EDITOR’S NOTE: The following 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
(This is the seventh article of a series of eight dealing with the Job Chamberlin reminiscences of early days in Hancock County.)
The evergreen trees on Chamberlin Hill have always (1969) attracted much attention.
Job Chamberlin, in his reminiscences, tells of the origin of these trees. They were part of nurseries which were started in the very early days by members of the Chamberlin family.
Mr. Chamberlin says in one of the closing installments of his articles that his son Irvin started one of the nurseries and a son-in-law, George Woodley, originated another one.
“In 1870,” Mr. Chamberlin says, “I divided my land on the east side of the road among my children. Irvin planted a nursery on his share, which is known as Chamberlin’s nursery. George Woodley, my son-in-law, also planted a nursery on the hill, which is known as Woodley’s Nursery.”
In 1858, Mr. Chamberlin’s eldest daughter was married to the Rev. William Barber of the Baptist faith who preached in Findlay, Kenton and Clyde. Some years after his death, his widow married George Woodley and they lived on Chamberlin Hill. Mr. Chamberlin’s youngest daughter, Sophrona, married Samuel McCahan, a farmer, in 1861.
Mr. Chamberlin tells of the building of the second Hancock courthouse in the 1840s. It stood on the site of the present courthouse.
“The contractor was the unfortunate John McCurdy who whilst engaged in fixing the cornice under the roof, which was 32 feet from the ground, was precipitated to the earth by the scaffolding giving way under his feet. He fell between the rocks and had his leg broken above the knee, but recovered and was restored to usefulness.”
The writer went on to say “the courthouse was built with the surplus money of the United States and stands as a monument to the wealth of our nation in years gone by, and its stately steeple points to Him who said ‘vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ as a warning to those who would corrupt the administration of justice, and our county has kept pace with Findlay in enterprise and where stood the wigwam of the redskin there now stands the handsome mansions of the white man, whose mind is illuminated by the ‘true light,’ and as the light and warmth of the sun brings into life the vegetable kingdom, so does the light of the ‘son of righteousness’ bring spiritual life into the world, whose rays are driving away the shades of the heathenish darkness from our country and making ‘the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose,’ and worship of the ‘true God’ is superceding the orgies of the past.”
The records of the state of Ohio show that Hancock County received the sum of $11.707.17 from the federal surplus referred to in the Chamberlin reminiscences.
During the Andrew Jackson administration at Washington, the surplus in the federal treasury became too large and a distribution was made to the states of some of the surplus. Ohio received a little over $2 million and it was loaned to the counties. Later on, the loans were called in and the money utilized by the state to pay for its new canal system.
The canals were built in the 1840s. All the counties had paid back their loans by 1871, except Highland County, which managed to pay its share on an installment plan not long afterward.
Some of the counties loaned their money out to individuals and experienced difficulty in getting it back at times. Mortgages were taken on the loans in the counties, but when the money was paid back, no one, it seemed, had authority to cancel such mortgages. The state legislature passed special legislation in 1896 giving authority for proper cancellation.
By what means Hancock County paid back its $11,707.17 is not known today. It probably came from general taxation, possibly over a period of years.The shares of surrounding counties were as follow: Allen, $10,707.44; Hardin, $4,950.38; Henry, $2,421.01; Putnam, $6,474.10; Seneca, $21,607.90; and Wood, $10,872.85. Wyandot County had not yet been organized at the time of the distribution.