Its Early Beginning
Hancock County was named for John Hancock, President of the First Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hancock County was previously part of Wood County.
Findlay, the first settlement in the county, owes both its location and name to the War of 1812. Ohio had been a state for nine years. A fort was erected for the defense of the Old Northwest, and was named Fort Findlay. One of the regiments was headed by Colonel James Findlay. Aside from his name there is no evidence that he ever had anything to do with the history of Findlay.
Fort Findlay was built on the west side of the now named Main Street by the river. This site was chosen as the width of the river was narrow enough in that area and could easily be forded. The fort consisted of a stockade ten feet high made of logs placed upright. A block house was erected at each corner. These were two-story structures with the second stories extending over and beyond the line of the stockade, so as to command the approaches in all directions. Each block house was furnished with a small piece of artillery.
Small cabins were erected against the stockade inside the fort to house a token garrison of 15 men and officers. The fort was staffed until 1815. There was no military action of any kind here and fears of Indian attacks never materialized.
When the garrison was removed, a man by the name of Thorpe, who had served as baker and storekeeper, remained for a short time in a cabin on the east side of present Main Street where he carried on his trade. Eventually he moved away. Other than the military, he may be considered in all probability the first white resident, but not the first settler in the county.
Stay tuned for future installments of Pat’s blog, highlighting Findlay and Hancock County’s history!