Perry Township, consisting of eighteen square miles, was formally organized by vote of the people on July 1, 1815. It was named for Commodore Oliver H. Perry, hero of the War of 1812. It was one of four Townships selected by the Connecticut Land Company, before the lands of the “Reserve” were drawn up and was described as No. 11 in the seventh range of the original Connecticut Western Reserve.
The Perry area rolls and slopes gradually to Lake Erie. The southern portion of the area slopes more sharply and, at some points, drops in sheer cliffs into the Grand River Valley which forms the southern boundary of Perry Township.
Perry history reports the first probable settler to be Ezra Beebe, who settled in 1808 near the Grand River. He died in the spring of 1813. The first term of school in Perry Township was taught in a log cabin located on South Ridge Road (SR 84) in the summer of 1815. In the winter of 1815, prayer meetings were held in this log cabin schoolhouse, thus forming the first gathering of religious worship in the Township (later organized into the first churches in the Perry area as Methodist, Baptist, and the Church of Christ).
The first frame building erected in the Township was a hotel kept by David Allen, on South Ridge Road. In 1819, Hugh Mosher was born in Perry and became famous for serving as the model fifer in Archibald W. Willard’s classic painting, “Spirit of ‘76.”
One of the earliest known industries in Perry included an iron foundry, which received its ore from bogs in Perry and converted it into pig iron. Perry iron ore was shipped from Fairport Harbor to cities along the Great Lakes. Another company, the Imperial Merchandise Company, merchandised automobile tires, fruit jar rings, paper and glassware. Others included a cider and vinegar works, cheese factory, tannery, lumber mill, and grain mill. Because of its well-drained fertile soil and the excellent climactic conditions afforded by the nearness of Lake Erie, the Perry area remains a choice area for agriculture and nursery stock. However, much of the land today has been developed into residential and business areas.
According to the U.S. Census, the population for Perry Township increased from 8,240 in 2000 to 8,999 in 2010. The number of households also rose from 2,847 in 2000 to 3,277 in 2010.
Your Township Government consists of three Trustees and a Fiscal Officer, who are elected for four-year terms. The terms are staggered, so that every two years either one Trustee and the Fiscal Officer or two Trustees are up for election.
The Board of Township Trustees is the overall governing body of the Township. It decides issues of Township Policy and is responsible for all expenditures of Township funds. It also appoints the Township’s Zoning officials and hires Township employees.
The authority of Township Government is limited to only those specific duties which are delegated by State law, i.e. the Ohio Revised Code. Unlike cities and villages, Townships do not have the authority to pass laws or to pay for such basic services as water and sewers.
Many of the services commonly associated with local government are actually under the legal jurisdiction of the County and the State Government. These include water and sewer, dog control, maintenance of County and State highways, environmental protection and public health.
Although they have no direct legal authority over these services, Township officials can act as community spokespersons, while bringing local problems to the attention of County, State or Federal officials and thereby assist with solutions for such problems. Your Township officials are always available to assist you with problems dealing with the Township, County, State and even the Federal Governments.