Manary House


Ride date:

Saturday night we were eating at the Asuka restaurant in Battle Creek when I got to thinking it was time for more bike rides in the  Bellefontaine area in Logan County, Ohio.   That’s because Bellefontaine is another small town that has an excellent Japanese restaurant.    We ate at the Tokyo Grill on September 2, 2008, the day on which the above photo was taken, and ever since have wanted to go back.   We drove out of our way to go there after one Ohio bicycle outing since then, only to find it was closed on Sundays (or whatever day of the week that was).

I am also reminded that Ronald Irick has been doing research on the subject matter of the historical marker pictured above, and suggested that we look at some of the sites together.    It’s something to look forward to, in case the snow eventually goes away.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to learn more about the James Manary who is mentioned on the marker.  I’ve found quite a bit of interesting stuff,  starting with the following two items:

1.  The blockhouse still existed into the 20th century.    There’s even a photo of the interior, at .  At that site I learned that members of the McPherson family lived in it until 1919, and in 1924 it was moved to Indian Lake State Park, where it was made into a museum.   There is no information to suggest that the structure still exists, though.

2.  General William Henry Harrison once called Manary an imbecile.   In a report to the Secretary of War written in September 1812, he wrote about some of the militia officers:

[William] Perry is a fool a coward and a drunkard.  [James] Manary a poor old imbecile creature, and Gov. Scott assured me that his Captain was as bad a one as could have been selected.    The Companies have been uniformly recruited amongst their friends and neighbors and it is the principal object of the officers to screen them from duty.

(The above is from Volume 2 of Governors Messages and Letters, published as Volume 9 of the Indiana Historical Collections.)

That’s enough to get me interested in learning more.   I’ve already found where Manary’s path crossed that of a man who later comes into the Black Hawk war scare story, so that gives me a bit more of the excuse I need to go off on War of 1812 tangents in Ohio like this.


The historic marker is just northwest of Bellefontaine, on what used to be the main road north to Huntsville.

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  • ronald irick

    couple of things, Spokes
    first, the Tokyo Grill is gone, but it has been re-opened as an old fashioned hamburger joint
    second, as for Harrison calling Manary an imbecile, there were two Manarys, father and son, both with the same name, both commissioned as militia officers. it gets confusing
    third, I have lot’s of new info on the site
    fourth, we just finished hiking from Urbana to the Scioto on the Traceobservance
    fifth, I was privileged to speak at our local 1812
    catch ya later, Ron

  • Christopher Riley

    The Manary (or Monary, as I’ve seen it spelled) blockhouse was relocated to 255 Midway Street in Lakeview. David Simmons completed an Ohio Historic Inventory form for the building in 1986, so it remained standing until at least then. The property’s current residence was constructed in 1992, and I imagine that the log house was either demolished or relocated at that time.

    Another early log house stood just to the south of the historical marker until the mid-1980s.

  • Ronald Irick

    The house in Lakeview was NOT the Manary Blockhouse. There is a lot of confusion between the Manary House and McPherson’s Blockhouse and McPherson’s Trading Post.
    The historical marker has been moved, and is NOT in the correct location. As a child, I saw Manary’s house with my own eyes. It has since been demolished. Also as a child, there was a log cabin in the Lakeview Park, as well as the one on the street in Lakeview. The house in Lakeview was the one cited in the inventory. Photos show up on the internet identifying the cabin as Manary’s, but it is absolutely WRONG. On the brighter side, i have confirmed that Worthington set Manary to build a blockhouse at the site of Bokengehelis’ Town. Ron

  • Christopher Riley

    Really? Thanks for the correction. Someone should probably notify the Ohio Historic Preservation Office about the mix-up, as their records are quite incorrect.

    Do you know anything about the history of the Midway Street log house or, for that matter, other extant log structures in Logan County?

  • Ronald Irick

    My good friend John McPherson, ironically, works at the Logan County Museum. He is a direct descendant of Col. James McPherson. His uncle, robert McPherson, owns the farm where the Manary House stood. Several log cabins etc., have been confused over the years. Two different buildings have carried the McPherson name. Two different buildings were rebuilt in Lakeview. The Historical Society reconstructed a log building at the Fair Grounds, then let it be destroyed. Most of that building was “Halboth’s Store”, from Bloom Center. However, some logs from one of the McPherson buildings my have been used also. remnants of the Fair Grounds structure were donated to Zane Caverns, which is now a “Shawnee” operation. There are files at the Logan County Archives regarding the cabiin in Lakeview, but there is also descripancy as to the address. There may have been multiple cabins in Lakeview which were mistaken as “historical”. Even more confusing; McPherson’s Blockhouse was at, or just west of the old County Home. Manary’s was slightly south and east of that site. After the War of 1812, McPherson moved into Manary’s house, remodeled it, and lived in it for many years. That building was still standing in the 1970’s, at it’s original site. John and I would be glad to meet with anyone interested in further study, Ron

  • Christopher Riley

    Fascinating. Was the house at 2881 County Road 130, then, the actual Manary Blockhouse?

    Is this “Halboth’s Store?”

    I imagine you know a lot about log buildings in the Logan County area. Would you mind posting an email or more specific contact information, so we can discuss the subject further?

  • Ronald Irick

    Chris, Yes, the pic is Halboth’s Store. Another person you need to contact is Bill Davis. he is a retired teacher who was involved in the Halboth Store, McPherson House, Fair Grounds cabin projects. Bill is the local expert on “Indian” sites. I believe it was Bill who salvaged the logs.
    Another cabin in Logan County is the “oldest/first house in Bellefontaine”, located in Rutan Park. It was originally moved there by the DAR in the early 1900’s. Don Corwin re-built/restored it in 1976. There is also a cabin in Zanesfield, and a couple at Zanes Caverns
    My e-mail is

  • Ronald Irick

    Whoops, I missed a point. The actual site of Manary’s Blockhouse is:
    near top center of the NE 1/4 of section 12 T3 R14 On the 1915 USGS topo map, you can see 2 buildings, the one on center of a contour circle (on a small knoll) is the Manary House. The othe rbuilding is Bob McPherson’s current farmhouse. A couple years ago, while plowing just west of the knoll, Bob found the missing brass plaque for Bokengehelis Town and Manary’s Blockhouse.