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Under The Whites
The town then occupies this Indian village site, on part of sections 29 and 32 in township No. 5 south, range 6 east, and begins at a stone at the northeast corner of the Public Square. The Public Square is 282 feet square including the street. All streets are 60 feet, and all alleys 16½ feet wide. The site was platted January 22d and 23d, 1833, by John Jackson, Surveyor of Allen Co., for J. B. Gardner, Peter Aughenbaugh, J. K. Wilds, and Joseph Barnett.
In addition to these men the residents of the town during the year 1833, consisted of Col. Thos. B. Van Home, Landoffice Register; Peter Hammel, a French trader; Capt. John Elliott, the old Government blacksmith; Jeremiah Ayres, hotel-keeper; Cummings, and Mathers, and Samuel Case, merchants; Henry B. Thorne, hotel-keeper; J. C. Bothe, clerk, and James Elliott, farmer. Before proceeding further with the town we will observe that the township of Duchouquet was organized in 1832, and for a period of several years is so associated with the town that both may be viewed at a glance. A list of the officers of the township at that period will reveal many of the early settlers, while a notice of the ballots cast will throw some light on the numerical strength of the new community.
At the first election, held in April, 1833, at the house of Jeremiah Ayres, the following named officers were elected as indicated:—
Trustees.—Peter Hammel, William Patton, and Shadrack Montgomery.
Supervisors.—Beal Spurier, Samuel Howel, William Spray, and William Thatcher.
Overseers of Poor.—Alonzo F. Neal and Samuel Howel.
Fence Viewers.—Bryant McNamore and John Campbell.
Constables.—Henry Von Blaricom and John Campbell.
The highest number of ballots cast for any candidate was 27.
The following June a special election was held to select two justices of the peace, with the following result:—
Beal Spurier secured 31 ballots; James Spray, 25; John Corder, 25; John W. Coney, 18; William Patton, 15.
The second annual election held April 7, 1834, resulted in the selection of the following named officers, while the numbers indicate the number of votes cast for each officer elect:—
Trustees.—Peter Hammel, 28; S Montgomery, 20; S. Meyers, 28.
Clerk.—H. D. V. Williams, 34.
Treasurer.—John Tarn, 37.
Constables.—B. H. Lanning, 39; William Spray, 44.
Supervisors B. Hammell, 23; H. B. Thorn, 38; W. Spray, 24; S. Meyers, 26.
Overseers of Poor.—Jacob Vorhis, 19; W. Richardson, 25.
Fence Viewers.—Thos. Williams, 18; Robert Brannon, 14.
All elections prior to 1839 were held at the house of Jeremiah Ayres; that of the year named in the school-house of District No. 1, and those following for many years were again held at the house of J. Ayres. In 1847, the whole vote cast was 159, while the following year showed an increase of 25. Two years later the number rose to 195, which was only a gain of 11, but in 1853 an increase of 25 was shown, which if it spoke of a tardy, at least exhibits a steady increase. Thus two decennial steps show a population of about 500 in 1843, and 1100 in 1853, which represents the growth of ten and twenty years.
With this glance at the township, we have reached a period at which we will turn from the township, and looking back to the year 1849, devote our attention more particularly to the village.
The Act of the General Assembly, under date of March 2, 1849, is the very charter of the village, and is therefore inserted in full.
An Act to incorporate the town of Wapakoneta, in the County of Auglaize.
Sect. I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That the territory included within the original town plat of the town of Wapakoneta, in the county of Auglaize, and the additions that have been or may hereafter he made thereto, and so much of the territory as is embraced within the south half of section twenty-nine and the north half of section thirty-two, of township number five south, of range number six east, shall be and the same is hereby declared a town corporate with perpetual succession, and as such shall be entitled to all the privileges, and subject to all limitations of "An Act for the regulation of Incorporated Towns," passed February 16, 1839, and the acts amendatory thereto.
Sect. II. That the costs and jail fees of all persons committed by the mayor of said town, or arrested and brought before hearing or trial for any violation of the laws of Ohio, shall be paid in the same manner as such costs are paid in cases of the justices of the peace.
Sect. III. That the town council of the town of Wapakoneta, be and is hereby fully authorized to assume the payment of the remaining instalments due the commissioners of Auglaize county, for public building purposes, as provided for in the act organizing said county, passed on the 14th of February, 1848.
Sect. IV. That for the payment of said instalments, the said town council is hereby authorized to issue the bonds of said corporation under the corporate seal thereof, in sums not less than one hundred dollars each, payable at such time and places, and with such rate of interest not exceeding seven per centum per annum, as to said council may seem proper.
Sect. V. Whenever any bonds shall be issued under the provisions of this act, it shall be the duty of said town council to levy a tax sufficient to pay the interest thereon, and for the punctual payment of such principal and interest the whole of the revenues of said town shall stand irrevocably pledged, such tax shall be assessed and collected in the manner provided by law for the assessment and collection of corporation taxes, and the said town council may also for the final redemption of the obligations contracted by reason of the powers granted by that act, levy a tax in addition to that provided for by law, to be collected in the same manner.
John C. Breslin, Speaker of House Reps.
Brewster Randall, Pres. of the Senate.
At the period of the incorporation, the town was still without any material improvement worth the name of enterprise save in the erection of residences and opening of small retail stores and shops. The trade for years was of a purely local character, as the town had no commercial facilities and even had little need of commercial advantages so far as exportation was concerned. The town, like the country by which it was surrounded, was almost a swamp, for even years after the construction of the railroad gravel was as unknown to the streets as brick to the sidewalks and crossings.
The streets consisted more in open public ways than in convenient thoroughfares. Walks and crossings consisted largely of cord wood thrown closely enough to afford a stepping across the mud, except when the blocks were submerged, which was not unfrequent. The whole vicinity of the public square, extending about the court-house and out to Auglaize Street, afforded a swimming pond during the summer, and a skating and coasting park for the boys during the winter. Slowly the village grew until the erection of the county in 1848, when it became the county seat, and perhaps the only enterprise springing directly from this step was the establishment of the "Auglaize Republican," a Democratic paper, by W. P. Andrews in 1849. It was nearly ten years later that trade received an impetus, and enterprise received a stimulus by the construction of the Dayton and Michigan Railroad, which marked the dawn of a new era for the town. Immediately followed the erection of a large grain warehouse by the R. R. Co., which was supplemented by another built in 1860, by J. C. Bothe. Here was the real dawn of business growth and activity, for enterprise followed rapidly in the wake of enterprise, until within a few years the town had attained its present standing. As the period of the growth is thus comparatively recent, a glance at the business interests of to-day will largely comprehend the enterprises of the business era. We now turn our attention to the different interests and institutions represented under business interests, educational interests, religious histoiy, and political annals.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880