Q: What was “Hull’s Trace”?
A: It was the first road built through this region, courtesy of the U.S. Army, as it moved north from Urbana to Fort Detroit during the War of 1812.
Gen. William Hull’s 1,500 men marched along the west side of Eagle Creek to the Blanchard River, where Hull left Col. James Findlay and a detachment to build a fort. The main body of troops continued to the Portage River, south of Van Buren, then northwest along the Portage toward the Maumee River.
“The vanguard of Hull’s army followed the dryest (sic) ground it could find and avoided wherever possible the swales which then abounded in this region …
“Hull’s Trace could scarcely be called a road, for only the underbrush and very small timber were cut out so as to allow the gun carriages and baggage wagons of the army to pass between the larger trees, yet nearly all of the travel from Bellefontaine to the Maumee passed along this rude trace until after the organization of Wood County in 1820.”
It was “many years before anything that could be called a road was constructed through this county, and wagon paths blazed through the forest were the only means of communication between the scattered settlements.”
A marker for Hull’s Trace is on the east side of U.S. 68 near Ohio 15, just south of Findlay. — “History of Hancock County, Ohio,” 1886.
Q: Do the colors of reflective markers on roads mean anything?
A: They offer information. For example, white or yellow reflections are good; you are driving in the right direction.
• White reflectors separate lanes or show the right edge of the road.
• Yellow reflectors show the center line or the left edge of the road.
• Red ones mean stop, you’re going the wrong way.
• Blue ones are for emergency responders. They could mean a firehouse or a fire hydrant is nearby.
• Green ones are sometimes used on private roads, and to guide emergency vehicles on them. Utilities may also use them to mark equipment.
• And all kinds of colors may be found in the woods, and near mailboxes, driveways, and warehouses. — Mark Vanhoenacker, Slate.
Q: What’s the story about Owney, the postal dog?
A: It goes that a shaggy puppy was adopted as “Owney” by workers at the Albany, N.Y., post office in 1888.
He soon began regularly riding mail wagons to the train depot, then the mail car to New York City and back.
As Owney traveled farther, postal workers gave him a leather collar with a tag reading, “Owney, Post Office, Albany, N.Y.”
Clerks recorded Owney’s travels by attaching metal baggage tags to his collar to identify the rail lines he traveled on.
Owney took to traveling farther and staying away longer, visiting Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, Singapore, Suez, Algiers, and the Azores.
But Owney should not have bitten a clerk showing him off to an unidentified Ohio reporter. The postmaster general had Owney euthanized on June 11, 1897.
Railway mail clerks paid to have Owney’s body stuffed, and he stands in the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. — U.S. Postal Service.
Q: What did Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) say?
A: “Fish and visitors stink after three days.”
Visitors’ questions are welcome at Send an E-mail to justask or Just Ask, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839.
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