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Wolves and Flax Image of Brandy Wine Creek in Cuyahoga Valley

Wolves and Flax


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Wolves and Flax 1802 Prior Connecticut Western Reserve Land Deed

A Story 200+ Years in the Making

Wolves and Flax is based on the Prior Family Archive and other historical publications going back more than two centuries. 


In the book Kenneth Clarke explores his family’s experience of living in the wilderness, establishing local government, welcoming fellow pioneers, and creating early industries in the Cuyahoga Valley.


Wolves and Flax pieces together a story told in snippets many times over the years by historians and family members in a definitive volume that also rewrites a short chapter in Northeast Ohio History.  

Wolves and Flax is also a story about the Plymouth Colony, the American Revolution,  and the New England towns of Duxbury, Dedham and Northampton Massachusetts, and Norwich, Connecticut.

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Bears, Wolves and Wilderness Survival

William Prior Sr. , pictured, was 19 when he left his home town of Northampton, Massachusetts and arrived in the Cuyahoga Valley wilderness in the Connecticut Western Reserve with his parents and nine siblings. His account of being a pioneer was published posthumously in 1881 in the History of Summit County by Baskin & Battey Historical Publishers: Chicago, Illinois.  


"Their meat was the flesh of deer, bears and turkeys killed in the woods; their clothing from flax grown upon the farm, worked into cloth and all of which was done by different members of the family. Linen and tow-cloth were the domestic staple products, but for winter wear buckskin moccasins, pants and jackets were used until after years when sheep could be protected from the wolves and woolen cloth was manufactured by the family." - William Prior, Sr. 

Wolves and Flax Ambrotype of Ohio Pioneer William Prior Sr. circa 1850
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Wolves and Flax Old Flouring Mill Built by William Prior Sr., Henry William Prior with old State Road Bridge in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio circa 1870

About the Author

Wolves and Flax Available

September 22, 2020

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Kenneth Clarke is the 5th Great Grandson of Simeon and Katharine Prior. Simeon and Katharine, along with their family, founded Northampton Township, now Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and started an archive, of which Kenneth is the 6th family keeper. The Prior Family Archive contains more than two centuries of family papers, documents, letters, photographs and artifacts. Kenneth and his family live on the western shoulders of the reemerging Cuyahoga Valley Wilderness.


Contact Kenneth at:

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In the News

Wolves and Flax Press & Prior News

The Day reporter Lisa Shasha covers the publication of Wolves and Flax in Simeon Prior's hometown newspaper in Norwich, CT. This is a kind of homecoming for the Priors more than 200 years after the family left New England for the Connecticut Western Reserve - amazing! July 27, 2021

Akron Beacon Journal reporter Mark Price writes about the Hansparker Juneteenth, event and how a newly discovered Prior Family Archive photo of John Hansparker with Minnie Prior came to light the day before the event.

June 18, 2021

Spectrum News  1 reporter Jennifer Conn writes about John and Emily Hansparker, freed slaves who made Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio home after the Civil War, and how photos of John in the Prior Family Archive helped make sure the Hansparkers were remembered on Juneteenth.

June 15, 2021  

Writer Kyle Cochrun's story, "'Wolves and Flax' uses a family archive to illustrate 19th-century Cuyahoga Falls," is in the March 2021 edition of The Devil Strip, Akron, Ohio's cutting edge arts and culture magazine.

February 15, 2021

Esthetic Lens Magazine interviewed "Wolves and Flax" author Kenneth Clarke about the writing of the book and tapping into creative energy during the pandemic.

December 26, 2020 reporter Anne Nickoloff includes "Wolves and Flax" in her story  "59 books by Cleveland authors released in 2020." 

December 18, 2020

The Sunday Plain Dealer ran Anne Nickoloff's story on page D2.  It is an honor to be included in the print edition of Cleveland's paper of record. 

September 27, 2020 reporter Anne Nickoloff does an amazing job capturing the story of Wolves and Flax in her article.

September 24, 2020

Akron Beacon Journal Book Editor Barbara McIntyre's piece about Wolves and Flax. 

September 20, 2020

Bath Country Journal published a story about the historic connection between Bath Township and Northampton Township, using Wolves and Flax as its source.

June 30, 2020 reporter Maria Lindsay's story about the new Prior Family Memorial.

June 25, 2020

Akron Beacon Journal reporter Mark Price's story about the new Prior family Memorial.

June 22, 2020

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Book Info

Copyright © 2020 by Kenneth Clarke

All rights reserved. Published in the Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio


Book design by Kenneth Clarke

All photographs published in Wolves and Flax © Prior Family Archive

Jacket Design by Kenneth Clarke

Jacket Photograph: Brandywine Creek Below Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 2020 © Kenneth Clarke

Hard Cover, Digest (5.5 x 8.5 in / 140 x 216 mm), 94 Pages, Color Standard, 60# (90 GSM) White Paper, Linen Wrap, Matte Cover




Names: Clarke, Kenneth, author

Title: Wolves and Flax: The Prior Family in the Cuyahoga Valley Wilderness

By: Kenneth Clarke

Description: First edition | Ohio: Publisher imprint:

Identifiers: LCCN 2020915665 | ISBN 9781716667909 (hardcover)

Classification: LCC F486.500.C53754 2020

LCSH: 1. Western Reserve (Ohio). 2. Cuyahoga Valley (Ohio). 3. United States – History – Revolution, 1775-1783 – Personal narratives. 4. Frontier and Pioneer Life.

5. Ohio – History – 1787-1865. 6. Ohio – History – 1865 –. 7. Family archives.


Manufactured in the United States of America


This first edition of Wolves and Flax: The Prior Family in the Cuyahoga Valley Wilderness was proceeded by a limited edition of 10 numbered copies. 

Wolves and Flax is available directly through its publishing imprint as as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram. 

Wolves and Flax: The Priors in the Cuyahoga Valley Wilderness Jacket
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