| 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
The few settlers
then residing in this vicinity suffered severely upon the
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
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
days, though, to allay the fears, as the report was plainly
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
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
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,
LAW AND MEDICINE.
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
THE PIONEER ASSOCIATION.
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.
FORT MIAMI, NEAR MAUMEE, AS IT APPEARS TODAY (1917)
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.
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.