Annual Wine & Cheese Social
The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
Welcome to this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking.”
Thank you to everyone who attended our Sunday open houses and History Detective programs. It was a great season for the Bloomfield House, the Carriage House Museum, as well as the Pattersons and their fan club.
On the final Sunday, September 28th, we will host our Harvest Tea. The Bloomfield House WILL NOT be open to the public that day. We’ve had a wonderful response from people, and reservations are closed. We look forward to seeing all our guests on the 28th.
Today is our final installment regarding the history of Napoleon. We live in a predominantly German community, yet here we are in a town with a French name! So how could this possibly happen?
French traders and trappers were some of the first white men to visit Henry County. It was the French, loyal followers of Emperor Napoleon, who first gave the name Napoleon to the township. Henry County was named for Patrick Henry, and originally attached to Wood County for local government. When Henry County was formed, Napoleon was selected as the county seat. The village was platted in 1834, and by the summer of 1835, the town consisted of four acres of cleared land and a half dozen two story cabins.
In later years, a move to “Americanize” the name Napoleon was bitterly and successfully opposed by Augustin Pilliod, a pioneer Frenchman. In 1853, petitioners wanted to change the name Napoleon to Henry, once again after Patrick Henry. After petitioners received approval from the Commissioners in June 1853, it was ordered that the village be incorporated under the name of “Henry”. In October 1853, the day a new mayor and councilmen were to be elected for the newly incorporated village of Henry, Mr. Pilliod and friends of “Napoleon” made such a demonstration that the election could not proceed. The result: Napoleon remained Napoleon. The incorporation of the village of Napoleon was delayed for 10 years, until 1863. At that time, no mention was made for changing the name. So here we stand: Napoleon, Ohio.
On Wednesday October 15th, we will be celebrating the 180th birthday of our fair city. The celebration will be held in front of the City Building, beginning at 10:30. We will be hosting a special program for the unveiling of our latest double sided historical marker. It features the story of the near name change as well as the history of the river front industries. This event is open to the public, and we encourage you to be part of this history making event! We will be providing further information in the Northwest Signal and on WNDH 103.1 radio. Listen for special historical business minutes and pop quiz questions during our week of celebration.
This concludes this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking” and as always, we thank you for helping us keep history alive -- and Happy Birthday Napoleon!.
The content that used to be here on the homepage can now be found HERE. We wll make it easier to find in the near future.
The Henry County Historical Society was formed in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county. Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa 1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings. Work is in progress on the carriage house and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our many programs and activities.
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