History of Huron County
Written by Huron County Chapter / OGS member Mr. Henry Timman

When Huron County was first formed in 1809 by the Ohio Legislature, it encompassed all of the original Firelands area - 500,000 acres at the western end of the Connecticut Western reserve. The reader is refered to the History of The Firelands by Williams, 1879 or the Firelands Pioneer magazine published since 1858 by the Firelands Historical Society at Norwalk.

All of the territory shown in green and yellow was in Huron County until 16 Mar 1838, when the Legislature established Erie County from the six northwestern townships of Huron County as well as some territory which is now in Sandusky (shown in blue) and Ottawa (shown in pink) counties. The townships lost in 1838 were Danbury, Margaretta, Portland, Perkins and the majority of Groton and Oxford townships. On Mar 1840, Erie County's boundaries were changed drastically. Some territory was returned to Sandusky County, Danbury and some other land went to Ottawa County; while Milan, Huron, Florence, Berlin and Vermillion (as it was then spelled) were taken from Huron Counnty and added to Erie County.

Huron County thus remained the southern twenty townships of the original Firelands until 26 February 1846, when the Legislature formed Ashland County and took Ruggles township from Huron to add to Ashland County (shown in red). These acts of the Legislature were common in that large counties were originally formed in the days of sparse population. Then, as soon as there was sufficient population, the old counties were cut up and made smaller.

We often think of migration patterns in genealogical research such as the classic pattern of east-west, and north-south corridors such as the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. Seldom do we narrow this field down to a small geographic area such as Huron County. A study of migration patterns in a small area (even as small as a township) can sometimes give us clues as to the geographic origins of our ancestors.

It is not difficult to learn from whence settlers of a certain area came. The 1850 census gives us the states of origin for each person in a township or county, and in this county we have The History of the Fire Lands by Williams (1879) and the Firelands Pioneer magazine published periodically by the Firelands Historical Society as well as good township works such as the History of Clarksfield and History of Wakeman, both by Dr FE Weeks.

Because of the origin of the Firelands, many people believe that all of the first settlers in Huron County came from Connecticut. This is true to a small degree, but Connecticut migration dwindled down drastically after 1820. Prior to that date, the earliest residents were mainly Nutmeggers, especially in Wakeman, Clarksfield, Norwalk, Lyme and Sherman. The majority of the settlers in the other old townships came from the other New England states (especially Vermont) and New York. Many of these people left their old homes due to the "Year of No Summer" in 1816.

The southern tier of townships Richmond, New Haven, Ripley, Greenwich (and Ruggles now in Ashland County) became home to a great many Pennsylvania families who emigrated via Columbia County, Wooster and Ashland. Perhaps some of them followed General Beall's War of 1812 Trail northwest. A number of these families, especially in Richmond, were true "Pennsylvania Dutch", speaking and writing German, and spelling their names in the German fashion.

The first great foreign migration to the county were Germans who began arriving in 1828. They made distinct settlements in Bronson/Peru, Sherman/Norwich, Monroeville and Norwalk. Those in Bronson/Peru were mainly from Alsace and Baden, while the Norwalk and Monroeville settlers were from Baden. Those in Sherman and Norwich were mainly Rhenish Bavarians....although there are exceptions to these statements in every colony.

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