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They were joined by John's brother George and their father Jacob Haymaker and their families early the next year, and built a gristmill in 1807.

Initial growth in the area was slow, but eventually two small villages would develop due to the potential for power generated by the Cuyahoga River that could be used in gristmills and manufacturing.

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Later development came in the 1830s and 1840s as a result of the settlement's position along the route of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal.

Leading up to the American Civil War, Franklin Mills was noted for its activity in the Underground Railroad.

A lock and attached arch dam, however, was completed in 1836.

In the era leading up to the American Civil War, Franklin Mills was an active stop on the Underground Railroad, giving fugitive slaves shelter on their escape to Canada.

The first village, known as Franklin Mills, or locally as the "Lower Village", developed mostly around the original Haymaker property.