Township six and range fifteen, now known as Olmstead, saw the first improvement made while war was still raging along the not distant frontier. In the year 1814 James Geer, then a resident of Columbia, which is now in Lorain county, but was at that time in Cuyahoga, cut out the underbrush and girdled the trees on a small piece of land in the southwest corner of the township, on what has since been known as the Browning farm. This he planted to corn the same year, and raised such a crop as he could among the trees.
The next spring, after the declaration of peace, Mr. Geer put up a small log house at the place first mentioned, and moved thither with his family, becoming the first permanent resident of the present township of Olmstead. His son, Calvin Geer, was then a boy of seven, and is now the earliest surviving resident of the township. Wild beasts swarmed all around, and often appeared in the edge of the little clearing. One of young Calvin's oldest recollections is regarding the slaughter by his father of a bear which showed himself one Sunday evening, soon after their arrival, on the bank of Rocky river, not far from their cabin. Mr. Geer's first shot broke the animal's back, but such was his size and vitality that it took three more balls to kill him.
The same year, 1815, Elijah Stearns and his son, David Johnson Stearns, came to Kingston, as Olmstead was then called, to select land for future settlement. The senior Mr. Stearns had a large family of boys, and was desirous to obtain an extensive tract of land for their use. He selected and purchased a thousand and two acres on Butternut Ridge, in the northwest part of the township, at two dollars per acre. Of this it was arranged that D. J. Stearns was to have a hundred and fifty acres. The latter was then an active, enterprising young man of twenty-one, with a constitution remarkably well fitted to bear the hardships of frontier life, as is shown by the fact that after passing through the whole pioneer period of Olmstead's existence, and after residing sixty-three years in the township, he still survives, at the age of eighty-five, in a condition of remarkable physical vigor, and of undiminished mental power.
It was expected that the proprietors would send a surveyor to lay out the land, and D. J. Stearns waited awhile for his arrival, in the meantime clearing off a small piece of land near the present residence of Buel Stearns. He then returned to Vermont.
In 1816, having perfected the purchase of his land, he came back to Kingston to reside upon it. He was accompanied by his brother Alva, and by Asa Knapp, but they only remained long enough to help him put up a log house and make a beginning in the woods. Mr. Stearns still preserves a note of three hundred and thirty-four dollars, one of four given by the Stearns' for land, to the trustees of the estate of Aaron Olmstead, who had been in his lifetime the proprietor of the township. Young Stearns had a sub-agency under Judge Kirtland, the agent of the proprietors, to sell their land. He, however, had sold only two lots when the owners stopped the sale. The Fourth of July, 1816, was celebrated by Mr. Stearns, assisted by Mr. Geer, in clearing out the "ridge road" from Rocky river, along Butternut ridge, toward the home of the former. They worked from sunrise till sunset, cutting out the saplings so as to make a passable pathway, for a distance of two miles.
That same spring Daniel Bunnel moved from Columbia to the northeast corner of Olmstsead, and built a rough plank house, becoming the third resident of the township. As we have said, the township was then called Kingston, but this name had no legal validity; it was merely applied at the fancy of the proprietors to survey-township number six. Many such names were given on the Western Reserve, some of which were retained, while others were changed.
Owing to the stoppage of the sale of land by the proprietors, young Stearns remained almost alone in that part of the township until 1819, keeping bachelor's hall the whole time. In 1817 he was obliged to pay three dollars a bushel for wheat, which he bought near Black River. Having other business to attend to, he gave half of it to another man to take to mill. The latter went with a yoke of oxen, and, finding the nearer mill closed for want of water, he was obliged to go to Chagrin river to get the wheat ground. It took him a week to go and return. Salt at the same time was twenty dollars a barrel.
The first wedding in the township was that of Harvey Hartson and Eunice Parker, which took place at the residence of James Geer, in the spring of 1817, Hartson located himself near Geer. The same spring and at the same house, occurred the first birth, that of Mr. Geer's daughter, Julie. The child died when two years old, this being the first death in the township.
In 1817 Amos Briggs settled on the west part of Butternut Ridge, on what has since been known as the Robb farm. In 1818 Isaac Scales built a house and brought his family to live on the east end of the ridge, near Rocky River. He and his wife lived there without neighbors about a year. As he was obliged to go to Columbia to work most of the time, Mrs. Scales had a most lonesome experience. Often she had to get up in the night with a broom, to drive the wildcats out of the loft of her house. One day she saw a bear hugging the dog to death in the front yard. She took down the old musket from over the fireplace, but finally concluded that it would be more dangerous than the bear. The latter left the dog apparently dead, and waddled off into the woods. Poor Tray, however, recovered from the effects of his extremely bad company, but in a very dilapidated condition. Add to such events as those the frequent appearance of wandering Indians and it must be admitted that there was enough to try a woman's nerves most severely.
In February, 1819, Mr. Stearns was married to Polly Barnum; this being, we believe, the second wedding in the township.
A little later in the same spring Major Samuel Hoadley settled
near Scales's place, at the east end of Butternut Ridge. He and
his family at first occupied a log house, but immediately began
the erection of a framed one. After the frame was completed,
ready to raise, one day late in the summer Major Hoadley and
his wife went away for the day, leaving at home his daughters,
Maria and Eunice, the carpenter James Miles and a man named Eliot
Smith. During the day Mrs. Scales also came over to visit them.
The two girls, both enterprising wide-awake young women determined
that they would surprise their parents by raising the new house
while they were gone. It was not a very large one, the timbers
were light, the carpenter offered to help and to see that the
work was done properly, young Smith was very ready to give his
best assistance, and Mrs. Scales proffered a pair of arms not
at all to be despised.
The next spring Maria Hoadley, one of the heroines of this adventure, was married to John Adams, a newly arrived young pioneer. They settled near by, have ever since resided in the township, and now live at West View. Eunice Hoadley afterward became Mrs. John Barnum.
The second death, and first serious accident in the township, occurred in the autumn of 1819, in a very peculiar manner. Mr. D. J. Stearns had a boy of Irish parentage, named John Hanley, about fifteen years old, living with him, whose parents resided in Ridgeville, now Lorain county. One day the boy obtained permission to visit his home, promising to return in time to do the chores at night. The night set in dark, and the boy did not appear. His wife being absent Mr. Stearns was in his house alone. Late in the night he heard an agonized voice shrieking "Oh, dear! Oh! Dear!" at some distance from the house. For a moment it ceased, and then it was heard again nearer than before. Mr. Stearns stepped out of the door, where he was suddenly grasped by a man who flung his arms around him in a state of frantic excitement, crying out at the same time: "Oh! My boy is kilt! My boy is kilt! My boy is kilt!"
As soon as Mr. Stearns could recover from his astonishment, and get the man to the light, he found that his visitor was Mr. Hanley, the father of John. It was with great difficulty that he could quiet the frantic Irishman so as to obtain even the slightest idea of what was the matter. At length, however, he succeeded in learning from the broken ejaculations of the distracted father, mingled with sobs and groans, and cries of anguish, that Hanley and his son had been coon-hunting and that a large tree had fallen upon his boy and probably crushed him to death, a mile or two out in the woods, to the northeast.
Knowing that he could do nothing without assistance, Mr. Stearns made Hanley promise to remain at the house until he could obtain aid. His nearest neighbor, Amos Briggs, was absent, and there were no others nearer than a mile and a half. He accordingly went to Mr. Brigg's stable, and took his horse to go for help. Ere he could mount, however, Hanley came rushing up, and again flung his arms about the young man, crying out that his "boy was kilt" in all the agony of unreasoning despair. Again Mr. Stearns pacified him, and persuaded him to return to the house. The former then rode a mile and a half, and obtained the help of three newcomers, Bennett Powell, Job Cole and another whose name is not recollected.
The four returned with all speed to Stearn's house, where they found the desolate father with whom they set out to find the scene of the disaster. Hanley, however, had been so frightened and demoralized by the catastrophe that he could give no clear idea of the direction to be taken. Nevertheless, he thought it was somewhat east of north, and he knew there was a turning tree where the sad event had occurred. The five men hurried forward through the darkness in the general direction indicated, and at length, saw a light in advance. Shaping their course toward it, they soon arrived at the turning tree. There they soon found that the distracted father's words were but too true; the poor boy was indeed killed. A large ash tree lay where it had fallen, directly across the youth's head, which was crushed out of all semblance of humanity, while his body was raised from the ground by the pressure on his head.
It seems as they gathered from Hanley's broken statements, and his subsequent utterances in a quieter state, that he had persuaded his son to remain and hunt coons with him, instead of returning to the Stearns' that night. They had gone east a miles or two along the line between townships six and seven (Olmstead and Dover), and had then borne southward into the former township. At length, the night being cold and damp, they built a fire at the foot of a hollow ash tree, and determined to wait for the moon. The boy lay down upon a grassy knoll a short distance from the fire, while his father sat with his back to a hickory tree in the opposite direction, and both men went to sleep.
An hour or so later the old man was awakened by a tremendous crash, directly over his head. The hollow ash had burned off and had fallen against the hickory by which Hanley sat. The tough wood of the latter bent before the blow and then recoiled with such force that it threw the ash back in the opposite direction, so as to fall directly across the head of the sleeping boy. His father was so frightened and horrified that he ran screaming into the woods entirely at random, and by mere accident came out at Mr. Stearns' clearing.
When the four Americans saw the situation they went to work with the aces which they had of course brought with them to chop off the tree on each side of the corpse. Mr. Stearns, however, was obliged to devote himself to holding the half-crazy father to keep him from running under the axes of the choppers in the fruitless attempt to extricate his child. Beneath the sturdy blows of the pioneers the tree was soon severed on either side, and the body taken out. It was carried back to Stearns' where it was kept the remainder of the night and then taken to Hanley's place in Ridgeville.
The accident happened in such a remarkable way that it was long the subject of evening talk among the pioneers of Olmstead.
After 1819 emigrants came in more rapidly than before. Among those who came within the next five years, besides those already named, were Isaac Frost, Elias Frost, Zennas Barnum, Harry Barnum, Crosby Baker, Horace F. Adams, Amos Wolf, Truman Wolf, Christian Wolf, Charles Usher, Hezekiah Usher, Ransom J. Adams, Hosea Bradford, H. G. Seekins, Natrons Usher, Noble Hotchkiss, Thomas Briggs, Otis Briggs, Alvah Stearns, Elijah Stearns Jr., Vespasian Stearns, Eliot Stearns, Lyman Frost, Hosea Bradford, Lucine Adams, and A. G. R. Stearns. Besides the six Stearns brothers who have been named, a seventh, Sidney, began improvements in the township, but died in a short time afterward.
During this period Lemuel Hoadley and Crosby Baker built the first gristmill and sawmill in the township, on the west branch of Rocky river, just above the junction with the east branch. A small society of the Methodist Church was organized and occasional meeting were held. Clearing were made here and there in all parts of the townships except the southwestern section, which was the last to be settled.
Old Indian wigwams were still standing, and Indians frequently came and set their traps for the various fur-bearing animals, which still abounded. D. J. Stearns found an old Indian sugar bush on the place afterward occupied by Mr. A. Tyler, Hither the Indians were accustomed to come annually to make sugar-or, rather, the squaws made the sugar and the Indians ate it. They made sap-troughs out of birch-bark, which they brought with them from Sandusky, there being no birch in Olmstead. Kettles to boil the sap in must have been procured from the whites, but after they had "sugared off" they were accustomed to make a great store-trough of the elm bark, which would hold twelve or fifteen barrels. Here the sugar was kept for common use, while the tribe remained in that section; the remnant being carried with them when they returned to Sandusky.
In the forepart of 1823 number six in range fifteen, was formed into a civil township by the name of Lenox, and on the 14th of April in that year it was organized by the election of its firs officers. The principal of these were Amos Briggs, Waltrous Usher, and Hosea Bradford, as trustees, D. J. Stearns, clerk, and Isaac Frost, Treasurer. Lenox continued in existence two years at this time. In 1823 it was cut in twain, and the east half of it again attached to Middleburg, while the western portion was made a part of Ridgeville, Lorain county.
This state of affairs continued two years more, when the west half of the township was set back into Cuyahoga county, the two halves were united, and the breath of municipal life was breathed into the defunct form of Lenox. The first elections in the resuscitated township was held on the 18th of June, 1827, E. C. Frost, Thomas Briggs and Harry Barnum being the judges of the election. As this is the first complete list we have of officers chosen in the territory now constituting Olmstead, we give it entire. Besides, it will show a good portion of those who were residents of the township in 1827, as it must have taken half of them to hold the offices. The list is as follows:
Trustees, Truman Wolf, Alvah Stearns and Elias C. Frost; clerk, D. J. Stearns; Treasurer, Isaac C. Frost; constables, Joel B. Lawrence and Elliott Stearns; overseers of the poor, John Barnum and Elias P. Usher; fence viewers, Olden T. Thompson and Harry Schultz; supervisors of highways, Daniel Bunnel, Hezekiah Usher, H. F. Adams and Elliot Smith. Besides these, Watrous Usher was a justice of the peace. The first tax was half a mill on the dollar. Immediately after the organization the township was divided into three school districts.
About this period Watrous Usher built a sawmill at Olmstead Falls, being the first improvement at that now thriving village.
By this time the rifles began to be a little too thick even for the bears, which had previously flourished in great abundance. In fact, it seems as if Bruin was more prosperous for several years after the advent of the white man than he had been before; for in a short time after his arrival nearly every settler had fifteen or twenty hogs roaming through the woods, and nothing suited better the taste of the bears, who killed and devoured great numbers of them.
But, as has been said, the rifles were getting too thick for them. Our friend Stearns. Whom we have so often referred to, was not a "mighty hunter," having observed that mighty hunters seldom made good farmers. Like nearly everybody else, however, he kept a rifle, and one day he loaned it (to hunt squirrels) to a youngster who was at work for him, who seems not to have been very bright for a pioneer boy, and who must have been a new-comer.
After hunting awhile he found something in a hollow tree, which he supposed to be a monstrous black squirrel. Sticking his rifle into the hollow, close to the animal's head, he fired. The " black squirrel" came out growling, and sorely wounded-not so badly, however, but that he could conquer and mangle terrible the dog which was with the youngster, and which was bold enough to attack him. Astonished and alarmed at such obstreperous conduct on the part of a "black squirrel" the youth made his way home as fast as possible. As soon as he saw his employer he cried out (calling him by the name by which he was commonly known): "Oh, Johnson! I seen the monstrousness biggest black squirrel, and immediately out in the woods that ever I seen in all my born days."
Mr. Stearns directed him to describe this wonderful squirrel, and immediately recognized it as a bear. The next morning he and three of his friends started out to slay the animal. Being piloted by the boy to the tree before mentioned, they found it marked with blood six feet from the ground, where the creature had stood up and rubbed his wounded hear against it. The hunters began to think that they, too, were mistaken as well as the boy, for the marks seemed to indicate something rather too large even for a bear.
However, they followed the trail, which was plainly marked with blood, for several miles, and at last came up with the "squirrel." They found it to be a bear, but the largest one, Mr. Stearns says, which he ever saw in all his pioneer experience. One of the parties shot and killed him, and it was then found that the bullet of the blundering boy has passed through his nose and broken one of his jaws.
After 1830 the bears rapidly disappeared. Deer, however, remained; though in constantly decreasing numbers, and occasionally one was to be seen as late as the building of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati railroad. Wild turkeys, too, abounded, even to a still later period, and the number of their bodies early brought to the tables of the settlers might at one time have been counted by hundreds.
For two years after the second organization of Lenox, the township continued to bear that name. During the year 1829, however, Mr. Charles H. Olmstead, who had become the owner of the north part of it as the heir of Aaron Olmstead, deceased, offered to make the people a present of a library if they would change the name of Lenox to Olmstead. The offer was accepted at a township meeting, the name was duly changed by the proper authorities, and the library was duly presented. The first election under the name of Olmstead was held in 1830.
In 1831 four young men, brothers, by the name of Fitch, settled in the central part of the township, and these were followed a year or so later by three more. These seven brothers were Chester, Eli, Horance, Chauncey, Elisha, Daniels and Sandford Fitch. The families planted by them and by the Stearns brothers have grown and flourished mightily, and from that day to this Olmstead has been celebrated for its Fitches and its Stearns; it being almost impossible to find a list of Olmstead men associated in political, religious or social life which did not contain some members of both these families.
It was about this period (1830) that Major Hoadley and his son-in-law, John Barnum, built a sawmill on Plum creek at Olmstead falls. Barnum moved thither to attend to the business, and as there was no house he proceeded to make one in short order. He cut down a large whitewood tree near the bank of the creek, and this formed one end of his house. A few smaller logs were laid up, some saplings placed on top to support a temporary roof and the mansion was complete. However, Mr. Barnum speedily constructed a more commodious residence. His son, Luther Barnum, a well-known citizen of Olmstead Falls, was then a year old.
Uriah Kilpatrick soon after built a little "packet" gristmill, also on Plum creek. Both the mill and its owner were of a slow and easy nature, and the patience of his customers was sometimes severely tried. A poor fellow named Powell, sharp enough naturally but with shattered intellect, who used to string verse together for the edification of people, once applied to Mr. Barnum, who was a justice of the peace, for a warrant against Kilpatrick for some imaginary offense. Barnum refused it, but to divert Powell's mind told him he might make some verses against the offender, which would be just as effective as a warrant. The rhymester, desirous to hit the justice as well as the miller, studied a few moments, and delivered himself as follows:
Kilpatrick's little mill was kept up ten or twelve years and then abandoned. Hoadley & Barker's gristmill, down near the junction, was transferred to Loyal Peck, but this, too, has long since ceased to exist. Shortly after Kilpatrick's, Peter Kidney built a gristmill on the river, below the mouth of Plum creek.
N. P. Loomis, who came to Olmstead Falls in 1834, says there was then no road cut through the village; nothing but a path along the river bank. The main road, however, was "slashed out," but was not ready for use. Where the Union school house now stands was a frog pond, and there were only six houses on the ground now occupied by the village.
Some of the pioneers had made a practice of keeping travelers when necessary, but it was not until about this period that there was a regular hotel in the township. It was kept by William Romp, who erected a large framed building for the purpose, near the river, below Butternut Ridge. He also carried on the first store in the township, at the same point except, perchance, a few goods kept for sale in the house of settlers.
It was about 1835 that the first church edifice was erected in the township. It was a union church, built by Presbyterians, Methodists and Universalists, each denomination raising what they could, and the time which each was allowed to occupy it being in proportion to the amount subscribed. It was subsequently used as a town house, being located at what was called town-house corners, some two miles north of Olmstead Falls. It was used for that purpose until about 1849, when the town business was removed to Olmstead Falls.
The first Sunday-school in the township was established on Butternut Ridge in 1833 or '34. The ridge was settled by a very enterprising, wide-awake set of people, and all intellectual and moral improvements found ready encouragement at their hands. As early as 1837 a lyceum or debating school, was formed in school district number one, toward the east end of the ridge, being the first institution of the kind in the township. Something of that class has been maintained there almost ever since, and we will have something more to say of it a little farther on.
Meanwhile, the township was rapidly assuming the outward garb of civilization. The clearings on each farm, at first small, were extended so as to include the larger part of the area; log houses gave place to frames, pumps appeared instead of the picturesque but inconvenient well-sweeps which were previously seen in every door-yard, and a hundred minor changes indicated by the end of the first half of the century that the pioneer period had changed into the farming period. Yet deer were still sometimes seen in the southwest part of the township, and occasionally one strayed into other sections, and the young men had not lost the skill of their fathers, so but that they were soon out in arms to make venison of the unlucky intruder.
In 1849, the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati railroad was built through the southeast part of the township. This gave a still greater impetus to settlement, and the last of the wild animals soon disappeared before the shriek of the locomotives. In January, 1853, the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland railroad (now a part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern) was opened for use; running almost exactly east and west in a straight line through the center of the township.
Villages grew up around the two depots; that on the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis road being called West View, while that on the Lake Shore road retained its old name of Olmstead Falls. On the 7th of April 1856, the latter village was incorporated under that name, although at its first election only twenty-six votes were cast. The next year the embryo village of Plum Creek was added to Olmstead Falls; making a town which covered a very large area in proportion to its population, but which has been steadily though slowly filling up ever since. West View is a smaller village, a store, two or three shops and about thirty houses. In 1856 the basement of the Methodist church at Olmstead Falls was purchased by the township for a town house, at a cost of two hundred and fifty dollars.
The part taken by the soldiers of Olmstead in the war for the Union is told in the records of the Cuyahoga county regiments, in the general history of the county. Since the war the history of the township has been uneventful, as is she case with most farming communities, after the close of the pioneer era. The most important event has been the opening of quarries of building stone along the banks of Rocky river, of the same quality as the celebrated Berea stone, which is staked out only a few miles distant.
A quarry was opened near West View in 1870, which has been successfully carried on ever since. It employs about twenty five hands and a railroad has been built to carry the stone from the quarry to West View station. Two quarries were also opened at Olmstead Falls, and for five or six years employed fifty men each, but were closed in 1876. The following is a list of the various business places, shops, etc. at the Falls; General stores, four; drug stores, two; tailor shop, one; blacksmiths' shop, three; shoe shops three; tin shop, one; grist mill, one; broom factory, one; fellowship, one; lumber yard, one. The population of the village is about seven hundred.
We will now give some sketches and statistics which could not well be incorporated in the general story of the township.
This church was organized by Rev. Harlow P. Sage as early as 1834, being one of the first Universalist churches in this section. Rev. Stephen Hall was the first minister, and preached from that time some twelve or fifteen years. He was succeeded by Rev. Isaac R. Henry, who officiated about ten years. As before stated, the Universalists, soon after the formation of the society, united with the Methodist and Presbyterians in building a union house of worship. In 1847 they erected one of their own; a commodious framed edifice on Butternut Ridge, which has ever since been occupied by them.
After Mr. Henry the pulpit was occupied in succession by Messrs. Tillotson, French, Shipman, Sykes, Rice, Weeks and Canfield. In 1878 a lady, the Rev. Mrs. Danforth, was called to the pastorate, which she has since acceptably filled. The church now numbers a little over sixty members. It was legally organized in 1868. Its present trustees are Buel Stearns, Jonathan Carpenter and John Foster.
This society was formed on the fourth day of April 1843; the first members, whose names are preserved, being Ransom Bronson and Harriet M., his wife; John Adams and Maria, his wife; Lucius Adams and Electa, his wife; Mary Banarce and Sarah Banarce. James Pearson and William Beeham were then the circuit preachers. The organization was called Hoadley's Mills church, or station, until 1861 when it received the name of West View. From such records as can be found we learn that in 1863 the ministers on the circuit were A. W. Sanders, W. B. Moody and G. C. Hicks; in 1864 and '65, E. D. Find; in 1866 and '67 Thomas F. Hicks; in 1868, '69 and '70 J. Nettleton; in 1871, '72 and '73, J. E. Carrol; in 1874, '75 and '76, J. Nettleton; in 1877, William Snell; in 1878 William Moody.
The stewards are H. Walkden, Joseph Reed and J. Case; the clerk and treasurer, O. P. Smith; the trustees, R. Bronson, T. Price, J. Adams, A. J. Pickard and B. Ruple. Since 1865 the church has been a part of Rocky river circuit (previously of Strongsville), which is composed of West View and North Olmstead churches.
The church edifice belonging to this society is situated in the extreme northeast corner of the township of Olmstead, but its congregation comes principally from Rockport and Dover. Its ministers since 1865 have been the same as those above given as officiating at West View.
There had been early preaching by the Methodists in Olmstead, but no society was regularly organized until 1843. From that time forward services were punctually held, and in 1851 the present framed church building was erected at Olmstead Falls. The latter preachers, who are all whose names we can obtain have been Uriah Richards, in 1872 '73 and '74; Banias Ushower in 1875 and '76; James Burleson in 1878.
The trustees are Lester Bradford, Charles Monks, Chauncey Fitch, William Butlin, Ashhel Osborn. The stewards are the same, with the addition of David Wright and Freeman Bradford. The church is now a part of Olmstead and Columbia circuit.
The church edifice occupied by this society was originally built for the use of the Methodists over thirty years ago. In the course of time, however, most of the members of that denomination in that vicinity died or moved away, and in 1872 the building was transferred to the Congregationalists, who have since held regular services in it. The first pastor was H. C. Johnson, who remained one year; E. P. Clisbee, one year; _______ Westervelt, one and a half years; D. M. Bosworth, one and a half years; Richard Grosvenor, one year; and Rev. John Patchin, who began his services in 1878. The deacons are Richard Carpenter, James Garrison, Mr. Youngs and Benjamin Salisbury. The church is now in a prosperous condition and numbers about fifty members.
In the year 1856 Father Louis Filiere organized St. Mary's Church, and the same year the congregation erected the commodious church edifice at Olmstead Falls. Father Filiere remained in charge as priest until 1874. He was succeeded by Father Edward J. Murphy, who remained until 1876, when he gave place to Father James M. Cullen, the present incumbent. The church building was originally in the north part of the village, but has been moved to a pleasant site in the southern portion.A stone parsonage stands near it, and there is also a school-house in which a school has been kept for the last few years. The councilmen are John Dalton, Patrick McCarty and Joseph Ward. There are now about forty families connected with the church.
This was the first church organized in the township, of which any record is preserved, the date of its formation being the 18th day of April, 1835. The first members were Mary Ann Fitch, Jerusha Loomis, Cynthia House, Catherine Nelson, Abner N. Nelson, Sylvester Nelson, Sumner W. Nelson, William Wood, Mary Ann Wood, Rachel Wait, Emeline Spencer, Lydia Cane, Jotham Howe, Anna S. How, Harriet Dryden, Esther E. Kennedy.
The fortunes of the church have been very changeful; some of the time no pastor has been employed, and still more of the time no records have been preserved. It was at first connected with the Cleveland presbytery, but soon after joined the Congregational association. Rev. Israel Mattison was the first regular pastor, beginning his services in 1831. Among those who have followed him have been Rev. James Steels in 1844; Rev. O. W. White in 1854; Rev. E. P. Clisbee in 1857; Rev. Z. P. Disbrow, at various times from 1862 to1870; Rev. Q. M. Bosworth in 1876; Rev. Richard Grogan in 1877; Rev. John Patchin in 1878. The church building was erected in 1848. The trustees are Hugh Kyle, O. W. Kendall and N. P. Loomis.
This very creditable institution has about a hundred and fifty scholars, and is graded in three departments, primary, intermediate and high school, though sometimes only two teachers are employed. The school-house, a very fine brick building for a village of that size, two stories high, with ample and convenient rooms, was erected in 1874.
As we have stated in the general sketch of the township, a lyceum, or debating school, was organized in this district in 1837. and the people of "the Ridge" were somewhat noted for their fondness for whatever intellectual exercises could be indulged in a secluded situation. In 1852, on the occasion of building a new school house in district No. 1, eight young men and boys put their loose change together bought the old house, and moved it on to the land of V. and E. Stearns to be used as a meeting-place for the lyceum. It was used for that purpose until 1860. The Good Templars were then given the use of it and occupied it about fifteen years. In 1878 it was transferred to the district board of education, and is now used for the high department of the grade school which has been organized in district No. 1.
First election April 7, 1856. Officers elected: Thomas Brown, mayor; Wm. S. Carpenter, recorder; H. S. Howe, N. P. Loomis, William W. Smith, Thos. Broadwell and George C. Knight, trustees.
List of Mayors: Wm. S. Carpenter, 1856 and '57; Wm. Gidding, (Chauncey Mead elected in May) 1856; O. W. Kendall, 1859 and '60; N. P. Loomis, 1861; John Lay, 1862; Elisha Fitch, (W. S. Carpenter elected in May) 1863; D. H. Cottrell, 1864; O. W. Kendall, 1865; H. K. Minor, 1866 and '67; L. B. Adams, 1869, '70 and '71; Luther Barnum, 1872, '73, '74 and '75; L. B. Adams, 1876 and '77; re-elected for two years in 1878.
1823. (Lenox) Trustees: Amos Briggs, Watrous Usher, Hosea
Bradford; clerk, D. J. Stearns; treasurer, Isaac Frost.
History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Third: The Townships, compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1879; pages 484-491.
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