The History of Milan, Ohio

The Place Where It All Began...Part Two
The Homer & Marion Page Farm
Beautiful hills of Milan ...I long to see you once more  (Marion Edison Page)

After the Abbott pioneer days of settling the land and starting river traffic, it was time to develop this land for farming. In 1851, the already successful farmer Homer Page fell in love with Marion Edison (the sister of the famous Thomas Edison) and they were married in the Edison family home in Milan. In 1854, with the canal traffic slowing down, the Edison family moved away from Milan, but Homer and Marion had their roots in this community and in 1861 they purchased the well known Rose Hall home along with 205 acres on the west side of the Huron river from the Abbott family. Locals will be familiar with the Homer Page barn shown above which is still standing (located on Mason Road across from Rose Hall) and which is dated 1861 on the front of the barn. This date is not when the barn was built which was probably closer to 1823, but rather the date that Page actually bought the farm.

It is noteworthy that Marion Edison Page was in a position to help the Village of Milan during the last quarter of the 1800's. To understand this, we need to know that when she was growing up in the Edison home, which overlooked the town basin and shipbuilding warehouses, she had a perfect view of the economic boom that was driving Milan at that time. And, she also had a brother who would change the world with his inventions. Given that background, she was in a unique position on the Page farm to both help the ship traffic on the Huron River when the canal closed and support the town of Milan by investing to make certain that the Edison birthplace would be intact for generations.

In the winter of 1868 the  Huron River dam, which supplied the water to the Milan Canal, broke and the canal was closed. Valentine Fries, who was a master shipbuilder and successful businessman in Milan,  made a strategic decision to move all of his business to the Page Farm to take over the old Abbottsford. Both Homer and Marion Page knew how important that business was to Milan and they didn't hesitate to lease part of their land beside the Huron River to Valentine Fries when he could no longer use the Milan Canal. To find more about Fries Shipbuilding, check out the page which follows.

While Marion was supporting the shipping business and the town, Homer was also busy farming the land and founding the Friends Church on Page Corners along with Valentine Fries and John Everingham in 1879.

During this time, Thomas Alva Edison was becoming famous for his many inventions that affected almost everyone in this country, if not the world. He often wrote to Marion and in one letter he described how much he missed the beautiful hills of Milan, which inspired Marion to write a poem about the Milan that she and her brother fondly remembered when growing up in the town:

Beautiful hills of Milan
I long to see you once more
To tread on thy grassy carpet
As I did in the days of yore
  Beautiful hills of Milan
How oft in my dreams I see
The father, the mother, the loved ones
That enjoyed they beauties with me
Beautiful hills of Milan
Where I was so happy and free
With my brothers and sisters far away
In the land beyond life's sea
  Beautiful hills of Milan
Would I could see you again
It would be sweeter to me than gold
Or my name on the roll of fame
 

In 1894, to preserve the family history in Milan, Marion Page bought the Edison family home and gave it to her daughter Belle as a wedding present.

During 1896 and again in 1923, Thomas Alva Edison visited or stayed at Rose Hall during his visits to Milan. Eventually, he purchased the Edison Home and today it is Milan's most historic attraction.

The Homer & Marion Page Timeline

1851 - Marion Wallace Edison (Tom's sister) at age 19, married Homer Page whose age was 22.

1854 - The Edison family moves to Port Huron, Michigan.

1861 - Homer Page bought Rose Hall and 205 acres of Abbott land from the Abbott family and the area became known as Page's Corners being Mason Road and Rt.13.

1864 - Last ship registered on the canal.

?1866 - Last ship build in Milan - The Mystic

1879 - Page, Fries & John Everingham founded Friends Church at Page's Corners.

1882 - Nickel Plate RR crossed through the south part of the farm.

1887 - Flood with the water raising six foot above the bridge.

1894 - Marion Edison Page purchased the Edison home in Milan and gave it to her daughter Belle as a wedding present.

In 1851, Marion Edison at age 19, married Homer Page at age 22. They were married in the sitting parlor in the Edison home in Milan.

In 1896, Thomas Alva Edison (on the right) shown with his sister Marion Edison Page visited Milan to attend the funeral of Samuel Edison.

 

1896 - Thomas Edison stayed the night at Rose Hall on  March 4th.

1897 - Homer Page died at home on October 11th at 71 years old and is buried at Milan Cemetery.

1900 - Marion Page died on January 31st. at age 68 and she is buried at Milan Cemetery.

1906 - Belle Page Ristine sold the Edison home to her uncle, Thomas Alva Edison.

1923 - On August 10th., Thomas Edison visited Rose Hall with Henry Ford & Harvey Firestone. At that time, the Page property was owned by Belle and George Ristine.

1969 - Mason Road Bridge washed away on July 4th.

 

The Abbott Family 1809-1860

The Page Family 1861-1900

1810-1822 1823-1854 1861-1900
David & Mary Abbott Benjamin & Lorena Abbott Homer & Marion Page
 

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Abbott Family - Homer Page Family - Valentine Fries - The Wheeler Farm

 

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This Page Last Updated: 08/27/2015

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