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Hoadley Mill on the Rocky River -- 1816

Hardships and tragedies were not unknown in the early community. Both Bela Bronson and John Williams were dead within five years of settling into their new homes. A fever took nine people in the summer of 1811. The four year-old daughter of Joseph Burke, while in the woods with her brother, who was tending maple syrup buckets, wandered away and was never found. "The generally accepted theory as to her fate is, that she was carried away by Indians seen in the vicinity a day or two previous."

Then, in the fall of 1811, there was the party of nine, who, in two wagons bound for Columbia, met tragedy on the shore of Lake Erie. In those roadless days, settlers often took their teams along the beaches to avoid the rocky cliffs. But where outcrops jutted into the lake they were often compelled to drive into the water. It was December, with waves crashing and the water numbingly cold. The first wagon entered the water. It was soon in trouble. A wheel became wedged in the seam of a rock. The young driver couldn't budge it. The horses, panicked by the waves, became entangled in their harness and fell. A young daughter drowned, horses drowned and the wagon was battered to pieces.


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