Who were the Westons of Westlake?
Part one of a multi-part series.
First there was Deacon Asa Weston. He was born in 1793 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the hometown of a number of the original pioneers of Dover Township. He immigrated to Ohio in 1816 and settled in Euclid Township, east of Cleveland.
His first glimpse of Dover was when he was hired by a man who owned land near Toledo to deliver the taxes owed, in person. In order to save money, Deacon Asa walked from Euclid to Toledo and back.
According to Hadsell and Rutherford’s "A History and Civics of Dover Village": "On the return, as he neared Dover, it was nearly evening. In the distance he could see the sky lighted by the Dover Blast Furnace and could hear the bugles and horns of the stage coach announcing its arrival. He was so impressed by this gaiety and liveliness that he decided that if he should ever buy some land for a home, it would be in Dover Village. Eventually he did come here to live, in the 1850s.”
The irony of this bit of family lore, which was recounted by his grandson, A.E. Weston, to Hadsell or Rutherford around 1930, is that we were unable to find a deed for the purchase of land in Dover in Deacon Asa Weston’s name, though he did sell land in Euclid Township in 1855, in Brooklyn Township in 1866 and in Dover Township in 1871.
Something that is inexplicable is that cemetery records indicate that his first wife, Thankful, died in 1852 but there is a deed stating that “they” sold land in Brooklyn Township which was recorded in 1866. Unless there was another married couple in the Cleveland area named Asa and Thankful Weston, which is a possibility, though unlikely.
The land he sold in 1871 was near today’s Bradley and Center Ridge roads intersection. Deacon Asa Weston died in 1879 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
A portion of today’s Westlake was once part of Olmsted Township. This is an area where George Weston, Deacon Asa Weston’s son, first purchased land in the mid-1850s. Cathy Flament’s "Retracing Footsteps" quotes a Weston descendent as stating that the Westons moved to the Lilly-Weston house after their home near Bradley and Center Ridge burned.
The Lilly-Weston house at 27946 Center Ridge Road was constructed for Austin and Roxanna Lilly in 1844. After Austin’s death, the ownership passed to his wife, Roxanna. On May 25, 1866, a deed was recorded transferring the ownership of it and 161 acres of land from Roxanna, her son Albinus Lilly and her daughter-in-law Mary Lilly to George Weston for $9,000. George and Rhoda Weston, his wife, owned the Lilly-Weston house until 1872.
Starting in 1869 they started selling large chunks of their backland to the Arings, Bierbaums, Krones, Moores and Hungers. They would reserve a narrow strip of land for access – land that later became part of what was known as Elbow Road.
So the Westons are at least partially responsible for this narrow street, today known as Bassett Road, that made it into the Guiness Book of World Records because it turns in all four cardinal directions - north, south, east and west – in a relatively short stretch of road.
William R. Krause, AICP I am the Assistant Planning Director for the City of Westlake. I have worked for Westlake for 25 years. I served on the Bay Village Planning Commission for 5 years. I am a member of the Reuben Osborn Learning Center Steering Committee. I am a Board Member and Historian for the Westlake Historical Society and a Trustee of the Western Reserve Architectural Historians. I have been married to Debra for 33 years and am the father of three grown children, grandfather of one and owner of two Shih Tzu's.