This is Dominic Longo, research historian at the Historic Village of Allaire.
When you ask someone about the war between the states, most people will give you an answer about the American Civil War, but 25 years prior to the American Civil War, another war between the states erupted. (Well… a war between a state and a territory. Michigan was not yet a state!)
In 1805, thirty years prior to the Toledo War, Michigan was created as a new territory and Ohio was a young state. The Ohio constitution and the Northwest Ordinance (the document used to create parts or all of six Great Lakes states) placed the border of Ohio and Michigan at different places. The Ohio constitution stated that its border with Michigan was further north than the Northwest Ordinance stated, giving Ohio access to all of the southern coast of Lake Erie west of Pennsylvania.
Residents of the Port of Miami, the current city of Toledo, Ohio, pushed for a resolution, but that resolution was delayed by the War of 1812. After the war, two different surveys of the land were taken, one by the United States and one by the territory of Michigan. Predictably, each survey disagreed with each other and the issue ceased to be resolved. The surveys created a strip of land eight miles wide stretching across the border between Michigan Territory and the State of Ohio that came to be known as the Toledo Strip.
This strip included the Port of Miami on the Maumee River which empties into Lake Erie. Before railroads and modern forms of transportation, rivers and the Great Lakes were an important way of transporting goods throughout the United States. After the Erie Canal was completed, cities along the coasts of the Lakes in these states and territories grew rapidly. Detroit was close to the strip, but was less suitable for water travel, and later on, railroad travel. This made Toledo the most likely city to expand in the region. West of Toledo was prime farm land as well used for corn and wheat crops. Both Michigan and Ohio had much to gain from owning the strip of land.
With no resolution in place after 30 years, the leader of Ohio militia brought hundreds of men to occupy the disputed territory in 1835. Those men were allegedly fired upon in April of 1835 in a battle titled “The Battle of Phillips Corners.” Nobody was wounded or killed and Michigan denied attacking the Ohio militia. Throughout the spring and summer of 1835 a large number of confrontations and arrests similar to The Battle of Phillips Corners erupted in the disputed area. These confrontations led to the only injury of the Toledo War when Michigan Deputy Sheriff Joseph Wood was stabbed with a small pen knife attempting to arrest four Ohioans.
By June of 1836 President Andrew Jackson stepped in, allowing Michigan to finally enter the union as a state if it ceded the Toledo strip to the state of Ohio. For ceding the strip of land to Ohio, Michigan would then receive the entire region that is now the upper peninsula. Michigan rejected the offer in September 1836, claiming that the upper peninsula was useless woodlands. However, as 1836 wore on Michigan found itself in an increasingly poor financial situation due to its own financing of the Michigan militia. Michigan realized it would have to accept the offer to gain federal funds to get the territory out of its financial crisis. On December 14, 1836 Michigan agreed to President Jackson’s terms and the Toledo War officially ended at a convention in Ann Arbor. On January 26, 1837, Michigan was admitted into the union as the 26th state. Michigan received the upper peninsula while alleviating its debts and Ohio received the Toledo strip.