History of Guilford Township
Guilford township was originally know as Township Number 14, Range 14W of the Connecticut Western Reserve was one of the first townships organized after the creation of the county in 1818.
Guilford Township was organized in 1819, one year following our adjoining township – Wadsworth, to the East and one year before our adjoining townships – Montville and Westfield, to the North and West.
Guilford Township was formerly divided into four quarters, owned by four Easterners: Roger Newbury of Windham, Connecticut; Justin Ely of Springfield, Massachusetts; Enoch Perkins of Hartford, Connecticut; and Elyah White of Hudson, Connecticut.
Two brothers, John and David Wilson, made the first opening in the Northwest quarter of the Township in 1816. In the same year, William Moore cleared a small tract in the Northwest quarter about one mile East of Chippewa Creek.
The first permanent settlers in the Township, however, were Henry and Chester Hosmer, Shubael and Abigail Porter, Lyman Munson and Moses Noble, who came from Massachusetts in February 1817. The men of the party built a log house oh the South of the Hubbard Creek, and on the 1st of March, 1817, the entire colony moved into it as their abiding place.
In 1821 the first log schoolhouse in the township was erected just West of the state road. This pioneer schoolhouse was burned down in 1822. In 1823, a second and quite similar building replaced it.
In 1824, the present burying grounds, just East f Seville, were surveyed and deeded to the Township. The first burial therein was Mrs. Harriet Wilson, wife of Robert Wilson, who died during the year of the survey.
In 1825, a mail route was established between New Hampshire, Huron County, and new Portage, Portage County. Mr. Hosmer was appointed the first Postmaster at Guilford.
At this writing (January 1987), the original mail sorting cupboard that Mr Hosmer used to keep the mail organized and moving is on display at the Seville Historical Society Museum in Seville, as are many of the history-making memorabilia of Guilford Township and Seville Village.
In 1828, Henry Hosmer, Proprietor of the land at this point, called upon Nathaniel Bell, then County Surveyor, to plot a town to which he gave the name of Seville. At that period, Guildford had two regular mail routes, an excellent Tavern kept by Dr. Eastman, a schoolhouse, a store, a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, and boaster numerous farmers who had already quite a substantial position in life. Thus may be traced the main cause of the birth of Seville as a village.
It is well at this time to give some explanation of the names of our other villages. Each one had a name given it descriptive of its citizens or its industry.
Acme was formerly Millersburg, named from the pioneer family of Samuel Miller. Blake had gone under the name of Steamtown, deriving its name from the sawmill, cider mill, and blacksmith shop. A new name was needed for this village to supply it with a better name for its post office. The name of Blake was chosen, being named, it is said, for the Honorable G. G. Blake of Medina.
River Styx had long borne the name of Wilson’s Corners, but due to the fact that another village in the state had a prior claim on the name, the present name was made official. To justify this name, mythologically minded settlers pointed out that South of the settlement was an impenetrable swamp, infested with black rattlesnakes, a menace to immigrants and their covered wagons.
Not long after the settlement of these rural communities, the need for churches was felt. A Methodist Church was built on Mr. D. Wilson’s farm, just East of the corner, and across the road from where it was later moved.
The Mennonite Denomination bought a brick schoolhouse further East of this place of worship.
One of the finest examples of the rural church is that of the Jerusalem Lutheran Church at Acme. With its several hundred members, its pipe organ and organizations make it one of the finest rural churches in Medina County.
J.L. Beck, a farmer just South of River Styx, built a church at Guilford Center, where many worshipped for many years. At the death of Mr. Beck, the church was left to the Township with the stipulation that the grounds, and in truth, the “God’s Acre”, be kept as beautiful as a burial place could be.
Next in order are two Mennonite Churches in South Guilford: the lower Mennonite Church, with its large cemetery adjoining, and the Bethel Mennonite Church, a daughter of the lower church.
Another Mennonite Church, West of Blake, was in existence for many years with a well-kept burial plot adjoining. The church was later sold and taken away, so there is no church at Blake now.
Industry played a large part in Guilford Township, such as the Match Factory, built and run by John Wilson at River Styx. John purchased the formula from a German peddler. Lowell Thomas, a news broadcaster, referred to River Styx in one of his broadcasts as “the cradle of the match industry in America”. The factory was later sold to Barber, who then located in Middlebury, now East Akron.
Thomas Palmer, from Cleveland, started a creamery in Guilford. In time the creamery venture fell through and was purchased by the Harter Brothers of Western Star, proving very successful. A branch was begun in Medina and eventually became “The Akron Pure Milk Company”. When they died, each partner was listed as being worth a million dollars.
A stone quarry, in the Northern and Eastern part of Guilford Township, was opened in the early period of the development of Guilford and soon became a thriving business. Many large barns and stone houses have stone cut from this quarry.
Guilford Township has
produced many professional persons. For example:
Honorable J.C. Johnson
Honorable A.D. Licey, State Representative
Judge Albert Munson, born on a farm near River Styx, 1829
John Beck, an organist of national fame, born in Blake
Melville Wilson, master musician on the cello and coronet, who traveled to
Europe as a special soloist
The shoemakers who made shoes, both heavy and strong, have gone the way that shoemakers do, and the blacksmith’s anvil is silent, but still our valley of Guilford moves on with good people, good food, fine wine, law-abiding citizens that want it that way.
With the great change in mode of travel throughout the country, the government felt the need to lay out a large network of interstate highways, two of which were scheduled to go through Guilford Township.
From East to West, Rt. I-76 (224) was constructed through nearly all farmland. In fact, this highway took up well over 130 acres. Then from Southwest to Northeast, Rt. I-71 was constructed, consuming 84.50 plus acres, also of mostly farmland.
With these two new highways and the industries booming in the cities with a 65-mile radius, the population started to increase in the townships. New homes were built on nearly every road in the township. Gasoline stations cropped up at Rts. 76 and 3, campgrounds came into being, a large auto dealership was built, a golf course in the southeast section of the township, an airport ad housing complex was built at Acme. Land was annexed into the village of Seville to allow room for more industry; Muehler Packing Co., now Ohio Wholesale, and Jaffy Shoe Co. were soon on the move and employing more and more people. More land was annexed to the village to make room for a housing complex on the Southeast corner of Rts. 3 and 97 (old 224).
Another annexation on the North side of 97, just east of Rt. 3 brought a small shopping plaza and grocery-drug store to the village along with another housing complex.
With the annexations, expansions, and population growth in the village, growing pains were bound to come. A large problem is facing the village at this time. The sewage system, the EPA says, in inadequate to handle the added amounts of sewage and run-off, and needs to be updated again. This is foremost in the minds of the Board of Public Affairs of Seville, and Village Council, who are trying to resolve the situation.
With the mechanization of farming coming into the farming picture in the early 1950’s, farmers were able to till more acreage and increase production. Larger horsepower tractors with equipment to match, self-propelled combines and harvesters, automatic balers, silo unloaders, automated feeding systems, bulk milk cooling and storage tanks, milking parlors, all played a great roll in the unsurpassed achievement of farming the farmers of Guilford Township are doing today.
With the smaller sized farm staying at around 90 acres and 25 milk cows, and ranging up to one of the largest dairies in the State of Ohio with 500 milk cows and 400 head coming up as replacements, and farming approximately 1,610 acres, in and out of the township, this operation is a family enterprise, one of many that has sprung up in the county. Guilford farmers can hold their heads high and not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to fulfilling the task of doing their share in the largest industry in the country; agriculture.
Not only do we have fine farms and farmers, we can also boast one of the largest maple syrup making operations in the county, if not the state. The Maple Valley Farms of Guilford Township is a family affair and is now in the fourth generation with the fifth generation just in the tasting stage, but coming on strong.
Then too, we must not forget the large watershed control dam of Hubbard Cheek – Hubbard Valley Park. This project controls the waters from the North central part of the township and keeps the waters at a more controlled level when meeting the Chippewa Creek waters at the Village of Seville, thus keeping the village less apt to flood as was known to occur in the past.
With progress and changes happening nearly every few months, Guilford Township keeps moving forward in making it a great place to live.
The information obtained for this writing was gathered at the Seville Historical Society Museum in Seville, and from private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Gottlieb of Seville, and was taken from the following sources:
1- Historical Atlas of Medina County, Ohio 1874.
2- Atlas and Directory of Medina County, Ohio, including Directory of Freeholders and Official register of the County, 1897.
3- History of Western Reserve, Volumem I, 1910.
4- History of Medina County, Copyright – 1948.
5- Maps of Guilford Township, Map Room, Medina County Courthouse.