Franklin County, Ohio
From about 1817, generally, till the City organization in 1834, embracing Proprietors' titles - Early Manufactures - Additions to the Town - Deaths of Proprietors -Ohio Canal - Insurance Company - Clinton Bank - Cholera in 1833.
For the first few years the town improved rapidly. Emigrants flowed in apparently from all quarters, and the improvements and general business of the place kept pace with the increase of population. Columbus, however, was a rough spot in the woods, off from any public road of much consequence. The east and west travel passed through Zanesville, Lancaster and Chillicothe; and the mails came to Columbus by cross lines, on horseback. The first successful attempt to carry a mail to and from Columbus, otherwise than on horseback, was by Philip Zinn about the year 1816, once a week between Chillicothe and Columbus.
The proprietors of the town usually made their sales of lots by title bond. Upon receiving a third, fourth or fifth of the price agreed upon in hand, and annual notes for the balance without interest if punctually paid, otherwise to bear interest from date, they executed a bond binding themselves to make a deed when the notes were paid; and it frequently happened that after one or two payments and a small improvement had been made, the whole would fall back to the proprietors. The lots for sale all being in the hands of the proprietors, and their giving time on the payments, kept up the prices at from two to five hundred dollars on any part of the town plat, and prices did not fall much below this until after the year 1820, when owing to the failure of two of the proprietors, McLaughlin and Johnston, as also of numerous other individuals who had possessed themselves of lots, there was such an immense number offered at forced sales by the United States Marshal and Sheriff, and so very little money in the country, that after being appraised and offered, and reäppraised and offered again and again, they finally had to sell. And lots which had years before been held at two and three hundred dollars, were struck off and sold at from ten to twenty dollars, and sometimes lower, even down to seven or eight dollars, for a lot on the extremities of the plat.
To add to the depression of business and price of property, about the year 1822 or 1823, the title of Starling's half section, on which the town was in part located, was called in question. It had originally been granted to one Allen, a refugee from the British Provinces in the time of the American Revolution. Allen had deeded it to his son, and the son had mortgaged it, and it was sold at Sheriff's sale to satisfy the mortgage, and Starling was the purchaser.
It was now claimed by the heirs of Allen, who took various exceptions to Starling's title. First as to the sale from the old man Allen to his son; also to the authentication of the mortgage by the son, and paticularly to the sale of the Sheriff to Starling, on the ground that there was no evidence that an appraisement had been made as required by the statutes of Ohio, and suit was brought by ejectment against some of the occupants who owned the most valuable improvements, first in the Supreme Court of Ohio, and then in the United States Court for the District of Ohio.
Mr. Starling defended the suits, and first engaged Henry Clay, who then practiced in the United States Courts at Columbus, as attorney. But owing to his appointment as Secretary of State, he was called to Washington City, and gave up the case, and Henry Baldwin, then of Pittsburgh, was next engaged, who conducted the defense with great ability, and about the year 1826, it was finally decided in favor of Starling's title. So the matter was put to rest as to that half section.
The suit against Starling's half section was scarcely decided, when a claim was set up against Kerr and McLaughlin's half section. They had bought from one Strawbridge, who conveyed by an attorney or agent, and the deed ran thus: That the agent conveyed for Strawbridge, instead of Strawbridge conveying by agent, and was so signed: "JM (the agent), [seal], Attorney in fact for Strawbridge."
Thus the defect in Kerr and McLaughlin's title was merely technical. But it was contended that this was not Strawbridge's deed, but the deed of the agent who claimed no title.* And about the year 1826, a quit-claim was obtained from Strawbridge's heirs, by some man purporting to be a New Yorker, upon which a suit was brought in ejectment, as in other cases, against one or more of the occupants of the most valuable lots. But by a suit in chancery to quiet title about the year 1827, this was all set right, and the title of Kerr and McLaughlin sustained.
The years 1819 and 1820, to 1826, were the dullest years in Columbus. But soon after this Columbus began to look up again. The location of the national road and the Columbus feeder to the Ohio Canal gave an impetus to improvements, and by the year 1830, the prices of property and the improvements of the town had very considerably advanced.
Although Columbus always possessed a reasonable amount of wealth and of money-making talent, the attention of its capitalists never was until of late years much turned towards manufacturing, but more directed to speculating upon the productions of others, by buying, selling, etc., than to creating new or additional wealth. The early efforts in the way of mills and manufactories, further than the common branches of mechanism, generally failed, either for want of capital or want of judgment and skill in their construction and management. The first mill erected within our present city limits was a saw mill on the Scioto, some ten or fifteen rods below where the Penitentiary now is, in 1813, by John Shields and Richard Courtney. It passed through several hands in a few years was considered a good property, but soon went to ruin, and for the last twenty years or more not a vestige of its remains has been perceivable.
About the year 1816, the same John Shields erected a flouring mill, on the run at the south-west corner of the town, a few rods west of Ball's tannery. The water was brought from east of High street in a race along the side of the bank, near the south end of Hoster's brewery, and let on to an overshot wheel. This mill after standing some twelve or fifteen years, and being owned by several individuals in succession, was suffered to go to ruin, and there have been no remains of it perceivable for many years.
Along this hollow have been in succession a number of breweries, distilleries, tanyards and ashery, that have disappeared. At the present time there are two large breweries, one owned by Messrs. Hoster & Silbernagle, and the other by John Blenkner, and some three or four tanneries.
In 1819, Moses Jewett, Caleb Houston and John E. Baker erected on the Scioto, just above Rich street, a saw mill upon a new patent plan. The saw was circular, and was to cut constantly ahead with no back strokes. It was an experiment, and cost them a good deal, without ever answering any valuable purpose.
In 1821, Col. Jewett and Judge Hines commenced the manufacturing of cotton yarn by horse power in a frame building on Front street, between Rich and Friend; and after experimenting with that some time, and also with the circular saw in the mill, the spinning machinery was removed into the mill, where the spinning was continued by water power a few years. But finally the whole concern was abandoned, and for near twenty years there has not been a vestige of the building to show where it stood. The frame on Front street where they first commenced the cotton spinning was for many years known as the "old factory."
About this time, Judge Hines having invented a machine for dressing hemp, in an unrotted state, in 1822 he and Wm. Bain constructed and put in operation one of the machines at the south-east corner of High street and South Public Lane. It was propelled by horse power, on a tread wheel. It after some time passed into the hands of Lafayette Tibbitts, who worked it until the fall of 1824, when he failed, and the whole concern went down.
About the year 1822, a woolen factory, for carding, spinning and weaving, was commenced by Ebenezer Thomas and others, on the west end of the lot now owned by Col. S. W. Andrews, corner of High and Noble streets. It was worked by horse power on a tread wheel. It passed through the hands of different owners, without profit to any. About the year 1834 or '35, the building and machinery were removed, and reërected by George Jeffries, on the west abutment of the canal dam, where it was worked by water power, some two or three years, when the machinery was sold out by piece meal, under the hammer; and so ended that manufacturing establishment.
About the year 1831 or '32, John McElvain erected a steam saw mill at the head of the canal, where Hunter's ware house afterward stood. It was worked by different persons (it is believed without much profit) for some seven or eight years, when the engine and machinery were disposed of, and the ware house erected over it the mill frame answering as part of the ware house. In 1843, the ware house was totally consumed by fire, but was subsequently rebuilt. The first successful manufacturing establishment, other than common mechanic shops, was the foundry and plow manufactory of Mr. Ridgway, established in 1822.
In 1824, the county seat was removed from Franklinton to Columbus; and the courts were held in the U. S. Court House until 1840. The Court of Common Pleas then (1824) was composed of Gustavus Swan, President, and Edward Livingston, Samuel G. Flenniken, and Arora Buttles, Associates; A. I. McDowell, Clerk; and Robert Brotherton, Sheriff.
As already observed, the original town was laid out in 1812. In the summer of 1814, John McGown's addition was laid out, and called "South Columbus" surveyed and platted by John Shields.
In 1830, the wharf lots were laid out by order of the town council. They are, and must remain, city property.
In 1831, a few lots were laid out by John Young, and called "Young's addition."
In 1832, a five acre lot of land near the head of the canal, owned by John McElvain and others, was laid out into lots, and called "McElvain's addition."
In February, 1833, Otis and Samuel Crosby's first addition (between Town and South streets) was laid out; and in November of the same year, their second addition (between South street and South Public Lane) was also laid out.
About the years 1831 and '32, Robert Brotherton and John M. Walcutt, who owned a few acres of an original reserve, sold out some building lots on Town street, which was generally called "Brotherton and Walcutt's addition." They did not have their lots platted, but sold by metes and bounds, as lands are conveyed. The lots, however, were subsequently platted, agreeably to the sales, and recorded.
In 1835, Judge Heyl and Dr. Parsons had a small addition of lots laid out in the south-west corner of the town, called "Heyl and Parsons's addition."
In the same year, 1835, Matthew J. Gilbert's addition was laid out.
In 1838, Alfred Kelley, Moylen Northrup, and John Kerr's heirs, laid out into lots what they called on their recorded plat, "The allotment of the central reservation;" but which was more commonly called "Kelley and Northrup's addition." Since which there have been so many small additions and sub-divisions of out-lots into building lots, that it would be more tedious than interesting to trace them any farther.
Of the four original proprietors, John Kerr died in 1823, leaving a young family, and a large estate; which, however, did not long remain with his heirs, after they arrived at age.
Alexander McLaughlin failed in business about the year 1820, and never again rose from his fallen fortune. He had once been considered amongst the wealthiest men of the State. In his latter years, he obtained a support by teaching a common country school. He was a sensible man, with a fine business education and qualifications; but he had over-reached himself before the depression of business and prices of real estate, which took place from 1817 or '18, to 1824 and '25, and his large landed estate was sold under the hammer (figuratively speaking) for a mere song. He died about the year 1832 or '33.
James Johnston, commonly called Col. Johnston, failed about the same time, and in the same way as Mr. McLaughlin. He left Columbus, and went to Pittsburg to live, about the year 1820, where he remained the balance of his life, and died in the summer of 1842, at a very advanced age.
Lyne Starling, the surviving one of the four, after the settlement of the proprietors' accounts with the State, and amongst themselves, about the year 1818 or '20 made a pleasure tour through Europe, and then returned and spent the balance of his life principally in Columbus. He lived a bachelor, and died quite wealthy, in the fall of 1848, aged sixty-five years. He had, some half dozen years before his death, donated $35,000 to the erection of Starling Medical College, and was in return complimented by having the College named after him.
John McGowen, proprietor of South Columbus, died in the summer of 1824, in the 75th year of his age.
On the 4th of July, 1825, a celebration of the commencement of the Ohio Canal, took place at Licking Summit, at which Governor Clinton, of New York, pursuant to invitation, attended, accompanied by Solomon Van Rensselaer, and Messrs. Rathbone and Lord, who made the first loan to the State for canal purposes. On the Wednesday following, Governor Clinton was escorted into Columbus by Gen. Warner and suite, Col. P. H. Olmsted's squadron of cavalry, Capt. Hazel's light infantry, Capt. Andrew McElvain's rifle corps, and Capt. O'Harra's artillery; together with other citizens, to the State House, where he was addressed by Gov. Morrow with a cordial welcome to Ohio's fertile and productive lands, and her capital.
To which Gov. Clinton made an appropriate reply, eulogizing our State, and our canal enterprise, and closing with this sentence: "In five years it may, and probably will be completed, and I am clearly of the opinion, that in ten years after the consummation of this work, it will produce an annual revenue of at least a million of dollars; and I hope this remark may be noted, if any thing I say shall be deemed worthy of particular notice, in order that its accuracy may be tested by experience."
Alas, for the Governor's prediction! Gov. Clinton was, perhaps, one of our most able and practical statesmen. But his prediction here only shows the truth of the old saying, "that it is the easiest thing in the world to be mistaken;" and that the predictions of those, however high in position, who with confidence attempt to peer far into the future, should always be received with great caution.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies at the State House, Gov. Clinton was escorted to Mr. Robinson's tavern, sign of the Golden Bell, on the lot where the Johnston Building is now erected, and partook of a public dinner.
At the session of the Legislature of 1832-33, the Columbus Insurance Company was incorporated. It failed in 1851.
At the session of 1833-34, the Clinton Bank of Columbus was chartered, and in October, 1834, the first Board of Directors was elected, and consisted of Wm. Neil, Christopher Neiswanger, David W. Deshler, Demas Adams, John Patterson, Jesse Stone, Noah H. Swayne, Joseph Ridgeway, Bela Latham, William S. Sullivant, William Miner, O. W. Sherwood, and Nathaniel Medberry.
William Neil was elected President, and John Delafield, jr., Cashier. Mr. Neil continued President until January, 1846, when he was succeeded by William S. Sullivant, who was continued as President until the charter expired, first of January, 1854. Mr. Delafield was succeeded as Cashier by John E. Jeffords, in January, 1838. Mr. Jeffords died in April, 1842, and David W. Deshler was then appointed Cashier, and continued until the expiration of the charter. During the last nine or ten years of the bank, W. G. Deshler served as teller, and David Overdier as book-keeper.
After the expiration of the charter, some half dozen of the principal stockholders in the old bank formed themselves into a new private banking company, and continued to do business as such in the same room. They style their institution "Clinton Bank," merely dropping from the old name the words "of Columbus." They redeem the notes of the old Clinton Bank of Columbus.
In the summer of 1833, the cholera made its first appearance in Franklin County. It first broke out in the early part of the summer, in a neighborhood on the canal, in Madison Township, where it proved very fatal, but was confined to the space of a few miles only. On the 14th of July, it made its first appearance in Columbus, and continued until about the first of October. A Mr. Stagg, who resided at the west end of Rich street, opposite the Jewett block, was the first victim. During its prevalence, there were about two hundred deaths in Columbus, notwithstanding the whole population of the town was not much, if any, over three thousand, and it was supposed that one third had fled to the country. Much sickness from fevers also prevailed at the same time, and one disease would frequently run into another, so that in many cases it was impossible to determine to what disease to attribute the death of the patient; though it is believed that bout two-thirds of the deaths were attributable to cholera. Out of the whole number, the Board of Health discriminated one hundred as being of cholera proper. The number that was more or less attributable to cholera, has been variously estimated at from one hundred to one hundred and fifty. The mortality and terror of this season far surpassed any pestilence that ever afflicted Columbus, before or since. Other parts of the county, beside the town and the neighborhood above alluded to, were not more sickly than ordinary seasons.
Among those who fell victims to the epidemic, were the following well known citizens: The Horton Howard family, consisting of the old gentleman, his wife and daughter, two grand children, and son-in-law, Mr. Little; James Woods and wife, C. C. Beard and wife, Ebenezer Thomas, William John, John B. Compston, Benjamin Sweetzer, Henry Jewett, Nimrod Rochester, Mr. White, coachmaker, and his wife, and Mrs. Zachariah Mills.
*In March, 1851, an act was passed by the Legislature of Ohio to remedy such defects in conveyances, by which this technical distinction under the common law has been abolished.
The City in 1834 - First Theater - History of new State House - Removal of Courts and Offices in 1840 - Balloon Ascensions - Banks -Gas Works - Railroads -Cholera in 1849, etc. - Walcutt's Museum.
In February, 1834, Columbus was incorporated as a city; and in the spring of the same year it contained the following official, professional and business men and houses, to wit:
UNITED STATES OFFICERS.
Wm. Miner, Clerk of United States Courts.
John Patterson, Marshal for the District of Ohio.
Noah H. Swayne, District Attorney.
Bela Latham, Postmaster.
Henry Brewerton, Superintendent of National Road.
David Scott, Engineer and Inspector of National Road.
John McElvain, Indian Agent.
Benjamin Hinkson, Secretary of State.
Henry Brown, Treasurer of State.
John A. Bryan, Auditor of State.
Timothy Griffith, Chief Clerk in Auditor's Office.
Wm. W. Gault, Keeper of the Ohio Penitentiary.
N. Medbury, Superintendent of new Penitentiary.
Zachariah Mills, State Librarian.
Samuel C. Andrews, Adjutant General.
Christopher Niswanger, Quarter-Master General.
Gustavus Swan, M. J. Gilbert,
Orris Parish, Mease Smith,
Noah H. Swayne, John G. Miller,
P. B. Wilcox, Samuel C. Andrews,
Lyne Starling, jr., John D. Munford.
Samuel Parsons, Wm. M. Awl,
John M. Edmiston, N. M. Miller,
M. B. Wright, S. Z. Seltzer,
Peter Jackson, J. S. Landes,
Peleg Sisson, P. H. Eberly.
James Hoge, D. D., Presbyterian.
William Preston, Episcopalian.
L. B. Gurley, Methodist stationed.
Russell Bigelow, Methodist Agent for Temp. Society.
Thomas Asbury, Methodist Local
Jesse F. Wiscom, Methodist Local.
George Jeffries, Baptist.
Edward Davis, Baptist.
L. Goodale & Co., dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Buttles & Matthews, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Stewart & Higgins, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
D. Woodbury, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
J. & S. Stone, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
A. P. Stone, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
John Greenwood, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
D. W. Deshler, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
McCoy & Work, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
John Brooks, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Reuben Brooks, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
David Brooks, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
T. Peters & Son, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Saunders & Frye, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Bone & Walbridge, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Burr & Gregory, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
M. Northrup, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Brotherton & Kooken, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Joshua Baldwin & Co., dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Lemuel Reynolds, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Olmsted & St. Clair, dealers in dry goods and groceries.
Robert Russell & Co., dealers in dry goods and groceries.
C. W. Kent, auction store.
O. & S. Crosby, wholesale druggists.
Sumner Clark, wholesale druggists.
J. S. & D. Landes, wholesale druggists.
I. N. Whiting, bookseller and stationer.
B. & J. Turnbull, bookseller and stationer.
W. M. Kasson & Co., dealers in tin and hardware.
W. A. Gill & Co., dealers in tin and hardware.
Wm. W. Blake, dealer in shoes, hosiery, etc.
Wm. A. Platt, dealer in plate, jewelry, etc.
Sherwood & Gregory, wholesale grocers.
McElvain, Dalzell & Co., wholesale grocers.
Finley & Hanford, wholesale grocers.
John Young, grocer and wholesale liquor dealer.
There were several other trading establishments that might perhaps have been included under this head with propriety, such as leather stores, hat factories, comb factory, and some small groceries.
National Hotel, by John Noble.
Franklin House, * by J. Robinson & Son.
Globe Hotel, by Robert Russell.
Lion Hotel, by Jer. Armstrong.
Swan Hotel, by Christian Heyl.
Eagle Hotel, by David Brooks.
White Horse, (wagon yard,) by Amos Meneely.
Farmers and Mechanics' Tavern, by T. Cadwallader.
And an extensive Boarding House, by Ira Grover.
In the fall of 1835, the first theater was erected in Columbus. It was a large frame building, on the west side of High street, between Broad and Gay; and in the winter following it opened with a corps of dramatic performers, under the management of Messrs. Dean & McKinney, and it was occupied during the winter seasons, under different managers, until about the year 1841, when it finally closed. In 1843, the building was purchased by M. J. Gilbert, Esq., who had it remolded, and for a time it was kept and known as the "City Hall." It was then cut in two, and part removed, and the whole converted into private dwellings.
January 26, 1838, the Legislature passed an act providing for the erection of a new State House on the public square in Columbus, which was the occasion of a grand illumination of the city. Col. Noble, who kept the National Hotel, where the Neil House now stands, had the candles in his front windows so arranged as to form letters and spell NEW STATE HOUSE. In pursuance of said act, Joseph Ridgway, jr., of Columbus, Wm. A. Adams, of Zanesville, and Wm. B. Van Hook, of Butler County, were, by joint resolution, appointed commissioners for carrying the law into effect. They were required to give notice in certain newspapers, and offer a premium of five hundred dollars for the best plan, to be approved by the Legislature, upon which said house should be erected. A number of plans were furnished by various competitors for the premium, and Henry Walters of Cincinnati, received the premium, though his plan was not adopted; but from the various plans furnished, the commissioners formed and adopted one somewhat different from any of the plans presented.
In the spring of 1839, the commissioners appointed Wm. B. Van Hook, one of their own body, superintendent of the work. The high board fence was put up, and a good work shop erected on the square, and other preparations made for working the convicts within the enclosure, in the cutting of stone, etc., a vast quantity of which, obtained at Sullivant's limestone quarry, had been delivered on the ground during the preceding year. And on the fourth of July, 1839, at a suitable celebration, the corner stone of the new edifice was laid, and the foundation subsequently raised to a level with the earth, when the inclemency of the weather stopped the work, as was supposed, until the succeeding spring. But during the session of 1839-40, after the Legislature's investigation of certain charges against Wm. B. Lloyd, a member from Cuyahoga County, for forgery in altering certain accounts and papers, a friend of Mr. Lloyd's drew up the following statement of confidence, etc., in said Lloyd:
"Columbus, Feb. 13, 1840.
"Wm. B. Lloyd, Esq.:
"Dear Sir - The undersigned, convinced beyond doubt, that the charge lately circulated against yourself is totally unsustained by the testimony relating to the matter; and the act charged, one of which it is impossible you should be guilty, beg leave, respectfully, to assure you of our undiminished confidence in the integrity of your character, and to express to you our sincerest wishes for your future happiness and prosperity."
Which was signed by sixty-three citizens, principally young men of Columbus, as papers of the kind are generally signed, more through compliance to the wishes of the individual who presents the paper, than anything else. And this note, unexpectedly, to many, at least, of the signers, appeared in the Ohio State Journal of the 17th of February, with the signers' names appended. This publication gave offense to many members of the Legislature, who had voted to censure Lloyd, and under this excited feeling, on the 18th of February, Mr. Flood, member from Licking, introduced a bill into the lower House, to repeal the act providing for the erection of the new State House, which was finally passed, and became a law on the 10th of March, 1840. The whole cost, as far as the preparations and work had progressed, appears to have been $41,585.22. This amount of the public money, a majority of the savans were willing to throw to the wind, in order to gratify a spirit of personal resentment towards a few citizens of Columbus.
Immediately after the passage of this repealing act, the removal of the seat of government from Columbus was mooted, and the committee of the Legislature appointed on the subject, made a majority and a minority report - both elaborate productions. The minority report concluded with the following resolutions:
"Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That the Governor be requested to issue his proclamation, setting forth that the time has arrived for the permanent establishment of the seat of government, that all portions of the State may have an opportunity of offering such inducements as they may deem proper for its permanent location at such point as may be designated.
"Resolved, That all propositions for the permanent establishment of the seat of government, at any point in the State, by sealed, and directed by the persons making the same, to the Governor, by the first day of August next, who shall open and communicate the same to the next General Assembly."
These resolutions were, on the 6th of March, 1843, agreed to in the Senate, by a vote of eighteen to sixteen. But were, on the next day, rejected in the lower House, by a vote of thirty-six to twenty-nine.
At the session of 1847-8, a law was again passed providing for the erection of a new State House. **
In the spring of 1848, W. A. Adams, of Zanesville, and Joseph Ridgway, jr., and Samuel Medary, of Columbus, were appointed Commissioners to direct and control the work, and Russell West was by them appointed architect. In 1852, Edwin Smith, S. H. Webb, and E. P. Stickney, were appointed Commissioners - West continued as architect. In 1854, the Board of Commissioners were Stickney, Smith, and James J. Faran, in place of Webb - N. B. Kelly appointed architect in place of R. West, resigned. In the spring of 1856, a new Board of Commissioners was appointed, consisting of Wm. A. Platt, of Columbus, Jas. T. Worthington, of Ross County, and L. G. Harkness, of Huron County.
The Commissioners, it appears, did not employ a regular clerk prior to 1850; but Mr. Ridgway, one of the Board, had acted as secretary and clerk, until the appointment of Mr. Jas. K. Linnel, in the spring of 1850; and Mr. Linnel continued as clerk of the Board until the spring of 1856, when Robert Hume, Esq., was appointed.
The first session of the Legislature in the new State House (which was, however, but an adjourned session,) nominally, commenced on Monday, the 5th of January, 1857. But the evening of the 7th of the same month having been determined upon for the great State House Festival, the halls could not be used for legislative purposes until that was over.
From about the year 1830 until 1836 or 1837, while the general speculation excitement prevailed, Columbus prospered - by increase of population, improvements and business generally. About 1837 might be considered the culminating point, from whence embarrassments began to be felt by the trading community generally; business became dull, and the prices of real estate and the productions of the country began to decline. And from 1840 to 1843 or '44, was a period of unusually dull times in Columbus. Then gradual improvement followed, and from 1846 or '47, to 1853, the old career of wild speculation was acted over again, with the addition of various enterprises not before entered upon. During this time, the railroad fever prevailed, and a vast amount of capital was invested in that way - perhaps beneficially for the country at large - but not so generally to the individual stockholders. It will be seen, also, that nearly all the turnpikes and plank roads of this county were made, or commenced during this period, and that the same remark is generally applicable to them, as well as to the railroads.
From 1849 to 1853, notwithstanding the prevalence of the epidemic that prevailed during that period, there were more good improvements made in Columbus than at any previous period of the same length; amongst which were the new market house, the Gwynne Block, and many other improvements in that neighborhood; numerous good buildings on High street, north of Broad, and the fine residences on the east end of Town; and the increase of population was in proportion with the improvements.
The county seat having been removed from Franklinton to Columbus, in 1824, the courts were held in the United States Court House, from that time until 1840, and the county offices were kept in various hired rooms for some four or five years, and then in a building contiguous to the court house, erected by the county for that purpose. In the summer of 1840, the courts and the county offices were removed to the then new court house, on the corner of High and Mound streets. This building, it was considered, constituted a first rate court house and jail, but the offices were too contracted; the cost of which appears to have been about $41,000, exclusive of the ground. The two lots upon which the building stands having been bought by contributions of the citizens of the south end of the town, were donated to the county, in the spring of 1838. Four years after, in 1842, the County Commissioners purchased the third lot, so that the county might own the entire block.
On the 4th of July, 1842, was the first balloon ascension from Columbus. Mr. Clayton, a celebrated aëronaut, then of Cincinnati, Ohio, made a beautiful ascent from the State House yard, where a vast concourse of people had assembled to witness the spectacle. He arose, it was supposed, to the height of from one to two miles. The balloon at first bore southward, then about due east, and landed safely about five miles east of Newark; and he returned to Columbus about two o'clock, on the second day.
The second balloon ascension, was also by a celebrated aëronaut, Mr. Wise, of Pennsylvania. On the 4th of July, 1851, pursuant to an engagement with Mr. Kinney, he made his ascent from an enclosure prepared for the occasion, and other amusements of the day, at the corner of Broad and Seventh streets. There was a very large concourse of spectators, and the ascension as fine as could have been wished. He landed safe and sound about six miles from his starting point, and returned to the city the same evening.
The State Journal of the next day says: "Too much praise cannot be given to Mr. Kinney and Mr. Wise for their services in catering to the public taste in this most interesting and beautiful exhibition."
The third balloon ascension from Columbus, was by a Monsieur Godard, on the 29th of October, 1857, from the enclosure of the Capital City Fair Grounds, a short distance southeasterly from the Lunatic Asylum. This ascension was also made pursuant to an engagement by Mr. John M. Kinney. Mons. Godard is a Frenchman, and was engaged to come from the city of Philadelphia, to make an ascension on horseback. This ascension was only intended as a preliminary one to the great horseback ascension, which was to come off two days after; but which, owing to a disappointment in obtaining gas, did not come off at all. But this ascension was a grand one. Mons. Godard, his brother, Mr. Huntington of the Exchange Bank, and Robert H. Thompson, of the post office department, all ascended - three of them in the car, and one of the Godards suspended by his feet to a rope some fifteen or twenty feet long, hanging below the car with his head downward, and in that position, waving a flag as he was carried through the air. They all landed safely, near Taylor's Station, some eight or nine miles east of Columbus.
In February, 1845, the banking law, to incorporate the State Bank of Ohio, and other banking companies, was passed. Books were immediately opened, and the requisite amount of stock soon subscribed for three new banks - the Exchange Branch and the Franklin Branch of the State Bank; and the City Bank, based upon State stocks.
THE EXCHANGE BANK
Went into operation the 24th of May, 1845, with a capital of $125,000. Charter will expire 1st of May, 1866.
The first Board of Directors were, Wm. B. Hubbard, D. T. Woodbury, Edwards Pierpont, O. Follett, and Peter Hayden.
The successive business officers have been -
Wm. B. Hubbard, appointed May, 24, 1845 - retired June, 1852.
Wm. Dennison, jr., appointed June 22, 1852 - retired Jan. 1, 1856.
D. W. Deshler, appointed Jan 1, 1856 - continues, 1858.
H. M. Hubbard, appointed May 24, 1845 - retired 1853.
M. L. Neville, appointed June 1, 1853 - died Dec. 1855.
C. J. Hardy, appointed Jan. 1, 1856 - continues, 1858.
Geo. Hubbard, appointed Jan. 1, 1848 - retired 1850.
John Greenwood, appointed Jan. 1, 1850 - retired 1855.
R. S. Neil, appointed Jan. 1, 1855 - retired 1856.
P. W. Huntington, appointed Jan. 1, 1856.
THE FRANKLIN BANK
Went into operation July 1, 1845, with a capital of $175,000. Charter will expire 1st of May, 1866.
The first Board of Directors were, Gustavus Swan, Samuel Parsons, Geo. M. Parsons, Wray Thomas, and Thomas Wood.
The successive business officers have been -
Samuel Parsons, appointed July 1845 - retired May 1852.
Thomas Wood, appointed May, 1852 - retired July 1853.
D. W. Deshler, appointed July 1853 - continues, 1858.
James Espy, appointed July 1845 - retired 1854.
Joseph Hutcheson, appointed July 1854 - continues, 1858.
Joseph Hutcheson, appointed May, 1852 - promoted July, 1854.
L. C. Bailey, appointed July, 1854 - continues, 1858.
CITY BANK OF COLUMBUS.
This Institution went into operation near the same time as the Exchange and Franklin Branch Banks; under the same law, but a different provision of it; which authorized Independent Banks, secured by the deposit of State stocks with the Treasurer of State. This bank was located in the same building as the Columbus Insurance Company, and, to a great extent, the stockholders in one of these institutions were also in the other; and so also with the directory of both institutions, which became in their business much mixed up together. Joel Buttles was the President of the bank until the time of his death, in the summer of 1850. Then Robert W. McCoy was President until the time of his death, January, 1856. Thomas Moodie was Cashier during the whole existence of the Institution.
Finally the bank and Insurance Company both failed; the Insurance Company in 1851, and it was in the month of November, 1854, that the bank suspended, and closed its doors. The public lost nothing by the notes, they being secured, as above stated. But it was ruinous to the holders of stock, which was nearly all sunk. The charter of the bank, however, is still kept alive by the annual election of officers - probably with the view of some time commencing business again.
At the legislative session of 1837-8, the Mechanics' Savings Institute, a bank of deposit, etc, was incorporated, and soon after went into operation in Columbus. Wm. B. Hubbard, Esq., President, and for a time Warren Jenkins, then Thomas Moodie, Cashier. It was continued till about the time the City Bank commenced business, when the former was discontinued, or merged in the latter.
THE MONEYED INSTITUTIONS IN COLUMBUS IN 1858,
Are the Exchange Branch and Franklin Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, above named, and three pretty extensive Private Banks, or Brokers' Offices, viz: The association doing business under the name of "Clinton Bank," "Miller, Donaldson, & Co., Bankers," and "Bartlit & Smith, Bankers." But a few years since there were four regular chartered banks in the city. One has failed,, as before stated; the charter of another expired by limitation, and it appears hard to obtain a new bank charter under the present Constitution.
COLUMBUS GAS LIGHT AND COKE COMPANY.
By an act passed the 21st of February, 1846, Joel Buttles, Samuel Medary, Charles Scott, James S. Abbott, Dwight Stone, John Miller, James D. Osborn, James Westwater, S. D. Preston and William Armstrong and their associates were incorporated by the name of the Columbus Gas Light and Coke Company, for the purpose of lighting the streets and buildings of the City of Columbus. The company to be governed by a Board of not less than five nor more than nine Directors.
On the 6th of December, 1848, the company held their first meeting for the election of five Directors, when John Miller, D. W. Deshler, J. Ridgway, jr., John Lockwood and Wm. A. Gill were elected. Mr. Miller was chosen President, Mr. Ridgway Secretary, and Mr. Deshler Treasurer. Subsequently Mr. Gill was President of the Board. The buildings and necessary preparations being made, on the 14th of May, 1850, the City Council passed an ordinance granting the privilege to the Company of using the streets and alleys for the purpose of laying their gas pipes and conveying the gas through the city. And as a consideration for this privilege the Gas Company are to furnish such quantity of gas as may be required by the City Council for public lamps at two-thirds the price paid by private consumers.
The Company went into operation in 1850, and appear to have succeeded well. They have increased their capital stock to near $100,000. They have increased the number of Directors from five to seven. The office business is principally done by a Secretary. In the spring of 1851, Joseph C. Vance was appointed Secretary. In the spring of 1852, he left the city, and Captain Henry Z. Mills was appointed Secretary in his place.
The present officers of the Company are, William A. Platt, President; John F. Bartlit, John L. Gill, John Miller, D. W. Deshler, Peter Ambos and Dwight Stone, Directors.
Henry Z. Mills, Secretary.
G. Douty, Superintendent of works.
Calvin A. Platt, Superintendent of the fitting department and Inspector.
The location and construction of the Railroads also gave a new impetus to improvements, particularly in the north end of the city. The Columbus and Xenia Road was constructed in the years 1848 and 1849, and the first passenger train passed over it on the 26th of February, 1850. Soon after, an invitation was extended to the Legislature, then in session, and they took a pleasure excursion over the road, to Cincinnati and back.
The depot grounds, amounting to some thirty-six or thirty-seven acres, and the buildings, generally, belong to the Columbus and Xenia and the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Roads, jointly. The Central Road, however, by lease and contract, has certain rights and privileges in the same. The lot where the office is, and the office itself, belong to the Columbus and Xenia Company, exclusively.
By the month of February, 1851, the C., C. & C. Road (i.e., the road from Columbus to Cleveland,) was so far finished as to be in running condition, and pursuant to an arrangement between the Railroad Company and the Cleveland authorities, a grand celebration of the opening of a direct railroad communication from Cincinnati to Cleveland, was to take place at Cleveland, on the 22d of February, and invitations were extended to the Legislature, and to the City authorities of Columbus and Cincinnati, and numerous other citizens to attend the celebration; and on the 21st, the excursion party first passed over the road. The 22d was spent at Cleveland and on the 23d the party returned highly gratified.
In the spring of 1852, the Central Road being finished as far as Zanesville, on an invitation of the Zanesville authorities to the Legislature, the City Council of Columbus, and certain others, a free pleasure excursion was had over the road to Zanesville, where the party was received and hospitably entertained by the citizens of Zanesville, and they returned the same night.
On the Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Road, the first train passed over the road from Columbus to Urbana on the 4th of July, 1853, and in the fall of the same year, the trains ran as far as Piqua.
In 1849, the cholera again made its appearance in Columbus. It broke out in the family of Mr. George B. Smith, in the Jewett block, near where it commenced in 1833. On the 21st of June, Mr. Smith's son, a boy six or seven years old, was taken and died suddenly. The next day Mr. Smith and his wife, and Mrs. Kinney and a Mr. Sanders. The alarm now spread, and the disease also spread all over the town. Many of the citizens left. A Board of Health was immediately appointed, consisting of Messrs. Isaac Dalton, N. W. Smith, Geo. B Harvey, W. W. Pollard and James Cherry, who were diligent in the discharge of their duties - procuring medical and other assistance, where it was needed, and made daily reports. The disease continued until about the middle of September, and the Board reported 162 deaths by cholera, in that time. There doubtless were some omissions, and the true number may have been somewhere between that and 200, beside 116 deaths in the Penitentiary, which are noticed in the chapter under that head, - deaths other than by cholera not included in the above.
Many well-known citizens were carried off by the epidemic this season, amongst whom were Dr. B. F. Guard, Dr. Horace Lathrop, Gen. Edgar Gale, Samuel Preston, Abraham Mettles, Wm. Cook and son, Robert Thompson and wife, Dr. Isaac F. Taylor, Christian Karst, Joseph Murray, Esq., Bernard Berk, Christian Hertz and John Whisker.
In 1850, this terrible disease again prevailed. The first case this year was Mrs. Robert Russell, who died on the 8th of July at the United States Hotel on High street. The disease immediately spread and raged with about the same virulence it had the preceding year, and continued till near the middle of September.
The Board of Health this year consisted of George B. Harvey, Isaac Dalton and W. W. Pollard, assisted by T. J. McCamish, and others occasionally. They made regular daily reports from the 24th of July to the 4th of September. In that time they reported 209 deaths by cholera and 93 from other diseases, in all 302. And then the disease had prevailed over two weeks before the commencement of the reports, so that the number of deaths from cholera this year was probably near 225, and from other diseases, according to the classification made by the Board of Health, probably about 100. The population of the city, according to the census taken this year, was 17,871, of whom it is supposed about one fourth had left.
Amongst the well-known citizens who paid their last debt to nature during the epidemic this year, were Elijah Converse, David S. Doherty, Emanuel Doherty and Wm. Doherty, John Willard and son, Wm. G. Alexander and wife and two or three children, James B. Griffith's son and three daughters, John Barcus, Joseph Ridgway, jr., Robert Owen, Timothy Griffith, Dr. James B. McGill, Henry Wass, Isaac Taylor, Hinman Hurd, William Henderson, Mrs. Wm. S. Sullivant, Mrs. Geo. B. Harvey, Mrs. Matthew Gooding, Mrs. E. B. Armstrong and Miss Fanny Huston.
In 1851, there was no cholera.
In 1852, it returned again, but was light in comparison with 1849, and 1850. The first case this year was Philip Link, who died on the 16th of June in the south-eastern part of the city. Amongst the victims to that fatal disease this year were William English and wife, Nelson Compston, Miss Henrietta E. Gale, John McGuire, Newton Mattoon, and Robert Brooks of Franklinton.
In 1853, there was no cholera.
In 1854, it again appeared. It this year commenced in the fore part of June, at the north end of the town, and did not spread very generally. Amongst the victims were John Leaf, wife and son, Mr. Westwater's two children, Jonathan Ream, and Jonathan Philips and daughter.
No cholera since 1854.
In July, 1851, Captain Walcutt first opened his Museum in Columbus. It then consisted of only six or seven wax figures and a few paintings. It for a time attracted as much attention and patronage as could be expected from so small a collection. He has been since then constantly adding to it, until it now comprises over twenty good wax figures, two or three hundred specimens of beasts, birds, fossils and other curiosities, and about one hundred fine oil paintings, presenting quite a respectable collection. But those of our citizens who saw it or heard of it in its infancy are not aware of its improvements, and do not seem to fully appreciate it.
Of the adult persons residing in Columbus when the writer settled here in April, 1815, there are now remaining in the city Messrs. Jeremiah Armstrong, Jacob Hare, George B. Harvey, Peter Putman, and one lady, Mrs. Mary Peoples, and two colored persons, Caleb and Aggy Lewis; and in the vicinity Gen. Olmsted and Judge Heyl, wife and brother.
Soon after, Dr. L. Goodale, Judge G. Swan, Henry Brown, Esq., and Col. John McElvain removed over from Franklinton.
Of those who removed from a distance and settled in Columbus, the next five years, there are still living in the city, Messrs. John M. Walcutt, Jonathan Neereamer, Moylen Northrup, D. W. Deshler, William Armstrong, James Harris, Henry Butler, Thomas Wood, Hugh McMaster, Jared Shead, Cyrus Fay, Joseph Leiby, Jas. Cherry, P. B. Wilcox and Eli W. Gwynne.
*This was not the stand lately known as the Franklin House, but was situated at the corner of High and Town streets, where the Deshler building now stands.
** The present Constitution establishes the seat of government at Columbus, until otherwise directed by law.
When State House erected - Description - Mottoes - Wm. Ludlow - Destruction by fire - Where Legislature then met - Erection and description of offices - U. S. Court House, etc. - Removal of the Courts - County Offices on the State ground - Fencing of the Square, etc.
The old State House was situated on the south-west corner of the Public Square, about equi-distant from State and High streets, and about eighteen or twenty feet from the inner side of the pavements. It was erected in 1814; Benjamin Thompson was the undertaker of the stone and brick work, except the cutting of the stone for the foundation, etc., which was done by Messrs. Drummon and Scott; George McCormick and Conrad Crisman, were the undertakers of the carpenter work; Gotleib Leightenaker, of the plastering; and Conrad Heyl, of the painting. The freestone for the foundation, and window and door sills, was drawn on wagons, from Black Lick, some twelve or fourteen miles, through swamps and excessive mud. The brick were partly made out of a beautiful mound that stood on the summit of the high ground just at the south-west intersection of High and Mound streets, from which Mound street derived its name; and although the mound has long since entirely disappeared, and even the high ground on which it stood has been removed in the grading of streets, and the foundation of the large German Church, yet in referring to that part of the town, we frequently speak of the mound as though it yet existed. In this mound, as in other similar works of antiquity, were found numerous human skeletons, so that what once formed human bodies, centuries after formed part of the walls of the Ohio State House. The house was a common, plain brick building, seventy-five feet north and south, by fifty feet east and west on the ground, and two lofty stories high, with a square roof, that is, eaves and cornice at both sides and ends, and ascending to the balcony and steeple in the center; in which was a first-rate, well-toned bell. The top of the spire was one hundred and six feet from the ground. On the roof adjoining the balcony, on two sides, were neat railed walks, from which a spectator might view the whole town as upon a map, and had also a fine view of the winding Scioto, and of the level country around as far as the eye could reach.
The foundation of the building was cut stone, to the height of nearly two feet, and there was belt of cut stone in the outer side of the wall at the height of the first story. The main entrance was a door in the middle of the south end; and on entering, there were stairs both on the right and on the left, leading to the gallery and also to the Senate Chamber. In the lower story were the Representatives' Hall, (in the north end of the building,) two committee rooms, and a gallery. In the second story, the Senate Chamber and two committee rooms, but no gallery. Three was a west or front door from the Representatives' Hall towards High street, and also an east or back door from the hall into the wood-yard.
The halls were of good size and respectable wooden finish, but no marble. The large wooden columns were handsomely turned - the workmanship of our late fellow-townsman, William Altman, now deceased, and were painted in imitation of clouded marble. Over the west door was a well-dressed stone slab, about five by two and a half feet surface, built into the wall, with the following patriotic inscription engraved thereon:
"Equality of rights is Nature's plan, And following nature is the march of man; Based on its rock of right your empire lies, On walls of wisdom let the fabric rise. Preserve your principles, their force unfold, Let nations prove them, and let kings behold. Equality your first firm grounded stand, Then free election, then your Union band; This holy triad should forever shine, The great compendium of all rights divine. Creed of all schools, whence youths by millions draw Their theme of right, their decalogue of law, Till man shall wonder (in these schools inured) How wars were made, how tyrants were endured.
Over the south door was another stone of about the same size, with a verse of about the same length and character, from the same author. This stone was either destroyed in the fall of the building, or has since been lost, and its inscription cannot be given.
Over the east door was a stone of about half the size of one of the others, with a motto of Mr. Ludlow's own inscribed on it, of which the following is a copy:
"General good, the object of legislation, Perfected by a knowledge of man's wants, And Nature's abounding means applied, Establishing principles opposed to monopoly.
Early in the morning of the first day of February, 1852, the old State House was consumed by fire. Thus the old State House and the old State Constitution expired within a few days of each other. The Ohio State Journal of the second of February, makes the following announcement of its destruction:
"GREAT CONFLAGRATION! - The State House Destroyed! - Yesterday (Sunday) morning, about four o'clock, the cry of fire rang through our streets. It was soon ascertained that the old State House was on fire. The watch first discovered it in the center of the Senate Chamber, and on the floor. This was nearly extinguished, when it was discovered that the timbers over head were on fire. Soon it burned out through the roof, and the entire belfry was quickly in flames. The engines could not reach the fire, and it was evident that the venerable old edifice, in which the Legislature of Ohio had met for the last thirty-five years, was doomed to destruction. The belfry, after burning brilliantly for a few minutes, came down with a crash upon the floor of the Senate Chamber. The roof then gradually fell in, and the upper story of the building was a mass of flames. An effort was now made to confine the fire to the Senate Chamber and upper rooms, but there was too heavy a mass of burning matter on the floor to be extinguished, and soon the flames reached the Hall of the House of Representatives. The origin of the fire has not yet been ascertained. The desks, chairs and furniture had been removed, and the entire building was then resigned to its fate. In the Senate Chamber very little was saved. We learn that the clerk's papers were all secured, but that a large mass of documents, journals, constitutional debates, etc., were consumed."
The cause of the fire was never satisfactorily ascertained. In the ensuing spring the remains of the building were removed, and the ungainly high board fence that so long enclosed the public square was extended round the site of the old building.
The remainder of the session the House of Representatives sat in Mr. Neil's Odeon Hall, and the Senate in the United States Court House, on the opposite side of the street. And the next winter, 1852-3, the House of Representatives again sat in the Odeon Hall, and the Senate in Mr. Ambos's Hall. In the winter of 1853-4, the regular session, both branches occupied the same halls as the preceding winter. In 1854-5, no legislative session. In 1855-6, they again occupied the Odeon and Ambos's Halls, and in the winter of 1856-7, they for the first time held their session in the new State House.
Of those who assisted in the erection of the old State House, there are still living in the city or vicinity, Jacob Hare, who kept a team and helped to haul the stone for the foundation Conrad Heyl, principal painter, and Geo. B. Harvey, who was employed on it as carpenter through its whole construction.
In connection with the State House, the writer's better half here reminds him of a little social sewing party that put together the first carpet for the State House, in the fall of 1816. Of which party she was one, and the only surviving one that she now recollects. Mrs. George McCormick and Mrs. George B. Harvey were of the party, but they are now no more.
Governor Worthington, by invitation, convened a dozen or more ladies of the town in the Hall of the House for the purpose above named, favored them with his company and some of his fine apples from his Ross County orchard, and they spent the day industriously and cheerfully on the task to which they had been invited, and in the evening partook of a cup of tea with the necessary accompaniments served up at Mr. John Martin's just across the street from the State House.
The State offices were erected the year after the State House, (1815.) B. Thompson was the contractor for laying up the walls, but died before the job was done. His contract, however, was completed under the control of his widow. M. Patton was undertaker of the carpenter work, and Leightenaker and Heyl of the plastering and painting.
This building was situated about fifty or sixty feet north of where the State House stood, and in a direct line with it. It was plain two-story brick building, one hundred and fifty feet long by twenty-five feet deep, fronting toward High street. It had a rough stone foundation, and a belt of cut stone along the front and ends at the height of the first story, a common comb roof of joint shingles, and four front doors, one toward the north end to enter the Secretary's office, two toward the south end to the Auditor's office, one of which, however, was kept closed and not used, and a large door in the center. Immediately inside of the center door, by turning to the left you entered the Governor's office, or by turning to the right the Treasurer's office, or by advancing without turning to the right or the left you ascended on winding stairs to the second story, which was always appropriated principally for the State Library, but formerly was used also for the Quarter-Master and Adjutant General's offices, and by times for other public officers. The two front doors to the Auditor's office rather injured the symmetrical appearance of the building from the street.
This building was removed in the spring of 1857, preparatory to the grading of the public square.
All these public buildings were made under the superintendence of William Ludlow, Esq., the agent of the State, appointed for that purpose. Although no architect, nor much acquainted with building, he was a faithful agent, a man of some talent, and unquestionable integrity - a Democrat of the old school, with strong prejudices against the very name of federal, as was evidenced in the alteration of the word federal to union, in the quotation from Barlow's poem on the stone over the west door of the State House. The workman had (following the copy from the book) cut the words "Federal Band," before observed by Mr. Ludlow. But this would not do, although applied only to the Union of the States. The word was objectionable, and hence the engraving was filled up as well as it could be done, and the word "union" cut over it, so as to read "Union Band." Toward the last years of the old State House the composition with which the word had been covered over, on which union was engraved, had fallen off, and the old word federal again appeared.
The United States Court House stood in a line with the State House and State offices, and about fifty or sixty feet north of the latter. It was also a plain brick building, two stories high, with a rough stone foundation. It was probably about forty-five of forty-six feet square, and the roof ascended from the four sides to a circular dome in the center. The front had a recess entrance about the size of a large portico, but within the line of the front wall. The same recess extended up through the second story, thus affording a pleasant view of the street from the second story. On the lower floor there was a hall through the center, and two rooms on each side, one of which was used for the office of the Clerk of the United States Court, one as an office for the Marshal, and one as a jury room. On the second story was the court room and one jury room.
This building was erected in the year 1820. It was done in part by the State appropriating a certain amount of uncurrent funds of the Miami Exporting Company then in Treasury, to that purpose; but the greater amount was raised by donations from the citizens of Columbus, and the United States Courts were removed from Chillicothe about the year 1821. Harvey D. Evans was then Clerk of said Court, and Dr. John Hamm, of Zanesville, Marshal. After Evans's death, in July, 1825, he was succeeded in the clerkship by Wm. K. Bond, then of Chillicothe; and about the year 1829 or 1830, Bond was succeeded by William Miner, who still holds the office. Dr. Hamm, as Marshal, was succeeded by William Doherty, and Doherty by Gen. John Patterson, from Jefferson County, and he by a man of his own name, John Patterson of Adams County, and Patterson by Demas Adams, Adams by John McElvain, McElvain by D. A. Robertson, of Fairfield, Robertson by G. W. Jones, of Knox, and Jones by H. H. Robinson of Cincinnati.
In the spring of 1855, the State having been divided into two Districts, the United States Courts were removed from Columbus to Cincinnati and the Court House was soon after torn down.
Back of the United States Court House was a long one story brick building, erected by the county about the year 1828 or 1829, for county offices. It was divided into four apartments, with an outside door to each. The north room was for the Clerk of the Court, the next one to it for the Recorder, the next for the Treasurer, and the fourth or south one for the County Auditor; and the county offices were kept here from the time the building was erected until the summer of 1840, when they were removed to the new County Court House, at the corner of Mound and High streets. This building was not removed until the spring of 1857, when the State House square was graded.
The public square on which these buildings stood, was originally cleared of its native timber, etc., by Jarvis Pike, (generally styled Judge Pike, having once been a Judge in the State of New York,) under the direction of Governor Worthington, about the years 1815 and 1816. The Governor resided in Chillicothe, and some misunderstanding having arisen between Pike and him as to the terms or conditions of their contract, on the occasion of one of his visits to Columbus, Pike had him arrested on capias and conducted by a constable before 'Squire King, and the matter was decided in Pike's favor - perhaps adjusted without trial. But the circumstance was the subject of frequent jocular remarks, in which the 'Squire was always ready to join.
The square was enclosed with a rough rail fence, and Pike farmed the ground some three or four years, and raised wheat, corn, etc., till the fence got out of order, and was finally destroyed; and the square lay in commons a number of years, until the summer and fall of 1834, when it was enclosed by Jonathan Neereamer with a neat and substantial fence of cedar posts and white painted palings, which was done under the direction of Alfred Kelley, Esq., as agent for the State. And near the same time, either the preceding or the succeeding winter, he had the elm trees now standing on the square removed from their native forest and planted where they are. Their stalks were then perhaps from four to six inches in diameter. They were taken up when the ground was frozen hard, so that perhaps half a ton of frozen earth adhered to the roots, and by having large holes prepared, the earth was never loosened from the roots, and the trees generally did well, but still some have died.
In the spring of 1839, the neat paling fence was removed to give place to the ungainly rough board fence, about twelve feet high, which was erected for a kind of semi-prison in which to work the Penitentiary prisoners on the new building; and it stood there as a blur upon the face of the town until the recollection of many of our young people, who had in the meantime grown from childhood to maturity, did not extend back to the time when it did not exist. A part of the white paling fence was bought by Mr. Whitehill, with which his lots, at the corner of State and Fourth streets, are still enclosed.
On the 4th of July, 1839, the corner stone of the new State House was laid.