Ohio History Journal

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Land and Community in Rural

Nineteenth Century America:

Claridon Township, 1810-1870


In 1812 Horace Taylor of Hartland, Connecticut, traveled to Ohio to

buy and settle lands in the Western Reserve of Connecticut on the

Trans-Appalachian frontier. He chose a relatively new township in the

heart of the Reserve later called Claridon in Geauga County. There in

the western portion he located his farm, helped found the Congrega-

tional church, and established one of the backbone families of the

township. Ten years later Nathaniel Mastick arrived from Vermont and

started a farm in Claridon's eastern portion. His family also became

one of the backbone families of the township.

In some ways these two settlers were typical of the two major

migrant groups who peopled the northern portion of the Trans-

Appalachian frontier. Initially, most settlers came to northern Ohio

directly from their ancestral homes in New England just as Taylor had

done, and for a number of years these pioneers attracted other family

members and associates to their new settlements. As this group

declined after 1820, a new group, part of what Malcolm Rohrbough has

called the "first great migration" of the Trans-Appalachian frontier,

increased the volume of pioneers.1 Many of them had moved from old

New England after the Revolutionary War and established new homes

in frontier areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. Some,

like the Masticks who moved from Connecticut to Vermont, became

disenchanted with these homesteads, saw opportunity further west in

an area settled by New Englanders, and moved again to Ohio. Both

groups mingled throughout northern portions of Ohio, Indiana, and

Illinois. Both Taylor and Mastick were also typical because they





Robert A. Wheeler is Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University.


1. See Malcolm J. Rohrbough, The Trans-Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies,

and Institutions, 1775-1850 (New York, 1976), 157-91 (hereafter cited as Rohrbough,