'Austin's Camp' Founded in 1799Mad Dog's Bite Provokes Township Founding

'Austin's Camp' Founded in 1799Mad Dog's Bite Provokes Township Founding

By CATHERINE ELLSWORTH (1976)

By CATHERINE ELLSWORTH (1976)

It could be said that a mad dog sent Judge Eliphalet Austin to the Western Reserve.

It could be said that a mad dog sent Judge Eliphalet Austin to the Western Reserve.

The prominent young man, of New Hartford, Connecticut, one of the original proprietors of Township No. 11, Range Four, was bitten and advised by his physician and friends to travel abroad while awaiting his fate. He chose rather to head west to his reserve lands in hopes of keeping his mind off the dread disease of hydrophobia to which he never did fall victim. He shared ownership of the township with William Brattell, Torringford and Solomon Rockwell and Co., Winchester, Connecticut.

With Austin's encouragement, two families moved to "Austin's Camp" in 1799. He preceded them a short time, driving cattle 150 miles through the woods over Indian trails. Hired men, Anson Colt, David Allen and Samuel Fobes traveled with him. The families were Mr. and Mrs. Roswell Stevens and Mr. and Mrs. George Beckwith and two children.

The settlers quickly cleared land, built cabins, planted and harvested the first wheat crop. The Sunday following their arrival, all work was stopped and a religious service held. It included hymns, a sermon and prayers. Such services continued with the arrival of a sizable group of male settlers in the spring of 1800. With that group, Austin, who had returned to the East the previous fall, brought the first stock of goods west, including groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, hardware and implements needed for the huge task ahead. It was not until the spring of 1801 that these men brought their families to Austinburg.

The settlers quickly cleared land, built cabins, planted and harvested the first wheat crop. The Sunday following their arrival, all work was stopped and a religious service held. It included hymns, a sermon and prayers. Such services continued with the arrival of a sizable group of male settlers in the spring of 1800. With that group, Austin, who had returned to the East the previous fall, brought the first stock of goods west, including groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, hardware and implements needed for the huge task ahead. It was not until the spring of 1801 that these men brought their families to Austinburg.

The first sawmill in the county was set up by Eliphalet Austin along the Grand River in 1801. He then built his frame house, the first on the Western Reserve. It is thought by many to be the first frame house in Ohio. It still stands today in the village (although not officially designated a village, people living in that section of the township have always referred to it as "village") as does the house built in 1820 by Dr. Orestes K. Hawley, the first physician, and the two brick houses built by Eliphalet Austin. The largest, Sycamore Hall, is 24 rooms with 16-inch thick brick walls, the bricks made in nearby Coffey Creek and hauled up the hill to the site by oxcart. The house was one of the stops on the underground railroad in the Civil War.

Ambrose Humphrey built a grist mill near Austin's mill at Mechanicsville, enabling the settlers to grind their flour without traveling forty miles to Elk Creek.

The prominent young man, of New Hartford, Connecticut, one of the original proprietors of Township No. 11, Range Four, was bitten and advised by his physician and friends to travel abroad while awaiting his fate. He chose rather to head west to his reserve lands in hopes of keeping his mind off the dread disease of hydrophobia to which he never did fall victim. He shared ownership of the township with William Brattell, Torringford and Solomon Rockwell and Co., Winchester, Connecticut.

With Austin's encouragement, two families moved to "Austin's Camp" in 1799. He preceded them a short time, driving cattle 150 miles through the woods over Indian trails. Hired men, Anson Colt, David Allen and Samuel Fobes traveled with him. The families were Mr. and Mrs. Roswell Stevens and Mr. and Mrs. George Beckwith and two children.

The settlers quickly cleared land, built cabins, planted and harvested the first wheat crop. The Sunday following their arrival, all work was stopped and a religious service held. It included hymns, a sermon and prayers. Such services continued with the arrival of a sizable group of male settlers in the spring of 1800. With that group, Austin, who had returned to the East the previous fall, brought the first stock of goods west, including groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, hardware and implements needed for the huge task ahead. It was not until the spring of 1801 that these men brought their families to Austinburg.

The settlers quickly cleared land, built cabins, planted and harvested the first wheat crop. The Sunday following their arrival, all work was stopped and a religious service held. It included hymns, a sermon and prayers. Such services continued with the arrival of a sizable group of male settlers in the spring of 1800. With that group, Austin, who had returned to the East the previous fall, brought the first stock of goods west, including groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, hardware and implements needed for the huge task ahead. It was not until the spring of 1801 that these men brought their families to Austinburg.

The first sawmill in the county was set up by Eliphalet Austin along the Grand River in 1801. He then built his frame house, the first on the Western Reserve. It is thought by many to be the first frame house in Ohio. It still stands today in the village (although not officially designated a village, people living in that section of the township have always referred to it as "village") as does the house built in 1820 by Dr. Orestes K. Hawley, the first physician, and the two brick houses built by Eliphalet Austin. The largest, Sycamore Hall, is 24 rooms with 16-inch thick brick walls, the bricks made in nearby Coffey Creek and hauled up the hill to the site by oxcart. The house was one of the stops on the underground railroad in the Civil War.

Ambrose Humphrey built a grist mill near Austin's mill at Mechanicsville, enabling the settlers to grind their flour without traveling forty miles to Elk Creek.

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