William Walker and his wife, Rachel Stewart, arrived in the Western Reserve in 1802 from Virginia. Here is their story, according to the best available information.
They were married on October 30, 1799, in Hampshire County, Virginia, (now in West Virginia). Rachel was the daughter of Thomas Stewart and sister of Joshua Stewart, another family of early settlers in Stow. She was born in 1778 and died in 1860.
By 1802, the Walker family included a three-year-old and a baby. Together they waded across the Ohio River, since there were no bridges or dams then. They arrived in the late summer or early fall.
Known as the first white settler in Stow Township, William was a bear trapper. He is supposed to have caught sixteen bears with the trap that is on exhibit at the Heritage House Museum in Stow. He was also called a squatter, because he built his log cabin in Stow before it had been surveyed. Walker probably thought he was in the neighboring Hudson Township, near where his father, Robert, and four brothers had settled the year before.
William Wetmore was born in Middletown, Connecticut, in September 16, 1771. His parents were Seth Wetmore and Mary Wright, of Middletown. He married Anne Ogden in 1795 in Hartford, CT. They had four children: William Jr., Edwin, Clarissa and Henry. William died in Ohio on October 9, 1827.
A cousin of Joshua Stow, Wetmore agreed to be Joshua's land agent, selling properties to the new settlers coming to the Western Reserve. In order to do this, he moved to Ohio with his family in June, 1804, and built the second log cabin in what would become Stow Township. At first, they lived on lots 25, 35 and 36, which surrounded the present intersection of Darrow and Kent Roads. His brother, Titus Wetmore, also came with them.
At that time the line of the present Carriage Road just south of Silver Lake was occupied by a continuous line of Indian huts. This was on a beautiful site, along a sandy ridge. The huts were made generally of poles, caulked with moss and covered with bark. The Indians [probably of the Mingo tribe], squaws and children, numbered in all about 500. Their chief was called Wagmong.
"Fertility of the Virgin Soil"
Joshua Stow was born April 22, 1762, in Middlefield, Connecticut. His family originated in England in the 1600's, and included the first minister in Middletown, a Congregationalist. He married Ruth Coe in 1786. They had at least three children. Joshua died Oct. 10, 1842, and was buried in the "Old Cemetery" in Middlefield.