MICHAEL HANDY is the subject of this sketch, became a citizen of Fulton County in the year 1840 (It was Pike Twp in Lucas Co. then) and resided here continuously until his death, less than a year ago, and was therefore, one of our citizens for upwards of 45 years, a third longer than the average years of man, and more than half the duration allotted by Holy Writ to him. He was a native of New York and was born about the time of the outbreak of our second war with England. Deprived by death of a mother's assistance, counsel, and love at the age of ten years, he may truly be said to have been abandoned to fight life's battle alone. How he grew to manhood's estate and succeeded in acquiring an education which well fitted him to discharge with dignity, honor and success the duties of a learned and influential profession may best be left to the consideration of those, who like him, similarly situated, have won for themselves in society, high and respected names, and dying shall leave, as he did, an honored record and the memory of having served well their day and generation.
Mr. Handy successfully served and benefited society in three ways: as a teacher, as a farmer, as a lawyer. Which of the three is the most exalted and useful I do not pretend to decide; but I do know that to act well one's part in any position or in any capacity, is where honor is to be found.
In 1836 he was married to Mary Ann Bryant, a most excellent woman, and the best of help mates, the mother of his children, and the sharer of all his joys and grief for 44 years. Together they came to Fulton County, then unformed and the land of self-denial, of privation and of hardship; wild, sparsely settled and extending but a savage and unpromising welcome to the hardy pioneers who ventured into the wilderness of North-western Ohio. But along with others, not many of whom remain among us he confronted all the ills and inconveniences of a life almost primitive in its conditions, and grew and thrived with the North-west, winning a name for enterprise, integrity and ability throughout all its borders until at the date of his death, none among us was better known or more highly esteemed than Squire Handy.
Mr. Handy probably came first into public notice as a school teacher, and we all whose memory runs back to the early history of Fulton County, know he was a good one But alone and coordinate with his duties as a teacher he farmed, he labored and cleared a farm, interspersing these agreeable and useful duties by occasionally trying a suit at law in some Justice's Court, or pettifogging as it is sometimes called. In 1852 he was admitted to the bar and became a full-fledged lawyer, practicing continually from that time until his death, and always rated, and deservedly, among the foremost attorneys at law at the Fulton County Bar.
As to official position, that was something to which he never aspired, and although endowed with native gifts beyond the common run, and adding hereunto the learning and acquirements of many years of laborious research and study both in the domain of the law and the fields of general literature, yet he was not forward to seek political preferment choosing rather the arduous duties of his profession. Hence he held but few offices, but all of them which he did hold, he honored.
In disposition he was genial, kind and sunshiny, never crowding or imposing on any body, but with that true and manly sense of self worth, which would not brook imposition. What is commonly called a grumbler he was not. There is ‘bread and work for all’ he often said.
Less than a year ago, as to his bodily presence, he passed away; but his memory, that of a hale, hearty and true man, still survives with us. We miss his hearty greeting, his buoyant, sunshiny ways. In our County Courts, at our Pioneer, and all our citizens meetings, his sturdy, genial voice is stilled forevermore; for us all , the light of his eyes gone out; but we can not and should not forget his excellent name, his sterling manhood and all the good of that life so well and so worthily spent for the forty-six years of arduous undertaking and labor among us, the friends, neighbors, and colaborers of his pioneer days; all indeed of whom in but a few years more will be spoken of only as the Fulton ……?
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and the night of death and the rays of the eternal morning with their shadow and glory soon must come.