SCRANTON, JOEL (5 Apr. 1793-9 Apr. 1858), an early Cleveland resident, merchant, and landowner, was born in Belchertown, Mass. to Stephen and Asenath Scranton. He spent his childhood in Otsego County, N.Y., and settled in Cleveland in 1819, with most accounts reporting he arrived with "a schooner load of leather" to sell. Primarily a leather merchant in the early 1820s, Scranton opened a store in 1827 selling leather, dry goods, groceries, crockery, and machine cards. In the early 1830s, J. Scranton & Co. also advertised its interest in buying corn and rye. By Jan. 1833, Scranton had sold the store.
With the proceeds from his retail enterprises, Scranton bought land at low cost, including the flats on the west side of the CUYAHOGA RIVER, along what became Scranton Ave., where he operated a farm. That area was known by 1847 as "Scranton's Flats"; in the 1840s and 1850s it became a business and sporting center, with everything from railroads to shooting contests to circuses located there. As more businesses located next to his property, Scranton's land grew in value and he left a large estate upon his sudden death from apoplexy in 1858. In 1838 Scranton was elected a director of the Bank of Cleveland. He was a member of the Presbyterian church and was a Mason.
Scranton married IRENE HICKOX SCRANTON on 27 June 1828. They had 6 children: Helen Maria, Mary J., George H., Emily Louise, Charles H., and Jenny, an adopted daughter.