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Mahoning County Ohio

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History of
Boardman Township

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(Source: "20th century history of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens"
Chicago, Ill. :: Biographical Pub. Co)


The natural aspect of this township is one of beauty, with just enough of hills and valleys, fields and woodlands, to please the eye by presenting to its gaze a varied and lovely landscape. The western and northwestern parts of the township are watered by Mill Creek and its tributaries. Yellow Creek flows for over two miles through the southeast of Boardman, thence entering Poland township near the village. The surface is in general undulating and in some portions nearly level. The township is essentially a farming community, there being no villages of any considerable size.

SETTLEMENT.

The township derived its name from Elijah Boardman, who, accompanied by six companions, among them Nathaniel and Ebenezer Blakely and a man named Summers, settled here in 1798. Mr. Boardman who was a member of the Connecticut Land Company, came from New Milford , Connecticut . He spent his time during the summer in making surveys and establishing landmarks, the men who came with him being engaged in making l clearings. Five of the six, leaving behind the two yoke of oxen they had brought with them, returned to Connecticut on foot, the other one of the Blakelys settled permanently in the town. A stone which Mr. Boardman set up to mark the center of the township was un­earthed about 1878 or 1879, and his initials, E. B., discovered on it.During the next ten or twelve years settlers from Connecticut , with a few from Pennsylvania , came in rapidly, so that in 1810 the population was about 850. In a list of property holders contained in the township records for the year 1806 appear the following names: Abner Webb, William Drake, Joseph Merchant, Linus Brainard, Eli Baldwin, Haynes Fitch, George Stillson, John Davidson, Oswald Detchon, Elijah Boardman, Eleazer Fairchild, with his sons, John Amos, and Daniel Francis Dowler, Richard J. Elliott, Samuel Swan, Peter Stillson, Warren Bissel, and David Noble.

Major Samuel Clark, who came in 1810, was one of the first postmasters, and used to bring the mail from Poland once a week in his pocket. About 1829 he served as justice of the peace, and he was also commissioned lieutenant, captain and major of militia. He was a native of Connecticut , as was also his wife Anna, whose maiden name was Northrup. He died in 1847,and his wife in 1860. Richard J. Elliott, who came in 1804 or 1805, was a member of the legislature in 1808 and 1809, at his last election receiving every vote in his district. Henry Brainard came in 1800 and settled about a mile from the center on the road running west. One of his sons, Dr. Ira Brainard, was probably the first settled physician in the township. After practicing here a few years, however, the doctor moved to Canfield. Oswald Detchon, a native of England , was one of the very first settlers; he located three-fourths of a mile east of the center.

Eleazer Fairchild was another early settler, and located on what was later the farm of Eli Reed. Among those who came between 1801 and 1810 were several families by the name of Simon from Washington county, Pennsylvania . They all brought up large families and many of their descendants still reside in the township. From the same county came George Zedaker with his son John. The latter was the last survivor, in Boardman, of the war of 1812, dying in the late seventies of the century just closed. George Pope, who came to Boardman from Virginia , after settling on Benjamin McNutt's farm removed to the northwestern part of the township near Mill Creek; he attained the age of ninety-eight years. Other pioneers, with the date of their advent in the township, were as follows: John Twiss, 1818; Charles Titus, 1819; Amos Baldwin, 1811; Asa Baldwin, brother of Amos, 1811 or earlier; Thomas and Elizabeth Agnew, from Pennsylvania, 1824; Henry Foster, previous to 1808; Philip and Catherine Stambaugh, 1811; Eli Baldwin, from Connecticut, 1801; the De Camps, Shields and Woodruff families, 1801; Josiah Walker, 1803; Isaac Newton, 1811; William and Pa-melia Fankle, 1816; David and Mary (Walk­er) Porter, 1815. The last named who came from Adams county, Pennsylvania , settled in the southeast corner of the township. They had five children, one of whom was named David. Another, Harvey, removed to Kansas . Their daughter, Martha, married a Mr. Slaven. The father, David Porter, Sr., was killed by a falling tree in June, 1819.

FIRST ELECTION.

The first township meeting for the election of officers was held April 7, 1806, previous to which year the township had been included in Youngstown . It was organized as Boardman township in 1805. Eli Baldwin was the first justice of the peace. The amount of taxes levied in Boardman in 1803 was $17.47 being distributed among twenty-nine tax payers.

ABUNDANCE OF GAME.

The early settlers were much troubled with bears and wolves, and hunting was both a favorite amusement and most useful occupation. A bounty of $6 each was paid by the county for the scalps of wolves. There were also abundance of deer, turkeys and pheasants, and more than enough of rattlesnakes, upon which the settlers, of course, made constant war. There was scarcely a house without a rifle, whose crack meant usually either the destruction of a common enemy or food for the family. It is related that Curtis Fairchild, a noted hunter in those days, killed 105 deer in one season, besides trapping thirteen wolves. The skin of a deer was worth seventy-five cents, but the meat was not valued and was unsalable.

THE WAR OF l8l2.

There were three drafts made during the War of 1812, each taking one-third of the militia. There were few, if any, volunteers. At one time, though but for a short period, not an able bodied man was left in the township. Boardman's soldiers took part in some sharp fighting with the Indians at the Battle of the Peninsula, near Sandusky . After the war and until 1820 money was scarce, though provisions were cheap in comparison with the prices which prevail today. Butter could be bought for five cents a pound, wheat was twenty-five cents a bushel in paper money, and eggs cost four cents a dozen, in "store pay." Every article of clothing was manufactured, except leather for shoes. Shoes, however, were only used on special occasions in the summer, most of the settlers going barefoot. Many of the men wore buckskin breeches.

CHURCHES.

St. James Episcopal church is the oldest in the county, having been organized in July, 1809. Among the first members were many of the principal settlers, including Turhand Kirtland, Jared Kirtland, Arad Way , Josiah Wetmore, Charles Crittenden, Eleazer Fairchild, Eli Platt, John Liddle, Joseph Platt, Ethel Starr, John Loveland, Lewis Hoyt, Joseph Liddle, Samuel Blocker, Francis Dowler, Russell F. Starr, and Ensign Church . All these persons were instrumental in forming the first Episcopal society. The congregation worshipped in schoolhouses and private dwellings until 1828, when a church ; edifice was erected. The German Reformed church, one of the oldest churches in the township, was erected in, 1816, the church edifice being rebuilt in 1845. The present pastor is Rev. E. D. Weadock. A Congregational church was established in 1813 by Rev. John Field, from Connecticut . Among its first officers were Charles A. Boardman and Samuel Swan. In 1849 the organization ceased to exist on account of the death or removal of its principal members. It was sometimes called the Presbyterian church. The Methodist Episcopal church was founded at an early date, though the year is not known. Oswald Detchon, elsewhere mentioned, was one of the most prominent among its early members, and the first meetings were in a log schoolhouse on his farm. The church edifice was erected about 1835, those chiefly instrumental being Thomas Agnew, Major Samuel Clark, and Josiah Beardsley.

The Disciples church was organized about 1854 by an evangelist named Reeves,. and a church building erected two years later, but organization ceased to exist, about 1872, and the church was sold to the township which converted it into the town hall.The first burials in Boardman township were made upon the farm of Adam Simon, and soon after the German cemetery was laid out. The cemetery near the center was laid out in 1805.

SCHOOLS.

The first log school house was built a few rods west of the center in 1803 or 1804. Nathaniel Blakely was the first teacher. Mrs. Simeon Mitchel, who settled at the center in 1810, also taught school for several terms. In 1809 a two-story frame school house was erected, which was called "The Academy," and "was used for school, church, and meetings for forty years or more." In the seventies it was moved a mile and a half east of the center and converted into a stable. About the same time as the school house at the center was erected, the Simons. built a log school house, where for some years German alone was taught. Jacob Simon was the, first teacher.

The present frame school building at the center of the township, known as the "Centralized school," has four rooms,; with Prof. W. B. Randolph, Minnie Kiper, Olive Beard and Ethel Walters teachers. The Woodworth school, on the south line of the town­ship, is a one-room brick building; Alice Renkenberger is the teacher.The Heintzman school in the southwest corner of the township has one room and is taught by Alice Winter.

The yearly cost of maintenance for the township schools is $4,500.

INDUSTRIES.

In 1805 George Stillson built the first frame house in the township, where he afterwards kept tavern for twenty-five years. Joseph Merchant, who came from Connecticut in 1804, started a tavern about 1814 a short distance east of the center.

MILLS.

Baird's mill on Mill creek, near Lanterman's Falls, was the first grist mill in the township. It was at first a small log building, but afterwards a larger one was built on the same site. Thomas Shields was the proprietor for many years and was succeeded by Eli Baldwin. About 1808 a sawmill was built a mile and a half from the center, and was conducted for a short time by Richard Elliot arid Elijah Boardman. Another sawmill, known as De Camp's, was constructed in the northwestern part of the township, but like the first named had a short lease of life. Another" sawmill and a "grist mill were erected later oh Mill creek by Eli Baldwin; also a cloth mill.The were several small stills in the township, and in 1808 or 1809, Eli Baldwin, who seems to have been a very enterprising citizen for his day, built a distillery near the north line of the township on the Youngstown road, and carried on a good business for several years. James Moody, who, came to Boardman in 1804, built a tannery, and continued in business as a tanner for forty years or more subsequently. Charles Boardman and William Ingersoll opened the first store in a room of Stillson's tavern.

SOME FIRST EVENTS.

The first white child born in Boardman township was James D. McMahon, the date of this event being October 31, 1799. Horace Daniels, whose parents came in 1799, was born in March, 1800. In 1823 he drove the first stage westward on the old Pittsburg and Cleveland stage line.

Andrew Webb, the first blacksmith in the township, came about 1804. He manufactured scythes, which he sold for $2 each, eastern scythes being then worth $2.50. John Davidson and Elijah Deane were probably the first shoemakers in the township.

Peter Stillson, in 1804, made the first cheese in Boardman, which was also, perhaps, the first made on the Western Reserve. He carted several hundred-weight of it to Pittsburg, where he easily disposed if it.

The first sermon was preached, in 1804, in the log school house at the center, by Rev. Joseph Badger, a Presbyterian missionary from Connecticut.



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