Sayward Wheeler, called Saird, a strong pioneer woman who wants many children; but after having eight, she decides that seven living and one dead are enough, and she leaves her husband’s bed. She lives through a period when the forest disappears as the pioneer settlement grows. She contributes her share to this growth and donates land for a meeting house. She realizes that she has neglected her husband and that he has been sleeping with the schoolteacher in the community. When the schoolteacher must quickly marry another man because she is going to have Portius’ baby, Sayward is very much ashamed and is reconciled with her husband.
Portius Wheeler, a backwoods lawyer and schoolteacher, Sayward’s husband. He has a hand in making Ohio a state and in making his community thrive and grow. Having no desire to return to his family in Boston, he tells them so. Portius wants to move his family into the new town, but Sayward refuses to be parted from the country. Portius has an affair with the schoolmistress but later returns to Sayward.
Genny Scurrah, Sayward’s sister, who is a fine singer and who helps Sayward deliver her first child.
Wyitt Luckett, Sayward’s brother, who realizes that he is a woodsman, as was his father. When he finds that all the game is gone from the woods, he moves on west....
(The entire section is 408 words.)