The Origin of Youngstown

Note: The following is an excerpt from 'The History of Youngstown and Mahoning County' by Gen. Thomas W. Sanderson, published in 1907

On the completion of the survey of the Western Reserve by the Connecticut Land Company, the land was partitioned among the stockholders of the company by draft. Prior to the draft some portions of the land had been sold by the compnay to individuals [who were] not stockholders.

Youngstown was not included in the land partitioned in the draft, and the name of John Young does not appear among the stockholders of the company. Hence we infer that he contracted for the purchase of the township directly from the company and prior to the draft, but at what time and in what manner this contract was made the records do not show.

The records, however, do show that on April 9, 1800, the trustees of the company conveyed to John Young township No. 2 in the second range, called Youngstown, containing 15,560 acres of land, for the consideration of $16,085.00. On the same day Mr. Young executed to the trustees a mortgage of the township to secure the payment of the purchase money.

"Mr. Young, according to tradition, visited the township about 1797 with Alfred Wolcott, a surveyor, for the purpose of surveying it into lots and commencing a settlement. Colonel James Hillman, who then resided in Pittsburgh and had been for a number of years engaged in trading with the Indians on the Reserve, making his voyages up the Mahoning [river] in a canoe, in returning from one of his expeditions, saw a smoke on the bank near Spring Commons. On landing he found Mr. Young and Mr. Wolcott.

He stayed with them a few days, when they went with him to Beaver on the Ohio River, to celebrate the Fourth of July. Colonel Hillman, at the instance of Mr. Young, returned with him to Youngstown, and they commenced the settlement of the town by the erection of a log house, which stood on the east bank of the Mahoning River near Spring Common.

Mr. young laid out a town plat, which is now embraced within and is only a small part of the present city, and divided it into building lots. Adjoining the town plat he laid out lots of a few acres each, which he named out-lots, and the rest of the township he surveyed into larger tracts, suitable for farms.

The town plat was not recorded until August 19, 1802. On June 1 of that year, Mr. Young executed an instrument commencing, 'Know ye that I, John Young, of Youngstown, in the county of Trumbull, for the consideration of the prospect of advancing my property, have laid out and established in the township of Youngstown aforesaid, on the north side of the Mahoning river, a town plat of the following description.'

Then follows the description, wherein Federal Street is described as '100 feet in width, and 1,752 feet in length, beginning at a corner post standing in front of Esquire Caleb Baldwin's house, a little west of his well, running south 62 degrees 30 minutes east through the middle of the plat and public square.'

Other streets running north and south and the public square are then described. There are 100 lots in the plat contained in the instrument, the southeast lot being No. 1, and the northeast lot being 100. Two lots, one on the east and one on the west side of Market Street, are described as 'burying ground,' but are not so noted in the deed. The instrument concluded as follows: 'And all the land contained in the before-mentioned streets I have appropriated to the use and benefit of the public, to remain public highways so long as said plat shall remain unvacated.' The instrument is signed and sealed by John Young, and witnessed by Calvin Pease, but not acknowledged before a magistrate.

Thus were the foundations of Youngstown laid by its original proprietor, and others were not slow to build thereon. Stores, mills, schools and churches soon sprang up as settlers came in; marriages were celebrated, courts of law established, and all the delicate machinery of civilized society began to turn, slowly and unevenly at first, but gathering momentum and steadiness with each passing year, until reaching that condition of well-balanced adjustment that we behold today.

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