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Ashland County, Ohio

History & Genealogy

A History of the Pioneer and Modern Times

Ashland County, Ohio
by H. S. Knapp
Publ: Philadelphia
by J. B. Lippincott & Co.
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

Sullivan Township
pg. 544

     MEDINA COUNTY, formed in 1812, and attached to Portage County until organized in 1818, embraced Sullivan Township within its limits.  Upon the formation of Lorain, in December, 1822, the township became included in that county.  The township was organized on the 27th of May, 1819.

     Population in 1830....................137
     Population in 1830....................206
     Population in 1840....................782
     Population in 1850..................1102
     Population in 1860..................1056

     Thus it will be observed that Sullivan is one of the few townships in the county the population of which increased during the last decade.



     Very few have any idea of the privations and hardships the pioneers endured in the early settlements of these now populous towns.  These large, well-cultivated fields were, a few years since, (not half a century,) covered with forest trees.  The majestic oak,

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the beautiful poplar, the graceful elm, the hardy beech, black walnut, chestnut, and the detectable maple, interlaced with iron-wood, dog-wood, boxwood, crab-apple, wild cherry and plum, covered these beautiful fields; and the deer, the wolf, and the bear were in inhabitants.  Herds of these wild animals roamed fearlessly through the thick forest unmolested.
     Where, but a few years since, nothing was to be seen but the wild woods stretching far and wide in rude magnificence, unbroken by the hand of man, and naught was heard but the songs of winged choristers hymning notes of praise to their Creator, mingled with the howlings of wild animals, and the fierce yells of the savage, may now be seen -

          "The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
           The never-failing brook with busy mill,
           The decent church, that tops the neighboring hill!"

While the busy hum of cheerful industry echoes in every direction.  The songs of grateful praise and adoration ascend from many a hearth-stone, and pleasing converse bespeaks the intelligence, virtue, and happiness of the people. What, indeed, hath not the land of toil wrought~  What may not patient, persevering industry accomplish!  nor is this all; as the footsteps of civilization have advanced, the mists and vapors of ignorance have been dispelled, and the brilliant rays of truth have broken upon the mind with power, illuminating our path with knowledge, and guiding us through the intricate labyrinths of science.


     This township was surveyed in 1816 by Esq. Baldwin, of Newburg, Cuyahoga County, assisted by myself and others.  We commenced the survey in the month of October - camped in the woods two weeks, thee being no settlement nearer than Harrisville east, and Elyria north; no road but a line of marked threes.  A road was laid out in the time of the war of 1812, nearly parallel with the present, but had never been marked.  Game was very plenty.  Business of importance recalled Mr. Baldwin to Newburg; being absent longer than was expected, the county not having very comfortable quarters, I started after him, there being no mode of communication but by messengers.  I traveled on foot the whole distance by the aid of marked trees and trail not very well defined after I left Harrisville.
     On the eighth of November, a very heavy fall of snow obstructed my walking very much; it was about a foot deep in the woods, but I went through.  After all this fatigue and delay, I was obliged to return without him.  On my return night overtook me, and I was unable to follow the trail; but, nothing disheartened, I sat down on a log and waited for the moon to rise.  It was still very difficult to follow the trail, and I could only do so by feeling the marked trees.  As good fortune would have it, I was not very

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itants will recollect the large two-story building, nearly west of my residence, which was converted into two large rooms below and four above to rent, some twenty years ago.  Frequently as many as six families lived in it.
     I recollect at one time I went six miles south, to get my horse shod, through the woods, with only a foot path, which was nearly obscured by the falling leaves.  On my return it became so dark that my horse could not follow the path, and I was obliged to dismount and lead him.  The only way I could keep the path was by the breaking of sticks under my feet when I got out of it.  Twice in my efforts to find the old path, I turned round, and went back a quarter of a mile to a certain place I knew I had passed, and you may imagine how difficult it was to get along, when I tell you it took me all night to get home over the distance of two miles.  About this time a large party of Indians came from Sandusky into town on a hunting expedition; making rather too free use of fire-water, they were quite quarrelsome, and had frequent disturbances among themselves.  At one time they got into a quarrel, and in their affray killed one of their number.  This affair shortened their affray killed one of their number.  This affair shortened their stay, and they left, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who dreaded their presence; indeed, they were rough neighbors, and sent terror to the hearts of every family.
     A child of Mr. Durfee went out just at dusk with his uncle; he sent him back while he went into the woods to hunt some hobs.  On his return he found the little boy did not go home.  They immediately searched for him, and continued it for several days, but found no trace of the missing child.  The next spring his bones were found by the side of a log, where doubtless he had perished the first night.
     Of the whole number, eighteen survive; nine are still living in town; Jesse Chamberlain, widow Thomas Rice, widow Whitney, Chamberlain and myself are living on the same farms.  In 1833 there were 50 voters, now 230.  The township was organized about 1818.



     There are 4 churches, 1 Masonic Lodge, 1 steam saw-mill, 2 taverns, 1 dry goods and grocery store, 2 shoe shops, 2 carriage shops, 1 blacksmith shop, 1 millinery shop.


     There are four - Methodist, Baptist, Disciple, and Congregationalist.  Of these it has only been practicable to obtain a full report of the history and present

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condition of but one - the Baptist - which will be published in another form.  Rev. Mr. Jones is the pastor of the Methodist, Rev. Mr. Sweet of the Baptist, Rev. J. P. Mann of the Disciple, and Rev. Q. M. Bosworth of the Congregationalist.


     This Lodge of Masons was chartered Oct. 20, 1859.  Charter members: Harlow P. Sage, George W. Kilburn, De Witt Prince, Alexander Masters, Henry Summers, James Buver, John Campbell, A. H. Palmer, Thomas Parker, Shadrach Bryan, Calvin Bryan, Leonard Brown, C. B. Houck, Daniel Campbell, and Hiram Thurston.  The present number of members is thirty-five.  Harlow Sage, W. M.



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