- Amish Country
In 1814, the community of Wadsworth was formed, four years before Medina County was organized. Initially it was populated by settlers looking to build new lives in a new land that had only become relatively safe from conflict, especially after the War of 1812 came to an end. The real danger here was either disease or being bitten by a rattlesnake. Coal had been known to exist but were largely only mined for personal use. This all changed when the the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad came to town. Coal was suddenly a major resource that helped heat the country and drive industry.
So much growth quickly transformed the the town. In 1866 village of Wadsworth was incorporated. This legality made it possible to build bigger and better schools. Later industry came here and prospered for many years. Today, Wadsworth has been able to retain its small town heritage along with 21st Century technology.
The plant closed in 1987, but just a few years after it was formed in 1893 by E. J. Young, it was the largest match manufacturing plant in the world cover 18 acres. The Ohio Match Company trademarked a number of different match designs, but it is most remembered in Wadsworth for its famous Ohio Blue Tip. This match was created from a new process in match making developed by the Ohio Match Company and was known as a double dip process which enabled the match to be struck on any surface and light. The first dip includes potassium chlorate and a few other chemicals to aid in burning for a short period. After application of this process it is completely dried and then dipped into another chemical bath that includes phosphorus. It is this dip that ignites with almost any friction is applied to it.
Today the Blue Tip Festival begins each year with the lighting of a 17' tall match during the parade and remains lit throughout the 5 day event.
Laura Spellman was born in Wadsworth in 1839 to Harvey and Lucy Spellman. In 1864 at the age of 24, Laura Spellman became the wife of John D. Rockefeller. They would remain united in marriage until her death in 1915. Together they would have five children. Rockefeller later said of his wife Laura: "Her judgment was always better than mine. Without her keen advice, I would be a poor man."
General Elijah Wadsworth, the namesake of Wadsworth Ohio, was born in Hartford Connecticut to a prominent New England family. After news reached Elijah about the Battle of Bunker Hill he volunteered and became a Lieutenant and by the end of the war had earned the rank of Captain. During the war, Elijah was in command of the guard that held British Major John Andre who was working with General Benedict Arnold with plans to capture West Point. After the Revolutionary War, Wadsworth became one of the investors in the Connecticut Land Company that had purchased the lands in northern Ohio known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. Although Wadsworth never lived in Wadsworth, Ohio, he was the largest landholder of the land that became Medina County. Living in Canfield, Ohio, Elijah Wadsworth became a Trumbull County sheriff, which at that time, Trumbull County extended from the Pennsylvania border across more than half of northern Ohio. During the War of 1812, the aging Wadsworth organized a 3000 man militia and was responsible for building roads, forts and blockhouses throughout much of northern Ohio. He died in Canfield, Ohio in 1817 at the age of 70.