Founded in 1820 by Peter Penfield and Calvin Spencer, both from the State of New York, the township today has 25 Square miles containing 14,080 acres and is the only Penfield Township statewide. 60% of the usable land is devoted to Agriculture (mostly row crops) while 30% contains woodland and 10% is rural residential.
Township 3, Range 17, became by the original drawing, the property of Caleb Atwater who paid the Connecticut Land Company 25 cents an acre or about $4,000. He deeded the land to his six daughters in equal section that were put on the market when the original settlers came.
In 1818, Peter Penfield and Calvin Spencer came from eastern New York and found the land suitable for settling. In the fall of the following year, Penfield returned with his son, Alonson and selected land. The 1820 census reveals one family of two persons, that of Alonson Penfield. The following year, Peter and his nephew, Lathrop Penfield, returned. They had to cut their way through the woods that was a wilderness that stretched from Elyria to Harrisville (Lodi) and from Medina to Wellington. For 30 days they cleared the forest to open the road to Butternut Ridge Road, with no remuneration.
The first election was held in April 1825 with Truman Penfield as Clerk. The first mail was delivered by foot and deposited in a hollow tree at the river crossing (thought to be Indian Hollow and Rt. 18). This was the first post office in the Township. The first road was known as the River Road, going from Spencer and Homer, known as Foster Road. Friendly Wyandot Indians lived in the Township and disappeared 10-12 years after the settlers came.
Early business conducted in the Township included:
Putting in a plank sidewalk two miles east and west and one mile north and south of the center.
Buying the Baptist Church in 1910, blacksmith shop, and store. The church was later named the Society Hall (torn down in 2004).
Setting aside a parcel of land at the intersection “for a resting place for the weary traveler.”
Putting a $30,000 bond issue on the ballot for roads in 1913. Results were a vote of 128 yes, two no. In 1917, slag was put on the west center road from Penfield to the town line. In 1919, a new road was put in made of slag east of center to met Litchfield. In 1925, Peck Wadsworth Road was cindered for one mile from North Center Street. In 1926, the Jones-Sooy Road was cindered. In 1927, Webster Road was cindered jointly with LaGrange Township. In 1934, Smith Road slag was shared by Penfield Township, Spencer Township, Lorain County, and Medina County. The 1913 bond issue is the only time on record that the Township Trustees asked for money for the township. The small park at the intersection was taken over by the State of Ohio in the 1930s. Rest rooms, picnic tables, grills, and a swing set were installed. In the early 1990s, it was abandoned by the State of Ohio and the Township took over the maintenance.
The Izaak Walton League received rezoning to have their club grounds on Foster Road. In 1980, the Trustees purchased 9.34 acres for the Recreation Park for $42,000. An off shore drilling grant for development of the park was received in the amount of $170,911. Several other grants were received ranging from $100 to $3,000. Another ODNR grant was received later to purchase and additional two acres next to the park.
In 1992, a Solid Waste grant of $5,000 was received from the County. Another grant of $67,800 was received from the same source for the erection of a recycling building which was a matching funds grant. Another grant from ODNR in the amount of $30,008 would serve as the match and be used for recycling equipment and recycled plastic picnic tables and benches. The building was opened on May 26, 1993 with Earth Day activities.