Our Township History

The township form of government is the oldest form of government in the United States. Our Pilgrim Fathers brought the Township form of government to America in 1620, and it spread west as far as the Rocky Mountains. Today, almost half of our 50 states have the township form of local government.
 

As the Ohio Territory became populated, it was only natural for the Township form to become the basic unit of government. In 1804, the elected officials of a Township consisted of three Trustees, a Clerk, Overseers of the poor, Supervisors of highways, and a Justice of the Peace. That basic structure exists today.

 
The present Township of Swanton bore the name of Wing Township from 1836 until 1851. The name was that of the first white settler in the area, Chandler L. Wing, who built a log house on the West bank of Swan Creek, on the East half of the SE quarter of Sec.8 . The first election under the new name of "Swanton Township" was held on April 7th of 1851.



Other "firsts" for our township were:
First frame house - the dwelling and store of Luther Dodge, on the East bank of Swan Creek and on the NE quarter Sec 5, near the junction of the NE and NW branches of that stream. Built in 1837
First frame barn - put up for a Mr. Pray of Waterville in 1840 by Lewis Gale. It was on the SE corner of the NW quarter of the SE quarter of Sec 29.
First road opened - that which is now known as the State Road, running from Maumee to the town of Swanton and on to the State line. It was located in Dec. 1835, with a Mr. P.B. Scott being one of those appointed for that purpose.
First bridge - was across Swan Creek on the State Road, and was built during the Winter of 1836-37. It was located 25 rods E of the W line of Sec 8, and built by Samuel Barrett.

First attempt at fruit growing - a small orchard was set out by P.B. Scott in the Spring of 1835.

First blacksmith shop - was that of James Williams. A third shop was built on the W.D. Herrick place near Scott's Corners (Send of the E half of NE quarter of Sec 7)
First wagon shop - that of Chester Scott, and located on the P.B. Scott farm (Scott's Corners).
First sawmill - built by William Taylor around 1858 on the NE corner of the SE quarter of the SE quarter of Sec 6.
 
First and only Town plat - laid out in 1836 by James Jackson and James H. Forsyth of Maumee. The plat was located at the SW corner of the NW quarter of Sec 8, and embraced what was commonly known as Scott's Corners. Nothing beyond the platting ever came of the enterprise.
First public house or tavern - kept by Huntington Larabee, as early as 1834. At the time of the first settlement of Swanton Township, the travel through it was comparatively heavy - consisting mainly of "movers", as the emigrants from the East to the West were called. The housing of these and the care of their teams constituted the chief business of the large number of small taverns found along the line of such travel.
 
Originally, Swanton was the most central point in Lucas County, and as such was the usual place for holding political conventions and other county assemblages. That all changed after Fulton County was formed from the western section of Lucas.
For several years after settlement, game was abundant in Swanton Township. Deer were numerous, with some wolves and cougars and an occasional bear. Elk horns were found in large number, showing the former presence of that animal. A few moose horns were also found here and there.
 
In the summer of 1837, and for several years thereafter, Chief Ottokee of the Ottawa Indians and a part of his tribe lived on the North half of the SE quarter of Sec 5. He owned the place and occupied a house there, which was built by a Mr. Halford in 1835. The Indians hunted and sometimes sold a side of venison for 25 cents, often trading for vegetables. Most of the trading was done by the squaws. When the balance of his tribe were removed West, Chief Ottokee refused to go. He remained and later died here in Swanton Township.






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