Historian Charlotte Hutchinson
Charlotte Elizabeth Hutchinson, author of a three part booklet titled Early Pioneers in the Maumee Valley and other writings, was uniquely qualified to write about the area’s pioneer families. She was descended from several of the earliest prominent pioneer families in the Maumee Valley and was exposed to the stories of the trials, troubles and joys of these hardy families which were passed along the generations.
James C. Adams, a cousin of President John Q. Adams, came from Vermont in 1816 and built several log cabins on River Tract 31. He returned to Vermont and after lengthy preparations brought six families of his kin back to Ohio with oxcarts loaded with all the tools and provisions needed to start life in the untamed valley. His daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” recently widowed with two children and then married to Deacon Salmon Cross, a widower with four children, traveled with the group. She was gifted with the ability to deal with the Indians. There are many tales of Betsy and her dealings with the Indians. She was much sturdier than her husbands and when Mr. Cross died she married Joseph Hutchinson and became the matriarch of the Hutchinson family, who continued to live in the area to this day.
Charlotte’s other pioneer folks were Pennsylvania Dutch from the Manheim area of Pennsylvania which she details in part 2, Tales of Charlotte... Peter Gruber and wife Sarah with their family of two young daughters, son Enoch and son William with his wife Bridget set out by oxcart to Wooster, Ohio and settled there. Enoch and William didn’t like Wooster and soon left for the Maumee Valley settling in Gilead (now Grand Rapids since 1866.) William and Grace Gruber settled in a log house at the edge of this young village and more stories of their interaction with the local Indians were formed. The Gruber’s daughter Charlotte was Charlotte Hutchinson’s Great Grandmother. She is described as a musical person who loved to dance. She at times travels on horseback to Waterville to dance at the Columbian House in the famous ballroom.
Charlotte Gruber married a canal boat captain, John Fisher, on January 27, 1848. John and Charlotte Fisher had a daughter Lillian who married William Hutchinson of Waterville December 25, 1884. So it was that two early pioneer families were merged and their stories recorded by their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Hutchinson.
Charlotte E. Hutchinson was born July 19, 1900. She was a teacher, artist and author. She taught at Maumee Children’s Home and elementary schools in Waterville and Haskins. Later she was a traveling art and music teaches for Lorain County Public schools, retiring in 1965. She was well known in Waterville for her many watercolor paintings and other artwork. She also wrote Early Pioneers in the Maumee Valley, copyright 1976, published in Northwest Ohio Quarterly, Vol. 50 in 1978 and the Bulletin of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 1979. Charlotte Hutchinson died December 25, 1985.