History of Salem Township - Kossuth, Auglaize County, Ohio
From: History of Auglaize County, Ohio
Edited By: William J. McMurray
Histotical Publishing Company
Indianapolis - 1923

SALEM TOWNSHIP AND THE VILLAGE OF KOSSUTH.

This township, as has been set out above, formerly was connected with what is now Noble township for civil purposes, at that time the lower part of the township having been attached to Mercer county and the upper part to VanWert and Allen counties. It was erected in 1836 and organized in 1837 and upon being taken into the new county of Auglaize in 1848 was given its present name. It is not a true congressional township, being sections 19 to 36 of township 4 south, range 4 east, and sections 1 to 6 of township 5, same range, and thus has but twenty four square miles of area. Salem township is the northwestern township of Auglaize county and is bounded on the north by VanWert and Allen counties, on the east by Logan township, on the south by Noble township and on the west by Mercer county, with the village of Kossuth on the Miami & Erie canal in the south half of section 25. The canal traverses the township, ranging from a half mile to a mile and a half from the eastern edge, the curves and angling lines of the waterway having been surveyed with a view to cutting through the "divide" at the most accessible spot, this having been what came to be known as "Deep Cut" on the northern border of the township in section 23. In the days of canal activity Deep Cut attained the dignity of a postoffice and had a store or two, a mill and other forms of enterprise, but with the passing of the canal this point subsided.

Upon the coming of the canal and the gradual settlement of the township along the eastern side it became apparent that a shipping point would be desirable and Samuel Petit laid out a tract of forty two lots in the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 25, the plat being broken about midway by the canal, and filed his plat for record on March 2, 1858, giving to his townsite the name of Kossuth, in honor of the Polish patriot of that name. Kossuth was a convenient shipping point during canal days, but never got much beyond the hamlet stage, the census report for 1920 giving it a population of 130. During the days of the gas and oil boom the village incorporated for civil and school purposes and Thomas Barnett was elected mayor. That was in 1897. The village surrendered its corporate charter a few years later, accepting the fact that it apparently was not cut out for a city. There is no railway in Salem township and the northern and western portions of the township are dependent on Spencerville, across the line in the neighboring county of Allen, and the villages along the railroad to the west in VanWert and Mercer counties for trading facilities.

EARLY SETTLEMENT RETARDED BY SWAMPS.

The St. Marys river traverses this township, entering in section 1 of the lower township and winding and twisting north of west and on out in section 30 of the upper township, with Big Run, in the west part of the township as its chief tributary. With the exception of the ridge which passes through the northern part, the surface of the township is flat and in pioneer days its ever present swails were covered with water during the greater part of the year, the heavy timber throughout this section holding the water as in a sponge. This condition of things operated to retard settlement and but little progress was made in the development of the township until after the construction of the canal, when the coming of saw mills and the opening of a ready market provided an incentive to settlement. With the passing of the forest and the drainage of the swamps that had marked the ground surface, a continuation of the great Black Swamp which held back so much the early settlement of the country north of there, the rich soil responded to tillage and has long been one of the choice garden spots of the county.

In a memoir of Col. William Kennedy, a veteran of the Civil war, who died at his home in this township in 1895, it is narrated that he visited this section of the state in 1840, he then being nineteen years of age, journeying through the woods on horseback, and spent the winter of 1840-41 in Salem township, which then was described as "a savage wilderness for miles in all directions and settlements were few and far between." Despite the wilderness, however, he was impressed with the possibilities of the situation and in 1849 returned and established his home in the northwestern part of the township. At that time there were fewer than seventy taxpayers in the township, and these were not all residents, many of them having been land speculators who had taken over swamp lands for speculation or for future development.

From the tax duplicate for the year 1848 the following are noted as names of landowners in Salem township when Auglaize county was erected: Christopher Anthony, Simon Brewer, Absalom Bailey, Lewis Brewer, Thomas Bailey, Anson Camp, Sarah Crane, William Crane, Samuel Danner, Alexander Dill, Joseph Easterley, Stephen Fales, Daniel French, Isaac French, Sarah Fisher, Mary French, William Green, Thomas N. Green, Henry I. Hicks, Michael Howbert, John W. Hall, Ezekiel Hoover, Thomas Hussey, Joseph Jones, Jonas Jones, Austin Jones, Lawrence Kennedy, Peter P. Lowe, Benjamin Linzee, Philip Lawrence, Alexander McDonald, Samuel McDonald, William McDonald, Branson J. Miller, Branson Miller, Henry Miller, Joseph McMillan, Fred Marquand, Robert Moody, Andrew Michael, William Nelson, Seth Noble, Charles Noble, Elisha Noble, John C. Noble, Nathan Nye, Jacob Perkins, Simon Perkins, John Partner, Joseph Pierce, Seth Pratt, George Rupert, Jacob Remage, Benjamin Rupert, James Robbins, Evan Stephens, David Sheets, John Sowers, John C. Schamp, Michael Tippey, Thomas Upton, John R. Voris, Jacob VanGundy.


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