Ohio History Journal

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As the Western Reserve Historical Society has passed the

three score and ten commonly allotted as the span of human life,

having recently celebrated its seventy-fifth birthday, it would

seem to have attained a respectable age. The record, however,

shows that there are twenty-two historical societies in the United

States which were founded more than one hundred years ago.

One who is familiar with the cultural history of Ohio would

expect Cincinnati to have been ahead of Cleveland in this respect.

Again the record shows that the Historical and Philosophical

Society was thirty-six years of age when Cleveland's historical

society was organized (Cincinnati, 1831; Cleveland, 1867).

Clevelanders made what proved to be two false or prema-

ture, or perhaps better, badly-timed starts. In 1857, the Cuya-

hoga County Historical Society was started; the following year,

on February 15, the organization was completed. Leonard Case,

Sr., was chosen president and John Barr was selected as secre-

tary. The organization was county wide, a vice-president and

local committee for each township. Early settlers and township

officers were given special privileges on the expectation that such

persons could very effectively aid in the collection and preserva-

tion of historical materials. Colonel Charles Whittlesey, Ahaz

Merchant and George B. Merwin were trustees, all three being well

known in Cleveland's business and cultural history. Full accounts

of the Society's early activities were published in the newspapers.

Much information about the early history of the several town-

ships, gathered by the committees, was published in the Leader

during 1858. The Society held "grand county picnic pioneer cele-

brations" at Newburgh in June, 1858 and 1860. Like a county fair,

public speaking and the exhibition of relics, instead of pigs, cattle

and horses, marked the occasions. In 1860 Colonel Whittlesey was