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This township is the seat of the oldest permanent settlement within the present county limits. The surface is generally flat, broken only by the St. Marys River and Mercer reservoir. The canal crosses from south to north, through the town of St. Marys. This village is the only one within the township, and is the site of an old trading point, but subsequently became an important storehouse of supplies during the years 1812-13. During this period, it was the point of important military operations, as troops were concentrated and organized in preparation for the northern campaign.
Rich. M. Johnson was here elected Colonel by a reorganized regiment, and in 1813, the regiment of Colonel Barbee built the fort which was named for the Colonel. As the southern limit of Harrison's base of supplies, it was from here that provisions and munitions were forwarded to Forts Defiance and Wayne. Three companies of Colonel Johnson's regiment were here discharged, at the expiration of their terms of enlistment. As this matter comes within the scope of our general history, we turn to a period subsequent to the war of 1812, and find something of a settlement at this point, visited largely by traders and hunters. No material growth of population or enterprise was manifested by the isolated settlement prior to 1824, and even then the outlook was not promising, as will be seen by the exhibits of population and wealth which here follow.
Exhibit of taxpayers of St. Marys township, as listed by Isaac Applegate in 1824:—
|John Armstrong,||Nimrod Hathaway,|
|Isaac Applegate,||William Majors,|
|James Bodkins,||Hamilton Majors,|
|Richard R. Barrington,||Charles Murray,|
|Joseph Blew,||John Murdock,|
|John Carter,||John Manning,|
|John Catterlin,||Charles McCumsey,|
|Joseph Catterlin,||Peter Opdyke,|
|Martin Cleland,||John Pickeral,|
|George Conner,||Thomas Scott,|
|Isaiah Dungan,||Henry Smith,|
|Asa Hinkle,||Ezekiel Swren,|
|James Hay,||Jacobus J. Van Nuss,|
|William Heath,||Lucas Vanosdoll.|
Total taxable property and tax:—Horses, 33; cattle, 166; tax, $26.64.
List of taxable lots, and value thereof, as returned by Isaac Applegate, Lister, and Isaiah Dungan, Appraiser, June 7, 1824:—
Charles Murray, lots number 3, 4, 22, 27, 28, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 63, 64, 67, 68.
James Lord, lot number 21.
Leander Houston, lot number 2.
James Miller, lot number 54.
John Manning, lots number 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 31, 30.
William A. Houston, lots number 1, 5, 23, 24, 25, 26,41, 29, 47, 48, 51, 52, 61, 62, 65, 66.
Christian Benner, lots number 7, 8, 17.
The foregoing 68 lots in St. Marys town and township, valued at $68.00, were taxed $0.005 each, or a total of $0.34 (thirty-four cents). Total tax of town and township $26.98.
Agreeable to the duties assigned to said county commissioners, they have called on the county treasurer for a statement, and it appears that no money had been received by him, and his bond was delivered up, and he released; thereupon the said John P. Hedges was appointed treasurer for the ensuing year, and gave bond, according to law. He appointed Samuel Hanson collector of taxes, who gave bond accordingly. The said Hanson agreed to collect for five dollars all the taxes of Mercer and Van Wert Counties.
The above business was done before David Hays and Solomon Carr, commissioners of said county; which I do certify is a correct proceedings of all business ordered by said commissioners to enter on said day's proceedings.
W. B. Hedges, Auditor.
No. 1. Order issued to John Dougerty for locating seat of justice, $42.
No. 2. Order issued to Asa Coleman for locating seat of justice, $36.
No. 3. Order issued to Samuel Newell for locating seat of justice, $33.
No. 4. Order issued to John Lillie for listing and appraising property, $4.
No. 5. Order issued to Benjamin Roebuck for listing and appraising property, $1.25.
No. 6. Order issued to Peter Opdyke for making election returns, $1.
No. 9. Order issued to Solomon Carr for his services as commissioner, $2.25.
No. 10. Order issued to D. Hays for his services as commissioner, $2.25.
October 12, 1824
No. 11. Order issued to Isaiah Dungan for listing and appraising property in St. Marys township, $1.
No. 13. Order issued to Judge James Wolcott for services rendered in opening last election returns, $2.50.
No. 15. Order issued to James Wolcott for services in last May court, $2.50.
No. 16. Order issued to James Wolcott for services in last September term, $5.
No. 1*1. Order issued to Benjamin Roebuck, grand juror, $1.
No. 18. Order issued to John McMilligan for two days as grand juror, $2.
No. 21. Order issued to Calvin Dennison for grand juror, $1.
No. 23. Order issued to Judge John Graves for sitting at May term, $2.50.
No. 24. Order issued to Judge John Graves for services at September term, $5.
October 20, 1824.
No. 26. Order issued to Michael Horner for services as grand juror, $1.
No. 28. Order issued to John Manning for services as grand juror, $1.
December 10, 1824.No. 61. Order issued to Joseph Steward for surveying the State road from Sidney, Shelby Co., to St. Marys, Mercer Co., $6,12½.
No. fi2. Order issued to Asa H inkle, commissioner, to locate State road from Sidney to St. Marys, $3.90.
No. 63. Order issued to John Johnson, commissioner, to locate State road from Sidney to St. Marys, $3.34.
No. 64. Order issued to John Bloks as chain carrier, on State road from Sidney to St. Marys, $1.67.
No. 65. Order issued to Henry Bryan, as chain carrier on State road from Sidney to St. Marys, $1.67.
March 5, 1825.
No. 69. Order issued to Judge Thomas Scott for two days' attendance at February term, $5.
No. 70. Order issued to W. B. Hedges as auditor, $31.62.
No. 95. Order issued to John P. Hedges, late treasurer of Mercer County for his percentage of business, $2.91.
No. 100. Order issued to Joseph D. Blew for carrying chain in surveying town lots in St. Marys, $0.75.
No. 101. Order issued to James W. Riley for surveying town lots in St. Marys, $1.50.
No. 633. Order issued to Robert Linzee for services as judge of Common Pleas in November term, 1835, $10.
No. 70. Order issued to Caleb Major for services as blazer on State road from Mrs. Flinn's to Waupaughkonetta out of Allen County funds, August 16, 1830, $1.75.
Saturday, June 11, 1825.
The commissioner's met pursuant to adjournment, and proceeded to take, from the proprietors of the town of St. Marys, a deed for the lots donated for county purposes. They also appointed Thomas Scott agent to sell and convey the lots Nos. 1, 7, 15, 25, 33, 35, 39, 44, 48, 52, 57, on the following conditions: one-third in hand; one-third in one year; and one-third in two years.
Isaiah Dungan, Ansel Blossom, Solomon Carr, Commissioners
Asa Hinkle built the first county jail, for which he received lots No. 31, 34, 37, 42, 50, and $150 in cash. Sold Dec. 29, 1825.
Ansel Blossom, Thomas McCumsey, Commisioners
The commissioners met and proceeded to examine an account laid by Leander Houston for the court as constable, at February term in 1825, and allowed for the same seventy-five cents. They also allowed George Conner $9.50 for carrying the returns of the annual election to Eaton, Preble County, Ohio. Also directed the auditor to issue an order to Thomas McCumsey for $4, and to David Hays for $4; both for services as commissioners at the March term 1827. No other business appearing, the meeting adjourned.
Wednesday, June 8, 1825.
The commissioners met agreeably to adjournment, and appointed John Murdock collector of county tax for the ensuing year; they also appointed John Manning treasurer, for ensuing year, of Mercer County. The auditor was directed to take the bond of said Manning in the sum of five hundred dollars. The commissioners made a settlement with the auditor, his accounts amounting to $18.66¾. They, not considering that a sufficient compensation, allowed him $21.33¼ more, making in all $40, for his services for the year. They levied a tax on each horse, ass, and mule three years old and upward, of thirty cents; and upon each head of cattle, three years old and upwards, a tax of ten cents.
June 10, 1825.
Received eighty-three dollars and a half; for lots sold for country purposes, which was entered on the books, "Paid," and the order destroyed.
William Armstrong, Dept. Auditor.
After a division of the lots by the commissioners they set apart fifteen lots on which to build public buildings: these were Nos. 5, 13, 18, 23, 27, 31, 34, 37, 42, 46, 50, 55, 58, 60, and 63. The proceeds of the other fifteen lots to be used for other county purposes. This day the commissioners received the resignation of W. B. Hedges, and they appointed David Armstrong as his successor to the office of county auditor.
St. Marys, June 5, 1827.
The commissioners met pursuant to adjournment, and proceeded to settle with the treasurer for Mercer County levee, and received fifty-two dollars and fifty-seven cents ($52.57), leaving a balance of ninety-four dollars and five cents ($94.05), which could not be accounted for; also thirty-five dollars and eighty-three cents and seven mills ($35.83.7) the whole amount of the State and canal tax, for which he could not account.
On motion, the treasurer was allowed until the first day of the November following to prepare for final settlement. They then appointed Robert Bigger treasurer, who gave bonds in the sum of $1000 according to law.
The following is a list of tax-payers of St. Marys town and township in 1830:—
John Williams, William Crahb, Isaiah Dungan, Lucas Vanosdoll, Martin Cleland, Jonathan Wyland, John Wyland, John Johns, Stephen Crabb, John Crahb, John Matson, Israel Johns, Jacobus J. Van Nuss, David Woodruff, Thomas McCumsey, William Berry, John Manning, John Pickeral, Michael Godard, Isaac Nickols, John Hollingsworth, James Gibson, William Murdock, Christian Benner, Charles Watkins, James Douglass, David Armstrong, William McCumsey, Robert Bigger, William Armstrong, R. R. Barrington, Charles Smith, Sen. Maria Dennison, Robert P. Brownell, Isaac Applegate, Hiram Emanuel, Thomas A. Armstrong, Barney Murray, Joseph D. Blew, Thomas Flowers, Sloan Miller, John Miller, Jun. Alexander Miller, John Miller, Sen. William B Winters, Benjamin Bennet, Amos Compton, C. Vincent, William Bodkin, John Armstrong, Caleb Major, Henry M. Helm, James W. Riley, John Helm, Robert Brownum, Picket Doute, Charles Murray, Richard Warfield, Jonathan Longworth, Joseph Catterlin, David Catterlin, John Hawthorn, Joseph Doute, Asa Hinkle, Henry Hinkle, Henry Smith, Martin Reed, Albert Opdyke, Peter Vanmiddleworth, William Crabb, Jun. George Easter, James Bodkin, Charles Smith, Jun. William Heath, William Major, Samuel Hatfield, Joseph Sacket, Samuel Sacket, Hamilton Major, Peter Oydyke.
From the foregoing lists and exhibits it is evident that the years to which they apply form a period of struggles, rather than of prosperity for the township and village. Still the village became the first seat of justice of Mercer County, and so remained until 1840. This county was included with Montgomery, Miami, Shelby, Allen, and Van Wert in the old third judicial district until 1845. Hon. Joseph H. Crane as president judge held the first court at this place. During the following fourteen years Judge Holt presided, followed by Judges Helfinstein and Goode, who each presided seven years. The presiding judge rode around the circuit accompanied by the lawyers. There were no law books in the circuit, and each lawyer was compelled to rely upon his legal ability independent of references. Judge Crane was in the habit of relating the following incident touching the first court held at St. Marys. The grand jury had retired to some logs under a large shade tree to hold a session. The judge was in the cabin court-room awaiting the report of the grand jury, when a large, burly fellow, wearing a red hunting shirt, came forward, leaned his rifle against the side of the door, and, placing a hand against each door cheek, he asked the Court: "Do you know this old hoss?" The Court took in the situation, and said: "Mr. Sheriff, put the 'old hoss' in the stable until further orders." The sheriff conducted him to the place used for a jail, and when he became sober the judge directed the sheriff to "turn the 'old hoss' out."
A jail was afterwards built on the corner of Spring and Main Streets, and the same building is now used as a dwelling and store-room.
Owing to the exposure and inconvenience of those days they were careful to not hold court during cold weather. The town maintained something of a growth without business facilities until 1838, when the canal gave stimulus to activity during its construction, and laid the foundation for the first business enterprises by furnishing as good water power as may be found in the State. A few years later several mills were erected along the canal, among which were the flour mills of R. B. Gordon and Neitert and Koops, the St. Marys Woollen Mill, the Reservoir Mill, and the Farina Mill, all in St. Marys. These mills were the earliest in the county, except the old Mission Mill at Wapakoneta, and as the county was then settled more or less throughout, St. Marys became the centre of milling operations for a large section during several years. With these enterprises the growth of the town was rapid, until the erection of Auglaize County in 1848, when St. Marys became a contestant for the seat of justice, but was defeated as elsewhere shown. To-day the village enjoys the advantages of the canal, and the Lake Erie and Western Railroad, and is at the junction of the Minster branch.
We cast a glance at the principal industries of the village as represented by manufacturing establishments.
Whip Stock Factory.—Woolworth and Cowles; established in 1874, and employs about fourteen hands in the manufacture of thirty thousand dozen whip stock's per year. These are shipped throughout the United States and to Europe.
Reservoir Mills.—Established in 1847 by Scott, Linzee & Co. R. B. Gordon, Proprietor.
Farina Mills.—Established in 1855 by present owner. Manufactures farina, wheat, rye, and buckwheat flour. All kinds of grain and seed bought and sold. Philip V. Herzing, Proprietor.
St. Marys Woollen Manufacturing Company.—These mills were built by William Gibson in 1866 at a cost of $62,000. The main building is of stone, brick, and slate, forty by ninety feet, and four and a half stories in height, being one of the most substantial along the line of the canal. The mill is supplied with two sets of machinery of the latest pattern. The establishment came into the hands of the citizens of the village in 1871, when a joint stock company was organized with a capital of $50,000, under the title of the "St. Marys Woollen Manufacturing Company." About one hundred thousand pounds of wool are annually consumed in the manufacture of flannels, blankets, jeans, satinets, and yarn. E. M. Piper, President. A. Althausen, Secretary.
Bank of St. Marys.—Organized and opened September 1, 1876, under the name of the "Bank of St. Marys," by E. M. Piper, A. Althausen, and Frederick Dieker. Each partner represents one-third of the capital, and is individually liable. In 1879 a new building was erected, and supplied with the latest improved vaults, safes, and locks. A. Althausen, Cashier.
Wheel, Spoke, and Handle Factory.—L. Bimel, Proprietor. Established in 1870, but two years later the works burned down and were rebuilt. Twenty-five men are kept employed in the manufacture of wheels, spokes, hubs, and handles. A planing mill is connected with the factory.
St. Marys Carriage Works.—L. Bimel, Proprietor. Founded in 1855, and superintended until 1872 by present owner. Employs twenty men in the construction of carriages, buggies, wagons, and sleighs, the annual production amounting to one hundred and fifty jobs. Salesrooms at St. Marys and Lima, Ohio. The proprietor has just established a handle factory at Portland, Indiana, which will employ about twelve men.
Carriage Works.—Established in 1860, and employs seven men in the manufacture of carriages, buggies, wagons, and sleighs. Jacob Koch, Proprietor.
St. Marys Foundry and Machine Works.—Established by present owner in 1876, and is the only foundry in the county. Employs ten men in the manufacture of all kinds of mill machinery, pumps, pipes, fittings, Babbitt metal, and brass goods. Attention is also given to repairing. C. Buehler, Proprietor.
St. Marys Argus.—This journal was established and conducted at St. Marys, by E. B. Walkup, present editor of the "Delphos Couraut." The first number was issued Aug. 26, 1872, and was named the "St. Marys Courant." In Oct. 1874, J. E. Fisher, present editor of the "Tuscarawas Democrat," took charge of the "Courant," when it became the "St. Marys Commercial." This continued until December, 1876, when R.S. Clark took charge, issuing his first number Dec. 7, under the new name of the "St. Marys Free Press." Clark continued in charge until his death in Dec. 1877. The office then passed into the hands of John Walkup and Wm. Shields, who issued their first number Jan. 5, 1878, under the heading of the "St. Marys Argus," edited and conducted by John Walkup. On the 5th of July, 1879, Frank Walkup and J. N. Richardson bought the interest of Wm. Shields, while the firm name continued John Walkup & Co.
Jan. 3, 1880, John Walkup sold his interest to the other members of the firm, and the style changed to Walkup and Richardson, editors and proprietors. This firm has secured a permanent office on the second floor of the new bank building, on the corner of Spring and Front Streets, St. Marys, Ohio. Under their management the "Argus" has become a lively local journal. Issued every Saturday at $2.00 per annum.
Schools.—The schools of the village were organized under the old law for the organization of city and village schools, and have maintained a steady growth. In 1859 the schools employed six teachers at a total salary of about $1800. The enumeration was then about 450; while in 1869 it rose to 563, and in 1879 amounted to 637. The schools are now under good management, and promise greater efficiency in the future. Dr. C. N. Phelps is clerk of Board of Education.
Churches.—Some of the churches date back to a very early period. An M. E. Society was organized in 1825 by Rev. Jas. B. Finley. The patriarch of the society was C. Vincent, who came from Baltimore, Md. The society worshipped for some years in the old log school-house, which occupied the lot south of lot 5 W. A., which had beeu set apart by the owners for religious purposes. In 1840 a frame church was built on a half lot, back of Edward Hollingsworth's brick residence. In December the house was removed to the present church lot, where it stood until the erection of the present house. The society now consists of about one hundred members.
Presbyterian Church. November 14, 1848, Rev. J. L. Bellville and I. A. Ogden, of Miami Presbytery, met at the courthouse, St. Marys, with the people of the town, for the purpose of organizing a church, which organization was effected with the following membership: H. W. and Elizabeth Hazzard, A. P. Clark, Fanny Lattimore, Jane Elliott, Catharine Timmons, Mary Pierson, Sylvia Hart, J. H. and Eliza De la Mater, Thomas Pierce, Rachel Van Nuy, Elizabeth Bigger, and Mary Peterson, under the title of "First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys, Mercer County, Ohio. Thomas Pierce and A. P. Clark were chosen ruling elders; J. H. De la Mater and H. W. Hazzard deacons; and J. H. De la Mater clerk. The present membership is about seventy. Pastor, L. M. Lawson.
German Protestant Episcopal Church. Organized June 10, 1849, with the following named officers: L. H. Heusch, Sr., F. S. Nagel, A. Dieker, Adam Lintz, Christ Franz, M. House, and Adolph Coniadi pastor. The present membership numbers eighty. Rev. Schultz pastor.
Christian Union Church. This church was organized by Elder Summers in 1863, with five members. Afterward the church arose to a membership of forty, but eventually disorganized. In 1878 it was reorganized by Elder A. Hawkins with a list of twelve members, since which time the membership has increased to twenty-seven. They have built a new church under the present organization, and the congregation, under the pastorate of Elder A Hawkins, is in a promising condition.
In connection with these institutions and enterprises are others of a more recent origin, but of large industrial value to the town. These, with the retail establishments which go to make up the business interests of the town, are referred to in the "Business Directory" of this volume.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880