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


CHAPTER XXI
GERMAN TOWNSHIP


THIS township was organized March 4, 1839. Since its organization the territory has been subdivided once, and has had two material additions, which give to it a territory considerably greater than an exact congressional township. German township was organized by the commissioners of Lucas county from towns seven and eight north, range five east. It will be noticed that this extended the township to the Fulton line on the north, but did not include the two southern nor the two western tiers of sections. The territory bordering on the Fulton line was lost when Franklin township was organized, March i, 1841, and the additions on the west and south were made when Fulton county was organized, in 1850. The present limits of the township extend seven miles north and south, and eight miles east and west, with four sections of land—in the form of a square— taken out of the southwest corner. This gives to the township fiftytwo sections of land and makes it the largest subdivision of Fulton county.

German township was settled, as was Fulton county generally, by people from older portions of Ohio, intermixed with others from Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, with an occasional immigrant from the mother country, and a considerable number from the fatherland. Descendants of these early pioneers people the township to considerable extent, but of later years it can be said that the population is becoming more cosmopolitan. But whatever their ancestry or wherever their birthplace, the residents of German township are a class of intelligent and progressive citizens, many of whom are highly cultured and intellectual.

This township has but a small number of running or unfailing streams. The largest of note is Bean Creek. formerly known as Tiffin river. It drains the northwest corner of the township, and in its course is very crooked and sluggish, and passes into Williams county in a southwesterly course to the Maumee river, by which all the waters of the entire township reach Lake Erie. Brush creek has its rise near the center of Dover township, and is given some prominence from the springs of the sand area near Spring Hill. It runs in a southwesterly course, and receives a few streamlets, mostly upon its south side, made principally by drainage from the farm land, and traverses the township of German south and east of its center, and leaves the township south of Archbold, thence making its way to Bean Creek, into which it empties near Evansport, in Springfield township, Williams county. In the western part of the township there are a few small branches that lead west to Bean Creek, but these are quite insignificant as to a water supply. Since drainage has been going on the declension of water in the wells, and other sources of supply, is alarming in case of extreme drouth. The only permanent supply can be had by deep borings, which, in some places, afford an artesian supply.

Traditional history at best is unreliable, but becomes especially so when transmitted to the third or fourth generation. No written record exists as to the first settler in German township; neither have we all of the names of the first officers of the township. But herewith is presented a list of the earliest settlers, early business men and officials: In August, 1834, the first settlement was made in this township by German or Swiss pioneers. They were Nicholas King, who afterwards returned to Wayne county, Ohio, on account of an accident that befell him, but he soon came back; Jacob Bender, wife and seven children; Christian Lauber, wife and four children; George Meister, wife and five children; Jacob Grunday, wife and five children, and Moses Kibbler, wife and six children. Accompanying these families from the fatherland were Henry and Jacob Roth, Christian Reigscker and Michael Figy, all young men and unmarried. They were also accompanied by one John Gundy, who stayed but a short time and then returnedto Wayne county, from whence he came. This colony was composed of forty-three persons, all told, and most of them were from Milihausen, a small town in Switzerland. Besides these were one or two families from the north of France, but nearly all fresh from the Old World. The first house put up by these colonists was erected by Christian Lauber very soon after his arrival, upon section io. The rest of the heads of families soon selected their land, and cabins were built in quick succession. These were all the persons that came to this township during the year 1834, according to Mr. Verity, to whose work we are indebted for the above statements.

Again, in 1835, it is found that John Reynolds and his family came to the territory from Vermont, and settled on the east bank of Bean Creek, then within the township, now in Franklin. In the present limits the same year it is found that Augustus Hull and wife, Peter Wyse, wife and children; Peter Leithy, Christian Funkhouser, Peter Rupp, W. Greiser and family, Christian Beck and family, George Ditto and family, and perhaps Mr Kanipe, and possibly others whose names cannot be recalled, found homes here.

In 1836 there came Henry Lutes and John Lutes, both doctors and preachers, Roswell Reynolds, son of John Reynolds, and Ira Eaton. The last named came from Seneca county, Ohio, and afterwards laid out the town of Etonburgh, which had for its early beginning a few log huts. George and William Johnson came in 1836 from England, and bought a large property on Bean Creek, on which they afterward built what was called Johnson’s Mills, a saw .and grist-mill. The George Johnson, here mentioned, was the father of Hon. Solomon Johnson of Williams, who has represented that county in the legislature two terms.

In the year 1837 one of the most prominent immigrants was Benjamin Brown, who settled on section 5 in the spring of that year, and who afterwards located on section 17. He came from Vermont. The same year came Jonathan Barnes and Dorsey Barnes, but the latter left soon after and settled in Gorham. They came to the township in 1837, from Virginia, and Jonathan Barn.es became a very prominent man and a leading citizen of German. In 1837 also came Samuel Burkholder and family, Peter Noffsinger, John Rivnaugh and Benjamin Lee, from England, Samuel Gibbons and family with Joseph Noffsinger, from France.

In 1838 and 1839 another influx of immigrants occurred, for which the township was further indebted for all that was to advance its agricultural and educational interests. Among the settlers in that year were Samuel B. Darby, Jacob G. Wilden and family, James F. Rogers and family, Michael Gish, the first hotel proprietor in the township at Eatonburgh, James Smith, Joel Smith, a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church, John Reid, Henry Roth, John Wyse, Christian Recknor, Peter Rupp, Jacob Depler, and their families, Joseph Sander, Hugh Fairchild, Augustus Clare and their families, and perhaps many others equally worthy of mention, but whose names are forgotten.

James F. Rogers, a pioneer and early, leading and influential citizen of German township, was born in Putnam county, New York, December 19, 1814, and settled in Seneca county, Ohio, with his parents in 1832. From there, in 1839 — after having spent his youth and early manhood, assisting his parents on the farm and working out by the month—he came to German township, Fulton county, and purchased a farm of eighty acres, paying therefor $175. He erected his cabin, and then returned to his Seneca county home. Tn October, 1842, he came to German township again and lived in his log cabin, not having money enough to provide a better place. But by his perseverance his financial condition changed and he became one of the prosperous farmers of the township.

Jacob Rupp was a native of Switzerland, who came to America and settled in German township in 1840. After living here for several years he removed to Allen county, Indiana, where he died.

During the decade, 1840 to 1850, when the county of Fulton was organized, the population began to increase with rapidity, which gave strength to the agricultural industry. Among the settlers of those years was Albert S. Fleet, who came with his family in 1840, and thus became a pioneer settler of German township. He was born in Steuben county, New York, in 1817, and purchased his farm in German township in 1839, hut did not remove his family here until the year following. He became very active in the interests of agriculture, and was president of the county society for several years. He sold his farm in German township, in 1874, and lived the remainder of his life in Wauseon.

Other immigrants during the above mentioned decade were Jacob Lipe, Moses Stutesman, George Gasche, Peter Noffsinger, Joel Smucker, Samuel Ames, Christ Kioffenstein, William McCucheon, Peter Short, George Betts, John L. Betts, Anthony Moine, Peter F. Goll, Joseph Schad, Fred Grouse, Peter Weaver, Jacob Leininger, John Leininger, Jacob Vernier, George Vernier, Peter Kioffenstein, Peter Grimm, J. A. Wolverton, J. P. Flora, Jacques Greiser, Samuel Wait, William H. Dickason and perhaps other families. George Gasche was born in Germany, May i, 1819, and settled in Fulton county in 1841.

Peter F. Goll was a native of France and emigrated to this country, June 24, 1836, and with his family settled in German township. They came over in the sailing vessel, Albany, and made the passage in thirty-seven days. Mr. Goll purchased his farm of eighty acres on section 24, and added thereto until he owned 600 acres. In early life he learned the wagon maker’s business, but after settling here devoted his entire attention to farming. Upon landing in America, Mr. Goll first stopped for a time in Stark county, Ohio, and from there made the trip to German township in November, 1836, ox teams being the mode of conveyance and eighteen days the time consumed.

John Leininger was born in Alsace, in 1821. Jacob Vernier was born in France, January 11, 1838, and with his parents settled in German township, in 1846. George Vernier was born in France in 1811, and settled in Fulton county in 1846.

John A. Wolverton was a native of New Jersey, and came to Fulton county with his family and settled in German township. He enlisted in Company G, of the Sixty-eighth Ohio as a drummer, in 1861, and served three years, being discharged in November, 1864. He afterwards served as trustee of his township and was otherwise locally prominent. He died, May 17, 1882.

Samuel Wait was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, May 22, 1829. He was of Welsh and Scotch descent, his grandfather having been a Revolutionary soldier and his father served in the War of 1812. Mr. Wait came to German township in 1846, and’ for years was proprietor of a hotel at Archbold. William H. Dickason was born in Ashland county, Ohio, November io, 1822, and settled in Fulton county in 1846. His business was that of a carpenter and joiner.

Archbold is the principal town in German township; and it also holds third and hopes soon to become a competitor for the second position among the towns of Fulton county. It was laid out in 1855 by Haywood & Ditto. The United States census tells a story of progress in its returns of the population of the village: 1890, seven hundred and eighty; 1900, nine hundred and fifty-eight. Since the taking of the last census, however, it has had a good growth, but as no enumeration has been taken, the population can only be estimated. The present officials of Archbold are as follows: Mayor, John Theohald; clerk, O. W. Hill; treasurer, John W. Winzeler.

Services of the Methodist ‘Episcopal church in German township date back to early times, when the first traveling ministers of that faith in the township were Austin Coleman and McEnder Capp. Lilly Bridge was the first preacher of the United Brethren in Christ. His labor was missionary and occurred in 1838. The first quarterly meeting in the township was held by the Rev. John Jones, an early presiding elder in the Methodist organization The first preaching by the Amish was at the house of Christian Lauber, in the fall of 1835, by Christian Beck, and then a society was organized which is still in existence. The M. E. church at Burlington was the first organized body of that faith in the township; the Catholics built the first church. At present, the following denominations are represented in the township and each organization receives a good support: The New Baptist, New Mennonite, German Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Old Lutheran, Amish, the Eckley branch of the old Amish, Episcopal, Catholic, Lutheran, German Reformed, and Episcopal Methodist.

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