OBSERVING 175th ANNIVERSARY 1841 – 2016
THE STORY OF SOLOMON – HISTORICAL STORY #1
In 1803 Ohio became the first state carved from the Northwest Territory. Sandusky County was established in
1820 and reached all the way to Lake Erie. The boundary and townships that we know today were not
established until 1840.
THE GREAT BLACK SWAMP — “SLOUGH OF DESPOND”
The swamp was as much as 25 miles wide and 100 miles long lying between the Maumee and Portage River
areas and stretching from Ottawa Wildlife Preserve westward to Ft. Wayne, IN. This vast wilderness of giant
trees and tangled underbrush of fallen tree trunks rotting in deep black muck, of sluggish muddy creeks and
pools of stagnant water and miasma-laden air rising from the swamp formed an impenetrable barrier to
In 1825 a mud path was cleared through the wilderness from Fremont to Perrysburg — The
Mud Pike. The road officially known as the Maumee & Western Reserve Road became a log road in 1827,
but remained almost impassable even in the winter months when the ground. was frozen. The first recorded
land records for the Woodville area are dated 1826.
Historians state that in 1830 the western portion of Sandusky County was mostly occupied by Indians. The
Wyandot villages were located on higher ground at the edge of the swamp; however, the swamp was their
hunting grounds. A few families from New York State and Vermont “settlers from down East”, arrived
beginning in 1831 and settled by the Portage River (Wood and Price families). In 1831 there were only five
white families in the rural Woodville area.
ARRIVAL OF GERMAN LUTHERAN FAMILIES
In 1834 German Lutheran families from the Osnabruck area in the Kingdom of Hanover emigrated to our
area. Land sold for $1.25 per acre and could be purchased in 40 acre parcels. Familiar surnames such as:
Dunham, Meyerholtz, Hurrelbrink, Gerwin, Hartman, Seabert, Maunder, Meyer, Solman, Stein, Freze,
Nieman, Henricks, Nuhfer. Their journey from their home in Germany to Woodville could have been as
long as 80 days. The new arrivals were very poor, but were skilled in the crafts, making their own shoes and
clothing and ready to make a better life in the new world. They arrived with very little in worldly things but
carried their treasured songbooks and Bibles.
MICHIGAN LAKE ERIE
The first Lutheran pastor laboring in our region was the Rev. Adolf A. Konrad, who penetrated to the
Woodville area on missionary trips. He conducted the first Lutheran divine service in this community in
1831 and returned every four weeks to the small settlement on the banks of the Portage River. He was
succeeded by the Rev. J. J. Beilharz.
OLDEST DOCUMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH – April 16, 1840 To the
Citizens of Sandusky County who feel an interest in raising and Supporting the Gospel in this new and
wilderness country. The German Lutheran Church of Woodville Township have attempted to do something
about a Meeting House. Should they receive a little assistance from their brethren and friends at a distance
they would be able to Build a Comfortable and Snug House of Worship which would be an improvement to
good Society in this new Country. It is well known that there is not a single House of Worship West of Lower
Sandusky (now Fremont, 0.) in this County. The Church themselves feel a great interest in getting a House of
public Worship and they confidentially hope that their friends and neighbors will show their good will by
throwing in their little mite, if it is not more than fifty cents, if not money any materials would not come
amiss. Henry Sibert and David Lithe are appointed by the Church to receive Subscriptions. signed Amos E.
The progress on building a house of worship continued when on September 19, 1840 the German Evangelical
Lutheran Reform Church purchased Lot #31 from Amos E. Wood. Lot #31 is located on the southeast corner
of Railroad and Perry Streets. Railroad Street was renamed College Avenue.
In 1840-41 the Maumee & Western Reserve Road was stoned and began operating as a Toll Road. More
settlers and Lutheran families were coming to the area, and they longed for a regular preacher.
Meanwhile the first ordination of a Lutheran Pastor in the Northwest portion of our country took place on
September 26, 1841 at a rural church in Scio near Ann Arbor when Rev. George Cronenwett entered the
ministry. He and his young wife and family moved to Monroe, and he began his ministry traveling to Toledo
and Perrysburg and Woodville as a home missionary. All of these fledgling communities wanted Rev.
Cronenwett to be their full time pastor.
“How shall I know where the Lord wants me?” he pondered. His mentor replied: Tle Lord will give you a
sign. He will make it so unmistakably clear in some manner that you will have no doubt about it!” The sign
came in the unexpected arrival of two teams with a large and a small spring wagon to bring him, his family
and his belongings to the Black Swamp. They interrupted the young wife at the washtub and would take no
refusal. On the next morning, the pastor and his family with the wash wrung out, wet in the tub, and his
belongings, were on their way to his field of labor in Woodville.
Pastor Cronenwett’s introductory sermon was preached on the third Sunday in Advent in December of 1841.
His text was II Cor: 4:8 words of St. Paul. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.” We observe this
date in Advent 1841 as the formation date for Solomon Lutheran Church.
Church records show that the completed frame church was dedicated on March 8, 1843. This building stood
on Lot #31 which later became the site of Solomon Parochial School.
ORAL HISTORY In 1839 the Lutherans built a small log/frame church that was later used as a school
house. This building may have been a humble structure built on a lot owned by Amos Wood which explains
his interest in helping solicit funds for a proper structure. There is some evidence to support this oral history
remembrance as there is a document dated June 13, 1867 stating “agreement to rent old log schoolhouse for
50 cents to Widow Frymeyer.” Also, an 1860 map of Woodville shows a small structure on Lot #32.
“The Story of Solomon” articles have been put together by Mary Lou Busdiecker in honor of Solomon Lutheran Church’s 175th Anniversary. We thank her for her diligence in research for, and organization of, this special time in Solomon’s life!