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MERCHANT, AHAZ

MERCHANT, AHAZ (21 Mar. 1794-28 Mar. 1862), surveyor, builder, and civil engineer, was born in western Connecticut, son of Silas and Huldah (Platt) Merchant. He was raised near Morristown, N.J., and taught himself surveying. After moving to Cleveland in 1818, Merchant acquired military experience in the state militia, attaining the rank of general. Like many early pioneers, Merchant applied himself to several occupations, but was mainly distinguished as a surveyor. He was county surveyor from 1833-35 and 1845-50. He was also Cleveland's first surveyor and street commissioner from 1834-36. Merchant St. (W. 11th) was named after him. Merchant, as a surveyor, laid out most of the important allotments in OHIO CITY, supervised the first improvements to the old river bed, and graded many of Cleveland's major streets. In 1831 he resurveyed many of the city's existing streets, and in 1835 published a "Map of Cleveland and Its Environs," showing the city's entire street plan. He also built several new roads, including Prospect Ave. and the road from Cleveland to Aurora (Rt. 43).

While county surveyor, Merchant constructed the first horse-drawn railroad in the county (the CLEVELAND & NEWBURGH RAILROAD CO.) in 1834. Merchant's son, Silas, was in charge of its operation. Merchant later constructed another horse railroad, which ran out Euclid Ave. to E. Cleveland. As a builder, Merchant built several structures in Cleveland, including the Angier House, a fashionable 5-story hotel that opened in 1854 and was later known as the Kennard House. Merchant married Catherine Stewart in 1819. They had 5 children: Aaron, Martha, Harriet, Mary, and Silas. Merchant died in Cleveland and was buried in WOODLAND CEMETERY.


Merchant Family Papers, WRHS.