Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve
(See the links to Township Listings at the bottom of this page)
To recognize and pay tribute to our female ancestors, we have transcribed and made available on Ashtabula County GenWeb sketches from all Ashtabula County townships [Pierpont excepted] as represented in “Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve.” While this is most often referred to as a book, dated 1896, and has been compiled as such, it was in the beginning a series of publications. Perhaps the best introduction to the complete work can be found in the “Forward” to the fifth and final volume, published 1924, part of which follows.
The Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve was begun in 1896
during the Centennial Celebration of the founding of Cleveland. The
idea of such a history was first conceived by Mrs. Gertrude Van
Rensselaer, Wickham, Historian for the Women’s Department of the
Cleveland Centennial Commission. It was approved by this organization
and the work begun under its auspices.
In cooperation with assistant-historians from each township upon the
Western Reserve the material was gathered and prepared in manuscript
from under the personal direction of the Historian. Four volumes were
published and placed in the hands of subscribers during the centennial
year. The fifth and last volume, together with the Index for the entire
history, completes this most remarkable and valuable work.
It is said to be the only record of its kind that connects the pioneer
women of the Western Reserve with their New England forebears. It is
hoped that it may prove of assistance to genealogists, as the maiden
names of wives and mothers are recorded, as well as names of husbands
and families and ancestors still further back in history. The research
work has been monumental. It has necessitated delving into musty
records, finding old letters, visiting old cemeteries and corresponding
with descendants of pioneer women.
The narratives are unique, being true accounts of thrilling events and
personal experiences of those courageous men and women who braved the
wilderness. It gives a vivid picture of early times upon the Western
Reserve in great contrast with conditions in the twentieth century.
Since there have been so many persons engaged in the collection and
transmission of historical material, relying in many cases upon the
memory of descendants of the pioneers, who have retold the tales as
best they could, it is possible that some errors in dates and even in
names have occurred. But the greatest care has been taken to make the
After the Cleveland Centennial Commission disbanded, the Executive Committee
of the Women’s Department re-organized and became self-perpetuating in
order to finish the work under taken by the Women’s Department and to
carry forward its patriotic interest in the preservation of the early
records of the Western Reserve.
In 1922 this organization became affiliated with the Western Reserve
Historical Society, which society, through its Secretary, Mr. W. H.
Cathcart, has given the most valuable assistance in the preparation of
this volume. It is the earnest hope of the Historical Society, as well
as of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Department of the
Cleveland Centennial Commission, that this Memorial to the Pioneer
Women of the Western Reserve may prove both valuable and interesting to
many students and readers throughout the entire country.
Listed below are the Ashtabula County township committee members responsible for the sketches [as listed in Volume 5]. They have now [in 2004] become part of history and, in many instances, are more detached from today’s generation than the people about whom they wrote. Unfortunately, many of their true identities are unknown because, even in a memorial to women, they chose to identify themselves by their husbands’ names instead of their own.
APPOINTED FOR THE COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL DATA
At the end of twenty-five years an effort was made to call together the members of these committees, when it was found that a very large proportion had passed on to their reward. Let this completed book be a tribute to their memory.
Myra B. Ainger, HistorianAshtabula:
Etta Luce Gilchrist, Chairman and Historian
Mrs. Thomas Fricker
Mrs. C. J. Jaques
Mrs. Henry Fassett
Mrs. H. L. Morrison
Mrs. Lucy Lowe Watson
Mrs. Edward Large
Mrs. Charles Vaughn
Miss Mary HubbardAustinburg:
Cornelia R. Fuller, Chairman and Historian
Charlotte Tuttle Peck
Jeannette Calaway Lathrop
Isabelle Webb Whiting
Rowena Bloss Hickox, of Kelloggsville, Chairman and Historian
Mrs. Lucy White Wood
Miss Lucia Smith
Mrs. Laura Colby Clark
Mrs. Marcella Durkee Searles
Mrs. Angeline Parker Roundy
Mrs. Polly Green GriggsMorgan:
Mrs. Polly Smith & Mrs. E. R. Mills, Historians
Mrs. Maria St. John
Mrs. Harriet Howard
Mrs. Polly Smith
Mrs. E. R. Mills, ChairmanNew Lyme:
Mrs. E. E. Tuckerman, Historian
Page updated May 2023