Defiance County

Excerpts from The Defiance Democrat Newspaper

Defiance Democrat - June, 1912, p. 6

The Bryan Press recently had two articles which are of great interest to Defiance. One is by U.G. FIGLEY of Washington township and tells of the first court house of Defiance county and another is by “Upper Case”, a writer in the Press and deals with Historical Defiance.
The article from the pen of Mr. Figley is as follows:
I was interested in “Upper Case’s” article in last weeks Press in which he spoke of the organization of Defiance county in 1845 from parts of other counties and in which he says the old Williams county court house at Defiance was standing as late as 1873 and was used as a residence by attorney George P. HARDY.
I do not care to go into any detail of the organization of Defiance county, but I wish to tell as best I can something about that old court house. Common Pleas Court in Williams county was held in a warehouse owned by Benjamin LEAVELL on the Maumee river bank from the organization of the county in 1825 until 1828, when it was moved into a moderate sized two story brick building erected for the purpose on Wayne street one lot north of Second street. If I am correct in my information, court was held in this building still after Defiance county was organized in 1845 when it was sold by the county commissioners, a $7500 brick court house having been built on the site of the present court house, the later which was finished about 1873.
Judges holding court in the old court house were Ebenezer LANE, afterward an Ohio Supreme (Court) Judge, David HIGGINS, OZIAS BOWEN, Emory D. POTTER, Myron J. TILDEN and Patrick G. GOODE. In this old building, Morison Remick WAITE, afterward Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1874 – 1888, made his maiden speech as a lawyer, having been admitted to the bar about 1840 when a resident of Maumee, Ohio, and was then about twenty five years old.
For many years this old brick house was the family dwelling of the Honorable Henry HARDY and in which he passed to the courts above, July 9, 1910, when upwards of eighty years of age. This old house faces west and about two or three steps from the sidewalk, stands sidewise to the street, and the door on that side of the house led into Mr. Hardy’s library or sitting room. Two doors opened into bedrooms on the south end. The stairway is in the northwest corner of the sitting room. Upstairs are three bedrooms. On the east side of the house is or was a frame addition built, I presume, by Mr. Hardy, and used as a kitchen, dining room and wash house.
Mr. Hardy, for many years the occupant of this house, was born in Troy, N. Y., in 1831, and came to Ohio when a boy, learned tailoring with a brother, and about 1850, came to Defiance county and located on a farm in Delaware township. He was elected County Recorder in 1857, serving six years, and during this time was elected Mayor of Defiance, and in 1860 was admitted to the practice of law. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney at the close of his recordership, and served four years. He was elected to the State legislature in 1874 and 1878, representing Defiance and Paulding counties.
These are the most important offices he held, He was a member of secret fraternal organizations, and was in law practice in Defiance from 1860 till a short time before his death. I have visited him often in his home and found him a fine conversationalist and good entertainer. His oldest son, I believe, practicing law in Paulding (George P. HARDY), and another son, John, is a telegrapher in the far west, I think in New Mexico. A daughter, Mary, was for many years a teacher in the Defiance schools, cared for him in his declining years, and yet makes her home in Defiance. His youngest daughter, Henrietta, is Mrs. W. C. HETH, of Montpelier.
After Mr. Hardy’s death, a bill having been introduced into Congress by Representative ANSBERRY to erect a $60,000 post office building in Defiance, it was definitely decided that the proposed building be erected on this Hardy property and the site of the old Presbyterian church, joining it on the south, and
these two properties were therefore sold to the government for that purpose. The Hardy house, this old brick court house, was vacated, and up to date is still standing, waiting for the word to be given to break ground for the erection of the new post office building, when it will go the way all old landmarks must inevitably go…
The article written by “Upper Case” is as follows:
“Mrs. Neighbor loves to converse about the days when she was young, and full of fun, vigor and ability. She dwells with great pleasure upon the scenes that still longer in her memory with as much freshness as if occurring yesterday. She has been journeying among the roses and thorns of life for eight decades and four years; she first saw the sun peeping through the small window in a log cabin in the southern portion of Williams county when the county was larger than it is at present day; she was born in that part that entered into the formation of Defiance county in 1845.
She remembers of hearing people, discussing the boundary question of Ohio and Michigan, which brought forth an army from each side of the disputed territory in 1835. This dispute is known in history as the Ohio and Michigan war. The was a smokeless war, a war in which there was not a shot fired, a soldier wounded or killed in either army. History, ancient or modern, fails to record a war of similar character. Governor Lucas commanded the Ohio troops and Governor Mason of Michigan commanded the Wolverine contingent.
She remembers of playing in the deep woods not very far away from the Wooded Island in the Maumee River where in later years a bad element used to congregate on the Lord’s Day and indulge in bad pastimes which were a disgrace to the Island. In her childish sports,used to visit the old fort grounds where General Wayne warred against the Indians.
She was familiar with every inch of ground in his historic valley, made historical by reason of its location. In the days of Indian war, this portion of the state played an important part. She delights to tell of a sweet little English woman who used to go among the Indians with her Bible and talk to them of her religion and tell them of the Golden Rule and try to get these people of the forest to do away with the tomahawk and scalping knife and enter the gates of civilizations and be a peace loving people. She sought to bring the various tribes of Red Men within the realms of her simple religion – to believe in the white man’s God, and the common Savior of us all.
She remembers having seen the Soldiers passing up one of the rivers on their way to participate in the war in Mexico. One or more boats conveying the troops stopped in Defiance longer than ordinary, and the band, composed of fife and drum played “Yankee Doodle” and other airs, which enlivened the Soldiers and everybody cheered. From the flag staff on the boat, waved that round emblem, the glorious Stars and Stripes. Troop after troop of Soldiers went through here to engage in an unjust war.
She says but little of the old Fort at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers, which was visible when she was a girl in the 30’s. Only a trench or two and a few logs. The point at the fort gives a magnificent view of the rivers, the island, and all that ground that is historic; across to the other shore of the Maumee river stood the celebrated apple tree that stood there in the days when Defiance was an Indian town. In all parts of the site upon which the city stands, were discovered the bones of Indians, and especially in the region in close proximity to the fort ground. Strewn on either side of the rivers, bones are discovered wherever the earth has been excavated. Many other reminders of the day when the Indians held full sway in this section, such as tomahawks, stone axes, flints and various instruments, used by this race of people. Lo, the poor Indian is gone from these shores and the pale faces have taken their forest home and utilized the country as civilization dawned, and today this swamp is as fertile as the famous valleys of the Nile… Upper Case
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