Southington (township five of range five) is the
western township of the central tier of Trumbull county, and adjoins
Nelson township, Portage county, upon the west. It lies
between Braceville on the south and Farmington on the north, while
Champion adjoins its eastern line.
The surface is slightly undulating, with no
particularly striking features, and no prominent elevations.
Several small streams or runs diversify the surface of the northern
part of the township, tributaries of Dead run, which is itself a
stream of but little importance. The east branch of Dead run,
from the southeast of the township, unites with the west branch
about two and three-fourths miles north of the center, and thence
flows northward into Farmington. The west branch is fed by
several small runs, most of which have their source in the
northwestern quarter of the township.
The soil is mostly clay. Southington is chiefly
an agricultural community, and has no other industry of importance.
Dairying and stock-raising are carried on profitably.
There are no villages in this township. AT the
center there are two stores, a post-office, a blacksmith shop, two
churches, three church buildings, and eight or ten houses.
Bowmansville in the southeast, is a neighborhood of about the same
size, and contains a store, a church, a post-office, etc. The
post-office in the latter place was formerly known as Pleasant Hill,
but has recently been changed to Delightful.
The only railroad now passing through the township is
the Painesville & Youngstown narrow gauge, which cuts across the
northeastern corner. At the State road in the western part of
champion is the nearest station.
Southington contains a number of well-improved farms
with good substantial farm houses upon them. Its people are
mainly thrifty and frugal, of temperate habits, and friends to
morality. Four churches are well supported. The church
edifices here are far superior to ordinary rural churches.
A heavy growth of timber, mainly of oak, originally
covered the and. Many tracts are swampy, but skillful labor
has redeemed them largely from this state.
Township five, range five,
became a separate township and election district in 1817, and
received the name which it now bears.
THE FIRST ELECTION.
At an election held June
12, 1817, at the house of John James, the following township
officers were elected: Joshua Osborn, Seth Hurd,
Roderick Norton, trustees; Lemuel Frisbie, clerk;
James Chalker and Elisha Brunson, overseers of poor;
Gilbert Osborn, constable; Jay Hurd and Leonard Osborn,
appraisers; Jay Hurd, lister; Levi Ormsby and
Joseph Rice, supervisors; John James and Elisha
Walden, fence viewers; Joseph Rice, treasurers.
Cowles, Bolles, and
Ely were the proprietors of a large tract of land in the
Reserve, in which tract the principal portion of township five,
range five was included. Bolles was the largest
proprietor of the land in this township, and previous to its
organization the township was called Bollestown.
Ely came on after the settlement, and had the
center laid out as a village.
Several of the first settlers exchanged their farms in
Connecticut for land in this township.
The first settlers of the
present township of Southington were representatives of the bold and
progressive "Yankee nation" to which the Western Reserve is mainly
indebted for its growth and prosperity. The first settlers
were from Litchfield county, Connecticut, and several families came
from one town - Colebrook. The next arrivals were from New
York State. A few Vermonters came next, and last but not
least, the German Pennsylvanian.
The settlement began in 1805. In June of that
year arrived Luke Viets and his wife, David Viets, Luke's
father, James Chalker, Roderick Norton, and his brother
Horace, who was then but seven years of age. James
Nutt came out a year or two later. In 1807 he married and
settled in the township. The next settlers were Seth Hurd
and his son, Smith Hurd, making the fifth family in the
township. The Hurds arrived May 21, 1808. May
29th came Henry White and wife, and May 31st, Joseph Rice
and Elisha Brunson. July 30, 1809, Joshua Osborn
and Charles May arrived with their families.
The first cabin was built
by Luke Viets and James Chalker.
The first marriage was that of James
Nutt and Polly Viets, and took place in February, 1807.
The first birth was that of Edmund, son of
James Chalker, May 30, 1807. He died Oct. 8, 1808.
This was the first death in the township. The second birth was
that of a daughter of James Nutt, born Mar. 11, 1808.
The third birth was that of Lovisa Brunson, Oct. 7, 1808.
The facts are copied from memoranda made by Roderick
Norton, at or near the time the events occurred, and are
LUKE VIETS was the
financial head of the first party of settlers, and continued active
in the party of settlers, and continued active in the affairs of the
township as long as he lived. He owned one thousand acres of
land, and several of the settlers purchased their farms from him.
As already stated, his father, David, came here with him.
Soon after their settlement Benjamin Viets, Luke's brother,
came. Luke Viets was a cripple, yet he always managed
to look after his business well. He built a cabin and settled
three-fourths of a mile west of the center, where his son now lives.
His wife was Hannah Norton. They had only one child -
Zopher, who now resides upon the old homestead. Luke
Viets died in 1862, at the age of eighty-three. Zopher
Viets was born in 1810. He was married in April, 1830, to
Lydia Curtis, who died Nov. 1, 1880, having borne six
children - Mary, Russel, Harriet, Rebecca, Orrilla, and
Henry. Mrs. Harriet Chalker and Henry only survive.
Henry was born in 1843, and was married in 1866 to Lucy F.
Joy, daughter of Harvey Joy. Zopher Viets married
for his second wife Eunice Heathman, daughter of Horace
Norton, Aug. 27, 1881. Benjamin Viets settled in
the eastern part of the township south of the center road. His
children were Sally and Maria.
[Page 521] -
was born in Suffield, Connecticut, in November, 1783. He was
one of the younger sons of a large family. His father,
Freegrace Norton, died when Roderick was six teen,
and thenceforth he had to care for himself. He was a member of
the first party of settlers who came to Southington in 1805.
Upon the arrival of the settlers Norton took his axe and
struck the first blow for the improvement of the wilderness.
He returned to Connecticut in the month of November following, and
remained two years. He then came back to Ohio and battled with
the forest until January, 1810, when he visited his native State for
the last time. There he remained during the summer and on the
8th day of October, 1810, was married to Olive Miller,
daughter of Job Miller. Their wedding tour began
immediately in a journey to the New Connecticut. Their first
winter they passed at the house of their brother-in-law, Luke
Viets. Their eldest son, Homer Norton, a
sketch of whose life will be found in the chapter upon the bar of
Trumbull county, was born July 23, 1812, and now resides upon the
spot where his father made his first brush-heap in 1805. Roderick
Norton was drafted into the service in the summer of 1814,
and was first corporal in Lieutenant Hezekiah Hine's
company of Ohio militia, in the War of 1812. At the close of
the war he was honorably discharged. During her husband's
absence Mrs. Norton realized to the fullest extent the
disagreeable features of pioneer life. With her little son
Homer and an infant she passed the winter alone in a rude cabin,
half a mile from the nearest neighbor. She some times was
obliged to burn gunpowder in a spoon thrust through a crevice in the
cabin walls, to keep the wolves away. Roderick
Norton died from a cancer at the age of sixty-five. He was
a modest, unassuming man, a prominent and enterprising citizen,
strict in integrity and honest in his dealings. For many years
he was a true and faithful member of the Methodist church. His
children were Homer, Albert, Hannah,
Roderick Semantha, Olive, Fanny, Mary and
Martha (twins); all are living excepting Albert,
Fanny, and Mary. Albert received an academic
education, became a Methodist preacher, and labored in his holy
calling until near the end of his days. He died in 1879, aged
sixty-five. He married, first, Sarah Gray, who
bore two daughters and one son. The son and one daughter are
living. For his second wife he married Hala Gordon,
and for his third, Sally Harmon. Hannah
is the wife of Rev. William S. Paul, of the Methodist
Episcopal church. She has five children living and one
deceased. Roderick is a Methodist preacher of the Upper
Iowa conference. He married Caroline N. Pardy for his
first wife. She had two children, one of whom is living—William,
a professor of Greek and Latin in Grinnell college, Iowa. For
his second wife Roderick married Lucretia Snow.
Semantha is the wife of Dr. Joseph McFarland, Corsica,
Ohio, she has four children; all living. Olive is the
wife of Charles F. Weed, Windham, Ohio, and has three sons
and three daughters. Fanny married Joseph Tift,
and resided in Southington. She died in 1851, leaving two
children, Norton and Alice, both of whom are living.
Mary married Frederick W. Bond for her first
husband, and had one child, a son, who is now living. For her
second husband she married Mr. Wintersteen. She died in 1853.
She formerly resided in Edinburg, Portage county. Martha
is the wife of Charles Wannemaker, Esq., Southington.
She has only one child, a daughter.
Roderick's younger brother, married Elizabeth Joy and
settled in the west of
[Page 522] -
the township, a mile and a half from the center. He afterwards
moved to the northwest of the township and died there. His
children were Joseph, Eunice, Betsey, and
Homer. Joseph lives in Illinois, Eunice is
now the wife of Zopher Viets, Betsey (Bowyer)
and Homer are dead.
SETH AND THANKFUL (RAY) HURD
[Page 523] -
settled northeast of the center about one mile.
He reared eleven children, all of whom lived to have families.
Shelden, Gilbert, Leonard, Stephen, and
Sterling were the sons, and Chloe, Amanda,
Anna, Phebe, Dorcas, and Roxy, the
daughters. Gilbert and Sterling lived and died
in Southington. Shelden remained in the East.
Leonard resides in Bloomfield. Stephen is still
living in Bristol. Chloe (White) lived in the
East, but afterwards came to Ohio. Amanda (Haughton),
now resides in Michigan. Anna (Crowell) resides
in Rome, Ohio, and Phebe (Hillman) in Bristol.
Dorcas (May) and Roxy (Frisbie) are
and family remained for a time in the township, then
foregoing families were all from Connecticut, and for some years
constituted nearly all of the inhabitants of “Bollestown.”
The Waldens, Joys, Haughtons,
Frisbies, and other families came during the early years of the
settlement. The growth of Southington was very slow.
Perhaps we have followed the
history of the settlement sufficiently far. But we cannot
close this article without some allusion to the German families
which now form a most important industrial element among the
inhabitants of this township. They are superior farmers, and
their work has been largely instrumental in developing the eastern
half of the township.
The first "Pennsylvania Dutch" families came to
Southington about 1834 or 1835. We mention the names of the
heads of a few of the earliest: David Palm, Jonas Hoffman,
George Flick, Samuel Stroup, Isaac Strock, Jacob Houck.
Many others might be added if space allowed.
SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL-HOUSES.
[Page 524] -
THE DISCIPLES' CHURCH
[Page 525] -
THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH.
GERMAN REFORMED AND LUTHERAN CHURCH.
The oldest graveyard
in the township is at the center. Before it was laid out,
interments were made, in some cases, on the farms of teh settlers.
From an old paper we copy the following in reference to the center
Agreeable to a vote of the township of Southington, a burying ground
has been purchased by the trustees of the said township. It is
therefore necessary that money be raised to pay for the burying
ground, and it is thought to be less expensive to pay it by
subscription than by tax. The sum will amount to the sixty
cents for each family. Those that are rich, are requested to
sign accordingly, as a tax must be the consequence if this
We, the subscribers, promise to pay the several sums
annexed to our names six months after date. Witness our hands,
Southington, November 23, 1820.
This paper is signed as follows:
land, an acre and a half, was purchased of Joseph Rice for
the sum of 13.75, and deeded to the trustees of the township,
Roderick Norton, James Hatch, and Comfort Hurd.
The spot selected is a knoll of slight elevation a few rods east
of the center. For a country burying ground, it is very
tastefully kept, and is beautified by a number of small evergreens.
The graveyard adjoining the German church was laid out
about the time the church was built. There are two other
burying places in the township - one in the northwest, near the old
Baptist church, and the other in the southeast at Bowmansville.
[Page 526] -
Dr. Porter was the first practicing physician.
James Nutt was the first justice of the peace.
He was an upright, honorable man, and led a pure and useful life.
A man named Knapp was the first blacksmith.
Ephraim Joy was the first carpenter.
The first store was kept by Mr. Ackley.
Chapman was the next merchant.
James Hatch was probably the first postmaster.
Southington had no post-office for fifteen or twenty years after its
settlement, but obtained its mail at Warren.
This branch of industry
receives considerable attention in Southington. William
Chalker has a cheese factory and carries on the business
successfully. Mr. A. Kincaid had a cheese factory east
of the center in which he did an extensive business for several
years. He then sold out. In 1878 the building was burned
and has not
INCIDENTS OF PIONEER LIFE
PHOTO OF HOMER NORTON
[Page 527] -
In early times a raising was
an event more talked of and more interesting than almost any other
occurrence. It was to the early settlers what the launching of
a ship is to the inhabitants of some of our seaboard cities.
It had long been the custom to furnish liquor to those
who assisted on these grand occasions. Dennis White,
however, determined to make a new departure, and when about to raise
his house told his neighbors that no liquor would be furnished.
The people of Farmington had promised to help him if his own
townsmen refused their assistance. He had no difficulty,
however, and the raising passed off quietly with out the usual
scenes of drunkenness.
Rufus Rice, when about to build a barn,
determined to proceed upon White's plan, but he encountered
opposition. One temperance raising was deemed sufficient by
some of his neighbors. So when the first side of the building
started about one-third of the men present tried to hold it down.
But the temperance element was too strong for them, and the
disturbers of the work, seeing that they were likely to be raised
with the building, joined in and helped the rest.
[Page 528] -
PHOTO OF JAMES CHALKER
[Page 529] -
THE CHALKER FAMILY
[Page 530] -
PHOTO OF NEWTON CHALKER
[Page 531] -
[Page 532] -
NOTES OF SETTLEMENT:
(Note: If you would like one of these transcribed,
please contact me ~
EZEKIEL MOORE is the only physician in Southington
township, where he has been constantly engaged in the practice
of his profession since 1849. He was born in Columbiana
county, Ohio, Oct. 19, 1827. His parents, John and
Minerva Moore, were natives of Pennsylvania. He served
an apprenticeship to a tailor, taught school, and read medicine
with Dr. William Moore, now of New Lisbon. In the
session of 1852 he graduated from the Cleveland Medical college.
In 1854 he was married to Sarah C., daughter of Samuel
C. and Mahala Bronson. They have one child - Frank,
born July 6, 1855. Dr. Moore is a member of the
Disciple church; also of the Masonic order. His practice
is extensive. The doctor was formerly president and is now
vice-president of the Trumbull County Medical society.
and his family were among the very early settlers of Southington.
Gilbert Osborne, his son, was born in Colebrook,
Connecticut, Jan. 19, 1794, and came to Southington with his parents
in 1808. He was a soldier of the War of 1812. He married
Lois Haughton, and reared a family of three daughters and one
son. Porter G. and Mrs. John Schrontz, now a
resident of Illinois, are the only survivors. About 1820
Gilbert Osborne settled in Southington upon the farm which his son
now owns. He lived to see a mighty change wrought by the early
settlers and their descendants and died Dec. 8, 1869. His wife
died in 1871.
HENRY K. WHITE was born in Connecticut. About 1815 he came to Ohio and
settled in Southington. His father, Captain Henry White,
was one of the pioneers of this township. Henry K.
married Lucy Wilson, and reared a family of three sons
and eight daughters, all living at present. He was a
school-teacher and a justice of the peace several years.
He died in 1871; his widow is still living. Their oldest
son, H. J. served three years as a musician in a
Wisconsin regiment. He now resides in Hudson, Wisconsin.
George W., a member of Second Ohio volunteer cavalry,
served four years. He was seriously wounded at Little
Rock. He now resides in Dakota. Lewis P. White
was born in Southington Apr. 30, 1837, and is now living on a
part of the farm where his grandfather settled Sept. 5, 1861, he
enlisted in company D, Sixth Ohio volunteer cavalry. He
participated in engagements at Aldie, Antietam, Gettysburg, and
in other severe battles. At Aldie a horse was shot under
him. At New Warrington, Virginia, while on patrol, he was
ambushed, wounded and taken prisoner with twenty-five comrades,
and was seven weeks in Libby prison. After regaining
strength at home he returned to the service and took part in the
Petersburg campaign. He served three years, and was
discharged in November, 1864. July 20, 1860, he married
Juliette Curtis. Their family consists of five
children - Mahlon D., Mary E., Ulysses G., Lillian L.,
and Dora B. Mr. White is a member of the Disciples
church. Mrs. White's younger brother, Addison,
now a resident of Southington, was a member of company H,
Seventh Ohio volunteer infantry, and was wounded in the service.
Riley, now of Southington center, was in the same
regiment and company and served a year and a half.
& SYBIL HURD were among the early settlers of
Southington. They reared a family of ten children, of whom
five daughters and two sons survive. Their son. Milo
Hurd, an old and
[Page 533] -
respected citizen of Southington, was born
in this township Dec. 22, 1808. Aug. 10, 1842, he married
Selina Lenord, a native of Pennsylvania. Of their
six children but two survive, the oldest and the youngest -
Artemesia, wife of John Robertson, Southington, and
Hiram, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church,
located at Pittsburg. Mrs. Hurd, the mother, is a
member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1848 Mr.
Hurd settled in the wilds of this township in a log-house,
and made a good farm by hard work. His father was a
soldier in the War of 1812, after Hull's surrender.
was born in Vermont in 1807, March 15th. He is a son of
Ephraim and Eunice (Freeman) Joy, who were the parents of
five sons and four daughters. Five of this family are
living. The family settled in the southeast of Southington
township in 1817. The father had been a captain during the
War of 1812. Besides farming he worked as a carpenter. He
was a member of the Disciple church. Captain Joy
died about 1855. Harvey Joy passed his boyhood
clearing land in the forest and attending school in the pioneer
log school-house. Oct. 28, 129, he married Lovisa
Bronson, daughter of Elisha Bronson, an early
settler. Mr. and Mrs. Joy have five children -
Rhoda L., wife of Robert Rice, was born Aug. 25,
1830, did Oct. 1, 1861; Orlin B., born June 23, 1833, now
residing in Southington; Edwin O., born Nov. 2, 1838, is
a resident of Lennox, Ashtabula County; Almeda H., born
June 13, 1842, is the wife of William Trask, Southington;
Lucy F., wife of Henry Viets, of Southington, born
Oct. 3, 1847. Mrs. Harvey Joy was a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church over forty years. She died Jan.
20, 1881. Mr. Joy settled on his parents farm, then
unimproved in 1830. He originally bought two hundred
acres, but has given to his sons all but seventy-five. He
has held several township offices, and has been a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church over forty years.
HARSHMAN was born in Jackson, Mahoning county, in April,
1833. He is the youngest son of David and Rosanna
(Stuart) Harshman. His father was born in Pennsylvania
in 1799. When he came to Ohio, he first settled in
Austintown, removed thence to Jackson, and in 1838 to
Southington. The house in which he lived, was built and
kept as a stage house for many years. He reared a family
of six children, four of whom survive. Mrs. Rosanna
Harshman died Feb. 1, 1872. David Harshman is
still living, vigorous in health and strength. He has been
a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since 1850.
Charles attended the common schools, Hiram college, and the
Western Reserve seminary of Farmington. He has followed
farming. Sept. 5, 1855, he married Eda a., daughter
of Deacon and Lydia White, early settlers of this
township. Mrs. Harshman was born in Southington,
Jan. 16, 1835. The children born of this union are as
follows: Ida R., now Mrs. Eli Overly,
residing upon the home place; Leora L., wife of James
E. Heathman, Southington; Will H., Clara, Naomi, and
Mary E. In the spring of 1856 Mr. Harshman
settled on his present home farm. In 1862 he enlisted in
company B, One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry,
and served as second lieutenant. On a physician's
certificate of disability he resigned May 2, 1862. In 1871
Mr. Harshman was elected county commissioner, and was
re-elected in 1874. He is a member of the Masons. In
company with W. B. McConnell he started the first cheese
factory in the township. This establishment was destroyed
by fire in 1879. At one time 16,000 pounds of milk per day
were used in this factory.
HAUGHTON, son of Samuel and Amanda (Osborn) Haughton,
was born in Southington township, Dec. 14, 1830. His
father, a native of New York State, was a soldier in the War of
1812. Calvin was educated at the common
schools and at Hiram college, where he was a school-mate of
Garfield. Jan. 12, 1856, he married Martha,
daughter of Edward Jones, formerly a well known citizen
of Southington. Mr. and Mrs. Haughton have two
daughters - Emma wife of Jefferson Moore, Parkman,
Geauga county, and Minnie May, at home. After his
marriage Mr. Haughton located upon his present farm, an
unincorporated place. He now owns two hundred acres, and
has a fine farm and a good house. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Haughton are members of the Disciple church.
OLIVER R. BEEMEN
[Page 534] -
S. H. NORTON,
youngest child of Joseph H. and Elizabeth Norton, was born in
Southington township Oct. 2, 1833. His whole life has been
spent on the farm. He was married Aug. 14, 1852, to Miss
Betsy Morris, who was born in Portage County, Feb. 7, 1834.
Their family consists of three children, two of whom are living -
Sarah E., born June 6, 1856, died Sept. 9, 1875; Samuel C.
born Nov. 8, 1860, and
Charles O., born June 13, 1865. Mr. Norton
resided on the home farm until 1861, when he enlisted in Company
H, Forty-first Ohio volunteer infantry, and served with the regiment
at Shiloh and Corinth. In 1861, on account of a wound in the
hand he was discharged. He has since lived on the homestead
farm, except for a period of three years, during which he lived in
son of David and Lucretia Rice Veits, was born in Litchfield
county, Connecticut, Sept. 5, 1807. His father brought his
family to Ohio in 1825 and settled on the farm now occupied by
Ira. The family consisted of six children, three of whom
survive. Ira Veits married in 1828 Miss Hurd,
daughter of S. Hurd, one of the pioneers of Southington
township. They have four children, viz: James M., a
resident of Michigan; Jerusha (Walker), residence Portage
county; Rosanna S. (Kibler), resdence Portage county, and
Almira Culp, of Southington. Mrs. Veits died
in 1841. In Nov. following, Mr. Veits married
for his second wife Miss Dianna Hurd, also a
daughter of Smith Hurd. She was born in
Southington Sept. 23, 1823. The fruit of this union was one
son, Alvin, born Mar. 26, 1846, and died Feb. 14, 1877.
Mr. Veits settled on his present farm in 1829.
[Page 535] -
W. J. HELSLEY
DAVID P. JONES,
son of Edward and Mary (Price) Jones, was born in Austintown,
Mahoning county, Dec. 26, 1819. His father was a native of
Pennsylvania, who came to Ohio early in the present century.
He was a stone-mason by trade. He settled in Warren, removing
thence to Austintown at an early date. He died about 1856.
David P., married Feb. 18, 1841, Laura, daughter of
Charles and Dorcas (Osborn) May. Her father, Charles
May, was one of the first settlers, and located on the farm now
owned by David Harshman. He was the father of eight
children, three of whom are living. He died in Braceville in
1836. For many years he was class-leader in the Methodist
Episcopal church. Mrs. Jones was born in
Braceville Mar. 26, 1820. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have had
eight children, of whom three survive - Laura Ann,
born Apr. 4, 1852, resides with her parents; Ada J., now the
wife of Frederick Joy, born July 23, 1859; and Viola,
now Mrs. Frank Dabney, of Warren, born May 31, 1862.
Mr. Jones settled on an unimproved farm in Braceville,
where he remained until 1865, when he purchased the Edward
Jones homestead, upon which he now lives. He and his
wife are members of the Disciple church.
WILLIAM B. IVES
[Page 536] -
son of John and Polly Kessler Brobst, was born in Warren
township, Sept. 8, 1842. His youth was spent in the common
schools and at common labor on the farm by the month. He
enlisted in company H, Twentieth Ohio volunteer infantry, in 1861,
and at the expiration of his term of enlistment he re-enlisted in
the veteran service, and was mustered out in July, 1865, having been
on duty four years. After leaving the army, he settled in
Michigan. Feb. 13, 1868, he married Augusta, daughter
of Jeremiah Miller, an early settler of Southington
township. She was born in 1846. They have a family of
four children, viz: Adella P., Laura L., Bertine S.,
and Lillie M. Mr. Brobst purchased his present
residence in 1872, owning one of the best farms in the township.
END OF CHAPTER
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