Meadville's Founding - Meadville, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member jonathanatpsu
N 41° 38.217 W 080° 09.679
17T E 569851 N 4609808
Quick Description: A sign describing the early history of Meadville, PA
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 6/13/2022 1:25:20 PM
Waymark Code: WM16ACW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 0

Long Description:
This sign, titled, "Meadville's Founding" is located at Bicentennial Park on the east shore of French Creek, near the Mead Avenue Bridge in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The sign describes the early history of Meadville, along with information about the log cabin located at the park. Another sign next to it explains the history of the Mead Avenue Bridge located nearby. The text of the sign states:

David Mead was born in Hudson, NY on January 17, 1752, the eldest son of Darius and Ruth Curtis Mead of Connecticut. In 1774, he married Agnes Wilson of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, and the couple had nine children, of whom five lived to maturity.

After the Revolutionary War, they settled in Wyoming, PA, however land disputes led him to seek out new land opportunities. He had read in George Washington's journal a description of the land in what is now northwestern Pennsylvania, and he and his brother John came to investigate. Liking what they saw, they led a group of nine men to French Creek Valley in the spring of 1788 and set up camp where they built a log cabin and planted corn. Their families later joined them and this first settlement was known as Cussewago.

The next year a few new settlers arrived, including David's parents. David built a sawmill and a mill for grinding grain and his wife Agnes gave birth to a baby named Sara, who became the first child of European descent born in what is now Crawford County. But trouble wasn't far away. While some of the neighboring Native American Nations were friendly, others proved to be hostile. Fighting began in 1791, and the settlers fled before returning in 1792, building a stockade and blockhouse. All field work was done only by armed parties to guarantee their safety. No settlers moved west of French Creek until 1795.

In 1794, Ruth Mead's death was the first natural death in the settlement, and the next year, David's wife, Agnes, died during childbirth.

In 1797, David Mead built the settlement's first frame house at the foot of what is now Randolph Street, and he married school teacher Jennet Finney, who bore him six more children of which five survived, making him the father of fifteen children overall. While vastly altered, a small portion of that 1797 house still survives.

David served as a justice of the peace until Crawford County was carved from Allegheny County, when he became an associate county judge. During the War of 1812, he was appointed Major General, helping to build a fleet of ships at Presque Isle to face the British fleet, resulting in victory during the Battle of Lake Erie.

On June 20, 1815, David participated in another historic even at the log courthouse on Diamond Park: the founding of Allegheny College. David Mead passed away on August 23, 1816 at the age of 65.

The Cabin

The David Mead Log Cabin you can see ahead of you is a replica of the original built in 1788 by the Meadville founder. It has two sides: A living space and a classroom space with at "dogtrot" between. The cabin David built is believed to have had only one of the sides. The replica was built to show what a frontier classroom would have looked like.

A cabin like this one could be erected by a group of men in a few days. Mud and straw would seal the gaps between the logs to keep the cabin warm during winter. Fireplaces were built on the outside to alleviate the danger of burning the cabin down, and small windows prevented intruders from climbing in. Candles made from animal fat or oil lamps would provide lighting.

In 1988, a group of people led by then-City Engineer Kenneth A. Beers worked to construct this log cabin. Like the original cabin, it was built with nearby trees by only nine men. But it was built a little differently. Instead of the mud and straw between the logs that David and his men would have used, Ken and his men used cement. Also, you'll note the metal roof on the cabin today does a much better job of keeping the rain out than the original wood shake shingles, which remain today under the steel. The goal was to commemorate Meadville's founding to serve as an enduring place for residents to come to understand where their town came from. While an original log cabin of the day would not have lasted more than several years, the longevity of the work of these men stands as a monument to the no less enduring tenacity and energy of the original settlers of Meadville.
Group that erected the marker: City of Meadville, PA

URL of a web site with more information about the history mentioned on the sign: [Web Link]

Address of where the marker is located. Approximate if necessary:
42080 N French Street
Meadville, PA USA
16335


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