Toledo, Ohio

Day 416

     What is now Toledo, Ohio, has been inhabited by Indians for a thousand years, and then by Europeans after the American Revolution, from about 1795. It is located on rivers that access the great lakes. We came here to visit the Maritime Museum, which was OK, and the cargo ship Col. James M. Shoonmaker, which Barbara got to steer:

     But the most interesting thing we learned was about the Toledo War which took place 1835 to 1836, also known as the Michigan–Ohio War. It was a boundary dispute between the state of Ohio and the adjoining territory of Michigan. Toledo stood a chance of becoming a terminal for two railroads and the Wabash and Erie Canal. This is where part of the new Erie Canal would pass, and become an important point of access to Lake Michigan.

     When Michigan petitioned for statehood in 1835, it sought to include the disputed strip within its boundaries. Ohio’s congressional delegation was able to stall Michigan’s admission to the Union to prevent that from happening. This obviously upset Michigan, who claimed this disputed territory, and sent it’s militia to defend it. Ohio, countered by sending it’s militia.

     The militias were mobilized and sent to positions on opposite sides of the Maumee River near Toledo, but besides mutual taunting there was little interaction between the two forces.

     On April 26, 1835, the first skirmish of the Ohio-Michigan War took place when the Michigan militia collided with an Ohio surveying party. The militia opened fire. The Ohioans took to their heels. Nobody was hurt.

     Benjamin Franklin Stickney was  born  April  1, 1773. Stickney, one of Toledo’s founding fathers, had two sons, which he named One and Two (isn’t that cool?). They strongly advocated the contested land for Ohio. Two Stickney, born  April 16, 1810 is famous for his role in the Toledo War. On July 16, 1835, Joseph Wood, a deputy sheriff from Monroe County, Michigan, saw Benjamin Franklin Stickney and son Two in the swamps of the strip. A warrant had been issued for their arrest. Heeding the arrest orders, Wood tried to arrest them. As Wood placed the heavy hand of the law on Two Stickney`s shoulder, the youth drew his fearsome penknife and thrust it into Wood’s tender thigh, “non-fatally stabbing” the brave lawman,  it was the only blood shed during the 1835-36 territory battle between Ohio and Michigan.

     In December 1836, at the request of President Jackson, Congress finally stepped in to resolve the conflict–in Ohio’s favor. Congress offered Michigan a compromise—give up the Toledo Strip, but gain statehood and a large portion of the Upper Peninsula instead. And so ended the Michigan – Ohio War.