History of Wayne Township - Waynesfield, Auglaize
From: History of Auglaize County, Ohio
Edited By: William J. McMurray
Histotical Publishing Company
Indianapolis - 1923
WAYNE TOWNSHIP AND THE VILLAGE OF WAYNESFIELD.
Wayne township, in the northeastern corner of Auglaize county, is made up of sections 1 to 24 and half of sections
25-30 of township 5 south, range 8 east, and thus contains twenty seven square miles. It is bounded on the north
by Allen county, on the east by Hardin county, on the south by Goshen township and on the west by Union township
and is traversed in the southwest part by the Ohio Electric railway, which enters in section 7 and out in section
29, passing through the village of Waynesfield on the Wapakoneta-Waynesfield pike, this village cornering in sections
17, 18, 19 and 20, the only village in the township, though the hamlet of Holden (old Fletchers Chapel), in Hardin
county, extends over into this township in section 13. The township is drained by the Auglaize river, which has
its headwaters here; by Willow branch, a tributary of the Miami, and Wallace Fork, a tributary of the Sciota, with
Wrestle creek rising here in the western part of the county, and thus has ample outlet for the effective system
of drainage ditches which were found necessary in pioneer days to bring a considerable part of the land here under
cultivation. The surface of the township consists of numerous ridges extending from west to east and the lands
between these moraines are of great fertility. The east prairie is divided between this and Goshen township.
THE BEGINNING OF SETTLEMENT.
The lands now comprised within Wayne township began to attract the attention of settlers as early as in 1831
and within two or three years thereafter there had come to be a sufficient settlement here to warrant a demand
for a separate civil township and in 1834 the township was erected, it then having been attached to Allen county,
and was named in honor of Gen. Anthony Wayne. The first election was held in the house of Samuel Mocraft in April,
1834, and it is said that thirteen votes were cast. James Mahin, who had settled there the year before, was elected
the first justice of the peace and Richard Berry, Allen Gilmore and Josiah Dawson the first trustees. The first
school building was put up two years later and the first term of school in the township was taught in the winter
of 1836-7 by Asa It Mahin. Hopewell Methodist church was organized about three years later and Wallace Fork Methodist
Protestant church was organized about the same time, these movements marking the beginning of the social development
of the community. At first the wretched condition of the roads, little more than trails through the woods and over
the prairies, and the long hauls necessary to make connection with a milling and trading point worked a hardship
upon the settlers, but they got through, gradually working out their own salvation, until in time the lands were
prepared for cultivation, market places arose to meet the increasing demands of settlement and the present orderly
and comfortable system was evolved, the progress since the middle '70s having been little short of amazing.
THE PIONEERS OF WAYNE TOWNSHIP.
When this county was erected there were, according to the tax duplicate for the year 1848, the following landowners in Wayne township: Thomas Atkinson, Richard Anderson, E. G. Atkinson, Nathan, Joseph and Lyman Ballard, R. D. Bradin, Abraham Buck, John Burget, Aaron D., John C. and Richard Berry, H. S. Bowdle, Sampson Buffenbarger, James G., Jesse L., Joseph and David L. Bowdle, John Clinging, Richard Campbell, James Coleman, William Cox, Samuel Cavender, Thomas Call, John W. and Richard Cramer, Michael Cover, Eli Crawford, Aaron, Newton, Jonathan, Isaac S., Isaac, Joseph, John R. and Joseph H. Dawson, Josiah, Charity, Arthur C. A., D., John and Amaziah Davison, William R. Dean, Isaac Evans, David and Daniel Ellsworth, John Erwin, John Gossard, Henry Gilroy, Allen Gilmer, Robert Grant, Peter Hippert James Hattery, Alexander Hutchinson, Jacob Hullinger, Israel Helphrey, Daniel Holley, Gilbert Hurley, Jr., Robert Hopecraft, Rachael Harrod, Wesley Hendershot, Elijah Harrod, Jacob Harrod, Jacob Harrod II, Martha Harrod, Sanford Harrod, Ann Maria Inskipp, William Jett, Allen Justice, Marinus King, Jacob Klingman, John and David Kirkpatrick, Edward and William Kearnes, Thomas Kilberry, John Kent, Sarah Ann Lacy, William Lewis, Jacob Ludwig, Samuel Lowman, Benjamin and Richard C. Morris, John Miller, Ira McIntire, Alexander, Mordecai and William Madden, Duncan McGehon, George Meyers, E. McBeth, David Meyers, James Mahin, Jr., Samuel McGovern, Asa R. and James E. Mahin, G. T. McLaughlin, Jacob McPherson, Joseph Morrow, Levi Mix, Jacob Meyers, Joseph Miles, Andrew and Elisha McCoy, Steely Meeks, William Marsh, George G. Moore, John F. Meyer, Abraham Newland, St. Leger Neal, Aaron Owen, James Parks, Colby C. and William Pepple, Thomas Pearce, Henry Payne, William Pearce, Jr., John Perry, Solomon Rudy, George Robinson, Byrd Richardson, Jacob Rudy, Sr., John Ridley, Moses Ross, Mathew Stewart, Jr., William Smith, Robert Sprowle, A. J. Starkey, Preserved Smith, Alexander Templeton, Lee Turner, William Thompson, John and William Whetstone, A. W. Winegardner, Robert Wallace, John Ward, Hiram White, Samuel Williams, Nathan Woodbury, Jacob Williams, Harris Wells, Henry Whetstone, John M. Walcott and John Zaner.
EVAN ATKINSON'S TOWN OF WAYNESFIELD.
The village of Waynesfield, mentioned above and the only village in Wayne township, was laid out by Evan G.
Atkinson the year in which Auglaize county was erected and the plat of this townsite was filed for record on July
1, 1848. This plat was a tract covering three blocks and containing twenty four lots, bounded on the north by Perry
street, on the east by Atkinson alley, on the south by Ohio street and on the west by Hickory alley, with Wapakoneta
street (the east and west highway) cutting the plat through east and west and Westminster street cutting it through
north and south. Mr. Atkinson had established a wayside store there and as settlement increased began to realize
that there would be a need for a general commercial and social center, so he provided a townsite which he thought
would prove advantageous for location, about midway between Wapakoneta and Kenton. Two or three years later a postoffice
was established there, on the St. Marys Kenton post route, the settlers thereabout having previously had to go
to St. Johns to make inquiry for such mail as might be addressed to them. Mr. Atkinson was the first postmaster
and; served during the Civil war period, continuing his service on up to 1867. The Bennetts started their mill,
a combined saw and grist mill, at Waynesfield about 1860 and also later became engaged in the mercantile business,
T. S. Bennett serving as postmaster from 1867 to 1874.