“Women have made up half the human race, but you could never tell that by the books that historians write.” - Arthur Schlessinger, Jr.
Each year during the month of March I present a program called “Famous and Infamous Cleveland Women” at numerous meetings and events. It is a presentation I developed several years ago in recognition of National Women’s History Month. Using photographs, facts and stories, I introduce the audience to some notable Cleveland women from the last 200 years. Some of these women have a great deal of information available about their lives, but one that has very little written about her is Rebecca Fuller Carter (1766-1827.) Along with her husband Lorenzo (1767-1814) and their family, the Carters were the first permanent settlers of Cleveland.
Cleveland Metroparks has acquired the replica Lorenzo Carter Cabin at Heritage Park I in the Flats and will be opening it to the public on select dates in 2015. While researching the Carters, it has been no surprise to find that there is far less information available about Rebecca than her husband Lorenzo. Mrs. Carter undoubtedly contributed a great deal to her husband’s success however. After all, in 1797 she left a comfortable life in Vermont and moved with him to the swampy mouth of the Cuyahoga River. She gave birth to his nine children, four of whom heartbreakingly died young. As was customary, she would have taken care of all aspects of the home and children while her husband was working at his various pursuits. The Carters took in travelers, housed prisoners and hosted social events, including the first wedding and dance in Cleveland, at their home. While Lorenzo was the head of household, it would have been Rebecca taking care of the details on such occasions.
Rebecca Carter, like so many other women of her era, has been largely overlooked by history. Some information can be gleaned from what was written about her husband, but the everyday tasks and events in her life would not have been considered noteworthy or recorded. Fortunately, some women did keep journals and write letters that can help us to piece together what everyday life may have been like for pioneer women. This summer, I invite you to visit the Lorenzo Carter Cabin and learn about Cleveland’s first settlers, including Rebecca Carter, whose hard work and determination helped to start our city on the road to growth over 200 years ago.
The Lorenzo Carter Cabin is located at 1283 Riverbed Road Cleveland, OH 44113
Call 216-206-1000 for more information
The cabin will be open the following dates and times:
May 23 and September 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June 14 and August 16 from 1 – 3 p.m.
July 11 from 10 a.m. – noon
It will also be open following Canal Basin Park Take a Hike tours on select dates. Check www.clevelandgatewaydistrict.com for details.