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History of Henry & Fulton Counties
edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich - Syracuse NY - Publ. D. Mason & Co.


Chapter XVII.
pg. 199

     THIS, original number three in range five, is the youngest in the sisterhood of townships, and is situated in the southeast corner of the county where Henry, Wood, Hancock and Putnam join.  It was not organized until 1844, at which time there were not enough electors living on the territory to fill the township offices, and it became necessary at the first election, which was held on a pile of railroad ties, for one person to assume the duties of several official positions.  There was not much electioneering, politicians were not in demand, and no charges of bribery or corruption were made.
     The township was named in honor of Cornelius BARTLOW, who located on section thirty-six, where he still lives, in 1851, and was the first settler in the township, it at that time being a part of Richfield.
     From the duplicate of 1855, the first upon which Bartlow appears as a independent organization, we learn that there were at that time but four resident taxpayers, namely: Cornelius BARTLOW, Jesse BENSLEY, James F. RUSSELL, Jonathan W. VANSCOYOC, who, with the Dayton & Michigan Railroad paid taxes on personal property valued at $1,331.  There were 22,429 acres of land valued at $28,874 listed for taxation, and the total tax paid was $488.12.
     A contrast may as well be drawn here.  The duplicate of 1887 shows 21-633 acres of land valued at $152,930, the number of acres having been reduced by railroad right-of-ways and town plats.  The chattel property is assessed at $123,450, and the tax paid aggregates $8,207.98.  The population in 1860 was only thirty-two (32); in 1870 it had reached one hundred and twenty-six (126); in 1880 it amounted to eighteen hundred and sixteen (1816), and must at present be at least twenty-five hundred (2500).  There are seven school-houses, in addition to the graded one at Deshler.
     Many causes contributed to retard the improvement and development of this township: (1) It was the only part of the county that formed a part of the actual "Black Swamp," and it was indeed a swamp - low, flat, wet, no outlet of any kind for the water which covered the whole surface, and timber and underbrush, and all kinds of wild vegetable growth, made it a place where indeed "beasts with man divided empire claimed," and to the first settler may well be applied and words of Moore:
     "His path was rugged and sore,
     Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
     Through many a fen, where the serpents feeds,
     And man never trod before."
     (2) Nine-tenths of the land was owned by non-residents of the county.  The late John G. Deshler, of Columbus, himself owned about one-fourth of the township; these lands were held for speculation, and were not for sale. (3) There were no roads nor access to market.  (4) There were plenty of more desirable and eligibly located lands to be had at a cheap price.
     The construction of the Dayton and Michigan Railroad, which enters the township on the east near the half section line of section twelve, running south, was the first break made in the wilderness.  The construction of this road neccessitated drainage, but it was very superficial.  A large reservoir was constructed at the place where Deshler now stands, and the surface water drained into it through Brush Creek, and became a main watering place for the railroad.  The real improvement of Bartlow began with the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway in 1869.  A frame building was erected and a supply store for the contractors and employees opened at the reservoir, and the D. and M. then made that place a regular station, giving it the name of Alma.  The B. and O. enters the township near the middle of section twenty-four and runs in a northwestern direction, leaving at the northwest corner of section eighteen.  The Deshler and McComb Railroad runs through sections thirty-six and twenty-five, terminating at Deshler in section twenty-three.
     The West Branch of Beaver Creek, Hammer Creek, Beaver Creek, Brush Creek, all cleaned out, widened and deepened and surface and underground, together with the railroad ditches, affords good and sufficient drainage; and fair roads are now constructed to almost every part of the township.


     This is the only town in the township.  It was so named in recognition of John G. DESHLER, the large land owner already referred to, but was laid out and platted by Frederick H. SHORT, for himself and as trustees for a syndicate composed of Daniel McLANE, Stephen S. L'HOMMEDIEU, William BECKETT, William E. BOVEN, Theodore STANWOOD, John W. HARTWELL, and John G. DESHLER.  The plat was recorded August 23, 1873.  It is located in the southeast corner of section twenty-three, and the southwest corner of section twenty-four.  It consists of two hundred lots, twenty out lots, and two public squares.  North, Plum, Elm, Maple, Main, Mulberry and Walnut Streets, and five alleys, run east and west; Wood, Vine, Park, East, Lind streets, Keyser avenue and four alleys run east and west.
     On the 8th of February, 1875, Silas D. STEARNES, Justus STEARNS, and Josiah H. STEARNES, platted an addition in the north side of the southwest quarter of section twenty-four, east of the D. & M. Railroad, and on both sides of the B. & O. Railway.  North, Plum, Elm, Maple, Main and Mulberry streets were continued and Short street added, running east; East and Lind streets were continued, and Ash and Oak added, running north; Water, Holmes, and Bartlow streets and four alleys run southeast, and Stearnes avenue, Pine, Beach, Sycamore, and Butternut streets, with five alleys, run northwest.  One square is dedicated to the public.
     On the 18th of September, 1875, Short, for himself and as trustee, as already mentioned, added addition to the village embracing eighteen of the outlots in the original plat, the part of the northeast quarter of section twenty-three not before plated eighty acres in the northwest quarter of section twenty-three, fifteen and a half acres in the southwest quarter of section twenty-three, fifteen and a half acres in the southwest quarter of section twenty-three, thirty-five acres in teh southeast quarter of the same section, forty-nine acres in the south-east quarter, and seven acres in the southwest quarter of section fourteen.  The addition was on both sides of the B. & O. Railway.  It continued North, Plum, Elm Maple, Main, and Mulberry streets, with the alleys on the north side of the railway, and continued Walnut, and added South, Buckeye, Marion, and Harrison, running east and west, on the south of the railway.  It also continued Keyser avenue, Park, Vine, and Wood streets, and alleys, and added Washington, Chestnut, and Deshler streets, running north and south.
     The incorporation of the village was perfected on the 30th day of April, 1876.  It has now a population of about fourteen hundred; maintains a fire department, is grading and improving its streets, sidewalks, etc.  It has a fine $5,000 brick school building, and an excellent graded school is taught nine months in the year.  A Methodist Episcopal brick church, a Roman Catholic frame church, and a Free Methodist frame church furnish sufficient places for worship.  The Deshler Flag, a five-column quarto weekly journal, is published here.
     There is also a machine shop and foundry.  One of the most extensive stave factories in northwestern Ohio is owned and operated by Mr. A. W. LEE.  A large saw-mill, owned by Messrs. BALL and SMITH, has a capacity of 35,000 feet per day, and turns out annually 2,000,000 feet of sycamore lumber, used almost entirely for tobacco boxes, besides a large amount of ash, oak, and hickory for domestic and shipping purposes.  HEIDELBACH Brothers are manufacturing tobacco boxes, and deal in lumber, sash, doors, etc., on an extensive scale.  MITCHELL & WIDDNER are the proprietors of the Deshler brick and tile works, an industry which is assuming large proportions. Through the enterprise of Mr. Mace BAER, a large brick block has been erected within the last two years.  The citizens are energetic and enterprising.
     When we glance back and see the wonderful changes and transformations which have taken place within so few years, eastern fable assumes a shade of plausibility, and Alladdin's lamp seems a possibility.  William HUBBARD, when editor of the Northwest, in appreciation of the wonderful improvement, and partly joking Tontogany, a village in Wood county, wrote the following fable, which is worth preserving:


There was a great big Frog, and he
Sat on a great big log, and he
Croaked thus: "I'm old Mahogany,
"First settler at Tontgany!
     "Boola-ba-lum! - Lum! - Lum!
     "Boola-ba-lum! - Lum! - m! - m!

"I've seen a 'settler' shiver and shake,
Until I thought his liver would break!
Then bitters and barks 'endivver' to take,
And gag, and 'hid-je-ous' faces make!

"I've known the fog so thick at night
You'd get from your candlewick no light;
But stir the air with a stick, you might,
And the smell it would make you sic outright.

"The doctor he kept a mercury can,
And found the practice hard work for a man;
But feeling your pulse with a jerk, he ran
To measure your calomel out in a pan!

"The sic were as ten to one well, you known,
And the well one a doctor would tell to Go!
'For daddy and mamma is awful low,
'And you'll find our house by the cow-bell,O!"

"The doctor behind him fastened a boat,
A life-preserver tied round his throat,
And with rubber pants and vest and coat,
He was ready to ride, or row, or float!

"If an old she-bear didn't cross his way,
Or a catamount 'chaw him up' for prey,
He would reach the house by break of day,
And on the road home would whistle for pay!"

Thus spoke the old bull-frog, and he
Dodged under his slippery log, then he
Croaked out: "Good-bye, Tontogany!
"You'll see no more of Mohogany!
     "Boola-ba-lum! - Lum! - Lum!

There was an owl perched on a tree;
She oped her eyes that she might see -
She wondered what in the world could be
The cause of the croak at Tontogany.
     "Too-hoot! - To-hoot! - To-hoo!
     "Too-hoot! - To hoot! - To-hoo-oo-oo!

"No 'fevernagur' now is near,
Nor barks not bitters are wanted here -
The fog is gone and the sky is clear,
And health has reigned for many a year.





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