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The Toledo War
December 19, 2005 10:17 AM   Subscribe

"Never in the course of my life have I known a controversy of which all the right so clearly on one side and all the power so overwhelmingly on the other." So said former President and current Massachusetts Representative John Quincy Adams regarding a territorial conflict between Michigan and Ohio that would eventually grow into the Toledo War of 1835. [more inside]
posted by goatdog (44 comments total)

 
It started with two conflicting surveys of the area at the southern end of Michigan territory, the first one giving the Toledo area to Ohio and the second (and more accurate) one giving it to Michigan. When Michigan filed for statehood, they claimed the Toledo strip, and Ohioans in Congress blocked their bid. The "boy governor" Stevens T. Mason gathered up Michigan's militia and went on the march, kidnapping nine Ohio officials and holding them hostage until President Andrew Jackson stepped in and ended the conflict, giving Toledo to Ohio. There were no deaths on either side, although one Michigan deputy was stabbed in a tavern (search for "Two Stickney"). As a consolation prize, Michigan got the copper-rich upper peninsula when it became a state in 1837. The issue wasn't fully resolved until 1972. (Wikipedia, tripod-hosted page with an Ohio-centric take on the conflict)
posted by goatdog at 10:17 AM on December 19, 2005


By Tom Jones / special to The Detroit News

The late Tom Jones, former director of the Historical Society of Michigan

Whoah.

Seriously, though, as long as they keep Columbus south of the border, I, as something of an adopted Michigander, will be happy.

Cool post, goatdog. If you're quite interested in 19th century Michigan history, I wrote a rockin' undergrad thesis about cholera in Detroit in the 1830s.
posted by PhatLobley at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2005


"I contend that the solution was political," he said. "Had the matter gone to the Supreme Court, it probably would have been resolved in Michigan's favor. But President (Andrew) Jackson didn't want that. The year 1836 was an election year. He was courting Ohio's electoral votes, and he worked out a political compromise."

The more things change, etc.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:24 AM on December 19, 2005


Michigan may have lost the battle, but won the war. Ohio can keep Toledo.
posted by caddis at 10:33 AM on December 19, 2005


They should have just given it to Indiana and been rid of the matter.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2005


former President and current Massachusetts Representative John Quincy Adams

Adams ran for Congress after he'd already served as POTUS? He actually did. Crazy.
posted by psmealey at 10:42 AM on December 19, 2005


Heh. I've always loved this, and I say it as "Michigan and Ohio fought a war. Over Toledo. Ohio lost."

It's also unfortunate for Indiana. They got stuck with South Bend. ;-)
posted by dhartung at 10:49 AM on December 19, 2005


If I remember correctly, this is how the territory that would become Wisconsin lost the U.P. to Michigan.
posted by drezdn at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2005


They should have just given it to Indiana and been rid of the matter.

Couldn't we have pawned it off on Canada somehow? I mean it's so close.

On a (sort of) related note, there's an intersection when you're heading east on I-94, I think it's US-23 though it might be 275, where the road splits 3 ways and the choices are "Flint / Detroit / Toledo". If anything was gonna convince you to just give up and turn around...
posted by rkent at 11:01 AM on December 19, 2005


I wrote a rockin' undergrad thesis about cholera in Detroit in the 1830s.

That is officially the cool phrase of the day.
posted by luftmensch at 11:03 AM on December 19, 2005


They got stuck with South Bend.

And what, pray, is wrong with South Bend? Apart from the ethanol stench...
posted by sciurus at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2005


Wow, fascinating stuff—I knew nothing about this. Thanks, goatdog!

Incidentally, that Gov. Lucas was a scary-looking dude.
posted by languagehat at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2005


And what, pray, is wrong with South Bend?

aside from being dull, dingy, depressing and flat, not much ...

it does have the one redeeming feature of not being in ohio
posted by pyramid termite at 11:14 AM on December 19, 2005


the choices are "Flint / Detroit / Toledo". If anything was gonna convince you to just give up and turn around...

and do what? ... head back to jackson?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2005


the choices are "Flint / Detroit / Toledo". If anything was gonna convince you to just give up and turn around...

and do what? ... head back to jackson?


Zing! Don't forget Ann Arbor, though.
posted by rkent at 11:27 AM on December 19, 2005


aside from being dull, dingy, depressing and flat, not much

That describes most of America from mid-Ohio to mid-Colorado. ;) I just wanted to make sure dhartung wasn't knocking my Fighting Irish.
posted by sciurus at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2005


I always wondered why Michigan was split into two bits, but never bothered to research it. Thanks goatdog.
posted by tetsuo at 11:29 AM on December 19, 2005


I always wondered why Michigan was split into two bits, but never bothered to research it.

And yet:
...when the boundary arguement was settled, Michigan didn't get the Upper Peninsula in exchange, it got only the western end of the peninsula -- the eastern end had long been considered part of Michigan...
posted by rkent at 11:36 AM on December 19, 2005


Lift me up and then tear me back down...back to the warm shelter of apathetic curiousity on the subject.
posted by tetsuo at 11:42 AM on December 19, 2005


A few years ago they were going to change the city slogan to ToledOH!, but decided against it because of the Simpsons thing.

But Toledo has a big port and is a good mid-point between several major cities (Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit). There was a lot of mob activity there back in the day for this reason. It was and is a valuable commodity. When it's not being invaded by Nazis and re-electing Carty Finkbeiner. Or bargaining with the Jeep plant not to leave town.
posted by Marnie at 11:43 AM on December 19, 2005


Adams ran for Congress after he'd already served as POTUS? He actually did. Crazy.

That's nothing. Taft served as President, then as Chief Justice. And arguably, Adams's Congressional service as an abolitionist had more lasting value than his presidency.
posted by dhartung at 11:44 AM on December 19, 2005


The best thing about this "war," which isn't mentioned in the post, is that both Ohio and Michigan sent out their militias but they both got lost in the Black Swamp and never ended up meeting each other. I've always thought that would make a good movie -- symbolism about stupidity/futility of war, etc.
posted by GregW at 11:49 AM on December 19, 2005


Incidentally, that Gov. Lucas was a scary-looking dude.

His visage the better to keep the prisoners in check.
posted by hal9k at 12:15 PM on December 19, 2005


Neat article. As a Canadian, I hadn't heard of the battle over Toledo. Allow me to add the only Michigan territorial trivia I know:

During the war of 1812, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh took fort Detroit for the British closing a front in the war which had been invaded the year before. Tecumseh hoped the British would help him develop a Native confederacy (starting with Michigan?). He might have succeeded in that dream too, had the British general Henry Proctor not sold him out. (All this I learned from Canada: A People's History)

So you might have lost Detroit as well.
*sits back and waits for the sarcastic comments*
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:45 PM on December 19, 2005


Ah, the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections (from the "fort Detroit for the British" link). When I worked at the Clarke library, a fellow grad student and I had to read through all 40 volumes (a total of ∼26,000 pages) of that to put together their Native American Material bibliography.
posted by goatdog at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2005


argh.

...

I've considered making this post so many times.

Damn you.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2005


Balrog, it takes a certain amount of gumption to make your vendetta-laden, one-issue posting history so easily accessible. Mefi is not your personal politico-historical blog. ;)

I'm so with you. I lived in Michigan for four years. I came out with a degree and a healthy hatred of all things Ohio except for Cedar Point.
posted by PhatLobley at 1:41 PM on December 19, 2005


And Kings Island. And... um. Yeah. Toledo has a nice art museum. Which should belong to Michigan.
posted by goatdog at 1:51 PM on December 19, 2005


ALL OF IT SHOULD BELONG TO MICHIGAN.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:11 PM on December 19, 2005


ALL OF IT SHOULD BELONG TO MICHIGAN.
posted by Baby_Balrog


No way. Then Michigan would abut Kentucky. Michigan would have championships in a game called "cornhole." They're more useful to us as a perennial spite-repository and southern buffer zone.

Not that we will ever respect or appreciate them for these services. Go Blue!
posted by rkent at 2:30 PM on December 19, 2005


suck it, ohio hataz mitten staters!

The best thing about this "war," which isn't mentioned in the post, is that both Ohio and Michigan sent out their militias but they both got lost in the Black Swamp and never ended up meeting each other. I've always thought that would make a good movie -- symbolism about stupidity/futility of war, etc.

as i iunderstand it, the ohio militia would have gotten a royal beatdown from michigan due to this very fact -- toldedo is mostly north of the black swamp, and the ohio militia had to trudge thru that shit to even attempt to join the battle.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:06 PM on December 19, 2005


people fought over michigan? or as the folks from that neck of the woods like to say " Mich-I-Gaaaan !"
posted by nola at 3:30 PM on December 19, 2005


The one casualty in that war? A lonesome mule. And thus my school's mascot became the Kicking Mules. Ah, high school.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:50 PM on December 19, 2005


So you might have lost Detroit as well.

how much do you want for it?

suck it, mitten staters!

the rats in the basement are getting restless again ... let's give them the back of our hand.

The one casualty in that war? A lonesome mule.

she would have made some ohio farmer a good wife
posted by pyramid termite at 8:47 PM on December 19, 2005


Balrog: Somehow, seeing all those crazy-eyed non sequiturs all lined up like that just made my night. Keep on fighting the good fight.

To everyone else: As a loyal Michigander, I have but one thing to say: "HEY. Youse guys settle down here."

Also: meta. Also also: there are more colons in this post than in, let's see, four normally-endowed humans. Seriously.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 10:37 PM on December 19, 2005


she would have made some ohio farmer a good wife

yeah, and despite her sterility, they still would have found a way to have a young buckeye muleboy that would grow up to kick the shit out of the wolverines fat weasels of the university of michigan football squad.

hey, all this animism is making me feel shinto.

in conclusion,

posted by Hat Maui at 1:12 AM on December 20, 2005


as a long time resident of toledo i can tell you we would have been happy to welcome our Michigan overlords, if only to get us out of the state that reelected gw. toledo is a hole, and i shall soon return there for a lovely holiday. weee.
posted by stilgar at 5:45 AM on December 20, 2005


Toledo-Mecca for those in Michigan under 21 and without the means to otherwise obtain alcohol....

Toledo- the punishment for not being smart enough to pretend to be old enough to drink in Michigan.

Toledo- 1967, Benny's Bull Fiddle, first bar off of US 23 after you pass the state line. Home of sawdust floors, the smell of stale beer, cigarette smoke, and girls that only looked good when they announced "last call".

Toledo- Thank you for being there, and for winning the war, otherwise I would have had to have driven even further for that first Miller's High Life, the champagne of bottled beers.
posted by HuronBob at 6:02 AM on December 20, 2005


in conclusion

"image hosted by tripod"


ohio intelligence and competence strikes again
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2005


what are you talking about? ^^i'm in arizona.

and even out here, i can smell the stink wafting off the mitten. and hey, i have no say where osama bin michigan hosts his images. i just report the photographic, unmanipulated proof.

but you? you sound like a coddler of terrorists.
posted by Hat Maui at 6:31 PM on December 20, 2005


But we can all agree that Wisconsin is better than either Michigan or Ohio, right?

(still bitter about the time I had to drive out of Athens, OH during the middle of a snow storm/ the time I foolishly booked a show in detroit the day after a show in Minneapolis).
posted by drezdn at 9:23 PM on December 20, 2005


Yes, I agree that Wisconsin is better than either Michigan or Ohio.
posted by kiha1972 at 9:50 AM on December 21, 2005


...but not both. In fact, only better than Ohio. Which is pretty much by legal definition (given that Ohio's state constitution demarcates its borders around "all the contiguous land which, when taken together, comprises the worst spot in the United States.").

I met a girl from Ohio at a party a month ago. She definitely IM'd me, but I did not call her back.

So much hate.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 10:04 PM on December 22, 2005


Michigan has John Dingell. Ohio has this shit.

Point Michigan.
posted by PhatLobley at 12:08 PM on December 23, 2005


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