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.

Plymouth Township

CHAPTER XXXII

ELECTION HELD - ORIGINAL OWNERS - FIRST WHITE SETTLERS - PUBLIC HIGHWAY - TOPOGRAPHY - FIRST WHITE CHILD - FIRST FRAME BUILDING  - CHURCHES - POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED - FIRST STOREKEEPER - FARMING AND DAIRYING - WOOLEN MILL.

     The following excerpt from an ancient poll-book will suffice to introduce the township of Plymouth, which, upon its subtraction from Ashtabula, became township No. 12, range 3 of Ashtabula County, its birth, as it were, taking place on the "Glorious Fourth":
     "At a meeting of the electors of Plymouth Township holden at the house occupied for school purposes, standing near the residence of Russell A. Smith, in said township, on the fourth day of July, 1838, Robert Seymour, Samuel Burnet and Josiah Allen were chosen judges and Levi P. Blakeslee and Wells Blakeslee clerks of said election, who, being duly sworn, according to law, proceeded to elect the following township officers: Samuel Burnet, Andrew Willey and William Stewart, trustees; Levi P. Blakeslee, township clerk; Bennett Seymour, treasurer; Elias C. Upson and William Foster, overseers of poor; John Mann, constable; Samuel Burnet, William Stewart, Joseph Mann, Bennett Seymour, Solomon A. Simons, Elias C. Upson and Merritt M. Mann, supervisors." On Nov. 9, following the township organization, another election was held at the home of Warner Mann for the purpose of naming a justice of the peace, and that official honor was handed to the host named. Later it appears there was a necessity for a second justice in the township and Daniel Hubbard was named for that office.
     The property embraced in Plymouth Township was handed over from the Connecticut Land Company to Nehemiah Hubbard, and Matthew Hubbard was his resident agent for the sale of such portions as might be de­sired by incoming settlers.
     The first white settlers were the families of William Thompson and Thomas McGahhe, who came in 1804 and chose a location on Lot No. 5 in the northern edge of the township and overlooking a beautiful vista of deep river valley. Following them Samuel White arrived and also settled on the northern border, along the river front which marks the north line of about two-thirds of the township. In the same year David Burnet located on lot No. 12, just south of Thompson and McGahhe. Following years brought Thomas Gordon, Samuel White, William Foster, Moses Hall, Zadock and Warner Mann, John and Ashur Blakeslee, Linus Hall, Titus Seymour, David Warren, Elias Upson and others up to about 1811.
     Plymouths' first public highway was the girdled road put through by the engineers of the Connecticut Land Company, from Kelloggsville through Sheffield, Plymouth, Saybrook and Austinburg, in this county, and on to Cleveland. The first official county highway was built in 1842, from the Jefferson-Ashtabula highway, at a point in the most northwest­\erly lot of the township, eastward to a junction with the road to Denmark. As settlers became more numerous and scattered the installation of new roads was made as circumstances warranted and eventually, while the township became well supplied with highways, there is probably no other in the county where the roads are so irregular and crooked. Plymouth's first "improved" road was the one leading to the Center from Ashtabula, via Runkle street in the latter city, which was paved in 1922.
     The topographical conditions in Plymouth are of a nature very much in variation to other townships of the county which, doubtless, had much to do with the irregularity of its highways. The northern boundary, skirting the Ashtabula River and Hubbard's Run, overlooks deep valleys. Far­ther south the land is rolling and southwest of the central part are the "Big Marsh" and the two little marshes which were, before being drained, waste expanses of swamp land. Hubbard's Run has its source in the western lots of the township and Ashtabula River courses a serpentine way through the eastern part, coming in from Sheffield and traversing back through that and Kingsville Townships before it again hits and becomes the northern dividing line. No other streams of importance traverse the township.
     In 1807 the first white child, a son, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Burnet. The first school house was built in 1810 and the initial term therein was under the tutorship of Warren Mann. The first frame building was erected by Moses Hall and the first frame school house graced the township in 1817, midway between the Center and the cemetery. A church of the Episcopalian faith was organized in 1836. This society erected a church at the Center in 1841, which was the only church building in the town until the Methodists built in 1874. Services of different denominations and union meetings were held at different homes for many years and many residents attended meetings in the churches of Ashtabula and Jefferson. In 1846 a postoffice was established in the town with William W. Mann as postmaster. Mr. Mann was also the first storekeeper in the town, his store being opened in 1849. Some years later he moved to East Ashtabula, and after conducting a mercantile establishment there for a number of years he went to the west side and established himself at the corner of Center and Park streets, where he remained many years.
     Farming and dairying were always the chief occupations of the residents of Plymouth, but in the early days the town also boasted numerous industrial establishments, which were situated along the river, water affording the only available power. Among these factories might be mentioned sawmills, woolen mills and grist mills. There were carding machines and cloth dressing machines and other utilities.
     The woolen mill owned by Fitts & Gilbert was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1849, just after $4,000 worth of new machinery had been installed and it had been made ready for business.

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