Richland Co., Ohio
East Crestline & Toledo Junction
source: Mansfield News, 14 November 1903
Submitted by Jean and Faye
THE HISTORY OF RICHLAND COUNTY
By A. J. Baughman
East Crestline is in Sandusky township and while it can hardly be classed as a town by itself, being only the east part of Crestline proper, it is a part of Richland County, and, therefore, deserves a place upon the pages of its history. In fact, the entire plat of Crestline was in Richland before a four-mile strip was taken off its west side and given to Crawford county. Therefore this chapter may treat of that territory as though it were still a part and parcel of “Old Richland,” with which it is so closely allied in history.
The Sandusky river has its source about two miles north of Ontario, and in its northwest course to Lake Erie passes through a country which was so thickly timbered and abundant in game that the pioneers were at first reluctant to undertake the hard, difficult task of clearing the land and despoiling such prolific hunting grounds. But, in the westward march of civilization, even this thickly-wooded tract on the upper waters of the Sandusky had to be supplanted in part, by an enterprising town, through which trunk lines of railroads pass, whose trains carry much of the interstate traffic of the north.
The Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati railroad—now known as the Big Four—was chartered in 1834, but its construction was delayed for a number of years. Even after the work was begun, it progressed so slowly that the road was not opened to traffic until 18??. There was no town at that time between Shelby and Galion—a distance of 14 miles. For the convenience of the people, it was thought there would be a station between these towns, and the opening of the Leesville road was selected as the proper place for its location. The station was established and called Vernon. Its location was where Main street crosses the Big Four, which is nearly a half-mile north of the present station or junction of the Big Four and the Pennsylvania lines. Soon after the erection of the station, a town was founded there called Livingston, after its founder—Rensselaer Livingston.
Rensselaer Livingston settled in ? near the county line, where he built a fine residence which is in fair condition today. Livingston was of the noted Livingston family of New York. Being wealthy, educated and cultured, Livingston and his family were the aristocrats of that neighborhood. Mr. Livingston died in 1852.
A post office called Livingston was opened with Mr. Livingston as postmaster. He resigned soon after his appointment, and was succeeded by Thomas Hall, whose brother A. Hall, is still a resident of the place.
But, Livingston as a town had but a brief existence, for within a few years it became a suburb of Crestline, and finally lost its identity and became absorbed by its former rival.
The Pennsylvania road—then called the Ohio & Pennsylvania, did not cross the ? where the station had been established, but for reasons not necessary to be given in this chapter, the line was changed and located south of the original survey, leaving Livingston north of the crossing. This change gave an opening for another town to be founded which was doubtless the intention of the men who made the change from the first survey.
The farm of Harvey Aschbaugh had been purchased by a party consisting of Judge Thomas W. Bartley, John and Joseph Larwill and Jesse R. Stranghan, and through this land the new line was run and upon it the town of Crestline was founded. Mr. Stranghan was the chief engineer of the Pennsylvania road The land was then supposed to be on the crest of the “divide,” and the town was named Crestline.
In 1843, Wyandot county was created largely from the west part of Crawford county, and to compensate Crawford for the territory taken from ? part of Richland—four miles wide and nineteen miles long—was given to Crawford. This four-mile strip extends in width from Crestline to Leesville, a portion of country fraught with historic events.
It was in this strip ceded from old Richland to Crawford county that Col. Crawford was captured by the Indians, as shown from the following abridgment from Dr. Knight’s journal. Leaving Spring Mills on the morning of June 2 (1782), Crawford’s army reached the Leesville locality about noon, where a halt was made for an hour, then followed the Sandusky river for some distance, and encamped for the night near the eastern edge of the Plains. Omitting the events which transpired—the marches, the battles and disasters that resulted within the three days the 3d and 7th, the army in disorder retreated after the battle of Olentangy, reached the Sandusky on Friday evening, June 7, and encamped for the night at the place where it had halted upon its outward march, six days before. The pursuing enemy encamped within two miles of Col. Crawford’s army. The retreat and pursuit were continued the next day, and Col. Crawford, Dr. Knight and two others were captured about a mile west of Leesville. Therefore, the capture of Co. Crawford was made within the original borders of Richland county.
On August 3, 1877, the Pioneer Association of Wynadot county erected a marble shaft to the memory of Col. Crawford. It is situated as near the sit [sic] of his torture and death as could be determined by Dr. Knight’s statement and C. W. Betterfield’s History of Col. Crawford. It is on the banks of the Tymochett in Crawford township, Wyandot county.
This brief resume of the capture of Col. Crawford gives but one of the many historical events that occurred in old Richland, and for which the county is so noted in history.
Both Richland and Crawford claim the honor of having been, each in its time, the home of the late Hon. Ross Locke, a political satirist, better known to the reading world as “Petroleum V. Nasby.” In 1855-6, Mr. Locke was associated with Gen. R. Brinkerhoff in the publication of the Mansfield Herald. Upon his retirement from the Herald, Mr. Locke went to Plymouth and became one of the publishers of the Advertiser. Later he went to Bucyrus, where he was connected with the Journal for several years. During the early part of the civil war Mr. Locke began his Nasby letters, which soon attracted much attention, and were widely read in the north. His first letters were, (the date-heading indicated) written from Wingert’s Corners in Crawford county, but that was only feigned. Many of the circumstances and incidents narrated in the Nasby letters, although given with partisan coloring, actually conspired, and the principal characters were taken from fancied resemblances to individuals living at the Corners at that time. As the Nasby letters became more generally read Mr. Locke changed their headings from these Corners to the “Confederit X Reads, which is in the state of Kentucky.”
Wingert’s Corners is seven miles north of Bucyrus, and the village was first called Portersville, for Robert Porter, an early resident of that locality. In the “thirties,” four brothers by the name of Wingert settled at the corners, and the place was later called Wingert’s Corners, but is now known as “Brokensword.” One of these Wingert brothers was the father of Paul Wingert, of No. 65 Altamont avenue, Mansfield.
M. M. Gates, formerly superintendent of the Richland county infirmary, is now a resident of Crestline, and his daughter, Miss Blanche Gates, holds a good position with a business firm there. Mrs. Gates is a sister of Mrs. F. H. Keiser, of Sturges avenue. Mr. Gates and family kindly remember their old Richland county friends.
Mrs. Matilda Dille has been a resident of Crestline and vicinity more than 80 years. Mrs. Dille’s maiden name was Seltzer, and she resides in the Richland county portion of Crestline, on the corner of what was her home when she was a girl. In fact, the part of Crestline east of the county line is called Seltzer’s Addition.
Mr. Dille was born in Berks couonty, Pa., March 16, 1826, and, is, therefore, in her 88th year. When she was only four years old her parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Seltzer, removed to Ohio, making the trip in wagons. They first settled east of Crestline, in Richland couonty, on what is now the Ralston farm, where they cleared considerable land and became prosperous. Later, they removed to the Peppard farm, near East Crestline. Seltzer street was named for Mrs. Dille’s father. When the Big Four road was opened for travel, Mr. and Mrs. Dille started a dining hall at the station, and trains stopped there for meals and Mrs. Dille has fed as many as a hundred and fifty passengers at one meal. After leaving this stand they kept the Olive house. Mr. Dille died in 1885. Mrs. Dille has five children living, fifteen grand cildren and five great grandchildren.
Great changes have taken place since Mrs. Dille first became a resident of Richland county. Farms now spread out their fertile fields where the primitive forests then stood and gardens of flowers bloom along the highways as evidence of the ? betterment that has taken place even within the lifetime of people living today. The history and traditions of that early period should be preserved for the benefit of coming generations.
Toledo Junction is seven miles west of Mansfield, where the Toledo division leases the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad. A few buildings are clustered around in that vicinity, but the place is a railroad junction, not a town.
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