A STANDARD HISTORY
CHAPTER VIII - PIONEER SETTLEMENT
Previous to the beginning of the nineteenth century only two temporary settlements had been made by white people within the present limits of Lorain County. The first was by James Smith, a youth who had been captured by the Indians while working on a military road in Western Pennsylvania, and the second, more than thirty years afterward, by a colony of Moravian missionaries. Smith, in his later life, became prominent both in the British and American armies and represented Kentucky in the State Legislature for a number of years. He was carried by his three Indian captors, two of whom were Delawares, to Fort Du Quesne, in May, 1755; his white comrade was scalped, but after running the gauntlet, Smith was adopted by the tribe and taken to a Delaware town on the banks of the Muskingum. This was in the spring of 1755, during the French and Indian war.
INDIANS ADOPT FIRST WHITE SETTLER.
Smith has left an interesting account of his experiences covering the
two years during which he visited what is now Lorain County. His
adoption into the tribe is thus described: "The day after my arrival
at the aforesaid town (on the Muskingum) a number of Indians gathered
about me and one of them began to pull the hair of my head. He
had some ashes on bark into which he frequently dipped his fingers in
order to take a firmer hold; and so he went on, as if he had been plucking
a turkey, until he had all the hair clean out of my head except a small
spot three or four inches square on the crown. This they cut off
with a pair of scissors, except three locks which they dressed up in their
own mode. Two of these they wrapped around with a narrow beaded
garter, made by them selves for the purpose, and the other they plaited at
full length and stuck it full of silver broaches. After this they
bored my nose and ears, and fixed me up with nose and ear jewels.
Then they ordered me to strip off my clothes and put on a breech clout,
which I did. They then painted my face, hands and body in various
colors. They put a large belt of wampum on my neck, and silver bands
on my hands and right arm; and so an old chief led me out in the street
and gave the alarm halloo several time and repeated quick (Coo Wigh!) and
on this all that were in town came running and stood around the old chief
who held me by the hand in their midst.
DISGRACED BY GETTING LOST IN THE WOODS.
Smith wandered around with various hunting parties in Central and Southern Ohio, in the course of which he visited several of the famous salt licks in that part of the country. During one of these excursions, while following buffalo, he got lost in the woods where he spent the night. For that offense his gun was taken from him, and he was reduced to a bow and arrow for nearly two years, or until the termination of his captivity.
STARTS FOR THE BLACK RIVER.
"I remained in this town," continues Smith, "until some time in October, when my adopted brother, Tontileaugo, who had married a Wyandot squaw, took me with him to Lake Erie. On this route we had no horses with us, and when I started from the town all the pack I carried was a pouch containing my books, a little dried venison and my blanket. I had then no gun, but Tontileaugo, who was a first-rate hunter, carried a rifle, and every day killed deer, raccoons or bears. We left the meat, except a little for present use, and carried the skins with us until we camped, when we dried them by the fire."
REACHES THE LAKE.
The travelers struck the Canesadooharie (Black River) probably near its source, and followed it down for some distance, when they must have left it, as they reached the lake shore some six miles west of its mouth. As the wind was very high the evening they reached the lake, they were surprised to "hear the roaring of the water and see the high waves that dashed against the shore like the ocean." They camped on a run near the shore, and as the wind fell that night they pursued their journey in the morning toward the mouth of the river on the sand along the shore. They observed a number of large fish that had been left in the hollows by the receding waves, and numbers of gray and bald eagles were along the shore devouring them.
JOIN WYANDOTS ON THE SITE OF LORAIN.
Some time in the afternoon they came to a large camp of Wyandots at the mouth of the Canesadooharie, where Tontileaugo's wife was. There they were hospitably received and entertained for some time. Smith says: "They gave us a kind of rough, brown potatoes, which grew spontaneously and were called by the Caughnewagas ohenata. These potatoes, peeled and dropped in raccoon's fat, tasted like our sweet potatoes." They killed while there some deer and many raccoons which were remarkably large and falls. These were probably the east falls of Black River, now within the corporation of Elyria. At that locality they buried their canoe and erected a winter cabin; from the description, it was at Evergreen Point.
THE CAMP AT ELYRIA.
The narrative proceeds: "It was some time in December when we finished our winter cabin. Then another difficulty arose; we had nothing to eat. While the hunters were all out exerting their utmost ability, the squaws and boys (in which class I was) were scattered in the bottom hunting red haws and hickory nuts. We did not succeed in getting many haws, but had tolerable success in scratching up hickory nuts from under a light snow. The hunters returned with only two small turkeys, which were but little among eight hunters and thirteen squaws, boys and children. But they were divided equally. They next day the hunters turned out again, and succeeded in killing one deer and three bears. One of the bears was remarkable large and fat. All hands turned out the next morning to bring in the meat.
REPLENISHING THE COMMON LARDER.
"During the winter a
war party of four went out to the borders of Pennsylvania to procure
horses and scalps, leaving the same number in camp to provide meat for the
women and children. They returned toward spring with two scalps and
four horses. After the departure of the warriors we had hard times,
and though not out of provisions, we were brought to short allowance.
At length, Tontileaugo had fair success and brought into camp
sufficient to last ten days. Tontileaugo then took me with
him in order to encamp some distance from the winter camp. We
steered south up the creek ten or twelve miles and went into camp."
In April, Smith and Tontileaugo dug up their canoe, made another one for the conveyance of their peltry, and left their winter cabin at the falls; the Indian proceeded toward the lake by water and his white brother on horseback. On reaching the mouth of the river, they proceeded west along the lake shore to Sun-yeu-dauk (Sandusky), another Wyandot town. Late in the fall Smith joined a hunting party and proceeded to the Cuyahoga River. At a distance of about thirty miles from its mouth, they formed a camp near a small lake and spent the winter in catching beaver. In the spring of 1757 they returned to Sandusky, and soon went by water to Detroit, where they disposed of their peltry to the French traders.
RETURN TO CIVILIZATION.
In 1759 Smith accompanied his Indian relatives to Montreal, where he was finally exchanged, and returned to his Pennsylvania home in 1760, only to find his old sweetheart married, all supposing him dead. He afterward became a captain in the regular British army, and was chiefly engaged in protecting the border against Indian raids. During the Revolutionary war, he rose to the rank of colonel in the patriot army, and did good service against both the British and their Indian allies. In 1788 Colonel Smith migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky; where he represented his district in the Assembly as late as the commencement of the nineteenth century.
MORAVIAN COLONY ATTEMPTS TO SETTLE.
The second settlement - temporary though it was - within the present borders of Lorain County was made by a delegation of Moravian or Christian Indiana, under the lead of the missionary, David Zeisberger, during a few days of April, 1787. For fifteen or sixteen years both the Indians and their faithful white leaders of the cloth had been striving to find a chance to dwell anywhere in peace. Their persecutions by enemy tribes, such as the Chippewas, Delawares and Wyandots, with the connivance of both British and American soldiers, who seemed to disapprove of industry and thrift on the part of the Red Man, had culminated in the cold-blooded massacre at Gnadenhutten, on the Tuscarawas River, in 1782. Afterward they were invited to Detroit by the commander and traveled thither by way of Sandusky; finally settled on the Huron River about thirty miles from Detroit and founded New Gnadenhutten. Then, in the following year came the peace with Great Britain, and within the following three years they had established a pretty, industrious and contented settlement.
WOULD RETURN TO RUINED MUSKINGUM VILLAGES.
But the troubles of the missionaries and their Indian wards were by no means over. The Chippewas had given them the tract of land upon which the village stood and in 1786 claimed it again, saying their hunting grounds had been injured by its establishment. The savages even threatened another massacre if they did not move on. While preparing for their departure they received intelligence that the Congress of the United States, after the conclusion of the war, had given express orders that the territory on the Muskingum formerly inhabited by the Christian Indians (in the present Tuscarawas County) should be reserved for them. But the Delawares and the Shawanese, especially, were still determined to oppose the United States and declared their intention to oppose the return of the Moravian Indians. Notwithstanding, the missionaries and their people left New Gnadenhutten in April, 1786, and, with the assistance of the governor of Fort Detroit, were, in a few days, embarked in two trading vessels belonging to the Northwest Fur Company for the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, the idea being that thence they would easily reach the headwaters of the Muskingum to the south and return to their restored lands from which they had been driven for years before.
FOUND PILGERUH (PILGRIM'S REST)
When within sight of their destination a violent storm drove the vessels back towards the west. After many delays the two divisions were reunited toward the west. After many delays the two divisions were reunited and reached the mouth of the Cuyahoga on the 7th of June. Want of provisions made them hasten their departure and, proceeding up the river, past the site of Cleveland, they came to an old deserted Ottawa town about ten miles south, where they resolved to spend the summer. Though the season was already far advanced, they cleared the ground for planting even sowed some Indian corn. They called the place Pilgeruh, or Pilgrim's Rest. But the name proved to be sadly misapplied.
ABANDON PLAN OF RETURN TO THE MUSKINGUM.
Bands of Chippewas, Ottawas and Delawares often visited the new mission, and those who had not been Christianized often strove to draw the Christian Indians back to their traditional beliefs; and they not infrequently succeeded. That trouble, with persistent reports of threatened renewal of hostilities between the Americans and hostile Indian tribes, determined the missionaries to relinquish all idea of returning to their abandoned villages on the Muskingum and to seek some convenient spot between the Cuyahoga and Petquotting (at the mouth of the Huron River, in Erie County).
ORDERED TO MOVE ON.
It was at this point that the harried wanderers were to encamp upon the soil of Lorain County, at the mouth of Black (Canesadoohaire) River. In April, 1787, they abandoned Pilgeruh and, dividing in to land and water parties, skirted the lake westward. In less than a week they arrived at their destination. The soil was fertile, producing wild potatoes in abundance, apple and plum trees grew here and there, and pitious, but their joy was of only three days' duration, for at the end of that period of short probation a Delaware captain appeared and gave them positive orders to move on to Sandusky.
THREE DAYS IN LORAIN COUNTY.
The details of this
period which directly concerns the narrative are thus told by the
missionary, John Heckewelder, whose labors covered so many years
among the Ohio Indians: "Shortly after the commencement of the year 1787,
accounts were received from various quarters that the Christian Indians
would not be permitted to stay where they were at present, and that they
would have to move nearer to the settlements of the savages. The
government of the United States had also at this time advised the
Christian Indians, through General Butler, agent of Indian affairs,
not to move to the Muskingum for the present, but to remain at Cuyahoga.
The speech from Captain Pipe, already taken notice of, called on
them to leave the Cuyahoga and settle at Petquotting.
FINAL RETURN TO THE MUSKINGUM.
Strictly writing, the author should dismiss the Moravian colony when its members, under the faithful Zeisberger, left the mouth of the Black River for the mouth of the Huron, but it is excusable to add that after founding New Salem, near the site of the present Milan, Erie County, they were forced into Canada, about eighteen miles from Detroit, in 1791. They rested there a year, were then moved to land on the Thames, in English territory, and established the flourishing settlement of Fairfield, and, five years afterward, returned to their American lands on the Muskingum, where, under Zeisberger and Heckewelder, they founded Goshen on the site of their old town, Schoenbrunn. Fairfield, their Canadian village, was destroyed in 1813, during the War of 1812.
DAVID ZEISBERGER, WOULD-BE SETTLER
David Zeisberger, the missionary, who may be called the first white
man to attempt a permanent settlement on what is the soil of Lorain
County, died at Goshen (now a few miles southeast of New Philadelphia,
Tuscarawas County), on November 17, 1808, in the eighty-eighth year of his
age. One of his brother missionaries write of him thus: "Of
this long life he had spent above sixty years as a missionary among the
Indians, suffering numberless hardships and privations and enduring many
dangers. He had acquired an extensive knowledge of the Delaware
language and several other Indian tongues. But most of his
translations, vocabularies and other books for the instruction of the
Indians being only in manuscript were burned on the Muskingum (during the
massacre of 1782), and the unsettled state of the mission for a long
period after, his other multifarious avocations and his advancing age, did
not allow him sufficient leisure or strength completely to make up his
loss. His zeal for the conversion of the heathen never abated and no
consideration could induce him to leave his beloved Indian flock.
The younger missionaries revered him as a father, and before they entered
upon their labors generally spent some time at Goshen to profit by his
counsel and instruction. Within a few months of his death he became
nearly blind, yet being perfectly resigned to the will of God, he did not
lose his usual cheerfulness, and, though his body was worn almost to a
skeleton, his judgment remained unimpaired."
SETTLEMENT FROM 1807 TO 1812
In 1807, the year before the death of the beloved and venerable missionary, permanent settlement commenced at and near the mouth of the Black River, the localities which were the scenes of the Moravian attempts, and of Smith's visit before them. In that year (1807) there came from the East Azariah Beebe and his wife. They halted at the mouth of the Canesadooharie, as the Moravian colony had done twenty years before; they also saw that the country was fair to look upon and so they built a log cabin on the site of the deserted village. Soon they were joined by Nathan Perry, the trader; the Connecticut colony penetrated inland and settled in Columbia Township, a few months afterward, and from 1810 additions to the lake region were quite continuous until the commencement of hostilities with Great Britain.
A WAR SCARE OF 1812
Lorain County was by no means exempt from war "scares" during those trying times to the region of the lower lakes and the scene of the greatest navel activities. Very early in the war period the word was passed through all the lake shore settlements of the county that a large party of hostile British had landed at Huron, a few miles west. Men, women and children fled their homes in terror, and as the inhabitants of Ridgeville reached Columbia in their flight they found that settlement nearly abandoned. This panic, however, was of short duration, for Levi Bronson, returning from Cleveland, brought the well authenticated news that the persons landed at Huron were the prisoners that Hull surrendered, at Detroit, to the British. On the return of those who had sought safety in flight from Columbia, the elder Bronson, who had refused to join them, informed them that "the wicked flee when no man pursueth."
The inhabitants of Columbia, Ridgeville, Middlebury and Eaton, however, at
once joined in the erection of a blockhouse, just south of the center of
the Town of Columbia. This was the fortress to which to flee for
safety in the hour of danger. Captain Hoadley had the honor
of commanding this post. A company was organized to garrison it, but
we are well informed that the enemy had not the temerity to come within
reach of its guns. The Captain and his men were mustered into the
service, and paid as soldiers of the united States army. Able-bodied
men constituted the garrison, while the old men, women and children were
left unprotected, at their homes, to cultivate the soil and receive the
first assault of the unexpected foe. The roar of the cannon, off
Put-in-Bay Island, on the 10th of September, 1813, was the first and the
last heard of the enemy after these military preparations for defense were
EASTERN SHIPBUILDERS DRIVEN WEST.
"Over on the Connecticut river Augustus Jones and William Murdock had been shipbuilders before the war. A raid by the British, who ascended the Connecticut under the cover of darkness and burned their ship-yards, left the two men, among other fellow craftsmen, almost penniless. When the Government, in 1820, offered them land in the Western Reserve, they accepted the proffer and took grants near the mouth of Black river.
LORAIN'S EARLY SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY
"So began Lorain's
ship-building industry. From the start, made by the establishment of
the yards of Jones and Murdock, this new activity flourished.
Ship-carpenters, the community's first employed workingmen, came from the
East. As the industry grew, other master builders established yards.
Not only along the river, but on the lake shore, east and west of the
harbor mouth, wooden sailing vessels were built and launched. The
first merchant ship to sail Lake Superior was turned out of a yard here.
There was no navigable passage then between Lake Superior and Lake Huron,
and the vessel had to be taken from the water on the Northern Peninsula of
Michigan, portaged overland and launched into White Fish Bay.
BLACK RIVER SETTLEMENT BECOMES CHARLESTON VILLAGE
"It was the same year - 1836 - that the settlement, until then known as Black River, was incorporated as a village. Charleston, growing into importance as a shipping point, presented the paradox of having into importance as a shipping point, presented the paradox of having no means of commercial transportation except the water. To provide a connection with the county seat at Elyria a plank road, with a regulation toll gate, was built between the two villages. The present Broadway, from its lower end at the river front to about the Fifth-street intersection, lies on the line of the old planked highway.
HEARSE, FIRST PUBLIC UTILITY
"Charleston was busy but not comfortable as a living place. Despite
the fact that old residents of today, recalling the days of the '40s and
'50s, declare proudly that Charleston had no doctors because it needed
none, they admit that the community was infested with malaria and typhoid
in the hot summer months. Undrained marsh land along the river
provided a breeding place for disease which the village, lacking public
sanitation, was unable to combat. Ship-yard workers left the place
in the summer for a more healthful climate. 'Those of us who
remained in the summers dared not die, because there weren't men enough to
bury us,' an old resident said to the writer. 'Our only cemetery for
a time was on Bank street, now Sixth. We had no hearse. When
someone died, we had to convey the body to the burying ground in a farm
wagon. Then a cemetery was established at Amherst. The two
villages went in together and bought a hearse. I guess that hearse
was the community's first municipally-owned public utility.'
PLOWING OUT A RIVER CHANNEL.
" 'The storms made it bad for vessels that were in the harbor,' the old residenter said. 'Often there would be several schooners at the sawmill up at Globeville (Globeville was the name given to the territory of the present South Lorain). To get the boats out into the lake again, the men would take their teams and plows down upon the sandbar in the river, and plow out a channel which the current would enlarge sufficiently to allow the passage of the bottled-up vessels.
"Without a railroad, Charleston had two big hotels and an immense boarding house. On the site of the present Wagner building was the Reid House, built and owned by Conrad Reid. Where the abandoned S. L. Pierce shoe factory stands was the Lampman House, owned and operated by the late Maured Lampman. Across from the Lampman House was the Canard, a boarding house that passed through several hands and finally burned one night, furnishing the village with the first big fire in its history.
CHARLESTON'S LEAN YEARS.
"Charleston was sanguine. Its shipbuilding industry was expanding
and bringing the village fame among Great Lakes communities. Then
came a reaction that was to mean many cheerless, sterile years for the
village on the banks of the old Canesadooharie.
SCENT OF THE COMING IRON HORSE.
"Years passed thus. Then in 1872 came the awakening that was to mark
the beginning of the last epoch in the development of what is now
incorporated Lorain." None in these days is so dense that he does
not scent the coming railroad; in Lorain's case, it was the Baltimore &
FIRST COLONY OF PERMANENT SETTLERS.
With the Indian titles to the lands west
of the Cuyahoga cleared by treaty, and any prior complications guaranteed
by the Connecticut Land Company, the first colony of permanent settlers,
with their families, commenced to arrive in what is now the northeastern
boarders of Lorain County, in the fall of 1807. In September of that
year a company of thirty persons left Waterbury, Connecticut, for that
part of the county. Its members were as follows: Calvin
Hoadley, wife and five children; Lemuel Hoadley, wife and three
children, father and wife's mother; Lathrop Seymour and wife;
John Williams, wife and five children; a Mrs. Parker with
four children; Silas Hoadley and Chauncey Warner; and
Bela Bronson, wife and child. The colony spent two months in
reaching Buffalo, took boat for the mouth of the Cuyahoga, but were cast
ashore in a storm near Erie, and many of them were compelled to make the
remainder of the journey on foot.
COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED
"Columbia, at the time of its organization, which took place in 1809, was a part of Geauga county. The first election was held on the first Monday of April, of that year, at the house of Calvin Hoadley. There were nineteen voters at the election. Calvin Hoadley, Jared Pritchard and John Williams were elected trustees. Bela Bronson was elected clerk. Having no use for a treasurer, none was elected. Lathrop Seymour was elected constable and, to provide him employment, in May following, Nathaniel Doan was elected justice of the peace. All of Geauga county lying west of Columbia, was annexed to that township for judicial and other purposes. The jurisdiction of that functionary, covered, in territorial extent, nearly an empire. The plaintiff on the first action brought before him, lived on Grand River, and the defendant on the Vermillion. It was the case of Skinner v. Baker. The plaintiff had judgment, which was paid, not in legal tender, but in labor. The first school taught was in the summer of 1808, by Mrs. Bela Bronson, in the first log house erected."
PIONEER SETTLERS OF RIDGEVILLE
After Columbia, the
next settlers in the county located in the Township of Ridgeville, nearer
Lake Erie. They were also Waterbury people, although the original
drawer of the township was a Hartford lawyer named Ephraim Root.
For a few years after its settlement it was called Rootstown, after Lyman
Root, the original owner of the township and one of the colony of
purchasers and settlers. In 1809-10 Oliver Terrell, Ichabod
Terrell and David Beebe, residents of Waterbury,
exchanged their lands in that place for about one-fourth the Township of
Ridgeland. In the spring of 1810 Mr. Beebe, with his sons
David and Loman, Joel Terrell and Lyman Root,
left Waterbury and, after a long journey, reached Ridgeville. On the
6th of July of that year Tillotson Terrell arrived, with his wife
and three children. His was the first family that settled in the
township. In the summer of that year David Beebe, Jr.,
returned to Waterbury and brought on the family of his father, and the
wife and children of Lyman Root. At the same time, Ichabod
Terrell, his wife Rhoda, and five children, his father and
Asa Morgan, his teamster, exchanged their Connecticut homes and
comforts for the untried experiences of frontier life. Oliver
Terrell, father of Ichabod, upwards of eighty years of age,
made the entire trip on horseback. They reached Ridgeville in the
fall, cutting a wagon road from Rocky River to the place of destination.
They were two days and three nights en route from Rocky River. The
company that came on in the spring had built a small cabin of logs of such
size as so few could carry, the roof being of bark and the floor of earth.
This cabin was built in the first clearing made. Here all had lived
together and kept bachelor's hall. Upon the arrival of Tillotson
Terrell and family, in the early part of July, he "moved in" and
remained until the erection of a log home for himself and family.
This was not long after his advent into the town. About the same
time David Beebe, Sr., built a log house, a little west and nearly
opposite the residence of the late Garry Root. These log
cabins were an improvement on the one previously built, in one respect at
least: each had a puncheon floor and an opening for a window. As
window glass was an article not possessed, foolscap paper was employed in
its stead; and while it was a poor instrument to exclude the cold air from
the rude dwelling, it was the best means possessed as a substitute for the
admission of light. Joel Terrell, one of the first of the
spring company, returned to Connecticut in 1810, and remained until 1811,
when, with his family, he directed his steps again westwards to his future
The first mill for grinding flour was the offspring of necessity. It was erected near where Tillotson Terrell built his log house. It was the mortar and pestle. A long about three feet in length, cut from a pepperage tree, set on its end and burned out round in the, with a pestle attached to a spring pole; these were the sum total of its parts and its mechanism. This was a familiar and friendly acquaintance of the neighboring inhabitants, and by them was kept in constant use, until time and means brought in better days. In 1812-13 Joseph Cahoon, of Dover, built a grist mill on the small creek at the center. Captain Hoadley, of Columbia, possessed a hand grist mill; and in the winter of 1816-17 a mill was built at Elyria, thus removing the necessity for the further use of the mortar and pestle.
RIDGEVILLE TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED
The Township of Ridgeville was organized in 1813. At the spring election of that year there were fifteen voters; and they were all at the election. Judges of election were provided, and the polls were opened. David Beebe, Ichabod Terrell and Joel Terrell were elected trustees. Joel Terrell was elected justice of the peace; David Beebe, Jr., constable, and Willis Terrell, township clerk. A post office was established in 1815, and Moses Eldred appointed postmaster. Up to this date the Cleveland postoffice was the nearest. Town No. 5, in the same range (Eaton), was included in the organization of Ridgeville.
EATON TOWNSHIP SETTLED
Township was settled, in the fall of 1810, by members of the colony who
came from Waterbury, Connecticut, as associates of those who located in
what is now Ridgeville Township. Before its incorporation was the
property originally of Caleb Atwater, Turhand Kirtland, Holbrook
and ten others. Tract 1, gore 4, range 11, was annexed to it, to
bring it up to full value. It was originally called Holbrook, and
retained that name until 1822, from the circumstance that Daniel
Holbrook was a large owner of its soil. It was first
settled in the fall of 1810, by Asa Morgan, Silas Wilmot, Ira
B. Morgan and Ebenezer Wilmot. These were all single men.
They came from Waterbury, Connecticut, in the spring and summer, with
those who took up their abode in Ridgeville. They built a log
house, in the fall of that year, on the land long occupied by Silas
Wilmot, and jointly occupied it, until, by change in their
circumstances, such occupancy was no longer desirable. By
agreement, this house became the property of Silas Wilmot.
It was the first erection in the town.
The organization of the Township of Ridgeville included Eaton; and the two towns were embraced in the civil organization, until Dec. 3, 1822, at which time it was ordered by the commissioners of Cuyahoga County, on the petition of the inhabitants, that No. 6 (5), range 16, be set off into a township by the name of Eaton. At the spring election, in 1832, the required township officers were elected, the township detached from Ridgeville and organized for independent action.
THE BEEBES AND PERRYS OF BLACK RIVER
interesting historic event the attempt of the Moravian missionaries to
establish a post at the mouth of the Black River in the present township
by that name has been described in detail. It will be remembered
that they remained a few days before leaving in the face of the threats
of the Delaware chief, and their coming had no connection with the
settlement which approached permanency; that honor fell to the Beebes,
Vermonters, in 1807, which, for Lorain County, may be called the "year
of assurance." Nathan Perry, Jr., son of Nathan Perry,
of Cleveland, both of Vermont, opened a store at Black River for trade
with the Indians. He employed Azariah Beebe as his
advance agent, who, with his wife, went ahead, opened the store and
commenced housekeeping. Mr. Perry soon after
followed and boarded with them. The store and residence were
located east of the river. The Beebes remained there for several
years and then dropped out of sight.
During 1810, the year of Daniel Perry's arrival, came to Black River Township Jacob Shupe, Joseph Quigley, George Kelso, Andrew Kelso, Ralph Lyon and a Mr. Seeley, some of whom settled in what became Amherst Township. In the following year the little colony was increased by the arrival of John S. Reid, Quartus Gilmore, Aretus Gilmore and William Martin. Mr. Reid was a man of great energy of character, and soon became prominent, as the leading citizen of the town. He was one of the first three commissioners upon the organization of the county, in 1824, and before then, and while Black River was a part of Huron County, in 1819, he was a commissioner of that county. He was one of the commissioners of Huron County that directed the joint organization of Elyria and Carlisle. He died in 1831, and his son Conrad spent his life in the township. Quartus and Aretus Gilmore were sons of Edmund, who moved to Black River with his family in 1812. He was the owner of a large tract of land in Black River and Amherst, and built, in that year, the first framed barn ever erected in the county.
BLACK RIVER TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED
On the 14th of November, 1811, the Township Dover was organized by the
commissioners of Cuyahoga County. It included within its defined
limits the present townships of Dover, Avon, Sheffield, and that part of
Black River east of the river; and on the 12th of March, 1812, the
territory now comprising the townships of Elyria, Amherst, all of Black
River west of the river, and Brownhelm were attached to Dover for
township purposes. They remained so attached until Vermillion was
organized, when the towns now known as Amherst, Brownhelm and Black
River, west of the river, were annexed to that township. On the
27th of October, 1818, the Township of Troy was organized and included
the present towns of Avon and all of Sheffield and Black River lying
east of the river. It will be remembered that Huron County was
organized in 1815, and was extended east of Black River, and for a
distance beyond it. At the February session, in 1817, of the
commissioners of Huron County, it was ordered that Township No. 6
(Amherst) and that part of No. 7 (Black River) in the Eighteenth Range
which lay in the County of Huron, with all the lands thereto attached in
said Huron County, be set off from the Township of Vermillion and
organized into a separate township under the name of Black River.
Thus Amherst, Black River and Brownhelm were first organized as Black
The Black River postoffice was located on the South River, now South Amherst, and the other was named "The Mouth of Black River Post Office." Eliphalet Redington was the first postmaster of the office on South River, and John S. Reid of the postoffice at the mouth of Black River.
FOUNDING OF LORAIN CITY
It was not until 1817 that the settlement at the mouth of the Black River promised to blossom into a full-blown village. In that year Judge Heman Ely, also the founder of Elyria, established his colony in that portion of the great tract which he had purchased from the Connecticut Land Company. In his early manhood Judge Ely had spent some time in the Province of Lorraine, France, and the pleasant memories of his residence in that charming and romantic country induced him to suggest the name of the new county which was created by the Legislature in 1822. The French spelling was, however, contracted and Anglicized. Afterward the boat-building and fishing settlement at the mouth of Black River took that name. The fine harbor at that locality, added to these industries, made it quite an important lake port, before the early '70s, when the railroads entered the land territory naturally tributary to it; it was incorporated as a village; the steel works and other large industries located; population increased rapidly; it was incorporated as a city and established its position as the leading commercial and industrial center of the county and one of the most thriving municipalities on Lake Erie. Abundant proof of these general statements is afforded in the details packed into succeeding pages.
EARLY SETTLERS OF AMHERST TOWNSHIP
Jacob Shupe, already
mentioned, is entitled to the post of honor as the pioneer settler of
what is now Amherst Township. He came into Black River in 1810 and
early in the following year moved over the line into Amherst and settled
upon Beaver Creek. Within a short time he erected both saw and
grist mills, and several years afterward the first whiskey distillery in
the township. He spent his money to the limit in various primitive
improvements, and it was while making an extension to one of his mills
on Beaver Creek, in 1832, that a timber fell on him and caused injuries
which resulted in his death. His Widow lived to be ninety years of
In the year 1818 Josiah Harris settled at what is now North Amherst, where he spent a long and useful life. He came from Becker, Berkshire
[PICTURE OF JOSIAH HARRIS]
County, Massachusetts. He was elected justice of
the peace in 1821, and held the office by re-election for thirty-six
consecutive years. He was postmaster at North Amherst for a
continuous period of forty years; was the first sheriff of the county;
was appointed associate judge in 1829, and served for the period of
seven years. He was the object of universal respect by the
inhabitants of the town of his adoption. Through the beneficence
of his counsel, parties litigant often left his court with their cause
amicably settled, with all irritation removed, and personal good feeling
AS A POLITICAL BODY
In the meantime, while this
region near the lake shore was being settled, the present Township of
Amherst was being brought into shape. This was not effected until
1830. Old Black River Township was organized in April, 1817,
as a part of Huron County. Brownhelm Township was detached in 181, and
Russia in 1825, leaving the territory now embraced in the townships of
Amherst and Black River as one township, under the name of Black River
Township. On January 12, 1830, the Ohio Legislature passed a
special act of division. This was made necessary in view of the
act prohibiting the incorporation of any township with an area of less
than twenty-two square miles; the territory to be divided made it
impossible to abide by that law and the Legislature therefore passed a
special measure on the date named. The inhabitants of fractional
township No. 7, range 18, in the Connecticut Western Reserve, were
incorporated as the Township of Black River, and township No. 6, in the
same range, as Amherst.
AMHERST AS A VILLAGE
For many years it was seen that
the Corners, nearly in the center of the township, was the logical site
for a village. Judge Josiah Harris had also a large tract
of land around the Old Spring, in the same locality, a portion of which
he laid out into lots in 1830 and started the Village of Amherstville.
The three decades following brought a very slow growth. Then came
the Cleveland & Toledo Railroad (now the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern)
and an increased demand for the famous Amherst sandstone.
TOWNSHIPS SETTLED DURING THE WAR
Sheffield, Pittsfield and Avon townships, as they are known today, received their first accession of pioneers during the war period of 1812-15. Avon, however, seems to have been the most fortunate in providing homes for a number of settlers who proved to be permanent in their character.
PIERREPONT EDWARDS DRAWS AVON TOWNSHIP
In 1807 Pierrepont Edwards, the famous Revolutionary soldier, congressman and judge, of Connecticut, drew town No. 7, range 16 (Avon), together with three of the Bass islands in Lake Erie west of North Sandusky, annexed to the town for purpose of equalization. In 1812 Noah Davis settled on the lake shore, erected a log house, remained but a short time and left, never to return.
THE CAHOON FAMILY
In 1814, Wilbur Cahoon, Lewis Austin and Nicholas Young made the first permanent settlement of the town, and a century afterward, on the 10th of September, their descendants celebrated the event. On that occasion, Horace J. Cahoon, grandson of Wilbur and then in his seventy-eighth year, who had been appointed historian, read an interesting paper, from which liberal extracts are taken elsewhere. Aside from the interest which attaches to the personality of Wilbur Cahoon as one of the first three settlers of Avon Township, he was the first justice of the peace elected for the jurisdiction now divided among the townships of Avon, Sheffield and Dover (the last named now a part of Cuyahoga County). He made his good influence felt in many ways, although his death occurred as early as 1826. The widow died in 1855. Of their eight children, Leonard was the only one to be born in Avon Township, and he was its first native white child. All the other children were born in Herkimer County, New York. The Cahoon family has long been identified with township and county matters, Horace J., before mentioned, serving for nearly ten years as recorder.
AVON TOWNSHIP CREATED
On the 27th of October,
1818, the Town of Avon, together with the annexations hereinbefore
stated, was set off from Dover, and organized in a separate township by
the name of Troy, by the commissioners of Cuyahoga County. It will
be remembered that, at this date, the river from the point where it
passes into Sheffield north to the lake was the boundary line between
Huron and Cuyahoga counties. A special election was ordered for
township officers, to be held November 9, 1818. Elah Park, John
Williams and Lodovick Moon were elected trustees;
Larkin Williams, township clerk; Abraham Moon,
treasurer. In June, 1819, Jabez Burrell, living in
the Sheffield district and William Cahoon were elected as
justice of the peace.
PIONEER FAMILIES CROWD INTO SHEFFIELD
Sporadically - if the
expression may be applied to human beings and their coming - the
pioneers of Sheffield Township extended their operations over a period
of a dozen years before it was organized under its present name and with
its present bounds. William Hart, of Saybrook, Ashtabula
County, drew it originally. Previous to his disposition of the
land, about 1812, he agreed to give Timothy Wallace his
choice of lots, if he would settle and occupy the same. Wallace
accepted the offer, entered and improved a few acres on the
Robbins Burrell farm, and finally abandoned it. In January,
1815, art conveyed the township to Capt. John Day and
Capt. Jabez Burrell, of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Obadiah Deland, Joshua Smith, Joseph Fitch, Solomon Fitch, Isaac Burrell
and Henry Austin became joint owners with Day and Burrell.
In June of that year Jabez Burrell and Isaac, Captain Day
and Joshua Smith came west and made selections. In the
following November, Smith and son reached the selected ground and
became fixed settlers. They were soon joined by Samuel B. Fitch
and Asher Chapman, who struck hands with them, built a small
shanty and occupied it during the winter of 1815-16.
SHEFFIELD, FIRST TOWNSHIP AFTER COUNTY ORGANIZATION.
Then came a hiatus of a dozen
years, broken, in 1819, by the survey of the township into lots on the
part of new proprietors. Milton Whitney was one of
the largest owners of that period. In 1820 he came from the East,
made an examination of the land, and entered into an arrangement with
Thomas and Jeffrey Waite, sons of Thomas Waite,
then of Russia, by which they were to settle in town No. 4, range 18,
upon his giving them fifty acres of land each. This he did, and in
the spring of 1821 the two Waites moved into the town, and took
up their residence there. They were the first permanent settlers
The town was early annexed to Wellington for township purposes and remained so annexed until Dec., 1831, when on the petition of the inhabitants, it was detached and incorporated into a township by the name of Pittsfield. Many of its largest land-owners resided in the Massachusetts town of that name. In April, 1832 the selection of township officers completed its organization as a separate civil body.
VILLAGE OF ELYRIA FOUNDED.
Elyria Township was
settled soon after the cessation of the War of 1812. That conflict
was settled soon after the cessation of the War of 1812. That
conflict interrupted settlement in Lorain County, as in every other
portion of the Western Reserve. The first settlement of the
township was coincident with the founding of the Village of Elyria.
It was not until 1816 that the nucleus of the with the family in the
western portion of what is now the townsite. The place cannot be
said to have been founded, however, until the coming of Heman Ely
from West Springfield, Massachusetts. He had purchased in the
Connecticut Land Company about 12000 acres of land lying around the
falls of the Black River, and in arch, 1817, arrived to take possession
of this purchase and prepare for its improvements. Building a dam
and erecting a grist and saw mill on the east branch of the river, he
set about energetically to lay out the village, which, in his honor,
assumed the name of Elyria.
THE ELY HOME
The Village of Elyria was soon
laid out and some time in the succeeding year, 1818, Mr. Ely
moved into his residence, which he occupied for years afterward - the
first frame house erected in the village. That residence has been
described as a building 45 by 40 feet, two stories with cellar under the
main part; kitchen in the rear; fireplace in every room, and brick oven
in the kitchen. No stoves were known at that time. The
siding of the house was made from a single whitewood tree cut on the
place near a bend in the road. A large barn was built at the same
time. Invitations were sent to Ridgeville, and both frames were
raised the same day.
THE FAMOUS BEEBE TAVERN.
Of the party who accompanied Judge Ely to the site of Elyria, in February, 1817, was Artemas Beebe, an expert carpenter and builder. The second house to arise on the village site, after Mr. Ely's residence, was built by Mr. Beebe on the first lot purchased of the proprietor and opposite what afterward became known as the Ely homestead. It was a large two-story frame building, with an ell, and was used for many years as tavern and a stage office. In the early times Beebe's Tavern was the acknowledged center of social life for the entire Village of Elyria, as it was the general stopping place for travelers seeking western homes, and for lawyers and judges, as well as the lounging place of the villagers themselves. The tavern was long what may be called the general "news exchange," and, in a way, became the political headquarters of the county.
THE FIRST BEEBE HOME.
During the first year of
business Mr. Beebe had a partner in his tavern venture, but from
1819 to 1835 actively conducted it himself. In 1820 he returned to
his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, also Judge Ely's old
home, where he married an old acquaintance, Miss Pamelia Morgan,
of that place. One of their daughters (the late Mrs. Mary Beebe
Hall), who afterward became known in the community as a woman of
literary ability and social distinction, not long before her death
issued an interesting booklet entitled "Reminiscences of Elyria," where
in she describes the journey of the young couple to their Elyria home,
as well as the appearance of the primitive house, in which they
commenced their married life.
THE BRIDAL TRIP
"For four long weeks this young couple journeyed on through mud and various mishaps of overturned wagon and contents, and landed in Elyria to begin their home-making in a large and unplastered house. They were welcomed by Captain Cooley and family, who has occupied the hoe after it was finished, up to Mr. Beebe's home-coming with his wife. This home contained large fireplaces in all the living rooms and a larger one in the kitchen, with oven and crane; a big stone hearth and plenty of wood to burn, and great back logs for foundations, for fires were always buried at night, as matches were not known.
THE OLD-TIME FIREPLACE
"The arrangement of this home was typical of many others of the early times, with fireplaces and ovens. Occasionally, the ovens were built outside under a shed, with a big stump used for foundation. This big fireplace deserves a passing notice, and I always feel sorry for people who never have known how much pleasure is associated with it. A large iron bake kettle, with a lid, would be utilized at times in the corner of the big hearth. What a delight for a child to sit and watch the process! With live coals from the fireplace under and over, biscuits, gingerbread and johnny-cake were done to a turn. Once a week the oven would be heated and filled with bread, pies and cake. What anticipations of coming good things! Beefsteak on gridiron in front of the fire, with live coals to broil it (never such steak); spare ribs or turkey on a cord in front of the fire, turned and basted until fit for a king! How pretty a row of apples looked roasting! How nice corn popped, and what fun to crack hickory nuts on the stone hearth (for it did not crack it), and eaten in the evenings! Breakfast were gathered and spread on the garret floor, making a winter's supply for family and friends. Sweet cider, too. Stomachs were not recognized; one never heard of appendicitis. There were rhubarb and castor oil in the house, and peppermint in the lot, if one needed remedies in emergencies.
LAST BEEBE HOUSE, PRIDE OF THE TOWN.
"In 1835, having built a house
on the corner of Broad street and East Avenue, Mr. Beebe rented the
tavern to George Prior, brother-in-law of Mr. Ely, and
moved to this home, which has been the homestead and is still occupied
by the youngest daughter. In 1847 Mr. Beebe completed the
Beebe House, at the corner of Park and Main streets. At the
time of its building, no town the size of Elyria could boast of such a
fine, substantial hotel; an ornament to the town and a credit to the
builder, who wished to furnish suitable accommodations for the
increasing population of town and country. It was built and kept
as a temperance house, as long as owned by the family. Gatherings
from town and country were entertained in the large parlors and dining
room; also sleigh rides and banquets. The fourth floor was
the Odd Fellows' Lodge for years. The dancing hall for private
parties made this hotel the center of social life."
ELYRIA TOWNSHIP PARTITIONED IN 1816
Town No. 6, in range 17 (Elyria), at the draft in April, 1807, was drawn by Justin Ely, Roger Newbury, Jonathan Brace, Elijah White, Enoch Perkins, a company composed of Roger Newbury and others, John H. Buell and Jonathan Dwight. They also drew tract 3, in the nineteenth range, annexed to the town to equalize it. These lands were divided between the owners, at the September term of the Supreme Court, in Portage County, in 1816. The south part of the town, about one-third of the whole, was set off to Justin Ely; the central part to Elijah White; 2100 acres north of White's to Jonathan Brace; and the remainder to Perkins and Newbury. White conveyed to Justin Ely to his son, Heman Ely, who purchased the Brace tract, making him the owner of 12,500 acres, in a solid body.
In 1816 Heman Ely
left his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit the lands of
his father, soon to become his, in the above numbered town. In due
time he arrived, and took up his abode at the hotel of Capt. Moses
Eldred, in Ridgeville, about two miles east of the river.
During the season he engaged Jedediah Hubbell and a Mr.
Shepard, of Newburgh, to erect a sawmill and gristmill on the east
branch of the river near the foot of the present Broad Street, and in
the fall of that year returned to Massachusetts. The erections
contracted for were made during the winter of 1816-17. As stated,
in January, Roderick Ashley, Edwin Bush and James Porter
arrived from West Springfield, with axes on their shoulders, prepared to
grapple with the forest along the Black River. In February, 1817,
Mr. Ely Artemus Beebe, Ebenezer Lane,
Luther Lane, Miss Ann Snow, and a
colored boy called Ned, left Massachusetts for Ohio, and in March
joined the company that came on in the winter. Ebenezer Lane,
afterward, and for many years, occupied with much distinction a place
upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the state.
The first frame building was
the one occupied during the first season for a joiner shop and
thereafter, for many years, for a store. Edmund West
opened the first store in 1818. The second frame building was for
the residence of Mr. Ely. At the raising, as was
customary in those times, men from many miles away were present, to put
their shoulders to the bent, and assist their neighbor in providing a
habitation. All were considered neighbors within a distance of
twenty miles. While buildings were being erected the forest was
TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE SURVEYED.
In 1817 the survey of the
township and village was commenced by Joshua Henshaw, a skillful
surveyor, and continued until completed. In the fall of 1817
Heman Ely and the two Lanes returned to Massachusetts, and
spent the most of the winter. In October, 1818, Mr. Ely
again visited the East; was made happy while there by his marriage to
Miss Celia Belden, returned to Elyria, and directed renewed energies
to the development of the town.
In May, 1818, a postoffice was established under the name of Elyria, and on the 23d of the month Mr. Ely was appointed postmaster, and continued in the office until April, 1833, when he was succeeded by John S. Matteson.
On the 20th of October, 1819, the Township of Elyria was erected. Besides its present territory, it then embraced what is now the Township of Carlisle, which became an independent organization in June, 1822, after which Elyria Township retained its separate civil administration.
ELYRIA CITY OF TODAY
Elyria is a busy and handsome city, and well worthy of its honor as the civil and political center of the county. Such buildings as the courthouse, the Masonic Temple, the Y. M. C. A., the high school, the Memorial Hospital and several of its churches, would be creditable to any city in the state, while the large soldiers' monument in the courthouse square indicates its standing as a patriotic community. Commencing with Judge Ely's mills, first erected on what is now Main Street, and the establishment of the first considerable manufactory at Elyria by the Lorain Iron Company in 1832, Elyria has developed her industrial life to a larger extent than most county seats. That statement will become evident in the detailed account which is elsewhere given, and four solid banks stand behind the local industry, commerce and trade. Such general statements regarding Elyria are made to fill out the bird's eye view covering the principal events in the settlement and composition of Lorain County.
FATHER AND PIONEERS OF BROWNHELM
The first settler of town No.
6, range 19, lying along Lake Erie and then a part of Huron County, was
Col. Henry Brown, from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was
accompanied by Peter P. Pease, Charles Whittlesey, William Alverson
and William Lincoln, who assisted Colonel Brown in
building his house, as did Seth Morse and Rensselaer Cooley.
Morse and Cooley returned to the East for the winter.
Alverson, Lincoln, Pease and Whittlesey remained on the
ground. In after years Mr. Whittlesey became distinguished
not only as a general in the Civil war, but as a archaeologist and
historian. He was the founder of the Western Reserve Historical
Society and its president for many years. The Township of
Brownhelm is named in honor of the leader of the original colony, of
which Colonel Whittlesey was a member in the period of his young
manhood and obscurity. Peter P. Pease was the first settler
TOWNSHIP CREATED AND ORGANIZED
From February, 1817, until October, 1818, the town was a part of Black River. At the latter date, on the petition of the inhabitants to the commissioners of Huron County, No. 6, in the nineteenth range, together with surplus lands adjoining west, and all lands lying west of Beaver Creek, in No. 7, eighteenth range (Black River), was organized into a separate township by the name of Brownhelm. Colonel Brown had the honor to select the name. Township officers were chosen at the spring election in 1819, held at the hoe of George Bacon. Calvin Leonard, Levi Shepard and Alva Curtis were elected trustees; Anson Cooper, township clerk; William Alverson, treasurer; Benjamin Bacon and Levi Shepard, justices of the peace. This perfected the township organization. That part of the present Town of Black River lying west of Beaver Creek was, in June, 1829, by order of the commissioners, detached from Brownhelm, and reannexed to Black River.
SETTLEMENT OF TOWNSHIP
The original proprietors of
Russia Township were Titus Street and Isaac Mills, the
latter selling his interest to Samuel Hughes before settlement
actually commenced. In 1817, Thomas Waite moved his family
from Ontario County, New York, and resided in Amherst until the spring
of 1818, when he moved into Russia Township, taking up a piece of land
in its northwest corner, north of the road leading from Webb's
Corners to Henrietta. There, a few years afterward, he died, the
first settler in the township.
FOUNDING OF OBERLIN
Until 1833 the southern part of
the township was unbroken ground and largely dense forest. IN the
spring of that year, Peter P. Pease, one of the Brownhelm
pioneers and the advance guard of the Oberlin colony, erected his log
cabin opposite where the Park Hotel now stands and on college ground.
RUSSIA TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED
When Black River was organized in February, 1817, by the commissioners of Huron County, the lands adjoining the present township of Amherst, on the south, were annexed to enable the inhabitants to enjoy township privileges. The inhabitants of Russia remained so annexed, until June, 1825, at which time, on petition of many of her citizens, it was detached from Black River by the commissioners of Lorain County and incorporated into a separate township. The election of township officers was had at a log schoolhouse on the hill near Wright's in the summer of 1825, it being a special election ordered for the purpose of perfecting the township organization. At this election, George Disbro, Israel Cash, and Walter Buck, were elected trustees; Richard Rice, clerk; and Daniel Axtell, justice of the peace.
FIRST YEAR OF PIONEERING IN GRAFTON
The pioneer settlers of what is
now Grafton Township also came into that part of the county after the
War of 1812 had spent its force and it seemed safe to locate in the
region of the great lakes. The township was then attached to
Medina County. Settlement commenced in 1816. In May of that
year, from fifteen to eighteen men left Berkshire County, Massachusetts,
and journeyed hither for the purpose of selecting and locating lands for
which they either had exchanged or were to exchange, lands owned by them
in that state. Among these men were Jonathan Rawson, John
and George Sibley, Seth C. and Thomas Ingersoll, sons of
Major William Ingersoll and brothers of Mrs. Harriet Nesbit.
The selection was made and all returned East, except the Sibleys,
and the men employed by Rawson to remain and work at clearing the
Medina County was not civilly
organized until January, 1818, and on the 25th of the following July its
commissioners incorporated the Township of Grafton. AT the first
election held in August, 1818, Eliphalet Jones, William Ingersoll
and William B. Crittenden were elected trustees; William
Bishop, clerk; Reuben Ingersoll, treasurer; David Ashley,
appraiser of property; Grindel Rawson and Seth C. Ingersoll,
fence viewers. Previous to the organization of the township, it
had been attached to Liverpool for judicial purposes, and in April,
1818, Reuben Ingersoll had been elected justice of the peace at
the election held in that town.
VILLAGE OF GRAFTON
Grafton Village, which is eight miles southeast of Elyria, is a place of about 1,000 people, divided by the line between Grafton and Eaton townships, the bulk of the community lying in the former. Some years ago it was an important center of the stone industry, but the growth of the cement business, and the use of artificial material in the construction of bridges and building, so seriously interfered with the quarrying of stone that only one live quarry remains at that place. That is a branch of the Cleveland Stone Company operating under the name of the Grafton Stone Company, and its output consists chiefly of grindstones. The only other considerable business concern of the place is the Grafton Lumber and Construction Company. The village corporation dates from 1882.
WELLINGTON'S ORIGINAL OWNERS AND SETTLERS
Although the Duke of
Wellington was still a hero of the day when the pioneer settlers
came to Wellington Township, and even when it was organized politically,
the origin of the name is directly traced to one William Welling,
a New Yorker, who was of the original band of emigrants. Settlement
commenced in 1818 and the township was organized three years later.
ARRIVAL OF FIRST FAMILY
Clifford returned to
Massachusetts in the following May. On July 4th, of the same year,
Frederick Hamlin arrived, accompanied by the wife of Wilcox,
her son Theodore, Caroline Wilcox, and Dr. D. J., Johns.
Before their arrival, Wilcox had erected a log house on land
selected by him northwest of the center, into which he at once
took his family. This was the first family that made its advent
into the town. Others were soon added, among whom were those of
John Howak, Alanson Howak, Whitman De Wolf, Benjamin Wadsworth, Silas
Bailey, Amos Adams, Judson Wadsworth, James Wilson and Josiah
The township was organized in April, 1821. It was then a part of Medina County. Hamlin was elected trustee; Wilcox a justice of the peace, and D. J. Johns township clerk. Colonel Herrick had been a member of the Massachusetts Legislature while a resident of Massachusetts. He did not remove here until 1837.
Wellington, as a
village, came into historic prominence in the late '50s because of the
rescue of a fugitive slave from the and of a United States marshal and
two Kentuckians on his way to his southern owners. In later years it
became one of the leading cheese centers of the country, and has
developed into a clean, substantial and progressive village of some
2,200 people. It has two banks a number of manufactories, a
handsome town hall, modern water works and electric light facilities, a
well-organized school system and churches to meet the requirements of
all its residents.
TOWNSHIP OF HUNTINGTON
In February, 1818, about the time that Messrs. Hamlin, Wilcox and Clifford left Berkshire County, Massachusetts, to establish homes in Wellington Township, Joseph Sage, John Laborie and others departed from Huntington, Connecticut, for the town immediately to the south. It was then simply No. 2, range 18, but in 1822 was incorporated as Huntington, in honor of the Connecticut Village.
THE LABORIES AND OTHER FAMILIES
John Laborie and wife
(the latter being the daughter of Mr. Sage) were the parents of
the first family that took up its settlement in the town. They
left in February, 1818, accompanied by four boys and a girl. They
made the route from Connecticut to Hudson, then in Portage county, in
four weeks, traveling the whole distance in a sleigh. At Stow they
hired an ox team to take them through, and after six days of severe
journey, they reached town No. 1 (Sullivan), then having but four
families - settlers of the previous year - within its borders. On
the next day, they moved forward and took possession of a log house that
had been built by Henry Chase. There was an opening for a
door, but nothing to fill or close it; no window nor chimney. The
cracks, or openings between the walls, had not been chinked. They
had one neighbor. He had just preceded them in settlement, and was
from Easton, New York. Laborie at once erected a log house,
and moved into it, and there lived for some three weeks, without a
window, floor or chimney. The bedsteads were made of puncheons,
and the beds were ticks filled with leaves. The boys chopped some
poles, placed them on the joists above, making a chamber and took up
their lodging in the loft. Sage went South, bought some
hogs, drove them home, butchered them and salted them down in a trough.
The trough cracked, the brine ran out, the salt lost its savor and away
went the park.
WOODEN BOWL FACTORY
Early in fall, there came the
families of Oliver Rising and Daniel Tillotson. Benjamin Rising
came with Oliver. The first framed dwelling was built by
ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP
In August, 1822, the commissioners of Medina County, to which Huntington then belonged incorporated the town by the name it now bears. It took its name from Huntington, Connecticut, the former abiding place of the Labories. The organization also embraced the new territory now within the township of Rochester. An election was held upon the first Monday of September, 1822. Joseph Sage, Henry K. Ferris and Benjamin Banning were elected trustees; Isaac Sage, township clerk; and David E. Hickox, treasurer. Joseph Sage was elected the first justice of the peace at a special election held soon after.
PENFIELD TOWNSHIP RIGHTLY NAMED
Penfield Township has an
appropriate name, as its first settler was thus designated and for
several years after he located the majority of its inhabitants were
Penfields. before it was incorporated under that name it was
designated by the surveyors as township No. 3, range 17. By the
draft it became the property of Caleb Atwater, who gave it to his
six daughters, Lucy Day, Ruth Cook, Abigail Andrews, Mary Beebe,
Sarah Merrick and the wife of Judge Cook.
COMING OF THE PENFIELDS
In 1819, Peter Penfield
again came, and selected land, employed Seth C. Ingersoll to
erect a log house upon it, and returned home. Ingersoll
completed the dwelling in the fall of that year. In February the
next, Peter Penfield and Lothrop Penfield arrived in
connection with Alanson, a son of Peter, already on the
ground, and who remained during the winter preceding and taught school
in Sheffield, commenced to open the forest four miles from the nearest
FAMILIES OF CALVIN SPENCER AND OTHERS
Calvin Spencer came
again in 1821, selected land, engaged Peter Penfield to build a
house upon it, and returned to New York. In the fall of 1821,
Samuel Knapp came, examined the land, made a selection and returned
home, and remained there until the fall of 1822, when with his family he
took up his abode in the infant settlement, upon the lands so selected.
Other families soon followed. David P. Merwin arrived in
1824. Calvin Spencer moved his family into the house
prepared for him in the spring of the same year. The family of
Stephen Knapp arrived about the same time, and the family of
Benjamin E. Merwin in 1825.
As has been stated, Carlisle and Elyria were organized together for civil purposes, in October, 1819, under the name of Elyria and as a township of Huron County. Carlisle was detached and separately organized in June 4, 1822, on petition of Obed Gibbs and others. Previously, a part of town 5 had acquired the name of Murraysville, but that was not satisfactory to the inhabitants who resided any considerable distance from Murray's Ridge. Phineas Johnson, one of the first two settlers, wished the township named Berlin, after his native Connecticut town. So the citizens compromised by naming the township neither Murraysville nor Berlin, but Carlisle.
PIONEER FAMILIES SETTLE
The first settlement of the
town was made in the spring of 1819, by Samuel Brooks, from
Middletown, Connecticut. He was accompanied by Phineas Johnson,
his wife's father, who assisted in selecting the spot for their future
home. Johnson returned to Connecticut. A log
house was soon erected, and in it Samuel Brooks took up his
abode. This was on the east branch of Black River, in the east
part of the town. In September of that year Hezekiah Brooks,
a brother of Samuel and whose wives were daughters of Phineas
Johnson; Capt. James Brooks and family, together with the families
of Johnson and Riley Smith, left Middletown, and after the
usual tedious journey of about six weeks, with ox teams, reached Elyria.
Smith and family remained at Elyria for a while, and then went into
Carlisle. The families of the Brookses and Johnsons
pushed forward to Carlisle, and moved in with Samuel, and
remained until other dwelling places could be provided.
[PICTURE OF BLAKESLEE'S OLD MILL, CARLISLE TOWNSHIP]
Brighton township is a product
of the early '20s. Only a few settlers had located previous to its
civil organization in 1823. Its pioneer settler was Abner
Loveman, Jr., who located on tract 7 in 1820, and in the following
year Joseph Kingsbury made his home in the same locality.
Like most other good New Englanders, they brought their families with
At the June session of the
commissioners of Lorain County, town 4, range 17, was attached to
Carlisle for civil and judicial purposes, and remained so attached until
its separate organization, as Lagrange Township, in January, 1827.
The first election for township officers was held in April of that year
at the residence of Fairchild Hubbard. Eber
W. Hubbard, afterward one of the associate judges of the Common
Pleas Court, was elected township clerk; James Disbrow,
treasurer; Noah Holcomb, Noah Kellogg and
Fairchild Hubbard, trustees, and Eber W. Hubbard,
justice of the peace.
[PICTURE OF PIONEER FRAME HOUSE IN LAGRANGE TOWNSHIP]
Lagrange is a little village of about 500 people, seven miles northeast of Wellington, on the Big Four line. It is incorporated; has a good school, to accommodate which a substantial building was erected in 1891 and an annex in 1915; a reliable bank; several churches and other evidences of intelligence, morality and progressiveness.
Henrietta Township was
organized from Brownhelm in 1827, but it was eight years before it
acquired its present form. In November, 1826, the inhabitants in
the south part of Brownhelm, petitioned the commissioners to take off
the three south tiers of lots, attach them to unsettled lands lying
south, and incorporate the same into a township. The petitioners
took occasion to say, that it was seven miles from the lake shore to the
south line of the township; that there had been but little communication
between the north and south settlements; and that if it was extremely
inconvenient for a portion of the people to transact the public business
of the town. The prayer of the petition was rejected, but at the
same session of the commissioners it was ordered that tracts 9, 10, 11,
12, 13, 14, 15, in range 19, with surplus lots lying west of said
tracts, be erected into a township, by the name of Henrietta, and be
attached to Brighton for judicial purposes. The township, as thus
formed, included a large part of the present township of Camdem, and a
little more than two-thirds of Henrietta.
The townships of Camden and Rochester were
organized by the commissioners of Lorain County in March, 1835.
Camden Township was carved out of Brighton and Henrietta. The
prolongation of the line between Russia and Pittsfield, west to range
20, was its northern boundary, and the extension west to the same range,
of the line between Pittsfield and Wellington, its southern.
Tracts 9 and 10, and parts of lots 8 and 11, in range 19, together with
surplus lands lying west, formed the material for its territorial
composition. Tract 9, by the draft at Hartford, became annexed to
Grafton, and was drawn by Lemuel Storrs; tract 10, annexed to
Dover, by Nehemiah Hubbard and Joshua Storrs. Tract
11, annexed to Pittsfield, was drawn by Henry Champion and
Lemuel Storrs. None of the 19th range south of Brownhelm, as
originally formed was surveyed into townships, but was all surveyed into
tracts, which were originally annexed to other towns for purposes of
ROCHESTER TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE.
At the same session that
Camden was set apart and organized into a township, lots 1 to 15,
inclusive of tract 3, with all the tracts 4 and 5 and a part of tract 6,
in range 19, together with surplus lots, 9 to 14, inclusive, lying
west of the range, with a part of surplus lot 8, were formed into the
Township of Rochester. Tract No. 5, was drawn by Uriah Holmes,
in connection with the Town of Litchfield, Medina County; and tract 4,
by Oliver Sheldon and others, was annexed to Huntington.
The first settlement was made by Elijah T. Banning, in April,
1831. Between 1831 and 1835 Benjamin C. Perkins, William
Shepard, John Conaut, John Baird, Samuel Smith, Luther Blair, Joseph
Hadley, Nehemiah Tucker, M. W. F. Fay, Erastus Knapp, Obijah W. Babcock,
John Peet and others, some with families, were joined to the
REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER BURIED IN EATON TOWNSHIP
One of the very few Revolutionary soldiers buried in Lorain County is George Fauver, whose remains lie in Butternut Cemetery, Eaton Township. Among his descendants are such men as L. B. Fauver, Ross Fauver, L. D. Hamlin and Julia Fauver of Elyria and L. A. Fauver, of Lorain; also Mable Gibson, of Oberlin, and the Munn and Lyons families, of Eaton Township.