The Croghan Celebration. 35
BY BASIL MEEK, ESQ., FREMONT, OHIO.
We have met today on this ground, famous in history, because of
the victorious defence of Fort Stephenson, then standing on this spot,
tablet near the spot from which the British cannon bombarded the fort.
The tablet reads as follows:
Near this spot
British cannon from Commodore Barclay's fleet bombarded
Major Croghan in Fort Stephenson August 1, and 2, 1813.
General Proctor attempted to capture the fort by assault with
his Wellington veterans, assisted by Indians under Tecumseh.
Major Croghan with only 160 men and one cannon
"Old Betsy,"repulsed the assault.
The British retreated to their ships with many killed and wounded,
but leaving Lt. Col. Short, Lieut. Gordon
and 25 soldiers of the 41st regiment dead in the ditch.
Commodore Barclay was wounded and with his entire fleet including
the cannon used against Fort Stephenson was captured by
Commodore Perry at the battle of Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813.
General Proctor, with his British regulars, was defeated and
Tecumseh with many of his Indians, was killed by
General Harrison at the battle of the Thames, Oct. 5, 1813.
Major Croghan was awarded a gold medal and each
of his officers a sword by the congress of the United States
for gallantry in the defense of Fort Stephenson.
Erected by the George Croghan Chapter, D. A. R.
It is not for me, in this paper, to enter into any detailed account
of the engagement, or any description of the fort; nor to enter into
details of the causes or military movements that led up to the attack,
36 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
as these have been assigned to others. Reference, however, is made to
the accompanying cut of the plan of the fort and its environs.
"In long years past, on the banks of this river
Whose current so peaceful, flows silently down,
Roamed the race of the red man, with bow and with quiver,
Where stands fair Fremont, our beautiful town."
Here centuries ago, according to tradition, there were two fortified
neutral towns. One on the east and one on the west bank of the river,
remains of which, in the shape of earthworks were visible within the
remembrance of inhabitants now living.
REFERENCE TO THE ENVIRONS.--a--British gunboats at their place
of landing. b- Cannon, a six-pounder. c - Mortar. d - Batteries.
e - Graves of Lieut. Col. Short and Lieut. Gordon, who fell in the
ditch. f - Road to Upper Sandusky. g -Advance of the enemy to the
fatal ditch. i-Head of navigation.
Major B. F. Stickney, for many years Indian agent in this locality
and familiar with its history and traditions, in a lecture in Toledo in
1845, speaking of these towns, said: "The Wyandots have given me
this account of them. At a period of two and a half centuries ago
all the Indians west of this point were at war with those east. Two
walled towns were built near each other, inhabited by those of Wyandot
origin. They assumed a neutral character. All of the west might enter
The Croghan Celebration. 37
the western city and all of the east the eastern. The inhabitants of one
city might inform those of the other that war parties were there; but who
they were or whence they came or anything more must not be mentioned."
Gen. Lewis Cass, in an address in 1829 before the Historical Society
of Michigan, alluding to these neutral towns, said: "During the long and
disastrous contest which preceded and followed the arrival of the Euro-
peans, in which the Iroquois contended for victory, and their enemies
for existence, this little band (Wyandots) preserved the integrity of
their tribe and the sacred character of peacemakers. All who met
upon their threshold met as friends. This neutral nation was still in
existence when the French Missionaries reached the upper lakes two
centuries ago. The details of their history and of their character and
privileges are meager and unsatisfactory, and this is the more to be
regretted as such a sanctuary among the barbarous tribes is not only a
REFERENCES TO THE FORT. -Line 1-Pickets. Line 2-Embank-
ment from the ditch to and against the picket. Line 3. Dry ditch, nine
feet wide by six deep. Line 4-Outward embankment or glacis. A-
Blockhouse first attacked by cannon, b. B-Bastion from which the
ditch was raked by Croghan's artillery. C--Guard blockhouse, in the
lower left corner. D- Hospital during the attack. E E E -Military
store-houses. F-- Commissary's store-house. G - Magazine. H-
Fort gate. K K K-Wicker gates. L- Partition gate.
singular institution but altogether at variance with that reckless spirit
of cruelty with which their wars are usually prosecuted." Internal
feuds finally arose, as the tradition goes, and the villages were destroyed.
Here then the Indians for centuries had their homes and swarmed
along the banks and in the forests and plains of the valley of their beloved
river. Large game abounded on every hand, the river teemed with fish,
38 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and the marshes were alive with wild fowl. To them it was an ideal
abode and typical of their heaven, the happy hunting ground. They were
mostly of the Wyandot tribe, whose ancestors' home was once on the
north side of the river St. Lawrence, and who, becoming involved in a
war with the Senecas, living on the opposite side, which threatened their
extermination, concluded to leave their country. They settled first in the
vicinity of Greenbay; the Senecas followed them and the war was
renewed with varying fortunes, until finally it came to an end with the
Wyandots victors, but so badly worsted as to be unable to take much
advantage of their victory, and they finally settled here. They were
more civilized than any of the other tribes inhabiting this region, among
whom were Delawares, Shawanees and Ottawas.
The origin of the name of the river has been variously explained.
A map, published in Amsterdam in 1720 founded on a great variety of
Memoirs of Louisiana, represents within the present limits of Erie
county a water called Lac San douske. There is also a map published by
Henry Popple, London in 1733, where the bay is called "Lake Sandoski."
A very probable account of the origin of the name is the tradition of
aged Wyandot warriors given to Gen. Harrison in the friendly chat of
the Wigwam from which it appeared that their conquering tribes in
their conflict with the Senecas, centuries ago, having landed at Maumee,.
followed the lake shore toward the east, passing and giving names to
bays, creeks and rivers until on coming to Cold creek, where it enters.
the bay, they were so charmed with the springs of clear, cold water in
the vicinity that they pitched their tents and engaged in hunting and
fishing, and by them the bay and river was called Sandusky. Meaning
in their language "At the Cold Water." Butterfield gives a conversation
of John M. James, with William Walker, principal chief of the Wyandots
at Upper Sandusky, at Columbus, 1835. He said the meaning of the
word was "at the cold water," and should be pronounced San-doos-tee.
The Lower San-doos-tee (cold water) and Upper San-doos-tee being the
descriptive Wyandot Indian names known as far back as our knowledge
of this tribe extends.
Here at Lower Sandusky was one of the most important Wyandot
villages, named Junque-indundeh, which in the Wyandot language, noted
for its descriptive character, signifies "at the place of the hanging haze
or mist (smoke)," a name applicable and of a poetic tinge when its site
with the surrounding forests, prairies and marshes, and the burning
leaves and grass are considered. Through this village passed one of
the main Indian trails from Detroit to the Ohio River country through
the Ohio wilderness. There was good navigation from here to Detroit
and the upper lakes, and a good waterway for their canoes, with but a
short portage, between the Sandusky river and the Scioto, to the Ohio
For a period of nearly sixty years before the battle of Fort Stephen-
The Croghan Celebration. 39
son this spot was on the route pursued by military expeditions of France,
Great Britain and our forefathers, and by the war parties of the savage
red man from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi. The first military ex-
pedition of white men to this place of which we have a record at the pres-
ent time, was that of the French sent out by DeLongueuil, commandant at
Detroit, in 1748, during the conspiracy of Nicolas, the Wyandot chief
who resided at Sandosket, on the north side of the bay of that name,
and who had permitted English traders from Pennsylvania to erect
a large blockhouse at his principal town on the north side of Lake
Sandoski, in 1745, named Fort Sandusky. After the failure of his con-
spiracy, Nicolas resolved to abandon his towns on Sandusky Bay, and
on April 7, 1748, destroyed his villages and forts and with his warriors
and their families moved to the Illinois country.
The French sent another expedition in 1749 under Captain de
Celeron who after passing up the Sandusky river conducted an expe-
dition to the Ohio country, burying engraved leaden plates along the
Ohio river. The first British expedition up the Sandusky was after
the close of the old French War in 1760, when Robert Rogers, a native
of New Hampshire, was directed to take possession of the western forts.
He left Montreal on the 13th of September, 1760, with two hundred Ran-
gers-proceeding west he visited Sandusky--after securing the fort at
Detroit returned by land via Sandusky and Tuscarawas Trail to Fort
Pitt, stopping at the Lower Rapids of the Sandusky, probably on this
very knoll. The succeeding expedition, that of Colonel Bradstreet and
Israel Putnam in 1764, was outlined in the address of Hon. S. D. Dodge.
In May, 1778, the Renegades Alexander McKee, Matthew Elliott
and Simon Girty passed through Lower Sandusky to join the notorious
Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton at Detroit, and lead the savages
in their attack on the settlers. James Girty came from Fort Pitt a few
weeks later to join them. Later in the year 1778 Daniel Boone and
Simon Kenton, then held captive by the Indians, at different times passed
through Lower Sandusky en route to Detroit. Strange to say Simon
Girty saved Simon Kenton's life and sent him to Detroit after he had
been condemned to be burned and tortured.
The next military expedition of which we have knowledge which
stopped at or passed through this place was the British contingent which
served with the Indians in repelling Crawford's expedition which cul-
minated in the terrible scene of Crawford's execution by burning at
the stake. This followed about two months after the passage of the
Moravians through this place on their removal to Detroit.
The pathetic story of the Moravian Indians whose villages were
originally planted on the banks of the Tuscarawas river, in 1772, had a sad
ending some ten years later in the brutal massacre which forms one
of the darkest pages of Revolutionary times. The Moravian missio-
naries and Christian Indians seemed to excite the special enmity of the
40 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
savages both white and red, British and American. The renegades, Elliott,
Girty and McKee, finally persuaded the British Commandant at Detroit
to order their removal, and sent the bloody Wyandot Indians under
their war chiefs Kuhn of Lower Sandusky, and Snip of Upper Sandusky,
accompanied by the famous Delaware chief Captain Pipe of Upper San-
dusky, to transfer them to the Sandusky villages or to the vicinity of
Detroit. This was carried out in their usual ruthless manner. While
the Indian converts remained at Upper Sandusky, De Peyster, the Com-
mandant of Detroit, through the machinations of Simon Girty, ordered
the missionaries brought before him. Rev. John Heckewelder, one of
the missionaries, afterward wrote, in his "History of the Mission": "On
the morning of the 13th of March, 1782, a Frenchman named Francis
Levallie, from Lower Sandusky, gave us notice that Girty who was to
have taken us to Detroit, having gone with a party of Wyandots to war
against the Americans on the Ohio, had appointed him to take his place
in taking us to Detroit, and that on the next day after tomorrow (the
15th) he would be here again to set out with us. A little conversation
with this man satisfied us that we had fallen into better hands. He
told us: 'Girty had ordered him to drive us before him to Detroit, the
same as if we were cattle, and never make a halt for the purpose of
the women giving suck to their children. That he should take us
around the head of the lake (Erie) and make us foot every step of
the way.' He, however would not do this, but would take us to Lower
Sandusky, and from that place send a runner with a letter to the Com-
mandant at Detroit, representing our situation and taking further orders
from him respecting us."
Notwithstanding Girty's hard order, the kind-hearted Frenchman
conducted the missionaries with every regard for their comfort and
safety, and boats were sent to take them from Lower Sandusky to Detroit.
A short time after reaching Lower Sandusky they received word that the
almost equally brutal white borderers on the American side, led by the
notorious Col. Williamson, had marched from Fort Pitt and cruelly
slaughtered some ninety or more Christian Indians who still remained
at the Moravian villages on the Tuscarawas. The missionary band at
Lower Sandusky consisted of the senior missionary David Zeisberger,
and his wife; John Heckewelder, wife and child; Senseman, wife and
babe but a few weeks old; Youngman and wife; and Edwards and
Michael Young, unmarried. The two latter were, while in Lower San-
dusky, lodged in the house of Mr. Robbins. The other four missionaries
with their families were guests of Mr. Arundel. Robbins and Arundel
were English traders at this place.
Heckewelder in his History of Indian Nations describes the ordeal
of running the gauntlet as follows:
"In the month of April, 1782, when I was myself a prisoner at
Lower Sandusky, waiting for an opportunity to proceed with a trader to
The Croghan Celebration. 41
Detroit, - three American prisoners were brought in by fourteen war-
riors from the garrison of Fort McIntosh. As soon as they had crossed
the Sandusky river to which the village lay adjacent, they were told
by the captain of the party to run as hard as they could to a painted
post which was shown to them. The youngest of the three without a
moment's hesitation immediately started for it, and reached it fortu-
nately without receiving a single blow; the second hesitated for a moment,
but recollecting himself, he also ran as fast as he could and likewise
reached the post unhurt. The third, frightened at seeing so many men,
women and children with weapons in their hands ready to strike him,
kept begging the captain to spare him, saying that he was a mason and
would build him a fine large stone house or do any work for him that
he would please.
"Run for your life," cried the chief to him, "and don't talk now of
building houses!" But the poor fellow still insisted, begging and praying
to the captain, who at last finding his exhortations vain and fearing the
consequences turned his back upon him and would not hear him any
longer. Our mason now began to run, but received many a hard blow,
one of which nearly brought him to the ground, which, if he had fallen
would have decided his fate. He, however, reached the goal, and not
without being sadly bruised, and he was beside bitterly reproached and
scoffed at all round as a vile coward, while the others were hailed as
brave men and received tokens of universal approbation."
"In the year 1782," says Heckewelder, "the war chief of the Wyandot
tribe of Indians of Lower Sandusky sent a young white man whom he
had taken as prisoner as a present to another chief who was called the
Half King of Upper Sandusky, for the purpose of being adopted into
his family in the place of one of his sons who had been killed the pre-
ceding year. The prisoner arrived and was presented to the Half King's
wife, but she refused to receive him; which according to the Indian rule
was in fact a sentence of death. The young man was therefore taken
away for the purpose of being tortured and burnt on the pile. While
the dreadful preparations were making and the unhappy victim was
already tied to the stake, two English traders, moved by feelings of pity
and humanity, resolved to unite their exertions to endeavor to save
the prisoner's life by offering a ransom to the war chief; which how-
ever he refused, saying it was an established rule among them to sacri-
fice a prisoner when refused adoption; and besides the numerous war
captains were on the spot to see the sentence carried into execution.
The two generous Englishmen, were, however, not discouraged, and
determined to try another effort. They appealed to the well-known high-
minded pride of an Indian. 'But,' said they, 'among all these chiefs
whom you have mentioned there is none who equals you in greatness;
you are considered not only as the greatest and bravest, but as the
best man in the nation.' 'Do you really believe what you say?' said
42 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the Indian looking them full in the face. 'Indeed we do.' Then without
speaking another word, he blackened himself, and taking his knife and
his tomahawk in his hand, made his way through the crowd to the un-
happy victim, crying out with a loud voice, 'what have you to do with
my prisoner?' and at once cutting the cords with which he was tied,
took him to his house, which was near that of Mr. Arundel, whence he
was secured and carried off by safe hands to Detroit, where the Com-
mandant sent him by water to Niagara, where he was soon after liberated;
the Indians who witnessed this act, said it was truly heroic; they were
so confounded by the unexpected conduct of this chief and by his
manly and resolute appearance, that they had not time to reflect upon
what they should do, and before their astonishment was well over, the
prisoner was out of their reach."
Another description of the same ordeal is related by Jeremiah Arm-
strong, who with an older brother and sister, was captured by the
Indians in 1794 opposite Blennerhassett's Island and brought to this
place. He says: "On arriving at Lower Sandusky, before entering the
town, they halted and formed a procession for Cox (a fellow prisoner),
my sister and myself to run the gauntlet. They pointed to the home of
their chief, Old Crane, (Tarhe), about a hundred yards distant, signifying
that we should run into it. We did so and were received very kindly by
the old chief; he was a very mild man, beloved by all." Tarhe when
critically analyzed means "at him," "the tree," or "at the tree," the tree
personified. Crane was a nickname given him by the French on account
The Croghan Celebration. 43
of his height and slender form. Tarhe's wife was a white woman, a
captive named Sally Frost, who had been adopted by the Wyandots.
The two mile square tract which still comprises the corporate limits
of the city of Fremont, was ceded to the government of the United States
by the Indians at the treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, renewed
at Fort Harmar, January 9, 1789, and reaffirmed at the treaty of Green-
ville, August 3, 1795; and has constituted a distinct military or civil
jurisdiction now for 121 years. Gen. George Rogers Clark, the uncle
of our Major George Croghan, was one of the Commissioners of the
United States who made the treaty with the Indians at Fort McIntosh,
by which the spot so gallantly defended by his nephew, twenty-eight years
after, was first ceded to the government.
While this region was within the jurisdiction of Delaware county
(1809-15) the term or name Lower Sandusky was sometimes understood
to apply to all that region within the Sandusky river valley north of
an undefined line dividing the upper from the lower Sandusky country.
On April 29, 1811, as recorded in journal 1, page 35, the board of county
commissioners of Delaware county passed the following resolution:
"Resolved by the board of commissioners of Delaware county in
conformity to a petition from the white inhabitants of Sandusky and by
the verbal request of some of the inhabitants of Radnor township, that
all that part of country commonly known and called by the name of
Upper and Lower Sanduskys shall be and now is attached to Radnor
township enjoying township privileges so far as is agreeable to law."
This is the first record concerning local civil government here, that
I have been able to find.
It is quite reasonable to conclude that more than the two-mile square
tract is meant by "All that part of country commonly known and called
by the name of Lower Sandusky." In further support of this conclusion
may be mentioned a criminal prosecution in the common pleas court of
Huron county at the May term, 1819, while this territory was within
that jurisdiction. - Law Record, Vol. 1, page 217.
The case referred to was the State of Ohio vs. Ne-go-sheek, Ne-
gon-e-ba and Ne-gossum, three Ottawa Indians, indicted for the murder
of John Wood and George Bishop, white men, at a hunter's and trap-
per's camp on the Portage' river, at a point about twelve miles from its
mouth, near what is now Oak Harbor in Ottawa county, April 21, 1819.
The indictment was drawn and the prosecution conducted by Ebenezer
Lane, assisted by Peter Hitchcock, both very able lawyers and not likely
to be mistaken in the averments as to the venue or place where the
crime was committed, which, though known to have been several miles
distant from the two-mile square tract, was nevertheless charged in the
indictment as committed "At the county of Huron in Lower Sandusky."
44 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
A very interesting account of this case may be found in the Fire-
land Pioneer, June 1865, page 43. Ne-gossum was discharged without
trial. The other two were convicted and sentenced to be hung, which
sentence was executed at Norwalk, July 1, 1819. Lane and Hitchcock both
subsequently became Judges of the Supreme Court of the State.
On August 1, 1815, while the region known as Lower Sandusky was
within the civil jurisdiction of Huron County, having been transferred
from Delaware County to Huron, January 31, 1815, the Township of
Lower Sandusky was formed by the commissioners of that county, and
provision made for the first election of township officers for the town-
ship, the same to be held August 15, 1815, at the house of Israel Har-
The order, among other things, provided: "Said township to
comprise all that part of Huron County west of the 24th range of Con-
necticut Reserve," which meant then all that region of country between
the west line of Huron and the east lines of Hancock, Wood and Lucas
Counties, lying south of Lake Erie and extending to the south line of
At this election Israel Harrington, Randall Jerome and Jeremiah
Everett (father of Homer Everett) were elected township trustees;
Isaac Lee, clerk; Morris A. Newman and William Ford, overseers of
the poor, and Charles B. Fitch and Henry Dubrow, appraisers.
This immense township thus remained until May 18, 1819, when by
action of the county commissioners of Huron County another township
was formed by detaching from the township of Lower Sandusky all that
part of the same east of the Sandusky river. To the new township the
name of Croghan was given.
FORT STEPHENSON PARK AND BIRCHARD LIBRARY.
Fort Stephenson Park, the site of the fort, covers a little more than
two acres of ground, and is a part of a 57 acre tract, numbered 9, of
the subdivision of the two-mile square reservation made in 1817, and
about that time platted into inlots and is located near the center of
the historic two-mile square tract. The first purchaser from the gov-
ernment was Cyrus Hulburd, whose deed is dated March 11, 1824.
From him it passed through successive grantees till the title to the three-
fourths part fronting Croghan street was acquired by Lewis Leppelman,
the southwest one-eighth by Dr. W. V. B. Ames, and the southeast
one-eighth by Lucinda Claghorn. The city of Fremont purchased this
property in 1873, the Birchard Library Association, having contributed
$9,000 toward the purchase of the property, and being the equitable owner
of one-third thereof. On March 29, 1878, the Birchard Library Associa-
tion became the owner of the legal title to the undivided one-third of
this ground by deed of conveyance from the City council of Fremont
pursuant to an ordinance duly passed February 18, 1878. This deed
The Croghan Celebration. 45
contained the conditions prescribed in the ordinance which are as fol-
lows: "That said Birchard Library Association are to have the right to
erect, maintain and occupy a building for the Birchard Library on Lots
number two hundred and twenty-one (221) and two hundred and forty
(240), and that said City have the right to erect, maintain and occupy a
building on said premises for a City Hall, where the same is now be-
ing erected on the corner of Croghan and Arch streets, and that no other
building, fence or structure of any kind shall hereafter be erected or
put upon any part of said Lots, nor shall the same ever be used for any
purpose other than as a Public Park or any part thereof sold or con-
veyed without the consent of both the said City Council and the said
Birchard Library Association. The control and supervision of said Park
shall be vested in the City Council and said Birchard Library Associa-
tion jointly, but said City Council shall have the exclusive use and con-
trol of the building now on said Lots."
The Birchard Library Association, which was largely instrumental in
preserving old Fort Stephenson for the public, was founded in 1873 by
Sardis Birchard, who named a Board of Trustees of which his nephew
Rutherford B. Hayes was the president, and arranged to place with such
Board property and securities to the value of $50,000. Mr. Birchard died
January 21, 1874, before the property intended to be given was legally
vested in this Board of Trustees, and his last will, dated August 21, 1872,
contained no provision for the Library.
His nephew and residuary legatee, Rutherford B. Hayes, however,
on February 14, 1874, but fifteen days subsequent to the probating of Mr.
Birchard's will, himself made a will in his own handwriting, witnessed
by J. W. Wilson and A. E. Rice, which will was for the sole purpose of
correcting this omission and securing for the Library the endowment in-
tended by Mr. Birchard. Item 2 of General Hayes's will was as follows:
"To carry out the intention of my uncle for the benefit of the people
of Fremont and vicinity, I give and bequeath to the Birchard Library all
my right, title and interest to the following property, viz." Then fol-
lowed the description of parcels of real estate in Toledo, out of which
was to be realized an aggregate of $40,000 for the Library. Subse-
quently this property was conveyed by deed and later it was sold. It
was undoubtedly the expectation and intention of Mr. Birchard to com-
plete his gift while living; hence the absence of any provision for it in
his will, although his cash bequests to educational and charitable institu-
tions and relatives and friends other than his residuary legatees, aggre-
gated some $40,000.
General Hayes, in making this will at the time he did, evidently in-
tended that even in the case of his own death, the people of Fremont
and vicinity should receive the unexecuted gift of Mr. Birchard; so that
the people are indebted both to the benevolence of Sardis Birchard and to
the generosity of Rutherford B. Hayes for Birchard Library.
46 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
It is an interesting fact that the existence of the above mentioned
will was only learned during the present year by the finding of a photo-
graphic copy of it, which has since been placed in Birchard Library.
The name Fort Stephenson first appears in the military records as
"FORT STEPHENSON, May 22, 1813.
May it please your Excellency:
Sir: Agreeably to your orders I have forwarded all the articles
specified therein. * * * Considerable manual labor has been done on
the garrison since you left this place and improvements are daily making.
* * *One person has been buried since you left this place. He came
from Fort Meigs with a part of the baggage of Major Tod. * * * "
R. E. Post, Adjutant.
The Major Tod mentioned became the president judge of the com-
mon pleas court of the district to which Sandusky county was attached
when organized and presided at the first term of that court held in the
county, May 8, 1820, at Croghansville.
At the time of the defense of Fort Stephenson there were but very
few white inhabitants in Lower Sandusky, as is evidenced by the follow-
ing petition to Governor Meigs, dated December 21, 1813:
"May it please your Excellency:-
"The undersigned inhabitants and settlers on the plains of Lower
Sandusky on the reservation beg leave to humbly represent their present
"In the first instance B. F. Stickney, Indian Agent has denied us
the right or privilege of settling on these grounds * * * and has
actually instructed Gen. Gano, our present Commandant, to dispossess us
of our present inheritance. Many of us * * * have been severe suff-
erers since the commencement of the present war. * * * We do not,
neither can we attempt to claim any legal right to the ground or spot
of earth on which we have each individually settled; but the improve-
ments which we have made and the buildings which we have erected we
trust will not be taken from us. * * * Permission to build has been
granted by Gen. Gano to those who have erected cabins since his arrival."
Signed by Morris A. Newman, Israel Harrington, George Bean,
Geo. Ermatington, R. E. Post, Asa Stoddard, R. Loomis, Jesse Skinner,
William Leach, Walter Brabrook, Louis Moshelle, Wm. Hamilton, Lewis
Geaneau, Patrick Cress.
Whether this petition was granted or not there is no record to
show, but it is probable that it was. But few of the names of the four-
teen signers appear in the subsequent history of the county affairs.
Israel Harrington and Morris A. Newman, however, became Associate
Judges of the Common Pleas Court, and Judge Newman was also County
Commissioner. It was at his tavern on the northeast corner of Ohio
The Croghan Celebration. 47
Avenue and Pine Street, in Croghansville, that the first term of the
common pleas court in the county was held, and Judge Harrington was
one of the associate judges presiding at that term.
On July 30, 1813, when General Harrison sent Colonel Wells to
relieve Major Croghan from command at Fort Stephenson, he was
escorted from Fort Seneca by Colonel Ball's squadron, consisting of about
100 horse. On the way down they fell in with a body of Indians and
fought what has since been called Ball's Battle. Israel Harrington, a
resident of Lower Sandusky at the time of the battle and one of the
first associate judges of Sandusky county, said that "three days after
he passed the ground and counted thereon thirteen dead Indians awfully
cut and mangled by the horsemen. None of the squadron were killed
and but one slightly wounded." The scene of this battle is about one
and a half miles southwest of Fremont on the west bank of the river,
near what is now the residence of Birchard Havens. There was an
oak tree on the site of the action within the memory of persons still
living, with seventeen hacks in it to indicate the number of Indians killed;
but this tree has unfortunately disappeared as have many other monu-
ments of those stirring times. Howe says: "The squadron were moving
toward the fort when they were suddenly fired upon by the Indians from
the west side of the road, whereupon Colonel Ball ordered a charge
and he and suite and the right flank being in advance first came into
action. The colonel struck the first blow. He dashed in between two
savages and cut down the one on the right; the other being slightly in
the rear, made a blow with a tomahawk at his back, when, by a sudden
spring of his horse, it fell short and was buried deep in the cantel and
pad of his saddle. Before the savage could repeat the blow he was shot
by Corporal Ryan. Lieut. Hedges (now Gen. Hedges of Mansfield) fol-
lowing in the rear, mounted on a small horse pursued a big Indian and
just as he had come up to him his stirrup broke, and he fell headfirst
off his horse, knocking the Indian down. Both sprang to their feet, when
Hedges struck the Indian across his head, and as he was falling buried
his sword up to its hilt in his body. At this time Captain Hopkins was
seen on the left side in pursuit of a powerful savage, when the latter
turned and made a blow at the captain with a tomahawk, at which the
horse sprang to one side. Cornet Hayes then came up, and the Indian
struck at him, his horse in like manner evading the blow. Serj. Ander-
son now arriving, the Indian was soon dispatched. By this time the
skirmish was over, the Indians who were only about 20 in number being
nearly all cut down; and orders were given to retreat to the main
squadron. Col. Ball dressed his men ready for a charge, should the
Indians appear in force, and moved down without further molestation
to the fort, where they arrived about 4 P. M."
48 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Among Colonel Ball's troopers was a private, James Webb, the
father of Lucy Webb Hayes, whose old flint-lock rifle and hunting horn
are among the treasures of Spiegel Grove.
In the plan of the environs of the Fort, it will be noted that the
spot where the British officers, Lieut. Colonel Shortt and Lieut. Gordon
were buried, is marked. The new High School building now covers this
spot, and in 1891, while excavating for its foundation portions of the
graves were uncovered and metallic buttons with the number of the
regiment, 41, stamped on them were found, which have been placed in
Birchard Library by Mr. H. S. Dorr, their owner. Mr. Dorr, soon after
finding these buttons showed them to President Hayes who stated that
in reading an autobiography of a Scotch Bishop Gordon, he found the
following: "The great sorrow of my life was the loss of a son in an
unimportant battle in an obscure place in North America--called Fort
From an English work, the "Dictionary of National Biography" the
following facts are gathered. The father of Lieut. Gordon was James
Bently Gordon (1750-1819) of Londonderry, Ireland, who graduated from
Trinity College, Dublin, in 1773 took Holy Orders and subsequently was
presented with the living, first of Cannaway on Cork and finally that of
Killegney in Wexford, both of which he retained till his death, in April,
1819. He was a zealous student of history and geography and a volum-
inous writer of books on such subjects, among which were "Terraquea
or a New System of Geography and Modern History," "A History of the
Rebellion in Ireland in 1798," "A History of the British Islands" and
"An Historical and Geographical Memoir of the North American Con-
He married in 1779 a daughter of Richard Bookey of Wicklow, by
whom he had several children. His eldest son, James George Gordon,
entered the army and was killed at Fort Sandusky in August, 1813.
DEFENDERS OF FORT STEPHENSON.
The public is greatly indebted to Col. Webb C. Hayes for his un-
tiring and partially successful efforts in procuring the names, appearing
below, of the officers and soldiers in the garrison at Fort Stephenson at
the time of its heroic defence.
The list is not complete, containing only seventy-eight names out of
the 160 in the fort at the time. The war records at Washington do not
show the names of the volunteers, who were detached and assigned to
this service; hence it was impossible for him to obtain their names.
The following are the names furnished by Col. Hayes:
Major George Croghan, Seventeenth U. S. Inf., commanding.
Captain James Hunter.
First lieutenant, Benjamin Johnson; second lieutenant, Cyrus A.
The Croghan Celebration. 49
Baylor; ensign, Edmund Shipp; Ensign, Joseph Duncan, all of the
Seventeenth U. S. Infantry.
First Lieutenant, Joseph Anthony, Twenty-fourth U. S. Infantry.
Second Lieutenant, John Meek, Seventh U. S. Infantry.
Captain Hunter's company, Capt. James Hunter commanding. Ser-
geants, Wayne Case, James Huston, Obadiah Norton. Corporals, Matthew
Burns, William Ewing, John Maxwell.
Privates: Pleasant Bailey, Samuel Brown, Elisha Condiff, Thomas
Crickman, Ambrose Dean, Leonard George, Nathaniel Gill, John Harley,
Jonathan Hartley, William McDonald, Joseph McKey, Frederick Metts,
Rice Millender, John Mumman, Samuel Pearsall, Daniel Perry, William
Ralph, John Rankin, Elisha Rathbun, Aaron Ray, Robert Row, John
Salley, John Savage, John Smith, Thomas Striplin, William Sutherland,
Martin Tanner, John Zett, David Perry.
Captain Duncan's company, 17th U. S. Inf., First Lieutenant Benja-
min Johnson commanding. Second Lieutenant Cyrus A. Baylor. Ser-
geants, Henry Lawell; Thomas McCaul, John M. Stotts, Notley Williams.
Privates: Henry L. Bethers, Cornelius S. Bevins, Joseph Blamer,
Jonathan C. Bowling, Nicholas Bryant, Robert Campbell, Samuel Camp-
bell, Joseph Klinkenbeard, Joseph Childers, Ambrose Dine, Jacob Downs,
James Harris, James Heartley, William Johnson, Elisha Jones, Thomas
Linchard, William McClelland, Joseph McKee, John Martin, Ezekiel
Mitchell, William Rogers, David Sudderfield, Thomas Taylor, John
Detachment Twenty-fourth U. S. Infantry. First Lieutenant Joseph
Privates: William Gaines, John Foster, Jones, Samuel
Riggs, Samuel Thurman.
Greensburg Riflemen. Sergeant Abraham Weaver.
Petersburg Volunteers. Private Edmund Brown.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL BRADY.
During the war of the Revolution, Captain Samuel Brady was sent
here by direction of Washington to learn if possible the strength of the
Indians in this quarter. He approached the village under cover of night
and fording the river secreted himself on the Island just below the falls.
When morning dawned a fog rested over the valley which completely
cut off from view the shore from either side. About 11 o'clock a bright
sun quickly dispelled the mist and the celebrated borderer became the
witness from his conealment of a series of interesting horse races by
the Indians during the three days he remained on the Island, from which
50 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
he concluded that they were not then preparing for any hostile move-
ments, and started to return, and after a perilous tramp of several days
reached the fort from which he had been sent out. This Island where
Brady secreted himself was known among the early settler's as Brady's
Island. Capt. Brady subsequently started on a scout towards the San-
dusky villages as before and had arrived in the neighborhood, when he
was made a prisoner and taken to one of the villages. There was great
rejoicing at the capture of Brady, and great preparation and parade were
made for torturing him. The Indians collected in a large body, old
and young, on the day set for his execution. Among them was Simon
Girty, whom he knew, they having been boys together. Girty refused
to recognize or aid him in any way. The time for execution arrived,
the fires were lighted, the circle around him was drawing closer and he
began sensibly to feel the effects of the fire. The withes which confined
his arms and legs were getting loose and he soon found he could free
himself. A fine looking squaw of one of the chiefs ventured a little too
near for her own safety and entirely within his reach. By one powerful
exertion he cleared himself from everything by which he was confined,
caught the squaw by the head and shoulders, and threw her on top of the
burning pile, and in the confusion that followed made his escape. The
Indians pursued, but he outdistanced them, the crowning feat being his
celebrated leap across the Cuyahoga river at the present site of Kent,
known as Brady's Leap.
Brady's name is perpetuated in the chief island of Sandusky river,
within the limits of the city of Fremont; his exploits are typical of the
emergencies of that early frontier life and of the spirit in which they
were everywhere met.
Gen. Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, or-
ganized Hamilton County, February 11, 1792, with Cincinnati as the
county seat, and the present Sandusky County forming a very small
portion of it. Subsequently Wayne County was organized, August 15,
1796, with Detroit as the county seat, covering a vast extent of terri-
tory from the Cuyahoga river on the east and extending as far west
as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the present site of Chicago, with its northern
boundary the Canadian boundary line, extending through the Great Lakes
from Lake Superior to Lake Erie. This included the present county of
Sandusky. On the organization of the state of Ohio it was included
in Franklin county with Franklinton as the county seat, until February 17,
1809, when it became a part of Delaware county with Delaware the county
seat, and so remained until January 31, 1815. In April, 1811, Lower
Sandusky by name was attached to Radnor township of Delaware county,
by the county commissioners for township purposes. On January 31,
1815, it became a part of Huron county with Avery, now Milan, as the
county seat, until 1818, and after that date with Norwalk as the county
The Croghan Celebration. 51
seat. On February 20, 1820, the state legislature organized the terri-
tory ceded by the Indians under the treaty of September 29, 1817, into
fourteen counties, of which Sandusky was one. Sandusky county as
thus organized, extended from the west line of the Western Reserve
to the east line of Wood county, and from the north line of Seneca
county to the lake; and included all of the present counties of San-
dusky and Ottawa, and parts of Erie and Lucas. For the first four
years, Sandusky and Seneca counties were joined for judicial purposes.
Croghansville, on the east bank of the Sandusky river, was the first
county seat, until 1822, when the town Sandusky on the west bank became
the permanent county seat and later these two towns were joined and
known as the town of Lower Sandusky, as mentioned below.
The name of the county is derived from that of the river, which
enters from the south, two miles east of the southeast corner of Ball-
ville township, and flows northeasterly, entirely across the county, a dis-
tance, following its meanderings, of about thirty miles, when it empties
into the bay which by early geographers was named Lake Sandusky.
Originally, as is shown by a plat of a survey made by Josiah At-
kins, Jr. (Plat Record 3, page 3), the term "Lower Sandusky" was ap-
plied to the entire tract of "two miles square on each side of the lower
rapids of the Sandusky River," as originally ceded by the Indians at the
treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, and contained the village of
Croghansville. According to this plat, Croghansville extended across the
river and included several inlots and some larger tracts on the west side,
the 57-acre tract containing the site of the Fort being one.
After the township of Croghan was formed in 1819, this term had
reference to the whole tract on both sides of the Sandusky river; but
thereafter the name "Sandusky" was applied to the west side exclu-
sively, both as to the village and township, the village being sometimes
called "Town of Sandusky."
When the county was organized it contained two townships only,
namely, Sandusky, which included the village of that name on the west
side and all of the county west of the river; and Croghan, which in-
cluded the village of Croghansville and all of the county east of the
river. Subsequently, in 1827, that portion of Croghan township in which
the village on the east side was located, was attached to Sandusky town-
ship by the county commissioners. In 1829 the territory of both villages,
by act of the legislature, was incorporated by the name of the "Town
of Lower Sandusky." It was changed to Fremont at the October term,
1849, of the common pleas court (Journal 6, page 437).
It is a matter of regret that the name about which cluster so many
interesting traditions and local historical associations was ever changed
to one which, however highly honored, carries with it no suggestions of
these traditions or local history. The change was, however, thought to
be called for in order to prevent confusion in the matter of the postal ser-
vice, owing to the quadruplication of names.
52 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The name Croghansville, for the village, was probably first suggested
by Josiah Meigs, Commissioner of the General Land Office, in a letter
from Washington City, April 12, 1816, in which, among other words
are these: "If it were left to me to name the town at Lower Sandusky
I should name it in honor of the gallant youth, Col. Croghan -and should
say it should be Croghansville.
The name is still preserved in that of the school on the hill on the
East Side, known as Croghansville School, as well as in the street
abutting on Fort Stephenson.
REMARKS OF J. P. MOORE.
I was born in Pennsylvania in 1829 and brought to the Black
Swamp in, 1834. All my older brothers attended the Croghan celebra-
construction of the fort and many incidents connected with its building
and its defense against the British and Indians.
The late David Deal, who was a member of Col. James Stephen-
son's regiment of Ohio militia, told me that Col. Stephenson left them
at Fort Meigs in January, 1813, to go to Lower Sandusky to build the
fort which has ever since been called Fort Stephenson.
I had always supposed that the first fort constructed on this site
was built by Col. Stephenson's soldiers in January, 1813, but Col. Hayes
has shown me a number of official records and a copy of an order
issued by Brig. General William Irvine dated at Fort Pitt (now Pitts-
burg) November 11, 1782, during the Revolutionary War, to Major Craig
as follows: "Sir. I have received intelligence through various channels
that the British have established a post at Lower Sandusky, etc., etc.,
also a copy of the treaty by which the reservation (present corporation
limits of Fremont), two miles square, of which Fort Stephenson is
about the center, was established by the treaty of Fort McIntosh as
early as 1785 and continued in all subsequent treaties. Also an order
from Governor Meigs of Ohio to Captain John Campbell dated Zanes-