From Ohio History Central
Lower Sandusky had its beginnings as a Wyandot (Huron) village. During the 1750s, the French constructed a trading post to participate in the fur trade with the Wyandot. During the late 1700s and the early 1800s, other colonial settlers began to move into the area. Elizabeth Foulks and James Whittaker were some of the first Anglo-American settlers to live in lower Sandusky. They were captives of the Wyandot and fell in love. They married in Lower Sandusky in 1785. Like the residents of Upper Sandusky, the white people who settled here were in direct violation of the Treaty of Greeneville. During the War of 1812, the United States Army contemplated forcibly removing these people from the land, hoping to ease tensions between the American Indians and these invading Anglo-American settlers. The soldiers, however, did not carry out that threat. Fort Stephenson, an important American military post, was also built here during the war.
Although the Wyandot still called Lower Sandusky home, by the 1830s, the community had a sizable population of both Anglo- and African Americans. Many of the African Americans were runaways and sought safety by living together. Throughout the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, slave hunters passed through the area looking for runaways.
Lower Sandusky became the Sandusky County seat in 1821. The town grew slowly. In 1835, Cyrus Bradley traveled through Lower Sandusky. He described it as a swampy place and a breeding ground for flies. Despite this, Lower Sandusky emerged as an important economic center. Located on the Sandusky River, the community became active in the shipbuilding industry. Fishing also helped support early residents. Most early manufacturing establishments were connected to agriculture. They included several saw and flour mills, as well as the first sugar mill in Ohio. The village might have grown even more quickly if canals had connected it with other communities, but canal companies neglected the town in the 1810s and 1820s. During the late 1830s and early 1840s, Lower Sandusky did gain access to the rest of the state through railroads and continued to grow. In 1849, Lower Sandusky residents changed the village's name to Fremont, in honor of John C. Fremont, who had just acquired California for the United States.
Among Fremont's most prominent residents was Rutherford B. Hayes, an Ohio governor as well as the nineteenth President of the United States. Hayes moved to his home, Spiegel Grove, in 1873, just three years before the American voters elected him President. Silas Birchard, Hayes's uncle, originally built the home from 1859 to 1863, but Hayes remodeled it on several different occasions, primarily to accommodate his numerous guests. Today, Spiegel Grove is part of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. Founded in 1916, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center was the first presidential library in the United States.
Today, Fremont remains the county seat of Sandusky County. Many of the city's businesses assist nearby agricultural interests. , But other industries also operate in the city, including cutlery, battery, rubber, electric switch, and sugar manufacturers, as well as pork processors. Many Fremont residents commute to Toledo, thirty miles away.
Sandusky County also has several important manufacturing establishments, including Whirlpool Corporation, Heinz USA, and Lear. These businesses provide employment to many of Fremont's seventeen thousand residents.
- Fremont Industrial Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Sandusky County. Facts About Fremont: Community Information Prepared by the Fremont Industrial Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Sandusky County. N.p.: n.p., 1965.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Vogel, John J. Indians of Ohio and Wyandot County. New York, NY: Vantage Press, 1975.