The Great Black Swamp
Defiance County is a part of roughly 2000 square miles originally known as the “Black Swamp”. The dense growth of trees and vegetation in the Black Swamp has provided excellent soil for farming throughout the region. The Indians called the area Grand AuGlaize prior to Fort Defiance being constructed.
Ottawa Indian Chief Pontiac was said to have been born in the area that is now named Pontiac Park.
Largest single Indian Council of the time took place at the confluence. Representatives of all of the tribes of the Northwest met with British Agents to discuss their course of action against encroachment of Indian lands.
Anthony Wayne starts construction of Fort Defiance at the confluence of the Maumee and AuGlaize rivers. Fort Defiance served as one of America’s western-most outposts in the Ohio country. The Fort was evacuated after the signing of the Treaty of Greenville.
Johnny Appleseed (Chapman) had a nursery on the north bank of the Maumee river. Defiance was his principal head quarters during this time.
William Henry Harrison ordered a fort built as a forward observation post and supply depot for the American Army. This Fort was named Fort Winchester and stood on banks of the west side of the AuGlaize river. The Fort was abandoned in 1815. Shortly after, settlers inhabited the old Fort. The Plat of Streets for Defiance still follows the boundaries of Ft. Winchester.
Indian Scout Johnny Logan died and was carried 6 miles by Army Officers to Defiance where he was buried with full military Honors. Indian Scout Logan is the only Indian to receive that recognition in Ohio.
Reverend Elias Partee was sent by the Ohio M.E. Conference to the Fort Defiance Mission. Under his Direction, the first log church was built.
The Village of Defiance was incorporated and the first Mayor, John Lewis, was elected.
1842 - 1845
Wabash and Erie Canal completed from Toledo to Defiance. This was a start in connecting the waters of Lake Erie with those of Ohio. The Miami Canal was completed. The completion of the Miami Canal created a great commercial thoroughfare for the city and did much for its early development.
William Holgate drafted a bill to make Defiance a separate County from Williams and rode to Columbus to deliver the bill. On March 13, 1845, the community celebrated becoming a county at the “Old Fort Grounds”
Modern day Defiance college began as the Defiance Female Seminary in 1850. The United Church of Christ created this institution to provide schooling for young women. In 1903, it formally became Defiance College.
The High School building was built on its beautiful site at the head of Clinton Street.
Defiance County Courthouse was erected.
The Defiance Public Library was built with funds from an Andrew Carnegie Grant. The building located near the grounds of Fort Defiance is still one of the most impressive buildings in the community.