Side A: Joseph Peake was born in Pennsylvania in 1792 and came to Ohio in 1809 with his parents and brother. They were the first African Americans to settle permanently in the Cleveland area. He was the son of George Peake, a runaway slave from Maryland, who fought on the British side at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 during the French and Indian War. A man with some means and talent, George Peake invented a stone hand mill for grinding corn, a labor-saving device that endeared the Peakes to their neighbors in western Cuyahoga County. Joseph Peake and his wife Eleanor, an African American from Delaware, bought land in the 1840s on the Mastick Plank Road and built a home near this marker. [Continued on other side]
Side B: [Continued from other side] Peake family members were active in their community. Joseph voted in Olmsted Township elections and Eleanor was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation met in the Union House of Worship at the eastern end of Butternut Ridge Road. Northern anti-slave Methodists formed the Wesleyan Church in 1843 and four years later the Olmsted Wesleyans built their own church in the northwestern area of the township. Defying the law, Wesleyans were known to hide runaway slaves in their homes and churches. According to stories told by their neighbors, the Peakes also helped escaped slaves who were traveling from Oberlin to Cleveland. The former Wesleyan Church is preserved at Frostville.