One of the peculiarities of the Anglo - Saxon race is that, in immigration, it usually moves along parallels of latitude. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York lie to the east of the Western Reserve, and it was from these states that many of the pioneers came. President Garfield once said of these settlers before an audience of Western Reserve people, " There are townships in this Western Reserve which are more thoroughly New England in character and spirit than most of the towns of the New England of today. The pioneers have emphasized here in the wilderness the characteristics of the New England, as it was when they left it the beginning of the century. " This statement is especially true of the early settlers in Rockport. They built their neat, thrifty little New England towns over again. Even today, the evidences of their sturdiness and simplicity may be still seen in their churches and schoolhouses.
The following brief sketches of these early settlers give an idea of how and under what circumstances they came to Rockport, and what their early activities were in this new territory.
THE REVEREND JOSEPH BADGER, who preached the first sermon in Cleveland, was sent to the Western Reserve by the Connecticut Missionary Society in 1800. Having been a soldier in the Revolutionary War, he was to hardships. Necessities were so scarce in the settlements that on many journeys he carried not only clothing but also food in his saddle bags. He had to follow the only trail there was, the Lake Indian Trail, and to stop frequently to cut down the underbrush to make way for his horse.
PHILO TAYLOR came from New York to Cleveland in 1806. He made an agreement with Harmon Canfield and Elisha Whittlesey , agents and landowners, to settle in Rockport. On April 10, 1808, he landed with his family at the mouth of Rocky River, having traveled by open boat from Cleveland. He selected a spot on the east side of the river opposite to were Hotel Westlake now stands, built his cabin, and began to clear the land. His son, Egbert Taylor, was born in November 1809, being the first white child born in the county. Mr. Taylor was informed by the land agents that he must leave his home and select some other site, as they were about to lay out a town at the mouth of the river and his location would be needed. He moved to Dover, where, he built the first saw mill and opened the first tavern. It is reported of Mr. Taylor that when he needed flour, he took his wheat in an open boat to a mill on the River Raisin in Michigan. He sold his former home in Rockport to Daniel Miner, who came from Homer, New York, in 1809. Mr. Miner also bought out Mr. Harbertson who had located on the same side of the river in 1811. In 1812, he began to build a mill on what is still known as the 'mill lot ". It originally contained one hundred and three acres and was the southern part of Lot 23. Mr. Miner died in February, 1813 before the mill was finished.
JOHN HARBERTSON was an Irish refugee who came with his family in the spring of 1809 and located on the East Side of Rocky River near the mouth. William McConley , who came from Ireland with Harbertson , settled at about the same time on what was later known as VanScoter Bottom. Jeremiah VanScoter came in 1811 and located on the south bank of Rocky River near the site of the present sewage disposal plant. After a year VanScoter moved to Huron County. Both Harbertson and McConley left Rotckport in 1810. Harbertson resided in Huron County until his death.
GEORGE PEAKE and his family came to Rockport in 1809. It is said that they were the first to pass over a new public road completed at this time. It was rumored that Peake was a British deserter. At any rate, he had been with General Wolfe at the taking of Quebec. He was thought to have some colored blood, and his wife was a Maryland colored woman. (She was to have had a half bushel of dollars.) His family consisted of four sons, George, Joseph, James, and Henry, and they lived on what was known in 1879 as the George Barnam place. They introduced a form of the hand mill well liked by the settlers, as formerly the grain had been ground in a hollow oak stump mortar with stone pestle. Peake died in September 1827, at the age of 105.
DR. JOHN TURNER, a brother-in-law of Daniel Miner, came from New York in 1811. He located on a farm just west of Rocky River, later owned by Governor Woods. In the year 1813, while the doctor and his wife were away from home, their house was destroyed by fire and their children were burned to death. After this calamity the Turners moved to Dover, locating on what was known as the C.C. Reed place. Dr. Turner was the first physician in Dover Township.
DATUS KELLY, a surveyor, left Lowville, New York, in 1810, to visit his uncle Joshua Stowe, who had settled near Akron on the site later known as Stowe's Corner. He stayed a short time in Cleveland, then returned Lowville. The next year he and his bride, Mary Weller Dean, journeyed by ox team to a point a mile west of Rocky River. In 1834 he and his brother, Ira, bought Kelley's Island, and he left Rockport in 1836 to locate there. Addison Kelly, son of Datus, born June 11, 1812, was the second white child born in Rockport Township.
With the Kellys came Chester Dean, brother of Mary Dean Kelly. He bought the southern part of land owned by Datus Kelly, which extended from Detroit Road to the Nickel Plate Railroad. His father, Samuel Dean, and his two brothers, Joseph and Aaron W., followed him to Rockport in 1814, settling nearby.
The marriage of Chester Dean to Lucy Smith , daughter of Abner Smith of Dover , on January 9th, 1814, was the first wedding in Rockport Township . The ceremony was performed by George Wallace, Esquire, at the home of Datus Kelly. Guests from miles around came in ox carts. After the death of Lucy, Chester Dean married Abigail Taylor. Dean descendants still have the court record of the filing of his will after his death in 1838. Eliel Farr , Arrelius Farr and Jesse Atwell were the appraisors of the estate. Joseph Dean built and operated the first tannery in the township. It was located just west of Rocky River at a point where a swift stream crossed Detroit Road. Joseph Dean was a famous hunter, and it is reported that in 1820 he organized a great bear hunt which extended from Rocky River to the Black River at Lorain.
NATHAN ALGER, his wife, and four sons, Henry, Herman, Nathan Jr., and Thaddeus P. came from Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 7th, 1812. They settled on sections 12 and 13, founding what was for years known as the "Alger Settlement ". With him came his son-in-law, John Kidney; and two days later, Benjamin Robinson arrived from Vermont. Amelia Alger married Benjamin Robinson, November 5th, 1812. About this time Horace B. Alger and Dryer Nichols came to Rockport. In a sketch of his early experiences Nathan Alger wrote that, on arrival in Rockport, his personal property consisted of an ax, an old French watch, part of a shoemaker's kit, a bed, and seven cents which was all that left of the ten dollars he had borrowed to make the trip. He built a log cabin, furnished it with a bed, a shoemaker's bench and two stools. Nathan Alger's death was the first in the township.
HENRY ALGER told many interesting things in his diary. His accounts of the difficulty in obtaining the necessities of life show the struggle the pioneer had for existence. In 1812, he went to Mentor to help Ebenezer Murray thresh wheat, receiving every tenth bushel as payment. In 1813, he worked on a ship in Cleveland for nine days to pay for fifty-six pounds of salt, which he had to carry home on his back. In the early days salt was brought to Cleveland from an an old salt spring near Youngstown. Later it was brought from Onondago, New York, to Buffalo by boat, then by ox team over the trail; and sometimes it came from Pittsburgh by pack horse. The price was twenty dollars a barrel. He told of walking ten miles west to Columbia to chop an acre of timbre to pay for one hundred pounds of flour, which he carried home on his back. Philana D. daughter of Henry Alger was the third white child born in the township.
RUFUS WRIGHT came to Rockport from New York, and for several years operated a ferry at Rocky River. He owned most of the land on the west side of Rocky River, and south of Detroit Road to the present Rocky River High School. He paid three hundred dollars for his tavern site at the time Granger City was planned. He helped to cut through the woods the first road west of Rocky River.
HENRY CLARK, JOHN JAMES, CHARLES MILES, JOSEPH SIZER came to Rockport about 1816. Moses Eldred came in 1813, about the time Daniel Miner died. Joseph Larwell, promoter of Granger City, arrived in 1815 and built a mill near the mouth of Rocky River. It burned to the ground before it could be operated. Charles and Erastus Johnson came previous to 1818, at which time they built a mill. It also was destroyed by fire.
In this chapter are short biographical sketch of the pioneers who came to Rockport from 1800 to 1840. The first settlers located near the mouth of Rocky River; but those who came later settled in that portion of Rockport,known as East Rockport, which later became Lakewood.
JAMES NICHOLSON started west from Massachusetts in 1804 at the age of twenty-one years. He first located in Ashtabula County, but in 1810 he traded his tract there for one hundred and sixty acres five miles west of Cleveland's Public Square. With the bonus he received for his improved Ashtabula land he bought one hundred and ten more acres east of the first tract. He held the Western Reserve deed to all this property as granted by the Connecticut Land Company. He was the only settler between the Cuyahoga River and Rocky River when he built his first home, a log cabin. It was near the location of what is now 13408 Detroit Avenue. Before his cabin was finished, Mr. Nicholson enlisted for the war of 1812, leaving his wife and two small children alone in the wilderness. When he returned, he used his musket to kill a bear that had stolen a pig from his clearing. In 1826, he built a house on hill just west of the present Waterbury Road, and used it at times as a tavern. In 1835 this house was torn down and a second frame house erected which is still standing. When James Nicholson died in 1859, he left this home to his son, Ezra Nicholson.
EZRA NICHOLSON began the liberal culture of the fruit trees about 1850. After his father's death, he converted the farm from agriculture to fruit. His grapevines were the first in this section, and at one time they covered fifty-five acres of land, including the present Grace and Clarence Avenues. He invented the " Nicholson Log " used universally in the navy. It determined all weathers and the speed of ships. Mr. Nicholson served on the committee which selected the name for the present city of Lakewood.
ELIAL FARR, farmer and surveyor, came to Rockport from Pennsylvania with his wife and four sons in 1817. They settled on Section 16. Among the relics still in the possession of his descendants is the plan for the first Rocky River Bridge.
THOMAS HIRD came from England in 1818, and was engaged by Richard Lord, a wealthy landowner, to manage his estate consisting of three hundred and twenty acres, extending about one -half mile west of the present 117th Street and from Madison Avenue to Lake Erie. Mr. Hird was very ambitious, and studied at night in order to make himself equal in education to his fiancée, Hope Randell Lord, whom he later married. When Richard Lord, Hope's father, died, he left his estate to her and her husband. Their home was called " Wheatland Cottage ". Their descendants still have in their possession a silver medal given to Thomas Hird by the Ohio Board of Agriculture for the best wheat raised in the state during the season of 1852.
BENJAMIN COUTANT came from Pennsylvania to Rockport in 1819. He married Sarah Townsend from Connecticut. Coutant Street was named after him.
MARS WAGAR located in Rockport in 1820, having come from New York to the Western Reserve in 1818. He was a very scholarly man, like so many other pioneers of his time, a surveyor. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land from Francis Granger, son of Gideon Granger, paying seven dollars an acre for it. It was on the south side of the present Detroit Avenue, extending east from Warren Road. His first home was a log cabin built on a hill near the corner of Detroit and St. Charles Avenues. He later built a house, using stone which was quarried from the east side of the present Cook Avenue and just south of the Nickel Plate Railroad. It was located where the Bailey Company Store now stands. In 1888, it was torn down to make a way for a modern frame house. Mr. Wagar and his wife, Keturah Miller, were converted by the Nicholsons to the Swedenborgian faith, and gave the land for the church at the corner of Andrews and Detroit Avenues. Mrs. Wagar also gave land the back of the church for the parish house. After his stone house was built, Mr. Wagar used his former home site for a "burying ground". The first cemetery of these early settlers was laid out near the site of the Cliff House, Riverside, and Edanola Avenue. Traces of this burial ground still remained when the Cliff House was erected in 1840. Henry Alger and Daniel Miner were buried there.
ADAM WAGER, oldest son of Mars Wagar, owned two hundred acres of virgin forest west of the present Warren Road. His wife, Margaret Kyle, with her best Scotch china in her hands, walked all the way from New England beside the ox cart which bore the family possession. At one time Adam Wagar had twenty negroes cutting wood on his property. They lived in temporary shacks south of the present Madison Avenue at Morrison Avenue. Cordwood for stoking stove drums and fireplaces was piled high from the intersection of Hilliard Road and Madison Avenue, to Warren Road, lining both sides of Madison Avenue, and north on Warren Road to where Grant School now stands. Sometime later, Mr. Wagar's house at the intersection Madison and Hilliard was moved to 2198 Olive Avenue.
ISRAEL DWELLE WAGAR was the second son of Mars and Keturah Wagar. He married Elizabeth Pyle, and first lived in a framed house at the corner of Detroit and Woodward Avenues, moving to a nearby stone house in 1858. They had five daughters, Jessie, Carrie, Lura, Adah, Alta Elizabeth; and three sons, John, George, and Charles. The daughters married and established homes of their own, but one by one returned to the homestead as widows. At one time all five widowed sisters dwelled there together. Jessie Loveland and Carrie Messick have died; but the other sisters, Lura Ashley, Adah Brown, and Alta Elizabeth Goodell, are still living there.
ALBERT WAGAR, third son of Mars and Keturah Wagar, married Anna Dodd. Their son, Francis Wager, married Rose Phelps, daughter of Walter and Ellen Bell Phelps. Their first home was on the south side of Detroit Avenue just east of Elmwood Avenue. The lived there for seven years, then moved to Cove Avenue where they lived for a time. Their last Lakewood home was on Warren Road not far from Grant School. They were the parents of Ellen and Bertha Wager, teachers in East Rockport schools.
FRANCIS WAGER was the youngest son of Mars Wager. After the death of his father, he purchased the Wagar Cemetery from his three brothers and two sisters. No charge was made for burial in this cemetery other than two to five dollars for digging the grave, nor did anyone receive a deed for a grave. The taxes were paid at first by Mars Wagar and later by Francis Wagar. Mrs. Arthur Barber, a daughter of Francis Wagar, lived and died on property, which once belonged to her grandfather. The two daughters of Mars and Keturah Wagar were Caroline Wagar Wade and Anna Wagar Brown.
MARS WAGER , son of Francis Wagar, was one of the early teachers of East Rockport. He was very well educated, having received several degrees at home and abroad. He is an authority on early Lakewood, having written a number of articles on the subject. At the time of Lincoln's assassination, it was he who tolled the village school bell on Warren Road from morning to night.
ISAAC EARREN, a stockholder in the Connecticut Land Company came overland to Rockport in 1822 from Connecticut. He was the son of Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston who was killed in the battle of Bunker Hill. He bought land near what is now Warren Road and Madison Avenue. Mrs. Warren had a reputation as an excellent spinner of wool and weaver of homespun.
PRICE FRENCH, younger brother of Lord French of England, started west from New York in 1818, going to Indiana. In 1828, with his wife and six children, he came from there to Rockport where he bought fifty acres of deep forest on the north side of Detroit Avenue, including the site of Garfield School. He made his purchase direct from the Connecticut Land Company. It was partly cleared when James Nicholson proposed a trade for fifty acres of his land in the south side of Detroit Avenue extending west of Nicholson Avenue to Bunts Road. He accepted the offer. His home (first) was a log cabin just east of the house now standing on the McMyler estate, and descendants still live on some of the original property. On coming to America, he first located in Canada, but soon moved to Vermont and became a citizen of the United States. He was always loyal to this country, and served from New York as a captain in the war of 1812. When his brother died, he refused to return to England and accept the title. He had three sons, Collins, Albert, and Alonzo, and three daughters, Livona, Caroline, and Calphurnia. To Collins belongs the credit for first suggesting a high level bridge over the Cuyahoga River. Collins French traded his holdings for land owned by Julia Fleuelling, which was later inherited by Mrs. Edwin R. Andrews. This property extended from Hilliard to the lake and included the present Mars, French, Virginia, and Andrews Avenues.
ELIJAH HERRINGTON and his wife, Sarah Gardiner, left New York in 1820, and located in Middleburg Township. A flaw was found in the title to their land, so they came to Rockport about 1824, locating in the vicinity of Lorain Avenue, Triskett Road and Warren Road. The old road used by the Herringtons is now West 150th Street. In 1843 they built their home, which was planned at the time for a tavern. It was at 14767 Lorain Avenue. The house had three fireplaces and huge chimney. At that time there were three other houses in the vicinity, all exactly alike and all painted red. One belonged to Joseph Triskett, one to a Mr. Stranahan, and one to Nathan Alger. The little shed in the present nine-hole Metropolitan golf course was in Mr. Stranahan’s backyard. Mr. Alger gave an acre in the Alger cemetery to the county. The inscription on his tomb reads:
I’m here, my friend.
The first to come,
And in this place
For you there’s room.
PHIAN HERRINGTON, daughter of Elijah and Sarah Herrington, married Edmund Hathaway about 1831. They bought land near the bend in Riverside at its juncture with the old Hogsback Road. Most of it was in the valley on both sides of the river. The barn for livestock was there, but the log house was on the hilltop where Rainbow Garden now stands. It was here that their first child was born in 1837. One day about the year 1845, Mr. Hathaway started to Cleveland with his ox team and a load of produced and never returned. His ox team was found, but there was no trace of him. Phian Hathaway later married George H. Mason. (Mrs. Alva B. Greenley, a member of Lakewood Chapter, is the grand- daughter of Mrs. Mason.)
RICHARD G. McCREARY and his wife came in an ox cart from Pennsylvania about 1831. They paid one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre for their land, which is now crossed by Delaware Avenue, Hilliard Road and Riverside Avenue. They did not know that one of the best gravel pits in the county was located on their farm until later years, when it brought Mrs. McCreary a fine income in her old age. Gravel from this pit was used in paving many of the streets of Lakewood and Cleveland. The McCrearys moved to Cleveland after a few years, and their names appeared in the directory of that city.
JEREMIAH GLEASON with his wife, Catherine Dedrick, came overland from New York, bringing horses and cattle, and located in Rockport in 1831. He bought one hundred and thirty acres of virgin forest at two dollars an acre, giving a team of horse as part payment.
OSBORNE CASE, son James Case of Dover, settled in Rockport in 1832, buying two hundred and forty acres at four dollars an each. He worked hard in an effort to pay for it, but had to sell it off piece by piece until only one hundred and ten acres were left free from encumbrances. At that time the nearest grist mills were at Elyria, twenty miles west, and at Painesville, thirty miles east, and the only method of transportation was by ox team. When his family needed medicine, Mr. Case, carrying garden stuff and eggs on his back, walked to Cleveland. Sometimes he did not receive over a shilling for his produce, and, of course, had to walk back home.
REVERAND CHARLES CALKINS and his wife, Mary Ann Gilman, came from Vermont to Rockport in 1832. Preaching did not bring in much income, so he helped supply the needs of his family by starting a flour mill at Rocky River.
OBIDIAH MUNN came from New York to Rockport in 1832. He bought two hundred acres on either side of the present Munn Road from Triskett Roadto Riverside Drive.
WILLIAM SOUTHERN and his wife, Anna Pixley, came to Rockport from New York in 1834. They bought acreage near where the Lucier Theatre now stands. The old frame building in which they reared their nine children can still be seen today. William Southern was called the best cradler in the township. (A cradle is a scythe with a frame attachment to catch the straw and lay it in winnows.) In addition to farming he shipped staves to England.
CHRISTOPHER C. SOUTHERN was born in Rockport. He married Frances Crozier West, daughter of John M. West of West Park. (John West bought a stock farm of seven hundred acres adjoining that of Leonard Case. He built a beautiful residence, reserving twenty five acres for a front lawn. He constructed an artificial lake on his property. It became one of the show places of the township; in fact, it so resembled a park that it was called "West's Park", and the name "West Park", resulted) Christopher Southern had much to do with the development of real estate in Lakewood. St. Peter's Episcopal Church, said to be one of the most beautiful of the small churches in greater Cleveland, is built on Southern Land. The old homestead was torn down to make way for this structure. The lone pine tree standing in front of the church is one of those which at one time stood on the front lawn of the Southern Home.
JOSEPH HALL and his wife, Sarah, came from England to Rockport in 1840. Two weeks after their arrival, their son, John Curtis Hall, was born. Mr. Hall bought a tract of land from the Connecticut Land Company and increased his holdings until he became one of the largest landowners of the time. So great was his estate that when the division of property came, his four sons, Joseph Jr., Curtis, Mathew, and John C., each received eighty acres of Rockport land. His two daughters, Anna Kidney, and Sarah Barber, each received a similar acreage in Dover and in Strongsville. Once when Mr. and Mrs. Hall were returning home from Cleveland, they lost their way in the dense forest, and had to retrace their steps until they found the old Indian trail. It was this virgin forest which Joseph Hall purchased and made into fine farmland.
JOHN C. HALL under the direction of Dr. Kirtland, became a lover of good literature and of nature. He married Elizabeth Maile and their four and one-half acre homestead was a paradise for birds and a beauty spot with its choice flowers and wonderful trees. Arthur W. Hall, their son, is now living in the house built by his father at 16913 Detroit Avenue. He is a recognized authority on early Rockport history. Many of his articles have been published. He has in his possession a marvelous collection of rare stuffed birds and Indian relics which belonged to his uncle, Mathew Hall.
STEPHEN PHELPS came by canal from New York to Rockport in 1840, buying sixty acres of land. Most of this land extended along the lake shore from the east end of Clifton Park to Webb Road and south to Detroit Avenue. Mr. Phelps built a log cabin in the woods near the street, which now bears his name, and here four daughters and two sons were born. In addition to farming he followed his trade of carpenter. In later years he built a more pretentious house with a framework of hewn logs. This house still stands at the corner of Kenilworth and Detroit Avenue. Mr. Phelps disliked the long walk he had to take in driving his cows from the pasture at the northern part of his farm, so he sold that portion in 1869 for one hundred dollars an acre. That cow land is the present Kenilworth Avenue.
WALTER PHELPS left England on a sailing craft bound for New Orleans in 1840. On landing, his capital consisted of one dollar, which invested in an ax. By chopping wood enroute, earned his way to East Rockport. He later married Ellen Bell, whose pioneer father W.B. Bell, at one time owned the island at the mouth of Rocky River. For many years, they lived in the remodeled brick schoolhouse on Nicholson Avenue, renting land from Ezra Nicholson. Mr. Phelps was thrifty and energetic, and in time he acquired seventy acres on the west- side of Rocky River. He finally gave up renting farmland and confined himself to the raising of small fruits on his own farm.
WILLIAM B. SMITH with his wife, Mary Congar, came to East Rockport from New York about 1840. He bought fifty acres extending from Detroit Avenue to the lake, near what is now Cove Avenue. Here Mr. and Mrs. Smith lived in old log cabin where their four children were born. On a part of his farm there was a natural harbor known as "Shady Cove". Its name in earlier days had been "Taylor's Cove", and it was only the landing place for small boats between the Cuyahoga and Rocky River. A daughter, Mattie, married George G. Mulhern.
GARDNER OAKS was the "fiddler" of pioneer days, was quite a local character. He seemed to have supplied the humor and music needed by the settlers for relaxation. He attended all local dances, and never missed a circus, regardless of the weather. He sometimes obtained money for the circus by selling a wagonload of chips in Cleveland. He married Abbie Fowler, and they had three children. His second wife was Ann Bertgrong. He finally left Rockport for Michigan in a prairie schooner. His directions for planting turnip seed have been handed down somewhat as follows: " Put a pound a turnip seed in the pocket of your jeans. Put a pinhole in the pocket. Run like the old scratch across a ten-acre field." He always added, "Then the gol darn seed will be planted too thick."
PALMER WORTHEN came to Rockport from New York in 1842, locating near the site of the present street car barns. He later lived on what is now Belle Avenue. It is said that his grandfather, Jake Worthen, served under George Washington during the Revolution.
CLARK WORTHEN, son of Palmer Worthen, was a baby when his parents came to Rockport. When he grew to manhood, he married Mary Van Haun, niece of Adelaide
VAN HUAN NICHOLSON, the first wife of Lewis Nicholson, son of James Nicholson. For a wedding gift, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson gave their niece ten acres of land on the north side of Detroit Avenue. It included the present site of the Elks Club, extending west two hundred feet, and north to Clifton Boulevard. In those days boys went through this farm when they wished to go swimming in the lake at the Jared Kirtland beach. Before her death, Mrs. Worthen sold her part of her property north of the Nickel Plate Railroad to W.C. Langenau, who for some time had a lumberyard there. After the death of his wife, Mr. Worthen lived with two daughters, Mrs. Will Johnson and Mrs. Sheridan Hulse. Mr. Hulse died in 1934, but Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Sheridan Hulse still reside on the original property. Mr. Will Johnson is the son of Alexander and Sarah Childs Johnson.
JAMES T. NEWMAN, whose father was a Swedenborgian minister, came from England in 1843, bringing the Swedenborgian writings with him. He and his sons were the first in Lakewood to adopt the plan of building houses to rent instead of to sell. Descendants still live on Newman Avenue laid out by James Newman through his farm, and bordered with beautiful maple trees.
MARK TEGARDINE and his wife, Jane Hale, came to Rockport from England in 1843. At that time land was thirty dollars an acre with choice lots selling for fifty dollars.
JACOB TEGARDINE, the son of Mack Tegardine, was only one year old when his parents came to Rockport. In later years he became one of Lakewood's outstanding citizens. At one time he had a general merchandise store at the corner of Detroit Avenue and Warren Road. He was a postmaster, trustee, councilman, and mayor of the hamlet. During his term as mayor, plans were made to change the hamlet to a village. He married Mary Wagar, daughter of Albert Wagar. Their home was on the low hill at the southwest corner of Detroit Avenue and Warren Road and was used in later years as Lakewood City Hall.
PHILANDER WINCHESTER came to East Rockport in 1848. His father, Jonathan Winchester, was granted a license from the Connecticut Land Company to preach and a charter to build churches in the Western Reserve in 1797. Philander Winchester married Eliza Calkins, daughter of Reverend Charles Calkins. Mr. Winchester was an advocate of the principles of freedom, and his home was hotbed of anti-slavery. It was an important station in the Underground Railroad, and many tales have been told of the daring of his family in behalf of the colored people.
The names of JOHN HONAM and ORVILLE HOTCHKISS belong together. The Honams were Scotch weavers who left their native country for New Brunswick. They were not satisfied there, so they came to East Rockport where they bought the large estate later inherited by their only daughter, Isabelle. This property included the present Warren Road and St. Charles and Belle Avenues, and extended north to Lake Erie. It included the present Lakewood Park and St. Augustine Catholic School property. Mr. Honam built the stone house, which still stands on its original foundation on the northwest corner of St. Charles Avenue. The stone for it came from the same quarry as that for the Mars Wagar stone house. Orville Hotchkiss married Isabelle Honam. He was a very energetic man and owned at different times a sawmill, a tannery and a cider mill. Their daughter, Hester, married Charles Pease II, grandson of Dr. Kirtland. Another daughter, Hattie, married John Wagar, son of Israel D. Wagar. Their only son, Noble Hotchkiss, sometimes called Orvis, was a very prominent Lakewood citizen.
STEPHEN HUTCHIN and his wife, Dorcas Winch, came from England in 1850, and settled on Warren Road. They prospered and reared a family of four sons and two daughters, Mrs. Hutchin was called "The Mother of Lakewood Methodist Church". Their daughter Mrs. C.J. Weeks, was the first high school graduate of East Rockport.
JAMES COLOHAN had a three and one-half acre tract near the Granger City Allotment previous to 1850. His descendants live in Lakewood.
MANLEY HALL WOODBURY came from Massachusetts in 1855. He was the first in East Rockport to take up gardening of green stuffs and berries for Cleveland markets. He raised the first strawberries for market ever cultivated here. They were at that time called "agricultural berries". He received as high as one dollar a quart for them. He was the first to use a greenhouse for his plants.
GEORGE THORNE, an Englishman, came to East Rockport in 1860. After his return from the Civil War he married Mary Ann Saunderson who had recently come with her family from England. Her sister, Elizabeth, later married John Swingler, father of Mrs. Frank E. Stevens, who resides in Lakewood. Mrs. Jennie Thorne Burkett, who also resides in Lakewood, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Thorne.
JOHN MULLALY was born in Cleveland and spent his entire life nearby. About 1861, he bought forty-five acres in East Rockport in the vicinity of what is now Hilliard Road and Orchard Grove, Rosewood and Westwood Avenues. He saw the section change from dense forest to fruit farms, and then to city streets, yet not one of these streets was named for a member of his family.
AHAB AND TOM JENKS were brothers who came from Pennsylvania. Their grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine. They had very little education, but Ahab Jenks was said to be a poet, philosopher, and historian. For years he lived at the corner of Warren Road and Detroit Avenue, and worked for Francis Wagar. Tom Jenks was a hunter and lived for a long time in a log cabin on Detroit at Lauderdale Avenue. One time the lad, Jacob Tegardine, was with him in the deep forest on Madison Avenue when they heard a weird noise. Tom Jenks told Jacob it must be the voice of the devil. It was the whistle of the first train to pass over the Big Four tracks south of where they were standing.
JOSEPH HOWE came from England and located in Rockport in 1861. From Orville Hotchkiss he bought land just west of Belle Avenue. He was a tailor by trade, but as a man in those days expected a suit to last at least ten or twelve years, he was obliged to combine his tailor shop with a general store which had previously been kept by Lucius Dean. Joseph Howe was postmaster for many years and his place was a sort of community center. Even the school board met there. He prospered and built a fine frame house just North of Detroit Avenue on the east side of Belle Avenue.
LAURENCE JOHNSON was the next to keep the general store and post office at this location and it was occupied by him for years. When it burned down in 1898, he moved to the old Honam stone house, remaining there until his new store block was finished. He then opened a modern grocery store in the new block built on the old location. He finally sold the Grocery business to Bartholomew and Brumagin.
SETH ZOTTMAN opened a general store next to the grocery of Lawrence Johnson, moving the post office to his store, which was called "The Old Curiosity Shop".
GENERAL J.J ELWELL was a very prominent man in East Rockport. His home was on the north side of Detroit Avenue opposite of Grace Avenue. From 1857 to 1861 he was editor of the Western Law Monthly. He published one book and wrote for several journals.
COLONEL STANARD lived on Warren Road near Detroit Avenue. He was the chief promoter of the plank road, which was finished about 1850.
CAPTAIN JOHN SPALDING left England when he was eleven years old. He went to the lake region, in time becoming a lake captain. He came to East Rockport about 1862, locating on the southeast corner of Detroit Avenue and the present Alameda Avenue. He married the daughter of Judge Ashman, whose wife was a Chippewa Indian. His second wife was Axy Newcombe, a relative of Ezra Nicholson, and was said to have been one of the most beautiful women in the township. Their daughter, Ida was called the most beautiful and most talented girl in the township.
DR. RICHARD FRY with his wife, Martha Johnson, came to Ohio from New York in 1847, locating in Cuyahoga Falls where he practiced medicine for a time. Later he came to Cleveland and taught in the old Academy where Andrew Freese, first super-intendent of schools of Cleveland, also taught. This academy was located on St. Clair Avenue near the present No. 1 fire station. Among his pupils were John D. Rockefeller and Mark Hanna. In 1863, Dr. Fry bought twenty-seven acres of land extending from Detroit Avenue to the lake, and just west of the present Highland Avenue.
WILLIAM R. MAILE located in East Rockport just before the Civil War; his ancestors were English brick makers for several generations. He was for many years the only brickmaker in East Rockport. His yard and kiln were near the Nichel Plate Railroad and between the present Brockley and Cranford Avenues. His son, Christopher later had a yard at Hilliard and Warren Roads. William R. Maile married Alice Rose. He was the first to plant strawberries in East Rockport, buying the plants from his circus friends, the Sells Brothers. As he did not care to raise them for commercial use, he gave most of the plants away, keeping only enough for his family.
HENRY BEACH bought twenty-eight acres of land at the present Beach and Detroit Avenues, paying Gardner Oaks a hundred dollars an acre for it, with five percent off for cash. His father, Julius Beach, and his mother, Hannah Ingraham Beach, came to Ohio from Connecticut. His father died when Henry was three months old. Henry Beach married Sabrina Frost, daughter of Dr. Elias Frost, a classmate of Dr. Kirtland. Their daughter, Emma, who married Charles A. Townsend, lived in the old home until very recently. Mrs. Townsend recalls that she attended the select "Cleveland Female Seminary" on Woodland Avenue opposite old Kennard Street. She took the train termed the "Dummy" which passed through her fathers farm, riding as far as a railroad shack just beyond where the train went through the tunnel under Detroit Avenue near west 100th street. She left the train there and walked back to Lake Shore Depot at the intersection of Detroit Avenue near Berea Road. Here she boarded the "Elyria Bob Trail" (an accommodation train), leaving it at the Old Union Station on the lake front. She then walked up Bank Street to Superior where she boarded a Woodland Avenue horse car for the seminary.
ENOCH HAINES came from England to East Rockport in 1865. For seven years in England he had been head gardener of Queen Victoria's palace ground. He later established a greenhouse in London, coming frequently to the United States for plants. On one of these trips he heard such glowing accounts of the horticultural development of Ohio, that he determined to come here. He beautified the grounds of our present Lakewood Park and was the hamlet's first official gardener. He loved to hunt and had a very fine collection of English and American guns.
IRA CANFIELD bought twenty five acres of land from William B. Smith about 1865. The dividing line between his property and that of Mr. Smith's was almost the center of what is now Cove Avenue. Mrs. Canfield died many years before her husband, so he went to live with his daughter, Mrs. F.S. Tarbell, on the north side of Detroit Avenue opposite Cohassett Avenue. After he sold his original property, he bought the land where his daughter lived and laid out a drive way between his property and that of Mr. William Whitnall. Both men built small houses on the shallow lots north of Detroit Avenue and had incomes from the rental of their property. They could not agree, however, on the name of the street. For years there was a sign on the east side which said "Melrose Place", while on the west side another sign read "Whitnall Court". Today it is Cohassett Place. Mr. Canfield was the first mayor of the hamlet of Lakewood. His oath of office was administered by General J.J. Elwell.
Old John Johnson lived in the old brich house on Warren Rd. near Fisher Rd. He was the first white child born in Cleveland. (J. Andrews.)
Pete Lapham lived near 117th St. on Detroit. He had a lumberyard. His wife was a Hird. (J. Andrews)
Ingram married one of the Southerns.
Jessup lived on Hilliard near Mars. The father died soon after he moved into Lakewood and the mother with 3 small boys had a hard time getting along. Charley Jessup lives on Neuman Avenue.
Captain John Spalding lived at the corner of Lakewood Ave. Had a farm there and was a great friend of Ezra Nicholson. Later the Tyler Family lived there.
Honnam built the old stone house. Orville Hotchkis married a daughter of Honnam, Isabelle.
Stranahan in Rockport lived at Lorain and Rocky River. House on the hill. No relation to the later family of Stranahan.
Ranney, an old time shoe-man in Cleveland, Farm where Winchester Ave. now is.
Hilliard and Hayes, land speculators owned the land that is now Lakeland Ave. Hiram Barrett owned the west side of Summit and allotted it. The old stone house was rented to a family by the name of Hall. Joe Stanley, father of John S. Stanley, the street car man, sold it to the Newells.
Tollgate keeper, Ed Rahill. The last Parkins. Tollgate 1st at Waverly, then Gordon, 100th St., 117th St., Warren Rd.
Toll gate at the Rocky River Bridge.
Joseph Howe had the general store before Lawrence Johnson. There were 3 daughters: Cloe M. Warner Banker in Newburg, moved to California. Hattie Minnie. The home a large frame house near the corner of Detroit and Belle.
Cliff House burned down, rebuilt and called March House on Riverside north of Detroit about at Edanola. Old R.R. stopped in front of the house. Park extended from there to the lake.
Dummy Railroad, 1st conductor Mulhern. Superintendents of school Herriman Lippert, Weeks, Fredericks.
To go to school Emma J. Beach (Mrs. Charles A. Townsend) Took Dummy, where it passed through her father's farm, to Lake Shore track; Went up the steps to depot, took Lake Shore train-Elyria Bob Tail- to Union Station. Walked up Bank St. to Superior, took Woodland car, Horse car, to Cleveland Female Seminary on Woodland opposite Kennard St. To go home; Woodland car to Superior, change to Bridge St. car which went down the river valley to a bridge and up the hill and out to Waverly, 58th St. Took the Dummy home.
Mrs. Curtis Hall, 1st husband kept the hotel
Henry Patchen, was a retired army officer.
The Patchen family came here from the east. Kept the hotel, Silverthorns'.
The hotel was noted for its creamed potatoes.
Julius Kinney and Mary Kinney lived the Ellinberger home now is.
The Kinney at Whitnall a later family.
Ella Johnson corner of Lakewood n.w.
Smith family, west of Cove - old settlers.
Cady, House afterward French, Lakewood and Detroit.
Crum between Hopkins and Winchester.
Benjamin W. Coutant (died June 11, 1914) came from Greenwich, Jan. 26, 1826 Wife Sarah Townsend who came from Greenwich, (Jan 26, 1826). She was a sister of Hiram and Oscar and Hosea Townsend, and Mary Bradner.
Countant lived at Coutant and Detroit.
2 children Hiram, d. Sept. 14, 1856 George B. b Feb. 14, 1858 d. Mar. 20, 1861.
Adopted two children: Emma m. William Miller, now in Norwalk.
Lula Drury Mrs. Baer, Akron.
Mrs. Eliza Townsend, widow of Hiram Townsend, mother of Mr. Coutant, lived 2nd house east of Coutant. House still standing moved back on Coutant.
Lapham Family. Mrs. Lapham was a Hird.
Mrs. Newcombe brought up 5 grandchildren.
George Marshall was a newspaper man. One son -in - law was Scott Robinson.
Calvin Ranney (not the shoe dealer) was a brother of the first Mrs. Curtis Hall and of the first Mrs. Matthew Hall.
Children of Noble Hotchkiss:
Belle - married a Howe Hester - married a Judson
Fanny - died
George Morris - moved to Detroit
Noble - was a cripple and died
Albert - died
Orrie - died