The Huston Sisters’ Journey: Rachel and Sarah [i]
As I mentioned in the previous post, by 1800 three Huston sisters had migrated with their husbands to what would be Rose Township, Stark County, Ohio. Mary and Rachel would lean heavily on Sarah when, within a ten year period, they both lost their husbands. One remarried and the other maintained her independence, but both would need a comforting hand and thoughtful heart. Mary’s husband, Jacob Croy died soon after recording his land grant at the Stubenville Land Office on August 2, 1805. He may have made the trip to Stubenville once again, this time with Sarah’s husband, Jacob Oswalt. Their friendship had flourished in Pennsylvania, and their families were close, very close. Perhaps their adult sons, Andrew Croy, young Jacob Croy, and Samuel Oswalt, joined them on the fifty-mile journey. For sure though, Jacob laid claim to Section 12, Township 16, Range 7 in Stubenville on September 24, 1805, barely two months after Jacob Croy. [ii] Meanwhile, Rachel’s husband, Isaiah McClish, never appears on any records for Rose Township. He, like Jacob Croy, died early, before 1818. [iii] By 1820 Rachael McClish appears independently on the census records, a sure indication that she was widowed or abandoned. The US census only began recording the names of women and children in 1850. She was still widowed and living in Rose Township in 1840, not far from Sarah. Andrew Croy, son of Sarah’s sister Mary, had married Sarah’s daughter Susanna and stayed close to the family. He purchased the southeast quarter of section 17, Township 16, Range 7 on April 2, 1829.[iv] By this time, Jacob and Sarah Oswalt were over sixty years of age.[v] They began thinking of their families’ futures. Meanwhile, the American Dream dangled before every eye. Land was plentiful, undeveloped, and in demand. The new settlers both required goods and longed to profit from producing, selling, and transporting them. The canal system connecting the Great Lakes was conceived as the two Jacobs registered their land grants. By 1817 construction on the Erie Canal began and was completed in 1825. Ohio men of vision, including Jacob Oswalt’s brother Michael[vi], began planning canals to connect the Erie and the Ohio River. Towns sprang up everywhere out of both necessity and hope. The town of Morges in Rose Township grew from the dreams of Samuel Oswalt and John Wagonner.[vii] By 1828 Wagonner had purchase Jacob Oswalt’s section, the one he claimed in 1805. The funds from that purchase probably financed the Oswalt portion of the gamble called Morges, platted in 1831. The two men relied heavily on family to further the project, but the direction of commerce can shine or tarnish a dream. Ohio’s star would shine elsewhere in the state.