Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seventy Five Years in Perkins by W. D. Gurley

In the December 29, 1890 issue of the Sandusky Daily Register, W. D. Gurley wrote an article about his ancestors, who were early settlers in Perkins Township of Erie County, Ohio. Mr. Gurley, whose full name was William Dempster Gurley, was the son of pioneer Methodist minister Rev. William Gurley.

My ancestor, Julius House, and his wife and children were among those who came by oxen train from Glastonbury, Connecticut to Perkins Township in 1815 with John Beatty. Julius House, Rev. Gurley, and many of those early Perkins Township settlers were laid to rest in the Perkins Cemetery. They were first buried in the old Perkins Cemetery, but were moved to the current Perkins Cemetery when their land in Perkins Township was needed for a munitions factory during World War Two.

A transcription of W. D. Gurley's article about "Seventy Five Years in Perkins" appears below. Mr. Gurley contrasts the rustic cabins of the early settlers with the lovely home of Truman B. Taylor, which was built in the 1890's.

Seventy-five Years in Perkins
For The Register

At the close of the war of 1812 the Rey. John Beatty and Julius House then living in Connecticut, formed a colony of twelve families. Late in the fall of '15 they arrived in Erie county and selected their farms in Perkins township on the sand ridge now leading from Bogart to Bloomingville, then an Indian trail. Each family built his own campfire and slept in their wagons while building their one story log cabins, The country being now, they were surrounded by wild beasts and savage tribes. These cabins were built without boards, nails or glass. During the winter of '15 they organized the first M. E, church on the Firelands, John Beatty being a local preacher and Julius House an exhorter. Mr. House was chosen class leader, which office he held for more than fifty years. The number of members was about fifteen. At a meeting in'86 there was 108 added to their number. This society has prospered for the last seventy five years under such preachers as the Rev. John H. Powers, Wm. Runnells, John Kellam, Adam Poe. Rev. T. B. Gurlev, Sawyer, Dunn, McMahon, Mitchell, Barkdull, Breckenridge, Broadwell,
Thompson and a host of others.

The Rev. James Gray has been returned for the second year to Perkins for to persuade the people to come out to church and receive the blessings reserved for them. These old pioneers, fathers and mothers, went to work, fenced and cleared their land, plowed the ground, set out several apple orchards which grew and thrived and in a few years furnished apples and cider not only tor the neighborhood but also for Sandusky.

In a few years those old log cabins were removed, frame buildings took the place of the old ones, barns and outhouses were erected, rail fences torn down and picket and board fences became the fashion of the day. These old pioneer fathers went to work, toiled hard early and late for more than half a century, then they one by one passed away, leaving their homes to their children and grand children.There are today six of those children living who came with their parents to Perkins seventy-five years ago: Mr. Stuart Bell, of Sandusky; Mrs. Susan Monnett, of Norwalk; Mrs. Riley, of Avery; Mrs. Green, of Perkins; Ellery Taylor and Lindsley House, were all children when they arrived here.

The new generation that has sprung up was not satisfied with those old pioneer orchards because they were old fashioned and somewhat infirm with age, so they have all been cut down and cleaned away. Mr. T. B. Taylor, grandson of Jessie Taylor, now occupies his grandfather's old homestead of seventy-five- years. A magnificent mansion has just risen on the sight of the old cottage by Mr. Taylor. It is built in the latest French style, its windows filled with French cut glass, while those of the hall are Chinese glass. Tho building fronts the road and is built with its hip roof, its stack chimneys and surmounted spires; it is roofed with slate and painted in the latest style of the nineteenth century. The driveway leading from the road to the stable curves to the east parlor door, then passes through a beautiful potochere, a French name, and is a very convenient part of the house. The way is covered with slate and pebble stones; the sidewalk leading from the gate to the house is laid with long square flag stones imported from some foreign port. Shrubbery occupies the yard, while in front of the house stands a beautiful row of maples. The old barn has been removed a little back and a magnificent one erected on the site of the old one, with its surmounted cupola and spire; it is painted red and tipped with white. Thrift and fashion have removed the old land marks by Mr. Taylor and introduced a new era into the shady paradise of the past. Mr. Taylor and family are now comfortably settled in their new home and the well arranged furniture shows the taste of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. There was one of these old pioneers apple trees standing in the door yard which had escaped the notice of the woodman's axe.

Sandusky Daily Register, December 29, 1890, p. 4

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