Orlando John Hodge.

Reminiscences (Volume 2) online

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Plain Dealer. INIr. T. M. Spencer succeeded to
the office in 1845. Then, in 1849, came Daniel
M. Haskell, who moved the office into the "Her-
ald Building," a new structure, still standing on
the east side of Bank street, just north from
Superior street, which when built had Mr. O.
Cutter's auction store on one side and Benjamin
Harrington's livery stable on the other. This
location drew from Editor Gray a very caustic
article in his paper. Mr. Haskell, in 1853, was
succeeded by J. W. Gray, who moved the office


to a building in which he was interested, on the
west side of Water street, second building; south
from St. Clair street. The people at this time
became much interested in securing for Cleveland
a government building where the postoffice might
be permanently kept.

- In 1855, the authorities at Washington ap-
pointed a committee, Mr. Gray being made one of
the members, to select a locality. A majority of
the committee reported in favor of building on
the so-called Case property, where the postoffice
lately stood. -Mr. Gray, however, favored build-
ing, first, where the old "Atwater" then stood,
second, where the office then was, and third, on
the Case land. December 1 came a dispatch
from Washington that Mr. Guthrie, Secre-
tary of the Treasury, had decided to locate the
building on land between the Public Square and
Seneca street, extending from the northern
boundary of the lots fronting on Superior to the
narrow street at the side of the Court House now
fronting Seneca street. This created quite a
commotion. Said Mr. Cray in the Plain Dealer:
"The Case lot we thought was bad enough. The


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chief objection to that was, that it was dragging
the commercial business half a mile away from
its center, too far away from the river, and too
far away from the West Side ; but the location
reported as selected is far worse for many rea-
sons." Mr. Guthrie was either overruled, or the
report in regard to him a canard.

The building on the Case property was com-
menced late in 1856, and finished early in 1859.
In 1857. Mr. Benjamin Harrington succeeded
Mr. Gray, and since then the postmasters have
succeeded each other as follows : Edwin Cowles,
Geo. A. Benedict, John W. Allen, N. B. Sherwin,
Thomas Jones, Jr., W. W. Armstrong, A. T.
Anderson, John C. Hutchins and C. C. Dewstoe.


In the fall of 1855, two newly married couple
were boarding in a small house still standing on
the south side of Hamilton street, near the cor-
ner of Wood street. This part of the city then was
a favorite residence section. One of these young
men, whom I will call "Matt," one evening gave


a wine supper at an expense of about $30, which
in those days was a good deal of money for a
man depending on an ordinary salary. The
other young man, whom I will call "John," was
one of the guests. Of course all had a good time
and "Matt" was complimented for furnishing so
fine an entertainment. A few days later, when
at the dinner table, "Matt" wanted to know of
"John" why he did not give a supper. The re-
sponse was, "Because I can't afford it," to which
"Matt" replied, "I guess it is because you are
too stingy." John answered back, "Well, call
me stingy if you like, but 1 would rather save
my money and have some when I am old ; yours
then will be all gone."

Time passed on. One of these men, and I
need not say which, was a frequent attendant at
the theater; he went to all the balls, drove a fast
horse, gave expensive suppers and was called a
jolly good fellow. The other lived well, but was
prudent, economical, husbanded his resources,
put his spare money in a savings bank where it
would earn something, and finally accumulated
a sufficiency for life. A few years since he visited


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the city infirmary, and there saw his old boarding
house acquaintance, a sickly, decrepit old man,
being fed at the public expense, for which the
"sting\-" man was being taxed. The question of
wine suppers was not discussed.


Who, old or young, has not read or heard
about Jenny Lind, who sang in Cleveland half a
century ago ? Mr. P. T. Barnum, the great show-
man, brought her to this country under an en-
gagement to give one hundred and fifty concerts.
She landed in New York in September, 1850.
The sale of seats to her first concert was made at
auction. A New York hatter paid $600 for first
choice. It proved a great hit for the enterprising
merchant. His hats became all the rage and his
outlay for a concert ticket made him rich. ^liss
Lind's share in the profits of her first concert
netted her $10,000, all of which she gave to the
poor of New York. She went from the East to
Albany, and from there to Buffalo, where I heard
her sing in the largest church in the city. October


20, 1851, she arrived in Cleveland from Buffalo
on the Mayilozi'cr, and put up at the Weddell
House, where she remained over Sunday, and
then went south.

November 6 she returned and the next evening
sang at Kelley's Hall, which had been fitted up
so as to give seats to 1,125 persons. The first
two rows next to the stage were sold at $3 each ;
the next fourteen rows at $4, and then nine rows
at $3 each. Seats in the gallery brought $3. while
the balance of the seats ir the hall were held at
$2. Many of these seats were sold by speculators
at double their original price.

At the concert, Miss Lind wore a costly white
satin gown, with roses oi: her breast and in her
hair. She was not handsome, but had a pretty
way which took well with the audience. She
first sang that inspired aria of the immortal
Haydn, "Our Mighty Pens." Then came her
"Gypsy Song"; afterwards the "Bird Song" and
"Jo Anderson, My Jo." She closed with the
famous "Echo Song."

She gave ninety-five concerts under the man-
agement of Mr. Barnum, when she took advan-


tage of a clause in her contract and severed her
connection with him. No woman in this country,
before or since, ever received such flattering at-
tention as did this songstress.

The following lines are remembered as having
appeared in one of the newspapers of that day :

"A meteor shot across the sky
While Jenny stood star-gazing;
And none could tell tlie reason why
Of such a wondrous blazing.

" 'Tis very plain — fair Jer.iy's fame
Had mounted to the sky —
And the starry choir shot forth their fire
Her notes ran up so high."


St. Paul's Church Society has made a good
deal of history. Nothing daunted by the burning
of its church in 1849, elsewhere si)oken of, in
1851, it erected a fine brick house of worship on
the site of the wood church which had been
burned, corner of Euclid avenue and Sheriff
street. In 1874, when the land in that locality

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had risen greatly in price and that section of the
city was fast becoming a business center, it was
deemed best to look for new quarters and so the
old church property was sold for $115,000 and a
new church built on the corner of Euclid and
Case avenues, a fine stone structure with a belfry
containing a good sized bell. When the bell was
put up, for some days thereafter it was kept ring-
ing a good share of the time, somewhat annoying
Mr. J. H. Wade, whose residence was on an
opposite corner. Finally Mr. Wade agreed to
contribute to the church $100 a year, condition-
ally that its bell should not be rung. Said the
then church pastor : '*'In early times when there
were scarcely any clocks, it was necessary to ring
a bell or beat a drum to tell the people when to
assemble, but now there are clocks and watches
in every house, and church bells are no longer
essential ; people without a bell to call them go
to the theater at the right time and why may
they not go to church?" This settled all dis-
putes and the bell, except on one or two special
occasions, has not been rung for many years.
When Mr. Don Cameron and Miss Lizzie


Sherman were married in the church, som.e years
ago, a special dispensation was given for the
ringing of the bell, and the janitor being paid $5
for pulling the rope, the bell that day appears
to have been under double pay — Mr. Wade pay-
ing by the year for its silence and Mr. Cameron
during a dav of the same time for its noise.

The old church on the corner of Euclid avenue
and Sheriff street was sold with a stipulation that
it should be taken down, fear being expressed
that the "House of God" might be put to some
bad use. The bricks were used to build a block
on the corner of Erie and Ohio streets, in which
below, soon after completion, were two saloons,
while above was a hall where Cyprians danced
in revelr}^ and have continued to for many years.
People in passing the building, knowing it had
been built out of St. Paul's Church, and to what
purpose it had now come, may have thought that
they saw in the color of the bricks a deeper crim-
son hue than when they were in the old structure,
but if they did, probably it was only imagination !

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In 1852, Gen. Winfield Scott, commanding
general of the United States Army, was the Whig
candidate for President. Just before his nomi-
nation Congress had made it his duty to select
a place for the building of a military asylum.
This gave him an excuse, if one was wanted, to
make a trip through the country. September
20, when the political excitement of the campaign
was at its height, he appeared in Cleveland. He
was escorted to the American House by the Light
Artillery companies of Cleveland and Ohio City,
the Hibernians, the Yagers, City Guards and the
"Churubusco Boys."

Immediately after arriving at the hotel he
appeared upon the balcony. He had a command-
ing appearance, being about six and a half feet
in height, well-proportioned. He began his
speech with an apologv' for having ridden from
the depot, sheltered in a carriage from the rain,
while his friends had tramped in the mud. Soon
an Irishman was heard to call out, "Hurra fer
Gineral Scott," when the General, looking in the
direction from which the voice came, responded,


"I hear that rich Irish brogue. I love to hear it.
It makes me remember the noble deeds of the
Irishmen, many of whom I have often led to
battle and to victory." This brought forth many
cheers, while a few Democrats called out
"Blarney." In another speech while on this tour,
under similar circumstances, he spoke of his love
for the "sweet German accent." The two were
coupled together and. repeated in derision by his
opponents through the balance of the campaign.

During the afternoon of the General's stay in
Cleveland most of his time was taken up receiv-
ing callers. The writer was presented to him
as one who had been in the IMexican war, when,
with a hearty shake of the hand, he remarked,
"You boys did good fighting and have a w^arm
place in my heart." The General was exceed-
ingly affable to all and tried to make friends,
but his efforts to please were so marked that they
brought ridicule rather than votes. The follow-
ing day, amid the cheers of his friends and the
booming of cannon, he took a train for Columbus.

Among the political songs of that year the
following verse from one of them is remembered :


"Our gallant Scott has made his mark

On many a bloody plain,
And patriot hearts beat high to greet

The Chief of Lundy's Lane ;
And Chippewa, in classic ground,

Our British neighbor, knows
And if you hear of later deeds
Go ask in Mexico !"
"Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah !

For Scott and Graham true;
They are the boys to lead the fight.
The boys to win it, too !"


In September, 1839, there came to Clev^eland
from Buffalo a young printer— Mr. David L
Wood — who was imbued with a good supply of
military spirit. Pie had belonged to "Fay's Bat-
tery," of Buffalo, and served with it at the
time of the so-called "Patriot War." Soon after
arriving in Cleveland he joined the Cleveland
Greys and organized their gun squad, which be-
came the nucleus, in 1855, o^ the first Cleveland
Light Artillery company. He served as com-


mander of the gun squad and captain of the
artillery company sixteen years.

When the Civil War broke out he was quarter-
master-general of the state, having been ap-
pointed to the position by Gov. Chase, and con-
tinued in service by Gov. Dennison. The office
now became one of great responsibility. Military
supplies of every kind had to be purchased and
men were rushing to Columbus to sell all kinds
of war materials. On one occasion a large quan-
tity of powder was offered to the state. Said
Gen. Wood to the agent, "Is your powder gov-
ernment test?" The reply was, "Well, I hardly
think it is, but in a time like this the state should
not be too particular." "Sir," said the General,
"the state wants no back action powder ; it wants
ammunition to kill the enemy, not our own men."

At another time an attempt was made to sell
the state a lot of old cannon balls, and when Gen.
Wood learned their size he quickly said to the
man, "You know very well that the balls you
offer will fit none of our guns, and T assure you
the state will not go into the manufacture of guns
to suit the size of a few balls."


One day a party wanted to sell some "fine steel
sabers." Gen. Wood grasped the handle of one,
placing the point on the floor and with his foot
bent it nearly double. It did not spring back as
steel would have done. The subject was dis-
missed with the remark, "Indeed, that would be

a d d fine weapon with which to arm men

going into battle." As Gen. B. R. Cowan, of
Cincinnati, once said of Gen. Wood, "He had a
large surplus of fortifer in re, but he had a de-
plorable deficit of the suaviter in mo do.

A few months after the war commenced he
resigned his office as quartermaster-general and
went to the front. In the fierce battle of "Stone
River" he was badly wounded. A year or more
after, having been in the service some three years,
he was retired on account of disability. Return-
ing to Cleveland he was elected a Justice of the
Peace, having before the war served two years
as City Marshal.

While serving as a justice, he gave a decision in
conflict with a ruling of the Supreme Court
which was cited. The case was appealed, and in
the lower courts he was held to be wrong, but the


Supreme Court said he was right and the former
holding- of the high tribunal, an error.

During his absence in the war a bill was in-
troduced in the Legislature to pay him a balance
due from the state for services. The bill passed
the Senate, but was killed in the House by a
member with whom, when he was quartermaster-
general, dispute had arisen over a contract. In
1875, fourteen years after Gen. Wood resigned
as quartermaster-general, he received a check
from the Auditor of State for $1,837, balance
found to be due him for services, unpaid this long
number of years. The general died in 1881.


The old Greys' "gun squad," which Capt.
D. L. Wood organized in 1839, and which in 1845
he formed into an artillery company, the first in
Cleveland, which continued in existence so many
years and which at the beginning of the Civil
War, with five other artillery companies. Gen Bar-
nett led to the front, is full of interest, and some



of the incidents connected with it are remembered
because of their amusing character.

September 10, 1847, the company was at Woos-
ter, O., where there was a mihtary encampment
In a procession the Cleveland Light Artillery had
the post of honor, being followed next behind
by a company of cavalry under Capt. Jones.
These two companies, while crossing a meadow
getting some distance in advance of the rest of
the column, Capt. Wood ordered a halt. Capt.
Jones from the rear' was '.oon heard to call out,
"Capt. Wood, for God's sake move on!" This
was followed by a bewailing cry, "We are over
a bumble-bees' nest." It was readily seen that
the bees were getting in their work, as the cavalry
horses were rearing and pitching in every direc-
tion to the great discomfiture of their riders, and
the whole company was in commotion. Capt.
Wood, rising in his stirrups, shouted back, "A
nice lot of soldiers, to be put to flight by a few
bees !" However, his sides shaking with laughter,
he ordered his company to "move on."

February 22, 1855, Capt. Wood, or Major
as he had now become, had under his command



four brass field pieces. As the company was
passing down Superior street, so the story went,
one of the artillerymen was asked where the com-
pany was going, to which reply was given, "We
are going to cross the Cuyahoga river in boats,
in imitation of Washington crossing the Dela-
ware." "But," said the enquirer, "the ice in the
river is a foot thick," "Never you mind," said
the hero of many unfought battles, "that is all
being looked after ; we now have ten men on
the river breaking up the ii-.e." The man now
wanted to know if it was proposed to take the
guns across in boats, and the reply quickly
came, "Washington took his over the Delaware
in boats and you can bet that we will take ours
over the Cuyahoga the same way." With this
assurance the man, it was said, hurried off toward
the river.


Henry Clay, one of this country's great states-
men, twice a candidate for President, died in
Washington, June 29, 1852. His remains on


their way to Lexington, Ky., reached Cleveland
from Buffalo on the steamer Buckeye State
Wednesday, July 7. The steamer's flags were all
bordered in black. As she approached the har-
bor the Light Artillery company, under Capt.
D. L. Wood, fired minute guns. A part of the
escort consisted oF six United States Senators,
Gen. Sam Houston, of Texas, being one of the
number. July 15, Gen. Houston again visited
Cleveland on his way back to Washington. This
was the year of the presidential contest between
Gen. Winfield Scott and Gen. Franklin Pierce.
Mr. J. W. Gray and other Democrats urged Gen.
Houston to make a political speech, but he would
only promise to do so at a later date.

He came again in September, at which time he
wore a broad-rimmed slouch hat, and a vest made
from the skin of a Texas wildcat, with the hair
on the outside. Said he, "Wildcats in Texas are
about as big as panthers. The one from which
this vest was made followed me some ways in
the woods and kept getting nearer, when I came
to the conclusion that the company of a dead cat
was better than a live one."




September 6 he was advertised to speak in
Kelley's Hall at "early candle light," but the hall
being too small to accommodate the people, the
meeting was adjourned to the Public Square.
Here, from the balcony of the Forest City House,
Mayor Brownell introduced him to a large assem-
bly. Said he, "The Whigs claim great credit for
Gen. Scott because he led our army to victory in
Mexico, yet he had under him 100,000 men, 787
of whom were either killed or wounded in the
battle of Molino del Rey, the exact number of
men I had with me at San Jacinto, when with a
loss of thirteen men I put the whole Mexican
army to flight, captured its commander. Gen.
Santa Anna, the head of the Mexican govern-
ment, and forced a recognition of the indepen-
dence of Texas."

Gen. Houston was an eccentric character. At
one time he was governor of Tennessee. Soon
after being elected he married a lady of distinc-
tion, and three months later separated from her,
resigned his office, and went among the Cherokee
Indians, where he lived three years. He then
drifted into Texas, made it a republic, became its



president, was afterwards one of its senators,
and then its governor, resigning the latter oftice
at the beginning of the Civil War, rather than
take an oath to support the Southern Confed-
eracy. While in Cleveland he was- an object of
great interest.

During the Civil War I had occasion, for a
time, to make Litchfield County, Conn., my home.
The war drew me into politics — not a very hard
thing to do — and in 1864 I became a state sen-
ator. Among the members was a young lawyer,
who was disposed to take up a good deal of the
Senate's time in talking. He was a fluent speaker,
but his reasoning far from profound. One day
when advocating the passage of a bill providing
more men for the war he was asked why he did
not himself enlist — show a little patriotic spirit.
A few days later the bill came up for final pas-
sage. The young senator went into a long pane-
g>-ric and talked with much animation about
liberty, and great struggles for country. He


glorified the men at Thermopylae for their valor
against the Persians ; the Greeks for their fight
against the Turks, and the English for their strug-
gle for "Magna Charta." After wading through
ancient, medieval and modern history in the old
world, he crossed the water to his own country
and finally drifted to the subject under considera-
tion. In conclusion he averted to the charge
made that he was lacking in patriotic blood.
Said he, "One of my great ancestors was killed in
a colonial v/ar against the Indians ; my great
grandfather fought with Washington at Trenton,
and my grandfather was wounded on ship-board
in the second war with England." Soon as he had
closed, a senator from one of the rural districts
a "peace Democrat," arose and complimented the
gentleman who had just spoken on the fine show-
ing he had made of his ancestors. "But," said he,
"the member's connection with the patriots he
has mentioned reminds me of what the Irishman
said of his potatoes — 'the best part is under
ground !'"

Another somewhat interesting event in legis-
lative life in that state comes to mv mind. In the


next General Assembly there was a senator, very
aggressive in his manner, v;ho one day got into a
wordy altercation with a brother member and get-
ting the worst in flings which the two were throv/-
ing at each other, finally in a loud tone of voice
shouted out : "I want the gentleman to under-
stand that I am his peer in this body." Said the
senator thus addressed : "My answer to the mem-
ber is found in the lines of a poet :"

A serpent saw an eagle gain

On soaring wings a mountain's height,
And envied him, and crawled with pain

To where he saw the bird alight.
So fickle fortune oftenwhilo

Befriends the cunning anr! the base,
And oft the grovelling reptile

Climbs unto the eagle's lofty place."

In 1847, there was a big "Harbor and River"
convention held in Chicago, the object of which
was the securing from Congress of larger appro-
priations for improving the harbors and rivers
along the lakes.


Representatives were sent from all the large
lake cities, and there was much public enthusiasm
over the subject. Quite a number of military
companies were present, the Cleveland Light Ar-
tillery company being one of the number. The
return trip of this company was made interestinrr
by a boat race, the particulars of which were
given me by Col. W. H. Hayward.

Said the Colonel : "About 2 p. m. the steamer
Empire, Capt. Randall, left Chicago for Cleve-
land, while at a later hour the S^^/^ana, Capt, Ap-
pleby, upon which our company was returning,
started on her way. The Sultana reached the
little harbor at Manitou island just as the Empire
was leaving. It was found that Capt. Randall
had played a sharp trick on his rival, Capt. Apple-
by, by carrying away all the wood on the dock,
twice as much as he needed and usually
would have taken. Capt. Appleby was
much perplexed for he could not run without
wood to fire his furnaces and make steam.
Soon, however, it was discovered that
there was a pile of wood, a full supply for the
boat, but a short distance away. All the passen-


gers on the steamer, soldiers and citizens, J. W.
Gray, editor of the Plain Dealer, I remember as
one of the latter, im.mediately set to work carry-
ing wood, and in just thirty-one minutes we had

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