History of Western Ohio and Auglaize County
Early French and English Explorations.
The history of that portion of Western Ohio, of which Auglaize County is a part, dates back to 1680, when La Salle and a few followers ascended the Maumee river and established a trading post near where Maumee City is located. The post was placed in charge of Sieur Courthemanche, after which the voyagers proceeded up the river to its source, and from thence south, to the Ohio river.
In after years the British built Fort Miami on the exact spot where La Salle's post was established. Other posts were established afterward at Fort Wayne, Vincennes, Pickawillany, St. Marys and Wapakoneta. Following the trails that connected the important Indian towns of the Mississippi Valley, the Jesuit traders established a lucrative trade that lasted until the close of the French dominion over the Northwest Territory in 1763.
The English made their first permanent settlement in 1607, at Jamestown, in Virginia. The French planted a small colony at Port Royal, in Nova Scotia in 1605, and three years afterward, in 1608, a small colony of adventurers, from France, founded the city of Quebec, in Canada. From this time until the year 1763, through a period of more than a century and a half, France and Great Britain were active and vigorous rivals in many contests concerning the territories, the colonists, and the trade of North America.
The English, basing their title upon the discoveries made by the Cabots, laid claim to all the territory from New Foundland to Florida, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The French, on the other hand, claimed all the interior portion adjacent to the St. Lawrence and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries, upon the ground that they had explored and occupied it; and, the better to secure their claim, they erected forts at various points through the region. In consequence of these conflicting claims, a war broke out between England and her colonies, with a few Indians, on the one side, and France and her colonies, largely aided by the Indians, on the other, which is known as "The French and Indian War." It was a contest for dominion over the great Mississippi valley.
The year 1749 witnessed the beginning of difficulties. Strolling bands of traders, had, for several years frequented the Indian villages on the upper tributaries of the Ohio river. As soon as it became known in Canada that the English were engaged in traffic with the Indians, French traders were dispatched from Canada to visit the same villages, and to compete with the English in the purchase of furs.
Virginia, under her ancient charter, claimed the whole country lying between her western borders and the southern shores of Lake Erie. The French fur-gatherers in this district were regarded as intruders not to be tolerated. To prevent further encroachment, a number of prominent Virginians joined themselves together in a body called The Ohio Company, with a view to the immediate occupation of the disputed territory.
It is a fact worthy of note that the French in their early explorations and expeditions in the Northwest Territory united piety with business. "They were zealous in sending out their missionaries, but they were always attended by traders, as skilled in the world's profit and loss, as their priests were in proselyting the Indians. The suave manner of the French was so fascinating to the Indians that the traders were able, ere long, to exercise complete control over them. The order of Jesuits was so numerous in Canada that representatives were stationed at every trading post, village and settlement. The English colonists, engaged mostly in agriculture, while the French took a lively interest in the fur trade with the natives, probably from their settlement in Quebec and thereabouts, where the climate is advantageous for such a business. This, added to the influence of the priests, and the natural assimilation of French and Indians, through the tact and amiability of the former, the French possessions gained more rapidly than the English. They courted the Indian girls and married them. They engaged in feasts, games and trades, and took advantage of the unimpeded times to extend their dominion." Lines of trading and military posts extended in numerous directions through Ohio and other portions of the Northwest Territory.
From "History of Western Ohio and Auglaize County with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Pioneers and Prominent Public Men" by C. W. Williamson, W.M. Linn, Pub, Columbus, 1905.