History of Reed Township, OH
From: The History of Seneca County, Ohio
From the close of the war to July 1880
By: W. Lang
Published By: Transcript Printing Co., Springfield, Ohio, 1880




T. 2, N. R. 17 E.

IT was very wrong that the county officers of Seneca county ever consented to have the proper name of this township mis spelled into Reed, and be themselves guilty. The Read family, after whom the township was named, were of Scotch descent, and invariably wrote their name with an "a," and so it ought to have been preserved.

Seth Read and George Raymond came from Steuben county, New York, and settled upon section twenty four, in what now constitutes this township, on the 18th day of January, 1825, and were the first settlers in the township. They entered their lands at the Delaware land office.

They were followed soon after by Edward Cassety and Elijah Read, Tunis Croukite, Thomas Bennett, Samuel Scothorn, Isaac Bennett and others.

The township was brganized December 5th, 1826. The first election was held at the house of Seth Read, on New Year's day following.

The face of the land in this township is generally undulating, and the soil very fertile. There are no mill streams within its limits, and the grist and saw mills are run by steam.

In 1830 Reed had a population of 264; in 1840, 1,240, and itis now about 1,501.

At a later period A. C. Baker, Benjamin Sanford, John B. Schuyler, Jacob Cole, William P. White, Henry Ryno, James Harrison, Levi Read, M. H. Croukite, John Clark, John Hoover and others were among the distinguished farmers here.

On the 4th day of January, 1838, John Terry and Catharine Beard caused to be laid out on sections five and six, a town, which they called West Lodi. It was surveyed and platted by James Durbin.

The first postmaster was Lyman White, who for many years has lived on College Hill, in Tiffin, where he lives now at his ease, cultivating grapes and peach trees.

Robert P. Frazer was the first physician who settled in Lodi, and he is still there in the practice of his profession, and highly esteemed.

Reedtown was made up of a few cabins on the Columbus and Sandusky turnpike. It was also called Cook's Gate, because a man by the name of Cook kept the toll gate on the pike at that place. It was simply wicked to collect toll on a mud road. Some called it Kellytown also, because a man by the name of Kelly kept a store there. Hanford's was another name for the same town, because Hanford's tavern was the best between Attica and Bloomer's.

My dear old friend Dr. B. D. Williams settled here at an early day.

'The place is now familiarly known as Reedtown. It was laid out by Isaac Catlin.

DR. B. D. WILLIAMS

Was born January 18th, 1812, in Orangeville township, Genesee county, New York. In 1821 his father located with his family in Sherman township, Huron county, a few miles east of Reedtown. Here young Williams grew up, and received his education and read medicine three years with Dr. Moses C Sanders, in Peru township, in Huron county.

In 1835 he settled at Reedtown, and commenced the practice of medicine, and here, in 1836, the writer made his acquaintance, which grew into a friendship that has grown warmer, like wine, that grows better with age.

On the 7th of November, 1835, Dr. Williams was married to Miss Harriet Newel LaBarre, of Sherman township, with whom he lived three years, until she died. On the 13th of June, 1841, he was again married to Louisa L. Ludlow, of Norwich, in Huron county. This union was blessed with three children, two boys, who are married and settled in life, and one daughter, long since dead. Here the Doctor settled in the practice, and so near his old perceptor as to have the benefit of his counsel and help in extreme cases, and where he also met Dr. Dresbach, of Tiffin, in consultation.

In a letter to me the Doctor says, speaking of his early practice:

Many times I had very severe cases among females. when I would have given my horse. bridle. saddle. pill bag and all I had on earth to be safely and honorably through with my lady patient. Oh such anxiety! such suspense!! It did often seem as if my little bark would break and go under. There was no help nearer than twelve to fifteen miles, nights pitch dark and mud knee deep. But God was with me. and I always came through with my patient all O. K. Without boasting. I can safely say that during my practice here of forty five years, out of 2,200 parturition cases. I never lost one.

Dr. Williams practiced medicine in Peru two years before he came to Reedtown, making forty seven years in all in constant practice without losing a day,, except the time spent in attending lectures at Willoughby University, at the Cincinnati iMiedical University, and at the Cleveland and Western Reserve College, where he graduated. The Willoughby became merged into the Starling at Columbus afterwards. He is now the veteran physician in that part of the country, and I will 'say, without flattery (for I never flatter), that the Doctor is highly esteemed in all the country far and near, for his personal excellencies. both as a physkiañ and citizen.

Dr. Williams was so kind as to send me some of his early recollections of Reed, from which I have collated the following:

Captain Hanford was an early settler here. He was one of your plain. outspoken men, swore a little at times, a little rough, but kind hearted. One day while the Captain, with his dog, were out in the woods, and chased a weasel into a hollow log, and while they were trying to catch it, a Presbyterian preacher from Monroeville, whom the Captain did not know, came through the woods and got off his horse to help catch the weasel. So the preacher took his post at one end of the log to watch, with his riding whip held up to strike. The position did not suit Hanford. and he said to the preacher: "You don't hold your whip right, by , my friend, hold it so, and strike quick, for they are the d-t, quickest things you ever saw, b- -." Sure enough! The Captain scared the weasel out, and when the preacher struck, he hit the ground about a rod behind the weasel. "There," says Captain Hanford, "I told you so, b- --." The preacher then asked where Captain Hanford lived. The Captain gave him the information, and they separated. The preacher stopped at the house, and Mrs. Hanford,who was a Presbyterian, and had not seen a preacher since she had left the "land of steady habits" about three years before, and was very glad to entertain him. After a while the Captain came home and was quite surprised to see the weasel catcher. Captain Hanford said to him: "I guess I must have seared you with my swearing." The preacher said: "Yes, I was frightened a little and greatly surprised to think that a man having such a Christian lady for a wife would indulge in such language." The Captain felt the effect of the rebuke, but entertained the preacher with his usual hospitality.

Thomas Bennett was the first postmaster in this township, and it was then called Bead postoffice. Mr. Catlin had this town surveyed, but never had the plat recorded. It was then called "Catlinville." It was also called "Readsburg." Tunis Cronkite and Thomas Bennett were both old settlers and members of the Baptist church at what is now called Omar. They had some difficulty, and agreed that they would not be buried in the same cemetery. The church at Omar has a very respectable cemetery. Bennett owned the land in and around the grave yard, and Cronkite owned the land across the pike, adjoining. Cronkite died first, and was buried on his land some sixty rods east of the grave yard. then Bennett died. and was buried in the grave yard. Now large monuments adorn the graves of both, in sight of each other, as monuments of bad blood in life.

George Raymond, another old settler here, was the father of triplets, boys, which he called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The last two live in. our town; the former has been dead twenty years.

Mr. Schuyler was also an early settler. His son is the celebrated mathematician at Baldwin University. at Berea. Ohio.

Elijah Read, another good old pioneer, died about five years ago. Samuel and John Cassaty were both poor when they came here from Steuben county, New York, but by hard labor and. economy, had accumulated quite a fortune, until some twelve years ago. robbers relieved them of about $12,000. John has since died.

Williard Whitney. a merchant of our town, closed his business here with a few hundred dollars left, with which he went to Michigan, bought land, got wealthy, and would have been happy. had he not become blind. His wife had to feed him like a child ten years, when he died at eighty five.

Dr. Amos Witter lost his wife here. He went west, was elected to Congress, and got rich.

Loren Knopp, a merchant. was quite well off. He had the kidney disease. He moved to Attica, where he soon died. He was to have been married soon, so he willed much of his fortune to his affianced.

Dr. I. T. Gilbert became involved, solo. out, and went to Bryan, Ohio. There he invested what little means he had in real estate, which advanced rapidly. The smallpox broke out in Bryan, and Dr. Gilbert having had them once, was allowed to take all the smallpox cases, which soon built him up, but he was not allowed to see any other patients during that time. The Doctor got into very comfortable circumstances, and died there at the age of eighty two years. He formerly lived here.

John Zeppermick had some bad luck here, but after he sold out and moved to Wood county, he accumulated some property. He owns a good little farm, and seems to be happy in praising God.

Captain Hanford died of apoplexy about twenty five years ago. Edward, the hotel keeper, died of dropsy, the effects of trying to look through the bottom of a tumbler. James Hanford lived a roving life, and finally broke into the Michigan penitentiary at Jackson for ten years.

Jas. Harrison, whom you also knew, died at his son's house, at the old place. To show you how Reed looked in former times. let me tell you a short incident. I was called one dark night to visit a sick lady. We had to go through the woods, of course, and before we had proceeded far, the messenger and I both became entangled in the top of a tree that had fallen across the road. In the scrabble to get out, I lost my hat. The messenger said it would not do to hunt for it, had no time, was in a hurry, could lose no time, "must bring you in a hurry, Doctor, so come right along." So I went bareheaded. It was warm weather, however, and there was no suffering, but going home next clay without my hat made a comical show. They said Dr. Williams must have been tight last night.

The writer heard a good story told of Dr. Williams, which is too good to be lost. Soon after he was married, and before they had gone to housekeeping, his wife had her home at her father's, in Sherman township, still. So one Saturday evening the young Doctor started, rather late, however, to pay a visit to his father in law, and surprise the young lady. It was in the fall, and the leaves had covered the road. Night came on, and the road was no longer discernable. The Doctor got out of the saddle and felt around for the road or path, but could not find it. He hitched his horse to a tree and gave the "bush hallo" several times, but nobody responded only the owls. The Doctor came to the conclusion that the troubles of a married life had commenced in dead earnest. After crowing around through the woods for two or three hours, a lady accidentally heard him and answered. She got a man up out of bed, and sent him after the strange voice. The man was afraid that it might be a panther, but found the lost Doctor, and took him to the house. It was the house of a stranger, however, and two miles away from the house of the bride. In the morning the horse was found and cared for, and a new start taken for the father in law. He took lreakfast with his wife's people, and they all had a good laugh at the Doctor's night's adventure.

Seneca John, who was executed on the reservation, as already related, used to hunt through Reed, and had a wigwam on the knoll where Dr. Williams' house now stands, in 1821-2. His visits continued up to 1830, and he generally brought his whole family with him. At an evening meal, and while a large kettle of hot water was suspended on a pole over the fire, a daughter of Seneca John was lying on the ground before the fire. The pole was nearly burnt through, and broke, spilling tht hot water over the child. They wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the house near by, where Dr. Williams attended her. In removing the blanket the flesh of the poor sufferer literally clung to it, leaving her almost a skeleton. Dr. Williams did all in his power to relieve her sufferings, but death assisted him.

After her death William Williams made a sled, to be drawn by hand, and a number of Indian boys and a mournful cortege conveyed the corpse to the Seneca burying ground. Seneca John became a very warm friend to Dr. Williams.

In the summer of 1834 some movers passed through Reedtown, who had a son about sixteen years of age. In the night he was taken sick. It was a clear case of cholera. He died, and was buried before morning, and the mournful parents went on.

There are six very good church edifices in Reed. The township is supplied with excellent school houses and a good corps of teachers.

When the M. E. church organized northern Ohio in 1830 or 1832. They made the Fort Ball circuit extend east to include a part of Huron county. The preacher appointed for this circuit was a very young man by the name of Arza Brown. He had a fine riding horse, with which he swam the creeks and rivers, tying a suit of dry clothes on his shoulders. These he put on before he commenced preaching. His widowed mother lived at Sandusky. He was well liked and welcomed everywhere, and among those also that did not belong to his church. He became a very able preacher He afterwards lived in Cincinnati, where he died soon after the rebellion, eighty three years old.

One very happy feature in frontier life was the mutual enjoyment of the society amongst the old and young. It was a common practice in the winter time to visit some neighbor in the evening. A yoke of oxen were hitched to a sled with a box full of straw, that held the family and some neighbors also.

Arrived, at the house, the children and women were "thawed out" by the large hickory fire, and after disposing of a meal of roasted pig, corn cake, potatoes, turnips, squash, wild grapes, honey, etc., the dance commenced, which often lasted until the dawn of day in the east admonished the dancers that the cows, horses, sheep and hogs at home had to be looked after.

At these dances it was often surprising to see the old men and women move over the pungeon floor with the spring and elasticity of youth, and with a grace and gentle mean that would do honor to a ball room of these latter days.

"Buck and Bright" hitched again to the sled all aboard! Some with cold chicken or cold pork and corncake for a piece on the road; all started for home, all happy in having had a good old time.

In Dr. Williams' father's family there were five boys and two girls. As the children grew up they needed education, and there was no school in the neighborhood. The mother saw the necessity of a teacher, and for want of another, she taught the oldest, and as they became advanced, she compelled them to teach the younger. Every stranger that came into the house was induced to confer some useful knowledge to the family, and thus the children became educated without a school house to go to. As they grew up, they were all qualifled to teach school. One of the Doctor's brothers commenced when he was only sixteen years old, and taught school for forty winters in succession. So much for a mother's resolution to have her children educated.

I have drawn very largely on the Doctor's kindness for the above sketches, and for which I feel thankful. but the flattering remarks, though very true, about myself, are omitted for modesty sake.

Esquire T. M. Kelley was so kind, as to send me some historic information, from which I extract:

Friend Lang:
My father, Benjamin Kelley (and whom you well knew). was born in New Jersey, June 6th, 1793. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. Mother, Mahitabel Travis; was born April 3d. 1793, in Tioga county, Pennsylvania. They were married August 19th, 1813, in Seneca county, New York. and lived in Steuben county, in that state, until the spring of 1834, when they moved to this township with a family of six boys and two girls, and settled on the east half of the northwest quarter of section one. They bought the land of a Mr. Davis, who bad entered it.

There were but a few trees chopped, and the body of a log cabin erected without a roof. The family stayed at Captain Hanford's hotel until father and the older boys cut and split clapboards and hewed pungeon for the floor and doors. Then we moved into the cabin.

The only place mother had to do her cooking was a kind of a fire place built of cobble stones, between two oak stumps, from about the 20th of April until the 1st of August that year. It took a barrel of flour and a bushel of corn meal every four weeks to feed us all. The bread was baked in a tin reflector between those oak stumps.

On the 12th day of April the cattle could get a good living in the woods. We worked them all day, and at night we put a bell on one of them and let them go. Sometimes the boys would have to hunt a week to find them again, but generally they were in hearing distance.

The first wheat we raised father took to Cold Creek with an ox cart to get it ground. It took nearly a week to make the trip.

My youngest brother was born after we. came here, August 16th. 1838, making a family of seven boys and two girls, all now living except the oldest girl.

Mother and the girls carded and spun the wool and flax, wove the cloth, and cut and made our clothes; the tow linen for summer wear and linsey woolsey for winter wear. They also made bags, towels, table cloths, sheets and pillow slips of flax, raised, pulled, rotted and dressedbv the family. The youngest sister, Mrs. J. P. Moore, spun flax at Fremont at the celebration of the centennial tea party of Boston harbor.

Mother died May 31st, 1860, at Elmore, Ohio. Father died April 12th. 1863, at Reedtown.

Thomas Bennett was the first postmaster appointed here, but would not serve, whereupon William Knapp was appointed. Knapp was a storekeeper, and sold the store to a Mr. Ackley, who was killed by the falling of a bent in raising a barn for Harrison Cole. John Emery had his leg broken by the same fall. My father framed the barn. Respectfully your friend,

T. M. KELLEY.


The town of Omar never flourished. Reed is altogether a farming township. The soil is rich, and produces great crops, rapidly increasing the wealth of the township. The beautiful school houses in Reed show conclusively that the cause of education is not neglected.

There is a noticeable elevation running north and south through the township, a little east of the center, but not high enough to be called a ridge, yet sufficiently so to make a watershed.

Attica station, on the Baltimore & Ohio road, is located in this township, on section thirty five. This railroad crosses and cuts the entire southern tier of sections of this township, except section thirty one.

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