At this time it is necessary for the New Indian Ridge Museum’s office to release an updated and revised statement regarding the approximate date of construction of the Shupe House – the first frame house in Amherst, Ohio – and its history relative to other early houses and settlers’ arrivals.
Jacob Shupe came to Black River Township (now Russia Township before it was detached from Amherst/Black River in 1825) in 1810 where he constructed a small, crude log cabin. A year later he moved to a point on Beaver Creek about a mile and a half north of the present-day City of Amherst on what would become Cooper Foster Park Road. In 1811 he permanently settled here, probably constructing a second log cabin at this site. In 1813 he built the first mill in Lorain County, powered by the flowing water of Beaver Creek. His sawmill and gristmill were most probably located in the same building being powered off of the same water wheel. In 1815 he constructed his distillery.
Not long after his mills were finished, construction of his frame house began, probably in 1813. It was first taxed in 1826. Houses in Lorain County were first recorded and taxed in this year. The 1827 records state that he had a house of wood being taxed at $250. We strongly believe that the Shupe frame house, which was the first to have been built in Amherst, and is one of the oldest of its kind still standing in Lorain County, was finished before 1818. It is of the Greek Revival style.
Written histories state that Mr. Shupe did in fact build the first frame house in Amherst, and another early settler who arrived soon after Shupe, Frederick Onstine, built the second frame house. The Chiliab Smith (arrived about 1815) house is also in the running for the second frame house; we are unable to make a positive verification of which early settler in fact did build the second. It has been said that Frederick Onstine, who returned to America after moving to Canada, brought his house building supplies from the East. He came between 1815 and 1818. If this anecdote is true, he would have his building supplies readily accessible and did not need to construct a log cabin, as many early settlers did. Chiliab Smith probably did build a log house before the frame structure.
Please direct any inquiries regarding this updated history to the New Indian Ridge Museum’s offices.
The Jacob Shupe Homestead along the Beaver Creek in Amherst. Construction was started in 1813 and finished before 1818.