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HENRY COUNTY, OHIO
History & Genealogy

HISTORY

Source:
History of Henry & Fulton Counties
edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich - Syracuse NY - Publ. D. Mason & Co.
1888.

 

Chapter XXIX.
pg. 277
HISTORY OF WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP

     THIS is the last township in alphabetical order, and possesses more intrinsic interest than any other of the townships of Henry county.  It was the hunting ground of the last of the Ottawas, from which three chiefs and a small band of followers were reluctant to retreat from the advancing feet of Caucasian civilization.  These three chiefs were Oxinoxica, Wauseon and Myo, the latter ranking third in the Indian degree of power.  He was a small, but exceedingly wise, or more properly, cunning Indian.  He died on the Maumee and his skull was for a number of years preserved by Dr. L. L. Patrick, one of the pioneer physicians who had the courage to combat with the malaria and bilious fever of the Maumee, and who was an uncle of George Patrick, now residing in Liberty township and well known as one of the most prosperous agriculturists of the Maumee valley, also an uncle of the first wife of O. E. Barnes who is well known to the citizens of Henry county as sheriff and clerk, for many years.
     This township was originally named Myo, in honor of the chief so called - "Little Chief" - but possessed of more judgment and distinction than the two who ranked him in authority.
     At the time of the organization of the township there were but eleven voters and their names may be recorded among the pioneers.  These were Edward Murphy, Noah Holloway, James O'Niel, Michael Connelly, sr., the father of Michael and James Connelly, who still reside on the old homestead Edward Scribner, whose descendants still reside in the county, William Anglemeyer, some of whose descendants still reside in the township, John Lamphier, now a well-to-do and prosperous farmer residing in Liberty township, on the west line of Washington, David Edwards, whose sole surviving representative, Martha, is now married to Robert Showman and now lives upon the old homestead, David J. Cory, who was one of the first associate judges of Henry county and who died childless at Findlay at a ripe old age, having a large fortune, and was universally respected.
     The first voting place was in an unhewed log school-house, known as Murphy's school house, situated near where the fine brick residence of Michael Connelly, jr., now stands.  Abraham Snyder, now of Damascus township, was at that time, (1839) then a hunter in what was then the wilds of northwestern Ohio.
     The last known of Myo as a township on the duplicate of the county was in 1847.  Then there were 7,975 acres of land valued at $23,016.45, paying total tax of $518.86, and an additional tax of $112.23 for school houses.

[pg. 278]
     At this time John Biggins, still living; Dennis Bresnahan, dead; Peter Donnelly, living; August Groff, dead; John Grumling, living; Ephraim Hyter, living; Daniel Hartnell, sr., deceased; John Kettering, now of Harrison township; Daniel Moore, dead (sons living on homestead), and Nelson Polson, had moved and settled in the township.
     Between the making of the duplicates of 1847 and that of 1848 the Maumee river was made the southern boundary of the township, and sections six, and parts of one, two, three, four, five, seven and eight of Damascus attached, and the name changed to Washington.
     We then find on the duplicate of 1848 the additional names of Charles Bucklin, David Mohler, William Anglemeyer, James Durbin, Thomas W. Durbin (present recorder), David Edwards, Edward O'Hearn, John Lamphier, James H. Polson, A. Smith, Michael White, all of whom are still living, or leave descendants.
     This township was the last of the hunting grounds of the Indians in Henry county, and in fact, in the northwestern Ohio; a reservation for the last of the Ottowas having been retained in the possession of that tribe for many years after the whites had obtained a majority of population.  The reservation set aside for the Ottowas extended into Henry county at the northeast corner, and was situated as follows:  Commencing a little north of the half section line of twenty-four east, running southwest with the west line of the northeast one-fourth of section thirty-four, thence in the southeastern course to the Maumee River in the north half of the southeast one-fourth of section two, in the government surveyed township, five north of range eight, east.  This is still one of the best sporting field in the county.  Game, however, is limited to the smaller class - pheasants, quail, rabbits and squirrel.  The time, however, has certainly come to hang up the rifle and the trap, and the rapidly disappearing forest also suggests putting aside the ax and the saw, and picking up the shovel and the hoe, and learn that,

"He who by the plow would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive."

     The topography of this township differs materially from all others in the county.  The southeastern part consists of what is known as "openings," i. e., quick-sand swamps - very wet, where nothing but swamp grasses, shaking asps, and bull-rushes grow, and of sand knolls covered with "scrub oak." A few years ago this part of the township was not considered worth the widow's mite, but by thorough ditching, and at considerable expense, has been converted into productive and valuable farms.  The balance of the township was more like the other parts of the county - very heavily timbered.  But the timber has gone, and it is too late to say, "woodman, spare that tree."
     What sad havoc was wrought in the early days when the "clearings" were being made, and when trees had no positive value and no market.  It is only in later days that the value of forest or timber lands has been appreciated.

[pg. 279]
Think!  The forest lands of the United States, excluding Alaska, embrace 500,000,000 acres, or twenty-eight per cent, of the entire area.  The farmers own about thirty-eight per cent. of the forest area, or 185,000,000 acres.  The rest is owned by railroad corporations, mine owners, charcoal burners, tanners, lumbermen and speculators.  The farmers are the most desirable class of owners, and they begin to learn the value of their wood, and devote time and thought to its preservation.  Now they begin to cherish their woodlands, and add millions, yearly, of trees for shelter and beautification, and for subsequent profit to those who will come after them.  The farmers' area of forest is increasing in all the Western States, and groves are plentiful as in the days of the Druids in England, or of the classic deities of Greece and Italy, and are put to much better purpose.  One thing is to be noted, that trees will flourish on lands that will not return a remunerative crop.  The conifers will thrive under apparently most inhospitable conditions.  Forest trees return to the soil the  nutriment they take from it, thus maintaining its productive power and encouraging their own growth.  The routes of transportation now render access to market easy, by land or water, and these facilities, with the extension of railroads, grow better every year.  The railroads need many hundreds of ties for each mile (60,000,000 a year in all, at an average of two ties to a tree), and these ties must be renewed every seven or ten years.  One acre of land may contain and perfect from four to six hundred trees.  In a few years these trees will produce a rich harvest of ties, and the surplus wood will give an immense supply of fuel and fencing.  The farmer, with a big wood lot, may well ask, "What shall the harvest be?" and then look out for a rich profit.  As matters go, the thirty-eight per cent. owned by the farmers now will soon be seventy-five per cent. of the tree area, and forestry is commanding the attention of our most thoughtful and considerate men.
     The duplicate of 1887 indicates the material wealth of the township, and shows 18,178 acres of land, valued in 1880 at $219,175, and chattel property valued at $130,854, listed for taxation, and a tax of $8,190.72 paid.  The educational interests have not been overlooked, and the township is divided into ten districts, with good, well-provided buildings in each.  The spiritual welfare of the people is attended to in three churches; one, a Protestant Methodist, at Texas, and two at Colton, - a Church of God, and one Methodist Episcopal.
     The population in1860 was 894; in 1870, 1,141, and in 1880 amounted to 1,249.  A proportionate increase has been maintained since that time.
     The township is situated in the same tier of townships with Freedom, Ridgeville and Liberty, and like these townships has contributed its twelve northern sections to the formation of Fulton county.  It is in the eighth range, and is one of the oldest in the county, having had a settlement long before Napoleon was thought of as a county seat, and contained a hamlet of good size before the woodman's ax had begun gnawing at the pillars of God's first tem-

[pg. 280]
ples in any other part of the county.  It had an important trading post before the surveyor's chain was stretched and the streets of the present county seat were marked, although it was not platted until many years later.  Texas was, and is, the principal village of the township, and is one of the oldest in the county.  It is beautifully situated on the north side of the Miami and Erie Canal, and on the north bank of the Maumee River.  A ravine runs around the north and west sides, so that the town plat lies high and dry.  The outlet lock of the twenty-four mile level of the canal is at this place; and the slack-water in the Maumee River, caused by the dam at Providence, gives the river a great depth and a width of not less than one hundred rods.  A public ferry connects the banks, the expense being paid by the county.
     The village was recorded Apr. 2, 1849, by James Durbin, the proprietor.  The streets were laid out to the cardinal points; those running from north to south are named mainly from the timber natural to the soil, and those running from east to west are named numerically, beginning at the canal.  Through the eastern part of the town what is called a hydraulic canal.  It leads from the canal and was built for the purpose of supplying motive power for the mills in the lower part of the town, which were the first erected in the county.  The first brick burned in the county was made here, and the first brick court-house, the one destroyed by fire in 1879, was constructed of brick manufactured at this point, being transported from there by canal to Napoleon.  The village, in its early days, was the most important trading point in Henry county, being the best market for miles around.  It was also a formidable rival of Napoleon for the county-seat.
     In 1865 Captain George Carver conceived the idea of boring for oil, and a company was formed in February, 1866, under the name of the Henry & Lucas Co., Oil and Mining Company.  Work was at once begun, and at a depth of about four hundred feet a vein of gas was struck of sufficient force to blow the tools, which weighed fifteen hundred pounds, clear out of the well.  A stream of water shot into the air for twenty feet, and continued to spout for a couple of days.  At last it subsided and work was resumed.  Their method of boring was very primitive, for instead of casing the hole, they continued to bore in the water; reaching a depth of over eleven hundred feet they discontinued, thinking there was nothing any farther down, not at that time knowing anything of the purposes to which natural gas could be converted.
     The vein of water which was struck was of a strong, sulphurous kind, and heavily charged with gas.  By taking a glass of it fresh from the well, it is noticed to sparkle like champagne.  It is impossible to fill a bottle of fresh water and then cork it lightly, as the generated gas will surely break the bottle.  After the futile attempt to strike oil, the land was sold to Captain J. W. Geering, who, thinking that there was an opportunity to start of sanitarium, built a large hotel on the grounds, and thoroughly equipped it with all modern

[pg. 281]
conveniences.  But alas!  for human fancies! his dreams were doomed to be blasted, and now the hotel is a huge residence.
     At present the town presents an aspect that dimly recalls to mind the Sleepy Hollow of Irving's creation.  There are a few stores here, but the weather-beaten siding, dingy inside and general look of dilapidation leads one to believe thats its peaceful inhabitants are enjoying the sleep of Rip Van Winkle, or are soothing themselves with the fumes of tobacco which gave to Wouter Van Twiller his sublime indifference.  They are still smoking, and the world wags on as they remain in a semi-morbid state, not caring, and much less thinking of what goes on around them - a veritable Knickerbocker settlement minus the scheming "yank."
     The next and only remaining hamlet in the county is called Colton, and lies at the center of section twenty-one on the line of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad; is twenty-six miles west of Toledo, and ten miles east of Napoleon.  The town plat was recorded July 14, 1855, and by John R. Osborn, the proprietor.  At present it is a thriving hamlet of about two hundred inhabitants, and with a good hotel, express office, post-office, and does a comparatively thriving business.  The population, like that of all the other townships of the county in small.  The southeastern part is settled mostly by Irish or their descendants, who came here during the construction of the canal, and locally is known as "Ireland."  The north is mostly German or of German extraction.  A good sprinkling of the Yankee is also found here.  The whole population is honest, industrious, thrifty and enterprising, except in the villages where a little energy, capital and modern attachments would certainly do good.
 

 

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