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The Hicksville Centenniel

A Compiling.
Copied by Harriet (ZIMMER) ODOM
The same information is in the HISTORY OF DEFIANCE COUNTY, Ohio from the library of Defiance, Ohio.
Harriet included the journey of A.P. Edgerton to show what sort of transportation was available at the time. Brackets [ ] inserted by Harriet ODOM.


The Hicks Land Company and the American Land Co. decided on a Alfred Pelig Edgerton to commence operations in Hicksville. He began his journey from New York City, to Washington D. C., and then to Baltimore. By rail he journeyed to Frederic , West Virginia and by stage to Wheeling, and Columbus, Ohio. When the stage reached Sandusky he proceeded by steamer to Toledo. He tried to reach Defiance by wagon traveling the route of the Maumee River. He got about as far as the present day Independence Dam when it became apprent that his two feet would be his only successful mode of travel.

He arrived at Defiance and rested for two days, staying with Calvin L. Noble, a fur buyer, and missionary. By foot Edgerton got to the Andrew Clemmer farm at the mouth of the Marie DeLarme creek, which is between Hicksville and Antwerp. He was exhausted from his hike and asked Mr. Clemmer if he could borrow his horse to ride to Hicksville. He was refused. Edgerton walked a bit further, and came to the George Platter cabin. He again asked for the use of the man's horse. Platter agreed if his son could ride along to insure the return of the horse.

April 17, 1837 A.P. Edgerton, with the Platter boy entered Hicksville. He found a cabin located in the middle of where High and Main St. cross now. Here boarders were kept by Ransom Osborn and family. Edgerton speaks of Mrs. Osborn as "the neatest of all housekeepers and the best of all cooks.

He proceeded east onto High St. located where the American building now stands [lot 143; the original plat of Hicksville is in the booklet]. Edgerton dismounted and consumed his first meal at the Buenos Ayres cabin. There was a store in a shanty on lot 216, a sawmill on lot 18 and a loggers blacksmith shop on lot 17. He found some Pottawattomi Indians encamped under a huge beech tree. They were cooking and eating porcupine.

Buenos and Sarah Ann Osborn Ayres were the parents of the first child born in Hicksville in 1837. The first death was Samuel Arnold, a child who died in 1836. He was buried in the graveyard that was located where our present day grain elevator is situated. [I looked for and did not find a marker for Sarah Hurd Osborn in the cemetary in 1992. Perhaps she was buried in the above mentioned graveyard. It was near the Osborn home]. The first couple to wed in the village was Allen Parker and Esther Osborn--on Nov. 14, 1839.

Mr. Edgerton's first action for the company he represented was the sale of 100 Acres of land to Buenos Ayres. Ransom Osborn made the last purchase of land in 1837. These areas sold at the cost of $5.00 per acre. Part of the cash was paid immediately, the other half was credited.

In late 1837 a harsh economic situation developed. From the Osborn purchase in late 1837 until 1839 there were only six land sales made. An acre of land of the Hicksville area plummeted to $1.00 an acre.

In 1838-39 the company built some grist mills. [Since millwright was the occupation of Buenos Ayres, he probably helped build them.] In 1838 Hicksville was included in the mail route on a two week basis. A contract was made Sept. 29, 1838 with David Landis to carry the mail. Maria Landis and Ransom Osborn were the witnesses to the contract.

The first recorded sermon in Hicksville was in the winter of 1837. It was delivered by Rev. Joseph Miller at the Ransom Osborn cabin. Ransom Osborn was the 2nd Justice of the Peace. The first school was started by Ransom Osborn in 1836. He was residing there before the town got its name.

[Then follows the account that many of his decendents have heard. Florence (Ayres) Zimmer said that the story of Ransom Osborn's legs freezing was in a primer - perhaps one he used in his school - HO].

Mr. Ransom Osborn Blain remembers his mother, Martha Caroline Osborn Blain, telling the story of her father freezing. "Mr. Brant had got up early , 5:00 o'clock, or before and as his dog kept barking, he went out to se what was disturbing him. And the dog kept going out towards Mr. Osborn and Mr. Brant kept following him until he found Mr. Osborn."

As soon as he had his family settled, he started for Fort Wayne with a load of wheat and corn, and two yokes of oxen, the former to be converted into flour for the use of the family. The road to Fort Wayne was nothing but a path through a dense forest. He safely got to Ft. Wayne, but on his return came into foul weather. [Edith Mary Ayres Holst says he started for home about 3:00 P.M.] It was 25 miles from Ft. Wayne to Hicksville. After traveling some miles, it commenced to rain and snow, and the weather, which had been mild, turned bitter cold. The path lay through a level country. The heavy fall of rain had covered the lower portion of the trail with water, which commenced to freeze. The oxen soon became weary, as at every step, the ice would break, cutting their legs. But he urged them on with all the skill of an experienced driver. The cold increased and he began to be alarmed for his safety. As the night was rapidly approaching, he tried to kindle a fire; but everything being covered with sleet, it was impossible [at that time matches were not in use and he had to depend on a flint and steel. And as his hands were numb, he could not strike the flint so as to make a good spark--R.O. Blain]. He moved along slowly. As darkness deepened, he had to feel his way and guide his team. The weather grew colder--ice formed on his clothing and his body became chilled and benumbed. For a long time he urged his team forward. But at length, they halted and refused to go. He then unyoked them and let them loose in the forest, hoping to reach some habitation where he could obtain shelter and relief. His feet became so wet and frozen that he could not walk without support of the limbs of trees, with which he swung himself from tree to tree. Often he stopped to rest against some Oak or Beech, while he called loudly for help. But no help came until he had remained in the woods all night. When a Mr. Brant, at whose house he had stayed on his way to Ft. Wayne, thinking he was probably lost in the woods, started out to look for him. As Mr. Osborn cried again and again for help, he heard no sound. He gave up in despair, but then heard a shout and barking of a dog. Mr. Brant discovered him almost dead and carried him to his cabin where everything was done to alleviate his suffering that could be done. All this time his wife and the children were awaiting his return. The cold wind whistled among the trees. After waiting until after midnight, they bolted the door and retired, but could not sleep.

As quickly as possible, word was sent to Mrs. Osborn of her husband's misfortune; she went to him and stayed a week. Then he was taken to his home in Hicksville, OH. Medical assistance was called from Defiance. Dr. Colby and Dr. Kirby examined the case, and found nothing but amputation of the limbs would save his life. The same evening of their arrival, with the use of a saw, they amputated them just six inches below the knee. This fearful ordeal was passed through by Mr. Osborn without a murmur. No anesthetic existed. But he was crippled for the rest of his life. He had a pair of cushions, or sort of knee shoes constructed, and as he recovered, with the help of a cane he was able to walk about.

Ransom Osborn taught the first school in Hicksville. It consisted of five scholars--Joseph Brunnell, Sarah Brunnell, Alexander Yarley, and his two daughters, Mary and Caroline Osborn. In the spring of 1837, he moved into the double cabin formerly occupied by Mr. Comstock, where Mrs. Osborn kept the workmen that cleared away the dense forests, and also the men that built the first grist mill. He also had a farm on the Edgerton road.

Mrs. Sarah Hurd Osborn died March 8, 1843 of cancer [R.O.Blain], aged 48 years. [Birthdates I have for her are 1792 and 1795. In either case she would have been about 50 years old.] In the 1850 census Mr. Osborn was living with the Blains [Caroline Osborn] in Hicksville, OH. He was listed as a whip maker.

In 1857 the Blains moved to Kansas and Mr. Ransom Osborn went to Geneseo, IL, to live with his oldest daughter, Mrs. Buenos Ayres. Oct. 14, 1872 he ate his dinner as usual, and in the afternoon died sitting in his chair. About 3 years before his death, he regained his second sight, which was a great pleasure to him, as he was a great reader. Mr. Osborn was 82 years and 6 months and 10 days old at the time of his death. He is buried at Geneseo, IL.


Micro copy No432 Roll No.674-shows that Ransom lived with the Blain family [with his daughter Martha Caroline]. He was a whipmaker and was 60 years old. Her second son was named for him.

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