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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CARTER, LORENZO - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CARTER, LORENZO (1767-7 Feb. 1814), frontiersman, community leader, and tavernkeeper, was Cleveland's first permanent settler, arriving in Cleveland on 2 May 1797 with his brother-in-law, Ezekiel Hawley (Holley, Holly), and their families. Lorenzo was born in Rutland, Vt., and on 28 Jan. 1789 married Rebecca Fuller. Until Apr. 1800, the Carters were the only white family in Cleveland, with other families who settled briefly there soon moving to Newburgh or Doan's Corners to escape the swampy environment. The Carters built a pretentious log cabin, used as an inn, with a garret, serving as a jail, on the east bank near the mouth of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Cleveland's first wedding, of the Carters' house helper, Chloe Inches, and Wm. Clement of Ontario, on 4 July 1797; and the first social dance, on 4 July 1801, took place in Carter's home.

Carter, a Baptist, operated a ferry at the foot of Superior St.; constructed the first tavern in the city; and built the 30-ton schooner the Zephyr, a lake trading vessel (1808). He purchased 23-l/2 acres of land in 1802; and built the first frame house in Cleveland, which was destroyed by fire before completion. In 1802 he also built a blockhouse containing Carter Tavern, and constructed the first log warehouse in the city in 1810.

Carter was a constable for Cleveland Twp. and a major in the state militia. The Carters had 9 children: 3 boys, Alonzo, Henry, and Lorenzo; and 6 girls, Laura, Rebecca, Polly, Rebecca (2d), Mercy, and Betsy. Lorenzo and Rebecca died in infancy; Henry drowned in the river at age 10. The Carters purchased a large farm on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in 1810 which later became the property of Alonzo Carter. Carter died at age 47. His wife, Rebecca, died on 19 Oct. 1827. Both are buried in the ERIE ST. CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 16 Apr 1998 12:24:35 PM

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