Proofed by Marilyn Fischer and Oryl Fischer
Immediately after the close of the war of 1812-15, a few emigrants moved into township seven, range ten, of the Western Reserve, the greater part of which is now comprised in the civil township of Orange. The first who located himself in township ten, was Serenus Burnet, who settled on the Chagrin river in 1815, but he was in that part which has since been included in the township of Chagrin Falls. We are unable to fix with absolute certainty the exact date of the first arrival in that portion of number ten which now belongs to Orange, but believe it to have been in 1816. To a greater extent than in most townships, the old settlers of Orange have passed by death and emigration. Its oldest surviving pioneer is now Mr. Thomas King, of Orange Hill, whom we have consulted in regard to the early history of the township, but whose unfortunate and extreme deafness made it impossible to obtain more than the most meager details.
Mr. King settled where he now resides in 1818. The only residents of the present township of Orange which he found at that time, were the families of Jesse Kimball, Rufus Parsons, John White and Theron White, all being on the high ground in the north part of the township. These families had been there at least one year at that time, and some of them he thinks two years; which is the reason why we fix the 1816 as the probable date of the first settlement in the present township of Orange.
The western part of that township was composed of the narrow valley of the Chagrin river, running almost due north across it. Separated from this valley by a high, steep hill was a broad extent of high land, known as Orange Hill, comprising nearly all the northern part of the township. The land descended gradually to the south, and the portion south of the central line was only of moderate hight [sic], but was yet composed of dry and somewhat broken ground, free from every suspicion of swampiness. The soil was gravelly, with some clay, and, when covered with its native, heavy growth of beech, maple, oak, elm, etc., presented a more alluring appearance to the pioneers than some more fertile regions, made unwholesome by frequent swamps and miasmatic exhalations. As has been observed, all the first settlers located on the Hill, evidently determined to secure a healthful situation as the first consideration.
The newcomers went to work zealously, making clearings around their cabins, planting, sowing and reaping grain while the stumps still showed the marks of the axe, and obtaining ample supplies of wild mutton and woodland pork from the deer and bear which abounded on all sides of them. Several other settlers came during 1818 and 1819, and in the spring of 1820 it was determined to have a new civil township. The requisite order was made by the county commissioners on the 7th of June in that year; the name of "Orange" was selected for the new township, which then comprised survey-townships six and seven in range ten, being the whole of the present Solon and Orange, the greater part of Chagrin Falls.
The first election was held at the house of Daniel R. Smith, on the 27th of the same month, when the following officers were chosen: Trustees, Eber M. Waldo, Caleb Litch, Edmund Mallet; clerk, David Sayler; treasurer, D. R. Smith; lister, Eber M. Waldo; appraiser, Lawrence Huff; overseers of the poor, Thomas King, Serenus Burnet; fence viewers, William Weston, Seruyn Cleaveland; supervisors of highways, E. Mallet, Rufus Parsons, Caleb Litch, Thomas Robinson. These were all residents of survey-township number seven, as number six was not settled until the fall of that year, and all but the Burnets, and possibly one or two others, resided in the present township of Orange.
Although we have been somewhat troubled about learning the facts in relation to the very first settlement, we have been very fortunate in ascertaining the condition of the township at a little later period; for the first town-book shows the record for 1822, a full list of those who cast their votes at the election on the 20th of May of that year. These were as follows: Peter Gardinier, Jonathan Covey, Edward Covey, Jesse Kimball, Jacob Gardinier, Isaac Safler, Sylvanus L. Simpson, William Weston, Caleb Alvord, Nathaniel Goodspeed, Thomas King, Seruyn Cleaveland, Lewis Northrop, Clarimond Herriman, Benjamin Jenks, Nathaniel Sherman, Joseph Watson, Amaziah Northrop, Daniel R. Smith, Jacob Hutchins, Jedediah Buxton, Daniel S. Tyler, Asa Woodward, Silas T. Dean, Ansel Jerome, Luman Griswold, Serenus Burnet, Ephraim Towne, Benjamin Hardy, Cornelius Millspaugh, Abel Stafford, Caleb Fitch, John G. White, James Fisher.
The whole number was thirty-six. Besides these there were several names have previously been given, and who were evidently absent from the polls, so that there must have been between forty and fifty voters in the township; indicating a population of about three hundred inhabitants. The three or four settlers in the south part of number six, who then constituted the whole population of the present township of Solon were evidently of the unanimous opinion that it was not worth their while to go so far through the woods to election, for none of their names appear on the list. From 1822 the increase of population seems to have been decidedly slow during several years; for in 1828 only thirty votes were cast.
Seth Mapes settled in the south part of the township in 1827, where his son, John D. Mapes, was long a prominent citizen. In 1829 Amos Boynton, who had been a resident of the county (in Newburg) since 1818, located himself about a mile and a half south of Orange Center, on the farm still occupied by his widow and his son, Mr. H. B. Boynton. Mrs. Boynton states that when they came, the township was still almost a wilderness. The road running north and south through the center had been laid out but had not been worked. Dr. Witter was then practicing medicine at Orange Center, where he had been for two or three years, being the first physician in the township.
The same year, 1829, Ralph Arnold settled in the locality, where he has since resided, in the southwest part of the township, he being now one of the oldest of the "old settlers." There was then no store, hotel nor mill in the present township, though there had been a very poor little gristmill on the river, which had been speedily abandoned. Most of the settlers took their grain to be ground at a little log mill, situated near the present village of Chagrin Falls. Deer were still numerous in the forest, and "the wolf's long howl" nightly menaced danger to any sheep which should be found outside of a well-fenced yard.
In 1824 Abram Garfield, a half-brother of Amos Boynton, settled on the farm adjoining that of the latter, and there, in the year 1831, while the primeval forest still stood close around his father's log cabin, was born a child destined to become, before reaching the age of fifty years, one of the foremost statesmen of America---James A. Garfield. A youth spent amid the hardships of pioneer days strengthened his physical frame without cramping his mind, and from the time he left his father's farm in early youth until the present date, whether in military or civil life; whether as preacher, college-president, general, politician or statesman, his career has been one of almost uninterrupted success.
The first store in Orange was established near where the "Bible Christian" church now stands, west of the center, about 1835. It was kept up three or four years. About the time it was closed, a Mr. Bymont opened a store on the town-line of Warrensville, which was maintained about the same length of time as the other one. By this time the village of Chagrin Falls was doing a considerable business, and the farmers of Orange generally went thither to do their trading, except when they visited the growing city of Cleveland.
In the year 1845 the township of Chagrin Falls was formed, embracing, (besides a part of Solon and Geauga county) all that part of Orange comprised in the first division of tract number three except lots one, two and three in that division. The area of the section thus taken from Orange lacked a trifle of two and a half square miles; leaving a little over twenty-two and a half square miles within the boundaries of that township.
Since that time Orange has contained nothing that could be called even a small village. Its existence has passed in the peaceful pursuits of a thoroughly agricultural community. Its annals are therefore, of necessity, brief. Between 1840 and 1850 occurred the principal part of the change which must always take place in every new country when the log houses give way to framed ones, and the section passes from the pioneer period to the farming period. Only a few log houses lingered after 1850.
When treason assailed the nation's life the sons of Orange did their full part with the rest of the soldiers of Cuyahoga county, and their names will be found among those of their respective regiments in the general history of the county.
Since the war the township has been largely devoted to dairying, and there are now three cheese factories in it; that of J. P Whitlam, at Orange Center; that of M. A. Lander, about two miles southwest of the center, and that of David Sheldon on Chagrin river, two miles east of the center. The steam sawmills of James Graham near Chagrin river and close to the township of Chagrin Falls, and that of John Stoneman a mile west of the center are the only manufacturing establishments in the township.
Orange Center consists of a small store, three or four houses, a Methodist church and a post office. North Solon post office, notwithstanding its name, is also situated in Orange township, half a mile east from its southwest corner. A store was opened there in 1860 by Mr. Elbridge Morse. In 1863 he sold it to G. G. Arnold, the present proprietor, who had for three or four years previously been keeping a store near the residence of his father, Ralph Arnold.
This church was organized in 1839. The first members were P. C. Gordon, Mary A. Gordon, Henry Gordon, Alanson Smith, Henrietta Smith, Jesse Luce, Sophia H. Luce, Sophia Weller, Reese Bowel, Margaret Bowel, William Case, William Lander, Mary A. Lander, Caroline Lander, Ansel Lander, Abigail Lander, Clarissa Hennessy, Ferris Thorp, Sarah Gardenier, J. J. Hennessy, William Hennessy. Henry Gordon was the first class-leader.
Rev. Mr. Halleck was the first pastor. Meetings were held at the school-house and at the residence of members until 1868, when the present neat framed edifice was erected. There are now about seventeen members. The following have been the pastors since Mr. Halleck, on this circuit, with the years in which their services began, as fully as could be ascertained from the scanty records: William F. Wilson and Hiram Kellogg, 1841; Timothy Goodwin and Lorenzo Rogers______; S. C. Freer and R. H. Hurlbut, 1849; ______ Lake, 1852; E. Lattamore and Benjamin Excell, 1853; William Patterson and S. Reynolds, 1854; William Patterson and A. Fouts, 1855; William Lum and J. B. Hammond, 1857; Thomas Gray, 1858; Hiram Kellogg, 1859; Cyril Wilson, 1860; M. Williams, 1862; J. K. Mendenhall, 1863; Albert Norton, 1865; Rev. Mr. Warner, 1867; Rev. Mr. Brown, 1869; Rev. Mr. Radcliffe, 1870; Robert Gray, 1871; Hiram Kellogg, 1872; Rev. Mr. Darrow, 1875; Samuel Collins, 1876; George Johns, 1877; F. L. Chalk, 1878.
Preaching was held there by the Methodists as early as 1830. A small church was organized, and in 1847 a framed house of worship was erected. The church edifice belongs to Warrensville circuit, which also includes the one at Orange Center, and when there has been preaching on the hill, it has been by the ministers named above, in the sketch of the church at the center. There are now but a small number of members on the hill, and the services are not numerous.
A "Protestant Methodist" church was organized among the people of the central part of Orange as early as 1840, or before. After a time the members largely adopted the views of the "Bible Christian sect," and the church was reorganized under that name. About 1848 a small church building was erected, where the cemetery now is, a mile west of Orange Center. Here the congregation worshiped until 1865, when the present more commodious edifice was built, a little west of the former location.
The system of the "Bible Christians" is very much the same as that of the Methodists and this church was in the same circuit with Chagrin Falls until 1873, when it was connected in a circuit with two churches in Warrensville. Rev. George Rippin was the first Bible Christian preacher who officiated in Orange. He was followed by Rev. Messrs. Hodge, Roach, Pinch, Hooper, Colwell, Wicket, Chapel, Tethna, Johns, etc. Rev. George Johns was pastor from 1873 to 1876; Rev. George Bodle from 1876 to 1878; and Rev. Herman Moon became pastor in 1878.
This church was formed on the 28th day of July, 1845, with fifteen members. The first elders were William T. Hutchinson and Ira Rutherford. For about fifteen years the church flourished, and the number of members increased to thirty, but during and since the war they have largely migrated to other parts, and the organization had been broken up.
This was formed on the 2nd day of March, 1845. Amos Boynton and Z. Smith were the first overseers. Like the North Orange church, it flourished for a time, but emigration and other causes were too powerful disorganizers to be successfully withstood.
The members of this organization reside in Orange and Solon, mostly in the vicinity of the line between the two townships. There were services held by preachers of this faith for many years before the church was organized, which event occurred on the 25th day of April, 1868. The Rev. W. Whitacre was the first minister; John Wentmore and Joseph A. Burns the first deacons; Wm. Mills, J. A. Burns and John Wentmore the first trustees. Mr. Whitacre continued as pastor until 1873, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. C. Steele. A framed church was built in 1870, on the north side of the town line road, half a mile east of North Solon post office.
(OBTAINED FROM THE RECORDS.)
1820. Trustees, Eben M. Waldo, Caleb Litch, Edmund Mallett;
clerk, David Lafler; treasurer, D. R. Smith; lister, Eben M.
Waldo; appaiser, Lawrence Huff; overseers of the poor, Thomas
King, Serenus Burnet.
History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Third: The Townships, compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1879; pages 491-495.