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Clermont County, Ohio
Genealogy and History


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HISTORY OF
CLERMONT COUNTY, OHIO

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BY J. L. ROCKEY AND R. J. BANCROFT, published 1880


Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Nancy Overlander


CHAPTER XV

Political History of the County - Relations with the State and National Government, With Lists of Officers, Reminiscences, and Statistics.

The early legislation of Ohio forms one of the brightest and most honorable historical chapters in her record.  The legislators to whom were entrusted the task of constructing the organic system of the civil government of the State were men of practical wisdom, and of just and liberal views.  Its territorial government was the creature of the living breath of freedom.  The ordinance of 1787 laid the chief corner-stone in the structure of her greatness and prosperity; and the men who framed the State constitution, and created her system of legislation, conformed their policy to this great charter of freedom.  Thus Ohio was early consecrated to religion, education, and freedom, and the Bill of Rights declared that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, should exist in the State; that religion, morality, and more knowledge being essentially necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of instruction should forever be encouraged by legislative provision; and that all men, being born equally free and independent, should have the right to life, liberty and of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.  These enactments saved Ohio pure from the blight and curse of slavery, and paved the way for its early settlement and subsequent greatness in material resources, and especially its towering strength among the States forming the Union.  There had been Ohio three territorial Legislatures in which Clermont was not represented when congress, on the 30th of April, 1802, passed an act to enable the people of the eastern division of the Territory northwest of the river Ohio to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and for other purposes.  In pursuance of which an election was held and members of a Constitutional Convention elected on Oct. 12, 1802, and returns of that held in this county are not of record, but the two delegates from Clermont were Philip Gatch, of Miami, and James Sargent, of Washington township.  Philip Gatch, a Methodist preacher, had been a member of an abolition society in his native State, Virginia, and James Sargent had freed his slaves in Maryland ere he moved to the county, and both were elected on account of their uncompromising opposition of slavery, then being sought to be fastened on the virgin soil of the beautiful Northwest.  The convention met at Chillicothe, on Nov. 1, 1802, and on the 29th its work appeared in a constitution, ratified and signed that day by its members.  It was never referred to the people for their approbation, but became the fundamental law of the State by the act of the convention alone. (William Buchanan and William Fee were, on Oct. 12, 1802, elected representatives to the fourth session of the Territorial Legislature, but the adoption of the new constitution prevented them taking their seats.) The first election for Governor and members of the General Assembly under the State constitution took place on the second Tuesday of January, 1803.  No records or returns of that in this county are preserved, but William Buchanan, of Washington township, was elected senator, and roger W. Waring, of Williamsburgh, and Amos Ellis, of Pleasant, representatives.  Therefore, the first election in the county of which we have returns - and those fragmentary only - was that held for member of congress, on June 21, 1803, with the following result:  Jeremiah Morrow, 117; William McMillen, 78; William Goforth, 51; Michael Baldwin, 24; Ellias Langham, 3. Total vote polled, 275.

The poll-books of one township only are preserved, -- to wit, Washington.  There were 108 votes cast, and the judges were Wm. Buchanan, James M. Queen, and John Wood; clerks, Joseph Utter and Samuel Jackson.  The vote in the township stood:  Jeremiah Morrow, 43; Wm. Goforth, 47; and Wm. McMillen, 13.  At the same time the people elected three justices of the peace, and of this side or extra election we give the vote:  Wm. Fee, 80; George Brown, 91; James Sargent, 44; Wm. Jump, 41; Stephen Bolander, 32; Wm. Stewart, 18; Richard Fansier, 1; Robert Higgins, 2; John Gaskins, 1; the first three being elected.

As Washington township was then the largest in population and territory, we give the names of the electors who voted, -- to wit, Jesse Tatman, Adam Simmons, Joseph Wood, John Boultinghouse, Joseph Logston, John Miller, Richard Fanshier, John Jones, Isaac Williams, Robert Buchanan, David Colglazer, Ralph Brodrick, James Morris, Joseph Jackson, David Goulding, Wm. Williams, Benj. Sells, Joseph Dawson, Charles Thompson, James Bennett, James Stewart, James Flora, Joseph McKibben, Joseph Pursley, Adam Fisher, Joshua Manning, Adam Stewart, Nathan Manning, Jr., John Conaly, John Prather, Wm. Bennett, Joseph Ferguson, Michael Baum, Barnet Pribble, Richard Manning, Joseph Clarke, Nathan Manning, Sr., Stephen Polander, Charles Baum, James Buchanan, James Jackson, Wm. S. Jump, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Patterson, Charles Stewart, John Clingler, Nathan Tatman, Charles Baum, Sr., John Gaskins, James Sargent, Elisha Manning, Abraham Sell, Michael Byrans, Isaac Manning, Wm. Fuller, Samuel Walraven, John Sells, Wm. Stewart, David Wood, Wm. Higgins, Benj. Moreing, Erasmus Prather, John Cummins, Samuel Jackson, Joseph Utter, Jr., Wm. Buchanan, John Wood, George Vickroy, Mordecai Ford, Edward Tatman, Samuel Tatman, Henry Cupee, Hugh McKibben, Peter Demoss, Alex. Buchanan, Joseph Tatman, Philip Shankle* (*Probably Shinkle. The names are spelled as in the list), Peter Simmons, John McDonald, John Hurst, John Shankle, Peter Shankle, Wm. Dickson, Jacob Shankle, Wm. Jones, George Swank, John Shankle,  John Demoss, Jacob Fisher, Jonathan Taylor, Richard Prier, Nathan Morgan, Jr., Elisha Willey, John Sargent, Sr., Henry Newkirk, Amasa Owen, John Lakin, John P. Shankle, Gould S. Casse, Gabriel Akins, Nathan Morgan, Sr., John Simes, Philip Mains, Henry Young, Jacob Jones, Wm. Corathar, Sr., Walling Williams.

In July, 1803, we have a record of the first contest over the legality of an officer elected in the county.  Roger W. Waring, then a member of the General Assembly, was elected a justice of the peace in Williamsburgh, and his election being contested was left for decision to Obed Denham, David Loofburrow, and Moses Frazee.  There were majority and minority reports, which we give:

"We the freeholders being summoned according to law to try the validity of Roger W. Warren's election to the office of a Justice of the peace, the Township of Williamsburg, Clermont County, are of opinion that he was not a resident in the Township at the time of his Election and as such his Election is invalid.

"July 4, 1803  "David Loofburrow,

"Obed Denham".

The minority report was as follows:

"I, Moses Frazee, being one of the persons appointed to Decide the within Contest, do descent from the decision as stated within.  It appearing the said Waring was a Resident of the Town at the time of his election, for the following reasons, -- viz.:  That said Waring had Resided in said Township high two years, except while absent on the Assembly, and after his return continued to keep his Office, and likewise carried on his Improvements, which he at this time possess in the Town of Williamsburg, and it appearing he was only absent for a short space of time out of said Township in the adjoining Township, where he had lately married, and at the same time was preparing to bring his Wife home, which he did soon afterwards.  Witness my hand this 12th July, 1803.
"Moses Frazee"


The law of the minority report was better than that of the majority report, whose makers seemed piqued that the gallant Waring had gone beyond the domain of Williamsburgh township to take to himself a wife, but he got the office at last, as in shown by his many official acts after this period.

At the fall election, held Oct. 11, 1803, James Sargent, of Washington township, was elected senator, and Daniel Fagans, of Pleasant, and Jonathan Taylor, of Washington, representatives, but of this election only two poll-books and returns out of five townships are found, -- Pleasant and Miami.  The vote of the latter, its election officers and voters, are as follows:  For senator, James Sargeant, 33; Samuel Lattimore, 2.  For representative, Francis McCormick, 25; Robert Townsley, 5; John Morris, 10; Daniel Fagin, Ambrose Ranson, Wm. Perry, 15; Wm. Edge, 2, -- there being two to elect.  The judges were Philip Gatch, Ambrose Ranson, and Jesse Gerard; clerks, Theophilus Simonton and John Gest; and here are the names of the voters; Ignatius Knott, Isaac Shively, Henry Donham, Josiah Prickett, John Handley, Philip Gatch, Michael Bollman, Joseph Hutchinson, George Leever, Francis McCormick, George Davidson, Peter Leever, John Malott, John Mitchel, James Wood, Jacob Roudebush, Joseph Moore, Jacob Stroup, John McMeans, Thomas Frost, William Donahm, John Pollock, John Erwin, David Roudebush, Richard Hall, Andrew Shetterly, Paul Custer,  Peter Fraybarger, Nathaniel Donham, Theophilus Simonton, Ambrose Ranson, Jesse Gerard, John Gest, David Miller, and Wm. Edge.

The next election in the county was for three commissioners, and was held April 2, 1804, with this result:

Names of Candidates

Pleasant

Williamsburgh

Miami

Washington

Ohio

Totals

Amos Smith

45

81

48

--

37

211

Robert Townsley

--

69

48

--

37

154

George Conrad

--

65

48

--

37

150

Amos Ellis

45

22

--

67

--

134

Daniel Fagans

19

--

--

--

--

19

David Loofburrow

--

10

--

67

--

77

Jeremiah Beck

35

--

--

--

--

35

Wm Buchanan

39

17

--

69

--

125

 

The first three, Smith, Townsley, and Conrad, were elected.  The votes of Washington and Ohio were thrown our; the former because not held at the place designated by law, being held at house of Joseph Logston instead of Joseph McKibbern; and the latter because its returns were not legal, from the fact of no poll-book being returned.  Still the throwing out of these two townships did not affect the result, as without them Smith, Townsley, and Conrad were elected.

At the annual election, on Oct. 9, 1804, for Congressman, the vote stood:

Township

Jeremiah Morrow

Elias Langham

Miami

30

 

Pleasant

65

8

Washington

143

 

Williamsburgh

12

58

Ohio

 

26

 

250

82

 

For representative there were given:  Robert Higgins (elected), 131; Samuel W. Davis, 112; Jonathan Taylor, 93; Wm. Perry, 3.For sheriff:  Joseph Jackson (elected), 142; Daniel Kain, 127; James Buchanan, 60; Joseph Utter, 11; Jeremiah Beck, 1.For corner; Jeremiah Beck (elected), 193; Thomas Paxton, 106; David Kelley, 17; Christian Smith, 6; John Hunter, 1.

In Ohio township the judges were Joseph Fagin, William Abercrombie, Jacob Ulrey; the clerks, Samuel Shepard and Robert Townsley; and the electors were Jacob Ulrey, Daniel Whitaker, William Abercrombie, Daniel Colman, James Whitaker, Jacob Light, Jesse Swem, William Laycock, Abel Donham, Reuben Laycock, Nathan Laycock, Isaac Ferguson, Abner Fagin, Joseph Fagin, Amos Donham, Robert Townsley, Samuel Shepherd, Rodham Morning, Archibald Gray, Benjamin Morning, William Dewitt, John Donham, Peter Pelser, John Morning, William Lindsey, and Robert Donham, twenty-six in all, -- eleven less than at the April election for commissioner (of which no poll-book was returned).

The election in Williamsburgh was conducted by Judges John Irwin, Houton Clarke, and William Winters; with Clerks William Lytle and John Charles.Seventy votes were cast, -- eleven less than at commissioner’s election in April, -- and the following men voted:Jasper Shotwell, Obediah Denham, Ramoth Bunton, George Earhart, John Wardlow, William Wardlow, Jacob Grimm, Moses Leonard, Samuel Wardlow, Joseph Green, Jeremiah Beck, Sr., William Shaw, Jeremiah Beck, Jr., John Wright, David Loofburrow, Robert Wardlow, William Howard, William Cook, James Boothby, Moses Rumery, James South, William Hunter, Thomas Allen, Roger W. Waring, James Kain, John Evans, James Perrine, George W. Stall, Hill Wilson, Archibald McClain, Cornelius McCollum, Daniel Kain, John Knott, Ephraim Duke, Adam Snider, William South, John Kain, James Denham, John Wager, Icabod Willis, Robert Dickey, Ephraim McAdams, James Buntin, Robert Christy, Moses Wood, Nicholas Sinks, John Charles, William Winters, John Irwin, John Little, Houton Clarke, Lycurgus Holmes, Joseph Wood, Jr., Charles Waits, Andrew Hickey, John Earhart, Hugh McClain, John Anderson, Adam Bricker, Joseph Wilson, Levi Beck, John Bunham, Leonard Raper, James Winters, Daniel Kidd, Thomas Morris, Absalom Day, Amos Smith, John Trout, William Lytle.

At the Presidential election on Nov. 3, 1804, there was no opposition in the county to the three Jefferson electors, Nathaniel Massie, James Pritchard, and Wm. Goforth, but there are only the poll-books of three town ships preserved, which for these elections were as follows (a very light vote):Williamsburgh, 42; Washington, 28; and Miami, 32.

At the general State election on Oct. 8, 1805, the vote stood for Governor, Edward Tiffin (who had no opposition):Washington, 170; Williamsburgh, 88; Pleasant, 93; Ohio, 69; Tate (her first vote), 76; and Miami, 23; total, 519.Miami did not turn out its vote by three-fifths.For senator there were votes cast:James Sargent (elected), 236; Robert Higgins, 215; Francis McCormick, 71; Jospeh Higgins, 1; James McCormich, 1; John Dilman, 1.For representative:Jonathan Taylor (elected), 217; David C. Bryan, 147; Samuel W. Davis, 136; Benjamin Snider, 1; David Bryan, 2, Taylor, 1.For sheriff:Levi Rogers (elected, 258; Daniel Kain, 248.William S. Jump was elected commissioner, vote not given.

In Miami township, for justices the vote was:John Pollock, 51; Francis McCormick, 40.As this was the first election of Tate since its organization, we give its vote for three justices:John Collins (elected), 59; John Morris (elected), 55; Henry Willis (elected), 54; Jacob Mahan, 25; James Rounds, 23; Christian Smith, 2; Joseph Gold, 12; John Boggess, 4; Jeremiah Beck, 1; “Old Cook,”1.The following men conducted the general election:  judges, Samuel Beck, Joseph Darrel, and William Campbell, with clerks Jacob Mahan and John Flack.The 84 voters were Moses Frazee, John Collins, James Rounds, Jeremiah Beck, David White, Jeremiah Beck, Sr., Berzilla Osborn, James Boothby, Obed Denham, John Denham, Daniel Leegard, William Darrel, William Campbell, Hugh Black, Elias Garrard, Levi Hunt, William Nelson, Cornelius McCullom, Shillin Murphy, Houton Clarke (at whose tavern the election was held), Kelly Burk, John Reed, Jacob Ulrey, Isaac Higbee, Morris Osborn, William Jeffers, Lemuel Rounds, Aaron Osborn, George Lovel, Daniel Osborn, John Morris, Aaron Leonard, Sears Crane, Thomas Davis, Moses Bradbury, William Gold, Levi Tingley, Samuel Nelson, Levi Beck, Jonathan Church, Robert Leeds, William Judd, Hiram Carpenter, Benjijah Osborn, James South, Jacob Crist, Henry Willis, Abner Huntington, James Denham, John Sims, Abram Osborn, Frederick Counselman, Joseph Darrel, William Carroll, Benjamin Frazee, John Flack, Jacob Bradbury, Joseph Gold, Gothan Bragdon, Jacob Frazee, Samuel Beck, William Test, Alexander McBeath, Samuel Reeves, Joseph Steward, Joseph Conn, John Boggess, Samuel Shepherd, William Cook, Isaac Reed, Jacob Mahan, John Hewitt, William South, William Simmons, John Doughty Esicor Huntington, Stephen Frazee, Benjamin Crane, William Smith, Thomas Lemmings, William Crouch, and Thomas Morris.

At the election on Oct. 14, 1806, the vote stood, -- for Congressman:Jeremiah Morrow, 518; James Pritchard, 3; Chapman Archer, 6; W. Donham, 1; Michael Frame, 1.For coroner:Jeremiah Beck, 115, (elected); James Kain, 96; Nathaniel Donham, 1; Alexander Martin, 9; Samuel Beck, 24; John Kain, 1; Thomas Morris, 1.Amos Smith was elected commissioner by 289 votes to 229 for Jeremiah Beck.

There was a fearfully hot fight for representative, which stirred up the whole county and culminated in a contested seat in the House of Representatives; hence we give the vote therefor by townships.

Township

D.C. Bryan

Thomas Morris

Robert Higgins

Miami

41

4

 

Pleasant

30

31

16

Washington

1

107

43

Williamsburgh

4

1

1

Ohio

55

1

 

Tate

25

79

 

Totals

246

223

62

 

Morris contested, and the House of the General Assembly unseated Bryan and gave the former the place, but on what grounds we are left in the dark.
Two justices were elected in Miami, to wit:John Gest, unanimously (in October); and, on July 26th, Silas Hutchinson (elected), 61 to 30 for Owen Todd. A pretended election for three justices having been held in Ohio township, on April 7th, with this result:Jacob Light, 35; Robert Townsley, 35; John Hunter, 35; Enoch Parvin, 1; Joseph Fagin, 1; John Snyder, 1; the same was set aside by the country clerk and Esquire William Hunter, the country canvassers, because, first, the returns did not specify for what the election was held; second, the number of voters was not set down; and third, that the election was unauthorized by law.

The vote in Washington for three justices was, George Brown (elected), 63; James Sargent (elected), 56; William Fee (elected), 68; Reuben Young, 30; Joseph Utter, 22; William S. Jump, 31; Charles Henry, 3; -- McClancy, 3; James Morris, 3; Thomas Philips, 3.

For one justice in Tate the vote was:Isaac Higbee (elected), 58; Thomas Allen, 11; Jacob Mahan, 13; Thomas Leming, 9; Christian Smith, 1.Williamsburgh elected four justices, as follows:R. W. Waring, 57; William Hunter, 60; Jasper Shotwell, 61; David C. Bryan, 33 (these first four elected); and the defeated candidates received:  Daniel Kidd, 32; William Patterson, 3; Samuel Howell, 1; Peter Light, 1; Isaac Hartman, 1.

The election of October 13, 1807, for Governor, stood:

Townships Return

 

J. Meig, Jr.

Nathaniel Massie

Thomas Worthington

Miami

42

36

 --

Pleasant

 --

64

71

Washington

 --

23

119

Lewis

 --

47

9

Williamsburgh

35

59

15

Ohio

88

11

55

Tate

10

17

 

Total

175

257

269



The other votes were: For senator, David C. Bryan, 302 (elected); James Sargent, 209; Robert Higgins, 187; John Morris, 20. For representative, John Pollock, 258 (elected); William Fee, 240; Thomas Morris, 232. For sheriff, Levi Rogers (elected), 445; Oliver Lindsey, 259. For coroner, James Kain, 4 (but there was none to elect). Amos Ellis was elected commissioner over Robert Townsley; tabulated vote not found. A justice was elected in Washington township by this vote: Wm. S. Jump (elected), 40; Joseph Utter, 17; William Carrothers, 15; Jacob Shinkle, 14; Joseph Well, 20; Walling Williams, 1. Thus, by a division of his opponents, William S. Jump jumped in. Lewis township, the new one that year created, is now in Brown County, and includes the flourishing towns of Higginsport and Feesburg.

October 11, 1808, the election for Governor stood:

Townships

Thomas Worthington

Samuel Huntington

Scattering

Miami

24

93

1

Pleasant

95

7

2

Tate

80

38

1

Ohio

61

40

5

Williamsburgh

1

77

2

Washington

150

--

3

Lewis

     



By some irregularities in the return the vote of Tate on Governor was excluded, so the vote was counted as follows: Worthington, 385; Huntington, 222; Thomas Kirker, 7; John Cleves Symmes, 15; J. Huntington, 4; N. Witham, 2; Jackson, 1. The vote for other officers was: for congressman, Jeremiah Morrow, 579; Philemon Beecher, 30; William Fee, 2; J. Kirker, 1; Thomas Morrow, 1. For two representatives, William Fee (elected), 357; Thomas Morris (elected), 338; John Pollock, 238; Joseph Jackson, 196; Thomas Kain, 9; Alexander Blair, 2; James Sargent, 1; Jere. Day, 1. For corner, Allen Woods (elected), 198; Jeremiah Beck, 188; James Willden, 117; James Kain, 43; Christain Smith, 28; and "Old Weaver,"1. A lucky shot for Woods, as in 1810 Levi Rogers resigned his sheriff's office, and as coroner, Woods succeeded to it for six months. John Pollock was elected magistrate in Miami with no opposition. Henry Chapman was elected county commissioner over Samuel B. Coyle. The number of free white male inhabitants in the county in 1803 over twenty-one years of age was 755; in 1807, 1262; so it is seen a full vote had never yet been polled.

The sentiment of Clermont most strongly sustained the administrations of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, and while there was a deep feeling for the perpetuity of the Union, there was but little respect among the early settlers of the country for the Federal opinions of many of the Eastern States. With the conspiracy of Burr there was no sympathy, and when the personage passed through the country in 1806 to feel the public pulse, he received, instead of encouragement, such an expression of the minds of the people that he was glad to hasten his departure from the county. Through the efforts of Senator James Sargent, of Clermont, an act was passed authorizing the arrest of persons engaged in unlawful enterprises, and the seizure of their goods. Under this act ten boars, with a large quantity of arms, ammunition, and provisions intended for Burr's expedition, were seized, and proved a fatal blow tot that unpatriotic enterprise. Soon after the master-spirit himself was apprehended and tried, but through the wonderful finesse which sometimes attends trials of State prisoners was allowed to go free.

The war of 1812 was vigorously upheld in the country as a just and proper measure to maintain national honor and American rights on sea and land, and to protect the pioneer homes of the West against the incursions of the savage allies of the British. Clermont furnished four whole companies, and many of its hardy sons gave up their lives in defenses of their country. At this time all party feeling was sunk, and all were animated by one common purpose, -- to secure the expulsion of the "red coats" and the Indians. With the return of peace the party lines were restored, and soon after the good people were again arrayed against one another in a stirring political campaign.
The election in the year 1817 was the last held in the county in which the townships now in Brown participated, and we give the tabulated vote for senator and commissioner:

 

Senator

Commissioner

  John Pollock John Boggress W. S. Jump Andrew Foote Amos Ellis

Miami

214

   

36

178

Pleasant

156

24

1

1

178

Tate

46

116

 

104

42

Ohio

216

7

 

210

14

Lewis

8

101

64

1

13

Washington

 

247

 

156

 

Perry

 

24

 

6

 

Batavia

108

1

 

100

6

Clark

90

3

 

3

82

Williamsburgh

 

187

 

182

2

Union

98

     

83

Stonelick

90

7

 

46

33

Total

1026

717

65

845

631



There is not much politics per se in the above, but a heap of feeling on location. The vote on two representatives was: Henry Chapman, 1055 (elected); John Denham, 1023 (elected); Owen T. Fishback, 639; Gideon Minor, 774. The vote on sheriff was: Oliver Lindsey, 1325; John Earhart, 157; George S. Bryan, 297.
Besides the vote above for commissioner, Silas Hutchinson got 32, -- 17 in Stonelick and 15 in Union; and James Wells got 243, of which 86 were in Washington, 154 in Lewis, and 3 in Tate. Washington still continued the larges voting township.
In pursuance of resolutions adopted by the Sixteenth General Assembly, submitting the question of calling a convention to amend the constitution, an election was held in 1818, which resulted in its defeat by ayes 6987 to noes 29,315; and the vote of Clermont was yeas 186, nays 1428, thus showing an almost unanimous indisposition of the people in the county to tinker with the organic law.

From 1820 to 1824 was the very low ebb in the prices of farm-products in the West, and in this county pork, wheat, and other articles hardly paid for the moving. Money was scarce, and confidence in monetary circles of the commercial centers was greatly shaken, owing to the adverse news of business in Great Britain, then in the throes of financial depression. At the election in 1824 the total vote polled was 1917, and for member of Congress stood: David Morris, 1176; James Findlay, 288; James W. Gazlay, 240; Benjamin M. Piatt, 153. This was the first election for county auditor, for which office the returns showed Andrew Foote received 1794, and John McWilliams 147. John Boggess, of Tate, beat 'Squire David Jones, of Ohio, for commissioner by 1436 to 509, and for coroner Robert Tweed had no opposition, and received 1429 votes. We give the vote for Governor and for two representatives, the latter being an exciting race and close:

Townships

Governor

Two Representatives

 

Trimble

Morrow

A. V. Hopkins

Thomas Gatch

J. K. Morris

Thos. Morris

Williamsburgh

125

24

16

11

144

92

Tate

135

114

116

80

171

136

Union

25

106

142

143

 

1

Goshen

19

81

93

100

 

1

Batavia

162

29

176

190

 

12

Stonelick

15

137

152

153

 

1

Franklin

69

85

28

26

118

125

Washington

36

100

4

5

124

122

Wayne

47

4

52

50

--

--

Miami

33

197

225

227

2

4

Ohio

46

328

17

11

385

385

Total

712

1205

1021

996

944

879

The election of 1832 was hotly contested and party lines closely drawn on the vote for Governor, which stood: Robert Lucas, Democrat, 1760; Darius Lyman, Whig, 1194; Dr. William Doane, of Withamsville, was elected representative over Dr. L. A. Hendrick, of Milford, by 1724 to 1206. For commissioner the vote was: Robert Donham, 1534; Otho Pearre, of Franklin, 1307; and David Jones of Ohio, 126. The first county recorder was elected this year, and Benjamin Morris got the office, having received 1394 votes to 1217 for John Hawkins, 230 for Jonathan Johnson, 28 for T. S. Hill, and 25 scattering. The excitement in the county was over the race for Congressman, and this fight stirred up the people, and kept Clermont agitated from center to circumference. Owen T. Fishback was the Whig nominee; Thomas Morris, the regular Democratic candidate of a convention; William Russell, the standard-bearer of a few anti-Masons; and Thomas L. Hamer, an independent Democratic candidate of his own volition, and subject only to the wishes of the people as they might determine:

Townships

Fishback

Hamer

Morris

Russell

Batavia

202

14

103

 

Williamsburgh

152

19

45

7

Tate

134

80

128

5

Union

39

8

147

 

Goshen

77

26

63

 

Stonelick

98

9

78

2

Franklin

95

101

47

2

Washington

59

67

99

 

Monroe

73

20

111

2

Wayne

45

 

73

 

Miami

107

7

183

1

Ohio

99

58

242

 

Total

1180

409

1319

19


The district was composed of Clermont, Adams, and Brown Counties. Fishback lived at Batavia, and Morris in Bethel, while Hamer resided at Georgetown. It will be seen that Fishback carried his and Morris’ home townships, but Morris got the country; and yet Hamer was triumphantly elected, as he swept Adams and Brown Counties like a tornado, and there it was his unsurpassed eloquence moved the sturdy yeomanry to patriotic and independent action, which resulted in his grand success.This was a canvass between three intellectual giants never before or since witnessed in the county, and its result had much to do with – in fact did do it – the fashioning and determining of the subsequent political history of the Union, f not is very preservation, as Hamer in Congress appointed young Ulysses S. Grant. As a cadet to West Point, and the after-success of this appointee is in the world’s mouth.This election kept the old town of Bethel agog for days and nights, for there Morris lived, and there Hamer, a few years before, had read law in his present opponent’s office, and news traveling slow, a week elapsed ere it was known that the “young mountain orator” had defeated the distinguished chieftains of the two strong and dominant political parties.


In 1837 occurred an election that surprised the country in its results, it being the success of the Whigs for the three most important county offices, sheriff, treasurer, and auditor, and the bare escape of the Democrats from losing nearly the rest of their ticket.There had been mutterings and disaffections existing in the camps of the dominant party in the county for several years, and this season they found vent in open mutiny and rebellion, so that part of the official spoils fell, for a brief period, into the hands of the party before and since then in a minority in Clermont.  The vote for senator was: Dowty Utter, 1627; David Fisher, 1557; John Joliffe (Abolition), 86.For representative, Thomas J. Buchanan, 1729; John Boggess, 1840.For commissioner, William Roudebush, 2015; Jonathan Johnson, 1270.For prosecuting attorney, George S. Lee, 1657; Reader W. Clarke, 1621.For surveyor, Squire Frazee, 1643; Samuel Ewing, 1537.For coroner, Joseph Wyatt, 1643; Thomas Sheldon, 1372; William Hall, 233.We give the vote for sheriff, treasurer, and auditor by townships:

 

Sheriff

Treasurer

Auditor

 

Edward Frazier

William Curry

John W. Robinson

William Thomas

John Beatty

James Ferguson

Batavia

26

157

286

120

261

144

Williamsburgh

138

53

128

60

137

54

Tate

293

90

229

163

248

132

Franklin

153

139

148

159

147

158

Washington

139

150

130

163

131

159

Monroe

109

125

115

125

109

130

Ohio

170

211

165

215

175

204

Union

22

193

38

172

38

174

Miami

86

188

104

170

131

139

Goshen

87

123

91

122

100

114

Wayne

40

48

36

53

41

46

Stonelick

105

111

120

101

116

96

Jackson

63

29

68

23

66

26

Totals

1651

1617

1658

1646

1700

1576

Majorities

34

 

12

 

124

 

 

It is proper to add that Thomas two years after was elected treasurer, and re-elected in 1841; that, when Beatty’s time expired, Joshua H. Dial was elected auditor, and was twice after that re-elected; and when Frazier’s time expired, in 1841, Michael Cowen came in and rode four years as sheriff.So of these three men elected in 1837, “Uncle Ned Frazier,” as he was popularly called, was the only one re-elected.Frazier hailed from Tate, Beatty from Goshen, and Robinson resided in Batavia.

From 1837 on to about 1842 was another of those eras of financial depression which in the past century have regularly occurred in all countries, and under all forms of government, but Clermont suffered less than perhaps most of the counties in Ohio.

The year 1840 is memorable for the most exciting political campaign known in the history of our land, and the Harrison-Van Buren canvas, with its “log-cabin” and “hard-cider” memories, when the song of “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” reverberated throughout the length and breadth of the Union and swept from power the Van Buren dynasty, is worthy of mention in Clermont annals.The feelings of the people of our country were never before so wrought up, and music, song, wit, beauty, all entered into the fight and made the wellin ring with loud hurrahs for the hero of Tippecanoe and the bronzed soldier of frontier days.A monster Whig demonstration and meeting was held in Batavia, on August 5th, on the lots occupied now by Judge Philip B. Swing (the old Judge Fishback homestead) and Mrs. Judge Shepherd F. Norris. The orators were Tom Corwin, the silvery-tonged William W. Southgate, of Newport, Ky., and Robert C. Schenck, and over ten thousand people paraded the town with banners, flags, and bands. A big “log cabin” was put up, and its four corners “carried up,” as the language of the slashes used to have it, by four veteran soldiers of the war of 1812, -- Thomas Kain, Capt. Thomas Foster, and two others (names not accessible).  The speech of Schenck excited the ire of Samuel Medary, then editor of The Statesman, at Columbus, who, in the columns of his paper, attacked very personally the Schenck family, and out of which arose a street fight between Medary and Schenck’s brother, at that time a lieutenant in the navy. The Democrats, however, carried the country in October by 361 majority ina poll of 4205 votes, the largest ever cast up to that date, but Harrison was the victor in November following. For three representatives the vote stood: Thomas J. Buchanan, 2231; David G. Devore, 2267; Thomas L. Carothers, 2264; Reader W. Clarke, 1941; Gideon W. Dunham, 1919; Robert B. Harlan, 1921; for commissioner, William Roudebush, 2296; Simeon Goodwin, 1900; for assessor, John Page, 2262; Richard Pemberton, 1924; and four surveyor, Squire Frazee, 2297; Rasselas Whitcomb, 1895.

For Governor and congressman the following was the vote by townships:

 

Governor

Congress

 

Thomas Corwin

Wilson Shannon

Thomas L. Shields

Dr. William Doane

Batavia

265

195

247

195

Williamsburgh

201

105

193

107

Tate

249

219

243

221

Franklin

226

223

225

223

Washington

170

251

168

252

Monroe

120

180

116

184

Ohio

215

319

203

321

Union

61

218

55

224

Miami

147

261

146

259

Goshen

(no returns) 

 

 

 

Wayne

64

114

64

114

Stonelick

113

152

113

151

Jackson

101

46

101

46

Totals

1922

2283

1888

2297

Clermont with Brown and Clinton made one district, electing three representatives, and the district vote was:

 

Clermont

Brown

Clinton

R.W. Clarke

1941

1844

18666

G. W. Dunham

1919

1843

18657

R.B. Harlow

1921

1834

18618

T.J. Buchanan

2231

1996

1053

D.G. Devore

2267

1984

1050

T.L. Carothers

2264

2003

1059

6Elected
7Elected
8
Elected


The years 1828 and 1836 having been omitted in their order, and being Presidential years, when political excitement ran high, we give a brief summary of the results of their October votes: In 1828, for Congress, James Findlay, 1617; David K. Este, 818; for two representatives, John Shaw, 1681; John Emery, 1554; Thomas Gatch, 874; Otho Pearre, 674; for commissioner, Samuel Perin, 1925; john Rogers, 500; for auditor, Andrew Foote, 979; alexander Herring, 1642; for coroner, Moses Dimmitt, 2291; and for Governor, John W. Campbell (same man four years afterwards beaten by Thomas Morris for United States senator) defeated Allen Trimble by 769 majority.

In 1836, the year Martin Van Buren was elected as Jackson’s successor, Eli Baldwin carried the county for Governor by 1851 votes to 1396 for Joseph Vance, who, however, was elected. Thomas L. Hamer had for congress – being his third and last term, save in 1846, when he was elected and died – 1837 votes to 1371 for Owen T. Fishback.Fore representative, Dowty Utter, of Washington, had 1786, and Thomas Gatch, of Miami, 1448 votes.Robert Donham, for commissioner, received 1851, and John Boggess 1406.  For assessor, -- an officer then with county jurisdiction, elected biennially, with power to sit as a member of the board of equalization, and to have as many deputies as his duties required, -- Moses Elstun, of Union, had 1862 votes and Isaac Foster, of Williamsburgh township, 1367.

In the Polk and Clay campaign of 1844 the political fever was raging at the hottest pitch, and when the news arrived in Batavia of the former’s election a grand jollification meeting was held, and Thomas J. Buchanan was the orator.  At the October election John J. McDowell for Congress had 457 majority over J. H. Thompson; William Roudebush, 479 over Simeon Goodwin for representative; Jonathan Johnston, 521 for commissioner over McKinnie; and Edmund Spence, 285 for recorder over Thomas J. Morris.

In 1847 the vote stood for senator, Benjamin Evans, 1474; H. Bonnell, 1187; for two representatives, Dr. J. c. Kennedy, 1481; S. F. Norris, 1478; Jacob L. Teal, 1180; Daniel Fee, 1198; for sheriff, S. M. Walraven, 1478; Geo. Everhart, 1188; for treasurer, Abram Teetor, 1430; William Ulrey, 1207; for auditor, John Ferguson, 1476; E. F. W. Ellis, 1190; for commissioner, Jonathan Johnson, 1434; C. Butler, 1205; prosecuting attorney, William Howard, 1425; Philip B. Swing, 1249; for recorder, L. B. Leeds, 1387; T. J. Morris, 1291; for coroner, A. Buchanan, 1473; John Quinlan, 1191.Jonathan D. Morris had no opposition for Congress.

The new constitution went into effect in 1851, in which year the first Probate judge, George S. Lee, was elected; and the clerk, for the first time elected, was John S. Griffith, of Bethel.

In 1854, Congress repealed the Missouri Compromise by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, which created the greatest political revolution ever known in American history, caused a complete upheaval in the free States, and was the precursor of the Rebellion and downfall of human slavery in the Southern States.Right on the heels of this came the organization of the so-called “Know-Nothing” or American party, which swept over the land like a hurricane, carrying all before it.At the October election in 1854, Shepherd F. Norris, of Batavia, the Democratic candidate for Supreme judge, was beaten by Joseph R. Swan, by 77,423 votes, while Ohio had previous year gone Democratic by 61,806 majority.In this county George L. Swing was elected Probate judge by 3201 votes to 1596 for George S. Lee; for clerk, J. M. McGrew had 3190 and J. S. Griffith 1602; for commissioner, John Conner had 3249 and Peter Buntin 1598.Peter S. Jones, Jacob Ebersole, and Edward Sinks were chosen infirmary directions, Jones being on both tickets.

In 1855 the opposition to the Democrats elected two representatives, William West and Elbridge G. Ricker; the sheriff, W. W. Perkins; the treasurer, Thomas Glenn; the auditor, M. S. Dimmitt; the prosecuting attorney, W. P. Fishback; the commissioners (two), A. F. Morrison, W. P. Daughters; infirmary director, A. V. Hopkins; coroner, Edward Hughes; and surveyor, Thomas W. Rathbone.

In 1856 the Republicans elected Holly R. Perrine, commissioner, and the next year re-elected W. W. Perkins sheriff over John H. Branch.This year the Know-Nothing or American party had what was called the “bob-tailed ticket,” – the effect of which was to let the Democracy win.The great tide and now spent tits force, and the Democrats regained and kept control of the country offices till the memorable year of 1863.

The political animosities were aroused during the Rebellion, from 1861 to 1865, to a higher pitch than ever before or since known, and the campaign of 1863 was characterized by terrible virulence – both in the press, on the stump, and in ordinary local discussions.The county firmly and strenuously supported the war for the suppression of the Rebellion, and came to the cordial support of the general government as it had previously done in the war of 1812, and later with Mexico.The canvass of 1863 between John Brough and C. L. Vallandigham, for Governor, called out larger meetings than in 1840, and brought out at the polls on election day the largest vote ever before polled in the county.The excitement of the campaign frequently culminated in personal and neighborhood wrangles and encounters, and many years elapsed ere the baneful effects of the angry feelings engendered that year were eradicated from the breasts of the people and politics again quieted down to its ordinary courses and channels.The vote stood:

  Brough -- Vallandigham

County poll: ........ 3091 -- 2979

Army vote:      594 --    68

Total: 3685 -- 3047


The Republicans elected the following country officers: Amos Dawson, representative; A. M. Sinks, clerk; G. W. Hulick, Probate judge; J. W. Hill, sheriff; H. Smethurst, auditor; William Hawkins, commissioner; John Conner, infirmary director; and P. T. Cox, coroner. The next year the Republicans had only a small majority, and elected Joseph Tritt, prosecuting attorney; Silas R. Hutchinson, commissioner; C. W. Page, surveyor; and Daniel Roudebush, infirmary director. In 1865, the Democrats secured the treasurer, D. E. Fee; sheriff, James Crosson; and auditor, William Nichols; and the Republicans got the recorder, J. P. clark; commissioner, J. P. Molen; infirmary director, Thomas Marsh; and coroner, Adolph Shroem.Next year the Democrats carried the county and regained their position, and, with occasional losses of some country officials, have retained it to the present. In 1871, John R. Woodlief, Republican, defeated for sheriff William D. Courts by 99 votes. In 1873 about 200 votes were east for Isaac C. Collins, an independent candidate for Governor, opposed to both the old parties.

In 1877 the National Greenback party first figured in the county, and cast for its State ticket 308 votes. A year later the vote of this party for Governor was increased to 1029, and, in concert with the Republicans, elected as auditor M. J. W. Holter, and as clerk H. B. Mattox, both of whom were first nominated by the Greenbackers, and subsequently indorsed by the Republicans.Michael R. Rybolt, straight Republican, was elected commissioner over Robert Buchanan, the Democratic nominee. In 1879 the Greenback vote was only 403, and the only Democrat defeated was James Crosson, candidate for representative to the Legislature, over whom Dr. L. W. Bishop, Greenback-Republican, triumphed, he having a majority of 38 votes.

The two following lists show the status of the county on State and national questions from its organization to the present time:

Votes for Governor in the County

1803 - Not recorded.

1805 - Edward Tiffin, 519.
1807 - Return Jonathan Meigs, 175; Nathaniel Massic, 257; Thomas Worthington, 269.
1808 - Samuel Huntington, 222; Thomas Worthington, 385; Thomas Kirker, 7.
1810 - R. J. Meigs, 394; Thomas Worthington, 304.
1812 - R. J. Meigs, 402; Thomas Scott, 491.
1814 - Thomas Worthington, 315; Othniel Looker, 623.
1816 - Thomas Worthington, 723; James Dunlap, 524.
1818 - Ethan Allen Brown, 778; James Dunlap, 211.
1820 - Ethan Allen Brown, 974; Jeremiah Morrow, 31; William H. Harrison, 4.
1822 -- Jeremiah Morrow, 869; Allen Trimble, 740; William W. Irwin, 4.
1824 - Jeremiah Morrow, 1203; Allen Trimble, 712.
1826 - Allen Trimble, 1523; John Bigger, 108; Alex. Camp0bell, 155; Benjamin Tappan, 92.
1828 - John W. Campbell, 1605; Allen Trimble, 836.
1830 - Robert Lucas, 1174; Duncan McArthur, 933.
1832 - Robert Lucas, 1760; Darius Lyman, 1194.
1834 - Robert Lucas, 1327; James Findlay, 670.
1836 - Joseph Vance, 1396; Eli Baldwin, 1851.
1838 - Wilson Shannon, 3006; Joseph Vance, 1603.
1840 - Wilson Shannon, 2283; Thomas Corwin, 1922.
1842 - Wilson Shannon, 2511; Thomas Corwin, 1969; Leicester King, 55.
1844 - David Tod, 2195; Mordecai Bartley, 2123; Leicester King, 114.
1846 - David Tod, 2195; William Bebb, 1825; Samuel Lewis, 127.
1848 -- John B. Weller, 2640; Seabury Ford, 2142.
1850 -- Reuben Wood, 1841; William Johnston, 1585; Edward Smith, 80.
1851 - Reuben Wood, 2252; Samuel F. Vinton, 1761; Samuel Lewis, 158.
1853 - William Medill, 2345; Nelson Barrere, 1345; Samuel Lewis, 586.
1855 - William Medill, 2423; Salmon P. Chase, 2336; Allen Trimble, 456.
1857 - Henry B. Paine, 2563; Salmon P. Chase, 1952; Pheladelph Van Trump, 446.
1859 -- Rufus P. Ranney, 2988; William Dennison, 2689.
1861 - Hugh J. Jewitt, 2932; David Tod, 2758.
1863 - John Brough, 3685; C. L. Vallandigham, 3047.
1865 - George W. Morgan, 3307; Jacob D. Cox, 3336.
1867 - Allen G. Thurman, 3737; Rutherford B. Hayes, 3246.
1869 - George H. Pendleton, 3784; Rutherford B. Hayes, 2950.
1871 - George W. McCook, 3468; Edward F. Noyes, 3324.
1873 - William Allen, 3475; Edward F. Noyes, 3003; Isaac C. Collins, 193; Gideon T. Stewart, 2.
1875 - William Allen, 4036; Rutherford B. Hayes, 3480; John Buchtel, 6.
1877 - Richard M. Bishop, 3859; William H. West, 3043; Stephen Johnson, 268; H. A. Thompson, 12; L. H. Bond, 2.
1879 - Thomas Ewing, 4070; Charles Foster, 3677; A. S. Piatt, 403; Gideon T. Stewart, 2.


Vote of the County for President

    Until the year 1876 the returns of the vote in Ohio for Presidential electors were returned by the judges of the election to the sheriff, who, at a designated time, delivered them to the Secretary of State, at the capitol, hence the full returns of the country are not of record in the county, and only a few of them accessible, yet sufficient for comparison.

1824 - Jackson, 914; Clay, 318; Adams, 324.
1832 - Jackson, 2140; Clay, 1217.
1836 - Van Buren, 2029; Harrison, 1467.

1844

 

Polk's Majority

Clay's Majority

Batavia

--

48

Williamsburgh

--

162

Tate

--

65

Franklin

1

--

Washington

42

--

Monroe

47

--

Ohio (including Pierce)

214

--

Union

181

--

Miami

92

--

Goshen

3

--

Stonelick

37

--

Wayne

74

--

Jackson

--

42

 

691

257

Polk's majority, 334

1852 - Pierce, 2765; Scott, 2213; Hale, 409.
1856 - Buchanan, 2741; Fremont, 2188; Fillmore, 781.
1860 - Douglas, 3206; Lincoln, 2965; Bell, 209; Breckenridge, 57.

1864

 

Lincoln

McClellen

Batavia

315

262

Williamsburgh

274

136

Tate

270

378

Franklin

290

378

Washington - 1st pct
Washington - 2nd pct

156
72

150
116

Monroe

159

208

Ohio

246

220

Pierce

124

170

Union

100

261

Miami

297

282

Goshen

182

166

Stonelick

159

190

Wayne

97

193

Jackson

144

150

 

2888

3142

Army Vote

428

172

Totals

3316

3314

Lincoln's majority: 2

1868

 

Grant

Seymour

Batavia

376

326

Williamsburgh

340

138

Tate

291

301

Franklin

283

398

Washington - N.P.
Washington - S.P.

76
196

132
192

Monroe

198

213

Ohio

347

273

Pierce

140

217

Union

147

289

Miami

366

287

Goshen

201

215

Stonelick

200

211

Wayne

134

213

Jackson

180

171

Totals

3475

3594

Seymour's majority, 119.


1872

 

Grant

Greeley

Batavia

324

314

Williamsburgh

327

152

Tate

282

270

Franklin

308

407

Washington - Moscow
Washington - Neville
Washington - North

92
127
69

82
92
131

Miami - Loveland
Miami - Milford
Miami - Newberry

127
137
99

198
118
53

Monroe

195

215

Ohio

398

303

Pierce

132

250

Union

126

256

Goshen

181

191

Stonelick

168

214

Wayne

148

241

Jackson

168

171

 Totals

3408

3658

Greeley’s majority, 250

 1876

 

Tilden

Hayes

Batavia

423

394

Williamsburgh

200

356

Tate

342

304

Franklin

456

366

Washington - Moscow
Washington - Neville
Washington - North

95
110
144

103
122
86

Miami - Loveland
Miami - Milford
Miami - Newberry

228
156
52

163
172
106

Monroe

241

229

Ohio

326

391

Pierce

275

161

Union

305

171

Goshen

219

210

Stonelick

251

175

Wayne

297

151

Jackson

195

188

 Totals

4315

3848

Tilden's majority: 465

Representatives

The following are the representatives in the Legislature from Clermont County, with years of election. From 1851 the term was two years, instead of one.

1803 (January) – Roger Walter Waring, Williamsburgh township; Amos Ellis, Pleasant township.
1803 (October) – Daniel Fagin, Pleasant township; Jonathan Taylor, Washington township.
1804 – Robert Higgins, Pleasant township.
1805 – Jonathan Taylor, Washington township.
1806 – David C. Bryan, Williamsburgh township.
[Seat contested and given to Thomas Morris, Tate township.]
1807 – John Pollock, Miami township.
1808 – Thomas Morris, Tate township; William Fee, Washington township.
1809 – John Pollock, Miami township; Amos Ellis, Pleasant township.
1810 – 11 – John Pollock, Miami township; Thomas Morris, Tate, township.
1812 – John Pollock, Miami township; Geo. C. Light, Ohio township.
1813 – 14 – John Pollock, Miami township; John Bogges, Tate township.
1815 – John Pollock, Miami township; William Fee, Washington township.
[Contested by Christian Miles, an elector, on the ground of holding a lucrative office (inspector), and decided ineligible December 8th. Mr. Fee was again elected, and resumed his office Jan. 3, 1816.]
1816 – Henry Chapman, Pleasant township; Gideon Minor, Washington township.
1817 – Henry Chapman, Pleasant township; John Denham, Tate township.
1818 – Henry Chapman, Pleasant township; John Shaw, Ohio township.
1819 – Alexander Campbell, Pleasant township; David Morris, Tate township.
1820 – Thomas Morris, Tate township.
1821 – Gideon Minor, Franklin township.
1822 – John McWilliams, Goshen township.
1823 – William Williams, Miami township.
1824 – Thomas Gatch, Miami township; Dr. A. V. Hopkins, Tate township.
1825 – Thomas Gatch, Miami township; John K. Morris, Tate township.
1826 – Thomas Gatch, Miami township; Owen T. Fishback, Batavia township.
1827 – Thomas Gatch, Miami township; John Shaw, Ohio township.
1828 – John Shaw, Ohio township; John Emery, Miami township.
1829 – Gideon Minor, Franklin township.
1830 – Samuel Perin, Miami township; John Shaw, Ohio township.
1831 – 32 – Dr. William Doane, Union township.
1833 – Festus Dunning, Goshen township.
1834 – Samuel Medary, Batavia township.
1835 – 36 – Dowty Utter, Washington township.
1837 – 38 – Thomas J. Buchanan, Batavia township.
1840 – 41 – Reader W. Clarke, Batavia township.
1842 – No representation
1843 – William Roudebush, Stonelick township; James Sargent, Washington, township.
[Died during his term]
1844 – William Roudebush, Stonelick township.
1845 – 46 – David Dial, Batavia township.
1847 – Dr. James C. Kennedy, Franklin township; Shepherd F. Norris, Batavia township.
1848 – Shepherd Norris, Batavia township.
1849 – 50 – Dennis Smith, Stonelick township.
1851 – Dr. Elisha Bennett, Union township.
1853 – Dr. John P. Emery, Miami township.
1855 – William West, Williamsburgh township; Elbridge G. Ricker, Pierce township.
1857 – Thomas Hitach, Batavia township; Moses S. Pickelheimer, Wayne township.
1859 – Dr. John E. Myers, Goshen township.
1861 – John Ferguson, Pierce township.
1863 – Amos Dawson, Ohio township.
1865 – Rev. Azariah W. Coan, Ohio township; Abram Teetor, Goshen township.
[Died in office; John H. Branch elected to fill vacancy]
1867 – John H. Branch, Miami township; William Shaw, Monroe township.
1869 – William Shaw, Monroe township.
1871 – Ira Ferguson, Monroe township.
1873 – 75 – Samuel A. West, Miami township.
1877 – James Crosson, Wayne township.
1879 – Ira Ferguson, Monroe township; Dr. Leonard W. Bishop, Batavia township.



In the years 1840 – 43 Clermont, Clinton, and Brown Counties formed a district, with three representatives, save in the year 1842, when it had four (none from Clermont); and in 1847 this county had one representative proper (Shepherd F. Norris) and an additional one (Dr. James C. Kennedy) joined with Brown County as a district.


Senators in Legislature

Part of the time Clermont has been a senatorial district of itself alone, and then a district joined with Brown County, and four years with Brown and Clinton, but the senators are given who lived in Clermont when elected (for the term of two years):

1803 – William Buchanan, Washington township [Elected in January, and his successor elected in the following October]; James Sargent, Washington township.
1805 – James Sargent, Washington township.
1807 – 9 – David C. Bryan, Williamsburgh township. [Resigned to accept the clerkship of the Clermont Court of Common Pleas, to which he was appointed in 1810]
1810 – William Fee, Washington township.
1811 – Levi Rogers, Tate township.
1813 – Thomas Morris, Tate township.
1815 – John Boggess, Tate township.
1818 – 19 – John Pollock, Miami township.
1821 – Thomas Morris, Tate township.
1823 – Owen T. Fishback, Williamsburgh township.
1825 – 27 – Thomas Morris, Tate township.
1829 – Dr. William Wayland, Batavia township.
1831 – Thomas Morris, Tate township.
1833 – Dr. William Doane,Union township.
1835 – Samuel Medary, Batavia township.
1837 – 39 – Dowty Utter, Washington township. [In 1841 - 44, in district with Clinton and Brown, which got the senators]
1845 – Dowty Utter, Washington township.
1849 – William Howard, Batavia township.
1853 – Michael H. Davis, Ohio township.
1857 – Dr. William P. Kincaid, Washington township.
1861 – John Johnston, Batavia township.
1867 – 67 – Samuel F. Dowdney, Batavia township.

1873 – 75 – Henry V. Kerr, Batavia township.

The senators and representatives in the General Assembly from other counties who represented districts composed in part of Clermont County, with their years of election and service and places of residence, are as follows:

Senators

1841 – Griffith Foos, Jr. Clinton County.
1842 – James Loudon, Brown County.
1843 – W. H. Baldwin, Clinton County; James Loudon, Brown County.
1847 – Benjamin Evans, Brown County.
1851 – Sanders W. Johnson, Brown County.
1855 – Chambers Baird, Brown County.
1859 – Clinton A. White, Brown County.
1863 – James Loudon, Brown County.
1869 – 71 – Learner B. Leeds, Brown County.
1877 - 79 – George P. Tyler, Brown County.

Representatives

1840 – R. B. Harlan, Clinton County; Gideon W. Dunham, Brown County.
1841 – Gideon W. Dunham, Brown county; Stephen Evans, Clinton County.
1842 – David Fisher, Thomas Ross, Clinton County; Moses Rees, John D. White, Brown County.
1843 – John D. White, Brown County.
In 1841 – 43 the senatorial district was Clinton, Brown, and Clermont, and ever since, Clermont and Brown.
In 1840 – 43 the representative district was Clinton, Brown, and Clermont; at all other times, Clermont by itself.

Members of Constitutional Conventions

The first Constitutional Convention in Ohio was convened at Chillicothe from Nov. 1 to Nov. 29, 1802, the two members from Clermont were Philip Gatch and James Sargent, who were elected Oct. 12, 1802.The second convention assembled at Columbus, May 6, 1850, and adjourned July 9, 1850, to reassemble at Cincinnati Dec. 2, 1850.It was finally adjourned March 10, 1851.The member from Clermont was Shepherd F. Norris, but John H. Blair, of Georgetown, represented Clermont and Brown Counties jointly.At the election for members Clermont, April 1, 1850, S. F. Norris and Philip B. Swing were the candidates, the former receiving 1634 and the latter 1520 votes.  The vote on the adoption of this constitution in Clermont, June, 1851, was, in favor, 2263; opposed, 1798; an affirmative majority of 465.

The third Constitutional Convention assembled at Columbus, May 13, 1873, adjourned August 8th, and reassembled at Cincinnati, Dec. 2, 1873, and finished its labors May 15, 1874.The member from Clermont was John Shaw, of Ohio township, elected in April, 1873, by a vote of 2635 against 2437 cast for Thomas M. Lewis.The people of Clermont adopted the new constitution by overwhelming majorities.

Clerks of the General Assembly

Richard Collins, of Tate, was clerk of the Senate of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth General Assemblies, for the years 1818, 1819, and 1820.  In his first year Robert Lucas was speaker of the Senate, and in his last two years Allen Trimble was the speaker, -- both subsequently Governors of the State.

Of the House of Representatives of the Fiftieth General Assembly, that assembled on Jan. 5, 1852, -- the first one under the new constitution, -- Mahlon H. Medary, of Batavia, was clerk, having been elected by 65 voted to 26 cast for E. J. Hutchinson, but resigned during the second session, March 7, 1853.

 

Speakers of the House

John Pollock, of Milford, was elected speaker of the House of Representatives of the eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth General Assemblies, which convened at the capital – Chillicothe – in the years 1812, 1813, and 1814.

Thomas J. Buchanan, of Batavia, was elected speaker of the House of Representatives of the Thirty-eighth General Assembly, that convened at Columbus on Dec. 2, 1839.

 

Members of Congress

The first member of Congress from this county was Dr. William Doane, of Withamsville, elected in 1838 to the Twenty-sixth Congress from the fifth Congressional district, composed of Clermont, Brown, and Adams Counties, and re-elected in 1840, and who served two terms of two years each, -- from 1839 to 1843.  The next member was Jonathan D. Morris, of Batavia, elected in 1847 to the Thirtieth Congress from the seventh district, comprising Clermont, Brown, and Highland Counties, and who, in 1848, was re-elected, his term expiring in 1851, making four years.Mr. Morris was first elected to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Gen. Thomas L. Hamer, elected in 1846, being at that time in the military service of the United States in Mexico, where he died previous to the convention of the Thirtieth Congress.There was no opposition in Clermont to the election of Gen. Hamer, nor to that of Mr. Morris the first time.William Howard, of Batavia, was elected to the Thirty-fifth Congress in 1858, from the sixth district, composed of Clermont, Brown, Adams, and Highland Counties, and served one term, which ended on March 4, 1861, just at the opening of the late great Rebellion and when Congress was deeply stirred by questions of the greatest moment to the country.Reader W. Clarke, of Batavia, was elected a member of Congress from the sixth district, composed of Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland Counties, in 1864, and in 1866 was re-elected to the Fortieth Congress, and assisted in the work of the reconstruction of the States lately in rebellion.We give the vote at Mr. Clarke’s first election, in 1864:

 

R. W. Clarke

Chilton A. White

 

Home Vote

Army Vote

Home Vote

Army Vote

Brown

2,167

434

2434

100

Clermont

2,712

424

2925

69

Clinton

2,140

353

1160

48

Fayette

1,406

217

1103

25

Highland

2,348

461

2361

49

 

11,179

1,889

9887

291

Clarke’s whole vote

12,662

   
White’s whole vote

10,178

   
Clarke’s majority............................ 2,484

Since then the boundaries of the district in which this county is situated have been twice changed, but no Clermonter elected.


Presidential Electors

The following district Presidential electors have been from this county:  1840, Abraham Miley, who voted for William Henry Harrison for President and John Tyler for Vice-President; 1844, Reader W. Clarke, who voted for Henry Clay for President and Theodore Frelinghuysen for Vice-President; 1860, John M. Kellum, who voted for Abraham Lincoln for President and Hannibal Hamilin for Vice-president; 1872, George W. Hulick, who voted for Ulysses S. Grant for President and Henry Wilson for Vice-President.

United States Senators

On Dec. 15, 1832, Thomas Morris, of Bethel, was elected United States senator for six years from the 4th of March, 1833, in place of Benjamin Ruggles, by the following vote:Thomas Morris, 54; John W. Campbell, 49; scattering, 4 – being the majority of one vote.  For four years Mr. Morris had for his colleague Thomas Ewing, who had been elected in 1830 (on December 29th), on the seventh joint ballot of the Legislature, by two majority; and for the other two years of his term in the Senate he had for his colleague William Allen, elected on the thirteenth joint ballot of the General Assembly, on Jan. 19, 1837, by two majority over Mr. Morris’ former colleague, Thomas Ewing.


Federal and State Judges

In 1809, Thomas Morris, of Bethel, was elected by the Legislature one of the supreme judges of Ohio, on account of the ability he had acquired as a lawyer and a leader of the House of Representatives in conducting the impeachment against Calvin Pease and John Tod, two judges of Ohio for an alleged unconstitutional interference with the powers and duties of justices of the peace, to whom jurisdiction in cases not exceeding twenty dollars was given.The General Assembly following the one that elected Mr. Morris to the bench revised the laws for a second time.Seven years had now elapsed since the first Legislature convened, and the question was agitated whether a new and general election of judges out to take place.On the one side it was contended that the original appointments were for the term of seven years, and that those who had been elected to fill vacancies could only serve out the residue of the original term.On the other, this construction of the constitution was opposed as violent, forced, and unnecessary, and the opposite doctrine was maintained, that every judge elected to fill a vacancy was elected for the term of seven years, and entitled to hold his office for that time unless constitutionally removed.In support of this doctrine, this construction, the law regulating commissions was cited, and it was shown that the constant practice had hitherto been to commission every newly-elected judge for the full term.A resolution, however, was passed adopting the first construction, and extending its principle to the other State officials.This resolution, in effect, declared all the judicial offices vacant; and the Legislature (in 1810) proceeded to elect judges of the Supreme Court and of the different Courts of Common Pleas.They reduced the number of judges of the Supreme Court, which had been increased to four in 1809, to three.The effect of this act was to deprive Thomas Morris, who had been duly elected and commissioned as judge in 1809, of his seat upon the bench.He never presided, and the only official act known to have ever been performed by him judicially was just before the meeting of the Legislature that legislated him out, in administering, in November, 1809, the oath of office to Oliver Lindsey as sheriff of the county, to which he had been elected the month previous.

On March 31, 1871, Philip B. Swing, of Batavia, was appointed by President Grant Judge of the District Court for the southern District of Ohio to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Humphrey H. Leavitt, who had been on the Federal bench since July 10, 1834, -- the day of his appointment by President Jackson.Judge Leavitt was from Steubenville, and for twenty years was the sole government judge of the district Court in the State, and until Ohio was divided into the northern and southern districts, and Cincinnati made the seat of the latter’s sittings.Judge Swing, in his nine years’ administration, has made an honored name throughout the country.His administration has been able, pure, and dignified, giving him a well-deserved reputation for his decisions.Coming of an honorable lineage, celebrated in the pioneer annals of the county, born, reared, and educated in Clermont, where he had practiced for a quarter of a century his profession in a most successful and honorable manner, he has maintained on the bench the character of an eminent and upright judge.

Thomas Q. Ashburn, of Batavia, was appointed in February,, 1876, by Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, one of the five judges of the Supreme Court commission for three years; and his term expired Feb. 1, 1879.This court, created by the Legislature under the provisions of the constitution, had the same authority as the regular Supreme Court, and was designed to assist in deciding continued and accumulated cases, and help to clear the dockets.This was the first court commission ever in the State, and ten years must elapse before another can be appointed.The decisions of the commission were received with favor, and are published by the State law reporter.

Henry V. Kerr, of Batavia, is the present State librarian, receiving his appointment from Governor R. M. Bishop, March 17, 1879, for the full term of two years.  Mr. Kerr is a native of New York, but came to Clermont many years ago, and served as county recorder from 1853 to 1859, and was elected State senator in 1873.For eight years he was editor of the Clermont Sun, where he gave proof of extensive culture, great reading, and indomitable energy.Under the joint administration of Mr. Kerr and his assistant, Miss Mary C. Harbaugh, for many years an assistant in that office, the library is managed in the best interests of the public, and to the satisfaction of those who consult it.

In addition to the foregoing many former citizens of Clermont achieved distinction in other States.Isaac N. Morris (son of Senator Thomas Morris) was an able member of Congress from the Quincy, Ill., district, and a trusted friend of President Lincoln, who often consulted him on affairs of state.Samuel W. Holmes, of Seymour, Ind., became a leading politician in that State, and for years held important offices.CoL. Jed. Brush, the cattle-king of Colorado, has been a prominent member of the Legislature of that State.Hon. James Shaw was a hero in the struggle for Texan independence, and a Congressman of that republic; and many others were equally eminent in other localities.

There is hardly another county that has furnished more Federal officials than Clermont.At one time it had sixty persons in the employ of the government at Washington, furnishing such distinguished officials as J. Milton Megrew, Sixth Auditor of the U. S. Treasury, and J. L. French, of the Postmaster-General’s Department, both noted as officers unsurpassed in efficiency.

 

Territorial Delegates and Members of Congress Representing Clermont Country from

1799 to 1880 – Composition of the Congressional Districts

1799 – The first delegate from the Northwest Territory was William H. Harrison, -- elected President in 1840, -- who resigned to accept the Governorship of the Territory of Indiana, and was succeeded as delegate by William McMillan, of Cincinnati.

1801 – Paul Fearing, of Marietta, was the third and last delegate who represented the Territory in Congress.

1803 -- Up to 1813 the State had but one member of Congress in the House of Representatives, who was Jeremiah Morrow, of Warren County, the representative in the Eighth to Twelfth Congress.

1813 – The first Congressional apportionment in Ohio was made by the Tenth General Assembly, by act passed Feb. 14, 1812, dividing the State into six Congressional districts on the basis of the census of 1810, and Clermont, with Highland, Fayette, Clinton, Greene, and Adams, was made the Second district, and John Alexander, of Greene, was the representative from 1813 to 1817, in Thirteenth and Fourteenth congresses, and was succeeded by John W. Campbell, of Adams, who served from 1817 to 1823, in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Congresses.

1823 -- The Twentieth General Assembly of Ohio, on May 23, 1822, divided the State into fourteen congressional districts, and Clermont, with Hamilton, composed the First, and James W. Garlay, of Hamilton, served from 1823 to 1825, in the Eighteenth Congress, and James Findlay, of the same county, from 1825 to 1833, in the Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-second Congresses.

1833 – The Thirtieth General Assembly of Ohio, on June 13, 1832, passed an act dividing the State into nineteen Congressional districts, of which Clermont, Brown, and Adams composed the Fifth, and Thomas L. Hamer, of Brown, served from 1833 to 1839, in the Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fifth Congresses, and Dr. William Doane, of Withamsville, Clermont Co., served from 1839 to 1843, in the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Congresses.

1843 – The Forth-first General Assembly of Ohio, by an act passed March 13, 1843, divided the State into twenty-one Congressional districts, of which Clermont, Brown, and Highland composed the Seventh, and John J. McDowell, of Highland, served from 1843 to 1847, in the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses; Jonathan D. Morris, of Batavia, Clermont Co., served from 1847 to 1851, in the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses; and Nelson Barrere, of Highland, served from 1851 to 1853, in the Thirty-second Congress.

Up to this date (1843) it had been the invariable custom of the Legislature to make the congressional apportionment as soon as the census returns were had, and not to change it until after the next census, but the Forty-third General Assembly of Ohio was the first to make an innovation on the precedent, and on March 12, 1845, made, by a special enactment, a new Congressional apportionment by changing several of the districts; but the Seventh (Clermont district) was not disturbed.

1853 – The Fiftieth General Assembly of Ohio, by act passed April 30, 1852, divided the State into twenty-one Congressional districts, of which Clermont, Brown, Adams, and Highland composed the Sixth, and whose representative from 1853 to 1855, in the Thirty-third Congress, was Andrew Ellison, of Brown; from 1855 to 1857, in the Thirty-fourth Congress, was Jonas R. Emrie, of Highland; from 1857 to 1859, in the Thirty-fifth Congress, was Joseph R. Cockerell, of Adams, and from 1859 to 1861, in the Thirty-sixth Congress, was William Howard, of Batavia, Clermont Co.;and from 1861 to 1863, in the Thirty- seventy Congress, was Chilton A. White, of Brown.

1863 – The Fifty-fifth General Assembly of Ohio, by an act passed April 26, 1862, divided the State into nineteen Congressional districts, of which Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland composed the Sixth, whose representative from 1863 to 1865, in the Thirty-eighth Congress, was Chilton A. White, of Brown; from 1865 to 1869, in the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, was Reader W. Clarke, of Batavia, Clermont Co.; and from 1869 to 1873, in the Forth-first and Forty-second Congresses, was John A. Smith, of Highland.

1873 – The Sixtieth General Assembly of Ohio, by an act passed April 27, 1872, divided the State into twenty Congressional districts, of which Clermont, Butler, Clinton, Warren, and Fayette composed the Third, whose representative from 1873 to 1875, in the Forty-third Congress, was John Quincy Smith, of Clinton; from 1875 to 1877, in the Forty-fourth Congress, was John S. Savage, of Clinton; and from 1877 to 1879, in the Forty-fifth Congress, was Mills Gardner, of Fayette.

1879 – The second violation of Congressional apportionment precedent was made by the Sixty-third General Assembly of Ohio, which, by an act passed May 15, 1878, repealed the act of six years previous, not waiting until the next census, as, with one exception noted, had been the precedent, and made a new apportionment, putting Clermont with Brown, Adams, Highland, and Clinton, whose representative from 1879 to 1881, in the Forty-sixth Congress, was Henry L. Dickey, of Highland.

1880 – In February the Legislature repealed the apportionment of May 15, 1878, and enacted the one of April 27, 1872.


Governors of Ohio

The following were the Territorial and State Governors from the organization of the first civil government, in 1788, in the Northwest Territory, of which the State of Ohio was a part, until the year 1880:

Arthur St. Clair, from July 13, 1788, to 1802.
Charles Willing Byrd, from 1802 to March 3, 1803.
Edward Tiffin, from March 3, 1803 to March 4, 1807.
Thomas Kirker, from March 4, 1807 to Dec. 12, 1808.
Samuel Huntington, from Dec. 12, 1808, to Dec. 8, 1810.
Return Jonathan Meigs, from Dec. 8, 1810, to March 25, 1814.
Othniel Looker, from April 14, 1814, to Dec. 8, 1814.
Thomas Worthington, from Dec. 8, 1814, to Dec. 14, 1818.
Ethan Allen Brown, from Dec. 14, 1818, to Jan. 4, 1822.
Allen Trimble, from Jan. 7, 1822, to Dec. 28, 1822.
Jeremiah Morrow, from Dec. 28, 1822, to Dec. 19, 1826.
Duncan McArthur, from Dec. 19, 1826, to Dec. 18, 1830.
Robert Lucas, from Dec. 18,, 1830, to Dec. 7, 1832.
Joseph Vance, from Dec. 7, 1832, to Dec. 13, 1836.
Wilson Shannon, from Dec. 13, 1838, to Dec. 16, 1840.
Thomas Corwin, from Dec. 16, 1840, to Dec. 14, 1842.
Wilson Shannon, from Dec. 14, 1842, to April 13, 1844.
Thomas W. Bartley, from April 13, 1844, to Dec. 3, 1844.
Mordecai Bartley, from Dec. 3, 1844, to Dec. 12, 1846.
William Bebb, from Dec. 12, 1846, to Jan. 22, 1849.
Seabury Ford, from Jan 22, 1849, to Dec. 12, 1850.
Reuben Wood, from Dec. 12, 1850, to July 15, 1853.
William Medill, from July 15, 1853, to Jan. 14, 1856.
Salmon P. Chase, from Jan. 14, 1856, to Jan. 9, 1860.
William Dennison, from Jan. 9, 1860, to Jan. 13, 1862.
David Tod, from Jan. 13, 1862, to Jan. 12, 1864.
John Brough, from Jan. 12, 1864, to Aug. 29, 1865.
Charles Anderson, from Aug. 30, 1865, to Jan. 9, 1866.
Jacob D. Cox, from Jan. 9, 1866, to Jan. 13, 1868.
Rutherford B. Hayes, from Jan. 13, 1868, to Jan. 8, 1872.
Edward F. Noyes, from Jan. 8, 1872, to Jan. 12, 1874.
William Allen, from Jan. 12, 1874, to Jan. 14,, 1876.
Rutherford B. Hayes, from Jan. 14, 1876, to March 2, 1877.
Thomas L. Young, from Mar 2, 1877, to Jan. 14, 1878.
Richard M. Bishop, from Jan. 14, 1878, to Jan. 14, 1880.
Charles Foster, Jan. 14, 1880.



United States Senators

From Ohio since its Admission into the Union in 1802, with Residence and Time of Service

Robert Lucas, from Dec. 18,, 1830, to Dec. 7, 1832.
Joseph Vance, from Dec. 7, 1832, to Dec. 13, 1836.
Wilson Shannon, from Dec. 13, 1838, to Dec. 16, 1840.
Thomas Corwin, from Dec. 16, 1840, to Dec. 14, 1842.
Wilson Shannon, from Dec. 14, 1842, to April 13, 1844.
Thomas W. Bartley, from April 13, 1844, to Dec. 3, 1844.
Mordecai Bartley, from Dec. 3, 1844, to Dec. 12, 1846.
William Bebb, from Dec. 12, 1846, to Jan. 22, 1849.
Seabury Ford, from Jan 22, 1849, to Dec. 12, 1850.
Reuben Wood, from Dec. 12, 1850, to July 15, 1853.
William Medill, from July 15, 1853, to Jan. 14, 1856.
Salmon P. Chase, from Jan. 14, 1856, to Jan. 9, 1860. [Salmon P. Chase, elected for six years from March 4, 1861, served till March 12th, and resigned to go in Lincoln's Cabinet]

William Dennison, from Jan. 9, 1860, to Jan. 13, 1862.
David Tod, from Jan. 13, 1862, to Jan. 12, 1864.
John Brough, from Jan. 12, 1864, to Aug. 29, 1865.
Charles Anderson, from Aug. 30, 1865, to Jan. 9, 1866.
Jacob D. Cox, from Jan. 9, 1866, to Jan. 13, 1868.
Rutherford B. Hayes, from Jan. 13, 1868, to Jan. 8, 1872.
Edward F. Noyes, from Jan. 8, 1872, to Jan. 12, 1874.
William Allen, from Jan. 12, 1874, to Jan. 14,, 1876.
Rutherford B. Hayes, from Jan. 14, 1876, to March 2, 1877.
Thomas L. Young, from Mar 2, 1877, to Jan. 14, 1878.
Richard M. Bishop, from Jan. 14, 1878, to Jan. 14, 1880.
Charles Foster, Jan. 14, 1880.
George Ellis Pugh, Hamilton, from 1855 to 1861.
John Sherman, Richland, from 1861 to 1877. [
John Sherman resigned to go into Hayes' Cabinet; and Corwin resigned to go in Taylor's Cabinet.]
Allen G. Thurman, Franklin, from 1869 to 1881.
Stanley Matthews, Hamilton, from 1877 to 1879.
George Hunt Pendleton, Hamilton, from 1879 to 1885.
James A. Garfield, Lake, from 1881 to 1887.

 

The Underground Railroad in Clermont County
Prepared by Byron Williams

"The influence of a good deed is without limits." Chief Justice Chase wrote, "Senator Morris first led me to see the character of the slave-power as an aristocracy, and the need of an earnest organization to counteract its pretensions. He was far beyond the time he lived in."
In early youth the Hon. Thomas L. Hamer, then needs and otherwise friendless, found a home with Senator Morris, and received at his hands and introduction to his splendid political career. And it was Gen. Hamer's appointment that Gen. Grant secured his military education at West Point.
This connection and correlation of worthies is perhaps without a parallel in the United States. It was idle to suppose that the citizens of the country were entirely unworthy of these associations.
Public thought was deeply interested in those beings, whom their religion clothed with humanity and whom sympathy marked as unfortunate. On the border the more repulsive features of the "Peculiar Institution" were doubtless softened by the desire to obtain a security through a kindness that was not felt or needed farther South. Yet enough was visible to make the whole system odious to the freemen of the North.
One of the early agitators of this question was John Rankin, a Presbyterian preacher, who was thoroughly in earnest, and lost no chance to discuss the "Sin of slavery" and its dangerous influence on Politician, Priest, and Press.
After delivering a lecture of this kind in the old schoolhouse at Williamsburgh, he was set upon in the street and severely pelted with eggs. It is a strange comment, but the young man who was thought to be the leader in this disgraceful affair lost his life in the Union army.
The general tenor of all discussion was the inherent wrong and sin of human bondage; opposition to the extension of slavery in the Territories; a complete abolition of the slave-trade on the high seas, in fact as well as law; the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia; but in no case was intervention in the States advocated. With increasing agitation came an active benevolence that did not stop to debate the right to hold property in man when that man had escaped from his tyrant.
And when food, shelter, or raiment was asked, often in the name of Christ, it could not be refused to one of these little ones. Whether one should constitute himself a constable to return the fleeing to bondage, or point the way to freedom, was a question of easy solution.
True men, without regard to party, never refused bread to the beseeching negro who turned away from chains and, with face toward the north star, fled from the sight of the spangled banner of the free to the British flag as his only city of refuge. In the nature of things men of decided convictions against slavery were most frequently importuned for assistance, and thus became the men who were charged with running away negroes.
Nothing was done to entice slaves from Kentucky. Only as they came were they sped on their way. The owners pursuing them were informed who were most likely to have assisted the fugitives, and returning, in baffled rage heaped curses loud and deep on names of person and localities in haring of slaves, who reverently preserved the stealthy knowledge for their own time of need. Mrs. Dr. L. T. Pease distinctly remembers a band of six fugitives that were secreted in her father's (Thomas Fee) house more than sixty-five years ago.
Her brother, the late Robert E. Fee, of Moscow, was, it is true, charged with abducting slaves, and at one time was under requisition for the same.
About forty years ago a family of blacks, living for years in the south part of the country, were kidnapped at night, except the father, and carried into Kentucky, under the plea that the mother was a runaway slave, and her children, though born out of bondage, must share her lot. A vain pursuit was made to the river, where on the Kentucky side unusual lights pointed out a house that was conjectured to have received the unfortunate captive. Robert Fee devoted himself to their rescue by legal means. He followed them into a distant State into which they had been sold, and narrowly escaped death. The mob, raging for his blood, actually passed through the room adjoining his hiding-place. The affair produced much excitement, and caused many hitherto neutral people to join the opposition to slavery. The family was hopelessly lost and separated, but Fee repaid his wrongs many fold.
A light was said to have burned all night in his house to guide belated travelers across the river. His doors were barred, and his family, girls and all, slept with loaded firearms in ready reach. His house was surrounded again and again by violent slave-hunters. The romance of the border in that day was thrilling in the extreme, though its actors were but plain farmers and timid, shadow-fearing fugitives.
There was no pre-concerted action on the part of the men so engaged, yet there was a kind of system. When run-aways go across the river, the Fees and others, according to circumstances, either hurried them on or secreted them till the hunt swept by. They were then guided northward, generally through Tate township, where they were cared for by the Rileys, Benjamin Rice, Richard Mace, Isaac H. Brown, and others.
Brown commenced in 1835. And was one of the most vigilant conductors on the road. From there a part went to Huggins', on White Oak, but most came to Williamsburgh, where Charles Boerstler Huber and Dr. L. T. Pease were always ready to help. Another much-traveled road led to Williamsburgh from New Richmond by way of James Buntin's.
Huber became an abolitionist through his own experience. After serving an apprenticeship as a tanner he went far South and sought employment as such. His first application was answered, "No, I bought one yesterday," and so on, till money and patience were both gone. He concluded that the system was bad, and ever after sought its destruction with relentless zeal. He was bold, outspoken, and fearless to rashness, which, no doubt, saved him much trouble, for it needed brave man to match him.
Mark Sims, a mulatto, was for many years the wagon master for Huber, Pease, and their assistants. The route from Williamsburgh was led by various ways to the Quaker settlement in Clinton County. The work was generally done in the night, -- not through shame, but to avoid trouble with some who, for the sake of the rewards, were often on the watch. There is no telling how many escaped, but the number must have amounted to many hundreds. Very few were ever captured. In a notable instance a large family (the Balls), some twelve or fourteen were overhauled when in sight of the British ship that was to carry them over the lake. The greatest number cared for at one time by Huber was seventeen.
In the New York Independent for December, 1879, Prof. David Swing thus pleasantly writes of his recollections of Williamsburgh, in 1849:
"In the village, which lay a mile or two from our farm, there lived a tanned leather a man called Boss Huber. He was the first one of those fearful creatures called Abolitionists I ever saw, and to which all our large family looked with abhorrence. One summer morning it devolved upon me to made an early trip through the woods to the village, with the intent to lay in for some harvest hands a few pounds of sugar and a half-gallon of molasses; and lo! In a ravine, shady and cool and dark, I came upon Boss Huber and a large negro man. Boss was just shaking hands with the African, and giving him some money and some parting words. To my young and altogether verdant soul, it seemed that the Boss was sending a colored man on some errand to some distant town or State, for the fact and manner of the Underground Railroad had not yet fully penetrated my soul. The fearful Boss then joined me, and we emerged at length from the woods and approached the village together. He began saying something about having told that negro of a town North in which he could find work; and from tis introduction he glided off into a regular eloquent discourse about the wrongs and sufferings of the black men in the South. He wound up his plea by taking from his coat-pocket a much-worn copy of The National Era, if my memory is perfectly correct. At least the paper contained several immense speeches from such men as Salmon P. Chase and Birney and Garrison, and when in one of these addresses I found the passage, 'We must in this country rear a temple of liberty whose shaft will pierce the skies,' it seemed to me a large remark. I memorized a part of that speech, and when, next winter, I joined a debating' club,' I took the abolition side of a question, and as a climax quoted all about that temple with such an ambitious shaft. Today, among things to be glad of, I am rather glad that I once saw a slave make a summer morning sacred to him and to me by tripping along through dense woods away from the Ohio and toward freedom."


 



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