2018 Officers and Executive Committee:

President – John Cimperman
1st Vice President – Bill Barrow
2nd Vice President – Mary Artino
Co-Treasurers – Betty Franklin and Vince Francioli
Secretary – Carter Ellison
Historian – Gilbert True
Chaplain – Paul Glenn


2013 - 2019
      Gayle Persch
      John Franklin
      Jill Herrick
      Neil Evans
      Meredith Williams

2014 - 2020
      Mary Artino
      Ruth Bertrand
      John Bourne
      Paul Glenn
      John Cimperman

2015 - 2021
      Gabor Brachna
      Vince Francioli
      Bill Barrow
      Bill Lentz
      Gilbert True

Committee Chairs:

Activities Committee Co-Chairs:
      Ruth Bertrand and Vince Francioli
Cleveland Birthday Party Committee Chair:
      Bill Barrow
Communications Committee Chair:
      Gayle Persch
Financial and Development Committee Chair:
      Vince Francioli
Hall of Fame Committee Chair:
      Gilbert True
Herrick Award Committee Chair:
      Jill Herrick
History Day Committee Chair:
      Gilbert True
Membership Committee Co-Chairs:
      Paul Glenn and Mary Artino


It is the mid-1870s... 

Along the city and village streets and rural byways of the country, Hiram Addison plies his trade. The beloved “Father” Addison, known for his kindly deeds, has taught school and worked for newspapers. But now he ekes out a modest living by sharpening knives and scissors. He is the child of pioneers. He knows everyone, everyone knows him. As he travels he hears the stories of the early days – tales of the pioneers and earliest settlers, their hardships and triumphs in the wilderness of the Western Reserve. What a pity, he believes, that this lore could be lost to future generations! He writes the newspapers and circulates petitions urging the formation of an organization devoted to the attention of influential men who call a meeting for November 19, 1879 in the rooms of the Probate Judge. They organize the Early Settlers Association and adopt a constitution.  

Our first big project was a gift to the city in 1888: a bronze statue of General Moses Cleaveland, head of the surveying party for the Connecticut Land Company in 1796. Now each year on July 22nd we gather on Public Square for an appropriate program and to cut the huge cake, generous gift of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, served to all comers.

The Oliver Hazard Perry Monument commemorating the victory on Lake Erie in 1813 has been of special concern. In the 1920s the original marble work, deteriorated by vandalism and weathering, was replaced with a bronze replica. In 1991 it was located in Fort Huntington Park, site of a fort in the War of 1812, and saved as an historic site through our efforts. The Early Settlers hold a ceremony here each September 10th to celebrate this important event.

The Harvey Rice statue on the ground of the Art Museum in University Circle was dedicated July 22, 1899. Harvey Rice was the first president of our Association and best known as the father of Ohio’s public schools. First suggested by our group, the project was carried to completion by several organizations, including school children who contributed hundreds of pennies.

The George Washington statue, unique because it depicts our first president as a young man, is the work of William McVey. Located in Washington Park on the west side of the Federal Building and dedicated on Flay Day, 1973, it is our gift to the city and federal governments. The Early Settlers hold part of its Flag Day celebration here each year.

Erie Street Cemetery was saved from commercial encroachment in the 1930s. From time to time we have marked graves of special interest. Brooklyn Centre Burying Ground (Denison Cemetery) was restored and rededicated in 1981.

In 1963, in cooperation with the Western Reserve Historical Society, we published Margaret Manor Butler’s book, A Pictorial History of the Western Reserve. A bit later we marked the four corners of the Western Reserve: Conneaut, Lowellville, Willard, and Catawba.

It was about this time, too, that the disgraceful condition of Moses Cleaveland’s grave was brought to our attention. Within a short time a special fund was established, the proceeds of which care for the cemetery in Canterbury, Connecticut.

By the mid-1980s we were concerned about the condition of the Masterpiece Version of “The Spirit of ’76”. With the generous financial help of several organizations the famous painting was restored, revealing long-lost details. Now protected by a railing, it hangs on the north wall of the rotunda of City Hall.

Originally the suggestion of Early Settlers, the idea of celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city was quickly accepted. Under the direction of Father Addison, a log cabin was erected on Public Square where for several years it reminded all of the pioneers and their way of life. We also celebrated Early Settlers Day and other events. We participated in the anniversary celebrations in 1921 and 1946. During the Sesquicentennial in the latter year, we presented two programs in costume: a chorus that sang old-fashioned songs and another group, which gave several playlets, based on pioneer events. Each group performed several times. Also, we participated in the locating of One Hundred and Fifty Moses Cleaveland Trees.

The Super Sesquicentennial was celebrated in 1971. We continued our interest in marking the Moses Cleaveland Trees. An important feature of that year was the establishment of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame, recognition of famous Clevelanders whose accomplishments have national significance. The original list numbered twenty-nine; additions at five year intervals have brought the total to fifty-six. As a part of the Bicentennial celebration of Cleveland, The Early Settlers added six men and women to the Hall of Fame, which is located in Cleveland’s City Hall.

For the past decade we have participated in the National History Day Contest. We originally offered two prizes, one for junior high level and the other for the senior high level, for presentations featuring the history of the Western Reserve as it relates to the general topic. Response has been so enthusiastic that the History Day Committee now enjoys considerable discretion in the amounts and number of prized offered.

This is how the Early Settlers of today grasp Father Addison’s idea and carry on his dream of preserving the traditions and heritage of the Western Reserve.
Ruth E. Ketteringham  -  June 6, 1996

The Connecticut Western Reserve

In 1662, King Charles II granted a charter to the new colony of Connecticut extending its boundary westward across Connecticut "from sea-to-sea". Other royal charters were granted to New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. When the American Revolution ended, the new states ceded their western land claims, except Connecticut which was permitted to sell off roughly three million acres of the land called the Western Reserve.   

Bounded by Lake Erie on the north, Pennsylvania on the east, it extended 120 miles westward. On the South, The Reserve's line was set at 41 degrees north latitude. Some 500,000 acres of land at the western end were set aside and called the Firelands for those whose home, business or farm had been burned out or destroyed by the British during the Revolution as compensation for their loss. The remainder of the land was sold to the Connecticut Land Company - set up by a group of investors. The first surveying party to plot the new capital city of the Reserve arrived on July 22, 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Its leader was Moses Cleaveland— Revolutionary War General, lawyer, and investor in the Company. The new capital city would be located on the bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie and named in honor of him. Years later the spelling was changed to Cleveland.

Each year thereafter, new surveying parties came to plot the many cities and townships that would spring up as settlers gradually purchased land and moved westward. Settlement was slow until the opening of the Ohio & Erie Canal in the 1830's.

The name Western Reserve is still frequently used today to describe this area, its institutions and businesses. In the 1960's the ESA commissioned the placement of stone markers at the four corners of the Western Reserve.

Annals of the Early Settlers Association

We have a number of copies for sale of our annals, which are the official proceedings of the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve. They are soft cover; photo illustrated in black and white and include much data such as a complete chronology of activities and celebrations, some with sketches of members, gifts to Early Settlers, monuments and markers, Hall of Fame, History Day and more.

The number of years covered in each edition varies. These copies are available for $5.00 per copy plus shipping of $3.00 book rate for the first book and $1.00 each additional.

The following listed copies are available:

1941-1946 1967-1971
1947-1959 1972-1979
1962-1966 1980-1984
Send request and payment to: Early Settlers Association
P.O. Box 39291
Solon, Ohio 44139