"It sure has growed up."
That's how 87-year-old Bessie Ward, a lifelong resident, described Brunswick in 1975, shortly before her death. Mrs. Ward, nee Stephenson, was the third generation to live in Brunswick.
The first of her family to settle here were John and Margaret Stephenson in the early 1800's, shortly after the first group of settlers. They built a log house which later burned down on 50 acres of land on what is now South Carpenter Road at the corner of Sleepy Hollow. The home which now stands on the site is occupied by Brunswick police officer Leonard Bouman and family.
The Stephensons had four children, Charley, Fred, William and Ella. Ella was killed, when, as a toddler, she made her way to the hearth where a kettle was boiling and inhaled steam and boiling water.
All of the children were born in the family home. Charley and Fred went on to live in Elyria while William remained to farm the land where he lived and died at the age of 83.
He and his wife had two children, Ralph and Bessie. Both were also born in that log house which was added on to, little by little. The children went to the local school on the northeast corner of Laurel and Carpenter.
Bessie remembers walking to and from school each day until she was 15 years old because her father didn't believe in hitching up the horses to take kids to school.
She went to work picking strawberries for a local farmer until, at the age of 17, she married Harland Harry Ward, best known to Brunswickians of several generations as "Happy." That was 80 years ago. Bessie's brother Ralph lived in Manua.
The couple lived on the corner property at Sleepy Hollow and South Carpenter on the northwest side their whole married live and Mrs. Ward resided there until she died in the small home they had built. Happy worked for many years at the Wagner Pie Company and was a gardener at heart.
He loved flowers and birds and many residents can recall passing by the little house with hollowed out gourds full of flowers and bird feed hanging from every possible place and the beautiful gladioli lining the garden.
Happy also was a wagon driver when transporting children to school became a vogue. He also helped Wayne Cadnum deliver mail at times. He worked for seven years at the Medina County Fair and would haul home a load of manure each night to richen the earth of his garden. Both Happy and son Bob were firemen in the township.
The couple had five children: Harold Edward (deceased); Elma (Bingham); Donald who lives in Oklahoma; Richard and Robert who live in Brunswick. There wer 25 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild in 1975.
It was a great tragedy when Happy was killed by a motorcyclist about 15 years ago. He was walking along Sleepy Hollow Road when he was struck down. Before the shock of his death could be overcome, the little home was broken into during the funeral and what few things of value there were, were stolen.
But life went on and Bessie lived quietly with her little dog and cat, surrounded by pictures of her large, growing family. She continued to attend Mt. Pleasant Church, the same where she went to Sunday School at age seven.
And she remembered what Brunswick used to be: when she played on the "Lytle Farm" which is now a sea of housed called Laurel Creek; when the Chidsey's was the only home for a long, long way on Carpenter Road; when you could walk for miles without seeing another person; the Fourth of July celebrations which were always at home with fireworks set off from the front yard; when the hand dug well spouted cool, fresh water for over 50 years, instead of the reddish-liquid of modern times; when times were more simple and people more trustworthy.