Margaret Shepherd and Robert Engle

Margaret Shepherd
Robert Engle, Sr.
Engle Home
Margaret Shepherd's page on WikiTree

b. April 29, 1791, Blackhole Valley, Pennsylvania.
d. January 23, 1871, Berea, Ohio.

Margaret Shepherd (Margaret2, John1) was born in Blackhole Valley, Pa. Later the family moved to Williams Post, Pa., and after a time to Laurel Sock, Pa., where they remained until 1805. They then went to Canandaigua, N.Y. When Margaret was about 16 years old her mother died. As she was the oldest girl, the burden of caring for the younger members of the family fell upon her, and well and faithfully did she perform her duty. She was married in 1810 to Robert Engle who was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 23, 1776. We do not know at what time he moved to Canandaigua.

On the breaking out of the War of 1812 he enlisted in a New York regiment and served until honourably discharged. In the spring of 1816 Mr. and Mrs. Engle determined to go west to Ohio, then an almost unbroken forest, and seek a home. The story of their life from that time is interestingly told in an article by their granddaughter, Mrs. Martha Enos, and in Reminiscences of My Childhood, written by their daughter, Mrs. Amoret Enos. We quote from Mrs. Martha Enos:

Robert and Margaret Engle, accompanied by her father, John Shepherd, were the first settlers in Royalton township, Ohio. They brought with them their two boys, Robert, aged 4 years, and William, aged 2 years. They came not on the electric or steam cars as in these days, but in covered wagons, one of which was drawn by oxen, and they drove their cows and hogs before them. On reaching the Chagrin river they found that from that point there were no roads, only blazed trees to mark their course through the unbroken forest.

Cleveland was only a small hamlet with one log tavern. Where now stands the Weddell House was then a cornfield. On reaching Royalton, they built a shanty on the banks of Rocky river. There was no rumbling of cars or sound of a locomotive to disturb their slumbers at night, but only the howl of the wolf and the hoot of the owl could be heard.

During the fall of 1816 Thomas Francis and wife came on from New York. They moved in with Mr. Engle's family until they could build a house of their own. One day while the men were away the women heard the shouts and whoops of Indians in the forest. They were terribly frightened as they had heard that bands of hostile Indians were roving about killing settlers and burning their homes. The sounds came nearer and soon they could see the Indians on the hills a quarter of a mile away. Mrs. Francis was so frightened that she knew what not to do. Mrs. Engle said she was going to meet them and if they were hostile she would fall first and not live to see her children murdered before her eyes. The leader of the band met her and asked in broken English, Where white squaw come from? What white squaw want? From Canadaigua, was the reply. Me come from Canandaigua, too, said the Indian. It proved to be a band of friendly Indians from the reservation in New York, out on a hunting expedition. Mrs. Engle invited them to her house. Mrs. Francis nearly fainted from fear as she saw them approaching, but Mrs. Engle called out, They only wish something to eat, Betsey. The women gave them a dinner and they soon departed with many thanks to the white squaws for their hospitality.

The location on Rocky river proved to be swampy and unhealthful. Mr. Engle purchased land up on the hills nearer the center of Royalton. Here he built a substantial double log house in which he resided until his death.

During the winter of 1816-17 Henry Francis and John Ferris came from Canadaigua and settled near Mr. Engle. The Coates family, the Spragues, Boyers and others came, until quite a settlement had been made. On November 9, 1818, the first election in the township was held in Mr. Engle's house. Every man received an office, and some men received two offices. The township was named Royalton.

The following Reminiscences read by Mrs. Amoret Engle Enos at a family reunion is worthy of a place in this history.

For several years the early settlers depended upon wild game for meat. Father was an expert hunter and people often came to get him to kill game for them. Mr. Tom Francis had a half grown porker in a pen near his house. Early one morning he came to our house saying that something had carried away his hog in the night. Father took his gun and went with Mr. Francis in search of the thief. After going a short distance they saw where the thief had feasted on fresh pork. Following the trail they soon came upon a bear, fast asleep. Father shot him and they had bear steaks for breakfast.

There was a deerlick upon our farm where the deer came to lick the salty water. The deer had a runway which they always followed in returning from the saltlick. A hunter concealed near this runway could shoot the deer as they returned. Father used to send brother William to the lick to drive up the deer early in the morning, while he hid near the runway. One morning William went before daybreak, he leaned against a tree to wait until it was light enough to see a deer. He heard a noise like distant thunder, but soon decided that it was bees in the tree against which he leaned. He told father and Robert but they laughed at him as they saw no sign of bees. William induced Mr. Francis to help him cut down the tree. They filled a firkin, four pails and a pan with fine honey from the tree.

Squirrels were very numerous and very troublesome, as they destroyed much grain. One fall they did great damage in our cornfield. Robert and William were often sent to drive out the squirrels. One morning some of the squirrels took refuge on an old stub standing on the edge of the field. The boys attacked them with stones and clubs. When the stub was cleared they found that they had killed 21 large grey squirrels.

Wild turkeys were plentiful and roamed through the woods. We would sometimes find a flock of wild ones feeding with our fowls near the barn. One morning while father was away on a hunting trip, a deer pursued by the hounds ran into our yard. Mother caught it by the horns. She called to sister to bring her the butcher knife; mother cut the deer's throat and then skinned it. This supplied us with venison.

In the fall of 1819 occured the famous Hinckley hunt. On an appointed day the settlers surrounded Hinckley township and closed in on the game hiding there. They killed 300 deer, 17 bears and 5 wolves.

It was some time before sufficient land was cleared on which to raise enough wheat for our bread. Then for a time wevil destroyed much of the wheat. One year flour was $13 per barrel. Money was scarce among the settlers, but flour they must have or starve. The miller had flour to sell and work which he wished to have done. My brother worked for the miller at 50 cents per day and received his pay in flour. Each Saturday he brought home the flour he had earned until he had paid for a barrel of flour. By that time father had cut some of the ripest of our wheat and had ground it into flour.

Mother was noted as a nurse. One night a neighbor living several miles away came after her. As it was very dark the neighbor walked before her carrying a torch made from hickory bark. It had been raining and freezing and this made it very slippery and dangerous walking over the fallen logs. At length mother took off her shoes and stockings and made the last two miles barefooted as her bare feet did not slip on the ice-coated logs.

In a few years after father came to Royalton, the wolves had been driven out so that the settlers could keep sheep. The wool was taken to a carding machine ten miles away and carded into rolls. Mother taught us girls how to spin these rolls into yarn. Each of us had her stint to perform daily, two run (skeins) of yarn for filling or 19 knots of warp. After our day's work was done, in the evening the family would gather about the blazing fire in the great fireplace. We girls had our knitting in hand and mother in her corner was carding wool into rolls or cards to be spun into coarse yarn for blankets. The yarn we spun mother wove into cloth for our winter clothing. The entire wardrobe of the family was woven by her a hands. Our summer clothing was made from flax which we raised. Mother and the girls would break the flax, hatchel it and weave it into linen for our summer clothing and for the table linen. Mother wove not only our own cloth, but also much for the neighbors. Often the sound of her loom could be heard till midnight.

During the exciting presidential campaign of 1840, when Tippecanoe and Tyler, too, was the rallying cry of the Whigs, and the log cabin their party emblem, the men of Royalton erected a log cabin on the green at the center of the township. The ladies were to serve pork and beans on a great rally day. They wished to have a flag to float over the log cabin. Mother sent a neighbor's girl and me to collect money to purchase a flag. We sent around among the neighbors and secured pledges for 75 cents but no cash. Mother and the neighbor advanced the money on our subscription paper and on the rally day a flag floated above the log cabin.

Mr. Engle was a great hunter and trapper. He was often gone for days and sometimes for weeks on hunting trips. On his return his horse would be loaded with meat and furs which he had secured. He assisted in the survey of Newburg and Hinckley townships. The exposure through which he passed while so engaged brought on lung trouble from which he suffered for several years, and which caused his death at his home in Royalton, June 3, 1854.

Margaret Engle was a woman of unusual courage and energy, and well fitted to meet the hanrdships and privations incident to pioneer life. She thought little of mounting her horse and riding to Cleveland, 15 miles away, to procure provisions for the family. The path led through the dense forest and was marked only by blazed trees. Wild animals lurked in the thickets near it.

Not only did she possess courage and energy, but she also was tender and sympathetic of heart, ever ready as has been shown, to nurse the sick, feed the hungry or drop the tear of sympathy for the sorrowing. She dwelt in the old home at Royalton until 1863. She then went to Berea, Ohio, to live with her daughter, Mrs. Adaline Lawrence. She died at the home of her daughter on January 23, 1871.

Besides the two children who came with them from Canandaigua, there were born to these sturdy pioneers eight other children making a family of ten children. All of them lived to manhood or womanhood and all but one married.


Robert, b. Mar 28, 1812, d. Feb 20,1891

William, b. Oct 25,1814, d. May 9, 1897

Marietta, b. Sept 11, 1817, d. July 5, 1847

Emily, b. Feb 20, 1820, d. Mar 26, 1893

Adeline, b. Oct 6, 1822, d. Mar 11, 1907

Olonzo, b. Dec 22, 1824, d. Mar 29, 1910

Austin, b. Aug 8, 1827, d. July 27, 1881

Laura, b. Aug 8, 1827, d. Mar 24, 1891

Amoret, b. April 10, 1831, d. Mar 4, 1897

Fidelia, b. July 23, 1835, d. April 5, 1912

Robert and William were born in Canandaigua, N.Y. The other children were all born in Royalton, Ohio.

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