T. 2. N. R. 15 E.
THE. early scenes described in these narratives, and the incidents attending the dawn of Seneca as a county,
having clustered around places that are now covered by Tiffin, and involved the names of so many of the early settlers,
whose biographies are already recorded, there is scarcely anything further left to say about Clinton township.
This chapter will, therefore, necessarily be short It is proper, however, to preserve names of the early pioneers
and describe some of those not already talked about.
The location of the land offices in Tiffin tended greatly to give Tiffin a start. It brought many people here from
abroad and introduced to them not only our citizens but also the many advantages this county promised for the future.
No other county in Ohio, west of the Sandusky river, settled up as fast as Seneca county.
When congress, on the 4th day of May, 1828, granted to Ohio 500,000 acres of land to build the Miami canal, it
next became the duty of the legislature to provide for the sale of the land. By an act of February 12, 1829, two
land offices were established for the sale of these half million of acres, one of which was located at Tiffin.
The land office for the sale of the land in the Delaware land district was located here in April, 1828. Small as
Tiffin then was, and far removed from the canal lands to be sold, it should nevertheless be remembered that there
was, at that time, no other town between Tiffin and Fort Wayne, in Indiana. The reader will see, therefore, that
Tiffin was the principal frontier town in northwestern Ohio at that time and for some time thereafter, notwithstanding
the organization of Sandusky county prior to Seneca.
These land offices here, I say, helped very much to bring Tiffin into notice and gave it an air of stability and
business enterprise. For several years the hotels were frequented by strangers, who bought land or prospected for
locations. The old army road was a sort of thoroughfare for emigrants, many of whom stopped here in fact, there
was no other road in Ohio, west of the Sandusky river. By remembering these things we are enabled to see how this
vast northwest must have looked at that time.
Clinton township being so closely identified with Tiffin, and everything that is said of Tiffin and her people
meaning Clinton township at the same time, may be the reason why neither Mr. Butterfield, in his history, nor Mr.
Stewart, in his "Atlas," had anything to say about Clinton township and her pioneers: But there were
some old settlers here, and men, too, of no ordinary grade, who should and shall be mentioned, for many of their
names are too dear and valuable to be lost so soon. These pages will preserve them for awhile.
The father of Levi, Lewis and Joel Keller (the sons are all still living) was an early settler and a man of
wonderful industry and perseverance. He took a very active part in all public affairs and became intimately acquainted
with the business of the public offices. He filled the office of county commissioner several years, and after he
got his mill on the river in running order, there was scarcely a farmer in Seneca county but was acquainted with
Uncle Johnny Keller. He was very talkative when he had time, and always ready to give information when required.
With his knowledge of farming he combined much mechanical skill, and he was in his place on the farm or in the
mill. His practical good sense, his friendly nature and honesty of purpose made Uncle Keller a very popular citizen.
He was born September 17, 1785, in York county, Pennsylvania, near Little York. He was married to Elizabeth Mitsell,
in 1804, and soon after moved to Fairfield county, Ohio. At the land sales in Delaware he bought the land the old
Keller mill was on, in 1821, and moved on to it in 1828. In 1824 he let out a job of clearing four acres. In the
fall of that year he came up with a team and a lot of apple trees, with which he planted an orchard on the four
acres. When he came back the following spring, his apple trees were all gone. Somebody had stolen them. This was
probably the first orchard planted in the county.
Mrs. Keller died in September, 1857. John Keller died October 9, 1859.
HENRY C. BRISH
Was a man of medium size and weighed about 165 pounds. He was of fair complexion, had regular, manly features,
was well proportioned and good looking, more so in citizen's clothes than in uniform. He had deeply set, large
hazel eyes. He shaved smooth, except small side whiskers. He had a well balanced nature. a high forehead, and turned
bald at middle age. General Brish was a polished gentleman and his home was the gathering place for many of the
elite in the then rustic society. He had a kind word for everybody, and soon became popular with all classes of
people. The Senecas were his pets and they made Rosewood a stopping place whenever they came up the river. Dr.
Cary was a brother to Mrs. Brish. He and Dr. Dresbach made the General's house their home. Whenever they could
not be found about town, you would almost be sure to find them at Brish's. Some people thought the General was
very high strung and quick tempered, but they were only those who did not know him intimately, and judged him only
from the several knock downs he was blamed with. The facts are, the General would bear almost any opposition in
business or politics as long as his opponent would abstain from reflecting on his honor and calling him names.
He struck very quick when that rule was violated, and the size of the opponent or his standing in society made
no difference. His relation with the business of the county has been mentioned so often that it is only necessary
to say that he was one of the associate judges of the court of common pleas here, and was elected a member of the
house of representatives, besides filling many other local offices.
When, on the 28th day of February, 1831, at the treaty of Washington, the Senecas sold their reservation to the
United States, as already stated in chapter viii. (and see also chapter xxix.), General Brish; who had taken care
of the chief to Washington and back to Seneca, was kindly remembered by them. At their own request a section was
put into the treaty giving to General Brish a quarter section of land in the reservation. The section reads as
Sec. 11. The chiefs of the Senecas being impressed with gratitude towards Henry C. Brish, then sub agent, for his
private advances of money and provisions and numerous other acts of kindness towards them as well as extra services
in coming with them to Washington, and having expressed a wish that a quarter section of a hundred and sixty acres
of land ceded by them should be granted to him in consideration thereof, the same is hereby granted to him arid
his heirs, to be located under the direction of the president of the United States. (See vol. 7 Laws U. S., p.
The General selected his section and sold it. He then bought the southwest half of section eighteen in Clinton.
General Brish cleared up a part and moved onto it. He called it Rosewood, because Mrs. Brish raised rose bushes
all around the house. Here the General spent the rest of his days.
Henry Colgate Brish was born in Frederick county, Maryland, November 22, 1799. At the age of ten years he became
clerk in the register's office of that county, under Captain Steiner, where he remained until he was married, and
where he received all the education he had. He was married to Miss Eleanor S. Carey on the 7th December, 1824,
by Bishop Jones, of the Episcopal Protestant church.
Mrs. Brish was born July 27, 1805. They left Frederick for Seneca county, and landed here on the 6th of July, 1828,
Sunday afternoon. They made the whole distance in a little covered carriage, perhaps one of the first that came
to Seneca. The General died at Rosewood in February, 1866.
Mrs. Brish, who is still living says:
I brought my old piano with me, and have it yet. When we came here. we moved into a cabin that Agreen Ingraham
had built. It had a puncheon floor, which I covered with carpet that I brought along, and I had some nice china,
also, all of which, I think, were the first of the kind in Tiffin, perhaps in the county. Our cabins were all clustered
around McNeal's store, and there was the "hub of fashion." David and Elisha Smith, Levi Cresey, Mr. Custar,
Mrs. Mounts, Mrs. Kessler, Abel Rawson and Samuel Hoagland all lived between McNeal's and the campbell - back bridge
over the railroads: One time we made a ball for the young people from Maryland and they called it the "Maryland
ball." The river was high and the girls from the Tiffin side could not get. over on the first day but they
came on the second day. We had young folks from Lower Sandusky and from up the' river, some sixty in all. We danced
two days and three nights. It was the first big ball in the county. David Smith was the fiddler. Mr. Cronise had
a cornfield where the public square is in Fort Ball. One night Drs. Carey and Dresbach stole a lot of roasting
ears there and brought them to our house to have them cooked. We made a big feast of them.
John Stoner lived immediately north of Rosewood. He was also from Maryland, and raised a number of sons, who became
wealthy. I remember George, Christian and Dennis. Dennis is the youngest of them and is still living here. My efforts
to procure a better description of this pioneer family and that of the Neikirks, who are now scattered through
Scipio, Adams and Clinton, have failed also.
Settled on the northwest quarter of section thirty four. Leveret Beadley lived near by him on the west. North
of the road lived Wm. Mc Ewen, with his wife and twenty one children. He was the first blacksmith in this neighborhood.
Thomas Vanatta came in 1825, and settled on the southwest quarter of section thirty four, where some of the family
still reside. Vanatta bought out a man by the name of Stripe, who moved to Lower Sandusky, where he dealt in fish.
He died of cholera in 1834. Joseph Richards came in 1827 or 1829. David E Owen came in 1829, and lived on the Huber
farm. The Frees and Herin folks came in 1828. Reuben Williams entered the Coe farm and built the saw mill, which
is still in running order, in 1824. Daniel Dildine came in the same year. He built a cabin and planted the apple
trees that are still to be seen just north of the new cemetery. Daniel Lamberson entered the southeast quarter
of section thirty four. James Myers came in 1833 or '34. James Wolf used to work for Reuben Williams, and when
he had earned $100, Williams bought for him the eighty acres in the southwest corner of section twenty six, where
he afterwards lived and died.
Mr. Beard was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, on the 14th of April, 1794. He was married to Hannah Doan
in 1817. They had eight children, of whom six are still living. He was about five feet, ten inches high; walked
very erect; had black hair and whiskers and blue eyes; he was very talkative and full of jokes and was a good neighbor
and strictly honest. He died in 1832, and was buried in the old cemetery in Tiffin.
(I am indebted to his son, Joseph, for the above narrative.)
Was born December 13, 1783; near Belvedere, New Jersey, and died December 5, 1852. He came and located here
in the fall of 1824.
Mr. Hamilton F. Crum furnished the writer with the following statement concerning this veteran pioneer:
On the 20th of February, 1792, my father, John Crum, was born in Frederick county, in the state of Virginia, and
in 1813 he married Barbara Crum (no blood relation). In 1821 he moved to Ohio and settled in Columbus. In 1822
he bought 160 acres of land in Seneca county, three miles north of Tiffin on the Fremont road, and in 1824 he moved
upon his land. We lived in a cabin for a while, not far from our land, until we could build a house. Our house
had the first shingle roof between Tiffin and Lower Sandusky. We experienced many of the hardships common to new
settlements. Father was sick nearly all the first winter. We lived in the woods; our neighbors were scattered,
none nearer than a mile, but they were very friendly and social. Our first neighbors were Moses Abbott, Eliphalet
Rogers and Captain Sherwood, but others soon came in.
My father was a hard working man and did all his clearing. I was the oldest boy, but only eight years old when
we came, and of course could not help much, but was always with him. Mother died when I was fifteen years old.
Sometime afterwards father was married to Margaret Evans, with whom he lived about twenty years, when she died.
Afterwards father married Nancy Booth. Father died in Tiffin on the 28th day of February, 1873.
His widow died July 8. 1874.
HAMILTON F. CRUM.
Mr. Crum was an excellent citizen and took a very active part in public affairs He was county commissioner sometime
(see last chapter) and while he was not a fast talker, he was a strong thinker. His judgment was clear and well
matured. The writer knew him well.
REV. JOHN SOUDER.
As you go north on the Fremont road and pass through the Stoner farm, the next place to the left was formerly
the home of Captain Sherwood mentioned several times already; and here lived the subject of this sketch when the
writer first knew him. The old veteran has lived here so long, and his quiet, pure, christian life has exercised
so much of moral influence upon this community for more than half a century, that it is really a pleasure to speak
He was born In Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on the 26th of November, 1799. His father moved to Frederick county,
Maryland, in 1810, where he died in August, 1820.
Mr. Souder was married to Elizabeth A., daughter of. John Walker, on the 15th of May, 1823. He became a member
of the M. E. church in October, 1815, and entered the cause of reform in the Fort Seneca organization, at the Rev.
Montgomery's, in 1829 He was ordained to preach in 1845, having been licensed in 1842. Mrs. Souder died on the
11th of November, 1861. On the 5th of November, 1862, he was married to Mrs. Frees. He sold his farm in 1860, and
retired to private life in Tiffin, where now, over four score years, he is still in the enjoyment of good health.
He furnished the writer with the following statement, which speaks for itself:
INCIDENTS AND EXPERIENCES WITHIN THE KNOWLEDGE AND OBSERVATION OF JOHN SOUDER.
In the fall of 1824 my father in law, John Walker and I left Frederick county, Maryland, on horseback, for the
purpose of exploring the west in our own way. We took the national pike to Wheeling, which at that time was the
national highway as far as it was made. We crossed the Ohio river at Wheeling and reached Cincinnati by way of
Zanesville and Circleville, a distance of over 500 miles from our home. The settlements through Ohio were sparse
and quite new, deadened timber standing everywhere.
There was no market for anything, scarcely. Wheat was worth only thirty one cents, and corn twelve and one half
cents, other provisions in proportion, but there was no money in circulation. Everything was trade and exchange.
We arrived at home in safety, and in spite of the gloomy outlook in Ohio, I resolved to emigrate there, and in
May, 1826, I sold out and started for Ohio with a large wagon and four horses. My family then consisted of a wife
and one child, about one year old, two single sisters and my brother in law, John Walker, who was then yet unmarried.
Richard Sneath and his family came with us. That family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Sneath, two or three small children,
Jacob Huss and Henry Zimmerman, who were single men. They. also had a large wagon and three horses. Taking us altogether,
we were a jolly set for such an excursion.
Nothing occurred worth remembering until we reached a place in the Alleghany mountains called "the Shades
of Death. - It was a pinery through which our road passed. seven miles across, without a single human habitation.
There was a tavern and a blacksmith shop just east of the dense forest. One of my horses lost a shoe just before
sundown. He could not travel on the hard pike without being shod. It was about time to put up for the night, but
the bad reputation of the tavern made us conclude to press on. While my horse was being shod, Sneath, with his
family and the young men, passed on, leaving me with the women and the child behind. This compelled me to travel
these seven miles through the dark alone. It was very inconsiderate in Sneath and the others to leave us thus.
One or two armed men could have had us at their mercy, for all I had in the world I had with me. Under a kind Providence
we passed through in safety. No accident occurred until we crossed the river at Wheeling. Here we were in Ohio._
A road leads up a high hill nearly two miles from the river before it reaches the uplands. The national pike here
was just in process of construction, and we were often compelled to take side roads that were dangerous at places.
My wife became so disgusted with the country that she exclaimed at one time, "Any man that will bring his
wife and child to such a country as this, ought to be shot."
The greatest impediment to the prosperity of Ohio was a general want of market. The canal connecting the Ohio river
with the lake was laid out, but not constructed. Our first idea was to locate somewhere near its line At Granville,
in Licking county, we found a vacant house, which we rented for the time being, in order that we might explore
the country round about. We were not pleased here, and resolved to strike for Tiffin, and see how that country
would please us. Mr. Sneath and I came out here on horseback, leaving our families at Granville. We inquired for
Fort Ball and found it. We saw a gentleman standing in the road there, and Mr. Sneath, who was given to be mischievious
at times, inquired of the man how far it was to Fort Ball. The man said: "You are right in the midst of it."
The stranger was Mr. McNeal, the merchant.
George and John Stoner used to be old neighbors of ours in Maryland. We inquired for them and found them. Here
we put up for the night. The Sandusky country pleased us better than anything we had seen in Ohio, being a rich,
level, limestone country, such as we had been accustomed to. We really did not know how new it was until we moved
into it. Tiffin and Fort Ball were then very small beginnings. Mr. Sneath found a large frame building in an unfinished
condition (Bradley's Central Hotel afterwards Remele's butcher shop now). This was offered for sale, and Mr. Sneath
bought it for $400, I think. Somebody showed me the land of Mr. Sherwood. I had almost made up my mind to buy it,
but did not at that time, but I liked the country very much.
We returned to Granville to bring our families here, re loaded our wagons and set sail for Seneca county. We were
used to traveling by this time, and we pursued our journey with cheer, especially so since we knew the point of
destination. In the night before we reached Upper Sandusky it rained. In the morning the travel was heavy, and
I had a bigger load than Mr. Sneath. He and the young men put on ahead and left me behind, just as they did once
before. They got clear out of sight. 3 little beyond Marion the horses, endeavoring to avoid going through a mud
hole crowded a wheel onto a stump, which nearly upset my wagon: both wheels were at least a foot from the ground,
but all the horses rushed forward with speed through the mud hole, and the wagon righted up again. My wife and
child were alone in the wagon at the time, and an upset there and then might have been a very serious affair.
it was long after night before we reached Upper Sandusky, and there found our friends nicely tucked away in bed
at Walker's Hotel. We had not seen them all day.
We had another fearful time before we reached Upper Sandusky. My wife and my sisters had never seen an Indian before,
and all they ever heard of them was savage cruelty. As night came on the Indians rode after us on their ponies,
yelping and hooping. This frightened the women very much. I was on my saddle horse, and they kept calling to me
in an undertone, "drive on, drive on." I had seen them before, and remained quiet. We kept together after
leaving Upper Sandusky.
When we reached Love's hill, near Tiffin, the joke turned the other way. Sneath's horses got very smooth, and Love's
hill was steep and slippery. Sneath was on his saddle horse and attempted to ascend the hill, but failed, and his
saddle horse fell down, the wagon ran back close to the bank of the river, and came' very near upsetting into it,
but all went on safely, and we kept together to the town.
The best part of the joke came in when Mr. Sneath jumped up after his horse fell and exclaimed that he might have
got his leg broken, regardless of the danger of losing the lives of his entire family.
Mr. Sneath moved into his house, and I found an empty cabin in Fort Ball, belonging to Mr. McGaffey. Mr. Spencer
was the proprietor of Fort Ball, Mr. McNeal had a small store, Elisha Smith kept tavern, Levi Reasey was a blacksmith,
David Smith was a cabinet maker, a justice of the peace and a fiddler. He lived near the river. Dr. Dresbach, lawyers
Rawson. and Dickinson were here; all single men and the three occupied the same small office together. It was about
twelve by fourteen feet, and is still standing on Sandusky street.
Dr. Dresbachs motto was, "Root, hog, or die." Mr. McGaffey was clerk of the court at that time. One time
in conversation he predicted that within fifteen years we would have a railroad through the country. When I left
Maryland the Baltimore and Ohio company had only thirteen miles of road out of Baltimore.
I bought the Sherwood place containing nearly 410 acres, mostly in section seven, for $1,900, and got possession
on the 1st of July, 1826. We arrived in Fort Bill on the 10th of June that year. Mr. Sherwood was not a very successful
man in business. He kept a barrel of whisky in his house. Whisky and business never run well together.
Mr. Bowe had a few acres cleared alongside of the Stoner farm.
Wm. Montgomery kept a tavern in a small way on a six acre lot taken off of a corner of the land I bought. These
were all t he improvements in that neighborhood.
My neighbors were Mr. Bowe and George and John Stoner, who came in the fall of 1822.
John Stoner lost his life by a simple accident. In the fall of 1826 he shot a squirrel and tried to finish it with
the butt of his gun. He slipped and fell on the mzzle of his gun, which injured him internally to such an extent
that he died after great suffering, in January, 1827. He was the first person buried in the Stoner graveyard.
John, Jacob and Abraham Crum, three brothers; E. Rogers, John Crum and old Mr. Abbott were also neighbors.
The Rosenbergers, Shaulls, Klines and others were Virginians and had a little settlement west of Wolf creek.
George Puffenberger lived in a cabin some distance west and John Flack in (now) Liberty, lived the farthest westward
of any man I could hear of. I was in company with others in view of a new road and we stopped at Flack's. It seemed
very lonesome to live so entirely alone in the forest as Flack did.
Mr. Cornelius Flummerfelt and the Parker brothers came about the time I did.
The Indians were troublesome at times, but never dangerous, except when intoxicated. The Wyandots made their
annual trips to Malden to receive presents from the British government for services rendered in the war against
the United States. On their way out they bought whisky at Fort Ball and elsewhere, and generally camped in front
of our house, where they all got drunk and rested a whole day to sober up. They generally had their whole families
with them. They used to come into the house and wanted everthing we had, especially bread. Sometimes they took
all the bread we had and my wife had to bake again. They always paid for what they bought, often paying twenty
five cents for a loaf of bread. One time a drunken Indian got angry at my wife and drew his knife on her. He would
have used it had it not been for a sober Indian close by. The sober Indians often stayed all night at our house,
sleeping by the fire in the same room we slept. We often bought venison and cranberries from them. A camp of drunken
Indians and squaws is a most disgusting sight; the papooses strapped on a board sitting against the trees, and
the men and women reeling around, the squaws squealing like wild cats. But with all their general degradation,
we had some interesting interview with those who had been christianized at camp and other meetings.
Mr. Moler, a very early settler, took up the land where Mr. Maule lived. John Doran, another pioneer, was at the
raising of Mr. Hedges' mill on the river, and became crippled for life by the falling of a tree in a storm while
raising the mill.
My mother lived with me, after my father's death, until she died in 1840, at the age of 76 years.
Was born in Washington county, Maryland, December 9th, 1799. In October, 1827, he moved to Stark county, Ohio,
and in September, 1833, to Seneca county, Ohio, locating three and one half miles east of Tiffin, on the North
Greenfield road, where he bought two hundred and forty acres, all woods, except about ten acres that had been cleared
by Uriah Egbert, from whom he purchased the land. By industry and good management he became successful in farming,
finding market in Sandusky. It was customary in the early days here with farmers, who lived near Tiffin, Melmore
or Republic, that when they took a load of produce to Sandusky to bring back a load of goods for the merchants.
There were most always some of their goods piled up there awaiting transportation. Mr. Rickenbaugh's personal integrity
won the confidence of everybody that knew him, and the merchants gave him orders to bring goods with pleasure.
He was married on the 27th of February, 1822, to Margaret Sprecher, of Washington county, Maryland, who is a sister
of the distinguished divine, the Rev. Samuel Sprecher, D. D. and L. L. D., the president of Wittenberg college,
at Springfield, Ohio.
This marriage was blessed with two daughters and four sons. Two sons only survive; Samuel living on the old homestead,
and Jacob living near Tiffin, Ohio. Mr. Rickenbaugh died April 17th, 1859, at the age of sixty years, highly esteemed
for his many traits of manly virtues, and mourned by those who had learned to love and admire him as a good and
true man in life.
Mrs. Rickenbaugh still survives, at the advanced age of eighty, spending the evening of her life with her son Samuel,
on the old homestead.
DANIEL DILDINE, SR.
The subject of this sketch was an early pioneer of this township. He was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania,
September 24th, 1780. His father died when Daniel was but ten years old. Some years thereafter he commenced the
struggle for life single handed and alone by driving a team over the mountains of Pennsylvania, which business
he followed for several years. In 1803 he was married, and in 1805 he moved to and located in Fairfield county,
Ohio, being among the first settlers of that portion of Ohio, then the frontier. In 1806 he moved to Pickaway,
and located upon a tract of land purchased from the government at three dollars per acre. In 1824 he sold this
land, moved to this county, and purchased land of the government on Rocky creek, from which the new cemetery is
taken, and as already described. It took him seven days to move from Pickaway here. He stopped for a few days with
Reuben Williams, on the Coe farm, in the log house still standing there, and until he could build a cabin for himself.
He arrived here in April, and his cattle were compelled to subsist on brouse until pasture came on. The poor animals
were so used to brouse that when they heard a tree fall they would all run and devour the tender branches with
avidity. John Searles, Joseph Foncannon and George Stoner, who lived from three to five miles apart, were about
all the persons who had corn to sell, and Mr. Dildine had to buy his corn where he could get it, and for the provisions
for his family he had to go to Franklin county and to Mansfield, where he obtained them in exchange for salt and
fish, which he took with him. The fish were caught here in great abundance in the creeks, the river and the lake.
The salt was shipped from Syracuse; both salt and fish selling in the central counties with a handsome profit.
Mr. Dildine cleared a good portion of his farm, and in 183o sold it to Thomas Coe. He then bought two hundred and
forty acres on the South Greenfield road, about three and a half miles east ofTiffin, where he lived the rest of
his days. He retained to his last his mental and very much of his physical powers. He was a man of wonderful endurance;
quiet in his nature, kind and generous. He lived to a fine old age, and exchanged the scenes of this life for the
realities of a higher order of existence at the ripe age of ninety one years and three days, on the 27th day of
Was a soldier in the war of 1812, under General Harrison. He was born in Montgomery county, New York; moved
from there to Franklin county, Ohio, and came to Seneca in 1825, in April. He first located on the North Greenfield
road, near Egbert's, and located on the Portland road in 1835, upon the eighty acres he had entered. He was about
seventy eight years old when he died, at one of his son's in law in Sandusky county. He had two sons and three
His oldest son, who came here with his father, lives on the old homestead. He was born September 24th, 1807,
in Franklin county, Ohio. His wife, Permelia Smith, came here with Joseph Biggs from Maryland. When they settled
in Clinton there was no house for seven miles east on the North Greenfield road. Samuel Scothorns, in Reed, lived
there. There was no road open to town. They had to underbrush a road to Tiffin, and then followed the blazed trees.
Hunter's mill was built in 1825.
Was born in Frederick county, Maryland, of German parentage, on the 23d day of September, 1779, and was married
about March 25th, 1806, to Catharine Barrack, who died January 17th, 1864, aged eighty two years, two months and
Mr. Cramer arrived here on the 30th day of September, 1830 (being twenty one days on the road), and bought the
northeast quarter of section sixteen, here in Clinton, on the 1st day of October in that year, and where he resided
all the balance of his days. He died on the 8th day of August, 1842, aged sixty two years, ten months and fifteen
days. Six of his children died in infancy, and four are still living. Dennis F. Cramer is the oldest son, now living
in Tiffin, and the father of a large family. Three of his sons are lawyers, of whom Upton F. held the office of
probate judge many years. Father Cramer was not very tall, but corpulent and large. In his dress and general appearance
he was the very embodiment of a Quaker, but he was an esteemed member of the German Reformed Church.
Was born in Martinsburg, Berkley county, Virginia, February 23d, 1800. When about two years old, his father
emigrated to the state of Ohio, then just admitted into the Union, and settled in the hills of Fairfield county,
near where Lancaster now stands. The country around there was almost an unbroken wilderness at that time, there
being but a few pioneer settlers, who had to battle with the forest, wild beasts and wild Indians. They were obliged
to. raise their own living, and raise and make their own homespun garments. James was the oldest of John Myers'
family of nine children, and was of necessity compelled to work as soon as he was able to assist in maintaining
the family. Their advantages for education were limited, there being no school houses and few scholars, and in
fact their necessities did not allow them much time for education, but whatever they did get was mastered by themselves
before a great log fire, of nights and stormy days.
In this condition his youth and boyhood was spent, working with his father at the carpenter trade, building their
rude houses and barns, until he was twenty four years of age, when, on January 1st, 1824, he was married to Sarah
Gaw, a young woman of Newark, Licking county, Ohio. After marriage he commenced business for himself, and tried
his fortune at raising tobacco among the hills of Fairfield county, which business he followed for several years,
until his own family began to increase. When it consisted of himself, wife and four children, he began to think
he must own some land in order to be able to raise his family properly, but by that time all the tillable land
of Fairfield county was already occupied, and his scanty means would not allow him to purchase second handed, so
he began looking over the territories of the far west, as it was then called.
Himself and a friend, Isaac Lepurd, (who settled near Attica, in Venice), started out in search of government land,
and as the tide of emigration had begun to lead to Seneca county, he and his friend directed their steps thither;
I say steps, for they traveled on foot, it being before the days of steamboats and railroads.
In September, 1831, they arrived at a land office, now called Tiffin, which, at that time, was composed of old
Fort Ball, and two or three log cabins on the east side of the river. After looking over the country a couple of
weeks, they both suited themselves, and entered as much land as their means would allow, and returned home to Fairfield,
to collect money enough again to move him and family to his newly acquired possessions.
It was not until in June, 1833, that he left Fairfield county with his family, in a two horse wagon, with all his
worldly effects. His family then consisted of his wife and four children, Maria Louise, Martha, George and David,
then a babe three months old. They were on the road fifteen days, and traveled a distance of less than a hundred
miles, the road most of the way being in the woods, only an Indian trail or a blazed route to guide footmen. They
arrived on the 23d of June, and began immediately to make for themselves a home by clearing off a piece of land
and building a house, with which they took extra pains to have it large and fine for those days, and which is still
standing, the same that is occupied by Conrad and George Gillig as a residence on the old homestead, but for several
weeks they slept in their wagon and cooked their meals by a stump fire.
Four more children were born to them in Seneca county, Ann, James C., Jennie and John. Maria, the eldest, died
in the 15th year of her age, and John, the youngest, died the same year, and are buried in the old Rockrun cemetery,
they being the only deaths that have occurred in the family. All the rest are well, and give prospect of long lives.
They lived upon the old farm forty four years.
In 1875, being old. and almost blind, and Aunt Sally, his wife, being unable to attend to her household duties,
and having no children at home, he concluded to sell their homestead and spend the balance of their days in ease
and comfort. So they sold off all real and personal estate, retaining nothing but a horse and carriage, and moved
to the home of the oldest daughter, Martha, living in Henry county, Ohio, where they still reside in peace and
happiness, being both well, with prospects of living a good many years yet. They have lived together fifty six
years January 1st, 1880.
"Uncle Jim," as he was familiarly called, was a whole souled, kind hearted man, always giving to those
in need. The beggar was never turned from his door empty. He had a kind look and a pleasant smile for everybody
he met. He was a friend to everyone, and all seemed glad to see him and take a friendly shake whenever they met.
For the last few years he has so nearly lost his eyesight that he cannot read nor scarcely recognize his friends.
This is a great loss to him, as he was a great reader, and few men were better posted than he in matters and things
in general; but now he depends entirely upon his friends to read for him, and they are very kind to him, doing
all that can be done to make him comfortable.
Samuel Waggoner, Martin Frees, Ezra Baker, William Baker, Jacob Adams, Jacob Souder, old Mr. Olmsted, David Olmsted,
Elisha Olmsted, Thomas Vanatta, Asa Crocket, John Wolf, Peter Schuch, Joseph Herin, Samuel Herin, Jacob Frees,
William Williams, James Meyers, Peter Frees and others were also old settlers in Clinton, in addition to those
The first patent issued by the United States for any land sold in this county, by an act of congress passed April
24th, 1820, providing for the sale of the public lands (called the new purchase), was for the west half of the
southwest quarter of section twenty three, T. 2, N. R. 15 E., eighty acres, to John Anway. For want of a county
here this patent was recorded in the recorder's office at Lower Sandusky.
I found more to say about Clinton township than I first anticipated, but there is history in all of it.
THE SWANDER FAMILY,
Who filled a very conspicuous place in public estimation, one of whom is still living here, and the numerous
grandchildren being scattered far and near, deserve particular mention in the history of this township.
Frederick Schwander came from the Canton of Bern, in Switzerland, to the colony of Pennsylvania in 1750, ana
settled in South Whitehall township, Lehigh county, on a farm that has ever since and up to this time been known
as the "Schwander place." He was married here and raised a family. After his death the oldest son, Jacob,
became the owner of the farm on which he was born.
A Mr. Shriver lived some eight miles away, and had living in his house with him as a sort of quasi slave, a beautiful
Swiss girl by the name of Barbara Gerster. He bought her at Philadelphia for her fare across the ocean. The reader
should remember here, that it was considered not only right and fair to sell the passengers to America who could
not pay for their passage, but the act was legalized by statute. They were sold at auction for the least number
of months or years a person would buy them for and pay the fare. Families were thus often separated, many of them
abused and ill treated, and by people, too, that soon after this `system of slavery was abolished, raised a terrible
hue and cry against black slavery. After the shipowners of Boston had become rich in the African slave trade, they
all became Abolitionists. But to return to the wedding.
Near Mr. Shriver's was a place called Egypt, for it produced great quantities of grain. Jacob Schwander and the
Swiss beauty were lovers. One day they went to Egypt, and the young couple were married by a preacher. After the
wedding ceremony was over, the young bride took a seat on Schwander's horse, behind the groom, and they rode back
to the farm. After dinner bride and groom took their sickels and went into the harvest field reaping wheat the
balance of the day. This was their bridal tour. There were no railroads leading to the fashionable watering places,
and there were no "shoddies" in the country at that time.
Life meant work, and the sentence of Adam was the order of the day. This wedding took place in 1775.
When Frederick Schwander came to this country his father and grandfather were still living. Jacob had eight children,
five boys and three girls. John Schwander was his oldest son, and was born on the farm where his father was born,
and while his father was serving in the revolutionary army, under Washington, on the 21st day of June, 1776, and
thirteen days before the Declaration of Independence. John was raised on the same farm, and in the year 1800 was
married to Miss Elizabeth Glick, of Lehigh county. The writer heard the old gentleman say that he voted for Jefferson
in the same year he was married. John Schwander had thirteen children in this union, seven boys and six girls.
The sons are all dead but Edward, who is the youngest son, but the daughters are all living at this writing. The
sons were John, James, Thomas, Joseph, Edward and Stephen (who died when he was fourteen years old on the old farm
in Pennsylvania), and another died there also in infancy. The daughters are Hannah, wife of Henry Kunkle, of Lucas
county, Ohio; Etelia, widow of Francis Trexler; Sarah, widow of William Burkhalter; Eliza, wife of Edward Knouse;
Mary Ann, wife of William Snyder, and Caroline, wife of William Sohn, all living in Seneca county. John died in
New Jersey, where he lived, at Newhope. James, Joseph and Thomas died on their farm homes in Clinton township,
where they had lived near together on the Mansfield state road.
John Schwander, the father of these children, after his marriage in 1800, rented farms in the neighborhood of the
old homestead until 1807, when he moved to Ohio and located in Fairfield county, but becoming dissatisfied with
the country, returned to Lehigh county and bought the old homestead. Here his son, Edward, was born, and all of
the younger girls; the homestead of their great grandfather, Frederick, a circumstance very rare in America, where
people are moving from place to place with a wonderful facility and where the love of home is not a cardinal virtue
among the people.
These children of John Schwander dropped the "ch" in the name as they grew up, and attended English schools.
Edward was married in Lehigh and moved into Clinton in 1840, where he settled on the northwest quarter of section
twenty seven, and where he still lives, the only male survivor of that once large family. After living here about
one year, he lost his wife, and in 1844 he was again married to Hannah, the youngest sister of the writer. In this
union eight children were born, of whom six are still living. Hannah died December 4, 1865. About one year after
Edward moved to Clinton, the father sold the old Schwander place in Lehigh and came to Seneca also.
When you go eastward on the South Greenfield road, about two miles from Tiffin, you strike the Morrison state road.
Looking north you see a neat little brick house, painted red, standing close to Willow creek and a spring. This
house John Schwander built. Here he lived until he died on the 17th of June, 1859. His wife also died here on the
7th of February, 1861, less than two years after his death.
The old gentleman was remarkable in his physical and mental makeup. He was about five feet, six inches high, stout
and compactly built; had a fair complexion, large, blue eyes, and a fine head, which became bald as he grew old.
He was very pleasant in conversation, and instructive. He spoke very interestingly, relating transactions and affairs
in Pennsylvania, his exploits when he drove a big team on the pikes, his knowledge of men and events, and his age
put no obstacle in his way of relating laughable anecdotes. He was a gentleman by nature and education; always
pleasant, always kind to everybody, and being possessed of a cheerful nature, enabling him to look upon the sunny
side of life, no doubt prolonged his days. He and the old lady died highly esteemed in the community where they
spent the evening of their days. This family of Schwanders is the only one by that name known in the United States.
One historic incident in the life of the aboved named Jacob Schwander should not be omitted:
During the administration of the elder Adams, Pennsylvania passed an act taxing the doors and windows of the houses.
The law proved exceedingly obnoxious to the people, and on several occasions the collectors were abused. The people
in the Lehigh valley had stood by the United Colonies during the revolutionary war, and contributed men and means
in support of it. When this new form of stamp tax was inaugurated, some of them met a collector who came amongst
them on horseback, made him get off his horse and told him that they would show him how the stamp tax operated.
One of the men raised the horse's tail and the others pushed the collector's nose to where the crupper makes a:crook.
For this rough treatment the men were arrested and placed in the jail in Bethlehem, which was then the county seat
of Northampton county, and before the county of Lehigh was organized. The imprisonment of the men aroused the indignation
of the people of Lehigh valley to such an extent that one time, in open daylight, several hundred men assembled
near Bethlehem and marched to the jail. Here they formed two lines in open order when a squad of them demanded
the release of the men, and this being refused by the sheriff, the doors of the jail were forced open and the men
released. The sheriff called out the militia and a regiment of soldiers camped near Bethlehem, assisting the sheriff
in making arrests. The whole country was aroused, and many of the rescuing parties fled into the mountains. Those
who were arrested were prosecuted and fined, or acquitted. A warrant was issued also against Jacob Schwander, who
was, perhaps, as guilty as any of them, but he escaped the vigilance of the sheriff, his posse and the military
by secreting himself in a large stone quarry, not far from his farm the Schwander place. For three months his wife
carried his victuals to him in the night, returning before morning, unobserved. If she had attracted the attention
of anyone, even, there was nobody to tell tales out of school. The law had no friends in the Lehigh valley. Schwander
Was born October 27, 1803, in Frederick county, Maryland, and raised as a farmer. He married Margaret Waltman,
August 4, 182, who was born April 23, 1803. They settled in the woods on the farm where Judge Pittenger now lives,
on the Melmore road, in October, 1828, and took their share of the frontier joys and hardships with the rest of
Mr. Secrist died April 6, 1848. Mrs. Secrist lives with her daughter in Tiffin, Ohio.
MR, CHARLES KELLEY
Was born on the 6th of March, 1798, in Huntington county, Pennsylvania. When he was yet a child, his father
moved with his family into Wayne county, Ohio, and settled four miles east of Wooster. In the summer of 1821 he,
with seven others, his comrades, started on foot to see the western country. They came to Mansfield and from there
they took a road that was called the "McCormack trail," which led through the woods to Tiffin, by way
of Caroline. They stayed here one week, and while here they helped to put up a cabin for a man by the name of Armstrong
Drennin. Mr. Hedges had made him a present of a lot with the condition that Drennin would build a cabin upon it
and move his family into it.
The party wanted to board at Mr. Bowe's, but when Bowe found out that they were going to build a cabin on this
side of the river, he got angry and refused to board them. They put up the cabin; however, and boarded themselves.
Mr. Kelley was the cook. A man came along with some flour, which they bought, together with some pork. Two Indians
took hold and helped them some in getting up the logs, but when dinner was ready they refused to eat with the whites.
They stayed apart by themselves, but they would eat all that was brought to them.
The cabin was put up on the lot south of the woolen mill and on the spot where the frame building now stands, on
the west side of Washington street, and is occupied by the Yingat family. It was the first cabin erected on the
plat of Tiffin. The logs were cut in the woods around one day, and on the next morning the deer were seen browsing
on the tops of the trees that were cut down on the lots where the court house now stands.
Mr. Drennin moved into his cabin that fall, and he, his wife and three children died here within a short time of
each other. The men who helped to build the cabin were Christ. Witz, Henry Miller, David Fowler, Mr. Drennin, three
others and the two Indians. This cabin was put up before the county seat was located here.
Captain Sherwood lived north of town a piece, and John Welsh about four miles south.
Mr. Welsh acted as our pilot through the woods when we started back. There was no house between New Haven and Fort
Mr. Kelley is the father of Mrs. Dr. Samuel W. Bricker, in Tiffin, now on a visit to his daughter, and the foregoing
statement gives his words as nearly as possible.
Mr. James McEwen says:
My father, William McEwen, was born in Berwick, Pennsylvania. He went to Northampton county, Pennsylvania, to learn
the trade of a blacksmith, and was married there to Sarah Johnson. We came here in the fall of 1823 and brought
with us one half ton of hay, which we made at New Haven. With this hay we kept four horses and two cows all winter.
There was plenty of picking in the woods all winter in 1823. Father entered the southwest quarter of section twenty
seven, in Clinton, and put up t cabin there and a blacksmith shop.
Leverett Bradley settled on the southeast quarter of section twenty eight. right west of us. Asa Crocket built
the first barn on that farm.
Cal. Williams lived north of us, on the place where old father Schwander lived and died, on the Morrison road,
in section twenty two. He was an old bachelor, had a dog and cat., and all three took their meals together.
Joseph Herrin's father and mother, with their families, came in 1826; the children were all single then, except
Mrs. Hines; the rest were married here.
When the Herrin's folks came they stopped at our house, and we were so crowded some had to sleep in wagons.
My parents had twenty one children altogether, of whom sixteen were then living. I am the youngest of the family.
Mrs. Rachael Frees was also married. She was a sister of the Herrin boys also.
Thomas Vanatta came two years after and settled where some of his daughters are still living. Peter Schuk lived
The first school house was built on the Bradley place, and Jonas Doan taught it. Another log school house was put
up north of the road and opposite the church on Rocky creek.
Hugh Welsh settled on the Richardson farm and lived there when we came. Birnsides were also here before us and
lived on section twenty eight.
We had to go clear to Columbus for flour, and cut our way through the woods. We lived on milk and potatoes for
a good while until we could do better. I used to plough with a wooden mold board and wore buckskin pantaloons.
Was born in Frederick county, Maryland, June 17, 1786, and was married to Susannah M. Fiege, who was a sister
of the father of John Fiege, of Tiffin, Ohio. They moved to this county and arrived in Tiffin on the 28th of April,
1834 and settled on the northwest quarter of section fifteen, in Clinton, where the son, Dennis, still lives.
Mr. Holts was about five feet, eleven inches high, straight and muscular, but not fleshy; he had dark brown hair,
a large, dark eye, black, bushy eyebrows and a very expressive countenance. He spoke slow and positive, and while
his conversation was pleasant and agreeable, he nevertheless carried an air of personal dignity about him that
corresponded well with the general respect he enjoyed in the community. He died December 28, 1859.
Was also a Clinton township pioneer. He settled in the northwest quarter of section twenty seven, about the
time the McEwen family came here. He was then a young man but recently married. He, his wife and his wife's sister,
who came with them, were all three excellent singers. They all belonged to the Presbyterian church, and were very
nice, kind and quiet people. Mr. Marsh used to teach singing school and soon became very popular in the neighborhood.
He started a Sabbath school and a prayer meeting in the vicinity and took a great interest in church affairs generally.
When the first railroad from Sandusky, by way of Republic, was being built, he took a job of grading a mile, including
the fill over Willow creek. The company failed in making payment as it was agreed, and Mr. Marsh broke up, losing
nearly all he had. He left and located in Kenton, Ohio, where he recuperated to some extent, and where he and his
wife both died.
After whom the fort and Spencer's town were named, was present at the great Whig celebration, at Fort Meigs,
in 1840, where a friend of mine saw him for the last time. He was six feet high, well proportioned: his hair was
gray and bushy; he had a florid complexion and wore side whiskers; he had gray eyes, thin lips, heavy jaw, a loud,
clear voice, talked scholarly and lived with his family in Richland county at that time. He was a powerful man
and walked very erect. Before his hair turned gray it was of auburn color. His entire make up exhibited great force
of character and energy.
Clinton township has an excellent market, is well watered, enjoys the privileges of the city of Tiffin with her
schools and otherwise, while the land is in a high state of cultivation and very valuable. Splendid farm houses
in all directions indicate the general prosperity of the people. As already mentioned, the township was organized
in June, 1820, and the first election was held on the 15th of June, 1822. The population of Clinton, including
Tiffin in 1840, was 2,195; in 1850 it was 4,330; in 1860 it was 6,041; it increased to 7,174 in 1870, and in 1880
it is 1,701. Tiffin, in 1880, has 7,882 inhabitants, which, added to the township, makes 9,583.
Tiffin proper, in 1840, had 788 souls; in 1850, 2,718; in 1860, 3,992 and in 1870, 5,648.
Was one of the early settlers of Clinton. He came in 1822, and settled in section thirty one, where he owned
eighty acres, and he also owned another eighty in Eden. These lands he entered at the Delaware land office, and
immediately thereafter built his cabin in the woods. He was a small man, less than medium size, and compactly built.
He was very industrious and honest, a good hunter and interesting talker. He verified his hunting stories by his
singular habitual expression of "bei der liebens." There was no meaning to it, but it was intended to
fix the story beyond all question of doubt. He spoke German mostly.
Mr. Ditto was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1785. He told the writer that he voted at
the first election in Seneca county; he lived and died' a Democrat. His wife's name is Elizabeth, who is the daughter
of Louis Eckhart. She was born June 13, 1795, and is still living, enjoying good health, on the old homestead,
near the Mohawk road. They had eleven children, of whom two are still living, viz: Mrs. DuBois and Mrs. Henry Sheets.