Leaving his longtime family home in Suffield, Conn. in the late spring of 1799, 45-year-old Ebenezer Sheldon set off for the wilderness of the Connecticut Western Reserve. As land agent for the Big Beaver & Cuyahoga Land Co., Sheldon was contracted to handle land transactions in what would become the township of Aurora and neighboring Mantua.
Sheldon’s journey followed trails forged by Native Americans and fur trappers and later both the British and French armies during the French & Indian War. The trails took him across southern New York and through central Pennsylvania. Finally reaching Pittsburgh, Ebenezer continued onto Warren, Ohio and eventually onto Aurora.
Clearing a small plot of land, he built a log cabin with the aid of a young hired couple, Elisa and Sabrina Harmon. After starting his homestead, Sheldon returned to Suffield for the winter. Early spring of 1800, Ebenezer set off for Aurora with his 39-year-old wife Lovee and five children, Ebenezer Jr (18), Huldah (15), Gershom (12), Seth (9), Festus (6), and George (3).
His 21-year-old daughter Mary would settle in Aurora with husband Ebenezer Harmon in 1806 at what came to be called Harmon Pond, known today as Sunny Lake.
Upon arriving in Aurora and first setting eyes on the log cabin, it was said that Lovee broke down in tears having left their comfortable home in Suffield and realizing the crude prospects of life in the wilderness. Daughter Huldah comforted her mother, promising her that they could make this a nice home. Ebenezer and the boys cleared fields for planting, hunted wildlife and began clearing a trail to what would be the center of the new Aurora Township.
This crude trail is called Pioneer Trail.
Ebenezer immediately set about the task of surveying and deeding plots to settlers coming from Connecticut and Massachusetts. Within 10 years of its settlement, the township had grown to 100 people. Veteran of the American Revolution, Ebenezer Sheldon, Aurora’s founding father, became the township’s first Justice of the Peace, a township trustee, and a founder of the Congregational Church of Aurora.
While the Aurora Historical Society museum is currently closed to the public, it is our hope that through these articles in the Aurora Advocate and the Society’s Facebook page, "Aurora Historical Society," we will be able to share with the Aurora community the history of our town, photos and interesting facts.
Please share your stories and historical photos with us at email@example.com. We have also placed a mailbox outside the door of the Deed House that contains brochures of Aurora’s Central Historic District. The walk takes about an hour starting at the Deed House, down Route 43 just past Mad Jacks, back towards City Hall, then north on Rt. 43 to Maple Lane, down Maple Lane to Route 306, north to the intersection of Route 306 and Route 82, turning around and back down Route 306 to the Deed House. The brochure maps out the route and provides a description of the historic building and homes along the tour.