CHARDON township is No. 9 of
range 8 of the Western Reserve, came in 1808 to be
distinguished as the shire town of the county of Geauga,
as such must have the first place, although, as will be
seen, several of her sister townships were settled some
years in advance of her.
bounded north by the county line; Munson lies on the
south, with Hambden on the east, and Kirtland on the
west. It popularly disputes with other points the
honor of the greatest elevation. The Little
mountain is in the northwest corner. It has the
usual variety of surface of the country, which affords
drainage, and the pleasing undulations, quite broken
into hills at some points, so delightful to the eye.
Chardon hill, to south-southeast, furnishes one of the
finest outlooks in northern Ohio.
Her soil is that strong, persistent clay, modified
along her streams by loam, with a sprinkling of sand,
common to the region. The whole once covered with
a magnificent growth of forest-trees, of maple, beech,
chestnut, oak, ash, elm, basswood, poplar, the most of
which has long since disappeared. Much of the
surface has underlying sandstone, which crops out at
many points, affording fine quarries of good
STREAMS AND WATER-COURSES
branch of Grand river, rising in the southwest angle of
Hambden, makes a bend into and across the northeast part
of Chardon, from which it receives small tributaries.
While the eastern branch of the Chagrin, rising in
Newbury, Manson, and Chester, makes an abrupt entrance
across the western line, gathers up the waters of three
or four small branches, and as directly turns west into
Kirtland, breaking the surface into a succession of
considerable hills on its course. High banks and
hills also border all the branches of Grand river,
caused by the general elevation of the surface; many
fine springs break from the base of the hills, and the
township may be said to be unusually well watered.
a large owner of western lands and a proprietor of the
township, early offered to the county commissioners of
Geauga to donate the
land for the village plat to the county for a
county-seat if the proposed town should receive his
second name. The proposition was accepted, and
hence the name of the town, which for civil purposes was
a part of Painesville, and became a part of Burton, by
order of the county commissioners, in March, 1806.
commissioners, under the act of the legislature to
establish county-seats for the new counties of Geauga,
Cuyahoga, Portage, and Ashtabula, governed by
the idea of geographical centre, which, by the erection
of Ashtabula and Cuyahoga, left Painesville, or New
Market, at one end of a long strip, selected Chardon
hill, in the southeast part of the township. This
was approved by the court, to which under the law the
report was made, at its June term, 1808. A deed
was made of the site to S. W. Phelps, as
director, Sept. 16, 1811, and by him dedicated in
At the time of this location and order, as at the day
of purchase, not a tree had been cut in Chardon
township, but at some time early a man of Painesville,
by the name of Jordan, went on to the town plat,
and built a house by the spring, northeast of the middle
of the square, and moved his family into it, thus
becoming the first settler.
What became of Jordan I know not. Mr.
Canfield several times speaks of the house by the
spring as the “Jordan house," but makes no
mention of Jordan. Origen Miner,
who has written much and well of pioneer history, is my
authority for this item‡
I shall treat the village and its life with that of the
township, of which it was at first the heart, brain, and
hand. As seen, Samuel W. Phelps was
the county-seat and village plat. He, with the aid
of Captain Edward Paine, secured the “chopping" of the
square in 1811.
Curtis Wilmot, of
Burton, and others unknown, were the principal axemen in
the work. In March, 1812, Norman Canfield,
father of Rev. Sherman B. and Austin Canfield,
an earlier resident of Hambden, who was the first
justice of the peace in that region when all was
Painesville, and captain of the militia company which
made the short campaign to Cleveland, in August of the
same year, came over and built a log house where now
stands the hotel of Benton & Co., which was soon
after occupied by his family. The house was
spacious for the day. Had three ground rooms and a
chamber, reached by a primitive ladder from the outside,
and soon supplemented by the jail. This structure
gave place to a framed building erected by Mr.
Canfield, in 1818, included in the larger building
of D. W. Stocking, and widely known as the
Chardon House, of Benton & Co. “Mr.
Canfield was the first settler of the township."§
I am inclined to follow Mr. Miner, and
regard Jordan as the first in point of time.
In the spring of the same year a log house, near the
present residence of Judge D. W. Canfield, was
put up, for a court-house. Into this Captain
Paine moved with his family, and occupied it
during the summer. This was a house of one room,
and all its appointments. of the pioneer order of axe
architecture. Mr. E. V. Canfield
sketches with a free hand, and graphically, the fixtures
and furniture which it contained when devoted to the
purpose of its erection. In the mean time,
Captain P. built and moved into a new house of his
own, a few yards distant, which my historian calls
The population, which had thus doubled—omitting
Jordan—in a month or two, occupied its energies,
interrupted by the war, with the more fatal struggle
with the giant trees. These were regarded as the
standing enemy, to be pursued with a too successful war,
which the political economist deplores and the man of
sentiment is melancholy over.
In July of the same year Samuel King, of
Long Meadow, Massachusetts, with his family and effects,
drawn by four oxen and a horse, reached Chardon, after a
journey of forty days. He moved into the
courthouse, built an addition, and used the seat
prepared for the judges-the judicial bench - as a
doorstep. The surrender of Hull, in August,
sent a shiver of fear to all dwellers in the woods,
under the influence of which Mr. King
packed up and returned East, as did many others, and
Captain Canfield and Edward Paine
made such hasty provision for the safety of their
families as they could, and marched towards the enemy.
It is said that Captain Paine, clerk of
the county, securely packed up the archives, judicial
and municipal, of Geauga, consisting of one small volume
and several papers, and solemnly deposited them in the
safe of the Rocky Cellar, a structure northeast of the
village, ere he departed for the wars, and that the
vandal red man failed to find them in his absence.
Leaving his family in New York, Samuel King
returned in the spring of 1813, cleared the
courthouse-lot, and built a more commodious court-house
in the rear
* From E. V. Canfield's Sketches and other sources.
† To the resident of Geauga
this gentleman is but part of a name. One, and
that the middle third of his, is borne by their
county-seat. It may be well to realize the man to
the curious by a brief note of his life. He is of
sufficient importance to have writers differ as to
his-birthplace. "Appletons' Cyclopaedia" says he
was born at Medford, Massachusetts, while the later
"Johnson" assigns North Yarmouth, Maine, as his place of
nativity, Jan. 6, 1767. He died in Boston, Jan. 1,
1849. His boyhood and youth were passed on a farm,
and he was of age the year the constitution went into
effect. Under the influence of the Napoleonic
wars, which sent American vessels abroad, Mr. Brooks
had the sagacity to select marine insurance as a
business. He became secretary in a Boston office,
and succeeded the principal in the management of its
affairs. He labored with all his powers, and
studied the law of marine insurance till he became one
of its then few masters. His diligence and
activity in business, the promptitude with which he paid
losses, insured early and great success. The vast
fortune he amassed was no part of it due to speculation;
but, with rare good judgment, he availed himself of the
opportunities which his business opened to him.
Among these the chances of sending abroad articles of
trade as “adventures" to the foreign markets, of which
he was well advised, brought the most satisfactory
returns. In this trade he embarked quite all his
means. Such was his success that he retired in
1803, one of the richest men of “ solid Boston." His
notion of wealth was the personal independence it
secured. The good attained was never hazarded in
quest of extravagant gains. He was connected with
many benevolent associations, to which he was most
liberal. Passed his summers on the estate of his
ancestors, at Medford, where he was a thoroughly
practical farmer. Was a member of the first
municipal council of Boston, of the executive council,
and often of the Senate and House of Representatives of
Massachusetts. He exerted himself to suppress the
universal resort to lotteries, then prevalent, for the
most meritorious purposes, and enjoyed the largest
public and private respect, confidence, and love.
Of his daughters, one became the wife of Edward
Everett, one the wife of R. L. Frothingham,
D.D., and third, Mrs. Charles Francis
Adams. A good biography of Mr.
Brooks appeared in Hunt's “American Merchants,” by
Edward Everett.- M. A. R. K.
‡ Geauga Democrat,
Aug. 19, 1868
§ Sketch by Mr. E. V. Canfield
RESIDENCE OF E. N. OSBORN, CHARDON TP., GEAUGA CO., O.
of the old academy, for seven hundred and fifty dollars,
where a term - the first of the court in Chardon - was
holden that fall. The structure was of squared
unframed timbers, a court-room above and jail below,
which may be remembered as “old Judge Hoyt’s
barn.” Mr, King's family - a wife,
Hannah, and children, Hannah, Warren,
John, and Jabez, the two latter so long
and well known in Chardon-returned to Chardon in June,
1813. He, Canfield, and Paine logged
and cleared the square, and took their pay in “farm
produce,” raised by them selves, on the same ground,
which they were to use for two years. What a
rugged perspective of blackened stumps, roots, and
cradle knolls that old-time clearing must have
presented! Samuel King died of fever
The 4th of July, 1814, was celebrated by a ball, a
grand affair, at the Canfield tavern.
Simeon Root, one of the Claridon pioneers,
furnished the music. The names of the assembled
beauty and fashion, the places whence they came from,
the styles of dresses they wore, the bill of fare, and
wine list of the host, have not reached us; all, with
the throbbing hearts, like the bubbles of mirth, and
gladness of that hour, have perished from earth.
Mr. Canfield says that in the fall of
1813 a man, Antony Carter, whom he calls “
black Antony,” came to Chardon with his
wife, - the fourth family in town he calls them, - and
for a time occupied a small log structure on the site of
William Munsel’s shop, - the county commissioners
office. He afterwards built a neat cabin north of
the square, on the Painesville road.
The fifth was the family of Jabez King.
He was a brother of Samuel. He finally took
up his residence-in a house built by one Jordan
by the spring at the northeast corner of Cyrus
Canfield’s lower orchard. This must have been
in 1813. Here Mrs. King gave birth
to the first pioneer child. The important event made
much noise in the woods. Mrs. Paine,
Mrs. Canfield, Mrs. Samuel
King, and Mrs. Antony Carter
were the only ladies in the settlement. The latter
was not requested to be present, while Mrs.
Bond and Mrs. Brown, of Bondstown,
were. This was the first color line drawn in the
county. Mrs. Carter endured it with
fortitude. Her irate husband took it hardly, and he
returned with her to Trumbull county to await the
MORE TO COME
PORTRAIT OF RESIDENCE OF THOMAS
METCALF, CHARDON, GEAUGA CO., O
RESIDENCE OF MRS. E. REXFORD & FORMER RES. OF L. J.
RANDALL, DECEASED, CHARDON CO., O.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
THE BAPTIST CHURCH IN CHARDON. *
above resolution, they ceased to be a Baptist church,
and, very properly, fellowship was withdrawn from the
church, as I understand, by the association to which it
belonged, and for more than two years there was no
Baptist church in Chardon.
On the 18th of June, 1831, nine persons whose names are
recorded, and who did not approve the resolution above,
met, in their own languae, "to establish a Baptist
church, " and proceeded to draft new articles and a new
covenant. On Oct. 5, 1831, the council of
delegates, called for the purpose, met at the academy,
in Chardon, and recognized the following members as "The
First Baptist church in Chardon": Isaiah Rider, Sarah
Rider (2d), Benjamin Rider, Sarah Rider (1st), Amasa C.
Manley, Esther Manley, Rebecca Manley, Lucy Rider, Anson
Dwight, Eliza Dwight, Rebecca Cook, Ann Cook, Simon
Gager, Wm. Ober, Fanny Ober, and Betsy Vaughn.
These met from time to time
to renew covenant, and to attend to the ordinances,
wherever they could, - in the academy, in the Methodist
Episcopal church, - or in private houses, enjoying the
ministrations of Elders Rider, Stephenson, Carrand
others, occasionally, and increasing in numbers and
On Sept. 3, 1836, Sherman Manley, Benjamin Cook,
Jesse Vaughn, and Philo Stoddard were
appointed a committee to build a meeting-house.
That committee seemed to have labored somewhat
diligently, for there are reports form time to time; but
so great were the difficulties in the way that it was
July 11, 1840, when, in the language of the record, "the
church met for the first time within the walls of her
The light of that society has never gone out, though at
times it may have burned dim. It has quietly kept
to its work, always embracing some of the most
influential citizen of the town, and to-day, though
small in numbers, - only forty-two members, - it is one
of the fountains of religious strength in Chardon.
THE DISCIPLES' CHURCH
RESIDENCE OF J. O. CONVERSE, CHARDON, GEAUGA CO., O.
ture rather than of propagation. Later came S.
P. Carlton, a man of ability, and others. Old
Father Doloff probably preached there, of
limited education, a man long-headed, gentle, and often
sweet, with brains enough to fit a theological seminary
and furnish forth a score of revival preachers.
The society never can be said to have flourished, nor is
it of consequence when it ceased.
SOCIETIES AND ORDERS.
A note must be
made of the destruction and rebuilding of the business
part of the village. So intimately is the village
interwoven with the general history of the township, or
rather so fully has it absorbed and swallowed up the
Chardon of the pioneers, that I treat them as one.
Whoever recalls the old town will have a memory of a
score of irregularly-built, ill-arranged, slovenly-kept,
incommodious wooden buildings, with two or three brick
structures, standing in a straggling rank, fronting the
square on the west side, reach
L. J. RANDALL
JASON RANDALL was the son of Jason and Martha
Randall, who were born in Bridgewater, New York.
Jason Randall and wife and five children moved
from Genesee county, New York, to Kirtland, now Lake
County, Ohio, in February, 1819, and in the spring of
1830 they moved from Kirtland to Munson, and afterwards
to Chardon, Ohio, and died there, - Jason R.,
Feb. 1, 1852; Martha, Nov. 24, 1856. L.
J. Randall was born in the town of Sweden, Genesee
county, New York, Feb. 15, 1818. He was the fifth
of a family of ten children.
In young manhood he taught common school winters, went
grafting in the spring, and worked by the month as a
farm hand till August, 1843, when he formed a
copartnership with Benjamin Cook, the
father of Alpheus and Pardon O. Cook, at
Munson, Geauga County, for the transaction of a general
mercantile and produce business. This
copartnership continued about one year, and in
September, 1845, he formed a copartnership with
Pardon O. Cook and Bradley C. Randall, a
brother, under the firm-name of Randall, Cook
& Co., at Chardon, Ohio, for the transaction of a
general mercantile and produce business. In 1847
they added to their business the slaughtering of sheep,
buying sheep pelts, pulling the wool off them, tanning
the skins, and manufacturing them into morocco, and the
tallow from the slaughtered sheep into candles.
Some years as many as ten thousand sheep were
slaughtered, and from ten to twenty thousand sheep pelts
purchased and pulled. This copartnership continued
until Oct. 10, 1853, when it was dissolved by mutual
consent, the senior member of the firm wanting to
increase their business, and his more conservative
associates not wishing to venture more extensively.
After the dissolution, L. J. Randall continued
the same business until the fall of 1854, when he added
the slaughtering of cattle and packing of beef to the
other business. This he continued for two seasons
at Chardon, and for five or six years after in
Cleveland, Ohio. This was a large business.
Some seasons he killed and packed upwards of four
thousand head of cattle.
In the spring of 1857 he sold his store in Chardon and
commenced the banking business, as senior partner of the
firm of Randall & Burtens. This
business continued until the fall of 1861. In 1859
he opened a produce commission business in New York, as
senior partner of the firm of Randall,
Hamilton & Co. This business continued some three or
four years. In 1860 he engaged in the business of
buying cheese, then made by the farmers instead of
factories, as now. The year’s purchase amounted to
upwards of one hundred thousand dollars, and this
business he continued until the time of his death.
In 1861 he again engaged in the mercantile business, and
in the fall of that year he purchased the cheese made by
the first factory operated in the county. In 1862
he embarked in the manufacture of cheese by the factory
system, starting the second factory in the county. This
business he added to, year after year, until 1869, when
he owned six factories, and rented one, which he worked
that year. In 1864 be commenced operating in
railroad stocks and gold, in Wall street, New York,
which he continued up to the time of his decease.
His transactions in this branch of business were
enormous, frequently almost controlling the market of
one or two of the leading stocks, the purchases and
sales amounting to millions of dollars daily. In
1866 he invented and patented a process for pressing a
series of cheeses with a single screw. These were a
small cheese weighing six pounds, of a very fine
quality, intended for family use, and readily brought
from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five dollars
per ton more than ordinary cheese. In 1868 he
built the Randall Block, at Chardon, Ohio,
one hundred and forty-one feet by sixty-six, at a cost
of about forty thousand dollars. In 1869 he
took the contract to build the court-house at Chardon.
He died before there was a brick laid.
L. J. Randall was married to Elisa
Smith, Mar. 9, 1847. Her parents were
Samuel and Sibbyll Smith, of Chardon, Ohio. Of
this marriage were born Sibbyll M., February,
1848, Lucinda A., September, 1849; Juliet V.,
June 12, 1852, Florence E., Mar. 31, 1855.
Juliet V. married Ira W. Canfield, May
22, 1872, now living at Chardon, Ohio; Sibbyll M.
died Apr. 7, 1848; Lucinda A. died Mar. 12, 1856;
Florence E. died Oct. 1, 1856.
He was not always successful in business enterprises,
often met with losses, and frequently large amounts.
In 1847 the wool-house, used for drying the wool pulled
from sheep pelts, was burned, and again in 1849.
In 1868 he suffered largely by the fire that destroyed
almost the entire business portion of the town of
Chardon, losing three entire buildings, and from two to
three thousand dollars’ worth of wool and goods.
He frequently said during his life that it was as
necessary for him to meet with these reverses as it was
to be successful; that if he was always successful, that
the excitement would so affect his nervous system that
he would soon be a fit subject for an insane assylum.
As seen, the life of Mr. Randall was one
of constant and intense activity. He was, in many
respects, a most remarkable man; to his great activity
be added the capacity for large enterprises, a grasp and
ability to successfully manage large undertakings, and
several of them at the same time. While he could
originate and set on foot a new and extensive business,
such was his sagacity and power over details that each
in turn was made to succeed, and no one even partially
failed. Without capital at the commencement, he
was obliged to use it, and such was his credit, and the
confidence men had in his integrity, sagacity, and
skill, that he could usually command what he required.
The energy, dash, and force with which be pressed an
enterprise was equal to the skill with which he
perfected and managed it.
Of vigorous, compact form, capable of great endurance,
pleasant, frank, manly face, and prompt address, he had
no time for external polish of manners, nor did he ever
become interested in books or papers beyond the price
current. His life was one of action, on the
double-quick; his perceptions, in his lines of thought,
quick as a flash, and very certain; a bold and skillful
operator, his end at mid career cut off a man who had
not made his mark, and was only really preparing to do
that. In his early days at Chardon, while that was
yet his field, no man was ever so useful to it. He
did more business, of a kind to employ men and give
activity and life to a town, than all his predecessors,
who had dosed out their lives before he came to wake
them up. He was attached to Chardon; there was his
home and early life associations.
His business transactions involved him in many
expensive and sharply-contested law-suits, and the
uniformity of his success in them marked the care and
skill with which he mastered and never lost sight of
details. He was a kind-hearted man, steady in his
friendships, true in all his engagements. He
leaves only a daughter, and when men cease to speak of
him, his name will be forgotten in Chardon.
ADDITIONAL FIRE ITEMS.
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN.
THE VILLAGE ACT OF INCORPORATION.
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
[PORTRAIT OF EDWARD PAINE]
E. N. OSBORN
DAVID T. BRUCE AND THE BRUCES.
DR. D. A. HAMILTON
THE CONVERSES OF CHARDON
CHARLES H. FOOTE
JAMES HATHAWAY (with portrait)