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


CHAPTER XIV
YORK TOWNSHIP


TOPOGRAPHICALLY, this township in general is level. Bad Creek with its tributaries drains the territory and flows in a southerly direction, entering the township at its northern boundary and running across it until the water finally makes its way to the Maumee river. The valley or bottom lands adjacent to these streams are especially fertile, highly improved and very valuable. Some other parts are not so rich for agricultural purposes. The streams mentioned above afford the drainage of the surrounding country.

The principal varieties of timber which abounded in exhaustless supply and excellent quality were hickory, walnut, butternut, ash, poplar, sugar maple, oak of all kinds, cherry and sycamore.

With the advent of the first white settlers, the woods abounded in game of all kinds known in the country. Deer and wild turkeys, exceedingly plentiful, afforded the principal meat supply of the early settlers. Every man and boy and some of the female population were expert hunters, and many are the tales told of hairbreadth escapes from, and single-handed contests with Bruin, the arch enemy of the young domestic animals about the settlers’ cabins. Wolves, panthers and wildcats also made night hideous and nocturnal travel precarious with their prowling, stealthy and deceptive methods of attack.

The first settlement of York township antedates its organization by a couple of years. The township organization was effected on June 6, 1836, after the territory came under the control of Lucas county, and the very early settlers went all the way to vote at what is now known as York Center.

William Jones and family are entitled to the honor of being the first settlers, they having located in the township in May, 1834. They settled on the northeast quarter of section eighteen about five miles west of Delta on the old George Wright farm. It is claimed by some that William, John and James King were in the township earlier in the same year, but this is merely supposition, and the honor of being the first pioneer of the township is generally accorded to William Jones. It might be added here that he only lacked a twelve-month of being able to contest with Eli Phillips (who is mentioned in connection with Royalton township) the honor of being the first permanent settler in the county. Mr. Jones purchased land in the vicinity mentioned, and there built his cabin and established a home. Other families arrived soon afterwards and became near neighbors of Mr. Jones, but it must be remembered that “near neighbors” in those days might be separated by several miles.

By the close of the year 1834 the following named persons were residing in this township: William, John and James King were living on section 24; John S. Trowbridge, Cornelius Trowbridge, Alanson Trowbridge and a Mr. Hampton, in addition to Mr. Jones.

John S. Trowbridge was born November 18, 1816, in Saratoga county, New York, and settled with his family in York township in 1834, thus becoming one of the first permanent settlers in what is now Fulton county. He. was a highly respected citizen and filled various local offices with honor to himself and satisfaction to his neighbors. Cornelius Trowbridge came from Saratoga county, New York, in 1834, and Alanson Trowbridge also came the same year. Mr. Hampton came that year looking for land. He took an entry of eighty acres made by William King, and moved upon it, cleared it up and made a fine farm. As stated above, William King and family settled in York township in May, 1834, and located lands on section 24, where they erected a cabin, which be-. came their home, rude as it was.

John Murray settled in York in the thirties. He came from Pennsylvania and settled upon section 26, cleared and improved a large farm, reared a family and died thereon.

Robert McClarren, a brother-in-law of William Jones, came from Maryland and settled in York township, February 6, 1836. He was born in Maryland, January 28, 1809.

Henry Fluhart located here in the very early days of the settlement of the township, locating on section seven. Ata later period he moved to Missouri and has since died, but members of his family remained in Fulton county and one son, James, was well known as a newspaper man.

Abram Cole and family came in January, 1835, and settled on the east half of the northeast quarter of section 25.

Peter Wise, Gilman Cheadle and William Fowler came in 1836. Gilman Cheadle was an early pioneer farmer and stockgrower, and was born in Morgan county, Ohio, in 1807. He settled in York township in 1836, and lived there continuously until 1870, when he removed to Wauseon and lived the remainder of his life there. He served as a postmaster fourteen years, being first appointed by President Jackson. Gardner Tremain came in 1836. He was born in Cayuga county, New York, April 15, 1813, and in early manhood came to Fulton county. He settled on sections 25 and 36, where he lived the remainder of his life. Rev. Uriel Spencer and son, William, came in 1835 and settled on section 17. He was afterwards elected auditor of Lucas county.

John Jones came with his father, William Jones, and hence may be considered among the settlers of 1834.

John Batdorf settled upon section 21, in 1842. He was born in Pennsylvania, in 1816, removed to Wayne county, Ohio, and lived there until 1842, when he migrated to Fulton county and settled in York township. H. E. Whitney came at a very early date, and with his family settled on section 25.

James Trowbridge, wife and two children, left Saratoga, New York, July 4, 1837, and landed at Perrysburg, in the Maumee valley, thirteen days later. His route of travel was from Albany to Buffalo, by freight boat on the Erie canal, and from there on Lake Erie to Toledo, on board of the boat, Commodore Perry.

William Fowler, Sr., came originally from Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, to Fairfield county, Ohio, in 1828, and in August, 1835. he came to Fulton county with his family. With him were three sons, who may also be considered pioneers of that age—William, Thomas and Robert. The father located on his farm in York township and died there many years ago.

Stebbins R. Stebbins came to York in 1844. He was born in Middlesex county, Connecticut, March 30, 1808, and at the age of nine years was brought by his parents to Cuyahoga county, Ohio, the family moving with ox teams, a distance of 650 miles. Stebbins R. came to York in 1844, and became engaged in farming, which he followed until 1883, when he removed to Wauseon and lived the remainder of his life in retirement. While living in York township he served as justice of the peace and also held other minor offices. George Wright came in 1847, and settled upon section 7. He was a native of England, where he was born, November 1, 1802. William Markie and wife, from Pickaway county, came in 1844, and Elijah Smith and his wife came in 1849. Mr. Smith was from the State of New York, where he was born, December 17, 1809. They settled upon section 26. Alfred B. Gunn settled in York in 1844. At that time he was in Henry county, but became a resident of Fulton on April 1, 1850, when that part of Henry county became a part of the newly-organized county. He was one of the delegates to the convention that established the boundary line of Fulton county. He settled upon section 12 in York township, and during his long and useful career served a period of six years as county commissioner, and was one of the commissioners who located the court house at the place where it now stands, in Wauseon. Further notice of Mr. Gunn is given elsewhere in this volume.

Samuel and Elizabeth Biddle settled in York township, October 13, 1842. They came from Pennsylvania, “the land of the Quakers,” and raised a family of five girls and three boys. In his lifetime, Mr. Biddle was one of the foremost men of the township. He settled on section 17, on lands that were entered and improved by Uriel Spencer, one of the first settlers. Mr. Biddle died, February 17, 1867. Calvin Biddle, son of Samuel, settled in York in having come with his parents from Pennsylvania.

Mark Berry, from Wooster, settled here in 1843, and Stiliman C. Biddle in 1842. The latter came with his parents when but a small boy, and growing to manhood here, became one of the foremost men in the township.

Abner P. Brainard settled in York, in 1846. He was born in Genesee county, New York, December 20, 1828, and after locating in Fulton county became a brick manufacturer on quite an extensive scale. John Harrison came in a very early day and settled upon section 17.

The record of the first election in York township has been lost or improperly kept, but it is known that it was held at York Center, June 30, 1836, and elections were held at that place for a number of years thereafter. One of the first justices of the peace, and in fact one of the first officers elected in the township was Alfred
B. Gunn, but offices were not sought then as they are now. Mr. Gunn and Alanson Bradley were assessors for years. An office now abolished, and which it was difficult to get anyone to fill, was that of fence viewer. Alanson Bradley was born in Connecticut, April 12, 1802, and came to Fulton county in an early day where he filled the offices of school director, treasurer, assessor and land appraiser.

The first white child born in Delta, and it may be the first in York township, was to George Wood and wife, in 1841. The infant then ushered into the world was Mary Augusta Wood, who afterwards became widely known in the literary world, being a writer of considerable note. The first marriage was a social event of considerable importance, and was doubtless largely attended by the pioneer families in that section. The contracting parties were William Spencer of the male persuasion and Emily, a daughter of Mr. Donaldson, representing the gentler sex. The first school house erected in the township was located upon the farm of William Trowbridge, one mile west of Delta.

The Presbyterians were the leaders in religious efforts in York township, the first meetings being held in the settlers’ cabins. After continuing the services in the houses of the members for several years, school houses were used, and later, houses for worship were erected. The first church built in the township was by the Presbyterian society of Delta; but at the present time, the township, including the village of Delta, has eight houses of public worship, located as follows: Four in Delta, one each on sections 11, 29, 31 and 34, embodying in faith all the principal denominations of the county.

The first burying ground in the township was located at Delta, used by the German Baptist society, and a Mrs. Doolittle was the first person buried there. Nearly all the early churches provided a place for the interment of their dead, but these were gradually abandoned, and the cemetery at Delta contains the remains of many of the early pioneers.

The first tavern in York township was opened by C. B. Lewis at his private residence on the north side of the State road, at the present site of Delta. He kept a little tea and tobacco for sale, and on Sunday always had preaching in his house, so his was a dwelling, tavern, store and church. This was really the first beginning of business in Delta. The first resident physician was Erastus Lathrop, who settled near Delta and died very soon after the village was located. He has been succeeded by many others during the sixty-nine years that have elapsed since the organization of the township.

Delta was incorporated and assumed the position accorded by that legal proceeding by the election of a mayor and establishing a municipal government. It has numbered among its mayors many esteemed citizens, not the least of whom is the present incumbent, George A. Everett. Delta is located in a beautiful agricultural district and is surrounded by the most fertile and highly prolific lands. The usual number of secret societies are represented in the town, each order being prosperous and numbering among its members many of the best people in the town and surrounding country. According to the census of 1900, Delta contains a population of 1,230. This is an increase of ninety-eight during the last decade, a percentage that is small, but it represents a substantial growth. It is a busy trading point, sustained by a large scope of good farming country, and its support is assured in the character and reputation of the business men. Some of the stores would do credit to a much larger place. Considerable manufacturing is also done, and an excellent public school in the village affords ample opportunities to the children in the acquirement of a good practical education.

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