British Soldier Chose Ohio Territory

British Soldier Chose Ohio Territory

Township Grew From Man's Desire For Freedom

Township Grew From Man's Desire For Freedom

By Catherine Ellsworth (1976)

By Catherine Ellsworth (1976)

British Soldier John Shaw was serving in Canada in 1812 when he decided he preferred the freedom of America to the bondage of being a British soldier.

He and several companions embarked from Long Point,Canada, in a small boat, making their way across forty miles of Lake Erie to Ashtabula. They moved inland far enough to feel secure in their escape, Shaw settling on land in the west portion of Sheffield, to become the first permanent resident of Sheffield Township.

In time, he married Almira Beckwith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Beckwith of Ashtabula Harbor. Descendants of this pioneer couple still reside in Sheffield, including Mrs. Walter Onion and Mrs. Clarence Hawes.

Prior to Shaw's arrival, one Major Moore, an old Revolutionary War soldier, made his way through the dense forest of the area to build a log cabin in the northern part of the township. He married a sixteen-year-old girl, theirs being the first wedding in the township. The couple then moved permanently to Richland County.

Sheffield, known as Township No. 12 of the second range, was originally part of the unit including Ashtabula, Plymouth and Kingsville. One of its first owners was Samuel Mather. Thus it was called East Matherstown, to differentiate it from West Matherstown, as Saybrook was then called.

When the township was organized in 1820, John Griggs, first justice of the peace, chose the name Sheffield for the new community. Earlier, Mather had divided the township into three equal parts runing north and south, these sections given to his three heirs to settle or dispose of as they saw fit. Agents were successful in selling the lands to settlers. Some of those first pioneers were Chauncey Atwater, Thomas Fargo, Samuel P. Castle, Phineas Webster and Zebediah Whipple.

John R. Gage married Ruth Woodbury in October, 1817, clearing land on the south side of the Ashtabula River in Sheffield near their home. Their daughter, Lodema, was born the next July, the first white child in the township. Joshua and Stephen Gage settled in the area also, raising large families, which one history notes "scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific." From this family came the name Gageville for the area surrounding the intersections of present Gageville Road and Route 193.

British Soldier John Shaw was serving in Canada in 1812 when he decided he preferred the freedom of America to the bondage of being a British soldier.

He and several companions embarked from Long Point,Canada, in a small boat, making their way across forty miles of Lake Erie to Ashtabula. They moved inland far enough to feel secure in their escape, Shaw settling on land in the west portion of Sheffield, to become the first permanent resident of Sheffield Township.

In time, he married Almira Beckwith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Beckwith of Ashtabula Harbor. Descendants of this pioneer couple still reside in Sheffield, including Mrs. Walter Onion and Mrs. Clarence Hawes.

Prior to Shaw's arrival, one Major Moore, an old Revolutionary War soldier, made his way through the dense forest of the area to build a log cabin in the northern part of the township. He married a sixteen-year-old girl, theirs being the first wedding in the township. The couple then moved permanently to Richland County.

Sheffield, known as Township No. 12 of the second range, was originally part of the unit including Ashtabula, Plymouth and Kingsville. One of its first owners was Samuel Mather. Thus it was called East Matherstown, to differentiate it from West Matherstown, as Saybrook was then called.

When the township was organized in 1820, John Griggs, first justice of the peace, chose the name Sheffield for the new community. Earlier, Mather had divided the township into three equal parts runing north and south, these sections given to his three heirs to settle or dispose of as they saw fit. Agents were successful in selling the lands to settlers. Some of those first pioneers were Chauncey Atwater, Thomas Fargo, Samuel P. Castle, Phineas Webster and Zebediah Whipple.

John R. Gage married Ruth Woodbury in October, 1817, clearing land on the south side of the Ashtabula River in Sheffield near their home. Their daughter, Lodema, was born the next July, the first white child in the township. Joshua and Stephen Gage settled in the area also, raising large families, which one history notes "scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific." From this family came the name Gageville for the area surrounding the intersections of present Gageville Road and Route 193.

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