Chagrin Falls Township History - Cuyahoga County, OH





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Transcribed by Rosemary Metro
Proofed by Denise, County Coordinator

Serenus Burnet - Two Dollars and a Half per Acre for Land - Other Early Settlers - A Log Gristmill - An Unfinished Bridge - Adamson Bentley - Bentleyville - Beginning at Chagrin Falls Village - Noah Graves and Dr. Henderson - Newcomers in 1837 - A Tavern in a Barn - The Old Deer Lick - Griffithsburg - Bentleyville's Prosperous Days - Dr. Vincent - A Primitive Bank - A College Chartered - Lively Times - Sidney Rigdon - The Financial Crisis - Early Mail Facilities - Asbury Seminary - The Tippecanoe Campaign - Whig Riflemen and Democratic Indians -First Paper Mill - Annexation of Nine Hundred Acres to Orange - Deacon White's Ax Factory - More about Bentleyville - Formation of Chagrin Falls Township - First Officers - Enterprise of the People - Champion's Scheme - A Pleasant Village - The Excitement at the Outbreak of the Rebellion - The Soldiers' Aid Society - Since the War - Business Interests - Chagrin Falls Paper Company - Adams & Co.'s Paper Mill - Williams' Foundry - Gauntts' Machine Shop - Ober's Planing Machine - Other Manufacturers - Congregational Church - Methodist Church - Disciple Church - Free Will Baptist Church - Bible Christian Church - Golden Gate Lodge - Chagrin Falls Lodge - Township Officers - Sketch of H.W. Curtis [sketch to be included in biographies section]


In the month of May, 1815, immediately after the War of 1812, Serenus Burnet brought his wife and little son, Stephen, and located himself on the west side of Chagrin river, about two miles north of the present village of Chagrin Falls. There he built a rude log-house, and became the first resident of the present township of Chagrin Falls. The nearest neighbors were in the Covert neighborhood, near Willson's Mills, in the present township of Mayfield. For six months after their arrival Mrs. Burnet did not see the face a white woman.

Mr. Burnet paid two dollars and a half per acre for the best river-bottom land, and the proprietors were willing enough to sell even at this rate, for Burnet's was for a long time about the end of settlement in the Chagrin valley. During the next ten years the lower part of the valley slowly settled up, and between 1820 and 1825 Jacob Gillett, Caleb Alson and James Fisher became residents of what is now Chagrin Falls, in the immediate vicinity of Serenus Burnet.

But it was not until the year 1826 or 1827 that any settlement was made in the vicinity of the present village of Chagrin Falls. At that time John Woodward and Benjamin Carpenter built a dam across the Chagrin river, below Williams' foundry at Chagrin Falls, and at the north end of it erected a small log gristmill. The stones were drawn by eight yoke of cattle from a still older mill, situated near where Edmund Burnet now lives, in Orange.

About the same time Gen. Edward Paine, who owned the land west of the present Franklin street, undertook to build a bridge across the river at the falls, and put four stringers across as a beginning. The work was not completed at that time, however, and the stringers remained, affording a precarious passage to the few footmen who occasionally appeared in the vicinity. Mr. W. T. Upham mentioned seeing them, in 1827 or '28, when hunting in company with his brother E. B. Upham, Alfred Utley and Joel Burnet. The falls were then marked by shelving rocks, which have since been blasted away, and the youngsters cut down a tree, growing on the bank, for the fun of seeing it topple over the precipice.

In the month of February, 1831, Rev. Adamson Bentley, a noted Disciple minister, then forty-six years old, having purchased a large tract of land at the junction of the two branches of the Chagrin river, moved to that point, and immediately began important improvements there. That same year he built a sawmill, and that year, or the next, he erected a gristmill; both being situated near the present residence of his son, Martin Bentley, about a quarter of a mile below the forks of the river. He built a carding machine and cloth-dressing establishment at the same point a little later, and thus made the beginning of a thriving hamlet, which flourished under the name of Bentleyville for over twenty years, and at first seemed likely to be the principal village in that part of the county.

But in 1833 a new village was begun, which soon threw Bentleyville entirely in the shade, and has long maintained an unquestioned supremacy over the various little burgs in the southeastern part of Cuyahoga county. It will be remembered that at this time that part of the present township of Chagrin Falls lying east of the line of Franklin street, in the village of that name, was in the town of Russell, in Geauga county, while the portion west of that line was in Orange, Cuyahoga county, except a small tract in the southwest corner of the village, which was in Solon, in the same county. The land in Geauga county was owned by Aristarchus Champion, of Rochester, New York,** while that of Orange was the property of Gen. Edward Paine, the founder of Painesville, but then residing at Chardon, Geauga county.

In the year 1833, Noah Graves, a Massachusetts Yankee, on the lookout for a good Investment, after examining the water power at the Falls, went to Gen. Paine and purchased two hundred and ten acres of land there, for what was then considered the large sum of two thousand dollars. Dr. S.S. Handerson was either connected with Graves at the time of the trade or became so immediately afterward, and together they at once made the preliminary movements to start a0 city. Lots were laid out and offered for sale, and preparations were made for building mills.

We cannot learn, however, that any houses were built on the site of the village until 1834. In that year Noah Graves, S.S. Handerson, Chester Bushnell, Napoleon Covill, A. A. Hart and Ebenezer Wilcox, all took their families and settled in the new city. In October of that year, Mr. Henry Church, the oldest survivor of the original pioneers of the village, moved thither with his family. He found the families already mentioned, but only three framed houses those of Graves, Handerson and Hart. Mr. Wilcox lived in the house of his brother-in-law. Mr. Graves and Mr. Covill lived in a log house north of the river, while Julius Higgins dwelt in a shanty near by.

Chester Bushnell built a barn that season on the site of the Union House, in the upper part of which he lived with his family and kept tavern, the horses of the travelers being stabled below. Mr. Graves also built a dam that year, but did not erect his sawmill until the next year, 1835. Mr. Church, as soon as he arrived, went to blacksmithing, his being the first shop in the new village. His partner was Luther Graves, (a nephew of Noah) who had come with Mr. Church.

I. A. Foote, a resident almost as early, came on the 19th of October, 1834. He remembers but two framed houses, those of Graves and Hart. There was still no bridge, and Paine's old stringers afforded the only means of passage. Ira Sherman lived near by.

There was an old deer-lick near the location of the upper paper mill, and when the first settlers came there were still bark hammocks to be seen hanging in the tops of the large, low beech trees, where the Indians had been accustomed to lie in wait for the deer as they came to drink the brackish waters of the "lick." There was a tincture of mineral in the water, besides salt, and the neighboring stones were glazed by a shining substance, deposited on the evaporation of the water.

The Indians had then ceased to visit this part of the county and the deer abandoned the lick as soon as the white people began to settle in the vicinity. They were still abundant in the neighboring hills, and many a fine carcass was brought in by the early settlers. A. H. Hart was especially noted as a hunter, and Mr. Church was almost equally devoted to the chase, and was a frequent companion of Mr. Hart on his hunting excursions.

In 1835 there was a marked improvement in the new village. Several new houses were put up, the projected sawmill was built, and the woods cleared away for several rods around the buildings. Still there were no roads of any value in the country around, and all kinds of business were of course extremely difficult of transaction. Mr. Church mentions having frequently gone up into the settlement of Solon, got a bag of wheat and carried it on his back to Bentley's little gristmill; carrying it thence, in the same manner, home to Chagrin Falls.

The next year, 1836, the erection of a gristmill at the falls made it unnecessary to go elsewhere for grinding, but the wheat had still to be brought over most execrable roads.

But those were the celebrated "flush times," when everybody was bent on speculation, when paper money was as free as water, and when unbounded riches were consequently expected by the whole community. Scarcely an enterprise could be suggested in which men were not ready to engage. About this same time, 1836, Gen. James Griffith found a water power on the Aurora branch of the Chagrin river, and bought the upper part of it. Ten men, mostly from Aurora, in Portage county, bought the lower part. Griffith built a sawmill and he and the others planned a village to be called Griffithsburg, which, like Bentleyville, was within the present township of Chagrin Falls. Captain Archibald Robbins, the celebrated sailor, who with Captain Riley was taken prisoner on the coast of Africa, and who is mentioned in the history of Solon, bought an interest at Griffithsburg, built a store there and remained three or four years.

Meanwhile, for several years, Bentleyville kept ahead, not only of Griffithsburg, but of its more promising rival, Chagrin Falls. John Oviatt came thither in 1834 or '35, built a trip-hammer shop, and made scythes, axes and similar instruments in large quantities - that is, large for that time and place. This establishment was kept up for five or six years. Another, erected about the same time, was the tannery of William Brooks. In 1835 or '36 Mr. Bentley erected and opened a small store at the same point, being the first store in the present township of Chagrin Falls.

In 1835 Dr. Justus H. Vincent located in the northwest corner of Bainbridge, Geauga county, being the first physician who practiced to any extent in Chagrin Falls. In 1836 and '37 he was a member of the legislature. All the property holders of the vicinity, with Dr. Vincent at their head, applied for a charter for a bank at Chagrin Falls. This institution, however, did not get fairly under way. The nearest approach to it was a shanty in which one of the residents lived, which was set into the bank of a hill. This, in consideration of its position, was dubbed the "bank," and the resident was breveted the cashier.

In March, 1836, the first religious society in the township was formed, being called the "First Congregational Society of Morense." There seems to have been a disposition to call the new village "Morense," but it was soon given up. The year before this (1835) a college had been chartered, which was to stand on College Hill. There was to be no lack of great institutions, and it is a somewhat amusing illustration of the spirit of the time that the first district school was taught the same season the college was chartered. The teacher was Miss Almeda Vincent, afterwards Mrs. Aaron Bliss of Chicago.

Her husband opened the first store in the village in 1836, in the bar room of the hotel, but soon after built a store on the corner of Main and Orange streets. These were perhaps the liveliest times the village has ever known, except during a short time at the outbreak of the rebellion. Soon after Bliss opened his store, B. H. and H. S. Bosworth also embarked in the mercantile business. Joshua Overton and ______ Bennett bought and occupied the tavern. William Fay set up a shingle machine. Charles Waldron and William Pratt were in business as shoemakers, William McGlashan and Dudley Thorp as tailors, and Henry Smith as a mason. George Fenkel was building his gristmill, which was in running order by winter. Caleb Earl built a clothiers shop.

Among other residents already there, or fast coming in, were James Bosworth, with his sons, Freeman, Sherman, Milo and Philetus, and his sons-in-law, Jason Matthews, Robert Barrows, Justus Taylor, Justus Benedict, T. N. West, Samuel Graham and Timothy Osborn, all with families; also Huron Beebe, Roderick Beebe, William Church and Zopher Holcomb.

To add to the excitement, the celebrated Sidney Rigdon, who was then second only to Joseph Smith as a Mormon preacher, was displaying the glories of the religion of the Latter Day Saints in numerous sermons and speeches. That religion had not then assumed its offensive polygamous features, and Rigdon, who was known to be an eloquent speaker, was invited to deliver the oration at Chagrin Falls on the 4th of July, 1836. He did so, and among other glowing predictions, prophesied (sic) that there would soon be one great city, extending from Chagrin Falls to Kirtland, fifteen miles north, all inhabited by the saints of the Lord.

The next spring, 1837, the excitement was still intense, and the expectation of universal wealth through the medium of unlimited paper money and the immense rise in the price of land was yet unabated. A Congregational church edifice was planned, and the timber was drawn to the public square, which at this time was dedicated to the public, and included all that block on which the town hall now stands. Two-thirds of it was afterwards given to the Methodist and Congregational churches.

Another great celebration was gotten up on the Fourth of July, and was graced by a peculiar accompaniment. The first marriage in the village, and probably in the township, took place on that day, the officiating minister being Rev. Sherman B. Canfield, the orator of the day, and the parties being Aaron Bliss, the young merchant, and Miss Almeda, the daughter of Dr. J. H. Vincent.

But while all was thus going "merry as a marriage bell" in the financial and social world, the sound of approaching disaster came swiftly upon the ear. During the summer of 1837 the whole fabric of apparent prosperity which had been built up on a basis of worthless paper money, went down even more suddenly than it had been raised, and business all over the country came to a standstill. Chagrin Falls, like other ambitious, young villages, for several years, made very little progress.

Notwithstanding all the energy previously displayed, there was yet no post office in the village. There was a mail route, however, ran by Seremus Burnet's place, where he had begun keeping tavern. From there the mail was brought once a week by Marcus Earl to the house of his father in the village, where the people gathered to obtain their letters and papers, making it a post office by common consent.

The first fatal accident in the township occurred in 1839, when the young daughter of Mr. Overton was burned to death by her clothes catching fire. Mr. C. T. Blakeslee, to whose sketches in the Chagrin Falls Expositor we are indebted for a large number of the facts here set forth, mentions that there were no less than seventeen fatal accidents at Chagrin Falls between 1839 and 1874. The same year Asbury Seminary was incorporated as a Methodist institution, Mr. Williams being the first principal.

Meanwhile Samuel Netttleton builds a furnace, which in 1840 he sold to Benajah Williams, by whom and his son it has ever since been carried on. Mr. Williams had moved to the village in 1837, with his sons Lorenzo D., John W., William M., Francis S., Adam C. and Andrew J.

In 1840, the year of the great "Tippecanoe" campaign, two-thirds of the people of Chagrin Falls were Whigs, and nowhere was there more zeal in supporting the Whig cause than there - in fact, Chagrin Falls has always been a very zealous place in regard to any question in which the people took an interest. When the Whigs of the Northwest held a grand meeting at Fort Meigs, the male portion of Chagrin Falls turned out almost en masse. Dr. Vincent was in command of a company of Whig riflemen. The rest of the Whigs were going in their private capacity, most of them assuming a sort of Indian disguise to add to the hilarity of thee occasion. So great was the excitement that most of the Democrats actually proposed to join the Indians and accompany them to the great pow-wow. The offer was promptly accepted, and there was hardly a man left at the Falls.

Four-horse, six-horse, and even eight-horse teams were provided to draw the crowd to Cleveland, where two-thirds of the voters of the county were assembled, whence they went by boat to the Maumee. The Democratic "Indians" of Chagrin Falls acted faithfully in accordance with the part they had assumed, entering fully into the spirit of the occasion, and making no objection to the fierce assaults upon Democracy which resounded from the lips of eloquent orators. But when the procession returned to the Falls it halted on the top of the hill overlooking the village, and there these temporary Whigs drew off, gave one parting whoop for Old Tippecanoe, and then, with a rousing cheer for Van Buren and Johnson, resumed their character as Democrats and returned to their homes.

By 1841 business began to revive. Aaron Bliss and John Mayhew built a large stone flouring-mill on the site of the upper paper-mill, with a semicircular stone dam. The latter, however, was carried out by the high water that same season, flooding the village and carrying off two bridges. The same year Noah Graves built a paper-mill on the north side of the river, being the beginning of an industry which has ever since flourished at Chagrin Falls. In January of this year, also, Dr. Vincent obtained the passage of an act taking nine hundred acres from the northwest corner of the township of Russell, Geauga county, and annexing it to the southeast corner of Orange, Cuyahoga county; making recompense by taking the same amount from the northeast corner of Orange and annexing it to Russell. The latter tract, however, was afterwards re-annexed to Orange.

In 1842 the census showed that there were a hundred and nine families in the village, with five hundred and forty members. There were twenty carpenters, five cabinet makers, four wagon makers, ten shoemakers, five merchants, three doctors and two lawyers. This was considered a pretty good showing for a village eight years old, and such as would justify making a beginning in journalism. Accordingly, C. T. Blakeslee, one of the lawyers just mentioned, and John Brainard, afterwards a professor of chemistry at Cleveland, and later holding the official position of examiner of patents at Washington, combined their forces to start a newspaper. The "forces" consisted of a little credit by means of which they bought a hundred dollars' worth of type on time, and of two pairs of hands with which they made the press and everything else necessary to print their paper, which they called the Farmers' and Mechanics' Journal. Somewhat more has been said of it in the chapter of the general history devoted to the press, on page one hundred and ninety.

In the spring of 1843, there was a good deal of excitement over the prophecy of "Father
Miller" that the world was to be destroyed by fire on the 23d of April. About that time Earl's woolen mills caught fire at three o'clock in the morning. As the roof was saturated with oil, it burned off with extraordinary rapidity, casting its lurid glare over the whole village, and far up and down the valley, over the darksome rocks and flashing waters of the Chagrin. For a short time some of the people thought there was something in the Millerite talk, and that the destruction of the world had possibly begun at Chagrin Falls.

Soon afterward, Deacon Harry White bought the pond belonging to the woolen mill, and established a manufactory of axes. As large numbers of people were then at work clearing up the country, axes had a ready sale near at hand, and Mr. White did a large business. When this land was cleared up, however, the factory was abandoned.

In 1844, both the Methodists and the Congregationalists built churches at the Falls, these being the first houses of worship erected there.

At the time there was a daily line of stages running through the village, between Cleveland and Warren, and the coaches were generally loaded with passengers. The country had pretty well recovered from the financial crisis of 1837, and Chagrin Falls began to feel its dignity again. It was not satisfied with its position in the corner of Orange, and began to moot the question of having a township all to itself. Before recording its organization, however, we must revert to another part of the territory which it was made to include.

Although Bentleyville had not kept pace with its rival at the Falls, yet it boasted of no inconsiderable business. In 1841 a chair factory was begun there by C. P. Brooks, which did a good business and was maintained for five or six years. About 1843, the old grist mill was leased by Lyman Hatfield and turned into a rake factory. This, however, was only kept up about two years. There was also a factory of wooden bowls at the same place. Besides these there were shops of various kinds and fifteen or twenty residences; so that a traveler, who descended into the narrow dell where all this industry was exercised, would certainly have thought that he had discovered one of the most prosperous and promising villages in the country. But from this time onward its prosperity declined, its various industries went down one after the other under the adverse power of floods, and time, and competition, until now there is little indeed to remind the spectator of its former flourishing condition.

At this time (1844), also, the tract now included in Chagrin Falls had been pretty well cleared up, considering the roughness of its surface, and thirty or forty thriving farmers had established themselves in its valleys and on its hillsides. And so the people of the village and the neighboring farmers agreed that it would be a good plan to have a new township, though it is difficult to see what for. On application to the county commissioners a township was formed in the forepart of 1845, to which the name of Chagrin Falls was given, and which included lots six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twenty-two, twenty-three and twenty-four, in the northeast corner of Solon; lots four, five, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty-one in the southeast part of Orange, and lots seventeen, eighteen and nineteen, also in Orange at that time, but which had formerly been a part of Russell, in Geauga county.

The first town meeting was held at the tavern of A. Griswold on the 7th day of April, 1845.
James Griffith, Samuel Pool and Pliny Kellogg acted as judges of election, and Jedediah Hubbell and Alanson Knox as clerks; all being sworn in by Henry Church, justice of the peace. The following officers were elected: Trustees, Stoughton Bentley, Ralph E. Russell, Boardman H. Bosworth; township clerk, Alanson Knox; treasurer, Thomas Shaw; assessor, Rev. John K. Hallock (removed from township and George Stocking appointed in his place); overseers of the poor, George Rathbun and Jedediah Hubbell, Jr.; constable, Thomas M. Bayard; supervisors of highways, Sherman S. Handerson, Obadiah Bliss, John Mayhew, Phineas Upham, Duane Brown, John Goodell, Ralph E. Russell, Noah Graves.

Thus the township of Chagrin Falls, was fairly launched upon its separate existence. There was at this time much talk of the construction of a railroad through it from Cleveland to Pittsburg. In fact, a line had been surveyed through the village the previous year, and the people, with their usual enterprise, subscribed twenty-four thousand dollars to its stock. The scheme, however, fell through. Whatever other faults may have been laid to the account of the people of Chagrin Falls, a lack of enterprise or intelligence could never be justly charged against them. They sought diligently to inform themselves on every subject which came before the public, (taking more newspapers during the first twenty years of the existence of the village than were taken in any other place of its size in the county), and liberally supported every enterprise which gave reasonable promise of promoting the public welfare. The only drawback was that in their abounding zeal they were sometimes inclined to support enterprises and encourage creeds which did not give reasonable promise of promoting the public welfare.

In 1847 the village of Chagrin Falls as described in Howe's Historical Collections as containing one Congregational, one Methodist Episcopal, one Wesleyan Methodist, and one Free Will Baptist church, nine stores, one axe and edge-tool factory, one sash factory, one wheel and wheel-head factory, one wooden-bowl factory, three woolen factories, one paper factory, two flouring-mills, three sawmills, one furnace, one carriage shop, two tin shops, three harness shops, three cabinet shops, and twelve hundred inhabitants. Probably the number of the inhabitant was somewhat exaggerated.

At this period, too, a good deal of attention was given to the grindstone quarries on the banks of the Chagrin, which were pronounced inexhaustible, and were worked to a considerable
extent. These have been abandoned in later days, but it is by no means improbable that they
may again be opened in response to the constantly increasing demand for that kind of material for building purposes.

In 1848 the Cleveland and Mahoning railroad was organized, and another large subscription was obtained at Chagrin Falls, with the understanding that it should run through that place. It was, however, located through Solon. The same year the Chagrin Falls and Cleveland Plank Road Company was chartered, and in this the people of the Falls invested fifteen thousand dollars. It was partly built in 1849, and finished in 1850. It was not found to be remunerative, and was ere long abandoned, with the exception of the portion between Cleveland and Newburg.

There was always an earnest feeling manifested in regard to education and all cognate subjects. As early as 1842 a literary association was formed, and a few books were from time to time gathered. In 1847 Aristarchus Champion, who, as before stated, was the original owner of the land in Russell, began to build a large hall, which he gave out was intended for the use of the village. In 1848, having completed it, he put in it some eight hundred volumes, which the citizens were allowed to use. The literary association also deposited their books there, and the building was known as Library Hall. Mr. Champion, however, kept the title in himself, and after a few years he removed the books and sold the hall. A board of education was formed in 1849, after which educational interests were supported with as much vigor as before, and under a more thorough and comprehensive system.

In 1852, the Painesville and Hudson railroad was incorporated, with a capital of a million dollars, and line was surveyed through the Falls. So determined were the people to have a communication with the outside world, at any expense, that they subscribed no less than two hundred thousand dollars, on condition, however, that five hundred thousand should be raised in all. This enterprise, too, could not be carried out, and Chagrin Falls was left to depend on lumber wagons as the principal means of communication with Cleveland, Painesville, and the other shipping places on the lake and canal.

Nevertheless, its extraordinary water-power, and the energy of its citizens, kept the village in a prosperous condition. It was noted, too, for the good taste displayed by the people in their dwellings and the surroundings, and he who looked upon its white cottages and well-kept yards might have thought himself in a New England village, enriched by the labors of two centuries, rather than in one the site of which had only twenty years before been a perfect wilderness. In 1858 the Asbury Seminary building was sold to the township for a union school, for which purpose it has since been used.

Thus gently, but prosperously, passed the time, until, in April, 1861, the guns of Sumter called the nation to arms. The people of Chagrin Falls had watched the course of events with even more than the ordinary solicitude of the loyal North. Their proclivity for reading and discussion had kept them wide awake on the subject, and when the tocsin sounded there was probably not a village nor a township of the size in the United States which was more ready to respond than were the village and township of Chagrin Falls.

On Saturday evening after the fall of Sumter, a large meeting was held in the village to provide for answering the President's call. It was found impossible to conclude that night, and another meeting was called for the next day. At that meeting nearly every man and woman in the township was present, and a large portion of the children. All the churches were closed, for all the people felt that when the nation was to be pulled out of the pit into which traitor hands had flung it, all days could lawfully be employed. The most fiery, and yet the sternest, enthusiasm was manifested, and as the result of the meeting the little township furnished a full company under the President's call for three months' men. Before they could be mustered in, however, the call was changed, and their services were not accepted. A large number of them at once transferred their services to other organizations, and during the war no less than a hundred and nine residents of Chagrin Falls township enlisted in defense of the Union. Their deeds are recorded in the histories of the regiments to which they belonged, in the first part of this work, and there, also, their names are enrolled.

Those who remained at home were equally anxious to help to the best of their ability. On the third of September,1861, the Chagrin Falls Soldiers' Aid Society was organized, and from that time until June, 1865, under the efficient leadership of its president, Miss Jane E. Church, it was active in supplying the needs of the gallant defenders of the Union. During that time eight hundred and thirty-two dollars were raised in cash for that purpose, and four hundred and six dollars in supplies.

At the close it was found that there was a considerable amount in the treasury. It was resolved by the members of the society to add somewhat to it, and to use the whole in building a monument to the men of the township who had been slain or had died in the service. This resolution was carried out, and the monument was erected during the summer in the beautiful cemetery which overlooks the village from the southeast. In September of the same year (1865), it was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies in the presence of an immense number of people from that and the surrounding townships. In connection with the war we may note that Gen. Benjamin F. Pritchard, of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, the captors of Jefferson Davis, had previously for many years been a resident of Chagrin Falls.

Since the war no remarkable excitement has prevailed at Chagrin Falls, but there has been a steady increase in business, and the village has lost none of its old, firm reputation for enterprise and intelligence. Bentleyville has entirely ceased to exist as a place of manufactures or business. An attempt was made about 1868 to revive the city of Griffithsburg, and a large new grist-mill was erected, but the enterprise failed even before the requisite machinery was placed in the mill. Several destructive fires have occurred in Chagrin Falls village. A valuable row of stores at the north end was burned in 1868, and in 1873 what was known as the Philadelphia Block was also destroyed by fire. But these losses were repaired, numerous handsome residences were erected, and now, what with its picturesque scenery, its abundant foliage, and the air of neatness and thrift which everywhere, prevails, Chagrin Falls is one of the very finest villages in northern Ohio. The number of its respective business establishments, professional men, mechanics, etc., is as as (sic) follows:

Papermills, two; foundries, three; woolen mills, one; machine shops, three; planing mills, two; woodenware factory, one; lumber yard, one; grist mills, two; banks, two; lawyers, two; physicians, three; dentists, two; dry goods stores, three; groceries, three; hardware stores, three; drug stores, three; book and wallpaper store, one; jewelry, two; photographer, one; furniture stores, two; shoe stores, three; bakeries, two; millinery stores, four; fancy goods stores, two; tin shops, two; wagon shops, two; shoe shops, two; blacksmith shops, five; harness shops, two; marble shop, one.

We subjoin brief sketches of some of the principal manufacturing establishments.


This establishment had its origin in 1840, when Noah Graves put the necessary machinery into an old sawmill, and began the manufacture of straw-paper and wrapping-paper. In 1842 Charles Sears purchased an interest, the firm becoming Graves & Sears. They then began to make writing paper. In 1843 the firm became Sears & Brinsmade, and the manufacture of printing paper was commenced. In the winter of 1843-4 Heaton & Daniels leased the mill, but in less than a year Mr. Daniels sold his interest to Thomas White. The firm of Heaton & White carried on the establishment until 1847, when Mr. Sears bought Heaton's interest. The business was continued by Sears & White until 1850. Younglove & Hoyt then carried it on one year. At the end of that time they were joined by D.A. Davis and Lewis Sykes, and those four, under the firm name of D. A. Davis & Co., carried on the business successfully until 1858.

In the latter year Mr. Davis and W. T. Upham bought the mill of Noah Graves and increased its capacity. In 1860 Mr. Davis bought Mr. Underwood's interest, and took his son, James Davis, as a partner. This firm carried on the business until 1866, when the mill was closed. It was soon re-opened, however, and was owned in rapid succession by P. Warren, J. G. Coleman, Pratt & Pope and Parker, Pope & Co. In 1870 the latter firm began the manufacture of flour sacks on an extensive scale.

In 1871 Mr. Parker sold out and the firm became Pope & Bleasdale. They bought an old peg factory and put in four large machines, and turned the old "Union House" into a sack factory. In March 1875, Mr. Pope sold his interest to Mr. Bleasdale. The mill closed the same year. By January 1876, the Chagrin Falls Paper Company had been organized and had acquired the property, the following gentlemen being the directors: D. S. Pope, I. W. Pope, S. L. Pope, S.I. Pope and David Smith. This company has carried on the establishment to the present time, doing a very large business and employing about fifty hands. The sack factory alone has a capacity of twenty-five thousand sacks per day.


The site of this mill was originally occupied by Bliss & Mayhew's flouring mill. It was changed into a woolen factory by Bliss & Pool. It was then transmuted into a paper mill, under the proprietorship of the Lake Erie Paper Mill Company. While it belonged to this company it was destroyed by fire. It was afterwards rebuilt and passed into the hands of Adams, Upham & Co. In 1872 Mr. Upham retired and the firm became Adams & Co., who have since been the proprietors. It is situated in the northeastern part of the village, at the extreme upper end of the rapids. The works occupy several large buildings and do a very extensive business, being principally devoted to the manufacture of manilla paper. Both steam and water are used, and from fifty to sixty hands are constantly given employment.


This was established in 1842 by Curtiss Bullard and Cornelius Northrop, spinning wheels, reels, etc., being then the principal article of manufacture. In 1848 Mr. Northrop sold his interest, and Mr. John Bullard who was taken into the firm, which took the name of C. Bullard & Son. In 1857 it became C. Bullard & Sons, on the admission of Orson C. Bullard. New machinery was added about this time, and what is called "kitchen wooden ware" became the principal article of manufacture. In 1867 the junior owner died, and the firm again became C. Bullard & Son. The business continued to increase and was carried on by that firm until 1873, when Curtiss Bullard died. In 1875 J.S. Bullard became the sole proprietor and remained so until January, 1877, when Mr. George March purchased an interest and the firm became Bullard & March.

In 1866 the firm obtained a patent for a new kind of butter mould, and this has since become the principal article of manufacture. Over a quarter of a million of these moulds are now made in a single year and the demand is steadily increasing. Immense numbers of butter prints, rolling pins, etc., etc., are also made, all being sold exclusively at wholesale, and being shipped to all parts of the continent.


This establishment originated in the furnace erected by Benajah Williams in 1844, and has ever since been in the hands either of Mr. Williams or of his son, J. W. Williams, or as now, J. W. Williams & Son. From the manufacture of the simplest and rudest iron articles used in the immediate neighborhood, the establishment has progressed until its products are now shipped by wholesale to all parts of Ohio and into several of the adjacent States.

For many years the principal article produced has been the "seamless thimble skein," known as the "Williams skein," and celebrated for its convenience and durability. Numerous other iron articles, however, are also manufactured, including sad-irons, bolster plates, pruning tools, pump reels, etc., besides a large number of wooden articles, such as axe handles, whiffle-trees, etc.; all being renowned for their good quality, and the whole establishment, by its employment of twenty artisans, contributing largely to the prosperity of the village in which it is situated.


Adin Gauntt started the first machine shop in the place in 1844, in a part of Rowe's Carriage shop. After nine years of steadily increasing business, he bought the Maple Grange woolen factory in 1853, where for two years he made machinery for working wool and flax. After four years' absence he returned in 1859, and has since been constantly engaged in the manufacture of various kinds of machinery. He now has a large shop in the lower part of the village, where he manufactures planers, matchers, small steam engines, horse powers, etc., as well as all kinds of especially intricate machinery.


This establishment was built by the present proprietors in 1873, being a sawmill, together with machines for planing and matching lumber, making mouldings, sash and blinds, and similar articles. A valuable lathe for irregular work has been patented by George Ober, and the whole establishment is in a highly flourishing condition.


Other manufactures besides the above are the Chagrin Falls woolen mills, Rose Brothers' foundry, with Ira Smith's machine shop, D. Christian's foundry, W. A. Burnet's machine shop, J. O. Malin's planing mill, and the Chagrin Falls marble works, begun in 1877 by H.A. Sheffield.


This was organized as an independent Congregational church on the 26th day of July, 1835, the following being the first members: Thomas N. West, Rebecca R. West, Alexander H. Hart, Polly Hart, Timothy W. Osborn, Sarah Osborn, Salome Crosby, Andrew Dickinson and Thomas West. On the 10th of June, 1836, the church was received into the Independent Congregational Union of Northern Ohio. On the 2d of January, 1837, it withdrew from that connection, and entered the General Association of the Western Reserve.

For eight years after the organization the pulpit was occupied by various temporary supplies, of whom no record has been kept. Rev. John S. Barris preached from 1843 to 1845. Rev. Abram Nast began to serve the church as pastor on the 15th of October, 1845. On the 5th of January, 1847, a constitution was formed, and the church once more became independent.

In 1850 Rev. Mr. Hopkins officiated as pastor. In September, 1851, Rev. E.D. Taylor began to serve the church in that capacity, and continued until 1855. He was succeeded by Rev. Josiah Cannon, who closed his services in July, 1857. In June of that year the church united with the Cleveland presbytery of the New School Presbyterian Church.

For many years after this no records show the proceedings of the church, and in fact, owing to the war and various circumstances, during much of the time there were no regular services. In 1859 a decided effort was made to revive and strengthen the church. On the 14th of April, in that year, it was legally incorporated under the name of the First Congregational Church of Chagrin Falls. In October following, the Rev. G. W. Walker was called to the pastorate, and since that time the church has been steadily growing in numbers and usefulness.

Mr. Walker officiated until 1872, when he retired to take part in the government of Atlanta University, Georgia. He was succeeded in January, 1873, by Rev. T. D. Childs, who remained until May, 1874. At that time Rev. A. D. Barber was called to the pulpit, which he occupied for two years. Rev. William Woodmansee also served for two years, and was succeeded in October, 1878, by Rev. Edmund Gail.

The church is now in a flourishing condition, having about a hundred and ten members. The Sabbath school attached to it has seventy-five members. The deacons are (in 1878) Lewis Gilbert, John Ober and R. W. Walters; the trustees, D. C. Eggleston, John S. Bullard and
R. W. Walters; the clerk, George March.


As soon as any considerable number of persons were settled in the township, the indefatigable Methodist ministers began to go "on circuit" among them, preaching to those of their faith and to whomsoever else might be willing to listen to their words. Down to 1844 the services were held in school-houses and private houses, there being no other means of accommodation. In the summer of that year, however, a Methodist church was erected at the village of Chagrin Falls, which has ever since been occupied by the members of that denomination.

Chagrin Falls was a part of a very extensive circuit. The visits of the ministers were necessarily infrequent, and the records kept were of the most meager description. We find, however, that in 1854 the circuit contained Chagrin Falls, Mayfield, Gates' Mills, Bainbridge, Orange Hill, Orange Center, Solon, Russell and Chester. The circuit ministers were Rev. Messrs. Patterson and Fouts. These two, together with Rev. D. C. Wright, also served on the circuit in 1855. In 1857 Chagrin Falls and Solon were made a circuit by themselves, on which Rev. E. J. Kenney served in 1857 and '58, and Rev. T. Guy in 1859, '60 and '61. Since that time Chagrin Falls has been a separate station, with the following ministers:

Thomas Stubbs, 1862, '63 and '64; John Graham, part of 1864; H. N. Stearns, 1865 and '66; John O'Neal, 1867; Geo. J. Bliss, 1868; C. T. Kingsbury, 1869 and '70; G. W. Chessebro, 1871; N. H. Holmes, 1872 and '73; W. T. Wilson, 1874; B. Excell, 1875 and '76; A. H. Dormer, 1877 and '78.


Rev. Adamson Bentley was unquestionably the principal person engaged in founding the Disciple Church in Chagrin Falls. In February 1831, he moved to the point now known as Bentleyville, and at once began preaching in the nearest log school house. Before long there were about thirty believers gathered, and a church was constituted under the general superintendence of Mr. Bentley, with Gamaliel Kent as assistant overseer. The first deacons were R. E. Russell and Zadoc Bowell. For several years the congregation usually met at the Griffith school-house; afterwards at the village of Chagrin Falls.

In 1846 a large tent-meeting of the Disciples of Cuyahoga and Geauga counties was held at Chagrin Falls, which was attended by the venerable Alexander Campbell, the most prominent minister of the denomination. Shortly afterward a church building was erected by the Disciples at Chagrin Falls, which has since been occupied by them. In 1849 lectures on the evidences of Christianity were delivered at the Falls by Rev. Isaac Errett, one of the ablest and most logical of the Disciple ministers. Nine years later, James A. Garfield, then a young Disciple minister, since distinguished as a soldier and a statesman, defended the cause of Christianity in a vigorous discussion with Dutton, a celebrated infidel lecturer, in which the youthful champion displayed much of that thoroughness of information and closeness of reasoning for which he has in later years become celebrated on a wider field.

Since the war the church has steadily increased in numbers and vigor, and now contains about a hundred and forty members, with the following officers: J. G. Coleman and C. H. Welton, overseers; George M. King; Ransom Bliss and Martin Bentley, deacons; Mrs. Jennie Burns, Mrs. Louisa M. Tucker, Mrs. Calista McClintock, deaconesses.

Ministers have not been regularly employed during the whole of the time since the organization of the church, but have been during a large part of it; the following being the principal persons who have occupied the pulpit: Adamson Bentley, Wm. Hayden, W. S. Hamlin, W. T. Horner, James A. Garfield, J. H. Rhodes, B. A. Hinsdale, Sterling McBride, R. G.White, W. S. Hayden, J. G. Coleman, Andrew Burns (1872 to 1878) and James Vernon, the present incumbent.


This church was originally organized on thee 25th day of August, 1839, at the Isham school house in the township of Russell, Geauga county, by Rev. A. K. Moulton, with nine members, viz.: Henry E. Whipple, John Walters, Reuben R. Walters, Jehiel Goodwill, Emily Walters, Sarah S. Morse, Hannah Mason, Faustina L. McConoughy, Lucy Goodwill. The first pastor was A. K. Moulton; the first deacon, appointed in January,1840, was John Walters, who still holds that position; the second deacon was Wm. S. Phillips.

In February 1841, the church was legally incorporated by the name of the Russell Free Will Baptist Church, and in August following, John Walters, Otis B. Bliss and R. R. Walters were elected trustees.

Mr. Moulton's pastorate closed in September,1841. A year or two later the congregation having increased in members, began the erection of the framed house of worship at Chagrin Falls still occupied by them. It was dedicated in 1844, but was not finished until 1845. In February of the latter year the church took the name of the Chagrin Falls First Free Will Baptist Church.

We are able to give a full list of the pastors with their terms of service, the church record being of exceptional excellence. A. K. Moulton, August, 1839 to September, 1841; A. R. Crafts, January, 1842 to April, 1843; Walter D. Stanard, June, 1843 to August, 1844; P. W. Belknap, six months; A. R. Crafts one year; E. H. Higbee, June, 1846 to February, 1848; G. H. Ball, May 1849 to November, 1849; Norman Star, January, 1850 to January 1851. From this time until 1858 there was no regular pastor, the pulpit being supplied by the Rev. Messrs. Daniel H. Miller, D. W. Edwards, J. C. Miller, and others. Rev. E. N. Wright was pastor from February,1858, nearly three years. The pulpit was then supplied by Rev. Messrs. Darius Woodworth, R. Clark, E. H. Higbee, R. Coley and others. Wm. L. Hosier served from April, 1862 to July, 1863. George Thomas and others supplied the place of a pastor until October, 1864. Rev. B. E. Baker served from that time until October,1867; W. Whitacre, from October, 1867 to February, 1872; C. Steele from then till the present time.

During these years there have been two hundred and seventy-seven members of the church, the present number being sixty-four. The present officers (1878) are as follows: Deacon, John Walters; trustees, Wm. E. Walters, Augustus R. Vincent, Irwin N. Warner; clerk, R. R. Walters.


The Bible Christian Church at Chagrin Falls was organized in 1846 with seventeen members. The denomination, which resembles the Methodists in many respects, is of English origin, and this church was established on account of the migration of a number of English families hither shortly before the year just mentioned.

In 1851 the church had increased so that it was able to build a small framed house of worship, which was occupied by them until 1874, when the present commodious brick edifice was erected. The society was legally incorporated in 1869.

The ministers have been Rev. Messrs. George Rippin, John Chapel, Joseph Hodge, William Roach, William Hooper, George Haycraft, John Pinch, L. W. Nicket, J. Harris, J. Chapel, R. Mallet and L. W. Nicket again. The church is now in a flourishing condition, with sixty-two members, and with a Sunday school of about ninety members.


This lodge was chartered on the 19th day of October, 1854, the following being the charter members: Caleb Earl, Orison Cathan, Jonathan Cole, Apollo Hewitt, Roderick White, Nathan Hobart, S. B. Kellogg, Samuel Sunderland, Thomas White, L. D. Mix, Henry Burnet.

The Worthy Masters in succession have been as follows: Caleb Earl, L. D. Mix, D. A. Davis, S. L. Wilkinson, M. A. Lander, C. M. Foote, R.W. Walters, H. M. Doty.

The following officers were in authority in 1878: H. M. Doty, W. M.; C. M. Foote, S. W.; James Lowrie, J. W.; F. E. Adams, treasurer; E. W. Force, secretary; Philip Heintz, S. D.; J. W. Smith, J. D.; S.A. Bayard, tyler.


This lodge was organized on the 29th day of June,1855, the charter members being Thomas M. Bayard, John W. Williams, H. A. Robinson, Uriah Ackley and Bennett Robbins. The following gentlemen have served in succession as Noble Grands of the lodge for one term of six months each, unless otherwise specified: J. M. Bayard, J. W. Williams, H. A. Robinson, S. N. Pelton (two terms), J. A. Foote (two terms), W. W. Ainger, G. S. Rathbun, H. W. Curtis, E. Sheffield, J. H. Vincent, L. A. Sunderland, L. B. McFarland, D. White, H. H. Caley (two terms), A. H. Burnett (two terms), H. Washburn, G. F. Stanhope, W. T. Armour, W. E. Walters, W. A. Braund, George Thomas, L. O. Harris, R. W. Walters, J. J. Davis, W. W. Phillips, C. R. Bliss, John Brooks, W. D. Stannard, D. Goddard, O.F. Frazer, E. F. Douglas, H. A. Pardee, M. H. Isham, W. W. Wilber, O. A. Crane, John Armour, A. B. Gardner (two terms), H. U. Bigelow, Wilson Wyckoff, John Haggett, M. F. Brewster.


1845. Trustees, Ralph E. Russell, Stoughton Bentley, B. H. Bosworth; clerk, A. Knox;
treasurer, Thomas Shaw; assessor, George Stocking.

1846. Trustees, B. H. Bosworth, R. E. Russell, Charles E. Morton; clerk, A. Knox;
treasurer, O. Bliss; assessor, Geo. Stocking.

1847. Trustees, B. H. Bosworth, R. E. Russell, Harmon Barrows; clerk David Birchard;
Treasurer, John Mayhew; assessor, Noah Graves.

1848. Trustees, R. E. Russell, Leonard Sampson, E. P. Wolcott; clerk, David Birchard;
treasurer, J. A. Brown; assessor, Noah Graves.

1849. Trustees, R. E. Russell, E. P. Wolcott, Samuel Pool; clerk, Thomas Shaw;
treasurer, Abel Fisher; assessor, N. Graves.

1850. Trustees, R. E. Russell, L. Lampson, Hannibal Goodell; clerk, L. D. Mix;
treasurer, Chas. Force; assessor, N. Graves.

1851. Trustees, E. P. Wolcott, S. Pool, R. E. Russell; clerk, A. J. Williams; treasurer, A.
Fisher; assessor, N. Graves.

1852. Trustees, Horace Waite, S. Pool, R. E. Russell; clerk, John V. Smith; treasurer, A.
Fisher; assessor, George Faukell.

1853. Trustees, S. Pool, Geo. Gladden, H. Goodell; clerk, S. K. Collins; treasurer, J. H.
Burnet; assessor, Geo. Faukell.

1854. Trustees, Alonzo Harlow, H. Goodell, Ephraim Sheffield; clerk, S. K. Collins;
treasurer, J. H. Burnettt; assessor, J. W. Williams.

1855. Trustees, H. Goodell, A. Harlow, E. Sheffield; clerk, E. P. Wolcott; treasurer, A.
Upham; assessor, Jonathan Cole.

1856. Trustees, H. Goodell, E. Sheffield, E. R. Sage; clerk, A. Harlow; treasurer,
A. Upham; assessor, J. Cole.

1857. Trustees, H. Goodell, E. Sheffield, A. Upham; clerk, Thomas Shaw; treasurer,
G. B. Rogers; assessor G. G. Morris.

1858. Trustees, H. Goodell, E. Sheffield, A. Upham; clerk, Thomas Shaw; treasurer,
G. B. Rogers; assessor, J. B. Wilkinson.

1859. Trustees, H. Goodell, E. Sheffield, A. Upham; clerk, L. D. Mix; treasurer,
Chas. Force; assessor, L. B. McFarland.

1860. Trustees, S. Pool, Orrin Nash, H. Goodell; clerk, T. Shaw; treasurer, A. Upham;
assessor, E. B. Upham.

1861. L. E. Goodwin, E. Sheffield, Julius Kent; clerk, Thomas Shaw; treasurer,
L. B. McFarland; assessor, E. M. Eggleston.

1862. Trustees, E. Sheffield, L. D. Mix, Charles Force; clerk, T. Shaw; treasurer, L. B.
McFarland; assessor, E. M. Eggleston.

1863. Trustees, E. Sheffield, L. D. Mix, Charles Force; clerk, Lucius E. Goodwin; treasurer,
L. B. McFarland; assessor, E. M. Eggleston.

1864. Trustees, E. Sheffield, L. D. Mix, Charles Force; clerk, W. J. Armour; treasurer,
L. B. McFarland; assessor, E. M. Eggleston.

1865. Trustees, Charles Force, E. Sheffield, E. M. Eggleston; clerk; W. J. Armour; treasurer, L. B. McFarland; assessor, E. B. Upham.

1866. Trustees, E. Sheffield, C. Force, W. W. Collins; clerk, W. J. Armour; treasurer,
L. B. McFarland; assessor, L. A. Sunderland.

1867. Trustees, E. Sheffield, W. W. Collins, H. Goodell; clerk, George King; treasurer, Th. Shaw; assessor, A. H. Rogers.

1868. Trustees, C. Force, S. W. Brewster, Silas Christian; clerk, Eleazer Goodwin;
treasurer, Thomas Shaw; assessor, E. B. Upham.

1869. Trustees, C. Force, S. W. Brewster, Silas Christian; clerk, C. R. Bliss; treasurer,
T. Shaw; assessor, E. B. Upham.

1870. Trustees, C. Force, S. Christian, J. G. Coleman; clerk, W. H. Caley; treasurer,
T. Shaw; assessor, E. B. Upham.

1871. Trustees, J. G. Coleman, S. Christian, Washington Gates; clerk, W. H. Caley;
treasurer, T. Shaw; assessor, George Gladden.

1872. Trustees, C. Force, Wm. Hutchings, Alex. Frazer; clerk, Austin Church; treasurer, T. Shaw; assessor, George Gladden.

1873. Trustees, C. Force, W. Hutchings, A. Frazer; clerk, A. Church; treasurer,
T. Shaw; assessor, Geo. Gladden.

1874. Trustees, C. Force, Wm. Hutchings, A. Frazer; clerk, A. Church; treasurer,
Alfred Williams; assessor, George Gladden.

1875. Trustees, C. Force, Wm. Hutchings, A. Frazer; clerk, A. Church; treasurer,
A. Williams; assessor, George Gladden.

1876. Trustees, C. Force, Wm. Hutchings, A. Frazer; clerk, A. Church; treasurer,
A. Williams; assessor, George Gladden.

1877. Trustees, Z. K. Eggleston, Wm. Hutchings, A. Church; clerk, D.O. Davis;
treasurer, Joseph J. Davis; assessor, George Gladden.

1878. Trustees, Charles Force, Alfred Church, Wm. Hutchings; clerk, D.O. Davis;
treasurer, J.J. Davis; assessor, Geo. Gladden.

1879. Trustees, Austin Church, Z. K. Eggleston, Silas Christian; clerk, D.O. Davis;
treasurer, J. J. Davis; assessor, L.O. Harris.


*Many fanciful stories have been told about the origin of the name "Chagrin," applied first to the
river and then to the falls, the township and the village, it being often supposed that is comes from the "chagrin" felt by somebody, about something, on its banks. It is, however, undoubtedly derived from the old Indian word "Shaguin," which is to be found applied to it on maps issued before the Revolution. "Shaguin" is supposed to mean "clear," but this is not so certain.

**Aristarchus Champion died at Rochester only a few years since at the age of over ninety years.


History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Third: The Townships, compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1879; pages 425-433.