July 28, 2014

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Happy Anniversary, Paulding County
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:20 AM

 

Happy anniversary, Paulding County

By Kim Sutton

We all know the word centennial references 100 years. We know the word sesquicentennial is for 150 years. We also have the bicentennial, meaning 200 years. But what’s the word for the 175th anniversary? Are you ready for the answer? Well, according to Wikipedia (on-line encyclopedia) you have several to choose from: Dodransbicentennial; Dodrabicentennial; Dequasbicentennial; Dosquicentennial; Demisemiseptcentennial; Quartoseptcentennial; Terquasquicentennial or Septaquintaquinquecentennial. Take your pick!

2014 marks the 175th anniversary of Paulding County, which is equally as confusing. Some will argue that Paulding County was formed in 1820, which is true. The Indians of northwestern Ohio relinquished their lands to the United States and the Legislature of the State, by an act of Feb. 12, 1820, proceeded to divide the newly acquired territory into counties, of which Paulding County was one. The township lines were established in 1820 by Alexander Holmes, Samuel Holmes and others and in 1821-22 the townships were subdivided into sections by James W. Riley and his assistants.

 

Although the lines were laid in 1820, because the swamp was so sparsely settled, Paulding County remained under the jurisdiction of Wood County until 1824 and then Williams County until 1839.

In 1839, the first county seat was established in New Rochester. The first court was held in the spring of 1840 in New Rochester with Honorable Emery D. Potter as presiding judge. It was held in a room over General Horatio N. Curtis’ Store, since there was no courthouse. There were no lawyers residing in the county at that time – so Edwin Phelps of Defiance was appointed prosecuting attorney. In those days, lawyers traveled with judges throughout the entire circuit – they traveled on horseback.

So, if we choose to accept the date of organization and establishment of a county seat – then Paulding County is celebrating our 175th anniversary! If you choose to accept the date of 1820, then we are 194 years old and we missed our Demisemiseptcentennial (which is what I’ve chosen to call it)!

Either way, our roots run deep and it’s truly amazing how we have emerged from the Great Black Swamp to the fertile acres of flat farmland made possible only by our ancestors’ hard work and determination. Their struggles and strife to drain this swamp is unimaginable. We are humbled by the thought of what they went through and we should celebrate our 175th or 194th either way!

By the way – three cheers for New Rochester, Crane Township. It served as the first county seat before Charloe built a two-story courthouse and lured it away, and in 1840 was the busiest town in the county. It stood about a mile north of Cecil on present-day Route 424 (old US 24). All that stands today is an abandoned roadside park and a cemetery.

Kim Sutton is president of the John Paulding Historical Society and a guest columnist for the Paulding County Progress.

The opinions stated are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.