The township of Sheffield was formerly called East Mathers-town with Saybrook being called West Matherstown. Samuel
Mathers was the proprietor of both townships.
At the time of the first arrival of the first settlers, the whole
township was one mass of forest, with the exception of here and
there small openings or glades on the banks of the Ashtabula River.
The bear, deer, wolf and other animals were plentiful in a forest
that consisted of beech, black ash, cucumber, hemlock, maple, oak
The first settler, Old Major Moore as he was called, was a Revo-
lutionary War soldier. He was the first man to break the forest in
Sheffield. He cleared off two or three acres and erected a cabin
in 1811. After a few years in Sheffield, he moved to Richland
County. After an absence of a year or so, he moved back to Shef-
field. In 1817, he married the sixteen year old daughter of Reuben
Mendall. Smith Webster, justice of the peace of Kingsville, married
them and it was the first wedding in Sheffield. Shortly afterwards,
Old Major Moore and his young bride moved to Richland County.
The first permanent settler in Sheffield was a British soldier
who became a deserter during the War of 1812. John Shaw became
Sheffield's first permeant settler when he decided he preferred the
freedom of America to the bondage of being a British soldier.
John Shaw and several other British soldier companions left
in a small boat from Long Point, Canada, making their way across Lake Erie to Ashtabula. They moved inland far enough to feel
secure enough from being caught as deserters. Shaw settled in the western part of Sheffield Township thus becoming the first perm-anent settler in Sheffield.
Along the way to Sheffield, Shaw must have met Mrs. George
Beckwith and her two daughters, the first settlers of Ashtabula
City. John Shaw ended up marrying one of the daughters. Her
name was Almira Beckwith. Almira had the distinction of being one of the first permanent settlers of Ashtabula City and Sheffield
John R. Gage married Ruth Woodberry in October of 1817 and they settled on the land on the south side of the Ashtabula River
in Sheffield Township. In July of 1818, their daughter Lodema,
became the first child of nonnative American origin born in Shef-field.
Sheffield was originally a part of Ashtabula Township. Samuel
Mather in 1818, before he died, had the township divided into three
equal parts. The division being made north and south. He had
three heirs that would inherit his property in Sheffield. One of his
heirs was his daughter Lydia, who inherited the middle section
of Sheffield. Lydia married Elijah Hubbard. Lydia later sold much of the property to actual settlers with Matthew Hubbard acting as an agent. Much of the land in the western part of the township was actually settled by squatters, many of them being British
soldiers that deserted the British army.
In 1820, Sheffield Township was organized and was separated
from Ashtabula Township. Samuel Gregg, the first Justice of the
Peace of Sheffield, suggested the name from Sheffield, Bershire
In checking with another book on the history of Ashtabula
County, a John Griggs was to have been the first Justice of the
Peace of Sheffield. This will be clarified in my book and credit will
be given to the right person if possible. The first officers of Shef-
field Township were John Gage, trustee; Chauncey Atwater, town-
ship clerk and Samuel Johnson, treasure.