Little is known about Alvin's early life. He moved west around 1824, undoubtedly attracted by the good farming lands available at relatively cheap prices, and settled in Huron County, Ohio. Huron County lies between Cleveland and Toledo, only a few miles south of Lake Erie. It was part of an area known as the "Firelands," which had been awarded to residents of Connecticut to repay them for homes and property destroyed by the British during the American Revolution. Perhaps Alvin's family ties to Connecticut attracted him to this part of Ohio or maybe some of his relatives also settled here.
On April 13, 1824, Alvin purchased fifty acres of land in Bronson Township for $156. Three months later he married Mrs. Temperance Mary Strong Amidon, a widow from nearby Ridgefield Township. Temperance, who eventually began using the name Mary, was a daughter of Ezra Strong and Nancy Gates, and descended from several old Connecticut families.
The Strongs originally came to America from England in 1630. Both of Mary's grandfathers had fought for independence in the Revolutionary War; her maternal grandfather had died of smallpox during the war. She moved to Ohio with her parents and maternal grandmother in 1818 and married Daniel Amidon the following year. He died about a year later, leaving her with a one month old daughter.
After their marriage, Alvin and Mary Munsell lived in Bronson Township of Huron County until 1832. They moved to Fairfield (another township in Huron County) and then to Charlestown Township in Portage County (Alvin appears on the 1832/1833 tax rolls there). Eventually they moved back and lived Henrietta, Ohio (in Lorain County, which neighbors Huron County).
Mary's brother Silas G. Strong had lived for many years in Marysville, Ohio, about thirty miles northwest of Columbus, working as a land agent, civil engineer, and merchant. In 1838, he purchased 2232 acres of land in one transaction, including the area which became West Mansfield. Mary Munsell's daughter by her first marriage, Mary E. Amidon, moved to Marysville in 1839 and married Silas Strong's adopted son. Alvin and Mary followed her to this area in 1840. On June 17, they bought from Silas 108 acres in Bokes Creek Township of Logan County. Alvin's brother Tragen Munsell and his wife Frances soon settled nearby. An Ephraim Munsell from Vermont settled in Logan County in 1843, but his relationship is unknown.
Alvin apparently was quite a successful farmer. By 1845, he owned almost four hundred acres of land. His oldest son was approaching adulthood and provided much assistance on the farm. They owned oxen, cattle, sheep, hogs, geese, and a mare. Farm products included corn, hay, and maple sugar.
Alvin died of quick consumption (tuberculosis) on July 14, 1845, age 49. The seven surviving children ranged in age from one to twenty. With the help of the older children, Mary was able to keep the family together. In 1855, the heirs sold their rights to the family farm to Daniel, the oldest son. Mary eventually moved into the town of DeGraff, Ohio, where she lived until her death in 1873.
Alvin Munsell's Will and the Inventory of his Estate
Information on Alvin and Mary Munsell's Descendants
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