2016-06-29 / Sesquicentennial Edition

George Ditto Was Pioneer Citizen


This photo of the west side of North Defiance Street was taken in the early 1900s. The street was original mud, the curbs were cut stone, and the sidewalks were cut slabs of sandstone that were in place until after World War II. The third building from left is the current site of the Archbold Buckeye. The next building was the site of the first Lauber Clothing. This photo of the west side of North Defiance Street was taken in the early 1900s. The street was original mud, the curbs were cut stone, and the sidewalks were cut slabs of sandstone that were in place until after World War II. The third building from left is the current site of the Archbold Buckeye. The next building was the site of the first Lauber Clothing. (Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint from the July 27, 1966, edition of the Archbold Buckeye.)

George Ditto, Archbold’s pioneer citizen, was born in 1796 in Pennsylvania, the son of Francis and Eleanor Ditto. The parental home was in Northumberland County.

In 1836, George Ditto left his home in Edon Township, Seneca County, near Tiffin and carrying an ax, some flint, and accompanied by two dogs walked to Archbold.

He liked what he found, the big trees and believed the area afforded him a new life.

He claimed 320 acres, paid for them, built a cabin on the lot at about where the William Arthur and Mrs. Helen Scales’s homes are (603 and 605 N. Defiance St.).

Ditto returned to his home in Seneca County and in the 1840’s moved his family to their new cabin home in Archbold.

In 1854, according to Fulton County records, George Ditto platted 36 lots on his land on the west side of what is now North Defiance Street.

Walter Haywood, a land speculator from New York, purchased 38 lots east of Ditto’s addition today being known as Haywood & Ditto’s addition.

The land was surveyed and drawn in November 1854 and recorded on Sept. 9, 1857.

George Ditto died in 1878. 12 years after the village he founded, was incorporated. His wife, Susan (Folk) Ditto, of Scotch descent, was born in 1802 in Pennsylvania and died in 1881.

Descendant of George Ditto

The only descendant of Archbold’s first citizen living in the village, in Mrs. John F. (Hulda Leininger) Schlapfer, 208 South Defiance Street.

She was the daughter of Aaron Leininger, Aaron was a son of George A. Leininger and Nance Ditto.

Aaron and two other brothers, Henry and Amos, lived in Archbold many years. Aaron operated a wagon shop for over 70 years.

Ditto found a steady demand for lots and by selling building sites on the 320 acres he owned made him more money than he could have received from farming.

As early as 1950 rumors traveled fast that a railroad was to be build from Toledo to Elkhart, Ind.

In 1851, surveying crews and engineers started marking trails through the virgin timer of Lucas, Fulton, and Williams Counties.

Stumps were blasted, the roadbed marked.

The coming of the railroad increased the demand for land and new villages and towns were started.

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