The EARLY SETTLERS ASSN. OF THE WESTERN RESERVE is a voluntary organization of citizens who have lived in the WESTERN RESERVE for over 25 years and who are dedicated to preserving the ideals of the pioneers. It was organized as the Early Settlers Assn. of Cuyahoga County at the instigation of HIRAM M. ADDISON on 19 Nov. 1879. HARVEY RICE was elected first president. According to its constitution, the club's purpose was "to record the deeds of pioneers, to collect all facts, incidents, relics, and personal reminiscences respecting the early history and settlement of the county and other parts of the Western Reserve regarded of permanent value." Annual meetings originally took place on Cleveland's birthdate of 22 July, but after 1902 they were held every 10 Sept., commemorating Commodore Perry's victory on Lake Erie. Records of the proceedings of these meetings have been published annually by the ESA in the Annals from 1880-1933, 7 times from 1934-61, and every 5 years since 1961. Among the public monuments promoted and funded by the association are the statue of Gen. MOSES CLEAVELAND in PUBLIC SQUARE, the Harvey Rice monument, the bronze replica of the Commodore Perry monument, and the statue of Geo. Washington in the Federal Bldg. Plaza on E. 6th St. The ESA has been responsible for the restoration and preservation of the ERIE ST. CEMETERY, the establishment of Ft. Huntington Park, and the erection of the boundary markers designating the 4 corners of the Western Reserve. During the city's 1946 sesquicentennial, the ESA assisted in the naming of the MOSES CLEAVELAND TREES. During the 1971 (supersesquicentennial) celebration, the association established and selected the CLEVELAND HALL OF FAME. It also published numerous maps and brochures and in 1963 cooperated with the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY in the publication of A Pictorial History of the Western Reserve by Margaret Manor.
Still active in the 1990s, the ESA had a membership exceeding 300 and published The Pioneer, a quarterly magazine for members. ESA activities included the replacement of the commemorative plaques designating the Western Reserve's 4 corners (most recently in Conneaut), as well as the restoration and replacement of plaques for the SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT and GRAY'S ARMORY. The ESA also spearheaded a new survey of the Moses Cleaveland Trees for the city's Bicenntennial celebration (see GREATER CLEVELAND BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION). Sandy Milne was president in 1995.