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TRUMBULL COUNTY,  OHIO
History & Genealogy

Source:
 History of Trumbull & Mahoning Counties, Ohio
Published:  Cleveland: H. Z. Williams & Bros.
VOLUME I
1882

CHAPTER XX.
MECCA TOWNSHIP
Pg. 512

GENERAL FEATURES.

     Mecca township is among the later settlements of this county, consequently its history is not as interesting in respect to pioneer life, adventures, and hardships as that of some of the older communities.  A considerable portion of the township is well improved, and contains some excellent farming land.  Mecca has no important manufacturing interests, no railroads, and no villages of importance, consequently it supports but a small population, which is chiefly engaged in agriculture.
     The township is divided by Mosquito creek into two unequal portions.  This stream enters the township from the north and pursues a course almost directly southward, entering Bazetta only a few rods east of the north and south center line of that township.  About five-eighths of the land in Mecca lies west of the creek.  Several small brooks from the east and one from the west join  the Mosquito in this township.  The bottom land of the creek is quite extensive.  As it is low it is frequently overflowed.  The surface is somewhat variable.  A ridge extends through the township, north and south, on the east side of the creek; then come the bottom lands, and in the northwestern quarter of the township highlands more elevated than those east of the creek.  The southwest of the township is like a level plain.  It contains much swampy ground, which has never yet been improved for farming purposes.  The surface is but little broken, the valleys of the smaller streams being shallow.
     The soil is good.  In it clayey loam predominates, though a mixture of sand is usually found in all the uplands.  Grass and almost all other staple farm crops flourish.
     The geological features of this township are of considerable interest.  Underlying the surface of the land west of the creek are found the Mecca oils, to which further allusion will be made in this chapter.  A few discoveries of oil east of the creek have been made in the northern part of the township, but these deposits are mostly confined to West Mecca.  A natural carbon gas escapes from the ground in some places.  In one or two instances this gas has been utilized for heating purposes.  The well from which the chief supply is obtained is east of the creek, and appears to be inexhaustible.  Mr. L. Pierson has been burning gas in his stove for some time.
     At East Mecca corners is a village of ten or twelve houses, one store, three churches, etc.  This was the business place of the township for many years, as settlements were not made west of the creek until quite extended improvements had taken place in East Mecca.
     West Mecca has a few more houses than East Mecca, but as it has but one church and one store, the rival villages are of almost equal unimportance.
     Mecca is the sixth township in the third range, and lies between Bristol on the west and Johnston on the east.  Greene is north and Bazetta south of it.

OWNERSHIP.

     The land in this township was purchased from the Connecticut Land company by Turhand Kirtland, William Ely, Kingsbury, and Cowles.  The Kirtland tract was the most extensive, including nearly all of the northern half of the township.  The other tracts, like this, extended across the township from east to west, and were thus located, beginning at the north; Kirtland tract, Cowels tract, Kingsbury tract, Ely tract.
     Judge Kirtland lied in Poland, and being anxious to have this tract settled, made very easy terms with the purchasers, leaving the payment of the principal optional with the contractor so long as the interest was kept up.  Such easy terms no doubt induced many pioneers to come to this township while it was yet a most uninviting region, remote from the rest of the world, and only reached by difficult journeys through extensive swamps.

SETTLEMENT.

     The history of the settlement of Mecca is less interesting than that of many townships for two reasons: first, it was made quite late; and second, but few families descended from the first pioneers are now represented here.  From the best sources of information now available we have succeeded in gathering the following statements:
     The first settler was Joseph Dawson, who came from Poland township, the southeast corner of the Reserve, about the year 1811.  He located about one and three-fourths miles north of East Mecca on what is known as the Read farm.  Here Dawson built the first cabin in the township, and his family continued to be the only one in the township for nearly two years.  Later he moved away.

     JOHN ROSE, Dawson's father-in-law, came about 1813, and settled north of Dawson, on the Thompson farm.  This family was also from Poland, and and continued permanent residents of Mecca, making worthy, straightforward citizens.  Some representatives of the family - the third generation - still remain.
     As just what date other early settlers arrived nothing can now be definitely learned.  From the recollection of one of the old residents it has been ascertained that in 1819 the following were inhabitants of this township, all living on the east side of the creek:  Lemuel Hickock, Peter Row, Samuel Phillips, Sylvester Taylor, Martin Daniels, Daniel Tucker, Joseph Phillips, a Mr. Ballard, Joseph Headly, Joseph Barstow, a Mr. Sturgis, and Seymour Hunt.  With the two families previously mentioned, these made a total of fourteen families in the township at the date given.

     JOSEPH PHILLIPS was the first blacksmith in the township.  He resided on the farm where his grandson Christopher now lives.

     LEMUEL HICKOCK lived at the corners.  Of his family, Oscar spent his days in Mecca, John settled in Greene, and his daughter died quite young.

     PETER ROW first settled one mile south of East Mecca, where Herman Lake now lies.

     JOY SPERRY, previous to 1824, settled on a farm one mile and a half south of the corners.  He sold to a man named Craft and moved to the Herman Lake farm.
    
In 1820 the first settlement in that part of the township lying west of the creek was made by Joseph Buttles, who remained the only resident of West Mecca for about eight years.  His farm was about a mile  north of West Mecca, on Powers' corners, and is now owned by O. M. Benton.  Two of his sons, Edmond and Justin, were married and had families.  Another son lived here unmarried.  All moved away quite early.

     In December, 1824, JOSEPH CHAFEE settled one-fourth of a mile north of East Mecca.  He came hither from Bristol township, to which he had moved from Massachusetts in 1813.  Mr. Chafee died in Bristol in 1869, having removed there about two years before.  He brought up five daughters and one son.  Two of the daughters are now living.  The son, J. G. Chaffee, resides in Mecca.

     IRA KNAPP was born in Vermont in 1800.  He married on New York State, and in 1825 came to Mecca and settled in the eastern part of the township.  He reared a family of nine children, all of whom were born in this township.  Five are still living.  Mr. Knapp is now the only living pioneer who was the head of a family at the time of coming here, with perhaps one or two exceptions.
     Of the township at the time of his coming Mr. Knapp says:

     The BUTTLES FAMILY were  the only inhabitants of the west side of the creek.  The only roads were paths marked by blazed trees.  The road to the Johnston line had not even been bushed out.  Some of the brooks had pole bridges across them.  There were o frame buildings in the township except a few small shanties.  A log school-house was partly built at East Mecca when I came, and I helped to finish it.  Mr. Bartlett, of Greene, was among the first teachers there.  He received about $10 per month, but not in money.  The settlers paid him for teaching by helping him clear his farm in Greene.
     A few years after settling here Mr. Knapp bought ten sheep of Judge Kirtland, of Poland.  The wolves caught all of them except two, in several instances coming into the yard near the cabin to seize their prey.

     MARTIN DANIELS lived where William Love now resides.  His son Stephen married a daughter of Steven Pettis and moved to the northeast of the township.  Pettis was an early settler east of the creek.

     JOHN COOK, from Cayuga county, New York, settled south of the east corners in 1831.  His family consisted of nine children; five are still living: James, Zachariah, Aaron, Polly, and Wealthy.  Nathan Cook, brother of John, came to the township the next year.  He is still living on the farm where he first settled, at the center of Mecca.  He reared three sons and four daughters.

     ABNER MASON, born in Cheshire, Massachusetts, in 1766, died in Mecca in 1841.  Priscilla, his wife, born in Dalton, Massachusetts, in 1771, died here in 1847.  Noble Mason their son, long known as Squire Mason, died in 1880.  He was born in Cazenovia, New York, in 1810.  In 1817 the family moved to Boardman township, and in 1828 to Mecca.  They settled west of the creek and were the second family in West Mecca.  Noble Mason taught the first school west of the creek, when he was eighteen years old.  He married Lora P. Brown, who was born in Connecticut in 1813 and still survives.  To them were born two sons and two daughters.  The sons and one daughter are still living.  Squire Mason was an elder and a prominent member of his church.  Besides being justice of the peace several years he held about every township office. 

     N. W. PALMER, ESQ., an old resident and respected citizen of Mecca, was born in Stonington, New London county, Connecticut, Mar. 13, 1811.  After a few years' residence in New York State, he settled in Mecca in 1833, where he has since resided.  Sept. 22, 1837, he married Lucretia M. Abell.  The result of this union has been two sons and two daughters.  Mr. Palmer has been justice of the peace many years.  He is one of our most substantial farmers.

     HERMAN BENTON, who bought out the Buttles farm, lived and died in this township.  His son, Orris M., now lives on a part of the old place, and William S. Benton, Esq., near East Mecca.

     JOSEPH WING was an early settler in West Mecca corners.  He sold out to Jacob Powers, of Youngstown, who resided here several years.  The place is still called Powers' corners.

     JOSEPH W. SMITH and his father, William Smith, were early settlers in the northwest of the township.  S. F. Smith, only son of Joseph, is one of the worthy farmers and esteemed citizens of this township.

ORGANIZATION.

     The township of Greene as organized in 1806 embraced the territory of the present townships of Greene and Mecca, with other adjoining townships.   By 1821 number six of the third range had sufficient population to form a distinct township, and was therefore organized under the name of Mecca.  All the early records have been lost, therefore no list of early township officers can be given.

A DENSE WILDERNESS.

 

PRIMITIVE AGRICULTURE.

 

THE FIRST HOUSES.

 

ELECTIONS

of this township are held alternately at East and West Mecca.  This arrangement was made in very early times, and has always been observed.  The offices are equitably divided between the representatives of the two communities, and thus a harmonious relation is perpetuated.

THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

 

THE FREE-WILL BAPTIST CHURCH.

 

THE BAPTIST CHURCH.

 

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

 

THE DISCIPLES' CHURCH.

 

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES.

     The first store was kept at East Mecca by Babcock & Bradley.  It was not a successful enterprise, and continued but a short time.  Wing, Dodd, and Roberts were the names of other early merchants.  James Hezlep had a store here for a time; he sold to Daniel Shehy, who continued in business about fifteen years, and gained considerable money.  He sold and removed to Youngstown.  Jonathan Fowler built the first frame store in the township, on the west side of the public square, at East Mecca.  It is still standing.
     The first postmaster was Lemuel Hickok.  Until an office was established, Warren and Bristol were the nearest post-offices.  The first mail route through this township was from Warren to Ashtabula.  Afterwards an east and west route was established, from Mercer, Pennsylvania, to Parkman.  Ira Knapp was the contractor.  This route was soon discontinued.  During its existence mail-bags often went through with nothing in them.  On the Warren and Ashtabula route a stage was run for a time.  The two post offices of this township now get a daily mail from Cortland station.
     The first tavern was probably kept by Powers, Coats and St. John were early hotel keepers.  Thomas Abell built and kept a public house south of the public square.  There was no great amount of travel through Mecca in early times.
     Joy Sperry, Samuel Jackson, Williams, Case, Benton, and others built saw-mills quite early; only a small amount of work was done by any of them.  There were no early grist-mills in the township.
     The oldest graveyard in the township is situated south of East Mecca.  It bears the marks of neglect and dilapidation.  The earliest deaths recorded on the gravestones in it are the following:  Enos Clark Pettis, died in 1828, aged twenty-one years; Olive, wife of Stephen Pettis, died in 1829, aged thirty.
     The first school-house was built of logs, and stood near the corners of East Mecca.  Salome Fuller was the first teacher.  The house was also used for religious meetings. 
     The first white child born was Nancy Dawson.  Martin Row is said to have been the first male child.  The first death is supposed to have been that of the great grandfather of C. J. Hickok, Esq.
    
The first practicing physician was Ariel Bradley.  The first permanent resident physician was Dr. Isaac D. Powers.

WEST MECCA.

     The first store at this place was started by T. M. Abell about 1860.  A number of stores, groceries, hotels, etc., sprang up almost simultaneously, as the oil excitement was then at its height.  Numerous houses and shanties were put up, and "Powers' corners" became for a time a very lively place.  The less said of its morals and behavior during those days the better.  When oil stock went down, the village relapsed into quiet somnolence, many of the mushroom structures are removed, and West Mecca was freed of its bad habits and bad characters.

MECCA OIL.

 

LUMBERING.

 

 

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