EDITOR’S NOTE–This is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
We spoke (last week) of a soldier in the War of 1812 who liked the Findlay area so much from his short stay here with Gen. Hull’s forces on their way to Detroit that he returned after the war to enter land and reside here. He was Edward Bright, who settled in what is now Marion Township.
There was another veteran of the War of 1812 who did likewise. He was George Brehm, a native of Lancaster, Pa. He came to Ohio in 1809 and settled in Perry County. He enlisted in the War of 1812 in a company of Ohio militia and started for Detroit with the unit. The company stopped at Fort Findlay en route and then moved on northward through Wood County, but heard that Gen. Hull had surrendered at Detroit when they reached the Maumee River. The company decided to return home and again made a stop at Fort Findlay, on its way back to Perry County.
He was so impressed with the nature of the area here that he returned and on Oct. 30, 1834, took out papers of ownership from the government for an 80-acre farm in Section 26 in Union Township in Hancock County.
For his services in the war he was granted a land warrant under an act of Congress Sept. 28, 1850.
Mr. Brehm’s daughter, Mary, became the bride of Solomon Burket, at Somerset in Perry County, and their son was the late Judge Jacob F. Burket, of Findlay, who became chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court in the 1890s. The Solomon Burkets had moved to Findlay in 1839 from Perry County, two-and-a-half years after the birth of their son.
The son — Jacob F. — attended a log school in Union Township in southwestern Hancock County, and when he was 10 years old, his father died, leaving his widow and nine children, of whom Jacob F. was the youngest son. When 17, he came to Findlay and started to learn the carpenter’s trade. In 1855 he began to teach school and after three years attended a school at Vanlue, where education was provided in higher subjects.
He started to read law in a local attorney’s office in 1859 and taught school in the winters. He became a lawyer and began to practice in Ottawa in 1861, remaining until 1862 when he opened an office in Findlay. He became a law partner of Henry Brown, a prominent Findlay member of the bar, but in 1869 he opened his own office. In 1888, his son Harlan F. Burket joined him and the firm became know as Burket and Burket. The son had just finished Oberlin College and his subsequent law training.
Judge Burket was one of the principals in the organization of the old American National Bank in the midst of the oil and gas boom in 1887 and became the president of the financial institution.
He became prominent as a lawyer and developed a large practice not only in his home community, but also throughout the area.
In the fall of 1892, he was elected to the office of judge of the Ohio Supreme Court. He was re-elected six years later for another six-year term. At that time the members of the Ohio Supreme Court selected their own chief justice and he was the choice of his fellow judges for this high honor during his second term on the bench.
After the completion of his service on the high court in Columbus, he returned to Findlay to resume the practice of law. He died in 1906.
Judge Burket had the honor of serving as a presidential elector from Ohio in the Garfield-Arthur election in 1880. He participated in the balloting of the state’s Garfield electors in the Senate chamber in the state house at Columbus. He asked to have the ticket he voted there and always prized it greatly.
The Burket law offices were at 2161/2 S. Main St. and remained there until the son, who continued the practice of law, died some years ago. Below were the quarters for many years of the American bank which Mr. Burket headed.
The home of Judge Burket was at 521 W. Sandusky St.
So, the War of 1812 not only brought Fort Findlay, but it resulted in influencing some of the soldiers who were here to return and make their permanent homes here to aid in the up-building and development through the later years of the local community.