Ashtabula County, Ohio
335 E Erie Street
Jefferson, OH 44047
John Boczar, Chairman 78 W Cedar St 440-813-1270
Mike Shadle, V Chair 1220 Perry Rd 440-812-4271
Scott Barber 637 E Beech St 440-813-2908
Darlene Osborne 1281 Griggs Rd 440-576-4840
We are accepting pictures and history items from you!
Trustees Meetings are always open to the Public! These meetings are held at the Township Garage meeting room at 335 E Erie St on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm, unless otherwise noted here!
Jefferson was officially founded by Gideon Granger, U.S. Postmaster General during Thomas Jefferson's administration, in 1803. He envisioned the new settlement as a "Philadelphia of the West," and early plans for the village were based upon the layout of that city. A cabin was erected by Granger's agent in 1804, but the settlement's first permanent residents arrived only in 1805: the Samuel Wilson family. Wilson, misled by land agents, moved to Ohio in late autumn expecting to find a thriving city on Granger's land. Instead, he found a wilderness, broken only by trees emblazoned with Philadelphian street names, marking where future streets would be built. Wilson himself died after two weeks of herculean effort to prepare for the winter, but his family stayed on as the first citizens of Jefferson.
Jefferson's two most famous sons were Congressman Joshua Giddings and Senator Benjamin Wade, two prominent Republican abolitionists. In 1831 the two men formed a law practice in Jefferson (which became the county seat of newly formed Ashtabula County in 1811) and worked together until Giddings was elected to Congress in 1838. Wade successfully ran for the Ohio State Senate in 1837, then won election to the US Senate in 1851. Both were instrumental in the foundation of the Republican Party and defied the "Gag Rule" barring discussion of slavery prior to the American Civil War. Jefferson itself was a hotbed of abolitionism. John Brown spoke in the village, and several of its houses acted as stations on the Underground Railway. During the American Civil War, it trained Union recruits at Fort Giddings, which stood in the village at the current site of the fairgrounds.
E.T. Ernest, the first American to drive an automobile from coast to coast, was also a Jefferson resident.
Today Jefferson Township is governed by a three-member board of trustees, who are elected in November of odd-numbered years to a four-year term beginning on the following January 1. Two are elected in the year after the presidential election and one is elected in the year before it. There is also an elected township fiscal officer who serves a four-year term beginning on April 1 of the year after the election, which is held in November of the year before the presidential election. Vacancies in the fiscal officership or on the board of trustees are filled by the remaining trustees. Currently, the board is composed of chairman John Boczar and members Mike Shadle and Scott Barber.