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Bellevue was founded in 1815 by a small group of settlers from Genesee County, N.Y., headed by Mark Hopkins. They settled on what is now Main Street and the new community was called Amsden Corners. The first store was opened in 1823 by the same Thomas Amsden for whom the town was named, and although other stores followed, the rough log structure remained the general store and gathering place for many years.
Initial attempts to educate the children were made in 1821 when a school was opened in a remodeled log building, formerly a blacksmith’s shop.
Among the early business establishments were blacksmiths, wagon shops and cabinet shops, a flour mill and distillery, followed by a tannery. A law office and offices of two physicians were opened and in 1828 a post office was established known as York Cross Roads Post Office.
The first election was held in April 1821 when just two justices of the peace, and three trustees, two overseers of the poor, two fence viewers, three appriasers of personal property, two constables, a treasurer and a clerk were reelected. In the mid 1830’s James H. Bell, a civil engineer of the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad, named the new station “Bellevue” suggestive of his name. By 1836 the post office name was changed to Bellevue.
The village was further enhanced by the Toledo-Norwalk Railroad that was the connecting link from New York to Chicago in 1852. The Nickel Plate and the Wheeling & LakeErie railroads were located through Bellevue in 1882-83, which added several thousand people to its population by the century turn. The Pennsylvania Railroad was located through here in 1891. All are now part of the Norfolk & Southern railroad system.
In 1886 H.C. Stahl moved his Ohio Cultivator Company to town. Bellevue has been a progressive city throughout then early 200 years since the first settlers arrived, as is shown by reviewing the rapid growth of the city in population, area and in the construction of new businesses.
Bellevue and the surrounding countryside are home to three sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Heter Farm, the John Wright Mansion, and the Tremont House.
Bellevue is in an unusual place for genealogical research. The city and its residents are located at the corner of four counties primarily Huron and Sandusky counties, but also Erie and Seneca counties. This presents challenges for the researcher, because most vital statistics are recorded by county agencies and maintained in each county seat.
We have several books in the Catalog to get you started on genealogy research, as well as this informational sheet. This is a listing of other local agencies and organizations that have genealogical records or information.
The Bellevue Public Library’s Local History Room contains our collection of Genealogy and Local History materials. A list of special collections materials is available. All reference materials are for in-house use and must remain in the Library.