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Memoirs of the Miami Valley - Volume Two
The Story of Warren County, The Mound Builders

(page 247)



            THE wide area of country, now known as the great State of Ohio, was first in the possession of the French, who asserted their title to ownership by the double right of discovery and possession.

            As early as near the close of the seventeenth century, the bold and heroic La Salle had carried the lily-emblazoned banner of his country down the swiftly-flowing waters of the Mississippi river and claimed all the vast territory lying east of this great stream, with the exception of land bordering the Atlantic coast, for his royal master, Louis XIV.

            But there was another power, even greater, across the sea, that also laid the hand of possession upon much of the territory in the new hemisphere claimed by France. The charter held by England's Virginia colony included not only Ohio territory but also the land west of it whose boundary was also the Mississippi river. Bitter s and frequent were the contests between the two nations for domination over the coveted region, but England's grit and unyielding purpose eventually brought her the desired ownership. Commercial activity played no inconspicuous part in this great game of possession. Both nations by treaty held the right to trade with the red men. The fast increasing emigration from the Old World to the New, the clearing away of the "hunting grounds" so vital to the life of the Indian, gradually but steadily drove the tribes towards the setting sun, but their trails were closely followed by the importunate English trader, anxious to exchange his wares for the more valuable furs and peltry of the red man.

            Until the organization of the first Ohio company in 1748 (an association of Maryland and Virginia wealthy colonists, whose objects were the purchase of large tracts of land west of the Alleghenies and establishment of greater trade with the Indians), the traffic of the French had been mainly with tribes living near the northern lakes which formed the northern boundary of the territory claimed by France.

            Tidings came to Quebec of encroachments of agents of the Ohio company in the valleys of the Muskingum, Miami and Scioto rivers; the unwelcome fact that the trade and lands that France still claimed as sovereign rights were falling rapidly into English hands. To hear was to act. In the summer of 1749, Gallissoniere, then governor of Canada, placed under the leadership and command of the gallant and valorous Capt. Celoron de Bienville, a little force of over two hundred French and Canadian soldiers with about sixty Indian allies, whose mission was the humiliation of the Anglo-Saxon by reasservation of the royal jurisdiction of France over the valleys of the Ohio river and its northern tributaries.

            (page 248) It was truly a motley company that sallied forth from the wooden palisaded, embryonic city for vindication of the honor of France. A historian thus describes the appearance of the little army as it made its way via Niagara and Lake Chautauqua to the banks of the Alleghany river, one of the sources of "La belle Riviere," the beautiful Ohio : "Soldiers and Canadians in their gay costumes and semi-medieval armour, the half-naked, copper-skinned savages with their barbarian weapons, the flying banners of France, all crowded in the frail white birch canoes, that floated on the blue waters of the river like tiny paper shells."

            The Alleghany reached, the expedition landed and Bienville in f lowery language and impressive manner addressed his heterogeneous forces, extolling the honor and glory of their mission, concluding the somewhat theatrical performance by burying a leaden plate which bore the arms of France and an inscription to the effect that, as a tributary of the great Ohio river, the lands drained by the Alleghany were the rightful property of his majesty, the King of France. This same comedy was reenacted when the waters of the Ohio were reached, and indeed at the mouth of every tributary that emptied its current into that stream.

            After affirming the possession by France of the valley of the Great Miami, Bienville ascended the river as far as the Indian village of Pickawillanee, that stood near the present site of Piqua, thus going into history as the first white explorer who has left a description of the country through which he passed. But as the record was written in the French language it is not familiar to the general reader. Everywhere he stopped he found that the English trader had preceded him and won the marked favor of the Indians, the emissaries of France meeting only coldness and indifference. The star of England was in the ascendant.

            It is interesting to know that one of the leaden plates buried by Bienville was unearthed near Marietta, and is now an object of curious interest in the cabinet of the American Antiquarian society.

            Right here the student of Ohio history forms the acquaintance of Christopher Gist, a true son of the frontier, versed in all woodcraft, familiar with the customs of the red man, inured to the hardships and privations of pioneer life, level-headed in times of emergency, possessing a knowledge of surveying, he was the right man to be chosen by the Ohio company in 1750 to follow, in some measure, the trail of Bienville, and to counteract whatever influence the chivalrous Frenchman may have exerted upon the Indians. But Gist found little, if any, harm had been done to English traffic by Bienville; almost, universally, the red man remaining true to British interests. It has been rather strongly intimated that a potent basis for this allegiance lay in the fact that the English peddler was more generous in his "bargaining" than the French trader. Ample instructions had been given Gist by the Ohio company concerning the purpose of his trip. He was to observe "ways and passes through the mountains, take an exact account of the soil, quality and product of the land ; observe what nations of Indians inhabit these, their strength and numbers, with whom they trade and in what commodities they deal ; when he found a large quantity (page 249) of good, level land, such as he thought would suit the company, he was to measure it, take the course of the river, etc." And it is to the keen scrutiny and careful observation of this hardy woodsman that the pioneer literature of Ohio is indebted for the first written description of the attractive features and wondrous fertility of the river valleys of southwestern Ohio. Particularly was he struck with the marvelous productiveness of the region drained by the waters of the Great Miami. His journal describes it as "rich, level, and well timbered, some of the finest meadows that can be. The grass here grows to a great height on the clear fields, of which there are a great number, and the bottoms are full of white clover, wild rye and blue grass."

            For about thirteen years the land east of the Mississippi was a big bone of bloody contention between England and France, until by the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the latter country relinquished her claim to this coveted territory, and the valleys of the Ohio and all its tributaries passed under English rule. Thus at the beginning of the Revolutionary war we find the territory of Warren county included in the vast section of land recorded in colonial annals as the state of Virginia. To speak more definitely, perchance, it formed a part of the county of Botetourt, which was established in 1769, and named in honor of one of Virginia's early governors, Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt.

            Of no small extent was this same county that bore the name of an English nobleman ; for we discover the Blue Ridge Mountains its eastern limit, and the swift current of the mighty Mississippi its western confine, and comprising within its borders the future states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.

            But in 1778, an enactment of the Virginia legislature declared that "all the citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia, who are already settled or who shall hereafter settle on the western side of the Ohio shall be included in a distinct county which shall be called Illinois county." By this contraction of the vast territory, Warren county was thrown in the area of country, known a little over a century ago, as the Illinois county ; but in 1784 Virginia ceded her charter rights to all soil northeast of the Ohio river (reserving only her bounty lands) to the United States.     

            On July 27, 1787, Congress, then sitting in New York City, authorized the selling by the Federal government to Manassah Cutler and Winthrop Sargeant, agents for the directors of the New England Ohio company, of nearly five million acres of land in the northwest territory, which included within its boundaries the area now known as the state of Ohio. Over this region, in October of the same year, General St. Clair of Revolutionary fame, was made territorial governor by Federal appointment.

            One of the first acts of his administration was the establishment by proclamation, of Washington county, the first political division in Ohio, which had for its northern and southern borders Lake Erie and the Ohio river, the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania on the east, the west line being the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers as far south as Fort Laurens near the town of Bolivar. This (page 250) little fort, built by order of Gen. Washington in the fall of 1778, has been placed by the state of Ohio under the care of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical society, to be carefully preserved as a memorial of its valiant defense in the spring of 1779 by the troops of Col. Gibson and Major Vernon against the combined forces of the British and their Indian allies.

            By a second proclamation, Gov. St. Clair on January 2, 1790, formed Hamilton county, which took its place in our state history as the second county of the great Northwest territory ; smaller in area than Washington county, its original boundaries on the east, west and south were the Little Miami, Great Miami and Ohio rivers respectively, its northern limit being a line running due east from a tributary of the Great Miami, known in pioneer days as Standing Stone forks, now bearing the name of Loramie's branch, and which joins the larger stream near the border of Miami county. Six years later the eastern limits of the county were extended to a line running north from the Lower Shawnee town near the mouth of the Scioto river, and in 1798 it was declared that the Greenville Treaty line, which ran from Fort Recovery to the Ohio river was the true western boundary of the county; out of this extensive territory was to be chiseled the future counties of Butler, Montgomery and Warren, also a part of the county of Greene.

            An authority has written: "For a period of thirteen years subsequent to 1790, and for about eight years after the first settlement, Warren county, or that portion of it between the Miamis, formed a part of Hamilton county, with the seat of justice at Cincinnati. That portion of Warren west of the Great Miami, from 1790 to 1798, was a part of Knox county with the seat of justice at Vincennes on the Wabash ; from 1798 to 1803, a part of Hamilton ; and from 1803 to 1815 a part of Butler. The part of Warren east of the Little Miami seems to have been included in Hamilton county from 1796 to 1803." When Ohio knocked at the doors of the Federal congress, for admission into statehood, one of the pledges demanded of her by that august body was, that the fee-simple to all her lands, hereafter to be sold or granted, should be vested in the government of the, United States. For a number of years, investments in United States territory, especially in land lying west of the Alleghany mountains, had been made both by corporate bodies and individuals, the territory conveyed taking its name from the form of its transfer. It is with but three of these bodies of transferred land that the history of Warren county has to do, for its area was mainly organized from them.

            First. Congress lands, so designated because the purchasers dealt directly with the representatives of the Federal government, in accordance with congressional enactments in force at the time. In Warren county the territory north of Symmes' purchase and west of the Little Miami river was Congress lands. These lands were regularly surveyed into townships each six miles square ; these subdivided into sections one mile square, each containing 640 acres. The United States government paid all expenses incurred in the surveys. Not until the spring of 1801 could settlers purchase a tract of land containing only a half-section, or 320 acres, and no (page 251) land west of the Great Miami was taken up until after that date.

            Second. The Virginia Military lands, which embraced all territory lying between the Little Miami and Scioto rivers, extending to the banks of the Ohio river on the south. This was the land that had been reserved by Virginia for the bounty claims of her troops engaged in the Revolutionary war.

            Unfortunately, for those entitled to settle in this district, the Virginia Military lands had been excepted from the benefits naturally ensuing from the admirable plan of surveys introduced by the Land ordinance of 1785 and, consequently, much confusion and disagreement relating to land titles followed. Lands given to fill out the military warrants in the Virginia Military district were located in geometrical figures without regard to the straightness of boundary lines. The holder of a Virginia military guaranty could locate his apportionment of territory in whatever district that pleased him, and run the lines of limitation at whatever angle that suited him to do so, with the proviso that it had not previously been preempted. The only restriction of the shape of his land was the requirement of a Virginia statute, which demanded that the breadth of every survey must be at least one-third of its length in every part, unless water-courses, mountains or previous locations debarred so doing. Consequently, this want of systematic regularity in the surveys brought interferences and encroachments in land entries, and even at this late day leads to difficulty in making clear, unimpeachable titles to land in this section of the country. It is a noteworthy incident in connection with the history of Warren county that, when in 1799, a petition was presented to the Ohio General assembly by Virginia officers asking permission of that legislative body to bring their slaves with them when they moved with their families to their new homes on the bounty lands between the Little Miami and Scioto rivers, that it was most peremptorily refused ; not only was the refusal based upon the clause in the celebrated ordinance of 1787, prohibiting slavery in the Northwest territory, but also upon almost universal public opinion. For the new settlers, almost to a man, brought with them that inborn love of freedom, that in future years made the political leaders of Warren county mighty spokesmen for liberty in state and national councils when the Missouri Compromise and, later, the War of the Rebellion, threatened to disrupt our great Federation. Third. Symmes' Purchase : In the summer of 1787, Judge John Cleves Symmes petitioned the National government for a grant of land lying north of the Ohio river between the two Miami streams; an area of territory which he erroneously estimated as containing about two million acres.

            The patentee holds a distinguished place in colonial annals. A native of Long Island, the greater part of his life was passed in New Jersey. Teaching and surveying occupied his early years, but the law was his chosen profession. The drum beats of the Revolution called him to patriotic service in which he won the rank of colonel. At the close of the struggle he applied himself so arduously to his legal vocation that he speedily achieved marked pre-eminence as a (page 252) jurist and, proud of his attainments, New Jersey sent him as its representative to the Federal congress, and later he was honored with the more distinguished appointment of chief justice of the supreme court of the state. In the year following his petition to Congress for a title to Ohio land, he received the still more responsible preferment of judge of the Northwest territory, and in connection with the governor and two associate judges looked after and directed the affairs of this vast region.

            Reports of the beauty and wondrous fertility of the Miami valleys had reached judge Symmes from adventurous explorers who, long before fires had been kindled on the hearths in the log cabins of the first settlers, had penetrated the splendid forests and wondered at the richness of the river bottoms. The glowing description of Christopher Gist, whose feet probably crossed the boundaries of Warren county, were not forgotten. These reports were confirmed by the testimony of a friend, Major Benjamin Stites, who, in 1787, explored the Miami territory, and was so impressed with its prospective value as an investment that, in 1795, he became the owner of about ten thousand acres in the neighborhood of the present site of Lebanon and Deerfield (South Lebanon), after purchasing an immense tract near the mouth of the Little Miami river. Not until 1795 did judge Symmes receive from the United States government a patent to the Ohio lands, seven years after his application to Congress for the desired territory.

            Here it may be well to note that the application of Judge Symmes had asked for 2,000,000 acres of land, but that the contract given him by Congress embraced but 1,000,000 acres ; and later, it was found that the valley between the two Miami rivers (extending from their mouths to the source of the smaller stream) contained but 600,000 acres, and judge Symmes, unable to pay for so large an extent of territory, received a deed for 311,682 acres, for which he paid about 67 cents per acre.

            In July, 1788, judge Symmes, in company with about sixty persons, home seekers in the Miami valleys, crossed the Alleghany mountains, making the long and perilous trip in fourteen four-horse wagons. Reaching Pittsburg the remainder of the eventful journey was accomplished in flatboats, the final stop being made at the mouth of the Little Miami above Cincinnati. Here rumors reached them that the Indians were manifesting disquietude at the fast increasing influx of white settlers, and Major Benjamin Stites, with a little band of intrepid men, at once built a blockhouse near the mouth of the river, around which gradually gathered the settlement of Columbia, now included in the environs of Cincinnati. Indian Ownership of Miami Lands. In this connection a brief statement concerning Indian occupancy of the Miami valleys will not be found uninteresting.

            Neither historic record nor any archaeological evidence exists to show that the beautiful Miami territory was ever inhabited after the mound builders passed into oblivion, until the coming of the white man; but nearly all of western Ohio and the area now known as the state of Indiana and Illinois were claimed by the Miami tribe of red men.

            (page 253) Ethnology establishes the Miami tribe as belonging to the great Algonquin race. Their first appearance as a distinct tribe in American history is found in the stories of French explorers who, in the middle of the seventeenth century, met with them in Wisconsin. Migrating southeastwardly through Illinois and Indiana, they pushed their villages as far east as the Scioto river in Ohio, their largest and most important town in this state being located at the union of the Miami and St. Marys streams near the site of Piqua, Pickawillanee, perchance, the most celebrated Indian village in Ohio history. The tribal name of these red men has been made immortal by two rivers that still today add to the beauty and fertility of Warren county. Historians describe these knights of the tomahawk as sinewy, well-formed, agreeable in face and manner, and distinguished for their steadfast, fearless and dauntless character. But, strange to say, though claiming as their own the rich territory of the Miami valleys, no smoke arose from their wigwams on the banks of the beautiful streams, their settlements being almost entirely on the Wabash, Maumee, Scioto and at the sources of the Miami rivers.

            Today, as the steamers ply up and down the Ohio river, passing towns and villages so closely connected that the smoke of their chimneys are almost visible at the same time, it is hard to realize that scarcely over a hundred years ago the river from the mouth of the Scioto had no sign of human life on either bank. Why it was not a favorite region to the red man is a question that the future will, probably, never satisfactorily solve. Roaming as they did through the middle west, it is hard to understand why the fertility and beauty of the Little Miami valley did not attract them in large enough numbers to make permanent settlements as they did in the northern part of Ohio. The first surveyors, or pioneer settlers, found no trace of Indian tepees in the district of what is now known as Warren county. Only the song of the rippling waters, the call of the birds, and growl of disturbed beasts of the forest, showed that the wilderness was alive.

            The flint arrow head that the farmer boy of Warren county occasionally stoops to pick up as he turns the soil in the April ploughing, may be accounted for, as being at one time the property of an Indian hunter, who came from his more northern or western home in quest of game which, before the building of the cabins of the white men, abounded in the Miami valleys, the intrepid surveyor and pioneer, Christopher Gist, averring in his journal that he saw buffaloes in large droves ranging over the Miami territory. Some years before the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, the Miamis moved their wigwams from the vicinity of the mouth of the Great Miami and settled in the Maumee region; their abandoned sites being taken by the Shawnees, a powerful and more hostile tribe that came from the south. They also made a settlement near the mouth of the Little Miami river and formed a strong tribal friendship with the Miami Indians. It was the Shawnees that were most open in their enmity against the first white settlers in the Miami territory, although the Chippewas, Wyandots, Miamis, Delawares and other tribes were not backward in evincing resentment (page 254) against the encroaching palefaces. Three different expeditions against Indian depredations, one commanded by Col. John Bowman in 1779, a second under the leadership of Gen. George Rogers Clark in 1780 and 1782, and a third in 1790 with Gen. Josiah Harmar as commander, marched northward from the banks of the Ohio through

Miami territory. A century ago the march of Gen. Harmar's army could be easily followed across Warren county, passing, as it did, north of Mason not far from Lebanon, crossing the Little Miami close to the outlet of Caesar's creek.

            Historians universally agree that the Miami lands were in the possession of the Miami tribe when the first white explorers discovered their attractiveness and potential productiveness. But Indian ownership of all land in southwestern Ohio was fnally annulled by three treaties made with the red men, the frst in 1785 at Fort McIntosh, the second in 1789 at Fort Harmar, and the third at Greenville in 1795, after Gen. Wayne's splendid and decisive victory at Fallen Timbers. In these agreements the red man surrendered forever all title and claim to the most beautiful and fertile region in the future state of Ohio.

            Ohio's First Territorial Legislature. By a provision in the celebrated ordinance of 1787, a territory inhabited by five thousand free males who had attained their majority, was entitled to a territorial legislature, and in accordance with enactment, on September 4, 1799, Ohio's frst territorial legislative body assembled at Losantiville (Cincinnati), the home of Gov. St. Clair, and elected William Henry Harrison territorial delegate to the federal congress. What a gathering of splendid Americans ! Not by birth, perchance, for our country was yet too young to possess a native ancestry; but Americans in thought, intent and endeavor. They had been called to public duty by men who knew their intelligence, their probity, their honor. Men to be trusted, men ignorant of the modern use of the term "politics," holding it, rather, in its frst pure, true signification as advancement of loyal citizenship. They were workmen in every sense; not only were their brains busy with the mighty problems of the future, but their hands were hard with the toil of clearing forests, building rude cabins and tilling the virgin soil of this new land of promise. From Hamilton county came two men (whose homes lay within the district now known as Warren county) to sit in Ohio's frst great legislative council, Jeremiah Morrow and Francis Dunlevy, whose names and renown as earnest, wise, true patriots, was in coming years to bring them national fame.

            Ohio Admitted into the National Federation. So rapidly had the tide of immigration flowed over the Alleghany mountains into Ohio territory that on April 30, 1802, the federal congress authorized by an enabling act the calling of a convention to frame a state constitution. Again, at Chillicothe, on November 1, 1802, gathered a little band of delegates, many of whom had been called to the weighty obligations of the frst territorial legislature; among them, fully realizing the responsibility resting upon them, and fully adequate to the task, again sat Warren county's honored pioneers, Jeremiah Morrow and Francis Dunlevy.

            (page 255) It was no light business, this of framing the frst constitution of a new state. It must be broad enough to mean to all true freedom, and yet restraining enough to debar license ; it must respect the rights of every individual to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and yet hold ever y man responsible for non-interference with the rights of his neighbor.

            Ably and speedily was the task accomplished. In less than a month, or, to be strictly accurate, on November 29, 1802, was Ohio's first charter of state government signed and pronounced ready for the ratification of the fast increasing citizenship of the state. It is a wonderful incident in connection with the history of this great state paper, that the people did not ask that it be referred to them for approval. So strong was their confidence in the wisdom, justice and patriotism of its framers that their work was accepted without demur, and Ohio stepped in her rightful place as one of the great sisterhood of states.

            On March 1, 1803, under the new state constitution, Ohio called its frst general assembly. It convened at Chillicothe. One of its first enactments was the creation of eight new counties, viz: Columbiana, Franklin, Gallia, Scioto, Greene, Butler, Montgomery and Warren ; the last three named were sliced from the large area of Hamilton county, a piece of which also went into the making of Greene county.

            Birth of Warren County. It was on March 24, 1803, that the statute constituting Warren county a political division of the state of Ohio received legislative sanction. To this beautiful section of the middle west was given the name of Warren, in lasting honor of the brave patriot who sent Paul Revere on his memorable midnight ride (one of the most dramatic incidents in our Revolutionary history), and who, a few weeks later, attested his love for liberty by falling at the eventful battle of Bunker Hill.

            The enactment went into effect on the frst day of the ensuing May, and described the boundaries of the new county as follows : "Section 1. That all that part of the county of Hamilton included within the following bounds, viz : Beginning at the northeast corner of the county of Clermont, running thence west with the line of said county to the Little Miami ; thence up with the same with the meanders thereof to the north boundary of the frst tier of sections in the second entire range of townships in the Miami purchase ; thence west to the northeast corner of Section No. 7 in the third township of the aforesaid range ; thence north to the Great Miami; thence up the same to the middle of the fifth range of townships ; thence east to the Ross county line; thence with same south line to the place of beginning-shall compose one new county to be called and known by the name of Warren."

            It will at once be seen that the eastern line of this new political division ran almost through the center of what is now known as Clinton county, which was created by legislative enactment in 1810. While this somewhat diminished Warren's territory, it was still left with an area of 400 square miles, which an act of the general assembly on January 30, 1815, increased on the western line by land taken from the confines of Butler county, at the same time again (page 256) decreasing its eastern expansion by taking from it a strip of land one-half mile in width and eleven miles long, which it added to the area of Clinton county.

            Following is the text of the second legislative decree affecting the extent of Warren county :

            "Section 1. That all that part of the county of Butler lying and being within the frst and second fractional townships in the fifth range, and adjoining the south line of Montgomery county, shall be and the same is hereby attached to and made part of the county of Warren.

            "Section 2. That eleven square miles of the territory of the county of Warren and extending parallel to the said eastern boundary of Warren. county, along the whole length of such eastern boundary from north to south, shall be and the same is hereby attached to and made a part of the county of Clinton." Climate and Topography. Early settlers in Warren county found a climate indigenous to the temperate zone. Extremes of temperature were often encountered, but seldom those of moisture. Then, as now, midsummer days would frequently bring the almost scorching heat of equatorial lands, and in winter ice-locked streams would attest the vigor of stern winter's reign. But the extremes of heat and cold in this part of southwestern Ohio are not an established rule and are seldom of long duration. The Warren county farmer rarely loses a crop by drought, excess of moisture or winter freeze.

            The character of the soil -is extremely favorable to abundant harvests, and, in comparison with many localities in the Republic, farming is not arduous toil. Covering a blue limestone formation, there is an alternation of gentle hill and sunny vale that yield, with but small resistance, to the guidance of the plow, and the fortunate possessor of a wide expanse of farmland in Warren county can generally look forward to a gratifying certainty of generous crops.

            Warren county land is free from the steep and rougher highlands of the Ohio river territory that so closely approaches its southwestern line. The numerous streams, both large and small, which flow through the county in every direction, serve as drains, the Little Miami being the chief conduit, as more of its course and windings lie within Warren than any other county in the State. The streams that empty into the Great Miami, likewise, drain a large portion of the county's area. Consequently, there is but a small quantity of poor, inferior land found within the borders of the county. The first settlers found swamp-land in the southeastern part of Warren county, but scientific draining and farming has developed it into productive, grain bearing fields. Grain and grass are, perforce, compelled to yield bounteous harvests, for nowhere in the broad United States can there be found richer soil than that of the Little Miami valley. From the Little Miami in the region of Deerfield to the valley of the Great Miami at Middletown, is a splendid stretch of alluvial lands, through which flow several smaller streams, all contributing their irrigating properties to the fertile region. This lower land was a part of the bed of the old (page 257)  Warren county canal, and so well adapted was it for the purpose, that no intermediate locks were required from Middletown until within three miles of Lebanon.

            As was inevitable, the destruction of the magnificent forests that, a little over a century before, in their splendid luxuriance made the hills and valleys of Warren county an almost unbroken sea of waving foliage, diminished the copiousness and power of many streams, but the rich supply of fine gravel furnished by the dry channels, almost compensated for the loss of water power. It is somewhat difficult to believe, as one looks at the diminished streams, so often found sluggishly winding their shallow way in midsummer through the land, that they were once deep enough and swift enough to transport flatboats loaded to their utmost capacity with farm produce, to city markets ; many a boat in pioneer days has started from the little settlement of Franklin on the Great Miami for the long journey to the markets of New Orleans. But settlers were quick to recognize the latent power of the larger streams, and not many years had passed before both the Miamis were crossed with innumerable dams to furnish water power for the mills and factories that increased in number, with the growth and enterprise of the towns and villages erected upon their banks.

            Evidences of the glacial period are seen in the immense boulders that are occasionally found, lying like shapeless monsters in the green of spring wheat or verdant meadow. They are scattered irregularly over the Miami territory, but the largest yet found lies in Warren county, several miles southeast of Lebanon. Its visible measurement is eight feet in height, seventeen feet in length, and thirteen feet in breadth. In honor of this cyclopean memento of a prehistoric age, the schoolhouse se near the huge stone bears the suggestive name of Rock schoolhouse.

            Forests of Warren County. The grandeur and beauty of the wonderful forests that covered the whole extent of the Miami valleys, broken only by luxuriant meadow or flower-covered vale, filled the early explorers with admiration and marvel. The trees of these magnificent forests were catalogued by Dr. Drake, of southern Ohio renown, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and of the forestry of Warren county the description is full and intensely interesting and valuable. The learned doctor listed one hundred and three species of herbs and trees as native to the woods of the Miami valleys. Hardwoods in abundance grew to titanic size. The white oak was abundant. Giant elms and sycamores cast their shadows in the streams. The cabinetmaker rejoiced in the abundance of the wild cherry. Sugar maples and pawpaws covered the alluvial bottoms, and like giant protectors the white walnuts, poplars and hickories overlooked the less stately growth. In other places the spreading beech claimed the right of absolute proprietorship. Dr. Drake showed that nature had not forgotten, in her luxuriant mood, to provide plants and trees whose fruit would help to satisfy the hunger of both men and animals. Grapes of various kinds grew in absolute prodigality, fall winter and fox, while the more humble black currant and gooseberry were not absent; red and black haws (page 258) were to be had for the picking, and both the crabapple and mulberry contributed their fruit to the larder of the pioneer housewife; while hardy youngsters shouted with merry joy over the profusion of butternuts, walnuts, hazel and hickory nuts that foretold many a feast before the big blazing fires on the wide hearthstones in winter evenings, while the swine that ran wild in the forests found ample provender in the wind-dropped mast.

            Nature was also lavish of her beauty in these primeval woods. At the feet of the majestic trees, sheltered by their shade, roses and lilies mingled their sweetness on the soft damp air. The spring heralded her joyous coming in the pure white and delicate pink of the dogwood blossoms, the bright green of buckeye leaves, the more flaring red bud, while the brown of the winter earth was covered with a carpet of millions of wild flowers.

            The only denizens of those splendid wilds were the animals, against whose cunning or savagery the early settlers were required to maintain unceasing vigilance for protection of life, stock, and crops. As before stated, Christopher Gist claimed to have seen small herds of buffaloes in the Miami valleys. But the hunter was on constant guard against the cunning of the wildcat, the slyness of the panther, as he followed the tracks of the bear or deer, or set traps for the otter whose skins would be taken in trade, when next he went to the trading store, perchance many miles distant. The wild turkey was a common dish on the table of the Miami valley pioneer, and many are the grandchildren of later years who have listened with bated breath to grandsire's story of how howling wolves were frightened away from the cabin door by the hurling of lighted brands. And there were dangers less open, and in a way greater to be feared, for the rattlesnake, copperhead and racer lay under sheltering leaves and crumbling logs. The animals most destructive to sheep were the wolves, and to insure their extinction by pioneer marksmen, both the territorial and state legislatures passed several acts that provided premiums for their destruction. The premiums offered by the commissioners of Warren county ran from $2 to $2.50 for the killing of a wolf over six months old, and half the amount for those younger. Another evil e. the frisky squirrels, who were truly a nuisance to the settler, and it took unwearying vigilance to keep them from almost carrying of his cornfields bodily. They sometimes traveled, as do the ants in Africa, in droves, numbering thousands, and always traveled in the same direction. Their numerousness debarred them from being highly regarded as food by the settlers.

            As has already been noted the surveys of the Virginia military lands and those included in Symmes' purchase, were imperfect and caused endless trouble, worry and expense of litigation to many of the pioneers of Warren county. The terms of the charter conveying the Miami district to judge Symmes and his company called for a survey of the territory, which, however, was done so inadequately that confusion of boundaries was the natural result. The confounding. of limiting lines in Symmes' purchase arose from the fact that the original surveyors, while following the government system of dividing the land into ranges, townships and sections, yet only ran (page 259) the north and south boundaries, using a compass instead of the meridian, leaving the adjustment of the east and west lines to the prospective purchaser; the sections were also numbered differently from those in the Congress lands. As was to be expected, incorrect acreage was often given the new settler, his survey showing more or less land than was called for by his deed.

            Judge Symmes made an effort to correct these discrepancies by remeasurement of one of the meridians, and placing new corner stakes, but it was soon seen that this would only add to the muddle, and led to the establishment of the old original corners by the supreme court of the state.

            In the early colonization of our country, the influence of "the cloth" was exceedingly great. The coming of a clergyman to establish a residence in a pioneer settlement was an event of no mere ordinary interest or concern. For the support of these good men who braved all the perils of frontier life to bring both spiritual comfort and soul-warning to the scattered homes in the solitude of the primeval forests, both the Ohio company and the Symmes' purchase organizers set apart an area of land equal to one thirty-sixth par of a township, known as Section 29. But Congress, later, stopped the reserving of land for religious purposes, and the three ministerial sections included within the limits of Warren county, have been sold under state decree, and the interest on the sales-money is divided among all the religious societies located in the townships in which the sections lie.

            Before closing this chapter on the first surveys of the Miami valleys, justice demands that remembrance be given to the men who first planted the transits and carried the chains through the lonely forests in those tragic days. For they were tragic in the grave uncertainty of peril and, perchance, death that came with each day's dawning and lay hidden in the solemn stillness of sleep in the darkness of unknown wilds. The surveys were generally made in the winter, because there was less danger of attacks from the Indians, the red men not traveling far in winter weather from their wigwams in the more northern sections of the country. And yet, it was wisdom to be always on the lookout for possible attack from a cruel, relentless foe, and the eyes of watchers were constantly on the alert. The complement of a surveying party was never less than ten men. When they were ready for work, one man preceded the outfit and carefully reconnoitered the route they intended pursuing, and at the same time looked out for game for the evening meal. Then followed the surveyor and chain men and marker; the patient packhorse, laden with the few cooking utensils and the small quantity of personal belongings of the men, was followed at a little distance by a guard, with gun ready for service, who kept vigilant watch, in anticipation of a possible attack in the rear from a savage foe. In one of Gen. Massie's surveying trips; the party ran out of bread, and a month's work lay before them. It was the dead of winter, and the ground covered with snow to the depth, in many places, of ten inches. When, at the end. of the short day's work, the men halted for their night's camping, four fires were made, one for each mess and a pint of flour stirred in (page 260) each cooking kettle to thicken the water in which the meat was boiled. But there was no complaining.. The same cheerfulness, the same acceptation of the situation, that more than a century later, was to keep their descendants brave and optimistic in the dreadful trenches of France, shone in the fun and merriment of these brave hearted advance wards of civilization, as in the glow of the bright forest fires they sung their border-ballads or told stories that brought laughter, whose echoes were lost among the grim old trees that partly sheltered them from the winter storm. Yet ever hidden in their minds was the thought of possible danger, as was seen in the manner of their seeking their night's rest. Gen. Massie always spoke the "bedtime" word. In utter silence, the men would carry their firearms, blankets, and baggage to a distance of two or three hundreds yards from the fires, scrape away the snow, spread one-half of their blankets on the ground, and huddle together, each mess forming one bed, covering themselves with the remaining blankets, which were fastened together with skewers to obviate the danger of them slipping apart. The guns were held closely in their arms, and with their pouches for pillows, lying spoon fashion, four heads one way and three the reverse, the men slept the sweet unbroken slumber that comes with clear consciences, good health and God's fresh pure air. When the morning sun brought everything into plain view, two men would rise and carefully reconnoitre around the fires, to discover if any strange footsteps revealed the hidden presence of an artful enemy.

            Settlement of Warren County. There is no definite information concerning the first settlements of Warren county, for many of the pioneers had purchased land in this region of the state while it was yet unsafe to locate upon it, owing to fear of the Indians. Probably there is no state less homogeneous in its population than Ohio. We may count as the first influx of settlers, the Scotch-Irish squatter class whose principal idea of a happy life was one without any restraining law, and who settled on the eastern borders of the state. These were followed by the sober, God-fearing New Englanders who located in the valley of the Muskingum, the Western reserve, and indeed were scattered over all of Ohio. Then, as the reputation of the fertility of the river valleys of the state reached the middle states, came the ancestry of ninety-nine per cent of the people who today are residents of the Miami valleys. Splendid ancestry, honest, brainy, liberty-loving, idealists and yet eminently practical, people who planned and accomplished; Lutherans, English Quaker, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, United Brethren, representatives of all the orthodox sects of the times, made clearings and built the first cabins in the Miami district. The flame of freedom was kept burning by immigration from the Southern states, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas, men sick with breathing the polluted air of slavery, but who in the pure atmosphere of Ohio dared to speak of their belief in the equality of human rights. These, as a class, were not what we call "cultured people," primitive life was too earnest, too rough, too wild for the artificial casing which modern society of today deems imperative. Men ate with their knives, rejoiced in the ownership of a gourd at the spring, the family dipped (page 261) out of one general dish at the rude table, but they were genuinely aristocratic in all things worth while.

            Carlyle said that if the Anglo-Saxon race possessed the poetic sense of the Greeks, a poem would have been found in the coming of the Mayflower to our shores. Equally tragic to the student of American western life, are the journeys of the pioneers across the Alleghenies into the primitive solitudes of the great forests that stretched apparently illimitably before them. Coates Kinney, one of the Miami valley's distinguished poets, and for some years a resident of Warren county, has given a vivid picture of the coming of our forefathers in the following lines :


            "------quitting Old World thoughts and hopes and fears

            With only rife, powder horn and axe

            For tools of civilization, won their way

             Into the wilderness, against wild man and beast,

            And laid the wood-glooms open to the day.

            And from the sway of savagery released

            The land to nobler uses of a higher race;

            Where Labor, Knowledge, Freedom, Peace and Law

             Have wrought all miracles of dream in place

             And time-ay, more than ever dream foresaw."


            As stated elsewhere, reports of the wondrous beauty and fertility of the Miami valley had been widespread by the first explorers, and after the last treaty with the red men at Greenville had destroyed all fear of the lurking savage with his murderous tomahawk, immigration into this region of Ohio was both large and rapid. The Military range, which is described as the "third range of townships in Symmes' purchase, six miles wide and extending from the Great to the Little Miami river," was the goal to which' many of the first newcomers directed their journey. It was called the Military range because it was paid for by military land warrants issued by the United States to officers and soldiers for services in the Revolution. Mr. O. E. Randall eloquently says: "The vanguard of Ohio pioneers were the heroes who had fought for independence at a sacrifice of property and all worldly prospects, and now sought to found a state worthy their last efforts and fitting to be the home of their children. Ohio in its founders is peculiarly, almost exclusively, the child of the American Revolution." In this Military range lie Lebanon, South Lebanon and Union Village. In these later days of swift transportation, when steam and electricity are motive powers that annihilate distance and time, when an airship in the short space of a little over four hours lands a passenger from a central city in Ohio in the great metropolis of New York, it is somewhat difficult to believe that men were willing to undertake a journey of hundreds of miles through rocky mountain passes and apparently limitless forests, fording streams that oftentimes threatened to be the destruction of the rude, springless wagons that carried their families and few earthly possessions, with unknown perils from treacherous foe or savage beast, perchance, threatening every foot of the long, wearisome journey, for the sake (page 262) of a "log house in the wilderness." And yet, when we remember that the little cabin meant home, with all that this, the sweetest word in the English language, implies, the goal was well worth the loneliness, the weariness, the heart looking-back that made up the burden of sacrifice.

            Many of the early settlers preferred the water route. At the starting place of their river journey, with rough lumber an "ark," which consisted of a large raft on which would be built a rude but comfortable cabin, would be constructed, the motive power of which was a long steering oar at the back ; on this primitive transport the adventurers would float with the river current to a point nearest their desired destination. This method of traveling was not without its perils. There was always a possibility of concealed rocks, stranding, and too well-aimed shots from ambushed Indians. State and county historians agree that the first settlement in Warren county was made at Bedle's Station in the fall of 1795, the site of which is about one mile south of Union Village and four miles west of the pretty town of Lebanon. There was built the only blockhouse in the county for defense against the red men. Bedle and his family were immigrants from New Jersey, and his deed entitled him to land in section 28, town 4, range 3. About the same date, William Mounts and family, accompanied by four other pioneers and their families, located about two miles below Todd's fork on the south bank of the Little Miami river, on land lying between South Lebanon and Morrow, wisely erecting their rude log houses around a spring, thus insuring themselves plenty of water in a possible attack by the Indians. As before stated, the knowledge that the treaty of Greenville held the murderous hands of the Indians had spread rapidly through the east and south, and immigration was rapid and large, and the year following the planting of the Bedle colony, smoke poured from new settlers' chimneys on clearings made where now stand the towns of Franklin, Deerfield, Lebanon and Waynesville. Samuel Heighway is credited with the first cabin built March 9, 1797, on the site of Waynesville, and is also said to have been the projector of the hilltop village. But numerous tracts in the vicinity of that place had been sold and settled prior to that time.

            A majority of the pioneers who located on the forfeited land in Deerfield township were poor men. With no available money at their command, and heart-hungry for the four walls of a cabin that meant home in its truest, sweetest sense, they were willing to brave the loneliness and perils of the long journey over the mountains, to run the too probable risk of terrible death from the revengeful red man, if the end of the long, weary way meant gratuitous possession of over a hundred acres of beautiful land in the heart of the Miami valleys ; for the failure of the first purchaser to begin improvements within two years after the signing of his deed forfeited his right to ownership and in this way the poor settler became a landed proprietor.

            Most rapidly did the tide of immigration from the east and south flow into the Miami valleys after the Treaty of Greenville. Settlements and clearings sprang up with almost magic quickness (page 263) in every township, and historians assert that the rapid increase of population of this period was never equaled in any state where men did not flock for gold, and the immigration was, by far, the greatest in the fertile valleys of the Miami rivers. The imperfect statistics of Warren county of the year 1803, taken in the month of August, show that this county contained a greater population than Clermont, Montgomery or Butler, ranking next to Hamilton county.

            The first corn crop raised in the vicinity of Lebanon, though grown in a clearing rough with roots and stumps, when stripped of the husks, produced one hundred bushels to the acre ; a gratifying reward of the diligent husbandry of Ichabod Corwin, whose patient oxen had taken the place of the horse that had been purloined by the Indians. The almost unbelievable report of so rich a garnering was not slow in spreading, and brought to the Miami valleys increased immigration from the middle and eastern states ; it reached across the seas, and from Ireland Germany and Holland flowed an emigration that richly added to America's great commonwealth of industry. There was also a more rapid influx of Quakers from the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the most refining, truly spiritual influence that ever blessed the middle west, who chose locations near the little settlement of Waynesville. "Opponents of slavery came from all the slave states to the territory dedicated to freedom, and the first state of the American republic that never had a slave."

            To retrograde a little, the first entry of land in Warren county was made the very day the log cabin office was opened. It was for a tract of land located not quite two miles above Corwin on the east bank of the Little Miami river, and the record bears date of August 1, 1787; but the land was not surveyed until seven years later, when the intrepid Nathaniel Massie and his helpers trailed through the winter snows.

            Pioneer Life. As one rides over the splendid roads of Warren county, and looks with interested eyes upon the magnificent farms, whose fertile fields skirt the highway on either side, it is difficult to picture the rudeness and simplicity of life in pioneer days. The old-time oxcart, young America knows it only as a curio of the past, for an automobile carries him to the neighboring town ; the well-sweep has to be explained to the juvenile agriculturist, for the "windmill" pump at the big, spacious barn forces the cool sparkling water to the beautiful, porched house and supplies the drinking troughs of thirsty, grateful stock. There are no rough roads, no stumps mar the beauty of grassy lawns or fields of grass and grain. In short, the word "pioneer" stands for nothing met in modern life. The man who now goes "west" to settle, does not carry with him as tools of labor and defense his axe and trusty rife only; but is equipped with the latest machines for cultivation of the soil ; the railroad is seldom far from his door, and shipment of crops to the great world's markets is not a vexed problem for his solving ; though broad his acres, the telephone keeps him in neighborly touch with friends far and near; the rural route brings newspaper and magazines without limit. And it is not strange that the farmer boy of (page 264) the present generation "wonders how folks lived in those beastly days."

            The life of the pioneer was hard in every sense of the word. From the hour he unyoked the weary, patient oxen, and built his temporary shack of poles, generally a three-sided shanty, open towards the fire and roofed with bark or skins, until the day he dropped .mortality for immortality, his life meant continual toil. But it was labor brightened and sweetened with the thought of the wonderful future dawning for his children, and when trees were felled and the log house with its clapboard roof and mud chimney stood forth in the little clearing, it was to him a shrine of liberty and manly independence.

            The furniture of the primitive home chiefly consisted of benches, tables, and three-legged stools, the rude workmanship of the pioneer and his sons. Happy the housewife who had managed to have a piece of furniture from the old home carried across the mountains to the new haven built under the shade of the forest trees.

            Women's work was not so heavy in some respects, for the ordinary duties of everyday life were wanting. There was no bric-a-brac to care for, no dusting was necessary, the greased paper that represented window-glass required no washing. But life was hard because of deprivation ; the simple comforts of life to which their youth was accustomed were lacking, and in some sections of the country the to-be-dreaded ague made them weak and miserable for life. It must have been difficult for many of them to grow accustomed to the heavy fare which was found in the cabin of every pioneer-corn bread, and meat, varied occasionally by a dish of vegetables grown from seed which had been brought as sacred treasure from the former home so far away. Table equipment corresponded with the simple furniture. Wooden bowls or gourds, a few pewter plates and dishes, and rich was the bride who brought with her some pewter spoons. Knives were indeed a luxury ; if needed, the long sharp hunting knife performed the work required. One has written : "Bear skins spread on the floor were comfortable substitutes in the western cabin for rugs, mattresses and blankets. They had no lamps, but the hickory log fires lighted, as well as comfortably warmed, the small cabins. * * * The family made a pleasant picture gathered around the glowing fireplace in the long winter evenings. The women occupied themselves with sewing, knitting, spinning, preparing fruit for drying or cooking, and plaiting straw for hats. * * * The men busied themselves, we are told by pioneers who wrote of these early times in Ohio, stemming or twisting tobacco, shelling corn for the hand-mills, making or mending articles for the house or farm, and cleaning guns and running bullets." Very plain was the dress of these early settlers of the Miami valley. Deerskin furnished the material for moccasins, hunting shirt and leggins. Underneath the hunting shirt was worn a tow linen shirt and the pantaloons were of the same material. which had been spun, woven, colored and fashioned by the women of his household. The hunting coat was rather a gorgeous garment with seams, collar, sleeves, belt and cape trimmed with buckskin fringe, the crowning piece of the outfit being a cap made of raccoon (page 265) or rabbit skin. As the settlers soon began the cultivation of hemp and flax, and obtained wool from their flocks, the whir of spinning wheel and clack of loom was heard in every cabin, and not only tow linen but linsey-woolsey, mixed flannels and jeans were the product of toil of wives and daughters, which, colored by roots and the hulls of butternuts and walnuts, were made up into the plain, unattractive dresses worn by the woman of pioneer days. Toilers though they were, they found time for amusement which, though often rough in character, was a natural outcome of their outdoor life. Isolated from what were called the pleasures or amusements of civilized life, they depended upon the resources to be found within their own environment. Trapping, shooting matches, log rollings and burnings, corn shuckings, sugar camp merry-makings, quiltings, wedding festivities, were some of the occasions for settlement jollifications, which relieved the strain of their contracted, apparently uneventful lives.

            Mills. As corn was the staple article of food in the new settlements, it was necessary to have it ground. But this was difficult in a country destitute of mills. The earliest comers sometimes parched the -grain and then ground it in coffee mills, which was a slow, .tedious process. The use of the hominy block became more common, the corn being pounded and then sifted ; that which fell through the sieve was taken for meal, the balance filled the hominy bowl. An inventive pioneer helped the situation by inventing a method of grinding the grain, although it took nearly five hours to grind sufficient meal to satisfy the hunger of an average-sized family. It was a stone mill, manipulated by pole and socket; the pole that moved the upper stone was fastened to the floor of the loft overhead, and it required the strong hands of one person to do the grinding, while another fed the grain. It has been truthfully said, that "the builder of the first gristmill in a settlement was justly regarded as a public benefactor." Waldsmith's mill, on the Little Miami river, near the site of Milford, did the grinding for the first settlers of Warren county; but the first mill erected in Warren county was built in the year of 1799 by William Wood, just about where King's powder plant now stands. A year later, a mill was built by Henry Taylor on Turtle creek within the limits or Lebanon.

            Later, other mills were constructed on smaller streams that flowed into the Miamis, but summer heat dried their channels and in time the mills were abandoned.

            About the year 1802, Jabish Phillips erected a mill between Morrow and South Lebanon, which for long afterwards was known as Zimri Stubbs' mill, and one was built at Franklin. In time, the banks of the Miamis and other streams were dotted with grain grinding structures, two of the larger ones being Samuel Heighway's and John Haines' built at Waynesville.

            There was one evil connected with pioneer life that was common to every settlement, viz: whisky making and whisky drinking. Nearly every vicinity in the county had a small copper distillery that filled the jugs with corn-cob stoppers, that were to be found in every cabin. Inhospitable, indeed, was the pioneer who did not cheer the lonely traveler that passed his door, with a generous (page 266) draught distilled from golden corn or rye. In harvest field, at the log-rolling, cabin raising, the workmen fully expected their tin cup of joyous beverage whenever they so desired, as they did to enjoy the feast of "fat things" which the women had awaiting them at the noon hour. It was not 'an expensive drink ; the best could be purchased for forty cents a gallon, and the country merchant would willingly take it in exchange for purchases made at his counter, and so advertised. But the result of too intimate acquaintance with "John Barleycorn" brought the same results in pioneer days as it does today, poverty, wretchedness and an unhappy death.

            Markets and Prices. At the time of the first settlement in Warren county (1795), the only real town in the southwestern part of Ohio was Cincinnati, and it could only boast of one hundred and four houses, ten of which were frame, the balance being cabins of logs. But the tiny metropolis was the only seat of import or export open to the settlers in the Miami country. The settler had little or nothing to barter or sell but his grain, cattle or hogs, and the prices received were not adequate to the inconveniences and toil experienced in taking his goods and live stock to the market. Transportation by canal or rail was not yet even a dream of the future ; wagon roads through the sparsely-cleared forests were rough traveling, and after harvest, when the fall rains set in, were well-nigh impassable. The problem was not easy of solving even if the pioneer lived near a navigable tributary of the Ohio river, for the steering of a flatboat was anything but an enviable job; if the navigator desired to carry his produce to New Orleans in hope of obtaining better prices, he was confronted by the fact that it would take him fully one hundred days after he left Cincinnati to reach the southern port ; and if he wished to save his boat and return on it, he knew the hard work of steering up stream would make the journey tedious and wearisome, and half a year would be required for the entire trip, going and coming; so the majority of settlers who floated their produce to New Orleans abandoned their boats at the southern market, and returned to their northern homes nearly always on foot, traveling hundreds of miles through lonely forests and wild, uninhabited country.

            As to prices received, Mr. Morrow’s History of Warren County gives the following statement : "Every article the Miami farmer could produce was low ; every foreign article he was compelled to buy was relatively high. Corn and oats were 10 or 12 cents a bushel, sometimes 8 cents ; wheat, 30 or 40 cents ; beef, $1.50 to $2; pork, $1 to $2 per hundred. On the other hand, here are some of the prices paid for foreign articles our fathers paid at Cincinnati in 1799: Coffee, 50 cents per pound ; tea, 80 cents ; pins, 25 cents a paper ; ginghams, 50 cents per yard ; fine linen, $1 per yard ; brown calico, 7 shillings 6 pence to 10 shillings ; cotton stockings, 6 shillings to 15 shillings ; bonnet ribbon, $1 per yard." Thus there was little incentive to the first farmers of the Miami valleys to raise crops larger than were needed by their own households. (page 267)


The Mound Builders


            "Here stood a mound erected by a race

            Unknown in history or poetic song,

            Swept from the earth, nor ever left a trace

            Where the broad ruin rolled its tide along.

            No hidden chronicle these piles among,

            Or hieroglyphic monument survives

            To tell their being's date or whence they sprung." ---Brooks.


            Before entering upon the social, political and commercial life of Warren county, it is fitting that more than a passing notice be given to a race that, in time immemorial, played the wondrous drama of human life upon the hills and in the vales of our great North America ; a drama upon which the curtain of oblivion has fallen, apparently never to be raised.

            In the opening chapter of the first volume of the valuable and fascinating history of Ohio lately issued by Messrs. E. O. Randall and Daniel J. Ryan, is found the story of the Mound Builders so graphically and attractively written, that it is with pleasure that excerpts are taken from it, for memorials of this vanished people, in the shape of earthworks and ' mounds, are scattered over all of southwestern Ohio.

            The absolute want of data upon the history of this lost race is at once stated by Mr. Randall, who says : "To enter upon the domain of the Mound Builder, wonderful and enigmatical in his works, is like seeking to grope one's way through the fabled labyrinths of Egypt and Crete, for one is soon lost in a maze of alluring       speculation, from which the guiding hand of knowledge is withheld. The Mound Builder is the riddle of the American race and the countless manifestations of his handiwork defy explanation while they ever excite our admiration and amazement. The earliest European explorers, in their voyages through the unbroken wilds of North America, found these earthen structures of a prehistoric people intact and perfect but solitary and tenantless, with no living being to tell aught of their origin, age or purpose. Who were these people that came, wrought and disappeared into the impenetrable mists of the past?"

            Mr. Randall follows the traces of this vanished race from lower Canada to the waters of the Mexican gulf, finding evidences of their temples even as far west as Wisconsin. But in Ohio, especially in the "picturesque and fertile valleys" of the rivers in the southwestern part of the state, are the most numerous, indubitable proofs of the one-time citizenship of the Mound Builder; 'over twelve thousand localities in this state bear witness to his presence. Those proofs, says Mr. Randall, are in the "form of enclosures located on the hilltops and in the plain or river bottoms, the walled-in areas each embracing, respectively, from one to three hundred acres in area, exceed fifteen hundred in number, while thousands of single mounds of varying circumference and height are scattered over the central and southwestern part of the state."

            It is to be regretted that limited space forbids the insertion of the whole of Mr. Randall's chapter on the ruins left by this (page 268) marvelous prehistoric people throughout the state, but the story must be confined to his most interesting and valuable description of the wonderful evidence of their presence in the region now known as Warren county-Fort Ancient-which he pronounces the "chief masterpiece of the Mound Builders."

            He continues : "It is easily foremost among the prehistoric fortifications for ingenuity of design and perfection in construction. Its value is greatly enhanced by the fact that, owing to the patronage of the state of Ohio and the custodianship of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical society, it is in a complete state of restoration and preservation and stands today as it stood in its pristine perfection. * * * It has attracted the attention of scholars the world over, and has been examined and explored for a century by the leading archaeologists of this country. "The site selected for this fortress, temple or walled city, whichever it may have been, was most advantageously chosen, on a slightly rolling plateau, overlooking the panoramic valley of the Little Miami river, in central Warren county. The Miami, coming from the north, at the point in question, passes through a valley a mile in width and flanked on each side by elevated uplands, the east one of which is nearly separated from the adjoining plateau by two deep ravines, beginning within a few hundred feet of each other, the one starting north and then curving to the west, forming the bed of the little stream known as Randall run, which enters the Miami, north of the fort; the other ravine, the bed of Cowen creek, starting south curves to the west, debouching into the Miami south of the fort, which is thus seen to occupy an almost isolated peninsula, the level plateau of which, three hundred feet above the Miami bottom, is surmounted by Fort Ancient. The banks of the ravine described form steep sides on the east and on the north of the peninsula which they cut off and to which the only approach, save a modern circuitous roadway on the river hillside, is the neck or strip of level plain between the heads or sources of the two ravines. The ravines on the south, east and north of the hill thus formed are exceedingly irregular in outline, creating sharp arms, jagged points and deep indentations in the hillside. The contour of the hill is like that of a dumbbell, two almost evenly sized oval fields united by a long narrow neck, on each side of which the declivity is too steep for ascent; this narrow connection divides the defenses into what are known as the North or New fort. the Middle fort and the South or Old fort. The terms `new' and `old' were suggested by the idea that the South fort on the apex of the peninsula was naturally the first one to be constructed, as it, utilized alone, would be more secure and inaccessible than the new one which was later taken in to protect the entire hilltop. This supposition, like much that is put forth concerning the fort, is, however, a fanciful guess. "Around this entire peninsula, on the very verge of the skirting ravines, was built the wall of defense; meandering around the spurs, recoiling to pass the heads of the gullies, that here and there cut into the hillsides, the wall is so zigzag in its course that it has an entire length of 18,700 feet, or more than three and one-half miles, while a line from the north wall to the south wall is only 5,000 feet, (page 269) or less than a mile. The entire enclosure embraces about 130 acres. This wall is a marvelous piece of defensive construction. Its width, height and contents vary as the requirements of the hilltop and the proposed formidableness of the defense demands. The base breadth is from thirty to fifty feet, in some places as much as seventy; the height from ten to twenty-five feet, measuring from the level of the fort interior. The level top of the wall has an average width of twelve feet and the sides, therefore, have an outward slope of from thirty-five to forty-three degrees. The wall height is much increased at places on the interior by a moat or ditch, two to seven feet deep, from which the material was taken to build the barricade. Outside the east wall of the North fort, where the wall faces the only level approach, a moat was built, the only outside moat in connection with the fort. The walls are all constructed of earth, the soil being a tough, diluvial clay or loam. Stones were used only in the wall ends at the gateways or openings as `steadiers' and to aid in preventing the earth from giving way. In rare exceptions large fat stones were found in layers in the wall, but in the main the embankments were solely of earth, the solidifying effect of time and the protecting covering of grass rendering them impervious to the decay of age or the ravages of weather, it being a well-known fact that earthen monuments stand the storms of seasons and the strain of time better than edifices of stone.

            "One of the greatest mysteries of this encircling wall is the frequency of the openings or so-called gateways, numbering seventy-two. They are ten feet or less across the base- and are perfectly preserved. They defy explanation, as most of them are at points in the hilltops, inaccessible because of the precipitous ascent, and the query is heightened by the fact that in some instances outside the wall, before the opening or gateway, is built a narrow earth elevation, or platform, which might be used as a look-out or sentinel stand.

            The Middle fort is long and narrow, the hill slope on either side being too steep for ascent. Near the center of the narrow passage is the crescent gateway, a sort of intermediate barricade, consisting of two curving mounds, side by side, each convexing toward the north and extending to the parallel walls on either side. This defense seems to mean that the enemy would be expected to first attack the New fort and if successful then advance along the neck and assault the Old fort. The crescent duly manned would check if not defeat the enemy's progress. The entrance to the Old fort is called the Great Gateway and is only wide enough to permit a wagon to pass, and just within the entrance, on the west side, is a conical mound, two feet high, with a base diameter of forty feet, near which were found heaps of bones, used both as coverings for graves and to strengthen the wall. Human bones in great quantities, `bushels of them,' were found here a few inches below the surface soil. Was this mound the monument to heroes, of a Thermopylae, who battled bravely for the `pass,' like the three hundred of Grecian glory? We cannot tell.


            "'Here where they died, their buried records lie,

            Silent they speak from out the shadowy past.'


            (page 270) "Near the center of the Old fort was located the cemetery, the largest burying-ground of this fort people. Within a radius of a hundred feet, some three hundred graves were found and `over a thousand wagon loads of stone' were removed therefrom by different excavators. Prof. Warren K. Moorehead made explorations in this fort covering in the aggregate more than forty-three weeks, during the years 1888 to 1891. The results of those researches were published in his valuable volume `Fort Ancient.' Prof. Moorehead exhumed some twenty complete skeletons. The graves were sunk an average depth of two and one-half feet and were encased with limestones which were plentiful in the ravines and river bottom below. These stones were arranged around the sides, head and feet, and over the remains of the interred bodies. The space between the encasing stones and the body was usually filled in with earth. These skeletons, which generally crumbled to dust on being exposed, showed little or no difference in size and form from the modern human being. The skulls were well shaped ; and Prof. Moorehead thinks, presented two types of mentality, a lower and a higher order ; the long and fat heads or receding forehead, and the short heads or `high brows,' the latter belonging presumably to the `smart set.' Prof. Moorehead further claims that the tree growths surmounting some of the graves indicated that the burials antedated the period when the Indians were known to have first immigrated into or occupied this portion of the country; that is, the post Columbian historic tribes, such as the Delawares, Shawnees, etc. Mr. Warren Cowen, for the past twelve years the faithful and efficient custodian and resident thereon, states that he removed from the space including the cemetery the stump of a walnut tree which a distinguished botanist estimated to be between four and five hundred years old. Outside the walls of the fort, at various-points, perhaps a dozen in number, some twenty-five feet down the declivity are terraces, only a few feet wide, whether artificial or natural is in dispute, which were used as graveyards or burial sites. The graves in the main were similar in construction and contents to those just described, except that some of these terrace graves contained united burials, a sort of group tomb. One of these plural tombs on the terrace west of the Old fort, covered a space twenty feet wide-the width of the terrace-and fifty feet long. The quantity of stones removed therefrom was equal to one hundred wagon loads. It required the labor of three men for two days to displace the loose masonry of this crude mausoleum, from which fragments of twenty skeletons were exhumed.

            `"That the great enclosure was to a certain extent, at least, a walled city, is attested by the remains of a `village' therein, explored by Prof. Moorehead. This village was in the Old fort and adjacent to the cemetery already described. The evidences were ash heaps, pottery and animal fragments, bones of the bear, deer, charcoal, burnt stones, etc., marking the places where the tepees or lodges had been erected-in short, the same discoveries that disclose village sites elsewhere. No metal implements of any kind were found, except a few pieces of beaten copper. Thousands of primitive implements of war, the chase and domestic life, arrow and (page 271) spear heads, axes, skinners, etc., were found in the fort precincts, indicating great active life therein.

            "Just outside the northeast gateway of the New fort, in an area of about an acre, were found vast numbers of bulk flint and flint chippings, consisting of countless pieces of unwrought fakes and innumerable fragments in various stages of workmanship, of arrows, spearheads, knives, awls, needles, etc. The stock for this storehouse or `factory' was supplied, as the character of the flint reveals, solely from the vast fields of Flint ridge in Licking county, for there are not flint quarries in the vicinity of Fort Ancient. "Like all other works of this early people Fort Ancient was unmistakably the product of builders who wrought only with the tools of a stone age."

            Mr. Randall closes this very vivid description in the following words : "The age and object of this stupendous structure have elicited every variety of conjecture. It would be entertaining to recite all the curious purposes attributed to this work. One thinks   it was a great relief map of the continent of North and South America, the lines of the New and Old fort bearing a striking resemblance to the outlines of the Western hemisphere. Another that the walls of the two forts resemble two great serpents turning and twisting in deadly conflict-as the serpent, supposedly, was the chief religious symbol of these primitive people. Another regards it as an immense trap to secure game. The hunters would form lengthy lines the country around and drive the buffalo, deer and wild game into this corral, where the animals could be retained and killed at pleasure. Others conclude it was a vast holy temple, in which religious ceremonies of great and imposing nature were at times celebrated. Again, it is merely a walled town. But mostly it has been designated, as before stated, a military fortress, the safe retreat and refuge for the tribesmen of the surrounding country. To our mind it is not impossible that it was the fortified capital of these people in the Ohio valley. May it not have been the national seat of government, the federal headquarters of the confederated tribes? Certainly it was the center of a great mound builder population, for the Miami valley in- this neighborhood was alive with these people, as the various scientific explorations indubitably testify. At the base of the fort hill, on the broad bottom of the river, was a village site great in extent ; one mile and a half below the southern extremity of Fort Ancient was another large village covering some eight or ten acres, rich in graves and debris ; two miles up the river is still a third, so large that it must have been occupied by two or three hundred lodges, while at the mouth of Caesar creek, six miles to the north, are two extensive sites, one in the bottom and the other upon the hill to the south."

            The Warren County Canal. It is almost needless to say that good roads were an unknown source of satisfaction in pioneer days. The only highways were widened Indian trails or bridle paths, bolstered in marshy places by strips of corduroy building. Commercially, they were the greatest need of the new settlers. Forest sites were being constantly cleared away, and the rich, fresh soil yielding bountiful harvests for which markets were required.

            (page 272) Settlers located near large streams or rivers, by the use of canoes, flatboats and other primitive modes of water transportation, were enabled to reach growing towns and dispose of their surplus crops ; an opportunity denied those dwelling farther inland, and their overplus harvests were of no value as commercial commodities. Thus the canal as an inland waterway early engaged the attention of our pioneers.

            Even before the completion of the Erie canal in 1825, as far back as in 1817, a bill was introduced into the general assembly of Ohio advocating, for the benefit of state traffic, the uniting of Lake Erie and the Ohio river by an artificial waterway, and in 1820, three commissioners were appointed, who were authorized to employ a surveyor, whose duty it would be to locate land adapted for canal routes, with the proviso that the Federal congress would aid the project, which it did not do.

            But the canal agitation only increased. It crept into politics. On January 21, 1822, the assembly empowered the appointment of a board of canal commissioners and an inspection of possible inland waterways ; again we find Jeremiah Morrow, as a member of this important board, engaged in public service, but his election to the governorship of the state compelled his resignation from the board. The reports of the commissioners in the summer of 1824 upon surveyed routes for artificial waterways to connect the Ohio river and Lake 'Erie met the approval of the people. Gov. Morrow in his message, December, 1824, favored a tax for the expenses incident to canal construction, but no action was taken by the assembly upon it; but a second report, giving more detailed information as to location of the proposed inland channels, led to the passing of a bill which created a new commission authorized to borrow money for the building of the canals, with the state bonds as security. This ruling of the legislature caused universal rejoicing throughout the State, which was visibly expressed in huge bonfires on hillsides and in vales.

            Gov. DeWitt Clinton of New York and other notables were invited by Gov. Morrow to be present at the inauguration of work upon the first great Ohio artificial waterway. Ohio citizens had great regard for the governor of New York, for he had thrown all the influence of his high position in favor of a canal connecting the waters that formed the northern and southern boundaries of Ohio. He had written : "When we consider that this canal between Lake Erie and the Ohio river will open a way into the great rivers which fall into the Mississippi; that it will be felt not only in the immense valley of that river, but as far west as the Rocky mountains and the borders of Mexico ; and that it will communicate with our great inland seas and their tributary waters, with the ocean by various routes, and with the most productive regions of America, there can be no question respecting the blessings it will produce and the riches it will create." So the arrival of the distinguished citizen of the "Empire state" upon Ohio soil was an event to be celebrated with much ceremony and festivity. To him was given the honor of breaking the soil for the first spadeful of earth that was lifted in digging the Ohio canal, at Licking Summit, a few miles southwest (page 273) from the present city of Newark. This important ceremony took place July 4, 1825, and seventeen days later was repeated at the inauguration of work on the Miami canal, the "father of the Erie canal," as Gov. Clinton was called, lifting the first spadeful of earth a short distance below Middletown. Gov. Clinton's stay in Ohio was a constant ovation. In Atwater's History of Ohio it is related that "from one shire town to another, Gov. Clinton was attended by all its county officers, and most of the distinguished citizens of each county, to its line, where the governor was received by a similar escort from the adjoining county, and by them conducted to the next city or town. In this manner he passed across the state. As soon as he appeared in sight of any town, the bells of all its churches and public buildings rang their merriest peals; the cannon roared its hundred guns, and a vast crowd huzzaed, `Welcome to the father of internal improvements."'

            Naturally, the Miami canal was of immense interest to the people of Warren county, cutting as it did the northwestern corner of the county, and its beginning drew a throng of visitors from that section of the country. Days before the jubilation began at Middletown, the citizens of Warren county determined that they would not be behind the rest of the state in expressing their honor and admiration for the distinguished visitor from the Empire state. It was decided to embody this appreciation in giving Gov. Clinton a public dinner. A mass meeting was called at the Lebanon courthouse, and a committee consisting of the following men of splendid repute throughout the state was appointed to convey to Gov. Clinton the desire of Warren county to have him as its guest: Matthias Corwin, John Bigger, Michael H. Johnson, William Lowry, George Kesling, Phineas Ross, with George J. Smith as chairman, joined the throngs at Middletown on the day of the inauguration of the canal, and Gov. Clinton in his happy and elegant manner accepted the invitation extended to him by Warren county's representatives. Lebanon had also invited the most eminent men of Ohio to meet New York's chief executive at the banquet, the party including Gov. Jeremiah Morrow, Gen. William Henry Harrison, at that time holding the position of United States senator, Ex-Gov. Ethan Allen Brown; one of the state canal commissioners, and Gen. Beasly, and they constituted the distinguished escort of Gov. Clinton from Middletown to Lebanon. Watchers on a neighboring hill, by a cannon's roar announced to the excited Lebanonites the approach of the looked-for dignitaries, and as the guests, with lifted hats, rode down the village street, salvos of artillery and cheers of assembled villagers proclaimed the coming of a red-letter day in the local history of Lebanon. At noon, the following day, a procession of admiring citizens, under command of Major George Kesling, marched in stately procession to the Presbyterian church, where the honored guests were waiting, and listened to an address of welcome to Gov. Clinton delivered by the Hon. A. H. Dunlevy, which brought forth a brief but elegant response from the guest so honored. The intellectual part of the program concluded, adjournment was made to the banquet hall, where the best that Warren county could provide in tempting viands had been provided by William (page 274) Ferguson. Hon. Henry Clay who, while on his way to Washington City, had been detained in Lebanon by illness of a daughter, with his son-in-law, Mr. Irwin, occupied seats with the distinguished men. Toasts were next in order, twenty in number, and the eloquence and patriotism of Warren county's famous citizens were put to noble test. The pledge to Gov. Clinton was thus worded : "Our distinguished guest, his Excellency DeWitt Clinton-while the fame of other men lives only in the perishable pages of history, his is deeply engraven in the soil of his native state." Deafening applause greeted this felicitous sentiment, and brought forth from the man so honored, expressions of pleasure at the hospitality so generously extended to him, and in turn he, with upraised glass, proposed a toast to "The County of Warren and its worthy citizens."

            The valley of the Great Miami river was the bed of the Miami canal from Middletown as far as Hamilton, where it veered southeast to Millcreek, which it followed, with some small deviations, into the busy center of Cincinnati. Not until November 28, 1827, did the first boats ascend the new inland waterway from the growing mart on "La belle riviere" to the little town of Middletown ; it was a day of general rejoicing throughout the southwestern part of the state; great crowds thronged the banks and shouted themselves hoarse in enthusiastic, vociferous welcome as the boats crept into view, and the booming of small-throated cannon added to the joyous clamor. In a few months locks were built as far north as Franklin in Warren county, and on January 22, 1829, Dayton citizens rejoiced to see the little packet "Governor Brown" arrive from Cincinnati.

            It was not long before the canal proved the wisdom of its projectors. Not only commercially, but weekly, hundreds of people filled the passenger packets that made tri-weekly trips between the two cities. So great were its benefits to the state in every way that its construction was continued northward, and in 1845 it formed a direct connecting channel between the blue waters of Lake Erie and the Ohio river. The success of the two great waterways across the state aroused commercial activity in many directions. The canal "bee"' stung the residents of Warren county. As early as in the spring of 1830 the Warren County Canal company was incorporated by legislative enactment, the object of said company being the construction of a branch canal from Lebanon to Middletown. The incorporators saw great potentialities of wealth in this new artificial channel of commerce, for it would wind "through a valley of unsurpassed fertility, producing vast quantities of corn, wheat, oats, barley and pork." Work on the canal began in 1834, but progressed so slowly that two years later it was given over into possession of the state, the latter paying the Warren County Canal company fifty cents on every dollar that had been put into the work. Traffic and travel on the canal began in 1840, but it was soon found unprofitable and its use abandoned in the year of 1847. The course of this water channel for the greater part of its length, was a broad depression between the two Miami streams, which have led state geologists to assert that the rivers were once united. Many (page 275) believe that the failure of the project was due to the inflow of a creek called Shaker run, which, in times of food, seemed to delight in going on a "rampage" and carry down to the canal vast quantities of earth and debris that would choke the water-road for a distance of five or six hundred feet. The stream seemed to be a favorite of heavy rains, for the canal was so often impeded for navigation by its gifts of earth, leaves and shrubs, that the traffic virtually stopped. There were four locks not far from Lebanon, and the mill of Joseph Whitehill was erected on one of them about three miles west of the village. Mad river contributed its water to the canal at the west end of the channel, the two branches of Turtle creek adding their donations at the eastern terminus. Some time before the inception of the Warren County canal, there were those who had under consideration the feasibility of making the Little Miami river navigable by "means of slack water and canals." Indeed, so strongly did the idea possess a number of Warren county citizens, that an act of incorporation was granted by the state legislature to Jeremiah Morrow, Ralph W. Hunt, Abijah O'Neall, Zaccheus Biggs, Thomas Graham, John Satterthwaite, John Eliot, Patterson Hartshorn, Isaac Stubbs, Richard Mather, and John Armstrong, who as the Little Miami Canal and Banking company, were authorized "to construct such dams and locks and to open such canals as may be necessary for a practicable ascending and descending boat navigation on the Little Miami river from the Ohio to the town of Waynesville." Authorization was also granted the company "to carry on a general manufacturing and banking business;" books for the subscription of stocks amounting to $300,000 were to be opened at Cincinnati, Gainesboro, Lebanon, Milford and Waynesville; tolls of ten cents per ton were to be levied at each lock. Unfortunately, perchance, for Warren county the canal has always remained a splendid potentiality, for work upon it was never begun.

            Stage Lines. One of the few privileges and pleasures enjoyed by the early settlers of Warren county, fortunate enough to live on a stage line, was to watch for the coming of the vehicle that swung quickly past the cabin door, for through its windows they caught, sometimes, a glimpse of a headgear that revealed a bit of the fashionable apparel of a dame whose home was in the gay cosmopolitan centers of Cincinnati or Columbus. For in pioneer days the stage coach was the limousine of city travelers ; it also carried the mail, and happy, indeed, the settler into whose hands came a wafer-sealed remembrance from the world that lay beyond the heavy gloom of the encircling forests.

            Many years before the era of macadamized turnpikes in the Miami territory, stage coaches carried both mail and passengers. Before the year 1827, post boys were the mail carriers of the country, but in that year a regular line of stages ran between Cincinnati and Springfield ; they were generally comfortable and the rate of travel in southwestern Ohio rapidly increased. The fare was usually six cents per mile, and good meals could be procured at the settlement taverns for thirty-seven and one-half cents. The shortest route from Cincinnati to Sandusky was via Lebanon and (page 276) Waynesville. The completion of the Erie canal eased the farmers in the price of shipment of farm products, and also lowered the price of importation, for it cost less to bring freight from eastern markets by the water route, and then carry it across the state in wagons, than it did to transport it by wagons over the mountains. A contributor to the Western Star said, that in the autumn of 1827, eight or ten wagons could be seen going together through Lebanon. Turnpikes. Good roads have always been recognized as holding an important place among the great civilizing agencies of the world. This was well understood by the old Romans, and every province conquered by them was soon striped with splendid highways. The building of good roads was one of the things planned for by the first settlers of the Miami valley, and as early as the year 1833, the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Springfield turnpike, which was the most important road in Warren county, was well under way and macadamized as far north as Sharonville, a distance of fifteen miles from Cincinnati ; six years later it was completed to Lebanon and Waynesville, and by 1841 had almost entered the environs of the growing town of Xenia, in Greene county. Other important highways were in process of construction in Warren county during the same period.

            These smooth roads were most certainly a boon to all travelers of the period. Gone forever were the days when they were compelled to stand exposed and shivering in a cold, drizzling rain while the stage coach was pried loose from the too close embrace of a yawning bog hole in the highway, and naturally the percentage of travel became much larger; also the expediting of mail delivery, for relays of fresh horses were in readiness every ten miles ; the heavy freight wagons, with tires from four to five inches in width, drawn by six horses, and which carried tremendous loads, weighing many tons, made quicker time. Toll houses, which are unknown dwellings to the youth of today, at certain intervals stretched their mandatory poles or "gates" across the way, and were not lifted until the diver of every vehicle had paid a tax or "toll," which was large or small, according to the number of horses over which he cracked his long whip.

            The demand for good roads compelled the passing of a law by the legislature, authorizing the state to make subscriptions of stock in turnpike companies equal in amount to that subscribed by individuals. But the enactment was productive of great abuse, and became known as the "plunder act," and was repealed in the spring of 1840. Stock, under the act, to the amount of $1,587,000, had been thrown on the state, the greater part of which was worthless. But while the law was in force, turnpike building proceeded very rapidly, as one-half of the construction of the roads was borne by the state.

            Part of the expense of the building of the following thoroughfares in Warren county was on Ohio's expense book : The state paid about $50,000 of the cost of constructing the Dayton, Centerville and Lebanon turnpike. The great Miami turnpike, thirty-seven miles in length, extending from Sharonville to Dayton through Franklin, was helped to the amount of $58,000. Nearly $180,000 (page 277) was given by the state to the construction of the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Springfield turnpike. The Goshen and Wilmington turnpike, which cuts through Harlan township, and the Cincinnati, Montgomery, Hopkinsville, Roachester and Clarksville turnpike

were also beneficiaries under the law.

            Perchance many of these roads would have remained unmacadamized without help from the state. Not until the year 1850 was the road between Deerfield Station and Lebanon made a turnpike. Free pikes in the county were constructed as early as the year 1865, and toll gates gradually abolished. The state report for 1882 shows Warren county with 126 turnpikes, whose aggregate length numbered about 550 miles, constructed at a cost of over $500,000. Warren county has a high standing in the Middle west for its splendid graveled roads.

            In the year 1914 the number of miles of turnpikes in Warren county had increased to 650 miles. They are kept in splendid repair, twice yearly being expended from $650 to $5,000 on every mile, making a yearly investment of the county of $1,300,000, which speaks well for the spirit of progressiveness of Warren county citizens.

            Railroads. Construction of railroads was a natural sequence to the digging of canals, for the rapid increase of population soon demanded quicker modes of transit for both people and freight. In compliance with popular demand, a company was incorporated in 1832 for the building of a railroad, connecting Dayton and Sandusky, via Springfield, the line to be known as the Mad River & Lake Erie road. In 1844 the road was completed and in operation. Its probable utility was so palpable that southern Ohio, especially the fast growing town of Cincinnati, asked for similar potential advantages. An appeal from prominent citizens to the legislature was productive of an act, passed March 11, 1836, incorporating the Little Miami Railroad company with $750,000 stock; the road to be a connecting link between Cincinnati and the Mad River & Sandusky railroad, Springfield being the place of union. Books for subscriptions were opened at various places, and among those appointed to receive pledges for stock are found a number of the representative men of Warren county, Allen Wright, Thomas Smith, Jeremiah Morrow, John M. Hadden, and M. Roosa. The city of Cincinnati became surety for nearly one-third of the total amount of stock. Several counties through which the road would run contributed the right of way, which was to lie along the valley of the Little Miami river. But it was not all smooth, sunshiny sailing. There were found many who doubted the feasibility of the undertaking, and promised subscriptions failed to realize. The state, which at. first promised financial backing, withdrew its proffered aid.

            Farmers, unable to pay subscriptions in money, met their obligations in live stock, which the company was compelled to get rid of at great sacrifice, for pressing insistence for payment came from creditors on every side. The work was sometimes held up by judgments, and frequent calls were made by sheriffs in whose hands were suggestive writs of execution, and frequent levies on the equipment of the company, even on the road and its fixtures, were not of (page 278) uncommon occurrence. But the courage of Gov. Morrow never wavered. He seemed almost to have a prophetic insight of the future value of the road to the dwellers in the Miami valley. Unreservedly he gave both time and strength to the advancement of the line, and refused acceptance of a dollar for his valuable services. Very slowly the work proceeded. Construction was begun in the year 1837; in a little less than four years the roadbed was in running order from Fulton to Milford, a distance of fifteen miles. In July, 1844, the first cars astonished the little settlement at Deerfield, and in the month of August, 1846, just a decade after the road was chartered, the first funny little train pulled into Springfield. Within two years, connection had been made at Springfield with the Mad River & Lake Erie road, and then there was a connecting link of steel between the lake and Ohio river.

            In this day of perfect equipment, one must pause to admire the courage of a corporation whose first annual report gave as available working material, "one locomotive, two passenger cars, eight freight cars and three hand cars'; the rails were of wood laid with strap iron.

            The Little Miami was destined to become an important factor in the great system of railways that eventually were to cross the United States like an interminable iron network, proving now a necessary branch in the Pennsylvania line that reaches more than half way across the continent. It is enough of interest to note that, after the completion of the Little Miami road, pressure was brought to bear upon the company by a number of Warren county citizens, to the effect that the line would be straighter, and five miles shorter, if it was made to pass through Lebanon. The directors of the road apparently were pleased with the suggestion, but said that a certain sum must be raised to cover the expenditure of change. The amount asked for, and more, was promptly subscribed by the citizens of the county, but the directors refused to change the route. A second railway line to Cincinnati, known as the Great Miami or Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton road, also touches the Warren county district. It was quickly constructed. In a little more than twelve months after it was contracted for, which was in the year 1848, it was in operation. It was from its very beginning free from the manifold difficulties that made the building of the Little Miami road a herculean task, its finances being in good condition from the start, the city of Cincinnati alone subscribing the handsome amount of $750,000, and its bonds, the very day they were placed on the money market, sold at face value.

            Ten and one-half miles of the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad lie within the confines of Warren county ; it was originally chartered in 1846 as the Hillsboro & Cincinnati line ; almost the same stretch of distance is operated in the county by the Cincinnati & Muskingum Valley Railway company, chartered in 1851 as the Cincinnati, Wilmington & Zanesville road. The only railroad directly connecting the town of Lebanon with the outside world is the Dayton, Lebanon & Cincinnati line, now forming an important link in the network of the immense Pennsylvania system. It was originally built as a narrow gauge road, but later widened to the standard gauge. Its (page 279) first locomotive whistled at Lebanon on February 17, 1881, and was truly a sound of rejoicing to every citizen of the place.

            Electric Lines. Two electric roads are convenient modes of travel to the people of Lebanon. One is a connecting link with the prosperous little town of Franklin, and the second line, whose first car from Cincinnati reached Lebanon September 22, 1903, is so extensively used not only by the people of Lebanon, but by all residing on the line, that its finances are in excellent shape.

            Military History. The better class of early settlers had but small regard for the legislative enactments that called for the organization of the militia, and in 1844 enforced drilling "in time of peace" was rendered non-compulsory. To the oratory of Thomas Corwin is mainly due the reason for the abandonment of civilian military duty. In 1840, Gen. Crary, of Michigan, whose military title was derived only from prowess shown at the annual "muster day" of his own state militia, had openly in the house of representatives of congress, been audacious enough to criticise the military record of the hero of Tippecanoe. This was too much for the just and generous son of Warren county to stand without speaking in vindication of the splendid man who, at home, was almost his next-door neighbor. With burning sarcasm and withering ridicule, he exploited the gallantry and splendid bearing of Gen. Crary at the head of his militia on "muster day." His speech ran like wildfire through the country, and the laughter that it caused soon made "muster day" a thing of past history.

            War of 1812. The bad feeling existing between the United States and England prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812 had aroused the never entirely sleeping hatred of many of the Indians, and the settlers in southwestern Ohio stood in daily fear of Indian outbreaks. Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, had never been content under the subjugation of the red men, and for years had incited the throwing of of the paleface's yoke. The Indians had been defeated at Tippecanoe in 1811, but constant governmental surveillance was necessary to ward of outbreaks and massacres. Three regiments of infantry were organized at Dayton, and there was also a regiment of regulars. In August, 1812, Gen. Hull surrendered this little army to the British, a surrender that left open the entire region of the Miami valleys to the savage spoliation of the Indians. In 1812, Jeremiah Morrow was one of three commissioners appointed by the national government to confer with Indian chiefs at_ Piqua, relative to the establishing of friendly relations. A rumor reached Warren county that the Indians had proved faithless and massacred the commissioners, and were headed for the Miami valleys. Plows were left standing in the furrows, shops left vacant, as men seized their rifles and rushed to the defense of home and family.

            Although, perhaps, involving the possibility of bringing the desolation of war to their' own hearthstones, the majority of the people of Ohio were in favor of war with England. They realized that a sure and lasting peace was impossibility as long as a power across the sea claimed any territorial possession in the boundaries of the American republic. Public meetings were held, resolutions (page 280) of approval, and promising aid if needed, were passed, and enlistments speedily followed the call for troops. Lebanon was chosen as the place of mobilization for volunteers from the counties of Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren. A company of light infantry was placed under the command of Matthias Corwin, and Capt. David Sutton, of Deerfield, elected colonel of the regiment. In the fall, Warren county riflemen were among the troops detailed to open a wagon-way along the trail where Wayne and his brave men had marched from Fort Loramie to St. Marys ; others were detailed to escort a train of relief wagons to Forts Wayne and Loramie. Captains of the relief-troops were chosen by lot, and Capt. Matthias Corwin commanded the Warren county boys who brought aid to the soldiers at Fort Wayne. Nearly thirty years after the close of the war, Gen. Charles Anthony, in a speech at Columbus, thus told of the entrance of the intrepid Thomas Corwin into his country's service : "When the brave Harrison and his gallant army were exposed to the dangers and. hardships of the northwestern frontier-separated from the interior,-on which they depended for their supplies, by the brushwood and swamps of the St. Marys country, through which there was no road-where each wagoner had to make his way wherever he could find a passable place, there was one team which was managed by a little, dark-complexioned, hardy-looking lad, appearing about fifteen or sixteen years old, who was familiarly called Tom Corwin."

            These were stirring times in Warren county. Apprehension of Indian raids, tidings of Hull's surrender, calls for army supplies, steady enlistment, the turning of the village of Lebanon into a military camp, kept the people at a fever heat of enthusiastic excitement, and daily strengthened the determination to win, even if victory meant constant sacrifice, and thus not only to free the country from complete English domination and interference, but also to wipe out the disgrace attending the opening of the conflict. Warren county records are bare concerning the number of enlistments from its district and but few of the names of the officers have been preserved. Of these few, Thomas B. Van Horne, a farmer residing in the vicinity of Lebanon, was an early commissioned officer ; Col. John Hopkins, afterwards sheriff and Warren county's representative in the legislature, received a commission as a lieutenant of rangers : Daniel Cushing raised a company of Warren county recruits, and commanded the battery at Fort Meigs during its famous siege. The Shakers were the only men who refused to enlist, and are thus known as Ohio's first "pacifists," but several of them were caught by the draft and compelled to join the ranks of the patriots.

            The Mexican War. Unlike the disposition shown by them in the War of 1812, the men of Warren county were slow to enlist on the side of the United States against Mexico. Like their idol, Thomas Corwin, many held that the war was unnecessary. Corwin's speech against the war, delivered in the United States senate on that memorable eleventh day of February, 1847, has never been equaled in any political forum for its wide vision, justice and impassioned oratory. He stood among his peers, an intellectual giant, (page 281) conscious that his words would lower his prestige as a patriot in the estimation of the nation and his beloved state ; but right and justice were more to him than reputation, and today the burning words with which he pleaded for kindness and justice to unhappy Mexico are read and recognized as coming from one who possessed, with the courage of -a martyr, the true ideal of American liberty.

            Mr. Corwin was correct in his estimation of the effect upon the people at large that his speech would produce. It created a wave of excitement. The war was popular, as all aggressive wars are, especially when brought by a government claiming a Republican foundation. The public mind could not grasp the underlying spiritual freedom that was the real essence of Mr. Corwin's wonderful speech. It did twenty years afterwards when the great North took up arms to drive slavery from the nation. Then, and not till then, did Mr. Corwin stand free from the taint of "traitor" with which the country, from ocean to ocean, essayed to sully his magnificent patriotism, his true understanding of pure Americanism. How his great soul must have suffered under the injustice. The eminent men of his party disclaimed his political friendship. In all the wide territory of his country, but one locality remained staunch in its friendship and in belief of his loyalty to the administration, and that was the Miami valley, especially the men of Warren county. He was requested by the anti-slavery Whigs of his district to address them upon the war. The speech was given in the courthouse at Lebanon. Not a very large audience was present, but it represented the leading antislavery Whigs of southwestern Ohio. Those who heard Mr. Corwin at that time have pronounced it the most wonderful effort of his entire life. As he stood before his friends, the burden of the coming conflict seemed to rest upon his heart. "The great veins and muscles of his neck enlarged ; his face was distorted ; his arms wildly reached, and his hands desperately clutched, in paroxysms of unutterable emotion. Men left their seats and gathered close around him, standing through most of the speech, and many of them unconsciously repeated with their lips, almost audibly, every word that he uttered, the tears streaming over their faces. Every man in the audience was his personal friend." Without word of comment, at the close of the address, his audience dispersed, too deeply stirred and impressed by the wonderful speech for utterance, but each' one convinced of Mr. Corwin's absolute loyalty to what he deemed right and justice and of his willingness to endure obloquy and misrepresentation if, by so doing, he could avert bloodshed from a country already suffering from oppression.

            Political Atmosphere. The political atmosphere of Warren county has always strongly veered to Republicanism. The majority of its early settlers were enrolled as Jeffersonian Republicans, later drifting into what, as it has been called, anti-Democracy. From the year 1801 the people were ranked as Republican or anti-Federal; for the next six years marching under the banner of National Republicanism ; then came the Whig revolution, which continued to the year 1855, when the Republican fag was raised and has never been lowered.

            (page 282) A division of prominent Warren county men crept into politics in the presidential election of the year 1824. Thomas Corwin and John . Bigger were supporters of Henry Clay ; Judge Kesling and Thomas R. Ross stood by the Andrew Jackson ticket, while Francis Dunlevy upheld the rights of John Quincy Adams, but all united in the support of the re-election of Jeremiah Morrow to the gubernatorial chair.

            The term "Federalist" had become obnoxious to a majority of Ohio men, regardless of party alliances. For many years after 1828, both parties claimed the name of Jeffersonian Republicans, and in that year, or the one following, for the first time in the political history of Ohio, candidates for office represented party divisions. The year 1831 was a marked one, both in state and national elections.- For the first time a national political convention was held for the nomination of candidates to the high office of president and vice-president. The National Republicans on December 31 met at Baltimore, and Gov. Morrow, as the delegate from Butler and Warren counties, which then constituted a congressional district, was a member of the body that nominated Henry Clay as presidential candidate.

            Never did Warren county participate in a more exciting political campaign than that of the year 1840. From its citizens were to come the successful candidates for governor and member of congress, and almost within a stone's throw from the county line resided the candidate who was to win the national vote for presidential honors. The contest was hot and bitter to the extreme. At the state convention called at Columbus on February 22, 1840, it is estimated that fully 25,000 people were in attendance. At that historic assemblage, Thomas Corwin, Warren county's favorite son, received the nomination for governor. People came from all parts of the state, traveling on foot, on horseback, and by tedious canal boats to signify their admiration for the candidates, both national and state, and on the second day of the convention, notwithstanding a driving rain and the fact that the streets were a slush of February snow and mud, so great was the enthusiasm of the delegates they marched through the streets of Columbus, shouting the praises of the candidates. Both Harrison and Corwin were "people's" candidates, for they belonged to the class that believed in a man working for his daily bread. The Baltimore American inadvertently furnished the slogan for the presidential candidate of the Whigs : "Give. him a barrel of hard cider and settle a pension of two thousand upon him, and our word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days content in a log cabin." This covert sneer at the simple, frugal life of Gen. Harrison eventually sung him into the most responsible and highest office of the republic, for the American nation, as yet, was a nation of splendid middle-class toilers. Monster mass meetings were convened in every state, almost in every congressional district. In May, 1840, a tremendous mass meeting was held at Wilmington by the Whigs of the Fourth congressional district. For weeks the citizens of Warren county had been preparing for the monster gathering, and of the ten thousand persons estimated as being present, Warren county furnished a large per cent. In every way imaginable (page 283) the people tried to express the patriotic enthusiasm that was almost frenzy. Coonskins, fiddles, banners, fags, kegs of hard cider, miniature log-cabins, each and all played a prominent part in portraying the confidence and affection felt by the citizens of Ohio for the "people's candidate." Warren county was represented by a log cabin and three large canoes, and her ability as leaders evidenced in the presiding of Nathaniel McLean at the convention and the choosing of Thomas Corwin as orator. The convention confirmed the candidacy of Thomas Corwin for governor, and also the appointment of ex-Gov. Jeremiah Morrow to fill Mr. Corwin's unexpired term in congress.

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