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View of the Sandusky River from the Peninsular Farms Residence
View of the Sandusky River from the Peninsular Farms Residence
Peninsular Farms History

Located one mile north of Fremont, Ohio, in Sandusky Township, Peninsular Farms was established as a consolidation of several smaller farms purchased by John J. Mooney in the late 1920s. Comprising nearly 500 acres, the quiet expanse of meadows, fields, and woodlands rolls gently for nearly three miles along the scenic Sandusky River. The river's arc around three sides of the property prompted the name Peninsular Farms. Mooney bred and raised champion Standardbred horses on the estate for the harness racing circuit. More than 150 trotters and pacers grazed in the farm's paddocks.

Entirely enclosed by chain-link fence, Peninsular Farms was managed for many years by Gilbert Buehler. Buehler raised cattle, hogs, chickens, ducks, and more than 300 acres of soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa, and barley. Mooney renovated one of the farmhouses on the property, creating a spacious, ten-room residence. Built before 1900, the farmhouse, located near the Sandusky River, became a summer retreat for Mooney, his wife, and son John Jr. The family divided its time between Detroit and Fremont.

In 1950, following his father's death, John J. Mooney, Jr. inherited Peninsular Farms. An attorney and retired industrial relations manager, the younger Mooney spent little time at the estate. Mooney resisted offers to develop the land, hoping that it could become a park. In 1979, Mooney sold Peninsular Farms to Don Miller, a Sandusky County contractor. In an effort to control its future use, Miller, a wildlife lover, designated 474 acres as a conservation easement through the Black Swamp Conservancy. The conservation easement established by Miller in 2000 includes woodlands, wetlands, and floodplains as well as cultivated bottomland, creating a diverse wildlife habitat.

Whittaker ReserveClick here to view map enlargement.
The historically significant Peninsular Farms is the largest remaining acreage of what was once the 1,280-acre tract known as the Whittaker Reserve. Captured as a boy by Wyandot warriors, James Whittaker was brought to the area around 1780. Whittaker adapted to life among the Wyandots. He later married Elizabeth Fulks. Like Whittaker, Fulks was also a captive of the Wyandots. The Whittakers established several trading posts and raised eight children on land given them by their captors. The United States government officially deeded the property to Elizabeth Whittaker following her husband's death. During the 1870s, a large portion of the tract was divided into smaller farms.

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