History of Union Township - Uniopolis, Auglaize
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.
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."
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.