Sarah Barnett’s great-great-great-great grandfather Arad Tuttle , whom I introduced in my last post, was a contemporary of Platt Benedict, founder of Norwalk, Ohio in 1817. Their stories of settlement on the frontier of northern Ohio must have been similar. However, whereas I had an abundance of information to draw from about Platt Benedict for the series of “Sufferers’ Land” posts on this site, few details are available about the story of Arad Tuttle and his family.
Although I have found no evidence, it seems that Arad Tuttle probably was among the first pioneers who in 1820 settled twenty miles west of Norwalk in Green Creek Township, located in Sandusky County, seven miles southwest of Clyde, Ohio. Many of his family came west with him, but records are so sparse, I have not been able to figure out how many. Two of his children are important to Sarah’s family history–Wolcutt and Erasmus Tuttle–and we’ll look at them later in this and subsequent posts.
What was life on the frontier like for the Tuttle family? You can get an idea from the “Sufferers’ Land” series of posts on this website. But if you want an account closer in location to where the Tuttles lived, Sherwood Anderson, author of the novel Winesburg, Ohio, based on his youth in Clyde, gives the best account for my money. In Winesburg, Ohio he wrote this about a fictional family of early pioneers in the area where the Tuttle’s settled:
The Bentley family had been in Northern Ohio for several generations before Jesse’s time. They came from New York State and took up land when the country was new and land could be had at a low price. For a long time they, in common with all the other Middle Western people, were very poor. The land they had settled upon was heavily wooded and covered with fallen logs and underbrush. After the long hard labor of clearing these away and cutting the timber, there were still the stumps to be reckoned with. Plows run through the fields caught on hidden roots, stones lay all about, on the low places water gathered, and the young corn turned yellow, sickened and died.
When Jesse Bentley’s father and brothers had come into their ownership of the place, much of the harder part of the work of clearing had been done, but they clung to old traditions and worked like driven animals. They lived as practically all of the farming people of the time lived. In the spring and through most of the winter the highways leading into the town of Winesburg were a sea of mud. The four young men of the family worked hard all day in the fields, they ate heavily of course, greasy food, and at night slept like tired beasts on beds of straw. Into their lives came little that was not coarse and brutal and outwardly they were themselves coarse and brutal. 
Arad Tuttle died in 1825 at the age of fifty-nine, perhaps worn down by the travails of life on the frontier. His sons continued the work he had begun, and by 1850, they owned several prosperous farms in close proximity to each other. . And what was the reason for their relative wealth? A big factor had to be that they sired many children who could help work the land. According to the 1850 Census, Erastus, age 60, still had three children living at home, and his brother Wolcutt, age 58 had ten children and grandchildren. In my next post, Cousins on the Frontier: Calista and Arad Tuttle, I’ll focus on two of these men’s children, and explain why they are important to Sarah Barnett’s story.
 Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio, 1976, pp. 64-65
 U.S. Census, Green Creek, Sandusky, Ohio, 1850.
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