John Hutchins may be Vienna’s first historian. Born in the Township on July 25, 1812, to Samuel Hutchins and Freelove Flower Hutchins, both of whom had migrated from Connecticut to settle in Vienna. (Theirs was the first marriage in the new settlement.) John spent his childhood on his parents’ farm and in the Township’s schools. He attended Western Reserve College (then in Hudson), and began to study law in 1835 in the Warren office of David Tod (later Governor of Ohio). Hutchins was admitted to the bar in New Lisbon in 1838. During his studies he married Rhoda M. Andrews (born 1817), on October 27, 1836.
Here are Hutchins' memories of the time his parents' barn burned and was rebuilt by neighbors. This incident, occurring on August 7, 1822, was noted in the journal New England Farmer (September 21, 1822).
“What Earlier Pioneers Did: Remarks by Hon. John Hutchins.” Annals of the Early Settlers Association of Cuyahoga County, Volume I (Cleveland: Mount & Carroll, 1880), pp. 34-35.
Short speeches are only in order now.—I will give a brief illustration of the character and habits of the early settlers which occurred under my own observation. In August, 1822, my father’s barn in Vienna, Trumbull County, was struck by lightning, and the barn and its contents were consumed. I was a small boy then, but I remember well the sad countenances of my father and mother, as all their hay, oats, and grain, which their hard summer’s work had stored in that barn, was being burnt up. They had reason to be sad, for they had a family of eight children to care for, and a large stock of cattle, horses and sheep to feed. The pluck of the pioneers carried them through and over misfortunes, which a majority of the present generation would stagger under. With hard work and economy my father and mother set about mitigating the evils resulting from their great loss. They had the active sympathy of their neighbors and acquaintances, more valuable than mere words, and the citizens of four townships, Vienna, Brookfield, Fowler and Hartford concluded to aid in putting up for us a new barn and to do it in double quick time, to wit in one day, and they did it, and had the barn completed and a load of hay in it, before sundown of the day on which it was commenced. The timber for that barn was growing in the woods at 12 o’clock of the night previous to commencement of the work of building it. The matrons and maidens of those four townships with their cheerful and friendly faces were on hand early that morning with stacks of provisions to feed the men during the hard work of that day. To me it was a grand pic-nic, and in my boyish freak I thought it would be a good thing to have father’s barn burnt every year, if it would result in having such a good time.
The load of hay which was put into that barn before sundown, was drawn in on an old fashioned ox-cart, then in general use among farmers. This cart was used for farm-work and carried loads to meeting and to mill. Clean bundles of straw were the spring seats of that day. We have carts now-a-days, but they are lighter and more stylishly built, than the ox-cart. I have seen as valuable loads drawn on those old ox-carts, as the dog-carts of the city now carry. If a man’s barn is burnt now-a-days, the first inquiry among his neighbors is, was it insured—if not, they were sorry and pass him by on the other side. The kindly feelings of the early settlers would not permit this—and the incident I have given, illustrates the pluck, energy and friendly feeling of the early settlers.