WILLIAM GREENLEEIn the spring of 1811 Mr. Greenlee visited James L. Priest, a former neighbor, from Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Greenlee came by the way of Harrison County to Zanesville, then a new village, and up the banks of the Muskingum, the white woman and the Lake Fork on horseback. He found but few settlers between Mr. Priest and Zanesville. He selected and located a farm adjoining Mr. Priest, and returned for his family by the route he came. In October 1811, he and his family, consisting of his wife, six daughters, and one son, started for the forests of Ohio.
He had two teams, one with two and the other with four horses. The wagons were covered with linen canvas, and contained such household goods and provisions as were deemed essential to the comfort of a new settler. The route was through the village of Canton to what is now Wooster, and thence to the Lake Fork. The trail was so narrow that Mr. Greenlee was compelled to widen it at many points before his teams could pass.
His family slept in the wagons most of the way, doing their cooking by the side of the trail, nights and mornings. The route was wild and romantic, and it required some eight or ten days to complete the journey. He erected a plain log cabin, by the aid of Mr. Priest and a few friendly Indians, and moved into it. He resided on this farm until 1814, and sold it to Calvin Hibbard, father of Edward Hibbard, one of the first commissioners of Ashland County.
He then purchased where John Greenlee, his only son, now resides. When he landed in Lake, there were but the families of J. L. Priest, Samuel, Marvin, William Hendrickson, Elijah Bolling and John Hendrickson, in what is now Washington Township, Holmes County. The next settlement was that of the Odell's, which contained the families of Joshua Oram, Thomas Oram, and John Oram, and Mordecai Chicote, near Odell's Lake. On the morning of the tenth of September 1813, John Greenlee went in search of his father's horses, which had strayed in the direction of Odell's lake. About the middle of the day, a heavy, roaring sound was heard in the northwest, amid the forest. It resembled distant thunder, and he feared a tremendous tornado was approaching. What excited his surprise was, the sky was clear and cloudless, and the roaring seemed a phenomenon.
In the afternoon he abandoned the search and returned home, convinced that a great storm was approaching. His parents and others had heard the same rumbling sound, and were unable to account for it. In a few days the little colony learned the particulars of the victory achieved by Commodore Perry over Commodore Barclay and the British fleet; and this accounted for the mysterious rumbling of the 10th. The sound of Perry's guns had been conveyed down the valley's a distance of over seventy miles. It is related that the heavy cannonading was heard at Cleveland, about the same distance. Mr. Greenlee is a man of intelligence and unquestioned veracity, and relates the incident with minuteness and patriotic pride. William Greenlee died in 1854, age about eighty-two years.