History of Parma Township, OH

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


Number 6, range 13, would be our designation, if taken from the surveyors' records, which includes a tract five miles square, north of Royalton, west of Independence and east of Middleburgh townships. This tract level in the north and west but hilly in the east, having no streams of size, but with a productive clay soil, fell in the original speculative division of the Western Reserve to several proprietors. There was the Tuckerman, Cheny, Sly, Blake, Plympton and other tracts, and the owners early endeavored to promote settlement on their lands. On account of the general impression that it was a swampy and undesirable region, the original owners had difficulty in finding purchasers at first. Benjamin Fay, a native of Massachusetts, who came from Lewis County, New York, was the first settler. He came in 1816 and located on the Plympton tract. With his wife and twelve children, an ox team and a horse, he made the journey. On arriving he was compelled to cut a road through the woods to reach his farm. He opened a tavern in 1819 on the old stage road in a double log house, an evidence of affluence or a large family in those days, opposite the residence, later, of J. W. Fay. As "B. Fay's Inn," this was a much frequented hostelry and a famous landmark for many years. Mr. Fay built a frame tavern in 1826 and in 1832 replaced it with a brick one, which was the first brick house built in the township. He served in public office and was honored and useful until his death in 1860 at the age of eighty five.

In 1817 one Conrad Countryman, a "Mohawk Dutchman," took up a farm on the Ely tract in the western part of the township on a line on which afterwards ran the stage road between Cleveland and Columbus. He built a sawmill and conducted a blacksmith shop, both early and essential industries, these being the first in the township. In addition to all this, he, aided by his son, who had built a log house on his father's farm and kept "bachelor's hall," besides being miller, lumberman, farmer and blacksmith also kept a tavern and we can safely assume that he kept busy. Pelatiah Bliss, a Connecticut Yankee, in 1818, traveled on foot, carrying a pack on his back, seeking a location in the boundless West. On reaching this township he was favorably impressed and bought fifty acres on the Ely tract, built a shanty and made a clearing. Previous to the trip he had become obsessed with the idea of marrying a certain fair damsel in Connecticut as soon as a home was provided. After laboring a few years in the new home to make it and its surroundings fit for a bride he walked back, living on the return journey from his haversack, stocked with salt pork. This incident, with others, is included in a sketch given the writer by Charles S. Whittern for this history, who was born and raised as a boy in the township, was a teacher in the "Little Red Schoolhouse" of those days, and has been connected with the courts of Cleveland for a third of a century. Mr. Whittern published a few years ago a neat volume of poems entitled "The Little Red School House and Other Poems."

Number 6, range 13, was known as Greenbrier until its organization when it received the official title of Parma The only information as to the selection of the name or the change from the unofficial to the official name is the suggestion that Parma is an easier name to write and hence less burdensome to the penman whose tools included the axe, the maul and wedge, and the flail. The settlement of the township was slow until 1821, when a number of families came at the same time. The families of Asa Emerson, Amos Hodgman, Jesse Nicholas, Joseph Small and William Steele, all neighbors in Maine, settled in Southern Ohio in 1817. As related in the sketch of Mr. Whittern, however, the Emersons came to Greenbrier direct from Maine. At any rate, these families kept up a correspondence with each other, those in Southern Ohio being dissatisfied with their location, it was agreed that they should all come to Greenbrier, which they did in 1821. Asa Emerson, who had a family of nine, bought a farm of seventy five acres on the Wickennan tract, stopping for a while at Countryman's before buying. He was a vigorous character, a typical pioneer. He became a carpenter as well as a farmer and lived in Parma until his death in 1855. Amos Hodgman settled on the Tuckerman tract, living the balance of his days on the farm and leaving his descendants to continue the reclaiming of the wilderness into which he and his family came as early settlers. Jesse Nicholas and family settled on the Ely tract. Nicholas was located on the old Columbus road and became a tavern keeper as well as farmer. Joseph Small settled on the Zuckerman tract and after twenty six years moved to Michigan, but as a rule these early arrivals remained during life and leaving at their death descendants to continue in their stead. Of those who came in 1821, John Hodgman, Asa and Oliver Emerson were in 1880 the earliest surviving settlers. A pathetic incident is related of one family who came with the number in 1821. William Steele, with his wife, (they had no children) who had located on the Ely tract, after two years of frontier life, died. His widow returned to Maine, making the journey on foot and alone.

The sketch by Mr. Whittern, expanded from a bit of local history found in an old scrap book runs as follows: "In the early pioneer days what is now Parma township was a portion of Brooklyn and bore the euphonious and significant name 'Greenbrier.' This appellation was deemed most appropriate by the early settlers because of the vigorous growth and well nigh universal prevalence of this thorny emerald creeper upon the hilly sections of the territory.

"Parma was settled somewhat later than the adjacent townships and was organized into a township in 1826. In April of that year was held the first township election at the cabin home of Samuel Freeman. Felatiah Bliss was chosen clerk and treasurer, Asa Emerson, Sr., S. J. Varney and David Andrews trustees, Benjamin Fay and Jesse Nicholas overseers of the poor, John Hodgman and Benjamin Norton fence viewers, and Amos Hodgman and Asher Norton supervisors of highways. The Emersons arrived from Maine, after a tortuous journey and a lapse of four years. Their itinerary in the `wild west' included Charleston and Wheeling in West Virginia, then old Virginia. Coming to Cleveland, then Ohio City and to Parma, they purchased a tract in the woods at three dollars an acre. They found the population in no wise dense, for only four householders had preceded them and they were the families of Benjamin Fay and Conrad Countryman and the unmarried Felatiah Bliss and Mr. Countryman, brother of Conrad, the two latter keepers of `bachelor. halls.'

"The cabins of these 'householders' were all located near the present Wooster Pike. The Bliss domicile, near what is now York Road, was the only residence between Albion and the Emerson cabin. Pelatiah Bliss was a native of Connecticut and there he left his fiancee when he came to seek his new home in the western wilds. Those were the joyous days of tedious locomotion on 'shanks' horses and of moderate migratory speed in 'prairie schooners' drawn by patient oxen gee-ing and haw-ing through the winding ways. Such trivial things, however, could not dampen the ardor of Mr. Bliss, whose `best girl' must be obtained at any cost and transplanted from the environs of the 'wooden nutmeg State' to the fertile soil in the land of the buckeye. So this valiant householder set forth on the long journey to Connecticut on foot and alone, carrying only a haversack containing a chunk of salt pork for his subsistence en route. When hunger gnawed and no settler's cabin was near his line of march, Pelatiah would kindle a fire, roast some strips of meat on a sharpened stick, and devour it with a real woodman's appetite. Often on this long tramp was he compelled to accept the hospitable offer of Mother Nature to recline upon her bed of leaves for his night's repose. His destination reached, the nuptial knot was firmly tied, for you know-

" 'Love is as cunnin' a little thing
As a humming' bird upon the wing."

The happy couple engaged passage on the nineteenth century limited covered wagon in which the Joel and George Foote families were just embarking for Brooklyn. In return for these transportation facilities Mr. Bliss served as ox team engineer, directing the limited through without a collision and without the loss of a single passenger.

"As has been said, the Emersons bought their land for three dollars an acre but the same land is now worth as many hundred dollars per acre. In those early days of the `Johnny' cake and 'punkin' pie, venison steaks were abundant and bear meat was not limited to the worshippers of Epicurus, for our hardy forefathers knew how to use their long barreled rifles with marvelous accuracy of aim. Their home made leaden pellets from those trusty guns were as unerring in their course to the heart of the noble buck as were those of the renowned Leather Stocking, famous for his marksmanship, as related by our own James Fennimore Cooper. Samuel Freeman taught the first Parma school and five of the early families combined to build the first church The church was but the fraction of a mile from the site of the present Presbyterian edifice. Where this church stands the old Nicholas tavern stood in the days of the stage coach, drawn by a four horse team, which carried the mail and passengers through to Medina."

Asher Norton and family came from Vermont in 1823 and settled in the southeast part of the township. Norton stayed on the farm till 1863, when he moved to Brighton, where he died. His brother Benjamin Norton, who bought an adjoining farm in the same year as Asher, remained till 1859, when he moved to Brecksville. Rufus Scovill, a brother in law of the Nortons, came the same year with his family and remained till his death. We are getting now nearly to the date of the organization of the township. Albert T. Beals, who had earlier settled in Royalton, came with his family to Parma or Greenbrier in 1825, having bought a farm on the Ely tract. They lived in the township till 1875. Our forefathers were not nomads. In 1825, this year, the little settlement was augmented by the arrival of Samuel Freeman, wife, ten children and a hired man, who came from Massachusetts. Freeman came by way of the Erie Canal and Lake Erie and arrived at the home of Benjamin Fay in Greenbrier Saturday, May 25th, twenty days after starting. He bought a farm on the Plympton tract and the family lived in the new barn of Benjamin Fay until their house was built. Neighborly fraternity was supreme.

The early settlers of Parma had the hardships common to all in the county, and dangers, but the red man had vanished before their coming. Indians did not trouble but wild beasts were numerous and caused much annoyance. As late as 1842 the ravages of bears and wolves were so great that a hunt was organized and a round up similar to the great Hinckley hunt referred to in a former chapter was formulated. This hunt lasted several days. For a long time after its settlement grass was scarce and hay for cattle was brought from Middleburgh. Later the township was a large producer of hay and large quantities were sold in Cleveland. In the most primitive era there was only browse for cattle and the housewife baked her bread on a board before a wood fire and roasted meat hung by a string over the same wood fire. Wheat bread was scarce but "Johnny cake" made from corn ground in a home stump mortar did its part as a substitute. When Moses Towel built a gristmill on Big Creek it was considered a great boon and Mr. Towl was looked upon as a philanthropist or public benefactor.

The first person born in the township was Lucina Emerson, daughter of Ma. She was born in March, 1823. She married Charles Nicholas and bore him two children. A grandson, Harry, has been a deputy in the county clerk's office in Cleveland for many years, holding a responsible position and being so efficient that political changes do not affect his tenure of position. On the death of her husband she married Levi E. Meacham, who was of Puritan stock, a native of Maine. He came with his parents to Parma in 1820. His parents were Isaac and Sophia Meacham. It is authentically stated that the mother of Isaac was a granddaughter of the celebrated Miles Standish. By her second husband Mrs. Meacham had one child, Levi E. Meacham, who was left to her sole care, as the father died when he was two years of age. At the outbreak of the Civil war her two sons enlisted, Oscar Nicholas and Levi E. Meacham, the latter being only fifteen years of age, and she herself went to the front and served as a hospital nurse. Oscar served until disabled by wounds and Levi served till the end of the war. She went to the front in 1862 and served till the close of the war, when she returned to the old home in Parma. For a third husband she married Joshua Whitney, whom she outlived for a number of years. Levi E. Meacham was county clerk and state representative after the Civil war and lived in Cleveland until his death quite recently.

The first death in the township was that of Isaac Emerson, a young man of seventeen. He was buried on the Countryman place and later his body was removed to the cemetery on the Medina road.

The first marriage ceremony was celebrated at the house of Joseph Small when his daughter Lois was wedded to Ephraim TowIs of Middleburgh. It is reported that this, although the first, was a quiet wedding. The advent of horning parties with the horse fiddle, a scantling or rail drawn over a dry goods box which had been rosined for the occasion, the use of any article that would make a disagreeable noise, and the general disturbance by the members of a disorganized crowd, by whom and for what peculiar end it is not known, entered later into the diversions of pioneer life and has continued with some changes, at intervals, up to the present time.

As has been said, the township was organized in 1826 and the name Greenbrier changed to the official name of Parma, but it has remained an agricultural community. In these days when we speak so glibly of billions it may be interesting to read the report of the township treasurer as to his receipts for the year up to April, 1827. He reported receipts for road taxes $16.84 and for road certificates $11.38, making a total of $28.22. This was the beginning of the good roads movement. In 1827 the township was divided into road districts, the first being two miles in width on the west side, the second the same width, parallel with this north and south, and the third constituting the remainder. The road known as the Brighton and Parma plank road was at an early day the Cleveland and Columbus turnpike; over which there was a vast amount of travel and upon which, within the limits of Parma, there were four taverns. When William Henry Harrison was elected to the Presidency the Whigs celebrated with great enthusiasm. Among other demonstrations a crowd from Cleveland mounted a canoe on wheels and escorted it over the turnpike to Columbus. When this procession reached the house of Asa Emerson there was a counter demonstration. Mr. Emerson was an unflinching democrat, a supporter of Van Buren, and even though his candidate was beaten he was not one to sit idly by and desert him. He hoisted his wife's red petticoat on a broomstick, in derision, and marched defiantly alongside the big canoe waving his flag and taunting the Harrison crowd to intense anger. Good judgment prevailed and the clash amounted only to a clash of tongues and no violence ensued.

We have said that Parma from the first was strictly an agricultural. community. An exception may be noted in an industry that for a brief period was well and widely known. William and Dudley Humphrey, who came to Parma in 1836, pursued for fifteen years, or until 1851, the manufacture of dock cases, in which they set the works procured from Connecticut. These clocks they then sold throughout the country. Their business became quite extensive and the homes of the settlers all over the Western Reserve were equipped with Connecticut timepieces enclosed in Parma cases.

The first sermon heard in Parma was delivered by Rev. Henry Hudson, a Baptist minister, at the home of Asa Emerson. Mr. Hudson was a doctor of medicine as well as a minister, and having been called to attend the birth of a daughter of Mr. Emerson's on Saturday, he remained and preached a sermon on Sunday. A hasty notice was sent out and the inhabitants gathered in response. After that Mr. Hudson preached often in Parma, and as many of the residents were of that faith he always had hearers. Another Baptist, Rev. Mr. Jackson, also preached there, but no church of that denomination was ever formed. But a Free Will Baptist Church was organized in the southeast part of the township in 1830. Among the members were David Pond, John Johnson, I. W. Kilburn, Alfred Cleveland and Moses Ware, with their wives. A revival in 1839 added forty to the membership. Among the early preachers were Elders Randall and Walker This church never had a building of its own but used a schoolhouse for worship. It dissolved in 1864. The first Presbyterian was organized as Congregational November 7, 1835, with fourteen members, the Freeman family, James M. Cogswell, Beulah G. Adams, Catharine Ann Ferrell, Mary H. Cogswell, the Chapin family, Frederick and Harriet Cogswell and Arvin Kennedy as, what would be called in a non sectarian fraternal body, charter members. In this church began the temperance movement. At the first meeting it was resolved "not to take for a member any person who is a dealer in or manufacturer of ardent spirits." The first minister was Rev. Benjamin Page, who was employed to give half of his time for $400 per year. Among the early ministers were Rev. V. D. Taylor, Rev. Phineas Kingsley, Rev. C. B. Stevens and Rev. J. D. Jenkins. The meetings were held in a schoolhouse until their church was built.

It will be noted that in the early settlement of the townships, so far referred to, the New England type of pioneer prevailed, and this is practically true as to all the townships of the county, but great changes came in the large number of foreign born citizens who followed them. In the census of Parma taken in 1870, out of a population of 1,500 two thirds were German and others of foreign birth. This change will be noticed in the organization of religious bodies. In 1858 Saint Paul's German Reformed Protestant was organized and a brick building for worship erected. The first trustees were Michael Hoag, Adam Hahn, George Bauer and John Huber. Rev. Mr. Kraus was one of the pastors, but he served after a division of the organization occurred. This was in 1867. Members of this church broke away and formed Saint John's German Evangelical Lutheran Church and the following year built themselves a church building. In 1872, through the efforts of Father Quigley, the Church of the Holy Family (Catholic) was organized. Father Quigley began services at the home of Conrad Rohrbach and a year later, in 1873, a church building was built on a lot adjoining the residence. Mr. Rohrbach was the first trustee.

The first school was taught by Samuel Freeman in his own home in 1825. He taught his own children and such of those of his neighbors as cared to come. If he received any compensation it came probably in the way of "changing work," those who sent children to his school giving value for the instruction received in farm or other work for Mr. Freeman and his family. The following year, the year of the township organization, two school districts were set off, one in May and the other in December of 1826. Later nine districts were formed to include all the territory of the township, and the "Little Red Schoolhouse" was the university of each district. We can only mention a few of those who taught in these universities, Jane Elliott (Snow), authoress and lecturer, acting as associate editor of this history until her death; John M. Wilcox, who was sheriff of this county and at the time of his death editor of the Cleveland Press; Levi E. Meacham, soldier, legislator and county officer; Charles S. Whittern, court officer in the Common Pleas Court of the county for a third of a century and still so acting, and Reuben Elliott, who served as county school examiner, are some of the teachers whom it is a pleasure to name. Samuel Freeman, the first school teacher, was also the first postmaster of Parma. Others who held the office of postmaster were Oliver Emerson and Harry Humphrey. Parma has some mineral springs of medicinal value and quarries of building and flagging stone. The Cogswell quarry at one time produced a large quantity of material.

Among those who have served as trustees of the township are names that suggest families whose descendants are numerous as were the trees of the forest when the pioneers came. Benjamin Fay, Samuel Freeman, Asher Norton, David Adams, Oliver Emerson, Asa Emerson, Peter Countryman, Daniel Green, John Wheeler, Reuben Hurlbut, Dudley Roberts, Rufus Scovill, Barzilla Snow, David Clark, Jeremiah Toms, Alfred Cleveland, Samuel S. Ward, Moses Towls, John J. Bigelow, Charles Stroud, James Walling, I. J. Lockwood, William Humphrey, Bela Norton, James M. Cogswell, William C. Warner, Phillip Henniger, William Redrup, Marcus A. Brown, Leander Snow and Philip Unkrich are among the number. Among those who served as township clerk are Lyndon Freeman, Reuben Emerson, O. J. Tuttle, Asa Emerson, F. F. Cogswell, James M. Cogswell, Palmer Snow, Edward Eggleston and Dr. S. B. Ingersoll.

Among those who have served as treasurer, and history does not record that there have been any defalcations are Pelatiah Bliss, David Adams, Asa Fay, Benajah Fay, John A. Ackley, Jacob A. Stroub, Oliver Emerson, David Clark, Marcus A. Brown, J. W. Fay, O. F. Nicholas, Charles Stearns and E. D. Cogswell.

The present officers of the township are: Trustees, H. Gemeiner, J. D. Loder, A. E. Riester; clerk, L. H. Geiss; treasurer, J. F. Kottman; assessor, L. H. Geiss; justices of the peace, H. J. Schaaf and Herman Geltman; constables, W. F. White and Henry Thompson.

The history of a township is the history of its people and we cannot record local incidents without following the invitation of Mr. Whittern, the Parma poet, who says:

"Let's run today in barefoot dreams
Down leafy lanes of youth,
To where the brook sings soothingly Its simple songs of truth."

As reflecting in a measure the home life of Parma, I have been permitted to draw from the unpublished memoirs of Jane Flliott Snow, authoress and coeditor until her death, at will. She lived a long time in Parma on the farm, married there and raised a family, taught in the little red schoolhouse and was a factor in the community for many years. In her introduction she says: "These memoirs are written at the urgent request of friends. They were not asked to be written nor are they written because I am great or have been great, nor are they written because I have been the center of a high social circle and associated with great people. They are written solely because I have lived long and seen many changes. My life has covered the period of great epoch making inventions and discoveries. It has covered the period when spinning, weaving and other industries were taken out of the home, where they were done by hand, and into factories, where they are done by machinery. During the first two decades and more of my life wood was used for heating and candles for lighting the homes. In farming communities and half of my life was spent there the roads were poor and a farm wagon was the nearest to a pleasure carriage that most people owned. My memory goes to a period ante dating the Civil war by a number of years. I remember well the bitter controversy over slavery that was often heard in our local community. With other mothers, sisters and daughters I felt the woes, the grief, that comes into the homes because of the suffering and loss of loved ones in the mighty conflict. I have witnessed the astonishment and mourning and heard the wail of a great people over the martyrdom of three sainted Presidents. I have sorrowed much and have enjoyed much of life, and now, as the shadows begin to fall and my steps go down nearer and nearer to the final end, I try to recall only the pleasant things in life and to hope that 'He who doeth all things well' will pardon my offenses and at last take me to himself."

Mrs. Snow relates homely incidents of her life on the Parma farm: "After my marriage our home was a favorite place for young people to meet, and back in the days just preceding the Civil war there were many interesting gatherings. A cousin, John M. Wilcox, who was afterwards sheriff of Cuyahoga County, and editor of The Cleveland Press, then a young man, was teaching his first school in the neighborhood. He made his home with us, as did my brother Reuben, who was attending the school. John was tall and slender while Reuben was thick set. They would improvise little plays and charades for the evening's entertainment for the family, and sometimes for the young folks of the neighborhood, who were invited to witness them. As my brother and cousin were the `star actors,' one would button his coat about him to make himself appear even more tall and slender, while the other would stuff a pillow under his coat to represent the fat man. The amusing acts they performed created a lot of genuine fun.

"Brother Eugene went through the Civil war, being first with the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and afterwards with the One Hundred and Twenty fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but sometimes he was home on a furlough, as he changed regiments because of the complete annihilation of the first and because he was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga. `Gene,' as he was called, was a pretty good singer of current songs and when with us added largely to the amusement repertoire. There were many bright young people in the neighborhood, who frequently visited at our home and often took part in the entertainments. They were Mary and Eliza Sloan, Sarah and Estella Sackett, Nellie Prindle, Julia Snow, Viola Snow, Mary, Katie and Julia Kline, Eva, Mary and Katie Kontz and others. Then, too, our home was a kind of half way house between Royalton and Cleveland. As I was one of a large family on my mother's side, and as many of the relatives lived in Royalton, they often called on their way to and from the city. My refreshments were sometimes only a cup of tea and a piece of bread and butter, but for these they were welcome and our associations were most congenial. The day that Perry's monument was dedicated, it was a bright September day, 1859, many of my friends attended the ceremony, as nineteen of them stopped on their way home and took supper with me. I did not witness the ceremony as I had a little one at home to care for.

Among the delightful people who visited our home were a number of good singers, among them being the Stevens, Abbott and Clark families. Mr. Abbott taught singing school for many years. Lucretia Clark played the melodian and always had the latest song and newest book. The Akers family were specially favored with the gift of song. The mother, Mrs. Joseph Akers, before her marriage had a little meloclian that she carried with her when she was expected to sing, and the music she would get out of it was not only surprising but delightful. During the decade of the '60s war songs such as "John Brown's Body Lies Moldering in the Grave" and "Marching Through Georgia" were sung at every social gathering. As we were near Cleveland, young girls would often come from the city and teach a summer term of school. Among the number was Miss Josephine Saxton, a pretty, ladylike young woman, who afterwards became Mrs. Ammon, and had a beautiful home on Euclid Avenue. She was prominent in philanthropic work and a member of some of the earliest woman's clubs of the city. For her interest in a poor girl, whom she felt was unjustly treated, she was summoned to court to answer as witness in the case. As she refused to make known the girl's whereabouts, she was sent to the Old County Jail for contempt of court.

While in jail, which lasted for six weeks, Mrs. Ammon had her cell nicely fitted up with rugs and other luxuries from her home. Here she received, most graciously, her many friends and the time seemed to have passed in a very enjoyable manner. The judge who sentenced her to a brief term of imprisonment said it "was a case where a woman was condemned for not talking." After her return home Mrs. Ammon had the cell duplicated in her palatial residence, and over the door were the words "Welcome the coming and speed the parting guest."

The Fourth of July was usually observed at the country tavern with a ball, when dancing would begin at 2 p. m. and last until morning. The young ladies who attended these balls usually wore a plain gown in the afternoon and took with them a dainty white or colored muslin to wear in the evening. Quadrilles and cotillons were the favorite dances. There was very little waltzing and such things as the "cakewalk," "turkey trot" and the "tango" were then unknown.

The imprisonment of Mrs. Ammon, which Mrs. Snow refers to, attracted very wide newspaper publicity at the time and became a sort of mystery reel in serials shown in the daily press. The girl of whose whereabouts Mrs. Ammon remained silent was finally brought into court and turned over to her legal guardian.

Number 6 of range 13 has not escaped the general spirit of progress. The little red school has been supplanted and the original township organization has been broken into by the organization of a municipality, from its territory, called Parma Heights Village. This was originally a separate school district, but now the schools are all united. Parma Heights Village was organized in 1912 with John Stadler as mayor, R. N. ("Roddy") Hodgman as clerk and B. O. Stroud as treasurer. Mr. Stadler served two years and was succeeded by E. W. Denison, who served for four years. The next mayor was Edwin J. Heffner, who also served four years. George Heffner, a brother of Mayor Heffner, was a member of the first council of the village. The present officers of the village are: Mayor, J. B. McCrea; clerk, Mrs. Bernice Uhinck; treasurer, Walter Geiger; assessor, Henry Wetzel; councilmen, E. W. Denison, Mrs. Julia Eastman, George Geiger, A. R. James, G. A. Hahn and W. H. Rose. Mr. Hodgman served continuously from the organization of the village, as its clerk, until his death in 1922. Vernon Croft is justice of the peace or police justice of the village. The board of education consists of C. H. Miller, Carl Haag and Henry Schaaf. In the place of the nine schoolhouses in the various school districts there are now three, the high school at the center, a graded school on the State Road, corner of Wick, and a graded school on the Wooster Pike. Busses are operated in carrying the pupils to and from these buildings, as has become the settled practice over the county.

John A. Ackley, whom we have mentioned as having served as township treasurer, later served as treasurer of the school board. Mr. Ackley was a half brother of Lorenzo Carter, the most famous of Cleveland pioneers, and had many of the characteristics of that gentleman, being tall, stout and fearless. He was engineer in the building of the Ohio Canal, built the first stone pier at Cleveland Harbor, and was regarded in his day the best authority on water control and coffer dam construction in the country. He was employed by the United States Government on many important building enterprises. He was the first marshal of the Village of Cleveland, Ohio. His son, John M. Ackley, now living at the age of eighty eight, followed in his steps as an engineer and was for several years county engineer of the county. His work as surveyor is shown in innumerable plats made by him for the county records and their accuracy has never been questioned. Mr. John M. Ackley has furnished the writer with papers connected with the schools of Parma while his father was treasurer of the school board. In 1843 the school certificates, signed in the main by J. W. Gray, school examiner, have at their head the legend "Education is the Palladium of Liberty." Among the teachers thus commissioned to teach and whose meager salaries are recorded were Julia A. Beals, Emily T. Gillett, Abigail H. Andress, William Wheeler, S. W. Haladay, Charles H. Babcock and Caroline Humphrey. Another list dated 1851 included O. O. Spafford, L. R. Thorp, S. W. Chandler, Frances C. Eaton, Eliza Storer, Frances Huntington and William Taylor. Perhaps the most famous pupil of the "Little Red Schoolhouse" of Parma was John D. Rockefeller. His father, Doctor Rockefeller, moved to Parma after 1853 and William, Frank and John D. attended the district school there. William and Frank for a longer time, as John D., being the oldest of the boys, soon got work in Cleveland.


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