General Simon Perkins (1771- 1844) was originally from Connecticut.  He moved to Warren Ohio (1799). General Perkins owned much of the land that is now Akron today.  In 1825 General Perkins along with Paul Williams co-founded the town. General Perkins donated most of the land so the canal could be built through what became Akron. 

He was not doing this for solely altruistic reasons.  General Perkins realized that by building the canal in Akron that the surrounding land value would go up.  And with the 16 locks necessary to complete the canal through Akron, it would take a long time to traverse this part of the canal.  Where could the canal boat captains spend their time?  Taverns.  Even after the Ohio and Erie Canal was built, Akron did not grow quickly.

Dr. Eliakim Crosby proposed building a channel that could be used to power mills.  General Perkins saw the benefits that this could bring to Akron.  He sold Dr. Crosby 300 acres and invested $6000.00 to the project in 1832.

Colonel Simon Perkins (1805-1887) came to Akron in 1834 as his father’s agent here in Akron.  His wife Grace and their first child Anna accompanied him. Col. Perkins started building the Stone Mansion that year and the home was completed in 1837.  During the time that the mansion was being built, Col. Perkins, Grace, and Anna lived in what is now known as the John Brown House.

Col. Perkins was involved in farming but he also did a number of things for what is now known as the city of Akron.

From 1839 to 1840, Col. Perkins was a state senator.  During this time he negotiated the passage of the law creating Summit County, before this Akron was considered to be in Portage County.  What we know as Summit County today was portions of Portage, Medina, and Stark Counties.  He was also instrumental in getting Akron to be named the county seat and his father General Perkins donated land for the county courthouse as well as other buildings.

Col. Perkins also helped establish Akron’s first cemetery, now known as Glendale Cemetery.  He served as the president for Akron Rural Cemetery Association for forty years.  Col. Perkins also donated land for the development of many parks in the area, for instance, Grace Park which was named after his wife.

Col. Perkins was the first president of the Summit County Agricultural Society when it organized in 1848.  He also presided over a number of organizations in Summit County and Akron.

One of the things that Col. Perkins is well known for is his partnership with John Brown, the famous (or notorious) abolitionist.  John Brown was a respected sheep farmer and he and Perkins entered into a business arrangement in which Brown would oversee Col. Perkins sheep farm and wool business.  Even though Col. Perkins and John Brown produced award winning wool and gained much respect for the quality of wool they were producing, their business venture failed.  It is estimated that Col. Perkins lost around $40,000.  Not chump change in the 1800s.

Like his father before him, Col. Perkins realized that in order for Akron and Summit County to be a viable area it needed to have good transportation systems.  In 1852 Col. Perkins worked tirelessly and invested a lot of his own money in order to bring the first railroad to Akron.  This proved to be a financial disaster for Col. Perkins.  This loss, as well as the losses Col. Perkins suffered with his business venture with John Brown pretty much wiped the family out financially.  While Col. Perkins did dabble in the mower and reaper business like John Hower (Akron’s Hower House) and continued to farm his land, he never did regain his losses.  When he died in 1887, his eldest daughter Anna continued to run the Stone Mansion as she had since the death of her mother.

George Tod Perkins (1836-1910) was also instrumental in the history of our area.  George Perkins was the eldest son and a civil war hero.  He was wealthy in his own right and helped Anna maintain the Stone Mansion.  It was George Perkins who was instrumental in helping to bring Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich to the Akron area to establish a rubber factory.[1]

Colonel Simon Perkins (1805-1887)


Grace Ingersoll Tod (1811-1867)

Eldest son of General Simon Perkins (1771-1844) and Nancy Bishop (1780-1862)

Col. Simon Perkins and Grace’s children

Anna Bishop     (1834-1919)

George Tod      (1836-1910)

Simon   (1838-1911)

Alfred   (1840-1877)

Henry   (1842-1902)

Maria   (1844-1871)

Grace Tod  (1845-1918)

Thomas Kinsman  (1847-1887)

Charles Ezra  (1850-1925)

David Tod  (1852-192?)

Joseph Douglas  (1853-1855)

[1] Sources used: The Colorful Era of the Ohio Canal, James S. and Margot Jackson.  History of Akron: The Akron Story, Sara Klippert 1959.  At Home on the Hill: The Perkins Family of Akron, James S. and Margot Jackson, 1983  Akron and Summit County, Karl H. Grismer