Ohio History Journal

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                  35






We have met today on this ground, famous in history, because of

the victorious defence of Fort Stephenson, then standing on this spot,

by Major George Croghan, and the band of he-

roes under his command, ninety-three years

ago,--not only to commemorate that brilliant

achievement, but also to further consecrate and

make sacred the spot by the re-interment of the

remains of its gallant defender.

To Col. Webb C. Hayes great praise is due,

for his patriotic, persistent and successful quest

for the grave of the hero, and in procuring evi-

dence conclusive of the identity of the body,

which, with the casket enclosing the same he

caused to be brought here for interment. His

efforts have been loyally seconded by the ladies

of the George Croghan Chapter, D. A. R., of this

city, who recently dedicated a commemorative

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,

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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

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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,

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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-

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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."

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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

Seneca County.

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, 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

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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.

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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

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

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.




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

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.

Petersburg Volunteers.

Pittsburg Blues.

Greensburg Riflemen.

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

Anthony commanding.

Privates: William Gaines, John Foster,         Jones, Samuel

Riggs, Samuel Thurman.

Greensburg Riflemen. Sergeant Abraham Weaver.

Petersburg Volunteers. Private Edmund Brown.

Pittsburg Blues.



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

Vol. XVI-4.

50 Ohio Arch

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

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

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.



I was born in Pennsylvania in 1829 and brought to the Black

Swamp in, 1834. All my older brothers attended the Croghan celebra-

tion at Lower Sandusky in 1839 and I have been

present at every celebration since that time.

My early associations in Lower Sandusky and

Fremont were with such men as Thomas L. Haw-

kins, dramatist, poet and preacher; David Gal-

lagher, a narrator of early history; David Deal,

a hotel keeper, who saw service at Fort Meigs, all

soldiers of the war of 1812. Also Israel Harring-

ton, a neighbor in Sandusky county. James Kirk

and a man named Figley, both of whom worked

on the old fort before the battle of August 2, 1813,

have visited me here in Fremont and while visiting

the fort and going over the ground in its vicinity

have graphically described to me the location and

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-