In 1800, Crawford County had established the townships of Beaver and Cussewago in the northern tier of the County. In 1829, they subdivided this large area by taking acreage from Beaver and Cussewago and named it Snowhill. Perhaps the name was appropriate, but settlers in the area objected as it was not conducive to new settlers and besides, another township had the pleasant name of Summerhill. Their objections were heard and the name was changed to Spring township.
Most of the tracts in the northern tier had been settled as well as several north and east of Conneautville. Except for an area South and East of the township owned by the Holland Land Co, the remainder was owned by the Penna. Population Land Co. In 1794-95, Alexander Power and brother William Power had located several Tracts in the south central part of the township. This Valley area included a stream known as Conneaut Creek which flowed north and was fed by several tributaries. It was here Alexander planned his town and would build the first grist mill about 1799 utilizing the Creek for it's power.
In 1797, the Samuel Fisher family came from Cumberland Co. And settled in the Guntown area north of Conneautville. Their son Thomas became the first Justice of the Peace in the township.
Christopher Ford and large family settled on a tract north of the present Springboro, but sold his farm in 1816 and moved West into Ohio. James Orr purchased two tracts in what is now Springboro, but moved later. The cabin of Hiram Woodward was chosen as the first election site.
Many early settlers made improvements to their land, but abandoned it due to mistrust of the Land Companies, or purchased their tracts under contract, then not believing the Land Company actually held title to the lands.
Other settlers prior to 1800 were James McNamara, John Foster, Samuel Thompson, Rebecca Simpson, Samuel McKee, George Nelson, Henry Mott, William and John Gardner, and Martin Montgomery, John Fleming, Samuel Simpson, David & James Thompson, Henry Cook.
About 1816 immigration commenced from the East including the Bowmans, Powells, Halls, Wells, Sturtevants, Woodards, Woods, Sheldons, Temples, Hurds, Ponds, Hotchkisses, Baldwins, Mylers, Wetmores, Greens, Jenks, Bolards and Thomases. On the eastern part of the township were Platt Rogers, Robert Temple, Justice Ross, Judd Hotchkiss, the Sperrys, Rundels and others. Bowman bought the Ford farm; Powell's, the McKee farm; the Halls, the Orr farm; Myler, the McNamara farm; W. P Thomas, the Scott farm, Bolard, the John Thompson farm. Others purchased the unimproved farms and underwent the toils of pioneer life.
The earliest settlers brought flour, meal, salt, etc. from Pittsburgh. These were conveyed in boats propelled by from six to twelve men with poles as far as Meadville, then carried on horseback or log sleds to their destination.
Alexander Power's mill in Conneautvilie proved to be a great convenience and it was replaced in 1805. In 1829-30 Mr. Power built a third mill. Samuel Fisher erected a saw and grist-mill on Conneaut Creek about a mile north of Conneautville. William Crozier was the millwright. Art Jenks erected a saw and Grist mill on Conneaut Creek near the Erie Co. Line in 1820 and Robert Foster built a grist mill a mile south of Spring Corners. The saw mill built by Mr. Fisher was the first in the township. Mr. Holmes built a saw mill at Spring Corners; Platt Rogers built the first saw mill in the eastern part of the township at Rundel's. Frederick Bolard who came from Erie in 1816 in connection with farming did an extensive business in the manufacture of bells. At that time farmers used bells for all their grazing animals, even horses when they were pastured in the woods. Christopher Ford built the first distillery prior to 1800. John Foster erected a second, Luther Rundel built one at Rundeltown in 1820. Gurdon and R. B. Wood built the first wool carding cloth dressing establishment two miles north of Conneautville in 1817-18. The second was built by Collins Hall at Spring Corners and was later removed to Guntown.
The Borough of Spring was first called Spring Corners until it was incorporated as a borough in the spring of 1866. The first election was held March 16, 1866 with Jonathan Sheldon, Burgess; W. C. Booth, W. D. LeFevre, H. West Jr., E. E. Eighmy, and A. V. Baldwin, Council. F. W. Oliver, Justice of the Peace; F. H. Cook, Constable; Timothy Sturtevant, Assessor; Orrin Baldwin, Jonathan Sheldon, H. P. Knickerbocker, O. F. Sheldon, F. W. Oliver and C. L. Fisher School Director. A. M. Baldwin, Judge of Elections; G. R. Cook and O. F. Sheldon, Inspectors; and J. B. Bradley, Auditor.
The first school house was a primitive log structure which stood on the hill east of the village. When the borough was incorporated it contained a frame one story schoolhouse in the east part of the village which was occupied until about 1872 when the Odd Fellows Hall on Beaver St. was purchased. A two story frame structure was erected in 1880.
The opening of the Beaver and Erie Canal gave a boost to the lumber trade. Sawmills were built wherever power could be secured. The country was rapidly cleared, farmers neglected their farms and went into the lumber business. White wood, ash, lumber and staves were shipped east; oak timber was used for building canal boats, railroad cars and vessels at Erie. Hemlock timber was shipped South where it was used for fencing and building. The Township was almost stripped of it's timber.
The area became quite prosperous. Communities were developing, such as Hickernell's Corners, and Rundel's. Both provided a postal service as well as grocery store. The Stage Coach could be boarded at Rundel's for transport into Meadville or Conneautville. Roads were sometimes impassable in the winter and spring. By 1896 there were 18 schools in the Township, excluding Springboro's and Conneautville's. The school year was 7 months long with 215 scholars in attendance. The average cost per month to the township for each student was $1.47.
Churches of almost every denomination could be found, many meeting in private homes. An ancient Wesleyan group built a Church at Hickernell's Corners in 1842. A group of United Brethren took over the Church, meeting until it was destroyed by fire in 1857. About two years later another Church was erected on the same site and it was believed to be the only Church in Spring Township for many years.
Not to be forgotten, the settlement of Shadeland owned by the Powell Brothers and made famous by it's extensive stock farm is located one mile north of Springboro. First settled by Watkin Powell in 1816, land was cleared with the help of his son Howell who would become a successful farmer raising some of the finest stock in the country. Howell's sons Watkin G., Will B. and James L. carried on this tradition expanding their stock, improving their breeding until they were known around the world for their quality livestock and horses.
This business was so extensive, it included it's own Post Office, Western Union Telegraph, railway station and both Adams and Wells-Fargo companies.
Shadeland school was located near the Powell Homestead and was closed sending their students to Springboro schools. This building still stands and is now used for a Church.
This article is included in the CVAHS Newsletter, Issue 41, Vol. 21
and continued in CVAHS Newsletter, Issue 42, Vol. 21
(Source: Crawford Co. History 1888)