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History & Genealogy

A. History of Northwestern Ohio
A Narrative of Its Historical Progress and Development
from the First European Exploration of the Maumee and
Sandusky Valleys and the Adjacent Shores of
Lake Erie, down to the Present Time
by Nevin O. Winter, Litt. D.
Assisted by a Board of Advisory and Contributing Editors
Vol. I
Published by
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York



Page 475

     Although civil government for the territory now comprised within Lucas County nominally began with the organization of the County of Wayne, 1796, as a matter of fact there was practically no civil administration until the extinguishment of the Indian titles a score of years later.  With the exception of the two reservations of six miles square and twelve miles square, the title all rested with the aborigines.  For that reason it was not subject to the sway of white officials.
     The first officer exercising a real civil authority in Lucas County, and, in fact, in the entire Maumee Valley, was Amos Spafford, collector of customs for the District of Miami, who was appointed by President Madison in 1810.  The collector's office was at Maumee, and the Government should certainly have ordered an official investigation of his expense account for the year 1814.  His rent for office amounted to $10; his fuel and stationary cost $15.75; and his fees were $2.50, a total charge to the Government for that year of $28.25.  The first postoffice established between the River Raisin (Monroe, Michigan) and Lower Sandusky (Fremont), and between the Maumee Bay and the present City of Chicago, was located at Maumee, immediately opposite Fort Meigs, which was built subsequently. Amos Spafford was likewise the first postmaster, and his commission bore the date of June 9, 1810.  In 1816 Almon Gibbs was the postmaster at that point, and his pay for that year was the munificent sum of $14.28.  Official positions could not have been in great demand in that day, unless honor meant more
than enrichment.


     The few settlers then residing in this vicinity suffered severely upon the breaking out
of the War of 1812 from the Indian depredations, and after the close of that war they
presented claims to the Government for such losses.  Among the items for which compensation was asked was one from James Carlin of $110 for a cabin which was burned, $58 for a blacksmith shop burned, and $30 for a two-year-old colt, which had been taken by the Wyandot Indians.  Oliver Armstrong also claimed $60 for a horse stolen from him.  Besides these bills, there were losses for barns, outhouses, clothing, and crops that had been burned.  In all, the claims of these settlers aggregated between $4,000 and $5,000.  After a considerable delay the damages were at last awarded the claimants.   Some of the claims were for property seized by United States troops for their necessities. 
Most of the settlers were driven from this neighborhood and remained away until the
close of hostilities.  When they returned everything had been destroyed, and they were obliged to begin life over again.  For building material they greedily seized upon the few hulks of the transports that had been employed by the Government, as well as the pickets and the blockhouses at Fort Meigs.  The struggle for the possession of these became active and somewhat bitter.  It was finally ended by an incendiary who applied a torch at night to the fort, by which the buildings were almost entirely destroyed.  As a result, the destitute settlers were obliged to go to

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the forest for their building material, with no other weapon than the axe for providing their
     The first known white settlers in Lucas County, and, for that matter, in the Maumee Valley, were Gabriel Godfrey and Jean Baptiste Beaugrand, who established a trading post at the foot of the Maumee Rapids about 1790.  A number of other French settlers came here from Monroe not long afterwards.  Col. John Anderson engaged in business as a trader and farmer in the vicinity of Fort Miami in 1806.  Others locating there about that time were Andrew and William Race, three families named Ewing, and William Carter.  When James Carlin, a blacksmith, and his son.  Squire, settled here about 1807,there were probably six American families living near the Maumee Rapids.  David Hull resided at Maumee, where he kept a tavern with the aid of his sister.  Near the mouth of the Maumee River, and opposite Manhattan, a small French settlement was established about that same year near a village of the Ottawa Indians, which had existed for a long time.  By the opening of the War of 1812, more than sixty families of Caucasian
blood had settled in this vicinity.
     Peter Manor was a representative of the French trader, and came to Maumee about 1812.  He opened up a trading house within the present village, and began to trade with the various Indians along the lower Maumee.  The site of his store was on the trail always traveled by them up and down the river, and to Detroit.  On more than one occasion during the War of 1812 he showed his friendship for the white settlers living on both sides of the river.  In one instance, elsewhere mentioned, he saved many lives by warning of a visitation of the Pottawatomies, who were on the war path.  In saving the lives of others, he lost his own buildings and crops, because the Indians rightfully believed that he had warned the other whites, and thus prevented

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days, though, to allay the fears, as the report was plainly false."
     James Thomas was one of the early adventurers who reached this county as early as 1817.  He walked from Brighton, New York, to the Maumee, the journey requiring fifteen days of hard travel.  Few would attempt such an undertaking today over our splendid roads.  There was at that time no improved highway west of Buffalo, and no kind of a road other than a rude trail for much of the distance.  There was only one house standing between Lower Sandusky and the Maumee River, and that was a log shanty along the Portage River.  It was used only by an arrangement with the carrier who transported the mail between Lower Sandusky and Toledo.  Seneca Allen and his family came here in 1816 and located near Waterville, where Mr. Allen opened a small trading post for the Indians.  A few years later they removed down to Orleans of the North (Fort Meigs), where there were then about a half dozen families.  At a still later date they migrated to Port Lawrence.
     Upon the conclusion of the treaty at the foot of the Rapids of the Maumee in 1817, the County of Logan was formally organized.

A Quiet Reach of the Maumee

with its seat of justice at Bellefontaine.  At the same time there was created the Township of Waynesfield, the first civil township formed north of the Maumee River.  It was named in honor of General Wayne, and the designation included the "field" wherein he had achieved his memorable victory.  It embraced a soil filled with historic interest, and saturated with the blood of the early defenders of the nation. At first this township was included within Logan County, but it afterwards passed to Wood, and then to Lucas.  Thus it has been a civil division of three counties.  A number of changes have been made in its boundaries, but it has never ceased to exist as a separate organization.  It is now co-extensive with the Village of Maumee.  In 1820 a number of counties were formed out of Logan County, including the County of Wood, within which was the greater part of the present Lucas County.
     The first court to convene in the valley of the Maumee was held at Maumee City on May 3, 1820, and that place became the temporary seat of justice. This court was composed of the President Judge George Todd (father of Governor David Todd), and the as

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sociate judges were Dr. Horatio Conant, Peter G. Oliver, and Samuel Vance.  For the grand jury it required a goodly share of the inhabitants.  The first session of the Board of Commissioners of Wood County assembled on April 12th, in Almon Gibb 's store building in Maumee.  The commissioners were Samuel H. Ewing, David Hubbell, and John Pray.  The commissioners appointed William Pratt as county treasurer.  C. G. McCurdy was then the prosecuting attorney, and Seneca Allen was county auditor.  Mr. Gibbs was paid $40 for the use of his store for one year.  On Mar. 19, 1823, the county seat was removed from Maumee to Perrysburg, and the commissioners met at that place on Mar. 19, 1823, for the purpose of preparing suitable county buildings.  Several new townships were organized, and the claim of Mars Nearing for erecting the new courthouse at Perrysburg was allowed.  The population of the County of Wood at this time was less than 1,000, which is proof that the county was very thinly settled.

Old Lucas County Court House at Maumee

     Port Lawrence Township, which at that time included about one-half of the present Lucas County, was organized as a township of Monroe County, Michigan, on May 27, 1827.  It embraced two road districts.  An interesting item of the history of this period is that Benjamin F. Stickney who figures so conspicuously in our early history, held the honorable position of pound master.  Noal A. Whitney was assessor, while John Walworth and Colman I. Keeler were overseers of the poor.   At the first township election,

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     The first newspaper published in Maumee Valley was the Miami of the Lake, which was begun at Perrysburg, Dec. 11, 1833, by Jessup W. Scott and Henry Darling.  In the following year James Irvine Browne came to Toledo under an arrangement with some local parties to conduct a newspaper.  He was a man of education and refinement, but the delays and troubles of the pioneer editor were

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     Although a desire for organized action had been manifested for many years among the survivors of the early settlers, no definite step toward the formation of a pioneer association was taken until the spring of 1864.  At that time a call was issued for a gathering of pioneers at Toledo on May 7th.  At this meeting Judge E. D. Potter was called upon to preside, and Henry Burnett was appointed secretary.  Jessup W. Scott, Sanford L. Collins, and Richard Mott were appointed a committee to prepare a constitution.  Peter Navarre, the oldest living resident of the Maumee Valley, addressed the meeting, and he was declared president.  Dr. Horatio Conant, Nathaniel B. Blinn, and Dr. Oscar White were named as vice presidents.  E. D. Potter, Samuel B. Scott, and Noah A. Whitney were selected as trustees.  J. M. Comstock was made treasurer.

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a market for the farmers in that vicinity.  It was named after Edward Whitehouse, a stockholder of the railroad, who also owned the land on which the village was located.  A sort of settlement with a church and postoffice, had gradually grown up there before the advent of rail communication.  The postoffice was established in 1858, with Alexander Walp as the postmaster.  A. J. Eldridge opened up the first store.




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of Hardy, but four years later the name was changed to Holland.  The original postoffice was kept by James Dean on the Toledo Plank Road, three miles west of the present village, in a hotel conducted by him.  Monclova, although smaller, is much older.  It dates from 1836, when Hezekiah Hubbell and O. H. Beatty undertook to plat a village.  A postoffice was established there in 1854, with Benjamin Barnes as postmaster.


     At the beginning of the War of 1812, probably 1,000 Indians lived in the neighborhood
of Providence. Here was the Village of Tondagamie, the Dog.  Providence at one time
was a lively place.  The first store was erected in 1835 by A. B. Mead, which was followed by the erection of two more business houses soon after by J. B. Abele and Neptune Nearing, respectively.  In the same year the postoffice was established, with John Berlin as postmaster.  A Mr. Phillips built the first hotel. The original plat had eighty lots and five streets.  Providence had all the evidence of commercial growth of a thriving village.  Stores, hotels, and warehouses were rapidly constructed to supply the demands of business.  It became the stopping place for traders and travelers on their way to the great West.  To accommodate these travelers as early as 1840 five hotels had been built in Providence, while four general stores did a lucrative business.  Another source of prosperity was the trade in fur and timber, found in abundance in the surrounding country.  An extensive fire in 1846 destroyed the principal business portion of the village, which never was rebuilt.  The cholera scourge of 1854 was particularly severe in Providence, a large portion of the population dying of this disease.  After this period lots began to be vacated; and today, where once was a thriving village, is nothing but farming lands.  The only structure remaining of the original buildings is a portion of a brick residence now occupied by Elias Oberly, formerly the residence of Peter Manor.
     Of all the points along the Maumee River, Providence Village had the reputation of being a very bad place, and this reputation perhaps was not undeserved.  Fights and drunken carousals were of frequent occurrence, while, if the opinion of those familiar with its history during the period of its greatest prosperity is to be believed, it was the resort of criminal classes from not only along the Maumee, but from the State of Michigan as well.


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