Sometimes I’m amazed by our ability to live in a certain area and not know it’s history. Perhaps it all depends on where your interest lay, are you a Romantic or a Realist ? All I know is that now we live on the Marblehead Peninsula, in Northwest Ohio my True Love and I. It’s a truly beautiful place that more resembles a state of mind than an actual destination. Even years before we met, I had found myself driving out here repeatedly…late at night, when frustrated with life, work or every other reality, I would jump in my little red car straight out of work at 11;oo pm and just drive and drive until I would inevitably find myself out here on the “far side”. I was in the middle of a divorce and living with my Father, Sister, children, my nephew Michael.
I had chanced upon the Edison Bridge one crisp fall night near midnight and beheld a bay full of stars all topped by a Harvest Moon. I’ve never gotten over it. There before me was a sign from a star filled heaven that every little thing would be all right. I could see the stars out here, so different from the exhaust fumed filled air of Cleveland. On that clear warm clear October night, the stars were only outshone by the arching lights on the bridge as it rose in the center and all that was topped off by a huge Harvest Moon, reflected in the calm Sandusky Bay. And quiet…so very very quiet at that time of night. All lit up by that same moon, I felt as If I had left all my worries behind. I KNEW that someday I would be out here, over the bridge. Far from Rush hour traffic twice a day, far from the insanity of working for paying a parking meter and dressing in clothes I didn’t even like. All that general Madness that is a Urban Surviving.
Sometimes when I go outside here in the Firelands, I look between the trees in the late winter or early spring, when the leaves are still missing, and I’m looking back say 200 years. I’m looking to see Indians and French Traders and to see what this area looked like in 1807. There was never time to ponder like this in Cleveland, for I always had something to rush off to, something that had to be done.
I now live in a corner of Ohio steeped in History. The Marblehead Peninsula. It’s an area who’s legal existence came about because the very horrors of War. The Firelands, appropriately named is the westernmost tip of the Connecticut Western Reserve. It is named “Firelands”, because it was set aside for those people who were burned out of, or murdered in their own homes during the Revolution, in the areas of Danbury, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Groton, New London, Greenville, Fairfield, New and East Haven Connecticut. There were over 1800 people on the original list of Sufferers’. People who had suffered terrible losses then. My Mothers family, the Knapps and the LLoyds were part of this migration. I’ve yet to figure out just who was the relative that was awarded the lands but I can remember my Mother saying that’s how some of her people ended up out here in the “Old Northwest Frontier “, they were burned out and given a land grant. It’s something to read about Tyron attacking the towns in Connecticut and to realize this is your own family your own blood.
During these times this whole area west of Cleveland and north of Columbus were then the wild lands, heck during the war of 1812 the entire Marblehead Peninsula backed up to Indian Lands near what is now Fulton Rd. in Port Clinton. There was no land way off the peninsula. There’s a letter from one of the largest landowners in this area then, a Mr. Bull (how appropriate) begging the Governor to send troops of militia out here to help defend this area as there was no land way off the peninsula they would (and did) have to escape off the Peninsula at a shallow area now called “Bay Point”, the settelers (some survivors of the destruction of the revolutionary war) thought they were being invaded by the British and the Indians when they spotted Redcoats landing along the southern shore of Lake Erie. They buried what goods they could and ran the animals and themselves off the shallow area between Bay Point and Cedar Point and then fled for their lives before what they thought was a Massacring mob of Indians and British Redcoats. Actually it turned out these were just the newly released prisoners of war soldiers that our General Hull had surrendered at Detroit and the British had released wearing some of they’re old army coats. But the Indians and the British weren’t far away, they would surface in this area soon and that would become known as the “Skirmish on the Peninsula’