When the surveyors from the Connecticut Western Reserve Land Company first traveled through the wilds of Trumbull County in 1798, they surveyed a swampy central Mosquito Creek wetlands and hilly forested eastern and southern areas of what would become Howland Township.
With more than two centuries of agricultural, commercial and community population growth, no known virgin timber still remains within the boundaries of Howland Township. A cover of maple, beech, oak and elm trees once allowed for a plentiful supply of wood for the Ratliff Lumber Company, formerly located at the intersection of North River Road N.E. and Heaton-North Road N.E.
Our last known tree of the era of the settlement of Howland, the large oak at the corner of Mines Road S.E. and state Route 46, fell on May 10 of this year to the whine of the chainsaw. At least 264 growth rings were counted on the tree.
In the past few decades, removal of Howland's forest supply can be documented by nearly a tree-by-tree litany of certain areas of the township.
The elm trees that once have Elm Road its name fell to both Dutch Elm disease or to human saws or simply old age. The forest that once gave an area east of Mosquito Creek its name was razed first to become the Eastwood Golf Course and later was developed to become the Eastwood Mall. A strip of acreage in central Howland east of the river became the Hall Airport and then the Westwinds residential development and Howland Township Park.
The southeast acreage on the Howland Township / Vienna Township border, initially bought by the city of Warren to house Warren residents infected with influenza, instead was cleared and became the Avalon Golf Course, now often referred to as the controversial Old Avalon Golf Course.
The once Science area at Mines, east of H.C. Mines School, was sold by the Howland Board of Education and became a residential development. The arborvitae that once lined both sides of the T.B. Hospital Road, now Squires Lane N.E., were chopped down.
Most of the forests that were once part of Howland Township were developed into the lumber that provided for the progress of Howland Township. The King family planted catalpa trees that still line the south side of North River Road N.E., although they were brutally trimmed in 2012 by a utility company so as to leave the majestic trees almost barren of branches, some of which didn't survive.
All that is left of our wilderness of 1799 when Col. John Adgate's family became the first settlers of the township are the woods south of Howland Springs Road S.E. and west of Stillwagon Road S.E.; the Mosquito Creek Green Belt and Howland Township Nature Preserve along Mosquito Creek through the heart of the township; and the woods of Spring Run, north of King Graves Road N.E.
Today a lonely black walnut tree along Whispering Meadows Drive N.E. - that holds the state record for size for an Ohio tree of its species - remains as a single Howland Township tree of nationally recognized distinction.
Warner Taiclet is the president of the Howland Historical Society. He can be reached at OhioHistorian76@hotmail.com.