Liverpool Township was a primitive wilderness inhabited by wild animals prior to being first settled in 1810. The only human activities in the area were Indians roaming the area as hunting grounds, and occasionally a courier ‘Des Boise’ traveling through the area. The ‘Des Boise’ runners were Frenchmen hunters and trappers known as ‘Runners of the Woods’.
The area that was to become Liverpool Township was located in what was called ‘The Connecticut Western Reserve’. This Western Reserve wilderness was bounded by the Pennsylvania border on the east; the 42nd parallel to the north, the 4lst parallel to the south and 120 miles west, which comprised some three million acres. People were settling in other parts of Ohio territory, but not so in the Western Reserve area. There were two reasons. One was that no one could get title to the land as it was owned by the Colony of Connecticut that was given this land by the King of England. Second, there were no treaties with the Indians who claimed this territory.
This condition changed after the Revolutionary War and Connecticut became part of the United States. Connecticut had to give up its claim to this area. The western part was given by the state of Connecticut to people whose farms and homes were burned out by the British during the Revolutionary War. That part of the Western Reserve is known to this day as the ‘Firelands’.
A group of land speculators in Connecticut formed ‘The Connecticut Land Company’ and purchased the remainder of the Reserve for about 43 cents an acre. At this time the Reserve was now opened for settlement to all who possessed the daring and fortitude to make the journey to the wilderness area that later became known as Liverpool Township.
Two treaties with the Indians were signed, in 1795 and 1805. The first made Western Reserve settlement safer but only east of the Cuyahoga River. The second opened up west of the Cuyahoga.
Salt Brought On Settlement of Liverpool
The Liverpool area became one of the early settlement areas of Reserve territory due to the discovery of ‘salt’ on the west side of Rocky River near Hardscrabble in Liverpool Township. Salt was vitally needed for survival by settlers in the wilderness environment. The discovery of salt springs near Hardscrabble brought a fury of activity to the area, verifying the settlement of Liverpool Township as beginning in 1810.
Moses Deming, one of the townships first residents, wrote his memoirs at age 72, about 1850. We can glean the following information from his memoirs: “In the course of the winter of 1810, Justus Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut, and his son-in-law, Seth Worden, visited Ohio to look at township No. 4 in the 15th Range of the Conn. Western Reserve, now called Liverpool. Justus Warner had a letter from Esq. Daniel Coit of Waterbury, the owner of this territory. Coit has stated the terms on which Warner could have land. The road was long and tiresome and Warner had given up all ideas of purchasing land there.”
Bronson of Columbia Twp. the First Settler
“Seba Bronson, Jr. from Columbia, settled in 1807 and adjacent to the north of Liverpool, had moved down to the Liverpool territory and commenced improvements on the best bottom land, without color of claim. (He sought to acquire title of his occupied land by squatters’ rights.) This was so near the salt spring that an Indian of the Potawatomy tribe saw that the spring would soon be discovered from the large number of deer and cattle that resorted there for salt. Cattle came from Columbia to get salt. The aforesaid Indian went to Bronson and told him that for five pieces of silver coin, he would show him a salt spring. Not having the five dollars in silver coin, Bronson figured half a loaf to be better than no bread at all. So he went for financial help to his neighbor, Capt. Jared Pritchard, of Columbia. Together, both went to Esq. Nathaniel Doan, Columbia, for advice on how to get title to the land. Doan journeyed to Cleveland and contacted Judge Jonathan Walworth who was then county clerk and subagent under General Simon Perkins of Warren, Ohio, who had a power of attorney from land owner Daniel Coit. General Perkins could give title to the land.”
“In the meantime, people of Columbia, knowing that Justus Warner had a letter from Daniel Coit, wrote to Warner and informed him about the salt spring on the land he was intending to purchase at one time. Warner immediately set out for Ohio. Arriving there, he immediately started making improvements on the land. He built a cabin and was sitting by the door way of his cabin in the cool of the evening when Judge Walworth and General Perkins arrived at the area.”
“Judge Walworth and General Perkins were confounded when they learned that Justus, by the authority of his letter, was the actual owner of the salt spring. They compromised with Justus and gave him one-half of the salt spring and sold him one-fourth of the township for $1.50 an acre. (That’s one dollar and fifty cents an acre!) All were highly elated with future prospects.”
A Flurry of Activity in 1810 Liverpool
All the above activity took place in the year of 1810. Seba Bronson continued living in Liverpool township until 1812 when there were four families residing there. He lost out on ownership of the land he occupied and the salt spring. Moses Deming and his wife, Ruth, arrived to live there in 1811. Alpheus Warner and his wife, Minerva, also arrived in 1811. Justus Warner brought his family to the township in 1812. Hardscrabble became a thriving place due to the making of salt needed by early settlers during the War of 1812 when the British controlled Lake Erie and salt could not easily be shipped by boat from the salt mines in New York State and other eastern areas. Overland routes were difficult to travel due to the danger from the British and Indians. Settlers came from as far away as Hudson, Wooster, North Ridgeville, Dover, and other points for the much needed salt from the Liverpool salt springs. The demand for salt dropped off with the end of the War of 1812. The much better grade of salt from the Eastern mines could now be shipped to the Ohio area. The English people settled in the Hardscrabble and northern area of the township. Hardscrabble had a tavern, blacksmith shop, general store, a mill, brickyard, dry goods store, school and was a thriving place when the industry of making salt was going so successfully. Salt making stopped when the Erie Canal was completed in 1825.
German Immigrants Arrive Starting in 1830
The Germans started coming to the central, south east, and south western part of township about 1830 when German men came and made improvements on land. German immigrants were bringing in their families, mainly from Württemberg and Baden, a four thousand mile journey. They were industrious and hard workers and in a few years owned a large part of the township.
Liverpool Salt Works First Corporate Firm
Throughout its history, Liverpool Township has been industrial, manufacturing, and, mercantile minded—-always ready to welcome such business interests to the township. Back in the early years around 1815, The Liverpool Salt Works was the first corporate firm in Medina County. The company was formed and shares of stock sold to acquire capital to supply salt for the demand of that period. That’s about the time Hardscrabble became a thriving business center with mills and several mercantile outlets.
Township Officially Organized in 1816
Liverpool Township was created, organized and named in 1816. The township came to be called Liverpool, no doubt named for a city in England, where there were salt works. The first officers elected were Moses Deming and H. H. Coit, Justices of the Peace. To the present time, the official governing body of the Township consists of three elected Trustees and an elected Clerk. All other Township officials are appointed by the Trustees.
The village of Liverpool Center (now Valley City) was laid out in 1845. One of the first buildings was a saw mill, erected by Seth Worden in 1821. Mercantile business came along with a blacksmith shop in 1839; a dry goods store in 1840; a black and white salt and pearl-ash manufacturing plant in 1843 making up to twelve tons per year; a foundry established when the village was founded was manufacturing plows, road scrapers, andirons, flatirons, engines, etc.; a large saw mill built in 1849; a carding and weaving machine making as high as ten thousand yards of cloth in one year. In 1867, Aaron Carr started a planing-mill manufacturing washing machines, pumps, and spring bottoms for beds. After several years he sold out and started making cheese and said to have used the milk of four hundred cows making ten to twenty cheeses a day. A tannery was still doing business in 1881. Around 1881, hammers and ax handles were made; a tin shop and gun shop existed; brick and pottery were made near the village; several more cheese factories existed; and a jewelry and photograph gallery honored the town.
Manufacturing and mercantile outlets continued to find Liverpool Township a fertile area for doing business through the turn of the century and is still in progress. The kinds of business outlets have been many and varied. Around the turn of the century, the Township had one of the largest horse sales in the country where dealers were known to purchase horses by the ‘car load.’ Plows, cultivators, and cistern pumps were among the manufactured items. Cigar manufacturing was at one time a great industry here, lasting many years from the turn of the century. This tradition continues to this day; in the 1960’s the largest industrial park in Medina County was created and continues to provide employment and commerce on a national and international scale.
Liverpool population peaked at over 2000 souls during an 1850’s boom over oil. Following the bust it dropped to near one thousand and hovered there until growth began after WW II. This five mile square called Liverpool is now home to 5000-plus residents. Growth occurred because of: flight from cities and suburbs, opening of I-71 (early 1960’s), and farmer families leaving the business after generations. Housing developments have replaced fields. The industrial park is a neighborly friendly and highly significant part of the Township.
The Cleveland, Lorain and Wheeling Railroad, now CLX, built a line and opened a Depot circa 1895. This provided rapid transportation to Cleveland for farm products of milk and cheese, and a way for residents to easily commute. The early roads, called worse in muddy seasons, gave way to hard surfaces with Center Road being concreted right before WW I. This concrete was one lane wide and alternated every few miles between westbound and eastbound. Traffic was light so drivers often finished their journey always being on concrete. Should an oncoming car be met, one of them moved to the other lane of a lesser surface.
Up into the early 1900’s, eight one room schools dotted the township providing education through the eighth grade. Liverpool High School began in 1896 with its own building opening in 1905. By 1916 school was “centralized” by bringing all students in town, with elementary grades being housed in some of the wooden buildings moved from their country locations. In 1952 Liverpool joined Litchfield and York Townships in forming Buckeye Local Schools.
The Liverpool Post Office name was changed to Valley City in 1910. This came about because of confusion in mail delivery to East Liverpool in Columbiana County.
In 1934 the Firemen commenced an annual Street Fair. In 1962 an annual Frog Jump Festival was started. Both are major community events that continue and are now being held on the same weekend in August with national and international attendance.
The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen periods of growth and periods of status quo. Currently many new homes are being built and farmland continues to shrink as the population grows. Liverpool has many active community minded people who keep working at ways to improve our community while retaining the small town flavor.