CONNEAUT, OHIO HISTORY & GENEALOGY

History of
Ashtabula Co., Ohio

SOURCE: History of Ashtabula County, Ohio
Large, Moina W.
Topeka :: Historical Pub. Co.,, 1924, 1132 pgs.

Andover Township

CHAPTER XV.
p. 243

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 township boundaries.
     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 he came.
     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 vicinity.
     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 it some

PAGE 247

Back to Table of Contents - History of Ashtabula Co., Ohio

This webpage created by Sharon Wick 2008