History of Clinton Township, OH
From: The History of Fulton County, Ohio
Thomas Mikesell, Editor
Published by: Norhtwestern Historical Association, 1905


PREVIOUS to March 5, 1838, the territory of Clinton township, excepting the two tiers of sections on the south, was attached to York township for the convenience of the peopie in the adjustment of local affairs. On the date above written, Clinton township was organized by taking from York township towns 7 and 8 north, ranges 5 and 6 east, and the first election therein was held on the first Monday of April, 1838.

Clinton township originally included in its domain what is now German township, and all of Dover which lies south of the Fulton line. This territory was taken from Clinton, of course, when the townships named were erected; and the last change in boundary, which gave Clinton its present size, was made under the provisions of the act erecting Fulton county, said act giving to the new county and Clinton township a strip of land two miles in width, taken from the northern border of Henry county. The adjoining townships to Clinton are York on the east, Dover on the north, German on the west, and Freedom township, in Henry county, on the south.

The topographical features of the township are not very striking, if to he so comprehends a great variety of natural scenery. The broad and fertile fields, rich and productive, are the principal sources of agricultural wealth. The first settlers of the township were of the class of the heroic pioneers who were identified with the settlement of all of this portion of Ohio. They were seeking homes on productive soil, and hence the lands of Clinton township were very generally occupied by actual settlers at an early date in the history of the present limits of the county.

In December, 1835, Elisha Williams removed from Seneca county, Ohio, with his wife and four grown-up children — John H. Williams, Jerry Williams, Burt Williams, and a daughter who became the wife of Thomas Lingle. Mr. Williams and his son, John H., came to what was called the “Six Mile Woods” in October, 1835, and erected a cabin on the farm which was afterward owned by Elijah Burr; and then returning to their Seneca county home, they came on with the family in December, and established themselves in their new domicile. About this time, and perhaps a little later than the first visit of the Messrs. Williams, Thomas Lingle came into the township. He was a bachelor, and about two years afterward, on January 7, 1838, he was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda Williams, eldest daughter of the first settler. This was the first marriage contracted in the township.

In 1836, a large accession was made to the settlements of the year before, and among the number that came to the township were: Avery Lamb, who brought his family from Onondaga, New York, in June, and settled on section twenty-four, having come alone the previous winter and built his cabin; and John Losure and family came in the summer of 1836. In April, 1837, Isaac Tedrow and family and William Mikesell and wife came and settled, the former on section nine and the latter on section fourteen. In September of the same year, a large party arrived, consisting of George Mikesell, Sr., and his sons, George, Jr.. Adam, Thomas, and James, and a daughter, Mrs. Mary Case, and her son, T. J. Case (then nine years old), who died in 1904; Thomas Bayes, Sr., and his sons, William and Meek, and their families. These all settled in one neighborhood. Elisha Huntington seems to have been the first man with his family to have entered Clinton township in 1836, March being the month of their arrival. He settled upon section twenty-five, and became one of the foremost men of the township in that early day, continuing an active life until his death in 1860.

William Fraker, who in later years was a prominent citizen of Clinton township, was also one of the pioneers of Fulton county. He was born in Ohio, January 19. 1822, and in boyhood came to Fulton county in 1835. He lived in York township for a number of years, and then moved to Clinton township, on section eighteen, and became a very successful farmer.

The first election in Clinton township was held at the home of John Losure, Sr., on the first Monday in April, 1838, at which time fifteen votes were polled, and the following persons were elected to the several offices: Elisha Williams, justice of the peace; Thomas Bayes and Jonathan Barnes, trustees; William Jones, Sr., clerk. It is impossible to give the names of those who voted at this first election, but the names of those who were residents of the township at the time of its organization will suffice. The list may not be complete, but as near as can be ascertained the following settlers were then living within the limits of the township: Elisha Williams, Avery Lamb, Horace Pease, John Losure Sr., William Bayes, Elisha Huntington, Erastus Briggs, Sr., Cyrus Coy, William Jones, George and Thomas Mikesell, Thomas McKibben, Jonathan Barnes, Asa Young, William Mikesell, Samuel Beck, Isaac Tedrow, William Dye, Henry Krontz, St. B. Geer, S. B. Willey, Isaac Dowel, Holmes Bishop, Thomas Lingle, Samuel Gould, Lewis and Samuel Eckhart, John Lillick, Jonathan Inman, Ebenezer Keizer, George Mikesell, Sr., Adam Mikesell, Thomas Bayes, Sr., Meek Bayes and Philip Krontz.

Among the old pioneers of Clinton township is William W. Bayes, who was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania. He was reared to manhood in Holmes county, Ohio, and in 1837 migrated to Fulton county and located in Clinton township. At that time Fulton county was in a state of nature, but Mr. Bayes took up a piece of land which he began farming. He became a prominent and influential man, and was very active in all church affairs, services being held in his house until they could find larger quarters. The ‘town elections were also held at his log house for several years, such was the public spirit manifested by him.

Thomas McKibben came to America from Ireland, in which country he was born in 1806. He came to Fulton county in the early part of 1838, and lived in Clinton township until his death in 1873.

Henry Krontz was horn in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, and settled in Clinton township in 1836. He was born in 1800, and early in life took up his residence in Holmes county, Ohio, and from there removed to Fulton county; wher he spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1874.

Thomas Lingle was born in 1807, and hence was twenty-nine years old when he came to Fulton county. He purchased 160 acres of land in Clinton township, paying therefor $1.25 per acre, and lived in the township until his death, March 23, 1886.

After the first two years of the advance guard in this wilderness home, there commenced a rapid influx of settlers to Clinton township, to whom vantage ground was given by the assistance of the first dwellers and workers, but the newcomers soon became used to the toils of a frontiersman’s life. Among those who came during the few years following the organization of the township were: Joseph Wells, James C. Cornell, Jacob First, Robert McClarren, John Newcomer, John A. Clark, Jacob Funk, James Pease, John Hartman, George Beal, Jacob Miley, Matthias Miley, Joseph L. Royce, L. T. Morris, James Dunbar, John J. Clark, Shipman Losure, John Linfoot, William Harrison, David Gorsuch, Nathaniel Gorsuch, William Hill, David Cantlebury, Jesse Pocock, Israel Pocock, Jonas Batdorf, Jerome Shaw, Ford Lyon, Henry B. Williams, Anthony B. Robinson, and many others who came to the township to make for themselves and families a home.

Joseph Wells was born in Holmes county, Ohio, October 14, 1817, and settled in Clinton township in 1838.

James C. Cornell was a native of New Jersey, and settled in Clinton township in 1839, where he resided until his death in 1882, at the advanced age of seventy-six years. In early life he was engaged in the tailoring business, but later gave his entire attention to farming.

Jacob First was born in Wayne county, Ohio, April 18, 1818. It is not known definitely just when he came to Clinton township, hut he was married here on November 29, 1842, so it is certain that he located here prior to that date. His wife was Miss Lucinda Geer. daughter of Smith and Orlinda Geer, who settled in Fulton county in 1840.

Robert McClarren was horn in Maryland January 28, 1809, and settled in Fulton county, February 6, 1836. though it is not certain that Clinton township was the place of his first residence.

John Newcomer was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1807, and removed to Fulton county, in 1844.

John A. Clark was born in Allegheny county, Maryland, September 19, 1829. He was a son of Ebenezer and Mary Clark, both natives of Maryland, and as a youth accompanied them to Fulton county, settling in Clinton township in 1841.

Jacob Funk was born in Wayne county, Ohio, February 13, 1818, and settled in Clinton township in 1843.

James Pease was born in New York, May 4, 1821, and settled in Clinton township in 1842. He was an earnest church worker, and gave freely to Christian enterprises, especially the erection of buildings for public worship.

John Hartman, Sr., and John Hartman, Jr., father and son, settled in Clinton township in 1845. The younger man was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, in 1830, and one year later the family emigrated to America, first settling in Fairfield county, Ohio, and then, in 1845, removing to Fulton county. The father was born in 1800, and died in Clinton township in 1850.

Joseph L. Royce was born in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1809, and settled in Clinton township, in 1842, locating on section twenty-one.

L. T. Morris was born in Ontario county, New York, in 1821, and settled on section eleven, Clinton township, in 1848.

John J. Clark was a native of Pennsylvania and settled in Clin ton township, in 1839.

Nathaniel Gorsuch was born in Wayne county, Ohio, July 1, 1824, and settled in Clinton township, on section seventeen, in 1848.

Jesse Pocock was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, in 1828, and in 1842 came to Clinton township with his parents, Eli and Catherine Pocock, who were natives of Maryland. They settled on the northeast quarter of section twenty-six, paying therefor three dollars per acre.

Henry B. Williams was born in Lindley, Steuben county, New York, in September, 1816, and was a son of Cornelius Williams. He spent his early life in Geneva, New York, and while quite young was thrown upon his own resources and compelled to take care of himself. He settled in Geauga county, Ohio, in 1833, and, in 1837, removed to Medina county, where he lived until 1853, when he settlecl at Lena, Fulton county, and in April, 1866, came to Wauseon and engaged in the saw and planing-mill business with his son, Henry Holmes Williams. He retired from active business in 1880, and died a few years ago.

Anthony B. Robinson was born in the valley of Salt Creek, Wayne county, Ohio, September 28, 1825. His father was a farmer, living in Salt Creek valley, and there Anthony B. spent the days of boyhood and youth, working on the farm and attending school. When he was eighteen years old, he attended Edinburgh Academy, in Wayne county, preparing himself for teaching and civil engineering. After some four or five terms at the academy, he commenced teaching and so continued for twenty-eight terms, gradually taking rank with the best and most successful instructors of the county. For four years he was one of the principals of the Fredericksburg school, which was a “summer and winter” school. Mr. Robinson followed teaching and working on a farm until 1862, devoting his leisure time to the study of civil engineering, with the intention to go to Iowa and follow surveying; but the unexpected death of his father materially changed his plans for the future, and he decided to remain in Ohio. During the year 1862, he came to Fulton county and took up his residence on a farm about one and one-half miles southwest of Wauseon. In 1871, he was elected county surveyor and held that office for twelve consecutive years; and in the office of justice of the peace of Clinton township. be served for an unbroken term of eighteen years.

Clinton township does not differ materially from the other townships of the county in regard to early industries. The pioneer mills, churches and schools had their existence, and with the exception of the latter, have mostly passed away, with the increasing prominence of Wauseon as a marketing and trading point, coupled with the superior advantages of the village in a religious and educational way. The principal grain crops are wheat and corn, for the production of which the soil is admirably adapted. Corn is the staple product, and this is largely fed to cattle and hogs, these being the source of a large income. Horses and sheep are also raised with profit, on the rich grazing fields afforded on the productive farms, and which are not used at the time for the cultivation of crops.

It will not be out of place here to mention a cotiple of seasons, of which there is no record excepting in the memory of the very oldest residents. The summer of 1838 was very dry, so that the ponds were nearly all dried up and a large number of cattle died of bloody murrain. Again, during the long and very cold winter of 1842-3, many of the later-coming settlers were short of feed for their cattle. To help out they cut elm and basswood trees and drove the cattle to them to browse, thus keeping them alive until grass started in the spring.

There are twelve school districts in Clinton township, exclusive of the Wauseon public schools, and one special joint district at Pettisville. With a carefully grader! course of study, these give the persisting students the advantages of a good common school education, and fit their graduates for the ordinary business of life. The work of the common schools should not be passed without mentioning two teachers who for years, during the 50's, taught in northeastern Clinton township, and left their impress on the youth of those days. These teachers were John Mclninch and Roswell Raymond.

In the year 1854, the Air Line division of the New York Central and Lake Shore system of railways, then known as the Southern Michigan & Northern Indiana (which it was always called in the early days), having been extended far enough west of the city of Toledo, its initial point, to pierce the site of the present county seat of Fulton county, it was clearly apparent that somewhere in this vicinity a new village would he located. Epaphras L. Barber, at that time a young man and one of the civil engineers engaged in the survey and construction of the road, learned of the probability that a station would be established at the present site of Wauseon, and in conjunction with John H. Sargent, who was assistant chief engineer of the road, Nathaniel Leggett and William Hall, the latter being an attorney of Maumee City, bought of Thomas Bayes one hundred and sixty acres of land, which comprised what is known in the records of the county as the original plat of Wauseon. Mr. Hall was interested in the transaction only until the completion of the laying out of the lots in the original plat, and he then sold his interest to Mr. Leggett.

The residence of Mr. Bayes at that time, the only structure on the present village site, was a log building standing a few rods south and west of the court house. Thomas F. Wright was the surveyor employed to “lay out” the town and the plat was recorded in the County Recorder’s office on April 11, 1854. Then the sale of lots began and the erection of buildings was commenced. Though a considerable settlement was made on the town site, during the few years following this action on the part of the proprietors and founders, the town was not formally incorporated until 1859. The original plat of the town contained one hundred and forty-eight in-lots with alleys between abutting lots, all being bounded by streets of proper width, Fulton street, the principal business thor oughfare, being one hundred feet wide. It is easy to imagine that the course of the streets was marked by blazed trees, for the virgin forest was as yet undisturbed by the ax of civilization, with a few exceptions only.

It is not possible to produce a complete and accurate list of names. of the first dwellers in the town; but the first house built on the site of Wauseon after it was laid out, was erected at the corner of Birch and Fulton streets by E. L. Hayes. It occupied the place where now stands the spacious three-story brick block, owned by the Masonic fraternity of Wauseon, F. R. Smallman and F. C. Bogart. The old structure was a two-story frame house, its first floor being utilized for a general or country store by Mr. Hayes, and his family lived up stairs. In 1871, for the purpose of making room for the brick building, it was removed to the farm just at the southeast edge of the village, now owned by Alfred F. Shaffer, and became the upright of a very comfortable and roomy farm dwelling.

Thus, E. L. Hayes was the first merchant to establish himself in business in Wauseon, and John Williams built the first tavern. It was a franie dwelling and stood on the corner of Beach and Fulton streets, being first known as the Estelle House. Its first landlords and proprietors were W. E. and D. O. Livermore, who came to Wauseon from Utica, New York, their native city and State.

Gen. E. L. Hayes, who is now a resident of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, in a letter to Joel Brigham of Wauseon, gives the following historical incident in regard to the naming of the future county seat: “Now I may mention the way the name of the town was selected. In the spring of 1854, the proprietors of the land, Messrs. Leggett, Barber and Sargent, met at my store for the purpose of selecting a name. Litchfield, Hayesville, and several other names were mentioned. While sitting at the dinner table Mr. Leggett said to my oldest daughter, ‘Hortense, perhaps you can suggest a name.' She replied: ‘Mr. D. W. H. Howard visited us a few days ago, and he remarked that he was pretty sure the hill west of the station was the ground upon which a tribe of Indians (the Maumees) were once camped and a council was held there for the purpose of purchasing the lands of that tribe. The name of the chief was Wauseon.’ My daughter was so impressed with the recital by Mr. Howard that she stated it as above to the proprietors, and in a few days thereafter we received the word that Wauseon had been decided upon as the name for the town.”

With an honorable record of more than fifty years of existence, Wauseon well sustains her long established reputation for solidity and the merited compliment of being a good town. The men who established the little hamlet in the woods, in 1854, founded that reputation, and their descendants and successors have well maintained it.

The religious and educational affairs of the village also received early attention and liberal support. Merchants were aggressive and public spirited, their stocks often rivalling in value those exhibited by present day dealers. But if the reader will stop and reflect, he will observe that all the business of the earlier days, as well as at present, was closely related to agricultural supremacy. Fulton was then as now the center of one of the richest agricultural districts in the United States, a distinction which the locality has retained with creditable success. All business was directed towards handling the products of the farms and in supplying the farmers’ needs.

The early settlers and business men of Clinton township were generally people with agricultural tendencies and traditions They were sons of farmers, and parental traditions and customs are strong within the human breast. These men purchased land, cultivated and improved it, erected dwelling houses and lived out their allotted days in the peace and harmony of the quiet community their industry had established.

Wauseon has a population of two thousand one hundred and forty-eight according to the census of 1900. It contains a number of handsome and expensive residences and public buildings, while the average homes evince the air of thrift and prosperity in their surroundings, in keeping with the industry and frugality of the occupants. The village contains fewer poor and squalid residences, indicative of poverty and misery, than most villages of its size.

The sanitary conditions are excellent and the drainage system as good as can be had. The board of health and sanitary officers are vigilant in the discharge of their official duties, and the streets and alleys are kept in the most perfect sanitary condition. A well organized and trained volunteer fire department is equipped with the latest and best apparatus for the purpose designed. The efficiency of the department has been demonstrated on many occasions. A police force, the guardians of the public peace and property, although few in number, are noted for their efficiency in the line of official duties, and the village marshal, Frank Yarnell, has received high commendation for successful detective work. He and his deputies are courteous and obliging men, to whose vigilance and alertness, the village boasts, is due the small percentage of unlawful acts.

The municipal government of Wauseon for the present year (1905) is as follows: Mayor, A. P. Biddle; street commissioner, and marshal, Frank Yarnell; chief of the fire department, Philip Schletz; clerk, A. S. Bloomer; treasurer, H. A. Barber. The council is organized as follows: W. D. Van Renssellaer, president; John Strong, W. H. Eager, Howard Lyon, Charles Cole and Thomas Mikesell. The board of health is organized with Frank Yarnell as health officer.

The nucleus of the present city library originated in 1875, when the cultured ladies and gentlemen of Wauseon took hold of the matter in earnest and organized the Citizens’ Library Association. The books were kept at various places in the town until 1902, when a room in the court house was secured, which place is the home of the library at present. The first librarian after the association was organized was Miss Eva Boughton, who was followed in that capacity by different ones. Finally, Mary S. Hunt was given charge and she has continued to serve as librarian for several years. In 1904, negotiations were opened with Andrew Carnegie, looking to a donation by him to Wauseon for library purposes. The effort was successful, the steel magnate agreeing to give seven thousand five hundred dollars upon condition that the citizens of Wauseon would furnish an annuity of seven hundred and fifty dollars to support the enterprise. The board of education of the Wauseon school district invoked the power, which is given them by statute, and levied a tax of one mill upon the property valuation of the district, and thus guaranteed the satisfaction of Mr. Carnegie’s proposal. The Carnegie library building is now in course of erection on Elm street, just off Fulton street, and the same will be completed and made Teady for occupancy at the earliest possible moment. It will then be a popular resort, much appreciated by the studious citizens of all ages; and Wauseon may well be proud of her public library, where three thousand choice volumes await the call of its patrons.

Wauseon is represented in journalism by three weekly newspapers, but as these have been given appropriate mention in another chapter, a repetition is not necessary. Nothing like an extended notice of the various religious organizations which have existed in the village of Wauseon can be attempted in this volume. The little leaven planted so many years ago has grown to mammoth proportions, and no town of like size in the State of Ohio possesses greater evidence of spiritual growth, or more devout and conscientious leaders in the great cause of Christian life. Several churches have been organized from time to time, in which the zeal of their promoters exceeded the demand for their services, hence they had hut an ephemeral existence. But of the persisting organizations which have grown to prominence and influence, there are several, and their present (lay status is the best evidence of their high standing and liberal support.

The history of early Methodism in Wauseon dates from the first years of the town’s existence, and is centered around a wooden house of worship, which stood at the northeast corner of Fulton and Elm streets, where now is the brick block belonging to the Charles Gray estate, the upper floor of which is occupied by the printing office of the Wauseon Republican. The present church was erected in 1874, and is an imposing structure. Many familiar names have been associated with this congregation, and many distinguished divines have been connected with the organization. Rev. W. W. Lance is the present pastor.

There are in Wauseon devout and pious Catholics; but their numbers are small, and a missionary priest, at stated periods, holds service. They have a church edifice, and few as are the numbers of these worshipers, they command a high degree of respect from co-religionists on account of the firmness they manifest in holding fast to their faith.

The First Baptist church of Wauseon was organized in 1864. The first regular pastor was Rev. George Leonard. The congregation has a neat church building on the west side of Fulton street, south of the railroad.

The Disciples, or Christian church, in charge of Rev. Charles Oakley, is located on the north side of Elm street, east of Fulton, where regular services are conducted.

The United Brethren in Christ have an organization in Wauseon, the church being located on the east side of Fulton avenue. Rev. Oren Misamore is pastor in charge and conducts services every Sunday, twice each alternate Sunday.

There is an Evangelical church building, located on West Chestnut street, in Wauscon. and quite a number of professors of the tenets of that creed are in the village and neighborhood.

The distinctive faith of New England Congregationalism has been prominent in the religious culture of the citizens of Wauseon, a number of its leading families being from the land of Puritanism. The Congregational society of Wauseon dates back to 1861. Their handsome, new and commodious place of worship was built and dedicated in 1904. It stands on the southeast corner of Clinton and Elm streets.

The public burial place of Wauseon is located one-half mile west of the village, just beyond the corporation limits. It comprises ten acres of mound-shaped land, and is far enough away from the busy bustle of village life to give it the quiet and seclusion which one always associates with a burial place for the dead; hence the selection of the site, which has been beautified as the years passed, until it is now an ideal spot. It contains the mortal remains of several of Fulton county’s most distinguished citizens, whose final resting places are rendered conspicuous by the erection of worthy monuments. The private citizen and the soldier are equally honored by the reverence and sacrifice of surviving friends, to the end that this sacred spot is rendered beautiful in keeping with the sadly reverential purpose which made its existence a necessity.

The business interests of Wauseon are varied and extensive. The mercantile houses compare favorably in extent, variety and quality of goods with any town of equal size in the state. The volume of business is very large when the close proximity of rival towns is considered. The mercantile houses are generally backed with resources commensurate to their demands, and the element of losses from bad accounts is reduced to the minimum, by reason of the stable character of the buyers. Perhaps no town in the state, of equal size, has a smaller percentage of losses from bad debts. This is due, in part, to the fact that buyers are permanent residents, usually owning their own homes, though the element of honesty and business integrity among them is a dominant feature.

The social spirit of Wauseon is revealed in the following list of secret and benevolent societies: Masonic—Wauseon lodge No. 349, F. and A. M.; Wauseon Chapter No. 111, R. A. M.; Wauseon Council No. 68, R. and S. M. Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Wauseon lodge No. 362. The Grand Army of the Republic has an organization— Losure Post No. 35. Auxiliary to this is the Woman’s Relief Corps. There are lodges of the Knights of Pythias (No. 156), National Union, Modern Woodmen of America, and Knights of the Maccabees. It would be interesting to have the history of these various organizations, particularly the more important ones, but lack of space forbids the attempt.

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