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In the year 1800 the inhabitants of the Western Reserve found themselves in the enjoyment of a civil government. The discussions between the State of Connecticut and the United States were composed, by the transfer of the State claim of jurisdiction to the Federal Government, and the claim of the Government to the soil, to the State. Governor St. Clair established the county of Trumbull, and issued a proclamation for elections, to be held under the Territorial system; which was dated Sept. 22d, and directed to David Abbott, Sheriff, commanding him, “That on the second Tuesday of October, he cause an election to be held for the purpose of electing one person to represent the county in the Territorial Legislature.” All elections by the existing laws, were to be held at the respective county seats of the counties in the Territory. Of course this election was held at Warren, the seat of justice for Trumbull county. The manner of conducting the election was after the English mode. That is, the sheriff of the county assembled the electors by proclamation, he presided at the election, and received the votes of the electors orally, or viva voce. It will readily be conceded, that in a county, embracing as Trumbull then did, a large Territory, only a portion of the electors would attend. The number convened at that election was forty-two. Out of this number General Edward Paine received 38 votes, and was the member elect. General Paine took his seat in the Territorial Legislature in 1801.

Immediately after the organization of Trumbull county, at the first Court of Quarter Sessions in August, the county was organized into eight townships. The townships were named Youngstown, Warren, Hudson, Vernon, Richfield, Middlefield, Painesville and Cleveland.

Cleveland embraced the townships of Chester, Russell and Brainbridge, now in Geauga county; all of the present county of Cuyahoga east of the river, and all of the Indian country from the Cuyahoga to the west line of the Reserve. When the townships west of the river were organized, after the county of Cuyahoga was erected, the channel of the river formed the western boundary of Cleveland. The City of Ohio and the City of Cleveland, were organized in March, 1836, without changing this boundary; but the dividing line between the cities followed the new or artificial channel, made in 1827 by the construction of a harbor.

A portion of Cleveland township, embracing about seven acres at the mouth of the river, remained in Ohio City until the township organization was given up.

On the 2d of October, 1800, the election was held at Warren, where the electors assembled, after the English fashion, for the first and the last time. None were present from Cleveland. The appointment of township officers was vested in the Court of Quarter Sessions, composed of Justices of the Peace of the quorum, appointed by the Governor. Efforts had been made by the Territorial Legislature to change this mode of appointment, to an election by the people, but the sturdy old Governor applied his veto to all such innovations. In 1802, he so far relaxed as to allow of election districts, or precincts, of less size than a county.

In Cleveland township, Kingsbury was the first Justice of the Quorum, Amos Spafford a Justice not of Quorum. Stephen Gilbert and Lorenzo Carter were first constables.

“Early in the spring, David Hudson passed here, in company with Thaddeus Lacy and David Kellogg and their families, to settle in Hudson, Summit county, Ohio. Capt. Allan Gaylord, of Newburg, was of this party. (1866, Capt. Gaylord is still living.) A school house was built this season, near Kingsbury’s, on the ridge road, and Miss Sarah Doan, daughter of Nathaniel Doan, was the teacher. David Clark and Major Amos Spafford, with their families, arrived from Vermont, and became settlers in Cleveland. Major Spafford occupied the Merwin lot, south of Superior and east of Vineyard streets, near the corner. Mr. Clark built on Water street, west side, near the Mansion House, [The Mansion House of 1842 stood nearly opposite Vincent’s furniture store]. John Walworth and Edward Paine settled at Painesville, Benj. Tappen at Ravenna, and Ephram Quinby at Warren, during this year.”-(Barr.)



PARMA, JULY 29TH, 1858.

Hon. John Barr,

Dear Sir:-Lorenzo Carter, was a half brother of mine, but he, being the eldest of six children by the first, and myself the youngest of three children by the second husband; and our mother having lived a widow six years, brings us quite a distance apart. He was a man, and gone from home before I was born. Consequently I can say little of him from by own knowledge, but must rely what I have heard from my mother, brothers and sisters. Lorenzo Carter was born in the year 1766, at Warren, Litchfield county, Connecticut, and consequently was about ten years of age, at the commencement of the Revolutionary war, at which time, he had the misfortune to lose his father. He was then left to the care of a widowed mother, in moderate circumstances, with a family of six children, all young; to pass through that turbulent period. Lorenzo was a strong, athletic, self-willed boy, and it could not be expected that a mother would guide and direct him like a father. But our mother was a thorough going woman, and managed to get along reasonably well, until the close of the war, when she married again, and soon after moved to Castleton, Rutland county, Vermont; then almost a wilderness.

Lorenzo was about eighteen years of age, a very natural age to become fond of a dog or a gun, hunting and fishing. The county being new, and game plenty, he soon became quite a Nimrod. Arrived to manhood, he bought a lot of new land, took to himself a better half, and settled on his land. But farming, or at least clearing a new farm, was not exactly to his mind. He soon became restless and wished for a change. About this time the Ohio fever began to rage, and Carter, in company with a man by name of Higby, started for the Western wilds. Their course was through western Pennsylvania, to Pittsburg, down the Ohio river as far as the Muskingum river. They then turned north, and struck the Lake at Cleveland, from thence by the nearest route home. Carter arranged his affairs as soon as possible, and the next year, in June, started with his family and effects for the west, and arrived at Cleveland in the summer of 1797.

Many stories are told of Major Carter, some are true, and many that are not true. He was the man for a pioneer, with strength of body and mind, but not cultivated. He maxim was not to give an insult, nor receive one, without resenting it, and the insulter generally paid dear for his temerity. With all his faults, his heart was in the right place, and he was as ready to avenge a wrong done to the weak, as one done to himself.

Respectfully, Yours,

John A. Ackley.



Youngstown, Ohio, Nov. 23, 1843.


Judge Barr, Cleveland:

Dear Sir-Yours of the 15th came duly to hand, making enquires of the early times and settlement of Cleveland.

In the spring of 1786, Messrs. Duncan & Wilson entered into a contract with Messrs, Caldwell & Elliott, of Detroit, to deliver a quantity of flour and bacon at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, to a man by the name of James Hawder, an Englishman, who had a tent at the mouth of the river, for the purpose of receiving it. In May, 1786 I engaged with Duncan & Wilson, at Pittsburgh, as a packhorseman, and started immediately. We took the Indian trail for Sandusky, until we arrived at the “Standing Stone,” on the Cuyahoga, a little below the mouth of Breakneck creek, where the village of Franklin is now. There we left the Sandusky trail and took one direct to the mouth of Tinker’s creek, where was a little town built by Heckewelder and Zeisberger, with a number of Moravian Indians. They were Moravian preachers. Here we crossed the Cuyahoga, and went down on the west side to the mouth. In going down we passed a small log trading house, where one Meginnes traded with the Indians. He had left the house in the spring before we were there. I understood he had some difficulty with the Indians and left, but whether any were killed I do not recollect.

We made six trips that summer. On the second trip, one Hugh Blair, a pack-horseman, in crossing Breakneck creek, fell backwards from his horse and broke his neck. His horse got his foot fast in some beech roots. We called it “Breakneck creek,” a name I believe it has always retained.

The mouth of the Cuyahoga was then about the same as when I last saw it, in 1813. In 1786 there was a pond of water west of the mouth, which we called “Sun Fish Pond,” where we caught sun fish. We carried axes to cut our wood, and I remember, we at one time undertook to open the mouth of the river, which was choked up with sand. We made wooden shovels and began to dig away the sand until the water ran through, which took away the sand so fast that our party was divided, a portion being left on the east side where Cleveland now is. Caldwell & Elliott had a small sail boat to carry the flour and bacon to Detroit. We used to cross the river by means of the “Mackinaw,” that being the name of the sail boat. By opening the mouth of the river, she could sail up to where there was a spring, near where Main street comes to the river. We made collars of our blankets for some of the horses, and took our tent ropes, made a raw elk skin, for tugs, drew small logs and built a hut at the spring, which I believe was the first house built on the Cleveland side. [No mention of this is made by the surveyors.]

On the west side the bottom was in woodland, except Sun Fish Pond, which had the appearance of an old outlet to the lake. At that time there were no traders about the mouth of the river, only Hawden’s (or Hawder’s) tent, who was there to receive, the flour and bacon. As fast as we delivered it, it was forwarded by the Mackinaw to Detroit. There was no trading at Grindstone brook, where Meginnes formerly traded.

In the year 1785, Duncan & Wilson sent some kettles and some Indian goods to the Salt Springs, on the Mahoning river, in Trumbull county, with a view of making salt. Government ascertained that fact, and in the same year, there being troops at Fort McIntosh, at the mouth of Big Beaver, sent a Lieutenant and some soldiers, with an order to Duncan & Wilson to quit the enterprise, which they did, as the Indian title had not been extinguished.

Duncan & Wilson left a man at the Salt Springs by the name of John Kribs, to take care of their property. In the summer of 1786, when we were on our way to Cleveland, near where the Mahoning crosses the State line, an Indian came to us and said that Kribs (or Krips,) had been murdered by an Indian named Nemahahe, which means “Great Wolf.” We left our horses and loading near the State line, and went that night to the Salt Spring, about eighteen miles. We found him very much eaten by wolves. We went back to our horses, and when we came on we then buried Kribs.

I am now eighty-five years old. As to the meaning of Indian names for rivers and water courses, I am not able to give any information that would be useful to you.

Resp’y, your very ob’t serv’t,

James Hillman.



That part of Cuyahoga county which lies east of Cuyahoga river, had its first organization as a part of Washington county, erected July 27, 1788, with the county seat at Marietta. Lake Erie was the northern boundary of Washington county, and the Cuyahoga river, the old portage path, and the Tuscarawas river, its western boundary, on the Reserve. The city of Cleveland was thus situated at the extreme north-west corner, of the first county erected in Ohio. That part of Cuyahoga county which lies west of the river was embraced in the county of Wayne, with the county seat at Detroit, erected August 15, 1796. On the 29th of July, 1797, that part of the Western Reserve, which lies east of the Cuyahoga river, and the old portage path, became a part of the county of Jefferson ; with the county seat at Steubenville. The county of Trumbull was erected July 10, 1800, and embraced all the Western Reserve, including the Fire lands, and the Islands opposite. All these organizations were effected by proclamation, prior to the existence of the territorial legislature. By an act of the State legislature, dated December 21st, 1805, which took effect, March, 1806, the county of Geauga was set off from the county of Trumbull, including a large part of the present county of Cuyahoga; and extending west as far as Range 14. Huron county was erected February 7, 1809, covering the Fire lands. The counties of Cuyahoga, Portage and Ashtabula were authorized February 10, 1807. By this act the county of Cuyahoga was declared to embrace, so much of the county of Geauga as lay west of the 9th range of townships. The organization of the county of Cuyahoga did not take place till January 16, 1810. The boundaries of this county, by the Act of 1807, were as follows. On the east side of Cuyahoga river, all north of Town 5, and west of Range 9; on the west side of the river, all north of Town 4, and east of Range 15; a space between Ranges 14 and 20 on the west; and the county of Huron, being attached to Cuyahoga county for judicial purposes.

One of the commissioners for fixing the county seat presented his bill for services, in the following words:



October, 1809.

Deir Sir:-I have called on Mr. Peaies for my Pay for fixing the Seat of Justis in the County of Cuyahoga and he informt me that he did not Chit it. Sir, I should take it as a favour of you would send it with Mister Peaies at your Nixt Cort and In so doing will oblige Your humble Sarvent R.B.**R. Abraham Tappin Esq.

A leven days Tow Dollars per day, Twenty two Dollars.”

On the 25th of January, 1811, the line between Huron and Cuyahoga counties was changed on the west. Beginning at the south-west corner of Strongsville, No. 5, in the 14th Range, it was carried westward, to the south-west corner of Eaton, No. 5, in the 16th Range; thence north to the north-west corner of Eaton township; thence west to the middle of Black river, and northerly, following its channel, to the lake. When the county of Medina was erected, February 18th, 1812, another alteration took place in the western boundary of Cuyahoga county. From the north-west corner of Eaton, the line extended north to the north-west corner of Ridgeville, No. 6, Range 16; thence west to Black river, and with the river to the lake. Until the 1st of April, 1815, when Huron county was organized, legal proceedings in that county, were prosecuted in Cuyahoga. Lorain county, which was organized on the 1st of April, 1824, took from the south-west part of Cuyahoga, Town 5, of Range 15, (Columbia,) and the west half of Olmsted, in that Range. By the Act of January 29th, 1827, this half township was restored to Cuyahoga county.

Changes in the outline of the county, were not yet at an end. When Lake county was organized, March 20th, 1840, the township of Willoughby, on the north-east, was dissevered from Cuyahoga.

Afterwards, January 29th, 1841, a strip ninety rods wide, in the north-east part of Orange township, extending from the north-east corner, down the east line, to the east and west center road, was annexed to Geauga county.

In compensation for this, lots 17,18 and 19, in the south-west corner of Russell, Geauga county, were transferred to Cuyahoga, in order to accommodate the thriving village of Chagrin Falls.

On the 11th of January, 1843, the tract taken from Orange was restored. Since then the county lines have remained without change.



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