Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association

Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association.      415


may be mentioned Hugh Henry Brackenridge, the author of a satirical

romance entitled "Modern Chivalry," in which he sarcastically depicts

the political conditions of his time. "The Pittsburgh Gazette," the first

newspaper printed west of the Alleghany mountains, contains in its early

columns a number of contributions from the pen of this versatile son

of Princeton, who had been a classmate of James Madison, who at a

later time became President of the United States. Brackenridge had un-

bounded faith in the future of the Ohio Valley, and he used his influence,

not merely as a prophet, but as a very active politician and lawyer, to

bring about the realization of the dreams which he had dreamed. One

hundred and fifty years have passed since Hugh Henry Brackenridge

prophesied, and it is interesting today to those who take the trouble to

read what he wrote, to see how even far beyond his fondest fancies has

been the issue of events.

It would be to me a fascinating task in detail to sketch to you

how influences of various sorts have been woven together to bring

about those conditions which we see at present. The portion assigned

to me, however, has been in a few words to tell of the early beginnings

of the settlement of the Valley. There is no time for me to do more

than I have done, with a few bold strokes to recall to memory the

stirring deeds from 1752 to 1787, in which in rapid succession we see

the Virginian Cavalier and the Pennsylvanian uniting to expel the chiv-

alry of France from the coveted valley, and then turning to contend

between themselves for the possession of the gateway of the West; to

picture to you the sturdy advance of the pioneer settlers, men whose

implements were the rifle and the axe, to remind you of the warfare

which they waged with the wild men of the forest and with the obdurate

might of sullen Nature, to show how with that culture which comes

through the plow there came the culture which comes through the

printed Word, and how thus foundations were laid by the hands and

the heads and the hearts of men for that triumphant civilization which

has taken possession of the vast domain. New England has her tradi-

tions of Plymouth Rock, Virginia of her Jamestown, New York of her

early life on the banks of the Hudson; but no less consecrated and no

less stirring are the traditions which linger along the shores of what the

poetic Frenchman called "la belle riviere," the fair Ohio, the shining

waters of which flow past this historic town.




President Ohio Valley Improvement Association.

It is impossible in the limits of a paper for such an occasion as

this to go into a detailed statement of the various movements looking

to the improvement of the Ohio. A brief summary, only, may be given.