Monday, May 12, 2014

Turhand Kirtland

Our city's namesake, Turhand Kirtland, was born in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1755 (the village of Kirtland Hills is named for Turhand's son, Jared Potter Kirtland). Turhand Kirtland was the resident general land agent for the Connecticut Land Company which sold parcels of land in the Western Reserve during the 1800s.

Turhand Kirtland

Turhand had nine siblings. His great-grandfather, Nathaniel Kyrtland, came to Massachusetts from England in 1635. Turhand began work by manufacturing carriages and stagecoaches, and acted in the provisional service of New York.

Turhand and other land agents formed the Connecticut Land Company and purchased the Western Reserve from the state of Ohio in 1795. In 1796, General Moses Cleaveland began a survey of this land. Two years later, the land was divided among the Connecticut Land Company stockholders by a draft. Turhand drew the township of Mecca, part of the township of Auburn, Poland, Burton, and 2,000 acres in Kirtland.

Turhand owned much of the township that was Kirtland but sold most of it and never lived there. He lived in Poland, Ohio with his wife, Mary Potter, and three children: Henry, Nancy, and Mary. (Son Jared remained in Connecticut to be educated. He gained fame as a physician, teacher, naturalist, horticulturalist, and ornithologist.) Turhand helped establish libraries and schools among the reserve, including Western Reserve College.

In 1798, Turhand, along with a group of surveyors and settlers, began surveying and laying out the townships. Turhand kept a diary of this time. You can read it here or you can follow us on Twitter as we tweet entries beginning May 12.

For more Kirtland history, check out A History of Kirtland by Anne B. Prusha or read 20th Century Memoirs of Kirtland, Ohio by Grace E. Parks which is available for purchase at the Library.