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History & Genealogy

A History of the County; Its Townships, Towns, Churches,
Schools, Etc.; General and Local Statistics; Military
Record; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent
Men; History of the Northwest Territory;
History of Ohio; Miscellaneous
Matters, Etc., Etc.
Publ. Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co.


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     The first to penetrate the forests of Blanchard and to make a permanent settlement here was David H. Edgar, who was born in Beaver County, Penn, Sept. 8, 1800, and who in 1814, with his father, Joseph Edgar, and his family came to Holmes County, Ohio, where the parents died.  In June, 1830, David left Holmes County, and came to this county and entered eighty acres of land on the northeast quarter of Section 13, in Blanchard Township.  There were then three families who had settled on the Blanchard in Jackson Township, viz., James E. Hueston, Joseph Bates
and Daniel Hamblin, the first mentioned being his nearest neighbor - a distance of five miles.  In the following winter, Mr. Edgar taught a subscription school, for the above-mentioned families, in an old log cabin on the Hueston farm, formerly occupied by him as a dwelling, but which he had previously vacated. This was the first school ever taught in the north part of Hardin County.  In March, 1831, Mr. Edgar was united in marriage with one of his scholars - Miss Azuba Hamblin.  During this year, he

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farmed the place belonging to the heirs of D. Hamblin, and, in the spring of 1832 he located in his own cabin, on the eighty acres he had entered in 1830, and here commenced the struggle of life.  In January, 1834, was born to them a daughter, the first child born in Blanchard Township.  Mr. Edgar says that at the time of this occurrence, there were but three women in the three townships of Jackson, Blanchard and Washington, and those three were present, and took charge of affairs on this occasion.  His cabin had been “chinked and daubed,” and with some deer skins tacked over the crevices in the walls, and others laid upon the floor, made the cabin as comfortable as possible for the occasion, occurring, as it did, in midwinter.  But all things passed off well, and Mr. Edgar says that on no similar occasion since, with a warm and comfortable house, and the attendance of a skillful physician, have they ever passed through the ordeal more successfully than on that first occasion in the rude and cold log cabin, with the three neighbor women in attendance.  He thinks that many in the fashionable society of to-day, with their fine houses and comforts, could they have looked in upon that scene in that rude, rough cabin, would have pronounced it death to both mother and child!
     Here, in the dense forest, Mr. Edgar passed through all the trying scenes and hardships of pioneer life; cleared up his land, erected good buildings and obtained, by his labor and industry, a good farm with good improvements.  He has filled most of the important offices of his township, having served as Trustee many years, as Treasurer fourteen years, and as a Justice of the Peace twenty-five years; and to him, perhaps more than any one person, the community owes a debt of gratitude for the noble pioneer work he has performed, and the aid he has given in the organization of the civil and religious institutions of the township.  His wife died, June 11, 1867, aged fifty-four years.  They raised a family of seven children, all grown to maturity, and are engaged in the active spheres of life.  After the death of his wife, he retired from the active scenes of life, and has since resided with his children.  After the incorporation of the town of Dunkirk, Mr. Edgar served as its Mayor two years.  He is now in his eighty-third year, and is still able to walk about town and among his children with the aid of his crutches, and seems to enjoy life well, is very cheerful and happy, and delights in thinking of and relating the incidents of his early life - of their hardships and their peculiar habits and modes of living.

     Levi Bodley was the second settler who located here.  He was a native of the State of New York, but emigrated with his parents to Richland County, Ohio, in 1816, where they died.  There Mr. Bodley grew to manhood and married Rebecca Dubois, and, in August, 1833, came to Hardin County and settled on the west half of the north east quarter of Section 18, where he resided until about 1856-57, when he removed to Iowa. In April, 1834, his wife died, and he subsequently married Rebecca B. Davis.  He raised a large family of children.  By his first wife were Esther Ann, Elisha, Mathew and Sarah.  By his second wife, he had Charles, Eliza Jane, William, Joseph, John and Ann.  Of these, Mathew, Elisha and John died in the army, in the war of the rebellion.  The balance of the children are all in the West.  Mr. Bodley sustained an unblemished character, was a good neighbor and a worthy citizen.

     William McKelvey, a native of Pennsylvania, became an early settler of Richland County, Ohio, where he married, and, in June, 1835, he removed to this township and settled on Section 7, but resided here only a few years, and removed to Huron County, Ohio, where he died.

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     John R. Davis came here from Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1836, and settled on Section 17.  The following December, his horse strayed away, and he started to track him in the snow through the wilderness toward Marseilles, about twenty miles distant; but the snow melting away, he lost the trail, and never returned, but was subsequently found frozen to death on the ground in the woods.  His family remained several years, then sold their place, but some of the children are still residents in other portions of the county.

     Robert Wiles, a native of the State of New York, settled here on Section 5, in 1836.  He wastwice married; first, in New York, to Miss Lydia Squires; she died Aug. 7, 1847, aged fifty-three years.  He married again, but again survived his second wife, who died Dec. 7, 1857.  He died Apr. 17, 1859, aged sixty-six years.  He was the father of the following children:  William, Robert, Eunice, Seba and Alfred (twins), Edward, Russell and Elizabeth; all of whom have removed to the West, except William S., who still resides here, and in the early history of the township was a substantial and valued citizen, and filled many of the offices of the township.

     Renatus Gum was born in the State of Delaware, Sept. 18, 1817, and with his father and family came to Knox County, Ohio, near Danville.  In 1838, they removed to Washington township, this county, where they settled north of Hog Creek Marsh.  Mr. Gum erected the first cabin in Dunkirk, which was of hewed logs, about 1851, just south of the railroad.  He also opened the first store in this village.  He is still a resident of the town.

     John Fry, with his father, Enoch Fry, came here from Coshocton County, in the fall of 1834, and settled on Section 19, where they lived only a short time, both dying of milk sickness.  John married Mary Mowrey, in this township except George, who now resides in Oregon.

     George Mowrey came here from Knox County, Ohio, in the spring of 1835, and settled on Section 18, where he died about 1844, after which his family all moved away.

     Joseph B. Smith came here from Clinton County, Ohio, in 1838, and settled in Section 7, near where the grist mill now stands in Dunkirk.  He died here in 1852-53.  Mr. Smith was one among
Jackson Township’s best citizens; prompt in all his dealings, enterprising and giving his aid and assistance to all improvements and the general good of the community.  He married Elizabeth Fleming, by whom he had the following children: Nancy, John, James and Elizabeth.  His wife died and he married again, and by his second wife had three children.  He subsequently moved away.







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In 1881, James Fleming and James Rush erected a saw mill on Section 19, and are doing a large business.











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     Blanchard River Disciple Church

     Harris Chapel Methodist Eposcopal Church -

     Blanchard Christian Church

     Seventh Day Advent Church

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P. H. Hisey

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Wesleyan Methodist Church -

     German Baptist Church of Dunkirk -

     United Brethren Church, Dunkirk -


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     Methodist Episcopal Church, Dunkirk -


     Catholic Church * -






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