Monday, April 4, 2011

Lake County Profiles: Samuel Huntington - Early Fairporter

The Hon. Samuel Huntington, co- founder of Fairport, was a prominent attorney and a leading Federalist, known throughout colonial America as a supporter of the "Western Movement."  Born in Coventry, Connecticut in 1765, he was adopted by his uncle and namesake.  Huntington studied law at Yale, graduating in 1785.  He practiced law in his home state until he moved his family to a fledgling community known as Cleveland in 1801.

He was a the leading supporter of statehood in Ohio, while a member of the First State Constitutional Convention, which met in Cincinnati in 1802.  Huntington was also the First State Senator from the Western Reserve; Speaker of the House; Judge of the Supreme Court; and third Governor of Ohio, 1808-1810.  As Governor, his administration was a stormy one.  A looming issue with Great Britain and a move of the capital to Zanesville led to discord.  Removal of state judges also hampered his tenure politically.  Huntington served one term, lost another election attempt for Senator, and left the political arena for good.

In the year 1807 Samuel Huntington traded his 300 acres of land in Cleveland for a large tract of acreage in Grand River and Painesville Township.  With two others he founded Fairport (Grandon) in 1812.  Huntington's foremost interest became the development of Fairport and the harbor.  He accepted a commission from General William Henry Harrison to be the U.S. Army Paymaster in 1813 but remained a Fairporter till the end.  An injury suffered in 1815 while repairing a road from his estate to Fairport's harbor led to his death just two years later.  He was buried at his Fairport Road estate.

Huntington Park on Fairport's spacious beach ( Lake County Metroparks) was dedicated  and named in honor of this Lake County icon.  The beachfront land has been in the Huntington family since the infancy of Fairport and the land was donated to Fairport Village by the eight living heirs.  This summer when you come down to the beach and enjoy the inviting waters of Lake Erie, take a moment to recall the story of an early Fairporter and the local lore that is Lake County.

No comments:

Post a Comment