T. I, N. R. 15 E.
THIS township was organized in 1821, as already stated, and the election of its first officers was also mentioned.
When Mr. Butterfield says that it was so named for its remarkable fertility of soil, it is strange that the early
records spell the word "Eaton." The township settled up rapidly after the first settlers had located,
and there are many good reasons for it. The pioneer settlers were intelligent and good men. Such always make good
neighbors. The soil was rich, the timber excellent, and the fine water privileges of old Honey creek inviting.
The proximity to the county seat and many other things, induced selections of homes along this stream.
In 1824 it was the most populous township in the county. In 1830 it had 819 inhabitants; in 1840, 1,471; in 1870,
1671, and in 188o, 1,598.
William Fleet is perhaps the largest land owner in the township. Samuel Baker, John L. Downy, John Seitz, Samuel
Herrin, A. N. Armstrong, Ed. Wing, C. Y. Brundage, Abr. Brown, H. H. Schoch's heirs, Fred. Borck, Charles Meeker,
the Klais', S. M. Ogden, Hez. Searles, Eden Lease and others are among the most successful farmers.
Where the Kilbourn road crosses Honey creek, Colonel Kilbourn in 1824 surveyed and platted a town he called Melmore,
already described and sung. Case Brown was the principal proprietor. John C. Jones erected the first dwelling house
on the plat. He died here in 1828. Buckley Hutchins, who figured very largely as a man of business, was the first
postmaster. In 1830 its population was 130; in 1880 it is perhaps less than 200.
The names of many remarkable personages are identified with this township. The Butterfield family used to live
here. One of the sons is the celebrated historian, Consul W. Butterfield. One of the daughters is the present Mrs.
Hyacinthe, of Paris, whose husband is a Catholic priest of great distinction, and who, while he was priest at Notre
Dame, preached and wrote against celibacy of the priesthood, and to prove the sincerity of his teachings, married
a sister of Consul W. Butterfield. She was then in Paris, a correspondent of the New York Herald and Madam Demorest's
papers, and noted for her great intelligence, gracefulness and beauty. Mr. Anson Burlingame, who has become so
distinguished in his mission in China, used to teach school in Eden township. General Gibson was raised on the
banks of old Honey creek, in Eden, and while he speaks in glowing colors of her pioneer settlers, there is always
a moisture observable in the southwest corner of his eye.
There never was another such man as Philip J. Price, and if room would permit, a description of him would fit here.
Eden had a number of local' characters of mark. Dr. Selden Graves was a most remarkable man in every way. He was
stern in his bearing, honorable in his dealings, a good. physician, an excellent neighbor; a man of clear judgment
and of wonderful endurance. In every walk of life he was respected and esteemed.
On the t6th day of July, 1836, (Saturday,) the M. E. church was raised in Melmore, and Amroy Butterfield, assisting
as one of the hands, was killed by the falling of a piece of timber. He was then father of eight children, Consul
W. and Mrs. Hyacinthe among the number.
John Gibson's was the first barn that was raised in the county, and Thomas Baker introduced the first Merino sheep
into Seneca, from Steuben county, New York.
Melmore was quite a trading post at one time, and its citizens were possessed of a spirit of enterprise that would
have been a credit to any town. When the question of the Mad River and Lake Erie railroad was being agitated, great
efforts were made to have the line from Republic through Melmore, by way of Upper Sandusky, to Springfield, and
when that failed, Melmore determined to have a railroad for its own use, and to run a line from Melmore to Republic,
and to intersect the Mad River road there. Meetings were held in Melmore, Republic and Tiffin; a temporary line
was surveyed between the two places; committees were appointed, and books opened for the subscription of stock.
The names attached to the following notice will revive early recollections and help to preserve memories of those
days. This notice was published in the Tiffin Gazette of May 30th, 1836, and long before a railroad reached Republic:
MELMORE AND REPUBLIC RAILROAD.
Notice is hereby given that the books of the Melmore and Republic railroad company will be opened for the subscription
of the stock of said company. at the house of Jacob Buskirk, in Melmore. and at the house of Mr. Miller, in Republic,
and at the house of Calvin Bradley, in Tiffin, on the 4th day of July next, and will be kept open for five days
in succession, from 10 o'clock A. M. until 2 o'clock P. M.
Thomas J. Baker,
Timothy P. Roberts,
P. J. Price,
Isaac J. Halsey,
May 30th, 1836.
The road was never built, because the stock was not taken very fast, but some of these gentlemen entered into the
enterprise with great energy.
The old pioneers had their weaknesses also, and were not angels at all. Old Adam was still alive in some of them
(as now), and regeneration had not become universal.
Hamilton McCollister was a justice of the peace in Eden, and his neighbor, Mathew Clark, not having the fear of
God before his eyes, one Sunday morning looked for his hogs, that got away from him 'the day before Uncle Mathew's
dogs followed him, and 'Squire McCollister saw Clark driving the hogs home. This act was a clear case of Sabbath
breaking in the mind of the court, and on the next morning the 'Squire sent the constable and had uncle Mathew
arrested. It was a clear case; the court saw it himself, and Mr. Clark was fined. The officers of the law taxed
no costs. The insulted law was vindicated, and that was enough. This was on the 13th day of November, 1827. But
uncle Mathew felt aggrieved for being arrested, and old Adam got up to law heat in him, so he goes to Tiffin for
redress, and Dickinson & Rawson filed a declaration against McCollister for $3,000 damages for false imprisonment.
The 'Squire employed David Higgins to defend him, and when the case was finally tried to a jury, they gave the
plaintiff a verdict of $21.50. At the next trial the jury could not agree. The case at last was taken up to the
supreme court, where it was discontinued.
The Rev. Joseph Bever kindly presented to the writer a statement of his early recollections of Eden, as follows:
I am a son of Peter Bever, one of a family of thirteen children; was born in Virginia in 1815. My father moved
from Virginia to this county in the fall of 1823, and settled on the banks of Honey creek. The prospects of opening
a farm and making a living here in this forest. for so large a family, were not very flattering, for Seneca county
at that time was nearly ar unbroken wilderness. It had neither roads, bridges, markets, or any other advantage.
Persons who never saw this country as it looked fifty seven years ago, cannot imagine how dense the forest was.
and the underbrush that met the eye on every side. If you ran imagine a little spot of about an acre, cleared off,
and a log cabin standing in the middle, and all around you an unbroken forest, with underbrush and vegetation so
dense that you could not see ten feet ahead, especially in the bottoms then you can form some idea of the wilds
of Seneca county in 1823.
We settled about five and a half miles south of Tiffin, and about three miles northwest of Melmore. Both towns
were very small villages, then built of log cabins. We had no neighbors nearer than Melmore and Tiffin, except
Jacob Price, who lived about one mile south of us, and Ruel Loomis, who lived about the same distance northeast
of us, on school section sixteen.
About half way between us and Tiffin was the village of Mohawk Indians, who were quite friendly, and visited us
very frequently. Indeed, they became quite troublesome after we had lived here a few years. for they made their
friendship a source of annoyance by their constant and persistent begging. They wanted white bread every time they
came, and that was very often. Sometimes whole squads came, together with their guns, bows and arrows, then women
and children, and wanted white bread for all of them. At begging the Indian seems to have no conscience for either
frequency or quantity.
The second year after we came here we cleared a field of bottom land about half a mile down the creek from our
house. Between this field and our house was very thick woods, and as I was going to the bottom field one day alone.
I espied an Indian coming around a little curve in the path, and supposing he had not discovered me, (and I being
a little timid lad of about eleven years,) my first thought was to get out of his way. so I stepped to one side
and laid down behind a large oak log, expecting the Indian to pass by without noticing me. But the first thing
I knew he looked over the log and exclaimed "Cooh!" and laughed heartily. I was deeply mortified, but
my fear was all gone.
A few days after this one of these Indians. Isaac Brandt by name, came to our house with two little axes he had
made by a blacksmith in Melmore for his two boys - he said - and asked me to turn the grindstone for him to grind
the little axes. I had turned grindstone before to sharpen axes forged out by blacksmiths, and as they were all
very thick at the edge, I did not crave the job. I made all sorts of excuses, and told him that my father would
whip me for leaving my work and turn the grindstone for him a half day, and all that. Brandt replied: "Tell
fodder Indian here; grind axe; had to shove." So I turned for him until he was done. In the meantime he tried
to teach me Indian, but I concluded that it cost more than it come to. But to present me with some compensation
when the grinding was done he took my hand and shook it very heartily, thanking me for the service.
At that time it was an easy matter to raise grain and vegetables where the land was clear, but the great trouble
was to save them. Squirrels, - chipmonks and other vermin were so abundant that they would devour a field of corn
almost entirely, being surrounded by thick woods and weeds. We used to have dead falls for every fence corner,
and some one of the family had to go around the field with a gun nearly all the time at certain seasons. I remember
well that during the warm weather, such was the stench from the carcasses of dead vermin, that it became nearly
Game was plenty in those days, and when meat was wanted it was easily procured by killing some deer, turkey, or
other game. Honey creek and the Sandusky river were teeming with fish, some of them of enormous size. When we wanted
fish, we took our poles and lines to some eddy in the creek or river and caught fish behind some boulder or log,
where they seemed quite tame. Creeping up to them quietly, we often caught them with the hand. In the winter when
the. ice was thick enough to bear a person, we cut holes in the ice and caught them with snares made of horse hair,
tied to a stick. The loop was passed over the head and caught them behind the gills.
We were not annoyed with ravenous animals, except wolves. These, however, were quite numerous for a few years.
Sometimes they would run our stock into the barnyard after night, and annoy them until the dogs made their appearance,
when they would scamper.
My brother Solomon is still living on an eighty acre lot of father's old farm, and has lived nowhere else since
we first settled in this county. Perhaps you cannot find another man in Seneca county who has lived on one farm
fifty seven years. We suffered a great many privations and inconveniences that our people now cannot appreciate.
We had no roads, no markets, no churches, no schools, and not much society. We received a bush. not a book college
The best historic exposition concerning the family of the Van Metre Oran Matre) and the Mohawk reserve in Eden
township, the writer has been able to find, is contained in a letter that Judge Pillars, of Tiffin, many years
ago, wrote to a relative of this Seneca Van Metre, then living in Cincinnati. The Judge was so kind as to place
it at my disposal, and with his permission I copy the whole letter:
TIFFIN, SENECA COUNTY, OHIO, SUNDAY,
December 12th, 1858.
Daniel. Jan Matre, Esq., Cincinnati, Ohio:
DEAR SIR: We were talking on the 29th ultimo, in Cincinnati, about one John Van Matre (always spelled Van Meter),
a brother of yours, or a brother of your father, I don't remember which being taken by the Indians - a reservation
of land being made to him in this county, etc., etc.
The facts connected with his life, etc., are of great historic interest to me, and of course are of the same and
still greater interest to you. I will give you my understanding of them, and propose that you shall correct my
errors and supply any deficiency.
John Van Matre, or Van Meter, was stolen by the Indians in March. MS, at the age of about five years, at Greenbriar,
near a place now called West Liberty, in the state of Virginia.
The people of the neighborhood, having been frequently alarmed by Indian aggressions, had assembled on that day
for the purpose of building a fort to protect themselves. it was a beautiful day in the spring, and two of the
elder boys of the Van Matre family were out to a "clearing" to fix up some brands. John, or Johnny, as
he was called by the family, accompanied them, while the father went to the fort, and the mother and sister remained
The boys had but just got at their work, when a party of Indians came upon them. The two older ones made their
escape, but Johnny was taken. The Indians then went to the house of Van Matre, and set it on fire, having first
killed his wife and daughter. Then they fled to the wilderness, carrying with them their captive boy.
He grew up and always lived among the Indians, and partook of their manners, habits, dress, etc., etc. He forgot
entirely his native tongue, though he learned it again before he died. He always remembered, however, that his
name was Johnny Van Meter.
In after life he was induced to visit some of his relatives, but utterly refused to remain with them, preferring,
as he said, the innocent, unrestrained indulgences of the Indian's life, to the arbitrary restraints of civilized
He married an Indian woman, by whom he had one child only - a son, whom he called John. His wife's name was. Susan
Brandt, a name well known in the state of New York, and in the history of that state, and a relative of the celebrated
Joseph Brandt, who, in 1787, completed the translation of St. Mark and other portions of the scriptures and the
book of common prayer, into the Mohawk language.
The Mohawks were originally a powerful tribe of Indians, inhabiting the country from the northwestern part of Pennsylvania,
north through New York into Canada. Their true name was the Bears, Mohawk being but a corruption of their name
The Brandt family was the royal one of the Mohawk nation; the chiefs always coming from that family, either by
descent or election, probably the latter.
There is a likeness of one of these Brandts, an Indian chieftain, and it is the noblest head I ever saw.
The Mohawk nation gradually wasted away, and finally emigrated west, or at least the central portion of it, and
at last settled down in this county, and within two and one half miles of where Tiffin now stands.
On the 29th of April, 1817, a treaty was held at the foot of the rapids of the Miami of Lake Erie, near Perrysburg,
Wood county, Ohio, between Lewis Cass and Duncan McArthur, commissioners of the United States, of the one part,
and the sachems, chiefs and warriors of What was then called the Wyandot, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnees, Potawatomie,
Ottawa and Chippawa tribes of Indians, when all their lands within the limits of Ohio were ceded to the United
Now at the above treaty there was not in fact a Seneca Indian present. Instead of the Seneca it was the Mohawk
tribe of Indians that participated with the other tribes in that treaty, or at least the remnant and head portion
of the tribe.
At this treaty there was reserved by the United States:
"To John Van Meter, who was taken prisoner by the Wyandots, and who has ever since lived amongst them, and
has married a Seneca woman, and to his wife and three brothers, Senecas. who now reside on Honey Creek, one thousand
acres of land, to begin north 45 degrees west, 140 poles, thence and from the beginning, east for quantity."
This John Van Meter was Johnny, the captive boy, and this Seneca woman whom he had married was the last female,
and these her three brother, Senecas, were the last males of that great, noble, christian and royal family of Brandt,
the ruler of the Mohawk nation of Indians.
They were consequently Mohawks, not Senecas. The names of these three brothers was Thomas, Isaac and Paulus Brandt.
Thomas was the chief of the tribe.
The tribe continued to reside upon the above reservation until in 1829, when they joined other Indians and left
the country. The place or locality goes to this day by the name of Mohawk, or Mohawktown. It is noted on the map
as "Van Meter Reserve."
At the time the Mohawk tribe left here, as above mentioned, it didn't exceed probably twenty five families.
John Van Meter lived, died and was buried on the reserve, and I am assured that one of our physicians has his skeleton.
His death was some years before his tribe moved west.
He was a man of more than ordinary decision of character, of a benevolent disposition, and friendly to the whites.
This county commenced to be settled along in 1817, 1818 and 1819. Van Meter was comparatively wealthy, owning large
stocks of horses, cattle, etc. These early settlers had to rely much upon his generosity, and it was never in vain
that they sought relief at his hands.
He died, leaving his son John, above spoken of, his only heir. A suit was afterwards commenced by some of the "Van
Matres" against this son John, Jr., to recover his father's share, one quarter of the above reserve. This
suit was predicated upon the ground that the son John, Jr., was not the heir at law of John Van Meter, for the
reason that the latter and his wife. Susan, were never married according to law, and that consequently the plaintiffs
were the true heirs.
The son John, Jr., proved, however, that his father and mother were married: that his father went out and killed
some venison, and brought it in, and his mother brought in some corn; that she then dressed and cooked the venison
and corn, and the two parties then ate it together, in the presence of witnesses, and that that was the marriage
ceremony among the Mohawk Indians.
The court held the marriage good and valid, and John. Jr., the lawful heir.
John, Jr., and his three uncles, the Brandts, sold out the Van Meter reservation, in 1828 to Mr. Lloyd Norris,
who afterwards lived (and died) upon it, for the sum of $2,500.
In 1829 the Mohawk tribe. as I have said, moved west of the Mississippi river. John, Jr., went with them.
The above reservation is upon Honey creek, within two and a half or three miles of this place, and is as good land
as there is in the state. There are some very fine springs upon it. Van Meter creek empties into Honey creek in
this reserve. Mr. Norris has a fine grist mill upon the former creek, a short distance from its confluence with
the latter. (The minis burnt down.)
I forgot to state how the Indians caught Johnny at Greenbrier, Virginia, which was as follows: His two elder brothers
easily cleared the fence, and ran, but Johnny undertook to crawl through a crack of the fence, but got fast. In
this situation the Indians caught him.
What tribe of Indians was this? Please correct any and all errors in the foregoing as far as you are able. Truly,
The old Settlers knew all these old Mohawks, and spoke of their kindness and benevolence with feelings of pleasure.
Esquire Heaton furnished the writer with a statement concerning his father's family, from which the following is
Emigrated from Pennsylvania to Coshocton county in 1817, and entered land in Bedford township. He camped in
the woods until he had built a cabin. He had then a wife and two children. Here he laid out the town of New Bedford,
Which is now about the size of Melmore. He there kept the first hotel and postoffice. In 1829 he moved to Seneca
county, and bought a quarter section from Mr. Searles, in Eden township, about three quarters of a mile south of
Melmore, on the Kilbourn road. He traveled from Coshocton to Seneca, about one hundred miles, in a big old fashioned
Pennsylvania four horse wagon, riding the saddle horse. He built two cabins, and commenced clearing land and finding
subsistence for his large family of eleven persons. He was a bricklayer by trade, and often compelled to work at
jobs to earn money. The sugar trough was used as a cradle in our house, and' mother used to do her baking in a
"Dutch oven." Flax was raised for summer clothing, and manufactured by the family. The spinning was done
by hand Mother carded the wool while my sisters spun it into yarn for cloth. We boys were allowed one pair of shoes
per year, which would be worn out during winter, and in the summer we had to combat with the thistles and nettles,
which grew very thick. They used to have "log rollings" in the neighborhood. The men would work hard
all day and then
"Dance all night,
'Till broad daylight,
And go home with the girls in the morning."
My father was a justice of the peace. General Sea and Mr. Cowdry, the Mormon lawyer, attended court at our house
In the first few years after we settled here. the Indians often stopped at our house with cranberries to sell,
and to beg. One day a younger brother and I were playing "horse" in our cabin, when a big Indian came
in, armed to his teeth. He set his gun behind the door and walked up to the fire. The "horses," who were
down on all fours, took fright at the Indian and ran away to the other cabin. The Indian wanted to stay all night,
and father took care of him.
Father lived to see nearly all the old settlers pass to their long homes. He died in the year 1866, at the advanced
age of eighty years.
The wilderness, inhabited by prowling savages. had been changed into fruitful fields. The Indians had departed
for the far west, and good markets were established at home, for want of which, in former times, the settlers had
to go to other towns far away.
There were so many distinguished men among the pioneers of Eden that but a few of them can be noticed here, and
of these only those that were best known to the writer, and of whose life information was furnished.
Some of the readers of this book will scarcely realize how discouraging it is to a man when he undertakes to produce
a faithful history, and meets with people in his search for information who take no interest in his mission and
furnish no information.
There lived in Eden also an old German by the name of Philip Von Blon. He came here with a large family in 1834.
and located near Samuel Martin's, on the Negrotown road. He was from Waldmohr, in the Palatinate, and rather a
marked character. He was a great reader and a vigorous thinker; a man of good moral character and highly esteemed.
He lived to about eighty years of age and died in Tiffin. Mrs. John Fiege, already mentioned, was his oldest daughter.
His children have taken no interest in this enterprise, and it is to be regretted that no better sketch can be
SAMUEL S. MARTIN.
Of this distinguished old friend of mine I here insert an obituary notice I found in one of the Tiffin papers,
and which is short. but a very faithful picture of him:
DEATH OF AN OLD CITIZEN OF SENECA COUNTY.
Samuel S. Martin was born in the town of Mifflin, Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, October 24th, 1795, and died
April 10th, 1864, and was therefore sixty eight years, six months and seventeen days old. His father died when
he was quite young, and he was obliged to depend upon his own energies to carry him through the vicissitudes of
life. He removed to Ohio in 1812, and in 1821 bought land in Eden township, to which he emigrated in 1829. In common
with the early settlers of the county he was subjected to the hardships and privations of a pioneer life. He was
a man of good natural endowments, which soon made him prominent in the community he was twice elected assessor
of the county, under the then existing laws, and held the office of justice of the peace for many years in Eden
township. He scrutinized every measure propounded to the public with great care, and when his conclusions were
reached, he never departed from them. Politically, he was a Democrat, and felt great interest in the success of
the great conservative measures of his party. Few men can boast the coolness and serenity of temper which Mr. Martin
always exhibited. Affable in his intercourse with men, scrupulously honest in business, moral and high minded in
character, he challenged the esteem of all who knew him and left this bitter world without an enemy.
Mr. Martin quietly entertained his own views of religion, but upon his dying bed professed a hope in the saving
pardon of God, and frequently said that he was going to the realms of endless glory. He has left behind him a record
of virtue worthy of our imitation His disease was chronic asthma.
Is it not singular that in writing up a short history of a township, obituary notices of father and son, both distinguished
and good men, and both especial dear friends of the writer, should follow each other so closely in succession?
But we all follow each other in close succession, and one has scarcely time to tell the tale of his friend before
he is himself called away to realize the scenes of another mission.
ROBERT M'CANDISH MARTIN
Was born in Perry county, Ohio, September 18, 1822, and died April 4, 1879, and was therefore aged. fifty six
years, six months and sixteen days. In the spring of 1829 he came here with his father's family, Samuel S. Martin,
noticed above, and has resided in Eden township to the time of his death, except only a few years, as hereafter
noticed. In his youth he taught school in the winter and labored on his father's farm during the summer and fall
until 1846, when he was appointed to the office of county recorder by the county commissioners, to fill the vacancy
caused by the resignation of William H. Kessler, who had accepted a clerkship in some department at Washington.
In 1847 Mr. Martin was elected to this office and reelected in 1850, making his aggregate term of service about
seven years. His official administration was characterized by a high degree of capacity and singular punctuality
at his post of duty. On October 12, 1848, Mr. Martin was married to Barbara Kagy, daughter of Abraham Kagy, Esq.,
who still resides in Bloom township. Thirteen children resulted from this union, ten of whom, together with their
bereaved mother, survive to lament their loss. The funeral cortege which followed the corpse to the burial was
the largest ever known in the township, being nearly a mile in length. During his prostrated illness of more than
two years, Mr. Martin manifested an almost heroic fortitude, and at the trying end of his earthly race he met the
remorseless "King of Terrors" with such calm resignation that seemed to mock his power. The family of
of the deceased realized the fact that he must leave them, only a few Minutes before the end, and the wildest manifestation
of grief prevailing, Mr. Martin essayed to calm their sorrow and counsel them for the future He retained his reason
and spoke up to within a minute or two of his death, and thus peacefully and calmly he closed his timely career.
To Robert Martin, all who ever knew him record the highest and noblest tribute to his memory. He was an honest
and upright man and an exemplary citizen.
The foregoing is taken from an obituary notice, slightly changed; and if there is anything to be added to describe
Robert as he looked and walked, let me say that he was about five feet, seven inches in height, well proportioned,
had a high and noble forehead, dark eyes, fair complexion, regular, delicate but manly features, and always met
you with a smile. His friendship was warm and firm and his notions of honor high and sound. While he was decided
in everything he had put through the crucible of his own thoughts, he had great respect for the opinions of others
no matter how widely they differed. A man of nobler impulses and warmer friendship than Robert Martin the writer
Among the enterprising farmers of forty years ago may be remembered also: Richard Baker, George Denison, Thomas
Baker, Selden Graves, Sylvanus Arnold, John Baker, James Watson, Jesse Koler, William Watson, David Olmsted, Benjamin
Brundage, Daniel W. Eastman, Philip Bretz, John Kagy, Adam Pennington, Hezekiah Searles, John Bretz, Jonah Brown,
John Gibson, John Crum, Jacob Price, John Downs, Philip Springer, Jacob Andre, Samuel Kennedy, James Gray, William
Ireland, Dr. Bates and John Lamberson. James Stevens, Jacob Buskirk, the Arnolds and others, were among the early
settlers of Melmore, also.
Was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, February 20, 1775, on a farm where he was raised. He was drafted
to the army in 1812, after he was married and had settled near the town of New Lancaster, Ohio He moved from there
in the fall of 1820, with his wife and seven children, to this county and occupied for a while one of the block
houses of the old Fort Ball, where he lived in one room with his whole family. Paul Butler, the man who built Spencer's
saw mill, occupied another room. Mr. David Risdon boarded with him. Another room was occupied by Mr. Henry Creesy
and his family. Creesy was a blacksmith by trade. The pickets were all standing then and the roofs of the block
houses were covered with clapboards. The army road ran along the river bank between the fort and the river. There
was just room enough for the road.
The fort had three block houses, one on each corner and one in the middle, all facing the river. Back of the block
houses was an open yard, inside the pickets, of about half an acre. There was room enough in the block houses for
about two hundred men. Mr. Bowe's tavern was a double cabin and stood in the street north of the iron bridge, and
the army road ran along in front of it also. David Smith occupied, for a while, the same room with Mr. Creesy.
Rollins lived on the Souder farm, (so called afterwards). In the spring of 1821, Mr. Searles helped to open a road
from Tiffin to Rocky creek, where the church now stands, and where he had bought 167 acres of land. Here he built
a cabin in the woods, and in 1825 he built a frame barn which was probably the first one in the county. Reuben
Williams was the boss carpenter. Mr. Searles attached himself to the M. E. church when he was a young man, and
up to his death remained a faithful and honored member. After he located here on Rocky creek, his house became
a stopping place for all the preachers, and headquarters at nearly all the camp and quarterly meetings. For several
years the elections were held at his house. Except Tiffin, Eden township contained the most decided politicians,
strong Whigs and strong Democrats, but in their township elections they picked their officers from both parties.
Here they voted for men only.
Mrs. Searles' maiden name was Duncan. They were the parents of nine children, five boys and four girls, of whom
four sons and two daughters are still living.
The foregoing was gathered from what Mr. Hezekiah Searles related, and he goes on to say: " Our neighbors
were the Welches, who had located on the Olmsted farm. Charles Bretz, Mr. Sponable, Cal. Jacqua, the Boyds, father,
Shelden, Thomas Vannatta, the Sneaths and and others came on soon after.
"One time in the winter we lost a colt. We built a fence around it with a trap lid and caught five wolves.
This was before Seneca county was organized, and we took the scalps to Lower Sandusky, where we got $5 a piece
for them. The rivers and creeks abounded in good fish and the woods in game. We suffered the deprivations and enjoyed
the pleasures peculiar to that sort of life.
"Father died May 14, 1844, and mother October 30, 1871"
There is here in Eden township a sort of counterpart to the old stone fortifications described by Mr. Swigart in
Bloom, near Honey creek. This one is near the same creek in the Vannatta section. After you leave the Mohawk road,
turning to the right at the corner of the old Wolf farm, crossing the bridge going west, you come across the bottom
and approach a hill, where you see a high bluff a little to the left, forming a rounded corner at the northeast
point. Upon this bluff there is a circular embankment embracing nearly two acres of land. The embankment is now
nearly flat on the top and looks as if at one time it must have been a very substantial parapet. Mr. Randall says
he saw oak trees growing upon it two feet in diameter. The Mohawks lived all around over this part of the country
and knew no more about it than the present generation of white people.
In a direction of a little east of north from this rampart, and within the range of a rifle, are found very many
leaden bullets of various sizes, from grape shot down to 13o to the pound. Some of these have the mark of the twist
of a rifle barrel still clearly marked upon them.
Was this parapet once a part of an old fort? Has history ever traced the march of an army along this creek? Was
there ever a battle fought in this valley, and if so, by whom? What people built round fortifications? Will somebody
explain all this some day?
For a while, it was a question in the mind of the writer as to which township in the county a sketch of this
distinguished pioneer should be attached, because he has now lived in Green Springs some time, but he first located
here in Eden, where he drove his stake in the woods near Rocky creek. He has lived longer in Seneca county now
than any other man in it. His father was in Washington's army, and so was also his father's neighbor in Huron county,
Mr. Seifert. These old revolutionary veterans often talked over their scenes of strife for independence. Both were
great admirers of General Washington.
In the month of February, 1819, Thomas and Hugh Welch, sons of the above named veteran, started from Huron county
to find homes in the wilds of Seneca. They camped out the first night and in the morning found themselves near
Honey creek. Vegetation had already started to grow, for in the dense forest a certain degree of warmth was retained,
and the ground never froze very hard in the winter. They followed down the stream, and somewhere near the late
residence of Mr. William Fleet, they came upon a band of Seneca Indians, who were making sugar, and with them they
encamped for the night. On their journey down the creek on the next day, they arrived at the Mohawk village, on
the Van Meter section, already spoken of. Van Meter made the Welchs welcome at his cabin and directed them to some
very eligible land in the neighborhood, which they bought, and turned into homes. Here they opened up the first
settlement in Eden township. In June following, two other brothers, Martin and John, also came. Thomas died soon
after. John became a member of the Ohio legislature from Seneca county. Hugh and Martin moved to Wyandot county.
Martin and John are now also dead, and the Judge is the only survivor of that once large family.
Hugh Welch was the first postmaster in Eden township, and he held the office at his opening, which was afterwards
known as the Olmsted and Richardson place. This was the first postoffice in Seneca county east of the river. Mr.
Welch was appointed by President Jackson. John McLean was postmaster general at that time and signed the commission
as such. It is dated August 4, 1825, Mr. Welch sold the Olmsted farm and the Richardson place and moved into Wyandot
county, where he was appointed one of the associate judges of Crawford county. Wyandot was then a part of Crawford.
This commission is dated September 22, 1834, and is signed by Robert Lucas, governor, and M. H. Kirby, secretary
of state. He was re-elected associate judge, and his second commission bears date of February 4, 1842, and is signed
by Thomas Corwin, governor, and Samuel Galloway, secretary of state. The Judge sold his Wyandot farm and again
moved into Seneca county.
He laid out the town of Mexico soon after he moved into Wyandot; helped to build the M. E. church there; donated
the lot upon which it was built, and for a long time and until he sold his property near Mexico, was one of its
most influential members.
Judge Welch was born in Little Beaver township, Beaver county, Pennsylvania, on the 18th day of February, 1801.
His father's name was Felix, and his mother's name was Margaret Barnes, who came from England. His father was a
native of the county of Derry, in Ireland. The parents had six sons and four daughters. Hugh was the fifth son.
In 1816 the parents moved with their children to Huron county, Ohio, where they lived until the sons found better
homes, in Seneca county. Hugh was married on the 18th day of September, 1823, to Polly, second daughter of John
Gibson. They had three children: Eliza, married to William A. Watson; a little son who died at the age of about
four years, and Maria, who married Frank McBride, and who has two interesting daughters, nearly young women grown.
Judge Welch's brother, Martin, was the first stationed minister at Toledo in the M. E. church. The Judge was well
acquainted with all the Mohawk Indians on the Van Meter section, and knew Charline, who was a nephew of the Brandt's,
and the bitter, unforgiving foe of the Americans. He carried his hatred to the grave with him. He had the skin
of the leg and foot of a child tanned, in which he carried his trinkets. He would not talk to a white man, and
died from eating warm bread beyond the Mississippi.
Judge Welch says that there were three brothers of these Brandt's, Thomas, Paulus and Isaac. Isaac was his favorite.
They were both of about the same height and age; both full of fun and great wrestlers Van Meter was a generous
and noble man, and a great horse fancier.
Charline was about eighty years old when he left with the Mohawks for the west.
Mrs. Welch died June 6th, 1869, at Green Springs She was the first patient at the water cure. From the 8th of October,
1825, hitherto Judge Welch has been a faithful member of the M. E. church.