History of Thompson Township
Township 10 in range 6 of New Connecticut, as surveyed under the direction of Moses Cleaveland for the Connecticut Land Company, was to be named Thompson Township. The township was divided into forty-two lots of approximately 385 acres each. These lots were then offered for sale by the Connecticut Land Company. The original buyers of Township 10 were land speculators primarily from Connecticut who purchased the township by about 1799, shortly after its original survey. Most of the original purchasers never saw the township, but instead subdivided their land holdings and sold smaller parcels to the first settlers. Thompson Township was named by and for Matthew Thompson of Suffield, Connecticut, who was one of the original purchasers of land from the Connecticut Land Company. History does not record anything more about Matthew Thompson. He apparently never came to the township, which bears his name.
The first settler in Thompson was Dr. Isaac Palmer from Plainfield, Connecticut, who arrived at lot 11 in 1800. Dr. Palmer was not a landowner but was lured to Thompson by the pledge of a Mr. King, an original landholder, who offered Dr. Palmer the agency of all his lands. Dr. Palmer, his wife, a child, and a man named Sackett arrived in Thompson by boat. Dr. Palmer sailed his own boat from Buffalo to Fairport, and up Grand River to a point opposite Thompson. In 1802 a son was born to the Palmers (Isaac), the first child born in the township. Dr. Palmer succeeded in clearing sixteen acres of land in this wilderness country. His nearest neighbor was about ten miles away with the exception of Indians who periodically came to his door. The history of Thompson, however, does not report any instances of hostile Indians. Bears, wolves, and rattlesnakes were also frequently encountered. Dr. Palmer became dissatisfied with treatment by King and 1803 he and his family left Thompson and resettled in Concord.
Colonel Davenport from New Haven, Connecticut, purchased a little over one thousand acres and arrived in Thompson shortly after Dr. Palmer. He cleared several acres, became disenchanted, and returned to the East. Joseph Bartlett and his family were the next settlers in Thompson. They arrived from South Hampton, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1808. A few more settlers entered the area so that by 1816 there were nine families scattered about the township. These were the families of William Gee, Joseph Bartlett, Joseph Bartlett, Jr., Seth Hulbert, Martin Williams, and Daniel Pomeroy. Today (1976) the only descendants of these original settlers living in Thompson are the Pomeroys and the Hulberts. About the same time Noah Moseley and his family settled on the Moseley farm after their arrival from Springfield, Massachusetts. A portion of the original farm is still farmed by the Moseley family.
In March 1817, Thompson received its charter of incorporation and elected officers on April 7, 1817. Many pioneers came to Thompson following its incorporation. Primarily, they came to Thompson because the land in Connecticut was rocky and unproductive. It was hard to make a living and raise a family so many people sold their farms and most of their belongings and headed for the Western Reserve. Those who made the trip in the early days faced hardships along the way and an uncertain future in a new land. The settlers had to have a �pioneer spirit.� They had faith in the future and the strength of character to face many obstacles. Their reward was the satisfaction of exploring and settling a new land which was uncrowded and unspoiled. It is this kind of spirit and desire for uncrowded living conditions which preserve the character of Thompson today (1976).
It would be most difficult to list all the early settlers of Thompson. A few, however, whose descendants are still living in Thompson, should be mentioned. Noah Moseley and family settled on the Moseley farm after their arrival from Springfield, Massachusetts. A portion of the original farm is still farmed by the Moseley family.
John Paul and Mary Bauer settled on a farm on East Thompson Road in 1833. George and Catharine Binnig, descendants of the Bauers, still reside on the same farm.
William Sidley and family came to Thompson in 1837. Descendants of the original Sidleys were involved in the stone quarrying business. Later the mining of sand and gravel followed by ready-mix concrete and, today (1976), precast products have made this Thompson�s major business enterprise. It is presently owned and operated by R. W. Sidley, Inc.
The most famous and successful resident of Thompson was Charles M. Hall, the developer of the commercial process for making aluminum. Charles was the son of Rev. and Mrs. H.B. Hall. Rev. Hall was the pastor of the congregational church in the 1860�s. Charles Hall graduated from Oberlin College in 1885 and the following year discovered the process for aluminum. Charles Hall died in 1914 with an estate of around $45,000,000.
South Thompson, which went by the name of the �Burg,� was the most prosperous part of the township. The first gristmill was built in 1837. Other industries were a chair factory, carding mill, two leather shops, cider mill, shingle mill and two saw mills. In addition Thompson had several blacksmith shops, a tannery, cooper shops, wagon shops, cheese factories, and a creamery, which made butter, which won first prize for four years at the International Show in Chicago. Thompson was practically self-sufficient in pioneer days.
Calvin Church established a general store and kept hotel accommodations. This business began between 1834 and 1836. The post office was also located in the store. In 1898 Austin Bliss built the store which has since been operated by the Crandall family. In 1976 the store was sold to Paul and Joyce Cook.
In the fall of 1838 a new store was built by Joseph Bartlett, Theodore Bartlett, James Briscoe, and Noan Pomeroy. In 1841 the store was sold to Joseph Smith and D. W. Mead. The store burned in 1912 and a new one was built shortly after. The Smith family operated the store until 1975 when it was sold to Paul and Joyce Cook.
The ledges at Thompson are a great asset and have contributed much to the community. They offer a unique geological, biological, and scenic feature to the area. The ledges are formed from what is known as Sharon Conglomerate, which is a sandstone and pebble mixture. Visitors from miles around came to see the ledges. In 1868 a hotel was constructed to furnish accommodations to the tourists. The hotel, however, did not last long and was abandoned in 1876. This building was later converted to apartments owned by the Crandalls.
The Thompson�s Men�s Club initiated a movement in 1926 to interest the State of Ohio in acquiring a large portion of the ledges as a state park. The General Assembly appropriated sufficient funds for the project but before it could be initiated the depression came and the project was dropped. In 1940 the Ledge Grange of Thompson revived the idea of a park. The citizens of Thompson by vote established the first park district in Geauga County. The Geauga County Probate Judge appointed three park commissioners who in 1941 were able to acquire thirteen acres for the park.
Beginning in the mid-1800�s, stone was quarried from the ledges primarily at the northern end where the rock was composed of fine, close-grained sand. A number of men operated stone quarries on the Moseley and Chaffe farms which produced significant quantities of stone blocks for construction. No stone quarries have been operated since 1911 largely due to the increased use of concrete.
In 1932 R. W. Sidley bought part of the southerly portion of the ledges, which had a higher content of gravel. The sand and gravel mined was and is widely used for concrete and various construction activities.
|Above information from the 1976 book
Thompson Ohio Bicentennial Community