Before it had a name this township was No. 7 of range 13. It originally included all that part of the present
City of Cleveland known as the west side. When organized as a township and christened with a name, its northern
boundary was Lake Erie, its eastern the Cuyahoga River, its southern was Parma and Independence and its western
boundary was Rockport. Like Cleveland Township it was a lake port. It was separated from Cleveland and Newburgh
by the Cuyahoga River and the branches of that stream which flowed through its territory were extremely valuable
as furnishing mill sites and power. In the division of the Western Reserve the greater part of Brooklyn fell to
Samuel P. Lord and Josiah Barber. From these men the original settlers bought their land. Samuel P. Lord purchased
originally from the Connecticut Land Company this tract for $14,092, as shown by the records. The date of this
transaction was September 5, 1795. Apparently Barber, a brother in law, was taken in on the deal later. The land
company divided up by agreement all its holdings among its members in various quantities, for various amounts.
The largest sum paid being $168,185, for a tract, by one Oliver Phelps. Brooklyn was primarily the Lord and Barber
A grassy slope overlooking the Cuyahoga River from Riverside Cemetery, and known as Granger Hill, is the spot where
the first white man settled. Granger was a "squatter" from Canada. The date of his coming is not known.
The term "squatter" should be defined for the information of some, who may not understand. The term is
used to define one who enters upon land without legal authority, who lives upon land not his own, particularly
new land, without title. Granger was there in May, 1812, when James Fish came as the first permanent white settler.
The Grangers and a son, Samuel, remained until 1815, when they sold their loose property to Asa Brainard and migrated
to the Maumee Valley. Our interest centers, of course, in the first permanent settlers. In men and their achievements
everywhere all history centers. Kipling, master of so many forms of expression, puts it in this simple way: "History,
rightly understood, means the love of one's fellow men and the land one lives in." James Fish came from Croton,
Connecticut, having purchased a tract of land from Lord and Barber. From there in 1811 with an ox team and a lumber
wagon, in which rode himself, his three children, his wife and her mother, he set out for the "Far West."
He came with a large party of pioneers destined for the Western Reserve. The only ones besides his family who were
headed for this township were his two cousins, Moses and Ebenezer Fish, Ebenezer making the entire journey on foot.
They arrived in Cleveland early in the fall, having made the journey in forty seven days. James Fish decided to
stop for the winter in Newburgh, while Ebenezer and Moses remained in Cleveland. Early in the spring of 1812, James
built a log house on his property, walking back and forth each day from Newburgh while so engaged, a distance of
five miles. This house cost him, exclusive of his labor, just $18, and in May of that year he moved the family
into the new home. Their log cabin was, like others, a rude structure, and its furniture was in keeping with the
dwelling. The bedstead, for there was only one at first, was made by Mr. Fish of roughly hewn limbs and saplings
fastened with wooden pins, and instead of a bedcord there was a network of strips of bark. This bedstead is still
in the possession of his descendants. In this first home in the wilderness of Brooklyn on May 9, 1814, a son was
born to Mr. and Mrs. Fish, Isaiah W. Fish, the first white child born in Brooklyn.
The man who fires the first shot in a great war and he who leads in a conquest of peace is always an object of
interest, and as we write of Brooklyn something of the family of James Fish, the first settler, and of his son
Isaiah W., the first white child born in the township, comes to mind. We go back to John Fish, who immigrated from
England and settled in Connecticut. His son was Capt. Samuel Fish. The son of Captain Samuel was Capt. John Fish.
The son of Captain John was Joseph Fish, father of James Fish, the first settler of Brooklyn and grandfather of
Isaiah W., the first white child born in Brooklyn. These titles of captain indicate leadership. James Fish, before
coming to Brooklyn, married Mary Wilcox, daughter of Elisha Wilcox of Stonington, Connecticut, and they had eight
children, just a fair number as pioneer families were rated. Mary, James, Elisha and Sally were born in Connecticut
and Isaiah W., Lydia K., Joseph L. and John P. were born in Brooklyn. This first settler died in September, 1875,
at the ripe old age of ninety two. Isaiah W. married in 1837 Matilda Gates, who gave him three children, Lucy A.,
Charles and Bud B. The mother died in 1850. As his second wife Isaiah married Mary A. More of East Cleveland, by
whom he had three children, Mary M., Louisa S. and James.
The first Brooklyn settler had a farm but no money, and while clearing and planting he also worked by the day for
farmers in Newburgh to keep the wolf from the door. This is speaking figuratively, for his faithful flintlock kept
the actual wolf from the door. He received 50 cents per day and the day's work was not limited to eight hours.
His wife, also, besides the housework, earned for the family support by weaving coverlids, which sold for a goodly
sum. She found the sale so good that she was unable to supply the demand. Besides being a good hunter of wild beasts,
Mr. Fish was a hunter in another way and expended every effort to rid the new country of rattlesnakes. It is related
of one of his farm hands that at one time having a narrow escape from a rattler, he exclaimed: "What a smart
thing it was in God Almighty to put bells on them things."
Ebenezer and Moses Fish, who came with James from the East, settled upon eighty acres of land in Brooklyn in 1812.
Ebenezer located on the north side of what is now Denison Avenue and Moses on the south side. Neither was then
married. Their activity in clearing and planting their land was not lessened by the prospect before them of marriage,
a home and family. Both worked hard, living together in a log house or shanty, which was on the land of Ebenezer.
Being single they were thus more available for military service. Ebenezer was one of the militiamen who guarded
Omit, the Indian who was hung in Cleveland in 1812. Both served in the forces called to guard the frontier during
the first year of the War of 1812. Moses was drafted into the regular service, but not being very strong Ebenezer
went in his stead and served six months, taking part in an engagement at Mackinaw Island. Returning, he and Moses
took up again together their pioneer work of reclaiming the wilderness. When this work had progressed satisfactorily
Ebenezer returned to Connecticut, where he married, and six years later returned to Brooklyn. In the meantime Moses
had married, finding a wife to his liking here. Both raised large families. Of the children of Moses, Oziah and
Lorenzo, both having families, resided in Brooklyn during their lifetime.
We are now to speak of the Brainards. It is impossible to write an authentic history of Brooklyn without giving
considerable space to the Fishes and Brainards. The writer inspected an original poll sheet of an election held
in Brooklyn in the early days and with two exceptions the list contained only Fishes and Brainards. At one time
the township was populated exclusively by Fishes and Brainards. It was a saying in Cleveland in those days that
a visitor to Brooklyn would first meet either a Fish or a Brainard, as the case might be.
In 1813 the Brainards came in augmented numbers. Oziah Brainard with four grown daughters and four grown sons came.
The sons were named Oziah, Jr., Timothy, Ira and Bethuel, of whom Oziah, Jr., and Ira had families. They settled
on what is now Denison Avenue and all resided in Brooklyn during life. Oziah Brainard, Jr., built the first frame
dwelling in Brooklyn and Asa, his son, raised the first frame barn. Its erection in 1818 was the occasion of one
of those hilarious raisings that became common in pioneer days. These occasions, so frequent in those days, were
unique in that they combined with hard labor a recreation that lightened the burden of pioneer life. Asa Brainard
also built the first brick house in the township at wheat is now the corner of Scranton Avenue and Columbus Street.
Here he opened the first tavern in 1825. In 1814 the little settlement of Brooklyn was augmented by the arrival
of six families from Chatham, Connecticut, comprising forty persons. The heads of these families were Isaac Hinckley,
Asa Brainard, Elijah Young, Stephen Brainard, Enos Brainard and Warren Brainard. These men traded their farms in
Connecticut with Lord and Barber for land in Brooklyn, then a part of the Township of Cleveland. The terms of the
trade are not recorded, but as told in the local history compiled by Crisfield Johnson in 1879: "All set out
for that unknown land on the same day. The train consisted of six wagons drawn by ten horses and six oxen and all
journied together until Euclid was reached (forty days after leaving Chatham, Connecticut), where Mr. Hinckley
rested with his family while the others pushed on to Brooklyn, whither he followed them within a week.
It appears that the trustees of the Township of Cleveland, to which the territory of Brooklyn then belonged, became
alarmed at the avalanche of immigrants just described, and concluding that they were a band of paupers for whose
support the township would be taxed started a constable across the river to warn the invaders out of town. Alonzo
Carter, a resident of Cleveland, heard of the move and stopped it, endorsing the good standing of the newcomers,
adding that the alleged paupers were worth more money than all of the trustees of Cleveland combined."
Isaac Hinckley settled with his family in the southwest part of the township, on what is now the Schaaf Road, in
the heart of a thick forest, "a mile from anybody," as one expressed it. The first table that was used
was made by Mr. Hinckley out of an ash tree. He owned 360 acres of land but had no money to buy flour for the family.
He offered to mortgage 100 acres for a barrel of flour. The Newburgh miller preferred the flour to the chance of
getting the land, and refused. Flour was a commodity that sold readily, but land was a drug on the market. Mr.
Hinckley and his family managed to live notwithstanding the lack of flour at the first. He lived on the farm until
his death in 1851 at the age of seventy eight. Asa Brainard located near the site of the present City Hospital
of Cleveland on Scranton Road, and Stephen Brainard near there. Amos and Jedediah Brainard and a cousin, Cabin,
came from Connecticut in 1814. Jedediah, an old man of seventy, died on the way from the hardships of the journey,
but Sylvanus, a married son, who had a family of his own, took charge and the survivors continued the journey to
Amos located on 300 acres in the south part of the township and Sylvanus and Jabin nearby. Amos had three sons
and one daughter, Amos B., William, Demas and Philena. These settlements were made in 1818. George and Thomas Aikens,
brothers of Mrs. Amos Brainard, came later. Diodate Clark, who came from Connecticut in 1815, was the first male
school teacher in Brooklyn. James Sears came in 1817. Jeremiah Gates, originally from Connecticut but later a resident
of Delhi, New York, was an early settler. In 1816 he walked all the way to Brooklyn and examined the prospect here.
Satisfied with the outlook, he walked back to Delhi and got married. The lure of the woods in the West and the
lure of the girl in the East must have been compelling, for he made the roundtrip journey in six weeks. After his
marriage, taking his brother Nathaniel into the party, he returned with his bride by an easier way to reach the
promised land. They were driven with horse and wagon to Buffalo, where they took a sail vessel for Cleveland. In
1819 Jeremiah and Nathaniel built a sawmill at a point later known as the five mile lock on the Ohio Canal. The
first sawmill was built by Philo Scoville in 1817 on Mill Creek some distance west of the present Brooklyn bridge.
About that time a gristmill and other sawmills added to the industrial upbuilding of the new territory.
The promoters of the colonization of Brooklyn, Richard and Samuel Lord, and Josiah Barber, came as permanent settlers
in 1818 and selected the northeastern part of the township for residence, near the mouth of the Cuyahoga. A small
volume in the county clerk's office in Cleveland includes two records once required by law, a record of free Negroes
and of wolf scalps, for which bounties were paid under the state law. The records in the first half of the book
are under the caption, "Record of Black and Mulatto Free Persons," and show that from July 24, 1832,
to July 27, 1837, the period covered by the book, 401 free Negroes were registered in this county. It seems that
this provision was necessary to prevent such persons from being otherwise carried south to slavery. The first name
in the book is that of 'Thornton Kinney, who is described as being light colored, five feet nine and one half inches
tall, twenty one years old, with a scar on the forehead. He was registered in 1832. He was transferred to the free
list of Chicago, Illinois. but came hack to Cuyahoga County July 27, 1837, when he was again registered, but under
the name of John Kinney. The last person registered, number 401, is Jesse Burwell, "About forty nine years
old, with a scar on the forehead and another above the left eye." The date of registration is March 15, 1834.
The record of wolf scalps in the second part of the book, kept under the law which provided a bounty of $4.25 to
be paid by the state upon receiving a warrant from the county clerk showing that the wolf scalp had been delivered
at his office, began in 1838. The hook shows that bounties on nine wolf scalps had been paid. The last entry is
for a wolf shot in Brooklyn Township by Epaphras Barber, Jr., September 12, 1846. This wolf was shot near what
is now the western terminus of the Superior Street viaduct. Epaphras Barber, Jr., was the grandson of Josiah Barber,
who figures so largely on the pages of Cleveland's early history, a history in its early stages so closely identified
with the Township of Brooklyn.
Edwin and William Foote were early arrivals in the new township. Ansel P. Smith came from Connecticut in 1830 and
set up the first wagon shop, later in company with Timothy Standard, an old sea captain, he opened the first store
in Brooklyn, just north of the present Brooklyn bridge. John Thorne, a Frenchman, had the first blacksmith shop
in town. In this distinction he must share the honors with Asa Ackley, a miller, who opened a blacksmith shop on
Walworth Run in 1814.
As the population increased from the first settlement in a geometric ratio, it becomes impossible in the limits
of this history to mention only the very early arrivals. These, however, are most interesting in Brooklyn, as they
and their descendants remained, perhaps in a larger percentage than those of any other part of the county as fixed
inhabitants. As the forest trees gave way to productive farms and gardens, the family trees remained, so unlike
the savage nomads who preceded them. These names will be recognized as ancestral by a multitude of the present
residents of Brooklyn and Cuyahoga County.
Brooklyn Township was organized in 1818 and originally contained all of the territory of Cleveland west of the
river excepting a farm owned by Alfred Kelly. When the meeting to organize was held, Capt. Oziah Brainard proposed
the name of Egypt "because, like Egypt, so much corn was raised here," but his name was rejected and
after considerable discussion the name Brooklyn was adopted, not, as was averred, to honor Brooklyn, New York,
but because the name "sounded well." As the records were destroyed by fire, the names of the first officers
cannot be ascertained. Out of this territory brought under the township organization in 1818 have developed many
municipalities, which have grown in wealth and power to be finally turned over to Greater Cleveland. Ohio City,
West Cleveland, Brooklyn Village, South Brooklyn or Brighton have been formed from its territory, developed and
annexed to Cleveland, Lindale and Brooklyn Heights Village, so formed, still exist as separate municipalities,
and yet the passing of Brooklyn Township is not yet completed, in small acrea it still exists. A portion of the
original territory, in the southeast corner, constitutes the present township. The officers are George J. Robinson,
F. O. Wittily, H. W. Bredenbeck, trustees; U. G. James, clerk; F. H. Vogel, treasurer; August Lang, assessor; Charles
Brenner, justice of the peace, and Robert Lainge, constable.
Before leaving the subject of the original township to discuss, in brief, the municipalities that have been formed
from its territory, an incident in connection with the Battle of Lake Erie, showing how vital to their welfare
the settlers deemed the success of Commodore Perry in that battle, may be of interest. At the time of the battle
James Fish was cutting logs on his farm and the roar of the cannon could be distinctly heard. Thinking of the possible
result and how they would lose their hard earned homesteads should victory be against Perry, he became so nervous
that he quit work and entered the cabin where the women were engaged in household duties. They knew nothing of
the desperate contest that was raging so close to them and exclaimed: "How it does thunder!" "Yes,"
replied Fish, "but it's home made thunder."
At some time in our history, and this may be an appropriate time, we wish to digress for a little and speak of
a characteristic feature of nearly all histories, particularly those that treat of pioneer life. Most of these
histories are written by men and seemingly they have been somewhat partial to their own sex, giving women a subordinate
place. Now that women are dividing public honors with the men and carrying the burdens that go with public duties
this becomes more noticeable.
It is true, however, that these writers of history have consistently exalted the home and the fireside, its compelling
incentive to duty, due to the genius, the faithfulness and patient care of woman. They have cited instances of
heroism under trial of women as well as men. Pioneer history embracing so much of family geneaology does seem to
feature the male in large proportion. This may be due to the descent of the family name, the woman losing her name
in that of her husband, and he as head of the family getting the lion's share of the publicity. John Smith, or
to be still more comprehensive, John Smith, and family, settled at such a place and on such a date. John Smith
could not have cleared and transformed the wilderness into fields of productive beauty without he was clothed and
fed, cared for in sickness and cheered in his lonely hours. The woman who shared his hardships, bore his children
and worked as industriously, did a part in the upbuilding of the country as important as the man, but her name
does not appear so frequently on the pages of history. There is a seeming injustice in this Something of this thought
must have been in the mind of Harried Taylor Upton, who in her comprehensive history of the Western Reserve and
in its opening chapter says: "The spirit of all colonization by nations is commercial, the development of
all unoccupied territory by companies or individuals is also commercial. Men laughed at Columbus when he tried
to make them see that the nation which financed his expedition would become rich and powerful. Columbus utterly
failed with men and turned to a woman, a queen. It is true he told her of the eastern gold, which would be hers,
and of the fame which would come to Spain, but he dwelt at great length on the opportunities that would come to
her of planting her religion in a new word. History tells us that because of her devotion to her church she raised
the necessary funds by the sale of her jewels." Isabella was a queen and history has given her the full measure
of credit for her progressive devotion and foresight. The queens of the households of the pioneers should have
their rightful place in history.
Brooklyn Township, as we have said, raised up municipalities only to have them swallowed up by Greater Cleveland.
The first city in Cuyahoga County was formed from the township and for a time had an active existence. Ohio City
was organized in the same year as the City of Cleveland, but before the organization of the latter There was rivalry
in this and the rivalry continued. Like that of Minneapolis and St. Paul and San Francisco and Los Angeles the
rivalry at times became very bitter. Adam Bede illustrating the rivalry of the Minnesota cities relates that at
one time a resident of St. Paul strayed over into Minneapolis, got into an altercation with an Irishman, and was
killed. The Irishman, a Minneapolis citizen, knowing that concealment was impossible decided to give himself up.
He sought out the sheriff of his county, related the incidents of the fight resulting in the death of the visitor
from St. Paul, whom he designated as a Swede, and said he had come to give himself up for the crime. "What
did you come to me for?" asked the sheriff. "Go over to the courthouse and get your bounty." The
rivalry between Ohio City on the west side and Cleveland on the east side became very real. This feeling of rivalry
developed into a settled feeling of envy on the part of the west siders, which remained after the union of Ohio
City and Cleveland carried Greater Cleveland across the Cuyahoga.
As we have said, Samuel Lord and Josiah Barber in 1818 located at the west side of the river near its mouths. In
the same section in 1831 the Buffalo Company bought land on the lake known as the Carter Farm. They held forth
the great possibilities of this location with warehouses on the low lands and stores and residences on the bluffs.
Property rose to a higher value in a few years than it was worth sixty years later. The City of Ohio, or Ohio City
as it was commonly called, had great expectations. Speculation was rife and the boom in real property made sales
frequent, but each succeeding sale always at a price in advance of the preceding, as is the rule with booms. The
Buffalo Company excavated a ship canal from the Cuyahoga River to the old river bed, thus making an entrance enabling
boats to come in at the west end. After its incorporation, Ohio City built a canal from the Cuyahoga River opposite
the end of the Ohio Canal into the old river bed above the ship channel. This canal was thus in effect the terminus
of the Ohio Canal. Ohio City was to have a harbor of its own independent of Cleveland, be the northern terminus
of the Ohio Canal and entirely independent of Cleveland. The city was organized in March, 1836, before the organization
of the City of Cleveland, which was organized as a city the same year, and was therefore the first city in Cuyahoga
County. Josiah Barber was elected mayor. It was divided into three wards. E. Folsom, C. Williams, N. C. Baldwin
and B. F. Tyler were elected councilmen from the first ward; F. A. Burrows, C. E. Hill, L. Risley and E. Slaght
from the second ward, and R. Lord, William Benton, H. N. Ward and E. Conklin from the third ward. The mayor and
members of the council met at the office of E. Folsom on March 30th to organize. It was decreed by lot who of the
twelve councilmen should serve for one year and who for two years. F. A. Burrows was chosen clerk; Richard Lord,
president of the council; Asa Foote, city treasurer; George L. Chapman, city marshal; Thomas Whelpley, city recorder.
A room in the Columbus block was secured for council meetings at an annual rental of $80.
This first city of the county continued in existence until 1855, but was first only in date of organization,
when it was annexed to Cleveland. By a deal which induced the citizens of Ohio City to consent to the union, or
at least aided the proposition, William B. Castle, the last mayor of Ohio City, was made the first mayor of Cleveland,
after the annexation. Thus ended the dream of the west siders for a great lakeport city on the west bank of the
Cuyahoga. One of the most interesting episodes in connection with their struggle to exceed or keep pace with Cleveland
on the other side was the socalled "bridge war." An account of this has found a place in all of our local
histories, but it illustrates more than an abstract statement, the spirit of rivalry displayed by the two sections
in that day. The spirit of progress displayed by a real estate firm and an overt act of the City of Cleveland at
the river was the beginning of the war. In 1833 James S. Clark and others allotted the land in the first bend of
the Cuyahoga, the flats, and laid out Columbus Street through this tract to the river and, later, in 1837, on the
other side of the stream, within the limits of Ohio City, they laid out a large allotment, which they called Willeyville
after Mayor Willey of Cleveland. Through this allotment they laid out what became an extension of Columbus Street
to connect with the Medina and Wooster turnpike at the south line of Ohio City. This was an expensive and extensive
project for those days and reflected credit on the firm. They graded the hill to the river, built the roadway,
and then spent $15,000 dollars in building a bridge across the river. The bridge is described in the first city
directory of Cleveland as "supported by a stone abutment on either shore and piers of solid masonry in the
center of the river. Between the piers is a draw sufficient to allow a vessel of forty nine foot beam to pass through.
The length is 200 feet, the breadth, including the sidewalks, 33 feet, and the height of the piers above the surface
of the water may be estimated at 24 feet. The whole, with the exception of the draw is roofed and enclosed, and
presents an imposing appearance, and reflects much credit on the architect, Nathan Hunt. This splendid bridge was
presented to the corporation of Cleveland by the owners, with the express stipulation that it should forever remain
free to the public, although the Legislature had previously chartered it as a toll bridge."
This bridge and the extension of Columbus Street through the flats and the Willeyville allotment to the turnpike
completed a short route to Cleveland from the south and west with a fairly easy grade up Michigan Street to Ontario
Street This route practically side tracked Ohio City, which lay nearer the mouth of the river and the people of
that ambitious city saw traffic from Elyria, Brooklyn, and the intervening farm country avoid their town and pass
over the new bridge to their rival on the east side of the river. To make the situation worse, by what provocation
we know not, an act of aggression on the part of the City of Cleveland was formulated and carried out. The twin
cities were connected by a float bridge (pontoon) across the river at Main Street, now Superior. The Cleveland
City owned the east half and the Ohio City the west half. The city council of Cleveland voted to remove their half
of the bridge. The authority given by the council was carried out at night and thereupon the people of Ohio City
held an indignation meeting and declared the new bridge a nuisance. Thus began the war between cities that as Professor
Avery says were sisters and almost twins. A regular battle began on the new bridge between citizens and officials
of Ohio City and Cleveland. It was argued by the west siders that Cleveland only extended to the center of the
river and that that portion of the new bridge from that point was theirs to destroy, as the city had destroyed
their half of the float bridge at Main Street.
The marshal of Ohio City organized a posse of deputies and the new bridge was damaged by a charge of powder exploded
under the Ohio City end. Two deep ditches were dug at the approaches at each end and traffic over the bridge suspended.
Then a mob of west siders lead by C. L. Russell, one of their leading attorneys, marched down to the bridge only
to meet the mayor of Cleveland prepared for defense with a number of militiamen, a crowd of his constituents, and
having for a barrage a cannon that had been used for Fourth of July celebrations, probably a relic of the War of
1812. This piece was planted on the Cleveland side in position to rake the bridge. A battle was fought but without
artillery, for Deacon House had spiked the cannon with an old file. Pistols, crowbars, stones and fists were effectively
used and some injured but none fatally. The sheriff of the county and the marshal of Cleveland finally stopped
the battle. Several were landed in jail. An armed guard was put over the bridge, after the battle, by authority
of the council of the City of Cleveland. The matter was taken into court and settled there. In the spiking of the
gun by Deacon House he is given credit for benevolent forethought. He being a west sider it cannot be recorded,
in the high state of excitement at that time, what he would have done if the cannon had been pointed the other
way. Ohio City, formed from the Township of Brooklyn, lived as a distinct municipality for eighteen years, when
it was annexed to Cleveland. The mayors in the order of their service were: Josiah Barber, Francis A. Burrows,
Norman C. Baldwin, Needham M. Standart, Francis A. Burrows, again, Richard Lord, Daniel H. Lamb, David Griffith,
John Beverling, Thomas Burnham, Benjamin Sheldon and William B. Castle. The latter, as we have said, serving as
the first mayor of Cleveland after the union of the two cities.
One of the oldest municipalities, born of the original Township of Brooklyn, was Brighton. Situated south
of Big Creek or Mill Creek, it was the apex of roads leading south and southwest and became early a settlement
of considerable importance. As early as 1833, some put it, which would make it older than Ohio City, the Village
of Brighton was incorporated. Its first mayor was Mr. Babcock, father of Hon. Charles H. Babcock, who was justice
of the peace in Brooklyn Township for many years and, in 1864 and 1866 represented this county in the Legislature,
being speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives during his term in the Fifty sixth General Assembly. The
organization of Brighton was short lived, as the village organization was allowed to lapse in the years following
the administration of Mayor Babcock. It went back under the township organization until 1890, when, with much opposition,
it was organized as a village under the name of South Brooklyn. The opposition to the incorporation of South Brooklyn
was carried on by certain manufacturing plants, who, it was said, were fearful that the village officers would
place too many restrictions on their business, restrictions as to the public health by the health officers of the
village, and others that might interfere with the liberties they had enjoyed under the township government. The
Cleveland Dryer Company brought injunction proceedings, but the village won the suit. This was carried to the Court
of Appeals and to the Supreme Court with the same result, Charles L. Selzer representing the village as special
solicitor. The fight for its life by the Village of South Brooklyn was quite intense and exceeded only by the fight
a few years later, when the village was annexed to the City of Cleveland.
The first mayor was George Guscott, who is now living on Broadview Avenue, and the first clerk was Ora J. Fish,
now a resident of California. This mayor served four years. Mr. Guscott was followed by H. H. (Ham) Bratton, and
he by Lyon Phelps. Then in their order, James Rodgers and Fred Mathews, Mathews being mayor at the time of the
annexation to Cleveland. As in most of the municipalities formed out of Brooklyn, there was in South Brooklyn violent
opposition to annexation. The mayor and a part of the council were favorable, and, as a vote had been taken at
the regular election and the result was a majority in both Cleveland and South Brooklyn for the annexation, the
mayor and the councilmen that stood with him, were for carrying out the will of the voters as expressed at the
polls. The excitement was caused by those councilmen who tried to block the proceedings, and their efforts were
cleverly defeated. The council was composed of six members, requiring four for a quorum. Leonard Fish and Chauncey
Brainard, councilmen, stood by the mayor in his efforts to carry out the wishes of the villagers, expressed at
the election, while J. A. Nusser, C. J. Collister, George Miller and a Mr. Williams, while not wishing to enter
the council chamber and vote against the peoples' wish, hit upon the plan of breaking a quorum. Meetings were held
for some time, but no quorum was in attendance. Finally J. A. Nusser moved out of the village and his seat in the
body became vacant by reason of that fact. Now a council of five members remained and only three were required
to transact business. Mass meetings were held in the village and the excitement ran high but no quorum of the council
obtained. Finally Charles L. Selzer, acting as special solicitor for the village, brought quo warrant proceedings
to oust Mr. Collister from office on the ground that he was not a citizen of the United States. The court granted
the 'petition and Mr. Collister was ousted from office. He had been acting under the belief that his father was
a naturalized citizen, which the court found to be otherwise.
In the meantime the council had been holding frequent meetings, adjourning from time to time only to add to the
minutes of its proceedings "no quorum " Following the ousting of Mr. Hollister, Mr. Williams, one of
the conspiring councilmen, slipped into the council meeting to ascertain what the next move on the municipal chess
board would be. When his name was called he refused to answer, but Mayor Mathews said: "Mr. Williams, I see
you are present, you are a councilman of the village, the clerk will record you as present, I stand upon the Tom
Reed rules of Congress, and I now declare a quorum present for the transaction of business." Mr. Williams,
greatly incensed, rose and said: "Mr. Mayor, I resign as councilman of this village." The mayor responded:
"Put your resignation in writing and it will be considered." Mr. Williams thereupon wrote out his resignation,
which was immediately accepted and Charles Miller was elected to fill the vacancy. The council immediately passed
the necessary annexation legislation. There was a great demonstration by the citizens on the final dose of this
drama of a Brooklyn municipality, almost equal to that when it was born, and when, over the heights above Brookside
Park, a cannon roared its approval. We should add that in the final meeting referred to, Dr. Linden was chosen
councilman in the place of Mr. Williams and Charles Miller in the place of Mr. Collister, his period of service,
like that of Mr. Miller, lasting only an hour.
Brooklyn Village, as distinct from South Brooklyn, included territory north of Big Creek, and extended north
beyond the Daisy Avenue of the present. It was organized in 1867. The first election was held November 27th. The
officers elected and qualified were: Mayor, Bethuel Fish; recorder, Leonard Foster; trustees, corresponding to
councilmen of the present time, were A. W. Poe, J. S. Fish, Adam Kroehle, Dr. C. B. Galentine, and George Storer.
In 1878, the officers of the village were: Mayor, Henry Ingham; clerk, James H. Richardson; councilmen, Beaser,
Farnsworth, Naaf, Quirk, Roberts and Towl. Among the mayors of the gill ge in the last period of its separate existence
were Seymour Trowbridge, M. H. Farnsworth, Carlos Jones, William Prescott, Frank Bliss, Charles L. Selzer and W.
R. Coates. All save the three first named are now living. The village grew in population and wealth from year to
year but the menace of annexation was ever present. In 1888, Charles S. Whittern and Delos Cook, residents of the
north end of the village began the circulation of a petition which had for its ultimate object the annexing to
Cleveland of all that portion of Brooklyn Village north of Daisy Avenue and the first fight was on. At this time
the Mail and News and The Cuyahogan, weekly papers, were published in the village. The Mail and News favored annexation
and The Cuyahogan was opposed. Personalities were indulged in and the rivalry was of the kind illustrated by Artemus
Ward when working on the Advertiser, one of two rival local papers in Norway, Maine. Artemus was a "printer's
devil" on the Advertiser. It is related that he noticed the continual boasting of the rival paper. A new window
was put in, and later the casing was painted and other matters were announced as showing the enterprise of the
management and reflecting glory on the establishment. In the next number of the Advertiser an article by Artemus
was published as follows: "We have bored a new hole in the sink and put a bran new slop pail under it. What
have the hellhounds across the street got to say to that ?" It should be mentioned that the first paper published
in the village was a little sheet called The Town Crier, which was published by H. M. Farnsworth. This, full of
spice and local items, was enlarged in two years and named The Cuyahogan and later sold to A. E. Hyre, who continued
its publication for some years. The Mail and News was published by John and William Schmehl.
The fight for the annexation of the north end of Brooklyn Village to Cleveland, the central topic of the two
village papers, begun in 1888, ended in 1890, and all of the village north of Daisy Avenue, excepting a portion
in the northeast, which was retained, was annexed to Cleveland, and became a part of the Thirty ninth Ward. The
outcome of this contest begun and carried forward by Messrs. Whittern and Cook started the agitation for the annexation
of the while village As indicating the bitterness of the contest in the rival papers we quote from an issue of
one after the annexation: "On the 24th of February the north end of the Village of Brooklyn made application
to the City of Cleveland for annexation. The City of Cleveland by its council passed a resolution asking *he county
commissioners to detach the territory. After permitting an amendment whereby twenty four voters, eighteen of whom
are remonstrants, were left in the village, the petition was granted. The whole matter would have been laid before
the council for final action had it not been for the interruption caused by the filing of a petition for injunction.
As our readers know, Judge Hamilton sustained the annexers. This successful end in the face of one of the shrewdest
bodies of men in any village, reflects credit on those who had the courage to beard the lion in his den. Not only
has the village organ (referring to the other paper) repeated and revamped its old worn out and exploded arguments
against annexation but it has resorted to the use of vile epithets and most disgusting phrases against those gentlemen
in the north end, who faced the artillery of the gang. It now remains to be seen what will be done in reference
to the annexation of the remainder of the village." Following this release to Greater Cleveland of a portion
of its territory, the citizens opposed to annexation began the agitation for the advancement of the village to
a city hoping by this method to forestall the annexation of any more of its territory to the City of Cleveland.
This was voted upon at the following election. An incident illustrating the anxiety over this proposal will show
for itself. Charles L. Selzer, the candidate for mayor at this election, who was a very popular candidate, found
in a printing office campaign cards for himself with the legend "To Advance to a City- Yes," printed
in bold type at the bottom. Not running on that issue, he threw them in the stove and paid the printer for the
loss. Mayor Selzer served four years and was succeeded by W. R. Coates, who was elected on an annexation platform
in a campaign in which there was a great deal of politics to the square inch, notwithstanding that both the City
of Cleveland and the Village of Brooklyn had voted at a previous election for annexation.
The Village of Brooklyn was annexed to Cleveland in 1894. The usual injunction suit was brought in the courts,
heard before Judge Walter Ong of the Common Pleas Court and the injunction refused. Fred F. Klingman, a member
of the last council of the village, was the first councilman from the new territory to the Cleveland City Council,
and was followed by William Prescott, a former mayor The next was William Townes, who died while in office and
was succeeded by his son, Clayton C. Townes, now president of the council.
West Cleveland, formed from territory on the west line of Brooklyn, was organized in 1875. The first mayor
was Mr. Mitchell and the first clerk, Alfred H. Leece. The records are incomplete and do not show the other officers.
Then followed Mayor Forbes and next came John C. Hawley. In 1879, L H. Ware was mayor and Charles E. Farrell was
clerk. O. Alger was mayor in 1883-1888. The clerks during that time being D W. Batchelder and A. W. Fairbanks.
W. J. White, known later as the manufacturer of Yucatan gum, and who served as a member of Congress from this district,
was mayor from 1890 to 1891. Fairbanks was clerk during his administration. Gustav Schmidt was mayor in 1892 and
1893 and J. V. McCauley was clerk. E. N. Thompson was mayor and F. P. Thomas clerk at the time of the annexation
of the village to Cleveland, which occurred February 26, 1894, the same year of the annexation of the Village of
Brooklyn, and this village became the Forty first Ward of Cleveland. There was the usual division of opinion on
the question and a fight before surrender. Unlike South Brooklyn, in this case the mayor was inclined to block
proceedings and the council favorable to the annexation of the village, and so acted.
In 1872 George Linn, Robert Linn, C. J. Thatcher and A. K. Moulton purchased a large tract of land in the southwest
part of Brooklyn Township, which they named Linndale Village Allotment. On the first of May, 1873, they sold an
allotted tract to David Beaty for $165,000, receiving a down payment of $15,000. The deal with Beaty did not progress
and some time later he refused further payments and sued for the $15,000, which he had paid. Beaty did not receive
title and in 1874 another deal was put through, which might have carried the creators of the Linndale allotment
to success but the panic of 1876, coupled with the failure of Jay Cook, which weakened the Cleveland bank that
was expected to aid in financing the enterprise, occurred. The dream of the Linns was not realized and the project
languished. Law suits and discouragements have been the fruits of the enterprise. It started out with much promise.
A newspaper called the Linndale Enterprise was published and an apparent boom was on but it soon died out. In 1900,
the Village of Linndale was incorporated. The first mayor was Frank Seither, who was elected by "the long
straw," as it was expressed. In the first election, Mr. Seither and George Linn received each the same number
of votes and they drew lots to decide the election, Mr. Seither drawing the long straw and being declared mayor
elect. In the fall of the same year, that portion of the village in which Mr. Seither resided was annexed to the
City of Cleveland and his term as mayor expired automatically, the president pro tern of the council acting as
mayor until a successor was elected. From that time on George Linn has served continuously as mayor, being elected
and reelected at every succeeding election. The records in the county recorder's office show the officers at present
to be: Mayor, George Linn; clerk, Harvey E. Dorsey; treasurer, Assunto Lembo; marshal, Edward DeMiller; councilmen,
J. W. Hazel, Henry Byer, James Cupalo, William Weir, Sherley Stanbush and Clifton D. Wren. Since that record was
made, charges have been preferred against the marshal, Edward De Miller, in connection with the enforcement of
the prohibition laws, and he has been ousted from office. At present A. W. Hecker and W. F. Keiper, as deputy marshals,
act in his stead. A visit to the village hall, which comprises the mayor's office and the jail, indicates the activity
of these deputies. Outside piles of casks, said to contain wine, were awaiting the hearing before the mayor of
the erstwhile owners. Vacant cells were filled with jugs and still of those who were charged with unlawful manufacture
and sale. The exhibits at the mayor's office do not represent offenders in the village alone, as cases are brought
to the mayor from the township outside. The present population of the village is about 500.
The last of the municipalities to be erected from the territory of old Brooklyn Township includes a great garden
area, in the southeast part. The occasion for the breaking away from the township government was the higher tax
valuations due to the intensive cultivation for gardening and greenhouse purposes. The citizens were paying for
school buildings and improvements in other parts of the township and in larger proportions and got but little in
return J. E. Wyman visited P. H. Kaiser, the county solicitor, and requested him to direct this community to the
necessary proceedings to secure for them a special school district. He was advised that a special school district
would only be formed of a municipality. Then the necessary steps were taken and in 1903 the Village of Brooklyn
Heights was formed to include in addition to the Brooklyn territory, nearly an equal amount from Independence Township.
The first officers were: Mayor, M. L. Reutenik; clerk, H. H. Richardson; treasurer, Simeon Chester; councilmen,
I. B. Hinckley, W. H. Gates, John Gehring, Sr., J. L Foote and J. E. Wyman. The county records show that the Township
of Brooklyn Heights was also formed of territory co extensive with the village. This is functioning as a judicial
township. In this village the green house industry is predominant. There are today more than 100 acres under glass.
The first mayor of the village, Mr. Reutenik, was one of the leaders in a large way. He was active in forming an
organization called the Growers' Market, which acts, as does the Citrus Association of the orange sections of the
country, in directing the supply, sale and shipment of their products. Fresh vegetables are shipped throughout
the year to all parts of the country. The Florists' Association also has a large representation from this section.
The value of the vegetables and flowers produced from this territory each year totals a sum unthought of when Isaac
Hinkley tried to mortgage 100 acres for a barrel of flour and was refused.
The present officers of the village are: Mayor, H. J. Webster; clerk, A. F. Goldenbogen; treasurer, George Walter;
assessor, Ross Wyman; councilmen, Frank Wutrich, George Thompson, Alexander Drecer, E W Arth, A. G. Heinrichs and
Thus Brooklyn Township, number 7 of range 13, has raised up six separate municipalities, four have merged in Greater
Cleveland and two have still their separate government, and a little corner of number 7 is still the Township of
Brooklyn. Among the trustees of the original township have been Samuel H. Barstow, Diodate Clark, William Allen,
Samuel Tyler, Martin Kellogg, Russell Pelton, William Burton, Jonathan Fish, Benjamin Sawtell, Ezra Honeywell,
William Hartness, Philo Rowley, Morris Jackson, Samuel Storer, Levi Lockwood, R. C. Selden, Seth Brainard, James
Sears, Ambrose Anthony, Francis Branch, Homer Strong, Clark S. Gates, John Goes, David S. Brainard, John L. Johnson,
C. L. Gates, John Reeve, Martin K. Rowley, Thomas James, James W. Day, Joseph Marmann, Levi Fish, William Lehr,
F. S. Pe1ton, Jacob Siringer, John Ross, Marcus Dennerle, Jefferson Fish, Bethuel Fish, John Myers, Samuel Sears,
Robert Curtiss, Daniel W. Hoyt, Erhart Wooster, Robert Curtiss, J. C. Wait, John Williams, John Schmehl, Charles
E. Farrell, Seymour Trowbridge, Charles Miller, Sanford R. Brainard, William Thomas and Peter Vonclerauc. Among
the clerks have been C. L. Russell, Samuel H. Fox, Francis Fuller, John H. Sargent, George L. Chapman, Charles
Winslow, C. E. Hill, F. W. Pe1ton, Bolles M. Brainard, Charles H. Babcock, Frederick Dalton, Joseph B. Shull, F.
H. Chester, Fred W. Wirth, Edwin T. Fuller, B. J. Ross, William Treat and Charles N. Collins. Among the treasurers,
Oziah and David S. Brainard and Bethuel and Ozias Fish, Carlos Jones and Carver Stickney also served in that office.
Among the justices of the peace, who have represented the majesty of the law in Brooklyn Township, may be mentioned
George W. Marsh, C. L. Russell, William Burton, Benjamin Doud, Herman A. Hurlbut, Samuel Tyler, Scott W. Sayles,
J. H. Sargent, Benjamin Sawtell, Andrew White, Ezra R. Benton, Henry 1. Whitman, Homer Strong, Samuel Storer, J.
A. Redington, Ezra Honeywell, Wells Porter, Charles H. Babcock, Felix Nicola, Benjamin R. Beats, John Reeve, John
S. Fish, Joseph M. Poe, Ambrose Anthony, William Treat and Charles N. Collins. All should have the title of Esquire
attached to their names. Mr. Collins was clerk of the Village of Brooklyn at the time of its annexation to Cleveland.
Joseph M. Poe served several terms as a member of the Legislature from this county and was related to the Poes
so famous as Indian fighters in the pioneer history of Ohio. Felix Nicola served as sheriff of the county, and
Charles H. Babcock, as has been said, was at one time speaker pro tern of the Ohio General Assembly.
The first religious services in Brooklyn were held by a traveling Universalist preacher. As early as 1814 a Methodist
class met at the home of Ozias Brainard. It started with three members, Ebenezer Fish, Sylvanus Brainard and Seth
Brainard. This small class increased to ten. In 1817, Booth and Goddard, Methodist circuit riders, preached in
Brooklyn and soon after the Methodist Church was organized. It held meetings in a log house which later was used
by the Congregationalists, who organized in 1819. The Brooklyn Methodist Church in 1837 moved into a frame building
on what is now West Twenty fifth Street, near Denison Avenue, and in 1848 a brick church was built on the site
of the frame one, which was moved away, and in 1916 was dedicated the present structure on Archwood which was built
at a cost of about $85,000. Previous to 1844 a number of seceders from this church organized what was known as
the Reformed Methodist Church, across the valley in Brighton. Among the members were Ogden and Julia Hinckley,
Cyrus Brainard and Joseph and Mathilda Williams. This organization was allowed to lapse and in 1844 the Brighton
Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Among the pastors who have served this church the name of Rev. E. H.
Bush is the most widely known. The present pastor of the Brooklyn Church on Archwood is Rev. Elmer S. Smith. Among
the early pastors are (omitting the Rev.) James Taylor, John Crawford, Solomon Meneier, Adam Poe, H. O. Sheldon,
James McIntyre, N. S. Albright, Joseph Mattock, Alfred Holbrook and Hoadley. In 1876, T. K. Dissette was superintendent
of the Sunday school. He became a preacher and platform orator of note and for many years, after leaving the ministry
for the law, served as judge of the Common Pleas Court in Cleveland.
The Congregational Church of Brooklyn was organized in 1819. The original members were Amos Brainard, Isaac Hinckley
and Sallie Hinckley, his wife, James and Eliza Smith, husband and wife, and Rebecca Brainard. The early ministers
were William McLain and T. I. Bradstreet and Randolph Stone. In 1847 the organization lapsed but was renewed in
1851 under the direction of Calvin Durfee. Among the pastors have been James A. Bates, E. H. Votaw, J. W. Hargrave,
Reverend Peeke and Reverend Lewis. The present pastor is Rev. It. B. Blyth. In 1867 this church, which, although
Congregational had before been attached to the Cleveland Presbytery, united with the Congregational Conference.
In 1879 the present church building on Archwood was completed and opened for public services.
We have given briefly the history of these churches, whose roots were fibered deeply in the soil of the original
township. Of the schools little can be given as the records are not preserved and their history will merge in that
of the City of Cleveland. Various organizations deserve mention and other churches now active in this portion of
Cleveland that belong in part to Brooklyn history. Brooklyn Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, Camp Sears,
which once existed as an independent body of ex-soldiers of the Civil war, the Women's Relief Corps, the Daughters
of Veterans, the Sons of Veterans, Brooklyn Masonic Lodge, Brooklyn Chapter of the Eastern Star and Denison Chapter,
on the north side of Mill Creek and Elbrook and Laurel Lodges of Masons, Elbrook Chapter of the Eastern Star on
the south side, originally Brighton, Riverside Lodge Knights of Pythias on the north side and a lodge of the same
order on the south side, a lodge of the Woodmen of the World on the north side and Glen Lodge of Oddfellows and
a lodge of the Knights of Malta on the south side are a part of the history of Brooklyn and Cleveland.
Dr. James Hedley, widely known as a lecturer, was identified with Brooklyn where he spent many of the last years
of his life. His widow, Mrs Mary Hedley, now lives near their Brooklyn home. Dr. Hedley in 1901 published a book
entitled: "Twenty Years on the Lecture Platform." In this book is printed entire one of his lectures
entitled "The Sunny Side of Life." This lecture at the time the book was published had been delivered
more than a thousand times. It embodies the Coue idea now called autosuggestion. From this most interesting book
of a Brooklyn author we quote the inscription: "I know a place where love has builded; a place from which
when going I weep, and to which returning I laugh, as with the laughter of angels; a place to which my children
bring the first wild flowers of spring; a place where affection lights as with the splendor of morning doorstep
and window; a place that sorrow has hallowed and joy blest as with a benediction; a place where when men forsake
me and doubt me, faith still abides and the heart still hopes. No painter can do it justice, no poet can sing a
song worthy of it, and no philosopher can explain the meaning of its power. The place is Home, and to Mary, my
wife, who has made it possible, I affectionately inscribe this book. James Hedley."
Leonard G. Foster, mentioned as the first recorder of Brooklyn Village, has published several volumes of poems.
His last book, "The Early Days," is a single poem profusely illustrated. Mr. Foster is now over 80 years
of age but active. The poem, "The Early Days," was read by him at a meeting of the Early Settlers' Association
recently and describes the life of the early settlers. The three books published by him previous to this are "Whisperings
of Nature," "Blossoms of Nature," and "Songs of Nature." With his permission we quote
the dedication: "To the sturdy pioneers who braved the hardships and perils of an unbroken wilderness and
planted the seeds of progress that have blossomed into the civilization we enjoy today, this heart begotten retrospect
in verse is tenderly dedicated by the author."
Carlos Jones, the founder of the Jones Home for Friendless Children, located between Library and Daisy Avenues
on West Twenty fifth Street, should have a place in Brooklyn history. One of the early mayors of Brooklyn Village,
active in public affairs he has left this home, which has been a real home to a multitude of children otherwise
bereft, and it has been sustained and carried on to greater efficiency by the community from year to year.
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