UPDATE: Transcript of the speech to follow:
“Amherst traces its roots back to as early as 1811, when the founding father, Jacob Shupe, purchased certain tracts of land in 1811 from Calvin and Martha Austin and constructed a log house in what would become Amherst. It was not until 1816 that Mr. Shupe purchased yet another parcel of property, containing 300 hundred acres for $600, extending all the way to Lake Erie and encompassing the waters of Beaver Creek. This is where he would construct the first sawmill, gristmill, distillery, and the first frame house in Amherst. Mr. Shupe actually began industry in the Amherst and Lorain County areas, using the waterpower of the Beaver Creek.
Mr. Jacob Shupe participated in and began many “firsts” in Amherst and Lorain County, Ohio. As it is described in the book A Biographical History of Lorain County 1879, Jacob Shupe was “the first settler in the territory now in the bounds of Amherst, making the first clearing in the [area].”
“He built … the first mill in the county of Lorain.” And “The first saw mill, the first grist mill, and the first distillery were built by Jacob Shupe.” These mills that Mr. Shupe started were an integral factor of importance in their time. Before Shupe’s mills, settlers in the Black River area had to either travel with their grist to Chagrin Falls (48 miles away) or to the Huron River (30 miles away); these journeys are said to have taken a duration of 3 days. By building and operating these mills, Mr. Shupe shortened the early settler’s trips and left a legacy for other settlers to follow in his tracks.
Mr. Shupe was also the father of eleven children. One of them was Betsy, the first white born child in Amherst.
Other important “firsts” that Mr. Shupe is known for include; constructing the first log house, and he “undoubtedly” built the first frame house. The cabin is no longer in existence; but, the frame home continues to stand today on 15 of the original 300 acres that Shupe settled. Its construction was finished by 1827; this is where my family and I reside, and the house still retains many original aspects; however, restoration efforts are ongoing.
Although the only remaining physical history of Mr. Jacob Shupe’s hard work is the frame home that he constructed and the site he settled in Amherst, Mr. Shupe left an impressive legacy of “firsts” behind. These first events laid a firm foundation and enabled the other early settlers of Amherst to prosper and continue what Mr. Shupe worked so hard to establish. Today Amherst is a thriving community, and I am certain that Jacob Shupe would be pleased with his town 200 years later.”
Col. Nahorn will deliver some short remarks during opening ceremonies at the Amherst Historical Society’s Old Time Jamboree this year. The topic of these remarks will be commemorating this year as Amherst’s Bicentennial (1811-2011). His remarks will highlight the early years of Amherst and more specifically focus on the founder, Jacob Shupe and his contributions to this area. The Jamboree will be held Friday-Sunday July 8-11, with opening ceremonies being Friday, July 8 at 5pm in downtown Amherst. Please plan to attend the opening ceremony and visit the Jamboree festivities as well. Also, there will be a Bicentennial booklet published by the Amherst Historical Society, which we urge everyone to pick up at the AHS booth. The booklet will have photos of the Shupe Homestead and accompanying information and history provided by Col. Nahorn and the New Indian Ridge Museum, regarding the first settlement and house in Amherst. Please contact the NIRM offices with any questions. Thank you.