The Mortons and Clements
Several Mortons arrived in New England via the Mayflower. Among them, George and Julianna who had their last child on the trip to New England. George's line of descendants follows from Plymouth Rock right to Brunswick when Omri Morton, financed by his family to make a new home in "the west," arrived here from Whately, Massachusetts.
He was 30 when he made the trip. He settled on Grafton Road on the property which is known as Pumpkin Ridge. Omri (an old family name still carried in the middle names of many Mortons) married Selecta Carpenter of Strongsville shortly thereafter. They had seven children: Edwin, Mary, Ellen, Bradley, Phesis, Alexander and Marcus.
Marcus, born in 1859, was the best known of the family, attending the Hinckley Academy of Advanced Learning, which he operated from 1870 to 1880, organized by a Mr. Lytle. An inveterate writer of beautiful Spencerian script, and keeper of records, his record book tells of his first excursions into the world of teaching.
"March 16, 1880. The first term of school I ever taught was at sub district three, Hinckley Township, Medina County, Ohio, commencing November 11, 1879, and ending February 27, 1880. There were 25 scholars in attendance. (Everything was lovely.)"
Marcus' second term was at Brunswick from November 10, 1880, to February 26, 1881, with 27 pupils. He was paid $20 per month. Expenses, however, were proportionate to pay with (according to his records) feed at $1.14; shoes at $1.75 and shirts at $1.50. It was also evident that Marcus was in love - pages are filled with the name of Amy Clement. Her family lived in the Howe-Benbow area of Strongsville.
The Clements had come by sailing boat to the area in 1834 and Amy's grandfather's home still stands on Benbow Road.
Marcus and Amy (a twin) were married June 8, 1882. For 31 years Marcus taught school. He organized the Strongsville High School and was a contemporary of Edwin N. Drake. He supervised elementary school at North Royalton and taught at Hinckley. He would often study from two or three a.m. until time to go to school. He taught Latin.
Marcus also held a local preacher's license and was a "Free Methodist," a sect very strict in their beliefs. The children, it was said, would come home from a fiery hellfire and brimstone meeting afraid to sleep. The church was held at Bennett's Corners and disbursed about 1913.
Marcus and Amy had seven children: Bessie (Ball); Iona (Baisch); William; Wade; Jenny (Behner); Vivian (or Mike as he was better known), and Mary (Rogers) who lived next door to brother Vivian on West 130th Street.
Will was a carpenter, Wade a farmer and all the sisters married farmers. Vivian worked at BHL Elevator for 21 years and then ran a wholesale and retail egg route for 15 years. He met his wife, Gladys Fuller, while they were still in high school, but it wasn't until 1932 that they were married and Gladys was forced to quit teaching because they didn't allow married women teachers in those days. Gladys (whose family also came over on the Mayflower) had graduated at age 15 and attended an advanced school in Medina with such people as Maude Edwards for whom the Brunswick Middle School is named. She began teaching at age 18. And following the change in rules, resumed her teaching career in Brunswick where she only retired as the veteran substitute teacher a few years ago. She advanced her education at Kent State University and was a Jennings Scholar. They had a son, Ron and a daughter Barbara (Mueller) and nine grandchildren.
Vivian and his daughters kept the family history which includes accounts of many interesting happenings recorded by Marcus. One of the best is about a famous wolf which had caused a great deal of trouble to local farmers.
"April 30, 1888. 339 men came out to hunt the wolf, which was killed. A committee of eight men was appointed to take action in regard to the wolf and it was decided to hold a picnic at the caves of West Bennett on the 9th of June. The wolf was given in charge of Eli Shook to be stuffed and brought to the picnic.
"The picnic was held on June 9th. There were on the grounds about 4,000 people. Two brass bands and one of martial music. The speech was made by Reverend N. S. Sage of Brunswick. The wolf was sold for $21.50 to James Bartlett of Strongsville."
Morton notes that the wolf was, for many years on display in the Strongsville Library. Imagine, 4,000 people at a picnic!
There are also letters from Mortons who have now scattered across the nation, and Clements for many years. Uncle Edwin wrote from his Civil War encampments to grandfather Omri, for instance. He later died there of yellow fever. One relative wrote regarding another who had become governor of Pennsylvania stating, "If everyone knew him as well as you and I, I doubt he would have attained this office." A Morton also signed the Declaration of Independence and several have reached high political office according to the papers.
"We want to tell the truth," Vivian told us. "The first Morton in America got run out of Plymouth. He was hard to get along with."
That image has obviously been overcome by the generations of Mortons which followed.