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Grandmother Brown's Hundred Years



GRANDMOTHER BROWN was born in Athens, Ohio, at ten o'clock in the morning, on April 9, 1827. She was the third child of Ebenezer Foster and Achsah Culver. They named the pretty baby "Maria Dean" after her father's sister Maria, who had married John Nicholson Dean and lived across the street.  

"Tell me, Grandmother Brown," I began, drawing up my chair beside her on the morning of the day when she entered on her hundredth year, "how it was in Ohio when you were a little girl."  

"It wasn't like this," she mused, gazing out of the window into the Iowa sunshine. "I was born in an April shower. They used to say that was why I cried so easily. But I was born into a happy home, where there was little cause for crying. Two children were there before me - Brother John, five years old, and Sister Libbie, who was two. When I was three years old, Sister Kate came to join us. We lived in a commodious house surrounded by gardens and orchards. Our home occupied just one square block in the town of Athens. Oh, there never was any place that looked to me so beautiful as that did in my childhood days!"  

To get a clear picture of that early home one must remember that, even little Maria first opened her observant blue eyes, she looked out on a cultural environment that had been developed by her parents and grandparents and their contemporaries in the short space of only forty years. Scarce four decades had elapsed since Congress had passed the famous Ordinance of 1787 under which the Government of the Northwest Territory had been established. Before that, the beautiful Hocking Valley where Maria was born had echoed to the tread of hardly any feet save those of red men and wild beasts. To be sure, French and British had passed that way, but only fleetingly.  

None of Maria's forebears had been in that band of forty-eight heroes of the Revolution whom General Rufus Putnam had landed, On April 7, 1788, at the point on the Ohio River where not stands Marietta. But her grandfather, Zadoc Foster, - a resident, like Putnam, of Rutland, Massachusetts, - came to Marietta only eight years later. In his boyhood he had known General Putnam, who had dwelt in a house not far from the one built and occupied by Zadoc's father, Lieutenant Ebenezer Foster. The families were friends. Both houses are still standing. Both are substantial, dignified structures of the type occupied by the leading citizens of New England a century and a half ago.  

Lieutenant Foster had come to Rutland in 1744. He was the third Ebenezer in direct descent from the John Foster who had come to Salem from England in the early part of the seventeenth century. Grandmother Brown had a pretty vanity in the doings of more or less mythical ancestors who lie back of that John and his beginnings in the Old World. At least, she was likely to tell you, primly, some day as she lifted her handsome white head from perusal of her Foster Genealogy,* that her kin, the Forester family, were "the principal chieftains in Northumberland and allied by marriage with all the eminent northern families of England." She could tell you about the part played by Foresters at the Battle of Hastings and at the Battle of Bannockburn, an dhow one Sir John Foster saved the life of Richard Lionheart at the Siege of Acre. Plenty of the name spawning over into other lands. To Ireland, Jamaica, Nova Scotia, they emigrated in large numbers. Along the coast of New England at Dorchester, Salem, Scituate, Chelmsford, Andover, they settled thickly.  

*The record of the posterity of Reginald Foster, an early inhabitant of Ipswich, in New England, whose genealogy is traced back to Anacher, Great Forester of Flanders, who died in 837 A.D.; also the record of all other American Fosters. By Frederick Clifton Pierce.  

It was about a hundred years after John Foster had landed in Salem that his great-grandson, Ebenezer, came with his parents to Rutland. He was then eleven years old. When he was twenty-two, he went on a military expedition sent by Massachusetts against Crown Point. At the age of twenty-four, he married Hannah Parlin of Concord. He had purchased, the year before, a tract of one hundred acres of land in what was called Rutland West Wing, but is now known as Oakham, and there, about 1766, he built his comfortable home. He became prominent in local history and, according to the Foster Genealogy, "held most of the offices within the gift of the town." At the Lexington alarm in April 1775, he was one of the Minute Men who sprang to arms. With a company of his fellow citizens he marched toward the scene of the encounter, but he arrived too late to be of service in the fight. However, we know that he was an active officer in the militia. The record shows that he was commissioned on June 4, 1776, for the post of Adjutant of the Fourth Worcester County Regiment of the Massachusetts Militia. His family respected that connection sufficiently to have his title of lieutenant engraved on his tombstone in the old churchyard at Oakham. Grandmother Brown's patriotic soul thrilled at mention of his name.  

To Rufus Putnam, his neighbor, distinguished honors had come during the war. Though he was poor and self-taught, Washington considered Putnam "the ablest engineer officer of the war, whether American or Frenchman." To him was due the success of the first great military operation of the Revolution, the defense of Boston. The war over, Putnam purchased the large farm and attractive dwelling house at Rutland. There he tilled his land, and, like his neighbor, Ebenezer Foster, held various public offices.  

"When I visited Rutland in 1911," said Grandmother Brown, "I bought this picture of Putnam. It's a good face, but not very handsome. How I'd like to have a similar picture of my great-grandfather, Ebenezer Foster! I wonder if he wore his hair long, tied back like that, and if he wore ruffled shirts. I fancy that he did. My mother had an uncle - Uncle Rowley - who used to come to see her when I was a child. He wore a ruffled shirt, and his hair - was tied in a bag. When he got on his horse and rode away, that hair kept whacking at the back of his neck. We children always used to laugh, as we watched him ride away."  


During the years following the war, Putnam's fertile mind was busy. Two pressing problems confronted the victorious leaders of the Revolution: how to pay the soldiers of the war, and how to settle up the West.  

The soldiers had been paid in continental currency or certificates redeemable at the option of the colonial Congress. As the Treasury was bankrupt, these certificates had little value. Naturally, there was much dissatisfaction among war veterans, much suffering among their families. These men had staked "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" to gain independence for their country. Life and honor were left them, but those did not suffice, in the absence of fortune, to feed and clothe their families.  

There was apprehension at this time lest some foreign power - Great Britain, Spain, France - should colonize the West and become a menace to the new nation that had been born of the Revolution. Gradually the idea took possession if certain thoughtful minds that the two problems might be solved together: the soldier's certificates might be exchanged for lands in the Ohio country. Thus, the new government might pay its debts to its defenders and at the same time promote colonization of the Western lands by its own loyal people.  

General Putnam endorsed the scheme. He even helped to circulate a petition which officers of the Army presented to Congress, asking for a grant of lands north and northwest of the Ohio River to veterans of the army in redemption of the war certificates. He wrote to Washington about it, and Washington labored with Congress to honor the petition of his officers. But nothing happened until General Putnam and his friend, General Benjamin Tupper, - the latter just returned from surveying the Northwestern lands, - sat up all one January night in 1786 in Putnam's Rutland home and drew up a "Call" for a convention of veterans to form a company for the purchase and colonization of those Ohio lands. Walker, the historian,* draws a pretty picture of them sitting before a blazing fire in the open fireplace of the house at Rutland, Hickory logs steaming and sparks flying up the chimney, Putnam's sword and spurs hanging, perhaps, on the wall.

  *History of Athens County, Ohio, by Charles M. Walker.

Three months later, the Ohio Company was organized at the "Bunch of Grapes" tavern in Boston.

Numerous committees of Congress considered the plans presented by the Ohio Company for purchase of the Western lands and for government of the political bodies to be established there. But, notwithstanding the powerful support of Washington, no progress was made until July 6, 1787, when there came to the door of Congress a master diplomat in the modest person of Dr. Manasseh Cutler of Ipswich Hamlet, Massachusetts.  

If General Putnam is honored as "the father of Ohio," surely Dr. Cutler should be remembered as its godfather. What Washington and Franklin were to the fate of the Thirteen Colonies, Putnam and Cutler were, respectively, to the development of the Northwest Territory. A lawyer, a minister, a physician, a statesman, a scholar, a scientist, - indeed, after Dr. Benjamin Franklin, the foremost scientist of the Western continent, - was Dr. Manasseh Cutler. All these he was and, at the same time, a man of consummate business ability and a master hand at diplomacy, a noble soul, a genial man, whose quiet activities had incalculable influence in shaping the destinies of our country. And with all his great dignity and serious aims, what endearing simplicity and sweetness of nature are revealed by his Journal,* are shown in the portrait of his handsome face!  

*Life, Journals and Correspondence of Reverend Manasseh Cutler, LL.D., by William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler.  

In his Journal we see the careful steps by which Dr. Cutler, as director and agent of the Ohio Company, secured both lands and laws from Congress in accordance with his wise desires. How skillfully he ingratiated himself with the representatives of Massachusetts and Virginia and won their powerful endorsement of his plans! All in the short space too of two and twenty days! Never was there a speedier or more capable lobbyist than the good parson of Ipswich Hamlet. For three and a half million dollars he obtained a grant of nearly five million acres of land, one million and a half of which was for the Ohio Company, the remainder for other purchasers. "The greatest private contract ever made in America." noted Dr. Cutler with pardonable pride. Under it provisions, - drawn up by Dr. Cutler, - inhabitants of the Northwest Territory were guaranteed freedom from slavery and involuntary servitude. In such a soil it was that Grandmother Brown's life took root, a soil consecrated to the use of free men.  

Before the year was out, Dr. Cutler had organized the first expedition to the lands of the Ohio Company. Under the direction of General Putnam, a little fleet was built that winter at Sumrill's Ferry, about thirty miles above Pittsburgh. Besides s large boat called the Mayflower, there were also a flatboat and three log canoes. Laden with the emigrants, their baggage, surveying instruments, weapons, and effects," says Walker, "the little flotilla glided down the Youghiogheny into the Monongahela, and finally out upon the broad bosom of the Ohio." Spring was in the air, and doubtless beauty brooded over wood and water. Five days later, the emigrants landed in the vicinity of Fort Harmar, a defense which had been built, two years before, as a protection against the Indians, near the junction of the Ohio and the Muskingum.  

It is a matter of pride to the descendants of those who came to Marietta in the first days of the Northwest Territory's development that those ancestors were of the best stock that New England afforded. Among those early settlers were over sixty commissioned officers of the Revolution, one of them the grandfather of the man little Maria Foster was destined to marry. Said Washington: "No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum. . . I know many of the settlers personally, and there never were men better calculated to promote the welfare of such a community."  


The work of surveying and tilling the lands began at once. With great care and much good taste the engineers laid out their city of Marietta, - named for the French queen, Marie Antoinette, - preserving as public grounds the great Mounds left there by a prehistoric race. The first settlers' houses were erected on "The Point," which projected far out into the area where the Ohio and the Muskingum mingled their waters. General Putnam advised building, as protection against the Indians, a strong defense three quarters of a mile from the Point. About forty acres of ground were accordingly enclosed in a stockade. The outer walls of this defense - Campus Martius, as they called it - were made of two-story log housed joined together and opening into an inner court. A heavy picket fence was erected around the log-house wall, and outside that was another high fence of brush. "Suitable plats for gardens," says Hildreth*, "were laid out between the garrison and the river. The appearance from without was grand and imposing, at a little distance resembling one of the military palaces or castles of the feudal ages."  

*Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley and the Early Settlement of the Northwest Territory, by S. P. Hildreth.  

A treaty with the Indians was concluded in January 1789. In the spring, settlements were established twelve miles south of Marietta on the Ohio at Belpre, and on the Muskingum at Waterfore, at Wolf Creek mills, and at Big Bottom. Numbers of women soon joined the settlers, though it took high courage to face not only the common dangers, but also the perils of childbirth, unaided, in the wilderness. For a time developments went forward promisingly, and hopes were high, but soon famine, pestilence, and Indian hostility put the courage of the colonists to the test.  

For nearly two years the Indians kept the treaty of peace. Then, suddenly, in the early days of 1791, exasperated by attacks of the frontier populations of Virginia and Kentucky, the Indians included in their vengeance the settlement of the Ohio Company at Big Bottom. Five years of horror followed. The Indians were on the warpath continually, and the settlers lived in a stage of siege. All the garrisons were under the strictest military discipline. Every half hour in the night the watchword was demanded. No man tilled his field, or gathered his crop, or milked his cow, except with an armed sentry standing guard. By this watchfulness the settlements were preserved, and yet, in the five years of Indian warfare, what unspeakable horrors were perpetrated without those garrison walls, what fear and sorrow endured within them!  

"Oh, that was a terrible time," said Grandmother, shaking her head solemnly. "We often heard old settlers talk about it when we were children."  

Two armies were routed by the Indians. But, in 1794, General Anthony Wayne - "Mad Anthony," they called him - defeated the Indians utterly. He burned their villages, destroyed their crops, laid waste their whole country. They sued for peace. At Greenville, on August 3, 1795, the tomahawk was definitely buried. There the Red Man gave up his ancient hunting grounds, surrendered the graves of his forefathers. The white man's rule in the northwest Territory was never again seriously disputed.  


When General Putnam issued, in 1786, his call to veterans of the war and others interested in the purchase of Ohio lands, his neighbors, the Fosters of Oakham, showed no interest n the matter, so far as we know. Lieutenant Foster, head of the family, might be called a war veteran, but he seems to have been well placed in life and, as the father of twelve children, had, doubtless, plenty to keep him tied to the spot where he was. Zadoc, his fifth child, then nineteen years old, was possibly thinking more, just then, of how to ingratiate himself with clever little Sally Porter, daughter of Dr. Samuel Porter of Hubbardstown, who had come to Rutland to teach, than he was of the colonization of the Northwest Territory. He was not old enough himself to have been a veteran of the war. It was not until ten years later that looking for a homestead he migrated to the Northwest.  

"Tell me, Grandmother Brown, didn't you ever hear any of your people, when you were a little girl, talk about their life in Massachusetts?" I asked her. "Do you know how your grandparents happened to go West?"  

She mused a while, and then she said: "My Grandma Foster - she that was Sally Porter - used to tell me that, when she went to Rutland to teach, there was no schoolhouse, and she was given a room in the Foster house for a schoolroom. This house is now owned and occupied - or was in 1911 when I went to see it - by descendants of my great-grandfather, who had built it. It has always remained in the family. I said to the lady then living there, 'I want to see the room where my grandmother taught school.' 'It must have been the room where Lieutenant Foster held court,' she said, and showed it to me. The house is a good old-fashioned New England structure with one big chimney in the centre. About it are eight large rooms, with a fireplace in each one. 'I want a drink from the same fountain that my grandfather drank from,' said I. 'It is the same water,' said our hostess, as she brought me a glass of it, 'but we've had it piped into the house.'  

"A very large old elm stands in front. It measured fifteen feet around the bottom. Our hostess said that she understood it had been there since my great-grandfather's time. He and General Putnam were walking together through the timber, one day, and notice two little elms. 'Let's take them up and plant them in front of our houses,' they said.  

"Grandma told me that Lieutenant Foster said to her, when she came there to teach: 'Sally, we haven't any money in this district. You'll have to take one of my boys as pay for your teaching.' And she said 'I took them both, the money and the boy.' Zadoc was twenty-two years old and she was twenty-one. They were married on January 19, 1789. After that, they moved to Sudbury County, Vermont, and lived there several years. I suppose they were like many enterprising young people - they wanted to strike out and do something for themselves. Then, to leave Vermont and go to Ohio, as they did later, was doing just as many others were doing at the time. And I've no doubt that, having known General Putnam, my grandfather was somewhat interested in going to Marietta, where the general continued to live until his death."  

Not much more about her grandparents' life in Vermont or of their coming to the Northwest Territory did Grandmother Brown know, but in Walker's History it is recorded that they came, "like many others of that time, with an ox team as far as Olean Point, on the Allegheny River, and thence proceeded by raft down the Ohio to Marietta, in the autumn of 1796." Remaining that winter in the stockade, Zadoc Foster made a settlement in the spring at Belpre. He is said to have gone ahead of his family, making a little clearing and building a cabin.  

Studying the history of the times, I wonder if Zadoc Foster was not one of the multitude who steamed westward from the barren hills of New England as soon as news of General Anthony Wayne's decisive victory over the Indians began to reach them. "During the year 1796," says Walker "nearly one thousand flatboars, or 'broadhorns,' as they were then called, passed Marietta laden with emigrants on their way to more attractive regions of southwestern Ohio." Ohio was reputed to be a land flowing with milk and honey, and to Zadoc Foster, trying to farm the rocky soil of Vermont, tales of its fertility must have sounded alluring. Freed from the fear of savages, inspired by "the siren song of peace and of farming," he joined the living column moving westward.  

In making a home for his family in the Belpre settlement, Zadoc Foster had, undoubtedly, full scope for any enterprise and industry of which he was possessed. To make a clearing in the forest, and to rear on it a comfortable cabin was real man's work, even though the logs were piled up like children's cob houses and held together by wooden pins instead of nails, even though no tools were necessary in the construction, except an axe, an auger, and perhaps a cross-cut saw. Rude, indeed, were those first log cabins with their puncheon floors, wooden shutters, leather latchstrings, stone chimneys, clay hearthstones. Primitive was the homemade furniture within them. We catch a glimpse of a table split from a large log, a bedstead made of poles interlaced with bearskins, a spinning wheel in the corner, a rifle hung in forked cleats over the door with powder horn beside it, three-legged stools, splint-bottomed chairs, cast-iron spiders, long-handled frying pans, a movable Dutch oven.  

In some such home lived the Zadoc Fosters, I've no doubt, when they first came to Belpre. Here were met the needs of the children born to them before they moved to Athens in 1809.  

"Pa's brothers and sisters were Sally, Ira, Hull, Issa, Maria, Melissa, and Samuel," said Grandmother. "Most of them I knew during my childhood in Athens. When I remember what kind of woman presided over this household, my dear Grandma Foster, and when I recall all the merry quips of Uncle Hull and Aunt Sally and Aunt Maria and Aunt Melissa, I am sure that that simple cabin must have been a very happy home. But I am sure too that Grandma Foster must have had her hands full. In those pioneer times all sorts of accidents were likely to happen to one's children, besides the kind of thing that may befall any baby to-day. Think what happened to Aunt Sally! She fell into the open fire when she was a child and burned the side of her face so that one nostril was drawn down."  

One can easily believe that all of Grandma Foster's daughters, from Aunt Sally down, were early trained to industry. The family had to grow and cook its own food, grow and fashion the material for its own garments. We are told that, at Marietta, silkworms were raised by "the females" in General Putnam's family and the cocoons reeled and spun into strong sewing thread. We know that at Belpre crops of flax, cotton, and hemp were raised.  

The Fosters arrived in Belpre at a time of great activity in the settlement. Released by the treaty of peace with the Indians in 1795 from their five years' imprisonment in garrisons, the white settlers began to move energetically over the face of the land, chopping down timber, erecting houses, building roads and bridges, breeding stock, and setting out orchards. Fruit trees in the virgin soil of the Ohio bottoms grew with astonishing rapidity. It was not long before Belpre was noted as the fairest spot between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Situated on beautiful meadows set high in a lovely curve over the Ohio River, it had a commanding position.  

Just opposite Belpre, an island in the river had been purchased, in 1798, by a rich and eccentric Irish nobleman named Harman Blennerhassett, who became famous in our history. In that romantic situation he had laid out a great estate - a spacious mansion surrounded by lawns and gardens, by stables, dairies, and hothouses. The tragic story of the Blennerhassets is known to all the world - how, fresh from his duel with Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr tarried at their island home on his way down the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi, and how he interested them in his scheme to establish a colony of wealthy individuals in Louisiana, a scheme that was later declared to be treasonable as making a project to separate the people of the West from those of the Atlantic States. When Burr was arrested, the Blennerhassetts became involved in his fall. Their lovely home was ruthlessly destroyed by the Ohio militia. But during the eight years that the Blennerhassetts - husband, wife, and two children - dwelt there they endeared themselves to all their neighbors, high and low. Mr. Blennerhassett was a man of varied intellectual interests and artistic gifts, Mrs. Blennerhassett a woman of engaging qualities of person, mind, and heart. Socially inclined, hospitable and kind, they made welcome at their home all who shared their tastes. They themselves went often to visit friends in Marietta and Belpre. Mrs. Blennerhassett is described by Hildreth as dashing along forest paths in a riding dress of scarlet broadcloth, accompanied by a favorite black servant.  

"Oh, Uncle Hull remembered seeing her in that red habit!" exclaimed Grandmother Brown. "I recall now hearing him tell about it. He was only a little boy when he lived in Belpre, but he had a vivid recollection of seeing Madame Blennerhassett riding through the woods in a red dress on a fine horse."  

Whether the Fosters ever partook of the hospitality of the Blennerhassetts is not now known, but it is probable that the families met at the white house of Aaron Waldo Putnam, the Fosters having been friendly with the Putnams, according to Grandmother Brown's traditions. Aaron Waldo was a grandson of General Israel Putnam, whom our school histories used to extol for having left his oxen standing in the field in his haste to enlist in the Revolution. He built himself a fine new house at Belpre. Painted white and surrounded by orchards, it was a conspicuous object to travelers on the Ohio. The upper story was fitted up for a ballroom, and Madame Blennerhassett was said to have led in some of the dances there.  

From the earliest days of the Northwest Territory, dancing had been a favorite pastime of the young people. Even in the dark days of the Indian War, it is related that parties of youths and maidens used to come down the river in barges or large rowboats from Fort Harmar and from Campus Martius to dance with their young friends at Belpre. I have no doubt that the Fosters did their share of the dancing. "I remember," said Grandmother Brown, "that Grandma Foster told me she was fond of dancing in her youth, but once, when there were balls three times hand running in one week, she thought it time to stop."  

Zadoc erected a gristmill - very essential to the life of the community - on the Little Hocking River, from which he supplied, in 1805, the Southern expedition of Burr and Blennerhassett with corn meal. A number of young men from Belpre enlisted in the expedition. Contracts were made for the building of fifteen large bateaux on the Muskingum River and for purchase of bacon, pork, flour, whiskey, and so forth. The tragedy of that expedition has nothing to do with the fortunes of the Foster family, but doubtless they were stirred by it. The young men from Belpre returned in the course of the spring, and they had adventurous tales to relate that were passed glibly from tongue to tongue.  

Like most of the first settlers of the Northwest Territory, the Fosters were staunch Federalists, followers of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. As time passed, and people from Virginia and Kentucky crossed the Ohio and joined in the settlement of the Northwest Territory, the political faith of Thomas Jefferson gained adherents. Lively discussions between Federalists and Democrats were heard at social gatherings in the river settlements.  

The shadow of coming conflicts fell, even in those early days, upon the people of Belpre. Few among them believed in the institution of slavery, but to their shores came often the slaveholders of the states across the river. It is said that one reason Mr. Blennerhassett preferred an island in the river for his countryseat to land along shore was that "its location gave him the privilege of holding colored servants as his own property, which he could not do in the Northwest Territory." At the constitutional convention held in Chillicothe in 1802 there was, despite the clause against slavery which Dr. Manasseh Cutler considered the crown of his Ordinance of 1787, a determined effort on the part of the slavery interests to set that aside. But for the efforts of Dr. Cutler's son, Judge Ephraim Cutler, they would have been successful. In the meantime, at Belpre, runaway slaves were often seen.  

"I fancy that it was the sight in his boyhood of those poor fugitives that fixed in the mind of my father the intense sympathy for them which he displayed in later years," said Grandmother Brown.  

Another moot question on which the Foster mind seemed made up at that early period was the liquor question. Strong drink flowed freely through the early settlements of Ohio. The luscious peaches grown in the orchards of Belpre made a fine alcoholic beverage. It was deservedly popular; even clergymen had it for "refreshment" at their conventions. But little Grandma Foster probably entertained prejudice against it, for her sons were known to be teetotalers. Said Grandmother Brown, "My mother told me that when my father used to deal out whiskey to his hired men, as was the custom of those days, he never touched a drop himself. Uncle Hull was the same way. So those boys must have had proper training when they were young."  

In 1809, when Grandmother Brown's father, Eben, was eleven years old, Zadoc Foster brought his family to Athens. There he conducted a tavern until he died, five years later, of the "cold plague." "That was probably the disease which we now know as 'grippe,'" explained Grandmother Brown. "It raged with terrible violence, and many died."  

Left a widow with a large family of children, Mrs. Sally Foster continued to keep the tavern a few years after her husband's death. Then she went back to vocation of her youth and became a school-teacher once more, "in which occupation," says Walker, "she was eminently useful and beloved during the remainder of her life."  

"With his own hands," Grandmother told me, "my father built a house for his mother to live in. There it was she opened the first 'select school' for young children that was known in Athens."  

Why Zadic Foster and his wife decided, after a dozen years at Belpre, to move to Athens is not now known. Possibly because other enterprising people were doing it. Athens was coming to be a trading point for furs and wild meats.  

One of the "principles" dearest to the heart of Dr. Cutler was that of educational opportunity. In dealing with Congress, he had insisted that, in the Ohio Company's purchase of land, there should be an appropriation of land for the endowment of a university. In 1804, Ohio University was, accordingly, established by act of legislature. Two years later, a two-story brick building, twenty-four feet by thirty, was erected as the first home of that institution.  

"I remember that old academy at Athens," said Grandmother Brown. "'T wasn't torn down till after I was born."  

But, perhaps, in moving to Athens, the Zadoe Fosters were drawn chiefly by ties of kinship rather than by desire for gain or learning. Sally's sister, Mary Porter, had arrived in the Northwest Territory in 1802, with her husband, Dr. Leonard Jewett, a capable physician. After a brief period in Belpre, they had settled in Athens.  

"I suppose Grandma Foster may have been homesick sometimes," remarked Grandmother Brown. "I never heard her say anything about it. I don't believe she ever went back to Massachusetts. Perhaps she moved to Athens to be near her sister. She had a brother - Uncle Porter - who lived on a farm near there too. I remember his visiting her sometimes."  

When the Foster family first came from Belpre to Athens, travel through the woods was by horse path. The population of Athens was about 150. People with good English and Irish names were living there in rude log cabins. Just previous to the coming of the Foster family to Athens, five brick buildings had been erected. There were, besides two residences, a brick schoolhouse, a brick tavern, and the brick academy mentioned above, which was, for ten years, the only building that Ohio University had. Perhaps that was why Zadoc's enterprising son, Eben, began to make brick as soon as he was old enough to seek for way to getting on in the world.

But, though this so-called "town" showed, as yet, little evidence of architectural eminence, it had certain natural advantages that made it attractive from the first. it was on elevated ground. Round it the Hocking River formed a graceful bend. The prospect over fields modest dooryards was delightful beyond description. By 1827, when Maria Foster first beheld it, Athens, was, indeed, a pretty village worthy of the lovely valley in which it nestled. But to it still clung some flavor of the wilderness.

"I remember," said Grandmother Brown, "that when I was a little girl deer meat was so plentiful that we thought nothing of having venison. That was all wrong. There was plenty of food for us, and the deer too."

Athens's material growth had, undoubtedly, been encouraged by the brick making of her father and his brother-in-law, "Uncle Dean." Foster's bricks may be seen yet in some of the Athens pavements, and Dean's have a place in the old college walls. In 1816, a new college building had been erected. In 1822, a complete faculty had been assembled. About the time Maria was twelve years old, Ohio University came under the efficient administration of that Reverend William H. McGuffey whose admirable Fifth Reader is among our pedagogical classics. By the time she was of an age to notice college students, the University had entered on one of its most flourishing periods and had nearly 250 students. It has now 2500.

If Eben Foster and his brothers had dreamed, perhaps, that in coming to Athens they were getting nearer to a university education than they had been at Belpre, their dreams were probably disturbed by the death of their father. The question of bread and butter was the one that undoubtedly pressed them for solution in their early manhood. Just as their father had done at Belpre, they, at Athens, turned instinctively to supplying the essential needs of the community, Hull to making shoes, Eben to manufacturing bricks, while their patient, precise, dainty little mother attended in the background to the intellectual needs and social conduct of Athens's youngest set. All were useful and successful citizens, much beloved and respected by the community.

By the time his daughter Maria was born, Eben Foster, twenty-nine years old, had reason to feel proud of the domain he had created for himself. His home was one of the most comfortable and pretentious in the thriving village. And the town records for that year and the previous one showed his name among the town officers: Eben Foster, supervisor.

"My father made steady progress all his life," said Grandmother Brown proudly. "Indeed, he prospered amazingly. When he died at the age of 33, he was counted among the wealthy men of Athens. No other little girls had a home a whole block square. Everyone thought well of him.  

"A friend thought that Eben ought to have a wife, so he came to Grandma Foster's home one night and said to my father, 'Why don't you get married, Eben?' 'I can't find time to ask my girl,' was the answer. The friend said, 'Here, Eben, you go right off and speak to her about it now.' Eben was shelling corn at the time, shelling it into a big basket hung over the end of a spout. Suddenly he exclaimed, 'All right, Nick, I 'all do it!' Up he jumped, seized his cap, and started off. 'Aren't you going to change your clothes?' called Nick. 'No, if she doesn't like me this way, she wouldn't like me at all,' answered Eben. So he struck out toward his girl's home, which was about a mile from there. 'I looked out and watched him in the moonlight,' his friend told me. 'He went round the point of the hill on the run.' And so Eben Foster told Achsah Culver, that moonlight night, how he happened to come in his working clothes and what he wanted of her. They fixed it up; and that's how I happen to be here now, you see."


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