History of Milan, Erie County, OH (part 1)
From: The Centennial History of Erie County, Ohio
By: H. L. Peeke
President of the Firelands Historical Society
Sandusky, Ohio 1925


Milan Township and Village

Lying in the southern part of Erie, adjoining Huron County, and crossed diagonally from southwest to northeast by the Huron River, Milan Township is one of the most thoroughly drained and richest agricultural sections in Northern Ohio. The eastern and southern portions are sandy in a greater or less degree, and the northern part is a rich black prairie loam. The timber was never as heavy as that in Huron County, but excellent ship timber has been obtained from the woodlands in the vicinity of and far below Milan Village. Even the prairie section is interspersed with groves of small oak tress. Chestnut, hickory, walnut, butternut, elm, sycamore, sassafras, various kinds of oak and scattering maples comprise the native forest trees.

The Huron River occupies a valley nearly 100 feet below the general level, and from eighty rods to a mile in width. The bottom lands lying along this river are very rich, but subject to sudden, and during wet seasons, frequent inundations that prove very damaging to the young crops. This sort of damage has become common from the fact that the uplands are now so thoroughly drained by artificial means as to conduct the water to the river faster than it can be carried off. The Valley of the Huron River is quite picturesque both above and below Milan Village. The banks above are quite generally precipitous on one side or the other of the river. The shale rock crops out from many of these banks, while the river below in places flows over a solid bed of the same formation. Occasional spheres of sulphite of iron are found imbedded in the river banks or the banks and beds of creeks flowing into the river.

Drippings of sulphur, and also of alum, are found in banks of small streams connected with the Huron River, but none are within the limits of Milan Township or Erie County. Below Milan Village, about three fourths of a mile, and on the opposite side of the valley directly at the foot of the North Milan Hill, is a natural gas spring that has been known for many years to send forth an unremitting flow of gas, though the pressure is very light, partly owing, no doubt, to the nature of the underlying rock, which is shale and full of seams and cracks.

The gas, when lighted sends up a flame from one to three feet in height, depending on the amount of surface covered by the vessel used in concentrating it. Small boys have occasional larks by the light of this natural illuminant gathered in a keg with tight sides, no bottom, and a small hole in the top for a jet.

To the southeast of Milan, and close to the Huron County line, on the Butman Farm is a cold spring of considerable size, at one time believed to possess medicinal properties, which it no doubt does in an equal degree with many others that have built and supported magnificent sanitariums, while Milan has neglected her many natural advantages.

The mound builders have left their traces in this township. There were three clearly defined fortifications when the first settlers came here. All three were upon the high banks of the Huron; the first in the second section, near the north line, and on the west side of the river; the second in the first section, on the east side, and the third in the fourth section, on the place occupied by Mrs. Morrill. F. W. Fowler, one of the pioneers, described these earth works as from two to four feet above the surface of the ground. Large trees were growing upon some of these embankments. Near these forts were mounds or hillocks, which were found to contain human bones, promiscuously thrown together, as if a large number of bodies had been buried at one time. The skull bones, when found entire, were shown by measurement to be larger, upon the average, than those of the present race, and all exhibited marks that would indicate that life had been taken in deadly combat. Scattered among the skulls and vertebrae, and arm and leg bones, were stone pipes and fragments of burnt clay. Otherwise there was nothing to testify of the nature of the vanished race.

Long before the coming of the white men the fertile lands along the Huron were a favorite camping ground for the Indians. The early settlers found the fields free from timber all along the river, and the underbrush so cleared from the forests that the deer, as they bounded along, could be seen sometimes for half a mile. The principal Indian village stood where Milan Village is now located, but there were smaller settlements extending from the north line of the township as far as Ridgefield. There were probably a thousand red men in this group, principally of the Delawares and Ottawas, the latter commonly called Tawas. Here to a greater extent than in most localities where the Indians have been known to have had permanent villages they followed in a rude way the arts of peace during the intervals between their extended hunting journeys. Here were cherished the rites and customs of a race that is now scarcely known, except through scanty historical savings, and the often unreliable traditions of the pioneers, transmitted through their descendants.

Before the coming of the settlers, Moravian missionaries worked among the Indians in this vicinity. As early as 1787, Zeisberger, Moravian, took refuge from hostile Indians with his tribe near Fries' Landing. He built a town there and called it New Salem, but remained only about six years, when he was compelled to remove further south, where he died a few years later. In 1804 Rev. C. F. Dencke, a Moravian missionary from Canada, established the Indian Village of Paynothing or Pequotting, on the ground where Milan now stands. They remained here until about 1810, when, on account of white immigration, they removed to Canada, never again to return to the banks of the Huron, on whose borders their huts once stretched in a broken line to a point some three or four miles below Milan.

The mission Indians, it should be remembered, were only a small part of the number living in the settlement. Comparatively little seems to have been accomplished in making converts among the mass of savages. Perhaps many more might have been added to the flock if it were not for the disturbing influence of the white man's arrival.

The township is five miles square, and consequently contains 16,000 acres, all of which lie within the limits of the original Fireland grant.

Two years after the survey was made David Abbott bought a tract of 800 acres of land lying in section No. 2, and upon both sides of the river. Jared Ward became the first resident of Avery, now called Milan, settling upon this tract in the same year, and immediately beginning preparations for farming upon the bottoms. John Walworth, of Cleveland, purchased the same year a large tract of land, which he soon after sold to Charles Parker, who moved in with his family in 1810. Seelick Comstock came the same year. A number of families located as squatters upon the lands that had been occupied and in a measure tilled by the Indians; but most of them moved away during the war, not to return. Three settlements were formed which made the points of a triangle, of which Milan afterwards became the center. Another settlement was commenced in 1811, in the northwest corner of the township, by Thomas Jeffrey, Josiah Smith, Dydimus and Elijah Kinney, and George Colvin. These settlements filled up rapidly, so that prior to the War of 1812, the number, including unmarried men, was not far from 225.

The following reminiscence of early Milan life by Mrs. Sarah Lockwood, who died in 1914 aged eighty seven years, was contributed by her granddaughter, Mrs. Verna Williams, wife of the present common pleas judge.

In trying to recall various reminiscences and some of the experiences of some of my ancestors I find many things that they narrated that would be of interest.

"My memory goes back to the time when I was about seven years old, when I saw the Indians pass our house on their way through town to their home down the river.

"They were always very quiet and orderly. I remember their coming into our yard (now the Dixon home), going to the well and taking a drink from the bucket which was open on a well sweep. When leaving they saw mother's baking of bread, six or eight loaves placed out on the porch to cool. Each one put a loaf under his arm and marched along. Mother saw them, picked up an ax near by and said, 'If you don't bring back my bread, I'll have to chop off your heads!' They put it back without a word and left. I have seen father invite them into the yard and treat them to bread and gingerbread and they would sit on the grass and eat it.

"Milan, at that time consisted of scattered houses with woods between. Sometimes our fires would go out, and we would have to go to a neighbor's to get a shovel full of coals. Before we reached home they would go nearly out, and needed a good deal of coaxing with the bellows to make them burn. In order to keep fire over night we had to bury the coals in the ashes in the big fireplace. These fires furnished light to read and knit by. It was a matter of great concern at that time to my father how the future generations were going to procure fuel, as those large fireplaces consumed so much wood. Having heard of cooking stoves made of iron, being a great saving of wood, he sent for one and had it domiciled in our kitchen. It looked very odious to our eyes, that great black thing, with two holes on top and a little bit of an oven, and all prophesied that it would be a blank failure, but it had come to stay, notwithstanding its many imperfections for the stoves have been improved like everything else.

"We missed the cheery light which the blazing fireplace afforded. Our lights then consisted of tallow candles made by twisting about a dozen candle wicks around a stick and dipping them in a large kettle of tallow moderately warm. Have two parallel sticks resting ends on two chairs or 'horses' to hang the candle rods on while they drip and cool. When cool enough repeat the process of dipping until you have them the required size. Anyone who wished to see good to read would take the candlestick in one hand and their book in the other. Our mothers had become such expert knitters from long practice, always knitting evenings and without much light. The spinning wheel was one of the necessities of the time and many times I used to watch our neighbor, Mrs. Waggoner, spin her stocking yarn and yarn for cloth. I was as much interested as if she were playing a piano. At that time we had a chance to buy of a peddler a clock which was very beautiful and wonderful to me. It was the first one I had ever seen. I was eight years old. It was set on the high mantel above the fireplace and is still ticking in the same house, and in my granddaughter's possession. It has been a silent listener to many stories told by pioneers, how two uncles and their wives, one with two children and the other one, came from Norwalk, Connecticut, January, 1816. They came with two horse teams and one ox team and were three months on the way, camping out nights. This side of Buffalo, where Fredonia now is, the children and one aunt were taken sick with dysentery. Each family lost a child with it. Their oxen were drowned and baggage lost or soaked in attempting to cross Catarraugus Creek on the ice Their physician thought their illness was brought about by sleeping in rooms where they were drying their wet baggage.

"They finally reached their new homes in a double log house, built on the old state road, north of Alling's Corners, and in comparatively good health. Grandfather and one of the uncles came out the year before and built the double log house.

"Grandfather was a sufferer from the depredations of the British by fire at Norwalk, Connecticut, and this land was granted him, then called New Connecticut. Soon after their arrival one of my aunts was taken very sick and uncle had to go to Detroit on horseback for a doctor.

"My parents and an uncle and their families came in 1819. The Erie Canal was not finished. They came with three wagons and were six weeks on the road. They built a frame house opposite where the Catholic school building now stands and had been in it but a short time when they went to visit the aunts, who came in 1816. One child, four years old, was left at home with the girl. He amused him. self by sweeping about the fireplace and set the broom away in an unfurnished room and the house was all ablaze before it was discovered, and when they came back they found only smouldering ashes, but the ever hospitable home of Ebcnezer Merry took them in, until they could convert the cooper shop into a house in which to stay, as it was midwinter. I have six large spoons of my mother's that were raked out of the ashes the next morning after the fire.

"My brother James had a cub bear for a pet. They had to kill it when it was five months old, as it began to show its wild nature and we were afraid of it.

"Deer were very plenty in the woods and they would often come up to our back door, but the least noise would frighten them away.

"I remember seeing Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Chapin, Mrs. Saunders and Mrs. Henry Lockwood with their foot stoves, coming to church in the old yellow schoolhouse, which was used for 'meetings.'

"The industries of Milan consisted of sawmills, grist mills, tannery, shoe shop, blacksmith shop, pottery, ashery, cooper shop, hat shop, harness maker's shop and one country store, containing the postoffice. Doctors kept their own drugs. There was also a carding machine and a rope walk. This was a long low building from street to street, and they twisted the rope by means of a large and small wheel, turned by hand. It was a grand place for us girls to go and have a good race which we were privileged to do to our heart's content, provided we would agree not to get our hair twisted in the ropes. At the side of the building was a big kettle of tar and it had a lever that went round and round to lift the ropes out of the kettle. This was where we took our rides, by taking turns pushing each other around and the tar compound afforded us plenty of chewing gum.

"About this time Huron Institute was built and began to flourish, bringing in many students. Also the old brick Presbyterian Church was built and began to flourish. Rev. Everton Judson called it his big red baby. Business grew, more stores and different industries sprung up warehouses, which had been gradually added, received a new impetus, and the canal, which had been so successfully begun was carried on through much opposition and many discouragements. There was no such word as fail with the projectors and the four miles of canal from town was built to connect with the Huron River, where it would be deep enough for navigation, was pushed with great celerity. The basin was lined with warehouses in three years. More grain was taken in and out of Milan than at any other lake port, and continued so until they began to build railroads south and west of us. which opened up to many people a more direct route to the eastern markets, so now I will only say that Milan is a pleasant, quiet town to rusticate in."

In the Register of April 4, 1881, Mr. L. A. Hine of Berlin Township gives a description of what pioneer life meant to a woman in early days. He says:

"From my earliest recollection (and I was born in 1819) and during all my youth my mother's work was as follows:
"1. The house work and rearing seven children.
"2. Making butter, and during the hot season from 25 to 35 pounds of cheese a day.
"3. Spinning and weaving wool and flax, and making the family clothing for summer and winter.

"My mother continued to do all this work alone and kept up her laborious habits to the last, and when the death bolt struck her at eighty two, the stocking she was knitting fell from her hands.

"Formerly farmers purchased very little at the stores, except groceries, to a limited extent, and notions that were indispensable. Coffee was not used at all. I did not taste it until nearly an adult. Tea was only used by old women and visiting parties. Sugar was little used and much of it was of domestic production. Cider flowed like water the year round but it generally got pretty hard in July . . . . Then women were proud of the large amount of work they could perform and of the dignity of motherhood in a large family. One of the three Ann's who first lived in an arbor of poles and brush and gave the name to Ann Arbor, Michigan, was asked many years ago how many children she had reared, and replied, 'I set out to have 12, but only had 7. I made up for it by raising 5 grandchildren.' Then a woman of the highest rank in the rural district could go several miles to church on foot, now they will scarcely walk half a mile to hear a prophet."

The War of 1812 checked the growth of the settlement and drove many people away. Shortly after Hull's surrender a party were seen landing on the lake shore, and the scarlet coats of some soldiers in the party caused the settlers to think that the British were invading in force. The entire country side was thrown into the wildest panic. The people all left their homes, many of them without sufficient food or clothing, and fled in the direction of Mansfield. By the time they reached the state road, leading south, the only one then open, night had come on. The company had increased to such an extent that the road wads thronged for half a mile. About midnight the panic was arrested by the appearance in the rear of men carrying packs, but not armed. It was then discovered that the British had landed merely to send home some of Hull's soldiers that they had captured at Detroit. In the morning part of the crowd went on to Mansfield, and the rest returned, picked up what they could, and then passed down the lake to Black River and other points. The men then organized a militia company, with Joseph Quigley, of Black River, captain, and David Barrett, of Milan, lieutenant, and returned to Huron.

After the arrival of several other companies and the main army, General Perkins established Camp Avery on the east side of the Huron River, on lands owned by Ebenezer Merry. Those among the soldiers who lived in the immediate vicinity were then disbanded that they might attend to their work, subject to call in case of need.

The soldiers remained at this camp until the following winter, a company of rangers also being stationed at a block house that was built in section 4, of Milan Township, upon the farm of Charles Parker. Their duty was to protect the vicinity from British soldiers and from bands of marauding Indians who had formerly lived in the neighborhood. Many times the settlers had to abandon their homes and take shelter in the fort. Once a portion of the army was dispatched after the enemy to the peninsula. They found and attacked them there. In this skirmish Alexander Mason was killed with Mr. Ramsdell and Daniel Mingus. Two men, Seymour and Pixley, who went out from Parker's Blockhouse one morning to cut down a bee tree, were set upon by Indians. Seymour was killed and Pixley taken prisoner. Indians were constantly lurking about, and the settlers were in a state of constant anxiety. Every unusual sound was feared to be the signal for a massacre. Fortunately there was no such general attack, and when peace came the settlers who had gone away began to return; many new people came in, and the settlement began to grow and prosper.

There is reason to believe that the first white child born to any of the permanent settlers of Milan was a daughter of Lazarus Young, afterwards the wife of Amherst Milliman, of Townsend, Huron County.

The first physicians were Doctors Goodwin and Guthrie. Before their arrival in the settlement people in need of medical attention were obliged to send to Cleveland, from which place a Doctor Long frequently came to Milan.

The first military company upon the fire-lands was formed in the fall of 1811 and met for its first muster on April 1st following at John B. Flemond's. David Barrett, of Milan, was elected captain.

The first log house was built by a party of young men, - Barrett, Nathaniel Glines, Seth Hayes, Ebenezer Hayes, F. W. Fowler, Stephen Worthington and L. Durand, in 1810, and was located in section 2. This was the second improvement by white inhabitants, the first being by Jared Ward on the opposite side of the river.

The first frame buildings were a barn and house built by David Abbott.

Until 1820 this township was included in Huron Township, and the first election was held at John B. Flemond's, on the east bank of the river, and about two miles from the lake. Jabez Wright and David Abbott were elected justices of the peace; F. W. Fowler, constable, and Almon Ruggles, recorder.

February 7, 1809, the Legislature authorized the erection of Huron County, embracing all the fire-lands. January 29, 1811, the Legislature appointed as commissioners to fix the seat of the county, E. Quinby, of Trumbull County; Stephen Clark, of Geauga, and Solomon Griswold, of Ashtabula. They located the county seat at Camp Avery, about a mile below the site of Milan Village. The first court was held at this point, or at the residence of David Abbott, in the fall of 1815, in which year the county was organized. Consid. erable dissatisfaction was expressed by those who attended this court, because there was no good water procurable, and somebody suggested that good water might be found on the sand ridge running through Norwalk Township. This caused a movement that resulted in the county seat beink taken away from Milan in 1818 by a process similar to that by which it was originally.

A courthouse was commenced in 1817, on the Abbott farm, but was never finished.

The earliest religious meetings in Milan, other than those held by the Moravian missionaries, were irregular gatherings at barns and private houses addressed by various itinerant preachers. Among these was the Rev. Milton Badger, who preached in the Abbott settlement before the war and was chaplain at Fort Avery during the war. The Methodists organized a class in the Jeffry neighborhood as early as 1816, and Thomas Jeffry was its leader. The Rev. Fr. Gurley, Reverend Mr. Manger, the earnest and eccentric James McIntyre, Rev. Mr. Tillotson, "who spoke under the influence of spirits from a bottle," were among the early preachers of this denomination.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was not organized until 1830, and the building was erected in 1845. It has been fortunate in the pastors assigned, and its membership, though never large, has been drawn from a very intellectual portion of the community. In 1888, through the efforts of Mrs. J. C. Lockwood, the building was remodelled and improved.

The Presbyterian Church was organized at Spears Corners in 1818, under the name of the First Congregational Church of Huron, Rev. W. Williams and Alvin Coe, of Connecticut, presiding. The first members of the church were William Spears and wife, Gilbert Sexton and wife, Mrs. Eleanor Adams and her sons, William and Philo. Meetings were held alternately at the residence of S. Adams and Mr. Spears for some time, the pastor being Rev. Lot B. Sullivan. In 1823 the church removed to Milan. The first officers - two deacons - were elected in 1824. They were Henry Buckingham and Joseph Demond. The next year the church changed to the Presbyterian form of government, and elected three ruling elders: William Spears, Joseph Demond and David Everett. At this time there were thirty seven members. After the removal to the village, meetings were held in a schoolhouse which stood on the lot now occupied by the town hall, and afterwards in the yellow schoolhouse. The call for service was the blowing of a horn. Under the pastorate of Rev. E. Judson, who came to the church in 1829, a revival was experienced, and the organization began to grow. The church was incorporated in 1828, and in 1837 a substantial building was completed by contributions of work and material. For some time after the leaving of their first pastor the church was without a settled minister, and the pulpit was occasionally filled by supplies. The next regular pastor was Rev. Thomas L. Shipman, followed in succession by Isaac S. Demund, W. M. Adams, Everton Judson, Newton Barrett, J. M. Hayes, Alanson Hartpenee, J. H. Walters and W. L. Swan. The longest ministry was that of Mr. Walters, who came in 1855 and labored here for thirty years. The church celebrated its centennial April 28th, 1918.

St. Luke's Protestant Episcopal Church, Milan. - The earliest record of the establishment of St. Luke's Church in Milan is found in a paper covered book, yellow with age, which contains the articles of association, the records of baptism, confirmation and marriage, the list of communicants and the minutes of the first meeting of a vestry.

The first meeting for the election of a vestry was held in the study of the Rev. T. R. Taylor on the evening of January 17, 1846. James H. Kennedy having been appointed secretary pro tem the result of the election was as follows: John P. Worstell, senior warden; Hamilton Colton, junior warden; Alexander McClure, treasurer; Joseph P. Williams, John Stevens and Dr. W. F. Dean as the other members.

At the organization of the parish there were ten communicants. The visitation of Bishop McIlvain was on June 20, 1847, when the corner stone of the first church was laid and a class of five were confirmed.

Since 1873 church services have been conducted by lay readers or by the neighboring clergy from Norwalk, Monroeville, Sandusky and Huron.

There is a German Reformed Lutheran Church at Union Corners, in the northwestern part of the township. This church has a very large congregation.

The Friends, or Quakers, have a little church at Homer Page's Corners, above Fries Landing, which accommodates quite a number of the people in that vicinity. This church was erected largely through the efforts of Peter and Dorexa Hathaway, Peter Hathaway, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Eddy, John Everingham, the Rosekelleys, V. Fries, Homer Page and wife, John Balcam, the Rickards, A. Paul, A. Ruggles, Benjamin Wilcox, Calvin Gwin, C. Parker, Mrs. George Eddy, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Eddy, Mrs. Carleton Bailey and others to whom the church and community stand indebted. Mrs. Alida Romick, an eloquent evangelist from Southeastern Ohio, preached the dedication sermon. Revs. George Bartlett, Charles Sweet and William Nicholson, able, earnest Christian ministers, have from time to time given their services to this congregation.

Popular education received early attention. A private school was supported in the Abbott neighborhood at a very early day. Miss Gilbert, from Newburg, was the teacher. She later married Doctor Goodwin.

In 1817 a schoolhouse was built at Spear's Corners, and Marshall Miller was the first teacher.

At Milan Village, two years later, Miss Susie Williams opened the first school taught there, in a new barn owned by Squire Merry. The second schoolhouse in the township was erected on the Eagle Tavern corner (East Church Street and Public Square), where the town hall now stands. In 1824 the old yellow schoolhouse was built on .West Church Street, afterwards removed to Center Street, and finally, with the other small school buildings, converted into the Cooper Business Block at the top of the hill.

When the present public school system was inaugurated, in 1849, Milan was prompt to avail herself of its privileges, but with considerable debate and excitement. The members of the first school board and Allen Bartow were strong advocates of the cause of general education. The latter was a young mechanic at the time and made his first public speech defending it in reply to a then moneyed citizen, who afterwards became an ardent friend of free educational institutions.

The old brick school building on South Center Street was erected the year after the enabling law was passed, and at that time was one of the most substantial and convenient public school buildings in the state.

A fine and beautiful structure of brick, trimmed in sandstone, was built in 1884. It is in the form of a cross, has all modern conveniences and is well lighted. The architecture is very fine.

The first school board, elected in 1849, was composed of the following named men, prominent at the time in local affairs, and in several instances becoming quite widely known in business enterprises at other points in the state: Daniel Hamilton, J. H. Kennedy, George Barney, Hiram McMillan, S. F. Taylor and Harry Chase. The first superintendent employed was C. F. Royce.

Huron Institute was an educational establishment located near the south end of Seminary Street, adjoining the cemetery. Its existence is one of the results of the extensive revivals of religion in the churches of Huron Presbytery in the year 1830 and 1831. It was incorporated in 1832. It was proposed to raise $4,000 at the start for the purpose of securing a site and erecting a building. The people of Milan subscribed one half of this sum on the condition that the institute should be located in their village. The first term was opened in April, 1832, in the office of J. Smith, Esq., with six students present. Before the quarter was finished twenty five were enrolled. The first principal was Rev. E. Barber. The second quarter began with thirty six students, and before the year was ended over ninety names were upon the roll, forty six males and forty four females. By the third year the building was finished and the attendance ran up to 127. It was the desire of the trustees to place education within the reach of all who would avail themselves of it, and in this they succeeded as nearly as was possible. The tuition was fixed at $4 per quarter in the classical department and at $3 in the English and female department, and the principal took it upon himself to furnish instruction from the avails of the tuition bills. Board was furnished by many of the best families of Milan at merely nominal rates. No student was ever refused admission or dismissed because too poor to pay his way in the institute.

Henry Ballentine, who afterward became a missionary to India, was assistant principal at first, but he was soon succeeded by B. Judson, who was assisted in the work by Mrs. E. A. Hubbard and Mrs. C. Stuart. S. C. Hickok succeeded Principal Barber in 1835. Mr. Hickok was followed in 1843 by H. W. Williams, and he in 1848 by Rev. L. Bliss, In 1850 T. S. Bradley became principal, and between this and 1858 N. Barrows, D. Sayles and J. McKee were respectively at the head of the institution.

Rev. Asa Brainard and Prof. Samuel F. Newman leased the building in 1850 and established the Western Reserve Normal School. This school was a decided success, and a very great benefit to the people of the village, as its reputation became so good under the joint management of these gentlemen, and the subsequent management of Mr Newman alone, that students, and even residents, were brought to Milan from great distances to secure the benefits of the culture which it offered at a merely nominal cost.

Miss Delia Palmer, in 1871, took charge of the Normal and was very successfully assisted in her efforts by Prof. Charles Williams. Miss Palmer conducted the school alone after the first year or so, until it was leased by Professor Lawrence and afterwards came under the management of Prof. B. B. Hall.

The first wagon road was cut out and cleared by Ebenezer Hayes and F. W. Fowler in the winter of 1810-11 from the mouth of the Huron River on the east side, up the river to the Abbott farm, and thence southerly, past the farms of Ebenezer and Hosmer Merry and Gundin Perrin, to the north and south section line of Norwalk.

The Columbia Road was opened the same winter, from the east side of the mouth of the river to the east line of the fire-lands, where it joined a road from Columbia Township, Lorain County.

Another road was laid out in the western part of the township in 1811 by Jabez Wright, Jared Ward and Charles Barnum. It led from the lake shore, west of the mouth of the river, southerly past the farms of Wright and Ward to the residence of Charles Parker, in the fourth section of Milan, and thence up the river to Monroeville, and from that point southerly to New Haven, on nearly the same line that is traversed today.

[Contunued in Milan history part 2.]


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