Charles Merritt was born March 5, 1816, in Coshocton Co. Ohio, the son of John and Mary (High) Merritt. At the age of seven, his father died, leaving the family in poor circumstances. At an early age his only garment was a shirt of tow cloth and as a young man he labored for $2.50 a month.
In 1841, he married Rebecca Williams in Coshocton, Ohio, and started a series of moves to the new frontier. They lived at Covington, Ind. and then, Palo, Iowa. In 1856, they moved by prairie schooner to Ossawatamie, KS.
John Brown, their neighbor was collecting arms to free the slaves and after seeing his house burned to the ground, they became uneasy and decided to leave. At the state line, they were stopped by a party of Alabamians who questioned them, then fired a rifle in front of the ox team and told them to go.
Source: Norway Centennial 1863-1963 [book]