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Wyandot Co., Ohio
History & Genealogy

History of Wyandot County, Ohio
Chicago: Leggett, Conaway & Co.,




     UPPER SANDUSKY,  a town which has an altitude of 287 feet above the surface of Lake Erie, and which for the past thirty-nine years has been known as the seat of justice of Wyandot County, is pleasantly located on the west or left bank of the historic Sandusky.  Its wide, well-shaded avenues, laid out in the true direction of the cardinal points of the compass, are graced by many handsome public buildings, churches and private residences, and its inhabitants, about 4,000 in number, are apparently in the full enjoyment of an enviable degree of comfort and the prosperity.
     Respecting its early history, we will state here, parenthetically, that throughout all the chapters of Part III of this work, frequent and pertinent allusions will be found, especially in Chapters III to XI inclusive.  We have there shown how an when the lands upon which it is built came into the possession of the Wyandot Indians.  That in later years it was the grand rallying point of the hostile Northwestern tribes during their wars against the Americans; that its site was visited by Col. Crawford's command of Pennsylvanians in June, 1782; that during the war of 1812-15 it again became prominent in National affairs and history, by reason of the assemblage here of large bodies of American troops under Gen. Harrison and Gov. Meigs, and as a site for Fort Feree; that in 1817 it was made the central point of the chief Wyandot Reserve, and it thus continued as the seat of the council house, church, store, jail, etc., until 1843, when they, the Wyandots, removed, in accordance with treaty stipulations, to a region lying west of the Missouri River.  Therefore, to avoid an unnecessary repetition, we commence our historical sketch of the town of Upper Sandusky with the year 1843 - the date its site was surveyed and platted under the provisions of an act of Congress.
     A copy of the original "plan of Upper Sandusky, surveyed under the provisions of the act of Congress of Mar. 3, 1843, 'for the sale of certain lands in the States of Ohio and Michigan, ceded by the Wyandot tribe of Indians, and for other purposes,' " is before us.  From it, we learn that the original survey of this town was made by Lewis Clason, D. S., some time during the year 1843; that "the inlots fronting on Wyandot avenue are eighty-three and one-third links from by 300 links in depth.  All the other inlots are 100 links front by 250 links in depth, and contain one-fourth of an acre.  The dimensions and contents of the outlots* are inserted therein.  All alleys are 25 links in width." Upon this plan, which is neatly drawn on a scale of five chains to an inch, other notes and explanations appear as follows: "The above map of the town of Upper Sandusky, situated in Township No. 2 south of Range No. 14 east, First Meridian Ohio, is strictly conformable to the field-notes of the survey thereof on file in this office, which have been examined and approved.  Surveyor General's Office, Cincinnati, Jan. 8, 1844."  "Secretary of State's Office, Columbus, Ohio - correct copy.  April 10, 1863."  "Received November 23, and recorded December 3, 4, 5 and 6, 1863, H. Miller, Recorder of Wyandot County, by William B. Hitchcock, Deput.  Fee, $10."
     Originally, including outlots, the town lots extended from the west bank of the Sandusky River westward to Warpole street, and from Church street on the north southward to the south line of the forth tier of outlots lying south from Crawford street, or to the point now termed South street.  The inlots, however, being 380 in number, were bounded on the north by Bigelow street, on the east by Front street from Bigelow to Walker street, and by Spring street from Walker to Crawford street, on the south by Crawford street, and on the west by Eighth street.
     According to the plan, the original streets and their width were as follows:  Streets running east and west - Church, 100 links: Elliott, 80 links; Guthrie, 100 links; Bigelow, 125 links; Finley, 125 links; Walker, 125 links; Wyandot avenue, 150 links; Johnston, 125 links; Hicks, 125 links, and Crawford 125 links.  Streets running north and south - Front, 125 links; Second, 125 links; Third, 125 links; Spring, 50 links; Fourth, 125 links; Fifth, 125 links; Sandusky avenue, 150 links; Seventh, 125 links; Eighth, 125 links; Hazel on the south, and Garrett on the north, both being on the same line, 62½ links, and Warpole on the western border, also 62½ links wide.  Water street extended along the bank of the Sandusky, from the foot of Walker to the foot of Bigelow street.
     This plan also indicates the exact location of various points of interest in old Upper Sandusky, which, with the exception of the "graveyard" and the William Walker house, which still stands on the southwest corner of Walker and Fourth streets, have long since entirely disappeared from view.  Walker and Fourth streets, have long since entirely disappeared from view.  Thus on Outlot No. 49 which is bounded on the north by Walker street, east by Third street, south by Wyandot avenue, and west by an alley or the same lot, and directly northeast from the fort, stood the Indian jail, which, constructed of hewn timbers, and standing upon the point of the bluff, jutted beyond the street line into Third street.  The council house stood upon Inlot No. 90.  Directly north of it is shown the graveyard, which occupying the crest and slope of the bluff, and a space equal to four inlots or one acre, is abounded on the west by Fourth street, north by an alley, east by Spring street and south by Johnston street.  The inclosure contains the remains of members of the Walker, Garrett, Williams, Armstrong, Clark, Hicks and Brown families, besides those of many others, a majority of whom were either part or full blooded Wyandot Indians.  Again glancing at this map of the town, we find that William Walker's residence stood upon Inlot No. 211, or near the southwest corner of Walker and Fourth streets.  His store was south from his house, and occupied a portion of Inlot No. 193.  Clark's house rested in the center of Walker street, near the west line of Third. "Garrett's tavern," which stood near the northeast corner of Wyandot avenue and Fourth street, occupied portions of Inlots 159 and 160, as well as Fourth street.  Hicks' habitation** rested partly on Inlot No. 70 and Fifth street.  Brown's cabin was directly south from the council house, on Inlot No. 19, and Armstrong's dwelling stood near the center of Outlot No. 12.  Other buildings, though probably they were not of much value, were standing in 1843, upon Inlots No. 56, 106, 156, 165, 212 and 217, but the names of the original owners or occupants are not given.  It will thus be observed that the first residents of this locality - the Indians and their friends of mixed blood - chose the most dry and picturesque positions as sites for their council house, jail and dwellings.
     Having explained how, when and by whom the town was laid out, we will not glance at some of its early white inhabitants.
     The Indians departed in July, 1843, and their old haunts were soon after occupied by a number of those who became permanent settlers, though by reason of the fact that these lands, or lots were not placed upon the market until two years later, they were for a brief period only "squatters."  In October, 1843, the United States Land Office was removed from Lima, Ohio, to Upper Sandusky, and when at the same time Col. Moses H. Kirby as Receiver, and Abner Root as Register, came on and established their offices in the old council house, they found that those who had preceded them here as residents were Andrew McElvain, his brother Purdy McElvain, and Joseph ChaffeeAndrew McElvain was the proprietor of a log tavern, which, standing on the grounds now occupied by the brewery had but very limited capacities for the entertainment of men and beasts.  Col. Purdy McElvain had been here for a number of years, employed as United States Indian Agent, while Col. Chaffee was engaged in farming and land speculations.  He had a considerable portion of the original town plat sown to wheat in the fall of 1843.  At the same time, George Garrett, whose wife was one-quarter Wyandot, and who was the father of Joel Garrett, kept the "Garrett Tavern."  Col. Kirby also remembers that the town was surveyed by Lewis Clason, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in November or December, 1843.  At that time William Brown was engaged in surveying the reservation which had been vacated by the Indians during the preceding summer.
     Jude Hall, Esq., Upper Sandusky's first lawyer, was numbered among the residents in 1844, also Chester R. Mott, Esq., Wyandot's first Prosecuting Attorney.  During  that year, too, Oct. 12, Col. Andrew McElvain was commissioned as the first Postmaster of the town.
     Wyandot County was erected in February, 1845, and soon after Upper Sandusky was chosen as the county seat.  Then began a lively boom for the new town.  In their anxiety to secure good locations, lawyers, merchants, doctors, artisans, hotel-keepers, speculators, etc., etc., hastened here by the score, and ere the close of that year, hundreds of town lots had been sold (see Chapter VI, Part III of this work); the town could boast of two newspapers, numerous stores and shops, and a population of from three to four hundred.
     The names of all the tax-paying inhabitants of the town for each year since 1845 are yet accessible, hence, as a means of pointing out those who were the first residents of Upper Sandusky, we here insert the names of all who were assessed for personal property in Crane Township in the spring or early summer of 1845.  The names of those who then resided outside of the village limits are printed in italics, all others are presumed to have been residents of the town proper: James B. Alden, Andrew M. Anderson (afterward Associate Judge), Anthony Bowsher( a merchant), Saul Bowsher, Jesse Bowsher, Robert Bowsher, William Blain, Susanna Berry, James Boyd (colored), Joseph Cover, Hanson Cover, Joseph Chaffee, James H. Freet, George T. Freet, George Garrett (tavern-keeper), Michael Grossell, Ersin Goodman, David Goodman, Jonathan Gaddis, David High, John Hamlin, John Johns, Samuel Johnson, Moses H. Kirby (Receiver of Land Office and attorney at law), Moses Kirby, George Larick, Samuel Landis, Andrew McElvain (Postmaster and inn-keeper), Dr. Joseph Mason (practicing physician), James McLain, John Maybee, James Morris, William Morris, Joseph McCutchen (a merchant), Joseph Parker, Hiram Pool, Michael Rugh, John Rummell, James Rankin (a half-breed Wyandot), John D. Sears (attorney at law), Samuel Smith, John W. Senseny, Daniel Stoner, Jesse Snyder, Nathan Sayre, Elias Sickefoos, Ezra Tucker, Abraham Trager, David Wilson, Dr. David Watson (a practicing physician), William K. Wear (attorney at law), Timothy Young, George Young, Lemuel Young and Cornelius Young.
    In November, 1845, David Ayres & Co. and Henry Zimmerman, having had erected for themselves suitable buildings, also became identified with the business interests of the town as merchants.  During the same month and year, too, the Wyandot chieftains Greyeyes, Jaques and Washington, while en route to Washington D. C., to settle some matters connected with the transfer of this their former reservation, visited their old home, Upper Sandusky.
     The townspeople, especially the younger portion, now began to assume airs commensurate with their fancied importance as dwellers of the county seat, as witness the following article which was published in the Democratic Pioneer in May, 1846:

"For the Democratic Pioneer.

     MR. EDITOR - Please let the people known that the ladies and gentleman of our town went fishing yesterday, and, just to "stop the rush," tell them the fish are all bespoken.
     Upper Sandusky is in its infancy, but if there is a town in Ohio of not more than three times its age and size, which owns a greater number of sweet, charming and beautiful girls, we think we always went through it in the night time.  All these charmers went out, and with them a slight sprinkling of the rougher sex. 
     Armed with bean-poles, pin hooks and twine, and loaded with bounteous provisions of cake and pie, we sallied forth, and disregarding wells, springs, and puddles, struck boldly for the Sandusky.  The fishing being only ostensible, was soon finished.  We rendezvoused at the Big Sycamore, around which the varied and fleeting groups, the diversified pursuits, and strange commingling of sounds, afforded excellent opportunities for the study of Nature's works, both natural and artificial.
     The greensward was our table, and never was festive board, surrounded with lighter hearts than ours.  The grass afforded pleasant seats; and the attitudes, as we reclined around the daintily ordered feast, were purely classical.  Of course there were coquetting, ogling, honied words, and tender glances, and those who were hooked, will, perchance, learn in future to beware of the "fishers of men."
     But don't stop the press any longer than just to say that we relieved the anxieties of our careful mammas by returning before dark, and the fish stories to the contrary nothwithstanding, didn't catch a single fish, cat, bass, minnow, pike or                       SUCKER."

     However, that Upper Sandusky did make rapid progress during the first eighteen months succeeding the county's organization, is fully attested by the following extract from a letter which was written by Col. Joseph McCutchen to his friend Hon. William Crosby, United States Consul at Talcahuano, Chili, on Christmas Day, 1846.

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     In the first place, in relation to Upper Sandusky.  It has improved beyond the most extravagant calculations.  It is but a little over a year ago since the General Government sold the town lots and land, and now some 800 inhabitants reside here.  There are six dry good stores - three too may - about the same number of groceries, four hotels, mechanical shops of various kinds, and the town is still improving.
     The county is also settling with an excellent class of farmers.  The public buildings are in rapid progress.  The jail is almost completed; it is by far the best looking jail I have seen; it is made of stone and brick.  The brick is the best specimen I have ever seen in Ohio.  The stone for the doors and windows are beautiful white limestone, brought from Marion County.  The builder is Judge McCurdy, from Findlay, Hancock County.  Although he will in a few days have seen seventy-four winters, he is one of the most enterprising men of his age I ever saw.  If he is spared a few weeks longer, the job will be finished in a masterly style.  He gets by $500 too little for the building.  
     The court house has been contracted for at $7,000, by a Mr. Young, from Logan County.  It is to be a magnificent building.  The donation from the General Government, if judiciously managed, will pay every dollar of expense of the public buildings, or nearly so, without taxing the people a dollar.  I hope it may do it, as you are well aware I have labored three years with Congress, to have the donation matter accomplished.  Your old friend in Congress, Hon. Henry St. John, managed that matter as well

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     Here we are reminded that nearly all residents and property owners of new and progressive towns - especially of Western towns, and Upper Sandusky was considered a Western town at that time - are prone to over-estimate their population.  That Mr. McCutchen was led into the same error is clearly proven by the accompanying statement of the number of inhabitants of Upper Sandusky in February, 1847; that is, two months later than the date of his letter.  Taking Wyandot and Sandusky avenue as the divisible lines, the population of the town, at the date above mentioned, was ascertained by actual enumeration to be as follows:  Northeast quarter 270; northwest quarter, 63; southeast quarter, 153; southwest quarter, 200.  The number of the inhabitants in the town of Upper Sandusky in February, 1847, 686.‡‡
     Early in the year 1848, after much controversy, and a good deal of ill-feeling had been engendered, an act was passed by the State Legislature, which declared the ambitious little town of Upper Sandusky, a body corporate, etc. etc.  The act reads as follows:
     An act to incorporate certain towns therein named.  [See Vol. XLVI. Local Laws of Ohio, page 169.]

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     SECTION 12.  That so much of the township of Crane, in the county of Wyandot, as is included in the recorded plat of the town of Upper Sandusky, (*) or that may hereafter be included in the plat of said town, is hereby created a town corporate, to be known and designated by the name of the town of Upper Sandusky, and by that name shall be a body corporate and politic with perpetual succession.

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     SEC. 21.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
                                                                                                                      JOSEPH S. HAWKINS,
                                                                                                        Speaker of the House of Representatives.
                                                                                                                       CHARLES B. GODDARD
                                                                                                                                  Speaker of the Senate.

     February 18, 1848.
     Notwithstanding it was the county seat and an incorporated village, it is apparent, by reason of its sparse population and lack of manufactories, that the town and townspeople moved along in a slow, even, uneventful way, for a number of years succeeding 1848.  In 1854, however, by the energy of George W. Beery, Esq., Robert McKelly, Esq., and other public-spirited citizens, railroad communication was secured with the East and West via the Ohio & Indiana Railway, now known as the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad.  The benefits conferred by this grand avenue of commerce were at once made manifest.  Many new business houses were opened, values rapidly increased, and from 783 inhabitants in 1850, the number of residents in the town were augmented to 1,599 in 1860, or an increase of more than one-half during the decade.  Since the year last mentioned, the increase in population has been at the rate of 1,000 per decade.  Meanwhile, and especially during the past fifteen years, much has been accomplished in the way of beautifying and making healthful the town.  A vast amount of money, in the aggregate, has been expended, and as a result its streets are well lighted and sewered, several are macadamized, and all are supplied with good and substantial brick and stone walks.
     A point has now been reached in this recital when it is deemed necessary, in showing the town's gradual progress, and in speaking of its corporate history, fire department, manufacturing interests, banks, social institutions, churches, etc., to use separate headings for each topic.  The readers, therefore, will find further and special information respecting such subjects, under appropriate captions in pages to follow.  First, however, are inserted a series of highly interesting articles from the pen of a well-known early resident.

* The outlots were 216 in number, and generally contained about two acres each.
A house which was occupied, a year or so later, by those connected with the land office, etc., also stood upon Outlot No. 49.
** Hicks' house, William Walker's house and the council house, were the only frame buildings in the town while it was occupied by the Indians.
Col. Purdy McElvain, then Receiver of the Land Office, died at Upper Sandusky in April, 1848.  The following month the office was removed to Defiance, Ohio.
The Big Sycamore in 1846, measured fifty-one feet in circumference.
‡‡  The town contained only 783 inhabitants in 1850, 1,599 in 1860, 2,564 in 1870, and 3,545 in 1880.
(*)  By annexations made March 30, 1871, July 13, 1877, and January 31, 1881, the corporate lines have been extended considerably beyond the limits described in 184.



     The following entertaining reminiscences "of peculiar people and events in the early days of Upper Sandusky," first appeared in the columns of the Wyandot Union, during the year 1882.  They were written by Robert D. Dumm, the senior editor of that journal, and, with his permission, are here reproduced. 


     In 1845 and 1846, perhaps extending into 1847, there lived in Upper Sandusky a man by the name of Storm.  He was a Frenchman - a French patriot.  Every fiber of his nature was French; every feeling and impulse an irrepressible desire to once more look upon the beauties and gradeur of paris.  He would talk glibly of the Boulevards and the Palais Royal "on zee Rue Richelieu;" and gave you plainly to understand, that more than "zee hundred time," had he joined in the uproar of "Vive l' Empereur!"
     He was one of Napoleon's old guards.  He saw, as well as Felt, the carnage and destruction at Waterloo, and was one of the survivors of that terrific struggle.  In his way he was quite a character, and knew just enough of English to make his broken French a jingle of quaintness and humor.  A single man was Storm through an eventful life, because the old guard "never surrendered;" and moreover, no thought nor care had he taken of the morrow.  How he happened to drift into Upper Sandusky was never fully explained, for old Storm was only communicative when in liquor, and the topic then uppermost in his mind was Napoleon and the French Army.  He could think and talk of nothing else, and when referring to the Emperor's exile, would weep like a child.  His worship of Bonaparte had all the feeling and fullness of adoration, and the music of his pronunciation in uttering the name of "Na-po-le-on," had that sweet and peculiar ripple which forever lingers in the recollection.
     But Storm, away from the shimmer and sock of battle-fields, had to make a living, and he existed in Upper Sandusky, by taking care of the horses and stables of Dr. Mason, one of our early physicians.  Mason, from the exhaustion of a large practice in this country, rough as it was then, was worn out, feeble in health and sometimes irritable, and old Storm used to try his patience terribly.  A little incident we have in mind will show the craftiness of the old guard.  Besides grooming the horses, a share of his business was to pail the cow, but as Storm never looked upon milking as a fine art, he failed to perform this part of his task with any degree of satisfaction.  time and again the Doctor and old Storm would dispute over the proclivities and disposition of the cow.  To apologize for the scanty supply of milk, Storm would insist that "zee dam short-tail would not let zee milk down."
     On day the doctor met Storm coming from the stable with a vessel of milk.  The quantity did not suit the doctor, so he took the bucket out of Storm's hand, proceeded to the stable and re-milked the cow with very satisfactory results.  This chagrined and puzzled the old guard, but he did not surrender.  The next time when Storm went to milk, he took two buckets with him.  After milking half from the old cow in the first bucket, he hid it in the straw, and then finished milking in the other.  He carried his scanty supply of milk to the doctor, d___ning "ze short-tail," with many emphatic embellishments, for holding up her milk.  Here, the Doctor, in a fit of passion, grabbed the bucket and broke for the cow to show Storm that he was "a liar and a villain."  After tugging away at the old cow for about ten minutes without any show of milk, he felt like, and did apologize to Storm for his rashness.  But Storm was all smiles and good humor.  He had convinced the doctor that the cow held  her milk  The old guard was himself again and on top.
     A few minutes after Storm came from the stable with the other bucket of milk, telling the doctor that he had just yanked it from the cow.  Here, the doctor transformed his eye-brows into a fine pair of exclamation points, and forgave Storm for all former delinquencies, blaming the frequent short crops of mil upon "ze dam cow."
     This is one of many little incidents that occurred, bringing fort the character of the old guard, which a life in the French Army had cultivated.  Frequently have we seen old Storm, in a transport of imagination, living over again the scenes of his army life, going through the drill with a pitchfork, and keeping time and step to the low chant of some patriotic air.
     But a time came for old Storm to pass in his checks, and as the fever racked his brain, he marched with Death through the broken ranks of a shattered army - on - on - into eternity; exclaiming with his last breath, "Na-po-le-on  -  Waterloo!  Ze old guard dies, but never surrenders."


















































     The Oak Hill Cemetery Association was organized and incorporated on the 26th day of February, A. D. 1876, in accordance with the provisions of the general laws of the State.  The members at that time were David Harpster, S. Watson, S. H. Hunt, John Thompson, T. E. Grisell, R. A. Henderson, Jacob Kisor, Jacob Stoll, Cyrus Sears, S. H. White, James G. Roberts and Gen. I. M. Kirby.  Of these members the following were elected officers, viz.: T. E. Grisell, President; James G. Roberts, Clerk, and Treasurer; David Harpster, T. E. Grisell, and Isaac M. Kirby, Trustees.
     For several years prior to its organization, many of the people of Upper Sandusky and vicinity had deeply felt the want of a suitable place for the interment of the dead, and much examination and inquiry and some effort had from time to time been made to procure such place; but no effective measures were taken to secure the end until about the 5th day of August, 1874, when Messrs. S. Watson, D. Harpster, S. H. Hunt and J. G. Roberts, with the view of organizing an association and establishing a cemetery, purchased of John Buser the principal part of the grounds now occupied.
     After the association became incorporated, these parties conveyed this ground to the trustees, which with small tracts purchased of Messrs. Hedges and Reber, making thirty acres, constitute the cemetery.
     The location is on the Radnor road, one and a half miles south of Upper Sandusky.  It is situated upon a tract of high table land bordering and overlooking the Sandusky Valley.  Its elevated position furnishes it perfect drainage, which with a subsoil composed mainly of sand and gravel and an undulating surface covered with an abundance of native forest trees, highly qualify it as a fit resting place for the dead, and make it a most picturesque and beautiful place.
     The grounds were surveyed and platted by William T. Harding, of Columbus, Ohio, and were formally opened and dedicated on the 4th day of October, 1876.
     The old Mission Burying Ground had been used as the principal place of interment before the opening of oak hill Cemetery.












     The Church of God at Rock Run, in Crane Township, was organized by Rev. William Adams in the winter of 1847 at a meeting held in the dwelling-house of John Fernbaugh.  The original members, five in number, were John Fernbaugh and wife, John Hart and wife, and Isaac Hoagland.
     The house of worship, a frame structure 34x40 feet, was built in 1860 at a cost of $1,500.  It was quite thoroughly repaired in 1883.
     Those who have officiated as pastors of this church were D. Shrimer, William Shafer, David Nidig, J. W. Senseny, William Adams, William McCormick, James George, R. H. Bolton, George Wilson, L. Ensminger, J. H. Basore, W. P. Small, T. Deshire, J. Neal, W. H. Oliver, J. A. Smith, S. Tilly, T. Koogle and J. V. Updyke.
     The present members of this organization are about fifty in number, among whom are Daniel Hale and G. Fernbaugh, Elders; William Fernbaugh and Charles Hottman, Deacons; D. Hale, James Crawford and J. B. Ferbaugh, Trustees.




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