Ashtabula Co., Ohio
SOURCE: History of Ashtabula County, Ohio
Large, Moina W.
Topeka :: Historical Pub. Co.,, 1924, 1132 pgs.
FIRST SETTLEMENT IN 18__ - WEST ANDOVER - EARLY FAMILIES -
CHIEF INDUSTRIES - JOHN BROWN'S RENDEZVOUS
Andover, officially recorded as
"Township No. 9 of Range 1", was originally included as a part of Vernon
Township, in Trumbull County. In 1807 it was brought within the boundaries
of Ashtabula County, as a part of Wayne Township. It came into its own in
1819, when it was given its name, and its territory also covered what is now
Cherry Valley. In 1827 Cherry Valley was relinquished, leaving the present
Epephras Lyman is credited with being the first
white man to undertake to establish his permanent home in Andover. That
was about 1805. Lyman came to this section unmarried. He
proceeded to erect for himself and his meager requirements a cabin home, wherein
he dwelt in solitary fellowship for about five years; then secured a housekeeper
and helpmeet in the person of a fair daughter of Stephen Brown whose home
was in Austinburg.
The first family that chose Andover for a future
habitation was that of Zadock Steele erected the first log house in the
township. To this family is also credited the first boy baby born into an
Andover family of white parents, in 1809.
It appears that this Steele family, though the
first permanent settlers, were not the next to arrive after the advent of
Epephras Lyman, for it is chronicled that in the year 1804 a daughter was
born to Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Houghton, during their temporary sojourn
within the confines of Andover Township. This child, so far as can now be
learned from history, was the first white baby born in the township.
An interesting story, in which canine sagacity plays
the chief role, is told in connection with the arrival of the Steele
family heir. Mr. Steele owned a dog which divided its time between
the home kennel and the neighboring habitat of Samuel Tuttle, the nearest
settler, who lived over the line in Williamsfield Township. This knowing
dog had been taught to carry messages and packages between these two families,
who were on close friendly terms, and occasion arose in which he doubtless saved
a life. When it came near the time for the realization of Mrs. Steele's
expectations, in order that she might have proper care through the coming
ordeal, she went to the Tuttle home, to remain until after the
confinement. Thus it came about that the first boy born to Andover parents
was not born in that township, but in Williamsfield.
As soon as able to again assume her household
responsibilities, Mrs. Steele returned to her home. It developed
that she had overestimated her strength, for she was taken suddenly violently
ill, and circumstances were such that the husband dared not leave her.
Thereupon, he bethought him of the dog, and he write a note to the Tuttles
and, tying it to the dog's neck, he started the animal out, and the desired aid
came in time to forestall the threatened visit of the Grim Reaper.
The first death in Andover occurred at the home of
Rufus Houghton, when his wife passed away, on Dec. 4, 1816.
Her's was the first body deposited in the new allotment that he had deeded to
the township two years previous by Aristarchus Champion, to be used as a
burying ground for future generations.
In 1812 Francis Lyman and family settled in
Andover. About that time Isaac H. Phelps moved in from Harpersfield
and built a two story log grist mill. He had a part of the machinery in
when the news of Hull's surrender reached the settlement and threw the
whole country into such a state that he gave up his project and returned whence
In 1814 Rufus Houghton, whose former sojourn had
been but temporary, moved his family form Harpersfield, and took up permanent
abode in Andover. He bought the mill built by Phelps and
established a business in that line.
Norman Merrill was that next settler, and
descendants of both his and the Houghton family still reside in the
Among the early families, also, were those of
Samuel, Theodore and Charles Wade, who came in 1820, and their father,
James Wade, and Benjamin F. Wade who came in 1823. The last
named later gained fame as a United States senator because of his undaunted
stand against slavery. They and their descendants have always been
prominent residents of the county.
The original settlement of the town was near the
western boundary and came to be known as West Andover. That section of the
township is hilly and abounds in springs from which are formed small streams,
affording abundant water for stock and other requirements. The presence of
this water supply was doubtless the cause of that section being chosen as a site
for the town, as the eastern part of the township was not so well blessed
in that particular.
The first postmaster of Andover was Epephras Lyman
who kept the post office in his own home, to which residents from miles around
had to come for their mail. This office was established in 1814, as one of
the regular stops on the mail route established from Warren to the lake region.
The mails were transported on horseback, or on foot, and the carrier visited
each post office once a week.
The first school in Andover was conducted in Francis
Lyman's barn, and Miss Dorothy Houghton was the teacher. That
was also in 1814.
A church of the Presbyterian denomination was organized
in 1818 in the original town, but it was not until 1832 that Andover Center
boasted a church organization. This was of the Congregational denomination
and its organization was accomplished after a long series of irregular meetings,
held at homes of those who afterward became members and supporters of the
society. It was eleven years later before the congregation had attained
sufficient strength in membership and funds to erect a house of worship.
The erection of this church had the effect of starting
the population toward the center and West Andover gradually succumbed to the
withdrawal of its residents. Then came the railroad and as that hit the
center settlement the future was established for that quarter.
Milling was the chief industry of the town in its early
years, and as the country became cleared adn settled thereabouts, Andover
gradually became a central market for dairy products and cheese and butter
factories were built and in later years it became a great dairy center.
That industry flourished in Andover, as it did in
several other towns of the county, until a comparatively few years ago, when
this county was invaded by representatives of the firms supplying milk to
residents of Pittsburgh and other cities of the iron center, which had grown in
population so rapidly that the question of a milk supply became a serious one.
Those whose business it was to furnish the milk to city
patrons, found it necessary to reach out and they sent men up into this county
who offered milk producers such prices for the output of their dairies that the
county factories, which had been taking he entire supply, had to stand back and
see the foundations on which their business was based drop from under them to an
almost ruinous extent and go to foreign buyers.
Bet sources of information available indicate that
Andover village was organized in 1819. Rufus Houghton was the
first recorded justice of the peace, being thus authorized in 1820. The
first record obtainable of an election was of one held on April 2, 1824, when
Merrick Bates, John Pickett and Lebbeus Marvin were elected trustees;
John Pickett, Jr. clerk; Nathan C. Johnson and Daniel Marvin,
overseers of the poor.
That was years before the establishment of a county
infirmary for indigent residents of its territory. In those days each
township had to take care of its poor, and this work was delegated to a board of
officers whose duty it was to attend to all necessary plans and arrangements
looking to the feeding, clothing and housing of these unfortunate dependents.
It was in 1820 that the first frame building was
constructed at Andover Center, and it is to the credit of those early pioneers
that this, then modern structure was designed for a place of educational
pursuits. Its primary was for a school in which the children of those
pioneers might receive their early education, in preparation for the years to
come. This building was also used for general public meetings. The
dedication was made the occasion for the greatest public demonstration that the
town had ever known up to that time.
After this building had served the community for many
years, it was relegated to use for commercial interests, it being moved to
another part of town and converted into a curing room for the first
cheese-factory that did business at the Center.
It is history that in those early years whiskey was a
legal tender, or, if not so recognized, at least was frequently used in place of
money. It was considered quite as essential to the needs and welfare of a
community as was money. Some of the older residents of today recall how
their grandparents used to tell stories related by their ancestors, of how
whiskey was used as a medium of exchange. One of the boys of the Wade
family is said to have taught school in Madison one winter term and to
have received six barrels of whiskey as his pay, while his brother taught in
Windsor the same winter and was given only five barrels.
The coming of the railroad and the junction of two
lines in the early '70s gave the town quite an impetus and there were visions of