Early History of Putnam County
Putnam county was formed from old Indian territory 1 Apr 1820. The county is named for General Israel Putnam, a native of Massachusetts and a prominent early military man. The county originated in 1834 and was previously attached to Williams, for judicial reasons. In 1830 the population was 230.
Kalida was originally the county seat but was moved when the courthouse burned. Two Indian towns were in Putnam county--upper and lower Towa towns, from which Ottawa, the county seat, takes its name.
An early description of Putnam county is found in a book published in the late 1800's. "The land is level, part of the Black Swamp. Covered with heavy timber, black ash, white elm, cottonwood, and burr oak. The western part is largely settled by German Catholics. Central part settled by Mennonites."
Many early settlers were bothered by what they called the 'ague'. The ague was a disease in the Black Swamp, which plagued them from the middle of August to mid-October (during the rainy season). It is thought that this ailment was malaria.
Some early court records date back as far as 1834. Individual counties were required to keep birth and death records in 1867, however, some have records as early as 1840. Neighboring counties may contain records of your family, so be sure to check out their queries.
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