History of Duchouquet & city of Wapakoneta, Auglaize County, Ohio (part 1)
From: History of Auglaize County, Ohio
Edited By: William J. McMurray
Histotical Publishing Company
Indianapolis - 1923

DUCHOUQUET TOWNSHIP AND THE CITY OF WAPAKONETA

Duchouquet township, the largest township in the county, covers approximately forty two square miles lying in townships 4 and 5, range 6 east, section 31 to 36 of the former township and sections 1 to 36 of the latter township making up the civil division; the township being bordered on the north by Allen county, on the east by Union township, on the south by Pusheta township and on the west by Moulton and Logan townships, with the city of Wapakoneta in the southwest corner and the village of Cridersville on the north line in sections 34 and 35 of township 5. The Auglaize river enters the township in section 12 of the upper township and flowing southwesterly through Wapakoneta flows out in section 31 of the lower township, and the township is thus thoroughly drained by the natural tributaries, including Blackhoof creek, Quaker run and Two Mile creek and a system of ditches finding outlet in these streams. Four railroads, the Baltimore & Ohio, the Toledo & Ohio Central, the Lake Erie & Western and the Western Ohio electric line traverse the township.

The territory comprised in Duchouquet township was included in the Wapakoneta Indian reservation and lands here were not opened for settlement until after the cession of 1831 by which the Indians gave up their lands and were transported west. In the meantime there had been formed in connection with the trading post and council house at Wapakoneta the nucleus of a white settlement, with a mill, a blacksmith shop, a store and the like, and it was not long after the lands were opened for entry until settlers began to come in and in due time all lands were taken and the work of carving farms out of the forest wilderness well under way. The Government land office prior to that time had been located at Piqua, but upon the removal of the Indians and the opening of the 100 square mile tract formerly included in their reservation the land office was moved to Wapakoneta, for the convenience of prospective settlers, and the activities centering about that office served as a further stimulus to the settlement of the village. This office was opened on December 26, 1832, and on the first day lands aggregating more than 1,600 acres at and surrounding Wapakoneta were entered, the principal buyers on that day having been James B. Gardner, who was the Government agent acting in the transaction which brought about the cession of the Indian lands; Robert J. Skinner, agent and receiver for the land office; William A. VanHorn, the land office registrar and auctioneer; Jeremiah Ayers, the local inn keeper; Jonathan K. Wilds, Peter Aughenbaugh, Joseph Barnett, Henry Stoddard, Thomas V. Gordon and John Tam.

WAPAKONETA IN THE DAYS OF THE INDIANS.

Regarding the situation in and about Wapakoneta prior to the settlement period opening with the departure of the Indians, Professor Williamson's comprehensive review has it that "from 1820 to 1833 Wapakoneta contained but few people who had been accustomed to mingle in the circles of white society. The adventurers who came here to barter with the Indians were persons destitute of character and indulged in all the vices of corrupt society. Drinking and gambling were inseparably connected with business and amusements of all kinds. Nearly every trader dealt in whisky. The order from the War Department prohibiting the sale of liquors to the Indians was not observed. The VanBlaricomes and others made money enough by secretly selling whisky to the Indians to enter farms for themselves. During the dry periods of summer and fall, wagon trains destined to points in the Maumee valley were of every day occurrence. Gaston Garde, an enterprising dealer in flour and salt, shipped large consignments to Wapakoneta, where they were loaded on pirogues and scows, manned by Indians, and floated down the Auglaize river to Defiance. If the boats grounded on the sand bars or other obstructions the Indians were ready to jump into the river and buoy them over." Other details of this pre settlement period are set out in the chapter relating to the days of early settlement of the county.

TRADITIONS CONCERNING PLACE NAME

Regarding the name Wapakoneta, there are several local traditions, one of which is to the effect that the name is a combination of the masculine and the feminine, merging the names of an old Indian chief, whom the adherents to this tradition claim simply to have been Wapaugh, and that of his squaw, who they say was Koneta. Some even will go so far as to point out the stump of a great elm down along the riverside, which they say marks the site of the identical elm tree under which the Chief Wapaugh and the "Princess" Koneta were married. Perhaps it fairly may be assumed that no one who has written on the subject was better informed regarding the affairs of the Shawnees than was Henry Harvey, the superintendent of the Quaker mission at Wapakoneta during the later years of the Indian occupancy there. He makes no reference in his book to such a tradition, his story having it that the place was called in honor of "an ancient and distinguished woman of that name." His spelling is Wapaughkonnetta. This spelling also is followed by Col. John Johnston, United States commissioner and Indian agent, in his official reports concerning the Indians at this point. Johnston had it that the village was named for a club footed chief of that name. Hodge's "Handbook of American Indians" (Bulletin 30 of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution) has it that Wapakoneta means "white jacket." The Miami name was Wapakonakunge ("where Wapakoneta lived"). The Western Gazetteer (1817) spelled the name Wappaukenata. In one of General Harrison's official reports (1814), the name is spelled Wapauckanata. There are other variations in old books and official documents relating to the days of Indian occupancy.

In the text of the treaty creating the Wapakoneta Indian reservation the name of the village is spelled Wapaghkonnetta, while in the legislative enabling act creating Auglaize county and providing for the establishment of the county seat it is spelled Wapaukonnetta, which spelling had been adopted by the early newspapers at Lima. In the first records of the commissioners of Mercer county it is spelled Wapaughkonnetta. Apparently by common consent, or at least by usage, the present attractive form of the euphonious name was generally adopted hereabout by the time the town became the county seat, for it is so styled in the first records of the county and when the first newspaper was published there that form was used by the paper and there has been no variation since. Some stylists insist that Wapakoneta be pronounced with the e long, though usage generally renders it short, which latter form would seem to have been the original, as the invariable use of the double t in the old documents would indicate. W. C. Davis, former postmaster at Wapakoneta, says that one month he kept a record of the variations of the spelling of the name on letters reaching the office and that these were no fewer than forty. That ever has been the trouble with most of the place names taken over from the Indians by a people whose vocal organs were not adjusted to a proper pronunciation of these names and whose attempts at phonetic spelling of the same have resulted in such variations as here are noted in connection with the old Indian village at the headwaters of the Auglaize. But why bother with Shawnee etymology? As General Pratt, of Carlisle Indian School fame, once wrote in a communication along this line: "The subject has not specially interested me, for the reason that, in my experience, not one in twenty of the Indian names in use could be recognized by any member of the tribe from which the name was derived. The attempts to perpetuate such names are therefore only sentimental abortions."

RELICS OF THE ABORIGINALS.

Concerning the tradition that Chief Wapakoneta was club footed and that from this infirmity his name was derived, there is an oddly shaped stone in the Herrmann collection of Indian relics, now preserved in the museum cabinet at the high school building at Wapakoneta, which is claimed to have been the very last over which old Wapakoneta's ungainly moccasins were fashioned. There are many stones of strange shape, to which most any sort of a story might become attached, but there is something about the shape of the "Wapakoneta last" and the fact that it seems rather to have been artificially fashioned into its present form than to have been shaped as ordinary stones are by erosion, that keeps firm the faith of those who adhere to this tradition and adds a certain additional value to the not overly well kept collection of relics which some time ago was turned over to the school because it seemed that there no longer was room for it in the court house, where it formerly was kept.

This region is, of course, rich in Indian relics, arrow heads and the like, and thousands of them have been picked up in all the years since the white man has been in possession here. There are quite a number of interesting and in some instances valuable private collections of this sort in the homes of this county, but apparently no effort ever has been made to make a real archaeological survey with a view to bringing together the best of these and making proper provision for their public preservation and exhibition. Unhappily, very many of the best and most valuable of these relics have been taken from Auglaize county forever. Years ago, when the "fad" for collecting such relics of Indian occupancy was at its height, collectors went about over the county calling on the farm boys to see what they had in the way of arrow heads and the like and by the crafty offer of nickles and dimes and quarters gained from these boyish hoards the articles that possessed real value to collectors and archaeologists, with the result that perhaps many a private or public museum elsewhere is now enriched by relics that ought to be on display here.

THE MAN FOR WHOM TOWNSHIP WAS NAMED.

Concerning Francis Duchouquet, the trader, whose post at Wapakoneta was the center of the fur trade hereabouts in Indian days and in whose honor this township bears its name, it is narrated in the older chronicles that he was the son of a half breed French trader who was engaged in trade with the Indians of what is now northwestern Ohio and lower Michigan during the time of the occupancy of this region by the French. Francis Duchouquet is said to have been born in the vicinity of Presque Isle in 1751 and grew up to the fur trade, in which trade he visited all the tribes throughout this section of the then Northwest Territory. On one of his trips among the Shawnees then occupying the Mad river country he married a Shawnee girl and was living with the Indians on the Mad river in the region now comprised in Clark and Greene counties when the aboriginals there were dispersed by Gen. George Rogers Clark's expedition, coming thence with the scattered tribe up here and finding refuge with the friendly tribe which long before had established its headquarters or chillicothe at the head of navigation on the Auglaize at Wapakoneta.

Duchouquet established his home and trading house on the right bank of the river at a point just about where the west bridge now crosses the river at what for many years has been known as the Neff place and where by agreement he eventually came into possession of a considerable tract of land in what now is section 29 of the township which bears his name and a part of which tract is now included within the city limits of Wapakoneta, the title to portions of this tract still being held by his descendants. It is significant that in the treaty of 1831 by which the Indians here ceded their lands to the Government, Duchouquet's right and title to this land was perpetuated under the terms of Art. 11 of that convention, which set out that "it is understood by the present contracting parties that any claims which Francis Duchouquet may have under former treaties to a section or any quantity of the lands herein ceded to the United States are not to be prejudiced by the present compact, but to remain as valid as before."

It is stated that Duchouquet's time "was so engrossed with business that he did not participate in the wars of western Ohio, further than to act as interpreter on important occasions." It further is narrated that in early life he became addicted to the drink habit, "which grew upon him to such an extent that in his later days he drank to excess," and that "at such times he frequently amused himself by shooting at a mark. The few citizens of the village generally gave him a wide berth on such occasions." It seems a bit ironical to observe that at the final treaty here, when the last reservation of the Shawnees was ceded to the Government, Duchouquet "became intoxicated at the opening of the negotiacasion." When in December, 1831, the delegation of Indians tions and did not serve as interpreter on that important ocin the death of the latter. According to one of the writers left Wapakoneta for Washington seeking better terms than had been granted in the convention, Duchouquet went along as an interpreter, but at Cumberland was taken ill and there died and was buried before his companions again reached the place on their return from Washington, as is set out elsewhere.

A TALE OF DUCHOUQUET'S BRAVERY.

It is narrated that while on a trading expedition with the Indians up in the Sandusky country in 1782 Duchouquet was present at and witnessed the horrid torture and death at the stake of Colonel Crawford and that he joined in an ineffectual intercession to save the life of the colonel. At any rate, it is pointed out, Duchouquet's description of that horrible scene agreed in every respect with the one given to the Government as an official report by Doctor Knight, who was Crawford's companion on the expedition which resulted of the earlier days who assembled a good deal of matter relating to the Indians of this region, Duchouquet "was never known, on any occasion, to participate in any of the savage cruelties practiced by the Indians on their captives. Although so closely related by blood to the Indians, his sympathies were always with the captive and wherever possible he rendered assistance. As an example of his many noble acts we cite the case of Charles Johnston, who was captured on the Ohio river in 1790 and taken to the upper Sandusky. At Sandusky, Johnston became acquainted with Duchouquet, who was engaged in the purchase of furs. To him he recounted his adventures and earnestly solicited his good offices in delivering him from the Indians. Duchouquet promptly assured him that every exertion should be used for that purpose and lost no time in redeeming his pledge. That evening he spoke to Chickatommo and offered a liberal ransom for the prisoner, but his efforts were fruitless. The Shawnee chief did not object to the price, but declared that no sum would induce him to give up the prisoner until they first had taken him to their towns. Soon afterward the Shawnee party engaged in a drinking bout. When their hearts were somewhat mellowed by rum Duchouquet repeated his offer and was again peremptorily refused.

"Duchouquet then inquired the name of the town to which he was to be taken and the fate which was in reserve for him upon his arrival there. To the first question Chickatommo promptly replied that the prisoner was to be carried to the Miami villages, but to the second he gave no satisfactory answer. The mention of the Miami villages extinguished every spark of hope which still existed in Johnston's breast, as those towns had heretofore been the grave of every white prisoner who had been taken into them. At this juncture fortune favored him. A Wyandot trader appeared with several horses laden with kegs of rum and in the course of two days completely stripped the Indians of every skin, blanket and article of merchandise possessed by them. On the morning of the third day Chickatommo and his party awoke as from a dream and found themselves destitute, ragged and poor. Ashamed of their condition, they appeared before Duchouquet and declared that the scalp of the prisoner could be transported more easily than his person, but, if he still wished to purchase him, they would forego the expected entertainment of burning and scalping the prisoner and would let him have the captive upon good terms. Duchouquet eagerly accepted the offer and instantly counted down 600 silver brooches, the ordinary price of a prisoner. The Indians lost no time in delivering Johnston into the trader's hands and the two lost no time in setting out for the Ohio river. After exposure to numerous dangers Johnston and Duchouquet succeeded in reaching the lower Sandusky, from which point by the aid of traders Johnston was able to make his way safely south."

When the Indian tribes of Ohio and Indiana began to assemble at Greenville in the fall of 1795 Duchouquet was summoned to act as one of the interpreters during the negotiations. He was again called in 1817 to serve as interpreter in the treaty made at the rapids of the Maumee. In the year following (1818) he for the third time served as interpreter, at the treaties made at St. Marys, and thereafter was similarly employed when occasion arose, it being apparent from the frequency and character of such employment that he must have possessed superior ability as a translator of the Indian tongue. Duchouquet's residence on the north bank of the river at the Indian village at Wapakoneta became a house of entertainment at which it is said traveling traders and explorers always were sure of accommodations. His store and warehouse were located at the wharf in front of his house. At the close of the fur season his peltries were stored on pirogues and floated down to the mouth of the Auglaize, where they either were sold to traders at that point or reshipped to Detroit, where they were sold for cash or traded for goods. The goods, if bought at Detroit, were carried on vessels to the mouth of the Auglaize whence they were transported on pack horses to Wapakoneta.

OLD QUAKER MISSION HOUSE AND MILL.

The operations of the Quaker mission at Wapakoneta Indian village from 1819 on to the time of the departure of the Indians has been referred to elsewhere. This mission maintained a grist mill, a saw mill, a blacksmith shop and other accommodations for the benefit of the redmen, the mills occupying a site alongside the left bank of the river at a point just at the rear of the present Masonic hall building on Auglaize street, a race extending from a dam at a point across the river at the bend in the vicinity of the present electric light and pump house supplying the power for the mills. Portions of the frames of these old mills still were in evidence as late as ten years ago.

As early as 1816 George C. Johnston, the trade; of whom a considerable account has been given elsewhere in this work, established a trading post at Wapakoneta, under a Government license, and operated there for some years, his post having been situated on the site now occupied by the wheel works in the vicinity of the B. & O. railway station. Before Johnston's time, along about 1815, Peter Hammel, a French trader, had come down here from Canada and put up a log building along the river trail at a point about what now is the middle of the block on the south side of Auglaize street between Perry and Blackhoof streets, Lot 12 of the original plat. Hammel carried a pretty general stock of goods and long remained on the scene, his store becoming the center of trading activities among the early settlers of this region. In 1816, the year following his arrival here, Hammel married Francis Duchouquet's daughter. To this union, it is narrated, four children were born, Pamelia, who in 1839 married Joseph Neff; Theresa, who in 1842 married William Craft, and a son and daughter who died in youth. Hammel made his home with Duchouquet until the latter's death and came into a considerable piece of property following that event, the farm afterwards and still known as the Neff place just northwest of the city, now owned by Michael Hauss.

THE PLATTING OF THE TOWNSITE.

Following the departure of the Indians in 1832 the old Indian village came under the complete control of the whites and during the succeeding winter it became apparent that there would be a sufficient number of incoming settlers at that point to make a town out of it. Taking time by the forelock, three forehanded landowners on the spot got together and decided to have a town site platted. These men were Peter Aughenbaugh, Jonathan K. Wilds and Joseph Barnett, who have been mentioned above as among the first land buyers on the site, who secured the services of John Jackson, then surveyor of Allen county (it being remembered that this region then was comprised within Allen county), who on January 22 and 23 surveyed and platted the Wapakoneta town site, the original plat of which was acknowledged before a notary at Dayton on January 25, 1833. This plat, on file in the county recorder's office, reveals a platted tract of thirty one blocks, the lot numbers running from No. 1 in the northeast corner of the tract to No. 90 in the southwest corner, the north line of the same being named Auglaize street and the south line Pearl street, with alleys sixteen and one half feet between the blocks. Main street was laid out south of Auglaize street and between this and Pearl is Mechanic street. The east line of the original plat is Park street; west of that, Willipie street, between which and the next street, Perry, is an unplatted square, lying between Main and Mechanic streets, reserved for public uses (present city hall site), and west of Perry is Blackhoof street, beyond which is Logan street, the west line of the original plat. And it was thus that Wapakoneta got its formal, civil start. As the population grew and as the needs for expansion became apparent additions were made to this original plat until now (1922) the town plat covers all of section 29, three fourths of section 32, the northeast quarter of section 31 and a fraction of sections 28 and 33 of Duchouquet township.

In order to preserve a proper perspective of the situation there along the river at the site of the old Indian village when the above plat was drawn, it must be remembered that the only cleared ground in Wapakoneta at that time was a strip perhaps three hundred feet in width extending from about where Court street now intersects Auglaize up to a point about where the Baltimore & Ohio railway tracks cross the latter street. The old Quaker mission building at that time was occupied by Capt John Elliott, who had been serving as the Government blacksmith for the Indians, and was later occupied by his son, James Elliott, who for many years was one of the forceful figures in the formative period of the town.

THE COMING OF THE FIRST WAYSIDE INN.

In 1831, the year in which the Indians ceded their lands away, Jeremiah Ayers, an enterprising individual, settled here and put up a cabin on the trail (now Auglaize street) at the point now occupied by the Central hotel (lot 8 of the original plat) and began to take an active part in development work. In the spring of 1832 he moved this cabin back to the rear of his little tract and facing the trail erected a two story frame building after the style of the old wayside inns with an overhanging porch facing the street and ample space for the stage coaches to discharge their passengers, in the rear being a yard and shed for the accommodation of the stage horses and the horses of travelers coming this way. With additions and improvements made from time to time this old hotel, the Wapakoneta House, served as the principal public house in the village until its destruction by fire in 1866, and there are still quite a number of persons living here who retain agreeable childish memories of the stirring scenes about the old inn's courtyard following the arrival of the stage or the post riders. The old Wapakoneta House was the local terminus of the St. Marys-Wapakoneta stage line, the old Dieker House at St. Marys serving as a similar terminal at the latter point, while from Lima on the north and Sidney on the south the stages were also discharging their traffic at the hospitable doors of Mine Host Ayers.

This was on the line of travel from the East on to Ft. Wayne and beyond and many a person high in the councils of the nation was a guest of the old Wapakoneta House in those days. The stage drivers were a hardy and adventuresome lot and bad weather and worse roads were all a part of the day's job for them, the stage having to go on schedule whether or no, and their plunging four in hand teams, or eight if roads were worse than usual, would be brought to a stop with a fine flourish, preceded by the awaited loud winding of the stage horn heard far down the road upon the approach of the stage. When the plank road was built in the '50s the clatter of the hoofs of the galloping horses and the deep rumble of the heavy wheels of the stage along this causeway could be heard for miles on a clear, frosty morning. While in rural districts local interest still centers in the arrival and departure of railway trains, it is believed that no such intensity of interest is displayed as that which probably attended the coming of the old stage in the days which preceded the coming of the railways.

Jeremiah Ayers was also active in other lines. He became one of the chief owners of town lots at Wapakoneta, bought the old mission mill, which he restored to activity, and in 1834 erected a distillery at a point along the river about where the city electric light and power house now stands. It is narrated that this distillery produced the greater part of the whisky that was consumed in this section up to about 1860, and from all accounts of the times this was no small quantity. It is recorded that "for nearly thirty years Ayers was the most enterprising citizen of the village." He died in 1868. A son, Herman Ayers, and a daughter, Mrs. Irene Wilson, survive, and are now residents of Sidney.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE SETTLEMENT.

When Robert J. Skinner, receiver for the land office, located at Wapakoneta in 1832 he occupied the house that formerly had been occupied by Captain Elliott, the Government blacksmith, who had taken over for household occupancy the old Quaker mission house, and William A. VanHorn, the registrar of the land office, occupied the old Indian council house, which stood at about where now is the northeast corner of the original plat, Park and Auglaize streets. This building is said to have been made of logs and was about thirty feet in width and forty in length. The Indians had given it a bark roof, but when VanHorn took it over he had it covered with clapboards and otherwise rendered it more comfortably habitable, presently adding to it a small addition built of brick when the brick kiln in good time was started going. It is narrated that adjacent to this VanHorn place was a log stable standing in a corner of a field inclosed with a rail and brush fence, in which field VanHorn fed the ponies when they came in from the woods range. This narrative goes on to say that "there was quite a rivalry between James Elliott and VanHorn in appropriating the ponies left ranging in the forest by the Indians when they moved to Kansas. As soon as a pony was captured it was branded with V or E, the initial letter representing the party who had captured it. The ponies had to be trained before they were of much value to their owners. When 'broken to work' they performed good service in the country where beasts of burden were scarce."

It was in that same vicinity, adjacent to the old council house and extending south to about what is now Main street, that the Indians had their chief burial ground. After the manner of Indians, before leaving for the west, they carefully leveled all the mounds marking the graves of those buried there, as they did in all the other cemeteries throughout their reservation. When the town began to be built up hardly a cellar was constructed in that section of the city that did not uncover skeletons of the aboriginals, while during the laying of water, sewer and gas mains numerous other skeletons have been turned up in that section of the city. Some of these were found in coffins made of walnut puncheons, nailed with wrought iron handmade nails, indicating interment after the Quakers had established their mission here, for Mr. Harvey, it is narrated, insisted on the Indians adopting Christian methods of burial after he took charge of the Wapakoneta station.

There were other burial grounds hereabout, one in what is now the western part of the city having been regarded as the probable burial place of the Indian scout Logan, formerly referred to, as this good friend of the whites had his habitation there. On the hill west of the Pusheta on the north side of the St. Marys-Wapakoneta road was another, while in various parts of the county, particularly in the St. Johns neighborhood where old Chief Blackhoof lived, skeletons have been turned up from time to time in excavation and gravel pit workings, occasionally with these aboriginal relics being found beads and other articles 'of adornment affected by the Indians. At what is now the northeast corner of Auglaize and Blackhoof streets, Lot 16 O. P., there was an Indian cabin which was said to have been the abode of the good chief Wayweleapy (Willipie), who at the age of eighty years accompanied his people to Kansas and died there four years later. Concerning old Chief Willi*, an older review has it that "for depth of reasoning and sublime diction, no chief ranked higher in the councils of the Shawnees than did Wayweleapy," as has been set out in an earlier chapter.

REMAINS OF OLD FORT AUGLAIZE.

At this time of the beginning of orderly white settlement at Wapakoneta there still were remaining some of the timbers of old Ft. Auglaize, the stockade erected by the French traders in 1784, on the right bank of the river on the bluff overlooking what then was regarded as the head of navigation on the Auglaize around the bend of the river about where the old cemetery is. This fort, which was abandoned after the battle of Fallen Timbers, was a stockade inclosing about an acre of ground and served as a protection to the storehouses erected within the enclosure by the traders, and from this point there was long carried on extensive trade with the Indians throughout this section, goods being brought up the river from the French posts to the north. During the War of 1812 the site of the Indian village at Wapakoneta was the scene of considerable activity, this having been a sort of a cross roads of the military trails from Cincinnati up through Piqua to Defiance and from Franklinton through Ft. McArthur and on to Ft. St. Marys, and what is now beautiful Greenlawn cemetery just on the western edge of the city was a common camping ground for marching and countermarching troops, a good spring located between the camping ground and the present site of the county fair grounds furnishing the troops with an abundance of fresh water. It is recorded that in the spring of 1813 a log house was erected at this camping ground to be used as a storage house and officers' quarters and that General Harrison was a not infrequent visitor at that point during the progress of his campaign throughout northwestern Ohio. On the hill just west of the mouth of Pusheta creek barracks were erected for the use of the troops stationed there, it being the duty of this company "to watch the movements of the Shawnees and to intercept British emissaries and renegade Indians from the savage tribes of the north and west." It also was used as a depository of goods and provisions for the armies on the Maumee. Thus it will be seen that there had been a good deal going on in and around the site of the present city during the pre settlement period.

THE INCORPORATION OF THE VILLAGE.

Gradually settlers were attracted to the scene by the promise of a growing settlement here at the stage cross roads and it was not long until quite a village had sprung up in the clearing which slowly was extended to make way for this expansion. Isaac Nichols, a veteran of the War of 1812, built a frame store building on the lot just east of the Wapakoneta House and in 1834 another inn was put up, this being operated by H. B. Thorn. In this latter year the villagers recognized the necessity of a jail and a small frame structure eighteen feet square was put up for this purpose. It has been written that "criminals confined in it were handcuffed and chained as a precaution to prevent escape." This apparently served as a calaboose until the county erected a jail, as set out in the chapter on county government.

Village growth continued until when Auglaize county was set off as a separate civic entity in 1848 Wapakoneta very properly regarded itself as having attained county seat dimensions and secured the establishment of the county seat, a story which has been told elsewhere.

In the spring following this elevation to the position of county town the village sought from the Legislature a right to incorporate as "a town corporate" and this right was accorded by an act of March 2, 1849, by which it was enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio "that the territory included within the original town plat of the town of Wapakoneta, in the county of Auglaize, and the additions that have been made or may hereafter be made thereto, and as much of the territory as is embraced within the south half of section 29 and the north half of section 32, of township No. 5 south of range No. 6 east, shall be and the same is hereby declared a town corporate with perpetual succession, and as such shall be entitled to all the privileges and subject to all limitations of an act for the regulation of incorporated towns passed February 16, 1839, and the acts amendatory thereto." Section 3 of this act provided that "the town council of the town of Wapakoneta be and is hereby fully authorized to assume payment of the remaining installments due the commissioners of Auglaize county for public building purposes, as provided for in the act organizing said county passed on the 14th of February, 1848." And thus the town assumed an obligation which certain of its citizens had assumed under bond when the county seat was established, the story of which has been told elsewhere in connection with the acts of the first board of county commissioners.

LITTLE NEED OF COMMERCIAL ADVANTAGES.

From contemporary evidence on the subject it is apparent that though its citizens were ambitious, Wapakoneta still was not far out of its forest hamlet state when it became the county seat. A review carried in Robert Sutton's atlas of Auglaize county published in 1880 and based on the testimony of persons then living who were living here in 1849, sets out that "at the period of incorporation the town was still without any material improvement worth the name of enterprise, save in the erection of residences and opening of small retail stores and shops. The trade for five years was of a purely local character, as the town had no commercial facilities and even had little need of commercial advantages as far as exportation was concerned. The town, like the country by which it was surrounded, was almost a swamp, for even years after the construction of the railroad gravel was as unknown to the streets as brick to the sidewalks and crossings. The streets consisted more in open public ways than in convenient thoroughfares. Walks and crossings consisted largely of cordwood. thrown closely enough to afford a stepping across the mud, except when the blocks were submerged, which was not infrequent.

"The whole vicinity of the public square [the court house formerly stood at the southwest corner of Blackhoof and Mechanic streets], extending about the court house and out to Auglaize street, afforded a swimming pond during the summer and a skating and coasting park for the boys during the winter. Slowly the village grew until the erection of the county in 1848, when it became the county seat, and perhaps the only enterprise springing directly from this step was the establishment of The Auglaize Republican, a Democratic paper, by W. P. Andrews in 1849. It was nearly ten years later that trade received an impetus and enterprise received a stimulus by the construction of the Dayton & Michigan railroad (present B. & O.), which marked the dawn of a new era for the town. Immediately followed the erection of a large grain warehouse by the railroad company, which was supplemented by another built in 1860 by J. C. Bothe. Here was the real dawn of business growth and activity, for enterprise followed rapidly in the wake of enterprise, until within a few years the town had attained its present [1880] standing."

[Forward to part 2 of Duchouquet Township & city of Wapakoneta History.]


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