History of Trustees of Chesterfield Township
Written by Walter P. Bates, 2002
The area that today is Fulton County, Ohio, was first opened for settlement by white people in 1832. Chesterfield Clemons came with his family in October 1834 and settled on Section 14, which is a mile north of present day Oak Shade. This was the first white settler in Chesterfield Township. It was then a territory in southern Michigan. Clemons and his family lived in a covered wagon in the forest until a house could be built.
About a year later the Indians told Clemons of a white family that was living about a mile north and about a mile east. His name was Alanson Briggs.
There were no roads at that time, only Indian trails. During the years that followed, many settlers moved into the area. Among them were James M. Bates and George W. Bates, who came in 1842 and served as trustees for five years.
There was eventually a post office established in the township at a location called Oak Shade, at the corner of U.S. 20 and County Road 16-3. The mail was supplied three times a week by a route running from Morenci to Wauseon. At a later time, Oak Shade was moved a mile east. The post office and telephone office were in the Johnston house.
The first election in the township was held at the Briggs store (on State Route 120, in Section 12) on July 19, 1837. At this meeting, the township was organized. All 12 voters present agreed that the township should be called Chesterfield in honor of Chesterfield Clemons. All official papers had to be signed before a Justice of the Peace. The closest one was in Sylvania. There was no one qualified to administer an oath. Mr. Briggs went to Sylvania and was sworn in. Upon his return, he could swear in all the other officers.
There was no mention of what officers were elected that day, but it is presumed that the trustees were among them.
Some of the minutes of the trustees’ meetings mention that they met in homes. Other minutes do not mention the location of the meeting. Their meetings were not on a regular basis. Sometimes they were a month or two apart, and sometimes six or eight months apart.
The minutes from April 7, 1873, state that the trustees met in their meeting house. It was no doubt the brick building on the corner where the former Chesterfield School stands.
In April 1915, the Chesterfield voters voted to build a centralized school. In May 1915, a contract was entered into between the Board of Trustees and the Board of Education. The brick township hall and one half acre in the northwest corner of Section 28 was turned over to the Board of Education by the Board of Trustees. The one half acre on which the township hall is located, was transferred to the Board of Education from George W. and Helen Lee for $1. In return, the township trustees were to reserve the privilege of using the school building on the above described land for all business purposes, for all board meetings, and for holding the general and special elections. The trustees at the time were M.C. Jones, Mort Taylor and L.L. Smith.
Three and a half additional acres was purchased by the school board from George W. and Helen Lee for $500. The land was adjacent on two sides to the land acquired from the trustees. Upon this site the Chesterfield Centralized School was built. It was open for school in the fall of 1916. The cost of the school was $30,000.
The corner where Oak Shade stands today was called Jewell’s Corner, named after a family whose surname was Jewell. They lived in the house at the end of Township Road 16-1.
The Toledo Ironton Railroad was built in 1901. The railroad also had a freight stop there. The post office and telephone office were moved to this corner and then its name became Oak Shade.
The one-room schoolhouse was also moved and a second room was added to accommodate all of the boys and girls of the school district. The schoolhouse is now the home of Harold Rising. A general store was built there and also a barber shop. At a later date, a Methodist Church was built on the corner. H. Partridge owned a cheese factory.
In time the east and west running road, now called U.S. 20, was graveled and so was the road from Oak Shade to Wauseon. All other roads were dirt.
When the writer of this history was a boy in the 1911 to 1930 era, the township owned two road scrapers to be pulled by a team of horses. They also owed a scraper on four wheels. The blade was adjusted up and down by a hand wheel and the angle of the blade changed by another hand wheel.
The smaller scrapers were used most of the time. After the ground settled in the spring, some farmers would hitch a team to the small scraper and scrape the roads in their area. In the trustees’ minutes of the time, it is recorded that several farmers turned in a bill of $1.50 and $1.75 for scraping roads.
The trustee minutes of Aug. 2, 1909, record that two adjustable road drags were purchased at $25 each.
The following items were taken from the trustee minutes:
Feb. 25, 1856: The trustees ordered a survey of a ditch (Bean Creek) thru Sections 29, 30 and 31 of Chesterfield Township. The survey was requested by John I. Schwall Co. Surveyor. This survey included all of the ditches in the township.
Aug. 20, 1897: the Tecumseh Gravel Co. will furnish gravel for one mile of road, F.O.D. cars at Oak Shade @ 30¢ per yard in car load lots. (This is interesting as Oak Shade at this date was located where the Chesterfield School building now stands. The railroad, a mile east, was not built until four years later.)
In 1898 the plank road (State Route 120) would be graveled providing the railroad would have it free and the citizens would place and grade the gravel.
Sept. 1, 1902: Bills—Road, $952; gravel, $2,087.77; and bridge, $169.25.
Nov. 20, 1944: Voted to purchase tractor and mower combined, as State required the roadsides to be mowed.
Dec. 4, 1944: Voted to purchase additional one half acre to the east and south of the one half acre with the grange, from the heirs of George W. Lee and Helen Lee for $200.
Dec. 21, 1944: Purchased a Gallion grade for $4,746.
May 3, 1948: Purchased a truck with a four-yard dump body, about $3,500.