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