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