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Historical Atlas of Wood County, Ohio
publ. 1875

Weston Township

~ Page 14

     Weston Township --- Weston Township was erected in the Spring of 1830, but was not organized until the next Spring. It was first christened Ottawa, but before the first election was held the name was changed to Weston. The original boundaries of Weston Township included “so much of Range 9 as lies and is situated on the south side of the Maumee Rover, including the islands opposite, in the Maumee River”, extending from the south line of the county to the river, a strip 6 miles wide. It included the present townships of Jackson, Milton and Weston, and the western part of Washington. The first Township Election was held April 4 1831, at the house of Edward Howard. The first Board of Trustees was composed of William Pratt, Edward Howard, and Emanuel Arnold; Clerk, R A Howard; Treasurer, R M. W. Howard; Overseers of the Poor, Moses P. Morgan, James Donaldson, Fence Viewers, Wm. Laughrey, Joseph North; Supervisor, James Donaldson; Constables, Wm. Wonderly, Wm. North. The first year there was but one road district in the Township, the Supervisor of which was allowed 75 cents for his services. In 1831 the Town of Gilead was laid out by J. N. Graham.   Among the residents of this Township in 1831, and whose names have not already been mentioned, were Jacob Walters, Marhias Reams, John Gingery, Alexander Brown, Alexander Pugh, Jacon Vrom, Jacon Macklin, John Kimberlin, John Crom, Daniel Crom, Ralph O. Keeler. The last name lived in the edge of the timber adjoining the “Keeler Prairie”, and in company with, or in employ of, the Hollisters, and had a large amount of stock which was pastured on the Government Lands. Jacob Walter, father of John and Jacob, first settled on the farm now occupied by his son Jacob. John Kimberlin settled at the mouth of Beaver Creek. Alexander Brown was the first settler on the creek at any distance from the river.
     Early in the Spring of 1832 the Township was divided into 5 School Districts. The first was composed of Sections 7 and 8, and included the Town Plat of Gilead. No 2 extended south one mile further, and included the two Ranges of Sections bordering on the river, next east of the 1st District. District No 3 included the two Ranges of Sections bordering on the river below District No 2, lying between that District and the line of Perrysburg Township, and extending as far south as the 2nd District. In other words, the 3rd District comprised all that portion of Weston Township which was afterward set off to Washington. No 4, included all the territory south of No 1 to the south line of the county. No 5 comprised all south of Nos. 2 and 3. We find no record of any change of the boundaries of the original School Districts until the Spring of 1837, when it was ordered that “all that part of District No 1 lying on the east side of Beaver Creek be attached to District No 2”. In March, 1832, the Township was divided into three Road Districts: No 1 extended from the Henry County line to Beaver Creek; No 2, from Beaver Creek east to the Township line; and No 3 from the River south to the County Line. Two years later the 2nd District was divided by a north and south line coinciding with “the east line of the Lytle Farm”. At the second annual election, April 2, 1832, the first Board of Trustees, Clerk, and Treasurer were re-elected. Overseers of the Boor, Jacob Crom and Jacob Macklin; Fence Viewers, Wm. Wonderly, Samuel Vanhorn; Supervisors, R. M. W. Howard, in 1st District; Levi Felton, 2nd District; Daniel Crom, 3rd District. The Township Treasurer received 75 cents for services during the first year.
     In June, 1832, a petition was presented to the County Commissioners for a county road from Colistor Haskins’, on the Portage, and terminating at Bear Rapids, on the Maumee, where Nearing was building a mill, which place was afterward named: Otsego. The petition was signed by: Wm Bigger, R. N. Forsyth, James C. Adams, Chas O. P. Hunt, M. P. Morgan, John Crom, Sr., Benjamin Farnsworth, Epaphroditus Foote, J H Jerome, Jesse Decker, Jesse T Pugh, Jacob Bernthisel, Samuel Hamilton, Volin Winslow, Wm L. Bellinger, Bell W. Howard, George Barron, James Gray, Neptune Nearing, S. H. Wilson, Colister Haskins, and Michael Sypher. The report of the Viewers, E. Foote and Nathaniel Jennison, and the Surveyor, Ambrose Rice, was confirmed, and the road established in June, 1833.
     In the year 1833 a road was surveyed and established “starting from the river road above the mouth of Beaver Creek, on the line of Henry Kimberlin and Richard M. W. Howard, and thence the nearest and best route to the bridge over the Beaver Creek near James Donaldson’s, thence the nearest and best route to Hollister’s farm, and thence the nearest and best route to intersect the Findley Road at Mr. Haskin’s”. In the Surveyor’s Map of this road is a station marked “Hollister’s Prairie”. These roads followed old lake benches and sand ridges as nearly as possible, and are still among the best roads in the county. In running the line from the latter road, Mr. A. P. Edgerton, now of Tontogany, was the “pilot”. The first five Township Elections in Weston Township were held at the residence of Edward Howard; the 6th election was held at Andrew W. Oliver’s; the 7th at A. Hemperly’s; the 8th at Pratt and Scoville’s; the 9th at H. Scoville’s; the 10th at David A. Craft’s; the 11th (1841) at the house of Bela M. Bennett. During all this period William Pratt held the office of Township Trustee, excepting 2 years. Among his fellow members of the Board were: Edward and William Howard, John Crom , James Donaldson, Thomas Davis, Benjamin Olney, John W. Culbertson, Alva Gillett, E. W. Hedges, E. Gruber, Emanuel Arnold, and Alexander Brown. During the first five years, Robert A Howard held the Office of Township Clerk. He was succeeded by P. B. Brown, who held the office three years, and was succeeded by Thomas Davis. R. M. W. Howard, Nicholas Gee, Andrew W. Oliver and Harvey Burritt are among the names of the first Township Treasurers. The first Justices of the Peace in Weston Township were Emanuel Arnold and Alexander Brown, who received their commissions in August, 1831. Their successors during the next ten years were Robert A. Howard, Henry Kimberlin, Andrew W. Oliver, John W. Colbertson, Thomas Davis, Benjamin Olney, Rolla M. Bennett. Mr. James Donaldson states that the first Methodist Episcopal class in this Township was formed in 1834 – the “Beaver Creek” class, of six members. This was called the Gilead Mission. Leonard B. Gurley was the Presiding Elder, and the Reverend Elam Day was our minister that year. Mr. Day was succeeded by the Reverend Cyrus Brooks, and the 3rd year we were placed in Perrysburg circuit, which then embraced one-half of Wood County. The Preacher in charge was Wesley Shortis, who died at his post near Sylvania. “He was a holy man, and left many seals of his ministry, that will shine as stars in his crown of rejoicing forever”. Among those who held Township offices in Weston Township during the first ten years, were: Gabriel Guyer, Neptune Nearing, Jacob Walters, Moses P. Morgan, John Gingery, Jacob Harris, David Hedges, Samuel Dull, Lewis Bortel, Jacob Macklin, John Crom, David Harbougle, Jonathan Crom, John O. Campbell, Enoch Gruber, Asa Gilbert, William Patten, Joseph Keith, Edmund Battles, William Baker, John Ward, Hiram Scoville, Mathias Oberdorf, Joseph Kling, Alexander Pugh, Samuel Dull, Anson Owens. We give the names of some of the earliest settlers on Beaver Creek, the most of whom came in 1832 and 1833: Thomas and Samuel Junkins came in April, 1833, with their step-father, John Rice, who settled on Section 18, on the farm now owned by Philip Heirnan, where they lived about 6 months, when Mr.. Rice died. The family, consisting of their mother, 2 sisters and the 2 boys, then removed to a little house built by John Gingery, on Section 21, and owned by their uncle, John McKee, who came to the Township in 1833, and bought out Jacob Crom, who moved to what afterward was Washington Township; Henry Kerr, Joseph Cowdrick, Benjamin Olney, Jacob Harris, Samuel Dull, Samuel Van Horn, Mathias Oberdorf, Lewis Bortel and David Murdock. In addition to these, and including only those who came previous to 1835, were Gabriel Guyer, William Martin, Gideon Cornell, Andrew Foster, Hiram Wade, William Collett, P. C. Parker, Thomas Davis, Jacob Cooper, Emanuel Arnold, Joseph Keith, Robert Bamber and John Soash. The foregoing has reference to ‘Town 5”, or the north 1/3rd of the original Township which was settled from the river. But in 1834 a number of families entered land and settled in Towns 3 and 4 (now Jackson and Milton), and in the Spring of 1835 those two Towns were set up as a separate Township, called: “Milton”, which will be again referred to.
     In 1835, Gilead contained three stores, and Mr. Graham had commenced a dam and mill race, but during the following winter the dam was destroyed by a heavy freshet. The property was then purchased by J. Purdy, of Mansfield, who in 1836, built a dam across the south channel and erected a mill. About this time the Wabash and Erie Canal was being located, and a dispute arose between Purdy and the Canal Commissioners as to the right of the State to appropriate the water of the River for any purpose than that of navigation. In 1840 a dam across the north channel was completed by the state, and from the pond created by both dams the canal was supplied a few years. The Commissioners threatened to build a dam below the town of such height as would flood the grounds on which the town was built, but in consequence of the persistent opposition of Purdy and other property owners of the town and vicinity, that plan was abandoned, and a dam was built above the town. In 1848 the State made an appropriation to build a race from the State dam down to Purdy’s race, but it was not completed until 1871. During this long period of litigation with the State, Gilead lost the benefits of canal navigation, to which she was justly entitled, and to a large extent, the benefit of the splendid water-power which its early settlers had depended on. By the time these troubles were overcome, the canal had outlived its usefulness, and the Dayton and Michigan Railroad had been the means of starting a number of prosperous towns in the interior of the county. Gilead was incorporated and the name changed to: Grand Rapids, in 1856. Weston, a village which has sprung up since the building of the Dayton and Michigan Railroad, is a station on that road, in this Township, near the Milton Township line, and at the crossing of the Mansfield and Coldwater Railroad. It is one of the most thriving towns in the village.
Contributed By: Bob Weaver



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