Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kinsman Township Calendar Contact Kinsman Township

     The township of Kinsman is known as number seven in the Connecticut Land Company.  It had 16,664 acres and cost $12,903.23.  It is situated on two creeks, Stratton and Pymatuning.  Stratton, named for an early settler, comes in from the northeast flowing down through the eastern section.  Pymatuning, rising in the northwest, passes through the western section near the old railroad bed.  It crosses Route 87 where the old familiar Cone Bridge once stood.  It often overflowed its banks and many times one found it necessary to drive through water to some depth.  The stream continues downward where it joins the Stratton south of the village.  Power obtained from these two creeks proved to be a great asset for many of the early industries and mills.

     A covered bridge was built first over the Pymatuning, but was destroyed by an ice jam pushing it from its foundation.  Three other bridges have been necessary and the present one replaces the one built in 1955 at a cost of $143,00.00

     John Kinsman, for whom the town was named, made his first trip to Ohio in1799.  He came on horseback from Connecticut across the Allegheny  mountains through Pittsburgh.  His companion was Simon Perkins.  Arriving in Youngstown, they met a surveyor, Alfred Wolcott.  Mr. Kinsman engaged him to join them and they proceeded through the wilderness to what is today Kinsman.  Although a dense forest covered most of the territory, a clear level spot on the banks of the Pymatuning was discovered.  Here they built a log cabin to house the surveyors and their supplies.  Survey work was completed in a year’s time.

     They saw many evidences to prove it had been a place of Native American resort.  Although there were no permanent inhabitants at that time, small tribes frequently came to hunt, trap, and trade with Mr. Kinsman.

     Martin Tidd, James Hill, and David Randall were said to be the first permanent settlers to bring their families here.  Ebenezer  Reeves purchased the first piece of land and made a home for himself and his two daughters.  He paid $2,00.00 for 800 acres an average  between $1 and $2 per acre.

     In 1803 Captain case, John Little, George Dement, Joshua Bidwell and others arrived.  This group included William Mathews, James Hill, John Gillis, Peter Yetmen, Walter Davis, Jacob Ford, William Scott, Chester Lewis, William Christy, Thomas Potter, and Leonard Blackburn.
John Kinsman returned to Connecticut and returned with his family in 1804.  He also brought several men to assist him in the building of homes,  By  1805 as many as 50 families had settled in this area.

     The memory of John Kinsman will live on indefinitely through his contribution of our town as well as many of our historic buildings which are preserved today for future generations. But what else do we know of John Kinsman?

     John Kinsman was born May 7, 1753, in Norwich (now Lisbon, Connecticut) to Jeremiah and Sarah Kinsman.  In 1872 he married Rebecca Perkins, daughter of Captain Simon and Olive Perkins also of Lisbon.

     John Kinsman became an ensign in the U.S. Navy at  the age of 23 and marched to New York to serve his country under Washington.  In 1797 he was elected to the State Legislature.  Through this connection he became familiar with the Connecticut Land Company and made land purchases from them.  This was the motive that brought him to Kinsman in 1799.

     His first task upon arriving was to look for new sites suitable was to build a store, a log house, and a mill on the bank of the Pymatuning bank near the bridge. A man of great energy and apt in business, he made many trips on horseback to Connecticut and Pennsylvania for necessary supplies.  He traveled throughout the Western Reserve looking for new sites suitable for settlements and the sale of his lands. All these rough activities took its toll and John Kinsman passed away on August 17, 1813, at the age of sixty.  His vast estate was carried on by his brother-in-law, Captain Simon Perkins, his capable widow, and nine children.  Their first home was built on the east side of the Square, now the site of the local bank.  Later, another home was built near the present  Mini mall once home to an earlier Five and Dime Store.

     Mrs. Kinsman, a devoted Christian, gave generously to educational and religious enterprises.  Their son, John, was eleven years old when his parents brought him here.  In 1846 he married Mrs. June Cass of Huntington, Long Island. A farmer and a merchant, he, too, was identified with the early settlement of the Reserve.  His financial aid, in extending credit to the early settlers, was a great boon.  He died in 1864 in his seventy-first year.

     Another son of John Kinsman, Thomas, was born in 1804 just after his parents arrival in Kinsman. He married Sophia Bidwell Burnham, daughter of Sophia Bidwell Burnham and Jedediah of Kinsman.  His land comprised around 2,00 acres on State Road and extended westward to the Gustavus line.  The soil was of fine quality, well watered by springs, and a very good growth of timber.  They built the red brick house which still stands on the site of the current McGill Septic Tank property.

     To this family six children were born:  Sophia, Cornelia, Ellen, Thomas, Alfred and Mary.  Mary, the youngest died in 1947.  Later the family built a larger home just to the north which is occupied by the Timothy Woofter family.  They also built the home situated on the Gilbert Gates farm.

     George Swift married Olive Kinsman and they lived in the house where Clarence Perkins lived, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Webb.  It was remodeled later and became the home of Thomas Kinsman, Jr., and his wife, Bertha Wilson Smith.  He can be remembered as a State representative in 1900 and later as a Senator  from 1904-1908.