Location: Sharon, Pennsylvania, United States
Note: Thanks to genealogist Jerry Carter, who first made this autobiography available at his website, Jonathan O. Runser, who transcribed the original hand-written document, and Tom Carter, who gave permission for it to be duplicated on Wikitree. - K. Cathey
Sebastian's autobiography, dated Nov. 25, 1891, is followed by a history of his family, written for his wife, and a memorandum dated Sept. 4, 1893 providing the important incidents that occurred in his life.
The Autobiography of Sebastian Runser
Nov. 25, 1891 Sharon, Penna.
I shall now endeavor to give as near as possible a correct biography of my early life and voage to America. I was born in the Province of Elsase (at that time a part of France) near the city of Bail on the river Rhine, on June 18th. 1828. In the spring of 1832 my parents concluded to go to America to better their case. My Father and two of his brothers and families formed a company and came to Haver by one horse wagons. In them they brought such things as were really necessary only at Haver, they sold their horses and wagons and took voage on a sailing vessel for at that time there were no steam boats. We were 65 days in making the voage to New York and during this time the Cholera broke out and many died. One of the victims was one of my Uncles and was buried at sea and became food for the sharks. At the time, as I have been told by those who can remember, my mother also had the disease but recovered from it and lived to be nearly 90 years old. I see it stated that the first Cholera cases in America were in 1832 but whether our vessel was the one I can not say. From New York to Buffalo, we all came together by river and canal and two of the families went on to Erie, while we remained for some time in Buffalo. During the voyage on the canal my infant sister died and was buried some where along the canal, near Albany. We left Buffalo the same fall and came to Cleveland by lake and from there to Massillon Ohio by canal and remained there for some years and never heard of the other families for nearly 20 years. They had settled at Erie and many of those that are living are still there, and some of them are in Massillon Ohio. Our family yet consisted of only two sisters, Nancy and Matilda and two Brothers, Andrew and John, and Matilda and Nancy and myself (Sebastian), all living except John, he died at 54 years of age, the rest of us range in age from 69 to 85. My Fathers name was Seraphin Runser, a stone mason by trade. He lived to be 85 years old and is buried at Ada, Ohio. My Mothers name was Catherine Wickey and lived to the age of 89 years, 11 months and 15 days, almost 90. She is buried along side of father and John. Andrew, the oldest of the family served five years learning the smith trade when we first came to America. He received his board and clothing for same during the time and afterwards followed the trade for many years. First worked as foreman at 15 dollars per month and board and then started shop for him self in Massillon Ohio and in l846 he came to Sharpsville, Penna thinking it a good place for business as the Sharpsville furnace was then in course of construction and was finished that season. He rented the shop from the firm and did their work and custom work for the neighbors . I at that time had served one year with him as apprentice, came with him and served the balance of my time with him which lasted till l848, at the rate of 40.00 per year and board. When my time was served I felt like seeing my parents who had in the meantime removed to Hardin County Ohio with John and the rest of the family, so I packed an old feed sack with shirts and socks and started on my Journey, on foot, a distance of nearly 250 miles which took me 13 days, the walking beeing bad. I stayed at home some time, during which I helped to get the material for a hewed log house for my folks then lived in a round pole house about 15 feet square and in it there were two beds, a shoe makers shop, kitchen and parlor all in one room, yet we were all happy and contented. By the way, my brother John was a shoe maker by trade, which I will notice hereafter. During the time I stayed in Hardin county there were lots of deer and wolves but I did not succeed in killing any, but one of our neighbors killed many deer and some wolves and we had lots of venison to eat, for he saved only the hind quarters for drying and frequently gave me some of the rest of the carcus to take home. There is one thing I forgot to mention that may interest some of the little ones at some future time. It was about noon when I arived at my Fathers home and he concluded to go to inform a sister of mine of my arrival and he lost his course, it being all a dense forest, and when night came on and he did not return we became alarmed and brother John and I took the punched tin lantern with tallow candle and went to sisters home some two miles distant and were informed he had not been there. We then came home and got the assistance of an old hunter and with hickory bark torches, we searched near by the whole night without cuccess. In the morning we gave the alarm through out the neighborhood and there was quite a number collected at a log school house about a mile distant and formed into a hunting party. We formed a line and made a rule that on finding him a gun was to be fired, and under no other circumstances. About noon we heard the report of a gun near what was called _Grass Run_. We all hastened to the place and found Father searching his way home. He had lain in a hollow log all night with wet clothing on and in the morning the rain turned to snow and he was nearly perished. We then returned home with him and put him in as comfortable condition as we could and he was quite sick for some time but finally recovered after a severe spell of rheumatism. In the spring of 1848 I started for Sharpsville, Pa. I went by way of Findlay Ohio to visit a sister living near there which I will mention hereafter. From there I went on to Tiffin and Ashland and at Mansfield got on the same route that took me on my way from Sharpsville. On my return, I engaged to work at what is now called Sharon Furnace (then was called the Bell Furnace). J. J. Spearman was the Superintendent. I worked there two years at one dollar a day and board which was good wages at that time. I did all the smelting for the furnace besides custom work for the turns that were engaged hauling ore and charcoal, no bituminous coal being used at that time nor any lake ore. A furnace made about from three to five tons a day. In the spring of 1850 my brother Andrew concluded to take some of his household goods out to Hardin County where he had purchased a farm and calculating later to move on same and of whom I will speak hereafter. I had two horses which I used in hauling his wagon and goods out there and came home on foot. My Brother rode one of the horses back, the other horse I left with my folks. At that time on my arrival home I rented the shop that Andrew had occupied and went in business for my self to accomodate the trade that he had and stayed in Sharpsville two years in the fall of 1850. I was married to Adeline Dunham, living on the road from Sharpsville to Trouts Corners and afterwards bought a piece of land from her Father. On the same road now owned by Albin Dunham, here I erected a small shop to do custom work for the neighborhood and after one years work I found the custom rather limited. I then added a wagon shop to same. This increased my work considerable and I soon had work for several men. I continued untill the spring of 1862 at which time I purchased some property of C. G. Carver in Sharon and the same fall moved my family there to a house that stood on a lot now owned by F. D. Runser. My shops were located on Dock St. near where Walace and Carleys shops now are. I continued the business three years and then in company with Carver and Trout, we formed the Empire Plannin Mill known as Runser, Carver and Trout and continued same untill the spring of 1868 at which time I sold my interest to my partners, intending to go west. I changed my mind and in the same spring in company with James Westerman, Wm. McGlonay, Sam Kemberly and my self founded the Sharon Boiler Works under the firm name of S. Runser and Co. and continued the business for some years during which time we put the irons in Mercer Jail. We built several blast furnaces and oil tanks in different parts of the country. In 1875 I sold my interest to R J Manison who is still in the business. I was idle then for some time and in 1876 leased some furnace slag and cinder to manufacture same into pig iron under a patent of A J Vinton, I succeeded in obtaining one lot of slag in Terrehaute Indiana and made 530 gross tons of iron. After that I did no more at the business for I could not obtain the slag at a fair price for they got to useing the slag in the blast furnaces themselves. I met with some loss in this transaction. In 1878 I engaged with Sam Kimberly to put some crushers in Colorado for reducing the waste quartz at some of the mines, this proved to be a failure and I left there and went to Leadville, Colo, and prospected the balance of the year on the divide between Denver and Leadville. Here I put up a little log cabin and I and an old prospector put in the winter. We dug six or seven openings some in quite a distance and found out little encouragement. I was chief cook and house keeper and also helped some at the digging of the drifts. I finally left the whole thing in his possession and he stayed there alone for some time but what come of him in the end I do not know. I came home, have never had any use for hunting a fortune since. I then engaged for some little time in smithing and dealing in buggies and agricultural implements. This I soon quit and settled up business and went to work for Runbley, Corns and Co. selling iron and nails. I traveled as far east as Albany N. Y. and as far west as St. Louis. This I followed untill the fall of l884 when I was called home to assist in putting in some improvements in the Greenville mill. When this was done the mill closed till the next spring and I was idle during that winter. The next spring the mill started up again and I was put in as Manager of the mill and held that position untill my health failed in 1891, and since that time, the time has seemed longer than all the years before, but I am thankful that I have as good a home as I have. All is being done for me that can be done and I am treated with kindness by the whole family, and may God bless them for it. I can never reimburse them for their trouble. They are kind to those around them under all circumstances and was I in health that I could appreciate more fully the kindness of those around me I would be happy indeed. I will now leave this part for the present and go back and give a short sketch of my brothers and sisters as promised in foregoing and will then contrive the biography of my self. As stated before, my Brother Andrew moved from Sharpsville to Hardin County, Ohio in 1850 and located on a farm where he has been ever since, and is now., if living is now somewhere about 80 years old. His wife was Isabel McDowell of near Sharpsville and is some years his senior. They have a family of five children now living, all located near them, all have homes and are comfortably situated. Andrew and his wife are living alone on a farm waiting for the final summons. My brother John, of whom I spoke before moved to Hardin County from Massillon in l847 with father and mother and sister Nancy and located on a piece of land of which I have spoken before. He was a shoe maker by trade and in the winter of 47, having little to live on, he went to Kenton, the County seat, and secured work at his trade. This was some thirteen miles distant, which he had to walk through the wilderness there being but one or two houses on the course, but plenty of deer and some wolves and other game. Still when Saturday night came he felt like going home to see his parents who lived in the little cabin of which I have spoken before. The wolves never gave him any trouble but he told me that many times he heard them howl while he was groping his way with a torch light made of hickory bark. In 1863 on the 4th he was taken as one of the 100 day men of Ohio and served his time and returned home safely. He was in the battle of Harpers Ferry at which place my sisters husband was taken prisoner of whom I will speak later. It was early In 1850 that my brother got married to Elizabeth Eply a resident of the county and to them were born four children, two boys and two girls. One boy and one girl are at home with their mother and one boy is living in Ada, a school teacher, and one girl is in Nebraska in the same business. I do not recollect the date of my brothers death, but he was 54 years of age when he died. He left his family in common comfortable standing, and he is resting with his parents near where he lived. Matilda, my oldest sister is now living in Indiana with some of her children. She was married somewhere in l840, I do not remember the date, to a man named John Rusher and to them were born three or four children. Rusher was a moulder by trade and worked for Russels of Massillon but when my folks moved west he concluded to go with them and bought land there. Here he lived a short time and became tired of farming and returned to Massillon where he died. I do not remember what year or how old he was, I do not remember but he was buried there. I visited his grave at one time with my sister. After his death my sister felt lonley and she moved out west again on the farm. Some time after, I do not remember the date, she married again to a man by the name of Charles Rollson. To them were born several boys, how many I do not know, but when they grew up they concluded to sell the farm and removed to Indiana and after some time there they heard of cheap land in Arkansas. Mr. Rollson and the boys concluded to build something like Noah_s Ark and go west. They were living on the White river so they built their boat on it and stocked it with such things as they thought they needed, vis, horses, cows, feed for some chickens and fowls of different kinds, provisions and household goods and such things as they thought they needed and all got on board with the exception of two of the girls who lived in Logan County, Ohio. When everything was ready they took in the lines and floated down into the Wabash and out of that into the Ohio and into the Mississippi and finally were towed up some river in Arkansas, where they struck out for some place to locate. They finally located in DeWitt County near DeWitt the County seat and bought starvation land and after some time the boys became dissatisfied and moved back to Indiana and the old people had to remain, they were too poor to move. They stayed there till recently when Mr Rollson died. The boys after removed their mother to Indiana and this ends the history of Matilda for the present.
My sister Nancy moved to the west with my people in 1847 and in the same year got married to Joseph Miller of Massillon Ohio whom she had been acquainted with for some time. They moved the same year to Hancock County and bought a farm joining my brother John_s. Here they lived untill Miller and brother went to the war and Miller was taken prisoner by the enemy and taken to Andersonville prison and there left to starve to death and be burried in a strange land. The reason we know what became of him is his name is mentioned in a history of the Ohio soldiers. So my sister was left with a family of small children, the youngest being born about he left for the War. The children in all were seven, I think, four boys and three girls. Those she succeeded in raising and gave them as good an education as her means would allow her to do. The boys are all married and gone and the girls, some of them are still with their mother. By hard work and strict economy she has raised this family and still has fourty acres of land left near Ada, Ohio on which she at this time is struggling to make a living at the age of 73 years. She seems to be happy and works hard every day and is fairly healthy at this time. This will now conclude the history of my Brothers and Sisters and their families unless hereafter I learn something more that might be interesting to my children or my grand children in the future, when I am gone. Some things may not be very interesting to adults but may serve to pass the time for the little ones.
Of the history of my parents and grand parents, I know but little except what I have already given for I left home at an early age to earn a little for the sustanence of the family for my parents were poor having expended a large amount in bringing the family to this country and caring for them untill they were able to earn a dollar to help them along. This was however done intime and by careful living and saving, they managed to live to a good old age, not in luxory, but in common, plain style. They did not trouble themselves to hunt up receipts for their mince but always knew where the mush pot was when they were hungry. Besides this, Mother most always kept one or two fresh cows and had plenty of good milk to use and what farming father and John did kept the family in other necessarys for use. Mother always managed to have some pigs, sheep, calves and different kinds of poultry coming on for what meat we used, so we never had to patronize meat markets and in fact there were but few at that time. People most always divided with their neighbors when they killed anything and received their pay back when some one else did the same. This formed a custom of friendship and sociability which does not exist now among neighbors and kept all trying to return a nicer piece of meat than they received and that made them feel proud, besides it made a good feeling all around. I will now relate my first experience in business. It was when I was about seven years old that I comenced going with my sister Nancy to Massillon to sell butter and garden stuff to families and such things as they needed and established quite a trade so that we sometimes had to make two trips a day, the distance was over a mile. This was pretty hard on feet for in warm weather I wore no shoes and my feet became used to it but sometimes received injuries by it but soon got over it again. We continued this traficing and selling for some time untill my sister Nancy was offered a position to assist my sister Matilda, to work in the household duties with a family, the name of Marshall Wellman. She accepted it and in a short time after I was also employed by the same family as errand boy and doing chores about the house. This place we secured by the people becoming acquainted with me while we were peddling garden stuff for they had been customers of ours for some time and we knew them and it seemed a home to as and we were all treated very well and were quite comfortable while we were roomed there together. I do not remember what my wages were but they were very low I suppose but I got plenty to eat and it was very good for the lady of the house was a fine woman and treated us very nicely. Mr Wellman had a large store in Massillon and was the owner of flour mills and we often sent or took goods for our wages to take and give them to our parents. We also sent home brand and cow feed for to stock the cows for mother knew how to serve them to give a good quantity and quality of milk. The brand only cost 5.00 for a hundred bushels yet it took us some days to earn the same. We also worked some other places together untill I was hired out to an old Quaker family during the summer of 1840 at 4.00 a month and worked hard and had plain food to eat and felt good and slept sound. I mind one monday morning my mother waked me, early to go to where I was working, some four miles distant and I sat down to rest under a tree and fell asleep and never wakened till noon. I worked hard every day and at some things I could do as much as a man. In the fall of l840 I was sent one day with two yoke of cattle to help haul a large three story wagon from Massillon to Canton a distance of eight miles, this was during the campaign of Harrison I think. We had 32 yoke of cattle in two strings which made a nice team and I felt quite proud of my team that I drove. The wagon was to represent American Mechanics and there were all kinds at work during the parade at Canton that day. We returned home that night were nearly all that night and never got home with my team till nearly noon the next day and then I did some sleeping which made me forget all my troubles for sometime, wish I could do the same now. I would feel better. I did not stay with the Quaker family during that winter, got a little more schooling which I was badly in need of and spent some of my evenings in helping my brother John at shoe cobbling for he had a shoe shop and wanted me to learn the trade. I did not like the business and in the spring went to work with the old Quaker to live again on mush and sour butter-milk, for they were saving and economical, fed their sweet milk to the calves to put them in good order for sale. When this summer was over I went with my brother Andrew who was then carrying on a smith shop and in the spring I felt like earning some money and I engaged with Captain Moffet, one of our neighbors to drive a team on the canal at eight dollars a month. This was quite a step up in wages from anything I ever had received and it made me a little proud and one day I felt as though I was becoming a man and must show off in style so one day I bought a cigar for one cent and proceeded in smoking same and soon became so sick that I had to retire and take a rest for a while, this calmed me of the idea that smoking made a man and I did not attempt it again for some time. I drove on the Ohio canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth on the Ohio river that season and in the fall when navigation closed, I stayed with the Captain all winter and took care of four horses and went to school and in the spring I graduated for it was the last schooling I got. After driving a part of the next season I quit sailing on the canal and came on shore and concluded to be a land lubber once more and in order to carry out this intention I engaged myself for three years to my brother to learn the smith trade of which I have spoken before. I served the first year in Massillon Ohio and the other two as has been stated. While serving this I was kept very busy and worked hard and so did my brother for he was very anxious to accumulate as much of this worlds goods as he could, hence we got up early and worked till late hours some times when we obliged to do so for we did a good deal of work for heavy freight trains that brought in goods from the east for there were no railroads then and when we comenced to shoe one of the six or eight horses teams we always finished them if it took till way in the night, we made it a rule to get to the shop early for my brother Andrew said, ‘Early birds get the worms_, and many times did not feel as wormy as he did but had to come to time. I had the water for the house to bring for nearly l/4 mile distance and had to draw it with a windlass with 105 feet of rope, it was good and fresh when it came up to the surface if I was a little warn myself. We then took our early breakfast and went direct to the smith shop nearly a mile distant. This kept us in very good health with out being compelled to take to football or bicycle as they are nowdays besides this we lived quite plain, drank mostly rye and bread or Just coffee, Peneroil and sassafras tea and used plenty corn rye and buckwheat and common vegetables such as grown in the propper season but we never indulged in hot house vegetables in winter season, neither did we use oysters, shrimp or planked shad. Wheat was worth 45 to 50 cents a bushel and was not considered so healthy as the cheaper grains and then the fat pork and corn pone were nice when the weather was cold enough to freeze it. We would sit on the forge and warm our feet and eat our dinner quite comfortable and did not look for a change of plate or a course of dessert as is the custom in this fast age. I suppose this was better in the end than richer food for we seemed to have good health and were able to stand hard work every day and I was able to go to the apple cuts and corn huskings in the proper season of the year and sometimes I was given the day off to attend a log rolling or a flax pulling or a party of some kind. Our parties were not expensive but mostly a gain to those that held the party for we all had to work both male and female. There generally was a quilting or a family fall sewing or knotting for the little ones and then when night came on our music did not cost as much for there were plenty of fiddlers that made music good enough for reels and french fours and if there were no fiddlers we took turns in singing for the dances and saved the expense of an orchestra. When the party broke up some of the young men had horses and would take their girls home behind them and them that were on foot if they succeeded in being accepted and did not get the mitten as we called it, they would shoulder their axes and take the girls home on foot, sometimes three or four miles. this was hard work but it did not cost much and always found plenty to take the chances. Everything went merrily unless sometimes it happened that some fine young man got what we called the sack (or mitten) from some girl he had his eye on for a home trip but this did not discourage him much for the next time there was another party or spelling school he would offer his services again to the same girl and perserved on in the matter untill he succeeded in capturing her or some one else. This whole affair was not costly for our styles and fashions were nearly all home made and we were not waiting for the fashions to come from the slums of Paris or any foreign country with great expense but they grew right among us and did not cost much so we lived cheap and were mostly happy and contented. We did not wear long toed shoes nor late styled clothing. It is true that some kept a change for extra occasions. It usually consisted of a pigeon tailed coat , calf skin boots, and plug hat and some had straps on the bottom of their best dress pants to keep them down in good shape and they were not obliged to have them creased every time they wore them. But it was hard on the suspender buttons in climbing fences and they frequently met with accidents, the toes of their boots were short and they were not liable to meet with any trouble from them ingoing through the mud and climbing fences. I do not know when the style of long toed shoes will cease but there is one thing sure, they dare not make them much longer or finer pointed. The old dutch wooden shoe or the Indian moccasin looks no worse in my eyes than this style of shoes. No more nonsense now.
This brings me back to Sharpsville of which I have already related This was in the spring of 1846 and I had two years to serve yet to finish my time of apprenticeship, some call it to finish my trade, but I look on it different and claim a man never finishes his trade till he dies for there is always something to learn. You can see that it is 51 years last spring of which I have given a short history, but will give more before I conclude this narative. The two years I put in at Sharpsville were not very instructive for I was kept dressing furnace bars most of the time and did shoeing but did not get much of a variety of work. A furnace shop is a poor place to learn a trade but I tried to make the best of it and in the whole put in my time as agreeable as possible to the end of my industry which brought the date to l848 as stated before, during this time I became acquainted with many people of the neighborhood who came to the shop to get work done. Many have moved west and other places and some have died, a small number yet living but will only mention a few of them; J J Spearman, Squire Dunham, Lambert Neswit, Daniel Stambaugh and many others that came to the shop to get work done and thus I became acquainted with them. I put in those two years and had my fun as I did the first year, it did not differ much from that already related at the former place. The parties and customs did not differ much and again fall of this same year I was invited around among the neighborhood and became acquainted with many of my age. This gave me a wider scope or territory to put in my idle time when I should have been studying or reading something that would have been a help to me in future years but I was as many have been and now are, a litle conceity and over estimated my real, situation. This I suppose will always be the case with some and will keep them from many good chances in earlier life, which are now gone to them in many cases. This is a lamentable fact and I suppose will always be the case. It takes a person nearly all their life to learn and to see where they have gone astray. How often we feel the necessity in future life of some little knowledge that we might have gained while young for youth is the time to acquire this in order to benefit us in after years for it sticks to us as long as we live while things that happen in our older days are soon forgotten. We had full liberty to fish for the laws were not as strict as they are now and fish were plenty and we could capture them in many ways, either by net or hook as we liked and at any time. Sometimes we got some nice ones. In the summer we could go in swimming or hunt wild berries of which there were plenty and in the fall we gathered nuts for the winter and in the winter did some skating on home made skates, hunted rabbits or any little game we could capture and when spring came we knew nothing of foot ball, baseball or golf but played mostly town—ball corner—ball and sock ball. These were all innocent and easy games and were not liable to result in broken legs and heads as football is nowdays. In time some of the farmers became able to purchase buggies and those that had no horse would try to borrow from those that had and we would form strings of ten or a dozen and go some where which cost about 25 cents a dinner, horse food was 10 cents. This made a cheap good pleasure trip and was as satisfactory to us as a trip to the watering places of the present day. I remember taking part in one which cost me a little more than usual for I had bad luck and in the end it cost me several dollars before I got all things made up again. It happened in this way, there was a party formed to take a drive to a Catholic church some few miles from Mercer, and I was invited to join and it was to be on sunday so I concluded to join them for it would not cost much for I had a friend that I knew would loan me a rig. So sunday morning came and I went after the rig which was a common open buggy with what we called a panel body set high on a pair of long springs and a buffalo robe in the seat for aquision and it looked quite tasty. Here is where my bad luck started, the horse he was to have let me have became lame and he was obliged to give me an old abelusia or specold mare which had a colt by her side. This was the best that could be done so I took the rig and made haste to Sharpsville. I left the colt at home for it would not look well to have a colt along in a sunday party. Then I got my girl I found the rest of the party had gone for some time. I started and lost the right road and got to Mercer and Church, it was about over when we got to the church and they were prepairing to go to Delaware Grove to dinner at a popular place kept by Flanagan Saterfield who after some time moved to Sharon and many people remember him. Everything went nicely untill we were ready to start home and then trouble started again. I drove up to a high porch in front of the hotel and as my girl stepped down into the buggy the bottom of the buggy gave way and she was injured some. This delayed us some time while the others were merrily on their way home. After I got started I tried to catch up with them but this failed and when evening came on and it became a little cooler I found the old mare had been foundered some way and became quite stiff and it was hard work for me to make home with her. When we got to Sharpsville my girl insisted on me to remain and have some supper for her sister had it all ready. She got home sooner than we did for she was not so unlucky as we were. I tied my horse to a tree that stood in front of the house and when I got busily engaged at my supper I heard a racket outside and I went to see what was up and found the old mare lying down and had the shafts of the buggy broken and this left me in bad. Some parties that were standing around said that she would die and this only made me more angry and I made up my mind to do all I could for the poor creature and I succeeded in getting her up and I left the rig at Sharpsville and led the beast to Sharon Furnace and got the services of an old teamster to assist me. He told me it was founder that ailed her. He gave her some medicine and told me to keep her walking as much as possible during the night. This kept me awake nicely and the next day we hitched her in a wagon with one other horse and did some light hauling small loads of native ore to the furnace and that evening she became fit to return to her home and the whole affair cost me some 15.00 besides loss of time. This dwealt heavy on my mind and was a warning to me, it could not last long at the wages I was receiving, 40.00 a year, so I adopted the old style and went on foot till some time later.
I was a Democrat, was converted to that faith by an old lady by the name of Craig who lived near the state Line in a log house and she promiced me a fine dinner if I would vote as she said when I became of age. I promiced her I would do that so one Sunday morning one of her sons came to Sharpsville and told me his mother wanted me to come that day as they had killed a nice little pig a day or so ago and wanted me to have some of it. So I looked up my sunday suit and it was not hard to find for I had but one and it was in style for the styles did not change as often as they do now days. We wore the same hat all year there were no change in spring or fall hats, one hat was allright for both seasons. My boots were also in style, were long enough for my feet and no longer and fit like a new kid glove and gloves we did not use much, when the weather was cold we wore the good old home made mitt of glove knit by our mothers. They were made of American wool or cotton to suite the season of the year. Now we started for the dinner and when we arrived at the good old home the good old lady had the meal nearly completed which was good indeed. The menu consisted of home grown articles except the coffee and it was good and strong and the good rich cream that she used in it made it look like gold. The table was a house made one of nice poplar lumber, made by some carpenter. It was as bright as snow and the dishes were nicely arrainged on the table with a plate, cup and saucer at each place and the victuals all set on the table with a large plate of fried meat set in the center so that all could reach and help them selves for the table was not very large, yet the whole bill of fare was put on the table at one time and it was not necessary to have a servant to bring course after course when we comenced eating. The family consisted of two boys, Ben and Ira and the old people, four in all and my self which made it necessary for two of us to set together on one side of the table. Finally dinner was called and we took our split bottom chairs and seated at the table. Ira and I sat on one of the long sides of the table and the lady sat on the other side and Ben and the old Gentleman sat at the ends. The old lady had her coffee pot set by her side on the floor and we all held our cups to her as she filled them, then she said, “Now help your selves and reach and eat harty”. We commenced and took such things as we liked. I reached and took a little piece of fried pork which was in nice little pieces. Soon after I took some more as it was good. After a while she urged me to reach and dont be backward for this is your dinner. I concluded to take a little more pork. I succeeded in getting the meat nearly to my plate when Ira by my side struck across my hand and knocked the piece off my fork and said, “D———???” You eat something else, Dad Just killed this pig a few days ago and we want to save some for our own use”. His mother said “You are too bad” and he replied, ‘D——–??? let him eat some other things for the meat is nearly all gone” and he looked very cross. This at first confused me a little but found out after that he was a good kind fellow but was a little kokey and profane in his language but otherwise he became an ordinary citizen and was a friend of mine as long as he lived and we visited him after marriage. He married Susan Groscast who is yet living I think. This is the commencement of my political career and I have voted Democratic ever since and always thought of my old friend Mother Craig when casting my vote. I well remember the first vote I ever cast and so I think the board of election will if they are living yet. I think it was Dave Baker and Titus, I got one of my friends to arrange the tickets for me in proper shape. I stepped to the window and passed in my vote after some little they asked me if I had been born in this country, I told them I had not, then they asked if my father was naturalized or whether I had been. I showed them my papers which I had received some time previous from M C Trout who was Prothonotor of Mercer County at that time. This settled the matter and they handed me my vote back for to hand in again seeing them depositing the votes in pigeon holes of the ballet box. I concluded I might as well drop them in there and I proceeded to do so and was stopped by the Board of Election. I finally took the vote and handed it in the window again which ended my first vote. I now felt that I had done my duty and filled the agreement I had with Mother Craig. I felt like having another of her good dinners of which I had several after. I mind one time on Sunday, J J Spearman and I went to the Craig mansion to have a feast of good sweet peaches of which they had quite an abundance of the good red cheeked ones. We seated ourselves on the porch in front of the house with a basket of peaches between us. We were having a nice time, there was a grass lawn before us grown up some few inches high and it kept nice and clean. She noticed him peeling a peach and throwing it out in the grass, she at once stopped and said to him “Look here mister, I do not want you to clutter up the yard for I try to keep it clean. “You can have all the peaches you want to eat but you must not throw the peelings on the grass, I do not allow it_. This spoiled the good taste of the peaches for a little bit but we soon got over it and concluded it was a good place to visit even if the rules were a little strict. We had a good time and when we were ready to go home we were presented with a nice lot of peaches, and were warmly invited to come again. I do not remember if we ever went back but the old folks lived to be a good old age and finally were called home. ‘ Peace be to their ashes_. So you can see that we had some fun if it was in a crude cheap way in those days. Our pleasures did not cost as much or take up as much time as it does now, yet there seemed to be as much satisfaction for we wore nearly on a level with each other if not in this worlds goods, it was in the general feeling between us and I believe it was better for poor men than it is now. Conceit and confidence has somewhat diminished and selfishness, pride and distrust have increased, so much doubt in one another. I have seen the time when you could get trusted for postage on a letter when we did not use stamps on envelopes and postage was from 6 1/4 to 25 cents, owing to the distance, the letter would be written on a large sheet of paper and nicely folded and a red wafer moistened with the tongue and the folds of the letter were fastened with a blunt thing or a stamp for the purpose, some had stamps with their initials on them. They were a little more advanced in wealth and could afford them. I remember when I first came to Sharpsville I felt lonely one sunday, so I concluded to write to a female acquaintance who I knew at Massillon, Ohio so I got a large sheet of paper from my brother for he Always kept some to make out his smith bills. I took one half of the sheet and wrote what I thought a very nice and interesting letter and put a standard wafer on it and addressed it to the party as best I could and looked at it several times after to see that it was perfect. On monday I gave it to brother Andrew for to mail as he was going to Sharon. When I handed him the letter he said ‘You arent going to let her pay the postage are you?_. I said, ‘I have not got the money_ He then said he would not write to a girl. This made me feel a little cheap and I took the letter in my hands and tore it into bits and threw it to the winds. This ended my writing for some time. These days you could either pay the postage or let it follow and the postmaster would stamp it either paid or due so much owing to the distance it had to go. Times have changed considerable in the last fifty years and it is hard to tell what the next half century will bring forth. Now days our letters go any distance and are delivered to our houses and collected from mail boxes. The mail boxes being near our houses. At two cents this makes matters quite convenient but the taxes are a little higher now than they were then but wages are higher and postage lower so the young man can write oftener to his girl than I did for I never wrote again, I had a bad start. All went along smoothly untill 1850, I concluded to get married and stop expenses and settle down for life. I thought I could keep a woman as cheap as to pay board so I began to prepair for same and commenced adding some things to my wardrobe. I got a sewing girl whose name was Miss Cochran to make me a couple of fine shirts which were nice and just the style. She finally married a man by the name of Morgathull and I think she is yet living in Sharon, but in poor health. I got some other necessary things and when I had them all completed I took them down to the office at Sharon Furnace and put them in the care of J. J. Spearman who still was at the place. I had a pigeon tailed coat , plug hat which I thought would answer for they were nearly new but all the rest of the outfit was new. The day finally came on which I was to be married in the evening at 8 PM. I worked that day and in the evening I went down to Sharon Furnace to get ready for the event as my outfit was there as I have stated before. I got all matters arrainged and in company with Spearman we made our way to where the wedding was to take place. We went by way of Sharon, up the state road for there was no road across at that time and going up the state road Spearman said,_Boy,we will be late_. I told him they would wait till we came and they did for the Squire had not yet arrived and did not for some time after we did. Finally he arrived and the ceremony was gone through with. We then all sat down to a very fine country wedding supper. There was not the display of flowers and other splendor as practiced at present but an old common sense affair as was the custom those days.
The next day was spent in a short wedding trip for that was the custom. The company consisted of the following persons who had all been guests of the wedding party, Phineas Dunham, Azeriah Dunham, Zack Dunham, J J Spearman and Thos. Taylor, three of those are living yet and some of the ladies. We went to the town of Hartford Ohio where we had dinner. We there amused ourselves by viewing the town for it was then quite a flourishing place. There were stores and hotels there. Finally when we concluded to start for home and I was paying my bill for the dinners and horse feed, the landlord looked at the bill quite closely for a little while and then pronounced it counterfeit and handed it back to me. It happened to be a bill that I had borrowed for fear I would run short during my wedding trip. I had borrowed fifteen dollars from a friend. This proved to be part of the money. There was lots of bad money those days for there were so many wildcat banks as we called them and was not as good a system as there is at this present time. We started for home when all matters were settled and came on through Brookfield to Sharon and there we seperated for our respective homes and thus ended our wedding trip. The next morning I went to Sharpsville and opened the doors of the smith shop. Work went on as usual with the loss of but one day for the wedding and the wedding trip. This I think was but wasting much of my time. Many of my customers did not know of it for some time after for weddings were not announced in the daily papers those days as they are now and I was congratulated for some time as people became to know of the case. I rented the house my brother vacated (after he moved to Ohio) and prepared to settle down for a married life. I had purchased a few articles from my brother which were left in the house. I think there were a set of common chairs and cook stove, wash tub and many other little things too numerous to mention. I had also bought a lot from him on time and in all I think I owed him 250.00. This was quite a debt and it gave me some ambition to be industrius and saving. One morning soon after my wife and I commenced cleaning house and during the day her father brought down a load of what we called in those days, out setting, I believe. We carried it all in and then he said, ‘there it is now, there is not much of it but if you do right you can soon get more, but if you dont, this is more than you should have_. This gave me more grit and I said, ‘Very well, I hope we not have to trouble you further_. After he left I said to my wife, ‘Now when you go home and get butter or eggs you pay for it and if I get wheat or anything from him I will pay him and if he gets anything done at the shop he can pay for it, This will keep everything square. She looked at me and thought I was angry but I was not only a little gritty. We after saw it was good advise and was a benefit to both of us. We struggled along for two years and then moved on the ridge joining her father as I have stated before so in l854 I thought I could pay my debts for my brother agreed to take a two horse wagon and a double set of harness for part of what I owed him. This would reduce the debt 100.00 so I engaged a set of harness from Robert McFarland of Sharon, for we traded work with each other. That made the pay as good as gold and there was but little money needed and when we made annual settlements the one that came out in debt would give his due bill for the amount and it went into the next settlement. I can remember of getting small due bills, one that was so small as l.48 and I did not get one penny in cash, the reason I remember this is because I needed the money badly and felt quite dissapointed. I could write much more on this subject but this will suffice and give an idea how business was done in those days.
I will now relate my experiences in delivering the wagon and harness to my brother Andrew in western Ohio. I had one horse but needed two for the trip so I traded an open buggy for a fair looking horse. The man had him hitched single in a buggy and showed me how he drove which was satisfactory. He told me he was too high strung for the farm or he would not part with him so we traded for I thought he would be a good roadster so I prepaired for a trip west. I thought I might be able to sell something out west so took a top buggy and put it on top of the wagon box and fastened it there which made a nice place to ride only it was a little high and troublesome to get into but was alright otherwise. The morning I was to start I got all ready, hitched up and after bidding good bye to my wife and kissing the little babies who sat in the grass I climbed up into my high seat. The new horse looked back at me and refused to start. I at once came to the conclusion that I had a balky critter and would have trouble. I got down from my high seat and tried several methods to start a balky horse but all for no use. I at last concluded to try one more thing. I had a saddle in the wagon, I unhitched the horse from the wagon and put the saddle on him and run him out to Trout corners and back as hard as he could go and when I got back I hitched him up quickly while he was short of wind and then I got a good start and had no trouble the balance of the way except starting in the morning after that. This was the last time I drove or walked overland to the west. Railroads became in use and we adopted that mode of travel and shipping goods in the future. I arrived safely at my brothers and delivered the goods to him and also sold him a saddle and tried to sell him a horse and buggy but he would not buy. (Andrew). We could not agree on the price. I did get an order from brother John for a wagon, harness and saddle same as the ones I had brought out which please me very much and I commenced to think my trade was increasing. I settled with my brother Andrew, we deducted what I paid him from the note held against me and gave him a new note for the balance of the debt and we were squared once more. I then hitched one horse in the buggy and led the other along behind gypsy style and started for home. I went from there to Findlay Ohio where my sister Nancy was still living, so take the whole thing together it came out all right. I had a visit with my relatives and tended to business at the same time. I came on without anything of note taking place untill I got to a country tavern between Wooster and Mansfield to stay over night. I drove in past the sign post in the front of the house, the large square swinging sign which made quite a familiar scratching noise which made me feel like home. I had my horse well cared for with plenty of good hay and oats and I had a splendid country supper and good feather bed and a good tangy bitters and hot breakfast in the morning. There was a teamster stepped up and asked what his bill was. They talked in Dutoh for they were what was known as Pennsylvania Dutch, but I could understand them. The bill, was one dollar. I stepped up to pay my bill some time after he had left and he told me 1.25.. I said “Are you net a little high?” He said “No, everything is high”. “Oats are worth 16 cents and hay 5.00 a ton and we have to charge that to make a living”. I said, “You only charged the other man 1.00 and he fed his horse a peck of oats”. I confused him for a little while and then he said, “Well, the folks that ride in buggies must pay for it”. I then said, “If I do ride in a buggy I have no money to spare and I shall never stop with you again.” He then said, “Well I dont care a D*** if you dont” and this ended the matter. I came on home without any more trouble and never drove over the road again. When I arrived home I found all well and I again commenced my daily work feeling quite rested after my trip for it revived me as much as a sea trip would have done. Those days I was young and harty and could stand much hard work. I mind of Mr Daniel Stambaugh who told me that he must lay off a month and have a good rest. I told him I would not know what to do with a months rest for after I got through shoeing a horse and got my wind again I was all right but as I got older I commenced to realize his ideas.
My wife and I talked over how we would manage matters. As for farm produce, that was allright, for that would all come in and more than we needed but we must have some store goods so we concluded it would be a good idea to make arraingments with some merchant in Sharon to get what we needed for there was no store in Sharpsville for the Furnace had stopped and so had the store. So I went to Sharon to what was known as Strawbridges store and laid the matter over among themselves and they informed me that owing to the passage of the 300.00 act they had made it a custom to trust no one except those that had farms. I next went to W C and Hames Bell_s store and laid the matter before them and met with the same results. I then went to Mathew L Murdock_s store which stood on the corner beside the Exchange Hotel. It stood there many years and finally burnt down. He heard my proposition and told me that I could have all the goods I wanted and I could pay him in such pay as the farmers paid me. This made things in good shape for us and we wanted for nothing to live on. Finally Bell_s also sent me word that they would accept my offer but I dealt with Murdock a long time and whenever I could get grain or anything for my work I would have them to deliver it to him. He even gave me orders on the Sharon Iron Co. to get what iron I wanted and when I got a little further on and had hired help I sometimes gave them orders on him for goods and this came quite handy and made a nice trade. After I moved my business on the ridge near Trouts Corners I got many customers from Strawbridges coal bank that opened on the state road about 3/4 mile from Sharon. I made tools for the miners and also shod the bank mules and shod many teams that hauled coal to the docks at Sharon.
This soon gave me a nice bill on my books against Strawbridges , nearly one hundred dollars at one time. They seemed to be well pleased and told me they would be pleased to sell me goods and told me to give orders to my men for goods. I told them that I could not for I needed money to pay some debts that must be paid with money. They then counted me out the bills in ones, twos and threes of New Crawford Co. bank bills which made quite a bunch of money. I had some business in the eastern part of the County and stopped at a place by the name of Wilmington. I inquired for a place where I could get something to eat as I was hungry. I was directed to a place, a kind of store and lunch place. I got bread, cheese and cider and some dried lemon. When I went to pay the bill I laid down one of the new crisp one dollar bills. He said,”That is Counterfeit”. I reached into my breast pocket and pulled out a whole bunch of them and he said we will have to have you arrested. Just then Mr McCartney came in and as soon as he saw me he came and shook hands with me and the store man then told him of the trouble. McCartney knew the store man and also knew me very well and he shamed him out of it. He knew us both for he had a wollen mill down at the town of East Brook and had a store in Kinsman Ohio, he often drove across the country and stayed all night with me several times in this way. I found out afterwards that the money would not pass anywhere only along the canal and I never took a large quanity of it after that. I did work for the Strawbridges for a long time but never dealt in their store a dollars worth for the first refusal was never forgotten.
In those days all things were cheap, butter from 6 to 10 cents, beef and pork from 2 1/2 to 4 cents, hay grain and vegetable according to the season, corn and oats were from 18 to 25 cents a bushel, hay 5 to 6 dollars a ton, straw one dollar a load. Chickens 15 to 25 cents each, young pigs for raising .75 to 1.50, calves 1.50 to 3.00 and other things in proportion. Whole cheese 3 1/2 to 4 cents a pound. There was no canned goods at that time. Fruits of all kinds were dried and hung away in sacks. Pumpkins were dried, Meat was pickled and smoked and hung away. There was no canned goods in this country untill in the eighteen fifties when they first came out. They were very high and often spoiled. They did not understand it as well as now. I see by the paper that canned goods were not known till 1841, 56 years ago. Invented by Jas. Colonia in France who sold Turtle soup for 3.75 a quart, sardines 1.25, Beef tongue 2.00. What will the next 56 years bring?
In my time there have been many improvements. I will mention some of them. Steam Boats, general use of Railroads, and sewing machines. In 1846 there was a man working on a model in Sharpsville that was nearly as big as a dinning room table. Postage stamps, envelopes, telegraph, telephone and other things too numerous to mention. In fact I can think of nothing in my childhood except the sythe, sicle, axe and big iron hoe with steel edge. The common grain cradle, the cradles for rocking the babies and they were large enough for a grown person to lie in.
I will now give a short history of my father, Seraphim Runser. Some things were told to me by him and others I can remember. I cannot give correct date of birth or death but suppose he must have been born in the later part of the last century. As told by him there were four brothers of them, one served under Napoleon in the French army for several years. He was in the siege of Russia and suffered many hardships. The others came to this country in 1832. Just think of starting with their families of children to come 4000 miles by wagon, sail boat and canal boat to a new and strange country was a wonderful undertaking yet many here did the same thing. He saw one of his brothers burried in the sea and saw the sharks after him to devour him and he saw his youngest child taken in a rough box to be burried somewhere along the Erie Canal. He had to hire it done for the boat would not stop. At Buffalo his other brother parted with him and came on to Erie taking the family of the dead brother along and he never saw them after. He stopped a while in Buffalo thinking of locating there. While looking around for a suitable place he got into an Indian tribe and they saw that he was strange and felt some alarmed and it was quite funny for them so they rung out the war hoop and my father came home and prepaired to sail further. We then came on by lake and canal as I have already stated. He stayed in and around Massillon till 1847 when they all concluded to go on further west for my brother had bought land in Hardin Co. as stated before. Father thought of Andrew and I being in Penna. and they still going farther west. He perhaps might never seen us again so he gathered up a little bundle of clothing and started afoot and alone and paid us a visit before starting west in the spring.
They hired some teams and all of them started west. They had some cows, sheep and hogs and some young cattle which they drove along after the wagons till they came to the little cabin I have spoken of before. When they arrived there they saw that someone had wintered some stock there and it needed some scrubbing out or housecleaning so they all pitched in and by midnight they got it in shape to rest in the balance of the night. They built a better home some time later as I have stated before. Here he stayed untill he was called to take his last journey and was buried at Ada as stated before. I do not remember the date of his death. I well remember the last time I saw him, he wanted to come home with me so when I started Andrew told me not to say goodbye to him and he would forget it soon so he and I started for the town and in crossing a field near the house I looked back and saw him groping around the barn yard to find us. His sight was bad and he could not see us. I could not help crying and it was the last time I ever saw him. I could not attend the funeral for some reason. He died soon after that and ended a romantic life.
He was a stone mason by trade and labored many years in Basil on the Rhine and he had to walk three miles night and morning and then tend to chores while home. He was not a drinking man but he missed his good wine when he first came to this country. The employers he worked for would present him with a quart of wine and with a small loaf of bread every day for a lunch and this he missed sadly. I often heard him complain but he soon became used to doing without. I never knew of him drinking any after we came to this country.
I will now try to give a short history of my mother as I can by what I can remember and what related to me at different times. I cant give the date of birth or death. She was born in Alsace, France and was the daughter of a farmer and was married before she was of age. I do not know of her connections, how many brothers and sisters she had but her name was Catherine Wickey and was early taught to hard work which continued with her all her life. Her journey to America was similar to that of my Father which I have related but I think the journey was more trying and laborius for she had some children to look after and had the cooking to do nights and mornings so you can see there was no idle time I have heard her say sometimes she rode in the wagon till she got her baby to sleep and then she put it in its bed and the jolt of the wagon would keep it asleep for a long time then she could be at liberty to walk with the rest.
This continued from Elsace to Haver where we shipped aboard vessel. I have some faint memory of some things transpiring on the journey although I was but four years old. I can remember of seeing the men climb up on the big trees and the ship rolling and the waves splashing against the ship. I one time stole on deck and rolled around , Mother had work to catch me. I can mind seeing Uncle slide over into the sea, can mind being carried down a ladder from one boat to another and many more things but will not numerate any more at present. We were 65 days on the ocean and Mother had all the family to care for during the time on the ocean in the dark hold of the sailing ship.
After laying in quarantine for some time at New York we came on as stated before and here she lost her little baby. In the way it happened as allready stated before.
This was a sad stroke and worked heavily on her but she bore it all to fullfill the object for which they left their native home in order to hunt up a better one for them and their children so they came on to Massillon as stated. We lived in the place for some time and during the time Andrew the oldest son apprenticed himself to a Yankey to learn the smith trade. We lived in a house he owned at the time. I have stated the time he was to serve and wages he was to receive.
The man also owned a farm some two miles away. Father rented it some time after of which I have spoken. When we got located on the little farm my Mother began to feel at home once more and she soon had quite a stock around her, pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and a nice garden. I can well remember the first pair of pants I ever had. Mother got them from a neighbor. They were too long for me and they had them cut off at the bottom to make them fit. I had always worn dresses and mother said I must again for a while after baby died. This I do not remember but I do mind of always following Mother when she went to milk and get my cup of warm milk while she was milking. As soon as I became big enough to carry a basket my Mother sent me with my sister Nancy to peddle her produce as I have allready stated.
Mother was now a happy woman. She would sing while she was milking, while she was walking and while she was sitting doing her knitting and sewing. I can remember parts of some of her hymnes yet I have known her to do her work all up on Sunday morning and walk eight miles to church at Canton. She was a Catholic and I believe a sincere Christian. I have walked the distance with her while quite young. She after joined the United Bretheran Church in which faith she died. She fought the good battle and I hope received her reward.
As I have stated I left home quite young to help earn something to help us all along yet I always felt that it was my duty to follow my Mothers teachings as near as possible for I loved her and believed her to be correct in her ideas. She always advised me to settle my troubles with my playmates in peace without fighting till I became a real coward. I have had some quarrels in my life but few fights and law suits. I am satisfied with the result. Many times in my life has the good council of my Mother checked me when I had made up my mind to settle harshly with some of my friends. Mother, that dear name. Is there a man living that does not have a good Mother? There is something beautiful and sublime in the name itself without the good teaching and council we received while young. Let my fate be what it will in this world. May I always remember my good Mother who suffered much for me, no one can ever fill her place. She is first and last in all our thoughts and should always be held dear by those who have once realized her kindness. I will now enter on my Mothers western trip as stated before. They secured teams and loaded them with what they had in store. Mother of course was the busy one among them for she not only took an interest in the articles they were taking along but had to see that all were properly cared for in having something to eat. They took along their own provisions and Mother did the cooking At noon they camped out for dinner and at night they stopped at hotels for lodging for hotels those days kept what was called immigrant kitchens where they could do their own cooking and eating and saved the expense of boarding and there was no expense only lodging and stabling of the horses. She also had a partly fresh cow in the herd of cattle which furnished them with all the good milk they wanted. This was a cheap way of traveling but was not as comodius or comfortable as the palace and sleeping cars are of this day but answered the purpose well. At that time they finally arrived at their journeys end and found their round log cabin in the situation as described before. They were busy all day, did their cooking and eating out doors but made out to sleep in the house that night. The next day was devoted to looking after their stock which had been cared for as well as could be the day before. One of the moving teams had brought in a small load of hay from a neighbors. There was but one field fenced in where they had to commence farming and keep their stock. The stock soon began to feel at home so they turned them in the woods to hunt their living and they soon learned to come home at night for they always had a treat of some kind in shape of corn, brand or salt. She also turned the poultry loose of which she had brought two or three coops. They soon had their farm stocked as well as some that had been in that country before them. They all went to work with a will and by fall with what they earned and what they raised they had enough to winter themselves on. Father and John built a rude pole stable for the cows and a good coop for the chickens and by the time I got there the same winter they were well fixed as I stated before. This was the winter I paid them my first visit. From this on they seemed to get along nicely and were happy and contented. They soon had all kinds of fouls and useful animals around them. John bought a breeding mare that died when her colt was but a few days old. He was going to have the colt killed. Mother said no and she took charge of the colt and raised it by hand. It made a fine young horse which he sold for 75.00 when he was but three years old. Will say more of him when I speak of John later. They went on in this way adding to their stock and cleaning up their land untill they had a nice little farm of sixty acres with a nice twenty acre lot of timber which included all the land they owned. They did not struggle to get more land but commenced saving out of the proceeds of the farm till eventually they were able to lend in sums of 50 and 100 dollars to some of their neighbors with large farms who had been in the settlement long before they were. This goes to show what can be done by economizing, endurance and proper management. From then on they got along fine. When John was called to the army (Civil War) then Mother and Father were left alone on the farm till his return. On his return all went well for some time till Father commenced failing and at last died as stated. He was a man not known much for he never went far from home but where he was known he was well liked. His birth, age and death I have already noted.
Then all went on as usual till the time came when John was called home. I will notice his death later. Mother was then as she thought out of a home but Nancy and Andrew both offered her a home with them. Andrew finally got her to come and live with him. This did not lighten her labor for she would not be idle. She took right hold and tended to all matters that she had been accustomed to looking after, poultry, calves, sheep and pigs. She soon had the barn yard full of all kinds, chickens, turkeys, guineas, ducks and geese, also had some pigs, sheep and other pets. When the proper season came she and Andrews wife got up a model garden. She made herself generally usefull both in and out doors. When she was not working out she always kept her knitting ready to take hold of so she worked early and late.
I remember the last time I saw her she invited me out to see her family. It was more interesting than Barnums Managery. There were all kinds of fouls, pet lambs, pigs and calves. Some of the fouls were crippled and could not walk well but when they saw her they all made a dash for her till we were surrounded and we could not move more than one step untill she threw some corn a distance out of a feed bag she had hung of her neck. Then we were clear and able to make the house again. She then related a few past incidents about my childhood and told me that was the last time I would ever see her. This proved to be so for soon after she began to fail and after an illness of some time she passed away loved by all and scorned by none. Thus ended the life of one who had seen many trials and not many luxuries of this world but she died in peace knowing that she had done her duty to her children and to these around her. I feel as though I could write a whole column about her but it would not be of any use for few may over see this to form their characters and principals for this life but hope that these who do see it may profit by it for I know it will harm no one to follow her teachings. It may not be necessary for any of you to endure what she did but the history of her life will harm no one even if it is in a crude and common style. She gave me the best education she could under the circumstances. May she rest in peace is my prayer.
I will now give a sketch of the life and death of my Brother John. He was born in the old country. I cannot give the date but he must have been quite a boy from what I have heard being the third child. He could relate many things that took place on the journey. I have heard say that he walked considerable between Elsace and Haver but mostly drove the horse. I have heard him relate many things that happened on the ocean.
They had lots of fun when they got over being sea sick and became used to the rocking of the ship. He and some more boys made ships out of some old bottles and put masts and sails on them and had some of the men let them down on the sea when the weather was calm. He loved to see the little sea birds light on the masts like sailors. I will add no more. I only mention these little things for the benefit of some of the little ones who may chance to read some day. It may be interesting to them.
We then came on to Massillon as stated before. He retained quite a vivid memory of many of the principal cities we passed through on the journey. Buffalo and Cleveland were then small places when we located at Massillon. He felt quite homesick and longed for some of his old playmates who were then a long distance from him. That winter he had not much to do only some little choreing at home and for some of the neighbors but the next season we moved on the farm. Then he was kept quite busy in the summer and winter and also started to school. After he learned a little of the English language and soon as he became a little larged he took great delight in hunting rabbits. He has told me that while he was yet quite young he would construct snares and fall traps and would sometimes succeed in bagging from one to four rabbits at a time. He finally took it in his head that he could do shoe cobbling and could mend the family shoes. In this he was successful. He got this idea by spending some of his evenings at a shoe shop that was in the neighborhood and from which he borrowed such tools and material he needed untill such times till he could buy what little he needed. I can well remember the first pair of boots I ever had seen. I saw some other boy have boots so I commenced teasing for a pair too. He happened to get a pair of old ones but they were entirely too large for me so he cut the toes out of them and sewed them up, but they were too large for me. We filled them with paper and put insoles in them. They were just the fit then and also the style for square toes were then the fashion, no lost leather in toes. With my cut out of pants and boots I was happily and well satisfied. He finally went under instruction with a shoe maker and learned the trade and had good success for he was soon able to mend and make shoes for the rest of the family. After staying some time I cannot say how long, he went to Massillon and laid in a limited stock of tools, lasts and leather. He bought them of a firm named Soser and Dangler, who trusted him and he never could forget them and often spoke of them and stuck to them for sometime and bought all his goods from them as long as he lived in the vicinity and they got many dollars from him in the end. He and his parents together succeeded in saving quite a nice little bunch of silver and some gold and had some money loaned out on interest. He felt like owning some land so when Andrew moved to Sharpsville in 46 John also concluded to look around and change his location. Land was too high in that vicinity for the amount of money he had and hearing of some cheaper land in Western Ohio he went and found what suited him in western Hardin County. He bought 8O acres, the half of a 1/4 section belonging to H C Belldin of Warren Ohio. Many people here may still remember him. He was at that time an extensive carriage builder in Warren. In the spring of 47 they moved as I have described before. In the winter of 47 and 48 he was chosen to teach the district school that was located near where he lived. It was a little round log structure about 15 by 20 with but little furniture there in. This was the same winter that I visited as I have stated before. One day he invited me to accompany him to the school, this quite a treat to me. When the entire number of scholars had collected there were some l8 or 20 ranging in age from 7 to 20 studying from spelling to geography, some large boys and girls were yet low down in their studies and some were a little more advanced but when recess came they had their fun in playing overball cornerball and swing circle and appeared to enjoy life as much as any one could.
The next spring he commenced with the rest of them to clean up the place and also to cultivate what ground that was clear and would work some at his trade evenings and bad days and when winter came he worked in Kenton as stated before. He at this made a little money but it was very hard on him, he after stayed on his farm and done the best he could till his career ended. He in 1855 come to Sharon with two horses to get the wagon, harness and saddle I had sold him the year before, these were all ready for him, the wagon stood in my shop on the ridge and the harness and saddle were in Sharon at Robert McFarland shop located on the bank of the river where the P. H. C. Block now stands. When Mr McFarlen and John met they began to talk and relate some of their ideas of business in this life and form favorable opinions of each other for they seem to agree. Often after they would inquire of me about each others welfare. They would send their regards to each other by me. I get a letter from John stating he was going to be absent from home for some time. He was going into the service as one of the Hundred Day Men and could not say where I could reach him by letter. After some time I received a letter stating he had been in a skirmish at Harpers Ferry and came out safe but Miller, his Brother—in—law was missing. After his time was served he came home and we again corresponded with each other. One of the neighbors that was with him in the Army told me he made a brave soldier. Although he was quite timid and did not delight in killing anything, he would hire his butchering done, he may have killed some rabbits while young. The same man told me a little anecdote that took place between them, he wanted to sell a young horse, the same one that Mother raised by hand as I related before. He not having confidence in himself to set a price, he asked this man how much the horse was worth. Mr. Shanks did not reply at once and John said, “Is he worth 75.00?” He told him that was not enough for he was a fine looking animal. John replied, “Well if you can find me a purchaser for the horse at that I will pay you for your trouble”. So Shanks said to him,”I do not want the horse but if you are going to sell him at that price I will take him”. So he took the horse and trained him on the road and in the course of the year sold him for 300.00 to some horse fancier. Then he said to John, “Do you see how you missed it?”. “Alright”, said John, “If I had kept him, he never have come to be the horse he is now and I am perfectly satisfied with the transaction”. So after they called him Honest John and he was known by that in town and country. All his dealings were square and if he found out that someone had charged him too much for any article he would deal with him no more. He never bought anything unless he needed it, then he would say, “What is the least you can afford to take for this?” If it suited him he would take it and if not he would leave it and never bother to make a lower offer, his word was his religion and he looked for same from others. He was quite an astronomer and took much delight in viewing the stars and heavenly bodies. He bought many paper that treated on the SOLER System, Could name and find most of the main stars. Would view them for hours with his telescope, kept posted on all changes of the moon and stars, dates and signs. In politics he was a free soiler, he never aspired for office, was always quiet and inoffensive in expressing his ideas yet refined in his views, was always grateful for any favors shown him by anyone and stood clear of those that were selfish and of different opinions from him. He never delighted in law suits and settled difficulties as easily as possible and evaded the parties in the future. In religion he was a Universalist but belonged to no church and always sided with those to be nearest right in his views. He was kind to all those that proved them selves worthy and never turned anyone from his door in distress.
Had he lived close to the road he might have had many callers. His house was some distance away yet one end of his farm joined the road. The place selected for the house had a little elevation. He kept his farm in the highest state of cultivation, everything was allowed to grow, was cared for and that which was of no use was destroyed. He kept his fence corners clear of weeds and brush and allowed only such things that were of use to remain. The country is level and entirely clear of stone yet after years of cultivation there would some small pieces of limestone work to the surface. These he would collect and take to his barnyard, put them in a pile. When strolling over the farm he always carried a basket with him to collect them in and would carry them to the stone pile. I remember the last time I saw it there was quite a pile of them, several wagon loads, he also used them in making dog walks around the house and barn. His woods had lots of timber that he was saving for use, contained 20 acres and was kept clean of all underbrush and refuse. It was really a nice place to ramble on a warm summer day and was suitable for a picnic or camp meeting.
His theory was to keep no more land than he could care for and would not own more even if given to him. Things went on in this way untill he was stricken with sickness. I was notified so hurried and went to his bedside and got here the day before he died. He was yet conscious but could not speak but knew me I think. The next day he died. This ended the life of a good man and worthy citizen. I stayed untill after the funeral before I started home. In talking to his widow she told me how matters stood. There were no debts except the funeral expense and few collections to make, some few notes which were on interest, this did not astonish me for I knew that he was always careful in his dealings. He kept all matters in good shape. I could go on and relate many more traits in his character but this will suffice to show that a man can conduct himself in such a way that his good traits will live after he is gone. He had some faults I suppose but have not tried to remember them as well as his good traits yet can truly say his faults were few compared with his good qualities. Since his death I have visited the place but once and know little of the surviving ones but I hear they are all getting along in good common style and some of the children have inherited the principals of their father. I will close my remarks on the matter and will give some few instances of the life of my brother, Andrew, who is yet living, I think or was the last I heard from him.
As far as I can reccollect or been informed in matters; he also came to this country with the rest at the same time. He was the oldest of the family and could relate much from his native country and also of the journey to America. He must have been nearly a young man for he commenced his trade on arrival. He became an excellent mechanic and had plenty of work after starting business for himself. He became acquainted with a young lady by the name of Isabel McDowl, her parents lived on state line in the Clark neighborhood. At that Haseltons Corners. The lady I refer to had a sister living in Massillon, who was married. She had her sister to come and spin for her. She was a great one to spin on the big wheel. Andrew became engaged to her and they were married. I do not remember whether they were married in Massillen or at her fathers on state line. I do remember of them driving over to Pa. several times so finally when the building of the Sharpsville Furnace was an assured fact they concluded to locate there and moved in l846 as stated before they remained four years and then moved west as already stated. This landed them where they now are and will stay to the end. They moved into a log house that stood on the road leading from Kenton to Lima, both County seats. The road being much traveled they soon found sale for all they could raise on the farm, besides there was a nice young orchard on the place which produced lots of fruit, peaches, pears and apples. They had plenty to use and sell. This soon enabled them to build a new house and barn. The house was considered the best in the surrounding country at that time. It was two stories with shingle roof, had a wing for kitchen cupboards, two bedrooms. This was only one story. They then needed a cellar, there was none under the house, the ground being level and they could make no drainage. All the crops were covered with straw and earth in the winter, some few had what they called cellars on top of the ground. These were made by setting some split or round timbers, say like a wig-wam and then back them up with earth which answered the purpose quite well. He studied the matter over and finally built a large brick one which would hold all he raised and more to. He had it built with heavy walls, filled in between making a good cellar for winter and good storage in summer. He then bought such things from neighbors as suited him and sold them to dealers and sometimes he would ship a car, this was a double benefit. He made a little on the goods and it gave his young boys some practice at buying and dealing which they delighted in.
There was a matter which I should have mentioned before. Andrew always made his wife banker to take charge of the money saved so when they concluded to move west they were counting their money. When they got done she said, ‘I want you to count my pile'. He said, ‘It will be a short job'. She went to her hiding place and brought some two or three hundred dollars, he was astonished. She had been keeping a little every time and had saved that amount. Then they packed their goods in store boxes and got everything in shape for the wagon, then Andrew and I took the trip I have spoken of before.
He bought a big young dog from John Milligan to take along. He said he would be good to have in the wagon at night so he fixed a good bed in the wagon and the dog slept in it every night. He tried him the first night and come nearly getting hurt, afterwards he felt safe and sometimes we left the wagon stand in the barnyard overnight without fear. When we got to the end of our journey he said to me, “Now boy, I want you to help me unload and unpack the goods_. When we came down towards the middle of the first box we found some money, he said ‘ There is 1000.00 in the three boxes or should be that amount_. We found the money alright and he paid for his land that day and settled up all the matters. We now were ready to start for home. We left the dog and one horse at my parents home until such times that he would arrive with his family. He rode one horse back to Sharpsville. So my parents had a team too and got along nicely. The dog and the horse were kept untill they died. The horse lived to be 21 years old. I mention this just to show how cautious he was and how well my memory serves me while in youth. Now my memory is poor. Youth is the time to prepair for old age. The boys bought butter and eggs and all such things as there was a demand for and established a trade and when they became older they sometimes bought a car or two of cattle or hogs and went with them to some city and disposed of them. The boys all grew up and became steady men of industrius habits. There is one of them that must have a months hunting every year. A habit he formed while young. The game is all gone where he lives which deprives him of the fun. He belongs to a hunting club that goes away to some western state every fall. This his father thinks is too expensive. In early days they used to gather herbs of all kinds and use them for medicine. I have seen large lots of maple root, boneset and many other herbs, dried and ready for use in time of need. I heard Andrew say one time he had not taken a dose prescribed by a Doctor for fourty years. They compounded and mixed the medicine to suit themselves. They had medical works such as beach gum and others. They made a cure for all comon ailments. They did not need a doctor only in urgent cases, such as if some one needed bleeding which was a cure for all things in early days. Their shelves were not stocked up with bottles of patent medicine to cure all diseases, they were not known. They made their tonics of boneset with dogwood and wild cherry bark. They could take a genuine hot sweat by putting clean white oak leaves into a wash tub, pour hot water over them, put a board over the tub for a seat, set on it with a quilt or blanket over the head and body and after taking a good sweat, go to bed and cover up. This used to be Fathers cure for rheumatism. I could mention many more ways they often used for doctoring but this will do to give an idea. I will say no more about it at present.
I will relate a little incident that took place sometime in l88O. I was at Andrews house and wished to go to Kenton. He said he would take me there. I told him if he would I would pay expenses. After breakfast he hitched up and we started. When we got through with our business I requested him to go with me to a hotel for dinner. He said I dont want any dinner. I then said we will get a mess of Oysters. He looked at me and said, ‘That is something I never tasted in my life. I think I am now too old to commence a new diet. You come with me, I will show you what I am used to.’ We went to the livery where his horse and buggy was, he took out a little sack of oats for his horse and fed him and then he took out a basket and we sat down on a bench and had a fine lunch of bisket, dried beef, hard boiled eggs, pickles and Pie which was nice indeed, beats oysters.
He said now you can see how we live out here. Our meal is all home production. In cost it dont amount to twenty cents. The horse feed is not worth over 5 cents, the livery mans bill is ten cents for the horse, this makes a cheap bill all around. It suits me better than a two or three dollar hotel bill would have. He has made but one visit to Pa. since he left in 50 and that was in 57 or 58. Railroad travel was fair at that time but not as convenient as now but he thought the roads were better than years before when he did drive them, so he and his wife packed their clothes and headed for an eastern trip with one horse and buggy. They come on to Massillon and stopped two or three days with some of their friends and come on to Pa. and stayed about a week, visiting friends here. This is the last time I ever knew him to travel across the country by horse power. He was elected Squire of his Township some where about 59 or 60 and held the office for many years, then his oldest succeeded him after he retired. They have all been successful and have farms located near the old homestead. The oldest boy having over 100 acres. The old folks still have the first purchase on which they still live. They also have several small farms in the country. The two daughters are widows and have good homes also. This ends the history of this family to the present time and what the future will be remains to be seen. After this will next endeavor to give the history of one who has not been so successful in this life yet seems to be as happy as any of them, may she continue so to the end.
Sister Nancy was also born on the other side of the water and experienced the same journey with the rest of us. She was then about seven years old. She can remember many things that took place on the journey to this land. She was soon quite a help to Mother on the farm in helping to cultivate garden stuff, feeding chickens and gathering eggs and peddling as stated before. Sometime after she got work by the week, the wages were low but she could get some instructions she could not otherwise obtain. She continued working at several places with good families till she became quite a good cook and housekeeper. She after had no trouble in securing work. She and I worked together in some places and in one or two instances there were three of us worked in one place. She never worked at hotels or public places but always with some good private family where she enjoyed herself best. In the winter of l846 and 47 my brothers wife expecting to be confined, could think of no one that would suit her as well as Nancy for a nurse and housekeeper. Andrew secured a rig from some one and set out one morning for Massillon, a distance of 80 miles. He could go there in two days. He had a regular stopping place at Deerfield, Ohio, with an old Quaker farmer. Then the next day he would land at Massillon. In a few days he returned to Sharpsville with Nancy. She stayed a part of the winter and became acquainted with many of the people, some are yet living. I had a severe spell of sickness myself that winter, she nursed me through also. Dr. Issue McMurry was my Doctor, whose widow is still living I hear. When she was through and settlement was made, I think she got a little over a dollar a week for coming the distance, but took an order on the Prince store. She could not find all she wanted there so she took an order on a store in Sharon. She and I went to Sharon and carried the goods home. They did not deliver goods at your door those days, neither was there any street cars. When we get ready to go any place we started. We did not have to stand shivering on the corner till cars came along. When everything was settled up, then the homeward trip came next. The same as the former trip. She related the trip to me only a few years ago and the last time I saw her and it was still vivid in my mind. On her return home preparations were going on to move west as stated before. She had her share of trouble and care of matters with the rest. The summer was spent at this new home on the farm and shared with the rest in all her trials and pleasures. That fall she was married in the old cabin. There was no decorations of palms and choice of any kind but the motive was as true and pure as those of the Goulds or other millionaires and proved to be more agreeable than those in high life have. The next thing in order was the wedding trip so he hooked up his team and they loaded what few things she had and started for near Findlay Ohio where he had provided a home. He had bought land there and erected a good log house. He being a carpenter he had done most of the work himself except the raising for which he had help. They did not have much of a reception when they arrived at their home but had to pitch in and get their own supper of such things as they had brought along with them. They lived there for some time, I can not say how long. I visited them three times while they lived there once in 48 and once in 54. Both trips I have mentioned before. I made them one visit with my wife and children in 59 or 60. We went from Sharon to New Castle by packet on the Canal. From New Castle to home by stage and from there by rail to Ada and from Ada to Findlay by wagon. This was quite a variety and we enjoyed it very much. They soon after this moved and bought a farm joining the old homestead. Then she was allright. Could see mother every day and all were happy untill Miller and John went in defense of their country.
She was then left with a family of children to raise as I have related for he never returned to his family again. She worked along as well as she could untill such time as the oldest girl come of some use. Then they went to Ada and secured some washing for the students at the College. This proved to be some benefit but the washing had to be collected and delivered. The distance being two and a half miles made it hard work. Some time after she sold her farm which had a log house and log barn. She got what was considered a good price but land increased in price after she bought a house in Ada where she could be handy to attend to her washings. They also made a little taking care of rooms for students.
After her boys became grown up more they concluded they might make more on a farm so she bought a farm of 40 acres a short distance from Ada on which she lives. Her boys have all got married and left and she is now left alone. One or two girls are yet with her who still do some washing for Ada people. She has her farm worked on shares by one of the neighbors and raises enough to keep her but she works very hard. I have known her to do the family washing and have it hung out by seven and be ready for her daily work. The girls would perhaps do a washing the same day for some town customer. This I have seen done within two years. How is that for a woman of her age? She is never idle evenings. Is knitting or prepairing something for the mornings meal. She reads her Bible every evening before retiring and to sum it all up I count her an honest, upright and industrius woman. She has had her trials since her childhood but still maintains her vigor of youth. Oh, for a constitution like that, besides all this she has lost none of her charitable disposition. She is always willing to help those that are in need or distress and never turned a worthy one from her door. She does not aspire to wealth or fashion but she is gratefull to those who recognize or assist her in any way. She never can forgot a favor and lets an insult to her pass by and tries to forget it. This puts me in mind of a little transaction that took place one time when flour was very high. I happened to be at her house, she was needing some flour. I went with her to Ada. She called on a merchant by name of Teague. He asked her twelve dollars a bushel, she thought it was too much and we went to a grist mill in town. They told her ten and when she related her experience they told her they had some flour for eight dollars that was good flour but a little dark so she took it. Saved four dollars and stayed clear of the Merchant after that and has ever since dealt with the miller or did as long as he was in the business. She often speaks of him. She was a good woman to her husband while he lived. A good woman to her parents while they lived and good to her children as far as circumstances would alloy her to be. Hope she may receive reward for it in the end. She has struggled for the last thirty three years alone and always kept the wolf from the door through hard and good times, all alike to her. Has never received any aid from any source whatever except the meager pension she received from the government. Many are this day objects of charity, are dependant on their neighbors and the poor houses of the land. This alone should entitle her to the respect and love of these who know her. I could go on and mention many more of her good qualities but I must close for the more I write the faster thoughts loom up in my mind and I can see no end to them. I may as well close for the present, May her remaining days be the happiest of her life and long may her good qualities be remembered by those that survive her in this life and may her deeds live after she is dead.
Matilda is the eldest sister and next to the eldest of the family, hence she was quite a girl when we came to America, and did not remain long at home. She was soon employed as a domestic in a family and followed it till she was married sometime in 1840. I had the pleasure of her company some at places we lived as I have stated before. She contributed to the family what she could spare from the meager wages she was receiving at the time which was from 75 cents to $1.00 per week and sometimes in store pay at that. So you see she could not make any changes in spring or fall hats. The feathers in her hat would not obstruct the view of those that sat behind her at the theatres, neither did she have many imported fineries among her wardrobe. Yet she kept herself fairly clothed for she had to do so while working at some good places in Massillon. When she would come home we could see the difference in clothes, some of those at home still had some few articles from the old country, then with some of the new homemade flannels of this land made quite a contrast in appearance. We still had some of the old woolen left. Some headware and various other things which did not harmonize with American styles yet did not look so bad in the eyes of those that were used to them. She often would relate to me on her visits home, what the little boys were like where she lived and it made a feeling of anxiety for the same. She sometimes would bring me some little article of clothing that had become too small or would not be worn any more by these that owned them and they would suit nicely. So things went on till she got married to a man named John Rusher as has been stated. In 1847 they all moved west as stated. She endured the hardships and trials of the trip with the rest. I visited them in the winter of 48. Rusher got tired of farming and the next year moved back to Massillon and got his old job at Host and Browns for he was an excellent moulder and could command good wages at them times but would be looked on with impunity at present. He worked there till he died. Then in a short time Matilda got lonesome and concluded to move back with her little children and try the farm once more. Her brother in town owned a farm joining hers and done her farming on the shares which enabled her to get along quite comfortable for sometime. She finally married a man named Rollinson who then took charge of the farm. They were blessed with quite a family of boys. I do not know how many but after some of them became older they concluded they could work a larger farm and prevailed on the old people to move west. The farm they had only contained 80 acres and they wanted one with 160 or so. They sold out and went to Indiana as stated before. They lived near the White River and sometime after built the Ark I have mentioned and settled in Arkansas and there the boys soon tired and returned to Indiana. In Ark, the old peop1e stayed on a large tract of land that would not produce anything except frogs and huckleberries. Some few years ago sister Nancy went to see them. On her return she told me that they were very poor and she did not know what the end would be. This gave me some worry and I procured a N. Y. draft for $100.00. I sent this to them. They were not aware of it untill they received it and they were grateful to me for this favor and acknowledged it with heartfelt thanks.
The next misfortune come on her by the death of her second husband which happened about two years after this, left her alone with the exception of a young girl she had taken to raise when quite small. The girl was taken as an act of charity when but a babe and they are both so attached to each other as much as a mother and daughter would be. This makes her responsibility and duty of her past life equivalent to raising three families. She raised three in the first family , two girls and one boy. The boy did not turn out very good. He was the eldest of the family and as soon as he became of age or before, he left home and became a rover and traveled over several states in shape of a gypsy, trading horses and camping out of doors.
He traveled some in the south and was among the Indians. This gave her some worry concerning his fate. He was no good. I at one time took him for to learn the smith trade but he would not stay. He left me a foot and that was the last I ever saw of him. The girls got married and located in Logan County Ohio. The eldest one lived with me for a while and was a good girl. The second family was all boys the history of them has been given. The third family is the adopted child who is still with her some place in Indiana. We can at one glance see the life she has had in traveling thousands of miles from her infancy to her present age and all that time has never enjoyed a pleasure trip or been exempt for one week from the cares and responsibilities of this life. She has always had something to look after for herself or those that were placed in her care. This is in fact the case with us all but many are much better situated than she has been to fight the battles of this life. She is now somewhere in 80 years old and her labors may soon be ended in this world. In religion she is a Lutheran. Her first husband was of that faith and she is still a believer in the same church. I have been associated with her but little in my life, it being over fifty years since we seperated and since that time depend on reports. I think though the history I have given of her is nearly correct and will say but little more about her. She may live for some time yet, her parents were both older than she is when called from labor to rest. May her last days be the most peaceful and happiest of her life is my prayer.
I neglected to give the religious views of some of the family. I will now do so and that will end all except some remarks I may say of my children hereafter. Father was born and raised a Catholic and never joined any other church. Mother joined the United Bretheran Church. John's faith was with the Universal Church, Matilda a Lutheran, Nancy United Bretheran and Andrew I cannot tell but think he leaned towards the Methodist church. This is a brief history of the family, I could say much more but do not want to worry your patience.
Yours truly, Sebastian Runser
Letter to his wife
I will now give a brief history of my family as stated before. We were married in 1850 and the fruits of this union were twelve children of which only four are living. The dead ranged in age from one month to thirty years. By this you can see that there has been much afflication and care of that many children, besides this there has been considerable expense in doctor bills and funeral expense. No one can form any idea of this only those that have gone through it in their life. The care it takes while they are young and the anxiety the parent feels for their future welfare during life but the greatest trial of all is to stand by the bedside of an afflicted babe or one of mature age and see the last ray of light pass from them. In this we have had several instances of this kind during our life. This bore heavy on my wifes mind and I believe hastened her early decay. When young she was a robust healthy jolly woman and frequently balanced the beam at 210 lbs. She continued in good health untill about 71 or 72 then she commenced failing and saw but few days of comfort till death ended her suffering. While young and in good health she enjoyed herself among her friends which were many. We often made calls on them evenings after our days toil was over. We often visited her parents as she was the only daughter and was much thought of by them. She would go up to their house when we first commenced housekeeping, for Sharpsville was mostly made up of strangers at that time. She had lots of relatives being related, to the Dunham family on her fathers side and to the Titus family on her mothers side, gave her a large circle of relation and after we moved up on the ridge near her mother she was truly happy. She was then at the place where she was born. Her Aunts and Cousins and all her early associates were all around her, and for ten years we lived quite happy. During those ten years she had much to do for we boarded most of the men that were in the shops and also the apprentices I had under instruction. One of them was S. Byerly who was learning the smith trade, the reason I mention this is he is still living near Sharpsville. Many knew him. She had the household duties and little ones to look after. We always kept a girl but there was plenty to do for both of them. Every Sunday we drove to Sharon Baptist Church for she was born and raised to that faith and belonged to the little white church that stood where Hall Institute now stands. We often went to church at night during revivals and special meetings. The Baptist church was the most popular church at that time and would draw people from a distance at their periodical June Meetings that comes as regular as Christmas does. I have seen crowds of people in Sharon on what was called the big day, Sunday, that hardly ever are equaled this day by any gathering. I have seen conveyances of every kind hitched along State Street from Buds Tavern to the top of West Hill. Young people came quite a distance from all the surrounding towns. It was a day of Jubilee for them. The hotels would then reap their harvest by serving dinners to the young people. The old people that lived near went home for dinner. These that came from a distance either brought their dinner with them or went with some near by bretheren so it was a sociable gathering and lasted all day, It was quite a pleasure to both young and old. I mearly mention to show the young of this day how business was done some fifty years age and what the customs was at that time and let them imagine what it will be like in fifty years hence. It will be something to ponder over. I will now again return to where I spoke of driving to church. We continued to do so untill in l862 we moved to Sharon and then we found it more convenient to attend the church with her, for some time, till there was some trouble arose about a sermon. Our Pastor preached concerning the rebellion, this created some difference of opinion and some wanted his resignation. I told Father Parker of this and he notified the church and preached his farwell sermon. They then called a pastor by the name of Dinsmore who did not suit the times and some wanted to elect one of the other two that were waiting for the place, but I objected to make any change untill we paid him in full for his services. We were still owing him some of his salary. They went on and made the election of one of the other two and I ceased attending the church, further, the salary was 400.00 and it was hard work to raise it. My wife continued going to the same church as long as she was able to go to anyone. She continued in fair health for some time and looked after the daily wants of the family. We always kept a girl or some woman to assist in the duties of the house. The children went to school and received a common school education. Some took more interest in it than others but none of them ever had a course in College.
She was a tender hearted woman and never turned the needy or hungry from her door. She was kind and indulgent to her children and tried to live in peace with all her neighbors. She avoided neighborhood gossip and trouble as much as possible and was loved and respected by her neighbors and all those that knew her. She never tried to force herself into the company of those who were far above her in this worlds goods nor those that felt above her in any way. Time passed on and she attended to her duties for some years without anything of note taking place, was comfortably situated and enjoyed life. She loved to see the young enjoy themselves with one another and often there would be a large number of them sitting on the porch when I came home on a nice evening. She would sometimes sit with them and be amused by their expressions and ideas. The time come when her health failed some. We doctored with several without a change. She felt a desire to see her former doctor Jesse McMurry. He could not help her case any so we were told of Dr. Webber of Cleveland. I took her there and the Doctor looked her case over and said she had some spinal trouble. He thought he could help her in time if he had her under his care so I took her and Kitty, a young daughter, up thinking she might be lonesome without some one she knew. It would shorten time. When we arrived at Cleveland the Doctor directed me to take them to the Sisters Hospital, there is where he kept most of his patients. When we got there she felt worried after seeing the Sisters. They looked so strange to her. She pleaded with me to take her home again, many of them came to her and treated her so kindly she concluded to stay awhile. I do not remember how long she stayed. I called to see her while she was there. She finally was reported better and wanted to come home. I went after her and brought her home. For a while she seemed better and went to church frequently but after sometime she again changed for the worse and so it kept on better and worse till about three or four years of the end she was stricken and was helpless and had to be moved in and out of bed and finally lost her speech. Then she was miserable indeed.
I will next give the list of births and deaths that have occurred in our family which will speak for themselves and show what the past has been and what sorrow we have endured during 37 years of married life.
|Mother||May 25, 1831||July 4, 1887||56 yrs 2 mo.|
|Emma A.||May 21, 1851||Oct. 4, 1881||30 “ 5|
|Alfred 5.||Aug 5, 1852||May 17, 1871||18 “ 9|
|Excelsion C.||Mar 9, 1854||Mar, 21,1855||1 “ 2|
|Ella A.||Sept 16,1856||May 25, 1864||7 “ 8|
|Ada S.||Sept 13,1858|
|Charles S.||Oct 7, 1860||May 6, 1861||7 “|
|Kitty C.||Mar 27, 1862|
|Frank D.||Apr 22, l864||Oct 22, 1910|
|Maud N.||Mar 1867||Feb 14, 1868||11 “|
|Fredy C.||June 7, 1869||July 20,1869||1 “|
|Weber C.||Dec 26, 1874||May 26, 1875||5 “|
|Leroy S.||Oct 5, 1876||Mar 31, 1931|
The cause of death was spinal infection, fever, water on the brain, Diptheria, croup and spasms.
This is a sad list to look over and shows at a glance that such sorrow has been endured, many trials overcome and many laid in their silent graves, some of them buried twice, these were the remains of three moved from the old Baptist ground to Oakwood Cemetery where all are laid in a row except Emma who lays along side her husband. She was buried two times as stated before. She was lifted while the grave was lined with brick. The names of all are on the shaft that stands in the middle of the lot and many hours have I spent seated in one of the iron chairs I had placed there some years ago but for some years have not been able to visit the place. I used to keep and have it kept in reasonable condition but how it is now I do not know but if I live till next summer I must see it again if possible.
The dear ones are resting in peace. In looking over the graves and the names it always brought some recollection to my mind of the days when they were infants and how some had grown to maturity and some died while the smile of infancy was yet on their faces and some before the smile made its appearance. This always brought some recollection to my mind of some incident that had taken place while they were alive. I would imagine I could see them in some of their pranks of mischief or sorrow and would think of times when I had to walk the floor with them to go to sleep and give me a little rest for the next days labor. Many a night has my wife and I sat by the side of a sick child, watch every movement and wait for a change but at last had to look upon the lifeless body that was then cold in death. But a few days before had been the pride of our hearts. This has taken place several times in the past. We still kept up hope that things would change, that joy would take the place of sorrow. Sometimes it did for a time but finally the time came when the family was reduced to three, myself, wife and Roy. This continued but a short time till the life pardner was called home. This left but two of us at home. Three that was married was all that was left of the family and I concluded to wind up housekeeping and rented the house to other parties and in the course of a year or so it took fire and burnt down. There was nothing left but the smouldering ruins of a one comfortable home. The place then had no more attraction and I sold it to Frank who built a house on or near the old site where he was born some years before and where I had lived for twenty five years. I first lived in Sharpsville after marriage two years and then ten years on the ridge, twenty five years in all. Which brought matters to a close and during that 37 years we probably experienced more trials than many do in 50 or 60 years. There are five of us yet living and nine are laid to rest in their silent homes. Four of the living ones are enjoying life and comfort, nothing to interfere with their happiness, at present all have fair health and are all getting along nicely. None of them have been raised in luxery or received a college education or traveled in foreign lands but all had plenty to eat and wear this far and never suffered for any actual necessity to make them comfortable and respectable among their associates. It is true they did not have the luxeries and fineries that many rich enjoy, neither did they insist on me to furnish them when they saw it was not convenient for me to do so. They did not seem to crave anything that would be hard for me to procure for them without embarrasing me too much. This was a noble trait in them for which they have my kindest regards. They saw that many years ago I secured life insurance for them in case anything should take place and have added policies to them since and have paid many thousands of dollars in premiums on them since, all for their protection. Sometimes it was a task to raise the money for this purpose but I have always succeeded in doing so. May they be benefited in the end for trouble that I am now to some of them. Little did I think 40 years ago that I would ever be helpless as I am for so long a time as I have been since 1890. I have been what you might call an invalid. Have suffered no severe pain but am afflicted with a disease that doctors fail to diagnose or remedy in any way. In that time I have not had a sound nights sleep or very many days that I have felt like enjoying life as one should do and continually growing worse and when it will end no one can tell me. There is nothing that will equal a disease of this kind. There is hope in fatal diseases that they will soon end in some way but in this there has been none for years. The only thing I have to console me is to know that I am with kind and good friends even if they cannot procure a remedy. They are doing all in their power to make things as pleasant as possible. This consoles me and keeps me in hope that as long as there is life, there is hope and if I was thrown on the cold charities of the world I would be far worse off so I will quit complaining and turn my discourse in another direction. I must say one thing, that I am very sorry that I did not turn my attention closer to my studies while young. What a blessing it would be to me now while I am sitting day after day, year after year, alone in my room. How long the time seems, how slow the moments fly. If I had informed myself on different subjects and become a good scholar even in the common branches of the English language, what a help it would be to me situated as I am now. When age and disease come on you the mind becomes blurred and obscure and you cannot see points or remember what you read or see like you could while young. I can remember and repeat little pieces of poetry that I have spoken in school when but a boy and can today remember them better than I can what I read in the papers today. I also learned some hymns and songs, both Dutch and English that I can repeat without missing a word. Also heard some songs and expressions of some rude men and boys which haunt me to this day and cannot forget them. I mention these matters so the young that read them will benefit by it and not repeat or learn anything only which is right and moral. What a pleasure it is when sitting alone and feel down cast and drowsy to be able to repeat a speech of some eminent author that was committed to memory fifty years ago. Many things that happen in youth are remembered in old age, either good or bad. Therefore, how important it is to commit as many things as possible of an instructive moral tendency and steer clear of things that are otherwise in there teachings. Youth is the time to lay the proper foundation for future life. The boy that fills his head with dime novels of daring deeds and highway robberies will often form a desire for it in his older days, hence the necessity of our jails and penetentaries. No doubt that some beings are born with natural dispositions to commit wrong but even if so there can be much done in the training and example set before them. The wild horse can be broken and the ferocious beast of the forest can be tamed to some degree and made somewhat gentle by early training. Mankind, when first born is as ignorant and more helpless than any other animal. It takes more pains to raise a child than it does any other animal and they are more liable to disease and death, they cannot stand what the animals of the forest can, neither do they advance and grow as rapidly and come to maturity as soon. Again the poorest weed that grows is the hardest to destroy and needs no cultivation while the finest crops of vegetables we raise need the most care and the sooner they are cultivated after they make their appearance the faster they will grow. Such is the case with the childs mind. The training can be for good or for bad, just as the twig is bent, the tree enclines. Such is the natural tendency and in this way we should be very carefull in cultivating the minds of children as in this, the future life depends and will mostly prove so to the end. I had loving parents that done much for me, were never severe or harsh in their corrections but neglected many things that might have been a great help to me in after life. Such is the case in all families, they do not see the error untill it is too late, they are too strict in some things and too indulgent in some other things. Why does the Indian always stand and walk erect? His body is as straight as a line. It is because the Squaw straps him on a straight board while very young and stands it up against the wall of the wigwam while she looks after her daily duties and papoose grows up to be a regular Indian. When the Squaw makes a call or a visit at a neighbors she is not troubled much with her treasure but stands it up against the wall while she visits with the inmates.
This is quite different treatment than our children get but it is the only way to raise a good indian and he will be an Indian till he dies. So we could go on and mention traits of character and modes of treatment in many lands but will only mention a few besides our own Country. The French are conspicuous for their manner, gestures and love of good wines. The Irish are known for their quick wit and love of good old Irish Whiskey. The Dutch are known by their dull and awkward appearance and love of sauerkraut and lager beer. The English are known by their John Bull style of independence and the love of their plum pudding. The Americans are hard to distinguish for they are composed of so many different nationalities and their peculiaritites and wants are many. We are fast growing into aristocracy by the formation of trusts and combines by some parties and becoming emencely wealthy and crushing the labor of the land down till poverty reigns in some places and luxury in other places. There is not the quality there was some fifty years age. There is quite a contrast in both dress and living now from what there was then. I think I heard some one say that it is alright, a man has a right to dress and live to suit himself. I will admit that but there is one thing sure, there is not the confidence there was then. People do not confide in each other like they did then and some few are hording up fortunes while poverty and crime are on the increase with others. Some one says, how can that be since our country is full of churches, colleges and academys. This is really so, why I cannot tell for I can remember when we used to have our preaching in school houses when there was scarcely any churches in Sharon and other towns about here. Our poor houses and jails were poor and small yet they were large enough to hold all that were sent there and room for more if necessary. Now our jails and poor houses are too small and are sometimes crowded until they can admit no more. I can remember when there was no lockup in Sharon, also can mind when the first one was built of wood scarcely ever a prisoner would escape. Now we have iron lockups and jails and escapes are frequent. I can remember when Gardner of Stark county Ohio was hung in the 40s, now you cannot pick up a daily paper without seeing that some one has been hung or ought to be hung.
I can mind when whiskey stills were almost as plenty as churches and where any quantity could be bought from a drink to a barrel, the price from three cents a drink to twenty five cents a gallon. I have seen a pail of whiskey with a tin dipper in it setting in a fence corner or under a shade tree at a barn or house raising with free access to same and not a man would be intoxicated when the job was finished. There were no coolers to put men in when they went wrong which was the case some times but it seemed not as frequent as now days. I have seen places out west where whiskey was almost as common as water. Everybody had some in the house, could take when they pleased or give some to a neighbor when he called and scarcely ever would they get so they were not fit to transact their duties. Whiskey was made those days from the pure grain without the adulterations that are used now days. Did not make men so crazy and helpless as it does now. There was no inducement for adulteration, the price was so low used nothing but water in it, when they did wish to increase the stock and that was not injurious to the system. Many men used it daily for a beverage and lived to be quite old. Many used it regular in harvest or when at any hard and fatiguing work. In this County even as late as 1845 or 50 there were then several stills in the county yet. One had only been abandoned a short time that stood within a mile of Sharon and operated by C J Carver. One some distance below Sharon operated by Applegate and only ceased some few years ago and many sold Applegate whiskey long after there was no more in the County. I can remember of repairing the Exchange Hotel in 65 or 66, when C J Carver told me to look out for a bottle of Applegate whiskey in one of the boards he had it put in when the house was built and he wanted to see how it had improved by age. I gave direction to the men to be careful but when they came to the place they accidentaly broke the bottle and lost all but a little which was given to a certain lad living there in town and he sold old Applegate for a long time. I can remember of traveling through Jackson County Iowa in l854. I stopped where some men were erecting a water saw mill. I inquired of them where some people lived who had located there from Mercer Co. They asked me where I was from. I told them I lived in Mercer County, Penna, then they asked me how far from Meanses Still House. I asked them why they asked me such a question as that, they laughed and said there were lots of people in that County from Mercer and when asked what part they were from they always answered, one, two or ten miles from Meanses still house. I later found some families who had gone from here and we had lots of fun about the experience I had finding them.
I have no suggestions as to how the liquor problem can be settled for many means have been tried with little success. Churches and Colleges have but little influence especially when they keep a licensed bar like Princeton College does. Prohibition does not seem to do the thing satisfactory where it has been tried(Maine & Iowa) and some other states. The only remedy I see is to teach the young the evil of it before they form taste for it. Man is an animal only but stands higher than the lower animals. Many of the most intelligent can be taught many things and some of the less intelligent and wild ones will learn to some extent but if you try to prohibit them they become very uneasy. Did you ever try to drive hogs or try to keep cattle from a hay stack? I lived with an old farmer once that used deception with his cattle. When they did not eat their feed right he would put a temporary fence around it, then they relished it. The laws on prize fighting and cock fights and common fisticuffs were not so stringent years ago as they are now. I grew up to be a young man before I ever read of a prize fight and never saw a cock fight. Only some common ones that took place in the barn yards.
I never was knocked down till 1863 when I was trying to put in a substitute (Civil War) at Erie, Pa., he thought he would practice a little at the depot and knocked me down off the platform at the station. I suppose he would have made a good soldier but I did not hire him and he missed receiving any bonus. I looked for one that was not quite so ferocious. I found one and never heard from the other again. This was the extent of my fighting during the rebellion.
Foot Ball and Base Ball:
This puts a large amount of money in circulation which would lie idle in the old style of fighting, besides it gives a large lot of gentlemen a chance to amuse themselves. The popular games of Foot Ball and Base Ball are dailly filling our papers with news sometimes of a startling nature. We often hear of some fine promising young man who is attending some college to prepare himself to fill some position in this world either in the Pulpit or the legal bar or Doctors office or some other place of importance in life. This same young man has been fitted up at some expense by a kind father and loving mother for the occasion which is alright but as months pass by the parents receive the sad news of an accident at Yale or Cornell or some other place in which their son is located, stating that on such a date John was fatally injured in a spirited game of Foot Ball by having his skull fractured or hurt internaly or having a leg broke or being injured for life in some way. We can hardly pick up a paper without seeing some notice of this kind in it. This is not very good news for the parents and makes them wish they had kept their son at home under their own care or they wish they had played some more common game that we played 50 years ago in place of playing the national game of today. I sometimes think if we keep on with such rude sports we will some day delight in attending Bull Fights like Spain and Mexico. The aristocracy of Spain and Mexico with all their fame and fashion attend these places and are delighted when a poor lout is struck with a lance or some human warrior is gored or tossed in the air by the mad bull. It is not interesting unless blood flowes freely and more so if someone is killed either man or brute. These are some of the fancies that amuse and please various people. Some of them so rude and foolish that they would almost astonish the wild Indian of the forest. Should these be the fruits of civilization, I answer no. It has done much towards instructing the Indian and then again it has to some extent robbed him of his original ways and happiness, still he is an Indian. The next matter I will speal on will be horse trading, gambling and betting. This covers a large scope to go over and if I only had the experience that some have had I could furnish quite an instructive narative of them but not having very good luck in the start I soon quit them for a bad job. Thousands wish they had done the same while some have made small fortunes. After having bad luck with borrowed horses as I stated before, I thought it better it I had one of my own so I bought one and after having it for some time I concluded it was not fast enough for my business, I looked around for some one to trade with. I finally saw a fine young beast owned by a farmer by the name of John Milligan near Sharpsville, It had never been broke single. He told me to be careful with it in the start. I told him I could handle it as I was used to horses. Well, I did handle it and finally it got to handling me. It ran off and broke a sleigh all to pieces for me. I found this one too fast for me, but I was young and some conceit and was determined to master it. I got a carpenter at Sharon furnace to make what we called a straddle bug. He took two hickory poles that answered for the shafts and runners, He shaved the sticks flat so they would bend up for the shafts then he bored holes in the runners and put risers in them to a half round piece of timber on top about four feet long. When it was put together it made a convenient single or tandum rig by sitting straddle of the timber. I could use a blanket or anything for a saddle and many good rides we had with it but the horse would still run away with it once in a while. In the spring of l850 I helped to move a load of goods for my Brother Andrew as stated before. I had two horses, brother had one. We hitched them all together and set sail. Ferdinan Hull had some relatives near where we were going. He concluded to go with us and pay them a visit. All went well for some time till we got to Mansfield or beyond. One morning I felt like trading horses again. I was intending to leave a team west with my parents and concluded the run away horse would hardly be safe for them although he was good to work double. So I saddled him up and started out for a trade. I made no secret of it, used no deception, If I saw a horse I made the bargain and kept on till I came to a little town called Ontario. I rode up to a livery stable. I saw several horses there and I inquired of a man I saw whether they had any horses they wished to trade. He said no but there was a man lived in town that had a fine four year old that had the distemper but was about over it. He said he put some rowls under his neck and the horse was nearly well, but the man was no horse man and still feared some bad results. This made me think I had a good subject to work on and he sent for the man and he soon came with a fine dapple gray horse. We rode the horses down the road and when we got back to the stable he asked me how I would trade. I told him I would give him an even trade. He asked 15.00 boot. I said no and he went away. The man at the stable told me I had made a mistake in not trading. After a while the man that owned the horse came back with his horse. In talking with him he said I lost a bargain. I told him I was satisfied, Then he said what is the most you will give me to boot? Not one cent said I. I will give an even trade and no more. He brought his horse and exchanged just as my brother came with the team. He said boy, what are you doing? I said trading. He came and looked at the horse and said, you dont want a blind horse do you? I was too spunky to squeal and kept the horse. This kind of cured me of trading and learned me that I was not an expert at the business. I traded several after by exchanging wagons and buggys for horses but found out that there is but little honor or justice in real horse trading and few men but what will either tell a lie or leave some of the truth untold. I have seen ministers of the gospel take advantage in a horse trade. I once had a good old deacon of the church trade me a horse for a wagon and he told me of all the good qualities of the horse and kept the bad ones to let me find them out. This taught me a lesson which I have remembered.
In the profession of gambling I have had but little experience but I am not sorry that I know so little about it and shall not attempt to learn at my age. Along in the later part of the 60_s things were pretty bright in Sharon and there were many clubs in town and I frequently got invitations by friends. One night I concluded to go with some few of my friends. We played Euchre, seven up and so on which I was fond of but would not bet anything on the game. Finally one spoke and said I am dry, suppose we play a game of whiskey poker and the one that loses pays for the drinks. They explained the game to me telling what was a good hand and told me when in my judgement I had a good hand to rap on the table. Then all would show hands, the highest won. They told me three of a kind and a pair was a pretty fair hand to show up. I did not understand Hoyle very well so I looked over my hand and rapped on the table. I showed my hand, it contained two clubs and three diamonds. All different numbers, no two alike. I did not have a face card in my hand, they were all spots and no two or three alike. One of the party spoke up and said that it is a beautiful hand but I think the treat is on you. They told me then how to draw the cards next time, but the game was not interesting to me and I soon excused my self and went home and quit poker playing but did not hear the last of it for a long time. Men would meet me and speak of it and I was noted for the champion poker man nearly every where I went. In the spring of 1878 my duties called me west to Boulder, Colorado. Here I saw more of the games of chance of various kinds. I was in Denver for a short time and here seen the high toned places for fortune or poverty. I after went to Leadville, the new mining camp at that time. Here it was in all its glory of nearly all nations except Chinese, They were not allowed to come to that new and moral camp. Here the gambling halls were the largest buildings in town and all situated on the main street or near there. Some were from one to two hundred feet long, full of all kinds of gambling devices to satisfy the most expert gambler. I thought of my first attempt at poker in Sharon and concluded to stay out of the games of all kinds. There were cards, dice, boxes, wheels of fortune, rolettes, sweat clothes, keno and many others, every one yelling loud for some one to take hold and try their luck. This was kept up all night for I could hear them yelling from where I was staying at the hotel. For Inducements for men to stay all night they had cards on the walls for lunches, after midnight a little better menue and better yet after three, to tempt men to stay up all night. On coming into one of the halls the first thing you would see was a long fancy bar decorated with all kinds of fancy bottles of whiskey and some reports of some large winnings that had been made the night before. Everything that would excite the mind of those that came in. You could see among those that came in the hard working miner and the rough looking Mexican teamster and the fine and well dressed gambler which made quite a contrast. All those at the different games are deeply interested and closely observe everything connected with the game and you can hear nothing only the idle ones that are calling for someone to take a chance and try their luck in something they have and many of the games look quite plain to the onlooker and he is confident he can win a few dollars and tries his hand sometimes a few hands or moves will satisfy and sometimes you find a sticker who hangs on till he makes some money and then goes away rejoicing. You are perfectly safe, there scarcely ever a man has his pockets picked. There are stacks of money all around on the tables. No one thinks of disturbing them but when you loose, the money is placed on the pile. They look around for another victim. I could mention more things I saw at these places but I will let this suffice and say that I never lost or won one cent only the time spent in looking on and what I seen of it I think was transacted fairer than much of the horse trading and will now say, let all form their own opinion.
Betting takes in many things and many classes of people indulge in it. The rich and poor, old and young, male and female, white and black, native and foreigner, church member and convict, student and farmer. Some of all classes take chances and indulge in it when they think they see a chance to win. I well remember of a certain young man some years ago wanting me to bet a fine suit of clothing on the election of a Judge for this County so he and I drove several miles over the county to see what the feeling of the people was in regard to candidates. On return home I told him I would take the bet after election. We found out I won and he came to me and told me to go to Goldstein and Co. and get measured for the best suit of clothes in the store. I told him I had so far lived without money from a bet and I was too old to commence now and I would not take them from him. He replied ‘I am ——— sure I would have taken them from you had I won” and laughed hartily. I suppose he has won and lost thousands in his life since that time. I have always been a coward as far as betting goes and many other things but still I have my failing as well as other people. There is none perfect, no not one.
I was at a fair one time at Brookfield when Brookfield fairs were the most popular in all the surroundings. There was a four or five minute race on and it made quite an excitement. There was a woman yelled out I will bet five cents on the gray. I answered I will take the bet and in about six minutes I lost the money. I did not mourn, she was a relative to my wife and the money was still in the family and I concluded a race was no good without betting. I have seen men bet themselves clear out of money and borrow more and bet again. This is pluckier than I ever was. I remember one time after the war when Sharon was in its balmiest days when every one carried money loose in their pockets and did not know how much they had because the flipping game was so common. I was passing from the shop along the street one day when a friend beconed to me and said come here, would you like to see some fun? I said yes and we went into the setting room of a popular Hotel and there sat the Landlord and six or seven more of the leisure gentlemen of the town, all seated in a ring flipping half dollars. The hotel man lost several times and got spunky, threw down a five dollar bill and said ‘cover that_. No one took hold except one young man who threw a V down and said will it be first dash? No, says the other, then they flipped and the hotel man won the first and the young man won the other two and picked up the money. Then the hotel man threw down 25.00 and said cover that. The young man done so and said first dash. No says the hotel man, best two in three. When all was ready up went the flipping pieces and the young man won and put the 50.00 in his pocket and had more money than he had a short time before. So things went on, they hardly ever knew how much money they had in their pockets. The subjects of this tale are living yet and could testify to the truth of it. I withold the names. I have always opposed betting and believe that every one should receive value for their money. I have always found chances enough to make or loose when I staked my money in my legitimate business without betting on anything else. I never staked any money on a prize fight, dog or cock fight. Think of the amount of money changed hands in the Fitzsimmons fight besides the time lost and expense going and coming. It would build a fine manufacturing establishment somewhere and furnish work for many honest laborers.
Rich and Poor:
Some are born among riches and luxury and some among poverty and want. This is the case with all. Some are born with a golden spoon in their mouth and some with the bitter herbs of poverty and some with medium chances in the race of life. All start in life the same while some pass others on the journey. The one with the golden spoon in his mouth may sip the bitter herb of poverty before the end and the medium one may go up or down as fate may prove it. I have seen the rich die poor and the poor die rich. There is no security for anyone in some things such as health and success in this world. Two may start together with equal chance. One may fall by the way with disease and die, the other may land safe on the shore of prosperity in good health. Two may start for the gold regions, one may become rich in a short time, the other may borrow money to get home again. This I have witnessed with my own eyes. Two may start in business with the same capital, one may prosper and become a millionaire, the other may loose all he had and come out hopeless in debt. This I have also seen and so have many others. I could go on and make many more comparisons but these few are sufficient to convince anyone that the events in this life are many and uncertain. Astronomers can tell for ages ahead when an eclipse of the sun or moon will take place, can tell when certain planets will pass each other and distance they will be apart. But they cannot tell how much time will pass before they will be among those of the past. There is no rule for this, we all have to wait till the time arrives. The young men should learn early to figure in as much time in such things as will be a possible benefit to him in after years. He should be very cautious with his money. Should learn to deny himself the unnecessary things of this life to a certain degree. If there is any festivities or amusements announced in the papers and he has not the amount of the cost of it to spare he should consider the matter and lay something by for a rainy day or pay some honest debt with it in place of spending it in gratifying himself in his notions. This would put him that much ahead of those that indulged in the amusement. I do not advocate or desire anyone to become so saving as to become a miser. Young people must have a certain amount of pleasure to keep the body and mind healthy but too much time and money spent in self gratification is equally bad and will lead to want or dishonesty in the end. This can be daily proven by the papers. You can hardly ever scan ever the paper without seeing the following notice. A B or C of Chicago or some other place is a deflator or has been arrested or has left the country for falling short so many thousand dollars with his company or his employer. How does this come? There are just two ways for it. He was either born a rascal or else he acquired habits of spending more money than his earnings, hence, the defalcation or the robbery. Some that did not acquire learning enough to hold positions of trust turn out to be robbers and burgulars when in need. This shows plainly that men should always try to keep themselves above actual wants of life. Both the rough and the man in a position will steal when cramped. The man in trust will hate to come down to common style of dress and living, pride keeps him above this and he commences to pilfer from the firm or his employer till he is detected or is likely to be. Then he resigns and runs away to some place else. The rough will steal sooner than work when he is in need so things go on till some times our jails and prisons are full. I could go on and enumerate many more things that should be acquired while young. A good education does not always prevent poverty or a good start will not prove to come out successful always. We read of men that have been authors, inventors and heirs to immense estates coming down to want and some of them being obliged to seek aid from friends or the public and some have ended their days in poor houses. I mention this matter not in opposition to education or to the genious who has invented labor saving machines but I mention it because history shows it to be a fact. Some say as a man is born he inherits many traits of character from his parents and cannot avoid many faults that he makes. This is so to some degree. I can now see some faults my father had, some still trouble me at times and some I broke off myself many years ago so let the young man follow in his fathers footsteps so far as he knows them to be right and avoid what he knows to be wrong. My father had no serious faults. He was a sober man. I never knew him to get drunk. He was a peacable man, never had a law suit in his life, had a limited education in German and some French but never learned English. He must have been pretty fairly situated in France for he had about two thousand dollars when he left. He brought a big family over and had some eight hundred in gold. When we landed in Massillon this nearly went in learning the ways of this country. He never after had that much. He was what you might call a poor man and died poor but was always industrious and was never in want of one of the necessities of life but lived cheap and died in debt to no one. There are none of the children rich, one brother living owns several hundred acres of land but feels poor, two sisters living are poor, but have enough to carry them through this world but they have worked hard all their lives and have been saving. I think they are happy as circumstances will permit. There are several kinds of poor. There is the man that has to depend on his daily labor to support his family. There is the poor man that is affected and cannot labor. Then there is the tramp or vagabond that will not labor. He would sooner steal and go to prison than work. Then there is what I call the aristocratic poor that will not own. They are poor so long as they can borrow or get on time what they want. This is quite a dangerous class. They have plenty of cheek but no bone. The man that is an object of charity is a gentleman compared with one of this class. It is a pleasure to donate to a poor worthy honest man while it is a curse to you to see an aristocratic poor man sporting some article of approval that he owes you for and has entirely forgotten to pay for. There is still one more class of poor, that is the medium class. This class I think take more comfort and pleasure in this world than the highest or lowest class does. When you find a man of this kind you mostly find a good citizen and a worthy member in society. If he is honest he will not go in debt for anything which he does not need or never intends to pay for. He keeps himself respectable so he can appear in society but is not ashamed to mingle with the honest poor. If there were more of this class in this land matters would run in better shape. I have said about all I can now think of about the poor and will new make a few remarks about the rich. They also consist of more than one class and vary about as much as the poor and some are not as happy as some poor. Some may say that I am too partial to the poor man. I will excuse myself by saying it is natural for a man to stick to his own class, therefore you must not censor me for so doing.
In the commencement of this subject I headed it Rich and Poor. I see now that I have spoken of the poor man first and will now have to treat on the rich man. What constitutes a rich man, how much must he own, what is the limit and of what will it consist of. Some of those jestures are hard to answer and some cannot be answered at all. There is no limit to some mens wants. They always want a little more. The question what riches shall consist of is also hard to answer for the notions and ideas of men differ on this but with the majority it is money. Some men turn everything into land and stock, cattle and horses. Some into mines, rail reads, vessels, manufacturing and various other enterprises. This is alright. It keeps all things in motion and furnishes work for many poor men and enables them to earn their daily bread. This is the only method that can be adopted between the rich and the poor and it enables both to prosper and live and while some of the large employers and companies become millionaires some of the workmen become rich while others are in fairly good circumstances, while a few for some reason may remain poor. Some men will always remain poor, they are not happy unless they are in want of something. The tramp is the happiest while begging his feed and sleeping and riding on the R. R. Cars, that is his nature and make up. He would not be content in the kings palace but feels quite at home in police stations or jail. Then again on the other side there are some rich men that are never satisfied. There is always something wanting and sometimes they will undertake some scheme that will land them in less and dissapointment and they in the end loose all they have and come out hopelessly in debt. So things move on daily. We cannot pick up a paper without seeing the failure of some rich man as well as the distress and want of some poor man. The poor man stays poor easier than the rich man stays rich. The chances for a man to rise from poverty to riches are few. The chances for a man of means to loose are many and many loose nearly all they have. The causalties of loss by fire, floods and explosions are frequent and liable to occur anytime hence the rich mans properity is in danger at all times. Yet if he succeeds in getting through for a few years he will reap the benefit of his trials and risks. The millionaires time is taken up in devising ways to invest his large accumulations. Some donate to colleges, hospitals and other institutions. Some invest in R. R., steamboat lines, stocks and bonds, some build immense hotels, skycrapers, business blocks and many other improvements to rival or exceed something that has been built by some other one before them. This keeps money, mechanics, laboring men, and poor in employment so things move along as time goes on, it is like a wheel meshing into another untill the power is transmitted to the end. Perhaps it might be interesting to some young minds to know how those men made their start in wealth.
I will mention a few of the most familiar and best known ones. Vanderbilt commenced life on a farm. A. T. Stewart taught school. Wanamaker first worked for $1.25 a week. Field clerked in a store. George Childs was an errand boy at $4.OO a month. J. Gould sold maps. Carnegie worked in a telegraph office at $3.00 a week. Run drove a milk wagon and Whitlow Reed worked in a printing office at $5.00 a week.
I could mention many more but this will show what has been done and what can be done by our youth hereafter. Fifty two years ago when I first came to this valley there was but few wealthy men here. Greenville and New Castle were better off in the Mahoning valley, there were a few in Warren and Youngstown. Coal was the only leading business then.
This valley took a start for improvements some fifty four years ago, at that time they commenced building stone piles they called furnaces untill there were over a score in Mercer Co. They ran for a while then all crumbled down only two being rebuilt today standing on the sites. One at Sharpsville and one between Sharpsville and Sharon called now the Sharon Furnace. Nothing left of the original ones except the ground they stood on. At that time people were not divided as they now are. There were none extreemly rich and none so poor as there is at present. The poor house of Mercer Co. was small yet it would hold all that had to be sent there. If a man was worth ten to fifty thousand in those days he was classed a rich man, now that amount does not entitle him to that name. The poor did not become as needy and suffer as they now do. Some men are poor from neglecting their business and some are poor through misfortune (this class is to be pitied) and some would not feel contented in any other sphere than that which they occupy. This will always be so I suppose to the end of time. The only man I consider really rich is an old or young man that has accumulated enough of this worlds goods to keep him during his life and does not crave or worry for more, such a man really is a happy one if he is in good health. Such a man is richer than the Millionaire of today. How often do we read of some rich man leaving large amounts at death or some old miser having pots of gold burried some where on his premises that does no good to anyone. The estate left by the rich will be of use to those that are still living after he is gone and will still continue to add to the wealth of the country but the treasures of the miser is lying dormant in the ground as it did while he was living. He is no benefit to the country no more than the wild savage was that roamed over the land before him. He does not donate anything to the poor or any charity or public institution of the country. He lives and dies unnoticed by his neighbors and is envied by no one.
The prudent ones will lay something by for hard times while some that are greedy will invest all they have and borrow more and eventually go to the wall or come out millionaires. They need something to regulate them to run correct and keep good times. I see by todays papers that Pittsburgh capitalists are about to invest two million in the street car business in South Bend, Ind. This looks like a large amount but they see something in it or they would not risk their money. The papers are full every day of combines and syndicates forming all ever the country for various enterprises. We cannot tell what the end of the next century will be if it improves as this one has so far. It has not been more than sixty years since I have taken notice to improvements and inventions but in that time I could not enumerate all of them. It seems the world was in the dark at the beginning of this century. I could go on and mention many of the improvements but I do not know where to commence or where to stop. Therefore I will say no more.
I will leave the matter for your own idea to solve the problem as you see proper in your own minds. I would like to write on some matters of history to put in my lonesome hours but I have not the education or talent to write of anything only what has come under my observation during my life. I will try to hunt up something that I can handle with what little knowledge I have,
Sept 4, 1893
Memorandum and some of the most important incidents of my life. I was born in France on the 18th day of June 1828 and at the age of four years in the year 1832 my parents emigrated to America. As told by my parents we come by wagon to Havre, and thense by sailing vessel to N. Y. and were 65 days on the ocean, during which time several of the passengers died of colery. When landed in N. Y. we were put into quarentine for disenfecting and cleaning up before we dare proceed further.
The family consisted of five children, four are living at the present time and their ages range from 65 to nearly 80 years. One child died on the voyage between New York and Buffalo and was buried there to be forgotten by these that loved her. From N. Y. to Buffalo our journey was made by slow mode of travel, the state canal. At Buffalo we remained for a few weeks, while father looked for a location in this land but finding nothing to suit him and that part of the country being infested with several tribes of Indians we set sail for further west and come on a sailing vessel to Cleveland, Ohio and from there we come on the Ohio canal to Massillon, Ohio. In the fall of the same year and being strangers in a strange country, my Father did not know what was best to do and we remained in Massillon by the advise of these that had been in this country for a while and thought they had become wise. This in time exhausted most of the gold that was left after the voyage and it was found necessary to do something to save what was left so Father rented a small farm near Massillon and commenced farming in the old country style and as soon as I was able to carry a basket of eggs, butter and garden produce my sisters and I made trips to Massillon for the sale of same. Made from one to three trips a day while the season lasted. As soon as I was able to do some work which was when about twelve years old or the year 1840, I worked for other parties for four dollars a month and took all the money home to my mother. At the age of fourteen I went on the Ohio Canal as driver at $8.00 per month during the summer season and in winter got a little schooling in a little log house about three miles from home and in 1843 or 4 I was sent to learn the shoemakers trade at the cross reads in the country. This I could not stand, sitting and leaning foreward did not agree with me and I had to quit it. The next move I made was to learn the blacksmith trade and after a few months took sick and went home, when well again went on the Canal for a short time and then went back and apprenticed myself for three years at 40.00 per year. I this time stayed my full time and during that time my employer concluded to come east to Sharpsville, Pa. and I come with him and finished up my time with him from 1846 to 1848. In the winter of 1848 I felt anxious to see my parents and other relatives who then lived near Ada, Ohio and I started from Sharpsville in the month of Jan. to walk the whole distance between two and three hundred miles. I stayed with them till spring in April and then walked to Findlay and Tiffin where I had relatives and from there I walked home to Sharpsville. On my arrival home I engaged to work at the Bell Furnace. The wages was $l.OO per day and board which was big money at that time. I remained with this company intill the spring of 1850 and then made another trip west. This time I rode out in a wagon and walked back. On my return home I started a smith shop for custom work in Sharpsville and in the same year get married to Adeline Dunham who lived but a mile or so from Sharpsville. This union resulted in twelve children being born to us of whom four are now living, two girls and two boys. In the spring of 1852 I bought a piece of land on the road leading from Sharpsville to Trout Corners being near where my wife was born. I done so by her request. Here I built a smith shop and continued in the business for ten years or till the spring of 1862. I found out the first year that I must do something more to draw trade so in the spring of 1853 I put up a small wagon shop and hired a wagon maker. This brought me trade and in the course of a year or so I run quite a business and employed several men. The times were hard most of the time and money come slow and some of it was not good when it did come but I made a practice of saving state bank money and when I accumulated $100.00 I put a label on it and marked it 100 and this I would never open again but kept it in the dresser drawer in my bedroom for then there were no banks near to deposit it in and when I moved to Sharon in the spring of 1862 I had 25 of these packages worth $2500.00 and had my land and building all paid for. This was making money slow but it was sure. Wages were low and everything else low but we all lived well and were happy. In the spring of 1862 I moved to Sharon and bought the corner on Dock st. opposite Walace and Carley Planning mill and started in wagon making, smithing, building small coal cars and general jobbing. After two years I sold a half interest in the business to C G Carver for 2500.00 and after one year more we sold a third interest to M C Trout for 4OOO.OO and started the Empire Planning Mills known as Runser, Carver and Trout. This partnership lasted till the spring of 1868 at which time I sold my third interest to Carver and Trout for 12,.500.OO and left the business. During the term of our partnership, we done quite a business building and furnishing lumber for buildings much as Mercer Court House, the Shenange House, Thompson Block and Kimberly house. In the spring of 1868 I associated myself with James Westerman, Wm. McGilvery and S. Kimberly and started what was known as the Sharon Boiler Works of S. Runser and Co. The first contract was for Mercer County, putting in 105 tons of iron in jail for doors, cells, ceilings and shutters and grating. This job amounted to over 20.000.00. We next built the Keel Ridge Furnace for S. Kimberly which was at that time one of the most modern in the valley. Also built the first stack for the Valley Furnace and all the boilers for Otis and Thomas of Cleveland. Also built 20 large upright boilers for Coleman Westerman and Co. Built the Red Jacket Furnace in New Castle for Wise and Co. Built the Lamont Furnaces for Ewing Boyle and Co. Uniontown, Pa. and after built several large oil tanks in Butler Co. Pa. In 1869 or 70 I was one of the operators of the Sharon Savings Bank and was elected one of the Directors and served as long as the bank was carried on and I lost considerable money by the bank being badly handled by those in charge. In 1871 or 2 I associated myself with C. Porter and Baldwin West Co in the saw mill enterprise in Indiana and in the final winding up of matters also lost money. In 1871 I bought an interest in some furnaces in New Castle known then as the Crawford Furnaces. My interest consisted of 156 shares of 100.00 each and I kept this interest for seventeen years without dividends or interest and then sold it for 10,000.00 on three years time. In 1875 I sold my interest in the boiler business to my partners and started in the business of making Iron from furnace slag or cinder. The company consisted of myself, Wm McGilvery and James Westerman. We located in Bazill, Ind. and during the summer of 1876 we made a360 tons of iron. Had the iron been sold as soon as made we could have made a little money out of it. We could then get from 18 to 20 dollars per gross ton for it but my partners were for seeing men and kept the iron for several years and paid interest on a large debt and then sold it at 9.50 a ton thus entailing a large loss. I came home from Indiana and was idle for a short time and then engaged with Kimberly, Cams and Co to inspect the iron daily at the different mills, Sharon, Greenville and New Castle and hand in the reports to the Sharon office each day. After about one year I was sent on the road to sell iron and did so for some time, traveling mostly west as far as Wisconsin and Missouri. During this time I invented a cotton tie. which I sold to Cook of the City of Washington for 2000.00. Got 250.00 cash down on same from cook and took other parties obligations for the balance but in 1878 parties became embaressed and I never got the rest of the claim. In the same year I engaged with Sam Kimberly to put up some mining and crushing machinery in Colorado. I bought three car loads of machinery in Nibs, Cleveland and Pittsburgh and had them shipped to Denver and followed the same and from there I had them shipped to Boulder at the foot of the mountains and then had them hauled twelve miles up till near the snow range.
After machinery was erected and put in operation we found that the ore was not rich enough and plant was not one of the proper kind to do the work and the scheme failed. I left the plant up in the mountains and on the 4th day of July 1878 I started for Leadville which was then just a new camp. I walked most of the way and was seven days going over. In and around Leadville I spent the balance of the year prospecting without success. I came home in the spring of 1879 after spending a very cold winter in the mountains. I then leased ground and built a shop to do general smithing and repairing and also added the sale of wagons and agricultural goods to it but I soon found out that I could not make a success of it and in 1881 I gave it up and closed up the business and started on the road to buy scrap and iron for P L Kimberly and Co. and followed this for some time traveling mostly east untill I was called home and sent to Greenville to assist in erecting some new boilers and machinery. In the fall of l884 when this was completed the firm become embaressed and the mill closed for some time and I was idle till the following spring at which time he mill started again and I was put in charge of the mill and managed same till July 1891 at which time my health failed and I resigned my position and located in Sharon once more, A year or two before this I made some improvements in boilers for puddling furnaces and obtained a patent on same but they did not prove a success and I took them out and converted them into an other kind which proved a success and I obtained another patent on them and I now have eight of them in successful operation in the Greenville Mills. The whole of them are 1000 horse power. For the last two years my health has been so poor that I have not been able to do any labor and have been experimenting on some improvements on boilers and steam fixtures and I also have the models of three drawheads and have spent considerable money in patents and experimenting. The time has seemed so long to me that I had to employ myself at something to pass the time and make the dull moments pass along. Viewing all matters in there true light in the course of human nature I have now come to the conclusion that my course in this world is drawing to a close. The disease that is praying on the constitution will sooner or later compel me to surrender all earthly claims and launch into the unknown eternity and take me from labor and trials to rest. In looking over my past life I can see many sad mistakes I have made and many short comings but on the whole I feel satisfied that matters stand as fair as they do with me for I feel that I have never intentionally wronged anyone out of one dollar and I have enough of this worlds goods to support me as long as nature will hold the spirit in this feeble tenement of clay and I hope I will never be dependent on any of my friends or relatives for support during my natural life for charity in many cases is limited. I have not only tried to provide for myself but am carrying at this time something over 12,000.00 life insurance for those that will be left behind me and have paid premiums yearly for over 25 years on some of them. This will demonstrate that I am not selfish or living wholly for myself or my own comfort. Some of these whose duty should compel them to show more of the respect and attention to me than they really do. I consider I have done my duty towards them all as well as I could under the circumstances, considering the fact that there were twelve children born to us of which eight have died as well as my wife. We must consider that there has been some doctor bills and funeral expenses paid during that time besides the hundreds of dollars I have spent for medical treatment for myself in the last few years and am still compelled to do so daily but still I have reason to be thankful that matters are even as favorable to me as they are for many in this world are in worse condition than I am for they have stood all the hardships that I have and have nothing left to support them in their old days and are dependent on their children or friends for their support and comforts in their last days. Were this the case with me it would make me feel gloomy indeed for the poor health I have is as much as I can stand without anything else to trouble me. I believe and trust by careful management that I will have enough to keep me in comfortable shape as long as I will be spared in this world and may be able to leave something for those that are left after me whether it will be appreciated or not. I have always made it a rule in my life to deal fairly with all parties and to be kind and courteous to all that were to me and love those that loved me and with my enemies and those that consider themselves far above me in their station in this life I passed them unharmed. My faults have been many and I can see many places where I could make improvements had I my life to live over but there is one consolation that I have and that is this, I always guarded against letting my faults work injury to those around me.. I am writing this sketch for two reasons. One is to put in the time in my last moments and the other is that it may be of some interest to these left after me and I hope it may be a benefit to some and injure no one. I am naturally sensitive and often feel that some that are bound by nature have not the feeling, love and respect for me that they should have but perhaps I am mistaken, hope I am. I wish I could think so, it would relieve my mind to some extent. Thus they know best themselves and I may never find out the true state of things. I am well aware that the disease that has held of me will bring matters to a close sooner or later but this does not make me shudder or melencholy for I know that the common course of nature is death in the end. Let it be by accident, social disease or a disease from some epidemic but while we have our health we think but little of death but it will come to all sometime no difference what our stations is in this life. The tall, the wise, the reverant head must lie as low as ours. I have been afflicted for years and thought death stared me in the face but yet I live while many have died during that time. More are created to die and not live, hence, we should all make up our minds to that effect and deal justly with our fellow men, be kind and courteous to our friends that we may live in their memory after we have passed away. These are pleasant thoughts to ponder over while we live and should possess the minds of all good citizens to some extent. Let us live while we live for these that love and respect us and pass our enemies by unnoticed and unharmed should be the motto of all and then we could avoid many trials and troubles that daily attack mankind. If all would adopt this motto there would be but few lawsuits and few disputes and all would pass in more harmony and peace than under present make of doing things. Mankind seems to be naturaly selfish in their nature and look too much to their own interests regardless of the effects it might have on those that surround them. Let us do good to all as far as it is in our power and harm to none and in the end it will be a consolation to us.
S.Runser was born near the city of Bail on the river Rhine, province of Alsace. Fathers name, Seraphin Runser, Mothers name, Catherine Wickey, buried at Ada, Ohio.
Signed Sebastian Runser
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