CHESTER HERRICK – Wauseon, Ohio April 5th 1886
The death of Chester Herrick, or Uncle Chet as he was familiarly called by all who knew him, occurred at Delta March 26th and he was buried in the Etna Cemetery on the 28th. A man who has been a resident of the Maumee Valley for over half a century and one who has performed his full share of the labor with the perseverance and privation necessary to change a wilderness country, a country almost uninhabited to a thickly settled and highly cultivated one, as is this valley of the Maumee at the present time, certainly deserves more than a passing notice. After a life of 93 years he lays his head upon mother earth and says “My work is done”, Uncle Chet was born at Northfield, Massachusetts March 27th 1793, and moved to the Maumee Valley with his wife, Miss Mary Ann Walker, in 1833 or 1834 and after teaming a short time for Elijah Herrick (a near relative) he rented and moved on the Hollister farm, a short distance below Presque Isle, (Wayne’s battle ground of Fallen Timbers) where he continued to reside until about the year 1843, when he purchased of Valentine Winslow, (and I think) Mrs. Richardson, the widow of Isaac Richardson who was murdered at Rochteboult (Rushteboo) the farm of 200 acres upon which he lived, in Pike Township, until a short time previous to his death.
The Hollister farm was principally river flats and well adapted to the raising of corn, which was the staple crop of the country, (perhaps excepting the crop of coon skins, otter and deer skins) for many years and the rent which was paid to the owner for the use of the land was 13 to 15 bushels of ears of corn per acre delivered at the ware house below Ft. Meigs. Uncle Chet had a severe affliction of inflammation of the eyes while yet a young man, from the effects of which he never entirely recovered rendering his sight very imperfect and at times more or less painful during his whole life. Not withstanding this great inconvenience and affliction with the accumulated savings from his fields of corn of nearly a score of years and with that “Yankee spirit” (for which the descendants of the Pilgrims are noted) moved with his wife to his new and comparatively unimproved land in the “six mile woods” over roads almost impassable, going into the log cabin erected by the first settler of the land. With industry and perseverance and long days of labor; no 7 or 8 hours then for a day’s work, and a dollar a day, but 12, 14 and often 16 hours of continuous hard work, in a few years cleared away the forest; broke the wild prairie, ditched and fenced the land, and put up comfortable buildings, in which he spent his declining years. Uncle Chet was a good neighbor, always accommodating the needy when it was possible, strictly honest and upright in his dealings and always held in high esteem by the leading citizens and businessmen of the early settlers, such men as John and Frank Hollister, Gen, John E. Hunt, Robert A. Forsyth, Dr. Conant, John C. Allen, Judge S.H. Cately, Capt. David Wilkinson and the many others of the businessmen of the country. The wife who shared all his early hardships and performed her full share of the hard work, necessary to accomplish so much, met an unfortunate death, by drowning in a well July 5, 1866. Uncle Chet retained his vigor both of body and of mind up to the time of his death, which is remarkable at the age of 93 years; often walking from Delta to his farm (four miles) during the years of his life. In passing his farm, in August of his 90th year, I found him following the plow drawn by two large and fast walking horses and it seemed no great effort for him to keep up, and I noticed that he turned as straight and perfect a furrow as he had years before. He was always noted as a good ploughman, in fact, a good farmer in every respect; always keeping the best breeds of livestock when it was much more difficult to obtain them than at the present time. In the industrious life of this old man is repeated the history of many of the early pioneers; they leave an inheritance to the coming generations that if preserved and followed and fully appreciated will surely lead on to virtuous industry and happy lives. The old man sleeps well; “He sleeps the sleep that knows no waking.”
Written by Col. DresdenWinfield Huston Howard