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Early Migration to Aurora, Western Reserve. By: Becky Clark. Why would people travel to aurora?.

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Early migration to aurora western reserve
Early Migration to Aurora, Western Reserve

  • By: Becky Clark

Why would people travel to aurora
Why would people travel to aurora?

Immigrants would travel to Aurora for many reasons. Some of these reasons were for the rich soil that the area had to offer, some had contracts with companies, as Ebenezer Sheldon and Elias Harmon had done. People would also travel to find employment, and better weather. They also travelled to follow family, their political beliefs. The immigrants would travel from neighboring states, such as Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut (where Sheldon and Harmon were from), Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Migration Routes

Some of the routes taken by people coming to Aurora were The Lake Shore Path (red), The Great Trail (blue) or by boat on Lake Erie or other rivers, other migration routes further west were the Vincennes and Indianapolis Road (pink), Maysville Pike (purple), the Scioto Trail (navy), and Zane’s Trace (brown). Migration routes were typically by streams or rivers, so the settlers could have running water, and travel ny boat was sometimes easier.

Some items the pioneers brought with them on their journey
Some items the pioneers brought with them on their journey...

Many of the pioneers who traveled to Aurora brought covered wagons to hold all of their belongings. The pioneers had to walk most of the way, because once all their belongings were in the wagon, there would be little room for anyone else beside the driver. Some of the items that the pioneers brought could have included oxen or mules to pull the wagon, baking supplies (yeast, crackers, cornmeal, bacon, eggs, dried meat, rice, beans etc.), sewing materials (thread, needles, scissors and pins), and tools and utensils for eating and fixing things.

Tools and utensils brought
Tools and Utensils brought journey...

Because the pioneers would make their own food, they needed to bring along the proper tools that they could use to do this. Different types of knives were brought and used for different purposes, such as peeling bark off of trees that were to be used in a log cabin, and for cutting various things. A plow was typically brought along so they could plow their fields, a spinning wheel, a butter churn, barrels to keep water in, and sometimes a trunk to keep family items safe in.

Some of the early settlers to come to aurora
Some of the early settlers to come to aurora journey...

Ebenezer Sheldon was one of the first people to settle in Aurora, then traveling back to his home in Connecticut, to retrieve his family so they could all live in Aurora. Another early family to come to Aurora was the Harmon family. Sheldon and his family were living in Aurora for three years before other people started to show up (hearing stories of rich soil, abundant game, and powerful waterfalls so they could run mills).

Elias Harmon and his wife didn’t end up staying in Aurora long, and ended up moving to Mantua.

Aurora means dawn
Aurora Means Dawn journey...

Aurora Means Dawn was written about an account of the Sheldon family’s difficulties along the road to Aurora. Additionally, the modern song of the same name by Krista Detor tells the story. Pause and listen to the adapted story of Mr. Sheldon and his wife, as they discuss the trip and the uncertainties that everyone faces when they migrate or immigrate. Especially to the wilderness of the Connecticut Western Reserve in the 1700s.

Click here to listen

Ebenezer sheldon
Ebenezer Sheldon journey...

Ebenezer Sheldon was the first American settler to come to Aurora. He came because of a contract he had stating he would go settle west. Elias Harmon helped him to build his log cabin where his family would eventually live. He died in 1825, and he will forever be known as the first pioneer to settle in Aurora.

Centerville mills
Centerville Mills journey...

  • This area had one of the powerful waterfalls that drew settlers to The Western Reserve. It is in northern Aurora near Crackle and Chillicothe Rds. Many of the settlers who came to Aurora built their mills here or on the Chagrin River nearer Aurora. They used the power from the water to run their mills, providing income and services, ranging from a wool carding mill to a sawmill.

For more information visit these sources
for more information, visit these sources: journey...

  • Aurora from the founding to the flood by: Carol G. Bowman

  • Aurora Means Dawn by: Scott Russell Sanders

  • (both of these books are available at the Aurora Memorial Library)

Works cited
Works Cited journey...

Aurora Historical Society. Aurora Historical Society, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2013.


Bowman, Carol G. Aurora: From the Founding to the Flood. Ed. Richard L. Fetzer. Vol. 1. Aurora:

Aurora Historical Society, 1999. Print.

Sperry, Kip. Genealogical Research in Ohio. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical, 2003. Print.

Stewart-Zimmerman, Maggie. "Ohio Migration Trails." Rootsweb. Maggie Stewart-Zimmerman, 18 June

1999. Web. 7 Apr. 2013. <http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maggieoh/Gwen/


Think Quest. Think Quest, n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2013. <http://library.thinkquest.org/6400/