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

UNION TOWNSHIP AND THE VILLAGE OF UNIOPOLIS.

Union township is congressional township 5 south, range 7 east, and covers thirty six square miles of as good land as there is in this part of Ohio. It is bounded on the north by Allen county, on the east by Wayne and Goshen townships, on the south by Clay township and on the west by Duchouquet township. The Auglaize river cuts across the northwest corner of the township, with Wrestle creek, Blackhoof creek, Hoffmans creek and Virginia creek as its chief tributaries, and Wolf creek drains toward the south, indicating the presence of the divide in the watershed through this township. The old Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railway (the Ford road) traverses the township from north to south about a mile east of the western border and through the village of Uniopolis in the southwest quarter of section 17, and the Ohio Electric railway cuts through the northeastern corner of the township, excellent market outlets thus being provided for the people in that part of the county. The village of St. Johns on the Ford railway touches the southern border of the township and these villages offer pleasant social and commercial centers.

Perhaps the oldest person now living in Auglaize county is a native of Union township, born before that township had civic being. This is the venerable James Harrod, now living at Buckland, who was born in what is now Union township on July 3, 1826, and thus is now in his ninety seventh year. Mr. Harrod is a veteran of the Mexican war and of the Civil war. In 1881 he left this county and went to California, where he remained until in the spring of 1922, when he returned to Auglaize county and is now living with kinsfolk in the Buckland neighborhood, with the confident expectation of spending the remainder of his days in the county of his birth.

ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP.

The old Wapakoneta Indian reservation covered a bit more than half the territory included in this township, the eastern line of the reservation extending a quarter of a mile east of the central section line of the township, and there consequently was little settlement here until after the departure of the Indians in 1832. The territory included within this township at that time was attached to Allen county, but the same was not formally organized as a separate civil township until in the spring of 1834, by which time there had come to be a sufficient number of settlers thereabout to demand something in the way of local self government. The journal of the board of commissioners for Allen county of date March 3, 1834, shows that "a petition was presented by J. C. Lusk praying to have original town 5 south in range 7 east set off to the inhabitants therein for a new township, to be designated and known as Union. Petition granted; bounds given, and advertisements written for an election to be held at the house of Benjamin Corder on the first Monday in April next for township officers."

The tract book shows that both John C. Lusk and Benjamin Corder had entered lands in section 15 of this township, about the center of the township, the year prior to the presentation of this petition and it is apparent that they took an active part in the preliminaries leading to the organization of the township along civil lines. Thirty votes were cast at the election appointed for the first Monday in April following the granting of the petition and John Schooler, John Corder and another whose name seems to have been lost to record were elected trustees, John Balzell clerk and John Morris justice of the peace. It is said that for the first fifteen years of this township's civil operation the township officials served without compensation. It is further said that the first school in the township was taught by R. C. Layton. This was in 1836. The first church erected in the township was the little old log Wesley chapel, built in 1842.

It is narrated of John Morris, the first justice of the peace of this township, a Virginian, who had settled there in 1833, the year following his marriage, that when he came here there was not an acre of land cleared in the township save a few acres which had been tilled in the neighborhood of the old Blackhoof village (St. Johns) and that until he could get up a cabin built on the white man's lines he occupied one of the old Indian huts. A son born to him and his wife in that cabin was the first white child born within the present confines of the township. Among the other early settlers of this township was Hugh. T. Rinehart, also a Virginian, who settled there in 1836 and who represented that district on the first board of county commissioners elected, following the erection of Auglaize county in 1848. Mr. Rinehart also served for twelve years as justice of the peace in and for this township and rendered wider service as a member of the state board of equalization. The Copelands, Abner Copeland and his family, also Virginians, came in 1836.

There were numerous Virginians and Pennsylvanians among the early settlers of this township, the trend of settlement here having been from the east instead of from the south as in the western part of the county. Among these Pennsylvanians were John Harden and family, who settled in 1836. Of this family seven sons and one daughter lived to maturity. In a memoir of John Harden written more than forty years ago it is set out that "Joseph, the third son, was noted as one of the best deer hunters in the country. He was also a famous bee hunter and he and his brothers, Mark and Jesse, supplied the family with meat and honey." The attractive character of the lands here led to rapid settlement after the Indians had gone and by the close of the year 1836 all the lands in the township had been entered save the school section. By 1840 there were four log school houses in the township, church organizations were being effected and the social and civil development of the township was well under way. The sawmills which presently came in expedited the clearing of the land and in proper time farms began to appear and the settlers began to give attention to the solution of the difficult drainage and highway problems which confronted them. The first road opened was that leading down into Logan county by way of Roundhead, this road following the summit of the ridge. Of these early roads, it has been written that "owing to the mucky nature of the soil and deficient drainage they were almost impassable in the winter and spring months." But that, of course, was true of most of the roads hereabout until the pike road came into its own. It was not until 1876 that the WapakonetaWaynesfield gravel road, or pike, was constructed. This road passed through Uniopolis and showed the way for the construction of other similar roads in the township, there being plenty of gravel thereabout for local needs. The railroad came in 1892 and the electric line ten or twelve years later.

THE VILLAGE OF UNIOPOLIS.

It was in the fall of the year following the general settlement of the township that the village of Uniopolis came into being, John Hoffman, owner of the land along the creek which bears his name in the southwest corner of section 17 along the Wapakoneta-Waynesfield road, conceiving the notion of creating there a trading center in rivalry to St. Johns, three miles south at the old Blackhoof village. Hoffman's plat of the townsite was filed for record in the office of the recorder of Allen county on September 27, 1837, the same showing a tract of fifty lots south of the creek. The north and south streets in this original plat are Main and Blackhoof and the east and west streets are Oak, Ohio and South. The trading center started off with a store, a blacksmith shop, a saw and grist mill, and it was not long until church and school followed. Until the coming of the railroad there was little to attract development and the town remained a typical rural hamlet, a pleasant social and commercial center for the community. Following the railroad a grain elevator was erected and the Rinehart flour mill, finding a wider market, was developed until it became recognized as one of the leading flour mills in this region. The lumber mill and the tile factory also expanded and Uniopolis took on new life. The census report for 1920 gives the village a population of 193.

The tax duplicate for the year 1848 reveals the following landowners in Union township when Auglaize county was erected in that year: Jesse Ashburn, Warren C. Allen, Whiting Allen, Salathiel Adrain, Jacob Brobst, Isaac Bennette, Samuel Boolman, Richard Bailey, Andrew and John Brentlinger, Augustus and Samuel Beaver, Samuel, Harrison, George and Wesley Bishop, Daniel Brentlinger, Samuel Bitler, Sr., Samuel Bitler, Jr., Elizabeth, Henry, William and Daniel Biller, Levi and Silas Biggs, Daniel, John and Joshua Bailiff, William Bethers, Thomas, Jacob and Isaac Bogart, William Bechdolt, N. R. and James Basil, A. S. Bennett, Reuben Brackney, Joshua Borton, James J. and Samuel Bacome, Allen Besse, Samuel Berry, Joseph Brown, John F. Clark, Moses Collins, Benjamin Cochrane, Abner Copeland, William Carter, Joseph Copeland, Jefferson Castell, William Conner, Nelson Clarkson, Isaac, James M. and William Childs, Peter, Jabez, John and Mathew Cretcher, J. H. Cateman, John Corder, Thomas and William Dudgeon, David Davis, John English, Hugh Elliott, David Edmiston, Jesse Edge, Samuel Focht, James Frazier, Daniel Focht, Adam Focht, Sr., Adam Focht, Jr., Lewis Focht, James Finlow, Isaac Fridley, John Gross, Henry Gerhard, Charles and William Graham, Abraham Gardner, Jesse Golden, Samuel Haggy & Co., Thomas Henry, John Hoffman, Jr., Jesse Hankins, Isaac Hankins, Jesse, John, Mark and Joseph Hardin, George Halter, Hardman Horne, John Harrod, John Hager, Elijah Harrod, John Harper, Jr., Manning Holley, Rachael Harrod, H. W. Hicks, Jacob, Michael, William, James and Levi Harrod, Levi Harrod, Jr., Aaron and Joseph Howell, Joseph Hoover, Thomas Henry, Nancy Hester, Joseph Huffer, James J., John P. and Samuel F. Jacobs, Allen Justice, Nathaniel Kimmey, Stephen and Hannah Kent, Lucy Ann Looney, Charles, Benjamin, Joseph and William Lusk, James Lowrey, William M. Layton, George and Jonathan Looney, Abraham Luhmon, Robert Lisle, Isaac Lemaster, Sanfuel Leigh, Elaner Morris, John McKnight, John McCormick, Joseph A. and Ann Morris, John Morris II, Levi Mix, Neal W. McNeale, Thomas McKee, Daniel, John, George and Daniel Miller, Jr., Ezekiel and Henry Morris, G. T. McLaughlin, Hiram Mussman, Elijah A. Musser, L. G. Moorehead, Thomas Naylor, John Ohler, Moses Porter, Andrew and Lewis Perkins, William Pendry, Andrew Ross, Isaac Rinear, John Rupert, Hugh T. Rinehart, Christopher Rudy, Christopher Richardson, John Rogers, Arnold Smith, Samuel Spees, John Schooler, Felician, John and Jacob Smith, Andrew Spees, Abraham Skillman, George Swisher, John and Mathias Spees, Harper and Jonathan Stiles, William Shaw, Phebe Skater, John M. Shaw, Absalom Tipton, Edward Tissue, George and John Vaughn, Jeremiah White, Joseph Weimert, C. C. Wagner, Henry Woolery, John Watt, John Waite, Josiah Wallner, Joseph B. Walton and John Zaner.

In the town of Uniopolis in this township at this time were listed the following lot owners: Alden Besse, Robert Burke, G. W. Bethers, George Coon, Joseph Dawson, Jesse Golden, George Haller, John Hoffman, Sr., John Hoffman, Jr., Eli and Samuel Harter, R. C. Layton, J. McCloud, Felician Smith, William Shaw, John and Daniel Spees. In that portion of the town of St. Johns lying in Union township there then were the following lot owners: William, Henry and Samuel Bitler, John Underwood and Sylvester Vantress. One physician, William Craig, was listed for special license taxation.

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