One of the United States, situated between 38°34' and 42° north latitude, and 80°35' and 84°57' west longitude from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Michigan and Lake Erie, and east by Pennsylvania, southeast by Virginia, from which it is separated by Ohio river, south by Kentucky, from which it is also separated by the same river, and west by Indiana. Its superficial area is 40,000 square miles.
Physical Aspect-- This state presents a considerable diversity of surface, as well as of climate. A range of comparatively high land divides the waters which flow into Lake Erie from those which descend into the Ohio, forming two inclined plains of unequal areas. The northern, or Erie plain, does not exceed 25 miles in width at the northeast extremity, but expands to 80 miles in width along the east boundary of Indiana. The mean elevation of the apex of this range is estimated to be 1,000 feet above the ocean tides; so that, from its proximity to the lake, the descent of the streams, flowing in this direction, is somewhat precipitate, and all roll over direct cascades, of falls. On the other hand, the plain inclined toward the Ohio is very gradual in its descent, and falls of any kind are rarely to be found. The central portion of the state occupies an immense plateau, or table land, comparatively level, and in part marshy, which consists of a diversity of soil, from rich alluvion and prairie, to wild oak "barrens." Along the Ohio river, for fifty or sixty miles back, the country is hilly, and in some parts quite rugged, caused by the abrasion of the streams; but the chief part of the central table land remains unchannelled, presenting a series of broad prairies and other plains. A similar feature is observable along the Ohio shores of Lake Erie, but the surface is less broken, and the hills are more moderate in their height.
Rivers, Lakes and Bays-- The principal rivers of this state are the Ohio, Muskingum, Hockhocking, Scioto, Great and Little Miami, Maumee, Sandusky, Huron, Vermilion, Black, Cuyahoga, Grand, Ashtabula, Auglaize, Tuscarawas, Walhonding, Olentangy or Whetstone, and St Mary's. Lake Erie lies partly in Ohio, in the western part of which Maumee and Sandusky bays; there is also a good harbor at Cleveland.
Climate-- The climate, in general, may be regarded as healthy, except in the vicinity of stagnant marshes and sluggish streams, where, in summer and autumn, intermittents usually prevail. Spring and autumn are pleasant; but the winters, though comparatively mild, are subject to great fluctuations of temperature, varying from temperate to 16°F below zero.
Productive Resources-- The chief products are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, beef, pork, wax, silk, wool, wine, sugar, hops, tobacco, madder, hay, flax, hemp, lumber, pot and pearl ashes, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and Indian corn. Of the mineral resources, coal, iron and salt are the principal, the latter of which is extensively manufactured from salt creeks and springs.
Manufactures-- The manufactures of Ohio are already of considerable importance, and are rapidly increasing, in both variety and extent. The abundance of waterpower, and the cheapness of coal, will make this section of the Ohio valley the seat of vast manufacturing industry. The more important articles of manufacture are, machinery, cotton, woolen, silk and mixed goods, leather, paper, ironware, agricultural and mechanical implements, cabinet ware, hats, steamboats, &c. The number of manufacturing establishments in the state in 1850, producing each $500 worth or more annually was 10,550.
Railroads and Canals--Ohio has an extensive system of railroads and canals, communicating with every important point. There are about 2,000 miles already in operation, or in rapid progress of construction. The principal of them are: the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati 255 miles; The Cincinnati and Sandusky 218 miles; Cleveland and Pittsburgh 100 miles; the Ohio and Pennsylvania, running through the centre of the state, and connecting the Indiana with the Pennsylvania; and the Lake Shore road, uniting Illinois and Michigan with New York and the eastern states. The most important canal in the state is the Ohio canal, 309 miles long, connecting the waters of Lake Erie at Cleveland with those of the Ohio river at Portsmouth. The aggregate length of the canals is about 850 miles. The tolls collected are about $800,000 annually.
Commerce-- With the exception of the trade with Canada, the direct foreign commerce of Ohio is trifling, the exports and imports of 1850 amounting only $800,000. But the coasting and river trade is immense. Amount of shipping enrolled in the state about 65,000 tons.
Education-- The facilities of education in Ohio are ample. The permanent school fund amounts to rising $600,000. The principle literary institutions are, the University of Ohio at Athens founded in 1804; the Miami University in 1809; Cincinnati college in 1819; Franklin college at New Athens in 1825; Western Reserve college at Hudson in 1826; the Kenyon college at Gambia in 1827; the Granville college at Granville and Woodward college at Cincinnati in 1831; the Oberlin college in 1834; the Marietta college in 1835; the St Xavier college at Cincinnati in 1840; the Ohio Wesleyan university at Delaware in 1842; and the Wittenberg college at Springfield in 1845. Law, medical and theological schools are attached to many of the above. There are near 200 academies and over 5,000 free common schools established throughout the state. The state has also provided liberally for the education and support of the deaf and dumb, blind, and lunatic. The buildings, with spacious grounds for each class, are situated at Columbus.
Government-- The legislative power is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate and house of representatives, elected biennially, on the second Tuesday in October. The senate consists of 35 members, and the house of representatives of 100 members. The legislature meets biennially at Columbus, the first Monday in January. The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant governor (who is president of the senate), secretary of state, auditor, treasurer and an attorney general, who are chosen by the people at the biennial election. They hold their offices for two years, except the auditor, whose term is four years. The board of public works, consisting of three members, is elected by the people, one annually, for the term of three years. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, in district courts, courts of common pleas, courts of probate, justices of the peace, and in such other courts, inferior to the supreme court, as the general assembly may establish; the five supreme court judges hold their office five years, the term of one of the judges expiring annually. There are nine judges of the common pleas, elected by districts for five years. All judges are elected by the people. The elective franchise is enjoyed by every white male citizen of the United States, of the age of 21 years, a resident of the state one year next preceding the election.
Population-- In 1790 was about 3,000; in 1800 was 45,365; in 1810 was 230,760; in 1820 was 581,434; in 1830 was 937,903; in 1840 was 1,519,467 and in 1850 was 1,980,408.
History-- The French explored the region, and erected forts along the banks of the Ohio river, as far up as Pittsburgh, PA, as early as 1754. In 1786, what now constitutes the state of Ohio, was erected, by act of Congress, into the "Western Territory." The anme of which was afterward changed to the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio." The first permanent settlement was made at Marietta, in 1788, by a small colony from Massachusetts, and the year following a settlement was made near Cincinnati; this was followed by another at Cleveland in 1796, the emigrants being mostly from New England. Soon after the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, Michigan was surrendered by Great Britain to the United States, and was annexed to the territory northwest of the river Ohio in 1800. The same year Connecticut relinquished her jurisdiction over the "Western Reserve." In 1799, the first territorial legislature met at Cincinnati, and organized the government. In 1802, Ohio was detached from Michigan, and admitted into the Union as an independent state. Her constitution was framed the same year, at Chillicothe (the capital of the state until it was removed to Columbus in 1812), and continued in operation till 1851, when a new constitution was framed at Columbus, by a convention of delegates, and adopted by the people.