Flatrock Township

Reprinted from Henry County, Ohio. A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories Compiled by Members and Friends of The Henry County Historical Society, Volume I. Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX, 1976.

Flatrock Township was organized on May 23, 1835. At this time, Flatrock Township included what is now Richland Township in Defiance County.

In 1833, there was no post office nearer than Defiance, but one was established about 1834, called McLean after John McLean, the Postmaster General. This is probably where the story that Florida was first named McLean stems from and it well may be true as the location of this post office was said to have been just east of the present site of Florida. Mail was received about once a month, carried on horseback.

In 1833, the Indians were more numerous than the whites in Flatrock Township, but they were friendly. They had camps near Girty's Island on the south bank of the river and came each year to burn bones at the graves of their deceased friends. It was predicted then that Flatrock Township would grow as its soil was capable of sustaining a population multiplied by ten or twenty. In 1888, Flatrock Township was one of the best "cleared up" townships in the county, containing more of the "old" farms than any other section. The population of Flatrock Township in 1888 was 469 persons. The official census of 1970 lists 1,560 inhabitants in Flatrock Township of whom, 285 live in the Village of Florida.

Flatrock Township farmers are prosperous and still produce generous yields from their fertile farms. General grain farming is foremost but the advent of the large Campbell Soup Co. plant at Napoleon has introduced the cultivation of tomatoes and small vegetables to the area. Dairy farming is declining although there are some top notch herds in the township. Much of the choice acreage in Flatrock Township now sells for well over a $1000.00 per acre and is much in demand. Many new homes are being built on the farms and in 1975 there is a trend to move to the country and many farmers are selling small acreage plots from their wood-lots and former pasture lands to city dwellers who are constructing homes.

In 1831 Wm. Bowen wrested a small clearing on the north bank of the Maumee River and established a double log cabin known as "Hunter's Inn". This clearing was to become the first village in Henry County and was named Florida although it has been written that it was first called McLean. The village
is located in northern Flatrock Township on Scenic Route 424 nine miles west of Napoleon or nine miles east of Defiance. Here the township records were kept and the township business done.
With the completion of the Miami-Erie Canal in 1842, Florida immediately became a thriving metropolis —the center of trading and commerce for the area. It is said that at one time the village supported sixteen saloons. There was a grist mill and slaughter house as well as a hoop mill, an ashery, two hotels, and several other enterprises.

Stanley, located in the very southwestern corner of Flatrock Township, was a railroad town organized when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bought a 100 foot strip of land from the local landowners. Hearsay has it that Stanley was named because in order to board the train, potential passengers were obliged to stand on the platform in order to stop the train as no regular stop was made there.

Today, Stanley remains much the same — a small cluster of homes divided by the railroad tracks with the elevator as its main business establishment.