HENRY CLAY VICTOR. In pioneer communities the tavern or inn was always an important center of community life.
Much of the pioneer history of Sandusky involves the name of Henry Clay Victor, who was one of the very early settlers,
and who for a number of years kept a tavern on what was then the outskirts of the village. While his life and career
belong to the first half of the last century, it is an interesting fact that one of his children, Miss Florence
A. Victor, is still a resident of Sandusky, her home being at 324 Fulton Street.
Henry Clay Victor was born in Pennsylvania about 1790. Little is known of his early life, or of his ancestry, but
he came to Ohio when still a young man, and knew and was known by practically all the pioneers of Erie County.
His first location was near Venice, where he kept a tavern some time, and probably as early as 1820 came to Sandusky,
and there continued his service for the entertainment of travelers. He purchased land at the northwest corner of
Market and Decatur streets, erecting a commodious frame building for his purposes. At that time the location was
on the edge of the small but flourishing town, and surrounding the tavern was a dense growth of hazel brush and
trees. His fellow citizens thought him unwise to have built so far from the center of the town, and called his
place "Victor's Folly." But subsequent growth and development proved the wisdom of his choice and as
is well known that location is now almost in the heart of the city. The inn subsequently went by the name of Townsend
House, and was continued under that name until it burned down a number of years later.
Mr. Victor sold his inn about 1840 and removed to Seneca County, where he bought a farm, and with the exception
of about two years spent in Norwalk lived there until his death in 1848. He married Gertrude Nash, who represented
one of the early pioneer families of Southern Ohio. She was born in New York City in July, 1799. Her maternal grandfather
was Major Horton of White Plains, New York, and a soldier in the Revolution. Mrs. Victor's father came West and
was one of the early settlers in Muskingum County, where he secured a large tract of land and founded the Town
of Nashport, named in his honor, where both he and his wife spent their last years.
A few years after the death of her husband Mrs. Victor sold the old farm in Seneca County and returned to Sandusky
where she lived until her death in 1882. Her first husband was a Mr. Cooke, and by that union there was a son named
William Washington. By her marriage to Mr. Victor her eight children were Mary E., Caroline M., Orville James,
Henry Clay, George W., Jacob N., Gertrude H. and Florence Annette. Miss Florence A. is the only one of the family
now living in Sandusky. She is a well read woman, an interesting conversationalist on different topics, and cherishes
the old recollections and associations of her family with early times in Sandusky.
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1916
Erie County, Ohio
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