“Sufferers’ Land” Post #8 – Making a New Town on the Frontier

Platt Benedict moved to the frontier to establish a town. But in order to have a town, he needed people, and convincing people to settle on his land proved not to be easy. His best chance for success would be if Norwalk became the County Seat. The traffic created by the business of government would entice people to settle and start businesses in the town. This was the reason he and Elisha Whittlesey had bought land on the sand ridge. However, for their plans to bear fruit, they had to convince the state legislature to move the County Seat from its location at Avery.

A committee appointed to examine the matter considered several locations: Eldridge, Milan, Gibbs and Lockwood’s Corners, Norwalk, Monroe, a location on the west bank of the Huron River, and Sandusky. After several backroom machinations and a good deal of political intrigue, the committee decided in late spring of 1818 that the County Seat would be in Norwalk. With this problem solved, settlers could be persuaded to buy into the new town, and Platt could get down to business. [1]

That summer, Platt had a frame barn built near his cabin, and contracted to have bricks made for a house he planned to build the next year. Amos Abbott bought a lot in Norwalk and started building a house for a tavern. Unfortunately, he died soon afterwards while on his way back to Norwalk from visiting Connecticut.

As preparations started for the convening of the court in Norwalk, a steady stream of people visited the sand ridge. In August, to meet the needs of these visitors and prepare for the arrival of the settlers he knew were coming, Platt obtained a license to operate a tavern, doing business in his home. [2]

The future looked promising for the Benedict family, and, as is the case with most parents, Platt and Sally began to consider the education of their children.

Please like this post and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you.

GO TO NEXT POST – Education on the Frontier

Index of Posts

Footnotes:
[1] Description of the difficulties in getting people to settle in Norwalk are described in “Memoirs of Townships – Norwalk,” by Platt Benedict, The Firelands Pioneer, May 1859, pp. 19-20.
[2] A listing of licenses and permits for taverns and stores, of marriages, of justices sworn and churches incorporated are from “Official Records of the Firelands,” The Firelands Pioneer, March 1860, pp. 21-26.

© 2009 by David W. Barton. All rights reserved

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