The Early History of Carlisle Township
In 1816 John Bacon and his family moved from Connecticut became the first settlers in what would become Carlisle Township. They settled along an old Native American trail on what is now Murray Ridge Road. Shortly after the families of Jamison, Philo and Philo Murray Jr. arrived and named their settlement Murrayville. Within a few years Samuel Brooks and his family arrived in the eastern section of the township and built a log cabin near the Black River. Soon other family members arrived and made their home in Samuel’s house until they could build their own. As the other dwellings were built they called the settlement LaPorte.
Life was hard for the settlers in the township. Summers were hot and the winter, with its lake effect snow, made life difficult. The animals native to the area included black bears, wolves that howled in the night and foxes were common sights along trails and newly cut roads. Deer and mink were hunted and trapped but a watchful eye for yellow-back rattlesnakes was needed near the East and west Branches of the Black River and in the swamps around Murray Ridge and West Ridge Roads.
As more families arrived and the township experienced growth, it was time to give the growing township a name. Those in the western part of the township wanted to extend the Murrayville Township name to the entire area. Phineas Johnson, an eastern township resident suggested the township to be named Berlin Township after his native town in Connecticut. Unable to agree on either name a compromise was made by calling it Carlisle.
At that time, Carlisle and Elyria were organized together under the name Elyria and as a township in Huron County. Carlisle was detached and separately organized on June 4, 1822 on the petition of Obed Gibbs and others. The township was drawn by Joseph Perkins, John Richmond and John McClennan among others and for purposes of land equalization, Kelly’s Island in Lake Erie, comprising 2,747 acres was annexed into Carlisle Township for a brief time.
Soon more settlers came from the New England area and began settling around the township. In 1823 the Chauncey Prindle and Otis Braman families settled in the center of the township near the intersection of today’s Lagrange and Diagonal Road intersection. The western section of the township started to become populated and soon became a cattle farming area and the township’s first cheese factory was built near the intersection of West Ridge and Butternut Ridge Road. The eastern parts of the township soon found grist and saw mills powered by the water flow of the Black River in LaPorte and Coonville in the East River and Fuller Road area. And as the population expansion moved south along Indian Hollow Road near Parsons Road, John Hart’s quarrying business began to thrive with railroad tracks being laid to transport the cut sandstone and the area became known as Hart’s Station.
As the population increased and the township progressed each year, there was much to do in the development of the roads, schools, commerce and protection. By 1843 there were thirty four township officials including three (3)Trustees, Clerks, a Treasurer, a Constable, a Justice of the Peace, Fence Viewers, Overseers of the Poor and nineteen (19) Road Supervisors. All of the officials had their work cut out for them; properties needed surveying, rutted roads needed to be developed, schools were established by districts and law enforcement was established. In a short time a great civil war would grip the nation and the township settler’s world would change forever.
Many of the early settler’s family names have endured and are still a presence in Carlisle Township. Families with names such as Bruce, Brooks, Prindle and Squires remain as multi-generational residents and carry on the legacy of spirit and pride the founders envisioned for the township.