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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"


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Reverend Isaac Van Tassel

Among the more prominent of early Christian workers in the Maumee Valley, was Reverend Isaac Van Tassel. Born in Durham, New York, 1791, he came to Ashtabula, Ohio, in 1821. In the Summer of 1822 he was appointed to the Maumeee Mission by the Western Missionary Society at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the first of the Mission force on the ground. In September, 1822, at Ashtabula, Ohio, Mr. Van Tassel was married with Miss Lucia Badger, daughter of Reverend Joseph Badger. They landed at Maumee, October 27, 1822. Mr. Van Van Tassel proceeded to the Mission house, located nine miles up the River at the mouth of Tontogany Creek, the Island also belonging to the Mission grounds, which, beside the Island, embraced 240 acres. The Mission building consisted of a log house, 16x60 feet. The Mission family embraced 13 members, beside employes. The balance of the family having meantime arrived, work with the poor Ottawas was commenced November 26, 1822.

The family consisted of Reverend Samuel Tate, wife and son ; Reverend Alvah Coe and wife ; Reverend Isaac Van Tassel and wife; Leander Sacket (farmer) and wife ; John McPherrin (carpenter) ; Mr. Straight (blacksmith); Miss Sabina Stevens and Miss Hannah Riggs. The distinctive work of the Mission was the instruction of the young of the tribe in the English language, rather than reaching adults through their own language. The pupils for the first Winter, averaged about 30. The adults were not neglected, the Missionaries preaching to them as best they could through interpreters. At first, they were shy and distrustful ; but soon became more confiding. Some 30 were believed to have been converted.

The work might have been more successful, but for the opposition made to it by neighboring Indian traders, whose traffic was most profitable when they were left to deal with the Indians without interference such as Missionary work inevitably caused. The Indians are spoken of as kindly in their intercourse and specially grateful for favors shown them. Among the Mission buildings was a two-story frame house, which yet remained in 1873, when the property belonged to George and Thomas Yunt.

Source: History of the City of Toledo and Lucas County Ohio, Clark Waggoner, Munsell & Co., New York, 1888.







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