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Historical Markers in Putnam County


Historical Marker at Cascade Park along the Auglaize River north of Kalida, OH
Home in the Wilderness 1821-1870.

Built in 1821 downstream a quarter mile on the Auglaize west bank by Sebastian Stroufe, War of 1812 veteran, and wife, Mary, this house was postal stop Sugar Grove on the Ft. Recovery-Ft. Defiance route and in 1828, Perry Township organization meeting site. On January 14, 1829 Sebastian was appointed the first postmaster in Putnam County. Seven years after Sebastian's death in 1830, Mary wed Judge John Perkins Brunersburg Mill owner, and leased her Auglaize River home. Pearson B. Holden, Christian Union Church pastor, and wife, Priscilla (Ridenour) were operating this double log home as a tavern housing up to thirty travelers a night in 1848, when Henry Howe sketched the Home-in-the-Wilderness for his Historical Collections of Ohio.


HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF OHIO    by Henry Howe.  p. 465

"The view, 'A Home in the Wilderness' represents a log tavern in the western part of the county, on the road to Charloe.  It was built about thirty years since by two men, assisted by a female. It has long been a favorite stopping-place for travellers, as many as twenty or thirty having, with their horses, frequently tarried here over night, when journeying through the wilderness. The situation is charming. It is on the banks of the Auglaize, which flows in a ravine some fifteen or twenty feet below. All around stand massive trees, with foliage luxuriantly developed by the virgin fertility of the soil, while numerous branches lave in the passing waters. We came suddenly upon the place on a pleasant day in June, 1846, and were so much pleased with its primitive simplicity and loveliness as to stop and make a more familiar acquaintance. We alighted from our fatihful 'Pomp' turned him loose among the fresh grass, drew our portfolio from our saddle-bags, and while he was rolling amid the clover in full liberty, and the ladies of the house were seated sewing in the open space between the parts of the cabin, fanned by a gentle breeze--we took a sketch as a memorial of a scene we shall never forget, and to present to our readers a view of "A Home in the Wilderness."



TRAVELLING NOTES

"The foregoing comprises about all my old account of Putnam county.   Indeed, the entire county then was largely forest and water.  The most interesting point is my picture of the 'Home in the Wilderness.'  That picture proved to be one of the most attractive things in my old book.   It seemed to touch a chord in the hearts of multitudes who had begun life in the midst of such scenes.  It is noteworthy that now, after the lapse of forty-three years, I should receive a letter from a stranger, a then boy, who sat by my side when I drew that picture, which tells me all the circumstances, but which I had long since forgotten."


His letter is from Dawn, Darke county, Ohio, dated April 2, 1889, and signed S.S. Holden. It gives some interesting things about the old home, long since vanished. It was prompted partly by learning that the painter of an oil painting of it had put in the claim that his painting was an original design of his own.


We quote:
"I am by profession a minister of the Gospel, of the United Brethren Church (in Christ). I will be qualified that the picture on your letter-head is a picture of the man who drew the sketch of our home about the year 1846. I am a son of P.B. Holden, whose name appears on the sign as you drew it. I was then 14 years old, and recollect it about as vividly as if it had occurred but yesterday--your riding into the yard on horseback; getting off your horse; laying your paper, pencils, etc. about you on the old sled or mud boat, which lay in the yard at that time, and is shown in the picture, and watching you draw the scene. Such an occurrence was too rare not to make an impression on a boy like me. A man named Sebastian Srouge built the house. He died and was buried near there. Two of his sons were named George and Albert--the latter was a school teacher. His widow married Judge Perkins, and they moved to Williams county. While you were making the sketch, my mother and a lady school teacher sat in the open space between the two rooms, sewing. Before you had completed it my brother and a Mr. Whiting came through the yard where we were sitting, having been to a deer lick; One of them carried his gun at trail arms and the other carried his gun on his shoulder, and with them was our dog Tyler.  It was well the dog was along. His name marks the era of the event and helps to confirm the truth of Mr. Holden's statement. The hard-cider campaign had only passed a few years before, when the old Whigs had sung "For Tippecanoe and Tyler too." Hence it was natural for them to thus name their dogs "Tip" for Tippecanoe and "Tyler" for Tyler too. Humor comes from incongruous associations so Mark Twain named his jumping frog Daniel Webster--both were heavy-weights: one from brains and brawn, the other from shot. The "Home" was on the main route from Kalida to Charloe, about five miles northwest of the former. The Samuel Holden, who lived there as stated, was an United Brethren clergyman. So the home seemed to have done service as both parsonage and tavern. Later, as I have been told, the Rev. Branson Good made it his home, and the building stood until about thirty years since. Since receiving the letter from his son, I find in the Pioneer Reminiscences of the county a statement by Mr. George Skinner which leads me to believe that this was the first house built in Putnam County. He says: "The first building that could be designated a house was erected by two men and a woman in section 21, Perry township, by Sebastian Sroufe." He then states it was on the Auglaize, and that he was buried close by.
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Historical Marker at Cascade Park
along the Auglaize River north of Kalida, OH
,
Home in the Wilderness 1821-1870

Built in 1821 downstream a quarter mile on the Auglaize west bank by Sebastian Stroufe, War of 1812 veteran, and wife, Mary, this house was postal stop Sugar Grove on the Ft. Recovery-Ft. Defiance route and in 1828, Perry Township organization meeting site. On January 14, 1829 Sebastian was appointed the first postmaster in Putnam County. Seven years after Sebastian's death in 1830, Mary wed Judge John Perkins Brunersburg Mill owner, and leased her Auglaize River home. Pearson B. Holden, Christian Union Church pastor, and wife, Priscilla (Ridenour) were operating this double log home as a tavern housing up to thirty travelers a night in 1848, when Henry Howe sketched the Home-in-the-Wilderness for his Historical Collections of Ohio.
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This page information donated by:
Jane Hunter Hodgson
Tucson, Arizona





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