This township lies on the Summit county line, east of Independence and south of Warrensville. On the east it is bounded by the township of Solon. It is known in the survey as township number six in range eleven. When it was organized for civil purposes, in 1823, it received its present name at the suggestion of Daniel Benedict, in compliment to the place of his nativity-Bedford, Connecticut.
Along the streams the surface of the township is somewhat broken, but in other parts it is generally level. Being also quite elevated, Bedford is a very healthy township. Heavy forests originally covered the ground, but these have been generally removed, although the appearance of the country is yet pleasantly diversified by bodies of timber which have been allowed to remain in their primitive beauty. The soil is variable, but is usually a light loam. It is generally free from stones, and may be cultivated with ease. It is fertile, and yields the ordinary products of this part of the State, but dairying has, to a large extent, become the chief industrial pursuit of the inhabitants.
Tinker's Creek is the principal stream.* It flows from Solon in a westerly course, south of the center of Bedford, to the Cuyahoga, into which it empties in the township of Independence. Its channel is very deep and rugged, forming in places chasms several hundred feet deep, which have almost perpendicular banks of shale or sand rock, and present a grand and picturesque appearance. Along a part of its course through the township, the scenery for varied and attractive beauty is seldom surpassed. The volume of the stream is not so great as formerly, but it yet affords good water power, which has been well utilized. The other streams of the township are small brooks, which flow into this creek from the north.
About 1810 the township was surveyed into one hundred lots, numbered from northwest, but no speedy attempt at settlement followed. In 1813 Elijah Nobles settled on Tinker's creek near the line of Independence, and was probably the first pioneer of Bedford. He was a man of loose business habits, and soon found himself reduced to extreme poverty with a very heavy incumbrance on his land. As it did not seem possible for him to retain his home there, one the Hudsons, of Hudson, who was related to him, offered him a part of lot forty-six (at the center), if he would make certain improvements on it. With this purpose he moved to what is now the village of Bedford, in November, 1815, and was the first man who lived there. His neighbors in Independence turned out to the number of eighteen, and in a single day built him a cabin from the trees growing on the spot, leaving the family there at night nearly three miles from any other occupied house. Nobles remained all winter at the center, but the following spring he returned to his old place on the creek, and not long after removed to another part of the State. A part of his property on Tinker's creek passed into the hands of Adams & Starr, who built there the first mills in the township, and another part became the home of Cardee Parker who opened the first tavern, (although Nobles may have entertained occasional travelers.) Parker's tavern became quite famous in its way, and after his death, was continued by his widow, who was widely known as Mother Parker. After the canal was built she removed to Independence, and opened a public house there.
Several months after the settlement of Nobles at the center, Benjamin Fitch, who came to Independence in 1813, squatted on a piece of land in that locality, but after Nobles had left he, too, became discouraged and moved back to the creek. He sold his "betterments" to Wetherby Nye, but the land ultimately became the property of Joseph Goodale, who purchased it of the proprietors. In the course of the year Fitch returned to the center and built a new cabin on the eastern part of the site of the village, where he lived a number of years, but finally made a permanent settlement on lot fifteen. He was probably the greatest hunter that ever lived in the township, being so uniformly successful that some of his less fortunate neighbors used to "change works" with him-they clearing his land for him while he provided them with game. He was also well known as a maker of split-bottom chairs, and some of these useful articles made by him, over sixty years ago, are yet in existence in the township. In the later part of his life he moved to Indiana, where he died. He had three sons, named Joseph, George C., and Andrew G. The latter was born at the center in 1818, being the first child born in that locality. His two daughters yet live in Bedford, Harriet being the wife of W. O. Taylor.
Benoni Brown settled in the southwestern part of the township about 1815, but removed in the course of ten years. At the old mill, in the Tinker's creek settlement, Timothy Washburne lived at a very early day, but did not remain long. He was the first blacksmith in Bedford. In this locality also Stephen Comstock settled in 1814, and a daughter, Sarah, born soon after, was the first child born in the township. The family also comprised two other daughters, and two sons named Charles and Stephen. Stephen Comstock, Sr., was probably the first settler of Bedford who retained a permanent residence. A little later James Orr made some improvements in the same locality, but also removed before 1830. About 1818 Moses Gleeson likewise settled there. He was an enterprising citizen, and reared seven sons, named Edwin, Elias, Charles, William, Moses, Sardis and Lafayette, and three daughters.
In April, 1819, Samuel Barnes, of Vermont, came from Newburg, where he settled in 1817, and located in the northwest part of Bedford, but afterwards settled at the village. He died in November, 1872, but Mrs. Barnes is yet living, and is the earliest surviving settler of the township. They reared one son, Orville, and two daughters. On of them, Cordelia, was born in June 1819, hers being one of the first births in the township.
The following year and the year after, Moses Barnum, Abijah S. Barnum and Prentice B. Ross settled on the Newburg road, but at lease two of them moved away at an early date. In 1820 Jason Shepard located on lot two, where he lived until after 1830, when he removed to Newburg. It is related of him that while he was out hunting he shot a black bear which was helping himself to the wild honey from a "bee tree," which also became the prize of the hunter; and returning home, shot a deer and some wild turkeys near his home, which was certainly obtaining a pretty good supply of food for one day. He had a son, Elias, who is yet a citizen of Newburg,
John Dunham settled in the northwestern part of the township about 1821 and died there in 1850, leaving seven sons, named Ambrose, Chester, Alonzo, John, Asa, Jehiel and Lorenzo. Of these, Asa, who resides on Dunham street, is the only one living in the township. Wetherby Nye became a resident of Bedford about the same time, and after living in various places finally located in the western part of the township, where he died in 1877. Nathaniel K. Joy lived in the same neighborhood as early as 1822, but soon moved away. On lot four Solomon White was an early settler, locating on the present Libbey farm. Samuel Morton lived in the same neighborhood in 1822, but after a few years moved to Canada.
In 1822 Stephen Robinson located on the present Comstock place, on lot twelve, where he died in 1832. He had eight sons, named Daniel, Nathan, Isaac, Ebenezer, Ezra, Nathaniel, John and Newman. The latter is the only remaining in the township; John lives in West Cleveland: and Ezra in Brooklyn. John White was a neighbor of the Robinsons before 1823, and died in that locality. He reared two sons, named William G. and Charles.
Daniel Benedict settled at the village of Bedford in 1821, and was the first permanent resident there. His family consisted of eight sons: Darius, Ralph, Julius, Sillock, Judson, James, Rodolphus, Phinamber and Allison. Phinamber is the only one living in the county, he being yet a resident of the village. A little later Moses Higby settled in the southwestern part of the township, where he remained until his death.
Others living in the township before 1823 were Jared Barnes, Barzilla Burk, William Dunshee, Laban Ingersoll, John Johnson, John Marvin, and Peter Comstock. Within a few years came Philo Barnes, Justin Remington, George M. Payne, Luther and Ziba Willis, Daniel Gould, Hiram Spofford, Barney Cobb, Enoch Allen and Nathaniel C. Hains.
In 1830 the householders of the township were as follows :
John Libbey, Noah Sawyer, Alfred Dunham, Jason Shepard, Charles Goodrich, Enos Hollister, A. S. Barnum, John Dunham, Wetherby Nye, Eli Burke, Alvah Hollister, Hiram Ostrander, Stephen Robinson, James Titus, Julius S. Benedict, Oliver B. Robinson. Daniel Gould, Luther Willis, Darius Warner, William Dunshee, Ralph R. Benedict, Samuel Barnes, Abraham Turner, Joseph Skinner, Joseph Goodale, John White, Justus Remington, Nathaniel C. Haines, George M. Payne, Enoch Allen, James Griffith, Barney Cobb, Daniel Benedict, Hiram Spafford, Benjamin Fitch, Erastus Ives, Jared Skinner, Ziba Willis, Daniel Mora, Moses Kirby, Lyman Eldred, Curtis Wells, Daniel Chase, John L. Willard, Alvin Davis, Danforth Chamberlain, Aaron Warner, John Hill, Mary Ann Parker, Silas Lindsley, Moses Gleason, Peter McArthur, John Schooley, Nathaniel H. Joy, Stephen Comstock, James Hughes, Wm. Currier, Isaac Leach, Isaac D. Leach.
After 1830 the immigration was very large, and the township, although yet new, was soon quite densely populated. In 1847 Bedford had three hundred and twenty voters.
Agreeably to an order of the commissioners of Cuyahoga County, the inhabitants of the present township of Bedford assembled at the home of Prentice B. Ross, April 7, 1823, to elect township officers. John Dunham, Daniel Benedict and Aaron Shepard were appointed judges; Laban Ingersoll and A. S. Barnum, clerks. The officers elected were as follows: Trustees, Daniel Benedict, James Orr, Laban Ingersoll; clerk, Abijah S. Barnum; treasure, John Dunham; constables and listers, Peter Comstock, Darius R Benedict; fence viewers, Prentice B. Ross, Wetherby Nye; overseers of the poor, Barzilla B. Burk, Stephen Comstock; road supervisors, Daniel Benedict, James Orr, Barzilla B. Burk. Jonathan Fisher, a justice of the peace of the county, qualified the clerk to perform the duties of his office.
A meeting to elect a justice of the peace for Bedford was held July 19, 1823, when John Dunham received seventeen votes; Daniel Benedict, eleven and A. Shepard, one. Dunham declined to serve, and on the 9th of August another election was held which resulted in the choice of James Orr; he having received twenty-five votes. The justices in 1879 are A. M. Whitaker and E. H. Hammond. It is impossible to compile even a reasonably full list of those who have served as justices in the intermediate period; even as to other officers it is very difficult, some of the records having been destroyed or mislaid. As near as can be ascertained they have been as follows:
1823. Trustees, Daniel Benedict, James Orr, Laban Ingersoll;
clerk, Abijah; S. Barnum; treasurer, John Dunham.
In 1857 the township appointed five hundred dollars to purchase a tract of ground for burial purposes. A lot of three and one-third acres was selected in the southwestern part of the village, which has been well fenced, laid out in blocks, planted with fine trees and a vault provided. The township also furnished a hearse and provided the service of a sexton. The cemetery contains some very fine monuments, and has become the general place of interment of the township.
On the 30th day of May, 1874, the trustees of Bedford contracted with David Law, of Willoughby, to build a town hall at the village, for $13,500. The hall was subsequently seated and furnished, making the entire cost about $15,000. The building is three stories high with a Mansard roof of figured slate, and has a very attractive appearance. The lower story is fitted up for township offices, and has a room in which the general meetings are held. It was first occupied for this purpose in the spring of 1875. The second story forms a public hall, for lectures, concerts, and other occasions; and the third story has been fitted up by the Masons for the use of their order. The hall is an appropriate monument to the enterprise and progressive spirit of the people of Bedford.
The first roads of Bedford were merely underbrushed paths, but afterwards, when the township was organized, the people went to work in earnest to improve them. The State road, passing through the township diagonally from southeast to northwest, was built 1830, and at once became a popular thoroughfare, and is still the principal highway of the township. The other highways were in due time improved, the low places being turnpiked. At present the roads are in very fine condition, and in 1879 were in charge of the following supervisors: William Trimple, C. Wright, George Nichols, J. H. Stohlman, George Lain, David Winders, James Rees, D. Wells and Amos Allen.
In the spring of 1849 ground was broken in Bedford for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad, and in 1852 the road was fully open for traffic. It has a length in Bedford of about seven miles, and at the village a good train station has been provided. The railroad bridge across Tinker's creel is a very fine piece of massive stone masonry, more than one hundred feet high. About the same time that the railroad was built, the Twinsburg and Bedford plank road was constructed; and at a little later date the Cleveland and Mahoning railroad was opened through the northeastern part of the township. The plank road was abandoned about 1860.
This is chiefly situated on lot forty-six, near the center of the township. It is located mainly on the north bank of Tinker's creek, which there flows through a deep gorge, the sides of which are almost perpendicular walls of rock, partly bare and partly covered with trees and shrubs, and presenting a very picturesque appearance. At a bend of the creek, on lot fifty-six, the first effort to start a village was made about 1826 by Luther Willis. He was the owner of water-power which had been employed to operate machinery, but beyond the building of a few houses nothing resulted from the endeavors of the proprietor.
After 1830 Hezekiah Dunham became the owner of a large tract of land farther north, and mainly on lot forty-six, a portion of which he caused to be surveyed for a village in December, 1834. The plat was made by John C. Sill, and embraced a number of lots south of the present village park (which was at that time devoted to the public use), and west of the turnpike road. Lots were also set aside for a hall for town meetings, and the several religious societies each received a building site. This liberal spirit, and other inducements held out by the proprietors, caused a number of improvements to be made, necessitating, in 1836, an addition of lots on the east side of the turnpike, which was also made by the Dunhams. Other additions were made by the owners of adjoining real estate from time to time, until the area of the village had been greatly extended.
It is not compactly built, and since the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad located a station here, in 1852, it has partaken somewhat of the characteristics of a suburban village in relation to Cleveland. It is only six miles distant from the limits of the city, and has a population of about eight hundred. The village contains a very fine public hall, a Methodist, a Disciple, a Baptist and a Presbyterian church, an elegant Union School building, a number of comfortable residences, and the various establishments mentioned a little further on.
Bedford was incorporated according to the provisions of an act of the general assembly, passed March 15, 1837, which set forth "that so much of the township of Bedford, in the county of Cuyahoga, as herein described, viz: The whole of lots forty-five, forty-six and fifty-six, and that part of lot fifty-five which lays northeast of Tinker's creek; also a strip thirty-two rods width off the south end of lot thirty-six, and a strip of thirty-two rods width off the south end of lot thirty-five, west as far as the west line of Justus Remington's land, be and the same is hereby created a town corporate, and shall hereafter be known by the name and title of 'Town of Bedford.'" An election of a mayor, a recorder, and five trustees was ordered to be holden the following April, and yearly thereafter. The mayor chosen was George M. Payne; the recorder, David B Dunham.
All the records prior to 1860 have been destroyed by fire, so that no complete list of officers can be given. The village allowed its first charter to lapse, and on the 3d day of May, 1852, a new act of incorporation was granted, with the limits before given, which yet remains as originally fixed.
Since 1859 the principal officers have been as follows: 1860, J. C. Cleveland, mayor; A. M. Whitaker, recorder. 1861, J. C. Cleveland, mayor; W. L. Lord, recorder. 1862, L. D. Benedict, mayor; C. A. Ennis, recorder. 1863 & 64, F. H. Cannon, mayor; S. P. Gray, recorder. 1865, R. J. Wheelock, mayor; Sidney Smith, recorder. 1866, R. C. Smith, mayor; H. Freeman, recorder. 1867, A. J. Wells, mayor; Sidney Smith, recorder. 1868, Benjamin Lemoin, mayor; Sidney Smith, recorder. 1869 to 1873, C. A. Ennis, mayor; A. M. Whitaker, recorder. 1874 to 1875, C. A. Ennis , mayor; L. P. Whitaker, recorder. 1876 to 1877, D. B. Dunham, mayor; W. S. Warner, recorder. 1878, V. A. Taylor, mayor; W. S. Warner, recorder.
In 1879 the village officers were as follows: V. A. Taylor, mayor; W. S. Warner, recorder; M. L. Hilliard, C. B. Marble, J. C. Nelson, C. A. Ennis, John H. Grause, J. H. Lamson, councilmen; Robert Forbes, treasure; H. P. Bredes, marshal. A tax of three and one-half mills was levied on the valuation of the village for all purposes of the corporation in 1879.
The Bedford post office dates from about 1826. Ziba Willis was the first postmaster. His successor in 1833 was D. B. Dunham, who held the office until 1842. At that time there was one mail per day, by stage; the arrival varied from two to ten hours, according to the condition of the roads. The successors of Mr. Dunham have been J. P. Robinson, R. D. Benedict, Leverett Tarbell, Levi Marble, and the present postmaster, Charles B. Marble. The office enjoys good mail privileges.
The first store in the village, and also the first in the township, was opened by David B. Dunham, in November, 1831, in a building which stood at the forks of the road, opposite the present hotel. He occupied that building eight years, when he removed to a fine stone block, which stood just north of his present residence, and which was occupied by him when it was destroyed by fire in June, 1878. In that building was transacted, for a number of years, a business which aggregated more than $100,000 per year, and which made Bedford one of the best trading points in the county, outside of Cleveland. Other prominent merchants have been F. H. Cannon, J. P. Robinson, W. B. Hillman, Paddock & Esselstyne, George M. Payne, Zachariah Paddock, Chester Hamilton, Watson I. Gray, M. B. Dawson, Leverett Tarbell, A. H. Comstock, James Thompson, L. D. Hathaway, L. P. Gray, etc. The present merchants are Newman Robinson, since 1845, Robert Forbes, since 1865; C. B. Marble, L.C. Hains, Joseph Hains, C. H. Dustin and J. R. Tudor & Co.
Enoch Allen had the first public house in the village, about 1829, near the present chair factories. He was followed by Amos Belden and others. In 1832 Calvin Barnes put up a good hotel, north of the park which was widely know as the "Checkered House." Among other keepers were Silas Gray and George Lathrop. In 1871 the house was destroyed by fire. In 1832, also the present "Fountain House" was built by Levi Marble, who kept it a few years, and was followed by Abner Heston and others. The present proprietor is Charles Turner, and it is the only hotel in the place. Formerly hotels were kept in the stone block and at other places; the village having, at one time, had five public houses.
Dr. J. M. Turner, who came about 1828 and lived a little south of the village, was the first physician and was in practice for about five years. Dr. Charles Goodrich came about 1830, but fell a victim to the cholera in 1832, Dr. J. P. Robinson was in practice from January, 1832, till his removal to Cleveland in 1865. Dr. D. G. Streeter came in 1845, and remained until his death in October, 1878, and Dr. S. M. Tarbell was one of his contemporizes. Others, formerly in practice, were Doctors A. W. Oliver, Noble H. Finney, _______ Brainard, ____Gerold and B. M. Hutchinson. The present physicians are Doctors C. M. Hawley, N. A. Dalrymple[,] _____ Daniels, and N. B. Armstrong. The veteran Dr. T. Garlick, for many years one of Cleveland's most eminent surgeons, is a retired citizen of the village.
In 1838 John Hammon, of Ravenna, began the publication of the Bedford Intelligencer, a small sheet devoted to local news and the interests of the Democratic party. In five years it was discontinued, and the place has since been without a paper.
The first manufacturing in the township was on Tinker's Creek, near the line of Independence. Sometime about 1815 two men, named Adams and Starr, put up a sawmill and a gristmill, both small, at a point about thirty rods above the mills now situated in that locality. The first mills were suffered to go down, and in 1820 Culverson and Roland improved the present site. The mills erected by them soon after became the property of Moses Gleeson, and have since been operated by him and his family.
About 1821 Daniel Benedict built a sawmill, and soon after
a carding machine, on Tinker's creek, near the State road, at
Bedford village. These were destroyed by fire, but on the site
there is now a sawmill, belonging to Henry Wick. Below this point
Luther Willis built mills in 1825, which are at present operated
by Levi Marble. Near by is a building in which blinds were formerly
made and which, at a later day, was a chair factory, but which
is at present little used.
As early as 1832 Allen Robinette put up a small tannery which, since 1840, has been carried on by Hinman Robinson. About 1845 Robinson & Hillman engaged in tanning on a large scale, but after a few years operation the enterprise was abandoned. About 1840 Comstock, Kirkman & Dickey put up a foundry near the creek, which was burned. It was subsequently rebuilt near the railroad, where it remained in operation until 1868, when it was again destroyed by fire.
In 1866 the citizens of Bedford formed themselves into an association for the purpose of establishing a rolling mill. A large capital stock was subscribed, and H. N. Slade chosen the first president. A good mill was built near the railroad bridge, in which from fifty to seventy-five hands were employed. The mill became the property of E. W. John about 1869, and subsequently was owned by the " Leetonia Iron and Coal Company," which also failed. After standing idle a few years, it was purchased by parties resident in Massillon, who removed it to that place, where it is now in operation. During the time it was carried on in Bedford, it is estimated the place sustained a direct and indirect loss of more than two hundred thousand dollars, which was chargeable to that source, while the benefit derived from it was very slight.
A machine shop for general iron work was built about 1854 by M. A. Purdy & Son, near the above site, which was last carried on by C. Purdy. In July, 1875, the establishment was totally destroyed by fire.
These have for many years been among the principal industries of the place, and are the only ones which have survived the mutations of time. In 1851 B. J. Wheelock began the manufacture of cane-seated chairs in the old building by the mill, having at first a force of five men. Changes in the firm followed, and capacity of the shop was largely increased, more than twenty men being employed. In 1855 B. J. Wheelock and L. F. Osborne built a large factory on the hill north of the old establishment, the latter being continued meanwhile by Lord, Park & Co. and others. In 1858 the new shops were enlarged by the firm of Wheelock & Wright, and about the same time M. A. Purdy & Son erected a new shop devoted to the chair business, in the same locality, and operated it a number of years. In 1867 the different chair manufactures in the village untied their interests and formed the Bedford Chair Company. Another building was then erected to connect the two factories on the hill, the establishment then being made to assume the shape it now has. At that time about fifty men were employed. At present the factory is operated by Wheelock & Co., on a more limited scale, in the manufacture of single cane-seated work only.
As early as 1833 Benjamin Fitch carried on the manufacture of splint-bottom chairs at his home in the northern part of the township, on lot fifteen. Here W. O. Taylor learned the chair-maker's trade, and in 1844 began work on his own account. In 1863 he erected a shop in this locality, in which he shortly after began the manufacture of cane-seated chairs, although still continuing to make splint work. In 1874 his factory was removed to Bedford village, where the business has since been very successfully carried on by W. O. Taylor & Son. At present they occupy a large building more than one hundred feet long, with several capacious wings, in which sixty men are employed, nearly as many more persons being given employment outside of the factory, in weaving and braiding chair seats. The work of this factory has attained a wide reputation in 1876 was awarded the medal at the Centennial Exhibition. More than forty styles of single and double seated cane work are made, and the demand for the wares of the factory is so great that it is taxed to its utmost to supply it.
The records of the township are silent in regard to the condition of the public schools, nothing of interest but a list of teachers prior to 1840 being obtainable. This includes the names of Miss Barnes, H. L. Sill, C. Ruggles, R. Root, W Johnson, D. Baldwin, M. Smith, Polly Allen, Betsy Predner, Mary Ann Sill, Laura Gould, Mary McCartney, Mariah Peck, and L. Ruggles. In 1848 there were eleven districts in the township, having an aggregate of six hundred and sixty-two children of school age. The school fund amounted to $665.40.
Thirty years later there were two fractional districts and
eight sub districts, in addition to the Union School of Bedford
village. Not including the latter, the expenditure for school
purposes were $3,441.56. Thirty-three weeks of school were maintained,
and the aggregate enrollment was one hundred and ninety-six boys
and seventy-five girls. The average attendance was nearly three
hundred, all the scholars being engaged in the study of the common
branches, except two. The average wages of the male teachers
was $36.00; of female teaches, $16.50. There were eight school
houses the value of which was set at $10,500. The most of them
present an attractive appearance on the outside, and are comfortably
fitted up on the inside. In 1879 the board of education was composed
of R. J. Hathaway (District No, 4), president; W. S. Warner,
clerk; Ozro Orborne, of District No. 1; A. J. Hansay, of the
No. 2; H. H. Cox, of No. 3; George Laing, of No 5; F. B. McConnor,
of No. 6; Leonard Hershey, of No.7; S. S. Drake, of No. 8.
The district was originally organized to embrace only the territory within the corporate limits of the village, but in 1874 the bounds were extended so as to include all of lots thirty-six, thirty-seven, forty-four, forty-five, forty six, fifty-three, fifty-four, fifty-five, fifty-six and parts of thirty-five, forty-seven, fifty-seven, sixty-five, sixty-six and sixty-seven. In 1873 the present school building was erected, under the direction of a board of education composed of Robert Forbes, R. Moffatt and W. H. Wheelock, and was ready for occupancy in the early part of 1874. It is a very handsome edifice of brick, forty by fifty-six feet, two stories high, with basement, and cost $15,000. There are four rooms, but at present only three are occupied for school purposes. The schools were attended by the two hundred and forty-one pupils in 1878, the average attendance being two hundred and five. Thirty-eight weeks of school were maintained at a cost of nearly $1,600, under the principalship of R. C. Smith.
Since 1877 the board of education has been composed of six
persons. The present members are J.
Soon after 1830 several religious societies were formed in Bedford, which failed to maintain their organization more than a few years. There being no church building in the place, a small framed meeting house was erected about this period by Mrs. Fanny Willis, which was the first place of worship of the several societies organized before 1841.
The Disciples were the first to form a society that proved permanent. In May, 1830, Rev. E. Williams visited the village to preach, and for some time came every month thereafter. In August Noel C. Barnum was baptized by Mr. Williams, and in April, 1831, Enoch Allen and-six [sic] others received the same rite. Preaching was continued by Rev. Messrs Williams, William Hayden, J. J. Moss and others, and in December, 1833, was organized.
with twenty members and the following officers; Thos. Marble, overseer; Enoch Allen and George M. Payne, deacons. The following year these were under the ministrations of the Rev. A. B. Green. In 1834 Rev. J. J. Moss became a resident Bedford, and for five years taught and preached from house to house. In 1837 a great revival prevailed whereby thirty-two persons were added to the membership of the church. In 1835 Enoch Allen and Allen Robinette were elected overseers; Samuel Barnes, N. C. Barnum and W. W. Walker, deacons.
The church has enjoyed numerous revivals; in 1843 receiving one hundred and six additions, and in 1848 fifty-four additions-among them being thirty persons who had formerly belonged to the Baptist Church. In 1852, under the preaching of Rev. A. B. Green, one hundred and fifteen persons joined at one meeting. The aggregate membership has been very large, reaching nearly twenty-five hundred; and from the Bedford society have originated fifty churches in various parts of the country. At present there are three hundred and twenty-five resident, and one hundred non-resident members. Among those who have originated here as ministers were Irvin A. Searles, Theo. Johnson, Burdette Goodale, Alonzo Dunham, J. P. Robinson, William Robinson, Charles F. Bartlett, Sidney Smith, and a number of others who expound the Word at home.
The elders of the church have been, in the order of their election: Thomas Marble, Allen Robinett, Enoch Allen, Sidney Smith, James Young, C. F. Bartlett, R. S. Benedict, S. F. Lockwood, James Egbert,** W. H. Millman, A. T. Hubbell, Alonzo Drake,** R. J. Hathaway,** Hiram Woods and A. C. Hubbell; and the deacons have been Enoch Allen, George M. Payne, Samuel Barnes, N.C. Barnum, W. W. Walker, A. Gray, Charles F. Bartlett, George Comstock, Silvan F. Lockwood, Augustin Collins, Silas A. Hathaway, Daniel Gould, N. P. Benedict, Lee Lord, J. S. Benedict, A. T. Hubbell, D. D. Robinson, N. A. Egbert, Augustus Rincar,** W. W. Wells, M. B. Dawson, J. W, Derthwick,** J. M. Egbert,** V.A. Taylor,** and Johnson McFarland.**
In 1856 the church employed the first pastor (the ministers until that period having been evangelists), the Rev. J. O. Beardsley, who afterwards became a foreign missionary. His successors in the pastoral office have been J. H. Jones, James H. Woods, A. B. Green, R. Moffit, W. L. Anderson, W. J. Sharp, S. W. Brown, L. Cooley, and E. D. Barclay the present pastor.
The meeting-house was erected in 1838. It has since been much enlarged and improved, being at present a very handsome edifice the value of which is estimated at six thousand dollars. The present trustees are Alonzo Drake, V. A. Taylor, Johnson McFarland, John Way, Milo Hathaway, F. R. Hamlin and S. J. Clark; E. A. Ennis is clerk of the board.
Many years ago Dr. J. P. Robinson was the superintendent of a flourishing Sunday-school, which has been continued with unabated interest until the present time. It has one hundred and twenty-five members. R. J. Hathaway being the superintendent.
For nearly twenty years the board of managers of the Ohio Missionary Society were located at Bedford; Dr. J. P. Robinson being the chairman, and James Egbert, the treasurer. In later years the meetings have been held at Cleveland.
This religious body was organized November 18, 1834, with the following members: Stephen Rusco, William Wing, Salome Rusco, Phebe Hotchkiss, Isabella Thomas, Silvan P. Lockwood, Ambrose K. Lockwood, Fanny Willis, Mary Robinson, Marinda Holcomb, Clarissa Dunham, Hannah Wing, Lucretia Hammond and John Hammond, by the Rev. S. R. Willard, who also became the first pastor. Stephen Rusco was elected the first clerk, and Silvan P. Lockwood and John Hammond, the first deacons. In September, 1835, the church became connected with the Portage Association, sending as delegates the pastor, Rev. Mr. Willard, Deacon Hammond and Stephen Rusco.
In 1836 John Hammond resigned his deaconship, and John Brainard was chosen in his place. The latter resigned in 1843, and George Morse, John Hammond and Newman Robinson were elected. Augustus Pease also served in this capacity. The present deacons are Newman Robinson and Daniel Cook.
The second pastor of the church was the Rev. E. H. Holley, who assumed that relation in February, 1842. The succeeding pastors, with the year in which each began his service, have been as follows: 1844, Rev. W. Levisse; 1846, Rev. W. G. Johnson; 1850, Rev. Mr. Simonds; 1851, A. Freeman; 1855, Rev. Alonzo Wadhams; 1857, Rev. E. A. Turner; 1859, Rev. M. Page; 1860, Rev. Mr. Heath; 1861, Rev. J. L. Phillips; 1864, Rev. Mr. Haven; 1866, Rev. J. B. Hutton; 1867, Rev. G. W. Scott; 1869, Rev. F. Tolhurst; 1875, Rev. Mr. Stephenson; 1876, Rev. S. Early, who yet continues as a supply, and is also superintendent of a Sunday school which has two hundred members. The church reports ninety-five members.
In 1839 the present church edifice was erected, and on the 19th of February, 1840, it was consecrated by the Rev. Levi Tucker. It has since been repaired, and is still a comfortable place of worship. The present trustees are Geo. Cowan, Newman Robinson and Frederick Harter.
About 1833, a class of Methodists was formed at Bedford, having among its members N. C. Haines, his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Polly; Benjamin Fitch and wife, Daniel Benedict and wife, and others who had formerly belonged to the Reformed Methodists. Rev. N. C. Haines and ____ Baldwin, acting in the capacity of local preachers, were the first ministers of the class, which did not increase very rapidly in membership. After ministers were sent here by the conference, the services were held in the Willis meeting house, which afterwards became the property of the Methodists, and was moved by them to its present location. In a remodeled condition it forms a pleasant place of worship, valued at $2,500. The present trustees are S. M. Hammond, Edward Corkill, A. M. Whitaker, G. C. Tinker, J. W. Hickman, and W. T. Wheelock.
The church has at present about one hundred members, and the following stewards: G.C. Tinker, J. R. Tudor, W.W. Corkill and A. J. Lockwood. The pastor since September, 1878, has been the Rev. A. T. Copeland. Among other Methodist clergy here were the Revs. Alfred Bronson. S. Warrallo, Ira Eddy, L. D. Prosser, J. K. Hallock, W. F. Wilson, M. H. Bettis, W. French, A. Hall, J. H. Tagg, D. M. Stevens, W. F. Day, L. Clark, A. Foutz, Cyril Wilson, Michael Williams, C. F. Kingsbury, S. Gregg, B. J. Kennedy, B. C. Warner, A. M. Brown, B. F. Wade, J. Beetham and J. H. Merchant.
A flourishing Sunday school is maintained by the church, with S. M. Hammond as superintendent.
The house of worship of this body was erected in 1861, by a congregation which has been formed previous to that date by Revs. F. I. Brown and John Andrews, of the Wooster presbytery. There were sixteen members, and Milton A. Purdy and B. J. Wheelock were the first ruling elders. Before the meeting house was built, Rev. William Campbell became the first pastor, the services being held in Hutchinson hall and other places. He served the church in connection with that of Northfield, and the subsequent pastors were also in the employ of both churches. These were the Rev. William B. Marsh and the Rev. William Hamilton, D.D. After the latter confined his labors solely to Northfield church, many of the members in the southern part of the township withdrew from the Bedford church and connected themselves with the former body. Others removed, and the church was left so weak that for the past six years the meeting house has been unoccupied.
Other religious societies have had a brief existence at Bedford village and in the western part of the township, where a meeting house was erected on Dunham street, but all have now become extinct.
This lodge received a dispensation October 17, 1866, and a
year later was duly chartered with the following members: J.
B. Hains, C. N. Hamlin, R. C. Smith, A. A. Benedict, W. H. Sawyer,
Levi Case. Enoch Allen, A. J. Wells, J. J. Brittan, S. S. Peck,
L. C. Hains, Samuel Patrick, E, Cowles, and H. H. Palmer. The
officers were J. B. Hains, W. M.; L. C. Hains, J. W.; S. S. Peck,
secretary; B. F. Lillie, treasurer; E. J. Parke, J. D.; M. T.
Canfield, S. D., and F. Mighton, tyler. The lodge has had one
hundred and eleven members, and at present reports fifty-five.
In 1874 the upper story of the town hall was fitted up for lodge
purposes, at a cost of $1,500. The size of the main hall is thirty
by thirty-six feet; the size of that and the banquet hall is
thirty-six by seventy feet. The present officers are S. S. Peck,
W. M.; S. H. Gleeson, S. W.; William Golling, J. W.; E. H. Hammond,
secretary; C. B. Marsle, treasurer; J. C. Nelson, S. D.; William
Klaner, J. D., and H. Conant, tyler.
History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Third: The Townships,
compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign &
Co., 1879; pages 403-410