to doc list Biographical Sketch: Horace Wadsworth

Overview | Russell family tree |
Source of this sketch: Commemorative biographical record of the counties of Huron and Lorain, Ohio : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families.
Publication info. Salem, Mass. : Higginson Book Co., 1998. Pages 682-683

HORACE WADSWORTH, better known in his locality as Deacon Wadsworth, senior member of the firm of H Wadsworth & Son, lumber dealers, of Wellington, is a native of Massachusetts, born in Tyringham, Berkshire county, May 26, 1822.

Enos Wadsworth, grandfather of subject, was born in Massachusetts, and died in Portage county, in the woods. He had gone hunting one day, and not returning, his friends and neighbors instituted a fruitless search. Three weeks afterward a neighbor dreamed that he saw the body lying in a certain swamp; search was made at the place indicated, and the body was there found.

Asa Wadsworth, son of Enos and father of Horace, was born in Tyringham, Mass., in 1794. He there married Electa Russell. In 1819 [sic] he brought his family to Ohio. This was the third family to enter Freedom, Portage county, at that time a perfect wilderness. Wild animals roamed undisturbed in the forests, and the sound of howling wolves was often heard. Their first home was built of round green logs, split logs forming the floor. There was no chimney till the kitchen fire, built at the end of the house, burned an opening large enough to start a stone chimney.

Four children were born to this pioneer in their forest home: Calista A., Elizabeth S., Emaret and Cyril. Edwin, the eldest, was born in Massachusetts. Emaret died when three years of age; the others all live in Wellington.

At this home the subject of our sketch spent his childhood days. The sound of the axe and the crash of falling trees were music to his ears. When but four years old, emulating the success of his elders, he wished to down one of the monarchs of the forest. In the absence of his father he started for a large tree near the house, thinking to astonish his mother by cutting it to the ground. On the way he slipped on the ice. In falling he cut his hand badly, severing one finger, thus crippling him for life. When he was eight years of age he attended the first school formed in the township. The family lived in this home twelve years.

In 1835 they moved to Wellington, Lorain county. Wellington was then comparatively new, and the people lived, with few exceptions, in log houses. There were at the center two stores, two hotels and a blacksmith shop; a third building served the triple purpose of church, town-house and school-house. The first M.E. church was erected and enclosed the year of their arrival.

The family made a settlement on land three-fourths of a mile west of the center; their home was a log house, formerly used as a Methodist meeting-house. The father and his three sons, two of them thirteen and fifteen, respectively, formed the force necessary to clear the land and furnish the means of subsistence. The elder son by reason of ill health was for a number of years unable to do heavy work. The youngest, but a child, was at this time unable to assist, and the burden of the work, therefore, fell upon the father and the second son Horace. To clear the land and fit it for cultivation formed the task of those early days. At that time ready money was seldom seen. Wood at fifty cents a cord, cut from the farm, was exchanged at the store for clothing and provisions.

This called for work with the axe early and late to provide for the family of seven. During the winter months Horace attended school, rising and doing the chores of the farm before daylight and swinging the axe till nine o'clock, then to study. On his return after school the same task was continued. This routine of work and study was persisted in for a number of years till the forest was replaced by cultivated fields of wheat and corn, and he gained an education fitting him for his future work,

The youngest son, Cyril, with increasing years became old enough to assist in the work, and in 1844 a new frame house was erected and finished sufficiently for the family to enter. The outlook for the family appeared bright, but the following year, the father, after a brief illness, died.

This left the management of the farm upon Horace, then twenty-one years of age. The next year the frosts killed the wheat and corn. With nothing to feed the stock it was sold at a very low price. With a debt of several hundred dollars upon them, they were still further burdened by the sickness of the mother, who became and remained a helpless invalid, cared for by the two daughters till her death in 1865[sic]. Hard work, however, cleared the farm, and good crops paid the debts and finished the house hitherto incomplete.

At twenty-five years of age Horace qualified by hard study, began teaching in the common schools. He taught with good success for ten winters, two of which were in the same schoolhouse which he had attended as a scholar. In connection with his work he became a contractor and builder, and for a number of years was the leader in this line. In 1879 he started in the lumber business, buying a small establishment which he enlarged, adding thereto a planing mill and factory which was afterward sold.

In 1853 he married Sarah H. Phelps, a native of Connecticut, and daughter of Daniel Phelps. A member and worker in the Congregational church and Sabbath-school, she was worthy of the love and respect of all who knew her. Mortimer H., their only child, was born June 27, 1857, and was educated and graduated at the high school at Wellington. He is now associated with his father in the lumber business.

The subject of this sketch was originally an Old-line Whig, and his first vote was cast for Henry Clay. When sixteen years of age he united with the Congregational church. At forty-one he was chosen deacon. He has been and active worker in the Sunday-school as superintendent and teacher, and is a ready and active helper in all church work. Now, at seventy-two years of age, he is in good health, and is always interested in church work as well as public improvement.

Notes(pf): The above is my own transcript, with paragraph breaks added for readability.
There are several dates that conflict with other material. My gut feeling is that most of the earlier narrative, compiled as remembrances of the subject during the 1890s, is less reliable.
Re the 1819 migration to Ohio: 1) the family was still in Tyringham for the 1820 census and 2) the History of Portage Co. cites 1823.
Horace's birth date May 26, 1822 conflicts with his DOB per his death certificate which gives May 22.
His mother's death date is given in cemetery record as Oct 01, 1864, not 1865 as they have here.
As far as I can tell, Horace Wadsworth's line died out. However, his brother Cyril Wadsworth (1831-1921 Wellington, Lorain, OH) had several children and may have descendants.

Patty Fagan: