History of Berlin

EARLY BERLIN TOWNSHIP HISTORY
     On January 30, 1798 the members of the Connecticut Land Company made a draft among themselves of certain portions of their lands. There were 93 shares or drafts each of the value of $12,903.23. In the 19th draft, township No. 1 in the 5th range containing 15,907 acres was drawn in the following proportions: (Draft Book, Page 203)
George Blake $790.31
Samuel Mather $7,354.54
William Hart $3,000.00
Richard W. Hart $3,000.00
Samuel Mather, Jr. $6.07
     These were the owners, in 1789, of what would become Berlin Township, when Connecticut sold the Connecticut Western Reserve.

     Berlin Township was known at first, as township one of range five of Western Reserve. Before Mahoning County was formed it was the southwest corner township of Trumbull County. At one time it was part of Milton Township in Trumbull County and in 1810 was organized as part of Ellsworth Township, also in Trumbull County. In 1828 it was separately organized and had its first election on April 7, 1828.

     At this election the judges were; Matthias Glass, Salmon Hall and Joseph Stall, the clerks were Peter Musser and Joseph Coult. Nathan Minard, Thompson Craig and Samuel Hall were elected trustees, Samuel Hall, treasurer; Joseph H. Coult, clerk; John Stuart, constable; William Kirkpatrick and Christian Kauffman, overseers of the poor; Joseph Leonard, fence viewers; Edward Frankle, Benjamin Misner and Abraham Crafts, supervisors.

     In 1809 a sturdy pioneer by the name of Garrett Packard entered this wild place. His original home had been Winchester, Virginia. He is given credit giving Turkey Broth Creek its name. He settled in the southwestern part of the township on Mill Creek. He served briefly in the war of 1812. His family was the only white settlers in the township at that time. He and his wife Eleanor had eleven children, the youngest being born after his father’s death in 1820.

     The early settlers of Berlin Township numbered many of German blood and Mathias Glass, who was the original miller of the township, is given credit for suggesting Berlin as the new name of the township. It had been known as “Hart and Mathers” after its original owners. Briefly it was called Griswold Township in 1827, named after a judge in Trumbull County.

     The first schoolhouse was erected on the banks of the Turkey Broth in 1824, near the center of the township. It was a rough log building with desks on 3 sides made of 2 inch planks about 2 ½ feet wide, at which pupils sat with their backs to the teacher. There were smaller seats for the little children. The building was heated by a large wood-burning stove, wood was furnished by children going to the school. School had to declare a holiday when someone forgot to bring the wood. Teachers were paid about $12 a month and room and board, for about 50 pupils. They stayed in various homes of the students.

     In later years there were 7 schools in the township, Shelltown, in the N.E. corner; Weaver, east-central; Hornets Nest, S.E. corner; Center School; Dutch School near the North Lutheran Church; Oak Hill, near Shillings Mill; Fumbletown, west-central; Christytown, S.W. corner. Centralization was attempted at an early date, the 4 schools in the corners of the township being allowed to remain, while the other 3 were moved to the center, about 1905. In 1916 a new school building completed centralization.

     The Post Office was moved to Berlin Center in 1833, mail arrived once a week from Atwater, going on to Canfield and coming back the following week.

     In 1861 during the Civil War 130 men volunteered in one company. Before the Civil War, an anti-slavery speaker, Rev. Marius R. Robinson, was tarred and feathered then ushered out of town. During the Civil War, many Berlin township men served in company 'G' of the 155th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as well as other regiments including, the 105th Oh in which Ashur Kirkbride was killed. After the war, local veterans named the Berlin Center G.A.R. post after him.

     There were several churches started in Berlin Township, too many to be supported by the population. The Germans held meetings in the home of Abraham Hawn. In 1828 the Lutherans and Germans reformed denominations shared a building. The present church was built in 1872. In later years it was called the “Old Dutch Church.” The Methodist Episcopals started meetings about 1830. They built their first church in 1839 and in 1886 a building was built at the present location on the Akron-Canfield Road. The Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church are still active in 2008.

     There are three burying grounds located in the township, the north cemetery across from the Dutch church is the oldest. Another is located west of the center on Akron-Canfield Road and near Shillings Mill, there is a Carson family burial ground. A shared cemetery, located in Goshen Township, is called Lumberton.

     Some of the business firms in 1880 were: B. T. Stanley, merchant; J. Mock & Son, carriages and blacksmith; A. Wilsdorf, tannery; R. H. King, hotel; J. M. Brown, saloon; John Lally, shoemaker, these were located at the center. B. F. Kirkbride had a blacksmith shop and George Shilling and his son ran a saw-mill and grist-mill. Samuel Jolly ran a cooper shop and Daniel Kimmel had a planning mill and cabinet shop. Christy’s and Dustman’s ran potteries at Christytown.

PRESENT DAYS IN THE TOWNSHIP

     The Berlin Center Historical Society was started in 1987. The first year there were about 170 Charter members. Our mailing address is: Post Office Box 112, Berlin Center, Ohio 44401.

     The Berlin Township Trustees own the Weidenmier House and the Historical Society shares the building for its collection, displays, meetings, festivals, and other events.

     The Society has published calendars, with pictures from Berlin Township, every year since 1989. A throw with images of the township has been made. The Shepherds Heart Company made a wooden image of the Weidenmier House. In 2000 a pictorial images book was published in connection with the Arcadia Publishing Company. Most of these are still available for sale. We also send newsletters to our membership several times a year.

     The Historical Society is looking for memories from the time when Berlin Dam was built. If you have memories, please share them with us. Thank you.
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