History of Chagrin Falls Township, Ohio

From: A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
Publishers: The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924


The township of Chagrin Falls, one of the smallest in the state, is so closely allied with the Village of Chagrin Falls that it is difficult to separate them, although the township was formed some years before the political organization of the village. It is not one of the originally surveyed townships of the Western Reserve, but was formed in March, 1845, from parts of Solon, Orange, and a portion of territory from Geauga County. The village was not recorded as such until January, 1858, when the plat was recorded in the office of the county recorder. Chagrin Falls is seventeen miles southeast of Cleveland on the Chagrin River. The river here has a fall of 150 feet and thus furnishes excellent water power. The name Chagrin was originally applied to the river, then to the present Village of Willoughby in Lake County, and then with the word "falls" added to the township and village of Chagrin Falls. Local histories differ as to the origin of the name. Harvey Rice in his book on Moses Cleveland relates that Moses Cleveland and his surveying party entered this river supposing it to be the Cuyahoga and finding it more shallow than he had expected and what with sand bars and trouble and delays he was much perplexed, and finding it another than the river looked for, named it Chagrin as an expression of his chagrin at his mistake, but on maps issued before the Revolution this river is distinctly named Chagrin, from an Indian name "Chagrin" and in another record "Chagrin," meaning clear. On Evans' map, published in 1755, it is called the Elk River, this no doubt from the presence of elk about its borders, a few remaining when the first settlers of Solon came, as we have related.

In the account of the early settlements we will refer to the territory now included in Chagrin Falls township and village. In the month of May, 1815 immediately after the War of 1812, Serenus Burnet brought his wife and small son Stephen and located on the west side of the Chagrin River about two miles north of the present village of Chagrin Falls. He built a log house and became the first resident. Their nearest neighbors were in the Covert neighborhood, near Willson's Mills, in the present township of Mayfield. For nearly a year after the family came Mrs. Burnet did not see the face of a white woman. Mr. Burnet had bought a fine farm consisting mostly of river bottom land. He paid only $2 an acre but the owners felt that they had made a good sale as for a long time the Burnet's were the only residents in the valley. In fact this part of the valley settled up slowly in the next ten years. Between 1820 and 1825 Jacob Gillett, Caleb Alson, and James Fisher, came with their families and settled in the neighborhood. It was not until 1826 that any settlement was made in the vicinity of the present village. Then John Woodward and Benjamin Carpenter built a dam across the river and at one end built a small log gristmill. The stones were drawn by eight yoke of oxen from an older mill in Orange Township. The condition of the roads can be inferred from this incident. In 1827 Gen. Edward Paine, who owned the land in Chagrin Falls west of Franklin Street undertook to build a bridge across the river at the falls. He put four stringers across but the work was never completed. The stringers remained and were used for foot passage. This was found very convenient by hunters and others who did not fear to undertake the precarious passage. The falls were then flowing over shelving rock which has since been blasted away. Busy with clearing their farms the early settlers, who were not capitalists, gave little attention to the conservation of power in the river. In 1831 Rev. Adamson Bentley, a Disciple minister of local reputation, then forty six years of age, bought a large tract of land at the junction of the two branches of the river. He moved to that point and began active operations. He built a sawmill and a gristmill a little below the forks. To these he added a carding machine and cloth dressing establishment and began the industrial life of the settlement there which took the name of Bentleyville. For over twenty years Bentleyville flourished and seemed likely to be the principal business center and village of this section. But in 1833 two other villages were started on the Chagrin River, one of which in the passing years has drawn to it the business of the others and become a flourishing, enterprising, exclusive, in its location, and most interesting town, Chagrin Falls In 1833 the part of the present village east of Franklin Street was in the Township of Russell in Geauga County. The part west of that street was in Orange and a small part in the southwest corner was in Solon. The land in Geauga County was owned by Aristarchus Champion of Rochester, New York, that in Orange by Edward Paine, the founder of Painesville, but then living in Chardon, Geauga County. In this year of 1833 one Noah Graves, a Massachusetts yankee, observing the excellent water power here and on the lookout for a good investment spotted this as the site of a future town and bought two hundred and ten acres from Gen. Edward Paine. For this he paid two thousand dollars, considered a big price and a large real estate transaction in those days. Dr. S. S. Handerson was connected with Graves in the enterprise. These men then began as did Moses Cleveland, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, by laying out a city. Streets and lots were laid out in regular order and the lots placed upon the market, then they made preparation for building mills. This was the logical procedure, for the home and the mill are closely associated, one can not exist without the other. No houses were built on the present site of the village till 1834, when Noah Graves, Dr. S. S. Handerson, Chester Bushnell, Napoleon Covill, and Ebenezer Wilcox, all having families, built and settled in the new city. Another family was added in October of that year, that of Henry Church. It may be said in passing that Mr Church remained in the town during his life and at the time of his death was the oldest person in the township of the original pioneers. At the start only three families had frame houses, those of the promoters, Graves and Handerson, and that of Ebenezer Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox lived in the home of his brother in law, Mr. Graves, Coville lived in a log house, while the residence of Julius Higgins, nearby was designated as a shanty. In that year of 1834 Chester Bushnell built a frame barn, or a combination of barn and tavern. It was two stories. He lived with his family in the upper part and accommodated guests there and stabled horses below. This site was later occupied by the Union House. The residence part of the town established, the industrial life began. Noah Graves built a dam across the river that year and the following year a sawmill went up. Henry Church countered and opened a blacksmith shop, the first in the town. His partner was Luther Graves, a nephew of Noah, who came to town with Mr. Church. Thus the town forum and news exchange, as well as a most necessary industry was established. I. A. Foote came to the village in the early part of 1834. When he came there were only two frame houses built, those of Graves' and Hart's. There was no bridge across the river, except Paine's old stringers. Ira Sherman came soon after. When they came there was an old deer "lick" near where the upper papermill was later located and there were bark hammocks in the tops of large low beech trees where the Indians had been accustomed to lie in wait for the deer as they came to lick the salty waters and stones. The mineral was in evidence on the surface of the water and on the stones of the river banks. Both Indians and deer had abandoned the "lick" when the white man came. Deer were plentiful in the town however and many were killed. A. H. Hart and Henry Church were among the most successful hunters. Another year and the new city boomed. Several new houses and the sawmill had been built and clearings made for some distance around the homes. And now the residents awakened to the need of better roads. Business was hampered. Mr. Church went to Solon for a bag of wheat, carried it on his back to Bentley's log gristmill on the river, and then carried the grist home to Chagrin Falls. The gristmill built at the Falls in 1836 made it unnecessary to go elsewhere for grinding, but the wheat had to be brought over bad roads. The year of 1836 ushered in the era of "flush times." As a remedy for the rather depressed business times of 1833 and 1834, Congress in 1836 authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to distribute all the public funds, except five millions of dollars, among the several states, according to their representation. The immediate result of this increased facility for obtaining bank loans especially in real estate brought about a spirit of speculation in the country, which, as one writer expresses it, amounted to a mania. A hundred cities were founded and a thousand villages laid out on broad sheets of paper and made the basis of large money transactions. After the 1st of January, 1837 this money was removed from the banks and overtrading and speculation suddenly checked. Then came many failures. It has been said that during the flush times paper money was as free as water and unbounded riches were expected by everybody. Men were ready to engage in any enterprise. It was at this time that the third village in Chagrin Falls Township was born. Gen. James Griffith discovered a power site on the Aurora branch of Chagrin River and bought the upper part of it. Ten men, mostly from Aurora, bought the lower part. Aurora is the extreme northeast township of Portage County. General Griffith built a sawmill and he and the others planned a village to be called Griffithsburg, which like Bentleyville was within the present limits of Chagrin Falls. Capt. Archibald Robbins, whose tragic career we have referred to in the chapter on Solon, bought an interest in Griffithsburg, built a store there and remained some three or four years. Thus at one time we had three rival villages in Chagrin Falls, and Bentleyville was in the lead for some years. John Oviatt came there in 1835 and built a triphammer shop where he made scythes, axes, and many other tools in quite large quantities. This industry continued for five years. About the time that Oviatt came William Brooks built a tannery. In 1834 or 1835 Reverend Bentley built a store there, and this was the first store opened in the limits of the present township of Chagrin Falls. In 1835 Dr. Justus H. Vincent located in the northwest corner of Bainbridge, then in Geauga County. He was the first physician who practiced in Chagrin Falls. He must have moved there, for in 1840 and 1841 he was a member of the State Legislature from Cuyahoga County. This was when Thomas Corwin was governor. Doctor Vincent was public spirited and active in promoting the interests of the Falls. Among other things he secured a charter for a bank at Chagrin Falls, but the bank never materialized. As a reminder of this effort a shanty set in the side of a hill was called the bank and the resident was dubbed the "cashier."

In March of 1836 the first religious society in the township was formed. It was called The First Congregational Society of Morense. There was a disposition to call the new township Morense but this idea was abandoned. A year before this, that is in 1835, a charter was obtained for a college, to stand on College Hill. This was secured by enterprising citizens who saw into the future and illustrated the attitude of mind that the church and the school should go hand in hand. While the college, like the bank, did not materialize, education did, for in this year the first district school was taught in the township. Miss Almeda Vincent was the first teacher. She was afterwards Mrs. Aaron Bliss, and was later a resident of Chicago, Illinois. Her husband opened the first store in the village in 1836. It was first opened in the barroom of the tavern but soon after Bliss built a store at the corner of Main and Orange streets. Soon after he opened his store B. H., and H. S. Bosworth engaged in the same business. Other changes took place. Joshua Overton and a Mr. Bennett bought and occupied the tavern, William Fay started a shingle machine, Charles Waldron, and William Pratt were shoemakers, William McGlashan, and Dudley Thorp were in the tailoring business; George Fenkel was building a gristmill; Henry Smith was an active stone mason, and Caleb Earl was building a clothing shop. The gristmill was running by winter, and new residents were fast coming in. It was a boom town. Among those who came on the crest of the boom were James Bosworth, and wife, and sons, Freeman, Sherman, Milo, and Philetus, and sons in law, Jason Matthews, Robert Barrow, Justus Taylor, Justus Benedict, T. N. West, Samuel Graham, and Timothy Osborn, all with families. A family gathering would have been a large convention. Other families who came at this time were those of Huron Beebe, Roderick Beebe, William Church, and Zopher Holcomb. In the midst of this boom the first Fourth of July celebration was held. The orator of the day was the celebrated Sidney Rigdon. Just at this time he was much in the limelight, his career had partaken of the spectacular. He was an orator of wonderful power, a convincing debater, one who could sway a multitude and carry them with him even to the point of making "black appear white or white black." While pastor of the Baptist Church at Kirtland his fame as an orator had spread While in that capacity he adopted the doctrines of Alexander Campbell and at once lent his peculiar genius and powers to expounding that religion and brought all, or nearly all, of his Baptist congregation over to the Disciple faith. There was at this time a large and influential Baptist Church at Mentor and when in 1826 the pastor, Rev. Warren Goodell, died, Rigdon, a Campbellite, was called to preach the funeral sermon. His address so pleased the congregation that he was engaged as their pastor, in the fall of 1826. Here as in Kirtland he gradually brought the entire congregation over to the new faith. He occasionally preached at the Kirtland Church as well. His preaching now took a new turn and he began to branch off upon common stock, or applied socialism. This did not take, in Mentor, but kindled a blaze in Kirtland. Isaac Morley was the first convert, a large landowner there. He was so enthusiastic that he threw open his doors to all who chose to enter and make this their common home. Many came and among them the ignorant and profligate. In a short time the family numbered 100. While this fanaticism was taking root in Kirtland a deeper plot was ripening at Palmyra, New York, and Sidney Rigdon's was the directing mind. Rigdon was frequently absent for weeks at a time from Mentor and on his last return from a long absence he brought copies of the Mormon Bible or Book of Mormon. The revelation had been received on gold plates and translated by Joseph Smith. Rigdon immediately began expounding the glories of the Latter Day Saints in numerous sermons and speeches. That religion had not then adopted polygamy, and Rigdon, known as an eloquent speaker, was invited to deliver the oration at Chagrin Falls July 4, 1836. He accepted and among other glowing sentences predicted that there would soon be one great city extending from Chagrin Falls to Kirtland, fifteen miles north, all inhabited by the Saints of the Lord. His speech took well as he was simply preaching morality and patriotic citizenship but he was the actual founder of Mormonism, that opposed both. The Smiths, the reputed founders of Mormonism, were schemers, visionary fanatics, and seekers for wealth by a quick route. Before knowing Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jr., had been searching for gold with a divining rod such as in the old days they used before digging a well to locate the best veins of water. In the revelations as related by him, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and revealed the location of a certain chest to which he was led by a singular mineral rod, but, as he approached, it sank deeper into the earth. It was finally captured, and contained as per revelation the so called Mormon plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated. As showing that Rigdon's was the directing mind Smith did not cume at once. In November, 1830 four men came to Mentor from the scene of the "marvelous discovery." They were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitman, Zaibad Peterson, and Parley P. Pratt. The entire night of their arrival was given over to consultation with Rigdon. Soon after. they all went to Kirtland and made a visit to Morley. Here they gained an easy victory and the class that had assembled there accepted the delusion with fanatical enthusiasm. Seventeen were baptized in the new faith the very first evening and other meetings followed with similar results. In the spring crowds came to Kirtland from Palmyra and other points until it would seem this was the point at which the world was centering. Following the crowd came Joseph Smith, Jr., and Brigham Young. They enlightened the followers more explicitly. The gold plates were twenty four in number, 13 by 12 inches in dimension, and were not exhibited because they could only be seen by faith. Mormonism grew and the Temple was erected at Kirtland. A bank was established and they issued a Mormon script, which became a circulating medium. The whole thing was managed at first by three high priests, Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Kirtland lay upon a roadway and the waters of Lake Erie can be seen from her temple roof. The nucleus of a great city was expanding and the conspirators must get busy. All difficulties were settled by additional revelations. Here polygamy was put forward as a fundamental principle of the church. It came about in this way. A daughter of Oliver Snow of Mantua became infatuated with Rigdon's preaching and she and the whole family followed him into Mormonism. Later she became infatuated with Smith, spiritually and otherwise, and became his secret mistress. This relationship was getting noised about and then came the "revelation" and she was "sealed," to him as a wife under the "divine" revelation. She was a person of intelligence and wrote verses among other things. Some of her lines are preserved and they reflect her attitude of mind in the premises:

We thank Thee for a prophet's voice,
His people's steps to guide,
In him we do and will rejoice
Though all the world deride.

These "revelations" became very convenient. At one time Cowdery wanted a secretary, so he had a "revelation." It was as follows: "A command to Emma, my daughter in Zion, A. D., 1830. A revelation I give to you concerning my will. Behold thy sins are forgiven thee and thou art an elect lady whom I have called. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come. And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph, thy husband, in his affliction, with consoling words in the spirit of meekness, and thou shalt go with him at the time of his going and be unto him a scribe, that I may send Oliver whithersoever I will." At one time Joseph Smith had a "revelation" that Oliver Snow must turn over a farm to pay a debt which he (Smith) owed at the bank and take in return a certificate from some high officer of the church. The old man hesitated, but finally complied, and the certificate proved to be worthless. He had another farm in Mantua and they finally got that. This latter information is given in a small volume by Christopher G Crary, who though a "Gentile" was a close friend of Mr. Snow's. The prophets had trouble among themselves and this first Fourth of July orator at Chagrin Falls, the ringleader, the real founder of the Mormon Church, was finally excommunicated by Brigham Young and consigned to the deviL

The second Fourth of July celebration in Chagrin Falls, the next year, found the community still in a bustle of excitement. The constant rise of the price of land by reason of the unlimited paper money continued and there was a general expectation of wealth by reason thereof. A Congregational Church building was planned and the timber for the same drawn to the public square, which at that time had been dedicated to public use It included the tract on which the town hall now stands. Two thirds of this block of land was afterwards given to the Methodist and Congregational churches. This second celebration of Independence Day was gotten up on a grand scale. The orator of the day was Rev. Sherman B. Canfield, and besides delivering the oration he officiated at the first marriage in the village and township, that of Aaron Bliss and Almeda Vincent, daughter of Dr. J. H. Vincent. It is related that this ceremony was public and came in as a part of the general program of the day. But patriotism and patriotic sentiment alone could not bolster up prosperity on an unsound basis and with the year 1837 the boom at Chagrin Falls, as in many parts of the country, went down suddenly and business came to a standstill. In all this activity, so built upon a fabric of paper money, much of which became worthless, the natural and ordinary advancement of the community was neglected. There was no authorized postoffice and mail route. Serenus Burnet at his tavern kept a sort of convenient distribution place for letters and papers. Once a week Marcus Earl came from Cleveland to his father's home at the Falls and brought mail to the tavern. Coming along to the year of 1839, the first fatal accident is recorded in the annals of the village. A daughter of Mr. Overton was burned to death, her clothing catching fire from a burning log heap. In 1839 Asbury Seminary was incorporated as a Methodist institution and opened its doors as an advanced school, with Mr. Williams as its first principal: Along with this came some industrial advancement. Samuel Nettleton built a furnace. This was sold in 1840 to Benajah Williams. It was afterwards carried on by him. Those who came to the village in 1837 were Mr. Benajah Williams and sons named Lorenzo D., John W. William M., Francis S., Adam C. and Andrew J. Williams.

In the presidential campaign of 1840 Chagrin Falls was largely whig and it took on its most enthusiastic manner entering into the campaign with that zest that has characterized it in later years. When the whigs of the northwest part of the state held a mass meeting at Fort Meigs, almost the entire male population of the Falls attended. Doctor Vincent was in command of Company C of Chagrin Falls Whig Riflemen. Those going individually assumed Indian costumes to add to the hilarity and significance of the occasion. Drawn into the maelstrom by the excitement the democrats went along with the whigs. Four horse, six horse, and eight horse teams took the crowd to Cleveland where they took the boat for the meeting. The democrats who went along, entered into the fun with the rest throughout the day, and when they got home, drew off into a bunch and gave a rousing cheer for Van Buren and Johnson, and as the old annals recite, "resumed their places as democrats." In 1841 Aaron Bliss and John Mahew built a large stone flouring mill on the site later occupied by the upper paper mill. This was built with a semi circular stone dam, which did not prove to be a success. The dam was carried out the same season taking away two bridges and flooding the village. In this year the first paper mill was built by Noah Graves, as the beginning of that industry at the Falls. The census of. 1842 disclosed that there were 109 families in the village and a total population of 540. Included in the 540 were twenty five cabinetmakers, four wagon makers, ten shoe makers, five merchants, three doctors, two lawyers, a very good showing for the young village. C. T. Blakeslee and John Brainard were included in the legal fraternity. Mr. Brainard became Professor of Chemistry, with residence in Cleveland, and later Examiner of Patents at Washington. These two started the first newspaper. It was called The Farmers and Mechanics Journal. The first number was issued in August, 1842, and it was the first newspaper published in the county, outside of Cleveland. The total capital invested was about $100. Blakeslee sold out his interest to Hiram Calkins and he sold to M. S. Barnes. The firm name was Brainard & Barnes. The firm sold the paper to H. G. Whipple, who tried to change it to a democratic paper under the name of The Journal. We say "tried" to change it. His foreman, the late proprietor, Barnes, in his absence substituted a whig ticket and whig editorial, which he found floating at the masthead when he returned. Barnes was dismissed and he thereupon started a rival whig paper. Both journals merely survived the campaign. The next year M. P. Doolittle and H. E. Calkins started a paper called The Spirit of Freedom The paper (not the sentiment) died the same fall. Following these journalistic attempts a paper called Labour was published in the village for a short time. The press was bought by Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Sanford. Then Mrs. Sanford began the publication of a monthly journal for women called True Kindred. At the end of five months the management changed from Mrs. to Mr. Sanford, and the name of the paper was changed to The Independent Politician. This was discontinued after a time and there was no further newspaper published in Chagrin Falls until The Exponent was established in 1874 by J. J. Stranahan and P. Hohler. After a year Mr. Stranahan continued the paper as sole proprietor. It has continued as a paper independent in politics, but vigorous in its utterances, espousing the cause of the farmer and the laborer. It at once had a large circulation and it is no idle statement to make that at least under the active management of Mr. Stranahan, it was the most influential paper published in the county outside of Cleveland. Mr. Stranahan served in the Legislature of Ohio for two terms and following his service there was appointed United States Fish Commissioner, in which capacity he served until advancing years caused him to retire. During his service in the General Assembly The Exponent was found upon the desks of members and its vigorous editorials aided much in securing legislation in the interest of the farmers of Ohio.

In 1843 a great deal of excitement was caused in the village as elsewhere over the prophecy of "Father Miller" that the world was to be destroyed by fire on the 23d of April of that year. Of course the real Millerites put on their ascension robes and prepared for the occasion but the unbelievers, although not accepting the prophecy so positively and eloquently announced, were "from Missouri" and had to be shown. Well, at 3 o'clock in the morning of the appointed day in the year of our Lord 1843, at the Village of Chagrin Falls, Earl's woolen mill caught fire and as the roof was saturated with oil, burned with great rapidity and cast a most brilliant glare over the village, the river and the country around, lighting up the homes and starting frightened people from their beds. While it lasted the excitement was intense and a real scare gripped the village. The millenium was indefinitely postponed, but the mill burned down. As Miller did not fix a future date and the world seemed still solid Deacon Harry White bought the old site of the burned mill and erected an ax manufactory. This tool was still much used at that time and sales were large and continued until the land was quite generally cleared, when the manufactory was abandoned. In 1844 a Methodist and a Congregational Church were each built at the village. There was a daily stage line from Cleveland to Warren, touching the Falls, and the coaches were crowded. There seemed to be a healthy recovery from the depressed times following the collapse of the boom. Bentleyville, however, once ahead of the Falls, was losing ground. The chair factory built by C. P. Brooks did a good business for five or six years. The gristmill, in 1843, had been turned into a rake factory by Lyman Hatfield, and then the manufacture of wooden bowls was added. At that time the town looked prosperous. There were fifteen or twenty residences but like Albion in Strongsville there is left but a memory. Time, floods, and competition did their work and it was wiped out. Before this time, however, there had been agitation for a new township. The three villages on the river were not so much concerned about a separate organization, but the idea of a separate township was gaining ground Chagrin Falls did not like the idea of being in a corner of Orange. There were thirty or forty farms now well cleared up and they joined in the agitation for a separate township. Application was made to the county commissioners and in 1845 a separate township under the name of Chagrin Falls was formed to include the northeast corner of Solon, the southeast part of Orange and a part of Russell in Geauga County. The first official town meeting was held at the tavern of A. Griswold on April 7, 1845. Samuel Pool and Pliny Kellogg were chosen judges, and Jedediah Hubbell and Alanson Knox, clerks. They were sworn in by Henry Church, a justice of the peace. The election resulted in choices as follows: Trustees, Stoughton Bentley, Ralph E. Russell, and Boardman H. Bosworth; clerk, Alanson Knox; treasurer, Thomas Shaw; assessor, Rev. John K. Hallock. Hallock soon moved away and George Stocking was appointed in his place. The other officers elected were: Overseers of the poor, George Rathbun and Jedediab Hubbell, Jr.; constable, Thomas M. Bayard; supervisors of the highways, Sherman S. Henderson, Obadiah Bliss, John Mahew, Phineas Upham, Duane Brown, John Goodell, Ralph E. Russell, and Noah Graves. About the time when the new township was formed there was much agitation over the prospective building of a railroad from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the line surveyed passed through the Village of Chagrin Falls, but notwithstanding the fact that the residents of the Falls subscribed for $24,000 in stock, it did not go through. This community seemed ever awake to any proposition that would benefit the town and they were fully alive to the doings of the outside world. They supported every enterprise that gave promise of contributing to the general welfare. More newspapers were taken in Chagrin Falls, during the first twenty years of its existence, than in any place of its size in the county. In 1847 it had in the neighborhood of 1,200 inhabitants and the variety of its manufactures was increasing. In 1848 the Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad was built. A large subscription was raised by the residents of Chagrin Falls, conditional upon getting the line through the town, but in this they failed and the road was built through Solon. Not daunted, the people of the Falls said if they couldn't have a railroad they would have a plank road, and the same year the Chagrin Falls and Cleveland Plank Road Company was chartered. Chagrin Falls people invested $15,000 in the enterprise. This road was completed in 1850, and a beginning made in 1849. It was never a paying proposition and the planks were not renewed and the road abondoned except between Newburg and Cleveland. In 1852 the Painesville and Hudson Railroad was incorporated with a capital of $1,000,000 and the line as surveyed passed through Chagrin Falls. With its fine water power and active industries the people of the Falls were determined to have better communication with the outside world and, be it said to their credit the people of the Falls subscribed $200,000 to this project. This enterprise failed and the people were still dependent upon the lumber wagons with which to communicate with Cleveland, Painesville, the lake and the canal.

It is interesting to note how in this enterprising but isolated community all questions of education received such earnest attention, notwithstanding the fact that some of its larger propositions along these lines, like the chartering of a college before the first district school was opened, came to naught. In 1842 a literary society was organized. This began collecting books and soon had the nucleus of a library. In 1847 Adstarchus Champion, who was the original owner of a large tract of land in Russell erected a large building for the use of the village. The next year he put in 800 volumes, for the free use of the citizens of the village. The Literary Society took their books there and the building was known as Library Hall. Champion kept the title of the property himself and afterwards removed the books and sold the hall to the Board of Education, which was formed in 1849. Then the educational interests were prosecuted with much vigor. In 1858 the Asbury Seminary was sold to the Board of Education of the township for a Union school. Thus the schools advanced from year to year, the Union School being the center of educational activities, until today Chagrin Falls has on these grounds three buildings. There are nineteen teachers employed, with a total enrollment of 700 pupils, and a graduating class from the high school this year of thirty two. The superintendent is W. E. Stoneburner. Two important elements have contributed to the prosperity of Chagrin Falls, its splendid water power and the energy and public spirit and intelligence of its citizens. Their taste is shown in well kept yards and attractive homes, and, years ago, it resembled not the typical pioneer village in the wilderness, but a New England town of long standing. In a publication put out by a lecture bureau some years ago Chagrin Falls was designated as the best lecture town in the United States. As an illustration of the interest taken, a course of lectures was advertised there and the sale of seats was to open at such a time and place. The afternoon of the day before the sale of seats was to take place a line of ticket buyers assembled. Coffee and sandwiches were served to those in the line, the wives, sisters and sweethearts relieving the weary men through the long night from time to time until the ticket sale opened in the morning.

Illustrative of the patriotic sentiment of the town, on Saturday, after the fall of Fort Sumter, a public meeting was called and this was adjourned to the following day. At this meeting nearly every resident of the town was present. All of the churches were closed to enable the congregations to attend the meeting and enthusiasm was at white heat. A full company of three months' men was raised as it was thought at first the war would be of short duration. Before this company was mustered in the call changed and the men of the company were consigned to other organizations. During the war 109 men enlisted from Chagrin Falls Their deeds are recorded in the record of the various organizations. September 3d the Chagrin Falls Soldiers Aid Society was formed and continued under the leadership of Mrs. Jane E. Church until the end of the war. This society raised $832 in cash and $406 in supplies. At the dose of the war there was a balance left in the treasury and this formed the nucleus of a fund which was raised for the erection of a soldiers' monument to the men killed in the war. This monument was dedicated in 1865. Among the Chagrin Falls soldiers may be mentioned Gen. Benjamin F. Pritchard, who captured Jefferson Davis and received much notoriety by reason thereof. General Pritchard was a resident of the Falls for many years before the war.

After the Civil war the business of the township centered more and more at the Village of Chagrin Falls. Bentleyville ceased to function as a business center. In 1868 there was an attempt to revive Griffithsburg. A large gristmill was built there but the business did not come and the enterprise failed. Bad fires, the calamity that attends so many new villages, have cast at times a temporary blight on the ton. In 1868 a row of stores was burned and in 1873 the Philadelphia Block, so called, was burned. Many fine residences were built in the '70s. In the Annals of 1880 the town is recorded as having two paper mills, three foundries, one woodenware mill, two planing mills, one lumber yard, two gristmills, two banks, two lawyers, two physicians, three dentists, two dry goods stores, three groceries, three hardware stores, three drug stores, one bookstore, two jewelry stores, one photographer, two furniture stores, three shoe stores, two bakeries, four millinery shops, two fancy goods stores, two tinshops, two wagon shops, five blacksmith shops, two harness shops, and one marble shop. As in Bedford the leading industry in the original upbuilding of the village was its chair factories, so in Chagrin Falls the industries that counted most were the paper mills. The Chagrin Falls Paper Company was organized in 1840 by Noah Graves. He made straw paper, wrapping paper mostly. In 1842 Charles Sears bought an interest and the firm name became Graves & Sears and writing paper was added to the line manufactured. The following year the firm name was changed to Sears and Brinsmade and the manufacture of printing paper began. The following year the mill was leased to Heaton and Daniels. Daniels went out and the firm was Heaton and White. In 1847 Sears came back into the firm and its name was Sears and White until 1850. Following this date it was Younglove and Hoyt for a year, and then Davis and Sykes until 1858, then Davis and Upham until 1860, then Davis as sole proprietor until 1866, when the mill closed. It was reopened in 1870 and the change of proprietors were in this order, P. Warren, J. G. Coleman, Pratt and Pope, Parker, Pope and Company. It was engaged in the manufacture of flour sacks but soon the firm name was changed to Pope and Bleasdale, who enlarged the business. In 1876 the Chagrin Falls Paper Company was organized with the following directors, D. S. Pope, I. W. Pope, S. I. Pope, and David Smith. With this constant change of proprietors the business had still increased until under the management of the Chagrin Falls Paper Company the output was 25,000 sacks per day. The changes in the management of the other paper mill were as frequent. It was started by Adams and Company, who took over the site of the Bliss and Mayhew flouring mill, then it was turned into a woolen factory by Bliss and Pool, and then operated by the Lake Erie Paper Mill Company and while under their management it was burned. It was rebuilt and taken over by Adams, Upham and Company. In 1872 Upham went out and the firm name became Adams and Company, who increased the business, having several large buildings and employing about sixty hands. The woodenware factory mentioned was started in 1842 by Curtiss Bullard and Cornelius Northrop for the manufacture of spinning wheels, reels, etc. The demand for these articles decreasing it began in 1857 the manufacture of kitchen ware. In the '70s under the firm name of Bullard and Marsh its principal output was a butter mold. Of the three foundries the first started was the Williams Foundry and Thimble Skein Factory. This was opened in 1844 by Benajah Williams. It was after some years conducted by his son, J. W. Williams. Among the articles manufactured have been sad irons, in later times more commonly called flatirons, bolster plates, priming tools, pump reels, and also wooden articles, such as ax handles and whiffetrees. The machine shop was started in 1844 by Adin Gaunt. The product has been matchers, planers, small steam engines, horse powers and intricate machinery of various kinds. The planing mill was opened in 1873 by George Ober, and the marble works by H. A. Sheffield. We have given enough to show the great variety of products manufactured in the town, so largely necessities in the home. It would seem that, with the power of the falls, the village, with its surrounding farms, could have made itself industrially independent from the outer world.

We have referred to the churches. The Congregational Church was organized in 1835. Its first members were Thomas N. West, Rebecca It West, Alexander H. Hart, Polly Hart, Timothy A. Osborn, Sarah Osborn, Salomy Crosby, Andrew Dickinson, and Thomas West. Its pastors at the first have been Revs. John S. Harris, Abram Nast, ___ Hopkins, Josiah Canmor. In 1857 the church united with the Cleveland Presbytery. After its incorporation in 1869 the pastors have included Revs. G. W. Walker, D. T. Childs, A. D. Barber, William Woodrnansee and Edmund Gail. The Methodist organization up to 1844 met in schoolhouses, then a church was built. In 1854 it was on a wide circuit including Chagrin Falls, Mayfield, Gates Mills, Bainbridge, Orange Hill, Orange, Solon, Russell, and Chester. This circuit was covered by Revs. Patterson, Fouts, and Wright. In 1857 the circuit was limited to Chagrin Falls and Solon, and covered by Rev. D. C. Wright. The pastors since it began its separate existence have included Revs. H. N. Stearns, John O'Neal, George J. Bliss, C. T. Kingsbury, G. W. Chesbury, N. H. Holmes, W. T. Wilson, B. Excell, and A. H. Dormer. The Disciple Church was organized at Bentleyville in 1831 by Adamson Bentley, the founder of the village. It started with a membership of thirty and met in a log schoolhouse. Gamaliel was the first overseer, and R. E. Russell and Zadoc Bowen were the first deacons. After seven years in the schoolhouse it moved to Chagrin Falls In 1846 the Disciples held a large tent meeting there representing the counties of Cuyahoga and Geauga. Alexander Campbell was present and the meeting was largely attended. Shortly after this big meeting a church was built. In 1849 Isaac Eret delivered a series of lectures to the Disciples, but the most interesting incident occurred nine years later when James A. Garfield held a discussion with a man by the name of Dutton. a somewhat noted infidel. Among the preachers of the early days were Adamson Bentley, William Hayden, W. T. Horner, Tames A. Garfield. T. H. Rhodes, B. A. Hinsdale, Sterling McBride, A. S. White, J. G. Coleman; Adam Burns and James Vernon. The Free Will Baptist Church was organized at a schoolhouse in the Township of Russell by Rev. A. K. Moulton. The first members were Henry E. Whipple, John Walters, Reuben T. Walters, Sarah E. Morse, Hannah Mason, Faustina L. McConoughy and Lucy Goodwill. Moulton was the first pastor and John Walters the first deacon. It was incorporated in 1841 with the following trustees: John Walters, Otis B. Bliss and R. R. Wailers. Among the early pastors following Reverend Moulton have been Revs. Walter D. Stanard, A. R. Crafts, P. W. Belknap, E. H. Higbee, G. H. Ball, Norman Starr and Daniel H. Miller. A church was built in 1845. In 1846 a Bible Christian Church was organized, composed of English families. In 1851 a frame church was built and in 1874 it was replaced by a brick one, having been incorporated in 1869. Among the early ministers were Revs. George Rippin, John Chapel, Joseph Hodge, William Roach, William Hooper, George Haycraft and John Pinch.

Among the fraternal orders the Masons were the first to organize and a Mason lodge was chartered in 1854. The charter members were Caleb Earl, Orison Cathan, Jonathan Cole, Apollo Hewitt, Roderick White, Nathan Hobert, S. B. Kellogg, Samuel Sunderland, Thomas White, L. D. Mix and Henry Burnet. The masters of the lodge in the early days have been Caleb Earl, L D. Mix, D. A. Davis, S. L. Wilkinson, M. A. Lander, C. M. Foote, R. W. Walters and H. M. Doty. A year later the Odd Fellows Lodge was organized with the following charter members: Thomas M. Bayard, John W. Williams, H. A. Robinson, Uriah Ackley and Bennett Robbins. Later on came the Independent Order of Good Templars Lodge, a Knights of Pythias Lodge, the Chagrin Falls Chapter (Masonic) and other similar fraternal and beneficial orders, not to omit the Grand Army of the Republic, with its representative Post.

The Township of Chagrin Falls has had efficient officers and a list of the men who served it in a public way will so demonstrate to those conversant with its history. The early trustees were: Ralph E. Russell, Stoughton Bentley, B. H. Bosworth, Charles E. Morton, Leonard Sampson, E. P. Wolcott, Samuel Pool, L. Lampson, Hannibal Goodell, L. D. Mix, Horace White, George Gladden, Alonzo Harlow, Ephraim Sheffield, E. R. Sage, A. Upham, Orrin Nash, Julius Kent, Charles Force, E. M. Eggleston, W. W. Collins, S. W. Brewster, Silas Christian, J. G. Coleman, William Hutchins, Alexander Frazer, Z. K. Eggleston and A. Church. Among the clerks have been A. Knox, David Orchard, Thomas Shaw, L. D. Mix, A. J. Williams, John V. Smith, S. K. Collins, E. P. Wolcott, A. Harlow, Thomas Shaw, Lucius E. Goodwin, W. J. Armour, George King, Eleazer Goodwin, C. R. Bliss, W. H. Caley, Austin Church, D. O. Davis. The early treasurers were Thomas Shaw, O. Bliss, John Mahew, J. A. Brown, Abel Fisher, Charles Force, J. H. Burnet, A. Upham, G. B. Rogers, L. D. Mix, L. McFarland, Alfred Williams and John J. Davis. E. P. Wilmot has served among the early justices. of the peace and is at the present time one of the justices for Chagrin Falls. He is a lawyer of ability and has a large acquaintance over the county. His study of the law began in the office of Henry C. Ranney of Cleveland. Perhaps one Chagrin Falls man in his day was more widely acquainted over the county and state than any other resident, Dr. H. W. Curtiss. Born in Portage County he graduated from the Cleveland Medical College in 1851 and came to Chagrin Falls the following year. He was elected and reelected to the office of state representative and then elected and reelected to the State Senate. When Governor Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president of the United States, and in consequence resigned the office of governor, Doctor Curtiss became president of the State Senate and acting lieutenant governor of the state. Following this service he was elected and served a third term in the State Senate. At home he was active in local affairs and served for fifteen years as a member of the school board at Chagrin Falls. Mrs. Curtiss' maiden name was Olive B. Rood. They had four children, Dwight C., Dan P., Paul and Virginia. In connection with the chapter on Chagrin Falls an incident while J. J. Stranahan was a member of the General Assembly and which illustrates his fondness for a joke may be recorded. Stranahan was a faithful and able representative and these jokes were only occasional. From one of the southern counties of the state there came to the Sixty seventh General Assembly a representative, a retired, confiding, weak in the upper story representative, a democrat who in some unexpected way was elected to the House. Being a clergyman by profession, Stranahan suggested to him that he open the session with prayer at some time. He demurred, suggesting that he was not qualified for so important a function. The negotiations resulted in Stranahan writing out the prayer. When the morning selected came the gentleman recited the prayer as it was written by Stranahan. Among other things he praised the administration of Governor Foraker in the highest terms. The fact of a democratic member praising the administration of a republican governor was unusual and the newspapers over the state gave it wide publicity. Some, however, discovered the joke and published the fact that Stranahan wrote the prayer.

The present officers of the township are: Justices of the peace, E. P. Wilmot and M. L. Miner; trustees, J. G. Coleman, E. O. Foster and E. L. Lowe; clerk, F. A. Williams; treasurer, James R. Porter; assessor, C. F. Phillips, constables, R. F. Shipley and B. R. Hill. The present officers of the village are: Councilmen, John A. Church, William Didham, Frank Eggleston, Homer S. Kent, Edward McCollum and Silas Whitlock; mayor, Leslie Wycoff; clerk, Gladys M. Foster; treasurer, Martha Ridge; assessor, Charles Phillips. The former clerk was J. V. Class.

We have referred to the effort of the Chagrin Falls residents to get a railroad to the Falls. The building of an electric line by the Cleveland & Chagrin Falls Railway Company in the '80s was a great boon to the town. Providing as it did, in common with all suburban lines, for both passenger and freight transportation, it was the one thing most needed. The growth of the village has since progressed steadily. By the census of 1900 it had 1,586 residents, in 1910 it had 1,931, and in 1920 the census report gives the population as 2,237. Judging from the school enrollment of this year the increase in population for the ten years following 1920 will be still greater. An annual event in Chagrin Falls for some years has been the fair which draws people to the town from a wide area for a week of fun and profitable recreation. This fair like that at Berea is fostered and aided financially by the county, the county commissioners each year making the necessary appropriation.

Identified with the history of Chagrin Falls are many whose names have not been mentioned. Among these are Prof. F. B. Shumaker, who was superintendent of schools for many years, and was president of the County Teachers Institute; Joseph Stoneman, hardware dealer; James H. Shute, a large property owner; William Hutchings, who began his business career by working for Doctor Vincent at $10 a month, and who afterwards owned the Vincent estate and many other valuable properties, who did much work for the county, was active in getting the railroad to the Falls, and then settled down as a hardware dealer; William A. Braund, the carriage builder; Austin Church, the blacksmith, whose ancestors were soldiers in the Revolutionary war and the War of 1812; A. M. Burns, son of Rev. Andrew Burns of Chagrin Falls, who served on the staff of General McCook, one of the "fighting McCoys," who was promoted for gallant services in the Civil war, was state senator, agent for the United States Treasury and assistant city solicitor of Cleveland; John S. Bullard, who was postmaster way back in 1834 and served on the school board, an expert manufacturer, who engaged early in the woodenware production; William H. Dripps, hardware merchant and one time mayor of the town; William Larkworthy, merchant and philanthropist; Arthur H. Williams, merchant of note, whose brother, Arris H., was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, and Capt. H. B. York, a gallant soldier and officer in the Civil war.


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