PUTNAM COUNTY was formed from Old Indian Territory, April 1, 1820, and named from General Israel PUTNAM, who was born at Salem, Mass., January 7, 1718, and died at Brooklyn, Conn., May 29, 1790.  In 1824, when Williams county was organized, Putnam, Henry and Paulding counties were attached to it for judicial purposes, and in 1834 Putnam was organized as a separate county.  The surface is generally level and, much of the land being within the Black Swamp district, is wet but, when cleared and drained, very fertile.  Area about 510 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 129,123; in pasture, 16,083; woodland, 66,297; lying waste, 3,053; produced in wheat, 484,800 bushels; rye, 29,446; buckwheat, 567; oats, 210,827; barley, 4,826; corn, 1,505,147; broom-corn, 1,315 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 16,597 tons; clover hay, 4,298; flax-seed, 90 bushels; potatoes, 64,466; tobacco, 350 lbs.; butter 498,743; cheese, 4,440; sorghum, 7,408 gallons; maple syrup, 3,007; honey, 8,121 lbs.; eggs, 755,555 dozen; grapes, 1,784 lbs.; sweet potatoes, 375 bushels; apples, 6,511; peaches, 234; pears, 193; wool, 51,141 lbs.; milch cows owned, 7,289.  Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888: Limestone: 1,055 cubic feet of dimension stone, 2,559 cubic yards of building stone, 1,125 square feet of flagging, 6,750 square feet paving, 3,498 lineal feet of curbing, 1,097 cubic yards of ballast or macadam.


School census, 1888, 9,893; teachers, 241; Miles of railroad track, 96.



And Census





And Census










































Sugar Creek,














Van Buren,




Population of Putnam in 1830 was 230; 1840, 5,132; 1860, 12,808; 1880, 23,713; of whom 19,757 were born in Ohio; 777, Pennsylvania; 230, Virginia; 174, New York; 174, Indiana; 38, Kentucky; 1,264, German Empire; 218, England and Wales; 117, Ireland; 94, France; 52, British America; 11, Scotland, and 5 Norway and Sweden.  Census, 1890, 30,188.




A large proportion of the population is from eastern Ohio, and of Pennsylvania extraction.  In Ottawa, Greensburg, Riley and Jennings are many natives of Germany.  The site of old Fort Jennings is in the southwest part.  There were two Indian towns in the county of some note–the upper ‘Tawa town was on Blanchard’s fork; two miles below, on the site of the present Ottawa village, was the lower ‘Tawa town.


Kalida, the [old] county-seat, is on Ottawa river, 114 miles northwest of Columbus.  It was laid out in 1834 as the seat of justice, and named from a Greek word signifying “beautiful.”  It contains a Methodist church, four stores, a newspaper printing-office, and thirty-six dwellings.


In Riley is a settlement of ‘Aymish or Omish,” a sect of the “Mennonites or Harmless Christians.”  They derive their name from Aymen, their founder, and were originally known as Aymenites.  This sect wear long beards, and reject all superfluities in dress, diet and property.  They have ever been remarkable for



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industry, frugality, temperance and simplicity.  At an early day many of the Omish emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania.  When they first came to the country they had neither churches nor graveyards.  “A church,” said they, “we do not require, for in the depth of the thicket, in the forest, on the water, in the field and in the dwelling, God is always present.”  Many of their descendants, deviating from the practice of their forefathers, have churches and burial grounds.


The view, “A Home in the Wilderness,” represents a log tavern in the western part of the county, on the road to Charloe.  It was built about thirty years since by two men, assisted by a female.  It has long been a favorite stopping-place for travellers, as many as twenty or thirty having, with their horses, frequently tarried here over night, when journeying through the wilderness.  The situation is charming.  It is on the banks of the Auglaize, which flows in a ravine some fifteen or twenty feet below.  All around stand massive trees, with foliage luxuriantly developed by the virgin fertility of the soil, while numerous branches have in the passing waters.  We came suddenly upon the place on a pleasant day in June, 1846, and were so much pleased with its primitive simplicity and loveliness as to stop and make a more familiar acquaintance.  We alighted from our faithful “Pomp,” turned him loose among the fresh grass, drew our portfolio from our saddle-bags, and while he was rolling amid the clover in full liberty, and the ladies of the house were seated sewing in the open space between the parts of the cabin, fanned by a gentle breeze–we took a sketch as a memorial of a scene we shall never forget, and to present to our readers a view of “A Home in the Wilderness.”


Gilboa, Pendleton, Ottawa, Columbus, Grove, Madeira and Glandorff are all small places in this county, the largest of which, Gilboa, contains about thirty-five dwellings.–Old Edition.




The foregoing comprises about all my old account of Putnam county.  Indeed, the entire county then was largely forest and water.  The most interesting point is my picture of the “Home in the Wilderness.”  That picture proved to be one of the most attractive things in my old book.  It seemed to touch a chord in the hearts of multitudes who had begun life in the midst of such scenes.  It is note-worthy that now, after the lapse of forty-three years, I should receive a letter from a stranger, a then boy, who sat by my side when I drew that picture, which tells me all the circumstances, but which I had long since forgotten.  His letter is from Dawn, Darke county, Ohio, dated April 2, 1889, and signed S. S. HOLDEN.  It gives some interesting things about the old home, long since vanished.  It was prompted partly by learning that the painter of an oil painting of it had put in the claim that his painting was an original design of his own.  We quote:


“I am by profession a minister of the Gospel, of the ‘United Brethren Church (in Christ).’  I will be qualified that the picture on your letter-head is a picture of the man who drew the sketch of our home about the year 1846.  I am a son of P. B. HOLDEN, whose name appears on the sign as you drew it.  I was then 14 years old, and recollect it about as vividly as if it had occurred but yesterday–your riding into the yard on horse-back; getting off your horse; laying your paper, pencils, etc., about you on the old sled or mud boat, which lay in the yard at that time, and is shown in the picture, and watching you draw the scene.  Such an occurrence was too rare not to make an impression on a boy like me.  A man named Sebastian SROUFE built the house.  He died and was buried near there.  Two of his sons were named George and Albert–the latter was a school teacher.  His widow married Judge PERKINS, and they moved to Williams county.


“While you were making the sketch, my mother and a lady school teacher sat in the open space between the two rooms, sewing.  Before you had completed it, my brother and a Mr. Whiting cam through the yard where we were sitting, having been to a deer lick.  One of them carried his gun at ‘trail arms’ and the other carried his gun on his shoulder, and with them was our dog ‘Tyler.’ ”


It was well the dog was along.  His name marks the era of the event and helps to confirm the truth of Mr. HOLDEN’s statement.  The hard-cider campaign had only passed a few years before, when the old Whigs had




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Drawn by Henry Howe on a pleasant day in June, 1846.




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sung “For Tippecanoe and Tyler too.”  Hence it was natural for them to thus name their dogs “Tip” for Tippecanoe and “Tyler” for Tyler too.  Humor comes from incongruous associations, so Mark Twain named his jumping frog Daniel WEBSTER–both were heavy weights: one from brains and brawn, the other from shot.


The “Home” was on the main route from Kalida to Charloe, about five miles northwest from the former, The Samuel HOLDEN, who lived there as stated, was an United Brethren clergyman.  So the home seemed to have done service as both parsonage and tavern.  Later, as I have been told, the Rev. Branson GOOD made it his home, and the building stood until about thirty years since.


Since receiving the letter from his son, I find in the Pioneer Reminiscences of the county a statement by Mr. George SKINNER which leads me to believe that this was the first house built in Putnam county.  He says: “The first building that could be designated a house was erected by two men and a woman on section 21, Perry township, by Sebastian SROUFE.”  He then states it was on the Auglaize, and that he was buried close by.


A Strange Animal.–After leaving this now pet spot in my memory, making my way westward, I discovered a strange animal running on the ground.  I sprang from my horse and killed it with a club, it showing no fight.  I then tied it on my horse, back of the saddle, thinking it might be some valuable game.  I had no sooner got it on, than Pomp began to dance up and down, especially the back part of him; then, trotting off, I had great difficulty in catching him, and was fearful I should have to pass the night in these woods of the Black Swamp.  Then I saw what was the matter.  A quantity of pin-quills were sticking in his back, gathered from the animal.  Every motion of his body drove them farther in.  It was a hedgehog, or porcupine–the only specimen I ever saw.  There are a variety of porcupines, and everywhere, we believe, it is deemed a harmless, sluggish animal.  The American species live largely on insects, slugs and worms, and hibernate during cold weather in holes in the earth; but do not take part in the role of heavy sleepers, for on the first advent of warm days in spring they come out to bask in the sunshine and see what is “up.”  The porcupine has quills and hair, and the Indian women ornament moccasins with the quills.  Indians have been known to convert their skins into whiskey jugs.  The African porcupine has quills of an immense size, with a peacock like display.  The English porcupine is sometimes domesticated, is good for hunting cockroaches, and is said to be good to eat; unlike the American, when pursued he rolls himself into a ball shape as a defense, and woe to the mouth of the dog that tries to bite him.  It must be a very spunky Scotch terrier that will persevere to a conquering end.  None of these kinds of porcupines throw their quills; that is a popular delusion.  The only species ugly enough to do that is the human.


After relieving Pomp of his burden and his back of the quills, I had a lonely ride through the woods and ended my day’s journey at a miserable tavern near the line of the canal, at what I think was Charloe.  The fare was hard, the night hot, and my bed cruel.  I thought I was going to my slumbers alone; never was greater hallucination; they came upon me in a voracious multitude.  Of all things I abhor crowds; so I sprang out as though I had been shot and passed the night on the bare boards of the floor.  My travelling through Ohio in 1846 was not all “honey pie.”


OTTAWA, county-seat of Putnam, is on the Blanchard fork of the Auglaize, about ninety miles northwest of Columbus, fifty-two miles southwest of Toledo, and on the C., H. & D. Railroad.  In 1866, the court-house at Kalida having been destroyed by fire, Ottawa, by a majority vote of the people of 455, was made the county-seat.  County officers, 1888: Auditor, W. W. PLACE; Clerk, H. W. SCHMITSCHULTE; Commissioners, Wm. BOEHMER, James H. SMITH, John T. MALLAHAN; Coroner, Jacob F. LEFFLER; Infirmary Directors, Jos. H. MILLER, J. R. RIMER, R. E. GILBERT; Probate Judge, J. H. UPHAUS; Prosecuting Attorney, John P. BAILEY, Recorder, L. M. LUDWIG; Sheriff, Peter WANNEMACHER; Surveyor, D. W. SEITZ; Treasurer, Otho W. CRAWFIS.  City officers, 1888: John GORDON, Mayor; August SHERLOW, Clerk; L. B. YOUNTZ, Treasurer; Schuyler BLAKEMAN, Marshal.  Newspapers: Gazette, Republican, C. L. H. LONG, editor and publisher; Putnam County Sentinel, Democratic, George D. KINDER, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Catholic, 1 United Brethren, 1 Presbyterian.  Banks: Ottawa Exchange; SLAUSON & DeFORD; A. V. Rice & Co.


Manufactures and Employees.–Rice, Brown & Co., wheels, 39 hands; J. R. SMITH, lumber, 7; Ottawa Gate Manufacturing Co., gates, sleds, etc., 15; BRINKMAN Bros., carriages, etc., 8; William ANNESSER, flour, etc., 4; ROBEAULT & REAM, planing mill, etc., 6.–State Report, 1887.


Population, 1880, 1,293.  School census, 1888, 540; C. C. MILLER, school su-



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perintendent.  Capital invested in industrial establishments, $75,500.  Value of annual product, $64,500.–Ohio Labor Statistics, 1887.


Census, 1890, 1,717.




The pioneers organized at Kalida September 6, 1873, with George SKINNER as chairman, who appointed as committee to draft a constitution and by-laws, Dr. Moses LEE, Henry M. CRAWFIS, and George SKINNER.


The first article declared all persons resident in the county prior to 1840 eligible to membership.  The society issued two pamphlets of Reminiscences–one in 1878 and one in 1886.  We give items from these “talks” in abridged form.


GEORGE SKINNER, born in Hamilton county in 1816.  Had his little stock of saddlery wagoned from Piqua to Kalida in 1839, and opened a shop.  Nearest saddler on the south was at Lima; Findlay, east; Defiance, north; Fort Wayne, west.  Two stores then in Kalida, Sheldon GUTHRIE’S and Moses LEE’S; two taverns, Dr. LEE’S and James THATCHER’s; court-house then building.  First courts were held in the cabin of Abraham SARBER.  First court, May 5, 1834.


The first settler in the county was DAVID MURPHY.  He came down the Blanchard from Fort Findlay in a canoe, in 1824, with his family; went up the Auglaize three miles and settled on the bayou.  Erected a cabin of poles; ran out of provisions; none nearer than Fort Findlay; out also of rifle balls; recollected where he had shot a ball into a tree; hunted the tree, cut out the ball, recast it, and seeing a bear on the limb of a tree, took aim at the bear–a trying moment–killed the bear.


H. S. KNAPP became at an early day editor of the Kalida Venture.  Went one Sunday to a camp-meeting at Columbus Grove, in a wagon, with his wife.  They were newly married.  Started to return together on horseback and got dumped into a mud-hole.  Knapp tried to pull his wife out but failed.  Backed his horse; wife caught horse’s tail and was pulled out.  The Venture appeared next morning with editorials short and crabbed. [The opposition papers denounced his newspaper as the “Kalida VULTURE.”  KNAPP lived to write the history of the Maumee valley, and dedicated it to “Rutherford B. HAYES, late Governor of Ohio.”  The Venture was established in 1841 by James MACKENZIE; in the course of years lost its unique, enterprising name, and is now the Putnam County Sentinel, with Geo. D. KINDER, editor “on guard.”]


East from the barn of William TURNER, in Pleasant township, is a low piece of bottom land some twenty rods wide.  In 1845 there was an upheaval of the earth; a ridge formed across from bank to bank, some four feet high and about thirty wide, which dammed up a creek there; so that Mr. TURNER was obliged to cut a channel through it to let off the accumulated waters.  The cause of this no one knows.


For many years after the organization of the county a session of the court was deemed a fit time for a spree, a general good time; so it was common to hold court all day, and have a jolly good time all night during the entire term of the court.


Wheat, corn, potatoes and pork were raised with very little trouble, and, when properly taken care of, want was never known.  Game was plenty.  Coon and deer-skins, with the money brought by emigrants, formed about all the currency.  Hand-mills for grinding corn were almost a household necessity, and the meal from one ear, made into bread, was deemed ample for one meal for one person.  On calling for a dinner, persons sometimes had to wait until the corn was shelled, ground and baked.


HIRAM SARBER, born in Franklin county in 1817, settled one mile below Kalida in 1833.  When corn began to ear, along came the coons and squirrels, and it seemed as though they would get it all.  Father said to me, “Hiram, there is the little gun and dog.  I want you to watch the coons and squirrels out of the corn-field.”  I thought this would be fun, but I found out better in a few days.  I shot squirrels by day and hunted coons by night.  The dog would lay by daytime; when night came he was ready for a hunt, when I would open the door and say, “Go! Hunt them,” and wait until he barked.  He would not kill them until I came.  At last I got so tired of this that I tied him up to get some sleep.  If I let him loose, he would soon find one, and then bark until father would call out, “Hiram!  Do you hear the dog?” and then I would have to get up and go; for I knew better than to disobey him.


The Indians were plenty here, and we had considerable sport with them shooting at a mark, hopping, and running foot-races.  The first winter and spring, if we boys wanted young company we had to go twelve miles to a settlement, where there were about a dozen boys and girls that attended meeting, and a singing at a log school-house.


The First Road in the county was the one cut through from Fort Recovery to Defiance, by Anthony WAYNE, in 1794.  This passed



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along the west side of the river, and has ever since, with few variations, been used as a public road.  At the intersection of Jennings creek with the Auglaize, on this road, Col. JENNINGS erected, in 1812, a stockade for the protection of supplies between Fort Recovery and Fort Defiance; and on this road the first mail was established, and the mail carried between Piqua and Defiance, once a week, on horseback, supplying between the termini the offices of Hardin, Wapakonetta, and Sugar Grove (this was at the house of Sebastian SROUFE, near HOVER’s Mills), the only post-office in the county.  The mail was carried by a boy, C. C. MARSHALL, from September, 1829, to December 31, 1831.  This boy was afterward Mayor of Delphos, Superintendent of the Miami and Erie Canal, and a member of both houses of the legislature.


JOHN WILCOX, born in Madison county in 1825; his parents settled in Perry township in 1827.  One night, when the father was absent and the pioneer wife alone with her two babes in the rude cabin, “the rains descended and the floods came;” the mother took her babes, her axe, and pot of fire (matches then being unknown), and started for higher ground, which she reached after wading through water for a quarter of a mile, and build a fire where the first orchard was planted in the subsequent year, the trees being purchased from John CHAPMAN–“Johnny APPLESEED”–who was peddling in a boat from his nursery near Fort Findlay.  The rise of the waters again compelled her to seek higher ground; and here she was found later in the day by Demit MACKERAL, who had come to her relief in a canoe.


The January Flood of 1830 was the highest ever known to white settlers.  The river appeared to seek its level with the neighboring swamps as tributaries.  Hog creek, on a “high,” united its waters with the Blanchard at Prairie Run.  When it was at its highest and the earth saturated with water, making it all slush and mud, the weather, being quite warm for the season, suddenly changed to extreme cold, and the almost boundless sea of water was frozen into a glare of ice to the depth of an inch and a half.  Cattle lying down at night were frozen to the ground before morning, and the legs of some were frozen to the knees.  On this glare of ice hundreds of deer were killed by wolves, they being headed off of the dry ridges upon which they had sought shelter; and once on the smooth ice they became an easy prey to the ravenous beasts.


WILLIAM GALBRAITH.  Ottawa Indians were his only neighbors when he settled in Putnam county in 1834.  Sycamore and his squaw, who had a pappoose, got into a quarrel, when he pulled out his knife and cut the child in two.  Each one had half, and they settled the quarrel.


Indian Tom would steal, so the tribe concluded to put him out of the way.  One evening, when the river was rising very fast, they took him down into a low bottom, and tied him to stakes driven in the ground, expecting the river to rise before morning and drown him.  But there was a young squaw, who went down in the night and cut him loose.  Tom finally went with the Ottawa tribe west.


STANSBURY SUTTON settled on Ottawa Green in 1833.  Indian Tom was a bad Indian.  In the spring of 1834 he stole a pony from some of his tribe.  They tried him for stealing, found him guilty, took him from camp, divested him of his clothing, laid him on his back, tied him to a stake, and left him to remain all night, subject to the torture of the innumerable hosts of mosquitos and gnats.  I saw Tom the next morning; he was a fearful looking object.  He looked as though every pore of his skin had been penetrated by the insects.  I sympathized with him, notwithstanding I knew he was a thief.  After Tom was released they procured whiskey, and the whole tribe (except Pe Donqet, the chief) got drunk and had a general spree, lasting two days.


In the early settlement of a new country there is to be found a larger development of a true and genuine brotherly love and magnanimity than in any other place.  In the fall of 1833 a Mr. OWENS lost two cows.  Thinking he would find them on Tawa Green, he pursued them to that place.  Finding they had gone on, he borrowed some money of my father to pay his expenses, and pushed on after them.  On the third day he returned with the cows, returned the same money, saying he could not get any one to take a cent of it.


J. Y. SACKETT settled in Riley township in 1833.  Devil Jim and two others were claimants for the chieftainship of the Ottawa tribe of Indians.  The tribe chose one of the other two, and Devil Jim, stepping up to his successful opponent, knife in hand, stabbed him in the abdomen, causing death.  The tribe decided that the heir to the chieftainship should execute Jim.  The executioner took the knife in hand, and commenced stabbing Jim, but without much effect.  Jim damned him; told him he did not know how to kill a man, and, placing his hand on his left breast, told him to stab there.  He obeyed; and Jim fell dead.


BROCKMAN BROWER settled in Greensburg township in 1833.  We obtained our fruit trees from John CHAPMAN (“Johnny APPLESEED”).  When I first saw him he was floating down the Blanchard river in a canoe, loaded with apple-trees, distributing them among the early settlers along the Blanchard, Auglaize, and Maumee rivers.  He would supply trees to all, regardless of their ability to pay for them.  His nursery was near the headwaters of the Blanchard.  Loading a canoe, he would descend the river, supplying all who were in need of fruit-trees.  He thus devoted his time and means for the benefit of his fellow-man.  The year 1834 was noted for the July flood, It rained a large portion of the time, from the 20th of June until the 4th of July, at which time the river was at its highest.  It was rising nearly two weeks,



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and nearly as long going down.  It will now rise to its highest point in three or four days, and recede in the same length of time.


Dr. R. W. THRIFT, in an address before the Pioneer Association, said: “When I first came into the county the country appeared to be a dead level, densely and heavily wooded, with swales on every side that fed the streams, and kept them more or less swollen all the year round.  The main roads had been recently cut out, and instead of there being any ditches as now to drain and dry them, they were walled up on either side by massive trees, that excluded from their surface the sunlight and the winds, and left them moist and muddy at all seasons when not actually frozen.  So far as I know, there was not a bridge across the Auglaize, Hog creek, or the Blanchard, anywhere along their course through the county; and perhaps not from their common source in the great marsh in Hardin county to where they unitedly empty into the Maumee at Defiance.  One of the best qualifications of the physician’s horse then was to be a safe, high swimmer; and among the first lessons the physician had to learn in manual labor was how to ‘paddle his own canoe.’”


It is related of one of the old settlers, that being sick and in need of a medical man, his nearest source of supply was Defiance, possibly Dr. COLBY or EVANS, as they were among the first of that town; at all events a single visit was made, and the old settler was subsequently told that his bill was $20.  He was astonished, and protested that it was too much.  “See here,” said the doctor, “that bill is not high, considering the result of my visit.  Here you are sound and well again; then you looked to me as though you were about to die.  Of course, if you had died, I should not have charged you so much.”  “O my1 O my!” said the old settler, “I wish I had died then, doctor.”  I suppose really that life on the Auglaize at that time had not as many charms as it might now have upon the banks of the Hudson.




There is no other region of equal area within the State which presents such a monotonous surface as the eighteen counties included in the Maumee valley, in what is known as the “Black Swamp” region, although only a part of them properly include the “Black Swamp.”


There is no portion of the entire valley which could with propriety be termed “hilly;” yet there are portions, such as the northern part of Williams, a portion of Allen, Auglaize and other counties, which are gently undulating, yet scarce sufficiently so to merit the term “rolling.”  Nowhere are hills to be found.  A very remarkable feature of the surface of the valley is the distinct outline of ancient beaches, locally known as “Sand Ridge,” “Oak Ridge,” “Sugar Ridge,” and perhaps by other cognomens, and found in nearly every county forming the valley.


A Level Road–The principal one of these enters Ohio near Fayette, and passes in a southwesterly direction to Fort Wayne, Ind., and from here it takes a southeasterly course to Van Wert, Ohio, from there to Delphos, Columbus Grove, Findlay, Tiffin, Milan, and thence east.  From the western portion of Cuyahoga county one may travel this ancient beach–for it is a good road throughout almost its entire length–250 miles by way of Tiffin, Forts Finley and Wayne, and through the counties of Defiance, Williams and Fulton, to the State of Michigan, and not be subject to an extreme range of seventy-five feet of variation in elevation in the entire distance.  Its average altitude above the lake is about 225 feet.  A second ridge enters the State in Ridgefield township, Lucas county; passes southwesterly and crosses the Maumee about two miles east of Defiance; thence to Ayresville, where it branches into two separate ridges nearly parallel; the inner ridge passes through the southern part of Henry, northeasterly through Wood and into Ottawa county; the outer one of these branches passes through Putnam, northern part of Hancock, into the southern part of Wood, and east into Senecca county, and from thence toward Fremont and Sandusky City.


Ancient Beaches of the Lake.–These are the principal ridges, but there are many smaller and intermediate ridges.  These sand ridges are usually very narrow, but in places spread out over a considerable area, sometimes one-half to three-fourths of a mile.  Then, again, they form vast dunes, as in Washington township, Henry county.  This entire township may be regarded as one vast sand dune.


These ridges were undoubtedly the ancient shores or beaches of the lake, formed by the action of the waves, just as beaches are now forming on the shores of Lake Michigan.


Drainage Obstructed.–The course or direction of the ridges is, as a rule, parallel to the shore of the lake; or, in other words, at right angles to the general direction of the most rapid drainage.  In consequence of their direction, drainage has most certainly been obstructed.  We do not infrequently find a marsh created by the ridge presenting a permanent barrier to the passage of the accumulated waters to a lower level beyond.  In other instances we find a stream deflected



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Top Picture


This map shows Maumee Valley and the other divisions of Ohio as arranged

by the lat Prof. Klippart, Ohio State University.


Bottom Picture

John H. Schell, Photo., Ottawa, 1887.





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from the direction of the shortest and most rapid drainage, as in the case of Blanchard’s fork or Auglaize river, at Findlay, where it is deflected west, and finds an outlet at Defiance into the Maumee, when its natural drainage–and everything is favorable for this latter except the ridge–would be through the middle or east branch of Portage river, and its waters to enter the lake at Port Clinton, instead of Toledo, via Defiance.  It is by no means improbable that these beaches or ridges gave direction to the headwaters of the St. Joseph and Tiffin rivers, in Williams and Fulton counties, and caused them to make vast detours before their waters mingled with those of the lake.  Williams county, having a general elevation of 250 feet above the lake, the surface of the county, except for these beaches, would have directed the waters of the St. Joseph through Fulton county, and thus have reached the lake after a flow of fifty miles instead of 160.  The fifty-mile route would have afforded a fall of five feet per mile, whilst the actual route, estimating the sinuosities of the stream, is really less than one foot per mile.


Deflection of Rivers.–The Maumee valley is watered by the Maumee, Portage and Sandusky rivers and their tributaries.  Notwithstanding the fact that a well-defined ancient beach exists in Van Wert, Allen, Putnam, Hancock and Seneca counties, having an average elevation of about 225 feet above the present level of the lake, and rudely conforming in its course to the present shore, the general direction of the three rivers above named is that of almost a right angle from this ancient beach to the lake; yet many of the principal tributaries flow in a direction parallel to the ancient beach, rather than in the direction of the principal streams.


The St. Mary river at Bremen, in Auglaize county, is distant from the lake about 120 miles; yet it flows northwesterly to Fort Wayne, Ind., where it joins the St. Joseph and forms the Maumee, its waters flowing 160 miles from Bremen to Toledo.


Blanchard’s fork, rising in Hardin county, flows north into Hancock county, where it assumes the name of Auglaize; thence flows nearly parallel to the ancient beach in an almost due west direction, to the eastern boundary of Paulding county, a distance of about fifty miles; thence it flows northward and enters the Maumee at Defiance, having a descent of about 100 feet in sixty-five miles, or about eighteen inches per mile; but if from Findlay it flowed north, it would reach the lake in less than fifty miles, and have a descent of 200 feet, or four feet per mile.


The foregoing account of the natural phenomena which produced the Black Swamp is abridged from the report of an agricultural survey of the State, made in 1870, by Prof. J. H. KLIPPART.


An anecdote illustrating the difficulties of travel through this region early in the history of the State, is related in Waggoner’s “History of Toledo and Lucas Counties;”


A Mud-hole Franchise.–Among the cultivated industries of that region at one time was the furnishing of relief to travellers, chiefly emigrants, whose teams were found to be incompetent for the condition of the road, the chief difficulty arising in their being stalled in the successive “mud-holes.”  So common had this become that some landlords provided themselves with extra yokes of oxen with which to extend the needed relief.  This business came to be so far systematized that the rights of settlers to the “mud-hole” nearest them were mutually recognized.  It was told that, on a time, a certain tavern-keeper, who had long held undisputed possession of a particularly fine “mud-hole,” which he had cultivated with special care for the profit it brought him, sold his stand, preparatory to leaving the country.  Regarding his interest in the “hole” as a franchise too valuable to be abandoned, he finally sold his quit-claim thereto to a neighbor for the sum of $5, being probably the only case on record of the sale of a “mud-hole,” for use as such.


Some years since an extended system of draining and ditching was inaugurated in this region.  The following account of what was done in Wood county will give some idea of the extent and value of the work.  It is extracted form a communication to the Toledo Commercial by a very respectable citizen of Perrysburg:


Increase in Value through Drainage.–The improvement already made in the surface of the county has exceeded all expectation.  Lands in this county which but a few years since were covered with interminable swamps and forest, purchasable at from two to ten dollars per acre, have been converted into good farms, now commanding from twenty to fifty dollars per acre.  This marked change is mainly attributable to the extensive and excellent system of drainage or ditching, so vigorously pushed forward in every portion of the county.  It is a source of congratulation that this same system of drainage is not confined to this county.  It is doing as much for the agricultural development of neighboring counties, and is being as thoroughly and vigorously prosecuted.  The face of the Black Swamp region at this time presents a complete network of ditches, draining the land of surplus water and improving and developing the resources of northwestern Ohio.


Ditches in Wood County.–The petition for the construction of the first ditch in Wood county was filed in the auditor’s office April 28, 1859, and up to September, 1869, there were constructed and in process of construction 140 ditches, whose aggregate length is 495 miles.  The respective length of the ditches is as follows:


                16 ditches are less than 1 mile in length.

                95 ditches are 1 mile and less that 6.

                20 ditches are 6 miles and less than 12.

                1 ditch is 37 3/8 miles long.


The last mentioned is designated as Ditch No. 12, and is “one of the institutions” of Wood county–a fact to which taxpayers can readily



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testify.  When entirely completed it will drain and render fit for cultivation not less than 50,000 acres of wet and swamp land.  It has a total fall of 67 ½ feet.  Its bottom width varies from ten to twenty feet, and its depth from one to eight feet.  This one improvement alone might claim rank with ship canals without a very great degree of presumption.  It is by this system of drainage that the entire area of country once known as the Black Swamp is being converted into a most fertile and productive region, and in a few years it will become one of the most valuable agricultural districts between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi.


Extensive Ditching.–Prof. KLIPPART reports that up to January, 1872, there had been constructed no less than 3,000 miles of main or county drains, and fully 2,000 miles of side or township drains; together with thousnads of tile, plank and “sapling” under-drains.  Putnam county alone had 604 ½ miles of main and 131 miles of side ditch, while Wood county came next with 371 ½ miles of main and 123 ½ miles of side ditch.


In an address to the pioneers of Wood county, delivered in September, 1890, Mr. N. H. CALLARD, of Perrysburg, summarizes the ditching of Wood county at that date as follows:


“The largest ditch, the Jackson cut-off, is nine miles long.  Its construction cost $110,000 and it drains near 30,000 acres of land.  The Touisant ditch is twenty-two miles long, the Rocky Ford seventeen miles, and the work performed on the different branches of the Portage has been large and effective.  It has been estimated that the whole drainage system of Wood county, as it now is, including railway ditches, those on each public highway, and such as have been constructed by the farmers on their private property, will present an aggregate of 16,000 miles in length, and their cost will reach into the millions.  These improvements form the basis of prosperity to the Wood county farmers.  Without them they could have made but little progress in the cultivation of their farms or in the development of their crops.”


LEIPSIC is eight miles north of Ottawa, at the crossing of the D. & M. and N. Y., C. & St. L. Railroads.  Newspaper: Free Press, Independent, W. W. SMITH, editor and publisher.  Churches:  1 Lutheran, 2 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Disciples, 1 Catholic, 1 United Brethren. Bank: Bank of Leipsic, A. ROSECRANS.


Manufactures and Employees.–O. E. TOWNSEND & Co., doors, sash, etc., 6 hands; Buckeye Stave Co., 36; O. W. Irish & Co., butchers’ skewers and flagstaffs, 33; J. H. FISHER, carriages, etc., 5; A. F. EASTON, lumber, 5.–State Report, 1887.


Population, 1880, 681.  School census, 1888, 409.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $50,530.  Value of annual product, $63,300.–Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.


COLUMBUS GROVE is seven miles south of Ottawa, on the D. & M. and C. W. Railroads.  It has five churches.  City officers, 1888; James BEFORD, Mayor; J. W. MORRIS, Clerk; John KELLER, Treasurer; Jesse FRUCHEY, Marshal.  Newspaper: Putnam County Vidette, Republican, W. C. TINGLE, editor and publisher.  Bank: Exchange, Simon MAPEL, president, T. J. MAPEL, cashier.


Manufactures and Employees.–J. F. McBRIDE, jeans, blankets, etc., 8 hands; Buckeye Stave Co., 60; J. S. LEHMAN & Co., drain tile, 6; M. PEASE, flour, etc., 5; CRAWFORD & Co., lumber, 4; PERKINS & ALLEN, doors, sash, etc., 10; J. F. JONES, axe-handles, 15; HENDERSON & LIGHT, flour, etc., 5; W. R. KAUFMAN, drain tile, 6.–State Report, 1887.


Population, 1880, 1,392.  School census, 1888, 509; E. WARD, superintendent.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $45,000.  Value of annual product, $50,500.–Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.


GILBOA is seven miles east of Ottawa.  Population, 1880, 287.  School census, 1888, 105.


KALIDA is nine miles southwest of Ottawa, on the Ottawa river. Population, 1880, 404.  School census, 1888, 151.


BELMORE is eleven miles northeast of Ottawa, on the D. & M. Railroad.  Population, 1880, 445.  School census, 1888, 189.


DUPONT is sixteen miles west of Ottawa, on the Auglaize river and T., St. L. & K. C. Railroad.  It has one Christian and one Methodist Episcopal church.  School census, 1888, 150.



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GLANDORF is two miles west of Ottawa.  It has one church, Catholic.  School census, 1888, 375.


FORT JENNINGS is so called from a stockade erected here by Col. JENNINGS in 1812.  It is eighteen miles southwest of Ottawa, on the Auglaize river and on the T., St. L. & K. C. Railroad.  It has two churches: one Catholic and one Lutheran.  School census, 1888 295.


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