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William Frink an early settler in area

By Henry Timman • Jun 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Last week I discussed some of the settlers in Norwalk township who were living here when Platt and Sally Benedict arrived in 1817 to become the first settlers on the new town plat called Norwalk.

I have not named every one and cannot, because there were several who lived in the area for a year or two and then either returned to their former home or moved farther west in Ohio or on to Michigan or Indiana.

There is one other pioneer of Norwalk who may have lived here only a short time and who actually came and left before the Benedicts ever thought of leaving Connecticut for Ohio. That man is William Frink, whose name is preserved in the name of the creek which flows out of Lyme Township and along the south side of Everingin Road to cross under Ohio 99 and empty into the Huron River just north of Standartsburg in Ridgefield Township.

William Frink originated in New York state and apparently was one of those people who couldn’t tolerate a lot of neighbors and enjoyed the solitary life of the woods and wilderness. He first shows up in Norwalk Township in January of 1812, when he buys 119 acres of land north of Ohio 61 at Seminary Road near East Norwalk. He kept this land only a few months, sold it and moved west to what is now Monroeville.

The reports of his time in Monroeville are contradictory but are matters which only history writers worry about. He is said to have built the first cabin in all of Ridgefield Township and that it stood on the banks of Frink’s Run south of the present town. However, the land he bought there in 1812 is the present central part of Monroeville and is nowhere near Frink’s Run. This Monroeville property was sold to Seth Brown, who was the actual founder of the village.

In any case, he stayed around Monroeville only a year or two when it got too crowded, so he bought a large farm in Sherman Township west of Weaver’s Corners on Ohio 547. I doubt he worked too hard on his farm as he was remembered by other Sherman pioneers as one who spent his time in the woods hunting. Still, we must consider that he bought his farm in 1815 for $225 and sold it in 1817 for $747. That’s a pretty good profit, but the tremendous increase in value baffles me.

As usual, William moved west again into Seneca County where he bought government land in both Adams and Thompson townships, south of Green Springs. Thompson Township was his final home and it is said that in 1830 he was found dead in the woods with his trusty rifle beside him. Because he owned some land, an effort had to be made to locate next of kin to settle all legal matters. A daughter, Charlotte, was located in New York state. She and her husband, Jonathan Sisson, signed a land deed and this ended the story of William Frink in Ohio.

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REMEMBER: My “Just Like Old Times” books are on sale at Colonial Flower and Gift Shoppe at 7 W. Main St. in downtown Norwalk. These preserve my earlier columns in permanent book form.

Henry Timman, an authority on Firelands history, resides in rural Norwalk.

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