150th Anniversary—1988

John George Schumm Family History

History 11

settle the new empire. In this first party were John George, the father and pioneer, George Martin and his wife, and Katherine Schueler and her husband. They were followed in the fall of the same year by John Frederick and his wife, and toward the close of 1840, John Jacob and George Ludwig with his wife, came to the new home. It was a slow, arduous journey. Roads, in the sense of which we understand the word, there were none, but only rude, faintly-marked trails. Heavy timber land and swamps, as well as numerous rivers and creeks, had to be crossed. Day by day they toiled through the wilderness, beset by heat and rain and chill. Their day's journey was necessarily short, since the wagon was heavy and the trails hard traveling. Finally they reached the place which was to be their home. So thickly did the timber stand that they were forced to live in their wagon until enough land could be cleared so that they could erect a log hut. Surrounded by the forest primeval, strangers in a strange land, they began to hew out for themselves a sustenance and a home. They truly were pioneers of the first water. They were, if not the trail­blazers, the first of the coming influx of settlers into that part of Ohio which soon was to cover the country. When during their journey, and later on while clearing the land for their humble log hut, they sat around the lonely camp-fire at night after the day's toil, preparing their frugal evening meal, did they dream that they in company with those other first settlers were em­pire builders? Did they ever dream of the heritage which they were to leave their children? Who knows?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost all the land comprising the 800 acres was covered with timber, mostly white oak. There was also some beech and walnut. To clear the land of these hardy trees was no light piece of work. The trees were felled, dragged together and then burned. Some of them were used for building pur­poses, for firewood, to make fences, furniture, bridges across small streams, later on to “pave” roads. But all the timber could not be used, and yet the land had to be cleared. They were under the necessity of burning numerous fine large tree-trunks so that they could gain space to plant their small crop of wheat and oats and corn and garden truck. The stumps of the trees, however, were so solid that to remove them they were obliged to leave them rot for a time before they could undertake to uproot them. Many of the stumps were of great size and almost as solid as a rock. To clear the land without the tools which are employed now, without dynamite or blasting powder, was strenuous, back-breaking work.

The first log hut on the Schumm homestead was one story high and had no door. It was one of the first to be erected in Willshire township, Van Wert county, Ohio. A fire was kept in the large fireplace all night to keep the

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Baking oven used in pioneer days