Geauga County Biographies
The following biographies come from a variety of sources. Most are from Geauga County newspapers. Starting in 1896 The Geauga Leader ran a regular column entitled "Geauga’s Pioneers" featuring biographies and autobiographies of residents of Geauga County who were 60 years of age or older. These biographies ranged from 1 or 2 sentence mention of the individual to several paragraphs. The Geauga Republican also published biographies on a regular basis in the 1880s. Particularly prominent were the biographical series on the early settlers of Claridon Township.
Each entry is followed by the biography and its‘ citation. If there is only a citation, then the biography is covered under copyright laws or it was too lengthy for the volunteer to transcribe. Microfilm copies of these newspapers can be obtained from The Ohio Historical Society through interlibrary loan or at the public library in Chardon.
ARMSTRONG, MR. BURTON (Claridon)
Mr. Burton Armstrong was born in Claridon Jan. 12, 1820. Now aged 76 years. He enlisted in the 41st O. V. I. And in consequence of his army service has lost his voice. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
BLAKESLEE, OZI (Claridon)
It was an odd name, and well it fitted the man who bore it. Ozi Blakeslee was one of the most eccentric men that ever lived; yet his foibles were all of a very innocent nature. His one great aim in life seemed to be to keep up good feeling and to make everything pleasant around him. He was a great talker. and much given to flattery, and to be complimented himself always gave him much pleasure. He was fond of popularity; in fact, there was considerable vanity in his make-up. Whenever he committed a good act, which happened quite often, he liked to have it known, being a practical believer in the text, "Let your light shine, that others may see your good works."
Ozi Blakeslee was a short, thickset man, somewhat inclined to corpulency. He had a round red face, light hair and eyes, and was quite baldheaded. He was quick and energetic in his motions, much given to use of short pithy proverbial phrases and quotations from Scripture, which were expressive and always to the point. He was very handy with the pen, and was the clerk of the first election ever held in the township, which was in 1817. At this same election he was chosen Justice of the Peace, which office he held for a good many years. He was also the first clerk of the Congregational Society, and his name frequently occurs in all the earlier records of the township and the society. He was well educated for the times, prompt, farseeing, and gifted with an uncommon amount of practical common sense. He was a very cautious man, avoiding all danger and difficulty if possible, saying that "a wise man foreseeth the evil and fleeth therefrom, while the simple pass on and are punished.." Esq. Blakeslee was raised in Colebrook, Conn., but lived a few years in Avon, in the State of New York, and came here in the fall of 1814. His first purchase was on the Taylor Street, being the land now owned by R. M. Allen. Having selected the place for his log house, he proceeded to cut down a tree standing on the spot, which he intended should form one of the foundation logs for the same. While chopping this tree, he said, "As the tree falleth so it lieth." But the tree in falling lodged on some other trees, and when it finally reached the ground it lay in a quite different direction from what was intended, but, as he had made the above quotation, he would not allow it to be moved, but built the house to correspond, which presented the singular spectacle of standing cornerwise to the street. After four or five years, he sold out and purchased 160 acres of land north of the Center. A row of tall poplar trees standing in front of this farm still bear witness to the labor of his hands. As his means were quite limited, and having a large family to support, it was a long time doubtful as to whether or not he would be able to pay for this land, but at length, by means of hard labor and the strictest economy, to his great joy he succeeded. He then wrote an article for the county paper, giving the facts in the case, and notifying "all persons, if any there should be, having claims against Ozi Blakeslee, to present the same immediately, and they should be canceled, and, if any are indebted to the said Ozi Blakeslee, they are requested to settle immediately or the Philistines will be upon them."
He kept a rifle, which he frequently took with him, although it was very seldom that he killed any game with it. He would sometimes, on going into the woods, borrow another gun of a neighbor, saying that, if he should happen to come across a bear, he might need two guns to kill it with. One time when crossing the Cuyahoga bottoms, having the two loaded guns with him, sure enough, he saw a bear, which was busily engaged in pulling down the branches of some chokecherry bushes and eating the fruit. Mr. B. crept up behind a log to within about 4 rods of the bear, and then, cocking one of the guns, he took deliberate aim, when, thinking that the other gun would be the best one to use first, he took the other, and sighted the bear with that; and then, after deliberating awhile, he concluded that, if the bear would let him alone, he would let the bear alone, and so, saying to himself, "Let us depart in peace," he took up his guns, and going cautiously back and around, left the bear undisturbed. Esq. Blakeslee was very particular as to the deportment of his family, and if one of the boys, (and the same rule applied to himself also) happened to sit down in the house with his hat on his head, the offender was immediately required to go out and pick up and bring into the house a basket of chips.
He was once elected to the Legislature, a circumstance which he would often recall with much pride, and afterward, when it was desirable to recall any particular event, he would say, that it happened the same year, or so much before or so many years after "I went to the Legislature." His many eccentricities gave him much prestige among the people. If it was desirable to raise money for any purpose, the people would frequently appoint Mr. B. to circulate the subscription paper, and require him to head the list himself, in which case he was sure to put down a much larger sum than he could be induced to do under any other circumstances. It is said that when the Assessor came around, he would put into the list more cattle and more property than he possessed, and cheerfully pay the additional tax, for the sake of having it said that his tax was greater than that of any of his neighbors. Notwithstanding his oddities, Esq. Blakeslee was always considered a valuable member of the community. He was always among the foremost in matters pertaining to the interests of society, education and the welfare of the township generally. His children were all well educated. Two of his sons became lawyers, one a minister, and one of his daughters married a minister. He died in 1844, at the age of 63. The Geauga Republican, Wednesday, March 14, 1888, page 8. Contributed by Sandi R. Stoklosa.
BROWN, FREEMAN (Burton)
Mr. Freeman Brown was born in Newbury 70 years ago the 29th day of last December. Now lives in Burton. Mrs. Brown was born in New York state Jan. 10, 1829; now 67 years old. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
CANFIELD, BETSY (Auburn)
Betsy Canfield was born July 16, 1821, in Farmington, Ontario Co., N.Y.; came to Auburn, Geauga Co., in 1830, her father driving through with an ox team.. She is now 74 years old. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
HAFFNER, JOHN (Burton)
Mr. John Haffner, of Burton, was born in Germany, July 22, 1829. Age 66 years. He came to Connecticut when a small boy, and soon moved to Ohio, and has resided in Geauga Co. since 1854. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
HUBBARD, N. B.
Mr. N. B. Hubbard was born in Shurborn, Shenango Co., N. Y.,. July 11, 1821; moved to Geauga Co. in 1829; married Nov. 12, 1844, to Caroline L. Monroe who was born in Sharon, Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1824; have lived here most 67 years on the Burton and Troy road, which was a dense wilderness when they settled here. Deer, bear and wolves were then too numerous to mention, and many are the hairbreadth escapes and adventures he can relate. He has two daughters. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
KELLOGG, C. A. (Claridon)
Mr. C. A. Kellogg was born April 22, 1822. Age 74 years. He was born on the same farm on which he now lives, in Claridon. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
TUTTLE, JEROME (Claridon)
Mr. Jerome Tuttle was born in Connecticut in 1831; came to Burton at the age of 4 years; now lives in Claridon at the age of 65 years. The Geauga Leader June 11, 1896. Contributed by R. Ransom.
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Created on February 2, 2003