MARY CLEMONS DEWEY. Some of the first families of Sandusky and Erie County are represented by Mrs. Mary Clemons
Dewey, whose own career has been one of exceptional service and length. She is perhaps the oldest native citizen
of Erie County, and following the death of her husband, which left her a mother with two children, she took up
the work of teaching and for forty years was connected with the public schools of Sandusky.
Mary Clemons Dewey was born October 18, 1832. Her father was Elijah E. Clemons, who was born in the Town of Hiram,
Maine, February 21, 1803, a son of John Clemons, also a native New Englander. John Clemons came out to Ohio in
1819, and was one of the pioneers of Sandusky, which was at that time a village in the midst of the woods and its
chief prosperity was as a lake port. John Clemons reared six sons and one daughter, named Carey, John, Alexander,
Elijah, Andrew, William and Eunice, who married Daniel Newton.
Elijah E. Clemons, who was sixteen years old when the family came to Sandusky, had only a limited education, but
was a man of good business ability and judgment. He learned the trade of cooper, worked at it in Sandusky until
after his marriage, and then bought a tract of land about three miles out on the Columbus Pike. There he erected
a shop for his work as cooper, also opened a tavern, and cultivated a small tract of land. At that time there were
neither railroads nor canals in this part of Northern Ohio, and Sandusky was a market and shipping point for the
grain raised by farmers for a hundred miles back from the lake shore. During certain parts of the year the Columbus
Pike was a thoroughfare for almost a continuous procession of wagons bearing all kinds of traffic, and one of the
favorite places of entertainment for the drivers was the Clemons Tavern. Elijah E. Clemons was in a. fair way to
becoming a prosperous man until his death at an early age on December 27, 1836. He married Hannah Gregg. She was
born July 11, 1806, in New York State. Her father, Benjamin Gregg, was probably also a native of New York State,
came out to Ohio during the early settlement days, making the trip on a sailing vessel from Buffalo and landing
at Venice, then a flourishing village He bought a tract of timbered land on the Columbus Pike, three miles south
of the Sandusky courthouse, and was engaged in farming there until late in life, when he removed to Sandusky and
died in 1865 at the age of eighty nine. Benjamin Gregg had a family of several children. Mrs. Dewey's mother, after
the death of her husband, assumed so far as possible the responsibilities of managing the farm and the tavern,
and kept the old home until her death in August, 1848. She reared five children, named Sarah, Carey, Mary, Hiram
Mrs. Dewey was educated in the rural school near Sandusky and later attended the Sandusky High School. At the age
of eighteen she married Royal Dewey, who was born in Poultney, New York, in 1825. His father, Jeremiah Dewey, was
a native of New England and came to Sandusky in the early days, where he was one of the first to engage in the
jewelry business, and for several years was the only jeweler in town. He died of cholera during the fatal year
1849. Royal Dewey learned the jewelry business under his father and became exceedingly expert as an engraver. He
worked at his trade for his brother Hiram for some time, and afterwards was in business for himself until compelled
by ill health to retire. His death occurred in 1859 at the age of thirty four.
Mrs. Dewey, thus left a widow with two children to support, began teaching school. Her first term was at Marblehead,
beginning in the spring of 1860. In the fall of the same year she removed to Sandusky and opened a select school.
With the improvement of the public schools this institution became unprofitable, and she was then made one of the
teachers of the city schools and continued in that work forty years, during which time she taught children, children's
children and even grandchildren.
Mrs. Dewey's two children were Ella, who died at the age of twenty years, and Hiram, now a commercial salesman
living in Cleveland. Hiram Dewey married Clara Stapleford and has a daughter named Ethel. Mrs. Dewey, though an
octogenarian, is well preserved physically and mentally, and has a host of friends, particularly among her old
pupils. She occupies a cozy home at 1017 Adams Street.
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1916
Erie County, Ohio
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