Madison, Lake, Ohio

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Madison is used to refer the collective area of Madison Township and Madison Village. Madison Township was organized in 1811 and named for the incumbent President of the United States, James Madison.

Madison Township is the largest Township in the State of Ohio. It is contained within the boundaries of Lake County, the smallest county in the state. Through the years, the township has been a part of Trumbull, Richfield, Chapin, Geauga, and Lake counties. All of these are a part of the Great Western Reserve a 120-mile strip along the southern coastline of Lake Erie, westward from the Pennsylvania border, and originally owned by the State of Connecticut.

The first settlement was called Chapintown, recorded in 1802. The name was later changed to Centerville, and became Madison Township in 1811.

Iron ore was discovered in the swamps near North Ridge Road. This bog iron was easy to mine and charcoal could be produced from the local hardwoods, so iron furnaces became one of the most important early industries. The blast furnaces were powered by steam power. The local company, Arcole Furnace, was said to be the largest industry in Ohio in 1834, producing between 1,000 and 1,500 tons of iron per year. A small port at the mouth of Cunningham Creek served as a shipping port for the goods produced at Arcole Furnace. A small community called Ellensburg flourished at the port, along with fishing and boat building businesses.

Company store, a boarding house, and over 200 log cabins made this area the second largest in Lake County in 1835, ranked just behind Painesville, which was much larger than Cleveland. Frame houses were not constructed till after 1815. Up to that time the pioneers had to crack or crush the grain in various ways; one method was to dig out the top of some huge oak stump and adjust a huge wooden pestle thereto and in this rude mortar crush their grain. The first wheat raised in the township was on a clearing on East Middle Ridge but from Middle Ridge on down to the Lake was a dense and unbroken forest.

A private Seminary offered higher education to the eastern part of the County, opening in 1874.

The Tavern at the corner of South Ridge and County Line Roads has been operating since 1789. This became a stop in the Underground Railroad, which saw many instances of residents helping the runaways to find their way to Canada. After the close of the War of 1812, settlements were rapidly made in the Western Reserve. As many as 150 persons in a single day were known to pass through the town on the South Ridge (84) to various points in the Reserve for settlement, and many upon stopping at Jesse Ladd’s Tavern (the Morris Wood House) were persuaded to take up their abode here. *Artemas Cunningham

A famous incident involving Milton Clarke, a slave from Kentucky, led Harriet Beecher Stowe to base one of her characters in her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" on him. Except for the two decades when the iron industry was the dominant business, agriculture has always been the most important industry in Madison.

Farms were large and prosperous due to the good soil, favorable climate, and tempering effects of Lake Erie.

Lake County was organized in March 1840 and any previous records would be in Geauga County.

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