The Township of Spencer lies in the Central Western part of Lucas County, and is bounded on the North by Richfield Township, and on the East by Springfield; on the South by Monclova, and on the West by Swanton. It is composed of Sections one to twelve inclusive of Town Ten South, of Range Five East, and Sections 31 to 36 inclusive of Township Nine South, of Range Five East, of the Michigan Survey, together with Sections 31 to 36 inclusive, of Town Eight North, of Range Nine East, of the Ohio survey; all except the latter, being in territory formerly claimed by Michigan.
The Township was set off from Richfield and Swanton by act of the County Commissioners in 1845.
The soil of the Township is arable and productive, with the exception of the portion known as the “Barrens,” and a small area of marshy prairie. Both of these exceptions, however, are raidly disappearing under the improved methods of drainage and cultivation which have made the lands of this section generally among the most fertile in the State.
Half a century ago Spencer Township was a wilderness. The first settlers came in from 1832 to 1835, when the tide of immigration was setting toward Michigan. Most of the lands in the Township were entered at the Monroe Land Office. The tract of country between the River Raisin and the Maumee was inviting, and many entered lands within the boundaries of this Township who never became actual residents. Such was the case with E. S. and William Frost, Thomas Clark, Samuel A. Sargent, Jonathan H. Jerome, Israel Rockwood, R. A. Forsyth and others chiefly of Maumee. Before the ” Toldo War ” (1835) there were perhaps a dozen families in the ‘Township. The first actual settlers were Abraham Johnson, Bennett Warren, Benjamin Fairchild, John All, Aaron H. Cole, Samuel Coleman, Gideon Rice, William Taylor and Charles Coarson-all now deceased, except, it may be, the last named, who removed to Iowa. William Brown, in 1834, was the first settler on the quarter Section South of the present Catholic Church. Samuel Coleman settled on the Northwest quarter of Section eight, Town Five, East of Range Five East, in 1835. Eli Munson settled on the Northwest quarter of Section Six, Town Five East, of Range Five East, in 1835. Levi Munson now lives on the old homestead. Benjamin Fairchild (wife and two little boys) settled on the Southwest quarter of the same Section, in 1834. Here the boys, the oldest of whom was only five years at the date of settlement, grew up to manhood. The younger, Jefferson, resided on the homestead until quite recently. Alonzo Fairchild now owns the farm adjoining on the East, to which he removed in 1849. It was entered in 1835 by Patrick Parks.
Some idea of the hardships of the pioneers in settling the country, may be gained from such reminiscences as the following. Says one of the pioneers
When we came here, it was all woods. There were more Indians than white people. We could see an Indian every day, or a squad of them with their squaws and pappooses, but a white man or white woman was a rare sight. Our nearest neighbors lived from three to four miles off, and there were no roads, only trails through the woods. Maumee was the nearest point where we could get needed supplies; and as there were no roads, even ” chopped out.” we had to ” back ” supplies to our cabins. The old route to Maumee was very crooked-the trail marked out by blazed trees. It bent away round the prairie-first to the South and then to the North making the distance twice what it is now. After roads were cut out, we hauled our supplies and went to mill, mostly with oxen and on sleds at all seasons, for there were few wagons at first in the settlement. My father paid $14.00 for a barrel of flour at Maumee ; and that was not the hardest of it. A neighbor who was coming past our house without much load, and could just as easily bring the barrel of flour as not, charged him $1.00 for fetching it out.
In answer to some questions about the early mills, the same man said:
The first mill I remember going to to get corn ground, was a concern run by oxen. They walked round, hitched to a pole or shaft. It was gotten up by a man by the name of Berry, near what is now Ai, in Fulton County. It was not much of a mill-a soft of coarse corn-cracker, like. Sometimes we went to Blissfield, Michigan, to mill, and afterwards to Waterville. After the mill was built at the latter place, it was the best and the nearest, but it often took from one to three clays to get a grist, the settlers coming from all around and waiting their turn. I have slept there all night on the bags, and at one time two nights, waiting for my grist. The usual mode of going to mill was with oxen, when one was well enough off to have such; but most of the settlers were poor and had to put up with great hardships. Sometimes men would go out and work at some odd job for a bushel or two of corn ; take it on their backs to mill; wait for it to be ground; and return with the proceeds to their lonely cabins and anxiously-waiting families, often at night, through the (lark forests. Money was very scarce, prices high and most of the settlers poor. The land was wet, and chills and fevers prevailed. The country is now ditched and made healthy compared with what it was. Most of the pioneers, however, were hardy and strong men, and could stand almost anything.
EARLY LAND PURCHASES
Following, is a list of the earlier purchases of lands in Spencer, as shown by the County records:
RANGE FIVE, TOWN NINE.
Section 31, David Clute, 18:15, 80 acres.
Section 31, John McNees, 1835, 102.84 acres.
Section 31, Andrew Palmer, 1835, 101.62 acres.
Section 31, Isaac Ritter, 1835, 181.62 acres.
Section 31. Eli Munson, 1834, 160 acres.
Section 31, Gideon Rice, 1834, 102.54 acres.
Section 31, Charles Butler, 1836, 51.21.
Section 32, Aaron H. Cole, 1833, 560 acres.
Section 33, Daniel D. Divine, 1835, 80 acres.
Section 33, Theron Hamilton, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 33, Stephen Langenderfer, 1836, 80 acres.
Section 33, Charles Osgood, 1836, 80 acres.
Section 34, Eli Hubbard and D. B. Tiller, 1835, 80 acres.
Section 34, Joseph Harpell, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 34, Andrew Smith, 1834, 240 acres.
Section 34, Catharine Thomas, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 34, Horace Waite, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 34, Martha Waite, 1834, 80 acres.
Section 34, Seba Murphy, 1836, 80 acres.
Section 35, James Cone, 1835, 80 acres.
Section 35, Matthew Byrnes, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 35, David Hendrickson, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 35, Hiram Smith, 1834, 40 acres.
Section 35, Roswell Cheney, 1836, 240 acres.
Section 35, Roswell W. Cheney, 1836, 40 acres.
Section 30, William Berry, 1834, 64.28 acres.
RANGE NINE, TOWN EIGHT.
Section 31, William Beals, 1834, 282.78 acres.
Section 31, John Farner, 1834, 151.40 acres.
Section 31, John Knapper, 1834, 160 acres.
Section 32, Richard Wiggins, 1834, 65.80 acres.
Section 32, Iraad Rockwood, 1834, 68.60 acres.
Section 32, Wm. Houser, 1833, 160 acres.
Section 33. Bennett Warren, 1833, 65.28 acres.
Section 35, Clark Wright, 1833, 80 acres.
Section 33, John Brown, 1836, 73.76.
Section 33, Charles C. Roby, 1836, 73.76 acres.
Section 34, Henry Smith, 1835, 80 acres.
Section 34, Charles Smith, 1835, 40 acres.
Section 34, ‘theophilus Short, 1837, 100 acres.
Section 34, Thomas Clark, 1843, 40 acres.
Section 34, Samuel G. Foster.
Section 35, Samuel A. Sargent, 1837, 60.40 acres.
Section 35, Dingham D. Abbott, 1836, 200 acres.
The first School-house in the Township was built of logs in the winter o 1836-37, on the land of Eli Munson. There was then no School District organized in the Town ship; but the few settlers got together, cut the logs, split out the ” puncheon ” for the floor and roof, laid up the walls, and put on the roof, securing it with poles laid across, as nails were not in use in the settlement. A few panes of glass sufficed for a window, and the door, made of split puncheons, was pinned together and hunk oil wooden hinges. The first School Teacher in the Township was Chester Holloway.
Among the oldest residents of the Township at this writing (1887) are: Adam Brown, Levi Munson, Jacob Murbach, Alonzo Fairchild, David Dennis, George Dill, Andrew Myers, William Keough and David Crissy. Joseph Dennis, John Farner, Ezra C. Tunison, Henry Reinhart, William Taylor and Elisha Bird have passed away within two or three years.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP
Pursuant to notice given by the Commissioners of Lucas County, the electors of Spencer Township met at the house of Abraham Johnson in said Township, April 7, 1845, for the purpose of choosing Township officers. John All, Abraham Johnson and Darius Wyatt, were chosen Judges of election, and Benjamin Fairchild and Aaron H. Cole, Clerks. After balloting, it was found that Aaron H. Cole was elected Township Clerk ; Eli Munson, Samuel Coleman and William Brown, Township Trustees; Theron Hamilton, Township Treasurer; Darius Wyatt, Assessor; John All and Aaron Whitacre, Overseers of the Poor; William Taylor and Charles Coarson, Constables; David Clute, Benjamin Fairchild and William Norris, Supervisors of Highways. Benjamin Fairchild, a Justice of the Peace, administered the oath of office to the Township Clerk, and he to the other Township officers, completing the qualification of all elected, on August 15, 1845.
On April 14, 1845, Darius Wyatt, Assessor, presented his bond in the sum of $500, and sureties, Theron Hamilton and Charles Coarson, for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, which was accepted by the Trustees. The Treasurer’s bond in the sum of $800, with sureties, Darius Wyatt and Charles Coarson, was received and approved. William Taylor and Charles Coarson, Constables, presented their bonds and sureties.
April 14, 1845, four School Districts were established in the Township.
Following is a military roll for the Township as returned by Darius Wyatt, Assessor, April 15, 1845:
John Shull, Levi Chapin, Theron Hamilton, Benjamin Reinhart, Shubal Munson, Charles Young, Levi Munson, Charles Coarson, William Taylor, Samuel Coleman, William Norris, Joseph us W. Hufftile, William Brown, Aaron Whitacre, Albert Clute, David M. Johnson, Thomas Stevenson, William Johnson, John Johnson.
The following order concerning the election of J ustices of the Peace appears on the Township records:
Be it remembered, that at a term of the Court of Common Pleas, begun and held in and for the County of Lucas and State of Ohio, on the 11th day of November, A. D. 1845, on motion to said Court by Eli Munson, one of the Trustees of Spencer Township, by Young & Waite, his Attorneys; it was ordered, that two Justices of the Peace in and for said Township be elected at the next annual Spring election in said Township.
In testimony whereof, I, F. L. Nichols, Clerk of said Court, have hereunto set my hand and seal of said Court, the 27th day of February, A. D., 1846.
F. L. Nichols, Clerk.
Notice of election in accordance with the above order was given on March 15, 1846, and on April 6th following William Brown and Benjamin Fairchild were elected Justices of the Peace.
At the State election held October 14, 1845, 26 votes were polled in the Township. At the Township election for Justices of the Peace and other officers, April 6, 1846, 31 votes were polled. In 1851 the number of votes polled was 45; in 1852, 60 votes, and in 1853, 62 votes.
The following have been the principal Township officers since the organization:
Clerks-Aaron H. Cole, 1845-49; Aaron Whitacre, 1849; Ezra C. Tunison, 1850-54 ; Daniel C. Tunison, 1854; Samuel Divine, 1853; Daniel C. Tunison, 1856 ; Robert Fairchild, 1857-59; Ezra C. Tunison, 1859-61 ; Robert Fairchild, 1861 ; Samuel Divine, 1862-5; Jacob Surbeck, 1865-7; William Geyser, 1867; Alexander Crissy, 1868-70; William H. Pemberton, 1870-72; Edgar Morrill, 1872-80; D. B. Dill, 1880-83; Edgar Morrill, 1883; Peter Brick, 1884-86; Edward W. Dilgart, 1886-87.
Treasurers-Theron Hamilton, 1845-50; Aaron Whitacre, 1850; Charles Coarson, 1851 ; William Taylor, 1852-68; Alonzo Fairchild, 1868-79; Conrad Murbach, 1879-83; A. W. Munson, 1883-85; Frank Keopfer, 1885-87.
Trustees-Eli Munson, Samuel Coleman, William Brown, 1845; Abraham Johnson, Charles Coarson, Eli Munson, 1846; John Shull, Eli Munson, William Norris, 1847; William Brown, William Taylor, Matthew M. Mason, 1848-49; John Farner, David M. Johnson, Samuel Coleman, IS50; Martin Walters Shubal Munson, Samuel Coleman, 1851; James Morris, David Clute, William Brown, 1852; Smith H. Topping, John Farner, Alexander Walp, 1853; Ezra C. Tunison, Eli Munson, Albert Clute, 1854 ; William Brown, Isaac Clemens, Albert Clute, 1855; William Stair, Samuel Coleman, George Dill, 1856 ; John Farner, Samuel Divine, Elisha Bird, 1857; E. C. Tunison, Joseph Dennis, Lucas Raab, 1858; Lucas Rabb, Isaac Clemens, Alonzo Fairchild, 1859; Lucas Rabb, Alonzo Fairchild, John Farner, 1860 ; John Farner, David Dennis, Samuel Divine, 1861; John Farner, Alonzo Fairchild, David Dennis, 1862; Alonzo Fairchild, David Dennis, Abraham Johnson, Jr., 1863-64; Alonzo Fairchild, Joseph Dennis, Abraham Johnson, 1865; Alonzo Fairchild, Abraham Johnson, William Pemberton, 1866; William Pemberton, John W. Brown, Willard Barnes, 1867-68; Prosor Coon, William Pemberton, John W. Brown, 1869; Andrew Klumm, John E. Farner, James Barnes, 1870; Andrew Klumm, James Barnes, John W. Brown, 1371; William Taylor, Jeremiah Carroll, John W. Brown, 1872; John W. Brown, James Barnes, Jeremiah Carroll, 1873; William Taylor, James Barnes, Jeremiah Carroll, 1874; James Barnes, Enoch Huftile, Andrew Klumm, 1875; James Barnes, .John E. Farner, Andrew Klumui, 1876; Stephen Pitson, Andrew Klumm, John Regenald. 1877; Jefferson Fairchild, Andrew Klumm, Harmon Farner, 1878; Harmon Farner, John Sullivan, fatties Barnes, 1879-80 ; Harmon Farner, James Barnes, Andrew Klumni, 1881 ; Andrew Klumm, Edgar Morrill, Edward Dilgart, 1882; Alonzo Fairchild, Lafayette Dill, L. J. Berkeybile 1883; Lafayette Dill, L. J. Berkeybile, John Sharples, 1884-85; Harmon Farner, Andrew Klumm. Alonzo Fairchild, 1886; Lafayette Dill (only one elected), 1887.
Justices of the Peace-Benjamin Fairchild. 1845-48; William Brown, 18-16-55; Theron Hamilton, 1800; Samuel Farner, 1850-87; Lucas Raab, 1882-87. (The names between 18,30 and 1880 were not accessible to the writer.)
Schools – On April 18, 1853, the Board of Education divided the Township into three Sub-Districts, as follows: No. 1-Composed of Sections 31, 32 and 5 and 6. No. 2-Composed of Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, and 1, 2, 3 and 7. No. 3-Composed of Sections 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35.
These have been changed in their boundaries from time to time, so that at present there are five Districts in the Township. All except one have substantial brick School-houses.
On April 17, 1854, the Board assessed the sum of $250 for the purpose of purchasing a site and building a School-house in District No. 3. On settlement with the Treasurer, there was remaining in the treasury a balance of $279.22, apportioned to the Districts as follows : No. 1-$72.50; No.2-$108.02; No.3-$99.70.
The receipts of School money reported April, 1856, were as follows:
School House Fund . . . . . . . . . . . $ 61 90
District No. 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 17
Township Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 88
State Fund. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277 19
Interest on Section 16 . . . . . . . . 19 26
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $509 10
For 1866, the following:
Township School House Fund . . . . $213 28
State School Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 50
Interest on Section 16 . . . . . . . . . . 105 58
Total . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$503 36
Receipts for March 5, 1887:
State Common School Fund . . . . . . .. $204 00
Interest on Section 16 . . . . . . . . . . . .. 80 19
Township contingent Fund . . . . . . . . . $724 08
The number of persons of School age in the Township in 1887 was 237-males 127; females, 110. Number of voters, 132.
Board of Education foor 1887–A. W. Munson, Peter Brick, J. W. Manchly, W. H. Strong and C. Winterfelt. A. W. Munson, President; E. W. Dilgart, Clerk.
POST OFFICE – The nearest Post Office was at Maumee until an office was established at what is now East Swanton, in Swanton Township. The latter was removed to Swanton Village after that became a Railroad Station, and residents of that part of Spencer nearest adjacent still get their mail there. The Township Post Office proper is located at Java (Frankfort Corners). It was first kept by the late William Taylor at his residence, and afterwards moved from place to place until finally, in 1879, it was located at Java, since which Frank Keopfer has been Postmaster.
BAPTIST CHURCH – This church was organized at an early day and services held in the School House and in private residences. Among the first preachers were elders Birdsell and Lewis. Rev. Aaron H. Cole, was the first regular Pastor; but no church edifice was built during his day; nor, indeed, until some time after his death. Rev. Mr. Cole was one of the early settlers and began his ministry in Spencer Township. He was born in Covert, Seneca County, New York, February 5, 1813. He was married with Lydia Rappleyee in March, 1835, and the same Spring came to Spencer, where he settled and resided until 1856. His name appears upon the records as the first Clerk of the Township, and he aided in many important ways in the organization of its affairs. Feeling that he was called to preach the Gospel, he was ordained and began his ministry in 1841. Most of the time for 20 years or more he preached at his own expense to weak Churches. In 1856 he moved to Grand Blanc, Ohio, and took charge ora Church there. For a time also he traveled and preached under the auspices of the Ohio Baptist State Convention. But he is best remembered in Spencer and the adjacent region. He removed to Adrian, Michigan, in 1866, where he died October 26, 1867, in the 55th year of his age. He was succeeded in the Spencer pastorate by Elder Nill, of Maumee. Revs. A. Brown, A. J. Porter, Horace Hall (who died in Richfield June 1, 1876), A. J. Buel, F. C. Wright and James Adams, have followed in succession, the last named being the Pastor in 1887. The Church was finished and dedicated in 1873.
CHURCH OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION – About 1838, Father Armedeus Rappe began a mission among the German Catholics of this Township, holding services at private residences. In 1851 the log-church now used for the parochial School-house was erected. It was succeeded by a frame building in 1864. This edifice was destroyed by fire June 7,1875, and in 1876, the fine structure known as the Church of Immaculate Conception, was erected and consecrated. On March 4, 1880, a tornado struck tine building, demolishing it completely, except the side walls, which alone were felt standing. On the 15th of August, the church was again rebuilt, frescoed and occupied. It is the finest country Church in Lucas County, and cost, in all, about $12,000. Rev. Charles Barbier was the first resident Minister in 1865, and since have been the following in the years named Rev. Nicholas Schmitz, 1868; Rev. Peter Kollopp, 1870; Rev. John G. Vogt, 1875; and Rev. Weimer Mueller since 1877.
THE GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH of Spencer was organized in 1852; Isaac Matzinger, Conrad Swine, Andrew Reginald and their families, being among the principal organizers. The building was erected in 1864. The Church has increased in numbers from the German element in the Township which is about twothirds of the population, about one-half of the Germans being Protestants.
There is also a German Baptist Church in the Township, erected in 1878. Rev. Sebastian Site has been its only Pastor.
Information from Waggoner, C. (1888). History of the City of Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio. New York and Toledo: Munsell Publishing Co.