TWINSBURG -- An opening downpour didn't damper the Founder's Day celebration July 22 on Twinsburg Township Square.

Founder's Day was about learning and sharing the history of Twinsburg and the hallmark celebration for the city's bicentennial.

Mayor Ted Yates said Twinsburg is celebrating its 200-year anniversary, in conjunction with Reminderville and the city itself.

"We've been planning this the whole year and celebrating the Bicentennial at events during the year," Yates said. "The rain was unfortunate, but once it cleared up we had a lot of residents coming through and even ran out of food. Hopefully, the residents enjoyed it."

Visitors seeking to stay attended a historical drama "Traveling Through Time" about the founders of Twinsburg in the Freeman Barn where Veronica Hughes portrayed Fannie Bissell, the daughter of founder Dr. Samuel Bissell.

As she sorted through historical documents left by her father, she was visited by Ethan Alling, portrayed by Dennis Burby, a 16-year-old who came to the area in 1817 and bought 16 acres of property in the center of Millsville for his family, who would follow from Connecticut.

"Ethan was a great businessman and owned a distillery, grist mill, general store, stage coach line, tavern and hotel," Burby said. "He bought the land for the Locust Grove Cemetery. He would forgive the fee to be buried there because of hardship."

In 1823 twins Moses and Aaron Wilcox, portrayed by Keith Kneisel, arrived from Connecticut and changed the name from Millsville to Twinsburg. The Wilcox brothers bought another 4,000 acres around the square.

"The twins were only in Twinsburg for four years," Kneisel said. "They were in their 50s and died 24 hours apart of influenza in 1827. They were identical twins and married sisters, Huldah and Mabel Lord, and had 16 children between them."

The Wilcox twins are buried in Locust Grove Cemetery along with Alling and other historical Twinsburg figures.

Kneisel, a 22-year resident, began acting in the annual Tales of Locust Grove Cemetery in 1995 and portrayed Civil War soldier Sgt. William McKinney, who was a prisoner at Andersonville but died of old age.

"He was too sick to get on the Sultana [a steamboat that exploded], and Union soldiers nursed him back to health," Kneisel said.

For those who want to learn more about the Civil War soldiers who lived in Twinsburg, Hughes is writing "Beyond the Monument" a self-published book about the 120 names on the Civil War monument in Twinsburg. Hughes said she discovered another 100 soldiers spent time in Twinsburg.

"It's about people," Hughes said. "There's a chapter about brothers who went to war and another chapter on those who spent time in prison-of-war camps."

Hughes will make a presentation Aug. 27 at the Historical Society open house at the museum and tell stories about the soldiers.

Hughes's granddaughter, Eleanor Kneisel, 12, portrayed Fannie Snow Lister and narrated the play.

Ray Diersing, 78, portrayed Luman Lane, a founder official, and has accumulated memories from his own history. He was born in Twinsburg and lived all but 7 years in the city. Diersing graduated in 1957 with a class of 21 students.

Diersing has lived at seven different addresses in Twinsburg and his grandfather lived in the house across from the depot. When Diersing was young, he would go to Bissell Lumber and Feed store and listen to the older guys sitting around the pot belly stove telling stories.

"Frank Moulder had an old Ford dump truck to make deliveries of 50 pound sacks of feed," Diersing said. "Moulder's Pond was the place to ice skate in winter and have fishing derbies in the summer."

Next door, visitors could view the contents of a recently opened time capsule from 1976 in the Twinsburg Historical Society Museum.

Harlan and Priscilla Pritchard have lived in Twinsburg for 58 years. They had placed items in the time capsule in 1976, including coins of that year and pictures of their four children. She also put in a tape measure.

"I thought it would be all metric by now," Priscilla said.

Daughter Pamela and her husband, Mark Dunn, had put in trinkets and pictures.

"There's a lot of history in Twinsburg," Pamela said.

Items are still being collected for the new time capsule, the mayor said.

"The time capsule from 1976 became wet and a lot of it wasn't salvageable but some of the memorabilia was saved," Yates said. "The new one is designed to be waterproof out of stainless steel and made for burying and weathering time."

The museum also had historical items on display and twin quilts being raffled off.

Dolly Raines, a resident since 1977, puts the pieces together to create different quilts at the museum. Volunteers help with the hand stitching. The current quilt has 42 blocks from 1,100 pieces of material to create a 94-inch by 107-inch quilt, Raines said.

The museum offered hands-on activities such as working a loom. Jack Jamison, 9, and his younger brother, Carter, learned to slide the shuttle and work the pedals of the loom to create a Spirit Flag of blue with a white T for Twinsburg.

"Jack learned about Twinsburg history in school last year and wanted to see the museum," said his mother, Melissa Jamison.

Founder's Day brought history alive for old and young and a time to share. Al Freiberg, a resident of Twinsburg, for 41 years, brought his granddaughter, Anna Weiler, 7, of Cleveland, to learn about his hometown.

"Twinsburg was so small," Freiberg said. "We always said there was nothing here, but it's a great place to live. I'll live here 'til I die."


Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP