeon in Colonel Charles Miller’s 3rd Regiment of Ohio Militia during the War of 1812.[liii] Royal was an early settler of New Haven, and shared a medical practice with Dr. Samuel B. Carpender. [liv] He is also credited with being the first merchant to bring goods to the town for sale.[lv]
According to the History of Richland County website, “The first doctor was Royal V. Powers. He came in 1815, tore down that immortal first cabin and erected a frame building, about 18x26 feet and one story high. Here he swung his shingle, kept a few drugs and practiced medicine. Powers afterward settled in the vicinity of New Haven, Huron County, and he and his brother David laid out that place. His sister was the wife of Millard Fillmore.” The website also states that, “In 1815, E.P. Sturges came from Fairfield, Conn., and opened a little store in a log cabin, directly opposite the present site of the Wiler House. Soon after he bought out Dr. Powers, and that corner, where the first cabin was erected, has ever since been known as the “Sturges corner.” A Mr. Buckingham Sherwood came with him. They soon did a thriving business.”[lvi] As you can see, the exact year in which Royal Powers settled in New Haven is up for debate! According to the book Early Ohioans’ Residences from the Land Grant Records, Royal N. Powers was given a land grant in Richland, Ohio on 15 October 1815.[lvii] According to the book History of the Fire Lands, Royal was an inn-keeper in New Haven about 1816.[lviii] That same year, he sold land in Richland, OH to Ebenezer Sturges.[lix]
Numerous land sales were made by Royal and David Powers between the years 1815 and 1819. These are listed under David Powers’ biography (below). On 4 February 1819, Royal and his wife Frances deeded in-lot 100 in the town plat of New Haven to Prince Haskell for $30.[lx] On 13 February 1819, Royal and wife Frances deeded in-lot 115 in the town plat of New Haven to Stephen McDougal of Newark, Licking County, Ohio for $40.[lxi] On 30 Mar 1819, Royal and his wife Frances deeded lots 67, 69, 71 and 76 of the town plat of New Haven to William Clark and David Dow of New Haven for $1000.[lxii] On 7 April 1819, Royal and wife Frances deeded to George Shivvel of New Haven, land on lot 64, (except the small house) and lot 86 of the plat in the town plat of New Haven for $50.[lxiii] On 9 April 1819, Royal and wife Frances deed to Lucy Wilcox of New Haven, in-lot 95 in the Town Plat of New Haven “for and in consideration of the sum of one Spanish Milled Dollar lawful money of the United States”.[lxiv] According to The Coin Site, “The Spanish Milled Dollar was a term English speakers gave to the Spanish 8 Reales that was minted on a coin press from 1732-1826. The term “milled” refers to the fact that the coin blanks (planchets) were made on a milling machine and were of consistent weight and size. The introduction of this technologically superior product kept Spanish coins as a basis for the world monetary system...”
“Many countries, European and Asian, countermarked Spanish Milled Dollars for use within their own countries. In the United States these coins were legal tender up until the Civil War period. Milled Dollars had a powerful effect on the U.S. coinage system. Our dollar was based on the Spanish Milled Dollar and some of the slang expressions referring to this money still survive today. As an example, the 8 Real was often cut into 8 “bits” to make change. Each bit was worth 12 ½ cents (100 divided by 8). Though rapidly fading now, the expression 2 bits still refers to a quarter dollar.”[lxv]One dollar, whether Spanish or otherwise, was a low price to pay for property, even in 1819. This price might indicate a relationship between Lucy Wilcox and Royal and Frances Powers. Although no evidence to date supports this, there may be a connection between Lucy Wilcox and David Powers’ wife, whose maiden name was Polly Wilcox. Could Lucy have been the widowed mother-in-law of David, the brother of Royal Powers, or perhaps a widowed sister-in-law of Polly? The Huron County, Ohio Listserv on Rootsweb.com lists a query in which the Huron County Kinologist, Vol. 7, No. 3, Fall 1992 is quoted. This particular article was compiled by H. & M. Timman and is entitled “Huron County Early Guardianship Index”. Two names are listed: Asahel H. Wilcox, May 1820, and Lucy Wilcox, February, 1819.[lxvi] Although an internet search for Lucy Wilcox provided no results that could be tied to New Haven, an internet search of Asahel Wilcox did. The Biographies page of the Ohio Genealogy Express identify Asahel Wilcox as the father of F.E. Wilcox “who was born December 1843, in Peru township”. A grandson of Daniel Wilcox, F.E. Wilcox’s father was Asahel Wilcox, who was born 2 September 1805 in Gorham, Ontario County, New York and migrated to Ohio in 1820.[lxvii] It remains to be seen whether this Lucy Wilcox who purchased land in New Haven from Royal and Frances Powers, is related to Asahel Wilcox, son of Daniel Wilcox.
On 21 May 1819, Royal was amongst the jurors assigned to the murder trial in which two Native Americans were accused of killing John Wood and George Bishop in 1819 “on the Peninsula”; the trial was held at the County Court in Norwalk, OH. According to an article written by W.C. Allen in The Fire Lands Pioneer, “The next day, Friday May 21st, the trials took place. The Court room was crowded, and many, unable to gain admission into the room were congregated in the yard below. David Abbot, Esq., then living at the old County Seat, and S. Cowles, Esq. of Cleveland, appeared as attorneys for the Indians. Negonaba was the first to be arraigned, and the indictment was read and interpreted to him by John B. Flemmond. He plead not guilty. A jury was then impanelled, consisting of the following named persons, to wit: Josiah Rumery, Sylvester Pomeroy, William R. Beebe, Samuel Spencer, Moody Mears, Daniel Mack, Royal N. Powers, Daniel W. Warren, William Speers, and Isaac Allen. While the jury were being impanelled, Negonaba was called up to challenge the panel, and at once rejected every red-headed man on the jury.[lxviii]” (Author’s note: As a Pomeroy researcher for over seven years now, I was not surprised to see one pop up on this jury list. It is my opinion that the Pomeroys were the Forrest Gump of American History. They are, and were, everywhere!)
Back to the business of land sales. On 29 June 1819, Royal and wife Frances sold in-lots 17, 18, 19, 109 and 110 on the town plat of New Haven, to Wilson Elliott of Mansfield, Richland County, OH for $160.[lxix] The very next day, they sold in-lot 55 in the town plat of New Haven to Rachel Haskins for $25.[lxx] On 28 September 1819, Royal and Frances deeded in-lot 85 in the town plat of New Haven to Martin M. Kellogg of New Haven for $50.[lxxi] On 13 February 1820, Royal N. Powers “late of New Haven in said County of Huron and State of Ohio” purchased 8 acres of Lot 66 in New Haven from Oliver and Susannah Granger of Lower Sandusky for $24.[lxxii] It would appear from this last deed that Royal and wife Frances had moved. We learn where in the following deed, dated 3 June 1820, where Royal N. Powers and Francis S. his wife “of Delaware, in the County of Delaware in the State of Ohio” sold in-lot 20 in the town plat of New Haven to John McDowell for $35.[lxxiii] Delaware, OH is about 60 miles South South-west of New Haven, Ohio.
On 13 June 1820, Royal and wife Frances of Delaware, OH deeded 40 rods of land located on in-lots 53, 54 and 91 in the town plat of New Haven to David Reed and Frederick Casey for $50.[lxxiv]
Royal N. Powers was listed as a head of household in Delaware, OH according to the 1820 U.S. Federal Census, enumerated on 7 August 1820. In his household were one free white male of 10 through 16, one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, one free white female of 16 through 26 and one free white female of 26 through 45.[lxxv] While it is likely that the male of 10 through 16 was Royal’s son Erasmus Darwin Powers, and that Royal was the free white male of 26 through 45 and Francis was the free white female of 26 through 45, we do not know who the other two people in the household were.
On 28 May 1821, Royal N. Powers of Delaware, OH, without his wife Frances, deeded land on lot 81 in the town plat of New Haven “together with all improvements, water Courses, profits and appurtenances whatsoever to the said premises” to Chism May of Huron County, OH for $65.[lxxvi] Chism May was the father of Jesse May who married David Powers’ daughter Abigail in 1841. The omission of Francis L. (Bottom) Powers from this deed, may indicate that she had died before this deed was entered into the County Deed books, as she is not taken aside and questioned regarding her willingness to sell the property.
On 26 February 1822, Royal N. Powers, of Delaware, OH, deeded lots 13, 14, 15 and 16 in the town plat of New Haven “together with all improvements and appurtenances whatsoever” to John Holstead, Westly Davenport, Basil Davenport and Ira Davenport of Pickaway County, Ohio for $1800. Again, Royal’s wife Frances is not named in this deed.[lxxvii] A letter written by Royal’s son Erasmus Darwin Powers to his aunt Abigail Fillmore (a mere ten years his senior) and dated 7 February 1841, states “Suffice it to say that I have passed through every vicissitude of life that it is passible for man at my age to experience _ from poverty in boyhood [improtuted], unguided, and unadvised and at the tender age too of fourteen I commenced my lonely course through life (for I was absent from my only remaining friend my Father from that period until his death with little inception and wholly unaided by him)”[lxxviii] The book Leland Magazine gives a year of birth for Erasmus as 1808, if his letter is correct that he was alone at the age of 14, it seems logical that his mother was dead at that time, which would have been 1822. Did he go to live with his maternal grandparents after his mother’s death?
“The punishment was usually a form of mob extrajudicial punishment, sometimes imposed in connection with tarring and feathering. It was intended to show community displeasure with the victim so he either conformed his behavior or left.”[lxxxiv]
An all together different version of Royal’s troubles was told by his brother David in a letter to their sister Mary on 24 April 1823: “I should have written to you immediately after the reception of your letter had it not been that Royal left Delaware about that period of time & I could not learn to what place he intended to go for some time. I have since learnt that his intentionswere to go to some of the Southern States, he has not determined where he should make his place of residence, Darwin went with him – he resided in Kentucky last summer You have probably ere this heard something concerning him by the means of Capt. Potter, who told me that he saw Br. Cyrus & conversed with him about Royals situation. it is about one year since I have seen him, you have probably heard of his Expulsion from the Lodge & perhaps not of his restoration – on a trial at the Grand Lodge he was reinstated – I neglected awhile writing to you in hopes of giving you particular information relative to Br. Royal destined place of abode but I acknowledge Dear Sister that I have been guilty of a gross neglect in not writing sooner...”[lxxxv]
On 24 Jul 1823, Royal N. Powers of Delaware, OH, deeded to his brother David Powers, “land lying in the Township of Newhaven being a part of Lot No. sixty six” for five dollars.[lxxxvi] On 29 April 1824, Royal N. Powers of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, was issued a U.S. Patent (No. 3859X) for a reacting rotary steam engine.[lxxxvii] Royal wrote a letter to his sister Abigail on 8 February 1824 shedding light on this invention, and his physical and emotional state at that time:
“Cincinnati Feby 8th 1824
An article in the 11 Jun 1825 Sandusky Clarion creates a clearer picture of Royal’s continuing predicaments: “Public Notice is hereby given, to all whom it may concern, that on the application of the undersigned, a writ of attachments has this day been issued from the office of Samuel Preston, Esq, a justice of the peace in and for the township of Norwalk, in the county of Huron and state of Ohio, against the goods, chattels, rights, credits, moneys and effects of Royal N. Powers, an absent debtor. All persons interested, may govern themselves accordingly. O. PARISH, May 16th, 1825”.[lxxxix]
“I have been so occupied with my mechanical pursuits, that I have indeed forgotten when I wrote you last – Nevertheless, I suppose you have often heard from me, through the medium of the Newspapers, as I forwarded Since to Br Cyrus – I am Here pursuing my Mechanical investigations I am now building a boat & Engine on my improvision – Already I have reallised, exclusive of expenses, Several thousand dollars & if on further trial it Should justify the present expectations, it will be a fortune
”I am now making calculations to visit you in the course of the Season perhaps, in the Summer, with Darwin, who will by that time have completed his classical studies, or at least – all I believe I shall give him –
“As soon as I shall have Started an Engine & Boat on my plan: (Should it be Successful) my business will call me to the Eastward & I shall make my first tour to Cayuga - - I feel a strong propensity to return again to that Society which has hitherto given me So much pleasure & to Spend the remainder of my days with friends & connections – there is very little Satisfaction Arrived from this course of life – Its ease, & perplexities
of lifeare multiplied by the wont of a home - & I hope, from present prospects, to be able, soon – to secure a home, with a competency, for the [?] of lifemy days
“It will no doubt be a consolation to you & my friends in general to know that I am in good health & Darwin also - & that my prospects are truly flattering – But I do not build too much on those prospects Lest a disappointment Should ensue – I begin to feel also, I know not the cause, but some how or other I do not enjoy life as I ought – I have no place that I can call home or rather I can not reallize it – wandering from place to place among strangers – but I hope it will not last long – I believe I shall not write to Br Cyrus again, he seems to be indifferent about writing to me – Br. Lemuel was here Not Long Since to see me & my Engine. his & Davids family were well-- I Suppose that in 90 days from this time an Engine & Coat on my plan will be in operation. at that time I shall be able to make certain calculations for the future –
“The Small one which I have made has performed admirably for about 3 months under the inspection of thousands & still [?] its operation, but Such is the obstinacy of mankind that they will not believe till compelled by actual operations – No Man has ever attempted great operation without oppositions-“ the first man who attempted to drive a boat by steam was [?ed] and confined for a lunatic” “Fulton was thot by the populace to be crazy” But now those things are perfectly [?ion] – So there are oppositions to my System because Ignorance cannot comprehend it But I trust in Heaven that a few months will Shew to the world a new principle in mechanism which has hitherto escaped the researches of Mechanic Philosophers & remained for me to discover Adieu dear Sister & remember that under all circumstances
in life I am you affectionate brother
“Write to me at Cincinnati Ohio R.P.
[on opposite end of paper]
“[?] now I Supposed you had this letter, I am now on my way to Washington City for a patent for my Engine – you shall hear from me at that place – I am well – Darwin also – he is still at the school, at his latin – My Engine Still appears prosperous
“Wheeling Va, April 15th 1824”[lxxxviii]
Being at such insurmountable distance from loved ones, and depending only on the mail to receive scant information, it must have been nerve-racking to family he left behind, as evidenced by this letter written by Royal’s sister Mary to their sister Abigail. It seems likely that much of the information that Mary received was incorrect, but it is telling about the family’s concern for their brother: “ – sister I feel very much alarmed about Br Royal I saw Mr. Timothy Munger a few days since lately from Columbus Ohio he told me he heard two gentlemen in a public house near Columbus conversing about the recent death of Doct’ Powers who has served in the army that he had married a second wife near that place a dutch woman of great wealth that he was a man of great talents and not but represents him as rather dissipated for one of the gentlemen said he had been his companion in many high doings – they could not recollect his name but when Munger enquired if it was Royal they rather thought it was – Mr. Munger is a very intelligent man I am sure he made no mistake – but how Br Royal could return from Natchez to Columbus get married and our brothers in New Haven not hear anything of it does not seem possible – I have written to Br Lemuel on the subject and requested an immediate answer. I cannot think it is our Br Royal –“[xc]
A Sheriff’s sale notice in the 23 December 1826 edition of The Sandusky Clarion mentions Royal and his brother David: “Sheriff’s Sale. By virtue of a writ of Fi. Fa. to me directed and delivered, issued from the court of Common Pleas, in and for the county of Huron, Ohio; I have levied on lots No. 22 & 117, in the Town Plat of New-Haven, in said county, which I shall expose for sale at the Court-House in Norwalk, in said county, on the 27th day of January next, between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. of that day. Taken as the property of Philip R. Hopkins, James Williams and David W. Hinman, at the suit of David and R.N. Powers. Dated Norwalk, Dec. 21st, 1826, 28-5 HARVEY G. MORSE, Sheriff.”[xci]
Royal’s son, Erasmus Darwin Powers, wrote this in regards to his father’s last days on earth: “Father after he came to the South became very corpulent weighing two hundred and fifty pounds although not a large framed man, measuring only five feet two inches__ in his last illness he was reduced to a mere skeleton only weighing about one hundred and thirty pounds and died of Leathergy__ at the time of his death (abt. 1830) I was in the city of N. Orleans about six hund miles from him, and the management of his affairs was in the hands of strangers who swindled me out of every thing he possessed.”[xcii] This letter is intriguing as it paints a very different physical and emotional picture of Royal. His son states that he was 5’2” tall, while the article announcing his expulsion from “masonic favors” states that he is nearly 6 foot tall. Also, as a trained physician, we would expect Erasmus’ medical terminology to be accurate for that period of time, but lethargy seems an odd disease to die of, and by all accounts, Royal never seemed lethargic prior to his death. According to an edition of Johnson’s Dictionary published in 1836, Lethargy is described as “a morbid drowsiness”.[xciii] According to The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, the modern medical definition for lethargy is “A state of sluggishness, inactivity and apathy” and “A state of unconsciousness resembling deep sleep.”[xciv] Was Royal depressed, or in a coma prior to death?
We are uncertain exactly where Royal died. One source states that he died in Natchez, Mississippi[xcv], but using modern roads, the distance between Natchez and New Orleans is about 177 miles, and even with the older road system of the day, I don’t think the distance would have stretched to 600 miles as stated in Erasmus Darwin Powers’ letter to his Aunt Abigail. A letter written by Royal’s brother Lemuel to Millard Fillmore on 5 November 1828, states “My Brothers address is Washington Mississippi (Jefferson County)”.[xcvi]
The distance between Washington, MS and New Orleans, LA is about 300 miles, using modern roads. It is interesting that Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas, from which place Erasmus wrote the letter detailing his father’s demise, is (using modern roads) 595 miles from New Orleans. Did Royal die in Van Buren? Could this explain why his son was living there in 1841?
Yet another letter, pondering the death of Royal, was written by his brother Lemuel to their sister Abigail on 15 February 1831:
Imagine not knowing when or where a beloved sibling had died. And why didn’t Darwin write to his aunts and uncles to inform them of his father’s death?“My dear Sister
“I had yesterday the perusal of your letter of January. 21st to Brother David which conveys the information of the death of our Brother Royal from a different source than which we have received it which about confirms us in the belief that the news is too true – Early this winter Edson Harkness Esq of Mount Vernon in this state received a letter from Doct Woodruff of Washington Mississippi in answer to his inquiries respecting the Residence of our Brother Royal informing him that Br Royal had left that country and gone to the Uper part of the state and that he had heard that he died last spring that he new nothing of his circumstances or of Darwin, I have also learned by one of my neighbors who was down to Natches last year that Royal had left that Country 2 or 3 years ago – taking those reports and the distance of the Country
fromwhere he resided from Nattchess or Washington together with the silence of Darwin on so important a subject we have hitherto entertained a hope that the report at Natchess of his death might not be true, on my return from Columbus this Winter I called on my friend Harkness who I found had the same doubts as myself – But if Gen. Hyndes lives in the upper part of the state his information must be correct and no room is left for hope – Esqr. Harkness has commenced a correspondence with Doct Woodruff for the purpose of finding Darwins residence to induce him to return to the Northern Country –“[xcvii]
David’s brother, Lemuel M. Powers, was born 10 Jul 1789, probably in Stillwater, NY.[xcviii] He studied medicine with Dr. Annable of Moravia, prior to becoming a physician by 6 August 1812 when he joined the Cayuga County Medical Society. He practiced in Beardsley’s Corners, Cayuga County, New York from 1812 through 1815.[xcix] He married Jane Strong Bacon on 23 May 1813 (probably in Cayuga County).[c] On 11 August 1813, Lemuel was one of fourteen charter members of the Genoa Lodge No. 213, Free and Accepted Masons, formed in Genoa, NY.[ci] In 1815 he was a surgeon’s mate in the 88th Regiment Cayuga County, New York militia, serving under H. Bloom, Lieutenant Colonel.[cii]
On 4 March 1817, Lemuel Powers, of Genoa, NY, purchased in-lot 31 in New Haven, OH from his brothers David and Royal N. Powers for $75.[ciii] Lemuel and his family likely moved between 12 December 1817 (when his brother David wrote to his sister Abigail about moving to Ohio, and mentioned that she could come out with Lemuel)[civ] and 1819 when he was named the Worshipful Master of New Haven Lodge No. 39.[cv] On 3 Jun 1820, Lemuel witnessed a deed between his brother Royal N. Powers of Delaware and John McDowell[cvi]. Was Royal staying with Lemuel when he came to town to sell this property?
Lemuel was listed as head of household in New Haven, OH according to the 1820 U.S. Federal Census. In his household were one free white male under 10 years of age, one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, two free white females under 10 years of age, one free white female of 16 through 26, and one person engaged in agriculture.[cvii] From what we know of Lemuel’s family, the free white male under ten years of age is likely his son Volney Powers, and the two white females under 10 years of age are likely his daughters Louisa and Julia Powers, Lemuel would have been the free white male of 26 through 45 and Jane would have been the free white female of 16 through 26. We are not sure who the free, white male of 16 through 26 is.
An article in The Sandusky Clarion on 26 Jun 1822 identified Lemuel as one of a committee formed in New Haven “for the purpose of celebrating the 46th Anniversary of the American Independence.”[cviii] When the event was celebrated in New Haven, Colonel Lemuel Powers was named Marshall of the Day.[cix] On 13 August 1822, Lemuel Powers and his wife Jane, of New Haven, deeded 80 acres of land on lots 113 and 114 in New Haven to Horace Hough of New Haven for $400.[cx] On 3 January 1823, Lemuel witnessed a deed in which John Barney and his wife Betty, of Paris, Huron County, Ohio, sold land on in-lot 31 in New Haven to William C. Enos of Paris, OH for $20.[cxi] On 28 February 1823, Lemuel Powers and wife Jane S. of New Haven, sold in-lot 31 in the town plat of New Haven to Ebenezer T. Beach for $20.[cxii]
We know that Henry Barney and David and Lemuel Powers were also living in New Haven at the time these letters were noted as unclaimed at the Post Office. We wonder whether Lemuel and David were out of town, perhaps visiting relatives, but have found no evidence in family letters at SUNY Oswego’s Penfield Library. Of course, it is likely that this collection is incomplete, and for the most part, only contains one side of many ongoing conversations, as the letters in the collection were by and largely written to Abigail Powers (later Fillmore) and Millard Fillmore. As letters in the Post Office are held three months before published in a local paper with the highest circulation, it is likely that these letters were received in the Post Office by July 1823. While we have found evidence of David Powers doing business in New Haven at that time, no evidence has been found for Lemuel. The next evidence we have found of David is in February of 1824, while the next evidence we have found for Lemuel is in January of 1824, but we know that most daily occurrences do not produce paper trails, so it is likely that both Lemuel and David were in New Haven sometime between when the letters were sent and early 1824.
On 24 January 1824, Lemuel Powers and John Loveland of New Haven, purchased land on lots 33 and 40 in New Haven, from Henry W. Carpender, of New Haven, for $568.75.[cxiv] On 18 March 1824 an advertisement was run in the Mansfield Gazette, stating that Luther Coe, Esq., of New Haven, OH was the owner and operator of Hascell’s patent Grist Mill. Lemuel Powers, with Ebenezer Fisher and David Gunsaullis were listed as endorsers of the product.[cxv] On 25 November 1824, Lemuel Powers and his wife Jane, of New Haven, sold four acres land on lots 33 and 40 in New Haven, to Martin M. Kellogg, also of New Haven, for $200.[cxvi] A notice in The Sandusky Clarion, on 14 March 1825, announced the sale of lands owned, in part, by Lemuel Powers: “Public Notice. There will be a sale at au contino, the 25th day of May next, on the IN-LOTS of the new town of PARIS, laid out on the boundary line (or 41st degree of north latitude) between Richland and Huron counties, in the townships of Plymouth and New-Haven, where the state road from Loudonville, intersects with the main road from Mansfield to the city of Sandusky; and also, where the state road from Johnstown, intersects with the road leading from Delaware and Bucyrus, to Norwalk. The main travelling road from Wooster to Lower Sandusky, intersects the above roads near this point. – This town possesses many advantages superior to country towns in general: as it is situated on an elevated spot of ground, commanding a prospect of the surrounding country; containing many springs of good water, and is near the main branch of Huron river which affords many valuable sites for machinery of different kinds. A Saw-mill, Grist-mill Distillery, and Ashery, will be erected the present season. The terms of sale will be made easy for the purchasers. John Barney, Lemuel Powers, Abraham Trucks, Proprietors. Dated Paris, 19th April 1825 3w48”.[cxvii]
In 2 April 1825, an interesting land swap occurred between Paris proprietors Lemuel Powers and John Barney. Lemuel Powers purchased “one certain lot of land lying and being situated in the first section in said New Haven & is known by being a part of Lot No. 161, bounded east on the partition line so called south on United States land so called west by the County road which passes through said Township North by land deeded to Henry Barney by Isaac Mills be the same more or less” “for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars”.[cxviii] That same day… “Lemuel Powers and Jane his wife of the township of New Haven, Huron County Ohio for & in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars” deeded to John Barney of New Haven “one certain lot or piece of ground bounded as follows To wit, South by lot No 157 in part and part on lot No. 125, east on the Huron River North by land deeded by the said Powers to one Horace Hough west by the County road through said Township which said land is situated in the first Section of said Township and is known as part of lots number 114 and 113, supposed to contain forty acres be the same more or less”.[cxix] Based on the above description, I believe that both of these properties were within the bounds of the new township named Paris, mentioned in the ad placed in The Sandusky Clarion the month prior to these sales.
According to the History of Richland County website “It seems a little strange that it took ten years of time, and all these settlers and thus cluster of houses, to impress upon the minds of some of the early settlers the necessity of laying out a town: but such seems to be the case, for the village of Paris was not laid out until the 17th day of May, 1825, at which time, as before stated, there were sixteen log houses on its site, occupied by the following settlers: Abraham Trux, Patrick Lynch, Benjamin Wooley, James Young, Enos Rose, Abner Harkness, A.D.W. Bodley, Haslo, John and Henry Barney, Christian Culp, B.F. Taylor, William C. Enos and Lemuel Powers. These men were generally mechanics, and picked up what work came to the place, by reason of the travel on its great thoroughfare, passing the remainder of their time hunting, trapping and farming. The town was laid out by Abraham Trux, Lemuel Powers and John Barney, on a high, sandy rolling piece of ground, and consisted, at first, of forty-seven in-lots, all of which were sold in less than two years, and additions made which found a ready sale, and Plymouth promised to be a city.”[cxx] So, we now know that Paris, Ohio, which has slipped off the current maps, is now Plymouth, Ohio, a mere 2.7 miles south east of New Haven, Ohio, and still at a major intersection of Rte 61, 603 and Highway 14.
The History of Richland County website further states: “The first blacksmith was Patrick Lynch; the first lawyer, William C. Enos; the first doctor, Lemuel Powers; the first tailor, Mr. C. Curtis; the first shoemakers, John Skinner and W.V.B. Moore; the first tanner, Hugh Long; the first bricklayer and plasterer, Robert Norfoot...; the first wheelwright, A.D. W. Bodley; the first cooper, Anthony McLaughlin; the first cabinet-maker, James Drennan; the first carpenters, William Crall, James Dickson and Mr. Gilcrease; the first merchants, Wilson Brothers, Mathew McKelvey and G.G. Graham.
“Very soon after the town was laid out, Abraham Trux erected a grist-mill before mentioned, and also a saw-mill near his house, on a branch of the Huron River. Two distilleries were also erected, one by Lemuel Powers and the other by William McKelvey. These distilleries purchased the corn, which they made into whiskey, and therefore created a market for corn, about the only article of produce the farmer could sell. The whiskey was hauled to the lake – except what was consumed at home, which was no small quantity – where it found a ready market.
“These distilleries were, however, soon discontinued; Mr. McKelvey received an injury – which disabled him, and Dr. Powers having been converted to the cause of temperance. The latter turned his distillery into a hat factory, which was conducted by him with success until his death, when it passed into the hands of his son, Volney, who continued it several years.”[cxxi] I wish we knew Lemuel’s reasons for joining the temperance movement. Were they personal, or was he caught up in the fervor of the times? His brother David also joined the temperance movement. I wonder if there was a history of alcohol abuse in their family.
Lemuel Powers, with William York, Luther Coe, Rouse Bly, John Barney, Henry Barney, Benjamin F. Taylor, William Gould, Mr. Gilbert and Martin M. Kellogg were listed a residents of District 3, amongst others, in 1826, according to W.W. Williams’ History of the Fire Lands.[cxxii] Was District 3 the Paris, OH neighborhood? On 14 October 1826, Lemuel and his wife Jane deeded just less than 47 acres of land on lot 114 in New Haven to Jesse B. Frost of New Haven, for $200. Witnesses to this deed were Caleb and Maria Palmer.[cxxiii] One month later, on 14 November 1826, Lemuel purchased “a certain tract or parcel of land situate & being in the First Section of New Haven Township being a part of Lot No. [number left out of deed]” from John Beach of Greenfield, Huron County, Ohio for $22.50.[cxxiv] On 23 January 1827, Lemuel Powers (singularly), of New Haven, sold to Matthew McKelvey of Paris Township, “all of lots Nos. forty four and forty six in the Village of Paris aforesaid reserving unto himself the said party of the first part the privilege of laying Pump Logs across the East end of said Lot forty four also to enter thereon at any time to repair the same for the purpose of conducting the water from the Publick Spring to his Distillery now standing and adjoining said Village of Paris” for $100.[cxxv] We do not know why Lemuel’s wife Jane is omitted as seller from this deed, as we know she was alive and still married to Lemuel. This may have been an unintended omission on the part of the clerk who entered the deed into the County Deed books. This omission is repeated in the next deed recorded in the Huron County, Ohio Deed books. This deed was dated 1 April 1827 and is between “Lemuel Powers of the Village of Paris New Haven Township Huron County Ohio of the first part and Willis Merriman of the Village Township County and State aforesaid of the second part... in consideration of the sum of twenty dollars... the said party of the first part...doth grant bargain sell alien release, convey and confirm unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns all of Lot number forty two in the Village of Paris...”[cxxvi]
On 2 Jun 1827, The Norwalk Reporter & Huron Advertiser ran the following notice: “The following is a list of the regularly licensed practicing physicians and surgeons in the 14th District Ohio. LORAIN COUNTY. N. H. Manter, A. Wolcott, J. F. Butler, M. Chapman; J. Bradley. HURON COUNTY. Geo. G. Baker, Daniel Tilden, M.C. Sandrs, Geo. Anderson, Lyman Fay, Wm. F. Kittredge, Wm. W. Hugent, A. B. Harris; H. M. Clark, Joseph Pearce, Andrew McMillan, Richard P. Christophers, Samuel Stephens, Charles Smith, Samuel B. Carpenter, W. Merriman, Lemuel Powers, A.H. Brown.”[cxxvii]
On 4 August 1827, “Lemuel Powers and Jane S. his wife of the County of Huron and State of Ohio” deeded “all the following tract or parcel of land with the appurtenances situate in the Village of Paris Township of New Haven County of Huron and State aforesaid the same being in Lot No. forty one as numbered on the Platt of said Town of Paris” to Bethuel Clark of Richland County, Ohio for $20.[cxxviii] Two and a half months later, on 26 October 1827, Lemuel Powers (singularly), of the Village of Paris, sold “all of Lot No. thirty seven in the Village of Paris Township” to Matthew McKelvey of Paris for $30.[cxxix] Less than two months later, on 13 December 1827, Lemuel purchased of Matthew McKelvey, in-lot 39 in Paris, for $11.[cxxx] That same day, “Lemuel Powers and Jane S. his wife of Paris” deeded to William Gould of Paris in-lots 25 and 36 in Paris for $20.[cxxxi] Thus ends the flurry of land deals for the next eight months.
On 21 August 1828 Lemuel and his wife Jane “of Richland County” deeded to George G. Graham “a certain tract or parcel of land situate in the Town of Paris in said County that is a piece off of Lot No. forty three in said Town of Paris” for $20.00.[cxxxii] That same day, Lemuel and his wife Jane “of Huron County in the State of Ohio” deeded to Hosea Harriden “Lot No. forty three in said Town of Paris except a part sold to George G. Graham off of the north westerly side of said Lot” for $7[cxxxiii]. Both deeds were recorded in the Huron County Ohio Deed Book 5, at the Huron County Clerk’s Office in Norwalk.
On 5 November 1828, Lemuel Powers of Paris wrote the following letter to his brother-in-law Millard Fillmore, of “Willinek Post office, Erie County, New York”:
“There are many reasons why I have not written to you before first I had sent the deed to Mansfield to be recorded and could not get it again without going myself and I did not wish to make a journey on purpose then when I got the deed I found I had mislaid your Letter and again I have been very busy in my Employment (although it has not been sickly but very healthy here this season) I have also been engaged in procuring petitioners, affidavits, and other dockements necessary to present to the Legislature for the setting off a new County which we some expect to obtain this winter.
“I have however this evening stole a few moments of time to write to you, we felt very much pleased to receive your Letter and hear that you are all arrived home safe, we have had our health since you was here very well – We have had the warmest Election this fall that ever has been since I have lived in the State our County gives about 600 majority for Adams
and Richland County about 500 for Jackson it remains as yet doubtfull whether this State will be for the administration or Jackson so far as we have seen
hadthe returns which is from 28 counties the administration Governor is 250 a head, we still hope that we shall gain the victory - - - - Inclosed I send you the deed from L[illegible] to Walelu [sp] Which you will see has been recovered. My Brothers address is Washington Mississippi (Jefferson County-) –
P.S. remember me to I am Dear Sir
[cut off] [cut off] Lemuel Powers”[cxxxiv]
11 December 1829, Lemuel Powers and his wife Jane “of the Town of Paris County of Huron and State of Ohio” deeded to William Cadwell “of the same place” a “certain piece or parcel of land situated in the first section of New Haven Township and being a part of Lot No. one hundred and sixty one hundred as follows = adjoining at the centre of the highway North of the Village of Paris at the corner of said Powers farm thence running East sixteen Rods to a stake on the line between said farm and lands owned by Henry Barney thence Southerly on a parallel line with the high way ten Rods to a stake thence West sixteen Rods to the centre of the highway thence North ten rods to the place of beginning”, for $30.[cxxxv] That same day, Lemuel and his wife Jane, of Paris, OH, deeded to Hugh Long “of the same place” “a certain piece or parcel of land situate and being in the Town Plat of Paris aforesaid in said Huron County and known and distinguished as Inlot number forty five in said Plat” for $30.[cxxxvi]
Lemuel was listed as head of household in New Haven, OH in the 1830 U.S. Federal Census. In his household were ten persons: one free white male under 5 years of age, one free white male of 5 through 10, one free white male of 15 through 20, one free white male of 40 through 50, one free white female under 5 years of age, two free white females of 5 through 10, two free white females of 10 through 15 and one free white female of 30 through 40. Rouse Bly and Henry Barney were listed on the same census page.[cxxxvii] Based on the ages of Lemuel, his wife Jane and their children, all people in this household appear to be accounted for. That same year, Lemuel was charged a tax or license as a physician,[cxxxviii] and was also taxed $1.10 on 45 acres of land on the north part of Lot 114 in New Haven with a house valued at $93 and $3.43 on 16 acres on the north east corner of Lot 160 in New Haven with a building valued at $289, and $2.92 for personal property including two horses valued at $80, two neat cattle valued at $16 and “Merchants and Brokers Capital” valued at $150.
Lemuel also became involved in local and state politics. An article published in The Huron Reflector on 25 September 1832 states: “At a meeting of National Republicans, held at the house of Wm. D. Mann, in New Haven, on the 18th inst. – EBENEZER FRISBY was called to the Chair, and LEMUEL POWERS appointed Secretary. The object of the meeting was explained by Caleb Palmer, Esq, and after some time spent in deliberation it was Resolved, That we will support the Hon. JABEZ WRIGHT, at the ensuing election for Representative in the State Legislature. RESOLVED, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman and Secretary, and published in the Huron Reflector. EBENEZER FRISBY, Chairman LEMUEL POWERS, Secretary.[cxxxix] We have learned, in our research, that newspapers were often very political, and knowing the party affiliation of a newspaper can help determine the beliefs of those reading and advertising in that paper, and helps to understand the bias that may be evident in articles in that paper. It would seem that the Huron Reflector was a Republican paper.
On 25 August 1834, Lemuel and his wife Jane of Paris, OH, deeded to Joseph Light of Paris, “a part of Lot Number 10 in the first section of Newhaven Township, bounded as follows: commencing at a post immediately four rods due east of the southeast corner of lot No. forty six in the Village of Paris aforesaid on the public highway; thence north parallel with the line of lots in the Platt of said Village thirteen rods to a post thence east four rods to a post; thence south [thirteen?] rods to a post on the aforesaid highway; thence west four rods to the place of beginning; together with the use of the water which is carried in aqueducts from the public spring with exception of a sufficient quantity to be used in the Hatting establishment adjoining the premises on the west: the quantity which would run through a goblet hole is deemed sufficient, and in case said aqueduct require repairing, to be done by the owners of the aforesaid premises, and the owners of the aforesaid Hatting establishment jointly” for $130.
Cut down in the prime of his life, Lemuel Powers died at the age of 45 on 30 March 1835 in Paris, OH of inflammation of the lungs (most likely pneumonia). His obituary was printed in The Huron Weekly Reflector, on 7 April 1835, and read: “DIED, In Paris, Huron county, on the 30th of March last, of inflammation of the lungs, Doctor Lemuel Powers, aged 46 years, who, at the time of his death, was President of the Franklin Lyceum of Paris. Whereas, it has pleased the all-wise creator, in the dispensation of his providence, to call from among us our much respected president, Doct. Lemuel Powers, Therefore, be it Resolved, That this society deeply [regret] the loss of its much esteemed [President] and Friend....”[cxl]
In a letter written on 5 May 1835 to Abigail (Powers) Fillmore by her niece, Louisa Powers, the daughter of Lemuel, Louisa gives a description of the tragic event:
We recvd. your kind and [consoling] letter of the 12th And I now comply with your request and sit down to write you the particulars of my dear Father’s death and of the present situation of our afflicted family. I should have written before but I could not compose my mind enough to write upon the subject it is a painful one and yet it is pleasing to think of the last words of that kind and best of parents. He was taken sick about 12 oclock on wednesday, 25 March and was sick but 5 days and two hours he was partially [deranged] until Sunday about 6 oclock p.m. when he began to grow worse. He was sensible from the first that he should not recover but he said that probably he should live about 10 days and perhaps not so long. Sabbath evening about 12 oclock he called his to the bed and talked to each one separately.
O never shall I forget that time when I heard him talk as it were for the last time. He call[ed] every one to him and exhorted and advised them as long as he could talk. He told the Doct. (who was a deist in principle) that he would not exchange places with him then for worlds if he did not believe in the religion of Jesus, and to a friend that stood by him he said “write to Doct. Hissam at Buffalo and tell him I have gone to glory, and tell him to tell my brother and sister to meet me there” Oh dear Aunt I wish you could have been there to have heard him talk. He did not forget his mother in his dying moments but mentioned her and wished that she might be taken care of in her old age. He asked the Doct. how long he thought he should live, and on being told probably until morning he said “O I wish I might go before, I am willing to die and ready to go before my God is ready to take me” and on feeling a little
bettermore comfortable in the morning he said “Ma, I wish you would wash me and put on a clean shirt for perhaps I shall live all day, he said one of the neighbours came in who had lost his wife about three years ago he said Mr. Light I am going to die and shall soon see your wife who is an angel in heaven. In a short time he called for some one to pray, and in a few minutes he said farewell and breathed his last without a struggle or a groan to the surprise of his friends and physician who thought that he would choke to death with the phlegm in his stomach. I have but little to write about the family except that we are all well and that I commenced a school
in Auburn Township about 7 miles from home on the 4th ult. we received a letter from Aunt Mary the 27th. apr. dated 13 apr. she did not then know of Pa’s death she said she thought she should be here by the last of June and that you and uncle would both come with her we all are very anxious that you would come, do come aunt bring both the children with you and spend the summer with us I want to see them verry much ask Powers if he has forgotten his cousin Louisa. Mother is very lonely and feels as if she
hadwas left without a friend, she is ve[ry] anxious indeed that you should come and spend somet[ime] with us she expects her brother George out in the fall uncle Davids family is well at present Chester has been at home all winter but has had very poor health indeed but it is much better now Abigail is still in Delaware Co. but will return soon. Please to write aunt and let us know whether you will come and when
and believe me
Abigail Fillmore. Louisa Powers”[cxli]
While the value of Lemuel’s estate was great, the debts due to his estate were even greater.
Lemuel’s widow Jane married Cyrus S. Carpenter, a Methodist circuit rider, on 23 February 1836. His name appears in Lemuel Powers estate papers, conveying a relationship between them (Cyrus owed Lemuel $6.46, possibly for medical or pharmacological costs). Jane and Cyrus had a daughter, Eliza Carpenter, born 15 February 1837 in OH, who died 13 September 1909 in Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio.[cxlii] It does not appear that Jane and Cyrus remained married for long, or rather, that they lived together long, as Jane went back to using the Powers surname by 30 October 1850, when she appears as head of household in New Haven, OH, according to the U.S. Federal Census.[cxliii] Living in her household at time were her daughters Jane, Mary and Eliza. While we have found neither divorce record nor marriage record, this does not mean that neither took place. It is apparent from some of the letters written to Abigail Powers Fillmore by her nieces (and daughters of Lemuel and Jane), that the girls did not well approve of their mother’s marriage to Cyrus Carpenter. A few scraps of information regarding Cyrus have been found, one interesting sketch was written by a fellow Methodist Circuit Rider, Elnathan Corrington Gavitt, in his book Crumbs From My Saddle Bags: or Reminiscences of Pioneer Life and Biographical Sketches, published in 1884. Elnathan writes, on page 108, “In 1830 I was assigned to the Black River Circuit in company with Cyrus S. Carpenter, and excellent Christian brother of ordinary ministerial ability. He was favored with a superior educated companion and a very kind and sweet dispositioned lady.
“She was a valuable accession to the charge, and contributed largely to the usefulness of her husband. My colleague’s salary was small, and this but poorly paid. To avoid expense he spent much of his time upon the work. Being the owner of a small wagon and a horse, he would put his cat and dog on board, and then his trunk, wife and child, and tying his cow behind the vehicle with a long rope, so as to follow, and start out for a month’s campaign among the saints. Some were much pleased to see the caravan, and made the brother and his family welcome; a few others, being fastidious and more penurious, were somewhat displeased, and wondered why he did not have his sow and pigs along with him. However, this class of persons were among those who were forever grumbling that the preachers did not visit enough, and from whom it was hard work to collect quarterage. In after life I found a few of this class of persons, who would ask me if my horse was too warm to eat straw, as hay was worth ten dollars a ton.”
“By this kind of pastoral work the people were well supplied with visiting and was a grand arrangement for me, as the relief from pastoral work gave me time for my Conference studies. The examination at Conference was, in some respects, more precise than at the present day.
“Brother Carpenter’s second marriage was somewhat unpleasant, and soon after he became despondent and asked for a location. In the years prior to his death he settled upon a small tract of land in Wood County, Ohio, living much of the time solitary and alone until his demise. He was buried by the members of the Church in the cemetery near the Lacarp Church, Ottawa county, Ohio. Some ten years after, attending a Quarterly Meeting in this section, and learning of his death, I visited his lonely resting place and found the grave covered with thorns and thistles. Meditating upon the past, my heart was made sad; I knelt and asked God to be a father to the fatherless, and remember in mercy the two orphan children, bereaved of parents, alone among strangers and without means, embarrassed by misfortunes, and the poverty connected with the early itineracy of their pious and devoted Christian parents.”[cxliv]
According to the book Cemetery Inscriptions of Ottawa County, Ohio, Cyrus Carpenter, born 14 April 1798, died 11 November 1868. He was buried in La Carpe Cemetery, next to Caroline Carpenter, born 5 September 1817 who died 10 Jun 1892.[cxlv] According to the “Ohio County Marriages, 1790-1950” database on FamilySearch.org, Cyrus S. Carpenter married Caroline Williams 3 February 1856 in Ottawa County, OH.[cxlvi] The 1860 U.S. Federal Census of Erie, Ottawa County, Ohio, lists household 544, Family 544, as Cyrus S. Carpenter, 52 years old, male, Farmer, Value of Real Estate $2,000, Value of Personal Estate $400, born Connecticut, living with Caroline Carpenter, 40 years old, female, born in Ohio.[cxlvii] Another marriage record from the Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 database shows a marriage between Cyrus S. Carpenter and Alvira Hunter on 13 March 1850 in Wyandot County, Ohio. Was this the same Cyrus? I compared what I believe were the signatures of each Cyrus S. Carpenter from the digitized copies of the record, and found similarities in each, especially the comma placed after the middle initial S., but I don’t know for sure that either of these were the actual signature of the groom.
The U.S. Census of 1850 taken in Marseilles, Wyandot County, Ohio, lists Sirus S. Carpenter, 53 years old, born in Vermont as head of household. His occupation is that of a cooper. In the household are the following persons: Elvira Carpenter, 42 years old, female, born in Vermont; Harriet Elvira Carpenter, 18 years old, female, born in Ohio; Henrietta Carpenter, 12 years old, female, born in Ohio; Henry Carpenter, 10 years old, male, born in Ohio; Frances Carpenter, 8 years old, female, born in Ohio, and Reece Carpenter, 6 years old, male, born in Ohio[cxlviii]. As Cyrus and Elvira married in 1850, it is unlikely that any of these children in the household were the offspring of this couple. It is more likely that they were the children of one or the other of the couple.
The 1860 and 1870 U.S. Census records give further information about some of this family. In 1860, Alvira Hunter was living in Marseilles, OH with Henry Hunter, 19 years old, male, born in Ohio; and Reese Hunter, 15 years old, male, born in Ohio[cxlix]. In 1870, Elvira Hunter is living in Marseilles, OH with Henrietta Hunter, 32 years old, female, born in Ohio; and Henry Hunter, 29 years old, male, born in Ohio[cl].
An obituary for Reese Hunter confirmed my hunch regarding his parentage. The obituary was printed in The Star, in Marion, Ohio on Friday, May 29, 1831 states: Mr. Hunter was born March 13, 1844, near Lancaster, and was the son of Jesse D. Hunter, a native of Lancaster and Elvira Hunt Hunter, native of Wyandot county.”[cli]
Cyrus Carpenter was listed as head of household in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census in Erie, Ottawa County, Ohio. He was identified as 50 years of age, male, born in Connecticut, occupied as a farmer. He was living with Caroline Carpenter, 40 years old, female, born in Ohio.[clii] Cyrus died 11 November 1868 and was buried in the La Carpe Cemetery in Port Clinton, OH. It does not appear that Cyrus continued his career as a Methodist circuit rider after his marriage to Jane (Bacon) Powers, but he does appear to have remained in the church, as the La Carpe Cemetery was associated with the Trinity Methodist Church of Port Clinton. His widow Caroline (Williams) Carpenter does not seem to have remarried, and is found in the 1870[cliii] and 1880[cliv] U.S. Federal Censuses living near or with her sister Dimius (or Dimmit) DePew, who was widowed by 1870. Caroline died 10 Jun 1892 and was buried next to her husband Cyrus, in the La Carpe Cemetery[clv]. It is interesting that at the time of Cyrus’ death, he had three wives living, the second and third (Jane and Elvira), who had gone back to using their first husbands’ surnames, and the fourth, while buried in the same cemetery with her husband, may not have been living with him at the time of his death, according to Elnathan Gavitt. Had Cyrus previously divorced his second and third wives, or had he just left town and started life over each time his marital circumstances became uncomfortable?
Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers Carpenter died at the age of 84 on 19 January 1880. [clvi] She was buried in a family plot in the New Haven Cemetery next to her husband, Dr. Lemuel Powers. Also buried in the plot were their children Abigail Ann, Julia, Rolla, Louisa and Mary.[clvii] Jane’s will, written 5 August 1870, and codicil dated 6 August 1870 provided for the lifetime care of her daughter Eliza Carpenter, should she remain unmarried, a gravestone for herself and her husband, and included bequeaths to her many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her estate was quite extensive and was valued at over $7,500.00. Properties owned by the estate included land in Lansing, Michigan.[clviii]
David worked as a school teacher in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York about 1805[clix]. He married Polly Wilcox 28 February 1808[clx], probably in Cayuga County, NY, where he had been living prior to marriage. He was listed as head of household in 1800 the U.S. Federal Census of Brutus, Cayuga County, New York[clxi]. In his household were one free white male of 16 through 25, 1 free white male of 26 through 44 and one free white female of 16 through 25. David would have been the older male, and Polly, who was born 28 February 1789[clxii] would have been the one female in the household. David’s widowed mother, Abigail Powers was enumerated on the same page as David[clxiii]. We do not know who the free white male of 16 through 25 who was living in David’s household was.
David and Polly had nine children, the eldest, being a daughter born 28 April 1810 who probably died in infancy. Chester Powers was born 30 August 1811; Marcia was born 24 May 1814; Abigail was born 1 December 1816; Charles W. was born 30 April 1820 in New Haven, OH; Edson H. was born 5 April 1822 in Ohio (probably New Haven); Edson had a twin who died in infancy; Phoebe Powers was born 25 October 1824 and a male child was born 9 May 1830 but probably died in infancy[clxiv].
About 1814 David and his brother Dr. Royal Newland Powers were early settlers of New Haven, Ohio, with Josiah Curtiss, Reuben Skinner, James McIntyre, Samuel B. Carpenter, John Barney, Samuel Knapp, Martin Kellogg, Henry Barney, Chism May, Calvin Hutchinson, George Beymer, William Clark, Jacob Speeker, Rouse Bly, Joseph Dana, John Alberson, George Shirel, Matthew Bevard, William York, Prince Haskell, Stephen Stilwell, and others[clxv]. David Powers located upon lots 67 and 68 in section 3 (by 1879 known as the Jesse Snyder Farm)[clxvi].
Another source elaborates: “New Haven Township was so named since nearly all the early settlers were from New Haven, Connecticut, and one of the principal land owners, who inherited or purchased a large portion of the land in the township from the original grantees, also lived in New Haven Connecticut.
According to A.G. Stewart, Esq., “Royal N. Powers was also the first merchant, or regular trader, who brought goods into the township and kept them for sale...But to supply the more immediate wants of the settlers, we find that David Powers, Royal N. Powers and Martin M. Kellogg had established a Banking Institution, and notes or tickets from 25 cents upwards; after a time this money became in disrepute, and when George Beyner came into this country, in 1815, he had some of this money, and on trying to pass it at a place where he had stayed all night, he found that it was below par; afterwards Royal N. Powers redeemed these bills in goods...”[clxvii]
David and his brother Royal laid out the village of New Haven, OH on 8 April 1815[clxviii]. That year David was taxed $1.10 for real property in Wheatsborough (later known as New Haven), OH[clxix]. David and Royal’s brother, Dr. Lemuel M. Powers, came to New Haven by 4 March 1817 when he bought land from his brothers on lot 31. At the time that the deed was written, Lemuel was living in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York[clxx].
On 20 December 1815, David and Royal purchased lot 77 from Elisha and his wife Catherine Mills and Isaac and his wife Abigail Mills of New Haven, CT for $275[clxxi]. That same day they purchased lot 79 and part of lot 80 from Joseph and Aurilia Darling and Isaac and Abigail Mills of New Haven, CT for $445[clxxii]. On 23 January 1816 David and Royal N. Powers were licensed (and taxed) as merchants and traders in Huron County, OH[clxxiii].
On 20 April 1816, David and Royal N. Powers held a $2,000 mortgage deed on lot 79 in New Haven for Samuel and Clarissa Carpender and William and Honour Clark of New Haven. They assigned this mortgage to Bilded Adams and Ebenezer Merry on 13 Jun 1816. [clxxiv]
On 15 January 1817, David, his wife Polly, and Royal N. and his wife Frances Powers sold lots 79 and 80 to Oliver and Ebenezer Granger of Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio for $1,000[clxxix]. David, his wife Polly, Royal and Frances Powers sold lots 37, 40, 43, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, and 81 to Thomas Ross of Walnut, Fairfield, Ohio for $600 on 4 March 1817[clxxx]. David and brother Royal Newland Powers were listed together as proprietors in the 1817 New Haven, Ohio, tax records. They were taxed $3.56 on property on two lots[clxxxi].
David and Royal seemed to be balancing on a financial tightrope, while they are purchasing and selling property at an almost alarming rate, we also see that their banking venture did not end well, and we wonder what kind of capital they really had, or whether they were “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Evidence that they were not as solvent as may be thought can be found in a deed dated 20 October 1817 in the Huron County Deed books that reads:
“To all people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: WHEREAS at a Court of Common Pleas began and holden at Huron within and for the county of Huron and state of Ohio, on the third Tuesday of October in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, Giles Sanford of Erie in the County of Erie and State of Pennsylvania, William Lattamore of Paynesville, County of Geauga and State of Ohio and Co., recovered judgment by adjudication of said Court against David Powers and Royal N. Powers for the sum of one hundred and eight dollars damages and sixteen dollars and thirty-eight cents cost of suit as appears by the proofs, proceedings and records of said Court, and whereas on the fifteenth day of January following in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighteen a writ of fieri facias was issued by the Clerk of said Court under the seal of said Court, directed to the Sheriff of said County of Huron dated the day and year last aforesaid, signed by David Abbot as Clerk of said court, whereby and by virtue of which said writ the said Sheriff was directed, required and commanded that of the goods and chattels of the said D. and R.N. he should cause to be levied and made by distress and sale thereof, the said several sums of one hundred and eight dollars damages and sixteen – and thirty-eight cents costs of suit together with his own fees for collection and for want of sufficient goods and chattels whereon to levy and make the same of the lands, tenements and real estate of the said D. and R.N. Powers, which said writ was delivered to me on the fifteenth day of January last aforesaid and whereas I, Lyman Farewell, Sheriff of said County of Huron on the fifteenth day of January last aforesaid, after having made diligent search and finding no goods or chattels whereon to levy and make said several sums mentioned in said writ, levied said writ upon Lots Number fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-nine, sixty, fifty-seven, fifty-eight and one hundred and fifteen, In-lots in the Village of New Haven, together with all the buildings and improvements thereon (and for a more particular description of said Lots reference may be had to the Records of said County of Huron) as the property of the said D. and R.N. Powers, and whereas on the fifteenth day of January last aforesaid I caused the aforesaid Lots with all buildings and improvements to be appraised by the oaths of Oliver Granger, Martin M. Kellog, Zena Cary, John Meyers and Stephen D. Palmer, free holders and residents of the said County of Huron as stated to me by the defendants and the appraisers themselves, they having been duly sworn as the law directs by David Abbott Esquire a Justice of the Peace in and for the said County – Huron and after having examined all of the before mentioned Lots with their buildings and improvements estimated Lots No. fifty-nine, and sixty with one lot house thereon at seventy-five dollars and Lots No. fifty-seven and fifty-eight at thirty-two dollars and Lot No. one hundred and fifteen at forty dollars and made return thereof under their hands and seals as the law directs on the day last aforesaid mentioned and whereas on the sixteenth day of February of the same year last aforesaid, previous notice having been given by proclamation posted up in five public places in the said County of Huron aforesaid, two of which were posted in the township where the lots were lying, of the time and place where said Lots would be offered for sale, more than thirty days previous to the day of sale and offered said lots for sale at the dwelling house of David Abbot Esquire on the sixteenth day of February of same year last aforesaid, but received no bids for said lots or any part thereof. Whereupon I made return of the aforesaid writ of fieri facias with my doings thereon to the Court of Common Pleas of Huron County begun and holden in and for the County of Huron on the third Tuesday of February of the same year last aforesaid on the second day of said term whereupon the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Huron aforesaid issued a write of venditioni exponas on the ninth day of April of the same year last aforesaid under the seal of said Court directed to the Sheriff of said County dated the day and year last aforesaid, signed by James Williams as Clerk of the said Court, whereby and by virtue of which said writ the said Sheriff was directed, required and commanded that whereas he had made return on the aforesaid writ of fieri facias, that he had levied the aforesaid damages and costs of the real estate of the said D. and R.N. Powers and that the same remained in custody for want – [of?] buyers to sell the real estate of the said D. and R.N. Powers by him taken in manner and form aforesaid to satisfy the said debt, damages and costs together with interest and cost that might accrue and to have the moneys before our then next Court of Common Pleas to be holden in and for the said County of Huron on the third Tuesday of May in the same year last aforesaid which said writ was delivered to me on the ninth day of April aforesaid, wherefore I, Lyman Farwell, Sheriff of the aforesaid County of Huron caused proclamation to be posted up in five public places within said County two of which were posted within the township where said lots were lying giving notice of the time and place when and where the aforesaid lots would be offered for sale and the same being more than thirty days previous to the said sale, wherefore on the eleventh day of May of the same year aforesaid at one o’clock P.M. on said day according to the proclamation aforesaid, I offered the said lots for sale at the dwelling house of Royal N. Powers in New Haven aforesaid and received a bid from Giles Sanford of Erie in the County of Erie and State of Pennsylvania, William Lattemore of Paynesville in Geauga County and State of Ohio and Co., by their Attorney Francis Grayham of Huron aforesaid for Lots Number fifty, fifty-one and fifty-two, the sum of seventy-six dollars and sixty-eight cents, for Lots No. fifty-nine and sixty the sum of fifty dollars and for fifty-seven and fifty-eight the sum of twenty-one dollars and continued said sales till the hour of four P.M. on said day and receiving no further bids for said lots or any part of them struck off said lots to the said Sanford, Lattemore and Co. at the several bids aforesaid, which said several bids amounted to one hundred and forty-eight dollars and thirty-six cents, a sum sufficient to discharge the said debt, damages and costs that have accrued in said proceedings had thereon and also being more than two thirds of the appraised value of the said several lots as stated aforesaid. Now therefore know ye that I, Lyman Farewell, Sheriff of the County of Huron aforesaid, do in my said capacity of Sheriff for said County of Huron, in pursuance of the aforesaid proceedings, sale and the Statute in such case made and provided for the consideration of the said several sums aforesaid, received to my full satisfaction in my said capacity of Sheriff of the County aforesaid of the said Lattimore, Sanford and Co., do grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm to the said Lattimore, Sanford & Co., all the last aforesaid lots, viz: No. fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-nine, sixty, fifty-seven and fifty-eight lying and being as aforesaid. To have and to hold the above granted premises with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging unto them, the said Giles Sanford, William Lattimore and Co., their heirs and assigns forever, for their own proper use and behoof, hereby conveying and confirming unto them and all of them all the right, title, interest and claim of the said David and Royal N. Powers in or to the premises aforesaid. in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal in my said capacity of Sheriff this twenty-fifth day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighteen. Lyman Farewell, SEAL
Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of David Abbot, Benjamin W. Abbot, This 25th day August, 1818, Personally came Lyman Farewell, signer and sealer of the within deed and acknowledged the same to be his official act and deed before me, David Abbot, Justice Peace, Received the 2nd, recorded the 4th September 1818 by Ichabod Marshall, Recorder.[clxxxii]”
“I have delayed answering your letter until now & am not prepared at present to advise you concerning coming here. It is a great journey & if you were not suited with the country here I should feel disagreeable to think I had over advised you –
“It would be a great satisfaction to me to have our Mother, Polly & you here as well as to the rest of us – Royal says much about your coming here says he shall assist you if you wish to come – he undoubtedly will [rest of line is crossed out and illegible] We can & will give you what assistance you ask for in building you a house, that* will be in our power, but it is difficult for us to help you to move here at present but we hope to be shortly able to help you in that respect if you need it – respecting earning a living here it is my opinion you [can?] more easily do it than there, for needle work, or weaving would be much more profitable here than there, schoolteaching as good, but was you here you could do better than teaching school – Royal & me have agreed to close our business & come to a settlement we shall be able to do it without much sacrifice, we have advertised our property for sale & shall be able to settle our concerns without disposing of our farm, if we sell that it will be not out of necessity but to advance our property. I think as things are about to turn we shall not dispose of it but divide it – If you conclude to move here bring all the feathers you possibly can, perhaps it would be well for you to come with Lemuel Mother & Polly could as easily come afterwards I should be extremely glad to have you come & live with me & Mother & Polly likewise if I can situate myself so as to make it convenient for them – Tell sister Phine if she is there & had not heard from John that he is probably well I have indirectly heard from him several times the season past, Thurber Woodworth tells me he heard from him not long since, I would write to her but can give her no direct information I shall write again soon- we are all well except Fanny she is much as she was when Lemuel left here in health [words crossed out and illegible] and will continue so probably until spring she will then be likely to grow better or worse – write to me immediately on the receipt of this
From Your Affectionate Brother
Miss Abigail Powers David Powers
P.S. My respects to Mother & Polly
* I mean we can do it” [clxxxiii]
This is the earliest letter written by David to his sister Abigail in the Millard Fillmore collection at SUNY Oswego. It seems that David was not being entirely forthcoming about his and brother Royal’s financial situation, but this would be understandable, as he very much wants for his extended family to join him in New Haven, and is, I believe, trying to paint a good picture. This collection of letters has been enormously helpful in our research of Mary Ann Coe and the period of her life that included David Powers. David was a prolific writer and quite a character. We have often found evidence which conflicts with the tales told by David in these letters. Having spent several hours poring over these letters, one gets the sense that David was always trying to impress, and get the most advantage of his acquaintances.
The letter refers to Mother, Polly, Lemuel, Phine and John. These were, in order, Abigail (Newland) Powers, the matriarch of the family who married about 1818, as her second husband, Benjamin Strong, son of Adino and Deborah (Prime) Strong; Polly, who we assume was David’s sister Mary; Lemuel, David’s older brother; Phena (Southworth) Powers, wife of David’s brother John Powers. David also mentions Thurber Woodworth from whom he has heard word of John Powers. While we have not found a Thurber Woodworth in Ohio or New York, we did find two Woodworth families in Cayuga County, New York, who may be related to Thurber. There was a Caleb Woodworth enumerated as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census of Aurelius, on the same page as Royal N. Powers. There was also a Jacob Woodworth enumerated as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census of Brutus, where David was also living.
On 3 March 1818, David, Polly, Royal and Frances Powers sold lot 72 to Bethel Humphrys of New Haven, OH for twenty five dollars[clxxxiv]. One month later, on 24 April 1818, David, Polly, Royal and Frances Powers sold New Haven lots 11 and 12 to Christina Beymer of New Haven, for one hundred dollars[clxxxv]. On 2 Dec 1818, David, Polly, Royal and Frances sold New Haven in-lots 23 through 28, 38, 56, 93, 94, and 101 through 106 to Oliver Granger of New Haven, for two hundred dollars[clxxxvi]. David and Royal Powers were listed together as proprietors in the 1818 New Haven, Ohio, tax records.
On 12 January 1819, David and Polly Powers sold part of lot 78 in New Haven, “except such Lots as have been heretofore deeded to other persons”, to his brother Royal for $1700[clxxxvii]. The February Term of the Huron County Court included two cases in which David and Royal were involved in. In a “Capias in Case”, David and Royal as plaintiffs, with Oliver Granger as defendant, was entered into the appearance docket of the February court term. This docket is difficult to read and remark reads (as close as we can determine) “Da[?] filed Rule for pleas in 60 days [illegible]”.[clxxxviii] In a second “Capias in Case” that same term, Royal N. Powers and David Powers were listed as defendants, against Samuel B. Carpender, plaintiff. Once again remarks state that they were “filed for plea in 60 days can[d]”.[clxxxix] Both of these suits were likely related to prior land sales.
According to the book History of Freemasonry in Ohio, From 1791 to 1912, by W. M. Cunningham and John G. Reeves, on “February 4, 1817, a dispensation was granted for the establishment of a lodge at New Haven, Huron County, to be called New Haven Lodge No. - with Samuel W. Carpenter W. M.; Henry Barney S. W., and Belden Kellogg, J. W. At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Lodge at Chillicothe in August, 1817, a charter was granted to New Haven Lodge No.39. In 1819 it reported as its officers Brothers Lemuel Powers, W. M.; James McIntire, S. W.; Martin M. Kellogg, J. W., and David Powers, Secretary. It was discontinued in 1824, and its number (39) is vacant on the Grand Lodge roll.”[cxc] Membership in a fraternal organization could, in those days be very advantageous to young entrepreneurs and upwardly mobile or upwards reaching men. Lemuel Powers, the Worshipful Master of this new lodge, was one of the charter members of the Genoa Lodge Number 213 Free and Accepted Masons in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York when it was formed on 11 August 1813. According to The History of Cayuga County 1789-1879 by Elliot G. Storke the “Genoa Lodge No. 213, F. & A.M. was organized August 11, 1813, at the house of Simeon P. Strong in Teetertown (Lansingville). William Miner, Lemuel Powers, John Bowker, Samuel Knapp, Darius Adams, Curtis Galpin, Simeon P. Strong, Belding Kellogg, Martin Kellogg, Ithmar Kellogg, Levi Roath, H. West, Abner Brannis and Samuel R. Wilson, who were members of Sylvan Lodge, Massachusetts, Eagle Lodge, Seneca county, and Scipio Lodge, Aurora, were the charter members.”[cxci] Lemuel may have come from the Scipio Lodge. The Martin Kellogg who was amongst the charter members of the Geneva Lodge, was also the Junior Warden of the New Haven Lodge and was a nephew of Belding Kellogg and brother of Ithamer Kellogg.
Martin Marble Kellogg was born about 1780 in Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and was a son of Nehemiah and Hannah (Marble) Kellogg. He was a soldier in the War of 1812.[cxcii] Martin was enumerated as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census in Egremont, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, as was his father. Brother Ithamer and Uncle Belding were both enumerated as heads of household in that same census in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York.
Martin M. Kellogg was identified as an early settler of New Haven, settling about 1814. He was taxed as a landowner in Wheatsborough (later known as New Haven), in 1815.[cxciii] On 17 August 1815 he was named a trustee of the town with Robert Inscho.[cxciv] Martin is enumerated as a head of household in the 1820 U.S. Census in New Haven, taken 7 August 1820. In his household are two free white males under 10 years of age, one free white male of 10 through 16, one free white male of 26 through 45, two free white males of 45 and upwards, one free white female under 10 years of age, one person engaged in agriculture.[cxcv] It would appear from this census that his first wife, Nancy Sweet, had already died. We believe that the two free white males under ten were Martin and Nancy’s sons Charles Noble Kellogg and George Kellogg, and the free white female under ten was daughter Parmelia Kellogg. Martin and family had moved to Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio by 1831[cxcvi], but at some time between 1821 and 1828 he belonged to the Mt. Vernon Lodge, Number 64 in Norwalk, OH (probably joining after the New Haven Lodge closed)[cxcvii]. It is likely, then, that he would have known Benjamin Junkins.
Henry Barney is also a pivotal figure in this twisted tale. Born 6 Feb 1773 in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, to Benjamin and Elizabeth (Ackley) Barney, and brother of John Barney who would also in live in New Haven, OH, he married first Mary C. Gallup, who died about 1797, then, second, Jane Ackley before 1803.[cxcviii] He was enumerated as head of household in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census in Genoa, NY. In his household were two free white males under 10 years of age, one free white male of 10 through 15, one free white male of 26 through 44, three free white females under 10, one free white female of 10 through 15 and one free white female of 27 through 44.[cxcix] He was identified as an early settler of New Haven, OH, coming about 1814[cc]. In 1815 he was levied a tax as a landowner in Wheatsborough (later known as New Haven)[cci], and on 17 August 1815 was named one of the New Haven town supervisors with Stephen D. Palmer[ccii]. On 4 Feb 1817 he was named the Senior Warden of the New Haven Lodge Number 39, Free and Accepted Masons (with David Powers and Martin M. Kellogg)[cciii].
Henry Barney was enumerated as head of household in the 1820 U.S. Census in New Haven. In his household were one free white male under 10 years of age, one free white male of 10 through 16, one free white male of 16 and under 18, two free white males of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, one free white male of 45 and upwards, 1 free white female under 10 years of age, two free white females of 10 through 16, one free white female of 16 through 26, one free white female of 26 through 45. Two people in the household were engaged in agriculture. Benjamin Barney and John Barney are also listed as heads of household on this same census page. [cciv] An interesting article in the Fire Lands Pioneer identifies Henry as a visitor to the Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 64 in Norwalk sometime between 1821 and 1828[ccv] A notice from the New Haven Post Office, printed in The Sandusky Clarion 15 October 1823, lists Henry Barney, “I himar” Coe, David and Lemuel Powers as having letters remaining in the Post Office as on 1 October 1823. This is around the period of time that we believe Ithamar was visiting his brother Lemuel, and daughter Mary Ann, or perhaps around the time that Ithamar brought Mary Ann and her sons to Ohio to live with one of his brothers (Luther or Alvin).[ccvi] Henry Barney and Luther Coe were listed on the Huron County Common Pleas Appearance Docket for the August Term of 1824. They were defendants in a suit brought by Harvey Westfall for $272.50 in debt and $48.25 in damages.[ccvii] The outcome of this suit ended in a sheriff sale of Henry and Luther’s personal property on 28 February 1826.[ccviii]
Luther Coe, Mary Ann’s uncle, was the son-in-law of Henry Barney, having married Henry’s daughter Sophia by his first wife Mary C. Gallup on 17 April 1817 in New Haven[ccix]. It also appears that they were in business together, or owned property together, although we have yet to find a deed for property purchased or sold in Huron County in Luther’s name.
David and Royal Powers were listed together as proprietors in 1819 in the New Haven, Ohio, tax records. This year they are also charged a penalty and interest of $2.55, which may have been the result of delinquent taxes the previous year(s) [ccx]. In the February 1820 Term of the Huron County Court of Common Pleas, an appearance docket was filed in a suit brought by David and Royal N. Powers for the use of Wilson E. Clary, against James Williams, L.R. Hopkins and D. Gilman. Apparently the plaintiffs later changed their mind as they declined to file the suit within 30 days and plea within 60 days thereafter, thus the complaint was cancelled.[ccxi]
David Powers was listed as head of household in New Haven, OH according to the 1820 U.S. Federal Census, which was enumerated in New Haven 7 August 1820. In his household were two free white males under 10 years of age, one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, two free white females under 10 and one free white female of 26 through 45. Two people in the household were engaged in agriculture.[ccxii] David’s brother Lemuel was also listed as head of household on that same census page. In his household were: one free white male under 10 years of age, 1 free white male under 10 years of age, one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, two free white females under 10 years of age, one free white female of 16 through 26. 6 total in household, one person engaged in agriculture.[ccxiii] Royal Newland Powers had apparently moved to Delaware, Ohio prior to the 1820 U.S. Federal Census, as this is where he was listed as head of household on the enumeration of 7 August 1820. In his household were one free white male of 10 through 16; one free white male of 16 through 26, one free white male of 26 through 45, one free white female of 16 through 26, and one free white female of 26 through 45.[ccxiv]
“New haven 24 April 1823
I received your letter of Dec. last in which was the supposed death of our Brother
John & I think we have no reason to doubt the Reality of it from the accounts you state – I
Much feared his death sometime before at St. Louis & knew not that a confirmation of such
an account would so shock me – But Dear Sister we must all die! and as the Poet expresses
It, must “have the parting breath, and pass alone the gloomy vale of Death!” But Alas! our Brother! lying upon the bed of Death – far from friends & his native home, the thought how agonizing – yet you a Sister can realize as well as I a Brother – But our Mother –who have children can better judge of her feelings than you – I learn from your letter of her ill health which makes me fear I shall never see her again, but still have hopes
of conversing with her again,I want to see her more than any other person living but am so circumstanced that I must forego the satisfaction of seeing any of my friends in that country for a while, should life and health continue with me it is my intention to make you a visit within two or three years
perhaps one year from next fall with Brother Lemuel – my feelings would prompt me to make
you a visit the season ensuing but I am yet in debt for my land & have a family to provide for & must sacrifice inclination to duty –
Perhaps you would wish to hear the names of our children, I think our Mother would – Their names are, Christopher, Marcia, Abigail, Charles and Edson, who is some more than one year old, Edson the youngest has a twin Brother But the God who gave him took him to Himself at the age of three days – no doubt in mercy to us, perhaps we should have worshiped them for we already anticipated their smiles & prattles, the means by which we lost him made it more afflicting than his loss would otherwise have been, it being the wellest child was entrusted to the care of the nurse who thro’ neglect suffered the little innocent in a cold night to chill till it was past recovery, we reflected much on ourselves for we were sensible of the natural drowsiness of the nurse had it been seized with an incurable disease I feel that I could have submitted with patient resignation –
You mentioned inYou expressed a fear in your letter that Brother Cyrus would lose his sight by an inflammation in his eyes, I hope he has recovered, I saw Capt. Patter a few days since, who informed me that he saw him & heard no complaint on that account – I should have written to you immediately after the reception of your letter had it not been that Royal left Delaware about that period of time & I could not learn to what place he intended to go for some time. I have since learnt that his intentions were to go to some of the Southern States, he has not determined where he should make his place of residence, Darwin went with him – he resided in Kentucky last summer
You have probably ere this heard something concerning him by the means of Capt. Potter, who told me that he saw Br.Cyrus & conversed with him about Royals situation. it is about one year since I have seen him, you have probably heard of his Expulsion from the Lodge & perhaps not of his restoration – on a trial at the Grand Lodge he was reinstated – I neglected awhile writing to you in hopes of giving you particular information relative to Br. Royal destined place of abode but I acknowledge
Dear Sister that I have been guilty of a gross neglect in not writing sooner, you say in your letter “it has not been for the want of inclination but for the want of leisure etc.” I cannot excuse myself so well is it not rather for the want of inclination that we correspond so little with one another, let us examine it is true, we have a kind of inclination or disposition to do many things which we feel it our duty to do but how strangely we neglect them, Is it your
wish to answer this letter – seek an opportunity & let me know it, I am sensible you feel, an
anxiety to receive a letter from me, but trifling circumstances have prevented my writing sooner, I will endeavor for the future to atone for my neglect by a more frequent correspondence – I want to see you all more than I can tell you, but more especially my Mother whom I fear I shall never see again in this world. But tell her from me – I have a hope that reaches beyond the grave & if we never meet again in time, I hope we may meet together
in that world of joy where parting shall be no more. Tell her likewise that Polly expresses the same hopes & wishes that I have – when I write again I shall sketch something about the Country – I solicit you not to neglect me, as I have you, do food for evil, tell Cyrus & Abigail to write likewise – My love to all my friends- Polly also, My family & Lemuels are well – Adieu
Mary Powers From Your affectionate Brother
Marcia often talks of her Aunt Polly”[ccxv]
The Deacon’s Daughter and the Reverend’s Son: Mary Ann and David Powers
Mary Ann (Coe) Pomeroy and David Powers were married by Justice of the Peace, Samuel Preston in Norwalk, OH on 31 May 1833, just 19 days after Mary Ann’s husband Spencer Pomeroy died in the Onondaga County Poorhouse in New York. Was this a marriage of convenience or passion? We really don’t know how long Mary Ann and David knew each other, prior to marriage, and it’s interesting that there is no mention of Mary Ann in any of the letters written by David’s extended family to his sister Abigail, prior to the marriage. While there is no way to tell if this collection of letters is complete, it does seem that his nieces Louisa and Julia were quite free in sharing their opinion with their aunt Abigail, but they were both in their teens when Polly died and David married Mary Ann, so may not have been writing to Abigail as frequently as they did as they got older.
David’s first wife, Polly, had died in New Haven 17 May 1831, leaving David with six children under the age of 21, two of which were under the age of ten. It is likely that Marcia Powers, as the eldest daughter, became responsible for the care of the younger children. In a letter written by Lemuel Powers to his sister Abigail, he stated “Br. Davids family are all well”.[ccxvi] This is about all we know of the David and Mary Ann’s home life during these early years of their marriage.
On 3 September 1833, David advertised that he had several hundred bushels of clean wheat for sale in the Huron Reflector.[ccxvii] We assume that this wheat was grown on his farm. One month later David and his brother Royal’s names are found in the appearance docket of the Huron County Court of Common Pleas as co-defendants in a suit against them brought by Elisha Whittlesey.[ccxviii] Another notation in the appearance docket in the June term of 1833 lists only David, as Royal had died three years previous[ccxix]. Elisha Whittlesey was a lawyer, living in Norwalk, OH by 1822.[ccxx]
On 11 October 1834, “David Powers and Mary Ann, his wife, of New Haven, Huron County and State of Ohio, for the consideration of five hundred dollars to us paid to our full satisfaction Francis W. Pomeroy, of Norwalk, County and state aforesaid, do give, grant, bargain, sell, remise and quit-claim unto the said Francis W. Pomeroy, his heirs and assigns forever, all our right, title, interest and claim which we had in and unto a certain lot of land situated in the Village of Norwalk, aforesaid, County and State aforesaid, and distinguished and known as in-lot No. six (6) in the Town Platt of Norwalk containing 64 rods of land or 40/100 of an acre, with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging to anywise appertaining either in law or equity, of, or to the above granted premises... The aforesaid premises being the same which Edward Petit of Norwalk aforesaid deeded to Mary Ann Pomeroy July 6, 1825, as will appear on the records of Huron County...”[ccxxi]
On 5 May 1835, the following notice was run in the Huron Reflector: “By virtue of a writ of Fieri Facias issued from the Court of Common Pleas, for the County of Huron, Ohio, to me directed and delivered, I shall expose for sale at public vendue, at the door of the Court House in Norwalk, in said county, on the first day of June next, between the house of ten A.M. and four P.M. of said day – the life estate of David Powers, of the township of New haven in said county, in the following described lands and tenements, to wit – In Lot No. six, in the town plat of Norwalk in said county, with the dwelling house thereon; together with the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging. At the suit of Elisha Whittlesey against David Powers. John Miller, Sherriff, Norwalk, April 28, 1835.”[ccxxii] This appears to be the land that Mary Ann purchased of the estate of Edward Pettit, as it contained the dwelling house.
David’s property problems, which became Mary Ann’s property problems after they married, were extremely complex and trying to make sense of the paper trail left behind has not always been easy. It would appear that David, at this time in his life, had incurred a number of debts, including two mortgages to his sister Mary, which he had not paid on. From later letters in which David wrote to his sisters Mary and Abigail and his brother-in-law Millard Fillmore, it appears that Mary had sold these mortgages to a third party, who would collect, by whatever means possible, the money due from David on those mortgages. As we only are privy to one side of the story in the letters, and there seems to be such a great discrepancy between how David viewed the problem and how Mary viewed the problem, it is hard to determine the real facts of the story. Suffice it to say that it appears that David was willing to sell Mary Ann’s property in order to save his own, and that he was also quite willing to disavow agreements made with Mary Ann in regards to her son Francis’ right to her property after her death. This early sale of part of Mary Ann’s property, just two years after their marriage, did not end the land sales and various finagling. It must have been quite distressing for Mary Ann to marry again and wind up fearing the loss of her home and creature comforts due to David’s financial encumbrances.
David again advertised the sale of wheat in the Huron Reflector on 25 August 1835, although this year the number of bushels he was advertising (150 as opposed to several hundred) were much less than the previous year[ccxxiii]. Did he grow less wheat, or where his yields compromised by problems with the weather, or did he sell more wheat prior to placing this ad?
In a letter written by Julia Powers Dubois to her aunt Abigail Fillmore 9 February 1836, Julia states that David had sold a house on his property in New Haven, to his son-in-law Joseph Rice, the husband of his daughter Marcia[ccxxiv]. We have found no deed for this sale.
New Haven Nov. 15th 1835
Dear Brother & Sister
Chester returned from Buffalo on the 13th of Sept. last much fatigued with his journey
& was very ill for a few days when he was able to ride a mile or two in a one horse wagon a
few times & was then confined to his room with the exception of some pleasant days he was able to ride as far as the village, but constantly grew more feeble, still we “hoped against hope” for his recovery, but, alas! He has paid the debt we all must pay! ~ I should have written to you sooner could I have given the least prospect of his recovery – He had contended for the doctrine of Universal Salvation until about five weeks previous to his death, he said, “his belief was speculative, it was not an “anchor to the soul.” It would not avail him in the great day of accounts,” and with full purpose of heart sought the Lord & found him precious, and from that time expressed a perfect resignation in the will of Him that governs all things – though he endured much suffering yet he said that his last days were his happiest days, and as his end drew nigh he was more & more devoted to the cause of his Redeemer & told me, his Sisters Brothers & friends not to mourn for him but so to live that we might meet him in a better world – He retained his reason perfectly until his last breath, And almost his last word
wereto his weeping friends were “don’t weep for me, I shall soon be a companion of angels with my Mother & Uncle Lemuel, Oh yes! & the best of all will be I shall see my Saviour – Such were his prospects & such were his feelings until about one quarter past five O’clock in the afternoon of the 13th Inst. his happy spirit took its flight to a World invisible! - Ah! dear Friend I shall not attempt to describe my feelings What they now are while I write & what they have been since his death – I have felt that I could not write sooner – though I had long given up hopes of his recovery yet I was not prepared for the final blow – I have lost an affectionate Son on whom I had placed much hopes of social happiness But the Lord gave & hath also taken & it is my Wish to be reconciled to his dispensations - Dear Sister a few words to you – I much regret the little opportunity I had in conversing with you when you paid us your short visit in June last I had much to occupy my mind, and when you left I felt that we had not had a visit but I expected soon to have seen you in Buffalo but circumstances have prevented me – had Chester remained there after his return from Cayuga long enough to have given me notice I should have met him there & accompanied him home – I wrote him to that effect to Tompkins Co, but he started before the arrival of my letter – and after his return home I could not leave him or did not think myself justifiable in so doing or I should have paid you a visit partly to have seen Mary – If my life is spared I intend to visit you and Br. Fillmore next season, were it not so late in the season I should do it this fall – I have done nothing of consequence for six weeks past but attend upon Chester – Abigail also has devoted her time to that & nothing else since his return from Buffalo – Poor girl it seems that her heart will break – Brother & Sister never loved better – Night & day she attended him & would not be prevailed upon to take necessary rest till overcome with fatigue she fell sudden and almost senseless one evening upon her bed – Medical aid was immediately called & she was pronounced very dangerous – for a few hours she was in a state of delirium urging & directing to have Chester taken good care of – she recovered in a few days so as to [stain on page – illegible] upon him as long as he lived – My wife has been very sick the most of the time since
Chesters return – she is now in quite poor health, the rest of us are well – I wish to know where Mary is Please write & inform me – I shall write in a day or two probably next mail respecting our pecuniary concerns – I have not room in this letter – tell Mary to write if you see her – Chester often expressed much gratitude for your kindness & generosity to him & invoked Heaven’s blessing, upon you & yours – From your affectionate Brother
M. & A. Fillmore
Abigail sends her love to you.[ccxxv]
David briefly mentioned Mary Ann, as being unwell since Chester came home. He also mentions contacting his sister Mary and his “pecuniary concerns”. I believe that he is referring to two mortgages that he had drawn from Mary. The first on 57 acres of property in New Haven on 19 May 1832 in the amount of $284, and the second on 30 acres of land in New Haven on 2 April 1833 in the amount of $335.
David wrote to his brother-in-law Millard Fillmore in June 1837:
“New Haven June 6th 1837
In haste I write a few lines to you having neglected more leisure time & opportunity – what
money you have collected of Mr. Johnston (except the five dollars paid to Orpha) I wish you to pay to the bearer E. Steward Esqr. He will satisfy you for your trouble of collecting – I intend to be at Buffalo by the 10th of October next & hope to meet Mary there – I shall write immediately to her to that effect – If I am not disappointed I shall pay her the most of her money if not all – You will probably be at Congress attending to your duties there – Try to “regulate the currency” – I shall regret your being absent – Will Abigail go with you? Where will Mother be if she lives? If Abigail does not go will she keep house while you are absent? I wish you to write if you are pressed for time, tell Sister Abigail she must write, and write particulars – write about Mother – how her health is – I want to hear from her – to hear from you all – but I want more to see you – I must write Mothers name again- I may never see her mark but hope I shall
I have made an arrangement with my wife and sold her Lot at Norwalk for $900.00 last fall I could have taken $1000 but not for so prompt pay – I am to have the greatest part of the money on the first day of October & shall then start for Buffalo – I might arrange by sending a certificate of deposit but I want to see you all especially Mother – Property has fallen in villages generally but not in New Haven – People are sanguine about a County seat at this place – It was put over on its 3d. reading last winter by a majority of one vote only in the Senate (the lower house was in its favor) & the most of its friends retain their seat in other sessions- Water privileges are valuable in this Country – that we can have by draining the prairie South West of us – the Company will be chartered for that purpose next winter – I have laid out 14 building lots adjoining the Village which I think I can sell to good advantage – My
wife is to have one undivided third of my farm for her village lot which I have sold as soon as I can pay Mary’ Mortgage – I have been particulare more on Mothers account for I think she
feels more anxiety about me though I do not doubt Yours & Sisters good wishes for my welfare – I met with a great loss for me three days since I had a valuable yoke of cattle worth $100 the best if there was a best died suddenly with Murrain but Providence so ordered it and I have only to be the more industrious – every thing else has prospered well with me since I left you last fall except I suffered about $25 dollars by hog thieves, but that is quite common – the two last courts the juries were very hard upon them which has made a scattering among them – some have been fined & imprisoned in the County jail
& fined& some sent to the penitentiary (according to the amount stolen) and some have run away – among the last mentioned three of my nearest neighbors – a Father & two sons bound in $600. bonds which they forfeited & paid – but enough of this you will be tired of reading – read it however to Mother it will gratify her because her son wrote it – I shall expect a letter from some of you in about 2 weeks – I have not heard from any of you since I left you & feel anxious to hear – Myself & family are all well – Sister Jane’s family also – When I commenced this letter I intended to write a few lines to you & then to Mother, Sister Abigail, but have not had time to stop and begin again neither have I time to correct mistakes if I have made any – No more at present
M. Fillmore Esqr. From Yours Sincerely
Love to Mother & Sister” [ccxxviii]
Three weeks later David wrote again to his sister Mary:“Sandusky City Erie County
OctNov 1 1840
I do not write you from New Haven but I write from my place of residence – I have resided here about two months – I rented my farm last spring with the intention of moving, but afterward have it up until after harvest – I like living here better than at New Haven on several accts better society, and I think it will be better for my interest as I am situated – Sandusky is a pleasant & health place and will soon be a place of much importance, it is even at this time – two important Rail Roads (one from Columbus & one from Cincinnati) point to this place, the northern extreme-itites of each in profitable operation at this time – The week after I came here I met with a sad accident which has rendered me unable to do any thing and will probably for some time –
In driving a wild young horse he started so suddenly that I was unable to manage him, the wagon striking a stump & broke the shills of the wagon & upset it, or rather the waggon turned a somerset – the lines getting around my wrist and fingers by somemeans, the horse dragged my some three or four rods by my left arm – My shoulder & elbow were dislocated and
andthe joints in my hand wrist & fingers were misplaced –
After suffering 15 or 16 hours I obtained a good Surgeon who I believe skilfully managed me – My shoulder & elbow I think will become sound again, but I have some fears that my wrist & hand will not soon be well, it is at this time and has been extremely painful, but I think 2 or
3 more months time will enable me to begin to use it –
Notwithstanding the risk of being killed I not otherwise injured in the least – I was on my way to see Mr. Williams when I got my hurt who had just returned from the state of New York I have since seen him & he appears to be disposed to press the payment immediately contrary from what I understood him last summer which was a part next spring and the balance in one year after – In your last letter you made some complaint because I did not answer you before you dealt with Mr. Williams, I was absent from home when your letter arrived and after I received it I was absent concluding a sale, the man that I was absent selling to was expecting
news of money from Pennsylvania, and when he did receive it was so unfavorable that he dare not agree to pay the mortgage so soon, about that time your last letter arrived –
A certain wealthy man in New Haven has several times hindered me from selling by making people believe that there is no other way of proving a good title of my farm only to purchase it of the Sheriff – he is an intriguing man & has told Br. Fillmore that I had been offered & could sell at any time for a fair price, which is not true – his sole object is to purchase himself at Sheriff sale & if he can prevent me from selling then he thinks he will have a chance. The Sheriff is a political & personal friend of his & he is an influential Man on account of wealth & will almost certain be one of the Appraisers & it is his interest to undervalue all land especially
mine for he expects to be the purchaser knowing that no one else has the money – I have been told by two persons that they should have purchased my farm had it not been for him – they now regret it but have purchased elsewhere –
If there was no incumbrance on my farm I could now Sell for $2000 in instalments which would leave my wife & me $1000 & some other little property but if the sale is pressed it will not leave me a cent my wife will have (at her control) the surplus after paying the mortgage to you –
I live in a house belonging to a Mr. Foreman of whom I rent, he is a man of property but attend to no business at present, he proposes to me to buy my farm & pay it in Rail Road Stock for himself to live upon, he is well pleased with it & is a man about my age & has been a man of business & now wishes a small farm for himself during the remainder of his life –
Not that he undervalues the Stock for he would not sell For money at simple interest – I would much rather have Stock than money payable in instalments on interest
There is no money in Ohio – Our Locoforo Legislature under the pretense of Bank Reform have attempted to destroy the Banks & have passed such acts the Banks cannot discount one dollar safely, & neither do they discount at all but thanks to the Whigs of Ohio they have now taken the helm but I fear not soon enough to save me –
The Stock which Mr. Foreman has (which is considerable) is in the Rail Road leading from this place to Cincinnati through Dayton and a rich agricultural part of the State and also very level & easily made – it will be a great thorough fare – From Sandusky they commenced running last year to Belevue 15 miles and divided 10 per cent on the Stock, I have enquired of those who know and in a few days they say they shall divid between 12 and 15 per ct 12 miles more will be finished in 10 days which will make 27 miles and 15 more is contracted to be finished in December which will make 42 after that is completed the dividend will be made semi-annully – and it is thought that it will then divide 20 per cent annually, I shall be glad to take the balance of my farm in stock – Heretofore the dividend have been made in Stock but after the completion as above stated dividends will be paid in money deposited in the Bank of Sandusky as good a bank as there is in the State – Mr. Williams has some Idea of taking the
Stock himself but I fear (knowing that I am in his power) that he will want to shave me money being so scarce – Mr. Williams says that you can have the contract of the Mortgage if you wish it is the reason I have written as I have – If you wish your money where you can have the greatest interest I will say if you will take the Stock I will come under bond, with good security to guarantee to you 10 per cent (for three years and payable semiannually i.e. 5 pr. cent for six months or if you will give me the surpluss I will agree to 12 per Cent Annually for the same time – the Stock of the Rail Road is all taken by able men in two companies to meet at Dayton There is more of the South end in operation than at the North end – I have not exaggerated – I write as it is – I had rather have stock in the Rail Road than money on interest – There is no money in circulation in this State I am told it is not one half as plenty as it is in New York, for they have not warred against the Banks in that State to such a degree – but I hope for better times, If you should conclude to take the Stock it can be assigned to you at any time & if you choose I will give you the warrant as above stated both ample security – Write to me as soon as you can – I shall enclose this to Br. Fillmore & he will send it to you probably with a note – I would rather you would take the Stock than Mr. Williams for I think it will be to your advantage – I do not know whether Mr Williams will or no for he can speculate out of me greatly if he chooses –
I have filled my sheet & can write no more only to tell you that your friends are all well except Joseph Rice & Julia who was living about six weeks ago – a word on elections & polsters – Does Br. Cyrus support Van Buren? We have gone in Ohio against him probably 25000 if the
rest of the State has gained on the State elections as much as the North part – If New York goes for him he can’t be elected I think – Will you not come to Sandusky next spring, I think it would be for your health – if you will appoint a time and I will meet you at Buffalo I can do it without fare David Powers”[ccxxix]
David wrote to Millard Fillmore in January 1841. His wife Mary Ann added a short note at the end of this letter:“Sandusky City Erie County O. Nov 23 1840
I received yours in due season and was sorry that you did not conclude to [sic] take the Rail Road Stock for two important reasons, one is that I am well convinced that you would received much greater interest for your money than you can get by hiring it under there would be no failure in the dividends deposited in bank to your credit; & another is it would enable me to sell my farm & save something to myself (at least $500 more) You will naturally say if the stock is valuable why will it not command cash immediately –
The reason is there is such a scarcity of money that none but misers possess it – Should the Banks resume operations & business became as usual I believe the Stock will soon be worth 15 or 20 per cent premium – it is thought so, by business men – with regard to giving Mr. Williams Security it is impossible to give him any other security than what my land will give him, which he can tell by advertising 30 days – You mention about being a woman - all the
trouble it would make you would be to receive your certificate of deposit or give a draught or order for the money – I have not written this expecting to induce you to take the stock but rather to express my views candidly for you say that you do not know how much of your money you shall want for your support being in ill health –
I never saw so scarce a time for money as at present But, I am in hopes it will soon be better but I fear that it will come soon enough to save the sacrifice it would be to me to have my farm sold at Auction – I am sensible that you are in need of money & I wish to pay you but I cannot (at this time) sell my farm and get the payment, as soon as Mr. Williams wants his money – several want my place and admit my offer low enough, but cannot raise the money soon enough When judgment was rendered against me principal & interest became principal I will here propose to you & request your answer – Suppose you receive (deposited in Norwalk Bank) the interest and enough of the principal to make $200.00 by the first of Feby. Next, & afterwards $100.00 of principal together with the interest that shall have accrued semi annually until I can dispose of my farm & when I can do so the balance of the Mortgage to be paid out of the first payments –
If you can do so write immediately & if not write whether it is in your power to do any thing to prevent the sacrifice that I shall have to make as I am now circumstanced – You ask whether I expect to make a permanent residence in this place? I cannot tell – it will depend some on the sale of my farm – I shall probably stay here the next season, & I verily believe it would be to the benefit of your health to come here in the spring & even stay through the season instead of coming in the fall – It is a healthy & pleasant place I should have been at Buffalo in October if I had not met with my misfortune – my arm & hand is recovering
*Interest the same as in New=York
The Small note paid first – That could not be recorded in the Judgment of the Mortgage even by my confession on account of (another claim as fast as can be expected – I am not able yet to use my arm but expect that time will effect a cure with the exception of one or two of the joints of my fingers & hand –
Sister Jane is at home on a short visit & send her love to you all, Julia is yet living & is at her Mothers, while life lasts there is generally hope they have a faint hope in this case – My wife sends her respect to you Br. Fillmore & Sister Abigail – I will again repeat my wish to have you pay us a visit in the spring as soon as navigation opens – Sister Jane has just expressed the
same wish & the belief that it will benefit your health – I am firm in such a belief for I have often seen the effects of climate
Fail not to Write, I remain sincerely
Miss Mary Powers Your Affectionate Brother
My pen is bad & I cannot mend it”[ccxxx]
”Norwalk January 5th 1841
I am placed in a very unfortunate situation I am like to be stripped of every dollar
that I am worth & I greatly fear my hand & arm is so injured that I never shall have much use
of it. Mr. Williams manifests a disposition to accommodate – is ignorant of Ohio laws and I think his advisers are for speculation – unless I can get into business that I can earn a livelihood with one hand I fear how my support is to come – If you cannot pay the whole mortgage can you not render assistance by advancing one half by having security to have it paid back immediately after next harvest
Mr. Williams would manage that security & make it sure and would not make any use of the money until it as done – the sale is postponed until the 30th Inst. If you can managed to bid of the land and give directions to have it sold so as to have the whole paid back within a year (with New York interest if you wish) it can be done and I shall have four or five hundred dollars coming after – Will you write a line to Mr. Williams at Brunson Huron County and also drop a line to me at Sandusky – Sister Jane has $2,000.oo loaned out but has not the money by her she could raise one half – could I be assured the use of my arm I should not feel so much anxiety – fail not to write immediately the men I talk of selling to are abundantly responsible & punctual. I prefer you to bid the land to the best advantage & pay yourself which will give me a surplus
From Yours Sincerely David Powers
M. Fillmore Esqr.
M. Fillmore Sir, if the property must go I loose my all and
we arewe are made beggars. I am much distressed, we are getting old & unable to work hard. Pardon the liberty I have taken
With Respect Yours Mary Ann Powers”[ccxxxi]
David again wrote to Millard Fillmore in February of 1842:
“Sandusky Feby. 4th 1841
You will have received (probably) before this arrives a letter from myself & Sister Jane
relative to my farm – I now ask of you another favor important to me in my situation –
The Lighthouse on the Peninsula at the mouth of Sandusky Bay is now attended by Jeremiah Benschoter who married a widow who formerly attended it – Mr. Benschoter is a strenuous opposer of whig politicians & there is much complaint of his negligence & will unquestionably be removed – Is it not possible that I can get the appointment? I have been a pioneer in this Section of the Country – have been extremely unfortunate & am now needy & the injury that I received as you have been informed renders me and will probably forever unable to perform any manual labor which I have been accustomed to do – Are you so circumstanced that you can procure me such an appointment? The peninsula is now in Ottawa County – Danbury Township – Mr. Benschoter is weathy –
The Lighthouse on Cedar Point in this County is attended by a Mr. Beatty – I have heard no
complaint of him – he may not be removed –
Knowing my situation you will excuse my troubling you – I am aware of the thousands of petitions for office – this is not office – It is labor only such of kind as I can perform – We are all well
M. Fillmore Yours Sincerely David Powers
I can get citizens to petition if necessary please write. Please send me some documents –
Does General Harrison remember Br. Royal, he was Surgeon of General Trapper’s Brigade in the N. Western Army”[ccxxxii]Although David dated the above letter “Feby 4th, 1841” I believe that the letter was in reality written in 1842 as the next letter that David wrote to Millard Fillmore on the same subject states that he had written to Millard “some weeks since”:
David wrote to his sister Abigail in December 1844:Sandusky City May 8th, 1842
I wrote you some weeks since relative to a Mr. Jeremiah Van Benschoter Lighthouse tender on the Peninsula at the mouth of Sandusky Bay who was removed by our present Executive – he has sent petitions numerously signed to be reinstated for which there is (if I am correctly informed) a large majority of those that navige the Lake in his favor – The member from this district (Mr. Sweeney) I understand has the petitions in his possession – have you leisure, & can you consistently aid in his reappointment – I acknowledge I have an individual interest in his reappointment – that interest will be in the superintendence of his farm, but I would not trouble you if I were not well assured that more than three fourths of the navigators of the Lakes were not in his favor – I am aware that you have but little leisure but will notwithstanding ask as a favor that you converse with Mr. Sweeney on the subject & write me a line immediately and inform me whether he has any prospect – About four weeks since I had the misfortune to fall & sprain my right shoulder and am not yet able to put on my clothes without assistance It will require some time probably to recover wholly, but time will not effect a cure of my left, otherwise my health isgood & family also – If Sister Abigail is with you I wish
her to write, for I have not received a line from any of my distant friends since the letter informing me of the death of Brother Cyrus – Again I must solicit you to take time to reply to this
From Yours Etc, Sincerely
Hon. Millard Fillmore David Powers[ccxxxiii]
David wrote to his sister Abigail in July 1845:“Sandusky City Dec. 5th 1844
We received a box last Saturday from Barber & Barney directed to their care, marked on the bill 15th ext.it weighed but 9 lbs and had the appearance of having been opened – We have been & are now in daily expectation of a letter from you but have not as yet received any – Marcia requests me to write you her especial thanks for the bonnet you sent her, also accept mine & my Wifes’ for the favors we have received – The box contained the bonnet for Marcia, a flannel shirt, 2 green blinds for the eyes, & perhaps an ounce of scattering tea –
Will you write on the reception of this & write particulars, how you got home, how you found your family, etc. My wife & Marcia have more sewing than they can do, & enjoy good health, mine also is good except my lame legs & arm – I think I shall pay you a short visit in the spring if the Lake opens early so that I can go & come by the first of June, for I perceive by Election returns that you will not be under the necessity of removing to Albany –
I am aware & deeply regret the various and consummate frauds that have been practised
that has resulted in the defeat of the Whigs in the Presidential canvass, as well as the defeat of Br. Fillmore –
Ohio has done well, both branches of the Legislature for the first time in seven years are Whig – More important elections are to take place by the Legislature this winter than ever took place in one session – Viz. A United States Senator, State printer for 3 years & other State officers, as well as a Supreme Judge, & a large number of President & associate Judges – The Weather at this time is very moderate & has been generally pleasant since you left with one or two exceptions –
Write often & I will answer your letters, If you have not leisure have Powers write to me – My respects to Br. Fillmore & Powers & love to Abigail – My wife & Marcia send their love to you & yours –
Abigail Fillmore From Your Affectionate Brother
P.S. Give my thanks to Powers for the papers sent me – I shall be glad to receive the weekly
Patriot & Journal – The Daily Commercial Advertisor I have an opportunity of perusing at the Clarion Office – If he will continue the Patriot & Journal I will feel under an obligation to remunerate him & should Providence enable me I will do so
Many of the letters in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY Oswego’s Penfield library were written by the children of Lemuel Powers to their aunt Abigail (Powers) Fillmore. These letters have shed much light on the family experience, and the even more telling in the various relatives’ relationship and opinion of each other, especially in their opinions of David Powers and his “new wife”, Mary Ann. As Lemuel and his children lived in Huron County, Ohio as did David, their lives were indelibly entwined, and it is necessary to provide a background into their lives in order to fully understand David and Mary Ann’s lives.”Sandusky City July 29th 1845
I received your letter in due time & should have written immediately had I not been almost in daily expectancy of my wife starting on a visit to LeRoy & calling at Buffalo – Nothing but her ill health has prevented her journey – She made preparations for going the last of June intending to spend the 4th of July with her friends in Gennessee County but was taken sick but got better about the time I received your letter & Marcia was taken unwell & we feared she would also have a spell of fever – but she got better in a few days & my wife was again taken down
againshe is now much better & made preparations for going this morning but a mere accident hindered her, which happened to the Boat that she intended to take passage in – The Trunk has been packed for 4 or 5 weeks ready for the Journey & I am in
hopes nothing will hinder her going in 3 or 4 days ~
I tho’t however I would sit down this evening (4 O’clock) & write a few lines, for I have but little leisure in the day time, for I am almost constantly occupied in my Office as Justice for the Office I rent is central, in the lower story of the Banking-house – The Cashier of the Bank is the Mayor of our City & does no justice business & the other Magistrate is occupied in the Country Clerks Office & wishes to do none so that I probably have 9/10 of the business - I pay no money for my office rent for I hold an appointment of the Office of Notary Public & I sign my name for Bank Protests for the rent they write all else necessary - I should have paid you a visit at the opening of Navigation had I continued to be employed in the Auditors Office but I found as I was situated that it would not answer for me to leave long enough to pay you a visit, but I intend to do so before the close of Navigation if health permit – Sandusky is generally a healthy place but there is much more than common this season – My health is good & has been since you saw me – I believe our friends are generally well at New Haven - - - I was not aware that Br. Fillmore was keeping money useless ready to assist me – I am Grateful that he feels a disposition to render me assistance & I think I may be in need of it, but not now, & I cannot tell at what time I may want his help, but I can let him know two or three months before I shall want it – It is uncertain whether the decree can be perfected this next Term of S. Court which is in August & if not there can be no property be sold (except second
handed as it is called) for another year – I intended to write but a few wards when I sat down – I said I felt grateful for Br. Fillmore’s generous offer & I said truly – I wish Mary felt a disposition to do me Justice – I have been compelled to pay her Lawyers $46.00 unjustly for her collecting fees – besides I let her have the last time I saw her a five Dollar gold piece in hopes she would show me some favor & she said she would endorse it as interest on a small note besides I paid her a demand I had at Buffalo of about $10.00 which Br. Fillmore collected which she never gave me credit on the note I gave her & I had to pay it again – but no more of this it will be disagreeable to you – it is to me & I wish hot to think of it – I will now stop for the night & write no more for the present – Give my best wishes to Br. Fillmore & tell your Father & Mother Fillmore they may expect to see me at their house next fall & perhaps taste
of some of their cheese if they have it – Give my love to Powers & Abigail & should be glad to see them at Sandusky - - Marcia sends her love to all of you – My wife may be at Buffalo nearly as soon as this letter –
From your Affectionate Brother
Mrs Abigail Powers David Powers
P.S. I read the Buffalo Patriot with more satisfaction because I receive it thro’ friendship
Next Week: Part 6 – Family Ties and the Cholera