Springfield Township

The Beginning of Springfield Township


From the early 1700s the French claimed the area and they continued to inhabit it until the end of the French-Indian War in 1764. During this period the area was first a part of Quebec (until 1713) and then became part of Louisiana (1713-1764). The spoils of war for the British allowed them to claim it and again it became a part of the Quebec Province from 1764-69. At the end of the British era and at the beginning of the United States, it was attached to Botetourt County, Virginia, from 1769-78, and Illinois County, Virginia from 1778-1787.

The newly formed government of the United States established the Northwest Territory in 1788 with only one county, which was named Washington. In 1790, Hamilton became the name of a second county, and in 1796, Wayne County was added to demonstrate the nation’s jurisdiction over the southern peninsula of Michigan and northwest Ohio.

Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803 and on the 24th day of March, 1803, the counties of Warren, Butler, Montgomery and Greene, were established. Greene County was organized with it’s northern boundary being the Territory of Michigan. The area surrounding Springfield Township was evidently regarded as a part of it, even though it was considered part of the Indian territories allocated from the Greenville Treaty.

On the 20th day of February, 1805, Greene County was reduced in size by the organization of Champaign County, which also had as its northern limits the Territory of Michigan. The county seat was Urbana, and as more families migrated to Ohio, the distance from Urbana to the northernmost reaches of the county became too great for government business to be conducted. On December 30, 1817, Logan County was established, with the county seat located at Belleville (now Bellefontaine), and extending to Michigan and “including the United States Reservation at the Rapids of the Miami of the Lake” or the Indian territory. The township of Waynesfield was established that incorporated the settlement of Maumee.

During the period from 1796 to the time of Logan County, the region now called Northwest Ohio although not always under the legal jurisdiction of Wayne County, was nominally under it’s control since courts and land sales were recorded in Detroit and Monroe for the region. Even after Ohio was formed in 1803, part of the territory retained the name of Wayne County, with a seat of government located at Wooster. In 1817, a new treaty was signed with the Indians which allowed settlers from the east to settle in what had previously been designated Indian territory.

Local histories show Dennis Sage as the first settler in the township. He probably came here in 1829 and was followed shortly afterward by his sister, Chloe Sage. Before that, though, the Jacob Wiltse and Willard Barnes families are known to have come here in 1824. Jacob Wiltse is buried in Springfield Cemetery and the tombstone states that he died in 1827, two years before Dennis Sage arrived. Daniel Hubbell who was the enumerated in the first census of 1840 for Springfield Township became a Wood County Commissioner when it was formed in 1820.

Migration to northwest Ohio increased dramatically and the lack of and distance from government became even more apparent. To alleviate this situation, Wood County was formed on February 12, 1820 with Maumee named as the temporary county seat of Wood. The jurisdiction of this new entity covered territory that now includes the counties of Lucas, Fulton, Defiance and Wood as well as six other counties. On April 12, the commissioners, Daniel Hubbell, of Miami, Samuel H. Ewing, of Orleans, and John Pray, of Waterville, met in the second story of Almon Gibbs’ store, in Maumee, and organized by electing Daniel Hubbell clerk of the board.

As a consequence of the Toledo War, Wood was dismembered in 1835, and Lucas county formed. The first session of the Commissioners of the County was held at Toledo, September 14, 1835. Commissioners John Baldwin and Robert Gower were present with Cyrus Holloway being absent. Part of the business was the creation of a new Township, to be called Springfield, and to consist of the territory lying North of the ” Fulton line,” and West of the East line of Range four East, being the territory then in dispute between Ohio and Michigan. Springfield Township was officially formed on June 30, 1836 by the further detachment of land from Waynesfield Township. In accordance with the act of the Board of County Commissioners creating the Township of Springfield, the first election for civil officers was held at the house of William Ford, October 8, 1836. James Egnew, Thomas Wood and John Birchfield were chosen Trustees; Peter Holloway, Clerk; John Wiltse, Treasurer; William Ford, Constable; John Burchfield and John Spencer, Justices of the Peace.

In 1853, a section of southern Springfield Township was re-annexed to Waynesfield Township, and another section was annexed to form Monclova Township. Many of the residents could be seen in the census of 1850 for Springfield Township, but in the census of 1860 were located in Waynesfield or Monclova Townships for this reason. Adams Township to the east was also partially formed by detaching land from Springfield Township.