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field backed by forest


Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Canaan Township, Wayne County, Ohio, Established May 5, 1819

Information complied by Cathy Irvin Coffey for the 200th Anniversary, May 5, 2019.


From "History of Wayne County, Ohio" by Ben Douglas, 1878 "Canaan Township" (page 773} "Reminiscences of Isaac Notestine---By whom or when the first entries of land were made in this township is not known; but perhaps the first were in 1808. The first settlement was made and a cabin built in 1812 by William Ewing, Sr., on the farm now owned by his son Simon. About the same time James Rose, a Scotchman, and Thomas Armstrong settled in the township. Joseph Stratton settled in 1817 on the farm owned by his son Daniel and about this period the Weed brothers, Joshua and William, and Thomas Thrapp came in; then Daniel Blocher and Swartz and Nathan Hall. Quite a number of families were now located.


In the fall of 1819, the first election was held in an ashery that stood nearly a mile south of the present village of Windsor [Canaan Center]. The electors as given from the memory of George Sommers, a citizen, but not a voter then, were William Ewing, Sr., William Ewing, Jr., Thomas Armstrong, Joseph and Daniel Stratton, Eleizer Perago, Nathan Hall, David Plumer, Dr. Barnes, Chapman, Daniel Blocher, Swartz, John Templeton, James Rose, Jones, B. F. Miller, James Buchanan, Joshua and William Reed, Thomas Thrapp and one Adams, all of whom are dead. The officers elected were: Justices-Dr. Barnes and Joseph Stratton; Trustees-Dr. Barnes, Joseph Stratton, Thomas Thrapp; Clerk--Nathan Hall, who held the office afterwards some twelve years; other officers not remembered."

Immigration now became more rapid, so then in ten years from the organization of the township at least one-half of the quarter sections that could be farmed had on them one or more cabins. In the year of the organization George Sommers settled in the township, the only resident of that time still living who was not a minor. About the same time John Mcilvaine and James Smith moved in, settling near each other, a mile west of Jackson. Soon Daniel Oller, Henry Kopp, Simon Keeney, James and William Haskins and Enoch Gilbert, and a number of others from the New England States and New York came in.

Charles, son of James Rose, was the first white child born in the township. Simon, son of William Ewing, Sr., was the second, and still lives on the old homestead, the oldest native Canaanite. Susan, daughter of William Ewing, Sr., now the wife of Michael Totten, of Wooster, is supposed to have been the first person married in the township to her first husband, Ramsey, who was killed at a millraising, near Wooster. The first school-house was on James Rose's land, in which James Buchanan, a Scotchman, taught the first school.


Almost every family, men and women, wore "homespun" at home and abroad. The only difference between the dress to go to "meetin" and that of the field or the clearing was in being fresh washed for the former. The diet, too, was of the plainest kind, quite limited in variety, and frequently also in quantity. Corn, in its various forms, whole or ground, with buckwheat, potatoes, beans, pork, venison and other wild meats, were the chief articles of food. Game abounded, and many families depended upon getting their meat from the forest. Though the pioneers could get but little for the wheat they sold, the articles they bought cost much more than at present. As late as 1825 salt sold for eleven dollars per barrel, and before this cost still more. William Ewing used to pack it from Canton on horseback, traveling all the way through the woods."

From reporting in the Creston Journal, August 27, 1919, on the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Canaan Township as told by Vella Scott

Canaan township vintage voting box
Canaan township medals

"One hundred years ago the fifth month and the fifth day of the month, Canaan township was organized, and at this date we can only dream of the condition of the space of ground that it now includes and how it looked at that time.

Many parts were only a dense forest, only broken with here and there an Indian trail. Streams were unbridged and roads uncut. Cabins were built by hewing and saw mills were only an imagination. The only tools used were toys by the side of those today.

The toilers met with hardships and opposition in many ways, but civilization and progress have moved affairs along. Prosperity now belongs to the township.

Towns and villages have sprung up, and it is in the center of this township we meet to celebrate today, in the village that was first named Windsor, and later named Canaan; possibly by some good old pioneers who felt they truly had entered the promised land.

Academies and schools have left their mark and churches their influence, and although many of the industries of a few years ago have faded from sight, Canaan still exists."


The Early Communities

~Bridgeport was laid out in 1844, incorporated in 1868 and the name changed to Burbank in 1869 to avoid confusion with another Bridgeport in Ohio.

~Golden Corners was a cluster of homes and a store during the mid-1800's.

~Old Hickory was laid out in 1825 and renamed Jackson in 1838. Stagecoach traffic began in 1826.

~Seville Station was laid out in 1860. In 1865 it was renamed Pike Station. It was renamed Creston in 1881 and incorporated in 1899.

~Windsor was laid out in 1828. Later renamed Canaan Center (not sure of date).


Early Transportation

The township represents a slice of transportation history. The early white settlers found trails traveled by the Native Americans and used them to navigate the dense woods, arriving in the area by wagon, horseback, or walking. The stagecoach ran though the area beginning in 1826 and a corduroy road/turnpike improved travel. The 1860's saw the arrival of the railroads with the first, the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad moving the centers of major activity from Canaan Center and Jackson to Burbank and Creston. The Cleveland and Southwestern interurban/trolley line ran though the township during the early 1900's. The area is now served by two state routes, Rt. 3 and Rt 83.

Current Responsibilities of the Township Trustees

Three cemeteries: Canaan Bend, Canaan Center, and Kope Cemeteries

Provision for Fire and EMS services: Stations 1 & 2

Road Maintenance: 26.568 Miles of Township roadways

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