The History of Michigan’s Feud With Ohio
The Michigan-Ohio rivalry really started in 1787 as America was expanding and wanting to put more states on the lands around the Great Lakes. Michigan and Ohio were two of the new states or territories in this area, but where did their borders end?
In the early 1800s it was very hard to see or know where states borders ended, so most borders back in this time were rivers, mountain ranges, or other terrain. The law at this time stated that the border between Ohio and Michigan was to run on “an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan” until it intersected with Lake Erie. This was the first problem as again it was hard to get up on a high hill or mountain to see where the the southern bend of Lake Michigan was. As a result, the border was several miles north of where it was supposed to be, putting Toledo in Ohio rather than Michigan.
The border controversy continued through the early 1800s with many land surveyors having different borders. To remedy this the "Toledo Strip" was created, which was about 468 square miles of land, and it was claimed by both states. The "Toledo Strip" was important as the Erie Canal was just dug resulting in the Great Lakes leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
Michigan took their claim of Toledo one step further as they established a village on the strip with houses, jobs, and even had taxes on residents. Ohio saw this and went right up to Washington to plead their case for the land.
This would all explode again starting in 1835 with Michigan's Boy Governor Steven T. Mason (him in statue form) who passed the “Pains and Penalties Act,” which gave big fines and jail to Ohio officials who tried to assert a claim to the land. Ohio got in this shouting match with their laws that gave them the land and even brought in their own land surveyors who claimed the land was for Ohio.
It almost came to war as Michigan went into Ohio to arrest officials that were claiming Toledo as theirs. This resulted in the Battle of Phillips Corners, which didn't have any causalities but had some violence as there was a stabbing. After this Michigan brought in 1,200 militia men to bring actual war, but Ohio had the heads up and left to avoid bloodshed.
After this, Washington and President Jackson stepped in to remove Michigan's governor only for the people of Michigan to vote him back in. Jackson wasn't happy about that but allowed Mason to stay with Michigan as long as his militia and Ohio's stepped down.
President Andrew Jackson took a few months to finally end this dispute with a compromise. On December 14, 1836, Michigan was admitted as a state and this meant that the "Toledo Strip" was given to Ohio. Michigan was then given the Upper Peninsula, which at the time was not settled and no one knew of the riches it would bring later.
Michigan and Ohio still aren't fans of each other, but at least we fight each other through sports and not war anymore.
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