(The following was written by Harold Windsor and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
It does not always that the founder of a town leaves the imprint of his personality as did Breck on this lonely settlement in the wilderness, ordained to become a thriving village of the great state of Ohio. Therefore it is well to know something of the man himself and the currents of character and chance that carried him to influence the destiny of so many of his fellow men.
William Foster Breck, youngest son of John and Mahalia Breck, was born in Belpre, Ohio, Washington County (on the banks of the Ohio River, across which stream and opposite Belpre, is Parkersburg, W. Va.), sometime in July, 1785 (the exact day of our subject’s birth is not known). As a boy Breck availed himself of what general education there was to be secured, giving the most particular application to mathematics, and in due time was able to survey land. However, he was imbued with the spirit that makes pioneers and he early settled near Pickerington, Ohio, Fairfield County, and married Elizabeth Smith.
In the spring of 1846, Breck made his first expedition to Jackson Township looking for new and more fertile lands, and later that fall he determined to return to the community and make a permanent home for himself in the wilderness that once surrounded the town, for at that time there was but a few homes within a radius of six to ten miles of the town.
Breck was of medium height, muscular and well-proportioned, quick and active in his movements, with an erect carriage and a good walk, a well-balanced head, a broad and high forehead, an aquiline nose, blue gray eyes, a firm mouth and square chin. He was firm and positive in his opinions but of courteous in manners and expressions, prompt to act upon his own convictions, and altogether a man of forcible character, exercising influence over those with whom he came in contact as is born out by the type of men that accompanied him here in 1846.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)