Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19







[This article is a chapter from Volume IV of the History of

Ohio, by Messrs. Randall and Ryan. It is printed by permission of the

publishers, The Century History Company, 54 Dey St., New York, N. Y.-



The office of Governor did not prove attractive to Mr.

Corwin. It afforded no opportunity to display either his talents

or abilities. In those days it was a position more of dignity

than of power. He used to say that his principal duties were

"appointing notaries public and pardoning convicts in the peni-

tentiary." The salary was fifteen hundred dollars a year, and

the Governors of Ohio spent very little time in Columbus. The

majority of Corwin's predecessors had been farmers, and they

only came up to the capital at rare periods, and these were be-

tween seed time and harvest. As he was a lawyer of extensive

practice, he spent most of his time in the practice of his pro-

fession at Lebanon.

Addison P. Russell, who was formerly Secretary of State

of Ohio (1858-1862), and who still lives in a dignified old age at

Wilmington, Ohio, has written a delightful monograph

("Thomas Corwin. A Sketch." Cincinnati, 1881), which is

a neighbor's tribute to, and an analysis of, Corwin's character

and life. In passing it may be noted also that his "Library

Notes," 1879; "Characteristics," 1884; "A Club of One," 1887;

"In a Club Corner," 1890, and "Sub-Coelum," 1893, are among

the most charming essays in American literature, and have won

the love of all readers of the good and beautiful in modern


But to the subject-of Governor Corwin he writes: "Dur-

ing the two years Mr. Corwin was Governor, he was proverb-

ially in the best of humor. All the time he could get from

public duties was spent at his home in Lebanon. He seemed