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CHAPTER X I.
FORMATION, TAXABLE LANDS IN 1829, AND CHANGES IN TERRITORY - AREA BOUNDARIES AND POPULATION - PHYSICAL FEATURES-SOIL-STREAMS AND BIG SPRING-PIONEERS-.JUSTICES OF THE PEACE-~SCHOOLS-CHURCHES EARLY MILLS-POSTOFFICES AND VILLAGES-TILE PROPOSED TOWN OF CAPERNAUM - VANLUE. ITS POSTMASTERS, EARLY BUSINESS MEN, AND PRESENT MATERIAL AND SOCIAL INTERESTS,
THIS subdivision dates its erection back to the spring of 1828, Amanda and W elfare (now Delaware) being formed from the southeast portion of Findlay Township, which since May 28, 1823, had embraced the whole county. The entire land tax of Amanda Township in 1829, was $4.30, and only 252 acres were then subject to taxation under the existing law. On the 7th of December, 1829, Jackson Township was formed from Amanda and Delaware, and December 6, 1830, a part of Amanda was taken in the erection of Marion. Big Lick was cut off from Amanda March 7, 1831, and on the same date it was ordered by the commissioners that "the township of Amanda shall hereafter consist of the original Township 1 south, in Range 12, and Sections 34 and 35 in the original surveyed Township 1 north in the 12th Range." On the 3d of June, 1833, those two sections were attached to Big Lick. Upon the erection of Ridge Township, June 5, 1838, Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11; 12, 13 and 14, Township 1 south, Range 12, were taken from Amanda in the formation of the new township, which existed till March 5, 1845, when the previous erection of Wyandot County took forty-five sections off the southeast part of Hancock, and made necessary a reformation in the lines of Amanda, Big Lick and Delaware Townships. Sections 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 35 and 3d were cut off the east side of Amanda, and became a part of Wyandot County. Ridge Township, as a subdivision of Hancock, was abandoned, and its territory remaining in this county, attached to Big Lick and Amanda Townships from which it was originally formed, Amanda receiving Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Township 1
356 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
south, Range 12. By act of the commissioners (March 5, 1845), the eastern tier of sections, from 1 to 36 inclusive, in Township 1 south, Range 11, previously belonging to Jackson, was attached to Amanda Township, and thus its territory has since remained.
Amanda now contains twenty-seven sections, or an area of 17, 280 acres, It is one of the southeast townships of the county, and is bounded as follows: On the north by Big Lick and Marion Townships, on the east by Wyandot County, on the south by Wyandot County and Delaware Township, and on the west by Jackson Township. In 1840 Amanda had a population of 490; 1850, 1,162; 1860, 1,470; 1870, 1,469; 1880, 1,474-a total gain from 1860 to 1880 of only four inhabitants,
The surface of this township is generally very level, possessing a distinct characteristic sameness throughout its length and breadth. A very heavy forest of the several kinds of timber found in this part of the State originally covered the soil. In the northeast portion of Amanda is a tract known as "the fallen timber," the forest having been undermined by the peat covering the surface taking fire in the fall of 1828, and burning the roots of the trees, This tract embraces several hundred acres, which was originally covered with water most of the year, the large trees lying upon the ground preventing the natural drainage of the surface. The "swamp" lies in the southeast part of the township, and is a strip of flat land extending from east to west nearly across the township. It also underwent the burning process, and was very thinly timbered.
Along the Blanchard the soil is a rich alluvial deposit, but in the eastern section of the township, excepting in the " fallen timber " and " swamp " tracts, a clay soil with a sand and gravel mixture prevails, The "fallen timber " tract is a mixed soil composed of vegetable mold, derived from the rotting trees and decay ed vegetation, and the sandy clay natural to the township. This combination is highly prized by the agriculturiest. Covering the "swamp" is a deep muck or loam and decayed vegetation, very light and susceptible to droughts, The first settlers regarded this tract as almost worthless and totally unfit for cultivation, but judicious drainage has reclaimed most of these lands; and when the top muck is thoroughly mixed, by deep plowing, with the underlying clay a valuable soil is formed, the muck itself being too light to retain sufficient moisture for the growing crop during the hot season.
Amanda is favored with plenty of good water and fair natural drainage facilities. The Blanchard River winds northward through the western tier of sections, and thoroughly waters the country contiguous thereto. Buck Run is the only important local tributary. It flows northwestward from the southeast corner of the township, and empties into the Blanchard on the northeast quarter of Section 12. Potato Creek crosses the southwest corner of Amanda and strikes the Blanchard just across the line in Jackson Township. Northeast of Vanlue, in Section 3, on the farm of William Smith, is the celebrated "Big Spring," thus named because it is the largest spring in Hancock County. The cool, pure spring water gushes forth in a torrent from its sandy bed, and ripples onward in a clear stream, supplying water for the stock of the whole neighborhood. This spring furnished power at an early day for a carding machine and a small corn-mill, both of which did good survice during their existence. Big Spring is invaluable to the farmers of that locality, and many a wayfarer has here slaked his thirst and watched with delight its pure bubbling waters.
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Pioneers.-Thomas Thompson, a native of Virginia, was the first settler in this township: On the 25th of February, 1822, he entered the east half of the northwest quarter, and January 18, 1823, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 3; and in the summer of 1823 built a cabin, cleared a patch of ground and planted a crop of potatoes, He remained on his land till the crop was gathered and stored, and then returned to Pickaway County, Ohio, for his family, which he brought out early in 1824. In the first list of taxable property, taken by Wilson Vance in the spring of 1824, Mr. Thompson is assessed for one horse and five head of cattle, and marked opposite his name is the note "taken in from lady," a conclusive evidence that his wife and family were then here. Mr. Thompson was the first justice of Amanda, and a resident of the township until his death, which occurred at Vanlue, October 26, 18 73. He removed from his farm, on Section 3, a few years prior to his decease, as increasing age and infirmities compelled him to retire from the busy cares of life. He was twice married, his first wife, Miss Anna Williamson, coming with him from Pickaway County. She died in 1850, and in 1852 he married Mrs, Benjamin Nigh, nee Lake, who still survives him, and is residing in Findlay. His first wife bore him twelve children, six of whom reached maturity, but only one, William, is now living. One daughter, Mrs, James Moyer, of Findlay, is the fruit of his second marriage.
Abraham and Sarah A. Huff and family were the next to locate in Amanda Township. Mr. Huff came in 1825, and subsequently purchased, with Samuel Sargent, 320 acres of land of Henry McWhorter, lying in Big Lick and Amanda. In 1829 a division of these lands took place, Huff get ting eighty acres in each subdivision. He settled on the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 3, Amanda Township, close to the Big Spring, entered by Henry McWhorter, February 27, 1822. In March, 1828, he was appointed associate judge of Hancock County, and served seven years, Mr. Huff laid out a town named Capernaum on his farm, March 14, 1831, but no lots were sold or buildings erected. Judge Huff was an honorable, upright man, possessing a large share of strong, common sense. He once kept a small store at his house, and is pretty well remembered by the older citizens, who patronized the establishment. Soon after the expiration of his judgeship he removed with his family to Missouri and never returned. One of the oldest pioneers of Hancock County, Major Bright, great-grandfather of Nimrod W. Bright, of Amanda Township, located or entered 3,000 acres of land in this township, and was an extensive stock-raiser. John Huff, John Shoemaker, William Hackney and James Beard all came to the township in 1826. Huff entered the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 3, December 29, 1825, upon which he settled, but in 1828 he removed to Big Lick Township, where a further mention of him will be found. Shoemaker built his cabin on the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 18, which he entered December 18, 1826, and here he resided till February, 1829, when he also removed to Big Lick, where he died in the spring of 1882. * Mr. Hackney entered the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 3, November 4, 1824, and early in 1826 settled upon it. In April, 1826, he was elected one of the justices of Findlay Township, then co-extensive with the county. In April, 1828, he was elected county assessor, and auditor the following October. He then
* See History of Big Lick Township.
358 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
removed to Findlay, where he resided several years, Mr. Hackney was a man of good education, and one of the pioneer school teachers of the county. His wife was a sister of Joseph C. Shannon, also of Mrs, John J. Hendricks, The family went from here to Springfield, Ill., leaving no descendants in this county. James Beard settled close to Shoemaker in Section 18. He voted at the first county election in April, 1828. After many years' residence he went to Indiana and there died.
John J. and Eleanor F. Hendricks came late in 1826, and settled on the Blanchard, on the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 12, in the northwest corner of what is now Amanda Township. In 1830 he sold his land to Jesse Gilbert, and removed to Liberty Township. He too was one of the seventy-four electors of April, 1828, and the second justice of Amanda. The reader will find further mention of him in the sketch of Liberty Township.
Thomas Huff was another settler of this period. He was a brother of Abraham Huff, and located in the same neighborhood. After a residence here of many years he moved to Peoria County, Ill., and is buried in the cemetery at Chillicothe.
Henry George and family were among the next year's settlers. He and his wife, Catherine, were natives of Lehigh County, Penn., whence., with two children, Peter and Polly, they removed to Fairfield Co., Ohio, and thence to Pickaway County. In 1831, with a family of three sons and seven daughters, they came to this township and located on the southwest quarter of Section 17, where the parents resided till their death. Henry and Peter, the elder sons, were two of the seventy-four voters at the first county election. Of the ten children who came to this county, only five are living, viz. : Daniel and Lucy, in Findlay, Joseph and Sarah, in Cary, and Betsy, in Michigan. The deceased are Peter, Polly, Hannah, Susan and Eva. Peter was the best known of the family. Born in Pennsylvania. October 13, 1799, he grew to manhood in Ohio, and in November, 1823, visited Hancock County, and entered a piece of land in Section 35, Jackson Township, but did not settle here permanently until the coming of his parents, in 1827. He then took up 160 acres of land on Section 7, Amanda Township, erected a cabin and made a clearing. In 1830 he married Miss Mary Woodruff, a native of Pickaway County, Ohio, who bore him five sons and four daughters, five of whom survive. Throughout the pioneer days Peter George was known far and wide as a veteran "land hunter." He was a noted guide for those looking up lands in this section of the State, and was familiar with every part of Hancock County. He served two consecutive terms as commissioner of the county, and was a very highly respected citizen. He died December 10, 1884; his aged widow still resides in the county where she has spent the greater part of her life.
John and Sarah Beard, of Fairfield County, Ohio, located in the township late in 1827, following their son James, who came in 1826. Their sons were Joseph, James, Samuel, Amos, Elijah and Adam. James and Amos voted at the first county election in April, 1828, while the father, John, was one of the petit jurors in the June session of that year. Some of the family settled in Amanda and others in Marion, where Adam now lives. The parents died here, and some of the sons went West.
Jesse and John Hewitt settled in the northeast corner of the township in 1827. The former voted at the first county election; but little further is remembered of them.
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Aquilla Gilbert, now a resident of Vanlue, came to the county with his brother-in-law, Mordecai Hammond, in the fall of 182?, though only for the purpose of assisting the latter in moving from Pickaway County. Mr. Gilbert was born in York County, Penn., September 18, 1803, there grew to manhood, and in 1823 married Catherine Hartman. He subsequently removed to Ohio, where she died in 1828, leaving two children. The same fall he again came to this county, and June 2, 1829, entered the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 24, on the east bank of the Blanchard. He spent the winter of 1828-29 at the home of Mr. Hammond, and June 28, 1829, was married, by Asa M. Lake, J. P., to Miss Lorain P. Hamlin, a daughter of Daniel Hamlin, of Delaware Township, and the same year settled on his land. Four children survive this union, his wife dying March 31, 1841. On the 6th of July, 1841, he married Julia A. Askam, who is the mother of four living children. Mr. Gilbert was elected justice of the peace of Jackson Township (wherein his home was then located) in 1830, and re-elected four times in succession. In 1832 he taught the first school opened in his neighborhood, being the second in what is now Amanda Township. He served two terms as county commissioner, and after the tier of sections in which his home lies was attached to Amanda, he served three successive terms as justice of the latter subdivision. Thus for thirty years Mr. Gilbert was actively engaged in the transaction of public business, and has always taken a deep interest in the progress of his adopted county, In 1859 he removed to Vanlue, where he has ever since resided, while his residence in the township extends back over a period of fifty-seven years,
The years 1828-29 brought Thomas Cole. David Hagerman, Joseph Whiteman, Andrew Robb, William Ebright, Henry Keel, Samuel Gordon and James Gibson. Cole and Hagerman came from Pickaway County, and after a residence here of several years the former went to Indiana, while Hagerman resided in Amanda until this death. Joseph Whiteman lived in several different parts of the township, and finally died in the county. He was of a restless disposition and never remained long in any place, so that he is but faintly remembered. Andrew Robb entered the east half of the north west quarter of Section 13, May 7, 1828. His cabin stood not far from the home of Aquilla Gilbert, who remembers him as a very worthy man. He, however, died in 1830, soon after settling here. William Ebright and family came early in 1829, and in March of the latter year he and his son, Philip, were two of the petitioners for a road to Findlay. He settled on the Blanchard, in Section 13, but subsequently removed to Eagle Township, and assisted in organizing that subdivision. Henry Keel, with his wife Catherine and family, removed from Pennsylvania to Fairfield County, Ohio, about 1823, and in 1829 located on the Blanchard in this township. In 1833 Mr. Keel and family moved into Eagle Township, where both he and his wife died. Four of their children are residents of the county. Samuel Gordon was for many y ears a leading citizen of the township, where he settled in 1829, In 1831 he was elected justice of the peace, and re-elected five times in succession. Mr. Gordon is kindly remembered by the few old settlers now living who knew him best.
James Gibson, with his family, settled in Section 1, in what is now the northwest corner of Amanda Township, in 1829. His son Charles was a young man when the family came to the county. The parents died on the old homestead, and were buried in the Vanhorn Cemetery. None of the children are living in this county.
360 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
A large number of settlers came to Amanda in 1829 and 1830, all of whom brought families, Among those best remembered are David Morehart, Adam Alspach, Lemuel Farthing, David Egbert, Henry Treese, John G. Litsenberger, John Dipert, Darius Smith and Sanford Smith. David and Elizabeth (Fenstemaker) Morehart were natives of Pennsylvania, who first located in Fairfield County, Ohio. In 1829 he entered land in Section 5, Amanda Township, and the following year, with his wife and daughter, Mary (wife of J. M. Van Horn), settled on the land where his son, Jesse D. now lives. They had a family of fourteen children, and a large number of their descendants yet reside in the county. The parents died upon the old homestead in Section 5.
Adam Alspach was also a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1788. About 1808 he came to Fairfield County, Ohio, and served in the war of 1812. He married in Fairfield County, Barbara Wyant, a native of the Keystone State, and in the spring of 1830, with his wife and six children, took up his abode in the forest of Amanda Township. He built his cabin in Section 19, were one daughter was subsequently born to him. Mr. Alspach died in this township, but his sons, Daniel and Aaron, are surviving pioneers of Amanda Township.
Lemuel and Mary (Riordan) Farthing were natives of Virginia, and first located in Gallia County, Ohio, removing to Amanda Township in 1830, where both died. They were the parents of nine children, three of whom survive.
David and Mary Egbert were born in New Jersey, thence removed to the Susquehanna River, and in 1812 settled in Fairfield County, Ohio. In 1822 the Egberts left Fairfield and took up their residence in Seneca County, and June 1, 1829, entered land in the northwest part of this township, upon which the family settled the same or following year. In 1831-32, David removed to Marion Township, where he was elected justice of the peace in the latter year. They had a family of ten children, six of whom are living. One of the sons, Uriah W. , may justly be regarded as a pioneer of Amanda, having lived in the township for the past fifty-six years, The parents finally went to Wood County, and there passed the latter years of their lives,
Henry and Elizabeth (Hager) Treese, natives of Pennsylvania, located on the east bank of the Blanchard in the fall of 1830, where Peter was soon afterward born. The family camp here from Pickaway County, Ohio, and the parents agent the remainder of their days in Hancock County. Peter Treese now resides on the old homestead in Section 24, while George, an older brother, lives in Jackson Township.
John G. and Mary Litsenberger, with their sons, George, Daniel, Isaac, Henry, John and Jacob, all natives of Pennsylvania, came from Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1830, and settled in Section 13, where the father died. Jacob, now living in Vanlue, is the only one of John's children residing in Hancock.
Adam Hoy came to the township about this time, or perhaps a little earlier. He entered land in Amanda in 1829, and lived in that township up to within a few years, His name appears among the voters at the October election of 1831, and he was one of the organizers of the Pioneer Association in 1874.
John Dipert and wife Sarah (Fenstemaker) emigrated from Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1830, and settled in Section 20. He died upon the old
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homestead. Mrs, Andrew S. Beck, of Amanda, is the only one of his children living in the county.
Darius and Sanford Smith settled in the southwest corner of the township in 1830. The former served one term as county commissioner, and both died upon their farms,
Michael and Mary (Hager) Misamore and family were, perhaps, the next to settle in Amanda: the former was a native of Virginia, and the latter of Pennsylvania. They had a family of eleven children, when in 1831 they removed from Pickaway County, and settled in a small log-cabin on the east bank of the Blanchard in Section 13. In 1835, Mr. Misamore built a frame grist-mill, which supplied a very material want to the settlers of this locality. These mills were afterward run by his son John, who also rebuilt them after they were burnt down. The parents died here, and of their children three sons and two daughters survive. John resides in Section 24, immediately south of where the family settled about fifty-five years ago.
The same year (1831) John Fenstemaker, Lemuel Roberts, Arthur Stotts and Jesse Cherry settled in the township. The first mentioned, with his wife Catherine, came from Fairfield County, Ohio, and settled in Section 21, where he died. His son George is a resident of the township. Jacob and Jonas Fenstemaker, brothers of John, came to the township somewhat later, and both spent their lives in the county. Lemuel and Elizabeth Roberts were natives of Maryland, who located in Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1824, and seven years later took up their residence in Section 2, cut off in the erection of Wyandot County in 1845. Arthur Stotts was from Pickaway County, Ohio, and settled in Section 15: He and his wife subsequently removed to Lima. Jesse Cherry, also from Pickaway County, located close to Stotts, and both he and his wife died upon the old homestead. Andrew Beck and family came from Fairfield County, Ohio, with his brother-in-law, John Fenstemaker, and located on land in this township previously entered by his father, Andrew Beck, Sr., who had taken up several hundred acres. His brother Daniel came out about two years later, and afterward their brothers, Henry, Peter and John, joined the settlement, all locating in what is now Amanda, except Henry whose farm was in Ridge, and included in the territory taken in the erection of Wyandot County. The parents, Andrew and Catherine, did not settle here until some time after the sons, and both died in the township. Andrew, Jr., died near Wharton; Daniel removed to Missouri and there died; Henry died on his farm in Wyandot County; Peter died in this township; John resides in Indiana, and the two daughters, Mrs. John Fenstemaker and Mrs, Jacob Backer, live on their respective homesteads in Hancock and Wyandot Counties,
In 1832, Andrew and George Morehart, Elisha Brown and John Moore took up their residence in the forest of Amanda. The Moreharts, natives of Pennsylvania, settled in Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1817, whence they came to this township. Andrew had a family of thirteen children, six of whom are living. Both he and George died in this county. Elisha Brown and family came from Pickaway County in the fall of the year and settled in Section 9. He served one term as Sheriff of Hancock County, and died in Vanlue. Two of his daughters are residents of. the county. John and Annie Moore were natives of Maryland, and removed first to Fairfield Co., Ohio, thence to Hancock, settling in the vicinity of the Big Spring, where both died. Three of their children are yet living. Amos, who now resides
362 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
near Vanlue, was a man of twenty-five when his parents came to the township. He carried on the manufacture of spinning wheels at the old farm till sometime after the breaking out of the war of the rebellion.
In 1833 Gershom Plotts, Charles Van Horn and David H. Harshbarger came into the township. Mr. Plotts, a native of Pennsylvania, had a family of ten children. In the spring of 1833 he removed from Fairfield County, Ohio and took up his residence in Section 16. In 1854 he and wife went to Michigan, where both died, but three of the sons-John, W. L. and Ira-are residents of Vanlue. Mr. Van Horn was born in Bucks County, Penn., April 18, 1801, and in 1826 married Sarah Twining, who bore him ten children, all but one of whom survive. He removed from Pennsylvania to Jefferson County, Ohio, and in 1833 to Amanda Township, purchasing forty acres of land, of which about five acres had been cleared. Here he began life in Hancock County, and here he passed the balance of his days, adding, through the fleeting years, other acres to his original purchase. His children are George W., James M., Robert, Mary, Martha, Phoebe, Sarah, Charles E. and John. Very little is remembered of David H. Harshbarger, only that he settled on the Blanchard, in Section 36, where he died at an early day, of " milk-sickness."
Another family of the Moreharts settled in Amanda Township in the spring of 1834, viz. : Washington, William Josiah, Sarah and Maria Morehart, natives of Fairfield County, Ohio. They located on the southwest quarter of Section 15, entered by Washington, July 29, 1833, and now the property of George Huff. Washington is the best known of this family. Born in Fairfield County, in 1817, he had not reached manhood when his mother came to this township. In 1839 he married Elizabeth Breiner, who bore him three daughters, In 1874 he removed from his farm in Section 9 to Vanlue, where his wife died, in December, 1884. Mr. Morehart is one of the most intelligent and progressive farmers of the township.
Jacob Starr, Samuel Ewing, John McLeod and Richard M. Lee, all came in or about 1834. Jacob Stair was a native of Virginia, married in Fairfield County, Ohio, and in the spring of 1834 located in Amanda. Mr. and Mrs, Stair were the parents of seven children, some of whom are residents of the township. Mr. Ewing was born in Maryland, and married Rebecca Alspach, of Fairfield County, Ohio, whence, in 1834, he removed to Hancock. He died in this township. John and Elizabeth McLeod raised a family of eleven children, several of whom are yet residents of the county. Richard and Lydia (Wyant) Lee came from Fairfield County, Ohio, about the same time as the foregoing pioneers, settling in Section 20, where former died in 1854, latter in 1882. They were parents of seven sons and one daughter, all living but one.
The following year (1835) Joseph C. Carver and Lowman Pratt located in the township. Mr. Carver was born in Bucks County, Penn., October 10, 1808, and on coming to Amanda the family lived for a brief period in a building where salts and pearl ash had been manufactured, locally called the "ashery," which stood in the northwest part of the township. He subsequently entered eighty acres of land in Section 6, to which he added forty acres more, and has ever since resided on this farm. He is the father of eight children, five now living. Mr. Pratt, also a native of the Keystone State, settled in Section 29, where his son Lewis now resides. His wife, Rachel (Kelly), bore him three sons and five daughters, of whom two sons
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and three daughters survive. Mr. Pratt died in 1865, and his widow in 1872. The first twelve years of the township's settlement have now been run through; and though them maybe others besides those given who settled in Amanda from 1823 to 1835, yet the ones mentioned are best known and remembered. It must not be supposed that all of these pioneers were men and women of unblemished character and indomitable energy, but taking them as a whole they will bear comparison with those who have taken their places. This is readily and freely admitted by their descendants, and if the future generations but cling firmly to the precepts and principles of the pioneers, Amanda will have good cause to be proud of her record.
Justices of the Peace. - Prior to the erection of Amanda Township, in 1828, William Hackney, who lived in this section of the county, was one of the two justices of Findlay Township, but since that event the following citizens have filled the office: Thomas Thompson, John J. Hendricks, Samuel Gordon, Abraham Kern, John Thompson, William Vanlue, Aquilla Gilbert, B. A. Etherton, John Crawford (yet serving), T. B. Gilbert, Ira Plotts, B. F. Burnap and R, M. Lee.
Schools.-The first school in Amanda Township was taught by George Smith in the winter of 1830-31. It was held in a small log building on the farm of Uriah Egbert, and the Georges, Beards, Shoemakers, More harts and others were the pupils in attendance. In 1831 a log school-house was erected near the center of the township, which was patronized by all the families then living in that locality who had children old enough to attend school, The second school building was put up in Section 13, in the fall of 1832. Aquilla Gilbert opened a school here in the winter of 1832-33, and says his pupils were the Misamores, Treeses, Gibsons, Egberts and his own children. He received $1.50 per quarter for each scholar, and he says : "I did not board at the homes of my patrons, as stated in a recent publication, but ate and slept at my own cabin on the Blanchard. " It is noticeable that the pioneers of this township early began to foster and support schools, which as the population increased became more plentiful and of greater efficiency. There are now eight good schoolhouses outside of Vanlue, the latter being a special district.
Churches.-The first sermon ever preached in"this locality was by the Rev. Thomas Thompson, a Methodist Episcopal itinerant, at the cabin of Henry George. He subsequently preached at other cabins in the township, but it is not known that any class or organization of Methodists was effected. The German Lutherans organized the first society in Amanda, and in 1831 erected a hewed-log church on the southeast corner of Section 18, where the United Brethren meeting-house now stands. Among the organizers of this society were Frederick Bennor and wife. Adam Alspach and wife, John Fenstemaker and wife, John Dipert and wife. David Morehart and wife and several of the Becks, This church went down many years ago. Amanda now contains eight churches, viz.: One English Lutheran, one Methodist Episcopal, one Methodist Protestant, two United Brethren, one Baptist, one German Reformed and one Disciples, all of which have good congregations and regular services,
Early Mills. - In 1835 Michael Misamore erected a grist-mill in Section 13, on the east bank of the Blanchard. This was the first mill in what is now Amanda, as well as the first frame structure built in the township. It was run by water power, and the grinding was therefore uncertain, through
366 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
freezing in winter and low water in the summer season. Nevertheless, it was a great boon to the pioneers of the surrounding country, who often had to travel long distances through the forest, with a small grist, ere the little ones could taste the luxury of a wheat cake. This mill was burned down and afterward rebuilt by John Misamore, who also erected a saw-mill close to it. He ran these mills some twenty years and then sold the property, bat they have ever since been in operation, whenever there was sufficient water to furnish power.
Another early mill, if it could be dignified by that title, was put up at the Big Spring, in Section 3. It was built for a carding mill, but buhrs were subsequently added, and considerable corn meal ground. The power was furnished by the water from the spring. Of course many temporary sawmills have been in operation from time to time, and though serving a good purpose were removed so soon as the timber in their respective localities became scarce. The next mill of importance was built at Vanlue in 1855-56, and will be spoken of in the sketch of that village. No other grist-mills have been operated in the township.
Postoffices and Villages.-Blanchard Bridge postoffice was established at the house of Aquilla Gilbert, in Section 24, in 1841. Mr. Gilbert was the first and only postmaster, and the office was discontinued in 1861. Soon after the establishment of Blanchard Bridge, another office, called "Ashery," was opened at the house of Joseph Twining in Section 12. Mr. Twining was the first and only postmaster of "Ashery," which lasted till about 1856.
On the 14th of March, 1831, Abraham Huff laid out a town of sixteen lots on the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 3, which he recorded as Capernaum, in honor of the bible city of that name. Nothing ever came of the enterprise, and no lots were ever sold or houses erected. Its site is now a part of the Sheridan farm and its location almost forgotten.
Vanlue, the only village in the township, had its inception May 5, 1847, when William Vanlue laid out a town of 44 lots in the north part of the north half of the northeast quarter of Section 9, and named it after himself. Four additions have been made to the original plat. Vanlue postoffice was established in 1849, and has had the following postmasters : Dr. W . P. Wilson, John Wescott, Dr. W. P. W Wilson, Ira Plotts, W . A. Sponsler, Daniel Gilbert and W William Alspach. The first business commenced in the village was a tannery in 1847, by Thompson & Barnhart. Clawer & Green opened a general dry goods and grocery store the same year. Hiram and W. L. Plotts were the first carpenters, afterward carrying on a cabinet shop and carding-mill run by steam power. In 1847-48, S. N. Beach opened a general store, Peter Shuck a grocery and Isaac Van Horn a blacksmith shop. The earliest physicians were Drs. A. Bell, Abraham Brown, W. P. Wilson, Stover, Igert, Todd and Myers, Dr. Wilson is yet in active practice at Vanlue. The town grew considerably during the first few years of its existence, and, being located on the branch railroad from Caret' to Findlay, became the great shipping point for the sur rounding county. About 1851-52 a shingle factory was built, and operated a few years. In 1855-56 a grist-mill was put up by Hiram Russell, of which the present Centennial Mills is the successor. A foundry was opened in 1859, by James B. Freeman, which lasted about five years, The foregoing embrace the principal business interests of early Vanlue; but its location made it impossible for Vanlue ever to be anything more than a small country town, and after a certain stage of growth was reached its progress slackened up.
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In September, 1866, Vanlue was incorporated for special purposes, and the first election for officers held April 13, 1867, resulting as follows : Elisha Brown, mayor; Abraham Brown, recorder; Hiram Pratt, Ira Plotts, B. A. Etherton, Charles H. Hatch and A. S. Roberts, council. The mayoralty has since been filled by Aquilla Gilbert, Frederick Shiner, J. H, Brown, B. F. Burnap, T. B. Gilbert, Henry T. Lee, John Ward, Charles H. Hatch (appointed to fill vacancy), Henry T. Lee, Calvin Clark, George W. Snook and E. L. E. Mumma. After its incorporation prosperity once more visited the town, and a new impetus was given to business. On December 3, 1877, Vanlue was incorporated for general purposes. The census of 1880 gave it a population of 364, though its citizens now claim about 500.
Vanlue is situated on the Findlay branch of the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad, about ten miles southeast of the county seat. It contains two general dry goods and grocery stores, one grocery, one drug store and grocery, one hardware store, one harness shop, one furniture store, one bakery, one tin shop, one boot and shoe shop, one barber shop, two blacksmith shops, four physicians, one hotel, and two saloons. In 1855-56 a steam flouring-mill was built in Vanlue by Hiram Russell, and after passing through several ownerships was bought by Frederick Shiner in 1882. He ran it some ten years and then sold it to Jacob Wall, who in turn disposed of the property to Homer Vansant, and it was soon afterward burned to the ground. In 1876 Mr. Shuler erected the "Centennial Mills," a two and a half story frame building, which he has ever since operated. In the winter of 1884-85 Mr. Shuler put in the roller process, and now turns out a grade of flour second to none in northwestern Ohio. Two saw and planing mills are in operation in the village, and an extensive file and brickyard, which has been very successful since its establishment in 1884, is also located here. A large grain elevator and warehouse stands near the track of the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad. It was built soon after the road was completed, and handles, annually, thousands of bushels of wheat, corn and oats raised upon the rich lands of this vicinity.
The United Brethren denomination built the first church at Vanlue in 1851-52; the English Lutherans, the second, and the Methodist Episcopals, the third. The United Brethren have abandoned the old structure, and erected a new one. All are comfortable frame buildings, and accommodate good congregations, A good frame schoolhouse of four rooms furnishes educational facilities, R. E. Diehl is principal, and there are two assistant teachers,
Fountain Lodge No. 353, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 28, 1859, the charter members being John Wescott, Aquilla Gilbert, Abraham Brown, Harmon Pratt, Joshua Myers, Oliver Gordon, Henry Watkins and Benjamin Scott. The lodge erected a fine two-story brick building in 1883, at a cost of over $6,000, selling their old building to Ira Plotts. It now contains over 100 members, and is in a very prosperous condition.
Ellen Lodge No. 60, I. O. O. F., Daughters of Rebekah, was organized May 10, 1870.
Ladonia Lodge No. 82, I. O. G. T., was organized November 24, 1884, and has a very large membership, numbering at present 110. Thus it will be seen that the cause of temperance in Vanlue is in a flourishing condition.