Sleigh Ride Competition (1855-56)

Falling snow in the winter of 1855-1856 provided the citizens of Cuyahoga, Summit and Medina counties with about 100 days of continuous sledding. The friendly competition began in February of 1855 when the people of Solon Township organized a sleigh ride using seven four-horse teams. The sleighs’ destination? Akron, Ohio. The Solon team decorated a cotton flag with stars and stripes and a symbol of their own making, the bold profile of a thumb to the nose with fingers extended.

Their message was clear – an invitation to the people of other townships to take the flag if they could muster a large enough party. The township of Twinsburg rose to the challenge. Their team mustered fourteen four-horse sleds and did the deed gracefully. But the people of Royalton wanted the flag returned to their county. So they rallied 38 four-horse teams, and the flag was soon surrendered to them. When the Medina delegation captured the flag for their own county, Akron welcomed them with bells, a cannon, and uproarious cheers.

A county delegation met at Richfield on March 14, 1856. Medina had 144 four-horse teams, Cuyahoga had 151, and Summit 171, each containing an average of 14 persons. Single sleds were also in attendance in large numbers. The affair was a celebration complete with brass bands and banners. At last the flag was presented to the delegation by President Pierce of Hudson College. Songs and refreshments followed, a great time for all.

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