Findlay unit in ‘Toledo War’ recalled

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

 

When Governor Lucas sounded the tocsin of war in 1835 to rally the Buckeye State to the cause of defending the northern boundary line of the state against Michigan’s claims, all northwestern Ohio including Hancock County was ablaze with patriotism and loyalty.

Florence Blackford, whose grandfather Price Blackford came to Hancock County in the 1830s, told the story of Hancock County’s participation in what was known as “The Toledo War” in an article in the old Morning Republican in 1898.

Her account follows:

“When the reverberation of the call of Governor Lucas reached Hancock County, the military spirit of the county responded with a heartiness that has not been excelled by the call of 1845 for the Mexican War, or the call of 1861 for the Civil War, nor that of 1896 for the Spanish War; and yet as Squire Henry Byal remarked, “This is the only call in which Hancock County sent troops into the field when they all returned without a single casualty.” To the people of the time the matter was most serious, and the troops that did go were as valorous and as much in earnest as any that went to the later wars.

“The company recruited here and which actually reported for service, was commanded by Captain Jonathan Parker, who is well remembered by all the old citizens of Findlay, more for a long life of usefulness in other lines than on account of his military career. The First Lieutenant of the company was Elijah Williams, later well known as a lawyer of the county, who afterwards in about 1852 emigrated to the territory of Oregon and rose to considerable distinction as a lawyer and member of her legislature. His sons, Henry and George, have also seen distinguished careers in her military and political service. Lieutenant Williams, when a resident of Findlay, lived on the lot between the residence of E.T Dunn, on the corner of Main and Hardin streets, and the lot owned by the heirs of John H. Morrison, another well-known old-time lawyer.

“The Second Lieutenant of the company was Daniel Kelley.

“Among the soldiers of Capt. Parker’s company the names of but few can be ascertained as this depends largely upon the recollection of pioneer residents. Among them were several who were quite well-known in later years. There was Joseph D. Ford, for a long time a leading tailor of the town, Thomas Mullin, George Watson, William Lincoln, George McClain, John McKinnis, George Pottner, a Mr. Forest who was jocularly known as ‘Davy Crockett,’ and a Mr. Cook. These were all the names of the privates which Squire Henry Byal can recall, but there were probably 50 or 60 in the company. They marched, under the command of Captain Parker, from Findlay by way of Fort Ball, near Tiffin and Lower Sandusky now known as the city of Fremont, to Ft. Miami, on the line of the disputed territory near Perrysburg.

“Jacob Barnd was a lieutenant of the company at the time the troops were called by Governor Lucas, but he resigned in order to return to his school by Norwalk. He was later a prominent citizen of Findlay, a sheriff of the county, and a holder of other offices.

“Squire Byal’s comments on the personnel of the company is that this company was the finest lot of soldiers that he had ever seen leave Findlay, and had all the power of endurance characteristic of pioneers of a new county. The boys received for the time they were in the service, the magnificent sum of $3 each.”

Miss Blackford goes on to say that C.A. Croninger, of Findlay, was a member of a company which was recruited at Mansfield for the “war.”

One of the historians of the incident was a Perrysburg lawyer, W.V. Way, who wrote extensively on the subject. He was a wealthy man and gave the town of Perrysburg a library. Many from here have passed the library on their way to and from Toledo. It bears his name, as we recall.

Jonathan Parker, the commander of the Findlay company, had come to Findlay in 1831 from Muskingum County. Many of his descendants now live here. He was community leader and served at one time as president of the then-existing Hancock County Pioneer Association. He died in 1879 at the age of 71.

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