Early settlers coming into the Ohio Country in the years after the American Revolution were almost always impressed by the amount of what was sometimes referred to as "fur, feather and fin."

Early settlers coming into the Ohio Country in the years after the American Revolution were almost always impressed by the amount of what was sometimes referred to as "fur, feather and fin."

Combined with the lure of wild game in large numbers, the first settlers in Ohio were brought here by the promise of topsoil 6 inches, 9 inches and even a foot deep.

With that wonderful "black dirt" came a veritable plethora of wild game. There was so much game of so many different kinds that the hunter was sometimes hard-pressed to know where to begin.

A few examples:

"The first explorers and settlers of that region all concurrently testify that they found its forests abundantly peopled with every species of indigenous game, both furred and feathered."

"The village hunters usually went east," Dr. Edward Young said, "nor did they need to go farther than where Twentieth Street now is to find all of the game they desired."

Another author noted that "the Indian hunters lingered in the neighborhood long after the first white settlements began, and for many years pitched their annual encampments along Walnut Creek and other watercourses of Franklin County."

Dr. Young had built his plain-frame white house at the top of the 40-foot mound at Mound and High streets and thus had a good view of the hunters heading east.

Joel Buttles was an early settler of Worthington who later came to Columbus and had some success as a merchant and civic leader. He was a diarist by habit and his diaries offer a window to the frontier past of Columbus.

"When we first came in this country," Buttles wrote in his diary, "there was a great deal of wild game of course. I have sometimes killed three deer in one day. Turkeys were common and easily killed. Wolves were also numerous. Bears were few, the country being too level to suit their habits. Buffaloes had long before left the country, though there had been a time when there were many about. Raccoons were an annoyance because of the damage they did to the corn in the fall season.

"The wolves could not do much damage because the sheep were so few at that time, but they destroyed young pigs, and it was in our interest to kill them when we could ... I trapped for them and caught many, though my younger brother Aurora had better success than I had. I also took, in trapping for wolves, many of a certain kind of animal called fisher -- a long legged dark brown animal."

Another author recorded that "of the wolves the chronicles are numerous. They infested the Franklin County forests in considerable numbers, and were last of the beasts of prey to disappear."

In her sketch of the Merion family, whose log dwelling stood at the present southwest corner of High and Moler streets, Mrs. Emily Stewart wrote the wolves were so numerous in that vicinity that "the dogs would chase them from the house at night," but that, "when the dogs turned toward home, the wolves would chase them back until they would come against the door with such force as to almost break it down."

"The first winter that I lived in Columbus," Judge Heyl said, "we could plainly hear the wolves howling at night in the east part of the town. A colored man who lived on Rich Street, one square from High Street, put some old meat on the ends of the logs of his cabin, and at night the wolves came and carried it off."

As another author put it, "Verily on those days the 'high bank opposite Franklinton' deserved its title of those days as Wolf Ridge."

As a later author put it, "Such a nuisance to the settlers were these animals, by reason of their depredations on some swine, sheep and poultry, that the General Assembly began at an early period to legislate for their extermination. A statute of February 19, 1810, provided that any person who should 'kill or take any wolf or wolves within this state' should receive bounty of four dollars for each one over and two dollars for each one under six months old, on producing 'the scalp or scalps with ears entire' to a justice of the peace within thirty days ... "

The grisly provisions of the law were necessary because some unscrupulous hunters were in the habit of taking a single wolf scalp and splitting it into two or more parts, claiming the bounty for each.

This law was re-enacted Dec. 6, 1819, and with some amendments, Dec. 22, 1821. It was again re-enacted in 1830, and yet again in 1852.

The removal of the wolves from Ohio is not a pleasant story. In recent years, the wolves have begun to return to southeast Ohio. One might hope that they find a place of their own in this state they once called home.

Local historian and author Ed Lentz writes the As it were column for ThisWeek News.