History: December 14, 1836: Michigan and Ohio Go to War, NOT football!

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A Brief History

On December 14, 1836, a war between the States ended, but one you may not be familiar with.  The so called Toledo War, also known as the Michigan-Ohio War ended when Michigan chose to give up its claim on the land called The Toledo Strip.

Digging Deeper

Ohio had already been a state since 1803, and Michigan was eager  to join the union by achieving statehood.  Unfortunately, due to sloppy mapping and a marginal understanding of geography, there was some confusion and dispute as to where the border of Ohio and Michigan was.  On top of that, Michigan had been settling the area and setting up local governments under the umbrella of the Michigan government even though the land was technically (maybe) Ohio.

The 468 square mile area in the Northwest portion of Ohio where Toledo sits at the West end of Lake Erie was in dispute.  Ohio mobilized 600 militia men, and Michigan did somewhat better, putting 1000 men under arms.  Obviously, the seriousness of the situation was enough for President Jackson and the Federal government to attempt a compromise by proposing Michigan give up its claim to the Toledo Strip and accept most of the land known as The Upper Peninsula instead.

The Michigan legislature was hearing none of this, with the fact that the UP as it is fondly called today was mostly still Indian Territory.  Finally, after only one soldier from Michigan was wounded the nearly bloodless war was over when Michigan accepted the compromise after a session of Michigan government met in a meeting called The Frostbite Convention.  (Taking that name as a clue, it is easy to see why they said heck with it and accepted the compromise!)

Ohio got to keep a great city in Toledo and had the satisfaction of “winning” the war, but Michigan got the UP with great riches of copper, iron ore and timber, as well as magnificent recreational use.

Now every year at the end of the regular college football season Ohio State University plays the University of  Michigan in their own version of the War Between the States, perhaps the greatest rivalry in college football.  Which team do you root for?

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.