Ohio History Journal

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OF MILO G. WILLIAMS (1804-1880)




Interesting glimpses of early Cincinnati are to be found in

the manuscript recollections by Milo G. Williams, written in

1877-79. They show not only some historical background to his

activities in educational, scientific and religious circles, of the city

of more than a century ago, but also note the changes which oc-

curred during his lifetime, and are illuminated by his sage com-

ments. The manuscript deserves publication in its entirety--a

rough summary only is attempted here. A microfilm of the first

portion of these "recollections" has been made by the Historical

and Philosophical Society of Ohio, in Cincinnati.

Milo Williams, fourth child of Jacob and Eunice (Grum-

mond) Williams, was born in a frame house on the northeast

corner of Main and Sixth streets, Cincinnati (where the Gwynne

building now stands), on April 10, 1804, when the town contained

only 960 inhabitants.

The early memories of the boy included the neighboring

home and handsome gardens of General John S. Gano, then

clerk of the court, which occupied the north half of the block

bordered by Main, Sixth, Sycamore and Fifth streets. There were

few houses then in that outlying part of town, which was mostly

pasture lots, and a few cultivated fields; no streets were graded

or paved; wagons fast in the mud were pried out by rails taken

from the roadside fences; canoes or skiffs were used to carry foot

passengers across the Ohio River; horses and wagons were rowed

over in flat-boats; cattle had to swim. The arrival of barges with

southern and eastern produce is noted as being of great impor-

tance to store keepers and residents. Young Williams recalled

watching the building of the first "Upper Market" on Fifth

Street (now Government Square), which was erected later than