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Summit County, Ohio

History & Genealogy

History of Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County, Ohio.
An Address Delivered July 4, 1876, by Rev. T. B. Fairchild, Rector of St. John's Church,
Published by Request of Citizens: Cleveland Herald Press

     One hundred years ago, and the American colonies were in their struggle with the mother country for their freedom; and all the continent, where now busy multitudes are pursuing their daily avocations, the native forests lay in all their gloomy grandeur, untouched by the woodman's axe.
     The whole population, when the first census was taken in 1790, was only 3,929,328, and of these 697,696 were slaves.  Now we have over 40,000,000, and not a slave.  This population was scattered along the eastern part of the original colonies on the Atlantic coast, while the western part of them was still the abode of the Indians, whose incursions made many a settler's heart tremble for fear of their depredations.  Even New England was mostly a wilderness and central New York was the hunting ground of savage tribes.  Pittsburgh was a military post, and when the sun shone upon this broad state, which is now the third in the Union, it lighted only the trackless woods.  It required nearly two months to make the journey from Connecticut to Ohio; and was a severe trial of the strength of the hardy veterans who, with their wives, first broke their way into its solitudes.  When they got to their journey's end, they had first to build a rude cabin to shelter them, and deadening the timber around it, sow the seed which should furnish them with bread, when the county supply was gone, which they had brought from their eastern homes.  Hardships were experienced of which we can form little conception; and tears must have wet many a pillow, as they thought of the homes and friends they had left behind them.
     When we think that it is but fifty-one years since the site of this village was an unbroken forest, and but twenty years before that, not a white man had found his way into this vicinity, we are amazed at the change. And as we traverse these peaceful scenes over which the hand of the husbandman has spread such evidences of prosperity, we can hardly realize how greatly it has been changed since its first settlement. It seems impossible that so short a time has elapsed since this whole region lay in the state of nature, and not a mark of its present civilization had been made.
     There are still living some who were among the first that came, and what we present of this history, we have had from their lips; and because the number is so small of those who participated in these events, we have thought best to record it now, that we may let our children know something of the labors and privations of those who prepared the way for their enjoyment of the advantages which they have inherited. Though much has been forgotten, what we now record is given as it was told us by those who knew the facts, and were participators in much that they related.
     When the present century came in, the whole region known as the Western Reserve was an un­broken wilderness. Its forests were untouched, and nature had received no embellishment from the hand of man. Everything was as it came from the Creator's hand. The aborigines were scattered through its dense forests; and game of all the kinds common to this latitude was abundant. Bears, wolves, deer, turkeys, and all the smaller varieties, were found in great numbers; and the lakes which beautified this region abounded with water fowl, and many varieties of excellent fish. The swamps and ledges furnished cover for deer and turkeys long after they had disappeared from regions more recently settled.
     The timber was heavy, and for variety and excellence for all economic purposes, was not excelled by any part of the United States. A soil of great fertility lay under it, and its latent riches needed but the hand of the tiller to be developed, to reward the laborer for his toil.
     The Western Reserve had been sold by the State of Connecticut to the Connecticut Land Company, who had it surveyed in 1797. It was laid off in townships five miles square, and was designated by ranges and numbers. These lands were drawn by lot, by the members of the company, valued at forty cents per acre; the quantity being in proportion to the amount which each one paid toward the gross amount, as compared to the whole. Number 3, of range 10, was drawn by Judge Joshua Stow, of Middletown, Connecticut; and was named after him.
     The township of Tallmadge fell to two companies, called the Brace Company and the Rockwell Company, and was named after Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, of Litchfield, Connecticut. Roger Newbury was a member of the Brace Company, as also of the Connecticut Land Company, and for many years one of the governor's council of Connecticut. His share was one thousand acres, which lay in the northwest part of the township, which now forms the southeast part of the village of Cuyahoga Falls. This made these two men the owners of what afterward constituted the eastern half of this township and village.
     Northampton was designated as an equalizing township, to be divided between such townships as were adjudged of inferior quality on account of swamps; and thus was disposed of in smaller quantities and fell into the hands of numerous owners. That part of Portage township which lay next west of Tallmadge was in the hands of small proprietors, so that the west half of the new town was under different influences from the eastern half.
     These several townships held jurisdiction over what was within their own limits; and the people at Cuyahoga Falls, belonging to four townships, were dependent upon them for the administration of their affairs. This was a great inconvenience, as their interests were united here; and the concert of action necessary to their relation to one another was impossible. They endured it till 1851, when a township two and a quarter miles north and south, and one and three quarter miles east and west, was taken from the four townships, and incorporated into a separate township, with all the powers necessary to a complete organization and government. This new township also became a village, with its rights and privileges, the same as other villages of its class.
     Our name and history, however, goes back to earlier days. The village was first laid out by Judge Elkanah Richardson; but afterward resurveyed and plotted by Birdsey Booth, whose map was recorded in the county records, and remains in force for all legal purposes to the present day.
     The name first given to the village was Manchester; but as there were many towns of that name in differ-ent states, and the falls of the Cuyahoga were seen to be of great value and importance, it was changed to the name it now bears.
     The falls extend for about two miles, making a descent of two hundred and twenty feet. There are three several falls of considerable height; but the descent for the whole distance is so rapid that it forms continuous water power, being unequaled in the state. The river has made for itself a deep channel with precipitous banks of great height, which are clothed with evergreen and other trees, present­ing the most picturesque scenery to be seen in the western states. The effect of these natural embel­lishments in beautifying the landscape, has been to cause it to be a favorite resort for parties of pleasure from all the surrounding country. This scenery extends through the town from north to south; and the power is available for its whole extent, for manufacturing purposes, at a comparatively small expense; and offers to capitalists the highest inducements for investment, since the height of its banks precludes all danger from floods, and the solid rocks form an immovable foundation upon which to build.
     The village is over four hundred feet above Lake Erie, and is underlaid by sand rock, in which is an abundant supply of pure water. The slope of the land is such as to render perfect drainage an easy matter, furnishing special reasons for its healthiness in a sanitary point of view.
     Coal of the best quality was discovered upon Mr. Newbury' s land at an early day, and has been ever since mined with profit. The first coal carried to Cleveland was from these mines.
     All these advantages, concentrated upon this vicinity, have made it a desirable place of residence from the first; and the townships of Stow and Tallmadge have been among the most thrifty and prosperous of rural towns.
     An Indian trail from Fort Mclntosh upon the Ohio river, near Beaver, to Sandusky, passed through Stow. Near Fish creek, in the east part of the township of Stow, it parted; one trail going west through Northampton, and the other passing down through what is now the village upon the east bank of the river to the Great Falls, and thence to Old Portage, where it intersected the portage between the Cuyahoga and Muskingum rivers, at the junction of the Great and Little Cuyahoga.
     The portage was an important point even after the country was occupied by the whites. Here there was a military post, and what was called a "Navy Yard," and supplies were gathered from the interior of the state for their maintenance. These were drawn from as far south as Chillicothe, being brought up to the head waters of the Muskingum, and conveyed overland to the Cuyahoga. William Wetmore was appointed commissary for this post, and all the lumber necessary to supply the wants of the government at the station, was supplied by the saw mill at the "old village." Old Portage did not lose its importance till the opening of the Ohio & Erie Canal, at a later date.
     In the spring of 1804, a company of emigrants started from Middletown, Connecticut, for Ohio, having made arrangements with Judge Stow for settlement upon his land. They took their course through northern Pennsylvania till they reached the Alleghany river, which they followed down to Pittsburgh ; and thence west to Warren; and in fifty days arrived in Stow. Their names were William Wetmore, Capt. Gregory Powers, Josiah Starr, Capt. Rice, Titus Wetmore and John Campbell. William Wetmore immediately put up a log cabin half a mile north of "Stow Corners," and the others settled in different parts of the township. Previous to and during the war of 1812, several other families fol­lowed them ; but as we do not propose to give more than the history of Cuyahoga Falls, we shall mention only such things and persons as were connected with its settlement, as were some of those whom I have mentioned.
It may be interesting to the present inhabitants to know that when the whites first came to Stow, the rattlesnakes were so numerous that it was seriously questioned whether the settlers would be able to remain But they finally determined upon a war of extermination, and after five or six years of vigorous effort they had so far reduced these enemies as to feel safe in going about their work. There was a den in the ravine below Gen. Gross' tavern, from which the snakes issued in great numbers every spring. Here the men laid in wait for them, and slew them by hundreds. On one Sunday while the people were all at meeting, it was announced by the blacksmith's son that his father had killed a great pile of them and all went to see the sight and count the game, when it was found that he had slain sixty-five large snakes.
     In 1812 Messrs. Kelsey & Wilcox built a dam upon the river at the place where the railroad bridge now crosses it. Upon this they erected a flour mill, an oil mill and a saw mill, which was the first in this vicinity. This led to the erection of a number of houses at what we call the old village. But it was found that the power was. much better at a point lower down, and in 1825 Stow & Wetmore bought out the mills and proceeded to make improvements at the new point.
     In 1814 Henry Newbury, the son of Roger Newbury, came to Ohio to see the lands which had been given him by his father, who died the year before. He was so well pleased with them that he resolved to make this his future home; but did not remove here till 1824. He lived for two years upon the farm at Silver Lake, known as the Thorndike farm, now owned by Hiram Gaylord. During this time he was making improvements upon his property here. He erected a log house for his workmen upon the spot where Geo. Dyre's house stands, and cleared about an acre between that and the river. This was the first structure upon his part of the town. His own house was begun for a store, and is the one now owned by Mrs. Clarkson; but he bought the build­ing, and finished it for a house. He removed into it in 1826, and occupied it till the completion of the stone house, which is now the residence of Mr. Jas. H. Cooke. This was in 1840, and he made this his residence till his death in 1854. Mrs. Newbury out­lived him till November, 1858.
     In 1822 Judge Richardson came from Stow and built the house long known as the "Red House," which stands a little north of the "Big Spring," on the west side of Main street. This house was the first frame house erected south of the old village.
Judge Stow had reserved in the southwest corner of his township two hundred and ten acres, which embraces the northeast quarter of the village. Of this he sold an undivided half to Wm. Wetmore, and they together began their improvement of it in 1825. A cabin was put up upon the ground where the brown house stands, north of the livery stable, directly west of the dam. In April, 1825, William Wetmore, Jr., had gathered thirty men from the surrounding country, who were set to work to construct a dam where the upper dam now stands. This was finished in June following. Here they erected a flour mill, a saw mill and an oil mill. As this flooded the dam at the old village, the mills there were taken down, and the glory of that infant town departed; its interests being all removed to the new locality. Mr. Wetmore, the father of Henry, Ogden, William, Jr., and Edwin, who had to do with the subsequent history of the town, died, after a long sickness, in 1827, and was buried at Stow Corners.
     In 1830 Stow & Wetmore built a paper mill upon the east side of the river, where the remains of its foundations may be seen from the stone bridge. This was called Stow & Wetmore's mill. The first sheet of paper was run off on the 8th of December of that year, which is also memorable as being the day when our esteemed Mends, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wetmore, were married in Franklin, now Kent. This paper was the first which was made by the process now in use in Ohio. There were several small mills in other parts of the state, but they continued to use the old method of making it by hand.
     The first frame building put up on Stow & Wetmore' s land was intended for a dwelling house and store. It was built by William Wetmore, Jr., in 1826, and is now known as the "Perry House."
     In 1828 the store now occupied by Giles L'Hommedieu was built, and the goods removed into it, leaving the first to be used for a dwelling only. It was not long before it became a place of entertainment for strangers, and finally a regular hotel. It was first kept by Benjamin F. Hopkins. He was succeeded by E. B. Morgan, and he by Ira Loomis. It was known as the American House. It has passed through several hands since then, but has been little changed.
     The same year Jabez Hamlin came, and built the house next south of the big spring, and soon after the tannery now owned by Mr. Kittleberger.
    In 1829 Judge Richardson built a log house in the southeast corner of what is now George Sackett's yard, and afterward the third house south of Falls street, on Front street, in which he spent the rest of his life, dying in 1836.
     Not long after Jabez Hamlin, John Wells came, and built the house now owned by the widow of the late John Tift. In 1829 John Rumrill came, as the foreman of Stow & Wetmore's paper mill, and built the house near the depot, known as the Jones House.
     Rowland Clapp came from Vermont, and took up his residence here in 1828, and has made it his home ever since.
     Mr. E. N. Sill came in 1829, and in 1834 and 1835 built the center part of his house, the wings having been added at a later date. The builder was Mr. Lodge, who is still among us.
     Mr. Grant B. Turner came with his father in 1828, soon went to Ravenna, but returned in 1835, and has resided here since that time.
     Major C. W. and Mr. S. D. Wetmore came in 1832, and built their houses soon after; John Eadie, George Daily and Israel James, in 1830; and O. B. Beebe, in 1831.
     During the time that these improvements were made by Stow & Wetmore, Mr. Newbury was pushing his work in the lower part of the town. What is now Turner, Parks & Co.'s dam was built by him in 1825, and the next year he erected upon the west side a saw mill, and on the east side an oil mill. The oil mill was carried away by a flood in 1832, but a new mill was immediately put up, and was used by E. N. Sill and Ogden Wetmore as an oil mill. It was afterward sold to John Rumrill. who resold it to Prentiss Dow, who converted it into a paper mill, and ran it in company with Rumrill, under the firm of Dow, Rumrill & Co. This partnership was closed after a time, and the mill was run by P. & G. Dow. It was afterward closed and the mill removed.
      The first shop, upon the place where Turner, Parks & Co.'s shops stand, was used by a man by the name of Kelley, as a chair factory. Mr. Lawson also used it for the same purpose for some time afterward. This was replaced by one built by Vaughn, Hunt & Co., which was removed when the present buildings were put up. When it came into the hands of the present firm they made important changes, extending it toward the river and building the foundry; and lately have greatly en­larged it by the addition of the north part.
There was also a small woolen factory between the saw mill and Turner, Parks & Co.'s shops, which was burned by spontaneous combustion. A tempo­rary building was afterward built upon the same ground, for sawing stone, and all the facing stones in Mr. ^"ewbury's house were sawed in it.
There was an oil mill which was run by Penfield & Starr, adjoining the woolen factory at the time it was burned, which was saved, but has not been replaced by any other, and has gone to decay.
      In 1834 a foundry and trip-hammer shop was built by Mr. Yaughn on the south side of the stone bridge, where the saw mill stands, but this was burned and never rebuilt.
Just south of this was a carriage shop, which was carried on by Mr. Isaac Lewis. The building was afterward changed to a paper mill, which was run by George E. Clarke, in company with his nephew, Seymour, but like many others it has passed away.
     In 1834 Ogden Wetmore and B. R. Manchester built a foundry and machine shop near where the brick paper mill stands. They ran the foundry for about two years, when Manchester removed, and L. W. Butler took his place as partner of Ogden Wet-more. In 1835 the machine shop was leased by Messrs. Bill; who afterward purchased the property, and used it till 1843, when it was consumed by fire.
     In 1845 Messrs. Bill put up a brick building for a foundry and machine ship, but in order to rent it to J. M. Smith & Co. for a paper mill, they built a small shop on the other side of the street for their own use. J. M. Smith & Co.'s lease was for ten years, but before its expiration they were succeeded by Harrison & Hanford, who purchased the property, and added to it till it became what was known as the Empire mill. This came into the hands of Hanford Bros., who ran it until 1872, when it was destroyed by fire.
     The Messrs. Bill took into co-partnership James Chamberlain, and the shops were run for several years under the firm name of Bill & Chamberlain. To accommodate their increasing business they removed the shops first built, and put up the large buildings which stood opposite to the Empire mill. There were some changes in the proprietors from time to time, but the shops were kept running till the fire of 1872, when they were consumed with all their contents. Snyder & Blood's planing mill now occupies its place; and the machine shop, which had sent out so much good machinery, passed out of existence
     Turner, Parks & Co.'s flour mill was first built for a planing mill by Mr. Newbury, and was run by him in company with Henry A. Sill, for which Messrs. Bill made the machinery. It was soon after leased by Penfield & Starr, who changed it into a paper mill; but getting involved in debt, it passed into the hands of Henry Wetmore, who in company with a man named Wright, ran it for a time. But it passed again into Mr. Newbury's hands, who removed the paper machinery, and changed it into a flour mill, for which purpose it is still occupied, being the oldest mill upon the river.
     Another paper mill was built and run by T. L. Miller on the east side of the canal, not far from the large warehouse east of the north pottery. This mill was run by steam. After Miller's failure it was occupied by Caleb Howard, but fell into decay, and was finally taken down.
     A distillery is also among the unpleasant remem­brances of that vicinity. A part of the buildings connected with it now furnishes shelter for the Taylor Wire Weaving Company, which is among the most successful of our recent undertakings.
     Yockey, Van Tine & Co. built a flour mill on the site of the paper mill of the Cuyahoga Paper Com­pany. It was run as a flour mill for some years, but was purchased by J. M. Smith & Co., and changed into a paper mill. Soon after the change it was consumed by fire. Another mill was immediately erected in its place, which was run by Harrison & Hanford until it was again burned. Again it was rebuilt, and passed into the hands of Hanford Bros. and used by them till 1875, when it was bought by the present proprietors, and is now the only establishment for the manufacture of paper in the town.
     Among the old institutions of the town was the Cuyahoga Falls Band, organized in 1834, and was the first of the kind in northern Ohio. It was established upon temperance principles, no one joining it who did not pledge himself to refrain from the use of intoxicating liquors. Its leader was Henry W. Bill, and it was composed of about a dozen members. In 1835 they went to Cleveland to celebrate the 4th of July. The Cleveland committee sent a packet boat to Old Portage to convey them to the city, where they met the boat in wagons, and returned in the same manner. They also played at the celebration of the opening of the Ohio & Erie Canal. They also made an excursion to Massillon, where they gave a concert to the edification of that infant town, beside participating in other patriotic and festive scenes. The band consisted of the following members, viz: H. W. Bill, leader; E. N. Sill, C. W. Wetmore, T. K,. Butler, C. Bronson, C. Wilcox, L. Wilcox, J. H. Brainard, Mr. Sperry, R. Upson, H. Y. Beebe, C. Thornburg, Israel James.
     After the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal, it was thought indispensable to the prosperity of the country between Lake Erie and Pittsburgh that there should be water communication through the Western Reserve between Lake Erie and the Ohio river. After much exertion it was carried through. Leaving the Ohio & Erie Canal at Akron, it passed through Cuyahoga Falls and entered the Cuyahoga river at Franklin Mills. But its necessity had been greatly over-estimated, and its tolls were never sufficient to pay expenses and keep it in repair. It was found, also, that as the country was cleared up, the volume of water in the river was greatly reduced, so that in summer it was necessary to suspend some of the works at Cuyahoga Falls for want of power, on ac­count of its being diverted from the river by the canal at Franklin. At a later period the railroads which were laid through the region, being more direct and expeditious, rendered the canal unnessary, and measures were taken to return the stream to its ancient bed. After much contention with the mill owners at Akron, who were alone interested in keep­ing it open, it was finally vacated, and the water allowed to resume its old channel.
     In 1852 the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad was completed. Upon this event steps were taken to build a railroad which should leave the Cleveland & Pittsburgh at Hudson, and go south through Cuya-hoga Falls. It resulted in what is now the Cleveland, Mount Vernon & Columbus railroad. The road was opened to Akron before the close of the year, and in two years was completed as far as Millersburgh. This gave to Cuyahoga Falls a new means of transit, and has done much to increase the prosperity and comfort of the people. The track runs near the bank of the river through the whole town, from north to south; and from its conspicuous position gives the passengers an excellent view of the scenery, and of our natural and artificial advantages. It is convenient to all the shops, giving them access to to the road without expense for numerous side tracks; and offers superior inducements to manufacturers to invest their money where they have so many advantages at so little expense for cartage, or individual outlay, to accommodate their business.
     The first mills erected by Stow & Wetmore upon the upper dam have long since been replaced by others on the west side by James' forge and rolling mill, saw mill, machine shop, and flour mill, and on the east side by the rivet factory and clay mill. The rivet factory was first used for a flouring mill, sash, door and blind factory, but was changed to its present use during the year 1875, and is continuing to increase its capacity to meet its increasing business.
     On the site of Camp, Cooke & Co.'s sewer pipe factory Cyrus Prentiss, the brother-in-law of Henry Wetmore, built an oil mill, which was used by Mr. Wetmore for making linseed oil till 1863, when it gave place to the extensive works of the present owners, and turns out a very large amount of excel­lent pipe. They have also introduced the manufacture of hollow brick and tile, of the same quality, which appears to be excellent building material, and at an expense not greater than those of more perishable materials and more uncomely form. To show the extent to which this business has grown, the fact may be mentioned that they are shipping at the rate of two hundred and fifty car loads of pipe of the first class to distant points annually, beside all that is sold at the yard, and pipe of inferior quality.
     Buildings were first erected upon the dam of what is known as the Chuckery Company, in the south part of the town, for making shovels, forks, etc., but the men undertaking it, having little or no capital, soon came to grief. The buildings were slight, and soon went to decay. They came at length into the hands of John Hinde, who rebuilt them and employed them in making rope and twine; but finally changed them into a mill for making coarse bag­ging, and is carrying it on with great enterprise and success.
     On the east side of the river a tavern was built, in 1835, by C. Reid. It was called the Traveller's inn. It is now kept by George Buoys.
     A lard oil and candle factory was started, in 1842, by George A. Stanley and Henry Holbrook, in the first building north of the covered bridge on the west side; but they soon went to Cleveland, where Mr. Stanley has since been engaged in the same or kin­dred business.
      Among the early enterprises undertaken which were of short continuance, were a starch factory, by Birdsey Booth, at the spring in the bank of the river below Mr. Hinde's mill. Another, by G. & I. L'Hommedieu, near the depot, a sandpaper and glue factory, east of the stone bridge, under the management of a Mr. Smith; and a pump factory on the east side, carried on by R. S. Williams.
     The wire mill was put in operation in 1874, and bids fair to be a permanent and successful enter­prise. This led to the Taylor Wire Weaving Co., which makes all kinds of wire cloth and screens, and is working up to its full capacity, and is considered an eminent success, which is shown by the erection of their new building.
     The manufacture of paper has always been one of the leading industries of the town since the building of the first mill by Stow & Wetmore in 1830, and is now pursued by the Cuyahoga Paper Company, in two mills which are run night and day.
     The growth and prosperity of the town has suffered very seriously from a plan which was undertaken in early times to divert the water power and use it elsewhere. Persons came and bought separate por­tions of it, under profession of desiring to use it on the spot; but when they had possessed themselves of the whole of that which was in the lower part of the town, they organized a company called the Portage Canal & Manufacturing Company, popu­larly known as the ''Chuckery Company." In 1843 they built a dam at the upper end of their purchase, with a race beginning opposite to Hinde's mill, which they carried at great expense to what is known as "Chuckery Plains," where they planned for a city of immense proportions, which they called Summit City. This was to have been one of the largest manufacturing cities in the world. They succeeded in getting the water through, but they got into quarrels among themselves and the work was stopped. Lawsuits followed, and after years of litigation the company broke up, and the scheme was abandoned. Their dam and race went to decay, and now nothing remains of their magnificent scheme but the ruins of the race and the gloomy remem­brances of its surviving members.
     During these long years of litigation their water power remained nearly useless; but about two years ago the courts decided the questions at issue and closed up all their affairs, and now the whole of this power is offered for sale, presenting excellent oppor­tunities for manufacturing upon a large scale.
     This scheme, which was gotten up under false pretences, has been a great injury to the town. When money was plenty, and men were seeking opportunity for investment, the water power was in a condition not to be disposed of or used ; and since it has been in market the times have been adverse to any such undertaking. But it is hoped that the financial condition of the country will soon allow the occupation of the whole power, and that this mag­nificent stream will be vocal with the hum of busy wheels, where for many ages have been heard only the song of the waters as they make their way down the declivity, without usefulness except by the refin­ing influence of the beautiful scenery.
     There are now in operation within the corporation one foundry and rolling mill for railroad axles and hollow bolts, two flour mills, two saw mills, a rivet factory and clay mill, a wire factory, wire weaving works, a large foundry and machine shop, a small machine shop and town clock factory, two paper mills and another partly built, an extensive sewer pipe factory, two potteries, a planing mill, tannery, and several wagon, tin and other shops, besides the tow bagging mill of John Hinde & Son, which latter employs about one hundred and fifty hands. There is also a factory for making roofing tile by improved machinery, which has been in operation a short time by Camp & Babb, which turns out about three thou­sand per day. They are admirable in all respects, and promise to be a very great improvement upon previous methods of making, and it is thought will supersede them. The machinery was invented by Horace Camp, and is very simple and easy of management.
     The depression of the iron trade which has been so severe throughout the country, has seriously affected all these industries; but while struggling under great embarrassment, from the scarcity of money and the failure of establishments at other points, nearly all have escaped the fate of many of their contemporaries, and have avoided suspension of business.
     The services which led to the establishment of St. John's church were began in a log cabin at Stow corners, in 1818, by Mrs. Josiah Wetmore, she reading the service, and her husband the sermon. Her house was crowded with interested worshippers, but after three years the family returned to the east. The interest was continued and maintained by lay reading, with an occasional visit from a clergyman, till 1830, when the parish was organized. They met in school houses and private houses till 1835, when the edifice was erected which they now occupy. It was consecrated to the worship of God in 1836, by Bishop Mcllvaine, and remains as originally built, except the change in the chancel made two years ago. It is the oldest church in this part of the country, except the church in Tallmadge, and has been changed much less than that.
     The first rector of the church was the Rev. Wm. H. Newman, who was succeeded respectively by Revs. Messrs. Cushman, Blodsoe, Bonnar, Fairchild, Guion, Burger, Holden, Bosley and Fairchild, the latter returning in 1872, and is the present rector.
       The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1829. Their church edifice was completed in 1840, and was dedicated on the 31st of December of that year. It was enlarged in 1864, and the church has prospered up to the present time. It was embraced in what was called Twinsburgh circuit. The first preacher who officiated here was Rev. Thomas Carr.
     The Congregational church was organized in 1834. For some time they met in school houses, but finally united with the school district and a literary society, in the building what was called  "The Lyceum," which stood east of the ground occupied by their present church edifice. It had an audience room upon the upper floor, and school rooms in the basement. This building was used by them till 1845, when steps were taken to build the present edifice. This was finished the following year, but has been enlarged and improved since, by the addition of Sunday school room, study and parlor, after the building of the church.
     The lyceum was removed to the lot now owned by Austin Babcock, and put upon the spot where his house now stands, but was finally purchased by Mr. Hinde, and forms the south part of his mill.
     The pastors of the Congregational church have been Revs. Messrs. Baldwin, Buyington, W. C. Clarke, Foster, Leeds, Tomlinson, Rankin, Dr. T. S. Clarke, and Danner, the present incumbent.
     The school building which stands north of St. John's church, was built by persons who seceded from the Methodist Episcopal church, and organized under the name of "Wesleyans." But they soon disbanded, and the building was sold to the school directors for a high school. In 1872 the new high school was ready for use, to which that school was transferred, since which time this building has been used for schools of lower grade.
     The subject of education has always held a high place in the estimation of the people. After the building of St. John's church, a female seminary was kept in the school room adjoining, by Miss Sarah Carpenter. She was succeded by Miss Fran­ces C. Barron, and she by Miss Eliza Deaver. The public schools have been well sustained, and are now the pride of the village.
     One of the first efforts in the promotion of educa­tion, was the organization and charter of an institution called the Cuyahoga Falls institute, under the management of Rev. Mr. Brooks and Charles Clark. The school was started and kept in operation some time, but the hard times which came on in 1837 made it necessary to abandon the project.
     The people of Cuyahoga Falls were long remark­able for their social qualities. They were from very different places, and reared under different influences before emigration, and being brought into contact upon settlement, there was a toning down of many of the asperities which were peculiar to New Eng­land manners and habits of thought, and the consequence was that there was a friendliness which has never wholly disappeared; and perhaps no town upon the Western Reserve was more remarkable for its sociability and good fellowship than this. Later years, and the coming in of new residents, have changed this somewhat; but not to the gain of happiness, or the pleasures of social life. The recollections of the older inhabitants are always pleasant, as they go back over those early days and the regret which they often express for the change, shows how superior was the enjoyment of those early associations, to the more restrained, though perhaps, politer habits of the present. But it is not wholly the fault of the present. In early times they were wholly dependant one on another for their pleasures, and their cares were confined to narrower bounds, and they were driven to find amusement in each others company, for the want of any other resource, while now the daily papers and pressure of business occupies the attention.
     It would be a very ungrateful return to those who gave their lives to save their country in her hour of need if we should omit to mention the readiness with which the young men of the town enlisted in her army. A large number of men were enlisted in several regiments and batteries, how many I have not been able to ascertain; of these, twenty-nine now fill soldiers' graves. The names of those who fell are as follows: Captain D. N. Lowrey, Thomas Evans, J. D. Cooke, J. I. Patterson, William Lyons, George L. Holden, David McArthur, First Lieuten­ant John Eadie, Jr., Second Lieutenant J. C. Ely, J. W. Eddy, Robert Gaylord. I. J. Wood, C. Neeley, A. K. Goodrich, F. B. Purine, Robt. Green, Edward Green, John Patterson, J. B. Lyon, Seneca Blood, John Congden, John Shellhorn, Chas. E. Moon, G. G. Crane, J. Murphy, John C. Schneible, H. F. Eddy, H. J. Ingalls and J. Hogle.
     These names we cherish as a precious treasure, which we will hand down to posterity, that they may give them the honor they so justly deserve. To them and their associates we owe the preservation of our country in its integrity, and we hold ourselves responsible to their memories for its continuance to our posterity.
     The houses upon Front street, from the Perry House north, on the west side, were nearly all built between 1825 and 1830; of those below that point, Henry Wetmore's was built in 1835; Ogden Wetmore's, which came next, and now stands back on Second street, in 1830; E. N. Sill's center part of house in 1834-5 ; the wings were added many years afterward. Dr. Rice's house in 1832; Mr. Holloway's in 1831, and Israel James' about the same time.
     It may also be proper to say that Mr. Holloway was the first resident preacher of the gospel in the town, and still remains to enjoy the respect of his townsmen for a well spent and useful life.
     The first store of goods ever opened here was by Stow & Wetmore, in 1825; and in 1829 a small store was brought by Co^. Stanley, and opened on the corner of Water and Broad streets, north of the covered bridge.
     The first birth in the town was Edward, son of William Wetmore, Jr., who now resides in North­ampton ; this was in 1827.
     The first death was a son of the same family, in 1826. The first adult who died here was the first wife of Mr. E. N. Sill, and daughter of Henry Newberry.
     The first marriage is believed to have been the daughter of Deacon Hamlin to Washington Butler.
     The first Post Master was Henry Newberry, who held the office till he was led to resign it through the pressure of his other business.
     The first Trustees of the village were Henry Newberry, Horace A. Miller, and P. G. Somers. The first Clerk Grant B. Turner. The first Justices of the Peace C. W. Wetmore, and Josiah Wetmore.
     The first Bank in the County was the Summit County Bank, organized under the State Banking law, and was in Cuyahoga Falls.
     It was customary in early times, in this as well as other places to make free use of whisky on all occasions. It was thought to be almost as necessary as bread for all laborers. Stow and Wetmore furnished a barrel a week to their workmen as their stated supply; and kept it upon their counter at the store for the use of all who chose it, and few refused it. But they were convinced that it was unnecessary and hurtful, and after mature deliberation they resolved to banish its use and sale from their establishment. In May 1828, they put their resolution into practice, by refusing to furnish it to their workmen. Upon this the men withdrew in a body to consult upon the course they should pursue. They soon returned and demanded their accustomed sup­ply. Upon the repetition of the refusal, they left the work and demanded their pay.  About one third of the men came back on the new terms; but the rest held out, and it was about two months before their places were filled by new men, and they could go on with their work; but the firm adhered to their purpose, and never returned to the use or sale of it again.
     A temperance society was organized at the time, which is believed to be the first in Ohio. It numbered at first but nine members; but Judge Stow offered a lot in his township to the town authorities for public benefit, if a majority of the people would join the society, whereupon sixty-five persons in Stow township became members.
There were at this time four distilleries in the township, but in less than two years they were all closed.
     After the great revulsion in money matters, in 1837, there was great embarrassment for want of a currency, which led to the adoption of a plan for issuing notes, upon the basis of real estate for security. But it was soon abandoned as a failure, causing loss to some, but without very serious injury to many persons. Some of these notes are preserved by a few persons as curiosities and mementoes of the past.
In 1832 a Mutual Insurance Company was organized, under the name of the "Portage Mutual," and did business for over twenty years. This was undoubtedly a very useful institution in its day; but stock companies became popular, and this company withdrew and closed up its affairs.
     The town has been visited by several distructive fires. In 1833 a warehouse of Stow & Wetmore's, filled with paper stock, was burned; and 1851 the flour mill on the east side of their dam was burned by an incendiary. In 1866 the stone building known as the Bank building, which stood upon the site of James' block, and occupied by H. C. Lockwood, with several adjoining buildings were consumed. At this fire John Marsh Hinde lost his life.
     The woolen mill on the west side of the river, as we have before noticed, was burned ; also the paper mill on the same side twice.
     Messrs. Bill's machine shop and foundry, and the Empire Paper Mill, belonging to Hanford Brothers, were consumed in 1872.
     Several residences have been burned at different times, but they were not of great value. From the earliest times the town has been exceedingly fortunate as to its dwellings in regard to fires, and have enjoyed singular exemption from loss by that means.
     Thus I have given you a brief account of the different steps in our progress to our present state of prosperity. It has furnished us with churches which are every way suitable to the wants of a community, and school houses which are second to none in comfort and convenience; and manufactures which are the life and source of our prosperity.
     There is still room for others to come in and use the means which nature has furnished ; and no doubt there would be an increase of manufactures if proper means were used to bring these advantages to the knowledge of men of capital, who have-money to invest and are seeking for profitable employment of it.
     It is desirable that the water power should be all employed, and there would be a large increase of manufactures of every kind, if it was known what advantages in that direction are here unemployed, and it would bring a large addition to our popula­tion, and cause a great increase in the value of our real estate.
     As we stand at this point and look back upon the privations and labors which our predecessors have gone through, and see how many comforts and advantages we have inherited, we can hardly realize how short the time is since the work was first begun.  Those early laborers, so far as we know, have all passed away but one. Henry Wetmore we believe to be the only man who was here at the beginning. He has seen every step of the progress, from the first emigration to the present time, and has been an active participant in all these changes, since the day he broke through the thickets and marked the place where the first work should be done. But he can look back upon it all with honest pride and feel that he has left a record without a blot; and that however things have resulted from subsequent action, those early steps were all honorably taken, and that none of those nefarious schemes for individual wealth, which have been so often seen in early settlements, were undertaken here.
     Instead of the comfortable and commodious churches which we occupy, those who came first were obliged to meet in school houses and other inconvenient places, and the services in which they joined were irregular and unfrequent,
     The school houses were of the humblest kind, with slabs for seats and puncheons for floors; and the hill of science which was set before them to climb was not by any means elevated. But now we see the noblest building in every town to be the school house, and the best salaries paid for any service, those of the teachers in our public schools. The course of instruction adopted in them is so elevated, that it is but a step from the high school to the college classes. Libraries and apparatus are furnished, and all cheerfully paid for by a tax upon the people.
     That there has been a great gain in these respects, there can be no dispute; and we trust that those to whom they have been committed will be faithful to the duty which their possession imposes, and that no influence will be allowed to detract from their efficient use, or the power they ought to have in maintaining our institutions.
     To these boys and girls who will soon take our places in the responsibilities of the nation, we commit these sacred treasures which have been purchased at such a cost of labor and money; and we cannot doubt that if they are faithful to the principles which animated our fathers, that these institutions will be perpetuated to the end of time. It is only in subordination to the principles which God has made known to us that we can hope to see them preserved; and it is the influence which they have maintained that has kept the nation these hundred years, and brought us such prosperity; and in them is our hope for the future.
     It was not the number of our soldiers, nor the wealth of the people that carried us through the struggle, and enabled our forefathers to resist successfully the oppressions of the mother country, and established themselves as a free government; but it was the righteousness of their cause, and the soundness of the principles for which they contended. It must be the same influences and causes which will prevent such disorganization as shall be fatal to our national existence.
     There must be elected to our offices men of in­corruptible integrity, who will be seduced by no personal considerations, from the faithful administration of justice; and to have such rulers we must have a people who are too firmly grounded in the principles of morality and religion to allow themselves to be induced to put any man into power who is not of tried integrity.
     Here then is our country's hope, in the youth which are being trained in moral and religious principles, and taught the obligations which lie upon us, to do to all men as we would have them do to us. To do this we must know our duty and be ready to make the sacrifices which are necessary to carry them into practice; and it is only in the inculcation of the principles of the Christian religion that these can be made to have their influence upon the mass of the people, and guide them into such paths as shall make this nation the model for the world's imitation, and a refuge for the oppressed of every land.
     One hundred years ago and our ancesters were battling with a powerful nation against the wrongs which were heaped upon them in the weak condition of colonists, and whose strength was all needed to wring a subsistence from a soil burdened with gigantic forests; but their characters had been formed under the hardships they had endured, and the broad land where they had sought refuge had in­spired them with feelings which could not brook the imposition of burdens by those who were living in luxury upon the money they extorted from them by unjust taxes upon the necessaries of life. They were few in number, but they were strong in their sense of justice; and after repeated protests against the oppression, they rose to resist it. Feeble as they were, the good hand of God was with them, and after much privation and suffering they attained their purpose, and were acknowledged by the whole world as an independent nation.
     The principles which led to this result have led to all we see at the close of one hundred years; and we have the assurance from this experience, that the way to perpetuate these blessings, is to continue to practice the same virtues which made our fathers what they were. This will make us a strong, united and happy people. But if selfishness, dishonesty and political corruption too often affect the counsels of our rulers, and we introduce an element into our body politic, which will result in our destruction, and we shall be numbered among those who have abused their privileges, and so have gone down to dishonor and political death.
     It ought to be the wish and effort of every patriot, who inherits the results of all these struggles and hardships, to make the beginning of a new century the time for a new dedication of himself to the promotion of such principles as shall make them the means of still greater benefits. He should rid himself of all connection with those who seek political power for party ends, and deter mice that he will be accessary to the elevation of no man to power, who seeks it for other than patriotic ends. Recent events have given us warning of the existence of such men in many departments of government, as make their place a means of dishonest gain; and it is our duty to see to it that their example shall not be followed in time to come; but put at the head of this government a man who shall be above the suspicion of dishonesty, and whose record in the past is with­out a blot. Such a man will not put any man into a place of  responsibility, whose character for honesty is not known, and he will be as blind to all personal considerations as Justice herself.






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