STARKWEATHER, SAMUEL (27 Dec. 1799-5 July 1876), lawyer, judge, and mayor of Cleveland, was born in Pawtucket, R.I., son of Oliver and Miriam (Clay) Starkweather. He worked on a farm, graduated from Brown College in 1822, and tutored at Brown until 1824, when he left to study law with Judge Swift in Windham, Conn. Starkweather was admitted to the Ohio bar in Columbus in the winter of 1826-27, soon afterwards moving to Cleveland, joining the CLEVELAND GRAYS in 1837 and assuming a prominent position in Cleveland politics. He was a staunch Democrat and supporter of presidents Jackson and Van Buren, during their administrations serving as collector of customs for the Cleveland district and superintendent of lighthouses.
In 1844, Starkweather was elected mayor of Cleveland, winning reelection in 1845, and again in 1857 for a 2-year term. In 1852 he was the first judge of the court of common pleas for Cuyahoga County elected under the new state constitution, serving for 5 years. Starkweather took a special interest in CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, along with ANDREW FREESE and CHARLES BRADBURN, helping establish the first high school in Cleveland and the first in the west established in connection with common schools. He was active in promoting the development of RAILROADS in Cleveland, helping establish the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad.
Starkweather married Julia Judd on 25 June 1828. They had 4 children: Sarah, Samuel, William, and Julia. Starkweather is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.