Canaan, Past, Present and Future: As Presented by Vella Scott, at the Centennial, Aug. 16

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First Installment

Canaan Township Organized

One hundred years ago the fifth month and the fifth day of the month, Canaan Township was organized, and at this date we can only dream of the condition of the space of ground that it now includes and how it looked at that time.

Many parts were only a dense forest, only broken with here and there an Indian trail.

Streams were unbridged and roads uncut. Cabins were built by hewing and saw mills were only an imagination. The only tools used were toys by the side of those today.

The toilers met with hardships and opposition in many ways, but civilization and progress have moved affairs along. Prosperity now belongs to the township.

Towns and villages have sprung up, and it is in the center of this township we meet to celebrate today in the village that was first named Windsor, and later named Canaan, possibly by some good old pioneers who felt they truly had entered the promised land.

Academies and schools have left their mark and churches their influence, and although many of the industries of a few years ago have faded from sight, Canaan still exists.

We will skip some generations hence. Another century has rolled by. We part the curtains of the now mysterious future and behold another such an event as of today. But look, they are not coming in automobiles, but a part of Mother Shipton's prophecy, which was first published in the year 1441, is being fulfilled.

"Carriages without horses shall go And accidents fill the world with woe. Around the world thoughts shall fly In the twinkling of an eye Water-shall yet more wonders do Now strange-- but yet they shall be true. The world upside down shall be And gold be found at the root of a tree. Through hills man shall ride And no horse or ass be at his side Under water men shall walk, Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk In the air men shall be seen In white, in black, in green Iron on water shall float As easy as a wooden boat God shall be found and shown In a land that is not know.

As we look we think we see smaller birds of the air but as they circle nearer and nearer we see that it is the home comers arriving in airships decorated in our own red, white and blue, their destination being the new community house at the entrance of Shadyside Park.

As we look eastward we see what is now called a viaduct and moving over it what is at first to our eyes seemingly a cloud of vapor, proves to be the smoke from the nostrils of the iron horse and the pullman coaches attached bear the lettering, "Canaan Jackson & Killbuck R. R. Rippling banners are floating from the windows with the words, "We are bound for the Happy Land of Canaan.

This is a picture of Canaan, no longer a village, but to a city grown. [1] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Second Installment

Had it not been for an unforseen (sic) event the descendants of James Smith would have celebrated their coming to this country this year, as it was just one hundred years since they settled here, Miss Smith of Creston, has kindly furnished us this information.

James Smith and family and John McIlvaine and family came to Canaan township from Washington county, Pa in 1819: They drove through in wagons and brought their household goods with them and built log houses on the farms now owned by J. W. Oller and land south of him and the farm owned by the McIllvaine brother. Grandfather's house was about fifteen rods north west of where the one now stands. It was built of logs and the floor was logs split and smoothed on one side. The windows were greased paper. The door was a quilt hung up. They would build a fire at night to keep the wolves out. They would start a fire by striking two flints together or a flint and steel causing a spark in tow or fine rotten wood. Matches were not known till later. They would cover their fire and if it went out they went to a neighbor to get a start. It is said that the children would cut down trees of good size with table knives. It was all woods at that time and every tree cut was a help to clearing the land. At this time porcupines were plenty and when the men went hunting they took their bullet molds along to pull the porcupine quills out of their dogs. Wild pigeons were numerous and when a drove flew over it would look dark. Squirrels were also plenty and early settlers depended on their game for most of their meat. Johnny Appleseed traveled through the township and stayed over night with the Smith family. To pay their taxes Mrs. Smith raised young chickens and took them to Wooster on horse back and sold them for 6 1/4 cents a piece, and paid the taxes which was about $2.50.

When they came to Ohio they brought a colt and dog with them from the old home in Pennsylvania. In a short time the colt and dog both went back. They were about two weeks finding their way back through the woods. There was Indian wigwams on the place but the Indians had gone. At this time there was an Indian trail, or road, crossed the township about two miles west of Canaan from the southern part of the state to Chippewa Lake. It is said there wasn't a tree or shrub grew on it. Nearly every where the forest was dense and to show just one of many little incidents of that time, a number of young people from near Chatham, Medina county, went out for blackberries and got lost in the woods and wandered around until rounded up at Jimmie Smith's home, tired and hungry. They were given bread and milk ad thought it was the best meal they ever tasted. In the early days there were no fences and a bell was always put on one of the cows before they were let in the woods for pasture. The story is told of one Andy Monosmith who went to hunt for his cows and got lost. The cows found their way home and his wife put them in the shed then saw her husband going past the house and called to him but he was so badly lost that he did not know his wife or home.

In pioneer times they used to cut down trees to hew troughs from them which were used for various purposes one being to catch sugar water through the home made elder wood spiles. The sap was boiled in iron kettles and made into maple sugar and molasses which made the family's sweets. In hardest time the grain was cut with a sickle or cradle. A sap of whisky and a ten o'clock lunch was no unusual affair at that time. The threshing was done with a flail and then put through a windmill. The first threshing machines would compare with our windmills of today and later the old horse power had to give way to steam.

Hay was cut with a scythe and the coming of the mower was of as much interest as the flying machine of the present day. Another item of interest in this territory to some will be that a Mr. Weimer owned the the T. H. Barn Farm. He had a still and made brandy out of grain and fruit raised on the farm and was finally destroyed by citizens. An other is that Demos Soms, known by the older citizens of the township and who was many years an undertaker as well as farmer lived with his family in a log house across the road to the north of the Thos. Barns home. [2] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Third Installment

After leaving the Barns home we travel eastward and pass the girlhood home of Grandmother Stebbins of Creston, which was the Glime home belonging to her parents. Next in sight are the Hough, Walters and Monosmith homes with most of the old buildings erased and replaced by more modern ones. The Hendrick, for which the four corners was named before being changed to new ownership, was moved some little distance east of the old spot on account of building of the new electric line a few years ago. The school building of years ago was burned, and another was erected and still in use and where every year happy school reunions are held.

As we proceed from there northward toward Jackson we are obliged to cross the old log filed road this being necessary at that time to help build the road. Lumber that day being plenty was liberally used, most of the logs being yet in good state of preservation. The electric line which runs parrallel (sic) with this road, was built about the year 1901, and has its terminus at Wooster and Cleveland. Entering Jackson from the south we pause to survey the village, the namesake of Gen. Jackson. Its post office was named "Old Hickory," and was later abandoned. This place, like many other small ones can boast of its former industries, such as was used before the time of factories, also blacksmith shops, dry goods stores, groceries and three taverns, which were well patronized this being the place of changing stage coach horses the drive being the place of changing stage coach horses the drive being made between Cleveland and Columbus. About this time a fire broke out in the village destroying many buildings and places of business which were never rebuilt.

It is said that Methodism began its work here about the middle of the past century and that the old frame church used was later moved to Creston. The first church organized in the township by the Presbyterians was at this place, beginning with only 16 members. Families represented were Slemmons, Hodsingtons, Hays, White, Jones, Hall, Parmeter, Smith, Gibbons. In 1838 the congregation called its first pastor who was Rev. Thos Bare, who served for about 40 years. He settled in Jackson for a short time but later moved to Canaan, where he resided until the time of his death. It is said that prior to the organization of the church that eager listeners sat in the open on logs while the gospel was expounded to them by some one, the two places of worship after the building became old was built in 1837, and another in 1854. This was burned to the ground a few years ago and was again replaced by another now stands the pride of the town and is filled each Sabbath with worshippers. The cemetery just back of the church is the resting place for most of the old settlers, and which now has a large endowment fund.

Passing on north we are halted at a toll gate.[3] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Fourth Installment

The toll gate which was maintained in the locality of South Creston, through which all conveyances passing were required to contribute toward the maintenance of the road, thus having a thoroughfare from Cleveland to Columbus. All business and travel of this early day being accomplished by teamsters and stage coaches.

Naming of Creston

In about the year 1878 the name of the village was changed to Creston, because the confliction with another town in the state by the name of Pike.

The town first bore the name of Seville Station and was plotted in about 1865. Later the town was called Pike Station it being on the old Cleveland Pike road, then as heretoforee explained it was changed to Creston.

Previous to the advent of what was known as the Atlantic and Great Western R. R. now the Erie. Creston as a village was not on the map. The scattered _________ were farmers, many of them _________ their land from the government. There fields, were fertile and by _______________ yielded an abundance. ________ not all could be cultivated until later date when needed improvements were made and swamp land drained.

The land was found to be adapted for gardening, and now brining a profitable yield of products such as onions, celery, cabbages and cucumbers, and would scarcely be known now as spots of briars and underbrush inhabited by turtles and reptiles.

The post office at Jackson, known as "Old Hickory" was moved to Creston and we might along say that Creston, has, in a mesure (sic), been built on the ruins of what once in the long ago the flourishing little town of Jackson.

The old frame M. E. church stood on the site of the present one and served its purpose for many years.[4] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Fifth Installment

Creston was incorporated June 2, 1899.

The interurban line was built through about the year 1901.

We are told that about 1860 the survey was made and the work started on the railroad then known as the A. C. W. Many delays were met and much difficulty was experienced in the building because of the swampy condition of the land. Many times workmen coming in the morning would find no trace of the work accomplished the day previous. All had been engulfed in what was then commonly known as the "sink hole." But perseverance triumphed and the road was put through. A station was located at the turnpike and the crossing called Main street.

A few years later the Wheeling & Lake Erie road was built and still later the B & O. With three railroads Creston took on a greater activity and soon became a hustling business place. Much could be said of the growth of Creston, but most of the town especially the north part has sprung up in the past half century.

One pride of the town is the modern high school building which replaces the old frame one, among whose earlier teachers were Prof. Jas. McCoy, Prof. McCane and Rev. Dawson.

The town has supported three churches the present buildings of modern style, the M. E. the Presbyterion (sic) and the U. B. the building of which now serves as the Town Hall and all other industries which go to make of this size.

A few years ago a large part of the business section of the town was wiped out by fire, but all was again rebuilt and the loss was not without some gain for the new buildings gave the town a much better appearance and allowed space for the opening of a new street which was much needed.

The burying mound, now so well kept and so fully inhabited claimed for its first use the grace of Mrs. H. Kretzer in August, 1887.[5] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Sixth Installment

Leaving Creston, the first stop west on the Erie is Burbank, which was incorporated in 1868 and at which time the name was changed from Bridgeport to Burbank.


Among its earliest settlers were the Reeds, Frarys, Howers; Sawyers, Naftzes, Palmers, McBridges; Spanglers; Millers, Owens; Straits; Weisers, Cockrells, Addemans, Stickles, Ackermans, Adams, Jones; Owers, Kerms and Halliways, all of whom followed the pursuits of the earlier days.

For its churches the village claimed the M. E. church, the U. B. and the Evangelical. The first named was organized in the beginning of the village. The U. B. was not many years later, and the Evangelical in about 1860.

The old M. E. church was burned Sept. 3, 1893, but was soon replaced with another structure quite modern and convenient.

The Evangelical people not long since disbanded and sold their church building.

Old school houses in their turn were replaced by more modern ones, the oldest is said to be used as a dwelling house by one of the citizens. The Academy was organized in the year 1873.

The railroad was built in about 1863 as a broad gauge and was called The Atlantic & Great Western. It was later cut down to the standard gauge and was called The N. Y. P. & O. and still later The Erie, by which name is now known.[6] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Seventh Installment

Accross (sic) from Burbank we pass through Canaan Bend and will have its inhabitants tell us something about the place, size, and history later. Coming across the border into Canaan we pas (sic) over a branch of the Kilbuck (sic) instead of the river Jordan. From the north we do not see much of the dimensions of the village, only one long stretch of road with trees on either side dotted between with a few dwelling picture for an artist. Just before we reach the public square we notice a church building which was built by members of the German Reformed congregation in 1872, and was used by them for many years. Their first pastor being Rev. Miller, and their services for a long time was usually in German, but finally as the older members passed away the house was closed for a while and in the year 1898 the church property was transferred to the Presbyterians and an organization effected by Rev. Boston with the remaining members from the former organization uniting with them. This union was blest with good results and after nearly 20 years of faithful service it was found more convenient for members to attend nearer church to their homes, and the house of worship was again closed, but not for long. The property was again transferred to the citizens of Canaan for a "Community House," which means a place to carry on much needed work along the former lines, also educational work, and is now being fitted for its mission. A little father along modestly hiding behind some tall maples is the first M. E. Church, and was moved to this lot when abandoned to give its space for a new one, and for a number of years was used for a grange hall. It was in this building that B. R. Shaw, the blind musician held singing school more than a half century ago and which gave many their start toward a higher musical education. The time worn building dates its age back to 1850.

Turning eastward another church looms into view which is the later one, built in 1874. Among the earlier members of the congregation were the Strattons, Wards, Notestines, Wiles, Vandovers, Haws, Haskins and Stevensons and others. This last building was struck by lightning several times but each time put in repairs. The high steeple which at first was its crowning glory, was later taken down, thinking it might be the supposed cause of the mischief. This being the only church in use in the village now it stands for the religion of Canaan. Just here we must not fail to note the remains of another church which was moved here and moved a second time, and was used by the Baptist people of pioneer days and now serves as part of the store building occupied at present by J. F. Bowers.

Hand in hand with religion comes education.[7] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Eighth Installment

When a stranger comes into the village to him the place is some thing fascinating maybe because it has been designated as the Land of Milk and Honey. Most of these travelers and visitors have in some way is the past been connected with the village and have been one of its links. Should they be an old teacher or student of former days here their ramblings are in the direction of the old school buildings. First they went their way over the hill where once stood one of the first institutions of learning in the state, the 'Old Canaan Academy' which was built about 1839 and was a two story frame building. Its builders were Vandoorn and Emerson, its Board of Directors were Alfred Hotchkiss, Harvey Rice, Juston Miles, Jonas Notestine and Dr. Paul. With its beginning 47 pupils were enrolled. Its first teacher was Prof. C. C. Bombarger, a citizen of the place who was teacher for three years and who had, previous to this taught a select school upstairs in what was then the J. Miles house. Rev. Barr, so well known to many of the older people was one of the interested ones and had for his helper Mr. Barker. The date of their teaching being 1847. It is said that many times did the good old Rev. of strict Presbyterian faith have his patience tried by fun loving students who would congregate on the second floor for a little social hop.

In 1851 this building was consumed by fire. A brick building was then erected which serviced its purpose well for many years but is now erased from the yard but not from the minds of many who are yet living and can recall many pleasant memories of that time.

From among the vast number who received an education here have gone out many noted men and women, scattered abroad over the land-- lawyers, doctors, preachers, teachers, judges, representatives and senators.

The teachers of this great institution of learning were Mr. Bombarder, Rev. Barr, Mr. Barker, Isaac Notestine, Mr. Hamilton, Jonas Notestine, Mr. Kennedy, Joseph Myers, Mr. Weaver, Rev. Baron, Miss Emily Barr, C. B. Cuningham, Miss Drenner, Willis Orr, Miss Power, Jas. Duschane, W. W. Wallace, Rev. Freeman, H. D. Fetzer, Jas. McCoy, Rev. Reese, Mr. Elliot, and Rev. Cummings. So far as is known only three of these teachers are living.

While so much can be said of 'Old Canaan Academy.' we must not forget our common schools. [8] CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Nineth Installment


So much good has been said about "Old Canaan Academy" but we must not forget our common schools where so many boys and girls have been started toward larger schools of learning. Older inhabitants recall at least six buildings in and about the village. About 97 years ago the first school building near here was on the Smith Hoisington farm, later owned by Kinzie Cox and now the Scott homestead.

First Teacher

It was located on the slope of the hill west of the present cemetery and was built of logs after the manner of that day. Mr. Moulton, Sr., was its first teacher. Gen. Alger one of its students, in company with a friend and classmate was here. A few years ago and tried to locate the exact spot by corner stones but all traces had been removed by cultivation of the ground.

The next building was erected on the north-west corner of what is now the Alvah Fetzer farm but at that time was owned by Byron Powers. It is said that another school building stood on the now saw mill lot, by the side of the old Baptist church.

The next one was built across the road to the east and the ground to the purpose was donated by Justin Miles 3-5 of the front part to be used for the building and 2-5 for a burying ground. The present build standing on the grounded by now termed the "Town Hall"" since being abandoned as a school building.

A better and larger one has taken its place and stands on the western slope of the village on what many years ago was the Alfred Hotchkiss farm now the Russell property. As years have moved on the school system has improved and kept equal with other schools of its kind.


The majority of teachers who have been connected with this school of learning have passed into the Great Beyond. The names of all as we learn them are the


Tenth Installment


Several weeks ago ity was mentioned that the present town hall stood on ground adjoining the cemetery. Strange it may sound but such was the case. The ground for both was given by Justin Miles, who at that time owned a part of the village ground. This was possibly a century ago. The ground was conveyed by John S. Hoisington and Mr. Blodget and a number of person were buried there. Later Mr. Miles donated the ground for the present cemetery, without a deed, at the time of the death of his wife (T. Haskins). She being the first person to be buried there, near the south-east corner. Soon after this the most of the bodies were transferred from the old burying ground to the new one.

The maple trees which have stood so proudly in a row at the front were planted by Geo. Richeson who at that time owned the property joining the south.

The cemetery, which passed into the control of the township trustees, was kept as well as the allowance allowed and with just a little work each year, soon became not merely a briar patch but was perfectly overrun with spreading vines. Fences constructed around family lots began to crumble away after their builders were laid under the sod.

But there came a time some years later when the pride of the citizens could no longer bear the unsightly place for the last resting place of their friends and a ladies' organization was formed with officers who served for a number of years with the willing cooperation of all the people, many of who contributed work in different forms, as money in such new organizations is not over plenty and so much was to be done. The ground was to be plowed and leveled, old fences to be removed, and with the aid of the trustees, some new ones were built. At one time the expenses for the amount of help hired was nearly $120.00 for a day. But the officers with heir many faithful helpers, soon had the pleasure of seeing their reward. Expenses were met mostly by funds from neighborhood socials.

An endowment fund now helps bear the expenses which assists in continuing the good work. With sexton and janitor now employed no more beautiful country cemetery can be found.[10]


  1. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 August 27, p. 1.
  2. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 September 3, p. 1.
  3. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 September 10, p. 1.
  4. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 September 17, p. 1.
  5. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 September 24, p. 1.
  6. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 October 1, p.1.
  7. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 October 15, p. 1.
  8. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 October 22, p. 1.
  9. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 October 20, p. 1.
  10. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1919 November 12, p. 8.

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