Sandusky County, OHGenWeb

Home | Archives | Biographies | Cemeteries | Census | Cities & Towns | Funeral Homes | History | Libraries & Societies | Maps | Military | Townships | Vital Records
County Coordinator:
Denise Wells

State Coordinator:
Dale Grimm

Rice is territorially the smallest township in the county, and its boundaries the most irregular. The fertile farms of the water courses; the central part is marshy; the western sections will compare favorably for agricultural purposes with any part of the county. In going the length of this territory from east to west, along the Ottawa county line, the traveller is given a glimpse of pioneer times. Although few of the outward appendages of the historic log cabin days are there to be seen, enough points are visible to enable the imagination to fill up the picture. Here are the corduroy roads passing through a forest of massive elms, growing from a marshy surface made invisible by decaying trees and thick underbrush. Flies, mosquitoes, and other tortursome enemies of human happiness give the mischance traveller painful consciousness of their half-starved condition.
Occasionally we come to a log cabin, resembling in most respects the ideal residence of the olden time.

The water courses in the lower part of the township are currentless, rising and falling with the tides in the bay. Further up the current is perceptible but not rapid. The only valley is that of Mud Creek, which affords excellent drainage to the country on both sides. Near its mouth the name river would be more appropriate than creek; it is navigable for a distance of two miles from the mouth, and at places spreads out into little lakes. Fishing Creek courses the center of the township, Little Mud Creek being the principal tributary. The Sandusky River skirts the southeastern border.

The head of the bay was, years ago, a favorite nesting place for ducks and geese. An old settler says that, fifty years ago, while riding north of Mud Creek, the geese were so plenty that he was able to kill dozens of them, striking with his whip from the back of the horse. Fur-bearing animals were also plenty about the mouth of the creek. Otters were the trapper's pride, while muskrats, and, further back from the bay, minks, were so plenty that, although cheap, they were the source of much needed ready cash in the pioneer
days of poverty.

Sluggish streams with shallow channels have left Rice entirely without water-power. Until a recent period there was neither grist- nor saw-mill. There has never been a grist-mill, but two steam saw-mills have been operated. The first was moved from Ottawa county, and was owned by Mr. Crosby; the other was built in 1871 by Guilson & Seigroff, near the centre of the township.

The soil is of vegetable composition, and if surface declination permitted draining, would be very productive. Corn and wheat are raised with profit as it is. Cultivation becomes easier as clearing progresses. There was a time when farmers, in dry springs, might be seen using axes in place of hoes for planting corn. A deep gash was cut in the gummy muck, in which corn was dropped and imperfectly covered. A good crop was generally harvested, even in spite of such unpromising planting. In the western part of the township the drainage system is more perfect, and the soil in consequence much looser and more easily worked.

Before the days of bridging Mud Creek was a serious obstruction to travel. People living north of this stream especially were inconvenienced in going to and coming from market and mill at Lower Sandusk}^ Mr. Boggs, an old settler in the south part of Ottawa county, says:

One time Mud Creek was very high, and I wished to cross with seven bags of corn. Trees had been cut across and large poles laid on them to walk on. I knew that my corn would be wet, if I drove through the stream with it in the wagon; so I took one bag at a time and carried it on my shoulders thirty or forty rods through the bottom. I then swam my horses through the main part of the creek, sitting waist-deep in my wagon. This was only one case of a great many similar experiences.


After peace had been restored in 1815, this township became the home of many of the French families of the colony, which left the Maumee and came to ower Sandusky three years earlier. The original settlement of these people, after coming to America, was at Monroe, Michigan. They afterwards established themselves on the Maumee, where they settled down to habits of industry. But the opening of the British and Indian hostilities, in 1812, compelled another removal and doomed them to four years of migration and unsettled life.

In January, 1813, by direction of the Government, about twenty families packed their possessions and started for Lower Sandusky. It was a fortunate circumstance that heavy ice well covered with snow gave them an easy course of travel and at the same time made it possible to avoid the savage enemies of the forest. All beng in readiness, a French train was formed. This consisted of a procession of one horse sleighs, the runners of which were made of boards. The train was placed under direction of a F^renchman named Peter Maltosh, who had been an Indian trader. He knew the country thoroughly and proved himself a faithful and valuable guide.

The journey to Locust Point was made over the ice with ease, in one day. On the following day Port Clinton or Portage,* as it was then called, was reached. This day's travel was hard on the horses, as the snow was very deep. The train was held close together and the order of the sleighs frequently changed, so that the orses having become weary, breaking the way, were rested in the beaten track in the rear. Upon arrival at Portage the horses were almost exhausted. Maltosh, the guide, anticipated the failure of the horses from exhaustion and on the following morning directed the train to follow his tracks. He assured them that he would be at Lower Sandusky far in advance of the train and
would have, at the mouth of Muskallonge, teams to assist them to the end of the journey. The horses stiffened by two days' travel through the deep snow, entered upon the third day's trial of endurance with reluctance. With frequent changes in the order of travel, the train moved slowly across the head of the bay, and entered the river. The delight of our band of weary travellers, on reaching the mouth of Muskallonge Creek, can be imagined. There a number of fresh teams were in wailing. The effect of finding the
welcoming hand of friendship thus extended far out to them, can only be appreciated, when we remember that these people were strangers in a strange country. They or their ancestors had left European homes made miserable by feudal despotism and unsafe by revolution and invasion. They found habitations in America even less secure, and were now fleeing from a savage foe under command and direction of the hereditary enemy of their mother country. With what delight, therefore, did these discouraged and exhausted refugees receive this token of friendship and promise of protection.

These teams from the fort took most of the load and broke the way. Lower Sandusky was easily reached.

The colony was given quarters in Government barracks durmg the remainder of the winter. In the spring cabins about the fort were occupied, but the forest was full of hostile Indians, and at a signal all were ready to flee into the enclosure. On the 1st of August, 1813, the French families, by order of the Government, were removed to Upper Sandusky. While on the way the sound of Proctor's cannon was heard at Fort Stephenson. The families remained at Upper Sandusky until the conclusion of the war, and were then moved back to Lower Sandusky in Government wagons. During these four years this company of refugees remained together and became warmly attached. They had been wards of the Government during the war, and the able-bodied and only them bore their part bravely in the lines of soldiery. The war having closed, it now became necessary for them to seek homes and earn their own livelihood. We can give further information of but a few individuals and families of the company.

Joseph Cavalier and wife both died at Fort Stephenson before the removal of the company to Upper Sandusky. Their son Albert, who is yet living, and one of the few survivors of the company, was left in charge of his aunt, Mrs. Jaco. Gabriel O'Dett de Lc Point and Thomas De Mars made squatter improvements on the river bank eight miles below Fremont, on the tract since known as the Tucker farm. Mrs. Jaco married Le Point, and Mr. Cavalier was received by Mr. De Mars. Mr. Jaco had died during the progress of
the war. Le Point served as a solder during the war. The sales of 1821 caused serious confusion among all these French squatters. Few of them were prepared to purchase land, and those who had the means did not understand how to profit by the opportunities offered. The land on which Le Point and De Mars had located was purchased by Samuel Cochran and the inhabitants compelled to seek other homes. De Mars purchased a tract on Mud Creek. Three of his sons are living — George in Bay township, Joseph in Rice, and Thomas in Hardin county.

The Bisnette family permanently settled on the farm at the bend of the river, now owned by Mr. Enoch. This farm was the death and burial-place of the parents. The Catholic cemetery is located near the site of their cabin.

Three brothers, Joseph, John, and Peter Mominne, made squatter improvements on the river bank. Peter finally settled in Bay township. Joseph purchased land in Sandusky township, and John, after living within the present limits of Rice for a time, sold his property and removed to Canada.

A member of the company named Minor squatted on Negro Point, and remmained there about two years. He returned to the Maumee.

Charles Fountaine, after remaining at Fremont for a time, located on Peach Island.

Christopher Columbo was a migrating carpenter. His services were not in great demand, as not only houses, but furniture, were constructed in the simplest possible way, mostly of puncheons.

The Devoir family, consisting of five brothers— Peter, Robert, Francis, Jacob, and Alexander — returned to the Maumee. They had been raised among the Indians and were thoroughly familiar with their habits. Peter and Alexander have several times visited their friends about the bay.

Thomas De Mars had been associated with the Indians all his life, and was, therefore, able to interpret their conduct. He was brave, active and trusty, qualities which made him a valuable man for the times. During the war he was selected to carry the mails between Upper Sandusky and Fort Findlay — a dangerous route. He has related rather a stirring incident of one of his trips, which gives an idea of his character. He says:

I saw an Indian crossing the trail some distance in front of me, who seemed to have discovered me about the time I saw him. I was in doubt whether it was one of our few friends among the savages or a "British Indian," as those friendly to England were called. After some sly manoeuvering on part of both of us, I saw the Indian had lost my
whereabouts, while I knew where he was all the time. At length I saw him carefully examine the trail for my tracks, with his eyes close to the ground, as I supposed, to determine whether I had gone past. After watching these movements I became convinced that he was not to be trusted. Being armed with a good rifle and reliable side arms, I
knelt low behind a large tree, and having taken careful aim fired. The Indian fell. When I passed him he was dying. If I ever ran in my life it was then, for I feared other Indians had heard the gun. Finally settling down to a rapid walk Upper Sandusky was reached in good time. A detachment of horsemen brought the dead body to the fort. Our friendly
Indians identified him as a "bad Britisher," and were delighted at what I had done.

The French settlers of Rice were all Catholics, but it was several years after the close of the war before their wild settlement was visited by a priest.

The first mass was held by a Detroit priest named Gabriel Re Shoir. He bore on his face the marks of two heavy blows received in France during the revolution, at the hands of a mob maddened by the cry of "down with the clergy." The reverend father, after administering absolution, promised that a member of the clergy should visit their settlement at
least once a year. This arrangement was not effected until a few years later. A regular congregation was not formed until about the year 1830.

The French settlement did not establish any schools. Their children, however, attended the English schools, one of which was taught by Mr. Forgerson in Sandusky township.


German is an important element in the population of Rice. During the period of early settlement the inhabitants were, with a few exceptions, all French. About 835 the first German families moved into the woods in the western portion, and by that untiring industry which is characteristic of their race, soon had fertile fields in a state of profitable cultivation. Here a large tract of "wild land" offered an opening to the emigrants who were seeking Western homes. From 1840 to 1850 the work of clearing and improving was pushed with the greatest rapidity. We have space to mention only a few of the more prominent of these German families.

John Smith, one of the earliest German settlers of this township, came to America and settled here in 1833. He was born in Germany in 1783, and married there Catharine Ernst, also a native of Baden. They reared a family of seven children, viz.: Catharine, Mary, Elizabeth, John, Christina, Frederick, and Rosannah. Both of the parents died in
1870. Frederick was born in Baden in 1829. In 1852 he married Elizabeth Kiser, a native of France, and in 1877 settled in Sandusky township, where he has a family of eight children — Christina (deceased), Frederick, Caroline, Elizabeth, William, Clara, Amelia, and Edward.

Christian Kline, who was born in Germany in 1790, emigrated to America with his wife in 1837, and settled in this county. After remaining eight months they removed to Lucas county and lived there about three years, after which they returned to this county, and made permanent settlement in Rice. Mr. Kline died in 1855, having survived his wife ten years. Four of their eight children are yet living — Christian lives in Washington township; Louis lives in Monroe county, Michigan; Susan (MuUencup), Lucas county; Andrew, the third son, was born in 1824, and lives in Rice. He married Sarah Ann Krcilick, in 1848. She was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, in 1832. The fruit of this union was thirteen children, nine of whom are living. Mr. Kline served both in the Mexican war and the war of the Rebellion. His children are, Christina (Cillias), Rice township; Louisa (Wolf), Michigan; Susan (Smith), Rice township; Adam, Michigan; John, Rice township; Sarah E. (Greasman), Rice township; Macida C., Mary M., and Andrew W., Rice township.

Henry and Catharine Swint, natives of Germany, had a family of eleven children, three of whom came to this country. Henry, their fourth child, was born in 1814. He married, in 1848, Rosena Reinick, who was born in 1831, in Baden, Germany. Fifteen children have blessed this union, viz: Anthony, Sandusky township; John, Ballville township; Catharine, wife of Frank Zimmer, Fremont; Jacob, Fremont; Joseph, Fremont; Ambrose, Rice township; Mary, wife of Frank Freek, Fremont; Edward, Lizzie, Sarah, Ella, Josephine, Henry, Anna, and Rosa, in Rice township. Mr. Swint is a weaver, and worked at the trade in Germany. He served twelve years in the German army. He came to America and settled in Riley township in 1845, but at the opening of the war with Mexico he joined the army and continued in the service until July, 1848, when he returned to his county, married, and settled down to farming in Rice.

William Seigenthraller was one of the first German settlers of the township. He accumulated a large tract of land.

Gotlieb and Margaret Gnepper had a family of eight children, two of whom, Francis and Ernst, came to this country. Ernst was born in Germany in 1824. In 1853 he married Mary Friar, whose father, Frederick Friar, emigrated from Germany and settled in Woodville township in 1S36. Their family consists of five children, viz: Henry, Angeline,
Frances, Freddie, and John, all of whom are at home, except Angeline, who is the wife of Philip Seigenthraller, of Washington township. Mr. Gnepper has served in various local offices.


A portion of the population in the western part of the township belongs to what is commonly known as "Pennsylvania Dutch." Peter Hettrick settled near the present location of the Lutheran church in 1832. He had a family of eight sons, whose labors have been considerable in reducing the forest. The previous emigrants from Pennsylvania settled further south, but an opening once made, fine farms were soon cleared up. We can mention but a few families.

Michael Smith, a native of France, came to America and settled in Pennsylvania in 1826, at the age of twenty years. After remaining several years he married Margaret Powell, who was also a native of France, having been born there in 1815. They came to Sanndusky county and made permanent settlement in Rice. Fifteen children blessed this union, seven of whom are living, viz.: Elizabeth (Kesser), Sandusky township; Jacob, Rice township; Mary (Seigenthraller), Sandusky township; Micliael, Rice township; John,
Margaret (Wagner), and Kate Gahn, Rice township. John, the fifth child, was born in 1852. In 187 s he married Susan Kline, by whom he has three children — David A.,
Michael I., and Sarah A.

Hugh B. Hineline was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1802, where he married, in 1825, Rebecca Lettig, who was born in 1808. They emigrated to Ohio in 1854, and settled in Rice, where he died in 1871. The family consisted of fourteen children, two of whom lost their lives in the war of the Rebellion. Ten are living, viz.: Anna (Ruth), Ballville; Cyrus M., Freeport, Illinois; Elizabeth (Richards), Fremont; Sarah (Cole), Sandusky township; William H., Rice; Alinda (Furry), Woodville; Hugh E., Rice; Thaddeus, Michigan; R. Emma (Speller), Ballville; and John Franklin, Freeport, Illinois. Abel T. was killed at Kenesaw Mountain in 1864. Simon R, who was in the naval service,
fell from a ship mast off the coast of North Carolina in 1861. Jacob died in 1870, at the age of thirty-nine years. Frances died in childhood. William H. and Hugh E. reside on the homestead. William H. served three years in the army, during which time he was confined six months in Libby prison.


Peleg Cooley was one of the earliest pioneers of the county. He emigrated with his wife, Martha Bassett, from New York to Canada in 1807. In 1815 they came to Fremont, Ohio. Their family consisted of eight children, but one of whom is living — Edmond O. — who was one of the earliest settlers of Rice. In 1835 he married Catherine Ash, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1815. She died in Rice in 1880. Four of their eight children are living: James W., in Kansas; Maggie, in Rice; Rebecca (Irwin), in Ottawa county;
and Jeremiah in Rice. Isaac B., Anna, Isaiah, and Frances J. are dead. Mr. Cooley was one of the first members of the Fremont Methodist church.

Eleazer Willey emigrated from New York to Huron county in 1830 and remained there about three years. He then permanently settled in Rice township, where he died in 1852. His wife died in 1866. Of their family of eight children three are still living — Sarah Ann, wife of O. C. Brunner, in Kansas; Jane, wife of Joseph Fry, in Scott township; and Richard, the oldest son, who was born in New York in 1817. He came to Ohio with his parents, and in 1847 married Harriet Walker, who was born in New York in 1825. They have three childien — Eliza, at home; George W., in Michigan; and Mary E., wife of Wallace Scringer, in Rice.

Thomas Tuckerman, fourth child of Thomas Tuckerman, sr., was born in Virginia in 1809. The following year his parents removed to Maryland, where Thomas lived till 1821, when he came to Seneca county. In 1836 he married Elizabeth Brown, of Melmore, Seneca county, and in 1842 became a resident of this county, his first settlement being in Sandusky township. From there he removed to Rice. His family consisted of fourteen children, seven of whom are living, viz.: John, Orrin, Ann, Charlie, Claridon, Arza B., and Clara Belle, all living in this township, except Ann (Swank), who resides in Fremont. Mr. Tuckerman held the office of county auditor one term.

T. T. Harrison came to Fremont in 1857 from Michigan. He afterwards removed to Hancock county, Ohio, where he married, in 1865, Sarah E. LePoit [?], an [sic] granddaughter of Gabriel LePoint, one of the French colony previously spoken of. He has been a resident of Rice since 1867.

John Cochran was born in Pennsylvania in 1801. He married Margaret Patterson, also a native of Pennsylvania, and moved to Perry county, Ohio, afterwards coming to this county. The family consisted of seven children, four of whom are living, viz: Hannah (Williams), Ballville; Isabella (Jackson), Fremont; Ellen (Mudge), Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Thomas W. Cochran, who was born in Perry county in 1827. In 1869 he married Jane Wright and has a family of three children — John T., Edmund F., and Nettie. Mr. Cochran was engaged in merchandising three years and in the manufacture of woollen goods three years in Erie county. He is now farming in Rice.

 Nathaniel B. Tucker, a native of Massachusetts, was born in 1796. He married in New York, in 1821, Mary A. Ballard. They came to this county in 1839 and settled in Rice, where they still reside in the fullness of their age. Three children are living — N. R.; Mary (Snyder), Ottawa county; Henry H., Rice township. Mr. Tucker is a tanner and
shoemaker. Even at the advanced age of eighty-five he continues to work on the bench mending shoes. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. Nelson R., the oldest son, was born in New York in 1823. He came to this county with his parents and married Miranda Burgoon, by whom he has a family of nine children living, viz.: Martha Ann Margaret; Mary E. (Palish), Sandusky township; Rachel T. (Kleinhans), Ottawa county; Harriet I., Nellie I., (Strouble), Juliet J., Charles G., Lilla V., and John P., Sandusky township. Adeline M., Barrett E., and Morrison M. are deceased. Mr. Tucker followed tanning and shoemaking a number of years, then purchased the farm in Sandusky township where he now resides.


Public worship according to the Catholic ritual was instituted in this township at an early period of the settlement. A meeting-house was built about 1830 on the bank of the Sandusky River, and a lot of ground set apart for burying purposes. Most of the settlers being French the service of the French church was followed.

This congregation was known as "Philemon Church," but in 1870, when a new house was built nearer the centre of the township, the name was changed and a general reorganization effected. The present membership is about fifteen families Two of them are German, the others of French descent. A cemetery beautifully located on the bank of the river marks the site of the old church. This continues to be the public burying-ground.


Methodist worship was instituted among the German families of the southern and central part of the township about 1844. A mission church was built, and a graveyard set apart about that time. The heads of families who formed the class, were Michael Schmidt, Nicholas Younker, John Schmidt, Michael Hulderman, Mr. Paul, Giles Sigroff and Jacob Switzgroer. In 1873 increasing congregations, and the dilapidating effects of time made a new house of worship necessary. The congregation, which numbers about sixty members, is connected with Woodville circuit.


Two societies of this denomination have churches within the limits of the township. Fishing Creek class was organized about 1850. Meetings were held in schoolhouses until about 1860, when a church was built in the southern part of the township. The only two surviving members of the first class are Joseph Lambert and Michael Stull. Fishing Creek is the name of this class.

A class has been organized in the north part of the township, which erected a church near the Ottawa county line in 1881. It is known as "Mud Creek Class." Both societies are connected with Lindsay circuit.


About 1832 the western part of the township began to fill up with Pennsylvanians and Germans, who had been connected wiih the Evangelical Lutheran church. Peter Hettrich and Adam Kreilich were the leading members, and meetings were held at their residences. Rev. Henry Lang, of Fremont, formally organized a society in 1843, and a log church was built in 1844, which accommodated the congregation until 1867, when the present substantial brick house was erected. Rev. Mr. Lang was preacher for more
than forty years, until in 1879 Rev. Mr. Althoff was given charge. During Mr. Lang's pastorate Mr. Thornberry supplied the pulipit one year. The services of the
church are wholly in German, and are well attended by a large membership.


Rice was formerly included in Bay township, but the organization of Ottawa county in 1840 cut off from this county the larger part of Bay, and made the establishment of a new township in Sandusky necessary. The name "Rice" was conferred in honor of Judge Ezekiel Rice, who had been an associate judge of the court of common pleas. He was one of the pioneers on the Portage River, and a man universally respected. His residence was north of the new county line.

The early records of the township have been lost. We are, therefore, unable to give any list of officers.

Public schools under the present law were oiganized in the township in 1851. Six districts were laid out. This number was, in 1880, increased to seven by cutting off a part of districts two and three, and erecting it into a separate district.


In connection with Riley township we have spoken at some length on the subject of sporting. The marsh and adjoining lands in which game abound, and the waters best adapted to fishing, are mainly owned by two sporting clubs, the Winous Point Club and the Ottawa Hunting and Fishing Club. The buildings and chattels of the latter are listed in Rice township.

The founder of this corporation was Louis Smithnight, of Cleveland. He camped on a portion of the ground now owned by the club, during the hunting season of 1869, and at that time conceived the plan of forming an association for the purpose of buying lands, erecting houses, and purchasing equipments. Captain Smithnight's efforts in this direction proved successful in 1871, when an association consisting of seventy-one members was formed. Hone's Point Fishing and Hunting Club, of Cleveland, was the name adopted, and the following officers were chosen: L. Smithnight, president; G. M. Barber, vice-president, O. B. Perdue, secretary; D. H. Keys, treasurer; J. Laisy, surgeon; D. Price, quartermaster; L. Smithnight, T. Stackpole, C. D. Bishop, J. Huntington, and Charles Pease, executive committee.

In 1879 the association was incorporated under the name of Ottawa Hunting and Fishing Club. The by-laws of the association limit the number of members to one hundred. No member is permitted more than once in a year to invite a guest to accompany him to the club grounds, nor can the same guest enjoy the privilege of visiting the grounds more
than once. A permit in each case must first be obtained from the president and executive committee.

Large tracts of land have been purchased at different times in Rice and Riley townships and in Ottawa county, the whole amounting now to about six thousand acres. More than thirty-five hundred acres more have been leased on long time so that the club has under its authority about ten thousand acres, a part of which is under cultivation. This land was purchased at prices ranging from five to fifteen dollars per acre. Shares are worth about one thousand dollars each. The old members have paid into the treasury more than eight hundred dollars each. The current expenses for keeper of the club house, patrol, coal, boats, insurance, taxes, etc., amount to about two thousand dollars a year. The expenses are principally incurred, however, by continued improvements and purchases of land. Many of these improvements are of a substantial character — reducing the land to a state of cultivation, planting orchards, etc. There are on the property more than four thousand fruit trees, some of which are bearing.

A vigilant patrol guards the property against any infringement of the State laws or the rules of the club. The privilege of trapping fur is rented. Any person is allowed to fish in the waters belonging to the club with a hook and line, but seining or netting is rigorously prohibited. No one, not even members of the club, are permitted to engage in shooting of any kind between June 1 and September 15, except on a portion of woodland, where woodcock shooting is permitted to members.

Ever since the organization of the clubs their right to the exclusive privilege of shooting on the waters included within the limits of their several purchases has been a subject of dispute. A decision was finally reached by the supreme court in 188 1, which disposes of the question of riparian rights against sportsman's rights, and is a decision of general interest, not only to the sporting clubs but to owners of property along all the water courses of the county. Under the Legislative act of May 5, 1877, it is provided that:

Whoever, having received verbal or written notice from the owner of enclosed or improved lands, or any lands the boundaries of which are defined by stakes, posts, ditches, or marked trees, his agent or person in charge thereof, not to hunt thereon, shoots at, kills, or pursues with such intent, on such lands, any of the birds or game mentioned in sections twenty-seven, twenty-eight, or thirty of this chapter; and whoever shoots, kills, or pursues with such intent any of such birds or game on the lands of another on
which there is set up in some conspicuous place a board, inscribed in legible English characters, thus: "No shooting or hunting allowed on these premises," or pulls down or defaces any such board, shall be fined, etc.

Among the birds or game mentioned are wild ducks.

John Shannon, on October 29, 1877, as it appears from the pleadings in the case, was duck shooting on the Sandusky River; between the centre of the stream and the
shore owned by George G. Tindall. He shot and killed wild ducks swimming in and flying over the river, between the middle and the shore owned by Tindall, on whose complaint Shannon was arrested. Having been bound to appear and answer the charge in probate court, he was there tried, convicted, and sentenced. On the trial a bill of exceptions, containing all the testimony, was taken, and upon proceedings in error the common pleas court reversed the decision of the probate court. To this decision of the common pleas court the prosecuting attorney took exceptions, and sought the decision of the supreme court. The defence did not deny the shooting of ducks at the place charged
in the complaint, but rested his case on the ground that the river at that place was a navigable stream, and therefore the riparian owner was not protected by this statute against shooting or killing game on land covered by water.

At the same term of the supreme court, in the case of June vs. Purcell, it was decided that the title of the riparian owner extended to the middle or thread of the stream. It followed, therefore, in Shannon's case, that the offence had been committed within the limits of Tindall's land, and was embraced within the liteial meaning of the notice, "No hunting or shooting allowed on these premises."

The court held that while Shannon was not guilty of trespass, a navigable stream being a public highway, he was guilty of a violation of the statute, insomuch as he had shot game on the property of another, contrary to notice. The purpose of the legislature in enacting this statute was to confer upon the owner of lands in this State the exclusive right to hunt and kill the designated game upon his own premises, and to protect him in such right, provided he complies with the prescribed conditions in regard to notice.

And in regard to notice, if the lands be "enclosed and improved," or if the boundaries be "defined by stakes, posts, water courses, ditches, or marked trees," verbal or written notice not to hunt thereon will bring the offender within the operation of the statute.

It was the decision of the court that where a water-course, for instance a navigable stream, constitutes the boundary, if the conditions of the statute with regard to notice have been complied with by the owner, all persons are bound to take notice that his lands extend to the middle of the water-course.

In regard to the claim that the statute was not intended to protect lands covered by the water of navigable streams, a majority of the court held that there was no ground upon which such lands should be excluded. They are as much the subject of private ownership as unnavigable streams. There is no distinction made between them by the terms of the statute. True, navigable streams in this State are declared public highways, but the right to use a public highway is not abridged by protecting the owner in the exclusive right of killing game therein. Travel and commerce are not thereby hindered. Since the power of the legislature to protect game, or the exclusive right of the owner of the land to kill the same on his own premises, is as ample over land covered by water, whether navigable or innavigable, as it is over dry land, and as there is no attempt to distinguish between them in the statute, all alike come within the protection of the statute.

The clubs took a special interest in this case, for upon its decision depended in an important measure the extent of their authority over a large hunting area, to secure which heavy purchases had been made.


*This place was given the name Portage, because it was a custom to land canoes and lift craft there and thence transport them overland a distance of a mile and a half to Sandusky bay.

Source:  History of Sandusky County, Ohio with Portraits and Biographies of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers, by H. Z. Williams & Bro., Homer Everett, (c) 1882, pp. 568-577.