Simon Perkins was an early settler of the Western Reserve of Connecticut in what would become northeast Ohio. Over a long and active life, he would become involved in many of the most important economic and political events of his time.
Simon Perkins was born on September 17, 1771, in Norwich, Connecticut. As a young man, he moved to Oswego, New York, and became involved in real estate speculation. By 1798, he had become a member of the Erie Land Company. In 1798, he visited the Connecticut Western Reserve and helped survey the Erie Land Company's property. He proved to be such a valuable help to the organization that the company placed him in complete control of its lands in the Western Reserve. Perkins personally acquired a lot of land over the next several years. In 1815, his land tax alone accounted for one-seventh of the entire land tax collected in Ohio.
Perkins also became involved in local government. He became the first postmaster in the Connecticut Western Reserve. In 1807, Perkins established a mail route to Detroit by negotiating a treaty with Native Americans along the way. The natives agreed to cede a strip of land one mile wide between the Western Reserve and Detroit.
In 1808, Perkins became a brigadier-general in the Ohio militia. He played an active part in the War of 1812, including defending the northwestern portion of Ohio from native and British attack following General William Hull's surrender of Detroit in the fall of 1812.
After the war, Perkins served as president of the Western Reserve Bank for twenty-three years. From 1826 to 1833, he was a member of the Ohio Board of Canal Commissioners. His principal job on the board was to raise funds for canal building by selling state bonds. He also helped survey the city of Akron in 1825. Perkins died on November 19, 1844, at his home in Warren, Ohio.