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Area’s first mailman was kindhearted

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

 

The Job Chamberlin reminiscences, excepts from which are currently being published in this column, tell of the area’s first mailman, Joseph Gordon, who carried the mail between Bellefontaine and Perrysburg for a number of years in the very early days.

“He was a kindhearted and generous man and was of incalculable service to the early settler of the county in doing errands for them,” writes the author. “He lived in Bellefontaine. He brought me a New Testament which I keep as a relic of my boyhood.”

Mr. Chamberlin tells an interesting story of the marriage of the mailman.

“Joe’s narrative of his marriage was quite interesting,” said the Chamberlin account. “He had fallen in love with a lady and obtained her consent to marry him. At the appointed time, the wedding party started off to the squire’s home on horseback. Joe’s intended rode with another man and he rode with another woman of the party. They came to a place where the road forked and his affianced and her escort suddenly took off and galloped briskly away. Joe saw the point, and turning to the woman he was riding with, asked her if she would have him. She consented and in due time they were married and Joe said he had no reason to ever regret the exchange.”

Mr. Chamberlin tells of the early fruit and trees.

“There was considerable fruit in the forest when he came,” he wrote. “Plums were quite plentiful and were fresh and delicious. There were gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. There were a few bearing apple trees in the woods, a plenty of crab apples and grapes. Some of them were good, but most of them were little and sour. Cranberries were easily obtained. Further south in the marsh there were a great many. Black walnuts, “butternuts,” hickory nuts, acorns and beechnuts were abundant. Hogs got fat on them for the market. Raccoons also got fat, as did the squirrels.”

Mr. Chamberlin, discussing squirrels, said every seventh year, for some reason, in the latter part of the summer and early fall they would travel, all going in one direction. They would eat all the nuts and corn and farmers had to use untiring vigilance to save their corn.

“My brother, mother and I,” wrote Mr. Chamberlin, “and we would have good sport shooting with our bows and arrows.”

The writer says “the first inhabitants in the county were both very fond of athletic exercise as well as boxing and wrestling.”

Mr. Chamberlin describes what he said was the first “party” ever held in Findlay. One of the events on the entertainment was a mock wedding. But the “bride,” evidently took it seriously for some reason and was surprised to later discover it had all been a joke.

He recalls that Henry Shaw put up a mill some distance west of the court house to supply the inhabitants with ground corn meal, when water-operated mills failed due to lack of water. The mill was two stories high.

“The annals of our county are full of startling events,” Mr. Chamberlin goes on to say. “One of them was the border war. The state of Ohio and the state of Michigan got into a dispute about the boundary near Toledo and our youngbloods were ready to defend the Ohio line with arms, if need be. Our worthy citizen, Johnathan Parker, then captain of a company of volunteers and ever ready to obey his country’s call, donned his uniform and started north with his brave soldiers.”

Mr. Chamberlin then says the dispute was amicably settled through intervention of Washington and the soldiers returned home without having to fight.

The road between Bellefontaine and Perrysburg was cut two years before the Chamberlins arrived. Prior to that all travel was done on the old Hill’s trail. A Logan County man named Enochs had built the new road, which was just east of the old trail. Enochs lived in this area some time and contracted a strange malady which affected his head, according to the Chamberlin story. He had to had someone beside him all the time to scratch his head. He hired a boy for this purpose, the story goes.

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