History of Auglaize County
History of Ohio
The territory now comprised within the limits of Ohio was formerly a part of that vast region claimed by France between the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains, first known by the general name of Louisiana. In 1670, Marquette, a zealous French missionary, accompanied by Monsieur Joliet, from Quebec, with five boatmen, set out on a mission from Mackinac to the unexplored regions lying south of that station. They passed down the lake to Green Bay, thence from Fox River crossed over to the Wisconsin, which they followed down to its junction with the Mississippi. They descended this mighty stream a thousand miles to its confluence with the Arkansas. On their return to Canada they did not fail to urge in strong terms the immediate occupation of the vast and fertile regions watered by the Mississippi and its branches. About 1725, the French erected forts on the Mississippi, on the Illinois, on the Maumee, and on the lakes; still, however, the communication with Canada was through Lake Michigan. Before 1750, a French post had been fortified at the mouth of the Wabash, and a communication was established through that river and the Maumee with Canada. About the same time, and for the purpose of checking the progress of the French, the Ohio Company was formed, and made some attempts to establish trading houses among the Indians. The French, however, established a chain of fortifications back of the English settlements, and thus, in a measure, had the entire control of the great Mississippi Valley.
The English government became alarmed at the encroachments of the French, and attempted to settle boundaries by negotiations. These availed nothing, and both parties were determined to settle their differences by force of arms. The principal ground, whereon the English claimed dominion beyond the Alleghanies, was that the Six Nations owned the Ohio Valley, and had placed it, with their other lands, under the protection of England. Some of the Western lands were also claimed by the British as having been actually purchased at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1744, at a treaty between the colonists and the Six Nations at that place. The claim of the English monarch to the late Northwestern Territory was ceded to the United States, signed at Paris, September 3d, 1788. The provisional articles which formed the basis of that treaty, more especially as related to the boundary, were signed at Paris, November 30th, 1782. During the pendency of the negotiation relative to these preliminary articles, Mr. Oswald, the British commissioner, proposed the Ohio River as the western boundary of the United States, and but for the indomitable perseverance of the Revolutionary patriot, John Adams, one of the American commissioners, who opposed the proposition, and insisted upon the Mississippi as the boundary, the probability is that the proposition of Mr. Oswald would have been acceded to by the United States commissioners.
The States which owned western unappropriated lands, with a single exception, redeemed their respective pledges by ceding them to the United States. The State of Virginia, in March, 1784, ceded the right of soil and jurisdiction to the district of country embraced in her charter, situated to the northwest of the Ohio River. In September, 1786, the State of Connecticut also ceded her claim of soil and jurisdiction to the district of country within the limits of her charter, situated west of a line beginning at the completion of the forty-first point degree of north latitude, one hundred and twenty miles west of the western boundary of Pennsylvania, and from thence by a line drawn north parallel to and one hundred and twenty miles west of said line of Pennsylvania, and to continue north until it came to forty-two degrees and two minutes north latitude. The State of Connecticut, on the 30th of May, 1801, also ceded her jurisdictional claims to all that territory called the "Western Reserve of Connecticut." The States of New York and Massachusetts also ceded all their claims.
The above were not the only claims which had to be made prior to the commencement of settlements within the limits of Ohio. Numerous tribes of Indian savages, by virtue of prior possession, asserted their respective claims, which also had to be extinguished. A treaty for this purpose was accordingly made at Fort Stanwix, October 27th, 1784, with the sachems and warriors of the Mohawks, Onondagas, Senecas, Cayugas, Oneidas, and Tuscaroras, by the third article of which treaty the said Six Nations ceded to the United States all claims to the country west of a line extending along the west boundary of Pennsylvania, from the mouth of the Oyounayea to the Ohio River.
Washington County was formed July 27th, 1788, by proclamation of Governor St. Clair, being the first county formed within the limits of Ohio. Its original boundaries were as follows: Beginning on the bank of the Ohio River, where the western boundary line of Pennsylvania crosses it, and running with that line to Lake Erie; thence along the southern shore of said lake to the mouth of Cuyahoga River; thence up the said river to the portage between it and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down that branch to the forks at the crossing place above Fort Laurens; thence with a line to be drawn westerly to the portage on that branch of the Big Miami, on which the fort stood that was taken by the French in 1752, until it meets the road from the lower Shawnese Town to Sandusky; thence south to the Scioto River, and thence with that river to the mouth, and thence up the Ohio River to the place of beginning.
Hamilton was the second county established in the Northwest Territory; it was formed January 2d, 1790, by proclamation of Governor St. Clair, and named from General Alexander Hamilton. Its original boundaries were thus defined: Beginning on the Ohio River at the confluence of the Little Miami, and down the said Ohio to the mouth of the Big Miami, and up said Miami to the standing stone forks or branch of said river, and thence with a line to be drawn due east to the Little Miami, and down said Little Miami River to the place of beginning.
Wayne County was established by proclamation of General St. Clair, August 15th, 1796, and was the third county formed in the Northwest Territory. Its original limits were very extensive, and were thus defined in the act creating it: Beginning at the mouth of Cuyahoga River upon Lake Erie, and with the said river to the portage between it and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down the said branch to the forks at the crossing place above Fort Laurens; thence by a west line to the east boundary of Hamilton County, which is a due north line from the lower Shawnee Town upon the Scioto River; thence by a line west-northerly to the south part of portage between the Miamis of Ohio and the St. Marys River; thence by a line also west-northerly to the southwestern part of the portage between the Wabash and Miamis of Lake Erie, where Fort Wayne now stands; thence by a line west-northerly to the south part of Lake Michigan; thence along the western shores of the same to the northwest part thereof, including lands upon the streams emptying into said lake; thence by a due north line to the territorial boundary in Lake Superior, and with the said boundary through Lakes Huron, St. Clair, and Erie to the mouth of Cuyahoga River, the place of beginning. These limits embrace what are now parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and all of Michigan, and the towns of Ohio City, Chicago, St. Marys, Mackinaw, etc. Since then States and counties have been organized out of this territory.
It will be observed in the Virginia Military Districts in Ohio, which comprise the lands between the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers, that when the State of Virginia, in 1783, ceded to the United States all her right of soil and jurisdiction to all the tract of country she then claimed northwest of the Ohio River, it was provided that the Virginia troops of the Continental establishment should be paid their legal bounties from these lands (and here it may not be amiss to define these land denominations). The United States Military Lands were so called from the fact that they were appropriated by an act of Congress, in 1796, to satisfy certain claims of the officers and soldiers of the Revolution. The patent to the soldiers or purchasers of these lands, as well as of all other Ohio lands, is derived from the general government. The district was not surveyed into ranges and townships, or any regular form, and hence the irregularity in the shape of the townships as established by the county commissioners for civil purposes; any individual holding a Virginia Military Land warrant might locate it wherever he desired within the district, and in such shape as he pleased, wherever the land had not been previously located.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880