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.
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
Chaffee. Andrew 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
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
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
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.
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
- 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
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."
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
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
to his friend Hon. William Crosby, United States Consul at Talcahuano,
Chili, on Christmas Day, 1846.
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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
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
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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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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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.
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
† A house which was occupied, a year or so later,
by those connected with the land office, etc., also stood upon Outlot No.
** 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
‡‡ 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.
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."
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
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
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
OF ROBERT McLELVY ]
ARCHITECT AND BUILDER.
SHOEMAKER AND MAYOR.
OF MC. D. CAREY ]
OF LEWIS STRAW ]
COUNTY BIBLE SOCIETY.
SABBATH SCHOOL UNION.
OAK HILL CEMETERY.
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.
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,
The old Mission Burying Ground had been
used as the principal place of interment before the opening of oak hill
OF WM. VANGUNDY ]
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
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.
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.
BIOGRAPHIES OF UPPER SANDUSKY & CRANE TOWNSHIPS >