is a village
in Ashtabula County
, United States
. The population was 3,572 at the 2000 census
. It is the county seat
of Ashtabula County
. Modern-day Jefferson sports the world's only perambulator
museum and a historical complex including several restored 18th century buildings. Joshua Giddings' law office has also been restored as a museum. Annual village events include the Ashtabula County Fair, the Strawberry Festival, Jefferson Days, and the Covered Bridge Festival.
Jefferson was officially founded by Gideon Granger
—U.S. Postmaster General
during Thomas Jefferson
's administration—in 1803
. He envisioned the new settlement as a "Philadelphia
of the West," and early plans for the village were based upon the layout of that city. A cabin was erected by Granger's agent in 1804, but the settlement's first permanent residents arrived only in 1805: the Samuel Wilson family. Wilson, misled by land agents, moved to Ohio in late autumn
expecting to find a thriving city on Granger's land. Instead, he found a wilderness, broken only by trees emblazoned with Philadelphian street names, marking where future streets would be built. Wilson himself died after two weeks of herculean effort to prepare for the winter, but his family stayed on as the first citizens of Jefferson.
Jefferson's two most famous sons were Congressman Joshua Giddings and Senator Benjamin Wade, two prominent Republican abolitionists. In 1831 the two men formed a law practice in Jefferson (which became the county seat of newly-formed Ashtabula County in 1811) and worked together until Giddings was elected to Congress in 1838. Wade successfully ran for the Ohio State Senate in 1837, then won election to the US Senate in 1851. Both were instrumental in the foundation of the Republican Party and defied the "Gag Rule" barring discussion of slavery prior to the American Civil War. Jefferson itself was a hotbed of abolitionism. John Brown spoke in the village, and several of its houses acted as stations on the Underground Railway. During the American Civil War, it trained Union recruits at Fort Giddings, which stood in the village at the current site of the fairgrounds.
E.T. Fetch, the first American to drive an automobile from coast to coast, was also a Jefferson resident.
Jefferson is located at (41.737118, -80.772019).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²), all of it land.
The village's principle watercourse is Mill Creek, an oft-insubstantial trickle which, nevertheless, was significant in the town's industrial development. A dam reigns in this liliputian flood menace, forming a now-redundant village reservoir.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 3,572 people, 1,357 households, and 933 families residing in the village. The population density
was 1,566.5 people per square mile (604.9/km²). There were 1,425 housing units at an average density of 625.0/sq mi (241.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.17% White
, 1.43% African American
, 0.25% Native American
, 0.22% Asian
, 0.14% from other races
, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.62% of the population. 19.1% were of German
, 14.6% English
, 12.7% Italian
, 11.3% Irish
and 10.8% American
ancestry according to Census 2000
There were 1,357 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.2% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the village the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $36,883, and the median income for a family was $46,313. Males had a median income of $34,341 versus $25,036 for females. The per capita income for the village was $18,371. About 3.9% of families and 5.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.
Notable natives and residents
- Julius C. Burrows, a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan.
- Theodore Elijah Burton, US Congressmen and US Senator
- Joshua Reed Giddings, American statesman, prominent in the anti-slavery conflict
- Matthew Hatchette, former NFL wide receiver with Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets
- Brandon Lee Hinkle, professional mixed martial arts fighter and two time NCAA Division II wrestling national champion
- Elbert L. Lampson, lieutenant-governor of Ohio and former state senator
- Platt Rogers Spencer, creator of Spencerian penmanship, a popular system of cursive handwriting
- George Van Tassel, UFO enthusiast and religious cult leader
- Benjamin Franklin Wade, lawyer and U.S. Senator, President pro tempore of Senate