THIS township was established by order of the county commissioners of Lucas county on the 5th day of June, 1843.
Its boundaries are regular, on the north by Chesterfield, on the east by the township of Pike, on the south by
Clinton and on the west by Franklin. It was the last township to be organized of the twelve that comprise Fulton
county. The township was formed by taking from Chesterfield township all of the fractional township ten south,
range two east, of the Michigan survey; and all of fractional township eight north, range six east, of Clinton
township in the Ohio survey, added to which was also one tier of sections off the north side of town seven north,
range six east. This is recognized as the center township in the county. The first election was held at the house
of Mortimer D. Hibbard, on August 7, 1843, by order of the commissioners, and the officers chosen were Moses Ayers,
Alonzo H. Butler and Willard Church, trustees; Joseph Jewell, clerk; William Jewell, treasurer; Elijah Bennett
and John G. Tiffany, constables; Elijah Bennett and Newell Newton, overseers of the poor.
Dover as a whole may be characterized as level and unbroken land. What valleys there are, are narrow and bounded
by small hillsides. The soil is generally not of the greatest natural fertility, not as fertile as elsewhere in
the county, but there are some fine farms in the township. All the inclinations of the township are very gentle,
with whatever course the streamlets take, ruuning obliquely across the slopes of the country, generally denominated
as “sand dunes.” These sand dunes, or ridges, were formed by the action and force of winds and water at some ancient
day. They form the summit of the township and are supposed by some to be the first outcroppings of land in the
decline of water from an ancient lake here existing, anterior to the glacial period. But this supposition is not
entirely correct. It is reasonable to suppose that the body of water mentioned was once a part of Lake Erie, draining
westward into a branch of the Wabash which rises within a few miles of Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the St. Joseph
and St. Mary’s rivers unite to form the Maumee. At that time the land about western New York was higher than it
is now; but it settled, and when low enough the water broke over into what is now Niagara river, and finally lowered
the level of the lake to what it is at the present time. As to being previous to the glacial period, it could not
have been, as all this tract is underlaid with the clay that was scooped out of where Lake Erie now is, and which
was deposited here by the movement of the ice.
The streamlets in Dover, in the northwest part, flow west across the corner of the township of Franklin and empty
into Bean Creek, sometimes called Tiffin river, while in the south and southwestern part they flow southwest, reaching
the Maumee at Defiance. In like manner the waters of the east and northeast flow east by southeast into Bad creek
and reach the Maumee river soon after passing the southeast corner of the county, near Whitehouse. Dover is as
well adapted to grazing purposes as it is to farming, and the industry receives careful attention with favorable
results. Fruit culture is also carried on very profitably, apples being the staple in that line, though all kinds
of small fruits succeed admirably. The extreme west end of the township touches closely upon the timber lands of
the Bean Creek valley, which is composed principally of oak and some elm, with here and there whitewood and hickory.
From there eastward and over the remainder of the township, in the region of sand and sand dunes, a large part
of the surface is denominated prairie, covered with a wild grass in summer.
Dover township was settled a few years before the township was organized, the territory then being attached to
other jurisdictions. During the summer or autumn of 1836, William Jones, known as “Long Bill,” came with his family
to the southwest part of the township, where he began to prepare a home in the woods. The first cabin erected in
the township was for Jones, and it is said that at this raising there were only two men, one boy and two Indians.
William Jones sometimes preached for the Disciples, there then being a few of that faith in Clinton township on
the south. Mr. Jones was a man of considerable ability, and unquestionably, the first religious exercises in the
township were conducted by him, either at his own home or at the cabin of a neighbor. The early settlers often
met during the severe winters for the purpose of worship, and to talk over the means of meeting successfully the
difficult problems of pioneer life. Upon their arrival in the township the members of the Jones family at first
lived in their wagon and under the shelter of rude temporary abodes, built of poles, brush and blankets, while
the father went to work to construct a rough cabin of round logs. Pleasant was the task of removing to their cabin,
humble though it was. These were probably the only persons residing in Dover during the year 1836.
In the spring of 1837, Alonzo H. Butler and wife settled upon section seven, town ten south, range two east,
upon lands afterward owned by Charles B. Carter, just north of the “Fulton line.” During the summer and fail of
the same year quite a large accession was made to the little band of settlers in the arrival of Peter Lott and
wife and three children; Salathiel Bennett and family; Elijah Bennett and family; Michael Ferguson, James Gould
and Pearl Smith, all with families.
Following thereafter, in the spring of 1838, were William Hoffmire, John J. Schnall, Adam Poorman, Nathan Gay,
Eben French, Mortimer D. Hibbard and family, with his father and mother, also Randoif Hibbard. John J. Schnall
was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, January 24, 1805. He participated in the border war and was also
a soldier in the Black Hawk war. He purchased land and commenced building in Fulton county, in 1837, and at that
time there were but three white residents in what was then York township, and wild animals were abundant. Mr. Schnall
filled the office of county surveyor for twenty-one years and also occupied other official positions.
From 1838 to 1846 came Moses Ayers and family, Joseph Shadle, Jacob Nolan, William Fuller, John G. Tiffany, Henry
Herreman, William Jones, Jr., Oscar A. Cobb, Richard Marks, Alonzo Knapp, Warren W. Hodge and family, Comfort Marks
and wife Betsy, Archie and Betsy Knapp, Elisha Cobb and mother, and John Atkinson and family. A greater portion
of these settled near Ottokee, at the east end of the township.
In the west end, William Waid, E. H. Patterson, Burdick Burtch, Jasper Dowel! and mother, William Brierly, Joseph
Jewell, William Jewell, James Wells, William J. Coss, Chandler Tiffany, George Tiffany and John Meader, the last
three in the east.
William Waid was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, April 18, 1818, and settled in Dover township in September,
1845, on the farm which he improved and lived upon until his death, April 25, 1880. He was widely known as an enterprising,
industrious, honest farmer.
Edwin H. Patterson was a pioneer farmer of Dover township, and settled in Chesterfield with his parents, in 1838.
He was born in Allegheny county, New York, in 1823, and the family settled in Fulton county, in 1838, as stated
above. Mr. Patterson attended the common schools when an opportunity favored him, but he was reared on a farm,
chose farming for an occupation, and in 1844, became engaged in that pursuit.
William J. Coss settled in Fulton county, in 1841. He was born in Essex county, New Jersey, June 3, 1806, the son
of William Coss, also of New Jersey, who was a sailor by occupation. When William J. was five years old his father
went on a voyage and was never after heard from, undoubtedly being shipwrecked.
Later were Thomas Walters and Robert C. Shepherd, and so continued the settlement until the “Congress lands” were
nearly all taken up, and the frontier was no more. Robert C. Shepherd, who is mentioned here, was born in Berkeley
county, Virginia, April 13, 1813, and was one of the early preachers in Fulton county, holding religious services
among the pioneers, fifty years ago.
Church associations and schools were formed as soon as the settlement of Dover township began, as early as in
1836. It is a question which of the two societies, the Disciples or United Brethren, had the first organization
in the township. The Disciples, however, furnish data from their church record of their organization, which was
March 1, 1841, held at the residence of Moses Ayers and that Benjamin Alton was the officiating minister. The society
has maintained an uninterrupted organization up to the present date. They have a fine brick church edifice, built
in 1882, at Spring Hill, now their present place of worship, and the largest membership of any society. The United
Brethren organization was made at a very early date, under the labors of John Bowser and Alonzo H. Butler. They
were organized and have continued until the present time without an interruption. The society has a small chapel,
built at Spring Hill in 1860, and have quite a large membership. A society of the United Brethren was organized
at North Dover about 1882, by Rev. Bartlett, and built a small chapel for their meetings.
The Methodist Episcopal church has two classes—one organized at Spring Hill as early as 1842, under the labors
of James Gay, with Samuel Warren and wife, Ebenezer Fuller and wife, Newell Newton and wife, Isaac. Tedrow and
wife, and Peter Lott and wife as leading members, and for a long time held their meetings in an old log schoolhouse,
just east of Spring Hill. After holding their services in various places, in 1887, they built for themselves a
very fine wooden chapel.
In the eastern part of the township, the Methodist Episcopal society was organized by W W. Winters, in 1857, and
in 1876 they built a chapel for their use at Ottokee, and hold a fair membership to this date.
In 1847, Eider Hosea Day organized a Christian Church at Ottokee, with a fair membership, which in later years,
for want of pastoral service, lost their identity and finally consolidated with the Disciples, who were quite prominent
over the whole township.
In 1858, the Disciples, under the labors of Eider L. L. Carpenter, formed an organization at Ottokee, which in
after years, like the Christian denomination, became disintegrated and was merged into the Wauseon and Spring Hill
Dover is an exclusively agricuittiral township. There are no towns or villages of importance, and no manufacturing
industries, aside from a few shops. Ottokee is a little village in the eastern portion of the township, and Spring
Hill is in the western. Each contains a store or two, a church, mechanical shops and a few residences. The population
has remained stationary for many years since Wauseon, with her better market facilities, has cut off the trade.