Some of Fort Findlay still standing when Chamberlins arrived

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 eighth and last of a series of articles dealing with the Job Chamberlin reminiscences of early days in Hancock County.)

In his reminiscences Job Chamberlin tells of Fort Findlay, which had not been constructed very long before he came to this area. Mr. Chamberlin arrived in 1822, just 10 years after Gen. William Hull and Col. James Findlay came through this region and built the fort on the banks of the Blanchard River.

While the Chamberlins settled on what is now known as Chamberlin Hill in south Findlay, a couple miles from where the fort stood, they had occasion to visit the area of the fort, although transportation was not easy in those days.

“There were a good many pickets standing of the old fort,” said Mr. Chamberlin. “It was located on the west side of the street (Main) where Wilson Vance, the founder of the town, lived.”

The appearance of the fort was described thus by the writer:

“It was in the nature of a blockhouse and was built up with large logs some six or seven feet, then longer logs were put on, which extended five or six feet over the first wall and then built up another story with logs of the last named length and then covered.

“There were loop-holes made in the wall all around for the purpose of shooting through to kill Indians.” Mr. Chamberlin related an incident involving an old neighbor back at Urbana, Ohio, that happened at Fort Findlay once.

“William McGill, our near neighbor while living at Urbana, Ohio, told of a narrow escape which he and a comrade had in the time of the War of 1812 while they were returning together on business to Urbana from a visit to Hull’s army at Maumee.

“They had to stop and stay all night in the Fort Findlay. In the night they were surrounded by a band of Indians. There appeared no hope of escape for them but by strategy. So they commenced a boisterous talking and thumping about the room so that the Indians might think there was a big force of soldiers in the fort. It had the desired effect, for the Indians took the alarm and left. McGill and his comrade remained in the blockhouse all night unmolested then.”

With this, the reminiscences of Job Chamberlin come to an end. The original Job Chamberlin, as we related at the outset of the eight-part series of articles, died in 1848, after 26 years’ residence in the local community. It was his son, also named Job, who wrote the reminiscences which appeared in the local newspaper at the time. Just where the original copy is, is not known now.

Irvin S. Chamberlin, a son of Job Jr., made available to the Findlay Republican in the 1890s clippings of the original articles and they appeared at that time. At the age of 17, Irvin Chamberlin entered the office of the old Findlay Jeffersonian and eventually became a partner of David R. Locke in the ownership of the newspaper. David R. Locke became the famous “Petroleum V. Nasby” author of the famous Nasby letters in the Civil War. Mr. Locke had come to Findlay from Bucyrus to become interested in the Jeffersonian. Mr. Chamberlin joined the 21st Ohio Regiment in the Civil War. In the 1870s, he became a leader in hardware and agricultural implements in Findlay.

The articles which are now being completed came from excerpts of the reminiscences as they were reviewed by Miss Florence Blackford, Findlay newspaper writer for a number of years.

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