Friday, July 19, 2013

Turhand Grenville Hart (1842-1924), Turhand Kirtland (1755-1844)

From the Record of Proceedings of the Ohio State Board of Equalization, 1900.

   A distinguished attorney, two term legislator and member of the Ohio State Board of Equalization, Turhand Grenville Hart was a native son of Mentor, Ohio and may have received his unusual first name in honor of another highly regarded Buckeye State political figure, Judge Turhand Kirtland (1755-1844) of Poland, Ohio. Although little in the way of information could be found on Turhand G. Hart, an Ohio State Manual giving a brief overview of his public career was located that helped out significantly in terms of pertinent facts. On July 17, 2013 I was able to pay a visit to Hart's gravesite at the Mentor Municipal Cemetery and some photos from that excursion will provide a fitting conclusion to the following article.
   A lifelong resident of Lake County, Ohio, Turhand G. Hart was born there on April 9, 1842, the third of six children born to Stephen Horatio (1809-1885) and Lucretia Ring Hart (1817-1879). His education took place in schools local to the Lake County area and married on December 25, 1863 to Eliza C. Robinson (1837-1888) with whom he had four sons, Charles M. (1865-1954), Frederick, Richard, and Ralph. Hart decided upon a career in law when he was in his late twenties and began the study of his profession in 1870, being admitted to the Ohio State Bar two years later. The 1893 Biographical History of Northeastern, Ohio: Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake gives notice to Hart's law practice, stating that "He has had much to do with the settlement of estates, having been an administrator a number of times."
   In 1873 Hart was elected to his first public office, that of Treasurer for Lake County, Ohio. During the succeeding years Hart would also be engaged in farming, and served as a justice of the peace, notary public, Deputy Supervisor of Elections and Mentor Township Trustee in addition to practicing law. In 1888 Eliza Robinson Hart died after twenty five years of marriage and in 1890 Turhand remarried to Sarah Simpson (1863-1949), a former resident of Erie County. 
   In the 1892 election year Hart won a seat in the Ohio State House of Representatives (representing Lake and Geauga County) and during the 1893-95 term served on the committees on Elections, Insurance, Public Printing. He was later elected to a second term in the legislature and served from 1895-1897. Three years after leaving the legislature Turhand Hart was elected to the Ohio State Board of Equalization and in December 1900 was "unanimously elected" as President Pro Tempore. In addition to this position Hart chaired that board's committees on Rules and Claims. While his tenure on this board is of unknown length, Hart's service as a legislator and board member were acknowledged by a Record of Proceedings in the following quotation: "In all of these positions he has won the unstinted and unfeigned regard of each of his associates."

Turhand G. Hart is the third man in the middle row in this picture of the Ohio Bd. of Equalization.

  Following his service on the Board of Equalization Hart was appointed by Ohio Governor Andrew Harris to a vacancy on the Cleveland State Hospital Board of Trustees, holding  this position from April 1908 to April 1913. After many decades of public service, Turhand G. Hart died in Mentor on May 9, 1924, one month after celebrating his 82nd birthday. He was later interred at the Municipal Cemetery in Mentor and was survived by his second wife Sarah, who died in 1949 at age 86. 
  The Turhand G. Hart family plot in Mentor was visited by me on July 17, 2013 and a number of pictures from the trip are shown below. 




  The Hart family plot consists of Turhand's son Charles, his first wife Eliza, Turhand himself, and his second wife Sarah, all neatly arranged in front of a large family headstone. Also interred at the Mentor Municipal Cemetery are the remains of James Rudolph Garfield (1865-1950), son of President James A. Garfield and later U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Theodore Roosevelt from 1907-1909.


   Justly referred to as an Ohio pioneer, Turhand Kirtland was a prominent figure in the early days of the Ohio territory, being a founding father of what is now Poland, Ohio. During a long life that extended nearly nine decades, Kirtland was involved in many different aspects of the development of the burgeoning counties of Trumbull and Mahoning. Kirtland was originally born in Wallingford, Connecticut on November 16, 1755, a son of Constant and Rachel Kirtland. Turhand was a Revolutionary War veteran, and is remarked by the National DAR Society Lineage Book, Vol. 32 as "having been engaged on the boats, transporting the retreating army at Long Island in 1776 where he contracted camp fever, and was honorably discharged." Following his stint in the Continental Army, Kirtland returned to Wallingford where he worked as a carriage manufacturer for a number of years.
   Kirtland married twice during his life, his first wife being Mary Beach, who died in 1792. He remarried in the year following her death to Polly Potter (1772-1850), who eventually gave birth to six children, who are listed as follows: Jared Potter (1793-1877), Henry Turhand (born 1795-1874), Mary Beech (1798-1825), Nancy (born 1801), Charles Dutton (died in infancy in 1814), Billious (1807-1891) and George (1809-1890). Of the Kirtland children Jared Potter Kirtland is the most notable, as he was for many years a distinguished physician judge and naturalist, and was honored by having a type of snake (the Kirtland's Water snake) named after him.
   Turhand Kirtland was connected for many years with the Connecticut Land Company, being employed as a general land agent whilst also being one of the company's stockholders. He first visited the Ohio territory in 1798 and with wealth accumulated from his carriage manufacturing business began to purchase numerous lots of land throughout the area known as the Western Reserve. Portions of this three million acres of land throughout Northeastern Ohio were surveyed and examined by Kirtland for the Connecticut Land Company, and around 1799 relocated from Connecticut to the Ohio territory, settling in an area then known as Burton. In 1800 then territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair (1737-181) appointed Kirtland as Judge for the newly established county of Trumbull. 
   After leaving Trumbull County in April 1803, the Kirtland family removed to Mahoning County, settling in the village of Poland. Kirtland had surveyed and mapped out the Poland vacinity some years previously, and in the same year as his resettlement was named as the first master of the Erie Lodge #47 of Masons, the first masonic lodge to be built in the Western Reserve. Kirtland continued to make a name for himself in the still young community of  Poland, becoming moderator of the first Episcopal church in Mahoning County and later aided in establishing the local Library Association and Poland Reading Room.
   In 1814 Turhand Kirtland was elected as a member of the Ohio State Senate, representing Trumbull County. He served here until 1815 and was later elected as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, serving on the bench for nearly a decade. Following his tenure as judge, Kirtland was a justice of peace in Poland for over twenty years and died on August 16, 1844, a few months before his 89th birthday. He was interred at the Poland Presbyterian Cemetery, also the resting place of Polly Kirtland and the couple's infant son Charles Dutton.

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