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History

Part of Northampton Township lies on a plateau overlooking the Cuyahoga River valley, the rest is in the valley. It is said that this topography is the results of the glaciers from the ice ages. (Hoffman, 1970) It is a diverse area geologically and ecologiclly. This river and valley play an important role in historical and present Northampton.

The earliest known inhabitants were the Mound Builders. Not much is known of them except what can surmised or speculated from the remnants of the earthen works that they left behind. Where they went and why will remain a mystery. There are some estimates that they may have lived here between 3000bc and 200ad. They were believed to be associated with the Adena and Hopewell cultures.

Eries were in what would become northeast Ohio as the first white men were settling in this continent. They were eradicated by the Iroquois Five Nation Confederacy in 1656 (Barnholth) with help from the French.

Ottawa, Mingo, Seneca, and Delaware tribes hunted in Northampton and established villages before Europeans arrived. (Grant, 1891)(Hoffman, 1970). The Cuyahoga River valley provided great hunting and fertile farmland. The river was their highway to Lake Erie to the north and to the Muskingum watershed to the south by way of the carrying place, or portage, through what is now Akron. Just before the War of 1812, most of them silently left the area.

The first white settler in Northampton was Simeon Prior, who moved there with his wife and ten children from Northampton, Massachusetts in 1802. Prior named the township for the Hampshire County, Massachusetts village of Northampton. The Prior farm encompased 400 acres SW of the current intersection of State Road and Chart Road. By 1810 nineteen more pioneers joined Prior in settling the township.

The Ohio and Erie Canal supplanted the Cuyahoga River in 1827 as the major waterway in the valley. It opened up the interior of the state to commerce and brought prosperity along its route, giving rise to many small towns along the way. Two such towns were Ira and Botzum. Northampton also had settlements at Iron Bridge, Northampton Center, and Steele's Corners. In 1880, The Valley Railway brought modern transportation to the region. Built primarily to carry coal from the Akron-Canton region, it did not spur muchindustrial growth along the river.

Northampton was one of the 16 original townships in Summit County, Ohio. It was originally bounded by Portage Township on the south, Bath Township on the west, Boston Township to the north and Stow Township to the east. It was in the middle of Summit County, bordering Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. When created it was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve.in Township 3N, Range 11W and was about 25 square miles (65 km2) in area. Northampton Township's land has been in the following counties: (Hoffman, 1970)

No incorporated areas were formed within the township but both Akron and Cuyahoga Falls had been annexing the southern part of the township. Also, a major portion of the township had been purchased by the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park), reducing the tax base. The residents of Northampton chose to join with Cuyahoga Falls so that their future would be settled. In 1986, Northampton Township merged with Cuyahoga Falls, the first time a township and city merged in Ohio. The township became Ward 8 in Cuyahoga Falls and kept special zoning to preserve some of its rural nature.

References

  1. Doyle, William B, LL.B. (1908). Centennial History of Summit County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company. ISBN.
  2. Grant, C.R. et al. (1891). Illustrated Summit County Ohio. Akron Map & Atlas, Co.. LoC 91-077450.
  3. Hoffman, Ione H (1970). Northampton Township Susquicentennial 1820-1970 Souvenir History Book, Northampton Historical Society
  4. Barnholth, William I (1974) The Historical Background of the Cuyahoga Valley, Northampton Historical Society
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