Early county history preserved digitally

Most people learn history in bits and pieces. It is quite interesting to put all of these pieces together. Reading history from a prime source is the most helpful, but not many people get to do this.

When the Seneca County Law Librarian and the commissioners’ office approached Tiffin-Seneca Public Library and offered several of the first commissioners’ notes, we gratefully accepted. The Journal of the First Seneca County Commissioners 1824-1834 was completed and is now available on the Seneca County Digital Library for everyone to read.

The digitization process required each page to be transcribed for the data to be searchable, as all of the notes were handwritten. Through reading all of this information, the very beginning of Seneca County’s history comes together.

The first Commissioners’ Journal begins June 7, 1824. The first few entries contain several interesting names. Mentioned in these notes is a list of the first Seneca County commissioners: William Clark, S. Olmsted and Benjamin Whitmore. David Risdon was selected to be the tax collector (and later served as a surveyor for the county), and Milton McNeal was appointed the board treasurer of Seneca County.

Many other names that are prominent in Seneca County history also appear throughout this first volume, such as Erastus Bowe, Josiah Hedges, and George and Adam Fleck (possibly of the forerunners of the Fleck’s Easter Egg Dye family).

Reading about the formation of roads and streets in the county is quite fascinating. To have a road constructed, a petitioner had to appear before the commissioners and “pray” for the road to be approved and constructed. After the road had been approved by the commissioners, “viewers” had to be appointed for the “purpose of viewing and locating said road.”

Three viewers were usually appointed, along with one surveyor to map the road. The petitioner had to pay all expenses for the viewing and locating of the road. Several roads are mentioned throughout the journal, such as the Kilbourn State Road, the Morrison State Road, the Finley and Mansfield State Roads, and the Sandusky Turnpike.

The formation of the townships in Seneca County is covered in this volume, too. For example, June 5, 1832, John S. Fleck “presented a petition of diverse inhabitants of Township Number 3 in Range 14 hitherto been attached to Fort Seneca Township for election and other purposes ‚Ķ to organize said township Number 3 in Range 14 to be declared a legal township by the name of Liberty.” Fort Seneca Township, Sycamore Township, Pleasant Township and Seneca Township were also formed during this time.

If you find this information to be intriguing, you can read more of the Journal of the First Seneca County Commissioners 1824-1834 on T-SPL’s Seneca County Digital Library. It can be accessed from the library’s webpage at www.tiffinsenecalibrary.org. You just need to access the link to the Seneca County Digital Library which is found under the Find Information menu.

The second commissioners’ journal, Journal of the Seneca County Commissioners Book 2 1834-1846, also is available in its entirety in the digital library, while the third journal is in progress.

History buffs now are able to put all of the pieces of information together by the digitizing of the first commissioners’ journal and placing it on the Seneca County Digital Library where everyone can read it. The generosity of the Seneca County Law Library and the Commissioners’ Office made this all possible.