Conneaut History & Genealogy - Ashtabula Co., Ohio

History of

Ashtabula Co., Ohio

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

Cherry Valley Township



    A child of numerous parentage was Cherry Valley, located between New Lyme and Andover.  It belonged first to the township of Vernon, in Trumbull County, then to Wayne, later to Andover, and finally, in 1827, started out alone to shape its own destinies.
     Its individual history began with the action of the commissioners of Ashtabula County, taken on June 8, 1827, when they passed the following resolution:
     "Resolved: (Upon the petition of Anson J. Giddings, Benoni Andrews and others) that so much of the present town of Andover as is included in the surveyed township No. 9, in the second range, be set off and erected a separate township to be known and designated by the name of  Cherry Valley, and that an election for township officers be held at the house of Josiah Creery on the Fourth of July next."
     The result of the election thus called was ten naming of the following township officers:  Trustees, Williaml Andrews, W. Benjamin and Henry Krum; clerk, Henry Krum; treasurer, Josiah Creery; fence-viewers, John Burgett and W. Benjamin; overseers of the poor, John Woodworth and William Andrews; constable, A. J. Giddings; supervisors, H. Krum and H. Lyman.  In the following spring John Woodworth was elected justice of the peace, thus completing the roster of original township officers.
     Henry Patch and Zebulon Congdon made a clearing and built the first log house in Cherry Valley in 1817.  They occupied it but a short time, however, before they deserted it and moved on into New Lyme Township.  A year later Nathaniel Hubbard arrived from the East and took possession of the Patch structure, installing his family therein and settling for a permanent residence.  The following year brought the families of John Fenn and Nathaniel Johnson, who settled within a short distance of Hubbard's home.  Josiah Creery, who is given credit for having suggested the name "Cherry Valley" for this township, became a member of the colony in 1834; then came Wooster and William Benjamin, in 1828, each having purchased fifty acres with a view to clearing and tilling it.  Two years after their arrival, the Benjamin brothers built a saw-mill on the bank of Patch Creek, which stream had been given the name of the man who built the first log cabin on its bank.
     This mill was responsible for the death of Wooster Benjamin, who was killed while at work therein. William's death was also tragic in that he was found dead between the mill and his home, with his head immersed in a pond of water. It was supposed that he fell in a fit and was drowned.
     Jesse Steele and family, who located first in Andover Township, after their arrival from Connecticut in 1816, crossed over into Cherry Valley in 1827. John Woodworth was another pioneer whose descendants occupied the old homestead for many generations. The Steeles located in one corner of the intersection of the Hayes and Center roads, and his son, A. W. Steele, established a jewelry and watch repairing store on their home.
     Other early settlers in the township included Benoni, William and Eli Andrews, Francis Webster, Noah Sweet, James Cornwell, Noah Rowley, Marvin Giddings, Henry Krum, his brother Abel, Lockwood Lobdell, John Williams, Elkanah Crosby, Conrad Petrie, Henry Tuttle.
     Some of these people purchased large tracts of land. Noah Sweet bought 1,423 acres, which was probably the largest individual purchase. There were nearly four hundred acres in the piece owned by James Cornwell, and several held hundred-acre and fifty-acre tracts.
     Of course, anything that could not be grown on their farms, must have been a luxury and everything that had to be bought brought a high price, because of the difficulties of transportation to that section from the eastern source of supply. An illustration of the cost and difficulties of acquiring necessities that had to be bought is found in the story of Jesse Steele's purchase of a barrel of salt.
     The salt was brought from eastern harbors to the mouths of the various large streams emptying into the lake on its south shore. There it was traded to the settlers for such of their produce as could be disposed of in the eastern markets. They came from all directions, and the assemblages of men from the various inland settlements proved occasions of much interest and information regarding what was transpiring in the various settled points.
     To one of these meeting points Mr. Steele on this occasion hauled three bushels of wheat, six bushels of rye and a bushel of corn, which he exchanged for one barrel of salt.
     The journey to the lake shore and return consumed five days' time, though the distance one way was only about twenty-five miles. The unbroken roads, the laborious traveling, the slow means of getting over the ground that was but occasionally traversed, was in sharp contrast with the conditions of today, when he might get into an auto-truck with his load, drive over paved roads to the lake, transact his business and be back home in three hours.
     The Hayes road, named for Richard Hayes, of Wayne, who was instrumental in its inception and construction, was the first regularly laid out highway extending through Cherry Valley. It was established in 1812, and that served generally the needs of neighboring communities until 1828, when a general road building program was inaugurated and highways were laid out in all directions where there was a need for facilities for traveling.
     Opening of these ways of transportation and communication soon led to the establishment of business places and following the opening of the first real store in 1829, by W. A. Clark. Others appeared in various sections from year to year.
In the spring of the year 1829 a postoffice was established in this store and Mr. Clark was appointed postmaster.
     Mr. Clark's wife, Hannah, was the first school teacher in Cherry Valley. She began the dissemination of knowledge to the youth of the neighborhood in the winter of 1828-29, in a log house near her husband's store. While the pupils were studying, Mrs. Clark put in her time working at her trade of seamstress.
     Cheese making, which became one of the chief industries of the town, in after years, was first begun by Mrs. John Fenn in the year 1820. Her method of pressing the cheese into form was very crude, but served all requirements of her industry, as one cow constituted the source of her original supply of material. Her press consisted of a long piece of wood.
     After placing the cheese to be pressed on a block close to the house, she would place the board on top of the cheese, one end being beneath the house, and a heavy weight being placed on the other end, the leverage thus obtained serving very satisfactorily as a means of pressure.
     In 1870 Charles Petrie constructed a cheese factory which had a capacity of turning out 25 cheeses a day.
     Religious services were regularly instituted in (about) 1825, Elder Davis, of the Methodist faith, being in charge. At first the meetings were held in various homes, but the interest became so widespread that the attendance became too large for the small houses to accommodate, so the gatherings were taken to the schoolhouse. Elder C. R. Richmond, of the Baptist Church, came to town in 1840 and organized a church of that faith. A Methodist Church was also organized at about that time by the Rev. Sturgis.
     Cherry Valley developed in later years into a splendid farming and dairy community, but it was never destined to become a manufacturing town, doubtless because it was not its good fortune to have a railroad pass through its territory. At one time the population of the township numbered as high as 800, but the census of 1920 gives it but 256.

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