Early Artifacts Found in Dover

by William Krause

Jack Dianiska has lived in his Henry Road home behind St. Raphael’s for 60 years. He contacted the Observer after the first Digging Dover column about Native American relics found in Dover. He had several incredible stories to tell.
He was excited to read about the stone mortar that was found along Cahoon Creek, uncovered when the former Zipp’s manufacturing site was being cleared for the Cahoon Ledges cluster development. What he was excited about was that he found a stone pestle in the same location at the same time! The pestle and mortar would have been used to grind nuts.

Mr. Dianiska wondered if the man who found the mortar – which I’ve only heard about but haven’t seen – had ever contacted me. He hasn’t. Later, when Mr. Dianiska and I met (with masks of course), I was able to hold the pestle and it had the same finely crafted balanced feel in my hand as the stone celt mentioned in the first article. He also found a grooved stone ax in the dirt pile. Both the pestle and the ax were dated by an expert in stone tools as from the Early Archaic period.
The pestle and ax are made from the same hard, gray stone as the celt from the previous article. Archaeologists surmise that grooved axes and celts were probably companion tools used in the construction of wood framed dwellings. These tools became common 7,000 years ago. In the same pile of dirt Jack found shards of Native American pottery that come from a later period.

Mr. Dianiska has explored Cahoon Creek for artifacts for years; one of his beautiful finds was a white barbed point that the same expert mentioned above said was used for impaling fish. As a lifelong bow hunter Jack’s admiration for the artistry and skills of these Native American craftsmen was palpable.

After graduating from John Marshall High School in West Park, Mr. Dianiska worked for house building brothers Alex and Henry Bruscino. It was Jack’s job to make sure that truckers leaving the brothers’ post-WWII pre-fab house factory in West Park were not pilfering materials. He also worked for them in Bay Village.

According to “Bay Village: A Way of Life,” in 1950 the Bruscino Construction Company came to the aid of the rapidly expanding St. Raphael Parish by building a gymnasium which could be used temporarily as a church and in 1953 breaking ground for the now recently demolished permanent church building. It sounds like the Parish was “land rich and cash poor” and apparently for constructing these buildings at the lowest possible cost for St. Raphael’s, the parish gave or sold their backland east of what would become Donald Drive to the Bruscinos. According to Jack Dianiska, Henry Road was named for Henry Bruscino and the identical pre-fab houses were constructed and sold for $19,000 each.

This is where the other incredible artifact find that Mr. Dianiska made comes in. In 1960, after a seven-year stint in the military, he purchased one of those Bruscino-made homes on Henry Road from the original purchasers. Shortly after moving in, remembering that after the basements were dug and constructed the dirt spoils would be pushed back against the foundations, he decided to do some digging in his front bushes.

What he found was a handsome Native American stone point and a heavily encrusted copper coin, within one foot of each other. After cleaning off the coin as best as he could he saw that the coin had three fleur-de-lis and the words “Liard de Fran__” on one side and the profile of a head on the other. He took it to a coin dealer who could not find an exact match but said it looked similar to French coins of the 1500s and the 1600s. Jack conjectured that the arrowhead and coin were probably once together in a small pouch which had fallen to the ground and disintegrated. This ignites the imagination.

Wischmeyer Creek bisects Henry Road just a couple hundred feet east of Mr. Dianiska’s front door. One possible scenario is that a Native American encamped near Wischmeyer Creek lost a couple treasured possessions, to be found 450 years later as treasure for another man.
The French were the first Europeans to explore Ohio. They were the first to trade with Native Americans for furs. The “Jesuit Relations” published by French Jesuits in what is today Canada are the first to mention the Erie Indians which gave their name to Lake Erie. They were missionaries to the Huron Indians in Canada. Eight of them were martyred by the Iroquois in the 1600s and canonized in 1930. St. Raphael Church had a side altar dedicated to these martyrs for many years. It is fitting that of all the places in Dover that a French coin from this period would be found it would be on land once owned by St. Raphael Catholic parish.

The ‘1810’ Stone Smokehouse

by William Krause

The stone smokehouse now sits behind Rose Hill in Cahoon Memorial Park.

This is the first in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

This small, shake-roof structure is currently located just south of Rose Hill at 27715 Lake Road and is currently utilized by the Herb Guild. It was probably moved from 492 Bradley Road in 1973 when the c. 1872 Italianate Alfred Wolf home was torn down.

The Wolf home had been used as a city senior center until it was replaced by Bay Lodge.

“Bay Village: A Way of Life” states: “The old stone smoke house standing behind the [Wolf] homestead house was used as a jail prior to Horace’s [Wolf] becoming mayor. It was used to lock up prisoners until the Marshal could take them into the county jail.”

A. Horace Wolf served as the second mayor of Bay Village, from 1910 to 1915. He had inherited the property at 492 Bradley Road after his father, Alfred, was robbed and murdered in 1896. While this utilitarian structure may predate 1872 it is highly unlikely that it was built in 1810 when the first settlers in Dover Township arrived.

Osborn Learning Center

by William Krause

27715 Lake Road, c. 1814

The second in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

The Reuben and Sarah Osborn House was originally located at 29202 Lake Road, west of Lakeside cemetery. Reuben Osborn arrived in Dover on the afternoon of Oct. 10, 1810, the same day Joseph Cahoon and family were the first non-native American settlers to arrive in Dover Township.

Reuben brought his wife and children from New York the following May.

This was the first frame structure constructed in Dover Township and is the oldest existing frame structure between Cleveland and Lorain. It is a simple gabled structure with roofline, massing, and fenestration which hint of the Greek Revival style popular at the time.

Reuben’s grandson Reuben occupied the house in 1903 when Bay seceded from Dover Township, and he became the first mayor.

In 1995 the land along the lake where the house was located was sold to a developer. When the developer learned of the importance of the house, he donated it to the city which moved the house to its current location.

Today the house is used as a research repository for records of the Bay Village Historical Society.

Lakeside Cemetery

by William Krause

c. 1814

Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village

The third in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

The first pioneer death in Dover township was Rebecca Smith in 1811. Some early sources say that she was buried in this cemetery in 1811 and then moved elsewhere in 1820.

It is more plausible that Mrs. Rebecca Porter and her infant son Dennis, who tragically drowned off Rocky River in 1814, were the first burials in this cemetery because the original land for the cemetery was donated by her brother-in-law Reuben Osborn.

It was the first public burying ground in Dover Township, an area that today includes Bay Village, Westlake and the northern portion of North Olmsted. Additional land was purchased by township trustees in 1877, expanding the cemetery to a total of about one-half acre.

There are over 270 known burials including veterans from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II and the Korean War.

An Ohio Historical Marker was erected in 2002, and in 2005 money was raised to replace the fences surrounding the cemetery.

In 2021 owners of slivers of land surrounding the cemetery donated funds to construct barriers to prevent further erosion by Lake Erie.

Joseph & Lydia Cahoon “Rose Hill”

by William Krause

27715 Lake Road, c. 1818

The fourth in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

This home replaced a log structure constructed in 1810 when the Cahoon family were the first pioneers in Dover Township. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest part of the frame structure was constructed by Joseph and his son Joel using timbers milled in their sawmill on the premises.

After serving in the War of 1812 and work out of town as a contractor, and the death of his parents, Joel returned to live in the home with his wife Margaret who named it Rose Hill because of rose bushes planted by Lydia. Joel died in 1882 and the property passed to his five unmarried children.

Sometime during the Victorian era, a fashionable parlor was added onto the northeast corner of the structure and additional bedrooms were constructed under a peaked Gothic Revival roof. Ida Marie was the last surviving sibling. When she died in 1917, she willed the entire 115-acre homestead property to the Village of Bay. The house was used as a library from 1921 to 1960 and as a museum since 1974.

Aaron & Elizabeth Aldrich House

by William Krause

30663 Lake Road, c. 1830

The fifth in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

It was in 1816 that Aaron and Elizabeth Aldrich and a son moved from Rhode Island to Dover to live near Elizabeth’s brother Henry Winsor. In 1822, they moved to New York for Aaron to take charge of a cotton factory.

In seven years, Aaron earned enough money to move back to Dover and purchase a 140-acre farm, extending from Lake Erie south to what is now Wolf Road, and build this very fine frame house (in 1830).

Built as a double house it has a two-story west wing with a Federal style fan window in the attic and a single-story east wing. It eventually passed down to George Drake, their grandson.

Henry Winsor’s 1785 desk which he had brought to Dover in 1813, was in this house, crammed with papers that became the foundation of the first written history of Bay Village, “Bay Village: A Way of Life.” Today, that desk is part of the Rose Hill Museum collection.

The Aldrich house is very well preserved inside and out and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dover Lake Shore Methodist Episcopal Church

by William Krause

29931 Lake Road, founded 1827

Dover Lake Shore Methodist Episcopal Church.

The sixth in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

The original log church is long gone but the church community remains, now known as the Bay United Methodist Church. It was in March 1827 that Elizabeth Tryon Sadler signed a deed purchasing land in this location from her husband William’s parents, Christopher and Sophia Sadler.

The deed was recorded in June of 1827. It was possibly the same year that walnut logs from the Sadler woods were donated to build the first church building for the new congregation of which Elizabeth was a founding member. Tax records reflecting the sale were not updated until 1830.

It is said that William and Elizabeth’s house was a home for the early itinerant Methodist ministers who came to the area.

By 1828 Eliphalet Johnson, the first resident pastor, is shown as owning property on Lake Road. Elizabeth and her husband gave land and much of the material for the frame church constructed for the congregation in this location in 1841. A picture of this former church building is shown on the Ohio Historical Marker. The existing brick structures date from 1908 and 1955.

Former location of Christopher Saddler House

by William Krause

29737 Lake Road, c. 1835

The seventh in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

Christopher Saddler, born in Germany in 1756, first came to America in 1777 as a private in the British Army. He was taken prisoner and in 1778 he switched sides. He served with the patriots under General Count Pulaski.

William Saddler, his son, was a sharpshooter who participated in the War of 1812’s Battle of Lake Erie which brought him through Dover. Their home in New York was burned down during the war, so the son convinced the father to move to Dover. They arrived in 1814 or 1815. Their wives Sophia and Elizabeth later joined them.

Tax records and deeds indicate that it was a Christopher Saddler who owned this land from 1820 through the early 1850s during which time this modest Greek Revival home was probably built, though Christopher, the father, died in 1839 according to a pension application. It stayed in the Saddler family until 1997.

The home, with an added porch and folk Victorian elements, was demolished in about 2008. The front entrance and sidelights were preserved and are being incorporated into a building in Gates Mills, Ohio.

Selden & Nancy Osborn House

by William Krause

29059 Lake Road, c. 1832-1847

The east end (on the left) is likely the original house of Selden and Nancy Osborn. Photo by William Krause
View Image Gallery

The eighth in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

Selden was the only son of Reuben and Sarah Osborn. He was born in 1809 in New York and married Ohioan Nancy Ruple in 1833.

Selden first owned land in the 1830s away from Lake Road and tax records are not clear as to when this house was built. His father owned this land until 1842 when 25 acres were transferred to Selden and the tax value went up significantly in 1847. The house has had many additions with the east end of the current house probably the original.

“Osborn Family History” by Julia Osborn Scott states that Selden and Nancy lived here all of their married lives, raising nine children and taking in paying guests from Cleveland for summer vacations. It also says: “Selden was an herb doctor, receiving his training in a doctor’s office. He grew his own herbs. Nancy brewed them for him. He travelled by horseback with … two saddle bags – one for … his medicine.”

Selden was a captain in the Ohio militia. Nancy was a deeply religious woman. Their granddaughter Mabel occupied the house until 1969

Dexter & Amelia Tuttle House

by William Krause

25547 Lake Road, c. 1852

The ninth in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

According to the “Tuttle Family Story” by Flora Tuttle Renfrew, Dexter was born in 1807 in Massachusetts and came to what is now Rocky River at 16 with his family. He married Amelia Weidnar (born 1811) in about 1828 and settled in Dover Township in 1836.

The couple first lived in a log cabin west of Tuttle Creek and north of Lake Road. They had seven boys and one girl who died young. Son Ezra (born 1837) helped Dexter build this house where they raised chickens and sheep. Amelia used wool from the sheep to make clothing for the family. They also had a sawmill.

Dexter acquired 80 acres from the lake south to the railroad and died in 1878. Amelia lived until 1896, her last seven years blind and cared for by son Marius. Ezra married Victoria Clague from what is now Westlake. Their son Edward inherited the Lake Road house, and it remained in the family until 1921.

Tax records indicate that this classic Greek Revival house was constructed in 1852. Unfortunately, a previous owner cut windows into the original front trim.

This is the 9th of approximately 100 brief articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historic Society in 2025. The articles are being submitted profiling the oldest to the newest minimum century old artifacts.