Story by Janet Ferguson
Coming to Allen County
The Post Family Farm of Spencerville was founded in 1825 and current owner of the original farm, Doug Post has the deed framed and on display.
“The Indians were the first to own it and I have the land grant signed by John Quincy Adams framed and hanging on the wall. There are two signatures of John Quincy Adams on the deed, one is the real thing and one is the fancy one probably done by a secretary. It’s from 1825 when the Stewarts came here and then the next generation a Post married Eliza Jane Stewart and then it went to the Post name,” Post explained.
“Being on the edge of the black swamp and coming in 1824/25 is old for this part of Ohio. I don’t think there are any registered farms older than this one there may be some older but they haven’t registered but some down around Cincinnati are from the late 1700’s but at the time the Black Swamp was sort of a destitute area until they drained it.”
The family was one of several that came up from Champaign County and as the story goes, the men came up first and built cabins and prepared a place for their families and then the women and children traveled up and moved in.
“Their first meal in the log cabin was a rabbit,” he said of the cabin that still stands on the property.
“The chinking in the cabin has horse hair in it to try to hold it all together and it’s still the original stuff from 1820. It had a spiral case to get upstairs. It was pretty crude; an open stairway on a curve and it had a mud stove that was built upstairs. It was just a little hole with a chimney at one end and there was a fireplace downstairs at the other end that covered the whole wall.” The large downstairs fireplace now resides in the Allen County Museum to commemorate the history of the area.
Post shared that there are five generations buried up at the cemetery which was donated by his great grandmother.
“My great grandfather went to California for the gold rush. I have the trunk that he used to pack his stuff,” Post explained. “I’ve searched it for gold and found nothing,” he laughed. “He went down around the cape to go to California and when he came back he went through the Isthmus of Panama. I do have a watch of solid gold and has his name in there I don’t think he found a whole lot of gold but they might have gotten some. He was friends with some of the Wyandot Indians from childhood and went out to Oklahoma and went buffalo hunting with them when they were relocated out there.”
From Log Cabin to a House
“My grandfather built this house in 1904 and they lived in the log cabin while he was building this and it pretty much stands as it was built then. He and my grandmother went to California and saw ideas for the house and they had a local builder build it with lumber off the farm.”
He went on to explain, “It had a slate roof originally that lasted until 1990, it was starting to deteriorate after 86 years. There were an enormous amount of barns. There was on right her next to the house and they had other barns they built later. It originally had 5 bedrooms and I did change the front of the porch, but mostly everything is the same.”
“My grandmother wrote articles for the journal news and when they went certain place she wrote all these articles about going there and the trips they took by railroad, like the Grand Canyon. There is a railroad that goes down to the Grand Canyon and they rode mules to the bottom and she wrote about it, they also went to Mexico over by San Diego, and Denver she liked Denver and wrote big articles on Denver. She also went to Portland Oregon where her brother was. I retraced some of her steps that she wrote about but I drove though, I didn’t take the railroad,” he laughed.
In House Surgery
“In 1918 they had an epidemic of influenza and my dad was operated on here in the front room. They cut a hole into his lung and drained it and he had a private nurse and everything for a month or two. It was different back then and he had a big scar where they operated on him. That was really different right there.”
“My dad farmed with horses in 1908 and he said he would get a pair of horses just where he wanted them working together. He would train them and get them all trained to plow and work together and perfect and his dad would sell them because trained horses were worth a lot. My dad used to brag about having 9 spring colts and that is a lot of young horses to have but my grandpa would sell the horses he would train and then he’d have to start all over again with a new set of horses. There was a lot of pasture here for the animals with the Auglaize River back there. When they came here they came for livestock farms and high ground more than for farming. Our family brought in some of the first horses and soybeans into the townships,” he explained. “Soybeans were originally for hay way back then, it was a no nothing crop but hay was big and that’s the reason they had such tall barns to mound hay up in there. We still raise horses now and I raised horses when I was young right now we have 4 here and one with a trainer in South Dakota,” he added.
Friends of the Family
Post knows that there were two Indian campsites on the property and has found evidence of this for years. In fact, Post just recently found a tomahawk stone. “I find Indian heads all the time – that’s a museum piece right there. I’ve found loads of arrow heads,” he said.
The reach of the family has met and visited with people from around the world.
“My dad was too young for World War 1 and too old for World War 2 but during World War 2, the family had exemptions to get sugar and gasoline for the farm. Also, there were a lot of ships that were stopped in the US when the war started and one was from Holland in the Netherlands, and they confiscated the ship used it for troop ships for us. So this captain of one of those ships decided to travel the country and he stopped here and he stayed with my dad and mom for a long time. He asked our family to send a care package to his family in Holland because they couldn’t get anything to eat and they were starving. They sent packages over to help them out and after the war they wrote real nice letters back. It’s kinda surprising that they got all that stuff and it wasn’t confiscated,” he stated.
“We went out west in 1990 and I was in San Francisco as a representative for the Union. I met this couple from New Zealand traveling the world on their motorcycles so we gave them our address and stuff and told them they were welcome if they were ever in the area and they almost beat us home! So after that we got letters from Israel, Lebanon and South Africa and all over the world from these guys. That was a neat experience I had, meeting them,” Post remembered.