Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7

Ohio Valley Hist

Ohio Valley Hist. Ass'n, Fifth Annual Meeting.                                 119


of its officers which is confined to matters purely historical                                                                      I con-

gratulate the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania upon its won-

derful opportunities. It has a fertile field of operations, hitherto but

little cultivated; it has enlisted an interest in its reorganization which is

almost national; it is surely destined to a prosperous and brilliant future.






University of Wisconsin.

A year ago I delivered an address at Indianapolis on the "Decision

of the Ohio Valley in 1861," in which I spoke of the New England

element as one of the minor factors which contributed to the result.

No sooner had I descended from the platform then I was attacked by

three local students who denied that New England had part or parcel

in the history of the Valley. When, therefore, I was asked to read a

paper on New England's influence, at this meeting, which is an embodi-

ment of the feeling of unity and distinctiveness in the Ohio country, I

realized that my subject was not a popular one. Moreover, I soon con-

vinced myself that this was no new sentiment. On examining a list

of six or seven hundred steamboats plying on the Ohio, between 1829

and 1836, I discovreed only four names calculated to appeal to New

England pride: Boston, Bunker Hill, Vermont, and John Hancock.

While every other president, and most presidents' wives, received recogni-

tion, there was no Adams; and although nearly all other statesmen

braved their way through the rapids and the currents, together with Na-

poleon, Josephine, Science, Jack Downing, and so on, there was no

Webster.  A somewhat larger proportion of the owners and masters

were from the six states; but it was obvious that the names to conjure

with, the names and episodes which made history vivid to the mass of

the population, were drawn from the South and from the old mountain


Yet New England contributed no small share to the peopling of

this fertile region which began about 1750 to spread its enticements be-

fore the inhabitants of the older settlements. First came scattered New

England families dissatisfied with the regulated life of the New England

towns and beckoned onwards by the greater economic opportunities of

what was then the West.    Such a family was that of the Lincolns,

moving in successive generations from England to Massachusetts, then

to New Jersey, on the Pennsylvania, through West Virginia to Ken-

tucky, and finally early in the nineteenth century crossing over to the

north bank. Before the Revolution, John Adams wrote: "The colonies

south of Pennsylvania have no men to spare, we are told. But we know

better; we know that all the colonies have a back country, which is