Ohio History Journal

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The museum of the Clark County (Ohio) Historical Society

houses many objects worthy of song or story, many objects around

which cluster a wealth of romantic lore fit to inspire a modern saga

of great worth and beauty. Of all these objets d'art there is

doubtless none that carries a greater feminine appeal than a quaint

little piano more than a century old, the first, in fact, to have been

brought into the county. There it stands, encased in ebony and

rosewood inlaid with tiny ebony lines. The ivory keys are yellow

with age, but the memories that cling to them are fresh as the

vigor of youth.

Purchased in Philadelphia in 1832 by Pierson Spining for his

little daughter, Mary Catherine, it began there its long trek over

the mountains of Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh where it was trans-

ferred to a flat-boat and floated down the Ohio River to Cincinnati

and was again loaded into a covered wagon to be transported to

its final home in what was then the frontier village of Springfield.

Mary Catherine was twelve years old at this time. Harriet Beecher

and her sister had just opened a school for young ladies in Cin-

cinnati where her father had assumed the presidency of Lane

Theological Seminary. Thither Mary Catherine was sent to acquire

further erudition and the graces of refined society, of which skill

in playing the piano was one.

Even though it required many hours to journey to Cincinnati

at that time, the trip there must have seemed very much like a

holiday to our little lady, for the first night could be spent at

Grandfather Spining's big house near Dayton where were still to

be found numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Grandfather Isaac

Spining was judge of the circuit court, and has since been de-

scribed as "the most influential and prominent of the earliest

settlers" at that place. So Mary's vision of life expanded as she

listened to the table talk there.