THE territory now comprised within the limits of Ohio was formerly a part of that vast region claimed by France, between the Alleghany and the Rocky mountains, first known by the general name of Louisiana. In, 1673 Marquette, a zealous French Missionary, accompanied with Monsieur Joliet, from Quebec, with five boatmen, set out on a mission from Mackinac to the unexplored regions lying south of that station. They passed down the lake to Green Bay, thence from Fox River crossed over to the Wisconsin, which they followed down to its junction with the Mississippi. They descended this mighty stream a thousand miles to its confluence with the Arkansas. On their return to Canada, they did not fail to urge, in strong terms, the immediate occupation of the vast and fertile region watered by the Mississippi and its branches.
On the 7th of August, 1679, M. de la Salle, the French commandant of Fort Frontenac, on Lake Ontario, launched, upon Lake Erie, the Griffin, a bark of about 60 tons, with which he proceeded through the Lakes to the Straits of Michillimackinac. Leaving his bark at this place, he proceeded up Lake Michigan and from thence to the south west, till he arrived at Peoria Lake, in Illinois. At this place he erected a fort, and after having sent Father Lewis Hennepin on an exploring expedition. La Salle returned to Canada. In 1683, La Salle went to France, and, by the representations which he made, induced the French Government to fit out an expedition for the purpose of planting a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi. This expedition failed, La Salle being murdered by his own men.
This disaster did not abate the ardor of the French in their great plan of obtaining possession of the vast region westward of the English colonies. A second expedition sailed from France, under the command of M. D’IBERVILLE. This officer entered the mouth of the Mississippi, and explored the river for several hundred miles. Permanent establishments were made at different points and from this time the French colony west of the Alleghenies steadily increased in numbers and strength. Previous to the year 1725, the colony had been divided into quarters, each having its local governor, or commandant, and judge, but all subject to the superior authority of the council general of Louisiana. One of these quarters was established north west of the Ohio.
post had been fortified at the mouth of the Wabash, and a communication was established through that river and the Maumee with Canada. About the same time, and for the purpose of checking the progress of the French, the Ohio Company was formed, and made some attempts to establish trading houses among the Indians. The French, however, established a chain of fortifications back of the English settlements, and thus, in a measure, had the entire control of the great Mississippi valley. The English government became alarmed at the encroachments of the French, and attempted to settle boundaries by negotiations. These availed nothing, and both parties were determined to settle their differences by the force of arms.
The claims of the different European monarchs to large portions of the western continent were based upon the first discoveries made by their subjects. In 1609, the English monarch granted to the London Company, all the territories extending along the coast for two hundred miles north and south from Point Comfort, and “up to the land, throughout from sea to sea, west and north-west.” In 1662, Charles II granted to certain settlers upon the Connecticut all the territory between the parallels of latitude which include the present State of Connecticut, from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. The claims which Massachusetts advanced, during the revolution, to an interest in the western lands, were founded upon a similar charter, granted thirty years afterwards.
When the king of France had dominions in North America, the whole of the late territory of the United States, north-west of the river Ohio, was included in the province of Louisiana, the north boundary of which, by the treaty of Utrecht, concluded between France and England in 1713, was fixed at the 4th parallel of latitude north of the Equator. After the conquest of the French possessions in North America by Great Britain, this tract was ceded by France to Great Britain, by the treaty of Paris, in 1763.
The principal ground whereon the English claimed dominion beyond the Alleghenies was, that the Six Nations owned the Ohio valley, and had placed it with their other lands under the protection of England. Some of the western lands were also claimed by the British as having been actually purchased, at Lancaster, Penn., in 1744, at a treaty between the colonists and the Six Nations at that place. In 1748, the “Ohio Company,” for the purpose of securing the Indian trade, was formed. In 1749, it appears that the English built a trading house upon the Great Miami, at a spot since called Loramie’s Store. In 1751, Christopher Gist, an agent of the Ohio Company, who was appointed to examine the western lands, made a visit to the Twigtwees, who lived upon the Miami river, about one hundred miles from its mouth.
Early in 1752, the French having heard of the trading house on the Miami sent a party of soldiers to the Twigtwees and demanded the traders as intruders upon French lands. The Twigtwees refused to deliver up their friends. The French, assisted by the Ottawas and Chippewas, then attacked the trading house, which was probably a block house, and after a severe battle, in which fourteen of the natives were killed and others wounded, took and destroyed it, carrying away the traders to Canada. This fort, or trading house, was called, by the English, Pickawillany. Such was the first British settlement in the Ohio valley, of which we have any record.
the Great Kanawha. The attempt proved a failure, in consequence, it is said, of the swollen state of the streams, and the treachery of the guides, in 1764, Gen. Bradstreet, having dispersed the Indian forces besieging Detroit, passed into the Wyandot country by way of Sandusky Bay. He ascended the bay and river as far as it was navigable for boats, and there made a camp. A treaty of peace was signed by the Chiefs and head men. The Shawnees of the Scioto river, and the Delawares of the Muskingum, however, still continued hostile. Col. BOQUET, in 1764, with a body of troops, marched from Fort Pitt into the heart of the Ohio country on the Muskingum river. This expedition was conducted with great prudence and skill, and without scarcely any loss of life, as treaty of peace was effected with the Indians, who restored the prisoners they had captured from the white settlements. The next war with the Indians was in 1774, generally known as Lord DUNMORE’s. In the summer of that year, an expedition, under Col. M’DONALD, was assembled at Wheeling, marched into the Muskingum country and destroyed the Indian town of Wapatomica, a few miles above the site of Zanesville. In the fall, the Indians were defeated after a hard fought battle at Point Pleasant, on the Virginia side of the Ohio. Shortly after this event, Lord DUNMORE made peace with the Indians at Camp Charlotte, in what is now Pickaway country.
During the revolutionary war, most of the western Indians were more or less united against the Americans. In the fall of 1778, an expedition against Detroit was projected. As a preliminary step, it was resolved that the forces in the west, under Gen. M’INTOSH, should move up and attack the Sandusky Indians. Preliminary to this, Fort Laurens, so called in honor of the President of Congress, was built upon the Tuscarawas, a short distance below the site of Bolivar, Tuscarawas county. The expedition to Detroit was abandoned and the garrison of Fort Laurens, after suffering much from the Indians and from famine, were recalled in August, 1779. A month or two previous to the evacuation of this fort, Col. Bowman headed an expedition against the Shawnees. Their village, Chillicothe, three miles north of the site of Xenia, on the little Miami, was burnt. The warriors showed an undaunted front, and the whites were forced to retreat. In the summer of 1780, an expedition directed against the Indian towns, in the forks of the Muskingum, moved from Wheeling under Gen. BROADHEAD. This expedition, known as “the Coshocton campaign, was unimportant in its results. In the same summer, Gen. CLARK led a body of Kentuckians against the Shawnees. Chillicothe, on the Little Miami, was burnt on their approach, but at Piqua, their town on the Mad River, six miles below the site of Springfield, they gave battle to the whites and were defeated. In September, 1782, this officer led a second expedition against the Shawanese. Their towns, Upper and Lower Piqua, on the Miami, within what is now Miami county, were destroyed, together with the store of a trader.
There were other expeditions into the Indian country from Kentucky, which, although of later date, we mention in this connection. In 1782 Col. LOGAN conducted a successful expedition against the Mackachack towns, on the head waters of Mad River, in what is now Logan county. EDWARDS, in 1787, led an expedition to the head waters of the Big Miami, and, in 1788, TOD led one into the Scioto valley. There were also minor expeditions, at various times, into the present limits of Ohio.
FORD, at the head of about 500 men, was defeated by the Indians, three miles north of the site of Upper Sandusky, in Wyandot county. He was taken prisoner, and burnt at the stake with horrible tortures.
By an act of the Parliament of Great Britain, passed in 1774, the whole of the late northwestern Territory was annexed to, and made a part of the province of Quebec, as created and established by the royal proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763. But nothing therein contained, relative to the boundary of the said province of Quebec, was in any wise to affect the boundaries of any other colony.
The colonies having, in 1776, renounced their allegiance to the British king, and assumed rank as free, sovereign and independent States, each State claimed the right of soil and jurisdiction over the district of country embraced within its charter. The charters of several of the State embraced large portions of western unappropriated lands. Those States which had no such charters, insisted that these lands ought to be appropriated for the benefit of all the States, according to their populations, the title to them, if secured at all, would be by the blood and treasure all the States. Congress repeatedly urged upon those States owning western unappropriated lands, to make liberal cessions of them for common benefit of all.
The claim of the English monarch to the late northwestern Territory was ceded to the United States, by the treaty of peace, signed at Paris September 3, 1783. The provisional articles which formed the basis that treaty, more especially as related to the boundary, were signed Paris, November 30, 1782. During the pendency of the negotiation relative to these preliminary articles, Mr. OSWALD, the British commissioner, proposed the river Ohio as the western boundary of the United States, and but for the indomitable perseverance of the revolutionary patriot, John ADAMS, one of the American commissioners, who opposed proposition, and insisted upon the Mississippi as the boundary, the probability is, that the proposition of Mr. OSWALD would have been acceded by the United States commissioners.
The states who owned western unappropriated lands, with a single exception, redeemed their respective pledges by ceding them to the United States. The State of Virginia, in March, 1784, ceded the right of soil jurisdiction to the district of country embraced in her charter, situated the north-west of the river Ohio. In September, 1786, the State of Connecticut, ceded her claim of soil and jurisdiction to the district country within the limits of her charter, situated west of a line begin at the completion of the forty-first point degree of north latitude, hundred and twenty miles west of the western boundary of Pennsylvania and from thence by a line drawn north parallel to, and one hundred twenty miles west of said line of Pennsylvania, and to continue north it came to forty-two degrees and two minutes north latitude. The State of Connecticut, on the 30th of May, 1800, also ceded her jurisdiction claims to all that territory called the “Western Reserve of Connecticut.” The states of New York and Massachusetts also ceded all their claims.
A treaty was also concluded at Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, with the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa, and Ottawa nations, by which the boundary in between the United States and the Wyandot and Delaware nations was declared to begin “at the mouth of the river Cuyahoga, and to extend up said river to the Portage, between that and the Tuscaroras branch of the Muskingum, thence down that branch to the crossing place above Fort Laurens, then westerly to the Portage of the Big Miami, which runs into the Ohio, at the mouth of which branch the fort stood which was taken by the French, in 1752 then along said Portage to the Great Miami, or Omee river, and down the south side of the same to its mouth; then along the south shore of Lake Erie to the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, where it began.” The United States allotted all the lands contained within said lines to the Wyandot and Delaware nations, to live and hunt on, and to such of the Ottawa nation as lived thereon; saving and reserving for the establishment of trading posts, six miles square at the mouth of the Miami, or Omee river, and the same at the Portage, on that branch of the Big Miami which runs into the Ohio, and the same on the Lake of Sandusky where the fort formerly stood, and also two miles square on each side of the Lower Rapids of Sandusky river.
The Indian title to a large part of the territory within the limits of Ohio having been extinguished, legislative action on the part of Congress became necessary before settlements were commenced; as in the treaties made with the Indians, and in the acts of Congress, all citizens of the United States were prohibited settling on the lands of the Indians, as well as on those of the United States. Ordinances were accordingly made by Congress for the government of the Northwestern Territory, and for the survey and sale of portions of lands to which the Indian title had been extinguished.
In May, 1785, Congress passed an ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of these lands. Under that ordinance, the first seven ranges, bounded in the east by Pennsylvania and on the south by the Ohio river, were surveyed. Sales of parts of these were made at New York, in 1787, the avails of which amounted to $72,974, and sales of other parts of said range were made at Pittsburg and Philadelphia, in 1796. The avails of sales made at the former place amounted to $43,446, and at the latter, $5,120. A portion of these lands were located under United States military land warrants. No further sales were made in that district until the Land Office was opened at Steubenville, July 1, 1801.
On the 27th of October, 1787, a contract in writing was entered into between Board of Treasury for the United States of America, of the one part, and Manassah CUTLER and Winthrop SARGEANT, as agents for the directors of the New England Ohio Company of associates, of the other part, for the purchase if the tract of land bounded by the Ohio, from the mouth of the Scioto to the intersection of the western boundary of the seventh range of townships then surveying; thence by said boundary to the northern boundary of the tenth township from the Ohio; thence by a due west line to Scioto; thence by the Scioto to the beginning. The bounds of that contract were afterwards altered 1792. The settlement of this purchase commenced at Marietta, at the mouth the Muskingum river, in the spring of 1788, and was the first settlement made within the limits of Ohio. An attempt at settlement within the bounds Ohio had been made in April, 1785, at the mouth of the Scioto, on the site Portsmouth, by four families from Redstone, Pa.; but difficulties with the Indians compelled its abandonment.
Cleves SYMMES was also appointed judge. The county of Washington, having its limits extended westward to the Scioto, and northward to Lake Erie, embracing about half the territory within the present limits of the State, was established by the proclamation of the Governor.
On the 15th of October, 1788, John Cleves SYMMES, in behalf of himself and his associates, contracted with the Board of Treasury for the purchase of a large tract of land situated between the Great and Little Miami river, and the first settlement within the limits of that purchase, and second in Ohio, was commenced in November of that year, at Columbia, at the mouth of the Little Miami, five miles above the site of Cincinnati.
“A short time after the settlement at Marietta had commenced, an association was formed under the name of the Scioto Land Company. A contract was made for the purchase of a part of the lands included in the Ohio Company’s purchases. Plats and descriptions of the land contracted for, were, however, made out, and Joel BARLOW was sent as an agent to Europe to make sales of the lands for the benefit of the company; and sales were effected of parts thereof to companies and individuals in France. On February 19, 1791, two hundred and eighteen of these purchasers left Havre de Grace, in France, and arrived in Alexandria, D. C., on the of May following. During their passage, two were added to their number. On their arrival, they were told that the Scioto Company owned no land. The agent insisted that they did, and promised to secure to them good titles thereto, which he did, at Winchester, Brownsville, and Charleston (now Wellsburg.) When they arrived at Marietta, about fifty of them landed. The rest of the company proceeded to Gallipolis, which was laid out about that time, and were assured by the agent that the place lay within their purchase. Every effort to secure titles to the lands they had purchased having failed, an application was made to Congress, and in June, 1798, a grant was made to them of a tract of land on the Ohio, above the mouth of the Scioto river, which is called the “French Grant.”
The Legislature of Connecticut, in May, 1795, appointed a committee to receive proposals and make sale of the lands she had reserved in Ohio. This, committee sold the lands to sundry citizens of Connecticut and other States and, in September of the same year, executed to several purchasers deeds of conveyance therefor. The purchasers proceeded to survey into townships of five miles square the whole of said tract lying east of the Cuyahoga; they made divisions thereof according to their respective proportions, and commenced settlements in many of the townships, and there were actually settled therein, by the 21st of March, 1800, about one thousand inhabitants. A number of mills had been built, and roads cut in various directions to the extent of about 700 miles.
The location of the lands appropriate for satisfying military land bounty warrants in the district appropriated for that purpose, granted for services in thy Revolutionary war, commenced on March 13, 1800; and the location of lands granted to the Canadian and Nova Scotia refugees commenced February 13, 1802. The lands east of the Scioto, south of the military bounty land and west of the fifteenth range of townships, were first brought into market, and offered for sale by the United States on the first Monday of May, 1801.
their troops, the deficiency should be made up from lands north of the Ohio, between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami.
In 1783, the Legislature of Virginia authorized the officers of their respective lines to appoint superintendents to regulate the survey of the bounty lands promised. Richard C. ANDERSON was appointed principal surveyor of the lands of the troops of the continental establishment. An office for the reception of locations and surveys was opened at Louisville, Kentucky, August 1, 1784, and on the 1st of August, 1787, the said office was open for the reception of surveys and locations on the north side of the Ohio.
In the year 1789, January 9th, a treaty was made at Fort HARMAR, between Governor ST. CLAIR and the Sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Chippewa, Potawatomie, and Sac Nations, in which the treaty at Fort McIntosh was renewed and confirmed. It did not, however, produce the favorable results anticipated. The Indians, the same year, assuming a hostile appearance, were seen hovering round the infant settlements near the mouth of the Muskingum and between the Miamies, and nine persons were killed within the bounds of SYMMES’ purchase. The new settlers became alarmed and erected block-houses in each of the new settlements. In June, 1789, Major DOUGHTY, with 140 men, from Fort HARMAR commenced the building of Fort Washington, on a spot now within the present limits of Cincinnati. A few months afterwards, Gen. HARMAN arrived, with 300 men, and took command of the fort.
Negotiations with the Indians proving unavailing, Gen. HARMAR was directed to attack their towns. In pursuance of his instructions he marched from Cincinnati, in September, 1790, with 1,300 men, of whom less than one-fourth were regulars. When near the Indian villages, on the Miami of the lake in the thin vicinity of what is now Fort Wayne, an advanced detachment of 310, consisting chiefly of militia, fell into an ambush and was defeated with severe loss. Gen. HARMAR, however, succeeded in burning the Indian villages and in destroying their standing corn, and having effected this service, the army commenced its march homeward. They had not proceeded far when HARMAR received intelligence that the Indians had returned to their ruined towns. He immediately detached about one-third of his remaining force, under the command of Col. HARDEN, with orders to bring them to an engagement. He succeeded in this early the next morning; the Indians fought with great fury, and the militia and of the regulars alike behaved with gallantry. More than one hundred of the militia, and all the regulars except nine, were killed, and the rest were driven back to the main body. Dispirited by this severe misfortune, HARMAR immediately marched to Cincinnati, and the object of the expedition in intimidating the Indians was entirely unsuccessful.
defeated. Gen. BUTLER and upwards of six hundred men were killed. Indian outrages of every kind were now multiplied, and emigration was almost entirely suspended.
President WASHINGTON now urged forward the vigorous prosecution of the war for the protection of the Northwest Territory; but various obstacles retarded the enlistment and organization of a. new army. In the spring of 1794 the American army assembled at Greenville, in Darke county, under the command of Gen. Anthony WAYNE, a bold, energetic and experienced officer of the Revolution. His force consisted of about two thousand regular troops, and fifteen hundred mounted volunteers from Kentucky. The Indians had collected their whole force, amounting to about two thousand men, near a British fort, erected since the treaty of 1783, in violation of its obligations, at the foot of the rapids of the Maumee, On the 20th of August, 1794, Gen. WAYNE encountered the enemy, and after a short and deadly conflict, the Indians fled in the greatest confusion, and were pursued under the guns of the British fort. After destroying all the houses and corn-fields above and below the British fort, on the Maumee, the victorious army returned to the mouth of Au Glaize where WAYNE erected Fort Defiance. Previous to this action, various futile attempts had been made to bring the Indians to peace. Some of the messengers sent among the Indians for that object were murdered.
The victory of WAYNE did not at first reduce the savages to submission. Their country was laid waste, and forts were erected in the heart of their territory before they could be entirely subdued. At length, however, they became thoroughly convinced of their inability to resist the American arms and sued for peace. A grand council was held at Greenville, where eleven of the most powerful northwestern tribes were represented, to whom Gen. WAYNE dictate the terms of pacification. The boundary established by the treaty at Fort McIntosh was confirmed and extended westward from Loramie’s to Fort Recovery, and thence southwest to the mouth of the Kentucky river. The Indian agreed to acknowledge the United States as their sole protector, and never sell their lands to any other power. Upon these and other conditions, United States received the Indian nations into their protection. A large quantity of goods was delivered to them on the spot, and perpetual annuities, payable in merchandise, etc., were promised to each tribe who became a party the treaty.
While the war with the Indians continued, of course but little progress was made in the settlement in the west. The next county that was established was that of Washington, in 1788, was Hamilton, erected in 1790. Its bounds included the country between the Miamies, extending northward from the Ohio river to a line drawn due east from the Standing Stone forks of the Great Miami. The name of the settlement opposite the Licking was, at this time called Cincinnati.
At this period there was no fixed seat of government. The laws were passed whenever they seemed to be needed, and promulgated at any place the territorial legislators happened to be assembled. In 1789 the Congress passed an act recognizing the binding force of the ordinance of 1787 and adapting its provisions to the federal constitution. At this period, judges appointed by the national executive constituted the supreme court the territory. Inferior to this court were the county court, courts of common pleas, and the general quarter sessions of the peace. Single judges of common pleas and single justices of the quarter sessions were clothed with certain civil and criminal powers to be exercised out of court.
part of August. The general court was fixed at Cincinnati and Marietta; other courts were established, and laws and regulations were adopted for various purposes.
The population of the territory now continued to increase and extend. From Marietta, settlers spread into the adjoining country. The Virginia military reservation drew a considerable number of revolutionary veterans, and others, from that State. The region between the Miamies, from the Ohio far up toward the sources of Mad river, became chequered with farms, and abounded in indications of the presence of an active and prosperous population. The neighborhood of Detroit became populous, and Connecticut, by grants of land within the tract, reserved in her deed of cession, induced many of her hardy citizens to seek a home on the borders of Lake Erie. In 1796 Wayne county was established, including all the northwestern part of Ohio, a large tract in the northeastern part of Indiana, and the whole territory of Michigan. In July, 1797, Adams county was erected, comprehending a large tract lying on both sides of the Scioto, and extending northward to Wayne. Other counties were afterwards formed out of those already established. Before the end of the year 1798 the Northwest Territory contained a population of five thousand free male inhabitants, of full age, and eight organized counties.
The people were now entitled, under the ordinance of 1787, to a change in their form of government. That instrument provided that whenever there were five thousand free males, of full age, in the territory, the people should be authorized to elect representatives to a territorial legislature. These, when chosen, were to nominate ten freeholders of 500 acres, of whom the president was to appoint five, who were to constitute the legislative council. Representatives were to serve two, and councilmen five years. The first meeting of the territorial legislature was appointed on the 16th of September, 1799, but it was not till the 24th of the same month that the two houses were organized for business; at which time they were addressed by Gov. ST. CLAIR. An act was passed to confirm and give force to those laws enacted by the governor and judges, whose validity had been doubted. This act, as well as every other which originated in the council, was prepared and BROUGHt forward by Jacob Burnet, afterwards a distinguished judge and senator, to whose labors, at this session, the territory was indebted for some of its most beneficial laws. The whole number of acts passed and approved by the governor was thirty-seven. William H. HARRISON, then secretary of the Territory, was elected as delegate to Congress, having eleven of twenty-one votes.
Within a few months after the close of this session, Connecticut ceded to the United States her claim of jurisdiction over the northeastern part of the territory; upon which the president conveyed, by patent, the fee of the soil to the governor of the State, for the use of grantees and purchasers claiming under her. This tract, in the summer of the same year, was erected into a new county by the name of Trumbull. The same congress which made a final arrangement with Connecticut, passed an act dividing the Northwestern Territory into two governments, by a line drawn from the mouth of the Kentucky to Fort Recovery, and thence northward to the territorial line. East of this line, the government, already established, was continued; while west of it another, substantially similar, was established. This act fixed the seat of the eastern government at Chillicothe; subject, however, to be removed at the pleasure of the legislature.
Besides framing the constitution, the convention had another duty to perform. The act of Congress, providing for the admission of the new State into the Union, offered certain propositions to the people. These were, first, that section sixteen in each township, or, where that section had been disposed of, other contiguous and equivalent lands, should be granted to the inhabitants for the use of schools; second, that thirty-eight sections of land, where salt-springs had been found, of which one township was situated on the Scioto, one section in the Muskingum, and one section in the United States military tract, should be granted to the State, never, however, to be sold or leased for a longer term than ten years; and third, that one-twentieth of the proceeds of public lands sold within the State, should be applied to the construction of roads from the Atlantic, to and through the same. These propositions were offered on the condition that the convention should provide, by ordinance, that all lands sold by the United States after the 30th day of June, 1802, should be exempt from taxation, by the State, for five years after sale.
The ordinance of 1785 had already provided for the appropriation of section sixteen to the support of schools in every township sold by the United States; and this appropriation thus became a condition of the sale and settlement of the western country. It was a consideration offered to induce purchases of public lands, at a time when the treasury was well-nigh empty, and this source of revenue was much relied upon. It extended to every township of land within the territory, except those in the Virginia military reservation, and wherever the reserved section had been disposed of, after the passage of the ordinance, Congress was bound to make other equivalent provision for the same object. The reservation of section sixteen, therefore, could not, in 1802, be properly made the object of a new bargain between the United States and the State; and many thought that the salt reservations and the twentieth of the proceeds of the public lands were very inadequate equivalents for the proposed surrender of the right to tax. The convention, however, determined to accept the propositions of Congress, on their being so far enlarged and modified as to vest in the State, for the use of schools, section sixteen in each township sold by the United States, and three other tracts of land, equal in quantity respectively, to one thirty-sixth of the Virginia reservation, of the United State military tract, and of the Connecticut reserve, and to give three per centum of the proceeds of the public lands sold within the State, to be applied under the direction of the legislature, to roads in Ohio. Congress assented to the proposed modifications, and thus completed the compact.
The first General Assembly under the State constitution met at Chillicothe March 1, 1803. The legislature enacted such laws as were deemed necessary for the new order of things, and created eight new counties, namely: Gallia, Scioto, Franklin, Columbiana, Butler, Warren, Greene, and Montgomery. The first State officers elected by the assembly were as follows, viz.: Michael BALDWIN, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Nathaniel MASSIE, Speaker of the Senate; William CREIGHTON, JR., Secretary of State; Col. Thomas GIBSON Auditor; William McFARLAND, Treasurer; Return J. MEIGS, JR., Samuel HUNTINGTON, and William SPRIGG, Judges of the Supreme Court; Francis DUNLAVY, Wyllys SILLIMAN and Calvin PEASE, Judges of the District Courts.
The second General Assembly convened in December, 1803. At this session, the militia law was thoroughly revised and a law was passed to enable aliens to enjoy the same proprietary rights in Ohio as native citizens. At the session, also, the revenue system of the State was simplified and improve Acts were passed providing for the incorporation of townships, and for establishment of boards of commissioners of counties.
ties, all the country watered by the Maumee and the Sandusky have been acquired, and the Indian title to lands in Ohio extinguished.*
In the course of the year 1805 the conspiracy of Aaron BURR began to agitate the western country. The precise scope of the conspiracy does not distinctly appear. “The immediate object, probably, was to seize on New Orleans and invade Mexico. The ulterior purpose may have been to detach the West from the American Union. In December, 1806, in consequence of a confidential message from the Governor, founded on the representations of an agent of the general Government deputed to watch the motions of BURR, the legislature passed an act authorizing the arrest of persons engaged in an unlawful enterprise, and the seizure of their goods. Under this act, ten boats, with a considerable quantity of arms, ammunition and provisions, belonging to BURR’s expedition, were seized. This was a fatal blow to the project.”
The Indians, who since the treaty at Greenville had been at peace, about the year 1810 began to commit aggressions upon the inhabitants of the West. The celebrated TECUMSEH was conspicuously active in his efforts to unite the native tribes against the Americans, and to arrest the farther extension of the settlements. His proceedings, and those of his brother, “the Prophet,” soon made it evident that the West was about to suffer the calamities of another Indian war, and it was resolved to anticipate their movements. In 11811 Gen. HARRISON, then Governor of Indiana Territory, marched against the town of the “Prophet,” upon the Wabash. The battle of Tippecanoe ensued, in what is now Cass county, Indiana, in which the Indians were totally defeated. This year was also distinguished by an occurrence of immense importance to the whole West. This was the voyage, from Pittsburg to New Orleans, of the first steamboat ever launched upon the western waters.
In June, 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain. Of this war the West was a principal theatre. Defeat, disaster and disgrace marked its opening scenes; but the latter events of the contest were a series of splendid achievements. CROGHANS’s gallant defence of Fort Stephenson; PERRY’s victory upon Lake Erie; the total defeat, by HARRISON, of the allied British and savages, under PPRCTOR and TECUMSEH, on the Thames; and the great closing triumph of Jackson at New Orleans, reflected the most brilliant lustre upon the American arms. In every vicissitude of this contest, the conduct of Ohio was eminently patriotic and honorable. When the necessities of the national Government compelled Congress to resort to a direct tax, Ohio, for successive years, cheerfully assumed and promptly paid her quota out of her State treasury. Her sons volunteered with alacrity their services in the field; and no troops more patiently endured hardship or performed better service. Hardly a battle was fought in the Northwest in which some of these brave citizen soldiers did not seal their devotion to their country with their blood.
In 1816 the seat of the State Government was removed to Columbus, the proprietors of the town having, pursuant to an agreement entered into, in good faith, erected the State-house and other public buildings for the accommodation of the legislature and the officers of State.
“In January, 1817, the first resolution relating to a canal connecting the Ohio river with Lake Erie was introduced into the legislature. In 1819 the
subject was again agitated. In 1820, on recommendation of Gov. Brown, an act was passed providing for the appointment of three canal commissioners who were to employ a competent engineer and assistants, for the purpose surveying the route of the canal. The action of the commissioners, however was made to depend on the acceptance of Congress of proposition on behalf of the State for a donation and sale of public lands lying upon and near route of the proposed canal. In consequence of this restriction nothing was accomplished for two years. In 1822 the subject was referred to a committee of the House of Representatives. This committee recommended the employment of an engineer, and submitted various estimates and observations to illustrate the importance and feasibility of the work. Under this act James GEDDES, New York, an experienced and skilful engineer, was employed to make the necessary examinations and surveys. Finally, after all the routes had be surveyed, and estimates made of the expense had been laid before the legislature at several sessions, an act was passed in February, 1825, ‘To provide for the internal improvement of the State by navigable canals,’ and thereupon the State embarked in good earnest in the prosecution of the great work of internal improvement.”
The construction of the canals gave new life to the progress of the State. Firstly, the work of their building supplied funds to the settlers along the lines and then opened a market for the product of agriculture. These in many sections had previously next to no cash value, and this, with the large amour of sickness incident to opening up a wilderness, had occasioned the settlements to languish.
The total canal mileage in the State is now 788 miles, and the reservoir cover an area of 32.100 acres, or over fifty square miles. The total cost was about sixteen millions of dollars.
Railroads soon followed. The first railroad west of New York State was Erie & Kalamazoo,” which led from Toledo, Ohio, to Adrian, Michigan. It was opened with horse-power in the fall of 1836. A locomotive was put on in the following July, 1837, the first used in the West. The next railroad in Ohio was the Mad River & Lake Erie, which was incorporated in 1832, with prospective route from Dayton via Springfield to Sandusky. Construction was begun in 1835, and in 1839 a portion opened sixteen miles from Sandusky to Bellvue, and the second locomotive in Ohio was used there. Ten years late in 1848, this road, in connection with the Little Miami Railway, which was built from Cincinnati to Springfield, formed the first through line across the State. The second through line from the lake to the Ohio was opened in 1851 and the name of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Little Miami Railroad. The next year chronicled the opening of a third line from Cleveland to Pittsburg. The railroads of Ohio had in 1887 developed to 9,849 miles of track, which, with equipment, had been expended nearly 500 millions of dollars.
In 1835 the long dispute between Ohio and Michigan in relation to the boundary line between them culminated in what was termed the “Toledo War.” Both States assembled their troops, but before any opening of hostilities occurred peace commissioners from the President arrived on the ground and the next year Congress decided in favor of Ohio, Michigan receiving compensation for the relinquishment of her claims the large peninsula bounded the three great lakes and so rich in mineral wealth.
In the decade between 1830 and 1840 Ohio made surprising progress, owing largely to the development of her canal system. Her increase of population was 68 per cent., and she had become the third State of the Union with 1,519,467 inhabitants. Cincinnati, her chief city, had a population of 46,338; Columbus, 6,048; Cleveland, 6,071, and Dayton 6,067, which were the three next in order.
her agriculture a vigorous start, and her mining began. The number of men employed was 620.
In 1840 occurred the famous “Hard Cider and Log Cabin Campaign,” which resulted in the election of General William Henry HARRISON to the Presidency by the Whig party and of Thomas CORWIN as Governor by a majority of 16,000 over Wilson SHANNON. Two years later CORWIN was defeated by SHANNON, who thus became the first Governor born on the soil.
For the war with Mexico, declared in 1846, Ohio supplied four regiments of volunteers and a company over, in all 5,536 men, more than any other Northern State, of whom 57 were killed and wounded. One of the regiments, the Second, was commanded by Col. Geo. W. MORGAN, of Mt. Vernon, later a brigadier-general in the war of the rebellion.
In this same year, 1846, bituminous coal was introduced into Ohio as a furnace fuel at Lowellville, in Mahoning county, an event of prime importance to the development of the iron industry of the State and country. Its first success was the year before in an adjoining county in Pennsylvania.
At this period the slavery question assumed such importance as to soon revolutionize the politics of the State. In the session of 1848-9 the legislature was nearly equally divided between the Whigs and Democrats, with two Free Soilers, namely, Messrs. N. S. TOWNSHEND, of Lorain county, and John F. MORSE, of Lake county, holding the balance of power. The repeal of the Black Laws,* which had long marred the statute books of Ohio, and their choice for a United States Senator, were the primary objects with the Free Soilers. Beside the election of a Senator, two judges were to be elected to the Supreme Bench. Mr. MORSE made overtures to the Whigs, but there were some few from the southern counties who opposed the repeal of the laws and to Joshua R. GIDDINGS, his choice for Senator, and hence he failed. Mr. TOWNSHEND was successful with the Democrats. They united with the Free Soilers, the Black Laws were repealed (in which vote most of the Whigs joined), Salmon P. CHASE, the personal choice of Mr. TOWNSHEND, was elected to the Senate, and two Democratic judges to the Supreme Bench.
This legislation provided schools for colored children. They were, however, in a certain sense Black Laws, inasmuch as a distinction was thereby shown between the races. This distinction was not entirely obliterated until the session of 1886-7, when they were repealed through the eloquent efforts of Benjamin W. ARNETT, D. D., member-elect from Greene county. He was the first colored man in the United States to represent a constituency where the majority were white and the first to be foreman of a jury where all the other members were white.
On May 6, 1850, the second constitutional convention, consisting of 108 members, met at Columbus to revise and change the old constitution and adapt it to the changed condition of the commonwealth. It was in actual session in all about four and a half months. The adjournment was March 10, 1851. The constitution was ratified by a majority of 16,288. William MEDILL, its president, was elected the first Governor under it.
On July 13, 1855 Free Soilers, Whigs, Democrats and Americans, opposed to the extension of slavery, met at the Town Street Methodist Church in Columbus and held the first Republican State Convention.
They elected John SHERMAN chairman and announced in their platform that they would “resist the spread of slavery under whatever shape or color it may be attempted.” They nominated Salmon P. CHASE as their Governor. The Whig party was from thenceforth no more. Mr. CHASE was elected by a ma-
jority of 15,651. His opposing Democratic candidate was Gov. MEDILL. Ex-Governor TRIMBLE, the candidate of the American, or Know Nothing party, received 24,276 votes. In 1857 Mr. CHASE was again re-elected Governor by 1,503 majority over Henry B. PAYNE, the Democratic candidate.
The great measure of Mr. CHASE’s administration was his suggestion to the legislature to organize the militia. It seems as though his vision was prophetic of coming events. In 1858 a grand review was held of the newly-organized military forces at Dayton, and rules and regulations governing military drills were printed and scattered among the militia, thereby creating a martial and patriotic spirit which afterwards burst out with almost uncontrollable enthusiasm.
“Slowly the nation was approaching the crisis of its history, and Mr. CHASE marched abreast of all events that led to it. In October, 1859, John BROWN made his famous invasion of Virginia, and immediately after Gov. Henry A. WISE wrote to Gov. CHASE, notifying him that Virginia would pursue abolition bands even into sister States to punish them. Mr. CHASE dignifiedly replied that Ohio would obey the constitution and laws of the United States and discountenance unlawful acts, but under no circumstances could the military of other States invade Ohio territory. This was his last official declaration as Governor. In January, 1860, his term closed, and he was a month later elected United States Senator.” *
William DENNINSON, the first of “the War Governors,” succeeded Mr. CHASE, being elected over Judge Rufus P. RANNEY, his Democratic competitor, by a majority of 13,331 votes. The legislature was in session when the news was received of the fall of Sumter and sent a thrill through that body. In midst of the excitement the shrill tones of a woman’s voice resounded from the gallery: “THANK GOD! It is the death of slavery.” They were the screaming tones of Abbie Kelly FOSTER, who for years had been noted as an anti-slavery lecturer of the most fiery denunciatory type.
Ohio’s response to the proclamation of President LINCOLN, calling for 75,000 of the militia of the several States, was immediate. From all parts of the State came proffers of services from tens of thousands, and on the 19th of April, only four days after the issuance of the call, the First and Second Regiments of Ohio Volunteers had been organized at Columbus and were on their way to Washington. The legislature simultaneously voted an appropriation of a million dollars for war purposes.
Senator GARFIELD also offered a bill, which was passed, “to define and punish treason against the State.” In his report Mr. GARFIELD said: “It is high time for Ohio to enact a law to meet treachery when it shall take the form of an overt act; to provoke when her soldiers shall go forth to maintain the Union there shall be no treacherous fire in the rear.” His bill was passed in consequence of the efforts of the Hon. C. L. VALLANDINGHAM, who was in Columbus, believing that the Union could not be sustained by force of arms, was vain endeavoring to stem the patriotic fervor which led the Democratic members of the Assembly equally with the Republican to maintain the Government.
Governor DENNISON was soon enveloped “in a whirlpool of events; but proved himself equal to the emergency.” Having contributed to the safety of Washington by the despatching thither of two regiments, his next attention was given to the southern border, along which for 436 miles Ohio was bounded by the slave States Virginia and Kentucky, and liable to invasion. The attitude of Virginia was most alarming. Her western mountains were a natural fortification admitting of perfect defence and behind which Richmond and the
whole South was secure and from whence they could make incursions into the free States. Less than eighty miles of free territory bordered Ohio on the east. The West Virginians who were loyal called for aid. The Ohio militia in pay of the State were pushed into West Virginia, gained the first victories of the war, and drove out the rebel troops. This being after the continued disasters at the East, electrified the nation. “Thus was West Virginia the gift of Ohio, through her State militia, to the nation at the outset of the war.” Gov. DENNISON had ere this written, “Ohio must lead throughout the war,” and she did. Geo. B. McCLELLAN, who had general command in West Virginia, through a prestige obtained by the celerity of action and promptness of his subordinates, mainly Gen. Wm S. ROSECRANS, was soon called to the head of the Army of the Potomac and Gov. DENNISON to the Cabinet of the nation.
In 1861 David TOD, the second “War Governor,” was elected by 55,000 majority over Hugh J. JEWETT, the nominee of the anti-war, or regular Democratic party of the State. The legislature was overwhelmingly Union Republican.
In September, 1862, occurred an event spoken of as the “Siege of Cincinnati.” Gen’s. Kirby SMITH and John MORGAN, with united forces, entered Kentucky, with the Ohio border as the objective point. Cincinnati was defenceless as they approached toward it, when Gov. TOD called for volunteers from citizens, who, under the general name of “squirrel-hunters,” for many brought their shotguns, flocked to the number of thousands from all parts of the State to the defence of their great and patriotic city. Major-Gen. Lewis WALLACE was put in command. He proclaimed martial law over the three cities of Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport, and fortifications were thrown up on the Kentucky hills, on all the avenues of approach to the city, and full preparations made to meet the foe. The “squirrel-hunters,” Home Guards of Cincinnati, with some newly-formed regiments, crossed the Ohio on a pontoon, marched out four miles, and there awaited for four days the attack of the enemy. There was some slight skirmishing of pickets, when the enemy, seeing the strength of force arrayed against them, withdrew.
The next year, 1863, Mr. VALLANDGIGHAM continuing to influence public sentiment in Ohio by the eloquent and fearless presentation of his peace views, tending to the aid and comfort of those in arms against the Union, was seized, tried by court-martial, and found guilty of disobedience of military orders, and sentenced to imprisonment during the war. Mr. LINCOLN changed this sentence to transportation to his friends within the lines of the Southern Confederacy. He passed through these rapidly, and reaching Wilmington, North Carolina, June 17, where, taking a blockade-runner, he reached Canada, and established himself at Windsor, opposite Detroit, communicated with his friends in Ohio, and awaited events.
This summer was made further notable by the raid of Gen. John MORGAN through Ohio. With only about 2,000 horsemen he entered it on the Indiana border, passed within fourteen miles of Cincinnati, went through the entire southern part of Ohio, and, although over 50,000 men, mostly citizens, were in pursuit, he escaped capture until within a few miles of a crossing-place on the Ohio, in its southeastern most county, on the Pennsylvania line. The object of this audacious raid was to distract attention from the movements of the Confederates in Kentucky and Tennessee, and it accomplished it.
On the 17th of June this year the Union Republican Convention met at Columbus, and nominated John BROUGH, an old-line Democrat, for Governor, he being of great popularity, and of such extraordinary executive ability as well as oratorical powers as to be thought more likely to carry the State than Mr. TOD, its then executive.
to nominate him. And there on the border he counselled with his adherents, watched and directed the canvass. As it drew towards its close, when the speeches had all been made, and the issues fairly laid before the people, a few hours remained ere the depositing of the ballots, when a feeling of deep solemnity pervaded the entire commonwealth. The eyes of the whole nation were upon Ohio; on her hung the death or salvation of the Union. If Ohio should prove recreant all was lost.
Ohio was true; she always is. John C. BROUGH was elected Governor by the unprecedented majority of 101,099 votes. Of this the home majority was 61,920, and the soldiers’ majority 39,179. Out of 43,755 soldier votes only 2,288 were given for VALLANDINGHAM. In multitudes of cases the sons in the army voted one way, while the fathers at home on their farms, secure from war’s alarms, voted the other. The soldier’s vote was a signal illustration of the noble principle that those who mostly do sacrifice for a righteous cause mostly do love it.
Of the citizens who remained at home over 180,000 signified their preference for VALLANDINGHAM. Many sincerely regarded him as the subject of oppression they were patriotic, but despairing of success, and tired, sick at heart, of what seemed an idle effusion of blood and prolongation of suffering and misery. Still others there were, probably but a trifling number, who, in the malignancy of an evil nature, desired to see the triumph of the “slave power,” that there might remain a class the lower than themselves to tread and spit upon, a spirit that was illustrated by the riots at this era in New York, where an orphan asylum for colored children was given to the flames and black men shot dead in cold blood for no offence but the offence of color.
Mr. BROUGH, the last of Ohio’s War Governors, was the man for the most trying crisis. From the opposition to the war, Mr. LINCOLN was fearful that another draft upon the people would result in failure, and more troops were imperative. Seeing this, Gov. BROUGH called a convention of the Governor of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, which, with himself representing Ohio met in convention, and on April 21, 1864, notified Mr. LINCOLN that they could furnish him with 85,000 men for 100 days, without a dollar of bounty or single draft. These were citizen volunteers, largely men advanced in years and with families, and holding responsible positions, the object of their brief service being mainly to garrison the forts, and thus relieve the veteran soldiers to reinforce GRANT in Virginia, and enable him by weight of numbers of disciplined men to crush the rebellion. Of these Ohio supplied nearly half of the required number—over 30,000 men—National Guards, as they were called. The measure was most effective and their services most timely. It was a splendid contribution of the loyal West to the cause of the Union. Mr. BROUGH declined renomination, and died in office.
The arms of Ohio’s sons in the field were sustained by the work of Ohio, daughters at home. As Ohio’s soldiers were the first to gain victories, so women of Ohio were the first to organize aid societies. In five days after the fall of Sumter the ladies of the “Soldiers’ Aid Society of Northern Ohio” organized at Cleveland, which eventually distributed food and clothing to amount of a million of dollars. A similar organization was started in Cincinnati, which was alike successful, and every church and Sunday-school in State became tributary channels through which flowed gifts to sustain the soldiers in front. When the war closed more than one-half of her able-bodied men had taken up arms for the Union, and she had shown herself to have the most efficient of all the States, supplying, as she had, the most successful generals and the largest number of able men in the Cabinet of the President and in the councils of the nation.
pages and the quality of the varied people of Anglo-Saxon blood, who from the fringe of the Atlantic slope, from Virginia to New England, a hundred years ago first began to emigrate to its soil, dedicated while yet a wildness to freedom. Unlike the emigrant to the prairie States father West, starting earlier, they had greater difficulties to encounter from the savage and the wilderness. They grew strong by felling its vast forest and opening them to cultivation, and seeing progress year by year as they overcame obstacle after obstacle, until an entire race of me were born upon the soil, who, educated by continued success, were filled with the sentiment of invincibility that will put a people that possess it everywhere to the front-make them born leaders.
Ohio to-day is in the very heart of the nation; and, being on its great highway, over which its commerce and travel flow, and where its people must mingle for an interchange and broadening of ideas, she must infallibly be national and broad in her policy and character. Her soil is of the richest, and there is no preponderating industry to give to her citizens a one-sided development. Agriculture, manufactures, mining, and commerce, the four great pursuits of man, she has in remarkable equipoise. To this should be added prominence in education.
The unusually large numbers of small colleges, cheap and accessible everywhere, have given multitudes the prome requiste of the higher education, that, mental discipline, and the uses of the instruments of knowledge. These, with natural capacity, will ever enable their possessors to attain to the very summits. In instructions in learning she has produced a host, and to-day, in the department of religion, she shows an unsurpassed spirit of Christian enterprise and self-sacrifice, leading all the States in the number of missionaries to heathen lands.
The noble history of the state, the heroic character of her sons and daughters so signally shown therein, the many eminent leaders she has produced in every department, remain an imperishable inspiration to the young now born upon her soil to further advance the commonwealth in everything that will inure to her moral and material grandeur.