One of the earliest merchants in Sandusky was one Andrew Brown, who had come from Ireland. He came to Sandusky as early as 1820 and opened a general store. Sandusky at this time was called by a variety of names such as Portland, or Portland on Sandusky Bay, and was also often referred to as Sandusky.
In the year 1820 Mr. Brown was indicted by a Huron County Grand Jury (Erie County didn't then exist) for retailing merchandise "not the growth or manufacture of the United States." He had sold two different quantities of imported tea without first obtaining a special license from the Clerk of Courts. Upon being arraigned, Andrew Brown pled guilty and was fined $2.00 and costs.
An early account of Sandusky history says that Brown was a dealer in Irish linen, but we do know he also sold tea illegally now and then. In April of 1822 the following ad appeared in the Sandusky Clarion newspaper, the forerunner of the present Sandusky Register: "The person, who was so much dissatisfied with the division of the money stolen from the subscriber's store, on the 20th of October last, is respectfully informed that if he will call at the store, the balance so wrongfully kept from him will be made up." This was duly signed A. Brown at Portland, April 23, 1823.
It must have been rumored around the town that the thieves were quarreling over dividing their loot, and Andrew was spending money on the ad to let "them know that he knew." I find no Court record of anyone ever being arrested and tried for this crime, so I presume the allegedly aggrieved party never contacted Mr. Brown for his fair share.