Peter Cherry was dedicated to recording historical events. His passion for writing and recording led him to publish books, magazines, and articles in an attempt to create an increased interest in history. Although most of his writing focused on telling stories about local history, he was also committed to the education of children. Peter was a Sharon Center grade school teacher in the 1870’s and started the Young Folks Journal. Peter Cherry recognized the rapid changing time and wanted to create an account of it for future generations.
The economy was booming in the late 19th century. New inventions like the electric light, steam turbine, telephone, and automobile slowly made their debut in the small towns throughout Medina County. Although Medina County was predominantly rural, an increase in goods were becoming available due to the expansion of railroads. Labor unions gave workers an increase in income. Oil, iron ore, and coal were discovered in abundance causing the need for workers. However, this rapid rise in the economy was halted by the Panic of 1893, a deep depression that lasted from 1893-1897. This period was known as The Gilded Age (1870-1900).
This political period focused on individual rights and economic expansion. Federal acts such as the Civil Rights Act of 1870, the Homestead Act of 1862, and the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 were just a few legislative acts promoting rights, economic expansion, and free trade. Many women fought for prohibition and suffrage. This period also witnessed very close political races, large voter turnout, and corruption. Voters who supported a specific candidate were often rewarded with a government job or contract. U.S. citizens were very informed and interested in politics during this time period.
The social impact of this period included confusion with the new wealthy class. This period produced several entrepreneurs who became very wealthy. While many Americans viewed the large gap between the wealthy and the poor as inevitable and justifiable, others struggled with where they fit in society. The middle class was growing making Americans more comfortable financially. This caused confusion on how to act and who to socialize with. Many Americans felt that the wealthy received their fortune in a corrupt manner and flaunted their money over those who did not have it. Unequal distribution of wealth was an emerging controversy. Immigrants from Europe seeking greater economic and social prosperity migrated to the United States often causing discrimination. Many Americans did not think that immigrants should have the same equal rights as them since they were new to the country. Many businesses would not hire immigrants and neighbors would not accept them into their communities.