Chagrin Falls township includes Chagrin Falls, Bentlyville and Griffithsburg.
In 1815 Syremus BURNETT, with his family, located two miles north of the present village of Chagrin Falls, paying $2.50 an acre for his land, which was then considered a high price. For six months after their arrival Mrs. BURNETT did not see the face of another white woman.
The third family to settle in the township was that of Maj. Allen HUMPHREY, who was in command of the forces in Cleveland at the time of HULL’s surrender at Detroit. His daughter, Maria Clarissa, married Eleazor GOODWIN, and later they made Chagrin their home. Mrs. GOODWIN took an active part in the exciting events of anti-slavery days. A daughter, Fanny, Mrs. Amassa ALLEN, lives in the village; also a son, Roswell W., who married Maria CONVERSE, a woman whose life has been filled with good works and good words.
Chagrin has the first millstones made for grinding corn in Cuyahoga County. They were made in 1815.
In 1831 Rev. Wm. HAYDEN, with his wife, Mary McCULLOM, and their family located at the falls of the Chagrin river. Mrs. HAYDEN was devoted to her home, carefully rearing their three daughters and four sons. Mr. HAYDEN traveled horseback all over the country to preach, going even to Canada. At the time of his death he had traveled enough to take him around the world. Their daughter, Rhoda, and ambitious, intelligent girl, married Mr. J.G. COLEMAN, and they became substantial citizens of the village in later years.
In 1833 the village of Chagrin was founded by Noah GRAVES in the company with Dr. S.S. HANDERSON. One thousand acres of land were purchased and in 1834 the little village was fairly starting with seven families. Sarah HART, born in New York, was the wife of Dr. HANDERSON, and bravely did this mother-in-the-wilderness meet the perplexities of pioneer life. The marriage of their daughter, Marym, to Philetus BOSWORTH, was the first wedding in the village, and an occasion of great merry-making. Nancy became Mrs. BEEBE.
Mr. A.A. HART, a brother of Mrs. Dr. HANDERSON, with his wife, Polly ELDRIDGE, were pioneers.
Betsy D. HUTCHINS was the wife of Henry GRISWOLD. The howling wolves were often kept from their door by bright fires of hickory bark. Mrs. HUTCHINS was an expert spinner and weaver. She has now her reel, which was charred by the fire that destroyed their log house. Their eldest daughter, Mary, married J.M. STEVENSON, and has lived in Chagrin longer than any other resident.
Charlotte SMITH, born in Vermont, came while yet a child with her parents to New York. She married Napoleon B. COVILL, and in 1834 came to Chagrin. She is described as kind and affectionate but firm and very brave in times of danger.
Catherine GRAVES and her husband, Ebenezer WILCOX, were married in Conway, Mass., and settled in Chagrin in 1834. Living with Mrs. WILCOX was a Mr. GRAVES, a widower, who married Minerva, daughter of Capt. Allen GAYLORD, of Newburg, who was in the battle of Lake Erie under Com. PERRY.
Chester BUSHNELL and family were early comers, and were progressive citizens. Mr. BUSHNELL built a barn, the upper part of which they lived in for a time, taking boarders and stabling the horses of the travelers below.
Hannah CARLTON, second wife of Caleb EARL, was mother of Angeline, Mrs. Nathaniel WARREN, who saved herself at the time of the “flood,” when the dam gave way, by catching hold of the overhanging bough of a tree, as the avalanche of water, bridge, timbers and debris rushed down, sweeping away her boat.
The EARL home was by common consent the post office.
Two early families were those of Margaret SMITH, Mrs. Luman GRISWOLD, and Mary GRISWOLD, Mrs. George SMITH, from Vermont.
Rachel RICE, from Connecticut, became Mrs. Jacob GILLETT, and lived to be 97 years of age.
Clarissa SANDERSON, with her husband, Henry CHURCH, and daughters, Jerusha and Jane E., were from Sanderson, Mass. At Buffalo they took the “Daniel Webster” to Cleveland. The “Michigan,” the first steamer on the lakes, raced all the way down. The “Daniel Webster” burned butter and tar and finally took fire, which was only extinguished after hard work.
No better idea of the character of Mrs. CHURCH can be given than the beautiful manner in which she cared for a little motherless girl entrusted to her, who, although children of her own came to her, to their home, ever received the full measure of a mother’s love. Her eldest son, Henry, is the oldest man living in Chagrin who was born there.
Coming with the CHURCHES, and from the same town, were Luther GRAVES, a nephew of Noah GRAVES, and his wife. A daughter born soon after their arrival is said to be the first little lady born in the township. Mr. CHURCH and Mr. GRAVES were partners as blacksmiths.
Among early records are the names of Wm. CHURCH and wife, Caroline TORREV, from Massachusetts, and Samuel GRAHAM and wife, Marry HEMINWAY. Mrs. GRAHAM had two daughters.
Emily ELLSWORTH came from Massachusetts in 1835 as the wife of John HAYMAKER.
Deacon Thomas Nelson WEST and wife, Rebecca CLARK, from Harbor Creek, Mich., managed the underground railway of those dark days. Mr. WEST was chief engineer and Mrs. WEST conducted the "station," which was in their attic. Their son, Robert was the first little gentleman born in the village. It is said of Mrs. WEST: “There was hardly a sorrow of earth but came to her, yet through all she retained her love and confidence in the goodness of God.”
Mrs. Richard PRATT, Sarah FITCH, from Rochester, N.Y., moved to the village in 1835. She now lives with her daughter in Iowa.
Lucinda OVERTON married Justus Hull VINCENT in Herkimer, N.Y., and moved to Chagrin in 1835. Mrs. VINCENT was equal to all emergencies. Once when the river was too high to cross, she nailed the door of an old tin lantern to a board and grated corn enough to make Johnny-cake for her family. The marriage of her daughter, Almeda, to Aaron BLISS, on the fourth of July was the occasion of a great celebration. The bridal gown was of silk, which the bride had ridden many miles on horseback to purchase. Another daughter, Mary, studied medicine and is now practicing in Chicago.
Diana HARDY, a teacher at Orange, became Mrs. Jackson VINCENT, and claims the honor of having taught James A. GARFIELD his a b c’s.
Marilla POOL, of Plainfield, Mass., came to Chagrin in 1836 as the wife of Obadiah BLISS. Mrs. BLISS was of a bright, sunny disposition, well fitted to meet the disappointments of pioneer life. Her nine sons and four daughters were all fine singers. Two sons were surgeons in the war of the rebellion; the eldest will be remembered as GARFIELD’s surgeon. Of this large family two remain, Mrs. Marilla FORCE and Mrs. Serepta WENHAM.
Judith ROBENS and husband, Joshua OVERTON, occupied the “Union House,” and the sad death of their little daughter by fire in 1840 was the first death by accident in the township. The day after, the old cemetery was laid out, and this was the first little body to be placed there. Mrs. OVERTON has one daughter, Julia, and is herself kindly cared for in the home of her son.
Lewis BENEDICT with his wife, Lydia B., also arrived in 1836. Mrs. BENEDICT is now over ninety years of age. She was an eye-witness to the terrible scene just mentioned.
Mrs. Olmstead BANCROFT, Mary BRACE, of New Jersey, was a most devoted mother and true woman.
A noble pioneer was Mrs. Chas. WALDRON (Hannah BARNUM), a cousin of the late P.T. BARNUM, America’s illustrious showman. One daughter, Mrs. Uraina HEWES is still a resident of the town.
Sibyl HAMISTON, Mrs. Russell SHEFFIELD, was ambitious and industrious and reared her family carefully.
A very youthful pair were Saloma BANCROFT and A.C. GARDNER, who often fired a gun from their window, at night, to frighten away the wolves. Mrs. GARDNER became a model mother and a wise counselor. Of this family one son, A.B. GARDNER, of the village, and three daughters remain.
In 1836, as residents for a few years, were Mr. Chester PLASTRAGE and wife, Alvine STURTEVANT. He later married Louisa Dayton LAUDER.
Geo. FENKELL built the first gristmill. His two eldest daughters, Charlotte and Phyllis Ann, took charge of their father’s household, boarding the men who worked for him. They bought the first cook stove, which was quite a curiosity. The mother, Hannah HATFIELD, who came the next season, was a devoted home body, carefully rearing her children and skillfully managing all business matters that came to her charge. She was active till her death at eighty-four. One daughter, Mrs. Pame’a TENNY, and one son, D.L. FENKELL, are residents of Chagrin.
Amelia EDICK, of Russell, O., was the third wife of Deacon Cyrus BAILEY.
Mrs. Ira SMITH, Betsy HOLMES, resides with her daughter, and has reached the age of seventy-nine. She has always been kind and helpful in sickness and true to her friends and to her convictions.
In 1835 a young lady, Polly Maria SCOFIELD, on a visit to her sister, Mrs. BOSWORTH, alighted from the coach in front of the Union House. Zopher HOLCOM, at work building a house opposite, watched her and remarked: “Boys, that girl will some day be my wife!” a prophecy which proved true. Two of their daughters reside at Chagrin, Mrs. Orrin SNEDAKER and Mrs. LARABEE.
Marcy LITCH, accompanied her parents from Vermont, traveling all the way in wagons, in the winter time. Five days they traveled on the ice of Lake Erie. The weather turned warm, and they searched all one day to find a place where they could climb the steep bank. At nightfall they found a practical outlet, and the next morning there was no ice in sight on the lake. Marcy married James FISHER, and of their family two were daughters. Mr. FISHER did not live long, and after his death Mrs. FISHER married Nathan HOBART. Edler BENTLEY officiated at both weddings. One granddaughter of this family lives in the town, Mrs. Hugh HANDERSON.
Truly a home body was Alice BROCKWAY, wife of Josiah ROGERS. For twenty years she never left her own yard, and never saw the bridge spanning the river after crossing it when moving into the village. She lived to ninety-five. One of her sons was a physician of the early days.
Ann HOUS, Mrs. H.A. RODGERS, a daughter-in-law, with her husband, came at the same time.
One of the prominent business men was John MAYHEW, who was three times marred. Elizabeth Frances SLONE was his first wife, Roxey MARTIN the second, and Judith MARTIN the third. The latters daughter, Mary, was Mrs. A.A. KINGSBURY.
At the early age of fifteen, Emily FLINT came from Vermont to live with her aunt at Claridon, O. The monotony of the journey was relieved by the overturning of the stage-coach, door side down, so that the passengers had to be lifted out of the window. She taught two years, then returned to her home, followed by Chiles T. BLAKESLEE, who went to bring her back as his bride. Mr. BLAKESLEE was soon after admitted to the bar. These two did much for the intellectual advancement of the village. It is said of Mrs. BLAKESLEE that a hasty or cross word was never known to pass her lips.
Their sons all became lawyers or ministers. Jennie E. is the wife of Rev. C.L. RICHARDS, or Baraboo, Wis., and Carrie preserved the family traditions by marrying a lawyer, J.M. EDGERTON. Mrs. BLAKESLEE resides with Mrs. RICHARDS, is in good health and able to attend church, though past 80. Hon C.T. BLAKESLEE and Jehu BRAINARD were editors of the first newspaper in the town, a copy of which can be seen at the Historical Society rooms.
Mrs. Geo. MARCH, Laura Ann BLAKESLEE, was born in Hartford, Conn.
Starting from Massachusetts on the day of the opening of the railway from Worcester to Springfield, came Abner T. ALLEN and bride, Eunice SHEPARD. Mrs. ALLEN is remembered by many as very hospitable and a lady of much refinement.
Amasa I. ALLEN arrived the same year, but not until 1851 did he choose his bride, Wealthy HOLMES, whose happy song, while performing home duties, and sunny temperament endeared her to all.
Jerusha SMITH, wife of Rev. Benajah WILLIAMS, from Hartford, Conn., was a great worker in the Methodist Church. L.D. WILLIAMS, her eldest son, was the first postmaster of the village. He married Oliver Tryphena WARREN. Benjah WILLIAMS’ second wife, Hannah Maria GARDNER, was an invalid, but deeply interested in her home.
Fanny TENNY became Mrs. John Wesley WILLIAMS, and her whole life was devoted to doing good.
Sarah PARSHALL, born in Palmyra, N.Y., married Jeddiah HUBBEL. They lived on a large farm for some years. She never failed in her duty, paying always strict regard to the dictates of her conscience.
A most wonderful needlewoman was Mrs. Thomas BAZARD (Ruth KNOX) from Blandford, Mass. Dainty muslin colors and delicately embroidered veils are evidences of her skill. Her daughter became Mrs. Eugene KENT.
General Alanson KNOX, and wife, Lucinda KNOX-KNOX, followed their daughter to the then far West. General KNOX was a gentleman of the old school and his wife, like the daughter, a skillful needlewoman. A carpet made by her which has the appearance of tufted work is still in use in the home of her granddaughter.
A quiet, retiring person was Mrs. Lucinda B. WILKINSON (Parmelia JOHNSON), from New York. Her son, S.L. WILKINSON, resides at Chagrin.
Wealthy SMITH of Hadley, Mass., married Pliny KELLOGG, and with him moved to Chagrin. Her daughter, Leonora L., married Harmon BARROWS, and her daughter, Ermina, became Mrs. Judge JONES, and Lydia, Mrs. DAVIS, afterward Mrs. CALEY.
Louise C. JONES, born at Sudbury, Mass., was educated at the Holliston school, and while there met Rev. Jarius T. STURTEVANT, who became her husband. Then commenced a life of mingled joy and sorrow. Her husband was a member of the M.E. Conference and there were many changes, many meetings and partings. Mrs. STRUTEVANT thus describes the view upon first entering the village: “Surely they were well supplied with quilts, as they were used for doors and windows.”
She is still living in Ashby, Mass., at the advanced age of eighty years.
From Lee, Mass., came Sarah EASTON, the happy bride of Curtis BULLARD. She was sprightly and bright, and her ready wit made her a great favorite. Passionately fond of flowers, her garden was the pride and envy of the town. Mrs. Sarah ROGERS is her daughter.
Sarah Ann RICHARDSON, born at Barkhampstead, Conn., educated at Catherine Beecher’s school at Hartford, married Col Royal TAYLOR. She was ever doing good, and looked well after the poor in winter, especially those who came from foreign countries.
Louisa Nancy TAYLOR, wife of J.P. BRINSMADE, was of gentle disposition and winning manners. Her son, Col Allen T. BRINSMADE, now represents the family.
From Langtry, Devonshire, Eng., came Mary STONEMAN and her husband, John CLEVERDON. They were six weeks on the water. Mr. CLEVERDON is among the oldest residents.
Sally DAVENPORT and her husband Harvey WHITE, identified themselves with any work that tended to the upbuilding of the town. Three of their daughters are now living. There were a family of singers. Mrs. Mary WHITE having a particularly fine soprano voice. All were great workers in the Congregational church.
Jane GREY, born Belfast, Ireland, married Thomas WHITE, and came to America, settling in Chagrin in 1843. Two daughters now live in the village.
An early resident was Pricilla TAYLOR, who became Mrs. PECK.
Clarissa BOSWORTH was the wife of E.P. WOLCOTT. Of their children, four were daughters.
Eliza BENJAMIN came with her parents from New York. One day, while walking through the woods, she espied an object moving slowly before her, and after some delay, succeeded in capturing the prize, a young fawn. She married I.A. FOOT, and their daughter, Sarah, became Mrs. D.L. FENKELL. Mrs. FOOT aimed through life to make others happy.
Sedrana NASH, born in New York, married Thomas SHAW, and with him moved to Chagrin in 1841. Three daughters comprised the family, Miss Lizzie being the first ordained minister sent out from the village. Mrs. SHAW was ever to be found at the bedside of the sick, cheerful and helpful.
Marilla NASH, Mrs. Samuel POOL, having no children of her own, tenderly cared for a little motherless boy and girl. She now lives in the home of this adopted son.
Four sons of Mrs. Chas. E. MORTON (Huldah A. NOAH) gave valuable service throughout the war for the Union. Mrs. MORTON now resides in Hamilton, Mo.
Mrs. Abel FISHER (Ruth GREEN), from New York, was jolly company, entertaining her friends in most novel and original ways.
Thomas CHRISTIAN and wife (Mary D. KRIGG), from the Isle of Man, were highly esteemed citizens, but lovers of their native land.
Mrs. Jonathan SHEFFIELD (Laura M. STEPHENSON) was distinguished as a noble, ambitious woman, and Mrs. Hiram GLEASON (Maria HUBBEL) as a “peacemaker” among her neighbors, as in her own family.
Mrs. Alfred WILLIAMS (Louisa GREEN) from Newbury, Mass., a most estimable lady, still resides here.
Mrs. UPHAM (Lucy HEWITT) from Canton, Mass., moved to Ohio as early as 1817, and to Chagrin in the forties.
Mrs. Hezekiah RUSSELL (Roxana VICKINGER) was a most energetic woman, and considered no sacrifice to great for her children. She lives with her son George. Mrs. RUSSELL and Mrs. OVERTON are the only pioneer women living in the village today.
Mrs. Amos UPHAM (Margaret TUCKER) was an energetic, hard-working pioneer. Soon after coming to Ohio, while going through the woods on a visit to a neighbor, carrying a babe and a basket of provisions, she was attacked by wolves. After an exciting race she reached a place of safely, herself and the babe unharmed, but the provisions gone. Only one of her children is now living, Mr. E.B. UPHAM.
Mr. Adin GAUNTT and wife, Martha DIXON, were from southern Ohio. His second wife was Hannah DEAN.
Nancy LOCKWOOD, born in New York, married Wm. YEAMANS. She had been a teacher and was well educated. Her son is Prof. YEAMANS, of Detroit Medical College.
Mrs. Reuben R. WALTERS (Emily WHITE) was the mother of three sons, of whom Dr. Dr. R.W. WALTERS, of the village, is the only one remaining. Mrs. WALTERS was a most lovely woman, teaching her sons: “If you can say nothing good of a person, speak not of him.”
Rachel SMITH married Harry BENEDICT. Of her thirteen children one was a daughter. This family were all musicians.
Mrs. Samuel SUNDERLAND (Hannah HOPKINS) was of a happy disposition, and always ready with aid for the needy.
A sister of Mrs. SUNDERLAND, Rachel HOPKINS, became Mrs. Leonard LAMPSON. These two were faithful Christians, never lagging in their work for good. They were fine singers, enjoying to old age that part of the church service.
Wm. HUTCHINS and wife, Mary DOWNS, from Devonshire, Eng., both hired out to work for Dr. VINCENT, Mr. HUTCHINS helping to build the house that afterward became their own. They received $12.00 a month for their labor, he $8.00 and she $4.00. They afterwards purchased land to which they found a clear title and could not be had unless they could also purchased the adjoining lot. They decided to borrow the money of a distant friend, and Mrs. HUTCHINS set out on foot, alone, for a three days’ trip, returning promptly with the money. They did much for the Bible Christian Church, and by honesty and industry amassed a handsome fortune.
Jeannette, daughter of John EARL, acted as mother to five younger sisters.
Mrs. Benj. WILLEY (Polly SMITH) was from New York, the latter part of the thirties. Her daughter, Jane, is Mrs. A.C. WILLIAMS, of Revenna.
Honor SUMMER, widow of Elisha WHITE, Mrs. Milo BOSWORTH, and Mrs. Boardman BOSWORTH (Eliza SCHOFIELD) were all most estimable women. The latter assisted ably with the work among the poor, who had come from foreign shores. Her daughter, Jennie, became Mrs. W.H. CALEY.
Mrs. Timothy JONES (Caroline HURLBURT) was another good woman who worked among the poor in winter. She cared especially for those who came from England.
A most industrious woman was Mrs. Isaac BURTON (Betsy PRESTON), who spun and wove all the clothing for her family. She had eleven great-grandchildren and up to her death took pleasure in knitting or crocheting for some of them.
Mrs. Wm. FAY (Esther TUFTS) and her daughter, Lucy Ann, Mrs. Lewis GILBERT, were from Hadley, Mass. Mrs. GILBERT’s daughter, Susan, is Mrs. Judge JORDAN. Mrs. TUFTS was a beautiful needlewoman, which accomplishment has been inherited to the fourth generation. Mrs. GILBERT is remembered with the tenderest regard by every resident in the village who knew her. She was a woman of sweet and beautiful character.
Mrs. Chas. FORCE (Marilla BLISS), one of the pioneers, still lives, at the age of seventy-nine. She is a well-preserved woman, and takes great interest in all the modern improvements.
Lucy Ann, sister of Charles FORCE, became Mrs. Hannibal GODSEL. She was a woman of refinement and education, and had a remarkable memory. She took an active part in home work during the late war. Her daughter, Arvilla, is Mrs. Dr. DOTY, of Chagrin.
Ralph RUSSELL and wife (Laura ELLSWORTH), from Chester, Mass., located at Griffithsburg, 1831, and founded the Shaker settlement. Their daughter, Mrs. Andrew RUSSELL, the only one left of the family, has resided on the same farm for sixty-five years. Some two years later Mrs. Grand PERKINS (Sophia BILIES), with her two daughters, Amanda and Louisa, moved in. In 1834 Col GRIFFITH and wife, Abia STOWE, infused new life into the settlement. Mrs. STOWE was the daughter of a fine old family in Stowe, O.
Orson LORD and wife, Amanda S. PERKINS, also located here. The latter’s sister, Loisa became Mrs. Zena RIDER.
Capt. Archibald ROBBINS was a noted sailor, and had been taken prisoner at one time on the coast of Africa. His wife was Elizabeth WILLIAMS.
Another family was Elijah B. HILL, his wife, Rebecca HARVEY, and their six children, four girls.
Lois CARTER was the wife of Lester JUDD, a dry goods merchant, from Ravenna.
Mary Ann SABIN married Levi RAWSON and moved here, 1833. At the same time came Amanda DYE, the bride of Ralph SABIN, from Randolph, O.
In 1836 Electra KENNEDY and her husband, Evart GALLEY, moved to Bentleyville. The same year we find Hiram GALLEY and his wife, Amanda KENNEDY, as residents of the village.
Eunice COVEY married John WOODWARD. Of four children, two were daughters.
Coming a widow with three daughters was Elizabeth BENTLEY MORFORD, who was very skillful with her needle.
Stroughton, the eldest son of Rev. Adamson BENTLEY, married Orsey BALDWIN.
Matyin BENTLEY married Huldah KENT.
The site for Bentleyville was selected by Rev. Adamson BENTLEY, 1831, who, with his wife, Mary BROOKS, and children, from Warren, settled in the rude log house which he had built the year before. Their provisions consisted of ten barrels of flour, six barrels of pork, six barrels of salt, etc. He established the Disciple Church and preached for years without salary. Mrs. BENTLEY was a woman of great intelligence and well versed in Scripture. Their daughter, Lorinda, became the wife of Thomas CLAPP; Mary married S.K. COLLINS; Laura became Mrs. Stephen BURNETT, Lucretia died, age 21, and Emily became the wife of Gamaliel KENT. The third daughter, Martha, married Julius KENT, remained at the old home and is the oldest living resident of Bentleyville. When Mrs. KENT was a child but ten years old, her mother, wishing to bleach some linen, sent her daughters to the house of a friend, as there was no grass about their own home. The faithful little girl stayed three weeks, turning the linen each day.
Mrs. Elisha HIGLEY (Adeltha HORTON) from Bainbridge, assisted her husband in taking daguerreotypes. They had one daughter.
Almeda CRARY married John GOODELL. She lived but a short time. His second wife was a widow, Eliza A. RATHBURN, nee BRYANT, who made her home in later years with her daughter, Mrs. Geo. WAITE, at Chagrin Falls.
Other honored names were Mrs. Wm. BROOKS (Jane DUNCAN) from Pennsylvania; Mrs. Calvin BROOKS (Sophia HOYT), Mrs. Uriah HOYT (Comfort Livina DAYTON), and Mrs. SMITH (Fannie WORDEN, from Liberty, N.Y. Mrs. SMITH was a remarkably energetic woman, and lived to be ninety-five years of age. Mrs. John SMITH (Nancy THORPE) and Mrs. John MORRIS, nee GIFFORD, were also worthy women.
A lack of enterprise or intelligence can never justly be brought against the people of Chagrin Falls. They have sought diligently to inform themselves of every subject which comes before the public. More newspapers were taken during the first twenty-five years of the existence of the village than in any other place of its size in the country.
Liberally do they support any enterprise which gives reasonable promise of promoting the public welfare.
Cadace A. PRATT
Chairman and Historian
Chagrin Committee - Mrs. Arvilla DOTY, Mrs. Cora ALLEN TENNY, Mrs. Jane PHELPS KENT
Complimentary Members - Mrs. Alice GLAISDELL UPHAM, Mrs. Martha RUSSELL WHITE