Local History and Genealogy

Monday, April 12, 2010

Notes from The Old Settlers Association - York Township - Powers Family

 The Powers family from pure Celtic stock and consequently were a little clannish.  When they left Allegany county in the state of New York, in the spring of 1837, fifty-five years ago this last spring, there were three families, Stephen, Winn, Calvin and their children, eighteen persons in all, ten oxen, six cows, and two calves.  Uncle Clark and Calvin had been here the year before and entered two large tracts of land.  The paid $1.25 per acre, the land office being located at Ft. Wayne which was then little more than a trading point among the Indians.
On the 3rd day of July, Stephen and Winn with their families arrived at the cabin of Mr Russell, a settler near Clear Lake, where they made a halt.  Owing to a heavy windfall, swampy and miry places they had to go by way of Willow Prairie (Fremont) and then to Angola, at that time a place containing two houses and a blacksmith shop.  Uncle Clark at that time was a single man, and with Gust Woodworth and Jackson Corey came in advance of this party and had erected a shanty near where Powers schoolhouse now stands, and this was the commencement of the Powers settlement.
The teams arrived at the shanty the 8th day of July.  Although the shanty was completed, having a bark roof and bark floor, it was decided to go over to Mr Barron's and stay all night, he having settled the year before.  Mrs.  Barron came out to meet us and laughed and cried, declaring the women in our party were the first white women she had seen since the year before.Uncle Calvin arrived some four weeks later, he having been kept back by the very severe illness of his wife.  So anxious was Aunt Emeline to reach her new home and rejoin her friends that she insisted on starting before she was able to sit up, and I am told that at the roughest places in the road Uncle Calvin lifted her out of the wagon carried her past, laid her down by the roadside and then went back for his team.  In this way they pursued their journey, she improving all the way.

All this region was a dense forest and the task of building houses and clearing ground for crops for the next season was one of no small magnitude.  Until other houses could be built, all lived in shanties.  Floors were made of puncheons, roofs and doors of shakes.  Most of the houses had but one room, the chamber being reached by means of a ladder.  The cooking was done by open fireplaces.  There were no matches.  The fire would go out and we would have to borrow, which was a common occurrence.  Some of you may think you know all about mosquitoes and gnats, but your worst experiences are not even a shadow of what the early settlers endured.  
They came into a dense forest where these little pests were as plenty as bees at swarming time.  But those were not the only troubles.  The woods were full of wild animals and at times the wolves made themselves entirely to familiar.  On one occasion Father P left Angola just before sunset with a piece of fresh meat.Wolves scented the blood and before reaching Pigeon creek it was dark and a pack of hungry wolves were at his heels.  He halted to cut a cudgel ( club), putting one foot on his piece of meat while he did so in order to keep it from them.  Some men would have let the meat go but that was not his way of doing business.  He set out to provide for his family with a little luxury and he intended they should have it.

The four Powers brothers were in many respects more than common men.  They were men of inflexible honesty, men whose word was good as their bond, and I doubt whether the man lives today who can truthfully say that either one of them ever intentionally wronged him.  They were generous and hospitable and their latch string was always out.  They possessed fewer faults and more virtues than the average man.  The beautiful church now standing in the Powers cemetery U an safe un saying would never have been built had it not been for Uncle Winn and Uncle Calvin and had Uncle Clark and my father been living they would have been equally active. 

Taken From Early Settlers History
Clark Powers  of York Township August 24, 1892