Ashtabula Co., Ohio
SOURCE: History of Ashtabula County, Ohio
Large, Moina W.
Topeka :: Historical Pub. Co.,, 1924, 1132 pgs.
OWNERS - ORGANIZATION - FIRST HIGHWAY - EARLY VILLAGES -
RICHMOND CENTER - FIRST SCHOOL - CHURCH ORGANIZATION - IMPORTANT STAGE STATION
Township No. 10 in the eastern tier, bordering the
Pennsylvania State line, experienced many changes of affiliation before it was
finally brought to its present status and came into its own under the name of
Richmond, in 1828. In the beginning, so far as white ownership was concerned,
the Connecticut Land Company parceled it out to various owners, John
Kinsman, Justus and Horace Stocking, Samuel
Woodruff and the heirs of Caleb Atwater participating. In the
organization of the county in 1808 the territory embraced in the present
Richmond Township was a part of Jefferson; in 1813 it was included in that part
taken from Jefferson and named Denmark; in 1818 it was a part of territory which
was detached from Denmark and became Pierpont, and on March 4, 1828, it was
finally divorced from Pierpont. The organization meeting was held on April 8 at
the home of John H. Montgomery, at the Center, and the following
officials were elected: J. H. Montgomery, Levi Brown, and
David Prindle, trustees; Salmon Ashley, clerk;
Artemas Ward, treasurer; Nicholas Knapp and Horace
Caldwell, fence viewers; Thomas Bright and Paul
Rice, overseers of the poor; Charles Jordan, constable;
Charles Jordan and Roswell Palmer, supervisors of roads
and highways. On Aug. 24, 1828, Levi Brown was commissioned
justice of the peace.
The first highway from which Richmond benefited as a
means of communication with the adjoining townships and the outer world was the
north and south road from Conneaut to Warren. Others were made according to
needs as the township progressed and when the Ashtabula & Jamestown branch of
the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad was put through it intersected the
southwest corner of the township and, at its station, there arose a settlement
which was designated as Leon.
In the southeast corner of the township is also a
hamlet called Padanaram and in the northwestern section another named Steamburg,
and on the north center line was North Richmond. In the earlier years each of
the towns named and also Richmond Center boasted post offices, but the last one
of these was discontinued a couple of years ago and all now receive mail by star
or rural service.
Richmond Center, as the principal settlement was
called, was established in the central part of the township and most of the
early settlers located thereabouts. The families of Peter Yateman,
Benjamin Newcomb, Samuel and William Teed,
Mr. Morehouse, who were the first to lay their future hopes in
Richmond, arrived in 1805 and all settled on lot 46, which was the southwest
corner of the Center, and thus became the nucleus of the future town which was
built around the intersection of two subsequent important highways. Among the
early settlers were also Newcomb, Morse, Tead, Rice
and Drigs families. Charles Jordon was the proud builder of
the first frame house in the village, which was erected in 1828 and subsequently
destroyed by fire.
The first public school teacher was employed in 1811,
she being Miss Laura Ford. The first school house built in
the township was put up in 1826, in the Padanaram neighborhood. In the same year
another school was built in what was known as the "Old Rockwell District", on
property donated by John Kinsman for school purposes.
Ewins Wright, of Pierpont, the
neighboring township on the north, was instrumental in the organization of a
Methodist Church Society in Richmond, in the year 1811. Shortly after that
the Baptists also organized. Subsequently Wesleyan Methodists, Disciple, Close
Communion Baptists and United Brethren churches were organized in the township.
The Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists both erected houses of worship in
Padanaram, in 1849, and the Disciples built there at a later date; at the Center
there were built churches of the Methodists and Close Communion Baptists; at
Leon one by the United Brethren, and at Steamburg, another Methodist.
Situated upon the direct line of travel from the lake
at Conneaut to the south, Richmond Center became one of the important stage
stations and Mr. Newcomb built a double house of logs that was
quite a pretentious structure, which was in early years converted into a tavern
for the accommodation of travelers. In 1820 Hoges & Carpenter
opened the first store in the Leon settlement and a Mr. Barber
established at this hamlet a general store, trading station and public house
that became known through out this section as "Barber's". This man built
also one of the largest cheese factories in the county. The factory had two
hundred presses and employed more than a dozen hands. They worked up three tons
of curd daily.