Ohio History Journal

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edited by LEROY P. GRAF

Professor of History, University of Tennessee


In 1836, when he was thirty-one, Oren Wiley left his family and

friends in Saxtons River, Vermont, to accept employment in a tin

shop in Ohio City, Ohio, a new settlement located along Lake Erie

on the west side of the Cuyahoga River opposite Cleveland. Three

years later he moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he lived until his

return to New England to Greenfield, Massachusetts, in the middle

1850's.2 While living in Ohio he visited New       England several

times, and in 1844 on one of these trips he married Harriet Weaver

Banks at Swanzey, New Hampshire. In 1889 at the age of eighty-

three he died in Greenfield.

Wiley wrote the following Journal during his first six years away

from home. Writing at irregular intervals, he often recorded events

which had occurred some time before, though seldom more than a

year had elapsed; often it was a matter of only a few days. In-

creasingly he used his journal book as a copybook in which to pre-

serve essays and poems which he discovered in the daily press or in

Universalist literature. His religious concern led him not only to

read and copy but also to write both poems and essays of a religious

or highly moral nature. Several parts of the Journal here printed

reveal his pious propensities and his tendency to moralize. Although

most of the moral essays and poems are omitted, one of his essays,

commenting on the election of 1840, and a poem glorifying the

mechanic are included because they offer interesting and even lively

contemporary reactions to matters of general historical interest.

Wiley's account of his trip to Ohio, his reactions to Ohio City and

the fight over the Columbus Street bridge, and his briefly recorded

trips to Detroit and southern Ohio furnish the particular interest


1 The original of this Journal is in the possession of Wiley's granddaughter, Mrs.

Louise Wiley McCleary, of Knoxville, Tennessee, to whom I am indebted for per-

mission to edit and publish the following material.

2 The exact date of the return is not available, but family records show that

January 8, 1854, a daughter died in Dayton and February 24, 1856, another daughter

was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The removal was sometime between these

dates. Family Lineage and Record Book in possession of Mrs. Louise Wiley McCleary.