Mark Reiter—for the Toledo Blade—reports on newly found documents relating to old Fort Industry.
The fort’s location was chosen by General Burbeck after he explored the Maumee River at Swan Creek several weeks earlier. His letter to the lieutenant places it on the bank “between 40 or 50 feet” above the stream and about 1,200 feet from the water.
Documents help unravel enigma of Toledo history
Fort Industry detailed in 1800s letters
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Cheney Schopieray, curator of manuscripts for the Clements Library at the University of Michigan, holds a letter from Gen. Henry Burbeck to Lt. James Rhea.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
An early 19th-century military stockade built more than three decades before Toledo’s founding has always been somewhat of an enigma.
The structure, called Fort Industry, appears on Toledo’s official city flag and seal and adorns city vehicles, police officers’ patches, and other city property.
U.S. officials and leaders of Native American nations gathered at the site for the July 4, 1805, signing of the Treaty of Fort Industry, which ceded 500,000 acres in Huron and Erie counties to the United States.
Inaccurate images of the fort based on artists’ conjecture exist in drawings and paintings.
Little has been known about the short-lived fort, which was built in 1803 as a supply depot near where Swan Creek empties into the Maumee River at the base of what now is Monroe Street.
Questions about its size, its shape, and why it was built, as well as the meaning behind the name “Industry,” have mystified historians and scholars.
However, personal papers belonging to a Revolutionary War Army officer that were acquired by the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library shed some light on Fort Industry’s mysterious past.
Among the 2,300 handwritten manuscripts of Gen. Henry Burbeck are his instructions to an Army infantry officer for orders to construct a small post on the “Miami of the Lake,” the name then used by Native Americans and explorers for the Maumee River.
. . .
A tip o’ the hat to Stars and Stripes.