Ohio History Journal

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The year 1825 was a memorable one in the history

of Ohio. On May 19 General Lafayette crossed the

river in his tour through what were then called the

"western states" and stepped on the Ohio shore at Cin-

cinnati in the midst of patriotic demonstrations un-

paralleled in the history of the state. For a time he

was the guest of this city, then the metropolis of the

West, after which he proceeded up the river to Wheel-

ing, making short stops at Gallipolis and Marietta.

The newspapers of that time bear extended accounts

not only of his visit to Ohio but of his tour through all

the states.

The year 1825 also marked the beginning of work on

the Ohio canals and popular demonstrations at the in-

auguration of an era of internal improvements. At

no point were the initial formalities more enthusiastic-

ally celebrated than at the Licking Summit, near New-

ark, Ohio. The day chosen was the Fourth of July, a

day then devoted on its annual return to fervid oratory

-- to "bonfires and illuminations." The citizens of the

United States were only fifty years removed from the

opening scenes of the Revolution. The tour of Lafay-

ette through the country added to the popular interest

in the observance of the day. The canal commissioners

of Ohio wisely chose this date for breaking sod at the

Licking Summit. They had succeeded in persuading

Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York to be present