Ottokee March 18th 1889
Mr. D.W. H. Howard
In the proceedings of the Fulton County Pioneer meeting held in Wauseon February 22nd 1889, I noticed in the list of deceased members of the association, for the past year that the name of my mother Phebe L. Cobb, who died March 16th 1888, was not included. Thinking perhaps that it was an oversight you will do me a favor to include her name with the rest as I am quite sure she was a member of the Pioneer association and if such her death ought to be noticed by them.
I remain yours truly,
Please enter the name and we will see to it at the meeting 22 Aug.
GONE FROM OUR EARTHLY GATHERINGS
In Memoriam – Phebe Cobb nee: Knapp
Mrs. Phebe L. Cobb was born Oct 6th, 1820 in New Fairfield, Connecticut –
was married to O.A. Cobb in New York City November 1841 – came, with her husband, to what is now Fulton County in May 1846; died March 16th, 1888.She was the mother of six children, three died early. Ernest, born 1843, enlisted in the war of the Rebellion. He was discharged in 1863 from disability; he died in March following soon after reaching home. Four times she had yielded a loved one to the Angel of Death.
Settled in Ottokee in 1846:
Can the young women of today, looking over this county, with its broad acres of cultivated lands, its pleasant homes, filled (many of them) with not only the convenience but luxuries of life, comprehend what it was for a young wife to leave home and friends in the East and come here forty-four years ago?
What a demand for courage and self-sacrifice for one like her, with a loving heart,
tender sympathies, a keen appreciation of all beautiful things, and insatiable thirst for intellectual advancement, to leave the enjoyments and advantages found in the neighborhood of schools, colleges and public libraries, and go with her husband to build a new home in the then, far away wilds of Ohio.
Let the mind drift back to that period - forty-four years ago – we stand in the shadow of a forest, broken by patches of clearing around the rude cabins of the first settlers. Blazed trees mark the roads between settlements, winding around swamps and ravines, only the east and west roads being regularly laid out. No outlet for water falling on a large area of land, it stands in bogs and marshes filling the atmosphere with miasma poison that spreads disease in early cabin.
Toledo, then only fourteen years from its first settlement, was but a dirty little town remarkable for nothing save its unwholesome atmosphere floating up from the filthy Maumee, whose sluggish water “Did cream and mantle like a standing pool”. The air of that little city by the lake did not then, as now, palpitate with the shriek of engines and the roll of ponderous freights. It stood in comparative silence, its wharf being the one important place of the town. For all direct eastward travel embarked there and to that point came a great share of the westward travel, landing there with their goods and shuttles and pursuing their course from hence with teams to their destinations.
It was there that Brother Cobb’s party disembarked; the importance of the dock to that town can be estimated from the fact that he was charged $12.00 for landing his horses and wagons upon it. We think of Toledo now as out a few minutes distant from us but then the now dragging of a team over wretched roads with the “Six Mile Woods” to pass through in the trip, made it a dread, even, for stalwart men.
They arrived in Ottokee in May 1846, four years before the place was named, and four years before there was a Fulton County. They immediately commenced the building of a frame house, the first one erected for miles around and moved in before doors or windows were made. It was a mane of severe trials, Sickness, privations, hardships, such as only pioneer life can know. What pin can ever record the struggles, the sufferings the heart aches, attending the settlement of a new country?
The miscreant rising from standing water and decaying vegetation brought all forms of malarial disease, not only to their family but to all the families in reach of them. But such trials developed the grandest womanhood; there was courage, strength, and soul in it, a beautiful unselfishness that almost commands our worship.
The first little schoolhouse was completed on the corner, just east of D. Number’s Store; (the site should be appropriately mark). Mrs. Cobb sufficiently recovered from her first year’s sickness, taught the first school in it, in 1847. Beginning her labors there for the community, her whole life was one of helpful blessings to all who knew her. Her fine appreciation of intellectual enjoyments made the privations of isolated life more keenly felt. “Dearly bought the hidden treasure, finer feelings can bestow hearts that vibrate sweetest pleasure, thrill the deepest notes of woe.” But as fire refines and brightens the golden ore so trial enlarges and enriches the soul.
With the love and devotion of a faithful wife and mother she hushed the yearning for the old house life and set earnestly to work to make the new one enjoyable. How grandly well she succeeded the many who have shared her hospitality can attest. She was loved and respected by all who knew her. An effort to emulate her virtues will be the highest tribute we can pay to her memory.
By Julia P. Aldrich
Transcribing note: This was written in 1889