Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999
Subject: [OHLORAIN-L] Re: OHLORAIN-D Digest V99 #48
I ... found a 3 volume set of books by Howe printed in 1891. It said that Lorain County was first settled by Moravian Missionaries from Detroit in 1786 intending to go to their old home in Tuscarawas. It was a scene of a massacre in 1782. They reached a point on the Cuyahoga River as far as Independence Twp. When they heard the news the stopped and spent about a year there. They then retreated to the Black River. The Delaware's told them they were in danger there so the moved to the Huron River about 2 miles [from] Milan. They stayed there for about 5 or 6 years and then because of persecution they moved to the Thames in Canada.
Excerpts from The History of Northern Lorain County as written by J. B. Nichols, 1924:
In a mini-book, written for the 50th Anniversary of Lorain in 1924, by J. B. Nichols, a resident, says Lorain County's authentic history dates as far back as LaSalle actually passing along the south shore of Lake Erie through what was Black River Township, sailing past Lorain within a view of the shore.
The area was purchased by the Connecticut Land Company in 1795 for about 42 cents per acre. However, the Indians residing in the area still had title to and possession of the land. To finalize ownership being passed from the Indians to The Connecticut Land Company, the price was set at a few dollars, much whiskey, and a pow wow.
A diary which gives a very interesting account of the capture, adoption by Indians and temporary settlement at the mouth of the Canasedooharie [Black River], was left by the captive himself, James Smith, who was captured in Western Pennsylvania by the Indians in 1755. In the fall of that year, Smith and his adopted Indian brother, started for Lake Erie. They reached the shore some six miles west of the mouth of the Canasedooharie during a storm. They walked along the shore to the mouth of the present-day Black River. At the mouth of the Canasedooharie, Smith and his Indian brother were hospitably received.
Of the first settlers, some men walked the entire distance from Connecticut and other places. Some rode in ox carts, some came part way by land, and the rest by water. Some came by sled in mid winter, some plowed through the mud of spring or endured the heat of summer. Thousands of primitive structures, covered with the bark of basswood and elm were built and occupied in the Lorain woods.
The first family to settle in Black River Township was that of Azariah Beebe, who came in 1807 as the advance agent of Nathan Perry, Jr., son of Nathan Perry of Cleveland. These people were from Vermont. Perry built a house a short distance east of Black River, in which he opened a store for trade with the Indians. The Beebes lived in the Perry cabin and Perry boarded with them. John Lyons, son of Ralph Lyons, was the first white child born in the Township (1812). In April of 1811, William Martin came from Pennsylvania with his family. The Gillmore Family from Massachusetts also came to the Lorain area in 1811.
Up to 1830 little or no settlement was made in the township away from the Lake. The unsettled portion was a dense wilderness principally covered with white oak timber. In 1833, a number of sturdy Germans arrived who made their mark on the township. Among the family names were: Feber, Baumhart, Friend, Bark, Haulkauer, Hageman, Hahn, Vetter, Harwick and others.
Heman Ely first came to the area in the early 1800s. It reminded him of the pleasant times he had spent in the Lorraine Region of France. His influence we felt when Lorain County was formed from parcels of land from Cuyahoga, Huron and Medina Counties. He donated land and money for the construction of the courthouse in Elyria, swaying the legislator's decisions to locate the county seat there.
Other bits of information . . .
The industries such as shipbuilding, steelmaking, and fishing brought people, money and railroads to the area. Today, most of these industries still exist but not on such a large scale. The heritage of Lorain County is everywhere - from the early home of the "Spirit of '76" painter, Archibald Willard in Wellington, to the Historic Harbourtown 1837 shopping district of Vermilion and the real ship pilot house at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum.
On the north, there is the "Jewel of the Port", the Lorain Litehouse. Further south, in Elyria, stands the Lorain County Courthouse, listed on the National Historic Register. Also in Elyria is the Hickories Museum, the restored home of industrialist and pioneer automaker Arthur Garford. The mansion is now headquarters for the Lorain County Historical Society. Oberlin College has the world-famous Conservatory of Music, and was the first college in the country to admit women and African-American's to degree programs. Also in Oberlin on the campus is the Allen Memorial Art Museum which opened its doors in 1917. Oberlin gained international attention as a haven for fugitive slaves after the Wellington-Oberlin Slave Rescue of 1858 - the incident that coined the title The Town that Started the Civil War.
Just south of Oberlin is the city of Wellington. The stately town hall and Victorian and Greek Revival homes show an era of proud people. While in Wellington, don't forget to visit Lorain County's operating railroad museum. Visitors to the town of Grafton should visit the authentic switching tower - reminiscent of the town's railroad heritage. Birmingham's Schoepfle Arboretum contains more than 20 acres of flowering trees, topiaries and plants from all over the world. Avon (French Creek) is a center for antiques and crafts, and is becoming known for its rapid industrial growth, "the Ruhr of the West Side."
Lorain County Administration Building
226 Middle Ave
Elyria, OH 44035
Lorain County Administration Building has Birth and Death Certificates 1867-1908 ($7.00 certified, $2.00 non-certified), Marriage records from 1824 to present (certified copy $2.00), Probate records (wills, estates from 1824).
County Recorder has Land records and Military Discharge papers.
County Engineer has Free "Highway Maps of Lorain County" sent postage free, order by mail or phone.
Clerk of Courts has Divorce records from 1850, Civil court records from 1824, and Naturalization records.
The Lorain County Health Department has Birth and Death records from 20 Dec 1908 for all of Lorain County except for the cities ofu Lorain and Elyria. (The staff accommodates requests for information by mail, telephone or in person.)
Elyria City Health Department has Birth and Death records from 20 Dec 1908 for Elyria city (Certified copies $7.00).
Lorain City Health Department has Birth and Death records from 20 Dec 1908 for Lorain city (Certified copies $7.00).
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF AVON, OHIO, TO 1974