Summit County, Ohio
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Gen. Simon Perkins
Very many of the prominent families of Ohio trace their ancestry to Connecticut, and this is the case with the distinguished Perkins family. Simon Perkins, who for so long a period was one of the leading men of Ohio, was born at Lishon, Connecticut, September 17, 1771. In 1795 he is found at Oswego, New York, and in 1798 he was chosen by the Erie Land Company to act as its agent in the exploration of the Western Reserve, and in this capacity he spent his summers in Ohio. After his marriage he settled permanently at Warren, Ohio, where he was postmaster from 1801 to 1829; and was also special agent of the government in establishing local offices and treating with the Indians. In August, 1812, as brigadier general of militia. He took charge of the troops in Northern Ohio and marched to defend the northern frontier. At the close of the campaign in the following year, he was offered by President Madison a commission as colonel in the regular army, which military honor he declined on account of his many pressing business duties.
In 1813 General Perkins organized the Western Reserve Bank and remained its president until 1836. He was a member of the Ohio Canal Fund Commission from 1826 until 1838. In 1825, in association with Paul Williams he founded the village of Akron, and in 1831, in connection with Judge King and Dr. Crosby, that portion known as North Akron. He donated ground for public buildings, parks, schools and churches, and enriched in every possible way the young town where he enjoyed passing much of his spare time. He died at Warren November 6, 1844, aged 73 years, one month and nineteen days.
On March 18, 1804, he married Nancy Bishop, who was born at Lisbon, Connecticut, January 24, 1780, and who died at Warren April 24, 1862, aged eighty-two years and three months. Among their children was Colonel Simon Perkins, now deceased, who for many years was a leading figure in the affairs of Akron. Colonel George Tod Perkins, president of the P. F. Goodrich Company and the Akron Rubber Company, a sketch of whom may be found in this volume, is a grandson of General Perkins. [Source: "Centennial history of Summit County, Ohio and representative citizens", Chicago, Ill: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908, by William B. Doyle, LL. B.; Transcribed by AJ]
Col. Simon Perkins
In Grace Park, Akron, stands a granite monument, which was erected by this city, in 1895, in memory of its greatest philanthropist and one of its most distinguished former citizens. It recalls to memory one whose almost entire life was generously given to promote the prosperity of Akron and to advance the happiness of her citizens. Simon Perkins was born February 6, 1805, at Warren, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood, and was a son of General Simon and Nancy (Bishop) Perkins, natives of Norwich, Connecticut.
Colonel Perkins traced a clear line of ancestry back to Puritan forefathers. General Simon Perkins attained his military rank while commanding the United States forces in Northern Ohio, during the War of 1812. He had moved from Connecticut and settled at Warren, Ohio, in 1801, where he was made commissioner of the Connecticut Western Reserve Land Company.
During his early manhood, Colonel Simon Perkins was associated with his father in handling the large amount of land which the latter had acquired, and it was in relation to land that he came to Akron, in 1835. This city, then an insignificant one, became his permanent home and as years went by greatly benefitted by his public spirit, his far-seeing judgment and his liberal and broad-east generosity. From the first he was a man of force and energy in every direction, and four years after coming to Summit County he was elected a member of the State Senate, and in 1841-42 of the House of Representatives, from this county. The selection of the county seat was one of the questions in which Colonel Perkins took a personal interest, and he was the champion of many of the important measures which now appear as laws on the State records.
While political life had many attractions for a virile, ambitious man like Colonel Perkins, agricultural employments also claimed a large part of his attention. He advocated farming along the most modern lines then known, and was the pioneer live-stock breeder, from standard stock, in this section. He owned hundreds of acres of productive land. He was also one of the first to see the adventages (sic) accruing from an extended line of railroad through Summit County, to run through Akron, and was the first president of the Cleveland, Zanesville & Cincinnati, now the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad, later becoming its general superintendent. In pushing the interests of this line, Colonel Perkins is credited with sinking a large fortune, but even he could never have imagined the beneficial results this great transportation line has brought to the country through which it is operated. Perhaps no other citizen contributed so much, in time, energy, land and money, to the material development of Akron, as did this broad-souled, large-hearted man. He lived to see the industrial, educational and charitable institutions which he had more or less founded, enter upon a period of prosperity, and to realize, in a small degree at least, the gratitude of his fellow citizens. His death occurred July 21, 1887, at the age of over eighty-two years.
Colonel Perkins was married in 1832, to Grace I. Tod, a daughter of Judge George and Sally (Ingersoll) Tod, and a sister of the late Governor David Tod, a sketch of whom may be found in this work. Of the eleven children born of this marriage, ten reached maturity, and seven still survive. The Colonel's eldest son, Colonel George T. Perkins, is one of Akron's most prominent business men, being president of the B. F. Goodrich Company and of the Akron Rubber Company, Mrs. Perkins died April 6, 1867, aged fifty-six years. [Source: "Centennial history of Summit County, Ohio and representative citizens", Chicago, Ill: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908, by William B. Doyle, LL. B.; Transcribed by AJ]
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