"In the waning days of 1815, the same year that the war with the British
ended, a man, his wife, and their ten children were preparing themselves,
their wagons and their team of oxen for the long trek from New York into the
Ohio wilderness. Taking the trail from Albany to Buffalo, where it connected
with the Lake Trail, the man traveled the distance walking alongside his
wagon. most of his ten children walked with him, tending to the horse tied
to the back of the wagon. Oftentimes his wife would walk along with him,
carrying an infant child, less than one year old, while he carried another
small child. There were many stops made, to rest the animals and tend to the
injuries of man and woman alike.
The reasons for coming, or not coming, varied; but the inducements that
brought this man and his family to a land they had never seen were many. The
cost of the land was low, and the soil was richly fertile, there was no
slavery and a man's labor received a high price for a day's work.
It was Benejah Fay, a native of Massachusetts, who came with his wife, Ruth
Wilcox Fay and ten children from Lewis County, New York and first settled on
a division of the Western Reserve known as Township 6, Range 13. The year
was 1816. The purchase of Township 6 had been acquired by various
proprietors, Tuckerman, Cheny, Ely, Blake, and others. the Fay family were
the first settlers in the Township, locating themselves on the Blake Tract.
Fay quickly started the task of clearing the land and with his three oldest
sons, Asa 15, Joseph Mason 11, and benejah Jr. 10, he built a cabin. The new
land had earned the ignoble name of Greenbrier after a thorny, climbing
shrub which produces small greenish flowers. . . .
Being the first settlers in Parma held no particular significance however,
for Ruth and Benejah Fay. It was probably some time later before they even
realized the fact. The land was still wild, and their chores each day
started before dawn and lasted well into the night. What is more important
than being first, is the matter of what they did after they arrived here.
They had to survive and they did.
When the Fay family arrived, Benejah Fay had to cut a road through the woods
to his land. The present site of his first settlement is now Theota Avenue
at the intersection of Pearl and Ridge Roads.
Fay was a merchant, not a farmer, and his eye for business soon saw an
opportunity. His property fronted a wagon trail leading to Medina and
Columbus. In 1819 as the road was now becoming wel traveled, he opened a
tavern. It was actually a "double log house", with logs fifteen feet long.
The cabin itself was 7 feet high. A remarkable construction accomplishment
for three boys and a man. He designed it as an inn with loft sleeping
quarters for travelers and primitive accommodations for their horses or
oxen. The double log cabin was chinked with clay and had a fireplace, spoken
of with proud grandiloquence as being large enough for a man to stand in.
The location of Benejah Fay's land, plus the large, warm, welcoming
fireplace of B. Fay's Inn, made his place a famous landmark for many years.
Fay's foresight was further rewarded when in the summer of the following
year, 1820, the first stagecoach lines were started on the route between
Cleveland and Columbus.
. . .Fay's Inn was the first tavern south of Cleveland on the Columbus Road
and quickly became a favorite stopping place for meals, lodging, and
spirits. It also earned the distinction of being Parma's first business
Another first for Ruth and Ben Fay came in the same year as the arrival of
the first stagecoach line in Parma, although this new arrival did not come
by coach. On January 26, 1820 Mabel Fay was born to Parma's first settlers
and upon her arrival she earned the honorary distinction of being the first
child born in the township.
Soon freight wagons and mail lines were running to Columbus and as B. Fay's
Inn prospered, in 1826 Benejah Fay replaced the log house with a frame
structure. In 1832 he replaced the wooden structure with a brick one which
also became the first brick house in the Parma Township.
Benejah Fay served two terms as a town trustee, 1827 and 1828, and four
terms as the township Treasurer - 1831, 1832, 1833, and 1834. Fay was born
on July 28, 1773 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Ruth Wilcox Fay was also born
there in the year 1781. Ruth Fay died in 1831 and a year later Benejah
married Rhoda Roads. There were no children recorded from the second
Jeremiah Wilcox Fay, born in Parma in 1822, was the grandfather of Dr.
Dudley Fay. Dr Fay presently resides on Vista Lane in Parma."