EARLY COUNTY HISTORY.
LUCAS COUNTY-TOPOGRAPHY---WATERCOURSES---GEOLOGY-FIRST SETTLERS---PIONEER INCIDENTS AND REMINISCENCES---FORT INDUSTRY---NUMEROUS TOWNS PROJECTED ---ORLEANS- -PERRYSBURG---MAUMEE CITY---PORT LAWRENCE-VISTULA--MANHATTAN---OREGON---MARENGO CITY---EVOLUTION AND ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY.
Lucas County as at present constituted is bounded on the north by the State of Michigan, on the east by Lake Erie and Wood County, on the south by Ottawa and Wood counties, and on the west by the counties of Henry and Fulton. It has an area of 430 square miles, and in the United States census for 1900 reported a population of 153,559, an increase of 51,263 during the preceding decade. Like many of the counties bordering on the Great Lakes, the surface is nearly flat, raising in a gradual slope from the lake shore to the western border, which is from 90 to 130 feet above the level of the sea, the greatest altitude of Lucas county is about 710 feet.
The principal water courses are the Maumee and Ottawa rivers and Swan creek. The Maumee, which forms part of the southern boundary and divides the county into two unequal triangles, has its source at Fort Wayne, Ind., where it is formed by the junction of the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's rivers. From Providence to Maumee City it falls sixty feet over limestone ledges in a series of rapids, Maumee City being the head of navigation and slack water. The Ottawa river has its source in Sylvania township, Lucas county, being formed by the confluence of Bear creek and Ten-mile creek. From its source it flows southeast, crosses the corner of Adams township and then turns toward the northeast, finally emptying into Maumee bay about four miles north of the mouth of Maumee. Swan creek rises in the southwestern part of the county and follows a course almost parallel that of the Maumee until near the western border of Adams township when it turns eastward and empties into the Maumee near the foot of Monroe street in the city of Toledo. These streams, with a number of smaller tributaries, afford fairly good drainage for that part of the county lying north, or rather northwest, of the Maumee, through in some sections artificial drainage has been resorted to with good results. On the opposite side of the Maumee most of the county lies in what is called the "Black Swamp" district, and is drained by a few small streams which flow into Lake Erie, the principal ones being the Wolf, Cedar and Crane creeks.
In the early histories and public documents pertaining to this region, the name of the Maumee appears as "The Miami of the Lake," that being the English translation of the name "Miami duc lac," as given on the old French maps. On Nov.7, 1855, a meeting of citizens was held in Toledo to consider the advisability of changing the name of the river. In a preambnle it was declared that "the early associations of the river, aided by a poet's wit, have given these and unjust and unfavorable reputation"; resolutions were adopted to the effect "that the Maumee river and the Maumee bay be hereafter known as the Grand Rapids river and the Grand Rapids bay," and the local press was requested to publish the action of the meeting; but the change was never made by the people at large. The poet alluded to in the resolution was probably the author of some rhymes that appeared in the Maumee City Express on June 24, 1837, beginning:
"On Maumee, on Maumee,
Potatoes they grow small;
They roast them in the fire
And eat them - tops and all."
At that time the ague was prevalent in the valley, especially during the autumn months, and this fact the poet touches as follows:
On Maumee, on Maumee,
"Tis Ague in the fall;
The fit will shake them so
It rocks the house and all."
But the poet's satire, if not forgotten, has lost its force, and the name "Maumee" still clings to the river along whose banks so many stirring events occurred in the closing years of the Eighteenth and opening years of the nineteenth century.
As to the geology of Lucas county, the prevailing theory is that at some period in the remote past a shallow sea of warm salt water, an extension of the Gulf of Mexico spread over the country from the Alleghany to the Rocky mountains. In Ohio the first land to emerge was in the neighborhood of Cincinnati-an island having for its foundation the Trenton limestone of the Lower Silurian area, a stone which forms the geologic floor of all Western Ohio. In succession northward and eastward, layers were built up under the water, raised above the surface, again submerged and again lifted, the most recent being the Carboniferous or coal-bearing rocks, which form the foundation of the eastern strip parallel to the southwestward course of the Ohio river. The first geological survey of Ohio, under legislative authority of the State, began in 1837 under the direction of Prof. William W. Mather, who had been an assistant on the New York survey, aided by a corps of competent assistants. This survey was abruptly terminated in 1839, before Lucas county had been reached, and no final report was ever made. On April 3, 1869, the legislature passed an act providing for a geological survey of the State, and Prof. J.S. Newberry was appointed chief, with E.B. Andrews, Edward Orton and John H. Klippart assistances. In 1881 Professor Orton was appointed State geologist by Governor Foster, reappointed by Governor Hoadly, and it was under his supervision that the survey was completed.
The geologic structure of Lucas county includes the Guelph limestone of the Niagara group, the Huron shale, the Lower Helderberg of Waterlime formation, the Hamilton group, the Utica shale, and the Corniferous or Upper Helderberg limestones.
The Guelph limestone, the uppermost division of the Niagara group, obtains its name from a locality in Canada, where it was first studied. Professor Orton says that it has a maximum thickness in Southern Ohio of 200 feet. With regard to Northern Ohio he says: "Not more than forty feet are found in its outcrops here, but the drill has shown several times this amount of Niagara limestone, without giving us all the data needed for referring the beds traversed to their proper sub divisions. What facts there are seem to point to the Guelph as the main element in this underground development of the formation in this portion of the State." Outcrops of this stone in Ottawa county, near the Lucas county line, lead to the opinion that Guelph beds underlie a considerable portion of that part of the latter county east of the Maumee river.
The Huron shale, a hard, bituminous black shale, has been found in borings in several places in Richfield township, and is believed to underlie practically all of that township, as well as Swanton and Spencer, and probably the northwest part of Providence.
Concerning the Lower Helderberg, professor Orton says: The interval that exists between the Niagara and the Devonian limestones is occupied in Ohio by a very important formation. It is filled with a series of beds, which are in part at least the equivalents of the Waterlime of New York. The name is unhappily chosen. Strictly applicable to only an insignificant fraction of the beds of this series in New York, we are still obliged to apply the designation Waterlime, with its misleading suggestions, to all deposits of the same age throughout the country. Though the last to be recognized of our several limestone formations, the Waterlime occupies a larger area in Ohio than any other, its principal developments being found in the drift-covered plains of the northwestern quarter of the State The surface of many successive layers at numerous points are covered with sun-cracks, thus furnishing proof of having been formed in shallow water near the edge of the sea. In such localities the beds are usually quite thin, and are also impure in composition. In these respects it suggests the conditions of the Onondaga salt group of New York.... It is frequently a nearly pure dolomite in composition, and accordingly it yields magnesium lime of high quality and is extensively burned in the State, rivaling in this respect the Guelph beds of the Niagara group."
In Lucas county the Waterlime is exposed at several points. It forms the bed of the Maumee river from the east line of Providence township to Maumee City; is found in the bed of Swan creek at the village of Monclova; at the quarries in the northern part of Monclova township; in Ten-mile creek in Sylvania township; on the plain near Maumee City, and at some other places. It has been used somewhat extensively in the manufacture of lime at Waterville, Maumee City and Monclova.
The Hamilton group, a Devonian subdivision, is not exposed in the county, but geologists believe that it is represented in the bed of soft gray shale outcropping in a narrow belt along the edge of the Huron shale, a belief that is strengthened by the fact that in boring for oil in the eastern part of Fulton county the Hamilton beds were found to be twenty feet in thickness.
"The Utica shale," says Professor Orton, "is a constant element in the deep wells of Northwestern Ohio. Its upper boundary is not always distinct, as the Hudson river shale that overlies it sometimes graduates into it in color and appearance; but as a rule the driller without any geological prepossessions whatever, will divide the well section in his record so as to show about 300 feet of black shale at the bottom of the column or immediately overlying the Trenton limestone."
From an economic standpoint, the Corniferous (horn-bearing) or Upper Helderberg limestone is doubtless the most important geologic formation in the county. In structure and chemical composition this stone is easily distinguishable from the rocks that lie above or below it. It is never a true dolomite, like the Waterlime and Niagara limestones, the composition of the typical lower Corniferous being nearly three-fourths carbonate of lime to one-fourth carbonate of magnesia, while the normal dolomite consists of fifty-four per cent. of the former to forty-six per cent. of the latter. In some parts of Ohio the Upper Helderberg group shows over ninety per cent. Carbonate of lime, though in the northern portion it is usually found as a very strong and pure limestone. This group is known to overlie the Waterlime at various places in Lucas county, all its members being exposed in the rocky ridge about two miles west of the village of Sylvania, where a section shows the following arrangement, from the top downward: 1. Twelve feet of soft, massive, cream and buff limestone, with fossils. 2. Twenty feet of massive, friable white sandstone or glass sand; as early as 1863 this sand was shipped to Pittsburg glass factories, where it brought from fifteen to eighteen dollars a ton. 3. Fifty-two feet of arenaceous and fine-grained gray limestone in alternate layers, a valuable stone for building purposes. 4. Fifty feet of drab limestone in beds from six to ten inches in thickness. 5. Twenty-five feet of buff limestone with white chert, in thick beds, the best building stone found in the county. 6. Six feet of dark, bluish gray limestone, abounding in fossils, but capable of being worked. Fossils occur in almost all the beds, but are most abundant in the highest and lowest. F. B. Meck, the palaeontologist of the State Geological Survey, distinguished and classified thirty-four species of invertebrates, though perfect specimens are hard to find.
During the glacial epoch, fully two-thirds of Ohio was in the track of mighty glacier. The eastern border or terminal moraine of this glacier enters the State in Mahoning county, whence it runs nearly west to Ashland county, then southwest touching the counties of Knox, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway, Ross, Highland and Brown, after which it follows the Ohio river to the western boundary. In all that part of the State north and west of this line the bedded rocks are covered with glacial drift, varying in thickness, the most important deposit of the drift being the boulder clay, in the lower portions of which are frequently large accumulations of vegetable matter, the remains of corniferous forests that occupied the county before or at the time of the drift. Glacial striae, or scratches on the bed rock show the glacier's direction. Waggoner's History of Lucas County says: "The effect produced, when the ice encountered some flint nodules in the Waterlime at Monclova village, is very interesting. Each hard nodule projects bodily from the ice-planed surface, and retains a long train or ridge of the limestone on one side. The semi-plastic ice did not at once fill the grooves curved in it by the unyielding flint, and so failed to remove the limestone immediately behind it. These trains all point in one direction (S. 60o W.) and prove that the motion of the ice was toward, and not from, that direction".
In Lucas county the drift, or superficial deposit, consists of two distinct formations---the Erie clay and the Lacustrine clay and sand. The former was deposited as the glacier retreated, and is composed chiefly of the disintegrated matter created by the friction of the glacier upon the surface of the rocks. It is generally identified by boulders, which are rarely absent from it composition. The Lacustrine deposits are strata formed in lakes, or in lakes which, from whatever cause, have now become dry land. At Toledo the Erie clay is blue and the Lacustrine yellow. Analysis of the former shows its principal ingredients to be alumina, silica, protoxide of iron, carbonate of calcium, with a trace of sulphur. The Lacustrine clay is extensively used in the manufacture of bricks.
As stated in a former chapter, a French fort was erected on the Maumee river in 1680, but was soon abandoned. The first actual settlers, so far as known, were Gabriel Godfrey and Jean Baptiste Beaugrand, who opened a trading house at the foot of the Maumee rapids about 1790. These two men were typical representatives of those hardy, adventurous French traders and voyageurs who braved the dangers of the wilderness in their desire to build up a profitable fur trade with the Indians. Other French settlers soon gathered about the trading post, among them Peltier, Momenee and La Point, who became more or less prominent in the affairs of that early day. Before the close of the century Pierre Menard-better known as Uncle Peter Manor---visited the settlement, but did not become a resident there until 1808.
According to Hosmer, the first English trader of note was Col. John Anderson, who settled at Fort Miami in 1800. In 1807 there were six American families living at Maumee, among them David Hull (a nephew of Gen. Isaac Hull), James Carlin (a blacksmith), and his son, Squire Carlin. The same year a little French settlement was founded on the east side of the Maumee, opposite where the town of Manhattan was afterward laid out. It was near to a village of Ottawa Indians, said to have been established there about the time of the Pontiac conspiracy, and the widow of Pontiac, with her son and grandson, was still living there. At this time there were in the vicinity about 8,000 Ottawas, who lived chiefly by hunting and fishing.
Uncle Pete Manor, one of the best known of the Maumee valley pioneers, entered the employ of the Northwestern Fur Company as a young man, and remained with that concern until he came to Maumee in 1808 to open a trading house of his own. Col. D.W. Howard of Fulton county, a descendant of one of the pioneer families, says that Manor's establishment was on the Indian reservation on the south bank of the Maumee, where he carried on a lucrative fur trade with various Indian tribes. On more than one occasion he proved his bravery and friendship for the white settlers. During the War of 1812, learning of a premeditated Indian attack, he notified his neighbors, who fled toward Fort Findlay, leaving him to meet the Indians alone. The savages plundered his store, destroyed his crops, burned his building, killed his cattle and took away his horses, but did not injure him or any member of his family. After the war those who had suffered by this raid petitioned the government for redress, and received pay for the property destroyed by the Indians. For some reason Uncle Pete was not asked to sign the petition---in fact, knew nothing of it for a long time afterward-and never received a cent for all his risk and loss. The Indians, however, gave him 960 acres of land at the head of the rapids, and it is on this tract that his remains lie buried. Some of his posterity still live in the Maumee valley.
Another noted pioneer was Peter Navarre, a Frenchman who won distinction as a scout of General Harrison in the war of 1812. He was born at Detroit in 1785, and was said to be the grandson of a French army officer who visited the country about the head of Lake Erie in 1745. In 1807 Peter and his brother Robert were among the French settlers at the mouth of Maumee, where he continued to claim his residence for the remainder of his life. For several years he was employed by a Detroit firm in buying furs from the Miami Indians about Fort Wayne, Ind., and while thus engaged became a friend of the celebrated war chief, Little Turtle. Peter and his three brothers-Alexis, Jacques and Robert---were with General Hull at the surrender of Detroit and were paroled with others who were captured on that occasion. Denying the right of the British officers to treat them as prisoners of war, because they were not regularly enlisted, they paid no attention to their paroles and immediately took an active part for the United States. This led the British General Proctor to offer a reward of L200 for Peter's head or scalp, but he was wary enough to avoid capture, and the reward was never claimed. As a scout he rendered valuable service, watching the movements of the enemy, bearing despatches, and guiding detachments of troops through the unbroken forests. While General Harrison was at Fort Meigs he sent Navarre with a despatch to Fort Stephenson (now Fremont), a journey of over thirty miles through the primeval wilderness. The trip was made at night, in the midst of a terrific thunderstorm, but in the face of all these difficulties the intrepid Frenchman succeeded in carrying out his mission, and the following morning delivered the reply to his commander. Because his name did not appear on a regular muster-roll, he could not receive a pension, as did the other veterans of the War of 1812, but a special act of Congress provided for his comfort in the closing years of his life. For several years prior to his death he served as president of the Maumee Valley Pioneer Association. His death occurred at East Toledo on March 20, 1874.
Early in the year 1810 President Madison appointed Amos Spafford collector of customs for the port and district of Miami. Mr. Spafford was the first person to exercise civil authority in the Maumee valley. A few weeks after his appointment, he arrived at Maumee where he established his office and entered upon his duties. His first report to the government, for the quarter ending June 30, 1810, showed the exports to have been skins and furs amounting to $5,610.85, and twenty gallons of bear's oil, valued at $30, a total of $5,640.85. Four years later (1814) the total expense to the government of maintaining this office was $28.25, distributed as follows: Fees, $2.50; office rent, $10; fuel and stationery, $15.75. A comparison of these figures with the commerce of Toledo at the present time will give the reader some idea of the great progress that has been made during the century. At the time of Mr. Spafford's arrival at Maumee, the territory from the river Raisin to Lower Sandusky (now Fremont) and from the Maumee bay to Fort Dearborn (now Chicago), was without a postoffice. In June, 1810, a postoffice was established on the left bank of the Maumee, opposite where Fort Meigs was afterward built, and Mr. Spafford was appointed postmaster, his commission being dated June 9, 1810. In 1816 Almon Gibbs was the postmaster there, his remuneration for the year having been $14.28.
During the War of 1812 the few settlers in this locality suffered severely from Indian forays, and nearly all of them were driven from their homes. After the war they returned and presented to the government a petition asking indemnity for their losses. A list of those early settlers receiving such indemnity hears the names of Amos Spafford, Samuel H. Ewing, Jesse Skinner, Richard Gifford, William Carter, Ambrose Hickox, David Hull, George Blalock, Thomas Dick, James Slason, William Peters, Andrew Race, Oliver A. Armstrong and James Carlin, most of whom located along the river about 1810. One of the largest individual claims was that of James Carlin--$110 for a cabin or dwelling; $58 for a blacksmith shop; and $30 for a colt taken by the Wyandot Indians. In rebuilding their homes after the war, the settlers took a part of their building materials from the hulks of some old government transports lying in the river, and the abandoned stockade and blockhouses of Fort Meigs. The contest for the possession of these became so animated that one night some disappointed competitor applied the torch, and what was left of the fort was almost destroyed by the flames. The only available material then at hand was in the trees of the adjacent forest, and as no sawmill had yet been built, the hardship of constructing a home from this native material can be better imagined than described.
To add to the trials of these worthy pioneers, the title to their lands became a subject of doubt. They had purchased their farms within the twelve miles square ceded by the Greenville treaty a portion of which was ceded a second time, by mistake, by the treaty of Brownstown, after the settlers had purchased their lands. Hardly had they become settled after the war, than Congress ordered a sale of the lands ceded by the Brownstown treaty. In this predicament Amos Spafford wrote to President Madison, asking that the sale be held at such time and place as would give the occupants an opportunity to perfect their title. In the course of his letter said; "Should the time not be known, or the place of sale be so remote that myself and others cannot attend, all would be lost. First, burned by the enemy; secondly, destroyed by our own army; and thirdly, sold out by an act of government, to whom we don't know. This would be the last sacrifice that we could possibly make." This appeal had its effect. The sale was held at Fort Meigs and the settlers obtained title to their lands without competition. From that time on the settlement of the country was more rapid.
In Chapter III is given a quotation concerning Fort Industry, from James P. Averill's "Condensed History of the Most Important Military Posts in the Northwest," but this old fortification is deserving of more extended notice. The fort occupied the block bounded by Jefferson, Monroe, Summit and Water streets in the city of Toledo, but there appears to be some question as to the date of its construction as well as to the identity of its builder. Mr. Averill says the fort was occupied for several years by a small garrison commanded by Lieutenant Rhea, but he does not give his authority for the statement. Waggoner's "History of Toledo and Lucas County," published in 1888, says (p.63) ; "A question having been raised as to the name of the fortification erected by the United States government at the mouth of Swan Creek about the beginning of the present century-whether it was Fort Industry or Fort Lawrence-the writer made inquiry of the war department as to the fact, when Adjt.-Gen. L. C. Drumm replied as follows: "A stockade fort was erected about the year 1800 near the mouth of Swan creek, on the Maumee river, and as near as can be determined, upon what is now Summit street, in the city of Toledo, to which was given the name of Fort Industry. It was at this fort that a treaty was held with the Indians, July 4, 1805, by which the Indian title to the Fire Lands (Huron and Erie counties) was extinguished, and at which were present Mr. Charles Jouett, United States commissioner, and chiefs of Ottawa, Chippewa, Pottawatomie, Shawanee, Muncie and Delaware Indian tribes. This office has no record of a Fort Lawrence within the limits of the State of Ohio. Fort Laurens-named in honor of the president of the Continental Congress-was built by General McIntosh, in 1778, on the west bank of the Tuscarawas river, now in Tuscarawas county, and near the town of Bolivar. This fort is by some writers spelled Lawrence, but improperly so. "
This letter settles only the question of the name, and from the statement that it "was erected about the year 1800," it would appear that the exact date is unknown to the War Department. S. S. Knabenshue, in an editorial in the Todelo Blade of Jan 24, 1903, says: "The date of its erection, by whom, and for what purpose, have never been determined. The tablet on the Monroe street side of the Fort Industry block recites the popular legend; but no historic proof of the statements has ever been found." Such are the various accounts and opinions concerning the fort. The popular belief is that it was erected by a detachment of Wayne's army soon after the battle of Fallen Timbers, which is probably correct, even though the records on the subject are not clear.
Shortly after the close of the War of 1812, new settlers began coming into the Maumee valley, a majority of them locating or seeking a location about the foot of the rapids. The preference thus shown for this particular locality made it plain to some persons of a speculative turn of mind that, as population increased, the demand for and value of land would correspondingly increase, and several towns were projected. The town of Orleans was the first to come into prominence. It was located "on the river flats," directly under Fort Meigs, and the early population consisted chiefly of French Canadians. The principal business was the fur trade, which was carried on by Gen. John E. Hunt, Robert A. Forsyth, John and Frank Hollister and Judge Wolcott, who married a daughter of the Miami chief, Little Turtle. Other leading citizens of Orleans were William Ewing, Aurora and Samuel Spafford, James Murray, General Vance, Seneca Allen and the four Wilkisons---Jacob, James, David and Samuel. Jacob Wilkison kept a tavern, which was a sort of forum for the discussion and settlement of questions appertaining to the welfare of the town.
In 1816 the United States government sent an agent to select the point best adapted for commercial purposes and lay out a town. After examining and sounding the river from the mouth to the rapids, the agent selected the high ground on the right bank, a short distance below Fort Meigs, and at the head of navigation. Before the close of the year a town was here laid out, and Josia Meigs, at that time comptroller of the treasury, gave it the name of Perrysburg, in honor of Commodore Perry, the hero of the great naval battle on Lake Erie in the war of 1812. Federal patronage gave Perrysburg a prestige over other settlements which did not enjoy this special favor, and as it waxed, Orleans, its nearest neighbor, waned. The Hollisters transferred their trading house to Perrysburg, and after that place was made the county seat of Wood county, in 1820, Orleans fell into decay.
Maumee City was laid out under the name of Maumee in 1817, by Maj. William Oliver and his associates, opposite Perrysburg and Fort Meigs. The site of the town is within the reservation of twelve miles square made by the treaty of Greenville, and only a short distance above the place where the old French fort of 1680 had been located. The fact that this point had always been a favorite spot with the Indians led the founders to believe that they could control the fur trade of this section. Maumee contributed in no small degree to the downfall of Orleans. Hunt and Forsyth removed their business to the former place and among the pioneers here in 1818 were Jonathan Gibbs, James Carlin, Dr. Horatio Conant and a Frenchman names Pelkee, all of whom were active in promoting the interests of the new town. Despite the fact that Perrysburg was fostered by the national government, Maumee City has held its own, and is still one of the thriving towns of the lower Maumee valley. The United States census report for 1900 gives the population as 1,856, the town being made coextensive with Waynesfield township. In the river between Maumee City and Perrysburg is a beautiful island of some 200 acres. Part of Wayne's battle of Fallen Timbers was fought within the limits of the town, though the action commenced near Presque Isle hill, further up the river.
The Greenville treaty reservation of twelve miles square at the foot of the Maumee rapids extended some distance below the mouth of Swan creek. Under an Act of Congress, approved April 27, 1816, the lands of the reservation were sold at public auction at Wooster, Ohio, in February, 1817. Two companies were organized for the purchase of the lands about the mouth of Swan creek. One of these companies, composed of Martin Baum, William C. Schenck, William Oliver, Jacob Burnet and others, was known as the "Baum Company," and the other, consisting of John H. and Robert Piatt, William M. Worthington and Gorham A. North, was called the "Piatt Company." The former was represented at the sale by Schenck and Oliver, and the latter by Robert Piatt. Before the commencement of the sale an agreement was reached by which the two companies, in order to avoid competition, were to purchase in common certain tracts of land. Tracts Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, on the northwest side of the river, were bid off by Robert Piatt, and tracts Nos. 86 and 87, directly opposite the mouth of Swan creek, went to Oliver, who did the bidding for his company. Soon after the sale the two companies were consolidated under the name of the Port Lawrence Company, of which Martin Baum was made agent and general manager for the purpose of laying out the town of Port Lawrence and disposing of the lots. On Aug. 14, 1817, Baum authorized Oliver and Schenck to lay out the town, and appointed Oliver his attorney to attend to the sale of lots. Under his instructions the lots were to be 60 by 120 feet in size where practicable; the main street was to be 160 feet in width; other streets from 80 to 100 feet wide: three lots, each 120 feet square, were to be set off for public uses, churches, schools, etc., and one lot 240 feet square was to be reserved for a court house and jail. Provisions were also made for a cemetery.
After the plat was laid out a sale of lots was ordered, "which, if practicable, should correspond with the time of holding the treaty with the Indians," referring to the treaty to be held at Fort Meigs on Sept. 29, 1817. Accordingly a sale was advertised for Sept. 20, 1817, the terms to be as follows: "one-fourth down; the balance in three equal annual installments, with interest from date of purchase, if not promptly paid; and if the whole amount of purchase money be not paid when the last installment becomes due, the lots to revert to the proprietors of Port Lawerence."
Oliver and Schenck, as agents of the company, reserved the right to make one bid on each lot sold or offered for sale, and under this right lots No. 223 and 224 were purchased by Oliver, on which he and Baum afterward erected a warehouse. Altogether seventy-nine lots were sold, the cash receipts amounting to $855.33. Among the purchasers were Aurora Spafford, Seneca Allen, Samuel H. Ewing, John E. Hunt, Robert A. Forsyth, B. F. Stickney of Fort Wayne, Ind., Henry I. and Mary L. Hunt of Detroit, Allen and Truman Reed, Moses Wilson of Huron county, Ohio, and Austin E. Wing of Monroe, Mich. This was the beginning of Port Lawrence, now a part of the city of Toledo.
The total cost of the 974 acres purchased from the government by the Port Lawrence company was nearly $47,000. Of this amount one-fourth was to be paid within forty days and the remainder was made payable in three equal annual installments. When the second payment fell due, in 1818, the company failed to meet it, and virtually surrendered the entire property, including improvements that had been made. After some negotiations, Congress, in 1821, agreed to take back tracts No. 1 and 2, upon which $4,817.55 had been paid, and apply $1,372.34 of that amount as the full payment for tracts No. 3,4, 86, and 87. Oliver presented a claim for $1,835.47, for services as agent, etc., and was given a mortgage on tracts No. 3, 4, 86 and 87, the mortgage to mature on Jan. 1, 1824. As it was not paid when due, Oliver, in October, 1825, instituted foreclosure proceedings in a Michigan court, which issued an order for the sale of the property. It was accordingly sold on Sept. 1, 1828, and was purchased by Oliver for $618.56. Three of the five quarter-sections of the Piatt Company were also sold about this time by order of the court, and were purchased for $241,60 by Charles Noble, who soon afterward conveyed them to Oliver. In December, 1828, Baum transferred the government certificates of tracts No. 3, 4, 86 and 87 to Oliver, who thus acquired a clear and indisputable title to the lands. Tracts No. 1and 2, which had been relinquished by the Port Lawrence Company, were selected by the University of Michigan under the act of Congress of May 20, 1826, but at Oliver's suggestion were exchanged for part of the land that had come into his possession by foreclosure of the mortgage. Subsequently he repurchased these lands from the university, and after some further negotiations with Baum's heirs became the owner of practically all of the original holdings of the Port Lawrence Company.
In the meantime, on May 27, 1827, the Michigan authorities organized Port Lawrence township as part of Monroe county. It included about one-half of the present county of Lucas and was divided into two road districts. At the first township election twenty-nine electors voted, viz: Senecca Allen, John Baldwin, John T. Baldwin, Tibbals Baldwin, Amasa Bishop, Alvin Evans, Cyrus Fisher, John G. Forbes, William Holmes, Eli Hubbard, Coleman I. Keeler, Jesse Mills, William Mills, Daniel Murray, Jacob Navarre, Henry Phillips, Joseph Prentice, Charles Richards, John Roop, William Sibley, B.F. Stickney, J. V. D. Sutphen, Amos Wait, John Walworth, Ebenezer Ward, Noah A. Whitney, Thomas P. Whitney, William Wilkerson and William Wilson. Old residents will recognize in this list the names of several men who played conspicuous parts in the early history of Lucas county. The officers elected at this time were Noah A. Whitney, John G. Forbes and Daniel Murray, assessors; J. V. D. Sutphen, clerk; John T. Baldwin, supervisor; Tibbals Baldwin, collector; John Walworth and Coleman I. Keeler, overseers of the poor; Eli Baldwin and William Wilson, commissioners of highways; John Roots and Tibbals Baldwin, constables; and Benjamin F. Stickney, pound master.
Late in the year 1832 an effort was made to revive the town of Port Lawrence. William Oliver, whose home was in Cincinnati, appointed Stephen B. Comstock as his agent, a new plat was filed, and preliminary steps were taken for the sale of lots. A few months before this was done, Maj. B. F. Stickney, one of the first purchasers of lots in Port Lawrence, lost confidence in that enterprise, and being the owner of a tract of land on the river immediately below, determined to start a town of his own. He first made an arrangement with Capt. Samuel Allen of Lockport, N.Y., by which Allen was to receive one-half of the land for making certain improvements. Allen failed to carry out his part of the agreement, and Stickney then entered into a similar arrangement with Otis Hathaway, also from Lockport. A town was laid out and named Vistula, and for a time made quite a stir as the future metropolis of the lower Maumee valley. Howe, in his "Historical Collections of Ohio," says: "In Vistula the first store was started by Mr. E. Briggs; W.J. Daniels, now a leading man, was his clerk. Soon after Flagg and Bissell opened a more extensive store of goods-probably the first good assortment for the use of white people." By arrangement with the proprietors, Lewis Godard of Detroit also started a store in Vistula, placing it in charge of Sanford L. Collins, who had been employed by Godard in Detroit.
Edward Bissell came from Lockport, N. Y., became a part owner of the land upon which Vistula was located, and being a man of great sagacity and energy, gave a great impetus to the growth of the village. He cleared the plat of timber and brush, put in docking along the river from Lagrange to Elm streets, and was otherwise active in promoting the interests of the town. In July, 1834, he began operating a sawmill on what is Summit street in the city of Toledo. A correspondent in the "Ohio and Michigan Register and Emigrant's Guide," in the latter part of the year 1832, had this to say of Vistula: "The new town * * * attracts much attention from the numerous immigrants who are seeking the most eligible site for a town on the Maumee. A considerable number of lots, according to the information obtained from Maj. B. F. Stickney, one of the proprietors, had been sold in the course of the spring and summer, and improvements of a permanent character and on a large scale engaged to be made. This Nascent village is handsomely situated on the left bank of the Maumee river about three miles from its mouth, and immediately below the site of Port Lawrence. These places will probably grow together and become one, provided my opinion shall turn out to be correct, that the great town of the Maumee shall be situated there."
The writer's opinion "turned out to be correct" probably much sooner than he anticipated, for within a very few years after the above was written Port Lawrence and Vistula both disappeared from the map and Toledo took their place.
In 1819 Governor Brown first called the attention of the Ohio legislature to question of constructing a canal to connect Lake Erie with the Ohio river. The next year three commissioners were appointed with power to employ and engineer and make a survey for a canal, the construction of which was to be dependent upon a grant of land by Congress. In 1822 four routes were surveyed: the first from Sandusky bay; the second from the mouth of the Maumee; the third from the mouth of the Cuyahoga or the Black river, in Lorain county, by way of the Muskingum river; and the fourth from the mouth of the Grand river by way of the Mahoning. James Geddes, a civil engineer of New York, made the survey and reported all four of the routes practicable, but the commissioners, in their final report recommended the "Ohio Canal," from Cleveland to Portsmouth, with a branch to Columbus. Advocates of the other routes protested against this action on the part of the commissioners. Newspapers teemed with editorials and communications on the subject; public meeting were held, and in some quarters the commissioners were charged with acting in bad faith, if not actually having accepted a bribe to recommend the Cleveland and Portsmouth route. The result of this agitation was that the commissioners, in February, 1824, directed a survey of two other routes-one from the mouth of the Scioto river to Coshocton, whence three branches led to the lake at different points, and the other from Cincinnati to the foot of the Maumee rapids.
The all absorbing question now became, "Where will the canal strike the Maumee?" Perrysburg, Maumee City and Port Lawrence were all laid out before the canal was projected, and Vistula soon became a formidable rival. Other towns that sprung up as candidates for the outlet of the canal, as well as aspirants for metropolitan honors, were Manhattan, Oregon, Austerlitz and Marengo. At first the principal contestants for the outlet were Port Lawrence, Vistula and Maumee. About the time the former two were united under the name of Toledo, some gentlemen owning a tract of land at the mouth of the Maumee river, on the northwest side, conceived the idea of building a town at that point. In October, 1835, they pooled their interests by organizing the "Maumee Land and Railroad Company," with a capital stock of $350,000. The company was composed of Stephen G. Austin, George P. and Jacob A. Barker, John W. Clark, George Coit, Horatio N. Holt, John T. Hudson, John L. Kimberly, Sheldon Townsend and Sheldon Thompson, all of Buffalo, N.Y.; George W. Card of Willoughby, Ohio, and Platt Card of Manhattan. Stephen G. Austin, John W. Clark and John T. Hudson were appointed trustees for the transaction of all business of the company, all the land lying between Vistula and the mouth of the river was purchased, the town of Manhattan was laid out thereon, and the work of improving was begun.
By the spring of 1836 docks, warehouses and commodious hotel were almost completed. As soon as the hotel was finished, it was opened for business under the management of a Mr. Patterson, and Manhattan entered the lists as an active competitor for the canal outlet. As an inducement to the people of the surrounding country to trade with the merchants of Manhattan, the company opened roads in various directions, built bridges over some of the streams, and in other ways invited patronage. When it was finally announced that the main terminus of the canal was to be at Manhattan, with branches to Toledo and Maumee, the joy of the stockholders in the Maumee Land and Railroad Company knew no bounds. On July 1, 1837, the capital stock of the company was increased to $2,000,000 and a few days later the same people organized the "East Maumee Land Company," with a capital stock $960,000, for the purpose of controlling and disposing of the land on the opposite side of the river from Manhattan. A bank and newspaper were established, and for a time it looked as though Manhattan was to be the leading city of the lower Maumee valley.
Then the reaction set in. Secure in the assurance that the outlet of the canal was to be at the mouth of the river, the company relaxed its efforts, feeling confident that Manhattan could take care of itself. One reason for this belief lay in the fact that the line of lake steamers, controlled by the Buffalo stockholders, were expected to land at Manhattan and not at Toledo. This arrangement was soon discontinued, as the owners of the vessels discovered that they would suffer greater loss by neglecting the traffic at Toledo than they would by sacrificing their dividends in the Maumee Land and Railroad Company. No sooner did the boats begin stopping at Toledo than some of the merchants at Manhattan removed there, and within a very short time a majority of the 500 population followed their example. After a precarious existence as a town for about ten years, the trustees filed in court of common pleas an application signed by two-thirds of the lot owners praying for a vacation of the town plat, and on April 24, 1848, the court granted the petition. Thus Manhattan passed into history.
In 1836 Isaac Street, Henry W. Hicks and a few others laid out a town on the right bank of the Maumee, about halfway between the mouth and the rapids. The town was named Oregon by Pierre M. Irving, a nephew of the author, Washington Irving, and was doubtless suggested by his uncle's "Astoria," which had just made its appearance and was attracting considerable attention. Like all the other towns along the river at that period, Oregon was a candidate for the canal outlet, and in addition to the advantages claimed by her competitors, added the facilities for the pork-packing business, which her proprietors argued "were even greater than those enjoyed by the city of Cincinnati." But the attractions about the mouth of Swan creek proved too great to be overcome, and Oregon succumbed to the inevitable.
Another embryo city was Marengo, located on the left bank of the river at the foot of the rocky bar, "and therefore at the virtual head of navigation." The site and prospects of the town are thus described by an enthusiastic writer, shortly after it was laid out in the spring of 1836: "About ten miles from the mouth of the river lays the military reserve. This is a plat of ground extending up and down the river about a mile and a quarter, and lying on both sides. *** The United States government would never consent to part with this portion of the public domain until this spring. It was advertised and sold at auction at Bucyrus on the 4th of April last, and immense sums of money were on the spot for purchase. An arrangement was effected between nineteen gentlemen from different part of the country, and the whole was bid off for their benefit and placed in the hands of trustees. The proprietors selected five directors, and resolved forthwith to lay out a town, which they have named Marengo; and it is expected early in June the sales will be opened by public auction, and from 300 to 500 lots disposed of in that way. It can scarcely admit of a doubt, that Marengo will in a few years become a large and densely populated city. There, it is believed, the Wabash canal will terminate, as no good reason can be discovered for its extension further down the river; and all the rich commerce of Western Ohio, the Wabash country, a large portion of Illinois, besides much on the Ohio river, must be poured out here, with all the surplus products of this proverbially luxuriant soil, seeking a northern market. Good building stone can easily be procured, as the rock bar extends into the county on each side of the river. And in conclusion, permit me to say, that I hesitate not to predict, that at no distant day Marengo will be the largest town in Western Ohio."
The nineteen men mentioned by the writer were Jams Q Adams, Norman C. Baldwin, Henry Bennett, S. B. Campbell, Elnathan Cory, Jedediah D. Cummings, David W. Deshler, Elias H. Haines, David Ladd, Joseph H. Larwell, John E. Lyon, Robert T. Lytle, Daniel B. Miller, William Neil, Christ Neiswanger, John C. Spink, Needham M. Stewart, Jesse Stone and Dwight Woodbury, who paid $40,000 for tracts No. 17 and 18 of the reservation, containing a fraction over 443 acres. They laid out about 500 lots and started out with buoyant spirits to build up the town. But sales were slow, and in August 1838, the city of Marengo was closed out by order of the court.
Other towns projected were Austerlitz, about a mile above Oregon; East Marengo, "opposite Delaware island on the north shore;" Miami City, immediately below and adjoining Maumee City; and Lucas City, opposite Manhattan at the mouth of the river, all of which presented some claims to future greatness, but all disappointed the hopes and anticipations of their founders.
The evolution of Lucas county presents one of the most interesting phases of its history, as it shows the progress of settlement and civilization in their irresistible march westward. Before becoming an independent political organization, Lucas was successively a part of Hamilton, Wayne, Green, Logan and Wood counties. Hamilton county, the second in the Northwest Territory, was created on Jan. 2, 1790, by proclamation of Governor St. Clair. Its original boundaries were thus defined: "Beginning on the Ohio river, at the confluence of the Little Miami, and down the Ohio to the mouth of the Big Miami: and up said Miami to the standing stone forks or branch of said river, and thence with a line to be drawn due east to the Little Miami, and down said Little Miami river to the place of beginning." By proclamation of Governor St. Clair, Feb 11, 1792, the eastern boundary was extended to the Scioto river, up that river to the lower Shawanee town, and thence due north to Lake Erie; and the western boundary was extended due north from the standing stone fork of the Big Miami to the territorial boundary on the shore of Lake Huron. The eastern boundary struck Lake Erie not far from Sandusky, and the western passed through the present counties of Henry and Fulton.
On Aug. 15, 1796, St. Clair issued a proclamation establishing Wayne county, with the following boundaries: "Beginning at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, upon Lake Erie, and with the said river to the portage between it and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down the said branch to the forks, at the carrying place above Fort Lawrence (Laurens); thence by a west line to the eastern boundary of Hamilton county (which is a due north line from the lower Shawanese town upon the Scioto river) ; thence by a line, west-northerly, to the southern part of the portage between the Miamis of the Ohio and the St. Mary's river; thence by a line also west-northerly, to the southwestern part of the portage, between the Wabash and the Miamis of Lake Erie, where Fort Wayne now stands; thence by a line west-northerly to the most southern part of lake Michigan; thence along the western shores of the same to the northwest part thereof (including the lands upon the streams emptying into said lake) ; thence by a due north line to the territorial boundary in Lake Superior, and with the said boundary through Lakes Huron, Sinclair and Erie to the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, the place of beginning."
These boundaries embraced about one-third of the present State of Ohio---all the northwestern part---a section of Northeastern Indiana, a little of Northern Illinois, the east portion of Wisconsin, and practically all of the present State of Michigan. The county seat was fixed at Detroit, and Wayne had three representatives in the territorial legislature, elected in 1798. The county was not represented in the convention which framed the constitution of Ohio, in the fall of 1802, for the reason that the greater part of it was outside the line named in the enabling act.
In 1803 Greene county was created, embracing all Northwestern Ohio. Two years later was created a county called Logan, which included the present counties of Lucas, Fulton, Williams, Defiance, Henry, Wood Sandusky, Seneca, Wyandot, Hancock, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, Allen, Auglaize, Hardin and Marion, and parts of Ottawa, Crawford, Logan (i.e. the present county of Logan), Morrow, Union, Shelby and Mercer. Logan was not fully organized until 1817, when the county seat was established at Bellefontaine.
On Feb. 12, 1820, the general assembly of Ohio passed an act providing "That all that part of the lands lately ceded by the Indians to the United States, which lies within this State, shall be, and the same is hereby erected into fourteen separate and distinct counties," etc. The fourteen counties authorized by this act were Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Union, Van Wert, Williams and Wood, all of which were formed on April 1, 1820, though several years elapsed before all were fully organized. Wood county included within its boundaries the greater part of the present county of Lucas. The first meeting of the board of commissioners of Wood county was held on April 12, 1820, at Almon Gibbs' store in Maumee City, which place was the first county seat. The commissioners were John Pray, Samuel H. Ewing and David Hubbell. At this first session William Pratt was appointed county treasurer. The second session of the board was held at the same place on May 3, when David Hull filed his bond as sheriff of the county; Seneca Allen, then county auditor, was appointed clerk to the board; and the following allowances were made: C. G. McCurdy, for services as prosecuting attorney, $20; Thomas R. McKnight, for services as clerk of the court, $23; Almon Gibbs, for use of his building as the courthouse for one year from May 3, 1820, $40; John E. Hunt, for services as assessor, $11.28; Hunt & Forsyth, for stationery, etc., $16.12 ½.
At the same time and place was convened the first court in the county, which also was the first ever held in the Maumee valley. The presiding judge was George Tod, whose son David was afterward governor of Ohio, and the associate judges were Dr. Horatio Conant, Samuel Vance and Peter G. Oliver.
It should be remembered that the counties of Hamilton, Wayne, Greene and Logan were created while much of the land within their limits was still in the possession of the Indians, and therefore not subject to either the National or State authorities. The first civil organization in the Maumee valley was that of Waynesfield township, which was established in 1816, and comprehended only the reservation at the foot of the rapids. By the treaties of 1817 and 1818, the State of Ohio acquired civil jurisdiction over the former Indian possessions, and upon the creation of the fourteen counties above mentioned Waynesfield township was greatly enlarged, the greater part of it lying in Wood county. At the session of the board of county commissioners of that county, held on March 19, 1823, it was ordered "That so much of the township of Waynesfield as is included in the organized county of Wood, and lying and being on the south of the south channel of the Maumee river, from the west line of the county to the line between the original surveyed township, in Nos. I and 4, in the United States reserve; thence, the north channel to the State line, be set off and organized into a township by the name of Perrysburg." The county seat was then established at Perrysburg, and in March, 1824, the county commissioners allowed the claim of Daniel Hubbell and Guy Nearing for the erection of a courthouse at that point.
Lucas county, as a separate political division, was called into existence by the act of June 20, 1835, which was one of the "war measures" enacted by the special session of the general assembly called to consider questions growing out of the boundary dispute. It was formed of territory taken from the northern part of Wood county, the disputed strip north of it, a portion of Henry county, and a little of the northwest corner of Sandusky county. The act provided for the immediate organization of the county; designated Toledo as the county seat until some other point should be selected; attached to the county to the Second Judicial district, of which David Higgins was the presiding judge, and directed that a court of common pleas should be held in Toledo on the first Monday in September. The county was named for Hon. Robert Lucas, at that time governor of the State and a hero in the estimation of the people of the Maumee valley because of his firm and consistent attitude in upholding Ohio's rights with regard to the boundary.
Governor Lucas was born on April 1, 1781, at Shepherdstown, Jefferson county, Virginia. In 1800 he removed with his parents to Ohio and settled on the bank of the Scioto river. As surveyor of Scioto county he ran the line between Adams and Scioto counties in 1803, and the same year was commissioned by Governor Tiffin to recruit twenty men for the army, it being then thought there would be trouble between the United States and Spain over the Louisiana purchase. About the breaking out of the War of 1812, he received a commission as captain in the Nineteenth United States infantry, but before he was assigned to duty as such he was appointed brigadier-general and assigned to the command of the Second brigade, Second division, Ohio Militia, and relinquished his commission in the regular army. He was an ardent Democrat in his political views; was nominated by his party for governor in 1830, but was defeated by Duncan McArthur; was elected governor in 1832 and reelected in 1834, the "Boundary War" occurring during his second administration. In 1838 he was appointed governor of Iowa Territory by President Van Buren and served in that capacity until President Harrison was inaugurate, when he was removed and returned to Ohio, where he ran for Congress, but was defeated. He then removed to Iowa, located at Iowa City, and as a member of the Constitutional convention of that State was a member of the committee to consider the question of the boundary line between Iowa and Missouri, again becoming a prominent figure in a boundary dispute. In 1852 he left the Democratic party and joined the Whigs, but lived only a short time after so doing, as his death occurred at Iowa City on Feb. 7, 1853.
The first official act of the new county was the holding of the court on the first Monday in September, as provided for in the creative act. This court was held in an old frame school house on the clock bounded by Washington, Michigan, Erie and Monroe streets, in the city of Toledo, between midnight and daylight on Sept. 7, in order to avoid a conflict with the Michigan authorities. A full account of its proceedings will be found in the chapter on The Boundary Dispute. Among other things, the court appointed Cyrus Holloway, John Baldwin and Robert Gower, county commissioners and Dr. Horatio Conant clerk. On Sept. 14, just a week later, Baldwin and Gower representing a majority of the board of commissioners, met and completed the organization of the county by appointing Samuel M. Young of Maumee as auditor; Eli Hubbard of Port Lawrence as treasurer; and Frederick Wright of Port Lawrence as recorder.
At the second session of the board, which met on Oct. 12, 1835, a peculiar action was taken. Port Lawrence township had been organized by Michigan authorities in 1827, but was now a part of Lucas county. The commissioners, deeming it "expedient and absolutely necessary for the well-being and the enjoyment of the rights of citizens of this State, that that part of the county of Lucas known as 'the disputed territory,' and lying north of what is known as the 'Fulton Line' be annexed for township purposes to the township of Waynesfield," it was ordered that Port Lawrence township be annexed to the township of Waynesfield for all civil purposes, and "that the electors of the same shall have equal rights and privileges at the ensuing election as the other electors of Waynesfield township." It was further ordered that the electors of Port Lawrence township be notified that they should vote at Maumee City, where they would be permitted to exercise their right of suffrage "without the interference of the Michigan authorities." The day following this action was election day, and on that date the commissioners met and ordered "that the object for which such annexation was made having been accomplished, the township of Port Lawrence is hereby restored to its former status." Hence, Port Lawrence township and the city of Toledo were for one day a part of the voting precinct of Maumee City.
By the Act of March 14, 1836, "the Act to establish the county of Lucas" was amended and its boundaries and domain were definitely defined as follows: "Beginning at a point on Lake Erie, where the line commonly called 'Fulton's line' intersects the same; thence due west with said Fulton's line, to the Maumee river; thence in a south-westerly direction, with the said river, to the east line of the county of Henry; thence north, on said line, to the northeast corner of township six (6), in range eight (8); thence west, on said township line, to the east line of the county of Williams; thence north, to the northern boundary of the State, called the 'Harris line,' thence in an easterly direction, with said line, to Lake Erie; thence due east, until line drawn due north from the place of beginning shall intersect the same." These boundaries included all of the present county of Fulton, except two tiers of sections along the southern border and s strip across the western part, which was taken from the county of Williams when Fulton was organized, in February, 1850, at which time the boundaries of Lucas county were fixed as they are at present.
The growth of Lucas county has been steadily onward and upward from the date of its organization. In 1840, the first United States census year after it was established, the population of the county was 9,382. In 1850 the population was 12,303; in 1860 it was 25,831; in 1870 it was 46,722; and in 1880 it was 67,377. During the next decade the 100,000 mark was passed, the population in 1890 being 102,296, and in 1900 it was 153,559. In 1840 there were seventy-nine counties in Ohio, sixty-five of which reported a population larger than that of Lucas. In 1900 Lucas county occupied fourth place, being exceeded in population only by Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin, in the order named. Much of this progress is due to the commercial advantages offered by the harbor and shipping facilities of the Maumee river and the Great Lakes, but a larger part of it is due to the energy, sagacity and enterprising spirit of the people.
[Source: "Memoirs of Lucas County and the City of Toledo" by Harvey Scribner, 1910 . Transcribed by James Caldwell]
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