History of Auglaize County
The first white settlements within the present limits of this township were made along the Auglaize River. Andrew Russel located within this territory on the Ft. Amanda farm about 1823. Here with his family, consisting of wife, four daughters, and one son, he lived some time with Indian associates alone. In 1825 William Berryman, with his wife and twelve children, settled on the present Russel Berryman farm. Here he resided until the time of his death, rendering his family the permanent resident pioneers of the township. Mrs. Eliza Noble is the only surviving member of this family. About the next accession was Martin Hire, who located here with his wife and nine children. Then came Elder Simon Whetstone, Sr., who also located on the river. Of his sons only Jesse and Henry survive, the last death being that of Elder Simon, Jr., which occurred Feb. 12, 1880. He had married Frances, daughter of Elder Richardson, and in his youth united with the church his father had been largely instrumental in establishing in the earlier days of the settlement. He soon after entered the ministry, in which he labored until his death.
Then came James Crozier, who settled on the present Madison Bowsher farm. About this time came the old veteran and centenarian William Taylor, who located on the east bank of the river. He had served through the war of 1812, and suffered all the hardships of the northern frontier. He possessed a remarkable memory, a strong physical constitution, remembered the Revolutionary War, and was a living history of the war of 1812. He died at Spencerville at the advanced age of about one hundred and nine years. Afterward came Daniel Gregory, followed by Leonard Place, who still occupied his pioneer farm. About the same time Abraham Whetstone located on the west bank of the river, on land now owned by James H. Gochenour. The next accession was Isaac Terwilliger, whose family consisted of two sons and one daughter. One of these sons is an extensive fanner and grain dealer of Wapakoneta. Charles Pernell improved the Whitney farm, and Jacob Baker the land of the Whitefeather Indian camp. The old homestead is occupied by two of the sons, William A. and L. C. T. B., another son, is clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, while David is a practical printer. After 1848 the country settled very rapidly, but improvements had been retarded by the government land grant to the State for canal purposes. When this land was put in market it was rapidly occupied. Among the settlers of this period were the Richardson family, the Wheeler family, N. C. Edman, S. M. Dixon, G. Blackburn, John Daniel, the Bodkins, David Bigelow, A. J. Culp, C. Culp, J. and S. Barr, F. M. Bowsher, M. J. Bowsher, John H. and J. H. Gochenour, John Dingledine, and many others. These settlers were exposed to all the inconveniences usually incident to pioneer life.
They were compelled to go to Piqua to mill, as the old Mission Mill at Wapakoneta was now of little use. To Piqua they also went for a physician, and the charges for one of these visits to the Berryman family was $37.50. While the doctor was in the settlement one of the Berryman neighbors called him to visit a patient, and here the charge was $10.00. The first post-office within the township was established at Fort Amanda, and Samuel Washburn received the first appointment as postmaster. The mail was then carried on horseback between Piqua and Defiance. Reuben Treece became first agent on this line. At that time the country was swarming with Indians, the old Ottowa towns being opposite Fort Amanda, and partly occupying the present Backus farm. They employed themselves generally in hunting, begging, and stealing. We relate an incident of the mail carrier and the Fort. During an absence of the postmaster, his wife invited Miss Eliza Berryman to stay with her during the husband's absence. The postmaster was in the habit of selling whiskey to the Indians, and soon after he left home three of these rode up and demanded "fire water." Mrs. Washburn refused to sell them whiskey, barred the door against them, but they prowled about the house all day. In the evening the mail carrier, Mr. Treece, arrived and ordered the Indians away, when one of them offered resistance. Treece carried a loaded whip, and before the Indian had time to carry out his threat, he received the full force of the loaded end of the whip, which knocked him down, when he was soundly scored with the lash. As soon as he could regain his feet he started for his horse, but his two companions had taken the three "ponies," and fled. Missing his horse, he made for the river, into which he plunged and swam across, glad to escape the terrible whip of the mail carrier.
"Father" J. B. Finley in his missionary labors in the Northwest preached at Fort Amanda at a very early day. At that time the forest abounded in game of all kinds. Deer were plenty and the hunter had no inducement to waste ammunition with small game. It is related of Mussel Berryman, that going to a deer crossing one morning, he shot seven deer on one spot before breakfast time, and even as late as 183S Leonard Place and his brother, in a two days' hunt secured four barrels of nicely dressed and packed venison.
The river abounded with fish of many kinds, and at certain seasons sturgeon of enormous size would come up from the lakes. It is related that on one occasion Thomas Berryman was crossing the river on a foot log and saw a large sturgeon struggling up the ripple. The water was shallow and the fish was floundering under the log when Berryman sprang upon its back, and forcing both hands into its gills, attempted to steer it ashore. The struggle was long, both man and fish were up and down, and both in danger of being outdone, but finally Berryman reached the shore with his prize, which he found to be about eight feet in length. Later on when the lands had been put on the market, and prior to 1852, immigration was constant, and new farms were occupied all over the township. The northwest part was rapidly settled by an industrious class of Germans, whose labors have placed their lands second to none in the township for material improvement. The development of the southwest part has been retarded by the ownership of large tracts of land by speculators. Among these are the Pratt, Moody, and Perkins tracts. Still some good farms are occupied in this section.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880