Monday, August 5, 2013

The Western Reserve and Mentor Township

September 14, 1786 was the date that brought about an end to a land claim debate that had begun as early as 1776 and festered into 1781.  At the heart of the dispute lay Connecticut's claim to a tract of land that became known as the Western Reserve.  The Western Reserve now awaited the emigration of New Englanders.  Early Lake County history was in the making.  Moses Cleaveland came west by 1796.  Long established Indian lands were purchased at little cost and by 1805 their territories lost to the annals of history.  The Indian stories are left for another day.  Mentor Township's early pioneers were soon to arrive.

1796 marked the arrival of John Milton Holley who surveyed what in time would become the Mentor Township.  In 1797 Charles Parker settled near Lake Shore and Hopkins Road in what was known as the Marsh Settlement.  Ebenezer Merry arrived that same year and located nearby in the Headlands area..  Tract 14 near Corduroy Road was given to Caleb Atwater, Oliver Phelps and Gideon Granger in 1803.  Other families to arrive in that same era were  Jesse Phelps, Jared Ward and Moses Park.  By 1810 the Mentor Marsh settlement was growing.  Other early settlers to arrive were John Miller, Jonathan Russell, Clark Parker, Joseph Sawyer, Warren Corning and the Hopkins Brothers.  Ben and Daniel Hopkins bought nearly 500 acres and their lake shore acreage was known as Hopkins Point.  J. Rider's Tavern became a stagecoach stop, soon thereafter making the area a viable hub of the time.  Pioneer John Walworth of Painesville had Mentor Township claims.

Mentor Township was organized in 1815.  Grandison Newell arrived in the township in 1819.  Newell and Chester Hart purchased the 'Farm' and began manufacturing plows.  A saw mill and chair factory followed.  Capitalism was underway in earnest.  Newell achieved even more notariety for his battles with the Mormons and for 'blacklisting' Joseph Smith.  The Munson Family arrived in 1820 via covered wagons.

Munson and Hopkins are two street names known by any Mentor motorist.  Parker is another name steeped in Mentor history.  The Corning House still stands.  Newell, the 'Mormon Persecutor' is also well known in county history.  It seems that Mentor Township, 1815 is a county shoreline that runs through time and history.

Source-  June 4, 1975 bicentennial speech by Harry F. Lupold.

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