|Birth: ||Mar. 2, 1779|
|Death: ||Sep. 2, 1854|
Eliakim Crosby was born 2 March 1779 in Litchfield, Ct., son of Timothy and Ruth (Gibbs) Crosby. Little is known of his early life, but he acquired a substantial enough education to begin a career as a teacher in his home state. At the age of 25 he traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. where he studied medicine under the auspices of Dr. Chapin. In 1804 Dr. Crosby immigrated to Ontario, Canada, settling in the town of Simcoe, in Norfolk county. There he engaged in his medical practice, but also began acquiring land and property for agricultural and mercantile pursuits. A Master Mason, Crosby was instrumental in founding the first Masonic Lodge in Townsend Township, where he served as First Warden. In 1810, he married Marcia Beemer, daughter of John Beemer, a prosperous local farmer and Justice. By the start of the War of 1812, Dr. Crosby had achieved a high degree of prosperity, being the owner of a distillery, two taverns, and 3/4 interest in a sawmill and flouring mill on Patterson Creek, a few miles from the shore of Lake Erie. However, his patriotism lying with his native land, he left Canada in about 1813, and returned to Buffalo. His family joined him the following year, and late in 1814, Crosby offered his services to the American Army. He was appointed surgeon to a corps of Canadian volunteers, and remained for the duration of the war. His Canadian property was confiscated by the British government.
After the war, Crosby journeyed to Fredonia, N.Y., where he had acquired a milling property in 1813, and remained there until 1818, when he traveled west to Ohio, settling in the village of Middlebury, located along the Little Cuyahoga River in Portage (now Summit) county. Middlebury was a lively little manufacturing village, and Crosby quickly seized opportunities for prosperity in his new home. He purchased a blast furnace and began the manufacture of plows and other farm equipment, and subsequently built both a grist mill and sawmill on the river. He was a founding member of Middlebury Masonic Lodge #34.
In 1825, Col. Simon Perkins founded the town of Akron, 2 miles to the west of Middlebury, and Crosby envisioned a plan to bring additional prosperity to the new town. In 1831, in partnership with Perkins and Judge Leicester King of Warren, he erected a dam on the Little Cuyahoga in Middlebury and constructed a millrace which terminated at lock 5 of the Ohio Canal in Akron. There he erected a three-story stone gristmill. Crosby acquired land north of Akron, alongside locks 8 through 14, and platted a new town which he named Cascade, but which was soon referred to by all residents of both towns as North Akron. He built a house along the canal, at the foot of Beech St. and moved his family there. His first wife having died in Middlebury in 1830, Crosby married a second time, to Elizabeth Brackett in 1832. She died in 1834, shortly after giving birth to a daughter, and Crosby then married Mrs. Ann (Hamlin) West, widow of Dr. Wareham West, a fellow Middlebury physician, who had died in 1821. Some years later, Crosby purchased a one and a half story frame house on West Market and Maple, where he lived for the duration of his years in Akron.
In 1836 when Akron was incorporated, it included both Perkin's "South Akron" and Crosby's town of Cascade. Crosby's millrace, in tandem with the canal waters, provided power for a growing industrial valley which extended along the lower locks in the original Cascade. Crosby was the Democratic candidate in Akron's first mayoral race, losing by only a handful of votes to Whig candidate Seth Iredell. The doctor was one of the founders of the Universalist Society in Akron, which built the Old Stone Church on N. High Street in 1839.
In the year of 1836, Crosby conceived of an even more ambitious plan to tap the waterpower of the county. He sold his interest in his stone mill and most of his lands to Perkins and began to invest in land along the Big Cuyahoga River from the village of Cuyahoga Falls south to Cascade. He laid out a community called Summit City along Cuyahoga Street and the surrounding eastern plateau and began to construct a dam on the Cuyahoga and a subsequent millrace. When Summit County was created in 1840, Summit City, then still mostly a town on paper, was briefly considered for the county seat. In May of 1844, the dam and millrace being completed, the waters were turned into the race, but the result was a miserable failure. The porous soil absorbed most of the flow, and only a trickle reached its destination. The project was finally abandoned in 1850, leaving Crosby broken and in debt. In 1853, he left Akron, moving to the town of Suamico in Brown County, Wisconsin, where his youngest son and daughter were already living. In the late summer of 1854, he contracted dysentery, and died at 9 a.m. on the morning of September 2. The Summit Beacon of Akron published a full-column obituary to honor its former influential citizen, and some years later the city gave Crosby's name to Crosby Street and Crosby School, both located on West Hill and not far from his late residence.
Crosby had eight children, seven by his first wife, Marcia Beemer and one by his second wife, Elizabeth Brackett:
1. John Beemer Crosby 1812-1832
2. Marcia Calista Crosby 1814- ?, m1. Charles Howard, m2. (as his second wife) Judge Leicester King
3. Henry Clay Crosby 1815-1886, m. his stepsister, Mary Ann West
4. Erasmus Darwin Crosby 1819- ?, m. Margaret (Hatch) Philips
5. Louisa Maria Crosby 1821-1898, m. William Harrison Dewey
6. Mary Crosby 1824-1896 m. Hon. Henry W. King
7. Benjamin Franklin Crosby 1825-1909 m. Caroline _______
8. Elizabeth Brackett Crosby 1833- ? m. Charles Nelson White
Bio supplied by Zella
Marcia Beemer Crosby (1793 - 1830)
Elizabeth Brackett Crosby (1811 - 1834)
Ann Hamlin Crosby (1790 - 1857)
John Beemer Crosby (1812 - 1832)*
Louisa Maria Crosby Dewey (1821 - 1898)*
Mary Crosby King (1824 - 1896)*
Benjamin Franklin Crosby (1825 - 1909)*
Infant Crosby (1830 - 1830)*
Elizabeth Brackett Crosby White (1833 - 1885)*
Note: Age 72y / Reinterred: 26 Oct 1870
Plot: Park G-2
Created by: Daniel Allen
Record added: Dec 31, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 82751302