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Sherman Township one of the first to be settled

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Sherman Township in western Huron County was one of the first townships settled in the interior of the county away from Lake Erie and the larger rivers. Daniel Sherman, Burwell Fitch and Samuel Seymour came there in the spring of 1812 and began to clear up farms. Daniel Sherman was a son of Taylor Sherman, who owned a large tract of land in the township and who was a member of the Fire-Lands Company in Connecticut.

For many years after 1840, Sherman was considered a stronghold of German immigrants who established a strong settlement there around the Bismark community. The center of their focus for many years was St. Sebastian Catholic Church, and most of those hardy pioneers rest in the parish cemetery there.

Before the German influx, several "Yankee" families purchased farms in Sherman. One of these Yankees was Alpheus Manley, who was born in Vermont and came to Sherman in 1836 from New York State. He and his wife, Mariett Bartley, settled on a farm about a mile west of Bismark on Bismark Road.

It was the custom at that point to provide whiskey for the neighbors who helped you raise your log house. Mr. Manley was a temperance man, however, and his neighbors went home in disgust, leaving the house only partly completed. Other help had to be found to finish the work.

The Manleys were Congregationalists and did not find the environment in Sherman Township the best. After 17 years there they moved to the village at Peru Hollow "when church and social privileges were more congenial." After only 12 years living at Peru, the Manleys moved again to Oberlin. He died there in 1894 and she followed in 1897.

There were three children in the Manley family two daughters and one son, Lloyd Manley. When the Civil War broke out Lloyd was one of five Peru-area boys who enlisted in Company E of the 64th Regiment of Ohio Infantry. He died at the residence of a doctor in Stanford, Ky., on Feb. 9, 1862. His remains were returned to Peru and are buried in the Brightman Cemetery there.

It was written in later years that the parents were loathe to have Lloyd enlist and leave home, but they were like many other parents who had other hopes for a son. Lloyd resolved to be brave when he returned home for a three-day leave before starting south. He did a good job until the farewells when his young niece spoke her good-bye to him.

At that point his resolve to be firm and unemotional failed him and he displayed the same feelings that any of us might under the same circumstances. He hurried out of the house and back to camp, only to be returned from Kentucky two months later.

Remember My Just Like Old Times books are on sale at Colonial Flower & Gift Shoppe at 7 W. Main St. in uptown Norwalk. These preserve my earlier columns in a permanent, well-indexed format.

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