Obscure U.S. Civil Wars – The Toledo War (1835-1836)


Here is another United States “civil war” or boundary dispute that portended a fierce and future college football rivalry.  This one was between Ohio and Michigan.

Ohio became a sovereign state of the United States in 1803.  Michigan, still a territory in 1835, would soon petition for statehood.  As with last week’s “Honey War” between Iowa and Missouri, this conflict had its basis in another misunderstanding of geographic features – this time the Great Lakes.

In 1787 the Northwest Ordinance had been enacted which established the Northwest Territory.  The Ordinance specified that at least three and no more than five states were to eventually be carved out of that territory.  This part of the Ordinance was apparently misunderstood:

…if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan.

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