Henry Howe's "History of Ohio"
ALLEN COUNTY was formed April 1, 1820, from Indian Territory, and named in honor of a Col. Allen, of the war of 1812; it was temporarily attached to Mercer county for judicial purposes. The southern part has many Germans. A large part of the original settlers were of Pennsylvania origin. The western half of the county is flat, and presents the common features of the Black Swamp. The eastern part is gently rolling, and in the southeastern part are gravelly ridges and knolls. The "Dividing Ridge" is occupied by handsome, well-drained farms, which is in marked contrast with much of the surrounding county, which is still in the primeval forest condition. Its area is 440 square miles. In 1885 the acres cultivated were 119,175; in pasture, 29,598; in woodland, 53,395; produced in wheat, 460,669 bushels; in corn, 1,157,149; wool, 103,654 pounds. School census, 1886, 11,823; teachers, 178; and 118 miles of railroad.
Township and Census
The population in 1830 was 578; 1850, 12,116; 1860, 19,185; 1880, 31,314, of whom 25,625 were Ohio born, 3 were Chinese, and 4 Indians.
The initial point in the occupancy of the county by the whites was the building of a fort on the west bank of the Auglaize in September, 1812, by Col. Poague, of Gen. Harrison's army, which he named in honor of his wife Fort Amanda. A ship-yard was founded there the next year, and a number of scows built by the soldiers for navigation on the Lower Miami, as well as for the navigation of the Auglaize, which last may be termed one of the historical streams of Ohio, as it was early visited by the French, and in its neighborhood were the villages of the most noted Indian chiefs; it was also on the route of Harmer's, Wayne's, and Harrison's armies. To-day it is but a somewhat diminutive river, owing to the drainage of the country by canals and ditches, and the clearing off of the forests; in the past it was a navigable stream, capable of floating heavily laden flat-boats and scows.
The fort was a quadrangle, with pickets eleven feet high, and a block-house at each of the four corners. The storehouse was in the centre. A national cemetery was established here, where are seventy-five mounds, the graves of soldiers of the war of 1812.
Among the first white men who lived at this point was a Frenchman, Francis Deuchoquette. He was interpreter to the Indians. It was said he was present at the burning of Crawford, and interfered to save the unfortunate man. He was greatly esteemed by the early settlers for his kindly disposition. In 1817 came Andrew Russell, Peter Diltz, and William Van Ausdall; and in 1820 numerous others.
Russell opened on the Auglaize the first farm probably in the county, and there was born the first white child, a girl, who became Mrs. Charles C. Marshall, of Delphos. She was familiarly called the "Daughter of Allen county." She died in 1871.
From an address by T. E. Cunningham, delivered before the Pioneer Association, at Lima, September 22, 1871, we derive the following additional items upon the early settlers of the county:
"Samuel McClure, now living, at the age of seventy-eight years, settled on Hog creek, five miles northeast of where Lima now stands, in the month of November, 1825, forty-six years ago. He has remained on the farm where he then built a cabin ever since. The nearest white neighbors he knew of were two families named Leeper and Kidd, living one mile below where Roundhead now is, about twenty miles to the nearest known neighbor. On that farm, in the year 1826, was born Moses McClure, the first white child born on the waters of Hog creek. Mr. McClure's first neighbor was Joseph Ward, a brother of Gen. John Ward. He helped cut the road when McClure came, and afterwards brought his family, and put them into McClure's cabin, while he built one for himself on the tract where he afterwards erected what was known as Ward's mill. The next family was that of Joseph Walton. They came in March, 1826.
Shawneetown, an Indian village, was situated eight miles below the McClure settlement, at the mouth of Hog creek. A portion of the village was on the old Ezekiel Hoover farm and a portion on the Breese farm. Mr. McClure and his little neighborhood soon became acquainted, and upon good terms with their red neighbors. He says Hai-Aitch-Tah, the war-chief, had he been civilized, would have been a man of mark in any community. Quilna was the great business man of the tribe here. Soon after the McClure settlement was made they heard from the Indians at Shawneetown that the United States government had erected a mill at Wapakoneta. The settlers had no road to the mill, but Quilna assisted them to open one. He surveyed the line of their road without compass, designating it by his own knowledge of the different points and the Indian method of reaching them.
There are many of the children of the early settlers to whom the name of Quilna is a household word. To his business qualities were added great kindness of heart, and a thorough regard for the white people. No sacrifice of his personal ease was too much if by any effort he could benefit his new neighbors.
In the month of June, 1826, Morgan Lippincott, Joseph Wood, and Benjamin Dolph, while out hunting, found the McClure settlement. To his great surprise, Mr. McClure learned that he had been for months living within a few miles of another white settlement located on Sugar creek. He learned from the hunters there were five families: Christopher Wood, Morgan Lippincott, Samuel Jacobs, Joseph Wood, and Samuel Purdy. It is his belief that Christopher Wood settled on Sugar creek as early as 1824, on what is known as the Miller farm. In the spring of 1831, John Ridenour, now living, at the age of eighty-nine, with his family--Jacob Ridenour, then a young married man, and David Ridenour, bachelor--removed from Perry county, and settled one mile south of Lima, on the lands the families of that name have occupied ever since."
LIMA was surveyed in 1831 by Capt. James W. Riley. Christopher Wood was one of the commissioners appointed to locate the county-seat, and was on the board to plat the village and superintend the sale of lots. Both of these were remarkable men. Wood was born in Kentucky in 1769, was an Indian scout, and engaged in all the border campaigns, inclusive of the war of 1812. Riley was the first settler in Van Wert county. He was a native of Middletown, Connecticut. Early in life, while in command of a vessel, he was shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, an fell into the hands of the Arabs; his history of his adventures reads like a romance. For a fuller account of him see [Howe's History of] VAN WERT county.
Lima was named by Hon. Patrick G. Goode. In August, 1831, a public sale of the lots took place. A few months later came John P. Mitchell, Absalom Brown, John P. Cole, Dr. William Cunningham, John Brewster, David Tracy, John Mark, and John Bashore, all with families, except Brewster, who was a bachelor. Absalom Brown was the first white citizen, and his daughter, Marion Mitchell Brown, the first white child born here.
Three years later, the picture of Lima presented is thus given in the cheery reminiscences of Robert Bowers:
The want of mills is everywhere a great deprivation in a new country; varied have been the devices for overcoming it. The engraving annexed shows a substitute for a mill that was used in the early settling of Western New York, and probably to some extent in Ohio. It consists of a stump hollowed out by fire as a mortar, with a log attached to the end of a young sapling bent over to act as a pestle. The process was slow and tedious, it being a day's work to convert a bushel of corn into samp.
The early settlers in Western New York when they owned a few slaves, which some of them did, employed them in this drudgery, hence the process was vulgarly termed "niggering corn." People of humanity in our time would not be guilty of using such an expression as this. No one thing shows the general moral advance of the American people more strongly than their treatment of, and increased consideration for, the humbler classes among them.
Lima, the county-seat, is on the Ottawa river, 203 feet above Lake Erie, 95 miles west-northwest of Columbus, and on five railways: the P. Ft. W. & C.; D. & M.; L. E. & W.; C. A., and C. L. & N. W. County officers in 1888: Probate Judge, John F. Lindemann; Clerk of the Court, Eugene C. McKenzie; Sheriff, Moses P. Hoagland; Prosecuting Attorney, Isaac S. Motter; Auditors, William D. Poling, Cyrus D. Crites; Treasurer, Jacob B. Sunderland; Recorder, George Monroe; Surveyor, James Pillars; Coroner, John C. Convery; Commissioners, John Akerman, Abraham Crider, Alexander Shenk. Newspapers: Gazette, Republican, C. Parmenter, editor; Democrat, Democratic, Mr. Timmonds, editor; Republican, Republican, daily and weekly, Long, Winder & Porter, publishers; Times, daily and weekly, O. B. Selfridge, Jr.; Courier, German, Democratic. Churches: two Methodist Episcopal, one Colored Methodist Episcopal, one Presbyterian, one Old School Presbyterian, one Mission Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Colored Baptist, one German Catholic, one Evangelical Lutheran, two Lutheran, one German Reformed Lutheran, one Episcopalian, one United Brethren, one Christian, one Reformed English. Banks: City, T. T. Mitchell, president, E. B. Mitchell, cashier; First National, S. A. Baxter, president, C. M. Hughes, Jr., cashier; Lima National, B. C. Faurot, president, F. L. Langdon, cashier; Merchants' R. Mehaffey, president, R. W. Thrift, Jr., cashier.
Manufactures and Employees.--The Lima Engine Manufacturing Company, 6 hands; Sinclair & Morrison, well-drilling tools, 10; W. Schultheis, leather, 23; E. F. Dunan, builders' wood-work, 8; C. H. & D. R. R. shops, railroad repairs, 154; Lima Machine Works, locomotives, 150; the Cass Manufacturing Company, handles, sucker-rods, etc., 10; E. W. Cook, job machinery, 37; the Lima Paper-Mills, straw-board and egg-cases, 128; Enterprise Cracker Company, crackers, 10; Woolsey & Co., bent wood-work, etc., 78; Castle & Muller, drilling and fishing tools, 8; Lafayette Car-Works, railroad cars and repairs, 300; L. E. and W. R. R. Company, locomotive repairs, 103; Dr. S. A. Baxter, boxes and staves, 8.--State Report 1887. Population in 1860, 2,354; in 1880, 7,567; school census 1886, 3,345. Estimated population in 1888, 18,000.
Lima has several fine business blocks. The court-house is one of the most imposing in Ohio; it covers half an acre, and was erected, with the stone jail adjacent, at a cost of $350,000; it is constructed of Berea stone, ornamented with red granite columns. It is 160 feet in height, and has a tower and clock. Its interior finished in granite, and with encaustic tiled floors, is furnished in the finest cherry, and is adorned with statuary. It is the large structure with a tower shown in the street view.
The Faurot Opera Block, finished in 1882, contains not only an opera-house (which is said to have only one equal to it in the State) and a fine music-hall, but also eight large business rooms, numerous offices, a dining-hall, and the Lima National bank, facing upon Main and High streets, and remarked for its beauty.
Annexed is a view of Lima, drawn by us in 1846, when the place was but a small village. It was taken near the then residence of Col. James Cunningham, on the Wapakoneta road. The stream show in the view is the Ottawa river, often called Hog river--a name derived from the
following circumstance: McKee, the British Indian agent, who resided at the Machachac towns, on Mad river, during the incursion of Gen. Logan in 1786, was obliged to flee with his effects. He had his swine driven on to the borders of this stream; the Indians thereafter called
it Koshko sepe, which signifies Hog river. The eccentric Count Coffenbury, in his poem, "The Forest Rangers," terms it Swinonia. A sketch of the count is given elsewhere in this work, with extracts from his amusing poetry.
Although a substantial and growing manufacturing city, it was not until May, 1885, that it was discovered that Lima was in the largest oil-field known on the globe, not even excepting the famous Russian oil-fields. Its discovery was a matter of accident, the history of which, and the position of Lima a year later consequent upon it, has thus been given.
"It was while boring for gas at his paper-mill that Mr. B. C. Faurot found oil at a depth of 1,251 feet, and though Eastern speculators pronounced the product worthless, they soon leased land. In the following August (1885) a citizens' company was formed and a well was put down, which yielded about sixty barrels per diem. When the manufactories began to use the oil for fuel it brought the low price of forty cents a barrel. The work began in earnest in February, 1886, when the Mandeville company, from Olean, N. Y., leased land known as the Shade farm, at the suburbs of the city, and opened wells which made 200 barrels a day. When refined, the oil proved to be an article of excellent quality. Other wells were soon sunk, and some of them were found to yield some 600 barrels daily. A refinery was built; the work moved on rapidly, and in less than one year there was an increase of at least 1,500 more inhabitants. There are now about 116 oil-wells, with a flow of about 5,000 barrels a day from 125 or more wells. A firm has for some time been manufacturing rigs. Drilling is going on, and another refinery is about to be erected, with a capacity of 2,500 barrels per day. An average of thirty-five wells is developed each month. The Standard Oil Company is now erecting a refinery."
By May, 1887, there were seventy wells in the city of Lima, and in the entire Lima field over 300. What is termed the Lima oil-field extends southwest about twenty-five miles, through Wapakoneta and St. Mary's, in Auglaize county, into Mercer county, just south of Celina. The entire profitable oil territory of Northwestern Ohio is much larger. It covers all of Allen and Hancock counties, the south part of Wood, and parts of Seneca, Wyandot, Hardin, Putnam, Auglaize, and Mercer counties. The general position of Lima at this period (May, 1887) was thus defined by President Baxter, of the Board of Trade:
"The enterprise and dash of our people is inherited; it came to us from our fathers who are dead and gone. We are reaping the benefits of their labors and sacrifices. We have a magnificent agricultural country, as fine railroad facilities as any city in the country. For thirty years we have had a substantial, healthy growth, with scarcely a single backset. We have the general shops of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton, and Lake Erie and Western railroads; a machine-works, with a specialty that brings orders from all parts of the globe; a straw-board and egg-case concern, with facilities that cannot be excelled on earth; a contract car-shops, that employ more men than the combined industries of our neighboring town of Findlay; two wagon and carriage material manufacturers, that manage to disturb the markets of the country by the cheapness of their products. The town is filled with little concerns of all kinds in the manufacturing line, and last night a single bank in the city paid 1,800 checks to skilled labor employed in the various industries. In addition to what we have had heretofore, the past year has developed here the largest oil-field in area in the world, and of which Lima is the nucleus. Within ten months probably $5,000,000 of capital has been brought in, and the future of Lima as the head-centre of the oil distribution is fixed and assured by the action of the Standard Oil Company in building here the largest and most complete refinery in their entire system. Two other pipe-lines and a refinery, operated by gritty young fellows, are also in operation, and more coming. We have 500 oil-wells in operation, with a daily production of 20,000 barrels, and there is already stored, within a radius of a few miles, probably 1,000,000 barrels of oil, with the oil business as yet only in its toddling infancy, the developed territory being capable of sustaining fifty-fold more wells and operated with much greater economy. The possibilities of the oil business are simply beyond comprehension to the ordinary mind, and those actively engaged in the production, handling, and purchase seem the most muddled of all. These are the things that bring the solid wealth to our coffers. To spend it we have, to begin with, a daisy town. We have a system of public-schools that are as near perfection as can be made, and, by the way, we have scrupulously kept the schools out of politics and religion. Every denomination of church is represented. We go to the handsomest little opera-house in the West. For a nickel we can ride two miles on a splendidly equipped electrical street-railroad. For light we can use electricity or gas, each the very perfection of their kind; and for thirst and cleanliness a system of water-works has been provided that, although it broke our hearts and exhausted our purses to build them, more than compensate for all they cost. As to natural gas, we already have enough to set the ordinary village crazy."
From a circular issued in Lima early in the year 1888 we extract some interesting details relating to the oil refineries:
The great enterprise of piping oil from the Lima fields to Chicago manufacturing establishments is now, in this the year 1888, being undertaken by the Standard Oil Company, who practically control all the oil territory around Lima. The total length of pipe will be about 210 miles, and the entire investment aggregate over $2,000,000.
The view of the derricks was taken from a bridge, the successor of the covered bridge over the Ottawa shown in the old view of Lima, and looking easterly. The oil-wells, with their derricks, are a marked feature of this entire region. Nowhere are they so plentiful as around the town. Experience soon showed they were often too close for profit, sometimes not over an acre apart, when the flow proved too weak one well in ten acres was found near enough. The life of a well on the Bradford, Pennsylvania, oil-field is usually about ten years; how long in that of Lima remains to be tested. A single steam-engine in places answers for the pumping of several wells, the power being transmitted from well to well by cables and shafting. The wells are named from the original proprietors of the land. To illustrate, one is named "Shade well, No. 11," it being the eleventh well on the land of Mr. Nelson Shade. The cost of drilling for wells varies from sixty-five cents to $1.50 a foot. The oil struck at from 1,250 to 1,500 feet.
Another marked feature of the oil region is the tanks for the storage of the oil, which vary in capacity from 250 to 3,500 barrels. They resemble huge tubs, are covered on top with boards, and housed or shedded over. The tanks are sometimes struck by lightning; in a single storm in October, 1885, several were thus destroyed. Very little else was destroyed but the tanks. No flames of consequence were seen, but immense volumes of smoke poured forth, which seemed as a protection, acting as an impenetrable curtain to outside objects.
The Black Swamp tract, in which this county partially lies, has been the scene of much unwritten history in the early settlement of the country. Father Finley--a sketch of whom is elsewhere given in this work--has preserved a pleasant anecdote connected with the war of 1812 in his sketch of the life of an eminent Methodist minister, Rev. William H. Raper. At the time he was a lad of nineteen, and volunteered in the company of Capt. Stephen Smith, of Clermont county, which marched to the frontier. From his brightness, notwithstanding his youth, he was chosen sergeant.
THE BLACK SWAMP MUTINY
DELPHOS, on the border line of Van Wert and Allen counties, and on the T. St. L. and K. C.; P. Ft. W. and C.; D. Ft. W. and C.; C. and W.; P. and C. railroads, lies within the oil and gas belt of Northwestern Ohio, seventy-four miles southwest of Toledo, and in a country of great fertility. The Miami and Erie canal divides the town into two nearly equal parts. The post-office is in Van Wert county.
Newspapers: Courant, E. B. Walkup, editor; Herald, Democratic, Tolan & Son, editors and proprietors. Churches: one Presbyterian, two Methodist, one United Brethren, one Catholic, one Christian, one Reformed, one Lutheran. Banks: Commercial, R. K. Lytle, president, W. H. Fuller, cashier; Delphos National, Theo. Wrocklage, president, Jos. Boehmer, cashier.
Manufacturers and Employees.--The Ohio Wheel Company, 62 hands; Hartwell Bros., handles, neck-yokes, etc., 14; Delphos Union Stave Company, 23; Pittsburg Hoop and Stave Company, 50; L. F. Werner, wollen yarns, flannels, etc., 8; Steinle & Co., lager beer, 60; Toledo, St. Louis and Kansas City R. R., car repairs, 100; Weyer & Davis, hoops, etc., 17; Shenk & Lang, Miller & Morton, flour, etc.; Krift & Ricker, D. Moening, builders' wood-work.--State Report 1887. Also Empire Excelsior Works, Delphos Chemical Works, pearlash, etc. Population in 1880, 3,814. School census in 1886, 782; E. W. Greenslade, principal.
Delphos was laid out in 1845, directly after the opening of the Miami and Erie canal. The different portions of it were originally known as Section 10, Howard, and East and West Bredeick. Its general name for many years was Section 10. It is said that Delphos could not have been settled without the aid of quinine. The air was so poisoned but also the very dogs of the settlement suffered intensely from fever and ague. Ferdinand Bredeick built the first cabin; E. N. Morton the first saw- and the first grist-mills; and Mrs. George Lang (maiden name, Amelia Bredeick) was the first child born here. The original settlers were German Catholics. In December, 1845, thirty-six male members met in a cabin, and made arrangements to build a church. It was the first established at Delphos, and "its honored founder, Rev. John O. Bredeick, was the benevolent guardian of the spiritual and material interests of the German settlers, who were pioneers in the inhospitable forests of North America." It was a huge, ungainly structure. It was succeeded in 1880 by an elegant church, erected at an expense of over $100,000; it has a chime of bells, and its appointments are all in keeping--stained glass windows, paintings, statuary, altars, frescos, organ, etc.
Samuel Ferrer, the civil-engineer, is regarded as the pioneer of this region, as he ultimately settled here in Delphos. He was connected with the Ohio canal surveys from July, 1825, to 1831, and located the Miami and Erie canal; in 1871, when he was seventy-eight years of age, he still held the position of consulting engineer of this work. Earlier he had been canal commissioner and member of the board of public works.
Knapp's "History of the Maumee Valley," published in 1872, has these interesting items:
"The great forests, once so hated because they formed a stumbling-block in the tedious struggles to reduce the soil to a condition for tillage, have been converted into a source of wealth. Within a radius of five miles of Delphos, thirty-five saw-mills (now perhaps doubled) are constantly employed in the manufacture of lumber, and a value nearly equalling the product of these mills is annually exported in the form of lumber. Excepting in the manufacture of maple sugar, and for local building and fencing purposes, no use until recent years had been made of the timber, and its destruction from the face of the earth was the especial object of the pioneer farmers, and in this at that time supposed good work they had the sympathies of all others who were interested in the development of the country. The gathering of the ginseng crop once afforded employment to the families of the early settlers, but the supply was scanty and it soon became exhausted. Some eighteen years ago, when the business of the town was suffering from stagnation, Dr. J. W. Hunt, an enterprising druggist, and now a citizen of Delphos, bethought himself that he might aid the pioneers of the wilderness, and add to his own trade, by offering to purchase the bark from the slippery elm trees, which were abundant in the adjacent swamps. For this new article of commerce he offered remunerative prices, and the supply soon appeared in quantities reaching hundreds of cords of the cured bark; and he has since controlled the trade in Northwestern Ohio and adjacent regions. The resources found in the lumber and timber and in this bark trade, trifling as the latter may appear, have contributed, and are yet contributing, almost as much to the prosperity of the town and country as the average of the cultivated acres, including the products of the orchard."
BLUFFTON, on the L. E. and W. and C. and W. railroads, is seventy-five miles southwest of Sandusky, in the northeast corner of the country. It was laid out in 1837, under the name of Shannon, which it retained many years. Newspaper: News, Independent, N. W. Cunningham, editor. Churches: one Lutheran, one Methodist, one Catholic, one Reformed, one Presbyterian, and one Dissenters. Bank: People's, Daniel Russell, proprietor and cashier.
Manufacturers and Employees.--Althaus & Bro., builders' wood-work, 10 hands; A. J. St. John, handles, lumber, etc., 10; A. Klay, machinery, 5; J. M. Townsend & Son, lumber, etc., 5; W. B. Richards, flour and feed, 3.--State Report 1886. Population in 1880, 1,290. School census 1886, 464; S. C. Patterson, superintendent. West of the town is a large Mennonite settlement. Large stone quarries are in its vicinity.
SPENCERVILLE, laid out in 1844-45, at the intersection of C. A. and D. Ft. W. C. railroads, and on the Miami and Erie canal, is fourteen miles from Lima. Newspaper: Journal, Independent, S. L. Ashton, editor. Bank: Citizens', Post & Wasson; I. B. Post, cashier. Churches: one Methodist, one German Methodist, two Baptist, one Catholic, one German Reformed, and one Christian.
Manufacturers and Employees.--J. S. Fogle, Sr., lumber, 5 hands; Richard Hanse, churns, 10; George Kephart, clothes-racks, etc., 10; Kolter & Kraft, flour and feed, 6; R. H. Harbison, builders' wood-work, and also staves and heading, 31; W. A. Reynolds, lumber and feed, 5.--State Report 1886. Census 1880, 532. School census 1886, 468; C. R. Carlo, principal.
Small villages, with census in 1880; Elida, 302; Lafayette, 333; Westminster, 225; Cairo, 316; Beaver Dam, 353.
Reprinted from Henry Howe's History of Ohio (1889).