Early History of Kalida, Ohio


An 1834 act of Ohio Legislature provided for the organization of Putnam County and the establishment of a county seat. The Governor appointed Wm. Cochran, Henry Morris and Silas McClish as Associate Judges to organize the county. Provision was also made for the appointment of County Commissioners, a Town Director and a Surveyor to select 160 acres in Union Township as a county seat. The associate Judges appointed Thomas Gray, Wm. Priddy, and Samuel Myers as County Commissioners, Abraham Sarber as Town Director and F. C. Fitch as Surveyor.

The Town Director, with the Commissioners and Surveyor, laid out and platted a town as required by the legislature and they named the town Kalida, meaning "beautiful", which became the seat of justice of Putnam County. This was the first town platted in Putnam County.

A frame court house was erected in 1834, but this was replaced by a brick building in 1839. Kalida remained the county seat until October 1866. At that time a county-wide vote selected Ottawa as the county seat.

A post office was established very soon after the organization of Kalida and according to the best tradition the first post road serving Kalida was The Defiance and Wapakoneta Road from Fort Recovery to Defiance.

In 1836 Guthrie & Sarber built a grist mill on Hog Creek at Kalida, the second and at that time the most important water mill in the county.

The Kalida area drained into the Ottawa River (Hog Creek). The land was originally covered with forests and was part of the Great Black Swamp. After the land was cleared to develop agriculture, ditches and clay tiles were needed to aide in drainage of the soil to make it suitable for farming. Many small tile mills were founded in the area to provide the needed tile. Today the landscape of Putnam County includes hundreds of highly productive farms.

The first Newspaper in the county was the Kalida Venture edited by Francis Gillette. From the time of the first issue, February 20, 1841, Putnam County has not been without at least one newspaper. The Kalida Sentinel was established at Kalida in 1865.

Schools were important in this new community, so on September 10, 1836, the trustees divided the township into two small school districts and proceeded to open free schools that year.

According to Judge Skinner's history, the first settlers of Union Township were Abraham Sarber and John Guffey in 1831, followed in 1832 by George Clevenger and Joseph Clevenger and in 1833 with an addition of seven families, viz, Adam Sarber, Jacob Clevenger, Samuel Clevenger, Jenkin Hughes, William Clevenger, Samuel Gander and Daniel Rimer.

The following other persons must have also settled in the township prior to 1834 or at any rate according to the records in the Land Office received grants for lands in this township, viz., Abel Hanson, Oct. 30, 1832; John Cook May 8, 1832; Nancy Henderson Sept. 17, 1832; Wesley Rush May 16, 1833; Ezekial Hoover June 14, 1833. Several of the above deeds will be found recorded at Bryan, Ohio, since Putnam County, before its organization in 1834, was administered by Williams County.

In 1834 the following families came: Dr. Moses Lee, Robert McCracken, Isaac McCracken, William Phillips, Sheldon Gutherie, Arthur E. Martin and Joseph Miller.

Some of the names of the various persons appearing in an early township record in addition to those mentioned are: John Guffey, Maurice Howard, Winchton Risley, Sheldon Guthrie, Richard Lee, James Taylor, Jabez Spencer, Hugh Crawford, Samuel Parker, Daniel Rimer, Robert McCracken, James M. Lee, John Juhns, James Vail, Joseph Miller, D. S. Gibbs, Lewis Stover, Joseph Nichols, Samuel Gander, P. H. Holden, F. C. Fitch, Wm. Monroe, Seth G. Gates, Washington Stark, Adam Ridinger, Thomas McClure and may others.

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