In 1811, Westlake’s first settler, 16 year old Leverett Johnson, began clearing land and three years later he built a log cabin at Porter and Center Ridge roads for his bride Abigail Cahoon. They later constructed a more substantial frame house where they raised nine children and lived for the rest of their lives. The home stood on Center Ridge Road approximately where Crocker Road intersects it today
Johnson served as a justice of the peace, a county commissioner, a township trustee, a five-term Ohio state legislator and the director of Dover Academy.
Johnson died in 1856. He donated part of his land for Evergreen Cemetery, where he and Abigail are buried.
The Westlake Crockers were descendants of families who first settled Massachusetts in the 1600s. Jedediah Crocker was a Revolutionary War veteran who purchased large tracts of land in Euclid and Dover Townships. He and his wife Sarah were founding members of what later became Dover Congregational Church. His son Noah with wife Betsey and three children were among the very first pioneers in Westlake, immigrating to Dover in 1811. Noah’s brother Sylvanus constructed a house that still stands at 29242 Detroit Road.
Crocker descendants owned much of the land Crocker Park is constructed on as late as 1892 and some of the land as late as 1911.
Jedediah, Sarah, Noah, Sylvanus and other members of the Crocker family are buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
In 1811, Abner Smith emigrated from Lenox Massachusetts with his wife Rebecca and some of their ten children. Rebecca died shortly after arriving here, the first death among the pioneers who settled in Dover Township. Abner then married a widow, Hannah Wilmot and built a house in 1820 (or earlier), which still stands today at 27748 Center Ridge Road.
The brick home was formerly the 1820 Gift Shop and now is occupied by the offices of Bennett Family Dental with father and son dentists Dr. William and Dr. James Bennett.”
Abner and Rebecca were founding members of the Dover Congregational Church, the first church in Dover Township.
James and Barnabas Hall
In 1811, brothers James and Barnabas Hall and Barnabas’s wife Hannah were among the first residents of the part of Dover that would later become Westlake. James settled on Detroit Road near the Avon line, Barnabas and Hannah where the West Bay Plaza is currently located.
Their brother Charles Hall and his wife Lucy moved from Ashtabula, Ohio, to Dover in 1821 and built a home about 1834 that still stands at 25360 Westwood Road, on the northeast corner of Columbia and Westwood Roads.
Maple Ridge Cemetery began as the Hall family cemetery before 1830, and Columbia Road north of Lorain Road was known as Hall Road until about 1937.
In 1814, Amos Ransom Sperry was the first of his family to arrive in Dover. In 1815 he married Ruth Smith, daughter of Abner & Rebecca Smith. That same year his father Amos and family came to Dover from Camden, Oneida County, New York. Amos Sr. was a blacksmith and tavern owner. Later, Amos Jr. was a Dover Township official.
The Sperry Inn was the name of Amos Sr.’s tavern. It was established in 1824 as a stage coach stop. It was located where today’s Pebblebrook development abuts the south side of Center Ridge Road, east of Clague Road. The tavern building included five large fireplaces and a ballroom on half of its upper floor. The building was later used as a barn until it was torn down in about 1935.
John Taylor was son of Revolutionary War veteran Jasher Taylor. In 1814, when Jasher was 61 and John, 26, they emigrated from Massachusetts to Dover with extended family members.
In 1833, the brick, Federal style house at 28989 Center Ridge Rd. was built when “J.Taylor” (most likely John) owned the land. Note the half fan shaped gable vents and leaded windows on either side of front door.
The Taylors owned the property from 1820-1851, Deans 1852-53, McCartey s 1854-57, Lillys 1866-92, Baldwin University 1892-1902, Glendennings 1902-1965, Thibos 1965-2000, and AKL Properties Ltd. of Bay Village 2000-present. The home was not maintained and was demolished in 2014.
The stone Victorian style porch in the picture was an addition c. late 19th century.
Joseph and Jane Stocking
In 1815, Joseph and Jane Stocking came to Dover from Ashfield, Massachusetts with a large group of relatives by blood or marriage, including Nehemiah and Wells Porter, John Smith, Asa Blood, Rial Holden and Jesse Lilly and their families.
In approximately 1828, they constructed a home for their family of eleven children. The vernacular structure is still standing at 2099 Dover Center Road. It originally was about one hundred feet north at 2079 Dover Center Road but was moved southward in 1922 to make room for a Sears kit house constructed there.
Due to the proximity of their property to Dover Congregational Church, their barn was used for services when the church burned down in the 1800s.
Leonard G. Porter
Leonard G. Porter, the tenth born of eleven children, lived from 1806 to 1884. He arrived in Dover at the age of 19.
Leonard married Catherine Stevens at the Dover Congregational Church in 1838. She and their only child died before 1848.
He was a Sunday School Superintendent, donated land for and taught at Dover Academy, and was a leader of the Dover Literary Society. He bequeathed $1,000 and his collection of personal books to form Porter Public Library.
In 1818, Asher Cooley emigrated from Massachusetts by oxcart with his wife Lydia and their five children. He built a house in 1828, which still stands today at 2871 Dover Center Road. Asher and Lydia had three more children, all born in Dover Township, and lived the remainder of their years in this house.
Cooley was among a group of men from Dover and other communities who met at the Old Stone Church on Cleveland’s Public Square on July 4, 1838, to assist in organizing a County Anti-Slavery Society.
Lilly and Weston
The land under this house was first purchased by Abner Smith. After his death, it passed down to Hiram and Ozias Smith, who sold it to Austin and Roxanna Lilly. The Lillys had the Greek Revival sandstone house built about 1844, with the brick wing added by their son Albertus Lilly circa 1855 .
Between the years 1868 and 1872, George Weston and his wife Rhoda lived in the house at 27946 Center Ridge Road, which is located next to the Westlake Recreation Center. The house was purchased by a Weston descendant, Mrs. Alice Ladanyi, and deeded to the city in 2000.
The Westlake Historical Society has leased the building from the city to create a museum of early Dover history. A renovation project Opens a New Window. is currently underway.