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


Chapter XXI.
pg. 230

     THIS township, named in honor of the hero of Tippecanoe and Fort Meigs, and the ninth president of the United States, when first organized, early in the forties, embraced townships three, four and five of range seven.  Number three is now the township of Marion; four was, in 1850, organized into Monroe.  On the north of the Maumee River, which is now the northern boundary of the township, sections one, two, three, four, five, six, most of the seven and parts of eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve were, previous to 1850, attached to Liberty township as a convenience for voting purposes.  The township lies immediately west of Damascus, and all that has been said of the latter township, of the general character of the soil, drainage, roads, early settlement, present degree of improvement, and population may be applied to Harrison.
     Among the earliest settlers of the county may be named Hazael STRONG.  He came to the county as early as 1833, and lived in what is now Harrison township for several years before coming to Napoleon to take charge of the auditor's office.  The SHEARS family came in 1834; Alonzo PACKARD in 1843; Americus M. SPAFFORD, 1845; Harper CENTRE, 1847; Isaac INGLE, 1849; Noah JACKSON, 1852; John C. LIGHTHISER, 1853; Michael KRYDER, 1853; the RITTER family, as also that of the REITER, the SPANGLER and the PALMER families were among the early settlers, as were also Campbell WILFORD and Gideon G. CREGER.
In 1847, according to the oldest preserved duplicate we have, there were, on the seventy-two sections of land which then constituted the township, only forty-nine sections of land which then constituted the township, only forty-nine persons who paid personal tax, and the value of all this land, - 69,120 acres, - was $22,168; and the personal property was valued at $5,217.  The total tax collected was $2,071.61.  The duplicate for 1887 shows that at present this township, with less than twenty-eight sections remaining to it, has a real estate value, for taxable purposes, of $323,905, and personal property, listed for the same purpose, amounting to $59,340.
     The township was tardy in settlement and slow to improve.  There were good reasons for this.  The construction of the canal and especially the Wabash Railroad, on the south of the river, affording convenience shipments to market.  The construction of the dam at Providence had made the river unfordable between that point and the rapids at Florida; on the south side were not only no railroads, but no roads of any kind, and, in order to reach a market of any sort, it became necessary to ferry the river, which in seasons was difficult.  Lands being equally cheap on the north the early settlers naturally secured homes there.
     True, there were men hardy and courageous enough to enter these dense forests, and, braving all the difficulties and encountering all the inconveniences, made homes in the wilderness.  Along the river bank, in section ten, was Samuel BOWERS; in nine Hazael STRONG had settled; in section eight the RUGG farm farther up the river and nearly opposite Napoleon, in section eighteen, Charles and Reuben REITER had made large clearings; on section fifteen road were the PALMERS, John D. THORN and a few others;  John SHEATS was in section twenty-two; and on Turkey Foot road were John C. LIGHTHISER, Levi SPANGLER and others.  There were also a few settlers along the banks of Turkey Foot Creek.  G. G. CREAGER was on section twenty-four, and Campbell WILFORD on section twenty-five.  It wsa not, however, until after the construction of the bridge across the Maumee at Napoleon, in 1860, that settlement can be said to have really begun in earnest in Harrison township.  After that roads were cut out and improved and a system of drainage commenced.  This led to heavy taxation and assessments, compelling non-resident land owners to dispose of the lands they had purchased for speculative purposes, and these passed into the hands of persons who became actual settlers and made farms from the forest.  To assist in this, and in many cases to pay for the land itself, the giant oaks, walnut and poplar were sold to the ship-timber and other timber merchants, who brought great gangs of men from Canada, and soon made room for the sunshine to dry the swamps.  Then came the saw-mill and the stave-factory, so that today Harrison township has no more timber than is necessary for her fences and family fuel; fully four-fifths of her soil being under cultivation and all highly productive.
     The township is well drained, naturally, by Turkey Foot Creek which runs through the south and southeastern part; Randall Creek through northeast, and Bowers' Creek with its branches runs through the center, all emptying into the Maumee; and by artificial surface and underground ditches.  Good roads are established and kept in repair in almost every section line.  The township is divided into eight school districts, with a good building on each, most of them brick.  There are six churches, all Protestant, in the township.  The dwellings and farm buildings are new, large, convenient and well appointed.
     The township is without railroads and without villages.  The Mansfield, Coldwater and Lake Michigan Railroad bed was graded through the township and the "Clover Leaf" route passed close to the southeast corner where Harrison, Damascus, Richfield and Monroe come together, here is laid out


     The original plat of this hamlet was laid out in the southeast corner of section thirty-six in Harrison, by William MEAD, and was recorded August 14, 1880.  It consisted of fifteen lots, Main street on the east, Monroe street on the south, Fourth street on the west, Emery street on the north, and three alleys.  The subsequent additions to the hamlet were in the adjoining township, mainly in Monroe, and will be treated of in the history of that township.


are located on section fifteen of this township.  A short sketch of the organization and management of this institution may not be uninteresting:
     In the summer of 1883 the Patrons of Husbandry decided to hold a one day fair at the hall of Harrison Grange, each member of the order to bring some of their best stock and farm products for display, and to invite their fellow farmers outside the order to assist.  The object was to get farmers together to discuss the best methods of growing the various kinds of crops adapted to the climate and soil of Henry county, also as to the most profitable kind of stock to raise, etc.; the Grange Hall being used as a floral and vegetable hall.  An admission fee of ten cents was charged and about five hundred tickets were sold.  The unexpected success of this the first attempt to hold a fair encouraged the Grange to organize, for the following year, what was known as the Henry County Grange Fair.  The constitution provided that the officers of the County Grange should be the officers of the fair, including a board of ten directors chosen from among its members.  Under these provisions John GARSTER was made president;  E. M. HOLLIPETER, secretary, and John SHEETS, treasurer.  Under this organization the ground was leased and buildings erected, four miles east of Napoleon in Harrison township, on the farm of Mr. Henry BLYTHE, and a very successful fair was held.  The following year there was a change made in the provision of the constitution for the election of officers and the name was changed and called the Henry County Farmers' Association, and the following officers elected:  E. M. HOLLIPETER, president; John ERVIN, vice-president; Eli CULBERTSON, secretary; John GARSTER, treasurer.  There was but one change made in the election of officers for 1886, the year following, Rufus SPANGLER being elected president.  In 1887 it was reorganized under a constitution according to the provision of the laws of Ohio regulating agricultural fairs, and is now known as the Henry County Agricultural Fair.
     Each year the fair has proven a grand success in the display of the best stock and farm products of Henry and from adjoining counties.
     List of officers of the Henry County Fair: Rufus SPANGLER, president; Joseph LEATHERMAN, vice-president; John C. McCLAIN, treasurer; C. E. WEAKS, secretary.  Directors: Isaiah FOOR, D. D. MYERS, Joseph LEATHERMAN, Peter DEITRIC, Eli CULBERTSON, C. E. WEAKS, John SHELT, S. L. SNYDER, Rufus SPANGLER, Francis GINSEL, John GARSTER, J. C. McCLAIN.
     It may not be out of place in the connection to give a few facts pertaining to the origin and history of agricultural associations.
     The number of societies in England holding fairs relating to agriculture, live stock, etc., is officially stated at one hundred and ten.  Among those are the Bath and West of England Society, organized in 1777, the first farmers' club in England.  The Royal Agricultural Society, which has exerted so wide an influence upon improved processes and cultivation in soil and animal farming of the world, was founded in 1838.  Its motto was "Practice with Science."  In 1810 England has organized a board of agriculture, of which Sir John SINCLAIR, was president, and Arthur YOUNG secretary.  There were in this year eighty-one agricultural societies in regular working order, and of one of these the Badenach and Strathspey Society, the celebrated Duchess of Gordon was president.
     The first agricultural society formed in America was The Philadelphia (Pa.) Society for Promoting Agriculture.  Among the awards of this society in 1790, was a gold medal to Mr. MATHESON for the best sample and greatest quantity of cheese.
     The first agricultural society ever incorporated in America was the Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, of South Carolina, established in 1795.  Its objects included, among others, the institution of a farm for experiments, and the importation and distribution of products suited to the climate of that State.
     In New York, a Society for the Advancement of Agriculture was incorporated in 1791, but it died at the age of ten years.
     The Society for the Promotion of Useful Arts, in which agriculture was first named, established in 1804, published seven volumes of transactions previous to 1815.  The New York State Agricultural Society held its first regular fair in 1840, the admission being twelve and one-half cents.
     In Massachusetts, in 1803, the trustees of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture offered, among others, a premium of one hundred dollars, or the society's gold medal for a cheap and effectual method of destroying the canker worm.  From the beginnings thus noted, agriculture, horticulture, pomology, forestry and floriculture have gradually increased.  Agricultural societies offering premiums are found in every State and most of the Territories.  Popular interest is especially active in agricultural societies in the West and is constantly increasing in the South.  It is safe to say the agricultural societies of the United States have exercised a greater influence for the advancement of agriculture than any other means.
     Harrison township has furnished her full quota of both military and civil officers.  Wm. A. CHOATE was not only prosecuting attorney of the county, but also colonel of the Thirty-eighth Regiment, O. V. I.; L. G. RANDALL was quartermaster of the Sixty-eighth O. V. I., and was also postmaster at Napoleon; Arthur CROCKETT was major of the Sixty-eighth O. V. I.; Benjamin F. PINDAR  was captain of Company B, Thirty-eighth O. V. I.  Levi SPANGLER was a county commissioner, Reuben REITER both clerk and sheriff, his brother Reuben a commissioner, Benjamin F. STOUT, auditor; William M. BECKNAM, was, by the appointment of the governor, probate judge to fill a vacancy, and Thomas CASTEL was infirmary director.
     Booming may do for Kansas and other western States, for the mining, the gas and the oil regions, but he who is content to lead a quiet, honest life in the quiet luxuries and enjoyments of a home, need not to go beyond the boundaries of Henry county.  Here can be had a cheap, comfortable and productive home, where the investment is certain, sure and cannot diminish in value but must increase; here is education and culture, refinement and the highest civilization; here, right at hand, are not only the necessaries and comforts, but the luxuries of life.  Many of our people who were induced to "go west" by the glittering promises of speculators and jobbers, have been glad to return, and many more are sorry that they have not means left to do so.  Harrison township furnishes one notable example.  We refer to the CROCKETT family, and know that we will be pardoned for doing so.  Being among the early settlers, they had made and owned a good and valuable farm in the township.  Seduced by the brilliant picture of the West, they sold out and followed the westward star.  They met with disappointment; sickness and death overtook them, and but a year ago, the mother, aged and impoverished, save for a grateful government which rewarded her for the patriotism of her sons, returned to Henry county and purchased the old RUGG farm in her old township, where she now lives, happy, comfortable and contented with her only remaining son, Edward.
The growth of this township, in common with all in the county, has been rapid.  In 1860 it contained a population of 781; in 1870 it was 1295 and in 1880 it had grown to 1382, and by the next census it may be safely predicted will amount to 2,000.




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