Our story starts with the burning of Norwalk, Conn., on July 11, 1779, during the American Revolution. The British planned to cripple the manufacturing and shipping of supplies to the Continental Army by destroying the small factories and the shipping facilities. The plan backfired in several ways; in addition to the shipping facilities, 80 of the 86 houses in the town were destroyed. This was the extent of damage in just one of nine Connecticut towns.
After the war when claims for damages had been submitted and approved and the Firelands Tract (present-day Huron and Erie counties along with Ruggles in Ashland County and the Marblehead Peninsula in Ottawa County) had been granted for the benefit of the fire sufferers, a committee was formed to manage the business of the Firelands Tract.
One of the board of directors was Taylor Sherman of Norwalk, Conn. Although he’s not listed as a fire sufferer, he had bought a number of claims in Section 3 (the northwest quadrant) of our present-day Sherman Township. It’s no surprise that when the Firelands was surveyed into townships that one of them was named for a director. Three other townships were named for directors, too, all of who also were landowners in those townships.
One of Taylor Sherman’s sons was Daniel, born in 1790. After the claims were allotted out and located, Taylor’s son Daniel came to Ohio in 1812 to locate his father’s property and settle on it. He was accompanied from Connecticut by Burwell Fitch and Samuel Seymour. Life in Sherman Township was very tenuous in 1812 — it being far away fron settlements along Lake Erie and bordered on the west by an Indian reservation.
The danger of the War of 1812 drove the young men to spend the winter at Parker’s Blockhouse west of Milan. Early on, Samuel Seymour was killed by Indians while he and two others were cutting down a bee tree north of Monroeville near Blue Bridge to obtain the honey. Daniel married Abby Guthrie at Parker’s in 1813 and the following year they returned to their wilderness home in Sherman Township. Mrs. Sherman died in 1821, leaving three small children. Her burial was the first in the Township Cemetery on Heyman Road. After Abby’s death, Daniel Sherman remarried to Laura Hubbell. In 1825, he removed his young family to Ridgefield Township and purchased a farm on Ohio 99 not far north of Monroeville. So we lose him to the story of Sherman Township.
When Daniel and Abby had returned to their farm in 1814 they were visited by Taylor Sherman, who came to see his “western lands.” He contracted one of the several fevers which existed in the damp forests of northern Ohio, returned to Connecticut and died in 1815.
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REMEMBER: My “Just Like Old Times” books are on sale at New Directions Design, 20 W. Main St., in downtown Norwalk. These contain my earlier columns fully indexed and in permanent book form.
Henry Timman, an authority on Firelands history, resides in rural Norwalk.