SOY Newsletter, July 2000
by Art Cohan
Perhaps the most well-known "place" (by name, at least) to Sherman family historians, the land on the far western boundary between Connecticut and New York holds "roots" that are as steeped in trusted values of our nation as any.
In 1707 there are, in the records of the General Assembly held at New Haven, Connecticut, the names of eleven men of the town of Fairfield, praying for a tract of land to be for a new township lying north of and near to Danbury, "bounded westerly on the colonie line".
The history of the Naugatuck Indians and the annals of the Moravain Missionaries reveal the story of Mauwehu, the Indian sachem who dwelt in Potatuck (now Newtown), and who claimed much land west of the Housatonic River, including what is now Sherman and Quaker Hill.
In 1729 he and twelve other chiefs signed the deed to the territory between Danbury and the Litchfield county line, for the sum of 65 pounds. Perhaps fear of the Indians, or some misunderstanding about the exact terms, put off settlement for thirty years after the petition was granted, and it was not until 1736/37 that a final survey and allotment of rights was made.
About that time then, a little company of men and women from old Fairfield on the coast journeyed up to the little New Fairfield, as yet unnamed. The new township was 14 miles long, along the westerly Connecticut colony line, and the settlers divided it into two sections called Upper and Lower Seven Miles. In each section they speedily built a church.
For sixty years the men of the north and the south voted together and were one township; but they found it not always convenient in those days of poor roads, few wagons, and no telephones, to do business with fellow citizens fourteen miles away. In 1802 the people of the Upper Seven Miles petitioned the legislature to set off the north end as a separate town.
Long was the debate over a name for the new town, until one day Representative Graves rose in the Assembly and moved that it be named for Roger SHERMAN, who once had a small cobbler's shop within the borders. Immediate and unanimous approval greeted the suggestion, and the little town received the name which is now it's pride.
When Roger was nineteen, his father had died and he became the main support of his mother and younger siblings. In June of 1743 they moved to New Milford, where his brother William had settled three years before. New Milford bordered on the northern edge of upper New Fairfield township. Roger resumed the occupation as a cobbler that he had learned some years before, and worked in a small building in that area, apparently believing that he was within the boundaries of New Milford. When he was later issued a tax bill by the township of New Fairfield, he moved back into New Milford proper.
The building by the Wimisink brook, which is said to have been Roger's shoe shop, is typical to the rest of the landmarks of Sherman, standing not so much for hours of dazzling triumph as for days of simple duty rightly done.
Between the granting and the settling of the New Fairfield township, the strip of land between, known as the Oblong, which was included in the original grant, was ceded to New York state, and Connecticut lost her claim to Quaker Hill. These separate towns maintained close ties, however, and the turnpike to Poughkeepsie that traversed through them was well worn with visits to and from.
Sherman and the roads surrounding it abound with historical accounts of the Revolutionary War; and the patriotic flavour that pervades the area's families, both on and off the battlefield, leads the reader, once again, to a deep appreciation of those who lived in those difficult "heart-pounding" times.
Although off the "beaten path", a leisurely visit to Sherman, and the Northrup House Museum there, should remain on the top of every American's list of "places to see".
You may contact Karen Borneman at the Sherman Historical Society, 10 Route 37 Center, Sherman, CT 06784 for additional info and membership.
[With extracts from a History read at a meeting of the Quaker Hill Conference
SOY Newsletter, July 2000
by Art Cohan
Although, like Sherman, CT - not necessarily a big "Sherman" story - reading about this area reminded me of my experience in watching the first "Cinerama" in the mid-50's (for those of you slightly "more mature" readers)! That ride across America in a bi-plane, coming up over a rise, with fields of wheat as far as the eyes could see and the majesty of this country on the horizon, could have been filmed in Sherman County, OR.
Early explorers reported the splendid abundance of the Pacific Northwest and by 1843 thousands of pioneers set out for the Oregon country. Emigrants passed through what is now Sherman County in a great cloud of dust on their way to the Willamette Valley.
The county's first white settler was William Graham, who located at the mouth of the Deschutes River in 1858. Soon, stage stations, ferries and toll bridges sprang up along the Oregon Trail. Bounded on the east by the John Day River, west by the Deschutes River, south by the rugged canyons of Buck Hollow, and to the north by the mighty Columbia River (separating Oregon from Washington), the county is approximately 20 miles wide and 42 miles long. Winter wheat and barley abound in alternate years (allowing moisture to fallow the land in between), and grain is trucked from the harvest fields to grain elevators-and from there by barge to Portland. Beef cattle, grazing on natural grasses and wheat stubble, supplement farm income.
The 831 square mile area growing rapidly in the mid-late 1800's as part of Wasco County, sought independence. Mr. E.O. McCoy's legislative bill to create a new county, to be called Fulton, after early pioneer settler Col. James FULTON, passed in 1889. At the last minute, a legislator from Tillamook County learned that FULTON had earlier opposed having General W. T. SHERMAN appear in the legislative chambers while on a tour of the west. Politics being politics - after some considerable maneuvering in that legislature, the county was named Sherman.
You can find the Sherman County Museum in Moro, OR at: http://www.shermanmuseum.org/.
Many thanks to the museum Director, Sherry Kaseberg
Sherman, Minnehaha County, South Dakota
SOY Newsletter, July 2000
by Art Cohan
In 1888, when the Willmar & Sioux Falls railroad opened for traffic, a station named for Edwin A. SHERMAN (see story, page 1.), one of the directors of the road, was established about 15 miles northeast of Sioux Falls on the state line with Minnesota. Eleven blocks were platted by Mr. Sherman and M. J. Zeliff and wife during that year, with a view to starting a village.
A post office was established the same year, and-by 1899-several general stores, a hardware store and a blacksmith shop were in business. It was an important point for the shipment of grain, with three large grain elevators in operation.
This week, in trying to gain some updated information about the town, I finally reached a City Clerk in Garrettson (about 10 miles south). I learned that the population of Sherman was 66 at the last census, but "there is a bar there"!! I assumed that the demise of the railroads had reduced the growth of the town.
Additional phone calls led me to Sandee & Larry SUTTON, who currently live in the first house built in Sherman. They are sending me a historical booklet, which was printed in 1999 at the centennial. They advised that the "demise" was the result of a massive fire that burned most of the main street years ago, and they assure me that the population is now up to around 100, with the thriving new business of soybean seeds!
SOY Newsletter, July 2000
By Art Cohan
While researching the town of Sherman in Minnehaha Co., SD, I noted an 1879 Land Grant for Charles and Anna SHERMAN, in Sherman, Brookings County; two counties to the north of Minnehaha. Charles was the g. g. grandson of Hon. Roger SHERMAN.
Not finding any information regarding a second town named Sherman in my Atlas, I began another series of phone calls, and was eventually referred to Mr. George NORBY - the Sherman "Township" Supervisor and local historian for Brookings County. He has graciously sent me a packet of information about Sherman Township, which also lies near the Minnesota state Line, about 50 miles north of Sherman in Minnehaha County, and bordering the city of White.
An 1934 "History of White, SD" has a section written about Sherman Township from memory by one of the early settlers. It identifies the first settler as George DAY, who established the Sherman Post Office in his home about 1876-1878. It was moved to the home of the second postmaster, John Hendricks, in late 1879-early 1880; and the Township was then formed and named after the post office. (About this time, White was located, and the Sherman post office discontinued.) This writing, however, does not identify WHY it was named Sherman.
Charles SHERMAN, b: 1855, and his wife Anna (JOHNSON) arrived in the area in the spring of 1878 from Chicago. They homesteaded in Sherman, and owned a farm there until he died in 1915. Mrs. Sherman moved into White and survived him by 20 years. They had no children. Her obituary on 7 Jan. 1936 in the "Brookings Register" states, "- took up a homestead in Sherman township, which was named after them."
Sherman, Grayson County, Texas
SOY Newsletter, July 2000
By Art Cohan
Centrally located, and designated as the county seat when Grayson County was established in 1846, Sherman was named after General Sidney SHERMAN. General SHERMAN was a hero of the Texas Revolution, and one of the state's earliest railroad promoters. (see SOY newsletter Jul97, pg.11.) Sherman is approximately 55 miles northeast of Dallas, and about 15 miles south of the Oklahoma border.
A log courthouse was one of the first buildings, and settlers soon began moving into the new community, establishing it as a merchandising center. A post office began in 1847, and by 1852 over 400 people lived there. It was incorporated as a town in 1857, a city in 1895, and-in 1990-had a population of over 31,000.
Highly diverse manufactures included marble & granite, condensed milk, foundry and machine shop products, pharmaceuticals, aluminum extrusions, cotton & cottonseed oil, pickles, clothing, cereal, mattresses, furniture, truck bodies, electronic components, first aid supplies, etc. It also has a large oil field nearby. With five railroads passing through, Sherman is a major distribution point for livestock, farm products and oil.
Austin Community College is located in Sherman, and Dennison (8 miles north) was the birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
SOY Newsletter, July 2000
By Art Cohan
Sherman County, Texas was also named after General Sidney Sherman. It was established by the state legislature in 1876, out of lands originally part of Bexar County, in the northern panhandle border with Oklahoma. The county seat, Stratford, is in the northwestern part of the county about 80 miles north of Amarillo.
In prehistoric times, the land was the home of the Apache Indians. About the 1700's they were pushed out by the Commanche, who dominated the area until the 1870's. In the 1870's, buffalo hunters decimated the great herds, and soon the railroad surveys brought the first settlers. Partly because of it's lack of surface water, and partly due to it's distance from existing settlements, the area grew very slowly.
A bachelor's quarters was built near the centrally located Coldwater springs in 1874, and a few cattleman began moving in to graze their herds on the open range. According to census records, 34 people lived in the county by 1890, with Coldwater designated as the county seat. There were about 500 cattle in the area, and no crops were reported. A small rock courthouse was built in Coldwater in 1891, and soon C. F. Randolph began to publish the "Sherman County Banner", the area's first newspaper.
By 1900 there were 18 ranches and farms, encompassing 195,000 acres, and the population had "exploded" to 104. Almost 30,000 cattle were reported that year, but only 2,880 acres were described as "improved", and no crops were reported. The following year, the Chicago, Rock Island, and Gulf railway was built acrossed the northwest corner of the county, mechanical well-drilling equipment was introduced, and farming growth began.
A new townsite was built near the railroad (Stratford), and a bitter battle ensued over moving the county seat there. The move was approved in a county vote in May of 1901, but there was so much opposition that the county records were finally moved during the middle of the night, Bitterness between the factions grew to the point where Governor Joseph Sayers had to send in the Texas Rangers to keep the peace.
Under the terms of the original survey conducted by the railway, it was granted every other parcel of land. From 1904-1910 The Standard Land Company was set up to encourage immigration into the area, and farmers began moving in from Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states. By 1910 there were 165 farms and ranches, and wheat was becoming a major crop, while sorgum grain production encouraged more cattle. In spite of a drought in the early 1920's, mechanization of farm equipment encourage continuous growth.
The Great Depression of the 1930's, and the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930's caused a decline in population, and by 1940 there were only 2,000 residents in the county. The pattern of periodic expansions of crop farming, and drought-induced retrenchments continued through to 1960, when large scale irrigation was introduced. Then the abundance of grain encouraged the establishment of large-scale feedlots for cattle, and by 1975 the county ranked seventh in the nation in per capita income.
The Santa Fe railroad built a second line through Stratford in 1930, and it is now a crossroad for the Achison, Topeka and Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific lines.
Although oil was discovered in the county in 1938, production was very low keyed until the late 1970's, when it gradually became a major new industry. From a total output of 104,000 barrels in 1980, production reached over 750,000 barrels in 1990. Oil and gas wells provided over 60% of the school tax base in the 1980's.
The county's population stood at 3,185 in the 1990 census.
[Handbook of Texas, Encyclopedia Americana, Collier's Encyclopedia]
Submitted by Rev. John Gray (Revjgray@bright.net)
From The Columbus Dispatch, May 1, 2000 article by Frank Hinchey, Dispatch Staff Reporter.
(reprinted to this site, with permission from the Columbus Dispatch)
Lancaster, Ohio--A larger-than-life war hero is coming home to stay--all 7 fee, 720 pounds of him.
When a bronze statue of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman is dedicated July 2  at Zane Square Park, downtown, its gaze will be directed at Sherman's boyhood home a hall-block away at 137 E. Main St.
It was there that the red-haired boy played with his 10 brothers and sisters who called him "Cump," because they couldn't pronounce Tecumseh.
To Phyllis Kuhn, who helped raise money for the project, Sherman's expression seems to be saying "Glad it's over," in reference to the Civil War.
Project organizers were surprised that the statue is the first of its kind in the city where the famous Civil War general was born in 1820 and lived until he left for West Point at 16.
In contrast, a statue of Union Gen. Philip Sheridan long has graced his hometown of Somerset, about 45 miles southeast of Columbus in Perry County.
Until now, Sherman's 1811 homestead has been the city's only memorial, serving as a museum to the general beloved by his soldiers as "Uncle Billy."
Kuhn said she is thrilled with sculptor Michael Major's creation, which waits at his studio-home near Urbana in Champaign County. "Mike did a wonderful job," she said. "A lot of people see (Sherman) as a mean, scowling man."
Kuhn hopes to invite Sherman descendants to the ceremony, which will feature a fife-and-drum corps from Camp Chase in Columbus, she said. Sherman's great-great-granddaughter, Bostonian Dody Riggs, said she heard about the project recently while offering to donate to the Lancaster museum items that belonged to Sherman. " am tickled pink about (the statue)," she said. "My grandfather dedicated the statue of Sherman in New York City's Central Park. I am thinking about attending the ceremony [in Lancester]." [sic]
Fund-raisers easily collected the $65,000 needed for the statue, which was commissioned to help commemorate the county's bicentennial. The project started in 1996. Donors include Sherman Junior High School, who raised more than $1,500. Other contributions came from as far away as Australia and England, said Kuhn, chairwoman of the fund drive.
Major is pleased with the result of three years of research and the long hours took to create and mold the sculpture.
He relied heavily on the advice and guidance of Lancaster committee members, such as Kuhn, who also allowed him artistic freedom during the project, he said.
'With General Sherman there is a lot to 'know--from education to soldiering," Major said. 'He was more of an intellectual although that is not to say he did not have a temper and couldn't be fierce and frightful."
He proposed four renditions, including one based on a famous photograph of a sitting Sherman with his son, Tommy, standing at the arm of his chair.
The committee settled on a depiction of Sherman wearing the uniform of a two-star general, the rank he held at the end of the war, Major said.
The statue represents Sherman at the peak of his power and strength as a military leader, Major said.
A stickler for historic detail, Major has included on Sherman's uniform the general's favorite military badge, the only one he wore. He also helped design the badge to represent the four units under command during his famous march to the sea.
"That was a must," Kuhn said, of the unique badge composed of an arrow, star, cartridge box and acorn.
"He was a soldier's soldier" she said. " He would take a blanket and sleep on the ground with his men."
Struck by the premature aging of Sherman's face apparent in contemporary photographs, Major didn't neglect the wrinkles etched by the rigors of war. Sherman led 60,000 Union troops on the march to the sea campaign of pillage and destruction across Georgia and the Carolinas. The psychological strategy of laying waste to the enemy's supplies helped hasten the war's end.
Years later, Sherman reflected on the terrible cost of war to more than 10,000 veterans from Ohio and surrounding states at a reunion in Columbus at what is now Flanldin Park.
"Three cheers for Uncle Bill," The Dispatch reported veterans as yelling to Sherman, urging their popular general to speak on a rainy Aug. 11, 1880.
"It delights my soul to look on you and see so many of the good old boys left yet." Sherman said. "They are not afraid of the rain. We have stood it many a time.
"There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is hell," he said.
Major also has been thinking of ways to relate Ohio's history through sculptures for the bicentennial celebration in 2003.
"Standing beside a great figure who lived in our own state helps to breathe life into history for the young and old," he said.
Major has completed sculptures of frontiersman Simon Kenton and John Clem of Newark, Ohio, the "drummer boy of Chickamauga."
He has proposed a plan to create Fiberglas sculptures of six famous Ohioans to be available as teaching aides at libraries and schools.
After the 2003 celebration, Major envisions placing bronze castings of six famous Ohioans in a public sculpture park.
For information on Majors proposed sculptures or suggestions on which Ohioans should be honored in a public-sculpture park, e-mail Major at: firstname.lastname@example.org.