Source: County of Williams, Ohio.
Historical & Biographical
By Horace S. Knapp
At a session of the
Commissioners of Williams County, held at Defiance June 3, 1839, the
following proceedings were had: "Upon the petition of George
Bible and others, the board order that there be a new township
formed composed of the following-described territory, viz.: All of
original surveyed Township 7 north, of Range 2 east, and Fractional
Township 8 north, of Range 2 east, to be known and distinguished by the
name of Superior, and order the Auditor to give notice to the electors
in said township to meet at the house of Jacob Sholl in said
township on Saturday, June 22, 1839, and proceed according to law to
choose the necessary officers to organize said township.
Election April 1, 1844 -
Trustees, Adam Bechtol, James Allman and Daniel Scholl;
Clerk, Thomas Miller; Constables, Henry Ferguson and
Charles Duvall; Assessor, George Bible; Treasurer, George
In 1846, David Scholl, James Allman and
William Dunlap were elected Trustees; Thomas Miller, Clerk;
George Bible, Treasurer, and Robert Ogle, Assessor.
1847 - Trustees, Daniel Scholl, William Dunlap
and Levi Colby; Clerk, Thomas Miller; Treasurer, George
Bible, Assessor, Robert Ogle.
1848 - Trustees, Daniel Scholl, William Dunlap
and James Anspaugh; Clerk, Thomas Miller; Treasurer,
George Bible, Assessor, Edgar Hubbard
1849 - Trustees, William Dunlap, John Cameron
and John Barcelow; Clerk, Levi Colby; Treasurer, George
Bible; Assessor, Adam Bechtol.
1850 - Trustees, William Dunlap, John
Barcelow and John W. Brannon; Clerk, Levi Colby;
Treasurer, George Bible; Assessor, Adam Bechtol.
1851 - Trustees, William Dunlap, John Barcelow
and John W. Brannon; Clerk, Levi Colby; Treasurer,
George Bible; Assessor, William Dunlap.
1852 - Trustees, William Dunlap, George W. Bible
and George W. Brannon; Clerk, Levi Colby; Treasurer,
1853 - Same as preceding year, except
James Kollar was elected Trustee in place of William Dunlap, and
John G. DeWolf, Clerk, in place of Levi Colby.
1854 - Trustees, Hiram Opdyke, George W. Bible
and Richard Pew Clerk, Richard Simon; Treasurer, George
1855 - Trustees, Hiram Opdyke, Joshua Schall and
James Anspaugh; Clerk, Richard Simon; Treasurer, George
1856 - Trustees, Hiram Opdyke, James Anspaugh
and John C. Kollar; Clerk, Reason Spake; Treasurer,
1856 - Trustees, Hiram Opdyke, James
Anspaugh and John C. Kollar; Clerk, Reason Spake;
Treasurer, George Bible.
1857 - All township officers re-elected.
1858 - Trustees, James Anspaugh, Levi Canaga and
Jacob Knepper; Clerk, Amos Briner; Treasurer, Amos Kint.
1859 - Trustees, Jacob Knepper, William H. Scholl
and William E. Page; Clerk, John W. Brannon.
1860 - Trustees, Jacob Knepper, J. S.
Beard and William H. Scholl; Clerk, Amos Briner
1861 - Same officers re-elected.
1862 - Trustees, William H. Scholl, I. L.
Beard and C. Brannon; Clerk, B. L. Griffith.
1863 - Trustees, William H. Scholl, B.
Allman and H. J. Rhees; Clerk, Richard Sisson.
1864 - Trustees, William H. Scholl, H. J.
Rhees and Alfred Riley; Clerk, B. L. Griffith;
Treasurer, Daniel Kint.
1865 - Trustees, Christopher Brannon, George W.
Bible and N. E. Fry; Clerk, B. L. Griffith.
1866 - Trustees, G. W. Bible, D. M. Reeder and
W. J. Reas; Clerk, B. F. Cannan; Treasurer, John C.
1867 - Trustees, G. W. Bible, D. M. Reeder and
H. J. Reese, Clerk, B. L. Griffith; Treasurer, George
Bible; Assessor, Robert Ogle.
At the election April 6, 1868, the following township
officers were elected namely: Trustees, William Teats,
George W. Bible and Jacob Knepper; Clerk,
William H. Knepper; Treasurer, John C. Kollar; Assessor,
John C. Brannon; Constables, John Clum, T. S. Brown.
At the election of 1869, the township made choice of,
for Trustees: Robert Ogle, H. J. Reese and G. W.
Bible; for Clerk, A. M. Knepper, and for Treasurer, John
1870 - Trustees, Solomon Myers, J. B.
Grim and Elias Kine; Clerk, J. D. Kreibel; Treasurer,
J. C. Kollar. And from the last date forward until that
which follows, no record exists. The books are supposed to have
been destroyed in some of several fires that visited Montpelier.
1881 - Trustees, G. W. Bible, Robert Ogle and
William Knepper; Clerk, Judson Foust; Treasurer, John
1882 - Trustees, G. W. Bible, Solomon Myers
and J. D. Williams; Clerk, George Allen; Treasurer,
Names of those who voted in Superior Township at an
election held November 18, 1840: George Wisman, Wesley Burgoyne
and Asa U. Smith, Judges, and George Bible and Joseph
H. White, Clerks.
Names of electors - Henry Ferguson, Thomas Ogle,
Joseph H. White, Asa U. Smith, George Bible, George Wisman, Jacob
School, Charles Bible, Wesley Burgoyne and Philip Umbenhaur, 10
At the October election, 1840, Superior Township cast
28 votes - 12 for Wilson Shannon for Governor, and 16 for
Thomas Corwin, his Whig competitor. Those who voted were:
Clark, Horatio N.
McDonald, Robert H.
|Smith, Asa U.
White, Joseph H.
|there were 32 votes
cast by the following-named persons:
Mallory, Conroy W.
|At this election,
Wilson (Dem.) received for Governor 12 votes, and Thomas
Corwin (Whig) 20 votes.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
Following are the names of
those who have served as Justices of the Peace of Superior Township and
dates of their several commissions:
||Feb. 4, 1841
||Apr. 26, 1845
||Apr. 20, 1847
||Jun. 4, 1850
||May 1, 1851
||May 9, 1854
||Nov. 3, 1854
||Apr. 21, 1857
||Nov. 5, 1857
||Apr. 12, 1860
||Nov. 13, 1860
||Apr. 25, 1862
||Apr. 18, 1863
||Apr. 12, 1865
||Apr. 13, 1866
||Sep. 26, 1866
||Apr. 15, 1868
||Oct. 21, 1869
|N. E. Fry
||Apr. 15, 1871
||Nov. 15, 1872
|F. L. Bannon
||Apr. 16, 1874
||Oct. 20, 1875
|F. L. Brannon
||Apr. 17, 1877
||Oct. 15, 1878
||Apr. 17, 1880
||Apr. 12, 1881
WHITE MALE ADULTS.
Below will be found a list of
white male inhabitants over the age of twenty-one years in the township
of Superior, Williams County, Ohio, on the 1st day of May, 1843, as
returned by George Bible, Township Assessor:
Anspaugh, James, Jr.
Anspaugh, James, Sr.
Bible, George W.
Clark, H. N.
Mallory, Convoy M.
White, Joseph H.
THE FIRST WHITE SETTLERS.
The venerable widow of the late
George Bible, now residing at Montpelier, at the advanced age of
ninety-four years, says that when her husband came to the township,
which was in about 1834, there were no white settlers in the township.
Her husband's land, on which he built his first cabin, was situated two
and one-half miles southeast of Montpelier, and his son, George W.
Bible, now occupies the old homestead. The Indians had a large
camp on the St. Joseph's, and within the present corporation
limits of Montpelier The forests abounded with wild animals, among
the most dreaded of which were bears and wolves, which would often kill
and destroy domestic animals, but she never heard of a wolf making an
attack upon persons, nor of a bear or deer, except when wounded by a
shot from a hunter, and in all such instances the knife of the
backwoodsman would soon terminate the conflict. Mr. Bible
is represented, by those who have recollections of him, as a remarkably
good shot, who scarcely ever missed his mark. One year, he had a
contest with Frederick Miser, of Centre Township, as to which
would kill the larger number of deer within a space of two months, the
match resulting in Bible's killing ninety-nine and his opponent
sixty-five. Mr. B. was much fretted, it is said, because he
failed to bring down one more deer, the task he had imposed upon himself
at the outset being a round 100.
According to Mrs. Loudon's best recollection,
although the infirmities of age will not permit her to be positive, the
second cabin was built by Robert McDaniels, the third by
George Wisman, who settled in 1836, and whose land adjoined Mr.
Bible's, and the fourth by Joseph Pugh, who bought land in
the immediate neighborhood of those above named. It was several
years after Pugh came before a schoolhouse was built.
Charles Brundydge settled in Superior Township in December, 1839,
and at that date he was the only settler in the township located on the
bottom lands of the river. In the township, and located on the
uplands, were Robert Ogle, Horatio Clark, George Wisman
and Joseph White. The neighbors nearest to him were Mr.
Bible and Mr. Ogle. There was neither church nor
school building in the township, and no blacksmith shop hearer than
This is the only incorporated
town in Superior Township. The name is of French origin, and there
are two noted places in the united States - one the capital of Vermont,
and the other in Virginia, famous as the residence and burial place of
James Madison, the fourth President of the United States; and it
may be assumed as probable that it was from one or the other of these
that the name of the capital town of Superior Township was suggested.
The survey of the original town was made and platted by
Thomas Ogle, May 25, 1845, and, after remaining only nominally a
town during thirty years, it has attained sufficient population
and business in 1875 to render a municipal government necessary; and at
the first election, held April 5 in that year, the following officers
were chosen: Mayor J. D. Kriebel; Clerk, Jacob Leu;
Treasurer, John Allen; Marshal, Jesse Blue. The
officers who attest the election of the above are: F. L.
Speaker, N. E. Fry and W. M. Gillis, Judges, and J. D.
Kriebel and T. E. Lamb, Clerks.
Election of 1876 - Clerk, Jacob Leu; Street
Commissioner, Jesse Blue; Marshal, Eli Isenhart.
Election of 1877 - Mayor, Jacob Dorshimer;
Clerk, Jacob Leu; Street Commissioner, Jesse Blue;
Treasurer, John Allen.
Election of 1878 - Clerk, Jacob Leu; Street
Commissioner, J. J. Blue; Marshal, Jacob Hoffer.
Election of 1879 - Mayor, Eli T. Wisman;
Clerk, Jacob Leu; Treasurer, S. W. Mercer; Marshall,
Election of 1880 - Clerk, Jacob Leu;
Street Commissioner, Daniel Blue.
Election of 1881 - Mayor, E. T. Wisman; Clerk,
George Strayer; Treasurer, Jacob Leu; Marshal, D. M.
Election of 1882 - Mayor, J. D. Kriebel;
Clerk, F. M. Ford; Street Commissioner, Stephen Davis.
So unimportant by the United States census takers
had the town been considered that, since it was named, its population
had always been merged in that of the township until 1880, when, for the
first time in its history, it has an independent place in the United
States Census figures,
Yours Truly, R. Gaudern
and an official return of 405 inhabitants. It
would not be exaggeration to state that, within two years after taking
its first federal census, Montpelier has more than trebeled its
population, and that its industrial wealth has fully kept pace with its
increase in numbers. To make proper estimate of the present number
of its inhabitants, the candid investigator will make note of the fact
that the floors above nearly every store in the town are occupied by
families, while into many dwelling houses, that would only comfortably
accommodate one family, are crowded two and sometime three.
Dwelling structures, which appear to be uninterrupted in progress, are
occupied as soon as the walls are sufficiently dried out to make them
safe places for habitation. The history of no city or town in
Northwestern Ohio or Northeastern Indiana furnishes a parallel to
Montpelier since the date of entering upon a career of growth; and the
new structures are of a substantial character.
The development of
Montpelier in manufacturing has also been remarkable. It is found
difficult to ascertain clearly the date of the establishment of the
first industrial shop in the town; but when Louis Wingert located
in the place in 1865, and who, from a condition of penury, has built up
a moderate fortune in manufacturing, there were the following: One
steam saw-mill, one grist-mill operated by water-power, one ashery, two
blacksmith shops, one shoe, one furniture and one wagon shop.
There had been a tannery built as early as 1848, but it had been
abandoned. Mr. Loudon says that in 1844, the places where
Montpelier now is contained only a saw-mill operated by water-power, and
owned by Tucker & Hueston; and this one mill was then the only
manufacturing establishment in the town.
Upon some points there exists considerable diversity of opinion, but by
common consent it is conceded that C. W. Mallery opened the first
general merchandise store of goods in the place now known as Montpelier,
in 1845. Following him in the trade were Brown & Crissey
and James T. Platt. Prior, however, to Mr.
Mallory's engagement in business, Jacob Snyder and
William Crissey had a small store and ashery west of town, on
the farm now occupied by Charles Brundydge and his son.
In its day, this place was known as "Tuckertown." Mr.
Mallory continued business until 1852, when he sold at auction his
merchandise stock, and now resides near Bryan. He was a pioneer,
having located in Superior Township in 1841.
BUSINESS RESOURCES OF 1882
Two grist and one saw mill; one
stave, one oar and one wheelbarrow factory; one foundry and machine
shop; one ashery; one cabinet factory and undertaker; one merchant
tailor; one machine and repair shop; a printing office; three boot and
shoe shops; two wagon shops; one grain elevator, having a storage
capacity of 10,000 bushels; one lumber yard, and two establishments that
manufacture copper, sheet iron, tinware and roofing. Three dry
goods and general merchandise stores; three grocery and provision, two
drug, two jewelry, one ready-made clothing and three millinery stores;
one bank; one photograph gallery; one agricultural machine
establishment; two hotels and several boarding houses; four physicians,
one lawyer and two dentists.
WABASH, ST. LOUIS & PACIFIC RAILWAY.
It is obvious to all
interested, that the extraordinary commercial advancement of Montpelier
dates from the opening of the Detroit Division of this road, which was
opened for passenger and freight traffic in August, 1881. It at
once opened a market for the surplus farm and garden productions of the
rich agricultural region of which Montpelier is the center, and by the
increased value it has given to all agricultural productions by
establishing a new market, it has conferred as substantial benefits upon
the farmer as it has upon the manufacturer and the merchant. As a
grain, wool and live-stock market, and counting the value of merchandise
received and of manufactured goods shipped, it is now the most important
town on the line of the Detroit Division of the Wabash, St. Louis &
Pacific Railway, Butler possibly excepted.
Anticipating that it might and
would become a town of importance, sanguine people made additions to the
original plat as follows:
Leonard Merry and Samuel S. Bryant, April
Bechtol's Addition, August 1, 1872;
Snyder's Addition, December, 26, 1872;
Kriebel's First Addition, July 18, 1873;
Snyder's Second Addition, July 21, 1873;
Kriebel's Second Addition, August 2, 1876;
Daniel's and Snyder's Addition, November
Joseph Deibly and others, November 6,
Harrison Louden's First Addition, January
Harrison Louden's Second Addition, February 14,
J. M Snyder's three Additions, June 20, 1881;
Joy and Nelson's, November 26, 1881; and the
founder of the town, although many years his grave with nearly all his
cotemporaries, could scarcely have realized the results now witnessed in
the marvelous growth of their work.
ROADS AND BRIDGES.
Within the corporation are four
substantial bridges, one of iron, and all above high-water mark.
For considerable distances each side of some of these, roadways are made
of a maximum height of from ten to twelve feet above the bottom surface,
and about three feet above high-water mark. the only objection to
these pikes is, that they are too narrow, not being of sufficient width
to permit the passing of teams, though turn-outs are made at short
distances. This objection, however, will doubtless soon be
removed. The main roads communicating with the country are in
better condition than the average roads upon which other towns in this
section of Ohio depend for cheap and easy communication with the farmers
who seek their places as markets.
The water of the wells
of Montpelier is of the purest quality, and apparently inexhaustible;
supplies are obtained at a depth of from twelve to fifteen feet below
the surface. Upon the banks of the St. Joseph and Cranberry are
several springs that have never been known to fail in seasons of the
greatest drought to yield abundantly, and their waters are of nearly
even temperature during all seasons.
TILE AND SEWERAGE FACILITIES.
The town is situated upon as
beautiful banks of the St. Joseph as may be found in all the course of
that delightful and historical stream from its source to the place where
it loses its name and mingles its waters with those of the St. Mary's at
Fort Wayne. for health as well as for business, no town or city
could have been more favorably chosen, by reason of its having been so
highly favored by nature. No town in the county is so
advantageously located for purposes of cheap and thorough sewerage and
drainage, the river and Cranberry Creek affording for these
essential purposes unsurpassed facilities. There is no cellar in
the corporation limits, and for any considerable distances beyond them,
that after a judicious system of sewerage is perfected would not be as
dry as the floors above them, and no street or garden would ever be
deluged except in cases of extraordinary storms.
A large area of country
extending on the north a considerable distance beyond the State line,
and on the west embracing some sections of Indiana, find their natural
and best market at Montpelier, and the region, naturally making choice
of this town as a market, is one not yet used for purposes of tillage by
reason of the timber wealth that occupies the soil; but the forests are
rapidly disappearing, and new farms continually being opened. As a
class, the farmers of the region that make Montpelier that market are
intelligent and enterprising, and apply the best approved methods of
It was many years after white
settlers appeared before a physician located in the township. In
cases of emergency, Dr. Jonas Colby, of Defiance, or Dr.
Thomas Kent or Dr. John Paul, of La Fayette, would be
summoned. Dr. A. L. Snyder, now of Bryan, commenced medical
practice in Montpelier in June, 1854, and his immediate predecessor in
the practice there, at that time, were, in order of time, Drs. Levi
Colby, Draper, De Wolf, A. P. Meng and Barkdol; but
excepting Dr. Colby, the stay of all these was brief. Then
followed, in July, 1859, Dr. Isaiah M. Snyder, when the two
physicians of the same name, though not united by kindred ties, formed
in partnership, which continued until the removal of the senior partner
to Bryan. There are now five physicians in the place - Drs. I.
M. Snyder, S. W. Mercer, Blair Hagerty, J. W. Williams and J. W.
It is only within about
eighteen months that law offices were opened in Montpelier - the first
by George Strayer, who was soon followed by Col. W. O.
Johnston, the first now being Prosecuting Attorney of the county,
and the latter now Mayor of Bryan. Recently, John B. White
removed to Montpelier from Bryan, and commenced law practice. Thus
far, there has not been sufficient litigation to sustain a lawyer at
THE ST. JOSEPH AS A COMMERCIAL HIGHWAY.
Although a little outside the
record, it may not be out of place here to recur to the fact that these
great interior States, from 1787 down to the dates of their several
admissions into the Union, were under a common Territorial Government,
under an ordinance of Congress, which was the supreme law for the whole
territory ceded by Virginia. The last clause in the ordinance of
1787, Article III, reads as follows:
waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the
carrying-places between the same, shall be common highways, and forever
free, as well to the inhabitants of the said territory as to the
citizens of the United States, and those of any other States that may be
admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost or duty therefor.
Though this clause in the
ordinance mentioned might appear to have no relevancy in these pages,
yet it has in this: That the waters of the St. Joseph were
included among the rivers leading into the St. Lawrence, and made "a
common highway," and under its terms even mill-dams could not have been
constructed, had they been objected to as interfering with the free
navigation of pirogues or flat-boats; but the early settlers on the
river, while they availed themselves of the use of its navigable waters
to float down to Fort Wayne their peltries and furs, and obtain in
return necessary household goods for family use, did not for many years,
object to the construction of mill-dams, because the mills conferred
upon them blessing that overshadowed all damage. The nearest mills
at which the early settlers of Superior Township could be accommodated
were distant and inconvenient of access - either on the River Raisin,
Mich., Brunersburgh, on Bean Creek, near Defiance, or at Fort Wayne;
hence, every possible encouragement was offered those who would engage
in mill enterprises by use of the St. Joseph, although, in low stages of
water, they did seriously interfere with the movement of water craft.
It may be added here that the river, from its navigable source to
Montpelier, has been of as much importance to the town as now.
Without its use, the large manufacturing establishments would find it
difficult and expensive to obtain the raw material necessary to keep
their works in motion; but now, timber in abundance is floated down at
cheap rates, and in quantities ample to meet the demands of the mills;
thus, by obtaining cheap raw material, and having convenient facilities
for shipment of their mill products, the Montpelier manufacturers
possess unusual advantages.
The first schoolhouse was of
logs, built in 1841, and known as the "Bible Schoolhouse," and located
near the east line of the township, on George Wiseman's farm.
The second was built in 1845, and situated near the central part of the
township; the walls of this were also of logs, and in the midst of the
place known as the Scholl settlement.
SCHOOLS AT MONTPELIER
During two or three months of
the summer of 1849, a young woman taught a school of youths in a shanty,
and this was the first school undertaking on the ground where Montpelier
is now located, according to the recollection of the earliest settlers.
Jacob Leu, merchant, and Dr. Mercer, a practicing
physician, both of whom located in Montpelier in 1863, and both of whom
have honorably served as members of the Board of Education, state that
when they made their first appearance in the town there was only one
schoolhouse, kept in a room 24x30 feet, by a Miss Morris, and
that she had ample room for more pupils. The old schoolhouse was
purchased jointly by the township and town, as a place for holding
township and town elections and official meetings, and removed to the
more central place in the town, where it now stands. In 1874, a
new house, about 30x40 feet, was built, having two stories, and a
school-room on each floor. Mr. Collister, a young lawyer,
had management of this school, but only one of the school rooms was
required to accommodate himself and pupils. In the years 1875 to
1878, inclusive, W. Dustin had management, and one assistant, and
both floors were occupied. In 1878 and 1879, H. H. Calvin,
now a lawyer in Bryan, was Superintendent and graded the schools, and in
1879 and 1880, E. E. Bechtol, now Clerk of the District and
Common Pleas Courts, had superintendence. Population had so
increased that, in 1881, it became necessary to erect another and larger
building, and W. A. Saunders was made Superintendent and
Principal. Those interested believe him an able educator, and he
has been fortunate in securing a competent corps of teachers.
CHURCHES IN THEIR TOWNSHIP AND TOWN.
There are nine church buildings
in the township, three of which are in Montpelier. The first
regular house of worship was built in 1849, known as the Eagle Creek
Church, and the denomination that built it were Methodist Episcopalians.
The walls of the building were of hewn logs, and its location near the
northwest corner of the township.
The second was built by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians,
and situated two miles north of the south line of the township, and one
mile from the east line. The house was a frame, and built in 1850,
its dimensions being 30x50 feet. The location is near the center
of what is known as the Brannon settlement. In 1873, the
congregation not having adequate seating room, built another and larger
one upon ground nearly adjacent, and made sale of the vacated building
to parties who removed it. The grounds upon which both buildings
were placed donated by James Martin, who also gave a liberal
quantity of land for a graveyard, in which his own body, after his
decease, was buried. The last building cost $2,000, and church is
known as "Bethesda."
The Disciple Church, on the south
line of the township, and one mile west of the east line, was built in
Union Chapel is situated two
miles north of the south line, and one and three fourths miles of the
west line of the township. Denomination, Untied Brethren.
The Lutheran Reformed, or
Zion's Church, situated about one and a half miles
from the west line of the township, was built in a year not
ascertained; but this and the Disciple are the only congregations that
have church edifices constructed of brick.
The German Lutheran, in
Montpelier, was built in 1880, at a cost of $1,700.
The United Brethren Church, at
Montpelier, was built about 1869, according to the memory of some of the
members The United Brethren Church, on the southwest line of the
township, has a large congregation and well-attended Sunday school.
The Methodist Episcopalians, at
Montpelier, have a commodious church building, and a Sunday school that
is held regularly every Sunday.
Much difficulty was encountered in obtaining the
statistics of the churches of the township and town, arising chiefly
from the fact that there are no resident pastors of any of them as yet,
and, in most cases, official records are utterly unattainable. The
time in doubtless near at hand when all the above churches will have
MORAL AND BENEVOLENT AGENCIES.
In addition to her churches and efficient
school system, Montpelier has a large force of Good Templars, who are
active workers, and the Masons and Odd fellows have each completed
arrangements for the organization of lodges representing their
respective orders. Louden Post of the G. A. R. has very recently
been established, but promises to become a strong organization.
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