NAMING CUTLER - A WEDDING- AND FIRST TRAIN ON M.&C. R.R.
Among the books my father had was “The Scottish Chiefs”, by Jane Porter. And in later years I loved to read that old book. Many were reading it in those days of 1856 and 1857. So many had named their children “William Wallace, Robert Bruce and Helen Mar.”
In the spring of 1857 the town of Cutler was laid out and Honorable William Pl Cutler and Boman Gates came to my father and said, “Uncle Jimmie, you are to name this town that some day will be partly on your farm.”
Father said, “I name it ‘Cutler’, for Honorable William P. Cutler who has done so much to get a railroad through here for us.”
Cutler is ever dear to me as the town my father names, and because of the good old man it was named for.
On the eleventh of April I was eleven years old and this is the first birthday that I can distinctly remember, as my father told me that beautiful day to come out and take a walk with him. As his birthday was April 5th, he loved this budding and blooming month. He went with me to his peach orchard, now in its prime - with five hundred trees in full bloom; and the three apple orchards of large trees were showing beautiful buds.
Then we came back into the front yard; and the little flowering almonds were in bloom by the front walk And then we came near the front door where so many beautiful flowers of different colors were in bloom in his large flower beds. He drew my attention to the little early primroses and daffodils that had been in bloom in that same spot eleven years ago, when I was too little to see them.
The song of the birds was heard all around us. The odor of the balm of Gilead buds and the little, sweet-scented violets that bordered his large flower beds sweetened the air.
Father had instructed them to have a fine chicken dinner ready for us at noon to surprise me, and that was the happiest birthday that I c an remember.
We always dried so many bushels of apples and peaches every year, in a fine stone dry house that William built for father. These we sold to buy our clothes. Nearly every year we dried three hundred bushels of apples and two hundred of peaches. One year we dried three hundred of peaches and five hundred of apples; and ten bushels of the peaches were pared and brought a big price.
Here comes an event never to be forgotten. Hark! Listen! I hear wedding bells ringing, and a silver cornet playing the wedding march!
Through half the month of May the house was in excitement, making things ready for the marriage of our sister Eliza to Henry M. Hibbard, on the fifth of June, 1857. Father ordered the “fatted calf” to be killed, and mother bought two big turkeys for the feast. Priscilla and Margaret assisted the ride-to-be to make all the cakes but the “bride’s cake.” She made it herself, and it was both big and beautiful.
This was to be the marriage of our parents’ third daughter, and the first daughter married. This is the only one my father lived to see married. He took so much care that all things should be done just right, and above all, that the nuptial feast should lack nothing in quality or were used at William’s feast, were used at this one. The table groaned under its burden of good things. There were more flowers and guests than at William’s wedding, and William and Phoebe ‘were therein their wedding garments of six years ago.’
The parlor was decorated with pink cheesecloth in festoons, held by bows of white ribbon and little bunches of dark blue, scented violets, alternating with little, and light blue forget-me-nots. This was above doors leading into the hall stairway and to front “parlor bedroom” where set the bridegroom and bride, with the twins for flower girls. Matilda was laden with pink and white carnations, and Lucinda carried loads of pure white bridal roses.
The walls were overhung with light blue, pink and white flowers, and delicate, green vines were drooping gracefully everywhere.
In the stair hallway door, secreted by large flower plants and ferns, sat Mr. Tenney, one of the civil engineers, with his silver cornet in his hand, ready to play the wedding march at the proper time.
Over the bedroom door, where they entered the parlor, was a large imitation silver bell, out of which hung white carnations, bridal roses and small, delicate, light green vines.
The bridegroom was young and handsome, with fine black eyes and hair. He was a very polite man, and were the conventional black broadcloth suit that was very becoming.
The bride was beautifully attired in a very thin, fine, white book muslin gown, trimmed in elegant sheer lace. She wore in her hair one nearly full-blown rose and two buds and a few green rose leaves on it. She was in the bloom of her beauty, twenty-four years old - the youngest Smith of our family that ever was married. The twins were beautiful thin, pure white dresses.
It was an ideal, balmy, bright June day, and James and Joseph were dressed in their best. Both were so young and manly, seeing to everything, caring for the many guests and looking after their rigs and teams.
The front yard and grounds surrounding the “historic old home” were one bower of beauty. The many birds were singing from branches of the trees, like they felt the mellow influence of the wedding bells’ soft chimes and the notes of the silver cornet playing the happy march. And the perfume of sweet-scented violets and June roses sweetened the air.
At eleven-thirty a.m. the silver cornet sounded the wedding march, and the twins stepped out of a flowery bower; and after them, the bridegroom with his bride on his arm. As soon as the cornet closed the wedding march the minister pronounced them man and wife, and all went “merry as a marriage bell” to the dining room to partake of the feast awaiting there, with Priscilla, Margaret, James and Joseph waiting to serve all at the table.
Father and mother looked so young when they went up first to congratulate the happy couple and when they took their proper places as host and hostess of this beautiful wedding festival.
During the winter of 1857 and 1858, Margaret, Joseph, the twins and myself attended school in the log school house on Dutch Ridge. John A. Brown was our teacher, and he was a fine scholar and teacher and a fine man. A few years after this he became Honorable John A. Brown.
The summer of 1858, Matilda, Lucinda and I went to school here to Miss Issa Shaw who also was Scotch. Two or three years after this she became the wife of Honorable John A. Brown.
Early in April, 1858, the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad ran its first train over that road, from Cincinnati to Marietta, passing through Cutler, where was a station and telegraph office. This was a wonderful event in the history of that country. A thousand people from far and near were at the summit, a little east of Cutler, which was the highest ground and the hardest grade between its terminals.
It was a beautiful, new train, with one baggage car and four passenger cars – the first I ever saw. All the big stockholders, their wives and families from Cincinnati, Athens and Marietta were in this train; and our four loggers and friends also. These were Honorable William P. Cutler, G. W. Gould and Mr. Green.
When they reached Cutler they stopped at the summit and went through a fine big ceremony of laying the last three ties, and driving the last spike. Everyone on the train got out here, and great people of our vicinity, with Dr. Harsha and my father, met these fine “railroad builders” and wives, and were introduced and shook hands by the track. Three of the Company took off their kid gloves and each laid one tie. But the last spike was reserved for Honorable William P. Cutler to drive home.
All the men uncovered their heads, and when the spike was buried, all raised a shout, and cheers rent the air. They sent a messenger to Cutler to telegraph to Cincinnati, Athens and Marietta that this one hundred and seventy-five miles of railroad was completed and ready for business.
This was a wonderful thing, as the forty miles between Athens and Marietta was built through hills and rocks and had so many cuts, bridges and tunnels that it was as hard to build as those railroads in the heart of the Rockies in Colorado today.
The passengers got on board the train after these ceremonies and ran over these ties for the first time. They waved their hands and cheered when the train made its way over the summit toward Marietta. This was a beautiful sight for us!
The engine was small and the cars were small and flat-topped. Would not that train look odd today beside these grim monsters of engines and heavy cars that pass here every day?