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Road to Maumee River was first in county

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 first road in Hancock County was laid out as a result of a law enacted by the General Assembly early in 1820, even prior to the establishment of the county. It was ordered to be constructed between Maumee and Bellefontaine, running north and south through Hancock County. It became known later as the Perrysburg Road, and also as the Urbana Road.

The roadway was finished between the Maumee River and Findlay in February 1821. The stretch on south to Bellefontaine was not completed so early, a period of some 10 years being required to bring the improvement to completion, according to the records. This section is now U.S. 68.

In 1824, the General Assembly passed a general law providing for the building and opening of roads throughout the state. All the earliest roads in Hancock County were established under this act, except the Perrysbury-Bellefontaine Road, which was built under the 1820 act.

The fall of 1828 saw a start made on a road between Findlay and Marion, following a route which is not the usual way to travel between these two county seats today. The 1828 route went south out of Findlay on the Bellefontaine Road to a point just beyond the Eagle Creek bridge and then took a southeasterly course towards Marion, the road leaving the Bellefontaine highway on what is now County Road 172 in an angling direction. Its exact course on through the county is not known, although the records show it traveled in a southeasterly direction, along some of the roads presently existing, no doubt.

The first petition of county residents themselves for a highway, found on record at the courthouse, was presented to the commissioners June 1, 1829 for a public highway rom the east line of the county into Findlay. The petitioners were John J. Hendricks, Justin Smith, Joseph Whiteman, James Beard, John Huff, John Beard, William Ebright, Sampson Dildine, John Williamson, Andrew Robb, Thomas Cole, David Hagerman, John Long, John Shoemaker and Mordecai Hammond. In September 1829, the road was officially viewed by John Huff, John J. Hendricks and William Moreland Jr., with William Taylor as surveyor, Peter George, James Beard, Joshua Powell and John Boyd, chainmen, and John Long, Philip Ebright and Normal Chamberlain, markers.

The road was established by the commissioners Sept. 16, 1829. It began on what was then the county line and ran westward through Vanlue. The county line was then a couple miles east of the present county line, Wyandot County later absorbing some of the former Hancock County area. The road probably is the present Township Road 170 in Amanda Township, coming from the county line into Vanlue. West of Vanlue, the road is the present County Road 169 until just before this road reaches the river. The road, as laid out in 1829, took a northerly course here and more or less followed the river into Findlay, eventually crossing to the west side, probably along some of the present highways in that area.

The second petition was presented June 7, 1830, for a road commencing on the line between Hancock and Hardin counties, near the section line dividing sections 35 and 36 in Delaware Township, then down the west side of the Blanchard River to Godfrey Woldford’s mill in section 11, where it crossed the river and continued down the east side of the stream through the site of Mount Blanchard and on north until it met the road laid out as a result of the county’s first road petition, and described above. The records show that the two roads met in section 12 in Amanda Township near the John J. Hendricks farm.

The county commissioners appointed Thomas Thompson, James Beard and Peter George as viewers and Wilson Vance surveyor to lay out the road. Elijah Beard and Charles Gibson were named chain carriers and Godfrey Wolford, marker. All of these men were pioneers of Amanda and Delaware townships. The road was surveyed in July 1830 and was established as a public highway April 18, 1831.

The next decade saw continued highway development in the new county as the need for roads came with the settling of the county and the opening of the new townships.

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