Township 1, Range 11, Coventry Township, was another equalizing township. When the townships of the Western Reserve were parceled out the surveyors had noted that some of the townships were less than the norm, either because of swamps, poor soil conditions, or terrain that was not conducive to farming, the only industry at the time. So some townships were divided and added to others to equalize larger portions and make all the townships equal in value. Little did the founders of the Western Reserve realize that too many hills, in the case of Boston, would someday become recreational ski resorts, or too many lakes in the case of Coventry, would be another great recreational area and prime real estate for residential living.The first settler in Coventry Township was Daniel Haynes (Bierce, in his book calls him David, but this is believed to be a typo), who built his cabin about where I-76 crosses Arlington Rd. This was in the very northeastern part of the township in 1806. Always, I remind everyone and myself that at this time there were no roads at this time, nothing more than paths through the dense forest and underbrush . Haynes and his family, cleared a field and within the next few years also planted a orchard. It is said that he got along well with the Natives in the area. Like many of the early settlers he enjoyed the solitude of the wilderness. Not till 1811 when a large family (several brothers and all their families) moved to within ½ mile of him, did it become too close for comfort. Daniel and his family moved southwest to lot 16 somewhere around or just to the west of Nesmith Lake.
I like to read the different versions of a particular account, read between the lines, and try to imagine what life was like for the settlers.
As I mentioned previously, the first settler in Coventry Township was Daniel Haynes and he enjoyed the solitude. He built his cabin and began clearing a farm out of the forest in the extreme northeast part of the township in 1806. His nearest (“white”) neighbor at the time would have been a toss up between Aaron Norton on Mud Brook in Northampton, and William Wetmore in “downtown” (3 log cabins at the time) Stow. Both were over 5 miles away through forests broken only by blazed trails. The next year, Capt. Joseph Hart moved in on the Little Cuyahoga less than ½ mile away and was followed by others. That same year, William Prior, son of Simeon Prior first settler in Northampton, was cutting a actual road through the wilderness that would come to within ¼ mile of Haynes cabin. The nearby town of Middlebury was beginning to encroach his seclusion. But it was the year 1811 that broke the camel’s back. That year the Allen brothers moved on the lot next to Haynes. The 1820 census shows that Nathaniel Allen and his wife had 5 children, and Jessie Allen and his wife had 8. A few references mention that the children referred to Haynes as “Uncle Dan” though he was no relation. This tells me that the children made themselves no strangers to Haynes. That same year, 1811, 15 other new families moved into the area around him. That same year Haynes sold his lot/farm to Jessie Allen and moved southeast to a more remote part of the township.