The Building of the State
April 7, 1888, Marietta, Ohio
ADDRESS OF JUDGE JOSEPH COX.
at the Centennial Celebration
at Marietta, April Seventh, 1888
THE BUILDING OF THE STATE.
THE first settlement in this State, at Marietta, and organization of the Northwest Territory, under the Ordinance of 1787, were the most notable events in the history of our country, and deserve to rank among the greatest of the civilized world. The Territory having been wrested from the domination of foreign nations by the combined strength of the American Colonies after the eight years' struggle of the Revolutionary war, it became at once a subject of intense interest as to what disposition should be made of it. The soldiers of the Revolution, who had periled their all in defense of the country, claimed it as the common inheritance of all the Colonies, and to be disposed of by a central government. Virginia, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts also made claims of different kinds to it, and it was not until 1786 that these conflicting contentions were settled, and it was agreed by their relinquishment that the land should be the property of the United States, then existing under the “ Articles of Confederation,” to be formed into States, and to be admitted into the Union when so formed, upon equal footing in all respects with the original States, and the land disposed of for the common benefit of all the States, the manner and conditions of sale to be regulated exclusively by Congress.
Consider the vastness of the territory thus to be controlled, embracing nearly 240,000 square miles, or 150,000,000 acres! A land not then fully explored by white men, but so far as known, considered to be one of boundless forests, immense swamps, extensive prairies, impassable rivers, rough and barren hills, yet rich in all the possible resources for future habitations, but filled with wild beasts alert in pursuit of their prey roving bands of savages numbering, as was supposed, nearly sixty thousand warriors, claiming title to the soil, and jealous of every encroachment on their hunting grounds by their enemy, the white man. This wilderness, thus beset with hardships and danger, if settled, must be by men and women reared in the civilization of the Eastern States, abandoning their long-cherished homes and all the comforts and refinements to which they had been accustomed, and taking a long and toilsome march over the Allegheny mountains. The hostile Indian must be appeased by treaty or kindness; these failing, by war, ere their new homes or lives were safe. The wolf, and bear, and panther must be kept from the door by long and weary watches; the wilderness must be cleared by hard and exhaustive toil before bread could be raised, and all this, with the sickness, incident to a new country, wearing their strength and lives away.
All this aboriginal rudeness and savagery lurked at the western border of the old States, a standing menace to all peace and security. No treaty had thus far been sufficient to prevent this. The independence of the colonies having been achieved and acknowledged, the eyes of the world were turned to America as the paradise of nations, where man could be the arbiter of his own destiny, and there was every probability that the available lands along the eastern stretch of the Alleghanies to the Atlantic Ocean would be rapidly filled by the incoming hosts from foreign lands. National needs, as well as national security, required that the vast Western territory should no longer be the sole homes of savages, but should be reclaimed and converted into homes for civilized men.
But who shall be equal to this great task? Where are the men with sufficient nerve and muscle to face these dangers and conquer them? With a rich and powerful government behind them to protect and aid, the demand might easily have been filled. But a long and exhaustive war had depleted the Treasury, left the nation almost hopelessly involved in debt to its citizen soldiery, its bonds and obligations for millions outstanding unpaid, with no resources by which to redeem them, and to add to this, the land filled with counterfeited scrip and bills, almost impossible to be distinguished from the genuine. What, therefore, could be expected from the government? In this emergency there stepped forward nearly three hundred soldiers who had borne the heat and burden of a long campaign of eight years, under Washington, who had left their wives and children at home to eke out a scanty living as best they might while the husbands and fathers were fighting for their country's independence, and now with broken fortunes and health, and tattered clothes, but with hearts overflowing with patriotism, they presented themselves to the Congress by their leader, General Rufus Putnam, and said: “Ten years ago, when war was proclaimed against the Mother Country, you promised bounties in land to the soldiers of the Revolution who should continue to the close of the war, or until discharged, and to their representatives, should they be slain by the enemy, where the remainder of their days might be passed on their own lands, in the enjoyment of that freedom for which they periled their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. We have faithfully performed our duty, as history will record. We come to you now and ask that in redemption of your promise you give us homes in that Western wilderness, and our stout arms will cope with the savages if need be; we will hew down the forests, and therein erect temples to the living God, raise and educate our children to serve and love and honor the Nation for which their fathers fought, cultivate farms, build towns and cities, and make that wilderness the pride and glory of the nation. All we ask is that it shall be consecrated to us and our children forever, with the blessings of that Declaration which proclaimed to the world, and sustained by our arms, established is self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these ends governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.”
It is not necessary that I should here repeat the long struggle and many endeavors of Washington, General Putnam, Manasseh Cutler, and others, to surmount the difficulties in their path, but which were ultimately successful, in the grant to the Ohio Company and the adoption of that wonderful Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwest Territory. I call it wonderful, for the clearness of its enunciation of principles of government, based on the true rights of man, not only for that time, but for all time, has had no equal in history. It is sometimes said of great events “ that men build wiser than they know.” But that can not be said of this instrument. It was not framed in the dark or by guesswork. It was the work of wise, thoughtful men who were framing, as they believed, an instrument on which depended all the future fortune and happiness of themselves and their posterity to remote generations, and the history of its birth shows that every part was carefully scanned, and every principle it contains tenaciously adhered to, until success crowned their efforts. How few there are who fully comprehend its great importance and the invaluable guarantees it gave! By the general mind, it is referred to as only an ordinance, which provided that slavery and involuntary servitude should never exist in the Territory. This, it is true, is one of its great features. But it contained infinitely more than that. Its principles are greater than those of Magna Charta wrested by the English barons from King John. It was the first fruits of the Declaration of Independence-the first crystallization of its principles into organic law. It fixed rights and obligations which are of the very essence of the natural and inherent rights of man. It provided for the protection of personal property and freedom of conscience of every man. It declares that the estates of residents and non-resident proprietors in the Northwest Territory dying without wills should descend to and be distributed among their children and the descendants of a deceased child, or grandchild, to take the share of their parents in equal parts among them; and when there shall be no children or descendants, then in equal parts to the next of kin, in equal degree; and among collaterals the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have, in equal parts among them, their deceased parent's share; and there shall be in no case a distinction between the kindred of the whole and of the half blood, saving in all cases to the widow one-third part of the real estate for life and one-third part of the personalty; thus striking down with one blow the old English law of primogeniture, by which the firstborn alone inherited the estate law which has been the curse of that and every other country where it has been adopted.
It gave the proprietor the right to devise his property by will to whomsoever he chose-to convey it by lease or bargain and sale, thus giving him the absolute ownership of all the property he might accumulate.
It proclaimed absolute freedom in religion by providing that no person should ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments; that all should be entitled to the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus to test the legality of detention or imprisonment, and should be also entitled to trial by jury; and all should be protected by judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law; that all should be bailable, except for capital cases, when the proof should be evident or the presumption great; fines for offenses should be moderate, no cruel or unusual punishment inflicted; no man to be deprived of his liberty or property but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; if the public necessity demanded that his property be taken for the common benefit or his own services so required, that full compensation be paid; and that no law ought ever to be passed which shall in any manner whatever interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements bona fide and without fraud previously formed.
It declared the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty to form the basis whereon these Republics, their laws and constitutions are founded, and that this ordinance was to fix and establish these principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments which forever hereafter shall be formed in said Territory. And that religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
That the utmost good faith should be observed toward the Indian; his property shall not be taken without his consent, and they shall never be invaded or disturbed unless in just or lawful war, authorized by Congress; and it provided for a Governor, Executive officers, Legislative Assembly, and Courts of Justice; for the formation of not less than three, nor more than five, States in the territory, under constitutions to be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles; and that such States might be admitted, so far as might be consistent with the general interest of the Confederacy, with a number of free inhabitants less than 60,000. And it declared that these articles shall be considered articles of compact between the original States and the people and States of said territory, and forever unalterable, unless by common consent.
Looking over this whole Ordinance, section by section, who can point to any previous one which so clearly defined and so fully provided for the protection of all the rights of persons and property?
Armed and protected with this charter and pledge of their government, a portion of this brave remnant of the soldiers of the Revolution, in the dreary midwinter of 1787-8, bade farewell to all the cherished endearments of the homes of their birth and childhood, and took their solitary way over fields made gory by the blood of their slain kinsmen in many a hard-fought battle, crossed rough and inhospitable mountains, waded through snow and streams, scantily clothed and poorly fed, and, after many weary weeks, on the seventh of April, one hundred years ago, landed on yonder point beneath the shadows of those monuments of a race long since swept from the face of the earth, their homes melted away and their sites recovered with the forests of ages, and their name and history unwrit and forgotten. That memorable seventh of April, 1788, should never be forgotten, or passed over in silence, by any one who venerates the heroic character of the grand men who first planted their feet on this soil on that day.
Here on that day, on the broad and true foundation of the Declaration of Independence and the Ordinance of 1787, these brave men began the work of the building of this State. But in that great work they were not to be left unaided. Reports of the vast resources of the Western territory, its fine climate, its great possibilities for agriculture, manufacture and commerce, its great lakes, noble rivers and the free character impressed on it by the government, spread through all classes of society, and application was made to Congress for the sale of other portions and its opening to settlement by other associations, similar to that of the Ohio Company. A portion in the south-western part of the State had been reserved by Virginia for the soldiers from that State who had fought for their country, and another by Connecticut in the central part for those of her citizens who had suffered by fire from the incursions of the British in that State, and these were beginning to be occupied. Judge John Cleves Symmes, of New Jersey, who had been a Delegate in Congress and was now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of that State, on the 29th of August, 1787, made application to the President and Congress for the purchase of lands lying at the mouth of the Big Miami (now the southwestern end of the State), thence up the Ohio to the mouth of the Little Miami so as to embrace about a million of acres.
After many negotiations with the Commissioners and frequent changes in terms (owing, as in that of the Ohio Company, to the difficulty of obtaining government scrip, because it had risen rapidly as soon as it was seen that the government would take it in payment for land), Judge Symmes, supposing his contract agreed upon, started in July, 1788, with a train of fourteen four-horse wagons and sixty persons, to locate on his new purchase.
He came, as did the Ohio Company, over the Allegheny mountains, and by way of Pittsburg and Wheeling in flatboats, stopping a brief time at Marietta to confer with the inhabitants there, a portion of whom, with Manasseh Cutler, he had seen at Bedford, Penn., on their route, and on the 22d of September landed at the mouth of the Little Miami river, above Cincinnati, and explored a portion of the country in the rear. But he made no permanent settlement then, but returned to Limestone (now Maysville), Kentucky. The Indians had become restive under the now apparent determination of the whites to make large permanent settlements in the territory, and, under pretense that former treaties made with some of their tribes had been with persons unauthorized to act for whole tribes, made frequent incursions on all the white settlements, stealing property, burning cabins, and killing the inmates. Repeated attempts had been made to hold definitive treaties with persons acknowledged as authorized by all the tribes, but in vain.
In October, 1786, General Clark had invited all the savages of the Northwest to meet him in council in November, but they replied it was too late in the season, and the meeting was postponed until April, 1787. Nothing had been done, however, until July, when the Superintendent of Indian Affairs was ordered to proceed to Vincennes and hold a council with the Wabash and Shawnees. It was finally determined that a treaty should be held early in '88 with these tribes, by the Governor of the new Territory, and troops to preserve peace were stationed at Venango, Fort Pitt, Fort McIntosh, the Muskingum, Miami, Vincennes and Louisville, Ky., and the militia of Kentucky were held in readiness for any emergency. But these preparations had no effect; the Indians were neither overawed, conquered, nor satisfied, and all further proceedings were continued until January, 1789, when the meeting was held at Fort Harmar.
But, notwithstanding these difficulties, the settlers went on with their improvements, guarding as well as they might against the incursions of the savages. When Symmes returned to Limestone from the Miamis, Major Benjamin Stites went down with twenty-six persons and built a block-house near the mouth of the Little Miami, on the 25th of November, 1788, and established the town of Columbia, now a part of Cincinnati.
During all this time the Indians were lingering about the settlements at Marietta and the Miamis, evidently hostile, but apparently friendly, until satisfactory treaties could be made.
At Marietta the settlement increased and went on prosperously. The inhabitants were watchful and industrious. Houses were built to shelter them, new improvements projected, a church and school-house erected, and now it contained one hundred and thirty-three men, fifteen of whom had families. That all might be protected under some kind of law, the Governor not having yet arrived to promulgate any, the people met together and framed such as were necessary for their temporary security, and that all might became acquainted with them they were publicly nailed on a large oak tree on the Point, the most public place in the village, and Return Jonathan Meigs was appointed to administer them. As a strong evidence of the good habits of the people, it is said that during the three months of their existence but one difference arose, and that was compromised. This well justified the assertion of Washington that “no colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum. Information, property and strength will be its characteristics. I know many of the settlers personally, and there never were men better calculated to promote the welfare of such a community.”
On the second of July, 1788, the village was publicly christened Marietta, after the unfortunate French Queen, Marie Antoinette, it having before that borne the name of Adelphia. On the fourth, a celebration of the anniversary of independence was held, Judge Varnum delivering the oration, and on the ninth, General Arthur St. Clair, who had been appointed Governor, arrived. The first law regulating the militia was published, and on the twentysixth the Governor issued a proclamation creating all the country which had been ceded by the Indians east of the Scioto into the county of Washington. On the second of September, 1788, the first Court was opened with appropriate ceremonies. The description, as given by the historian, is one worthy of the pencil of the greatest of painters, and I well remember when, as a boy, I first read it, the enthusiastic feelings it raised in me. Never was a court established with a more becoming sense of the great importance of that tribunal, which should ever sit as the representative of God dispensing justice on earth. I love still to read that description, and fancy myself one of the interested spectators.
The procession was formed at the Point, where most of the settlers resided, in the following order:
1. The High Sheriff (Colonel Ebenezer Sproat) with drawn sword. He is described as a man of uncommonly tall, portly person and commanding figure, who at once attracted the attention of the Indians, who styled him the Big Buckeye. He had been conspicuous in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth and many others in the Revolutionary war. He was a man of bold and dauntless courage, and bore that sword of sheriff for fourteen years.
2. The citizens! What a grand company of citizens! Generals and colonels, majors, captains, inferior officers and private soldiers who had passed through the blood, fires of the Revolution, now marching in the quiet garbs of citizens to enthrone a court of justice, which should in peace be the arbiter of all their rights of life, person and property.
3. Officers of the garrison of Fort Harmar, composed of the same class of men, but yet in the military service to protect the colony.
4. Members of the bar, now transferred from the fierce arena of war to the calm contention of mind with mind.
5. The Supreme Judges, General Samuel H. Parsons and General James M. Varnum, both distinguished officers of the Revolutionary army, and eminent lawyers and statesmen.
6. The Governor, General Arthur St. Clair, distinguished also in the same war and as President of the Continental Congress.
7. The newly appointed Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Generals Rufus Putnam and Benjamin Tupper, both also distinguished in that war, and also as the fathers of the new colony and its most active promoters. This august procession marched up a path that had been cut and cleared through the forest to Campus Martius (the stockade), when the whole counter-marched and the Judges took their seats. Rev. Dr. Manasseh Cutler, one of the most eminent clergymen of the time, a chaplain in the Revolutionary army, a member of Congress afterward, and one of the most active and intelligent in forming the Ohio Company, then invoked the Divine blessing, and the sheriff solemnly proclaimed that a Court is now open for the administration of even-handed justice to the poor and rich, to the guilty and the innocent, without respect of persons, none to be punished without a trial by their peers, and then in pursuance of the law and evidence in the case. As witnesses to this spectacle was a large body of Indians from the most powerful tribes in the entire West, who had assembled for the purpose of making a treaty. The court of justice of the State then so solemnly opened has, in all these hundred years, never been closed; but is still open to all classes who seek redress for wrongs. The Territorial government, having been now established, with General St. Clair, Governor; Winthrop Sargent, Secretary; Samuel H. Parsons, John C. Symmes (in place of John Armstrong, resigned,) and James M. Varnum began the duty of legislating for the Territory, and continued in session until December, enacting a number of laws, which, however, were not approved by Congress, on the ground that the Governor and Judges had authority only to adopt existing laws from the codes of the original States, but not to enact laws of their own formation. On July 2, 1788, Congress was informed officially that a sufficient number of States had ratified the new constitution of the United States, and measures were taken to put it in force.
On January 9, 1789, at Fort Harmar, a treaty of peace was made with the Indian tribes. With the Iroquois, confirming the previous one at Fort Stanwix in 1784; another with the Wyandottes, Delawares, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattamies and Sacs, confirming and extending the treaty of Fort McIntosh of January, 1785.
The first Congress under the new constitution of the United States assembled at Federal Hall, Wall street, New York, in April, 1789, and installed George Washington as first President of the United States, and one of its first official acts was to confirm the treaty made at Fort Harmar.
The terms of Territorial officers having expired on the adoption of the new constitution, President Washington appointed General St. Clair, Governor; Winthrop Sargent, Secretary; Samuel H. Parsons, John Cleves Symmes and William Barton, Judges of the General Court. William Barton declined, and George Turner was appointed in his stead. Judge Parsons died shortly after, and General Rufus Putnam was appointed in his place.
While affairs were thus progressing at Marietta, active steps were being taken in the Miami Purchase. On the 24th of December, 1788, Israel Ludlow, Matthias Denman, Robert Patterson, Joel Williams and twenty-three other men left Limestone, and on the 28th of December, amid floating ice that filled the Ohio from shore to shore, landed at Losantiville, now Cincinnati. This party proceeded at once to lay out, survey and make a plat of the new town. By the close of the year eleven families and twenty-four unmarried men were residents. On the 9th of August Captain Strong, with Lieutenant Kingsbury and Ensign Hartshorn and a company of seventy men left Marietta, and on the 11th Captain Ferguson and Major Doughty followed, for the purpose of clearing ground and laying out a new fort for the protection of the settlers in Symmes' Purchase. After reconnoitering for three days from the Little to the Big Miami for an eligible site, he at length fixed on that opposite the mouth of the Licking river, which he represented as high and healthy, abounding with neverfailing springs, and the most proper position he could find. On the 26th of September, 1789, he began the building of Fort Washington, in Cincinnati on the square bounded by Third and Fourth and Broadway and Ludlow street, on a reservation of fifteen acres made by the government. On the 24th of December, 1789, General Harmar left Fort Harmar with a small fleet of boats and three hundred men, and on the 28th landed at, and took command of, Fort Washington. Major Doughty returned to the command of Fort Harmar, and thenceforth for a number of years Fort Washington was the headquarters of the United States army in the West.
In this settlement, as well as at Marietta, was felt the necessity of religious services and educational privileges. On the twenty-fourth of January, 1790, the Baptist Church was organized at Columbia, with Rev. Stephen Gano as pastor, and shortly after an academy, with John Reilly as teacher; and in 1791 Rev. James Kemper was installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Cincinnati, and a church erected in 1792, on the corner of Fourth and Main, where the present church stands, and on the same lot the Cincinnati College Building.
On the second of January, 1790, Governor St. Clair arrived at Cincinnati and organized the County of Hamilton, and changed the name of the town from Losantiville to Cincinnati, after that of the society organized by the officers of the Revolutionary army, of which he was a prominent member. William Goforth, William Wells, and William McMillan were appointed Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, I. Brown, Sheriff, and Israel Ludlow, Prothonotary or Clerk, and officers of the militia were appointed. As at Marietta before Governor St. Clair arrived, the people had been governed by laws of their own making, with Israel Ludlow appointed by them as Sheriff to execute them. But after the Governor arrived Courts began to sit regularly, and the community came easily under the forces of law and order. A celebration was held on the fourth of July, with a salute of thirteen guns and a military parade. The original settlers of Cincinnati were like those of Marietta, mostly composed of officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary war.
But now the depredations of the Indians became more frequent and alarming No settlement was safe from attack by day or night. The Indians threw off all restraints of tactics, and seemed bent on annihilating every settlement with the torch, tomahawk, and scalping knife. It was then determined that General Harmar should march to the Indian towns at the head of the Miami of the Lakes, and inflict such chastisement upon them as would protect from further depredations. His command consisted of 320 regular troops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and 1,133 drafted militia from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. He proceeded on his toilsome journey through the wilderness and the great swamp, and on the 30th of September, 1790, arrived at the Indian towns on the Maumee, and in the neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Ind., and, after destroying a number of them and laying waste their corn-fields, he was attacked at different points by large bodies of Indians, and, after suffering great loss of men, was compelled to retreat with the remnant of his forces to Fort Washington, which he left shortly after for Philadelphia, being succeeded in command by General St. Clair. Repeated attempts were made after this to induce the Indians to cease their depredations, but in vain, and the situation at every point became more alarming. General Putnam, writing to the President, January 2, 1791, reported an attack on Big Bottom, forty miles up the river, in which eleven men, one woman and two children were killed, three men missing and six escaped. “Thus,” he says, “the war which was partial before the campaign of last year is in all probability become general. Our situation is truly critical. * * * Several settlements are broken up * * * and unless Government speedily send a body of troops for our protection we are a ruined people.”
Similar complaints and appeals were made by Judge Symmes and others. The government became aroused to a true appreciation of the real danger and determined to take the most active measures. From the high character of General St. Clair in the army, Washington appointed him Major-General of all the troops to be employed on the frontier, and he was directed to proceed to the Indian country and attempt to establish a just and liberal peace with all the Indian tribes; but, if all lenient means failed, to use such coercive measures as he should possess. Under these orders he proceeded to organize his army at Ludlow Station, now in the northern part of Cincinnati, and on the 17th of September, 1792, with 2,300 men, exclusive of militia, he moved forward twenty-five miles to the Great Miami river and erected Fort Hamilton on the site of the pre sent city of Hamilton; thence forty-four' miles and erected Fort Jefferson, six miles south of where Greenville, in Darke county, now stands, and on the 24th of October marched northward through the wilderness. The roads were heavy and wet, the militia began deserting, the commander was enfeebled by disease, when, on the morning of November 4th, near what is now Fort Recovery, in Mercer county, just at daylight, they were attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians and terribly defeated (over six hundred killed) and the army straggled back bleeding and torn to Fort Washington. This defeat sent a thrill of horror through the nation.
The Indians, triumphant and instigated by British traders, were truly on the war path. Every attempt to mollify them utterly failed, and it was determined to send a new force against them under a new commander. The selection was a difficult one: two brave and distinguished Generals had already failed. Generals Morgan, Scott, Wayne, Henry Lee and Colonel Darke were suggested. Washington finally selected General Anthony Wayne, to the extreme disgust of all orders, it is said, in the Old Dominion, as Governor Lee then wrote him. But Washington was inflexible in his choice; and it was well, for it inspired everywhere confidence in the desponding. The old soldiers of the Revolution remembered him at Brandywine, Monmouth, Valley Forge, and at Stony Point, where, when leading his forces and falling, as was supposed, mortally wounded, he yet cried out to his men: “March on! Carry me into the fort, for I will die at the head of my column!” Never was confidence better warranted. On the 15th of August, 1794 with an army of 2,600, he started on his March from Fort Washington to the Indian country. Victory perched on his banner at the battle of The Fallen Timbers, on the Maumee. His name became a terror to the Indians as Mad Anthony. They sued for peace, and the treaty at Greenville, in 1795, followed, giving peace to all the Territory for seventeen years. The remnant of his victorious army returned in triumph to Fort Washington and was disbanded. The gallant General shortly after retiring to Erie, Penn., in broken health, where he died the following year, leaving an honored name for bravery and patriotism, which can never be forgotten by the people of these States. Conspicuous on his staff in all this campaign was a young officer, who but a year or two before had come from Virginia, and whom he afterward placed in command of Fort Washington as Captain, William Henry Harrison, the son of the President of the Congressional Committee of the Whole when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and whose name is appended to that instrument, and who was three times elected Governor of Virginia. The history of the son is too well known to more than name his career as first Delegate in Congress from this Territory, Governor of Indiana Territory, United States Senator, Commander-in-Chief of the Western forces at Tippecanoe, River Rasin, and the Thames, Minister to Columbia, and President of the United States.
And now, with peace once more restored, the people returned to all the peaceful avocations of life which had so long been invaded by war. All the old States poured the men and women of their best and bravest blood into the Territory. A new impulse was given to trade and agriculture. Forests were rapidly felled, towns sprang up as if by magic, all the hopes of the early pioneers were fast blossoming into fruit.
In 1798 the territory contained 15,000 white male inhabitants, and it was, therefore, entitled to enter on the second grade of the Territorial government. The government accordingly called the people to elect representatives to the first General Assembly, and required the members elected to meet at Cincinnati in convention, to nominate ten persons, to be returned to the President of the United States, out of whom five were to be selected by him, with the consent of the Senate, to be commissioned as a Legislative Council. The representatives were chosen, and on the fourth of February, 1799, nominated ten names, out of which were commissioned Jacob Burnet and James Findlay, of Cincinnati; Henry Vanderburgh, of Vincennes; Robert Oliver, of Marietta, and David Vance, of Vanceville. A Legislative body was selected, composed of the most substantial men of the country.
Both branches assembled at Cincinnati September 16, 1799, and elected their officers. On the 3rd of October in joint session they elected William H. Harrison as the first Delegate to Congress. He had been acting as Secretary of the territory, but immediately resigned and went to Philadelphia and took his seat in Congress. His first act was to offer a resolution to subdivide the surveys of public lands and have them offered for sale in small tracts. This he succeeded in having passed, although resisted by land speculators. This was a most beneficent measure. It put it in the power of every industrious man, however poor, to own his own home. He also obtained liberal extension for the payment of those who had acquired preemption rights. At the same session Congress divided the Northwest Territory by establishing the new Territory of Indiana, and Harrison was appointed Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which he accepted and resigned his seat in Congress. The new Legislature applied itself assiduously to the work of reorganizing the laws of the Territory, and the subject of education engaged their most serious attention, and Congress was urged to secure to the Territory the title of lands promised for the support of schools and colleges, including section 16 in every township.
During the session a memorial was presented by officers of the Virginia line in Continental service in the Revolutionary war praying for toleration to remove with their slaves to the military bounty lands. As the Ordinance of 1787 prohibited it, the body had no other alternative but to reject it. “But,” said Judge Burnet, a member of the body, (and the author of most of the early laws of the State,) “the public feeling on the subject of admitting slavery into the Territory was such that the request would have been denied by a unanimous vote of the Legislature if it had the power of granting it.” The next session was by act of Congress removed to Chillicothe, when William McMillan was elected delegate to Congress to fill the place of Mr Harrison till March 4th and Paul Fearing, of Marietta, for the two years thereafter. The Legislature met in Chillicothe in 1801, and sat from November to January, 1802, and adjourned to meet in Cincinnati in November following. In January, 1802, a census was taken of the eastern division of the Territory, which was found to contain 45,028 persons of both sexes, and application was made to Congress for leave to call a convention to establish a State government. This was granted, and on the 1st of November, 1802, the convention met at Chillicothe and remained in session till the 29th, when the constitution was ratified and signed by the members, and thus became the fundamental law without any submission to the people. The entire proceedings of the convention are contained in a pamphlet of fortyine pages.
Its provisions were in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Ordinance of 1787 and Ohio then became one of the States of the Union, on equal terms with the other States, and under it our fathers proceeded to build up this great State. Although many thought the formation of the State was premature, yet it really proved the wisest course. It gave a spirit of ambition and independence to the people, which became visible in every avocation. This constitution remained in force fifty years, when a new one was adopted to suit the growing necessities of the people. Under that constitution new emigration set to the State, and soon the active industry of the farmers produced more food than supplied their necessities, and they began to seek market for it. But there were no railroads or turnpikes or canals, and the only available route for iransportation was by the Ohio and Mississippi river so the markets of New Orleans or the sea. This had, to some extent, been used by flatoats, and in 1801 a ship was built at Marietta and successfully passed down to the ocean. But as Spain owned Louisiana, she put obstructions in the way of navigating these waters until her overthrow by Napoleon, who in 1803 conveyed the whole territory to the United States for eighty million of francs, or about $15,000,000, thus giving an unvexed way through the whole route to the sea.
Under all these favorable circumstances the State grew rapidly. The building of vessels began at Marietta, by that brave veteran seaman of the Revolution, Commodore Whipple, which carried the produce of the valley to New Orleans, England and Russia. Population rapidly increased, and peace spread all over our border, till in June, 1812, the incursion of the Indians on our northern and western borders, aided by the. British traders, and the claim of Great Britain of the right to impress our seamen on the high seas, made it necessary for the United States to declare war against Great Britain, The Northwest Territory and Ohio were the principal theatres of the war. We met with defeat and disaster at first from the combined efforts of the British and Indians under command of Proctor and Tecumseh, but these were wiped out by the splendid achievements of Colonel Croghan's defense of Fort Stephenson, Perry's victory on Lake Erie, the total defeat of the allied British and savages on the Thames by General Harrison, and the closing triumph of General Jackson at New Orleans.
In all these contests the men of Ohio had a large share, and performed feats of valor worthy of their heroic ancestors.
Nor did this stay the onward progress of the State. In 1800 Ohio was the seventeenth State in population; in 1810, the thirteenth; in 1820, the fifth; in 1830, the fourth; in 1840, the third. In 1790 her population was 3,000; in 1800, 45,365; in 1820, 581,484; in 1830, 935,872; in 1840, 1,519,467; in 1850, 1,980,408; in 1860, 2,339,511; in 1870, 2,665,260; in 1880, 3,198,239; an increase possibly in 1888 to 3,600,000, nearly equal to the population of the whole United States at the time of the Revolutionary war.
Its religious progress is marked by over ten thousand churches of all denominations.
In education-12,703 public school-houses, value, $28,467,409; 24,620 teachers; number of pupils in daily attendance, 577,844; annual expense, $10,123,897. Besides these there are 320 incorporated colleges and academies, and 270 incorporated literary and library associations.
We have 9,363 miles of railroads, value $91,264,178, paying an annual tax of $1,504,093; 697 miles of canals, innumerable turnpikes, stretching over every one of the eighty-eight counties, most of them without toll to travelers; and the great swamps of the Northwest are drained by thousands of miles of ditches, making them the most fertile lands on the continent.
The State contains 25,535,846 acres of land of the value of $712,436,424; this is divided into 240,000 farms. The chattel property in the duplicate is $509,913,568, making a total value of chattel and real property of $1,670,079,568, on which is paid an annual tax of $31,167,510. Of the land 9,805,305 acres are cultivated as farms, and 6,214,862 acres as pasture. Over these farms and pasture roam 1,665,223 cattle, 4,295,839 sheep, 746,366 horses, 24,818 mules, 1,606,936 hogs. In 1886 we raised 40,366,868 bushels of wheat and 112,192,744 bushels of corn. We had 595,524 milch cows, from which were churned 45,769,819 pounds of butter. While the hens, partaking of the general industrial activity, laid 32,620,451 dozen of eggs. Of cheese 38,420,451 pounds were made, and 3,588,248 pounds exported from the State. Of wool we clipped 23,558,070 pounds.
We have 588 coal mines, employing 19,704 men, and produce 7.816,017 tons of coal, while the product of the numerous oil and natural gas wells simply defies all arithmetical computation. In the last twenty-two months 6,694,539 barrels of oil have been produced. In every town in the State are numerous manufactories with steam engines, roaring and hammering, cutting and sawing out all articles of usefulness for other manufactories, for the farmers and for every useful avocation at home, and shipping machinery and manufactured articles to all parts of our own and foreign countries. The Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops, reports his inspection in 1887 of 3581 factories and workshops in thirty towns, as employing 168,570 persons. Connecting all parts of the State and our own and foreign lands by instantaneous communication, there are 473,642 miles of telegraphic wire, and innumerable newspapers, daily and weekly, in nearly every city and town, to convey to every house the news from all the world. This is but a small fraction of the census of a State first settled one hundred years ago, and which, when admitted into the Union eighty-six years ago, John Randolph denominated “a mere geographical diagram beyond the Ohio River of vast deserts of woods inhabited by the Aborigines.”
The mind staggers on an examination of the figures showing our vast resources and productions. And let it be remembered that all this has been accumulating amid the convulsion of many wars and financial difficulties. The war of 1812 drew thousands of men from industrial pursuits, but others kept the plow of agriculture going in the furrow. The Mexican war drew largely on our men and means, while the great rebellion, raging for four years, had in its ranks, marching and fighting to maintain the Union, nearly 400,000 Ohio soldiers, thousands of whom laid down their lives in the battle-fields, the swamps, prison-houses, and hospitals. Notwithstanding this great depletion, her farms were all the while being tilled to furnish food. All articles of useful machinery were being made, gunboats built on her rivers and cannon at her foundries, and the humming of thousands of sewing-machines was heard, propelled by wives and daughters in making clothing for the patriot soldiers. But, greater than all the physical wealth of the State is the constantly maintained high standard of industrial, moral, religious and intellectual wealth of character. She has been richly blessed with
“Men, high-minded men, With powers as far above dull brutes endued As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude; Men who their duties know, But know their rights and knowing, dare maintain.”
The valor of the Revolutionary hero, the stern, religious character of the Puritan, the lofty character of the Cavalier, have been mingled with the blood of all, the best representatives who from foreign lands have here sought freedom from oppression. Enterprise, skill in all branches, education, religious teachings, law, statesmanship, oratory, military genius have here had representatives, the equal of any in the world. Ohio has had four Presidents of the United States, and has numerous other possibilities for the future; two Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been otherwise ably represented on that bench; three Generals of the army by special act of Congress for greatest distinguished ability, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, an honor before that conferred alone on Washington; and well does this quartet wear the distinction of being first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of their countrymen. We have been represented in the Senate, Cabinet, Foreign Ministers and every important public position until it would seem that wherever great ability was desired there was a call for the Ohio man.
The hardy, adventurous, emigrant character which marked the men and women who first settled her soil is strongly inherited by their descendants, for we find them going out from her borders to populate all the Western and Southern States, and even to revive the lagging energies of the East. In 1870 she had, of her nativeborn children, 806,983 resident in other states. The Ohio man as farmer, mechanic, professional man, governor or judge, is in every State from her western border to the Rocky mountains, and climbing over the summit in the mines and vineyards, ranches and cities of California to the Pacific Ocean. He seems to be ubiquitous, and to permeate the land like the atmosphere.
Such is a meager sketch of our State for the past century. Slowly but surely has the building of it gone on, and to-day it stands before the world with its solid foundation of religion, morality, education, freedom, equality before the law and protection to the rights of all persons and property, all the more strongly cemented by those years. As a State of the Union she has ever maintained the highest position in peace and in war, and her obligations to that government formed by the people and for the people have been most religiously performed. To that Union she owes her existence, and to sustain it she has poured out her richest blood and treasure, and will again in the future if occasion requires.
While we recognize the wisdom and toils of our fathers in all this wonderful growth, let us now, in the spirit of that religion which sustained and cheered them through it all, not forget that God, who was their Father and Leader, and guided them as by a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, who rules over the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth in righteousness, in whose hands are the destinies of all men and nations; and let our hearts go up to Him in thankfulness, for His hand hath wrought it all, and those men and women were but His ministers. May they who stand here at the end of another century look upon this temple of our State, still strong and stable, its foundation sure and steadfast, its towers, and columns captivating by their beauty the eyes of the world, its people happy, united and prosperous in a government, the union of whose States shall be one of both hands and hearts, and the sun of religious liberty shining its pure and untarnished rays into every heart and home.