In the early days, many of the settlers in Akron moved to the area from Connecticut, including Akron's founder, Simon Perkins.
Perkins, a brigadier-general during the War of 1812, was a member of the Ohio Board of Canal Commissioners. Perkins noticed the potential for a city to spring up around the highest point on the canal. He began surveying the land to planning the layout of a city he would name Akron from the Greek work “ἄκρον” meaning high point.
General Perkins son, known as “Colonel" Perkins would grow to be farmer in Akron. He built a large stone house – which still stands today, and is operated by the Akron-Summit Historical Society – and raised sheep on the land in an area which would come to be known as Mutton Hill.
The younger Perkins hired John Brown to tend to the sheep. Brown was known as a staunch abolitionist. Later, in 1859, Brown would lead his raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia in an effort to initiate an armed slave revolt.
Sojourner Truth came to town in 1851 to speak at the Women's Rights Convention at Akron's Universalist Church. She delivered her famous “Ain't I a Woman?” speech, widely regarded as of the most important abolitionist and women’s rights speeches in American history.
John R Buchtel was a farmer and businessman in Akron, helping to grow the Buckeye Mower and Reaper Company and the Akron Iron Company into successful businesses. However, Buchtel is best known for donating $31,000 in 1867 to help establish Buchtel College.
Gertrude Seiberling had a deep love of art and music. In 1887, she became a charter member of the group that would become the Tuesday Musical Club – organized to help build an appreciation for music in Akron. She performed at the White House for President William Howard Taft and she helped supplement her family's income by teaching singing lessons.
When her husband's business venture, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, become profitable she began attending Buchtel College to study architecture, gardening, and interior design. She wanted to be able to assist in building the family's new home – a 65 room Tudor-style mansion they would call, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens – when construction began in 1912.
Charles Landon Knight bought the Akron Beacon Journal Newspaper in 1903. In 1933, his son, John Shively inherited the paper. He and his brother, James Landon, built the business into the largest newspaper chain in the country at the time - Knight Ridder.
In 1950 the brothers founded the John S and James L Knight Foundation – an organization that supports journalism, the arts, and the success of the cities where the brothers once published papers.