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County Coordinator:
Denise Wells

State Coordinator:
Dale Grimm


SANDUSKY Bay and Erie county on the north, Erie county on the east, York township on the south, and Riley township on the west, form the boundaries of Townsend. It was ordered by the county commissioners at their April session, 1820:

That a township be detached from the town of Croghanville, to be known by the name of "Townsend," bounded as follows: Beginning on the east bank of Green Creek, at the division line between Sandusky and Seneca counties, thence east with said line to the east line of Seneca reservation, thence north along said line until it shall intersect the road leading from Croghanville to Strong's settlement, thence along said road until it shall reach the Huron county line, thence north along said line to Sandusky Bay, thence along the shore of the bay until it shall reach Green Creek, thence along the bank of the creek to the place of beginning.

An old document says there were within this territory at that time more than twenty voters, but their names are not given, and early election records are lost. The establishment of Green Creek in 1822, and Riley in 1823, reduced Townsend to its present size. The first election was held at the house of M. Wilson. The town government of that year was as simple as possible. It was, indeed, little more than a law and order society. The land had not yet come into market, and consequently the principal business of our present official system — the collect ion and expenditure of taxes — was a thing of the future. Indeed, as we shall see further along in this sketch, officers for the protection of personal property were unnecessary, for the citizens took into their own hands the business of inflicting punishments.

Prior to the settlement the southern part of the township was all heavily timbered. Extensive prairies broke the forest in the northern part. These prairies were covered with a heavy marsh grass, interspersed with an occasional branch of a more nutritious variety, which attracted the cows of the early settlers.

The surface slope of the township is uniformly toward the northwest, and a number of small streams flow rapidly in that direction. There is but one mill-site in the township, that being in the eastern part, just below "Rockwell Spring." This spring is the source of the most beautiful stream in the township — a rapid current of clear mineral water.

The most valuable feature of the water supply of Townsend is the under surface currents which are the source of artesian wells. These fountains of cold water, pleasantly tinctured with mineral matter, are found in all parts of the township. The first well was sunk by C. G. Sanford about 1850. Some difficulty was experienced in this operation. After penetrat10ing the surface soil and a stratum of blue clay, quicksand, saturated with water, baffled further progress. Mr. Sanford overcame the difficulty by constructing a casing of stovepipe through the sand to the top of a stratum of hard conglomerate rock. A hole was drilled through this rock, which at that place was about fifteen inches in thickness. The drill being removed the well soon filled with pure water and became the source of a living stream. By means of casing the water was raised high enough to fill a trough. The geological conformation is much the same in all parts of the township, but a number of attempts to obtain wells have failed. The water filling a net-work of fissures seems to be bound down by the stratum of conglomerate above spoken of. When one of these fissures is struck the experiment of obtaining a well never fails. It is possible, however, that after a time a fissure may become clogged, and a well once strong cease to flow. One of the best wells in the township — one on the Beebe farm — became dry after a number of years. A new shaft in the immediate vicinity brought to the surface a strong current.

It is probable that Rockwell Spring and Cold Spring, in Erie county, draw their water from the same source through natural fissures or breaks in this layer of conglomerate or covering of an underground system of currents, whose source is higher than the surface of the soil. The depth of these wells varies from twenty to fifty feet. Some places water can be raised six feet above the surface.

The utility of such a system of waterworks is inestimable. With proper drainage, two or three wells can be made to supply all parts of the farm with fresh, pure water, making stock-raising at once more profitable and easy. It is by no means Utopian to say, that as population grows, and, as a consequence, the profits of agriculture increase, such a system of drainage and water supply will be effected as will render the injury of crops by draught an impossibility.

Only a faint idea can be formed by our own generation of the "appearance of things" before the white man's axe changed the condition of nature. Except in the marshy northern sections, heavy trees united their tops and completely excluded the sun. Smaller trees filled the intervening spaces below, while at many places shrubs and bushes made the forest absolutely impenetrable. Through the central part of the township walnut was the predominating heavy timber; on the ridge further south oak prevailed. Thick grape-vines, with long tendrils, bound the trees together and made it necessary in some instances to cut half a dozen trees before one could be brought to the ground. They finally came down with a crash, crossing each other in every direction. Complete clearings generally were made only where it was designed to erect the cabin. Land was first prepared for crops by cutting the smaller trees, grubbing out the underbrush, and girdling the large trees. This method of clearing saved a great deal of labor. The ^girdled trees soon became dry and were easily burned down during the warm months of the fall. But, although the large trees were not cut down, heavy logs had to be piled together and burned before the plow or cultivator could be used. For ages trees had been growing, dying, then falling and giving place to others. These dead and decaying trunks were lying almost concealed by underbrush.


The first settler in the township was Moses Wilson. He built his cabin on the North ridge in the spring of 1818. When the land came into market, he made a purchase and removed to the west part of the county.

The Townsend family, whose name the township bears, made the second improvement on the present Brush farm, in the spring of 1818. Abraham Townsend emigrated from New York to Canada before the War of 1812. His son, Ephraim K., joined the United States army, which circumstance, together with his known sympathy with his native country, made it not only judicious, but necessary, at the opening of that unfortunate struggle, for the family to return to the States. The war over Mr. Townsend was one among the earliest of the pioneers of Northern Ohio, and in 1818 pushed into the thick and heavy-forest of this county. The place of settlement had possibly been selected, during the war, by Ephraim K. The family, at the time of coming to this county, numbered two sons and five daughters, viz: Ephraim K. and Gamalial, Margaret (Chittendon), Betsey, wife of Addy Van Ness, Mary (Loux), Amy, and Eliza. Mr. Townsend removed to Huron county about 1824, and a few years later to Michigan. Ephraim K. remained in Townsend, where he owned eighty acres of land, until 1826, when he removed to Sandusky City, where he died the following year. Mr. Townsend was the first clerk of the township. He married Rebecca Tew in 1820. The farm was purchased in 1826 by Mr. Tibbals, who died the following year.

The third cabin in the township was built by Mr. Corbit, who never entered land, but left the county when the tract on which he had squatted was sold.

William Tew, sr., built the fourth cabin m November, 1818, and was the only one of these first families who remained to see the country developed and improved. Mr. Tew was born in Massachusetts, but early in life removed to New York, in which State he was married, in 1800, to Susannah Barton. In the spring of 1818 he came west to Erie county; and in the fall of that year erected a cabin, and removed to the woods of Townsend. He had a family of eight children — Rebecca, wife of E. K. Townsend, was the first resident of the township to marry, she died in Indiana in 1876; William settled in Townsend and lived here till 1865, when he removed to Clyde, where he died in 1876; Seth finally settled in Illinois, where he died in 1831; Paul has been a resident of the township since the settlement of the family, except five years, from 1825 till 1830; Robert resides in Sandusky, he lost his eyesight and became lame in boyhood; Hiram died in 1819, and is the first person buried in the Tew cemetery on the North ridge; Permelia married Alonzo Anson, and died in Erie county in 1842; Mary, widow of Samuel Ainsley, lives in Erie county. William Tew, sr., was the first postmaster in the township, and in every way a worthy man; he died in 1842.

Benjamin Barney came to the township about 1822. His brother Wesley had preceded him a short time. Benjamin sold his place to Daniel Rice in 1824.

A. C. Jackson settled in this township on the ridge in 1822. He married Amanda Olds in Huron county in 1818, and at the time of settlement in this township the family consisted of two children. Ten children were born in this county. Eight came to maturity, and seven are still living. Mr. Jackson died October 24, 1865, aged exactly seventy-one. Their cabin was the first house of entertainment in the township. Mrs. Jackson was one of the most useful women in the pioneer settlement. Her kindness and skill in the treatment of disease is gratefully remembered by those of the pioneers of that community yet surviving. She lives in Clyde.

The prairie in the north part of the township had squatter settlements at an early day. Charles Baker and Levi Chapman lived at the mouth of Little Pickerel Creek, Fred Chapman and his brother on Rush prairie, and William Poorman a little farther to the south, before 1822.

The Winters family made an early settlement in this part of the county. Christian Winters was a native of Maryland, which State he left on account of anti-slavery ideas, and removed to Canada.

At the opening of the War of 1812 he volunteered in the Federal army, and in 1817 the family settled in Erie county (then Huron). A few years later the family, consisting of Daniel, Benjamin, and John, came to this township and engaged in stock raising.

Ann Winters was born in Canada in 1801. She came to Erie county, thence to Townsend with the family, and, in 1829, married Samuel Kidwell, by whom she had two children, both of whom are dead. Mr. Kidwell died in 1832. She afterwards married Lyttle White, by whom she has had one child, Benjamin.

Silas Freese was born in Ogdensburg, Canada, in 1805, and came to Sandusky county with his father, John Freese, in 1821. The family consisted of four children, one of whom is living — Hannah (Barney), in Illinois. John Freese was a native of New York, whence he emigrated to Canada. Silas Freese, in 1836, married Eliza Reed, by whom he has eight children living, viz: James L., Townsend; H. J., Downing, Michigan; Ira, Erie county; Isaiah, Ottawa county; Lydia (Rodgers), Ottawa county; William D., Alice (Cowell), and Elmina, Townsend. Two of the sons were killed in the army — George, wounded at Chickamauga, and died in prison at Atlanta; John, killed in the battle of Altoona. Silas Freese died in the spring of 1881.

Azariah Beebe removed with his family from New York to Huron county in 1816, and about 1824 came to this township. They had eight children, the youngest of whom, Ethan, was born in this county. Those born before coming to this county were: Diadama (Snow), Almira (McCord), William, James, Harriet R., Aaron, and Enoch. Azariah Beebe died December 12, 1834; his wife, Mary (Ryan) Beebe, died December 11, 1864. Aaron died in 1840, Almira in 1841, and William in 1857. The remaining members of the family all reside in this township. The Beebes were the first settlers in the neighborhood of Rockwell Spring. Harriet R. lives on the old homestead.

James Beebe was born near the mouth of Huron River, in 1816. He married Mary Jane Green in 1839, and by her had one child, George A., now living in California. In 1841 he married Susannah Crandall. The fruit of this marriage is seven children living — Mary J., Nathan M., Rebecca (Black), Ethan A., Frank, Fred, and Harriet A. Mr. Beebe has held various township offices.

Orlin Selvey, who died February 5, 1881, was born in Tompkins county, New York, December 24, 1811. He moved with his father's family to Huron county, and resided there eleven years. There the father died. The widow, with three sons and one daughter, came to Townsend township about 1824, and here Orlin Selvey lived the remainder of his life. In 1840 he married Harriet Greenman, of Townsend. They had one child, Sanford, who now lives in the township, a solace to his widowed mother. Orlin Selvey was the only survivor of his father's family. He served three terms and a part of the fourth as justice of the peace. He was a man of excellent character. Sanford Selvey was born August 5, 1841. He married Anna R. McNitt, of Townsend. They have four children — Manly Clay, Guy McNitt, Hattie Deborah, and Edith Alvina.

Robert Wallace and Mary, his wife, came to Ohio in 1826, from Pennsylvania. Their children were: John Wallace, now residing in Yazoo City, Mississippi; Sarah (McCord), who died in Townsend; and Mrs. Eliza Murtz, still living. After the death of Mr. Wallace his widow married Thomas Fleming, and had four children — Thomas, William, Robert, and George.

All lived and died in Townsend except William, who died in Mississippi. Eliza Wallace, the only representative of this family now living in this county, was married, in 1831, to David White, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1812, and moved to Townsend township in 1826. Mr. White died in 1844. His home was the Smith farm, in the southeast corner of the township. There were seven children — David A., John W., Mary, Sarah Ann, Esther E., Charles W., and Harriet S. Of these three are living — Sarah Ann (Ream) and Esther E. (McCarty), Townsend, and Harriet (Close), Erie county. Mrs. White married again, in 1848, Christopher Murty, a native of Ireland. He died in 1874, at the age of sixty-seven. Mr. Murty was an active business man and a most worthy citizen.

Ebenezer Ransom was an early settler in the north part of the township, and was the first justice of the peace.

Addy Van Nest was a local preacher and evangelist. He did not remain Long in the township. He settled in the West.

The old Lemmon farm was first improved by the Putnam family. Mrs. Putnam was a widow. Her son was a young man, and took charge of the clearing operations.

Josiah Holbrook emigrated from New York to Huron in 1816, and six years later came to Townsend, where he engaged in the manufacture of potash, a common employment of the time, and one of the few industries productive of ready cash.

Samuel Love came to Townsend in 1822. He was a peaceable and industrious Irishman, who was highly esteemed. He lived on the North ridge.

Benjamin Widener was a Pennsylvanian who came to Huron county, and from there to Sandusky county in 1822. His brother, Cornelius, came about the same time. Cornelius adopted the Indian method of grinding corn in a stump. A stump of hard wood was selected, and by burning and chopping hollowed out, forming a mortar, in which the corn was placed. A section of the body of an iron-wood tree was raised by means of a spring-pole, and allowed to drop with its end on the corn in the stump. In this way a strong man could crack enough corn in one day to last the family a week. Owing to the scarcity and incapacity of mills, it was a handy machine to have, for frequently the good woman of the house had her patience sorely tried hearing the children cry for bread while the man of the household was waiting for his turn at seme distant mill.

Joseph McCord and his brother stopped in Huron county, where they had a cabin, and kept bachelor's hall, until one day the lonely sleeping shed caught fire and burned. Joseph then came to Townsend, and, like a good settler, married a wife, improved a farm, and raised a family.

Harry Snow married Diadama Beebe and settled in Townsend. His father was one of the best fiddlers in Erie county. Speaking of a fiddler calls to mind the enthusiastic dance of pioneer days, when, in the language of one of the girls of that period, "our dresses were shorter and our steps higher than nowadays." A dance was the usual happy conclusion of a log-rolling, raising, or quilting. Carpet-rag sewings were few, for few people had carpets or rags enough to make a carpet out of.

If a man had logs to pile up preparatory to burning or a building to raise, his neighbors were given notice of the fact, and all for miles around (for the word neighbor in pioneer history has a wide meaning) came to his assistance, bringing with them their wives, daughters and sisters to do the cooking and put in the odd hours at sewing, weaving, or perchance cheering the success of favorite beaux in the many trials of strength which were constantly going on in the clearing. The day usually closed with wrestling matches, lifting contests or other trials of strength and agility. The victories of strong and active men were rewarded by the loving smiles of honest women who were always ready to encourage with hand and heart, and were willing not only to lighten but to take upon themselves a fair share of the burdens of the times. On one of these gala days, which combined work with fun, as soon as darkness had driven day away, all the young people repaired to the place of dancing, to the cabin or a stand erected for the purpose, but in either case the floor was made of split puncheons. This sort of a floor had one recommendation, it was firm; but on account of roughness would be badly calculated for the graceful, gliding waltz of the present generation. Indeed, when we picture the conditions, we cease to wonder why the "women stepped higher" than now, when dancing is done on waxed floors. The round dance was a movement unthought of, but they performed all sorts of figures in the catalogue of square dancing. Those movements requiring most exertion were the most popular. The walk around quadrille of today is looked upon by the women and men of the old school as a silly performance, and perhaps it is. The "French Four," "Virginia Reel," and other similar exercises were participated in with an enthusiasm which would have been destructive to settings, bracelets, or lace sleeves, had the ladies worn them. But plain homespun, or in exceptional cases calico dresses, constituted the ladies' costumes. Wooden stays took the place of corsets, and the feet rested upon broad soles and heels. When the surrounding forest had echoed and re-echoed the inspiring notes of the violin and the clatter of joyful feet, till long after wolves had ceased their midnight howls, the party, tired of pleasure broke up, and all quietly followed woodland paths to cabin homes.

Daniel Rice, one of the earliest pioneers along the Sandusky River, and an early settler of Townsend, was born in Clarendon, Vermont, March 29, 1792. At the age of thirteen he went to New York, and served in the War of 1812,in Captain John Dix's company, New York militia. At the close of the war, in company with an older sister, he came to Ohio and located for a time in Franklin county, near Columbus. In 1819 he came to the Sandusky Valley, about eight miles below Fort Ball. He was a justice of the peace in 1820, and solemnized the first marriage recorded in Sandusky county, October 24, 1820, the parties being West Barney and Sophronia Wilson. Mr. Rice married, December 14, 1820, at Lower Sandusky, Anna Barney, a native of Berkshire county, Massachusetts. In 1825 they settled in Townsend, on the farm on which Mrs. Rice now lives, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years. They had seven children, four of whom are living. Daniel Rice died May 13, 1872.

M. B. Rice, son of Daniel Rice, was born in Townsend township in 1831. Before he married he spent fourteen years of his life in California, where he was engaged in mining. In 1868 he married Mrs. Anna (Hathaway) Rice, widow of Daniel Rice, jr. She was born in Scott township in 1838. They have two children — Thaddeus Waldo and DeWitt Clinton. Mr. Rice has a good farm and is a successful farmer. He dwells upon the old Rice farm.

Purdy and Warner Smith were early settlers of the township. Warner was a single man and lived with his brother Purdy until after the death of Tibbols, when he married the widow. He had been a magistrate in Huron county (now Erie), and was a practical joker.

James Lemmon, sr., was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, July 17, 1779. In 1800 he removed to New York, and in 1805 married Rebecca Blake, a native of Connecticut. In 1827 he came to Ohio and settled on the North ridge in Townsend, where he died May 7, 1854. His wife died March 29, 1855. The family consisted of five sons and two daughters. Mathew M. was born in Livingston county, New York, in 1812. He came to Sandusky county with the family in 1827, and still resides on the farm on which his father settled. He married Sarah McIntyre in 1848 and has a family of four children — Frank married Hannah Kellor, and lives on the homestead; Harvey married Bessie Nearkoop, and lives in Townsend; Etta, wife of Luther Wilt, resides in Townsend; George is unmarried.

Albert Guinall, a son of James Guinall, settled in Townsend, where his son still lives.

John Bush came from New York with his family in 1827 and settled in Townsend township. The family consisted of five sons, viz: Fenner, Medina, Michigan; J. B., Clyde; Edwin, deceased; N. W. Clyde and A. L., Ottawa county.

After 1830 the township filled up so rapidly that it is impossible to give the names of more than a few of the more prominent and influential settlers.

Alpheus McIntyre, a native of New York, settled in Townsend in 1830. The maiden name of his wife was Lois Sanford. He had been deputy sheriff of Hamilton county, and in this county served as associate judge of the court of common pleas. He was one of the early school-teachers and magistrates of Townsend. He married, for his second wife, Mrs. Sally Curtis, nee Cleveland, who was the first school-teacher in the township.

Nathan and Sidney Crandall came to the township about 1830. Nathan was a sailor and spent only his winters here with his brother, Sidney, who owned a farm and had a family.

A man named Lyon lived on Pickle street soon after the road bearing that name was laid out. A little ill-feeling between him and Mr. Smith about a piece of meat gave the road its name.

Zelotes Parkhurst was a native of Vermont. He spent his early life in some of the Southern States, and subsequently in New York. In 1828 he married Lois Stevens, of Livingston county. New York, and in 1830 came to Ohio, settling on a farm in Townsend township, where he died, January 2, 1844. The three sons, W. T., J. S., and Phineas W., all served in the army. Phineas W. married, in 1869, Miss S. Z. Richards, of Townsend, and is now cashier of the Clyde bank. Zelotes Parkhurst laid out and donated to the public the Parkhurst cemetery, in which his remains repose.

Phineas Stevens was born in Massachusetts, in 1754. He served in the war of the Revolution, and afterwards settled in New York. In 1830 he came to Ohio and settled in this township, where he died in 1840. His wife survived him two years.

The Whitmore family settled in this township on the Wadsworth farm in 1830. George and Margaret were the names of the parents. The children who came with them were Rachel, born in 1804; Janet, born in 1814; and John. Rachel married Holcomb Allen, and died at Port Huron, Michigan. Janet married Benjamin Winters, and died in this township. John Whitmore was born in Leicester, Livingston county, New York, May 29, 1816, and came to Ohio with his parents in 1837. He married Marcia (Swift) Chapman. They had only one child, now living, Ann J., the wife of Walter Davlin. Mr. Whitmore became a most successful business man and a very prominent citizen. He died January 1, 1881.

The Beaghler family settled in this county in 1831. E. Beaghler, still a resident of Townsend, was born in Perry county, Ohio, in 1826. In 1845 he married Lavina Morse, by whom he had five children, three of whom are living — Nancy (Batsole), Michigan; Mary (Young), Ballville; and Amelia (Thompson), Townsend. He married for his second wife, in 1858, Caroline Jackson. One child is the fruit of this union, Anson J., living in Townsend. Mrs. Beaghler was a daughter of A. C. Jackson, one of the early settlers in Townsend.

Hezekiah Higley, who is still living in Townsend township, was born in Massachusetts in 1790, April 6. When eleven years old, he went to New York State, whence he emigrated to Portage county, Ohio, from there to Erie county, and in 1832, to his present abode. In 1815 he married Jerusha Clark, who was born in Berkshire county in 1794, and died in Townsend township in 1876. She was the mother of ten children, four of whom are living: Laura, wife of Cyrus Daniels, Riley; Anson, Hudson, Michigan; William, Hessville; and Orson, Townsend.

Simeon Haff was born in the State of New York in 1769. At the age of thirty he married Betsey Lyon, of the same State. In the spring of 1830 he came West, settled in Townsend, and passed the remainder of his days here. He died October 10, 1841. Mrs. Haff died March 18, 1852, aged sixty-six. The family comprised five sons and six daughters. Four sons and two daughters are living — Hiram, Clyde; Israel, Indian Territory; Francis, Michigan, and Cyrus in Riley township. William, the third son, lived and died in this township, and brought up a family.

Two of his sons are living. The surviving daughters of Simeon Haff are Mrs. Sarah Bennett, Clyde, and Mrs. Elizabeth Tyler, Michigan.

Hiram Haff, oldest son of Simeon Haff, was born in Livingston county. New York, December 16, 1812, at which time his father was serving in the war. He came with his parents to this county, and resided upon the old place until 1854, when he moved to York township. About two years ago he moved to Clyde, his present residence. July 4, 1836, he married Cynthia Avery, of this county. She died in December, 1876. They reared six sons and three daughters, who are now located as follows: Sanford, Wyandotte, Kansas; Edwin, Lenawee county, Michigan; Elisha, Reuben and Fred, Townsend; and Hiram B., York. The daughters: Mrs. Melinda Lewis, Townsend; Mrs. Betsey Whitaker, Henry county; and Mrs. Belle Heffner, Clyde.

Elisha Haff was born in 1844. In 1871 he married Eliza Fuller, and has four children: Myrtie, Elver, Zedie, and Mabel.

Reuben Haff was born in Townsend township in 1846. In 1867 he married Laura Crippen, and has two children living — Ortiff and Elisha.

Fred Haff was born in Townsend in 1852. He married Eva Plumb, of this township, in 1875, and has two children — Edith and Claude.

H. A. Sanford was born in Ontario county, New York, March 4, 1822. He came to Ohio with his parents in 1832, and settled in Townsend township, his present residence. In 1853 he married Mary Rice, daughter of Daniel and Ann Rice, of this township. To them have been born three children — Merritt, who married Mary Beebe, daughter of Enoch and Jane Beebe, and resides in Townsend; Alma L., the wife of Eugene Winters, Eaton Rapids, Michigan; and Jennie, Townsend. Mr. Sanford has held several offices, such as treasurer, trustee, etc.

G. W. Sanford, son of Zachariah and Mary Sanford, was born in Townsend township, February 2, 1840. He lived at home until he began work for himself In 1863 he married Miss Adaline Hawkins, daughter of Hiram Hawkins, of Townsend. He has been residing on his present farm since 1868. Politically Mr. Sanford is a Republican.

James Lewis removed from Ontario county. New York, in 1833, and settled in the northeast corner of Townsend. He retired from the farm some time since and is now living at Clyde.

Benjamin Hooper, another of the settlers of 1833, was born in Devonshire, England, in 1787. He emigrated to America in 1833 and settled in Townsend the same year. His family consisted of four daughters and one son.

Edward Chambers, a native of Ireland, removed from Boston, Massachusetts, and settled in Townsend township on the farm now occupied by Andrew Smith, in 1845. He married Mary Hooper, who is still living at Clyde. Three of their children are living — F. R. Chambers in Townsend, A. B. Chambers, Hannibal, Missouri, and Mary A. Chambers, Clyde. Edward Chambers died in March, 1879. F. R. Chambers was born in Townsend township in 1847. He married, November 1, 1880, Annie Mahr, daughter of G. P. and Anna M. Mahr, of this township.

Isaiah Golden was born in Pike county, Pennsylvania, in 1819. In 1823 his father removed to Wayne county, Ohio, and thence to Huron county. Mr. Golden, in 1840, came to this county and settled in Townsend township. He married for his first wife, Lucy H. Gifford. For his second wife he married Sarah Ann Short. The fruit of this marriage is four children living — Seth, Townsend township; Polly Ann (Burr), Putnam county; Ora and Eva, Townsend. Names of children deceased — Franklin, Delilah, Jeremiah and Edward.

Z. P. Brush was born at Danbury, Connecticut, in 1816. His father's family soon after removed to New York, whence Z. P. emigrated to Erie county, Ohio, in 1836, and in 1841 married Almira Tibbals. He removed to Townsend the next spring, and settled on the farm on which Abraham Townsend had made the first improvement in the township. After Townsend removed, this farm was owned by Zeno Tibbals, the father-in-law of Mr. Brush. The Brush family consists of five children living — Z. T., commercial traveller; Joseph B., Townsend; Mildred (Nichols), Kansas; James Z. and Allie, Townsend.

The White family settled in Townsend township about 1843. Lytle White was a native of the State of New York. He married, in Townsend, Mrs. Ann Kittle, nee Winters, who still survives him. To them was born Benjamin L., who now resides in this township. By her former marriage Mrs. White had one child, Mary, deceased. Mrs. White was born in Canada in 1799.

Charles W. White was born in Prussia, in 1840. In 1848 he came to Sandusky county with his father, and in 1865 married Catharine Wahl. Three children are living — Charles F., William R., and Ella. Mr. White was elected to the office of infirmary director in 1878, and has also served his township as trustee.

Joseph Miller, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Ohio in 1830, and settled in Townsend township. In 1864 he married Caroline Wadsworth. Four children of this union are living — J. Henry, Anna, Addie, and Bertie. Joseph Miller died in March, 1881, aged sixty-eight years.

W. W. Fuller, son of David Fuller, and grandson of the venerable William Fuller, was born in this township in 1847. In 1873 he married Clara Stone, and has a family of two children, Raymond and Zella. Mr. Fuller has filled the offices of township assessor, trustee, and treasurer.

Walter Davlin was born in Erie county in 1833, his father having been one of the pioneers in that part of the State. In 1862 he married Ann J., daughter of John Whitmore, and four years later settled permanently in this township. His children are: William, Marcia, Sadie, Margaret, and Ann J. Mrs. Davlin had two children by a former marriage, Carrie and John. Mr. Davlin is postmaster at Whitmore Station.

Giles Ray removed from Erie to Sandusky county in 1866, a few months before he had married Sophia Brown, the fruit of which union is four children — Scott, Jesse, Sophia, and Eva. Mr. Ray served three years in the army, being mustered out as a corporal. Giles Ray is son of Alexander Ray, now living in Clyde. Giles was born in Erie county in 1841. Mrs. Ray is a native of the same county, and was born in 1844. Her father, Orlando Brown, still resides in that county.

James Black was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, in 1835. In 1861 he enlisted in the Seventeenth Ohio, and served three and one-half months. He settled in this county in 1865.

Manasseh Prentice was born in Erie county, Ohio, in 1827. He is a son of Levi and Mary Prentice. Levi Prentice was born in Madison county. New York, in 1801; died in Erie county, Ohio, in 1834. His wife, Mary Hartwell, was born in Canada in 1808; died in 1872. Manasseh was the oldest of their five children. He married Elizabeth W. Barnes in 1846, and resided in Erie county until 1867, when he became a resident of Townsend. There are seven children living — Maria A. (Hamilton), Mary E. (Hersey), Alice W. (Norman), Henry N., D. B., Olive J. B., and Nellie G.


The 11th of April, 1834, is memorable in the annals of Green Creek and Townsend townships. Warm thunder-showers interspersed by intervals of hot sunshine had prevailed during the day, until about the middle of the afternoon, when a cloud of midnight blackness overhung the thick forest in the neighborhood of Green Creek. As this huge mass of blackness approached the earth, trees surged, then reeling fell, some twisted to pieces, others torn from the ground. Like a great ball, it rolled in a northeasterly direction. The rugged trees of the forest for a moment seemed to offer resistance to its progress, then snapped and were broken like bone between the lion's teeth. Smaller trees and shrubs bowed obeisance to the passing giant, but were crushed beneath the ruins of their stronger neighbors. The earth trembled and trees bowed down for half a mile on either side of its path.

The course was on across the pike and down through Townsend crossing the North ridge road near the county line. Its path proper was less than a quarter of a mile wide, although the effect of the storm was traceable for half a mile on either side. Not a tree was left standing in the path, but shattered timber lying in every direction covered the ground. One cabin was scattered and its pieces carried on the bosom of the winds. The roof of one house on the ridge, although not in direct line of the storm, was blown off, and the good house-wife's feathers filled the air like snow in a winter storm.

The tornado fortunately did not pass over a thickly settled portion of country. So far as is known but one life was lost — that of Mr. Keiser, of Townsend. Stephen Gillett had his arm broken by a falling tree. He was holding to a stump to keep from blowing away, when a limb struck his extended arm. The movement of the black cloud was very rapid, and its demonstrations caused great excitement. The date we have given is from the diary of a trustworthy lady who still lives in Townsend.


A curious episode of early times in Townsend was the treatment of a thief who entered the cabin of Mr. A. C. Jackson, carried out some clothing and the gun, and left the house in danger of being burned. Mr. Jackson was away from the house and Mrs. Jackson was out on the farm, when a stranger, who had the night before been the recipient of the household's hospitality, entered and committed the crime spoken of On Mrs. Jackson's return she aroused the neighborhood. The woods were carefully searched and the man found, but the gun and bundle of clothes, which included all the spare wearing apparel of both members of the family, were not so easily found. The culprit was asked to tell where the missing articles could be found, with the understanding that restoration should requite the crime. The place of the gun's concealment was truthfully described, but not so with the clothing. The neighbors, exasperated with this deception, again seized the robber, and with cudgels and switches began to inflict punishment. To free himself from torture, the thief again, although not yet willing to tell the truth, deceived his executioners, who retaliated by plying their cudgels with heavier strokes to his body, already bruised to blackness.

The whipping in this wise continued for more than an hour, the poor man suffering excruciating torture all the time. At last he was released on the promise of working for Mr. Jackson in the clearing to the value of the stolen property. This arrangement was effected largely through the intervention of William Tew, who adjudged the man crazy, and insisted on his release. The thief worked for a few days according to contract, but soon became tired of the clearing and was never seen afterwards. The goods were sometime after found in Huron county.


The first road laid out "through the township followed the ridge from the Cold Creek mill, and intersected the pike at Hamer's tavern. Stages followed this road to Sandusky, and made the cabin of A. C. Jackson an intermediate stopping place. Addy Van Nest also kept public house at which the stage occasionally "put up."

There was another road through the township further north cut out just so wagons could be drawn through during the War of 1812.

The first sermon was preached by Harry O. Sheldon in the Jackson neighborhood. Services were occasionally held after this under direction of Methodist circuit riders.

The first cemetery was laid out by William Tew, sr., on his farm.

The first school was taught in an unfinished log house in the south part of the township by Miss Sally Cleveland.

The first permanent school-house was built on the Lemmon farm about 1826.

Rachel Mack taught a summer school at Beebe's, which was attended by the children of that neighborhood. She also did such needlework as the simple wants of the pioneer mothers required.

An early marriage was solemnized by Ebenezer Ransom, the first justice of the peace, which, on account of the brevity and directness of the ceremony reflects credit upon that honorable magistrate. Mr. Putnam, accompanied by his betrothed entered the homely cabin, and after announcing their errand were joined according to the following formula: "Do you take this here woman for your wife?" "Yes," was the reply. "Do you want this here man for your husband?" The bride, whose costume was beautifully simple, sighed a faltering "Yes." "You're married," was the squire's blunt conclusion. The parties most interested seemed to doubt the fact, however, and held the floor, when the justice, to end the matter, said: "See here, you may think that business short but it's done just as right as if it took half an hour."

The pioneers in Townsend or elsewhere had great difficulty to secure the cash necessary to purchase such articles as could not be obtained in exchange for farm products. Furs always commanded ready money, and in consequence the woods and marshes were thoroughly searched during the killing season. The manufacture of black salt or potash was the only profitable use of timber in that early day, and Mr. Richardson, Mr. Holbrook, and others, who had kilns found the industry profitable. Black salt always sold for cash in the market at Milan.

Hogs were generally fattened in the woods on acorns and nuts.

Each settler owning stock had a peculiar "ear mark," which was registered in a book kept for the purpose by the township clerk. It was against the law for any one to kill marked animals of any kind. But hogs frequently strayed away and were lost. Young pigs as they grew became wild and even dangerous; these it was allowable to kill, being classed as "wild hogs." An old settler declared to the writer that he would rather meet a bear in the woods than an enraged wild boar. They fought with that dumb determination which makes even a weak enemy formidable.

The practice of allowing cows to pasture in the weeds has been the cause of distressing misery and sickness in Townsend, both on the east and west sides. Milk-sickness was, during the early settlement, a disease wholly beyond the control of physicians. Even Indian remedies were employed, but to no purpose, for the wisest of the tribes could not cure their own strong and vigorous kin when afflicted with this dread disease. We do not mean to convey the idea that the disease was in all cases fatal. Many recovered, but in almost every case with enfeebled constitutions.

Other diseases greatly afflicted the pioneers and retarded the progress of improvement. Decaying logs were throwing off poisoned vapors, and stagnant pools, formed by fallen timbers damming the natural water channels, became malaria fountains. But in this respect Townsend was no worse than other parts of the county. Since tame grasses have taken the place of wild herbs and plowed fields occupy the soil once covered by damp forest, milk sickness has become a disease known only in tradition, and the general health of the township is good.

The first marriage in the township was that of Rebecca Tew and Ephraim K. Townsend.

The first barn in the township was built by Zeno Tibbals on the farm now owned by Z. P. Brush.

A collection of houses on the ridge road became known as "Coopertown," taking its name from the occupation of the Starks family, by whom one of the houses was occupied. They carried on the coopering business on an extensive scale. But coopering was not the only industry carried on at this hamlet. William Willis had a shoe-shop, and William Wales had a wagon-maker's shop. Goods of a general character were sold here by Benjamin Bacon and William Willis.

This village ceased to thrive after the completion of the railroads in 1852.

Townsend post office was established in 1824 with William Tew, sr., in charge as postmaster. In 1853, after the completion of the Cleveland, Sandusky & Cincinnati railroad, the office was removed to the neighborhood of York Station and placed in charge of Josiah Munger. Whitmore Station was made a post-office with Walter Davlin in charge upon the completion of the Sandusky extension of the Lake Erie & Western railroad. York Station is a small hamlet on the Cleveland, Sandusky & Cincinnati railroad near the center of the township. Here, as almost everywhere else, religious worship was instituted by the Methodists. Harry O. Sheldon and other circuit riders preached to the Townsend people as early as 1824. The first church was built by the Methodists, in 1848, with Daniel Wilcox as circuit preacher. The meeting-house stands on the North ridge road.

There is a society of United Brethren in the north part of the township. Circuit preachers and supplies have held service in the school houses in that community for many years, but no house of worship was built till 1870.

Biographical Sketches.


Zachariah Sanford, father of the Sanfords of this county, and a Townsend pioneer, was born near Saybrook, Connecticut, in the year 1790. At the age of eighteen he left Connecticut, with his widowed mother, and settled in Madison county, New York. He married Mary P. Mantor, who was born in Massachusetts in 1798. The newly-wedded couple settled on a farm in Ontario county, New York, which was their home till the fall of 1832, when, with their family, they removed to Ohio, and settled in this township. Mr. Sanford purchased an eighty acre lot entirely covered with native forest. The father and sons made an opening for a log cabin upon their arrival, and during the winter prepared a tract for spring crops. On this farm Mr. Sanford lived until his death, which occurred May 6, 1862. His wife, Mary Sanford, died March 17, 1868. They reared a family of seven children — five sons and two daughters.

Elias M. was born July 17, 1817. He died in Townsend township May 31, 1843, leaving a wife and one child.

Carmi G. was born December 28, 1818.

Henry A. was born March 4, 1820. He married Mary Rice, daughter of Daniel Rice, and lives on the homestead farm.

Sally M. was born December 27, 1826.

William B. was born April 7, 1828. He resides in Riley township.

Almira was born July 10, 1832. She was married to Samuel H. Tibbals, and died without issue.

George W. was born February 2, 1839. He resides in Townsend township.

Zachariah Sanford was a man of quiet temperament, unobtrusive and hospitable. In his family he was kind and indulgent; in intercourse and dealing with his neighbors he avoided anything like conflict. It has been said of him that he died without an enemy.

Mrs. Mary Sanford was an excellent mother. She was a woman of deep religious convictions, being in this respect like his mother, who made her home for many years in the Sanford residence.

Bible reading was especially encouraged in the family. Carmi G., while a boy, was given a sheep as a prize for having read the entire Bible through.

Carmi G. Sanford was in his fourteenth year when the family removed to Ohio. His educational advantages in New York were limited, and in this county still more meagre. He worked industriously on his father's farm until young manhood. His first purchase of land was a tract of forty acres, which he still owns. He married, March 9, 1844, Lydia Allyn, and settled on a farm, for which he traded three years before. Only a small portion of this farm, located three-fourths of a mile north of his present residence, was cleared. The cabin was made entirely of logs and puncheons, except one door, which was made of the boards of a store-box. In this cabin they lived, for about ten years. Mr. Sanford removed to his present residence in 1863, retaining possession of the old farm. By economy and industry he has accumulated real estate, until at present he owns four hundred acres of well-improved land. Mr. Sanford has always been an advanced farmer, keeping pace, in methods and machinery, with the times. In politics he has been active, and is looked upon as a leader. A Whig by inheritance, he became a Republican from principle. During the war he spent time and money in the encouragement of enlistments and support of the families of soldiers in the field. When the One Hundred and Sixty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry was formed, Mr. Sanford was chosen captain of the largest company, C, composed of volunteers from Riley and Townsend townships. At the regimental organization at Fremont, he was chosen to the position of lieutenant-colonel, and Nathaniel, a brother of William E. Haynes, was elected colonel. Through the caprice of Colonel Wiley, Mr. Sanford was dismissed before being mustered into the service.

Since the war Mr. Sanford has remained an active Republican, by which party he was elected to the offices of county infirmary director and county commissioner.

He had previously served his township as clerk and justice of the peace. He is a member of Clyde Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and of Erie Commandery No. 23, located at Sandusky.

Mrs. Sanford is the daughter of Isaac and Permelia Allyn, and was born March 20, 1828. Isaac Allyn was born in Connecticut, September 21, 1786. He left home at the age of eighteen years, and settled, after travelling to various places, in Erie county. About 1820, in company with Jonas Gibbs, he came to this county, and settled on the prairie in the north part of Riley township. He raised horses and cattle for market, frequently making large sales. He also engaged largely in raising hogs, and in pork packing. Mr. Allyn made his home in the Gibbs' family for a few years, and then kept bachelor's hall in a cabin on his own place until he was married, which event took place June 12, 1827.

Permelia Allyn, daughter of Cyrus Downing, was born June 24, 1795, in Windom county, Connecticut. Before she was two years old her parents removed to New York, where they lived till 1800, at which time they came to Ohio and settled near Huron.

On account of Indian hostilities, the family was compelled to leave this new home and take refuge in the fort at Cleveland. Permelia married, in April, 1813, Jeremiah Daniels. About twenty families lived at Huron at this lime. They were compelled by hostile Indians to leave their homes nine times during one year. Mr. Daniels having deceased, Permelia married Isaac Allyn, in 1827. The fruit of this union was three children — Lydia (Sanford), born March 20, 1828; Isaac M., born February 8, 1832, living in Riley township; and Permelia (Sanford), born November 6, 1837, died June 25, 1881.

Isaac Allyn died January 30, 1839. Mrs. Allyn survived him many years, the date of her death being September 18, 1874. She was a hard worker, and a woman of good business ability. She carried on her husband's stock business for several years after his death. One year she salted with her own hands more than one hundred barrels of pork. Mrs. Allyn, during the last year and a half of her life, made her home with her daughter Lydia.

Mrs. Sanford is naturally a happy and cheerful woman. She takes great interest in the welfare of her family. Her home is one of the most attractive in the county.

Mr. and Mrs. Sanford have had seven children, three of whom are living — Mary P., born April 24, 1846, died in infancy; Winfield Scott, born August 16, 1847, married Eliza McCartney, and has three children, resides in Sandusky; Flora A., born February 3, 1850, married James Gaw, died February 28, 1872; Morgan C., born July 25, 1861, resides at home; Kate L., born November 7, 1864, died March 1, 1868; Haltie M., born January 24, 1868, lives at home; Charles G., born January 24, 1871, died October 6, 1872.


On another page will be found a good likeness of one of the few pioneers now living. One by one he has seen the first settlers carried to their long home, old and young, grave and gay, strong and feeble, from the gray-haired grandsire to the tottering infant. Yet he remains, almost the "last of a noble race," — the heroic race of pioneers.

Jason Fuller was born in Connecticut, May 24, 1767. He moved to Massachusetts when quite a young man, and settled in what is now Franklin county. There he married Philanda Taylor and resided until 1816, when he moved with his family to Ontario county (now Livingston county), New York, where his wife died in 1818, on the 5th of November, at the age of forty-nine. Jason Fuller and wife were the parents of eight children, all of whom lived to be married, and all had families excepting the oldest daughter. We will briefly mention each in the order of their ages: Cynthia married Silas Pratt, in Massachusetts, moved to Sandusky county in 1824, and died here. Rachel married Amos Hammond in New York State; died in Michigan. Philanda was the first wife of James Morrill, and died in Massachusetts. Electa married James Morrill, and is now living in Kansas; she was eighty-four, May 24, 1881. William was the next child and oldest son. John married, in Green Creek township, Rhoda Powell; moved to Nebraska, and died there. Betsey married Ichabod Munger in New York State; died in Michigan. Thomas married Margaret Ewart in New York; died in Michigan.

Thus it will be seen there are but two members of the family surviving. Jason Fuller followed the occupation of farming through life. Both he and his wife were honest, upright people, and members of the Baptist church. They were kind and loving parents, and tenderly and carefully reared their large family.

William Fuller was born in Hawley, Hampshire county, Massachusetts (now Franklin county), on the 23d of January, 1799. There he lived until the fall of 1816, attending school and assisting his father on the farm. He went with his parents to New York State, and resided there until February, 1818; then, at the age of nineteen, on foot and alone, he started for Ohio, then the "far West." He carried in a package upon his back a few articles of clothing and some provisions to eat upon the way. He traversed the entire distance on foot, except when some traveller gave him a ride for a few miles. On the thirteenth day after he left home he arrived in Milan township, Huron county, and immediately engaged to work for Squire Ebenezer Merry. Two weeks after his arrival his father, his oldest sister and her husband, and his youngest brother came. His father took possession of a tract of land previously negotiated for, upon which William engaged to clear ten acres as a compensation for the use of his time during the remaining period of his minority. William returned to New York State the following July, his plans being to settle up some business for his father, do the harvesting on the old farm, and return to Ohio in the fall with the rest of the family. During this summer he made a business trip to Massachusetts; on his return he found his mother quite ill and unable to think of performing the long journey to Ohio. She died in November. His father, who had been advised of her illness, was unable to accomplish the journey from the West in time to be with her during her last moments, but arrived in New York in December.

While at home this winter William took unto himself a wife. He was married on the 7th day of November, 1819, to Mehetable Botsford. She was a native of Connecticut, but her parents were then living in New York. On the last day of February, 1819, arrangements having finally been completed for a return to the new western home, William Fuller, accompanied by his wife and father, started again for Ohio, with a yoke of oxen and a sled upon which were carried the few household goods they were then possessed of They were twenty-two days upon the road.

William then rented a small log cabin, where he lived the first summer, and began the task of making a home. His father, never a very healthy man, was taken ill in the month of September, and after lingering a few weeks, died at William's home on the 25th of October, 1819, at the age of fifty-two. Mr. Fuller lived in Milan township until 1824. While there he had cleared about twenty acres, erected a log house and barn, and subdued the land until he had a very fair field of some thirty acres, including ten acres which his father had cleared. For this work he received no pay, except the crops he secured; but as neither he nor his father had made any payment for the land, the only loss was the value of his labor for six years.

In 1823 Mr. Fuller bought forty acres in Green Creek township, southeast of Clyde, moved upon it in the spring of 1824, and began clearing and improving. He had erected a cabin before bringing his family here. In June he was taken ill, and was unable to work until the latter part of August. Then he suffered through the fall with ague. Altogether, the first year was one which might well be deemed discouraging, but the next brought even greater trials and misfortunes. During the following year he was able to do but little work. In August, 1826, his wife was taken ill with a fever, and on the 15th day of the same month his oldest child was killed by the oxen running away with the cart, throwing him out and killing him. The 19th day of August his fourth child was born, and on the following day Mrs. Fuller died, and was buried, together with her dead infant. Mr. Fuller was then obliged to break up housekeeping, leaving his two remaining children in the care of his sister, Mrs. Hammond, until the spring of 1 82 7, when he went back to New York State, and worked at various employments for four years, paying his children's board.

Mr. Fuller married Cynthia Havens, a native of Livingston county. New York, May 15, 1831, and returned to his farm, where he continued to reside until March, 1834, when he came to his present place of residence in Townsend township. This, too, was wild, and Mr. Fuller once more had the work of a pioneer to perform. January 23, 1835, death again entered the household, and deprived Mr. Fuller of his wife. Being thus left with a farm to manage and four children to provide for, he could not well abandon house-keeping, and on the 6th of July, 1835, he married his third wife, Marcia M. George, a native of his New York home. She lived just one year from the day of her marriage, and died July 6, 1836.

October 19, 1837, Mr. Fuller was united in marriage to the lady, who presides over his home, Emma M. Levisee, born in Lima, Livingston county, New York.

By his first wife he was the father of four children, one of whom is living. They were Jason H., David, John, and an infant. Jason H. was born March 1, 1820; died August 15, 1826, as before mentioned. David, born July 8, 1821; married Mary Z. Higley for his first wife, who bore him six children, four of whom survive. His second wife, Eliza J. Plumb, bore two children, who are still living. He died in Townsend, May 18, 1879. John, born April 7, 1823; married Eliza Mallory; now resides in Branch county, Michigan; has one child living and one deceased. A son, born August 19, 1826, died in infancy.

Mr. Fuller's second wife bore two children, one of whom is living: William T., born April 10, 1832; married Mary J. Van Buskirk; resides in Townsend; is the father of six children, three of whom are now living. Cynthia M., born November 2, 1833, died December 22, 1853.

One child was the fruit of the third marriage, Jason E., born July 1, 1836, died September, 1836.

His present wife has borne three children, two of whom are living. Taylor, born March 29, 1840, married Angeline Stone, resides in York, has one child. James, born October 13, 1844, married Betsey Richards, resides near his parents, has one child. Albert, born June 22, 1846, died September 26, 1849.

Mr. Fuller had his full share of the hardships and privations of pioneer life. Commencing in a new country, while not of age, he fought his way onward against many difficulties and severe trials. In the days when wheat was only twenty-five cents per bushel, and groceries were held at enormous prices, salt being nine and eleven dollars per barrel, it was hard for a man to make and pay for a home. But all this is past and gone. His industry, activity and patience were rewarded in time. Mr. Fuller has been a successful business man. Though physically somewhat enfeebled by age and the results of years of toil, his mind is clear and cheerful, and he is passing the evening of his days among the scenes of his former struggles and triumphs, happy and contented. Each of his five sons who grew to manhood and married, were helped to a farm by their father.

Mr. Fuller was a Democrat until 1856, but since that time has voted with the Republicans. In religion he is a believer in the doctrine of universal salvation.

Mr. Fuller, wherever he is known, is recognized as a just and honorable man, and is respected by old and young.


Aaron Levisee was born in the State of New Jersey, June 19, 1774, to which State his father, James Levisee, had previously moved from Connecticut. Soon after Aaron's birth his parents returned to Connecticut, and there his father died.

Aaron Levisee was the oldest of a family of six sons and three daughters. He passed his boyhood in Connecticut and Massachusetts principally. Before he was twenty-one he engaged as a clerk on a sailing vessel, and followed the sea about three years, visiting many foreign countries. He acquired a very fair education, and, after quitting the sea, followed the profession of teaching, in Connecticut and Massachusetts, until he was married. While teaching at Lanesborough, in the latter State, he had for a pupil the lady who afterwards became his wife. One day he punished this scholar for some trivial fault, and a month later they were married. In his twenty-fourth year he was united in marriage to Anna Lyon, daughter of Thomas and Thankful Lyon, both natives of Massachusetts. Mrs. Levisee was born at Lanesborough, May 13, 1778. After their marriage they lived a short time in Massachusetts, then went to Greenfield, Saratoga county, New York, where they remained a few years, thence moved to Charleston, Ontario county. New York, now Lima, Livingston county, where Mrs. Levisee's parents had moved before them. In this last-named place John L. Levisee was born. In 1822 the family moved from Ontario county to Allen, Allegany county, in the same State, where Mr. Levisee died on the 18th of June, 1828. The widow moved, with her family, to Sandusky county, Ohio, arriving in Townsend township the l0th day of October, 1832. Here Mrs. Levisee resided until 1844, and then removed to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Thankful Botsford, north of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she died July 3, 1845. There were seven daughters and two sons in the family. Six daughters arrived at maturity, and two are yet living. Both of the sons are living at this date (September, 1881).

The names of the children of Aaron Levisee, in the order of their ages, were: Almedia, Eveline, Thankful, Eliza Ann, John L. and Sarah L. (twins), Sarah Sophia, Emma Maria, and Aaron Burton.

Thankful and Emma M. are the surviving daughters. The former is the wife of David Botsford, and resides in Washtenaw county, Michigan. Emma Maria is the wife of William Fuller, Townsend township. Mrs. Botsford was seventy-seven years old July 15, 1881, and Mrs. Fuller sixty-three March 24, 1881. The youngest son, A. B. Levisee, whose name was rendered familiar in the Louisiana election controversy of 1876-77, is now a lawyer at Fargo, Dakota Territory. He was born March 18, 1821.

The records of the deceased members of this family are as follows: Almedia, born August 1, 1799, married Ezra Lyons in 1819, resided in Livonia, Livingston county, New York, until 1831, then moved to Townsend township, where she died June 28, 1853; Eveline, born June 21, 1801, married Hubbard Jones in Livingston county, New York, moved to Townsend in 1842, died June 13, 1873; Eliza Ann, born May 6, 1806, married for her first husband Jonathan Wisner, resided in Allegany county, New York, until 1834, when she removed to Townsend, having previously married her second husband, Joseph Cummings, and died November 6, 1838; Sarah L., born July 4, 1809, lived to be a little over four years old; Sarah Sophia, born February 14, 1815, came to Ohio some time after her mother, married Charles Gillett in Townsend, moved to Steuben county, Indiana, died March 16, 1847.

John L. Levisee was born on the 4th of July, 1809. He passed his early life upon the farm. He being the oldest son, and until 1821 the only son, a large share of the work and care of the farm devolved upon him when quite young. He attended the common schools when he could spare tune from manual labor. His father was taken ill when John was about ten years of age, and from that time forward the young man's cares and duties were numerous. After his father's death he worked by the month farming, during two seasons, in Lima, his former home. Then, in the fall of 1831, he started for Ohio, and arrived in Townsend township on the 29th of October. Here he purchased, with some of the proceeds of his father's estate and his own earnings, eighty acres of land, the farm which is still in his possession. He erected a log cabin, then returned to New York. The next year his mother, with her two sons and Emma Maria, came and settled upon the purchase. Of course the country was wild. But one road in the township had been cut out, and the general aspect of the whole region might well be described by the inelegant but expressive words, "a howling wilderness." John began chopping, and continued through the winter and many succeeding seasons clearing away the forest and making field land. Hard work and a simple diet was the rule in those days. Meat was scarce except when, occasionally, a deer or wild turkey was shot. Wheat was little raised, and flour was an article not much in use. Corn-bread was the staple food. He secured a good crop of corn the first season after he began his farming operations, and from that time onward the family managed to live very comfortably.

May 10, 1836. Mr. Levisee married Diana Stanley, daughter of Asa and Anna Stanley, of York township. She was born in Rutland, Jefferson county. New York, October 25, 1810. To them were born nine children, viz: Sarah, born May 5, 1838; married for her first husband James Olds; for her second, Joseph Carter; is now living with her third husband, Emanuel Roush, near Hastings, Michigan. Anna, born July 28, 1840, married Hiram Blood in 1862; resided in Sparta, Kent county, Michigan; died November 30, 1874. Elizabeth, born October 27, 1842, married James A. Downing in 1865; resides at Whitmore Station. Eliza, born August 18, 1844, married Wallace Downing in 1866; lives in Clay township, Ottawa county. Mary Jane, born October 23, 1846, married Winfield Thomas in 1872; died August 28, 1873, in Townsend township. Civilia, born January 30, 1849, died September 22, 1853. David, born November 21, 1850, married Austany M. Cable in 1873; resides in Fremont. Chauncy, born May 23, 1855, married Mrs. Angeline McCreery in 1879; lives at home with his father.

Mrs. Levisee died July 4, 1855. She was a good wife and a kind mother, nobly assisting in supporting the family and putting by something for future use. She united with the Protestant Methodist church when young and lived a faithful Christian. After her death Mr. Levisee remained single eleven years, his daughter taking charge of household affairs.

November 15, 1866, he was married to the lady who now shares his home — Mrs. Statira E. Cable, nee Reynolds, who was born in Sheffield, Lorain county, June 7, 1830. Her parents were Shubal and Elizabeth Reynolds. Her father is deceased; her mother now resides in Fulton county, this State. This union has been blessed with two children, one of whom is living — Francis A., born July 12, 1868; and Willie, born July 12, 1870. Willie died December 14, 1870.

Mr. Levisee has followed agricultural pursuits principally. For a few years he worked at carpentry, but managed his farm at the same time. He has now retired from active business. His son, Chauncy, has charge of the farm, and Mr. Levisee is enjoying a season of rest after years of almost constant labor.

In politics Mr. Levisee is a consistent adherent to the principles of the Republican party. He has voted at every Presidential election since 1832. In religion he is a Universalist, firm in the faith and pronounced in his views. He is an enemy to cant and hypocrisy, but respects true Christians of whatever name or order.

Mr. Levisee has a valuable and well-selected library, and is a diligent reader of newspapers. A good memory and a habit of careful, constant observation of men and things have given him a discriminating, sound judgment and a reliable stock of useful information.


Silas Richards, the father of Franklin, was a native of Connecticut and passed his days in that State. April 28, 1805, he married Mary Rogers, daughter of John Rogers, a Connecticut soldier in the Revolutionary war. He was a farmer by occupation, and an honest, honorable man. Both Mr. and Mrs. Richards attained a ripe old age, the widow surviving the husband a few years. They reared a large family of twelve children, whose names were as follows: Harriet B., Frances A., Franklin, Ira J., Cynthia H., Archibald, Mary, Calista E., Silas, Esther R., Patience, and Frances M. Of these there are four survivers, viz: Franklin, Townsend township; Archibald, Clyde; Esther, the wife of Abraham Darrow, New London county, Connecticut; and Frances M., the widow of Samuel Darrow, in the same county and State.

Franklin Richards was born in Waterford, New London county, Connecticut, February 24, 1809. There he lived until 1834, working at farming the greater part of the time. He received a limited common school education. His father was a poor man, and Franklin was accustomed to hard and faithful labor from boyhood. In the month of September, 1834, Mr. Richards and his brother Archibald came to Sandusky county and commenced improving land in Townsend township which they had bought previously. They were both young men and unmarried. During the winter they hired their board at the house of their cousin, Lester Richards. In the spring of 1835 they erected a log-cabin in which it was their intention to live and keep bachelor's hall. One day on returning from a visit to their cousin's they found that their house with all its contents had been destroyed by fire. Mr. Richards lost a considerable sum of money in the flames. This was not a pleasing prospect to a young man, to be placed in the midst of a large forest without a dwelling-place, until one could be made by his own labor or earnings. However they built a small shanty and lived in it, doing their own housework, until a new house could be erected. In this way passed the first years.

In 1837 Archibald married and established a home of his own. Franklin lived alone until July 1, 1838, when he was united in wedlock to Diantha May, who continued his faithful helpmate and devoted wife until May 8, 1879, when she passed from earth and its sorrows in the sixtieth year of her age.

Of the hardships and perplexities of the first years which Mr. Richards spent in Ohio, it need only be said that by unceasing persistency and courage he was enabled at length to accomplish the purpose which brought him to the new country — to establish a home. Rugged toil and exposure gave him a constitution capable of enduring much physical strain. He never yielded to discouragement or despondency, and in due time had the satisfaction of seeing his efforts to gain prosperity rewarded. He planned judiciously, saved carefully, and worked diligently. Now, the possessor of a fine home and a comfortable property, with a mind of quiet contentment, he lives at peace with all men in the same place where his early trials were experienced and his later successes achieved.

Mr. Richards has never been much of a politician. Formerly a Democrat, he now votes with the Republicans, but believes in electing the best men to office, regardless of party. In his religious views he is a Baptist, though he has never united with the church.

Mrs. Richards was a member of the Free-will Baptist church in her youth, but afterwards joined the regular Baptists. She was a sincere and devoted Christian, a noble mother, a good neighbor, and one whose acquaintance and friendship was valued by all. We close this sketch with something of her family history.

Diantha May was born in Livingston county, New York, October 10, 1819. She was the third child of Isaac and Rachel (McMillan) May, and at the time her parents came to Ohio, in 1822, she was the oldest of the two surviving children. Her father was born in Vermont, October 5, 1796, and died in Townsend township, November 5, 1874. Rachel McMillan was born in New Hampshire, January 5, 1797, and died in York township, November 13, 1829. They were married in New York State, where the parents of each had moved when they were but children. Mr. and Mrs. May resided in Livingston county until 1822, and in that year moved to Thompson township, Seneca county, Ohio, and the following year settled on the North ridge, near the northern line of York township, being among the very first settlers. In 1831 the family moved to the eastern part of Townsend township, and in 1833 to the southwestern part, where they continued to reside until the death of Mr. May. By his first marriage Isaac May was the father of seven children — a son who died in infancy, Emily, Diantha, Emily Louisa, Mary Ann, James H., and William. Three survive, viz.: Mrs. Emily Louisa Tew, Townsend township; Mrs. Mary Ann Mason; and James H. May, Lenawee county, Michigan.

Mr. May married his second wife, Mary McMillan, a sister of his first, in 1830. This union resulted in ten children — Sophronia, Cynthia, Laura Ann, Rosetta, and Hiram, all deceased; and Mrs. Laura Maria Vine, Townsend; Marilla May, Lenawee county, Michigan; Mrs. Emeline Elliot, Jackson county, Kansas; Theron R. May, Lenawee county, Michigan; and Mrs. Ida Kidman, Townsend, still surviving.

Mrs. May is still living with Theron and Marilla, in Michigan; Isaac May was a minister of the Free-will Baptist denomination, and preached in this vicinity until within a few years preceding his death. He is well remembered by many who have listened to his sermons. The family had their full share of hardships. They came here when it required the utmost effort to feed and clothe a family. The daughters used to work in the field doing manual labor, and often worked out for the neighbors.

Mrs. Franklin Richards bore twelve children, five of whom are living. We subjoin a copy of the family record:

Simon G., born July 12, 1839; died in Libby prison December 2, 1863, a member of the One Hundreth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Silas L., born December 10, 1840; married Josie Kennedy, March 4, 1869; resides in York township.

Theron R., born November 8, 1842; died November 30, 1842.

Charles M., born. February 28, 1844; married Phebe E. Rhodes, June 1, 1865, who died December 25, 1873; married Florence Kellogg, October 20, 1874; resides in Townsend, near his father.

James P., born February 20, 1846; married Rachel E. Harvey, June 24, 1868, who died April 5, 2873; married Alice Straight, September 12, 1874; resides in Jackson county, Kansas.

Joseph D., born February 16, 1848; died March 26, 1848.

Frances S., born June 1, 1849; married Charles E. May, March 1, 1870; lives in Townsend near her old home.

Milo S., born August 1, 1852; died August 24, 1852.

William A., born September 4, 1853; died June 4, 1870.

Benjamin F., born June 26, 1855; died April 18, 1866.

Mary C., born September 30, 1857; died December 20, 1866.

Imogene D., born August 8, 1861; married Ekin Ridman, September 4, 1878, lives with his father.


Among the leading, public-spirited men who have lived in this county, but are now gone from us to return no more, there ar3 few more deserving of notice in this work than he whose name heads this article.

Alonzo Thorp was born in Ontario county. New York, on the 9th day of September, 1817. He was the son of John and Jane (Wager) Thorp, and was the second of a family of nine children. His early life was spent in New York, working and attending school. When about eighteen years of age he came to Ohio, and engaged in teaching school in different parts of this county in winter, and working in summer. He taught several terms of school and writing school, and is remembered gratefully by many of his old pupils. He came here poor, but with a determination to get a start in the world, and he believed an education to be essential for becoming a useful citizen. Therefore he used his first earnings to pay his expenses at Milan high school, where he attended several terms.

In 1837 Mr. Thorp's parents followed him to this county, and settled in Townsend township. He then made his home with them until 1842, when he married, and commenced farming for himself. His first wife was Miss Eliza Cole, daughter of Hon. Matthew Cole, a man well known to old residents. He served as a member of the legislature, and in other public offices. By this marriage Mr. Thorp became the father of one son and two daughters. John C. Thorp was born April 12, 1843, died of consumption at the home of his father, November 6, 1869. Alma E. Thorp, born December 11, 1844, was married in March, 1865, to Dr. George Salzman, and now resides in Kenton, Ohio. Gertrude H. Thorp, born December 25, 1847, died at home January 20, 1873, of consumption. Mrs. Thorp died in April, 1850.

In 1857 Mr. Thorp married Mrs. Mary E. Ames, widow of Elon G. Ames, of York township, and daughter of Medad and Armida (Waller) Brush, who were among the early settlers in Green Creek township. Her parents were both natives of Connecticut, but lived in Pennsylvania until they came to this State. Mr. Thorp had no children by this marriage.

In 1852 Mr. Thorp moved from Townsend township to the village of Clyde, where he engaged quite extensively in the lumber business. He owned and operated a saw-mill, and was also considerably interested in farming and stock-raising. In 1863 he was elected a member of the Legislature from this county, and served a term of two years in a manner highly creditable to himself and satisfactory to his constituents. He also held various township offices at different periods. While residing in Townsend, in 1856, he was elected justice of the peace and served one term.

In May, 1873, Mr. Thorp moved upon the farm where his widow still resides, in Green Creek township, and lived there until his decease. He died January 28, 1879, in his sixty-second year. He was an energetic, active man, of unblemished character and reputation. Having fought his own way from poverty to the position he attained, he knew how to sympathize with the struggling and ambitious. He was universally respected as a business man, and stood high in social circles. A prominent politician of the Democratic party, he numbered some of its distinguished leaders among his intimate friends. In religion he adhered to the principles of the Episcopal church, with which he became connected soon after his first marriage.

Mr. Thorp was a good father, a good neighbor, and a kind and loving husband. His circle of friends was large, and all will bear cheerful testimony to his worth and usefulness.


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. 703-725