CONNEAUT, OHIO HISTORY & GENEALOGY

History of
Pierpont Twp.
Ashtabula Co., Ohio

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

CHAPTER XXXI
PIERPONT TOWNSHIP.
PIERPONT EDWARDS - A GOOD FARMING SECTION - FIRST SETTLER - OTHER PIONEER SETTLERS - SCHOOL HOUSE ERECTED IN 1814 - POST OFFICES - HOTEL - VILLAGE ORGANIZED - HIGHWAY LAID OUT - CHURCHES - REV. O. WRIGHT.

     Why a town should be named for a man whose chief interest is to get it off his hands is not quite apparent, but that was how "Pierpont" happened.  When the Connecticut Land Company made that famed division of its Western Reserve possessions, in 1798, the fates that guided the drawing placed ownership of this particular parcel in one Pierpont Edwards, who proceeded to "unload" it as fast as anyone would take it off his hands.
     A splendid farming section, after it had been cleared, well watered by Ashtabula River and two of its tributaries that afforded drainage and power for the central and western part of the township, Pierpont started out with great promise for the future and early became quite populous, but it did not have the good luck to lay in the path of progress and, being passed by the railroads, its growth and importance were seriously affected, just when it was getting nicely under way.
     The first white comer of whom there is record was Edward Spear, who journeyed from Vermont to seek a home and fortune in the new country which was just being opened.  His choice of a location rested in the southeastern section of the township, a couple of miles from the head of the branch of Ashtabula Creek, where he erected the first white man's habitation in Pierpont.  Spear did not remain long, and after he had taken his departure for other fields, the Indians burned the log house in which he had lived.
     There were no permanent settlers in the township until 1808, when four emigrants arrived in the fall and picked out locations for their clearings and future homes.  These were Wareham Grant, Harvey Rockwell, Martin Vosburg and Ewins WrightGrant and Vosburg chose sites near together, somewhat north of the center of the township, while Rockwell and Wright located in the southeastern part.  Their families came on from the East the following year, after suitable habitations had been prepared for them.  In 1811 came Benjamin Matthews and Amos Huntley, and following them the next comers were Asa Benjamin Joseph Dewey, Samuel Brown, and among the other early settlers were Aaron Holmes, Asa Leonard, Shiram and Jephtha Turner, Amos Remington, Abijah Whitton, Archibald Gould, Ezra Cole, Ezekiel Brayman, William Read, Eli Prince, Edson Beals, Asahel Cleveland, Reuben Benjamin and Zebinah Rawson.  These and perhaps others built themselves homes and constituted quite a population within the confines of the township.  The first religious organization was effected in 1810 and was of the Methodist denomination.  A church of the Presbyterian faith was formed in 1823, and a Baptist Church in 1830.  A Congregational Church came later.  No regular church building was put up until 1840, when a Union meeting house was erected, the several denominations of the town contributing to the expense and all using it for their meetings.  Later this building became the Pierpont Academy.
     About 1814 a school house was erected in the southeastern part of the township, Miss Lucy Huntley being the first teacher.
     In 1825 Pierpont post office was established, with Archibald Gould as postmaster, and the office being in his home.
     A hotel was built at the Center in 1837 by Benjamin and Joseph Williams.  In the same year Payne & Trimmer opened a general store, and the section known as the Center began taking on the aspect of a village about that time.  Subsequently there were established dry goods, grocery, hardware and drug stores, harness, millinery and blacksmith shops, a carriage manufacturing establishment, creamery, cheese-factory and other essentials to a thriving town of that period.
     Organization of the town of Pierpont was effected in 1818.  Up to that time Pierpont and Richmond had been a part of Denmark.  A meeting was held at the home of Amos Huntley, on July 4 of that year, for the purpose of electing officers and the town was thereupon detached from the Denmark scope.  Reuben Benjamin, Sigon Turner and Harvey Rockwell were elected trustees; Martin Vosburg, clerk and treasurer; William Reed and Ewins Wright, overseers of the poor; Orange Huntley, lister; William Reed, Jr., appraiser; Benjamin Matthews and James Turner, fence viewers; James Huntley, constable; Martin Vosburg, Asa Benjamin and Harvey Rockwell, supervisors of highways.  Zebina Rawson was the first justice of the peace.
     The highway north and south through the center of all townships in range 1 was laid out through the center of Pierpont, having the effect of drawing business to a centralized point, where an east-and-west road intersected.
     Relief Lodge No. 284, order of Masons, was organized in Pierpont in 1856.  In the following year the lodge put up its own building.
     Former residents of Pierpont are loyal to the old town, and show their love for it by assembling year after year in Russell's Grove, in one big reunion which has come to be widely known as the annual Pierpont picnic.  They come by the thousands and the meeting is always made a gala occasion.
     That is about the only exciting event of the year, unless something extraordinary happens to disturb the tranquil existence of the village. 
     About a year ago the Presbyterians engaged the Rev. O. Wright for their new pastor and he very soon set the town agog with his extraordinary doings.  He came to find that the church, the manse and the community house were all in sore need of repairs, but he said nothing to the officials of what he had noticed.  Instead he donned overalls and, with necessary tools, set about the making repairs.  His neighbors marveled at this strange procedure and thought it was "grand-stand play" by the new minister, but when he was seen trundling a wheelbarrow of dirt and they realized that he had actually started to dig a cellar under the church for the purpose of installing a furnace, they began to take notice and then to offer their help.  The congregation began to grow and the work of repairs had plenty of willing hands to push it along.  It developed that the new preacher was a community worker.  In an effort to bring the churches, the schools, lodges, Grange and Farm Bureau together, he organized a chamber of commerce and launched out on a program for an active year.  Next he launched a paper called the Community Visitor, which he sends to every home in the community.  He uses moving pictures in connection with his church services, and since he started the waking-up process in the old town there has never been a dull moment.

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