Ohio History Journal

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[The following article was written by Mr. Joseph Wilby and read

before The Optimist Club, Cincinnati, March 1st, 1902. Mr. Wilby is at

present the president of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio.


The first council meeting of the town of Cincinnati is said to

have been held on the 5th of March, 1802. The present occasion

lacks a few days of being the one hundredth anniversary of that

date, but affords a fitting opportunity for us to recall the begin-

nings and growth of Cincinnati.

The southwest corner of Ohio was fortunate in the character

of the men who chose it out of the wilderness and peopled it, and

blessed by the conditions under which these men laid the foun-

dations for a great city.

Where we now stand was, two centuries ago, in the possess-

ion of the Indians, hardly known to the white man, except to the

adventurous Jesuits from New France. Marquette, descending

the Mississippi, had sailed by the mouth of the Ohio, or, as he

called it, the Wabash, a name by which it was known for many


The French claim to all the vast region north of the Ohio

and between the Mississippi and the Alleghenies, was ceded to

England in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris. Twenty years after-

ward, by the War of Independence, we obtained from England

the right to all this country south of the Great Lakes. It became

known as the Northwest Territory, embracing what is now the

States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part

of Minnesota.

Though as colonies of England, Virginia and Connecticut

claimed part of what is now Ohio, under grants from the Crown,

Virginia, in 1781, gave up to Federal control any rights she had

in this territory. Connecticut did the same, reserving, however,