York Township History
York Township was first settled in 1830 by George Wilson from the state of New York. More settlers arrived that year and most built their homes in the southern part of the township. Early settlers included Levi and Lawson Branch, Richard and Sara Lampson and Thomas Brintnall. Mr. Levi Branch had the only team of oxen in the township and stayed quite busy making trips into Medina for the other township residents.
The township center was originally named York, as most of the early settlers came from New York state. Since there was already another York post office in the state, the village was renamed Mallet Creek, after the principal stream through the township. Mallet Creek, a branch of the Rocky River, was named for Dan Mallet, the first white settler to permanently live along its banks. Mr. Mallet became the first postmaster in 1835.
In 1830, Mr. Levi Jones built the first cabin in Abbeyville. In 1832, Mr. Jones turned one room of his cabin into what would become the first store in the township.
During the 1830’s there was much growth in York township. Sawmills and grain mills were built in Abbeyville. Another mill was built in Lester. An ashery was built in 1834 for the purpose of supplying potash to Cleveland and other large cities.
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A tavern and stage coach stop were built near the northwest intersection of present day state routes 18 and 252, west of the present town hall. The town hall was built in 1890. The first meeting house, the First Congregational Church of York, was completed in 1840. Three presidents, Benjamin Harrison, James A. Garfield, and William McKinley spoke at this church. Ohio Governor George K. Nash, 1900-1904, was born in Mallet Creek and was reared in this church. The church was abandoned in the early 1920’s.
In 1844 the first Methodist Church was built at the southwest intersection of Norwalk and Columbia Roads on land donated by Richard Lampson. The present brick Methodist Church, built in 1877, is located on the southeast corner.
Local abolitionists were very active during the 1850’s in the “Underground Railroad”. Mallet Creek and Abbeyville were active stations for slaves on their way to Cleveland and then freedom in Canada.
In 1871 the first train arrived. By 1873, Mallet Creek was home to a school supply and mail order business owned by J. D. Holcomb (now Holcomb’s of Cleveland), a tannery, brickyard and ovens, general store and several grist and saw mills. During the latter part of the century Abbeyville had a store, grist and sawmills, cheese factory, brewery, wagon shop and blacksmith. Erhart had general stores and a lumber yard. Lester had the depot and a hotel.
At one time, there were ten district schools within the township. In 1922, a $50,000.00 bond issue was passed and a two-story brick building was erected on State Route 18 just west of the center of town. In June of 1952 the York, Litchfield, and Liverpool School Districts consolidated into one district which was to be known as the Buckeye Local Schools. The present York Elementary School is on the Buckeye main campus, located approximately one mile north of the town center on Columbia Road. It was completed in 2004.
Some of the present businesses include a lumber supply company, general store, restaurants, beauty parlor, wholesale plumbing, heating and electrical supply business, heating and refrigeration business, farm implement dealership, nursery and greenhouse and many other small businesses. The commercial sector is continually growing.
York Township’s first zoning plan was adopted on June 13, 1950. Our Comprehensive Plan was adopted June 3, 2004. As the township ventures into the 21st century it will continue to draw from its rich heritage to guide its future growth and development.