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Randolph Township, Portage County, OH

Randolph township in the original survey of the Western Reserve was known as number 1 in the 8th range. Townships were numbered in tiers from the Pennsylvania border and from south to north. The southern boundary being the southern boundary of the Western Reserve. The survey of Randolph and adjoining townships was completed in 1797. Due to error in the survey Randolph Township is larger than the proposed size of townships, thus giving it the distinction of being the largest township in Portage County. Randolph Township is on the southern end of Breakneck Creek a feeder that supplies the Cuyahoga River, meeting it in Franklin Township. Breakneck Creek supplied the power that helped Randolph grow in its early years.

Randolph was first settled March 31, 1802 by Bela Hubbard and Salmon Ward. Both men were from Middletown, Connecticut and after a three year stay in Jefferson County, N.Y. the men proceeded west and settled in Randolph. Their first night was spent under an oak tree one half mile west of the center of town. After the men built a cabin Salmon Ward became ill and upon his recovery he became discouraged and returned east. He later returned three times with other settlers. On his fourth trip he disappeared and was never heard from. During this time Bela Hubbard remained and built the foundation for the town of Randolph.

By 1803 others had settled in Randolph including: Arad Upson and family, Joseph Harris, Joseph Ward and family, Jehial Savage and family, Timothy Culver, Aaron Weston, Levi Davis, Josiah Ward and family, (Including Clarissa who later was married to Bela Hubbard). Settlement continued and in 1810 there were 165 persons in Randolph.

Randolph was given its name by the owner prior to settlement in honor of his son, Henry Randolph Storrs, Lemuel Storrs of Middletown Conn. had purchased the land in 1798 along with other land in the Western Reserve.

The first crop of wheat was raised in 1803 by Bela Hubbard on the northwest corner of lot 57, (Intersection of Hartville and Waterloo roads) which was the first land cleared in the township. He had to borrow a plow to break the ground.

The first death in Randolph was that of Mary, wife of Josiah Ward in February, 1804 Prior to her death she had remarked while walking on a hill about one mile west of the center, "What a beautiful spot this would be for a burying-ground". She was buried on that spot upon her death. This ground is now the site of Randolph's Hillside Cemetery and contains the remains of Bela Hubbard and many of Randolph's past residents.

The first marriage was that of Bela Hubbard and Clarissa Ward, in April of 1806. It was later believed that the officiating clergyman was not authorized to solemnize marriages, a few years later they were remarried by a Justice of the Peace. At the time of their marriage Miss Ward was the only marriageable girl in the township.

The first child born in Randolph was Sophronia Upson, daughter of Arad Upson in the spring of 1803. The second was Amanda Culver in the spring of 1806. The first doctor in Randolph was Dr. Rufus Belding. He arrived with his family in 1807. For 25 years he was the only physician in the township. A short time after the Belding family came to Randolph two of the children, Justin who was 4 years old and Louisa who was 2 years old were playing near the house when a wild hog seized Louisa and started toward the thick woods. Little Justin seized an axe, and with a few well placed blows the hog dropped Louisa and left. Louisa had few injuries.

Randolph when originally created by the County Commissioners on December 3, 1810 included Suffield. It was not until April; 6, 1818 that Suffield was detached and became a separate township. In 1820 the population of Randolph had grown to 328 and more than doubled in the following 10 years.

In 1831 sons of Hubbard and Belding took a journey into the southern part of Ohio. After spending some time there returned with some choice squash seeds. From these seeds Bela Hubbard raised a splendid crop of winter squash. From this incident the Hubbard Squash took its name.

These are only a few highlights of early Randolph history. Later would come the growth of a part of the township that became known as "Johnnycake Hollow ". The Hollow situated along Breakneck Creek in the northern part of the township was an industrial center until it was destroyed by fire in 1854. The Hollow in its heyday had more than twenty shops and factories. It was the largest manufacturing center in the county at that time. It is said that Johnnycake Hollow got its name because of the large amounts of corn pone served to the hungry workers that lived in the vicinity. The Randolph Flour Mill was known far and wide after its start in 1868 and operated until 1917. It stood south and west of the center. Also in the southeast of the township the Keller Bros. Machine Shop supplied the needs of the growing township. Many other businesses and organizations have come and gone in the years since Bela Hubbard made his mark on this small portion of the world, but there is a common thread that links the community today with its past. The rich soil and rural beauty can still be found if you look in the right places. There is also a growing sense in the community that this thread must not be broken.

Early Schools

Randolph township in the original survey of the Western Reserve was known as number 1 in the 8th range. Townships were numbered in tiers from the Pennsylvania border and from south to north. The southern boundary being the southern boundary of the Western Reserve. The survey of Randolph and adjoining townships was completed in 1797. Due to error in the survey Randolph Township is larger than the proposed size of townships, thus giving it the distinction of being the largest township in Portage County. Randolph Township is on the southern end of Breakneck Creek a feeder that supplies the Cuyahoga River, meeting it in Franklin Township. Breakneck Creek supplied the power that helped Randolph grow in its early years.

Click here to see Randolph parcel maps dating back to 1874...

Randolph was first settled March 31, 1802 by Bela Hubbard (obituary ) and Salmon Ward. Both men were from Middletown, Connecticut and after a three year stay in Jefferson County, N.Y. the men proceeded west and settled in Randolph. Their first night was spent under an oak tree one half mile west of the center of town. After the men built a cabin Salmon Ward became ill and upon his recovery he became discouraged and returned east. He later returned three times with other settlers. On his fourth trip he disappeared and was never heard from. During this time Bela Hubbard remained and built the foundation for the town of Randolph.

By 1803 others had settled in Randolph including: Arad Upson and family, Joseph Harris, Joseph Ward and family, Jehial Savage and family, Timothy Culver, Aaron Weston, Levi Davis, Josiah Ward and family, (Including Clarissa who later was married to Bela Hubbard). Settlement continued and in 1810 there were 165 persons in Randolph.

Randolph was given its name by the owner prior to settlement in honor of his son, Henry Randolph Storrs, Lemuel Storrs of Middletown Conn. had purchased the land in 1798 along with other land in the Western Reserve.

The first crop of wheat was raised in 1803 by Bela Hubbard on the northwest corner of lot 57, (Intersection of Hartville and Waterloo roads) which was the first land cleared in the township. He had to borrow a plow to break the ground.

The first death in Randolph was that of Mary, wife of Josiah Ward in February, 1804 Prior to her death she had remarked while walking on a hill about one mile west of the center, "What a beautiful spot this would be for a burying-ground". She was buried on that spot upon her death. This ground is now the site of Randolph's Hillside Cemetery and contains the remains of Bela Hubbard and many of Randolph's past residents.

The first marriage was that of Bela Hubbard and Clarissa Ward, in April of 1806. It was later believed that the officiating clergyman was not authorized to solemnize marriages, a few years later they were remarried by a Justice of the Peace. At the time of their marriage Miss Ward was the only marriageable girl in the township.

The first child born in Randolph was Sophronia Upson, daughter of Arad Upson in the spring of 1803. The second was Amanda Culver in the spring of 1806. The first doctor in Randolph was Dr. Rufus Belding. He arrived with his family in 1807. For 25 years he was the only physician in the township. A short time after the Belding family came to Randolph two of the children, Justin who was 4 years old and Louisa who was 2 years old were playing near the house when a wild hog seized Louisa and started toward the thick woods. Little Justin seized an axe, and with a few well placed blows the hog dropped Louisa and left. Louisa had few injuries.

Randolph when originally created by the County Commissioners on December 3, 1810 included Suffield. It was not until April; 6, 1818 that Suffield was detached and became a separate township. In 1820 the population of Randolph had grown to 328 and more than doubled in the following 10 years.

In 1831 sons of Hubbard and Belding took a journey into the southern part of Ohio. After spending some time there returned with some choice squash seeds. From these seeds Bela Hubbard raised a splendid crop of winter squash. From this incident the Hubbard Squash took its name.

These are only a few highlights of early Randolph history. Later would come the growth of a part of the township that became known as "Johnnycake Hollow ". The Hollow situated along Breakneck Creek in the northern part of the township was an industrial center until it was destroyed by fire in 1854. The Hollow in its heyday had more than twenty shops and factories. It was the largest manufacturing center in the county at that time. It is said that Johnnycake Hollow got its name because of the large amounts of corn pone served to the hungry workers that lived in the vicinity. The Randolph Flour Mill was known far and wide after its start in 1868 and operated until 1917. It stood south and west of the center. Also in the southeast of the township the Keller Bros. Machine Shop supplied the needs of the growing township. Many other businesses and organizations have come and gone in the years since Bela Hubbard made his mark on this small portion of the world, but there is a common thread that links the community today with its past. The rich soil and rural beauty can still be found if you look in the right places. There is also a growing sense in the community that this thread must not be broken.

Click here to read "Growing Pains in Johnnycake Hollow" by Albert J. Paulus ©1971

A Memoir of WWII authored by James M. Webb, of Randolph at age 91

Click here to see pictures of the Randolph School that was removed when the new buildings were built on the Waterloo School Property. Click here for more on theRandolph School completed in 1923 and demolished in 2004 .

Early Years 1802-1830

Settlement of Randolph Twp began in 1802. Early settlers' children were taught in their own homes. Subscription schools gradually revolved where parents paid an enrollment fee. In 1826, the trustees divided the township into 5 school districts; Center, East, West, Hollow and Butternut Hill.

One room log buildings were constructed in each district. Most of these small structures were usually situated at a cross roads. Furnishings included a teacher's desk, crude benches and desks for the students, a fireplace or and iron box stove, small slates and chalk. These schools had few if any books. The students usually learned by receiting their lessons aloud in what became to be known as "blab schools".

Sessions in the early schools lasted only a few months. The school year was divided into summer and winter terms. Most farm boys were needed for planting and harvesting and attended only the winter term (mid-November to mid-April). Pupils ranged from 4 year olds to farm boys as old as 21. Pupils were grouped by levels of academic progress.

Students walked to and from school, but some may have ridden horseback or traveled in horse carts or buggies.Later privately owned wagons or hacks transported the students.

At first all teachers by law were male and were usually paid $15 for teaching 26 days a monthg (including Saturdays09. By the act of 1831, school directors were allowed to hire female instructors.

Rules for Teachers 
  • Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks, if needed. 
  • Each teacher will fill the water pail and bring kindling and firewood as provided. 
  • Carefully trim goose quills and whittle nibs (split and sharpened feather pen points) to the pupils individual taste. 
  • Male teachers may take 1 evening each week for courting purposes. (2 evenings a week if they go to church regularly). 
  • After 10 hours in school, the teacher should spend time reading the Bible or other good books. 
  • Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed. 
  • Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of their earnings for hi/her benefit during their years, so as not to be a burden on society. 
  • Any teacher that uses tobacco or liquor in any form. frequents pool halls or public taverns will give good reason to suspect his/her worth, intention, integrity, and honesty. 
  • Teachers who perform faithfully and without fault for 5 years will receive an increase of $0.05 per week (providing the Board of Education approves).
As population increased, other school buildings were built to accommodate the rising number of pupils in the township. Among the schools built was the Brumbaugh School located further south on the Hartville Rd. at the northeast corner of Laubert Road. Years later this brick school became a private residence, it is no longer standing.

The boundaries were again changed in 1830 and tax levies were introduced. These increased from 3/4 of a mill up to 2 mills. Text books were required and adopted.

Source: Old Schools in Randolph Township by Myron Mullett

Randolph, Ohio 1802 - 1865

The Western Reserve lands began West of the Pennsylvania line and north of Latitude 41 degrees to 120 miles West of the Pennsylvania state line. The state of Connecticut sold 3 million acres to the Connecticut Land Company for $1.2 million acres. There were 400 shares of stock issued to the company’s owners. The first survey was done in 1796. The 41st latitude was missed long by a half-mile. Congress legalized the survey.

The first resident of Randolph was Bele Hubbard. Think of the Hubbard squash, which was named after him. The Great Indian trail from the East passed north of Randolph. There were few Indians around Randolph. They kept North on the trail.

Money in the area was almost unknown. Cost of goods was calculated in “trade prices,” with businesses keeping account books. There were few products that could be produced and taken to markets such as Cleveland. Cider made locally was taken to Cleveland and got higher prices than whiskey.

In 1807, a new road was order laid out from Painesville to Canton. The road was completed in 1810 by individual townships. The road went through Ravenna and Randolph and today is State Route 44. The road was made necessary to bring salt from salt mines around Painesville.

Hard times hit the area after the War of 1812. The inflated prices brought on by the war crashed causing banks to fail and residence unable to pay their debts. To make matters worse the year 1816 was the cold year. There was frost reported in every month of the year.

In 1827, the Erie Canal opened through New York and the Ohio Canal from Cleveland to Akron. This opened markets for local commodities where cash was paid.

The line separating the Western Reserve land to the North and the Congress land to the South, was referred to the “Congress Line” from the North and the “Yankee Line” from the South. The Western Reserve was being populated by pioneers from New England. The Congress Land was being populated by people from Pennsylvania and Virginia origin. In 1827, Western Reserve land from an estate was put on the market for $2.00 an acre. The price set for the Congress Land was $3.00 an acre. Now people from Columbia County from Pennsylvania and Virginia began buying into the Western Reserve. Conrad Brumbaugh, who owned much Congress Land, bought 400 acres of the estate land for $600. This land was located in Randolph Township just North of the “Line.”

Source:
Pioneer History 1802 -1865: An Interesting Record of Randolph Twp
By Walter Johnson Dickinson

Record Publishing Co., Ravenna, Ohio, successors to The Revenna Republican, Revenna, Ohio, 1953

A Connecticut Western Reserve Landmark: Atwater’s First Congregational Church

Construction began in 1838 for the Atwater church located in Portage Co., Ohio. It was finished in 1841. The architecture is referred to as Greco-Gothic. Notable features include Gothic windows and Ionic columns. It remains one of the Western Reserve’s finest architectural examples.

  

 
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