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History of Austintown and the log cabin

March 10, 2017
Special to the Town Crier

Source:?"Austintown: Images of America" by Joyce Hunsinger Pogany, president of the Austintown Historical Society

After John McCollum and his family settled in Austintown in 1798, others followed. By 1801, the township had 21 taxpayers, including McCollum, William and Benjamin Bayard, John Duncan, Samuel Furguson, Wendell Grove, Robert Kirkpatrick, Alexander McAllister, Thomas Morgan, Samuel Miller, Frederick Moherman, Thomas Packard, David Parkhurst, Calvin Pease, Gilbert Roberts, George Stanford, James and Benjamin Sisco, William Templeton, Nathaniel Walker and William Whethington.

Mary and John H. Packard bought the lot on which the Austin Log Cabin is now located. Packard's grandsons, Warren Doud Packard (born in 1861) and James Packard (born in 1863), founded Packard Electric Co. in 1890 and Packard Motor Car Co. in 1899.

Mary Packard died in 1826; John died in 1827. Their son William inherited the land. In 1828, William sold the log house and 30 acres to Samuel Dorwat (Dorworth) for $150. Dorwart married his neighbor, Sarah "Ann" Burgett, for whom Burgett Road is named.

In 1829, Dorwat sold 10 acres with the house on it to Henry and Polly Lawrence (Lorins) for $50. When Lawrence died in 1845, his wife and 15 heirs sold the land to Abraham and Rebecca Mauer Dustman for $406.

Dustman added a barn and sold the property in 1850 to Henry and Margaret Wehr for $510.

Wehr added a hog shed and dug two wells; one for humans, the other for livestock. Henry's nephew and wife, Levi and Emma Wehr, occupied the cabin next. In 1910, the barn burned to the ground, and Levi Wehr built a new barn.

Archeologist Dr. John White of Youngstown Sate University discovered the barns' foundations during an archeological dig at the cabin in 1976-77.

Austin Log Cabin

The Austin Log Cabin, on the corner of South Raccoon and Burgett roads, is named for Calvin Austin, a Connecticut Land Co. agent who sold 150.5 acres to John Packard April 29, 1814, for $500.

Historians assume Packard built the log cabin because the steeple notches on the log corners were not used after 1824.

The cabin, restored by community volunteers, was dedicated July 4, 1976. It was registered as a national historic landmark July 30, 1974. The bronze plaque was donated by Dr. Fred and Judith Blue, members of the Austintown Historical Society.

Discovery of a log cabin

The Hanko family moved from the house in 1963. The house sate vancant until 1973. The adjacent St. Andrew's Episcopal Church bought the eyesore and began demolishing it by removing the artificial brick and siding. When they discovered log beams, demolition stopped.

Volunteers, led by the Austintown Community Council's Mike Antonoff, and guided by a historic architect, removed the proch and kitchen, which were not original. They relaced the cabin's roof with wood shake, removed interior walls and replaced windows with panes of glass from a 100-year-old schoolhouse.

They sealed the logs with preservatives and replace the chinking with a cement mixture to stimulate the orignial clay, straw, mud and rock clinking. They built a fireplace using century-old brick and mantel from a barn beam.

Donations for log cabin

On Sept. 18, 1975, Charles Ditzler, Oat Bishop, Joyce Pogany and Walt Duzzny coordinated a road toll to collect donations from drivers stopped at the intersection of Raccoon Road and Mahoning Avenue.

The road toll, coupled with donations from schools, students, PTAs, civic organizations, church groups, bake sales, book sales, a Log Cabin Dance featuring Freedom Sound as well as a grant, yielded $50,000 to restore the log cabin.



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