By Thomas Palmer
This is a new series on 1812Blockhouse, “It Happened in Richland.” From time to time, we will be sharing interesting tidbits of Richland County history or, as in this post, a series relating to one topic.
As local historians know, the County’s boundaries changed more than once in its first decades. To the west, this meant that places like Crestline and Galion were established not in Crawford County, but in Richland. In turn, this means that much of the very early history of those communities was tied to Mansfield, not Bucyrus.
In this short series, which runs each Friday, we will look at an even earlier settlement that was lost to history until it was “rediscovered” in the Richland County Courthouse.
This is Part Two. The first post in this series can be read here.
“We say that the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
We should spend a few moments at this point talking about land and surveying. The Leveriches had selected a spot on the ground and they would have known exactly where they were in relation to the rest of the State of Ohio.
Sandusky Township was located in a defined area created by the federal government in 1804 south of the Connecticut Western Reserve and north of the United States Military District. It became known as the “Congress Lands North of Old Seven Ranges,” and stretched from a few miles west of present-day Galion eastward to the Ohio-Pennsylvania Border — a parcel now including the cities of Mansfield and Canton. 1
The Congress Lands had been divided into townships, ranges, and sections. A quick primer — a “township” refers to a square of land north or south of an east-west base line, while a “range” is the same thing east or west of a north-south meridian. Townships are further divided into “sections,” and quarter lines run horizontally or vertically at the midpoints or each section. 2
Let’s put those terms into perspective using a real world example, and with modern Galion as a model. As the 1851 map below illustrates, the city sits almost squarely in the middle of Section 31 of its township. Today’s Harding Way straddles the east-west quarter line (there were more blocks to the south than to the north at the time). The north-south quarter line intersects Harding Way not at Public Square, however, but rather near the intersection of Harding Way West and South Boston Street.
Put another way, if complete harmony in measurement was a goal, the plat of Galion would be about two blocks sharp.
One by one, and occasionally in groups, more families began to arrive in this corner of Sandusky Township. Some chose to live near one of the two sets of Leveriches — those near the spring and the contingent on the higher ground. Others moved a bit west to a crossroads which became known as “Reisinger’s Corners” and then “Hosford’s Corners,” while others went a bit further afield.
Thanks to the availability of online research and using the surveying system referred to above, we can now access records that place each of these arriving families in terms of land ownership, thus building a record of settlement.
Property tax records for 1825, for instance, share the following as locations where Leveriches owed land: 3 4
From this information, it appears that James continued to own his original homestead and had also purchased property somewhere east of today’s Boston Street and south of Grove Avenue. Nathaniel was quite possibly still living on or near today’s Public Square, but we now know that he was living in what is today one of its two southern quadrants.
In the next Part of The Story of Greensburg, we will introduce several new families arriving in the period between 1817 and 1828, the year that the plat for Greensburg was filed. Two hundred years later, several Galionites are related to these founding families.
1 The border between the two sets of Congress Lands, east (ours) and west, accounts for the slight jog in Crawford County’s otherwise perfect rectangle on the west side of Polk Township.
2 Do not confuse this use of the word “township” with a “township” created under applicable laws in the Ohio Revise Code. Each “township,” as we are using the term, is of a uniform dimension.
3 Benjamin Leverich had passed away in 1824.