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When he was only thirteen years of age, he rode on horseback to Greenville and brought back with him bundles of rolls of wool to be spun and woven into clothing for the family.He erected the first sawmill in Henry County on what is known as Dry Creek in now Washington Township and on a farm owned and operated by Robert Bortel today.
In 1824 Henry County was still judicially attached to Putnam, Paulding, and Williams Counties.
Napoleon was plotted in 1832, and the first dwelling, a log cabin, was erected that year.
By the census of 1830, two years previous, the entire county had but 262 inhabitants, and its tax valuation in 1823 was but 2.
Napoleon, the county seat in 1850, was then so insignificant that the entire description could be explained in about three lines: Napoleon, the county seat, is on the Maumee River and the Miami and Erie Canal 17 miles below Defiance, 40 miles above Toledo, and 154 miles northwest of Columbus.
It is a small village containing about 300 inhabitants.There was a road on the north side of the Maumee River from Waterville to Ft. The notorious Simon Girty once resided five miles above Napoleon at a place still called “Girty Island.” His cabin was on the bank of the Maumee a few rods west of the residence of Elijah Gunn.