Harrison Township

Some time after the close of the War of 1812 and the conquest of the Indians in the area, the United States government had a strip of land across northern Ohio surveyed. Within that area was Harrison Township. The government then offered that land for sale at $1.25 an acre to finance the building of a canal which would serve it. The land was not very accessible, and the price a bit high compared to 65 cents charged in some states. Although records are skimpy, it seems that white people did not come to Harrison Township until the late 1830’s or early 1840’s with the intention of staying.

Harrison Township was named in honor of the hero, Tippecanoe. This township was tardy in settlement and slow to improve. There were good reasons for this. The construction of the canal and especially the Wasbash Railroad, on the north of the river, afforded convenient shipments to market. The construction of the dam at Providence had made the river unfordable between that point and the rapids at Florida, Ohio. On the south side there was no railroad, and no roads of any kind, and in order to reach a market of any sort, it became necessary to ferry the river, which in seasons was difficult. Lands being equally cheap on the north, the early settlers naturally secured homes there. It was not, however, until after the construction of the bridge across the Maumee at Napoleon, in 1860 that settlement can be said to have really begun in earnest in Harrison Township.

On the banks of Turkey Foot Creek, south of U.S. 6 on State Route 109, nestles a collection of homes called Shunk.

A park at the mouth of Turkey Foot Creek.

Little is known about the beginning of Shunk. Only legend remains, having been passed down by word of mouth for years. Old timers tell of a man by the name of John Shunk operated a trading post and a U.S. Post Office at this location. Where he came from or where he went is a mystery to this day. The place took its name from him.

In the early 1870’s a man by the name of Stuckey established a saw mill on the banks of the Creek. Many of the old homes in the area still contain lumber sawn in this mill.

Shunk Tile Yard (Fiser), on wagon, Frank Finks, left to right: Tony Preston, Ervin Finks, Elmer Sturdavant, Noah Eisaman, Ben Bechtol, Gus Haines and Thomas Finks.

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.

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