History

History of Our Community

Middleburg Heights' nearly 200-year history began with a heavily wooded wilderness and log-cabin pioneers back in the early 1800s. The pioneers, however, were not the first people to live in this part of Ohio.

Native Americans

Native AmericansFor centuries before European settlers arrived, Eastern Woodland Indians populated the Great Lakes area, including Ohio.

In fact, about 100 years or so before white settlers began arriving, Ohio had been part of a battleground between coalitions of Indian tribes, headed by the Iroquois from the east and the Hurons from the west, who fought each other over the lucrative fur trade with the French and the British.

The Hurons and their allies, including the Wyandots, were defeated and driven out of their lands around the southern Great Lakes by the victorious Iroquois.

The defeated Hurons and Wyandots had to keep moving from place to place to avoid the vengeful Iroquois. The Wyandots, however, were eventually able to settle in Ohio in 1745, after the Iroquois threat subsided.

By the time settlers and pioneer families began moving into today's Cuyahoga County and Middleburg Heights in the early 1800s, the settlers were moving onto land owned by the Wyandots by treaty rights with the U.S. government.

The Wyandots, living in the Upper Sandusky area, once owned all of the land in the northern half of Ohio. They were forced to give up their land east of the Cuyahoga River, however, in a treaty signed in 1788 with the governor of the Northwest Territory.

During the 20-year period after the success of the American Revolution in 1776, settlers slowing began moving into Ohio and started encroaching on Indian lands.

It was in this context that the first settlers moved into the Middleburg Heights area in 1809. They arrived just as the Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh was organizing various tribes in the region to attack settlers in order to protect Indian lands.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

The Pioneers

The first pioneer settlers in Middleburg Heights were Jared and Rachel Hickcox, who traveled here in 1809 from Waterbury, Connecticut, with seven of their nine children.

The Hickcox family built a log cabin near Lake Abram, which is located in the northwest part of our community, near the intersection of Sheldon and Easton Roads.

The lake and surrounding marsh and woods provided a source of fresh water and food for the Hickcox family.

In 1811, brothers Abram and John Fowles came from Waterbury, Connecticut, and settled here. Abram fell in love with young Rachel Hickcox, one of Jared's daughters.

Rachel was 14 years old; John was 20. They were married and eventually raised a family of 10 children. Their first child, Lucy, was the first pioneer child born in the area.

War of 1812

The pioneer families in Middleburg Heights had only been here for three years, however, when they were threatened by the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Great Britain. The war was over trade and commerce issues, including control of Lake Erie.

As mentioned above, prior to the outbreak of war between the U.S. and Britain, the Shawnee Indian leader Tecumseh had convinced tribes living near western Lake Erie and southern Lake Huron to make war on settlers in an effort to halt the loss of Indian land.

When the War of 1812 broke out, Tecumseh and his Indian allies sided with Great Britain, seeing this as an opportunity to turn back the settlers and to protect the traditional lands of the Indian tribes.

During parts of the war, pioneer families living in Middleburg Heights fled to a blockhouse in nearby Columbia Station for protection against the Indians and British.

The defeat of the British and the death of Tecumseh in battle in 1813 marked a key turning point in the history of northern Ohio, including Middleburg Heights.

From that point on, the Indian tribes lost control over their lands and were eliminated as a threat to frontier expansion and settlement in Ohio and in other areas around the southern Great Lakes.

The Wyandots, who lived near Upper Sandusky, remained loyal to the U.S. during the War of 1812. In spite of this, however, they had to sign a treaty in 1815 that ceded most of their remaining land in Ohio (3.3 million acres) to the U.S. government.

With Tecumseh gone and Indian land rights signed away, pioneer families were able to flood into Ohio and continue settling in places like Middleburg Heights in relative safety.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

A Farming Community

Up until 1836, modern-day Middleburg Heights was part of a larger Middleburg Township, which included the present cities of Berea and Brook Park.

Berea, with its sandstone quarries, was the center of commerce and social life in the township. In 1836, Berea broke away and became independent. Middleburg Heights then became known as East Middleburg Township, a farming community.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

A village breaks away

In 1914, Brook Park also broke away from the township and became an independent village. Middleburg Heights at that point was left as a sparsely populated remnant of prosperous farmland.

Farmers in East Middleburg Township ran very successful commercial operations, supplying tons of onions, celery and other produce to the entire eastern half of the U.S. for about 80 years. (See Onion Capital page on our website.)

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

Rebellion

In 1927, Berea tried to annex East Middleburg. This sparked a rebellion.

About 600 township residents met in the Little Red Schoolhouse near Sheldon and Fry Roads and voted to form the Village of Middleburg Heights, which was subsequently established in 1928.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

Village of Middleburg Heights
is established

About 600 township residents met in the Little Red Schoolhouse near Sheldon and Fry Roads and voted to form the Village of Middleburg Heights, which was subsequently established in 1928.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.

An Evolving Community

The Village of Middleburg Heights continued primarily as a farming community for nearly 30 more years.

The community started to change in the late 1940s after the Second World War, when population growth and the demand for housing started to eliminate farmland.

The opening of Southland Shopping Center in 1950 and the construction of Interstate 71 in 1959, with exits on Pearl Road and Bagley Road, accelerated the transition to a
residential community.

We would like to thank local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society for providing valuable information about the history of our city.

Our thanks also to Dr. Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for guidance regarding local Indian history and to Dr. Robert E. Smith, author of a history of the Wyandot Nation that can be found on the tribe's website at wyandot.org.

For more information about the history of Middleburg Heights and Middleburgh Township, please consult our local branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society.