History of Union Township, Mercer County, Ohio
From: History of Mercer County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
Edited & Compiled by: Hon. S. S. Scranton
Published by: Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1907


Occupies the northeast Corner of Mercer County, being bounded on the north by Van Wert County, on the east by Auglaize and Van Wert counties, on the south by Center township, and on the west by Dublin township. It comprises an area of 36 square miles. The principal stream of the township, flowing from east to west, is the St. Marys River, into which Eight Mile Creek and Twelve Mile Creek empty, thus affording good drainage for the land. The surface of the township is on the whole level, except along and near the water courses, where it is rolling and somewhat broken. The soil is fertile and very productive. The population of the township in 1880 was 1,820; in 1890, 2,001; and in 1900, 2,238.


Originally Union township, together with the rest of the northern part of the county, was included in Dublin. township. In 1828 it was set off from Dublin township, at which time it also included Center township, which became a separate organization six years later. The first election in Union township was held in the schoolhouse on Justin Hamilton's land on December 20, 1828, nearly four score years ago, at which time the following officers were elected: Trustees - Benjamin Roebuck, Andrew Coil, Jr., and Peter Coil; clerk, Justin Hamilton; treasurer, George Wilson; trustees of school lands - Samuel Hanson; Peter Coil and Justin Hamilton; treasurer of school lands, Michael Hamer; constable, Samuel Hanson; overseers of the poor - John Van Gundy and Thomas Parrott; fence viewers - Peter Coil and Justin Hamilton. The present officers are: Trustees - Warren Barber, Ira T. Wollam and William M. Shelley; clerk, J. A. Murlin; treasurer, J. W. Hesser; justice of the peace, Milton O. Krogh.

Mendon has a handsome Town Hall, which was erected jointly by the village and township in 1904 at a cost of $12,000. It is a two story red brick structure, trimmed with light colored brick.


It is now more than four score years since the first permanent settlers came to this township, which was then a wild and unbroken wilderness with no roads, schoolhouses nor churches and without a white man or woman living within a clay's journey. The year 1822 marks the year of settlement. It was early in this year that Andrew Coil and his family, including his son in law, Thomas Parrott, came to Union township and reared for themselves a cabin on the banks of Twelve Mile Creek. The corn and vegetables that they raised this year on their land was the first crop produced in Union township. The next year Mr. Coil laid out a town which he named Coiltown, which competed with St. Marys and Shanesville for the seat of justice in 1824. Samuel Duncan also settled in Union township in 1822. He had settled in the county as early as 1818, taking up his residence in that year on Shane's Prairie in Dublin township. James Green also settled in the township in 1822, but remained only a year or two. In 1823 Michael Hamer came into the township from Dublin township where he had located as early as 1819. John Van Gundy also came here in 1823, locating on a farm on which he spent the remainder of his life.

In 1823 Samuel Harrison, John Heath and Justin Hamilton came into the township. Mr. Hamilton, who was a native of the State of New York and a pioneer of Kentucky, at once became prominent in the affairs of the northern section of Mercer County. He was elected justice of the peace for Dublin township in 1825 and, being re elected in 1828, he became the first justice of the peace of Union township. He also held the offices of county assessor and surveyor, while Allen and Van Wert counties were attached to Mercer. He served several terms in the Ohio Legislature and afterwards served as an associate judge of the court of common pleas. He resided upon his farm in section 28 for 40 years, dying there in 1863 when in his 67th year. In 1824 Jacob Van Gundy and Achilles Irvin became residents of the township; in 1827, George Wilson and Peter Coil (2nd); and in 1828, Joseph Rider and Asahel Forbes. Soon after Justin Hamilton located here, he was joined by his brother William, who left his home in Ontario County, New York, in 1825, and walked to Buffalo, took a schooner for Sandusky Bay (city) and then walked to this township. Justin and William Hamilton moulded and burned the first brick made in Union township.

Samuel C. Barber and family and his wife's brother, Abraham D. Murlin, came from Kentucky in November, 1828. The same year Aaron Abbey became a resident of the township but later returned to New York. In 1829 Michael Miller and his sister Elizabeth, two orphans, were brought to the township by their brother in law, George Wilson, who had located here two years before; Michael, when he grew up, settled permanently in the township and lived here all his life, becoming a wealthy man. At his death, a few years ago, he left each of his children a valuable farm besides other property. He was respected as an honest man by all who knew him. Abel Wright and family located on the northwest quarter of section 35 in 1829. The following settled in the township in 1830: Isaac Coil, James Coil, Jacob Fultze and George Parrott. Eli Forbes joined his brother, Asahel Forbes, in 1831, but remained only a few years, moving then to Illinois. Joseph Sidenbender came into the township in 1831.

George M. Shepherd, Amos M. Barber and Richard Palmer all became residents of the township in 1832. The last named owned many hundreds of acres of land at his death. In that and in the following year William Cook, James Wright, James Smith, John D. Hundley, Henry and Samuel Parrott, Leonard Miller, George Rupert, John W. Brown, John N. Brown, Edward Upton, James T. Heath and Alfred Bigelow came into the township.

The arrivals in 1834 were: Samuel Davis, Benjamin Nolan, Abraham Abbey, James Watts, William McMichael and Daniel Murlin. Soon after this Thomas Upton became a resident of the township. In 1835 came John Tomlinson, John Ross, Wesley A. Parrott and his father, John Parrott, John E. Dutton and Resin P. Webb. In 1836 came John Edge. Early the same year came Jacob Panabaker, who located at Mendon (then known as Guilford), and built a saw and grist mill on the St. Mary's River. Adam Panabaker came also the same year, as well as Asa Presho, Elhanan Porter, Job Harmon, Nathan Perry, Eleazer S. Wright and Robert Mortimore, who was a wheelwright by trade and devoted considerable time to making chairs, spinning wheels and reels for the early settlers.

The year 1837 brought quite a number of new settlers, among whom were Christian and John Gist, Jacob Peterman, Samuel Ross, Christian Wertz, William Murlin, Samuel Shepherd, David P. Protzman, Daniel Arnold, John Hines, Michael Deniston and Isaac Lamunyon. In 1838 John B. Hickernell, Jacob Sherer, James Anderson, John Price, Robert Platt and John Protzman came into the township; in 1839, William Hussey, Everett Sinclair and John M. Toland; in 1840, Jacob Krugh, George Fireoved and Robert H. Dunathan. The Severns came into the township at an early date and improved large tracts of land. Their children are respected citizens of the township today.

These are not all of the pioneers that came to the township in the years prior to 1840. There were still others but to recall all of the names would make a large volume. The sacrifices that these pioneers made in order to leave a heritage to their loved ones will be told by their children and their children's children for many years to come. The influence for good that was exerted by these hardy sons of toil will last for all time.


The people of Union township, from the earliest settlement, have manifested great interest in educational affairs. In 1827 a log school house was erected on the land of Justin Hamilton by the voluntary labor of the settlers. The first term of school, held in the winter of 1827-28, was taught in this building by Mr. Hamilton, who received $10 per month and boarded himself. Even then, he had to trade out his wages, money being very scarce. Henry Hoagland followed Mr. Hamilton at the same wages, but did not board himself, the custom of "boarding around" among the patrons of the school being adopted. Two other school buildings were erected in the early years of the settlement by volunteer labor and contributions. The schools were supported by subscriptions until a tax was levied for the maintenance of the common schools of the township, the earliest record of such tax levy being in 1838. From year to year the. schools made regular advances and kept pace with the development of the county, and today we find the district schools accommodated with good and commodious brick structures and officered by efficient teachers, who are paid a fair salary for their services. The Mendon High School is maintained nine months each year, and all the district schools in the township not less than six months each year.


The Mendon and Wesley Methodist Episcopal churches in Union township, and the Tomlinson Methodist Episcopal Church in Van Wert County, are in one charge, which has been served by the following pastors since 1879, namely: Revs. Lemuel Herbert, John T. Bower, Rudolph R. Bryan, C. S. Barron, Josiah F. Crooks, W. R. Seuman, Philip Lemasters, W. R. Shults, R. E. Woodruff, F. S. Robinson, T. A. Zimmerman, M. M. Markwith, D. G. Strong, C. B. Cramer, Lemuel Rich and H. J. Keister, who became pastor in 1906. The total membership of the three churches is 316. The three church buildings are valued at $11,000. The parsonage, located at Mendon, is valued at $1,800. The charge has three Sunday schools, in which there are 5o officers and teachers and 360 scholars, the average attendance being 215.

There are three societies of the Church of God in Union township, namely: Mendon, Union and Anderson, which are served by Rev. O. O. Tracy.

Union township has two Baptist churches - Pleasant Grove and Mendon. The Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was organized November 22, 1871, with four constituent members, to whom were added two more immediately after the organization. They were received into the Auglaize Baptist Association at its annual meeting held at Van Wert in 1872. It was called the Mendon Church until 1879, when the present building site four miles northeast of Mendon, on the Spencerville road, was purchased, and the name was changed to Pleasant Grove. A meeting house, costing $1,200, was completed thereon in 1881. The present value of the church property is estimated at $2,000. The present membership is 49. The following have served as pastors: Revs. J. H. Manning, G. C. Graham, W. H. Gallant, J. F. Smith, William Price and B. F. Tucker. - The Mendon Baptist Church was organized in 1883, with six members. On May 6, 1884, it was recognizel by a council of to churches of the Auglaize Baptist Association as a regular Baptist Church. The church had 13 members at the time of recognition. About this time a fine corner lot was purchased, which in 1893 was leased for oil, from which the church realized about $200. During the summer of 1899, several hundred dollars were subscribed and the basement of a house of worship was constructed, but for want of sufficient funds in sight. nothing more has been done to the house. The church has been able to maintain preaching only at irregular intervals by using the house of another denomination. The church has a present membership. of seven. The estimated value of the church property is $1,000. The following have served the church as ministers: Revs. V. D. Willard, J. H. Manning, R. L. Ingram, B. F. Tucker, H. F. Perry, D. D. Spencer, A. W. Yale, J. F. C. Sherich, L. S. Colborn, H. J. Julian and J. C. Kazee, the present pastor.


The township is purely an agricultural one, and great crops of corn, wheat, oats and rye are raised. The orchards of this township can not be excelled in the county. Good gravel roads are found all over the township. Union. township claims the credit for originating, and maintaining for a number of years, the society known as the Mercer County Pioneer Association, which held its meetings for a number of years at Mendon; they are now held in August of each year at Celina, where the stories of the past are told and forecasts of the future made.


In 1834 Justin Hamilton and Thomas Parrott laid out the town of Guilford in the southeast quarter of section 21, on the south bank of the St. Mary's River. The plat and description were acknowledged for record on May 29, 1834, and recorded on June 2nd. The proprietors soon after changed the name to Mendon. For years, the chief features of the town were a schoolhouse, a horse mill and a store.

The log schoolhouse gave place in time to a frame building and this in turn to the present two story, eight room, brick building of modern design and up to date equipment, which was erected in 1888. R. E. Offenhauer is superintendent of the village district schools and Milton O. Krugh is principal of the High School, in which there are two teachers and 41 pupils. Mr. Krugh has held this position since 1897. The High School, which is supported jointly by the township and village, ranks as second grade. P. W. Fishbaugh, A. W. Copeland, B. T. Price, J. B. Maurer and J. W. Hesser constitute the Board of Education of the village school district.

The horse mill yielded to a mill run by water power, which finally was succeeded by the steam grist mill of today.

The greater part of the changes that have resulted in the upbuilding of the town and the infusing of new life into its commercial activities, date from the building of the railroad, which is now a branch of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway, through the town. The new railroad brought trade, particularly by bringing facilities for the shipping of grain and other products of the farm and field.

Mendon is the only village in the township and has its share of all kinds of business, including one bank, one hotel, a large undertaking business, two or three dry goods houses, groceries and meat markets, a grain elevator, two - implement and vehicle stores, steam grist mill and newspaper. The town also has churches to suit all kindly disposed people, a number of fraternal societies, two physicians (Dr. P. W. Fishbaugh and Dr. J. W. Ridenour), and one dentist. The Mendon Bank was organized in February, 1902, by the Voke Brothers, L. F. and Edward, as a private bank with capital stock of $ro,000. The officers of the institution are as follows: L. F. Voke (of Columbus, Ohio), president; Edward Voke (of Mendon), cashier; and Miss Maggie Norris, assistant cashier. The bank has deposits amounting to $85,000. The bank building was erected in 1901. Hussey & Barber conduct a general store; George Banter, a drug store; Frank Disher operates the steam grist mill; Gordon, Hauss & Folk are the proprietors of the grain elevator and also deal in agricultural implements, wagons and buggies, a line of business in which William Hankins is also engaged; W. M. Miller has a well established undertaking business and also deals in furniture. The Mendon Herald, a weekly newspaper, independent in politics, was established in 1895. Frank Geiger is proprietor and editor. The following are the fraternal societies: Mendon Lodge No. 586, F. & A. M. (chartered in 1902); Lodge No. 750, I. O. O. F. - also a Rebekah lodge; Mendon Lodge No. 416, K. of P.; Mendon Tent, No. 214, K. O. T. M.; and McKendree Murlin Post, No. 319, G. A. R., was organized with about 23 members some time in 1880. Among the first members were George Custer, John A. Murlin, James H. Moore, William Lemunyon, Orange Leymond, Wesley Presho, John Bevan, Henry A. W. Collins, Cyrus B. Collins, David Ayers, Elijah Patterson, Valentine Moses, William Johnson, Van Myers, Labin P. Hays, John Ash and Milton Hussey. The records of the post were destroyed in the disastrous fire that recently visited Mendon, so accurate information cannot be obtained. The post has now 19 members in good standing. The officers are: James Shanklin, commander; Christ. Kinkley, senior vice commander; Daniel Vesper, junior vice commander; George Custer, quartermaster; W. W. Parrott, officer of the day; John Boroff, officer of the guard; Philip Hankins, chaplain; Samuel C. Duff, sergeant major; and James H. Moore, adjutant.

Mendon was incorporated as a village in 1881. The village's first officers were: Mayor, L, A. Barber; clerk, J. H. Moore; treasurer, William Hamilton; marshal, William Rider; councilmen - A. J. Lininger, F. S. Collins, J. W. Murlin, John Bevan and Joseph Hesser. The present village officers are as follows: Mayor, Milton O. Krugh; cleric, C. W. Rish; treasurer, P. W. Fishbaugh; marshal, L. Duffey; councilmen - V. T. Siberts, Zed. Watts, Ed. Protzman, Harry Barber and Frank Small. E. E. Hussey is postmaster. The population of the village in 188o was 342; in 189o, 400; and in 1900, 599 - showing a steady growth.

In the last year Mendon has suffered from two very destructive conflagrations. In February, 1906, the west side of Main street was visited by a fire that destroyed some of the best business structures in town. The loss was nearly total. Again, on January 12, 1907, the business portion of the town on the east side of Main street, opposite the burned district of last year, was destroyed by fire, few business houses being left on that side of the street.

Return to [ Ohio History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Ohio Biographies ]

Ohio Counties at this web site - Ashland - Auglaize - Champaign - Columbiana - Cuyahoga - Darke - Erie - Franklin - Fulton - Madison - Mercer - Ross - Seneca - Shelby

Also see the local histories for [ CA ] [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ MA ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ MN ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

[ Much more Ohio History may be found at Linkpendium ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy