History of Union Township, Miami County, Indiana
From: History of Miami County, Indiana
Edited by: Mr. Arthur L. Bodurtha
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1914


The territory comprising this township was originally a part of Jefferson, and the first settlers located before the township was cut off as a separate political division on November 7. 1837. Union township is one of the western tier. It is bounded on the north by Allen township, on the east by Perry and Richland, on the south by Jefferson, and on the west by Cass county. It is four and a half miles from north to south and five miles from east to west. In the extreme southeast corner about one fourth of a square mile has been cut off from Union and added to Jefferson, so that the area of Union is a fraction less than twenty two and a half square miles. When the township was first created it contained all of the present township of Allen and a small portion of the western part of Richland. Along Weesau creek and the smaller streams of the township the land is somewhat broken, but back from the creeks the surface is generally level. In the northwestern part are "the barrens," where the only timber is the small jackoak. Several low, sandy marshes, once unfit for cultivation, have been drained and now yield abundant crops. The southern part was originally well timbered with black walnut, hickory, oak, ash and some other varieties of native forest trees.

In the spring of 1835 Joseph Thornburg, William Cannon and John Plaster selected lands in what is now Union township and built their cabins on the frontier of civilization. Joseph Cox, who came about the same time, made a few improvements and then went elsewhere. In the fall of that year came Abraham Leedy, John Fall and John Zook, who settled in the same neighborhood with those who came the spring before.

The next year a number of persons brought their families into the township. Among them were Martin Hoover. who settled in the northern part; John R. Wright, near the present village of Deedsville; Christian Krider, near the western boundary; John F. Sanders and Hugh A. B. People, in the southern part.

Among those who came in 1837 were Matthew Fenimore, who settled on the site of Perrysburg; Stephen Davidson, William Williams and Daniel Cox, in the same locality; John A. Taylor, in the central part; John Shephers, near the western border; William Bane and Samuel Robbins, in the northern part; John Scott, near the center of the township, and a few others, who located their claims in different sections.

At the house raisings in pioneer days it was customary to provide a supply of whisky for the men invited to assist in raising the cabin. It is related of William Cool, who came to the township in the spring of 1839, that he decided to raise his house without the aid of liquor. He invited his friends to the "raising," and announced his intention to give them a dinner they would not soon forget. Various articles of food were brought from a distance to prepare that dinner, but Mr. Cool kept his word and those who partook of that meal remembered for many days afterward. No whisky was provided and after that a dinner "like Mr. Cool's" was preferred to intoxicating drinks. His cabin was a story and a half in height, probably the first of that character in that part of the county. It stood near the old road that ran from Miamisport to the Tippecanoe river and the passing Indians used to stop and admire the house with such expressions as "Humph! white man heap big wigwam!"

Other pioneers who located in Union between the years 1837 and 1840 were: J. A. Howland, Daniel and Joseph Kessler, Jonathan Carlisle, Christopher Cool and his sons - William, Leonard, Powell, John and Philip, Orson Warner, Daniel Crouch, Chauncey Warner, Perry Tharp, Joseph Holman, Solomon Lee, Isaac Benedict, Lewis Conner, William and Charles Strowd, David Leedy, Robert James, James Personett, John Emsley, William R. McFarland, Thomas Wyatt, Caleb Fitzgerald, H. B. Jett, Zephaniah Wade, William Duck, John Dabney, Aaron Rush, Michael Bolingbaugh and Robert Clendening.

A trading post was established at Perrysburg in 1837 and about a year later John A. Taylor built the first saw mill on Weesau creek. Later Mr. Taylor built a grist mill near the same site, with two run of buhrs, equipped to grind both corn and wheat. This mill proved a great blessing to the settlers, who had been compelled to go long distances to secure a supply of breadstuffs, and the proprietor did a good business for a number of years. Under different owners this mill was run until about 1872.

About 1839 Joseph Holman built a saw mill, with a set of corn buhrs attached, in another part of the township, and a year or two later John Zook built a small saw mill on the east branch of Weesau creek. It was subsequently purchased by a man named Matthias, who ran it a short time and then permitted it to fall into decay. The first steam mill was built by William Conner, a short distance south of Perrysburg. The Joseph Holman above mentioned, was the man who laid out the town of Miamisport, but soon afterward removed to Union township, where he built the first frame house, in the southeast corner of the township, and there started a tanyard at an early day. During the few years he conducted it he made much of the leather used by the pioneers in that part of the county.

Probably the first white child born in the township was Mary, daughter of Martin and Sarah Hoover, who was born in January, 1837. Later in that year occurred the death of Susan Baltimore, which was the first death. Her funeral was held at the residence of Martin Hoover and the sermon delivered on that occasion is said to have been the first ever preached in Union township. In the spring of 1838 the marriage of Jacob Bartlett to a daughter of Hugh A. B. People was solemnized by A. H. Leedy, justice of the peace, which some authorities claim was the first marriage in the township.

The first election for township officers in Union was held at Matthew Fenimore's store, in Perrysburg, in the fall of 1837, soon after the township was erected by order of the county commissioners. Abraham H. Leedy acted as inspector of the election and was chosen the first justice of the peace. Powell Cool was elected township clerk. If any other officers were elected at that time their names have been lost. It is something unusual for any candidate for office to serve as a member of an election board, but in that day it appears that nothing was thought of such an occurrence, and everybody was satisfied with the election of "Squire" Leedy.

The Weesau Creek Baptist church was organized in 1839; the Presbyterian church at Perrysburg ten years later, and the Christian and Methodist churches were organized at a comparatively early date.

Almost immediately after the organization of the township, the settlers began to consider some means of educating their children. In 1838 the first school house was built on the farm of John Plaster and the first school was taught there in that year by Miss Mahala Scott. She is said to have been a young woman of somewhat limited literary attainments, but of good common sense, and taught a school that was satisfactory to the patrons. Two more school houses were erected in the year 1839. In 1913 Union township had one brick and four frame school houses, the estimated value of which was $16,350. During the school year of 1912-13 nine teachers were employed in the public schools and received in salaries the sum of $3,854.20.

The Lake Erie & Western Railroad enters the township near the southeast corner and runs in a northerly direction, crossing the northern boundary about two miles west of the northeast corner. Deedsville is a station on this road. In the western part of the township is the old village of Perrysburg, and old maps of the county show a station on the Lake Erie & Western Railroad called Busaco, about two miles south of Deedsville.

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