Cleveland February 22, 2021
In 1797, The First Wedding Was Held In Cleveland… Before Ohio Was Even A State
Cleveland is a city full of romance. In addition to hosting all sorts of gorgeous
date night destinations, romance is woven into the city’s identity… literally! The first permanent American settlers to arrive in Cleveland unknowingly brought with them a romance that unfolded in their cozy little cabin on the Cuyahoga River. The first wedding in Cleveland took place mere weeks after the first settlers arrived. Check it out:
Editor’s Note: While the history of this site is still worth checking out, the Lorenzo Carter cabin was demolished in 2021. Fortunately, these photos preserve its memory. You can also always check out the site where Lorenzo Carter first landed for more local history!
Can you hear the bells? When it comes to weddings in Cleveland, there are countless beautiful places to tie the knot. There weren't
quite so many when the city was first settled.
If you have ever found love in The Land, you've probably explored
local wedding venues
as you searched for the coziest, most welcoming destination of your dreams. The opportunities are endless, really. This superabundance was a stark contrast to the venues available to Cleveland's first Mr. and Mrs., however. Just when
the first wedding in Cleveland? Well, it was a bit earlier in Cleveland's timeline than you might think.
After Cleveland was founded in 1796, the city's own founder left and never returned. However, a man named Lorenzo Carter would come to make Cleveland home.
arrived in May of 1797 with a few family members. According to one
family history project
that analyzes the pioneer families of Cleveland, Carter had been dreaming of "New Connecticut." As they trekked to Cleveland, Carter and his family (which included both his wife, sister, and his brother-in-law) stopped in Buffalo to wait out the treacherous weather of the winter months. They stayed with a group of refugees headed by John Clement. He and his wife Rebecca already had three children, but they welcomed a fourth while in Buffalo. While staying with Clement and his community, they hired a helper for the new baby. The helper's name was Chloe Inches.
The Carters set to work building a log cabin, and they became the first permanent white family in Cleveland.
Of course, the Carters were far from being the only family in the area. There were indigenous peoples locally, and Lorenzo Carter was friendly with and traded with them. It's said that this friendship assisted Clevelanders during early years of struggle. Of course, for a while, Lorenzo and his household
were the only American settlers on the untamed landscape... so visitors to the area had no other choice if they were looking for any sort of accommodations. In this sketch, Carter's iconic cabin is the building on the left.
The Carter cabin, located near modern-day St. Clair Street, came to host some of the more notable events in early Cleveland history.
Their cabin, which was e
ventually used as an inn
, hosted events like Cleveland's first ball. As an odd contrast to such a celebratory milieu, the site also had a garret that was used as an early jail.
And the cabin would also host Cleveland's first wedding on July 4, 1797... barely more than two months after the Carters arrived.
Remember Chloe inches, the young girl who joined the family to help care for their new baby? Turns out, she had a sweetheart that simply couldn't live without her... the son of community leader John Clement. Young William Clement followed Chloe to Cleveland, which surely caught the whole family by surprise. William Clement and Chloe Inches were married right there in the Carter cabin by
Rev. Seth Hart
. Once married, the happy pair went to Canada... and the two settled on a 400-acre farm about six miles away from Niagara Falls, according to
The Pioneer Families of Cleveland 1796-1840
. (Hey, bookworms! That link will take you to a free digital copy of the book via Google Books. This is a fascinating read you won't want to pass up!)
Today, Lorenzo and his wife Rebecca are buried in Cleveland's Erie Street Cemetery.
Erie Street Cemetery is the oldest in Cleveland, and local legend asserts that it is
. Whether or not you buy that tale, the cemetery is well worth a visit if you'd like to learn about other early Cleveland residents.
It's amazing to realize how this one little log cabin contributed hugely to Cleveland's success.
Here, early settlers found unity... and, in the case of Chloe and William, they also found a happily ever after.
So there you have it! The first wedding in Cleveland took place in the first permanent settlement in Cleveland… and history has all but forgotten about it. Have you ever heard of this story? Did you craft your own love story here in Cleveland? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Are you moved by romance? Fortunately for you, the
most romantic hotel in the nation isn’t too far from home. Address: 1283 Riverbed St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
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