Search billions of records on





 Home | Townships


Transcribed by Helen Rosenstein Wolf
Proofed by Gareth Morgan


Boundaries and Physical Features-The Pioneers-George Comstock-The Mortons-Frazee and Dickson-Z. Hathaway-Fisher and Brower, Cochrain, Miner and others-John I. Harper-Rail McArthur-West of the River-The skinner Family-Abraham Garfield-Resident Land Owners in 1848-Civil Organization-First Officers-Principal Officers-Roads-Canal and Railroad-Mills and Manufactures-Cleveland Acid Works-The Quarries-Kinzer Quarry-Hurst Quarry-Other Quarries-Independence Village-Post Offices-Physicians-Hotels-Trade-Schools-Religious Societies-Presbyterian Church-Evangelical Association-St. John's Lutheran Church-St. Michael's Church.

INDEPENDENCE is described in the original survey as Township C, range 12. It is bounded by Brooklyn and Newburg on the north; by Bedford on the east; by Brecksville and a small part of Summit county on the south, and by Parma on the west. The Cuyahoga river, flowing from a southeasterly direction, divides the township into unequal parts; nearly two-thirds of the area lying west of that stream.

Excepting the valley of the Cuyahoga, the average width of which is about half a mile, the surface of Independence presents an elevated and broken appearance, although small level plateaus abound. Sandstone and blue-stone of excellent quality generally underlie the soil, and sometimes manifest themselves in bare ledges. The soil is generally fertile and appears to be well adapted for mixed husbandry. Besides the Cuyahoga, the streams of the township are Tinker's creek, flowing from the east; Hemlock creek, near the center, flowing from the west, and some small brooks in the northwestern part. The latter have deep channels, often forming gorges the steep sides of which bear a stunted growth of evergreens and present a picturesque appearance. Numerous springs abound, and the natural drainage is usually sufficient to rend the soil tillable.


The eastern part of the township was surveyed as early as 1808, and there, along Tinker's creek, the first settlements were made a few years later, probably in 1811, although the time and place cannot be exactly determined, as the earliest pioneers did not remain long in the township. To a more permanent class of settlers belonged George and Mercy Comstock, who came about 1812, and made their home on lot seven of tract four, where they resided during their lives. They had three sons: Peter, who lived on the place next east; George, whose home was on the present farm of William Honeywell, and Fitch, who remained on the old homestead. Another Comstock family settled on lot two about the same time, where the head of it died in 1815, leaving several sons, two of whom were named Fitch and Joseph. On tract four, lot four, lived Daniel Comstock as early as 1813, who died there, leaving three sons, Albert, Stephen and Leonard, all of whom moved away.

In the Comstock neighborhood Samuel Wood was one of the earliest settlers, rearing two sons, Silas and Harry, the latter of whom is yet living in Northfield. About the same time (the early part of 1813) Lewis Johnson, a blacksmith, located in that settlement. He had a large family; one son only by the name of Thomas is remembered. Philander Ballou lived on the south side of Tinker's creek near its mouth, about the same period.

In the valley of that creek came among the early pioneers, Daniel Chase and Clark Morton. One of the daughters of the latter was drowned while crossing the Cuyahoga in a canoe. He had two sons named Daniel and Silas. There were other Mortons, living in the township about this period, viz: Thomas, Samuel and William.

William King was among the first to come to Independence. He lived on tract four a number of years, and then disappeared mysteriously.

In the southeastern corner of the township Stephen Frazee and James Dickson settled soon after 1812, and for many years were among the prominent pioneers. In the valley of Tinker's creek Asa and Horace Hungerford were also leading citizens at an early day.

Farther north, on the old State road, Zephaniah Hathaway, a Vermonter, settled in 1816, and resided there until his death, at more than ninety years of age. He had two sons named Alden and Zephaniah, who also remained in that locality. The sons of the former were Lafayette, William, Rodney and Edwin; those of the latter were James and Milo' most of these yet live in that neighborhood. On the same road Jonathan Fisher, another Vermonter, settled in 1816, living on the place now occupied by his grandson, Lloyd Fisher. North of Fisher, Elisha Brower settled about 1817, but soon afterward died, leaving four sons named John, David Pinckney, Daniel and William. Still farther north, near the Newburg line, lived a man named Ives, who died in 1819. He had a son named Erastus. David Skinner was an early settler in the same neighborhood.

In the northern part of the township, near the river, settlements were made about 1813 by the Cochrain, Miner, Brockway and Paine families. One of the sons of the first-named family, Marvin, became a prominent citizen of the township. William Green came from Brecksville in 1817, and settled on the Fosdick place. He had five sons named Harvey, Elijah, Jeremiah, Herod and Frederick, and several daughters, one of whom, Emily, became Mrs. Fosdick. Farther up the river John Westfall, a shoemaker, settled the same year. In 1823 he sold out to Smith Towner and his son, D. D. Towner. A son of the latter, Clark Towner, now occupies the place.

In 1810 John I., Archibald and William Harper, sons of Colonel John Harper a celebrated Revolutionary soldier who lived in Delaware county, New York, came to Ashtabula county, in this State, and in 1816 John I. emigrated from there to Independence, settling on tract two, near where the canal now runs, where he died in August, 1849. He reared two sons, Erastus R., who yet lives on the homestead; De Witt C., who moved to Michigan; and three daughters, one of whom married H. G. Edwards, of Newburg. John Maxwell, a boy indentured to J. I. Harper, moved to Galena, Illinois, after he had attained manhood, and while discharging his duties as sheriff was killed by a man whom he attempted to arrest.

East of the Harper place a man named Case settled about 1814; a few years later he met his death at a raising at Peter Comstock's. He had four sons, named Chauncey, Asahel, Harrison and ______. Samuel Roberts was a squatter on the present Omar place, selling out in 1825 to Nathaniel P. Fletcher, who moved, after 1833, to Oberlin, and there helped to found Oberlin College. Farther south Ephraim S. Bailey and John Rorabeck made settlements before 1816. The latter had served in the war of 1812.

Colonel Rial McArthur became a resident of the township in 1833, but returned to Portage county in 1844. He was the surveyor of the eastern part of Independence in 1808, and attained the rank of colonel in the war of 1812. In 1810 John Wightman became a resident of Cleveland, living there until his death in 1837. His daughter, Deborah L., became the wife of William H. Knapp, who settled in Independence in 1833, and both are yet living on the place they then occupied.

West of the Cuyahoga the land was not offered for settlement early, and but few families found homes there prior to 1825. In the northern part Ichabod L. Skinner settled as early as 1818. He reared three sons, named Gates, Prentice and David P. The latter was murdered at his home a little south of the present acid works.

On the road south of Skinner, Abraham Garfield, father of Hon. James A. Garfield, lived a few years prior to 1820; and in the same neighborhood was Caleb Boynton, who died there in 1821; leaving four sons, Amos, Nathan, William and Jeremiah. Other settlers on the west side were William Currier, John Darrow, Jasper Fuller and Jaud Fuller.

In 1843 the resident land owners in this part of the township were the following: Conrad Schaff, Peter E. Swartz, Joseph Beichelmeyer, Sanford Foot, Ichabod L. Skinner, J. L. Skinner, John Walsh, Henry Wood, Hiram Pratt, John T. Gaw, Joseph Rose, David Yost, Martin Dirrer, L. Stewart, Peter Young, Jacob Walters, Nelson Loud, Benj. Wood, Moses Usher, Elijah Danser, David Barney, Harvey Green, John Foltz, Wm. Bushnell, Wm. Buskirk, Wm. Walter, John Shearer, John Schneider, Nathaniel Wyatt, Mathew Bramley, James Miller, S. M. Dille, David Stewart, H. Orth, Alvah Darron, Anthon Gaw, Andrew Hartmiller, M. Sherman, Abraham Gable, Daniel Alt, Peter P. Crumb, Elihu Hollister, Amos Newland, E. Clark, Wm. Ring, Elisha Brooks, Wm. Currier, Elijah Green, Jacob Foltz, Jacob Froelich, Mathias Froelich, John Froelich, Samuel Hayden, John Leonard, L. Wright, John Wolf, John Derr, J. Green, A. Newland, Thomas Cook, James Martin, Wm. G. Adams, Asa Hungerford, Ezra Fuller, John Needham, Rufus Johnson, Philip Gardner, Joseph Cunningham, Mathew Barker, Nathaniel Stafford, Robert Cook, Wm. Van Noate, Jacob Warner, Jasper Fuller, John Moses, J. F. Leonard, Mathew Gardner, Ezra Brewster, Jeremiah Gowdy, Lewis Kohl.

On the east side of the river the land owners in that year were as follows: Jacob Krapht, Joseph Miller, Marvin Cochrain, David D. Towner, Jonathan Fisher, Findley Strong, Zephaniah Hathaway, E. Gleason, H. G. Edwards, Abram Wyatt, G. Richmond, Wm. Giles, Moses Gleeson, William Gleeson, Roger Comstock, Wm. Green, Waterman Ells, Alfred Fisher, John I. Harper, Silas A. Hathaway, E. R. Harper, Benj. Fisher, Samuel Hinkley, L. Campbell, Allen Robinette, Horace Hungerford, Stephen Frazee, Rial McArthur.


The records of the township from its organization till 1834 have been destroyed by fire. In that year the election for township officers resulted as follows: Trustees, John I. Harper, J. L. M. Brown, Marvin Cochrain; clerk William H. Knapp; treasurer, Jonathan Fisher; constables, Orange McArthur, Jonathan Frazee; overseers of the poor, Enoch Scovill, William Green; fence viewers, Alvah Darrow, Nathaniel Wyatt. The number of votes polled was seventy-one. Enoch Jewett, Stephen Frazee and S. A. Hathaway were the judges of the election, and Geo. Comstock and Alvah Darrow served as clerks. On the 2nd of August, 1834, an election for justice of the peace was held at the house of William H. Knapp, when David D. Towner received forty-one votes, Wm. H. Knapp sixteen, and Stephen Frazee, nine.

Since 1834 the principal officers have been as follows:

1835. Trustees, Alvah Darrow, Jr., J. Zephaniah Hathaway, Jasper Fuller; clerk, Alfred Fisher; treasurer, Jonathan Fisher.
1836. Trustees, Enos Hawkins, Zephaniah Hathaway, Jasper Fuller; clerk, Alfred Fisher; treasurer, D. D. Towner.
1837. Trustees, Elihu Hollister, John I. Harper, John Rowan; clerk, Alfred Fisher; treasurer, D. D. Towner.
1838. Trustees, Alfred Fisher, Enoch Scovill, Samuel Durand; clerk, Wm. H. Knapp; treasurer, D. D. Towner.
1839. Trustees, Alfred Fisher, Wm. Buskirk, Samuel Durand; clerk, Harry McArthur; treasurer, D. D. Towner.
1840. Trustees, Marvin Cochrain, John Phillips, Wm F. Bushnell; clerk, Wm. H. Knapp; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1841. Trustees, Alfred Fisher, Daniel E. Williams, Elias M. Gleeson; clerk, Harry McArthur; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1842. Trustees, Finlay Strong, Wm. Van Noate, Isaac Packard; clerk, Harry McArthur; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1843. Trustees, Jonathan Fisher, Alvah Darrow, Wm. F. Bushnell; clerk, Harry McArthur; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1844. Trustees, Jonathan Fisher, Alvah Darrow, Wm. F. Bushnell; clerk, Harry McArthur; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1845. Trustees, D. D. Towner, Alvah Darrow, H. McArthur; clerk, B. H. Fisher; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1846. Trustees, D. D. Towner, Wm. Buskirk, H. McArthur; clerk, B. H. Fisher; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1847. Trustees, D. D. Towner, Wm. Buskirk, Joseph Cunningham; clerk, I. L. Gleeson; treasurer, Erastus. R. Harper.
1848. Trustees, Jacob Foltz, Silas A. Hathaway, Joseph Cunningham; clerk, I. L. Gleeson; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1849. Trustees, Jacob Foltz, Alfred Fisher, Alvah Darrow; clerk, I. D. Hathaway; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1850. Trustees, John Schofield, Alfred Fisher, Wm. Van Noate; clerk, Benj. Wood; treasurer, Erastus R. Harper.
1851. Trustees, E. R. Harper, James Miller, Wm. H. Perry; clerk, I. L. Gleeson; treasurer, John Schofield.
1852. Trustees, Jacob Foltz, James Miller, I L. Gleeson; clerk, Benj. Wood; treasurer, John Schofield.
1853. Trustees, Alvah Darrow, Jonathan Frazee, William Green 2nd; clerk, Benj. Wood; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1854. Trustees, E. R. Harper, Jonathan Frazee, John Foltz; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1855. Trustees, James Miller, E. M. Gleeson, Ezra Brewster; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1856. Trustees, James Miller, E. M. Gleeson, Ezra Brewster; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1857. Trustees, Watson E. Thompson, John Foltz, Elihu Hollister; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1858. Trustees, Watson E. Thompson, John Foltz, Elihu Hollister; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1859. Trustees, Wm. H. Perry, Wm. Green 2d, Albert Comstock; clerk, J. K. Brainard; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1860. Trustees, Wm. H. Perry, Edward Hynton, Albert Comstock; clerk, G. B. Pierce; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1861. Trustees, Edward Heinton, Elihu Hollister, Jacob Lotz; clerk, J. K. Brainard, treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1862. Trustees, Edward Heinton, Seneca Watkins, Milo N. Hathaway; clerk, Wm. B. Munson; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1863. Trustees, Edward Heinton, Horace Hungerford, John Froilich; clerk, E. R. Harper; treasurer, I. L. Gleeson.
1864. Trustees, H. C. Currier, John Swartz, I. D. Hathaway; clerk, Wm. B. Munson; treasurer, Geo. W. Green.
1865. Trustees, A. Alexander, E. Hollister, Horace Hungerford; clerk, O. P. McMillan; treasurer, E. R. Harper.
1866. Trustees, A. Alexander, Edward Heluton, Seneca Watkins; clerk, O. P. McMillan; treasurer, E. R. Harper.
1867. Trustees, William Green, Edward Heinton, Seneca Watkins; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, E. R. Harper.
1868. Trustees, J. Frazee, Edward Heinton, Wm. Buskirk; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, E. R. Harper.
1869. Trustees, John B. McMillan, Edward Heinton, George Gabilla; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, John Bender.
1870. Trustees, John B. McMillan, Clark Towner, George Gabilla; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, John Bender.
1871. Trustees, John B. McMillan, T. F. Gowday, John Packard; clerk, D. S. Green; treasurer, John Bender.
1872. Trustees, George Cochran, B. D. Schrain, John Packard; clerk, Frank Brown; treasurer, C. Brown.
1873. Trustees, E. R. Harper, C. J. Green, Levi Summers; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, C. Brown.
1874. Trustees, Geo. W. Green, D. L. Phillips, George Summers; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, C. Hannum.
1875. Trustees, John B. McMillan, F. Litzler, James Watkins; clerk, Wm. B. Munson; treasurer, C. Hannum.
1876. Trustees, John B. McMillan, Max Buhl, John Giles; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, C. Hannum.
1877. Trustees, D. Fullerton, J. A. Hathaway, H. France; clerk, J. B. Waltz; treasurer, George Lambacher.
1878. Trustees, D. Fullerton, T. M. Gowday, H. France; clerk, C. H. Bushnell; treasurer, George Lambacher.
1879. Trustees, D. Fullerton, T. M. Gowday, H. France; clerk, D. Gindlesperger; treasurer, George Lambacher.

The township owns a good hall, located in the public square, at the center, and maintains several fine places of burial. The largest of these-Maple Shade Cemetery-consists of four acres, on the State road, north of the center, and was purchased in September, 1865, of Sebastian Blessing. It contains a fine vault, and has been otherwise improved. Several of the religious denominations also maintain small but attractive places of sepulture.


Several of the early State roads passed through the township from points farther south to Cleveland, and considerable attention was paid to the improvement of these highways soon after their location. In 1834 Henry Wood, Manly Coburn, John I. Harper, William Moses, Abram Schermerhorn, Zephaniah Hathaway, William van Noate, Nathaniel Wyatt, and J. M. L. Brown were appointed road supervisors. The township has had to pay a heavy bridge tax to keep in place the structures which span the Cuyahoga. At present these present a substantial appearance. In 1879 the levies for roads and bridges were one and one-third mills on the valuation of the township, and the supervisors were E. H. Koening, Michael Halpin, N. Burmaster, Joel Foote, Hugh Gowdy, George Lambacher, George Bushnell, J. Walter, H. Giles, A. Comstock, T. Frantz, C. Mehling, J. F. Miller, William Fulton, C. H. Bushnell, and F. Beebe.

The Ohio canal was located through the township in 1825, William H. Price being the resident engineer. Two years later it was opened for travel. It is on the east side of the Cuyahoga, and has in the township a length of about seven miles, with four locks, numbered from thirty-seven to forty inclusive.

On the opposite side of the river, and following a course nearly parallel with the canal is the line of the Valley Railroad, now being constructed. Work was began in 1873, but various causes have prevented its completion until the present year, before the end of which it is expected that the last rail will be laid. These avenues give or will give the township easy communication with the rest of the world, and the best of shipping facilities.


The township did not have any early gristmills nor factories. On Hemlock creek sawmills were erected by Ring & McArthur, and Clark & Land. On the site of the mill owned by the latter firm there is now a steam sawmill which is operated by J. G. Wing. It has a run of stone for grinding feed, and is also supplied with a machine for threshing grain.

About 1835, Finny & Farnsworth constructed a dam across the river at William H. Knapp's, and for several years a sawmill was operated quite extensively. Below that point M. Sherman put up a sawmill and machinery for turning and polishing sandstone. The sawmill is yet operated by John Geisendorf. On the site of the acid works, Harry Wood had a steam gristmill, which was destroyed by fire; and near there the Palmer Brothers had a steam sawmill, which is still carried on. In the southeastern portion of the township A. Alexander erected a good gristmill, which is yet operated by him, and is the only gristmill in the township.

Cabinet organs were made in the northern part of Independence until 1876 by the Palmer Brothers. The building is now occupied for the manufacture of "Currier's Section Sharpener," a very simple contrivance for sharpening mowing-machine knives without removing them. The material used is Independence sandstone, which, it is claimed, will not become coated with gum on being used for sharpening purposes. The firm also manufacture oil stones.


This important establishment was put in operation in 1867 by W. R. Anderson, for the purpose of restoring to available form the sulphuric acid existing in the refuse matter of oil refineries. Since 1872 R. H. Emerson has been the proprietor of the works, which have been superintended by J. C. Burmaster. The establishment embraces a number of large and well-arranged buildings; it is capable of producing six thousand carboys of acid per month, and it employs about thirty men. The spent acid is brought to the works by canal when navigation permits. The restoring process requires the use of two thousand tons of coke and about double that amount of coal annually. Among the peculiar features of the place are one hundred and sixty glass retorts, holding fifty gallons each, and five storage tanks, the united capacity of which is six thousand barrels.


Aside from the agricultural pursuits which engage a majority of the people of the township, the chief industry of Independence is the quarrying of stone. West of the river the surface is underlaid by a ledge of superior sandstone, the composition of which is so fine that it makes the very best of grindstones. To quarry and manufacture these gives occupation to hundreds of men and constitutes a business of more than $400,000 per year. Most of the products are shipped by canal, but a considerable quantity are drawn by team direct to Cleveland.


This is on the county road, two and a half miles west from the center, and was opened in 1848 by Joseph Kinzer. He at first got out but a few grindstones, which were cut into shape by hand. He increased his business, however, from year to year until he had a good-sized gang of men at work. In 1867 Joseph Kinzer, Jr., succeeded to the business, and the following year employed machinery for turning his grindstones the motive power being steam. The lathe was first operated on the Darrow place, but has lately been removed to near the Kinzer quarry. From four hundred to one thousand tons of grindstones are produced in addition to large quantities of building and flagging stones.


These were opened in 1847 by the owner of the land, Hiram Pratt. In 1860 he sold to James F. Clark, who associated with him Baxter Clough. The latter operated the quarry until 1872, when it became the property of J. R. Hurst, of Cleveland, the present proprietor. The grindstones were first prepared by hand, but in 1866 a lathe operated by stem power was provided, which has since been used to turn stones weighing from three hundred pounds to four tons. The quarry is supplied with two derricks, and gives employment to forty men.

At a point farther east, near the same road, Mr. Clough opened another quarry in 1867, which also became the property of Mr. Hurst, and at present gives work to thirty men, who are employed chiefly in quarrying building-stones. North of the center, stone was quarried as early as 1840 by M. Sherman, Erastus Eldridge and others. Mr. Eldridge operated the quarry quite extensively, building a horse railroad to transport the products to the canal. Here were procured the pillars of the Weddell House in Cleveland. Other operators in those quarries were A. Rothermail, Joseph Blessing, J. Merkel and Harry James. The latter erected a good turning lathe at the canal, and also built a wharf for loading canal boats. These and the quarry at the center have been leased by Mr. Hurst, and are now operated in connection with his other interests in the township under the superintendence of Marx Buhl.

West of the village are the quarries of the Wilson & Hughes Stone Company, employing a large gang of men, and operated since 1860; of Thomas Smith and of Ephraim West, each being worked by a gang of men. East of the center are quarries at present worked by J. Smeadley and Joseph Windlespecht; and southeast are the T. G. Clewell blue stone quarries, from which stones of superior quality for flagging purposes have been procured. A mill has been erected to saw the stone in any desired shape, and lately a lathe for turning grindstone has been added. Many other quarries are worked more or less, but the foregoing sufficiently indicate the importance and extent of the business.


This place, sometimes called the Center, is the only village in the township. It is situated on the State road about equi-distant from the north and south bounds of the township. It has a beautiful location on an elevated plateau which slopes gently southward toward Hemlock creek. In the early settlement of this part of the township, the proprietor, L. Strong, set aside a tract of land for a public square and village purposes, but the place made a slow growth, and never assumed much importance as a business point. At present it presents a somewhat scattered appearance, and is composed mainly of the humble homes of those who find occupation outside of the village. It contains a Roman Catholic, a Presbyterian and an Evangelical church, a fine school-house, the town-hall and several hundred inhabitants.

The Independence post office was established on the east side of the river, at the house of Nathan P. Fletcher, who was the first postmaster. Until about thirty years ago, when it was permanently established at the village, the office was kept in different parts of the township at the residences of the postmasters. Those, after Mr. Fletcher, have been William H. Knapp, Nathaniel Stafford, John Needham, B. F. Sharp, J. K. Brainard, George Green and Calvin Hannum. The latter has been postmaster since 1865. The office is on the route from Cleveland to Copley, and has a tri-weekly mail. At the acid works a post office has lately been established by the name of Willow. John L. Kingsbury is the postmaster, and the mail facilities are the same as at Independence.

Several gentlemen by the name of Day followed the practice of medicine in the township many years ago for a short period, but Dr. William B. Munson was the first to establish a permanent practice. He is yet a resident of the village, but has retired from active duty. The present practitioner is Dr. S. O. Morgan. Doctors Charles Hollis and E. M. Gleeson were physicians in the township for short periods, but did not establish themselves permanently in their profession.

Before 1830 a tavern was kept on the canal by a man named Kleckner, in a house built by Philemon Baldwin, and farther up the river was "Mather Parker's tavern," which enjoyed a wide reputation. About 1836, Peter P. Crumb opened a public house north of the center, which he kept many years. Subsequent landlords were ----Hartmiller and George Sommers. The latter now occupies the place as a private residence. At the center a tavern was opened in 1852 by Job Pratt, who was followed successively by Hollis, Gunn, Eaton, Alger, Probeck and Wolf, the latter being the present landlord.

I. L. and Edward M. Gleeson were among the first to engage in the mercantile business in the township, selling goods at the twelve-mile lock. Other persons in trade there were Morrill, Rutter, Oyler and Bender. Soon after the Crumb tavern was opened, Benjamin Wood sold goods at the stand now occupied by Joseph Urmetz, but Horace Ball opened the first regular store at the center. His successors at that stand have been J. K. Brainard, George Green, Josephus Brown, Charles Green and Charles Memple, who is now in trade there.

Epaphroditus Wells had a store a few years opposite the tavern, and near by another store was opened by Jacob and Samuel Foltz and I. L. Gleeson. These parties were followed by Currier & Watkins, who had a shoe store. The stand is at present occupied by Calvin Hannum. About eight years ago P. Kingsley opened another store, which is now kept by C. H. Bushnell.

The township has half a dozen shops in which the common mechanical trades are carried on.


The first schools in Independence were established east of the river. In 1830 there were four districts. In 1850 the condition of the schools was as follows:


Youth of School Age

Total Tax for Schools
  No. 1



" 2



" 3






 " 5



" 6



" 7



" 9



" 10



Fractional No. 4



" 8












In 1879 there were three hundred and seventy-three males and three hundred and twenty-three females of school age, of which number one hundred and seventy-six were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one years. The tuition fund amounts to $3,242.25. Nearly all the districts have been provided with good school houses; the one at the center being two stories high. In this a school for the more advanced pupils of the township has been maintained every winter since 1870. The board of education in 1879 was as follows: B. D. Schramm, of district No. 9, chairman; D. Gindlesperger, clerk; No. 1, Frank Gleeson; No. 2, A. J. Farrar; No. 3, J. Hathaway; No. 4, Frank Fosdick; No. 5, George Lambacher; No. 6 John Giles; No. 7, Harry Rose, and No. 8, H. Faubel.


It is said that the first religious meeting in the township was held October 1, 1836, by the Rev. Mr. Freeman, a Baptist from Cleveland. In February, 1837, a Baptist congregation was organized, which flourished a short time, but soon became extinct. About the same period a class of Methodists was formed which also failed to maintain its organization beyond a few years. Its meetings were held at the houses of those friendly to that denomination; but a common place of worship was soon after provided in a log school-house at the center in which the different ministers visiting the township preached.

The Congregationalists were the first to organize a church which had any permanency, and which is at present known as


The organizers were the Revs. Israel Shailer and Chester Chapin, of the Missionary Association of Connecticut. On the 24th of June, 1837, they united in church fellowship William F. Bushnell and his wife Betsey; James and Mary Miller; Betsey Brewster; Jane and Elizabeth Bushnell---seven in all. William F. Bushnell was elected deacon, and James Miller, clerk.

The meetings were first held in the log school-house, at Miller's corners, and then in the town hall. On the 17th of October, 1854, a society to attend to the temporal affairs of the church was formed, which had as its first trustees, Wm. F. Bushnell, Joseph Cunningham and Benj. Wood; as treasurer, James Miller; as clerk, E. Wells. The society was disbanded in October, 1873. Under its direction, in 1855, the present meeting-house was built at the center. It is an attractive edifice of the excellent sandstone found so plentifully in the township, and has a fine location on the west side of the public square. The cost was $2,594.79; the finances being managed by the pastor, the Rev. B. F. Sharp.

On the 5th of February, 1862, the church became Presbyterian in form, and has since continued in that faith. Calvin Hannum, Wm. F. Bushnell and Daniel W. Abbott were elected ruling elders; and the former and J. G. Wing at present serve in that capacity. The deacons are Joseph Miller and D. S. Green; the clerk of the sessions is Calvin Hannum.

The organizers of the church served two years as supplies. In 1845 the Rev. Mr. McReynolds served the church. Some time before 1854 the Rev. B. F. Sharp came as a supply, and that year became pastor of the church, remaining until 1859. During his service the membership increased from seven to thirty-five. There has been no pastor since, but the pulpit has been supplied by Rev. Messrs. Morse, van Vleck. Bushnell, Jenkins, Edwards, Chapin, Farwell, Cone, Pettinger, and the present Rev. Bowman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who preaches alternately here and in the Evangelical Church at this place.

The church as had an aggregate membership of one hundred and eighty-five, but at present bears the names of only thirty persons on its register. A flourishing Sunday school is maintained, of which J. G. Wing is the superintendent.

Mainly through the efforts of the Rev. T. G. Clewell a very neat brick church was erected at the center, sometime about 1860, for the use of the


and on the 7th of January, 1863, was duly organized the first board of trustees, composed of George W. Green, George Merkle, Francis Pillet, Henry Wentz and Mathew Bramley. Services have since been statedly held in the English and German languages by the Rev. Messrs. Clewell, Hahn, Humber, Breit, Bernhart, Mott, Duderer, Hasenpflug, Horn, Orwig, Seib, Hammer and other clergymen who came from Cleveland for the purpose. The membership at present is small in consequence of removals. The trustees are Messrs. Crane, Windlespect, Sommers, Bramley and Newland. Jacob Schmidt is the superintendent of the flourishing Sunday school.


A short time after 1850, a number of persons living in the northeastern part of the township, who attended the services of the Lutheran church in Cleveland, took measures to establish a place of worship at home. Accordingly, on the 14th of October, 1854, a small framed meeting house was consecrated for this purpose, by pastor Schwan, of Cleveland. In this the services of the newly organized body was regularly held until July 6, 1879, when a very fine edifice, erected on the opposite side of the street, took its place. This house is thirty-eight by seventy-five feet, and has a tower and steeple one hundred feet high. The church as an exceedingly handsome appearance and cost about six thousand dollars. The present trustees are J. H. Dreman, C. F. Scherler and Fred. Ehlert. The church has fifty members who engage in business meetings, and numbers two hundred and twelve communicants. The elders are J. H. Tonsing, J. H. Meilaender and Fred. Borgeis.

The congregation has had the pastoral services of the following clergymen: From 1854 till 1859, Rev. John Strieter; 1859 till 1877, Rev. Ch. Sallman; and since December, 1877, Rev. Otto Kolbe. The first of these pastors also taught the parish school, but since 1871 Augustus Schefft has been employed as a teacher. The school is taught in the old meeting-house and is attended by ninety pupils who receive instruction in both the English and German languages. Religious teaching forms part of the daily course, and the school is maintained independent of any aid from the State or county.


In 1852 a small but neat house of worship for Roman Catholics was erected northwest of the center of the township, which was used until the growing congregation demanded a more capacious house. An effort was made to provide one better adapted for its wants, and in 1870 the present edifice was begun, but the work was slowly carried on. The building committee was composed of George Gable, Joseph Urmetz, Peter Wild, Albert Dobler, Anthon Eckenfelt and Joseph Effinger. In December, 1873, a storm caused the walls of the unfinished building to fall; but the following year they were again raised and the building began to be used in the summer of 1875. It was consecrated December 5, 1875, by the Right Reverend Father Gregory and Bishop Fitzgerald. The building committee at this time consisted of Charles Mehling, Fred. Beckhold, Frank Jermann and Jeremiah Hayes. The church is thirty feet by seventy, is built of brick, and cost eight thousand dollars. The present lay trustees are Charles Mehling and Casper funk. The society has a cemetery at the old stone chapel.

The church has about one hundred and seventy-five communicants who are under the spiritual tutelage of Father Fidelius, of the Franciscan Convent at Cleveland. Among other clergymen who have served there have been Fathers Bierbaum, Zungbeel, Boden and Rainerious, nearly all coming from the convent. The church has had no resident priest. A school is maintained which has been taught by John Jermann and Matilda Blessing.


*The story of the temporary residence of the Moravian Indians in this township is told on pages thirty-three to thirty-five of the general history.


History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Third: The Townships, compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1879; pages 460-466.