Monday, August 25, 2014

The Battle of Phillips Corners

The politics of the United States were not always the nice and amicable affairs that they are today.  Occasionally disputes would arise when it came to drawing up the borders of the different states.  Drawing up the Michigan-Ohio border was no exception.  The bone of contention was what was known as the Toldeo strip.
 The borders of the five states that would come out of the Northwest Territory was determined by the Northwest Ordinace of the Continental Congress.  It state that one of the borders would be an east-west line drawn out from the southern most point of Lake Michigan.  One of the maps placed it near the mouth of the Detroit River (which would mean that Monroe and a few other Michigan cities would become part of Ohio.  It also would mean that only 3 of the 5 Great Lakes would touch Michigan).
The different intrepretations of this border created what was known as the Toledo Strip.  This was a chunk of land contested by Michigan and Ohio.  Ohio started to settle more of it and this angered the Michgiganders.  In 1835, the Michigan governor made it illegal for Ohioans to settle in this strip of land.  Militias were formed by each state and they came to battle.
 The battle itself sounded more like a bar brawl than a battle.  One account I read stated that one of the militiamen received a stabbing wound.
Eventually, President Jackson offered a compromise.  The Toledo Strip would be ceded to Ohio in exchange for the Upper Peninsula going to Michigan (instead of Wisconsin).  At the time, this seemed like a raw deal but as iron and copper were discovered there, the deal got much better for the State of Michigan.  This border was never really settled until 1973.

The rivalry has migrated from open warfare (or bar brawls) to the Michigan-Ohio State game.

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