Old Fort Industry
By S. S. Knabenshue
[Editorial in Toledo Blade, January 24,
1903. - E. O. R.]
existed: that is, there are men still living who can recall its
remains. But that is all we know about it. In boyhood, they saw
the clay bluff, afterward cut down, which occupied the site of
the block bounded by Summit, Water, Monroe and Jefferson
streets. On its summit, some six or eight doors north of Monroe
street, was an excavation which had apparently been a cellar
under a cabin, and at least one citizen recalls that a few of
the old uprights of the stockade remained in his boyish days.
The date of
its erection, by whom, and for what purpose, have never been
determined. The tablet on the Monroe street side of Fort
Industry block recites the popular legend; but no historic proof
of the statements as ever been found. One of the most persistent
searchers for the truth of history in the Maumee Valley is Dr.
Charles E. Slocum, of Defiance. Elsewhere in this issue of The
Blade, we give a communication from him which recites all the
proved historic facts regarding Fort Industry. It is a valuable
contribution to local history, which we are glad to present to
the people of this city and of Northwestern Ohio.
conclusion of Dr. Slocum as to the date of and motive for its
erection is hypothetical, of course : but it is the only
hypothesis yet advanced which fits in with the negative evidence
against the popular tradition and the assertions of historical
compilers, not investigators, regarding the matter, like Howe
and Knapp. Unless a statement can be proved, it should not be
written up as a fact, and both these historians committed this
error. Legend is not history.
to which Dr. Slocum does not refer, is that no authoritative
picture of Fort Industry exists. Several years ago the writer
endeavored to find out all that he could concerning this point.
The frontispiece of Knapp's History of the Maumee Valley is what
purports to be a view of Fort Industry. It represents a high
clay bluff, rising steeply from the shore of the Maumee, seamed
by rains, and crowned, on its summit, by a stockade, at one
corner of which is a typical log blockhouse, like the old one
still standing on Bois Blanc Island, in the Detroit River, near
bears in one lower corner the name of O. J. Hopkins, better
known, perhaps, as the late Colonel Hopkins, whose death by
accident occurred in Columbus a few months ago. In his earlier
years he was a draughtsman and a wood engraver.
He was asked
as to his authority for the picture. His reply was, in effect,
that he was asked to make it as a frontispiece for the Knapp
book; that he found no picture of it was in existence, nor could
he find any description of it, or anyone who had seen it when it
was intact; hence, he made a picture of it as he supposed it
might be. When asked why he placed a blockhouse in it, he
replied that he supposed that was the regular thing at such
It is not at
all probable there was any blockhouse. The "fort" was a simple
stockade, made of logs planted vertically in the ground, and
with one or more log houses in it to serve the purposes of the
detachment of soldiers who were here temporarily.
Source: Ohio Archaeological and
Historical Publications, Volume XII, 1903.