History of Seneca County, Ohio

A written memorial of the Past and a record of the Present are works which civilization demands. In local history, alone, are found the ways and means to comply with this demand: because the page of history is carried down the years, and is read and analyzed centuries after the inscription on iron is effaced by rust, and Old Time has destroyed the marble monument. Many of the men and women who settled in the wilderness of the Sandusky Valley a half-century ago, have gone to join the Church Triumphant. One who was here sixty-seven years ago is still a resident, and not more than a dozen who were here sixty years ago still dwell in this garden land which they helped to raise out of the wilderness. The well-kept places of interment throughout the county tell the simple tale of death; but it is remarkable that of the great majority who have been laid to rest in the soil, comparatively few claim the temporary record which the grave-stone offers. A look through the cemeteries, particularly the old ones, will convey the writer's idea more clearly: for here, a tablet, sunk deep in the dank earth; there, one broken with its face downward on the grave of the departed one whom it battled to memorialize; beyond, a little mound, where grasses wave over an unknown grave all point out unmistakably the transient character of every record, other than the printed page of history.

In presenting this volume to the people, we feel that some contribution to National history has been made. The First Part deals with the establishment and progress of the Northwest Territory, and contains many direct references to the Sandusky Valley. The Second Part, treating on the civil and military history of Ohio, deals with Indian and political life within the State. The history of Seneca County, forming the Third Part, contains the story of the county, its townships, cities and villages, each chapter reviewing the subject to which it is devoted. The thirteen chapters of general history and fifteen chapters of township history contain a record of names and events connected with this division of Ohio from the earliest times. The material for these twenty-eight chapters was collected and compiled by M.A. Leeson, from State, County, Township, City, Village, Church, Society and other written record books, and from the files of the Sandusky Clarion and other pioneer journals. A great fund of history was obtained from the invaluable collection of local newspapers (1832 to 1885) in possession of the proprietors of The Seneca Advertiser, and from the files of the Tiffin Tribune, Fostoria Democrat, Fostoria Review, and other journals.

The Fourth Part is devoted to Personal History and Reminiscences. Its value can scarcely be overestimated; for in its pages are found a thousand records, each containing the minutiiae of history, not only bearing on this county but also relating to other parts of the Union. This important branch of his- tory has claimed a great share of attention from the gentlemen engaged in its compilation. The Appendix contains a complete list of the original land entries in the county, as copied from the official records.

With all the attention which has been bestowed on this volume, some errors in chronology and some in nomenclature may have crept in. The difficulties attendant on the publication of a work of this class, the number and variety of names and incidents, and the many avenues open to mistakes, preclude the possibility of absolute perfection. We trust, however, that the work will be received in that generous spirit which applauds conscientious effort, rather than in that captious mood which is satisfied only with unattainable accuracy.

To the gentlemen of the press and public officials of the county, who aided the general historian so cordially, as well as to all the people who made the publication of the work possible, we tender our sincere thanks with an expression of hope that the history of Seneca from 1782 to 1885 may prove itself authentic, and be acceptable.


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After LaSalle's return from the discovery of the Ohio River (see the narrative elsewhere), he established himself again among the French trading posts in Canada. Here he mused long upon the pet project of those ages a short way to China and the East, and was busily planning an expedition up the great lakes, and so across the continent to the Pacific, when Marquette returned from the Mississippi. At once the vigorous mind of LaSalle received from his and his companions' stories the idea that by following the Great River northward, or by turning up some of the numerous western tributaries, the object could easily be gained. He applied to Frontenac, Governor General of Canada, and laid before him the plan, dim but gigantic. Frontenac entered warmly into his plans, and saw that LaSalle's idea to connect the great lakes by a chain of forts with the Gulf of Mexico would bind the country so wonderfully together, give unmeasured power to France, and glory to himself, under whose administration he earnestly hoped all would be realized.