Ironically, the land would have been held in common as the tradition of the tribe prescribed, but the dissolution of the culture previewed the division of the land among the families. With haste, they began building houses on the bluffs above the river. The town grew to include a company store, a blacksmith shop and a school and a brew house.The Methodists built a log church that was considered so far from the settlement that it was referred to as “The Church in the Wilderness.”
The Wyandot also operated a ferry between the settlement and Westport. Tribe members crossed for free while their white and black neighbors paid cash money. In short, the Wyandots prospered.
It wasn’t long until the tribe was divided by the question of slavery. John and Lucy Armstrong, among the first to actually inhabit a home here, represented a large population of the anti-slavery faction. They soon found themselves barred from the Methodist Church South. Several years later the new Methodists Church North built a church on land at 38th and Parallel that Lucy had donated from her tribal parcel.
Today at 38th and Parallel, the empty Monastery of St. Augusting sits atop the hill. In the gully a small white house remains from what had been my Grandfather Hughes’ dairy farm that the girls refer to as “the little house.” The girls are my four maternal Aunts and my mother, Bitsy. Some four miles from where their house sat in a neighborhood at 18th and Richmond, my grandfather would drive his car to the farm and ride the horses back to be tethered to the back porch for the children to ride.