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The Jenkins Cabin


The Western Reserve was sparsely populated until after the War of 1812. In June 1815 David Stearns of Vermont became the first permanent white settler in what later became North Olmsted. Benjamin Clark of New England arrived shortly after Stearns. He built the cabin sometime before the 1820 census which listed him and his family of eight. The site today is in North Olmsted on the eastern side of Columbia Road near the Westlake border. It was the first dwelling in the region known as Sugar Ridge because of the dense forest of maple trees. The style was typical of the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts: central fireplace, vertical plank-walls, post and beam frame. Loose field stones were used for the foundation. Clapboard siding was added at a later time.

A squatter, Clark was evicted in 1823 when the owner of the land, Asher M. Coe, arrived from Middletown, Connecticut. Coe lived in the cabin until building a larger home at what is now the northeast corner of Lorain and Columbia Roads. The cabin was then used as lodging for his farm workers. In the 1840s, Coe sold the cabin and 40 acres to Robert Moore.

According to the 1850 census, William Jenkins, an immigrant from England, was listed as a laborer on Moore’s farm. A plot map for 1852 showed that Moore still owned the farm, but soon afterwards, he sold out to Richard Wellington. On January 3, 1854, Wellington deeded the cabin and 30 acres to Joseph Jenkins, most likely William’s brother. In June of 1860, the census confirmed that William Jenkins was now the owner of the farm. A family of ten lived in the cabin at the time.

A descendant of William Jenkins, Esther Petrick donated the cabin for removal to Frostville in 1976. Restored and opened to the public in 1980, the Jenkins Cabin is the oldest house in North Olmsted. Many of the antiques on display were donated by descendants of Elias and Phebe Frost. The furnishings and artifacts in the Cabin are mostly from the period before the Civil War. In a display case, the U. S. flag dates to the War of 1812. A shawl once used to disguise a runaway male slave can also be seen in the cabin.

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