History of Montville Township

The Early Years: 1818-1850

Montville was named after a town in Vermont with high rolling land where General Aristarchus Champion, the original proprietor lived.  This territory, known in the old Connecticut Company’s survey as Township Range 14 was sold to General Champion in 1818 and soon divided into sections for settlement. 

In April of 1819, the first two settlers - Austin Badger and Samuel Brown both moved to Montville Township.  Brown came with his family and soon built a cabin.  Badger married Catherine Rouple in 1820 and she became one of the first Montville Township teachers.  The Badger’s daughter was Lucia and old records show she married Charles Booth of Medina.  Of historical interest is the fact that there is a window still today in the old Medina Episcopal Church that bears the name of Booth and Badger.

In 1820, many settlers came to Montville Township, Ohio and some of the prominent early names were Parker Pelton, Philo Welton, Thomas Currier and Joseph Pimlot.  Aged records at that time indicate that every Montville Township settler celebrated the July 4th, 1820 festivities at the Medina Square and feasted on roasted lamb, sheep and chickens.  Later on that same year, Montville Township was formally organized and the first township trustees elected were T.M. Currier, Aaron Smith and Austin Badger.  Ten votes were polled at the first election. 

In the early days of the township settlement, there were many Indians living in the area who eventually abandoned their camps as white settlers moved in.  At that time, game was abundant, as were snakes, especially rattlesnakes and these often had to be driven out of homes.  It was noted that Parker Pelton was one of the most successful game hunters in the early days of Montville Township and he was known to be a supplier of meats. 

In those days, the early pioneers were as much afraid of the woods as they were of the bears and wild cats.  Legend has it that a John Clark, father of William P. Clark became lost while hunting.  Friends and neighbors organized a search and rescue alert that eventually located him after many hours of searching.

The first road in Montville Township was Smith Road which connected Montville to Medina.  It was the military path of General Smith’s army in 1812, and continues to be an important thoroughfare today.  Old State Road between Cleveland and Wooster supported immigration from the north and south.

The first marriage in the township was that of A.R. Williams to Nancy Monroe.  Henry Pelton was the first child born in the township.  The first death was that of Mrs. Catherine Badger, also mentioned as the first teacher.  Her class, consisting of eight students, was held in a school house erected by Austin Badger on the corner of his farm. 

In 1820, Parker Pelton, the community blacksmith and Austin Badger owned the only two horses in the community.  By 1822, there were three horses and forty-one cattle.  Hogs were introduced about this time and were allowed to run wild in abundance.  Forty head of sheep bought in Euclid were only twenty at the end of that winter due to wolves. 

In the early days, all supplies came from Cleveland, a considerable distance away.  Wooden pegs and pins were used instead of nails which were very high priced.  A sawmill was constructed on the Rocky River in 1823 by Austin Badger on land owned by John Morris. 

A later enterprise was an ashery by Mr. Van Gilder, who manufactured black salt which was traded for ashes.  He also carried a small stock of groceries and dry goods.  Later a general store was founded at Poe, around 1850 by Abraham Oberholtzer.  There was an electrical refrigeration plant owned by O. A. Nichols and sons, Arthur and O.A., Jr.  There was also a pickle plant owned by Fred Chandler on East Smith Road and the Griffin family was known as early horse raisers in the area.

Daniel Hitchcock, an early carpenter was remembered for making Hitchcock chairs, much in demand among antiquarians.  These were always painted green with seats made of twisted slippery elm bark.   Descendants of this family now live near Grafton, Ohio.