Teaching Cleveland
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Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 2

Duties of Citizens in 1802


To familiarize students with the town government in the early years of Cleveland's settlement.



appraiser, lister, overseer


  1. What type of government did Cleveland have during its years of early settlement?
  1. By the early 1800s, the courts of Trumbull County (there was no Cuyahoga County yet), ordered the citizens of Cleveland to hold a village election to set up a formal government. This election was held in 1802. Handout # 1. is a transcript of the notice sent to the court acknowledging the completion of the order. It is the earliest known local government document in Cleveland's history. Have the students examine the list of village officers in 1802 and then complete the questions for discussion below.
    a. What do you think a lister did? an overseer of the poor? a fence viewer?
    b. What office today might correspond to the trustees, chairman, appraiser of houses, constable and supervisor of highways?
    c. If the population of Cleveland was 3 in 1796, 16 in 1798, and 500 in 1825, what do you think the population of Cleveland was in 1802? (76 free males. W omen and children were not counted.) Why do you think the city was so small in 1802?
    d. How many people held jobs in the village government?
    e. What percentage of the population were village officials?
  2. Have students compare the duties of village officials in 1802, with those of today ?

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