Franklin County, Ohio
Genealogy and History


History of Franklin County
"A collection of Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of the county
with biographical Sketches and a complete History of the county to the present time."
by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858)



War of 1812 - Execution of W. Fish - Laying out of certain Towns, etc. - John Kilbourne's Works - Wm.  Lusk and his Almanac - President Monroe's Visit - Sullivant's Bridge - Squirrel Hunt - Granville Road - Pugh's Bridges - Sickly Season, etc. - T. Backus's Poem - H. D. Little's Poem - Road to Worthington - Names of Streams - Silk Factory - Sugar Beet, etc.

In this chapter it is designed to give a sketch of the county generally from 1812 until 1858, leaving the several townships and the city to be afterwards noticed in separate Chapters under appropriate heads.

In 1812 the town of Columbus was laid out, which will be made the subject of subsequent Chapters. And in the same year war was declared by the United States against Great Britain. During the war, from 1812 to 1815, Franklinton was a place of much life and business. This was the most flourishing period of that town. Though immediately after the surrender of Hull's army at Detroit, in August, 1812, a general consternation ensued. A descent of the British and Indians upon this part of Ohio was feared; and not altogether without reason, for Franklin County was then rather a frontier settlement, and the Indians had the possession of the entire Sandusky and Maumee country. Frequent false alarms were received, and a few families left the county through fear, and others fain would have done so, but for pride of character. The Governor soon ordered out the militia in mass, and the fears at home subsided. Franklinton soon became a place of general rendezvous, or headquarters for the north - western army. There were sometimes from one to two or three thousand troops there for short periods; but they were almost constantly on the move, coming and going. There would at other times be but few, or none, except the officers in the commissary department, who were busily engaged in buying and collecting provisions and forage.

The productions of the country then found a ready cash market at high prices, and almost every man's pocket was flushed with money. Pork, which had previously sold for $1.50 per hundred, now readily brought $4.00; and flour was $4.00 per hundred; oats and corn, from 50 cents to $1.00 per bushel; hay from $10 to $20 per ton; and other things in proportion. After the conclusion of peace, and when the lavish expenditure of public money necessarily attendant upon a state of war had ceased, Franklinton began to decline, and times generally took a turn, and about the years 1819, '20, '21, '22 and '23, the pressure was, perhaps, the greatest. Over a hundred parcels of real estate were sometimes embraced in one advertisement of Sheriff's sales.* The productions of the country had now fallen in price to - for pork $1.50 per hundred; flour from $1.00 to $1.25 per hundred; corn from 10 to 12 cents per bushel; potatoes 12 cents per bushel; and other produce in proportion, and dull sales at these prices. Real estate had fallen in about the same proportion. The most rigid economy was no practiced by all grades of society. The wealthiest families used rye coffee; and the most distinguished public men dressed in blue linsey pantaloons, etc.

In June, 1813, while the army lay at Franklinton, a soldier, by the name of William Fish, was shot, under the sentence of a court martial, for the offense of desertion and threatening the life of his captain. It was an awful scene.

Three other prisoners were condemned to death by the same court martial, but were pardoned by General Harrison. The last one was pardoned, had been previously conducted to his coffin, and the cap placed over his eyes, in which situation he remained until Fish was shot. His pardon was then read to him.

*Columbus Gazette of January 30, 1823, and January 1824.

In 1816, the first banking institution was established in Columbus. The same year, the town of Columbus was first incorporated, and the same year, the town of Georgesville was laid out. In 1817, the town of Oregon, originally called Middletown, was laid out, and in 1818, the town of Dublin. They will all be noticed under the head of their respective localities.

In 1816, John Kilbourne obtained a copy - right for the "Ohio Gazetteer," and published the first edition of that work. The demand for it was such, that within less than three years, he published his sixth edition, in Columbus. About the year 1822, he also published his Map of Ohio, which was much in use for a number of years. Mr. Kilbourne's works were very useful and highly appreciated. He died in Columbus, in the spring of 1831.

In 1817, William Lusk published his first Almanac, at Columbus, to which was added a Register of public officers, etc., of the State, by counties, making a pamphlet of some sixty or seventy pages, and entitled it the "Ohio Register and Western Calendar," for which he obtained a copy - right. The Register part was continued some five or six years, when it was dropped; but the Almanac was published annually until about the year 1852 or '53. Mr. Lusk died at Dayton, about the year 1854 or '55. In his Register of 1821, he thus describes the old county seat: "Franklinton, the county seat,  contains a post office, a store, three taverns, a common school, and an Academy, in which are taught English Grammar, Geography, Book - keeping, double and single entry, Mensuration, Geometry, Trigonometry, Plane and Spherical Surveying, Navigation, Algebra and Astronomy." Rather a flattering notice of his own school.

Worthington is described as containing, "A post office, a printing office, four taverns, four mercantile stores, a College, a Masonic hall and a number of large manufactories for woolen cloths, hats, saddles, shoes, combs," etc.

In the latter part of August, 1817, President Monroe and suite passed through this county, on their return from Detroit after his northern tour of inspection of the public fortifications, etc. They were met at Worthington by the Franklin Dragoons, commanded by Captain Vance, and escorted to Columbus, where proper arrangements had been made for the reception; and the President was received in the State House, and welcomed to the Capital by a neat and appropriate speech from Hon. Hiram M. Curry, then Treasurer of State. To which the President made a suitable reply, complimenting the "infant city," as he called it, and its inhabitants.

They traveled on horseback, and were generally escorted from one town to another by the military, or some distinguished citizens. They rode fast, generally in a canter. Mr. Monroe wore the old - fashioned, three cornered, cocked hat - his dress otherwise was in plain, citizen style. His face was effectually sunburnt from exposure.

Of the company composing the above escort, there are still living in Columbus, Gen. P. H. Olmsted and F. Stewart, Esq.

This troop of dragoons was first organized in time of the war, and continued until 1832, or '33, when they disbanded. They were commanded by the following, successive captains: Joseph Vance, Abram J. McDowell, Robert Brotherton, P. H. Olmsted, Joseph McElvain and David Taylor. All good officers, and all now passed off the stage except Mssrs. Olmsted and Taylor. But the writer, through this work,  has made it a rule to say but little of individuals yet living, while he pays an occasional mark of respect to the deceased. And even under this rule, he finds himself embarrassed; for it is impossible to notice all that he would desire to.

Captain Vance was a fine military officer, and was in the service, in different grades of office, during the greater part of the war. He was amongst the early settlers of the county; married in Franklinton in 1805, and remained a resident of the county the balance of his life. He was a surveyor and for many years the County Surveyor; was one of the conspicuous citizens of his day, and highly respected. He died in 1824. His widow still survives, and lives with her son, Chambers Vance, Esq., of Blendon.

Captain McDowell was a military officer of portly and commanding appearance. He was afterward promoted to the rank of Colonel, which title he bore through life. He was amongst the early settlers of the county, and held the office of Clerk of the Courts and County Recorder many years. He was afterward Mayor of the city of Columbus. Was a man of free and jovial disposition, and always had warm friends. He died in the fall of 1844, in the 54th year of his age.

Captain Brotherton was the third commander of this popular troop, and was, from that, promoted to the rank of Colonel, which title he bore through life. He was a native of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and came to Franklinton when a youth, and resided in this county ever after. He married a daughter of Captain Kooken, a family of high respectability. He was of a mild and sociable disposition, and became very popular, apparently without an effort on his part. He served two constitutional terms of four years each, as Sheriff, and filled that critical and unpleasant office with peculiar ease and kindness, and was never charged with oppression.

He died in November, 1837, aged about forty - five years.

Captain McElvain, like his predecessors in the command of the troops, was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Ohio militia, and bore the title of Colonel through life. He died suddenly on the 7th of February, 1858, at his residence in Worthington, aged about 65 years. Col. McElvain was one of the first residents of Franklin County. He came here with his father and family, when he was a child, in the spring of 1798, and remained here ever since. He was in turn farmer, merchant, hotel - keeper and public officer. He was many years an assistant at the Ohio Penitentiary. He held the office of County Treasurer four years, and was Superintendent of the County Infirmary a number of years, and discharged the duties of his office with kindness and urbanity.

In 1815, or '16, a wooden toll bridge was erected across the Scioto, on the road leading from Columbus to Franklinton, by Lucas Sullivant, under a charter from the Legislature. The bridge started from near the same point on the east side of the river that the present one does, but, running more direct across the river, landed several rods lower down on the west side. And a new road was opened from thence through the fields to Franklinton, and passed through Franklinton one square further south than the road had formerly been, or now is. This change gave dissatisfaction generally to the property holders on the main street. The bridge stood some eight or ten years, when some of the timbers becoming rotten, it fell. It was then rebuilt, starting from the same point on the east, and running in the same direction that the national road bridge does; and the former road to and through Franklinton was restored.

This toll - bridge and the franchise fell to the share of Joseph Sullivant in the division of his father's estate. When the national road was constructing, about the year 1832 or '33, upon the superintendent agreeing to erect a good, free bridge, at the expense of the government, provided Sullivant's right under the charter was extinguished, the citizens, principally of the north end of Columbus, aided by a few subscriptions west of the river, raised by contribution $8,000; and the county (through the commissioners) gave $2,000 more, making $10,000, which was paid to Mr. Sullivant for his right; and thereupon, the present substantial structure was erected at the expense of the general government, as a part of the national road.

For the first twenty years or more, after the settlement of this county, fishing and hunting were favorite amusements; and the fish and game being plenty, a person did not tire in the pursuit. Fishing was sometimes with a net seine, but more frequently with a brush drag, which required from a dozen to twenty men, and was a kind of frolic. Hunting was for the double or treble purpose of amusement, the obtaining of fresh game for the table, and the protection of the crops against devouring animals.

The subjoined account of a general squirrel hunt, from the Columbus Gazette of August 29th, 1822, is illustrative of the above fact. And at the same time is brings to view the names and the memory of  a number of respectable citizens of that day, most of whom have now passed away.

"GRAND SQUIRREL HUNT. -  The squirrels are becoming so numerous in the county as to threaten serious injury, if not destruction, to the crops of the famer during the ensuing fall. Much good might be done by a general turn out of all citizens whose convenience will permit, for two or three days, in order to prevent the alarming ravages of those mischievous neighbors. It is, therefore, respectfully submitted to the different townships, each, to meet and choose two or three of their citizens to meet in a hunting caucus, at the house of Christian Heyl, on Saturday, the 31st inst., at 2 o'clock P.M. Should the time above stated proved too short for the townships to hold meetings, as above recommended, the following persons are respectfully nominated and invited to attend the meeting at Columbus:  Montgomery, Jeremiah McLene and Edward Livingston; Hamilton, George W. Williams and Andrew Dill, Madison, Nicholas Goetschius and W. H. Richardson; Truro, Abiather V. Taylor and John Hanson; Jefferson, John Edgar and Elias Ogden; Plain, Thomas B. Patterson and Jonathan Whitehead; Harrison, F. C. Olmsted and Capt. Bishop; Sharon, Matthew Matthews and Buckley Comstock; Perry, Griffith Thomas and William Mickey; Washington, Peter Sells and Uriah Clark; Norwich, Robert Ellicott and Alanson Perry; Clinton, Col. Cook and Samuel Henderson; Franklin, John McElvain and Lewis Williams; Prairie, John Hunter and Jacob Neff; Pleasant, James Gardiner and Reuben Golliday; Jackson, Woollery Conrad and Nicholas Hoover; Mifflin, Adam Reid and William Dalzell.

"In any case township should be unrepresented in the meeting, those present will take the liberty of nominating suitable persons for said absent townships.

*Yet living.
A subsequent paper says: "The hunt was conducted agreeable to the instructions in our last paper. On counting the scalps, it appeared that nineteen thousand six hundred and sixty scalps were produced. It is impossible to say what number in all were killed, as a great many of the hunters did not come in.:" The hunting or killing of deer was successfully practiced by candle or torch light, at night, on the river. The deer in warm weather would come into the river after night, to eat a kind of water - grass that grew in the stream, and the hunters, by taking a canoe, and a bright light in it, could let it float down stream, and the light appeared to blind the deer, until they could float near to them, and shoot them with ease.

In March, 1823, we find in the Gazette the following   proposition for improving the Granville road, which was then the most direct eastern line of road from Columbus, and was almost impassable, being but little else than one continuous mud hole:

"The undersigned respectfully request, that as many of the citizens of Franklin County as can make it convenient, will meet at the tavern of Robert Russell, on Saturday, the 11th day of April next, for the purpose of making arrangements to meet the citizens of Licking County, and labor on the Columbus and Granville road, for two days, in the latter part of May next.


*Yet living.

Near this time, David Pugh erected two toll bridges on this road - one over Alum Creek and the other over Big Walnut Creek. They were wooden structures, and did not last many years until they became unsafe, and he ceased to take toll, and abandoned the bridges. Mr. Pugh then lived by the road side, and kept a tavern east of Walnut Creek; he did not keep toll collectors at the bridges, but collected from travelers at his house. Building his bridges was an unprofitable enterprise. Mr. Pugh died in October, 1857, in the eighty - ninth year of his age. The generation to which he had belonged had run away from him; and he to has now "gone glimmering through the dream of things that were."

The summer and fall of 1823 exceeded anything before known for sickness. The whole country was little else than one vast infirmary -  whole families were frequently prostrate without well members enough to take care of the sick ones. The diseases were bilious and intermittent fevers, of all types, from the common fever and ague to the most malignant. Although the mortality was great, still it was not excessively so in proportion to the number of sick. Many prominent men were taken off that season, amongst whom were Lucas Sullivant,* [*Mr. Sullivant was about fifty - eight years of age. He was the leading pioneer in Franklin County -  a man of enterprise, good judgment, and great energy of character.]   Judge John A. McDowell, Judge John Kerr, David S. Broderick, Barzillai Wright, keeper of the Penitentiary, and others. The ensuing year, 1824, was also very sickly, but not so much so as 1823. Amongst the prominent old citizens carried off this year, were Capt. Joseph Vance, Billingsby Bull, Esq., James Culbertson, John Starr, sr., and others.

Amongst the writers for the newspapers about this time, was Thomas Backus (father of the late Elijah Backus) who wrote over the signature of "Fabius." Mr. Backus was an able and cutting writer. He occasionally wrote poetry. The following lines from his pen, have a reference to the demolition of the beautiful mound that once stood at the corner of High and Mounds streets, in Columbus, and was partly used up in the manufacture of brick for the first State House, and from which many human bones were taken:

"Oh Town! Consecrated before
The white man's foot e'er trod our shore,
To battle's strife and valour's grave,
Spare!   Oh spare, the buried brave.
"A thousand winters passed away,
And yet demolished not the clay,
Which on yon hillock held in trust
The quiet of the warrior's dust. 

"The Indian came and went again;
He hunted through the lengthened plain;
And from the Mound he oft beheld
The present silent battle field.
"But did the Indian e'er presume,
To violate that ancient tomb?
Ah, no! he had the soldier grace
Which spares the soldier's resting place.

"It is alone for Christian hand
To sever that sepulchral band,
Which ever to the view is spread,
To bind the living to the dead.

Mr. Backus died in the fall of 1825.
Harvey D. Little was also a contributor to the columns of the newspapers, and wrote over the signature of "Velasco." He was a young man of some talent, and afterward editor of the National Enquirer, published by Horton Howard. He mostly wrote poetry; was of a sedate and solemn turn of mind, and his productions were generally expressive of his own feelings. The following is a specimen of his poetry:

    "When many a year hath roll'd its round, And left life fast decaying; When all those silver ties which bound Our fondest hopes are straying; "When wounded friendship finds no balm To heal its cruel anguish; When pity's tears shall cease to charm The heart that's left to languish;    " 'Tis then that mem'ry brings to view The hours now passed forever; The loves, the joys, the griefs we knew, Which shall return - O never.    "How faithful then mem'ry portrays Those hours of childish pleasure' When basking in youth's brightest rays We thought each toy a treasure.    "Our prospects then were sweet and fair, We thought no griefs could cloud them; Nor that cold penury and care With gloom so soon would shroud them.    "But oft these prospects disappear, As time our years are stealing; And retrospection calls a tear To ease each wounded feeling.  "Worthington, July, 20, 1823.  VELASCO."

Mr. Little died in Columbus, of cholera, in 1833.

In 1823, the present straight road from the north end of High street, Columbus, to Worthington, was opened; previous to that, the road passed up the river, and Olentangy Creek.*

*This stream, formerly called Whetstone, is, by a law passed in February, 1833, to restore the Indian names to certain streams, called Olentangy -  and the stream sometimes called Big Walnut, and sometimes Big Belly, is named Gahannah -  though it is said that the name Gahannah is only applicable to that stream below the junction of the three creeks - Blacklick, Walnut, and Alum Creeks -  that the Indian word Gahannah signifies -  three united in one.

In 1824, the county seat was removed from Franklinton to Columbus.

Times remained dull, and prices of real estate and agricultural productions low, until about 1827 or 1828. And from about 1830 to 1837, improvements of all kinds and business generally, were brisk; and the price of real estate in both town and country, run up at railroad speed. In fact, a kind of speculation mania prevailed about this time through all parts of the Union; and the people of Franklin County partook in their full proportion. Buying and selling of real estate, laying out towns, and sub - dividing lots and lands into smaller parcels, and selling, leasing, etc., were the most common operations of the speculator. The mora multicaulus excitement also prevailed, and money was made by some in the sale of the plants, or bushes, -  but those who bought and attempted to cultivate the mulberry, raise the worms, and manufacture the silk, did not succeed so well. Messrs. Joseph Sullivant, A. S. Chew, and perhaps some others connected with them, set out a large field of the mulberry plants, and erected a good sized frame building near Franklinton, for a silk manufactory. The experiment was made, but not succeeding well, the whole concern was abandoned in a few years, and nothing now remains to even show where the "Silk Factory: stood.

The raising of the sugar beet, for the manufacture of sugar, was also another  wild chimera introduced about this time. Mr. Sullivant also experimented in this, but abandoned the project after one or two years of rather unsuccessful operations.

About the year 1837, this wild career of speculation -  this getting rich one off another, without creating any additional wealth in the country, but merely exchanging property from hand to hand, and every time placing a higher estimate on it, had about exhausted itself; and things began to gently recede, and by 1840 business had again become very dull, and prices of real estate and produce had essentially fallen.

During this year (1840) the principal business of the country, far and near, appeared to be electioneering -  attending conventions and stump speeches, making and waving of flags, singing political songs, etc. All now appeared intent on saving the country and bettering their own conditions in this way.

From 1846 or '47 until 1853, was another flow of speculative enterprise; and money being plenty, and the currency good, the whole country improved rapidly. The city and towns flourished, population increased from emigration, and the farming interest never before was so prosperous.

Since 1853, things have been again receding, particularly in the city and towns -  the farming interest is not, however, much affected yet, and probably will not be so much as the towns. The railroads bring the farmers so near to the eastern cities that they are not much dependent on their neighboring towns or city for a market for their productions. The capital of the towns and cities principally made the railroads -  the farmer profits by them.

About the year 1839 or '40, a paper mill was erected by Henry Roedter and John Siebert, on the Scioto, some two or three miles above Franklinton, where they for some time carried on the paper making business. It did not, however, succeed well, and Roedter soon passed out of the concern, and removed to Cincinnati. It was then for a time owned and worked by Siebert and Ernst Frakenberg, and succeeded no better. It then passed into the hands of Asahel Chittenden, who abandoned the old site and building, and in the fall of 1845, removed the machinery to a new brick building erected for that purpose, just above the national road bridge, in Columbus, where it was worked for some time by J. L. Martin and R. H. Hubbell, and then by William Murphy, until it was destroyed by fire, in 1848. It was then rebuilt and worked by Mr. A. B. Newburth, until the fall of 1849, when it finally closed its business. The same building was afterward converted into a machine shop, owned by Messrs. Swan and Davis, and in July, 1854, it was again destroyed by fire -  building, machinery, and all.  [Source: History of Franklin County, by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858) - Transcribed by Brenda Becker]


Ohio State Journal and its Antecedents - Freemen's Chronicle - Ohio Monitor - Ohio State Bulletin - Western Statesman - Columbus Sentinel - Anti-Masonic Review - Western Hemisphere - Ohio Statesman - People's Press - Ohio Confederate - Old School Republican - Capital City Fact - Cross and Journal - Ohio Press - Ohio Cultivator - Free Soil Papers - German Papers - Sundry short lived papers.

 The first newspaper ever published in Franklin County was at Worthington, in 1811.  It was called the Western Intelligencer, and supported the measures of the general government.  Col Kilbourne was the original proprietor; it however soon passed out of his hands, and early in 1814, the office was removed to Columbus, and the paper was then published by P. H. Olmsted, Joel Buttles, and Ezra Griswold, Jr., and by a slight change in the title, was called the Western Intelligencer and Columbus Gazette,  and it has been continued ever since, under different proprietors and modifications of title.  It was the root, or original of what is now The Ohio State Journal.  It soon passed entirely from Buttles and Griswold, to Col. Olmsted, who dropped part of the title, and as sole proprietor and editor, published it until the year 1825, under the name of The Columbus Gazette.  After the commencement of the sessions of the Legislature at Columbus, he did the State printing by contract.  The office of State Printer was not created until the session of 1824-5, when George Nashee was elected the first State Printer, and he and John Bailhache both came in as partners with Col. Olmsted, and the paper was then enlarged, and the title changed to the Ohio State Journal and Columbus Gazette.  Mr. Nashee died before his term as State Printer expired, and Olmsted was appointed for the balance of the term.  At the session of 1827-8, Judge John Bailhache was elected State Printer, and he and Olmsted bought out the Western Statesman, and merged it in the Journal.  The Western Statesman was a paper of respectable appearance, that had been commenced in 1825 by Zachariah Mills and Martin Lewis, and in 1826 it passed into the hands of Martin Lewis and Elijah Glover; afterward to Freedom Sever and Glover, and in 1828 they sold out and it was merged in the Journal, as just stated.  In 1831, Col. (afterward General) Olmsted sold out to Judge Bailhache, who continued proprietor and editor until the spring of 1835, when he sold out to Charles Scott and Smithson E. Wright, who united with it the Columbus Sentinel, a paper that had grown out of Ohio State Bulletin, as hereinafter noticed.  In 1837, Mr. Wright sold out to Scott, and John M. Gallagher, who had some months before started a new paper by the title of the Ohio Political Register, came in as partner with Scott in Wright's place, and merged the Register in the Journal, and the title was changed to Ohio State Journal and Register, but before long the Register was dropped from the title, and the paper assumed its present name - the Ohio State Journal.  In the springs of 1839, Mr. Gallagher was succeeded by Samuel Douglas, who continued in the concern less than a year, and sold out to Mr. Scott and Scott then continued sole proprietor, assisted by various editors, amongst whom were James Allen, O. Follett, V. W. Smith, John Teesdale, Wm. B. Thrall, Henry Reed (now of the Cincinnati Commercial), and Wm. T. Bascom, until the year 1854, when he made an assignment to trustees, who, after continuing the publication some time, organized and transferred the establishment to the Ohio State Journal Company, and by them it was continued under the editorial charge of Oran Follett, assisted by Wm. T. Bascom and John Greiner, until the summer of 1856, when it passed into the hands of William Schouler & Co., by whom it is at present conducted.

 In 1812 this paper (then the Western Intelligencer) supported James Madison for the Presidency; in 1816 and 1820 it supported James Munroe (in 1820 there was no opposition to Monroe); in 1824 it supported Henry Clay; in 1828, John Q. Adams; in 1832, Henry Clay in 1836, Wm. H. Harrison; in 1840, Harrison; in 1844, Henry Clay; in 1848, Zachariah Taylor; in 1852, Winfield Scott; in 1856, John C. Fremont.

The second paper in Franklin County was the Freemen's Chronicle, published in Franklinton, by James B. Gardiner.  The motto was -

"Here shall the Press the people's rights maintain, Unaw'd by influence and unbrib'd by gain; Here Patriot truth its glorious precepts draw, Pledg'd to Religion, Liberty and Law."

Its publication was commenced in the summer of 1812, and was continued between two and three years.  The writer is under obligations to Wm. Domigan, Esq., for the examination of a bound volume of this paper - perhaps the only one extant.  It was a small sized sheet, and the paper bad; it bears quite an ancient appearance, but was rather a spicy affair.  Its publication was during the war with Great Britain, and a large proportion of the matter consists of news from the army, and matters connected with the war.  But it also contains much of the local news and business of the county.  The official advertisements of Lyne Starling, as Clerk of the Court; of Samuel Shannon, as Sheriff; and of Adam Hosack and James B. Gardiner, as successive Post Masters, are quite frequent.  And amongst the candidates for office, appear conspicuous, the names of James Kilbourne, Joseph Foos, Arthur O'Harra, Thomas Johnston, Wm. Shaw, Wm. McElvain, David Jamison, Michael Fisher, Alexander Morrison, William Reed, and Joseph Grate - all once prominent men in this county, but now all passed off the stage.  Amongst the business men of the day, we find the frequent advertisements of R. W. McCoy, Henry Brown, Starling & Delashmut, L. Goodale, and Samuel Barr, merchants; Archibald Benfield, saddler; Richard Courtney, nailor; Samuel Culbertson, Hatter; George Skidmore, * blacksmith; Matthew Bailey, shoemaker; Samuel King, tanner; David F. Heaton, tailor, etc.; and of Orris Parish, lawyer, and of Doctor John Ball, physician.  And amongst the military advertisements, are those of Joseph Foos, Brigadier General; Edward Livingston, Colonel; Gustavus Swan, Brigade Inspector; Jacob Reab, 1st Lieut. Of Franklin Dragoons, (Capt. Vance's company); John McElvain as 3d Lieut. 26th Regiment U.S. Infantry, advertising deserters, etc.

After the discontinuance of the paper by Mr. Gardiner, the materials passed into the hands of John Kilbourne, who removed them to Columbus, and published two numbers of a paper called the Columbian Gazette; but his enterprise was not likely to succeed to his satisfaction, and the materials were sold out by parcels, and the paper and office discontinued.

The third newspaper was the Ohio Monitor, commenced and published in Columbus, by David Smith and Ezra Griswold, jr., in 1816.  Griswold, however, soon sold out his interest to Smith, who remained sole proprietor and editor until the summer of 1836, when he sold out to Jacob Medary, and the Monitor was discontinued, or merged in the Hemisphere.  During three years of this time, from 1831 to 1834, Judge Smith was State Printer.

In the political contest of 1824, the Monitor supported John Q Adams for the Presidency.  In 1828, it supported Andrew Jackson, and from that time was a supporter of the Democratic party and measures.

The fourth paper published in this county, was the Franklin Chronicle, published at Worthington, by Ezra Griswold, jr., and Caleb Howard.  It was commenced about the 1818, or 1819, and continued, probably, a couple of years only.

In July, 1829, the Ohio State Bulletin was commenced in Columbus, by John A. Bryan and John A. Lazell.  At the end of about three years, they sold out to George Kesling, and John H. Wood became connected with Kesling, and they changed the title of the paper to the Columbus Sentinel, and advocated the claims of Judge McLean to the Presidency.  In 1835, it was sold and transferred to Scott and Wright, who merged it in the Ohio State Journal, as before stated.  For some time previous to this transfer, Jonas R. Emrie was also connected with the publication of the Sentinel.

In 1830, the Ohio Register and Anti-Masonic Review was removed from Milan, Huran County, to Columbus, and was published here about three years, by Warren Jenkins and Elijah Glover, and in 1833, the Masonic Lodges having generally disbanded, and the anti-masonic excitement ceased, the paper was discontinued.

About the year 1832, the publication of the Western Hemisphere, a weekly, Jackson Democratic paper, was commenced, in Columbus, by Gilbert and Melcher.  Afterward Melcher's interest passed to Russel C. Bryan, and subsequent to that, Gilbert and Bryan sold out to Jacob Medary and George W. Manypenny.  It then passed to Sacket Reynolds for a while, and then back to the Medarys, Samuel Medary having been elected to State Printer, and the title was then changed to the Ohio Statesmen. During the winter of 1833-4, while Gilbert and Melcher were proprietors of this paper, they issued from the office the first daily paper published in Columbus.  It was very small, and was entitled the Daily Advertiser.  It only continued a few months.  About the year 1845, the Statesman office was sold and transferred by Col. S. Medary to the Haswells, who continued the paper without any material change in its character for perhaps a year or two, and it then passed back to Col. Medary, who continued its proprietor and senior editor until about the year 1853, when he sold to S. S. Cox, who continued as editor and proprietor until 1855, when Mr. Cox sold to Mr. Derby of Cincinnati, and Mr. Derby conveyed it back to Col. Medary again, who subsequently conveyed it to James H. Smith, who still continues the publication of the paper.  It has always been, through all its changes of editors and proprietors, a thorough Democratic paper.

In 1836, a paper entitled The People's Press, was published in Columbus, by James B. Gardiner, for six months during the Presidential contest.  It was zealous and efficient in the support of General Harrison for President, and, at the same time, supporting Robert Lucas, the Democratic candidate for Governor.

In the summer or fall of 1838, John G. Miller commenced the publication of the Ohio Confederate, a professed Democratic, State rights paper, which finally went with the popular current in support of General Harrison for the Presidency.  In the spring of 1841, about the time Mr. Miller obtained the appointment of postmaster, he sold and transferred the paper to Doctors L. J. Moeller and N. M. Miller, and they changed the title of it to Old School Republican, and continued its publication as a Tyler paper about two years, when it died out and was continued.

The Cross and Journal. This was a Baptist weekly paper, started in Cincinnati in 1831, removed to Columbus in 1838, and published there until the close of 1849, when, having united with a Baptist paper of Indiana, it was removed again to Cincinnati.  During the first nine years of its publication in Columbus, it was edited and published by Geo. Cole, Esq., now of the Journal and Messenger of Cincinnati.  It was sold by him to the Rev. D. A. Randall and the Rev. J. L. Batchelder, who continued it for one year and then by Mr. Batchelder alone, until it was removed to Cincinnati.

About the year 1850, the Capital City Fact was commenced by some five or six journeymen printers, when out of employment, as an experiment to make work for themselves, and succeeded as well as they expected; but they, one by one, sold out their interest in the concern, until it is now owned, and the publication continued by John Geary and son.  Mr. Geary is a foreigner, from Ireland.  His paper was professedly neutral in politics until 1854 and '55, when Know Nothingism reigned rampant, the Fact came out bold and strong, as might naturally be expected, against this new party or order in politics.  But in 1856, after the Know Nothing party had nominated Mr. Fillmore their candidate for Presidency, the Fact changed its position and became the zealous supporter of the Know Nothing nominee.

The Ohio Press was a Democratic paper, commenced by Eli T. Tappan, in 1847, rather as a rival to the Ohio Statesman.  It was a respectable paper, published weekly, semi-weekly and part of the time, daily.  It did not, however, continue more than a year or two.

The Ohio Cultivator, a semi-monthly paper, devoted to Agriculture, Live Stock, Fruits, Gardening, and Domestic Affairs, was commenced in Columbus, in 1845, by M. B. Bateham, Esq.  about the first of January 1856, he sold and transferred the entire establishment to Col. S. D. Harris, the present editor and proprietor.

In the summer or fall of 1848, after the buffalo convention that nominated Martin Van Buren for the Presidency, a Free Soil paper, under the name of the Ohio Standard, was commenced in Columbus by E. S. Hamlin and Israel Garrard.  In the month of February, 1849, it was suspended.  In November, 1849, Franklin Gale and Thomas Cleveland commenced the publication of the Ohio Standard again, and continued it until September, 1850, when they sold out to O. Glover; and he continued its publication until the spring of 1851, when its publication closed.

About the first of January, 1853, another Free Soil paper was commenced, under the name of the Ohio Columbian, by Mr. Rice and others, and in the early part of the year 1855, it was transferred to A. M. Gangewer, who continued its publication until it was merged in the Ohio State Journal, in the summer of 1856.

In 1840, Capt. Elijah Glover, who had for some time previous kept a book and job office, commenced the publication of the Ohio Tribune. Walter Thrall, Esq., was for a time associated with him in the editorial department, and then Gideon Stewart, Esq.  It was a Whig paper, and creditably conducted.  Some years after, about the year 1848, George M. Swan became connected with Mr. Glover in the publication of the Tribune, and subsequently, in 1849, Glover sold out to Swan.  Mr. Glover is a respectable writer, but a little too honest, as well as independent, for a political editor.  He is emphatically republican, in the true sense of the word, both in theory and practice; and by always advocating what he considered right, he sometimes found himself out of the popular current, and he finally relinquished the printing business, and is now enjoying the independence of a farmer's life.  Mr. Swan, after his purchase of the paper, changed the title to that of Swan's Elevator. It was rather a local and advertising sheet, professedly neutral in politics.  About the year 1853, a temperance paper, which had been published some time in Columbus, was united with the Elevator, and the name of the latter changed to the Columbus Elevator, and its character changed to that of a temperance paper.  In the spring of 1855, Swan sold out and transferred the establishment to Gamaliel Scott, who left the temperance cause to take care of itself, and continued the paper upon the plan it originally started.   In the fall of 1856, John Greiner, Esq., was taken in as a partner and principal editor, and the title then changed to Columbus Gazette. In the fall of 1857, Scott sold out his remaining interest to Charles S. Glenn, and it is now continued by the firm of Greiner and Glenn.

Amongst the various other newspapers and periodicals, which have been published in Columbus, but which have generally been short-lived, the following are recollected, whilst probably others are forgotten:

National Enquirer, by Horton Howard, and edited by Harvey D. Little.

The Eclectic, by Horton Howard, and edited by William Hance.

The Thompsonian Recorder, first published by Jarvis Pike & Co., about the year 1832.  It was continued under different editors and proprietors until it was removed to Cincinnati by Doctor Curtis in 1842.

The Independent Press, by Hugh M. Espy & Co., a short time about the year 1832 or '33.

Budget of Fun, by the same.

The Straight-out Harrisonian, by Allen, Sage and Beverage, in 1840.

The Tornado, by R. P. Sage, in 1840.

And the Auger, by T. W. H. Mosely, in 1840.

The Ohio Freeman, by Capt. John Duffy, and then the Columbus Herald, by the same, about the years 1842 and '43.

About the years 1833 and '34, there were two German papers in Columbus, one entitled the Emigrant, and the other Ohio Intelligencer, both discontinued long since.  We now have West Bote, which was commenced in the fall of 1843, and is published by Reinhardt and Fiser.

In 1853, the Ohio Democrat was commenced in Columbus by Blake and Osgood, edited by Charles B. Flood.  Not long after, it was removed to Urbana, where its publication is continued by Mr. Flood.  [Source: History of Franklin County, by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858) - Transcribed by Anna Parks]


Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike - Columbus and Worthington Plank Road - Columbus and Portsmouth Turnpike - Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike - Columbus and Johnston Turnpike - Columbus and Sunbury Turnpike - Columbus and Granville Plank Road - Columbus and Lockwin Plank Road - Columbus and Groveport Turnpike - Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike - Jackson and Franklin Turnpike - Clinton and Blendon Plank Road.

The Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike was the first joint stock Company road constructed, any part of which was in Franklin County.

On the 31st of January, 1826, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating John Kilborne, Abram I. McDowell, Henry Brown, William Neil, Orange Johnson, Orris Parish, and Robert Brotherton, of Franklin County, and nineteen others, named in the act, and residing along the line of the road, in and about Delaware, Bucyrus and Sandusky, and their associates, by the name of "The Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company," with a capital of $100,000, with power to increase the same to $200,000; the stock divided into shares of $100 each; the company to be governed by a Board of nine Directors.

The chapter was accepted by the Company; and by an act of Congress, passed March 3, 1827, there was thirty-one thousand eight hundred and forty acres of land given to the State of Ohio in trust, for the use of the said Company, to aid them in the construction of the road. Without unnecessary delay, the road was surveyed and located. Col. Kilbourne was the surveyor, and Orange Johnson, Esq., was one of the locating commissioners, and the principal agent for the Company from first to last. The road was near eight years in the constructing, and was finished in the fall of 1834. It is one hundred and six miles in length, from Columbus to Sandusky, and cost $74,376, being an average cost of a little over $701 per mile. The chapter required that, at least eighteen feet in width should be made "an artificial road, composed of stone, gravel, wood, or other suitable materials, well compacted together, in such manner as to secure a firm, substantial and even road, rising in the middle with a gradual arch." Upon a proper construction of this clause has hung all the troubles between the road Company and the traveling public. The Company seem to have supposed that a properly formed clay road would meet the requirements of the charter, while the public seem to have expected a stone or graveled road. The charter required that the Governor should, at the proper time, appoint an agent to examine the road, and report his opinion in writing to the President of the Company, whether the same be completed agreeably to the provisions of the charter; and Nathan Merriman was appointed the agent for that purpose, and he reported "that he had examined the road, and that, in his opinion, the same was completed agreeably to the provisions of the act incorporating and Company" and thereupon the Company erected their gates, and exacted toll from those traveling the road. The road was quite an important public improvement at that time, but it was only a clay or mud pike; and in the spring and wet seasons of the year, it was, in places, almost impassable; and to be obliged to pay toll at such times, was grievously complained of, and the gates occasionally torn down; but the agent of the Company would immediately re-erect them. The subject was finally brought before the Legislature, and on the 28th of February, 1843, the act incorporating the Company was unconditionally repealed; and it further provided, that it should not be lawful thereafter for said Company to erect or keep up any gate or collect any tolls on the road. At the same session, in March, 1843, commissioners were appointed for that purpose, who surveyed and laid out a State road from Columbus to Sandusky, upon the bed of the turnpike; and on the 12th of March, 1845, an act was passed establishing the same a public highway. Until this time, the toll gates had been kept up and toll received, notwithstanding the repeal of the charter. But immediately after the passage of this act, the gates on the road were torn down by an excited populace, and never more erected. There was but one gate on this road within the bounds of Franklin County, and that was about two miles north of Columbus. The Company claim that these acts of the Legislature are unconstitutional; that their road had been made according to the provisions of the charter, and rely most particularly upon the decision of the State agent, who had formally accepted the road, and they have been applying ever since to each successive Legislature, for relief. At the session of 1843-4, a committee, of which Dr. S. Parsons was chairman, reported in favor of the Road Company conveying to the State all their rights, interests and privileges in the road, and that the State pay the stockholders, severally, the amount of their stock in State bonds, and that the road be declared one of the public works of the State, and placed under the control and supervision of the Board of Public Works.

In 1847, by a resolution of the Legislature, the subject was referred to the Attorney General, (Henry Stanberry, Esq.,) and in the report, he did not directly give an opinion on the constitutionality of the repeal, but says: "I am of opinion that a wrong has been done the Company," etc. At the session of 1856-7, a bill passed the Senate, to authorize the Company to bring suit against the State for injustice done in the repeal of the charter; but the bill was lost in the House.

The Columbus and Worthington Plank Road or Turnpike.
By an act of the General Assembly, passed March 23, 1849, Solomon Beers, John Phipps, John B. Piatt, Philip Fisher, and Robert E. Neil, and such others as might associate with them, by subscribing to the capital stock of the Company, were incorporated by the name of the "Columbus and Worthington Plank Road or Turnpike Company," to construct a plank road or turnpike from Columbus to Worthington, with privilege to extend it to Delaware, at the option of the Company. The Company to be governed by three Directors, to be chosen annually. The charter was accepted, and books opened on the 15th of April, 1849, for subscriptions to the stock. On the 5th of May, 1849, the requisite amount of stock being subscribed, the stockholders proceeded to the election of Directors, and B. Comstock, Wm. Neil, and Alanson Bull, were chosen the first Board of Directors. The Company were authorized to construct their road upon public roads or highway; and they accordingly constructed it on the bed of what had been the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike. The road was made in 1849 and '50, and on the first of January, 1851, the first dividend was made and paid to the stockholders. The capital stock of the company is $27,825, divided into shares of $25 each; but may be increased to $50,000. The present officers of the Company, are W. T. Martin, Pres't; Luther Donaldson, Sec'y; Ansel Phinney, Treas'r; Directors.

The Columbus and Portsmouth Turnpike.
This is a good graveled turnpike road, all the way through from Columbus to Portsmouth, and is properly but one road; though there were separate books for subscription in each county through which it passed; and the stockholders of each county made, keep in repair, and control the road, within their respective counties. The capital stock of the Franklin County part is $8,800, divided into shares of ten dollars each. The subscriptions were promptly paid, and the road constructed in 1847, since which it has paid fair and reasonable dividends. There is but one gate in this county, and that is about one mile south of Columbus. The elections for Directors have always been held at Circleville; the number assigned to Franklin County is three, and they attend exclusively to the business of the road within their county. The present Directors for Franklin County are Eli W. Gwynee, Robert Neil and Adin G. Hibbs.

The Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike.
This Company was incorporated in 1847, and the road was constructed in 1848 and '49. Uriah Lathrop, Esq., was the surveyor and engineer. The capital stock of the Company is $20,815, divided into shares of $25 each. The construction of the road cost $35,602. The county (through the County Commissioners) donated $4,500 for the erection of the bridge over the Scioto. This, it will be seen, still left the Company largely in debt when the road was finished. During the first two or three years, there were two gates kept on the road, but the western one has since been removed, and there is now but the one, two miles west of Columbus. There has never been any dividend made to stockholders; but all the proceeds of the road have been applied to the defraying of expenses, and the gradual payment o the debts, which are now nearly extinguished. The Company is governed by a Board of five Directors, to be chosen annually. The present Board (most of whom have served from the first organization of the Company), are Joseph Chenoweth, Pres't; George M. Parsons, Treas'r; Harvey Bancroft, A. P. Stone, and Adam Gantz.

The Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike Road.
By an act passed March 1, 1850. Robert Neil, Windsor Atchison, George Ridenour, Jesse Baughman and Walter Thrall, and their associates, were incorporated by the name of the "Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike Company," to construct a turnpike or plank road, from Columbus to Johnstown, passing through New Albany, with the privilege of extending it to Mt. Vernon, in Knox County. The capital stock subscribed and paid, is between ten and eleven thousand dollars, divided into shares of $25 each; but the stock may be extended to $70,000. The Company organized, and in the summer of 1851, constructed about seven miles of the road, extending from Columbus to Walnut Creek, opposite to the village of Bridgeport; and erected two (less than half toll) gates on it. The construction, so far as it is made, is paid; and the Company are receiving moderate dividends. The further extension of the road is considered doubtful. The Company is governed by a Board of five Directors. The present Board consists of Ermine Case, Pres't; Robert Neil, Windsor Atchison, George Ridenour, J. W. Baldwin.

The Columbus and Sunbury Turnpike and Plank Road.
By an act passed March 20, 1850, Wm. Trevitt, Christopher Heyl, Peter Agler, James Park, Geo. W. Agler, John Dill, Peter Harlocker, Timothy Lee, W. G. Edmison, John Curtis, E. Washburn, Stillman Tucker, and their associates, were incorporated to construct a turnpike or plank road from Columbus to Sunbury. The capital stock may be extended to $75,000, divided into shares of $25 each.

This road commences about three miles north-east from Columbus, where it verges off from the Columbus and Johnstown Road, and extends to Central College. It was constructed in 1852; capital stock taken and expended in construction, is between six and seven thousand dollars. The Company are out of debt; have one gate on the road, and are receiving moderate dividends. It is governed by a Board of five Directors, to be elected annually. The present Board consists of C. Heyl, Pres't; T. Lee, Sec'y; Jno. Dill, Treas'r; James Park and Henry Zinn.

The Columbus and Granville Plank Road or Turnpike.
On the 8th of February, 1850, Joseph Ridgway, Samuel Barr, Gates O'Harra, Wm. A. Platt and Samuel Brush, and such others as might become associated with them, were incorporated by the name of the "Columbus and Granville Plank Road or Turnpike Company," to construct a road of gravel, stone, or plank, at the option of the Company, from Columbus to Granville, with the privilege of extending it to Newark. The capital may be extended to $100,000, divided into shares of $50 each. The road was located and constructed with one good plank track, in 1852, from Columbus to Walnut Creek, a distance of about seven miles, and a gate erected. The affairs of the Company are controlled by a Board of five Directors. The present Board consists of Samuel Brush,* (*Mr. Brush has been President from the first organization of the Company. Hence it is generally called "Brush's Plank Road," )  Pres't; Gates O'Harra, Wm. A. Platt, F. C. Sessions and Wm. G. Deshler.

Columbus and Groveport Turnpike.
By an act passes 19th of March, 1849, William Harrison, Nathaniel Merion, Wm. H. Rarey, William Darnell, Edmund Stewart, Wm. W. Kyle and their associates were incorporated by the name of "The Columbus and Groveport Turnpike Company," to construct a turnpike road from Columbus to Groveport, with the privilege of extending it. The capital stock to construct it to Groveport to not exceed $20,000, to be divided into shares of $25 each. The actual amount subscribed was about 12,300, and the road was completed in the fall of 1850. The cost somewhat exceeded the amount of stock subscribed, but the balance was soon paid from the earnings of the road, and it is now out of debt and paying fair dividends. There are two gates on this road, and it governed by a board of five directors. The present board are Amor Rees, President; Dwight Stone, Secretary; William Merion, Treasurer; Jacob Arnold, and John H. Earhart.

Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike.
On the 20th of March, 1851, an act was passed, incorporating Adin G. Hibbs. Levi Stader, Solomon Borer, Isaac Miller and William Duff, and their associates, by the name of the "Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike Company," to make a turnpike road from the Columbus and Portsmouth turnpike, opposite to the Cottage Mills, to intersect the Columbus and Harrisburg pike.
The road was made in 1852; is about seven and a half miles in length, and has one gate on it, which was erected, and the first toll received in October, 1852. The road cost about $13,000, which being considerably over the amount of stock subscribed and paid, left the Company in debt for its construction. The directors have not yet made any dividends, but applied the earnings of the road toward the payment of the debts.

The first Board of Directors were S. B. Davis, A. G. Hibbs, Isaac Miller, Levi Strader and Solomon Borer. The contractor who constructed the road was A. Poulson, Esq. The present acting officers of the Company are Dr. S. B. Davis, president; A. G. Hibbs, Esq., Treasurer.

Franklin and Jackson Turnpike.
By an act, passed 20th of March, 1851, Samuel Landes, John Moler, Adam Miller, Jacob Huffman, John Stimmel, John Cherry, Wm. L. Miner, Gersham M. Peters and Michael L. Sullivant were incorporated to make a turnpike road from the Columbus and Harrisburg turnpike, or from Franklinton, at the option of the Directors, to the south line of Franklin County.
The Company organized, and in 1852, the road was constructed from the Harrisburg turnpike down the river to the Cottage Mill and Harrisburg pike, a distance of nine or ten miles. The amount of stock subscribed and paid was about $6,000. the cost of the road was between $7,000 and $8,000, leaving the Company between $1,000 and $2,000 on debt on the construction. The Directors have not made any dividends to stockholders, but applied the earnings of the road towards the discharge of the debt, which is not yet all paid. They have two half gates, one at the south end of the road and the other near the north end.  Present Board of Directors-Roberts Seeds, President; George Huffman, John Moler, Adam Miller, W. Brackenridge.

The Columbus and Lockwin Plank Road.
This Company was incorporated in the spring of 1853, under the general law, authorizing such in corporations, and the evidence thereof filed with the Secretary of State. The road commences at the intersection of the old Harbor road with the Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike, and extends seven miles. The first five miles were made in 1853, and the remaining two miles, the next year. The charter authorizes the extension of it to Lockwin, Delaware County. The original stock was $14,000, which was nearly all paid. The cost of the seven miles was about $16,500, a fraction less than $2,400 per mile; plank eight feet long and three inches thick, laid on two stringers four inches square. The deficiency to meet the cost of construction has been paid by tolls collected from the road; and the road being now out of debt, is paying fair dividends.  The acting officers of the company was (1858) are G. S. Innis, President; H. C. Noble, Secretary and Treasurer.

The Clinton and Blendon Plank Road.
This Company organized under the general act, in 1853; and in '53 and '54 they constructed their roads. It commences at the Lockwin road, about four miles north of Columbus, and extends to the county line half a mile north of Westerville, it's whole length being a fraction over eight miles. The capital stock subscribed was about $16,000 about $14,000 of which was promptly paid, the balance being as yet unpaid. The whole cost of the road was about $16,600, averaging a little over $2,000 a mile. The earnings of the road necessarily had to be applied for a time to pay the balance on the cost of construction. There are two gates on this road. From the southern terminus the travel to Columbus passes on the Lockwin road. This road is of decided public utility; but whether it will remunerate stockholders is another question that time must determine.
The officers of the company are G. W. Schrock, J. W. Jamison, W. L. Phelps, D. L. Holton, and Z. Jackson, Trustees; G. W. Schrock, President; J. C. Vance, Secretary; H. M. Phelps, Treasurer.  [Source: History of Franklin County, by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858) - transcribed by Mary Kifer]

Chapter VI.
The Columbus Canal.

Celebration at first Breaking of Ground - Contractors, etc.-- Names of Interested Citizens - Arrival of first Boats, etc. -- Names of Collectors.

On the 30th of April 1827, was the commencement of the first manual operations upon this part of the Ohio Canal. The citizens of Columbus and its neighborhood, to the number of eight or nine hundred, assembled at the State House, and at two o'clock formed a procession, marshalled by Colonels McDowell and McElvain, and preceded by General Warner and his suite, and parts of Captain Joseph McElvain's company of Dragoons, Captain Foos's company of Riflemen, Captain A. McElvain's company of Riflemen, Columbus Artillery, and State officers, and marched to the ground near where Comstock's warehouse now stands. Joseph R. Swan, Esq., then delivered a short, but pertinent address; and at its close, Gen. McLene, then Secretary of State, and Nathaniel McLean, Esq., then Keeper of the Penitentiary, proceeded to remove the first earth from the lateral canal, which was wheeled from the ground by Messrs. R. Osborn and H. Brown, then Auditor and Treasurer of State, amidst the reiterated shouts of the assembly. The company then retired from the ground to partake of a cold collation, prepared by Mr. C. Heyl, on the brow of the hill a few rods north of the Penitentiary square. After the cloth was removed, the following among other toasts, were drank:

"The Ohio Canal-The great artery which will carry vitality to the extremities of the Union."

"The Citizens of Columbus-Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Who envies this day, let him slink back to his cavern and growl."

This branch of canal was over four years constructing. The heaviest jobs were the canal dam across the Scioto and the Columbus locks, Messrs. W. McElvain, A. McElvain, B. Sells and P. Sells, contractors; the four-miles locks, Aaron Lytle, contractor; and the eight locks at Lockbourne, the Granville Company, consisting of Messrs. Monson, Fasset, Taylor, and Avery, contractors. The first mile from the Scioto was excavated by the Penitentiary convicts under guards. Such men were selected by the keeper as would have least inducements to break away; and they generally received a remitment of part of their sentences for faithful services.

The farming and producing part of community were watching with great anxiety the progress of this work, pretty correctly anticipating the new era that the completion of the canals would introduce in the Ohio markets. Of the substantial farmers along this short line, who were thus watching its progress, might be named William Merion, Moses Merrill, William Stewart, R. C. Henderson, Joseph Fisher, Andrew Dill, Percival Adams, Michael Stimmel, Fergus Morehead, Samuel Riley, James German, Thomas Morris, William Bennett, Jacob Plum, Luke Decker and Thomas Vause. Of whom Messrs. Adams, Stimmel and Riley are the only survivors.

On the 23d of September, 1831, the first boat arrived at Columbus by way of the canal. About eight o'clock in the evening the firing of cannon announced the approach of the "Governor Brown," a canal boat launched at Circleville a few days previous, and neatly fitted up for an excursion of pleasure to this place, several of the most respectable citizens of Pickaway County being on board as passengers. The next morning at an early hour, a considerable number of ladies and gentlemen of Columbus repaired to the boat in order to pay their respects to the visitors; and after the delivery of a brief but very appropriate address by Gen. Flournoy, exchanging those friendly salutations and cordial greetings which the occasion was so well calculated to call forth, the party proceeded back to Circleville, accompanied a short distance by a respectable number of the citizens of Columbus, and the Columbus bank of music. On the afternoon of the second day after, two canal boats, the "Cincinnati" and the "Red Rover," from the lake by way of Newark, entered the lock at the mouth of the Columbus feeder where they were received by a committee appointed for that purpose, and proceeded under a national salute of twenty-four guns, and music from the Columbus band, to a point just below the national road bridge, where the commanders were welcomed in the name of the citizens of Columbus by Col. Doherty, in a very neat address. A procession was then formed, when the company proceeded to Mr. Ridgway's large warehouse, and partook of a collation prepared in handsome style by Mr. John Young. A third boat, the "Lady Jane," arrived soon afterward and was received in a similar manner. On the day following, these boats having disposed of their freight took their departure for Cleveland in the same order and with about the same ceremonies as on their arrival, a large number of ladies and gentlemen, together with the Columbus band, accompanying their welcome visitors as far as the five mile locks. Here they met the "Chillicothe" and "George Baker," which took them on board, and they returned home highly delighted with their ride, at the rate of three or four miles an hour.

Joseph Ridgway, jr., was the first collector of canal tolls, and kept the office up at the Ridgway warehouse on Broad street, and nearly all the boats passed up there to put out and take in freight.

M. S. Hunter was the second collector, and the office was removed to the head of the canal, where it has continued ever since; and the freight business has also been nearly all done there since the removal of the office.

David S. Doherty was the third collector, Charles B. Flood the fourth, Samuel McElvain the fifth, and Benjamin Tressenrider the sixth and present collector.
 [Source: History of Franklin County, by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858) - transcribed by Mary Kifer]

Chapter VII  
Poor House or Infirmary.

When Erected---When Removed to Columbus etc.---Names of Officers generally.

On the 8th of March, 1831, the Legislature of Ohio passed "An act to authorize the establishment of Poor Houses" in any county in the State, at the discretion of the Commissioners of the County. In some counties the Commissioner, without delay, availed themselves of the provisions of the act, and in some other counties they never did. In 1832, the Commissioners of Franklin County purchased the farm in the forks of Whetstone, some three miles above Columbus, now occupied by Robert King, Esq., and commenced the erection of a Poor House building, which was completed and ready for the reception of paupers on the first of February, 1833. The first Board of Directors, appointed by the Commissioners, consisted of Jacob Grubb, Ralph Osborn, and P. B. Wilcox; and they appointed Captain Robert Cloud, now of Columbus, Superintendent, and Dr. Wm. M. Awl, physician for the Institution. The Superintendent occupied part of the building, and had the use of the farm, which he cultivated with his own team and utensils; and the Directors paid him a specified sum per week for boarding each pauper. Mr. Cloud continued thus in charge of the Institution for one year, when he resigned, and William King succeeded him as Superintendent, upon the same terms, and continued until October, 1837; * when the Directors, who at this time consisted of James Walcutt, George B. Harvey, and W. T. Martin, concluded to change the policy, and to stock the farm and pay the superintendent a fixed salary for working it and taking care of the house and inmates.
Accordingly, John R. Wright, an industrious man, and practical farmer, was engaged at a moderate salary. Wright thus continued farmer and Superintendent until the spring of 1840.
[*In January, 1837, Mr. King reported to the Directors the names, ages, etc., of all the inmates--nine in number--amongst whom was "Mary Soars, aged about 93 years". She lived and remained in the Institution until 1849, when she died; and must, according to the record have been 105 years old at the time of her death. She just sank with old age; "Till like a clock, worn out with the eating time, The weary wheels of life at length stood still". A good portrait of the old lady, taken by Mr. Walcutt, still hands in the hall of the Institution.]

By this time, additional improvements being needed, the Directors (now consisting of Walcutt, Martin and Wm. Domigan) and the County Commissioners seemed to all concur in the opinion, that the location had better be changed; it being too far from Columbus, from whence more than three-fourths of the paupers were sent; and it was both inconvenient and expensive, conveying sick and infirm persons to it; and sometimes in seasons of high water, it was inaccessible, there being no bridge over the creek. Though there was for a time a rickety wooden bridge across the Scioto, above the mouth of the creek, which however stood but a few years. Hence, in the fall of 1839, a five acre lot, on which the present Poor House stands, was purchased by the Commissioners and new buildings erected.
The old Poor House farm was then sold, and the live stock and farming utensils were disposed of at venue, in November, 1839; and the paupers were removed to the new Institution the first of May, 1840. Edward Hedden was now keeper or Superintendent, and Dr. Sisson, physician. At the legislative session held in the winter of 1841 and '42, an act was passed requiring all Poor House Directors to be elected as other county officers---they having previously been appointed by the County Commissioners.
In the fall of 1842, the first election of Directors was had. Up to this time, Walcutt, Martin and Domigan, were continued Directors; and the successive physicians to the Institution had been, Doctors Awl, Sisson, N. M. Miller and Schenck.
Mr. Hedden was continued as keeper until the fall of 1844, when Dr. Schenck was by the Directors appointed in the double capacity of keeper and physician, and was continued until the first of June, 1851, when Joseph McElvain was appointed to succeed him as keeper, and Dr. Short as physician. Dr. Schenck's administration of the affairs of the Institution was rather of a showy character, and generally well received by the public, but much complained of by the inmates.

In December, 1852, Charles Jucksch was appointed to succeed McElvain.
In December, 1853, McElvain was again appointed to succeed Jucksch.
In December, 1854, Daniel Evans was appointed to succeed McElvain;
and the first of March, 1857, D. L. J. Moeller, being one of the Directors and physician, was appointed keeper or Superintendent also, in place of Mr. Evans.

The succession of physicians since Dr. Schenck's time has been Doctors Short, Moeller, C. Denig, Boyle, and Moeller again.

The course of policy pursued by the Directors towards transient paupers, and poor families, needing temporary relief, has always been about the same. In fact, there has been no material change in any respect, since the removal of the Institution to its present location; but a constant, gradual gliding into extravagance, with the changes of the times.
In March, 1850, an act was passed by the Legislature to change the name of Poor Houses generally to that of "County Infirmaries", by which name they are now commonly designated.
In 1844, the Commissioners purchased six acres more of land adjoining their other five acre lot, so that there are now eleven acres of the Infirmary grounds, in the south-eastern corner of the city limits. On this six acre lot the City Council have erected a City Hospital, and furnished it for the reception of transient persons who may be infected with contagious diseases. This hospital, has however, always been under the care and management of the keeper of the Infirmary.
In 1854, the County Commissioners seemed to entertain an idea of removing the Institution again to a farm; and accordingly, purchased a farm of over a hundred acres, on the Groveport turnpike, about two miles east of the Court House, for which they paid between thirteen and fourteen thousand dollars. They have not, however, yet made any move toward erecting buildings, or preparing it for the purpose for which it was purchased---and it is quite presumable they never will; for it is quite certain that, with the pauper labor there cannot be one quarter of the ground cultivated that is already connected with the present building.

The keeper or Superintendent in his report for the year ending first of June, 1856, says:

 The number of paupers admitted during the year, 160

The number of paupers admitted during the year, discharged 137

The number of paupers admitted during the year, died  26

 Remaining then in the Institution---adult males 17; adult females 29; children 17, 63

 Daily average during the year, 68

 Highest number 87; lowest, 54.

 The expenses of the same year were $9,800

 Names and times of election of Directors since they  were made electable:

 1842 George Frankenberg elected for 1 year
 Augustus S. Decker elected for 2 years
 Robert Riordan, elected for 3 years

 1846 George Frankenberg reelected 3 years
 1847 A. S. Decker elected for 3 years
 1848 John Walton in place of Riordan.
 1849 S. D. Preston in place of Frankenberg.
 1851 O'Harra for two years to fill the vacancy occasioned by Walton's removal from the county.
 1850 Decker reelected for 3 years
 1851 O'Harra reelected for 3 years
 1852 Amos S. Ramsey elected in place of Preston.
 1853 Rufus Main elected in place of Decker
 1854 Orin Backus elected in place of O'Harra
 1855 L. J. Moeller elected in place of Ramsey
 1856 John Lisle elected in place of Main
 1857 William Aston elected in place of Backus

Present officers of the Institution (1858) and their salaries as fixed by the Board of Directors:

L. J. Moeller, term expires October 1858}
John Lisle, term expires 1859} -{ Per diem pay.
Wm. Aston, term expires 1860}
Mr. Aston is the acting Director----Salary $350

 L. J. Moeller---Salary $600

 L. J. Moeller---Salary $300

[Source: History of Franklin County, by William T. Martin, published by Follett, Foster & Company (1858) - transcribed by Camellia Capitelli]



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