In the heart of Western Ohio’s rich farming belt, near the head waters of the Sandusky River, lies the friendly, beautiful and industrious community of Upper Sandusky. The town was laid out in 1843 and incorporated shortly thereafter, but its beginning as revealed by its many historical landmarks, dates back to the early 1780’s.
It was originally the home of the Wyandotte Indians from whom it received its name, “Sa-un-dus-tee” meaning “Water Within Pools” and “Upper” denotes its location on the Sandusky River.
When Colonel William Crawford, a boyhood friend of George Washington, set out with orders to push the Indians out of their settlement at the present site of Upper Sandusky, this very community was the seat of government for the Wyandotte Indian Nation and their Council House was located on the hill adjoining the present Harrison-Smith Park location.
Battle Island Monument just north of town marks the spot where Crawford and his small band of volunteers fought a losing battle with the combined Indian and British forces in 1782.
It was at Upper Sandusky where the first Christian Mission for the Indians was established in 1816 by John Stewart, the father of Methodist Episcopal Missions. The Wyandotte Mission Church was built in 1824 by Rev. Finley and was restored in 1889 and is now situated in the Old Mission Cemetery grounds where many of the Indian graves are found. Also in this cemetery is the famous headstone publicized by Ripley and bearing the date of “February 31st, 1869”.
The Old Indian Mill and Dam situated on the Sandusky River north and east of Upper Sandusky was built by the government in 1820 for the Wyandotte Indians. It was operated by water power and the old stone burrs and bolt chests are still in excellent state of preservation. The mill is restored and preserved as a state historical park.
The old Indian Spring, which is now located on the property of the Elks Club, was used by Colonel Crawford and his weary troops before their disastrous defeat. General Harrison and his army quartered at Fort Ferree, just north of the Spring, also used it as a source of drinking water. Charles Dickens visited Upper Sandusky in 1842 and recorded his experience in drinking waters of this Spring.
Another monument near Upper Sandusky honors Chiefe Tarhe, who was the first Indian Chief to sign the Treaty of Greenville establishing the Indian territorial boundries and which was the first major step toward peace between the white man and the Indian.
The Wyandottes were the last organized band of Indians to leave Ohio. They broke up their homes here in Upper Sandusky and moved to a reservation in Kansas in 1842. The following year the Village of Upper Sandusky was laid out into lots and in 1845, the first house was built. Wyandot county was named in honor of its former inhabitants, the Wyandotte Indians, and Upper Sandusky was made the County Seat.
The first county building, a jail, was constructed in 1846. The first Courthouse was of wooden construction and was later replaced by a brick building which in turn gave way to the magnificent structure which we now have, and which was dedicated in 1900.
The Wyandot Museum, located at 120 S. 7th Street is conceded to have the largest and most varied Indian and Pioneer collection of any independant museum in the State, preserves much of the early tradition and history of this community and is a “must” on the sight-seeing schedule of every visitor passing through this Village.
Information Courtesy of Upper Sandusky Chamber of Commerce