The village of Kent, formerly Franklin Mills, in the township
of Franklin,, is situated about thirty-two miles southeast of
Cleveland. It has a fine, natural location, lying as it does on
both sides of the river, the land sloping back from its banks in
gentle undulations, making a pleasing variation of scenery. It
is encircled in all directions and at no great distance from it
by beautiful little lakes, which make it a desirable spot in
Within easy access are four railroads, The "Erie,"
"Cleveland, Canton &Southern," the "Pittsburg & Western," and a
mile and a half away, the "Cleveland & Pittsburg." We find in
the history of Portage County that Franklin was the first civil
organization effected after the admission of Ohio as a state in
1802, it being formed in the same year.
The present territory of Franklin containing 16,000 acres,
was purchased in 1798 by Aaron OLMSTEAD of
Hartford, Conn. For 12 ˝ cents per acre. During the first era in
the history of the town there were two villages known first and
upper and lower, afterward as Carthage (the upper) and Franklin
Mills (the lower). Later in 1863, the duplex names were changed
in honor of Marvin KENT, to the name of Kent for both.
In 1805, about November 1st, John HAYMAKER
with his wife (Sally LEGGETT) came with
their family from Pittsburg and took up their abode in this, at
that time, wilderness. Of Mrs. HAYMAKER’s early history we do
not gain any unusual incidents, except those which inevitably
came with the hardships and privations of early pioneer life.
She lived to the advanced age of ninety-four, after having been
a resident of the place sixty-four years. Her daughter Emily had
the honor of being the first female white child born in the
township, and has passed her whole life here, and now at the age
of eighty-seven, having never married, occupies a home with her
brother John, two years her senior, he having been the very
first white child born in the township. She remembers when the
Indians were almost their only neighbors, when panthers, wolves
and catamounts were more friendly than was agreeable, often
making raids on the sheep and poultry. There were other branches
of the HAYMAKER family represented in the township in its
earliest days; of the wives and daughters we can learn but
little, but as a family they have been ever known to be honest,
upright and hardy, and these traits we know are as surely handed
down from the mother as the father.
In the year 1814 we find recorded the first marriage in the
township, the parties being Christian CACKLER
and Theresa NIGHMAN. As this was nearly ten
years after the first tree had been hewn, it must have been a
great event in the settlement. To be the first bride, she must
have felt to be quite an honor. She was a woman of strong and
energetic character and lived to rear a large family of sons and
daughters, several of whom are still living in or near the
In 1818 Joshua WOODARD with his wife
(Rebecca WORDON) moved into this township
from Ravenna. They lived for many years in the hostelry on the
west side of the river known as Woodard’s Tavern. It was a
popular place, and a most convenient one for the traveler of
those days, and as Mr. WOODARD was engaged in other enterprises,
the success of the public house depended largely upon the wife
and daughters, and the thrift and energy of these women made it
both pleasant and profitable. It is said of her that she once
made the journey to New York, her native state, on horseback,
carrying a babe in her arms all the way.
Mary, (Mrs. Calvin WILLIAMS) her oldest
daughter soon after marriage became a pioneer in the state of
Illinois, making herself very useful in this home as a friend,
nurse, and even physician when occasion demanded. She is still
living in that state at the age of eighty-nine.
Lucretia WOODARD (Mrs. Geo. HOPKINS)
removed years ago to Dayton, O., where she died at the age of
Lucy WOODARD (Mrs. Yale RUSSELL) lived
in Franklin township all her life, except a few months prior to
her death, which she passed with her daughter, Mrs. Lemuel
REED in Jamestown, N.Y. She was a woman
whose home and family were her world. The new woman had no place
in her philosophy. She was capable and efficient in her sphere
to the last.
Abigail WOODARD (Mrs. David LONGCOY)
has lived most of her life in or near Kent. She has been the
mother of nine children, some living, some dead. She has been
ever a faithful, devoted mother, often taking a child through a
severe illness without a physician. A few years ago she was
stricken with a slow paralysis, which has rendered her nearly
helpless, but which she has borne with characteristic calmness
and patience. Her home is now with her son in Kent, where she is
ministered unto by her daughter Miraette.
In the year 1816 there came from that historic spot,
"Braddock’s field," near Pittsburg, William
STEWART and his wife, Susan FERGUSON.
The way was toilsome, the hardships, many, and the naturally
delicate woman, unable to bear the heat and burden of the day,
gradually succumbed to ill health.
Of her family, Mary STEWART married Charles
FURBER, and died in Michigan some years since. Elizabeth
married Andrew PATTERSON and lives in
Piqua, O. Maria was married in 1840 to Marvin
KENT, and has spent her whole life in this place. She is a
most estimable woman, a faithful wife, a loving mother, a true
friend. There were two other daughters in the STEWART family,
Ann Eliza, Mrs. William HILLIARD of
Columbus, O., and Henrietta, Mrs. Frank
In 1817 the people of the township erected a building to be
use, regardless of sect or creed, for church and school
purposes. Of the early lady teachers we find record of a Miss
Orphah CURTISS and also a Miss
In 1825 the Rev. George SHELDON with
his mother and his wife, Harmony Ann FOBES,
came to the place, he to assume the pastorate of the then
growing church, she (his wife) to open a school for young ladies
in their home, a handsome, new house on the west side of the
river, still standing, and now known as the "Parmalee
Mrs. SHELDON taught the common English branches, such as in
those days were considered sufficient for the grasp of the
feminine mind, also embroidery and other fine needle work. This
school must have had quite a local reputation, as we know that a
number of girls from adjoining towns were under her instruction.
One of them, Mrs. Henry SAWYER (Susan
HALL) still lives to relate her
experiences under the tutelage of Mrs. SHELDON. Mrs. SAWYER is
the mother of Dr. P.H. SAWYER, and grandmother of Dr. John
SAWYER of Western Reserve University.
Following Mr. SHELDON came the Rev. Stephen Wakeman
BURRITT, who having been married to his
wife, Sally A. MYER in Litchfield, Conn.
by Dr. Lyman BEECHER, father of the famous
BEECHER family, came to Ohio, first to Austinburg, and afterward
to Kent. Of. Mrs. BURRITT we learn that she was one of those
meek and quiet spirits whose worth was best known to her family
and intimate friends. Of her daughters, Sara (Mrs.
COE) resides in Cleveland; Mary, (Mrs.
Charles H. KENT), a woman of excellent traits and much native
refinement, has lived since 1846 in Kent.
In the early years, about 1819, came from Granville, Mass.
Chauncey NEWBERRY and wife, Fannie COE.
Mrs. NEWBERRY is said to have been a remarkable woman. She was a
sister of the Rev. Harvey COE, who was identified with the early
history of Western Reserve College. Her son Oliver still lives a
highly respected citizen of Kent, and her daughters, Mary and
Laura NEWBERRY, two most estimable women have lived for many
years in Akron, O.
Mrs. James CUTHBERT (Ann Craig
GRAHAM), originally from Scotland, later
from New York, came here from Copley, Summit County in 1835.
Having heard of the introduction of the silk worm culture, they
came through an almost unbroken forest, living first in what is
now known as the Dyson house. She was a devoted member of the
Presbyterian church then located on Crane ave. She died in 1850
leaving a husband and eight children to mourn her loss. Three of
her children, J.A. CUTHBERT, Harriet, (Mrs. H.
NEWNHAM) and Sarah Mrs. G.W. ROUSE
still reside in Kent.
Somewhere about 1817 Francis FURBER with his wife Elizabeth
came from England. Mary FURBER married Geo. B. DePEYSTER, but
did not continue to make Kent her home. Elizabeth FURBER married
Joel DePEYSTER, spending all her life in Kent, the last years of
which her home was with her daughter Frances (Mrs. Holmes
ALLEN) of blessed memory. Her other
children were Christina, wife of Joseph PERIRA,
and Byron who spent his whole life here.
Mrs. Sylvester HUGGINS (Mary
WILLIAMS) lived in Kent many years and
died at a ripe old age at the home of her daughter Fidelia, Mrs.
Henry LAKE. She was one who ever stretched
out her hand to the needy, and whom many shall rise up and call
In the early history of the Presbyterian church among its
very earliest members were Deacon Samuel
ANDREWS and Mrs. Samuel ANDREWS. Of Mrs. ANDREWS we could
learn almost nothing except the notable fact that as early,
probably as 1825, she sent a son as a missionary to the Sandwich
Mrs. David DAY (Mary
FARNHAM) came to Franklin from Westfield, Mass. In 1827 with
her husband and children. Her father, Jesse FARNHAM of
Massachusetts being an extensive land owner in the vicinity,
sent out Mr. and Mrs. DAY to look after his interests. She made
the journey most of the way by wagon, carrying a babe in her
Upon their arrival they found nothing in preparation for a
home as they had expected, but with undaunted courage they set
to work as best they could to carve out their fortunes in this
new country. Mr. DAY was a minister of the Methodist church, and
together they helped in the building up and maintaining of that
society. She was the mother of eight children, and gave two sons
to the ministry, Dr. Wm. F. DAY, highly honored by the M.E.
church and father of Wilson M. DAY, director general of the
Cleveland Centennial Commission, now a prominent citizen of
Cleveland, and David Edward DAY, also of the Methodist
denomination; two sons to the army, Capt. A.H and F.A. DAY; two
most excellent daughters, Lucy, Mrs. Charles
IREDELL (deceased), and Louisa, Mrs. S.P.
STINAFF, who still resides near Kent. Later she married Mr.
P.W. BARD of Utica, N.Y. to whom she bore
a daughter, Ann, who was the possessor of a clear and vigorous
intellect, a robust physique and a kindly though forcible
nature. She died in Kent in 1884 at the age of eight-three.
Dr. David BIRGE and Celia
PITKIN were married in East Hartford,
Conn. And removed to Ohio about 1832, first to Freedom, later to
Franklin. Mary their eldest daughter has lived her married life
in Stow as wife and widow of Silas WETMORE;
Julia the second daughter marred a Mr. KELLOGG
of Iowa and has been a widow some years. The third daughter,
Esther, died early, soon after her marriage to Mr.
FAIRCHILD of Oberlin. Her only son, Edgar
FAIRCHILD, is a lawyer in St. Paul, Minn.
In 1836 the family of William KNOWLTON
and Betsy ANDREWS removed from Brandon, Vt. To Franklin Mills,
O. The oldest son, Wm. Taylor and wife, Rowena
WHITCOMB, and his brother Ephriam and wife, Jane
ALVORD, had preceded the father and mother
by a year or more. The oldest daughter, Betsey (Mrs. Jonathan
CARVER) with her husband and family came
sometime later from Lyons, N.Y. The last named family lived here
Mrs. CARVER was a woman of unusual qualities, both of mind
and disposition. Having a keen intellect, she retained her hold
upon the affairs of life and her interest in persons and places
to an unusual degree to the end of her days. She passed away at
the home of her daughter, Mrs. T.E. METLIN
in Cleveland a few years ago at the age of eighty-nine.
Another daughter of the KNOWLTONs, Adeline, (Mrs. Austin
WILLIAMS) lived all her married life on a farm just out of town
on the Hudson road. Her quiet, gentle, womanly ways and godly
character marked her ever as a model for all who knew her. She
died as she had lived, peacefully, in her home in 1880. Another
daughter, Mary, Mrs. Homer HART, lived in
Kent most of her life. She was a woman of sterling qualities.
There were two other daughters, Mrs. Nancy
CRANE, now living in Wisconsin, and Mrs. Sarah
SPOONER, long since deceased, mother of
Mrs. John A. SEYMOUR and Mrs. Seymour
ADAMS of East Cleveland. There were also
three other sons, who, with their wives lived and died here.
Albert whose wife was Sarah WHITCOMB, noted as a most cleanly
housewife and for purity of character as well; Alonzo whose
wife, Eliza DePEYSTER, was for the most of the latter years of
her life and invalid, yet whose benign influence was felt far
outside the walk of her home, and John whose wife, Lois
CRITTENDEN, lived in spite of a crippled
limb an earnest, active, Christian life, and died in Kent many
Clarissa MOORE and Barber
CLARK were married in Blanford, Mass., in
1812, came to Franklin soon after; moved by ox team; stopped
right in the woods, cleared a spot large enough on which to
build a log house. Mrs. CLARK used to help burn brush in the
evening to keep the wild beasts from the home. She was the
mother of eight children, all born at this home. Mr. CLARK was
deacon of the congregational church for forty years. Both lived
to a good old age and died where their married life had been
spent, in the home of their adoption. Of their eight children
two daughters are living, Mrs. Hannah ETON
in Troy, O., and Mrs. Ruth CLEMENT in
Clarissa Cheney PITKIN and Frederick
WOODBRIDGE were married in Manchester, Conn. In 1822. They
settled in Franklin Mills in 1838 and at once identified
themselves with the congregational church. Mrs. WOODBRIDGE,
although not in the strictest sense a pioneer, was obliged in
coming west to give up much that was most dear and congenial to
her, but she had the broad sympathy and kindliness which made
her beloved by everyone. The sick and needy never appealed to
her in vain, and many a wanderer brought by the underground
railway to her door was fed and comforted and sent on to Canada.
Of her three children, F.W. WOODBRIDGE, living in Ravenna, was
the husband of the lamented Mary A. WOODBRIDGE of W.C.T.U. fame.
C.D. WOODBRIDGE is a banker in Cleveland. Elizabeth P., (Mrs.
James W. CONE) the only daughter, has been
identified with the Congregational church fifty-eight years and
is still living in Kent.
Among the more notable women who have resided in Kent are
Mary A. DAY, second wife of John
BROWN of Harper’s Ferry fame, who lived
here a few years with her husband and family. Lucy
HENRY, wife of H.B.
SPELLMAN from Westfield, Mass., whose daughter (Lucy
Celestia) Mrs. John D. ROCKEFELLER was
born and lived for a short time in this place, also Mrs. Jairus
Cassius FAIRCHILD who came with her husband to Franklin in 1827.
They built the first brick house in town, and in this house was
born a son who afterward became governor of Wisconsin.
Julia CROSSETT and Eli
NUTTING were married in Conway, Mass. In
October, 1849 and came directly to Franklin. They could then
travel by rail only as far as Buffalo; thence by the lake to
Cleveland, from there to Franklin by stage. Here they lived an
honored and respected life until a few years ago death separated
them. Mr. NUTTING having been taken away, Mrs. NUTTING’s home is
now in Cleveland with her daughter, Miss Anna M. NUTTING. A copy
of a paper showing an old-time, but I believe a wholly absolute
custom of New England, that of publicly announcing the intention
of the parties about to be joined by holy wedlock, has been
given me by the daughter of the parties named. The Mr.
WHITNEY, town clerk, who signed this paper
was the father of Secretary WHITNEY of President
Conway, Mass., Oct __, 1849.
An intention of marriage between Mr. Eli NUTTING
of Franklin Mills, State of Ohio, a mechanic by occupation, aged
thirty-eight years, a single man, son of George NUTTING of
Amherst, Mass., and Miss Julia CROSSETT of Conway, Mass., aged
twenty-eight, daughter of Chester CROSSETT of Conway, hath been
entered with me for the space of fourteen days, and due
publication made as the law directs. In testimony whereof I have
hereunto set my hand on the day and year above mentioned.
James S. WHITNEY
Town Clerk, Conway, Mass.
Eliza PRICE and her sister, Mary P.
were born in Plattsburg, N.Y. Their father dying, they were
adopted by his brother William PRICE and came to Franklin in
1816. Both were young; Mary was married in 1824 to Benj. F.
HOPKINS. She died a few years later
leaving two daughters, both of whom are still living; Mrs. Eliza
WEARD and Mary P. (Mrs. A.H.
SILL) of Cuyahoga Falls. Eliza PRICE
married Henry WETMORE of Cuyahoga Falls in
1826, and has lived in that place ever since, beloved by all who
knew her. She is now eighty-seven years of age and well
preserved in mind and body.
In 1804 Diana SHELDON was united in
marriage to Selah CLAPP in the town of
Montgomery, Mass. In 1820 she moved with her husband and family
of six children to Franklin, driving with a horse team the
entire distance, and upon arriving here made a home on a farm
about a mile east of the village. Upon this farm she continued
to live until her death which occurred in August, 1850.
Mary BROWN was born in Montgomery, Mass. And removed to
Franklin in 1832 with the family of her uncle Benjamin
PHILLIPS. She was married in 1838 to Selah
CLAPP, Jr., son of Diana SHELDON and Selah CLAPP. They lived on
the farm formerly occupied by Mr. CLAPP’s parents, and there
reared their family. Three of their children are still living, a
son, William, on a farm near Breakneck Creek, and two daughters,
Delia and Lucy with their father since the mother’s death in
Margaret HAYMAKER married John V.
GARDNER in 1839. Her children were Mary,
(Mrs. George STOUFFER) who died a few
years since in Centralia; Washington, George D., and Estella
(Mrs. Mark CHASE). She lived here all her
life and died at a ripe old age with her daughters to care for
Mary A. HOLT (Mrs. Seneca
GREEN) from Austerlitz, N.Y., was married
and came to Franklin in 1837. She lived until 1876, leaving a
family of affectionate children to mourn for her and care for
her lonely companion; Sarah (Mrs. H.L. RUSSEL),
Stephen, Spellman, Ann (Mrs. G.H. TAYLOR),
Mary (Mrs. A.A. ROSS) and George, who with
wife and family still lives in the old home of his parents.
Mary R. OLIN came to Franklin with her
father’s family (Arrin OLIN) from Genesse County, N.Y. in 1834,
and the following year married James D. HAYMAKER to whom she
bore twelve children, many of whom still reside in or near the
township. She has a clear intellect, strong physique, and an
unimpeachable integrity and has transmitted these qualities to
her children and children’s children, and still lives to enjoy
Mary DICKINSON was born in Turin, N.Y.,
was married in 1825 to James PHERSON of
Utica, N.Y. After his death she came with her parents to Ohio,
living for some years in Stow. In 1844 she married Aaron
FERRY and lived the remainder of her days
in Franklin. She died in 1866. A child by her first husband is
still living, and two by her second: Mrs. H.A.
SWAN of Kent and Byron FERRY of Bloomfield, Ohio.
Clarissa CLARK married Ransom OLIN in
1843 and came with her husband to reside in the township soon
after, living the remainder of her life on the farm which was
their first home near Earlville. Here were born to her nine
children, all of whom were living at the time of her death in
the summer of 1884. Mrs. OLIN was a sister of Prof. CLARK, for
many years connected with Mt. Union College. She was a large
hearted woman, most kind and generous. Of her it might truly
have been said "Her children rise up and call her blessed."
Lydia SHIRTLIFF came from Hampden,
Mass. With her parents in 1819, was married in 1829 to Warren
BURT. She was identified with the
Disciple church of this place from its organization until her
death, over sixty years. She left two children; Louisa A. (Mrs.
T.M SAWYER) and Selah an honored citizen
of Kent. Her husband still lives here with his son and wife.
Ruth OLIN, daughter of Ezra OLIN of Shaftsbury, Vt. Was
married in 1824 to Joseph B. STRATTON of
Bennington, Vt. They lived first in Genesse County, N.Y.,
afterwards in Wyoming County of the same state. In 1837 they
came to Franklin, taking a farm of one hundred and thirty acres
about two miles north of the village of Kent. Here they lived
for years, until after many additions the farm had assumed
greater proportions and they owned four hundred acres of
valuable farming land. To them were born twelve children. At the
celebration of their golden wedding in 1874 eleven of their
children were living, ten of them being present on this
occasion. The aged parents presented each of them with $1,000 as
a memorial of this happy event. Mrs. STRATTON died in 1877.
Mary YALE was born in Russell, Mass.
In 1780, was married when twenty-six years of age to Dudley
WILLIAMS and emigrated to Ohio in 1820.
They were three months on the way, reaching Franklin on
September 1 with four children. They took up about six hundred
acres of land. Deer meat was their chief dependence for some
years. They came into the country at a time when everything
depended upon their own exertions. Mrs. WILLIAMS with the zeal
and energy born of the time, undertook to help in some measure
in the bread-winning for the family and went out weaving by the
At one time being belated in returning home at night,
darkness overtook her on her way, and as there was no path
except that made by the blazed trees, she soon became confused
and after wandering about for some time gave herself up as lost
and sat down to wait for - she knew not what. The wild beasts
came close about her but did not molest her; a storm came up and
drenched her garments, and at last morning dawned and revealed
the fact that she was quite a distance from home. The effect of
the nervous shock and the exposure to storm and cold was too
much for her naturally delicate frame; she never rallied from it
and died not many years later at the age of sixty-three.
Maria HOPKINS was born in Fairfield,
Vt. In 1809, daughter of Anna SCOTT and
Rudd HOPKINS. She came to this state when a child and was
married in 1834 to James WOODARD. She was
the mother of ten children, seven of whom are still living. Her
grandfather was killed in the Revolutionary war. Her great-uncle
was Stephen HOPKINS, one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence. Of her it could truly be said, "Many daughters
have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."
Lucia DEMING PRICE
Chairman and Historian
Kent Committee - Mrs. Marvin KENT, Mrs. E.P. CONE, Mrs. M.A. HAUGHT, Mrs.
S.P. STINAFF, Mrs. Marietta LINGCOY LATIMER