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Recollections of Pioneer Days in Bloom Township.   (By Elder Lewis Seitz.)
      Elder Lewis Seitz, Jr. provides a description of Bloom Township, Seneca County, Ohio
      for a book to be written on the history of Seneca County.  (Access to the contents of this
      book thanks to Google Books!!!)

     In October, 1825, at the age of twenty-three, with my wife and one child, I removed to my present home (on an adjoining farm) in Bloom township.  The name of Bloom had been suggested by my brother John just one year before my arrival, and adopted in 1824 at the organization of the township.  I came from my native county, Fairfield, into an almost unbroken wilderness of forest trees, with less than a score of settlers in advance of me. Nearly all who were here before me had settled along the rich valley of Honey creek.  For two or three years before mine was reared, cabins had begun to appear in our wilderness.  Among their occupants I remember Joseph McClellan, James and Thomas Boyd, the Donalds, George Free, Roswell Munsel, Nehemiah Hadley, John Stroh, Lowell Robinson, my brothers John Seitz and Noah Seitz.  J.C. Hampton (who came in 1822 with the Boyds and Donalds, from Ross county,) informs me that he aided in erecting the first cabin put up in the township.  This was for my brother Noah, on Silver creek.  Hampton made his home for a time with his companions from Ross.  Their shelter at first was in a log pen covered with logs split in twain, the under tier being with flat side up, and the top tier covering the cracks with the flat side down.  The beds were for the women, on bedsteads, with one post.  That is, in one corner of the "pen" two poles were entered in the logs, with the other end in this "post."  Basswood bark furnished the "cords."  The men slept on the ground, with hickory bark spread down for sheets.  Hampton says: "Our first supply of flour was brought by us on horseback from Mansfield, through the woods." I also helped cut out the small timber west and south of Roop's Corners, to make a public road.  But to continue with the names of the first settlers:  Jacob Rodegeb, Abraham Kagy, John Davis, Edward Sutherland, Christopher Perkey, Bartholomew Stout, John Stinchcomb and Richard Ridgely.  Within a very few years after my arrival came also Jacob Webster, the Bixlers, John Pennington, J.T. Reed, John Einsel, Edward Cooley, Samuel Gross, John Valentine, Gain Robinson, Zelaphel Owen, Joshua Watson, Samuel and Henry Nisley, Lewis and Jacob Spitler.

     During these early days a wilderness of forest trees covered the earth, and the first need of the settler was to clear away space enough for a cabin, and then it was "root, hog, or die."  While I brought from Fairfield county enough flour to last two years, very few of my contemporaries were thus provided.  One season, however, usually sufficed the industrious pioneer to clear a small field and grow bread to do.  As for meat, everyone had his gun to supply him with wild turkey or venison, which were abundant.  Often, too, as we lay upon our pillow at night, were we saluted with the howl of wolves, apparently at our cabin door.  Not only did they make night vocal with their cries, but woe to the sheep or young pigs not well guarded.  An  occasional bear passed through, but I think none made their home in our township.   There were some otter about the marsh near Bloomville.  A wild cat was shot within one hundred rods of our cabin.  Indians often visited us, generally of the Wyandot tribe, who then had their headquarters at Upper Sandusky.   A few Senecas, from their reserve below Tiffin, straggled hither occasionally.  Our red brother was uniformly friendly, and, as a rule, honest, but a tricky one appeared sometimes.  Unlike his white brother of modern times, however, he had not the cheek to attempt a repetition of his trick in the same vicinity.  Shamed by that conscience which, as Shakespeare puts it, "makes cowards of us all," his victim seldom saw him again.

     Mr. H. Hadley was admitted to be the boss hunter and trapper on Honey creek.  Mr. Hadley, at a single hunt, brought down seven deer, six of them by torchlight, and the seventh by sunlight in the morning.  So fond was Hadley of hunting, that, game getting scarce, he had J.C. Hampton to haul his family and goods (mostly steel traps) to the head of canoe navigation on the Scioto, in Hardin county.  Here he dug out two large walnut canoes, lashed then side by side, and started for Cairo, on the Mississippi.  With one boat wrecked on the raging Scioto, he nevertheless reached Portsmouth with the other, his family walking most of the way.  At this point a captain of a steamer bound for Iowa, whither Hadley was going, struck with admiration for a man who would venture his all in a canoe on the Ohio, offered to carry him without charge to his destination.  Thus the boss pioneer hunter of Bloom township left for Ohio for game in the far west.

     And encounter of a Wyandot Indian with a pack of hungry wolves in South Bloom is worth recording.  He had tracked a wounded deer some distance in the snow, when suddenly he came upon it surrounded by a pack of wolves, making of it a hasty meal.  Intent upon having some of the meat himself, he tried to drive the wolves by shooting one of them.   This enraged the rest, and they rushed upon.  Backing against a tree, he dept them at bay with his tomahawk, till hunger overcoming rage, they returned to finish their meal upon the deer.  The Indian, convinced that "discretion was the better part of valor," was glad to escape.  The pioneer who succeeded best in making a comfortable living, did not make a business of hunting, but chopping and logging and burning was the chief work.  Much timber, which to-day would be valuable in the marked, was  burned on the ground.  No where could finer poplar, walnut, blue ash and butternut trees be found than in Bloom township.

     The first saw mill was built by Roswell Munsel and the Donalds, on Honey creek, near the present Kaler mill.  Soon after John Davis built another mill, a mile further down, where my first lumber was made.  A few years later Abraham Kagy put up a saw mill, and the Steeles a saw and grist mill on Sliver creek.  It may be well to remind the reader that in those days our water courses furnished power much more steadily and for a greater part of the year.  Through the clearing away of fallen timber and general drainage, our creeks gave short lived spirts of water, and then Steele's grist mill could be heard day and night for more than half the year.  My first grinding was done at Hedges' mill, just below Tiffin.  When we began to have wheat to sell our nearest public market was at Venice or Portland (Sandusky City.) This was so until the pioneer railroad in Ohio made us a market at Republic.

     In those days neighbors were neighbors, indeed.  Was a cabin to be "raised," lost to be "rolled," or assistance of any kind needed, a simple notice was enough.  A "neighbor" could be found at a much greater distance than now.  The whisky of those days was not charged with "killing at forty rods" as now, but the "brown jug" or the "barrel" was found in nearly every home, and it was esteemed an indispensable "mechanical power" at "raisings" and "loggings," etc., etc.

     Our public schools were held at first in cabins like our dwellings, with a huge fire place on one side, with a stick and mud chimney on the outside.  Religious meetings were held in these "school houses," or in the cabins of the settlers.  The Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were the first to organize societies or churches in Bloom.  James Robinson, a Presbyterian clergyman, organized the first church of that name, about the year 1830.

     On the 27th of May, 1827, the Baptist church, named "Honey Creek," was organized.  The "council" was composed of Elders Thomas Snelson, of Highland county, and Benjamin Caves, of Pickaway, and Deacon John Hite, of Fairfield.  In 1830 the undersigned was chosen pastor of this church and has sustained this relation ever since.  As will be noticed, ministers in those early days traveled a great way in the pursuit of the calling.  But now as now, cosily and swiftly in a railway coach, but invariably of horseback, equipped with "saddle-bags," with Bible, hymn book, a few "dickeys" (a sort of shirt-front with collar attached), and some provisions, perhaps.  The messenger of "peace and good will," through the cross of Christ, traveled in all kinds of weather, over all sorts of roads (or no roads through the wilderness).  Perhaps such experiences, if presented to many of our clerical brethren to-day, as part of their labors, would lead to some more congenial calling.  But it must be remembered that the privations and trials of pioneer life were shared by all classes, and hence borne the more cheerfully.  While we may freely admit that this generation is enjoying much that is good and desirable as the fruit of the labors and purposes of their pioneer fathers and mothers, it is a matter of profound regret that the rugged virtues and beautiful friendships could not have been transmitted with the improved culture, conveniences, comforts and luxuries enjoyed by our children.  The are enjoying the material blessings for which their fathers and mothers toiled and dared and suffered.  Modern improvements have obviated the necessity for much of the personal effort and deprivation of pioneer life, but when we cease to practice their manly and womanly virtues, all our boasted progress cannot save us from the penalties of violated moral law.

     Of all my first neighbors, Abraham Kagy, J.C. Hampton, Mrs. Thomas West and John C. Martin alone remain.  The rest have passed to that "bourne from whence no traveler returns."  We, too, shall soon pass away, but may He who guides the destinies of men and of nations, bless our children and our country with civil and religious liberty, and every good resulting from the reign of truth and righteousness is the prayer of Yours truly Lewis Seitz.