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1800’s: Squire Carlins


Squire and Parlee Carlin, brothers, were two of the earliest settlers in Findlay, and the roles they played in the life of the small community were of a major and substantial nature. They had much to do with the shaping of the little village which grew into the city of today.

Both lived until the later part of the 19th century and both saw the town which they helped get its start flower into a busy, progressive community. Squire Carlin lived to see the great oil and gas boom of the late 1880s, being 91 when he expired.

Squire Carlin is credited with having opened the first store in the new village. Most of his trade was with the Indians. He handled many articles which appealed to their interests, as well as supplying the few whites with their needs, in a primitive way.

His place of business was located at the southwest corner of South Main Street and West Front Street. He had purchased a lot from settlers who had preceded him here by a few years and he erected a log structure thereon. That was in November 1826.

His brother, Parlee, came two years later and formed a partnership with his brother. Their store was known as S. and P. Carlin. He was active also in the pioneer development of the town, and the two brothers were associated in various enterprises. Parlee died in 1883 at the age of 76.

Both men held public office, filling various positions in the early days of the town.

Squire Carlin in his latter years held the distinction of being the oldest continuous resident living in the community. It was 1892 when he expired.

He was born near Auburn, N.Y., on Christmas Day 1801. In the winter of 1806, the Carlin family left Auburn on a sled for Erie. In the spring of 1807 they boarded a sailboat and came to the mouth of the Huron River in Ohio. They were only the second white family to locate in Huron County, but only remaining a year, going to a point near Monroe, Mich., and later to Maumee, Ohio.

After the surrender of General Hull in 1812, the family moved southward along Hull’s Trail to Urbana, going through was was later to become Findlay.

Squire Carlin later told of visiting Fort Findlay on the route, as they proceeded to Urbana. Some work was still going on with regard to completion of the fortification, Col. James Findlay, in charge of the soldiers who established the defense post, having left a detachment behind for its work, according to Squire Carlin’s recollections.

After two years in Urbana, the Carlin family returned to Maumee, again passing through Findlay with its fort. Squire Carlin remained in Maumee until he decided to come to Findlay in 1826, having married at Maumee in 1821.

After coming to Findlay and establishing the Carlin store, the partners spent much time traveling through the forest buying furs from the Indians, white hunters and small traders. They would be taken by Squire Carlin or his brother to Detroit for sale and shipment to England and Europe. One winter, the Carlins purchased 4,600 deer skins and 7,000 coon skins.

Much of the merchandise which they sold in their store came into Findlay by boat, traveling down the Maumee to the Auglaize to Defiance and then to Findlay via the Blanchard River.

The brothers carried on their business at the Main and Front location until 1852, when they sold out, but continued to operate their grist and saw mills on the north bank of the Blanchard River for some years yet. They also engaged in the real estate and banking business for some years.

In 1849, Mr. Carlin joined a group of Findlay men who decided to go to California with the gold seekers. He remained two years and returned to Findlay via Panama and New Orleans. He was one of the prime movers in the building of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad through Findlay.

Squire Carlin was Findlay’s third postmaster, serving from June 1831 to March 1849, or nearly 18 years. He also served as Hancock County treasurer from 1831 to 1839. He held the office for four terms.

Mr. Carlin’s son, Dr. William D. Carlin, was a surgeon in the Civil War and lost his life in the conflict.

Parlee Carlin served as Hancock County recorder from June 1835 to October 1835, and for several terms was in the state Legislature from Hancock County.

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