The Sherman Family
There are only a few handsful of people still here who can call the intersection of Route 303 and West 130th Street "Sherman's Corners." But from almost the earliest of Brunswick history, that area was Sherman's Corners.
Cornelius Sherman came to Brunswick in the early 1830s from New York State, accompanied by his brother, Moses, a few years his elder. The brothers were coopers by trade. On their way to Brunswick from New York, the brothers stopped of at a not-so-important town on Lake Erie which was then called "Cleaveland."
Cornelius and Moses had money and fully expected to accumulate more in this area. And while they were bound for Brunswick they weren't averse to looking around a bit while in Cleaveland. Land agents contacted them and reportedly offered them some choice parcels at $5 per acre. The sandy acreage didn't appeal to them as farmland and they thought the price too high, so they passed up Cleaveland and traveled south where they purchased several hundred acres at a much lower price.
The decision might have been regretted later - for the land later became the area of Euclid Avenue. But they seemed happy to convert the densely wooded section of land they purchased to farm areas of great potential productivity.
The brothers settled on adjoining farms in east Brunswick Township and became prosperous farmers and leading citizens until their deaths. Neither was satisfied long to live in the log cabins each had built upon his arrival. Cabins were temporary abodes. Back east, Cornelius, for instance, had been accustomed to the better things of life and planned to make the wilderness into something as good or better. He drew plans for a brick mansion and actually constructed it of oven-baked clay bricks, the clay "mined" from a field near Sherman's Corners. Recently, the bog from which the clay was drawn was being tiled to drain off the excess water just east of West 130th Street. This big brick house was on the south side of Route 303 about a mile west of the corners. The building was on a farm known as "Oliver's Landing."
Undoubtedly the mansion served as a popular meeting place of the "select" people of that neighborhood during the middle years of the 19th century. Cornelius married Samantha Hier, a Brunswick girl, and the Shermans were sociable folks. With children growing up, there were more than 20 Shermans in the two homes about a mile apart. It has been said the Shermans often held seances as part of the "entertainment" of the day.
Cornelius died at age 76 in 1881 and Samantha died in the spring of the same year at 65. They are buried in Bennett's Corners Cemetery. As closely as possible, the record shows 10 or 11 children of this marriage, including Hiram G. Sherman who died in an Army hospital June 16, 1852 at age 22, a victim of the War between the States. Orin Sherman was accidentally killed while hunting rabbits on the Hiram Miller place. Orene was born four months after her father's death and Ruby was three years old. It was Orene and Ruby who supplied the details of this story.
"It must have been awful for our mother," they said. If Orene had been a boy, they would have named him Orin. Orin is buried in Bennett's Corners Cemetery with his wife who was Martha Jane Hurd from another local family. Grandpa Sherman gave Martha and Orin 50 acres of land when they married, part of the Sherman farm, where two others were born in addition to the girls - Mable and Floyd.
One thing that stands out in Ruby's memory is the day the house burned down. She was in her first year of school, and the teacher, Wade Holden allowed the youngsters to go out to watch the fire. Baby Orene was asleep upstairs and Mrs. Sherman ran up the stairs to get her and ran to the Benjamins for help. The neighbors saved a few things including an organ that Mrs. Sherman had since she was a girl.
"Oh, how beautiful our old Sherman's Corners once was," they said. "It will never be the same. A horse watering trough and pump for our buggy and wagon horses to drink their fill [in the middle of what is now the intersection] and four very large maple trees on each corner of the roads. The lovely big brick house."
Ruby and Orene lived in Deland, Florida, the last we heard. They were the last few remaining descendants of a noble Brunswick family.