Richland Co., Ohio
source: Mansfield News, 17 January 1903
Submitted by Jean and Faye
History of Richland County
By A J. Baughman
Sandusky township was organized February 12, 1819, and at that time was twelve miles long from north to south, and six miles wide. It remained that size for a number of years, and until Vernon township was created, which took the north half of Sandusky’s former territory. Later, Crawford county was formed Feb. 3, 1845, and took part of Richland’s territory, and reduced the size of Sandusky to its present limits - seven miles long and two miles wide.
So far as is known, the first white men to traverse this region were Col. Crawford’s troops in 1782, their route leading across the northern part of the township, as they marched from Spring Mills to Leesville.
The first settlers in the township were Christian Snyder and Jacob Fisher, who came in 1817. By 1820 the following had located there: John Reed, Daniel Miller, Joseph Russell, John Doyle, Louis Lybarger and Henry Hershner. The first settlement was made near the center of the township. The first settlers in the southern part of the township were the Hardings and the Snyders. The Riblets came in 1831, settled on section 25, and was one of the leading families there for half a century. Christian Riblet had been a soldier in the war of the revolution. He enlisted in 1779, at the age of 18 years, and served til the close of the war. He died April 6, 1844, and is buried in the cemetery near Riblet’s Corners.
Daniel Riblet, a son of this Continental soldier, was a justice of the peace in his township for 18 years, and served two terms in the Ohio legislature--from 1840 to 1844. He kept the Riblet House, at Riblet’s Corners, on the Mansfield-Bucyrus road, about midway between Ontario and Galion. The Riblet House was a stopping place for the stages that ran between Mansfield and Bucyrus. Riblet’s post office was maintained there for a number of years. The farms in this neighborhood are valuable and under a high state of cultivation. The residences will compare favorably with the very best in the county. The homes of the Kuhn’s, the Overlys, the Flowers and others deserve special mention.
The inhabitants of Richland county may be called a religious people, and each township has about an average per capita of church membership. The Methodists, Lutherans and Baptists seem to largely occupy the field in Sandusky township. The Free Will Baptists erected a church in 1850 on section 36, near Bailey’s Corners. Mr. Reese, Harvey Day and Samuel Nestlerode were among its organizers and influential members. This society finally disbanded and the Albrights got possession of the building in 1877. This building has ceased to be a place of worship. It was sometimes called the “Red Squirrel church.” Services were held there before the building was completed. Upon one occasion a red squirrel appeared upon a joist, and took a position over the minister’s head. He did not see it, but the audience did. It seemed to mimic the preacher in gestures and grimaces. It was but human nature for the audience to laugh, but their levity shocked the preacher and disconcerted him. But the good pastor forgave them when the situation was explained at the close of the service. The squirrel departed as quietly as it came, without waiting for the benediction.
Riblet’s Chapel, at the Corners, was erected by the Lutherans, but finally passed into the possession of the Methodists.
While some townships boast of their wolf stories and their fox hunts, Sandusky does not deign to indulge in reminiscences of anything smaller than bears. One of these is the Hibner story. One day while Mr. Hibner was absent and his wife was busy with her household duties, she heard a noise near the chimney, and on looking in that direction was horrified to see the great black paw of a bear reaching through an opening beside the chimney. The opening was caused by one of the chimney stones having become loosened and rolled to one side. She had placed her babe upon the floor, on a blanket near the fire and the bear was endeavoring to reach it. Fortunately it was beyond its reach, and the mother quickly removed it further away and to a safer place and the bear went away. Many other bear stories were told by the pioneers of this locality.
As there are only small streams in the township, the grist mills were operated by horse power There were two of these, one owned by Mr. McQuade, in the southern part, and one by Mr. Snyder further north.
But twelve votes were cast at the first election. John Williams was the first justice of the peace.
The first school in the township was a subscription school, with about a dozen scholars. The Russell school house, south of Crestline, was one of the earliest.
Many of the pioneers were of remarkable longevity. Christian Snyder lived to be 98 years old and his wife died at the age of 107. In 1820, the third year of Snyder’s residence in the township, a terrific wind storm blew down his house and barn and destroyed his growing crops.
A few years after the township was first settled, squirrels were so numerous that they would come sometimes by hundreds and make havoc with the farmers’ corn crops
Three railroads and one trolley line run through this township--the Erie, the P., Ft. W. & C. and the “Big Four,” and the Mansfield-Crestline-Galion-Bucyrus, the latter being the new trolley line recently opened, and whose large, comfortable cars glide along our streets like moving pictures.
East Crestline is in Sandusky, and is its only town. But, the township needs no towns of its own, for it is within convenient reach of several of the best little cities in Ohio and Harvey Woods daily delivers mail to its people.
The pioneers cleared the wilderness and now orchards and fields of grain, in season, occupy the ground where a heavy forest once stood, and these farms convince the observer that the township was intended by nature for a people engaged in agricultural pursuits--one of the noblest of vocations, for no one has greater reasons to be thankful and contented than the men whose faces are to the earth, and whose backs are to the sun, for what they produce feeds the people. Therefore, farming is the grandest calling. Further, there are no promises to any other pursuit or calling like those to the farmers. The farmer has a special promise, that while the earth stands, seed-time and harvest shall not fail. Farmers scatter precious seeds, showing the sublimest act of faith in burying in the earth the last grain of wheat from his granary, believing that in due time it would doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing sheaves with it.
The history of Rome is shrouded in myth and fable, but the history of this country is an open book. Our fathers planted a Republic, which in less than a hundred years spanned the continent. Our people have advanced as the people of no other country ever did, and our wonderful achievements are due to the sturdy and resolute pioneers who laid the foundation of our greatness.
A MARRIAGE INCIDENT.
The marriage several years ago of a Sandusky township couple, and the incidents connected therewith, afforded entertainment at the time for those who witnessed the nuptials, and is even yet amusingly recalled.
One day as S. G. Cummins, of the law firm of Cummings, McBride & Wolfe, was seated at his desk, engaged upon a legal paper, a Sandusky township farmer, whom we will call John Smith, entered the office. Mr. Cummings had taught school in that township in the years agone, and Mr. Smith had been one of his pupils. After pleasant greetings, Smith took a seat and a short conversation followed. Mr. Cummings, being busy, hoped the interview would be brief, but, the perfect gentleman that he is, he did not betray this in his looks or conversation. Finally, Mr. Smith moved his chair closer to Mr. Cummings and said:
“What is it, John?”
“I want to get married.”
“Well, tell me about it,” said Mr. Cummings.
John, who was a widower, went on to explain that he had brought his prospective bride with him, and that she was waiting at Scattergood’s store, while he came to Mr. Cummings for advice--to know if he could get married on five dollars (all the money he had) and have some left to buy groceries, with which to commence housekeeping. Mr. Cummings assumed an air of dignified seriousness and stated that upon such an important problem he preferred to have a consultation of the firm, and the Hon C. E. McBride was called into Mr. Cumming’s room and the case stated to him. As the bride-to-be was in waiting, Mac told the expectant groom that while he had not time to look up the authorities, he thought he could help him out in a business-like way. Mr. Cummings went for the license and Mr. McBride for a magistrate to perform the ceremony. Within half an hour everything was in readiness and a client who had dropped in was invited to be one of the witnesses.
The company stood and the magistrate, who was somewhat excited, told the bride and groom to hold up their hands, and began:
“Do you, and each of you, solemnly swear -”
“Hold on,” said Mac, “they are not making affidavits, they want to get married.”
“Yes, yes,” said the officer, proceeding with:
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary.”
“He’s reciting the Declaration of Independence,” said one of the spectators.
McBride, acting as stage prompter, again called a halt. The officer then commenced on different lines, saying:
“In the name of the Benevolent Father of us all.”
“Dictating a will,” exclaimed several voices.
“They do not want to make a will, but to get married,” Mac again exclaimed.
“Yes, yes,” the magistrate said, “I understand. They are married now,” waving his hands. He then turned to McBride and said, “Give me two dollars.” But the astute attorney cut the fee in two on account of blunders made.
The account then stood: License, 75 cents; marriage fee, $1, leaving $3.25 of the five-dollar bill. With this balance they bought groceries, and wended their way to Sandusky township, happy and with hopeful thoughts for the future.
These attorneys often laugh over this amusing episode, for “a little fun now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
<< Back to Historical Information Index
<< Back to the Richland Co., Ohio Index