In the mid-1830s, the state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan fought over a 468-square-mile strip of land containing Toledo. Their border dispute became known as the Toledo War.
During that period, tensions between the two regions ran high. At one point, for instance, the sheriff of Michigan’s Monroe County took to arresting “anyone in the Ohio strip who was promoting Toledo going to Ohio.”
His arrests included “one of Toledo’s founding fathers,” Benjamin Franklin Stickney. Originally from New England — and named after his mother’s uncle, the actual Benjamin Franklin — Stickney had moved his family westward in 1812 after being appointed as an Indian Agent at Fort Wayne.
By the time he arrived in Fort Wayne, Mr. Stickney already had fostered a reputation as an odd personality and independent thinker. The eccentric rap came largely from Mr. Stickney’s decision to name his sons One and Two.
His apparent reasoning, according to legend, was that the boys could name themselves when they grew older, but they never did. Mr. Stickney had wanted to name his three daughters after states, but his wife forbid it for the first two. He won out after the birth of his last child, born at Fort Wayne in 1817. He called her Indiana.
(One Stickney was born in 1803. Two Stickney was born in 1810. Between them were two daughters named Louisa and Mary. The fifth baby was indeed named after the state of Indiana, but her name was spelled “Indianna.”)
Stickney’s arrest angered his son Two, who ended up stabbing the Monroe County sheriff in the side with a pen knife in July of 1835. This non-fatal injury was the only casualty in the nearly-bloodless Toledo War.
The conflict finally ended in mid-1836, when the U.S. Congress proposed a compromise. Ohio would be given the disputed strip of land (and the city of Toledo), while Michigan would be given statehood and the remainder of the Upper Peninsula.
- Eby, David L. “Monroe history: The Stickneys and the Toledo war.” Monroe News 2 Nov. 2020.
- Tanber, George J. “Benjamin Franklin Stickney: His remarkable life and times.” Toledo Blade 23 Dec. 2000.
- Toledo War – Wikipedia
- Find a Grave: One Stickney, Two Stickney