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
Williamstown As County Seat?
When Williamstown in southern Hancock County was established by a pioneer named John Williams back in 1833, he had an idea that some day his new settlement to which he gave his own name might become the seat of an entirely new county in Ohio.
He figured that by combining southern Hancock and northern Hardin counties, the new county might be formed and he urge the step for some time, but found no sentiment to back the proposal, we are told.
Mr. Williams was not the first to advocate a new county in this section. The late Fred M. Hopkins, Fostoria newspaper editor for some years, frequently suggested that a new county be organized with the city of Fostoria as a county seat. Fostoria is now located in three counties — Seneca, Hancock and Wood — and editor Hopkins thought this warranted action to bring a new county into being, with Fostoria as the center. He approached Hancock County commissioners on the subject, as well as those in Seneca County, but nothing ever came of the idea.
Homes of Pioneer Settlers
A question is frequently asked as to where Dr. Charles Oesterlen, the discover of natural gas in the community, lived.
The Oesterlen home was at 218 S. Main Street. For many years, after the Oesterlen occupancy, the Oak pharmacy was located here, as many will recall. Later it was the building where the Columbia Gas of Ohio offices and headquarters were located.
Napoleon’s Son Died Here?
We saw a copy of the Dec. 6, 1892 edition of the Wyandot Union, of Upper Sandusky, the other day, containing a telegraph item under a Findlay dateline, saying that an illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French leader, had died in the infirmary of Hancock County.
A check of the files of the Morning Republican of that general date did not reveal any such item in the local newspaper.
We repeat the item in the Upper Sandusky newspaper:
“There died at the county infirmary yesterday in Findlay, an old man named Paul Jordan, who has always declared that he was an illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte, and that he was born at Paris in 1786, which statement, if true, would make him at the time of his death one hundred and six years of age.
“Jordan’s story as told by him on many different occasions was to the effect that he went to Egypt in 1796 with Napoleon upon his famous expedition to the pyramids, and that he (Jordan) was captured by the Turks, living with them for several years a nomadic life, afterwards being stolen by the Jews, and lived in Jerusalem until a short time after his reputed father was banished to the island of St. Helena.
“Jordan has lived as in inmate of the Hancock County infirmary for the past ten years, having been found in a bewildered condition in the southern part of the county unable to give an account of himself. He afterwards proved to be able to speak French fluently and was conversant with several of the dialects of the Tarters (sic) and Nomadic Turks. His name was given him by the Jews and was perhaps taken from those of the Apostle and river Paul and Jordan.
“The story seems incredible, but Jordan who was a fine looking person with an unusually large head and fine, broad features, bore a remarkable resemblance to the distinguished Bonaparte, which was also coincidence. Jordan had remarkably small and delicate hands (Bonaparte’s most characteristic feature), and it could be said they were of feminine proportions. Other circumstances also lead everybody here to believe positively that Jordan’s story was correct and that he was the son of the famous conqueror.”