Sunday, December 8, 2019

Allen County, Ohio

Did You Know?

I lived in northwest Ohio most of my life and prided myself on having what I considered at least a novice knowledge of area history. Boy was I wrong. It wasn't until I stumbled across a site on the net titled "HMdb the Historical Marker Database," that I learned just how little I actually knew. The site lists every historical marker in the state of Ohio categorized by county. If you want to learn more about a particular county, type in your browser the county name and state followed by the words "historical markers." Example for Allen County type in "Allen county ohio historical markers" then click on the link to the site. The page for that county will list markers and you can pick the one that interests you.

I was amazed at all the wonderful sites and stories round the area that I wasn't even remotely aware of. While I'll continue with my Fort Amanda postings my initial plan is to post things I find interesting on markers in Auglaize, Hardin, Putnam, Van Wert and other nearby counties that I find particulaly interesting and think others might find interesting as well. My hope is it will create more interest in state and local history. I'll create a link directly to the marker and may even add some comments, maps or pictures of my own. If you want more details on that posing just click on the link. So here we go.
Did You Know?

Did you know that in 1942 four P-39 Airacobra military airplanes (see pic below) crashed within minutes of each other in a field near Lafayette?  There were no survivors

 North of Cridersville 
Mary Shafer (the first burial in St. Matthews Cemetery)
Did you know that in the 1830's the area north of Cridersville was basically a wooded swamp? One of the early settlers in the area was a young woman named Mary Shafer, one of 10 children born to Henry and Catherine (Moke) Shafer.  Their home was less than a mile from St. Matthews where a services were held in a barn in 1836.    Little is known about Mary's life only that she died at the young age of 23. The cause of death is also unknown but more than likely she died from cholera. Her epitaph reads:  "First person to be buried in this cemetery. Carried by 8 men on poles through woods and swamps and laid to rest at this place"   
 (Thanks to Daryl Barnes from Buckland for the information on Mary Shafer's family.)

The Sugar Creek Settlement (1824)
Did you now that that Allen county area was so thickly wooded in the early 1820s that the first two white settlement in the area were only 5 miles apart yet neither knew the other even existed. That was only discovered when Samuel McClure in the Hog Creek settlement stumbled across Christopher Stark Woods Settlement (Sugar Creek settlement )while out hunting.

The Hog Creek Settlement  (1825)
The "Hawg" creek settlement was located near the intersection of N. Thayer rd and Rt. 81. A cemetery with graves of some of the early settlers is nearby.

North of Lima - The Henry Boose Site 
Did you know that 4,000 years ago, an early Indian group called the Glacerial Kame people lived, died and were buried on the north side of Bluelick Road on what was once the home of Henry Boose (1832 - 1905) farm? The graves weren't discovered until 1959? Artifacts from the excavation are in the Allen County Museum. The "X" in the picture marks the general site of the burials.

 The Town of Hartford
Did you know that in 1835 there was a thriving little town called Hartford at the corner of Rt. 81 and N. Defiance trail? While nothing remains, early on the village had 2 stores, 2 taverns, a post office, 5 houses and a log cabin used as a church? The hope was that the new Miami-Canal would be passing nearby but their hopes and plans were dashed when the decision was made to dig the canal 2 miles to the west. Property owners eventually sold their lots and moved to the new site where they created another village; Spencerville. Eventually the buildings fell in disrepair or the lumber sold off so that nothing remains to this day. The only reminder is the Hartford cemetery adjacent to the Auglaize river on the east side of N. Defiance Trail.

1835 Surveyors map of the proposed village of Hartford, Ohio

The origin of the name “Lima.”
One of the early County Commissioners was a man named James Daniels. His cabin sat on the property now occupied by the new Lima Senior High School. On June 6, 1831, Daniels held a meeting in his cabin with the Bath township trustees. One topic of discussion centered on cholera and malaria, and the quinine bark shipped in from Peru used to treat them.. Tradition says that as the men were talking about malaria, someone suggested that a good name for the new city should be named for the city that supplied them with their quinine bark; Lima, Peru.

 The Oldest Home in Lima
I drove past this house for years never realizing that it's the oldest house in Lima (1852). The house, made of handsome fronts on Central Ave which in 1897 was named Tanner ave.

A Johnny Appleseed Tree
Contrary to popular belief, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman was not an oddball religious zealot who traveled the countryside with a pan on his head and scattering apple seeds along the way. The truth is Johnny Chapman was a classically trained arborist who was also a good businessman. As he traveled the area, he’d work with local landowners with and agreement that he’d help start a nursery on the landowners property and whenever he passed through the area again, he’d collect his share of the profits. Chapman died and is buried near the Veterans Coliseum in Fort Wayne Indiana Despite his shabby appearance Chapman died a very wealthy businessman. The tree in the picture was grown from a shoot from an original planting and is located at the Shawnee Middle School. One of the orchards Chapman helped start in 1829 is located near the intersection of Hoover Rd and W. Defiance Trail.

For more detailed information about the life and travels of Johnny Appleseed Chapman and his relation to Fort Amanda, click on this link.

This site is another gem I had no idea even existed. It's located in Harrod. In their community park is a 14,500 pound anchor from the battleship USS Texas, a Vietnam era helicopter and a howitzer and other things of interest..

The Interurban Era
This from the Delphos Herald (1901)
The first interurban car ran through Delphos on Nov. 1, 1905, while the last car ran through town on June 30, 1932. It cost 15 cents to ride from Delphos to Van Wert or Lima while the full ride from Lima to Ft. Wayne was $1.50.
At one period, Van Wert was voted, "dry," while Delphos was "wet," or allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. On the weekends some of the cars would carry people coming from Van Wert to Delphos, and on their return home they carried containers full of beverages, and they would be full also. On straight stretches, an interurban car could reach 80 miles-per-hour. Some of the cars were powered by four 150 H.P. electric motors from overhead wires.

Lima's interurban terminal was located on the site now occupied by the Health Dept. at 219 E. Market st.

 Click on this link for information about the Interurban