Original Crawford County Ohio Courthouse ca. 1881
Original Crawford County Ohio Courthouse ca. 1881 (This is a copy of the picture on page 165 of the 1881 Crawford Co. History)

(abstracted & condensed from the 1881 Crawford Co. History
Baskin & Battey – Chapter 3)

After the Indians ceded most of the State of Ohio to the United States, first when they signed the Greenville Treaty August 3, 1795, and again in 1807, when a further cession was made by the Indians. This included a line just east of the village of Cardington, in Morrow County which passed through what is now Crawford County, on the western boundary of the Three Mile Strip. In 1813, Gen. Crook’s army marched from Pittsburgh to join Gen. Harrison at Fort Meigs by traveling this territory from Wooster through Mansfield, Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky and then northerly to their destination. This was the first road made through the country west of Mansfield.

On September 29, 1817, by a treaty made at the Maumee Rapids, the remaining portion of Ohio under Indian domination, was ceded to the United States, and immigration began to pour into the “New Purchase.” On the 20th of February, 1820, the General Assembly of the State passed an act for the “erection of certain counties” out of this vast tract of wilderness, and Crawford was the seventh in order out of the fourteen counties created. The eastern tier of townships formerly belonging to Richland County, Auburn, Vernon, Jackson and Polk, were surveyed by Maxwell Ludlow, in 1807. The remaining territory was surveyed in 1819, by Deputy Surveyor General Sylvanus Bourne.

In the first twenty-five years of history in every township in Crawford County, the first occupants were the trappers and surveyors, who often became farmers also, joining the incoming farmers and settlers. Samuel Norton, the founder of the village of Bucyrus, came from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania in 1817, and as the first actual settler took up a claim on the border of the Sandusky Plains, eight miles from the nearest cabin. He is described as a man of large athletic proportions, six feet high, of strong determination, keen intelligence, and full of the true spirit of enterprise. After selecting his quarter-section he returned to Pennsylvania for his family. When his return he erected his pole cabin, and made a clearing located near the Sandusky River where his daughter, Sophronia, probably the first white child, was born within the original limits of the county.

Although much of the land in Auburn Township at an early date was occupied by marshes, it received its first white inhabitants in 1815. Unlike the rest of the county, Auburn Township’s earliest settlers were mostly from New England because this township adjoined the ‘fire lands’ of the Western Reserve in Huron County. These lands, set aside for citizens of Connecticut whose land was burned by the English during the Revolutionary war, naturally attracted others of their friends to the same vicinity.

Vernon Township was principally settled by New Englanders, many of them locating with Revolutionary war land warrants. The land was not the most inviting, part of it being covered with marshes. The first settler was a trapper George Byers in 1818 who occupied a squatter’s claim. Coming soon after him was James Richards in 1821, and George Dickson from Pennsylvania in 1822.

The settlement in the southeast corner of the county was an early and important one. This whole corner of the county was known as Sandusky Township in Richland County. Benjamin Leveredge and his sons James and Nathaniel, together with George Wood and David, came in 1817, and were the first to settle on the present site of Galion. Benjamin Sharrock came in 1818 and Asa Hosford in 1819.

Whetstone Township was first settled about 1820, and among its earliest pioneers were Esi Norton, Frederick Garver, Heman Rowse, Christopher Bair, John Kent and others. The community here grew rapidly, and by 1827 numbered thirty some families, principally from Pennsylvania and the New England States.

Liberty Township was first invaded by Daniel McMichael, who was followed by Ralph Bacon in 1821, from Mentor, Ohio. In the same year, the families of John Maxfield, a native of Vermont, and John O. Blowers, from Wayne County, Ohio, were added to the population of the township.

The settlement of Chatfield Township had a nucleus settlement as early as 1820. An early character was Jacob Whetstone, a hunter and trapper. The township was named for Silas and Oliver Chatfield.

The western part of Holmes township was still reserved to the Indians, and along its southern border was an extensive cranberry marsh making it undesirable for settlement. Mr. Hearman was the first resident of the township, followed shortly time by William Flake. The growth of the settlement here was slow, and it was probably 1825 before it could aspire to the title of community.

The origin of Crawford County as a political division of Ohio dates back to February 20, 1820 when Maumee Valley was opened to settlement, and divided up into counties for judicial and governmental purposes. Townships 1, 2 and 3 south, in Ranges 13, 14,15, 10 and 17 east, and all the land east of these townships up to what was then the western limits of Richland County, was named Crawford County in honor of Colonel William Crawford the famous soldier who died in 1782.

Crawford County did not at that time have any political value or power, but was simply attached to Delaware County. On December 15, 1823, Marion County, roughly blocked out when Crawford was named, was organized “for judicial purposes.” Law or taxation was not very important to the pioneer settlements until a nearer county seat was provided. On the 17th of February in 1824, the increase of population made it inconvenient for the settlers to go to Marion to transact their business.

The part of Crawford County situated north of the Wyandot reservation, “including one tier of townships lying east and west,” was then attached to Seneca County for judicial purposes until January 31,1826. The larger part of Wyandot County and three miles of the western portion of Holmes and Bucyrus Townships was included in the Indian reservation. In 1835 the Indians sold a seven-mile strip off the east end of their reservation at a public auction in Marion which extended two miles into Wyandot County.

On February 3, 1845 Wyandot County was erected and Crawford lost the part of its territory west of Range 15 East. Crawford gained a 2 mile strip from Marion County to the south, and 4 miles from Richland County on the east. In 1848 a tier of partial sections was taken off and added to Morrow County leaving Crawford County with its present outlines.

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