Perry Township is composed of two fractional original surveyed townships, bounding on the Scioto, range nineteen. It is ten miles in length, north and south, and from one to three miles in width, varying with the meanders of the river. It was originally a part of Liberty Township; afterward a part of Washington; then a part of it was attached to Norwich; and in 1820, it was set off and organized by its present name and boundaries. There is no village nor post office in this township. Part of the township receive their mail matter at the Dublin post office; part at Worthington, and part at Columbus. Some years since, Mr. Simon Shattuck, who lives near the middle of the township, having disposed of part of his farm in small lots, it brought some half dozen families in close proximity, and the place has since generally been known as "Shattucksburg," though it was never laid out nor intended for a town.
About the years 1813 and '14, Thomas Backus (father of the late Elijah Backus) erected mills on the Scioto, which for some years bore his name; then for many years known as McCoy's mills, and more latterly as Matere's mills, and Marble Cliff mills. Between forty and fifty years, these mills have been a constant benefit to the neighborhood, and reasonably productive to the proprietors. Not far below the mills, in a cliff of rocks, were the noted rattlesnake dens, which were a terror to the neighborhood, and particularly to the mill boys; and about which many large "snake stories" have been related. These dens were openings in the rocky cliff; one was large enough to admit a person to walk into the cavern, which has never been fully explored. The snakes have of late years entirely disappeared.
In the North part of this township are the Kosciusko lands. In 1800, a patent was issued by the United States Government to Thaddeus Kosciusko for 500 acres of land in this township, on account of his services in the Revolutionary War. He attempted to transfer these lands by an assignment on the back of the patent, like the assignment of a note or bond. They were afterward claimed by a distant heir. After the conclusion of peace in America, Kosciusko returned to Poland, his native country, which, not long after, became involved in war with Russia. Kosciusko was appointed commander in chief of the Polish army, which was defeated, and he was severely wounded, and carried captive to St. Petersburg; but was finally released, and he returned to France, where he lived in retirement until he died, in October, 1817. General Harrison, in delivering his eulogy in Congress, on the arrival of the news of his death, when speaking of his defeat and fall, uses the following beautiful and highly complimental (sic) couplet:
"Hope for a season, bade the world farewell, And freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell."
There are in this township four churches: The Union Church, owned by the German Reform and the Episcopalians, near the farm of Mr. John Legg, a painted frame, erected about the year 1852; a Methodist stone church, on the Medary farm, erected about the year 1847; a Methodist brick church, on the farm of Mr. Jacob Wright, erected about the year 1844; and a neat white painted frame Methodist Church, near 'Squire Brown's, erected in 1849-ground donated by Mr. Dennis Fares. They also have a town or township house, on the farm of Mr. Joseph Henderson, near the center of the township, erected about the year 1854, in which to hold elections and transact township business.
In 1840, the population of this township was 1,037. In 1850, it was 1,159. In 1853, the township contained twelve school districts, and an aggregate of 520 youth between the ages of five and twenty-one years. In 1857, it contained, according to the returns, an aggregate of 496 such youth.
SUCCESSIVE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
1820. Asaph Allen, elected.
1821. Chandler Rogers and Uriah Clark, elected.
1822. Robert Boyd, elected.
1824. Chandler Rogers, reelected.
1825. Amaziah Hutchison and Sam'l S. Davis, in place of Clark and Boyd.
1827. Chandler Rogers, reelected.
1828. Amaziah Hutchison, reelected, and Daniel Beard, in place of Davis.
1830. Jacob Leaf, in place of Rogers.
1831. Amaziah Hutchsion (sic), reelected, and Samuel S. Davis, in place of Beard.
1832. Richard Gale, jr., in place of Hutchison, who neglected to qualify.
1833. John Hutchison, in place of Leaf.
1834. Samuel S. Davis reelected.
1835. Chandler Rogers, in place of Gale.
1836. Amaziah Hutchison, elected.
1837. Daniel Beard, in place of Davis.
1838. Wm. Mitchel, elected.
" C. Rogers, reelected.
1839. Allen Bowers, elected.
1841. C. Rogers and John Swisher, elected.
1842. William Mitchel and Allen Bowers, reelected.
1844. C. Rogers and John Swisher, both reelected.
1845. William Mitchel reelected.
1846. Jacob Poppaw, in place of Mitchel, removed.
1847. John Swisher and David Rogers, elected.
1849. Jacob Poppaw, reelected.
1850. John Swisher and David Rogers, reelected.
1852. Jacob Poppaw, reelected.
1853. John Swisher and David Rogers, reelected.
1855. Barzillia Billingsly in place of Poppaw.
1856. John Swisher and David Rogers, reelected.
1858. Isaac Davidson, elected in place of Billingsly.
This eighteenth and last township of the county was set off and organized in the spring of 1830, by its present boundaries. It was taken from Norwich, Prairie and Washington, and had originally been part of Franklin Township. A few improvements were made along Darby Creek about 1808 or '10.
Amongst the first settlers were James Boyd, John Hayden, John Patterson and Mr. Rinier. Though there were but few settlers back from the creek until from 1825 to 1830, when the Welch commenced settling in this township, and it has of late years been filing up fast, and bids fair to make a rich and flourishing township.
There is as yet, however, no grist mill in the township. There have been two saw mills, one erected on Darby Creek by Isaac Hayden in 1837; the other a steam power mill, erected when the Urbana Railroad was being made. But they have both gone down.
There is no town or village in this township, but there was a post office established in it in July, 1848, and named "Darby post office." Joseph O'Harra, Esq., the present incumbent, was appointed the first postmaster.
About the year 1847 or '48, an association of colored people having purchased a tract of land in this township, with a view of establishing a seminary for the education of colored children, erected their building for that purpose, and opened their school, which has generally been kept in operation since. There are some four or five families of blacks residing there, and they generally have a few pupils from a distance.
There is but one church building in the township, and it belongs to the Methodist denomination. Religious meetings, however, are held occasionally by the Presbyterians and Baptists, and also by the Methodists, in the school houses.
In 1840, the population of this township was 425. In 1850, it was 681. In 1853, it comprised six school districts, and an aggregate of 310 youth between the ages of five and twenty-one years. In 1857, the aggregate of such youth was 334.
SUCCESSIVE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
1831. Jacob S. Rogers and James Langton, elected.
1834. Rogers, reelected, and John D. Acton in place of Langton.
1837. Rogers, reelected, and Paul Alder, in place of Acton.
1839. Joseph O'Harra, in place of Alder, removed.
1840. Jacob S. Rogers, reelected.
1842. John D. Acton, in place of O'Harra.
1843. Rogers, reelected.
1845. Wm. Walker, in place of Acton.
1846. Rogers, reelected.
1848. Henry Francis, in place of Walker.
1849. James Hugget, in place of Rogers, removed to the west.
1851. Chauncy Beach, in place of Francis.
1852. N. E. Fares, in place of Hugget.
1854. John Kilgore, in place of Beach.
1855. N. E. Fares, reelected.
1856. George M. Clover, in place of Fares, resigned.
1857. John Kilgore, reelected.
From the laying out of the Town in 1812, till the close of the Proprietors' Settlement in 1817 -Embracing their Proposals -The Law Establishing the Seat of Government -The sale of Lots - First Settlers - 'Squire Shields - First Lawyers - First Taverns, etc., etc.
From the first organization of the State government in 1803, until 1816, there was no permanent seat of State government. The sessions of the Legislature were held at Chillicothe until 1810, and the sessions of 1810-11, and 1811-12, were held at Zanesville, and from thence they were removed back to Chillicothe, and there remained until December, 1816, when the first session commenced in Columbus.
In February, 1810, the Legislature, desirous to establish a more central and permanent seat of government for the State, by joint resolution appointed five commissioners, namely James Findlay, W. Silliman, Joseph Darlington, Reisin Beall and Wm. McFarland, to meet in Franklinton on the first day of September, then following, to examine and select the most eligible site for the establishment of the permanent seat of government for the State. On December 11th, 1810, the commissioners made their report and say, "That they have diligently examined a number of different places within the circle prescribed, and the majority of said commissioners are of opinion that a tract of land, owned by John and Peter Sells, situated on the west bank of the Scioto River, four miles and three quarters west of the town of Worthington, in the county of Franklin, and on which said Sells now resides, appears to them the most eligible."* Dated at Newark, the 12th of September, 1810, and signed by all the commissioners.
*On this site the town of Dublin was afterward laid out.
No further definite action, however, was had on the subject until February, 1812, when the law was passed establishing it at Columbus. Various proposals were received, offering inducements for its establishment at different points, and amongst the rest were the proposals of Lyne Starling, James Johnston, Alexander McLaughlin and John Kerr, for establishing it on the "high bank of the Scioto River, opposite Franklinton," which site was principally a native forest. Franklinton was then at its apex, and a town of considerably more consequence than it now is, and was one of the sites proposed; but the plan upon which it was laid out, and more particularly its low situation, were considered sufficient objections to its adoption. Worthington and Delaware were also among the sites proposed.
The following is a copy of the original proposals of the proprietors of Columbus:
"To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of Ohio: We, the subscribers, do offer the following as our proposals, provided the Legislature at their present session shall fix and establish the permanent seat of government on the bank of the Scioto River nearly opposite Franklinton, on half sections number twenty-five and twenty-six, and part of half sections number ten and eleven, all in township five, range twenty-two of the Refugee Lands, and commence their sessions there on the first Monday of December, 1817:
"1st. To lay out a town on the lands aforesaid, on or before the first of July next, agreeably to the plan presented by us to the Legislature.
"2d. To convey to the State by general warranty deed, in fee simple, such square of said town of the contents of ten acres or near it, for the public buildings, and such lot of ten acres, for the Penitentiary and dependencies, as a Director or such person or persons as the Legislature shall appoint, may direct.
"3d. To erect and complete a State House, offices and Penitentiary, and such other buildings as shall be directed by the Legislature to be built, of stone and brick, or of either - the work to be done in a workmanlike manner, and of such size and dimensions as the Legislature shall think fit; the Penitentiary and dependencies to be completed on or before first of January, 1815, and the State House and offices on or before the first Monday of December, 1817.
"When the buildings shall be completed the Legislature and us, reciprocally, shall appoint workmen to examine and value the whole buildings, which valuation shall be binding; and if it does not amount to fifty thousand dollars, we shall make up such deficiency in such further buildings as shall be directed by law; but if it exceeds the sum of fifty thousand dollars, the Legislature will by law remunerate us in such way as they may think just and equitable.
"The Legislature may, by themselves or agent, alter the width of the streets and alleys of said town, previous to its being laid out by us, if they may think proper to do so.
"LYNE STARLING, [SEAL.]
"ALEX. McLAUGHLIN, [SEAL.]
"JAMES JOHNSTON. [SEAL.]
The above was accompanied by their bond for the faithful performance of their undertaking.
Although it was the avowed object of the Legislature to establish a permanent seat of government, yet when the time came to act conclusively on the subject, there was a misgiving amongst them, and it became pretty manifest that the bill for the acceptance of the foregoing proposals, would not pass without a limitation clause in it, and being now just at the close of the session, rather than to have it defeated, or to lie over, the proprietors made their second proposition, of which the following is a copy:
"To the Honorable the Legislature of Ohio: We, the subscribers, do agree to comply with the terms of our bond now in possession of the Senate of the State aforesaid, in case they will fix the seat of government of this State on the lands designated in our proposals, on the east bank of the Scioto River, nearly opposite to Franklinton, and commence their sessions there at or before the first Monday of December, 1817, and continue the same in the town to be laid off by us until the year 1840. These conditional proposals are offered for the acceptance of the Legislature of Ohio, provided they may be considered more eligible than those previously put in.
"JOHN KERR, [SEAL.]
"JAMES JOHNSTON, [SEAL.]
"A. MCLAUGHLIN, [SEAL.]
"LYNE STARLING, [SEAL.]
"February 11th, 1812."
This proposition seemed to satisfy the opposition, and the bill was amended by adding the latter clause to the end of the second section, and then passed.
This last proposition was at some time lost from the file of papers in the State Treasurer's office, and that fact was possibly the means of saving the seat of government at Columbus. From the time of the repeal of the law for the erection of a new State House, in 1840, the subject of the removal of the seat of government from Columbus became agitated, and at the session of 1842-43, a committee of the Legislature was appointed on that subject, who being divided in opinion or feeling, made a majority and a minority report. The majority assumed as a first ground that it had been permanently established at Columbus by the act of February 14th, 1812, accepting the proposals of the proprietors of the town; and then referring to the conditions of the first proposals, insisted that it could not be removed without a violation of the faith of the State. The arguments of the two reports are principally confined to that proposition-the second proposal not being known of, apparently, by either party. And the compiler of the "Brief History of Columbus," prefixed to Mr. J. R. Armstrong's Columbus Directory, published in 1843, while the subject of removal was still in agitation, was, as a citizen of Columbus, perhaps excusable in giving the proprietors' first proposals, whilst he suppressed the second, which would have upset all the fine arguments in favor the permanent location.
The law referred to, accepting the proposals of the proprietors, and establishing the seat of government, was passed the 14th of February, 1812, and reads as follows:
"Sec. 1. That the proposals made to this Legislature by Alexander McLaughlin, John Kerr, Lyne Starling and James Johnston, to lay out a town on their lands, situate on the east bank of the Scioto River, opposite Franklinton, in the County of Franklin, on parts of half sections numbers nine, ten, eleven, twenty-five and twenty-six, for the purpose of having the permanent seat of government thereon established; also to convey to the State a square of ten acres and a lot of ten acres, to erect a State House and offices, and a Penitentiary, as shall be directed by the Legislature, are hereby accepted, and the same, and their penal bond annexed thereto, dated the 10th of February, 1812, conditioned for the faithful performance of said proposals, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, and shall remain in the office of the Treasurer of State, there to be kept for the use of the State.
"Sec. 2. That the seat of government of this State, be and the same is hereby fixed and permanently established on the lands aforesaid; and the Legislature shall commence their sessions thereat on the first Monday of December, 1817, and there continue until the first day of May, 1840, and from thence until otherwise provided for by law.
"Sec. 3. That there shall be appointed by joint resolution of this General Assembly, a Director, who shall, within thirty days after his appointment, take and subscribe an oath faithfully and impartially to discharge the duties enjoined on him by law, and shall hold his office to the end of the session of the next Legislature: Provided, that in case the office of the Director aforesaid, shall, by death, resignation or in any wise, become vacant during the recess of the Legislature, the Governor shall fill such vacancy.
"Sec. 4. That the aforesaid Director shall view and examine the lands above mentioned, and superintend the surveying and laying out of the town aforesaid, and direct the width of the streets and alleys therein; also to select the square for public buildings, and the lot for the Penitentiary and dependencies, according to the proposals aforesaid; and he shall make a report thereof to the next Legislature; he shall, moreover, perform such other duties as will be required of him by law.
"Sec. 5. That said McLaughlin, Kerr, Starling and Johnston, shall, on or before the first day of July next ensuing, at their own expense, cause the town aforesaid to be laid out, and a plat of the same recorded in the Recorder's office of Franklin County, distinguishing therein the square and the lot to be by them conveyed to this State; and they shall, moreover, transmit a certified copy thereof to the next Legislature, for their inspection.
Sec. 6. That from and after the first day of May next, Chillicothe shall be the temporary seat of government, until otherwise provided by law."
And by an act amendatory to the above act, passed February 17, 1816, it was enacted:
"That from and after the second Tuesday of October next, the seat of government of this State shall be established at the town of Columbus, and there continue, agreeably to the provisions of the second section of the act entitled "An act fixing and establishing the permanent and temporary seats of government," passed Feb. 14, 1812.
"That the Auditor, Treasurer and Secretary of State, shall, in the month of October next, remove, or cause to be removed, the books, maps and papers in their respective offices, to the offices prepared and designated for them severally, in the town of Columbus; and the Treasurer shall also remove any public money which may be in his office; and the said public officers shall there attend and keep their offices respectively, from and after that time, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."
On the 19th of February, 1812, at Zanesville, the proprietors, Starling, Johnston, McLaughlin and Kerr, signed and acknowledged their articles of association, as partners, under the law for laying out, etc., the town of Columbus. In this instrument, it was stipulated that a common stock was to be created, for the benefit of the firm; that Starling was to put into said stock half section number twenty-five, except ten acres previously sold to John Brickell; Johnston was to put in half section number nine, and half of half section number ten; and McLaughlin and Kerr (who had previously been partners, and were jointly considered as one or a third party to this agreement,) were to put in half section number twenty-six; on which they were to lay out the town, agreeably to their proposals to the Legislature,-the proceeds of the sales to remain in common stock, until they should complete their contract with the State.
They were to have a common agent, to make sales and superintend their whole business. Each party was to pay into the hands of this agent the sum of $2,400 annually, on the first Monday of January, for five successive years, and such further sums as might be necessary to complete the public buildings. Each party was to warrant the title to the land by such party respectively put into the stock, and each to receive a mutual benefit in all donations they might obtain on subscription or otherwise. And when they should have completed their contract with the State, and be released from all obligations on account thereof, a final settlement and adjustment of their accounts was to take place, and the profits or losses to be equally divided between them.
John Kerr was appointed the first agent for the proprietors, in April, 1812, and continued as such until June, 1815, when he declined serving any longer, and Henry Brown was appointed, and continued their agent until the close of their business, in the spring of 1817.
The agreement of the proprietors having been faithfully abided by, and their undertaking completed, was finally canceled in April, 1817, when a division of the unsold property, and of obligations for lots sold, etc., took place, and each party released the other from all the obligations of their articles of association, and also released and quit-claimed to each other all the remaining parts of their several tracts of land originally put into the common fund, that remain unsold.
The amount of the donations obtained on subscriptions, is variously stated at from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars. And, pursuant to an agreement with Rev. James Hoge, now known as Dr. Hoge, he deeded to the proprietors eighty acres of land off the south end of half section number eleven, in order to enable them to complete the plat to the size and form desired. Of the lots laid out on this grant, the proprietors retained one-half, and deeded the balance back to the Doctor. And, pursuant to a similar contract with Thomas Allen, and for the same purpose, he deeded to the proprietors twenty acres out of the south-west part of half section number ten, they deeding back his portion of the lots, and retaining the balance as a donation.
Thus the town plat, including out-lots and reserves, (which reserves have many years since been laid out into additions of in-lots,) covered the whole of half sections numbers twenty-five and twenty-six, and parts of half sections ten and eleven.
McLaughlin and Kerr's half section (number twenty-six) was the southern part of the original town plat, bounded on the south by South Public Lane, (the eastern part of which is sometimes called the "Livingston Road,") and on the north by a parallel (east and west) line, commencing at the river a little south of State street, and crossing High street at the north-east corner of Dr. Goodale's brick block, and crossing Town street at an acute angle between Third and Fourth streets, including all between those two lines, from the river to the eastern boundary of the out-lots. Starling's half section (number twenty-five) also extended from the river to the eastern boundary of out-lots, and included all between the north line of McLaughlin and Kerr's half section, above described, and a parallel line from a short distance in front of the penitentiary, due east, crossing High street between Long street and Mulberry alley, and intersecting Broad street at the eastern extremity of the out-lots. Although half section number nine was put into the common fund by Johnston, no part of the town plat as laid out on it. It lies between the penitentiary grounds and Olentangy Creek. The east half of half section ten, put into the fund by him, and on the south end of which lots were laid out, buts on the north line of Starling's half section, (number twenty-five,) from Water street to Center alley, bounded east and west by due north and south lines, cutting the lots obliquily. The part conveyed to the proprietors by Allen, also buts on Starling's north line, immediately west of Johnston's, just described, and the part conveyed to them by Dr. Hoge, also buts on Starling's north line, immediately east of Johnston's land.
The contrast being closed between the proprietors and the State, and all the preliminaries now arranged, in the spring of 1812, the town was laid out, under the direction of Joel Wright, Esq., of Warren County, an agent of the State, appointed for that purpose, and Joseph Vance, of Franklin County, as assistant.
The streets all cross at right angles; those running northward, bear twelve degrees west of north, and consequently those running eastward, twelve degrees north of east. High street is one hundred feet wide; Broad street is one hundred and twenty feet, and all the others eighty-two and a half feet wide; and the alleys generally thirty-three feet in width. The in-lots are sixty-two and a half feet front, and one hundred and eighty-seven and a half feet deep. The out-lots on the east, contain about three acres each.
Some time after the laying out of the main town and the eastern out-lots, the proprietors laid out some forty or more out-lots, north of the town, which are represented on the record by a separate plat. These contain a trifle over two acres each, and from part of these lots they conveyed to the town an acre and a half for a graveyard.
The time and terms of sale being agreed upon, the same was advertised far and near, and in a way calculated to attract bidders from a distance. The following is a copy of the advertisement:
"On the premises, commencing on Thursday, the 18th day of June next, and to continue for three days, in and out-lots in the town of Columbus, established by an act of the Legislature, as the permanent seat of government for the State of Ohio.
"Terms of Sale.-One fifth of the purchase money will be required in hand; the residue to be paid in four equal annual installments. Interest will be required on the deferred payments from the day of sale, if they are not punctually made when due. Eight per cent. will be discounted for prompt payment on the day of sale. The town of Columbus is situated on an elevated and beautiful site, on the east side of the Scioto River, immediately below the junction of the Whetstone branch, and opposite to Franklinton, the seat of justice for Franklin County, in the center of an extensive tract of rich and fertile country, from whence there is an easy navigation to the Ohio River. Above the town, the west branch of the Scioto affords a good navigation for about eighty miles, and the Whetstone branch as far as the town of Worthington. Sandusky Bay, the only harbor on the south shore of Lake Erie (except Presque Isle) for vessels of burthen, is situate due north from Columbus, and about one hundred miles from it. An excellent road may be made with very little expense from the Lower Sandusky town to the mouth of the Little Scioto, a distance of about sixty miles. This will render the communication from the Lakes to the Ohio River through the Scioto very easy, by which route an immense trade must, at a day not very distant, be carried on, which will make the country on the Scioto River rich and populous. The proprietors of the town of Columbus will, by every means in their power, encourage industrious mechanics, who wish to make a residence in the town.
All such are invited to become purchasers.
"Franklinton, April 13, 1812."
Pursuant to this notice, public sale of the lots commenced on the 18th of June,* 1812, and continued three days. The lots sold principally on High and Broad streets, and were generally struck off at from two hundred to a thousand dollars each. The only cleared land then on, or contiguous to, the town plat, was a small spot on Front, a little north of State street; another small field and a cabin on the bank of the river, at the western terminus of Rich street; a cabin and garden spot in front of where the penitentiary now stands, occupied by John Brickell; and a small field south of the mound, on the tract which two years after was laid off by John McGowan, as an addition to the original plat, and called "South Columbus."
*The same day that war was declared by the United States against Great Britain.
Immediately after the sales, improvements commenced rapidly, generally small frame houses and shops, enclosed with split clapboards instead of sawed weatherboards, which were not generally attainable. Both proprietors and settlers were too much occupied with their own individual and immediate interests, to attend much to the clearing off of the streets and alleys; and for several years the streets remained so much impeded by stumps, logs and brush, that teamsters were compelled to make very crooked tracks in winding their way through them. Gradually, however, they were cleared by the inhabitants, for fire wood and building materials, until about the year 1815 or '16, a sum of about two hundred dollars was raised by subscription, and appropriated to the removal of the remaining obstructions from High street. Soon after the town was incorporated, and the streets were gradually improved by authority of the town council.
There are now but two men remaining in Columbus who were here at the sale of the lots, in 1812, and purchased property, and have remained citizens of the place ever since, viz: Messrs. Jacob Hare and Peter Putnam, and each still owns the lot he purchased at that time, over forty-five years ago. Amongst the first settlers, however, were George McCormick, George B. Harvey, John Shields, Michael Patton, Alexander Patton, William Altman, John Collett, Wm. McElvain, Daniel Kooser, Christian Heyl, Jarvis Pike, Benjamin Pike, George Pike, Wm. Long, Townsend Nichols, and Dr. John M. Edmiston. Dr. Edmiston was the first physician to locate in the new town - Doctors Parsons and Ball practiced in Columbus, but resided in Franklinton. About the year 1815 or '16, Dr. Parsons removed over to Columbus, where he resided ever after.
The first stores opened in Columbus were, one belonging to the Worthington Manufacturing Company, and kept by Joel Buttles, in a small brick building, on the west end of the lot now covered by the Broadway Exchange building; and one belonging to McLene & Green, kept in a cabin, on the south side of Rich street, just east of where Mechanics' Hall now stands. About where Mechanics' Hall stands, in two or three cabins connected together, Christian Heyl kept a bakery and house of entertainment, where he continued until about the year 1818, when he erected the front part of the tavern building lately known as the "Franklin House," now the "Nagle House," where he kept a respectable hotel until the spring of 1841. The first tavern, however, was kept on the lot where the "Johnston Building" now stands. It was commenced about the spring of 1813, by Volney Payne, in a two story brick house erected by John Collett, for that purpose; and the house was kept successively by Mr. Payne, Collett, John McElvain, and Collett again, until about the year 1818, when he sold out to Robert Russell, and Mr. Russell kept it a number of years, then James Robinson, and then Mr. Russell again, until about the year 1844, when the tavern was discontinued.
Soon after the tavern was opened at Collett's house, Daniel Kooser opened a tavern on Front street, south of State, and a Mr. McCollum opened another on Front north of Broad street, where the "Erin go Bragh House" is now kept. In the meantime, various other establishments, known as houses of entertainment, had sprung up, which were, in reality, little else than drinking shops, such as in after years were denominated groceries. At the north-east corner of High and Rich streets was an establishment of the latter kind, kept by William Day, about the years 1815 and '16, that was famous for company drinking and quarreling; so much so that it obtained the appellation of "The War Office;" and from thence the cases of combat were generally carried to 'Squire Shields, to be "disposed of according to law." The 'Squire was rather an eccentric old genius, from the Emerald Isle, and disposed of business in short order. He was a preacher: first of the Methodist, then of the New Light Order, and could preach a good sermon on as short notice as any other man; he could lay as many brick in a day as a common bricklayer would in two; and in surveying and platting of lands, and also in his official business as a Justice of the Peace, he was equally expeditious; but in all things, rough and careless, apparently disdaining precision.
The 'Squire was remarkable for his equanimity of temper, or his ability to control it. On one occasion, when in his office, one of his rough customers very abruptly called him a liar, to which the 'Squire coolly replied in his broad Irish brogue: "Poh, man, we are all liars - I can prove you a liar!" at which the other bristled up as though he was for fight-"Prove me a liar! prove me a liar! can you?" The 'Squire making no further reply, turned to a file of notes that had been sued before him, and picking out one of his hero's notes and presenting the name to him, asked if that was his signature? to which the man replied: "Yes; and what of it?" The 'Squire reads: "Three months after date, I promise to pay," etc., "And did you pay?" "I will pay when I am ready!" was the reply. "There, Sir," said the 'Squire, "I have proved you a liar under your own hand;" and returning the note to its place, without further ado, sat down to his writing.
On another occasion, being told that he was the d----dest rascal in town, and that he (the speaker) could prove it, the 'Squire replied, with the utmost sang froid: "I dare say, Sir, that you could get twenty men to swear that, but that would not make it so." He removed with his family to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1821, where he died a few years after.
In the year 1815, David S. Brodrick opened a respectable tavern in frame buildings, at the south-east corner of High and Town streets, with the sign "Columbus Inn;" and in the spring of 1816, James B. Gardiner opened a good tavern, for that time, in a wooden building, fronting on Friend street, just west of High, on what was afterward known as the Howard lot. In the spring of 1818, Broderick having retired from public life, Mr. Gardiner removed to that stand, and hoisted the sign of the "Rose Tree" in full blow, with the Scripture quotation, "The wilderness shall blossom as the rose." This stand was afterward kept by various landlords, amongst whom was Samuel Barr, whilst owner of the property. It was for a time known as the "Franklin House;" afterward as the "City House." The old wooden buildings were removed some years since, to give place to the Deshler building, which now occupies the corner.
When Gardiner removed from Friend street, he was succeeded at that stand by Jarvis Pike, who raised the sign of "Yankee Tavern."
The first school taught in Columbus was in a cabin that stood on the public square, (teachers name not now known;) then succeeded as teachers, in 1814-15, and so on, Uriah Case, John Peoples, W. T. Martin, a Mr. Whitehill, Joseph Olds (afterward a distinguished lawyer and member of Congress), Dr. Peleg Sisson (while acquiring his profession), Samuel Bigger (afterward Governor of Indiana), Rudolph Dickinson (for a number of years a member of the Board of Public Works, and member of Congress), Daniel Bigelow Orange Davis, a Mr. Christie, Rev. Mr. Labare, Cyrus Parker, H. N. Hubbell, Andrew Williams, and an number of others, not now recollected, who were all teachers of common subscription schools, in Columbus, before the introduction of the present free school system.
In the spring of 1815, the census of the town was taken by James Marshal, Esq., and amounted to about seven hundred. By this time, there were some half dozen or more of stores, amongst which were those of Alexander Morrison, Joel Buttles, Henry Brown, Delano & Cutler, and J. & R. W. McCoy; and a printing office, issuing a weekly paper, which has been noticed under the head of "Newspapers."
The first lawyers to locate in Columbus, were David Smith, Orris Parish, David Scott, and Gustavus Swan, about the year 1815. Shortly after, succeeded John R. Parish,* T. C. Flournoy, James K. Cory,
† William Doherty,‡ and others.
* Mr. Parish died in June, 1829, in the 43d year of his age. He was a man of vigorous mind, and an able lawyer and legislator, and for a time quite popular. But he had his frailties.
† Mr. Cory died the first day of January, 1827, in his 29th year. He was a promising young lawyer, from Cooperstown, New York, and had resided in Columbus some seven or eight years.
On the same day Dr. Daniel Turney, a popular physician of Columbus, died from the effects of poison.
‡ Col. Doherty was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, from whence he came to Ohio during the war of 1812, and took up his residence in Columbus in 1816. He subsequently, in 1820, married a daughter of Gen. McLene, and made Columbus his residence the balance of his life. He possessed a turn of mind for public business, and being a man of fine appearance and pleasant address, became popular, and filled some highly respectable and lucrative offices. He was for seven years in succession Clerk of the House of Representatives in the Ohio Legislature - one session at Chillicothe and six at Columbus. The Clerks then received five dollars per day while the members received three dollars. He was also for a number of years Adjutant General of the State of Ohio. He was afterward United States Marshal for the District of Ohio four years. He had, however, previous to this, and since his residence in Columbus, prosecuted the study of the law, and been admitted to the practice.
In 1831, he was elected Senator for the District of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, and was at his first session chosen Speaker of that body - a compliment rarely bestowed on a new member. But he was competent to the place, and filled it to the general satisfaction of the Senate.
He died in February, 1840, at the age of fifty years.
The Columbus post office was established in 1813; was made a distributing office in 1838. Will be noticed under the head of "post office."
The first market house was erected in 1814, by voluntary contributions of property holders in the vicinity of its location. It was a substantial frame, probably fifty feet in length, and proportionable in width and height. It was situated in the middle of High street, a little south of Rich street. It continued there until after the town became incorporated. Immediately after the incorporation the subject of a new market house, and the proper place for its location was agitated. Rich street, Town street, State street and Broad street were all proposed as sites. Property holders on Broad street were strenuous in favor of it, arguing its greater width than any other street, and drawing the inference therefrom that it must have been designed in the plan of the town for the market house. Joseph Miller, who bought and erected the front of the building afterward known as the "Buckeye House," as early as 1816, it is said, was influenced in his purchase, and made large improvements in the confident belief that the market house would be established nearly in front of his house. But about the year 1817, it was determined by the Council in favor of locating it on State street immediately west of High; and pursuant to contract, John Shields erected the new market house. It was a two story building, something larger than the old frame, the under story of brick for a market house for the town, and the second story was a pretty well finished frame, divided into two large and well finished rooms, and belonged to Shields. Thus he furnished a market house for the town for the privilege of having rooms of his own over it.
These rooms he rented out for various purposes: one was occupied as a printing office, and the other was for a time used by himself, and occasionally others, to hold preaching in. After some years Shields sold out to John Young, and by him the rooms were appropriated to amusement and gaming. The first billiard table kept in town was in the upper part of this market house.
About the year 1829 or 1830, the Council bought out Young's interest, and the building was removed and a larger market house, without any rooms above, was erected on the same site - Elijah Ellis contractor. This building continued until the erection of the present market house on Fourth street.
On the tenth of February, 1816, the town was incorporated as "The Borough of Columbus," and on the first Monday in May following, Robert W. McCoy, John Cutler, Robert Armstrong, Henry Brown, Caleb Houston, Michael Patton, Jeremiah Armstrong, Jarvis Pike and John Kerr were elected the first Board of Councilmen.
James B. Gardiner, who was the wit of the day, composed the following off-hand, doggerel verse with reference to their occupations, with which he would occasionally amuse himself by repeating to the members:
I sell buckram and tape, . . .McCoy.
I sell crocks and leather, . . Cutler.
I am the gentleman's ape, . . R. Armstrong.
I am all that together, . . . Brown.
I build houses and barns, . . .Houston.
I do the public carving*, . . . Patton.
I sell cakes and beer, . . . J. Armstrong.
I sell lots and the like,
And dabble in speculation. . . Kerr.
We and his Majesty Pike†
Make a splendid corporation.
* Reference to the old Library rooms and State offices.
† Pike was chosen Mayor and President of the Council.
Mr. Gardiner was very apt in writing amusing and satirical verse, and was in the habit of using the signature "Cokeley," until he was familiarly known by that name to all his acquaintances, and was frequently so addressed by his jocular friends. But he also wrote some very fine patriotic and sentimental poetry, for July celebrations, and such occasions.
He removed from Columbus to Greene Count about the year 1823, and while there, represented that county in the State Legislature. He afterward returned to Columbus, and in 1834, was elected State Printer for three years. He died in April, 1837, aged 48 years.
The Franklin Bank of Columbus was incorporated by an act of the 23d of February, 1816, and on the first Monday of September in the same year, the first election for Directors was held, when the following gentlemen were elected, to wit: Lucas Sullivant, James Kilbourne, John Kerr, Alexander Morrison, Abram I. McDowell, Joel Buttles, Robert Massie, Samuel Barr, Samuel Parsons, John Cutler, Robert W. McCoy, Joseph Miller and Henry Brown.
The following are the names of the successive Presidents and Cashiers, with their times of appointment:
1816. Lucas Sullivant.
*1818. Benj. Gardiner, alias Barzillai Gannett.
* This gentleman, whose true name was Barzillai Gannett, had left his home and family in one of the eastern States under unfavorable circumstances, and obtained an appointment by the name of Benjamin Gardiner, as Quarter-Master in the Army, and was stationed at Franklinton during the war. He was grave and dignified in his appearance and manners, and obtained a high reputation in the church and society generally, and married into a respectable connexion (sic) in this county. But unfortunately for him, his history followed him, and to avoid a prosecution for bigamy, he left clandestinely, and was never heard of except perhaps by a few confidential friends.
1816. A. J. Williams.
1818. William Neil.
1826. Jonah M. Espy
The charter of this institution expired on the first of January, 1843.
In the fall of 1816, the State offices were removed from Chillicothe to Columbus, and on the first Monday of December, in the same year, the Legislature commenced its first session in the then new State House in Columbus. The proprietors having finished the public buildings and deeded the two ten acre lots to the State, agreeably to their proposals, at this session they presented their account for the erection of the public buildings; and by an act passed the 29th of January, 1817, the Governor was authorized to settle and adjust the account, and the Auditor required to draw on the Treasurer for the balance found due after deducting the fifty thousand dollars which the proprietors were by their proposals bound to give.
In the settlement, after deducting from the charge for carpenter work some six or seven per cent, and the fifty thousand dollars, there was found a balance of about thirty-three thousand dollars due the proprietors, which was paid by the State, and thus closed this heavy and responsible enterprise.