Ohio History Journal

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It is as Ohio's first historian that Caleb Atwater is best

known. But had he never written his History of Ohio, his

efforts to provide an educational system for the state and the

record he made in Archaeology might in themselves be sufficient

reason for placing his name in "Ohio's Hall of Fame."

Caleb Atwater was a versatile, peculiar, eccentric and vis-

ionary individual.  From  the world's material point of view

his life might not be reckoned a success. He never accumu-

lated any property.  He lacked that power of concentration

which alone gives success in a pursuit. But he was not lazy.

He worked hard on things that were congenial to him. He

was a close observer of nature. He had his ideas and theories

and it seems he spent much time in formulating them.

His versatility expressed itself in his being a minister,

lawyer, educator, legislator, author and antiquarian. He was a

pioneer in more senses than one. And since a pioneer is ever

a brave man we can forgive Mr. Atwater his inclination to be a


It was on Christmas day in 1778 at North Adams, Massa-

chusetts, that Caleb Atwater was born to Ebenezer and Rachel

(Parks) Atwater. He was a direct descendant of David Atwater

one of the original settlers of New Haven. On the maternal side

he inherited Welsh blood. His mother died when he was five

years old. The child was placed in the home of a Mr. Jones in

North Adams, where he remained until his eighteenth year.

About this time Williams College was founded and young At-

water was sent by his guardian to this school. He completed

his studies here and received the degree of Master of Arts.

I wish to express my thanks to Miss May Lowe, Librarian at Cir-

cleville;  Miss Wilder, Assistant Librarian; Mrs. L. G. Hoffman, of

Circleville, and Rev. Dr. Brown, of Indianapolis, for courtesies extended

in the preparation of this article.              C. L. M.