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.

Richmond Township

CHAPTER XXXIII

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.

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