Mason and Fanny Oviatt
Mason Oviatt and Fanny Abia Carter were married in 1831. He was 22 years old ; she was 21.
Both of them had been born in Connecticut, and had traveled with their families to the Ohio Western Reserve.
Before she married, Fanny taught school in Bath. The story as passed down by her granddaughter :
“[ The school ] was a log house of one room and stood right on the road at the corner. She taught for twenty five cents a month for ten months a year. She boarded around two weeks to a pupil.
“She was her own janitoress, cleaning the schoolroom each night and caring for the fire. The school directors furnished the wood. Wherever she went, she took her flax wheel with her. It was with money earned from her spinning that she bought her clothes and other incidentals.
“The school directors called on her to claim her earnings from this source. Grandma drew herself up in indignation and told them what she did after four o'clock in the afternoon and before nine in the morning was her business. This was considered a very brave thing to do. That winter her father's oxen died and she took the money earned from her spinning and bought him a new yoke of oxen." (Jennie Fawell Oviatt as told to Eunice Merton for the Richfield Times)
Mason bought 100 acres from his parents: a valley on the Richfield/ Hinckley border. With the help of his brother Erastus he built a sawmill on the creek. Next, he built his house, which was completed in 1836.
Mason and Fanny had eleven children: Salmon, Sarah, Amanda, Fanny, Miles, Electa, Mason, Seth, Electa Adelia, Helen, and Chloe.
Another story told by granddaughter Jennie was that Fanny took care of a neighbor family during an epidemic in 1843. Another neighbor tried to persuade Fanny to avoid contact with the sick family, so that she wouldn’t bring the disease back home to her own children. But Fanny insisted on helping and taught the first neighbor how to disinfect herself before returning home. Four of the children died, but their mother survived. Their father, abolitionist John Brown, was away at the time.
The year of the epidemic which took the lives of the Brown’s children was 1843. Fanny was 33 years old.
Another story relayed by Jennie was that Mason picked up some escaping slaves at John Brown's house and smuggled them to Oberlin in the bottom of a hay wagon.
Mason eventually went out to California during the gold rush, but died there in the summer of 1850.
Fanny lived on until 1886. She never re-married. She turned ownership of Mason’s farm over to his brother Uri. But it was handed down to Mason and Fanny’s grandson Raymond, who lived there with his wife Mamie and their two sons.
This information comes from the Oviatt family chronology compiled by Leah & Lynn Krulik, which is in several volumes of binders in the Richfield Historical Society. The stories are recollections of assorted granddaughters of Mason and Fanny.